The man (or creature) known as Ghul claimed to be the son of Eslathagos Malkith and some dark, unnamed demon goddess. He called himself the Half God and claimed the Spire as his birthright.
These were all lies.
He was indeed a half-demon, but he had no blood relation with the Dread One (who never had children). Ghul was a mighty sorcerer with incredible natural talent and an innate aptitude for utilizing and shaping power toward his own ends. Originally from the land of Kem, he searched the world for sources of power to exploit. When he came to the Spire, he knew he had found what he sought.
Ghul had discovered the Entropy Sphere, anchored in the middle of the Spire but not truly existing in that space— its wild, chaotic energies created their own spatial location. Ghul tapped into its almost limitless power to expand this supernatural space and found that it existed within a realm of complete blackness, which he named the Utterdark. He built his fortress, Goth Gulgamel, at an access point halfway up the Spire.
So did Ghul admire the Dread One, he even assumed his symbol of a black skull (below right) and took from it the name “Skull-King.” Most historians don’t even recall that the symbol originally belonged to the first master of the Spire.
The paths within Goth Gulgamel stretched to points that magically joined with warrens that his servants quickly carved out of the living rock surrounding the Spire, all the way to the sea. These burrows provide the basis for most of the underground labyrinths that lie under Ptolus today, although many have been significantly altered, partitioned, or incorporated into other subterranean structures. In these chambers, Ghul constructed breeding pits and laboratories where he created all manner of foul creatures that became part of his so-called “Squirming Horde.” It was here, too, that Ghul tortured and twisted Elder and Shoal elves into Harrow elves as well as into the elves that became the Urthon Aedar (the latter a fact not widely known).
By 288 BE, Ghul had so mastered the power of the Entropy Sphere that he drew the Utterdark out into the normal, physical world. This darkness covered the lands for almost two centuries, until an elf wizard named Khelaeson finally banished it. Khelaeson was instrumental in Ghul’s eventual downfall, as he also helped engineer the Pact of Brightfather’s Day, wherein a unified army of elves, dwarves, humans, and halflings gathered to fight against the Squirming Horde. Eventually, the unified armies were victorious and laid siege to Goth Gulgamel. A group of heroes known today as the Great Seven pursued Ghul who, upon seeing that his defeat was imminent, fled into the Jewels of Parnaith. It was there they slew him.
With Ghul dead, champions of the unified armies entered Goth Gulgamel, slaying every creature they could. Khelaeson used his knowledge of the Utterdark to sever many of the branching corridors from their anchors within the darkness, sending them to be lost forever in the void. Some of them, however, he left, claiming it was not within his power to destroy all of the fortress—but this was a lie. In truth, he knew that if they annihilated Goth Gulgamel, they might lose contact with the Entropy Sphere for good, and Khelaeson had the foresight to realize the sphere would have its uses. In fact, Khelaeson became the first of the Urthon Aedar, seeking and eventually finding a way to use the Entropy Sphere to reach the stolen elven city of Dreta Phantas.
When Khelaeson and the other champions had finished with Goth Gulgamel, they left nothing alive (or undead). The place still reeked of evil, though, and the Brightfather armies did not want to risk another dark lord arising from the foul puissance of the Spire. So, under the guidance of the dwarves, they built Dalenguard to protect the location from intrusion. Thanks to that move, Goth Gulgamel lay quiet and vacant for centuries.
The Great Seven “Slayers of Ghul”
The slayers of Ghul are: Dionys, a human fighter-druid; Eriskal, an elf rogue; Kam, a halfling monk; Runshallot, a human cleric; Saerth, an elf wizardrogue; Uthegos, a dwarf fighter; and Yllistro, a half-elf sorcererranger. Statues of the Great Seven stand in the Hall of Heroes in the Temple District (page 372). For more on Ghul, see Chapter 24: Goth Gulgamel.