The City of Gate has been overrun by a Demon Queen and her minions. The heroes fight well but are ultimately overwhelmed and torn apart by the shadow-beasts. A sorcerous hat-maker called Kattie-Anne watches in horror from a distance, having only recently discovered they could scry using magical spools of thread.
She has to do something, but the vampire Countess of Skelbania has demanded that Kattie-Anne make her a new head-dress, and will soon be wondering where it is. Drawing a new thread into existence, the crazed hatter looks back in time, back before the demons attacked, back before she ever met her friend, Kiara, back even before the City of Gate was ever founded. Back even to before the twins, Hans and Greta, were ever taken into the woods at the command of their step-mother. She alters one tiny detail that changes everything.
Hans and Greta are born, healthy and happy, just as before, but this time their mother survives it. The siblings then never have a stepmother, they never become rival magic-users, and many of the events that led to the incursion of demonkind simply never come to pass. It’s a whole new world, and only Kattie-Anne remembers that it was ever any different.
It’s a beautiful day in Skelbany. The sun shines high over the great mountains which stretch, unbroken, from the frozen wastes to the southern border, where the great walled trading town called Coal City stands. The river spring flows from the mountains and between the dark woods and several farms, flowing all the way to a tavern called ‘Traveller’s Rest’. They still use the water wheel that once ground flour to power their pumps.
The Count and his Countess, along with their three children live happily in the palace in the capital of Skelbania, having never met a vampire in person.
It’s not all rosey though. There are bandits and thieves around, of course, but the biggest problem by far is related to the existence of dragons. The Count and Countess are calling for aid to deal with the dragon problem. Who will answer the call?