The Moo Moo Farm
By Chris Crow
Kalan slouched over histable, slowly creating his masterpiece with nothing more thanparchment, a feather, and a vial of black ink. His mentor, Rathma,stood nearby ready to answer any questions or offer any advice to hisstudent. Their pale skin and dark, dreary clothing told many storiesof who they were, even without ever speaking to them. TheNecromancers taught the way of The Balance, a belief that all thingsin existence must stay at an equality. Life and death, good and evil,peace and war must all influence equivalently for harmony to beachieved. Kalan and Rathma worked together with the Great Dragon,Trag'Oul, to begin compelling others in the world to join theircause, and to fight for the Balance. But today, something else was onKalan's mind.
"Rathma, may I have amoment?"
"There has beensomething tearing at my attention lately. Was I the only one leftwith my powers?" Rathma's answer was given away from hissilence, but Kalan waited for a response.
"No, Kalan. You werenot. There is. . . another." Rathma's usually neutral expressionand demeanor suddenly shifted, if ever so subtly. To Kalan, the shiftwas so obvious that Rathma might as well have been yelling it.Whatever it was, Rathma did not feel comfortable speaking about it.
"Another? Why hasn'tTrag told -" Rathma cut off Kalan mid sentence.
"This was not at thewill of the Great Dragon."
"Trag'Oul had nothingto do with it? Then who?" Kalan was growing incredibly anxious.Perhaps all that he had thought to be true was in fact, not. Rathmaonce again hesitated before speaking.
"It was by the will ofyour brother, Uldyssian ul-Diomed." Kalan did not know what tothink.
"Uldyssian? But howcan that possibly - " Rathma cut Kalan off once more.
"I do not know, Kalan.I do not know. Just before his great sacrifice, he had empowered thenephalem spark inside another, as if knowing what would happen. Hegave the spark the ability to burn through all eternity, even if thedormant power was outstandingly small. Not even the combined might ofthe High Heavens and the Burning Hells could extinguish the flame. Ihave been pondering the reasoning since it happened. I fear I willnever know, but my guess is that it was done to give the person theadvantage over any mortal threat. To keep them safe for the durationof their life." A silence overtook them as Kalan deciphered whatRathma had just told him.
"Who is the other?"Kalan asked, his voice shaking. He was terrified of what the answermight be.
"I think you knowalready, Kalan. It is the girl that you call Serenthia."
Seram was a small and humble village.It always had been and, according to the inhabitants, probably alwayswould be. The last truly extraordinary event that happened was theplague that decimated the town, not to mention much more, but eventhat was ancient history. Although Cyrus Adler owned most of thefarmland around Seram, and his family had done so since anyone canrecall, he was just as reserved as the rest of the townsfolk. He wasin his later years with a thin white beard. He wore just about thesame thing every day; a straw hat, leather shoes, and a white silkshirt under overalls. Along with his farm, his name has been in thefamily for as long as history was recorded. He had always taken thename for granted. Sure, he had heard the stories of the kind,tactful, and loving man that his ancestor had been and how hetragically died during the plague, but the stories had lost so muchmeaning over the generations. Besides, he had much more importantthings to worry about.
Every year a caravan from Kejistan'scapital, Kurast, passed through Seram on its way to Caldeum wheremerchants from all over Kejistan gathered to trade and showcase theirgoods. While Kurast may have been the capital, it was only so becauseof the title. Caldeum rivaled Kurast in size, but the trade that tookplace inside Caldeum's gates was the stuff of legend. Blacksmithingin particular had surged in recent history, but especially insouthern Kejistan, as magic was frowned upon and used by few. Rumorhad it that groups of men were periodically venturing out in searchof the burial site of Bartuc, The Warlord of Blood. Some werebandits, looking to thieve from the legendary grave, and some werecorrupt and rogue mages looking to resurrect the infernal tyrant.Rightly or wrongly, the leaders of both Kurast and Caldeum fearedthat because of their cities' stature, power, and locations, theymight be targeted by any demonic armies led by Bartuc, should hereturn, trying to replicate the ancient battle of Viz-jun. Because ofthat, much resource had been poured into keeping the recentlyinflated armies of guards and Viz-jaq'taar, a special force of highlytrained mage slayers, well armed. But Seram had very little need foranything of the sort. A small amount of trading was done, but most ofthe village's profits came from feeding the caravan at the rest stopas well as expunging any sexual tension that had arisen thus far ontheir journey. Since nothing much else happens around Seram, nearlythe entire year is spent preparing for the event. The caravan wasexpected in a week and this year was meant to be no different thanthe others.
"HEAD ON IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN BOYSAND GIIIIIRRRRRRRRRRRRLLLLLLSSSSS!" called Cyrus from thestables. His farming experience was so acute that he needed only hisvoice to herd his livestock. A cow named Bossy lead the herd of a fewdozen into the stables. Bossy was the only cow left from Cyrus'soriginal herd, before he needed to slaughter some of them each year.She was slightly larger than the rest of the herd due to her extrayears, but could be recognized by the golden cowbell adorning herneck.
"Good girl. Yup go on in. C'monnow," Cryrus said to each cow as he slapped each of their rumpson the way in. "Now you all get plenty of rest." A tearfound its way out of his eye as he observed the cows while walkingthrough the stable to the front doors. Cyrus never was particularlyinterested in marrying and otherwise had no family in Kejistan, buthe was not a lonely man. He got along fine with just his cows. Hetreated them well and was not happy with the fact that he was forcedto kill some of his herd each year, but it was what had to be done tokeep not only himself alive, but the rest of Seram as well and heknew that. With a deep sigh he let the thought of the inevitableslaughter be replaced with exciting thoughts about new tools, a fewnew books, and exotic spices he could buy from the earnings he wouldgain soon. He was so caught up with next week that he neglected tolock the front stable doors as he walked out.
Before long, the curiosity of the cowsled them to graze just outside the stable, in a new and deliciouspart of the farm that they had never seen. By this time it was darkand Cyrus was asleep. The cows began to roam about and before longthey found themselves a mile away from their stable at Seram'sgraveyard which laid right between Cyrus's farm and the village. Theyfound the well fertilized grass there to be much better than thegrass where they grazed and even better than the occasional batch ofspoiled vegetables that Cyrus gives them. One grave had particularlythick, bright green grass that seemed to glow even in the dark.Adornments of lilies, lilacs and tulips seemed to grow naturallyaround it. The cows were immediately drawn to the feast. Pushing andshoving to get a taste of the delicacy, they quickly grazed the sitedry. To their surprise, or what would have been their surprise ifthey were stupid bovine, the grass and flowers continually grew back.The black marble gravestone labeling the site was in remarkableshape. Though it was old enough to be considered an artifact, itsbrilliantly cut edges were not worn, there was not a single scratch,chip, or mark, and all of the etchings were still legible. It read,"Serenthia ul-Arred. Born 1288. Died 1351." Consideringthat the current calender held the year at 1009, the stone had tohave been thousands of years old. The cows had all had their fill ofthe seemingly enchanted grass when a growl arose behind them.
They turned to face a small pack ofwolves, baring their teeth and drooling at the sight of theirsurefire meal. As they encroached the herd, Bossy turned and began torun to the only place that she could call home and the rest of theherd followed. They ran remarkably fast for creatures that normallyled a sedentary life, giving the wolves a real chase. While able tokeep up, the wolves never got a chance to pounce on any laggingcattle as there were not any. Not even an opportunity to harass anycows on the outside of the herd arose. The wolves began to fallbehind the herd, but their confidence was boosted when they saw theirpray foolishly file into a stable. The wolves followed right behind,amazed that their food had cornered itself. Ready to finally reap therewards of their harder-than-expected meal, they began to move inuntil the entire herd was huddled in the back of the stable. Knowingthat the cattle were far too timid to fight back, the wolves leapt infor the attack.
Cyrus jumped awake to a terrible,gut-wrenching scream coming from the stables. Horrified thatsomething had happened to his livestock, he ran out to the stables inhis pajamas with a pitchfork in hand and threw open the ajar door. Hefroze in shock. Blood was splattered everywhere. Entrails and bonesof unknown origin littered the floor. Taking a few slow stepsforward, something fell onto his shoulder. Pulling it off, the objectwas a piece of intestine, still warm with life. Looking up, he sawthe owner of the falling flesh; another destroyed corpse sticking tothe ceiling. Speechless, he looked at his cattle who went about theirbusiness as if there was no disturbance. Dazed and confused, allCyrus could think of doing was to take a headcount, making sure thatthe gore that coated his stable did not belong to one of his cows. Tohis surprise and relief, every cow was accounted for. Still stunned,he could not find his reason, not to mention that he was tired and itwas late. He decided that whatever happened, he would deal with it inthe morning. He slowly walked out, turning back just before he got tothe door. Shaking his head, he exited and locked the front stableentry. "What in the Hells..." he muttered to himself as hemade his way back to his home.
Captain Hammel Ridley led the tradecaravan from Kurast. He was an ex-militia man who left combat afterlearning that fortunes could be made and lost when dealing in thetrade economy, but not before gaining strength, skill and prestige aspart of Kurast's defenses. He was a handsome but pompous man. Thickblack hair grew upon his head and elegantly flowed into an equallyhardy beard that lay trim on his broad and strong chin. Gerard, thenavigator of the caravan, sat with Captain Ridley in his cabin as acompanion, accomplice, and friend. He was an average man, in looks,lifestyle, and strength. He had suspected that part of the reasonthat Captain Ridley had befriended him was to have someone to comparehimself to, but even if that was the case, Gerard would not have paidmuch mind. He was a lighthearted man with a fantastic sense of humor."Are we nearly there, Gerard? My stomach shrinks while my loinsswell. I need a harlot in one hand and a haunch in my other."
"Ha! Indeed Hammel!Fear not we shall arrive very soon." Gerard looked up at thestars in the night sky. "I gauge that we will be there midmorning tomorrow."
"Fine work, friend,but not soon enough I fear." Gerard's anxiousness should not bemistaken though. With a clear head and full stomach, Gerard loathedSeram. He had no respect for any civilization, however small, thatmade nearly no progress in thousands of years. He saw no honor inhumility and believed that all things should be worked to greatnessno matter the cost. Nevertheless, he faked his love for the villagewhile he was there, if for no other reason than to get a woman in hisarms more quickly.
The caravan from Kurast wasset to arrive later that day and Cyrus would head to town to get anestimate of the cows needed to feed the travelers. Saddened by thesoon-to-be loss of some of his friends, he tried to go about hisbusiness as usual. He headed to the stables first thing in themorning with his equipment; a shovel, a bucket, and heavy galoshes.He figured that he would clean up the mess made the night beforealong with the cow manure that he would normally be picking up. Itwas a dirty job, but he had gotten used to it long ago. Humming oneof his favorite tunes, he made his rounds through the main room andthrough some of the pens scooping up the waste and guts that was theresult of whatever happened last night. Just as he thought that hisday could not get any more unusual than it already was, when hestepped into Bossy's pen, he did not find a pile of dung, but rathera nugget of solid gold. "Holy Heavens. . ." Cyrus's lipstrembled with disbelief. Surely this could not have come from wherehe thought it did. He dropped his current task and immediately setout to his home to verify what he had just found. Rushing up the dirtpath, he quickly stopped at his tool shed and grabbed a small hammer.Haste was at no loss as he entered his house and dropped the chunk ofgold onto the first solid surface he could find, which just sohappened to be his desk. Trembling with the hammer over his head,prepared for a swing, his mind raced with what opportunities he wouldhave if the stone was real, and what disappointment he would feel ifit shattered. Taking a deep breath and praying that fate had finallysmiled on him after all of his years, he closed his eyes and strucktrue. Peeking through his eyelashes, he found the rock to be fullyintact. Tears of joy filled his eyes as he danced around his home,but his excitement was brief as it was interrupted by the sound oftrumpets coming from Seram. They meant two things for Cryus: that thecaravan had arrived and that the slaughtering process of his cows hadbegun. Not even riches could overcome the anguish that filled hisheart. He shoved the gold into his pocket and began to walk to town.
"Greetings my fineSeram! Many thanks for having us yet again in your fine town!"Captain Ridley was leaning out of his wagon greeting the townsfolkhuddled around the caravan as it pulled in. "What a dreadfulplace, eh Gerard? Hasn't changed a bit since the last time we werehere, nor the time before that." With every praising remark hemade to the townsfolk, an equally damning one was made to his friend."Bring me your finest wenches and your thickest grog!" saidCaptain Ridley to the crowd. "Last year the best they they couldmuster were hags and piss in a cup," he said back to Gerard. Thecaravan parked in a half circle formation in the center of town,giving the prime shape for trading to occur. Hopping out of hiscompartment, Captain Ridley was greeted by the men, women, andchildren of Seram by handshakes, cheers, and kisses. Putting on hisfake smile for political reasons, he was secretly disgusted everytime his hands or lips met with anyone else from Seram. He stayednearby as various merchants, apprentices and guards began to unloadand set up the caravan for business, but could not bother withhelping with the task as he thought it to be below him. A few wagonscarried fine material such as art, clothing and decor, but themajority of them only carried items crafted by a hammer and anvil.Weapon and armor racks were the true valor of the caravan. There wasthe occasional collector or hopeful fighter in Seram that purchased asmall weapon or piece of armor, but most of the people bought thingsfrom the other wagons, if they bought anything at all. This did nothelp Captain Ridley's view of the town, for a well-armed peasant isat least well-armed. "Look at them buying frilly dresses andromance novels, Gerard. Despicable. What if the armies of Kurastdecided to invade one day? Seram would fall at just the pitter patterof horses."
"Aye, Hammel. Theywould indeed. Perhaps next year we should ride in the caravan forthat purpose."
"Hah! Not a terribleidea, old friend." Captain Ridley was very much amused at theidea of conquering the town, even if it was only a joke. "I growsick of smelling the filth in Seram, Gerard. Not even a slab of meat,by means of woman or animal, could convince me to stay here a minutelonger. I'll be in my cabin if you need me."
"Aye," Gerardreplied understandingly.
"Tyrael, you've been quietlately. Even for an angel."
"YES, JERED CAIN. YOU ARE VERYPERCEPTIVE. I HAVE BEEN FEELING A STRANGE PRESENSE RECENTLY."Tyrael, the Archangel of Justice, had been marching directly alongside the Horadrim for the last few days. A rare occasion, but briefconsidering the expansive task at hand. Usually Tyrael watched themen from the High Heavens, but a familiar and unsettling auraenshrouded the area that the men had most recently journeyed to.Tyrael wanted to personally make sure that the mages that embarked onperhaps the most important quest since the dawn of time did not fail,so he, for the time being, carried on with the men as theirprotection.
"Perhaps this means that we aregetting very close to Mephisto,” hopefully answered Jered. He was amember of the Horadrim, an order or mages created by Tyrael to huntdown and contain the three Prime Evils that had been corruptingSanctuary. They had been trekking the vast deserts of Aranoch forfive years searching for what they suspected to be the Prime Evil,Mephisto, known to some as the Lord of Hatred. While the band of menwere some of the most patient in the world, even they began to growweary of the hunt. Tyrael did not want to lower the mens' morale anymore than it had fallen.
"YES. PERHAPS. . ." Althoughhe gave credence to Jered Cain's proposal, Tyrael knew that it wasnot Mephisto, nor any force of Hell, that gave him the unmistakablesensation. It had been thousands of years since he last felt it, butto an agent of the High Heavens, that was less than the blink of aneye. If fear was possible for an archangel, Tyrael would have feltit. The Edyrem had returned.
Cryus approached thecaravan. It did not seem to be as large as it had been in the lastfew years. He was relieved, if only slightly, at the idea thatperhaps no more than half a dozen cows needed to be slaughtered toquench the hunger of the travelers. He had never been to involvedwith the trading, only obtaining a few petty items each year, butamid his small optimism, he entertained the idea of getting some muchmore elaborate gifts for himself this time with his newly foundpersonal fortune. He looked past the armor and weaponry to a wagonwith beautiful pottery and sculptures inside. Right next to it wassomeone selling fine rugs that could only have come from the desertsof Aranoch. He sensitively brought the gold out from his pocket andeyed it. He had always wanted some fancy adornments for his home.
"There could bemore where this came from. This could only the beginning.But do I really need these items? What if this is the onlychance I get to help Seram? I could never live with myself if I usedthe gold to buy lavish items instead of helping others. But what ifthere is more? I could never live with myself if I passed up thesebeautiful artworks." Cyruswas arguing with himself in his mind, perhaps under the spell of themasterwork in front of him, about how to use the gold. "No,no. I mustn’t. I can check the stables again later. If there ismore gold, I can use that to buy some things for myself."Reaching a conclusion, he put the gold back in his pocket. Just atthat moment, General Ridley glanced out of his cabin window. Heimmediately threw open the door and angrily approached Cyrus.
"Youthere! Farmer! Hold your position!" Cyrus was not sure that hewas the one that the armored gentleman approaching chest-first wascoming towards. "Give back the gold now, farmer, and all will beforgotten." Captain Ridley had an extremely stern tone. Therewas no mistaking the situation now.
"Gold?Oh, there seems to be a bit of a misunderst -" Cyrus tried toexplain, but Captain Ridley did not have time for that.
"Athief and a liar! Inmy parts, old man, one could be sent to the gallows for such anabominable combination. It is impossible that such a petty farmercould own such an item. It was obviously stolen from one of thesewagons. Now, give it here. Do not test my patience any longer."His tone confirmed his threat, but Cyrus lived in a small town, wherereason was a viable option. Foolishly of him, he tried one last timeat explaining his circumstance.
"Really,I'm not sure you understand, but -" Captain Ridley grabbed forCyrus's pockets.
"Iwill have nothing of it! You willreturn the gold, whether it is by your will or not!" Partiallyout of reflex, and partially out of frustration, Cyrus pushed CaptainRidley away and punched him square in the jaw. By now, the attentionof the traders and the people of Seram was on the argument betweenCyrus and Captain Ridley. With his short temper pushed, his revulsionof Seram at its max, and his reputation on the line, Captain Ridleywas about the make a mistake.
"Enoughof this you filthy peasant. I will show you what men like me do tomen like you in the civilized world." Captain Ridley drew hissword. Before Cyrus could react, Captain Ridley's sword was soakedwith blood. Cyrus's screams could be heard for miles. Captain Ridleyhad one last parting sentence for Cyrus, who was now writhing on theground clenching the wound on his chest, which he said over thenearly deafening cries of the farmer.
"Iam a better man than you in every way. Therefore, I shall grant you aswift death." The screaming had stopped. Cyrus's head was nowdetached from his body. A terrifying silence overtook the entirecrowd, tradesmen and not alike.
"Letthis be a lesson to the rest of you. Attempt to steal from thiscaravan, and you shall suffer a similar fate as this miserable soul."Just then, a strange sound came from south of the town. "What'sthis now?" said Captain Ridley, conceited from his show ofpower. He peered into the distance. "A stampede of cattle?Guards, be alert. We don't want these things hitting our wagons."Not terribly worried about simple cows, he failed to notice that theywere approaching Seram at speeds far greater than normal, and thatthey were doing it while standing upright. Cryus's cows had heardtheir master's dying screams from Seram and their Nephalem powersflared up inside them as their rage swelled. Cyrus had always beenkind to them. He fed them, cleaned them and picked up after them.They loved Cyrus as much as a cow possibly could and payment was duefor his death. Screams erupted throughout Seram as the cows drewcloser and people noticed the true abominations that were headingtheir way. The traders tried in vain to quickly board up their wagonsand the townsfolk began to flee to their homes or any other structurethat they could make it to. Captain Ridley's attention had finallybeen caught. "A worthy foe at last! Guards, be prepared toengage." The guards and Captain Ridley formed a small line nearthe caravan, ready for the encounter. Holding steady, Captain Ridleyand the others assumed that the cows would immediately be drawn tothem, and which point they would attack. But instead, they went forthe caravan. The cattle rammed the wagons with such force that theywere launched into the air, spilling their contents. Houses andbodies that made contact with the ballistic wagons were destroyed.The formation of guards was shattered. Humbled by the force of theirfoe, they knew not what to do but run, even Captain Ridley. "Fallback you fools! Fall back or die!" Captain Ridley shouted at thetop of his lungs. The cattle had turned their attention to the restof the town. Though they could see their master's blood stained onthe sword of the armored man, their simple nature was forced togeneralize the blame over all things with a human form. People wereeasily run down by the cattle and impaled by the horns that someadorned. The wood and brick structures that withstood the gnawing oftime for years suddenly seemed frail compared to the might of theNephalem cows. They tore open structures and murdered anyone coweringinside as if children playing with bugs under rocks. With ease, thecows annihilated Seram and its inhabitants. Captain Ridley hadmanaged to hide under the wreckage of one of the wagons. The towngrew suddenly silent. The howl of agonizing death had ceased. Onlythe soft hum of fire was heard. Captain Ridley thought that perhapshe was safe. Letting out a sigh of relief, the wagon sheltering himwas suddenly lifted. Three cows stood in front of him with the wagonover their heads. They tossed it aside with little effort. He darednot take his eyes off of them, but he could see that he was in thecenter of a circle of cattle, their dreadful gaze all fixated on him.A cowbell rang from behind him as a large figure blocked out the sunfrom Captain Ridley, and he scampered around to face what was surelyhis doom. Bossy stood over Captain Ridley wielding a massive war axedesigned for only the most brutish of warriors. He trembled as hespoke. The sheer strength and omnipotence that emanated from thecreature even brought the mighty and grandiose Captain Hammel Ridleyto his knees. "Wha... what areyou?" Bossy lifted her axe, ready to punish the man directlyresponsible for her master's death. She answered with an eloquent,yet passionately malicious statement.
"Moo."Bossy then landed the lethal, but awkward blow to the midsection ofCaptain Ridley. Whether done on purpose, or as a result being swungby a cow, the axe cut through Captain Ridley's torso in a way thatwould ensure a slow and painful death. Learning from thedemonstration, the other cows picked up their own weapons and theywent off to graze somewhere in the fields. The echos of CaptainRidley's shrieks of pain continuously provided the sweet melody tothe cows' orchestra of vengeance.
After days of considering everypotential outcome of the current situation, Tyrael knew what neededto be done. The new uprising of the Edyrem needed to be stopped, andit needed to be done by himself and himself alone. Man could not betrusted with the task, nor could Hell, but those were not among theconcerns of the archangel. If the High Heavens somehow found outabout the Edyrem gaining power once more, surely his brothers andsisters of the Angiris Council would likely reconsider the rulingmade ages ago, and this time the favor would not lie in the hands ofSanctuary.
"ZOLTUN KULLE." Tyraelboomed. It caught the entire group by surprise, as Tyrael had notspoken in days. They all paused and turned to Zoltun. He was a thin,bald man with a great beard. He was part of the now shattered Enneadmage clan and was a master enchanter. His personal job on the questwas to keep the soulstones safe.
"Yes, Tyrael?" He was notentirely certain of what was going to be asked of him, nor did heentirely trust the angel even after all this time.
"BRING ME ONE OF THE SOULSTONES."Zoltun Kulle approached and pulled the amber stone meant for theentrapment of Baal's essence from a pocket in his robe. Tyrael laidhis hand out, and after a moment ofhesitation,Zoltun handed him the stone. With seeminglyno effort at all, Tyrael broke off a small shard of the stone.
"Tyrael! What in the Hells do youthink you are doing? Do you wish for us to fail?" Zoltun wasfrantic. "You imbued every facet of that stone to be of superiorstrength and power and you have damaged it!"
"THE THREAT THAT WE ARENULLIFYING WITH THIS TASK IS DWARFED BY THE THREAT THAT LOOMS OVERYOUR WORLD AT THIS VERY SECOND. THIS SMALL SHARD MAY BE YOUR WORLD'SONLY SAVIOR." That explanation did not suffice for Zoltun Kulle,but it did for the rest of the group. But knowing that he was in theminority, Zoltun lamentably conceded.
"TAL RASHA." boomed Tyrael.Tal Rasha was a very powerful Vizjeri mage. He donned a red andyellow robe representing the colors of the Vizjeri clan. Long whitehair flowed down, nearly to his buttocks. He was the leader of theHoradrim, and a very capable one at that despite the minor arrogancethat usually came with his kind. Tal Rasha said nothing to Tyrael butgave him his attention.
"I MUST LEAVE YOU FOR A SHORTWHILE AND I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO WATCH OVER YOUR GROUP. I TRUST THATTHE LEADERSHIP YOU HAVE SHOWN THUS FAR WILL NOT FALTER FOR THE TIMEOF MY ABSENSE."
"Yes, Tyrael,"said Tal Rasha. Tyrael disappeared in a flash of light. "Wellmen, onward we search!" The Horadrim continued on through thedesert, except for Zoltun, who smouldered and quietly cursed tohimself for a moment before following.
In nearly the same instant that heleft the Horadrim in the desert, Tyrael was standing in the center ofSeram. He looked around and saw no sign of any life; only deadbodies, several destroyed wagons, and burning structures.
"COULD I HAVE BEEN WRONG?"Tyrael said to himself. Inspecting the ground, strange footprintslittered the area and the aura of the Edyrem putrefied the area. Thishad to be the place. The ground began to rumble and a strange hummingbegan coming from over a nearby hill. Tyrael levitated just above theground to avoid the shaking but no more than that. A small army ofbiped bovine came running at him wielding giant axes, bardiches,spears, flamberges and other very large weaponry. These beastsreminded Tyrael of the cow, a creature he knew was used by humans onsanctuary for sustenance, but certainly the bloodthirsty hordeapproaching him could not be the same as the tame animal.
"STOP!" roared Tyrael, hisvoice echoing several times over from the mountain range to the east.Even the simple cows could not help but obey the order. Even thoughTyrael spoke to them, he was somehow communicating with the animalsin a way that surpassed words. They halted just before the archangel."WHICH OF YOU COMMANDS THIS GROUP?" Bossy walked to thefront of the crowd. "WHAT DO YOU CALL THIS FARM?"Unfortunately such arcane communication did not work both ways, butBossy knew that she was called upon and needed to respond.
"Moo moo." she blurted out.
"VERY WELL. INHABITANTS OF THEMOO MOO FARM, YOUR EXISTENCE MUST NOT BE AND YOU ARE TO BEDESTROYED." With only the brief explanation, Tyrael liftedEl'druin, the sword of justice, to strike down the tainted cows.However, just as he was about to make contact, Bossy raised her ownweapon and blocked Tyrael's blow.
"IMPOSSIBLE!" Tyrael flewback in disbelief. Instead of slicing through the obstacle as if itdid not even exist, his sword halted. "UNLESS. . ." Tyraeltook a moment to reflect on what just happened. Although these beastswere certainly responsible for the death and destruction around him,Tyrael could still sense a sort of faultless nature radiating fromthe Nephalem cows before him. El'druin was unable to pierce any formof virtue, making it useless. "YOU CREATURES ARE INNOCENTS. ICANNOT SLAY YOU."
"Moo." Bossy replied inagreement. Or possibly confusion. Or maybe she was just hungry.
"HOWEVER, YOUR EXISTENCE STILLSHALL NOT BE PERMITTED. THERE IS ANOTHER WAY." Tyrael clenchedthe Worldstone shard in his hand. The next moment, Seram, or asTyrael called it, The Moo Moo Farm, was wiped off the face ofSanctuary. It was not destroyed but rather shrouded using the powersof the Worldstone. Seram was now contained within the shard itself.Anyone on Sanctuary that attempted to visit the area where Seram oncewas would only find grassy hills and a single gravestone, whichsomehow overpowered even the dual efforts of Tyrael and theWorldstone.
"Tyrael! Where am I?"Jered suddenly found himself somewhere where he was not just a momentbefore. These was not the Anarochian dunes where he was with the restof the Horadrim. He did not feel as if he stood on solid ground, nordid he feel as if he was falling. The blank white engulfing whatcould only be described as existence fooled the eye. One could nottell if the space that they were standing in was infinitely large, orsmall. The feeling he got by being there nearly made him keel over insickness.
"I HAVE BROUGHT YOU TOA REALM NEITHER HERE NOR THERE. WE ARE EVERYWHERE AND NOWHERESIMULTANEOUSLY. I HAVE BROUGHT YOU HERE SO THAT YOU AND I COULD SPEAKIN TRUE PRIVACY."
"But what of theothers?"
"TIME DOES NOT PASSHERE AS IT DOES IN SANCTUARY. YOU WILL BE BACK BEFORE YOUR FRIENDSPERCEIVE EVEN THE SMALLEST MEASUREMENT OF TIME PASSING. I HAVE SEENYOUR TRUE PERSON AND I JUDGE YOU TO BE THE MOST TRUSTWORTHY OF THEHORADRIM, EVEN MORE SO THAN TAL RASHA. BECAUSE OF THAT, I ENTRUST YOUWITH THIS." Tyrael held out his hand and the amber shard morphedinto a charm attached to a necklace. The stone formed into abeautiful ocular shape that not even the best jewelmasters could everperfect. It was truly the work of a celestial being.
"What is it?"asked Jered as he inspected the necklace that seduced him.
"IT IS THE SHARD THATWAS TAKEN FROM THE SOULSTONE MEANT TO TRAP THE PRIME EVIL, BAAL'S,ESSENCE."
"But why is it soimportant?" Jered delicately put on the necklace.
"UNDERSTAND WHEN I SAYTHAT YOUR WORLD WOULD BE IN GREAT DANGER BY TELLING YOU. ALL I ASK ISTHAT YOU GUARD THIS WITH YOUR LIFE."
"Very well, Tyrael. Ifthat is all you wish, then it shall be done." And just as thesentence was finished, he found himself back amongst the sand. Takenaback from the sudden transition, he paused and fell behind the restof the group.
"Jered, are youalright?" Called Tal Rasha from ahead of him. After anothermoment of hesitation, Jered finally replied.
"Yes, Tal Rasha. Ijust needed to catch my breath for a moment. Let us press on."
"I AGREE JERED CAIN. IFEEL MEPHISTO NEARBY AND ESTIMATE THAT HE WILL BE IN YOUR GRASP IN AFEW WEEKS TIME. INDEED, PRESS ON BRAVE WARRIORS OF THE LIGHT,"Tyrael said from the back of the group. Even though Tyrael had beenoccasionally appearing near them for five years, none of the men everquite got used to his ability to move as he did. With Tyrael'sencouraging words, a new confidence flowed through the Horadrim astheir first milestone was nearly in their grasp.
"Heaven help us!"Deckard Cain screamed out. Demons flowed out from the TristramCathedral and over the bodies of the guard force that lasted no morethan a minute against the power of Hell. Even now the bodies of thoseonce defending were being risen to boost the demonic army. With thedefeat of Diablo, the Lord of Terror just weeks before there-invasion of Tristram, security had finally been restored and thosewho remained alive felt safe. Unfortunately, not more than the nightbefore had the noble hero who defeated not only the legions of Hell,but Diablo himself left town. Deckard tried to run, but he was an oldman. He didn't hobble more than a few feet before falling to theground. Sure that he was going to die, he ripped off the necklacethat he had around his neck and threw it as far away as possible. Hedid not know what it was or what it did, but it had been passed downhis family since his ancestor Jered Cain obtained it from an angeland he knew that whatever it was, it was unfathomably important andwas not to be in anybody else's possession but his own; no human, nodemon, and no angel. He had no idea what would happen to it after hethrew it, but it had a better chance of being safe anywhere otherthan his own neck.
"Oh **** oh **** oh**** oh ****!" Wirt limped as fast as he could away from thedemons overwhelming his home. He did not make it too far before asmall necklace fell right in front of him. Instantly enticed by itspristine craftsmanship, and he knew pristine craftsmanship, he wasforced to stop even though his very life was on the line. His naturetook a hold of him and he grabbed the necklace and quickly stuffed itinto a hidden slot inside his peg leg where he held all of his mostvaluable possessions. As he took his first step away, he felt a sharppain in his back. He wanted to run, but he could not move. He lookeddown to see a sword coming out of his stomach and his blood flowingonto the ground. He could only utter two sentences before finallysuccumbing to the suddenly blissful darkness. "I'm sorry,Mother. I'm so sorry. . ."
The fate of Seram, or TheMoo Moo Farm as it is known, has since been hidden from history.However, it is said that you can occasionally find a forgottenwould-be-hero from the past drinking their terrors away and babblingon about a secret realm inhabited by so called "Hell Bovine."