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Introduction[]

Humble Beginnings
After a long and fruitful day, you’re finally closing up shop. The sun has since passed by the rooftops of your sleepy little township, and a few lanterns now bring a cozy light to your humble abode. From the other room you can hear the cheerful humming of your assistant, Sophie. She’s stepped away from her post for now and gone to find herself something small to eat from the back. You find yourself leaning on the counter and chuckling a bit as you catch a snatch of the little ditty she’s singing. Perhaps you’ll join her in a minute.

Turning your back to the door, you begin tidying a few stray scraps of materials—a bit of rope, some wood bits, a few nails from the local smithy. Nothing too intricate, but lots of useful things to help with your work. As you bend over to grab a battered old cloth from beneath a table, you hear the door of your shop open to the ring of a little bell. Snatching up your prize, you stand upright and turn to see a rather gaunt-faced and haggard looking fellow has entered. Green eyes meet yours pleadingly from behind thin spectacles, and he hovers uncertainly just inside your door.

“How can I help you, Mr...?” you ask, holding out a hand to shake. He takes it tentatively, and responds to your brisk shake surprisingly firmly.

“Grant. Just...yes, Grant,” he said with a small sigh. It’s clear he’s still gathering his thoughts. “Well, I’ve got a bit of a doozy on my hands, and I’m hoping you can help. Y’see, I’m hoping to come up with a proper holiday gift for my new father-in-law. His name’s Harold, and he’s a bit of a stuffy sort. He doesn’t really like empty chatter or anything, but I think a real thoughtful gift might win him over.”

Humble Beginnings
A grim little smile comes over Grant’s face. “See, that’s the hard part. A while back, my wife and I discussed her father moving in with us. I don’t mind it, personally—I think my father-in-law is a wonderful man. Since we were building our new home instead of simply moving into one, we thought it would be a wonderful idea to rebuild Harold’s childhood home.”

Grant pauses for a moment, watching as you consider his words. After a brief moment of thought, you reply.

“Alright. So...you need help building a home that looks like Harold’s from his youth?” you ask slowly, still not certain you’re understanding entirely. Grant merely shakes his head in response.

“No, that’s not quite it. See, the house is built—my wife remembers it vividly from her childhood, and the construction finished last month. What I’m wanting is some help getting hold of a few items that were important to my father-in-law that, frankly, I’m not certain how to get.”

You raise an eyebrow at Grant.

“Er, Grant is it? I’m not sure if this is something I can really help with.”

A look of pure despair overtakes the man’s thin face.

“Oh please, won’t you at least hear me out entirely before saying no? I’ve asked most everyone I thought could help, but I’ve got nothing.”

You feel claws in your back as a small dragon, a slim kyanite female, clambers up the back of your sturdy clothes.

“Aw, c’mon boss, I think we should hear the poor guy out.”

You heave a sigh inwardly, but you nod.

“Alright Sophie, if you insist,” you murmur to her.

Humble Beginnings
Grant lights up as you agree to hear him out, and he grasps your hands firmly as a cascade of grateful words spill from his lips. You return his brilliant smile with a slight one of your own, and wait for the man to calm enough to explain what he’s after.

“Alright, so,” Grant says, having finally composed himself, “I have five items in mind, if that isn’t asking too much.”

You give a small nod, resisting the urge to shoot a glance at Sophie for her reaction after volunteering you.

“Firstly, my wife described a small wind chime her grandmother used to have out in the garden. Apparently it was very simple, made of hollowed reeds with a rock in the center, but it played a lovely melody that she’s heard Harold humming on occasion.” To emphasize, Grant hums a few notes. “Those are the notes that I know it has, but that’s about it. Supposedly there’s more, but I don’t know them.”

“Secondly, Harold’s mentioned missing his favorite herb for cooking. He said it was ‘nutty and bright’, and supposedly they’re not found in the area anymore. My wife’s mentioned wanting to get some of the plant, but unfortunately she isn’t sure which plant it is.” Grant gives a small frown, seemingly embarrassed about his lack of information. “She said even getting some dried would be alright in a pinch, but I think fresh is preferred.”

“What else was...OH!” Grant snapped his fingers. “Some dragon down pillows. Nothing fancy, but they were Harold’s favorite when he was young. Frankly, my wife seems to love them too. They’re supposed to feel like sleeping on a cloud. A couple would be preferred.”

Quietly, you think to yourself that that should be easy enough to source, given the fact that several dragons do live in the area.

Humble Beginnings
Grant thinks for another long moment, and the shop falls quiet. The room has been growing steadily more reliant on the few lit lamps as the sun sinks further beyond the horizon.

“Ah yes,” Grant says at last. “Two other things. Supposedly her father was very keen on a specific incense. I don’t know what it’s called or where it’s from, but supposedly the scent was akin to that of a pine forest in fresh rain. How one would even go about catching a scent like that, I wouldn’t know unfortunately.”

The man sighs. “This one I think might cause the biggest issue. According to my wife, her grandparents had a portrait commissioned at some point. The picture hung in their home until it was lost in a fire at some point. My father-in-law has mentioned it to her on a few occasions, but neither she nor I know what it looked like. Honestly, I’m not even sure how you’d recover a painting that you have no idea what it looks like.” A frown creeps back onto Grant’s face. “I understand if I’m asking too much. I just...I’d really like to do this if I can. My wife, and her family, mean the world to me, and I would do anything to win Harold’s approval.”

Humble Beginnings
You give Grant a long once-over. The man is decently dressed, and you can see a bit of ink staining the wrists of his coat and shirt. You’ve seen him around—the man is a clerk. This time of year, you couldn’t fault him for being busy and desperate for help.

After a moment, your gaze comes to meet Sophie, your partner. She’s perched halfway on your shoulder at this point, and is giving you the same eager look she pulls anytime she wants you to agree to help a client. You sigh inwardly again.

“Very well, Grant. I’ll see what I can do. I’ve got some free time coming up. I’m guaranteeing nothing, but I’ll see what can be done.”

The man’s face explodes into a smile as he leaps upon you and snags you into a tight hug. Sophie leaps from your shoulder before she, too, can be pulled into the embrace. For such a gaunt fellow, Grant’s hug is surprisingly strong. For a moment, you wonder if he built the house he mentioned earlier.

“Oh, thank you so MUCH my friend! You are truly the pinnacle and picture of kindness itself! How ever can I repay you?!”

“I accept gold and barter,” you say with a gasping laugh.

Grant releases you, blushing slightly and laughing gently. “Yes, yes of course. I’ll make sure to reward you handsomely for your work, my friend.”

You give the man a broad smile. “Of course. But we’ll keep from counting our eggs before they’ve hatched, yeah?”

“Of course. Thank you again.” After giving your hand another firm shake, Grant finally turns to leave. The door gives one last cheery little jingle, and you are left alone with Sophie yet again.

“Whelp, what clever idea do you have, Sophie? Don’t think I didn’t see that look on your face.”

“Oho, so you noticed?” Sophie said, having taken up a perch on the counter.

“After all these years, how could I not?” You respond with a grin. She responds with one of her own.

“Well I do most certainly have some ideas in mind,” she says thoughtfully, tapping a claw against her teeth in thought.

Humble Beginnings
“I have a few thoughts,” Sophie says, thinking a bit. “Obviously, none of the things we get are going to be originals. And some of this stuff we don’t even know what it looks like. So more likely than not, anything we replicate wouldn’t be accurate, and at that point, why bother?”

“Why bother indeed.”

Sophie grins at you. “Ah, but I don’t think it’s impossible. The people in this town are close knit, clever, and resourceful. I think if we ask around and get some help, we just might be able to pull this off.”

You nod in agreement. “We do have quite a few folks around. I’m sure some of ‘em knew Harold. I know OF him, I just don’t know him personally.”

“Exactly!” Sophie exclaims. “So, here’s my thought. Ask around town, and definitely hit the shops in the town square. You’re bound to find folks that might know about some of the things Grant was asking for. Also, why not see if we have anything in the workshop that would help. I’m sure you could probably put something together with the right materials.” Sophie hummed in thought. “Oh, and you know that apothecary on the edge of town? He might be helpful too.”

“I think those are good ideas,” you muse, “I could probably assemble at least one of the items, given the right materials and instructions.”

(Double-check with Sophie) Sophie thinks a moment longer, clicking her claws on the counter. “Ah, another idea. You remember that aeon we helped a while back? You could try giving him a visit.”

Humble Beginnings
Sophie gestures to the back of the shop. “There’s all sorts of crazy stuff back there that’ll probably be helpful. Not just materials, but also your workshop too. And of course, you know I’ll be here if you need anything.”

You give a grunt of acknowledgement before deciding what to do next.

Humble Beginnings
“You could try asking some of the shop owners around town. See if they can either source any materials or items, or even if they might be able to help with some of Grant’s more vague requests. The herbalist a couple of doors down is fairly knowledgeable, so I’d definitely ask him. Oh, and the butcher might know something, since he deals with everyone in town.”

Sophie racks her brain for a moment before adding. “Ah, and perhaps it would be a good idea to check the oddities shop down the way as well. Mags and Abby—the quonebb that runs the place—she’s pretty clever when it comes to getting hold of strange and wondrous things.”

You make a mental note of Sophie’s suggestions before deciding your next course of action.

Humble Beginnings
“Oh,” Sophie says, her face lighting up. “You know that massive building just outside of town? You could check with the apothecary there, Sylvios. I’m sure he’s familiar with all sorts of plants and remedies that could help.”

“He’s that real big and fluffy dragon, isn’t he?” you ask. Sophie nods, and a sly smile crosses her face.

“Yeah him. He’s pretty smart, and should certainly be able to help you out.”

Humble Beginnings
You and Sophie both head for the evening, and long after she’s fallen asleep and her little snores fill your ears, you lie awake and mull over the request that’s been made of you. While you’re sure some of the items are obtainable given some time and luck, you find yourself agreeing more and more with Grant’s assessment of the painting. After a long, restless while, you finally fall asleep.

Despite your fitful night, you rise before Sophie and prepare yourself for the day. Eggs sizzle in the pan as water boils on the kettle, both perched atop the small wood stove that had been keeping the shop warm all night.

Sophie, yawning widely, clicks and clatters down the stairs to join you, and with another yawn she clambers up into one of the chairs by the table. With a mumbled morning greeting, Sophie lets her head sink onto the table as she tries to snag just a little more sleep as you finish making breakfast.

You place a bowl before her, full of eggs, before sitting down with your own breakfast. The two of you eat heartily, idly discussing the task at hand between bites. Once you’ve finished, you take a bit to get yourself presentable, and by the time you’re done, Sophie has finished her food and taken up her normal perch on the counter. You could probably double check with her if you had any further questions, or you could head out to face the day.

Humble Beginnings
Sophie shifts a bit on the counter. “Yes, you remember him? That aeon that lives way out in the woods.”

You think for a moment at Sophie’s prompting. “Yeah, I think I remember. He was out past the main road, on this little footpath that you can just barely see if you’re looking for it.”

Your dragon companion shrugs as best she can. “If you say so. Either way, I’d ask him if he can help at all.”

Humble Beginnings
With a final goodbye to Sophie for now, you head out into the brisk, frozen air. The sky is a clear blue above, and the sun shines weakly over the roofs of the town. Little wisps of smoke rise from chimneys and float over the town, Your breath comes out in long, streaming lengths and rising around you. Sometimes, in your youth, you’d pretended to be a dragon with your frosted breath, although your mind is far from that today. Your mind instead is focused in the task at hand as you crunch over the frozen earth and out into the town proper.

Center of town[]

At the Heart of Town
In the heart of a quaint village, the town center bustles with life amidst the winter chill. Cobblestone streets, lightly dusted with snow, lead to a variety of charming shops. The baker’s warm aroma of fresh bread, the tailor’s vibrant fabrics, the herbalist’s array of natural remedies, and the intriguing oddities shop each add a unique flavor to the square. At its heart, your own shop stands as a cozy haven for locals. A large road extends from the town center, promising connection and adventure beyond the village’s frosty embrace.

Handyman shop[]

Home, Sweet Home
Your shop is a welcoming space for both collaboration and craftsmanship. Here, you can converse with Sophie, who is always available to provide additional information or receive updates on your tasks. Her presence ensures efficient and meaningful interactions. Alternatively, you can retreat to your adjacent workshop, a dedicated space where your skills and creativity come to life. Whether engaging with Sophie or focusing on your work, your shop balances the needs for communication and concentration seamlessly.

Workshop[]

Home Away from Home
Your workshop is a compact, efficient handyman’s space, centered around a well-used, large workbench. Shelves and drawers neatly store a wide array of tools and materials, all within easy reach. The walls are lined with tools, each hanging in its designated spot. Despite its small size, the workshop is a perfectly organized haven, equipped with everything needed for your projects and repairs.
Double-Checking the List
You look over the materials you have to see if you have what you’ll need to assemble the wind chime for Grant. From how Grant described it, the wind chime in question had stone and reed components. You’ll probably also want some sort of thread to lash it all together. He also seemed to feel the melody was important, and you’re not sure you could come up with the correct one without some assistance. After all, you’ve never quite been the musical type.
Getting to Work
Holiday 2023 wind chime

In your workshop, with the materials you’ve gathered and the knowledge you’ve acquired, you set about assembling the wind chime. Piece by piece, it comes together, each element fitting perfectly due to your careful preparation and skill. Finally, the wind chime is complete, a harmonious blend of craftsmanship and learning. Hooray! Your efforts have culminated in a beautiful creation, ready to chime melodiously with the slightest breeze.

Sophie[]

Sophie the Sassy
Sophie greets you with a sly grin as you enter. Her sapphire scales twinkle gently in the light, and she is perched, as always, on the counter.

“And just how goes the hunt, oh fearless companion?” she asks, a cheeky edge in her voice. You wonder briefly if she felt the nip of the air outside and just how glad it makes her that you’re the one running around to fulfill this request.

Sophie the Sassy
“What, you forgot already?” Sophie asks with a snort. “You know I can’t be the brains of the operation all the time. Fine, I suppose ask away.”
Sophie the Sassy
Sophie gives you a look. You know the one. She’s constantly giving you it every time you ask her something you’ve already asked her before. “So. Five items. Nothing too hard.”

You frown at her, but she ignores you.

”Grant wanted a windchime, made of reeds and stone, with a melody he only had part of.” She hums the notes in question. “Honestly, you should be able to make that yourself with the right materials and a little help on the music front.”

Sophie thinks a bit. “He wanted an herb of some sort, which he described as ‘nutty and bright’. Since we don’t really cook around here using anything fancy like that, you might want to see if someone else might know what it’s called, and then see if anyone can help you get some.”

”There were also some dragon down pillows that Grant mentioned. He didn’t say anything about pattern, size or anything else—just that they need to be made of dragon down. And I think he mentioned wanting a couple if possible. We should see if anyone has them, or possibly can make them.”

For a moment the dragon falls silent in thought, staring past you. “He mentioned wanting an incense that smells like a pine forest fresh with rain. Had no other information.” She sighs. “How helpful.”

”Of course, there was the painted Grant wanted. With absolutely no description of it or the people in it. You’re probably going to have to find an artist to commission and a better description of the painting.”

“I think that’s all you’re still searching for. If you have any other questions, let me know.”

Sophie the Sassy
“Oh, you’ve got everything, have you? Honestly, I’m amazed at how fast you work some times,” Sophie says, a genuine and friendly smile coming over her face. “Alright, let’s see what you’ve got.”
Have You Even Tried Yet?
Sophie gives you a look of blatant disbelief. “You’re kidding right? You haven’t gotten any of the things we’re looking for. Howsabout you go get what Grant’s looking for, or at least get me some lunch!”
There’s Still Something Missing...
Sophie looks over the items you’ve collected. She nods thoughtfully, but a small frown creeps over her features.

“You’re missing some things. Don’t forget, Grant asked for five items in total—a wind chime, an herb, some dragon down pillows, some incense, and a painting. Once you’ve got everything, come back to me, okay?”

Getting it Together
Having successfully gathered specimens of everything on your list, you feel a sense of accomplishment. While none of the items are particularly fancy or rare, they are exactly what was needed. You’re confident that Grant will be pleased with the collection you’ve managed to assemble. Each piece, though simple, has been chosen with care, and together, they represent a job well done. Your efforts are sure to meet Grant’s requirements and expectations. You indicate to Sophie that you’re ready to give Grant his things.
Getting it Together
Having successfully gathered specimens of everything on your list, you feel a sense of accomplishment. While none of the items are particularly fancy or rare, they are exactly what was needed. You’re confident that Grant will be pleased with the collection you’ve managed to assemble. Each piece, though simple, has been chosen with care, and together, they represent a job well done. Your efforts are sure to meet Grant’s requirements and expectations. You indicate to Sophie that you’re ready to give Grant his things.
Getting it Together
You’ve successfully collected specimens of everything on your list, and each item is exceptional in quality. The collection you’ve amassed is not only complete but also impressive, showcasing the best of what you were tasked to find. With such fantastic specimens in hand, you feel confident that Grant will be more than just satisfied—he should be absolutely thrilled! Your efforts have culminated in a remarkable and commendable accomplishment. You indicate to Sophie that you’re ready to give Grant the items requested.

Bakery[]

The Baker’s Dozen
The first thing that hits you as you walk into the bakery is the fresh scent of bread. Secondly comes the warmth of the small storefront, which is a welcome reprieve from the frosty air outside. A long, glass-topped case displays all sorts of tantalizing goods, and shelves behind the counter are buried under mountains of breads, scones, and other baked goods.

Behind the counter helping customers is an older woman, stout of structure and with a ruddy quality to her face. Beatrice, or simply Bea to her regulars, looks past the person she’s currently helping long enough to give you a hearty hello as you enter. She’s a cheery sort, and despite the constant exhaustion that hangs around her eyes and at the corners of her face, she’s always happy to chat.

Beatrice[]

Beatrice the Baker
The baker, Beatrice, gives you a slight, friendly smile as you approach. Her greying hair is akimbo under her cap, and flour covers much of her clothes. There are big bags under her piercing green eyes. A large, flowery apron covers her front diligently, although you can tell it’s been through years of tough treatment.

“My friend, welcome! How are you today? Is there anything I can help you with? We’ve got lots of delicious, hearty options for you to peruse. I know you’re always so busy, so I won’t take too much of your time.”

Beatrice the Baker
Beatrice looks intently at you as you explain your reason for being here today. “Oh, is that so? And just who IS this client?”

“My client is a young man named Grant, but the items are ultimately for his father-in-law, Harold.”

The baker’s eyes light up as you speak.

“Oh really? Why, it’s been a while since I’ve seen Howard around, usually it’s just his daughter. You know, he and my ol’ cousin used to go hunting together all the time.”

Your face must be a mask of surprise, because Beatrice laughs.

“If you’re doing something for Harold, I’m happy to see what I can do for you. What exactly was it you’re looking for?”

Beatrice the Baker
Beatrice thinks a moment before shaking her head. “Sorry dear, I’m afraid I can’t help with a wind chime.”
Beatrice the Baker
Beatrice thinks for a moment once you share Grant’s description of the herb in question. After a bit she finally says, “I’m fairly certain that’s summer cress.”

“Summer cress?”

Beatrice nods. “Yes, it tends to be used in foods farther north of here. It’s mostly used in preparing meats and other savory meals.”

You hum in thought. “Is there any chance you’ve got some, Bea?”

The woman shakes her head. “I’m afraid not. It’s not real useful in baking, you see. But you’re definitely looking for summer cress.”

You nod your head, and give her a word of thanks.

Beatrice the Baker
Beatrice shakes her head at the mention of incense. “I’m afraid I don’t really use incense, dear. Perhaps you can find someone else who could help with that.”
Beatrice the Baker
“Oh, that sounds lovely, actually,” Beatrice says dreamily. “If you’re able to find any, I’d be interested in getting some myself.”
Beatrice the Baker
Holiday 2023 basket of baked goods

Beatrice gives you a surprised look before her face sets in thought.

“So,” she starts slowly. “I can’t help you too much with this. I know Harold, sure, but I’ve never been all that close with him.”

You open your mouth, but she gives you a look to stop you.

“However. My cousin, Mark, was real close with Harold back in the day. He might have seen the picture in question back in the day. You could try giving him a shot.

You nod thoughtfully. “That sounds like a real swell idea, although I don’t think I’ve much seen Mark around town.”

The baker shakes her head. “He lives out in the woods, just off the main path, actually. I haven’t seen him in about a month, actually.” Beatrice gives a hum of thought. “Tell you what, in return for the information, would you mind checking up on Mark? I’ll give you something for him real quick.”

“Of course, I’m already heading that way by the sound of it,” you say with a chuckle.

The baker smiles and gives you a word of thanks before dipping into the back room, bustling about loudly for a few moments. You look around the bakery, noting the meticulously kept shelves and racks. Beatrice finally returns, offering you a basket full of baked goods.

“If you could take this to Mark, I’d really appreciate it.”

“Of course, Beatrice. My deepest thanks.”

The baker beams at you and waves her hand. “Oh, don’t mention it. You’re doing me a favor, checking on my kin like that.”

Beatrice the Baker
Holiday 2023 chocolate

A small, tired smile cracks Beatrice’s face as you assure her that Mark is doing well. She gives you a brief nod. “Thanks for taking care of that, I never have time to get away from the bakery, so I usually have to wait for Mark to come to town instead.”

“He said he’ll try to swing by a bit more often, Bea.”

“That’d be lovely,” she says, before humming in thought. “Give me just a moment, I’ve got something for you.”

Beatrice disappears into the back room for a moment before returning shortly. She hands you a rather large bar of chocolate, wrapped thickly in waxed paper. “As thanks,” she says, flashing you another smile.

“You uh, you sure ‘bout that?” you ask, and she nods her head vigorously.

“Of course. You’ve brought me peace of mind. I think you’ve earned it.”

You take the chocolate with a word of thanks, and tuck it away on your person.

Herbalist[]

Herbacious Delights
Upon entering the herbalist’s shop, you find the owner absent, with his young apprentice managing the place. New to town and still a bit of a mystery, the apprentice attentively tends to the herbs and remedies. Although you’re not familiar with him, his presence and careful work suggest he might have useful information for your search. Seeing him as a potential source of new insights, you consider this a chance to gather information and get to know this new member of the community.

Tommy[]

Apprentice Tommy
The young apprentice looks up at you, a snaggle-tooth smile spreading across his face. The young man is barely out of his youth, with dirty blonde hair tied back in a loose pony tail. His shirt is a simple linen affair, tied up with a small length of string. Despite his rather young-looking face he is incredibly tall, so much so that nearly everyone in town has to look up to talk to the man. You, of course, are no different in this regard. As you approach, he asks how he can help you.
Apprentice Tommy
When you explain to Tommy what you’re looking for, he listens attentively but regretfully informs you that he can’t be of assistance. He explains that his expertise primarily lies in herbs and plants, and he’s uncertain about his ability to help with anything beyond that realm. His response, though apologetic, is honest and highlights his specialized knowledge in botany, but also his limitations in other areas.
Apprentice Tommy
Holiday 2023 summer cress

Tommy surprises you by being familiar with the herb you’re inquiring about. He provides a detailed description of its natural habitat, explaining that it’s commonly found on open plains and typically grows from mid to late summer, which is reflected in its name. He mentions having some in the back of the shop and promptly goes to retrieve it for you. When he returns, he presents you with a sample of the herb. While it’s not in pristine condition, Tommy assures you that it’s still of good quality and should serve your purpose well.

Apprentice Tommy
Upon your acknowledgment, Tommy’s cheeks flush with a modest blush, and he beams with a mix of pride and humility. “Of course, happy to help!” he exclaims, his voice tinged with a genuine eagerness to assist.

Tailor[]

In the Eye of the Needle
As you enter the tailor’s shop, you’re immediately struck by its well-kept and orderly nature. The front area, though small, is neatly organized, with a tidy counter showcasing some of the tailor’s finest work. To one side, a cozy arrangement of chairs flanks a small table, inviting a moment of rest.

(Before speaking to Francis)

Seated in one of the chairs is an old woman you know as Marge, the tailor’s mother. Her eyes sparkle with a welcoming warmth, reflecting years of wisdom and kindness. Both she and the tailor, Francis, who is busy at work, greet you with genuine attentiveness. Their hospitality makes the shop feel like a home, where every guest is treated with care and respect. The tailor’s skilled hands move deftly over fabric, while his mother’s pleasant chatter fills the air, creating an atmosphere of comfort and craftsmanship.

(After speaking to Francis)

Having exchanged greetings with Francis, you sense a shift in the atmosphere. He recognizes that you’re not here for business today and, with a polite nod, entrusts you to the company of his mother. He turns his focus back to his work, his hands resuming their dance with needle and thread.
Marge, now your primary host, continues to engage you with her gentle conversation. In her presence, the shop retains its charm, but the dynamic changes subtly. The tailor’s occasional glances and nods towards you are reassuring, yet he remains absorbed in his craft. This balance of attention and independence defines the shop’s character – a place where meticulous workmanship coexists with heartfelt hospitality.

Francis[]

Francis the Tailor
A tall, burly man presides over the shop, dressed as sharply as one would expect a tailor to be. Francis’ long, tawny hair is held back with a blue ribbon, designed to match his coat, and a well-kept beard and mustache frame his round face. As you hail him, he gives you a brief nod, and comes to see what you need.

”Ah, yes, our illustrious town odd-jobber. What can I do for you today?”

Francis the Tailor
You begin to explain to Francis the purpose for your visit, but within mere seconds it becomes clear to him that you haven’t come to purchase any new clothes or have anything old tailored.

“I beg your pardon, my friend,” he says, his tone clipped and measured, “But I’m afraid if you haven’t come to make a purchase, I will have to leave you in the capable hands of my mother.”

He gestures to the woman sitting near the front of the store.

Francis the Tailor
A tall, burly man presides over the shop, dressed as sharply as one would expect a tailor to be. His long, tawny hair is held back with a blue ribbon, designed to match his coat, and a well-kept beard and mustache frame his round face. As you hail him, he gives you a brief nod, but continues about his work, confident his mother will be able to help you.

Marge[]

Marge the Weaver
Marge gives you a friendly wave as you approach, gesturing for you to sit across from her. The elderly woman is fabulously draped in elegant clothes, although the shawl wrapped about her shoulders is homespun and plain. With a cordial smile, Marge offers you some tea, which you quite politely turn down.

“I’m afraid I’m here for business, not pleasure, Marge.”

“Oh, of course dearie,” she says, “What can I help you with?”

Marge the Weaver
Holiday 2023 string

“Wouldn’t a wind chime be no problem for you to make, dear?” Marge asks, looking you over.

“Er, well yes,” you say, frowning a bit. “But apparently the melody of it is just as important as the materials used to make the thing in the first place.”

Marge gives a hum of thought. “I see. Well, at the very least, if you’re putting a wind chime together, you’ll at least want some string to put it all together.” The elderly woman reaches into the sewing bag by the side of her chair and removes a bobbin of thread. “I know it doesn’t look like much, but it’s quite strong I assure you.”

Your head bows in thanks as you take the offered string. “Thank you very much, ma’am.”

“Oh don’t mention it, dear,” she says cheerily before falling silent and taking a sip of her tea. “OH! Dearie. I have an idea.”

You lean forward for a moment, silent and looking deep into the old woman’s eyes.

“Yes, ma’am?”

“I don’t know if they’re still there, but I heard we had a few starsinger ladies come through our woods this year. If you could find them, they might be able to help you with your melody issue.”

“Any idea where they might be?”

“Well,” Marge hums absently, “Perhaps you could check the clearing? I’ve heard from a few of the local huntsmen that there’s a large clearing in the woods that dragons tend to like gathering in.”

A grunt of thought escapes you. “Alrighty then, I’ll give that a shot,” you say.

“Happy to help, dearie,” Marge says with a kindly smile.

Marge the Weaver
Marge hums quietly in thought. “I’m afraid I’m not familiar with such an herb, dearie. Perhaps someone else could help with that.”
Marge the Weaver
“It smells like...oh dear, I’m afraid I’m not familiar with such an incense,” Marge says. “Perhaps if you knew a name I could help you. I do rather like incense, after all.”
Marge the Weaver
Holiday 2023 incense

Marge nods as you speak. “Oh, of course I have some Storm’s Fury. I’m not certain I would have quite described it that way, but I know what you’re talking about. Give me just a moment.”

Marge rises, and Francis hustles over to her. He aids her gently into the back room, and after a brief moment, the two return. The old woman gently presses a small bundle of incense sticks into your hand.

“Here, for Grant. If he needs any more, he is welcome to come and ask for some.”

Marge the Weaver
“Ah, Storm’s Fury. What a lovely incense. If you do end up needing more, dear, please do let me know.”

You nod. “I’ll keep that in mind, but I think we’re good for now.”

“Very well, then,” Marge says, taking a sip from her cup.

Marge the Weaver
“Oh, you need some pillows? That wouldn’t be a problem at all dear. I could sew up some pillows in my sleep.”

Your eyebrows shoot up, and you lean eagerly forward. “Really now?”

“Oh absolutely. But the problem is the down. Dragon down is very tricky to resource, you see. It might be worthwhile to ask around town to see if you can gather some.”

“I see. And then I can come back to you to have them made into pillows?”

Marge gives you a brief nod. “Absolutely, dear. Just you let me know.”

Marge the Weaver
“Oh yes dear, let’s see what you’ve got for me,” Marge says, settling a pair of spectacles on her nose and reaching a hand out for the feathers you’ve brought her.
Marge the Weaver
Holiday 2023 pillow

Marge gives you a friendly smile, and pulls out what is essentially a cloth sack, and she stuffs it deftly full of the feathers you’ve brought her. As she works, she shares with you embarrassing anecdotes about Francis. The tailor gives her anxious looks, but he says absolutely nothing. By the time she’s finished stuffing the pillow and sewing it up, a wide grin is smeared across your face.

Marge the Weaver
Holiday 2023 blue pillow

Marge draws out another cloth proto-pillow, and before long she’s got the pillow swiftly underway along with a story of her youth. Her story is a fascinating tale about a family that arrived in town decades ago in search of a new and better life. Her mother was a quality spinner, and her father a tailor as well. Marge’s husband had been her father’s apprentice, and their romance was a swift and deep one. The very shop you sit in, in fact, has been in Marge’s family since they arrived, and she’s quite proud of it. As her story comes to a close, you realize Marge finished the pillow a while ago, but her story was so enthralling that you couldn’t help but to hang onto her words.

Marge the Weaver
“Oh, I remember Harold’s parents. Abe and Marigold. Wonderful, lovely couple. I don’t think I ever saw the painting you’re talking about, but I am familiar with the people in it.”

A frown crosses your face in thought. “Any chance I could get a description of them?”

Marge nods. “Oh absolutely, dear. Although I really only knew them in their later years, so I’m not certain if it would be the best for what you’re after.”

The old woman takes the better part of an hour describing the pair to you, although it’s clear the people she knew were past their prime. However, you note what she says so that you can most effectively tell whatever artist you commission what you’re after. After a while, Marge finally comes to the end of her description.

“Ah, dear,” she says hastily, “A thought. I might not be a painter, but I know we certainly have one in town. Supposedly William got a lovely portrait a while back, and supposedly he got it locally.”

Marge the Weaver
A small chuckle escapes Marge and she shakes her head. “Oh, it’s no trouble at all dear. Please, let me know if you need anything else.”

Oddities shop[]

This and That
The oddities shop is an enchanting maze of tables laden with a fascinating assortment of knick-knacks and trinkets. Despite its seemingly cluttered appearance, the knowledgeable proprietor knows precisely where every item is placed. Dominating the back half of the store is a large counter area, home to the quonebb dragon who runs the shop. Due to her size, she remains behind the counter, surrounded by lush potted plants that create a green sanctuary. She has a few assistants to help with more delicate tasks, but she prefers to personally handle sales, inviting customers to come to her for their purchases. This unique setup fosters a personal connection in a space filled with curiosities.

Mags and Abby[]

Mags and Abby, Oddities Extroardinaire!
The large quonebb looks at you, two pairs of bright eyes giving you an eager once over. Her brassy scales shimmer gently in the light, and her sail-like wings are tucked up neatly along her sides. One of her heads rests gently on the counter to inspect you, while the other peers at you from just slightly above.

“Well lookey here, Mags,” says the head resting on the counter, “Looks like the handy town helper has come to visit my lovely little shop.”

“Indeed they have, Abby dearest,” says the other head, a smile spread across her wide face. “And just what can I do for you today, my friend?”

Mags and Abby, Oddities Extroardinaire!
The two heads of the quonebb look at each other for a moment.

“So sorry darling,” Abby says after a moment of quiet conference between the two, “I’m afraid I can’t help you procure such an object.”

“I had planned to put one together,” you say.

Mags lets out a hum. “Perhaps I can help you source some of the components then, if you’re able to show me something you plan on using. Coherence in art is important, after all!”

“I’ll see if I can find one of the components, then.”

“That would be swell, dear,” Abby says, smiling gently.

Mags and Abby, Oddities Extroardinaire!
Holiday 2023 stone

Mags and Abby come through for you, finding the final piece needed to complete your wind chime: a beautifully suited stone. Her contribution adds another harmonious element to your materials, and somehow you could never see the reeds you’ve found paired with any other stone. With her help, your wind chime is now one step closer to completion, a testament to teamwork and attention to detail.

Mags and Abby, Oddities Extroardinaire!
Holiday 2023 river reeds

Mags and Abby provide the final element needed for your wind chime: a selection of reeds that range in hue and luster. Her contribution is essential, bringing a natural and harmonious element to your creation. With these reeds, your wind chime is one step closer to completion, embodying a blend of craftsmanship and the beauty of collaboration.

Mags and Abby, Oddities Extroardinaire!
Both Mags and Abby give a hum of thought as you mention the herb. The two share a look between them, and after a while Abby speaks.

“I could most certainly fetch a lovely little plant for you, darling. But...”

“But I can’t find something when I don’t know what I’m looking for dear. If you can find out what it’s called—“

“—And honestly,” interjects Abby, “Where to find it, too.”

“And yes, where to find it,” continues Mags, “I would be happy to help you get some.”

Mags and Abby, Oddities Extroardinaire!
Holiday 2023 fresh summer cress

“Oho, summer cress eh? What impeccable taste,” Abby says enthusiastically. “We can certainly fetch you some of that.”

In a flash she is gone, and you wait for a while for her to return. While you do, you strike up a friendly conversation with the staff of the shop. They’re generally rather polite, and they have nothing but kind things to say about the quonebb. They also suggest a few things for you to have, but you gently turn them down for now, as you’re here on business. Before any of the staff can get too persuasive with their sales pitches, Mags and Abby flash back into her nest beyond the counter, whooping triumphantly. You excuse yourself gently before hustling over to the dragon.

With much ceremony, Mags and Abby hold the slender plant out to you. The bundle has a strong, herbaceous scent that fills your nose and reminds you of a summer field.

“Now dear,” Mags says, “I wanted to make sure we got you a sprig with some seeds so that your client can plant those and have some year round. If they do end up needing more, however, you’re welcome to send them to me.”

Mags and Abby, Oddities Extroardinaire!
The quonebb tosses her heads flippantly, and Abby gives a bright smile.

“Oh don’t mention it at all, darling,” Mags says.

Mags and Abby, Oddities Extroardinaire!
Abby smiles. “Well, I am quite fond of all sorts of incense, yes.”

“A connoisseur, even,” Mags agrees.

“However, without a sample, I can’t just produce something based on a vague description. There are all sorts of incenses that match your description, after all.”

“Indeed, and it is important when searching for olfactory delights to have a name, at least.”

“I...see,” you say, humming. “I’ll see if I can find a name for you.”

The dragon nods both of its heads. “That would be lovely. When you do, I’m happy to help.”

Mags and Abby, Oddities Extroardinaire!
Both Mags and Abby blink before looking at each other.

“You don’t say,” they murmur together, a growing look of mild concern growing on her faces. After a moment of quiet conference between the two heads, Mags speaks up.

“So dear, I certainly know where to get some Storm’s Fury. It’s a wonderful scent.”

Mags shakes her head in agreement. “Yes, perhaps a little too wonderful.”

“What do you mean?” you ask, looking from one head to another.

Both heads let out a little sigh. “Simply put, darling,” Mags says, “Storm’s Fury is very popular and not particularly cheap. If you wanted me to fetch something like that, I would need some sort of compensation in return.”

“I’d be more than happy to pay you.”

“I’m sure you would, dear. But I tend to prefer barter myself. Tell you what, I have a rather large sweet tooth. If you can bring me a tasty little morsel, I’d be happy to get you some Storm’s Fury.”

Mags and Abby, Oddities Extroardinaire!
Holiday 2023 incense

The dragon takes a long moment to deeply inhale the smell of the chocolate, a broad smile smeared across each face. Both heads let out a long, satisfied sigh before turning to you.

“You are an absolute miracle worker,” Abby says as she puts away the chocolate delicately behind the counter.

“I’m just helping folks out, really,” you say, giving a small smile.

“Nonsense, dear, you’re a lifesaver,” Mags says. “We’ll be just back.”

The dragon disappears in a flash, and you find yourself milling about the shop. The assistants are more than happy to help you, but you wave them away with a cordial smile. After a while of meandering about, you hear the quonebb return with a cheery call of your name. You hustle to the front counter where Mags and Abby await you.

“And here you are, darling,” Abby says, handing to you a small bundle of incense. “Some Storm’s Fury for you and your client.”

“Best of luck in your search, dear,” Mags adds. “If you need anything else, please feel free to ask.”

Mags and Abby, Oddities Extroardinaire!
The two heads of the quonebb recoil fully at your request, jaws agape in shock as they stare at you.

“I...I’m terribly sorry dear, you want WHAT?” Mags asks.

“Absolutely NOT!” Abby chimes in.

You put your hands up in as non-threatening a manner as you can. “Apologies! I’m just saying what I was sent for.”

Abby sighs. “You’re right, of course. But no. Simply...no.”

A silence hangs on the air for just a moment. From among the goods, you can feel the eyes of the quonebb’s assistants as they stare at you.

“Sorry dear,” Mags says. “But I don’t deal in any dragon-based items here. I don’t much care of the poaching of any of my kind, whether they are kin or not.”

“I see,” you say quietly. “Apologies, it won’t happen again.”

“Appreciated, dear,” the heads say in unison.

Mags and Abby, Oddities Extroardinaire!
The two heads look at each other before turning back to you with apologetic faces.

“Sorry, darling. But I don’t deal in fine art enough to help, I’m afraid,” Mags says.

“Yes, I tend to prefer the rustic, myself,” Abby adds.

Edge of town[]

At the Edge of Town
Just at the edge of the village, the outskirts are a quieter, more rugged space. The butcher’s shop stands solidly, offering quality meats, while the cobbler’s nearby workshop is filled with the comforting scent of leather. The town’s boundary is marked by an old gate, leading to a path that winds into the mysterious woods, guarded by a few watchful guards.

A short walk into the woods sits Sylvios’ sizable shop, built to fit his large stature and the scale of his unique wares. This shop marks the transition from the safety of the town to the wild unknown of the forest. Past Sylvios’ shop, the trail stretches further, weaving its way into the depths of the wilderness.

Butcher's shop[]

Fine Meats for Fine Eats
As you enter the butcher’s shop, you’re instantly overwhelmed by the smell of meat. Strings of smoked sausages and other smoked meats hang from the ceiling behind the low, rough counter. A long, gore-streaked butcher’s block rests to one side on the counter, and a few customers wait to speak with the butcher, Joe.

Wiry and thin, but still strongly built in the arms, Joe is not the most intimidating man. He greats you cheerily as you enter, and tells you to mind your step. You nod, not even bothering to glance at the cats milling about your feet. While Joe always insists he keeps the creatures around for pest control, it’s common knowledge around town that he’s simply fond of the creatures, and he couldn’t turn them away after they came sniffing at the back door of his shop.

Joe[]

Joe the Butcher
A thin, wiry man greets you with a cheery smile. At least, Joe’s probably smiling, as most of his face is lost in a full, reddish beard that matches his short crop of hair. A thick, gore-smeared apron covers his front, and sleeves are rolled partway up his muscular arms. He doesn’t cut a particularly imposing figure, but the thick cleaver in his belt is certainly impressive. He leans across a clean part of his counter as you approach.

“Well hello there,” he says gruffly, “And just what d’you think you’re up to today?”

Joe the Butcher
Joe thinks a moment. “Sorry friend, I can’t do y’any good for a wind chime I’m afraid.”
Joe the Butcher
“Nope,” he says, an apologetic hint in his voice. “I’m afraid I can’t help you with any herbs. That’s more my wife’s job, y’see.”
Joe the Butcher
The man’s thick eyebrows come together in thought. He stares hard past you for a moment before his face explodes in realization. “Oh yeah! I know an incense like that! My ol’ ma used t’really like the stuff! It’s called ‘Storm’s Fury’, got this real strong scent of th’earth when it starts raining. Supposedly, it’s supposed t’calm down storm dragons when they get up in a huff.”

You hum thoughtfully. “You don’t happen to have any, do you, Joe?”

Joe shakes his head. “‘Fraid not. My ma might of swore by it, but my wife ain’t much for incense. Sorry.”

“Hey, a name’s more than I already had, you’ve helped quite a bit!”

Joe chuckles and beams at you.

Joe the Butcher
Joe thinks a bit. “Well, I ain’t got any dragon down I’m afraid. I couldn’t do that to something that can talk back to me like that, y’see. But I got some nice bird down—which is just as good as dragon, frankly—but I ain’t got any pillows, no. If you can find someone t’make it, I’m sure I can get you some down.”
Joe the Butcher
Holiday 2023 down

Joe lets out a grunt as you mention Marge. “Ah, I bet she would, and in a heartbeat, too. Tell ya what, I betcha you ain’t gonna get too many dragon feathers around here—not without plucking a few forest natives clear down to the skin. Howsabout I see what I can wrangle up for you, just so you can fill out any pillows you get.”

“I think that sounds like a plan,” you say, figuring that if you can’t use them for Grant’s pillows, you can at least use them for yourself.

For a moment the butcher disappears into the back, and you can hear him hollering loudly to his wife. After a loud, but brief, exchange between the two, you can hear clattering from the back. He then returns with a massive sack, complete with a few feathers poking out the top of it.

“Now, here y’go. I don’t need anything in return, just consider it a thanks for all the help you’ve given me over the years, alright?”

You give Joe a nod of thanks and take the feathers gratefully before considering what you’ll do next.

Joe the Butcher
Joe frowns a bit and shakes his head. “Can’t help you there, I’m afraid. I’m just not much of the artist type.”

Cobbler's shop[]

Cobbled Shoes for Cobblestones
In the outskirts, the cobbler’s shop bustles with villagers seeking new shoes for the season’s shift. Amidst a whirl of leather and tools, the cobbler, William, works tirelessly, swamped with orders. You manage a brief chat with him after a wait. Despite being busy, he’s warm and efficient, his quick words reflecting his dedication and passion for his craft.

William[]

William the Cobbler
William the cobbler is a rather unimpressive and homely looking man, a bit up there in years and scattered in appearance. While a bit hunched, even when upright, he is a generous and cheery man, especially during the winter season. As you approach him, he is more than happy to talk to you a moment.
William the Cobbler
As you start to explain your needs to William, the cobbler attentively listens to your request. However, after hearing you out, he apologetically informs you that he can’t be of assistance. He explains that his current workload has him extremely busy, leaving him with little capacity to offer further help.
William the Cobbler
William directs your attention to a striking painting that captures him and his wife in exquisite detail. The artwork is fantastic, showcasing a blend of vibrant colors and emotional depth. With a hint of pride, William reveals that Sylvios, the apothecary, is the artist behind this masterpiece. He then shares that Sylvios tends to be quite reserved about his artistic talent, preferring to keep his skill in the realm of painting somewhat under wraps.
William the Cobbler
Upon receiving your expression of gratitude, William responds with a nod, acknowledging your thanks.

Apothecary shop[]

Herbs and Remedies for All Maladies
The large building looms just outside of the town, constructed of stone and wood. From the outside, it looks more like a barn or storehouse, and if you’d never been there before, you would have dismissed it as such. Inside the apothecary’s store is more of what you would expect from such a building, with herbs of all sorts hanging from the ceiling and walls, and shelves packed with tins, packets, and jars line the walls. Across the back wall hangs a large curtain, which you are certain leads to a back area.

Although the size and placement of the building seems rather odd for a healer’s wares, the reason for such a store becomes apparent as Sylvios comes into view. Like all astralophyne dragons, he dwarfs you. However, having dealt with him before, you know he is rather aware of his size and polite, especially to prospective customers.

Sylvios[]

Healer Sylvios
At the heart of many conversations and inquiries stands Sylvios, the knowledgeable and approachable apothecary. He’s a striking figure, often surrounded by an array of bottles and herbs that speak to his deep understanding of natural remedies and potions. Sylvios combines a keen intellect with a warm demeanor, making him not just an expert in his field but also a welcoming presence.

As you approach him, his attention shifts to you, his eyes reflecting a mix of curiosity and readiness to assist. With a gentle, inviting tone, he asks, “How can I help you today?” This simple question opens the door to a hub of information and guidance, with Sylvios at the center, prepared to offer his expertise or to listen to your needs.

Healer Sylvios
In your quest for the five items, the hub for seeking information is undoubtedly Sylvios. Known for his extensive knowledge and resources, Sylvios is the go-to person for inquiries about a wide range of objects. His expertise makes him an invaluable asset in your search, offering insights or leads that could be crucial in locating each of the items on your list.
Healer Sylvios
You approach Sylvios with an inquiry about the wind chime, hoping he might have some insight or assistance to offer. However, Sylvios, usually a wellspring of knowledge and resources, shakes his head apologetically. This time, he can’t provide the help you’re seeking regarding the wind chime. His expression conveys genuine regret, but it’s clear this particular query is outside his realm of expertise or ability to assist.
Healer Sylvios
When you ask Sylvios about the herb, he attentively listens but admits to some uncertainty. His expertise is more aligned with the medicinal uses of herbs rather than their culinary flavors. Unsure of the specific herb you’re seeking, he suggests that if you can provide its exact name or a more detailed description, he’d be more likely able to assist you.
Healer Sylvios
Holiday 2023 fresh summer cress

Upon hearing the name of the herb you’re seeking, Sylvios’ eyes light up with recognition. Nodding understandingly, he turns towards one of his many planters, each a lush repository of various flora. With practiced care, he selects the right planter and carefully retrieves the herb for you. His actions reflect his extensive knowledge and the pride he takes in his collection, happy to provide exactly what you need from his well-tended array of plants.

Healer Sylvios
Upon expressing your thanks to Sylvios, he offers you a polite word of acknowledgment. His response is brief yet courteous, conveying a sense of appreciation for your gratitude in his understated, respectful manner.
Healer Sylvios
When you ask Sylvios about the incense, he pauses thoughtfully, considering your request. Despite his vast knowledge and extensive collection, he regretfully informs you that he can’t assist with the incense. It’s a rare instance where Sylvios, usually resourceful, finds himself unable to provide what you’re looking for.
Healer Sylvios
You ask Sylvios about the pillows you’re looking for, but he gives you a gentle sign in the negative. He could certainly give you all sorts of herbs and oils to infuse your pillows with for a more effective sleep, certainly, but he couldn’t provide the pillow itself.
Healer Sylvios
Holiday 2023 White Dragon down

Sylvios hesitates momentarily upon your request, weighing his decision. However, your mention of Marge’s willingness to assist sways him. Trusting Marge’s judgment and acknowledging her as a good judge of character, he decides to help. With a thoughtful expression, he retreats to the back room of his shop, muttering quietly to himself. He returns briefly, clutching a few beautifully white feathers. They come, he says, from a white dragon he was friends with in his younger days, but he would be honored to help you with your task.

Healer Sylvios
When you inquire Sylvios about the portrait, his response is unexpectedly evasive. He confirms that he can’t assist with your request, but his manner is somewhat cagey, lacking his usual straightforwardness. There’s a hint of hesitation in his voice, suggesting there might be more to his reluctance than he’s willing to disclose.
Artist Sylvios
Sylvios reacts with a mix of surprise and flattery when you compliment him. He engages in further discussion about what you’re seeking, showing genuine interest. As the conversation progresses, he asks for a description to understand your needs better.

(After getting the lower quality portrait)

He muses quietly for a moment, and comments that he’s be more than happy to make another attempt at the painting you wanted, if you can get a better description of the piece.

(After getting the higher quality portrait)

Sylvios gives you a gracious nod as you mention the painting, but he tells you there’s little more he can do for you at this point. With a mix of respect and artistic integrity, admits that he can do no better, even as an artist who constantly strives for perfection.
Artist Sylvios
Holiday 2023 portrait

Sylvios asks you to wait and retreats to the back of his shop for a while. Seizing the opportunity, you settle into a small, cozy area to the side, allowing yourself a moment of rest. As you relax, you find yourself gently dozing off in the quiet, peaceful atmosphere. After some time, Sylvios returns, breaking the serene silence. In his hands, he holds a painting. He humbly mentions that it isn’t his finest piece, yet he believes it will be useful to you.

Artist Sylvios
Holiday 2023 better portrait

After Sylvios steps into the back, asking you to wait for a moment, you take the opportunity to rest, finding a quiet spot to the side. As you sit, the calm of the shop lulls you into a brief doze. After a short while, Sylvios reappears, holding a painting. There’s a look of pride on his face as he presents it to you. He explains that your vivid description made the task effortless, allowing him to create the piece quickly and with ease. His satisfaction with the work is evident, and it seems your detailed account inspired him, resulting in a piece he’s especially proud of.

The woods[]

Following the Road
You are only very shallowly in the woods. The road is still clearly delineated here, and if you peer hard enough through the skeletal trees in the right direction, you can see what you think is town. Individuals seeking firewood often come this far into the woods, as most of the more dangerous animals don’t come this close to town. You can follow the path as it heads deeper into the woods, but you also spy a couple of footpaths that branch off in either direction. Having been in these woods before, you know there’s a clearing somewhere in these woods, and a river that flows out from the woods and passes not too far from town.
Following the Road
You find yourself deep within the woods, yet the path remains clearly defined, well-trodden by hunters and others in search of game. As you journey further, you notice a footpath branching off to one side. Peering through the dense trees, you catch a glimpse of what appears to be a structure hidden in the natural seclusion.
Following the Road
You’re deep into the woods now. You keep an ear out for any strange noises, as dangerous animals or hostile dragons could be anywhere this deep in the woods. The path has degraded greatly, and it might be wise to turn back.
(Spoke to Sophie about Temprias)
You can see a small footpath, barely perceptible to the eye, leading off to the left. For a minute you stare at it, as if you’re not sure you’re actually seeing a path, before you catch further traces of it deeper into the woods. You’re fairly certain this is the way back to Temprias’ home.
Trekking Through the Woods
The path begins to narrow, quickly becoming overrun by underbrush and shrubbery. It is soon barely perceptible from the surrounding terrain. Large rocks and protruding tree roots have begun to stray into the path, further obscuring the line between path and forest. Navigating further is dangerous and requires deliberate movements, slowing your progress.
Trekking Through the Woods
The path, still almost impossible to follow, continues to wind deeper into the woods. The rising slopes, blanketed by the leaves of the nearby trees, block your view of the surrounding area. In the distance, you can hear the sound of running water, but your path doesn’t seem to be taking you anywhere near it at this time.
Trekking Through the Woods
The woods here are particularly thick, making it difficult to assess how much farther the path leads. The atmosphere in this section of the woods is still and heavy, sending a chill down your spine. Despite the tree canopy’s bare branches and broad daylight, this area is clearly darker than the preceding sections of your hike. The occasional bird call has also stopped, leaving you with only the sounds of your footfalls on the dead forest path.
A Gap in the Rock
You come to the place where you know Temprias’ cave should be. A steep, rocky hillside looms before you, and the trees are particularly thick here. If it were summer, you definitely wouldn’t be able to find the cave entrance, as it would probably be covered in thick vegetation. However, the large brush plants that normally obscure it have died back for winter, and you can just barely make out the cave entrance.

As you approach, you notice a small, barely imperceptible footpath, much like the one leading here from the main road, that follows the steep hillside. It seems to lead in the direction you can hear the running water coming from.

Trekking Through the Woods
The path, while initially hard to see, opens up a bit as you follow it. The jagged rocks of the hillside loom above you, and thick, winter-dead vegetation prevents you from straying too far from the path. In one direction, you can hear the rushing of water. In the other direction, you know you’ll come across Temprias’ cave.

The river[]

The River Road
A waterfall deep in the woods, with a small pool. From the pool runs a small river, which can be followed. The waterfall cascades down a steep, rocky hillside that runs off into the woods.

Along the hillside, nestled within the woods, there’s a small, almost imperceptible footpath. This discreet trail weaves its way through the dense foliage, leading to Temprias’ cave. It’s a path only recognizable to those who have previously ventured to this hidden destination, offering a direct but subtle route for those familiar with its existence.

Follow the river downstream

Follow the footpath along the hillside
The River Road
Holiday 2023 river reeds

As you follow the river, you notice that it has begun to meander away from you, leaving a long, shallow bank. While clear of trees, the ground is lost under a thick forest of dead reeds.

The River Road
The river here is running at a decent speed here. Not too much further down stream you can see a break in the woods, and not too far beyond that you know the town is there. There is also a small footpath that heads into the woods, in a direction you know will take you towards the main road.
The River Road
At the edge of the woods and by the river you can see the town not more than a fifteen minute walk away. Heading upstream will take you into the woods proper. If you head to town, you won’t be able to follow the river back into the woods, as it’s much more quick and easy to take the road.

The cave[]

Time Stands Still...
The brush outside did well to hide the true extent of the cave. The interior opens into an expensive ceiling, yet despite its size, the cave is cozy and fairly clean. Thick tree roots line the ceiling above, some spreading down the cave walls. The aeon is settled neatly towards the back, and he’s watching you intently, as if he’s not surprised to see you here.

Temprias[]

The Elusive Temprias
Temprias watches you expectantly, curious about what you’ve come to inquire him about. You’re fairly certain he can already guess, but then you realize you aren’t certain if his temporal abilities actually work that way. Either way, you realize he’s waiting patiently for you to speak.
The Elusive Temprias
When you ask Temprias about the wind chime, he nods, indicating his ability to assist you with it. However, he clarifies that he can only help with one specific task, urging you to be sure of your request. His tone carries a sense of seriousness, emphasizing the importance of your decision. Temprias waits patiently, ready to lend his aid, but wanting to ensure that this is indeed the matter you need the most assistance with.
The Elusive Temprias
Temprias harnesses his magical skills to visualize the wind chime in question. As he focuses his powers, he begins to describe the chime with exceptional detail. He articulates the design, the shapes of the chimes, and their intricate patterns with such clarity that you can almost see it before you. His vivid description covers every aspect, from the delicate construction to the way it might sound in the wind. This thorough depiction from Temprias leaves you confident that you’ll be able to accurately recreate the wind chime with precision.
The Elusive Temprias
When you inquire Temprias about the herb, he responds with a gentle shake of his head. Regrettably, he informs you that he can’t assist in this matter. His expression conveys a sincere apology for his inability to help with the herb, emphasizing the limitations of his expertise or resources in this particular area.
The Elusive Temprias
Upon asking Temprias about the incense, he gives a slight, regretful shake of his head. He informs you that he’s unable to assist with the incense, his tone reflecting a sincere apology for this limitation.
The Elusive Temprias
When you query Temprias about the pillows, he responds with a note of apology in his voice. He expresses that he is unable to help with the pillows, his demeanor showing sincere regret. Despite his vast capabilities, this particular request falls outside the scope of his assistance, and he conveys this gently but clearly.
The Elusive Temprias
When you inquire Temprias about the portrait, he responds affirmatively, indicating that he can indeed assist you with it. However, he advises you with a note of caution that he can only help with one specific task. His tone suggests the importance of considering your options carefully, as his magical assistance is limited to just one request.
The Elusive Temprias
Temprias employs his magical expertise to envision the portrait in question. As he delves into his magical perception, he begins to describe the portrait with remarkable detail. His words paint a vivid picture, capturing the nuances of its composition, the color palette, and the subtle expressions of the subject. His description is so thorough and precise that you become confident in your ability to commission a replica that would be a perfect representation of the original.
The Elusive Temprias
After you express your gratitude, Temprias acknowledges your thanks with a nod, his demeanor reflecting a sense of accomplishment mixed with fatigue. His magical exertions have evidently drained him, and he settles down, conserving his energy.
The Elusive Temprias
Temprias shakes his head, weariness in his eyes. He says he would help you further if he could, but unfortunately his magic would require several days to recharge.

The cabin[]

A Cabin in the Woods
Among the trees is a small, well-kept hut flanked by a modest shed. Nearby is a neatly stacked pile of firewood, partly covered by a tarp. Out by the front of the hut is a lean-to of wood and bark, which shelters a scraggly old wolf hound. Setting on a stump is an older man, Mark, in rough and patched attire, a long strand of cordage in his hands and a pile of waiting material around his feet. As you approach he hails you briefly, and he eyes you as you draw near.

Mark[]

Woodsman Mark
The old, grizzled man looks up at you with a grunt, stubble dotting his wrinkled face and piercing blue eyes giving you a once-over. His clothes are plain and unimpressive, time-battered and utilitarian. He lets his hands drop ever so slightly, the cordage he’s working on still taut in his grip.

”I ain’t got nothin’ for ya,” he says gruffly, “Best y’be gettin’ back on th’path.”

Woodsman Mark
“Wait, Bea sent you?”

You nod, gesturing with the basket. “She’s worried about you. Misses you since you don’t come into town.”

The old man grunts, eying the basket in your hands. You hold it out to him, and he takes it. Rummaging quickly through it, you can see his eyes light up a bit.

“Well, thank ya, friend. This is great.”

“I have another reason for being out here, if it’s not too much of a problem,” you say. “Beatrice said you were close with Harold. I’m trying to help his son-in-law put together a holiday gift for him.”

Mark sweeps his hat off his head and slaps the side of his leg with it. “Well SHOOT why didn’t y’say so? I’m happy t’help my old pal out. Whatcha got for me?”

Woodsman Mark
Mark grunts in thought. “Y’makin’ it yourself?” he asks, looking at you. You nod, and he gives a knowing grunt. “Well, I don’t know exactly how it was made or how t’make it sound the same, but if you’re lookin’ for materials, you could check down by th’river. There’s all sorts’a reeds down there. They’re probably dead this time’a year, so more’n likely hollow. Should do y’good.”
Woodsman Mark
Mark thinks a moment, but then grunts in the negative and gives his head a single shake.
Woodsman Mark
The old man snorts, a smile coming to his lips. “‘Fraid I can’t help ya there, friend,” he says.
Woodsman Mark
Holiday 2023 dragon down

Mark grunts in thought. “I ain’t got much for pillows, I’m afraid.” He sets his work aside and rises, stretching out his bad. “Y’seem like th’handy sort, though. I think I got somethin’ for ya.”

He disappears inside the hut for just a moment. You look to his hound, who’s snoring loudly from underneath the lean-to, and a grin comes to your lips. However, at the creak of the door, your head snaps to. Mark holds out a small sack to you.

“Got some dragon feathers in there. All sorts. Found ‘em in the woods over th’years.”

You give him a nod and a smile. “Thanks kindly.”

Mark shakes his head, giving a dismissive wave. “Bah, think nothin’ of it. For Harlold.”

Woodsman Mark
“Oh aye?” Mark says, scratching his chin. “Aye, I know th’paintin’. Was a real shame when they lost it. Harlod’s mother was real hurt when it went. I can describe it for ya, but I can’t paint fer nothin’.”

“Even a description would help.”

With a nod, the old man launches into a description of the painting. Despite his gruff mode of speech, he weaves an intricate picture in your mind, so intricate that if you had any painting skills yourself, you have no doubt you’d be able to go and create it. When it’s clear Mark is done, you give him your hearty thanks.

The left path[]

Trekking Through the Woods
You follow the path into the woods, the sparse foliage making it easy to choose your footing. You’ve only just entered, but a still silence envelops you. Ahead, the path meanders deeper into the woods, easy to see for a short while. Dead foliage slowly obscures your view of the path further down the way as it curves gently.
Trekking Through the Woods
Holiday 2023 stone

The footing gets slightly more difficult the further you go along the forest path, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Other than the occasional bird call, you don’t see many signs of life as you traverse the path. After a time, you come across a large, freshly fallen tree blocking your path. The jagged edge of one side is still partially attached to the stump, with some of the roots pulling free from the cold winter soil. Looking around, you notice there are several tracks surrounding the log, but nothing that proves alarming. You are unable to get by without climbing over the log, however; the nearby shrubbery limits your movement. There’s a small space below the log, but it is much too small for you to squeeze beneath. You can clamber over to keep going or turn back.

Trekking Through the Woods
Although you are clearly heading deeper into the wilderness, the oppressive atmosphere seems to be getting lighter, and up ahead you can spy a clearing. The trees here are certainly more comfortably spaced than they were previously, the bare branches above less densely packed. Underfoot the way is somewhat choppy, but not unmanageable. You could certainly head towards the clearing, or head back along the path.

The clearing[]

Where the Woods Fall Away
A large clearing in the woods. There are several pockmarked areas, as is it’s been used for campfires before. Besides the path you took in, you can see a few other paths leading into the clearing. However, you aren’t certain where they all go, and you aren’t willing to look into them at this time.

(After asking Marge about the wind chime)

You gaze around the rather barren-looking clearing, and sigh. You let out as melodic a call as you can, despite your average singing capabilities. For a moment, you’re merely singing to the trees and whatever woodland creatures are nearby, but then...you hear a reply. First one voice, then several more, take up a much more harmonious call, and from the trees you can spot several large, dark shapes approaching. From the woods emerge several starsinger dragons, all of them matching your song.
Trekking Through the Woods
It takes a minute, but your eyes spot a small footpath off to the side, almost entirely obscured by low lying shrubs. Despite being difficult to find initially, it is surprisingly easy to follow once you’ve started down it. The even ground is reminiscent of the earlier part of your journey.
The Starsingers[]
A Song in the Woods
A large group of Starsingers, too many to count, watch you from the trees. A few hang back, closer to the tree cover, while many of them approach curiously. Any number of inquisitive chirps and trills fill the air, and before long you find yourself confronted by a small handful. They each give you a name, but before too long you’re overwhelmed and aren’t certain you could keep track of which individual is which.
A Song in the Woods
The Starsingers are an essential resource for inquiries regarding the five items that you are looking for. They are renowned for their vast knowledge and magical—as well as musical—insights, which make them the perfect guides for your journey. These nomads, friendly and harmonious in nature, tend to raise their voices in this cold and dark season to bring a bright melody to all. These dragons in particular are intrigued by your presence, and they surround you out of great curiosity as you speak.
A Song in the Woods
Upon inquiring about the wind chime, the Starsingers acknowledge that they are not familiar with the particular chime you have mentioned. But as skilled musicians, they provide an original solution. They urge you to hum the notes you have while paying close attention as you do. Then, utilizing their understanding of music, they carefully recommend other notes that would enhance your song. With their assistance, you can create a more elaborate and melodic music for your wind chime.
A Song in the Woods
The Starsingers listen closely to your question regarding the herb but ultimately say they are unable to help you with this. They are not experts on the intricate details of this single herb, despite their vast knowledge and mystical insights.
A Song in the Woods
The Starsingers ponder your question attentively when you ask them about the incense. However, they inform you that they are unable to assist with this particular request.
A Song in the Woods
Holiday 2023 Starsinger down

When you ask the Starsingers about the pillows, they respond in an inviting and affirming way. They assure you they are able to provide an ample amount of feathers, which are essential for your pillows. They are more than happy to supply you with what you need, and it is clear that they are willing to assist.

A Song in the Woods
Though they listen intently, the Starsingers lack the ability to assist you when you approach them with a query regarding the portrait. The intricate details of the portrait, for all their magical abilities and deep knowledge, are outside their area of expertise.
A Song in the Woods
A few friendly Starsingers point out a small side path to you, and mention that it is a shortcut to the main road. You give them a brief word of thanks for their kindness.

The right path[]

Trekking Through the Woods
The path is easy to follow, clearly marked and of fairly even ground. The forest floor is clear of large debris, mostly lined with dead leaves and an occasional small branch. It’s simple to maintain your bearing, as the edge of the woods runs alongside your road. You can see where small shrubbery ends and the grass takes over through the treeline.
Trekking Through the Woods
The path takes a small turn, heading deeper into the woods. It is not long before the sound of running water reaches your ears, and you can hear the rustle of woodland critters coming from the same direction—at this time of year, the river is the most available source of water, after all.

Ending[]

A Humble Gift
Only the necessities—a dried herb, a single pillow, and an inaccurate painting—were gathered alongside the wind chime and incense. Harold expresses satisfaction with the presents once they are given to him. Despite their simplicity, his enjoyment is clear. But Grant is still a little nervous that Harold might not be as happy with simpler things as he could have been. The young man nonetheless sincerely appreciates your efforts in spite of this. He recognizes the effort and consideration that was put into each item you supplied, and he is grateful for the work you have done.
A Great Gift for a Great Man
Along the way, you’ve acquired a variety of objects, some ordinary and others remarkable. Harold displays his gratitude for the presents you gave by sharing his happiness with them. Grant appreciates your help as well and thanks you for your effort. He cannot ignore the faint trace of longing in his father-in-law’s eyes, though. It is evident that although Harold is happy with his unexpected gift, there is a small part of him that still yearns for something more.
The Best Gift Money Couldn’t Buy
Through perseverance and diligent effort, you are able to gather every ideal item on the list. The result is a touching scene of total joy and appreciation. Harold’s admiration for each item’s care and high calibre is evident in every facial expression. He is aware of and sincerely grateful for all of the effort and consideration that went into granting all that he wanted. Grant is ecstatic about it all, personally. Harold is overjoyed when these ideal components have been successfully assembled, and Grant feels an overwhelming sense of relief and fulfilment. Knowing full well the amount of work and commitment required to make this happen, he is immensely appreciative of your assistance.
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