- "Those who do not plan in war do not survive."
- —Hepnaz L'invrad
Duke Hepnaz L'invrad was an old archdemon, the Lord of the Duchy of Southern Yamato and the leader of the Southern Horde in the Third Age. He eventually began to openly move against the other demon hordes and planned to use the inner conflicts of his enemies to take over Yamato. However, before he could see his plans come to fruition, he was assassinated by Nina Heeate L'andariel who had been posing as his Dreadlady Gin'vel.
Hepnaz L'invrad, like other demons, entered the Land of the Living through the Gate of Darkness during the Second Battle of Kageshima and witnessed the demise of the demons' patron god Mardük, which led to the Cataclysm. When Mardük's power over the demons was gone, Hepnaz too fought long and hard to carve his domain in Yamato. He and his followers eventually settled in an area surrounding the city of Hyama which would be known as the Duchy of Southern Yamato, and he made his vicious lieutenant Gin'vel his second-in-command, a Dreadlady. Hepnaz became officially known as the the Duke of the Southern Horde.
The Duke of the South wasted no time and sent various agents all around Yamato and even beyond borders to find out if there was something he could do to expand his power base. Out of the agents, Iblis al-Djinn and Dantalion in particular turned out to be useful as the former managed to become the Grand Vizier of the court of Vanna in Southern Libaterra while the latter became a Master of the Magestar in Eastern Aison. Hepnaz instructed his agents to stay put and slowly weaken Vanna, Magestar and other infiltrated locations from within in preparation for the South's eventual invasion of the non-demon nations.
Hepnaz also sent Dreadlady Gin'vel to participate in the Night of Blood to get rid of Ronove Thandar, the Dreadlord of the fifth, Central Horde whose master Omaroch d'Zarnagon had been missing for years. The Dreadlord was dealt with, and Hepnaz took one quarter of the Central Horde, which had fallen into chaos after its Dreadlord's disappearance, into his growing army.
A Game of DeceptionEdit
Hepnaz, like the other archdemons, went to Kageshima in 1017 AE to give his annual report to Grand Duchess Nhrakate d'Zarnagon. It was around this time that he found out that Duke Malphas d'Xuvadon and the Northern Horde were preparing to move the North's armies somewhere although he was unsure which opponent the Northern Horde would be facing. Nevertheless this bit of information was important for Hepnaz, and he immediately returned back to his duchy to figure out how to use this sudden development to his advantage and shift the status quo between the hordes in his favour.
Echoes of WarEdit
Hepnaz sent some of his forces to conquer the vulnerable areas of Aison that were next to the Yamatian border. Although he could not take over strongholds such as New Molson, his forces scored many victories by outnumbering their opponents. The Southern Horde had taken over mines near the border which they began using to supply their soldiers with metals for armor and weapons. Hepnaz heard that the Northern Horde was on the move and decided to let the conflict in Libaterra play out. After the fighting there had ended, his plan was to pick the weaker of the two combatants and crush them both under his heel.
A Crimson DawnEdit
- "It's almost time we strike."
- —Hepnaz to Gin'vel
Gin'vel informed Hepnaz that the Northern Horde had sent some of its forces to reclaim Vulpengaard Keep from the Akai Tora and the Forgotten who had captured it earlier in the Second Battle of Vulpengaard Keep. Hepnaz ordered Gin'vel to prepare the Southern Horde's forces. They would use the opportunity to move against Malphas himself while Malphas's forces were busy elsewhere.
Tears of the SunEdit
- "Lesser beings always take things at face value, never bothering to look deeper. Their ignorance will be their downfall."
- "I hope so for your sake, Baron Iblis. I've spent a lot of time, resources and manpower to make all of this happen. Do not fail me."
- —Iblis al-Djinn and Hepnaz
Hepnaz was contacted by a traitor of his who had accompanied the Grand Alliance to Vanna. The traitor was ostensibly reporting to the Northern Horde of the heroes' activities, but he was instead triple-crossing people as his true master was none other than Hepnaz. Everything was going as planned: now that the traitor had informed the Northern Horde of the situation in Vanna, Malphas's forces would begin the march to Vanna, which would in turn leave the Northern Horde's strongholds in Yamato almost undefended and ripe for invasion from Hepnaz's Southern Horde. Hepnaz told the traitor to stay put and enjoy the show.
Hepnaz was later contacted by another one of his agents, Grand Vizier Iblis al-Djinn, who informed him that the plan--to use the shards of Krystallopyr to either reforge the magic blade or shatter it and the Black Stone which would be used to forge it so that a magical shield around Vanna would drop and let demons invade--was going as planned. However, Iblis also informed Hepnaz that he had spotted a familiar figure, Ronove Thanadar, among the heroes and that Ronove seemed to have lost his memories. Hepnaz immediately ordered Iblis to send a group of skilled warriors after the heroes in order to kill Ronove before Ronove could regain his memories. Both of them knew that it was time to finish what they had begun in the Night of Blood.
The Winds of WrathEdit
More info later.
- "What do you want?"
- "Merely to inform you that by now, my army has taken most of your mines and villages. Such a shame to have your army fighting rebels and invading Libaterra, when the true threat...lies at your very doorstep."
- —Malphas d'Xuvadon and Hepnaz
More info later.
- "No! I was so...close..."
- —Hepnaz's last words
Once the Northern Horde had begun the invasion of Libaterra, Hepnaz saw that his time had come. He boldly approached Malphas in Kageshima, informing him that his forces had already moved to take over the lands of northern Yamato which had once belonged to the Northern Horde. Before he could fully enjoy his triumph over his fellow archdemon, he was stabbed in the back by Gin'vel, his loyal subordinate. The last thing that he saw was Gin'vel morphing into Nina Heeate L'andariel, the second-in-command of the rival Eastern Horde, which made him realize that Nina must've killed the real Gin'vel a long time ago and had acted as a mole in the horde without him realizing it until it was too late. Thus Hepnaz was undone by a greater schemer than himself, and all his plans would end up benefiting his enemies in the end.
Aliases and NicknamesEdit
- Lord of the South
- An honorary title given to Hepnaz after he formed the Duchy of Southern Yamato.
An old, black-robed guy with golden trimming. He had many expressions on his face that should've been illegal.
Personality and TraitsEdit
Hepnaz was cold and calculative and liked to manipulate people. He preferred to let two sides fight and finish both of them off when they had become weak enough. He believeed that strength did not always lie in numbers but in the strategic use of cunning at the right moments.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Hepnaz was a powerful black mage, but he preferred to use his cunning and words against his opponents rather than brute force. His specialization in magic left his body vulnerable for physical attacks, which led to his demise when his assassin stabbed him from behind while he was focusing his attention elsewhere.
Gin'vel acted as Duke Hepnaz's Dreadlady and was thus the second-in-command of the duke's forces. Hepnaz saw Gin'vel as a loyal subordinate. What Hepnaz didn't know, however, was that Nina Heeate had slain the real Gin'vel after the Night of Blood and taken her place in order to infiltrate Hepnaz's horde. Hepnaz's trust in "Gin'vel" eventually led to his demise as "Gin'vel", who revealed himself as Nina, stabbed him in the back and killed him, thus ending Hepnaz's reign.
Iblis served Hepnaz loyally for a long time. The two shared ambitious plans, and Iblis was more than willing to manipulate people to please his master. Although Hepnaz seemed to respect Iblis to an extent, he saw Iblis as nothing more than a grand pawn in his elaborate game of deception.