In the Shadow of the Tyrant
The Tyrant Karzak
An ancient wizard-king said to have reigned over the entire of the known world in times long past. Much about him is lost to history, save that he was a powerful wizard and attained near-immortality. Many of the more exotic creatures and races in the world, including the Mokole and Ensouled Sidhe, are thought to be the results of Karzak’s mad magical experiments. He was eventually deposed by the Five Heroes.
From the Marquering National Archives:
The legend of the Tyrant traces its origins back to the days before recorded history. It is unclear whether Karzak was the man’s actual name, as research has shown that it is originally a word meaning “Nemesis” in ancient Giant, the language used by a selection of races that, at that time, ruled the known world. Unlike the lumbering brutes, such as hill giants and cyclopses, that plague the hills today, these Giants are thought to have been noble, civilized creatures of many kinds. At that point in history, what we now think of as the civilized races were oppressed, scraping out a meager existence in the shadow of the Giants.
From the Humans among these races, a particularly powerful individual arose, a champion called Karzak. It is unknown how Karzak learned the arcane arts, but his abilities were unlike anything the world had yet seen. It is commonly agreed that he was a Wizard of great power, but also that his martial prowess was unrivaled. Currently, it is not possible to discern fact from legend on these two points.
Regardless, Karzak united the lesser races under a common banner, and rebelled against the Giants that ruled the continent. Shocked at the sudden threat to their rule, the Giants scrambled to form an organized defense, but by this time a large portion of them had already been destroyed by Karzak’s staggering power.
Ultimately, the empires of the Giants fell, and Karzak named himself king of the known world, ruling from a massive floating fortress positioned over the center of the continent. For a time, the world knew peace, and the civilized races prospered. It is estimated that Karzak ruled in this manner for well over a thousand years. Though the methods used to extend his life are unknown, it is well-recorded that he never fell prey to undeath or the temptations of Lichhood during this time.
Throughout his rule, Karzak grew more hedonistic and cruel, earning himself the title of “Tyrant” from his subjects. Rather than change his ways, he embraced the title, and began referring to himself as “The Tyrant” and continued to abuse his massive power. It is at this point that the legend of the Five Heroes begins.
Five warriors, from different corners of the land, united in one group to defeat Karzak and end his rule of the land. The details of this conflict are unknown, but it is said that after a mighty battle, the five heroes defeated Karzak and killed him, banishing his flying fortress and all traces of his power from this world. These heroes are now honored throughout the world, the survivors establishing a nation in honor of each of them, creating the political situation we know today.
It is notable that, due to the necessary unity brought about by the rebellion against the Giant races, and then years later against Karzak, most traces of racial segregation and prejudice were erased from civilization. In the present day, while racial identity still exists, most individuals consider their national affiliation first, and their racial only afterward.