Every great JRPG, massive or not, needs antagonists to serve as a backbone to the heroic motivation of our – usually teenage – heroes. Despite being an online game, Final Fantasy XIV does not escape this trope. Although the game and its narrative span hundreds of hours, the base game and its expansions have periodic well-constructed narrative arcs to situate us in its plotline. Each of those narrative arcs has one or more antagonists.
In A Realm Reborn, the primary antagonist, even if he spends much of his time behind the scenes and on the sly, is Lahabrea. An Ascian, who, like his fellow board members, aimed to orchestrate calamities to cause successive Rejoinings and restore glory to Zodiark.
To this end, Lahabrea not only taught and observed the beast tribes invoking their primals but also manipulated the Garlean empire to channel the power of these invocations with his ulterior motive. However, his disdain for humans and the Warrior of Light proved his downfall numerous times.
When he turned to Thordan, thinking he was fooling him, the tables turned. If you want to know more about this villain, this Lahabrea guide will try to flesh him out with the information the game has provided us thus far.
- Full Name: Lahabrea is his Ascian name and title in the Convocation of Fourteen. Real name is unknown.
- First Appearance: Final Fantasy XIV. He’s mentioned in Final Fantasy XII lore, but they are unrelated.
- Race: Ancient.
- Gender: Male.
- Playable Character: No. Or yes, if you consider throwing his body around with a giant axe as playable.
- Special Powers: Specialized in Creation Magicks, mainly phantom and fire-aspected beings.
- First Encountered: He appears in the first cutscene after creating our character.
- Characteristics: Lahabrea abhors any race of Eorzea, even those with whom he shares a goal. He doesn’t seem to have a friendly relationship with the other Ascian and tends to be Machiavellian in fulfilling his mission as a Paragon.
Lahabrea’s true appearance, like his name, is still a mystery. He always appears hooded in the dark robe of an Ascian and wearing a red mask, reserved only for overlords. The glyph that glows on his face resembles Mateus’ symbol from Final Fantasy XII upside down.
As is customary for an Ascian, he possesses bodies in order to interact with the physical world. As a result, he takes on the appearance of the host. When he invades Thancred, he takes on the appearance of Scion. When Lahabrea merges with Igeyorhm, they become an Ascian Prime.
Their robes become frayed, they float since they have no feet, their hands turn into claws, and they constantly exude an aura of darkness.
Lahabrea treats everything and everyone with disdain, even his Ascian colleagues. To him, everyone is just a tool to achieve his goals. Like a fair villain, he carries an evil laugh which he graces us with from time to time.
He is constantly belittling the Warrior of Light and Hydaelyn, which leads to his failure on several occasions. His presumption makes him deliberately jump from body to body. Even though he is an unsundered Ascian, he gets gradually weaker at each body-hop. His condescension and contempt for the denizens of Eorzea lead to his condemnation.
The Ascians are among the most mysterious entities in Final Fantasy XIV, and Lahabrea is no exception. Before becoming Ascians, they were known as Ancients, an elder race from the world when it was called Etheirys. Some Ascians have had their identity disclosed, such as Emet-Selch. Future updates will likely reveal others, such as Lahabrea.
But before he became a hellbent megalomaniac Ascian on his mission paved in death and desolation, Lahabrea once possessed a more… mundane occupation. First, Lahabrea is not his real name, but the title given to a member of the Convocation of Fourteen responsible for being the speaker of the governing body, a specialist in creation magicks, and also the chief ward of Pandæmonium – a facility restraining far too dangerous creations from being released into the world. So far, his real name is unknown. Still, some speculate it will be something related to Greek mythology, as it is to several other ancients.
In the Pandæmonium raids, we learn that Lahabrea had a son named Erichthonios and was the husband of Athena, the ancient warden of Pandæmonium. His son claims that the man is so fond of his work that he didn’t bat an eye when his wife died. His subordinates were called Words of Lahabrea and helped the man tend the facility. No doubt we will delve deeper into his backstory as the raid progresses.
When the Final Days were upon the ancients, Lahabrea sided with the members of the Convocation who wanted to summon Zodiark. He also agreed when the same members wanted to sacrifice a massive amount of lesser races to restore the ancients used in the summoning of Zodiark. However, Venat became Hydaelyn and sundered the shard and most ancients.
Lahabrea was close to Emet-Selch at the moment and avoided the sundering. This allowed Lahabrea to hop from living body to body, possessing vessels and dictating his plans behind the scenes.
His sole purpose was to trigger Rejoining of the shard, thus reviving Zodiark and restoring his home. While Lahabrea’s obsession with the mission may appear insanity, this may indicate he harbored strong feelings toward his home and fellow colleagues, despite what his son claimed. Otherwise, he would just be a crazy nihilist like Fandaniel and seek destruction, not a restoration.
The Antagonist of A Realm Reborn
Lahabrea appears as soon as we create our character. While we are floating in a sea of nothingness and watching the Mothercrystal conversing with us, Lahabrea debuts. As first-timers, we can’t know who he is. But to anyone familiar, the glyph gives off his identity.
While adventuring, Kan-E-Senna detects the Ascian and warns the Scions that they are being watched. He then appears in another vision of the Warrior of Light but is quickly disregarded as an imminent threat.
The adventures of our fated-to-be-Warrior of Light begin to be derailed when the beast tribes initiate the summoning of their primals – magical entities that can dominate lesser minds with a version of mind control. Bearers of the Echo, such as the Warrior of Light, are immune to this foul spell.
Therefore, our adventurer is a necessary weapon against the beast races and their primals. And what does this have to do with Lahabrea, I hear you ask. One of the Ascian’s roles was to teach the beast tribes how to summon their primals. Apparently, he’s a great teacher because we start to face primal after primal.
The first time we actually meet Lahabrea is at the end of the Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak dungeon. Ominous music starts playing, and that can only mean trouble is coming. Lahabrea speaks in an unknown language until he auto translates to our own. He introduces himself and even hints that he is an admirer of the Warrior of Light. He then shares his dark energy with Graffias, the dungeon’s last boss.
We soon discover that Lahabrea is in cahoots with the Garlean Empire, although his motives are still secretive. The Ascian doesn’t respect the empire and manipulates the legatus through the shadows.
When our hero goes to Stone Vigil to retrieve Cid’s airship, Lahabrea resurfaces and uses the same dark magick he used in Graffias on the dragon Isgebind in an attempt to stop us from facing Garuda. He fails, we win, but everything goes according to his plans.
The three primals reappear, and Gaius uses the Ultima Weapon to confront them. The ancient relic Allagan trounces the trio and gorges on their aether, absorbing them. Lahabrea watches everything from aboard an imperial fleet, fascinated by the power of the Ultima Weapon and how it grows stronger with each primal consumed. Again, all was going as he planned.
In the main quest, Escape from Castrum Centri, we see the completed Ultima Weapon and Gaius and Lahabrea at its side. The Ascian removes his cloak and reveals his face to everyone. It’s Thancred’s face; plot twist! The Scions are utterly confused, as they didn’t know until then that Ascians could possess bodies – they should have read this article of mine.
Believing they have been betrayed, they leave in Cid’s airship. But it doesn’t take long before everyone else discovers that Thancred is being possessed and is not actually a traitor.
The city-states launch Operation Archon to invade the Praetorium and defeat Gaius Van Baelsar and the Ultima Weapon. In the fight against the Ultima Weapon, the relic evokes the powers of all the primal. Our Warrior of Light is almost defeated, but with the Mothercrystal’s blessing, we strike the Ultima Weapon, and it renounces the power of the primal.
Gaius is utterly defeated, but Lahabrea appears and unleashes the power of the Heart of Sabik, the core used in Ultima Weapon. The Heart of Sabik retained the power of the Ultima spell, which Lahabrea activates without Gaius’ knowledge. Ultima destroys the entire Praetorium, such devastation. The Warrior of Light braces the hit with the blessing of light protection, which fades after this shield.
Lahabrea goes into a villain monologue, discoursing how his plan was to use the Garlean Empire and the Ultima Weapon as a means to revive his god. While not clearly explained in the lore, I suppose Lahabrea hoped that Gaius’ conquest with the Ultima Weapon would cause mass destruction in Eorzea, enough to trigger another rejoining and push Zodiark’s resurrection even closer. But that’s just an educated guess from a longtime fan and not something divulged in the in-game lore.
We thwarted Lahabrea’s plans by defeating the Ultima Weapon, and the Ascian decides to take matters into his own hands. Previously, his battle was embedded in the Praetorium dungeon. As of patch 6.1, it has become a frantic and befitting solo battle. After the Ascian chains us down and unleashes a dark Genki Dama directly at us, we are showered with Hydaelyn’s blessing.
Our matron promises to aid us in separating the Ascian from the body of our companion Thancred. With a blade made of light, we cut Lahabrea, who is banished from Thancred’s body. After this clash, Scions and friends alike consider Lahabrea dead. It doesn’t take long for a cutscene from Convocation to prove us otherwise.
Minfilia receives a visit from the emissary Elidibus, who confirms Lahabrea’s survival. We see the Ascian and his accomplices on a badly-lighted Convocation reunion, plotting their next course of action. When the game introduces us to King Thordan of Ishgard, the regal is surrounded by two Ascians, Lahabrea and Elidibius, and we already know there is double trouble incoming.
When the Scions manage to defeat Nabriales with the White Auracite, Lahabrea doesn’t mourn for his companion but expresses concern that we have succeeded in extinguishing that which should rightly be eternal – his words. He and Elidibus are compelled to speed up their following plans, which entail the participation of King Thordan.
To Use or be Used
During the events of Heavensward, Lahabrea assumed he was manipulating Thordan. His goal was to teach the king and his knights how to be a vessel for the Primals. King Thordan doesn’t hide the Ascion’s involvement in his affairs, but he doesn’t share all the facts either.
Lahabrea doesn’t play a very active role in the expansion. On the other hand, his underlings are constantly trying to intercept the Warrior of Light quest. When we uncover the truth behind the Dragonsong War and go to face Thordan, Lahabrea and Igeyorhm try to stop us in the Aetherochemical Research Facility.
Since the Warrior of Light is successively more powerful as he gathers more blessing of light and the crystals, the Ascian must resort to what they call Echo’s true power. They merge, becoming the Ascian Prime.
After winning the battle, the Ascian split up. We use White Auracite to trap Igeyorhm and Nidhogg’s left eye to crush it, but our power is spent. Thordan appears, and Lahabrea believes he is coming in his favor. However, the king claims that while the Ascian thought he was exploiting him, it was the other way around.
Thordan becomes a primal, or god-king, as he calls himself. With the power of the Eye of Nidhogg in his sword, he strikes Lahabrea down and consumes his aether, thus ending the Ascian long years of naughtiness.
Battles and Strategy
We face Lahabrea at two points in the game. Previously he was the final boss of The Praetorium, an 8-man dungeon that concluded the Main Scenario Quest from A Realm Reborn. However, he became an extremely easy boss and did not do justice to the antagonism he had created throughout the entire A Realm Reborn narrative. In patch 6.1, the dungeon was revamped, and Lahabrea’s battle changed to solo duty.
Lahabrea’s solo fight is much more dynamic and displays his strength as it should. Possessing Thancred’s body, Lahabrea conjures dark magicks, such as Dark Thunder, and demonstrates mastery with the fire element in Nightburn, Flamesphere, Ancient Eruption, Fluid Flare, and Ancient Cross. Occasionally he unleashes the End of Days, an attack that looks like a Kamehameha. All these attacks are marked on the ground and are easy to dodge.
When he uses Burst Flare, arrow markers show a knockback incoming. You can either activate your knockback immunity or be shoved aside. Prepare to run as soon as possible because Lahabrea will begin to cast Grip of Night, a large AoE cone.
He will use Illusory Creation in sequence, scattering several illusions around the arena. A line AoE will run through the middle, so find a safe spot. As the spell unleashes, move to avoid a point-blank range End of Days. Whenever Lahabrea casts Double, it means that the next magic will be released twofold. Mitigate, heal or just shrug it off.
Eventually, four Arcane Spheres will materialize, and a gauge for Lahabrea’s Power will appear. You must destroy the spheres before they power up the boss. Spoiler alert: you won’t make it. Lahabrea disappears and throws a concentrated ball of darkness at you. However, Hydaelyn arises with the power of the crystals and energizes you, initiating round two.
The mechanics repeat themselves, some overlapping with others. Instead of Double, Lahabrea uses Triple, causing Nightburn to be cast threefold. But with Hydaelyn’s blessing, you’ve become a fairy tale hero, and it shouldn’t take long to banish the Ascian from your friend Thancred’s body.
In the mouthful dungeon, The Aetherochemical Research Facility, we face Lahabrea and Igeyorhm in a two-phase fight. In the first phase, you fight them both in intervals. In the second phase, they will merge and transform into Ascian Prime. Like most battles in dungeons nowadays, it isn’t that complex, but it demands some points of attention if you want to preserve some healing.
Initiating the battle, the Ascians will alternate between who will get beaten up by the party and who will attack you from the side. At first, you will face Igeyorhm while several AoE attacks will cover the arena. You will have to samba through it while pounding the boss. After 50%, Lahabrea switches places with the woman.
The AoEs continue, and to make things spicier, the arena will be covered in Thin Ice. Move only when necessary; otherwise, you’ll soon find yourself in a muddle. When Lahabrea reaches 50% HP, they will merge into Ascian Prime.
Ascian Prime will continue to unleash AoEs throughout the arena and intersperse with some partywide damage. When two spheres spawn around him, focus your attention on them before reaching the boss. If this happens, the party will suffer severe damage. In the meantime, two players will be marked with an AoE donut and must adjust in order not to damage their friends.
After the spheres phase is over, Ascian Prime will summon some void portals into the arena and start casting Universal Manipulation. Counterintuitively, players will have to go to a void portal to avoid the damage and debuffs of this attack.
Then, they will tether some orbs to you. You can soak the orb damage if you didn’t get a debuff, but it’s preferable to run away until they vanish. The mechanics will repeat themselves from then on, so it’s only a matter of time before you blast two Ascians with one Warrior of Light.
Question: Are Thancred and Lahabrea the same?
Answer: I confess the scene where he revealed his face got me stunned the first time I played the game. But no, they aren’t. Ascians need vessels to impose their will on the physical plane. Thancred was the vessel that Lahabrea chose. Possibly to infiltrate and observe the Scions and the Warrior of Light.
Question: Is Lahabrea dead?
Answer: Everything indicates that he is. He was struck down by Thordan and absorbed like a strawberry milkshake. Many believed that he was inside Nidhogg’s eye. The eye was then transferred like a hot potato between villains until Estinien destroyed them for good. So even if he actually was inside the eye, he’s already a goner.
Question: How did Lahabrea possess Thancred?
Answer: It’s not known precisely the moment he was possessed since it was offscreen. But for an Ascian to invade a living being’s body, it needs a dark crystal as a catalyst. In a cutscene in the Main Scenario Quest For Coin and Country, after we defeat Ifrit and join a Grand Company, Thancred wears a dark crystal on his choker. From this moment on, I suspect that it was Lahabrea using all his acting skills to infiltrate and deceive the Scions. Amazing how easily he learned Thancred’s gallantry. Lahabrea must have been a womanizer in his earlier days.
Question: What is Lahabrea’s real name?
Answer: So far, unknown. But some theories say that Lahabrea’s name may follow Greek mythology, like his countrymen. Since he’s the father of Erichthonios and the husband of Athena, some fans speculate that his real name is Hephaestus. It’s inconclusive information, but I believe we will find out soon enough as the Pandæmonium raid unfolds.
Lahabrea had a similar agenda as the other Ascian. Turn the wheels of Eorzea towards calamities to resurrect Zodiark, his true god. Although Elidibius considered him a fighter, Lahabrea rarely put his hand on the task and preferred manipulating others to execute his plan. For a good reason. The two times he took the matter into his hand, he earned a harsh beating from us.
But in the end, Lahabrea was a good, bad guy. Straightforwardly evil, his motives didn’t seem to have a tangent that allows us to identify or sympathize with his drives. Hopefully, the Pandæmonium raid will give more depth to his backstory and justify his unhinged obsession to restore his former home.