|“I have a few gems,” Jack says.|
He draws five of each gem from his pouch and scatters them on the stones at his feet so each facet can sparkle and shine in the midday sun. Agolozzagheridolihaabilzoloakengheri sidles closer like a cat, eyeing the gems sidelong as if he is not much interested.
“Not many,” the Dragon sniffs. He picks up a ruby delicately between two claws and raises it to the light. “Still, the quality is decent.” He pops the ruby in his mouth and crunches it between massive fangs. “Mm. Reasonable fare.” He licks up a second ruby with his tongue and Jack smiles.
“Where did you say –” he begins.
“I didn’t. Ask the Dwarves.” The Dragon flicks his bladed tail toward the southwest.
“My thanks, lord,” Jack says, bowing as he backs away.
“Warrior!” the Dragon says. Jack stops and turns around. The Dragon flicks the emeralds in his direction with his tail. “I don’t eat these, but the Silver Man likes them. If you can get past him and into the Dwarves’ lair, you can steal their rubies to bring me. Maybe by then I will have remembered where the Pyrohydra is.”
Jack pockets the emeralds and bows a second time. “Again, my thanks.” He has absolutely no intention of returning this way; he has heard too often tales of the terrible consequences of doing favors for such charismatic and amoral creatures.
When he is certain the Dragon has lost interest in him, he turns himself toward the southwest and sets a hard pace. He will not rest until he knows he is free of the Dragon’s territory.
Remove five Rubies and five Diamonds from the Pouch of Ghrul.
Add the following to Jack’s Journal: The Dwarves to the southwest may be of help. I will need Emeralds to get past the Silver Man . . . a guardian of the Dwarf lair? The Dragon promises more aid if I steal Rubies from the Dwarves for him, but I am doubtful of Dragonish promises.