The Wonder Worlock: Ice, Ice, Baby! Part 1
created 12/09/2012 - 6:49pm
(Cover drawn and colored by Kaci)
Not far from the ceded territories of the star-spanning Goff Empire is a rift in space, a wormhole so tiny even veteran space-farers are unaware of it. Not even the Goff themselves.
On many occasions, even before he was an Honored Citizen of Goff, has the Wonder Worlock ventured to this rift, which is our universe’s extension into the mist-shrouded dimension of Niflheim, land of the Frost Giants, realm of ice and cold.
It is the mouth of the River Gunnthrá, the place where ages ago the Wonder Worlock came to gain the ancient knowledge of the Frost Giants and their frozen realm. Since that day, he has been the only one in his universe with possession of said treasures. If Aurgelmir, first and greatest of all the Frost Giants, knew this, the one who told -- the Frost Giant Mimir along with his now-deceased brother Vafbruonir – would be undergoing excruciating tortures.
As it was, slowly but surely, Mimir has worked with Aurgelmir to bring about a Renaissance Age of sorts to Niflheim, introducing what Mimir is calling his “New Ways” alongside the “Old Ways” which have been in place since Creation, or before.
The great success of this Renaissance Age thus far has been the capture and imprisonment of great Surtr of Múspellheim. Since time out of mind, the Frost Giants had feared the fiery sword of Surtr. But with the New Ways, led by Niflheim’s new Sorcerer Supreme, the Wonder Worlock, the Fire Giant was conquered, captured and imprisoned for all time.
Or so it is hoped.
PART THE FIRST
The Wonder Worlock hangs on during a bumpy ride through Goff space. It would have been so easy to fly here under his own power or even teleport from his present home on the far-away water world Oceanus.
Bump bump bump
But no! His best friend and captain of the Goff fleet flagship New Hope, Rand, wants to share some of the mesmerizing adventures about which the celestial sorcerer has told him, especially those involving “magical dimensions and far-out creatures,” as the lad put it himself.
So, with approved leave, the captain has taken his small personal vessel, the Century Raven, and made his way for the mouth of the River Gunnthrá!
“Great ship, eh, sir?” the captain enthusiastically asks his best friend.
Bump bump bump
“ … won-der-ful …”
Rand won the Raven from rogue Kalland Rissan in a hand of the card game sabacc. Rand’s second in command on the New Hope, Tral-Faz of N’Moy, once called the ship “a piece of junk,” but Rand countered by noting that the ship “may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts.”
Captain Rand tells his passenger that when the Raven was captured by a Docron Death Star, he and his group concealled themselves in smuggling compartments built into the floor in order to avoid discovery during a search of the ship. As soon as the Docrons were off-ship, the Raven hit hyperspace in a nano-second!
Rand says he and his former captain, Alars Krik, once flew the Raven to elude the Imperial Starfleet of the Z’nox near the Eagle Nebula. They took refuge in the Cloud City of Xamandon, where Mor of the Docrons captured Rand and froze him in carbonite. Kalland Rissan helped Krik escape and together they rescued Rand, returning him to sentient life. Rissan again flew the Raven, leading the Rebels' successful attack on the Docrons.
“I thought you had never encountered the Docrons until we were at the colony of Poseidonis, Rand?” the wizard questions.
“No, you had never encountered the Docrons until we were at the colony of Poseidonis; they are old enemies to me,” Rand says with a smile.
“How old are you?” the wizard retorts.
If you go to enough space bars, Rand continues, the Raven is often connected to the Logan’s Run, a pathway from Logan past the Maw Black Hole Cluster used by smugglers to transport precious Glitterstim spice. Rand brags to his passenger that the Raven made the Kessel Run in “less than twelve parsecs.”
As this is a unit of distance, not time, the Wonder Worlock wonders about this verbage. Laughing to himself, he leaves the boy captain to his story.
“I dunno how it is for you, sir, but for Goff starships traveling through hyperspace requires careful navigation to avoid stars, planets, asteroids and other obstacles,” Rand says. “And since no long-distance journey can be made in a straight line, the fastest ship is the one that can plot the most direct course, thereby traveling the least distance.”
Rand does not mention to the Wonder Worlock a scam that Kalland Rissan used on the boy to win money back from Rand after losing the Raven to him.
“By Goff-lair! Although none of the Raven’s sensors detect it, my telepathy – which is heightened by your mere presence, sir – senses a wormhole ahead,” Rand says. “It is here, this dimension you spoke of!”
“You doubted me, son?” the Wonder Worlock says.
“No, sir … and, well, if I did, never again …”
“Yes, I know, until the next time. Hahaha …”
The two who through combat and personal dilemmas have become closer than brothers cloak the Raven and are transported via the ship’s teleportation beam to the wormhole, where the cosmic conjurer’s talents take over, keeping Rand alive in the void of space, keeping in contact by the wizard dragging the captain via his necktie until they reach the legendary mouth of the River Gunnthrá, the entrance to Niflheim.
“Urk! Choke! Isn’t there a – urk -- a tractor beam or something you could use to keep me in -- urk – in tow, sir?” the choking Randquestions.
“Yes” is all the black-garbed figure in front of the captain answers before the dark of space becomes a foggy, steamy stream of ice crystals. For it was Niflheim from whence cold first came into the universes of Man.
Then, in Rand’s psi-ear, a voice, a surprisingly youthful voice for such an ancient relam, he thinks.
Put your feet into the waters of the River Gunnthrá, wizard and boy, and – hold on!comes a psionic word as the sorcerer and his companion arrive at the rift. They do and …
Greetings, Wonder Worlock, my friend!comes again the monotone – frosty but friendly – telepathic voice of Mimir. And I welcome you too, Captain Rand, friend of my friend! What you experience now is something new to me, for I am no longer as I was, no longer of the Old Guard, as the Wonder Worlock knows. Neither was my brother Vafbruonir until his … unexpected death.
I am with you physically, even though it is hard to detect, even with your sharp senses. What you are experiencing is moisture molecular inversion, in your parlance. I am now capable, because I am a frost creature, of breaking down my body and merging it with other bodies of water to travel great distances in a matter of seconds – even the cosmic waters of the River Gunnthrá! I bring you both along as I first did Vafbruonir, and I know from his reaction it will be a painful process. The wizard can tell you himself, Captain.
“Welcome, Wonder Worlock!” an enthusiastic, booming voice comes to the mage’s ears from far above.
The duo look up, up, up to see the face of young Mimir, a genuine Frost Giant of myth … and of mythical proportions. The wide smile comes from a hooded head, his rather primitive armor glazed over with a thin coating of ice. The metal gloves and seemingly homespun boots must have taken each of their makers many years of craftsmanship to learn to produce. They were beautiful, as was the metal broadsword Mimir held, in all appearances a giant icicle as it too was encrusted by a thin coating of ice.
“Wow!” was the only expression Rand could manage.
Like a young pup, a hand on the body of a 1,000-foot-tall figure grabs the mage, head still spinning, by his cloak and tosses him around like a ball. With Rand’s necktie still tightly in the wizard’s right hand, the Goff captain is in need of air more than friendly greetings.
Curbing his happiness, Mimir gently sits the celestial sorcerer and the captain down on the warm floor of his ice abode and then, apparently transforming his body from a solid to a semi-gaseous state, loses mass and becomes the size of his visitors.
“My friend,” Mimir says again, warmly embracing the Dark Mage, a hug that is returned sincerely. After the erstwhile Frost Giant and Captain Rand exchange pleasantries, the three men sit in the domed dwelling as Mimir pulls out a glowing rock, red in color, from under his woolen vest.
The stone’s ruby aura is unmistakable to the Wonder Worlock, although he is puzzled how it came to be in Niflheim. It is part of the Ruby of Reality, other parts held recently by Marlee of Threlkell and Mork and Ymok the Rock Trolls. And, quite possibly, one is still in the possession of Prism of the Star Blazers, but that is another mystery for another time.
“This stone, I keep it hidden from Aurgelmir and the others, for I know the dangers that may happen should they get their hands on it,” Mimir says. “There are demons in this rock, I tell you, and as the days wane into night, they will speak to you, especially to your dark side.
“’Come and journey with us,’” it says to me. “’Master, let me show you what lies beyond the snow-capped peaks and rivers of your own home. Explore with me as we find my lost brothers and sisters and we rejoin together. We can remake all of reality. Your wish is my command. Where shall we go, Master,’ it says. And all of a sudden, I will start picturing in my mind destinations I have never traversed.
“It is driving me mad, I fear. That is why I sent for you, Wonder Worlock. You must help me. Such a stone is dangerous enough with me, but any of my fellows …”
“Relax and …”
Just then, the entire realm shakes beneath their feet. There can be no doubt, at least to two, who it is.
“Mage,” a booming voice says, “how are you? What brings you to my kingdom?”
Rand, captain of the Goff Navy and commander of the New Hope, first lays his eyes upon the king of this land.
It is Aurgelmir, first and strongest of the mighty Frost Giant race!
TO BE CONTINUED …