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The Garlean Empire 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..
Motives 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 The Garlean military is said to be one of the most powerful in all of Hydaelyn, due to the Empire's technological progress. The army is divided into fourteen large-scale units known as legions, and each legion is comprised of ten infantry battalions known as cohors. These cohors are further broken down into three companies, or manipuli. Finally, a manipulus consists of two platoons, or centuriae.
Currently, two Garlean legions are present in Eorzea as part of the invasion force, 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 and responsible for holding Ala Mhigo.
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.