Tales of the Bloodstone Lands
Presumed destroyed, Zhengyi the lich, also known as the Witch-King, has forever altered the history and politics of the Bloodstone Lands.
Zhengyi the Witch-King was once a Red Wizard of Thay, but later became an enormously powerful lich and servant of the demon prince Orcus. In the far north of Vaasa in northeast Faerûn, Zhengyi created Castle Perilous in just one night in 1347 DR, and summoned the various goblins, giants and orcs of the lands to him.
Zhengyi was born in the second half of the 900s DR, and become a Red Wizard of Thay before becoming a lich with the help of his patron, Orcus.
Zhengyi’s first known appearance on Faerûn was when he created Castle Perilous in a single night in 1347 DR. He immediately set about winning the favor of the goblins, giants and orcs in the area. He gained support from priests of Orcus, allowing him control of many undead creatures, and enlisted the help of the Grandfather of Assassins.
A year later, in 1348 DR, Zhengyi attacked Damara. He began by occupying Bloodstone Pass, isolating a lot of mining operations crucial to Damara’s prosperity. The armies invaded Damara itself, massacring at every opportunity. Damara fought back, and the war continued for almost a decade, until in 1357 DR, a stalemate between the armies was reached across the Ford of Goliad on the Goliad River. Zhengyi broke this stalemate by convincing the leader of the opposing army, King Virdin, that a magic wand could give him the ability to get his army safely across the river. In Damara it is believed that Virdin’s chief lieutenant, Felix, was persuaded to defect and aid Zhengyi, who waited until the Damaran army was helpless in the river before making his move.
Zhengyi brought about peace in Damara, splitting the region into six baronies which had independent rulers, but taxed them heavily, inducing great hardships as a result, which led to large-scale emigration from Damara to the south. He also appointed the Grandfather of Assassins in charge of the Galena Mountains. Zhengyi then disappeared for a while, leaving Damara in a state of disarray and strife. When he returned, he found the inhabitants of Damara had united under Gareth Dragonsbane and formed a formidable army. Zhengyi sent his army after them, and another stalemate occurred at the Ford of Goliad, the location of the first stalemate. Zhengyi lost his power when Dragonsbane and his company banished Orcus by stealing his wand. Zhengyi’s undead army disintegrated along with Castle Perilous and the Witch-King was defeated.
The Witch-King had hoarded many magical items during its existence, and after its destruction many items were discovered by determined looters. Some rumor that after the defeat of the Witch-King, remnants of himself or his spirit were scattered across the lands. The items were often cursed and quite powerful, plaguing the lands of Vaasa and Damara for years afterward.
The Witch-KIng’s defeat has also left his various followers and apprentices to their own devices. While the Grandfather of Assassins was defeated by Dragonsbane and his companions, the warrior Timoshenko has stepped in to fill that role, supported by the Archmage Knellect, one of Zhengyi’s foremost students. Another student of Zhengyi, Areelu Vorlesh is thought to have remained in Vaasa where she seeks another Demon Lord as her patron. Banak, High Priest of Orcus, was one of Zhengyi’s primary advisors and now works with the Timoshenko and Knellict when not involved in his own plots and schemes.