A wooden chalice hung as a mantelpiece atop a throne room. In times of drought, the chalice poured everlasting water. In times of famine, it produced handfuls of grains. However, the great bounty that the chalice gave could only be matched by the sacrifice required. That is, human blood kept the wood from turning to stone. The thief, who found the goblet amidst ancient burial tombs, warned the King of its inscription: “Beware of those who give gifts freely”. The advice was duly noted and the kingdom continued its usual business until the Great War.
The Great War taxed the kingdom and its people to its outermost limits. The human toll on all sides amassed as food and water dwindled. Discontent filled the atmosphere as talks of revolution mixed with pangs of thirst and hunger. The king, now in dire straits, started to blood-let the population, feeding both the chalice and the citizens. At first, the water and food satiated the masses as a drug would before gripping its victim in withdrawal. Within a month, the pangs returned with twice the ferocity with a new compulsion for blood. The revolution would soon turned into bloodbath as the kingdom slowly fed itself to the vessel.
By the end of the king’s reign, the chalice had grown in size of a cauldron. Its top now sealed, the artifact appeared more like a cocoon, incubating some unspeakable malice within. The throne now its cradle, a new inscription appeared along its side: “Rejoice for those who take gifts freely”.