RWBY: WORLD OF REMNANT
THE GREAT WAR
The Great War. What a terrible name for such a horrible time in history. Though the war itself lasted around ten years, the century leading up to it was filled with so much tension, you might as well lump 'em together. And most of that tension was coming from Mistral.
Territories rich with resources and safe from Grimm have always been in high demand. But the emperor of Mistral had managed to conquer nearly all that Anima had to offer, thanks in part to an unlikely friend - Mantle. The two Kingdoms had formed an alliance. Mistral provided the small Kingdom with goods unavailable in the frozen tundra. In return, Mantle introduced technological innovation, as well as guidance in the settlement of Anima's cold northern territory. It was good... until it wasn't.
An incident in Mantle led to a strange and unexpected decree - the abolishment of the arts and the repression of self-expression. The people of Mantle had come to believe that they would be much safer from the Grimm if they could simply keep the emotions of the masses in check. Given Mistral's strong artistic culture, many assumed this would be the end of their alliance. But they were wrong. Mistral complied... selectively, enforcing Mantle's wishes only in the outer territories, allowing the central powers to continue to live as they pleased. If you haven't caught on yet, Mistral's full of jerks.
The people of Vale had a problem with this. Well, they had a problem with a lot of things Mistral and Mantle had been up to - treatment of their citizens, use of slave labor and their constant insistence that their way of life was what was best for everyone.
Eventually, Mistral made the jump across the sea to the eastern coast of Sanus. The small islands and peninsulas in the area were perfect to establish a settlement. They were so perfect, in fact, that Vale had just begun settling the area themselves. I think we can all guess what happened next. The King of Vale did everything he could to avoid armed conflict. Despite cries from his people, he insisted on sharing the land with the settlers from Mistral. But... (sigh) To this day, no one knows who shot first, but what began as a riot between two bands of settlers... would suddenly become the first battle of the Great War. Mantle quickly came to Mistral's side. Battles were fought on both Sanus and Anima soil. Villages were lost to both combat and Grimm. And it wasn't long before Vacuo decided to join the party.
Up to this point, Vacuo had done its best to stay out of the fight. Mantle and Mistral, having both already established a small presence in Vacuo territory years before promised to leave them, provided they didn't interfere. Soon, those talks evolved. It went from "Don't side with them" to "Side with us and you'll be safe". Vacuo did not much care for that, and they came to the conclusion that if Vale were to fall, there'd be no one left to stop Mistral and Mantle from conquering them next. So they did what they considered to be the logical thing. They drove Mantle and Mistral out of Vacuo and told Vale they had their backs. (chuckles) I love their style.
So the war raged on. Grimm attacks increased worldwide. On the battlefield, this meant a temporary ceasefire in order to deal with the monsters before returning to the fight at hand. Those left miserable back at home, however, were often helpless with their best warriors away fighting the "good" fight. A lot of settlements were lost during these years, and most were never reclaimed. Rations on food and Dust were put into effect, development of technology accelerated, Humans and Faunus who fought alongside one another became closer and every day, mankind grew more and more efficient at destroying itself.
But it all ended in the Vacuo campaign. Mistral and Mantle knew that if they could take the Dust mines of Vacuo, they would effectively cut off the supply of Dust to their enemy. It was to be a final devastating blow to Vale and Vacuo. They were only half right. The King of Vale personally led his army into battle alongside the soldiers of Vacuo and decimated the enemy forces. Crown atop his head and armed only with a sword and his scepter, he laid waste to countless men.
As the sand was soaked red with blood, the Grimm came in droves. It was the single deadliest battle of the war, and legends of the greatness and terror of the Warrior King were born that day. Historians will tell you that most of these stories are nothing but grandiose hyperbole. Unusually violent weather conditions, combined with Mantle's unfamiliarity with desert combat, are likely what led to such a high death count. But whatever the reasoning, everyone bowed to the King of Vale by the time it was over. The Great War had ended. The world was ready to live under the rule of Vale. But the King refused.
The leaders of the four Kingdoms met on the island of Vytal, and it was there that they worked together to form a treaty and establish the future of Remnant. Territories were redistributed, slavery was abolished, governments were restructured, and the Warrior King, the last king Vale would ever have, founded the Huntsman Academies and placed his most trusted followers in command of each Kingdom's school. He would teach the world to fight, so long as we promised to fight for ourselves and never against ourselves.
Seems we haven't kept our end of the bargain.