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THE COMPANY OF DRAGONS
PROLOGUE


    A brilliant flash of light flared in the alley, and quickly died away.  A girl of about sixteen or seventeen, stood  in it’s place, immediately drenched by the late-winter downpour.  Shivering from cold and terror, she tried to take in her surroundings, seeing nothing familiar.

    The girl took a tentative step towards the street, brushing a stray lock of dark hair out of her face so she could see.  She cringed back as she saw a large creature with blazing white eyes come around a corner.  The beast either had not seen her, or it was not interested in her, for it moved by on strange black feet, which looked like cartwheels to her.

    Breathing rapidly, she moved out from between the buildings and began to walk, taking in brief, scared glances at the world around her as she did.  She saw a word suddenly flare to life in bright, glowing red, then disappear, only to reappear again. 

    She quickened her pace, paying no mind to the people she walked past.  She found it odd no one asked her who she was, why she was running, or, God forbid, why she was crying.

    She spotted more of the beasts with the blazing eyes, travelling in a straight line like a herd of sheep.  Terrified by the deep rumbling noises they made as they went past, she broke out into a run, ignoring the pain of the hard walkway beneath her feet. 

    She ran until she had no more strength, and collapsed onto a small field of grass.  Looking up at the cloudy sky, she could see strange glowing colors above her which appeared nothing at all like what she saw in Draguignan.  Gasping loudly, she tried again to get a sense of where she was.

    This was not her town, and part of her wondered if this was even her world.  Everything had changed in a brilliant, sudden flash of light.  She had just confronted the ancient, horrible Drake that had reigned over the countryside and was about to fight him, when she suddenly had been brought here.  She realized, too, she no longer had her sword, but she could somehow sense it was present.

    She suddenly detected something else, a strange buzzing in her head, like muted bees in their hive.  She sat up on the wet grass, too intently focussed on the sensation to pay any attention to the water and mud that covered her.  The feeling only meant one thing, something her father, the Bishop of Antibes, had told her.  It meant dragons were here, and if she was to fight them, she needed her sword.

    Pulling herself up off the ground, she looked around again.  She closed her eyes and concentrated on her sword.  Bound together by powerful enchantments, she and the sword could never be parted, and the sword could only unleash its true powers in her hands.

    “Hearing” the blade calling to her, she ran off in the direction it came from.  She finally had some sense of certainty in this strange, alien place.


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