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Fray is an NPC instrumental to the Dark Knight job quest storyline. He is shrouded in mystery and intrigue, and his seemingly dark and violent nature is at odds with what we know of our player character.
Dark Knight is one of Final Fantasy XIV’s signature jobs. The image of a warrior wielding a tremendously large greatsword is almost synonymous with Final Fantasy (and Japanese media in general).
Of all the job quest storylines, Dark Knight is the one that stands out the most to me.
It gives us a glance at Eorzea (and, indeed, our own character) from a significantly darker perspective than usual.
This quest line alludes to the abuse of young women by those in power – particularly religious power, and the dark, violent urges we all feel within ourselves.
Note: Spoilers for the FFXIV Dark Knight job quest storyline follow below – proceed with caution.
Fray is initially presented to us as a corpse bearing a strange Soul Crystal.
When we touch it, we black out, awakening to Fray alive and healthy.
Fray encourages us to listen to the darkness in our soul, using the flames of hatred and suffering to serve and protect the innocent.
Fray essentially acts as our mentor throughout the Dark Knight storyline. But his true purpose is always shrouded in mystery.
As the story progresses, cracks begin to show in his already questionable personality.
Fray becomes unhappy with how we’re treated by the people we save. Nobody is grateful for the deeds the Warrior of Light does – nobody offers appropriate recognition or rewards.
Fray is at once pushing us towards and pulling us away from the path of the Dark Knight.
He seems to relish in bloodshed, and all the signs seem to point to him being some sort of hidden antagonist.
But as it turns out, that’s quite far from the truth.
You see, Fray is actually the greatest hero to ever walk Eorzea.
People celebrate his name and his deeds for miles around.
Why, you ask?
I’m just going to go ahead and stick another spoiler warning here: if you haven’t played this yet and you think you might like to play through the Dark Knight storyline yourself, I’d really recommend it. It’s great.
OK, so why is Fray celebrated so fondly?
Because Fray was you all along.
The original Fray is dead. But when we touched the Soul Crystal it gave form to our desires for a mentor, for someone to justify and strengthen the darkness and hatred within.
This means that, in essence, all of Fray’s slow descent into misery and madness is a reflection of the Warrior of Light’s own thoughts as they walk this dark path.
It’s a pretty heavy subject for a Final Fantasy game, let alone an MMO – so using Fray as a vehicle for it is actually pretty clever.
Fray becomes Esteem, a dark reflection of the Warrior of Light, and we have to best this dark self in combat to gain control of our new dark powers.
But that’s not the end of Fray – he is, after all, our black mirror. And such a deep darkness can’t be permanently controlled.
So What Happens To Fray Next?
Fray re-emerges a couple of times throughout the Dark Knight storyline moving forwards.
The antagonist in Stormblood is Myste, another construct of the Warrior of Light’s troubled psyche.
As a fun bit of trivia, Myste is Fray’s surname – so we’re just looking at two halves of the same coin here.
Myste essentially represents the Warrior of Light’s emotional turmoil as a result of all the death and pain left in their wake.
Fray reappears to fight Myste alongside the Warrior of Light, eventually reconciling these two shattered halves and making them whole again.
Fray/Esteem appears one last time at the end of the Shadowbringers quest line, merging with the Warrior of Light’s soul once and for all in relative peace.
Is this really the last of Fray?
From a practical standpoint, it’s quite likely.
There aren’t going to be any new job quest storylines moving forward, and he was exclusive to the Dark Knight.
How Do I Become A Dark Knight?
Dark Knight was added in the Heavensward expansion, so you’ll need to clear a few prerequisites before taking up your greatsword.
First of all, you must have cleared the entirety of A Realm Reborn – including the patch quests.
You’ll also need to have reached the main city of the Heavensward expansion, Ishgard. Luckily this is basically the first thing you do in the expansion.
From there, head to an NPC named simply “Ishgardian Citizen” in The Pillars.
I’ve shown his location on the map below:
You’ll be able to acquire a quest called “Our End” from him, and this will lead you to the Dark Knight unlock.
Now it’s important to know that the Dark Knight starts from level thirty.
The Heavensward quest line is level 50+.
So if you’re planning on maining this class, you’re going to end up set back twenty levels before you can continue the storyline!