Nael van Darnus plays one of the most important roles in the storyline of Final Fantasy XIV. But, they are never directly seen throughout the main storyline. This individual has no presence throughout the main scenario quests of A Realm Reborn or any later expansions, save for some minor side content here and there.
Their contribution to the story takes place well before ARR even begins. The results of their actions helped shape Eorzea into its current state and especially leave a deep impression with many NPCs present throughout the ongoing storyline.
“But how can this faceless individual mean so much to the story if we’ve never even seen them? Surely there has to be more information on them besides brief mentions and cameos.” I thought the same thing when I was first getting into FFXIV and trying to understand the expansive lore. But it can get a little tough sifting through all sorts of content and lore to find any relevant information on this person.
So, to give everyone else a slightly easier time studying their Eorzean history, I present this Nael van Darnus guide on The White Raven, and Legatus of the VIIth Legion.
It’s important to mention that the Nael we know so much about is not the person they say they are. In truth, this impersonator is someone completely different who actively masquerades as Nael.
Before the events of Final Fantasy XIV, there was a woman named Eula Darnus of House Darnus: a royal family in Garlemald which supported the Empire. She eventually enlisted in the imperial forces to join her older brother Nael van Darnus as a medical specialist. But their time on duty would be short-lived, as their father had soon sent Nael on a mission that was doomed to fail from the start.
When Nael returned from the field mortally wounded, Eula had done all she could to save him with her training and expertise. Though it was all in vain as her brother soon succumbed to his injuries. Enraged with how her poor brother was sent to die for a meaningless cause, Eula took revenge on her father by killing him. She then covered up the incident under the lie that a fatal illness had taken his life.
Once she had her vengeance, Eula set out to establish a proper reputation for her brother. She wanted to ensure he was remembered as a hero instead of an afterthought. To do this, she enlisted once again as a soldier for the Garlean Empire. This time, it would be under the guise of Nael van Darnus, her deceased brother. She quickly rose through the ranks to become a Legatus and was granted the right to lead the VIIth Legion later on.
The now revered Nael van Darnus went on to plan and work on an experimental “Meteor Project” ordered by the Garlean Emperor. The experiment was entirely based around finding a more effective method of subjugating other nations under Garlemald’s rule.
At first, there wasn’t much progress, as this time of testing led to more incidents and setbacks than anything. Nael tried to explain how these results helped advance the project despite these setbacks, but the Emperor instead chose to temporarily halt the project.
She was sent with his legion to the Far East as the Empire was seeking to establish an occupation there. Over this period, Nael had learned of a dark truth regarding Dalamud, one of the planet’s two moons. This information was so vital to him, that she requested to work on Project Meteor once more. Strangely, this alone was enough to convince the Emperor to restart work on the project, as Nael was given full access to his research once again.
Nael van Darnus is as cold as they come. She is shown to be a cruel individual to both her foes and her comrades. Like her fellow Garleans, she is also a supremacist who sees the rest of the world as broken, impure, and uncivilized.
Her only devotion throughout FFXIV lies within finding a means to “cleansing” the world of savage peoples and their pagan beliefs. On top of this, she tends to look down on everyone around her, as she thinks she is the world’s savior. This disregard for her friends and foes makes her all the more vicious in strategy and combat.
Final Fantasy XIV 1.0
- Race: Garlean
- Gender: Female(Masquerades as a male)
- Class: Lancer
- Playable: N/A
- Place of Origin: Garlemald
- First Appearance: 1.0
Nael van Darnus, to put it simply, was a main antagonist of FFXIV before the game’s massive overhaul into 2.0, otherwise known as A Realm Reborn. This gunhalberd-wielding, cool armor-wearing badass stands front and center throughout the original game’s storyline as a Legatus leading the Garlean Empire’s VIIth Legion.
You would encounter him throughout a couple of points in the game, where you’ll learn more and more about his plans to help the Empire secure dominion over Eorzea. Their primary goal was to find a way to stop the summoning of Primals, which have been deemed as a great threat to the world. While his fellow countrymen had some ideas on reaching long-term success, we find out that Nael had plans to achieve that goal on a much grander scale.
Rather than just conquer the land with his army, like any “sane” warmongering general, Nael believed that he could instead harness the power of Meteor- An ancient spell from the long lost Allagan civilization. Casting this would bring down Dalamud like a massive meteor to wipe everyone and everything in Eorzea out. Think of it like Majora’s Mask but much bigger.
Throughout the story of FFXIV 1.0, you were able to see that same moon getting larger and larger over time. As it drew closer to the surface, it began taking on a red hue. This is a detail that I always adore seeing in any game since it shows that the world is changing in real-time regardless of whether or not you’re progressing the story.
This was the work of Nael and the Empire using their technology to draw Dalamud down from the stars. The last portion of the main story is spent helping the Grand Companies of Eorzea chase Nael down, as everyone had sought to prevent Dalamud’s descent and save the land.
Although the more you got in his way, the more it was revealed that he had already won. He claimed she was blessed with power from the moon itself and that the descent reached a point where it could no longer be stopped.
We eventually chase him to one last battle in Rivenroad, a series of floating ruins near Coerthas. Here Nael proves himself to be a formidable foe in combat, as he even developed a means to call down shared of Dalamud as if they were meteors. Though nothing would be enough to stop players from landing the finishing blow.
Nael was sent over the edge, clearly driven insane by what looks to be Dalamud’s corruptive influence. With his last ounce of energy, he devoted his very being to the crimson moon, sacrificing himself for what he believed in.
From then on, Nael remained a memory of the past as the game transitioned to focus on his true goal: Dalamud’s eventual descent and the release of Bahamut. An Elder Primal who was imprisoned within by the ancient Allagan civilization in ages past.
This monstrous beast was free to unleash its wrath upon the world, forever changing the climate and landscape of Eorzea in what was called the Seventh Umbral Calamity. This cataclysm was paired along with the global shutdown of official game servers to make way for FFXIV 2.0: A Realm Reborn…
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Moving on to A Realm Reborn, this is where Nael’s presence fades into that of storied tales. It was because of the White Raven that Bahamut was released from its lunar prison. As a result, the Elder Primal had unleashed a torrent of aether through its attacks. Since aether is the universal life force in FFXIV, this meant that the local geography of Eorzea was forced to undergo several drastic changes.
Many ancient structures and ruins buried underground were suddenly uprooted from their resting places. Coerthas was swept over with a neverending winter. And almost every major region in the land had seen massive crags of crystallized aether growing in numerous areas.
However, there’s one chance where players can learn much more about Nael very briefly outside of the Main Scenario questline- The Binding Coil of Bahamut. A raid series where you help Alisaie Leveilleur with investigating a fallen fragment of Dalamud to solve some mysteries about Bahamut and her grandfather, Louisoix Leveilleur.
Not long into the first of three Coils in the raids, you find a living, breathing Nael van Darnus at one of the entrance checkpoints. This of course can be a quite shocking discovery for veteran players or slight confusion for newcomers like myself. For a dead warlord who perished in battle, he seemed quite healthy by most standards. Maybe it’s all the aether? We are in a giant crystal crater after all.
It turns out that this was not the real Nael van Darnus, but a clone made in the image of Bahamut’s most faithful follower. Taking the altered name of Nael Deus Darnus, he was essentially a bodyguard for Bahamut. No one was to disturb the Elder Primal while it rested and recovered its strength.
Nael Deus warns us that if we want to delve deeper into the Second Coil, we would have to answer to him first. With that same cold demeanor and super cool white armor, he jumps back, further down into the reaches of Dalamud.
Nael Deus won’t be seen again until the very end of the Second Coil of Bahamut, where he waited within a simulation of Rivenroad from 1.0. Like before, this is a moment that certainly tickled the fancy of veteran players, but again left us new players looking around and thinking: “Oh, there’s floating ruins underground… O- Okay then.”
We find Nael Deus standing within the same arena, preparing to do battle once more. Though not before Alisaie knocks his helmet off to reveal a Garlean woman hiding underneath, much to everyone’s surprise.
This was where Nael Deus explains her true identity and how she was based on the original Eula Darnus that was slain years ago. The clone quickly spiraled into a state of madness and transformed into a draconic wyrm-like creature, brandishing her signature gunhalberd as the final boss of the Second Coil.
Once dealt with, Nael Deus returned to a more sedated state, she becomes confused and even condemns herself for falling prey to Bahamut’s influence. She worked so hard to cleanse the world of Primals and their destructive nature only to become a slave to one anyways.
She goes on to have a brief heart-to-heart with Alisaie, concluding with advising the young woman to be ready for what lies deeper within the Coils. Though Nael Deus’ last moments are cut short as she is slain by another clone, this time of Master Louisoix, to silence her. Just before Nael fades away, she sees a vision of Dalamud up above. Despite everything she had endured, she still marvels at how beautiful the red moon is, before finally passing away.
Nael Deus Darnus – Boss Fight Tips and Advice
1st Phase: Nael Deus Darnus
- Try to spread out for when Nael casts Stardust – A Comet will drop onto any random player besides your main tank. Be sure to keep them apart from each other, or they will explode and wipe your party.
- When Nael casts Iron Chariot, her target will be surrounded by a knockback affecting the arena. Either position yourself to avoid getting shoved into the death wall or activate your knockback immunity abilities to avoid it altogether.
2nd Phase: Golems and Comets
- Three golems will spawn as Comets dropped onto your party. Bait their impact to the center so you can safely wait at the outer edge.
- The golems’ colors will swap every 30 seconds. Make sure the tank pulls the green golem since that one does the most damage. These golems must be kept separate, or else they will merge and wipe the party.
- Comets will continue to spawn throughout this phase. Make sure to lure any golem nearby so they can eat the Comet and prevent a wipe. Golems can only eat three Comets max before they wipe your party.
- This hectic process will repeat twice. Be ready to coordinate with your party as you juggle the golems and Comets around.
3rd Phase: Ghost of Meracydia
- When Nael casts Heavensfall, a huge tower will drop in the middle of the arena and deal a knockback to your party. Position yourselves just outside the center to avoid getting crushed or pushed into the death wall. Avoid the incoming yellow AoE’s as necessary.
- Nael will apply a debuff to some players called Garrote Twist. This will leave you susceptible to taking stacks of Garrote from her attacks. Getting nine stacks will instantly kill you.
- An enemy called Ghost of Meracydia will be summoned. Deal with it immediately while avoiding its fireball AoE’s and letting the tank take its high damage output. Killing this enemy will also remove the threat of Garrote for the fight.
Final Phase: Nael and her Dragons
- As you reach the last 45% of Nael’s health, she will begin to fight with enhanced moves from the first phase. Tanks and healers will need to adjust for incoming attacks accordingly.
- Nael will also spawn three dragons to fly around the outside of the arena to pelt your party throughout the last stretch.
- Two of them will attack with Iceball and Fireball, and apply a debuff respective to each element. If you are hit with the same element twice, you will die instantly. The only way to avoid death is to step into the attack of the opposing element. Ice to fire, and Fire to Ice.
- The third dragon will attack with a Chain Lightning AoE, which must be baited away from the party. This attack will inflict high damage to players near the target and apply Paralysis.
- From here on, the fight is over. The last mechanic to deal with is Cauterize– a set of divebomb attacks by Nael’s dragons. Avoid them accordingly and finish off Nael to clear the fight.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers
As of this moment, Nael Van Darnus has only made one more appearance in FFXIV, specifically in the Shadowbringers expansion. Just like in ARR, this is another guest appearance for a side-quest line, nothing pivotal to the Main Scenario storyline.
I’m talking about the Sorrow of Werlyt questline, personally my absolute favorite side-quest chain in the game. It revolves around the now reformed Gaius Van Baelsar and his past in the Empire, specifically when he conquered the western territory of Werlyt and the repercussions of his actions over the years. But the specifics of that are best left for another day.
In this quest, Nael takes prominence in the first Trials duty of the questline, where players can do battle with the Ruby Weapon- An experimental war machina reverse-engineered from the Ultima Weapon by the Empire’s restructured VIIth Legion.
As you battle with the powerful glorified mecha in Cartineau Flats, you’ll eventually reach the second phase in the fight. The Ruby Weapon’s systems begin to fail, giving the pilot no other option to accomplish their assigned mission than to activate a special system called Oversoul.
In a horrifying display, the mainframe of the Ruby Weapon proceeds to take over the mind of the pilot with the simulated mind of Nael Van Darnus. Though the process ends up being too much for the pilot to handle, killing them almost immediately as the simulated Nael takes over the entire Weapon. In a grotesque display of sci-fi horror, a newly “birthed” Nael rises from the Ruby Weapon’s back with gooey white skin and huge draconic wings.
With the war machina gone out of control, the remainder of the battle is spent stopping the abomination from doing any more harm. The copy of Nael even goes so far as to create an aether projection of Dalamud to drop it onto the battlefield.
Though there is nothing more to Nael’s presence here, as the Ruby Weapon is swiftly dealt with. As the wreck is carried off for deconstruction and investigation, this is the last we see or hear of Nael Van Darnus for the moment.
Ruby Weapon – Boss Fight Tips and Advice
- Watch for when the Ruby Weapon casts Ravensclaw – Cracks will form in a star-shaped pattern throughout the arena and spawn some AoE explosions. Dodge as necessary and keep a close eye on the next spell that will be cast shortly after.
- If Liquefaction is cast, stand on top of the cracks as soon as possible. The rest of the arena will turn into quicksand and kill any party member that sinks too far down.
- If Undermine is cast, get away from the cracks before they become a large damaging AoE. Get near the edge of the arena and stand between the longer cracks left by Ravensclaw to avoid taking damage.
- When Helicoclaw is cast, take care to position yourself between the three AoE lines to avoid taking heavy damage.
- When Ruby Weapon casts Ravensflight, it will fly to one side of the arena and set up multiple paths to slash through. Watch the pattern and dodge to the sides of the boss as best you can.
- The phase will end with Optimized Ultima with an extended timer. If this cast completes, your party will wipe. Focus on doing as much damage as possible and you will reach the second phase.
- This phase will begin with a cast of Meteor Project – This is a timer for an attack that will hit all party members. Your party will have to clear later mechanics to survive the attack and continue the fight.
- Ruby Weapon will then cast Negative Personae – Two Raven’s Image enemies will spawn and the boss will become invulnerable. They must be taken out to remove the invulnerability, but your two tanks must keep them separated at all times.
- The last major mechanic is Mark II Magitek Meteor – Four targets will circle the boss and stop to mark where meteors will fall. Four party members must stand on these targets to block the attacks to avoid a total wipe. The remaining party members must destroy the meteors before they kill the players blocking them.
- After this, you have reached the end of the fight. Just like before, be sure to focus entirely on DPS to finish off the Ruby Weapon and clear the encounter.
Question: Was Project Meteor planned by the Emperor of Garlemald, or Nael?
Answer: No. While the Emperor had ordered that the project be given top priority throughout its development, Nael Van Darnus was the one to create and propose it to her superiors. We learn about this from Nael Deus in the Binding Coil of Bahamut raids, after she is defeated in her boss fight.
Question: Can we obtain Nael Van Darnus’s weapon and/or armor?
Answer: Sadly, no. It would have been awesome to equip her halberd and armor for our own Lancer/Dragoon classes, especially since Nael’s class was Lancer back in 1.0. But just like other Garlean generals and NPCs, that gear is unique to her and her alone.
Question: What made Nael decide that dropping a moon onto Eorzea was a good idea?
Answer: It’s hinted in 1.0 that Bahamut was corrupting her mind from within Dalamud. The more she worked on Project Meteor, the more unhinged she became.
There you have it! A full guide on the great Nael Van Darnus, the White Raven. And what a wild ride it’s been! Such a tale of devotion that’s led to some of the most drastic consequences.
The loss of a brother drove a poor soul to masquerade as her dear sibling and build up a reputation of infamy and brutality that helped change the world, for better or worse. And such a legacy was enough to warrant the creation of two different clones for two very different purposes later on.
So, this adds up to there technically being about 4 versions of Nael in the game! I suppose it wouldn’t be Final Fantasy if it wasn’t weird.
I hope you had fun diving into just a morsel of FFXIV’s extensive lore! Especially on what I believe to be one of the most interesting characters we’ve had the pleasure to see so far.