The Great War

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The Great War lasted from 4 WB to 27 WR, dated from the ascension of Esuna Busy into the Empress Salynae XXIII to the fall of Grimstone Castle in Baron. The bloody conflict between the Light and Dark Gods ended with the flight of both sets of gods. It was the birth of the modern Web.

Lead-Up to the War

In the early Web there were four known dimensions: Crystal, Light, Dragon, and Mana. There were three major powers: Baron, Tasnica, and Ticondera.

Baron’s power rested on its proud military traditions, with a powerful force that rested on the trifecta of the Paladins, the Dragoons, and the Red Wings. There was also Sahl Endeberg, who even then was quite beloved. The King of Baron had a reputation as the “first among equals” in a loose confederation of the kingdoms of the Transbaron. Known as the Transbaron Concordat, this alliance aimed to resist foreign encroachment. Most of these kingdoms were some variant of absolutist or constitutional monarchy.

Tasnica was, at the time, the most technologically advanced country; the industrial revolution had begun there, although by now it was in full swing in Crystal as well. They dominated the Mana Dimension, although the outright annexation of the territories of the dimension would not happen until after the war (unlike later Tasnican empire-builders, the pre-war imperialists did not assume direct control of their vassal territories). The Shah of Auria, in Dragon, was essentially a Tasnican puppet; Tasnica also had an alliance with Eblan, who they viewed as a counterweight to Baron. Tasnica was also perhaps the only country in the Web that that could be accurately described as democratic; although it still had a King, the Prime Minister and the Senate had all the real power.

Ticondera was huge. Although technologically it was significantly behind the other major powers, it possessed vast territories, an enormous population, and gigantic quantities of natural resources. The Emperor Lemele I was somewhat aloof from the other powers, mainly concerned with internal problems; concerns, as it turns out, that were entirely justified.

Hyrule was likewise preoccupied with internal concerns, such as intrigue at the imperial court and the scheming of the wizard Ganon. Until the discovery of the Esper Dimension, there was no easy Gate to Hyrule, and hence, Hyrule was not very involved in the early Web.

The Dragon Dimension was the punching bag of the major powers. The Shah of Auria was propped up with Tasnican arms; the Sultan of Aradia and the Tsar of the Scandish Empire made war against each other, sometimes involving extradimensional powers, sometimes not. As the war broke out, the Dimension was in the midst of a terrible famine.

The War Begins

Emperor Lemele gathered and trained seven heroes to be his apprentices, and dispatched them to find the legendary 7 Runes of Ticondera. All of them desired the runes, but none were so covetous as Esuna Busy, a powerful Elven sorceress. Brutally slaying all who stood in her way, she gathered all of the runes and became Empress Salynae XXIII of Boundless Ticondera. Only Valsu Saizer stood in her way, forming a resistance movement known as the Ticonderan Freedom Fighters or TFF.

Whether she contacted the Dark Gods or they manipulated her is unknown, but certainly within a year of gaining power Salynae was consorting with evil deities like Tauroch, Thanatos, and Maitreya, and soon after was rumored to be almost a god herself. She allied with factions in other nations to launch a war to expand the influence and power of the Dark Gods, including Ganon in Hyrule and the Dark Dragons of Dragon.

In Hyrule, Ganon waged a war from his bases in the underground Labyrinth, while he himself took refuge in Death Mountain. He brutally targeted the royal family, killing high ranking members of the nobility and kidnapping the Princess Shana Goldmoon (the future Shana Cole) and brainwashing her to become his agent. With the Triforce of Power at his disposal, he was a magic user no one in Hyrule could contend with; he eagerly sought the Triforces of Courage and Wisdom to complete the set and yield for himself untold power.

The Dark Dragons, meanwhile, toppled the Scandish Tsar within days, although the Red Stars of il’Bleu formed the core of a resistance movement, claiming that Bleu herself would arrive to right this injustice. The Sultan of Aradia held out a little longer, but even he was soon deposed. The Dark Dragons clashed with Tasnican forces at Auria, who actually managed to hold out for over a year, but eventually, with the aid of Ticonderans driving the Dark Dragon advance, Auria fell. The King of Winlan attempted to rally the northern half of the dimension in a counterattack, but they soon fell apart to their own petty bickering.

Transbaron came under attack soon after, as Toroia fell beneath the Ticonderan Legions. The Toroian nature goddess Alena attempted to stop them, but she was no match for Maitreya and Thanatos; the Dark Gods tortured her to death, and used her elemental essences in a ritual to raise the dark lord Chaos. Baron, however, was able to hold out by rushing many airships into service and allowing peasants such as Gage Rizett to join the Red Wings for the first time. (also, Sahl Endeberg!) Baron even managed a counterattack against Ticondera’s holdings in Dragon, briefly establishing a foothold in Gramor and other cities north of the city of Scande.

As stories of strange rituals and powerful magics began to be heard, many began to realize this was far more than a mere powerplay; many began to realize that much more was at stake than may have initially been apparent. Fear had mounted such that there was even talk of the creation of a formal alliance between Tasnica and Baron -- however, Tauroch, King of Lies, disrupted the talks. Sowing dissent between the two traditional rivals was easy enough for a God who claimed to have created the Common tongue. Cynically, Tasnica chose instead to focus on building a hegemony in the newly discovered dimension of Esper, which they would then use to contest Ticonderan power, leaving Baron to stand alone.

The Discovery of Esper

Esper was discovered by the Web in 3 WR, shortly after the horrible dimension-shattering cataclysm that gives the WB/WR distinction its name. The catastrophe that created the World of Ruin had left most of the political authorities of the Esper dimension relatively weak, save for the Kingdoms of Doma and Figaro. However, Esper still possessed technology significantly more advanced than that known to the Web at the time, and was rich in resources.

The city of Albrook became a boomtown; it was discovered to be a sort of terminus, with nearby gates linking it to many other locations in the Web. (Including the previously hard-to-access Hyrule; the Gate opened near Trianable). It was a thriving center of Web trade; flush with its newfound status, Albrook became part of the Tasnica Republic in 4 WR. Tasnica proceeded to grow its empire with other cities, forming friendly ties with Maranda and Jidoor.

NAMAC Conflict

However, some were alarmed that an extradimensional entity would dominate Esper. The discovery of the Web fired nationalism in the hearts of Esperians for the first time, and Alexander Colby sought to oppose the Tasnicans by forming the Nikeah and Mobliz Army Corps (NAMAC)and seeking an alliance with Ticondera. Colby proved a skilled commander, and his forces not only possessed rifles more advanced than those of Tasnica’s Republic Expeditionary Force, but they were also more skilled in their use. In the Battle of the Isthmus (fought not far from what is today Hosluftgrad) much of the REF was wiped out, forcing Tasnica to institute a system of conscription to make good the losses. Tasnica adapted to the rifles and tactics used by NAMAC, but the conflict would grind on indecisively for ten years until the battle of Albrooker Plain, where Colby would face off against General of Cavalry Rolf Julian.

At Albrooker Plain, NAMAC attempted to counter the Tasnicans and their allies with Chemical weapons; the Tasnicans, in turn, showed no compunction at using their heavy artillery to shell the city of Tzen. Modern, total war was beginning to come to the Web, although it would take Celiose Cole to raise it to its horrifying heights. Ultimately, the fate of NAMAC was sealed as Tasnica forged an alliance with Figaro and Doma.

It has also been suggested that some from Carrion made their way to the Web around this time, including some gunslingers from West and perhaps even Union himself, although the actual connection of Carrion to the Web was not public knowledge until later.

The Battle of North Viper

While Tasnica was occupied in Esper, Baron was brought to near collapse; only Baron and Eblan were unoccupied in Crystal.

The Red Stars attempted a revolt in Dragon, but Maitreya unleashed a plague on the Dimension that would kill almost a fifth of the population.

Tasnica, however, was confident that, with its allies and resources in Esper, it could at last confront Ticondera directly and frontally. In 14 WR, led by Rolf Julian, Tasnica embarked on the largest (non-Ticonderan) military operation of the war, bringing not only some of their allies but also working with the TFF. The campaign was ultimately a military disaster; the TFF distrusted the Tasnicans, and vice versa, and when they finally attacked North Viper itself, the shaky alliance of convenience fell apart in the face of Imperial Guardsman and the awesome magical power of the Dark Gods. Some believe that this was the first battle that saw the horrible Banelings deployed to the field. Only a small force of Tasnicans under Hauptmann Franklin Yeats was able to make it out alive; the TFF were decimated, but retained life under Kylenne Saizer.

Some months later, the Ticonderans had enough forces to launch a renewed offensive against Baron, and finally occupied the country.

After North Viper, Baron was occupied completely, Tasnican military power was essentially eradicated, and the Dark Gods were dominant and near to unchallenged on all fronts. They began to move to gain total control of the Web, launching an incursion into the Mana Dimension for the first time by seizing control of the Ice Country. Ticondera also backed Colby’s successors, the NeoEmpire movement, who built NeoVector atop the old battlefield of Albrooker Plain.

The Light Stirs

However, just as things seemed dark, the gods of light began to appear more forcefully. Bleu made her presence known in Dragon; Tahran and Chrystalis assumed corporeal form on this plane. Tapping into previously aloof factions like the Dwarves of Crystal's Underground Kingdom, various moogles, and even Foo, the challenge was put to the Dark Gods. In Hyrule, Ganon was finally put down and his forces in Light were broken (although he would reappear later in the Dark Dragon army).

Thanatos, meanwhile, had learned of Sae Krolis, the legendary 8th Rune of Ticondera, said to hold dark power beyond mortal reckoning. He became obsessed with Sae Krolis and devoted enormous resources to finding it. When he finally acquired the rune in 23 WR, he used it to resurrect the goddess Tyr; the Light Gods tried to confront him, but with the power of Krolis Thanatos disrupted Tahran’s corporeal form. Chrystalis, overcome with grief, withdrew from the Web.

The Ice Country Campaign

From 21-24 WR, the Tasnicans waged a campaign to take back the Ice Country, commanded by a young officer, General of Artillery Celiose Cole, who was assisted by General of Cavalry Burzmale Julian. Celiose waged a hit and run campaign, using the magitek armor of the Esper Dimension (produced by Damien Gavalian using magilyte fuels), intending to draw more and more Ticonderan troops in. Then, positioning them over a frozen bay, he encircled them with specially trained ski troops and broke the ice beneath them -- although, in the course of the battle, he was forced to use wounded men to plug the hole in the line.

This was the biggest defeat given to the Ticonderan armies at this point in time, effectively expelling Ticondera from the Mana Dimension, and it made Celiose Cole a well-known figure throughout the Web.

By this time, the Web had been pulled kicking and screaming into a sort of modernity. Modern communications and transportation networks (railroads) had been built to link almost all of the Web. The resulting increase in connectivity allowed the pace of military operations to quicken significantly, and events now began to unfold much faster.

GACA is Born

Meeting in January of 24 WR, in Albrook, several countries (some of which existed only as governments in exile) met to negotiate and sign the Grand Army Charter. Rhodes Palmerston, then Prime Minister of Tasnica, described it as the “if we don’t stop shouting at each other we’ll all be dead” agreement.

Attempting to overcome earlier problems with disunity and cooperation, the founding GACA nations agreed to “charter” a “Grand Army” to make war on the Dark Gods, and all their allies and peers. They created the House of Lords to serve as political oversight, a body to which all the Charter's member nations' rulers would belong and have a voice, and specifically created for Celiose Cole the title of Generalissimo.

Although the Grand Army's initial leadership had many officers from Tasnica (and Tasnican military thought and doctrine, right down to the rank of Hauptmann, persisted in the GA), several high-ranking officers were chosen from other nations: Gage Rizett of Baron was given the task of building the Luftwaffe, and Howe Lingane of Figaro was placed in charge of the Kriegsnavee. Tasnica, however, was unique in contributing all of its armed forces to form the core of the GA; Tasnica would not have its own military power again until 30 WR. Adopting uniforms of white and gold, and the sword-and-sun as their symbol, magitek armor as its main weapon (although soon the Dwarves would provide tanks as well), the GA began the task of disposing of the NeoEmpire. Even with his fledgling army, Celiose hammered the Dark Gods with defeat after defeat, even using Ultima missiles to slay Zeromus (with the help of Kusader).

Celiose and Chrystalis

Chrystalis returned from her grief over Tahran, and Tahran was reincorporated. She met with Celiose in the city of Kupopolis, a meeting which led to Hyrule and Ticondera joining GACA. (Chrystalis assisted Camilison in reclaiming her birthright and becoming Empress of Ticondera, deposing Salynae). With these new, powerful allies, Celiose led a campaign around the Web. Terra Branford became the Goddess Rainere, and launched her church in Tasnica; Tahran and Chrystalis would give birth to their daughters, Ariana and Arkista. Celiose Cole would meet and marry Shana Goldmoon; all around, this was a time of high adventure.

It should be noted that at this point in time “the Grand Army” consisted of only one task force, and although it was rapidly growing, it was based around the old REF theory of an elite expeditionary corps and small garrisons scattered throughout the Web. The flaws in this soon became clear, however, as the Grand Army could ONLY attack, and had difficulty defending any of the territory it claimed. Dragon was liberated, but there was no plan in place for a political authority to take the place of the Dark Dragons (Ganon had emerged as their general, but he was slain by Celiose), and so Tyr and her armies moved in shortly afterwards (although Winlan was preserved through the efforts of Kaiten and Nina).

No sooner was Baron liberated than the Paladin Dorian sold out the kingdom to become a Dark God himself. Soon after, the Dark Gods, bereft of Ticondera, proceeded to make Baron their new stronghold. Nonetheless, the Web had a hero in Celiose; when the Light Gods departed the mortal Web again, spirits remained somewhat high.

Low Ebb

25 WR was a disastrous year, as the Grand Army experienced growing pains and suffered from the problems of trying to build up too rapidly to defend too vast a territory. Burzmale betrayed Celiose, joining with the Dark Gods to become the High General of the Dark Wrath. (Interestingly, he does not appear to have demanded godhood or immortality in exchange -- one of the only servants of the Dark Gods for whom this is true) This led to the massive defeat in Ticondera.

Struggle for Ticondera

Celiose (and the GA’s) general political ineptitude caused enormous friction with Ticondera. Ticondera decided that they could do without an army largely run by Tasnicans, and decided to “go it alone” just as the Dark Wrath appeared on their doorstep.

The GA force guarding Ticondera, commanded by Alfred von Tilly (an old guard Tasnican officer), was no match for the invading Dark Wrath army. Burzmale used his intimate knowledge of GA tactics to exploit weaknesses in a force dominated by magitek armor; the terrain of Ticondera allowed him ample opportunities for this. Burzmale also used poison gas.

Although the existence of Carrion was well-known by this time, the pathways in and out of the dimension were not, and Burzmale set up the “Carrion Express” as an efficient supply route to get around the GA’s sea blockade of Crystal. Burzmale destroyed a large GA force in Ticondera, although suppressing the local population would take time.

In response to the embarrassment, Celiose created a new kind of unit -- the Grenadiers -- and moved away from the reliance on the wonder weapon of magitek armor.

Failed Offensives

The GA attempted to counterattack, both on Baron and in Dragon, but the results were less than impressive: the only results were the deaths of some GA soldiers and the utter destruction of the il'Bleu city of Wisdon.

Dark Wrath Expansion

The Dark Wrath built up bases in Carrion and began to move again into Mana, this time in the Upperlands forest, where they slaughtered many of the native moogles and sprites. They seized the islands near Hyrule and launched a campaign against Hyrule itself, with the end goal being Trianable.

Trianable had emerged as an important port city, ideally situated near a prominent portal set rivaling Albrook’s in value, and was the site of a major Luftwaffe base. Trianable was essential to the powerful Tacfortress bombers that were wrecking Dark Wrath production; Burzmale believed that its capture would put an end to the GA’s industrial advantage. They also seized control of Doma, in preparation for an assault on Albrook itself.

Indeed, perhaps the only bright spot of 25 WR was the appointment of Praxer Riose as Director of the newly created organization of the Celpo. Intelligence from Celpo sources proved invaluable in the coming battles.

The Final Turn of the Tide

26 WR is the year that the war turned around once and for all. Two battles are associated with this turn: Albrook and Trianable.

The Siege of Trianable

Burzmale’s attempt to conquer Trianable faced stiff resistance from the GA Second Army (“Heavy Metal”), under Torstensson Lenart, and elite infantry units of Hyrule under Alexander Sylinas. It was a brutal trench battle that lasted many months; one soldier later described it as a frozen, rainy, muddy hell. Disease was rampant in the ranks, and rations of food were low; a commander with less of a reputation for discipline than Torstensson would’ve faced mutiny.

Burzmale employed a variety of new technologies and tactics, such as the Julian Infantry Carrier, rocket artillery, and spider walkers, but he could not gain the upper hand. Eventually, Tacfortresses were employed to “plow a path” for the GA’s Leo tanks; although spider walkers attempted to stop them, the tanks cleanly defeated them, and Torstensson encircled and destroyed a large Dark Wrath army and moved to liberate the rest of Hyrule.

The Battle of Albrook

Tauroch and Thanatos attempted to launch an attack on Albrook itself (a task Burzmale considered a pointless diversion from Trianable, but the Dark Gods didn’t ask him); the operation was code-named "Gestahl." Celiose’s First Army (“the White Daggers”) was the GA cotingent responsible for defending Albrook. Although outnumbered, Celiose nonetheless outmaneuvered the Dark Gods and threw their armies back into the sea.

The Wave Wrath Domination

The WaveWrath Domination was the one serious attempt the Dark Wrath made at challenging the Kriegsnavee. This monstrous ship, barely able to keep afloat, destroyed any other battleship it was up against and terrorized the seas, cutting off GA sea supply routes. The hunt for the Domination occupied much of Howe Lingane’s time; eventually, a submarine managed to damage the beast’s massive propellers and force it into harbor, where it was pounded with carrier aircraft and land-based Tacfortresses.

The Long, Hard Slog to Victory

Much of the Dark Wrath expansion was rolled back; Doma was freed, as was the Upperlands. Dragon was to be “liberated from the air”, and was a main focus of the GA strategic bombing campaign; resistance groups led by people like Travin Rumanski and Halder Skalice made new gains, but the Dark Wrath countered by poisoning well water and farmland, a legacy which haunts the Scandian League to this day.

By the end of 26 WR the Grand Army prepared to launch Operation Commencement, to enter the heart of the beast in Transbaron and end the war once and for all.

Transbaron Campaign

The Transbaron campaign was one siege after another; the Dark Wrath had fortified the entire continent. It was a slow process of dismantlement; only in a few, but very significant, cases was Celiose able to employ his tanks in large, sweeping maneuvers and encirclements. (GA Second Army under Torstensson was the main spearhead, although Seventh Army, dubbed “Hell on Wheels”, under Rimmel Coward also played an important role).

The Grand Army composed the largest force, invading from the east. They landed in Fabul, and attempted to move through Damcyan. Burzmale, however, did not give up the Arderine Pass so easily, and was able to use the terrain around Mt. Hobs to his advantage. Eventually, Celiose managed to break through and seize the city of Tripport, which became essential to his supplies. He reinforced his army in the east with Winlanese forces.

The Dark Wrath launched many operations against Tripport; Burzmale realized that the capture of the city would cause Celiose’s forces to starve. In response, Celiose created GA Sixth Army (“the Suicide Kings”) and gave command of the area to Model Steinmetz.

In the south, forces landed in Baron itself and tried to push up; these were largely drawn from Figaro, Doma, and Foo. However, encountering a narrow, easily defensible front with lots of fortresses, they did not get very far.

Coming from the West, out of Toroia, were forces from the Federal Kingom of Carrion and troops from Hyrule.

Each of these forces was given a letter designation followed by “EF” for “Expeditionary Force”:

  • Eastern Front
    • Grand Army (AEF)
    • Winlanese (CEF)
  • Western Front
    • Hyrule (BEF)
    • Carrion (GEF)
  • Southern Front
    • Foo (DEF)
    • Figaro (EEF)
    • Doma (FEF)

By the time the AEF and BEF “shook hands” at the River Some north of Baron, the Dark Wrath’s capacities as a fighting force were effectively over. Seventh Army was given the task of capturing the city itself.

The Great War was over. The Dark Gods were banished from the Web, and the Light Gods would soon follow.

Impact of the War

The Modern Web was virtually created by the Great War. The decline of the influence of the divine led to a generation with many atheists and people who were not deeply religious; more significantly, the (active) influence of the gods in mortal affairs had (seemingly) come to an end. Celiose and Burzmale had become bigger legends than the gods they had served. Neither of them were magic users, simply masters of armies.

The state of technology in the Web (in what would become known as the Core) was raised significantly from the effort. The state of warfare was changed forever, as well, becoming vastly more destructive; Celiose Cole unleashed a Total War on the Dark Wrath, earning the epithet ‘the Great Terror’. The incredible destruction employed by Celiose caused Kusader to split with GACA and try to find his own way (sadly, it was short-lived). It also inspired the OmniSent to try to find a path of peace.

Many of the nations were almost totally destroyed by the war, or bled dry by the effort. Sadly, some of the monarchs that contributed greatly to the war, like Kaiten and Alexander, were kicked out of their countries or reduced to mere figureheads. The monarchies of Crystal, finally restored, were highly unstable and many of them fell to revolutions in the Age of Imperialism. Dragon suffered horribly; attempts to create a state in to govern there eventually led to the Dawn Revolution and the rise of communism. Of the modern day Web’s four Great Powers, only one of them even existed as a nation in the Web during the Great War: Tasnica.

Tasnica helped rebuild many of the nations of the Web after the Great War; they viewed this as a great opportunity. However, nations all around the Web were weakened, and when the Gate Dimension and its high technology were discovered in 28 WR, the Gate Three would quickly rise to prominence over a weakened Web.

The Great War reshaped the Web in ways that will be seen for generations to come.