The rulers of Archendale accused the Dusk Lord of various crimes: practicing foul necromancy or other dark sorceries, of polluting the realm with such magic, of harboring evil raiders, and of causing undead and magical constructs to stalk the land, raid caravans, and murder innocents. Such claims might have been without merit, but weren't aided by the Dusk Lord's sinister title. Meanwhile, the Sessrenfolk accused the Arkhenfolk merchants of spreading rumors and laying trumped-up charges over minor incidents in order to justify their avarice. Things came to a head in the Year of the Weeping Wives, 1232 DR, when an Arkhen caravan journeying to Cormyr was attacked, with several families brutally slain. The culprits were never identified, but Archendale was enraged and launched an invasion.
In the ensuing Sessrendale War, the Dusk Lord and other mighty mages used potent magic in their defense, but Archendale had superior forces, leading to heavy losses on both sides. Archendale's first target was Sessrenglade, the primary settlement, with the aim of immediately breaking Sessren resistance. However, the five great mages living there held it for two weeks before being overcome. After only three weeks, the Arkhenfolk broke the Sessrenfolk's defenses and Sessrendale was conquered, its people driven out and the whole land sacked and burned and salted. The Dusk Lord was reportedly overthrown and killed.[note 1]
However, there remained speculation about the Dusk Lord's demise. Although some believed he'd been killed, others feared his necromancy had sustained him in undeath, perhaps even as a lich. According to legend, whether alive or undead, the Dusk Lord escaped into neighboring Cormyr and found refuge in the Vast Swamp. It was even insisted that he was there planning vengeance against all the living in the Dalelands. However, none of this was confirmed. A century and a half later, there were few serious claims the Dusk Lord still abided in the Vast Swamp, at least not alive.
Curiously, in the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR, a number of prominent Arkhenfolk were apparently slain by a formidable ghost. Rumors swirled that this was the vengeful spirit of the Dusk Lord of Sessrendale, on a mission to kill one descendant of each and every soldier who'd marched into Sessrendale, a number that would be in the hundreds. (However, both the ancestries and the killer were unconfirmed.)
A more obscure legend told that, if not undead, the Dusk Lord enjoyed an unnaturally long life in the Vast Swamp, and that at its end he used his magic to pass into the Plane of Shadow. There were two intriguing pieces of corroborating evidence for this. The first was a portal to the Plane of Shadow located in the ruined keep called the Lost Refuge (built 1227 DR, fell after 1274 DR) in the Vast Swamp. Followers of Shar, goddess of darkness, who occupied the ruins in 1374 DR, named this portal the Dusk Lord's Passage after the legend. Believing it had once been used by the Dusk Lord, they estimated it had been closed over a century before.[note 2] The second was a magical seat called the Dusk Lord's throne in the Shadow Citadel, in the Lost Refuge's reflection on the other side of the portal. Although it had no known link to the Dusk Lord, planar lore held that it had had this name for a century.
- It seems likely that the Dusk Lord was one of the five mages of Sessrenglade. In The Dalelands, page 47, Elminster also says three archmages died in the war; these may be among the five in Sessrenglade and the Dusk Lord might be one.
- Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave page 50 says the portal was "closed over a century ago" (before 1274 DR), but that the keep fell "nearly 100 years ago" (after 1274 DR). This suggests the keep was occupied when the portal was opened and when the Dusk Lord is believed to have passed through.
- Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), pp. 4, 47. ISBN 978-1560766674.
- Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), A Grand Tour of the Realms. (TSR, Inc), pp. 36–37. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 116, 270. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (March 2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 50, 51, 56, 76, 153. ISBN 978-0-7869-4119-3.
- Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 125. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- Ed Greenwood (January 1996). Volo's Guide to the Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 9. ISBN 0-7869-0406-2.
- Eric Haddock (1994). Cormyr. (TSR, Inc), p. 10. ISBN 1-56076-818-5.
- Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), A Grand Tour of the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 57. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 120. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.