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The Dragonsong War is a military conflict in Final Fantasy XIV between the Holy See of Ishgard and the draconic Dravanian Horde, fought over a thousand years and dominating the cultures and lifestyles of both states. The war has been fought for as long as the Holy See existed.
According to the Holy See, early in the Sixth Astral Era, the legendary King Thordan set out to build a bridge across the Sea of Clouds to what would become the city-state of Ishgard. Thordan claimed he had been chosen by Halone, the Fury, but was struck down by the great wyrm Nidhogg. Thordan's son, Haldrath, exacted revenge by removing Nidhogg's eye, and Ishgard has been at war with Nidhogg's people, the Dravanians, ever since. Nidhogg has led seven assaults against Ishgard, though the city-state survived all of them.
The Dragonsong War resulted in Ishgard's exclusion from the rest of Eorzea: though Ishgard fought in the Autumn War against Ala Mhigo, they declined to join the Eorzean Alliance to focus on their crusade against the Dravanian Horde. As such, they were present at neither the Battle of Carteneau nor Operation Archon, though the former caused drastic environmental damage to Coerthas. The Dravanian Horde was similarly set back by the loss of the Wyrmking, Midgardsormr, at the Battle of Silvertear Skies.
Start of the War Edit
In truth, the war was triggered by the murder of Ratatoskr, brood-sister of Nidhogg. At the start of the Sixth Astral Era, the Halone-worshipping tribes living in Coerthas lived in peace with Dravania, bound by the sacrifice Shiva made out of love for Hraesvelgr. The peace between man and dragon may have been unusual, considering that the war between Meracydia and the Allagan Empire led to the thralldom of Tiamat and Bahamut, the apparent mutual destruction of both states, and the Fourth Umbral Era.
This peace was shattered by the Ascians, who revealed to King Thordan that a dragon's eye is a source of immense power. Thordan and his Knights Twelve murdered Ratatoskr to obtain her eyes. After ripping out and consuming her eyes, the Knights Twelve became exceptionally powerful, but were attacked by Nidhogg, who vowed to obtain revenge. Thordan and four of his Knights fell in battle against Nidhogg, but Haldrath, Thordan's son, defeated Nidhogg by gouging out his eyes.
Four of the surviving Knights went on to found the High Houses of Ishgard, but Haldrath abdicated the throne, ending the monarchy out of remorse. He became the first Azure Dragoon, fighting off Dravanian attempts at revenge. Haldrath was later buried with Nidhogg's right eye, and the left eye was wielded by later Azure Dragoons in their defense of Ishgard.
Meanwhile, Hraesvelgr healed the dying Nidhogg by giving him his right eye. While Shiva's spirit prevented Hraesvelgr from entering the war against the surviving members of the Knights Twelve, his horror at the betrayal of Ratatoskr led him willing to aid Nidhogg in his quest for revenge.
The Holy See of Ishgard eventually blotted out most of these details; according to their revision of history, Thordan was noble and guilty of no crimes when he was slain by Nidhogg in a week-long battle, Haldrath only pierced out Nidhogg's left eye, and Shiva was a dangerous heretic who committed the mortal sin of laying with dragons.
Historical Battles Edit
Over the next millennium, Nidhogg alternated between seven periods when he was awake and attacking Ishgard, and periods when he was asleep and a ceasefire resulted. While the Dravanian Horde could have most likely defeated Ishgard outright, they preferred to attack the city over and over but never put its residents out of their misery, to ensure that the descendants of the Knights Twelve suffered for many generations, as payback for Ratatoskr's death.
During his seventh assault, c. 1557 of the Sixth Astral Era, Nidhogg led the Dravanian Horde against the Azure Dragoon Alberic Bale. After three days of battle in the village of Ferndale, Alberic feared that he would fall under the control of Nidhogg, and relinquished his title as Azure Dragoon, as well as Nidhogg's eye. As a result, Alberic was powerless to prevent the Dravanians from razing the city to the ground. The only survivor, Estinien, trained under Alberic to become the next Azure Dragoon and exact revenge against Nidhogg for the deaths of his family at Ferndale.
Nidhogg returned to his slumber after the battle of Ferndale. However, the Dravanian Horde was not left leaderless, as Midgardsormr, the Father of Dragons, rallied them in 1562 of the Sixth Astral Era against an even greater enemy than the Holy See of Ishgard: the Garlean Empire, who were preparing their assault on Eorzea. The war between the Eorzean city-states and the Garleans was not directly tied to the Dragonsong War, but the two conflicts fed each other. The Horde defeated the Empire soundly at the Battle of Silvertear Skies, though Midgardsormr was "slain" for the next fifteen years.
Nidhogg's Awakening Edit
In 1572, the war between the Eorzean Alliance and Garlean Empire finally comes to a head at the Battle of Carteneau. Though Ishgard does not participate in the battle, they are seemingly ruined by it, as the environmental damage from the resulting Seventh Umbral Era transforms Coerthas into a land of eternal winter.
Five years into the Seventh Umbral Era, Nidhogg begins to awaken to resume his crusade against the now frozen Ishgardians. Before his awakening, Estinien flees from Ishgard with the Eye, hoping to draw Nidhogg's attention away from the Holy See and onto himself. An adventurer, also Azure Dragoon, pursues Estinien, and the two consider becoming allies against Nidhogg, but Estinien, consumed by the dragon's wrath, turns on the adventurer and Alberic, and after being defeated leaves them, seemingly dead.
Shortly after, heretic factions start to gain power. One in particular, the Harriers, lead by a woman named Iceheart, begins to launch attacks on trading caravans in Coerthas, resulting in significant civilian casualties. They eventually obtain enough crystals to summon Shiva, whom they claim as their patron saint, into the body of Ysayle. They also learn from Hraesvelgr that, because all Ishgardians are descended from the Knights Twelve, they have powers granted by Ratatoskr's eye: namely, upon exposure to dragon's blood, they transform into aevis.
The adventurer and his party, now known as the Warriors of Light, defeat Shiva at the Akh Afah Ampitheatre. Later, they are sent to investigate the "rising chorus" of dragonsong from the Keeper of the Lake, which turns out to caused by Nidhogg's awakening. While in the Keeper of the Lake, the Warriors of Light bear witness to Midgardsormr being roused from sleep to join Nidhogg's chorus.
Nidhogg's dragonsong calls for an attack on Ishgard which is halted by an Allied armed intervention. However, the attack nearly leads to Ishgard's destruction, because of Ysayle's sabotage of Daniffen's Collar, Ishgard's last defense against dragons landing directly in their city.
Ishgard retaliates by sending a secret party of unlikely allies — Estinien, Ysayle, the Warriors of Light, and Alphinaud Leveilleur of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn — to attempt to common ground between man and dragon. The party manages to form an alliance with the dragons of Anyx Trine after defeating their mortal enemy, the primal Ravana, at Thok ast Thok, but while climbing to the Churning Mists to treat with Hraesvelgr, they are attacked with and forced to kill Nidhogg's mate, Tioman, atop the holy mountain of Sohm Al, thus ruining any chance they had at forging peace. However, Estinien and the Warriors of Light take the opportunity to pursue Nidhogg to his lair, the Aery, and assassinate him by wielding his own eye.
The Dragonsong War is momentarily stopped by Nidhogg's death, but he reconstitutes himself in the body of Estinien after the deaths of Thordan VII and the Heavens' Ward, who are overthrown by the Warriors of Light after attempting to use Ascian primal summoning techniques to become King Thordan and his Knights Twelve. Though Aymeric de Borel intends to make amends to the Dravanians as the new leader of Ishgard, Midgardsormr warns him that Nidhogg would eventually resume the war with those still loyal to him; now that he has both of his eyes, he is more threatening than ever before.
Revolution in Ishgard complicates matters, though Ser Aymeric de Borel has some diplomatic victories: Ishgard formally joins the Eorzean Alliance and the Dravanians of Anyx Trine agree to peace. Fundamentalists unable to accept that Thordan I was at fault in starting the Dragonsong War attempt to assassinate Aymeric and take hostages in the Vault, but Aymeric and the hostages survive due to the intervention of the Scions and Anyx Trine.
The Final Chorus Edit
Hearken unto me, all of you! The final chorus is nigh, and all will be held to account! All will bathe in the flames of retribution! Till the coming of that day, look you on your sins and despair! For none shall 'scape my wrath! None shall 'scape my revenge!
A peace conference held in Falcon's Nest between Ser Aymeric and Vidofnir is eventually crashed by Nidhogg himself. Using the form of the Azure Dragoon Estinien - his eyes grafted onto his flesh - Nidhogg attacks Vidofnir as a warning and declares to all Ishgardians that the final chorus of the war will soon begin. As the great wyrm shifts to his true form and flies off, the conference ends with attendees chanting "Death to Nidhogg!"
Realizing that not even the Warriors of Light could survive the wrath of Nidhogg now that he wields both of his eyes, Aymeric sends them to meet with Hraesvelgr, Nidhogg's only equal. Midgardsormr persuades Hraesvelgr to turn against his hate-filled brother, who agrees to fight for Ishgard.
The final battle of the war takes place on the Steps of Faith, as the Horde, lead by Nidhogg himself, launches an all-out assault on what remains of Ishgard's defenses. The duel between Nidhogg and Hraesvelgr nearly destroys the bridge, but as Hraesvelgr falls to the ground, badly wounded, he transfers the power of his eye to the Warriors of Light, who slay Nidhogg, and, with the aid of the ghosts of Ysayle and Haurchefant Greystone, free Estinien from his grasp, ending the war.