The Garlean Empire controls the majority of the Three Great Continents, the enormous landmass that encompasses Eorzea. Until some fifty years ago, Garlemald was a remote and sparsely populated nation which held little more than a fraction of the northern continent of Ilsabard. But with the arrival of a technological golden age and the concurrent emergence of a brilliant young legatus—now the reigning emperor—in the span of a single generation Garlemald established itself as one of the most formidable forces in all of Hydaelyn.
Garlemald is unsurpassed in the field of magitek, a technology which it exploits with devastating effectiveness in warfare. Unperturbed by their lesser numbers, the Garleans went forth upon gigantic flying warships, bearing powerful weaponry the likes of which the world had never seen. One nation after the next fell before their relentless onslaught, first those of the northlands, followed by the sovereign states of the eastern continent, Othard. Employing suppression and conciliation in equal measure, Garlemald indoctrinated the peoples it conquered, thus integrating them into its ever-expanding territory. So it was that the Garlean Empire came into existence.
In the year 1557 of the Sixth Astral Era, a mere thirty-six years from the Empire's founding, the Garleans brought their campaign of conquest to Eorzea, swiftly bringing the city-state of Ala Mhigo to its knees. Yet following the subjugation of Ala Mhigo, the Empire suddenly ceased its aggressive expansion.
For more than a decade, the continent of Aldenard knew relative peace. In the year 1572, however, the Garlean army once again began its inexorable advance. Using the calamitous arrival of the Seventh Umbral Era to sinister advantage, the Empire prepares to gather the lands of Eorzea into its steely embrace...
Legatus of the XIVth Legion, the imperial force currently occupying Ala Mhigo, van Baelsar is possessed of a natural flair for wartime command equaled perhaps only by his sensibilities as a governing administrator. Among his numerous accomplishments is the conquest of five enemy cities, the political conversion of which he also oversaw. In subjugating Ala Mhigo, van Baelsar employed subterfuge to stoke the fires of civil unrest, a masterstroke which led to the nation’s capture without the need for a protracted siege. However, the unanticipated appearance of a primal shortly thereafter prompted the Empire to halt the legion’s advance. The legatus has since remained in Ala Mhigo, where he rules as an imperial viceroy.
Motto: He who cannot preserve the sovereignty of his nation is unfit to rule it.
Weapon: Heirsbane—a gunblade said to have spilled the blood of nine aspirants to the crown.
Legatus of the VIIth Legion presently dispatched to the western front, van Darnus boasts distinguished parentage in his sire, a founding figure of the Garlean Empire. A ruthless man who has risen to infamy even among his own people, he draws no distinction betwixt friend and foe when met with dissent. Tales are oft told in hushed whispers of van Darnus’s swift rise to power upon the abrupt death by illness of his sire, whose body had no sooner grown cold than his closest aides were put to death.
The White Raven seems a man well-suited to such dark rumors, for it is his pet project, "Meteor," that will herald Eorzea's inevitable plunge into the Seventh Umbral Era...
Motto: Opposition must needs be put down with fire and steel.
Weapon: Bradamante—a gunhalberd said to be named for a warrior maiden he slew.
Born of distinguished lineage in the Garlemald Republic, Solus zos Galvus began his military career at a young age. After a string of impressive victories on the field of battle, however, he soon attained the rank of Legatus, and proceeded to integrate machina technology into the army's regular rank and file. With single-minded determination, Galvus transformed his fledgling nation into a formidable military power.
His actions garnered the undivided support of the citizenry, and catapulted him into the position of Dictator, supreme commander of Garlemald. In the years that followed, Garlean forces conquered all the lands of the north and hammered them into a single entity. Galvus then instituted an imperial regime to govern their new territories, conferring upon himself the title of "Emperor."
The eastern nations were the first to feel the newborn empire's mighty fist. It was during this campaign that the emperor witnessed firsthand the destruction wrought by the primals—an experience that led to an imperial mandate for their annihilation.
Now an old man of more than eighty winters, Galvus yet rules as emperor, but court rumors speak of frail health and frequent illness.
Tribunus laticlavius of the XIVth Imperial Legion, known in his native Garlemald for his groundbreaking contributions to the field of magitek. In recognition of his capabilities, he was made Gaius van Baelsar's second-in-command. Even so, he continues to oversee the development of magitek weaponry, which ever remains his foremost passion. In battle, Nero wields Mjolnir, a mighty gunhammer of his own design.
Tribunus angusticlavius of the XIVth Imperial Legion, Livia is a decorated soldier and proven battlefield commander. Raised by Gaius van Baelsar after being orphaned by war, Livia devoted herself to the arts of soldiery, that she might repay her adoptive father. Aglaea, the gunbaghnakhs she wields, are permanently welded to her armor.
Though native to a territory subjugated by the Empire, Rhitahtyn nevertheless serves as praefectus castrorum of the XIVth Imperial Legion. The Roegadyn was awarded the rank by Gaius van Baelsar himself, the legatus more interested in recognizing the mercenary's exceptional martial prowess than the origin of his birth. Rhitahtyn wields a unique gunshield named Tartarus.
Known also as "Paragons," these malevolent, black-robed figures sow the seeds of conflict across the lands of Eorzea. Just as their faces are concealed by sinister masks, the true motives of the Ascians remain obscured behind veils of secrecy and terror.