Sessrendale (the Dead Dale) 1368 DR
"Sessrendale was colonized shortly after Archendale's founding by a number of Archendalesmen who didn't care to live under the Swords. That was hundreds of years ago, mind ye. Over time, Sessrendale flourished and made out quite well without Archendale's overlordship.
"Both Archendale and Sessrendale were lands of miners and traders, seeking to attract the wealth of Cormyr and Sembia. Worse yet, they were kin from long ago, and I've found that people can hate their kin even more fiercely than orcs.
"About a century ago, matters came to a head. I suspect that perhaps a couple of patrols met and skirmished after some hot words. In no time at all, the Archendalesmen mustered their army and set out to end their rivals, once and for all.
"Some of the finest folk in the Dales - and three archmages - died in that war. It should never have been fought." - Elminster
Sessrendale is also known as the Dead Dale. When Archendale's forces triumphed, the Swords ordered the total destruction of the land. Every building was burned or cast down. Everything that could be carried off to Archenbridge was taken. Before they left, Archendale's soldiers salted the earth to ensure no one would return to the lands of their ancient rival.
Although the loss of life on both sides of was high, hundreds of Sessren refugees escaped the destruction of their home. Many fled to Deepingdale, Mistledale, and Cormyr. While their descendants have grown up as people of other lands, there are still some powerful families who remember where their grandparents came from and who it was that destroyed them.
The area of old Sessrendale is a wild place now. The steep foothills are littered with the wreckage of old mines, smelteries, and smithies. The gentle glens and fields are barren, still poisoned by the salt. Dark, wild forests that have not been hunted or logged for a hundred years encroach on the old fields of the Sessrendalesmen.
No one but a few lonely trappers and woodsmen live anywhere near Sessrendale now. On occasion, bands of goblins or human bandits will pass through the area, but there is not much to keep brigands or raiders here. Many areas of the Dale are plagued by the restless dead. Ghosts and wights haunt the Thunder Gap road, and travelers hurry through this area.
Sessrendale is easily reached from the East Way, the road from Arabel to Ordulin. Old paths lead to Mistledale, Lake Sember, Deepingdale, and Archendale. Many of these trails are overgrown and dangerous.
Sessrendale's mines were largely destroyed in Archendale's invasion. The support timbers were fired to collapse the shafts. However, the mines were quite profitable at one time and it seems that there is always someone with a plan to re-open them.
The chief town of old Sessrendale was Sessrenglade, a small but prosperous village near the Thunder Gap road. The Archendalesmen attacked the town first, hoping to smash all resistance with one swift blow, but the village was defended by the Sessren mages - five powerful wizards who resided there: The mages proved to be the key to Sessrenglade's defense, and the town was not taken until two weeks later with the aid of hired Sembian wizards.
The Sessren mages expended a great amount of magical firepower in the defense of their home, but it is thought that the ruins of their towers may still contain magical treasures that were not used up in the war. All that remains of their meadow is a blasted field with charred pits and dangerous, unpredictable regions of wild magic and dead magic.
Overlooking the ruins of Sessrendale is the Bloodhorn, a great mountain crag known for its reddish hue. The foothills of this peak held the lodes mined by Sessrendale, but even in the Dale's heyday the Bloodhorn itself was avoided - the Sessrendalesmen believed it to be haunted.
About 10 years ago, a young red dragon named Thraxata moved into the area and established a lair near the mountain's peak. Thraxata overflies much of the area, but spends much of her time in Cormyr's borderlands. She has been quietly amassing a sizable hoard. So far, she has not been troubled by any ghosts or evil mountain spirits.