"Haven't you ever heard the name of Rion Gryphonheart, first of your line? Or how about his daughter, Allison? They were two of the fairest, greatest leaders I have ever...heard of!"
King Rion Gryphonheart, or King Gryphonheart the First, was the first Gryphonheart monarch, the slayer of the Barbarian King Tarnum and the founder of the kingdom of Erathia on the continent of Antagarich. Upon his death after establishing the Erathian throne, his soul was captured by demons from The Underworld, subject to torture until its release at the hands of Tarnum himself.
Campaign against Tarnum
As a young man, Gryphonheart rose through the ranks of the knights in service of the Empire of Bracaduun, and actively participated in the war against Tarnum's encroaching horde. When Tarnum's ravaging armies laid waste to a village on the border of The Wastelands, Gryphonheart attempted to defend the villagers from Ogre marauders, saving a young red-haired woman in the process. The woman was in actuality one of Tarnum's elder sisters, and came to become Gryphonheart's wife - the first Queen of Erathia. With her, Gryphonheart fathered his daughter, Allison.
When the Empire fell with the conquest of Castle Steelhorn, Gryphonheart led its former Knights into the heartlands of Antagarich and, from Bracaduun's ashes, wrought the kingdom of Erathia. His armies tamed and trained the Griffins of the Griffin Cliff region, utilising these proud creatures to gain an edge in warfare. From this new focal point, the Knights attempted to stem the tide of Tarnum's dominance, preventing his conquest from spreading to the north and east. In a climactic battle between the Horde and the Erathian armies, Gryphonheart challenged Tarnum to a duel; as the better combatant by his foe's own eventual admission, Gryphonheart used speed and skill to counter his opponent's furious strength. His sword cleaved Tarnum's stomach, ending his life. The Barbarians scattered, and with this victory Erathia enjoyed peacetime.
At his grieving wife's request, Gryphonheart secretly returned to the battlefield to recover Tarnum's body, but found nothing. Some time later, when the Demons of the Underworld launched an attack on Enroth via the Cerberus Gate, Gryphonheart defeated their leader, Duke Deezelisk, blinding him. Deezelisk returned to the depths of the Underworld, plotting revenge.
Regarded as a benevolent and supremely worthy monarch, Gryphonheart's death was well-mourned throughout the kingdom. Nonetheless, when his daughter Queen Allison experienced an ominous vision depicting a Demon snaring his soul from Paradise, no Knights immediately responded to her call for aid. The Ancestors sent Tarnum - now the Immortal Hero - to lead Erathia's armies into the Underworld and rescue the King's captive soul. Within the dark realm, Tarnum was beset by veracious nightmares which revealed his kinship to Allison, and finally resolved to forgive his old enemy. With assistance from Allison and Duke Deezelisk, he managed to free Gryphonheart's soul from Jorm.
Duke Deezelisk, however, betrayed Tarnum's forces after Jorm's destruction, slaying Tarnum and capturing Allison. Certain that Gryphonheart's newly-released soul would expend its energy to protect her from harm, Deezelisk tortured Allison daily, confident that he could now destroy his enemy's soul once and for all. Unwilling to succumb to defeat, Tarnum's nature as the Immortal Hero permitted him to return to life. Counselled by Gryphonheart's gradually-fading soul, he mustered a redoubled force with the aid of Norvan, Trynn, Mensor and the nobles of Erathia above, launching a vigourous assault on Deezelisk's fortress. Deezelisk was slaughtered, and Rion Gryphonheart's soul assumed its place in Paradise once more.
Later, Tarnum consoled Gryphonheart's descendant, Niven, by openly regarding Rion as one of the fairest, greatest leaders he had ever known.
Rion Gryphonheart appears in Warlords of the Wasteland and in Conquest of the Underworld, while he is mentioned in Heroes Chronicles: Revolt of the Beastmasters and in Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia.
|Heroes Chronicles characters|
|Antagonists||Alkin - Kurl - Mirlanda - Rabak - Wystan|
|Supporting campaign characters||Bloodclub - Derg - Hardac - Tordac|