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- lore from DRG quests and Shiva.
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The Dragonsong War (竜詩戦争, Ryū Shi Sensō?, lit. Dragon Poetry War) is a military conflict in Final Fantasy XIV between the Holy See of Ishgard and the draconic Dravanian Horde, fought over a thousand years and dominating the cultures and lifestyles of both states. The war has been fought for as long as the Holy See existed.
According to the Holy See, early in the Sixth Astral Era, the legendary King Thordan set out to build a bridge across the Sea of Clouds to what would become the city-state of Ishgard. Thordan claimed he had been chosen by Halone, the Fury, but was struck down by the great wyrm Nidhogg. Thordan's son, Haldrath, exacted revenge by removing Nidhogg's eye, and Ishgard has been at war with Nidhogg's people, the Dravanians, ever since. Nidhogg has led seven assaults against Ishgard, though the city-state survived all of them.
The Dragonsong War resulted in Ishgard's exclusion from the rest of Eorzea: though Ishgard fought in the Autumn War against Ala Mhigo, they declined to join the Eorzean Alliance to focus on their crusade against the Dravanian Horde. As such, they were present at neither the Battle of Carteneau nor Operation Archon, though the former caused drastic environmental damage to Coerthas. The Dravanian Horde was similarly set back by the loss of the Wyrmking, Midgardsormr, at the Battle of Silvertear Skies.
Start of the war
The war was triggered by the murder of Ratatoskr, Nidhogg's brood-sister. At the start of the Sixth Astral Era, the Halone-worshiping tribes living in Coerthas lived in peace with Dravania, bound by the sacrifice Shiva made out of love for Hraesvelgr. The peace between man and dragon may have been unusual, considering that the war between Meracydia and the Allagan Empire led to the thralldom of Tiamat and Bahamut, the apparent mutual destruction of both states, and the Fourth Umbral Era.
This peace was shattered when Ratatoskr, in an attempt to strengthen the peace with man and dragon, revealed to King Thordan that a dragon's eye was a source of immense power. Thordan and his Knights Twelve murdered Ratatoskr to obtain her eyes. After ripping out and consuming her eyes, the Knights Twelve became exceptionally powerful, but Nidhogg attacked them, vowing for revenge. Thordan and four of his Knights fell in battle against Nidhogg, but Haldrath, Thordan's son, defeated the dragon by gouging out his eyes.
Four of the surviving Knights went on to found the High Houses of Ishgard, but Haldrath abdicated the throne, ending the monarchy out of remorse. He became the first Azure Dragoon, fighting off Dravanian attempts at revenge. Haldrath was later buried with Nidhogg's right eye, and the left eye was wielded by later Azure Dragoons in their defense of Ishgard.
Hraesvelgr healed the dying Nidhogg by giving him his right eye. While Shiva's spirit prevented Hraesvelgr from entering the war against the surviving members of the Knights Twelve, his horror at the betrayal of Ratatoskr led him willing to aid Nidhogg in his quest for revenge.
The Holy See of Ishgard blotted out most of these details; according to their revision of history, Thordan was noble and guilty of no crimes when he was slain by Nidhogg in a week-long battle; Haldrath only pierced out Nidhogg's left eye; and Shiva was a dangerous heretic who committed the mortal sin of laying with dragons.
Over the next millennium, Nidhogg alternated between seven periods when he was awake and attacking Ishgard, and periods when he was asleep which resulted in a ceasefire. While the Dravanian Horde could have defeated Ishgard outright, they preferred to attack the city repeatedly without putting its residents out of their misery to ensure that the the Knights Twelve's descendants would suffer for many generations, as payback for Ratatoskr's death.
During his seventh assault, c. 1557 of the Sixth Astral Era, Nidhogg led the Dravanian Horde against the Azure Dragoon Alberic Bale. After three days of battle in the village of Ferndale, Alberic feared that he would fall under Nidhogg's control, and relinquished his title as Azure Dragoon, as well as Nidhogg's eye. Alberic was therefore powerless to prevent the Dravanians from razing the city to the ground and the only survivor, Estinien Wyrmblood, trained under Alberic to become the next Azure Dragoon and exact revenge against Nidhogg for the deaths of his family at Ferndale.
Even tough Nidhogg returned to his slumber after the battle of Ferndale, the Dravanian Horde was not left leaderless, as Midgardsormr, the Father of Dragons, rallied them in 1562 of the Sixth Astral Era against an even greater enemy than the Holy See of Ishgard: the Garlean Empire, who were preparing their assault on Eorzea. The war between the Eorzean city-states and the Garleans was not directly tied to the Dragonsong War, but the two conflicts fed each other. The Horde defeated the Empire soundly at the Battle of Silvertear Skies, though Midgardsormr was "slain" for the next fifteen years.
In 1572, the war between the Eorzean Alliance and Garlean Empire came to a head at the Battle of Carteneau. Though Ishgard did not participate, they were seemingly ruined by the battle as the environmental damage from the resulting Seventh Umbral Era transformed Coerthas into a land of eternal winter.
Five years into the Seventh Umbral Era, Nidhogg began to awaken to resume his crusade against the now frozen Ishgardians. Before his awakening, Estinien fled from Ishgard with the Eye, hoping to draw Nidhogg's attention away from the Holy See and onto himself. An adventurer, also Azure Dragoon, pursued Estinien, and the two considered allying against Nidhogg, but Estinien, consumed by the dragon's wrath, turned on the adventurer and Alberic. After being defeated, Estinien left them, seemingly dead.
Heretic factions started to gain power. One in particular, the Harriers, led by a woman named Ysayle "Iceheart" Dangoulain, began to launch attacks on trading caravans in Coerthas, resulting in significant civilian casualties. They obtained enough crystals to summon Shiva, whom they claimed as their patron saint, into the body of Ysayle. They learned from Hraesvelgr that, because all Ishgardians descended from the Knights Twelve, they had powers granted by Ratatoskr's eye: namely, upon exposure to dragon's blood, they transformed into aevis.
The adventurer, now known as the Warrior of Light, defeated Shiva at the Akh Afah Amphitheatre. Later, they were sent to investigate the "rising chorus" of dragonsong from the Keeper of the Lake, which turned out to caused by Nidhogg's awakening. While in the Keeper of the Lake, the Warrior of Light bore witness to Midgardsormr being roused from sleep to join Nidhogg's chorus.
Nidhogg's dragonsong called for an attack on Ishgard, which was halted by an Allied armed intervention. The attack nearly led to Ishgard's destruction because of Ysayle's sabotage of Daniffen's Collar, Ishgard's last defense against dragons, landing directly in their city.
To end the Dragonsong War by peaceful means, Ser Aymeric de Borel, commander of Ishgard's Temple Knights, secretly sent a party of unlikely allies—Estinien, Ysayle, the Warrior of Light, and Alphinaud Leveilleur of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn—to attempt to common ground between man and dragon. The party formed an alliance with the dragons of Anyx Trine after defeating their mortal enemy, the primal Ravana, at Thok ast Thok. While climbing to the Churning Mists to treat with Hraesvelgr, they were attacked with and forced to kill Nidhogg's mate, Tioman, atop the holy mountain of Sohm Al, ruining any chance they had at forging peace. Estinien and the Warrior of Light pursued Nidhogg to his lair, the Aery, and assassinated him by wielding his own eye.
The Dragonsong War momentarily stopped at Nidhogg's death, but after the deaths of Thordan VII and the Heavens' Ward—overthrown by the Warrior of Light after attempting to use Ascian primal summoning techniques and Nidhogg's right eye to become King Thordan and his Knights Twelve—Estinien came to possess both of Nidhogg's eyes. The wyrm possessed Estinien and reconstituted his own body. Though Ser Aymeric intended to make amends to the Dravanians as the new leader of Ishgard, Midgardsormr warned him that Nidhogg would resume the war with those still loyal to him; now that he had both of his eyes, he was more threatening than ever before.
Revolution in Ishgard complicated matters, though Ser Aymeric had some diplomatic victories: Ishgard formally joined the Eorzean Alliance, and the Dravanians of Anyx Trine agreed to peace. Fundamentalists unable to accept that Thordan I was at fault in starting the Dragonsong War attempted to assassinate Aymeric and take hostages in the Vault, but Aymeric and the hostages survived due to the intervention of the Scions and Vidofnir of Anyx Trine.
The final chorus
Hearken unto me, all of you! The final chorus is nigh, and all will be held to account! All will bathe in the flames of retribution! Till the coming of that day, look you on your sins and despair! For none shall 'scape my wrath! None shall 'scape my revenge!Nidhogg
Nidhogg crashed the peace conference held in Falcon's Nest between Ser Aymeric and Vidofnir. Using the form of the Azure Dragoon Estinien—his eyes grafted into the dragoon's flesh—Nidhogg attacked Vidofnir as a warning and declared to all Ishgardians that the final chorus of the war would soon begin. As the great wyrm shifted to his true form and flew off, the conference ended with attendees chanting "Death to Nidhogg!"
Realizing that not even the Warrior of Light could survive Nidhogg's wrath now that he wielded both of his eyes, Aymeric sent them to meet with Hraesvelgr, Nidhogg's only equal. Midgardsormr persuaded Hraesvelgr to turn against his hate-filled brother, who agreed to fight for Ishgard.
The war's final battle took place on the Steps of Faith, as the Horde, led by Nidhogg himself, launched an all-out assault on what remained of Ishgard's defenses. The duel between Nidhogg and Hraesvelgr nearly destroyed the bridge, but as Hraesvelgr fell to the ground, wounded, he transferred the power of his eye to the Warrior of Light, who slayed Nidhogg. With the aid of the ghosts of Ysayle and Haurchefant Greystone, the Warrior freed Estinien from Nidhogg's grasp, ending the war.
- Encyclopedia Eorzea, p.206