Chapter 21: Deceiving Appearances
"The question, of course, is the method of conveying the material to the site." One of Xavener's aides stated thoughtfully to Prometheus as the small group sat in the large dining room of the Overking's palace. "Thus far you have been able to keep the vats of material from hardening by your men's manual labor until it is ready to be poured. No one here doubts it will be incredibly profitable once we are able to distribute it to other cities and kingdoms but the question remains; how do we get it there cheaply when it requires constant attention? The purchase of men to do the mixing in transit would greatly increase the fee required given the distances involved, possibly beyond what the other kingdoms are willing to pay even if you offered the use of your own people."
Prometheus nodded in consideration as he finished swallowing a piece of pheasant. "That is, naturally, a concern. We have been working on a new form of the liquid stone that remains in a liquid state until a specific substance is added to it and it should be ready for production shortly." He glanced up at them with a significant look in his eyes. "Assuming, of course, our trade agreement can be adjusted to include it and the hardening agent as well without any…surprise clauses or new fine print?"
The men looked at each other silently in communication as Prometheus took another bite, casually watching their reactions. Lunch was a sumptuous affair and it seemed as if the Overking enjoyed doing everything with a bit of flare and pomp. The group had sat down to eat a multi-course meal lavishly laid out on the long expensive wooden table. Warm and cold meats of various kinds were presented on decorated silver and gold platters along with various cheeses, breads, wines, and vegetables, all of them served by silent liveried servants. The Overking had eaten his meal with gusto though his aides were rather more reserved and Prometheus himself took care not to indulge in the various wines offered. Even in his human form his constitution was such that he could have outdrank all of them collectively and still remained sober but to even attempt to do so would be considered the height of impropriety.
One does not challenge the Overking and his advisers to a drinking contest, after all.
Smirking slightly at the thought of the flighty Overking in a drunken state, he took a sip of his wine from the crystal glass next to his arm. His guards, of course, could not be expected to take part even if he had allowed it. Servants and guards were meant to be invisible or part of the scenery, in spirit if not in practice. Savoring the fine vintage before swallowing it, he looked over as one of the senior aides, a man with thinning grey hair and a chiseled broad face, spoke again.
"I do not see any reason why the general terms of the agreement cannot remain as they are. The new product can be added in and ratified with little difficulty as a simple adjustment while the old is removed."
Prometheus nodded. "Excellent. What are your thoughts on local production or perhaps more centralized locations for producing the material and shipping it? Having on-site plants to produce it…"
"Before we could agree with such a thing a thorough cost/benefit analysis would need to be made." The man stated with a hint of weight in his voice. "New alchemical methods would need to be implemented to create the material and what will that cost be in time and manpower to train the men? How will that additional cost affect our ability to sell the stone at a reasonable price? You must understand the more complicated this process becomes, the more expensive the final bill of sale will be, especially if we are to be providing the transfer service between our cities and the merchant at the destination, even if they are closer due to the centrality of the production facility. If he cannot make a profit on the sale because of our manufacturing and transport costs…"
"All of these are valid concerns." Prometheus nodded in agreement, his voice confident but gentle. "Have no fear for I understand the complexities you speak of, having worked in commerce myself. Rest assured, they will be taken into consideration before anything is finalized."
"And just what have you done throughout your long life?" The Overking asked casually as he sprawled in his chair, his chin resting on the back of his hand. "I imagine when one lives for centuries you find many things to occupy your time?"
Prometheus smiled. "Quite so, though I fear you would find most of my former pastimes rather bewildering." The Dragon chuckled mentally as he wondered how he could explain the concept of playing video games to the man even if he desired to.
The Overking smiled politely though Prometheus could tell he was a tad frustrated by the vague answer.
"To give you an idea of what the production would entail," Prometheus continued, "Various forms of rock as well as powders and water are crushed and mixed together to form the liquid stone. Once on the building site, or at the production facility, whichever is preferred, the binding agent is added to make the liquid stick together and harden. At that time, other components are added to make very small air bubbles in the liquid which creates air pockets when the substance hardens. Thus it is more light weight and holds in heat better when created for buildings or similar structures."
"Interesting indeed." The Overking stated with a smile as the men looked at each other. "I'm sure once we have the entire formula we will be able to produce it much more quickly and in larger quantities. The profit for all of us will be-"
"Some of the substances introduced into the mixture must be created by my own people." Prometheus interrupted quietly. "There are still a few processes that are too advanced for your alchemists to replicate and so the binding agent must be prepared separately and shipped to you or wherever the plants are placed."
The Overking frowned at Prometheus slightly. "I assure you our men—"
"That is no slight on your men but rather the simple truth." Prometheus informed him gently. "I doubt your alchemists would know what I meant by an amine oxide or how to create 'naphthalene sulphonate formaldehyde condensates'."
The various aides and ministers glared at him slightly in frustration though Prometheus kept a calm and self-assured smile on his face. "In any event these details can be discussed later. I merely wished to bring the option to the table as it were."
The Overking nodded. "Very well. Have your Trade Minister create a draft of the new proposal and we will adjust the agreement before sending you a copy for ratification. Do let us know if you wish to effect any other changes."
After lunch the Overking and Prometheus retired to the man's personal lounge. The room was large and airy with a skylight allowing the afternoon sun to shine in. A bookshelf sat against one wall while various shelves held curious and sometimes expensive looking odds and ends. Stuffed sofas, benches, and chairs along with a few small tables dotted the room with long rows of expensive liquors and wines in crystal decanters at the end of the room, a silent servant ready to attend to their needs.
"A small comfortable place when I wish to have a few friends over for drinks and such." The Overking informed Prometheus as they walked in. "Is there anything you would like?"
"The lunch has done me quite well." Prometheus replied. "I would hate to imbibe more than I ought, especially in your presence, Xavener. I would hate to make a fool of myself inadvertently."
The man laughed gaily as he sprawled into one of the chairs. "Oh my dear Prometheus you truly are too uptight! I realize that Dragons must have standards but we are alone. I would hardly tell on you if you were to get a bit drunk and I'm sure your guards understand discretion!"
Prometheus looked at him queerly, his face unable to hide some of his incredulity. "Forgive me Xavener, but I begin to wonder if you are intentionally trying to loosen my inhibitions. I begin to worry there is a plot at work."
Xavener sighed tiredly, letting his head thump against the back of the chair in frustration before looking over at the disguised Dragon with a slightly pained expression. "Really Prometheus you are much too paranoid for your own good. Here I am trying to get you to have some fun and you see plots and trickery. What sort of life do you lead that you see only darkness and mistrust in others?"
Prometheus blinked in surprise at the question before his face became set in determination. "When one leads the forces of light one finds that it attracts the forces of darkness like moths to a flame. I mentioned before the assassins and they are not the only threat I face. Circumstances have forced me to look into the dark often to see what lies within it in order to halt and counter its advance. I built Utopia to be a safe haven and fortress of light to ensure that Iuz or his ilk cannot threaten the world again."
Xavener merely snorted inelegantly. "My dear Emperor, you do take yourself much too seriously! Do all Dragons think as you do? You are hardly the only bastion of light and goodness in this world! Whatever made you think you were?"
Prometheus bristled, the shock and outrage on his face plain. "You dare to suggest…!"
"What I suggest is not what you are thinking, I am sure." Xavener replied, his voice suddenly becoming sharper and his eyes much more focused as he sat facing the angry Dragon. "Calm yourself Prometheus. I did not offer you insult but merely stated a fact. You are not the only one who works for the cause of good and right and yet you seem to think you shoulder that burden alone. Surely you know of the Canon of Veluna? Does he not engage in the same battle as you? Do not the Paladins of Heironeous and the Billets of St. Cuthbert roam the lands, smiting evil and righting injustice where they find it? This world survived long before you entered it, my dear Dragon. I would take care not to think you were the only one who faced such things." The man reproached him gently.
Prometheus blinked at the sudden change in the man's demeanor before he slowly relaxed into the chair, thinking carefully about what the man had said. So the true Xavener finally shows himself...the man is not such a fool as I thought. I begin to understand now…And perhaps he does speak truly; have I so easily forgotten that I am not alone in this fight? Ash served Veluna and Furyondy and their armies were at the forefront of the Iuz wars. Indeed, he helped lead them at the end and yet in my drive to create a new safe haven for my people such wisdom has escaped me of late… He is quite right that this world has survived long before my arrival; I have become quite self-centered indeed if I truly believed this world could not survive without my efforts.
Prometheus smiled slightly at the Overking. "Perhaps I have been focusing inward too much in these last few years. I have been working to drive the darkness from my new empire and ensuring everything runs smoothly. I am indeed aware of the Canon and the work he does along with the various knightly Orders. Thank you for recalling them to me Xavener."
Xavener smiled happily. "It was my pleasure Prometheus. I have met with many Lords and Ladies in my time and all of them are a bit stuffy. But in you I see a powerful creature wound rather too tightly. It does not do well to focus solely on your duties to the exclusion of all else."
Xavener paused a moment before focusing intently on Prometheus again. "I myself have been targeted by those who wish me dead. Sadly it is a fact for such like us but I do not let it consume my thoughts, nor do I let my duties as Overking rule over me."
"Hence your rather…joyous personality?" Prometheus smiled.
Xavener laughed loudly before grinning at Prometheus. "Oh come now! Tact is wonderful but there is no use for it here! You thought me mad, or at the very least foolish, the moment you met me! Don't try to deny it; I saw it in your eyes, even though your face hid it well." He chuckled again as he saw Prometheus's face twitch in anxiousness. "Do not fear my good Dragon I don't hold it against you. Everyone who meets me for the first time thinks so and I do enjoy shocking them when business is discussed; it's great fun watching them flounder and gape as they try to recover from the surprise."
"Plus it gives you an edge in the negotiations no doubt." Prometheus suggested with a cunning smile.
"It does indeed have advantages." Xavener allowed with a smirk before refocusing again, though his tone stayed light. "But we are getting off topic. To be honest I did want to try and get you a bit in your cups but merely to let you have a little fun. Most I deal with are not so uptight as you are, merely boring and stodgy. But we are both young rulers, we still have the fire of idealism in us and the world has not pickled us yet."
He smiled at his little joke before continuing. "I do not know what you have done over the centuries of your life but it seems clear you have not ruled over men before now. You take your duties very seriously and that is a wonderful thing but it does not do to dwell on duty and forget to live."
Prometheus sighed quietly as he allowed his face to relax, letting the Overking see the slightly drawn and tired look he allowed himself to show in private. "Even with all my power and energy it is still tiring, yes. But I also must remember I have been working almost non-stop for the last several years to ensure my empire does not fracture. My advisers told me not long ago that one must allow their children a bit of freedom now and again; holding them too tightly only results in rebellion and frustration. But I must also remember that parents need time away from their children as well."
Prometheus smiled gratefully at the man. "Thank you for helping to remind me Xavener."
The man merely nodded his head gracefully. "What is your newest and best ally for, my good Emperor, if not to help you in your time of need?"
Prometheus quirked an eyebrow before tossing his head back and laughing. "That is an offer I cannot refuse, my good Overking. Well played indeed!"
"I see your visit to the Overking went smoothly." Davis commented with a hint of satisfaction as the pair sat in Prometheus's private office, the former lounging on the stuffed sofa as the latter continued to read the scroll in front of him while reclining slightly in his chair, his body and face relaxed. Prometheus had spent a solid week in the company of Overking Xavener after their initial meeting. The pair had toured the city, surrounded by their entourage of course, and Xavener had acted like a young tour guide, pointing out the various parts of the city and their history as well as the history of the realm as they browsed shops and bought various wares. Contrary to Prometheus's expectations the Overking often took such trips instead of remaining ensconced in his palace as many rulers tended to do. The man had treated Prometheus like a favorite friend, seemingly uncaring that he was an incredibly powerful Dragon or an Emperor but simply someone with which he could have a good time and talk about nothing and anything.
Prometheus had not had such a good time in years.
The man had broken the Dragon out of the aloof and restrained persona he had built around himself and reminded him how it felt to be human again. Prometheus was surprised and a bit dismayed to learn he had nearly forgotten what it was like, no matter how often he walked among the people in human form. It had been quite a liberating experience to cast off the shackles of decorum and expectation for a time and take what he would later consider a vacation. The fact that Xavener had easily solidified his status as Prometheus's ally certainly hadn't hurt matters and the cautious side of the Dragon's mind had hinted this was precisely what the man had intended all along. Nevertheless, Prometheus couldn't bring himself to care. The Dragon has resolved then and there to walk among his people more often. He could tell he had been losing touch with the common people who made up Utopia as he had worked to solidify his power within the region.
Refocusing his thoughts, he glanced out the window next to him, enjoying the setting rays of the sun as they filled the room with soft orange and pink light while the partially lit chandelier above the pair allowed enough light to read by.
Prometheus nodded briefly as he looked at the scroll in his hands. "It was a quite enjoyable visit all things considered." He said in a musing tone as he considered the information in front of him.
"The Overking himself was not precisely what I expected after having heard of the man's accomplishments, but he is quite sharp and intelligent." Prometheus explained. "With his one hand he offers friendship while his eyes observe and realize your needs, and then with the other hand he offers you what you need or desire most. He certainly got me to loosen up and enjoy my visit. I intend to visit him again in the future as our empires are more strongly connected now."
Davis smirked. "Sounds like quite the fellow, seeing as he was able to wring an informal declaration of alliance from you after a few hours. I'll make sure the paperwork is written up and sent off."
Prometheus nodded. "Do so. Oh and do inform Eric that the trade agreement with Darmen for the concrete will need to be modified to include the light-weight, two stage material we created."
Davis nodded. "I take it we will still be the one producing the bonding catalyst?"
Prometheus nodded with a quiet, satisfied smile. "I am not about to give them all the resources to create the material itself. And in any case I doubt they could produce it properly or reverse engineer it anyway without serious retraining and a warehouse full of equipment they would have no understanding of. No sense in leaving such things to chance or divine intervention, though."
"I'll make sure to pass it along when I see him." Davis stated in his idle tone.
Prometheus nodded before setting aside the scroll. "And what of your own mission?"
Davis gave him a crooked smile as he opened a scroll case sitting next to him, withdrawing multiple sheets of paper and handing it to Prometheus before sitting back again.
"As anticipated, everything went according to plan. The sociological and psychological analysis we performed on Kaport Bay was accurate and the timing of the letters couldn't have gone better. By the time we were finished the trade guilds and noble houses were eating out of our hands. Ironically, my prior imprisonment managed to play a positive role in swaying them. The Scion was a bigger fool than we thought."
"The man was completely convinced of his own invincibility." Prometheus murmured as he continued reading. "Do help me remember such lessons should I ever become so thick-headed."
Davis snorted in amusement. "Get a wife if you want someone to tell you of your imperfections."
Prometheus glanced up at him with a raised eyebrow. "Funnily enough Xavener suggested the exact same thing, hinting that it might loosen me up more."
"One's hand can only do so much." Davis smirked. "Unless you and the Gnoll are-"
"I will punch you through that wall with my fist if you finish that sentence." Prometheus threatened with a dark frown. "And I don't care that it's magically reinforced stone, you will go through it."
Davis smiled wickedly but held his tongue as Prometheus continued. "If you know of any eligible female Dragons, do tell me of them. I should very much like to meet one."
"Speaking of which," Davis commented, "have you given any thought as to how you're going to find the remaining metallic Dragons?"
Prometheus sighed as he rubbed his forehead in frustration. "It is not as easy as one might think; according to Bahamut there are only a few of them remaining on Oerth and he would not say where they were located. Why this is so, I can only guess but I suspect I am meant to find those answers myself. There are times when my patron can be infuriatingly vague."
Davis smirked. "Such is the way of all oracles and gods, I suspect. They need to have some way to amuse themselves, after all."
Prometheus's face scrunched up in a moment of annoyance before smoothing out again. "Well, I suppose there is nothing for it but to have our people search through the various city archives and libraries for clues. Perhaps one of our wizards can use a spell to find them, if we are fortunate."
Glancing down at the papers once again, he laid them aside on his desk. "Your report of the events and your analysis of the various ministers appear to be quite thorough. I will need to consider them at length before I decide on the next Scion."
Davis nodded. "Just don't wait too long. The interim government that's running things now is only a loose and unstable oligarchy at best. I anticipate the situation will degenerate quickly when the infighting begins again; these people need a strong leader to hold the reigns, they're not used to thinking of the common good."
"Sad but true." Prometheus acknowledged. "I shall let you know my decision in a few days. In the meantime, I shall pay a little unofficial visit to the new ArchCleric. He has informed me his schedule is open in the evenings should I wish to visit for an hour or two. I do believe I shall take him up on that offer. I expect I shall return before midnight."
Davis nodded. "We should start finalizing your trip to Nyrond when you get back. I made some notes on the way back from Kaport with Beowulf."
Prometheus nodded. "It saddens me a bit that I have been unable to help them considering all the turmoil their kingdom has gone through these last few years since the war with Iuz. But perhaps now that things are calm here we can focus our energies beyond our borders."
"I'll get you all the information on Nyrond and its current king, along with all the other details." Davis said as he stood. "Enjoy your visit."
Prometheus smiled with a nod. "Bring one of my sorcerers to me on your way out, if you would."
Davis rolled his eyes. "Yes, your Transcendent Majesty." He sighed dramatically before waltzing out of the room.
The Dragon Emperor chuckled to himself at his friend's antics before taking a quill and signing off on some of the requests demanding his attention. After several minutes there came a quiet knock at the door.
"Enter!" Prometheus called out as he signed anther document with a flourish.
The middle-aged man dressed in royal purple robes slipped into the room and bowed to the occupant. "You have need of my services, Your Eminence?" He asked.
Prometheus nodded as he stood. "Indeed. I need you to teleport me to the ArchClerics' palace in Mitrik and then back here."
The man nodded and held out an arm to the Emperor who took it firmly. Focusing upon the well of arcane power within himself, the man and the Emperor vanished in a flash of sparkling blue light, appearing a moment later in one of the private and secure teleportation rooms of the ArchCleric's palace. A few seconds later the door on the opposite wall opened, revealing an armed guard and a wizard in silver attire looking at them carefully.
The Emperor's sorcerer inclined his head to them. "His Eminence, the Dragon Emperor of Aerdi is here to seek a private audience with His Most Venerable, the ArchCleric of Veluna."
Prometheus took out the written message from the Canon and held it out to them without a word. The wizard took it, examining the missive for a moment before nodding and handing it back before bowing low to the pair of them. "My apologies for not offering the proper obsequies before, Your Eminence, but the security here…"
"No need to apologize." Prometheus stated, waving a hand in dismissal. "You are right to be wary when someone claiming to be a head of state appears unannounced and unexpected in the night."
"Your Eminence is most gracious and understanding." The wizard stated with another bow before leading them out of the room and down the adjoining corridor. The small group walked for a minute or two down various carpeted hallways done in light stone before coming to a pair of rich wood double doors. The wizard knocked quietly and received a response a moment later before poking his head inside and murmuring to the occupant. A second later he pulled his head back and looked over at Prometheus. "He bids you enter."
The Emperor nodded before glancing over at his own sorcerer who took the hint and leaned against the wall opposite. The wizard and guard excused themselves as Prometheus entered the room, shutting the door behind him and laying eyes on Veluna's latest Canon. Unlike Hazen, the man seemed to be cut from the cloth of a scholar or monk. His frame was slight with his silver and white robe taut about him and his face slightly rounded. Though he appeared to be only in his late 50's the man was quite bald except for a ring of grey and brown hair around the sides and back of his head. His eyes were watery and blue and he wore a pair of round lenses on his face as he sat hunched over his desk, reading by the light of the chandelier above him.
All in all, the man seemed like he would be more at home in a library than being the spiritual leader of the ArchClericy.
The Canon glanced up at Prometheus and smiled before standing and walking over to him, stretching out his hand in welcome. Prometheus took it and was glad to feel the man had a strong, firm grip unlike his previous encounter with the Overking.
He has some strength in him then…Prometheus mused as they shook hands. "It is a pleasure to meet you face to face at last Canon Harfell."
"The pleasure is mine, I assure you." The man stated firmly, his slightly deep baritone voice seemingly at odds with his bookish appearance. "After all, it is not every day that one is able to speak with one who is both the blessed servant of Pelor and Bahamut's champion. I have wanted to meet you for quite a while in fact."
"I had wanted to meet with you sooner as well but the timing…" Prometheus said, spreading his hand in a 'what can you do?' gesture.
"Yes, it could not be helped, what with the reorganization of Aerdi." Harfell agreed as he gestured for Prometheus to follow him from the office into a side room that seemed to function as a small study. "I must say I was quite impressed with how you were able to change the country around so quickly, though even that is an understatement, really." The man chuckled softly. The Canon offhandedly offered refreshments which Prometheus politely declined before they sank into the soft chairs nearby, Prometheus sitting opposite him a few feet away.
"I will admit to a bit of premeditation regarding those events." Prometheus smiled, crossing his legs. "No plan ever survives contact with the enemy completely intact but if one has enough plans in place to compensate for any variation of counter-move…"
"Victory is inevitable." The Canon stated with a smile, concluding the thought. "The mind of a Dragon must be powerful indeed to be able to come up with such a large number of strategies."
"Well, I did have help." Prometheus allowed with a twinkle in his eye. "I will not take all the credit. Fortunately I have some excellent advisers to aid me."
"Ah yes! Davis Arnold and the Gnoll known as Beowulf." The Canon stated with interest. "You have quite a number of interesting people around you. Most curious, really." He commented.
Noting the cunning look in the Canon's eye, Prometheus frowned slightly. "Curious in what way?" He asked mildly.
"I find it curious indeed that among the people you have as your advisers and close confidantes are people who were known to a specific person. One of our late generals as a matter of fact." the Canon explained before he sat forward, his face intent. "Tell me Prometheus, just what is your connection with the former Baron of Veluna known as Asher Walters?"
Prometheus blinked in mild surprise to the question the Canon posed to him though his face remained completely relaxed.
"The Cleric you speak of is known to me." He admitted easily. "But I can say with honesty that we had never met before the man met his end on the battlefield."
"You met in the heavenly realms then?" The Canon asked with interest. "As he and the former Canon passed on?"
"In a manner of speaking, yes." Prometheus admitted. "After I emerged onto the battlefield and took charge of the situation I spoke at length with Davis Arnold and Beowulf privately. After our discussion they agreed to bind themselves to me in service. His old mentor and his friends also chose to do so at later dates."
"Why those people?" The Canon asked with a slight frown on his face. "Out of all those you might have chosen you specifically sought them out…"
"They are, each of them, loyal, intelligent, and wise." Prometheus replied diffidently. "I would be hard pressed to find better friends and advisers. Asher Walters chose his friends wisely and so I decided to make use of them as well. With their permission, of course. And just to clarify, I merely sought out his old mentor Michael Landrum. The others were either on hand already or came to me."
"So Baron Walters told you about them when you met?" The Canon asked.
"Again, in a sense." Prometheus said with a slight sigh of impatience at the Canon's questions. "You must understand what happens in such a place of transition is beyond normal mortal experience. We did not sit down and have a conversation in the conventional sense but knowledge flows in unique ways there. Let it suffice to say I know a great deal about the man. Have I satisfied your curiosity?"
Harfell smiled easily. "You have. I did not mean to pry, of course, but my questions did have more of a point than simple curiosity." Saying this, he rifled through several sheets of paper sitting on the small end table next to his chair before pulling one out and setting the others aside.
"Some time ago," the Canon began, "I was communing with Rao as is my custom. My Master then bade me to look in a specific place that contained some documents of the old Canon's that I had yet to examine. In it I found this sheet of paper. It was a simple report written in the Canon's hand regarding a request Baron Walters had made to Hazen some time before his demise."
He held it out to Prometheus who took it. "And what does it contain?" The Dragon asked.
"A list of the known metallic Dragons in the world and their locations." The Canon said quietly with a ghost of a smile.
Prometheus's eyes jerked up from the paper to look at the Canon whose smile widened a bit in amusement at his reaction. "It appears that Baron Walters had asked Hazen to look into where the Dragons might have been for a special project of his. Something to do with the heating of a specific substance and whether Dragon-fire would be sufficient for the task, I believe. The paper did not go into great detail as to why the information was needed but this was the result of his search. I do not know if the list is exhaustive, but, being a Dragon yourself, I thought you might enjoy the opportunity to meet your kin. I do hope I have not wasted your time with this information?"
"No indeed, you have not." Prometheus breathed quietly in amazement as he scanned its contents briefly before sitting back in his chair with a thoughtful look. A moment later he began chuckling quietly to himself.
"What do you find funny?" The Canon asked, slightly perplexed.
"The gods do indeed have a sense of humor, not to mention exquisite timing." Prometheus smiled, folding the paper and placing it in his pocket. "I recently asked Davis to begin doing research on just this information. It seems he need not do so after all. Thank you Harfell. I daresay you have saved me and him months of work at least."
The Canon brushed the comment aside. "It was Hazen who did the work and I would not have found it if not for the guidance of Rao. It is Him you should thank."
Prometheus smiled. "I shall remember to do so. Should you yourself ever need a favor I will happily grant it if it is within my power."
"You need not concern yourself with such things but I will be grateful all the same." The Canon replied. "That was the main reason I asked to speak with you. I also wished to let you know that we have been most satisfied with the trade agreement you have with us. I am certain my office will be contacting you in the near future for an official request to extend and expand it, if you are interested, of course."
Prometheus smiled. "Veluna has always held a piece of my heart. Such a shame we are not neighbors."
"You are too kind, my friend." Harfell said. "I am glad I was able to help you. Now then, would you care to spend the night while your wizard rests?"
Prometheus shook his head. "My sorcerer can teleport me immediately. It is late and we could both use a good night's sleep, I'm sure."
The Canon nodded and guided him back to the office, seating himself at his desk as Prometheus walked over to the door.
"Oh, one more thing I found rather curious…" The Canon stated as Prometheus took hold of the doorknob.
Prometheus turned to look at the man. "Yes?"
Harfell sat in his chair facing Prometheus, the light glinting off the lenses of his glasses, his chin resting on his hand. "When I spoke with Rao about Asher Walters I asked him whether I could pass on any messages from the man. To my surprise, He told me that the Cleric had not crossed over to Celestia or any of the other heavenly realms nor was he sent to the Abyss or any of the other infernal strongholds. Interesting, don't you think?" He asked with a smug smile.
"I do wonder where the man has gone." The Canon mused pointedly, his eyes fixed on the figure before him. "Is he one of your friends as well, disguised and hidden within the palace? Or perhaps…is it possible I met him tonight, here in this very room?"
Prometheus merely gazed at him silently for a moment, his eyes turning cold as his posture hardened. "Bahamut would not have made a simple human his champion, no matter how intriguing. That honor is reserved for a true Dragon that has gone above and beyond what is expected of him." Prometheus stated firmly, his tone darkening. "Be thankful I am not as prideful as my kin; you have insulted me greatly Harfell, thinking me to be a mundane human disguising myself as a Dragon. I doubt you would appreciate it if I thought you an animal pretending to be a man." He growled. "However, this once, I will overlook it for the sake of the future of our realms. Good night Canon Harfell."
The Canon nodded as he seemed to wilt, the confident smile falling from his face as Prometheus strode through the door into the hallway beyond, beckoning his sorcerer to follow him.