Final Fantasy XI/Location Guide
The frozen northern island of Valdeaunia is often considered to be completely uninhabitable. Old evils cast long, dark shadows across the icy land, making Valdeaunia the home of the world's darkest powers. Most predominantly, the Xarcabard region could be considered the capital of the beastmen's war efforts, being the home of Castle Zvahl, which is in turn the stronghold of the enigmatic and malevolent Shadow Lord.
Most feared and oppressive of all the land of Valdeaunia is the Xacabard region. Rumored to be so cold that even good and evil alike freeze instantly in its fiercest winds, it was also a natural place for the displaced beastraces and other monstrous creatures to make into their base of operations. From here, the Shadow Lord and his lieutenant demons plotted and still plot the destruction of the Enlightened Races, bearing a grudge that defies the ages. There are no indigenous peoples of Xarcabard, and if there was ever any settlement other than Castle Zvahl to speak of, it would be so ancient and timeless as to have been forgotten by the history of any race or nation on Vana'diel.
Castle Zvahl Baileys/Castle Zvahl Keep
A virtual city unto itself, Castle Zvahl is a massive structure that has origins far older than recorded history could accurately relate. While it is possible that it has always been the dwelling of the Shadow Lord and his hordes of beastmen lieutenants, the architecture is so unusual that it seems to hint at an even earlier purpose.
During the Crystal War, the great heroes of each nation stormed Castle Zvahl with their armies in tow, bringing a great deal of the interior into ruin. After slaying the Shadow Lord, they entombed his remains in the deepest recesses of the castle keep, hoping to place his dark legacy behind Vana'diel forever. This has only seemed to enhance the mystery behind the most recent uprisings lead by one who claims to be the very same being entombed within the castle.
Although not recognized by any of the Great Nations or the Grand Duchy as a national capital, the castle is home to legions of beastmen and their kin. During the Crystal War, many beings were reported within that defied conventional description or classification. These were labeled as "demons," and were among the most deadly of the Shadow Lord's army. Such affiliations have lead to the speculation that Castle Zvahl was intended as a home or worshipping site for the dark god Promathia.
The "Burning Circle" area for the Shadow Lord fight and the final Bastok mission. Located in Castle Zvahl Keep.