Trevan was wakened in the night by a cold breeze. He set up in his bed with his dagger in hand and saw that the shutters had been opened and the moon was shining in through the open window. He thought that perhaps the wind had blown them open, but he was a light sleeper and he had not heard the sound of shutters flying open. Then he saw him. A nude man was sitting stiffly upright in the center of the other bed with his legs crossed and his hands on his knees. As he put his knife down, he said, “I didn’t hear you come in. My name is Trevan.”
There was no response. He soon realized this was not a human but was instead an elf. In the moonlight he could see that his eyes were closed. His breathing was slow and steady. Trevan had seen elves before, but never one without cloths. He was just a little over five feet tall. He had dark hair and no facial or body hair. His body was lean and sharply defined. After a couple of minutes Trevan concluded that the elf knew he was there but chose not to respond. He appeared to be in a trance of some kind. Trevan pulled a blanket out of his backpack and added it to his bed covers. He was soon back to sleep.
He woke up again with the morning sunrise. The elf was up and getting dressed. Seconds after Trevan opened his eyes, the elf said, “Elves don’t sleep. I was meditating when you woke. I normally spend about four hours a night in that state. Your name is Trevan, mine is Aramil.”
“I’m pleased to meet you, Aramil. I’m sorry if I disturbed you last night. I’m not familiar with the ways of elves.” The elf did not respond. They dressed in silence. When Trevan had finished dressing he left Aramil who was still lacing his belt. Everything that Aramil was wearing was soft and flexible. His clothing was covered with fine embellishments. Everywhere there were vines and abstract designs with occasional flowers or butterflies. It was all in light shades of green and brown. There were no metal buckles or fasteners. Everything was laced, tied or folded.
Aramil went downstairs and had a quick breakfast of cheese with fruit and nuts. He finished and left the inn just before Trevan, who had a large breakfast of bread, gofer gravy, hen eggs and goats milk. When Trevan turned a corner on his way to the docks, he saw Aramil some distance away. He had his dagger out and was taking a money purse from a young man in the street. A woman just beyond them had been thrown to the ground. A large man dressed all in black was just in front of Trevan and hadn’t noticed him. This man had drawn a small crossbow and was about to shoot the elf. Trevan drew his sword and pushed the man, causing him to drop his crossbow. The man in black and the young man at dagger point both ran off down side streets. Trevan quickly picked up the crossbow and ran over to Aramil and they both helped the woman to her feet. Aramil returned the money purse to the woman and she was thanking him when the city guard appeared. She told them the entire story of how the boy had pushed her down during a struggle for her purse and Aramil had come to her rescue. The city guard headed off down the side streets looking for the boy. Aramil thanked Trevan for what he had done. They quickly discovered that they were both headed for the dragon hunt. Aramil had arrived several days ago and was signed up as part of the party. It was divided into several ‘teams’. Aramil was part of the scouting team. Today they were to receive their final instructions and the provisions were all to be loaded and made ready for an early morning departure tomorrow, if the weather permits.
Everyone that was to be part of the party was already enlisted and assigned to a team. Aramil said that he would try to help Trevan join, but he didn’t know how successful he would be. They had been planning this for months and had filled all available slots.
They made their way through Rockport to the docks and then along the shore over to the east end of the dock area where the warehouse was located. The building was 30 feet wide and 100 feet long. On the long side, facing the docks, there were three large doors. The north end faced a cobblestone courtyard with a wide street that lead directly to the city gate with the road beyond that went up to the mountains. There was a pair of doors centered on this wall large enough for wagons to pass through.
When they arrived the doors were all open and it was full of activity. Although everyone called it a warehouse, it was actually more of an equestrian center. The roof beams were exposed some 15 feet above. The floor was hard packed dirt covered with a generous layer of straw. There were lanterns hanging on the walls. There were half-doors all along the far wall, each opening to a separate horse stall. People, horses and donkeys were going in all directions. There were cartons and crates being carried about. Trevan could see two large wagons being loaded. There was a large trailer with a ballista mounted on it. Everything appeared very chaotic. Aramil led him to the south end of the warehouse where a couple of men were seated behind a long table. There was a blue and white banner on the wall behind them. On the table were stacks of paper, rolls of parchment, small bags and boxes. Aramil walked up to the man in chainmail armor with a pale blue and white tunic. “Excuse me brother Pitchlight,” said Aramil. “I would like to introduce you to Trevan.” The cleric stood slightly and extended his hand. Trevan shook hands with him briefly. The cleric set back down. Aramil continued, “This man is a ranger of the southern woods and has traveled a great distance to join us in this historic quest, if it should please your holiness.”
“I am pleased that you want to join us, but as I am sure Aramil has informed you, the quest’s compliment is already filled. Perhaps, if you had arrived earlier …” All of a sudden there was the sound of boxes falling over as a gnome pushed everything out of his way as he ran breathlessly up to the table. Trevan was almost knocked off his feet as Gimble jumped up and grabbed him around the neck.
“I knew you would come!” he said. “There is no way you would miss out on this.” Turning to Pitchlight he said, “This is the ranger that I was telling you about. You have got to take this guy. He is the best dragon tracker in the world. He can even track them through the air! He can speak draconian! You’ve really got to take him. Tell him Trevan.” Then without pause he continued, “He has spent his life studying dragons, their habits and weaknesses.”
When Gimble finally stopped talking, Pitchlight said, “It would seam that you have a fan. Is any of that true? Can you track dragons through the air?”
Trevan started to speak when Gimble poked him sharply in the ribs where Pitchlight couldn’t see. He glanced down and Gimble was looking up at him as if to say, “Don’t you dare deny it!” Trevan said, “If you will let me join the expedition, you will see what I can do.”
Pitchlight stared at Trevan for a minute. Then he tossed him a gold coin and asked, “Do you know what that is?”
Gimble stopped himself from jumping for joy. Trevan examined the coin. Of course he knew it was gold, he had a few in his pocked, along with some of silver and copper. Many areas have their own coins minted and they all have different images on them. Like all standard coins, it was about one and one quarter inch in diameter, one tenth of an inch thick and weighed about one third of an ounce. This one appeared to be newly struck. He had never before seen one with these symbols. On one side there was Heironeous’s holy symbol. On the other side was the head of a red dragon. “It looks like any other gold coin to me,” Trevan said as he tossed it back.
“We had exactly 200 of these minted, specifically for this ‘expedition’ as you call it,” said Pitchlight. “The church of Heironeous is funding this quest with these. When Abraxas has been defeated, his treasure will be divided into 200 equal parts. Each of these coins can be redeemed at that time for one equal share. The church gets 50 coins and the dragon’s body. Or any parts of it that can be salvaged. Sir Gleamheart received 50 coins and will be awarded any unclaimed shares. 25 coins were used to purchase supplies. 25 coins have been set aside to re-supply the quest should that be required. That leaves 50 coins to divide between the rest of the party. Different participants have received different numbers of coins depending on how important they are to the success of the quest. For example, Gimble here is coming along as the cook. He has received one coin which represents one 200th share of the treasure. Aramil, on the other hand, is an elf and an accomplished tracker. He has been paid 5 coins. If you are what you clam to be, you would be worth 5 or 6 coins. But, as I told you, we have no more coins available.”
Before Trevan could say that he wasn’t here for the treasure, Aramil said, “He can have one of my shares.” He flipped a coin onto the table.
Pitchlight stared at this coin for a few seconds. He said, “One share will still be a substantial treasure. If you want to accept these terms, you can become part of the quest.” Trevan’s eager expression gave him his answer. “Just give your name to the scribe here.” He spoke to the thin man seated next to him. “Put him down as another scout.“ To Trevan he said, “If the treasure is recovered, you will be able to trade your coin for your share of the treasure when it is divided.” He stood and shook Trevan’s hand again, “Welcome to Heironeous’s holy quest to rid the world of the evil dragon known as Abraxas. May Heironeous guide your steps and receive your soul should you depart this life in this heroic battle. Aramil can answer any questions you may have.”
Pitchlight returned to the paper he was studying. Trevan turned to the scribe and answered his questions. The scribe wrote down Trevan’s name, where he was from, his position in the quest and his compensation. Trevan had to swear that in exchange for his share he would perform any services required from him, including fighting valiantly against any and all monsters that they might encounter, including Abraxas himself. He was warned that should he be unable to participate in the quest for any reason he was required to return all coins he received. Also, in the unfortunate event of his death, or the death of any of his companions during the quest, the coins were to be retrieved if possible and returned. Abandoning the quest and failing to return the coins would be regarded as theft and an act against the church. Otherwise he was free to do with his coins as he saw fit.
Pitchlight looked up and said to Trevan and Aramil, “There is not really much for the scouts to do today. You can take off whenever you like. Be sure to be here at first light tomorrow.” Then he returned to his papers.