Ala Mhigo (Nation)
"Born From Blood."
Ala Mhigo stands at the far-eastern tip of Abalathia's Spine at the eastern border of Aldenard. For centuries, this martial nation commanded the highlands of Gyr Abania from the Lochs, and was known as the premier military power amongst the Eorzean city-states. It was, perhaps, the historically conflicted nature of the territory that forged the country into a significant military power. Even as this aggressive nation sent its forces to conquer in the west a century past, it repelled attempts at invasion from the east.
The nation was plunged into chaos when its masses rose up in rebellion against the tyranny of the mad king Theodoric. However, unbeknownst to many, it was none other than the Garlean Empire that had been pulling the strings from the shadows the entire time, fueling the fires of rebellion. They quickly set about moving in to take control of Ala Mhigo as anarchy reigned, the city-state's might proving less than sufficient in repelling the Empire's metal-clad warmachina.
In the Year 1557 of the Sixth Astral Era, Ala Mhigo finally fell to the incursions of the Garlean Empire. From that time onwards, the country became merely another imperial territory under the governance of its usurpers, bearing the yoke of imperial rule for the past twenty years. Though the people of Ala Mhigo once revered Rhalgr, the Destroyer, as their patron deity, any such religious observance has since been forbidden by the controlling authorities. 
The Ala Mhigan flag is a field of purple upon which stands a silver griffin with sword in talons. The winged creature is the sigil of the nation's royal house, and the blade signifies the force used to see all other clans bend the knee before them. Purple is the color of Rhalgr, the guardian deity of the nation, and is associated with his element of lightning. The hue's presence on the pennant also marks the bond betwixt the royalty and the religious order of the Fist of Rhalgr.
Born from Blood
Though Ala Mhigo has long been ruled by kings, the Garlean invasion two decades past brought an end to the monarchy. The city-state is now a provisional imperial territory, and its people, the Emperor's albeit unwilling subjects. Under the Garlean viceroy's iron reign, not all Ala Mhigans have earned citizenship and its privileges. Many live in squalid conditions, their lives little better than those of slaves.
During the Sixth Umbral Calamity, people fleeing the floods spied a blazing comet in the night sky. As Rhalgr's symbol is the streaking meteor, they took it as a sign of the breaker of worlds, and followed it to a new home high in the mountains. Thus, worship of the Destroyer took root in lands of Gyr Abania. In time, one sect known as the Fist of Rhalgr grew in power and influence, and came to flourish as the state religion. However, King Theodoric oppressed this faith with fire and sword, and the Garleans—finding no value in worship—have forbidden religion altogether.
In the rocky terrain of Gyr Abania, few are the patches of arable soil. There were many disputes over the extant ones—jealously guarded by their owners, and fiercely coveted by all others. Indeed, even after Ala Mhigo unified the region, little industry could grow from the lands. The men and women of the nation began to sell the only thing they could: their skill at arms. They found many buyers, particularly during the times of conflict betwixt the Eorzean city-states. Indeed, each nation is said to have had its own company of Ala Mhigan sellswords. Even today, many of those who fled the city-state eke out a living as mercenaries.
For many centuries, the mountain hamlets of Ala Mhigo were self-sufficient. Villagers coaxed crops to grow from small fields, and reared animals for their wool. However, the Garlean invasion brought an end to this way of life with magitek technology. Now, Ala Mhigans are forced to work for a pittance in great smoke-belching factories, while Garlemald reaps wealth and luxury from their labor.
To better know the Destroyer, seek strength of body and mind—such are the teachings of the Fist of Rhalgr. Over the ages, this idea has shaped all who call the mountains home. Ala Mhigo is also geographically vulnerable to invasion from Ilsabard, and this ever-present threat has given birth to a culture that greatly values martial prowess.
With so few crops, the Ala Mhigan diet is a rather stark affair. However, as a stop on the trade routes, the city-state has adopted some fare from the Near East and Ilsabard. The foreign influence is said to be particularly apparent in the usage of spices. For drinks, it is customary to brew medicinal teas, such as ones made by steeping the ground horns of beasts in boiling water. Arak, a colorless, licorice-flavored drink, is considered a specialty of Gyr Abania.
The national anthem of Ala Mhigo is named "The Measure of His Reach," and it was written shortly after the founding of the city-state by those beleaguered from years of strife and turmoil. Having come together to form Ala Mhigo, they dedicated their anthem and lyrics to the bonds of brotherhood between the clans of Gyr Abania, guided to their lands by the hand of Rhalgr, the Destroyer.
During imperial occupation, "The Measure of Our Reach" was used. Though sung to the same tune, it espouses the power of the Garlean Empire and its Emperor. It does, however, retain some themes of Ala Mhigan history, referring to Garlemald as the nation's "guiding star" in allusion to the comet that guided the Ala Mhigans to the highlands. It also retains the line "with tired hands do toil", changing it ever so slightly to "with tired hands we toil" in the second verse.
|The Measure of His Reach|
|O come ye wayward brothers,|
Bereft of hearth and home,
Beneath yon burning star there lies
A haven for the bold.
Raise up your hands and voices,
Let fill your hearts with pride,
Above the churning waters we
Stand strong and unified.
We blessed few, born from blood,
With tired hands do toil
To shape this rugged land of ours
And build a home for all.
Beyond the silent watchmen,
Upon the great loch's shore,
Now stands our mighty citadel
Our rock forevermore.
To ye who help your brothers,
Shrink not from Rhalgr's flame,
But those who scorn their fellow man
Shall surely share his pain.
Though storms of blood approach ye,
Hells open, Heavens weep,
No goodly soul need ever fear
The measure of his Reach.
|The Measure of Our Reach|
|Beyond majestic mountains|
Across the emerald dale
On march the ivory standard
United we prevail
From distant shores of Othard
To lakes of Aldenard
The light of mighty Garlemald
For e'er our guiding star
Beneath the lofty heavens
With tired hands we toil
In iron do we clad our hearts
And cloudless are our souls
Yet every trial suffered
And every ally mourned
Do bring us solidarity
Our spirits stand untorn
Behold the boundless legions
Whose wings embrace the sun
Their fire rains down upon the land
Until their course is run
By mercy of Lord Galvus—
The pride within us all—
Shall we be granted victory
For glory, Garlemald
A Litany for Survival
As the Fifth Astral Era drew to its calamitous end, many and more fled their homes, forced into wandering with no clear destination in mind beyond higher ground to escape the ever-rising waters. It was then a burning comet in the night sky led a number of the errant souls unto Gyr Abania in the eastern reaches of Abalathia's Spine. There, they found salvation from the floods, though life among the high peaks proved unforgiving. The survivors were of different races and nations, and soon, they fractured into factions, fighting bitterly over what little resources there were to be had.
The feuds continued for many long years. On occasion, one clan would win a string of victories, and grow larger by absorbing their defeated foes into their ranks—only to be encircled by a coalition of the remaining tribes, and hammered back down. Following its victory, the loose alliance would then dissolve for lack of a common enemy. This pattern repeated time and again, and the fray showed no signs of abetting.
Change was to come, however. After year 1100 of the Sixth Astral Era, Anshelm Cotter, a man of powerful lineage, set out to subjugate the other clans once and for all. Naturally, they united against him. Yet, Anshelm possessed an incomparable tactical genius, and his enemies were scattered before the march of his forces. By 1135, for the first time in history, Gyr Abania's clans were unified.
As the sole passage between Aldenard and Ilsabard, however, Gyr Abania was ever vulnerable to attacks from the north. Anshelm feared that invaders making for Eorzea might sweep away his fledgling nation, and thus laid the foundation for his capital upon the shores of a lake in the easternmost part of the region. He built the walls tall and thick, and named the glorious citadel Ala Mhigo. From within, his soldiers watched for foreign attack, ever ready to defend their borders.
This plan proved successful. Northern forces attacked time and again, yet never managed to break through the stalwart defenses into the city proper. In 1150, the Ala Mhigans established watchtowers along the roads so as to guarantee safe travel for merchants betwixt the Near East and Eorzea—and charged a heavy fee for passage through their territory. The city-state with so little natural resources thus secured a crucial source of coin.
Ala Mhigo gained renown for the courage of martial prowess when, in 1154, Ala Mhigan pikemen drove out invading Hyuran nomads from northern Othard. Tales of their courage spread throughout the realm and, in 1179, Ul'dah enlisted the aid of Ala Mhigan mercenaries as it besieged Sil'dih. Likewise, years later, Sharlayan enlisted the aid of Ala Mhigan mercenaries to subdue the beasts that roamed the hinterlands of Dravania to secure the safety of their then-fledgling outpost. Ul'dah also enlisted Ala Mhigan aid again in 1353 to purge the undead droves assailing the city-state.
The Autumn War
Though Ala Mhigo prospered from the trade route for a time, its fortune was to be short-lived. After 1190, Ul'dah gained control of Thanalan, and began to trade on the high seas. Despite the ever-present threat of pirates, Ul'dah's ships were large, and could carry far more goods than caravans. A single voyage was much more profitable than a train of men traversing the overland route. Moreover, no one charged a toll to sail over the waves. Though the change was gradual, trade with the Near East shifted to the seas.
As the steady stream of coin from traveling merchants slowed to a trickle, Ala Mhigo's King Manfred sought survival through foreign conquest. In 1468, he laid claim to the East Shroud, and sent a great army against Gridania, sovereign of the Twelveswood. This conflict has since come to be known as the Autumn War, and it was to prove a disastrous defeat for Ala Mhigo. Nevertheless, Manfred's host seemed unstoppable at the outset: it vanquished the Gridanian forces decisively in the First Battle of Tinolqa, and swept down deep into the Black Shroud. The tide shifted a year later, when the combined forces of Limsa Lominsa, Ul'dah, and Ishgard heeded Gridania's call for aid. At the Second Battle of Tinolqa, the Ala Mhigans suffered the loss of General Gylbarde, a brilliant tactician who had earlier led his nation to victory at the head of a regiment of griffin-back soldiers. Manfred's army was broken, and his war lost.
Manfred's gamble had lifted the spirits of his people and his nation's economy. With the final defeat, however, Ala Mhigo entered a period of unhappy austerity. His army had been raised at great cost, yet now the vanquished soldiers straggled home with no spoils of war to their names. The power of the king waned, and unrest flared within the nation. From amidst the dissatisfied masses, the Fist of Rhalgr and its monkhood emerged upon the political stage, growing stronger in power by the day. Lest their regime fall to the faith, the royalty chose to embrace this change, and named the Fist of Rhalgr the state religion. They employed high-ranking monks as advisors to the throne, and thus sought to stabilize the nation. Though this was met with some success, the voice of the religious sect echoed loud within the halls from government from there forward.
In 1546, Theodoric the First ascended the throne. He was to be Ala Mhigo's last king, and his reign would wreak ruin upon his nation. Seeking to free himself from the influence of the Fist of Rhalgr, he proclaimed himself ordained by Nymeia Herself to lead the nation, and forbade worship of the Destroyer. Instead, he demanded the people prostrate themselves before him as the Spinner's emissary. Naturally, the Fist of Rhalgr protested—just as Theodoric had planned. In 1552, he led a vast army to the site of the monkhood's main temple and set it ablaze. All inside, be they priests or refugees, perished in the flames. Those few who managed to escape met a similar end upon the blades of soldiers awaiting without.
The Price of Revolution
Though Theodoric had purged the Fist of Rhalgr, his brutality did not stop there. Convinced that his lands were full of traitors seeking to sit upon his throne, he began to execute the royalty. Once its ranks were thinned, the heads of their vassals rolled upon invented charges, the purge extended even to those smallfolk who had accrued even the slightest amount of wealth. No longer able to watch the slaughter, the queen herself conspired with a group of nobles to slay the king. The plot failed at the betrayal of a single nobleman, and all involved—including the noble betrayer—were executed. The palace was transformed into a scene out of the lowest of the seven hells: nigh-endless bloodshed watched by a despicable gathering of sycophants and backstabbers.
In 1557, the people finally revolted, and stormed the palace. The guard, charged with halting their advance, instead opened the gates wide and joined the protesters. So great was the throng that the Corpse Brigade, who had loyally slain nobles and rich men alike, fled fearing retribution. So did the King of Ruin's reign end—friendless and surrounded.
Ala Mhigo should have been free. Yet, the hard-won victory of the peasantry was to be snatched away by the Garlean Army. The imperial troops had been stationed just to the north, awaiting the king's demise, and came swarming down upon the city when his standard fell. Neither the Ala Mhigan army nor the lay fighters stood a chance against the flood of enemy soldiers. The proud nation thus became a Garlean territory, ruled by Gaius van Baelsar, the first viceroy of Ala Mhigo and legatus of the XIVth Legion.
Following the fall of the city-state, the Garleans erected Baelsar's Wall upon the East Shroud as an impenetrable border forbidding entry and escape from the lands of Gyr Abania. The impetus for its creation was to defend their territories from the beastmen and their primal gods. Many men and women of Ala Mhigo were conscripted into the XIVth Legion, and the Black Wolf saw fit to elevate the children of Ala Mhigan dignitaries into a squadron of enforcers known as Crania Lupi, more commonly known as the "Skulls." Resistance factions began to form behind the wall, but they fared no better against the might of the imperials, scoring only short-lived victories. Meanwhile, those able to escape the city state were forced to live as refugees in Little Ala Mhigo and on the streets of Ul'dah, receiving no aid from neighboring Gridania. Ala Mhigan spies within the imperial forces, such as Warburton aided the Resistance's efforts during this time.
In 1571, the Archons of the Circle of Knowing infiltrated the occupied Gyr Abania in an attempt to assist those Ala Mhigans who sought asylum abroad, but many lives were lost when the Garleans caught wind of the defection.
|Patch 3.5: The Far Edge of Fate|
|This included the Archon Yda Hext, a young Ala Mhigan woman and daughter of revolutionary Curtis Hext. After she fell in battle, her sister Lyse took on her identity and masqueraded as her for the ensuing six years as part of the Circle of Knowing and Scions of the Seventh Dawn.|
Prior to the Calamity, members of the Ala Mhigan Resistance petitioned Minfilia for her assistance in an assault on the imperial forces in Mor Dhona, but this ill-fated attack saw them put to rout by Gaius van Baelsar himself. The Circle of Knowing faced off against the Black Wolf, fighting him to a standstill, but all others involved lost their lives save for a sole adventurer and their companion.
After the fall of Dalamud and the coming of the Seventh Umbral Calamity, refugees of Ala Mhigo found themselves one among many groups off refugees seeking succor in locations such as Ul'dah. Thrust upon hard times, they became a potential target for the Ascian Lahabrea, who coerced local youths led by Wilred to attempt the summoning of Rhalgr, the Destroyer. An adventurer was able to prevent the youths from performing the act. This same adventurer would later encounter members of the Ala Mhigan Resistance, led by Meffrid Noward, in Quarrymill. Refused by the elementals, the adventurer helped salve the wounds of Meffrid's comrade, Gallien.
|Patch 2.3: Defenders of Eorzea|
|After Operation Archon brought the fall of Gaius van Baelsar, the power structure in Ala Mhigo changed. A war of succession brewed in Garlemald upon the passing of Emperor Solus zos Galvus, prompting a failed attempt to break free of the imperial yoke in Doma and the flight of its defenders to Eorzea. Their petition to stay in Ul'dah was declined and tensions rose between the existing Ala Mhigan refugee population and the Ul'dahn nativists. It was later revealed that this was the work of Teledji Adeledji, having hired a merchant to instigate the riots.|
|Patch 3.5: The Far Edge of Fate|
|Ala Mhigo soon returned to the center of the realm's eye when shipments of crystals smuggled from Ishgard through the spy network of Eline Roaille—the Ivy—turned up in Little Ala Mhigo. There, the Scions of the Seventh Dawn met with Yda and Papalymo, their friends who had been lost since the events of the Bloody Banquet. Recently, a group known as the Masks, led by an enigmatic man known as Griffin, had gained prominence among the Ala Mhigan Resistance.|
Ultimately, the Griffin and his followers, in the guise of Grand Company soldiers assaulted Baelsar's Wall in a false-flag operation that would force the Eorzean Alliance into full-scale war against the Garlean Empire. The Griffin, revealed to be Ilberd Feare, former leader of the Crystal Braves and enemy of the Scions, used the deaths of his own followers and the Eyes of Nidhogg gifted to him by the Ascian Elidibus. With his dying breath, he summoned a creature of pure malice and violence named "Shinryu" by the Scions' Doman allies, though this creature was no myth made manifest but an invention of Ilberd's vengeful heart.
Shinryu was captured by the sacrificial act of Archon Papalymo, but only temporarily. The Scions, aided by Cid and Nero tol Scaeva, activated the ancient Allagan weapon Omega to do battle with Shinryu. Omega ceased functions during the battle, and both it and the primal fell into Gyr Abania.
|Patch 4.0: Stormblood|
|The Alliance occupied Castrum Oriens not long after the assault on Baelsar's Wall, and from there sent the Warrior of Light, Alisaie, and Lyse (having shed her disguise as Yda) to meet with the Ala Mhigan Resistance at Rhalgr's Reach. With the consent of its commander, Conrad Kemp, and after a reunion with Lyse's friend M'naago, who warned them of the Griffin's plan, and the Warrior of Light's old acquaintance Meffrid Noward, who joined with Master Kemp after leaving Quarrymill, they set about aiding the people of Ala Gannha and scoring victories against the Garleans in the Fringes.|
These victories proved short-lived. Discovering their hideout, the new imperial viceroy and crown prince of the Garlean Empire, Zenos yae Galvus, attacked the Reach. Fordola rem Lupis, leader of the Skulls, killed Meffrid during the conflict, and Zenos was able to overpower all of the Scions present, the Warrior of Light included. He retreated only because he saw potential in his enemy, wishing to continue their battle later. Broken and beaten, Master Kemp thought to give up the fight, but Alphinaud proposed that he and the other Scions head to Doma to stoke the flames of rebellion there. While the Scions headed to the Far East, the Alliance and Resistance continued the fight against the Garleans at home, helped in part by Zenos's brief absence to check on the situation in Doma. Krile was captured by the empire during one such confrontation.
The Scions returned victorious, having liberated Doma. The news spreading throughout the empire, causing unrest and unease within its ranks, the Alliance and Resistance resumed their campaign to retake Ala Mhigo. They captured Castellum Velodyna, driving the imperials into chaos using modified glamour prisms to create the illusion that its massive imperial banner had been replaced with that of the Resistance. After a confrontation with Fordola, who escaped the battle with her Skulls, the Castellum fell to the revolutionaries.
The Warrior of Light dealt with the primal Sri Lakshmi, Lady of Bliss and goddess of the Ananta, then continued into the Peaks. Shortly after seizing Ala Ghiri, the Alliance led a great host into Specula Imperatoris. However, the imperials fired upon their own, blasting the main tower of Specula Imperatoris with the main cannon of Castrum Abania. Many were killed, Conrad Kemp among the casualties, and Lyse was left to lead the Resistance in his place. The main cannon was soon disabled, unbeknownst to the Alliance, by Estinien, allowing them to use this weakness to infiltrate the Castrum. At the end of the assault, Lyse faced off with Fordola only to find her suddenly unmatched by preternatural powers as-of-yet unseen in the former Skulls' commander. Fordola injured Alisaie and escaped again, but Castrum Abania was won.
Taking up the old creed of Lyse's father, "liberty or death," the Alliance and Resistance arrived at Porta Praetoria. Aided by Wiscar, once a cynical youth from Ala Gannha inspired by Lyse, Meffrid, and the Warrior of Light to join the Resistance, they gained entry into the Ala Mhigan Quarter of the city-state from beneath the Loch Seld. Thanks to the cryptic guidance of Urianger, the Warrior of Light was able to counter the precognitive powers of Fordola and subdue her to save Krile.
With the Ala Mhigan Quarter under Alliance and Resistance control, the final assault on the city of Ala Mhigo began. Lord Hien of Doma arrived atop his yol, aiding the Alliance in their assault by taking out imperial flying machines. The Warrior of Light and their allies made their way into the city and fought Zenos yae Galvus at the castle. This time, the prince falters and withdraws to the top of the Royal Palace, inviting the Warrior of Light to join him in the Royal Managerie for their final dance. There, he revealed the captured Shinryu and, using the stolen powers of the Echo, the Resonant prince merged with the primal and bound it to his will. Taking to the air, the Warrior of Light and their allies fought a battle to rouse the slumbering heavens and ultimately defeated the prince-turned-primal. Brought some measure of peace by their battle, Zenos expressed his bliss, and cut his own neck, committing suicide by his sword.
Raubahn, Hien, and others arrived to find the fight already ended. The peoples of the Alliance and Resistance gathered at the castle's ramparts, and as the horns spread the word of the viceroy's death, the people of Ala Mhigo raised their voices to sing their nation's anthem.
The work to rebuild Ala Mhigo had only just begun, but the hope for a better tomorrow prevailed over a nation bound for twenty years now, at last, free.