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Artwork by Yoshitaka Amano
"Soldiers of the Empire! We stand at the dawn of a new age! The lost power of magic has returned to us! We are the chosen ones!"

Emperor Gestahl, also Gastra or Ghastra (ガストラ Gasutora), is a non-playable character in Final Fantasy VI. He is the dictator and ruler of the Gestahlian Empire.


Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)
Gestahl's portrait in the Advance remake.
"The world is about to learn...the meaning of...fear..."
—Gestahl's last words

Born from mere peasantry, rising to the rank of general in the military of the southern feuding state of what would become Vector, Gestahl, aged 22, led his men to victory in overtaking the northern state (renowned for its advancements in science and technology, but with a weak military). At the birth of Vector, Gestahl proclaimed himself emperor for life.

As a young lad, Gestahl had been infatuated with ancient tales of magic, sorcery, and power, so at his command, the empire's best and brightest scholars researched for the truth behind the mystical tales.

Gestahl casting a Spell against Kefka

The fruits of these scholars' labor had ripened; they had pinpointed the location of the Espers, which had remained elusive for over a millennium. He personally led an army to the Land of Espers and captured many Espers in the struggle. The Elder of the Espers decided that he had to create a Sealed Gate to keep the humans out. An Esper named Maduin escaped with his wife Madeline and his daughter Terra, however both Maduin and Madeline were wounded. Gestahl kidnapped Maduin, and Madeline put Terra in his custody when she died. She did not know who Gestahl was at first, and she immediately regretted the decision with her last breath as Gestahl slashed her.

His military might increased when he acquired Espers. Gestahl then began to build up his Magitek army and conquer various nations. Young men from each nation he conquered were conscripted into the Imperial army and were infused with Magitek. As a result, a resistance group known as the Returners sprouted to defend nations against the Empire. A large scale war broke out, which eventually lead to the destruction of Vector, the Imperial capital, by the Espers. Gestahl appeared to have given up hope by then, and invited the Returners for a banquet of peace. He asked Terra to parlay this message to the Espers. However, he kept his true plans to himself and one of his most loyal advisors, Kefka Palazzo. He wanted to use Terra to lure the Espers out to a place where they would be easily vulnerable. Kefka would then collect all of the Magicite remains of the Espers he killed and bring them back to Gestahl. The pair would then use their new power to attack the Land of Espers again. In doing so, they revived the Warring Triad and created the Floating Continent, where the two of them would be worshiped as gods, and destroy anyone who got in their way.

The Emperor's in-game sprite

When the Returners cornered Gestahl and Kefka near the statues, Gestahl offered the exiled Celes Chere one more chance to join the Empire. Kefka gave her a sword and asked her to slay her friends. Celes stabbed Kefka instead. This caused him to demand the Statues to increase their power, but Gestahl tried to stop him because Kefka's actions could cause the world to be destroyed. Gestahl tried to harm Kefka with a barrage of magic (Firaga, Flare and Meltdown), but the power of the Statues absorbed all of his spells, leaving Kefka unscathed. Kefka then commanded the Statues to attack Gestahl. Gestahl was fatally wounded by a flurry of lightning bolts. Kefka subsequently kicked Gestahl off the edge of the floating continent to his death, freeing himself to pursue his mission.


  • After the banquet with Gestahl and before leaving for Thamasa, it is possible to talk to the emperor. Interestingly, the name shown in his textbox is "Majesty".

This article uses material from the "Gestahl" article on the Final Fantasy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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