Have you met Nicholas the Traveler and his loyal dolyak sidekick, Professor Yakkington? Legend tells of this wandering collector who roams all over the world, gathering all sorts of odds and ends and gladly accepting help. He is no mere legend, however: the Traveler is out there right now, patiently waiting for people to find him.
Before the Searing, Nicholas the Traveler was simply Nicholas Sandford, a free-spirited tradesman happily rambling across Ascalon. Like most of his people, Nicholas suffered deeply when the charr breached the Great Northern Wall—he lost his home, his family, and his friends. Worst of all, he lost Mary Malone, the great unrequited love of his life. You remember Mary: before the charr invaded, she had that apple orchard infested with giant spiders. Everyone liked Mary (especially Professor Yakkington, who was quite fond of apples), and Nicholas would've done anything for her. Now he'll go to his own grave wondering what might have been, wondering if he and Mary would've had a long life together.
Robbed of what he loved most, Nicholas took Professor Yakkington and started roaming the land, aimlessly, hoping the world would uplift his spirit. His journeys took him far from Ascalon, and he quickly built up his reputation as a tradesman with a winning combination of quality goods and an easygoing demeanor. Since he'd go anywhere on the slightest whim, the legend of Nicholas the Traveler was born.
Even though the Traveler's impulses often take him to unexpected or dangerous places, remember that he does want you to find him. He enjoys the company, and always needs help tinkering with one project or another. It was easier to find Nicholas and Yakkington before the Searing, while they were still working near Ascalon. It became more of a challenge after the Searing: once the Traveler starts roaming, he can appear anywhere, though he'll stay there for a week.
Nicholas has quite a successful approach: help him out, and he'll happily help you out. Just find the trinkets he covets, and he'll give you a bag of loot. Before the Searing, he offered the Gift of the Huntsman; afterwards he started handing out the Gift of the Traveler. This post-Searing grab-bag could even contain ultra-rare loot that you can only get from him!
The Traveler may never figure out what he's really looking for and he may never stop wandering, but he's always worth tracking down.