“I am Fal'Cie. My name is Barthandelus; voice of the Sanctum, and Lord-Sovereign of the Cocoon Fal'Cie. Your kind feared the darkness, so we gave you light. You begged us for the Purge, and did it not come to pass? Now you spurn our counsel? You must learn your place!"
Disguising himself as a human and assuming the role of Primarch Dysley, Barthandelus is the Fal’Cie who reigns over the people of Cocoon. He manipulates them into believing that Gran Pulse, the expansive realm that exists below the floating world of Cocoon, is a dangerous place. He also incites fear into the people by leading them to believe the L’Cie are dangerous, violent beings. But at the same time, Barthandelus is the one who led Fang, Vanille, Lightning, Sazh, Snow, and Hope to become branded as L’Cie.
Barthandelus’ aims are no quite as simple as a lust for power or greed. He has already cemented himself in a position of power before the game begins. What he wants is to bring back the Maker, the Final Fantasy XIII God, hoping that said Maker would create the world anew, presumably with the Fal’Cie able to act on their own, not requiring the Focuses of L’Cie to see their own aims met.
When Lightning and the rest of the L’Cie first confront Dysley, they believe him to be human. Knowing what must be done, Barthandelus reveals his true form to them, humoring himself with a short fight. But he also realizes that, in order to bring back the Maker, Barthandelus must leave the L’Cie with a desire to destroy Fal’Cie – most notably, the Fal’Cie Orphan.
Even after he steps down from his position as Primarch, Barthandelus continues to manipulate the people, choosing Cid Raines as his successor. He meets the L’Cie during their travels on Gran Pulse, offering them a means of transport back to Cocoon once their trials are completed. Making their way through the streets of Cocoon’s capital Eden, now ringing with the chaos of combat as the worlds of Cocoon and Gran Pulse collide, the L’Cie enter Orphan’s Cradle. Once at the center of Orphan’s Cradle, Barthandelus challenges the L’Cie to one final battle. Upon his defeat, Barthandelus is assimilated into Orphan’s consciousness, along with Eden. Barthandelus is then able to influence Orphan to the same goal of bringing back the Maker.
Ultimately, the Maker never comes, even after Barthandelus, Eden, and Orphan die. But their death does trigger something else – something Barthandelus had longed for, believing it a necessary part of the ritual to call back the Maker. Ragnarok is born of Fang and Vanille’s L’Cie powers, and manipulates the environments around itself to stop Cocoon from falling out of the sky.
Barthandelus exhibits a careful and calculating behavior, having plotted every step of the L’Cie’s journey and the manner in which he will propel them forward. He also has an unwavering patience, having waited a half-millennia for his plans to come full circle. That said, he does appear quite eager to finally see the fruits of his labor in Final Fantasy XIII. His classical appearance as something distinctly demonic, yet at the same time slightly angelic is well-suited to his role as puppeteer and borderline-demigod.
This is one of my favorite tracks from the Final Fantasy XIII soundtrack. And the Final Fantasy XIII soundtrack in its entirety is one of my favorite video game soundtracks of all time.