Seat of Sacrifice - the design


Warning! Spoilers ahead for FFXIV: Shadowbringers MSQ. HIGHLY recommend playing it. It’s a phenomenal story!

One of my favourite fights in the game, Seat of Sacrifice has lots of elements that I want to shout about. So here I am! Just know, there's a lot of speculation though I will try to link when able to, a lot of this is off my memory.

The title


Edit: It's revealed that the song refers to the people present at the SoS (Elidibius, WoL/WoD and Emet) but it's still not clear exactly what it is.
“Seat of sacrifice”… I have a feelings the total reasoning behind this title is not yet revealed, as the story relating to it has been planned from ARR-now! It’s clear Elidibius’ all is in this fight – it’s his final stand to achieve his lifelong (millions of years!) goal. The sacrifice likely relates to not just Elidibius’ sacrifices (becoming the heart of Zodiark, defining his life to reviving his people), but the sacrifices Amaurotines made in the final days, and perhaps the WoL. I reckon the seat is defining the seats of the convocation, or perhaps is a reference to the “seat” where the fight takes place (crystal tower).


Elidibius


Hands down my favourite antagonist in FFXIV, and one of my all time faves too across media. It’s interesting to note that Elidibius was a child prodigy, that Emet-Selch described as being “small in stature” (well, he WAS a child)!
You can read the short story I quoted here.
Highly recommend reading all the short stories. They’re supplements to the game; not essential, but it gives an insight and great look into characters’ lives.
It’s interesting to note the Wol, Azem, was a known “divisive” figure (see above), likely causing some rifts with their decision-making as this is evident in Azem getting censured. We also gather from this Hades believed Elidibius to be kind in personality, something one would not normally attribute to him because we’ve never seen him before being the heart.

I want to add, again in the above story Elidibius seems to have actually approved of Azem’s “refreshing perspective”. Wow. So he was fond of our WoL, or at least shows respect to our differing opinons. Time and time again we’re shown Elidibius’ struggle with his immense sense of duty. He has the weight of the whole star on his shoulders, and in this fight he HAS to win…it is unthinkable if he does not. It would mean the end to all – his life, his meaning…he would be lost (referenced throughout the MSQ). These are also reflected in the lyrics “only alive in fighting death’s amber embrace”, though I’ll make lyrics its own section since there’s so much to unpack.

Now, as a recurring antagonist, Elidibius has appeared a lot in the MSQ; I’d like to bring back him taking over Zenos’ body briefly. Elidibius shocked Varis, and caused a massive political rift as well as deterring attacks from the enemy (and as a result of his influence, led Yotsuyu to become Tsukiyomi…). In SHB, he tried to end the WoL and would have succeeded if not for deus ex Estinien. Although, to be fair, our WoL was immobilized due to Graha calling out to us (unknown at that time) to which Elidibius mistakenly sees this as our “mother calling” (referring to Hydaelyn). In SHB, he really goes all out, even pretending to be Ardbert and creating a chain reaction of WoLs. This ties into the next section:

Warrior of Light


…Is a title. It refers to us, the player, but also every other WoL and the ones on other shards (Ardbert etc) too. Elidibius however accumulates countless WoLs in his final battle, calling for their aid throughout the fight. As a result, Elidibius’ design is androgynous – he is a combination of myriad WoLs. Many call him “Mr Final Fantasy” because his design is based of the Final Fantasy 1 logo. There’s even a call back when he LB4s, and the whole fight slows down to add emphasis to the moment.

Limit Break


Elidibius is the only known being to use limit break 4. Until this point, only LB3s have been known. These include meteor (black mage) which summons an entire meteor, so naturally lb4 is insanely powerful and tank lb3 is needed to BARELY survive (without any other mitigation, DPS can expect o live with around 1-2k HP). WoLs are known to use LBs, so it’s perfect that Elidibius would utilize the power of the WoLs he has accumulated to aid him. This is reflected in the fight which focuses around what limit break charge he has stored as he uses it at later mechanics.

Elidibius using "Ultimate Crossover"

Limit mechanic

Description

To the Limit

Charges LB bar(s) depending on the time in the fight. Nice reference to his song, To the Edge.

Limit break 1 (Braver)

Melee LB1. Targets 4 people in normal, or 1 tank, 1 healer and 1 dps in extreme.

Limit break 2 (Radiant Desperado)

Desperado is the aiming DPS LB2. He pulls out 2 crossbows on each healer to be stacked separately.

Limit break 3 (Radiant Meteor)

BLM LB3. 4 dps or 4 t/h have a meteor on them (t/h possibility in extreme only).

Limit break 4 “Ultimate Crossover”

His WoLs cheer him on (just like how when someone in our parties LB, our characters will cheer them on if the animation space is there). Elidibius jumps in the air and plumets his sword into the ground, creating ancient sigils and brilliant lights. Tank LB3 is necessary to survive.

In addition, my favourite LB he does has to be hallowed ground, which is paladin’s invuln move. If he has at least one limit break charge and a WoL uses a limit break, he will instantly cast hallowed ground and will roar “Clad in prayer, I am invincible!”. He gains invulnerability for 10 seconds, just like PLD in-game! In addition, the echo informs you "The Warrior of Light withstands the Limit Break!" See below.


Additional mechanics


It’s interesting to note that the above is not what Elidibius is limited to – he has access to various WoL class skills.

Extra moves include the following:

-Terror Unleashed. This is clearly Dark Knight’s Unleash move, but in here everyone’s HP is reduced to 1 and must be healed to full or they die (much like Living Dead, DRK’s invuln).

- Solemn Confiteor: Aw. Now I feel even more bad. It’s like Paladin’s Confiteor, but sad.

- Imbued Coruscant. He imbues his sword with elements (earth=spread, ice = move, fire = don’t move and an in/out mechanic depending on his sword swirls). Though he combines this mechanic, the mechanic by itself is simply referring to his in/out mech.Coruscant means “brilliant” in French, which goes back to his aesthetic of being a shining saviour.

- Imbued Saber: The above (adds element to weapon). Self-explanatory. Why don’t we have this?

- Absolute Stone 3: WHM stone but amped up. It’s a spread move here.

- The Bitter End: Tankbuster. Yikes – Elidibius I know you will fight to the end, shame this had to fit your demise instead.

- Eldragon Dive: Dragoon’s Dragonfire Dive, but older! Godamn, I love his jump he does. Watch him next time he does it!

- Absolute Holy: Another WHM move. It’s high damage on one person that needs to be shared.

- Sword of Light: “Gleaming steel, light my path!”. Three swords (ext) come down and tear up the arena. Beautiful mechanic – the whole arena goes dark and you can see the godlen glow of the swords clearly.

The spectral spawned WoLs (EXT). Very pretty WoLs. Remember the Heroes’ Gauntlet? Elidibius carries on doing it.
-Spectral Dark Knight/Warrior spawn. They get damage ups if they are not interrupted. Kinda ironic considering our tanks need to stop with it.

-Bard: Flare marker. Shoots and arrow and it comes down – simple.

-Ninja: for some reason in add phase, gives the healers a stack marker. Though he does this later but with a stack on randomer t/h or dps.

Spectral Summoner: Bahamut egis! 4 of them! Cute. They cleave. And need to be baited.

White/black mage: Towers that need to be taken. Yeah, we got to stop meteors coming down. By eating it with our puny bodies. Fun fact: party finder sucks at this mechanic. +4 is the best way to do it.


Phase 3
Quintuplecast: I love this. He takes a while to cast this, bless him. 5 attacks in random order. He must really be trying to outsmart us.


Interesting to note
The WoLs recreate past calamities in this fight. Ninja produces a tsunami (the First), *to be finished later)


To the Edge

Lyric source: from the official blog.
My favourite aspect of Elidibius’ theme is that the lyrics can be seen as a view to both Elidibius and the WoL. I wouldn’t go further as a lot of it is quite personalised to being determined to the point on consumption, but I will talk about this at a later point.
Edit: I can confirm the song refers to the people present at that very point – Elidibius, Azem, Emet and the WoD…which is interesting to note since Azem/WoD are one of the same. This was revealed by FFXIV community member Sicycre.

Perfect title – Elidibus is being pushed to the edge of it all – his entire life’s work is in jeopardy. The lives of countless lost hang on him.

The songs starts with the Shadowbringers main lyrics, which references our WoL (one brings shadow, one brings the light).

“All our splendor bathed black in silence”
Amaurot being no more.
“Our surrender a sombre reverie”
A sad time, but memories of the past are pleasant. Could also mean it’s been so long, Elidibius’ memories of the past are just nostalgia now.
“Slowly drifting down into twilight
Left to sifting through fading memories”
Adding on to the above – memories lost over time, memories remembered and cherished of what was.
“Know our places, for worth is wordless
Evanescent, this writing on the wall”
A bit vague. Perhaps referring to the people of Amaurot.
“Brother, stay this descent to madness
Come and save us. Catch us before we fall”
Powerful! As if Elidibius is crying out to save him, his people. Or perhaps is reminiscing about the past that could’ve been saved? Multiple meanings.


“Riding home x2. Finding hope don’t lose hope”
Main SHB theme. Keep the fight alive and the will to live. See what I mean it can apply to more than Elidibius?
“Like broken angels, wingless, cast from heaven’s gates (Our slumb’ring demons awake) We only fly when falling, falling far from grace (Hell take us, heaven can wait)”
Talking about the fall. The sundering can be a meaning here too. Maybe referencing how they retreated to darker means of bringing Zodiark closer. Ashamed of what he’s done?
“Our lives a message in a bottle cast to sea (Disgraced, untold and unseen)”
And more powerful imagery! Such a lonesome life. Such a shame no one remembers the past, of the amaurotines and beyond.
“Quick to their ends, their candles burn until we’re free”
“In monochrome melodies Our tears are painted red (Bleeding to the edge)”
Title drop! Likely referring to the mass loss of life on their star.
“Deep inside we’re nothing more Than scions and sinners”
They must’ve liked this line as they used it for the name of an album.
“In the rain Do light and darkness fade”
Not quite sure on this one – can refer to Zodiark and Hydaelyn, but also WoL/WoD.
“Yes, time circles endlessly The hand of fate trained ahead (Pointing to the edge)”
Another reference to the title. Time was against them when making the decisions to summon Zodiark.
“All things change, drawn to the flame To rise from the ashes. To begin We first must see the end”
Not giving up hope – not giving up the dream for their lost loved ones/home.
“Rock of ages, we cast the first stone In our cages, we know not what we do Indecision here at the crossroads Recognition, tomorrow’s come too soon”
Indecision at the summoning(s) to prevent the death of their star/people. Not too sure about the rock of ages.
“Follow blindly like lambs in slaughter At the mercy of those who ply the sword”
I resonate with these lines. People leading the masses and their lives being in the hands of them.
“As our song wends dead underwater We’re forgotten for now and evermore”
There’s a big emphasis lamenting the fact that no one remembers.
“Without a compass wand’ring lost in lies of faith (Faith slowly wasting away)”
Lost through the ages and with no knowledge of what was, new gods based off what used to be emerge.
“Only alive in fighting death’s amber embrace (Our hearts beat loud, unafraid)”
Interesting they give the imagery that death as an “amber embrace”, that’s Azem’s colour.
“On Hands and knees we pray to gods we’ve never seen (Come shadow, come follow me)”
Not sure why hands has a capital haha. The gods can allude to primals, or even Hydaelyn and Zodiark and refer to the people of the land. I’m a bit perplexed about the shadow part – is this just flavour for the WoD? I doubt it. Maybe it’s referring to the ascian magics. Again, I don’t think so…Shadows of the former souls?
“The final hour upon us, no more time to breathe”
I find it interesting how it’s specifically stated that there’s no time to breathe. Obviously talking about the deaths experienced from the end of the star. I do wonder if “breathe” is used on purpose as “wends dead underwater” was used earlier, but to our knowledge the only link we have to Amaurot and water is Emet’s recreation of Amaurot. The song “Neath Dark Waters” is The Tempest’s theme too. Pre-chorus and chorus return, but since there’s no new lyrics I’ll talk briefly about how it ends musically. The line “One brings shadow, one brings the light” ends, echoed until it filters out. It’s a very fitting and soothing way to end this chill-yet-majestic final boss theme.