Diamond Collector, Grootslang | STAR
I’ve always had a moderate interest in alleged cryptids—those things that lurk in caves without a sliver of hard evidence as to whether or not they actually exist. I don’t believe that they are all real, though. This one doesn’t necessarily count though because generally speaking, any other person would say that this is a cryptid but I know that Grootslang actually exist. They are depicted as very beastly creatures that collect and guard hoards of diamonds from anyone and anything that threatens to get a little too close. That’s also true.
I remember a story about a team of men led by Peter Grayson who ventured into a cave back in 1917. Each of the men excluding three was killed and one of them got sick. Two left to seek medical attention for the sick man while leaving Grayson to explore alone. There was this big thing—I don’t believe in it too much but then again I don’t believe it to be entirely impossible either—that a Grootslang had killed him and that was why they had never heard of him again.
What is either left out or unknown to people that like to write books about these creatures is that they can be appeased and are generally friendly if you manage to get on their good side of one of them.
If Grayson was killed by one of these things, he had probably made a series of idiotic choices because, well, my experience was completely different. It’s when you threaten their diamonds or attempt to kill them that they make the transition from friendly to hostile. Anyway, Grootslang are very interesting creatures… in a matter of speaking. They may never be willing to give up their diamonds but no good deed goes unnoticed.
When I was twelve, my father who was a herbologist had taken me with him on one of his trips, this time to South Africa in particular. Mind you, I wasn’t really much like the daughter you would expect from a herbologist. I hate insects, heat, and weird noises that emerge from bushes randomly in the middle of the night—I’d rather be home. However, there’s a cave in South Africa that is found in Richterveld that locals refer to as the Bottomless Pit. It’s a mostly unexplored cave system. Even back then, local legend says that it is the home of a Grootslang, the same one that had supposedly killed that guy in 1917.
My father and I had originally explored the cave shallowly, as he was interested in what kind of plants might be growing here and there. When night came, it did so without notice. It had grown too late for us to trek back to civilization and so we had spent the night in the mouth of the cave, huddled up to escape the cold night air. I could hardly get over my restlessness enough to sleep. My father, on the other hand, had no trouble sleeping whatsoever.
I spent quite a bit of the night just watching the sky and waiting for sleep to come but it didn’t seem like it would. Eventually, closer to two in the morning, I heard pebbles rustle in the far back of the cave, not once, not twice, but several times. Without waking my father, I took my flashlight and my backpack, and went to see what the causes of the noises were.
I am not certain how long I had walked but eventually, it was so dark that I could barely take a step without feeling as though I was about to fall or hurt myself. I had not heard rustling in quite some time and there didn’t appear to be anything in sight. Afraid, I turned to leave, wanting nothing more than to return to my father’s side and sleep. Fatigue had finally caught up with me anyway.
However, the second I turned, my flashlight shined on a face that scared me so horribly that I couldn’t even scream—I just jumped violently and stared wide eyed. It wasn’t that the face was hideous… it was just that something was there in general and the “something” appeared to be an elephant with three sets of tusks. Additionally, I could hear a soft clicking, almost like the sound a rattlesnake’s tail makes.
It was the Grootslang. It looked exactly as the stories had described. The creature had a fairly deep gashes across it’s trunk, it’s eyes were glazed, and it appeared entirely depleted of energy. Behind it, the light of my flashlight seemed to reflect off of hundreds of thousands of surfaces, during which the elephantlike creature had grumbled as though in warning so I had turned the flashlight back on its face, not wanting to upset it.
I’m not sure how long I stood there but when the Grootslang had not attempted to attack me, I raised a hand as though to calm it before attempting to slowly take off my backpack. It watched me carefully, its eyes never once leaving me. I slowly pulled out a couple of herbs that my father and I had collected early and a water bottle. After a while of mixing everything together, I carefully approached the Grootslang and applied the herbs to its wound as gently as possible, during which, the creatures eyes had eventually drooped closed.
As the creature slept, I applied the herbs to any other wounds I could find, forgetting completely that I should probably return to my father soon before he woke up and found me missing.
The Grootslang woke up just as I had gathered my things and was about to leave, its tail clicking loudly. After a short delay, it stood and approached me, its trunk disappearing for a moment before it came back forward, appearing curled up. Not sure what I was supposed to do, I raised a hand and gently pet the trunk but the Grootslang ended up nudging something into my hand instead. The piece that had been placed in my hand was one of the most priceless items I had ever seen and it literally shimmered despite the lack of light. The Grootslang watched me intently before turning and disappearing back into the cave, far enough so that my flashlight could no longer reach it.
Since then, I have never returned back to the cave but I believe that the creature is still there… and I know that this piece was given to me out of generosity and appreciation for my aid. Though… generous is a bit of an understatement. This item has brought me all that I have ever asked of it and has helped me through extraordinarily tough times. Physically, mentally, and even financially, it has protected me, has healed me, and has guided me.
That all being said, this item is extremely important to me… but I no longer feel as though I need this… I feel like there are others out there that may be able to make better use of it than me. I can assure you that there is nothing like this that has come directly from a creature whose wealth rivals even some of the most powerful people we know to exist today. Treat this item with care.
This piece is sized 8.25, sterling silver.