WARNING! This post will contain spoilers for Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward. They will include important plot points happening midway through the main story, as well as mentions to what happens at the end. And speculation; lots and lots of speculation.
After defeating the final boss of Heavensward, Archbishop Thordan VII lies on the ground. Still surprised that you could best his powers combined with the might of the Heaven’s Ward, he looks up at us and sees something unexpected; no shining beacon of hope as many do, or even a simple hero standing – he sees darkness, he sees shadows. In a face that denotes shock, before his demise he manages to ask a simple question: “Who — What are you?”
A few days ago I read an interesting thread on Reddit where some of the comments started questioning what exactly we, the players, are becoming. We have the power to defeat Primals, beings of unfathomable power, and have showed our power to stop basically anything that stands in our way. We are Hydaelyn’s champions, blessed with her light, defending Eorzea from whatever threatens her. But could it be that there’s something else behind our power? Could it be that we are more than we think we are?
One of Heavensward’s most important revelations is that Primals, as we know them, are not precisely what we think them to be – or rather who they seem to be. When a Primal is summoned, the result is not the Primal itself, but rather a “shadow” of the Primal – a fake. Conjured out of the idea and ideals of those summoning, this farce is brought back into the world via the already known way of summoning: prayer, and aether (crystals). The Ascians, those who brought the knowledge of the method of summoning with them, know this; when they tell the Beast Tribes to summon their Primal, they’re really expecting them to summon a fake – they just omit this important detail.
This means that Ysayle, also known as Lady Iceheart, isn’t really summoning Shiva; she is summoning a fake Shiva born out of her beliefs and hopes. Such revelation breaks her, and causes her to stop accompanying you midway through your adventure (though she returns later on).
So, the theory goes: what if we are not really the Warrior of Light, but a Primal summoned by Hydaelyn to represent the legendary hero? First, we gotta ask how could a Primal WoL be summoned.
Condition A – Prayer: People of Eorzea remember the fabled warrior that fought to defend Eorzea during the events before the Calamity. For some reason, they cannot quite remember the details, like his face; they can only see a silhouette drenched in light – hence the name “Warrior of Light”. During the bleak times that followed, did people rally for a hero? Were they hopeful that this missing WoL would return to them? To take things a bit further, it is known that the WoL is Hydaelyn’s champion, so it is also not completely insane to think that the planet itself prayed for a hero to battle the Ascian threat.
Condition B – Aether: We need not go too far for this one. Hydaelyn is the planet itself! She surely has access to all the aether she could possibly need. “But Saga”, I hear you say, “it is crystals that are needed… and lots of them!” Well, the crystals are needed for the aether they contain, which is why they are needed in such big quantities. And have you seen Hydaelyn? Her representation is a huge crystal!
But… could it be? Could it be the character we control is a form of Primal summoned by the planet and its people to defend them from whatever harm will come? It is said that the WoL appears when there is an overflow of darkness in the world… but where does he come from? Is he a random amnesiac farm boy that is simply chosen at birth, or does he literally appear out of nowhere?
“Impossible!“, you say. “Someone must have realized this by now! Surely the Scions… or the Garleans! Anyone with one of those fancy Splinter Cell-ish aether visors! And what about Miss Kitty McSexyLegs who now only ‘sees’ in aether?” Good points all of them, I say. This is all, after all, a crazy tin-foil hat theory! But maybe… *ominous music* it is the fact that we are Hydaelyn’s chosen that hides this truth from everyone! When Ysayle dies, she leaves behind a trace of light in the air, which Y’shtola recognizes as the mark of Hydaelyn’s chosen. So are you telling us that a Scion, with the fancy-goggles and the “aether-eyes” could not detect Ysayle – a former enemy – was bathed in Hydaelyn’s light all along?
Could we be a special kind of Primal, not written about in any history or academic book anywhere in the world? Or is there something else? A secret we have not been told?
I had fun writing this article! Sure, it’s just a crazy theory, but it was quite fun to follow the thread to see where it took me… and where that is isn’t important. The joy is in the trip, not the destination. At least not yet…