Ashan is a fictional fantasy world created by Ubisoft to act as the sole setting for their current and future games under the Might and Magic brand. Described as "a world shattered by the never-ending struggle that opposes Order and Chaos," it was introduced in Dark Messiah of Might and Magic.
- 1 Development
- 2 History
- 3 Inhabitants
- 4 Gallery
- 5 Appearances
- 6 External links
Ashan was conceived by Richard Dansky and Erwan Le Breton to spearhead Heroes of Might and Magic V, the first game in the series to take place in the Ubisoft continuity. Dansky and Le Breton have stated that they chose not to adapt Axeoth as a setting because they considered the continuity of the Might and Magic games vague and overly-detailed, and were eager to discontinue the science-fiction undertone in favor of a pure fantasy setting.
However, some mid-development mentions of Axeoth and its realms remain in some official Heroes V scenarios, suggesting that it was considered for the game's setting at an earlier point.
- Main article: Beta Ashan
An initial version of the map of Ashan exists, developed for an unknown project which Ubisoft never announced and have since discontinued. The map depicts similar geography yet reveals innumerable original names, and some locations which go unnamed in more recent maps. This "Beta Ashan" also houses realms known as Lost Palaedra, Tam Avlee and Kreegar, names which are relevant to Axeoth, though these are not present in the revised map actively used by the world coordinators.
Ashan's history is divided into three major periods: the Mythic Age, the Ancient Age and the Historical Age. The first marks the time of the world's creation, and its seeding with sentient beings. The second refers to the establishment of the races in the world, with both the Primordial Gods ceasing to actively implicate in the lives of their offsprings.
The third age covers all the subsequent events, and is the only period when the passing of years was reckoned. Though not necessarily the longest, it features the most events by far. All the games in the Ubisoft continuity take place in the Historical Age. The chronology of the Historical Age is much better documented than previous ages; time is marked by the number of years that have passed since the Year of the Seventh Dragon, or YSD, which was established with the revelation.
The Mythic Age
The ancient times, when the world and its inhabitants were created, is referred to as The Mythic Age. All the events described above happened in the Mythic Age. This era ended with an all-out war between the Primordial Twins, known as the Creation War, which was fought on all levels of reality. The clash was won by Asha and her six children, most notably the most powerful Dragon of Light, Elrath, the first son of Asha. Victorious, the Dragon of Light and his followers wanted to destroy the Dragon of Chaos and the demons. Asha's first daughter, Malassa, the Dragon of Darkness and her followers, realized that without chaos, orders will perish eventually. She betrayed her brother and led the Faceless and black dragons to destroy the cities of the angels, which led to the conflict between light and darkness, angels and faceless.
Instead of destroying the Dragon of Chaos, Asha, Malassa, Sylanna and Arkath created an eternal prison in the core of the planet Ashan, guarded by darkness, fire, and earth. Asha created a powerful portal and threw Urgash into the eternal prison, while the Demons were sent to the surrounding area known as Sheogh. Asha herself was severely weakened by the conflict, and buried herself in one of Ashan's three moons to rest and heal.
The Ancient Age
Demons learned to open portals to travel back to the surface of Ashan. Eventually, a war between the demons and the races of Ashan broke out. Sar-Elam, the first of the Wizards and the first mortal to reach Asha's conscience, sacrificed himself to create a powerful seal around Sheogh. Demons could no longer open portals from Sheogh to the surface of Ashan - but the creatures on the surface of Ashan could still summon demons. Sar-Elam's seal was not perfect. Before and after a significant period of the lunar eclipse, likely months, the seal would weaken, and the demons would regain the ability to open up portals from Sheogh. For his deeds, Sar-Elam became known as the Seventh Dragon, despite not actually being a dragon. Additionally, the year of his sacrifice started the modern calendar of Ashan, becoming known as the year 0 YSD, where YSD stands for "Year of the Seventh Dragon".
Almost at the same time as the Wizard faction, the Falcon Empire was founded by Falcon the Great; at that time, Sylath was its primary deity instead of Elrath, who is worshiped in its modern counterpart, the Holy Griffin Empire (Haven). This order lasted for about forty years, until the Wars of Fire in 28-40 YSD - the first demon incursion. Most of the Angels, servants of the Dragon of Light, perished in the wars, and the ones who remained took refuge in the Empire. Eventually, in 48 YSD, Emperor Brian Falcon gave absolute power to the Church of the Dragon of Light, renaming the realm "Holy Falcon Empire".
The elf race, which also suffered a lot in the Wars of Fire, retreated to the remains of their forests, burnt away by the demons, and started restoring their homeland - a process that took more than two centuries, eventually ending in 260 YSD, resulting in the creation of their kingdom of Irollan.
The year 62 YSD laid the foundation for the Necromancers, who were originally one faction of the Wizards that seceded during the Schism of the Seven, a split between the followers of Sar-Elam; another faction went to the southern desert, where the Seven Cities, the first kingdom of Magic, was established. Necromancy itself, however, was not discovered until much later, namely 461 YSD. In this sense, the Necromancers are among the three younger political powers in Ashan, along with the Dark Elves and the Orcs.
Later history: dark elves and necromancers
Shortly after experiments in necromancy began in the Seven Cities, the orcs - originally created by the Wizards to fight the demon army, but then enslaved - started a rebellion against their masters, which lasted from 467 YSD to 504 YSD and reached the borders of the Holy Falcon Empire. As a replacement for the orcs, the Wizards (in 512 YSD) created several beast-people species, including minotaurs, centaurs, harpies, lamasus and wanizames. Because the lamasus died quickly, they rose to undead life by the Necromancers, embracing them. The wanizame were gifted to the Nagas as guards, and the harpies and centaurs were taken by the Orcs. The minotaurs, cave creatures, were then taken by the Dark Elves, and thus the Wizards eventually remained empty handed, so they created mindless creatures, like gargoyles and golems.
528 YSD marked yet another major schism in the history of Ashan, when Tuidhana, the ruler of a border territory between Irollan and the Falcon Empire, declared independence from the elven kingdom. This move proved almost disastrous twelve years later, as Tuidhana's kingdom was caught in the middle of the War of the Bitter Ashes, a conflict between Irollan and the Empire. In a desperate attempt to ensure their own survival, Tuidhana's elves struck a deal with the Faceless, establishing a cult of the Dragon of Darkness, Malassa, becoming dark elves and retreating to the underground.
Eventually, the independence of the dark elves was recognized in 548 YSD by both the Empire, which paid extensive reparations to both elven factions, and Irollan. The newfound peace was called the "Peace of New Spring", but it did not last long. In 566 YSD, a massive fire consumed Brythigga, the capital of Irollan along with the mother tree, as well killing the High King, the Mother of Elves. This day became known as the "Day of the Tears of Fire" and the city and the mother tree have remained nothing but scorches to this day. Another mother tree was secretly planted and hidden from outsiders.
The dark elves were offered an ultimatum: exile, or death. Tuidhana chose the latter, not willing to leave her kingdom, but most of her people chose exile. Later, after it was discovered that the fire was set by a demon spy, the elves of Irollan declared amnesty on their dark brethren and invited them to return, but their apology was refused.
The last major faction to emerge in Ashan was the Necromancers, openly practising their dark magic in the Seven Cities, whose numbers were growing throughout 610-660 YSD. The coexistence of the Necromancers and the Wizards continued for over a century, until a civil war broke out in 751 YSD, lasting until 770 YSD, destroying the Seven Cities and devastating the land. Thus began the modern period of history.
It was during the civil war in the Seven Cities that King Vaniel of Irollan passed away, succeeded by Alaron. The new king broke the elves' political isolation and re-established contact with other factions, as far as aiding the Wizards in their wars against the Necromancers. Eventually, the Wizards won the civil war, and in 771 YSD, the Necromancers were banished to the inhospitable valley of Heresh.
The Wizards then established the second kingdom of magic, the Silver League, which housed the survivors of the Seven Cities. The Necromancers of Heresh attempted to exact revenge during the War of the Broken Staff in 813-822 YSD, attacking the Silver League, but the Wizards emerged victorious, invading and ruining the Necromancer kingdom.
Soon, in 843 YSD, yet another eclipse followed, and the demons once again roamed free through the lands of the Holy Falcon Empire. This time, they stormed and captured the capital city of Falcon's Reach; the ruling Falcon dynasty was all but destroyed, and Duke Ivan Griffin seized the throne, founding the Griffin dynasty and renaming the Empire itself "Holy Griffin Empire".
Relative peace lasted until the next eclipse in 951 YSD, which started the War of the Gray Alliance. By the combined might of the Griffin Empire (led by Alexei IV), Irollan (led by Alaron) and the Silver Cities (led by Cyrus), the escaping demons were driven back to Sheogh. Alexei, eager to defeat the Demon Sovereign Kha-Beleth, followed the demons through the closing gate between the two worlds, but Cyrus stayed behind, believing his attack to be suicidal. Alaron, doubting, eventually decided to follow Cyrus and not intervene, and Alexei's forces, left without support, perished. In an act of disapproval, the mighty emerald dragons left Irollan that very day, weakening the kingdom.
A part of Alexei's soul, however, was recovered and encased by Tieru into an artifact known as the Heart of the Griffin. It was given to Alexei's young son Nicolai Griffin, who remained on the throne.
In the year of 969 YSD, during an unexpected eclipse, the demons interrupted the wedding ceremony of Nicolai and Isabel Greyhound, triggering what is the story of Heroes of Might and Magic V: While Isabel recruited legions to help Nicolai, he died in the hands of demons. While Queen Isabel was angry and depressed, a necromancer named Markal seduced her into helping him resurrect Nicolai as an undead. In the meantime, the demon sovereign, Kha-Beleth, planted a seed for a demon messiah in Isabel. While killing Alaron and Cyrus, Markal sent Nicolai with hordes of undead into Irollan. Nicolai was killed once again, and a new Archmage from the Silver Cities, Zehir, son of Cyrus, along with a ranger called Findan, a knight called Godric, and two dark elven warlocks called Raelag and Shadya, killed Markal and fought Kha-Beleth (who had kidnapped Isabel in the meantime) in a great war. This war will forever be known as The Sixth War of the Eclipse, or "Queen Isabel's War". After fighting a succubus named Biara who had impersonated her, and in conflict with all of their allies, Isabel was too sad and overrun to stay on the throne. She passed the crown to Freyda, Godric's daughter, and renamed the kingdom "The Holy Unicorn Empire".
The following timeline is canonical, and is copied from the Age of Heroes.
The Mythic Age
The Myth of Creation
Creation of the World and the Birth of Elemental Dragons
- The Dragon of Order creates the world and gives birth to the Elemental Dragons.
Creation of the Elder Races
- The 'Elder' mortal races are created as servants of the Elemental Dragons.
Creation of Demons
- The Dragon of Chaos creates the Demons.
War of the Primordial Twins: End of the Mythic Age
- The Mythic Age ends with an all-out war between the Primordial Twins, fought on all levels of reality. The Dragon of Chaos is vanquished but not destroyed. He is jailed in the planet's fiery core, and his monstrous offsprings are cast out of the material world. The Dragon of Order, severely weakened by the conflict, buries herself within one of Ashan’s three moons to recover.
The Ancient Age
- The Angels launch a crusade on the Faceless. The destruction is terrible, and the elder races suffer tremendously. Early Elf civilizations and kingdoms are destroyed.
- The Primordial Dragons become myths and are slowly forgotten. Only the Elemental Dragons are worshipped.
- The Demons benefit from the general confusion to establish a foothold in the world. Lurking in uninhabited places, they slowly gather their strength.
The Historical Age
YSD stands for Years of the Seventh Dragon, and it is the designation used to number years in Ashan. The calendar era to which it refers is based on the traditionally reckoned year of the mortal Sar-Elam's inclusion in the ranks of the Elemental Dragons, thus raising their number to seven.
0 YSD - The Revelation of the Seventh Dragon
- Sar-Elam the first wizard reaches the conscience of the Dragon of Order who teaches him on the nature of matter and spirit and shows him the higher path of power. Enlightened by his new understanding, Sar-Elam becomes the Seventh Dragon.
3 YSD - Birth of the Falcon Empire
- Falcon the Great unifies the human kingdoms (founding the empire that will one day become the Haven faction). A prophecy tells that the Falcon line shall endure as long as the world does.
28 - 40 YSD - Wars of Fire: The First Great Demon Incursion
- The great wizard Sar-Elam, known as the "Seventh Dragon", sacrifices himself to end the Wars and repel the demon incursion. Sar-Elam and his disciples seal the demons away to prevent their return.
- Most of the Angels perish during these wars. The survivors take refuge in the Falcon Empire, which is increasingly turned away from the Dragon of Air - Sylath, and toward the Dragon of Light.
- Until the Wars of Fire, little is known of the elves. It was they, however, who first summoned forth the other races to do battle against the demon armies, and many of the great generals of that war were elves. It is the elves who held the line against the last demon assault as the Seventh Dragon prepared his final spell, not that men remember this now.
48 YSD - The Falcon Empire Becomes the 'Holy Falcon Empire'
- Founding of the Free Cities of the East Emperor Brian Falcon gives absolute power to the Church of the Dragon of Light. The Human kingdom is renamed "Holy Falcon Empire". Dissent grows among many citizens who resent being forced to abandon their faith in Sylath. Many will leave the Empire's territory to found the Free Cities of the East.
50 - 260 YSD - The Years of Healing: Creation of Irollan
- Reconstruction from the Wars of Fire and relatively harmonious relations between the races.
- Great swaths of the elven forests were burned away by the demons, scarring the land and poisoning the waters. Once the fighting was over, the elves retreated to their wounded land and spent the Years of Healing restoring it, planting new groves, cleansing the waters, and expelling the slightest bit of demon taint from their lands. Thus was created the Elven kingdom of Irollan.
62 YSD The Schism of the Seven
- A schism (division) occurs within the disciples of Sar-Elam, who can't agree on the best way to follow the road laid down by the Seventh Dragon. Sar-Antor founds the Blind Brothers, a congregation of healers, seers and embalmers dedicated to the worship of Asha. Sar-Badon founds the Dragon Knights, a martial order disciplined in both body and mind.
- Schism between the disciples of Sar-Elam, who can't agree on the best way to follow the road laid down by the Seventh Dragon and, hopefully someday surpass him.
- The other disciples, led by Sar-Shazzar, the most gifted of them all, leads an exodus of wizards and like-minded humans to found the Seven Cities (the first kingdom of Magic) in the southern deserts.
67 YSD The Prophecy of the Demon Messiah
- Sar-Shazzar gives the Prophecy of the Demon Messiah, which predicts, among other things, that a half-demon hero will someday shatter the Demon Prison and unleash bloody chaos on the world.
74 YSD Mysterious Death of Sar-Shazzar
- Sar-Shazzar dies in his sleep. When attendants attempt to move his body to the Necropolis for preparation and burial, it crumbles to ashes.
104 YSD The Dragon Knights become a Secret Order
- On his deathbed, Sar-Badon commands the Dragon knights to retreat from the world and dedicate themselves to preserve the teachings of the Seventh Dragon, watching against any Demon activity.
- No longer are the Dragon Knights to be prominent or visible in the world.
330 YSD 1st Eclipse - War of the Blood Moon - Creation of the Orcs
- A total lunar eclipse provokes a massive rupture of the Demon Prison. The Demon Lords force their way out and wreak havoc across the lands. Armies rally to meet them, but, caught by surprise, they are rapidly overwhelmed.
- The Demons are finally defeated but at a most terrible cost. The Demon Lords are cast down, and the surviving demons banished back to their hellish prison. The Dragon Knights emerge from hiding to repair the prison as best they can, then vanish once again.
- Called upon for assistance, the wizards of the Seven Cities send their forces into battle. They experiment with demon blood, which they inoculate into human slaves and criminals. The monstrous Orcs are created as a result. Bolstered by the Orc shock troops, the Alliance defeats the Demons. The Demon Lords are cast down, and the surviving demons banished back to their hellish prison. In the wake of this second demon war, Orcs are re-settled in the Falcon Empire as well as the Seven Cities. They are not granted their freedom, but instead serve as indentured troops.
461 YSD Discovery of Necromancy
- Belketh, a disciple of Sar-Shazzar, discovers the path of Necromancy. Necromantic experimentations begin in the Seven Cities.
467 - 504 YSD The Orc Crusades
- Orcish rebellion in the Seven Cities, which spreads to Haven. Rejecting their masters and the Dragon Gods, the Orcs declare themselves free. In the Falcon Empire, Crusades are declared against the Orcs - attempts to subjugate them and convert them back to dragon worship. The fighting is brutal, and the Orcs are relentlessly driven back. Eventually, the unrepentant survivors flee wherever they can, including the deserts of the south, the steppes of the north-east and the Barrier Islands of the east, A great storm sinks the Haven fleet that was prepared to follow the Orcs to their island refuge. The Falcon Emperor declares this a sign from the Dragons, and formally ends the Orcish Crusades.
512 YSD Creation of Beast-men
- Beast-men (minotaurs, centaurs, harpies) are created as servants, playthings, and guards in the Seven Cities. Their stated purpose is to replace orcs.
528 YSD Tuidhana's Secession
- His head turned by a band of flatterers, the third Elf king, Arniel decided that elvish power was too decentralized, and the method of choosing a High King too random. Instead, central power was needed to go with a hereditary monarchy. While many objected to this, only Tuidhana, Queen of a tiny realm which sat on the border with the Falcon Empire, chose to act and declared her independence.
540 YSD War of the Bitter Ashes - Birth of the Dark Elves
- The Knights of the Holy Falcon Empire, for their part, saw an opportunity. They marched in force on Tuidhana's borders. She appealed to Arniel for assistance, but her messengers were turned away from the High King's court unheard. "She stands alone, let her fight alone," was Arniel's decree, and it was not until humans had nearly overrun all of Tuidhana's realm before he finally acted.
- With Tuidhana sufficiently humbled (or so he thought), Arniel marched his forces to the border and engaged the Human armies in the so-called War of Ashes. Neither side paid much heed to the elves whose lands they fought over. Desperate to protect her people, Tuidhana turned to other allies. As her lands were burned and her subjects killed, she made a pact with one of the few surviving Faceless, rumoured to have long since been driven extinct. If she would turn herself and her people to the worship of Malassa, the Dragon of Darkness, then the Faceless would grant her the power she wanted. Tuidhana made the bargain, and the Dark Elves were thus created from the surviving elves of her kingdom. Both elves and humans were expelled from the contested terrain, and Tuidhana reaffirmed her independence. An uneasy peace settled between Elves and the Dark Elves.
- The Elves of Irollan and the Human Knights of the Holy Falcon Empire are at war, with Tuidhana's kingdom as the main battlefield. Her territory under attack from both sides, Tuidhana makes a pact with the Faceless for the power to protect her people. Those who follow her are changed by the blessing of Malassa, Dragon of Darkness. From this day on, they will be known as the Dark Elves. With the support of their new allies, they will expel both the Elves and the Humans from their land.
548 YSD The Peace of New Spring
- The Holy Falcon Empire forfeits any claim to elven lands and makes extensive reparations. The Dark Elf kingdom's independence is recognized - at sword point - by Elves and Humans, but intermittent hostilities persist across the borders.
564 YSD 2nd Eclipse - Rise of the Demon Sovereign
- Total lunar eclipse. This time the Blind Brothers had predicted it, and the Alliance, helped by the Dragon Knights, is quick to react. Only a small band of demons manage to escape into the world. The names of the Demon Lords, Urgash's first children, are heard no more. Instead, the name of Mal-Beleth, the new and only Demon Sovereign, appears.
566 YSD Day of the Tears of Fire - Death of Tuidhana
- A massive fire burns down the Elven capital. The High King Arniel dies in the flames with most of his court. Brythigga, the Mother of Trees, sacred to the Elves, is also consumed by the fire, leaving a blackened scar on the earth where nothing would ever grow again. The loss is devastating.
- The Dark Elves are blamed and offered exile or death by Arniel's son, Vaniel. Most choose exile; the rest are hunted down and destroyed without mercy. Tuidhana remains with her lands and is killed.
- The place where Brythigga had stood was stricken from the maps, and to this day no elf will go there. Another Mother of Trees has been consecrated, hidden deep within the forests, but no Elf will speak of her to outsiders.
585 YSD Discovery of Demon Implication in the Day of the Tears of Fire
- Dragon Knights bring evidence to the Elves that Brythigga's criminal fire was set by a Demon spy. Emissaries are sent from the forest to the wandering Dark Elves, offering amnesty and inviting them to return home. The offer is refused.
610 - 660 YSD Rise of the Necromancers
- The Necromancer presence grows until they are a powerful political force in the Seven Cities.
717 YSD 3rd Eclipse; Dragon Hunt
- During a brief lunar eclipse, a band of Demons escapes into the world. They seek out the hidden strongholds of the Dragon Knights and begin a bloody secret war. The outcome of this conflict is unknown to date.
751 - 770 YSD Purge of the Necromancers - Civil war in the Seven Cities
- Jealous of the power acquired by the Necromancers, the Wizards of the Seven Cities initiate a large-scale persecution, ranging from the seizing of their properties, to banishment, to the spectacle of public executions
- A long and gruesome civil war ensues. The ancient cities are destroyed and much of the land is rendered uninhabitable.
756 YSD Death of Vaniel
- Vaniel is succeeded by king Alaron, whose eye is turned outward from the forest. Slowly, he re-establishes stronger contacts with the other races.
- Alaron provided aid to the Wizards of the Silver Cities in their wars against the Necromancers, and encouraged traders to come to the elven borders.
771 YSD Foundation of the Silver League
- Survivors of the Seven Cities establish the Silver League (the second kingdom of Magic) in the lands to the south. Necromancers flee east to the haunted valley of Heresh.
813 - 822 YSD War of the Broken Staff
- The Necromancers attempt to crush the newborn Silver League but the Wizards gain the upper hand and invade Heresh. The Necromancers are utterly defeated and their kingdom shattered.
843 YSD 4th Eclipse - Falcon's Last Flight
- A Total eclipse. This time, the Demons storm the capital of the Falcon Empire and massacre the royal house. As soon as the Demons are repelled, fighting breaks out as the various noble houses attempt to claim the throne. Duke Ivan of Griffin conquers the bloody crown. The Empire is renamed the "Holy Griffin Empire".
951 YSD 5th Eclipse - War of the Gray Alliance
- Demon armies are confronted by a combined force of Haven Knights allied with two other factions. Emperor Alexei Griffin pursues the Demons into the very underworld, and is killed. His soul is rescued by a mysterious and legendary knight known as Tieru, and bound up in an artifact called the Heart of the Griffin. Alexei's son Nicolai, aged 6, ascends the Imperial throne.
- Alaron leads the Elven armies out of the forest to join the Haven Knights and the Wizards of the Silver-cities in the ill-fated Gray Alliance. The Demon horde is finally defeated, but at a terrible cost for the Alliance.
969 YSD 6th Eclipse - Queen Isabel's War
- An eclipse not forecast on any calendar grips the Empire in a panic. The Demons emerge in force and march towards Haven's capital. This war will be known as Queen Isabel's War and is the topic of Heroes V's campaign.
Cosmogony and deities
In the beginning, there was nothing but the eternal Void. The Void spawned the Cosmic Egg, which, upon hatching, released the two Primordial Dragons: Asha, the Dragon of Order, and Urgash, the Dragon of Chaos. (While Asha is a dragon, she is known in many forms by different cults; for example, the Necromancers worship a spider goddess form of Asha.)
Asha created the Earth, Ashan, and the six Elemental Dragons: Sylath, the Dragon of Air, Shalassa, the Dragon of Water, Sylanna, the Dragon of Earth, Arkath, the Dragon of Fire, Elrath, the Dragon of Light, and Malassa, the Dragon of Darkness. Asha then created the mortal elder races as servants of the Elemental Dragons, and placed them in the world. Each race chose a gift and a patron dragon to worship.
Consumed with jealousy over the elder races, Urgash, the primordial Dragon of Chaos, endeavored to create the demons, seeking to surpass Asha’s achievements. Six Demon Overlords, twisted mirrors of the elemental dragons, were created to rule over the demons. Demons, being creatures of chaos, cannot stay on the surface of the world for extended periods of time, unless when summoned by a very powerful sorcerer.
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- Main article: Heresh
Holy Griffin Empire
- Main article: Holy Griffin Empire
- Main article: Grimheim
- Main article: Irollan
The Silver Cities
- Main article: The Silver Cities
- Main article: Ygg-Chall
- Main article: Hashima
- Main article: Pao Islands
- Might and Magic: Heroes VI
- Might and Magic: Heroes VII
- Might & Magic X: Legacy
- Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes
- Heroes of Might and Magic V
- Dark Messiah of Might and Magic