Wadjet's mind always wanders when he digs. Did the Before Ones know they where going to die? Why did they do it? Angry Atum burned in the sky, his baleful light pulling the sweat to Wadjets' brow. "I would cut your eye for relief from this heat" he pledged to the burning sphere. The God continued to stare. Mopping his brow, Wadjet drove his spade down in the earth. "More treasures wait."

They must have known. They buried all these gifts for their children.

Since the Time of Fire, men lived in the scraps of the ancients. For generations, the men of Wadjet's family dug in the earth for the hidden gifts placed there. Wadjet would fill his dirty cart and push it faithfully to the sprawling city for the bazaar, just as he did a thousand times before. When he dug, he found many strange things.

Poisonwood, in strange and alien shapes and colors, hid deep in the earth. It burned with acrid smoke and was good for little but decoration. Sometimes little idols made of it would appear under his spade. Wadjet sold these to the dirty children of the city. Devilskin also lay buried in masses, wrapping the treasures of the dead. He knew black and green and white as the color of discovery. Water rock, as clear as the sky and as sharp as a knife, was a constant hazard. He gave up on selling it after so many cuts on his raw fingers. Metal had always brought the highest prices. The secrets of working with it some how survived the Time of Flames. What drove Wadjet to dig was the most precious of all: rainbow leaves. They held images from before the Fall in colors that no one has been able to recreate. Forbidden and exotic, they where what Wadjet craved most.

Wadjet started digging here with his father. He collected the fragile leaves while listening to stories as they worked. Youngest of his fathers many children, he was the only one who listened to the wasted old man. He told fables of the Lost, tales of the ancients roads paved with golden metal, of soaring in the sky like birds. Late at night when they rolled the old cart back from the bazaar, Wadjet watched as his father puzzled over his leaves. No one could unlock the secret language of the ancients. Old Horus slaved over his precious book until he died from the Black Demon in his bones. If only he could figure out what the ancients had wanted to tell them, they could live like the gods of old. "The sons of Atum live like dogs because of them!" he would curse. "Why?" was all the old man wanted to know. "Why try to kill your God?"

The old prophets in the city told tales of the Fall to Wadjet when he was a young man full of dangerous questions. They warned him against his father's quest. The Before Ones called down the wrath of the burning eye of Atum with their hubris. The secrets they buried could anger him again. Man should never try to live as a God.

According to the half remembered myths, Men split Atum in two with their powerful magic. Their words and works connected all the places of the World. They dared to try to replace God. Atum sent his children to touch the world, and the stars came down from heaven. Waves of flame ate the works of the Before Ones. Only the roots of the world lived. The old places are still cursed.

Evil spirits live in those places. Even the ancient gifts from the Starpits kill. Black Demons would eat you from inside for years until you died. Sometimes, when fools wondered too long in the dead lands, the spirits would try to possess them, to take a new body. Their skin would blister, eyes would bleed, all their hair would come out. The spirit would destroy them for coming to its home. The temptation to visit the Before Ones passed into memory for Wadjet. He found a new obsession.

Finally, the pit was deep enough for some shade. Tossing his spade in disgust at the poor haul, Wadjet slumped in exhaustion. Kicking his dirty feet in the cool earth, he felt a familiar texture. Moving to hands and knees, he scooped the dirt with his hands.

Black Devilskin. A good omen, thought Wadjet.

Pulling up the skin proved difficult. A few deft moves with the spade freed it from the dirt. With practiced skill, Wadjet split the skin. Looking inside, his heart caught in his throat. It was perfect.

Trapped in clear devilskin, she looked up at him. Smooth pale skin, unmarked by the sun or scar. Her hair hung free and clear around her face. Her inviting eyes stared up at Wadjet. Falling back on his haunches, he studied every inch of the unholy icon. It was trapped in the devilskin, sealed and unscarred by untold years in the dirt. She had waited for him since the Fall. His breath grew shallow. Excitement prickled the small hairs on his neck.

Wreathed in writing no one understands, her face is dominated by her toothy smile. So many teeth showing, it almost seems a threat, a baring of gums in aggression. They are so clean, all lined up and shining.

She holds red poisonwood stick with a set of hairy growths. They are covered explicitly in white paste. Poised to go in her mouth. Entry and consumption. A shiver shakes down Wadjet's spine.

Quickly looking around, Wadjet takes his father's book from the hiding place on his rickshaw. These images of the lost would fetch a high price, but Wadjet will never sell. The exotic gifts of the past where his lone conform in the cold night.

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