In the Palatine Eye
Tar-Baphon was a powerful wizard-king who ruled central Avistan at the end of the 9th century AR. Killed by the god Aroden himself in 896 AR, he rose as the lich known as the Whispering Tyrant in 3203 AR, and ruled the country of Ustalav for centuries. He was finally defeated by the Shining Crusade in 3827 AR and imprisoned within his capital of Gallowspire.
Rise of Tar-Baphon
Much of the early life of the infamous Tar-Baphon is shrouded in myth and mystery, for he must have been born nearly four millennia ago. What is known for certain is that the wizard-king Tar-Baphon lived in the 9th century AR and was widely known as a powerful necromancer. He eventually attracted the attention of the god Aroden himself. Tar-Baphon sought immortality and possibly looked down upon the Last Azlanti for not having ascended to godhood on his own, but for having had to rely on the power of the Starstone. Whatever the true cause of their disagreement was, the two came into conflict, which ended when Aroden killed the wizard-king on the Isle of Terror at the centre of Lake Encarthan in a mighty battle in 896 AR.
Return of the Whispering Tyrant
In 3203 AR he was somehow able to use the power of the Whispering Way to return as a lich. An ancient tome, the Whispers of the Immortal, purportedly written by a disciple of Tar-Baphon, documents his transition into undeath, but there are significant doubts regarding its authenticity. He sought to attract the attention of Aroden, and to gain his revenge, but Aroden did not take up his challenge. Styling himself the Whispering Tyrant, Tar-Baphon united the orcs of Belkzen under his rule and conquered Ustalav, taking the city of Adorak as his capital. When his troops fell in battle, he simply brought them back to unlife, greatly bolstering the strength of his armies. He continued this for over five centuries, holding much of central Avistan in his skeletal grasp, and tolerating no threat to his rule.
Centuries later, in 3754 AR, Taldor sought to oust the Whispering Tyrant, giving rise to the drawn-out conflict that became known as the Shining Crusade. The forces of Taldor were aided by the dwarven kingdom of Kraggodan (in modern day Five Kings Mountains), and the Knights of Ozem. In 3801 AR, the crusaders finally established a beachhead in the then Ustalavic town of Vellumis, and began the slow and brutal process of advancing to the Tyrant’s lair of Gallowspire. In 3818 AR the Knights of Ozem summoned Arazni, the Herald of Aroden, to aid them in the war, but in 3823 AR the Tyrant got the better of the warrior-goddess and managed to capture and then kill her. At last, in 3827 AR, the crusaders reached Gallowspire, in ruined Ardorak. The Taldan general, Arnisant, fought the Tyrant and using the artifact known as the Shield of Aroden was able to withstand the lich’s magic. When the shield eventually shattered, it burned the lich with holy fire, weakening the Tyrant enough that the crusaders were able to cast him down into the crypts beneath Gallowspire.
The province of Lastwall, now an independent country of the same name, was established to watch over Virlych and ensure the Tyrant’s remaining followers—many of whom are undead themselves and thus immortal—never find a way to return their master to power.