A Dance with Shadows

Introduction

Trouble in Loudwater

The town of Loudwater sits at the confluence of the Delimbiyr and Grayflow rivers. The forested shoulders of the Star Mounts rise above the town in the Northwestern sky. These cloud-veiled peaks remind the townspeople that beyond the town’s walls stretch wild lands, where deadly monsters threaten the unwary.

Merchants, caravan guards, local craftsfolk, hunters, farmers, and retired adventurers treat the Green Tankard Tavern in Loudwater as a second home. The tavern attracts young and old with its warm company and tall tales. But before buying an ale for one of the inn’s regulars, a visitor should think carefully. Many adventures have started from stories exchanged over cheap ale and hardy food, but not all have ended with the glorious exploits of which bards sing. An old story or a wrinkled map could be the doorway to adventure — or the path to a quick death.

In the tavern’s common room, talk turns to tales of a sudden season. The temperature in the Gray Vale has been dropping unexpectedly, and snow surrounds the town in the middle of Summer. Travel out of the town is now blocked off by a raging snowstorm that has seized the area. Snows of these levels would not normally be seen until High Harvestide, and locals worry that if this trend continues the crops will freeze and die, ruining the harvest and putting the entire area’s food supply at risk.

Scouts report that it is not just Loudwater that has been struck by this mysterious chill, but the entire Gray Vale. As locals ponder the causes and ramifications of this sudden season, one thing is clear: the cold only seems to be spreading.

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Malban

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