Etro's gate, also known as the unseen gate and the Door of Souls (魂の門, Tamashii no Mon?), is a gateway to the afterlife in Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy. It is operated by the goddess Etro. The gate resembles an eye in appearance. This may relate to how Etro can see all things from Valhalla on the other side of the gate, but can only observe, because to influence the mortal world, the gate must open.
According to the official mythology, the universe is divided in two halves: the visible world, or the world of the living, and the unseen realm, or the world of the dead; if the balance between the two worlds is broken, the universe is in danger of collapsing. Despite this, Bhunivelze and his fal'Cie creations are compelled to find the gate to ensure the former becomes immortal.
XII. The Door of Souls Edit
When our earthly vessels meet their end, the souls they housed must leave this world. Would the path of their migration not be the same one as our departed gods? Must they not pass through the same doorway the Divine employed to reach that place that lies beyond?
If this is the case, it stands to reason that, should a great many lives at once be cut short, a flood of souls would surge through the aforementioned portal. The Door would be thrown wide, and perhaps we might even glimpse the gleaming light of Divinity beyond.
- —On the Nature of Fal'Cie
XIII. Fabula Nova Crystallis Edit
Children of Hallowed Pulse scour earth, searching substance for the Door. Those of Fell Lindzei harvest souls, combing ether for the same. So have I seen.
The Door, once shut, was locked away, with despair its secret key; sacrifice, the one hope of seeing it unsealed.
When the twilight of the gods at last descends upon this world, what emerges from the unseeable expanse beyond that Door will be but music, and that devoid of words: the lamentations of the Goddess Etro, as She sobs Her song of grief.
- —Author unknown
Etro's gate Edit
The instant Etro's gate opened, a world-devouring darkness slipped through from Valhalla. The goddess turned back the river of time and that terrible darkness—the Unseen chaos—was sealed away.
Her power exhausted, Etro fell into a sleep from which she would never awaken. It was Lightning who sensed that someone meant to exploit that weakness and destroy the goddess for good. She learned of the man named Caius Ballad.
If the goddess is destroyed, the chaos of the unseen realm would be unleashed, and the mortal realm devoured by Valhalla. Lightning decided to stand and fight, to protect Etro and see her benevolent will upheld.
Upon a person's death their soul turns into crystal energy and passes through the gate to the afterlife. The fal'Cie, being machines, lack souls and thus cannot access Etro's gate. The fal'Cie believe the Maker, the god who created the world, has departed beyond Etro's gate, and devise a plan to send as much crystal energy through it as possible by destroying Cocoon, believing it would force Etro's gate wide open and reunite them with their Maker while the world would be reborn. This would destroy the balance of the world, and Etro stopped the first attempt during the War of Transgression by turning the l'Cie tasked with destroying Cocoon into crystal.
Lightning's group hears of the fal'Cie's plan from Cid Raines in the Fifth Ark. Later, before ascending to Edenhall, the party observes crystal energy glimmering in the air. They wonder of its significance and Barthandelus appears in the guise of Galenth Dysley, explaining it means the Maker is soon to return. As Barthandelus disappears inside the tower above Edenhall Etro's gate opens on the sky of Eden.
After the party defeats Orphan the lights of Cocoon go out, all but of the mysterious light that is Etro's gate. As Ragnarok crystallizes the world of Cocoon, Etro frees the Pulse and Cocoon l'Cie from their fate before the gate closes.
Due to Etro freeing the l'Cie of their fate, chaos leaks into the Visible World and drags Lightning through the Historia Crux to Valhalla, the middle world between life and death, while warping the timeline. During Lightning's battle with Caius Ballad in Valhalla, Noel Kreiss emerges from Etro's gate that opens over the Temple of the Goddess, but Lightning rescues him by summoning Bahamut to catch him mid-air. When Noel enters his dream world and relives his final days in the Dying World, he prays for Etro to gift him with the power of chaos so he can follow Caius to Valhalla.
A light opens on the sky and he is pulled towards it, presumed to be Etro's gate, but before he can enter it he is woken up by Serah. When Lightning meets with Noel and Serah at New Bodhum in the year 700 AF, she tells them the nature of Etro's gate and how Caius is intent on finishing what the Cocoon fal'Cie had started in the slaughter of Cocoon's people to force Etro's gate wide open.
After defeating Caius in Valhalla and solving the final paradox, Serah and Noel emerge from Valhalla using a Time Gate. However, when Noel killed Caius the Heart of Chaos he had stopped beating, killing Etro. Etro's gate is smashed apart by the chaos that is no longer bound by Etro, and chaos enters the mortal realm. With Etro's gate no longer present to act as a gateway between the worlds of living and dead, Valhalla and Gran Pulse merge into a new world, which in time becomes known as Nova Chrysalia.
Etro's gate is depicted in multiple places throughout Orience, even though it is not mentioned by name. Relic terminals and the Altocrystarium have Etro's gate depicted on them, and when Arecia Al-Rashia summons Bahamut ZERO, an image of Etro's gate appears in the summoning crest, Bahamut ZERO emerging from the gate. Pandæmonium has images of Etro's gate and eye-like symbols based on Etro's gate inscribed throughout its architecture, including in the sky over the palace, the image turned on its edge. The emblems for each nation of Orience seen in Pandæmonium also have the symbol of the gate on them, symbolizing how each Crystal wants to birth the Agito: the one who can open Etro's gate.
Arecia's reasons for creating Class Zero is to use the power of a soul with great power to force Etro's gate to open. This becomes known in the legends of Orience as Agito. Serving Lindzei in opposite to Arecia being a servant of Pulse, Gala believes the sacrifice of billions would be a better method, and sends his forces to slaughter everyone when Tempus Finis begins. After they both fail, Arecia resets the world and prepares for the next experiment. The two continue their experiment for 600,104,972 spirals. Eventually, Arecia is convinced to end the experiment and leave Orience forever. Whether either Arecia's or Gala's method would actually work to reveal the gate is unknown, as the spiral revolves over 600 million times without result.
It was said those who die will meet Etro when she opens the gate to give the departed souls entry to the afterlife. Near-death experiences are steeped in the legends and lore of Etro, and it is told that when one is dying and one's soul pulls back from the borders of mortality into the afterlife, upon seeing the light of the opening gate they gain the graces of the Kingdom of the Dead and are bestowed with a great power. Noctis Lucis Caelum was said to have this blessing through his experiences.
Musical themes Edit
"Etro's Gate" (エトロの門, Etoro no Mon?) is a track that appears in Final Fantasy XIII-2 and was composed by Masashi Hamauzu. It plays during the FMV of Lightning being trapped in a paradox and falling through the Historia Crux. It has the slow-paced melody of "Blinded By Light" included in several moments.
- Etro's gate is seen behind Orphan in Final Fantasy XIII. It appears when Fang turns into an incomplete Ragnarok. The montage of memories of the party's journey that displays through an eye-shaped lens soon after might represent Etro having followed their journey. The gate remains for the final battle with Orphan's final form. When viewed from the front Orphan's final body and the gate form the appearance of an eye.
- The presence of Etro's gate appears to be accompanied by flashing crystal shards in the air. This is seen in Final Fantasy XIII when crystals begin to glow in the air as Etro's gate opens in the sky. The same phenomenon is seen in Final Fantasy XIII-2, where the air glimmers with crystals when Lightning is met at the pier in New Bodhum in 700 AF, having entered from Valhalla. The same phenomenon also appears in Final Fantasy XV, where the glimmering crystals have been seen in trailers, and the legends say it is the light that can be seen when someone is near death.
- Etro's gate is depicted with eye motifs. The gate itself is eye-shaped, and during the final battle forms an even clearer eye shape when coupled with the fal'Cie Orphan. In Final Fantasy XIII-2 Etro's symbol is imposed over the seeress's eyes when they have a vision. In Final Fantasy Type-0 many eye-like depictions of the gate are seen. In the real world the Eye of Providence is a symbol showing an eye often surrounded by rays of light or a glory sometimes interpreted as representing the eye of God watching over mankind (or divine providence).