From: "Dr. Rainer Nagel"
Subject: [GREYTALK] Azalin (very long)
The two Ravenloft novels _King of the Dead_ and _Lord of the Necropolis_ (both by Gene De Weese) contain a lot of information about Azalin's days on Oerth. Since those of you who create timelines might be interested, I'm posting a summary here. Since we're talking about books, not adventures, the info presented here might not be canon, but at least it is canonical within Ravenloft, since it appears verbatim in other RL products.
The man who will later become known as Azalin is born in Knurl as Firan Zal'honan, 2nd son of Earl Turalitan Zal'honan, ruler of Knurl. He has an older brother, Ranald, who is a glutton. (KING, p. 81, implied - the action starts in 246 CY and Firan is 15 years old).
A younger brother, Irik, is born, who grows up to be loved most by the populace. (KING, p. 81, implied)
Firan attempts a "Grand Summoning", together with Irik and the Nyrondese mage Corsalus. The summoning goes wrong, due to a mistake by Corsalus and Firan's faltering at a crucial time. A fiend takes possession of Irik.
Earl Turalitan kills his son in demon form, not recognizing him. (KING, p. 89-114) Later that year, Firan relocates to Eastfair (reaching it at the beginning of Fireseek - p. 120) to become an apprentice with Quantarius (a mage who was exiled from Knurl after the Irik incident). Firan is considered to be quite talented. (KING, p. 115-125)
Firan defends the caravan of Merchant Glodreddi highly competently against an ambush. He displays first evil tendencies. (KING, p. 126-131)
A School of Magic, led by Quantarius, has been established at Eastfair, with Firan being its most highly skilled member. Firan's father dies and is replaced by Ranald.
Firan has learned how to collect the life energies of the dying and to apply them to rejuvenate. Quantarius is not pleased and tells Firan of a disturbing prophecy that he should no try to cheat death. Firan finally leaves for Rauxes. (KING, p. 143-149)
Firan helps quell a rebellion against the ruling house (which is not named; but their prince is called Edron). Firan lusts for power [he's probably LE at this point]. Then Ranald dies and Firan is recalled to Knurl which he frees of bandits and scheming mages. The people proclaim him "Azal'lan', meaning "wizard king" in Old Oeridian. (KING: 150-165)
283 CY - 291 CY
In the following years, Firan swears fealty to the Malachite Throne and rules Knurl with a heavy hand. He discourages priesthoods which leads to the almost total annihilation of worship in Knurl. Despite frequent infusions of life energy, he begins to age. (KING, p. 167f.)
Firan, who is now respected and feared throughout the Flanaess, coerces a woman named Olessa, daughter of one Count Delaric, into marriage after killing her erstwhile suitor (unbeknownst to her). The marriage is not happy and remains childless. (KING, p. 167-177)
Firan finds out that Olessa had herself purposely made barren by a gypsy woman. He finds a way to undo this and fathers a son. Olessa dies in childbed. (KING: p. 176-181)
Firan becomes concerned that Irik feels drawn more to the peasants than to the ruling classes (as did his mother). He shows no signs of liking Firan's way of ruling. (KING, p. 182-186)
In the following years, Firan's hold over Knurl begins to weaken (KING, p. 186)
Irik begins to conspire against his father. (KING, p. 184-186)
Irik is caught and executed by his father for treason. Firan begins to hear voices (actually the powers of Ravenloft). They persuade him to become a lich [alignment shift to CE?]. (KING, p. 187-198)
Firan becomes a lich. (KING, p. 198-203)
From this year onwards ("for threescore years" - KING, p. 204), Firan searches for a means to revive his son [remember: no priests in Knurl!].
In the meantime, he seizes the Teesar Valley, the Flinty Hills, the Blemu Hills, and the Adri Forest and installs a reign of terror. He creates an army of unded from slain enemies and dissidents. (KING, p. 204-206)
Firan's armies capture Innspa (KING, p. 206). He is tricked into a trap by his trusted lieutenant Stakaster (KING, p. 207-216), escapes [he has to run away because he doesn't know Teleport, would you believe it] and is brought to Ravenloft by the Mists (KING, p. 219-236). He emerges in Barovia in the year 542, Barovian Calendar. There he forms an uneasy alliance with Strahd Von Zarovich which lasts until 579 Barovian Calendar.
Then, he gets to be Lord of his own domain, Darkon.
I spare you the details of Azalin's activities in Ravenloft (save for the mention that Patricia Nead Elrod's _I, Strahd: The War Against Azalin_ contains a good account of this conflict with excellent Azalin characterization).
In the end, it turns out that the Ravenloft powers had influenced Firan from the moment of his birth and marked him for some sinister purpose.
(LORD, p. 170-172) This purpose turns out to be the freeing of the Ravenloft powers while searching for a means to revive his son. (LORD, 283f.)
Azalin finally finds out about this and prevents it. He manages to return to Oerth in 246 CY, at the time of the Grand Summoning, to change events - but ends up _creating_ them by causing his younger self's indicision at the crudial moment himself. He is finally absorbed by the Ravenloft powers, condemned to watch his actions all over again. Darkon becomes a necropolis. (LORD, p. 290-301)
There is a short epilogie dealing with two characters called Oldar and Balitor, former subjects of Azalin to whom he had taken a liking. Before his final fall (and the transformation of Darkon into a necropolis) he promised to send them to safety, which they find on Oerth, their memories of Darkon being only bad dreams. (LORD, p. 302f.)
All right, this does it. I hope it is of yome service to some of you.