Deep in the heart of the universe where Life chose to make its grand entrance, there lives a being of darkness and unimaginable might, aged enough it could almost call the galaxies old friends. Or more accurately, ancient enemies. By this creature’s hand, hundreds of planets have been left desolate and lifeless, each of them the victim to the same, consuming darkness. The planet it has chosen to call home, at the universe’s core, is not its own, but the first world it descended upon. No-one can say for certain where it came from. The only certainty is there will be no-one left to say when it’s gone.
With perhaps one exception. For every terrible monster is always top of a two-part line of command. Master, and servant.
Its servant is a small quadroped being, the last native of his, and by default his master’s, home planet. He watched his master consume the lives of his entire race and deemed him golac n’c tung – the dark glutton – in his local, near extinct, dialect. This is the only known source of the creature having something resembling a title. It remained to itself nameless, so there is no word to scream and warn of its impending danger.
The servant’s name is Arjak the kind, or as he personally puts it, the last-of-his kind. He no longer resembles the being he once was, displaying more physical scars than emotional ones.
Unknown to him, Arjak was about to receive another.
His master had summoned him, the way it always did, by telepathically screaming into Arjak’s mind. He flinched, every time, and fled from the Cavern of Souls to his master’s main chamber, far beneath the ruins of Arjak’s long past capital city.
When he arrived, his master had taken a new form he had never seen before. His master took favour to forms such as the brewing belly of a dark storm, or a writhing nest of smoke and needles, or a multi-limbed insect hanging from the ceiling. Now, though, his master stood on two legs as a regular-sized, featureless man.
Do you recognise this form?
His master’s voice rumbled through his head like a passing earthquake. Arjak managed, just, to remain upright.
“I do not, master. It is most impressive, master, very-”
Arjak got no further. His master’s humanoid arm twisted into a long blade and slashed at Arjak’s face from across the room. He collapsed, clutching as his seeping brow.
This is the form of my latest enemy.
Arjak whimpered quietly into the floor. He dare not make a noise of pain, all of his first scars had doubled by that mistake. “I’m sorry, my master, I did not realise.” He forced his head up, blinking blood out of his eyes, to get a better look. His master’s dark silhouette was vaguely humanoid, but the head was oddly rectangular and from the shoulders, the body seemed to fall like cloth. It ended with two feet sticking out from the bottom. Arjak suppressed another whine. “I know it not, master. I am sorry, master.”
Arjak slumped again but managed, to his own amazement, to remain quiet. His master’s anger, white hot needles of rage, burned into him by telepathy and began to spread through his veins. The gash in his face was nothing now, every inch of him was on fire. He knew exactly what his master was looking for.
You are to be believed. There is no reference of you in his story so far.
So saying, the creature brought forth a book from its body, emerging it from somewhere within its blackness. The book was old, large, and had two titles – one of which had been crossed out. His master started to riffle through the pages, until it found the one it wanted. A humanoid hand rose and reshaped into a sharpened point, which it turned onto the page to scratch new words.
Arjak had by now gotten back onto his feet, though each of his four legs were weak and shaking. His vision was still blurred by his blood, but he could just about discern the book he’d seen his master return with, which had not left his master’s grip since. He knew far, far better than to ask questions about what the book was or why it was important. But this new, person-shaped form had to have something to do with it.
He will come to me.
Arjak said nothing, only listened to the page scratching under his master’s writing.
And he will return, in full, what I am owed.
Once he knows what can be done,
and what I can do.
…HH continued to fall towards Gotham…