The Wonder Worlock: On the Rocks, Part 1
created 05/17/2014 - 7:51am, updated 05/17/2014 - 12:44pm
(Cover by Ben Ferrari and Darren Blackburn)
No matter what the expert fleet of Goff starships or the Wonder Worlock did, Gaza IV was soon going to blow. Explode!
For the better part of a week, the Goff ships assisted the sometimes emotional populations of the peoples of the Gaza star system relocate under the direction of General Doz and the Dark Mage.
The underground residents, mammal and reptilian, find themelves making the best of things as they are relocated to the dark world of Ytsan Nobe with its livable caverns and deep subterranean passageways. The water-breathers of underground Gaza IV as well as a sister species on Gaza
The prime populaces, meanwhile, were 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
That was years ago …
PART THE FIRST
Ytsan Nobe, in the Goff outskirt territories.
Where mountains reach to the sky, the air thick with mist and all is deathly silent.
At least above the ground.
Inside the mountains, endless caverns echo day and night with the roar of ancient machinery and the pounding of hammer on anvil and pickax on rock.
There are no grand towers on Ytsan Nobe, no castles, no soaring cathedrals. Instead its strongholds reach deep into the earth, guarding the fiery furnaces where their great weapons of survival are forged.
These moloid inhabitants from the former Gazasystem are a sullen and reclusive lot, rarely receptive to visitors, never receptive to the reptilian inhabitants of the same world.
Which makes today all the more unusual.
A hulking moloid greets a small party led by a lizard-like female, strangely alien, strangely beautiful.
“Welcome to the Great Furnaces of Ytsan Nobe North, Queen Ssthgara of Ytsan Nobe South,” the large being says to the obvious royal.
“My thanksss for ressseiving our party,” comes the slow, methodical voice of the queen. “I look forward to meeting with your tharn, Emperor Goyn, and getting hisss take on our land’sss current … sssituation.”
“Right this way,” the master moloid says to the queen and her party.
“Revolting creaturesss, thessse humanoidsss,” Ssthgara’s principal guard whispers to her. “We would’ve been better off if thossse Rock Trollsss were ssstill here.”
“Mind your tongue, Sslathbath, or you may be sssleeping with the Rock Trollsss yet,” Ssthgara warns. “Remember, all of you, we are here at Emperor Goyn’sss leisssure. Unlesss you’d prefer to face Kosmosss and his rebelsss in the field?”
The sound of silence in the underground caverns.
“No, I thought not.”
“How do you know you can trust thessse creaturesss, thessse humanoidsss, your majesssty?”
“I’ve promisssed them mining rightsss to Ytsssan Nobe’s eassstern ssspiresss. That should buy their loyalty in the short term. At leassst long enough to crush this rebellion among our people and sssend that bassstard Kosmosss back to hell where he belongsss.”
And all that is heard after the reptile queen’s words are the shuffle of moloid feet and the dragging of lizard tails.
Oceanus, in the Mephistoff Nebula.
The long, black cloak of the Wonder Worlock swishes and sways in a weak current flowing through the dim glow of All Souls Grotto, an ever-lasting illumination that marks this memorial to fallen heroes.
Here lies Skrill, native of the planet Neptunia, right-hand man in the service of Captain Gar. Here also lie Ybom Kcid, an Oceanan in Gar’s service, and Br’vort, the first scout to record the necessaries of the waters of this wondrous world. Heroes all. Dead on Gar’s watch.
Now Augustus Gar, captain of the Neptunian starship Good Fellow, pride of Oceanus, husband of Nef and step-father of the babe that is the cosmic gem Landry, comes to join his fellows after having been mortally wounded in the battle against the Children of the Norn.
The mage, standing on a precipice above the honored ground with Arion, late of the world Dalbain, says nothing. Finally, the boy speaks.
“O Sir, after our visit to honor these most worthy, can we continue learning what these mysterious … powers? traits? … I have suddenly taken on, with and separate from Captain Gar’s medallion gift? I thought …”
The Wonder Worlock is gone.
Instead, the startled Boy of Light notes a large black manta taking flight below him, over Gar’s grave, its wings outspread like a giant cape -- a sign of luck in Oceanan and Neptunian mythologies.
Arion is by himself, but soon fades in a corona of illumination and next finds himself back on Dalbain.
Meanwhile, in the Golden City of Oceana, the water-breather Nef and the great and seasoned general of New Gaza, Doz, discuss the future of Nef’s daughter, Landry. Nothing so mundane as her place in the cosmic scheme of things, an object of study by the Dark Mage, but something of more immediate import: lunch.
“By the Grand Grotto, Gar could get her to eat anything … even that ok’nar leaf Queen Arema brought back from faraway N’Moy,” frets Nef. “Doz, please, your world is one of great science. Is there anything you can do besides stand there looking perplexed?”
“Oh, beg pardon, milady!” the general says, startled. “I was talking via telepathy to the Wonder Worlock. Something his ‘cosmic awareness,’ as it were, is ‘picking up,’ as he put it. When that man feels something, it usually means trouble. And nothing shall harm either Oceanus or the Great Goff Empire as long as Doz is breathing … er uh … air.”
They both giggle (since Doz is now breathing water, thanks to Gazascience) and as they do, they smile, embrace and …
Landry offers her opinion, and then miraculously starts eating seaweed salad from Doz’s plate rather than her pabulum. She never ceases to amaze.
In the center of the GoldenCity, General Doz walks the streets as Oceanans and Neptunians bow in respect to the fabled warrior. He has been accepted as a Citizen of the Realm, much the same way the Wonder Worlock is on otherdimensional Threlkel.
“T’rover, S’thnar,” Doz says, greeting two citizens. “Have you seen the mage?”
Both point, and down floats the Wonder Worlock.
“O Sir, what is it?” Doz questions.
“Something hidden, something akin to old Gaza… I am having trouble. There seems some cosmic interference in the ether. I am off …”
“WE are off to … er uh, wherever,” Doz declares.
“Not ‘we,’ General, not after Gar,” the celestial shaman says. “That is what I asked of the captain, and you saw …”
“Gar was a man in a flying fish bowl, no disrespect. I am a warrior born. Who did you face the Dragon of Gaza IV with? Who led the troops on Dalbain? Who …?”
“Magus! Sheesh! Vortex of Voyages …”
A whirlwind under water later and the two figures are no longer in the GoldenCity, but have been transported to the Great Furnace Caverns of Ytsan Nobe North.
“Mork?” the Wonder Worlock questions. “Ymok?”
Bwahahahahahahaha!The laughter is in his head and all around the echoing caverns. In front of the mage, on a cave wall, he recognizes the round, shadowed objects … the hanging, bloody heads of Emperor Goyn of the moloids, Queen Ssthgara of the reptilians and several others of each race, wearing their respective military helms. Below the hanging heads, the decapitated bodies, partially consumed.
And in the shadows, a lizard man of great height and apparent strength, standing before a small reptilian army.
“Ahh, Wonder Worlock? General Doz? I have heard of you. Let me introdussse myssself. I am … Kosmosss! I am your death.”
TO BE CONTINUED …