The Ashen Lady is said to have been named Andriana in life, and served as queen to a large tribe in what is now Great Britain. She continued to assist and lead her people after death, where her compassion and ability to command caught the eye of Charon, who offered her a position in his Senate. When Charon reformed the government of Stygia following the First Great Maelstrom, Andriana was "promoted" to Deathlord, where she took on the guise of the Ashen Lady. Much of the above information is greatly disputed by the other Deathlords as meaningless tripe, but it seems many of the Ashen Lady's followers are more than willing to take her at her word.
It seemed at one point about five hundred years ago, she had a major grievance against Charon, and decided to engage Charon in a private debate at the Onyx Tower. She emerged weeks later, a broken wraith, humbled by Charon's power and claiming to see her mistakes and to atone for them by serving him without question. Some debate if the same wraith both entered and left the building; after all, like the other Deathlords, the Ashen Lady wears an elaborate mask that grants her both power and secrecy.
Along with the Skeletal Lord and the Smiling Lord, the Ashen Lady commands one of the largest Legions of the Hierarchy. She is always fighting to gain ground against the Grim Legion and the Skeletal Legion, lest either traitor or madman attempt to take control in Charon's stead. To that end, she is considered by many to be the gentlest and most reasonable of the three, neither inciting violence or proclaiming herself to be a tool of the Lord. Indeed, the Ashen Lady has made the Iron Legion into something resembling a highly-functional, very loyal family.
That's not to say that she's all sweetness and light. She constantly works to undercut the other Deathlords while secretly building up her own resources. She has spies everywhere, as well as a Legion full of wraiths with great experience and cunning. She may not be as outrageous, but is no less relentless in seeking Charon's place as ruler of Stygia. She also has, of late, formed something of an awkward alliance with the Beggar Lord, constantly attempting to move his swing vote in her favor during council meetings.