“I’ll be needing that cup, though… just to save face,” said Snarky.
Yaway reached into his satchel and removed it, turning it over in his hand. “I’ve only just gotten it, I don’t even know how it works.”
“It’s powers depend on what you put in it. If you dip it into this stream and take a sip, you might come up with a limerick or a decent riddle or maybe a clever insult, depending on your inclinations. But its true power lies in its ability to cause the user to produce great master works of oral artistry. Downing a glass of fine wine from it will likely result in you giving a speech that could make someone fall in love with even a monster like myself, or result in a work of epic verse that is retold for generations, or even lead peaceful people to war.”
Yaway took this in and nodded. “What are you intentions, then?”
“I am a troll. I measure myself based on what I can amass. Not only is my mind filled, but my dwelling is lined from floor to ceiling with riches that would be the envy of even the mightiest kingdom. Besides, there ought to be some sort of toll for using my bridge… I just like to challenge people to tests of knowledge because it seems sporting.”
He looked back at his companions, who nodded, and handed the cup to the troll. “I don’t know who needs it less, you or me.”
The troll pocketed it without so much as a glance. “Thank you.”
The cup would not last long in the hands of the troll, as was its ultimate fate, for long ago a god had declared upon making it that it would never remain long in the hands of the same owner. Not long after Yaway, Josh and Kyron crossed the bridge, an army passing by glimpsed and killed Snarky.
The cup was taken from his possession and passed into the hands of the army’s general. That night, he drank from it and led his army into battle against a longtime foe. The words of his speech were so imprinted on the minds of his army that when he fell in battle and all had clearly been lost, every man under his command fought to the bitter end with every last ounce of strength they had.
The army decimated, the cup passed into the hands of the leader of the neighboring nation, which drank from it and roused his people into believing him to be a god-king. Statues were built in his honor and he was worshipped for centuries after his passing at a ripe old age, though the cup remained in his possession for that one night. A blind slave picked up the cup while cleaning the dining hall, and after downing the last remnants of royal wine still in it, he went on compose epic poems that were retold for thousands of years.
And in this fashion, the cup brought varying degrees of success and ruin to those who possessed it.
The three travelers were finally home after their eventful trip back. Kyron went about brewing ambrosia again, and this time it was Josh who made the blood sacrifice. Josh was restless and asked the sheep if she trusted him, and the sheep nodded. He threw her into the crackling hearth, and the sheep burned quickly. Out of the fire stepped a woman of immense beauty.
“After all these years, I never dreamed I would find you again,” said Josh.
“I had given up, Josh,” she said.
“I couldn’t forget you if I wanted to, Sofia.”