For this week’s Eorzean Evening Post, I wanted to take a look at a bit of Final Fantasy XIV lore that feels like a Japanese horror story. I like a good horror story, so I find this evolving macabre tale fascinating.
This is a spoiler warning, by the way. If you haven’t played the level 50 dungeon, Tam Tara Deepcroft Hard Mode, and you don’t want the story spoiled, go and play it now. It has everything to do with the rumors circulating around the upcoming Deep Dungeon, The Palace of the Dead, which is set to be released in the next few weeks.
The Greif-Stricken Conjurer
Everyone who has played through the FFXIV storyline has met Edda. Whether you remember her or not, she remembers you. You cross paths with Edda and her party before you enter your first dungeon as a fledgling adventurer, somewhere back before you hit level 20.
This party was made up of your standard two DPS (Paiyo and Liavinne), a tank (Avere), and a healer (Edda). They are not having a very good time of it. In fact, Edda is such an inexperienced healer that she had to run back to town to buy potions just to heal her party.
We’ve all been there – that PUG group trying to get through a dungeon with a bad group dynamic. At first glance, it seems the game is poking fun at this sort of failed party experience. If it was only that, Edda and her ragtag group would be easily forgettable.
But the story doesn’t end there. You meet the party at the start of another dungeon a short time later, Tam Tara Deepcroft. Like you, they’re readying themselves to fight the challenges within the dungeon.
However, while you are victorious, their party is not. After completing the dungeon, you find what’s left of the party members berating Edda for her poor healing, and the party disbands. That’s when you discover that whatever happened in Tam Tara had slain their tank, Avere. But unlike the adventurers who are blessed by the Mother Crystal, Avere is dead with no way to revive him.
Now for the creepy part. Stricken with grief, Edda decided to keep Avere’s severed head, and now carries it around with her. Okay?
I remember doing a double take at that scene, wondering what in the world THAT was all about. But getting caught up in my own adventure within Eorzea, the sad story of Edda and her party was overshadowed by threats of Primals and the Empire.
FFXIV didn’t want us to totally forget about Edda, however. Later on, once your character has gained some status and experience, you meet her again. She speaks of Avere’s admiration for your character, and how you’d inspired him to become an adventurer. You also learn that Avere was Edda’s fiancé.
She tells you that she is also inspired to return home and continue her own training. That seems like a fitting, if strange, ending to a sad story… but that’s not how it ends by a long shot.
The Corpse Groom
Tam Tara Deepcroft Hard Mode was a dungeon that was released in patch 2.3. The unlock quest, The Corpse Groom, starts in Ul’dah, where one of Edda’s old party members, Paiyo Reiyo contacts you. He says that he’s received a strange wedding invitation. It’s from none other than Edda, and she intends to marry her (slain!) fiancé, Avere!
Paiyo was going to contact the other DPS from their old party, Liavinne, but learns from you that Liavinne was slain during an attack on the Waking Sands. You travel with him to her grave, only to find it disturbed, and the body missing. Paiyo is certain that Edda has something to do with this, so he heads to Tam Tara to confront the situation.
When you arrive, you find the Hard Mode version of the dungeon much different from the newbie-friendly version you did as a new adventurer. The place is crawling with undead, which seem to be bodies experimented upon, some even intended to be the “Best Man” for this creepy wedding. You battle various demons and reanimated body parts, as well as the corpse of Liavinne as a sub-boss. You also can read entries from Edda’s journal as you progress through the dungeon, just to get an idea of how disturbed she really has become.
Finally, when you reach the last chamber, you find Edda. She summons what appears to be Avere’s severed head in demon form. Cue the final boss battle, where you must slay Avere’s remains while Edda is working to complete their wedding ritual.
Upon victory, demon Avere dies and Edda cries out in anguish. She backs away from the party, and topples backwards over the edge of the summoning circle, her robes catching flame from the ring of ceremonial candles. But as she falls, her expression of horror changes. Her face twists into a strange, unnerving smile. A smile that tells you this isn’t over yet.
And it’s not.
The Ghost of Edda
After you complete the dungeon, you speak with Paiyo (whom you rescued along the way) about the whole disturbing experience. He’s quite ready to give up adventuring for good, and no one can really blame him. He expresses sorrow at seeing what became of his former party members, however, something happens just before the conversation ends.
Glancing past your character, he sees something. Something terrifying. It looks like Edda.
This part of the cutscene is like something out of a Japanese horror flick. I just adore it!
Edda isn’t dead. But what has she become?
After that patch, players who finished Tam Tara Deepcroft Hard Mode started to report that they had seen the ghost of Edda. She apparently has a less than 1% chance of appearing at night in any of the three main cities. There have been screenshots and videos of this phenomenon.
So what does this all mean?
The Palace of the Dead
I’m pretty hyped about the upcoming patch 3.35 and the new Deep Dungeon, Palace of the Dead. It sounds like a great repeatable bit of content, and something I will really enjoy. However, what’s even better for lore junkies like myself… is the rumor that Edda will return within this dungeon!
During Live Letters, we saw short video clips teasing the Palace. At the end, you can see the figure of a woman dressed in a dark (wedding?) dress. On her shoulder appears to be a winged head-shaped creature that looks a whole lot like the Avere boss from Tam Tara Hard Mode.
This instantly got fans speculating – is this Edda? Though Yoshi-P won’t confirm directly when asked, he did state that the story of the Deep Dungeon will make more sense if you have completed Tam Tara Hard Mode. That pretty much says it all.
Also, the image from the newest developer blog gives us a closer look at the possible mini-Avere. And the lower part of the woman’s face sure looks a lot like Edda.
The most incredible thing out of all of this, to me, is the evolving storyline. Edda is a character we met back when we first started the game. For some of us, this was years ago. We watched her struggle and fail. We watched her downfall in Tam Tara. And now, much later, she returns as a true potential enemy.
I love that the writers didn’t forget about Edda. I love that there’s a creepy ghost story “hidden” within Final Fantasy XIV. I love that those who piece the lore together are rewarded by watching a quiet legend unfold within Eorzea.
I hope we see more of Edda and her creepy story. Don’t disappoint me, Deep Dungeon!