l'Cie. Those marked by the fal'Cie for a greater destiny.
The l'Cie (ルシ, Rushi?) [lə'siː] (pronounced "luh-see") are beings, usually humans, "branded" by divine entities and given great physical and magical power, as well as a Focus to fulfill, in the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy titles Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Type-0.
Regardless of what setting they appear in, l'Cie follow a pattern: they are primarily humans (though non-humans can be chosen as well) chosen by agents of the world's gods (fal'Cie or Crystals) as servants to fulfill a Focus or similar task. The tasks range from being protectors of said agents, fulfilling a task to realize the gods' agenda, or some other purpose. It was stated in a video shown at Square Enix 1st Production Department Premiere event on January 18, 2011, which detailed the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythology, that the gods Pulse and Lindzei created l'Cie and fal'Cie to help perform the tasks given them by their creator Bhunivelze. l'Cie are generally bound to fulfill their given tasks, but under certain circumstances (human willpower or divine intervention), they can act independently, even going against the will of their masters.
l'Cie draw their powers from crystals, which in turn are linked to the deities they serve via their fal'Cie contractors. The mental and emotional state of the l'Cie is important, as l'Cie who are mentally unstable or conflicted suffer side-effects and can become Cie'th: becoming Cie'th takes different forms in different worlds, with the main symptoms being transforming into crystalline monsters in Final Fantasy XIII, or suffering memory loss in Final Fantasy Type-0. Becoming Cie'th is associated with negative emotions such as anger, hatred, or despair.
In both the Final Fantasy XIII and Type series, fulfilling one's Focus has the l'Cie enter crystal stasis, whereupon the l'Cie's soul is trapped in the mortal realm as a crystal epitaph. l'Cie in stasis are thus not truly dead, and are said to dream in this state, and can still be restored to normal under certain conditions. Fulfilling one's given Focus is not the only way for a l'Cie to enter crystal stasis; it can also be be done via the l'Cie's own strength of will. Some view crystal stasis as a type of immortality.
Although beings similar to l'Cie appear in Final Fantasy XV, they have not been referred to by that name. The game's former director, Tetsuya Nomura, has said that because he designed the game to have a modern setting and a story focused on human drama, he chose not to use the names in the mythos, instead using the concepts behind the terms.
Final Fantasy XIIIEdit
- The beings known as fal'Cie possess the power to enthrall unwilling human instruments, compelling the victims to serve their will. These individuals, known as l'Cie, are marked with indelible brands. They gain the gift of magic, but also bear the burden of completing a task known as a Focus for their fal'Cie master.
- Pulse l'Cie—tools of fal'Cie from the world below—are considered dangerous enemies of Cocoon's society. As there exists no means of removing the l'Cie brand and the curse thereby imposed, Pulse l'Cie are hunted relentlessly.
- During the War of Transgression, a number of warriors were made into l'Cie to engage the forces of Pulse alongside the Sanctum fal'Cie. Since that time, there is no record of a Cocoon fal'Cie taking a human as a l'Cie.
- It is possible that there have been unrecorded cases, but even if that is so, any and all accurate information about the nature of Sanctum l'Cie has been lost in the intervening years. Even Sanctum researchers have been able to achieve no more than speculation.
- The brands that mark a l'Cie as one of the fal'Cie's chosen change gradually, passing through several different stages. When the "eye" at the center opens—the brand's final stage—the l'Cie becomes a Cie'th.
- A brand's rate of progression depends partly on the difficulty of the l'Cie's Focus. It is also linked closely to the individual's mental state, with severe psychological trauma sometimes spurring rapid advancement. In the most extreme cases, severe fear and shock at being made a l'Cie has turned newly made l'Cie to Cie'th at the instant of their branding.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIIIEdit
- The l'Cie are humans who have been cursed by the fal'Cie. They are given great powers and magic, but they are forced to obey the gods' will to achieve their Focus, or mission. If they fail, the l'Cie turn into mindless monsters called Cie'th.
- Lightning, Hope, and their other friends were once branded as l'Cie, but they managed to bring about unprecedented miracle and rid themselves of the curse. Snow is now the last l'Cie remaining in the world.
- The cactuar statue that you can see in one of the plazas in Yusnaan is said to be a homage to the fal'Cie Cactuar who made Snow a l'Cie once more. It seems that Snow and Cactuar had a strange bond between them, far beyond that of any normal fal'Cie and its thralls.
List of l'CieEdit
The following characters in Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy are or become l'Cie:
- Serah Farron, whose brand is located on her upper left arm. Her crystal is in the shape of a teardrop.
- Lightning, whose brand is located on her chest, above her left breast. Her eidolith is shaped like a rose bloom, and contains her Eidolon, Odin.
- Snow Villiers, whose brand is on his left forearm. His eidolith is the shape of a heart, and contains his Eidolon, the Shiva sisters.
- Sazh Katzroy, whose brand is in the middle of his upper chest. His eidolith is shaped like a chocobo feather, and contains his Eidolon, Brynhildr.
- Hope Estheim, whose brand is on the back of his left wrist. His eidolith is shaped like a star, and contains his Eidolon, Alexander.
- Oerba Dia Vanille, whose brand is on her upper left thigh. Her eidolith is the shape of an apple, and contains her Eidolon, Hecatoncheir.
- Oerba Yun Fang, whose brand is on her right shoulder. Her petal-shaped eidolith contains her Eidolon, Bahamut.
- The PSICOM troops that entered the Pulse Vestige before the beginning of Final Fantasy XIII were branded l'Cie by Anima, and turn into Cie'th.
- Dajh Katzroy, who was chosen as a l'Cie by Kujata. His brand is on the back of his right hand.
- Cid Raines was chosen as a l'Cie by Barthandelus, whose brand is on his right hand.
- The entire Cavalry is branded as l'Cie as they enter Edenhall, but are attributed no Focus and instantly transform into Cie'th.
Vermilion Bird l'CieEdit
- Zhuyu Voghfau Byot, a Primus Vermilion Bird l'Cie and former student of Akademeia, who is slowly losing his emotions due to the length of time he has been marked. Once a member of Class Zero, he wears Akademeia's uniform and red mantle to remind him of his previous identity.
- Caetuna, a Secundus Vermilion Bird l'Cie. She is the eldest l'Cie in Orience and can summon many Eidolons to her side.
- Rem Tokimiya, a Vermilion Bird l'Cie who replaces Zhuyu, though it is unknown if she inherited her powers from him.
- The original twelve members of Class Zero may choose to become l'Cie during the time of Tempus Finis.
White Tiger l'CieEdit
- Qun'mi Tru'e, a Secundus White Tiger l'Cie who wears full armor and a helmet. During the Militesi Empire's invasion of Rubrum, she deploys her magitek armor Dáinsleif and its crystal jammer to nullify the Dominion of Rubrum legionaries' magic. She also piloted the magitek armor that carried an Ultima Bomb to annihilate Lorica.
- Nimbus, a Primus White Tiger l'Cie, who is a silent and enigmatic cyborg. It is said he fought many l'Cie in the past.
- Incognitus (Machina Kunagiri), a Secundus White Tiger l'Cie who inherits Qun'mi's powers.
Azure Dragon l'CieEdit
- Claes Celestia Misca Sancest, a Secundus Azure Dragon l'Cie, she is a member of an elite force that protects the Azure Dragon Crystal and Queen Andoria. She can summon monsters and assume the form of Shinryu Celestia.
- Queen Andoria, a benevolent ruling queen of the Kingdom of Concordia. She is a Secundus Azure Dragon l'Cie with the ability to predict the future. She can interact with the Azure Dragon crystal and Soryu.
- Soryu, the symbol of Concordia's pride. A colossal dragon chosen by the Azure Dragon Crystal as a Primus l'Cie, Soryu is said to be a manifestation of the Azure Dragon Crystal itself.
Black Tortoise l'CieEdit
- Gilgamesh Ashur, a Primus Black Tortoise l'Cie from Lorica who has long forgotten his Focus. In his frustration, he travels the world in search of worthy opponents to duel with, such as Class Zero.
- Atra, a Secundus Black Tortoise l'Cie from Lorica. Atra stay in the town of Iscah, and can interpret the messages left on l'Cie Stones.
- Enkidu Uruk, a Black Tortoise l'Cie who is a guide and childhood friend of Gilgamesh.
There are other l'Cie who were crystallized before the event of Final Fantasy Type-0. Their final thoughts can be read by collecting their l'Cie Stones.
Although not called l'Cie, there are others who, through the Fabula Nova Crystallis games, bear powers given to them by deities or their agents.
- Serah Farron is given powers by the goddess Etro when released from crystal stasis, including the ability to have visions of the future. She shares this ability with the reincarnations of Paddra Nsu-Yeul.
- Caius Ballad, a former Pulse l'Cie who received Etro's heart after an act of self-sacrifice and gained the ability to transform into an Eidolon and use the chaos of Valhalla.
- Lightning, gifted with magical powers during her roles as Etro's champion and later Bhunivelze's savior.
- Noctis Lucis Caelum, who was gifted with his powers after an incident in his youth.
- Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII, Noctis's father, who wields powers similar to Noctis.
Have you ever paused to consider our reason for making l'Cie of men? We fal'Cie are crafted for a single purpose and granted finite power to that end. With men it is not so. Men dream, aspire, and through indomitable force of will achieve the impossible. Your power is beyond measure. We take l'Cie that we might wield such strength.
When a fal'Cie chooses a l'Cie the selected is metaphysically sent to a rift between worlds where the branding is performed by the fal'Cie's creator. In the case of the Final Fantasy XIII main cast, they are branded by the god Pulse. Infested with a crystal shard (the l'Cie's eidolith) somewhere in their body, the person wakes up back in the real world as a l'Cie. Whether it is the fal'Cie or their creator that attributes the Focus to the chosen l'Cie is never elaborated upon.
The l'Cie are not outright told what their Focus is; instead, they must figure it out with the aid of an ambiguous vision revealed to them at the moment of branding. If a l'Cie fails to complete the Focus they will transform into a crystallized monster known as a Cie'th. The "reward" for completing a Focus is not much better, for the l'Cie will be granted "eternal life" and turned into a crystal wherein they sleep until awakened to complete another Focus. For this reason, many think the fate of a l'Cie equates to a death sentence.
A l'Cie is granted more than just a Focus: upon transformation they gain magical and physical capabilities and can grow further in strength through the development of their personal crystal using the Crystarium. L'Cie can perform Paradigm Shifts to alter their capabilities during battle and gain the power needed to complete their Focus, which may involve slaying a large beast or other creature that no unaugmented human would stand a chance against.
There are two types of l'Cie—those of Cocoon and those of Gran Pulse. The type of l'Cie one becomes is determined by the origin of the fal'Cie who chooses them, not the place where the transformation takes place. This is why Lightning and her companions become Pulse l'Cie, even though they are transformed on Cocoon, because they were chosen by the Pulse fal'Cie Anima.
In Cocoon society, the public fears l'Cie of Pulse and they are relentlessly hunted and killed by PSICOM. The l'Cie of Cocoon, however, are hailed as heroes and may simply fall under PSICOM custody.
The "brand" of the l'Cie is visible somewhere on the person's body. The appearance of the brand depends on the fal'Cie's alignment that chose the l'Cie, and Cocoon and Pulse fal'Cie have a different brand. The brand of Pulse is an overlapping sequence of black arrows. Over time, the arrows multiply and a closed eye is revealed. When the eye fully opens the l'Cie's time has run out, and they will turn into a Cie'th. The brand of the Cocoon fal'Cie is the symbol of the god Lindzei; it starts as a small emblem, but grows into the full form.
Though it is thought by the people of Cocoon that completing a Focus and becoming a crystal is an eternal imprisonment, the state is temporary. It is never stated whether it is at the behest of the fal'Cie or by the gods Pulse and Lindzei, but the l'Cie can be awakened with a new Focus to complete. So long as the l'Cie continues to complete a new Focus they are returned to crystal sleep between each task. While most see this as enslavement, some l'Cie revel in this as a form of immortality—at least, until they fail a Focus. During crystal stasis l'Cie do not age, granting them "eternal youth".
In some cases, when a l'Cie begins to fall into despair, the goddess Etro sends an Eidolon to become the person's salvation. Eidolons force a personal "evolution" where the l'Cie must fight off their uncertainties and win the Eidolon's allegiance, or be put to death. After mastering their Eidolon, the l'Cie can summon it via the crystal emerging from their brand.
The brand can be "burned out" under certain circumstances, turning white and static. A l'Cie whose brand has burned out keeps their power yet no longer needs to complete a Focus. Barthandelus suggests this is because the true power of l'Cie comes from humans, merely roused and harnessed by the deities rather than granted. Under certain circumstances the l'Cie brand can vanish altogether, turning the l'Cie back into a regular human being.
A white brand indicates the l'Cie brand has stopped advancing and he/she is no longer in danger of becoming a Cie'th, but why a l'Cie stops advancing is never explained. Fang's brand is white since the beginning of Final Fantasy XIII, symbolizing that her Focus—for her and Vanille to become Ragnarok—has stalled, though Fang has no memory of the events. During the game's climax, Fang's brand momentarily turns black again, and later the brands of all six party members have turned white when they defy their Focus and engage Orphan.
Further, the game implies, although does not state outright, that a l'Cie would be able to overcome their fal'Cie-given Focus. In the Sulyya Springs Vanille reveals to Snow that Serah's Focus was likely the same as the rest of the party's because she had the same vision of Ragnarok, which would mean Dysley had lied to the group. Vanille says, "I think she beat it. She handed Cocoon over to us, and that's what made her turn to crystal." This is further confirmed in Final Fantasy XIII-2 where Vanille's memory fragment says (regarding Serah): "Did you know that you were the first miracle in all of this? You defied your l'Cie fate and turned to crystal of your own will."
Although Serah wasn't shown with a white brand, the party's brands turning white at the game's end might have similar roots, as the party have just declared they have seen a new vision of something that Sazh says looked like a new Focus, and after completely rejecting their previous Focus in saying they will save Cocoon, their brands turn white one by one while Vanille's narrator voice says, "The Brand of a l'Cie. The symbol of the Focus we all faced. The mark of the fate we all shared. Proof of the promise we all made."
When Orphan's final form emerges, Lightning says, "Maybe Cocoon is past saving, but it's our home. And we'll protect it or die trying! We live to make the impossible possible. That is our Focus." Both Vanille's and Lightning's lines suggest the party has indeed changed their Focus. However, The Final Fantasy XIII Ultimania Omega claims that Fang's burned brand and the rest of the party's brands turning white were because of Etro's intervention, and that her interaction with them explains their vision of the future. When the party awakens from their short crystal stasis, their whitened brands have disappeared and they have reverted into regular humans. In Final Fantasy XIII-2, it is revealed this deed was performed by the goddess Etro.
While not l'Cie, Serah and Noel Kreiss possess impressive agility and strength, and can use the Crystarium as a result of the goddess Etro reaching into the visible world to free Lightning and the other l'Cie from crystal stasis after the fall of Cocoon. Because of the goddess's actions, the "crystal power" of the l'Cie was infused into the soil of Gran Pulse, granting magic to those with the will to learn how to use it.
In Final Fantasy XIII-2 Fragments Before, it's revealed Snow can wield magic, but on his search to find Lightning, he willingly becomes a l'Cie again to regain access to his old powers. Although no longer a l'Cie, Lightning can use magic because she is infused with Etro's power, enabling her to control the Eidolons residing in Valhalla.
Lightning's fated rival, Caius Ballad, was once a Pulse l'Cie tasked with protecting the seeress Paddra Nsu-Yeul. He was freed from his Focus by Etro and infused with her heart, the "Heart of Chaos", which augmented his power and made him immortal. Gorgyra, a previous Guardian of Yeul, became a Cie'th following her failing to protect the seeress, implying she was a l'Cie before. Seemingly, all Guardians are l'Cie with the Focus of protecting the seeress. Both recorded Guardians of Yeul—Caius and Gorgyra—were l'Cie. This implies a Focus can be inherited, as Guardians only become protectors after killing their predecessor.
Snow, the patron of Yusnaan, is the world's last l'Cie. His brand is in its final stage, and combined with his new power over Chaos and his mental aptitude, he is beginning to take on Cie'th-like qualities. Though not named as a l'Cie, Lightning, in her role as the savior, possesses magical powers and a symbol on her chest where her l'Cie brand used to be, and is tasked by Bhunivelze to rescue lost souls to be reborn in a new world.
The l'Cie inherit incredible strength from the Crystals, but do you think that power is really worth sacrificing your humanity?
While magic is not exclusive to l'Cie in Orience, they still have powerful abilities. For example, Celestia can turn into a dragon known as Shinryu Celestia, and Caetuna, the most senior l'Cie in Orience, can summon over 1000 creatures and Alexander, a being so powerful it would be impossible to summon under normal conditions. l'Cie are branded by one of the four Crystals of Orience.
l'Cie are usually kept in service to their respective Crystal, carrying out its Will, rather than being given a specific and finite Focus. Although granted eternal youth, l'Cie will lose their emotions and memories over time due to the weariness caused by extended servitude to the Crystal. Due to this many view l'Cie to no longer be fully human. The degree to which the l'Cie lose their human consciousness varies from person to person. l'Cie with stable emotional and mental states can remember those close to them who died, whereas that memory is erased from the minds of humans. An example of this ability is Celestia. l'Cie who enter crystal stasis can be remembered by others as well, indicating they are not truly dead.
Unlike other examples in the series where becoming a l'Cie is considered a curse, l'Cie are honored with the title of Lord or Lady, and although many mention that becoming a l'Cie means forsaking one's humanity, servitude to the Crystal is considered a blessing. Becoming a Cie'th in Orience is less to do with failing a Focus than with deviating from the Will of the Crystal, as with Celestia who turns into a wyvern Cie'th for turning her back on the Kingdom of Concordia. At one point it is shown the power of a l'Cie can be passed from one person to another, but it is also implied this was the Will of the White Tiger Crystal.
An Orience l'Cie will enter crystal stasis when the Crystal deems his or her purpose fulfilled. They can be remembered even after they crystallize. The last thoughts of a l'Cie manifest into a l'Cie Stone, usually found at the site where the l'Cie entered stasis. The Black Tortoise l'Cie Atra can interpret these messages.
A l'Cie's appearance is defined by his or her glowing brand (unlike a physical brand in Final Fantasy XIII) and the color of his or her eyes: Vermilion Bird l'Cie have red eyes, White Tiger have green, Azure Dragon have blue, and Black Tortoise have purple. The l'Cie brands of Orience are similar to the final stage of the Pulse l'Cie brand in the Final Fantasy XIII series. All l'Cie in Orience have the brand of Pulse because the Crystals were created by Arecia Al-Rashia, a servant of Pulse. The only l'Cie of Lindzei's is the Rursan Arbiter, whose brand is not shown.
l'Cie are given special abilities and are divided into two types: Primus l'Cie, who are combat-based (called Type-A in Japanese); and Secundus l'Cie (called Type-B in Japanese), who possess special abilities. The phantoma from a l'Cie, one's life energy or "soul", is more potent than phantoma from normal beings. During the arrival of Tempus Finis, only l'Cie can travel to Pandæmonium, a sanctuary where the Judge said to decide on the fate of Orience resides. The l'Cie's ultimate goal appears to be to conquer the Rursan Arbiter's crucibles become Agito, as each peristylium is devoted to the cultivation of this fabled savior of Orience; e.g. The Vermilion Peristylium is dedicated to training Agito Cadets.
l'Cie sometimes take part in their nation's military campaigns, but are considered fickle because they follow only the Will of the Crystal, no mortal army commander. Milites overcomes this by devising a way to subjugate the White Tiger Crystal, thus enslaving its l'Cie, who must now follow orders from the Militesi Marshal Cid Aulstyne. When the Vermilion Bird responds to the threat by deploying its own l'Cie, the move is considered unusual.
|"Servant of the Crystal"|
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In Final Fantasy XIII, "The Pulse L'Cie" is the eponymous theme of the Gran Pulse l'Cie that plays in two variations, with the second being a variant of "Fang's Theme." The first version plays in Lake Bresha when Lightning, Sazh, Hope, and Vanille see PSICOM looking for Purge survivors, and the second plays during Fang's flashback of Euride Gorge on the 5th day.
The Final Fantasy XIII "l'Cie" Zippo lighter hosts the brand of a Pulse l'Cie. Its original retail price was 13,650 yen. Like all official Final Fantasy Zippo lighters, it comes with a limited lifetime guarantee and a certificate of authenticity.
Other official l'Cie merchandise includes a .925 silver pendant shaped like a l'Cie brand with black rhodium plating and a metallic business card case. A pair of stickers of the Pulse l'Cie brand were included in the Final Fantasy XIII Limited Collector's Edition.
Etymology and symbolismEdit
Visually, this is taken as a pun: the "white brand" is a symbolic meaning of a l'Cie "heaven" or "redemption", in which the l'Cie has found happiness despite the trials they went through. This contrasts with the "black brand", which indicates a l'Cie is undergoing these trials. (See Also White Brand.)
The concept of l'Cie may be an allusion to principles within Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Bön, and other Indic religions. According to the principle of samsāra, life on earth is a curse, and ideally a sentient being must ascend, over many lifetimes, to nirvāna, a more ideal, though not earthly, state of being. The means of escaping samsāra are known as Atman, like a Focus. There are many paths to ascension, although it is never clearly stated which a person must take.
The concept of l'Cie also alludes to the Warriors of Light, a recurring theme in the Final Fantasy series where a group of warriors brought together by circumstance are chosen by the crystal that gives them a mission to save the world, and often grants special powers to achieve said mission. This is part of a larger theme of Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy in re-imagining the series' core concepts. In previous games becoming a Warrior of Light was shown in a positive and heroic light, whereas the Fabula Nova Crystallis series explores the concept of servitude to the crystal in a more sinister light, bringing the chosen "warrior's" free will into question.
Final Fantasy XIIIEdit
- While several l'Cie, upon completing their Focus, have their entire body turn to crystal, Dajh is encased in a crystal block.
- Whenever l'Cie use magic they draw the spells from their brand, much in the same way they summon their eidolith. This is seen in cutscenes and in battles; Hope uses his branded hand to cast spells and Vanille always stems her magic from her thigh.
- All the l'Cie's brands can be partially or fully seen apart from Raines' and Lightning's, since they are hidden beneath their clothing.
- There are 16 beta versions of prerendered cutscenes in the game for the original USA PlayStation 3 release, and one shows Dajh with a more advanced l'Cie brand than what he has in the final game. In the final game, the later stages of the Sanctum l'Cie brand are never seen, but artwork showing the stages exists in the companion Ultimania guides.
Final Fantasy XIII-2Edit
- A decorative l'Cie brand is available as an adornment for recruitable monsters under the name "Mark of the l'Cie".
- While Etro cannot brand people as l'Cie, a Fragment Entry speaks of the "symbol of Valhalla" being on Lightning and Serah's clothing. This symbol is a golden bird. Since the symbol is in the same place as their old l'Cie brands, the bird could be interpreted as Etro's brand. Her crest, also the symbol used for Etro's gate, could also be interpreted as her "brand" as it appears across the eyes of Yeul and Serah when they have visions, a power given to them by Etro.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIIIEdit
- It appears that a l'Cie brand is unaffected by the end of time as Snow's brand continues to progress, albeit at a slower pace.
- Crest of Pulse and Mark of Lindzei are adornments available in-game.
Final Fantasy Type-0Edit
- The concept behind l'Cie depicted in Orience draw similarities to the East Asian mythical beings and state of Xian; in addition to having attained immortality and a higher state of being without reliance on worldly nourishment, xian were also depicted with mystical powers, from teleportation, flight, to immunity to extreme environments, due to their power's basis derived from their mastery over their life force, or qi. Certain levels of mastery allowed them to further ascend from tangible earthbound form, which is referenced through the process of sublimation, and some of the highest ascended xian were said to have acted as the emissaries of the gods.
- In the PlayStation Portable game The 3rd Birthday, when the player equips Lightning's costume, the l'Cie brand on the chest will show when the outfit is damaged.
- Ali Hillis, Lightning's voice actress, had a l'Cie brand tattoo during Video Game Awards 2010 in the same place Lightning has hers in Final Fantasy XIII.
- In the second segment of Platinum Demo – Final Fantasy XV, it is possible to find a playing card showing Pulse's l'Cie brand.