The Wonder Worlock: The Conjuring, Part 2
created 01/16/2014 - 8:47pm, updated 01/17/2014 - 8:50am
(Cover by Josh Strayer and Don Armstrong)
PART THE SECOND
Electricity crackles beneath the waves of Oceanus, down on the shadowy sea beds of Grav Badar. The source of this illumination -- and the object of hatred from the resident Baah population -- is the monstrous being known only as AA!
The Wonder Worlock goes immediately into combat mode, trying to shield the Baah from further harm, protect himself from the incoming aquatic giant and divert both from the sealed cave that was once the hideout of Vargus, the Neptunian murderer, a cave which contains the advanced tech of the ancient Binary race.
Mystic probes prove fruitless on the being, and the Wonder Worlock -- as he dodges electrical charges while scooping up a number of Baah and placing them on protective ledges surrounding their oceanic home -- begins to realize this is no unknown native mutation or even an alien invader.
There is much mysticism about the advanced amphibian.
"Zootalaris!" the Dark Mage yells. "Foul being, you are the result of a ... a conjuring! And I sense it was one with myself in mind!"
AA roars with a monstrous tone, shaking the very earth beneath them. A cascading wave of electromagnetic energy hits the shaman as his Shields of Synaster strengthen to protect the Baah.
With a gesture, a vortex sweeps the remaining Baah out of the battle zone and into relative safety, switching the emphasis of concentration into maximizing the shielding around the Binary cave.
It is in that moment that AA lunges forward, a murderous glare in its otherwise ignorant facial composition. It strikes the Wonder Worlock in his mid-section, sending him spinning.
To his credit, the wizard is able to continue that momentum and frees himself from the grasp of the beast. With the ability of an Olympic swimmer, the mystic turns on a dime and opens his ebony cape from whence come the Rocks of Randak!
The volleyball-sized stones bombard the demon as a conjurer's cone swirls open from above, funneling off its eldritch electrify into another realm far away.
The amphibian shatters a few of the rocks with its monstrous might but numbers soon take their toll as the Wonder Worlock stands before a stone mound of his own creation.
Down come the stones like the Walls of Jericho on the Shirewood eons ago. From a hole in the mound, AA fires forth like a torpedo. But the Dark Mage is prepared this time as the beast bounces off a minor Shield of Survok.
"Ho, nameless one, speak to me, would you?"
A roar is the celestial shaman's only response.
"Whence came you? For what purpose? Why target ...?" And then it hits him like a mass of Randakian Rocks: this mythic creature, this ... conjuring is here to murder him!
Asleep among the farm animals -- cowlows, hrep-breds and laying birds -- in the castle barn, Arion sleeps. And dreams.
And in his head, this now-battlewise boy hears the craggy voice of Captain Gar. The late Captain Gar.
Time fer the hunt, laddie-buck! The trek won't be easy cuz one you've trusted yer whole life becomes the darkness to yer light. You
It is then the boy sees in his hazy dreams a nightmare, a gilled, armored leviathan of incredible power! The power of ...
Arion wakes with that scream and a start as his eyes and the brooch on the chain around his neck, Gar's brooch, glow a golden glow. The brooch then pulls him toward a vision, an imagine of a water world far away.
Of a sudden, Arion is struggling not to drown in the middle of a virtual planetwide ocean.
Waters suddenly swirl around AA, transforming into the scarlet Rings of Randak. Those esoteric rings then tighten around the hulk, robbing it of its mystic strength and boomeranging it back to the Wonder Worlock.
As the leviathan struggles, the ebony necromancer brings into play the Net of Numbness, a caging device backed by the Old Ways of Niflheim.
It seems AA is done for until the creature sees its own reflection in the ice. It is a horror the simple mind of the beast cannot comprehend.
An ungodly scream comes from the terrified, maddened creature as it bursts forth from the ruby rings and icy net.
Before he can whirl light around himself go become invisible, AA has the smaller form of the Wonder Worlock wholly in its grasp.
Something about the electromagnetic energy emanated by the amphibian holds the shaman taught. Attempts to become intangible, release his astral self or teleport all meet with failure.
"Zootalaris ... it seems I am undone," the wizard says.
Then, just as his magicks begin to fail completely and, for the first time, the waters of Oceanus fill what passes for his lungs, the closing eye slits of the Wonder Worlock see ... Arion?
The orphan of Dalbain holds up the brooch given him by a dying Gar, as an eerie light comes both from the brooch and Arion's eyes. The hulk releases the limp body of the wizard and lumbers mindlessly toward the light, toward the boy.
The Wonder Worlock lies on the floor of Grav Badar a black lump, seemingly paralyzed.
As AA, this “Advanced Amphibian” of Glandairos design, touches Arion’s golden light beams, it suddenly fizzles out of existence. In that same instant, both the boy of light and the Dark Mage disappear.
Only the Baah are left in Grav Badar. To clean up the mess, to consume their own dead.
Hours pass, both on Dalbain and on faraway Oceanus, as the Wonder Worlock (with great support from Arion) explains the duplicity of the sage Glandairos to the Ruling Governors of Dalbain (in person) and the Ruling Court of the great Goff Empire (long distance).
As each board argues jurisdiction, the Dark Mage silences them both by telling the august bodies the wizard has already been sentenced to the Ghost Zone, an other-dimensional prison of the enemies of old Neptunia.
"Well done, O Sir!" Goff High Senator Dodonna says via space comm from a meeting chamber on Goff'lar. "We also believe both Loch and Arion -- together -- should be raised to the old man's station as Dalbain Hosts General."
After a few seconds of murmuring , the Dalbain Governors concur.
"But I wish to go with you, O Sir," Arion pleads. "There ... there's nothing left for me here."
"Oh, but there is, son," the Wonder Worlock says. "You are a special person and you can learn a world from Loch. And now that Glandairos is ... otherwise occupied, Dalbain falls under the regional Goff Sorcerer Supreme.
"Er uh ... and that would be me."
The only thing brighter than the Dalbain sun that mid-day was the shining smile from Arion, from the boy of light.