Gasper No has a pleasant meal, up to a point.
Gasper No couldn’t stop grinning, here he was in the Nentir Inn, a place he could previously never afford to eat in; the best Inn in Fallcrest in fact. He’d just finished his meal – baked Stirge in a rosemary crust with winter vegetables, followed by a flambéed mini-Gelatinous Cube with a caramel sauce, accompanied by half-a-bottle of a most agreeable Elven Chimblee.
Gasper wiped his mouth with his napkin and opened his purse, for the first time in the evening his smile faltered. Nervously he flopped out two dozen gold coins, enough for the meal, the wine and a hefty tip. Why not? he figured – plenty more where that came from.
However, here was the test – Gasper let the coins sit on the counter, Ayella the barmaid wandered over, picked up the coin – as if there was nothing wrong, and then with a smile wished him good night.
Gasper sat for a moment, still watching- waiting, as Ayella made her way back to the till and placed his money within… nothing.
Ayella went back about her business, leaving Gasper smiling again.
Less than two hours ago the coins that he had paid with had been copper – he’d done it, he had truly done it – he was certain.
Gasper No had discovered the Philosopher’s Stone, he’d discovered the way to transform base metals in to gold; no magic, just alchemy. He had spent 42 years searching for the secret. More than once he had come close to madness, the pursuit had left him almost penniless, at times homeless, and for several decades now friendless.
Gasper got up from his stool, waved a last goodbye and moved over to the door, knowing that he was about to return home to start the job of making himself rich. He had only one gold coin left in his pocket but that didn’t matter, he would have to get some change – 100 copper coins, which he would turn this very evening in to 100 gold, and from there…
Gasper did a little dance on the way to the door, spiralled on the spot – nobody was watching, why not.
He pulled open the door of the Nentir Inn, looking back to offer a last ’G’night’ to the staff and the other patrons – he turned back and…
Standing in the doorway was the biggest Hobgoblin he had ever seen – strange, he thought, and then was swiftly decapitated.
And thus the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone remained a secret for a little while longer.
The evening however would nevertheless come to be remembered, not for Gasper No and his 42 years of work, but for the Goblin attack on Fallcrest, and the heroes that took up arms and implements to defend the city from the terrible foe.