Oren, our beloved King Champion, marveled with the rest of us as he turned over the glimmering rock in his fingers. Its surface was twinkling stars and churning nebulae, swirling together in black ink.
It was hard to believe I was even looking at it. The Star. It contained the power to stop the Plague and end the Age of Suffering. It could make our fields green and soft instead of hard and sharp and black. Our children could play outside without fearing the Smoke or the illness it carried. The world could be as it was in the oldest Memories.
Oren stopped fiddling with the Star and held it up proudly. His eyes were full of questions.
Before our beloved King Champion could finish his thought, he was a pile of smoking ash, crowned with the softly glowing Star. The smell of burnt flesh hung in the cavern. A scroll ticked to the ground and rolled to a stop at my foot. The haze of disbelief was hard to wade through, but I finally looked down.
I knew what it was before I even opened it. The Notes and Histories of the Star, taken from the Library of Torches, copied by my own hand. They explained, in detail, how to use the Star to defeat the Dark Lord and save the world. I had given it to our beloved King Champion the day the expedition started.
My wax seal was left disappointingly unbroken.
The heavy, silent awe in the Cavern of Wonderment morphed into a baffled confusion of feelings. Someone sniffed.
Kososs, the King Champion’s no-nonsense Counselor of War, straightened his back and shook his head out of bewilderment. He took a deep breath before he spoke. “Well… shit.”