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Aug 01 2008 -
The Almost Forgotten Past of Snakes
t was already late when Odemara Taleris locked her jewellery shop and headed home quickly. A soon-to-be married couple wanted their wedding rings to be decorated with a gem but unfortunately it took them nearly two hours to agree on a jewel. Her children Zoran and Zarah had just returned from a weekend with their grandparents in Port Hope and she knew that they were already waiting for her. They were always looking forward to her bedtime stories and she did not want to miss this time with her children.

When Odemara entered Zarah's room her little ones were already dressed for bed. "Mummy! Pleeease, you have to tell us the story of the snakes!" shouted Zoran while Zarah was clapping enthusiastically. Odemara was a little bit surprised: "Snakes? A story about snakes?" "Yeah, we overheard two adventurers in Port Hope and guess what they were talking about... Snakes! Did you know that you can't loot a snake? Is it true, is it true? You can't open a snake? They don't have any loot?" Zoran was really excited. His mother smiled and sat down on the edge of the bed. "Well, it seems these adventurers did not know much about snakes so let me tell you the true story." Zoran and Zarah settled comfortably on the bed.

"Once upon a time snakes could be looted just like all the other creatures you know and it was indeed worthwhile to risk getting poisoned. Snakes are fond of shiny, glimmering and sparkling things so you can imagine that they devoured all gemstones and jewels they could find. However, hard times laid before them. Stories about the untold treasures that snakes carry with them spread like wildfire and soon Zathroth the Destroyer started to take an interest in them. He considered the poor snakes easy prey and a source of great wealth that his minions could use to equip themselves for battle. Zathroth told his evil hordes to hunt them down, take the loot and sell it off whenever they need some short-term money. The snakes could not defend themselves successfully, their poison was not strong enough to knock out a fierce orc. However, it did not take long until Fardos the Creator and Uman the Wise learned about Zathroth's new source of wealth and they came up with a clever idea on how to spoil his plans. With their mighty powers they sealed the snakes for all time so no one could ever open their bodies again to take the treasures inside. Though the snakes were now saved from getting hunted down for gems and jewels, they were panicked and filled with terror. Oh, how they feared Zathroth's whirlwind of fury!"

"So he is a very evul god? Is he, mummy?" little Zarah was frowning. "Oh yes, my dear, he is known for his outbursts of temper. Once, he had slain hundreds of his minions in his blind rage just because one of them did not bow low enough. And so it happened that the snakes scattered across the whole world of Tibia to hide from Zathroth’s anger. Some of them even left the land to seek refuge in the restless seas and a few adapted to living in the desert. Nevertheless, all of them still love their place of origin dearly, the swamps around Venore." Zoran could not believe it: "You mean… our Venore? Here is the cradle of snakes?" "Not only their cradle, dear, it is also their grave!" Odemara said with a meaningful look in his direction. "Every old snake, be it a cobra, a sea serpent or just an ordinary green snake, they all return to the place where their ancestors were born when death is close at hand. Then, they go into a deep trance and let themselves sink to the bottom of the swamp to rest beside them in eternal sleep. Today, most people think that snakes do not have any loot but now you know that this is not true."

Zarah had already fallen into a gentle slumber, snuggling up to her baby seal doll whereas Zoran’s eyes were still shining with interest: "But… what happens to all the gemstones and jewels they have swallowed during their lifetime?" "Well…," Odemara paused to think for a moment and then added with a twinkle in her eye: "A snake’s body rots away of course but gems do not. Rumour has it, that the swamps around Venore are full of valuables, treasures beyond your wildest dreams." She placed a soft goodnight kiss on Zoran’s forehead, who had listened to her open-mouthed. "G'night Mummy!" he yelled, wiped the kiss off and ran away to his room without the usual fuss. Odemara smiled.

Once in his room, Zoran closed the door and focused on his bedside drawer. His face was glowing with excitement when he approached it slowly, opened it and took out the big sparkling diamond he had found two days ago when he was digging holes with his shovel near the swamps. He looked at it in admiration, turned it over and over in his hands, looked at his old, dirty shovel leaning against the wall, looked back down at his diamond and started to chuckle to himself. He carefully hid it in the drawer again and went to bed. A few minutes later, he was already on his way to dreamland and saw himself sitting on a pile of jewels.

Good luck!
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