Heroes of Might and Magic III:
The Restoration of Erathia
The King of the land of Erathia, Nicolas Gryphonheart is dead. The details of his death are unknown. What is definitly known is that his death has driven the whole continent of Erathia into chaos. Everyone became suddenly crazy. All the neighboring countries from all the directions are trying to grab a piece of borderland from Erathia while there is no monarch on the throne in Steadwick.
The only offspring of the late king, Catherine has recieved these disturbing news of the suspicious death of her father and the growing disorders on the Erathian borders.
She has ruled the vast realm of Enroth the last several years alone since her royal husband and the king of Enroth Roland Ironfist mysteriously disappeared. Catherine left the land and her juvenile son crone prince Nicolai to the capable hands of the regent Wilbur Humphrey, hurriedly loaded the summoned royal troops of Enroth on the ships and sailed across the ocean to Erathia, the country of her childhood.
When Catherine disembarked on the Erathian shore she has been convinced that at least in one issue the rumors from Erathia were correct. The land was indeed in turmoil. All the loyal allies of Erathia - griffins, elves, and even angels were under siege from all directions. Everyone fought everyone. The old disputes
and quarrels were sprouted anew. Neighbors became the deadliest enemies. Either they were trying to annex a territory from a neighbor, or trying to protect their lands from a neighbor. And now when the information about Catherine's arrival would leak, all the efforts will be redoubled in order to seize and hold as big territory as possible.
The only land that seems not to be in a war is Bracada, the strange country of Wizards and Alchemists. Its reputation has prevented from the neighbors' aggressions. The strength of Bracada is well known and Catherine applied to the king of Bracada Gavin Magnus for the military assistance. The messengers were sent but the situation in Erathia was so critical that it was impossible to wait till any help. The actions were to be undertaken at once.
The first thing that was to be done is to free the primordial territory of Griffins' dwellings that was infested by the joined forces of Nighon and Kreegans. Griffins were very important for Erathian military forces, as they were the main attacking detachments since the time when the king Gryphonheart has managed to tame these winged beasts.
The other striking flying units were always the Angels. They were too powerful to be overrun by the enemies and were successful in remaining their territories, but nevertheless, they were in complete blockade. They were to be helped as well, and as soon as possible if Catherine wanted to have their forces in the army.
Catherine's army finished these two urgent tasks pretty fast, but in other places, things looked not so good. From the old times Erathia could count on the help of Elves from Avlee in the moment of peril. The fact was well known in the continent and not only to the friends but to the enemies as well.
So, there wasn't a big surprise that the army of Nighon has begun its invasion from the east with the massive blow to the most powerful ally of Elves - the Golden Dragons. The news were bad. The Queen of the Golden Dragons was slain. The damage to the Goldies and the Elves was terrible. Erathia was on it's own at the moment as the Elves were too busy at home.
The most dreadful news was from Erathia itself.
Nighon lords have undertaken the massive attack from all directions. Their campaign was well prepared. They didn't only attack from the east; they popped out in the center of Erathia with the armies that passed by the new secret underground tunnels.
Nighon armies were in the heart of Erathia and the capital of Erathia the proud town of Steadwick was seized the first time in the long history of the country.
It was the full-scaled war between Erathia and Nighon. The less powerful countries saw the opportunity in this. As Erathia was too busy struggling
to wrestle back its capital from Nighon, they were thinking, it can't possibly control all its borders now; so why not use the chance and annex some old disputed territories from Erathia.
The only problem was that there were too many those who wish for the same territories. The ancient argument for the sake of the useless patch of land between the king Tralossk of the swamp land Tatalia and the ruler of the barbarians Duke Kinston Boragus has grown seriously heated and was only one example of many. The both sides didn't spare resources for their private war. They even hired mercenaries. Everything was good enough to best the opponent.
The bloodiest war was all around in Antagarich. For most creatures on the land it was the tragedy, but not for the Necromancers. For them every war is the lucky thing. The big war is the greatest advantage they could get. The Necromancers of Deyja would never permit to slip such an opportunity from their grasp. So many slain, so many bodies.
All of them could be raised as mindless corpses and herded out as the fighting forces under the grim flags of Deyja. The necromancers never forget and never forgive that the late king Gryphonheart of Erathia has utterly defeated Deyja and drove out all undead from Erathia. They waited for vengeance time and now it has come. Now they can collect harvest of skeletons from battlefields. Now the armies of Deyja will be immense.
The only thing the Necromancers lacked was the leader of this huge army of undead. They were in need of a brilliant strategist. And they found one! The cruelty of their plan strikes by its grim irony. With this plan Deyja got itself the military leader and inflicted the refined revenge upon the dead king Gryphonheart that reached him even in the grave.
The Necromancers knew that the king was buried in the Erathian town of Stonecastle. The main Erathian forces were busy fighting for the capital Steadwick with the lords of Nighon.
Seizing the opportunity the army of Deyja delivered a sudden blow and occupied Stonecastle.
They were looking for the king's grave and when they have found it, the powerful black magic of the strange artifact was worked on the body of the king. When the ritual was finished the grave was empty and the dead king has become the undead - Lich Gryphonheart, the leader of all the undead armies of Deyja.
The post of the main military leader of Necromancers wasn't sufficient for Lich Gryphonheart and his first action as the undead was the killing of the rightful monarch of Deyja - king Finneas Vilmar. Now he became Lich King Gryphonheart and the self-proclaimed king of Deyja Necromancers, the sworn enemies of Erathia. What a cruel irony! The living daughter and the undead father are stalked again each other in the battle for Erathia.
This battle promised to be ruthless. That was clear from the way Lich King dealt with those who dared to oppose him. One of the generals of Deyja armies was the Death Knight Mot. He didn't agree with the expansion plans of the high command. He sensibly reasoned that Erathia wouldn't be always so busy on all borders. It will be time when Deyja would pay for what it
dared and pay dearly.
He argued that it is better not to begin the war with Erathia as far as the integrity of Deyja isn't threatened. Lich King Gryphonheart considered such a judicial approach as a high treason and ordered general Mot to be killed, raised from the dead and sent as the undead to fight in Erathia where he didn't want to go when he was alive. It was indeed the cruel times in Antagarich.
While the Necromancers of Deyja were extremely busy with their wicked activities, Catherine had her hands full too trying to return back the capital of Erathia, the town of Steadwick.
Those who survived the siege of the capital and escaped the armies of Nighon underground creatures told Catherine that after the death of the king Gryphonheart the authority was transferred to the highest general of Erathian army - Morgan Kendal, who organized the defense of Steadwick. The witnesses said that the General was captured by the enemy on the battlefield and probably is still imprisoned somewhere not far from the fallen Steadwick.
Catherine used all resources and forces for returning the capital and her plan was successful. Steadwick was recaptured; moreover one of the detachments managed to find the prison with General Morgan Kendal and freed the prisoner before the retreating enemy killed him. That was the first big victory in this war for restoring the lost territory of Erathia. The morale was high in the army.
One more reason to celebrate was the news from Bracada. The emissary of Bracada brought Catherine the letter from the High Vizier Gavin Magnus, in which the king of wizards has positively answered to the request for the mutual military actions with Erathia. Specifically, Bracada promised to help in reclaiming back the borderlands of Western Erathia seized by marauding parties from Tatalia and Krewlod.
The wizards were true to their words. They have successfully placed a small outpost at the strategically vital spot on the border between Erathia, Tatalia and Krewlod which became the base for further operations of the joined Bracadian - Erathian forces. Together the allies not only stopped the private war between Krewlod and Tatalia, but restored the Western Erathian border as well. The fights were not that big, just a small clashes with mercenaries but the event of the joined military actions of Erathia
with Bracada was the fact of outmost importance. It was always known that Bracada never involved itself at any quarrels, wars, and conflicts of the neighboring countries. But this time the wizards apparently have found situation on the continent too grave to ignore. This help from Bracada was more than welcomed by Erathia, which armies were fighting on all the borders.
Unusual message was received from the allied Avlee. The ambassador of Avlee in Erathia has got a letter for Catherine and it was from Lucifer Kreegan III, Lord High Commander of Eeofol, the land of Kreegans. In the letter the head of devils said that he had as a prisoner the husband of Catherine, the king of Enroth Roland Ironfist and he could be freed in exchange for the ransom in 1 million gold.