Gondegal (also known as the Usurper King and the Lost King) was a king who, in 1352 DR (the Year of the Dragon), attempted to establish a kingdom centered in the city of Arabel in northern Cormyr. He was overthrown after only eight days in power by the standing army of Cormyr, the Purple Dragons, led by king Azoun IV.

Description[edit | edit source]

Gondegal was a tall and muscular man, with long grey hair that he let hand loose and a long mustache that drooped below his jaw.[1]

Gondegal's Coat of Arms, inspired by a written description.

Possessions[edit | edit source]

Gondegal typically a suit of black plate mail that had emblazoned on the breastplate his family's ancestral mark, the head of a grey wolf with red eyes. Alongside this he was known to wear a black and yellow cape.[1]

Gondegal was also the owner of a number of image altering rings. Each one changed his appearance.[2]

History[edit | edit source]

Initial Success[edit | edit source]

Using Arabel as his base of operations, Gondegal recruited mercenaries from throughout Cormyr and from what are now known as the Goblin Marches and the Stonelands. In return for military service, Gondegal promised his soldiers any loot they could lay hands on. To his commanders he promised noble titles and land concessions. Gondegal conducted guerrilla style raids throughout Cormyr and rapidly gained control of most of northern Cormyr. Gondegal's forces carried his banner as far north as the Desertsedge Mountains, east past Wyvernwater to the Vast Swamp (capturing Immersea, Hultail, Thunderstone, and Wheloon), west to farms around Eveningstar (though Eveningstar itself withstood Gondegal's siege), and northeast to Tilver's Gap. Gondegal managed to establish a throne at Arabel. But this reign lasted only eight days, and Gondegal was only actually in Arabel for five days as ruler of his impromptu kingdom.

Reaction, Retreat, & Collapse[edit | edit source]

After a brief period of regrouping by the Purple Dragons and diplomacy by Azoun IV, who enlisted the support of Sembia, Daggerdale, Tilverton, and other dales, a combined allied force marched on Gondegal. Simultaneous advances began out of High Horn, the High Dale, Thunder Gap, and Tilverton (its surviving forces had quickly retaken their city after Gondegal captured it).[3]

Many of Gondegal's troops retreated in the face of the advancing allied army, pillaging as they left. A substantial portion of Gondegal's troops, however, having depleted local food supplies, merely surrendered and offered to join the Purple Dragons in return for food and shelter. Throughout the allied advance, there were no major battles; with no battle lasting more than an hour or costing more than 100 lives. Most of the renegade troops decided to fight only because they saw no other option, choosing to die in battle rather than return to their homes in disgrace.[3]

The Purple Dragons, led personally by King Azoun IV, marched on Arabel expecting a pitched battle or a long siege at Gondegal's stronghold. Instead, the Purple Dragons met no resistance whatsoever. Gondegal had fled, most likely during the night or perhaps even a day or two before, leaving his troops to their own devices. Gondegal's mercenary troops had no reason to fight for Arabel on their own. They fought for gold alone, and the source of that gold had fled Arabel. The Purple Dragons reoccupied Arabel without spilling a drop of blood. Myrmeen Lhal was subsequently installed as Lord of Arabel.[3]

Analysis of Failure[edit | edit source]

Gondegal was initially able to quickly capture large tracts of land because his mercenary forces were more agile than Cormyr's resident forces, the Purple Dragons, and because Cormyr had been prepared for an attack from outside, not for an enemy within. With much of the military stationed in High Horn at the time, there was considerable difficulty in rapidly assembling enough troops to challenge Gondegal on the field.[3]

Gondegal failed in his bid for power for a number of interrelated reasons. First, the widespread looting that resulted from the promise of booty left captured towns depleted and therefore useless as points of supply for further attacks. In addition, despite long standing anti-Suzail sentiments within Arabel and in the surrounding countryside, the pillaging, rape and murder of civilians carried out by mercenary troops, meant that Gondegal was unsuccessful in capturing the hearts and minds of average Cormyrians. Perhaps more importantly, however, Gondegal upset the balance of power relations in the region. As a result, Sembia, Daggerdale, Tilverton, and other dales were willing to aid Suzail in putting down the renegade.[3]

Effects on Cormyr[edit | edit source]

Although Gondegal's kingdom was shortlived, historians agree that it played a significant role in the consolidation of the Kingdom of Cormyr. One of the early faults of the young King Azoun IV was his reluctance to attend to matters outside Suzail, the capital city. But with the armed rebellion, Azoun IV was forced to take action to consolidate the administration of central and northern Cormyr. In fact, in the wake of the Gondegal insurgency, Azoun IV took to personally and anonymously touring his realms. His personal leadership of the Purple Dragons during the counterinsurgency projected the image of a man of action, cementing his reputation among both the Purple Dragons and the common folk of Cormyr. The insurgency also led to the redeployment of the Purple Dragons to cities and towns within Cormyr and a tightening of licensing restrictions on adventurer groups of 5 or more persons. Gondegal himself was never captured, and his condition and whereabouts were thereafter unknown in the Realms.[3]

A portrait of Gondegal, trapped in the Demiplane of Dread

Gondegal's Fate[edit | edit source]

Gondegal's ultimate fate, however, was a very different one from what the people believed. Stepping between two mist-shrouded standing stones in the desert of Anauroch, he ended up on the Demiplane of Dread.[4]

After a sojourn in the realm of Falkovnia, to which he was initially attracted due to its ruler's adherence to military discipline, he eventually realized the corruption of evil in the lands and ultimately became a righteous, honorable champion of the oppressed, a Knight of the Shadows.[5]

Rumors & Legends[edit | edit source]

Following his disappearance rumors circulated in the Realms that he was leading a group of bandits under an assumed name in the Goblin Marches or the Stonelands. Whenever caravans would disappeared or bandit activity would be on the rise, people would blame it on Gondegal,[3] referring to him as the "Lost King."[1]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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