In the strictest sense of the definition, the “Far East” encompasses the continent of Othard and its surrounding islands. For a more complete picture of the region’s geography, however, one should not neglect the study of Thavnair, and the lands of the Near East.
Greylic's Bend is situated on the southernmost edge of Othard, and is known for its extraordinarily jagged shoreline. Large ships with deep draws routinely give the area a wide berth to avoid the many reefs that pepper its coastal waters.
A land dominated by the arid expanse of the Dalmasca Desert. In contrast to the unrelenting lifelessness of the Burn just north of the Skatay Range, the harshness of this region is softened by the presence of numerous oases. These pockets of plenty allow overland caravans to rest and resupply on their way from northern to eastern provinces, bringing wealth and trade to Dalmascan settlements. The Royal City of Rabanastre—the Desert Sapphire—was once the most prominent example of such prosperity.
This range of precipitous mountains begins in the east of Othard, and extends west into Ilsabard. Had this natural barrier not shielded the region of Dalmasca from the barren wastes of the Burn to the north, the latter’s devastation may have spread even further southward.
This land of ashen death is the result of rituals performed in the ancient past—a prolonged succession of primal summonings that leeched the area of all vitality. Its waterways were drained and corrupted beyond recovery, leaving the green foliage of plant life all but a distant memory. Owing its name to the seared appearance of the endlessly stark landscape, the Burn’s inhabitants are restricted to those creatures hardy enough to endure the impossibly dry conditions.
Found to the east on Othard’s eastern coast, the land of Nagxia is known for the heat and humidity of its subtropical climate. Coastal winds pick up moisture heated over the Glass Ocean, and collide with the eastern reaches of the Skatay Range. This forms billowing clouds, which then lash the ground below with an almost constant deluge of rain. The region’s dense jungle and swampy ground make for poor farming—a fact which has likely contributed to Nagxia’s failure to produce an historically significant nation.
Yanxia is situated in the center of Othard’s eastern reaches, its lands made fertile by the waters of the One River. The region has long been hailed as Othard’s granary, and even now the pillar-like rock formations which dominate the landscape are threaded through with cultivated fields. As well as sustaining the largest population on the continent for centuries, this bountiful territory has also been the catalyst of innumerable bloody battles fought over its control.
The Fanged Crescent
The Fanged Crescent is the area of Yanxia found on the west bank of the One River. If one imagines the mountain range coiled around Othard as a great serpent, then its head would hold this territory in its distended jaws.
The Bay Of Yanxia
This enormous bay is bounded by Yanxia to the south, the Azim Steppe to the west, and Ryakgyr Peninsula to the east.
The Azim Steppe
The Azim Steppe is the ancestral home of the Au Ra. This region of chill winds and savage beasts shares a name with the Dawn Father—the patriarchal deity who features prominently in the Auri myth of creation.
Stretching south of the Azim Steppe, this desert region is named after the Dusk Mother—a goddess who plays a principal role in the creation myth of the Au Ra. Bleak and inhospitable, the Nhaama is nonetheless home to several tribes of Xaela whose people have successfully adapted their ways to survive the harsh environment.
The Tail Mountains
Originating in the north of the Azim Steppe and sprawling away to the west, the Tail Mountains comprise the hind end of Othard’s winding, serpent of stone peaks. Their heights also serve as the source of the One River—multiple streams flow down their slopes to gather in the grasslands, and emerge as a single, mighty current to split the land of Yanxia in twain.
This great hook of land protrudes from the northeastern corner of Othard, and boasts temperatures so cold that ice floes from the Blindfrost reach its northern shores intact. The peninsula is sparsely populated, with small clans of hunters being the only known inhabitants.
On the northern edge of Ryakgyr Peninsula, the Arras is an unbroken line of sheer cliffs. Efforts to construct a major port in the area have been discouraged by the ocean’s seasonal freezing, as well as the presence of megaptera—sea monsters said to dwarf even the largest gyuki.
The sea that greets Othard’s northern shoreline. Perpetually choked with drifting ice floes and hammered by violent storms, the Blindfrost has no known safe route for trade or travel.
The Dalvalan Grath
In the northwestern extremities of Othard’s tundra and the Cordillera Mountains, the land transforms into a blinding white tundra. A tribe of hunters, relatives of the Xaela, abandoned the plentiful Azim Steppe in ages past, and their descendants yet eke out a tenuous existence in this frozen wasteland.
The Knowing Sea
Bound by Ilsabard on one side and Othard on the other, this inland sea is so named for its place at what northern-province natives consider the edge of the known world. The Knowing Sea is notorious for its tempestuous weather—cold currents flowing in from the Blindfrost combine with ferocious gales from the Burn to birth endless roiling storms.
This island once served as a stronghold from which Chaghagan Khan , a Xaela of legendary renown , launched a conquest into Ilsabard . His forces swept across the continent's northern nations , reaping and pillaging with savage abandon . When they returned to divide the spoils , however , the victory feast devolved into an ugly quarrel , culminating in the death of the king . The island is tainted by the tale to this day : the story of a monarch's greed , and his attempt to deny his warriors their promised share . 
Culture and Technology
It's a simple fact that different lands give rise to different cultures and different technologies. But when civilizations meet, ideas are exchanged, and cultures spread beyond the crucible of their conception. Dig deep enough, and one might discover that seemingly independent advancements share a common root.
Aetherytes And Tenkonto
Aetherytes are arcane constructions which facilitate the use of teleportation magicks. The vast majority of aetherytes operating in Eorzea today were built by Sharlayan artisans, whereas the “Tenkonto” of the Far East were built by the Onishishu, a collective of skilled craftsmen. For all intents and purposes, a Tenkonto functions in almost the exact same fashion as an Eorzean aetheryte.
Professor Helblona Helblonawyn, a teacher of teleportation sorcery at the Studium in Sharlayan, attempts to answer the question of how two cultures separated by the vastness of the ocean managed to invent such similar contrivances. According to the professor’s theory, the link is found in the expansion of ancient Allag. The design of Eorzea’s aetherytes was originally based upon analysis of a dormant Allagan relic unearthed by the Studium in the 598th year of the Sixth Astral Era. And though the Onishishu’s commitment to secrecy leaves much of its history the subject of conjecture, the collective is known to have guarded its techniques over the course of countless generations. Considering the Allagan Empire once occupied every corner of the Three Great Continents, it is not unthinkable that determined technologists could have silently preserved their cultures legacy, even as the pillars of learning were torn down during the Fourth Astral Era.
The scholars of the Studium unlocked the secrets of teleportation technology via analysis of dormant Allagan device. More recently, academics have been excited to learn that an adventurer has discovered aetherytes of Allagan construction which appear to be fully functional.
Though there are differences in the style of the design, the Tenkonto built by the Onishishu are otherwise astonishingly similar to Eorzean and Allagan aetherytes with regards to its fundamental structure. The devices share many points of commonality from the central crystal of exceptional clarity to the revolving aether stabilizer.
The artisans of the Onishishu pledge themselves to no nation, but neither do they seek to profit from this neutrality. In many respects, the organization more closely resembles a monastic order than a crafting guild. Just as a monk devotes herself to a god, the Onishi employ their skills in service to the people. And in return for providing valuable technology such as the Tenkonto, they ask but meager payment: a crate of foodstuffs; a token offering of coins. The Onishishu will, however, flatly refuse those who request its services if the sole objective is one of personal gain. One tale tells of an Onishi who bit off his own tongue in response to a powerful Hingan lord's demand for fealty. Even in the face of armed threats, history has proven the artisans' willingness to accept death rather than surrender their long-preserved secrets. It is this very reputation for fanaticism that has allowed the Onishishu to retain its uncompromising, independence.
The traditional garb of an Onishi. Emblazoned with the unique design of their collective, the small “inro” the Onishi carry is said to grant them ingress to any gate in Hingashi—including the notoriously impassable doors of the palace.
Far Eastern Architecture
As is the case in Eorzea, architectural styles in the Far East change dramatically from region to region. Factors such as the availability of materials, the climate, and local custom all give rise to differences large and small.
In Yanxia, Nagxia, and Hingashi, for instance, abundant sources of lumber have led to the construction of primarily wooden dwellings. The stone foundation is laid, posts and crossbeams are lodged in place, and the roof is secured—thatching is common in rural areas, whilst tiles are the norm in the city. Walls are built from clay, plaster, or wooden panels. High humidity contributes to a preference for well-ventilated structures, and interior walls are kept to a minimum. Eorzeans are incredulous to find that rooms are often divided with naught more than paper or cloth partitions. “Fusuma”—thin sliding doors—are one example of these fragile barriers, the lightweight materials chosen for their ability to retain moisture and ease humid conditions. Yet whilst the fundamental building techniques are all but identical in the aforementioned locales, there are numerous variations in decoration and design.
Farther southwest, in the searing desert air of Dalmasca, the inhabitants build mainly in stone. This preference is largely influenced by availability—wood has always been a scarce and precious resource on the sands, and the rock quarried from the nearby Skatay Range is well suited to construction. Dalmascan architecture is also noted for the vibrantly colored tiles used to decorate most every surface.
Stone is likewise used in the Azim Steppe for structures where a greater degree of permanence is desired. The Tail Mountains provide the main source of construction materials—a fine-quality stone which the native tribes have a long tradition of carving into statues. They developed an art by which these statues can be ensorcelled to serve, making possible the creation of truly immense edifices. For the majority of the nomadic locals, however, dwellings take the form of yurts. These simple tents might feature wooden poles for support, but are mainly constructed from sturdy felt or hide—materials which are easily folded and carried from place to place.
Yanxia’s buildings are awash with colors representative of various kinds of prospe for coin, Circular arches and windows symbolic
The most notable feature of Nagxiaa abode is the roof, Tiles are pigmented red with iron oxide mortared in place with white plaster to create a vivid contrast in color. The line of plaster also serves a practical purpose, holding the tiles in place during Nagxia’s application phoons. In recent years, this method of tiling has gained popularity in Hingashi, the technique commonly referred to as the “southern wind” style.
With techniques learned on the continent forming the basis of Hingashi's architectural knowledge, Hingan houses are structurally similar to those of Yanxia . When it comes to appearance , however , the cylindrical towers and steeply curved roofs often seen in Yanxia are eschewed for a more angular aesthetic . 
The art of the arcane features as prominently in the history of the Far East as it does in the annals of Eorzea. And just as Gridanian conjury differs from Uldahn thaumaturgy, the diverse magicks of these distant lands cannot be described as a single discipline. Eldritch secrets are closely guarded—such is the way of things—but a general understanding of the three main Far Eastern arts is not beyond the reach of an inquisitive mind.
Geomancy is an art wherein the practitioner delves into the currents of air, earth, and water, and combines their energies with his own to produce arcane phenomena. The discipline first arose in Yanxia, its secrets passed on from aged master to chosen student in the traditional manner. This restrictive method of succession continued for generations until Ganen, the founding father of Doma and a famous geomancer in his own right, opened a temple to teach the masses and thus brought his knowledge to the attention of the wider world.
With regards to the mastery it grants over wind, earth, and water, as well as its affinity for barriers, geomancy is thought to share many similarities with conjury. Scholars have also pointed out how certain aspects of the art have a kinship with Sharlayan astrology. In the nation of Hingashi, however, the geomancer’s banishing and binding of evil has been misconstrued as a means to manipulate the land and invite good fortune, leading the populace to consider these mages as little more than advisors for aspiring merchants.
A unique art conceived in the land of Hingashi, onmyojutsu exhibits aspects of both thaumaturgy and divination. For the onmyoji, all in nature are born of either light or shadow, and it is in controlling the movement or balance between the two that arcane power is made manifest. This concept is thought to resemble the philosophy of polarity which exists in Eorzea, wherein the aetheric scales can tip in either an astral or umbral direction.
Symbolic of light and shadow, the discipline features many spells of fire and ice, with lightning magicks representing the energies which lurch between the two extremes. Onmyoji are also known for conjuring “shikigami” and binding them to golem-like servants crafted from wood or clay.
Eldritch Secrets of the Au Ra
Among the Xaela of the Azim Steppe, there is a multitude of tribes who have preserved the ways of ancient magicks. In typical Xaela fashion, the manner of their teaching, not to mention the content of the lesson itself, varies wildly from tribe to tribe. There are shamans who claim to hear the voices of the gods themselves, while yet others boast the ability to see into the future.
Whilst research into these magicks of eld has progressed but little, a respected aetherologist has documented instances of other phenomena—blasts of fire, curative touches, and the like—which prove the Xaela capable of casting the equivalent of most rudimentary spells. Distinct amongst their knowledge, however, is a rite wherein patterns engraved into specially prepared stone result in a biddable golem. These stone faces, or “khun chuluu” in the Xaela’s native tongue, can serve as a focus which amplifies arcane energies, enabling the manifestation of falling comets and other such spells of devastation and ruin. 
Livestock plays a major role in the development of civilizations, and exerts significant influence over a people’s culture and way of life. Beasts of burden are essential for their part in hauling heavy loads, providing a means of transport, and assisting with agricultural and building tasks. These larger animals are also a vital source of milk and meat, as well as providing useful materials such as hide and bone. The following is a selection of livestock of primary importance in the lands of the Far East.
Among the peoples of the Far East, it is believed that the Au Ra of the Azim Steppe were the first to keep livestock. They initially tamed horses to serve as mounts, and it was this achievement which led to the Au Ra’s decisive rise to dominance over the plains. When the Raen subsequently departed their ancestral home, they took with them the knowledge of rearing and riding horses to the lands beyond the Steppe.
Stocky, four-legged beasts native to the Azim Steppe, the long-haired dzos are a source of warm pelts, rich milk, and large quantities of meat. Dzos are also known for their lumbering strength, and are often employed to pull carts and wagons. Generally passive in temperament, they respond poorly to the switch or called commands, but the nomadic Xaela have nevertheless grown to rely upon these animals to haul around their tents and other bulky camp utensils.
The falcons spoken of in the Far East are of a gigantic breed, capable of bearing a full-grown man through the air. The training of a falcon, which must be hand-raised to serve as a mount from the moment it hatches until it reaches maturity, is a lengthy and involved process. As such, it is common in Hingashi that only a house sponsored by an influential lord will have the resources to undertake falcon rearing as the family business. Fully trained birds are purchased for a heavy purse, with many spending their lives flying the routes of a falcon porter.
As is the case in many parts of the world, sheep are counted amongst the more common types of livestock in the Far East. Ill suited as mounts or beasts of burden, the true value of a sheep is found in its wool—an indispensable material in the creation of warm clothing and yurt coverings. These animals are also kept for their meat and milk.
After the horse, the Au Ra turned their hand to taming the yol, and these new mounts saw them expand their dominion to the skies above the Steppe. Breaking the spirit of these bellicose birds of prey, however, is not a task for the faint of heart nor weak of arm. In fact, it was the very danger inherent in this feat which prompted many Xaela tribes to incorporate yol-taming into their rites of passage—furthering the evolution of their merit-based society. 
- See also: Eorzean Faiths
In her signature work, Far Eastern Trails, travel writer extraordinaire Liliju Liju has a section devoted to the region’s “magnificent and multifarious kami, as uncountable as the stars in the sky.” No single volume could possibly encapsulate the mercurial definitions of every known Far Eastern divinity, and thus do such authors often choose to focus on the more prominent examples.
A Pantheon Of Multitudes
“Kami”—the word for “god” in the Far East—has a significantly broader definition than the equivalent term in Eorzean. Similar to Eorzea’s Twelve, there exist celestial entities who preside over the sun or moon, but there are also sacred mountains and rivers, as well as exceptionally long-lived flora and fauna that have attained the status of godhood. Great leaders deified in the afterlife, objects infused with divine spirits, and even certain creatures of supernatural proportions all qualify to join the ranks of the kami. Proponents of different faiths are largely tolerant of each other’s deities, and often afford the same level of respect to every kami. It is not unheard of for Easterners to assimilate the mythology of a foreign god should they perceive the entity in question sufficiently similar to their own deity. This open-minded approach to faith has resulted in a pantheon of kami with multiple origins, and caused the hand-wringing of many a Western theologian attempting to define this nebulous system of belief.
The amatsukami are those divine beings who descended from the heavens in some long-forgotten era to dwell in the mortal realm. One version of their tale portrays the kami making their way downwards through Heaven-on-High—the staggeringly tall spire found on the island of Onokoro. Many are the names of the kami which are spoken in the Far East, but perhaps the most esteemed of these belong to the three greater deities: Amaterasu, God of the Sun; Tsukuyomi, Lady of the Moon; and Susano, Lord of the Revel. All of these entities are considered amatsukami, yet due to the local variations in myth and legend, it is difficult to be certain of their genders, let alone settle upon a definitive depiction for any one of them.
Though Susano is a prominent presence even amongst the amatsukami , there exist myriad interpretations of the entity itself . The Kojin , for example , believe the Lord of the Revel to be a " tsukumogami " whose essence is divided between several sacred receptacles - a belief which was borne out when three potent relics were gathered together to summon a primal incarnation . Y'shtola of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn insists , however , that the primal should be considered nothing more than a faith - fueled manifestation of the Kojin's own conception of Susano , as opposed to definitive proof of the kami's true nature .
Divinity in a Bottle
Tsukumogami are man-made objects such as tools or weapons which have acquired a divine spirit over the course of decades. The word “tsukumo” can be transcribed with the Hingan characters for “ninety-nine” and represents a period of time just shy of a century. This is not to imply, however, that every object that survives for this duration will find itself ennobled with the presence of a tsukumogami. The tales which surround these relics speak of exceptional pieces of art or workmanship, or describe the transference of remarkable will from a wielder or maker, whilst the “ninety-nine”—far from being an accurate count of years—is merely a poetic substitute for a significant passage of time.
Just as ambiguous is what constitutes evidence of a tsukumogami manifestation. Some writings describe an object changing position overnight without outside agency, while others point to preternatural fortune visiting those who come into possession of a specific treasure. The more tangible examples on record include dolls which begin moving of their own accord, or even speaking out loud in front of onlookers. But even such “proof” does not necessarily confirm the authenticity of a receptacle. As long as its qualities are not attributed to a curse, an antique suspected of harboring a divine presence has its value increased exponentially. As such, there is no shortage of unscrupulous merchants willing to deceive customers with cleverly prepared fakes—objects containing hidden mechanisms designed to simulate the presence of a tsukumogami.
The Kojin believe that an aged doll made by an unknown crafter has become the receptacle for a tsukumogami. Following this revelation, they have begun crafting and selling wind-up imitations of this now-sacred object. Whether this industry springs from an unusual display of piety is not entirely clear.
Relics such as those collected by the Kojin include receptacles for divine spirits, or objects that have otherwise been infused with divine power. Contrary to a tsukumogami’s receptacle, a relic blessed with the sacred energies of an amatsukami or similar entity is considered a tool to be used rather than worshipped. This category of relic is often incorporated into rites and rituals as a focus for manifesting arcane phenomena.
Another relic “requisitioned” by the Garlean Empire. Known as “Ame-no-Habakiri,” this Red Kojin treasure is a weapon of legend, said to have been wielded in battle by the kami Susano against an eldritch threat.
Crafted from nickel, this ancient mirror is believed to hold the energies of Tsukuyomi, deity of night and the moon. The Red Kojin surrendered this treasured relic to the Garlean Empire, and the object later served as the ritual focus in a primal summoning.
An integral part of Far Eastern folklore since ancient times, an auspice is an animal that has ascended to godhood. Legends tell of birds and beasts which, having outlived their ordinary lifespan by decades, attain a sense of self. Over the course of a thousand years, such creatures gradually amass a mystical strength, until one day they awaken to powers of divine magnitude. Auspices are considered deities in their own right, as awe-inspiring and respected as any of the kami.
These ascended animals are, however, plagued by a dual nature. When the boundless calm—the nigimitama—comes to the fore, an auspice often serves as a benevolent guardian, protecting the people from malicious entities. But when the primal rage—the aramitama—takes over, the auspice runs wild, wreaking disasters of divine proportions. Many a folktale and minstrel’s verse is the recounting of a heroic effort made to contain these rampaging beings.
Amongst the auspices' number, the most commonly witnessed, and thus most frequently recorded in legend, are those of the fox family. It is common for foxes that have endured for a century or more to gain the ability to shapeshift, and they often take the form of a person when wandering in populated lands. There are even tales of a fully ascended vulpine auspice who transformed into a woman of surpassing beauty. She is said to have gained the favor of a nation’s sovereign, and enjoyed every luxury that the royal life had to offer.
But for every tale of harmless amusement, there is a story of a raging beast whose fangs dripped red with the blood of men. The most famous of these, perhaps, speaks of Kinko Kugane, an auspice whose territory spanned the southern reaches of Shishu. When Kinko encountered workers felling ancient trees as they prepared the way for the growing port town, she surrendered her spirit to the fury of the aramitama. Records describe how her victims fell in droves before her corporeal form was finally slain. It was a geomancer by the name of Kazan, however, who was called to soothe Kinko’s uncontrollable spirit. He erected a barrier anchored at four shrines around Kugane, trapping the fox auspice and containing her power.
A vulpine entity possessed of nine tails, Tamamo Gozen is Yanxia's most well - known auspice . She was once considered the guardian of Doma, and fought valiantly to repel Garlemald's forces during the Empire's invasion. Sadly, the wounds she sustained during the conflict addled her mind, and the fox is said to now wander the land in a state of dangerous confusion .
Daitenzan, the highest peak on the Hingashi archipelago, is revered by the locals as a snow - crowned kami. Far from being an unusual practice in eastern regions, the number of mountains, rivers, and other natural features believed to host divine spirits is beyond counting. One need only look to the plethora of shrines built and seasonal festivals held in every village to see evidence of the people's devout worship of nature.
There are instances of men and women, powerful or influential in life, who ascend to godhood after death. As is true for many kami, however, the path by which they arrive at this status is not always the same. There are those whose mortal deeds were recognized by higher powers, their souls invited into heaven and granted divine station; still others refuse to move on to the afterlife, some great purpose binding them to the earth and empowering their spirit. This last example is especially prevalent when the cause of death was untimely or violent, as in the tale of a murdered general whose vengeful specter stalked and slaughtered every last person associated with his demise. Sharlayan researchers question claims of divine ascendancy in such circumstances, suggesting that many of these once-mortal “kami” would be more accurately classified as undead spirits in Eorzea.
Ganen, the first king of Doma, is prominent amongst those mortals deified in the afterlife . Known for unit ing the warring factions of Yanxia and bringing peace to the region, this famous commander was enshrined in a tomb befitting his accomplishments. Over time, people came to worship Ganen's eternal spirit as a kami of martial and scholarly learning .
Amongst the myriad faiths of the Far East, the mythology of the Azim Steppe nomads is especially vibrant. In an epic tale yet told on the grasslands with unwavering piety, the central figures of Azim, the Father of the Dawn, and Nhaama, Mother of the Dusk, are attributed with the creation of the world, as well as the Au Ra who dwell upon it.
The most prevalent version of the story holds that Azim and Nhaama joined hands to bring the world into existence, but fell to feuding over who commanded dominion over their creation. A drawn-out war brought no victor, and thus did they fashion the race of the Au Ra to battle in their stead—a male wrought for the glory of the sun god, and a female shaped to triumph in the moon goddess's name. Yet even as the conflict raged, the seed of love grew and blossomed upon the field. The children born of this union stirred the hearts of both Azim and Nhaama, moving them to yield the Steppe to the Au Ra and thence return to their place in the heavens. Ever after, the man and woman of this tale were known as the Dawn Father and the Dusk Mother—the progenitors of the Auri people.
Whilst this remains a common retelling, the individual tribes of the Xaela—competitive in all things—maintain their own variations of the tale. The Oronir, for example, are taught that they are all the direct descendants of Azim, a belief that remains unshaken to this day.
The relief carved into the side of the Dawa Throne is said to capture the likeness of the Dawn Father of legend. Even now, his gaze falls upon the Steppe, witnessing the furious contests of his progeny.
An imposing sculpture of the Dusk Mother, as she appeared in the time of myth. These days the monument lies half-buried on the northern edge of Nhaama’s Retreat, its features worn down by years of windblown sand. 
Nearly fifty years ago, the Garlean Empire first entered into Othard in the name of conquest, setting in motion a series of events that would—with the fall of Dalmasca in the year 1547—forever reshape not only the Far East, but the entire world. In order to understand these lasting repercussions, one must first look to the humble origins of the northern nation.
Ilsabard's Fledgling Empire
In 922 of the Sixth Astral Era, over six hundred years ago, the various Garlean tribes of Ilsabard came together, and the Garlean Republic was born. Though unified, their strength still paled in comparison to that of their neighbors, until centuries later, in 1513, when the advent of magitek revolutionized the Garlean military’s capabilities and tactics, and empowered them to subjugate their neighbors as they gradually became the most powerful nation in the region.
Four years later, in 1517, the newly appointed dictator Solus Galvus deployed Garlean airships in battle for the first time, and with them easily conquered and annexed the kingdom of Nhalmasque. Subsequent invasions of other nations would prove no more difficult, and by 1522 the whole of Isabard was under Garlean rule. In that same year, bolstered by a wave of unprecedented popular support, Solus proclaimed himself the first emperor of Garlemald, setting the stage for the first Far Eastern campaign, which would begin six years later.
A depiction of one of the earliest airships deployed in the Ilsabardian campaign. Compared to advanced assault craft, its cruising speed and payload capacity are vastly inferior. Nevertheless, it was more than capable of circumventing traditional fortifications and delivering imperial troops into the heart of enemy strongholds—a tactic that forever altered the course of modern warfare.
The First Far Eastern Campaign
“No lands must remain beyond our grasp. Go forth. Conquer. Rule.” Thus spoke Solus zos Galvus to his officers and their men during a massive military parade celebrating the commencement of the Far Eastern campaign, in which three imperial legions under the emperor’s command would venture forth in a grand endeavor—albeit one that would ultimately end in failure. Garlemald first set its sights on Nagxia, and in order to reach it they would need traverse the vast desert known as the Burn. The distance to be covered was too great for their airships, and so the emperor instead bade them utilize multi-legged magitek transports. However, these warmachina were ill-suited to this harsh clime, and the sand which found its way into every nook and cranny was a source of constant consternation and frequent mechanical breakdowns. The near-complete absence of potable water sources further compounded their woes, and in the face of flagging morale, the emperor gave the order to withdraw.
The lasting legacy of this aborted campaign would be born not from any skirmish with the enemy, but from a brief detour taken by the legions when the emperor bade them seek shelter in one of the Burn’s desolate valleys, where they found an ancient ruin. Upon closer inspection, they learned the terrible truth: that the ancient city's inhabitants were responsible for the creation of the Burn itself, a land all but bereft of aether, for it had been consumed by godlike beings the people in their hubris had summoned time and time again. So it was that Solus zos Galvus not only suspended the first Far Eastern campaign, but also decreed that these summoned “eikons” were a blight upon this star that must be destroyed without exception.
One of the warmachina featured heavily in the first campaign. The intricate mecha-nisms were inadequately shielded from the elements and prone to failure when deployed in desert environs, as the Garleans learned to their peril. Their poor service record, together with the other difficulties the legions struggled with in the Burn, led the Empire to conclude that an overland route through the region was impossible.
The Subjugation of Dalmasca
Solus would brook no delay on his return, channeling the vast resources of the Garlean Empire into the development of new magitek designs. During this insular period in which they reigned in their expansionist ambitions, the imperials created faster, more efficient airship designs, as well as smaller units which could be operated by even a single pilot. Finally, in 1547 of the Sixth Astral Era—or the 26th year of the new Garlean calendar—an imperial army reborn was ready to go to war. This time, however, they would not head east through the Burn towards Nagxia, but instead veer south towards the Skatay Range and leverage their new mobility to claim a far greater prize: the Kingdom of Dalmasca.
Owing to its location, Dalmasca was then a hub of international trade. Naturally, many nations had recognized and coveted their prosperous position, and had sought to claim their lands through military action, but to their credit, the royal line of B’nargin had managed to defend the kingdom for more than a thousand years. The extensive defensive fortifications along their borders and in major cities had served them so well that Solus had originally believed invasion to be a losing proposition.
However, the Empire’s new airships had changed the equation, allow-ing their legions to sail effortlessly over the northern mountain range that had long served as a natural deterrent. The Dalmascans could only look on in despair as their defenses were easily circumvented and major cities seized in the blink of an eye. When the dust had settled, Nalbina Fortress, under the command of Prince Rasler, stood alone as the last bastion of resistance against the invaders, having barely erected a magical barrier in time to forestall an aerial assault.
For half a year Noah van Gabranth and his IVth Legion laid siege to the fortress. More than seventy thousand souls are said to have perished by the time it fell, and with it the fabled Desert Sapphire of Rabanastre, signifying the complete and utter defeat of Dalmascan forces at the hands of the Empire.
From Nagxia to Yanxia
Following their victory, the Empire divided the conquered Kingdom of Dalmasca into two regions. The desert south of the Skatay Range was dubbed Dalmasca Superior, with Rabanastre to serve as the seat of the provincial government, whereas the Golmore Jungle and Greylic’s Bend were named Dalmasca Inferior, with Lea Monde as its capital. Together, they would comprise the Diocese of Dalmasca, the Garlean Empire’s foothold in the Far East.
Rabanastre became a key staging ground for imperial forces in the campaign, and from there the Empire advanced into Nagxia. Although the realm was divided amongst several clans that were unable to muster a united resistance, imperial forces were at a disadvantage, as the local resistance took advantage of the dense jungle climes to frustrate the invaders’ movements and stage ambushes. It took nearly three whole years for Garlemald to subjugate the whole of Nagxia, ultimately by relying upon small, highly trained mobile units scouring the jungles until the last belligerents were brought to heel, allowing the Empire in 1552 of the Sixth Astral Era to devote its attention wholly to the conquest of Yanxia and the Kingdom of Doma.
The Fall of Doma
Lord Kaien of the Rijin, sovereign of Doma, saw that an invasion was imminent, and so he dispatched emissaries to Hingashi to request aid in the coming war. Alas, after seeing what had become of Dalmasca, the bakufu was determined to remain neutral. All overtures made by Doma were summarily rejected, for Hiingashi would not entertain any discussion. Although a response of this nature had been anticipated, the exceedingly cold and calculating treatment angered Kaien’s retainers. Yet the king is said to have taken it in stride, declaring with a grin that Doma would seize this opportunity to show they who had first conceived the samurai tradition what “warriors brave and true” could achieve.
When Garlemald came to Yanxia, they once more turned to proven strategy and relied upon the supremacy of their airships to achieve a swift and decisive victory. Rather than reinforcing their castles and strongholds, however, Kaien concentrated his forces along the Dairyu Moon Gates, and from their towering walls the Domans utilized a combination of geomancy and ninjutsu to disrupt the aetherial currents and send imperial airships crashing to the earth. Those who attempted to secure a foothold by land were met with fierce resistance from people united, as well as—if the tales are to be believed—guardian spirits known as auspices, including one known as Tamamo Gozen.
Yet even this most spirited defense could not hope to prevail against the full might of Garlemald. Despite repelling the first wave, the Empire simply redoubled its efforts. More and more airships were dispatched to Yanxia, some even towing floating islands from Dalmasca which had been repurposed as aerial fortresses. Castrum Fluminis was built overnight in an attempt to secure a foothold in the region, and from there the imperials mounted a renewed assault by land and air to force Doma into submission. Lord Kaien soon judged that further resistance would be in vain, and to avoid needless bloodshed, he bent the knee to Garlemald.
Unrest in the Far Eastern Provinces
The great and powerful nations of the Far East were no match for the Empire’s military might. Nevertheless, the peoples of these new provinces were by no means content to acquiesce to foreign rule. For nearly three decades the imperial forces in Dalmasca struggled to contain an endless string of violent uprisings, culminating in the infamous Barheim Incident which claimed the lives of countless soldiers. Unable to reassert control on their own, the resident IVth Legion had to turn to Gaius van Baelsar’s XIVth for assistance. It was in the ensuing strife and bloodshed that Livia sas Junius earned her notorious reputation by hunting down suspected rebels like rats and slaughtering them without trial.
Compared to the Dalmascans, the Doman people were rather more amenable—albeit on the surface. In truth, the Doman Liberation Front, aided by the deposed Kaien Rijin, spent years biding their time for the perfect moment to strike. When he led his people in rebellion, united, they succeeded in driving the imperials from Yanxia. Yet this victory would prove fleeting, for when Zenos yae Galvus, crown prince of Garlemald, swept into Yanxia with the XIIth Legion and called upon the imperial agents hidden amongst the shinobi to betray their brothers and sisters, all hope for freedom was lost. That no other province dare take inspiration from the Domans, the imperials imposed a series of brutal punishments upon the populace, the scars of which linger still. 
- Encyclopaedia Eorzea: Volume II, page 11-12
- Encyclopaedia Eorzea: Volume II, page 15-16
- Encyclopaedia Eorzea: Volume II, page 17
- Encyclopaedia Eorzea: Volume II, page 18
- Encyclopaedia Eorzea: Volume II, page 19-22
- Encyclopaedia Eorzea: Volume II, page 65-66