In FFXIV’s MSQ: Endwalker, a character who was once presumed dead makes a surprising return in preparation for a decade-long finale.
During the initial launch of Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker Most of the new content is provided through the Main Stage missions or MSQ, and one character, in particular, makes a surprising return. Every expansion and every major patch in between these expansions provides new and exciting stories, but this time the developers have gone the extra mile. In regular expansion releases, the story typically doesn’t resolve on its own until the release of the third major patch, roughly 9 months after the expansion’s initial release. But with Endwalker launch, the MSQ concludes the general narrative revolving around two main entities, Hydaelyn and Zodiark, and the looming threat of the last few days. The characters and stories that have accumulated over the past decade come together in the largest MSQ launch to date to create one finale show.
[Warning: Spoilers for FFXIV: Endwalker below.]
FFXIV: Endwalker kicks off players by immediately sending them along with the Scions of the Seventh Dawn to one of the new playable cities, Old Sharlayan. The objective of this trip is to find more information on how to prevent the Last Days, an apocalyptic event that already threatened the world once. The last preceding Days threatened the Ancients, a social paradise that knew no conflict and possessed creation magic, the ability to create anything from clothing and tools to living and breathing creatures. About halfway through the MSQ, players will meet Emet-Selch, Shadowbringers‘main villain, who died at the end of that expansion. To understand this surprising return, it is important to have a context related to the Convocation and the Last Days.
The solution was to create Zodiark as an entity to stimulate life on the star, thus anticipating the Last Days. However, creation magics of this scale came at the cost of requiring the sacrifice of half of the remaining population. The doom was gone, but some feared even the power of the Zodiark and created Hydaelyn to keep him at bay. They clashed and Hydaelyn emerged victorious, sealing Zodiark but also dividing the world into 14 fragments of his former self. Unlike the social paradise of the Ancients, these worlds had no creation magic and suffered from wars, disease, and strife. In FFXIV: Endwalker, The Convocation seeks to restore the power of Zodiark to reunite with the shards and bring back their home and work as the Ascians as an antagonistic force against the players. The only remaining Ascio, Fandaniel, opposes the ideals of her brothers, seeking to recreate the Last Days today.
How Emet-Selch returns in FFXIV: Endwalker
Going back to the beginning of FFXIV: Endwalker, the journey to Old Sharlayan begins with a narration by Emet-Selch, a former member of the Convocation and a defeated antagonist in the events of Shadowbringers. On the ship to Old Sharlayan, the player is greeted by the Lady of Light, a mysterious woman in a white robe similar to what the Ancients wore, and she reveals herself to be Hydaelyn and warns her of the journey ahead. While in Old Sharlayan, players learn that Forum, the group that leads the city-state, knows the truth of the Last Days and has a means of escape, but they are unable to speak about it due to an enchantment in their memory.
It is explained that this enchantment prevents one from accessing certain memories, but upon death, the memories are revealed before the soul returns to the sea of ether to be reborn. Hydaelyn also gives the player a “Heartbloom,” a rare flower with no discernible origin that responds to emotion, as a guide for their journey ahead. In later events on the moon, the flower is revealed to be “Elpis”, a flower that dates back to the time of the Ancients.
With the knowledge that the flower is from the past and that Hydaelyn gave it as a guide, the players find themselves back in the Crystal Tower from FFXIV: Shadowbringers. Elidibus, another member of the Summons who was used as the heart of Zodiark, has remained trapped there since the events of 5.3. There, he reveals that he knew “Elpis” not as a flower, but as a place. Using his remaining life force and the power of the Crystal Tower, he sends the player through time and space to the same Elpis he spoke of.
Upon arrival, the players are greeted by none other than Emet-Selch along with Hythlodaeus, whose drill assisted the players in the events of FFXIV: Shadowbringers. Elpis is revealed to be a research facility to study living creatures produced by creation magic spearheaded by Hermes, the man who would later take Fandaniel’s seat. Hermes is concerned about the living conditions of the created creatures in his society, and how their lives are easily discarded if deemed unsuitable for the star. Seeking to find more meaning in his life, he looks at the stars.
FFXIV: Endwalker – The Return and Meteion of Emet-Selch in Elpis
Using the Elpis flower as a base in FFXIV: Endwalker, Hermes creates Meteion, a creature that resembles a little girl with blue feathers and wings adorning her body. Creating a large group of Meteions, all capable of telepathically communicating with each other, and sends them to the stars with the question of what others live for and what gives their life meaning. However, the answer Meteion finds is not the one Hermes was looking for. Wherever the Meteion went, they found only husks of civilization, lives long gone or seeking their demise. This despair, absorbed by all the Meteions, led them to the answer that it was meaningless and that the only peace in life came with death.
As Emet-Selch sought to bring Meteion back to the Convocation to study and prevent this threat, Hermes sided with her and issued a challenge to humanity. He would let Meteion escape and see if the man was capable of defeating the threat, and he would use the powers of his facilities to erase the group’s memories, to keep it fair. While the player manages to escape and keep his memories intact, Hermes was erased along with Emet-Selch and Hythlodaeus. Brought to the present, players are looking for a way to catch up and defeat the Meteions that await them.
The return of Emet-Selch in FFXIV: Endwalker it is a symbol of the culmination of this story that has been a decade in the making. He was initially revealed to be one of the leading Ascians and the architect behind the Allagan and Garlean empires that have played an important role throughout history. In the events of Shadowbringers, not only played an important role as an antagonist, but also as a gateway to the history of the Ancients. Even after his death, he remained a driving force, helping players defeat Elidibus on the 5.3 MSQ and narrating the journey through Endwalker.
The Emet-Selch of the past helped players uncover the truth of the last days, and the Emet-Selch of the present entrusted the future of the star to the humanity of the present. Wherever the player went, Emet-Selch was there, watching and telling the story on the world stage. And in a truly theatrical way, as it fits his personality, he helps the players one last time at Ultima Thule before retiring for good. The MSQ of Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker uses the Emet-Selch story, along with many others, to create a truly memorable ending.