The Wonder Worlock: All My Yesterdays, Part 2
Posted by: Byron Brewer, Managing Editor
August 12, 2011 12:16 | Updated: 1 year 18 weeks Ago
August 12, 2011 12:16 | Updated: 1 year 18 weeks Ago
PART THE SECOND
Under a moonless evening sky on N’Moy, a transporter beam hits terra firma and the ebony form of the Wonder Worlock begins to materialize. It has been a long time since the wizard has not flown or teleported under his own cosmic power, this time utilizing this common space transporting method rather than his own magicks.
The mage has accepted the challenge from Tral-Faz, N’Moy native and First Officer aboard the Goff starship New Hope, of Farr-Pong, the honor battle. He has been awaiting such a challenge from the younger brother of his deceased lover for over two decades.
The sorcerer is in the midst of thick vegetation in the O’theron Wilderness Preserve sans his long collared cloak and his space-bending powers. By terms of the challenge, the contest is to be a personal confrontation, mano a mano. That means no magic on his part, no telepathy or mind tricks on the part of Tral-Faz.
Farr-Pong is usually a battle to the death. The Wonder Worlock intends to see it does not go that far, but he believes his counterpart has opposing wishes.
Tral-Faz blames me for the death of his sister … and probably his father as well, the wizard thinks. I brought her back to a life of pain and suffering, every second her soul was denied the Hereafter was a torture for my beloved Shalla. Not even her mother could live with that, with such … bondage! How could I?!
If Tral-Faz is going to battle me, he will have to find me first. And in the art of camouflage, of stealth, he thinks, the Wonder Worlock bows not even to the chameleon of Earth or the artzopods of Cynesa VI! Come find your quarry, my friend. We will see who is the hunter and who is the hunted!
The man in black is athletic, lithe, strong and moves through the thick growth of wooded jungle like a fleet-footed cat. He busies himself, never thinking that the ultimate consequence of this Farr-Pong challenge may be either sending Tral-Faz to meet his sister or acquainting himself with his own Gods, whoever those might be, face-to-face.
The Wonder Worlock lays an intricate trail in the forest and then climbs a tall and sturdy tree, becoming one with the upper canopy. From the leafy roof of the great wilderness preserve can be seen birds from thousands of species, some not even native to N’Moy that have been brought here by planet administrators in hopes of saving their kind. The foliage gives rise to literally millions of insects, many of which have now made the mage their personal smorgasbord. My midnight costume holds out the rigors of space, he thinks quizzically, how is it these tiny ones always seem to find my flesh to their tastes?
The son of Lu-Faz and Lyra is beamed by N’Moy Farr-Pong judges to the opposite side of the O’theron Wilderness Preserve, but already the Goff officer is thinking in military terms, of strategies and scenarios tried, accepted and rejected. He is putting his three decades of soldiering to good use and, although Tral-Faz knows it or not, this is what the Wonder Worlock is banking on.
Tral-Faz is linear of thought, the wizard believes, no dimension to any battle plan. That is how all warriors who face their enemies long-range from the deck of a sanitary vessel plot.
Once he reaches the communal park common area of the preserve, the N’Moy native ignores the false trail laid by the mage and scans instead the earth below, the canopy above. Tral-Faz finds the Wonder Worlock easily, but decides to play with him like a cat would a mouse. He continues on as the sweat beads behind the cowl of the shaman.
After the failed attempt at eluding Tral, the sorcerer scampers down from his hiding place, bolts into the high ground grasses and disappears. Along an undisturbed trail, the Wonder Worlock discovers where one dead tree has fallen only to be caught by a smaller living tree. Immediately he thinks: M’Kraan Man-Trap!
A few minutes pass by, an hour. Two hours. Then over the top of the jungle brush, the wizard hears a rustling, sees the familiar large cranial structure of a N’Moy. It is Tral!
The N’Moy’s foot touches the protruding bough that is the man-trap trigger. Even as he touches it, the soldier trained at the great Naval Academy of Goff senses his danger and leaps back with the agility of an ape. But he is not quite quick enough! The shoulder of Tral is injured, causing the military man to almost instinctively set up bivwac for the remainder of the night.
As Tral rests, his anger festers as it never has before. But here, alone save for the cosmic conjurer, he also begins to think of those images he has ignored for the past 25 years: the Wonder Worlock and Shalla-Faz arm-in-arm, happy; the face of his mother upon looking at the living husk of her only daughter, and her relief afterward; the eyes of Shalla’s “after-self,” begging, pleading and in so much pain.
Why have I never seen these images before? Why do I keep seeing my sister dissolve at the gesture of a being who professed to love her? Why do I return to my father’s deathbed? His uncertainty of the decision has become mine, Tral thinks … then the “emotionless” N’Moy screams.
“FIE ‘PON IT! WORLOCK, I HATE YOU! YOUR ASS IS MINE!!!”
While the scion of logic sleeps, the wizard-without-magic works on a time-tested beauty: a Burmese tiger trap, native to Sol-
This will not kill a humanoid the way in which I have designed it, but he will be very, very sore. Thus Farr-Pong!the Wonder Worlock thinks.
As Regulus B rises over the high mountains of the reddish world, the ground and the air become hotter and hotter. The surface gravity is stronger than Earth’s, and its atmosphere thinner. As a result of these factors, Earthers and kindred races tend to tire out more quickly than native N’Moys. Tral-Faz is banking on the daytime being his ally. But while the mage is “of” Earth, he is no terran. He is himself, a unique being.
He is … the Wonder Worlock!
Tral-Faz begins a hunt for breakfast while his challenge opponent rests in the trees, making a meal out of some of the insects that last night made a meal out of him. “Turnabout!” he laughs.
It is then that Tral approaches the trap.
Nothing, then he hears Tral-Faz: “Arrrrrrgggggggghhhh!!!”
The sinews of the wizard’s muscles move him through the tops of the trees like a chimpanzee. No branch seems disturbed, no wood cracks in his wake, and yet the ebony form moves through the lush foliage like lightning. When it stops, the pit of his firm stomach feels empty, sick. He feels like screaming, much as Tral-Faz.
Before him is the ivory body of a y’orta, a rare albino deerlike creature brought to the preserve by the Elders of N’Moy. The whole preserve was first built around saving this gentle creature after it had almost been driven to the brink of extinction. Now this y’orta lies in the Burmese tiger trap of the Wonder Worlock.
He is not familiar with the great Earth cat, but the roar of Tral-Faz, the intensifying of his hatred for the mage, can certainly be described in terms of a tiger’s rage.
Then, he looks up. A flash of black? No, Tral-Faz thinks, he would not dare! The mystic one is miles away, of that I am certain! Come, little y’orta. Let me bury your body and honor you as is right.
As his opponent heads west, into a thicket, the Wonder Worlock sits among the colorful t’wapui birds of northern climes and curses himself and the love that kept him on N’Moy so long 25 years ago. Then he thanks his Gods, whoever they may be, for the same.
I must make Tral-Faz see this hatred is eating him up and will eventually consume him, the Wonder Worlock thinks as a new day approaches on the venerable world. Even though he does not know it, Rand and I have spoken about this very thing. It is why I personally vouched for his candidacy as Number One Officer of New Hopeafter she left harbor not long ago.
Tral-Faz believes his hatred to be of me, but it is not. It is of himself and, in reality, gentle Shalla-Faz herself. He could not prevent her tragic demise, and he is a man of peace as well as a man of war, a man of science. If his culture allowed this emotion to be let out … But nay, it must be contained. I never knew him, but I am certain this was notthe intent of O’theron!
At that instant, a knife made out of the leg bone of – could it be? – a y’orta slices open the Wonder Worlock’s throat!
“Die, my nightmare!!” Tral-Faz screams.
The ebony form instinctively hurls the soldier over his head in a flying mare that would do former Earth wrestler Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat proud. But then the mage seems to weaken, stumble and, through an upset flock of perching t’wapui birds, falls head-first down, down, down into the waters of the blue T’Pol Lagoon below.
“Gone … gone,” Tral-Faz utters, his lip quivering, his hand weak. He drops the bone knife and begins to shake; most unmilitary. He has never killed anything with his bare hands before. “Gone …?”
Tral-Faz thought he would feel better with the death of the mage who loved his sister, but he does not. Then thoughts entered his head that never had before: How will he tell his captain, Rand, that he took his personal hero’s life? The Wonder Worlock, who saved Gaza IV from its greatest denizen, who was the staunch ally of captains Tiberius and Alars Krik of the Goff, who was his sister’s beloved, an Honorary Shaman of N’Moy?
“Why did I do this thing?!” Tral shouts to the walls of his bivwac. “WHY?!! It has done nothing for me except ruined my military career, ruined my family in the eyes of N’Moy, ruined me in the eyes of my captain … my captain! … and in the eyes of Goff. Where am I headed on this road? I am in as much pain as my sister when the sorcerer brought her back to life.
“Perhaps the Great Dragon of Gaza IV did have the right idea. Hari kari, I believe the Japanese peoples of Earth call it? I shall call it ‘relief.’”
As the same y’orta bone knife that “slayed” the Wonder Worlock heads for the abdoman of Shalla-Faz’s little brother, a rather soily ebony glove grabs the soldier’s already sore shoulder in a grip of iron.
“Your anger is not with me,” the Wonder Worlock tells the First Officer of the New Hope, forcing him to look at his own image – Tral’s face -- in the wash recepticon. “You hate yourself, the capable military man you have become, have studied to be, have longed to be. You feel you – you! -- robbed Shalla of her future as a great and wise shaman, as perhaps a leader among the Elders of N’Moy. You must know this: No one – not Lu-Faz, not the doctors of N’Moy, not the shamans of N’Moy, not the Wonder Worlock, not Survok, not even O’theron himself – could’ve saved your sister. For d’ast sake, man, I loved her. I loved her!!
“I had to show you this. I have been waiting to show you this for 25 years. And for that, I needed no sorcery, no space-bending. I just needed your mental call. I am glad it came, Tral, for both our sakes.”
For the first time since boyhood, the son of legendary diplomat Lu-Faz cries like a terran baby in the arms of a black-clad mage. He is ashamed … and he has never felt better in his life!
The light pulse of the Orb of O’theron was never brighter than the night N’Moy government officials honored their native son, First Officer Tral-Faz of the Goff Navy’s New Hope, at a special ceremony. Lyra-Faz hosted and recognized the achievements of her youngest child along with those of her beloved daughter, Shalla, gone from the world too quickly.
The massive crowd would not let one of its heroes, the Wonder Worlock, depart their world without a few words. Uncharacteristically, he agreed.
“My friends! <thunderous applause> This night, Lu-Faz and his daughter look down from the Great Hereafter as we say a ‘well done’ to native son, my friend, Tral-Faz. <standing ovation> As Captain Rand at my left can tell you, this son of N’Moy soil <more applause> is a hero for our ages, forged in the form but not in the shadow of my late friend, the mighty warrior Vul-Kann, <big applause> who gave his life saving his captain, Tiberius Krik, who in turn saved mine from the scourge of the universe, the dread Kat’Wallidur.
“Kat’Wallidur is no more!!!” <standing ovation, thunderous applause and yelling>
“As I take my departure, I leave you with the last words of one of your own, the great O’theron, <reverent silence>who was the first to say what I say now …
“Live long and prosper.”
-- FINIS --