- “Only Garlean rule can bring order to Eorzea. It falls to us to deliver the misguided masses from their ignorance.”
- —Gaius Van Baelsar
Gaius Van Baelsar (ガイウス・ヴァン・バエサル, Gaiusu Wan Baesaru?), also known as The Black Wolf (漆黒の王狼, Shikkoku no Ōrō?, lit. "The Sable King of Wolves") is a male Hyur, and is the secondary antagonist of Final Fantasy XIV, first appearing on the final quest of the main storyline. His rank within the Garlean Empire's army is Imperial Legatus, and is one of the generals leading the invasion into Eorzea.
Appearance and PersonalityEdit
At all times Gaius wears an intimidating suit of black armor over a long red coat and a horned helmet bearing a skull like visage and gas mask like breathers and a ceruleum cannon attached to the back of his left hand. His main weapon in battle is a gunblade named Heirsbane (No. IX in Japan), said to have spilled the blood of nine aspirants to the crown.
Gaius bears a might makes right philosophy believing it is the duty of the strong to shepherd the weak and the ignorant from their weakness or heresy by strength of arms, but despite this Gaius is not without his virtue. He has a remarkable loyalty to his majesty the Emperor Solus Zos Galvus and likewise shows a similar loyalty to his trusted lieutenants in the XIVth legion placing high faith in their capabilities and outrage when they are slighted or defeated; this is particularly noteworthy concerning Rhitahtyn Sas Arvina, as a Roegadyn typically does not rise to such rank and esteem in the Garlean military, but Gaius is emphatically clear in his trust and confidence in Rhitahtyn's abilities. Despite his loyalty to his Emperor he was willing to betray his orders by using the adventurer to dispose of Nael when he felt Project Meteor was going too far in destroying Eorzea rather than allowing him to conqueror the land instead.
Original Legacy StorylineEdit
- “Impressive... As you wish.”
- —Gaius accepting the Circle of Knowing's silent challenge to fight him
Gaius is the Legatus of the XIVth Legion, the Imperial force occupying Ala Mhigo. Prior to the events in the game he conquered Ala Mhigo through subterfuge, sewing discontent and allowing him to capture the city with minimal bloodshed. It is here he earned renown among not only the Empire's armies but also his enemies due to his abilities as a commander and sensibilities as governing administrator by ruling the conquered stronghold as and Imperial Viceroy. He was was once a close friend of Midas nan Garlond, the father of Cid nan Garlond and took it upon himself to raise Cid himself when Midas became consumed with his work on Project Meteor.
When the Ala Mhigan Resistance tries to sneak into Ala Mhigo by stealing an airship on Silvertear Falls, he intercepts the group and kills them. He makes his introduction by easily lifting the body of a dead fighter with a single hand to fool and hit the player's Path Companion. Gaius then attempts to kill the player off, only for Yda, Papalymo, Y'shtola, and Thancred to arrive to stop him. Fighting off the four, Gaius ends the fight by summoning a blast from an Imperial Dreadnaught, injuring the player and the four Circle of Knowing members.
1.0 Seventh Umbral EraEdit
- “Oppose Van Darnus and Meteor, if you wish. It is the only hope you have of sparing Eorzea from complete obliteration.”
- —Gaius Van Baelsar
As revealed in one of the Seventh Umbral Era sidequests, via an echo of a Gridanian soldier who eavesdropped a conversation between him and Nael Van Darnus, Gaius saw Nael's plans to cast Meteor upon Eorzea as a senseless act of genocide. When he later attempts to kill the player character, Gaius is stopped by Cid and takes his leave after hitting the traitor's arm with a blast of his arm weapon when provoked.
Once the companies discover the construction of Castrum Novum, the player finds Gaius during his/her investigations on a wrecked Garlean airship in Mor Dhona. The Legatus congratulates his skill in defeating his troops and allow the player to leave with some Garlean schematics related to the lunar transmitter—the machine that can control Dalamud - and return it to Cid, as that is the only hope Eorzea has to survive Meteor.
He then explains that this is no mercy act, and affirms that Garlemand will annihilate the primals and dominate Eorzea with or without Meteor, but he fears that Dalamud is much more than what even the Empire believes it to be, and Nael Van Darnus has his own agenda with Meteor.
After Nael's defeat, Gaius once again appears during the pilgrimage to awaken The Twelve. He congratulates the player over the victory against the White Raven, and tells the current position of the VIIth legion, as he still hopes Dalamud can be stopped so the Empire may lay claim to Eorzea—not just its remains. As the Battle of Carteneau commences, Gaius watches the events unfold from his airship before being forced to fall back when Bahamut appears and devastates the land.
- “Eorzea, a blighted realm riddled with false gods. Twice now it has eluded the empire's grasp, twisted beyond all reckoning. Rotten nigh to the core. Yet it must be saved.”
- —Gaius Van Baelsar to his subordinates
Having survived the Seventh Umbral Era, Gaius begins to act on his own agenda to conquer Eorzea for himself due to the political strife over the condition of Solus Zos Galvus. Coming to Eorzea with personally-obtained reinforcements from the XIVth Legion, including his three Tribuni, Gaius brings with him the means subjugate of the subcontinent: Ultima Weapon. Revealing himself after the party defeats Garuda, who realized that he is aided by another primal, Gaius provokes the Primal as Ifrit and Titan are also summoned to punish him. However, Gaius unleashes Ultima Weapon and the machine absorbs the three Primals.
The Adventurers eventually confront Gaius in the The Praetorium, Gaius questioning their faith while stating his ideals to them prior to the epic battle that ensues. Defeated, Gaius pilots the Ultima Weapon and learns that he is nothing more than pawn of the Ascians' scheme. In the end, ejected from the Ultima Weapon after it self destructs, Gaius accepts his fate to die in the Praetorium as it self destructs from the damage caused by the battle.
- Futures Perfect (level 46 main storyline quest).
- Two Vans are Better than One (Twin Adder company quest).
- Alive (Maelstrom company quest).
- Don't Hate The Messenger (all versions).
- Living on a Prayer
Being one of the Garlean Legatus, Gaius is one of the Empire's most accomplished warriors. He is shown to be a very skilled swordsman and marksman wielding his gunblades dual purpose with brutal efficiency along with his arm cannon and is shown to have the ability to fend of multiple skilled opponents at once without allowing them to land a single blow.
After empowering himself Gaius's abilities are further increased giving him blinding speed allowing him to vanish and appear in the blink of an eye, launch cross shaped arcs of energy from his sword and the ability to use magic and conjure blue fire to incinerate enemies and encircle his blade.
Gaius is also a skilled pilot of Machina, personally piloting the ancient Allagan magitek armor known as Ultima Weapon.
Gaius is fought at the end of the game in both on foot and piloting Ultima Weapon. Due to the fight with Lahabrea commonly being considered a story formality due to the ease with which he is defeated, Ultima Weapon effectively acts as the main scenario's Final Boss.
The Bite of the Black Wolf, an instrumental version of "Rise of the White Raven" is the theme of the first stage of the final battle.
"Gaius" is derived from Greek word Gaia which means "earth". Additionally, "Gaius" is a common Roman given name. It was the first name of many famous Romans throughout history, including Julius Caesar, Augustus Caesar, and Caligula. "Van" is based on German word von which means "from", and is used to show that someone is of noble descent.
- His armor closely resembles suits worn by the Archadian Judges of Final Fantasy XII, and in particular, Ghis's.
- He was known amongst the community as Zulvan since his first appearance, but a post on the company page changed his name.
- Having voiced Gabranth in Final Fantasy XII, Akio Otsuka jokingly said that he thought he was playing a Judge again due to the similar armor Gaius is wearing.
- Gaius also shares both English and Japanese voice actors with Ansem and Xehanort of the Kingdom Hearts series, though Epcar voiced Ansem only since Kingdom Hearts II.