The Holy Griffin Empire, originally the Holy Falcon Empire, is a vast Human empire located in the northern regions of Ashan, and is the main theatre of Heroes V itself. It is a fertile land of forests and plains, and is rich in mineral resources. The empire is by far the strongest human nation in the world, and as well Elrath's largest centre of worshippers, making it the main target of the Inferno's invasion. The empire comprises nine provincial duchies, which are:
The Raven Duchy, whose incumbent title-holder is unknown.
|Holy Griffin Empire|
|Founded by||King Ivan Griffin|
|Status||Renamed the Holy Unicorn Empire in 969 YSD|
|Rulers||King Ivan Griffin|
Unnamed Griffin Emperor
King Alexei Griffin
King Nicolai Griffin
Queen Isabel Greyhound
|Introduced in||Heroes of Might and Magic V|
A feudal Holy Empire, the strongest realm of Ashan. It is a kingdom of medieval knights and monks, with prevalent access to 'Light / Life' Magic and 'Angelic' elite troops. The Empire chose the Griffin as its symbol. Tamed griffins are used by the nobility as 'flying hounds', and sometimes as mounts. On the battlefield, Haven troops are known to be extremely resistant, relying more on the mighty power of brutal force than on the delicate art of magic. The heroes of the Haven faction will develop skills and abilities to support the hurricane of steel and fury that will rush into the enemy's rank.
After Falcon's Last Flight in 843 YSD (when the city of Falcon's Reach was destroyed by a Sheogh army and the Falcon dynasty became extinct), the ambitious duke Ivan Griffin strove to maintain law and order in the war-torn empire in a series of bloody battles with rival nobles. Victory in these conflicts won him the imperial throne, which he ruled thenceforth from the Griffin family seat of Talonguard, the Empire's new capital. In doing so, the Empire was rechristened as Holy Griffin Empire itself.
In 951 YSD, an inevitable war erupted between the Empire and the demonic Sheogh hordes. The result was that the Empire along with the nation of Irollan and Silver Cities forged Gray Alliance to counter this threat. Under the leadership of the Emperor Alexei Griffin, the Allies routed the demons from their respective nations and pursued them into the very underworld of Sheogh to inflict upon them a final, crushing defeat.
Whilst the emperor perished in battle, the legendary knight Tieru succeeded in rescuing the emperor's soul and safely containing it in a powerful artifact, a ruby pendant called the Heart of the Griffin. From that point onwards, the pendant would serve the imperial monarch as a powerful artifact for use against the forces of Sheogh. Alexei's heir Nicolai, who succeeded his father at age 6, wore the pendant throughout his reign, and in his last moments bestowed it upon his appointed successor, Isabel.
The hard-won peace of the previous war, unfortunately, did not last very long. With the coming in 969 YSD of the Sixth Eclipse (a key part of the plot of Heroes Might and Magic V), the forces of Sheogh renewed their offence against the Empire, with a successful surprise assault on the very church in which the young king, Nicolai, was about to take Isabel, the Greyhound Duchess, as his wife and queen. The attack struck at the heart of the Empire, throwing it into chaos, and separating King Nicolai and his bride-to-be.
The ensuing conflict, later known as Queen Isabel's War, would not only severely disrupt prosperity of the Empire and their allies during its duration, but would ultimately extinguish the Griffin dynasty itself. Nevertheless, the Sheogh themselves also would
With another change of dynasty, the Empire will likely now be rechristened again. Having no children of her own, Queen Isabel has abdicated the throne and declared Freyda, the Unicorn Duchess, as her principal heir, along her spouse, Duncan, of the ducal House of Stag, who is rumoured to be a distant descendant of the old Falcon dynasty. Following imperial custom, the Empire should now be renamed the Holy Unicorn Empire. Isabel's choice of heir may also signal that henceforth the primogeniture will be matrilineal.