"I see a future where a great many people will call this Guild home. They forever adventure. But they have a place to return to. That's the kind of Guild I want to make Fairy Tail into."-- Mavis Vermillion, First Guild Master
At least a hundred years before Lucy Heartphilia joined the guild, Fairy Tail was founded by a young Mavis Vermillion and a group of friends. When treasure hunters arrived at Tenrou Island, Mavis engaged them in a game of wits in order to protect the valuable Tenrou Jade and learn more about Fairies from one of the hunters, Yuri Dreyar, father and great-grandfather to current members Makarov and Laxus Dreyar. After Mavs bested Yuri in their game, the treasure hunter's allies, Precht and Warrod Sequen, arrived with news that the jewel was already taken. Mavis, and her friend Zera, decided to leave with the treasure hunters in order to retrieve the jewel.
The group searched through Hargeon and learned that the jewel was in the possession of a dark guild called Blue Skull, the same guild that had attacked and Mavis' own guild years prior and killed everyone but her. The group then headed to Magnolia Town to confront Blue Skull in their own headquarters, and there Yuri found the jewel. Falling prey to his greed, Yuri attempted to take the jewel for himself and betray Mavis and Zera, but once he did he was taken over by dark magic and became a large skeletal dragon. Mavis had seen the good in every one of the treasure hunters and considered them her friends, even though she had no idea if they thought the same way about her, so she chose to use a powerful spell that she didn't even know how to perform properly. This spell, called Fairy Law, inflicts great damage to whoever the caster believes is a threat or an enemy. Mavis was able to destroy the dark magic around Yuri but at a great cost: the side effect of the spell being incomplete saw Mavis halt her physical growth so that she wouldn't visibly age anymore. Yuri and the other treasure hunters now viewed Mavis as their ally, seeing the lengths she would go to for people willing and ready to betray her, and chose to stay with her as she opened up a guild in Magnolia Town. Over the course of a few months, Mavis, Precht, Warrod, and Yuri built a large guild building to be used as their base of operations, with Mavis hoping to promote the values of friendship, family, and teamwork above all else to the future guild mates.
A few months after the Guild was recognized and had inducted a respectable amount of members, feudal lords around the country began disagreeing on trading rights, which ultimately led to an all-out war, the Second Trade War. Fairy Tail joined in the fight just as other mercenary Mages and Guilds began choosing sides and used Mavis as their strategist. With her at the helm of the defense and offense, Fairy Tail was able to gain the upper hand in most of their bouts, but couldn't stop the war from raging on for four years. At the end, both sides had taken heavy casualties, disgusting Mavis at the waste of life. A treaty was then founded that saw it illegal for any Guilds to go to war with each other over any reason. This allowed for a time of peace in the following years.
Ten years later, fellow founding member Yuri and his wife were pregnant with a son. Rita, Yuri's wife, wanted the child to grow up in the Guild and asked Mavis to name him, to which she called him "Makarov" after a prince she had read about. As she held Rita's hand, however, the woman mysteriously died, sending everyone into a shock. Mavis already knew why it had happened but was unable to believe it until then: she had been cursed by Ankhseram Black Magic and would take life the more she cared about it. She was told this information from her friend she had met before founding Fairy Tail, the Black Mage Zeref, but couldn't believe it because she didn't kill people by being near them like he did; he also had the curse.
Realizing that she couldn't make physical contact anymore with the people she loved and called her friends and family, Mavis chose to run away into the wilderness, where she stayed for over a year trying to starve herself. She eventually met up again with Zeref, and the two started to develop romantic feelings toward each other due to the fact that the curse seemed to not affect either of them. However, as their feelings turned to love, this caused the curse to go haywire and inexplicably kill Mavis right in Zeref's arms. He took her back to Fairy Tail, where Precht noticed that she still had a small amount of magical power left in her and chose to seal her in a lacrima in order to preserve her. He kept this a secret from the other members of the Guild, however, and told them that she had in fact died. The Guild chose to make her a grave on her home island, Tenrou Island, and make that Fairy Tail's "Holy Land", meaning no one without the mark of Fairy Tail was allowed to set foot on the island.
Precht, now named Second Guild Master, chose to divert his time and energy in a way to revive Mavis and spent years doing so, performing many different experiments on her in order to bring her back and rekindle the small amount of magical power inside of her. His experiments led to the creation of Fairy Heart, a source of infinite magic and Fairy Tail's ultimate weapon in times of need. Precht, realizing that he wouldn't be able to revive Mavis but now aware of the power her body housed, chose to leave the Guild and named Makarov the next Master. Makarov would lead the Guild in the following years, building up it's strength but also earning it a reputation for housing mages that are reckless and cause collateral damage.The Guild would grow to about a hundred mages and rival fellow Guild Phantom Lord as the strongest Guild in the country, despite Phantom coming to prominence earlier.
Makarov would lead his guildmates by example, telling them that they should do what is right and not worry about the consequences. He would, however, become disheartened every time Fairy Tail had to pay a large amount of their own money for the damages, and would discipline the members who caused such destruction in that case. Despite the Guild being known for its strength, Makarov let anyone join so long as they seemed alright with other members, needed guidance in their life or a home, or had shown the right strength of heart. Once they're accepted, Makarov treats each and every one of them as his precious children, but doesn't even give his own flesh-and-blood children any advantages, seeing when he expelled his own son and Laxus' father for being a threat to the guild. That's how he was taught to raise the Guild and he continued to do so until his old age.
War with Phantom Lord
"Listen up. The power to overcome reasoning is born from reasoning. Magic is not a miracle. When the 'spirit' flow within us and the 'spirit' flow in nature connects, they will form an embodiment for the first time. You will need a strong mentality and a lot of concentration for that. I mean, pouring all of your soul into whatever you do is the magic. If you keep worrying about the watchful eyes of the higher-ups, your magic won't improve. Do not fear the fools of the Council. Do whatever you think is right!! That's the way of the Fairy Tail Mages!!!"-- Makarov Dreyar, Third Guild Master
Trouble brewed for Fairy Tail when they accepted a Celestial Spirit Mage, young Lucy Heartphilia, who was the heir to the wealthy inheritance from Heartphilia family. Unbeknownst to any members of the Guild, Lucy had actually ran away after mistreatment from her father which forced him to hire Phantom Lord to bring her back. Jose Porla, Master of Phantom, decided to go about this by ordering his strongest Mage, the Iron Dragon Slayer Gajeel Redfox, to destroy Fairy Tail's Guild Hall and attack their members. Gajeel left the Guild in shambles and pinned up Levy McGarden, Jet, and Droy against a tree in the middle of the town with painted tattoos of the Phantom Lord Guild mark on their bodies. Makarov was willing to let the destruction of the Guild Hal go due to the treaty stating no Guilds should fight each other, but seeing his children beaten and displayed like this was the last straw. He organized Fairy Tail's mages and led an attack on Phantom's Guild, however was defeated when Aria of the Elemental 4 used an ability to steal all of Makarov's magical power. With Makarov recuperating and Fairy Tail licking their wounds, they were unexpected when the entire Phantom Lord Guild, now transformed into a spider-like walking mechanism, started it's way across the lake towards their Guild Hall. They prepared their Magical Cannon, Jupiter, to fire at the remains of the Guild Hall to take out the entirety of Fairy Tail in one fell swoop, but were stopped by the efforts of Erza Scarlet. This act saw Erza out for the fight, and with their fighting power now even lower than before with the absence of their other S-class Mages, Jose offered a truce if they only handed over Lucy.
All of her guildmates vehemently denied, stating that they would never give up one of their own to an enemy, no matter how new that member is. Angered by their apparent stupidity, Jose sends in ghouls he manifested to attack the members of the Guild to buy time for Jupiter to recharge.