Gerard wiped sweat from his wrinkled old brow as he poured yet another bag of raw grain into his mill. It was drudgery work, but old men like himself didn't have much choice in their occupation. In fact, most old men like himself weren't even working anymore.
It was quite a boring job, too. Doing the same thing over and over, he did wish he could retire. But he had to be sure he could support himself through the rest of his years, the number of which he was certain diminished every day.
A knock came on the door. Very good, another customer. "Come in," Gerard grunted. A young man stumbled through the door. He was wearing traveler's clothes, and upon his shoulder he bore the High King's seal. This must be that hero from Analar that everyone was talking about. "Oh dear, oh dear, come in, come in. You must be the King's man searching for the lost jewel of Liador?"
"Indeed, I am. Or rather I was, for I have found the fabled gem. I am on my way to return it to the High King. But today I am merely searching for some food and shelter for the night. Do you have an open room? I have plenty of gold." The old man's eyes suddenly took on a gleam at the word 'gold.' With enough of it, he could sell this old mill and retire...
"Yes, I think I could find a room for you. Does, ah... ten gold pieces sound fair to you?" The young man arched his eyebrow. The price of three horses was not indeed fair. In spite of this, the young man complied
"Quite fair, thank you. Could you show me to the room?" The old man nodded and motioned for the younger man to follow. When they reached the room, the man of Analar tossed Gerard a sack of gold. "Keep the change," he said as he shut the door to his room.
Gerard returned to the counter. He poured the golden coinage onto the flat wooden surface. There were at least fifty pieces in total. He rejoiced as he ran his fingers through his pile of wealth. In no time at all he could get out of this place.
A knock on the door. Gerard froze. Another knock. He opened a drawer and pulled his gold into the small box, the horde almost overflowing out of it as he slammed it shut. "Come in," said Gerard.
An old woman dressed in all black with a pointed hat, probably a witch, entered in through the door, giving me a rotten yellow grin. Her face was covered in horrid boils and scars, making him think of the plauge. "I'm looking for a young man," The witch said in a voice like a dungeon door in desperate need of oil. "He wears traveler's clothes and bears the seal of the High King. I'm willing to pay in gold for information on his whereabouts." A sudden gleam entered the old man's eyes when she spoke the word 'gold.'