Tarthen was a promising but arrogant young spellcaster and a member of the Tirisgarde, the order of magi created by the Council of Tirisfal to hunt down and subdue the wayward Guardian Aegwynn. Tarthen's elderly master had long ago inherited the powerful greatstaff , and was in the process of choosing which apprentice would take it up next. Tarthen fully expected to receive the staff, as he eclipsed his fellow apprentices in raw power and potential. However, his master put little weight in such things, and on the day of the ceremony he instead gave Ebonchill to another apprentice, who embodied the qualities of compassion, wisdom and comradery.
Tarthen wallowed in anger and bitterness. Believing that he had been wronged, he was determined to prove himself and stole Ebonchill from its new owner, taking great care to cover up evidence of his crime. In secret, he practiced with the greatstaff and learned to wield its energies. Only a small handful of his most trusted Tirisgarde allies knew of his theft, and they alone witnessed Tarthen bending Ebonchill's magics to his will and were awed by the power at his fingertips. Once he was confident that he had mastered Ebonchill, Tarthen set out to succeed where all of the other Tirisgarde had failed and defeat Aegwynn.
According to a missive later sent to the Council of Tirisfal, Tarthen confronted Aegwynn in Stranglethorn Vale. In terms of the power used by the two magi, the duel was one of the greatest to have ever occurred between a Tirisgarde and the renegade Guardian, but also one of the shortest. When Tarthen unleashed Ebonchill's stored power against Aegwynn, she immediately turned the energies back on him with a counterspell, encasing him in a layer of diamond-hard ice. Despite Stranglethorn's hot weather, Tarthen was still frozen solid when the authors of the missive found him, and it took considerable effort to thaw his corpse and wrench Ebonchill from his lifeless hand.