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Note: This article contains spoilers for FFXIV’s storyline & lore.
The Rejoining is a disastrous event in FFXIV that occurs whenever one of the world’s reflections is absorbed back into the Source. The reflections of the Source are also sometimes referred to as “shards” of the Source.
Each Rejoining that has occurred is referred to in-game as an “Umbral Calamity”. These events are usually brought about by the Ascians: mysterious hooded figures that serve as the game’s main antagonists for most of the main storyline.
As you may already know, FFXIV takes place in a world called Hydaelyn – a star that shares its name with a giant sentient crystal that’s the physical embodiment the star’s will.
In a long-forgotten history, Hydaelyn shackled the entity of chaos known as Zodiark by sundering the world into the Source and 13 reflections.
As servants of Zodiark, the Ascians aim to resurrect him with each Rejoining.
How Does the Rejoining Work?
When one of the shards becomes overwhelmingly abundant with one element, its aether starts to slowly flow to the Source.
As this continues over time, the barrier between the Source and one of its shards begins to weaken.
Eventually, the barrier will break. And the shard’s aether will rush into the Source, wiping out life on the reflection, and bringing about a calamity on the Source.
The resulting calamity on the Source is usually tied to the element with which the joining shard was overabundant in – like fierce tempests or unrelenting thunderstorms.
The Ascians discovered this process by accident after tipping the Thirteenth’s aetheric balance towards Darkness, resulting in its destruction.
The Thirteenth reflection then became known as “The Void”, populated with dark beings called “voidsent”.
With each Calamity marking a new era in Hydaelyn’s history, there appears to be at least some records for most of the past calamities.
The period of time immediately following an Umbral Calamity is known as an “Umbral Era”, while the relative time of peace and stability that follows is referred to as “Astral Era”.
There have been 7 calamities prior to the game’s start in A Realm Reborn, with an 8th calamity occurring in an alternate timeline that kickstarts the events of Shadowbringers.
First Umbral Calamity
The very first Calamity was associated with the element of wind, with the Source being engulfed in terrible hurricanes and tornadoes. This was alluded to in the tale of Good King Moggle Mog XII and corroborated by accounts of the moogles of Moghome.
The First Umbral Calamity rejoined the Fifth reflection to the Source.
Second Umbral Calamity
The second Calamity was one of Lightning.
During the age of the First Astral Era, mankind learned to forge tools.
This brought about a more modern time, but with it came the wages of war. As mountains were stripped of its resources to produce more tools and weapons, volcanoes produced thick black smoke that covered the sky.
This dark canopy produced lightning that terrorized the land non-stop for a year. People started praying to be saved from this calamity and gave way to the earliest forms of magic.
The Second Umbral Calamity rejoined the Twelfth reflection to the Source.
Third Umbral Calamity
Fire was the element that brought forth the Third Umbral Calamity. In the Second Astral Era, the people of the star started to become more religious with the emergence of magic.
As time went on during this era, the churches established from these religions became corrupt. Holy Wars were waged along with witch hunts and genocide.
This resulted in the sun growing large, scorching the land, and causing wildfires.
It is believed that the deserts of Thanalan were once grasslands that fell victim to this calamity.
The Third Umbral Calamity rejoined the Second shard to the Source.
Fourth Umbral Calamity
The Third Astral Era saw the rise and fall of the Allagan Empire.
It was through this civilization that the Fourth Umbral Calamity, the Calamity of Earth, was brought forth.
During the Allagan Empire’s decline, the scientist Amon sought to restore his nation’s former glory by reviving its first emperor. To do this, he would devise a plan that involved the Crystal Tower, the artificial moon Dalamud, and a pact with the Voidsent.
As Amon’s plans failed, the energies being transferred to the Crystal Tower caused the earth to shake.
The earthquake was powerful enough to topple mountains and end the Allagan Empire for good.
The Fourth Umbral Calamity rejoined the Third shard to the Source.
Fifth Umbral Calamity
Not much is known about the Fifth Calamity (as of this writing) or the Astral Era that came before it.
However, it is known that this Calamity was associated with ice as it caused an age of Endless Frost.
The Fifth Umbral Calamity rejoined the Sixth reflection with the Source.
Sixth Umbral Calamity
The Sixth Umbral Calamity, or Calamity of Water, marked the end of the War of the Magi during the Fifth Astral Era. Believed to be a direct result of the war, the land of Eorzea suffered of massive flood.
Survivors of this calamity fled to the mountains, and their descendants would later establish the settlements we see around Eorzea today.
The Sixth Umbral Calamity rejoined the Tenth shard with the Source.
Seventh Umbral Calamity
Since six calamities had already come to pass, each one aspected with a different element, the people of the Sixth Astral Era believed that they were living in a safer time.
However, there was a prophecy of a Seventh calamity which most scholars dismissed.
During this era, the Garlean Empire sought to conquer Eorzea. Much like the Allagans, they looked to use the moon Dalamud to strengthen their military might.
As Dalamud descended upon the land during the Battle of Carteneau, the primal Bahamut was unleashed from within.
Bahamut wrought havoc upon the battlefield, killing both Garleans and Eorzeans alike.
Although Archon Louisoix was able to seal Bahamut once again before it could completely ravage the land, its destruction was enough to be considered the Seventh Umbral Calamity. Though it was not aspected to any element, it did rejoin the Seventh shard unto the Source.
The events of A Realm Reborn begin five years after the Seventh Calamity.