This one weird trick's enough to bring you wealth; But minds beyond the bounds of mortal ken Its weirdness calls — a scent as sweet to them As rotting flesh, to flies that plunder health. The bankers hate it — have done since the Change. When first they found this boundless well of gold, They funded firms, to pump all they could hold, And stained their souls forever with the Strange. The madness struck before they knew its name, And bathed the empires they'd built in blood. The outcasts, and the young, escaped the flood To face the horror that their kin became. The well is sealed, but nothing cleans the stain. Those souls will break, if it flows free again.
The Opal of the Hills is hard to find.
It’s rarely where its seekers daily pass
But wanders with the wind, on paths that wind
Through cliff and cave, among the trees and grass.
At dawn of day, they say, it may be found
Along the shoreline of the northern lake.
At noon, upon the peaks. At dusk, around
The cliffs that hold the caves where bats awake.
But often are the bat-cliffs bitter cold.
The peaks are steep; the lake-side damp and drear.
The seekers find that searching soon grows old,
Return, and say, “No-one could find it here.”
At this, the few who know the Opal found
Will smile still. They know it’s still around.
From under-fortress ancient And spawning pit yet young, From ship upon a sunken sea And hollow crypt, they come: The orc before a surface door, The elf of deep below, The thing erased from ancient lore Are all compelled to go. Through secret passage shallow Or smoky fissure deep, Dwarf-road long in ruins, Or calcite cave, they creep. An open cavern mile. A dome of cut black stone. A sea of blood-red tile. A ready, leaden throne.