Zimiriad stood on the edge of the rickety wooden bridge that spanned the chasm. As he looked down into the blackness, wondering what was down there, he wondered a great many more things. Would the others discover it was missing? Would they then discover he was missing? Would they put the two together, and come after him?
Of course they would. All of them. But they would be too late.
Three kingdoms battling each other for years, trying to wrench from a fourth kingdom a weapon of great death. And here it was in Zimiriad’s hands.
He held the great gem up to the light of the sun, and the red beams that came forth from the dozens of facets shone all around him and down into the chasm – but even that light was swallowed by the depths. This gem was Zimiriad’s crowning achievement, the largest gem ever cut, and it was his gift for his king. Zimiriad had been made a noble for it, with land and herds and more. But he never cut another gem after this. He would not pass on his knowledge of how he had done it. He wanted it to be the only gem of its kind, for he knew the danger it posed. There could be no other, as long as he lived.
To his dismay, the the truth became known one day, how it killed and destroyed when put with water, and his king used it against the surrounding kingdoms to expand. The war for the Flamestone had claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.
“No more,” Zimiriad said, looking at the gem in his hands. “I wish I never found this cursed thing!”
He dropped it into the chasm, watched its red light disappear into darkness. He waited a moment, then looked around. No one was around. He had done it. There was nothing left to fight for anymore. They would kill him for it, yes, but it would be the last death of the war.
Zimiriad started to walk the bridge back home when the rumbling started. The bridge rattled, then wobbled. He saw the trees on the other side of the bridge begin to sway. The very ground itself was shaking.
He looked down and saw a great fire emerging from the depths of the chasm. Almost a mile away from him, he could already feel the flames burning his feet.
“What have I done?” was the last thing Zimiriad ever said.
(The word prompt today was “Only.”)