In Gridania, there are those blessed by the forest. They are known as the Padjal. The touch of the elementals causes horns to sprout from their heads. They are ageless children, fluent in the tongue of the forest.
The Padjal are mysterious, holy figures in Gridanian culture in Final Fantasy XIV. They are seemingly unaging children born rarely from certain Hyur bloodlines in the Twelveswood, although the exact age at which they "stop aging" varies, leading to some discrepancies in their "apparent" age; some (like E-Sumi-Yan or O-App-Pesi) forever appear like preteens, while Kan-E-Senna appears more as a "late teen" of sixteen or seventeen years of age. Their age shows in some ways, such as grayed hair or dull skin tones, but they retain their youthful shape until death.
After the abuse of magical energies that led to the Sixth Umbral Era, both white and black magic became forbidden arts. The Padjal are children sanctioned by the elementals to conjure at full strength, particularly in favor of white magic. More recently the elementals have allowed Conjurers to use a portion of that power under the guidance of the Padjal, but only a select few ever become White Mages.
Every Padjal has thin horns usually in the form of animal horns and they are gifted with powerful Conjury. As soon as a child is confirmed a Padjal, he or she is inducted into the Conjurer's Guild and taken to live at the Stillglade Fane and takes a new name.
Padjal typically become mentors to other Conjurers, if not members of Gridania's government. E-Sumi-Yan is the master of the Conjurer's Guild at Stillglade Fane and is senior among the Hearers, and Kan-E-Senna leads the Order of the Twin Adder and is the Elder Seedseer.
The language the Padjali names are based on is the language of the Ainu peoples, indigenous to northern Japan. While not a direct application of the language, the Final Fantasy XIV lore team used its phonetic and spelling conventions in recreating the "overall feel".
Here are a few real-world examples of that language:
- sir e-tok: the edge of the world
- nupe: tears
- pon: small
- wakka: clear water
Following rules applies to the naming pattern:
- All are comprised of three words.
- The first two are the forename, and the final word is the surname.
- The first name is constructed of simple vowel-based word (E, Ae, Uo, I, Ea, etc.) combined with a longer companion word. In the case of males, the vowel-based word comes first. In the case of females, it comes second.
- Words in the Padjal language are normally separated by spaces. However, when a group of words forms a single concept (such as a proper noun, or a compound word), they are connected with hyphens.
In addition to NPC names, the ancient language can be seen used in names of sacred locations around the Twelveswood. If a name is Padjali, the player can assume the location has been there a long time, and is likely tied to Gridania's predecessor, Gelmorra.
- The Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak (a beast from Padjali mythology)
- Tam-Tara Deepcroft
- Ak-Inik varlet -> servant of the Inik house
- Ak-Mena varlet -> servant of the Mena house (Ak being the honorific prefix attached to a deceased member of a house)
There are several old Hyur families in Gridania which consistently (albeit rarely) produce Padjals. Those include the Senna, the Yan, and the Pesi families. (The family names still possess the Padjali linguistic roots). When a baby is born to one of these families, he or she is given a "normal" Hyur name, as is the custom (i.e. Bryce Senna) until they are confirmed to be Padjal. They are then given a new first name based off the ancient Padjali tongue, and accepted into Stillglade Fane for their indoctrination.
"Padjal" is an invention of the English script. In Japanese, they are consistently referred in kanji as "角尊", or "Tsunomikoto", which can translate as "Horned Revered Ones".
- As the equivalent of real-world holy men and women, Padjal are often referred to as "Brother" or "Sister". They do not use the titles "Father" or "Mother". This could indicate they are eternally children.
- Due to their young appearance and the lack of any Padjali parents, their fertility has come into question. It is likely their connection to white magic that allows them to unconsciously retain their youthful form, or the will of the elementals that prolongs their lives. However in spite of their shape, they have been shown to age in other ways, such as their skin tone and hair color, and internal maturity is not impossible. Along with social taboo, the elementals may have a hand in preventing childbirth, keeping the population of powerful magic users in check. As there is no official information on this subject, there is also no knowing if the child of a Padjal would also be Padjal.
- Prior to release, leaked images of Padjal sparked rumors it would be a playable race. Some even confused it with the gria of Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift. Final Fantasy XIV, however, makes it clear Padjal are far too rare to justify playability in an MMO setting.