Man should fight for the joy of it. To live, to eat, to breed -- lesser beasts snap and howl at one another for this. Only man has the wisdom -- and the clarity -- to embrace violence for its own sake.
Zenos yae Galvus is the main antagonist of the expansion Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood. As Legatus of the XIIth Legion and the son of emperor Varis zos Galvus, he now serves as the Imperial Viceroy of Ala Mhigo since the death of Gaius van Baelsar.
Although not officially revealed until FanFest 2016, his existence was previously alluded in the events of Patch 3.4 Soul Surrender.
Zenos, like many other Garlean militants, dresses in dark full plate armor and often appears behind a pale white mask with two horns. He also incorporates some of Ala Mhigo's traditional outfit into his appearance, adorning his armor with trial textile and belt.
Zenos is the first Garlean antagonist to go without his mask at times. He is a man in mid to late 20s, with a youthful face and fair complexion. His prominent feature is the long golden hair that flows down his back and shoulders, visible even with mask.
His weapon of choice is the katana. He carries three of such swords in a "sword revolver". This device is prominent throughout promotional materials of Zenos.
Zenos is arrogant, selfish and evil. Having been raised to be the next Emperor in line for the throne, he disregards the importance of human life. Drunk on power as the crown prince and viceroy of both Ala Mhigo and Doma, Zenos cares little for his job governing the provinces. Instead, he partakes in battles in seeking for the thrill of the kill. It is stated that his only purpose in war is to collect swords.
Zenos tirelessly searches for means to augment and improve his body, which already surpasses human limit due to experimentation conducted on him by the empire. For this purpose he goes against Garlean doctrine and subdues the primal Shinryu for his own use, claiming to care little about his nation and its cowardly creeds regarding the eikons.
Upon encountering the player's character, the Warrior of Light, Zenos felt a connection for their progress in battle. His last words as such were addressed toward the Adventurer, calling them as both his first "friend" and his enemy. This shows another side of Zenos, who having felt little value in the world except by drowning in the power bestowed on him, he could only find a kindred spirit in the one who could finally best him.
As a child raised by an unloving father, Zenos was trained by Imperial swordsman in the way of the blade. During Gaius van Baelsar's time as Imperial viceroy of Ala Mhigo, Zenos oversaw the subjugation of Doma. Zenos became its regent after using his stratagems to place the Doman Liberation Front in corner while personally killing its strongest member, developing an interest in foreign blades. After Gaius's demise at the Praetorium, Zenos was named viceroy of Ala Mhigo and named his spy Yotsuyu as Doma's acting viceroy so that her hatred towards her own people can break them. Zenos also learned of the Echo from Gaius's reports, developing an interest while recruiting Aulus mal Asina whose theories of a means for Garleans to use magick like the other races intrigued him. He is mentioned during the events of Soul Surrender during the (decoy) Griffin's speech to Ala Mhigan refugees at the Sunken Temple of Qarn. The firebrand described him as "a beast not a fraction as merciful" as Gaius.
Zenos appears briefly at the conclusion of the Heavensward story in The Far Edge of Fate. A footsoldier is seen approaching the viceroy on his throne in Ala Mhigo. The soldier informs him that Baelsar's Wall has fallen to the Eorzean Alliance, and asks whether they should divert some men to repairing the damage from the battle between Shinryu and Omega. The soldier quickly retreats in fear when Zenos fails to reply. Zenos comments to himself on his spy's reports about the Domans referring to the eikon as Shinryu, and that things are about to get "most interesting" soon. His cloaked face is briefly seen grinning inside his helmet before a fade to black.
During the events of Stormblood, after being welcomed to Ala Mhigo Castle with the Garlemald anthem played in his honor, Zenos learns of Grynewaht's failure to losing a new series of Magitek automatons in an ambush orchestrated by Raubahn Aldynn and the Ala Mhigan Resistance. Zenos requests Grynewaht's removal from his legion for incompetent cowardice while executing Grynewaht's commanding officer for his incompetence. He then listens to the plan Fordola rem Lupis formulated to bypass the barriers concealing Rhalgr's Reach and slaughter the rebels. Zenos personally oversees the attack, overpowering Lyse Hext while mortally wounding Y'shtola Rhul and easily defeating the Warrior of Light with ease. Losing one of his swords while defeating the Warrior, Zenos left disappointed in his opponent as the Alliance arrive to aid the rebels.
When word reaches Zenos of the Confederacy's attack on Isari, he travels to Doma Castle and receives the Kojin sword Ame no Habaki which Yotsuyu took from the Red Kojin she had killed for abandoning their posts when they were needed on Isari. Zenos uses the blade to overpower the Warrior and Yugiri Mistwalker when they acted on their own to assassinate him, Zenos discarding his helmet upon finding it damaged by the Warrior. Sparing the Warrior in hopes of more pleasurable fight, Zenos takes his leave after the amassed Namai villages, Alisaie Leveilleur, and Gosetsu Everfall stop him from killing Yugiri. Soon after threatening Yotsuyu to not fail him again in subduing the rebels, Zenos returns to Ala Mhigo where he acquires Shinryu to ready himself for another battle with the Warrior.
When news reaches Zenos of Doma's liberation, killing the messenger while musing over his next fight with the Warrior. Fordola then arrives with Krile Mayer Baldesion as he captive, Zenos awarding her with one of his men's gunblades while sending Krile to Aulus. Following her loss of Castellum Velodyna (and unintentionally causing the summoning of the Ananta Primal Lakshmi in the process), expecting to be executed for her failure, Zenos instead spared Fordola....when she admitted she desired to grow stronger, and instead had Aulus turn her into a Resonant.
When the Scions storm Castrum Abania, Fordolda delivers Zenos's message for them to come to Ala Mhigo Castle for the "royal hunt" he readied for them. When the alliance storm Ala Mhigo Castle and the Warrior reaches the Hall of the Griffin, Zenos engages the hero. Excited that the Warrior has met his expectations, revealing his madness, Zenos takes the fight to the Royal Menagerie where he frees Shinryu and uses his Resonant powers to take control of the Primal by merging onto its chest. After an epic battle in the sky, Shinryu is defeated and Zenos crashes into the menagerie. Defeated while expressing joy over it and of fulfilling the role he was raised to play, Zenos uses Ame no Habaki to slit his throat despite Lyse's attempt to prevent his suicide.
Zenos is fought by the player on three different occasions, the first two as unwinnable battles demonstrating his might. In the level 61 solo instance "In Crimson It Began", he is the final opponent, who effortlessly swats away the other Scions, with the player character barely able to stand up to him before he decides they are unworthy opponents. During the level 64 instance "The Time between the Seconds", the player character duels him battle, but once he draws the Ame-no-Habakiri he ultimately out-classes them.
He is encountered for the final time in Ala Mhigo as the dungeon boss, where he can now be defeated and forced to retreat. He then uses the power of the Resonant to fuse with Shinryu, which is fought as the final boss of Stormblood.
Unlike most Garlean characters, Zenos's cutscene appearances is accompanied by "Meteor", a theme previously used for Nael van Darnus.
- Zenos is noticeably depicted at level 70 in all encounters -- even while the player character is in lower 60s and otherwise fights enemies of similar level -- emphasizing his role as an opponent for the Warrior of Light to reach and surpass in Stormblood.