``Ah, that certainly hits the spot after a long day on the road. So what sort of tale is it you might be wanting? A story about the fey is always nice to remind you of summer on a cold night such as this. No? Well, perhaps you would hear a dark tale, spun with witches and demons...
``History, is it? Quite the young scholar we are, tonight. Well, I'll tell you a tale, all true... It happened in winter, too, many years ago. The tale is long, though, and this mug is short... Ah, that will wet my dry tongue enough to make it wag.
``My story takes place in this very city, though it were but a ruin then, and all sorts of unsavory types inhabited it. But it was recapturing its former splendor as the nobility returned: a tie of marriage bound the two kingdoms together, for the first time since the War of the Brothers--by your nod, I see you are well versed in history. Well, I'm sure you've never heard those events told like this. Young Prince Peter was about to be crowned first king of the reunified kingdom. And it was but a week before the coronation when he vanished, as if off the face of the earth. All manners of men--commonfolk, visiting royalty, even a travelling circus--were gathered there for the great event. Some say--but you won't hear it from me--that some of them were not quite ordinary mortals... I see that you are skeptical, too. Whoever they were, their shadows still fall on us today.
``The tale begins on a cold winter's night...''