A large speck is seen in the sky at a great distance. What could this be that sails above the cloud within the heavens themselves? A dragon? Surely not, dragons have not been seen in these parts for years and that thing must be bigger still. The object goes behind a cloud but when it emerges it has traveled almost impossibly fast. Feet are running, voices are raised in alarm. The city guard erupts into chaos unsure how they can defend their city against such a huge opponent. The object is still miles off and finally comes to a stop. It is now clear that the thing is some gargantuan ship, larger than the largest of war galleys and hanging in the sky like some impossibly lost battleship.
Hours go by and citizens and guards alike stare at the great ship wondering its purpose. No attack has come, no banner of peace, no messenger from the gods. What could the ship mean? What great beings could sail such a thing? Then as if it had only been lost the great ship turns and flies silently away again.
Days go by, rumours and speculation pass. Soon the entire city is a buzz with talk of the mighty heroes that piloted the great ship. A man who glinted in the finest shimmering metals, bright and good as Ironos himself. Another in pure white robes who glowed with radiant holiness. And two more, one a great mage, terrible and grand as a summer storm and the other a man with eyes of stone, whose glare could freeze the most stalwart of guards at forty paces.
This is the scene all over the world in the greatest and oldest of cities. A band of heroes, like those sung about in old bardic tales, have gone from nation to nation warning of an impending doom. Every nation’s leaders give the group audience. Some leaders scoff at their warning, while others take deep counsel.
Then, only weeks after the flying ship visited, the days begin to grow short. Darkness comes more quickly and fades less readily. Soon, even the night begins to grow darker as the stars are dimmed and the two moons falter. Then comes that which the heroes warned about. The dead begin to rise. Graves are undug, mausoleums cast open, burial mounds erupt, and everywhere the dead walk again.
Many small towns are devoured in a night, while others are able to defend themselves from the initial onslaught. Cities suffer casualties first from the dead then from rioting as fear and panic start to take the masses. The nations that heeded the heroes are more easily prepared, while others fall into chaos or are plunged into military rule.