This article is about the dragon priest. For the mask, see Ahzidal (artifact).
Ahzidal (meaning "the Embittered Destroyer" or literally "Bitter Destroyer" in the Dragon Language) was the first great Nord enchanter, and possibly the first human to master the Elven methods of enchanting. He was born in the city of Saarthal late in the Merethic Era and his talent for magic and enchanting was quickly noticed. As he grew, his talent quickly surpassed that of his instructors and of every person living in Saarthal. Eventually, finding he could progress no more among his own kind, he left his home and sought out Elven instructors who could teach him more, leaving behind everyone he knew, including his wife and child. He was gone for several years, learning all that he could, but when he returned he discovered his home destroyed, burnt to the ground by the Elves, and everyone he knew dead or gone. He swore an oath of vengeance, taking the name Ahzidal, meaning "the embittered destroyer". He would go on to fulfill that oath, but at the cost of his sanity.
Despite his prowess, he knew he would be no match for the Elves that razed his home, so he sought out all knowledge of enchanting, learning more than anyone ever had. He learned of the seven natures of metal from the Dwemer and ancient runes and dawn magic from the Ayleids. He learned all that the Snow Elves, Chimer and Altmer knew, waiting for the chance to get revenge on those who destroyed his home. Finally, he learned that Ysgramor had assembled an army and was marching to battle the Elves. He offered them his services and outfitted them with his best enchantments. The Elves were no match for Ysgramor and his men, bedecked as they were with Ahzidal's enchanted weapons and armor. Finally, he had his revenge.
This was not enough for Ahzidal, however. He had become obsessed with his art, and lusted for more knowledge than Elves and men could provide. He sought out the knowledge of the Dragons and the secrets of the dragon-runes, and through this pursuit became one of their high priests. But still he craved more, and sought out the knowledge of the Daedric Princes and the secrets of Oblivion. That knowledge brought him power, but also madness, and he was exiled by his fellow dragon priests. He later became an Acolyte Priest of Miraak, the First Dragonborn, who had turned on the dragons to become a servant of Hermaeus Mora. Ahzidal followed him when he fled to Solstheim, although Miraak was subsequently defeated by the Dragon Cult and Ahzidal was sealed within Kolbjorn Barrow with his most powerful artifacts.
In 4E 201, a financier from Morrowind named Ralis Sedarys attempted to excavate the ruins of Kolbjorn, which had been buried beneath the ash following the Red Year of 4E 5. With funding provided by the Last Dragonborn, Sedarys was able to gradually excavate the barrow despite several setbacks. Throughout the dig, Ralis slowly began to lose his mind; at first, he heard only mocking voices, which eventually coalesced into the voice of Ahzidal himself, who had placed a spell on him. Ahzidal told him of the layout of the ruins and instructed him to excavate the inner chamber, where Ralis then began to sacrifice the souls of the hired miners to speak with his "master". He then attempted to summon Ahzidal, but the ceremony was interrupted by the Last Dragonborn, who defeated the undead Dragon Priest.
- For game-specific information see the Dragonborn article.