The Wonder Worlock: The Other Side of the World, Part 2
created 02/14/2014 - 9:05pm, updated 02/15/2014 - 12:13am
(Cover by Sash Scott)
PART THE SECOND
His whole world seems to spin, to be in a constant state of motion. Faces from the past mix with faces from the present to create a cascading hodgepodge of this dark warrior's history.
Shalla-Faz, Gar, Captain Krik, Plantagenous and, looming above all, Rand and Arema.
Where is he? How did he get here? These are questions for another day, another time. Right now, the dark necromancer known as the Wonder Worlock must pull himself up ... up? ... by his boots straps or life as he knows it will surely drain from him, at sure as the Souls of She'ol themselves.
Clarity, focus. He cannot seem to find them. He tries a tracer hex. Nothing. Perhaps a release of his astral self. Again nothing. Intangibility? No.
It is in that instance the Dark Mage realizes he is trapped, like a fly in a spider's web, struggling against some ethereal force that, for the present, his mind cannot comprehend.
Where is he? How did he get here? Perhaps these are indeed questions for the present, for now.
"Zootalaris!" he screams to no one. "How came I here? And where is ... Wait! By the Rings of Randak, I remember! NOMAD! The essence of Nomad! It is palpable here, even as my mind clears itself. I must have finally found Nomad's place of origin! But ..."
It is then he notices fluid dripping from his left arm, fluid from a small wound already healing. It is what passes for his life essence. It is only the third time in his long, long life such has occurred.
"Welcome to the Other Side of the World," a humanoid figure in front of him says. "Forgive my slight butchery of you, wizard, but without your blood, your marvelous cloak would not do as I commanded it. It is with this beautiful ebony cape with which I shall journey ... Out There!"
"The cloak is part of me, as much as my arm, as much as my blood," the Wonder Worlock says, beginning to struggle. "It was created from the sins of Salem, as was I. We are inseparable."
"True chaos magic, mage, but you will not find Katem Tui wanting. I will leave this boring timeless land, for I have seen through the mirror, seen Out There! Stars, planets, life! Why, even the gateway to this dimension left ... that sentient wormhole Nomad ..."
"So this IS the origin point of Nomad?"
"A thousand bleems ago, it was here with me. I could have left through it, but I was content then. And Nomad's departure, thousands of bleems ago or tomorrow, is the only thing that has changed here ... ever changed, and that is what ruined this world for me.
"Since that time, I have been discontent. It fills my throat and it floods my brain. Sometimes I have a hard time recognizing where the discontentment ends and Katem Tui begins ..."
Silence, as Tui wraps the ebony cloak around his shoulders. The cape shudders.
The Wonder Worlock's arm is healed, his thoughts are almost pure and he knows that, yet again, his hunt for Nomad has led him into a fruitless adventure.
"Last time it was a dying universe and a villainous taint that cost me my original body," he mumbles. "What now?
As the Wonder Worlock struggles and gestures, blue Bolts of Bedevilment slice from all directions, cutting any and all eldritch energies binding him.
He rises into the air like a morning star, and from his right arm extends the gigantic Guided Muscle. The hand grabs for Tui but he holds one end of the cloak up and out pour the volleyball-sized Rocks of Randak. The heavy spheres tear at the artificial hand, causing it to shrink away as the Dark Mage sinks into the surface of this particular planetoid like a Rock Troll.
Suddenly, black-clad arms reach from beneath Tui and steal the cape, giant collar and all.
Then through the ground bubbles a steamy black liquid, suddenly bursting with the power of a volcano, knocking Katem Tui off his feet.
The ebony liquid swirls into a grey mist which then transforms into ... the Wonder Worlock!
"Nonononono!" Tui screams. "We were bound by blood, by your blood, wizard!"
"You cannot separate cloak and conjurer," he says. "We are one!"
Landing with a thud, Tui forms a pentagram in thin air, the land mass begins to rumble and suddenly an army of time-lost warriors charge at the Dark Mage.
Stars form in the eye slits of the celestial sorcerer’s cowl and suddenly, the warriors stall and miraculously begin fighting each other.
Projecting a rear shield, Tui turns and runs as Bolts of Bedevilment from the Dark Mage begin to crack the mystic force field.
Clasping hands together, Tui sends a barrage of demons, incubi, djinns, imps and familiars at the galactic guardian, all spirit beings at one time or another swept through the blue flames.
The Wonder Worlock summons the Vortex of Vipers which whisks many of the spirits away or destroys them altogether. Other spirits find themselves on the closing ends of several Conjurer’s Cones.
Unfortunately, the vanishing magical beings are able to break the hex the Wonder Worlock held over the human warriors.
But instead of attacking the Wonder Worlock, they begin aiming their spears, arrows and other projectiles at Tui, who has been their jailer ... for a day or a thousand days, it matters not here ... on the Other Side of the World.
As the throngs of warriors close in tighter, Katem Tui is thankful for the Wonder Worlock's knowledge of Synaster's Shield.
Though he and his minions were defeated, Katem Tui refused to say another word about the wormhole Nomad. And on the Other Side of the World, Tui’s will was supreme.
The great warriors that had been brought to the Other Side of the World by the Bridge of Blue Flame were extremely grateful for their freedom from Tui. Though they were offered the chance to return to their native worlds by the Wonder Worlock, they to a man chose not to. They had been lost from those diverse worlds years ago (in their times) and believed they had nothing to return to. In this dimension, they collectively believed, they would live forever … and for that same amount of time would punish Tui for the servitude under which he had held them.
After hours of chanting and prayer, a Survokean Shield similar to the one which holds the great Surtr of Múspellheim in frigid Niflheim is forged by the Dark Mage around the former sanctum of Katem Tui.
The once-enslaved warriors swear that now this will be not his sanctum but his eternal prison.
The Wonder Worlock does not smile. His search for the dark evil called Nomad is one step closer – the origin point! – but still many steps behind.
He turns, sees Tui in a jail of ethereal shimmering gold, and then thinks deep thoughts.
Who, I wonder, is the true prisoner: Katem Tui … or myself?