Unseen, one of the two winged figures descends upon the Estate house, slowly circling the grounds as it approaches; if mortal eyes could perceive it, it would seem to be sniffing about, on the scent of some bounty. Finding its mark, it settles on a branch outside one of the windows of the estate where a certain Teifling is spending an evening alone while their diminutive fiancee is currently out seeking fey gold. It looks in on the scene inside.
Bael pours over his tome, half-reminiscing, half-reexamining what progress he’s made over the months since receiving his Patron’s gift. It’s a sort of map of time, as opposed to the gates being a map of distance–there’s something elusive in there, but he hasn’t quite grasped it yet. It’s not a driving mystery, but delectably just out of mental reach.
Jasper leaps from his lap, causing Bael to half-sit up in response to sudden claws. The tressym’s wings shiver as he paces before the window, glaring through the filigreed glass. Bael tucks his tome back in its holster and tugs his shirt down as he crosses the room and looks out in his direction.
At first, nothing outside the window looks out of the ordinary on such an early winter’s evening. Jasper’s eye seem to fixate directly ahead at a tree branch about 30 feet ahead. However, the desire to dismiss Jasper’s behaviour as mere not-a-cat-like jitteriness soon evaporates as the branch in question suddenly twitches as if a light load were relieved of it.
Jasper becomes glued to the pane of glass and within moments a most startling vision materializes: the form of a DRAGON.
a three-foot long dragon, but still.
Bael takes an unconscious step back, staring at the creature, committing the details to memory as he watches its approach. A spell crackles along his fingertips, but he’s reticent to cast. He really doesn’t want to break anything in his room.
As Bael watches the creature approach, certain details begin to come to his attention: for one, this dragon appears for all the world to be very similar to the one whose head now adorns the tavern in town save for its size, the presence of what appears to be a stinger not unlike that of a scorpion at the end of its tail, and it being a striking color of amethyst rather than any chromatic or metallic variety.
It slowly approaches the window, coming to rest on the sill, grasping what appears to be a leather pouch in its forelimbs and, curiously, and rather politely, taps on the glass with the back of its knuckles three times.
Bael thinks of the plushie stuffed in his pack, the last remnant of his childhood to survive–what he wouldn’t have given to have had this moment as a child and he tries to tamp down his boyish excitement, but doesn’t quite make it as he unlocks one of the carefully-crafted panes and swings it open, holding Jasper back with one hand steady on his wide, grey scruff.
The miniature dragon leans back to let the window clear before returning to its position. It takes a moment to regard the tressym and proceeds to crane its excessively long serpentine neck to meet noses with Jasper.
Within seconds, the two inspect each others’ scents and Jasper instantly relaxes into Bael’s arm as an empathic message seems to be conveyed between the two. The dragon seems to give Jasper a reassuring nod before turning its attention back to Bael.
Sniffing the air in front of him and appearing satisfied that he has found the one he seeks, he looks down into the pouch in his hands and paws thru the contents, at last producing a crystal of cloudy amber roughly the size of a fist and cut in the shape of an apple seed, along with a note on a small square of parchment.
He presents them to Bael.
He can’t help but be charmed. Even in spite of a world full of magic–and his being among them–this is perhaps the most magical moment he’s ever experienced, like something out of a children’s story or a page in a picture book. He accepts the crystal in the palm of his hand and, adjusting his glasses, reads the tiny note.
Upon the parchment, in elegant, thick calligraphic lettering, it reads:
I hope Lucius finds you well. I will forever be in your and your companions’ debt for not only freeing me, but releasing the many tortured souls bound to this plane. And as promised, here is the reward you requested for such a grand service.
The amber crystal that Lucius has given you will recreate the library that lies in Prizm Keep in every detail, as promised. I hope you don’t mind the delay, but I did want to tidy up the room first before copying it, as I very much doubt you would appreciate having to clean centuries of dust off of the tombs of a library freshly made!
Be sure to place the crystal about a foot in the ground and have the area be clear of anything you do not wish to be harmed in a radius of forty feet. The crystal will do the rest.
Thank you again, and I hope you always stay curious!<>-Alarius-<>
Bael looks at the note and the crystal in his hand with a smile. Sometimes, things work out better than he could ever have hoped for. He smiles at the pseudodragon, the tressym, and the door.
Once Lucius sees that Bael has finished reading, he gives a light chirp to get his attention. He reaches in to the pouch again, this time producing a small scroll case of polished brass. He holds it out for Bael once again.
Bael’s demeanor shifts suddenly from childlike delight to a hesitant awe, staring for a long, held-breath moment before he picks up the tiny case with something approaching reverence. Jasper sniffs at the brass case experimentally and Bael turns it over in his hand. He uncaps it and checks the writing, matching it to Alarius’ note. /Impossible…/ he dares a small smile and says his first words as if afraid to break the spell of this happening here, now.
“Thank you, Lucius–and your master, Alarius.” He folds the scroll case in his hand and presses it against his chest. “I am forever grateful.”
Lucius nods with a wide grin and as he turns to go, he reaches once more into his pouch and pulls out a small handful of what appears to be morsels of jerky. He holds a couple up and, eyeing them approvingly, he looks back and gives a nod to the crystal and another nod to the scroll case as if marking them off of a mental checklist. He then pops a couple treats into his waiting maw and chews them with the most self-satisfied and impish of grins one could ever hope to fit onto the face of a pseudodragon.
After gulping them down, he turns to take flight, but stops. Noticing that the tressym witnessed the jerky, he glances down at the remaining bits in his grasp, pauses, and looks to Bael. Bael feels a bit of empathic communication flicker across his thoughts as he receives the unspoken “may I?” as Lucius gestures to Jasper with the jerky treats.
Bael smiles and gestures obligingly to the pseudodragon and raises a finger to wait. He swiftly crosses the room and out the door, down the stairs, into the kitchen to retrieve some of their stored goods, including a quick charcuterie platter of a variety of sausage slices and cheeses and even an apple from cold storage, packed with snow and ice. He returns swiftly and offers it to Lucius with a gallant air. “As you like, for your service,” he says. “With my personal thanks.” He holds his hand out for the pseudodragon, not touching, but with a similar inquiry, ‘May I?’
Lucius is rather suprised at Bael’s departure but his eye soon widen at the sight of the platter he returns with. He first places the treats in his paw in front of Jasper as the tressym quickly moves in to devour them. He turns to the platter with a wide open mouth and clasped hands before rubbing them together in anticipation at the delicacies before him.
As he launches himself into the slices of sausage and cheese, he catches himself and pauses to collect his composure. Giving a polite bow of thanks to Bael, he quickly, but not hurried, makes several selections of crackers, cheese, and a slice or two of sausage and with practiced hands has constructed a rather elegant sandwich of sorts out the the ingredients in a matter of seconds.
With a quick bite, his face blooms into a content bulged-cheek grin as he happily chews on his snack and gives a grand bow to Bael in thanks. With that, he turns and drops out of sight before reappearing, gliding slowly up on leathery wings some distance away. Silhouetted in the rising moon, he can be seen snacking on the little sandwich he’s made as his form slowly climbs toward the floating castle.