Plot twists can break or make a story. They either function as a mechanism to put that boost on the tracks and send the narrative to unreachable heights or derail it, turning the outcome of said twist into a convoluted and disordered mess.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the plot of Yda/Lyse Hext. Stormblood was my least favorite expansion, and while it did have some incredible highlights, it wasn’t remarkable as the others. With that said, I believe most of my distaste for it is due to not really feeling attached to the central characters of the Ala Mhigan resistance, including Lyse Hext.
If you’re into or past Stormblood, you know what I’m talking about. If not, or if by any chance you committed the heresy of skipping the cutscenes but now want to recap what happened, I hope this Lyse FFXIV guide can shed some light on you regarding the most not-mysterious mystery that was Lyse’s identity.
- Full Name: Lyse Hext.
- First Appearance: Lyse has been with us since the beginning of our adventure, mainly if you choose to start in Gridania. However, she’s under the mantle of Yda.
- Race: Hyur.
- Gender: Female.
- Playable Character: No.
- Job: She’s a Pugilist / Monk. You can see her martial arts skills in the Stormblood cinematic.
- Special Powers: After Lyse reveals her identity, we discover that she is not actually an Archon, and that title lies with her sister. However, Lyse is an accomplished pugilist who eventually becomes a great leader for the Resistance.
- Characteristics: Lyse is a refugee from Ala Mhigo. She spent much of her life disguised as her older sister, Yda. After Papalymo’s death, she decided to carve out a path of her own and became a crucial player in the liberation of Ala Mhigo from the clutches of the Garlean Empire.
Addressing as Yda or Lyse
For two expansions, Lyse acted as Yda, wearing her clothing and mimicking her personality. Technically, our adventurer never met the actual Yda in-game, besides an Echo vision from the 1.0 version of Final Fantasy.
With that said, and to avoid confusion, whenever I mention Yda in italic, it means I’m talking about Lyse with her facade on and not her sister. I know this may sound more confusing than just calling her Lyse altogether. Still, I believe that covering her as Yda according to the chronology of events makes it easier to understand what is happening.
Lyse is a Hyur Highlander with blond hair and blue eyes. Like most characters in Final Fantasy XIV – or JRPGs in general – she has the physical build of a Dior model. Initially, she wears the clothing of her sister, Yda. A white jacket, a brown shirt, fingerless gloves, and reddish greave that, in my fashion opinion, don’t fit with her outfit.
Her main feature was the turban with a mask that hid her identity, opening up the possibility that this secrecy was being cooked for a later reveal. Her Archon tattoo, though fakely created by Papalymo, made its presence on her neck. Portraying Yda, Lyse added aetheric googles to get a little more over-the-top.
After revealing her true identity as Lyse, Tataru sewed a new outfit for her. A white cropped blouse, white shorts, and a red jacket that she adorned beautifully with her greaves. To honor Yda in the offensive to restore Ala Mhigo, Lyse wore a red dress from her sister.
I feel that keeping the ruse of impersonating her sister was like digging a hole. Lyse was so deep in it that she no longer knew if she was true to herself or just a shadow of Yda. However, the sisters’ personalities seem similar. Both are energetic, aren’t fond of studying, and prefer to solve everything using their fists.
Lyse is exceptionally outspoken, which gives her the impression of being insensitive. Papalymo is usually the mediator between Lyse’s true intentions and the words that came out of her mouth, translating the woman’s true feelings. When he was gone, however, her frankness turned too brash and even rude at some point. She took down a notch when the release of Ala Mhigo seemed possible.
Because she skipped scholarship, I usually identified with Lyse. She was always the last person to understand some complex subject explained in the game and the first to question the other Scions. That usually prompted a scold by Papalymo, who claimed he had to repeat himself because she never paid attention to his teachings.
Lyse Three Attires Glamour
Someone must really love Lyse’s outfit design because she has her three sets available to purchase on the Final Fantasy XIV Online Store. Yda’s Attire set is just what you expect. The Scion Liberator Attire is the red jacket Lyse wears early on after revealing herself. The Lyse’s Leadership Attire is that exuberant stylish red dress that only a hero could boast.
However, suppose you don’t want to spend real money to do your glamour. In that case, there are some budget-friendly alternatives for the Yda and the Leadership attire. Unfortunately, the Scion Liberator set has no gears that visually resemble the original outfit.
Yda’s Alternative Glamour
You will want to grab the Sipahi Turban head, a drop from either Amdapor Keep or The Wanderer’s Palace dungeon. For the chest piece, your go-to is the Woolen Shirt, a level 40 equipment quickly bought from most Disciple of War gear vendors in the initial city-states.
A Fingerless Goatskin Gloves will do the trick for the hands, bought from the same vendors as the chest. For the shorts, the Hempen Pantalettes is a nice alternative. It’s the female Hyur starting equipment, but you can buy it from some NPCs in the city-states. Maisenta on New Gridania (X:11.5 Y:11.2) for instance.
And, of course, the most striking element of the outfit is the boots. The Gordian Sabatons of Striking dyed red is the best selection. You can get the piece in the Alexander raid, either by trading 6 Gordian Manifesto – Page 2 or by opening a Gordian Foot Gear Coffer, dropped in Alexander – Cuff of the Father or Arm of the Father (Savage), with a Monk.
Red Dress Alternative Glamour
The alternative glamour is not as chic as the original dress, but it’s certainly charming. For it, you will need Thavnarian Bustier, and Thavnarian Armlets painted red. Both are crafted by a Weaver level 60 after reading the Master Weaver III book.
Assuming you already have the thread and needle in your Weaver’s hands, knit yourself a Sailor Brais for legs, a level 50 recipe, and finish the outfit with a Maple Clog, a level 1 Carpenter recipe for the feet. Just dye the pieces accordingly, and you will look pretty similar to the leader of the Ala Mhigan Resistance without spending a penny.
Before the Realm was Reborn
In Final Fantasy 1.0, Lyse was already disguised as Yda and working together with Papalymo in the greenish plains of Gridania. The mission of the two Circle members was to observe the movement of the Garlean Empire in Gyr Abania and to ensure that if imperial soldiers advanced through the Black Shroud, they would warn the Wood Wailers to prevent the assault.
Of course, Yda and Papalymo’s entrance was not the smoothest as their airship crashed, which caught our adventurer’s attention. The two acted as an entry point to the main story of adventurers who started their journey in Gridania until finally, all the members of the Circle of Knowing joined together to face Gaius van Baelsar. The confrontation resulted in a heartbreaking defeat against the legatus.
Finally, Yda and Papalymo collaborated by praying to The Twelve to help Louisoix seal Bahamut. They survived the Calamity and became part of the new organization, the Scions of the Seventh Dawn.
Under the Guise of Yda
In A Realm Reborn, Yda and Papalymo resume the task of watching the Black Shroud, serving as the Scions’ initial contact for new adventurers starting out in the city-state of Gridania. Even if you are a legacy player – someone who played during Final Fantasy XIV version 1.0 – the Scions don’t recognize you at first.
When our adventurer shows signs of Echo, Yda and Papalymo see fit to direct us to Minfilia to take advantage of this power. The geographical barriers are broken, allowing us to travel all over Eorzea. When I created my character, I didn’t start in Gridania but instead in Ul’dah. My love for Dragoons was still undiscovered at the time, and I opted for a Gladiator. Therefore, I never got to know what that introductory phase of the game was like alongside Yda.
Yda is a side character in Final Fantasy XIV like most Scions. Helping out on occasion, giving her opinion on the situation, and being present whenever Eorzea is in peril. Something interesting about most Scions meetings is that Yda was usually the odd one, not following everyone’s brainstorming wisdom. Considering that an Archon should be at least literate in the basics, those scenes foreshadowed how she actually was Lyse, someone who never studied at Sharlayan.
The pugilist accompanies us when trying to prevent the Sylph from summoning the primal Ramuh since the Beast Tribe’s residence is in Black Shroud, a place familiar to her and Papalymo. Later, when Livia sas Junius attacks the Waking Sands, Yda participates in rescuing the captured members. Her fight against Livia is a marvel to watch and one of the few moments she shines in A Realm Reborn.
When Moenbryda joins the Scions, I felt a narrative dissonance. I’ve already discussed this in the Moenbryda’s article, but I reiterate it here. Yda treats the woman as an old acquaintance and receives the same friendly response, which makes me frown.
We know that Papalymo told all Scions to share his charade and treat Lyse as Yda. But did he do that to all the acquaintances of the late Yda? Is deliberately fake-acting the pseudo-resurrection of a departer friend a prerequisite for everyone who was to join the Scions of Seventh Dawn and previously knew Yda? Or did the writers not think of Yda’s identity until further down the road, and it had to be slightly retconned in the future?
You guys know I love Final Fantasy XIV and believe its story is the current magnum opus of Square Enix. But even kings make mistakes. I can’t overlook when they really stretch out something just to fill a possible plothole.
Sorry for the digression. After the Bloody Banquet incident, Yda and Papalymo tag together with some dual-tech skills and hold the Crystal Braves while the Warrior of Light escapes.
Reuniting with the Resistance
We spend most of Heavensward unaware of Yda’s whereabouts. We find her only in the second half of the expansion’s post-quests. She and Papalymo tell us they escaped from Ul’dah with the help of the Ala Mhigan Resistance and are trying to pay off the debt by helping the group.
It’s interesting to note how Yda becomes very committed and even a bit obsessed with supporting the Resistance, leaving Papalymo uncomfortable with this fixation. Perhaps Square was already laying the groundwork to introduce Yda as a notable member of Ala Mhigo and an essential piece of their liberation. Incidentally, Yda being the daughter of Curtis Hext, a prominent Resistance leader, prompted Conrad, the commander, to treat her favorably.
When the dust had settled in Heavensward, and the Dragonsong War ended, our focus returned to Eorzea. The Scions detected massive crystal movement in an extremist group, the Masks, led by the enigmatic Griffin. Throughout his speeches, the man rallied Resistance members to fight Garlemard and reclaim Ala Mhigo. It’s at one of these speeches that we reencounter Yda and Papalymo and share what we knew about these crystal carriers.
While we investigate this further, Yda meets with Gundobald, another Resistance leader, who is happy but surprised to see her alive. For the first time, Yda doesn’t recognize an old acquaintance of her sister’s and walks away, leaving the man confused and Papalymo regretting giving her the mask of her sister. It was the first discreet hint that Yda might not be Yda.
When M’naago, another Resistance leader (why so many leaders?!), appears injured, she claims that Griffin is waging an offensive on Baelsar’s Wall. The man dresses his members in Grand Company uniforms to give the impression that it is the Eorzean Alliance declaring war against Garlemald. To prevent this outrage from escalating into direct warfare against the empire, Warrior of Light and Scions climb the Wall to stop Griffin.
Griffin is revealed to be Ilberd, the traitor to the Crystal Braves. Wielding the Eyes of Nidhogg, delivered by the Ascian Elidibus, he sacrifices himself and several members of the Resistance to become a primal, Shinryu. Devoid of options to confront this tremendous draconic form, Papalymo uses the same magic as his mentor, Louisoix, much to the chagrin of Yda, who knew what fate awaited her friend.
Papalymo tells Yda to walk her own path before conjuring the seal and having her life drain away soon after. It was not as shocking death as Haurchefant’s or Moenbryda’s, but it still got me emotional. When Shinryu started to break the seal, Nero proposed using Omega to confront the primal. Yda accompanied the Warrior of Light and the engineer in awakening the ancient weapon. The plan worked, and Shinryu was defeated. With the seal destroyed, Papalymo’s remaining aether disappeared, and with it, so did the glamour of the Archon brand around Yda’s neck.
After Papalymo’s death, his companion’s last words resonate with Yda, who reveals to be Lyse, the younger sister of the deceased Archon. However, I never felt this was an impactful moment. After all, we never met the real Yda. How would I react to learning of the death of an unknown person? The revelation didn’t have the weight I think it was supposed to.
The blasé reaction of the Scions further reinforced my lack of interest. Y’shtola claimed that everyone knew about Lyse’s cover, but Papalymo convinced them to accept the deed for the sake of the pugilist and her coping mechanism. After all, her heart was in the right place, and she wanted to continue doing good for everyone. Despite how unhealthy it was to live half her life as if she were someone else.
Either way, Lyse was determined to save Ala Mhigo and continue her family’s fight to make the country something her sister and father always dreamed of. Her personality changed slightly, shifting from someone lightheaded and carefree to more stern and impulsive.
Throughout Stormblood, Lyse mostly tags along with us, much like Alphinaud in the primordials, but with less impact. She seems to evolve as a character by osmosis from watching the Warrior of Light posing as a hero but never has an impactful moment by herself. In fact, one of her few highlights is when she kicks Gyodo for tricking us and carries him away like a sack of old potatoes.
Operation: Liberation of Ala Mhigo
Lyse returns to the Resistance camp in Gyr Abania with her new identity and introduces herself to Commander Kemp. The man forgives her deception. Along with the Warrior of Light, Lyse is tasked with recruiting new members throughout Gyr Abania. But many of the villages we pass through feel demoralized to stand up to Garlemald’s oppression after Griffin’s ruse. Lyse isn’t kicked out because she has a getaway card called “Curtis Hext’s daughter.”
Throughout the journey, we encounter the Crania Lupi, an imperial regiment of Ala Mhigans recruits, aka turncoats. A villager was paying the tributum to the regiment but was smacked down due to his lateness. In other words, Crania Lupis is a mob group composed of their countrymen that charges taxes for our enemies. As fate would have it, the group commander is Fordola, the child Yda sacrificed her life to save. Oh boy.
Many locals are still afraid to join the Resistance. What to do? A shitload of quests! Nothing better than getting hands-on and helping with deliveries, killing helpless monsters, collecting herbs, and anything that is underqualified for the Warrior of Light. It’s the formula of an MMORPG, and there is no getting away from it. However, all our efforts paid off when some locals finally decided to join the Resistance. Sure, we had a few heroic deeds in between that drove the decision, but the sheer amount of Sidequests outweighed the Main Quest.
While on a surveillance mission with Pippin, Alphinaud, and Alisaie, Rhalgr’s Reach is attacked. Fordola is leading the attack. She kills Meffrid, instigating Lyse into a brawl with the imperial freelancer. We see a brilliant scene where Lyse shows why she is in Final Fantasy XIV for: punching and kicking things first, asking second. Lo and behold, an imposing figure appears eager to fight Lyse. It’s Zenos.
The viceroy barely struggles in their combat and trounces her. Before Zenos can strike his coup de grâce, Y’shtola appears and protects her with a magic shield. Zenos quickly destroys the protection, and his sword passes through it, nastily slashing Y’shtola. The first time, I gasped. I could have sworn Y’shtola died just like that. Luckily, I was wrong.
After the Warrior of Light arrives in Rhalgr’s Reach and puts the house in order by defeating all the Garleans, we search for our comrades. We find Lyse, Y’shotla, and Kemp entrapped by the Imperials. We face Fordola, and it is a delight to see her interjections and shocks in the face of our power. At these times, the protagonism of our silent Warrior of Light speaks louder. Krile and Alphinaud rush to use a Cure on Kemp and Y’shtola, while Zenos emerges looking for some entertainment in a candid exchange of fists.
The battle against Zenos is incredible. It’s the first time we are totally overwhelmed by an opponent in such a humiliating way. A human, moreover. After the Warrior of Light’s utter defeat, the Imperials retreat while Rhalgr’s Reach must recover from an extreme loss.
To get back on our feet and rebuild the Resistance, the Scions devise a strategic ploy. Call the assistance of the kingdom of Doma, which is also under imperial clutches. Lyse accompanies the Warrior of Light to Othard, but that’s it. She serves more as a chaperone than a determining factor in unfolding events. In any case, we discover a Doma and their liberators as hopeless as Ala Mhigo. Since even the heir to the throne, Lord Hien, is missing, nothing remains.
You know the drill. A lot of quests helping anyone we met on the way in a different zone until we meet Hien, convince him to get back, ignite the spark of revolution, liberate Doma Castle, and shift Zenos’ attention from Gyr Abania to Othard.
From Fake Scion to Commander of the Resistance
Returning to Rhalgr’s Reach, we start Operation Rhalgr’s Beacon, which means gradually dominating each regional imperial facility paving the way to Ala Mhigo. Without Zenos and his colossal strength, our only barrier is Fordola. With Lyse’s lead, we managed to overpower and take Castellum Velodyna, pushing Fordola to withdraw. Several assaults by the Resistance were successful, and this forced Fordola’s hand. She fired a cannon at the main tower of Imperatoris, killing both Resistance and Empire members. Among the members was Commander Kemp, who survived long enough to make one of the worst decisions of the game: passing the leadership of the Resistance to the most naive newcomer in the entire organization.
Without sufficient merit, resume, or commendations, Lyse became the new Resistance commander. Some claim that she “learned” and was inspired to this leadership position by observing Hien’s determination to assist Doma’s liberation. I still think that was quite the stretch, but anyway. Raubahn shares Curtis Hext’s creed with Lyse, hoping she will stand tall and lead strong. “Liberty or Death.” Determined, Lyse wears a red dress from her late sister Yda and begins the final offensive to free Ala Mhigo.
Lyse has separated the offensive into two fronts. One covert infiltration and one frontal assault. Of course, in the end, our Warrior of Light carries everything on his back and defeats the boss Zenos, resulting in the liberation of the city-state Ala Mhigo at last and ending Stormblood’s main story. Lyse resigns from the Scions of Seventh Dawn, determined to help her homeland recover.
Amidst some politicking, such as the appointment of Raubahn as overall commander of Ala Mhigo, the shift to a republic, and Fordola’s help in facing primals, the Garlean Empire refuses the Eorzean Alliance’s diplomatic request and makes another push against Ala Mhigo. The battle takes place in Ghimlyt and is a war-worthy scenario. Lyse tries to stop Zenos, controlled by Elidibus but fails. In the nick of time, Warrior of Light appears, and it’s payback time. Our hero passes out due to the Crystal Exarch summoning but is saved by a well-timely Estinien.
Lyse After the Scions
After Lyse left the Scions, she didn’t have much more relevance to the plot. In Shadowbringers, she wasn’t summoned to The First, so her engagement was reduced to the appearance of Fandaniel’s mysterious tower in Gyr Abania and a minor feature in Monk’s Job Quests.
In Endwalker, as we face the Telephoroi scattered across Hydaelyn, Lyse was part of Ilsabard’s contingent leading the Ala Mhigan forces. She assisted in infiltrating the Tower of Babil, clearing the way for our Warrior of Light to shine their light.
For now, these were very occasional appearances and nothing too defining. I feel it was more to show that Lyse is still present when needed, but her absence isn’t missed. I cannot answer about the subsequent expansions, but considering that we will be exploring new lands – or even the void – I don’t imagine we will return to Ala Mhigo or need Lyse’s help.
Question: Is Lyse, Yda?
Answer: Yes and no. Yda is, in reality, Lyse’s older sister that died before the events of the game. To cope with her death and honor her wishes, Lyse assumes her sister’s identity, wearing her mask and acting like her until Papalymo’s demise.
Question: How old is Lyse?
Answer: Lyse’s age is not directly disclosed in the game, but it’s assumed that at the events of A Realm Reborn, she was 25 years old. In Final Fantasy 1.0, Ala Mhigo had already succumbed to Garlean by 15 years. A Realm Reborn fast-forwarded five years in the future, which gives us 20 years since the fall of Ala Mhigo. Since Lyse was five years old when all this happened, the bill fits.
Question: Is Lyse a Scion?
Answer: Technically, she never was. The Scions of the Seventh Dawn were born from merging the Circle of Knowing and the Path of the Twelve. Her sister, Yda, was part of the Circle of Knowing and automatically became a Scion. Lyse never was a member of any group. When she assumed her sister’s identity, she continued to be part of the group even though everyone knew her true identity. However, at the end of Storbmlood, she officially resigns from her pseudo-occupation as a Scion.
Yda/Lyse was the most straightforward Scion there, and I identified with her when she felt like a fish out of water in the schoolboy discussion. Almost every group has a member who prioritizes fists over intellect to solve issues.
However, as she abandoned her guise as Yda and took over as Lyse, she changed drastically. Furthermore, I felt that the writers wanted to make her relevant too quickly for the plot, giving a crucial leadership position to someone with no historical importance. I like Lyse. I really do. But I feel she was a case of nepotism in a government enterprise, overstepping the hierarchy to fulfill a narrative agenda.
Anyway, it would be interesting to see her return in future expansions. Since Square Enix usually revives the sidelined cast with Role Quests, she could participate in one of these and even present us more of her or Yda’s past, filling in some of the gaps that this double life left in the plot.