Northern Europe (what is now Basque Country)
2500 BC

Zathall was glad for the new blade in his hand. Stronger than stone, yet nearly weightless in comparison. And sharp. This blade could easily cut through skin and bone, and it would, once he found the wicked creature he hunted.

She was not of this world, he knew. Her unusual height, her pink hair, and those eyes—golden, demon eyes. No, she was not like his people or those they protected. When threatened, her fingers became long and sharp, seemingly made of the same matter as his new blade. So hard and sharp.

Zathall entered the portal, the doorway between this world and Nexum, the underworld. Inside, there was little but dirt, a few trees, abodes made of stone. He knew not, exactly, what an underworld was, but it seemed an otherworldly place. No sun, no moon, only light that seemed to come from nowhere in particular. He knew if he followed the path that had been drawn onto the cloth he carried in his robes, a magnificent palace would appear. Would that creature seek refuge there? Would she know she was being hunted, that he would not stop until she lay dead at his feet?

Zathall knew not why she was here, other than to kill those his people protected. And she had done that, not two nights past. Two men she had easily overpowered and clawed until they were but naught but blood and broken flesh. Now it was upon him to end her life, and so he would.

He followed the path further into the underworld and soon he saw the palace. His feet made no sound as he found the entrance. He had seen this palace before, yet no one came to greet him, or ask why he was there. The huge doors, made of similar matter as his blade, were closed, adding to his concern the palace might be home to none.

He searched the area along the palace walls, rounding the corner, his blade raised. She could lie in wait here and—

She sprang from the shadows, claws out, and swiped at his chest. He phase-shifted, becoming like the wind, and felt her claws pass through his body, touching naught. He returned to his solid form and swung, neatly lopping off her head. As her body fell, three stones, the color of a stormy sky at night, rolled from her robes to the ground beside her.

Zathall took one in his hand, feeling the deep warmth it held. Too warm to have taken heat from the creature’s body, he decided it was a source of warmth itself. He picked up the other two and put them in the pocket of his robes.

He hurried toward the portal, following the same path as when he’d entered. He left the portal and headed for his village. What would his people make of this treasure? His pace quickened, leaving the portal and turning toward home.