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The baker and the blacksmith were gathered around the inn’s fireplace on a frozen blustery night. The fire was roaring and the wooden pillars from which the inn was built were stout and sturdy. Yet with every patron who entered, a sweep of snow and a shock of chill air barged in. It was late, and most patrons had retired to their rooms. But some remained in the common room, finishing the last of their hot mead or a late meal. Or hoping that the innkeeper would overlook it if they fell asleep by the hearty fire instead of retiring to their frosty chambers. Continue reading