The Wonder Worlock: The Conjuring, Part 1
created 01/03/2014 - 6:44pm, updated 01/03/2014 - 7:22pm
(Cover by Jason Heichel)
PART THE FIRST
The world of Dalbain spins around the outer rim of the Mephistoff Nebula, frequent home range of the awesome celestial necromancer the Wonder Worlock. The ancient planet is far from the expanse of the great Goff Empire and to the south, if such measurements mean anything in space, of the desert world of Za.
Here in his aging castle fortress does the powerful enchanter Glandairos confer with Loch, his acolyte as well as a former warrior of the Dalbain army, and Arion, now a teenager whom they have raised from infancy.
“What a brave man – er, mer-man – was this Captain Gar,” Loch says. “Imagine laying your life on the line in service of a queen that is not your own on the mere say-so of a wizard … er uh, no office, Glandairos.”
“Brave indeed, in death as in life, Loch, and no offense taken,” Glandairos mutters, his beard getting in the way of its tiny mouth hole. “Imagine the gall of this Wonder Worlock to drag water-breathers into a land and swamp battle. As I said about this ‘wonder’ warlock …”
Arion, who heard Gar’s dying words, scoots his stool across the eatery floor. Glandairos has never seen the lad angry.
“This ‘wonder’ warlock is an entity of great strength and courage, sir,” the lad says to his mentor Glandairos. “He not only commands such around Goff space and the Mephistoff Nebula, but throughout other quadrants and even other realities, Captain Rand tells me. And …”
“Bah!” is Glandairos’ only reply.
“And he spoke most highly about you, as a wizard and as a mentor to me,” Arion continues. “He said he saw a ‘special light’ in me, like you are always saying, sir. That he did.”
“Mmmm …” is all Arion gets out of Glandairos so the young lad, now a veteran soldier also, leaves Loch to their mentor’s mood.
“Take it from me, this Wonder Worlock is trying to steal our charge, to take the light of Arion away from Dalbain to Goff’lar … or even worse, to the water world he now calls home,” Glandairos mutters, mostly to himself.
“Now what would Arion, an air-breather, do on a water world?” Loch responds. “Why …”
“Gar was here, Arion can be there,” is the beginning and end of the conversation, apparently, as Glandairos follows his answer with a half-turn and entrance into a trance of some kind.
“Magicians! Bah!” Loch shouts as he storms out of the kitchen.
Thirty minutes. An hour. Glandairos is alone in the castle as he starts to rise from his stool. An eldritch energy crackles about the old man, one not seen on Dalbain for quite awhile. As Glandairos’ body quivers, shards of blue bolts shoot from his fingers appearing as terran fireworks. Then smoke surrounds the wizard’s face as he opens empty eye slits.
Then a yellow illumination surrounds Glandairos’ scrying pool, which once belonged to the legendary wizard Riddle-dee-dee. And out of its depths comes a being like none other.
Glandairos has committed … a conjuring!
The monstrous entity stands before its master, towering to a good nine feet. Muscles ripple beneath its gills. It is obviously meant for aquatic -- or at least semi-aquatic -- life. It is both cold-blooded and warm-blooded, is a hermaphrodite, and possesses a long whip-like tail.
“Ahh, my pretty,” says Glandairos in a voice none have heard on Dalbain before. “AA, ‘Advanced Amphibian.’ That is what we’ll call thee. For only by mine eyes and those of the Wonder Worlock at the time of his death shall ye be seen.
“Take MY light, will he?!!”
With a wand and holding onto the creature, Glandairos begins to bend time and space. The yellowish energies dissipate and then those left begin to swirl around AA. It is the Vortex of Voyages. The gill-man is off to … Oceanus!
Unlike his swift voyages in outer space, when the Wonder Worlock escorts Her Majesty Queen Arema around the busy areas of the Golden City, he attempts to be of a noble air and slows down his actions so as to match the slower pace of the resident water-breathers. As schools of fishes swim freely to and fro above the streets, the Queen and her consort greet the millers, the bakers, the laborers and the guards. All are of equal station in Oceana, Arema reminds her mate, and a baker’s birthday can be just as big as a queen’s … except everyone does not get the day off.
Cheers and smiles line the cobbled undersea street corners as the throngs welcome the Queen to their area. There has never been any talk behind close shells about Arema “seeing” an alien. This is the entity, after all, which brought their salvation in the form of the Neptunians. This is the “Favored One” who united two worlds, saving them both. And his legacy, to their mind, is the cosmic gem, Nef’s daughter Landry: of two bloods, uniting two people.
“And more news, as you fly from Goff to Niflheim and back, dear,” Arema says finally.
“Yes, my love?”
“Four more women – three Oceanan, one Neptunian – are pregnant by the opposite race,” she announces. “What grand arrivals those babes will have.”
Spontaneously, in the City Square, Queen and Dark Mage unite lips in joy to great applause.
It is one of those moments that are rare in some lives, even rarer in the long life of the Wonder Worlock.
And it is a moment suddenly shattered by the appearance from other dimension of a visage … a visage of Zavar, the powerful telepath of Threlkel, now King of the world of Olympia.
Worlock … Wonder Worlock …the image teeps to the celestial shaman. Beware The Conjuring. Beware the Conjuring! Feet of webs, muscles of stone, away from the city … Grav Badar …
This was not an ordinary teep from the telepath. This is similar to the mental warnings the Wonder Worlock experienced from Zavar during the brief confrontation between his brothers, the Goff, and the dread Docron.
After that exchange, the telepath himself had appeared in this dimension, telling of mental agents, of telepathic “warning devices” that are spread around his universe … and apparently the Dark Mage’s cosmos as well.
The expression on his ebony mask, the position of his eye slits, is all Arema needs to know. She has seen it countless times before. No one “heard” the mental warning but the mage. Still, she knows.
“Off to war, Son of Survok,” she says, kissing him. “May the Creator grant you luck.”
There are no other words. Between these two, none are needed.
Thus, in a flash of brilliance and a gust of brimstone, as the crowds on Oceana’s streets scatter, the Dark Mage is off to face … what?
The darkness is palpable in this great underwater grotto. By rule of Queen Arema herself, no one is permitted here. It stands as the only area on the planet of Oceanus that is ceded to another species, the Sh’zam and other “residents” being now a part of Arema’s banner.
This is one of what Arema and her people call “marine deserts,” seas that are furthest from the “Center of All,” the Golden City of Oceana. Such waters contain the swiftest and most powerful of ocean hunters, including the shadowy depths of this ocean, the Grav Badar.
Here live the primitive Baah – big, muscled, crustacean-like beings, strong like Rock Trolls, able to breathe under water and above the waves, armed with crab-like claws that can crush a humanoid in seconds.
Long ago, the Baah came to live in the deep, deep oceans of Oceanus, and now dwell peacefully on grounds maintained as forbidden. History does not record how or why they came, many thinking them a native species of the water world.
But today, the usually peaceable Baah are up in arms, their territory invaded by a greenish-yellow entity that says nothing as it continues a path of destruction. The Baah fight hard, but already two of their kind have perished at the hands of this smaller humanoid.
Death is not a concept to which the Baah are accustomed, and neither is anger. Today, they experience both at the hands of AA!
As he reaches a certain closed cave, protected by Neptunian technology as well as mystic shielding spells, the Baah somehow realize what is happening and fight harder, fiercer.
It is then that, in the middle of the melee, a wall of eldritch bluish silver separates the Baah from the attaching AA.
The Wonder Worlock has arrived again in Grav Badar!
TO BE CONTINUED …