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XV

Niflheim, a military empire of vast machinery made strong by the might of its magitek.
—Prologue of Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV

The Empire of Niflheim is a nation in the world of Eos in Final Fantasy XV. It has achieved world domination bar the Kingdom of Lucis that has defended itself with the Crystal's power. Tenebrae has limited autonomy from Niflheim due to the Oracle, Lady Lunafreya, who has the power to commune with the gods.

Niflheim is technologically superior and more advanced than most nations of the world due to their knowledge of magitek. It has developed an army that doesn't need human soldiers, the magitek infantry, and is developing weapons to neutralize the magic of Lucian royalty. Automobiles originate from Niflheim, even though the cars made in Lucis are seemingly more advanced.

The empire is associated with the colors red and white, the emperor dressing in white robes and their emblem being red. The red effect is also associated with magitek—technology only Niflheim uses—and appears on their magitek troopers and armor and airships.

Niflheim deploys two types of soldiers: ones with glowing eyes, and others with their faces entirely covered. The glowing eyes types (who have "magitek" in their names) are humanoid machines powered by magitek cores, whereas the others (referred to with titles like "Imperial Rifleman" or "Imperial Sniper") appear to be human cyborgs. The terms "magitek infantry" and "imperial soldiers" are often used interchangeably, but the magitek types greatly outnumber the soldier types, having largely replaced them. Another type of magitek weapon the empire deploys is the magitek armor, usually large bipedal robots, but recently the empire has developed new forms, such as the monstrous Diamond Weapon to the wormlike Immortalis.

LocationsEdit

Niflheim inhabits the western continent of Eos. A lot of it arid desert, but the slaying of the Glacian turned parts of the continent to snow fields that paradoxically coexist mere miles apart from the sand dunes.

Story Edit

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)
Niflheim-Forces-FFXV

Niflheim forces.

In the aftermath of the Great War of Old two thousand years ago, Niflheim was one of four countries created from the ashes of Solheim. Solheim was a global civilization that lived in harmony with the six Astrals before being overthrown by the Astral god of fire, Ifrit, who had broken rank from the other Astrals and turned on mankind.

Aspiring to recreate the domination of the ancient civilization of Solheim,[1] the Aldercapt dynasty initiated its policy of expansion, proclaimed themselves as emperors of Niflheim, and began the prosecution of war against neighboring countries to annex them.

In the year M.E. 359, Niflheim conquered the land of Tenebrae, except the Fenestala Manor, home to the Oracle lineage of House Fleuret.[2] In M.E. 501, the imperial army discovered daemons, a life form unknown to them at the time.[1] Circa M.E. 606, the conflict between Niflheim and the Lucian-Accordian Allied Forces continued, but the Lucian army was being overwhelmed by the imperial weapons. The Lucian king at the time erected the Wall around the whole of the Cavaugh region that includes the Crown City of Insomnia, and took up a siege position.[2]

Magitek-soldiers-KGFFXV

Magitek soldiers.

By the year M.E. 725, the entire world, bar the continent and country of Lucis, was under imperial rule, although Accordo was allowed relative autonomy. Emperor Aldercapt, the long time ruler, once benevolent and loved by the masses, had begun the mass production of magitek soldiers for the forthcoming all-out war with Lucis. The magitek infantry was developed with knowledge of daemons provided by Ardyn Izunia, who was made the chancellor of Niflheim sometime after he arrived in 722. Chancellor Izunia had introduced to research minister Verstael Besithia the method to mate daemons with the human soul, which is then incubated until it is strong enough to fight, attached to a magitek trooper frame, and encased in lightproof armor.

The battle of Lucis and Niflheim lasted between 2/24–4/1. Anticipating defeat by Niflheim's new magitek army, King Mors of Lucis, grandfather of Noctis Lucis Caelum, shrunk the magic barrier surrounding the kingdom to Insomnia's outer ramparts to strengthen it[1]; Niflheim breached into the outlands of Lucis regardless, where they began to build military bases.

Regis-Noctis-Escape-Tenebrae-KGFFXV

Regis and Noctis flee when Tenebrae is invaded.

On M.E. 744, King Regis of Lucis arrived in Tenebrae with his eight-year-old son, Prince Noctis, for the latter to recuperate from an injury sustained from a daemon attack orchestrated by the empire. During their stay, Niflheim attacked the Fenestala Manor, where the Tenebraean royal family lived, to kill Regis and Noctis. General Glauca murdered Queen Sylva in front of her children, but Regis escaped with his son. The incident was covered up, and the queen was reported to have perished in an accidental fire.[1] The queen's children, Princess Lunafreya and Prince Ravus, fell into imperial custody.

In M.E. 745, the military battled the Astral Shiva in Ghorovas Rift outside Gralea. Her frozen corpse causes a major climactic anomaly, which is in stark contrast to the original surrounding deserts and once lush forests. The areas around Niflheim, as well as the capital city Gralea, remain enshrouded in a perpetual winter, and the surrounding countryside becomes an arctic tundra. Niflheim lost most of its magitek army in the battle, and began developing magitek soldiers that would be strong enough to fight Astrals, the gods of Eos.[1] The empire has developed a device they have dubbed the Wallbreaker Wave to neutralize the magic used by the Lucis Caelum dynasty and even enfeeble Astrals.

Nifllheim-airships-FFXV

Niflheim airships flying to Insomnia.

In the year M.E. 756, the emperor launches an attack on the capital of Lucis, Insomnia. The attack commences during a peace-treaty signing party which was supposed to settle the dispute, and have the Lucian outlands annexed to the empire in exchange for peace. The treaty-signing is a cover for the true imperial objective: the invasion of Insomnia, the theft of the Crystal and Ring of the Lucii, and the conquest of Lucis. King Regis, his son Prince Noctis, and the Oracle—Lady Lunafreya—are all reported dead.

In truth, Lunafreya escaped Insomnia with the Ring of the Lucii, and Noctis was not in the city when the attack took place, prompting him to try to rendezvous with Luna and start his quest to restore his kingdom and save the Crystal. After General Glauca's defeat in the battle of Insomnia, Ravus Nox Fleuret, the former prince of Tenebrae, becomes the new high commander of the imperial army. He is tasked with capturing Lunafreya and Noctis, but does not follow through; in fact, he secretly helps Luna return to Tenebrae.

Iedolas before he transforms

Emperor Aldercapt.

Emperor Aldercapt seeks the Ring of the Lucii that is now in Lunafreya's possession, as even though he now has the Crystal, its power cannot be commanded without the ring. The Crystal is a powerful magical artifact whose power of light is unmatched. It had been kept by the kingdom of Lucis for two thousand years, protected by the lineage of Lucian kings. According to legend, the Crystal is of divine origin and was bestowed on humanity alongside the Ring of the Lucii, which harnesses the Crystal's power for a chosen few.

After Insomnia's fall, Niflheim moves to secure the area. They pledge to repatriate displaced Crown City citizens, and call their patrolling of Lucian areas as a peace-keeping effort, which involves numerous road blocks. Their true purpose is to find Noctis, however, who travels the Lucian outlands with his retinue. When Titan awakes and calls out to Noctis to forge a covenant with him, Niflheim attacks the giant. The Archaean disappears from the Disc of Cauthess after Noctis passes his trial, but Niflheim publicizes a version of the events where they saved averted Lucis from further disaster by quelling Titan's wrath.

Niflheim raids the town of Lestallum while looking for the exiled prince, which results in general Caligo Ulldor murdering Jared Hester in cold blood and Noctis begins demolishing Niflheim's newly-constructed military bases with his friends. Noctis is being aided by Ardyn, who lets the prince escape after he forges a covenant with Titan, and allows him to reclaim his car from an imperial base. Ardyn hires Aranea Highwind, a mercenary who is a commodore in the imperial army, to help Noctis find mythril from Steyliff Grove. Aranea is skeptical of the affair and the empire, saying it has fallen into madness in the last ten years.

Ravus and his magitek army are tasked with felling the Leviathan before Noctis can forge a covenant with her. During Noctis's negotiations with First Secretary Camelia Claustra in Altissia, she reaffirms what Aranea said earlier, mentioning "We've seen the empire go mad these ten odd years." Noctis convinces Altissia to let Luna summon Leviathan, but the sea goddess goes on a rampage through the city, and though Niflheim attacks it from airships it has little impact on the Astral. Noctis forges a covenant with her, quelling Leviathan's wrath, and Luna is killed by Ardyn during the battle.

Ravus is sentenced to death after the incident, being used as a scapegoat for the damage Altissia sustained. He had rebelled against the empire once their plans for his sister were made known. When Noctis passes through Tenebrae on his way to the imperial heartland, he finds Fenestala Manor aflame, destroyed by Niflheim. He meets Aranea there who tells them of the current state of affairs in Niflheim. The chancellor is in charge as everyone else is gone: the high commander was to be executed, and the emperor is "no more than a husk at this point." She explains that Niflheim is in chaos with unprogrammed MTs and wild daemons left to run amok. She says it's gotten too far out of hand for the army to deal with as there is not enough daylight left to keep the daemons in one place.

Noctis's friend Prompto Argentum has become estranged from his friends, and traverses the arctic imperial outlands alone. He succumbs to the cold and is taken to a magitek production facility by MTs. He escapes after killing Verstael Besithia and his latest magitek creations.

FINAL FANTASY XV Gralea

Noctis in Gralea.

Noctis infiltrates Gralea during his quest to reclaim the Crystal, but finds the place devoid of humans and swarming with rogue magitek troops and daemons. The citizens of Gralea have been killed by daemons, or turned into daemons through the Starscourge. Emperor Aldercapt is turned into a demon named Foras by Chancellor Izunia. Ravus had turned on the emperor and declared his support for Noctis, the one True King, but he was murdered by Ardyn posing as Noctis. Noctis comes across his body during his trek through Zegnautus Keep.

In his death throes as the daemon Foras, the emperor laments his desire to more than just ruling Eos; by seeking to fell the Astrals, the emperor hopes to rule over the heavens and Eos. In his final moments he seeks the Ring of the Lucii to gain the power of the Crystal, under the false belief he could become the Crystal's Chosen and rule the world. Noctis and his friends kill Foras, as well as Ravus when his remains are turned into a daemon.

When Noctis finds the Crystal he is absorbed inside it for ten years, awaiting the day he would return as the True King as spoken of in prophecy. After Noctis disappears sunlight gradually vanishes from the world, and what is left of the empire collapses. Survivors migrate to Lestallum, whose power plant provides the town with light to fend of the daemons. Niflheim's recovery effort at Insomnia is halted when the city is overtaken by monsters. With the emperor, Verstael, as well as the high commanders of the military all dead, and the chancellor missing, Niflheim falls apart. Those who can take refuge in Lestallum, mankind's final stronghold against daemons, to await the coming of the True King.

Spoilers end here.

Gallery Edit

Etymology and symbolism Edit

Niflheim, also called Niflheimr, is a location in Norse Mythology meaning "mist world". In the story of Gylfaginning, Odin explains that creation began when the ice of Niflheimr met the flames of Muspelheim. Nibelheim is literally translated as "fog-home" in German. "Nibel" is an old-fashioned way to pronounce "Nebel", the German word for "fog", but can also be translated as "cloud" resulting in "cloud home". Within the context of Final Fantasy XV, this could allude to the Starscourge that threatens to overwhelm the world in light absorbing miasma, which goes out of hand because of Niflheim's experiments with daemons.

The same name origin is used for Nibelheim from the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.

An Empire is a dominion composed of a multitude of nations that's ruled by one sovereign leader, generally an Emperor, although some Empires were ruled by kings.

The flag of Niflheim has two dragons, one white and one black, facing each other. Chinese dragons traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, and the Emperor of China used the dragon as a symbol of his imperial power.

Gralea-and-Zegnautus-Keep-FFXV

Gralea, the capital of Niflheim.

Dualism is a recurring theme in Final Fantasy XV. Niflheim likely hearkens to places opposite of the heavenly and safe as portrayed by Lucis: hellish, unsafe, and threatening to those that do not follow its rules and ways. Likely in juxtaposition to the Christian and Buddhist undertones that Lucis displays, Niflheim refers to places of "pagan" and unruly religious aspects, including Nordic religion. While Norse religion is dignified and a proud tradition, its history entails ritual sacrifice that was a widely practiced trait of the Vikings to ensure their victories blessed by Odin and the Aesir.

The final chapters that involve Niflheim have elements significant to the interpretations of the "end of days" or the end of the world, be it the Christian Book of Revelation or that of Mappo or Kali Yuga, the Latter Days of the Dharma. Much of the imagery of Revelations describes major disasters that would render the world nearly uninhabitable and wipe out great populations before its ultimate destruction and recreation. Revelations mentions an empire that would be a major catalyst for this event.

TriviaEdit

  • An Imperial General named Safay Roth was ultimately cut during development, but a trace of him remains in the "SAF" lettering on Niflheim's landing crafts. Proceeding this, Ardyn's position was added as villain.[3]
Niflheim-Flag-Episode-Duscae-FFXV

Niflheim's flag in Episode Duscae.

  • Niflheim has various flags associated with it and its army. The one with light and dark dragons facing each other seems to be the official one since it appears the signing ceremony in Kingsglaive and in Zegnautus Keep. Emperor Aldercapt meets with his leaders and magitek troopers in a room surrounded by red and white flags with gold symbols of a robed person facing a large behemoth or lion. This flag was carried by MTs in Episode Duscae, and the robed person appears on Caligo Ulldor's armor. The flags flown in Lestallum and other locations after an imperial takeover have the coat of arms Loqi Tummelt wears on his armor, and is carried by the MT's that drop out in the field in the final game. Aranea Highwind and Ravus Nox Fleuret wear different coats of arms.
    • The different coats of arms are likely associated with different noble families who each have their own, like Loqi's House Tummelt.

References Edit