The bustling commercial hub of Ul'dah sits amid the desolate desert landscape of southern Aldenard. The city is organized strategically around the dome-shaped citadel at its center. Its towering fortifications and protective outer walls are visible for malms in all directions, and serve as a stark deterrent to would-be besiegers.
Visitors from every corner of Eorzea come to Ul'dah to partake of the city's famed recreation, most notably the fighting arenas and gambling halls. Ul'dahn culture is known for its affluence, and the wealth of the nation comes in large part from its abundant mineral resources and prestigious clothcrafting industry.
Historically, it is the sultan who claims sovereignty over Ul'dah, but true power is wielded by the Syndicate, an elite group of six of the most influential and richest members of society. Nald'thal is the patron deity of the city, and two great halls devoted to his two aspects can be found in the eastern and western sections of the city.
In the eastern reaches of the Aldenard landmass, home to vast, dense woodlands and coursing rivers, lies the forest nation of Gridania. The cityscape is a mosaic of labyrinthine waterways and great wooden structures, so gracefully constructed they seem a part of the surrounding environment.
The Gridanian emphasis on natural harmony has led to its preeminence among Eorzea's city-states in trades such as forestry, agriculture, carpentry, and leatherworking. Gridania is also home to the Wood Wailers, a militant band of polearm-wielding sentries charged with the protection of their homeland.
The favored goddess of the citizenry is Nophica, the Matron, but great faith is also placed in the wisdom of the Seedseers—young oracles who guide the nation based on the will of the forest's elementals.
On the southern coast of the island of Vylbrand, under the shadow of ancient cliffs worn by the relentless onslaught of the Rhotano Sea, lies the marine city-state of Limsa Lominsa. Said to be blessed by the goddess of navigation, Llymlaen, the city is spread out over countless tiny islands, each connected by sturdy bridges of iron and wood construction, earning her the name the "Navigator's Veil" from traveling bards who have witnessed the city's beauty from afar.
Limsa Lominsa is a traditional thalassocracy, with power lying in the hands of the ruling party and its leader, the Admiral. Its economy is driven by shipbuilding, fishing, and blacksmithing, but the majority of wealth comes from the lucrative shipping industry.
To maintain the safety of its maritime routes, the city employs a formidable navy known as the Knights of the Barracuda. However, even in the waters nearby the city, pirate bands run rampant, reaving and pillaging.
Mor Dhona is an inland region of Eorzea, and the site of the first aerial battle in recorded history—a conflict that took place above Silvertear Lake.
In the Year 1562 of the Sixth Astral Era, five years after the invasion of Ala Mhigo, the Garlean Empire finally rose from apparent inactivity to resume its attack on Eorzea. A fleet of airships was deployed to Mor Dhona, led by the massive flagship Agrius.
As the imperial fleet advanced into the skies above Silvertear Lake, the largest inland body of water in Aldenard, it was met with a wholly unexpected sight. Midgardsormr, the dragon deity of the lake, had arisen, summoned by a hand unknown. And as if to answer the mighty wyrm's call, a host of dragons flew in from the northwestern reaches of Dravania and fell upon the Empire's forces.
The air was filled with the deafening roars of cannons and dragonkin alike. Locked in a deadly embrace, the thunderous impact of Midgardsormr and the dreadnought Agrius tolled their mutual demise. Thus ended the Battle of Silvertear Skies.
Even now, the carcass of the immense wyrm lies entwined with the wreckage of the Agrius in the center of the lake, a towering monument to the ferocity of the conflict.
Ever since that day, the lands of Eorzea have continued an inexorable fall into chaos...
The highlands of Gyr Abania in the eastern reaches of Aldenard were once under the control of a martial nation known as Ala Mhigo. 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, it repelled repeated attempts at invasion from the east. In the Year 1557 of the Sixth Astral Era, however, it 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. 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.
In the central region of Abalathia's Spine, that great mountain range that spans Aldenard from east to west, can be found the forbidding highlands of Coerthas and the Holy See of Ishgard. The archbishop of the church, while leading his people in the teachings of Halone, the Fury, rules also as the nation's sovereign.
Ishgard's formidable army of knights wages constant battle against its mortal enemies, the dragons. Faced with ever more aggressive attacks from its serpentine foes, as well as an unprecedented spell of bitter cold, the theocracy's days are dark indeed.
Matters have grown so grave as to prompt the archbishop and his advisors to consider throwing open the heretofore sealed gates of Ishgard and calling for outside aid.