Haven - the new Heroes of Might and Magic III town - The story of Haven

The story of Haven

The story of Haven
"...Widely viewed as one of the most wicked men in history, Mayor Alan had not set out to do harm. Although certainly not perfect, he put the people’s needs before his own. He loved his family: his wife Elaine, their son Michael, and daughter Alanna. His children were healthy and happy; Michael was working his way up the ladder of the military while Alanna was the envy of every young woman in the kingdom. Alanna’s beauty, with her father’s raven black hair and her mother’s brilliant blue eyes began many a fight among her suitors.

One dark night Alanna was found murdered outside the council meeting hall. Her grieving father swore vengeance on the murderer. A message came to Alan accusing his fellow council members of the crime. He ordered the five elders arrested for murdering his daughter. Their vehement denials fell upon deaf ears as Alan dispensed with a trial ordered them executed. One of the five elders, Theodore, was caught while the other four escaped. His execution was swift and painful.

The remaining four, Eldan, Andrew, Thomas, and Matthew, fled northeast to Vissias, a country is south of what is now Blackshire, and begged sanctuary. Alan’s forces pursued but were met by the army of the Vissians who stopped them at the border. Alan demanded the "killers" be turned over to him. The Vissians refused. The two sides fell to fighting, and by the end of the day, Alan’s son Michael had fallen in battle.

Blinded by grief and rage, Alan activated the Ancient weapon. The wrath of heaven poured out of the artifact, instantly slaying both armies to a man and filling the land with poison. Fire rained onto the town of Aliant, burned the green fields of Vissias, and wrought ruin for hundreds of miles around. Uninhabitable for centuries, the formerly lush lands of Vissias and Aliant became the vast desert known now as Dragonsand...

...The legends are unclear on the exact date of the Day of Fire, but they are clear on one thing—the date of the awful Silence that followed soon after. A new calendar was formed to mark the dark occasion—a constant reminder of what happened 1,168 years ago."

a quote from Might and Magic story "The Silence" by Bard Tanni


Prologue

The story of Haven (1) began after "Alan activated the Ancient weapon" and violated the ecosystem of the planet Enroth. The day on which the weapon of mass destruction was used was named the Day of Fire. As a result of that fateful day new races began to appear on the desert lands. On different continents giant scorpios, pantheroids and tigroids (named so because of having a torso and head of animals and hands and feet were similar to humans) started to spread. These predators hunted the surviving inhabitants of these places, spreading fear wherever they appeared. Also after the Day of Fire an underwater world began to develop rapidly.

A large number of new water dwellers appeared in the ocean such as huge crabs, giant squids, turtles and serpents. New races also appeared among inhabitants of coastal areas: half-fish-half-human (tritons and mermaids) and half-bird-half-human (sirens). The new races of wild marine animals lived mostly in deep waters, so the half-humans preferred to live near the coasts. Mermaids and Tritons built improvised homes from coastal rocks and wrecks. Sirens erected stone caves on small hills in coastal areas. Demihumans initially avoided each other because they did not get along, and didn't want to fall victim to a hostile race. Tritons and mermaids also had marine enemies: huge crabs that hunted coastal residents. And sirens were forced to lead constant battles with continental predators: pantheroids, tigroids and giant scorpios. Driven by hunger, these creatures gradually learned to cooperate in groups. Fish-humans were also attacked and therefore learned to build settlements, fortified both by sea and from the coastal area. Seeing that inside the walls of fortified settlements Fish-humans felt much calmer, sirens entered into an alliance with them and began to work with them. Thus was born a demihuman community in which tritons were taught the art of melee, mermaids developed archery, and sirens were responsible for audacious attacks from the air that had a psychological impact on the enemy.

It continued until continental peoples began to reacquire their former strength, recovering from the terrible disaster. In addition to military skills, they also developed magic. The magicians managed to push the new races of continental predators from their territory to the coast, not giving them the opportunity to hunt in the depths of the continent. These predators had no choice but to attack fortified settlements of half-humans. At first they did not succeed but eventually they learned to make simple military equipment and weapons on the basis of trophies they received in combat with continental forces. The siege of fortified settlements became more effective and often brought victory to the attackers. In these battles, special units were formed to conduct skillful anti-siege actions. Thus, among the archer-mermaids stood out a special caste of shooters that could cause more damage from the fortifications' walls. They were particularly disciplined and inflicted more damage to the enemy. Such shooters were called Undines. And among the sirens was formed a group of specially-violent members of this race. This group could fly long distances, inflict more damage by its natural agility and temporarily disorient the enemy, who lost all sense of reality from their shrill rallying cry. These sirens were called Sea Witches. The fighting became more and more bloody and casualties on both sides more devastating. Finally predators, not by skill but by their numbers, began to suppress the semi-humans' resistance, seizing their towns. Such developments would inevitably lead to the destruction of coastal races. But at this point there was one significant event .

On that day, they say, the gods descended to the planet to ease her suffering. Was that the truth - nobody knew, but what happened that day obviously changed the face of the planet for the better, with one exception. So, the very day when the semi-human race was already on the brink of extinction, from the depths of the sea rose a mysterious archipelago. Rumors had been said that this happens once in a thousand years. True or not - no one, of course, could say for sure, but many who had a direct relation to magic knew that this archipelago was a powerful source of magic. The first thing that was noticed after this archipelago rose: the environment of the planet improved. The air was cleaner, the land fertile, and the continental race of predators suddenly disappeared. They said that they hid in caves and dungeons, which still kept the old air, and even brought another race of predators, which with horror were called Bloody Chimera. These terrible creatures with three heads turned to dust anyone who touched them. So, it seemed, to protect themselves from total destruction, they also created a monster to protect their underground territories. But how they were not killed themselves by these creatures no one could really say. However, few believed these stories. Most believed that all the predators were killed by the new, cleaner air, because a lot of them were found dead with damaged lungs.

Tharlai and Lethan. The story of Leviathan.

Meanwhile, many advanced mages traveled to the risen mysterious archipelago, as it was known that anyone who mastered the secrets of this magical source would become the greatest magician and receive immortality. Two of them have achieved the best results in the finding of the Source. One was called Tharlai, and the other Lethan. Tharlai was the first who reached the Source of Magic, but he reasoned that without the necessary knowledge of how to use it, he was unlikely to be able to use it properly. The second who reached this Source was Lethan. Being a less considerate and very ambitious magician, he took possession of the Source and began to attempt to learn it without the necessary knowledge. Tharlai, after a thorough search, found one old library and among the ancient manuscripts found instructions on how to use the Source of Magic. He found that the creators of ancient manuscripts had known that the Source would certainly be possessed by an unworthy and foolish magician. In addition, they warned the reader against such a move, and also gave advice on how to take away The Source from the unworthy, and apply it in a proper way. For example, The Source must be neutralized with an artifact, the Curse of the Deep. This artifact was hidden in a safe place, and a key to its location was a clever puzzle, contained in the manuscript. After many attempts Tharlai managed to solve this puzzle and to calculate the location of the artifact. In addition, he learned that the Source cannot be touched in any case. To get its power the magician had to kneel and say the spell, which was also placed in the manuscript. Armed with the artifact, Tharlai hurried to the mysterious archipelago.

Meanwhile, Lethan was busy. He was a pretty good magician, and so was able to decipher some magical way to access the power of the Source and get immortality. But the moment he did so, he felt his body turn into a giant serpent-dragon of dark-green color. The first sound Lethan-Dragon made was a loud roar of despair which shook the entire planet from edge to edge. At this time he saw Tharlai, coming straight at him with a raised artifact, the Curse of the Deep. The power of The Source was neutralized, and Lethan-Dragon was raised high above the ground by the magical effect of the artifact and, followed by a strong squall wind, dropped to the bottom of the ocean, where he was sealed. After that Tharlai put the artifact in a secure location only he knew, and, thereafter, made a ritual of receiving magical power from the Source, becoming immortal and the most powerful magician in the world.

Leviathan. The formation of Haven fraction as a powerful underwater kingdom.

Despite the fact that Lethan-Dragon was on the ocean floor, bound by the artifact's magical effect, he found that his magical abilities were increased significantly. So, while he fell into the abyss of the ocean, accompanied by a squall wind, he was able to discover its effects and learn the art of how to cast it. Having appeared in the abyss, he discovered that he had completely subdued the water element and could control it via the magic. Using this he quickly subdued all the deep-sea races to his will, forcing them to serve him. Thus, he created a powerful underwater kingdom. With only part of the magical power of the Source he founded his magical school, in which was combined a control of air and water. He named this magical school Storm Magic. He also declared himself the lord of the seas and oceans named Leviathan that, in translation of his dialect, in a rather unique combination of letters, meant: cursed Lethan.

Miraculously rescued from continental predators, demihumans had seen the fall of an unknown dragon and attributed the miracle of their salvation to this creature. They were convinced that this dragon sacrificed his place in heaven, and descended into the depths of the sea to save their race from extinction. So they obeyed Leviathan, in whom, moreover, they saw their future well-being. The demihumans called Leviathan The Sovereign Oracle and worshiped him as a god. Leviathan did not remain in debt. He chose very capable demihumans for magic and gave them the opportunity to live not only in coastal areas, but also in the depths of the ocean, so that they could fully master his school of magic. Over time, these demihumans mutated into a separate caste of magicians which Leviathan called Sea Bishops. In the service of them Leviathan chose a special paramilitary unit of tritons which became the guardians of water altars where homage was paid to Leviathan and carried out a magical effect on the ocean. These guardians were called Templar Warriors. They differed from the ordinary tritons in that, as Sea Bishops, they could live at extreme depths of the ocean. In addition, Leviathan created a race of magical snakes, which he called Abyss Wyrm. These giant snakes could move through the air with magic and bring on the the enemy White Squall, i.e. they were able to control air and water masses.

The oceans, until that time relatively peaceful, became covered by huge waves. Squall winds turned to storms. In the vastness of the ocean whirlpools began to appear, which were nothing more than a place of teleporting - magical interaction between water altars, over which the whirlpools were created. However, the teleportation worked not only in depth, but also on the sea surface, directly in the whirlpools themselves. Sailors were terribly afraid of these centers of teleportation, calling them the gates of hell because during the teleportation from one whirlpool to another they lost their people, property, and often ships. This kind of teleport was invented by Leviathan, having conceived it by various combinations of water and air elements. Eventually Leviathan became the undisputed ruler of the ocean. His subordinates erected underwater and coastal towns, learned the military and magic art, ruled over the elements and gathered countless treasures, dominating the sea and robbing ships. Leviathan promoted the most skilled as his inner circle. So there was a class of manowar - top military commanders and Admirals - top magic commanders.

Manowars were mainly engaged in patrolling the waters of the planet. They controlled the pirate enclaves and collected tribute from them (one of these enclaves was, in particular, the island Regna fully controlled by manowars). Manowars also studied the coastal area and constantly monitored it. There were also Manowar scouts, which made brief raids not far into the continent so that, if possible, they could watch any events occurring there. Admirals, basically, provided the action of water altars and regulated an occurrence of storms. It was also the responsibility of admirals to study various manuscripts brought to them from sunken ships in the whirlpools. Thus, the water kingdom of Leviathan gained its strength very quickly. But the more Leviathan felt his power over the ocean, the more he wanted to return to the state in which he was not an all-powerful dragon, but a mere mortal. The feeling of loneliness and longing gradually took possession of him, and he gave less and less time to magic, and indulged more in dreams of a return to the normal shape of magician Lethan, until, finally, he abandoned magic research.

The latest creation of the Leviathan was a very powerful artifact, which could control the elements of cold. Leviathan called it Sword of Frost, in commemoration of the coldness of melancholy which pierced his heart like a sword. The sword was so good and conveyed so well a sense of Leviathan, that he could not admire it for a long time, and pushed it with all his magical power out of the waters. The Sword flew rapidly from the depths of the ocean and, flying over a large part of the planet, stuck in the top of the mountain near the town of Volee, which was located on the blossoming island of Vori Elves. There the Sword was found by one light-fingered magician, who, seeing the beauty and splendor of the artifact, decided to arrogate to himself the honor of its creation. The fame of the wondrous artifact quickly spread far beyond the island Vori. But soon the island was covered with a terrible glacier, and the magician hid the artifact and escaped as soon as possible from this land to avoid punishment from the Vori people, who accused him of creating an uncontrolled sword of frost. It is with this name - The Sword of Frost, which completely coincided with the name given to it by the creator, the artifact went down in history.

Meanwhile, melancholy had so captured the soul of the Lord of the seas and oceans that he could not think of anything else except release from his water captivity. Day after day, year after year, century after century Leviathan cherished dreams of how he would turn back into a mere mortal. The only possibility to do so, though rather faint, was to find an artifact, Curse of the Deep. Leviathan believed that this artifact, locking him in the abyss, would be able to get him out of this immortal captivity. Eventually this faith grew into an obsession. For centuries, he sent his courtiers, manovar and admirals with orders to find the Curse of the Deep. He gave his subjects a huge army for that purpose, and promised a bounty to anyone who will find the artifact. But time and time again they came back with nothing. This was explained by the fact that they had to find an artifact on the continents, and for them, accustomed to surfing the waters, the land was difficult to move on. As a result, many from them did not return from such missions.

Raven and Illianis. The two Haven Campaign heroes.

But two manovars were eventually able to trace a clue that could lead to an artifact. They found that Tharlai, over time, divided the artifact into nine parts and put the pieces on different continents of the planet so it would be harder to collect them. The two manovar even succeeded in finding two parts of the artifact. Raven accidentally found one part on the continent Enroth, and the second - Illianis on the Jadame. Moreover, Illianis did an entire military campaign to be on Jadame during the borrowed time of opening the gates to the Elemental Planes, and for this he assembled the fleet of Regna pirates and occupied approaches to Jadame. However, after he found a part of the artifact he left the Regna navy and hurried with a message to Leviathan. Also, these two manovars procured approximate description of all parts made by Tharlai as components of which is an artifact the Curse of the Deep and information, although very controversial, about the location of other parts of the artifact. Raven said that they were on Antagarich and Illianis had information that these parts were likely hidden on the island of Nighon. This news, as well as the discovery of the artifacts, overjoyed Leviathan so much that he showered both of them with lavish gifts, lifted them above the rest of his subordinates and of course ordered them to continue the search.

Both manowars were certainly talented military leaders. Raven and Illianis were the first of Leviathan's subordinates to begin to comprehend the wisdom of the continental movement. Being very ambitious, they both hated each other as only equal rivals can. Leviathan favored Raven, because he had a calm disposition and was both firm and reasonable. Illianis also reminded Leviathan of himself back in the mortal body - he was very ambitious and self-absorbed, and although in many military qualities was superior to Raven - as the best tactician and organizer - but, his impulsive and extravagant character could easily overshadow his ability. This was too much like the magician Lethan. Therefore, remembering his sad fate, Leviathan did not particularly rely on Illianis, but fully trusted Raven.

The Campaign of Haven.

1.
Both manovars thoroughly prepared for the lengthy raid of the continents, which, according to them, were the other parts of the Curse of the Deep. Each of them carefully worked out a plan of his campaign and trained the army specially selected for this purpose. In the end, they made this raid. It came at a period of lull after a bitter war with the krigans, during which they were defeated and expelled from Eofol. Raven landed in the swampy ground of the north-eastern peninsula of the state of Tatalia. So did Illianis - but in the north of Nighon, also in the swampy places. The selection of these places was not random. Both manovars oriented well enough in the coastal areas all over the world, and therefore chose to begin the mission on a site that was easy for the sea creatures to adapt to the continental soil. The swamp was just such a place. The troops of both manovar consisted mainly of the coastal demihumans, as these were the most hardy soldiers on the ground. In addition, the Raven was himself a native of the race of tritons, so he was loved by them, and Illianis' mother was a siren, so he preferred these creatures to be in his army because they always fought passionately for him. In the main plan of Leviathan, both manovars had a foothold in the coastal areas, and establish full-fledged states which would have been a base for further research on the continents. Moreover, these states would have become a kind of training camp for deep mutant predators, where they could adapt to continental conditions. Illianis was easily able to gain a foothold in the north of Nighon, as coastal areas in this part of the island were not very populated. However, the danger lay in wait for him in the dungeon, where local lords did not welcome him. After much fighting, the manovar decided arrange a political agreement with the overlords as expending energy on an exhausting war was not in his plans, and it was impossible to imagine the complete destruction of the underground lords. Thus, it was an alliance of non-aggression, in which Illianis pledged to pay tribute to them. After that, he built four towns, and founded the state, which he named in his honor: Illiadia.

2.
The situation with the Raven was far more complicated. Immediately after landing on the north-east of Tatalia, he ran into stiff opposition from residents of the wetlands, who were distinguished by their perseverance and obstinacy, and it was clear they were not going to come to the world with their water competitors. The behavior of Tatalia residents was quite understandable - they were afraid of losing themselves as a race if the more powerful creatures conquered these territories. But Raven had no time for compassion and understanding - it was necessary to carry out his plan. After analyzing the situation he decided to first gain a foothold in a small area of the peninsula closed on three sides by the sea before the arrival of the main forces from the deep. Eventually he managed to build a town on the swamp in which he held back the pressure of Tatalia for a long time. When the main forces arrived, represented by the giant crabs, squids and serpents, Tatalia had to retreat. However, Raven did not expand his reach in the Tatalia state - it was not necessary, he thought. So he limited himself to the north-eastern peninsula of Tatalia where he built another three towns which, together with the existing town, formed a state called Unia. Residents of Tatalia, seeing that the deepwater armada was not going to destroy their race, relented and agreed to give Raven the peninsula. Thus, Raven even had an advantage over Illianis because he did not have to worry about paying tribute but the territory of his state was far less than what Illianis had. It should be said that Leviathan was dissatisfied with Raven's acquiescence, as he expected the base to be more profitable by seizing the whole territory of wetlands in the north-west Antagarich. However, he did not doubt the Raven was still relying on his judgment and foresight. In addition, through active diplomacy and research, Raven managed to find a place in the Tatalia where the third part of the artifact Curse of the Deep was hidden. Tatalia, of course, did not make difficulties for Raven in his search to find this part of the artifact in its territory.

3.
Raven was now in a better position. And Illianis had to prove to Leviathan the reliability of his information about finding pieces of artifacts on the island Nighon and he had to do it at the moment when there were no allies around him. Besides, some parts of the artifact could be hidden in the dungeons and Illianis could hardly rely on free access to them from the restive underground lords. He had hoped to bribe them if a search under the ground became necessary. But Illianis didn't have a single suggestion about finding parts of the required artifact, neither in the dungeons nor on the upper part of the island Nighon. In despair, he decided to call his secret ally - admiral Hydron who was not in favor with the Leviathan because of his freethinking and perhaps because of his extraordinary magical talent. Thus, it was Hydron who learned how to manage the Storm spell to apply it in battle, whereas before that magic was used exclusively for water altars to influence the water space of the planet. Locally, no one could apply it except Hydron. Having arrived in Illiadia, admiral immediately became a secret adviser of Illianis. Both of them were definitely worthy of each other, and hopeful that their union might bear fruit for the successful completion of the mission. Leviathan was aware of this act of Illianis, but pretended not to notice, knowing that in this situation Hydron could be useful to him. The admiral did not stand on ceremony with the local population, and several times used the spell Storm. In exchange for Hydron's promise never to apply this awful spell, the frightened residents told him about some kind of witch who supposedly lived in deep caves, and who could telepathically locate the desired items. But access to the witch was guarded by elite troops of the underground lords as they themselves often use her services and did not want anyone else to have access to her. Without thinking, Hydron took a small army and marched into the dungeon. And Illianis, meanwhile, set up an advance guard at all underground outposts in Illiadia, in order to prevent the underground lords from attacking his country. At that point he already had a huge army of marine predators and the Abyss Wyrm. Besides, a large number of Sea Bishops came with Hydron to Illiadia, and remained with Illianis to protect the outposts from the dungeon. The Admiral was easily able to defeat some of the Lords using the Storm spell and at the exits from the underground Illianis did the rest.

They even say that Mutare herself was seriously concerned about the situation. Anyway, very soon Illianis received from her an invitation to cooperate in her upcoming campaign against the state AvLee on the Antagarich. Ambitious Illianis rashly agreed to get involved in continental politics which were unnecessary for his mission. In fact, Mutare was not going to cooperate with the aliens from the ocean - she believed that they were of little use in severe continental battles, but only a hindrance. Just now she had to gain time, so that the sea creatures did not disrupt the prepared campaign by weakening her troops on the periphery. She removed a main danger, Hydron, in her usual manner - with the help of a specially-made water dragon, which she sarcastically called "Leviathan". Having an immunity to Hydron's terrible spell, "Leviathan" ate a small army of admiral, then disappeared. Hydron himself had to teleport to the Elemental Planes. However, he managed to find the very witch they had sought and sent her with the guards to Illianis before he was attacked by water dragons of Mutare. Illianis, even though he was upset by the mysterious disappearance of his companion, received what he needed. In exchange for her freedom, the witch pointed out the location of all six of the remaining parts of the artifact Curse of the Deep and then Illianis had a distinct advantage over Raven. If what the witch said was right, it was only necessary to get to these places - and the winner would be Illianis in this part-time duel with Raven. There was only one problem - Illianis' promise to Mutare, which to break now, in the absence of Hydron, was extremely dangerous. Three of the remaining parts of the artifact, according to the witch, were located on the Antagarich. He could go there with Mutare, and then act as circumstances dictated. But in fact Illianis had simply been deceiving himself: an alliance with Mutare was a trap for him.

4.
Raven, meanwhile, continued to increase and train his army, which was already a powerful force. The rulers of Erathia were seriously concerned about the formation of a powerful new state not far from their borders. But the Raven continued to pursue a policy of negotiation and diplomatic relations, which he started against Tatalia. Therefore, he soon formed an alliance with Erathia, whose authorities were interested in additional military aid, taking into consideration the difficult situation with Mutare's intentions to invade Antagarich. Although it was known that Mutare was preparing for an invasion of AvLee, it was not ruled out that Erathia could also be drawn into this war. So Raven's diplomatic style had been claimed by Erathia. Of course, Raven continued to search for parts of the artifact Curse of the Deep but advanced far less in this than on the diplomatic field. Moreover, as the manovar got a taste of Antagarich's continental diplomacy, he sometimes forgot about his main mission. All this could end very sadly for him - Leviathan had increasingly shown signs of impatience - if the sudden invasion of Mutare on the territory of Erathia had not happened. Mutare at the last moment changed her plans and decided to attack Erathia, because she knew that the plans for the invasion of AvLee became known in the Antagarich. But she did not forget about the AvLee and sent several of her generals to attack the Elvish country with... manowar Illianis whose state Iliadia was in a strategic position relative to the AvLee. Under Mutare's new plan, sedentary and slow - in her view - in the land the army of sea creatures would easily cross the expanse of water, and advance to the borders of the elves, while her generals did the same under the ground. Illianis's troops were to follow the army of Lords in the rearguard and cover the rear. Illianis was not very pleased with this attitude to his trusted soldiers, and to himself, too, from the Mother of Dragons. But the main thing for him was a mission to search for artifacts and the alliance with Mutare allowed him to move freely around the island to find the necessary parts. All three parts of the artifact were found exactly where the witch said: they were scattered throughout the island. One part Illianis found in his territory, the second - in the heart of the island, and the third - in the south-west, in the desert habitats of unfriendly nomarh. Illianis was even forced to fight some of them. However, it ended the best possible way and the manovar successfully found the last part of the Curse of the Deep from those that were on the island Nighon. Although Illianis did not have a long time to enjoy this circumstance, because he had to rush to Illiadia to prepare for the invasion of Antagarich.

5.
At this time the Mutare's troops had attacked the border regions of Erathia. And from the depths of Erathia for a battle with them, moved the well-armed armada led by the immortal Tarnum. Brutal warfare was raging on the continent Antagarich. Raven was also preparing to take part in the war. Moreover, he waited impatiently for the moment he would be able to engage in continental-scale hostilities. Of course, he had never forgotten that his mission was to find the parts of the artifact for Leviathan, but he had long been resigned to the fact that this mission interested him far less than the possibility of a full political and military involvement in historic continental events. However, his dreams of fighting with the forces of Erathia did not come true. Raven received a message from Tarnum with an order to march promptly out by the sea in the area of the elven state AvLee, to the borders of which from the southwest was rapidly approaching the army of underground lords. And the order was given in a very respectful manner, as a request rather than a command. Inspired by this attitude toward him, Raven immediately mobilized all his forces and gathered them by the sea in the east of Antagarich. In this case, for the speedy achievement of the south-western borders of AvLee, according to Tarnum's plan, Raven had to land on the west coast of the state Deyja, the territory of necromancy, and to cross the area from west to east. So Raven went the shortest way to the AvLee border area attacked by the lords of the underground. Who these necromancers were, Raven did not know, but he thought it unlikely they could seriously interfere with his progress. In this he was mistaken because, despite the fact that necromancers had been weakened by internecine wars, they still represented a serious threat, and therefore gave strong resistance to the Raven's army. However, in this situation, Raven was lucky, and after a decisive victory over one of the necromancers, he discovered a mysterious manuscript indicating a certain place in Deyja. Raven could not read the inscription but, following his instinct, decided to explore this place and with great surprise found there one part of the Curse of the Deep, and the strongest part of it allowed one endlessly to clone warriors. Armed with this artifact, Raven easily defeated the forces of the necromancers and safely reached his destination. Nevertheless he missed the appointed time and went out to the borders of AvLee, where he discovered that an army of underground lords had made great strides deep into the Elvish State and in the area, under the banner of Mutare, hosted none other than his colleague-competitor Illianis. (2)

Raven was confused, as he had to decide as quickly as possible a dual issue. On the one hand - Illianis, as Raven himself, served Leviathan, and an attack on him would be regarded as a betrayal. On the other hand - Illianis was his personal enemy and opponent. Besides, this was an important mission entrusted to Raven by Tarnum himself. If he did not comply with this mission, all his dreams of glory as a continental hero would turn to dust. Raven pondered the situation and decided to attack. Naturally, the most powerful part of the Curse of the Deep which was in his possession gave him the determination and confidence for unconditional victory. Afterwards, he would somehow find a way to justify his actions to Leviathan. Currently, continental authorities were more important to him. Illianis was surprised to see the Raven's army attacking him, but, without hesitation, fought back. The battle turned out cruel and bloody. Kin who were united by the water element ruthlessly destroyed each other on the continent in the name of alien rulers. Raven once again underestimated his opponent: Illianis had three parts of the artifact Curse of the Deep with him, so the power of his army was much stronger than could have been expected. Raven was saved by the fact that he could clone warriors. But even with this advantage the battle raged on and continued under the cover of night. When the soldiers on both sides were nearly exhausted, a duel of the two manowar began. The rest of the night and till the very dawn, they fought, until, finally, Illianis broke down and made a stupid mistake allowing Raven to inflict a crushing blow to him. Illianis fell down and pretended to be dead. Tired of the fight, Raven did not check whether Illianis was dead (and maybe he did not want to do this). He just took Illianis' property and hurried from the battlefield with several survivors of his retinue. A few of Illianis' soldiers that survived the battle joined the Raven. As for Illianis himself, a local elf woman secretly sheltered him in her house.

6.
Ironically, Raven did not fulfill what he wanted but completed his primary mission. The battle between two armies of sea creatures made no difference in the general context of the war. Underground lords continued to encroach into AvLee territory, carrying the Mutare's idea and they had absolutely nothing to do with Illianis' army. Tarnum crushed Mutare in Erathia, hurried to the aid of the elves, and eventually cleared their territory of underground rulers. We can assume that he forgot all about Raven. Apparently, like Mutare, he did not really count on the continental fighting ability of water creatures. So Raven's dreams of continental glory were destined to fail. But he owned the property of Illianis, which included three artifact parts found on the island Nighon, as well as a map with the location of the other parts marked. These parts were in the territory of Erathia, so Raven and his small escort went there, bypassing the Tarnum's troops marching to the AvLee territory. In truth, Raven was ashamed to look into the eyes of the Immortal Hero. Although Tarnum probably did not care - he had more pressing problems. Raven found easily enough the remaining parts of the artifact Curse of the Deep, and hurried to the Unia, but along the way, he learned that Tatalia had taken advantage of the lack of basic forces in Unia and almost without effort regained the north-eastern peninsula. Unia did not exist anymore. So Raven decided not to go to the coast through the Tatalia, and moved to the south of Erathia to depart from there to Leviathan. When he was on the south coast of Antagarich and was preparing to leave the continent, he thought he saw Illianis on one of the pirate ships. However, whether it was him or not did not matter. Illianis did not dare to appear before the Leviathan's eyes. He had failed his mission.

7.
Raven was right. It was really Illianis, and he really did not intend to return to the Leviathan. Taking advantage of the defeat of Mutare and the general confusion in the Nighon, he got to the Illiadia and began to mobilize a new army. But this time he had his own personal mission. The fact is that he could not accept the loss of Hydron and attempted to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the admiral. In the end, his spies found out that Hydron had disappeared after a battle with a hitherto unknown dragon. Knowing the insidious nature of Mutare, it was easy to guess who was involved in the disappearance of the admiral. Capricious Dragon Mother not only deceived Illianis, luring him into her bloody adventures, but deprived him of his only true ally and friend. Now Illianis craved revenge. And his experiences had changed him. Almost nothing was left of the old hot-tempered and ambitious manovar. Illianis became quiet, even silent, and unrecognizably cool. A descendant of fierce wild sirens began to look like a cold Triton rather than a bird's lush nature. But within this coolness still continued to rage the militant fury. And all this fury was now directed at a single enemy - Mutare, although it might seem strange: why not Raven, his longtime rival, who, moreover, deprived him of all? The fact is that Illianis, even when he was wounded in the house of the big-hearted elf-woman, had enough time to reflect on what had happened, and eventually to realize that Raven had lost as well as Illianis himself. Both of them lost in this battle of personal ambitions of the main culprit - Leviathan. And the fact that they got involved in continental relationships - made them both sort of hostages of this alien environment. Both of them lost, even then, when they decided that they could become a part of the continental political system and be able to adapt themselves to this other world. But this world pushed them - that was, in general, predictable from the outset. The present Illianis realized this, and so toward Raven did not have any negative feelings. On the contrary - Illianis identified with him as a comrade in misfortune. In addition: what would happen to their underwater world if Leviathan used Curse of the Deep? It would simply cease to exist as a unified kingdom. And Raven himself would soon feel the results of his mission when he brought all parts of the artifact to Leviathan. In a sense, Raven personally signed not only his own verdict, but the verdict of all the ocean as well. Therefore Illianis had no intention of returning to the underwater kingdom, which would soon descend into chaos anyway. He firmly decided that he would carry out this, his last, mission of any cost, and then come what may.

Gathering loyal troops, the manovar moved underground. According to spies, Mutare had restored her power in the deepest caves of the central part of Nighon, the passage to which Illianis did not know. So he had to wander through the endless underground labyrinths, and even to fight with some unknown soldiers led by a nightmarish three-headed creature who killed a squad with just one touch. But in the end he managed to get to the enclave of the defeated Mother of Dragons, occasionally encountering a little resistance from minotaurs. Obviously, Mutare knew of his intentions, and would prefer to concentrate all power in her main citadel. When approaching the enclave, Illianis met the very water dragons which had dealt with Hydron. Apparently, Mutare decided that these creatures were best to defeat water aliens. But Illianis was ready for such developments and, eventually, mastered them. Then he was met by other types of dragons, which were already known from the recent war in Antagarich. However, these dragons were not so much. Most likely Mutare just did not have time to restore the former power of her dragon army. Thus, Illianis was coming closer to the very mistress of dragons. After defeating several underground lords directly guarding her territory, Illianis finally laid siege to the main city of Mutare. The battle was hard and nerve-wracking. Mutare repeatedly called onto the battlefield various dragons, which greatly complicated the tactics of Illianis. His army was melting before his eyes. The forces of Mutare were exhausted too, but still the situation was uneven. And at that moment Illianis saw the spirit of Hydron. It suddenly appeared, applied his favorite cast Storm several times, and then just as suddenly disappeared. "Victory!" - cried the soldiers of Illianis, but Mutare was still alive. In impotent rage she pounced on the manovar, so that he barely had time to draw his sword. Being absolutely sure that in a long standoff he could not defeat Mutare, the manovar rushed straight at her with his sword drawn and with all his strength thrust it into the heart of the Dragon Lady.

Epilogue. Reckoning.

Meanwhile, Leviathan accepted Raven's report about his mission. The parts of the artifact were delivered. Mission accomplished. However, the lord of the seas and oceans was black as a thundercloud. In fact, he'd had great hopes for the mission of Illianis and, especially, Raven as the start of great gains of the continental areas. Strictly speaking, the artifact was only a pretext; although Leviathan dreamed of returning to his normal state. In reality, he was the one who was, and his aspirations extended on the basis of this reality. Maybe he had believed that the artifact would free him from centuries-old captivity, but the centuries-old search for the Curse of the Deep allowed his approximate to get a significant advance in the development of continental life. All this opened up new horizons for the Leviathan. To become a world ruler - that, for some time, fully occupied his aspirations. Now the mission in which he had stored such great hope had failed. Moreover, the failure of Raven and Illianis was a humiliation as the lord of the seas and oceans, as omnipotent Leviathan - the god worshiped by all sea creatures. Now this god did not exist. He was humiliated, trampled by some kind of continental upstarts, which he could destroy at sea by a wave of his hands. But only at sea. God ceases to be a god when he loses the sense of omnipotence. That is what happened to the Leviathan. Trying to lift an unbearable burden, he ruptured himself. Now, even if he did not want to take an artifact, he would have to use it. There was no alternative. He only hoped that these nine pieces of worthless metal would save him from humiliation - this captivity was now unbearable for the Leviathan - not the real one, to which he had become accustomed over the centuries, but this new one, which threw him from his pedestal and turned him into nothing.

Coldly dismissing Raven, who was pretty embarrassed by this attitude toward him, Leviathan for the last time cast a glance at his already non-existent kingdom and connected all parts of the artifact Curse of the Deep. An incredible storm immediately rose on the whole water surface of the planet. The ocean was like a giant continuous wave. Everywhere floated tornadoes and typhoons, tsunamis rolled over the coast. All deep space turned into a single vortex, which in a moment swept up all the power of Leviathan. Leviathan also found himself in the same place where many centuries ago he'd explored the Source of Magic. Now he was a mere mortal - a magician Lethan, as he'd dreamed for centuries. Breathing deeply the salty air of the storm, he looked at a sparkling sky darkened by thousands of lightning bolts with the raging water element, smiled bitterly and said:"The reckoning comes for everything in this world". And at that very moment two powerful artifacts clashed in battle: Armageddon's Blade and the Sword of Frost - the latest creation of Leviathan.
And The Reckoning came.

Konstantin Totcheny aka Ganymed (Moscow, Russia),
especialy for "Haven", the new town of Heroes of Might and Magic 3.5 In the Wake Of Gods,
March, 2009

Kevin James Furlong (Chicago, USA),
English translation co-author,
August, 2012

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Notes:

<<<<1. All global events of this story (such as The Reckoning, The Day of Fire, Antagarich wars, The Sword of Frost, Mutare and other) are based on the Chronicles of Enroth which can be found here (in Russian). This story is based on the disclosure (as interpreted by the author) of some events, only briefly mentioned in the Chronicles.

<<<<2.