FFXIV A Realm Reborn: In order for Zodiark to be made whole
It is implied that when formless chaos was given order and existence came into being, the aetherial sea gave rise to Light and Darkness, personified by Hydaelyn and Zodiark. The story we've been told - which may or may not be complete or accurate - is that the Darkness is by nature lustful of power and dominance. When Zodiark tipped the balance and took power for himself, Hydaelyn grew fearful and expelled him.
Dividing the original cosmology into planet and moon stressed the fabric of the universe so severely that it caused spatiotemporal rifts (cracks in spacetime) that resulted in reflections of the world fanning out in all redirections - thirteen "copies" in total. How alike these worlds are is unknown.
In order for Zodiark to be made whole - to be reborn - the cracks must be healed; the reflected worlds need to be rejoined to the original dimension (aka The Source). The Ascians labor to accomplish this by creating Calamities, weakening the barriers between worlds with great acts of chaos and destruction in such a way that the reflected world is destroyed; all Life there is killed (reverted to aether), and rejoined to the Source (empowering Zodiark). Hydaelyn protects against this by empowering Warriors of Light to thwart their plans.
The reflected worlds all have shards of Light and Darkness, but in varying amounts. The catch is that if either becomes too dominant before a Rejoining occurs, the aether is destroyed by the flood of Light or Dark and leaves only a void in its wake. This is where Elidibus' mission deviates from the Ascians in black; his mission is to direct the chaos and prevent the rocking boat from capsizing, so to speak. Zodiark cannot be reborn from void.
One of the reflected worlds - known as The First - was inherently imbalanced towards Light. When the Ascians threatened it, Hydaelyn's champions prevailed with relative ease. However, just as Zodiark cannot directly act but through His chosen (the Ascians) and His Emissary (Elidibus), Hydaelyn could do nothing as the Light flooded their world as a result.
Elidibus convinced the Warriors of Light of The First that the only way to save their world was to aid in the Rejoining before it was too late. Everyone would die, but their aether would be transferred to the Source to be born again as something new rather than spend eternity in a void as ... something else. They took the bait; knowing what they knew, how could they not? So they came to the Source to work towards causing a Calamity. They did this by dying, maintaining "immortal" form via the Echo, and traveling through the dimensional barriers via crystal the same way the Ascians do.
Elidibus likewise tried to get Urianger on board with restoring the status quo of the universe, expecting him to believe that the "shattered" universe was an aberration - something that shouldn't be. But when Urianger learned of the First and the Warriors of Darkness, he undertook his own plan to save their world another way (inspired by his interpretation of Louisoix's creed and the Warrior of Light's penchant for blazing unforeseen alternative paths).
Minfilia had sacrificed herself to Hydaelyn to act as Her voice; She was too weak to speak otherwise. Urianger manipulated the Warriors of Darkness to attempt direct conflict with the Warrior of Light, knowing that they would be so sorely tested that they would need to call upon the power of their Crystals - five aspects of them. Urianger called on the Warrior of Light to manifest the sixth aspect, thus completing the set and momentarily unleashing the power of Light and creating a direct conduit to Hydaelyn.
By offering this power back to Hydaelyn, Urianger gave Her the strength to create a force to oppose Elidibus - Her own Emissary. Though Hyadelyn was powerless to directly affect anything, Her Emissary could - something Elidibus had willfully withheld from the Warriors of Darkness. Their world will be saved by Hydaelyn's Emissary in a way that no Calamity is required and the Ascians there are still defeated (for now...?)
What does it all mean? Perhaps, in the end, Light and Dark will be forced into stalemate and Life will inherit the worlds - broken, but beautifully so. As the Warriors of Darkness said - fight not for either, but be true to yourself. Still, being the mother of Life, Hydaelyn seems to be the only force so far with any interest in our continued survival. Even though, for all intents and purposes, the First was called to action and abandoned to the flood of Light, She longed to save them (almost) as much as she feared the empowering of Zodiark.
But this whole tale has been told from only one point of view. There's room for further gray.
To be clear - there's a lot more to this. The Light and Dark have different themes relative to the aetherial sea. For example, the Keeper of Precepts (Zodiark) is strongly associated with the soul despite Hydaelyn's creation of Life. In fact, from His point of view, She erects walls around it. This all plays into the nature of the Echo, the Ascians, the Warriors of Light, etc. But those are whole other chapters of this story, so I tried to stick to the parts relevant to your question.
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