"In exchange for the Thousand-Year Sponge, the Enchanted Tub of Neserbit, and the Warbrush of Talon Mountain, I pledge to give you whatever aid you need. Should you find the Enchantress's Mystical Soap, I'll give you more! Now, off with you, young adventurer- the fate of the world rests upon your shoulders!"
With that, Alec had found himself unceremoniously shoved out the cave front by a very busy dragon, who claimed to have a very important task to do. He'd been very curt and had almost just tucked the list into his armor and sent him on his way. It must be a big quest, he assumed- the fate of the world must rest upon it! He knew a few people who might have a lead on the Warbrush, but other than that, well... he'd have to start looking for everything else.
Several weeks later, Alec drove a team of oxen up towards the cave as they dragged a sled carrying the items behind it. He'd hop off the cart and stride up to the mouth of the dragon's cave, banging his sword against the stone door. Immediately, the stone rolled aside, and there, standing in the doorway... was a sight that would take seven ales and a shot of the hardest stuff the tavern had to get out of Alec's mind.
Imagine a young gold dragon- a towel cinched about his waist- carrying a small replica of a caravel and what looked to be a rather large duck, made out of some bizarre magical substance that shone in the sunlight, with an almost childlike grin on its face.
With a snap of his claws, the tub was full, and a quick blast of breath set it to almost boiling hot. Taking flight, the dragon happily shed his towel, dropping it on Alec, and plunged into the hot bath, squeezing the duck to create a somewhat realistic quacking sound.
Alec would struggle out from under the towel, hoping that he'd gotten the side that hadn't been touching the dragon's... well, underside... and looked up at the happy dragon, who was humming a tune while soaping up the brush.
"...the fate of the world rested on you getting a bath?" he'd ask, not sure why he'd risked life and limb to find all this stuff.
"Well, the fate of MY world did- I had to finish cataloging my collection of coins for the DNA convention next week. I want to trade so many more of my coins this year..."
"...the DNA?" Alec was starting to get the feeling he'd been led astray. He'd never heard of it before- and he was certain he knew all the guilds and groups that one needed to know. There wasn't a thieves' brotherhood, order of monks, or shadowy assassin's guild with those initials.
"Yes, the Draconic Numismatics of Anseria's annual convention. Thanks for finding this stuff for me- I would have used the lake, but it's awfully cold right now, and I didn't want to go smelling like a damp pile of cave moss. There's a sack of a few hundred coins that I have a hundred or more of... feel free to take that as a reward. Good luck, young adventurer!"
An hour later, still clutching the sack, Alec would shake his head. He'd learned a valuable lesson- never, ever offer to help a dragon in the middle of convention season.
Criticism would be appreciated! This one came off the top of my head as I was looking at conventions I might attend in 2012 or 2013. Let me know what you think!