Timeline: Starts at beginning of "Luvirini's Journey"
I know this will sound like ranting, but at times like this I cannot really help it.
I am a master in the largest mage guild in central kingdom, "Seekers of Knowledge". It is a great guild and the leader is an absolute genius when it comes to magic, but he is totally lacking anything even resembling common sense.
This is not the first time he has has problems like this, but given his repeated failure to apply even an ounce of common sense to things, it it likely far from the last too. Though at least he seems to be able to learn specific things to do in response to specific failures in the past.
Anyway, enough ranting and let me tell the story in the order it happened.
Sleymar Magyar is the current grand master of the guild. He was selected because his undeniable expertise in magical matters and the understanding that actual relations both inside and outside the guild would be handled by the provost. That has worked well enough, it is just that Sleymar manages to get into more troubles in an average year than all first year magical students combined.
In fact the guild masters and senior masters have a betting pool, with hidden bids, on the number of instances/year where he needs to call for help because he is over his head in something. I won the pool three years in a row until some members actually started guessing numbers over 100 and my normal bets of 90-100 are not enough every year, though I still win every third year or so.
The events causing the latest problem started few days before the culmination where my help was needed.
Sleymar was contacted by an adventure who wanted to sell a "reliable treasure map". Because he had been stung by such claims before he took out his checklist of things to do in such situation. First he cast a truth spell, and got a reply that the adventurer in question was certain that the treasure was in the indicated place. Next he cast a locate gold spell centered at that place and got a vague indication of much gold at that place. That caused him to see in his mind's eye a new wing in the guild academy that is suffering from lack of space. Thus he decided to buy the map from the adventure and go get the gold.
Next he took out his travel checklist with important things to do, like making sure he had his towel with him. But the checklist did not involve unimportant things like telling someone where he was going and why.
Having strong affenity with location and movement magic he shifted himself to the location of the gold he detected with the detect spell, without having taken any other precautions.
And he found himself staring at an old red dragon from really close by. Frozen in place by the dragons presence, he was picked up by the dragon who roared "So, you want to steal my hoard, do you".
The Dragon cast a charm that held him in place and explained in length what he was about to receive, mostly involving really slow roasting. During this monologue Sleymar managed to trigger his mental 'help me' beacon that I heard.
I was eating breakfast in Norek, with Luvirini, the son of my old adventuring companions who I was taking to Magnimar for adventurer guild training, when I felt the beacon coming from far south near Dragonport. The location was outside my easy portaling range, even though I am one of the best portal mages around. Luckily there is a guild presence in Hoeneydar only about thousand five hundred miles from Dragonport and another in Dragonport allowing me to chain my gates to Dragonport.
As I got up from my breakfast table I told Luvirini to finish his breakfast and then go up to my room and study the adventurer guild guide. I then proceeded to do a doorway in the wall and step onto the alleyway, not wanting to scare the other people in the inn. I have always kind of wondered about the panic reaction so many people get when they see a gate appear. I mean, while a gate can be used to summon demons by opening them a suitable dimensions or to bathe large areas in elements by opening the other end in an elemental plane and similar other destructive uses, most actual uses are utility uses like my traveling by opening the other end at a teleport beacon the guild maintains.
So I then proceeded to do the two gatings and arrived in Dragonport, having traveled about 2500 miles in few seconds. In Dragonport I then cast my normal array or protective magic and also added all the special situation spells, as with Sleymar you never know what type of place he was in when in trouble, be it inside an active volcano or miles underwater.
When ready, I shifted to Sleymars location. It was good that he was only about 20 miles from the guild house in Dragonport as shifting always feels unnatural to me and the longer the distance the harder headache I get. I am not that gifted in movement magic and just stepping from one place to other feels "wrong" as everything gets distorted for a few seconds as I shift longer distances. I have heard from most other portal mages that they suffer the same. My personal theory is that, to be a good portal mage you must have something like absolute spatial sense where you feel your location relative to everything else and when shifting you are actually traveling only about 10 miles each second you shift and thus spend a lot of time "in between" the places. This plays havoc with that spatial sense. In contrast when portaling you are in one place and stepping through you are immediately in other, causing short confusion in most people, but none in portal mages. Unfortunately portaling is not viable to places where I have never been to, so I have to shift in situations like that.
Upon arriving, glowing like a fireworks display to anyone with a magic sight and that definitely includes all dragons, I noticed the situation and the dragon noticed me.
It roared "Another thief after my horde! I will deal with you the same was is with this one!" I tried to counter with a "I do not want your riches, I just want to rescue him." The dragon roared "You lie!" and started to breathe fire at me.