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His Declaration of Protection to Serah came before formally meeting her, but it's justified in that he was specifically tasked with finding Serah by Lightning. He may have protected her immediately after meeting, but it was part of his job at the time.
It's played with for Yeul. Although he already knew of his Yeul from the Dying World 700 AF, he was unaware of the existence (at first) of other Yeuls along the timeline. Technically they are different Yeuls, but Noel treats them all the same, even after her reincarnations are revealed. This is best exemplified with Noel's protective reaction for the Yeul in Academia 400AF, even though he knew she wasn't his Yeul.
Dual Wielding: He wields two swords and all the swords he finds come in pairs.
Failure Knight: The Dulcinea Effect he displays upon meeting Serah is explained when we find out the people he wanted to protect before, including his Yeul, all died and he was powerless to stop it. This is also the source of his antagonism towards Snow.
Fish out of Temporal Water: He comes from a Pulse that is centuries further ahead in time; 700 AF to be precise. Then he's dropped into 3 AF.
Genre Savvy: He sees right through Caius's attempts to provoke him in their final battle, when he claimed that he killed Lightning and that she would never wake again. Unfortunately, he wasn't entirely lying...
She-Fu: Another rare male example with the first being Tidus, he does a lot of backflips with his attacks.
Summon to Hand: He has this ability, which is what allows him to perform the Meteor Javelin skill.
Survivor Guilt: Carries this around, being the last human and all, although he hides it well.
Sticks to the Back: Downplayed. There is a small, almost impossible-to-see hook that his swords attach to on his back, near his right shoulder.
Thou Shalt Not Kill: Coming from a time where he was one of only three human beings left in the world, he refuses to kill any human life. He takes it quite seriously too; see 13-2 Fridge for more on that.
The Watson: His introduction in the prologue is so Lightning can explain a few things and give him a mission. Then he immediately inverts it, as he's the one explaining time travel stuff to Serah.
"Yeah, that's right! That prophecy? It has to be true!"
500 years later, Noel is suspected to be involved in a string of serial killings that have occurred in the city of Luxerion by the Children of Etro. Now known as the Shadow Hunter, he seeks to kill Lightning to avert a disaster he has seen in a prophecy.Tropes present only in Lightning Returns:
Bolivian Army Ending: Shows up at the end of the game in Luxerion's cathedral. Initially the Secutors think he's on their side, but he cuts them down and opens a path for Lightning to get into the basement as he stays to fight two huge monsters alone. He most likely died (given how he didn't reach Lightning at the altar), but his soul returned after Lightning fought Bhunivelze.
Blow You Away: More-so than in the previous game, as wind magic is his only magic.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Absolutely thrashes the Children of Etro before they can commit another murder alongside Lightning.
The Corruption: Early trailers & magazine articles hinted that Noel had been corrupted by Chaos since the events of XIII-2. However, this turned out not to be the case.
Earn Your Happy Ending: Not only does he get to survive in the end, but he also gets to stay friends with Caius on good terms, and succeeds in getting his Yeul with no hitches.
Enemy Mine: Assists Lightning in killing off the Children of Etro right before they can murder another victim.
Tragic Dream: He dreams of being reunited with Yeul, not helped by the prophecy he sees in the Oracle Drive. After you beat him, he elects to destroy the Drive and give up on his dream... but then, Yeul's spirit appears to tell him he made the right choice and that they will meet again.
True Companions: A flashback shows he was this with Hope & Snow during the 500 year interval since the second game.
Unwanted False Faith: Noel may accept being the Shadow Hunter, but he doesn't like being worshipped by fanatics like the Children of Etro.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: He's trying to kill Lightning because the prophecy in the Oracle Drive makes it look like she destroys the world as God's Savior.
"Time for some moogle magic. Kupo"
Voiced by Sumire Morohoshi in Japanese and Ariel Winter and Bailey Gambertoglio (Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII) in English.
A mysterious little creature, he makes himself useful by transforming into a weapon for Serah. No one knows much about this strange animal who calls himself her guardian. People were led to believe that moogles don't exist, and those who meet him for the first time assume he is merely a stuffed animal. Although shy at first, once he opens up, he is quite the chatterbox, teaching Serah and Noel all about the world and its history.
The Chew Toy: He seems to be Genre Savvy enough to recognise his status as such, particularly in the Paradox Endings.
Disproportionate Reward: He swore fealty to Lightning because he lost to her... In a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. While this seems dispropotionate, you learn the full story in fragments. They explain that ever since Mog fell into Valhalla, he's been going with the 'weak obey the strong' rule there, but he's been rejected and abandoned multiple times by many powerful opponents, who didn't want such a weak creature. When he ran into Lightning, and lost his game, he expected to be abandoned again... but she told him to come with her. It was this kindness that made him swear fealty to Lightning.
One of the young Academy researchers. Bright and cheerful, she is a popular figure within the institute and the leader in Paradox studies. She is also a smart and canny scientist, and she has become Hope’s trusted assistant.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She's very friendly when talking with Serah and Noel, even helping them with guard trouble in her introductory scene. Yet she's been planning to stuff them into a Lotus-Eater Machine after believing their actions will make her Ret Gone.
Buried Alive: She had a recurring nightmare that she died in the Purge this way. It's implied this is how she died in the unaltered timeline.
Custom Uniform of Sexy: All other female Academy members wear an off the shoulder dress similar to the shirt of the male uniform. Alyssa, however, wears a short sleeved top and short shorts.
Deus Est Machina: The Proto Fal'cie Adam she created carved itself a god-like role, similar to its predecessors.
Earn Your Happy Ending: While not explicitly shown on-screen in Lightning Returns, Alyssa does appear as a Canvas of Prayers requestee, as a soul inside the chaos. Given the way the game ends, it can be assumed that Alyssa's soul is one of the ones Vanille and Fang save, and she gets reborn in the new world.
The Mole: You wonder just how long she's been working against Serah and Noel. She was the one who proposed the Proto fal'Cie Project, and it's implied by Hope that the rebellion of its AI was no mere accident.
Ret Gone:She believes that her original fate was to die in the Purge, and that if Noel and Serah fix the timeline, then she will disappear. She may be justified in this: she is conspicuously absent in the 500AF Academia timeline when Hope is prominent, and if you speak to the Academy scientists in 4XX AF Academia, they've forgotten all but her name.
In Lightning Returns, completing a Canvas of Prayers request from an 'A.Z.' reveals that her soul still exists inside the chaos, and still remembers everything, even though she's been forgotten.
Sexy Secretary: She's Hope's, and so good at her job that he brought her to the future with him. He hired her for a paper she wrote about paradoxes.
Shorttank: Has something of this as her physical design.
Teen Genius: She's an Academy researcher at the age of 19.
Traitor Shot: She is given one that Mog witnesses once Serah and Noel unknowningly enter a sabotaged time gate.
Walking Spoiler: If the above blanked lines didn't tip you off, she's far from the nice girl introduced at the beginning of the game.
Big Bad: Described by the producers as the most powerful Big Bad in the history of the series. Considering he's immortal, knows everything that will happen in the past, present, and future, controls an army of monster Mooks, wields the most powerful spells and Summon Magic in the series, finally transforms into three godlike Bahumuts which you have to fight simultaneously, and lastly succeeds in his Evil Plan to wipe out Time itself... they're right.
Blessed with Suck: Stated as much by Yeul herself. He can't die. He's lived for all of recorded history, at the very least. Every 10-15 years, he has to see the girl he loves and has sworn to protect die, and he can't do anything about it.
Yeul: He has been gifted with the curse of eternity.
Blood Knight: He enjoys his occasional battles too much. See the above quote.
Death Seeker: Not so much because he wants to die, but because he feels that his death will save Yeul. When Noel proves incapable of killing him, he moves on to Plan D; forcing Noel's dagger through his heart.
Despair Event Horizon: He crosses it and comes out the other side with an Evil Plan — if Yeul keeps dying because of seeing the future and changes to the timeline, he'll just destroy time to stop it.
Determinator: He's been working on his Evil Plan for a long time. We don't know exactly how long, but "all of recorded history" is a ballpark guess.
Evil Plan: He has three of them, all with the same goal of opening the Door of Souls (AKA Etro's Gate) to cause a Time Crash. The first is to do the direct thing and slay Etro in Valhalla, which fails because he can't overcome Lightning. His second plan is to crash Hope's new Cocoon into the old one and thereby murder the entire human race in one fell swoop, much like Barthandelus's plan in the original; however, Serah and Noel are able to overcome him and he is forced to flee to Valhalla. His final plan is to have Noel destroy the Heart of Chaos. This is the plan that works.
Evil Weapon: Less evil, more the result of some interesting design decisions, but the end result is the same. That massive, sinister-looking sword of his is the control mechanism for Bahamut Eidolith, the source of his immortality and, consequently, his insanity.
Expy: Every gaming outlet on the planet has compared the sword to the Soul Edge at some point because of its nature as a BFS, the fact that it has an Evil Eye, gives off some sinisterdark powers, and has a semi-organic appearance to it. The only difference is that his sword isn't sentient.
Feather Motif: He shares this with Lightning (his are, of course, black, to contrast with her white).
Gravity Master: Outside of summoning comets, his favorite spell is Gravity; he spams it in every fight.
Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With Yeul. To a lesser extent with Serah and Lightning, considering that Lightning is between 5'7" and 5'10" herself and she barely reaches his shoulder when they're standing back to back.
Lightning disgustedly remarks, during the Final Boss Preview upon the opening of the game in Valhalla, that Caius is going easy on her and Noel, and that he's only testing them. She's right.
This comes more into play with Serah and Noel since he uses few of the mind-boggling powers that he used to fight Lightning against them. In fact, whereas Lightning could give as good as she got... both Serah and Noel were shown to be 100% helpless when fighting him. Caius even condescendingly touches Serah's face when using time voodoo to show how helpless she is... before subsequently impaling her through the back.
He trains Noel as a student, and then repeatedly tries to get Noel to kill him and accept his power.
Morphic Resonance: Look closely at Jet Bahamut. On the left side of its head are a pair of white feathery things and something that looks like a string of beads, mirroring Caius' hair feathers and beads in his human form.
Noel calls him out for his actions in-universe; since he's gone from fighting for Etro to battling against her because of Yeul's constant deaths.
In a more meta-example of an inversion, it appears that Caius is just your typical Final FantasyOmnicidal Maniac during the prologue sequence but, as time goes by, it's later revealed that he's an Anti-Villain with a sympathetic motive and a morally grey end for his means.
Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Caius's Jet Bahamut form has four regular arms, in addition to the standard draconic wings from the shoulder.
Multiple-Choice Past: His surname. Either it's a shortening of "Caius of the Ballads" or it's a name he took from a fallen man out of respect; both are used in canon. Although, considering the Timey-Wimey Ball in play in this game, it's entirely possible that both are true.
Named Weapons: The sword is called "Ragnarok", after the creature from the first game.
Not So Stoic: He's shown crying once, and goes batshit crazy during the final battle.
Only Known by Their Nickname: His real first name is Caius, but Ballad is not his real last name. He took on the name after defeating a warrior who nearly killed him as a show of respect. Alternately, he was originally known by the epithet of "Caius of the Ballads", meaning that his great deeds were the subject of many songs, which then became Caius Ballad. The canon disagrees with itself on this.
To a lesser extent, although he was born on Gran Pulse and raised from before Cocoon's fall, he never uses the Pulsian naming fashion (Hometown-Clan-Given Name, i.e. Paddra Nsu-Yeul or Oerba Yun Fang), instead opting for the Cocoonite form (Given Name-Surname). When replaying Yaschas Massif 1X AF, Hope does mention reading scriptures of "Paddra Ballad-Caius", but it is never used again.
Overprotective Dad: Taken to its logical extreme concerning Yeul, whom he fosters a Protectorate. Problem: Surrogate daughter keeps dying. Solution: Time for some killing.
Papa Wolf: Seriously, do not mess with Yeul when he's around. That includes you, universe and you too, Etro.
Parental Substitute: The the best way to describe his... complicated relationship with Yeul. Someone has to raise her every time she's reborn.
Poisonous Friend: Most Yeuls would rather just live peacefully with the time they have. He... disagrees. This is because 'the time they have' is ten to fifteen years, and then they are reincarnated and do it all over again.
Punctuated Pounding: During the cutscene on Valhalla's beach, before he transforms into Jet Bahamut.
I've known many Yeuls. Though they shared the same soul, each one was unique! A Yeul who dreamed of travel! A Yeul who loved to sing! A Yeul who loved to collect flowers...
Purple Is Powerful: From his armor to his sword to his aura; it's all purple and all deadly.
Reality-Breaking Paradox: When he dies, his death causes the goddess of death to die, which unleashes the chaos she was holding back, which causes the world to reset to Valhalla, which means everything is both dead and not dead at the same time.
Recurring Boss: You must fight either him or one of his transformations no less than eight times in the main storyline alone — if you're after 100% Completion, you'll have to fight him an additional three times.
Scaled Up: He can transform into "Chaos Bahamut" to fight the heroes. In the final battle, he transforms into Jet Bahamut and summons Amber and Garnet Bahamut. You have to fight them at the same time.
Slouch of Villainy: Does so — on Etro's throne, no less! — in both occasions where he breaks the fourth wall to talk to the players: the secret ending and the scene when the opening cinematics are replayed.
Sticks to the Back: His sword has no sheath, possibly because he couldn't find one big enough.
Sword Beam: One of the peskier attacks he uses when you fight him.
Thanatos Gambit: He carries Etro's heart in his body, as shown in the normal ending. This means that in her weakened state, his life is tied to Etro's — kill him, and she dies, leaving the chaos of Valhalla to overflow into the real world... which would allow him to create the timeless world he wanted. His plan to destroy Cocoon, if it failed to open the Door of Souls, was supposed get Noel angry enough to murder him.
Time Master: He can jump back and forth through time and, because of Yeul, he knows every prophecy.
Utopia Justifies the Means: His guiding philosophy. The problem is that there's plenty of room for debate on whether what he's creating will truly be a utopia (the Lotus-Eater Machine element is creepy), and he refuses to listen to any of it.
Villainous Breakdown: Frequently, courtesy of the many deaths of Yeul — in fact, his despair and apathy is often the only thing keeping Serah and Noel alive. He gets a particularly big one in the ending, when Noel points out whyYeul keeps choosing to reincarnate, despite knowing she'll just die again: to be with Caius. He is openly devastated at the realisation, but it changes nothing in the end, as he continues with his goal of destroying Etro regardless.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: One of the very rare Final Fantasy villains who has a sympathetic end to their evil means and doesn't just want to kill everybody for kicks. He's prepared to kill millions of people and/or the Goddess Etro in order that the countless billions of Yeuls (and everyone else, though that's very much a secondary concern) might live forever. The good news is that given what happens to him, the dead might not stay dead once reality collapses. The bad news is that eternal life isn't quite what it's cracked up to be.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: He watched his surrogate daughter die over and over again in the prime of her life because of a god-given superpower that he could do nothing about. It's hard not to feel sympathy for him even as he's working to destroy the timeline.
Worthy Opponent: Considers Lightning to be this and says so in the prologue. "The goddess chose well..."
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: No matter where Serah and Noel jump in the Historia Crux, they don't find anyone else with purple hair.
"I saw death. If I were to live, it would bring contradiction to... to the timeline."
Voiced by Mariya Ise in Japanese and Amber Hood in English.
A young girl seen in the company of Caius. She seems more friendly towards Noel and Serah than he is. If her name is any indication, she was the author of some of the Analects from the first game. States that Serah is like her, as the latter's psychic dreams would indicate.
A Child Shall Lead Them: Long ago, she was a theocratic ruler. The ruin that Hope investigates? That was her palace.
Apocalypse Maiden: Lightning Returns reveals that she is responsible for pretty much everything that goes wrong from XIII-2 onwards. She forced immortality onto Caius so that she would never lose him, eventually driving him insane with grief. The combined despair of the infinite reincarnations of Yeul create the Unseen Chaos, a natural disaster that destroys the world entirely. And because no singular Yeul can control the Hive Mind of the Unseen Chaos, there is nothing any of them can do to stop it: if one Yeul attempts to do something, another Yeul (from a different reincarnation with a different personality) will override her. Lightning is... less than happy with this revelation.
Lightning:So... thisall began because you couldn't let go of Caius? The Chaos, and all its power, grew out of your need!
Blessed with Suck: Like Serah, she was blessed by Etro with the Goddesses' eyes. Also like her, she is killed by her visions.
Born-Again Immortality: Sort of. While she is reborn every time she dies, each Yeul has a distinct personality.
Cassandra Truth: She warns our heroes that facing Caius for the final time won't go well. If you want to finish the game, you have no choice but to ignore her.
Cleavage Window: A very small one, that while showing much more stomach than chest, still qualifies.
Creepy Child: Every version that is not the sweet little girl Yeul, including the various 'Black Mist' versions seen in Snow and Lightning's DLCs. Thanks to various sources and LR, all of these versions are either illusions (such as before Caius attacks and stabs Serah), manifestations that simply took her appearance, or the spirits of dead Yeuls intermixed with Chaos itself.
Go Out with a Smile: Often, usually if she notices the timeline changes (that kill her) are for the better.
Green Eyes: They make her seem cold and distant. Noel finds that hot while Serah thinks she looks angelic with them.
Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: The tiny girl to Caius's huge guy; the height difference contributes to the Caius-as-Father-Figure idea.
Humanoid Abomination: As revealed in Lightning Returns, the accumulation of her other selves, which continuously are reborn and die, became this, becoming the Unseen Chaos that is destroying the world. See Apocalypse Maiden for details.
Legacy Character: Through reincarnation. Ironically, there is a "real" Yeul. It's the Yeul that ends up in Valhalla after dying. She chooses to become her own Legacy Character in order to be with Caius again — and because living in Valhalla is not actually "living".
The Lost Lenore: For Noel. "His" Yeul, the one he grew up with and fell in love with, dies pre-story and wrecks him emotionally. Everytime he sees another Yeul, it's like re-opening a wound.
Mysterious Waif: A fragile young girl who appears before Serah and Noel in many different time periods and dies each time. Unlike other examples, she does not serve as The Herald.
One True Love: The collective incarnations of Yeul are all in love with Caius and keep him anchored to them through the Chaos, preventing him from dying even though he no longer has the Heart of Chaos — that is, all Yeuls save for the final incarnation, who loves Noel instead.
Really 700 Years Old: Fragments After, a compilation of tying up loose ends within XIII-2, states that the original Yeul was the blood of Etro after the latter spilled it to get the attention of Bhunivelze. Simply put, Yeul was the first human.
Reincarnation: When one Yeul dies, another identical girl named Yeul is born in the Farseer tribe — although she will have a unique personality.
Seer: Her prophecies were mentioned in many, many datacores in Final Fantasy XIII. One of them flat out spells out the plot for XIII-2.
Waif Prophet: Unlike Serah, she truly has been a prophet to a civlization.
Wise Beyond Their Years: A teenager with the grace and wisdom of an old age. This is because she is an old sage, sort of.
Cloud Cuckoolander: Aside from her odd costume, she never seems to grasp the seriousness of the current situation, almost always staying peppy and cheerful even when a giant, rampaging robot is on the loose. In Academia 400 AF, however, she is openly distraught by the events going on around her, which makes the situation all the more jarring. She also notes in Academia 500AF how determined Noel and Serah look, as if they were getting ready for a big battle ahead. This is effectively her way of queuing the player of the memo "You are in the Final Dungeon, prepare yourself."
No Hero Discount: She claims she has "every day low prices" and informs you that there's no haggling. However, there are fragment skills that lower the price and raise the sell price.
Shapeshifting: It's implied in-game that she is the Sexier Alter Ego of Dajh's Chocobo chick. This is later confirmed in Sazh's DLC. As it turns out, Chocolina got caught up in the distortion with Sazh and Dajh and wished to help others like Sazh always helped her, so Etro gave her a human body and the ability to be everywhere at once.
The keeper of the Coliseum, where he handles the downloadable content fights and gives a background story to each enemy. Originally a knight of Valhalla serving the goddess Etro, he will test Serah and Noel's strength upon defeating Snow in the introductory coliseum fight.
An Axe to Grind: Wields a massive one in his right hand, and it's his primary weapon for the boss fight.
Asskicking Equals Authority/Authority Equals Asskicking: Mog's records state that Valfodr is one of Valhalla's most powerful warriors, and, having been granted the title of "Arbiter of Time", he's able to round up characters from different dimensions and put them in battle against each other.
Badass: He's a veteran knight serving Etro, and as such, is Lightning's senior in that respect. Naturally, his Bonus Boss fight is one of the toughest in the game, making Caius' Final Boss gauntlet look downright tame.
Badass Baritone: Both his voice actors provide him with a deep, sinister voice that's put to good use in his boss battle.
Blood Knight: He seems to enjoy the battles taking place in the coliseum, and often teases Serah and Noel with taunts of cowardice should the player refuse to fight in one of the DLC battles. He's also ecstatic when the party wins against him, saying it's been a very long time since the last time he stood grinning after a defeat.
Bonus Boss: After Snow's fight in "Perpetual Battlefield", he takes the center stage and fights you right away as a superboss. Each subsequent fight against him raises his power and changes his abilities, up until level 99, where his HP rivals Vercingetorix's.
Breaking Speech: Gives a pretty epic one as soon as Noel and Serah defeat Snow in "Perpetual Battlefield".
Damage-Sponge Boss: He has the highest HP count in the game, topping at 15,516,000 in his level 99 incarnation. He's also able to heal himself (something which is emphasized upon with the summoned Cactuaramas at level 45), and has very high resistances.
Flunky Boss: In every iteration of his fight save for level 99, he summons various rare monsters, of which you can capture their crystals if you're lucky with the drop rate. From the Golden Chocobos to the Cactuaramas and Chichus, they'll often pose as much of a threat as himself. He conspicuously ditches this ability in the ultimate difficulty setting, instead bombarding you with increasingly heavy attacks.
Glowing Eyes of Doom: Flashes yellow ones in the level 70 and 99 versions once you bring his health down to half.
Graceful Loser: He takes no offence should Serah and Noel defeat him, even going as far as saying he thoroughly enjoyed the battle.
(When first defeating him): "Travelers of time, your skills at arms is unrivaled. You have earned the right to declare yourselves as the ultimate victors. Go now. May the light of your spirits guide the progress of time, and give rise to a new future."
(When beating his level 99 version): "Incredible! The Arbiter of Time, bested by mere mortals? Long has it been since I stood thus, grinning on the precipice of oblivion!"
Guardian Entity: Watches over the Coliseum, and wanted Serah and Noel to leave once they entered his domain. He does not take it well when they come back in the downloadable content, prompting him to challenge them.
The Grim Reaper: Has elements of this, being "a servant of the goddess of death", with a long polearm weapon, though not a scythe.
Large And In Charge: He absolutely towers over Serah and Noel at roughly twice the duo's height.
Large Ham: He's very bombastic when describing the bosses. His voice is also thundering when he fights the heroes.
Lightning Bruiser: He executes multiples attacks in quick succession, notably "-ga" spells followed by either his axe swings or Arm Cannon. On top of those, he'll start casting even more powerful spells like Gagnrath and Ultima at higher levels.
Recurring Boss: An odd variant, since all battles happen in the coliseum. He is fought at different levels, starting with level 1 right after you defeat Snow. Subsequent fights with him raise his level to 15, 45, 70, and 99, with increasing difficulty each time.
The Social Darwinist: While's not a villain per se, the law of Valhalla states that the "the weak serve the strong", and he certainly adheres to that, smiting down any enemy no matter how weak they are. The only exception he made was with Mog, rejecting him instead of taking him under his wing with the excuse that he's "too weak".
Turns Red: On his level 70 and 99 versions, he will start using Gagnrath and Quasar, both of which will deal heavy damage to your party unless they're in the Tortoise paradigm, with the latter also causing Wound damage.
Vader Breath: His breath seems to echo throughout the entire coliseum chamber.