CHAPTER W1

Approx. 3900 words

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2015   SJ

The WARP:

Hoderon and Hanyo

 

written by  SJ

 

 

     During the creation of the Galaxy, a myriad of star systems created planets that developed life, some intelligent enough to develop highly technological societies. Most of these societies lived in peace with the Galaxy and the Universe. But, a few of them became violent and made war with the other members of their species, usually with the same result: they destroyed themselves before ever leaving their own world. However, a few of these societies managed to break free of the bonds of their own solar system and create an empire in space where they spread like a plague from star system to star system, conquering and destroying, leaving dead worlds behind them in their lust for power and greed; in the end, they all ended up the same, by destroying each other, then themselves, but not until billions of beings had died, many those on innocent peaceful worlds. Through these acts, the WARP was formed, created by their own acts evil, a prison of their own making, their souls trapped by the Universe itself until they either went insane and degenerated into the mindless demons of hell, or found it within themselves, over the countless eons of time, to repent and find some semblance of enlightenment...a way to salvation, the only real means to escape the WARP.
    ******
    Hoderon and Hanyo looked at the carnage which lay before the now destroyed structure: the Pendulum of Doom. They had watched the event from the top of a rocky precipice where the stairs, carved right into the rock itself, made a broad pathway down past a volcanic crevice on the left, then curved, making a u-turn around where the crevice ended, then continued back and down a little further where the Pendulum now lay in ruins. From their hidden vantage point, they had watched as an army made its way down the stairs, marching, with one purpose: to destroy the Pendulum of Doom.
    Their first thought had been to defend the Pendulum, but they had worked so very hard over the ages of confinement in the WARP to be non-violent, a path Hoderon had discovered earlier, and was now struggling to teach Hanyo. However, it didn’t matter; the army was too large; in fact, it was two armies working together, which was rare. The soldiers, ten wide in close order formation, filled the stairs, their ranks ending only when they had reached the u-turn, where there, they had begun to prepare for their initial assault. But, by then, Hoderon and Hanyo had already made their escape, jumping to the top of the precipice and hiding before the attack began.
    The bunker-like building containing the structure of the Pendulum of Doom was well defended by two large, demonic, creatures known as Soul Grinders which could spit forth hundreds of deadly projectiles firing from narrow openings in the bunker-like building. Almost half of the soldiers had been cut down before the bunker was breached, then another twenty percent before the guardians of the Pendulum of Doom were destroyed, soon following, the destruction of the Pendulum itself.
    The army had remained around the ruins of the Pendulum for a time, as if to savor their victory; afterwards, they left, marching back they way they came, disappearing in the far reaches of the dark, barren landscape of the WARP.
    Hoderon and Hanyo had stayed hidden until the army was gone. Then they returned to the ruined Pendulum, where Hoderon, after some thought, led Hanyo past the bodies of the fallen soldiers, many in number, possibly hundreds, stacked three deep in places. He tried to explain to Hanyo: This was the folly of war. In essence, the army had done nothing. Soon, the bodies of the fallen would disappear, their souls reforming only to be joined back into another army to fight again, and again, mindlessly. And the Pendulum itself, would also reform, along with the bunker-like building that contained it, the guardians reappearing, until it was as if nothing had happened at all.
    So why did they destroy the Pendulum? He couldn’t understand it. He explained this to Hanyo, who, as many times before, seemed to understand. And two armies working together? This was rare, but it happened sometimes, usually, in the end, with the same result: one of the two armies betraying the other one. But, then Hoderon became alert, sensing danger--a GREAT danger.
    “We have to leave, Hanyo!” Hoderon prepared to make a jump.
    In the WARP, the laws of the real Universe didn’t apply; it had its own laws. The longer they were in the WARP, the more they became aware of how to travel quickly from place to place, a jump, as Hoderon called it; but, they had to know of a location, have it locked in their minds. Hoderon knew of a place, while Hanyo didn’t; but he trusted Hoderon as they locked arms, then jumped, leaving the danger far behind, to an new location, another building, which held another structure, similar to the Pendulum.
    ******
    The dreary darkness of the WARP existed all around them, like an eternal dungeon, as Hoderon and Hanyo walked together, now safe, traveling on a small, narrow, pathway.
    However, Hanyo had to ask what they had escaped from.
    Hoderon had to think of how to explain it.
    “Was it that anomaly I saw in the distance?” Hanyo asked.
    He nodded, yes, but was still thinking.
    “I know I haven’t been here as long as you, Hoderon, but I’ve never seen anything like it. Do you know what it is?”
    Hoderon tried to explain, beginning. “It hasn’t been here very long in comparison to us.”
    Time in the WARP was very much unlike time in the real Universe. Not, very long, could very easily mean thousands of Galactic years.
    “I remember it back then.” Hoderon pondered. “It stayed its distance from all of us and didn’t appear to be a threat. But, why it was here, and how it came to be here, was still a mystery.” He looked at Hanyo, asking a question he didn’t expect an answer to. “Why would anything choose to be in the WARP?”
    “It chose to be here?”
    “No one knew for sure. But that was the accepted belief.” Hoderon returned to being serious. “But none of that matters anymore. It’s now a great danger to all of us.”
    “More dangerous than Warlords and Greater Demons?”
    “Much more dangerous than all of them.”
    Hanyo found Hoderon’s statement incredulous beyond belief. Finally, he had to know. “What is it? Do you know, Hoderon?”
    Hoderon had to prepare himself before saying the words: “It is called, the EYE of TERROR.”
    Hanyo waited.
    “It’s believed that inside the EYE of TERROR is an ancient creature that is said to be from another Galaxy--”
    “But, that can’t be!” Hanyo interrupted. “How?”
    “I don’t know.” Hoderon exclaimed.
    “We became trapped here by the crimes we committed against the Universe--in THIS Galaxy.”
    “I KNOW Hanyo.” Hoderon knew how the WARP worked, and why they were here. He glared at Hanyo. “This is why we believe it came here of its own free will, otherwise it would be trapped in the WARP of its own Galaxy.”
    Hanyo now understood. He became afraid as he looked at Hoderon for support. “We have to stay away from it. We must never let it catch us.”
    Hoderon smiled, comforting Hanyo. “Don’t worry. It will never catch us.”
    “I’m sorry for being fearful.”
    “Don’t be sorry, my friend. It is not called the EYE of TERROR for nothing.” Hoderon put his hand on Hanyo’s shoulder. “It is something to be afraid of.” He smiled again. “But, as long as we are together, it will never catch us.”
    ******
    As they walked the narrow, dirt pathway, Hoderon regressed back to the time when he met Hanyo, someone who was quickly becoming one of those mindless soldiers who were so eager to march into battle and attack the Pendulum. At that time, Hoderon’s choice of peacefulness was something to be laughed at, which Hanyo did with his fellow soldiers.
    But, Hanyo was curious, and listened to Hoderon, expecting to be given a speech, told what to do, what to believe. But, Hoderon did none of those; he simply told Hanyo to think using his own mind, his own thoughts, not those he was told to believe.
    It was not too long after that, Hoderon could hear Hanyo in the distance questioning the beliefs of the other soldiers, even his superiors. When, Hanyo came back to Hoderon, he simply asked him what it was he believed in. Then, afterwards, he promised he would trying making up his own mind, using his own thoughts.
    Again, he expected a long list of rules and beliefs. But, Hoderon told him simply: If the acts of violence and war got them sentenced to the WARP, maybe the opposite would get them out. Hanyo, of course, said he didn’t understand. When Hoderon told him he didn’t understand either, that maybe they could learn together, that’s when Hanyo decided to follow him.
    However, Hanyo’s fellow soldiers, especially his superiors, became angry. They armed themselves, preparing to attack. Hoderon was no longer a joke, but a threat--and had to be slain.
    When Hanyo armed himself and stood up, Hoderon told him to sit down, explaining, “I was also a brave and powerful soldier; everything within me right now tells me to stand up and fight.” He grinned, looking over his competition. “I could probably take them all and win.” He relaxed. “But, that’s the very thing we must NOT do. Trust me just this once, Hanyo.” He smiled. “It will be alright.”
    Hoderon and Hanyo were quickly slain. But, in the WARP, there was no death. Hanyo remembered the past times he’d been slain in battle; each time his thoughts became more muddy, sometimes forgetting who he was afterwards, his mind filled with anger. He would wander the WARP looking for his unit, the soldiers we had been with, but couldn’t remember. Eventually, he found himself joining other soldiers, having to start all over again.
    But, when Hanyo returned this time, he was with Hoderon. He knew who he was, and his thinking was clear, even peaceful. That’s when he knew he had to stay with Hoderon, and maybe together they would learn to be peaceful...and one day find the enlightenment, maybe even the salvation, they were looking for.
    ******
    The pathway Hoderon and Hanyo followed came to another building; actually, it looked like a large, tall, tent with four openings, very much unlike the bunker-like building that held the Pendulum. Inside, Hoderon knew what was there: It was a structure called, The Phallic Symbol of Lust.
    The first task was to make sure the guardians of the structure knew Hoderon and Hanyo were not there to harm it.
    The structure had four guardians, embodiments of sexual contradictions, tall, muscular, female beings, carrying large, sword-like, weapons. Hoderon had been here before and the guardians knew him, but he still needed to assure them, he was not here to harm the structure.
    But, suddenly, the guardians became alerted. There were soldiers marching on the structure. Once Hoderon had told the guardians they would support their defense, they both rushed outside.
    Hoderon found it hard to believe. Structures such as the Pendulum of Doom and the Phallic Symbol of Lust hardly ever got attacked. This was twice in a very short period on time. What was going on?
    In the distance was the army; but, it was much smaller than the first army, maybe only twenty soldiers. As they got close, he recognized them, a group known as the Emperor’s Children.
    Hoderon and Hanyo retreated to inside the tent; they didn’t want to fight, but, still wanted to support the guardians. However, Hoderan knew of a way to concentrate, so that their energy would strengthen the guardians; he quickly showed Hanyo what to do as they knelt down.
    Around them, the battle raged. The guardians were doing well, but they were badly outnumbered. Eventually, there was only one guardian left fighting six soldiers. Hoderon and Hanyo then rose; they armed themselves and entered the battle, helping the last guardian to slay the six attackers.
    After it was over, the remaining guardian stoically thanked Hoderon and Hanyo as she knelt down to rest. However, they didn’t feel good about what they had done. Hoderon tried to explain it to Hanyo; they shouldn’t have fought at all. The attackers could NOT have destroyed the structure permanently. What they did was wrong. As far as the guardians, whoever, or whatever, they once were, they were now just mindless drones. Eventually, they would’ve returned, just as the structure would’ve returned in time.
    Inside the tent, and with the indulgence of the last guardian, he showed Hanyo something, explaining, “the Phallic Symbol of Lust contains a very special object, and the only way to control that object is to destroy the structure, the Phallic Symbol itself.
    It was obvious that the last guardian trusted Hoderon completely now. He asked the guardian to expose the object and give control of it to Hanyo, which she did. There, Hanyo stared at a gold-colored, round, Coin about the size of the base of a coffee cup. It slowly spun in place standing up on one edge.
    “What is it?” Hanyo was curious.
    “As far as I can tell, it’s what the Emperor’s Children were after. The only way to control the object, that Coin, is to destroy the structure that holds it.”
    Hanyo looked at Hoderon, wondering. “What’s so special about that Coin?”
    Hoderon grinned. “It’s an object from the real Universe.”
    Hanyo found it hard to believe, not knowing how to respond.
    “It’s like this.” Hoderon began explaining. “There are many structures, holding objects like this spread out all over the WARP. They seem to be some kind of testaments to what led us to commit the crimes that imprisoned us in the WARP. Each one has an object from the real Universe.” He looked at Hanyo and continued to grin. “Take it, Hanyo. Pick it up. The guardian has given you possession of it just as if you had captured it.”
    Slowly, Hanyo reached in to pick up the coin, watching as his fingers went through the Coin, as if it was only an illusion. He tried a couple more times, then spoke. “I can’t touch it.” He looked at Hoderon. “It’s...not real.”
    “Oh, no, Hanyo. The coin is real.” He held out his hands as if he wanted Hanyo to look at him. “It is WE who are not real.” He sighed. “You see, Hanyo. Even if the soldiers would’ve destroyed the Phallic Symbol and gained possession of the coin, there was nothing they could’ve done with it.” He lowered his head, sadly. “Our victory was in vain. It was folly of us to fight.”
    “I think I understand now, Hoderon.” Hanyo smiled, happy to be enlightened in this one small way. “Even righteousness is not a valid reason to fight.”
    Hoderon smiled back. “Yes. You said that very well.”
    But Hoderon slowly began to think, his smile fading. He became deep in thought...as if he was trying to remember. Then the look on his face became serious, urgent. “We have to return to the Pendulum of Doom.”
    Hanyo was surprised. “Why?” He gasped. “What about the EYE of TERROR? Will it still be there?”
    Worry was added to Hoderon’s seriousness. “I doubt it will be there. But, we need to go back anyway. I need to check something. I hope I am wrong.”
    ******
    The scene of carnage before the Pendulum of Doom was gone, just as Hoderon had said, the souls of soldiers returning to the WARP where they would fight again. But, the structure of the Pendulum remained as it was before--in ruins.
    “It’s not possible...it’s not possible.” Hoderon muttered to himself out loud as he searched for something in the ruins.
    “Shouldn’t the Pendulum be rebuilt by now?” Hanyo’s asked, wondering.
    Hoderon continued to search, then stopped, looking around, then up and around as he explained. “Here...right, here! This is where the archway was. The Pendulum was connected to the top center part of the archway by...” He thought.
    Hanyo waited.
    “An ORB!” Haderon shouted. “The Pendulum was connected to the Orb which was part of the archway.” He found the broken shaft of the Pendulum and held it up.
    “The Orb?” Hanyo wondered.
    Hoderon looked at Hanyo wide-eyed. “The Orb was the object of this structure--”
    “Oh, you mean, like the Coin?”
    “YES!”
    Hanyo finally got it. “But...but, they couldn’t have taken the Orb. They couldn’t even touch it.”
    “Yes. I know.”
    “But, how?”
    “I don’t know.” Hoderon was frustrated. He pointed his finger and traced the outline of where the archway should be, explaining as he did. “Even with the Pendulum destroyed, it should still be right here.”
    “But, it’s not.”
    Hoderon dropped the broken Pendulum. “I don’t understand it.”
    “Could it still be there, but, just invisible, somehow?”
    Hoderon looked at Hanyo a second, but then said simply. “Even if it was invisible, it would still be there, and the Pendulum would be rebuilt.”
    “Oh, yeah.”
    “I just don’t understand it.” He repeated. “Nothing I’ve ever known of in the WARP could do such a thing.”
    Hanyo mused. “Nothing in the WARP. But, how about outside the WARP? Could--”
    “Outside the WARP!” The shock on Hoderon’s face was clearly displayed. He couldn’t say anything until he had relaxed, then he spoke with calm seriousness. “If the Orb was taken to the real Universe...it might be able to act as a link between both realms.”
    “You mean, they’ve found a way to escape the WARP?”
    “No. Neither we nor they could leave the WARP. The Universe is real. But, we are not. We simply couldn’t exist there.”
    “How about our souls?”
    “Our souls would be sucked right back into the WARP even if we managed to do the impossible and get there.” Hoderon continued to think out loud, hypothesizing. “If they found a way to create some kind of physical essence...in which they could transfer their souls to...then, maybe...” He looked up, thinking of something else to consider. “But...they’d have to have a link in the real Universe. Someone in the real Universe would’ve had to help them.” He shook his head and sighed. “It all sounds so confusing...and improbable. So many things would all have to come together and match all at the same time.” He looked at Hanyo, seemingly exhausted from thinking. “I don’t know, Hanyo. I just don’t kn--”
    Hoderon stood up suddenly, spotting something behind Hanyo in the distance. He pointed. “THAT!”
    Hanyo turned, then gasped. “There it is again.” His voice trembled. “The EYE of TERROR.”
    Hoderon frowned, then shouted again, continuing to point. “THAT! Everything in the WARP was fine until that thing started becoming a menace--”
    “We have to go, Hoderon.” Hanyo was becoming more frightened.
    Hoderon changed his pointing finger to a fist and shook it. “If I can find a way to destroy you--I WILL.”
    “Hoderon! We have to--”
    Hoderon held out his arm for Hanyo. “Hold on to me, Hanyo. I know of a place where that thing will never find us.”
    They then jumped.
    ******
    The place Hoderon and Hanyo found themselves in looked like an endless war-torn battlefield, a no-mans-zone, only there were no bodies. They walked through the rough terrain and sat down on the top of a small hill and rested.
    Hoderon looked down, feeling bad.
    “It will never find us here?” Hanyo asked, then noticed Hoderon. “What’s wrong?”
    He sat up straight and sighed. “I shouldn’t have gotten angry back there.” He looked at Hanyo. “And no, it will never find us here.”
    Hanyo thought a second. “It seems to me...that, if there was any one thing that we should be allowed to get angry at, the EYE of TERROR should be it.”
    “Yes, it would seem that way.” Hoderon frowned, his voice crescendoing as he spoke. “That thing is an abomination, even here in the WARP--it is an abomination.”
    “Then, you agree. It’s okay to get angry at--”
    “No, it’s not.” His words became rational. “Has my anger slowed it down or hurt it in any way?”
    Hanyo listened.
    “No, it hasn’t.” He looked down. “The only person my anger hurts is me.”
    “Then...what can we do?”
    “I don’t know.”
    Then Hanyo thought of something else. “If it is like you said, and the Orb is in the real Universe, and it can act as a link between our two realms,” he stood up, “then what about the people in the real Universe--won’t they be in danger. We need to do something.”
    Hoderon slowly stood up and faced Hanyo. “I’m glad I met you, and I’m glad we’re together. You want to help them...but, we can’t use violence to do it.” He place his hand on his shoulder and explained. “Remember, Hanyo, what you yourself said: Righteousness is not a valid reason to fight.” He sighed. “Nothing is.”
    “But...at the Phallic Symbol of Lust.” Hanyo tried to explain, find an excuse. “We stopped the object from being captured. They might have been able to do the same thing–-transfer the Coin to the real Universe. And we stopped them.”
    “Did we Hanyo?” He smiled, then sighed. “What if they return? Would we fight them, again, and again, and again, eventually becoming what they are.”
    Hanyo lowered his head, thinking of something else. “And if we lost...we might forget we even know each other.” He sighed sadly. “I would never want to risk that.”
    “Besides...we shouldn’t go back there.”
    “Why?”
    “The EYE of TERROR knows of that location.”
    Hanyo thought out loud. “Wouldn’t it know where everything is?”
    Then Hoderon remembered. “In the past, I heard there were more of those things.”
    “EYES of TERROR?”
    “Creatures like it, yes. But, they’re all gone now--”
    “How were they destroyed?” Hanyo was eager to know.
    “I don’t know. All I know is that they were very far away, even by WARP standards. Only this one is left, and it's blind.”
    “Blind? What does that mean?”
    “I don’t know, really.” He sighed. “I think I means it can only go to locations it already knows.”
    “Which is why it can’t find us here.” Hanyo smiled.
    “Something like that.”
    “But, at least we know they can be destroyed.” Hanyo exclaimed. “All we need to do is find out--”
    “I’m not sure they were destroyed.” Hoderon felt the need to interrupt. “All I know is that they’re gone.”
    “But, what are we going to do? The people in the real Universe might be in danger.”
    Hoderon sighed one last time, then sat down. “All I know is that this,” he held up his hand which quickly formed into a sword, “will never help us solve anything.” The sword became a hand again. “We have to believe there will come a time when we’ll be able to help them. We just have to be patient and wait.”

 

 

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