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  1. September 8th, Saturday, 2018, early evening The Starlight Room, Midtown, Freedom City It was with all possible grace that a green dragon as tall as an elephant flared into being. Blue-red fire snapped and hissed across its body and its two mighty wings, which it flapped once to waft out the lingering flame. This act revealed two people sheltered under its wings, one of which was a tall young man with close-cut black hair, golden eyes and livid white scars from under his eyes to his jaw. He looked quite at ease, smiling reassuringly to the shocked and frozen staff and waiting guests just recovering from the appearance of the dragon. "Good evening. Party of two, name of Leroy Ransom-Conte and Nicole Whitfield-Hall," he told the burly, Biblically-bearded old man behind the desk, his seat framed by murals of the constellations, "my dragon will not be joining us." The creature looked at him very sharply for that. Blinking once, the old man said in a deep gloomy voice "Delighted to have you, sir." The man looked up at the boy, taking in the unfamiliar sight with no little wariness. The boy was dressed in rich blue tunic, trousers and robe with silver patterns suggesting roses or possibly eyes. He also, to the faint confusion of the man behind the desk, wasn't wearing shoes or socks, instead just a pair of ornate silver sandals. "Please wait to be seated, service will be here presently." Patting the dragon on the flank, Leroy murmured "Be close, keep watch." "Gild the lily, why don't you?" the dragon said, but he was already fading into another burst of heatless fire. The entry to the Starlight Room was hundreds of feet above Freedom City, with panoramic bay windows giving a breathtaking view of the sea, the hills and forests and rivers surrounding it. Light was fading behind the mountains far in the west, a dim orange-pink line receding before a tide of blue and black and farther stars. Light pollution was as bad in Freedom as anywhere else densly populated, but out the windows and across the sprawling domed ceiling of the Starlight Room blazed countless billions of stars. They were just images on a screen, one synced with real Earth-time to show an accurate picture of what the Lenape and early colonists had seen in the sky so many centuries ago. To add to the effect, the lights were kept low and in cool blue tones. Entry into the Starlight Room proper was up a flight of broad, gentle steps marked with the phases of the Moon from full to new and through a a set of doors decorated with the Pleiades, the lights cunningly set so looking directly at them hid them from view. The foyer itself was decorated so all color seemed to be fading into the floor, the walls in black snd silver, the floor and base of various objects like the lamps, chairs and the desk colored in orange, deep purple and faint pink. Only the bright red 'EXIT' sign by the emergency starway broke from the theme. Stepping over to his fellow passenger, Leroy beamed, his voice uncharacteristically-hushed as he said "How was the teleport? Sorry to say Dio is still young, but he learns swiftly." He smiled "Certainly bests waiting in an elevator."
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