FFXIV: Is Y’shtola Blind (And How Did It Happen?)

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Y’shtola is technically blind on a physical level, but has the ability to “see” magically. She loses her sight due to story events in A Realm Reborn. It’s further explained in the game’s Heavensward expansion, and we can look into it more here.

Y’shtola Rhul is one of Final Fantasy XIV’s most recognizable characters.

Her appearance has undergone a lot of change across the span of the game’s storyline, but most noticeably her eyes have taken on a pale hue.

Y'shtola closeup character screenshot / FFXIV
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If (like me) you flew through XIV basically hammering the “skip cutscene” button, you may be wondering why this is.

After all, her blindness doesn’t seem to impede her in any way. She’s still a fierce combatant and staunch ally, and plays an incredibly active role in the game’s ongoing storyline.

Note: we’re going to go into more spoiler territory from here on out, so if you’ve yet to experience this part of the story yourself, be warned!


How Did Y’shtola Lose Her Sight?

Y’shtola is one of the player’s greatest allies, and one of the few characters to carry over from the retired legacy version of Final Fantasy XIV.

She is cultured, proud, and extremely capable – a leading member of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn.

Y’shtola is also an extremely accomplished spellcaster. But her pride and confidence in herself can be her downfall.

In fact, magic is the reason she lost her sight.

In the events that lead to players adventuring through Ishgard in the Heavensward expansion, Y’shtola and Thancred Waters (another fan favorite character) are left in a perilous situation.

The Scions of the Seventh Dawn are betrayed from within and framed for the attempted murder of the Sultana of Ul’dah, Nanamo Ul Namo.

Y’shtola and Thancred ensure the player character can get to safety, but end up trapped themselves.

Y'shtola closeup smiling screenshot at night / FFXIV
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Desperate times call for desperate measures. And Y’shtola resorts to the casting of an ancient forbidden spell called Flow to get her and Thancred to safety.

Flow works by reducing physical bodies to aether and transporting them along the Lifestream to another location – an incredibly difficult and unpredictable process.

Thancred emerges from the Lifestream (completely naked, as we discover in an amusing cutscene) in the Dravanian Forelands.

But for all intents and purposes, Y’shtola completely disappears.

She essentially becomes trapped within the Lifestream, unable to exit without external assistance. Thanks to the efforts of Urianger, the Scions discover her fate.

Unless Y’shtola is rescued from the Lifestream, her aetherial energy will dissipate and she’ll be lost forever.

Y’shtola is pulled from the Lifestream after a quest chain that involves enlisting elemental aid, finding her sister, and watching a lot of cutscenes.

She’s mostly intact. But due to her time spent not really existing physically, she’s lost her vision.

Y'shtola saved from Lifestream / FFXIV Screenshot
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Considering the alternative in both scenarios, that’s a relatively small price to pay – and it doesn’t seem to hold her back very much.

Y’shtola gets right back to business helping the Warrior of Light and her Scion comrades push that Main Scenario Questline forwards.


How Does Y’shtola See If She’s Physically Blind?

As mentioned before, Y’shtola is a prolific spellcaster.

Her time in the Lifestream may have robbed her of her physical sight, but she’s now capable of “seeing” via magic.

What she sees as a result of this is unknown.

But it’s likely to take a toll on her in the long run.

Her time in the Lifestream amplifies her ability to use magic at the cost of her physical sight.

We’re introduced to Y’shtola’s old teacher, Master Matoya, not long after rescuing her from the Lifestream. Matoya is the one who notes (privately) that Y’shtola’s new method of seeing the world is burning her aether, and shortening her lifespan as a result.

So is Y’shtola’s magical vision going to be the end of her?

I doubt it, to be honest.

She’s practically the face of the game these days, well-beloved by fans and the inhabitants of Eorzea alike.

I think it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever see Y’shtola suffer as a result of her magical vision.

It may just be hand-waved away entirely, or some other magical McGuffin will appear to save the day. Y’shtola’s just too damn integral to the game’s ongoing storyline now.

She’s involved in most of the big events, and she has some of the most well-loved bits of dialogue in the game (“Try again when you have become a man.” Damn.)

Y'shtola 'Try Again When You Have Become A Man' FFXIV Screenshot
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Y’shtola may have paid the price for her arrogance in casting Flow. But it hasn’t ever held her back.

In fact, she’s only become more powerful and capable as a result.

And with Endwalker we’re likely to see Y’shtola reach even greater heights (if the trailers are any indication!)

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