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"In the scope of the Universe, we are but a single breath. To say we're insignificant is to give us too much credit. But when the Universe chooses you to be part of its plan, you'd better hold on and take what you can get because your ride will surely be over before you know it!"
―Gauldoth Half-Dead — Aiffe's MandolinListen (file info)

King Gauldoth the Half-Dead is the founder and ruler of the kingdom of Nekross, and one of the six protagonists of Heroes of Might and Magic IV. As a quick-witted yet even-tempered and reserved Necromancer, he is unique among his predecessors in actively seeking positive relations with fellow rulers, determined to outlast them rather than incite their wrath. As a result of his nature, he acts to reconcile life and death whenever possible; he is also firmly opposed to generic necromantic ideals, such as madly questing for power and worldly domination (or destruction).

While attempting to rescue his master Kalibarr from the ruins of the Necromantic Order's headquarters during the Reckoning, Gauldoth sustained grevious burns. Dying and desperate to survive, he cheated death by frantically reading an incantation in the Order's library. The spell allowed him to survive, but not in his original form; he was left literally half-dead, with the right side of his body Undead and sustained only by magic, the left side Human, organic and alive as before.

A deeply philosophical, reflective and calculative individual, Gauldoth tends to blame and question the Universe itself for his self-contradictory existence, openly decrying its machinations and inviting it to "show me your secrets".[2] Initially met with revulsion and prejudice among the people of Axeoth, he quickly claimed ironic revenge on his pursuers, establishing Nekross and building it into one of Iranese's pivotal realms. His primary idealogy is simple: "Play the middle if you want to survive."[3]

Biography[]

Truly Reborn[]

Gauldoth's earliest memory is the bite of a vampire. During the Reckoning, a fire consumed most of his body, and due to an errant spell he was made into a contradiction both in body and spirit. He is half-living and half-undead, endlessly seeking to understand what kind of universe would create a being such as him.OffBck

"Why? Of all the places I could've stumbled upon, why had I come here? Was it fate? No. I don't believe in fate. Our future is what we make it. But perhaps the Universe has something in mind."
—Gauldoth, after escaping Vitross

Born on Enroth, Gauldoth's earliest known memories included the bite of a Vampire and the darkness of a crypt. He spent his childhood captive to the Vampire Loscan, who kept him alive to feed on his young blood, and was ultimately rescued by the Lich Kalibarr. Sensing power within Gauldoth that "couldn't be wasted", Kalibarr offered Loscan ten children as a replacement. Loscan refused, so - unable to personally slay a fellow member of the Necromantic Order - Kalibarr arranged for a Crusader to destroy him. He then adopted Gauldoth as his apprentice.[4]

In the first hours of the Reckoning, Gauldoth attempted to rescue Kalibarr in kind, discovering the Order's secret library on fire. He failed to find his master, and - dying of burns and smoke inhalation - was forced to read a scroll far beyond his power to survive. Now half-living and half-Undead, Gauldoth escaped the blazing library "alive", surviving the destruction of the world alongside countless fellow refugees by passing through one of the portals to Axeoth. His failure to save Kalibarr would haunt him for years afterwards.[4]

Gauldoth tied to the stake at Vitross.

Shunned among civilisation by virtue of his state of existence, Gauldoth roamed Iranese as a creature of the night, living "like an animal hiding in the wilderness", finding sustenance from insects and unguarded farmyards. Sometime after the founding of Great Arcan, while feasting on eggs in a chicken coop, he was discovered and surrounded by the people of Vitross - denouncing him a Ghoul and an eater of children, the mob of hysterical villagers accused him of killing and consuming their young. Bound and dragged to Vitross, he was tied to the stake to be publicly burned by the city's officer, Sir Mardor. Narrowly escaping by casting a Slow spell on the townsfolk, he ran into the depths of the surrounding forests, fleeing the place.[4]

Several nights later, he came upon an isolated graveyard. Suddenly seized by rage, incensed against the people of Vitross and those who had tried to kill him because of his half-dead form, Gauldoth surged with power. Claiming that he had come full circle, he summoned forth the bodies of the dead, resolving that the Universe had a use for him: revenge. Raising an army from the mass graves in the region, filled with the dead claimed in the aftermath of the Reckoning, Gauldoth cleared the countryside of every farmer and woodsman, marched through the forests he had once cowered in - defeating the Druid Halas - and attacked Vitross itself. As insurance against retribution from Great Arcan, he offered Mardor's subordinate, Captain Enric, immortality as a Vampire.[4]

Setting the city alight, he burned Sir Mardor at the stake, while Enric, in exchange for the promise of unlife, returned to Great Arcan with a false account of how Barbarians sacked and destroyed Vitross. Taunting Mardor with the revelation that he would be "seeing you again soon", Gauldoth departed the massacre, and would carve the Kingdom of Nekross in its wake.[4]

The Founding of Nekross[]

"Long after Great Arcan and Palaedra fall, even after whatever kingdoms come after them have faded into obscurity, Nekross will be right here where it has always been. And I will be sitting on its throne! That, Mardor, is my kind of victory!"
—Gauldoth, discussing his decision to spare Great Arcan

Some months later, Gauldoth experienced an unsettling vision of a fiery realm - one of the dominions of the Kreegans who had fled Enroth in the years prior to the Reckoning. It was an intimation that his master, Kalibarr, had survived the destruction of the old world. Resolving to travel to that blazing realm and finally reunite with his old mentor, Gauldoth began to further assert his control over the lands he now ruled.[5]

With the resentful Ghost of his former enemy, Sir Mardor, now eternally serving as his spectral commander and right-hand man, he departed Nekross to investigate a means of reaching the hellish domain. Theorising (through his study of Nature Magic) that shattering the Angel's Blade at a magical nexus point would generate a gateway to the Kreegan-conquered world, Gauldoth began to vie against a Palaedran Crusader for the lost sword.[5]

After Mardor journeyed the borders of Great Arcan, reporting that Queen Emilia Nighthaven's offensive against a Barbarian tribe had left her borders wide open to a decisive attack, Gauldoth displayed interest, contemplating Great Arcan's strength and richness of resources. When Mardor drew up his attack plans, however, Gauldoth refused to attack. Instead, as a "neighborly gesture", he sent the plans to Emilia herself, warning her of the weakness. Gauldoth explained his unusual action to an irate Mardor, expressing his reluctance to conquer the world and stating that "by sending Emilia these maps, I have cast just a sliver of doubt into her view of me. For now on, she will wonder if I am a man who can be dealt with."[5]

On accessing the Fiery Realm, Gauldoth and his armies quickly located the rotting, corpse-like body of Kalibarr, splayed out across a crude altar and guarded by the Kreegan Rahjuu. Defeating Rahjuu, Gauldoth took up his weakened master, escorting him to Axeoth. There, sometime after returning to Nekorrum with new Kreegan hordes under his command, Gauldoth walked his power-deprived mentor around the capital city "like a son proudly displaying his achievements to his father", and at the end of his tour pronounced Kalibarr the rightful King of Nekross.[2][5]

Four months later, following a riot between the rebellious Kreegans and the Undead (incited by Kalibarr's residual weakness), Kalibarr entrusted Gauldoth with a plan to restore his lost power: he would have his former apprentice activate the five Points of Power, enabling the restoration of his "spell-ravaged body" - and his vengeance against an unknown entity.[2]

To Know the Universe[]

"Knowledge! To know the Universe is to transcend it. Destruction, creation, good, and evil; the grand scheme of things they are just the masks we use to understand that which we cannot grasp. Well, here is my hand. Show me your secrets. I am not afraid!"
—Gauldoth, addressing the Universe

Kalibarr and the God of Death.

During his quest to reactivate the five Points, Gauldoth befriended Alana, a young Priestess he rescued from a homicidal, witless Captain Enric, subsequently putting Enric to death. After an ice demon attack which left his living half dying from blood loss, Alana healed Gauldoth, inspiring him to discuss with her the nature of Life Magic. Having activated the previous four, Gauldoth and Alana entered the fifth Point of Power together. Beseeching Alana to "activate it and show me that good is stronger than evil", Gauldoth watched on as the subsequent surge of energy claimed her life, stating that "You were wrong, my fair Alana. Your destruction has created this power." Binding the Points' power to his master, he had Alana buried, stating he owed her that much at least.[2]

Gauldoth crushed the Kreegan rebellion led by Suraze, but was not gratified for his victories. Upon overhearing the newly-empowered Kalibarr secretly addressing an enigmatic "Master" of his own, he grew uncomfortable in his role. Now more private than ever, Kalibarr ordered him to kill Malvich, a Vampire allied to Nekross who possessed the supremely unholy Deadwood Staff. Growing suspicious of his master, Gauldoth carried out the order nevertheless, recruiting a bodyguard - the zombie Hadrin - and raiding the Shrine of Korbert for the Life Shield in the process. After Kalibarr ordered all the living children in Nekorrum to be gathered as a sacrifice to his master, Gauldoth swore to learn the name of the malevolent being behind his own master's actions.[6]

Pursuing Kalibarr through his study into the Plane of Death, Gauldoth listened on as Kalibarr prostrated before the nameless Dark One he called master, who instructed him to forge the skull of an unrecognisable creature to the Deadwood Staff during the Convergence, thus releasing an otherworldly magic capable of reducing all Axeoth's living beings to nothingness. Fleeing the Plane of Death, Gauldoth returned to Axeoth to raise an army against Kalibarr before the Convergence could occur. With Mardor's assistance, he liberated the city of Rija, freed the captive sacrificial children, forged an alliance with his rival Suraze, and returned to the Plane of Death to destroy Kalibarr.[3]

He succeeded, thereby preventing the destruction of Axeoth. Upon Kalibarr's demise, he mused, "I like to think that he really died during the Reckoning - not by my hand. It's easier that way." Upon returning to a newly-emancipated Nekorrum, returning its Human inhabitants' children home, he was greeted as a hero and cheered on as "Half-Dead" by crowds of citizens, monikered "Protector" and "Father Gauldoth" - no longer denounced an Eater of Children, but the inverse: a saviour. Thereafter, he "ordered the child pens to be destroyed, and then I started repairs on the siege-damaged city. There was a lot of work to be done, but this was my city. I know now I never should have given it to Kalibarr."[3]

"I am Gauldoth Half-Dead, King of Nekross! And I plan to stay this way."
—King Gauldoth

Gameplay[]

Gauldoth is a Necromancer.

Eater of Children[]

Gauldoth has 0 Attack, 0 Defense, 1 Spell Power, 1 Knowledge at Level 2 (with all modifiers applied).

Trivia[]

  • While the other original Heroes IV protagonists do indirectly affect each other's stories, Gauldoth is the only protagonist who directly interacts with another during the campaigns - he contacts Emilia during the events of The Fiery Realm. His campaign, Half-Dead, is also the only storyline internally implied to have occured after the events of another (apparently taking place after The True Blade and The Price of Peace).
  • Generally, Gauldoth has been viewed as one of the Might and Magic series' most developed and intriguing characters, particularly in light of his vocally divergent perspective to other Necromancers and his reluctance to conquer Axeoth. It is considered that Arantir, a Necromancer in the Ubisoft continuity, fills a somewhat similar role.
  • Gauldoth shares his musical theme with that of the Necropolis town in Heroes IV, simply entitled "Necropolis".

Appearances[]

Out-of-canon[]

Sources[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 MMH7 blog
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Heroes of Might and Magic IV. New World Computing. Mission: The Points of Power (scenario, in English). 2002. Transcripts.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Heroes of Might and Magic IV. New World Computing. Mission: The Unholy Breath (scenario, in English). 2002. Transcripts.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Heroes of Might and Magic IV. New World Computing. Mission: Eater of Children (scenario, in English). 2002. Transcripts.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Heroes of Might and Magic IV. New World Computing. Mission: The Fiery Realm (scenario, in English). 2002. Transcripts.
  6. Heroes of Might and Magic IV. New World Computing. Mission: Life and Death (scenario, in English). 2002. Transcripts.
Preceded by:
None
Ruler of Nekross
King Gauldoth Half-Dead
ca 1180s AS
Succeeded by:
King Kalibarr
Preceded by:
King Kalibarr
Ruler of Nekross
King Gauldoth Half-Dead
ca 1180s AS
Succeeded by:
Incumbent
Heroes IV characters Icon-H4.png
Original campaign protagonists Cyrca - King Elwin - King Gauldoth Half-Dead - General Tharj Orcsplitter - Gramin - King Lysander Gryphonheart - King Waerjak - Lady Desette - Pete Girly - Proetho - Queen Emilia Nighthaven - Reed - Sir Kentaine - Solmyr ibn Wali Barad - Suraze - Tawni Balfour
Antagonists Captain Swift - Kalibarr - King Gavin Magnus - King Worton - Lord Harke - Old King Dreggar - Solmyr ibn Wali Barad - Vogel Backbreaker - Mer-Queen
Supporting campaign characters Anda - Anda's father - Adamus - Alana - Arnoc the Hairless - Bawdo - Black Balfour - Captain Enric - Captain Ferth - Queen Catherine Ironfist - Daeraphena - Daeric - Dirty-face Derring - Driden - Eight-fingers Oba - Elf King - Foz the Axe - Gelu - God of Death - Gory Gordy - Hadrin - Hoff - Hundric - Jim Journey - King Kilgor - King Nicolas Gryphonheart - Koelox - Korbert - Lord Bloth - Lord Landrew - Malvich - Mastero - Mazellian - Menathat - The Minotaur King - Mirilass - Mott - Norry - Reed - Sandro - Sir Mardor - Worllarc - Milton - Shaera - Tarnum - Wulgar
Necropolis heroes in Heroes of Might and Magic IV
Death Knights
Aglion · Arkenvoss · Calh · Charna · Docata · Fiona · Gargareen · Grok · Harkenraz · Jarvis · Malustar · Moander · Luna · Oddrema · Panur · Rahjuu · Reeva · Shriek · Straker · Suraze · Tamika · Varduum · Vilexica · Winsela · Xerxon · Yott
Necromancers
Aislinn · Archilus · Ash · Ayden · Baenefa · Baron Von Tarkin · Castrata · Damala · Draezerak · Endan · Felina · Gauldoth Half-Dead · Hastner · Hexx · Hsine · Jessika · Kalibarr · Kurtos · Lamentia · Masqua · Mezizto · Norticus · Paskovich · Rab · Sandro · Sark · Thessa · Vidomina · Yxia
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