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What follows is the account of a conversation had in the Blue Moon Alehouse in Fallcrest. Three men, a stonecutter, a tailor and a city guardsman, gathered over mugs of ale to discuss the odd events befalling the Nentir Vale. Despite differing professions and opinions, each man knows the names and deeds of their heroes: Andrasian the elvish warrior, Krillorien Brightsong the eladrin priest of Pelor, Melanie Good-Melons of the Arcane Tower, and Lyria Thorngage of the Junction Thorngages.

“If I mention the weather,” the tailor began once they were served, “are you going to hit me?”

“Gods, you’re paranoid.” The stonecutter’s beefy hand wrapped around the mug and he took a long drink of frothy ale. “No. I’m not going to hit you.”

“It’s on everybody’s mind.” The guardsman had unbelted his sword and it leaned against the table beside him as he nursed his drink. “You can’t help but notice the snow coming out of the sky.”

“In this season!” The stonecutter shook his head. “It’s bad for business. I can’t be up the side of a building carving gutters or fixing shingles when it’s like this.”

“You’d think I’d have an easier time, but everybody’s asking for furs I don’t have, when they manage to leave their hearth fires.” The tailor sighed and took a drink. “What do we know about this?”

“It’s snow. What is there to know?”

“Perhaps one or more of the gods have been offended, my granite-minded friend.”

The guardsman shook his head at the tailor. “The only god I know of with such power over the skies is Kord, and he’s more likely to smite us with lightning than sprinkle snow on our heads. No, this is likely something else.”

The stonecutter belched. “What, then?”

“Many and varied are the magical artifacts at the disposal of our benevolent dictator. The defeat of his Iron Circle in the Harkenwold cannot have endeared him towards us. Perhaps this is Emperor Lysander’s subtle revenge, or a tactic designed to bring us to heel.”

“Codswallop.” The stonecutter took another drink, then wiped the foam from his beard. “Lysander’s a boy in a man’s clothes playing at war. He would not use such subtle means. He’d smack us with every Iron Circle fist at his disposal were he truly interested in direct conquest.”

The tailor nodded. “Besides, the Lord Marshall pays the Empire their dues on time. Lysander would have no cause to subject the entire Vale to his wrath if it’s the Harkenwold that’s offended him while Fallcrest remains loyal, at least in word.”

“All I know is the Lord Marshall and some of the other nobles have left for Winterhaven to seek aid from Ten Towers.”

The stonecutter snorted. “They haven’t dreamed up a better name for it yet?”

“Well, it beats ‘The Keep We Reclaimed From The Heretics Trying To Open A Portal To The Shadowfell And Still Creeps The Folk Of Winterhaven Out’, doesn’t it?”

“Who asked you, tailor?”

The guardsman rolled his eyes, and waved the barmaid over for another round.

All locations, NPCs, spells and equipment copyright Wizards of the Coast unless otherwise noted.