The Rise of the Whispering Tyrant
Nobody knows exactly who the Whispering Tyrant was before he came to power roughly 700 years ago. Some have suggested that he was an exiled prince from the south but this is pure speculation based on small scraps of information of dubious value.
What is better known is what he did when he came to power. The Whispering Tyrant was an enormously powerful mage who, for reasons lost to time, became entangled with the deadly royal politics of Ustalav and killed the entire royal family and its major supporters in a single bloody night. and took the empty throne for himself.
In a few decades he singlehandedly turned Ustalav into a center of learning and the arts. The system of laws was revised and rigorously followed. The borders of the 17 counties were settled in a logical manner which ended a lot of internal raiding. Roads were improved and technologies brought in from far lands that improved the lot of the average person. Ardis, the capital of Ustalav, became the center of civilization in the North and the port of Caliphas hummed with activity.
As all leaders do, the Whispering Tyrant accumulated many enemies but they were content to simply wait for the man to die as he took no wife and fathered no children. But the Tyrant never seemed to age and people began to whisper of dark magics being used in his palace. Time eventually revealed that the Tyrant was no longer human but had become an adherent of Urgothoa and had been rewarded for his efforts by being transformed into a lich.
Upon being revealed, the lich unleashed a massive army of undead soldiers on his neighbors. Caught by surprise, they quickly fell and large quantities of plunder further enriched Ustalav. But the army did not stop with Ustalav’s neighbors and people outside of blissful Ustalav began to whisper that the Tyrant was waging a war against all living things.
People inside of Ustalav heard these rumors and began to wonder what would happen to them if the Whispering Tyrant succeeded. Would he turn his armies against his own country or would he repopulate the world from Ustalav? Should the people of Ustalav revolt against their leader to save the world or should they support him? These and other questions were quietly debated among the powerful but were not acted upon until the Shining Crusade arrived, and then it was far too late…