The people of the land of Hasslich, beset by fearsome foes on every border, came up with a brilliant plan to protect their country from the depredations of the other Dukes. They invented a powerful but reclusive leader, a taciturn character named “Ithrok,” whose cruel and capricious power grew with every additional tale invented by the creative minstrels of Hasslich. They used some minor illusions, shadow lanterns, and a very skilled sock puppeteer to create the impression of a sinister lord holding court in the tallest and scariest tower they could find (headquarters for the local insurance company).
The ploy was remarkably successful for years and, with neighboring powers wary of crossing the mysterious “Ithrok”, the citizens of Hasslich were finally free to get to the business of serious policy reform, implementing a progressive tax system, improving roads and sanitation, and offering universal preschool and maternity leave, all coordinated by a democratically elected People’s Council. Then one day the sock puppeteer showed up in "Ithrok's" throne room to stage an appearance for a fundraiser and found an actual Ithrok on the throne. Ithrok promptly incinerated the Council, the shadow lanterns, the preschools, and the puppeteer (although he kept the puppet, for some reason), and Hasslich became just one more despotic state eventually swallowed by the Overlord’s expanding empire.
Nobody knows where Ithrok came from, or indeed what Ithrok is. (You want to ask him? Go right ahead. Let me know how that works out for you.) Like his fictional predecessor, Ithrok is rarely seen. It’s easier to tell where he’s been (by the carnage and ashen-faced witnesses) than where he is at any given moment. Ithrok likes sneak attacks, scrawling threatening notes on people’s mirrors, and sushi.