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Ishgard (イシュガルド [ishgard] in Japanese) is a city-state in the region of Coerthas high up in Abalathia's Spine in Aldenard of Final Fantasy XIV. It is a layered tower city built on a high cliff separated from the rest of the land by great chasms, which in turn are filled with the foggy clouds and strong winds of the lower Sea of Clouds. The only physical entrance to the city is the Steps of Faith bridge, which connects the Foundation layer of the city to Dragonhead in Coerthas central highlands. The bridge is guarded by the Gates of Judgement on the Dragonhead side, and connects Ishgard to Haldrath's March road which leads south-east which eventually becomes the Furline to Gridania. Other known entrances are the chocobo stables entrance on the Foundation layer, for flying chocobos, as well as the airship landing on the Pillars layer.

As mentioned above, the city was built in layers. The oldest layers towards the bottom are collectively known as the Brume, and the city's officials have long neglected their proper upkeep. Only the poorest and least well off citizens live there. The middle layer is known as the Foundation, and has commonly featured broken architecture due to constant dragon attacks, although repairs are also constantly undertaken. Much of the military and manufacturing of the city-state is located there. The highest layer is known as the Pillars, and has shopping areas as well as administration and the city manors of the noble houses. It is well maintained. The Foundation and the Pillars sections are formed around grand plazas, generally known as Forums, connected by various stairways known as Arcs.
Traditionally, the whole city was encased in a warding known as Daniffen's Collar, which allowed it to stand relatively unharmed even in the midst of a thousand-year war with dragonkind.


The flag of Ishgard features a shield bearing the crests of the four noble houses that founded the city. The shield is topped by the crown of the archbishop, leader of the Ishgardian Orthodox Church, and is featured on a field of blue, standing for clear skies.


Traditionally, the city-state has been led by the archbishop, who stands in for the absent king. The archbishop was elected for life by a conclave consisting of high-ranking clergymen and representatives of the four High Houses1. He was supported by the Synod, an advisory body, and his personal bodyguard Heavens' Ward, consisting of 12 personally picked knights. He also directly ruled over all of the Holy See, the core of the Ishgardian Orthodox Church.

However, after the events of the end of the Dragonsong War, this system broke down due to the revelation of the corruption and lies spread by the church. After consideration, Ishgard became a republic, and is ruled by the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

Throughout its known history, the inquisitors have held disproportionate power in Ishgard. They were given just about unrestricted access to investigate whoever they wished for the sake of finding dragon sympathizers, known as heretics. No method was off the table for the sake of their noble goal, including various methods of torture. It is even known that those suspected of heresy are thrown into the deep crevices of Witchdrop. If they were a heretic, they would change into a dragon and be shot down. If they were not and thus died from the fall, at least their name was cleared.
Of late, the influence of the inquisition has diminished in light of the revelations concerning the origins of the city-state.

The main industries of Ishgard are stonemasonry, steelworks, and magitek technology2. The first two developed over the hundreds of years of war with dragonkind, and as a result Ishgardian steel is famed throughout Eorzea. Magitek is a more recent addition to their repertoire, developed with the assistance of Garlon Ironworks, although was likewise take up due to the war. Since the famed Cid Garlond and his disciples visited the city in the final stages of the war, they have also produced small-scale personal airships.

Since the Calamity, hunting has become one of the main industries of the city-state as well. When the climate changed from crisp but temperate highlands to that of snow-capped mountains due to the aetherial fluctuations, Ishgard's traditional mainstays of herding sheep and raising chocobos became all but impossible. Destitute shepherds and other herders flocked into the city for protection against the frozen winds. While chocobo raising hasn't fared as calamitously in the aftermath, Ishgard's position as the foremost (and only) exporter of chocobos is severely challenged.

The change of climate has caused the demand for warm soups and stews to skyrocket in all levels of society. Traditionally, Ishgard was known for their tea and crumpets and other desserts, as well as tough kind of breads suitable for military rations.

All Ishgardians in practice are (or were until quite recently) members of the Ishgardian Orthodox Church. The church holds that Halone the Fury is the mightiest and foremost of the gods and others mere footnotes. Their holy book Enchiridion and other accompanying literature detail the tenets for a good life in all its aspects. It is (or was) considered the greatest honor to fall in battle against dragons, for this meant direct entrance to the Halls of the Fury. As a result of the thousand-year war and the importance of the church, a quite disproportionate number of citizens are part of either the military or the church. The supremacy of the cause was drilled in to every Ishgardian, to the extent that even cooks and shepherds saw themselves as most importantly doing their part to aid in the war, all else was secondary. It can be presumed this zeal has become confusion since the war's end. A person's bloodline is likewise seen as of utmost importance in Ishgardian society. The most influential people can without exceptions trace their blood all the way to the founding fathers.

At 70%, Ishgardian elezen form most of the population of the city-state, with Midlander hyur following far behind with 20%. The remaining 10% is other tribes and races. From 1.x, we know that this includes Wildwoods, Duskwights, Seeker and Keeper miqo'te (mostly Keepers), as well as some Plainsfolk lalafell and a smattering of roegadyn.



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In the years leading up to the Calamity, Ishgard enforced a policy of isolation. The Gate of Judgment was closed to all but necessary military personnel (and one can presume, transporters of food items and other necessities), cutting people off from their loved ones. No one was allowed in or out of the city without explicit permission. The Holy See took a strict no interference policy with the rest of Eorzea even when Garlemald invaded with Nael van Darnus at their head. No Ishgardian troops were present at the Battle of Carteneau, although prior to that the city-state had a token presence all over Mor Dhona as they were responsible for the upkeep of the local aetheryte camps3. These were withdrawn after the Calamity (if any survived at all), not that there were any working aetherytes to guard any longer.

Present Day

After the Calamity and the resulting severe change in climate, Ishgard further withdrew from the rest of Eorzea. Although refugees from hard-hit areas were taken into the city, adventurers and other foreigners were still kept away and were regarded with suspicion. Anyone taken into the city faced starvation or death by freezing if they didn't have the means to support themselves in the city life, and food and fuel prices skyrocketed as Coerthas was covered in snow. Archbishop Thordan VII led the country with Aymeric de Borel the head of the Temple Knights, and Estinien Wyrmblood as the Azure Dragoon.

Change crept upon Ishgard when House Fortemps managed to obtain a leave of entrance to the Warrior of Light and their retinue after their aid to the city in the face of an attack by heretics and dragons led by Ysayle Dangoulain. They arrived just in time for the final events of the Dragonsong War. The Ishgardian Orthodox Church - indeed, the whole city-state, was revealed to be founded on false history. The Archbishop died in his lust for power after becoming a primal, and Aymeric de Borel became Lord Speaker of the House of Lords, the leader of one half of the elected government, the other half being the House of Commons. Separation of the Church and the state are underway, and Ishgardians started building healthy relations with the dragons they had so long hated and feared.


Above are the various maps of the city and its sub-areas. Included are (in order) Foundation, Pillars, a room at Cloud Nine, Seat of the Lord Commander, the Ruling Chamber, a room at Fortemps Manor, the Lightfeather Proving Grounds, and a study in Saint Endalim's Scholasticate. Significance of the areas is listed below in appropriate areas.

The Foundation

The Foundation forms the middle layers of the city of Ishgard, and is the lowest any affluent folks will go. The Arc of the Worthy leads outside the city to the Steps of Faith. The aetheryte plaza is close by. From there, the Arc of the Humble leads to the Saint Reinette Forum, and the Fury's Mercy stairway leads to Saint Valeroyant Forum. Below are the top layers of the Brume.

Cloud Nine / The Forgotten Knight
Located in the same building, Cloud Nine is an inn of some repute, and the Forgotten Knight a tavern that covers the lower floor as well as the middle, that nowadays gives to the top player of the Brume. Cloud Nine could be presumed to be a fairly good establishment as it stands right next to the headquarters of the Temple Knights, although it is in fact fairly run-down.
The Forgotten Knight is an ancient establishment originally founded around the same time as the city, by one of the knights who refused to take part in the conspiracy to cover up Ratatoskr's murder. It has separate counters on the Congregation side and the Brume side, so that patrons of different social standing would not have to mingle.

Congregation of Our Knights Most Heavenly
The headquarters of the Temple Knights of Ishgard. It is conveniently located such that the knights in attendance may most effectively defend the religious institutions and noble houses in the upper layers of the city. The Seat of the Lord Commander, the office of the leader of the Temple Knights, is located on the higher floors.

Lightfeather Proving Grounds
A coliseum of some fame originally built for proving the prowess of battle-trained chocobos. These days, it also hosts traditional knightly tournaments.

The Skysteel Manufactory
Traditionally known as House Haillenarte's Manufactory4, the Skysteel Manufactory was fairly recently remodeled by Stephanivien de Haillenarte to build specific types of guns as well as their more traditional fare of cannons for the defense of the city. It has since then become a center for the training of new machinists. After a lucky deal with Garlond Ironworks, they have also started production of small-scale personal airships. These are sold on the open market instead of going directly to the military, and many find their way to the possession of sky pirates.

The Holy Stables
The local chocobo stables, although this one mainly concerns itself with the breeding and training of birds for the military. Led by Stable Master Cevilia Laurasquin.

The Fury's Mercy
A grand ballista that guards the city. It is said it hits its targets with such force that they don't have time to even feel pain before they die.

The Arc of the Humble
The arc and stairway that connects the aetheryte plaza with Saint Reinette's Forum, it was named after Saint Reinette, who humbly set aside her spear and became a nun after wrecking her revenge on the dragons.

The Arc of the Worthy
The Arc of the Worthy connects the city proper with the Steps of Faith which leads outside. It is said that only those judged worthy by Halone can pass through.

The Pillars

The topmost layer of the tiered city. The outer ring is designed as the last line of defense for Saint Thordan's Basilica, the seat of the Ishgardian Orthodox Church. It is ringed by the manors of the four High Houses, and it is considered their duty to keep the church safe.

Saint Thordan's Basilica
The central authority of Ishgard, the Basilica houses the offices of the highest-ranking priests of the Ishgardian Orthodox Church as well as those of the Archbishop himself. The deepest levels are known as the Vault. The lowest level is open to acolytes of the church, and it is there that they have their regular services5. The Basilica is named after King Thordan I, the first and only king of Ishgard.

The Supreme Sacred Tribunal of Halonic Inquisitory Doctrine
Known as Tribunal for short, this building houses both the headquarters of the Inquisitors of the Church and the Ruling Chamber where trial by combat is decided, as well as other lawful functions of the Inquisition.

Saint Reymanaud's Cathedral
The main cathedral of the Ishgardian Orthodox Church, and place of worship for all high-born Ishgardians. Portions of the cathedral not dedicated to the grand hall of worship are dedicated to the use of Saint Endalim's Scholasticate, who train the Ishgardian clergy. It is named after Archbishop Reymanaud, the first archbishop of the Church.

The Jeweled Crozier
A long narrow alleyway filled with merchant stalls, and offers the finest wares Ishgard has for sale. It is said that they line the alley as jewels in the Archbishop's crozier. While having no official leader, in practice this role goes to Elaisse Poole.

Athenaeum Astrologicum
Founded by the venerable Guenriol de Durendaire, and currently led by Jannequinard de Durendaire. It continues to be funded by House Durendaire for studies of traditional Ishgardian astrology, although has received special attention from the overseas Sharlayan in the form of envoy Leveva Byrde due to Jannequinard's efforts of teaching the Sharlayan branch of astrology.

Fortemps Manor / The Alicorn
Located right by the Last Vigil, the manor has earned the common name Alicorn by the fame of its spire-topped gazebo. Many dubious characters seem to be comfortable in the location, as not only was it known as the training place of Haurchefant Greystone in his youth, but lately someone far more suspicious has been seen lurking around.

Haillenarte Manor / The Rose Garden
The ancestral home of House Haillenarte earned its common name from the beautiful gardens that are rumored to be located in its courtyard. It stands right by the Last Vigil, across the boulevard from the Fortemps Manor.

Durendaire Manor / The Belfry
Having the traditional name Belfry, the name is nothing but a keepsake these days as the giant iron bell that once adorned the manor has since been removed due to an unfortunate accident in which a passerby was crushed as the chains holding the bell in place snapped in a storm. The manor itself has a servants' entrance on the lowest floor, right above the Jeweled Crozier, quite far from the main entrance which is located higher up and close by to Saint Reymanaud's Cathedral.

Dzemael Manor / The Rook
Off to the side from the main core of the city, the manor of House Dzemael has seen frequent renovations as the family ardently keeps up with the latest architectural trends. The main advantage of the location is the nearby airship landing, although that has only existed at most the last few decades.

Borel Manor
Home of Aymeric de Borel, formerly Lord Commander of the Temple Knights and currently de facto leader of the city-state. He inherited the manor house from the elderly couple of the noble House Borel who raised him. Being close to both Athenaeum Astrologicum and the Dzemael Manor, this elderly couple must have been of fairly good standing, and the father of the family is mentioned as being a viscount.

The Hoplon
The large plaza in front of Saint Thordan's Basilica is known as the Hoplon. It is in fact the largest open place in the entire city. It is centrally located, having the Basilica to the north, the Cathedral to the west, the Tribune to the east, and the Last Vigil to the south via the Architects.

The Architects
Being a grand boulevard in the heart of the city, the Architects features grand statues of the knights who founded the city-state along with King Thordan I after their battle with Nidhogg. It connects the Hoplon to the Last Vigil.

The Arc of the Venerable
One of the numerous stairways connecting the various plazas of Ishgard, the Arc of the Venerable connects the Athenaeum Astrologicum to the Last Vigil. It is named after the venerable Saint Guenriol de Durendaire, founder of Ishgardian astrology.

The Last Vigil
The last of the five Vigils guarding Ishgard, the Last Vigil is the final defense line guarding the governmental heart of the city. Its counterparts Stone Vigil, Steel Vigil, Dusk Vigil and Dawn Vigil are located outside the city, and since the Calamity and the chaotic years that followed, they have lain largely empty, fallen to the Dravanian Horde. The Last Vigil is, in fact, the last one standing.

The Brume

An area ignored by the higher-ups, the Brume consists of the oldest, bottom-most layers of the city. Even basic maintenance tends to be neglected, and the thick freezing fogs from the Sea of Clouds that roll through the layers and give them their name do not help the matter. The area is inhabited by the poor folk and refugees, those who have nowhere else to go.



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