Heart of Gold: A Confederate Planes Short Story
I never wanted to be a paladin. I wanted to study dragons. But who was I to go against family tradition? I am a paladin. My father is a paladin. His father was a paladin. For 1,500 years, my family has served the Temple of Presbos faithfully, and as much as I was averse to the task myself, I didn't have the courage to do otherwise. At the least, I'd be able to study some dragons, even if they're dead when I do so.
Little did I know that I'd be plane-hopping.
In the years following my ordination, I became even more disenfranchised with the workings of the Temple. The days began to blend together. Everything was strictly regimented; Go here, stop him, make no detours, return with what needed cleansing, wash, repent, repeat.
Today seemed different, though. When the assignments were doled out in the morning, the Knight Patriarch asked if anyone spoke Draconic. Now, I had taken every bit of what little personal time I had to delve deep into the annals of the Temple's record halls for all that I could about dragons, so I knew the language well enough (just because I spent a great deal of time hunting them doesn't mean that I stopped being enthralled by them). Surprised, he assigned me to seek out the Gold Dragon, Ryulungwei. He asked for the aid of a paladin of the Temple, but would not go into detail.
Several days later, I found myself in a large antechamber, more befitting to an ostentatious nobleman than a dragon. Even his appearance was not what I had expected. Ryulungwei stood before me, dressed in fine silks from all across the land, and each of his fingers was encrusted with a jeweled ring.
"I can tell you are not happy with your lot in life," he began.
"Not particularly, good Lord."
"As to be expected. I've watched your family for many generations, and you, Doga, are the first in a long time to hold the proper penchant for what I'm about to ask." He took a moment, pondering a small trinket he kept hidden from my eyes. "My consort is ready to bear child, but I have been reluctant of the idea. 'The world is vastly different from when we were wyrmlings,' I told her. 'Adventurers would not hesitate to take the eggs from their nest, if they thought them of value. Even after it hatches, our child would still be at risk from those who wish to force their will upon it.' So we have waited. We waited for a time when we could entrust the child with one of noble intent, until such time when it could care for itself. I believe you are more than fitting for this task. Would you accept it? It would not interfere with your duties to the Temple; it would merely...change them to something more befitting."
"My Lord, I would be honored," I said, struggling to hide my elation.
"I am not ready to entrust my child with you, just yet. While your heart shows no darkness, I must be certain that you are right for the job." With a wave of his hand, a shimmering door appeared next to him. "This will be a test of your mettle. Should you come out with the same resolve, my children shall be in your ward."
I knelt before him. "I will not fail you."
"I should hope not," he said, smiling. "I have enlisted the aid of a dragon steed to assist you on this trek. She will answer your call when you are in need." He waved his hand again, and the door opened. "Now go. And may the light of Presbos protect you."