World A (I)
- "In a city drowning in the remnant of chaos, a peculiar structure stands quietly amidst the abandoned town. By the lifeless sea, crystals shine dimly in the sun. There is no sign of life in this city shrouded by a desolate sky."
- —Online Description
Valhalla (ヴァルハラ, Varuhara?), also known as the Unseen Realm in the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythology, is a location in Final Fantasy XIII-2. It is a city located in an alternate dimension from Gran Pulse. Motomu Toriyama, the director of Final Fantasy XIII-2, has said that Valhalla is located in a gap between the Unseen World and the real world and is heading for death. The death-bound nature of Valhalla manifests itself in distortions of the timeline and battles that take place in Valhalla are expected to go on eternally.
Daisuke Watanabe, the lead scenario writer for Final Fantasy XIII-2, has explained Valhalla as thus: "Valhalla exists on a different reality plane, one that lies between the real world and nothingness. Time doesn't flow in Valhalla because it is a timeless, lifeless place. With Etro fading from the real world, Valhalla is her only refuge: it is a "middle world" where she waits until she dissolves completely".
Valhalla is an otherworldly dimension, also known as the Unseen Realm. According to Pulse legend, it is the final resting place of the souls of the dead, and the chaotic world where the goddess Etro makes her home. Some theories describe it as a city that exists beyond the flow of time, and others claim it is a future where time has come to a standstill.
The seeress of Paddra describes it thus: 'The entire span of time can be seen from Valhalla. But to exert power beyond its borders, one must first open Etro's Gate.
- See also: Fragment/Oracle of Etro.
- Tablet of Memory
Valhalla is a world that is connected to every age, every timeline. When the seeress of the Farseers gazes into the future, Valhalla is at the heart of the vision.
The seeress also has the power to send her inner voice through Valhalla and then to the time and place of her choosing. However, only those with great chaos in their hearts are able to hear the words of the seeress.
- Tablet of Memory
In the heart of Valhalla stands Etro's temple. The throne that sits within, the throne of the goddess, is always empty.
No one can say how long the goddess's temple has stood in this place. In a world where time does not exist, such a question has little meaning. Some speculate, however, that the goddess built the temple with her own hands, as a prison for some long-forgotten enemy.
- Tablet of Memory
Valhalla, where the temple of the goddess stands, floats on the vast ocean of chaos into which all things must flow. There is no beginning or end to chaos. Those that fall into its waters are condemed to float for eternity in the rift between life and death.
The ocean of chaos has drowned the Pedestal of Time. There, on that holy of holies, did the goddess Etro first step into the Unseen Realm. But as her power waned, the sacred spot where her foot touched soil sank beneath the sullen waves.
- "Life and death lose all meaning under the rolling waves of chaos. Valhalla. The currents of time do not touch its shores."
- "This is a world that gives birth to infinite possibilities. But that's all they are, possibilities. There's no death here, but no real life, either."
- —Noel Kreiss
The Unseen Realm was first introduced in a video shown at Square Enix 1st Production Department Premiere event on January 18, 2011, which details that the Unseen Realm is the second half of the universe. The two sides of the universe must stay in balance, and if the balance between the two dimensions was to be broken, the whole universe would be in danger of collapsing. The Unseen Realm is filled with a substance known as chaos, a dangerous substance that threatens the world balance if unbound.
In Final Fantasy XIII-2, the Unseen Realm is named Valhalla. The legends state that those who die in the Visible World pass through the Door of Souls, known as Etro's Gate in Final Fantasy XIII-2, to Valhalla. Many back in the Visible World have tried to find the gate, most evidently many of the fal'Cie created by Pulse and Lindzei, and the fal'Cie's quest to find the gate to Valhalla is the driving force behind the story in Final Fantasy XIII.
Etro is the goddess tasked with protecting the world balance. She is the one operating the gate between the two worlds, and was the one to gift humans with their heart, by placing a small piece of chaos inside every human. This is why the ability to time travel derives from the goddess; those whom Etro has gifted with great amounts of chaos, will be able to travel through the time using the Historia Crux, control monsters, and see changes in the timeline. The most prominent structure seen on Valhalla is that of goddess Etro's temple. A crystal throne sits within the temple, one that is always empty. It is said in a fragment entry that some speculate that the goddess built the temple with her own hands, as a prison for a long-forgotten enemy.
Time does not exist in Valhalla, and it therefore has no past, nor any future. The entire span of time can be seen from Valhalla, letting its residents gain insight to every era and every different timeline. It is said that when the seeress of the Farseers gazes into the future, Valhalla is at the heart of the vision, and that the seeress has the power to send her inner voice through Valhalla and to the time and place of her choosing. This is how Lightning residing in Valhalla is able to communicate with Serah, Snow, Sazh, and Hope via dreams.
A number of beasts reside in this realm, as well as the Eidolons, Etro's servants. Valfodr is said to have once been the strongest knight in Valhalla. In the "Cuddly Chronicles" Fragment entry it is said that Valhalla is a world where only the strongest survive and those who are born weak must hone their strength and skills in battle against more powerful foes.
The place where Etro's temple is located is surrounded by tall buildings, like an ancient metropolis, but the area is dead as it doesn't appear that the realm has any other sentient lifeforms apart from Etro, Lightning, and Caius Ballad; it has no civilization or culture to speak of, and Caius and Lightning appear to be the only humans inhabiting it.
In a scenario interview with Toriyama and Watanabe in Final Fantasy XIII-2 Ultimania Omega, the creators reveal that Valhalla is a place between the Unseen World and the real world, where the flow of time has stopped and where people pass by on their way to the beyond. According to Watanabe, the buildings don't house people, so they do not need to have staircases or toilets.
The abandoned metropolitan area is surrounded by ocean, and it is said that Valhalla floats on the vast ocean of chaos into which all things must flow and that there is no beginning or end to chaos. It is said that those who fall into its waters are condemned to float for eternity in the rift between life and death. It is implied in a fragment entry that Valhalla wasn't always sunken beneath the waves, but that the ocean rose due to the increased amount of chaos coinciding with the waning of Etro's powers.
Lightning is brought to Valhalla by the effects of a time paradox When Etro saw how bravely Lightning and her fellow l'Cie fought to save Cocoon, the goddess took pity on them and released them from their crystal stasis and wiped their l'Cie brands. By doing this, however, Etro distorted the timeline and created a time paradox.
At the end of Final Fantasy XIII -Episode i-, some of the chaos of Valhalla spilled forth into Gran Pulse through a rift and dragged Lightning into it, erasing her from history and altering everyone but Serah's memories of her ever being on Pulse after Cocoon's fall. Etro managed to seal her gate between the two dimensions and stopped the chaos from escaping, but she was greatly weakened by this effort and entered a deep rest. Now a resident of Valhalla, Lightning was drawn to Etro's temple, where she saw mankind's future, and vowed to become Etro's knight and protect the dying goddess.
Valhalla's most prominent structure is the temple to the Goddess Etro, dominated by two towers with green spirals. The sleeping Etro rests within her temple, which Lightning fiercely protects from all threats. Caius Ballad, an immortal Guardian to the seeress of the Farseer tribe, opens a portal to Valhalla with his intention to kill the goddess. Caius and Lightning enter a never-ending war against each other, where both parties summon beasts and Eidolons in great armies.
Lightning continues to battle Caius before saving Noel Kreiss when he falls out of Etro's Gate in the sky. She asks him to help her sister, Serah, find Valhalla, and gives him Mog as something to keep Serah safe. Caius summons a meteor that begins to crush Etro's temple and as Noel heads for a Time Gate, Lightning summons Odin to throw herself into the meteor's path.
Serah and Noel eventually manage to find Valhalla. When they fall through the sky, they are saved by Odin before fighting Caius on the beach. Noel eventually slashes him down but Caius transforms into Jet Bahamut, and attacks Noel and Serah. They are sent plummeting into an endless abyss beneath Valhalla's waves of chaos, but Lightning appears and saves the two, sending them into the final battle against Caius and his two dragon incarnations, Garnet Bahamut and Amber Bahamut.
After being defeated in his dragon form, Caius reverts back into a human. Noel refuses to kill him and instead tries to talk sense into him, but Caius uses Noel's sword to impale his "Heart of Chaos" and he falls on the ground and fades away. The Heart of Chaos beating within Caius was the source of his immortality, but it was also Etro's own heart, and destroying the heart kills Etro as well. With the goddess dead, nothing can restrain the chaos of this realm, Etro's Gate opens and the chaos of Valhalla erupts from the gate, engulfing both the new Cocoon and Gran Pulse.
As Valhalla appears within the mortal world, a crystallized Lightning can be seen sitting on Etro's throne. In a scenario interview with Toriyama and Watanabe in Final Fantasy XIII-2 Ultimania Omega, the creators reveal that the fight between Lightning and Caius in Valhalla is an endless loop, of which both are unaware of. Only when Lightning becomes a crystal does this cycle end.
After meeting with Noel and Serah at New Bodhum at 700 AF, Lightning returns to Valhalla and continues her battle against Caius. At one moment, she catches a glimpse of Serah dying in Noel's arms from her Eyes of Etro. However, Lightning is caught off-guard and struck down by Caius, then engulfed by chaos before he can finish her off. She awakes in Etro's temple and watches helplessly as Serah's soul is restrained by spirits of Yeul. They taunt Lightning that at the end of time, Serah will fade into darkness with them and stay with them forever.
After defeating Caius and Chaos Bahamut, Lightning demands Yeul to release Serah but the seeress refuses, and says that Serah's death is Lightning's fault since she asked Serah to journey through time and therefore sent her to her death. Lightning is swallowed by chaos and again sent to Etro's temple, where she mourns over Serah. Serah's spirit appears to Lightning and reveals to her that she knew she would die but chose to keep fighting, and has no regrets for doing so. Before she fades away, Serah asks Lightning to keep her in her thoughts and they will see each other again. To keep her promise to remember Serah, Lightning ascends Etro's throne and becomes an eternal crystal epitaph to preserve the world along with Serah's memory.
- Chaos Bahamut (Boss)
- Caius Ballad (Boss)
- Jet Bahamut (Final Boss), Garnet Bahamut (Boss), Amber Bahamut (Boss)
In the scenario interview in Final Fantasy XIII-2 Ultimania Omega, it was revealed Valhalla was at first envisioned to be the place in 999 AF that is also mentioned in Final Fantasy Type-0 and that would have tied the games together, but this idea was scrapped.
Valhalla appears as a Battle Music Stage for "Etro's Champion".
- Main article: Valhalla#Etymology
- The Vagabond artefact that Alyssa gives Serah, Noel, and Mog in Academia 4XX AF resembles Etro's temple.