The whole thing started about eight months earlier, when Marcus handed Vinnie an ordinary-looking pair of headphones.
The king is the hound and the hound is the king.
The feasters come and eat, but they don’t suspect a thing.
It’s a feast like none they’ve seen, a spectacular repast.
They never e’er suspect that the meal will be their last.
There are flames in the distance. There is a dragon in the distance. We must ride out to meet him.
It is said that the first dragon was born of hatred. And all of the things that follow hatred. Envy and greed. Bloodlust.
It is said that the first dragon was born from a person, right here in this very village. It is said that the first dragon was born of a curse. A curse that was meant to save, for some curses can save.
Three beautiful sisters were they, in those days. They had eyes the color of jade with shades of honey flecked within. They had hair like golden silk. Their lovely smiles were made lovelier still by their dazzling white teeth. As might be expected with beauty so bold, they were envied by many. They were coveted by many. Their mother fretted and feared over that envy and longing. She did not want to lock up her daughters for fear of the world. But one day, her fears came true.
A powerful lord came to desire the sisters. When they refused his advances, he had a warlock curse them. He demanded they be cursed with an eternal hunger for all men. Though his intention was to inflict upon them the same longing that they inspired in him, the warlock’s curse had a different effect. The sisters were afflicted with a hunger not of their hearts or their loins, but of their bellies. For they became consumed with a ravenous hunger for the flesh of man.
Her mother wrung her hands and her father released a deep and miserable breath, and Tazara knew that the news they had for her was not good.
“A curse with fall upon you, daughter,” her father said, “on the first day of your thirteenth year.”
Tazara looked between her mother and father. “But that’s tomorrow!”
“According to the lore we’ve been able to dig up, a person only has to wear the necklace once, and for only a few hours, before the effects take hold. The science supports this.”
“So it’s like being exposed to radiation? Or an infectious agent. Done is done.”
Agent Mars Dietrich nodded to his boss, the division director. He had been on the case for a few days now. Dietrich investigated the supernatural and the paranormal. But he was far too interested in everything to become an expert in any one thing. Because of that, he was known for making connections between cases in various divisions from the supernatural to the scientific to the cosmic. The object of his current investigation had just gone from being a curiosity to a confirmed danger.
A necklace. Rare and beautiful. Priceless. And cursed.
Once there was a girl named Florisse whose greatest dream was to find and marry her true love. She dreamed by day and she dreamed by night. She would pray to the gods of her ancestors. She would wish upon falling stars. And when she saw lovers hand in hand, she would ache with longing and burn with envy. One morning when she woke, she found upon the floor of her chamber, a pair of fine slippers. They were made of satin, the pale color of fresh butter and just as soft. Her family was not poor, but nor were they so rich that they could acquire such fine slippers as a gift. They were the kind of slippers that young women wore upon their wedding days. The girl tried on the slippers and they fit her feet perfectly. She found a note with the slippers. The note proclaimed that the slippers would lead the wearer to wherever or whomever the wearer wished. The girl was so swept up in her excitement that before her family woke, she washed and dressed in her best garments and cloak. She slipped on the slippers. She made her wish. She gave the slippers her command.