Ashan is a fictional fantasy world created by Ubisoft for their current and future games under the Might and Magic brand. It replaced the old Might and Magic universe, which consisted of many different worlds and was used by New World Computing until its dissolution. According to Ubisoft, it was done because the old continuity became hard to manage, and to avoid confusing newcomers.
In contrast with the old universe, which incorporated science fiction elements, Ashan is a pure fantasy world. The first game it was featured in was Heroes of Might and Magic V, followed by Dark Messiah of Might and Magic.
Ashan is a world where dragons are worshipped as deities. Actually, dragons played a vital role in creating the world as it is known.
Template:VG-in-universe In the beginning, there was nothing but the eternal Void. The Void spawned the Cosmic Egg, which, upon hatching, released 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, among them Elrath(Haven), the Dragon of Light, Sylath(Stronghold), the Dragon of Air, Arkath(Fortress), the Dragon of Fire, Sylanna(Sylvan), the Dragon of Earth, Malassa(Dungeon), the Dragon of Darkness, and Shalassa(Naga), the Dragon of Water. They were worshipped by the mortal races of Ashan, while Urgash was the deity of the demon race.
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 seal the demons in an underground prison known as Sheogh. For his deeds, Sar-Elam became known as the Seventh Dragon, despite not actually being a dragon, and 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 worshipped in its modern counterpart, the Holy Griffin Empire or 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 remaining ones 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 foundation 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 necromancersEdit
Template:VG-in-universe 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 reached the borders of the Holy Falcon Empire. As a replacement for the orcs, the Wizards eventually (in 512 YSD) created several beast-people species, including minotaurs, centaurs and harpies.
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 540 YSD|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 Syris Thalla, the capital of Irollan, killing the High King and Brythigga, the Mother of Elves. This day became known as the "Day of the Tears of Fire".
The dark elves were offered with an ultimatum: to be exiled, or to face 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 offered them to return, but their apology was refused.
The last major faction to emerge in Ashan were 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, in 751 YSD, a civil war broke out, lasting until 770 YSD, destroying the Seven Cities and devastating the land. Thus began the modern period of history.
Template:VG-in-universe It was during the civil war in the Seven Cities that King Vaniel of Irollan died, succeeded by Alaron. The new king broke the elves' political isolation and re-established contacts 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 take 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 Talonguard; 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 until 969 YSD, when, during an unexpected eclipse, the demons interrupted the wedding ceremony of Nicolai and Isabel Greyhound, triggering what is now known as Queen Isabel's War.