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The height of imperial might, this flying megafortress houses the Crystal of Lucis in its uppermost level. Yet for all its imposing vastness, it appears utterly devoid of human presence.
Zegnautus Keep is a magitek laboratory and Niflheim military installation in Final Fantasy XV. It is a colossal flying structure that is usually docked at the central elevator in Gralea, the imperial capital. The empire conducts research on magitek and daemons here, and its premises seem to also be used for programming magitek troopers. The emperor's throne room is located in the heart of the Keep, and it has a special chamber for holding the Crystal of Lucis. Zegnautus Keep is visited in Chapter 13 and is an unrevisitable location. A patch added an alternative route the player can take, playing as Gladiolus Amicitia and Ignis Scientia while controlling the former.
The research lab has been devoid of human life for several weeks. Daemons once kept in captivity have been sighted outside the compound, suggesting a security breach. An outbreak could have dire implications for Gralea's city center, and all communications with the facility are still down. Meanwhile, the imperial railway remains paralyzed, and services within Accordo suspended.
Prince Noctis infiltrates Gralea during his quest to reclaim the Crystal of Lucis Niflheim has stolen, but finds the place devoid of humans and swarming with rogue magitek troops and daemons. The citizens of Gralea have either died at the hands of daemons, or been turned.
Noctis becomes separated from his friends Ignis and Gladiolus, and finds his powers granted to him by his divine bloodline have stopped working. Unable to forge weapons from thin air, Noctis wields the Ring of the Lucii as his only weapon as he makes his way through the laboratory to rescue his friend Prompto Argentum. Prompto is being held hostage at the laboratory by Ardyn Izunia whose disembodied voice taunts Noctis as he explores the daemon-infested hallways. Noctis is also being haunted by the mysterious Foras, a daemon who speaks and thirsts for the Ring of the Lucii.
Reports at the lab reveal that the empire has been ravaged by a "vanishing disease" that has turned its citizens into daemons. The disease is Starscourge, which spread to the population when the empire began experimenting with daemons. Noctis learns that magitek troopers are made out of these experiments, and that daemons were once ordinary humans.
He finds Ravus Nox Fleuret dead on the floor with the Sword of the Father, the late King Regis's sword. On Ravus's person Noctis finds several letters he had written to his sister, Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, which reveal Ravus had always been loyal to her. Though Ravus had opposed Lunafreya's mission to help Noctis, he had been safeguarding Noctis's father's sword for him.
Ravus had confronted Emperor Aldercapt, declaring that Noctis is the rightful bearer of the Ring of the Lucii who would soon purge Eos from daemons with the power of the Crystal. The outraged emperor had claimed the Crystal is his and summoned daemons to attack Ravus. Ravus had been expelled from the throne room and met Ardyn disguised as Noctis, who had killed him. Gladiolus and Ignis watch security camera footage of these events as they go through the lab while looking for Noctis and Prompto.
Noctis reunites with his friends and together they save Prompto, who reveals he was born at an imperial magitek production facility to be made into a magitek trooper. Prompto avoided this fate when he was kidnapped from the facility by Lucians and adopted by a family in Insomnia, and he had always kept his past a secret. Prompto has a serial code tattooed onto his wrist he uses to open the lock to the throne room where the device that seals Noctis's powers is kept. They turn it off, and Noctis regains his abilities. They find the emperor's clothes left on the throne.
Emperor Aldercapt has been turned into a demon named Foras by Ardyn. As the party vanquishes Foras, it laments its desire to more than just ruling Eos; by seeking to fell the Astrals, the emperor declares his hope to rule over the heavens and earth both.
The party is accosted by Ravus who has been "resurrected" as a daemon. He begs the party to kill him, and after they destroy him, they are overwhelmed by daemons. Noctis believes he can combat them with the light of the Crystal and his friends urge him to go it alone. When Noctis finds the Crystal he is absorbed inside it before a gloating Ardyn. He reveals his true identity as Ardyn Lucis Caelum, Noctis's immortal ancestor whose soul has been corrupted by daemons. Ardyn explains he was once the Crystal's Chosen, but was cast aside and forgotten when he was deemed unclean. His goal is for the Crystal to choose a new Chosen King and then face him in battle.
If Ignis decides to follow Ardyn after facing him in Altissia, the latter takes him to Zegnautus Keep. Lunafreya's voice guides Ignis to the Crystal, telling him how only the True King fulfilling the prophecy can save the world.
When Ignis finds the Crystal, he is apprehended by Ardyn, who reveals he lured Ignis there as bait for Noctis, whom he wants to inherit the Crystal's power. Ardyn reveals his true identity as Ardyn Lucis Caelum, who in ancient times was to become the king of Lucis, but considers the title stolen from him by his brother, the Founder King. His soul rendered immortal by the Starscourge that now inhabits his very soul, Ardyn has lived for two millennia, awaiting the time he can get his revenge on the Crystal that had discarded him. Ignis knows Noctis will die if Ardyn's plan succeeds, and declares that the world means nothing to him if it means losing his friend.
Ignis puts on the Ring of the Lucii and gains its power for the price of his own life. He defeats Ardyn who yet returns, as he is immortal. The dying Ignis is found by Noctis, Gladiolus and Prompto, who had been brought to the Keep by Ravus. Noctis grieves how incapable he is to protect those close to him, and asks for the Crystal's power to save Ignis. He takes the ring and walks into the Crystal.
Documents found in Zegnautus Keep Edit
The player can find various documents lying around Zegnautus Keep that they can inspect to learn more about the story.
Ravus's letters Edit
There are three letters scattered about Ravus when the player finds him.
I shall send an escort. You and Gentiana will return to the manor. It is dangerous to remain in Lucis—the empire fears the covenant with the Archaean, and ere long they will come for you.
Noctis may have the Storm's blessing, but his powers remain as feeble as a breeze. Open your eyes, Lunafreya, and see the futility of your toils. He is unworthy of your sacrifice, and of King Regis's sword.
Rely upon the Altissians if you must, and cease all contact with the empire. If you seek a covenant, you know full well the cost. Should Noctis succeed in claiming the power, I shall gladly restore his father's sword to him.
Research documents Edit
The player can find various reports around the Keep that reveal the imperial side of magitek research, daemons and Starscourge.
- Military Applications of Mutative Plasmodia
In light of the large sample size, the test results can be considered conclusive: commonly occurring parasitic protozoa are the agents of daemonification. These findings pave the way for the weaponization of daemons, and the first step involves finding a way to control mutated organisms. This report recommends Minister of Research Verstael Besithia submit a detailed budget request for the Deathless Project.
- Photosensitivity in Magitek Troopers
Plasmodia-based biological weapons exhibit an acute aversion to light, their cellular structure breaking down within moments of exposure. As the cells are converted to benign molecules, there is no inherent danger even should such a reaction occur. Lightproof armor presents a simple yet effective solution to the problem.
- National Defense Policy
With the mass production of magitek troopers having commenced in earnest, the Imperial Defense Council approves the following reforms:
- The replacement of human infantry with magitek units.
- The augmenting of biological materials through cloning.
- Mass Disappearance Report
Nine days on from the mysterious disappearances, and nary a lead. It beggars belief that 812 people—an entire village—could simply vanish into thin air. In more tangible developments, of the daemons that emerged in West Gralea at the same juncture, 60% are confirmed escaped from military facilities. Details of the remaining 40%, however, remain inconclusive.
- West Gralea Quarantine Report
Including cases around the village, the number of missing now stands at 1,657. Early reports from the MRF attribute the disappearance to an infectious disease, and investigations continue as regards a potential connection to the daemon outbreak. At the time of writing, the quarantining of West Gralea is complete, and other sections remain infection free.
- North Gralea Quarantine Report
The infection has since manifested in five adjacent sectors, and threatens to reach epidemic proportions. Its spread is invariably accompanied by the appearance of daemons, and the likelihood cannot be ignored that the pathogens are daemon borne. Quarantine has been expanded to encompass all areas in which the creatures are found.
- Magitek Research Facility Damage Report
Following their outbreak in the north and west, daemons have swept through the MRF, causing extensive damage to equipment. Control was subsequently lost over unprogrammed MTs, and strategies are being deliberated on the collection of rogue units. 125 patients undergoing testing at the facility have vanished in a manner reminiscent of the first disappearances.
- 16th - V
The infected aren't disappearing—they're turning into daemons. That we failed to see this defies belief. Yet dwelling on it avails us naught in the face of the daemon threat. Though of human origin, they're unlike the specimens bred for MTs. They cannot be controlled.
- 28th - VI
More than half the keep's inhabitants are now daemons. There's no hope of neutralizing them, not with control lost over the MTs. Outside, the city swarms with yet more daemons—former citizens. There's no escape.
- Wallbreaker Wave Test Report
The wave produced exceptional results in real-world conditions, effectively inhibiting the Kingsglaive's warping and spellcasting abilities—powers that operate on the selfsame principle as the Wall of Lucis.
- Wallbreaker Wave Test Report
The report concludes that the wave can neutralize not only the Wall, but all magical phenomena exhibited by Lucian royalty. Moreover, based on the data acquired from the encounter with Shiva, an enfeebling effect on the Six can also be anticipated.