THE COMPANY OF DRAGONS
John O’Donnell was staying late at the Paragon City History Museum. A recent acquisition had come into the museum, a sword of incredible beauty and craftsmanship. John had been called in as an expert due to the nature of the find.
“So, they found you in a Late Roman trash heap, did they?” he said to the sword as he examined the blade. “I do find that rather hard to believe, though,” he sighed heavily. What he knew about Roman swords wasn’t much, but he did know they did not make claymores, nor did the Romans etch their blades with ornate tracery. The blade’s design was beyond anything he had ever seen, dragons and roses intertwining along the flat of it. Added to this was the incredibly sharp and gleaming edge the sword possessed, supposedly after 1600 years in a cave.
“If you’re a Roman sword, then I’m a dachshund,” he commented. “Definitely Celtic,” he added. That was probably it, a late-period Celtic invasion of a Roman outpost. After all, the sword had been found in a cave in southeastern France. But, he noted, it still didn’t account for the absolutely perfect condition of the sword. He had even checked the sword’s authenticity, to ensure that the blade had not been recently forged.
The sound of someone scurrying on the marble floors caught his attention. Carefully, he placed the sword back into the box it had been shipped in and went to investigate.
“Hey, Vasquez! Is that you?” he called out to the nighttime security guard.
The sound happened again, moving closer. John paused, his muscles tensing. Thefts at the museum were relatively rare, but when they did occur, the object in question was some artifact containing great power. He carefully reached into his breast pocket and pulled out his comm device. He could have several members of the Onami Strike Force here in a matter of minutes.
Just as he hit the “call” button, something knocked John off of his feet. He caught a glimpse of a slight figure in wet clothes running towards the room the sword was in.
Still dazed, he sat up just in time to see the same person exploding out of the room, blade in one hand, scabbard in the other, running even faster. The museum alarms began to sound, and the girl, as John could see, went straight to one of the museum’s tall windows and broke through without so much as a moment’s hesitation.
“Emergency!” yelled John into his comm device. “We’ve just had a theft at the History Museum! I need immediate assistance!”
She didn’t feel the glass break into her skin; indeed, with the blade in her hands, suffering any sort of injury was virtually impossible. Shaking the daze off, she took off running again, only faster than when she had started. In her mind, she could sense one of the Dragon’s Line nearby. She made her way towards it.
Ling Mei sat down to dinner in her modest apartment. She had recently helped on a task force to Siren’s Call, and now looked forward to a quiet evening at home with some take-out, and a stack of Jackie Chan movies.
She took in a deep breath, savoring the aroma of the Orange Beef she had ordered. However, the slim, young heroine never even got a chance to taste what would have been her final meal. She felt a sudden jab in her back, followed by a blade erupting through her chest, covering the table with blood and gore.
The last words Ling Mei heard were in a language she did not understand, but in her dying thoughts, she was pretty sure it was a curse.
Her attacker pulled the blade from the body. Looking down with scorn at the dead woman, she detected yet another one of The Line.
Going to the window, she looked out upon the city, a vast field of lights, sound and rain. Quieting her thoughts, she sensed even more out there, all of which contained the taint of Dragon’s blood. She narrowed her green eyes with grim resolve, and put the sword back into its scabbard, which she kept placed behind her back.
Leaving the apartment, she left the door slightly ajar. She would find them all, and eliminate them The scourge of Dragonkind would be forever removed.
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