Mistmarsh is a city that has become trapped within the Shadowfell. It was once a beautiful city built on a lake not far from Lake Lumana. For two hundred years, the town enjoyed a peaceful existence under the guidance of the Zelkan family, who were anointed the lords of Mistmarsh by the emperor of Esperona. The Zelkans were a wise and caring family that always looked out for the people of Mistmarsh first and foremost. For two hundred years, lordship of the town passed from father to eldest son, and on a few occasions to eldest daughter when there was no male heir. Mistmarsh’s problems; however, began roughly one hundred years ago.
Cadmus Zelkan became lord of Mistmarsh when his father, Friedrich, passed away of a sudden illness that struck down the seemingly healthy lord. Cadmus inherited not only his father’s title, but also his zeal for looking after the town. Unfortunately, Cadmus, as the only child of the widowed Friedrich, soon felt the pressure of the position, particularly the pressure to produce an heir. Although his wife, Alyssa, seemed to be perfectly healthy, the couple was unable to produce a child. As the years passed on, the couple continued to be without child and soon Cadmus feared that his family’s line would end with him.
When a group of gypsies passed into town and learned of the lord’s troubles, the matriarch, Rendella, sought an audience with Cadmus, promising that she could aid him in his quest for an heir. Rendella met with Cadmus that night and was seen leaving town, along with the rest of her clan, the following morning. Those who saw her on both days claimed that she appeared much older when she left town than when she arrived. Cadmus remained locked within his keep for the next month, sending no word to the town as to his condition. When he emerged a month later; however, he appeared to be no older than a teenager and proudly announced that his wife was pregnant.
The next 8 months were a time of near-constant celebration in Mistmarsh, with only a few noting that Alyssa never left the keep — a sharp contrast to her habit prior to arrival of the gypsies. At last, word came to the townspeople that Alyssa had gone into labor. The priest of Pelor was summoned to the keep while the rest of the town held its collective breath waiting for the news of the arrival of the newest member of the Zelkan family. The day passed into evening, the evening into night, and back into day. For three days, the town waited until a piercing shriek was heard from the keep, a shriek the dug into the bones of everyone in town.
As the shriek raced through town, the sun, which had been at its mid-day brightest, faded behind clouds of gray and a damp, cold breeze wafted through town. The waters of the lake stilled and then receded until nothing was left but a dry bed. More days passed and the sunlight grew increasingly dim. The brightest of days were little more than dusk. Most troubling of all though was that those who attempted to leave town to find help, always wound up back in Mistmarsh, a dense fog would form around those attempting to leave and try as they might, they travels always brought them back to the town’s gates.
Soon it became evident that the town was passing into the Shadowfell and after a few months, the transformation was complete and the townspeople found themselves on the shore of a bleak Shadowfell sea. Cadmus continues to rule the city but rarely leaves his keep. Whispers of his child occasionally float out from the keep but none have ever seen him, or at least none have seen him and been able to tell the tale. As for Alyssa, it is presumed that she perished for she has never been seen since and no word is ever spoken of her from the keep. As if the town’s troubles were not enough, at night, the dead rise from their graves and rampage through the town. The only saving grace appears to be that these undead are particularly vulnerable to bright light, which gives the towns people some protection, though the undead will generally swarm any sources of bright light, seeking to destroy the source as swiftly as possible.