The Crystal War erupted in 862 C.E. and lasted until 864 C.E. The Allied Forces of Altana battled the combined armies of the Shadow Lord, known collectively as the Beastman Confederate, in a conflict that raged over both the Quon and Mindartian continents. It is recorded as the largest and bloodiest war in Vana'diel's history.
In the year 855 C.E., a mysterious entity arrived in the land of Valdeaunia with the howling hosts of the underworld at his command--the impact of the Shadow Lord's appearance was akin to a meteor strike. In a few short years, the Shadow Lord had united the disparate factions of the beastmen into a single, organized force and declared his intention to scour every last child of Altana from the face of Vana'diel. During the 4th moon of the year 862 C.E., he had already begun his invasion of the San d'Orian region of Norvallen.
In the opening stages of the war, the nations of Vana'diel attempted to fight the beastmen independently, only to suffer repeated losses against their enemies' vastly superior numbers. At the behest of Archduke Kam'lanaut of Jeuno, the nations of San d'Oria, Bastok, and Windurst put aside their historical enmities and formed the Allied Forces of Altana. As the isolated nations began sharing information and resources, they gradually developed the infrastructure to plan operations that would span entire continents.
The most significant step towards the execution of cooperative operations was taken during the battle waged in the defense of Jeuno. The retreat of the Beastman Confederate in the face of the three nations' coordinated attacks served to further strengthen the newfound alliance.
After the triumph at the Siege of Jeuno, the allied forces began retaliating against the beastmen across all the lands of Vana'diel. In the 4th Moon of the year 863 C.E., a final resounding victory was won in the Battle of Xarcabard, where the main force of the Beastman Confederate was smashed under the combined military might of Altana's armies.
Castle Zvahl fell to the allies soon after. In the year 864 C.E., the Orcish Hosts, who had refused to concede defeat, were at last forced into the northern sea. And thus were ended two long years of bloody warfare.
Setting the Stage
The Republic of Bastok, the Kingdom of San d'Oria, and the Federation of Windurst had conquered all of the known lands of Vana’diel and began to turn their greedy eyes towards each other’s lands. As they turned their attentions upon each other, the Kindred, winged beastmen known as Demons by the five races of Altana, began to mass in the frozen northlands. They were more intelligent than the other beastmen of Vana’diel, and they wore dark armor that protected them from both physical and magical attacks. They were under the leadership of a powerful Demon known as the Shadow Lord, who directed his minions to send out emissaries to the other beastman of the south. The Orcs, Quadav, and Yagudo all agreed to submit to his authority.
Under the Shadow Lord’s orders and the leadership of Demon commanders, the beastmen began to raid small encampments for supplies for his future plans. All three kingdoms were raided using tactics and weapons that they had never seen before. The fourth and largest raid was at the island of Qufim near the small fishing town of Jeuno. The Humes fought against a new adversary, the massive Gigas warriors. They were the fourth beastmen family to be recruited by the Shadow Lord. The Humes were slaughtered and the few that escaped fled to Jeuno.
The leader of Jeuno proposed secession from the Republic of Bastok. The president accepted this proposal in order to withdraw all of his musketeers from Jeuno to his capital to defend it against the rising beastmen. Thus the new city-state of the Grand Duchy of Jeuno was formed and their leader, Kam'lanaut, was made Archduke. No one knew where the strange person came from, but the citizens recognized his intelligence and military brilliance.
The Archduke quickly replaced the musketeers by recruiting some of the best warriors found in Vana’diel, and he trained them himself. They became known as the Ducal Guard. This increase in security lessened the beastman raids, and increased commerce and trade in Jeuno. The city quickly began to grow and three bridges—Harbor Bridge, Market Bridge, and Artisan Bridge—were built.
The Battle of Bastok
The first large assault by the Shadow Lord was taken against the Republic of Bastok. The Quadav had tunneled their way from Palborough Mines to the Bastok Mines. The mortal enemy of the Galka, the Antica, were also recruited by the Shadow Lord for the assault. They used the Korroloka Tunnel, the same tunnel the Galka used to flee their home, to enter Bastok. The Humes and the Galka fought fearlessly and managed to push back the horde from entering the Metalworks. They sealed off parts of the Zeruhn Mines, but lost many of their own to achieve the victory.
The Battle of Windurst
The Shadow Lord quickly launched an invasion of Windurst. He sent 30,000 of his best troops to destroy the city. The beastmen attacked at Odin’s Gate which was only defended by 1000 War Warlocks, Mithran hunters and Cardians. The Windurstan army was no match for the advancing horde. They breached the gates and began to move towards Heavens Tower.
Just as it looked like all hope was lost, a bright light from the east appeared. The minister of the Optistery, Karaha-Baruha, appeared along with the avatar Fenrir, whom the Star Sibyl had forbidden summoning. Fenrir pounced on the beastmen, ripping dozens of them apart with each swing of its paw. The beastmen fled in fear, and Karaha-Baruha and Fenrir followed after them. Neither were ever seen again.
The Battle of Garlaige Citadel
With the help of the other beastmen, the Yagudo finished building Castle Oztroja. From this location, the Yagudo were able to cut off the magic-wielding Tarutaru from the rest of the world. The Kingdom of San d’Oria secretly attempted to construct a passway from their stronghold Garlaige Citadel into Sauromugue Champaign in hopes of helping the Tarutaru of Windurst. Five hundred of the Kingdom's best men were sent to protect the workers. Yet, the Orcs discovered the movement of the San d’Orian knights to the citadel and informed the Yagudo. The two beastmen attacked the stronghold at the point where the workers and knights were deep inside the tunnels. Every last knight was slaughtered, and the beastmen razed the building.
The Battle of Jugner
An invasion of the San d’Orian monastery at La Vaule (currently known as Davoi) by the Orcs took place shortly after the fall of the Garlaige Citadel. The Orcs launched a surprise attack from the surrounding mountains and quickly subdued the monastery. The king, knowing that he couldn’t defend his kingdom from a direct attack, sent one lone Royal Knight to La Vaule. The knight carried documents about the powerful weapon Lightbringer which was thought to be housed at Tavnazia. The king planned that the knight would be captured and these documents discovered by the Orcs and they would turn their attention away from San d’Oria and towards their allies in Tavnazia.
The plan worked, and the Orcs began to plan for an assault on the stronghold. San d’Oria informed Windurst, Bastok and the Empire of Aht Urhgan about the massing Orcish troops and their plans to invade Tavnazia. Windurst and Bastok agreed to send in troops, but Aht Urhgan, allies of Tavnazia for generations, refused to supply men or equipment. The king’s plan to finally bring Aht Urhgan into the Crystal War failed.
Then, without warning, a huge explosion erupted inside the tunnels. The blast was so powerful that the entire peninsula of Tavnazia was separated from the Quon continent and formed the Tavnazian Archipelago that is present today. To this day, few know how it happened or what caused it. Yet, the five races of Altana believed that it was caused by an Orcish secret weapon. The blast not only destroyed the Orcs, but united the three nations to form the Allied Forces of Altana. The Beastman Confederate then turned their attention back to Jugner.
The Beastman Confederate advanced on Jugner with one hundred thousand soldiers. Yet despite repeated request for aid, Marquis Rouhent was sent only a paltry three hundred reinforcements from the Royal Knights under the command of Count Aurchiat. The marquis attempted to use his intimate knowledge of the forest to blunt the progress of the massive army, but with barely a thousand troops to stand against a sea of beastmen, he was hopelessly outnumbered.
The allied forces did not stand a chance. Messengers were sent out requesting reinforcements, but they couldn’t arrive in time. Every last warrior, mage and hunter was slaughtered, and the citizens attempted to flee their destroyed home through underground tunnels.
News of the elite Norvallen knights' defeat came as a sobering shock to the capital, but it was merely a prelude to the looming horror of the Crystal War.
The Siege of Jeuno
Even with a mountain of their own dead to impede their advance, the endless waves of Quadav continued to push forward. Battlements were shattered under a hail of cannon fire and Gigas-thrown boulders...
With the dramatic decrease in Orcish troops, the Yagudo and the Quadav began to lose their faith in the Shadow Lord. They withdrew from the war and went into hiding. The Shadow Lord attempted to enlist the aid of the Sahagin and Tonberry, but was largely unsuccessful.
Seeing the beastmen’s power weakening, the Archduke Kam’lanaut gathered the Allied Forces of Altana to the city-state of Jeuno to plan a final advance on the Shadow Lord. The Archduke himself also petitioned that the Empire of Aht Urhgan join in the war, but the empire once again refused. The Shadow Lord quickly sent Gigas warriors to assault Jeuno before they could assemble a planned attack.
The forces of the Beastman Confederate that pressed the fortress-city of Jeuno on all three sides finally converged on the vulnerable Batallia front. One, two, and then three of the four ramparts that protected the city crumbled under the assault.
The allied forces rallied their troops and launched a coordinated counterattack that resulted in a critical victory against the beastman invasion.
The remaining Gigas fled towards Delkfutt's Tower, where they still remain to this day.
The Battle of Xarcabard
When the driving snows suddenly died and a shaft of sunlight pierced the clouds to illuminate the battlefield, a rousing cheer rose from the ranks of the allied forces. The feint to split the forces of their enemy had succeeded--the army before them was clearly outnumbered.
Together, Kam'lanaut and Cid began work on a secret weapon. Kam'lanaut provided Cid with the knowledge of crystal-powered engines. With this technology, Cid designed a ship that was able to fly in the air. He called his new creation an airship and named his prototype “First Ship.” Yet, the Allied Forces of Altana were anxious to defeat the Shadow Lord and decided to go to battle without the weapon.
However, those cheers turned to shouts of dismay as the battle was joined. The soldiers they faced were no ordinary troops, but the elite vanguard of the Shadow Lord, highly trained and handpicked from among the champions of each beastman race.
Volker, the champion of Bastok, led the remaining troops of the Allied Forces of Altana to the frozen northlands of Xarcabard. The troops were all battle hardened from the many battles and skirmishes they had experienced during the Great War. Yet, even with their experience they were no match for the Demons. Volker decided to send in a small covert group to penetrate the Castle Zvahl Baileys. He chose the best warriors, one of each race, to join him in his mission. This elite squad battled their way to the tallest tower where the Shadow Lord commanded his army from an obsidian throne. The heroes fought together bravely against the dark lord and with one final thrust from Volker’s weapon the Shadow Lord was defeated.
The allied forces claimed victory, but only at tremendous cost.
Mysteriously, with the vanquishment of the Shadow Lord, all of the Demons vanished as well. The Allied Forces of Altana had won, and the Crystal War was at an end.