The Sessrendale War was a conflict fought between Archendale and Sessrendale of the Dalelands in the Year of the Weeping Wives, 1232 DR. It was the first significant conflict between the Dales. Although it lasted only three weeks, it was intensely bloody. It ended in victory for Archendale and culminated in the annihilation of Sessrendale.[1][2][3][4][5][6]


The fighting took place throughout both Sessrendale and Archendale in the Dalelands,[3] especially around Sessrenglade, the main settlement of Sessrendale.[1]



The Sessrenfolk and Arkhenfolk had once been kin and their division seems to have led to bitter enmity between them.[1] Both dales also laid claim to Thunder Gap, which led to conflict.[4]

The two sides gave different accounts of the matter.[3] Arkhenfolk accused the mysterious Dusk Lord, ruler of Sessrendale, of using necromancy, polluting the realm, harboring evil raiders, and of causing monsters to stalk the land, raid caravans, and murder innocents.[1][3][5][6] Such claims might have been without merit,[5] but weren't aided by the Dusk Lord's sinister title.[3] Meanwhile, the Sessrenfolk (at least the surviving refugees) accused the Arkhenfolk merchants of wicked avarice, that they saw Sessrendale as a rival in trade and so spread rumors and laid trumped-up charges over minor incidents as justification for their attack.[3] Elminster suspected their patrols met, argued, and skirmished in the usual way.[1]

Things came to a head in 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 mobilized its mercenary companies (including the Pegasus Archery Company from the High Dale[3] and Sembian wizards[1]) to attack Sessrendale. The mercenaries had already been hired, conveniently.[3]


The forces of Archendale led an invasion of Sessrendale and the Sessrenfolk launched widespread retaliations both at home and in Archendale, engulfing both lands in war. The Dusk Lord and other mighty mages used powerful magic in their defense, but Archendale had superior forces. The fighting was described as a bloodbath, though it last only three weeks.[1][3][4][5][6]

Archendale's first target was Sessrenglade, with the aim of immediately breaking Sessren resistance. However, the five great mages living there came to the settlement's defense and held it for two weeks before the Sembian wizards overcame them. As a result of the awesome magical power unleashed in the siege and the subsequent demolition by Arkhen forces, the site was left a blasted meadow pocked with char-filled pits and with patches of both wild magic and dead magic, making the area hazardous and unstable. [1][note 1]

The losses were heavy on both sides, but ultimately the Arkhenfolk broke the Sessrenfolk's defenses, the Dusk Lord was reportedly slain, and Sessrendale was conquered.[1][3][4][5][6]


After the conquest, the Arkhenfolk killed and drove out the Sessrenfolk, forcing them to go west.[3][2][4] There were hundreds of Sessren refugees, many just widows and children. Some of the families fled to Battledale, Mistledale, and Deepingdale, and others into Cormyr.[1][3][4][5][6]

The Swords of Archendale, its hidden rulers, demanded reparations. The Arkhenfolk stripped everything of any value from Sessrendale and transported it to Archendale. They destroyed everything that remained: all the buildings, homes, farms, and mines were razed and torn down. They even went so far as to salting its earth to ensure that the Sessrenfolk could never return and refound Sessrendale. With this act of utter annihilation, it ceased to exist in any form.[1][3][2][4][5][6]


The other Dales had done nothing to prevent the invasion or the erasure of Sessrendale,[3] though Archendale never again found an ally among them.[2] A century on, Lashan Aumersair of Scardale took this inaction as inspiration for his own war of conquest. King Azoun IV of Cormyr was persuaded by the story of Sessrendale that this side of his kingdom needed his strong hand, leading to Cormyr's annexation of Tilverton. Even later generations of Arkhenfolk felt guilty and ashamed of their ancestors' crimes, though not enough to try to identify the culprits among their leaders.[3]


In addition to the Sessren and Arkhen forces, Archendale hired mercenaries, including the Pegasus Archery Company from the High Dale[3] and wizards from Sembia.[1]


Elminster lamented it was a war that should never have happened, that claimed some of the finest people of the Dalelands, including three archmages.[1][note 2] The Dusk Lord of Sessrendale was also thought to have been slain, but some legends claimed he'd escaped.[1][3][4][5][6]



  1. As the apparent capital of the realm, it seems likely that the Dusk Lord, the ruler of Sessrendale and a mage, was one of these five wizards.
  2. These three archmages may be among the five in Sessrenglade and the Dusk Lord might be one.


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