Digging in the dry dirt was hot and hard work. Sure Paul was making money, but his muscles were screaming at him every night when he got back to the motel. Times were tough in construction though and he certainly couldn’t afford to past up a job right now. So here he was working on the foundations of an old museum that the city wanted to fix up.
Paul had never cared much for history; to him the past was just that, past. He could never understand why old pieces of junk were worth so much to some people, but he figured, to each their own. He was just here to dig.
He bent his knees and hefting another shovelful of rocky soil, he flung it out of the trench that he was standing in. They had managed to expose two of the foundation walls so far and Paul was working on the third one. He dug in again and felt a shuddering tremor vibrate up his arm when his shovel hit something hard. Massaging his aching bicep, he hunched down and starting sifting through the dirt to find what he had hit.
Whatever it was, it was heavy. Slowly bit by bit, Paul pulled forth from the ground a gleaming bronze sword. It was short with a blunt edge, but it was razor sharp and apart from being a little dirty, it was in perfect condition without even the smallest nick in the blade.
Staring open-mouthed in wonder at his find, Paul lifted the sword and tried a few swings to test its weight. He would never claim to be an expert on the subject, but even with the little knowledge he had of them, Paul knew that this was beautifully crafted. Slashing it through the air it was obvious that this was an efficient and deadly weapon. Each swipe was accompanied by a deep, reverberating hum and its tightly wound leather grip fit precisely in his hand. He’d had never seen something so extraordinary.
At his feet something flashed briefly in the sunlight. Reaching down, he found a little piece of yellowed paper with a metal plaque embossed with a number sewn to it. It looked like an old library index card. Picking it up, he saw that in faded blue ink something had been written on it.
“Hey Paul, you alright down there?”
Startled, Paul jumped and quickly hiding the sword behind his back, he called back up to his foreman Steve, “Yeah! I’m fine, just resting my arms for a minute, s’all.”
He waited another minute or so just to make sure that Steve didn’t walk over and peer into the trench before going back to studying the little card. The writing was small, cramped and faint; it was hard to read the single sentence that was written on it. Twisting the paper this way and that, Paul made out the few words:
“Mighty Vulcan, creator and guardian of this blade, lend me the skill to slay my enemies and gain the glory of the gods.”
Speaking these words, Paul stood holding an old scrap of paper in one hand and a burnished shortsword in the other.
For a moment nothing happened; then suddenly a bolt of lightning tore down through the clear blue sky and struck the sword.
To be continued in Part 2!
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