Prince Arlin smiled. “Do not fear for our safety. Miirik will sweet talk the dragon into not eating us if we are discovered.” Miirik shook his head at the prince’s words.
When the group made their way from the dragon’s lair Arlin cast a spell to temporary cover their presence. On the return trip to the overlooking ridge Jarik and Gaston followed on foot to cover their tracks. By the time evening had arrived bedding was rolled under tree cover and the horses were hidden under foliage. They had no campfire that night and the six hid under brush.
The moon had just begun to creep above the tree cover when heavy flapping was heard above the young men. The dragon swooped across the night sky, scales glistened as it crossed the silver orb. A stag flapped in its mouth. The young men held their breath.
Thothen and the elves watched the beast skulk into its home. After a few moments the dragon reemerged gnawing on a stag’s leg. Just like a cat, the dragon arched its back and stretched then laid at the cave entrance. It ate meat off of the bone while its head bobbed back and forth, surveying the landscape. Once the bone was licked clean he reentered the cave.
“Do you think he spotted us?” Thothen whispered.
Jarik shook his head. “There is no way he could have seen us. I’m an expert at hiding. In the morning that treasure will be ours.”
“Good,” Firae said as he crossed his legs and leaned against a tree. “Wake me in a few hours when you go to sleep. We need to keep a watch on that cave entrance.”
The moon and stars took their time in crossing sky that night. A few times a distant cry or howl startled those on watch. However the dragon’s lair remained still, there was no noise, movement, or light. Even the local wildlife respected the dragon’s space, none who called out in the night came near the cave.
Gray of dawn had begun to emerge above the treetops when the great beast emerged from its lair. Jarik watched as it sniffed the air and stretched just as it had the previous night. With a mighty snort, a gout of flame erupted from the creature’s nostrils. He flapped his wings with a bounding trot and took to the air. The dragon circled above its lair before flying towards the horizon.
The half-elf roused the hungry and cold young men. They broke camp and rode to the dragon’s lair. By the time gray dawn turned to a multi-hued sunrise the young men were at the cave. The huge mound of gold and treasure drove them.