In the last days of the Sixth Astral Era, the Garlean Empire launched an invasion of Eorzea, the only continent in the known world that had not fallen under their rule. The conflict saw the end of the Sixth Astral Era and Seventh Umbral Era, the fall of the false moon of Dalamud, the unleashing of Bahamut and the destruction of large tracts of land, including the sack of the Imperial territory of Doma and the coming of an eternal winter in Coerthas. Further complicating matters, the war evolved into a proxy conflict between the wielders of the Echo known as the Archons, Scions of the Seventh Dawn, or Warriors of Light, and the Ascians and their pawns, including the beast tribes, who sought to defend themselves from all other factions by summoning Primals, an offense punishable by death by both Imperial law and the decrees of the Eorzean Alliance.
The invasion of Eorzea is a major plot point in Final Fantasy XIV, with the exception of the earlier patches of Heavensward, in which it takes a backseat to the Dragonsong War, an interrelated conflict between Ishgard and Dravania.
In the year 1521 of the Sixth Astral Era, Solus zos Galvus was proclaimed Emperor of the Garlean Empire. Using advanced magitek, the once city-state of Garlemald swept across the continents of Ilsabard and Othard, conquering Ilsabard without much of a hitch. However, the armies of Othard summoned Primals, which they used to fend off the Garlean assault. Othard eventually fell, but it was decided that summoners of the Primals were enemies of the Empire who should be put to death.
Fall of Ala MhigoEdit
In 1552, Sixth Astral Era, Theodoric, the King of Ala Mhigo, sought to wipe out the Fist of Rhalgr, a militant and religious order of Monks. Though nearly all of the monks were killed, the purge was deeply unpopular, and led to a civil war incited by the XIVth Legatus, Gaius van Baelsar, five years later. Because Ala Mhigo was politically isolated from the rest of Eorzea due to the Autumn War, the other city-states did nothing about the invasion, and Ala Mhigo fell to the Empire. During the invasion, the Empire was slowed by a Primal summoning. Countless Hyur fled the city to the inner cities of Eorzea, an event known as the Third Hyruan Migration. After the fall of Ala Mhigo, the XIVth Legion built a wall, Baelsar's Wall, along the mountainside of Gyr Abania to isolate Ala Mhigo from the nearby Gridania.
Mor Dhonan campaignEdit
Aside from being the geographical center of Eorzea, the no-man's-land of Mor Dhona was believed to be the center of aetheric energy in the continent, and thus a prime target for the XIVth Legion.
The Empire's air force, including their flagship Agrius, were met over Lake Silvertear, in southeastern Mor Dhona, by the Dravanian Horde, summoned by the Father of Dragons, Midgardsormr. The Dravanians proved no match for Garlean magitek, and were on the verge of defeat when Midgardsormr coiled himself around the Agrius, causing it to crash-land in Lake Silvertear, destroying the fleet and ending the Empire's hope of an easy invasion of Eorzea. The ruins of the Agrius, entwined with Midgardsormr's dormant body, became known as the Keeper of the Lake. The remnants of the Horde retreated and regrouped, resuming the Dragonsong War shortly after the catastrophe at Silvertear.
Though the XIVth Legion was forced to retreat to Ala Mhigo, the victory at Silvertear was by no means a happy occasion. A Mor Dhonan village known as Revenant's Toll is destroyed in the fighting (and later a second village, the modern Revenant's Toll, is founded in memory of the civilians lost that day). More importantly, the aetheric energy released by the Keeper of the Lake has catastrophic consequences: first environmental damage sets in around Mor Dhona, turning the skies purple and the flora to crystal, and then the beast tribes gain the ability to summon Primals. Moreover, the Echo awakens in certain individuals, suggesting a lead-up to the Seventh Umbral Era. Certain individuals with the Echo begin organizing, forming the Circle of Knowing, to fend off the Primals. The Amalj'aa Primal, Ifrit, is summoned and slain around this time.
The news of Primal summonings set the Empire on edge, leading the Emperor to approve VIIth Legatus Nael van Darnus's plan, known as Project Meteor, to put down Eorzea's beast tribes once and for all. Darnus's plan entails bringing down the false moon of Dalamud, a relic of the fallen Allagan Empire, on Eorzea, causing a calamity which would annihilate the beast tribes, thus protecting Garlemald from the Primal threat. This apocalyptic scheme is undermined by elements in both the XIVth Legion and the Emperor's own family, who seek to defeat and conquer the Eorzeans, rather than simply massacre them.
The Eorzean AllianceEdit
In response to the threats of the VIIth Legion and the Primals, the states of Limsa Lominsa, Ul'dah, and Gridania agree to reform the Eorzean Alliance, a faction that had been founded to defend Gridania and Ishgard against the Ala Mhigans in the Autumn War, but since long forgotten. The Alliance features the three Grand Companies of the Maelstrom, the Immortal Flames, and the Order of the Twin Adder, combined into a single military force with Louisoix Leveilleur, a member of the Circle of Knowing and the leader of the Sharlayan faction known as the Archons, as their strategist. Under Louisoix, the Alliance switches tactics from a defensive to an offensive plan, seeking to destroy the VIIth Legion before it destroyed them.
Around this time, the Empire begins launching seemingly random attacks on various sites in Alliance-held territory using Magitek Vanguards. The true purpose of these attacks is to hold down Alliance troops while the VIIth Legion gathers in Mor Dhona for the final battle.
While the Eorzeans organize, the XIVth and VIIth Legions are able to finally take Mor Dhona, building a fortress known as Castrum Novum at its nexus. Castrum Novum's purpose is to serve as a "Lunar Transmitter" to bring down Dalamud via the Rivenroad. However, Baelsar, still seeking to avoid the destruction of Eorzea, leaks the details of Novum's true purpose to the Alliance.
A squadron of adventurers later known as the Warriors of Light is sent by the Alliance to prevent the fall of Dalamud. Though the lunar energies of Dalamud (actually the Primal Bahamut, imprisoned inside Dalamud since the days of the Allagan Empire) transform Darnus into the monstrous Nael Deus Darnus, he is slain and the Lunar Transmitter destroyed; but before his death, Darnus casts Meteor, ensuring Dalamud's fall.
In the weeks after the battle of Castrum Novum, Dalamud grew larger and larger in the skies above Eorzea. The Twelve, the gods of Eorzea, began intervening in minor conflicts, including those between adventurers and monsters, and a deluge of rain, lasting for days or weeks on end, began. Atomos and other powerful monsters began launching attacks, and it seemed that Eorzea was entering its end times.
As a last-ditch attempt in averting the Calamity, Louisoix sends the Warriors of Light on a pilgrimage to the Twelve, planning to summon the deities to defeat Dalamud. Meanwhile, the entire army of the Eorzean Alliance marches on the Carteneau Flats in Mor Dhona, preparing to drive out the VIIth Legion once and for all.
The battle of Carteneau proved even more cataclysmic than that of the Silvertear Skies, as during the battle, Dalamud shattered, unleashing Bahamut, a monstrosity that not even the VIIth Legion expected. As both armies are engulfed in Bahamut's Gigaflare, Louisoix duels the Dreadwyrm over the skies of Eorzea, nearly imprisoning him by invoking the Twelve, only for Bahamut to break through the chains and cast Teraflare. Louisoix is able to send the survivors of the battle ahead in time to continue the fight when Bahamut is contained, only for the aether unleashed by the summoning of the Twelve to transform Louisoix into the Primal Phoenix. Bahamut and Phoenix are imprisoned within the Binding Coil of Bahamut, where they remain for five years.
The Calamity at Carteneau, which ushered in the Seventh Umbral Era, is likely orchestrated by the Ascians, who seek to bring the "Ardor" or "Rejoining" to bring about the rise of their own god, Zodiark. Much of Eorzea is left in ruins by Bahamut's rampage, but despite the losses and preternatural intervention at Carteneau, the Alliance begins rebuilding, and within five years life has mostly stabilized for the Eorzeans.
The once-great pirate vessels of Limsa Lominsa are destroyed by Bahamut, and the reavers of the sea are forced to become farmers, sponsored by Admiral Merlwyb Bloefhiswyn. However, this brings Limsa Lominsa into conflict with the kobolds they share Vylbrand with and needed to seize land from to support their new agricultural economy.
In Coerthas, an eternal winter sets in, causing conditions to worsen for the men on the front lines of the Dragonsong War. As a result, Ishgard is defeated by the Dravanian Horde at the Stone Vigil and Steel Vigil. The Dusk Vigil apparently falls to wights or the undead soon after.
Meanwhile, in the Black Shroud, infighting in the Sylph tribe leads to members opposed to the summoning of Ramuh to flee to the village of Little Solace, on the border of Gridania's territory, causing tension between the two nations.
The XIVth Legion is abandoned by the Emperor, who by now has given up hope on his conquest of Eorzea. However, van Baelsar sets to rebuilding Castrum Novum into a new fortress, Castrum Centri, and another, Castrum Meridianum, a few leagues to its south. Meanwhile, members of the XIVth Legion construct Castrum Marinum, Castrum Occidens, and Castrum Oriens in strategic locations across Eorzea. In particular, Centri is built over the site of the ruins of the Ultima Weapon, a vastly powerful Primal-slaying bioweapon, while Castrum Occidens is built over the entrance to the Binding Coil, from which the Legion hopes to extract the ancient Allagan starship known as the Ragnarok.
The Circle of Knowing, shattered by the scattering of the Warriors of Light and death of Louisoix, begins rebuilding as the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, with Minfilia Warde, a wielder of the Echo, as its new leader. The Scions begin planning to defeat the Primals and bring about the Seventh Astral Era, delivering Eorzea from its time of darkness.
With every faction fending for itself and facing infighting for control of the ruins at Carteneau, the Eorzean Alliance weakens, enabling the XIVth Legion's next move.
Return of the PrimalsEdit
The Ascians secretly use the uncertainty (and possibly loose aether) of the Seventh Umbral Era to further their goals of bringing about another Rejoining. To this end, they need to bring about more conflict between the Warriors of Light and the Primals, and do so by manipulating the Amal'jaa into summoning Ifrit again. Though Ifrit is eventually slain by the Warriors, the Ascians attempt (and fail) to bring about the summoning of Rhalgr in Little Ala Mhigo, as well as enabling the kobolds and the Ixali to summon Titan and Garuda, respectively. Titan is defeated by the Warriors in his abode, the Navel.
As a result of the Primal summonings, the XIVth Legion decides that the time is right to unleash the Ultima Weapon, which slays Garuda at the height of her power in the Howling Eye, and demand the surrender of the Alliance. At the same time, the Legion makes an attack on the base of the Scions at the Waking Sands in Western Thanalan, killing off most of the order, capturing Minfilia, and leaving the Warriors and Alphinaud Leveilleur to attempt to regroup. However, the remnants of the Scions are able to make an attack on Castrum Centri, rescuing their allies — but it is too late, for the Scion Thancred Waters has become possessed by Lahabrea, a rogue Ascian who is using the XIVth Legion as a puppet to accelerate the Rejoining. Thus, by now, the war between the Alliance and the Empire has become a proxy for the battle between Light (represented by the Scions) and Darkness (represented by the Ascians).
Spurred on by the Scions, the Alliance votes to once again go to war against the Empire, and begins preparing for a large-scale campaign to destroy the Ultima Weapon. The operation, known as Archon in honor of Louisoix, requires the Order of the Twin Adder and the Maelstrom to cripple the Imperial hosts outside Castrum Meridianum, while the Immortal Flames launch a frontal assault on the castrum to draw out the XIVth Legion's defenses. After assassinating Rhitatyn sas Arvina and Livia sas Junius, the Warriors are able to board the airship Enterprise to break into the Praetorium, an Imperial laboratory at Meridianum where the Ultima Weapon is stored. There, van Baelsar and Lahabrea are slain due to the intervention of the Mothercrystal, and the Alliance declares the defeat of the XIVth Legion and the beginning of the Seventh Astral Era.
The war winds downEdit
Just moments after Kan-E-Senna and Merlwyb declare peace in Eorzea, the roar of a Primal is heard from across the horizon, a chilling reminder of the wars to come. In the wake of Operation Archon, the Empire regroups and continues their plot to exterminate the Primals, the Ascians are able to further their own goals, and various subjugated territories rise up in rebellion against Garlemald.
Imperial civil warEdit
During the XIVth Legion's attempted conquest of Eorzea, Emperor Solus's health weakens, and the deaths of Solus and van Baelsar lead to a breakdown of the Garlean civil order early in the Seventh Astral Era. Garlemald is torn apart by a civil war between Varius yae Galvus, Solus's grandson, and Varis's uncle. Though Varis eventually emerges victorious, taking the name Emperor Varis zos Galvus, Garlemald is unable to further their foreign conquests, and so Eorzea is temporarily safe from the threat of invasion.
The territory of Doma revolts against Garlemald during the succession crisis, but is promptly burned to the ground. Refugees from the Doman war arrive at Vesper Bay in Thanalan, some of whom join the Scions of the Seventh Dawn.
Continued Primal summoningsEdit
In response to the death of the Ultima Weapon, many beast tribes summon their Primals. Along with Ifrit, Titan, and Garuda, Good King Moggle Mog XII is summoned, and then Leviathan and Ramuh. Though all of these deities are slain by the Warriors of Light, every summoning consumes aether and furthers the cause of the Ascians — to say nothing of the negative effect it has on the relations between the Alliance and the beast tribes. In particular, the Sahagin summon Leviathan to reclaim territory lost to Limsa Lominsa, and in doing so bring about a tsunami that nearly annihilates the city-state.
A Sharlayan Scion, Moenbryda Wilfsunnwyn, hypothesizes that a "blade of light" can be used to destroy an Ascian's soul, which will otherwise resurrect indefinitely. Sure enough, the Warrior of Light is able to use a blade forged of aether taken from Moenbryda's soul to kill the Ascian Nabriales, though this causes Moenbryda's death; the fall of Nabriales marks the beginning of the overtaking of Light over Darkness.
Death of BahamutEdit
While investigating the Binding Coil of Bahamut, the Warrior of Light and Alisaie Leveilleur discover that Bahamut is reawakening, and a host of Meracydian dragons, along with Phoenix and the resurrected Nael deus Darnus, serve as his puppets. After traveling thousands of yalms into the earth, Alisaie's party defeats Phoenix and learns about the truth of the Battle of Carteneau; then they are warped into the Burning Heart of Bahamut, where they are able to defeat the Dreadwyrm. According to the description of The Final Coil of Bahamut - Turn 4, Bahamut's death is the true end of the Seventh Umbral Era; it is also the end of the last relic of the VIIth Legion's attempted destruction of Eorzea.
In the early days of the Alliance, a Garlean spy, Eline Roaille, successfully infiltrated the Immortal Flames, where she served as one of the most trusted advisors of Flame General Raubahn Aldynn and Sultana Nanamo Ul Namo. Since then, Roaille has lived a double life as the Grand Flame Marshal and as the Ivy, a notorious double agent, until she is arrested and imprisoned by the Immortal Flames and the Scions. Unfortunately, the damage has been done: the Immortal Flames' credibility is tarnished, allowing Raubahn's political enemies to begin moving against the monarchy.
At the same time, the Monetarists, the majority party on the Syndicate in Ul'dah, increase in power due to their crackdown on internal conflict caused by concern over the Doman refugees. Moreover, the Monetarists sought control of Omega, an Allagan superweapon even stronger than the Ultima Weapon, which had been discovered in the ruins of Carteneau.
Alphinaud, now the de facto leader of the Scions, unwittingly facilitates the Monetarists' rise, by organizing an Alliance-wide Grand Company known as the Crystal Braves. However, the Braves are bought off by the Monetarists, who launch a coup and assassination attempt of Nanamo, who was planning to dissolve the Syndicate and monarchy to cripple the Monetarists. Though the Sultana survives and the Scions are later able to rescue Raubahn, the Scions are scattered and Minfilia is killed, and the Royalists are beaten.
Though Ul'dah's governmental structures aren't brought down by the insurgency, the remnants of the Scions are forced to flee to Ishgard, opening up a new theater of conflict in the war against Garlemald and the Primals.
Dragonsong War spilloverEdit
Around the same time as the Monetarist coup in Ul'dah, Ysayle Dangoulain, an Ishgardian heretic better known by her alias, Lady Iceheart, summons Shiva into her own body, believing herself to be the second coming of the historical Shiva, lover to Hraesvelgr, in hopes of ending the Dragonsong War. Though the Warriors of Light defeat Shiva, Ysayle survives and destroys the defenses on the Steps of Faith, allowing the Dravanians to attack Ishgard. Because Ishgard serves as a buffer state between the Alliance and the Empire, the Alliance is forced to intervene to drive back the Dravanian Horde.
Like most other conflicts the Scions involve themselves in, the Dragonsong War becomes intertwined with the Garlean war. Most notably, the VIth Legion attempts to seize the Warring Triad, imprisoned eikons that could be used as models for the imprisonment of Primals in the future. After confronting the Vanu Vanu and their Primal, Bismarck, in the Sea of Clouds the VIth Legion arrives at the home of the Warring Triad: Azys Lla.
Atop Azys Lla, the VIth Legion encounters the Scions, two Ascians, and the Heavens' Ward, all of whom seek to use the Allagan technology there for their own ends. The Warriors of Light emerge victorious over all other parties at Azys Lla, but VIth Legatus Regula van Hydrus escapes. Van Hydrus is also present at the Scions' victory over the eikon Sephirot. Later, the Scions attempt to assassinate van Hydrus to cripple the VIth Legion, but the Legatus again flees. Shortly after, the Scions defeat another eikon, Sophia. The VIth Legion and the Scions later join forces to defeat the final member of the Warring Triad, Zurvan, though van Hydrus is killed in the battle.
With the permanent death of Nidhogg atop the Steps of Faith and the destruction of the Heavens' Ward at Azys Lla, the thousand-year war in Ishgard is brought to a close with Aymeric de Borel and his allies victorious. They immediately move to establish a republic and formally join the Eorzean Alliance.
Concurrently to the VIth Legion's campaign in Abalathia's Spine, the Gnath summon Ravana at Thok ast Thok, hoping to use him in their own war against the Horde, but as part of the Ishgardians' negotiations with the Dravanians of Anyx Trine, the Warrior of Light and Shiva are dispatched to slay Ravana. The Empire also sends troops to police the Keeper of the Lake, though it is unclear to what end, and all of them are defeated by the Warrior of Light shortly before Midgardsormr awakens.
With the Warring Triad destroyed, the VIth Legion had failed in their mission to provide the Empire with the desired anti-Primal technology they sought. However, though the Empire had thus thrown away three Legions in their attempts to contain the Primal threat, the war was far from over: seeing Garlemald's weakness, anti-Garlean factions saw that their time had come.
Campaign for the Gyr Abanian FringesEdit
Ilberd, an extremist of the Ala Mhigan Resistance calling himself the Griffin, operating out of the Ala Mhigan refugee camp at Little Ala Mhigo in Southern Thanalan, begins plotting a revolution in Ala Mhigo to overthrow the Empire once and for all. The Ascian Elidibus, or "the Emissary", provides the Griffin with preternatural aid, including the Eyes of Nidhogg. Ilberd manipulates Ala Mhigan sympathizers within the Grand Companies to assault Baelsar's Wall, arranging for their massacre at the hands of the Empire to provoke an all-out war between Eorzea and Garlemald. Though Ilberd's assault fails and the Scions attempt to infiltrate the Wall to assassinate him, he ultimately sacrifices his life to summon a Primal that surpasses even Bahamut. Louisoix's pupil, Papalymo Totolymo, attempts to recreate the spell that Louisoix used to contain Bahamut, but this only temporarily restrains the Primal, and costs Papalymo his life. The Scions awaken Omega to shoot down the summoned Primal, Shinryu; while Omega and Shinryu duel in the skies over Gyr Abania, Raubahn Aldynn leads the Alliance forces to storm the Wall, seizing control of the Gyr Abanian border but committing Eorzea to open war against the Empire once more.