Everlasting Dawn

Eight

Henrik stands on the prow of the Highspire as it cruised into port at the city of Everlasting Dawn and sees the city in ruin, the buildings collapsed and the shuffling shapes of walking corpses in the streets. He grips the hilt of Nightbringer and looks to his right, where the rancid face of Hania Highspire gazes upon the destruction as well, smiling eternally because of the way her cheek flesh had rotted away; behind him, a Dragonborn skeleton and an armored shifter, with putrid, worm-ridden liquid drooling out from between the plates, carry an intricate litter upon which sits a keg-sized orb of green glass. Courtland rushes out from between the deck boards, his form now an incorporeal black mist.

Henrik disembarks and walks amongst the ruins, while the undead creatures bend their knees to him reverently. He makes his way to the palace, the only structure left standing in the accursed city, and walks down hallways where the marble has been stained red with spilled blood. In the throne room, Henrik’s companions bow and he makes his way to the throne.

Once seated, Henrik turns his eyes to his left, to the second grand throne, to the seat of his empress, and seated there he sees…

Henrik awoke suddenly to the sound of a bell on deck, his body covered in cold sweat. He turned his eyes to the left and saw that he was clutching the hilt of Nightbringer, the black blade unsheathed and glimmering in the morning light filtering through the half open window.

Summoned by the emergency bell, the adventuring troupe rushed to deck where they saw Everlasting Dawn, after weeks at sea, stretched out and gleaming before them. Their approach was blocked however by a blockade formed by all forty two ships of the Puritania fleet.

After a brief exchange using hand cones with the captain of the Puritania XII, they learned that the harbor was being kept open due to the scheduling unveiling of the Imperial Armada’s new flagship.

The adventurers were brought to Everlasting Dawn by the Peacekeepers aboard the Puritania, while Thruvian Redwater was forced to sail the Highspire back out to sea.

Once in town, the group decided to visit the Ditronas family home, which they found empty and listed for sale. Eager to investigate, they climbed the fence and broke into the house, finding it to be entirely unfurnished, but also without substantial dust, suggesting that the house hadn’t been vacant long.

On the second floor, Henrik heard some faint movement and, upon investigating, nearly had an unpleasant reunion with Seymour Ashby, the captain of the Ditronas family guard. Following a brief reunion, Seymour revealed that he had been fired months earlier by Henrik’s elder brother, Jonathan, and the family guard was replaced by a militant group of mercenary bodyguards from Ravinia. Shortly after that, Jonathan had his family packed up to set sail for Corinax, a place he claims the Ditronas family will be able to regain their once-noble bearing.

Seymour was offered a place aboard the Highspire, which he accepted, and he was teleported to the ship with the use of Courtland’s amulet.

Wanting to learn more about the state of Everlasting Dawn, the troupe made their way back to the the Drowned Rat, where they learned that the empire was at war in the west, with an army of creatures pouring out of Alaron. They were also told of brutal murders in town: human men on the docks were turning up with their genitals savagely removed, before they were drowned in the sea.

The group decided to investigate the murders and went to visit the morgue where they could examine the bodies with the mortician and the Battle Sisters stationed there. They learned that most of the men were without their pants when they were found, and all of them had clearly been mutilated by the bite of a huge, savage creature; the bite pattern suggested a shark.

Assuming that they were looking for a wereshark posing as a prostitute, the party returned to the docks to set up a trap and confront the beast. They soon learned that their assumptions were correct as a tall, beautiful woman approached Courtland, posing as a lone drunkard on the street, offering him sex for coin.

The mysterious woman led Courtland down a complex spiderweb of alleys to bring him closer to the sea, while the rest of Courtland’s companions followed as quietly as they could. Finally, the woman pushed Courtland against the wall and dropped to her knees, her eyes turning black as night and her mouth filling with rows of razor-sharp teeth, but before she could finish the deed, the party sprang into action to confront her.

With a terrifying roar, the creature transformed into a huge, shark-like creature, with rough blue and white flesh, powerful muscles, and an immense stature. Hania rushed to face the creature, and while she fought well against it, her separating herself from the rest of the group proved in only a few seconds to be a fatal mistake. The shark-creature managed to catch Hania’s sword arm in her iron grip, dragging her into the table-sized maw. Teeth like knives bit into the deva’s chest with enough force to crush the armor and punch through her body; her blood poured out of the ruined chest piece, pooling on the cobblestones at the monster’s feet.

Instead of the pain giving way to blackness, Hania found herself standing in a beautiful city, surrounded by towering spires of white stone, capped with high, blue-tiled steeples; a light snow fell over the cool city, but the men and women in the streets seemed hardly to notice as they moved about to complete their tasks.

Standing in the street near the deva, also watching the city around them, was a childish figure, barefoot in the cold, clad in tattered black robes and gripping a shepherd’s crook from which a green-lighted lantern hung, odd in its hourglass-shape.

The young god, who had taken the name Nerull, promised to lend his strength to Hania, to help her to recover lost Highspire, if she should turn away from Pelor’s light to step into Death’s shadow. Hania eventually agreed on the condition that he would use Nerull’s power to tear the demigod from his throne should he step out of line. Nerull agreed, the pact was made, and Hania awoke at the feet of the wereshark, her wounds miraculously healed.

With their combined might and Hania’s renewed strength, the adventurers managed to push the wereshark back; it unfortunately managed to escape into the ocean, where the group was left wondering how to track it.

As they stood on the dock, a black shape appeared in the sky, the sun at its back and a flight of dragons escorting it. Fearing renewed attack, the adventurers prepared steeled themselves to help defend the city, but as the shape grew closer, they saw it to be the new flagship of the Imperial Armada – an immense war galleon, sailing through the sky as though it was water, accompanied by a flight of regal gold dragons.

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