For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
For the shoes had been created in the heart of a supernova by the malevolent god Aernus, and radiated an awesome power that could be worn by no man, let alone a child.
Cobbled as a wedding gift to his betrothed Gelda, a colossus of the Underrealm, Aernus's baby shoes held inside their stitches the woe of the land. Their tongues were the tongues of liars. Their soles the souls of the damned.
The b’aybi shh’oos, as they were called in Undertongue, were to be worn by Gelda’s newborn child—who was no child at all. He was an antichrist, conceived in the darkness before time began and ripped from his mother's womb screaming because his feet were cold. Alas! The shoes could not fit upon the child’s cloven hooves. And so Aernus cast the shoes across the void of space until, one eon later, they crashed in this unfortunate land.
Should any mortal be foolish enough to try these shoes on, it was said, they would go insane. With fear? With knowledge? Nobody knew.
Unwearable though they were, the thirst for the shoes grew. Battles waged over who should keep them. Ravines ran with blood: the red of man’s and the green of the clothru’s.
So the elders at Mac Lir agreed to rid the land of the forsaken shoes. But they did not destroy them. In their greed, they offered the boots for sale. The baby shoes would go to the clan with the heftiest purse, so long as they vowed never to wear them.
“For sale: baby shoes, never worn!” cried the King’s heralds. A simple, six-word decree, and no more. To say more, the heralds would have had to describe the garments and their forsaken pedigree. And no herald dared speak of the shoes' size, which was “666.” Nor could they describe how comfortable they were, for that was a secret that died with the High Monks who had slit their own throats to protect it.
But even these ominous tales did not stop power-hungry clans from making their claim to the baby shoes for sale. From the North, the Klogs offered their sturdiest daughters. From the West, the Sandelles offered the finest spices. From the forests, the fairies of the Low Firs offered songs so enchanting they made children’s laughter sound disgusting.
In the end, however, only one bidder met the terms: Pwyll the Deceitful. But no sooner had the trade completed than Pwyll laughed maniacally. “I promised never to wear the shoes,” he cackled. “And I shan’t. At least, not in this universe.” And with this, Pwyll cut out his eyes and recited the Forbidden Incantation, breaking the Seal of Spacetime and escaping into the sacred Eververse.
The Eververse. A land beyond all time. A land beyond vows. A land where Pwyll would unleash the shoes’ awesome wrath.
“What fools we were!” the Elder King cried. “We sought only to sell baby shoes. Instead we have sold our lives.” And there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth.
“Fear not, father,” said a voice. It was Cethlenn, the warrior princess. She stepped forward. “For all is not lost. In a dream, I have seen a gateway to the Eververse.”
“The legends are true,” whispered the astonished King.
Cethlenn unsheathed her broadsword, still green with clothru blood, and turned to the people. “On the Nymphs of Kerridwen,” she said, “I vow to track down Pwyll the Deceitful and vouchsafe the baby shoes, now and forever.” And there was a great cheering and jubilation.
The king sighed. “You are brave, daughter,” he said. “But such a quest is too dangerous for one rider to take alone.”
“Who said she'd be alone?” The crowd parted, revealing the clothru prince Sluagh. He climbed on his grey stallion and placed his claw over his scaly, muscular chest. “I will ride with the Princess.”
“Human and clothru working together?!” yelled the King's silver-tongued hierophant. “Absurd! Your Highness, he'll dig his fangs into your daughter the first chance he gets!”
“These baby shoes threaten clothru talons as much as human feet,” Sluagh said. Then, he turned to the King and smirked. “And… if there's a reward when I return with them, I won't object.”
“Do not lose faith, father!” Cethlenn said as she mounted Flaxen. “The baby shoes will never be worn, and nor will my resolve.”
They rode off.