Westwell – the last town before the mountain roads enter the high passes of the Blue Mountains. You didn’t expect that you would be stopped here, but an early snow has blocked all viable paths to the east. While lower in the hills the bite of the season hasn’t been felt, it is clear that at least for a few days it would be incredibly foolhardy to venture upwards – and whatever business you have on the other side of the mountains can wait.
You arrive early in the evening and are greeted with the sounds of ringing hammers from the dozen or so smith’s arrayed throughout the town. Market has closed, but in a remote town so reliant on sending goods out to bring food in, many of the tradesmen are working late into the night. Following the main road leading to the square you see a large building – one of the few with more than one floor – that is clearly the inn. A simple sign hangs above the door – a starburst pattern above a mountain peak.
The common room is busy with what is clearly a fair mix of locals and other waylaid travelers. You notice a few large men – likely miners or smiths – having a heated conversation in one corner. A few heads turn your way as you stride in, their gazes lingering. Apparently adventurers are still an unusual sight this far out of cities.
There is only one communal table clear enough to sit at – every other seat is taken. You barely have enough time to settle in and gain the attention of the innkeep before the door is thrown open, crashing loud enough to halt all conversation. In the doorframe stands a woman holding a large hammer. She lifts it’s head and points it to the table of smiths, and in a teary voice calls out
“Damn you worthless layabouts – it’s happened again and this time it’s my Marilee who has gone missing while you sit here doing NOTHING.”