The War of the Lions is fought between the Order of the Northern Sky Knights of Duke Larg under the banner of the White Lion, and the Order of the Southern Sky Knights of Duke Goltanna under the banner of the Black Lion. King Ondoria Atkascha III died due to the Black Death and his heir, Prince Orinus, is just two years old. A regent is sought to rule in the prince's place, and both dukes who were decorated generals in the Fifty Years' War were nominated as regent.
One of the main reasons behind the War is the rift between Queen Louveria and the nobles of Ivalice. Queen Louveria is regarded as a power-mad queen who desires her offspring on the throne so that she may rule the kingdom. The Council of Nobles, out to stop her from asserting influence onto the kingdom, appoints Duke Goltanna as their preferred candidate for the regency.
Attacks on Lesalia
The first major battle of the War of the Lions, the Battle of Lesalia Plain, is a massive assault of Chocobo Knights from Gallionne on the plains south of the Royal City of Lesalia, where the royal palace is built. The Southern Sky is driven out of the city and forced to their strongholds at Fort Besselat and Limberry Castle. The victory leads to Southern plans mostly revolving around an attack on Lesalia, at a time sending an army led by Cidolfus Orlandeau to take the city, though it is driven away.
Further Southern attempts to attack Lesalia culminate in the Battle of Groffovia, fought on the plains between Limberry, which was generally pro-Southern, and Lesalia proper. The battle is inconclusive, but within three months after casualties reach 400,000, sapping what little public support there is for the war.
Around this time, Queen Louveria and Chancellor Glevanne were accused of abducting Princess Ovelia to allow for Duke Larg's ascendancy to the throne. In addition, famine overtakes Zeltennia and Limberry because of a drought, and Gallionne and Fovoham because of flooding, causing mass starvation amongst civilians.
The losses sustained by the Southern Sky are worsened by the Battle of the Fusse Plains, in which Marquis Elmdore is killed by a stray arrow. He is possessed by the Lucavi Zalera, and fights for the Knights Templar at the Battle of Riovanes Castle.
Despite the death of nearly half a million soldiers, the war reaches a stalemate. The Northern Sky plans to make an all-or-nothing attack at Fort Besselat, planning to take it and use it as a base from which they can wage total war against Southern food supply.
Climax at Fort Besselat
The War's decisive battle is the Battle of Fort Besselat, in which Ramza Beoulve intervenes by opening the garrison's sluice, bringing the battle to an indecisive halt. Mossfungus is released into the air by Barich Fendsor, one of the Knights Templar, severely weakening both sides. In the confusion, both Dukes are murdered by their respective traitors: Larg by Dycedarg Beoulve and Goltanna by Delita Heiral. As originally planned, the Church offers mediators. Despite the loss of both Order's leaders, their armies are still strong and refuse the idea. This may be because of Ramza's intervention, whereas without it, both sides would have suffered major losses if the sluice wasn't opened.
Ramza Beoulve travels with his companions to Orbonne Monastery to stop the Knights Templar and the Lucavi's plot for Ultima's resurrection. Killing the Church's forces that dared to stop them, they are teleported to the Airship Graveyard beneath the Necrohol of Mullonde and destroy Ultima with their own fate left a mystery.
With the two sides crippled, the War comes to an end. In lack of a leader; with the two dukes killed, Queen Louveria imprisoned in Fort Besselat, High Confessor Funebris murdered, Dycedarg slain, and Orlandeau missing and believed dead, Delita Heiral exploits the situation by claiming he rescued Princess Ovelia, marrying her to become King of all Ivalice.
The War was engineered by the Church of Glabados so that it may take center stage after both sides are weakened to exhaustion. The High Confessor Marcel Funebris, wishing for the Church to gain power over the land, supported both sides secretly and assisted in their plots for the throne. The Church planned to destroy the two Lions from the inside and use the auracites to strengthen the Church's military power.
In reality, the manipulating Church was being manipulated by the Knights Templar under Folmarv Tengille, who attempted to collect every auracite to help the Lucavi who granted them immense strength and power. The Lucavi's motive was the resurrection of their leader, Ultima, the High Seraph, who wishes to destroy Ivalice. The bloodshed needed for Ultima's coming was the reason behind the War of the Lions.
- The War of the Lions may allude to the Wars of the Roses, a civil war between the supporters of the noble houses of York and Lancaster for possession of the English crown.