During the time of the Cataclysmic Wars, the man who was later to become the Lich King and give Greater Khartoum a new moniker, the Land of the Dead, reluctantly served the DeathKnight. And true to his word, and living by the ancient proverb “do not wound what you cannot kill”, he did not sabotage his ‘masters’ plans, and showed him everything he wanted to know dispassionately..
For he knew that it was his abuse of power that would be Thanes eventual undoing, and during the time he was in servitude, he gleaned all the darkest secrets of necromancy by osmosis as he reluctantly assisted the DeathKnight to raise the dead as mindless minions to bolster their numbers during the wars, and did whatever was required of him – all the time quietly growing more powerful..
In the end, he was right – the DeathKnight and his armies brought the wrath of all the nations of Eletreus to the Thanes, and in that final apocalyptic battle, no-one noticed a lone and strange mystic returning to his war ravaged homeland..
On his way back into his ancestral homelands, Umr at-Tawil encountered the remains of naught but field upon blackened field of his countrymen who had been slaughtered. Soldiers mostly, but then entire villages and towns. It was said after days of seeing none but the dead he was overcome and wept for three days and three nights. But on the third night, he made a grim decision.
His people were almost all gone, his lands – emptied. But all around him, he could see while their bodies were lifeless and starting to decay, some of them still lingered on in spirit. And so he burned incense, and summoned forth the spirits of the dead with a proposition.. The best offer he could muster..
The offer was for them to enter their bodies, in the state they are now, and as best as they can have one last chance to say goodbye to their loved ones – be they also dead or among the living, and to finish the things left undone, and then take their final rest in peace at a proper grave back in Ankarath or their hometowns.
Many of the spirits were angry with him, for they simply wanted release. Others were outraged at his obscene suggestion and were tortured by his words. But a few considered deeply. For there were those who would take any chance to say the things they left unsaid in life, seek out those they had lost, do the final things they needed to do..
And by the time he arrived at the Capital, the remains of thousands of un-buried soldiers, now sentient animated skeletons – were following behind.
What little was left of the cities garrison sallied out from still broken walls to fight off this new perceived undead menace. But they were struck dumb by the clear voices of their own dead countrymen and women imploring them to stop, and Umr strode forward boldly to meet them and explain what had happened and who these people were.. With a kings ransom of diamonds and the rubies, he ordered fine cloaks and golden masks from the cities remaining artisans, and slowly – the dead started to take care of their affairs..
But the problem was, most of the dead men did not want to leave when they had completed all they originally set out to do – and while horrified by the truth, after realizing that the person they loved was still inside, many living family members of returned dead soldiers did not want them to leave either..
And then some family members wanted their relatives to stay on.. And Umr, did not want to grow old or die either.. But as only he could raise himself, he realized he needed to step across to the otherside and come back all by himself.. And so, he studied the Ankarathian Book of the Dead, and was reborn..
Umr at-Tawil was Dead. But in his place, T’shering the Eternal – the Lich King – was born..
It has only just recently been 1000 years since T’shering the Eternal drank in a deadly poison and rose again as a man with no heartbeat, no hunger, no unnecessary pain or suffering. He quickly rose to central power and was proclaimed King, and over thousands of years he has amassed a tireless and incredibly efficient labor force and army.
For the first two hundred years of his reign, he actively campaigned to defend his people against the fear and revulsion felt by the lands outside their borders, for Greater Khartoum had always a very different attitude towards death, mummification and the ‘afterlife’ than their neighbors (ever since the early Pharaohs learned the secrets from the mysterious Qahoori Nomads).
However, after seemingly having avert invasion and war with his neighbors – reaching a point of what appeared to be military equilibrium with the combined forces of the rest of the known world, he largely retired from public life.
200 years later, it seemed he could no longer hold back his neighbors disdain re-interpretation of the afterlife, and his lands were submerged by a great tsunami summoned by the 5th Paragon and the Flame of the Host – though fearful legends suggest that this new watery grave did NOT take away or destroy the vessel he called his body and that he is still alive deep under the Dead Sea – filled with hatred and thoughts of revenge..