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Emperor Ivan Griffin (also known as Duke Ivan Griffin) was the first ruler of the Holy Griffin Empire. He is also the central protagonist of Might & Magic: Heroes VII.

BiographyEdit

When the civil wars of the Falcon succession broke out, many saw Ivan as the most intelligent solution to succeed Maeve of Falcon. He was amiable, a proven administrator of state, and possessed a piercing charisma. Though every Duchy could lay a blood claim, and the line of Stag had historically been considered the heir apparent, the choice of Ivan as the successor started gaining momentum, until war broke out. After ten years of war, Ivan is battle-weary and is willing to discuss a peaceful resolution with his last adversary, Seamus of Stag. Nonetheless, he decides to gather his Council one last time to hear their advice before taking his final decision.
The Council convinces Ivan only he can rebuild the Empire and restore the nation of Light's past glory. A man of his word, Ivan decides to meet Seamus to hear his proposal, even if he already knows he will turn the offer down. He rides with his councilors and a retinue of soldiers to Falcon Hill, where the meeting is set to take place.
Seamus' parley offer was only a trap to lure Ivan to Falcon Hill, where assassins from the Blades of Erebos ambushed the Duke of Griffin. He however managed to defeat them. Any lingering ambiguity is no more: Seamus is a treacherous madman who must never be allowed to sit of the Holy Throne.
Ivan defeated Seamus at the battle of Horncrest, sending him to jail for the rest of his days. At long last, the Ten Years War had a winner. First Emperor of a new dynasty, Ivan rechristened the nation Holy Griffin Empire.
OffBck

Ivan was the second son of Duke Vassily of Griffin with his lady wife, Ilona, one of Duke Ekhard of Wolf’s daughters. Ivan’s older brother, Fedor, was destined to become the next Duke, while Ivan went to the seminar of Flammschrein, and then to Falcon's Reach itself, to learn the ways of Elrath. But soon after Ivan’s thirteenth birthday, tragedy struck: both Vassily and Fedor were killed while hunting a bloodfrenzied wyvern on the eastern borders. Devastated with grief, Ilona retired to an abbey to live the rest of her days shunned from the cruelty of the outside world.

Deprived of this luxury, Ivan had to become the new ruler of the Griffin Duchy. But he always kept a nagging suspicion that foul play had been involved in his father and brother’s deaths, which is how Jorgen became his Spy Master. With Jorgen's aid, Ivan discovered that his father's and brother's death was instigated by the Blackfang crime syndicate, who wanted revenge against his brother for failing to pay his secret debts to them and his attempts to kill them. Along with Jorgen, he tracked down the assassins and the corrupted nobles who were payed off by the criminals. In the end, all debts to the Blackfang were settled and instead of outwardly destroying the thieves' guild as a whole, Ivan knew they still had uses, which Jorgen is now keeping a leash on.

Ivan’s new title meant he had to study the art of the sword and both political and military strategy in Falcon’s Reach. These courses proved more to his liking than theological studies. He became good friends with the soon-to-become-Empress Maeve and knew the first sparks of romance with Duke Seamus of Stag’s teenage daughter, Nolwenn – although these innocent escapades were soon obscured by the heavy responsibilities that now befell him as Duke. It is only years later that Ivan met Nolwenn again and could resume his gallant courtship of the Stag lady, although a much darker misfortune would once again occur in Ivan's life. Not that this wooing would have necessarily led to a deeper commitment: Ivan refused all plans to marry. In fact, the Lord of Griffin has gained quite the reputation as a ladies’ man, and if he has a weakness, his love for women is it. 

In any case, even back in the guiltless days of his youth Ivan had much on his plate: dealing with the family tragedy, walking the long and sinuous path of rule, and working hard to understand the true meaning of being a Duke. As it turned out, he was a natural born leader, and the peoples of Griffin, who had also loved the rather stern father Vassily, doubled their affection and hopes for the son. In Ivan’s first fifteen years of reign, he increased the influence of the Duchy of Griffin with bold and open commercial policies towards the neighboring realms of the elves, orcs and dwarves, as well as the Free Cities of Hammer Fall, Stormcliff and Listmoor. The Duchy of Griffin had grown wealthier and more powerful than at nearly any time in its history. 

When the civil wars of Falcon succession broke out, many saw Ivan as the most intelligent solution to succeed Maeve of Falcon. He was amiable, a proven administrator of state, and possessed a piercing charisma. Though every Duchy could lay a blood claim, and the line of Stag had historically been considered the heir apparent, the choice of Ivan as the successor started gaining momentum, until war broke out. It quickly became clear that there would be no peaceful solution and that only the most powerful military leader would rule the bitter remnants of the Holy Falcon Empire.

Ten Years War Edit

After most of the ruling line of Falcon was exterminated by demons in the Fourth Eclipse that occurred in 843 YSD, a power vacuum was created. Various nobles from within the Empire made attempts to occupy the vacant throne, after Ivan slew Jezebeth for killing Empress Maeve. To return order in the Empire, Ivan created a Shadow Council to aid him to stop the war.[2]

Eventually, he was challenged by Duke Amilcar, proclaimed himself as Maeve's champion and his bitter rival from the Bull Duchy, who used Blade of Truth against Ivan's Blade of Revelation. The battle lasted long, but Ivan managed to shatter Amilcar's blade and won the duel.[3] However, Amilcar did not forget the humilation and made a pact with Enguerrand, the leader of Greyhound Duchy. Both went to attack Rowena, the Duchess of Unicorn, which was an ally to the Griffin Duchy. However, Ivan came with his forces, intercepting Amilcar and Enguerrand.[4]

[5] Unfortunately for Ivan, as he was helping Rowena, Amilcar invaded the Griffin lands and seized Voron Peak, but was intercepted by Duke Stefan and defeated once again. Duke Stefan then began his own invasion of the Griffin Lands. Fortunately, Ivan was joined by Kente, an orc chieftain of the Whitespear Tribe, who remembered Slava's pact with Kraal, driving Duke Stefan from his lands.

They met up with Tieru and Murazel at an abbey near Skarena.[6] They told him Brendan Falcon, son of Maeve, last Empress of the Holy Falcon Empire and therefore the last of the Falcons, was alive. However, once he was transported to Flammschrein, a company of dark elves, called " The Blades of Erebos", tried to assassinate him, but Brendan was rescued by Murazel, though was completely traumatized. They stated Ivan should rule instead, since Brendan was not able to become the emperor.[7] When Ivan returned to the war, aided by Murazel, he ironically aided Stefan against a reinforced Amiclar in return that Stefan recognize Ivan's claim to the throne.

During the time, Seamus came to the throne and was declared as the new emperor, supported by the Church of the Dragon of Light, led by Archbishop Wilhelm, and recognized by Amiclar, Enguerrand and reluctanly Rowena. In secrecy, while he was sending resources to the devastated parts of the empire, Seamus had his crusaders destroy people's homes that refused to bow to him. Ivan, resolved to depose Seamus form the throne, teamed up with Seamus' daughter, Nolwenn, who told him about his father's motives and Stefan. Using Talonguard as his headquarters, Ivan gathered his and Stefan's forces and marched against Seamus, who also was preparing for a new war.[8]

Ivan and Stefan attacked the Stag Duchy, facing off against experienced commanders like Amilcar and Archbishop Wilhelm. Forced to change tactics, Ivan was then forced to destroy the Stag's supply stores, to reach further in the Stag lands, destroying farms, orchards and tragically killed anyone who refused to leave their lands. Now Ivan was hated in the Stag Duchy, being named "Ivan The Starver", "Lord Cold-Heart", "Bane of The North and "The Betrayer". Each of these names became a burning scar on his soul and honor.

Yet, Ivan and Stefan had a clear road to Meadowfair and then to the Stag capitol, Horncrest. Only things took a dark turn as Meadowfair became his darkest hour. While Seamus used his magical skills to assist his troops, Ivan faced off against Enguerrand of Greyhound and his Blade of Loyalty. Though Ivan fought fiercely, Enguerrand's blade shattered his sword, The Iron Feather, to pieces. It was said the Blade of Loyalty could never lose to a betrayer. One piece scraped his face, though Ivan didn't lose his right eye, he gained a deep scar. Before Enguerrand could land the finishing blow and end Ivan's rebellion, magic rained downed upon the Stag and Greyhound armies, allowing Kente to take Ivan to safety.

Back at Talonguard, Ivan learned the identities of his rescuers from Jorgen: Lady Tanis and the Necromancer Anastasya, the sister of his ancestor, Anton. Despite surviving the battle, Ivan lost the will to fight after the loss of Iron Feather and realizing all the death and devastation he caused in the Stag Duchy, even completely ignoring the bickering arguments between Kente, Tanis and Anastasya because of their people's history. While he remained depressed, Murazel brought a Bloodsmith, Bleddyn, from Hammer Fall to forge him a new sword, in hopes of lifting his spirits.

By early winter, with everyone in attendance, Bleddyn returned with Ivan's new sword. Ivan spent long moments admiring his new blade and having learned from his mistakes previously and regaining his purpose to restore the empire and end the war, named the blade, The Griffin's Resolve. Also, upon looking at those who made up his council; Murazel an angel, Kente an Orc, Jorgen a Faceless, Tanis a wizard and Anastasya a necromancer, he formed a unique and unified Shadow Council to aid him in ending the war. The elves of Irollan would later send Lasir to aid Ivan in his struggle, joining his Shadow Council.

Ascension to Emperor Edit

Ivan soon received an offer from Seamus to end the war: Ivan would recognize Seamus as the emperor and Ivan would marry Nolwenn and be named Archduke of the Empire. Considering his offer, Ivan convened with his advisers, each suggesting he refuse the offer. Ivan was reluctant to do so since he could no longer see the empire fight against itself but was willing to hear their stories to change his mind. Each one told a story of various individuals and their struggles that led them to become legends in Ashan. After hearing each story and the wisdom in each, he now knew he cannot restore the Falcon Empire but renew it as the Holy Griffin Empire. Gathering his allies, including Andras, his distant relative, who promised to aid him in exchange for the Griffin lands once Ivan became emperor, thereby becoming the first Duke of the Raven Duchy.

Meeting with Seamus and his daughter at Falcon's Reach, Ivan would have Seamus surrender. To his horror, not only did Seamus set a trap for him but he had the Blades of Erebos assassinate his own daughter to frame him and turn the empire against him. In that act, Ivan also understood that it was Seamus who hired the Blades to assassinate Brendan Falcon years ago. From Murazel he learned that despite what happened, Nolwenn still lived as the attack was actually meant to separate her soul from her body. With Murazel's aid, Ivan was able to recover Nolwenn's soul and reunite it with her body, defeating the Blades' leader Vayaron in the process.

Furious at her father's betrayal, Nolwenn would then aid him completely against her father. Now having proved himself innocent, the dukes of the empire turned against Seamus and swore allegiance to him as the new emperor. More news came as Murazel was successful in convincing her fellow angels and the Church to remain neutral, further depriving Seamus of allies. Jorgen also informed Ivan that additional aid came, to his surprise, in the form of the Dark Elf clan lords. They proposed that in exchange for being in his good graces and defeating the remaining Blades of Erebos, they would provide a secret underground passage that leads to the Stag Duchy.

With all of his forces, he assaulted the Stag Duchy and to his shock, Seamus began to imprison or kill his own subjects that began to turn against him. Unable to stand for Seamus' madness any longer, Ivan laid siege to Horncrest, defeating Wilhelm and finally Seamus himself. The Ten Years War was finally brought to an end.

Ivan ordered Seamus to be imprisoned for the rest of life while one of his daughters be named Duchess of the Stag. Now with the empire reunited at last, Ivan was officially crowned Emperor of the Holy Griffin Empire.

Trials of FireEdit

After spending five years stabilizing his kingdom from decades of civil war and raising his son Alexei Griffin I, tensions start to rise again between the Holy Griffin Empire and the Dwarven kingdom of Grimheim. Ivan required resources found near Grimheim to heal his restored empire but was surprised to learn that the Dwarves were the ones to strike first, raiding villages in the empire. Ivan at first attempted to reason and negotiate with the King under The Mountains, Tolghar, but the dwarf king was unwilling to meet him in person or even denounce the attacks.

Though Ivan was prepared to go to war again to protect his people, he knew that another war could bring about the Empire's end. Ivan was approached by Vilma "Stoneshield" Bjornsdottir, leader of the Sudgerd Dwarves, as an ambassador thanks to his spymaster Jorgen. Vilma came to the empire hoping to avert such a tragic escalation and her tale would shed light on some of the darkest chapters of the Dwarves' history and save both nations. Vilma explained that even though Tolghar refused to meet face to face, he was good man and if he denounced the warbands' attacks, he would be admitting his own weakness in his ability to control them, something a dwarf would never do. To further explain the situation, Vilma told the history of Tolghar's predecessor, Hathor, a dwarf warrior who once a hero and later a king but eventually grew into a tyrant.

Vilma explains that Hathor was the one who ended the War Under the Mountains after leading an assault on the Dark Elf Fortress, Renekon. This would be the first step in his ascension to King Under the Mountains which lead to a brief civil war with the current kind, Fasolt. After assuming the throne, Hathor lead brutal raids on his neighbors for resources, namely the Holy Empire and Irollan, instead of negotiating with them. These raids haven't been forgotten nor forgiven bu both the elves and his own people. Ivan understood that Hathor's reign began an age in Grimheim where "might makes right" and weakness an intolerable crime. Though Hathor became famous for his exploits the fires in the temples of Arkath and Grimheims own volcanoes had dyed out. Many wondered how this came but all agreed that Arkath was sending a message to his people. The Dwarves originally believed that Arkath was upset with his children's weakness while a few believed that Arkath was angry with Hathor's survivalist ways which was considered treasonous. However in truth, Arkath was sending a warning that a surprise Demon invasion breaking through the Dwarf gates to Sheogh with the aid of Dark Elves under Sylsai. Vilma allied with other rebels like her love Kari to stop the plan. Unfortunately, the Dark Elves assassinated Hathor and stole the key to the gates. Gathering their forces and new allies like Tolghar, they were able to stop the attempt to open the gates. For his deeds in battle and under Hangvul's "suggestion", Tolghar was named the new King Under the Mountains and the fires in the temple and volcanoes burned with life again, taking it as their gods' approval. However, Tolghar was secretly terrified of living up to his predecessor and Hathor's ways didn't die with him as some still consider him an example to follow. Such groups who refused to accept Tolghar as king formed the warbands which were lead by Hathor's own daughter, Aslaug.

Understanding that Tolghar doesn't want to start another war between dwarves but still needing the resources, Ivan was able to meet with Tolghar on his terms and to his relief agrees to an alliance to stop Aslaug and share the resources.

Together, Ivan and Tolghar combined their strengths into dismantling Aslaug's power-base and gather resources. In the process, Ivan gained the respect of his Dwarven troops. Reaching the top of a cold mountain, Ivan finally encountered Aslaug face-to-face and battled her for the sake of two kingdoms. Ivan was victorious in defeating Aslaug's armies but found that Aslaug took her own life rather than face defeat and be captured. With their shared enemy defeated, Ivan and Tolghar were able to sign peace and trade treaties, agreeing to share the lands resources that Aslaug's Warbands attempted to seize.

The resources and new relation with the Dwarves saved Ivan's Holy Griffin Empire from crumbling to ruin, allowing peace to return to the lands.

Heroes of Might and Magic VEdit

Ivan's Tower, the dreaded prison tower of Talonguard where Godric was locked in Hammers of Fate, is named after King Ivan.

GameplayEdit

Ivan is an Inquisitor in the gameplay video.[1] In the actual game, however, Ivan is a Knight.

AbilitiesEdit

Hero Trait
Emperor Presence
Imperial Presence
The hero starts with +5 Leadership and +2 Defence skills.OffBck


GalleryEdit

SourcesEdit


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