The Realm city of Gloam is in the twilight of its illustrious history, and no one knows it. The city stands on an island midway between Lookshy and the Blessed Isle, and has been a Realm port almost as long as there has been a Realm. But now an invisible horror stalks the streets, and the Dragon-Blooded of Gloam have become its victims.
The surrounding waters are alive with sails—fishing junks comb the waves while trading vessels from a hundred cities converge on their way to distant ports. Few of the many crews that moor their ships here realize the danger, but there is one clue that something is not right in this place—a veritable graveyard of ships in the west harbor.
Lashed down and permanently anchored, hundreds of old trade vessels have become the dwellings of citizens who once lived in the city. Close examination of these ships reveals their places of origin: Port Calin, Sijan, Chiaroscuro, places farther and in-between. Ships for which there are no longer crews.
Though it does not realize it, the Scarlet Dynasty no longer controls Gloam. The seal of the Anathema beneath the city was broken. An old crypt was opened, and inside there lay something older than time. The worms in its breath have gnawed into the souls of the Dragon-Blooded of Gloam, and they belong to it now.
Luckily, only a small contingent of Dynasts were here when the vault was opened. The rest were drawn away by the impending war for the Scarlet Throne. The ones who remained now stalk the city streets by night. Their hunger for breath sates the unnatural appetites of the The Thing Below. They are its puppets, and their slavery has transformed their Exaltations. By day, however, they enact whatever pretense is necessary to keep the Realm from ever suspecting the darkness that has come to roost on its very doorstep.