The eyes of Khalid Ibn Shazz gleamed with interest. There were few things the wizard enjoyed more than haggling.
“Then, the bargain is such:
- I am to locate the Varisian, Szarko Rom, and bring him to Fort Rannick immediately.
- We leave Fort Rannick under the jurisdiction of Captain Rom.
- We provide provisions enough for an entire year.
- We provide 10 guardsmen to bolster the defenses of the Fort.
- My apprentice, Tarvi, will supervise the provisioning and the guardsmen, and render what counsel he can to the Captain.
In return, you, Brother Theodoric, will join us on our quest, to serve faithfully until we achieve our goals or are destroyed. Are we agreed?"
The larger man looked down at the flawless calligraphy that made up the contract. “I accept” said Theodoric, pleased that the arrangement wasn’t any worse. “How many weeks will you need to bring the supplies?”
“We leave tomorrow at dawn. Be prepared for cold weather, and possibly combat.” stated Khalid. Noting Brother Theodoric’s confused look, he laughed “Did you think I would walk to Magnimar?” Khalid uttered a few arcane syllables and vanished in a blast of flame.
Theodoric did not mind the early start, he had been rising before dawn to pray to the light for many years. As he finished, he glanced over at the table of papers and maps. It was Szarko’s problem now. The rogue was smarter than he looked, he would work something out. The armor was a familiar friend as well, and Theodoric could let his mind wander as he tightened the straps. He spoke the words to endure the cold Khalid had warned of, and took his warmest cloak as well, in case. The sword and pack has been lying by the door all night, and he picked those up as well as he headed out the the battlements.
The capable looking woman, something or other Key, was similarly attired in a fur lined cloak. She favored lighter armor than Theodoric, but that was common for archers, and the recurved bow slung over her cloak hinted at her skill. The wizard was wrapped in a great woolen cloak, and looked cold. But it was the other woman, the Pathfinder, who looked the most out of place. She wore a sturdy travelling outfit, but her clothes were meant to impress some lord, hardly practical at all.
Theodoric spoke “If you had warned me, I could have protected you against the elements as well. Now you’ll have to wait”.
Ailyn Ghontasavos put a hand on Theodoric’s shoulder “Don’t mind me, darling, I quite like the cold. Reminds me of home.” She stepped back several paces, and then stretched her arms wide to her sides. Then she began to grow. Theodoric watched in amazement as she doubled in size, and then grew troubled as she also began to…change.
Ailyn’s eyes changed first, becoming the color of amethysts. Theodoric found that he could not look away, those eyes seemed to expand to fill his field of vision. A lesser man would have run, but Theodoric’s faith bolstered him as other, sharper things flashed in and out of his peripheral vision. When he recovered his senses, Theodoric found himself staring at what could only be a dragon, the morning sun sparkling across its silver scales.
It…She spoke, in a voice that rumbled like thunder “You see darling, the Pathfinder Chronicles recovered at Delvehaven revealed the location of the long-lost Black Library. It was the resting place of our greatest secrets. We should return with some flair, don’t you think?”
Theodoric tried to process everything, and found himself answering the dragon’s most recent question “I’m a simple man, I’ve don’t waste time with flair.”
“Don’t worry darling, I’ll make you look great. Now quit staring and get on.”
As Theodoric swung his plate-clad leg over the strange high-backed saddle, he felt a great rush of wind, and the fortress grew smaller beneath him. Shutting his eyes, he did not open them until he had buckled himself to the saddle. When he opened his eyes again, he could see the wizard and the ranger following, riding horses made of smoke that flew through the air. Theodoric could see the ground blurring beneath him as they sped forward with the swiftness of an arrow.
“I’m…riding a dragon?” Theodoric asked.
“Yes, darling.” answered Ghontasavos.
“I’m riding a dragon, to find dusty scrolls in a library?”
“No, darling. You’re riding a dragon so that we can rescue Lord Aroden.”