The last king of this land, King Vendrick, as he was called… He was less of a king than you might imagine. He found the strength to rule his people, and when the Undead were born, cursed… He found more strength, to face them. But in the end, he never took the true throne. - Nashandra
I am king of this wretched, unraveled kingdom.
I subdued the giants, and claimed their strength.
So that I might step closer to fire…
Drangleic will fall, The fire will fade, and the souls of old will reemerge.
With Dark unshackled, a curse will be upon us…
And men will take their true shape… - Vendrick
The King was wasted away, a shadow of his former self, but still held something dear. - Soul of Vendrick
King Vendrick defeated the Four Great Ones
He built the kingdom that is now Drangleic upon their souls and has watched over the land since ages long, long ago.
Vendrick condemned his own elder brother to Aldia's Keep
Vendrick and Aldia both sought the truth, but through different means, and their fervor meant the eventual withering of their familial ties. Weaponsmith Ornifex tells us, "Vendrick came close to unlocking the essence of the soul." And, Chancellor Wellager says, "My Lord made magnificent findings on souls… An accomplishment for the ages." We do not know he methods that Vendrick used, but Aldia studied and experimented on giants and dragons before his disappearance.
The queen, Nashandra, used Vendrick
According to Chancellor Wellager: Vendrick's queen, Nashandra, warned him "of the looming threat across the seas… of the Giants. The King crossed the ocean… And defeated the Giants, with the Queen at his side." As thanks, Vendrick built Drangleic Castle for Nashandra on top of what is supposed to be the First Flame, which she coveted. Wellager explains, "The King commandeered [the Giants'] power… And created the Golems. With the Golems, the king created the castle. To celebrate victory… And to show his love, his gratitude to his Queen…" Vendrick brought a "prize" back with him from the invasion, which prompted the Giants to invade Drangleic in turn to retrieve it, leading to the downfall of the kingdom.
Vendrick went hollow
By the time the player finds him, Vendrick has gone completely hollow. He still wears the King's Crown, though, and carries the Ruler's Sword. The item description for the sword reads, "The great king shut himself away, and was soon reduced to a mere shell. Just what was it that he yearned to protect?"