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 900 DR and became a Red Wizard of Thay before turning to 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 favour 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. Then 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 stalement 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 lieutentant, 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 an enforced peace in Damara, splitting the region into six baronies which had independent rulers, but taxed them heavily, inducing great hardships as a result. This led to large-scale emmigration from Damara to Impiltur and the south. 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. 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.

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