Unworthy is the rule whose subjects seek the solace of false gods.
Gaius van Baelsar, also known as The Black Wolf (漆黒の王狼, Shikkoku no Ōrō?, lit. The Sable King of Wolves), is one of the prime antagonists 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 he is one of the generals leading the invasion into Eorzea.
In A Realm Reborn, Gaius serves as the main antagonist of the first story segment.
Gaius is a Garlean who wears an intimidating suit of black armor over a long red coat and a horned helmet bearing a skull-like visage and gasmask-like breathers and a ceruleum cannon attached to the back of his left hand. His main weapon 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 the duty of the strong to shepherd the weak and the ignorant from their weakness or heresy by strength of arms. Despite this Gaius is not without virtues: he is loyal to his majesty the Emperor Solus zos Galvus and to his trusted lieutenants in the XIVth legion, placing faith in their capabilities and outraged when they are slighted or defeated. This is particularly noteworthy concerning Rhitahtyn sas Arvina, as a Roegadyn typically do not rise to such rank and esteem in the Garlean military, yet Gaius is clear in his trust and confidence in Rhitahtyn's abilities.
Despite his loyalty to his Emperor, Gaius was willing to betray his orders by using the adventurer to dispose of Nael van Darnus when he felt Project Meteor was going too far, as he would rather conquer Eorzea than destroy it.
Gaius is one of the empire's most accomplished warriors. He is a skilled swordsman and marksman wielding his gunblade's dual purpose with brutal efficiency along with his arm cannon. He can fend off multiple skilled opponents simultaneously without allowing them to land a single blow (or himself landing a single blow), namely four members of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn (Y'shtola Rhul, Papalymo Totolymo, Yda Hext and Thancred Waters).
After empowering himself Gaius's abilities are boosted, giving him blinding speed to vanish and appear in the blink of an eye, launch cross-shaped arcs of energy from his sword, and use magitek to conjure blue fire to incinerate enemies and encircle his blade.
Gaius is a skilled pilot of machina, personally piloting the ancient Allagan magitek armor known as Ultima Weapon. He also has access to at least one unnamed ship of the Imperial Dreadnaught designation, which is not encountered beyond its one appearance in the 1.0 story.
Gaius is also an accomplished general whom both enemy and ally alike cannot help but respect. Proof of his command was the conquering of Ala Mhigo during its period of unrest. When the people revolted against the King of Ruin, leaving the nation vulnerable, Gaius made his move and conquered the nation with minimal effort.
As a general of the Imperial Army, Gaius served in many campaigns under his Majesty Solus zos Galvus, and through his exemplary leadership, cunning and combat ability, earned his place as the emperor's favorite Legatus and the title The Black Wolf. He displayed his loyalty by personally seeing to the slaughter of nine usurpers, a deed which earned his blade the moniker Heirsbane. Due to his years of dedicated service Gaius was charged to dominate the subcontinent of Eorzea and bring it under Garlemald's banner.
Through subterfuge Gaius turned the populace of Ala Mhigo against their king and struck when the city defenses began to crumble at the prospect of civil war, allowing him to capture the city with minimal bloodshed. Gaius earned renown among Eorzea due to his abilities as a commander and his sensibilities as governing administrator by ruling the conquered stronghold as an Imperial Viceroy. During that time he provided Ala Mhigans, like Fordola rem Lupis, honorary citizenship within the empire in return for militant service.
Gaius's conquest drew to a halt after the attack on Silver Tear Falls when the XIVth Airship Fleet came into a conflict with the dragonkin and their leader, the great wyrm Midgardsormr. The conflict wiped out the fleet and its flagship the Agrius and by killing the great dragon the empire had broken the magical seal preventing the primals from being summoned. Unwilling to risk further casualties by angering the beastribes and their gods, Gaius and his legion retreated to Ala Mhigo.
Losing the confidence of his liege, the emperor was swayed by the plans of another Legatus, Nael van Darnus, who sought to destroy Eorzea and the primals with it by casting the ancient Allagan spell Meteor to wipe them all out. Although Gaius was appalled by the plan he pledged to aid in Project Meteor.
Gaius's friend Midas nan Garlond began to unravel and become enraptured with the project. Seeing how it was affecting his son, Gaius took it upon himself to raise the young Cid. In a moment of lucidity, Midas told his friend that Cid would never be satisfied with a life of making weapons for the emperor. Mid was killed in the incident at Bozja Citadel and Cid deserted his post and defected to Eorzea.
Impressive... As you wish.
When the Ala Mhigan Resistance tried to sneak into Ala Mhigo by stealing an airship on Silvertear Falls, Gaius intercepted the group and killed them. He shot the adventurer's Path Companion with his gauntlet mounted gun and attempted to kill them, but Yda, Papalymo, Y'shtola, and Thancred stopped him. Accepting their silent challenge, Gaius forced them on the defensive before ending the fight by signaling an Imperial Dreadnaught to open fire, injuring the adventurer and the four Circle of Knowing members.
Seventh Umbral EraEdit
Oppose Van Darnus and Meteor, if you wish. It is the only hope you have of sparing Eorzea from complete obliteration.
Via an echo of a Gridanian soldier who eavesdropped a conversation between Gaius and Nael Van Darnus, Gaius saw Nael's plans to cast Meteor upon Eorzea as a senseless act of genocide. When he later attempted to kill the adventurer, Gaius was stopped by Cid and took his leave after hitting the traitor's arm with a blast of his arm weapon when provoked.
Once the companies discovered the construction of Castrum Novum, the adventurer found Gaius during his/her investigation on a wrecked Garlean airship in Mor Dhona. The Legatus congratulated the adventurer's skill in defeating his troops and allowed them to leave with some Garlean schematics related to the lunar transmitter—the machine that can control Dalamud—and return it to Cid, as that was the only hope Eorzea had to survive Meteor.
Gaius explained this was no mercy act, and affirmed Garlemand would annihilate the primals and dominate Eorzea with or without Meteor, but he feared that Dalamud was more than what even the empire believed it to be, and Nael Van Darnus had his private agenda with it.
After Nael's defeat, Gaius appeared during the pilgrimage to awaken The Twelve. He congratulated the adventurer over the victory against the White Raven, and told the current position of the VIIth legion, as he still hoped Dalamud could be stopped so the empire may lay claim to Eorzea—not just its remains. As the Battle of Carteneau commenced, Gaius watched the events unfold from his airship before being forced to fall back when Bahamut devastated 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.
Having survived the Seventh Umbral Era, Gaius begins to act on his own 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.
Revealing himself after the party defeats Garuda, the Black Wolf meets with Cid and chides his former protege for forsaking his home and family. Denouncing the wounded primal, Gaius slays her Ixal followers. Garuda unleashes her fury on the Amal'jaa and Kobold prisoners, forcing them to summon Ifrit and Titan so that she may devour their aether to gain even greater strength. Gaius reveals his trump card for dealing with the primal threat, and with it the means to subjugate the subcontinent: The Ultima Weapon, an ancient Allagan war machine unearthed by the power of Lahabrea.
The machina subdues and absorbs the three primals as Gaius marvels at the weapon's power. Issuing an ultimatum to those who have seen Ultima's might, he urges the Eorzean Alliance to surrender while Cid and Alphinaud Leveilleur can only look upon it in horror.
After the success of Livia sas Junius's attack on the Waking Sands, the remaining Scions mount a rescue mission. As the party escapes the fortress Gaius reveals the extent of the empire's power: The Ultima Weapon and the Scions narrowly escape its grasp only by the skill of Cid's piloting.
Expecting a counterattack from the defiant Eorzean Alliance, Gaius sends his protege Rhitahtyn sas Arvina to defend the imperial outpost of Cape Westwind, a vital communication sight between the Garlean castrums. Not to be caught unprepared, he tells Nero to finish his maintenance on Ultima Weapon while he retires to his quarters with Livia. With Operation Archon closing in on Castrum Merdianum, Gaius learns of Rhitahtyn's death and becomes enraged, accusing the soldiers of deserting their commanding officer due to his heritage. With the enemy closing in, Gaius dispatches Livia to lead the defense of the Castrum.
With Cid's help the adventurers confront Gaius in the Praetorium. Again coming face-to-face with Cid, Gaius reveals he still cares for the man he raised and offers him a place as his side. Admiring the adventurer's strength, he offers him regency, the right to rule the conquered Eorzea in exchange for the adventurer joining him in its subjugation. Unsurprised to be spurned, Gaius unleashes a Magitek Colossus as he retreats to the heart of the fortress.
As the adventurers penetrate the defenses Gaius challenges them as the last line of defense on their quest to destroy Ultima Weapon. Questioning their faith in The Twelve, he denounces the gods calling them no better than the beastmen and their primals, just eikons that bleed the world dry of the aether that sustains it. Revealing the ideal of the strength of mankind, Gaius declares it is the duty of the strong to shepherd the weak and that Eorzea is his by right, while challenging them to stop him.
Impressed by their power, Gaius enters the Ultima Weapon, piloting the machine in the ensuing battle. The Warriors of Light aided by the Mothercrystal herself overcome the Ultima Weapon and strip the primals from it. Baffled, Lahabrea reveals himself and offers to aid Gaius by activating the Heart of Sabik, the core of Ultima's true power. The warmachine unleashes a spell whose devastation rivals that of Meteor—Ultima.
In the wake of the spell's destruction, Gaius confronts the party a final time as he curses Lahabrea, intending to finish him off next. In a final clash Lahabrea tries to unleash Ultima on the party while Gaius can only watch and curse the Ascian, but the weapon is destroyed before the spell is completed. Gaius is ejected from the cockpit as the machina is destroyed. He uses his last strength to implore the adventurer to hear him out regarding the need for a strong ruler to guide the Eorzean people instead of the dangerous reliance of primals and The Twelve. Gaius accepts his fate as the Praetorium self-destructs from the damage caused by Ultima. As the flames consume him Gaius muses to Cid that his conquest ends here in ashes and smoke.
In patch 4.3 Under the Moonlight, Alphinaud is stranded in The Burn, a desert area enroute to Garlemald, after his airship is shot down. It is here that Alphinaud meets a Garlean calling himself the Shadowhunter who claims to be hunting Ascians. He wields a gunblade with formidable skill, appears to wear the white mask section of Gaius's old helmet on his belt alongside several black and red Ascian masks, and claims to have a history with the Scions. No other travel options available, Alphinaud agrees to have Shadowhunter accompany him as he continues toward Garlemald.
Continuing toward Garlemald, Shadowhunter, Alphinaud and their companions stop at an outpost where they find numerous corpses. Shadowhunter recognises that the deaths were caused by an experimental Garlean chemical weapon named Black Rose, a gas that instantly kills anyone that breathes it in. Shadowhunter berates the Garleans for using technology he thought abandoned before conceding that it was more likely Ascian involvement. Alphinaud and Shadowhunter agree that the Ascians must be stopped before Black Rose can be used again and they continue their journey toward Garlemald.
- 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"
Gaius is fought at the end of the game 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.
|Gaius van Baelsar Card|
|Total total stats of the card||28|
|Description||"Unworthy is the ruler whose subjects seek the solace of false gods."|
|Obtain||Won from Indolent Imperial, Mor Dhona (11,17).|
Random drop from the Praetorium.
Gaius is voiced by Akio Ōtsuka in the Japanese version, and Richard Epcar in the English version. He shares both English and Japanese voice actors with Ansem and Xehanort of the Kingdom Hearts series, Epcar has voiced Ansem since Kingdom Hearts II.
Musical themes Edit
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. The theme is reused in later battles against other Legati.
Other appearances Edit
Gaius appears with a fire-elemental card with his official render.
Gaius is a common Roman given name. It was a praenomen of many famous Romans throughout history, including Julius Caesar, and through his line, Augustus Caesar and Caligula, Gaius Cassius Longinius (a leading conspirator in Julius Caesar's assassination), and Gaius Cornelius Tacitus, the famous historian.
It may also be derived from Greek word Gaia, which means "earth."
"Van" is based on Dutch word van which means "from," and is used to show someone is of noble descent.
- He was known among the community as "Zulvan" since his first appearance, but a post on the company page changed his name.
- Gaius resembles Grahf, one of the main antagonists in Xenogears, a PlayStation era game by Squaresoft.
- Gaius's armor resembles suits worn by the Archadian Judges of Final Fantasy XII, and in particular, Ghis.
- Having voiced Gabranth in Final Fantasy XII, Akio Otsuka jokingly said he thought he was playing a Judge again due to Gaius's similar armor.