Atop a lonely hill in a faraway land sits a shrine. Inside, the last remaining Lifegem rests on its pedestal, radiating its light and power to bring beauty to the land.

Kneeling in homage, a figure clad in scintillating armor draws sustenance from the gem. His purpose: to protect the Lifegem from any and all dangers.

The Knight's sword stands ready to defend against physical foes. His arsenal of charms and wards are more than a match for the supernatural ones. He keeps vigil carefully, for his life depends upon the gem's safety.


Unbeknownst to its guardian, the heart of the Lifegem is flawed. A small crack quietly widens itself, consuming bits of the gem in the process. Growing like a cancer, it causes the light to falter, and only then does the Knight notice that something has gone wrong. In a panic, he races to find the demonic intruder, but hears only echoes of his own gasps, and sees nothing but his wavering shadow. He peers at last into the gem, and is paralyzed with anguish at what he sees: the entire gem crumbling to dust, from the inside out.

The Knight lays aside his weapons and unguents; they are useless now. In despair, he pricks his finger to draw blood, and begins his last poem.

- Joe Levy 9/95

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