The Wonder Worlock: Black Magic Woman, Part 2
created 07/23/2013 - 5:39pm, updated 07/24/2013 - 7:16pm
(Cover by Tony Savage and Jasmin Steele)
PART THE SECOND
The estranged wife of Threlkellian Emperor Traven sits amid the dismal dregs of what is left of the Forbidden Zone. With the power of the Ruby of Reality, all guards and prisoners alike have been killed -- murdered in cold blood by hands that once cared for babies in the Royal Nursery.
The robo-guards and the torture equipment have been dismantled, the cells destroyed or put to other uses. Only a selection of aging boom darts and their silencing mechanisms remain intact.
Even an insane and enraged Marlee would dare not touch these engines of ultimate death!
Drip, drip, drip.
Water still flows through a remaining cell here where Marlee has imprisoned T'koy, eldest son of Traven. She now finds a comforting rhythm in the faucet's dripping ... and it helps her drown out the wee small voice of the ruby shard which keeps begging her to find its sisters for a grand cosmic reunion.
It offers the young sorceress ultimate knowledge and power. But the rightful wife of Traven has her own agenda.
"Mother ... motherrrr ... " comes T'koy's weak and mournful call, so sorrowful even the nuclear darts themselves seem to shed tears.
"Shaddup! Shut! Up! Spoiled brat!" Marlee screams. "Why did you have to be oldest? Dear Trelthor is so much more quiet. I should have made your death a part of my earlier plan! Fie!!"
Drip, drip, drip.
Smoke and brimstone disperse as the Wonder Worlock exits the Vortex of Voyages of his own creation and out onto the lava-pocked terra firma of Threlkel. Even before the telepath Zavar could summon the celestial sorcerer from another dimension, the star-kissed senses of the mage knew something was afoot.
Emperor Traven has become closer than a brother to the Dark Mage. And as the supreme ruler greets his friend with a strong embrace, it is clear the emotion is shared by the warrior king.
"How is Ajarfa?" the wizard asks, the answer already evident on Traven's visage. "I already sense a piece of the Ruby of Reality has reared its ugly head again?"
"My friend, how could one I once held dear, held in my arms at night against my heart, trusted with my 20 children... our future ... ? How could Marlee do this? ...
The Dark Mage has no wizened words. This is a personal battle, but one he has been invited to share.
The men join hands, Traven swirls his enchanted blade above their heads and they vanish
Flash of lightning, roar of thunder. The KING has arrived! And he is mad.
"Marlee!" the Wonder Worlock calls. "Do not bring the ire of my friend upon your blonde head. Surrender the ruby and his son. He has promised lenience because of who you once were."
No answer. Then:
The Emperor starts. "T'koy?!"
A whirling Memorell sends an energy bolt toward a corner of the Zone away from the boom darts. And from that wreckage strolls a 10-foot giant.
"Zootalaris! Marlee has somehow tapped into the Dungeon of Doom and freed the Great Ilahk!" the mage exclaims.
Even in the darkness of the bleak Forbidden Zone, the Wonder Worlock can hear the maddening cackles and inane antics of the others: The Tridactyl Trio! The Rock Troll King Ymok! The Dozen Dwarves of Wons Etihw! Mork! These deadliest of cosmic beings are trapped in the pocket dimension for time out of mind, there to serve the sorcerer who can master them.
Today, apparently Marlee has some affinity for the Aesir giant, the Great Ilahk.
"He served my mother's hexes well," Marlee cackles, as if in answer to the shaman’s unspoken question.
"You know not what you have unleashed, girl!"
"You try to challenge me again, mage?" Ilahk says. "I am the strongest of the Aesir! The Son of Odin!"
As Asgardian magic slams into the Shield of Synaster, Traven weaves and dives like an Olympic gymnast through Marlee's hex bolts as he makes his way to his eldest son. "T'koy!??"
"Here I am, Father," the boy answers. But when Traven turns the corner of Marlee's former cell, his mouth hangs open and his heart stops.
Young T'koy is in chains, stripped of royal raiment and connected to a torture rack!
As Marlee laughs, Traven tears at his son's chains savagely.
"Be careful, Your Majesty,” Marlee cackles. "Remember, I control reality!"
A flash of scarlet and the boy is no longer chained to a rack but instead ... a nuclear warhead!
While T'koy -- and perhaps Threlkel itself -- faces an uncertain future, the tricks of the Aesir giant remind the mage how truly formidable the lumbering form is!
"You should not be here in the first place, wizard!" Marlee says, red bolts of rage exiting every orifice of her body. "But I am glad you are because all this is your fault."
"Traitorous, selfish whore! I fail to see what Traven found endearing about you."
The Roving Rings of Randak encircle Marlee and bind her limbs, but crimson beams from her eyes free her swiftly.
"Impossible!" the mage exclaims.
"Not in Marlee's reality!" the sorceress gloats.
That is right, the Wonder Worlock thinks. Marlee indeed rules reality because of the ruby. Hmm ...
The Dark Mage gestures and opens ... the Dungeon of Doom! Immediately the Great Ilahk is sucked into the aperture.
"Nay, nay! Not again! Father Odin... "
The giant Aesir hurls a final blinding bolt of magic at the galactic guardian. In the moment, as Ilahk is dragged into the hole in space something large, green and rocky whizzes past and vanishes beneath the soil -- all unknown to the Dark Mage.
"Wizard!!!" comes a call of sudden terror. The Wonder Worlock immediately soars toward Traven and his chained son, strong mystic shields keeping the hex bolts at bay.
"Free your son with the enchantment of Memorell!" the necromancer shouts.
"But the dart ... ! "
"Trust me, Traven!"
"But my son ... "
"Fatherrrr ... " T'koy yells.
"Trust me!!" the Wonder Worlock urges.
As Traven frees the boy from his shackles, the ruby's reality melts and the boom dart become a mere bench.
A Blade of Bedevilment slices half a finger and the Ruby of Reality from a screaming Marlee's hand. The crimson shard then vanishes into an aperture, a gateway to who-knows-where.
Then, before he can be stopped, an enraged Traven -- the same emotion, ironically, that drove his estranged wife -- guides the Emperor's sword straight through his former Queen's heart!
After conferring with his advisors (including the Wonder Worlock), Emperor Traven closes down all operations remaining in the now truly Forbidden Zone, save those Star Blazers who will now guard the remaining boom darts.
Traven thanks the dimension-hopping wizard as the Wonder Worlock returns to his own queen on Oceanus.
Then Traven lays down his crown and sword and spends the remaining evening with Ajarfa and T'koy.
Traven's eldest son and his first love could not be happier.