Tsien was born as the daughter of one of the princes of I'Cath. From a young age, despite her father's objection that women were only needed to make children, she mastered the talents of both the military and wu jen necromancy, and also learning poisoncraft. In response to her father's belittling of her, she became a determined misandrist and eventually murdered her father, then used her wu jen powers to turn her mother and three brothers into imbeciles.
Tsien Chiang was acclaimed the ruler of I'Cath by the local elders, who would rather see her as lord than one of her idiot family members. She quickly became a notorious tyrant and, in time, one of the most powerful individuals in all of Kara-Tur. Despite binding oaths of loyalty to the Emperor of Shou Lung that she reluctantly swore, Tsien was feared even by him.
Many young men in time offered themselves for marriage to the beautiful and powerful lord but she accepted only four samurai of the highest rank, who were all killed shortly after they fathered a daughter each—three of whom were evil like Tsien but one who was of good heart.
Tsien demanded tribute from the fearful Emperor: four huge bells, all divine relics housed in great temples. The Emperor granted them to her, despite the protests and curses of the temple priests and the complaints of his people.
As a tactical genius and supremely powerful wu jen, she defeated all of the neighboring lords who attempted to overthrow her evil rule, taking their lands as her own. Those who didn't attack her attempted to appease her with gifts but those lords too were murdered. Still, great men came to claim the hands and hearts of Tsien's daughters, all of whom were forced to kill each other for the entertainment of Tsien and her three evil daughters, Hate, Scream, and Spite. When her good daughter, Nightingale (named for her singing voice), complained, she was beaten. The remains of these suitors were used to build a palace, the walls of which cried in madness and despair.
Even the gods despised Tsien; for her lack of faith; for her desecration of their temples; and for the regular beatings she gave Nightingale, whose voice they loved. They plagued I'Cath with storms whenever Nightingale was beaten. Tsien, for her part, was angry at the gods, whom she believed were deliberately withholding power from her.
Tsien began to fear death as she noticed herself age. She gathered sages from all over Kara-Tur to find a way to live forever. Almost all were unsuccessful and so she had them tortured to death. One however suggested looking to the trees for answers, an idea that appealed to Tsien; rather than torture that sage, she had him killed relatively quickly, by being chopped into pieces with the remains consumed by fire. Very few sages visited I'Cath after that.
She used her wu jen powers to bind the souls of her daughters to the temple bells, given to her by the Emperor, as well as a part of her own soul to ensure that her daughters could not escape. The bells were forged to be used by the immortal gods, and imbuing them with part of her soul finally gave Tsien the immortality that she craved. Her daughter's soulless bodies survived too, just as immortal as Tsien, but now completely under their mother's control.
When the Emperor finally plucked up the courage to intervene against his vassal after she blasphemed against the gods one too many times, she executed him, thereby breaking her oaths of loyalty. The thick fog that had recently engulfed her lands drew her into the Demiplane of Dread, where she immediately became one of its Darklords.
Tsien hated all men, thanks to her father's disdain for women. She was proud and spirited as well as keenly intelligent. She was a disobedient youth and grew to be sadistic, cruel and selfish.
She was also obsessed by the number four, which in High Shou used the same character as "death". She believed that death was all-powerful and that by mastering the secrets of the number four, she too would become all-powerful.