The Pale Wars was a global conflict fought between the Earth Military Coalition, the Votanis Collective, and other groups that began in 2023 and lasted for nine years, until 2032. The Battle of Defiance, originally the Battle of St. Louis (dubious, see talk), was a deciding factor in ending the wars.
The Votans arrived at Earth in 2013, and, after a four-year introductory period, negotiated Votan colonization for six years. The negotiations went relatively smoothly, until March 2023, when a "humanity first" advocate, Avinash Singh, assassinated a Votan diplomat on live television. This sparked distrust and tension between the two sides before armed conflict broke out a month later.
The conflict that would come to be called the Pale Wars took a dramatic turn for the worse in January 2030, when the Votan Arks orbiting Earth were mysteriously destroyed, leading to a rain of debris that fell to the planet's surface. Some of the Arks contained terraformers, which began to transform the planet by scorching the earth, opening up chasms and burying major cities. Some Ark debris managed to stay within Earth's orbit, forming the arkbelt.
Another major event that occurred during the Pale Wars was the revelation that the Volge had somehow stowed away on the Arks. It is not clear when during the Pale Wars they appeared (before or after the Arkfall), but their presence was highly unwelcome, even amongst the other Votans.
After nine years of fighting, Votan and Human soldiers joined forces to save civilians during the Battle of Defiance. This act was mimicked by forces on both sides, forcing the Earth Military Coalition and the Votanis Collective to ratify the Pale Wars Armistice in April, 2031.