"This," said the sommelier, "is a bottle of Empire Wine." He held the thick crystal bottle up to the light, turning it slowly, and the glowing liquid within coursed like yellow fire and molten gold. "Only seven were ever made, and three have already been drunk."
"And after tonight, there will only be three more to drink," said the first rival.
"You know the destiny that lies within, yes?" asked the older man of the two younger men. "Of all who share a bottle, the Fates will conspire such that all but one soon find death, and the survivor inherits all the others ever had or would have had."
"That is why we sought you, at no small expense," said the second rival.
"Pour, and let us be done with this," scowled back the first, and the sommelier did. The two glasses stood shimmering, patterns blazing through them, somehow dancing from one glass to the other. Even in two vessels, it was one wine. In angry silence, they each raised a glass and drained it in one long pour, leaving the cups faintly glistening with the fading magic of the wine.
"What did it taste like?" asked the sommelier.
"Bitter and rancid, overpowering and unforgettable," replied the first rival.
"Perhaps that is the burden of power, and the realization that not everything you want will bring you happiness," commented the older man.
"Perhaps, or perhaps it is your own death rushing to meet you," countered the other rival.
"And how did yours taste?" the old man inquired.
"Sweet and suffocating, yet fading away into nothingness."
"Perhaps that is the release of death," opined the first wine-taster.
"Perhaps, or perhaps it is everything I have sought and he has denied me."
"We shall see. Time shall take its course," smirked the first rival.
"Yes, it shall," growled the second.
And with that, they each left by a different door. After they were gone, the old man sniffed the bottle carefully, then tilted it so the last forgotten drop landed on his tongue, and it tasted exactly like it smelled—Victory.