The calendar fades to mid-December, and it's a cheerful winter scene in the village of Hornpipe. Everything is covered in a soft blanket of snow, and the townsfolk burn candles in every window to hold back the long nights. Most of the Humans have an insufferable attitude toward Hobbets, but a few of them aren't half-bad, and from time to time, the House of Pancakes will even get a Human customer, curious to try the exotic cuisine. And Frederick VIII does not disappoint! He has a knack for reinterpreting classic Hobbit recipes with new ingredients that are non-threatening to the Human palette. For example instead of whole bran, he uses refined white flour. Instead of cow's milk butter he serves a tub of weird greasy stuff called 'marjeryn.' Instead of syrup made from the sap of the maple tree, he provides a super-sweet and sticky syrup made from corn dregs (waste product from the town distillery). And the Humans love it!!
From time to time, the druid Ursa surfaces from the dungeon for a hot meal and conversation with her old pal Frederick. Her research is going well, and she is proud to say, with the help of all that rope, she is exploring new heights and depths of the Grand Chasm system, and discovering routes unknown to previous generations of Adventurer. Ursa provides excellent medical care to Dame Simonetta and the other injured Hobbets, and soon everyone is back to full strength.
Frederick negotiates with his landlord, the Miller Hornpipe, and rents out an unused storage room on the second floor of the Windmill atop Hornpipe Hill (next door to the House of Pancakes). This space becomes Hobbet Headquarters, so our dignified Heroes can set up cots and don't have to sleep on the floor of the restaurant. Once they get used to it, the constant wooden creaking of the windmill is sort of relaxing, like being on a ship at sea. The party druids Noh and Potty set up a laboratory where they can research potions. The raven Carc spends endless hours relaxing on his perch, hypnotized by the spinning blades of the windmill.
Any questions or conversation for Frederick, Ursa, or the Human townsfolk?