At first glance, Nightmarch appears to be similar to any other small city. People of varied professions walk the streets by day, selling goods, tending to their homes, creating art, crafting tools. The only outward difference is the appearance and dress of the natives to the lands around Nightmarch. But beneath the surface can be felt a subtle presence, as though not everything is what it appears to be. By nightfall, most of the city is asleep, sheltered safely within their homes, to continue activity by daybreak. At times, the city will be awake with life. Sometimes, white ash floats gently down, almost like snow, within a silent world, seemingly empty. And other times, a thin black haze crawls along the ground like a blanket being slowly drawn over the earth. Through all the phenomena that occur in Nightmarch, one constant remains in the monumental Temple standing prominently in the city. Like much of the city, what lies within can only be guessed.
Many ziggurats display a clearly different architecture to the outlanders who approach the city. But a closer look at the life in a place that on the surface appears so different would reveal that there are people living here as well, who live as any others would. There are several merchants and traders lining the streets, providing goods and services to the inhabitants of the city. Priests tend to the temples that hold prominent locations. A large variety of occupations can be seen throughout Nightmarch.
Being relatively close to the western coast, Nightmarch is often temperate year-round, if other climatic factors were stable. The active Volcano Nightscree usually affects temperature and precipitation in the city, manifesting in cloudy days with falling ash, or heavy rain. Some days fog of varying thickness forms.
Nightmarch belongs to a distinctive area in the far west of Dwilight, where most of the land is barren. There is very little arable land in the city, and the large complex of Dragon Song along with the mountains of Dragon's Roost shield the city from sunrise. Volcanic ash can sometimes be carried over by the wind from the west.
4-10-08, Age of Strife
Having wandered the length and width of Dwilight in bordem Lady Lina Unti, Explorer of Dwilight, made her first journey from the Inner Sea into the unknown west from the city of Paisly. During her travels she made contact with the native kingdom of the Volcanic Plateau. First to arrive on the scene she was greeted by the inhabitants and spoke briefly with the herald of their ruler, Oska. Remaining with the natives for over a month, she learned of their ways and culture. During her stay two others arrived from beyond, Brandon Peveril who she met briefly before his departure and Genghis Steel, who passed by without notice. Despite the arrival of others the temple-city is large and mostly empty and she has not had much contact with them, only the native peoples.
Recording her findings from living among the people of this land in a journal, it is possible to learn of the people in this place at least in passing: Journal of Lady Lina
Adventurer Brandon Peveril
Brandon Peveril, adventurer, entered the city of Nightmarch on 4-27-08. Upon entering the gates he immediately noticed that something was wrong as there were few to no people to be seen. There were... things... viewed from the corner of his eye, making him draw his daggers in preparation for whatever may come. Pulling his cloak close he crept through the shadows; eventually coming to a doorway with a marking. Looking it over her breathed a silent obscenity, for there was the mark of the Netherworld.
Upon his back, the Staff of Bloodletting pulsed gleefully.
Genghis's 1008 May 1st
Less then one week later, adventurer Genghis Steel wandered upon Nightmarch as well. He had been following a horde of undead that months before had claimed his beloved sister. Only 17 years of age, he knew that what loomed here was not something he was not yet ready to face. He wandered through the dark and ominous city and spotted a few peasants. At the sight of him they ran into there houses and slammed their doors. Clearly they were afraid of something. But what that something was...Genghis had no idea.
Genghis wondered through the empty city and into what looked like a sort of a parliament building. Bones lay strewn about, skin completely removed and turned white by age and sunlight. Genghis kept walking until he reached a room seeming untouched by the death. Piles of bodies lay down in front of the door-way, but set in an oddly uniform position. As Genghis went to enter the room...a man emerged from the shadows and said softly, "wait." But Genghis was mesmerized. He opened the door and walked into the room, without reading the stone carving above the door. The light erupted, the fire consumed him but did not burn him. He died peacefully as the lettering about the door glowed...Pure bloods enter if you dare, if you are royal you will have your share. Simplefolk do not try to see, or shards and soot is all you'll be.
After some time, Nightmarch began to gain more and more interest among the realms of the continent, and rumours about it grew numerous. According to public knowledge, Machiavel Chénier was the first noble to visit these lands openly, but what was probably more marking was that he was both a judge and a banker at the time of his visit. Not much later, a neighbouring judge was also spotted in the region, and rumours are that after these events more and more nobles engaged in this trek.