"Landfall. Tough town. Our foothold on the New World. Nobody comes here without a good reason."
For many, the New World represented hope. A fresh start. A place where the hatreds of the West could be left behind, and lives forged anew. The adventurous, the destitute, the persecuted - everyone who couldn't make it in the old nations could make it here, in a big way. There was land for the taking, and opportunity for those who would seize it. The natives? Don't worry about the natives.
You probably should have realised something was fishy when the fellow who sold you passage was talking up a place where nobody in their right mind wanted to go. Hell, maybe you did. Maybe you didn't care. Maybe you were running away from someone, or something, and just needed to get on the boat. Maybe you believed the broker's pitch - maybe you wanted to.
It doesn't matter now. You're in Landfall, and it's not quite what you expected. You haven't been here long - no longer than a week, tops, if you're not literally fresh off the boat - but you can feel that buzz in the air, and it's not coming from the local insect population. There really is a sense of hope here, and you can see it in the face of every soul who leaves town with a covered wagon. And behind all the hope for starting a better life, there's something else: the Dawngate.
Everyone's talking about the Dawngate. There's folks who've been on a ship until about an hour ago who're talking about the Dawngate. Word is, someone heard from a friend of a friend, who'd gone to trade with the natives, about a place far to the east, a city of gold and jewels and riches beyond imagining. Well, really, what they'd heard about was a mountain that the Monkey King climbs every morning so that he could throw the sun over the earth, but the tale had grown in the telling. People had come to the New World believing that they could find a better life, and some had been luckier than most.
You're one of those lucky people.
You've met a man who claims he's got a map to the Dawngate.