l'Cie. Those marked by the fal'Cie for a greater destiny.
- —Official Final Fantasy XIII game trailer
The l'Cie (ルシ, Rushi?) [lə'siː] (pronounced "luh-see") are humans "branded" by divine entities and are 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.
The l'Cie are given powers through crystals, regardless of the game they appear in. This grants the l'Cie powerful abilities mostly associated with magic. In Final Fantasy XIII, for gameplay purposes, this works in the form of the Crystarium System where characters have several abilities, which mature and unlock over time. Characters have "primary" and "secondary" roles showing each l'Cie has different affinities.
In Final Fantasy Type-0, while magic is not exclusive to l'Cie, the l'Cie 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.
In both games the mental and emotional state of the l'Cie is important. L'Cie who are mentally unstable or conflicted suffer side-effects, such as becoming Cie'th in Final Fantasy XIII, or memory loss in Final Fantasy Type-0; these are associated with negative emotions such as anger, hatred, or despair.
Although beings synonymous with l'Cie appear in Final Fantasy XV, they have not been referred to by that name. The game's director Tetsuya Nomura said that because he designed his 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 and not directly referring to the mythos as XIII and Type-0 did.
The Fabula Nova Crystallis mythology was revealed in a video shown at Square Enix 1st Production Department Premiere event on January 18, 2011. The video details the birth of the world of Final Fantasy XIII and its deities. The gods Pulse and Lindzei created l'Cie and fal'Cie and appear to have created l'Cie before the birth of mankind; thus a l'Cie does not need to be a human. An example of a non-human l'Cie is the Soryu Dragon, who is a l'Cie of the nation's crystal in Final Fantasy Type-0.
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.
L'Cie are chosen by the fal'Cie to fulfill an attributed Focus. A fal'Cie chooses a person to become a l'Cie, but the selected is metaphysically sent to a rift between worlds where the actual 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 bodies, the person wakes up back in the real world as a l'Cie. Whether it is the fal'Cie itself or their creator that attributes the Focus to the chosen l'Cie is never elaborated upon in either Final Fantasy XIII or Final Fantasy XIII Ultimania Omega.
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 his or her Focus, they will be transformed 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 powerful 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 both 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 opens fully, 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.
The brand can be "burned out" under certain circumstances, turning white and ceasing to grow. 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.
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.
- See also: Datalog/History and Myth
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.
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 not explained in the game. 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 claims that Fang's burnt 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 increased 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. However, this also signifies a Focus can be inherited, as Guardians only become protectors after killing their predecessor.
- See also: Datalog/Mythology
- 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.
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, Snow 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.
l'Cie are branded by one of the four Crystals of Orience. They are more often 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 gradually over time, due to the weariness caused by extended servitude to the Crystal. Conversely, 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 Claes Celestia Misca Sancest.
An Orience l'Cie will enter crystal stasis when the Crystal deems his or her purpose has been fulfilled. They can be remembered even after they crystallize. The last thoughts of a l'Cie are manifested into a Pyroxene, usually found at the site where the l'Cie entered stasis. Only the Black Tortoise l'Cie Atola can interpret these messages for others to read.
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: Vermillion Bird l'Cie have red eyes, White Tiger has green, Azure Dragon blue, and Black Tortoise has purple. The l'Cie brands of Orience are similar to the final stage of the Pulse l'Cie brand.
l'Cie are given special abilities in battle, 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 is more powerful than Phantoma from normal beings. During the arrival of Tempus Finis, only l'Cie can travel to the Pandaemonium.
For the war taking place in Orience, the Dominion of Rubrum considered instating l'Cie into the military to battle against the invading nations, but Class Zero was suggested instead due to being more controllable and sharing the will of the country, unlike l'Cie who are guided by the Crystal itself. In the other three countries, l'Cie are instantly enlisted in the army.
List of l'CieEdit
The following characters in Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy are l'Cie, or become l'Cie during the progress of their games:
- 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. Her crystal is shaped like a rose bloom, and contains her Eidolon, Odin.
- Snow Villiers, whose brand is on his left forearm. His crystal has taken 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 crystal is shaped like a chocobo feather, and contains his Eidolon, Brynhildr.
- Hope Estheim, whose brand is on the back of his left wrist. His crystal is shaped like a star, and contains his Eidolon, Alexander.
- Oerba Dia Vanille, whose brand is on her upper left thigh. Her crystal is in the form of an apple, and contains her Eidolon, Hecatoncheir.
- Oerba Yun Fang, whose brand is on her right shoulder. Her petal-shaped crystal 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, but by the game's start, have all turned 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.
- Gilgamesh Anshul, a Type-A 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.
- Atola, a Type-B Black Tortoise l'Cie from Lorica. Atola can be found in the town of Iscah, and he can read the messages left on l'Cie Pyroxenes. This unlocks the l'Cie's Crimson Codex file and a history file that connects to the l'Cie's past.
- Enkidu Uruk, a Black Tortoise l'Cie who is a guide and childhood friend of Gilgamesh.
- Zhuyu Voghfau Byot, a Type-A Vermillion Bird l'Cie and former student of the Peristylium Suzaku, who is slowly losing his feelings due to the time past since being marked. He wears the Peristylium's uniform to remember his identity.
- Caetuna, a Type-B Vermillion Bird l'Cie. She is the eldest l'Cie in Orience's history and can summon many Eidolons at her side.
- Qun'mi Tru'e, a Type-B White Tiger l'Cie who wears full armor and a helmet. During the Militesi Empire's invasion of Rubrum, she deployed her Magitek Armor Dainsleif as a Crystal Jammer to nullify the Suzaku soldiers' magic. She also pilots the ship that carries an Ultima Bomb to annihilate Lorica.
- Nimbus, a Type-A White Tiger l'Cie, who is a silent and enigmatic cyborg. It is said he has fought many l'Cie in the past.
- Claes Celestia Misca Sancest, a 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 Concordia. In secret, she is a Type-B Azure Dragon l'Cie with the ability to predict the future. She is also capable of interacting with the Sōryū crystal and the Sōryū dragon.
- The Azure Dragon, the symbol of Concordia's pride. It was chosen by the Azure Dragon crystal as a l'Cie in order to serve as the crystal's mouthpiece, with which it could communicate with humanity.
- Machina Kunagiri, a Type-B White Tiger l'Cie who inherits Qun'mi's powers.
- Rem Tokimiya, a Vermillion Bird l'Cie who takes Zhuyu's place 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.
Although not technically l'Cie, there are others who, through the Fabula Nova Crystallis games, bear powers given to them by deities or their agents and are thus synonymous with them.
- Serah Farron, who is given powers by Etro when released from crystal stasis, including the ability to have visions of the future.
- 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.
- Stella Nox Fleuret, who, like Noctis, received her powers through a near-death experience.
- Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII, Noctis' father, who has been seen in trailers wielding powers similar to Noctis.
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 have found happiness despite the trials they went through. This contrasts with the normally—found "black brand", which indicates that a l'Cie is undergoing these trials. See also the White Brand section above for further details.
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 concept of Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy in re-imagining the series' core concepts in new ways. 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 spells from their brand and proceed to fire them at their opponent, much in the same way they summon their eidolith. Not only can this be seen in cutscenes, but in battles as well; 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 cut scenes 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.
- 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.