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XIV

This land is fit for but one thing... purification! ...And for that would I gladly offer up both body and soul.
—Nael van Darnus

Nael van Darnus, born as Eula Darnus, and also known as The White Raven (白銀の凶鳥, Hakugin no Magatori?, lit. The Silver Harbinger of Birds) or Nael deus Darnus, is the main antagonist of the original Final Fantasy XIV storyline.

Taking the identity of her late brother, she acts as the Legatus of the VIIth Imperial Legion dispatched to the western front, and boasts a distinguished parentage in her late father, a founding figure of the Garlean Empire, and a descendent of the ancient Allagan civilization.

She carries a gunhalberd named Bradamante, said to be named after a warrior maiden she had killed, while in truth it is named for the real Nael's fiancée, who impaled herself on the weapon after his death.

ProfileEdit

AppearanceEdit

Originally, Eula Darnus was a female Highlander Hyur of high stature with fair skin, light blue eyes, and long white hair. Just like all those born in the imperial continent of Ilsabard, she has the Garlean "third eye" on her forehead, which enchance her abilities.

Nael red eyes

Nael's glowing red eyes.

As Nael van Darnus, she wears a silver full-body armor styled after Near and Middle Eastern clothing, with a horned skull-like helmet concealing her face, all similar to Garlean armor. The upper part of her helmet has a design similar to a white raven with open wings, creature in which she took her nickname. When influenced by Dalamud (and later by Bahamut), her eyes glow in crimson light from inside the helmet. She usually carries her gunhalberd Bradamante at her back.

After becoming Nael deus Darnus on the Holocharts, she turns into an appearance similar to a wyrm due to Bahamut's influence, getting wings and claws. However, she still keeps a humanoid part showing her original face and a female body structure. She has purple skin and wings with some golden details. On her head shows a tiara, her original eyes are completely red while the Garlean eye is glowing.

PersonalityEdit

Believed to be a man by everyone due to her madness and clouded past, Nael is shown as a ruthless and infamous being even for her own people, in part because of her descent into insanity as the story progresses, becoming an imposing figure and feared by many. She considers all beliefs as pagan ideals, showing devotion just to the lesser moon Dalamud, believing that the empire's movement against Eorzea is of its divine intervention to purge the world. She considers herself as the world’s salvation, seeing a potential light from nothingness.

Nael van Darnus FFXIV Art 3

Artwork of Nael van Darnus.

Despite belonging to the Garlean Empire, Nael draws no distinction between friend nor enemy when met with opposition, looking everyone from high and seeing all as fools, even her own Emperor. Aside from that, Nael displays a liking for the theatrical, using noble gestures while talking to those she considers inferior.

AbilitiesEdit

Being one of the Garlean Legatus, Nael is one of the Empire's most accomplished warriors. She is a skilled Lancer, having access to two of its strongest Weapon Skills. Her gunhalberd can drain the aether from an aetherial node, and shoot it as high energy beam. Darnus is also capable of short range teleportation without needing to attune with an Aetheryte.

After being powered by Dalamud, Darnus gained the ability to absorb other beings' life energy and to animate stone golems. During the final battle, she could alter the aether flux around Rivenroad to capture small fragments of Dalamud and attract them to it as small meteors, and by activating the ruins' magicked glyphs, she also gained the ability to unleash a devastating energy beam over the entire area.

StoryEdit

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)

BackgroundEdit

Early life Edit

Originally born in Garlemald as Eula Darnus, she was the eldest daughter of the House Darnus and the heir to her family's secrets of the Allagan Empire.

Eula dreamt of becoming a chirurgeon, a regular position of a Garlean lady of her parentage. She followed her elder brother, Nael, into the imperial army. Her dream died when Nael returned home, mortally wounded on what he claimed to be an ill-conceived mission their father ordered. Despite her efforts, she was unable to save her brother, an event which affected her sanity and, stricken with grief, she assassinated her father, making it appear as if he perished to a disease.

Then, she took the name and life of her late brother and rose to power quickly, becoming Legatus in his stead. The first thing "Nael" did was the public execution of their father's officers and guard, making her transformation into Nael complete to the point of believing herself as the true one. After the execution, rumors started to spread through Garlemald that Nael "himself" had a hand in "his" father’s demise. However, where most Garlean leaders would condemn such behavior from their elite, Emperor Solus zos Galvus saw on Nael potential from someone who would let nothing stand to reach their goals.

Proyect Meteor Edit

Ten years before the events of the game, Nael started to investigate about Allagan knowledge to solve the problem of subjugating rival nations. After restoring an old Allagan artefact kept by House Darnus, Nael saw that it was able to interact with the lesser moon Dalamud. After suggesting to study that lunar transmitter to recreate the forgotten spell "Meteor", the Emperor approved the project to be taken and studied in the near-eastern Bozja Citadel. It was there where the first attempt to summon Dalamud took place, wiping in an instant the Citadel and its habitants. Nael was present on this event from far, and seeing that "crimson" experience damaged more her already heavily broken sanity.

After Bozja's destruction, Nael tried to explain the Emperor that the incident was technically a successful advancement of the project, and that the fall of Dalamud could be controlled so it wouldn't be a threat to the Empire. However, the Emperor cancelled Proyect Meteor and deployed van Darnus' VIIth Legion to stations in the Eastern theatre.

In the year 1572 of the Sixth Astral Era, after the empire's failure at the Battle of Silvertear Skies, Nael van Darnus, now commonly known as the White Raven, returned from the eastern theatre claiming to have discovered a way to control Dalamud’s fall, so she could make the red moon descend on Eorzea in order to purify it from the massive beastmen rituals to summon their primals. Though the project wasn't seen with good eyes by many in the empire, the Emperor decided to resurrect it, unknowing Nael's own plans with the moon, being the only one who knew what Dalamud would actually bring.

Before Meteor (1.0)Edit

FFXIV Nael Shooting

Nael about to attack the adventurer.

After being sent to Eorzea with her VIIth Legion, the White Raven visited some camps to warn adventurers about false prophets known as Archons after knowing how a man called Urianger was foreshadowing the upcoming Calamity. She met the adventurer after this one defeats Ifrit, asking for his/her name for being victorious over a primal. After claiming the changes on Dalamud were of imperial doing for the land's betterment, Darnus saw the adventurer and their party were not interested in joining her cause. The Legatus then drained the energy of a close aetherial gate using Bradamante and shots it towards the party, though these were able to escape before the unleashed energy destroy the gate.

In a later quest, the adventurer use the echo to view a memory of a Gridanian soldier's past, whom Darnus silenced for eavesdropping in a conversation between herself and Gaius van Baelsar.

FFXIV Nael and Gaius

Nael and Gaius talk about what Project Meteor would bring.

In that dialogue, Nael attempted to convince Gaius that conquering Eorzea was not enough to stop the primals; the forbidden Allagan magic Meteor should be cast upon the land to purge them. Gaius initially disagreed due to the unpredictable nature of Dalamud, until Nael claimed she can find the three tomestones needed to fully control the Meteor spell.

In the aftermath of Garuda's defeat, Darnus revealed that the deaths of the primals were the key to access Dalamud's power, while telling the adventurer that she will let them live long enough to destroy the other primals for her.

FFXIV Nael Flames

Nael takes her leave from Castrum Novus.

Soon after the construction of the imperial fortress Castrum Novum was finished, the lunar transmitter needed to call Dalamud upon Eorzea is placed inside it and activated to bring down Meteor. Due to the efforts of the Grand Companies of Eorzea and several adventurers, the device was destroyed.

Filled with rage, Nael defeated the group and was engulfed in crimson light, which she claimed to be the power of Dalamud itself, so she doesn't needed the lunar transmitter anymore. She continued her attack, leaving the adventurer group wounded before walking away through the flames, saying she still has the means to purify Eorzea with the powers of Dalamud.

Not long after, the Grand Companies tracked down Nael's location on Rivenroad, a floating ruins from Ancient Allag near Camp Glory. An attack group was assembled and sent to the place, where Nael is using the floating island as an altar. Before the party arrived Rivenroad on the Enterprise, Nael sent fiery rocks raining from Dalamud to the countryside.

DeusDarnusDefeated

Nael deus Darnus's last moment.

Hoping to annihilate the adventurers as sacrificial offerings for Dalamud, Nael confronts them. After a fierce battle, Nael is defeated and, as last resort, decides to bathing in Dalamud's light for more power, losing what was left of her mind and becoming a being of pure hatred and destruction. Finally, even owning Dalamud's power, Nael is once again defeated and, as her last gesture in life, she manifests again her devotion to the red moon before her body becomes pure aetherial energy and disappeared into wisps of light, leaving her gunhalberd Bradamante remaining.

Nael's nightmare

Nael about to kill the Warrior of Light in a nightmare.

After her death however, Nael's shadow started to haunt the adventurers appearing in their nightmares, in which she kills both Garlean and Eorzean soldiers, including the Circle of Knowing and the leaders of the Eorzean Alliance before killing the adventurer him/herself. Despite her defeat, the efforts of the adventurers who defeated Darnus were in vain as Dalamud continued its descend until primal Bahamut broke free from the inside at the Battle of Carteneau, unleashing over Eorzea the wide-spread destruction known as the Seventh Calamity.

A Realm Reborn (2.0)Edit

Turn 5 Louisoix and Nael

Nael deus Darnus and Louisoix observing Bahamut's head.

After the events of the Calamity, Nael deus Darnus is ressurrected when the nearly destroyed Bahamut took her essence and recreated her to serve him as a guardian within the Binding Coil.

Five years after the Calamity, Darnus's gunhalberd Bradamante was found by Gilgamesh, but it was stolen from him by what Gilgamesh described as "a demon bird", referring to Nael. After that, Gilgamesh finds a fake copy while Nael returns to the Binding Coil of Bahamut with her Bradamante recovered.

During the adventurer's assistance in Alisaie's investigation in the first part of the Binding Coil of Bahamut, they see what appeared to be Darnus making a brief appearance alongside the late Archon Louisoix as they were observing the head of Bahamut together, but the White Raven's figure seems to go unnoticed by Alisaie.

Adventurer Encounters Deus Darnus

The adventurer and Alisaie encounter Nael deus Darnus.

When the adventurer and Alisaie arrive in the Outer Coil, they encounter Nael waiting behind the entrance gate. Nael approaches and reveals the "original" Nael van Darnus effectively perished on Rivenroad upon the eve of the Calamity, and that her body is nothing but a shell Bahamut put his influence into, naming her Nael deus Darnus. Nael warns the party that should they venture deeper in the Second Coil, they will have to answer to her. After doing so, Nael jumps off the ledge of the entrance and disappears into the depths of the dungeon.

Nael Bahamut Transformation

Nael deus Darnus transformed.

Upon arriving to the Holocharts, Alisaie and the adventurer are surprised when they see Dalamud on the sky and find themselves at Rivenroad's floating island, where deus Darnus awaits them. Telling them that their presence is an insult to her original self's resting place, deus Darnus threatens to kill them. Alisaie then knocks the Legatus's helmet off with a ruin spell, revealing Nael's face as a white-haired woman bearing the Garlemald birthmark, showing that Bahamut based on her original appearance as Eula when recreating her. Deus Darnus reveals the events which led to her ressurrection, being an artificial being created by Bahamut with elements from her memory taken from what remained of the "original" Nael. In maddened glee, deus Darnus transforms into a wyrm-like monster and summons Bradamante to fight the adventurer.

Nael Impaled

Nael is killed by Louisoix after her defeat.

Following her defeat, Nael recovers herself and regains her will, though her affected sanity makes her to be confused without recognizing her own body, making Alisaie believe that said female body is a manifestation of "his" memories from someone from the past. After seeing she was enslaved by Bahamut, Nael curses her own weakness for succumbing to the very power she had been trying to purge from the world, but she makes clear that Project Meteor had been solely her idea, and not Bahamut's. Once Alisaie introduces herself as Louisoix's granddaughter, much to her surprise, Eula warns her to steel herself if she wanted to learn the harsh truth that awaited her, and not crumble under the weight of her own despair as Nael did as a child. At that moment, Louisoix slays Nael with a spear of light to silence her. In her final moments, Nael sees an image of Dalamud, the symbol of the plan that ultimately cost her her life, but still marvels at its beauty.

During the events of patch 2.3 Defenders of Eorzea, it is revealed that ancient Allag's most destructive weapon: Omega, was buried below the Carteneau Flats. Raubahn Aldynn then speculates that the reason why Nael van Darnus chose that place to bring Dalamud down five years ago was to ensure the destruction of the only weapon which could've stopped her.

GameplayEdit

FFXIV Nael van Darnus Battle

Nael van Darnus as a boss in 1.0.

Nael van Darnus was fought as the final boss of the Seventh Umbral Era storyline from the original version of Final Fantasy XIV. After losing the first fight, she was powered up by Dalamud and gained access to new abilities as Nael deus Darnus. After clearing the main storyline final fight, the player could fight a harder version of Nael van Darnus.

In A Realm Reborn, a resurrected Nael deus Darnus is confronted as the final boss of the Second Coil of Bahamut. Players who clear this high-end raid can unlock a savage version of the fight. In Stormblood, Nael deus Darnus appears again as a boss in the Unending Coil of Bahamut ultimate raid.

Triple TriadEdit

Nael van Darnus Card
FFXIV TT Nael van Darnus
Card No. 9 3 9 3
Totaltotal stats of the card 24
Type Garlean
Description "The hour of cleansing is at hand—by my searing light shall the world be purged of its taint."
Obtain Won from Flichoirel the Lordling, The Battlehall (3,3).


Creation and developmentEdit

FFXIV Nael Van Darnus

Nael's original appearance as "Legatus Darnus", a gamemaster character.

After its original release, Final Fantasy XIV received heavy criticism, prompting an official apology and the replacement of its development team. In order to revitalize the game, Naoki Yoshida was chosen as the new director and producer replacing Nobuaki Komoto and Hiromichi Tanaka.

Once it was decided that the game would be closed and reworked into A Realm Reborn, the original version started the Seventh Umbral Era storyline, which would justify in the lore the game's closure until its relaunch. For this, a new villain was introduced as the main antagonist of the original version: Nael van Darnus.

In the storyline, Nael was first mentioned in patch 1.18, though he appeared by then as a gamemaster-controlled character known as "Legatus Darnus" alongside other gamemasters known as "Tribunus Luscus" and "Tribunus Atilus", telling the players to aid him to find and capture Urianger Augurelt whom he declared a false prophet.

He appeared as a non-player character for the main scenario by first time in patch 1.19, being introduced as the main antagonist.

GenderEdit

Nael's gender was treated differently depending on the language.

NaelDeusDarnus Unmasked

Eula Darnus, the original identity of Nael van Darnus.

In the Japanese version, the lack of voice acting in 1.0 and gendered pronouns left Nael's gender a mystery that wasn't revealed until she removed her mask in A Realm Reborn. In this version, after her defeat she recovers her sanity and identifies herself as female.

The English version, however, was forced to use gendered pronouns and the localization team chose to use male terms, being referred as male for the entire game. This made her face's reveal a bizarre twist that went unexplained until the reveal of her identity as Eula Darnus nearly two years later. Unlike the Japanese version, Nael doesn't recover completely her sanity after her defeat, so she doesn't recognize her female body, making Alisaie to believe that the female body is actually product of "his" memories modeled by Bahamut.

Musical themesEdit

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"Rise of the White Raven"
Music-harp
FFXIV Nael Second Phase
Trouble with the audio sample?

Nael van Darnus has her own leitmotif, "Meteor", most notably played during her conversation with Gaius van Baelsar, and again when she injures the player upon the lunar transmitter's destruction. This theme reprises for her appearance in the Second Coil of Bahamut, sharing it with the other Legatus Zenos yae Galvus in Stormblood.

She also has two battle themes, each played during a stage of the final battle against her. "Tempest" is a rock-like variation of her theme, played during the first stage of the battle. "Rise of the White Raven" is the theme of the second stage of the battle, played after she loses her sanity from absorbing too much of Dalamud's power and becomes Nael deus Darnus. Both of these themes reappear when the player engages Nael deus Darnus in the Second Coil of Bahamut in A Realm Reborn.

Spoilers end here.

Other appearancesEdit

Final Fantasy Trading Card GameEdit

TCG

Nael TCG

Nael appears with a dark-elemental card depicting her official render.

Triple TriadEdit

Nael appears as a card in Triple Triad in the version playable via Final Fantasy Portal App. The card is based on the one from Final Fantasy XIV, showing her wyrm-like appearance.

It is obtainable at Y'shtola hard mode challenge.


GalleryEdit

EtymologyEdit

"Nael" is a name of Arabic origin meaning "triumph". "Van" is based on German word von which means "from", but is also used to show that someone is a member of a noble family. Van is also the Dutch word for "from".

TriviaEdit

  • Nael was the head of Project Meteor, which made the lesser moon Dalamud descend into Eorzea, an allusion to the Final Fantasy VII plot with Meteorfall.
  • In the "United We Stand" quest, after wounding the player, Nael van Darnus takes her leave from Castrum Novum through flames, similarly to that of Sephiroth in the Nibelheim burning scene.
  • Her trauma and distortion of reality due to her brother's death made her to believe she was him, similarly to the same event suffered by Cloud Strife after his friend Zack Fair's death.
  • Before Nael's face was revealed, Darnus's race was never stated in-game. Many players believed she was an elezen, due to her height and mannerisms. Her bowing gesture, in particular, is similar to the elezen bow emote.
  • Nael deus Darnus being able to use Megaflare is likely an allusion to the fact that Dalamud was imprisoning Bahamut.