The player first encounters Rydell after he is dead, his soul form is locked in a cell on the west side of the second floor of the first area of the Tower of Latria rattling the bars and crying out in anguish. He was likely injured in battle by the arrow firing machine which guards the main path to the Fool's Idol's church as that is where his Clever Rat's Ring is found. His signature weapon, the Phosphorescent Pole, was smashed and he was imprisoned and left to die in his cell. Rydell carried a pair of matching rings. When he is near death, one grants him greater protection and the other grants him immense power.
That Rydell was known by the nickname "Little Allant" and is similar in age to the King indicating they are related, most likely brothers, with Rydell being the younger of the two. That certainly explains why Ostrava, son of King Allant, would have so many keepsakes from Latria (his armor, sword, shield, and brass telescope), as Rydell would be the Prince's uncle. He is best known for stealing the Phosphorescent Pole, a magically enhanced staff weapon, from the Witch in the Sky.
It is of particular interest the degree of malice of Rydell's imprisonment as even in death he is not allowed release from the dungeon. Some type of spell by the Old Monk or the Fat Ministers has caused his soul to be drawn to and imprisoned in a different cell after he died. The key to the cell was hidden well atop one of Latria's towers to ensure he would never escape.