Much of his reign was marked by a centuries-old dispute with Kaedwen, ruled at the time by King Henselt, over the fertile land of Upper Aedirn. Apart from that, Demavend fought in both the First and Second Northern Wars against the invading Nilfgaardian Empire. After the second war, he was one of the negotiators of the peace treaty.
Demavend wasn't very trustful of mages, calling them "devious old windbags", and preferred royal messengers for communication. He nonetheless had Radcliffe of Oxenfurt as an advisor and informant, and also called Yennefer for help from time to time.
At some point in 1226, agents of Temerian Secret Service who infiltrated Aedirnian Special Forces stationed in Aldersberg made an attempt on the life of underage Prince Demavend, an act meant to be Medell's revenge for the shameful defeat Virfuril handed him near Hagge. Although it was unsuccessful, Virfuril flew into a rage and executed an entire third of the special forces including the Commissar Vilmerik Moebius.
First Northern War and after
In 1263, upon learning about the atrocities perpetrated by the Black Forces in Cintra, Demavend joined the rest of the Four Kingdoms with his army to avenge Calanthe and drive the invaders back. Led by Vizimir II of Redania, the united forces of the North managed to defeat Nilfgaard in the battle of Sodden Hill. A truce was negotiated shortly after the battle, which Demavend signed.
This concord among the North's great powers disappeared just as soon as Nilfgaard retreated. Demavend and Henselt renewed their quarrel over the Upper Aedirn which, however, they stopped in spring 1267 when Demavend summoned Henselt along with Vizimir II, Foltest of Temeria and his staunchest ally Meve of Lyria and Rivia to Hagge.
Meeting at Hagge
In the beginning, Demavend corrected Henselt it wouldn't be sergeants but young officers who were going to lead Nilfgaard's armies in wars to come, following Emhyr var Emreis' military purges. Later, when they discussed the spreading of a pro-Nilfgaard prophecy in the North, Demavend revealed he once had a cleric tortured to find out how much Emhyr paid him but the cleric expired before revealing a thing. This prompted Vizimir II to warn him against such methods to avoid making martyrs. He also eagerly agreed with a major campaign to root out Scoia'tael and momentarily considered a punitive expedition to Dol Blathanna.
As the monarchs agreed Cintra should be conquered back, Demavend proposed for it to be a joint protectorate but was persuaded it should be a free country once more. He quickly guessed that the mysterious force searching for the lost heir of Cintra, Ciri, was Emhyr who wanted her to legalize his conquest. Another proposition he came up with afterward was a morganatic marriage of Ciri to Vissegerd as a puppet king, but this was turned down by others present. In order to get ahead of Emhyr, the kings eventually silently agreed that the Cintran heir had to die.
Second Northern War
Right after the summit, Demavend began the war preparations. He launched a large-scale persecution of nonhumans and an offensive against Scoia'tael simultaneously with Henselt in order clear the rear before striking Nilfgaard. Teaming up with Meve, Demavend redistributed around third of his men into forts along the southern frontier, as close to the enemy as possible. The plan was to provoke Nilfgaardian rangers stationed in Dol Angra to attack Lyrians or Aedirnians who could then call it a casus belli, cross Yaruga in full force and call others for help.
By June, Demavend began to send messengers to Foltest and Vizimir II, informing them soldiers disguised as Nilfgaardians were ready for second July night. Foltest replied first, asking Demavend to withhold until the mages' assembly was over. Vizimir then wanted the same, adding what the Redanian Secret Service found out – that there has been a betrayal, Emhyr knew about the plan and moved a massive army under Menno Coehoorn to Dol Angra. Alas, the reply never reached Demavend as the messenger was shot by Yaevinn in the woods of the Pontar Valley.
Defeat and elopement abroad
On a night from 1 to 2 July, Nilfgaardian force disguised as Lyrians and Aedirnians seized Glevitzingen, an Imperial border post. Mere moments after, a group of Demavend's heralds escorted by Lyrian soldiers – all of whom were quite possibly still disguised Black Ones – informed the folk of the surrounding villages that Aedirn was taking control now. Claiming this an act of aggression, the Imperials crossed the Yaruga immediately, conquering the Lyrian border fortresses Scala and Spalla in just three days. Rivia was prepared for months of siege but capitulated under the promise of no harm. As Nilfgaard captured her realm, Meve retreated to Aedirn, seeking aid.
Unbeknownst to most, he was carrying out an affair with a local prostitute Demaretta which resulted in an illegitimate son named Baldwin. Demavend and his forces fell back to the Old City where the prostitute was going into labor. With Meve and the remnant of her army, they held out until Demavend's child was born, retreating from the city right after. When the battle ended, Demavend gave Meve a few of his men to help her in a guerilla war and then bid her farewell.
Seeing his army annihilated, the kingdom in ashes and betrayal from Henselt who struck a deal with Nilfgaard and robbed him of Lormark, Demavend sought asylum in Tretogor, where the Regency Council hosted him. When Nilfgaard reached the defenseless Vengerberg they had no mercy, burning it entirely to the ground.
Demavend did not waste time in Redania but worked hard to gather as many soldiers as possible to reclaim his dominion. When in March 1268 the decisive battle of Brenna commenced, Demavend sent some of his units in support. As the battle turned victorious for the Noth, Demavend and Henselt met on Aedirnian soil, shook hands and agreed to advance against Ardal aep Dahy, the commander of Nilfgaardian East Army Group, together. Strengthened by Redanian reinforcements and Meve's guerillas, who had cruelly sacked Nilfgaard's rear, the allied kings not only stopped Ardal's advance but drove him all the way to Aldersberg. Without any delay, Demavend and Henselt routed his army in a final battle and won, despite Nilfgaard having a significant numerical advantage.
Since Foltest had similar success with driving Nilfgaard south past Angren, Nilfgaard started to sue for peace. Meeting at the end of the March in Cintra, the Northern kings negotiated with Shilard Fitz-Oesterlen who represented the Emperor. To avoid unwanted complications with Nilfgaard and unnecessary bloodshed, Demavend agreed to accept Dol Blathanna as an autonomous elven duchy. Aedirnian control of Hagge, occupied by Foltest for safety reasons since late July last year, was also restored. Only Henselt refused to return the Upper Aedirn as he claimed it was an ethnic territory of Kaedwen. In the end, his court sorcerer Sabrina Glevissig pressed him into withdrawing from conquered castles in less than a week. The treaty's final version was signed on 2 April.
Continuing conflict over Upper Aedirn
It took but one year before the Kaedwenian Army attempted to retake the Upper Aedirn. They crossed Pontar on a third day after the Velen equinox without any formal declaration of war to have an element of surprise. Demavend, however, had good spies, so he was ready for them. He lined up his troops consisting of banners from Vengerberg, Aldersberg, Gulet and a dwarven regiment from Vergen along the hills near and gave their command to his champion Seltkirk who was a great inspiration to fighting Aedirnians. They numbered more than 5,000.
As the battle started, Aedirnians quickly decimated the Dun Banner and wreaked havoc among the Kaedwenians but the battle later turned into a veritable hell after Sabrina Glevissig conjured Melgar's Fire, killing Aedirnians and Kaedwenians alike. Henselt then ordered Sabrina to be burned alive at the stake and retreated back to his kingdom.
In 1271, while out on one of his ships celebrating with various entertainment, the witcher Letho secretly boarded and, using a Northern Wind-based special capsule, froze the majority of the ship and its people in place, though a mage on board managed to protect the king and a few other guards. However, none of them could best the witcher, who proceeded to cut them all down before grabbing Demavend and killing him, then cut off his head as proof.
He was especially attractive in his younger years and it was said that Foltest himself would've envied his eagle-like profile with piercing emerald-green eyes. Demavend also had a rather lustrous mane that, to his great sorrow, receded quickly with age. To hide this he often wore a white cap embroidered with golden thread.
Personality and traits
Demavend was intelligent, well-educated and knowledgeable about tactics. This is best evidenced by how he was able to predict Emhyr's moves during the Northern Wars. A shrewd, farseeing politician, he knew precisely what to do to ensure the integrity of his realm. One of his other characteristic traits was self-control. Demavend was able to maintain calm façade even when arguing with impulsive people like Henselt. Only his face betrayed how much effort he put into not losing composure.
He was cruel at times, ordering priests whose preachings interfered with his politics to be tortured to death. His hatred for elves was legendary and he went as far as launching a large persecution of nonhumans that resulted in many a pogrom. What's more, Demavend offered 50 ducats for every Scoia'tael head, even in a time when the royal treasury was nearly drained by the war with Nilfgaard. It must be said, though, that he didn't hate the nonhumans blindly. He had good relations with dwarves of Mahakam and eventually allowed Dol Blathanna to be an autonomous elven duchy.
- Demavend, son of Virfuril, ruled the Kingdom of Aedirn, which was mightily aggrieved during the last war with Nilfgaard. A proponent of authoritarian rule, he was seen as having no love for nonhumans. He often moved radically against the Scoia'tael, though he drooled in spite of himself when the guerrillas perpetrated massacres on his own people, as these justified the punitive expeditions he delighted in sending into the foothills of Dol Blathanna. He also showed no shyness towards imprisoning and torturing rabble-rousers and street prophets who would interfere in his politics. Thus it is no wonder that many could not wait to see him dead. In spite of this, his subjects could not help but be surprised by his death, for it is not every day that a crowned head paints the palace floor with its blood.
Demavend is a leader in the Homecoming version.
Reward Tree entries
- Scroll 1: Demavend possessed many traits that predisposed the king for greatness. Well-educated, shrewd, cunning, a master of political intrigue. Unfortunately, he was also very, very impatient.
- Scroll 2: King Demavend was never satisfied with the present. He always looked to tomorrow, to the great feats of his future, shrugging off the mundane tasks of the court. Whilst his advisers bored him with the nuances of prudent fiscal policy, he quietly planned his next conquest...
- Scroll 3: Aedirn's neighbors learned quickly that Demavend could never be appeased with compromise. His kingdom expanded like dough baked in too small a bread pan, pushing and stretching in all directions. Not unlike the Nilfgaardian Empire...
- Scroll 4: When Nilfgaardian forces eventually crossed the Yaruga, a panicked fear struck deeply in all the rulers of the North. All except for King Demavend, that is. He rejoiced, for at last he would face an enemy worthy of Aedirn's might! Of course... His jubilation would not last long.
- Chest 1: Although all now are too young to recall, Demavend was once a strapping young man. Foltest himself would have envied the man's eagle-like profile. Maidens swooned when caught under the gaze of his piercing emerald eyes. But years of plenty have taken their toll. A plump belly and rosy cheeks show clearly that the king was never want for sumptuous food and drink. His saggy neck and hunched shoulders proved further that he preferred to command his armies from a silk-lined throne in place of a saddle...
- Chest 2: Demavend's hatred for elves was legendary. While Vizimir and Foltest fought the Squirrels out of necessity, the King of Aedirn hunted the rebels down with astonishing enthusiasm. Despite the fact that the war with Nilfgaard had nearly drained Aedirn's royal treasury, Demavend offered 50 ducats for every Scoia'tael head. Taking advantage of the lucrative bounty, Aedirnians often falsely accused and captured innocent elves and dwarves. Demavend was perfectly aware his subjects were exploiting the offer. And yet, he didn't seem bothered in the least...
- Chest 3: Under his crown, Demavend always wore a white cap embroidered with gold thread – undeterred even by the sweltering summer months. Why? It seems the vain king was ashamed of his retreating hairline. Many alchemists and barbers passed through his court, offering promises to restore the Aedirnian ruler's lustrous mane. Each of them, to the last, spent their remaining days in the Aldersberg dungeons for their failure – deprived of freedom... and their own scalps.
- In one of the fan interviews, Andrzej Sapkowski confirmed that he indeed named Demavend after the highest peak of Iran, after opening an encyclopedia on a random page looking for original names.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
- ↑ The Witcher 2 World of The Witcher trailer
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
- ↑ The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Artbook
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales
- ↑ Wiedźmin: Gra Wyobraźni
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Blood of Elves
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Time of Contempt
- ↑ The Tower of the Swallow
- ↑ Baptism of Fire
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 The Lady of the Lake
- ↑ Klawisz F8 interview