Good morning Vietnam!

As the icy rain fell mercilessly from the darkened sky, a lonely traveler emerged from the wilderness. His leather coat was long since soaked through and the armor beneath was beginning to rust. His long black hair was matted and water dripped down from its scraggly ends ceaselessly. He was weary and cold to the bone, and the sword on his hip felt unbearably heavy as he stumbled through deepening mud.

Yet, it was the emptiness in his heart that he could not shake which occupied the forefront of his mind, dragging him down yet driving him onward. Something had been taken from him but he knew not what. Only the vaguest feeling, like the impressions of a forgotten dream remained. He shook his head for the hundredth time, to no avail; the feeling, the sense of loss refused to be cast away.

Through conscious effort, he put one foot in front of the other. Following a bend in the washed out road, he came to a sign: Seven Silvers Tavern and Inn. As he neared it, a comforting warmth glowed from within the two story building. Crossing the threshold, he hung his sodden coat on an iron rack. Muddy prints marked his trail as he approached the bar.

"Fletcher, old friend! Need food and rooms if you have them," a burly man was declaring; obviously a paladin or the like.

"And the strongest ale you have," a less physically dominating man added. "My treat guys!"

"Warm Brandy then...," a dark elf chimed in. "Whatever you have that can drive away the cold and this thrice damned ache in my head."

There was a terrible sadness about her. She looked at the bar keep with a deep longing but it was not requited, leaving her even more distressed. They were all like that, though; suffering from some deep loss. Their pained expressions said it all.

"Excuse me," the stranger said, gaining the bar keep's attention once he'd finished fussing at a dog-man and his owl pet.

"Eh?" he said, raising an eyebrow at the disheveled newcomer.

"What will this buy me?" the stranger asked, emptying his coin purse onto the counter.

Two copper coins and a carved rock fell out. The bar keep regarded his pittance with poorly concealed annoyance.

"A bit of bread and a seat by the fire. Take it or leave it," he replied.

"Fair enough," was all the stranger said. It was about as much as he'd expected.

He took the stale chunk of rye bread and walked to the crackling of the fire to dry off.

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