The Modern Sword
Sembia 13th The Razlin Times- In business news today, Myriad, the sole purveyor of advanced magic technologies, lost its contract with the Mafen Royal Military to create the next weapon of the 17th century.
"The results are too shaky," said General Kormageth, leader of the Orc Special Forces, "We need a reliable weapon, especially in these upcoming days with our war against Larfinstan, Myriad has not shown us one."
In a press conference today, the elven president of Myriad, Leniel Moonleaf, replied to the general's comments:
"I'm deeply saddened by the general's cancellation of the contract. Myriad gave a hundred and ten percent! We thought the military would be glad to have a weapon that would save the lives of hundreds of thousands of soldiers. I guess we were wrong."
Although the design of the weapon is unknown, Myriad assured its stockholders that the cancelled contract would not affect its upcoming quarterly report.
In other news Tinkin Tech leader in non-magic items had announced they would close their plant in the Yurnim Desert.
Damien Tashmen ran his fingers through his neatly gelled black hair. Although only twenty-five, Damien had quickly raced to the position of executive of consumer research and development in Myriad. His success could be called a miracle. A simple slip up resulted in a radical new spell that had increased the longevity of all races by a hundred and twenty-five percent. The spell turned a magic company on the verge of bankruptcy into the international megacorporation owning nearly ninety-five percent of magic patents and made Damien the poster child of Myriad for three years.
Today was hell though; the military had cancelled the contract causing a sudden drop in Myriad stock. He was sure that their arch-nemesis, Tinkin Tech, was cheering at them right now. The board was on his ass; they were expecting the next billion yerv product to save them. As he walked down the hall brooding over the plight of the company, he passed the security door. The door was a recent development of Myriad's security division, made of a purple jelly like substance that trapped all but those with clearance to the area. The door had become the number one security system for millionaires and royalty. Damien enjoyed the feeling of the jelly moving all over his body, it was almost like an all in one massage bed. Damien made a note to himself to see if the material can be manipulated for a massage bed as he walked toward a lab room.
A small gnome with gold eyes greeted Damien. Damien tried his hardest to turn on the patented Damien everything's cool smile. He wondered how in the cavern of hells could the gnome smile in this crisis.
"The big boys upstairs riding your ass," said an aged gnome. His eyes were sapphire blues and his white curly hair clung to the back of the short white lab jacket.
"You bet. So how's the newest form of commercializing going?"
"Fine, better then fine. Perfect! No side effects on the neurological functions even on the elvish anatomy. All it has to go through is dragon neuro testing and we can tell the big boys to give themselves another twelve million yerv raise."
"Yea, they would like it, wouldn't they," Damien laughed.
The excitement was a new magical process for advertising for food called pyschometabolismic response, code-named Tasty. Using a small crystal placed on either a regular t.v. or imbedded in a magic Cessnar, it allowed the viewer to taste the food advertised without any harmful allergic reactions. Like all magic items used for the holographic Cessnar T.V. , Tasty would surely regain the money lost from the cancelled contract. The only problem was convincing the board to begin production.
"I've design Tasty to merge with the Cessnar, all you had to do is tap the lump on top of the Cessnar and bingo, every commercial is a splash of non-nutritional flavor of anything from wine to Mernsky's Choco Bars."
"As head of Research I wouldn't mind taking a little sip of free wine."
"Not true wine but just the flavor, but I might make exception for a friend."
Merlgl carried a small red box and placed it within a fluorescent monitor. A small touch in the bottom right screen and the Cessnar came alive. A small dwarf dressed in a green shirt that smiled his pearly teeth after every sentence was advertising for frozen custard. Merlgl and Damien's taste buds were suddenly flooded with the taste of dark, creamy chocolate custard that seemed to flow like a semi-frozen river down their throats.
"Good job Merlgl, when can I have the first prototype?"
"Probably by tonight. Some Utope to celebrate with my friend," said the gnome has he began to chew on a green flower petal.
"Umm, no thanks, I'm going to check on what's going on in the armory division." Damien had wondered how a genius such as Merlgl had fallen for the siren call of Utope. The highly addictive magical drug had just become legalized all to the woe of Damien who despised it. The drug was called Utope for its hallucinations of the perfect life of the user, whether it be wealth or an actual family, Utope delivered it. It had become as common as arthritis relievers in pharmacies had, although its overdose rate was frighteningly high.
Damien left the gnome in the dangerous grip of Utope and went over to the armory section. The security in the armory section was tighter than the military's Quarmic base. Military research had shown that a chameleon spell could trick security systems into believing the spy was an officer of high ranking.
Myriad had recently designed a system in which the person would enter a small room. Using a transfer spell, the system would painlessly transfer a drop of blood into a DNA sequencer that would then analyze the sample in less than twenty milliseconds. A door would appear allowing the person to continue on. A siren would go off if he were an intruder alerting the guards surrounding the area.
As Damien entered the room he saw the small door behind him melt into the chrome wall. He suddenly felt a small pinch, as he looked up he saw a small drop of blood float towards the ceiling. He still felt a little sick when he thought what would happen if the system happen to take more than just a little drop. As the drop touched the ceiling there was a buzz. The far wall seemed to melt open allowing him to enter the armory section.
Damien quickly grabbed the orb floating on the palm of the elf's hand. The elf's hair was dyed a dark shade of blue and he wore sunglasses with red lenses.
"How's the Syndicate Angel Project going?" asked Damien as he stared into the window.
"Really, really bad, let's just say. We still can't understand how a half-flight spell turned part of the subject's vertebrae into that of wings, but instead of feathers, the whole man's skin was peeled off. Here let me show you," The elf said as he touched a green bubble hovering over the window.
Damien turned away, lying on a medical cot was a man, or at least was a man. The entire backside was robbed of its skin. Muscle and tendons pulsed as the misplaced pieces of skin started to flap endlessly until they suddenly stopped.
"Is he...."
"Yep, thank Hev that he was a prisoner or the cancelled contract would not be Myriad's only problem. I think that we should do away with the half-flight spell and just do a regular full transfiguration flight spell. It won't allow the wings to fold, and it definitely won't do what happen to that guy," the elf said as he began to laugh.
"Can you show me some positive developments, you guys screwed up the weapon, can you get something actually right?!"
The elf took off his glasses and glared at him.
"That was perfection, no flaws, no nothing! I don't know what those bureaucratic bastards wanted. If they wanted something that just went boom, they should've just bought a firecracker."
"You're right, unfortunately you're not on the committee and don't decide what to buy so can I please have some HEV DAMNED RESULTS!"
The elf put his sunglasses on again.
"Well the dragon mount weapons are at ninety eight percent efficiency, and we've perfected the spell for self controlled shape-shifting. They should both be ready for production in eight months.
"Hev," muttered Damien.
Damien was preparing a grade-a tongue lashing for the elf when something in his coat pocket began to quiver. He reached in pulled out a white floating orb that pulsated. He tossed it up in the air.
"Yea," he shouted at the orb.
"Hey Damien its Wryn, the board and I want to discuss the upcoming quarterly report."
"I heard that Damien, we'll be expecting you in five minutes."
The orb's light faded to a feeble glow.
"Good, uh, luck," smirked the elf.
Damien didn't answer; he made a mental note to fire that guy's ass as soon as possible.
Damien exited the armory section and entered a large opening. As he stepped in the center, a semi-translucent half circle came underneath him. A large wall of green energy covered him. Damien dug his hands into the field and began to move them in an upward motion. A sudden jolt of invisible force pushed up against the disc. Floors blurred as the speed increased to over mach 10.
The employees of Myriad called the board's floor Judgement hall. To Damien as he entered the room, it was a perfect analogy. Each board member sat on a leather chair that floated well over 20 feet in the air that circled a large opaque globe that sent each board member different info. It could be from stocks to an employees work quota. It didn't matter.
"We're in trouble Damien. I know you understand how much pressure the stockholders are putting on us. Hell, we've been forced to downsize on twenty percent of our sorcerer production workers. Now we've decided to cut funding for all non-military research for research and development." Said Wryn.
The original founder of Myriad, he was considered the king of the business world. It was known he had the king's ear and rumor had it he had dabblings with Necromancers, those sorcerers who warped the boundaries of the living and the dead. He had ruled Myriad for two hundred with an iron fist in a velvet glove.
Now Damien saw the dinosaur of business in all his glory. A barber carefully attended the man's lustrous white hair recently. The man's perfectly white teeth decided the lives of thousands of people. Wryn was wearing a thirty thousand yerv suit looked more like a death spectral than a businessman did.
"You can't do that! We have an item that could triple our profit. It could completely cover the money loss by the contract. We could...."
"Yes, we could Damien, but the board and I have decided to take away funding from the consumer section to armory."
"And uhhh, Mr. Tashmen," said a dwarf board member with a long sharp nose, "We have also decided that uhhh, your loyalty towards this company is unsatisfactory."
"What is Hev do you mean my loyalty is unsatisfactory?"
"Watch," said the dwarf.
A sharp quick pain flowed through Damien as he saw himself walk into the armory section.
"What was that?"
"Sorry, didn't mean to not inform you about our newest product. The Deja, the newest security camera, you recall and live through the minutes the controller of the Deja wishes to see. No denials, no excuses. Now, why were you in the armory section?" said Wryn.
"Doing what I need to do, check to see if everything was running smoothly."
"But you're not in charge of armory are you Damien? I thought Mr. Glister was."
"Wryn, you gave me access to armory, munitions, and the rest of the research divisions if you recall. Didn't you say you were promoting to head of all research divisions in the nearby future and you wanted me to check the crops? I see no reason for this interrogation."
"Damien, you gave this corporation the life spark, and for that I will always recall you with favor. It has been a pleasure having you work for me and I'm sure you'll find a new job. You have fifteen minutes until security escorts you from the premises."
"Wryn, you can't, Myriad is me. You can't take that away from me. After all I've done for you."
"I realize that Damien, you should find in your bank account a reasonable amount of money and I say good day to you."
At that moment it was as if a judge had sentenced Damien to a slow tortuous death. He stood there in front of those people just staring at them in total hatred and disgust. Those rat bastards ripped right from Damien's hand a future full of power and wealth. The dwarf who had probed his thoughts began to burst in fits of laughter.
"Mr. Tashmen, I do think uhh your former employer just told you to takeoff, but I have no problems calling in security to give you a more physical exit if you will not leave the building in 4 minutes. Thank you."

Only twenty blocks down from where Damien was slowly gathering his belongings and emptying his desk, Agent Larence Marcussen of the Royal Bureau of Investigation was sitting down at his desk flipping through The Razlin Times until he found the sports section. To the woe of Larence, Turen Margiv the former sword blitzer champion of the world had lost in twelve round battle against the orc Wamq making history and giving Larence a migraine. The elf was sadly scratching his short brown hair calculating the sudden drop in his wallet size when a large folio dropped onto his desk.
"You shouldn't read the paper Agent Marcussen, all that bad news will just add the extra stress the media loves to spread around," said a young woman wearing a black blouse. Her red hair was in the fad fan style and her brown eyes seem poised at any minute to make a sharp remark.
"And it eats away at my bank account day by day Agent Ormin."
"You bet Margiv didn't you."
"Yep and if I ever learn something from blitzing, never bet against an orc whose rages can last up to five hours and has a custom made Kar Full Blade Lion 29. How can a human...?"
"How can a human do what Agent Marcussen?"
"How can a human lose I mean."
"That's what I thought you said. Here are the papers for the Necronison case the director wanted you to look at." Agent Ormin said.
"All of these?"
"No, that's only drawer one, there are five more to look at. I'll leave you alone for your reading." She said as she closed the door behind her.
Larence gave a huff and opened the folio. The first page showed a rather gruesome seal of the Necronism the number one terrorist organization in the world. A small-decomposed hand clenched around a bone scythe and half of a dragon's heart. As Larence read onwards the seemingly hundreds of pages of attacks made by Necronison through its two thousand years of existence, it scared Larence a little that the director put him in charge of the case. Rumor around the Bureau said that any agent in charged of the Necronism case mysteriously disappeared only to be found dead or in such a grotesque manner that they would want death if there was any sane though left in them.
Larence took a sip of coffee as he closed the folio. He put his hand against his brow and shuddered. After seventeen years of working in the bureau, it seemed like it had just given him the kiss of death. Larence tried hard not to imagine himself as one of those malformed creatures seen in the photographs but in the clockworks of his mind churned out scenario after scenario each more terrifying than the last one.
Back in the fifth age, the founder of the RBI, Sir Ahrod of the Blue Smith clan decided that the RBI should be visually and strategically awe inspiring. Terrorism had become a new threat from deranged cults and violent liberation fighters from various provinces of Mafen. Sir Ahrod rounded up his clan's best masons and built the entire building from obsidian and specially wrought diamond-steel. Ahrod designed the first two halls to be the perfect area for a counter attack if a group of terrorist decided to try to take the building hostage. The halls were designed with seemingly invisible panels where with the right word, a strike squad could launch a devastating counter attack.
The basement held the armory of confiscated weapons and the huge archive of criminal records and cases. The building went out of commission for one hundred years during the second rebellion and was reopened again. It was said the building held many secrets still unknown. The great black building rose to an astonishing seven hundred story, the third largest building in Mafen besides the royal palace and senate building. Even today the RBI headquarters was one of the biggest tourist.
He gave a little laugh and walked out of his office to get some more coffee. The halls were louder than usual, probably about the outcome of last night's fight, the loss of money almost wiped clean the gruesome images from Larence's mind. Either way, today was a rotten day however Larence looked at it. A slightly out of breath Agent Ormin ran up to Larence. Her two hundred yerv hair style now covered her eyes making it look like she was relying on some kind of sonar.
"The deputy director StormHammer is calling a meeting. Must be pretty big if he cancelled his spear fencing with Senator Grushc. He's called me, you, and five other agents into meeting room 25. StormHammer is pretty pissed off, you better get along."
"Ok, just tell the deputy director I'm just getting a cup of coffee and I'll be there in a sec."
"Fine but don't blow your lid when I'm trying not to laugh while StormHammer is getting ready to strangle you."
"All right Agent Ormin, but please do tell me; do you hear the bleeping sound from the sonar you must have, because the bad thing with fans is that once they blow down the eyes don't really help anymore?"
"Haha, very funny, its nothing a little mousse panel won't fix, and it happens that I have one with me just in case I do need to activate my sonar." She said as she took what looked like a black lint-brush with foam evenly spread over the top out of her purse.

"It has been a pleasure having you work for me and I'm sure you'll find a new job." The words kept echoing over and over in Damien's mind as he drank his mead. Him, a job, Damien would be lucky if any company would look at him. Ever since he had gotten in degree in magic engineering, Damien had realized something. He couldn't start from scratch. Damien needed a top of the line lab and a budget that most would think of as insane. He was at home in Myriad, the man thought it was the luckiest day of his when he landed the job as head of a team in the research and development. He was given a multi-billion-yerv budget that ended up created The Gift of Narus spell. He thought he was racing up the corporate ladder towards wealthy elite. But cruel are the gods of business for when they think one single person has had too much success, they snatch it away.
Now alone in the darkness peering at the three dimensional shapes of the Cessnar, a new commercial adding more to his woe. A halfling woman was putting a small box into her Cessnar and the cameras zoomed in at her look of ecstasy, as she described the flavors of food advertised on her Cessnar. At the end of the commercial one word kept flashing for the mere five seconds of its airtime. Tasty, the word silently mocked him. The bastards listened to him, they fired him then they stole the money that he rightfully deserved. Damien began to cry, first it was just one drop, then a couple more, finally the tears became a steady stream of sorrow and self pity. He wasn't even drunk, but Damien rushed to the toilet and vomited the last three cans of mead he had just down. He laid on the green tiled floor for a couple of minutes, he didn't even bother did say the command word to flush the toilet. The world of Damien Tashmen was gone, the Jade Fellowship graduate cushy job was gone. That night of depressive solitude, was the only time in Damien's life when he cried himself to sleep.