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Emperor Gestahl

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Emperor Gestahl (ガストラ, Gasutora, Gastra) is the ruler of the Gestahlian Empire and a secondary antagonist of Final Fantasy VI. Obsessed with the legends of magical power dating from the ancient War of the Magi, Emperor Gestahl seeks to conquer the Esper World so that the Espers would form the basis for the Empire's Magitek.


Gestahl is first seen speaking to the masses of the Imperial Army in Vector, the Imperial capital, in Terra Branford's flashback at the beginning of the game. The Emperor is an archetypal evil ruler. His primary goals are world domination and the ultimate possession of magic, however, in comparison to his subordinate officer, Kefka, he is seen as older, slow, and less insistent; an attitude that fuels Kefka's impatient and overzealous disposition. Gestahl often delegates Kefka to menial tasks, such as sending him to Figaro Castle to locate Terra and retrieve Tritoch from Narshe. Throughout the game's story, Kefka rises in the ranks to become Emperor Gestahl's most trusted advisors.

Following Kefka's tirade at the Sealed Gate, Gestahl appears to have seen the error of his ways, and has Kefka placed in a jail cell in the Imperial Castle at Vector. He further invites the party to a banquet to celebrate the end of his quest for magical control, and a union with the Returners. Before this, however, Gestahl asks the party to speak to as many Imperial soldiers as possible (twenty-four in a period of four minutes) to sway them to his new campaign. During the dinner, the Emperor will ask the party a series of questions. Depending on their answers, he will reward them accordingly after the banquet (the reward is mainly the liberation of South Figaro and Doma. He then sends General Leo, Celes, and the Returners on a mission to reconcile with the Espers. Secretly, Gestahl dispatches Kefka to Thamasa, the refugee village of the Magi Warriors, to take Magicite from the Espers that had previously escaped from the Sealed Gate. We learn that he has abandoned his magic conquest to switch to the Goddess Statues using this Magicite to revive the Floating Continent.

The party is not made aware of Gestahl's deceit until after they return to the Sealed Gate beyond the Imperial Base. He stands with Kefka when they approach the mountain where the Sealed Gate is.

When the heroes confront Gestahl and Kefka on the Floating Continent, Kefka is seriously wounded by Celes, driving him completely insane and causing him to attempt to disrupt the delicate balance of the Goddess Statues. Gestahl, who wants to rule the world, not destroy it, attempts to destroy Kefka with magic, but Kefka uses the Statues to absorb Gestahl's spells, then strikes the Emperor down with the Statues' power. Gestahl is seriously wounded, and Kefka pushes him off the Floating Continent, presumably killing him and ending the Imperial reign.

Gestahl is also seen in a cutscene where his Imperial Troops invade the Esper world by breaking through the Sealed Gate. He sees Madonna, Terra's mother, who is holding her infant child, and begs Gestahl to care for the baby, as Madonna is dying. Gestahl kills Madonna and takes the half-Esper/half-human child in to his quarter. This cutscene shows the player how Terra came into Imperial hands.

His portrait hangs in the wealthy Owzer's gallery in Jidoor, during the World of Ruin. It serves as secret passage to the dungeon where Relm can be found.

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