The Garlean military, to the best of our knowledge, comprises 14 legions of troops in Final Fantasy XIV. I’ve pointed out before that technically, we do not know how many legions there are out there; all we ever have known is that the highest number we’ve heard is 14. (Do some reading on the German tank problem if you’re curious about why this isn’t a slam-dunk.) However, we hear a lot about single-digit legions, we’ve never heard of a legion higher than that, and if there are a lot more it’d be unlikely to have that many single-digit groups. So yes, it’s probably 14 legions.
Obviously, the Garlean Empire is no more as of Endwalker. (Actually it was no more before even then, but Endwalker puts a few nails in the coffin.) But we also know that a single legion can still provide a notable military threat if it goes rogue, and there’s a lot to be said in terms of the unaccounted-for legions. So let’s look at all 14 legions, the fates we know of and have to guess about, and where Garlean forces could still be hiding even without an empire.
Ist Legion – In Garlemald, Surrendered
The Ist Legion gets a pretty starring role in most of the actual Garlemald questlines, having been led by Quintus van Cinna (who is not the poet) and essentially being the last untempered remnants of a legion still waging its pointless, fruitless civil war. By the end of the zone story, this legion is broken, and its tempered members are working with the Grand Company of Eorzea. Accounted for and definitely not a threat.
IInd Legion – Wiped out by Blasphemies
There’s an offhand mention that the IInd Legion was in Corvus during the Final Days and the Blasphemies rampaging through the area did them in. It’s a fairly minor mention, but it would track that a legion would be located there… and without help it’d be in a bad place. So that about wraps it up for that legion.
IIIrd Legion – In Garlemald, Surrendered
The IIIrd Legion was led by Vergilia van Corculum and opposed the Ist Legion in the civil war, and most of them (including the aforementioned legatus) wound up tempered. Once they had been subdued and cured, Vergilia seemed to have no taste for continuing any sort of conflict and generally seems pretty reasonable. I hope we see more of her. She’s interesting.
IVth Legion – Shattered and leaderless
The IVth Legion made up the main antagonists of the Bozjan story arc, with players finally getting a chance to take part in a protracted land war against Imperial forces. It seemed pretty clear that Legatus Noah van Gabranth had a larger plan he was putting into motion, but his forces seemed primed for another encounter… and then, according to his bio, he got killed by Lyon off-screen and the legion completely crumbled without players ever actually encountering the greater-scope villain of all that buildup.
Or he’s still alive and biding his time. But the IVth is done for regardless.
Vth Legion – Unaccounted for
There has been, to the best of my research, no mention of where the Vth Legion is, what they’re up to, or what they were ever doing. For each such legion I’m going to note a possibility, and one such possibility is that we know there were some Garlean forces out in the New World. So it’s possible that the Vth Legion is out there, despite being cut off from supply lines now.
Please note that any of these unaccounted-for legions could be subject to any of these possibilities. I am listing them in no particular order.
VIth Legion – Stranded in Azys Lla
Led by Regula van Hydrus, the VIth Legion was the main Imperial presence in Heavensward, which as you can imagine meant they weren’t really all that important. After Shiva damaged their flagship, they appear to have been mired in Azys Lla the entire time, so we can assume that they’re basically being steadily worn away by Allagan chimeras and machinery. Or surrendering to Ishgard, maybe.
VIIth Legion – Broken twice over
The VIIth Legion was basically turned into the cult of Bahamut by Nael van Darnus, who was actually Eula Darnus (her normal title is unknown), who impersonated her brother. They got absolutely shattered during the Calamity and the Battle of Carteneau. But then the legion was reassembled by Valens van Varro, using the remnants of Baelsar’s work on the Ultima Weapon project… and he also got what little legion he had destroyed by Diamond Weapon and insurgency. So they’re definitely gone.
VIIIth Legion – Unaccounted for
Another unknown legion, yes! It’s possible that this was the legion being fought in the Ghimlyt Dark, which is one of the few places where we fight against a Garlean force that is not specifically assigned to a legion either by direct numbers or through other information elsewhere in the story. It seems a little bit perfunctory to assume that Ghimlyt ultimately cost an entire legion, but it’s possible.
IXth Legion – Unaccounted for
It is vaguely possible that one of the unaccounted legions was marching with the XIVth during the pre-FFXIV invasion of Eorzea that was stopped at Silvertear, which would explain why the XIVth was still in fighting shape despite only controlling Ala Mhigo prior to the relaunch. But that’s a little bit of a stretch.
Xth Legion – Surrendered and working with the Grand Company of Eorzea
We never actually see anyone from the Xth Legion, but we do know that Cinna was waiting on them as reinforcements with the idea that they would finally win the (long since pointless) civil war. What we do know is that the Xth surrendered almost immediately, meaning that they are in the same basic boat as the Ist and IIIrd. It’s possible we’ll get more stuff with them in the future around Garlemald.
XIth Legion – Unaccounted for
At least one of these legions was probably still stationed in Ilsabard as a whole. It’s hard to be sure, of course – there was a civil war going on – but quite possibly a legatus just decided she was going to wait that whole situation out and keep her troops safe protecting whatever corner of the landscape she was assigned. She has, uh, missed some stuff.
XIIth Legion – The bad guys in Stormblood
Led by Zenos yae Galvus (later Zenos viator Galvus, never actually Zenos zos Galvus), the XIIth Legion has in control of Doma and surrounding lands, then also took over Ala Mhigo after Gaius van Baelsar pulled his garrison out and marched full-on into Eorzea. With Garlean power broken in both regions, it seems obvious that whatever remains is just a dead remnant fighting a lost war.
XIIIth Legion – Unaccounted for
As a final possibility for these unaccounted legions, it’s also definitely possible that someone is down in Meracydia. Officially, no one can get in there, and it seems definite that Garlemald never claimed the continent. But given Garlemald’s love of conquest, killing eikons, and doing like ancient Allag did… well, Meracydia seems like an obvious place to go vacationing, you know?
XIVth Legion – Broken in Eorzea
The antagonists of the game’s initial relaunch, Gaius van Baelsar led the XIVth to establish several bases and take many chunks of land, but he was ultimately defeated and pushed back. They’re still just hanging around in their bases, too entrenched to surrender and not strong enough to take anything more, basically.
So we’ve got five legions that might still be out there and nine of them accounted for and gone. Not bad for an empire that we took on frequently as a means for getting something else done. Feedback is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to email@example.com; next week, I want to speculate a little bit about what we’ll hear about during the live letter.