Join Date: Jul 2008
Art by Jerod
Paladin was out on patrol with Burning Fury when Jean walked up the staircase towards Paladin's private chambers. She quietly opened the door and closed it behind her as she stepped inside. She quickly began going through his things but was carefully not to leave anything out of place.
She noticed how his room was very empty and plain. There were no picture frames, no DVD collection, no bookcases, and nothing personal at all. Hoping to find something hidden, she began searching his room thoroughly. She reached under his mattress and a found an old book with yellowed pages and a leather cover. It appear to be very old. She cracked open the book and examined its contents. The words were in a language she had never seen before. Clearly this was some ancient dead language that she had no chance of deciphering on her own.
Brennon could probably read it, but she had no idea how to get clearance to see him since the Fortress policies had changed. She had to think of someone who would understand the language. Finally, one person came to mind. Michael Fontaine, Captain Mysterious's brother who was said to be an expert on ancient history. He had even known about Brennon's past, so it was possible that he could translate Paladin's book.
Fontaine had been released from the Fortress two weeks ago as his crime had not been severe enough to hold him for too long. Plus he had plead insanity for his crimes and had been ordered to seek psychiatric help. She knew she had Fontaine's address on file so locating him would not be difficult at all. But what she didn't know was if the risk was worth taking. He was a supervillain, but perhaps he wouldn't hurt her if he didn't have a motive. Nevertheless, he was her only option.
Knowing that consequences could be fatal if Paladin returned to his room and found his book gone, she quickly had all of the pages scanned and returned the book back to his private chambers with all haste. She arrived at the mansion of Michael Fontaine within a few hours. The place had been decorated like a museum. She introduced herself to the butler, who closed the door and went to inform his master. He returned, and led her into the house and into the living room where she was to wait for Michael.
He walked down the stairs while studying her closely. "Jean Bradley. I've read much about you."
"I'm not in the headlines, Mr. Fontaine."
"Maybe not, but you're in almost every article associated with a certain immortal swordsman."
"Is that why you agreed to see me?"
"No, that was just my curiosity. It's not every day I have a Fortress employee knocking on my door. Especially considering my...history with superheroes."
"I'm here to ask for your help."
He laughed. "That's funny. Your people had me locked up for six months. For what reason would I help you?"
"Because I think you'll find the subject matter fascinating."
She pulled the stack of papers from her purse. She handed one to Michael. He squinted as he examined the symbols. His eyes suddenly went wide. He reached for the rest of the papers but she jerked them away. He looked like a child who had a piece of candy but wanted the whole bag.
"That language...it's Karrakan...without a doubt. Where did you find this?"
"I scanned them out of an old book. Where I got the book is not important."
"Please, I must examine them," Michael pleaded.
"You going to help me read them?"
He nodded. "I'll begin translating right away."
* * * * *
"I grow tired of waiting, Archon."
"You must learn patience, Mr. Master. Staging an attack on a major supervillain prison is no simple task. All of the details must be covered."
"It is not my patience you are trying, Archon, it is Lord Blackhorn's. He is the one who is being forced to wait. He rewards persistence, not laziness."
"Do not question my commitment to our cause, Mr. Master. You know I've been working hard to complete the machine."
"For you or for Lord Blackhorn?" asked Mr. Master presumptuously.
"If you have something to say, spit it out," retorted Scarlet Archon, reaching for the bottle of the wine on the table as he started to pour a glass. Mr. Master's gaze fell on Archon's hand.
"Archon, your hand..." he said with a gasp.
"What are you babbling about--" he glanced down, and stared incredulously at his wrinkled hand.
"What is happening to you, Archon?" Mr. Master asked. Archon stood up and walked to the window while rubbing his hand. He touched his face, to make sure his youth was still in tact. He breathed a sigh of relief. Once he had been an elderly man who was becoming too frail to rule effectively, but after he discovered a source that was able to restore his youth, he returned to the peak of his power.
It would seem that the injection he took was slowly wearing off. He would have to be replenished by his source once again. He turned back to Mr. Master. "You will have your wish, old friend. Arrange Talon's release."
The villain did not understand Archon's sudden change of heart, but saw no reason to complain. "Excellent. It will be done at once." He turned and walked away.
"Mr. Master," Archon called out to him. He stopped and tossed him a look over his shoulder. "One more thing. While you're at the Fortress there's something else I want you to pick up for me."