Thousands upon thousands of years ago a young(ish) black dragon living in the heart of the Evermoors in Caevalonia discovered the secrets of the dark art of necromancy. As his power grew, so did his awareness of his mortality - despite the longevity of which all dragons were possessed - this was one of the psychological effects of dealing with Death Magic.
In order to preserve his life, and also to augment his power, he cast a spell upon himself, binding his soul to his body and joining the ranks of the undead as a dracoliche. In this way he could also use the more powerful spells that would otherwise destroy the body of a mere mortal caster.
Evil and corrupted by the necromancy, the dracoliche raised an army of the damned - great enough even to rival that of the Liche-King Bel-Sharoth - and waged war upon the mortal world, for little reason other than the fact that he could.
But he didn't just conquer his enemies by blindly dictating the actions of his forces from his lair: One of the things this creature of darkness was most well known for was his use of crows, rooks and other birds of ill-omen, especially ravens, as his spies throughout the land - this trait earned him the name 'Raven' (although he wasn't averse to using any individual that could be tempted by his promises of power and wealth). It was rumoured that Raven could not just speak to the birds (something that most magic users can do, given the chance), but he could actually use their senses, seeing through their eyes and listening through their ears. He could even transform himself into a raven if he wished to do things personally. For this he was feared as it meant that there was very little that escaped his attention, or that of his spies.
Back at his lair Raven had the finest artisans his forces could capture build him a structure in which he could 'live', studying magic and controlling his armies. And so the forbidding obsidian structure of Raven's Ziggurat came into being (well, a dank cave wasn't really his ideal home).
Finally the Emperor - head of the Caevalonian Empire which was pretty much exclusive to humans at that time - ordered that this menace had to be stopped. And so the Council of Wizards (although skills in magic were not as well developed in those days) were appealed to for their wisdom. As dracoliches were extremely rare and there had been none that posed a major threat in living memory, no one was sure as to what could be done. Finally a solution was decided upon ... although the dracoliche's body could be destroyed, his soul would survive and perhaps even escape the Spirit World to seek revenge as chaos dragons were well known for their unforgiving attitudes ... a magical staff was created which would absorb Raven's soul once his body was destroyed.
Four heroes were elected to complete this onerous task - and so they did, assisted by the Emperor's finest forces to punch a way in through the Evermoors. After a terrible battle Raven was destroyed, his soul assimilated into the staff, and his armies crumbled to dust without his will there to sustain them. Or so people thought. In fact, many of the dead he had raised continued to exist as the amount of magic saturating the area was more than adequate for the continued existence of the Lesser Dead such as zombies and skeletons. Greater Dead such as wraiths, wights and other liches Raven had summoned to help maintan his armies were merely freed from their service to Raven and scattered across the continent, many heading for the Desolation to the south east where the Liche King reigned.
The Ziggurat was not destroyed (although this was not for lack of trying) as the enchantments placed upon it were too strong. But it was discovered that the area around the lair was ideal land for colonization as it would also open up a road through the Evermoors making trade with the more southerly areas of Caevalonia easier (as at this time the only other route south meant a long and dangerous trek through the Desert of Shifting Sands - populated by the race of snake-men known as the Hssaar). Trade was good and soon the initial outpost grew into Caevalonia's second-greatest city (the first, of course, was the Imperial seat at Fortune City far to the north), known as Uth Lintar - which, translated, means 'Victory City'.
But Raven's shadow was not yet gone from the land as the artifact - now known as the Raven Staff - fell into the hands of a corrupt member of the Council of Wizards. The Staff allowed the user to tap into Raven's power. After an attempt on the Emperor's life the Councillor was stopped and the Staff retrieved. But more incidents involving the Staff falling into the wrong hands occurred - it was almost as if the Staff was actively seeking them out.
Finally it was decided that the Staff should be rendered useless to prevent such events from happening again. Although it could never be completely destroyed, the Raven Staff could be separated into two parts - the shaft and the headpiece - which, on their own, were not very powerful at all. And in order to prevent the two parts from ever being reunited, the headpiece was cast into a magical vortex, sending it to another world ... perhaps even another reality. The shaft was hidden somewhere in Caevalonia and all records of the Staff were either hidden or destroyed in the hope that the relic would be forgotten over time.
For millennia the Raven Staff remain forgotten - until a certain undead werewolf by the name of F'lair Hartland discovered it. Now, after certain events which took place in San Francisco, Earth (see 'Unkindness of Ravens'), Raven exists in the mortal plane once more. Or at least his soul does.
Also, Uth Lintar was a rather unfortunate name for the city really, as it was the first place to be destroyed when the immense dragon Syrax Bloodbane went on the rampage. Now the ruins form part of his lair and are known as Uth Nagor - the 'Forsaken City'.