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Garlemald Flag

The Garlean Empire is an Empire from Final Fantasy XIV, located to the northeast of Eorzea, and is one of the game's main antagonist groups. Its technology is said to be far ahead of the Eorzean city-states, specializing in magitek machinery and airships.

Their magitek technology is empowered by a substance called Ceruleum, a special component that can be mined from below the earth or obtained by draining elemental Crystals; it is said that the origin of Unaspected Crystals may be simply the removal of their Ceruleum.

Backstory

FFXIV Opening Battle

The opening CG of Final Fantasy XIV shows a battle between Garlean airships and an army of dragons.

"The Garlean Empire controls the majority of the northern and eastern regions of the enormous landmass of the three continents - of which Eorzea is a part. Until some fifty years ago, Garlemald was a small, remote nation which held little more than a fraction of the northlands. But with the revolutionary advancements in technology and dramatic restructuring of the military ushered in by an ambitious commanding Legatus who later ascended to the seat of Emperor, Garlemald soon established itself as one of the most formidable forces in all of Hydaelyn."
The gigantic imperial warships which scorch the skies carry onboard fleets of the Empire's juggernauts─magitek-clad winged machina armed with devastating weaponry that are dispatched throughout the realm to rain terror and destruction from above. These forces, together with an immense standing army equipped with equally imposing arms and armor, grant Garlemald unrivaled military might. As the Empire's dominion expands into Eorzea, however, even its countless legions have begun to lack for numbers, and a policy of drafting and conscription has been implemented in all conquered lands.
—Official description

Until around fifty years ago, Garlemald was a remote and sparsely populated nation occupying little more than a fraction of the northlands. However, with the arrival of a technological golden age and the emergence of a brilliant young legatus, now Emperor, within a single generation Garlemald established itself as one of the most formidable forces of Hydaelyn, and quickly started conquering other nations with it's unmatched magitek artillery and air force.

FFXIV Garlean Base

Artwork of a Garlean military base.

Fifteen years prior to the game's events, in the year 1557 of the Sixth Astral Era, the Empire launched an attack on the city-states of Eorzea, using powerful machinery far more advanced than those of their enemies and massive airships to wreak havoc on the northern part of the Aldenard. Quickly, the once known as the most powerful of these states, Ala Mhigo, fell before the mighty of the Empire.

The remaining states were forced to forget their past enmity to form an alliance to battle against the new foe, however, the Empire never attacked the southern nations of Eorzea, due to the emergence of a Primal shortly after the fall of Ala Mhigo. As quick as they came, they simply left.

All the warriors and armies formed on the city-states were suddenly unemployed with no enemy to fight and no place to return, resorting to stealing and other acts of villainy to survive. To deal with this, a multitude of guilds and services where created on the city-states of Eorzea, creating the profession of "Adventurer", and beginning what became known as the "Age of Adventure".

The Second Invasion

FFXIV Nael Van Darnus

Nael Van Darnus, one of the Legatus leading the invasion.

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)

For all these years, no new signs of the Garlean menace were seen, and peace slowly returned to Eorzea. However, on the present day, this started to change. On Gridania, two adventurers known as Yda and Papalymo were found lost in the woods, and welcomed into town. It seems that part of their objective on the city-state where to spy on them and discover if they are preparing to start a war against the Empire - though it is unknown if they were sent there by the Garleans or not.

Not long after, giant machines where spotted on the forests surrounding Gridania, destroying the Sylph camps on the process. Because of this, the Sylphs came to the Path of the Twelve seeking help as the "metal ones" are destroying their seedlings, and it's up to the the player to investigate the area, discovering that the Empire may be preparing a strong position to launch an attack against Gridania and the Black Shroud beast tribes, starting with the Sylphs.

Later on, Garlean airships started dropping linkpearls in all the major city states of Aldenard and Vylbrand, stating that the beast tribes of Eorzea are plotting to call their eikons to attack the Empire, and offering protection to all states that accepted to be ruled by the empire and take arms against the beast tribes.

More recently, the Garlean Empire has dispatched legions throughout Eorzea. Units have been engaged in combat within Thanalan, as well as the Black Shroud. One legion, led by the notorious Nael Van Darnus - Legatus of the VIIth Legion - has invaded the Ishgardian stronghold known as the Dzemael Darkhold, securing the vast crystal deposits located inside the caves for Ceruleum harvesting, which then may be used by the Empire to summon their own Primal.

An unnamed legion has also infiltrated and planted strange technology within the Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak, again for reasons unknown.


Motives

Garlean war machinery

An Imperial Juggernaut marching on the Black Shroud.

No man can stop Ifrit. Nor Leviathan and Titan, nor the eikons yet to come. Only Eorzea's end will bring about their death!
—Charledore

While not much has been directly explained about the Garleans' true intentions, a few hints are scattered around the main storyline. Most importantly, it's clear that those touched by the Echo and the Beastmen tribes (as well as their Primals) are the "enemies" of the Empire, whose citizens and soldiers believe to be fighting for the greater good of their nation.

During the final stretch of missions and Gaius Van Baelsar's appearance, it's heavily hinted that the Ascians are also targeted, and the soldiers believe they must prevent a Catastrophic Event from happening.

During several missions, different characters also proclaim that the Empire is 'not the true enemy', which possibly means that while they are clearly antagonistic when it comes down to their chosen methods, the Garleans may actually be wanting to prevent a terrible event.

Military

FFXIV Magitek Vanguard

A Magitek Vanguard, one of the Empire's magitek weapons.

The Garlean military is said to be one of the most powerful in all of Hydaelyn, due to the Empire's technological progress. It is divided into several legions, out of which the VIIth, led by Legatus Nael Van Darnus, stationed on the Dzemael Darkhold and the XIVth, led by Legatus Gaius van Baelsar and stationed on Silvertear Falls, have already been mentioned as present in Eorzea as part of the invasion force.

While it is currently unknown how they recruit soldiers from inside the Empire, a good portion of the low hierarchy imperial troops are citizens from conquered areas such as Ala Mhigo; after the fall of the city state, many of its children have been brainwashed into hating the Primals and Beastmen and became loyal servants of the Empire.

There's also a heavy use of magitek weaponry, out of which the Imperial Juggernaut is the most prominent, being used for both ground support and air battles due to its mobility and the powerful magitek cannon. The air forces are also often backed up by massive dreadnoughts.

Musical Theme

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"Garlean Empire's Theme"
Music-harp
FFXIV Garlean Empire Theme
Trouble with the audio sample?

Garlean appearances thorough the storyline are often accompanied by a ominous theme, more notably played during the invasion of the Black Shroud and the Futures Perfect mission.

Enemies

Garlean troops cannot be found outside of special events; they can only be fought during the main quest, inside the Dzemael Darkhold or the Aurum Vale, as part of some sidequests or may spawn at random at several camps; Helping fend off those Garlean invasions grants some missable achievements, deaspected crystals, faded pages and several types of potions.

Imperial Centurion FFXIV
  • Imperial Bestiarius (Lancer)
  • Imperial Centurion (No Class/Gunblade)
  • Imperial Funditor (Archer)
  • Imperial Hastatus (Lancer)
  • Imperial Imaginifer (Thaumaturge)
  • Imperial Hoplomachus (Gladiator)
  • Imperial Myrmillo (Marauder)
  • Imperial Pilus Prior (No Class/Gunblade; event invasion boss)
  • Imperial Primus Ordinarius (No Class/Gunblade)
  • Imperial Juggernaut
  • Imperial Retiarius (Lancer)
  • Imperial Sagittarius (Archer)
  • Imperial Secutor (Pugilist)
  • Imperial Signifer (Thaumaturge)
  • Imperial Speculator (Conjurer)
  • Imperial Triarius (Gladiator)
  • Imperial Veles (Pugilist)
  • Imperial War Hound
  • Magitek Vanguard
  • Unsavory Character

NPCs

Trivia

  • The name Garlean Empire seems to derive from Garland, the villain of the original Final Fantasy.
  • The ranking with the Garlean army is modeled after that of the Roman Empire.
  • As some people have been confused about the name of the Empire for some time, it has been posted on the Official Forums an explanation about it: Garlemald is the name of the country, and Garlean is its adjectival form [1]

References

  1. [1]Official Forums

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