Surrounded by dusty hills and land inhospitable to crop and livestock, Hoarfrost Downs is a small, unremarkable town that survives only as a waypoint on the Westmark Moor road. The Dusklight Inn provides modest accommodation for the weary traveller, whilst a small trading tent offers basic supplies, and a blacksmith can sharpen weapons and re-shoe horses.
Altogether it is the kind of town where the locals describe themselves as simple, humble folks. Where a man may be born, grow old and die without ever encountering ambition. Nobody is in a hurry here, and nobody aspires, because they have nowhere to go, nothing to buy, and no money to buy it with.
Captain Thayer has the thankless task of finding suitable recruits for the Shornhelm guard from the youth of the town. Her only options seem to be a reluctant bandit, a love-struck dolt, and a petty criminal with an infamous father.
It is often said that it is the innocent who are the first casualties of war… actually it is the enlisted men and women who are the first casualties. But when they begin to run short, it is to the unambitious and disenchanted youth of the country to whom that the nobles turn next to proxy their soiled banners upon the battlefields.