- "In his sixth decade, the king’s features remained surprisingly youthful. He was of average height, slightly on the lean side, his gestures revealing a nervous energy that seemed tireless. The bones beneath his features were prominent and somewhat asymmetrical, the result of a childhood incident with a bad-tempered horse. Right cheekbone and orbital arch sat flatter and higher than their counterparts on the left side of the king’s face, making the eye on that side seem larger and rounder. It was a poorly functioning eye and had a tendency to wander independently when Ezgara was irritated or weary. Healers could have corrected the damage, but the king forbade it - even as a child, he had been obstinate and wilful, and not in the least concerned with outward appearance."
- ―Description of the King
At the time, the royal line was fractured into factions, with Ezgara, his advisor First Eunuch Nifadas, his sorcerer Ceda Kuru Qan, Preda Unnutal Hebaz, and First Concubine Nisall leading one, and the Queen, Chancellor Triban Gnol, and Quillas leading the other.
Except for formal affairs when he wore the robes of state, a brocaded tunic, and slippers, Ezgara preferred modest attire more befitting a a citizen in the markets than king. Brys Beddict and Kuru Qan joked that if wherewithal was an immortal virtue then their king would be a god.
In Midnight Tides
King Ezgara prepared for the coming of the Seventh Closure when it was prophesied that he would Ascend and assume the title of First Emperor in a reborn First Empire. In preparation, the Eternal Domicile was constructed to replace the old palace. The king had also recently promoted Brys Beddict to the position of King's Champion, his personal bodyguard, on the advice of Nifadas.
The failure of the Great Meeting between the new Tiste Edur emperor, Rhulad Sengar, and a Letherii delegation led by Nifadas and Quillas led to a state of war between the two nations. The queen's faction had used a plot involving the illicit Letherii harvesting of the Edur's Tusked seals to poison negotiations.
Knowing the queen and prince intended to use their private armies for their own purposes, the king and his advisors did not consider them during their own discussion of strategy. King Ezgara insisted that his Ceda launch an overwhelming pre-emptive attack on the Tiste Edur villages to stop the war before it began. But by the time the Ceda and his sorcerers launched their attack, the Edur armies advised by traitor Hull Beddict were already on the move.
Fortune was not with the Letherii as the Edur scored a string of victories at Trate, Fort Shake, and Fent Reach. Queen Janall and Prince Quillas were captured at the Battle of High Fort. As the Edur armies advanced on Brans Keep where the remainder of the Letherii Army had converged, Nifadas urged the king to flee to Truce or Tallis on the Isle. The king refused saying he would rather die on his throne than see destruction follow his trail elsewhere.
On the day of the Seventh Closure, king was pale as dusted marble as he was crowned emperor by Nifadas in the throne room of the Eternal Domicile. None of the Letherii realised that they had miscalculated the date of the Closure by two days. The Letherii army was slaughtered at the Battle of Brans Keep and the Edur marched on Letheras. The king was too frightened to leave his throne and slept there while Nisall and Brys Beddict maintained a vigil over him.
After taking Letheras, Emperor Rhulad confronted the king and his supporters in his throne room. Kuru Qan was killed by Warlock King Hannan Mosag and Trull Sengar. Hannan Mosag terrorized the king by producing the horribly disfigured queen and prince. As Brys Beddict readied to duel Rhulad to the death, Nifadas produced a jug of wine from which he and the king drank. By the time Brys had finished dispatching Rhulad both king and First Eunuch were dead of poison. It was unclear who poisoned the wine and whether the king and Nifadas might have intentionally poisoned themselves, but Queen Janall seemed to cackle knowingly. On the true day of the Seventh Closure, Rhulad declared himself emperor of the new Letherii Empire.
In Reaper's Gale
During the rule of the Tiste Edur, Chancellor Triban Gnol kept a small bottle of poison in a lacquered Bloodwood box on the desk in his office. He gleefully reminisced on having used it to poison the King and Nifadas, although he had intended for Nisall to die as well and thought it unfortunate that Brys Beddict had died instead.
Nisall became Rhulad Sengar's lover and confidante once the young Tiste Edur took Ezgara's throne. When comparing the two as rulers, she thought of how Ezgara had been so full of promise in his early years before raising a wall between himself and his citizens in the last decade of his rule. This occurred because his integrity had been abused and betrayed again and again, including by his own wife and son.
From Triban Gnol's recollection it seemed that clear Nifadas and King Ezgara were unaware their wine had been poisoned. This does not seem to match the account in Midnight Tides suggesting that Nifadas had had the same idea and the cups were poisoned twice.
Notes and references
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.140
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 10, US SFBC p.324
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 20, US SFBC p.596
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.746
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 3, US HC p.75
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.216
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 6, US SFBC p.218
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.86
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.152
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.79
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 13, US SFBC p.408-409
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 4, US SFBC p.142
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 2, US SFBC p.66
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 14, US SFBC p.430-433
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 15, US SFBC p.456-460/463-464
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 18, US SFBC p.560
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 20, US SFBC p.617
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 20, US SFBC p.616
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 22, US SFBC p.664
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 24, US SFBC p.691-692
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.733-736
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 25, US SFBC p.742-747
- Midnight Tides, Chapter 25
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 15, US HC p.445-447
- Reaper's Gale, Chapter 3, US HC p.78-79