Ashardalon the Great was an ancient red dragon who lorded over a number of worshipers and servitors, notably Gulthias Sengir. He was slain by the archdruid Dydd who invoked the power of the land and tore his giant heart out of his chest, leaving a giant rotten pile of meat in the wake of Ashardalon’s death, which Gulthias Sengir later recovered, encasing it in crystal and drawing upon it as a source of vampiric power.
Hengist tore the heart apart and perished in the process during the course of the party’s battles with Gulthias.
Kryss is carrying remnants of the rotten heart around. Kryss has also been talking about having visions of Ashardalon, one of which melted his armor to his flesh and seared Ashardalon’s name across his chest, although those outside the party tend to insist that the dragon is long gone.
"Margrave Vortimorg—last human ruler of Tanglewood—made a pact with the leader of his peoples’ traditional enemies, the powerful wizard-king Gulthias Kaviss. The wizard-king, who effectively had fulfilled the role of priest among his people for many decades (likely because he had disposed of competing holy persons and ruled through fear and magic), ensured that the hill folk continued to revere the great wyrm Ashardalon as their ancestors had—a rare glimpse of the magnificent and terrifying dragon had a greater impact on the Ddraigasa than did the subtle responses of unseen gods. Ashardalon was revered as a tribal protector, and also out of fear—the last thing the tribesmen wanted was to call the wrath of the great wyrm upon themselves through negligence. As a condition of the pact with Gulthias and the hill folk, the Farkam margrave and his people were required to renounce their ties to Tal and to convert to the worship of Ashardalon. In exchange, the Farkam could build strongholds along the western and southern edges of the Ddraigasa’s highland territory, and obtained a pledge of mutual defense from their former foes. Margrave Vortimorg would have the authority to command Ddraigasa forces on the battlefield, while Gulthias held ultimate authority over his peoples and would summon the wyrm to their aid. Thus, the first and only “significant” anti-Chamiaholom resistance movement was born. While the majority of the Farkam willingly submitted to this pact, a small number of Farkam tribes led by one Sathnabor rejected it and sought refuge in the Tangleheart, where they hoped to avoid the conflict altogether by obtaining the protection of the druidess Dydd the Wise. To her credit, the druidess supposedly had protested the endorsement of the Skull Staff by Four Order leaders. As it would turn out, Sathnabor acquired the epithet of “Warlord” for waging his own bloody but short-lived campaign against the Holomian forces that invaded the woods. Sathnabor’s deeds forged the beginning of an earldom that would be passed on for centuries.
As the Skull Staff’s influence spread throughout the region, so did the strength of the Cult of Ashardalon. Many tribesmen (Farkam and non-Farkam) who had not yet been enslaved by the Black Bone’s forces preferred to take their chances by siding with a dangerous yet magnificent dragon and his cult rather than with a tyrannical, undead sorcerer king (or the morally bankrupt Four Order). It was a choice between the presumed lesser of two great evils. The haffun and dwarves of the region, however, wisely chose to retreat into their strongholds due to the lack of trust they felt towards the various human factions. Such is the human perspective, anyway, which allegedly has been contested by the small folk. Unbeknownst to Margrave Vortimorg and other well intentioned Farkam rebels, Gulthias also had aspirations of conquest and domination over the region."