The Return of Celadon
"Sir" Ahsric Graymore
Leave the thrill of picking pockets to the young pups- you’ve already climbed your way to the top.
After climbing your way from poor orphanhood to the leader of the continent’s largest ring of hoodlums, swindlers, and street mountebanks, you have spent the last three years relaxing in a hard earned retirement. Your quick thinking, sharp wit, silver tongue, and swift fingers…along with a few carefully timed slit throats…allowed you to accumulate a fortune so massive, you’ve started your own bank.
It was three weeks ago that you were sitting out on your sunlit veranda, eating careless amounts of obscenely priced specialty candied gryffin eggs, overlooking your estate as it glowed in the touch of the morning. Your valet arrived with the daily mail and rested it with perfunctory grace on an ornate silver table- a priceless museum piece that had been purchased last year for your personal lawn furniture. You waved him away and noticed the top envelope bore the seal of the Duke of Birmshire- Lord Wellington, your good friend from whom you unscrupulously purchased your own title at the time of your retirement.
_"Dear Friend Graymore-
I regret to inform you that I must leave my estate and travel north on urgent business. An ancient beast has confronted us with the most contemptuous game- and I may be in need of some of your contacts near…."_
“Doth you enjoy retirement? It seems you hath taken quite kindly to it.”
You jump. Before you stands a tall, elegant man with jet black hair and pale skin. Although his gaze is dazzling it does not hold you long- for the blood dripping from your valet’s severed head is starting to pool on your white marble porch. The head lands at your feet with a casual ‘thunk’ as the man leans on a nearby railing. “Though, you hath become slow in this new stage of life.”
Years of hard negotiation have kept your surprise hidden. “And how may I help you, good sir? You who seem to have such a prior knowledge of me. I don’t believe I have met you- such charm would have certainly made an impression.”
“Verily, you have not yet become acquainted with my face. My name is Celadon. I am the great dragon from the pages of your grandparent’s history and I have come to strike a bargain with the most famed scoundrel in Birmshire. I invite thee to my humblest abode to participate in a game of wit, craft, and inventive skill.”
He pauses and closes his brilliant green eyes slowly in the sunshine.
After an awkward moment of silence, you clear your throat. “Usually ‘bargains’ have two sides to them….and my schedule is pretty full. It take something miraculous in its impressiveness to make such a frivolous journey of mild interest to me.”
“The reward, should you survive, would be riches beyond your comprehension.”
At that, you laugh. You really laugh. A hard, rolling laugh that starts loud and end with you bent over shaking with tears dripping off the end of your twitching nose. “My friend,” you breathe expansively, “you….you seem to have made a mistake. I have all of the wealth one man could spend in ten lifetimes.”
Celadon slowly opened his eyes and his think lips spread into a quaint smile. “No, you do not.”
At first you thought it was just him fading into nothing- like a mirage in the yellow light. Within moments you see your patio, your home, your vineyard also begin to shift and sway. Even the sky begins to cloud over as you turn frantically, trying to comprehend what is happening around you.
Finally, you are left standing in an empty field in the pouring rain without even your fine silken undergarments on your person. At your feet is a map on waxed canvas, complete with directions to the lair of Celadon the Green Dragon.