"Your bloodline is blessed with heroes brave enough to do whatever it takes to protect their people. You could be that kind of king, Niven."
Niven Gryphonheart is the son of Mad King Gryphonheart, ruler of Erathia. When his father dishonors the nation by brutally persecuting a group of Mudlander slaves trying to escape and create a new homeland for themselves, the nobles of Erathia name Niven the new king. He appears in Revolt of the Beastmasters, the seventh part of Heroes Chronicles, but only appears in-game in The First Tatalian War, the eighth and last scenario.
Niven was the oldest son of Mad King Gryphonheart. He had a younger brother, but when Niven was six and his brother five, the King brought them together and told them that whoever killed the other one, would inherit Erathia. The brothers grew up as enemies.
When Niven was sixteen, the Mudlander slaves of the land were starting to rebel against their masters. They were lead by a beastmaster named Tarnum, and when at least two nobles had been slain by his hand (Lord Onsten and Baron Paglon), the King sent Niven, who was an excellent tactician, to the lands of Earl Rambert to deal with the rebels. Niven had received all the best education, and had the well-trained forces of Erathia behind him, so he would be a formidable opponent. Niven took away the bounty on slave heads and instead placed a large bounty on Tarnum's head, hoping to stop the rebellion by taking out its leader. He also managed to ambush one of Tarnum's groups and take the women and children prisoner, but despite Earl Rambert's pleas, he refused to put noncombatants to death.
While Tarnum was preparing to take the fight to Niven, an Erathian noble approached him to ask him not to kill the prince. He told him that the King had secretly sent the prince there to die, since he considered Niven too compassionate. He also told him that if Niven lived, he might be able to gain the favor of the nobles and overthrow his father, bringing a more just and sane rule to the nation. "I have no interest in acting as Mad King Gryphonheart's assassin," Tarnum said, "but if the good Prince gets in my way neither will I risk the life of even one of my people to keep him alive."
A few days later, Tarnum and the young Droglo crept into the enemy camp in the middle of the night, clubbed the young royal unconscious, and vanished into the swamp. Tarnum wanted to teach the prince the reality of how the slaves were treated, what Erathia had become under the Mad King, and win him over to the cause. He told Niven that if he couldn't convince him of the truth of their words, he would let him go. When Earl Rambert heard about the abduction, he threatened to kill every single one of his prisoners, one at a time, until Niven was returned, but Tarnum asked the prince to write to the noble and order him not to kill them. Rambert did as the prince commanded.
Tarnum showed Niven some recently freed slaves, how they were hunched over from exhaustion and covered in whip marks, but since Niven had only ever seen house slaves before, he thought it was all staged. Personal stories of torture and pain by more than twenty slaves did nothing to change his mind, so Tarnum decided to show him an Erathian camp - the stench of the slave pens, the poor creatures crammed into pits, and the score of corpses hanging from the surrounding trees as a warning. Niven cried in horror, and Droglo wondered whether it would have been kinder to kill him instead of showing him the truth. Depression consumed him for days, and when Droglo and Tarnum offered to escort him back to his own camp, he didn't know what to do. Droglo asked him to help save the slaves.
Niven joined Tarnum's group, and he spent most of his days tending to slaves and helping the healers, showing himself to be far more compassionate and honorable than his father. He and Droglo practiced with their swords every morning. They became like brothers, giving Niven a substitute for his own brother's friendship. Niven was almost as fast as Droglo and far more skilled, but Tarnum noticed that Droglo won half their duels because he fought by instinct, while Niven's years of training made him stiff and predictable. He asked the prince to relax, be more creative, and enjoy the dance of combat.
When Tarnum's armies chased Earl Rambert from his home, he took his prisoners with him, and offered to trade the wisewomen for Niven. Tarnum didn't want to send Niven back, but he knew that losing the wisewomen would cost him his army's morale. Niven agreed that they couldn't let them die, so he asked Tarnum to turn him over to Rambert. Tarnum decided to set a trap, so he placed Niven in a cage and punched him a few times to make him look like a prisoner. He then gave his armor to Droglo to make him look like a leader, and sent the boy and the gnoll Brellick to trade Niven for the wisewomen. Meanwhile, Tarnum took his army closer to Earl Rambert's lands, so the Earl could only spare a token force to bring to the trade. When the Earl tried to betray them, Droglo's wyverns broke the ambush. The Earl killed Brellick, but Niven escaped from his cage, picked up a weapon, and put an end to the treacherous noble. As he later wrote to Tarnum, "For the first time in my life, I enjoyed the dance!"
With the wisewomen freed, Tarnum could attack the Earl's forces, but Niven went back to Erathia to gather the nobles against his father. While Tarnum battled the Mad King's soldiers, Niven wrote to tell him that the nobles agreed that King Gryphonheart had dragged the once-proud nation into dishonor, and had assembled to name Niven the true King of Erathia. He would muster what troops he could and march to Tarnum's aid, but asked him to try to force his father's troops to a specific place, where the Mad King would be unable to flee and Niven's and Tarnum's armies would have the strategic advantage.
Tarnum was successful, and the two allied armies united. Mad King Gryphonheart had lost the support of Erathia, and had nothing left but what thieves and mercenaries he could hire. In anger, the Mad King placed a bounty of 20 000 gold on his son's head, twice what offered for Tarnum's, and one day, an assassin slipped into Niven's tent, dressed as a a monk to avoid suspicion. The rogue drew a long blade from his robes, but before he could attack, Droglo jumped on his back, dragged him to the ground, and killed him.
As representatives of Tatalia and Erathia, Droglo and Niven signed a treaty to ban slavery, and Niven knew that he would have a difficult task ahead of him, restructuring Erathia's economy to account for the lack of slaves. They hoped the bold agreement would spread to other nations.
When they marched on the Mad King, Tarnum slew the King in combat, but seemed to be mortally wounded himself. But before the Tatalians could bury him, his body disappeared. After his father's death, Niven could rule Erathia in peace, his descendants ruling the nation until the Reckoning.
|Increases the Attack and Defense skill of any Ballista for each level attained after 4th level.|
Niven uses the same portrait as Sir Christian. His biography consists of one word: Niven .
Niven appears in Revolt of the Beastmasters.