Meet the Cast of Characters in Final Fantasy IV

Final Fantasy IV concept art

Meet the Cast of Characters in Final Fantasy IV

Especially in story-heavy RPGs, the plot and cast of characters are just as, if not more, important than the gameplay. The release of Final Fantasy IV in 1991 marks a significant turning point for the franchise as it both enhances the series’ traditional gameplay through the introduction of the Active-Time Battle (ATB) System and elevates the art of storytelling in games to heights that were simply not possible before its arrival. And, of course, without the excellent script and one of the series’ best protagonists, antagonists, and cast of supporting characters, the impact of its phenomenal narrative would fall flat. The story of Final Fantasy IV is arguably one of the greatest in the entire franchise, and supporting it is one of the most iconic and varied casts of any game in the series.

Protagonist Cecil Harvey is the ultimate tragic hero, a powerful soldier whose skill with a blade and ability to inspire loyalty among his troops lands him as the first-in-command of a corrupt king seeking power. Trying to reconcile his sense of duty with his own moral compass leads him to question the king’s actions, setting him off on a true “Hero’s Journey” of discovery, loss, and redemption. Joining him are his best friend and occasional enemy Kain Highwind, his lover the kind and nurturing Rosa, the powerful young mage Rydia, and a slew of other memorable and useful characters that each bring something different to the table when it comes to Final Fantasy IV‘s story and gameplay.


Final Fantasy IV concept artwork

Cecil is the hero of Final Fantasy IV and the first character players meet after starting a new game, watching him lead the Red Wings into Mysidia. Right from the game’s outset, Cecil makes it clear that he doesn’t wish to use his power and skill for evil, which eventually leads him to betray the kingdom of Baron in search of his path. Along the way, a new nefarious force that controls Baron from behind the scenes, the evil sorcerer Golbez, becomes Cecil’s new focus as he gathers a group of companions to help him prevent Golbez from collecting the world’s crystals. Once Cecil realizes he will never be able to stop Golbez using his abilities as a Dark Knight, his journey takes him to Mount Ordeals where he will face the trial of becoming a Paladin. 

This part of the game is a major narrative turning point, seeing Cecil reborn in the image of the light that speaks to him on Mount Ordeals (which, unknown to Cecil, is the spirit of his father Klu-ya). Essentially, the game begins again in earnest just as Cecil transforms into a Paladin, his soul now free of the guilt of his past wrongdoings and ready to challenge the evil of Golbez. Players eventually learn that Cecil and Golbez are brothers and that their father was a member of a race calling themselves the Lunarians, and the final steps of his journey will see him travel to the moon and back in search of justice and forgiveness for his enemy-turned-brother.


Final Fantasy IV concept artwork

Kain Highwind, like Cecil, is a high-ranking soldier within the Kingdom of Baron. While Cecil’s upbringing in Baron takes him down the path of becoming a Dark Knight and leading the Red Wings, Kain’s specialty is that of a Dragoon. Both Kain and Cecil are friends from childhood, both growing up in Baron, but Kain’s legacy comes as part of his parentage, whereas Cecil is an orphan. Kain also happens to share Cecil’s sense of duty and loyalty, which leads him to come to Cecil’s defense when the King of Baron strips him of his command of the Red Wings. Rather than relieve Kain of his command of Baron’s Dragoon Knights, the King sends Kain with Cecil on their mission to the Village of Mist.

Following the duo’s mission to Mist they become separated, and the next time Kain shows up he is acting in the service of the evil Golbez, aiding him in his mission to collect all of the world’s crystals. He even goes so far as to kidnap Cecil’s lover Rosa, whom Kain also happens to harbor a not-so-secret affection for. Kain’s brainwashing goes away and then comes back at some incredibly inopportune times, but after felling the Giant of Babel and realizing that Cecil and Golbez are brothers, the spell is forever broken, leading Kain to join back up with Cecil for the final adventure to the Moon. The guilt over his manipulation and betrayal of his friends leads him to take a self-imposed journey of discovery and isolation following the game’s events.


Final Fantasy IV concept artwork

Rosa is the kingdom of Baron’s lead White Mage, making her one of the most powerful healers in the world of Final Fantasy IV. Though she and Cecil share a relationship with one another, her magic ability does little to calm the turmoil in his heart, which Cecil believes will prevent them from ever being able to truly share a life together. Cecil’s decision to shed the trappings of being a Dark Knight and become a Paladin comes, at least partially, as a result of Rosa’s kidnapping at the hands of Kain and Golbez, and her presence as a traditional “damsel in distress” serves as an important foil for the first half of the game’s plot.

However, once the party reaches the underground, Rosa continually grows to display her importance in both the game’s combat and story. She is Cecil’s motivator and his foundation, helping him to push on when things seem their darkest and it appears that no hope is left. Additionally, her potency in combat is increasingly apparent after reaching level 40 and obtaining some powerful arrows, gaining both the game’s most powerful White Magic spells and being capable of dealing substantial melee damage with her bow. She comes full circle from her prior position as a damsel in distress when, before the game’s final dungeon, she adamantly refuses to not join Cecil regardless of the inherent danger.


Final Fantasy IV concept artwork

Every Final Fantasy game since Final Fantasy II includes its own version of the iconic “Cid” character archetype, and Final Fantasy IV‘s Cid Pollendina is one of the all-time greats. As the first Cid that players get to directly control in battle, he’s an excellent temporary party member whose enemy scanning ability and powerful melee strikes using hammers make him indispensible in some of the game’s earlier tough dungeons (such as the Tower of Zot). Beyond his utility in gameplay, though, Cid is an important mentor and ally to the party as a whole. He is Baron’s lead engineer and the sole designer of the world’s airships, and his mechanical genius lands him in prison when he refuses to make more weapons of destruction for the king (secretly dead and replaced by the Fiend Caignazzo).


Final Fantasy IV concept artwork

Players meet Rydia when she is just a child and the sole survivor of the massacre of the Village of Mist. Unknown to Kain and Cecil is the fact that the package they carry to Mist (under orders from the King of Baron) contains Bomb enemies meant to destroy the village. While making their way there, Cecil and Kain mistakenly slay Rydia’s mother, who protects the village as her Eidolon the Mist Dragon. The realization that the two warriors from Baron are responsible for killing her mother causes Rydia to go berserk, unleashing the Eidolon Titan and causing a massive earthquake that separates Kain and Cecil. With nowhere else to go, Cecil takes Rydia under his care and even defends her from a battalion of soldiers tracking them down.

Rydia’s apparent death at the hands of Leviathan is actually just a disappearance which sees her enter the Land of Eidolons and hone her skills. Due to the different flow of time within the land of the summon monsters, Rydia ages at a rapid rate, eventually returning to the party as a young adult even though only weeks have passed since she fell into the ocean. She quickly becomes one of the most powerful sorceresses in the world, and accompanies Cecil to see the adventure all the way through to its conclusion on the Moon.


Final Fantasy IV concept artwork

When players meet Tellah he is a cantankerous old sage who refuses to let Cecil pass through the Waterfall Cave until he learns that Cecil needs the Sand Ruby to save Rosa. Realizing that Cecil’s power as a Dark Knight will come in handy in helping him reach the kingdom of Damcyan, Tellah agrees to let Cecil and Rydia pass as long as he can accompany them on their journey. Tellah’s trip to Damcyan comes about as a result of his daughter eloping with the kingdom’s young prince. When the party arrives in Damcyan, the Red Wings strike to steal their crystal, leaving Tellah’s daughter dead and the kingdom in ruins.

Tellah leaves the party and vows to find the legendary Meteor spell, knowing that using it will probably kill him in the process. His journey takes him to Mount Ordeals, where he links back up with Cecil as he undergoes his trial to become a Paladin. At the same time Cecil is reborn as a Paladin, Tellah remembers all of his spells, including Meteor. After finally confronting Golbez in the Tower of Zot, Tellah willingly sacrifices himself to use Metor, breaking the mind control spell over Kain and giving the party the chance they need to rescue Rosa. Though he comes off as a cranky old man, Tellah’s sage-like wisdom and selflessness allow the party to live to see another day.


Final Fantasy IV concept artwork

Edward is the prince of Damcyan and its sole heir, but his avoidance of his duties as a member of the royal family leads him to take up a disguise as a common bard and travel the world. During these travels, Edward meets a young woman named Anna and the two elope, prompting them to run back to Damcyan when her father Tellah disapproves of the union. Edward is distraught after Anna dies and inconsolable until Cecil and Rydia slap some sense into him, both literally and figuratively. Following his loss, Edward resolves to become brave and fight alongside Cecil to stop others from experiencing loss at the hands of Golbez. During Cecil and his companions fight against the Dark Elf, Edward saves their lives using the Twin Harp to dispel the evil elf’s control over the cave’s magnetic field.


Final Fantasy IV concept artwork

Each of the kingdoms in Final Fantasy IV‘s world has its own specialty, granted to them through their use of the world’s crystals. The kingdom of Fabul, which holds the Crystal of Wind, is famous for its battalion of martial artists, the leader of which is the karate master Yang. Players first meet Yang as he’s under attack and completely overwhelmed, coming to his rescue and earning his allegiance as a result of joining him in battle. Cecil warns Yang that Golbez is heading to Fabul, which allows the King and Yang to mount a defense ahead of their arrival. Unfortunately, the forces of Golbez prove to be too powerful and he makes off with both Fabul’s crystal and Rosa.

Yang suffers amnesia after their boat is attacked by Leviathan, but quickly comes to his senses and rejoins the party at a pivotal moment. When Cecil and his allies find themselves inside the bottom floors of the Tower of Babel, Yang selflessly stops the cannons and lets the rest of the party escape, presumably dying in the process. Like many other party members who join up with Cecil temporarily, his apparent “death” is just a momentary sidelining, and he rejoins the fight as support against the Giant of Babel as the adventure nears its end.


Final Fantasy IV concept artwork

Players hear about Golbez in hushed tones from characters throughout Final Fantasy IV‘s world before they ever meet him, learning that he is the secret force controlling Baron and its king from behind the scenes. When Cecil first confronts Golbez face-to-face it is in the Crystal Room of Fabul, where it becomes all too obvious that Cecil’s powers as a Dark Knight are nothing against the evil sorcery and might of Golbez. From these early confrontations, it’s clear that Golbez has a personal vendetta against Cecil in addition to striving for world domination by collecting all the Crystals. However, when faced with the chance to eliminate Cecil, something stills his hand.

Meeting the Lunarian Fu So Ya reveals that Golbez is actually Cecil’s brother, and that Golbez is not acting on his own volition but rather under control from an evil Lunarian known as Zemus. With this information, Cecil and his allies set to deactivate the Giant of Babel and stop Golbez once again. With Zemus’ spell broken, Golbez and Fu So Ya head to the Lunar Cave to stop Zemus before he can gain full strength, and Cecil and his allies follow suit. The final moments of Final Fantasy IV‘s story sees the estranged brothers reconcile and wish each other well, with Golbez joining the Lunarians in their slumber as a way to allow the world to forget the atrocities he commited under Zemus’ influence.


Final Fantasy IV concept artwork

Palom is one of two powerful twin mages hailing from the town of Mysidia. Mysidia is the former host of the Crystal of Water, which Cecil forefully takes from them in Final Fantasy IV‘s opening moments. The Elder of Mysidia, a wise and powerful sage, assigns the twins Palom and Porom to keep an eye on Cecil after he agrees to seek out Mount Ordeals and become a Paladin. Of the two, Palom is much more respectful and humble than Porom, and her abilities as a White Mage are second in the game only to Rosa.


Final Fantasy IV concept artwork

Porom is practically the polar opposite of his twin sister Palom in that he is brash, arrogant, and rude, but he also happens to be one of the world’s most powerful Black Mages. He accompanies his sister Palom along with Cecil and Tellah as they make their way up Mount Ordeals, combining his Black Magic with his twin’s White Magic to create some incredibly powerful offensive spells. When Golbez launches one last desperate attempt to thwart the party by crushing them within the walls of Castle Baron, Palom and Porom show their true colors by turning themselves to stone and saving Cecil’s life in a selfless act of sacrifice.


Final Fantasy IV concept artwork

Scarmiglione is the first of four Fiends that Cecil and the party encounter, with the fight against him ocurring on the summit of Mount Ordeals. He is the Fiend of Earth and uses the undead to aid him in battle as well as having access to deadly poison and Flare spells. Although his initial appearance is that of a small cloaked hermit, he reveals his true form after his apparent defeat. Scarmiglione is actually an undead grotesque abomination with massive tentacles and a telltale hiss. In addition to the fight against him on Mount Ordeals, players will face Scarmiglione again within the Giant of Babel.


Final Fantasy IV concept artwork

Players meet Klu-Ya immediately after defeating Scarmiglione and venturing into the light at the top of Mount Ordeals. The light refers to Cecil as “my son” and even mirrors his appearance as both Dark Knight and newfound Paladin, suggesting that whatever power lies within the mountain is somehow familiar with Cecil and has waited there for him. As it turns out, this is indeed the case, with the power of Mount Ordeals and the world’s legend of the one who would save the world coming from the Lunarian Klu-Ya. Klu-Ya hails from a race of semi-immortal beings that live on the moon known as Lunarians, and it is their technological advancement that gives way to the world’s scientific marvels such as airships, the Giant of Babel, and the Devil’s Road.

Before the Lunarians made the decision to depart and allow the people of Final Fantasy IV‘s world to evolve further before they live together in harmony, Klu-Ya would fall in love with a human and make the decision to remain on Earth. This union would bring about two children, Cecil and Golbez, who Klu-Ya and his wife separate and raise apart from one another. Following his wife’s passing and facing a virtual eternity alone, Klu-Ya transcends into a source of light and power, waiting on Mount Ordeals to test those who would be worthy.


Final Fantasy IV concept artwork

The second of the four Fiends is the Fiend of Water, Caignazzo. Before Final Fantasy IV begins, the king of Baron is killed in secret and replaced with Caignazzo in a human disguise, and it’s under his direction that the kingdom starts collecting all of the world’s crystals and allying with Golbez. Players learn the truth when they confront the King after rejoining with Yang, and the fiend reveals itself to be a hideous, turtle-like monster. As one might expect, the Fiend is vulnerable to lightning elemental spells, and having Tellah and the twins Palom and Porom handy in the fight makes it a relative breeze. After facing him within Castle Baron, players will encounter Caignazzo once again within the Giant of Babel.


Final Fantasy IV concept artwork

Barbariccia is the third of the four Fiends who work for Golbez under order from Zemus, and she controls the winds as the Fiend of Air. The only way to stop her deadly spin is by using the jump attack of a Dragoon, which is quite fortuitous considering Kain rejoins the party right before the first fight against Barbariccia. Defeating Barbariccia the first time sees her destroy Golbez’s fortress the Tower of Zot as a final blow against the party, but thankfully Cid is ready with the airship for a last-minute escape. After defeating her in the Tower of Zot and rescuing both Kain and Rosa, players fight her again with all the other Fiends within the core of the Giant of Babel.


Final Fantasy IV concept artwork

Edge is the final member to join Cecil’s party, the young and brash prince of Elban. Elban is destroyed by the Fiend Rubicante due to its proximity to the Tower of Babel, and the people of Elban have to retreat into the nearby caves to avoid complete destruction. Unfortunately, the King and Queen of Elban give their lives to save those of their people, prompting Edge to seek out revenge in what amounts to a one-man suicide mission. After suffering a crushing defeat against Rubicante in one-on-one combat, Edge joins up with Cecil to get his revenge (and to get closer to Rydia).

As one of the world’s ninja masters, Edge is extremely formidable in combat. In addition to being able to dual-wield his signature katanas (some of which rival Cecil’s blades in terms of raw power), Edge has access to the secret art of ninjutsu magic. By using his hidden powers that unlock after saving the souls of his parents, Edge is the sole party member capable of stopping Rubicante’s most devastating attack. Edge’s alliance with the party lasts all the way until the game’s conclusion, where he proves to be a vital ally and pivotal force in the fight against Zeromus.


Final Fantasy IV concept artwork

Rubicante is by far the most powerful of the four Fiends and their leader. As the Fiend of Fire, he can use his cloak to contain and then unleash devastating flame attacks against the party that have the twin effect of healing him in the process. He goes to great lengths to illustrate his nobility in combat, including always healing the party to full strength right before a fight to show that he wants to give Cecil and his allies a fair shake at defeating him. After successfully saving Edge’s parents and restoring their sanity, the player confronts Rubicante within the Tower of Babel and finally defeats him using Edge’s awakened ninjutsu powers. Later, players defeat Rubicante one final time within the Giant of Babel, and he even congratulates the party despite succumbing to his injuries once and for all.

Fu So Ya

Final Fantasy IV concept artwork

Fu So Ya is the first Lunarian that the party meets and an emissary of sorts between the races of humans and Lunarians. After using the Magic Whale (which was built by Cecil’s father Klu-Ya) to reach the Moon, it is Fu So Ya that tells the party of the secret history between humans and the Lunarians, including Cecil’s parentage and surprise relation to Golbez. After catching the party up to speed, Fu So Ya joins up with Cecil as an incredibly powerful mage capable of wielding both White and Black Magic (including having mastered all spells for both schools). He is indispensible in the assault on the Giant of Babel, and after breaking Zemus’ spell over Golbez is able to convince him to join up in the fight against the game’s true threat.


Final Fantasy IV concept artwork

Though Final Fantasy IV uses Golbez as the primary antagonist for most of the game, the player learns that another, more nefarious force is at work in the final part of the adventure. After meeting Fu So Ya, he tells the party of an evil Lunarian known as Zemus, whose hatred of humans was so strong that he devised a plan to enslave them and have Lunarians take over the planet. Wanting to maintain harmony between humans and the Lunarians (and eventually join them on the planet after their evolution and advancement), Fu So Ya, Klu-Ya, and other influential members of the Lunarian race seal Zemus away in an eternal slumber.

It is from this slumber that Zemus is able to slowly influence Golbez, using him to collect the world’s crystals in hopes of reactivating the Giant of Babel to rain destruction down on humanity. Once Cecil and his allies destroy the Giant and break Zemus’ spell over Golbez, they head to the center of the Moon to confront Zemus himself. It is here that Zemus reveals the extent of his power, eliminating Golbez, Fu So Ya, and Cecil all in one fell swoop. In this darkest hour, the people of the planet and Cecil’s friends and allies come together to send them aid through prayer.

After coming back from the brink of death, Cecil uses the last remaining Crystal against Golbez, transforming him into the abomination Zeromus, the representation of pure hatred.

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