A sword, glum and without sheen. Too ugly to be a display piece, but there it was, above the mantelpiece. Dormant, without its scabbard.
“Why’d you keep that hideous thing up there, Uncle Vernon?” I ask. He had invited me for dinner, unusually. We hadn’t spoken in years. Not since our argument. He called me a wastrel, pissing away his dead brother’s nest-egg. He wasn’t completely wrong. Two years later and I’m penniless.
“There’s an old family legend, lad,” he says over his brandy. “That this weapon must take a life every fifty years, or our house will fall into ruin.”
I drain my drink to the ice. “You said this dinner was about a job opportunity, Uncle,” I say with impatience.
“It is,” he says, unblinking. “Let’s wait for our dinner to go down first.”