HoMM 5 >Story
After establishing an Empire on and around the Gold Sea, the faction of Chaos send out scouts to search for more riches and territory worth conquering. During one of these searches, a scout, named Rinuem found a cave in a large mountain range. This was many miles south of the borders of Great Arcan. Out of pure curiosity, Rinuem, who also possesed some knowledge of the forces of Chaos, started searching the cave. During this search, he found an underground dome, the size of a medium-sized country. This cave was swarming with underground creatures of incredible power. In fear of his live, Rinuem fled.
In Great Arcan, at the moment, the most powerful country of Axeoth, a young female mage, named Theria, was accused of the murder of a high member of the government. This accusation was false, but she had many enemies due to her continious preaching that it was not wise to anger the forces of nature. Her power in the magic of Order was stronger than many thought and she was able to disappear from the country before the Guards of Order managed to capture her. She fled to the south and happened to encounter Rinuem. After some talking, they quickly became friends.
Theria managed to convince Rinuem to tell her the location of the cave. Rinuem trusted that her power in Order Magic would be able to control the creatures of the deep.
In the cave, Theria used all skill of charm and mind influence that she had to persuade underground creatures to obey her. Eventually, they trusted her. Theria kept strenghtening the bond and the control. Eventually, she combined the Chaos Magic of Rinuem, her own Order Magic and the skills that she had learned from the insects to form the new Archaeon Magic. Theria taught Rinuem to communicate with the creatures and he started to train them in the arts of warfare, because even though he was a scout, he had seen many battles. Word of their discovery spread through the unofficial channels, which attracted many adventurers and rogue wizards. Theria and Rinuem trained as many as they could to use Archaeon Magic and to lead the new armies. In the meantime, the organization they brought had given the number of creatures an expotential growth. Soon, they had an army, which was equal or greater than the other armies of Axeoth.
Unfortunately, Theria's hatred towards Great Arcan started to consume her. Rinuem had always seen the Order Mages as enemies and he supported her in this. They both started to equip their armies to counter the powerful magic of Order. Soon, they openly declared the founding of the Archeon realms and allied themselves with the Chaos faction. A number of creatures from the Gold Sea Empire actually decided to join this new faction, which only strengthened the bond between the two sides.
In the meantime, a split started to develop in the countries of Great Arcan and Paleandra. After the accusation of Theria, some started wondering how much was left of the freedom that Emilia and Solymr had fought for. Emilia had not lived long after her near-fatal injury, Solymr had refused to rule and left the country. Lord Reed took over the rule (remember the squire Reed from the Emilia campaign, it's him).
He introduced the Reed doctrine which implied that Great Arcan had possesion of the ultimate knowledge and that nothing should be questioned or attempted to improve. There was no improvement possible, only decay.
Paleandra suffered the same problem. The priests argued that the ways of life had been indicated by the heavenly forces. It was blasphemy to stray from these.
No wonder that in both countries opposition started to rise. Lord Reed and Lysander Jr. (son of the old Lysander) imprisoned many and crushed several protests.
The Empire of the Gold Sea watched this all with enjoyment. Soon, both countries would be weakened enough to conquer with little trouble. The Empire was ruled by both Tawni Balfour and Cyrca, both old, but still capable enough. However, they made the mistake to move too fast. Paleandra and Great Arcan united to stop the clash and many great battles were fought, where the Empire seemed to prevail, but with heavy losses.
The opposition in Paleandra and Great Arcan did not want both countries to fall to the Empire, but refused to help them either. They simply left the countries and united. This union was led by Lady Vemirin. Lady Vemirin tried first to establish a base close to the borders of Paleandra, but this in the terretory of the Elves. Since their towns had high costs in resources, they threatened to destroy many of the forest. The elves attacked with hit and run attacks and summoned their powerful forest creatures to drive the alchemists (as the metal focussed magi were called).
The alchemists fled both the elves and the battles between Paleandra, Great Arcan and the Empire of the Gold Sea. After a long journey, they arrived at a large mountainous land, which was not claimed by anyone, but on the borders of Nekross. The necromancers were quitely waiting for the end of the war to use their necromantic powers on the battlefields.
They welcomed the alchemists as friends and allies. Nekross was longing for a real ally and the alchemists needed a save haven. Both factions had many benefits from this alliance. The alchemists now started to build up their own country and forces. Many war machines were made to aid them in battle, but the bulk of the forces were humans, dwarves and drows, who were equiped with powerful weapons.
The drows are natives of Axeoth, who were driven out of their natural habitats by the elves from AvLee and Vori, who had fled for the Reckoning. They had hated the elves for it, but were not strong enough to do anything. After seeing the alchemists emerge as a powerful enemy of nature, they offered their service and protection. The alchemists accepted the alliance and many drows obtained ranks both in might and magic. Many of them were equiped with springsteel bows or enchanted blades.
The alchemists started to develop their own magic. They based it on their old magic from Life and Order, but they also took a lot of influence from the necromancers, who taught them how to use magic to hurt and weaken your enemy. The alchemists combined all of this in their ability to control the material world, creating a fearful kind of magic.
Lady Vemirin remained the alchemic leader, even though she was not an alchemist herself. Instead, she became skilled in using enchanted blades to fight and in the art to lead armies, like the knights of Paleandra did.
Meanwhile, the forces of Paleandra managed to hold on to their territory, thanks to the mountain ranges that surrounded their lands. Great Arcan, on the other hand, took severe blows and their people were driven back to the snowy mountains (Order should have more focus on cold and snowy mountains). There, they managed to build more strongholds and hold of the forces of the Empire. The Empire was actually severly limited itself and was hardly any stronger than the others.
Nekross did not want to fight, but was dragged into this war by the scruff of its neck. Lysander Jr. of Paleandra had convinced the elves that Nekross was a direct threat to the freedom of the people. Gauldoth first ordered his undead to hold them away from the borders, but his army was small and was swept away. Fortunately for them, the alchemists kept true to their alliance and drove the elves away with their now sizable force.
Gauldoth and the alchemists renewed their alliance, which brought the alchemists absolute damnation from the priests of Paleandra. The alchemists would defend both borders while a large group of necromancers would take the risky mission to travel to the battlefields and raise the army of undead which they would need to properly protect all borders. Neither of them had desire to really ride out into the middle of the conflict. They just held on to the old necromancer trick of waiting until the others kill each other.
The necromancers lost some of their people during this mission, but raised a huge army of undead. The demons feared to be outnumbered in this way, but most of them were brutally slaughtered before they could do anything and ressurected as undead, the others fled to the north (turning the necropolis undead again).
The alliance repeatedly suffered attacks from the elves and barbarians, but the armies were now large enough to hold off attacks, and the Alchemists retaliated by burning and poisoning the food supplies.
The barbarians were still under command of an aging Waerjak. They usually did not bother with other peoples, but the elves send envoys to their leaders, warning them about the dangers of the large army of undead and alchemic troops. The barbarians were never really friendly to the necromancers and agreed with the elves that they were a thread. Their forces managed to take down a number of the undead and alchemic forces, but the alchemists retaliated with the destruction of the food supply by poison and flames.
The barbarians were now forced to take over other lands, just for the food. Under protest of the elves, they decided to raid the borders of the northern Great Arcan. This alienated both the barbarians and the elves from the Life-Order faction.
This is where the story starts. All sides are more or less equal and all at war with each other or neutral. This is no longer a war between good and evil, but a battle for survival of the fittest.