The four friends, Stiletto, Gregory, Eaglebeard, and ‘Schripp, stood in the library window looking at the view of the nearby nebula, understanding a shared love of the universe.
Tomorrow they must leave and do battle with The Hrym.
The Hrym was a nice man, at least in appearance. Unless you looked deep into his eyes. There dwelt a coldness and vacancy so empty, that it would freeze the blood of Death himself. For The Hrym was thoroughly and completely evil.
What is good in the universe is love. A love of life, of existence itself. The love of a dewdrop on an Acacia leaf, the soar and tilt of an Eagle’s wing, the double sunset on the planet of Hoth Minor. The moments of life that make existence so special. The shared experiences and moments that go to create true friendship.
But all these were meaningless concepts to The Hrym, who was a vacuum of love, of life, of positivity. Many had tried to analyse why The Hrym was as he was. A broken home, a traumatic environment, the proximity of his home planet to a destructive burst of Gamma radiation, but truth be known, The Hrym was as he was because he was a complete and utter bastard. At least that’s what Stiletto reasoned as he went through his check list in preparation for the coming assault.
Haydrift Eaglebeard was more prosaic. A life spent following a philosophical and spiritual path, true of all the friends, had taught him to let go of the past and future events and only truly live in the present moment. What is, is, and only now in this second of existence does the experience of life truly take place. Good or evil is a choice.
Life on The Hrym’s world was one of drudgery, hatred, and loss of hope, if hope in this grey and negative place had ever existed. To step onto this world was to be assailed by a draining waste of nothingness, and no more was this felt than in the direct presence of The Hrym.
Because of the sophisticated defences of The Hrym, the friends had to drop off forty kilometres outside the city and hike in.
The atmosphere was a mixture of sulphurous and other toxic chemicals, and if one was to take a litmus test, one could confidently hold their strip of paper against the grade scale, and record a pH of 1. Lord Stiletto had provided special lightweight space suits to protect the friends from the planet’s toxic fog.
Coming over the ridge, they saw the city below them. Even though the design was meant to strike discord into the hearts of all thinking beings, the friends burst out laughing. Ahead in the centre of the barren plain of smashed and jagged rock was a perfect replica of a cul-de-sac from an anonymous suburb. Each house was perfectly represented. Yet the scale was massive. Each “house” was thousands of metres high and would have dwarfed the tallest of Earth’s sky scrapers.
By reasons of proportion, the base of each house measured several kilometres square and who knew what concealed, treacherous warrens were awaiting them there.
What is consciousness and what is its range? The Hrym’s consciousness, through the machinations of The Rabbit, had gone through some violent evolutionary steps, and now took in all of the planet. In a way, one could say The Hrym was the planet. Every stone, every rock was a part of his being and so he was aware of the friends as soon as they materialised on his surface. Like a spider sitting at the centre of his web he waited for the flies to come to him.