Honou


Fade in:

INT. dim room – some sort of glowing projector screen

Before us is what appears somewhat like an ancient mural in style, except projected on a virtual image screen, drawn more cleanly, and made with much more modern tools (perhaps vectors). In silhouetted and stylised forms, the mural shows a barren landscape with only mountains, plateaus, and valleys, without a hint of even sand dunes much less vegetation.

Narrator In the beginning, there was a grand unicorn—a unicorn of greater size than any mountain range, and of greater weight than any tectonic landmass.

A giant hoof about the size of one of the mountain peaks comes down hard, dispersing clouds of dust and revealing a giant unicorn-shaped form with a long and wild mane and tail and four boots adorned with web-like winglets. The unicorn spreads out its legs and stretches up its neck such that it looks powerful and formidable.

Narrator The unicorn was a fearful beast, and one that was highly proud. Nothing in the land dared defy it or even to move a muscle in its presence.

The unicorn at first patrols the area for a bit, sharply pivoting its neck from one angle to another as if looking around for anyone who might resist. It soon stops, finding nothing, stands there for a while tossing its tail, then finally lies down, bored.

Narrator But one day, the unicorn grew tired of having nothing to worship or fear it, and thus it created the Hikei in its own image.

The unicorn gets a bunch of long, rotating rays around its horn as it rears up dramatically, and flames appear around its front hooves. It then slams them down onto the earth, and when it draws them back up, two small, curled-up Hikei appear in flashes of light, first within one of the hoofprint-canyons, then in the other. The unicorn then saunters off proudly as crowds of Hikei gradually fade in in layers behind it.

NarratorHowever, the Hikei were not able to serve the unicorn well because its sheer brilliance sapped them of vigor. Thus the unicorn created plants.

All the Hikei drop to the ground as the unicorn passes by their general area. As the unicorn steps toward a barren slope without Hikei in it, it gets rotating rays around its horn again, and plants start to sprout up as it walks around, quickly forming a lush rainforest. As it keeps walking, a vast grassland with periodic shrubs forms behind it, and a bunch of Hikei eating grass and leaves from the shrubs appear.

Narrator In time, the unicorn noticed that it most enjoyed seeing the Hikei’s problems and quarrels, and thus added all the other, less perfect species of Subeta.

Two Hikei stand tall and narrow their eyes at each other in front of an apple tree in the background, one lifting up its hooves and then putting them down forcefully with a snort. Elsewhere, another Hikei trips over a tree root and lies on the ground with tears streaming out of its eyes. Near a large ocean, the unicorn looks back contentedly, then keeps walking. As it continues on, other Subetapets such as Tigreans, Torrents, and Kumos spring up behind it somewhat like the plants did previously.

Narrator And last but not least, because it was curious to see what wondrous new uses and misuses they could find for it, the unicorn gave its new creations one final gift: magic.

Pan out slowly. The unicorn’s horn is once again shining with radiating rays, and now many different species of Subetapet stand in front of it, all of them in turn shining with star-shaped sparkles and a few holding magical artifacts: a Lasirus flying overhead has a staff, a Magnus at one side has a pearl of wisdom under one paw somewhat like a stone lion would, a Tigrean near the other side has some sort of magic axe in its mouth, and a Kumos near the front has a moon-shaped tag in its collar, somewhat like the Wizard’s.

CUT TO:

INT. Centropolis office – Midday

Honou (a Common Jollin) is in a spacious office several floors off the ground, just outside of the heart of Centropolis. The sky, as is visible out the tall window covering much of the back wall, is blue and graced with just a few coarse clouds. He is currently in a precarious position with his chest thrust forward and his paws resting heavily on the wood-topped steel desk in front of him as if he has just said something very impassioned.

Gallaghersceptically Really…?

Honou What? That’s how Subeta was made! The Hikei came first, the others were next, and the Legeica was the very last one because the unicorn’s horn broke and all its magic went away!

Gallagher, the Legeica seated in the rolling chair on the other side of the desk, puts a pastern over his snout in shame and shakes his head. After a brief moment of speechless amazement, he promptly lifts his hoof off his face and points it at the door.

Gallagher Out. Just… just get out. Now!

Honou But Gal, you have to help me out here!

Gallagher Pälunketz, I think a tall rock somewhere out in the middle of Delphi Bay would be more help to someone like you. And stop calling me Gal! I’m a guy, you know.

Honou But Gal is such a cute nickname for you! …Would you rather I call you Lager?

Mute the colours a bit such that they more resemble sepia and kill the sound. Gallagher and Honou continue to argue, with the former periodically shaking his head, covering his face, looking to the side, and otherwise showing his disapproval in interesting ways, and the latter continuing on in spite of it, every so often putting a paw out, doing a sweeping gesture across the desk, or making some other illustrative motion.

Honou (V.O.) This is Gallagher, a former co-worker of mine from back when I worked at a sandstone quarry in the central Saherimos. As you can see, he used to have these weird delusions that there was no such thing as a great equine creator or a way to revive ancient magic and use it to bring world peace. Isn’t that amazing?

Restore the original sound and colours.

Gallagher But that’s absurd! How would we—where would we get the manpower to do that?!

Honou You’re the rich one with all the connections. Shouldn’t a simple problem like that be easy for you?

Gallagher You call that simple? It’s impossible!

Honou Oh, not when you have the right equipment and the right state of mind. If you didn’t have to go overcomplicating everything, maybe you’d see things my way.

Gallagher Overcomplicating everything?! You—you’re the one who—ah, forget it. Just… just get out of here and leave me alone before I get a headache from all your twisted logic.

Honou All right, if you say so. I’ll be back on Thursday.

Gallagher Thursday…?

Gallagher looks a bit worried, and drops his head to his desk with his eyes closed, covering his face with his pastern again as Honou cheerfully skips out the door.

INT. Gallagher’s office – several days later, about the same time

Gallagher is at his desk, talking to someone on the white, cord-bound telephone to his far left.

Gallagher We’re positive it left, but if you want me to, I can call up Logistics and ask about it. … Okay.

Gallagher hangs up the telephone, then picks it up again and dials another number.

Gallagher Say, Fred. Can you check on that shipment of colas? The Delphi branch says it didn’t get there in time, and thinks it might not have left. … Ah, really? Well, check it again anyway and contact the shipping company. And if that doesn’t work, check up on your employees and make sure none of them ran off with it.

At that moment, Honou pushes open the door and walks right toward the desk.

Gallagher No, I don’t think any of them did it, I just want to be sure.

Gallagher suddenly spots Honou and quickly turns away from him, drawing his telephone receiver close to his body as if to hide it and talking very fast.

Gallagher So go do those two things and check on whatever else you think might be at fault, then call me back in a couple of days. Bye.

Gallagher grudgingly puts up the phone, crosses his pasterns on the desk, and looks at Honou with narrowed eyes.

Gallagher What do you want this time?

Honou The same thing as I wanted last time. I want you to join me and help revive the magic of the ancient unicorn.

Gallagher sighs.

Gallagher You just don’t give up, do you?

Honou No, never. I’ve always believed that you should never give up when there’s something you really want, because if you just keep trying hard enough, maybe—

Gallagher Maybe someone will call the police to arrest you for disturbing the peace. Now will you please just get out of here and leave me alone?

As before, continue the scene on without sound, with Honou and Gallagher arguing with each other. Then start gradually transitioning into other scenes in a sort of video montage, starting with Gallagher looking frustrated and ashamed as Honou leaves again.

Honou (V.O.) Gallagher was definitely one tough nut to crack, that was for sure. I don’t know HOW many days it took me to make him come to his senses!

Continue the montage with Gallagher talking on the telephone on a normal day but looking out the window warily for Honou’s presence, then Gallagher working at some kind of paperwork on his desk and glancing toward the door suspiciously.

Honou (V.O.) Why, if I didn’t know better, I might have sworn he was solidly bent on avoiding me.

Continue the montage further. Gallagher is walking around the city quadrupedally while wearing two briefcases at his sides like saddlebags and all seems to be well. Then he suddenly turns his head to observe a passing Common Jollin walking around the opposite corner sidewalk and does two dramatic zooming double-takes.

Honou (V.O.) Of course, I know that couldn’t have been the case, as that would have been just silly.

The Jollin Gallagher has noticed continues to become more prominent. Although in reality it stays the same distance away, it just seems to get closer and closer and more and more detailed with every step, until suddenly it stops and looks at itself in a shop window and brushes down a couple of stray hairs in a particularly feminine way. Suddenly the tension eases and Gallagher tilts his head down in a brief, silent sigh, continuing down the sidewalk with his neck and tail still drooping a bit as if he feels like an idiot.

Honou (V.O.) Gallagher was a sensible equine with sensible notions, and as such, it would really only be a matter of time before he would come to see things my way.

The scene continues on for a while with Gallagher continuing on normally down the sidewalk on his commute home, drawing to a final close with him walking up the stairs to his apartment, stepping through the door and closing it silently, then smoothly and efficiently setting down his briefcases, proceeding to his bed, and lying down for a nap.

INT. Centropolis soda corporation hallway – day

Honou is casually chatting with a somewhat important-looking Demi in an office just off the main hallway, the door of which is about half-open.

Honou (through door) So what do you think?

Lower Management Demi Well, it’s certainly, um… inspired?

Honou See, I told you you’d love it! Now, what kind of support can we get?

L.M. Demi Well, um…

Actually, you know what? If that story is true, we’ll give you a budget of five million sP to work with, completely on us. I’m feeling generous today.

Gallagher is walking by the door toward his own office and just happens to hear this exchange, looking back toward the door with a very slight hint of incredulous anger. He continues toward his office very deliberately, unburdens his briefcases with narrowed eyes, and very methodically brings one to his desk and sets it there. He opens it and removes its contents as if maliciously excising the internal organs out of a recently-deceased animal, then quickly gets to work examining the host of papers on his desk. Probably less than fifteen seconds pass before Honou bursts through the door.

Honou Gal, you won’t believe this!

Gallagher No, I probably won’t.

Honou Your supervisor just said she’d cover my entire expedition.

singsong Baby, we’re going to the Sa – he – ri – mos!

Gallagher You complete id—

Gallagher utters a small sigh and looks downward briefly, then looks back up and stares Honou directly in the eye.

Gallagher That’s not what she said. Haven’t you heard of sarcasm? Verbal irony? That thing where people seem to be saying you’re the greatest guy in the universe but they really mean you’re a filthy, loathsome vagrant?

Honou Oh, don’t be ridiculous. You just don’t want to come along, do you?

Gallagher I wouldn’t come along with you if all five million sP of your funding were going straight into my pocket.

Honou Go ahead and be contrary if you like. But just for your information, you’re going to be the co-leader of my expedition, so if I were you, I’d probably start packing.

Honou prances out of the room looking rather proud of himself, tail upraised, while Gallagher’s forelegs remain firmly planted on his desk as if he still has something to say but is too full of quivering rage to actually say it.

EXT. Centropolis park – Day

Some people and pets are wandering throughout the park in the background while a couple of relatively young people sitting on a bench and a Lain perched on the back of it glance over a newspaper. One points at a large inner headline jeeringly.

Parkgoer 1 “Plucky Jollin to Revive the Magic of Ancient Creator God”!

Parkgoer 2 Aw man, they must really be running out of good news stories lately.

Parkgoer Lain body pointed toward ad on other page Can we buy some of those crackers? They look really good.

Honou is standing off toward the side of the park, greedily eating up the contents of an inverted container of French fries sitting next to the waste bin at this moment, but promptly perks up when he hears the mention of this headline and turns to the Irion on another park bench next to him.

Honou That’s me! Isn’t it wonderful? Sweet unicorn, I’m going places fast!

Parkgoer irion That was you? If that was really you, you should know you’re a total nutcase.

Honou Why, thank you! I like to think my ideas are unconventional and innovative.

Parkgoer irion Dude, that wasn’t a compliment. You’re crazy, and… are you eating out of the trash?

Honou Yes, of course. Why would anyone let perfectly good food like this go to waste?

Parkgoer irion Okay, I give up.

Honou Have a nice day.

Honou quickly jams the remaining French fries into his mouth and tosses the empty container properly into the waste bin, then cheerfully skips off to bother somebody else.

FLASHBACK TO:

EXT. Saherimos rock quarry – Day

Honou is near a large pit part of a massive rock quarry where the bluish-grey stone within shimmers beautifully in the afternoon sun. Behind him one truck sits unattended while another slowly moves out of the quarry site. He looks down into the quarry pit and watches in fascination as the backhoe collects rocks and moves them into a third waiting truck.

Honou (V.O.) Ever since my early days, I had always dreamed of carrying out a grand scheme to change the world for the better. And I knew that somewhere within these walls, the stark yet magical faces of the Saherimos, that there had to be something that could carry out my wish.

The truck, after receiving several loads from the backhoe, departs along the same path as the other truck. After a while, the previous truck returns empty and parks itself near the idle truck. The driver of the truck signals to Honou as he gets out, and Honou quickly pushes down his goggles again, collects his drill, and scampers down the path into the pit. He takes his position at one of the exposed walls, positions the drill carefully, hooks it up, and cautiously begins to drill a hole in the rock with the device braced between his snout and forelegs.

Honou (V.O.) And even if it was not there…

Honou pauses for a moment after drilling the first hole, then very carefully drills a second some distance away from the first. After successfully making that one, he moves the equipment and himself over a bit more and begins creating a third. As he is doing this, briefly fade out into a quick montage of vignettes for about twenty seconds or so:

FIRST, Honou meets a small, teary-eyed Dragarth with a broken model train. Honou, however, confidently picks up the various cars and lines them up parallel as if they are about to start a race. The Dragarth looks a bit weirded-out at first, but then beams with sudden realisation and enthusiasm as he proceeds to race the freed train cars. Honou watches from a distance with a smile.

NEXT, a gardener is looking somewhat frustrated over a bare, evidently dead deciduous tree. Honou confidently looks from the tree to the gardener, then bounds off for a moment and comes back with a furniture catalogue, a saw, and an axe. Quickly flipping through the catalogue, he points out a planter, a small wooden table, a stool, and a bench. Then he holds up the saw and the axe. The gardener pauses for a moment, then stops in sudden realisation and praises him, patting him on the head. Honou watches proudly from a distance as she gathers up the axe as well as a shovel and starts to hack out the tree. Later, he notices that she has made a couple of birdhouses.

THIRD, a troublesome Rreign is angrily storming across a suburban area breaking things—windows, fences, small trees, random objects lying in yards, etc. After a while, a couple of Kumos wearing black police harnesses run toward him to apprehend him, and he narrows his eyes at them. Before the situation can get bad, though, Honou quickly leaps in front of the Rreign with an aluminum can. He first shows it to the Rreign, then and stomps it with his forelegs as viciously as he can possibly manage. The Rreign tilts his head to one side, looking a little less enraged and a little more curious, and then wickedly smiles, takes the can, and crushes it more fully into a dense metallic wad. Later, the Rreign is at some kind of recyclable collecting facility compacting cans, ripping up paper, and smashing glass bottles among other things as Honou proudly watches from some distance away.

FOURTH, a Cream Lain sitting in an alleyway is looking bedraggled, lost, and alone. In a brief frame reflecting what happened earlier in their day, they look around at the many tall, looming buildings of Centropolis that seem to encircle them almost with fright, unsure where to go next. Honou walks into the alleyway with a bold but compassionate attitude and scoops up the Lain onto his back. He then starts to show them that they could go practically anywhere, represented by several shots of Honou symbolically facing various Subetan places in the distance with the Lain (Arctic Frost, Riverside, the Saherimos, the Omen Islands, Atebus), as well as several amusing images of the Lain literally wearing various hats drifting by (mountaineer, chef, engineer, archaeologist, astronaut).

Honou (V.O.) Even if it was not there…

I would find some way to put it there.

Honou moves over again and drills one more hole, then collects his drill again and runs it back up the surface. After taking a few seconds to rest, he quickly collects his rock splitter and carries it down into the pit. He then proceeds to methodically split the rock around each of the holes.

Honou (V.O.) I believe there isn’t just one way to look at things.

After Honou splits the rock around the fourth hole, all the rock between the holes cascades a short way outward. Honou once again takes his rock splitter back up to the surface and once again lies down and takes a break while he watches others continue the job.

Honou (V.O.) If a person could just be bold enough—
persuasive enough—
sincere enough—

Would it really be too far-fetched to think that pure will alone could change reality?

Pause. Show the great and expansive Saherimos sky, then come back down to where Honou is on a slightly smaller scale.

Honou (V.O.)I think not.

Trucks and other machines continue to move in the background. A lone Fester moves silently across the sky, and a small gust of wind blows through, sending a light scattering of sand through the air. Fade out.

EXT. Saherimos outskirts – morning

Gallagher, Honou, and the Lower Management Demi from earlier are all unloading their equipment in a rather barren expanse of the Saherimos. There are rocky cliff faces, but other than that there is little more than sand; the nearest spinifex tufts are only visible many miles away. Gallagher unburdens his saddlebags, carefully wipes the sweat off his forehead and the bridge of his snout with a small white towel from one of them, then puts it back.

Gallagher Well, we’re here. I hope you’re happy.

Honou Oh, but I am!

Gallagher once again sighs and shakes his head as Honou cheerfully skips off to unload more equipment.

Gallagher voice lowered That Jollin is an utter basket case. Why are we encouraging him?

L.M. Demi Lighten up a bit. I think he’s kind of funny. … Actually, maybe we’ll even find something here. That would be even funnier.

Gallagher glowers over at Honou as he directs a number of other Subetapets, several of them Hikei, over to a particular rock face and enthusiastically explains their jobs with ostentatious gestures and broad, quick romps across the area. He is much too far away to hear from where Gallagher is, but appears to be talking a lot and rather quickly.

Honou And then, after that, we bring in the heavy machinery!

Gallagher He’s having all too much fun with this.

L.M. Demi Is that necessarily a bad thing?

Honou continues to zip around energetically and talk fast, attempting to run all the way around the entire site in an area smaller than a backhoe in order to illustrate its shape.

Honou After we excavate the west side, then we’re going to head over the east side over here, but not before we stop at the south side and let’s not forget this area in the middle.

Gallagher Really, do you seriously think we’re going to find anything here?

L.M. Demi Oh, I don’t know. But it’s really quite a big site. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some little lesser lost treasure here.



FADE TO:

EXT. Saherimos mountain slope – night

Honou is sneaking out quietly along a narrow ridge just a ways away from a small cave, carefully carrying along a large rabbit-like animal in his mouth; the rabbit’s body is quite limp and lacking in life. He looks all around cautiously as he starts to get to a wider path, then quickly jumps up and around a group of large rocks, crouching behind them. Once he has looked around once more for good measure, he sets down the rabbit and starts to make the motion of biting into it properly when he hears a faint screech up in the sky and stops, looking up abruptly.

A broad V-shape has appeared in the sky. Within seconds, it rapidly grows larger and larger, becoming a pair of expansive wings and a spiky-maned head, and lands on the rock above him as a Common Fester. The large, intimidating Fester, Amperius, leans down over the rock and glares at Honou.

Amperius Drop that, or I’ll tear you to shreds.

Honou W—… why would you do that? That would be very unsanitary, you know—my… my bodily fluids might poison your food!

Amperius cocks his head to a slight angle as if wondering if he heard that right, then narrows his eyes fiercely and leans closer.

Amperius If you don’t give that up right now, I’m going to tear out your gut and swallow it.

Honou falls back, his ears dropping to his head in terror. Amperius hops down into the space in front of the rabbit with a graceful flap, thrusts himself forward, and bites the Jollin hard on the back of the neck, breaking his hide. He then rises above the rocks with a few powerful flaps, and hurls the poor creature down the slope with a small flick of his beak.

Honou, after he finally stops rolling, twitches in pain, his already-closed eyes trying to close again, and grits his teeth as he tries to push himself off the ground, slowly opening his eyes again. With two tries, he gets up, but his legs are shaking, his head is low, and his tail is drawn in toward his stomach. Discouraged, he simply lies down again with the diamond-shaped pair of punctures in the back of his neck still bleeding. After a pause, Amperius comes down out of the air and lands beside him. Honou, too troubled to even bother with other expressions of terror, simply looks up at him hesitantly with deep dread.

Amperiussoftly I can’t believe you, you sordid little fox. I went to all the trouble to ignore my suspicions and give you a chance, but then you just turned out to be exactly what I thought you were.

Honou cringes and shuts his eyes, then carefully opens them again to find Amperius hasn’t done anything.

Honou I… I’m not a thief. I was hunting for food, and I… I found it.

Amperius pauses with narrowed eyes for a moment, then very forcefully pecks the Jollin in the upper arm, creating a proportionally large gouge wound, and pushes him over onto his back to expose both cuts to the sand. Honou flails back over with the last of his strength and drops his muzzle to the ground, weeping with his snout resting on his forelegs as the Fester takes flight again in the background to return to his cave.