The Wonder Worlock: All's Fair, Part 2
Posted by: Byron Brewer, Managing Editor
June 17, 2011 12:33 | Updated: 2 years 3 days Ago
June 17, 2011 12:33 | Updated: 2 years 3 days Ago
PART THE SECOND
The Wonder Worlock soars among the stars of his own universe en route to the world of the Shirewood II. His former foe, Plantagenous, has these days become absolutely obsessed with peace and quiet there, and with his lush garden. Living side-by-side with Plantagenous is the troll-like Intz Tokeen, who has begun a new genetics experiment for Queen Arema, ruler of the Oceanus mer-people. It is Tokeen’s goal to, with the aid of Plantagenous, recreate the Intz population.
The sentinel of the spaceways has not heard from Tokeen as is usual, and this has him concerned.
As he soars across the rim of the Mephistoff Nebula, the Wonder Worlock begins to sense a psi-call, one specifically for his mind alone. It is not Tokeen, as expected, or even Plantagenous, who is working on his developing teep abilities under his tutelage. No, it is a call not even of this universe.
It comes from the dimension of Traven, of Threlkel. It comes from Zavar, Scientist Supreme of the Realm and a powerful telepath in his own right.
It is good to feel your mind again, Zavar of Threlkel. What occurs to bring your thoughts to this universe? Is my friend Traven all right? the Wonder Worlock psi-broadcasts.
No, no, King Traven is fine – blissfully so, unfortunately, for his kingdom again faces great peril, peril in the name of Warfarin … and I fear you may be our only hope, Wonder Worlock,Zavar thought-says. And as one named “Official Visitor” by the king himself, there is no governmental red tape in your approach to this world, nor seeming threat at any arrival.
I receive your thought-pictures, Zavar, but you must be clearer.
Clearer? In but a fortnight, our empire has gone from one of freedom to one of disastrous uncertainty. And the worst part of the situation is that King Traven is as yet unaware of what treachery transpires here, for he is in serious political discussions on Degaba. Ironic, eh? As he gives birth to a new empire under his rule, the old world falls!
The black-clad mage clinches a fist; the thoughts of Zavar have already made clear the technologies of Warfarin, thought destroyed, are behind this latest attack, this sweep of avian robots which even now has Threlkel under siege. And through his own suspicions, Zavar lets the wizard know that an enemy of the state, the Olympian scientist Java Lyn, is most likely playing a role as well.
An implosion, a brief flash of light and the Wonder Worlock is no longer in his native realm. He is, instead, Threlkel-bound!
He never thought he would see it, but Java Lyn sits in one of his labs on Olympiain awe of someone else. In awe of Warfarin, or at least the scientists under his command.
It is weeks yet before the attack of robo-birds that will bring Threlkel again to its knees, days before Traven is even slated to go off-world to the Degaba Empire. But instead of planning, of plotting as he is wont to do, the outcast Lyn sits in his lab – in awe.
Marlee, the stupid little wench of a wife of Traven, has sent him her kingdom on a platter, Java believes. For with the device stolen from Zavar – a control rod and Rosetta Stone of sorts for the avian communicators of King Warfarin – and a … well, a “bird in the hand,” so to speak, Java is just beginning to understand the fabulous tech behind these semi-sentient creations.
The armor of these “birds: enable them the use of a multitude of weapons, including missiles and laser cannons as well as their basic razor wings and slashing claws,Java thinks. With their reconfiguration mode, it is entirely possible the combination and varieties of weaponry could be endless. The bird which brought me Zavar’s cruel message has a grappling hook and cable which it can use as an offensive weapon. And with this device, I have been able to use this winged one for scouting purposes, being able to actually see through the automation's eyes. Genius!
It is that bird, weeks later, that summons its fellows by the thousands to Olympia– and those automatons carry with them the remains of Warfarin. As alarms went off system-wide, King Traven sat under an impenetrable psionic Cone of Silence with Degaban leaders, trying to thrash out a future which will be beneficial to both sides. A fiery temper by Traven, barely controlled by his team of diplomats, was not making negotiations move along any swifter.
The swarms of robo-birds around the travelways and concourses of Olympiawere palpable, the mechanics of some of the communicators shutting down both entertainment signals from their broadcast devices as well as vital governmental news links, on-planet and off. Despite the Zavarian decree, his people turned to Java Lyn, unaware he was indeed the Birdman of Olympia these days.
“I shall free us from these monsters of Traven’s tyranny,” the scientist said in a public ceremony. “I shall use our own scientific superiority to turn these monstrous avian machines, purported to be for communications only by our so-called allies on Threlkel, into our saviors! By Zeus, we will not fall to those of our Parent World, even if they did give birth to our civilization! Olympia, as the Gods would have it, shall be free!”
The cheers of the crowd were deafening as the thousands of robo-birds returned to a prepared Threlkel, whose scientists and administrators were in the dark about all of this. (Well, all save Marlee, of course.) How had the safe containing Warfarin’s remains been purged? How had the control device only the Family Royale and trusted Zavar knew about been stolen? How had Java Lyn manipulated these thefts into a political coup for Olympiafrom light years away?
To Zavar, it all seemed like some bad cosmic joke!
Not a year after the Fall of Threlkel before Warfarin of Degaba and the kingdom, trying so hard to return prosperity to its realm, was again under siege – this time by its loyal allies, the Olympians. There were no negotiations; retaliation for a perceived attack from Threlkel by the Olympians was swift and sure.
Without their king, the Threlkellians never stood a real chance against the Olympians, led by the tactical mind of the powerful Warlord Kwang, whom some say is the war god Ares incarnate, and Java Lyn, Scientist Supreme.
Oh, the planet’s defense forces fought the good fight, but since this was an inside empiric battle most of the kingdom’s allies remained neutral, unlike in the battle with Warfarin. The Star Blazers managed to at first rebuff Java’s birds of prey, the robot-probes-turned-
The Two-Day War, as it would one day be known, saw at its end Warlord Kwang bowing to Java as he ascended Traven’s throne, holo-images of the rulers of Olympia ceding this planet to, in their view, the “wronged” scientist. With Marlee at his side – a spectacle that shocked most of those on the planet – word came down that the wives and sons and daughters of the former ruler would be banished to Threlkel’s Forbidden Zone, where the screams of inhuman treatment and experimentation from the torture chambers there still burn in popular memory.
Now Zavar kneels again, before Lyn this time, not Warfarin. But the automaton from Degaba might as well have been ascending the throne of the Empire: it was his technology, it was virtually his attack style. What a smile Warfarin must have on his face in the Great Beyond this day.
It is from this kneeling position before Java, out in the open air and away from newly-installed psionic inhibitors, that Zavar is able to contact the Wonder Worlock.
And suddenly, as quick as smoke through a keyhole, the celestial sorcerer is on Threlkel!
“Mage, the psionic inhibitors!” Zavar screams aloud, relaying much more information swifter via telepathy to the arriving Wonder Worlock. Casting the Causation Hex of Repetition, one after another of the mechanisms around the palace holding Zavar in check malfunction.
As Zavar brings his great mind into play, breaking a solemn vow and taking control of the minds of Java Lyn’s warriors, calming them, the Wonder Worlock begins battle with the robo-birds.
Unlike others who profess to practice the mystic arts, the cosmic legend has never had any serious problems affecting the physical or the mechanical with his hexes. Yet, as a cosmic whirlwind starts to gather the powerful birds and Blue Bolts of Bedevilment fly hither and yon at the monsters, the new speed with which they can adapt – an addition of Java’s own mind – makes them difficult targets.
The Wonder Worlock summons the mighty Vortex of Viruses which encircles a bevy of the birds and begins to break down the chemistry of their molecular structure. At the same time, cloaking his psionic activity, the wizard warps light waves through and around his form, effectively becoming invisible to avian attack. The birds targeting the mage are in a frenzy. They use ultraviolet energies to search for the mystic’s heat signature while psi-detectors look for any trace of telepathic activity.
Freezing winds from a thousand worlds begin to blow as the Vortex of Viruses again engulfs the automatons. The whirling winds then create a downward spiral, literally sucking the birds that are still active into a vast black hole.
At that point, the Wonder Worlock feels a shooting pain through his chest. He turns to face Java Lyn, who has completely engulfed himself in -- the royal armor of Warfarin!
The power armor is constructed of a titanium alloy that provides a fair deal of protection from physical and energy attacks, as is proven by the sheer cosmic power being summoned by the ebony mage against Lyn. The suit also seems to offer an internal air supply and life support systems, since Java fails to succumb to a hex raising the Mists of Mephistoff. The armor evidently increases the wearer's strength and durability to superhuman degrees as well, as Lyn begins throwing huge sections of the palace wall against the sorcerer’s shields, reminding the Wonder Worlock of tales of the Intz armies of old.
For all its sanctuary,thinks the Wonder Worlock, the main feature of this armor seems to be a wide array of offensive weaponry holding the Threlkellian warriors at bay: electrostatic beams, lasers, magnetic force "punch-blasters," "neuro-stunners," and even tractor/repellor beams have all been exhibited this day. Hm …
Almost an ultimate weapon? It is then that the mage recalls a story Traven told him about his experience as a captive on Za, a story of a
Using a form of cosmic awareness, the Wonder Worlock takes a respite from the battle behind strong shields to send his mind forth, through the multiverse and its variety of dimensions, to a certain plane reached not long ago by the enchanted blade of Traven.
“Zootalaris!” the space-farer yells upon his success and quickly unleashes the Vortex of Vipers upon Java Lyn. As the rulers of Olympia look on in horror via holo-communicators, their proudest citizen is drawn by slithering tentacles into a whirlpool, on the other side of which is – the god of Underground Za, a live nuclear bomb!
As Java screams and scrambles against the nothingness of the air, the tentacles wrap around the mandroid and usher him to his doom.
The door is closing on him, Java can sense that. Will any come to his rescue? His birds, his Marlee? Then he turns and is frozen with horror. Floating in space behind him is a giant “boom dart,” a Threlkel term, seldom used, for a device once utilized by the Founders during the Great Solar Wars.
The scientist again screams: AAAAAAAUUGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
And as the aperture closes again, many present, warrior and witness alike, would later swear they heard not only Java Lyn’s soul-shredding scream but a sound their great-great-grandsires used to talk about, something similar to “ka-boom.”
Concessions are made, the queen harem and offspring return, Olympiaand its rulers and administrators continue on as part of the great Threlkellian Empire with a stern warning of repercussions from Zavar, whose standing now as a scientist – and hero of the realm – is greater than ever.
“And what about Marlee?” the wizard asks Zavar.
“Well, she wanted to rule and so she is! She is ruling a small cell in the Forbidden Zone, the destination she had in mind for the royal wives,” Zavar says. “Of course, it was Marlee who freed me secretly from an inhibitor collar so that I could contact you during the ceremony. Since he was getting accustomed to seeing the universe through Warfarin’s electro-avian eyes, Java completely ignored the change of heart that took place right under his human nose!”
“So,” the conjurer smiles, “Marlee’s life is spared, and she gets the ‘kingdom’ she deser …”
Just then, his space-honed senses tighten as the sounds of swordplay are heard. It is King Traven, literally slicing his way from the Cone of Silence to his home world via his dark blade. The talks are finished, he reports, and the people once ruled by foul Warfarin are now free citizens of the Degaba System but pledged to the allegiance of Threlkel.\
Traven is shocked to see his palace in ruin, and even more stunned at the presence of the Wonder Worlock.
With a quizzical look on his face, the muscular barbarian king asks his most trusted vizier, Zavar: “So what’s up?”
The laughter of the crowd in the Palace Royale would continue seemingly forever before Traven received any response at all.
-- FINIS --