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The clouds carresed the blue sky above the barren lands.
A single tree, engulfed in dirt and dead braches stood like a lone warrior amidst the brown hills. No bird flew or sang and no beast left it's print there.
Only the wind disturbed the silence, blowing through the braches, making them shift relentless.
No matter where he looked, the young man cloaked in black could not see anything beside brown hills and endless sky. He sat down and seemed to meditate because he stood motionless for a long time.
The clouds crowded above him and the sky darkened as if the night approached.
The first drop of water hit the earth and was quickly absorbed. The earth was thirsty and craved the water. Another drop followed the first, dying the same way. Soon the sky loosed it's barrels and the storm howled with fury and rage.
The young man remained where he stood, moving no muscle, getting soaked.
The lands were satiated with water long before the storm ended. A last lighting crossed the sky. A last thunder made himself heard in the immensity of the land.
Then silence broke free once more and the young man rose to his feet searching the sky with curious and craving eyes. There was no evil in his looks then, only loneliness and grief. He had once been a handsome man, but worries and death had aged him before his time.
He closed his eyes and made a bow to the tree. Then he spoke in a low, modulated voice:
“I had crossed great seas and lands to come to you, Ancient One. The Crimson Lady told me much about you and told me to come here. You are the only one who can aid me. I am in desperate need of you guidance.”
It was silence at first, like the entire land had been suprised by the sudden demand of the young man. No wind was blowing now and yet the old, rotten braches of the ancient tree rustled.
“What is your name, mortal?” a deep, old voice sounded in the silence. It was almost like the earth itself had spoke. No other voice could be so full of wisdom and power and no other voice could make the young man shudder so.
“I am called Seth”, the young man said. “I am a scholar of dark arts.”
The tree rustled once more but no voice came again.
Instead, the tree trunk opened.
The young man made a few steps forward and saw inside a small, green light shining in the darkness.
He reached his hand and grabed the light in his fist. Opening his palm he saw a small emerald flickering through it's many mirrors.
Walking with his fist open he emerged in the dark, lighting his way with the emerald.
He climbed down two pair of stairs until he found himself in front of a large, wooden door with many golden runes engraved on it's surface.
He tried reading them but the task soon proved immposible. They were as ancient as the tree, as old as the sky, as unknown as life. Written in the language of the earth, no mortal human could read the runes.
He rose his right arm and the emerald glowed strangely. Then, he touched the door with the stone and the door opened. The young man stepped into a cristal chamber where thousand of stones glimmered in the dark. There were rubied, emeralds and opals but by far the most amazing stone was a black diamond that flowed in midair in the middle of the chamber.
No light came upon it and yet an eerie glow came from it. It was like an endless pool of darkness in which, if you had dived, you would forever had been lost.
The young man however, did not step further, for he sensed a power far greater than his own that did not allow anyone in this sacred room.
He waited for what seemed an eternity and yet only a few moments had passed since he entered the chamber, before the same ancient, earthly voice spoke again.
“You are brave, mortal one, to step into the very core of the earth. You are small and meaningless and yet you cme alone in the very center of the Ancient's den. Are you not afraid? Do you not feel any power that could kill you in an instant?”
“O, Ancient One”, the young man replied, “I am but dust in the face of your great power. And I cannot say I feel no fear, for only a fool would do so. I am no fool but a scholar. And for the guidance I seek I would go to the Devil himself if he would rove he had the strength to help me.”
“But the Devil's power pales in front of your mightiness”, he continued. “Please, Ancient One. Give me the strength I seek.”
The diamond seemed to glow even harder at that moment. And then the voice spoke again.
“If you wish my guidance you need know it dows not come for free.”
“Ask me anything, Ancient One. I shall gladly pay the price if I will aquire what I want.”
“The price I speak of is high and many that had come here, just like you, refused to pay it in the end. If you truly want strength, you will have to pay with your very soul.”
The last words were no longer muttered, but shook the entire chamber with their strength.
The young man took a step backward as their meaning slowly sank into his mind.
“My soul...” he whispered.
“That is the only price I require” said the voice again.
A small shadow clouded the young man's forehead for a few moments. Then it passed, losing itself in the labirinth of his thoughts.
“I accept!” he said, his voice a little steadier than before. “I accept the bargain. For the thing I need I shall gladly sell my soul.”
Silence followed his words and then, with a loud bang, the black diamond shattered in a thousand pieces. The scholar's eyes were blinded by the light and he felt as though a cold, evil hand was piercing his heart, imprinting it with a seal that no spell could break.
And then oblivion came, cloaking him in eternal darkness.
Far from the barren lands where a lone tree stood like a warrior from ancient times, in a country with few but brave men, was born a young scholar.
He was named Seth and his entire life he spent looking for strength to protect his people.
He was granted that power. But he paid with his soul.
By the end of his life he had become a cruel tiran, hated by many. But he was the only one that had seeked, found and used the power.
He died on the battlefield, earning for his country the freedom he seeked for himself.
When he died it is said that an earthly voice, both wise and old, spoke in an ancient, unknown language the words which took his soul and sent it to the core of the earth, shifting it into a beautiful, dark, black diamond.
Diamond Bar, California
Goffstown, New Hampshire
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