It's been 25 years since the Great War ended and the treaty at Vytal was signed. Twenty-five years since the Big Four Huntsman Academies were tasked with training the future defenders of mankind how to fight against and more importantly survive against the Creatures of Grimm. Many classes of huntsmen and huntresses have graduated from the Big Four Academies since then, and those licensed by one of these Academies have developed a reputation for peerless skill in battle and remarkable tenacity. The profession of huntsman is viewed as being a wandering hero, going off to save people from the forces that would do them harm.
There have also been great strides in terms of coming together as a species since then. Many technological advancements in the fields of communication, robotics, airship technology, dust refinement, and heating have all been conducted and spread across Remnant since the end of the Great War. While there still are tensions between nations, no human kingdom has gone to war with another human kingdom since the end of that world-changing event.
Where this is progress and triumph, however, there is also great failure. The format of the Big Four Huntsman Academies was not set in stone for years, and each Academy plays by their own rules and does what they think is best in order to train the next generation of huntsmen. At the creation of the Huntsman Academies, before they were the massive enterprises they were today it was fairly simple to get recruits. Veterans of the Great War who had distinguished themselves in battle made natural choices to become the first Huntsmen, because they were the best warriors that humanity had to offer.
As years passed, however, veterans of the war became harder and harder to come by. Chances had to be taken on promising students from the primary combat schools throughout Remnant, and tournaments were established like the Mistral Regional Tournament in each kingdom in order to gauge the quality of recruits and see the quality of the instruction offered in these lesser combat schools. It was hugely beneficial for the Big Four to continue to take candidates who already showed potential and bravery rather than take risks on unknowns, because fighting the Grimm was exceptionally dangerous and those who were not up for the task died in the attempt every day all around the world.
Haven Academy, for years, took only one class of students and ran them through three years of instruction. They would take large groups and then work with them for those three years, only filling up slots as other people dropped out. This worked for quite some time, as the veterans of the Great War were still the backbone of the Huntsmen out in the world. All they needed to do was train enough to replace those who retired or died in the line of duty.
In what was known amongst the populace as The Fall, however, the structure of Haven Academy changed forever. The exact circumstances of the event are not known, and will likely never be known, but the general outline of what happened was pieced together after the fact. An airship carrying the vast majority of students and faculty were travelling for the Vytal Festival in the Kingdom of Atlas when something happened. Whether it was an equipment failure, a Grimm attack, or something else entirely that caused the disaster is not known. What is known, however, is that somehow the ship crashed into the frigid ocean about a hundred kilometers away from the shore. They were unfortunately out of communication range of any major city, though at least one cargo plane in the area caught wind of the distress signal and went back to Atlas to get help. Unfortunately, however, help came too late. The ship had crashed into the water, and one hundred students and twelve members of the Haven Academy faculty drowned or froze to death in the frigid water.
The lands around Mistral City are extremely dangerous once the relative safety of the mountain is left, due to a noticeable uptick of bandit activity making trade and travel much more difficult. The loss of so many trainees made the area extremely vulnerable, as there simply weren't enough Huntsmen who were willing to relocate to the area of the capital to make it safe again. Raids on caravans have become much more frequent as a result, and more than a few smaller villages on the outskirts of the city haven't been heard from in quite some time. The only safe way to travel in and out of the city is by air, and that's very expensive. Because of this, trade in all forms has gone down dramatically due to the complete lack of caravans passing through and the fact that by this point every other kingdom is aware of the situation and while the governments provide what aid they say they can… the corporations aren't so charitable and use the crisis to force Mistral into paying higher rates on Dust and other necessary supplies due to the added danger on flying near the capital.
The Kingdom of Atlas has publicly vowed to improve communications systems so that a tragedy like that from ever occurring again, claiming that if the distress signal had reached their coastal cities a rescue could have been made in time. Since then, they have been working diligently to create what they call the Cross Continental Transmit System which they claim could make communication between kingdoms possible for the first time in history without the use of couriers or messengers who physically made the trip to another kingdom. Atlas engineers are certainly building something in the capital of Mistral, but it is very debatable if that something will ever grow to be half as useful as they claim.
AV = After Vytal, to denote the end of the Great War.
BV = Before Vytal
10 BV = Start of the Great War.
0 AV = The Treaty of Vytal, when the Big Four Huntsman Academies were established and the Great War ended.
1 AV = The first class of Huntsmen enroll in the newly built academies.
2 AV = The first class of Huntsmen graduate from the Academies after a tournament at the First Vytal Festival. The shorter training period was a result of all enrollees being combat veterans of the Great War with extensive military training beforehand.
9 AV = Kingdom of Mantle renamed the Kingdom of Atlas
10 AV = Regional Tournaments including the Mistral Regional Tournament are established as the pool of Great War veterans was getting older and older and a way for the Big Four to recruit needed to be established. Much closer ties between each Huntsman Academy and the lesser combat schools in their area to create feeder programs were started soon after.
12 AV = The current Mistral Regional Tournament stadium is completed with funding from Haven Academy backing the project.
15 AV = Schnee Dust Company Founded
17 AV = Starting date of the Faunus War, fought because the humans wanted to confine all Faunus to the island of Menagerie.
20 AV = Battle of Fort Castle, the turning point of the Faunus War that swung the tide in favor of the Faunus.
21 AV = Ending date of the Faunus War. Faunus were allowed to live in any of the four kingdoms, and were at least promised the concept of equality. The White Fang were founded during this year as well as an organization that was to represent the peace and unity between the humans and the Faunus.
23 AV = In response to continuing discrimination of the Faunus and the lack of actual equal rights in many parts of Remnant, the White Fang rebranded as a peaceful protest organization that worked to bring awareness to the blight of the Faunus in order to sway the public.
Early 24 AV = The Fall, a tragic airship crash that killed the majority of the trainees and faculty at Haven Academy occurred. In response to this tragedy, bandit tribes grew more and more bold in invading territory that was once untouchable due to the threat of the formidable huntsmen trainees coming en masse to rout them. By late 24 AV they had established what was effectively a blockade around the city, meaning that any land transportation was so dangerous as to not even be attempted by the average citizen.
Early 25 AV = The first class since The Fall enrolls in Haven Academy almost a full semester earlier than planned, which has undergone a transformation in how it operates to safeguard against another tragedy to that scale. No longer would Haven only have one class of students, but it would accept a new one every year so that if disaster struck twice they would not have to start from nothing.
Mid 25 AV = A team of Huntsmen flown in routed the bandit tribes that had surrounded the capital city, and Haven Academy students took the Argus Limited on its first trip in a year in order to transport critical Atlas technology to the city of Argus. The trip was completed despite a bandit ambush and attacks by Grimm, and as a result Atlas provided both higher quality dust and communications infrastructure that for the first time allowed internet to be spread beyond just one city and allowed video calls for the first time between the major cities in the kingdom. Outside of the major cities and the communications towers, this is still impossible, but it is a vast improvement over the isolation that was the norm before 25 AV.