The NeverhoOd: Hall of Records
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Quater wanted to see what would happen if he made a creative being with a big heart. Quater named him Hoborg, meaning "big heart".
Hoborg was given a crown and he set-out into a void of clouds as Quater watched him from a distance.
Hoborg liked the idea of making a place for some beings of his own. He knew that the clouds that swirled around him would make a perfect sky, so he just needed to make some land. One thing that concerned Hoborg was that perhaps some of his beings would came out bad. He wanted to make beings which he could enjoy forever, but he did not want to force them to love and respect him. He decided that he would make his beings with the ability to choose right and wrong. Working everything out in his head, he figured he could make one child at a time and see if he turned out good before he started on the next. Hoborg made a tiny scale model of his world in Klay (or clay) to see if it looked the way he had imagined it. He spent about twenty years designing the shapes and colors of this place which he would call The Overhood. He needed some Klay to make his world and the only place where Klay could be found that was of the purity and quality Hoborg wanted, would take four hundred years to reach. He was so anxious to get started that he asked for help from Quater.
"Quater, thank you for making me with such a fine crown... everything in life is just wonderful but I was wondering..." Hoborg got down on one knee. "Can you help get me to the Klay of Highest Quality?"
Hoborg received the scope, "Oh, thank you Quater! You are very generous."
Hoborg started on his journey that same day. Looking through the scope he could clearly see the Mountain of Klay he needed to build the Overhood.
Every day was the same, Hoborg awoke before sunrise so that he could travel far without heat. But before he set off to travel each morning, he thought lofty respectful thoughts about Quater. Hoborg, in his ever-so-deep voice, would sing songs to the ground about how good it was to have been made. After a morning's journey, Hoborg would cover himself up in soil and rest. He resumed his mission in the afternoon and walked toward the great Mountain of Klay until late in the evening.
After 20 years of travel, Hoborg grew very lonely. Soon he could not stand to go on. He found a chunk of land upon which he could stop and rest. It had one spindly vine growing on it, and Hoborg lay down beside it to enjoy the shade it provided so he might be delivered from his discomfort. And Hoborg was extremely happy about the plant. But at dawn the next day a worm came and attacked the plant and it withered. And it came about when the sun came up, that a scorching east wind and the white light of the sun beat down on Hoborg's head so that he became faint and begged to die, saying, "Death is better to me than life."
Hoborg could not get himself to do anything, he just lay there. Hoborg began to scrape, absent-mindedly, at the dirt where his hand lay. Then he said, "Scraping is better to me than death." It was a fine, dry dirt that was packed down and baked hard by the white sun. His fingers bent, lifted and stretched; bent, lifted and stretched; bent, lifted and stretched, scratching relentlessly. His fingers scraped through the layers of fine dust and grit day after day. Just a few grains of dust and grit required weeks of scraping before it broke loose from the ground, the ground was that hard and compacted. More and more dirt added to the pile under his palm each month. During the years that passed, the only sound he heard were the scraping of his hand on the dirt and his breathing. After a pile big enough to pick up formed under his hand, he grabbed it, spat on it and squeezed it and squeezed it and squeezed it until his hand turned white and his knuckles made popping noises. Hoborg sat up and looked at what lay in his palm as he opened his fist. He saw that he had formed a clod of dirt.
Now the worm that had attacked the spindly vine and caused it to wither popped his head out of the ground and admired the clod, saying, "My, what a nice clod of dirt you've got there!" Looking Hoborg up and down, it asked, "Did you make that all by yourself?"
"Yes, I did." said Hoborg.
"If I were you," said the worm, "I'd stay right here and make more dirt clods. You could fashion them into beings and populate this chunk of land with them. After all, did you really see a pile of Klay through the scope Quater gave you? Or did you just want to see it because Quater said you would be able to see it?"
Hoborg answered, "Actually, Quater said the scope would enable me to see the shortest path to the Klay, and because of that, I should save quite a few years of travel. But I've been traveling for so long..."
And the worm said to Hoborg, "You haven't saved any time in your journey. You haven't ever seen Klay, have you? I wonder if Quater has ever seen Klay?" When Hoborg thought of it that way, he also began to wonder. Was there even such a thing as Klay? He had only heard about it; he'd never seen any. Then a thought occurred to Hoborg. Sure, it had taken many years to collect enough dirt to make this one clod, but he had plenty of time, and he knew there was plenty of dirt right here; he did not have to keep searching for Klay. Or he could continue his journey, not even knowing when or if he would reach his goal. He considered making more dirt clods and creating clod-beings right there to populate the chunk of land he had stopped on to rest. Sure, it would take a lot of spit, but Hoborg figured he would find a way to work-up enough. And now that he had a purpose for scraping he could use both hands and save time. First he would finish creating a being from the dirt clod he already had made.
Hoborg knelt beside the thing he had put together. The hideous outrage of dirt stretched out, and then, as he worked the clod with his hands, it began to show signs of life, and stirred with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful it must have been; for supremely frightful was the effect of his endeavor to mock the stupendous mechanism of his own creator, Quater. His success terrified Hoborg; he cast away his odious handiwork, horror-stricken, as far and with as much velocity as he could throw it. He hoped that, left to itself, out wherever it might land, the slight spark of life which had received such imperfect animation, would subside into dead matter. Hoborg went to sleep in the belief that the silence of the grave would quench forever the transient existence of the hideous clod which he had looked upon as the cradle of life. He slept; but in a dream he was awakened; he opened his eyes; beheld the horrid thing standing at his side under the spindly vine (in Hoborg's dream it grew back), and it looked on him with yellow, spit oozing, but speculative eyes.
Hoborg awoke (for real), and was horror-stricken because he saw something far away, and it was growing less and less far away with every minute. At first he thought it was the clod-creature coming back to get him, but as it got closer, he could see that it was much bigger than a dirt clod. A short while passed before Hoborg could make out the shape. It was a piece of land with a little red-roofed house on it. There was a big robot and a little being on it. Hoborg realized that these folks would pass him if he did not act quickly so he took off his belt from around his waist and made a lasso. He figured that it still was not long enough to reach this passing land mass, so in act of desperation he gouged a chunk of his chest out and rolled it into a great snake that extended the end of his belt. This contraption was long enough to lasso the land, which halted when the cord went taut. The big robot pointed to Hoborg's chest and said, "Meeee Bil. Meeee Bil."
Hoborg waved and answered, "Meeee Hoborg. I am Hoborg."
The smaller being (slightly smaller than Hoborg, but one fiftieth the size of Bil) pointed to Hoborg's chest and said, "Me think hims pointing your torso, big ouch!"
Hoborg had not realized that his guts were oozing out of the large fissure he had created in his chest. "Good Quater! What am I going to do?"
The small being took off his own belt and instructed Bil to carry him down to where Hoborg was. The being jumped into Bil's hand and he walked over to where Hoborg sat, about to pass-out. "Me Willie," the stranger said as he tied his belt over Hoborg's chest, clamping the severed sections together, and closing up the self-inflicted injury.
Hoborg placed his hand on Willie's shoulder, "Hello, Willie, I am Hoborg and you just saved my life!"
Willie did not seem to acknowledge this statement. Hoborg figured Willie was not altogether sane, but he was grateful just the same.
After a few days of rest, Hoborg decided it was best to continue on his journey. Hoborg asked Bil and Willie if they wanted to join him. Bil just said, "Meeeeeee Bil. Meeeee Bil," and Willie mumbled a bunch of gibberish to himself.
Hoborg liked their company, but he figured that they did not want to come along so he tearfully said good-bye. Hoborg was surprised to find that when he walked, Bil and Willie followed him. Hoborg did not question them, he just grew happy inside and continued toward the Klay.
Big Robot Bil (Hoborg found out his full name because it was engraved on the back of his foot) proved most useful for carrying Willie and Hoborg and the little red-roofed house over canyons too steep to climb. Hoborg noticed, while being carried by Big Robot Bil, that Bil's chest had a switch inside it marked "good" at the present setting and "bad" on the other setting. Hoborg dared not find out what the "bad" setting did, but he thought it must be a poorly thought-out attempt at dealing with the same problems he had when he was planning the making of beings that were capable of doing right and wrong.
Within a few more years the three made it to the Klay. It was a mountain of the purest Klay in the known universe and Hoborg found it to be of higher quality than he or even Quater imagined it would be. He filled his crown up with a few good sized hunks of Klay; Bil and Willie carried a few hunks to help. All together, Hoborg figured there was enough to make his Overhood and about two thousand beings.
On the way back to where Hoborg had started his journey, a Tickberger came upon the trio. A Tickberger is something all icky and sticky that Quater always said to run away from. Hoborg yelled for Bil to grab Willie and himself and make a run for it. A Tickberger is made to want what other beings have. He could tell that they had a bunch of Klay so he licked his lips, exposed his fangs and said, "Klaaaaaay!" As fast as Bil could run, it was not fast enough to outrun the nimble Tickberger. The ID panel on the back of Bil's foot was removed with one swipe of Tickberger's razor sharp claw. Hoborg saw that Bil was slowing down and that they would soon perish if they did not do something quick. Hoborg threw all of the spare Klay over to the ground below. He figured the amount remaining would still be enough to make a medium sized world and about five hundred beings. The problem was that as soon as Hoborg dumped the Klay, Tickberger gobbled it up, and it was still closing in on Bil. Hoborg nervously threw some more Klay out and this time Tickberger ate it but slowed down considerably. This was not good enough, since Bil also was slowing down considerably from the exhausting pace. He simply could not carry on much longer.
Hoborg decided that he would have to be happy with about twenty beings in a small neighborhood as a world. With that, he dumped most of his Klay over with just a bit left for his greatly reduced plans. It worked this time since Tickberger stopped completely and could not follow them since he was stuffed with so much Klay.
Bil continued under Hoborg's guidance, holding the little red-roofed house on his shoulder where Willie and Hoborg could ride and room together. After many years' journey, Hoborg returned and was ready to build "The Everhood," a neighborhood that would last forever...
... so long as nothing went wrong