A half a century ago the fortress town of Heston sat not far from the base of the northern half of the Winnwick Mountains. It was a rugged and secluded place. Used as a relay point and final staging area for many merchants preparing to make the trip through the Winnwicks heading west or as a resupply point for those who had just made the journey east. For Heston straddled the only route through the mountains. The town was also used as a military outpost to guard and patrol the route.
It also became home to many adventurers and frontiersmen who came to find a challenge and fame in the wilds. Trappers, hunters, and all other kinds of rugged folk flocked to the town and it was soon grew rapidly.
Despite the strong military presence the discipline of the men stationed here was very loose and being so far from any real chain of command the leaders became corrupt and cared little for their duties. The town fell into disarray attracting many unsavory characters, the trade routes were rarely patrolled, things just went generally downhill. Many merchants would try to avoid stopping there if at all possible until a man named Edmund Bromont appeared and turned things around.
No one knows really exactly when he came or where he came from but he possessed great wealth. He erected a small castle atop the hill overlooking Heston. Bromont used his money to become the leader of the town and to control the guards and eventually reigned the whole town back under control. Things seemed to return to the way they were. Order was restored but it was a curse in disguise. No one was aware until it was too late.
He married a mysterious woman from an unknown place and had three children. The family was rarely seen and appearances from Bromont came less and less until he conducted business completely through servants. Naturally rumors started to run wild about the family and strange happenings at the castle. People started to disappear for days at a time then mysteriously reappear with no recollection of what had happened to them. Once returned, the people would act strangely at random times. Some never returned at all.
Unbeknownst to the townspeople of Heston, Bromont was in fact a powerful necromancer. Shortly after his seclusion from the rest of the town he obtained lichdom and began experimenting on the townspeople. Through dark magic he began to dominate their minds. He began using them to attack the many caravans that passed through daily. Those who were captured were turned into thralls in his ever growing army, those who died… were still turned into thralls.
Bromonts ambition grew and so did his exploits. He began to attack other towns in the area, his army constantly growing. At this point most of his troops were a giant undead mass of canon fodder, those still living became his personal guard and elite shock troops. It was also discovered that his wife was a vampire around this time and it was presumed that his children were as well though no one had seen them since they were children.
Something had to be done. An army was raised, led by a contingent from the Keepers of the Light. The Keepers carried a powerful artifact of Pelor with them - The Shard of the Sun. The undead were utterly annihilated before the power of The Shard. The last battle took place at Heston itself. Bromonts army held the town but eventually retreated to his castle, as they fled they burned the entire town to the ground. The Keepers laid siege to the castle for days. Eventually the gates were battered down and Edmund and his minions were destroyed. His phylactery was destroyed in a great ceremony.
Despite the great victory, Edmund Bromont still managed to put the land under a powerful curse – that it would be forever night and the dead would never rest. The Keepers had no choice but to erect a great shrine to Pelor, a massive statue depicting a hero of the battle outstretching his hand to the heavens bearing The Shard of the Sun. The curse was so great that The Shard couldn’t fully hold off the darkness. During the day, when the sun itself was out combined with the power of The Shard, the dark could be pushed back enough in the town as to almost equal the light at dusk. At night, however, when the sun was not out, The Shard itself could only compare to the light of the moon. This effect however gets weaker the further away from The Shard you are until of course you exit the lands surrounding former Heston.
Even with the curse in place the trade route remained essential. Heston was rebuilt from the ashes but no one called it Heston anymore. Residences and travelers alike referred to the town as Nightfall and the name stuck.