Sharlayan is a nation of scholars in Final Fantasy XIV. Located on an island to the north of Eorzea, the Circle of Knowing, Sons of Saint Coinach, and Students of Baldesion all hail from this city-state. Their patron deity is Thaliak the Scholar.
Until recently, Sharlayan had established a colony in the Dravanian hinterlands, which grew prosperous enough to be counted among Eorzea's great city-states. With the fall of Ala Mhigo, the Sharlayans elected to evacuate the colony in anticipation of turmoil that would engulf the realm, in accordance with their policy of neutrality.
The abandoned city became accessible in the Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward expansion. Old Sharlayan will become accessible in Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker and serves as the main city for the expansion.
It used to be one of Eorzea's six city-states, and was situated in the northwest of Aldenard. The Sharlayans were the keepers of wisdom both old and new. Their mastery over magic and aether was unsurpassed, and even the Garleans knew to fear them.Minfilia Warde
Little is known of the nation of Sharlayan, beyond their members in the Scions of the Seventh Dawn. Though a highly academic and scholastic nation, Sharlayans seldom get involved in international politics, and the nation itself withdrew from Eorzea once it became apparent that the Garlean Empire was intent on conquest. Sharlayan is located in the "Old World" to the north of Eorzea and its main governing body is the Forum, a Parliament of elected officials that determine national policy.
Astrologian job quests reveal the Sharlayan government as selective in what knowledge it is willing to share with other nations. It is implied that sharing knowledge without sanction is considered treason. This isolationist stance is due to the dominant Bibliothec faction, who advocate hoarding knowledge and observing history from the sidelines.
Sharlayans are disinclined to accept any form of warfare, regardless of the necessity, and would not dream of using their legendary knowledge for martial purposes. Viewing war as barbaric, Sharlayans prefer to compromise and negotiate even when war is inevitable. This stance lead to their abandoning of their holdings in Eorzea and retreat to their homeland over standing with the Eorzean nations against the Empire.
Nevertheless, the Circle of Knowing, led by the sage Louisoix Leveilleur, defied official policy and intervened in the prophecy of the Divine Chronicles.
Sharlayan was founded in the wake of the Great Flood that characterised the Sixth Umbral Calamity. In the time prior to the calamity, a Roegadyn scholar from the distant island of Aerslant, known as Nyunkrepf Nyunkrepfsyn, predicted that the flood would hit the realm of Eorzea as a consequence of the War of the Magi currently being waged there. Creating a giant magical Ark that would be known as Nyunkrepf's Hope, he sailed down to Eorzea and tried to convince as many as he could about the coming disaster. When the Flood finally hit, Nyunkrepf saved as many as possible aboard his Ark.
Eventually, the ship would be threatened to be overturned by the churning tides, and Nyunkrepf invoked a spell that transported the ark high atop the peaks in Gyr Abania, where they remained stranded for a while. As the flood waters began to recede, the passengers of the ark looked to Nyunkrepf for leadership, especially when they needed to contend with other survivors in the region, the ancestors of the Ala Mhigans. Nyunkrepf forswore conflict with their opponents and instead guided his people across Abalathia's Spine to the Orn Wild in the Dravanian Hinterlands, from where they constructed a new ship and set sail north to the currently uninhabited islands of the Old World. It is here that the original Sharlayan was founded and constructed, taking Thaliak the Scholar as their patron deity in honor of their Eorzean roots.
In 1311, many years after the founding of Sharlayan, an expedition of scholars returned across the seas of the Northern Empty to the Dravanian Hinterlands, and there built an outpost to study the aetherial sea. This became a stop for all academics who ventured to Eorzea to conduct their research, and a hostelry was constructed for long-term tenure upon foreign shores. This small collection of buildings grew more numerous, and in time it became a handsome settlement. Rumor of this community of learned men spread, and students began to converge upon the place from every corner of Eorzea. They sought the wisdom of scholars, and their number began to swell. In 1361, upon the fiftieth anniversary of the research outpost, the Forum formally proclaimed it a colony. With this, the Sharlayan settlement joined the six city-states of Eorzea.
The Hinterlands colony attracted students from all across Eorzea, and grew as a beacon of knowledge and wisdom. Yet this was not to last however. Tidings that Garlemald had captured Ala Mhigo reached the city. To the Sharlayans, the Empire was a threat to their very way of life. They had spent an age stubbornly resisting all war, and the imperial invasion of Ilsabard and Othard was a bane to the values they had held dearly since Nyunkrepf's time. Sharlayan sent ambassador after ambassador to Garlemald with entreaties to stop their advance. They even strove mightily to parlay a peace, but all these pleas fell on deaf ears, and the envoys returned home empty-handed.
In the wake of the failed negotiations, Fourchenault Leveilleur and the faction he led within the Forum elected to forsake their colony in Eorzea, effectively abandoning Eorzea to struggle alone against the Garlean Empire. Following five years of elaborate and painstaking preparation, the plan to evacuate the settlement's entire population to the northern archipelago of their homeland was put into motion. Now, the city of Sharlayan became a maze of empty streets and buildings in the space of a single evening. Despite the Forum's decrees of remaining neutral, Louisoix Leveilleur defied Sharlayan's policies of nonintervention and neutrality when he learned the possibility of another Calamity and founded the Circle of Knowing to prevent it.
Prior to Shadowbringers
Sharlayan does not play an active role in any of the events leading upto the Seventh Umbral Calamity. The Forum elects to maintain its non-interventionist policy, though individual Sharlayans disagree and set off on their own or in groups to leave their mark on history. Louisoix's Circle of Knowing is one such faction, its members trying to gain the confidence of the leadership of the Eorzean city-states to warn them of the threat of the Primals and eventually, Nael van Darnus recommencing Project Meteor. Eventually, when the elder Primal Bahamut breaks free from Dalamud, Louisoix sacrifices his life to mitigate the disaster.
In the following years after Louisoix's sacrifice, the remaining members of the Circle of Knowing join hands with the group known as the Path of the Twelve to form a new order called the Scions of the Seventh Dawn to help guide Eorzea to a new Astral Age. The Scions gain assistance from the Students of Baldesion, another faction based on the Isle of Val in their attempts to understand the Echo and Hydaelyn, as well as deal with the Ascian menace.
On the other hand, almost no news was heard from the Sharlayan Motherland, who had cut themselves off from the world. Rather than partake in the struggle against the Garlean's oppression or the Ascians' dark machinations, the Sharlayans kept to their own council.
After the Garlean Empire fell into a destructive civil war following the death of Emperor Varis and the liberation of the Empire's conquered provinces, the world faces a second coming of the Final Days, the phenomenon which once nearly destroyed the ancient world, being instigated by the rogue Ascian Fandaniel and his patron, Zenos yae Galvus.
Krile of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn suggest they beseech Sharlayan's aid, hoping that their legendary repository of knowledge would yield some clue as to prevent the Final Days. To everyone's dismay, however, the Forum refuses to change their policies and decries the warnings of the Final Days as "baseless propaganda", preferring to remain on their island as the world burns. Krile and G'raha Tia suspect the Forum knows more about the Final Days than what they let on, as they have also barred any potential sympathizers in the nation from lending any aid, and so to find out the truth, the Warrior of Light and the Scions prepare to travel to and infiltrate Sharlayan.
The Scions of the Seventh Dawn travel to Sharlayan to discover if the Forum is deliberately hiding knowledge regarding the Final Days and attempt to convince its people to aid in their prevention. Despite Fourchenault's refusal to see Sharlayan's policies change, the conflict against the Telophoroi tests the nation's neutrality like never before.
The original settlement founded by Nyunkrepf and his followers in the Old World. Also known as "Old Sharlayan" to distinguish it from the now abandoned Hinterlands colony. Little about this city is currently known.
The Sharlayans had set up a research colony during the Sixth Astral Era along the Thaliak river in Dravania, southwest of the territory held by the Dravanian Horde, which became counted among the city-states of Eorzea. The Garlean invasion prompted a mass exodus back to the motherland, leaving behind their buildings and artifacts, including the Great Gubal Library. At least one scholar, Matoya, stubbornly refused to leave, staying within her cave.
The abandoned settlement attracted treasure hunters, including the goblins. Though normally a nomadic beast-tribe, the goblins made an unorthodox decision to create a settlement at the northern end of the city ruins, called Idyllshire, along with other treasure hunters. These prospects were enough to prompt Rowena to expand her business there.
Not all who arrive in the hinterlands have honest intentions. Many less savory types, such as brigands, have sought Sharlayan's wealth, often at the detriment of the current inhabitants. The goblin Illuminati—whose devotion to knowledge is said to rival Sharlayan itself—have set up operations at the vacant Arkitechton. They attack the other goblin settlers and treasure-seekers with their military equipment, and summoned a primal in an old defense mecha at the Tipped Ewer.