Stephen Curry ran through the rocky subterranean passageways underneath Oracle Arena. The three-point amulet, still warm and glowing from the smelting process, bounced against his chest as he searched for a way out. Its power circulated through his body, an entirely different sort of power than that which had emanated from the original amulet, stolen from Steve Kerr’s house so long ago.
He vaguely regretted allowing his father to escape from the chamber alive. At this very moment, that useless, meddling old man was likely relating the events he had witnessed to that power-hungry buffoon who coached the Warriors. It would have been easy to bludgeon Dell’s head with a loose rock, but a failed murder attempt could have resulted in forfeiture of the amulet. This way was safer, Stephen decided. Even with certain people knowing of the new, more powerful relic in his possession, soon his power would be of sufficient magnitude to thwart any attempting to wrest it from him.
Finally, after much journeying through the dim tunnels, Stephen had reached a door that led into the arena itself. He opened it a crack, checking for others in the hallway, then walked out and closed the door behind him. The amulet underneath his shirt pulsed against his skin, as if were a living, breathing thing. In some ways, it was; a part of Stephen’s vital essence had been used to forge it. But when he passed by familiar arena employees, he smiled and waved as normal, easily able to pretend that he was the same man as before.
In the practice gym, which was empty except for one man, and silent except for the sound of a basketball bouncing, Stephen was growing more and more frustrated. The amulet was hanging around his neck from its golden chain, but it hadn’t improved his shooting at all – it had, in fact, made it worse. His arms felt leaden, and an odd tightness constricted his chest. Briefly, the thought crossed his mind that he might have erred in the occult rituals that had preceded the amulet’s eventual creation, but knew that he hadn’t. The writings in that obscure, centuries-old tome had been very explicit and had been followed to the letter.
Stephen was reminded of the detrimental effects of the original amulet. Steve had said that the amulet, while in his possession, had eventually contributed to injuries in the later part of his career. This new amulet seemed to be inflicting physical deficiencies upon the wearer within minutes of it being donned.
The only positive to the situation was that, if this shooting slump persisted, nobody would suspect him of using a magicked object to supplement his basketball talents. Even Steve himself might be fooled into thinking that the amulet had been re-destroyed in an impulsive act of self-defiance. However, there was simply no reason to wear the thing if it conferred no benefits.
Knowing there was no point in continuing to practice in his current frame of mind, Stephen removed the amulet and placed it a side pocket of his duffel bag. He would return home and consult that secret book one more time, re-read its esoteric passages to hopefully glean some insight into this strangest of problems.
Candles were lit, but all other lights were turned off in Stephen’s kitchen. He retrieved the book, “Concerning the Creation and Ensorcellment of Magickal Objects, the Techniques thereof, and how Practitioners thereof Must be Qualified,” from its hiding place and set it upon the table, turning to the chapter pertaining to demonology. He pored over the arcane, faded words, failing to derive any additional meaning from them. But as he reached the end of one chapter and began the next, titled “The Othre Gods,” an explanation for his struggles began to form in his mind.
The text suggested that it was possible, even common, for sorcerers to create enchanted objects that were beyond their power. Even with the aid of summoned demons supplementing the substantial skills of the enchanter, the task of gaining mastery over the created objects was often impossible. But the details for addressing this issue were scant, and written in a fearful tone: “It can be donne, to reache out be’yond Christian theologie to Othre Gods residing in the voide, but such summonings are fraugh’t with greatest dangre…”
Enthralled by the possibilities opening up before him, Stephen grew impatient with the dense nature of the writing that slowed his progress, and skipped ahead a few pages. Here was a crude illustration, one of only a few that he had come across in the entire work, of a multi-tentacled beast bursting forth from some kind of portal or doorway. The words on the page referenced other texts heavily, but intimated that those reference texts had been lost some time before publication.
Rather than becoming discouraged by this lack of information, Stephen was emboldened. He had gained sufficient knowledge to take the next step, to unlock the full, terrible power of the three-point amulet.