The Wonder Worlock: How Green Grows My Garden? Part 2
created 11/01/2012 - 3:37pm
(Cover by Israel Huertas and Jasmin Steele.)
Across the gulfof Null Spacecame Bil’gruph, the lone goat-like creature which emerged from the primordial marsh of the planet Ahmed 1,000 years ago and discovered, to its surprise, that it was able to deftly assimilate the knowledge left behind from a derelict ship of Irain origins. Having taken the power from discarded life canisters and created a Cosmic Cane capable of granting the wielder great power, Bil’gruph has set out, little by little, to conquer this negative energy universe.
And it is thus that his Cosmic Cane brings him to the nameless black star on the far fringes of Null Space, a star with megastructures called Dyson spheres orbiting about – the remains of the late world-city Hatoo.
And as Bil’gruph nears the skeleton of Hatoo, the reaction of his cane’s rocklike power module goes off the charts!
Bil’gruph must be weary of these Dyson spheres.
Gently he approaches one of the dark circles, seeing its southern clime lit up like a Christmas tree. He senses one very, very powerful being, and then decides it is not one being but a collective of powerful beings piling around a linchpin like bees do to their queen.
Suddenly, in front of the goat man, the “queen” of this court – Alf, leader of the time-traveling Elves of Everwhen – appears.
“Hello, strange one, I bid a new neighbor greetings! Welcome to our –“
Before the words are out of Alf’s mouth, this great leader of elves and military strategist is taken aback by a sneak shot to the head from the heavy Cosmic Cane. His pointed hat and glass dangles jingling not-so-merrily as they leave his head, Alf raises his twig of a wand as his emotions are carried automatically throughout the collective!
Dozens of elves leave their private places to charge at the alien, but the Cosmic Cane creates a sphere of blue fire around Bil’gruph. “Too bah-ha-had for you, diminiuative one! Ol’ Bil’gruph is hungry, m’lord, and I see you are the greatest taste of power this side of the Yo-Yo!”
As the elves swarm the blue sphere like worker bees protecting their meal ticket, Alf struggles against the cobalt chains which try to entrap him, constructs extending from the cane.
“You cannot trap Alf, demon spawn!” the lanky old elf shouts. His long but dirty wizard’s gown almost drags the floor of the Dyson, and a little wooden twig springing from his hand focuses the great power of this strange being. “You can try, but traps are not invented yet that are Alf-proof!”
The end of Alf’s little stick glows white-hot, splitting the chains of Bil’gruphdown their centers while invading the gem of the cane with elfin magicks.
The goat being finds himself becoming dizzy, but a vision in his mind of his life’s struggles gives him the strength to strike back. Picking himself up off the Dyson floor, the native of Amhed sends Alf flying head over heel with a cosmic blast from the cane. He then extends his attack, electrifying the entire collective with a cosmic bolt of lighting from the black star itself!
The attempt kills several of the elves, and the shock of that loss of his fellows sends Alf to the ground. The Elves of Everwhen are not born, you see, but assimilated – beings and cultures intergrated into their collective. According to Tokeen the Old One, the elves have encountered and assimilated thousands of species and billions to trillions of individual life forms throughout the universe, and from differing time periods.
That chain has been broken, perhaps for only the second time in the existence of the elves, by Bil’gruph’s energies. And Alf is having a hard time with that fact.
“My brothers! My brothers!” says the dizzied elf commander, filling the body of Bil’gruphwith elfin magicks. But the goat-being is prepared this time, and turns a simple cone construct on Alf, allowing it to swallow up the magicks and then unleash them back on the diminutive spellcaster.
“What trickery is this? You send my own magicks back at me? Blasphemous!” Alf scolds, and then his time (ironically) ends. For Bil’gruphhas figured the operation secret to this hive, and as his cane’s jewel absorbs the essence that is Alf of Everwhen, so too does it absorb the entire massive collective over seven Dyson spheres and counting! One for all, all for one!
Bil’gruph has never felt such power!
That is, until Plantagenous appears on this self-same Dyson mere moments later …
PART THE SECOND
A universe away, aboard the flagship of the star-faring Goff Empire New Hope, its Captain Rand plays host to Generals Doz and Krenna of the dead Gaza worlds along with Roj-Le, the newly-elected Elder Chairman of the just-built Unilateral Citadel of Science, and Rand’s best friend, the Wonder Worlock.
From the legendary viewing window wraparound of the star craft, the men and others witness the ongoing works as the citizens of worlds so far away tend to the business of making a new home among the Goff.
The prime populaces of now-dead worlds have been given, free and clear, the outskirt territories of the Goff Empire. Several worlds are within one star system around the great giant Gargantos, and it is here the surface people of Gaza IV and Gaza
“Ye’ve done a fine job, Captain Rand, and we are beholding to your people. ‘Tis proud we are to be associated with the Goff banner,” says General Krenna, who has already begun a united interplanetary government plan with Doz. “Fine job by the wizard and Le as well. You all took us from Armageddon to Resurrection Day!”
“Le, there is much to do and we will certainly be looking – all of us, not just of Gaza Primes – toward your leadership and the guidance of the Wonder Worlock and the peoples of the Goff Empire,” Doz says. “Now that the Unilateral Citadel of Science has been constructed and equipped on what the people are calling GazaPrime-I, I imagine you are excited.”
“Yes, General, I am,” Le says in an uncustomary bold voice. “But right now, I am more concerned about this sensor reading of power levels rising unnaturally toward the other end of the Mephistoff Nebula.
“May I?” the Wonder Worlock says, looking at Le’s equipment. “Zootalaris, that is the sector containing the Shireworld II!”
“The what?” Doz asks, but the celestial shaman has already disappeared from the ship in a puff of purple smoke.
And as he does, Captain Rand of the Goff flagship New Hopeexclaims: “The Shirewood? Mom!!”
The Wonder Worlock exits hyperspace with the speed of a comet, the black stuff of outer space crackling like living lightning around the Dark Mage. His cosmic awareness has brought him to the aperture where Bil’gruph first entered this universe, and he is surprised to find that the strange extradimensional radiation first picked up by Le is emanating from a form that seems familiar.
“Ho, Plantagenous! I welcome you back, friend, but you must have encountered some alien energies in Null Space that were …”
“My host has memory of you, masked man,” Bil’gruph-in-Plantagenous form says, “and I would see you gone before I feast on the energies I feel coming from yon world, m’lord: ancient energies, powerful energies!”
The Shirewood! The Intz!!the wizard thinks. “I know not who you are or how you came to claim my friend’s form, but this I do know: You are not from this universe, and from this universe you shall be expelled!”
With that, the right arm of the Wonder Worlock grows white-hot and suddenly from nowhere a wide variety of small, soccer ball-sized meteors hurl at the Plantane in volleys of two or more. The Rocks of Randak!
Bil’gruph can barely shield himself, not yet used to the enormous cosmic powers of Plantagenous. He creates a wall of blue fire with his Cosmic Cane and the meteors that strike that wall are incinerated before they can reach the villain.
No rest for the wicked as the whirling Vortex of Viruses encapsulates Bil’gruph, eating away at his alien chemical makeup while also bringing grave injury to the body of the Wonder Worlock’s friend, Plantagenous. But the ebony shaman cannot worry about that now because Mayrah Rand and the Oceanus 6 remain vulnerable on the shining orb of the Shirewood II.
They shall not meet harm again!the celestial conjurer thinks, avoiding Bil’gruph’s telegraphed thrust with his Cosmic Cane. Hellfire shoots from one hand of the Wonder Worlock, beginning to wilt the plant-like form Bil’gruph inhabits while the other hand begins to grow and grow and grow into the mage’s Guided Muscle which now holds Plantagenous’ form fast!
Bil’gruph literally sets fire to the black stuff around them with the cosmic energies inside this new body, but the Rains of Randak quash the fires’ thirsts as the Blue Blades of Bedevilment are thrown like so many darts toward the body of Bil’gruph and with great effect.
Bil’gruph is wounded, wounded for the first time in his memory since he gained the secrets of the Irains a thousand years ago. His silent psionic scream chills the many souls within the Wonder Worlock.
I must put to an end this battle, the magician thinks, before this being brings more of the great cosmic strength of Plantagenous Rex into play.
Right on cue from a stargate emerges the great Goff starship New Hope under the command of Captain Rand, his jaw firm, his necktie tightened. His mother, one of the greatest geneticists in the galaxy, is on the Shirewood II; nothing will happen this day to her, if he remains a factor in the battle.
Backing up New Hope are General Doz commanding the Gaza craft Shai’man’s Way and General Krenna (with Roj-Le aboard) commanding the Battlestar Broadski, the most powerful ships left after the races’ mutual campaign against the great Dragon of Gaza IV.
While Rand and his protective drone crafts raise shields around nearby Shirewood II, ready for an immediate teleport should it become necessary, Battlestar Broadski drives itself between the wizard and the injured plant-thing, giving the Wonder Worlock a much-needed breather.
“Photon torpedos aft!” Krenna orders, and the salvo bombards Bil’gruph as he tries to erect shields left and right. In the end, it is the old trick, the Cosmic Cane, and its blue sphere of protection that saves him.
Then Bil’gruph does something Plantagenous would never consider: He removes an Irain blaster from his belt and blows a freakin’ hole in the bowels of Shai’man’s Way, even as photon torpedos and laser cannons explode mere feet from his sphere.
“Our damage is not fatal,” a brave Doz broadcasts to his allies. “Keep him fighting, keep him busy!”
Randwants badly to enter the battle on behalf of his friends, but attempting to power up the Great Solexus would take stability away from the shields that surround his mother and the Intz.
As the Battlestar Broadskitargets Bil’gruph and his blasters with its laser cannons and phasers, the Null Space native sends a veritable rainbow of alien energies streaming from his cane. At the same time, the Wonder Worlock bends the space around him and disappears, to the shagrin of Bil’gruph.
“Wizard!!!!!!!!” Bil’gruph yells to no one. And that is when the Wonder Worlock captures him in the inescapable Rings of Randak, squeezing the virtual life out of Bil’gruph until a small sound is heard, a stench of brimstone smelled by the mage.
“D’ast!” the shaman exclaims, knowing Bil’gruph has returned to his universe in defeat. “We will meet another day, villain, of that you, who are in the form of Plantagenous, can be sure.”
He bows his head and teleports aboard New Hope to the side of a smiling Rand, and the men hug, hard and long.
On the surface of the Shirewood II, in a most lovely garden that had been raised and cared for by Plantagenous, a small sign is erected by Mayrah. On one of the noblest trees, it reads: “Herein lies the spirit of Plantagenous Rex, he who used the same hands that conquered galaxies to grow and give life to this world.”
After a solemn ceremony, Mayrah Rand and her son the Captain beam up to New Hope. The Wonder Worlock says he will follow shortly, to join the generals and Le on the bridge with the Rands.
“Intzlings, I know this is not going to be easy, but it is time for your mother and your uncles to depart,” the wizard tells the Intz. “Each of you have made us so proud, but now we must all go so that you can develop naturally and be caretakers of the trees and life here on the Shirewood as the Elder Tokeen, Queen Arema, Alf, your uncles and your mother know you can.
“Plantagenous and Alf are gone, according to the flash of memories I was able to perceive from the Null Space being, and you will have to depend on yourselves and not the Elves, even as your forebearers did not. You shall not see us for sometime, but should you ever have urgent need of me, just call telepathically as Plantagenous taught you, as Tokeen taught him.”
As purple smoke begins to surround the Dark Mage, Tokeen the Younger approaches the teleportation hex rather hastily and yells, very un-Intzlike:
“Do not worry, Uncle! We will make you all proud of us! Be not hasty in your travels, Uncle! Remember!”
The Wonder Worlock would be in his quarters on New Hope, only seeing or talking to his best friend, Captain Rand, for hours …