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Jiunan Nightwarden

Motivation: find the woman; force the Walker in Darkness to grant her freedom

Caste: Night

Anima Banner: Flocks of ethereal raitons disperse in all directions from the gnarled branches of a bone-white tree.

Jiunan Nightwarden was a respectful, pragmatic funerist in the Morticians’ Order of Sijan. It was his duty to observe the proper rites to placate the dead, and was content to remain in the bleak city until the day his future replacement performed the old familiar rites over him. Yet, an instant of pure, irrational love changed everything.

The heart-wrenching flare occurred in Jiunan’s 23rd year, on the day a delegation from Port Calin brought a woman to Sijan to die. She seemed no older than Jiunan, in good health, and she was beautiful. As her escorts led her to the mortwrights, Jiunan followed silently. She remained in their care for some time, and all Jiunan could do was wait, hoping to catch one last glimpse of her.

Shortly, a second delegation arrived. It consisted of four armored nemissaries and a terrible figure in white robes and a broad, conical hat of woven bones, carrying a gruesome battle-axe of moaning soulsteel. His name was White Bone Sinner—a deathknight envoy of the Walker in Darkness. The deathknight summoned a deadspeaker and the Calinti woman’s guards and withdrew to speak to the mortwrights. Hours later, the Calinti guards departed with expressions equally disturbed and relieved. The deathknight’s party departed later. The Calinti woman left with them.

Jiunan’s heart skipped. His breath caught. Alive, the woman had been beautiful; dead, she was simply impossible. Hopelessly rapt, Jiunan followed the grim party across Sijan, working up his courage. The shadows seemed to deepen and move with him as he crept ever closer. Finally, before the delegation could make it across the Bridge of the Fallen and disappear into the Underworld, Jiunan caught up and took the Calinti woman’s cold, dead hand. He had only enough time to ask her if she wanted to go with the deathknight. She shook her head, and the look in her eyes burned itself into Jiunan’s memory as a golden ring flashed into existence on his forehead.

The deathknight turned, his shocked eyes blazing… A brief, intense battle ensued. Jiunan wrestled away the deathknight’s hideous weapon and turned its unwieldy mass against the nemissaries, who were too slow to react. White Bone Sinner put up more of a fight, but Jiunan’s only aim was to keep the deathknight at bay. As he feinted and hacked and slashed with his stolen weapon, monopolizing the deathknight’s attention, the Calinti woman made her escape. When she was gone, Jiunan tackled White Bone Sinner off the Setting Bridge into the Avarice River. He isn’t exactly sure what happened after that.

The next day, he awoke on the shore miles away downstream with boneneedles sticking out of his left arm and the soulsteel axe in the mud beside him. Of White Bone Sinner there was no sign. The Calinti woman was nowhere to be seen either. Yet, someone had dragged the axe out of the river to lay it beside him, and someone had left a trail of delicate footprints into the forest. Jiunan could still smell the mortwrights’ perfume in the air.

He rose and set out after her at once, but he could not find her. Not that day or the next or the next… But she’s out there somewhere, and Jiunan knows he isn’t the only one looking for her.