The Wonder Worlock: The Beginning of the Intz, Part 1
Posted by: Byron Brewer, Managing Editor
February 06, 2012 14:10 | Updated: 1 year 15 weeks Ago
February 06, 2012 14:10 | Updated: 1 year 15 weeks Ago
PART THE FIRST
Like a comet with a powerful, crackling tail, the bright object hurls through darkest space. Along the rim of the Mephistoff Nebula and then into a small solar system it heads, exuding energies off any scale.
As it breaks through the atmosphere of a lush, jungle-filled world, the sound is nearly deafening -- were there any ears to hear it. Right now, there are none.
With an almost soundless landing that belies its travel fury, smoke clears from a glade of tropical plants and, were there eyes to see, they would now observe that the object in question was the galactic guardian known only as -- the Wonder Worlock!
“Where are you?!” he yells, vocally and psionically. “Plantagenous! Mayrah! Where are you?!!”
This is the world known as the Shirewood II, the home of the former virus that once plagued the universe known as Plantagenous Rex, now a simple gardener and one of the most powerful entities in the cosmos. The Wonder Worlock helped cure this galactic germ and, ever since, the two cosmic titans have been working in cooperation with Queen Arema, ruler of the undersea races of Oceanus, and with noted geneticist Mayrah Rand of Goff-lair to populate this new world with one of the oldest races in the quadrant: the Intz.
Plantagenous, you see, destroyed this race along with the rest of the world called the Shirewood of a nearby system during his viral march across the universe. Cured by the dark mage, the galactic gardener now seeks to atone for that catastrophe as well as the death of his good friend and mentor, Tokeen, once oldest of the Intz.
Dr. Mayrah Rand (mother of the wizard’s good friend of the same surname, captain of the New Hope,flagship of the Goff Empire) has been working on her own planet with the Oceanus 6, Intzlings brought about by cloning of Tokeen’s genetic material. Mayrah has been raising the babies since Tokeen’s tragic and untimely death at the hands of the Neptunian criminal known as Vargas.
But a visit to Goff-lair and the Rand home by the Wonder Worlock just hours ago turned up no one occupying the Rand complex (he knows that his young friend Rand is back on board the New Hope, but does not want to frighten the lad just yet with his mother’s possible disappearance) and the Oceanus 6 – gone!
Mayrah had mentioned it was almost time for a repopulation experiment the last time he had visited Goff-lair with Plantagenous. But now to find both her home and the Shirewood II abandoned and unpopulated --
“Where are you?!” he yells again, vocally and psionically. “Plantagenous! Mayrah! Where are you?!!”
Just as he is about to depart this lush world for the New Hope, a crackle of cosmic lightning harmlessly strikes at his feet. Out of a pocket universe aperture floating in the early morning fog in the tropical clime are -- Plantagenous Rex and Mayrah Rand! And behind them are six Intz, adult Intz, each looking quite similar to the Great Old One, Tokeen.
“Surprise!!!!!” both the Plantane and Goff shout simultaneously.
“We have been planning this for quite sometime, wizard, knowing that your visits to Mayrah are like clockwork,” Plantagenous says, almost smiling. “And as you can see, my cosmic powers in which you have been training me are at their zenith. Who would ever think of a pocket universe as a hiding place save you?”
“I am confused, but pleasantly so,” the Wonder Worlock says, hugging Plantagenous and Mayrah firmly. “I would never want what happened with Vargas to occur again, much less have to tell your boy about it, Mayrah. But I could not even detect you on a telepathic level; my cosmic awareness --”
“You forget that you are not the only one training me, wizard,” Plantagenous laughs. “There is also Zavar, Supreme Telepath of Threlkel. He has been working with me on my telepathy and telekinesis night and day. Like you, he also has some parlor tricks!”
“And these babes,” the mage says, “they are babes no longer?”
“While the aging of Intz makes them seem truly immortal – and from all indications, these are in fact Intz – their initial growth sprout is quite rapid,” Mayrah says. “They seem to go from babes to bendy saplings to their present young form in mere months. If we had a snapshot of a young Tokeen, I am sure he would look like this times six! I just wish I had known him --”
A moment of silence is held for their fallen friend by the trio, as the Intz stay gathered ”˜round their “mother,” Mayrah Rand, temporarily taking root in the alien soil of what will become their new home.
From the Official Notations of Arema, Queen Prime of the World Oceanus, Ruler of the Seas Eternal and all Lands touching same, Empress of the City-State of Oceana and Keeper of the Grotto of Gaspar: The Expansion and Reclamation of the Intz Project (as begun by Tokeen. Eldest of the Old Ones and First Citizen of Oceanus):
Intz were an old race that appeared on the dead world once called The Shirewood, located in a small solar system in the Mephistoff Nebula, shortly after the development of plant life. Ages later, our star-faring water-breathing race of Oceanus landed on the world in its then-expansionist zeal and was fascinated with the Intz, many of them voluntarily returning (including the late Tokeen, eldest of the Old Ones) to the undersea world. While on The Shirewood, my great-grandsire foresaw that the warring factions of other alien worlds would one day arrive and strive to fell the planet’s lush forests and, thus, deemed the Intz as “Shepherds of the Trees.”
Although the Intz were sentient beings from the time of their evolutionary awakening, they did not know how to speak until Alf and his roving band of Everwhen Elves happened upon The Shirewood and taught them. Tokeen told the Wonder Worlock on Oceanus that the time-wandering Elves “cured us of dumbness,” that it was a great gift that could not be forgotten. (“They always wished to talk to everything, the old Elves did,” Tokeen said.)
Intz exhibited wide variation in personal traits (height, heft, coloring, even the number of digits), as they came to resemble somewhat the specific types of trees that they shepherded. Whizzflash, for example, once guarded Rowan trees and bore some resemblance to rowans: tall and slender, smooth-skinned, with ruddy lips and grey-green hair. Intz share some of the strengths and weaknesses of trees as well. Their skin is extraordinarily tough, and very much like wood; they can erode stone extremely rapidly, in the manner of tree roots -- but they were vulnerable to fire and chopping blows from axes. Intz were also an extremely patient and cautious race, with a sense of time more suited to trees than short-lived mortals. For example, in their decision regarding the historic attack on the Jerichowall, their three-day deliberation was considered by some to be “hasty.”
Intz were tall and very strong, capable of tearing apart rock and stone (though they only use their full strength when they were “roused”). Tokeen described them as tossing great slabs of stone about, and ripping down the the Jerichowall “like bread-crust.” He boasted of their strength to the Dark Mage and Neptunian Captain Gar on Oceanus, saying that Intz were much more powerful than Trolls like those of Ymok’s race.
Intz were powerful, Tokeen said; their bark-like skin and flesh made them difficult to harm even with axes, and a single punch from an Intz (they did not seem to use weapons, though they did hurl stones) could kill a saurid. It has long been held the only reliable means to kill an Intz is fire, for they burn easily. Sadly, Plantagenous put to rest that theory.
Little is known about the young of their species, called Intzlings, but it can be presumed from descriptions of Whizzflash (a young and hasty Intz) by Tokeen as well as the Old One’s comments about younger Intz as being more “bendy” than older ones, that they were much like saplings and perhaps even seedlings at their youngest. The cloning of Intz by myself and, before his death, Tokeen seems to be baring this out, according to the observations of geneticist Dr. Mayrah Rand. It is not known as yet, apart from cloning, if Intz were born similar to the trees they shepherd, or they become that way, or even how they were born at all, she says.
While Intz were extremely long-lived, they were not immortal in the same sense as the Aesir of the Niflheim dimension; they age with the passage of time, albeit very slowly. And while they did not die of old age, older Intz often became “treeish,” settling down in one place and growing roots and leaves. Eventually, they ceased to be conscious and became trees permanently.
With the exception of the Oceanus 6, cloned from materials of Tokeen, no more Intz are known to exist in the universe.
On the Shirewood II, Intzlings shift with the winds of the world, hovering around their mother like shy children. It is almost as if these six had gone “treeish” already!
“Go ahead, this is your uncle, the Wonder Worlock, friend of your father Tokeen,” Mayrah Rand says. “Tell him your names.”
Slowly at first – and certainly not hastily – the young Intz speak to the patient dark mage.
“And I, O Sir, have the pleasure of being named by Mother -- Tokeen.”
“I felt there should always be a ”˜Tokeen’ in the Shirewood,” Mayrah said.
“I am pleased to meet you all,” the Wonder Worlock said. “Your mother and uncles will have much to teach you in this brave new world, some of it knowledge passed on to me from the Old Ones of your kind, some from Tokeen’s adopted world of Oceanus, and some of our own, knowledge as such that might have saved the Shirewood its destruction.”
Plantagenous looks shamefully at the ground, but the mage puts his arm around the alien and, almost unperceptibly, smiles. Both uncles will be busy in this lush garden world for awhile.
Just then, a rip in space/time throws the plant-rich world into spasms! It comes unbeknownst to either the mage or the Plantane.
And out of a floating aperture, much like Plantagenous’ surprise pocket universe oval, comes marching wave after wave of elves. Elves!
“By the Great Green!” Plantagenous says. “Mage, these are those beings we have long discussed, those who ”˜cured the Intz of dumbness.’
“Alf and his roving band of Everwhen Elves!!”
TO BE CONTINUED --