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The Wonder Worlock: Sharkinister, Part 1

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Posted by: Byron Brewer, Contributing Editor
created 04/07/2014 - 8:10pm, updated 04/08/2014 - 8:43pm



(Story by Allyson Attic. Classic cover by Israel Huertas.)


Slumber: A need to reboot the body and sometimes the soul. Tomorrow is a better day ... once those 40 winks are caught ... and although the Wonder Worlock is impervious to the needs of sleep, his beloved, Queen Arema of Oceanus, must attain the allusive REM to function as a sane ruler. 

Queen Arema does not have a pillow for her weary head. For the queen of this water world, a bedchamber does not even contain a downy bed.  It contains ... another chamber, for lack of a better word, a cocoon which was fashioned for her to sleep. 

This cocoon would remind us of a spherical padded cell from a mental hospital, except it has a strip of tiny opaque windows that circle the room and the pads are not white rubber but are of silken embroidered hues of  pinks, yellows and the most beautiful blues of the surface when the sun sets with pictures of winsome places to encourage sweet dreams. 

Before meeting the cosmic conjurer, Arema would float alone in this gilded chamber and would have great trouble catching those 40 winks. The weight of a world was on her shoulders, from the trifling to the tragic were in her thoughts.

Once the two lovers bonded, her dreams turned sweet, for the Wonder Worlock stroked her dreams as if he laid a warm blanket on her psyche and crooned a sweet melody. Not that the Dark Mage could sing, or would sing, but it felt as if he did so. This in itself would be a scene of whimsy ... but it does not last for long, for once Arema achieved REM sleep, the necromancer’s dedication as protector of the universe will not let him stay throughout the night. He would whisk away to some galaxy that was of need of his help. Yet, even billions of stars away, he stayed connected with her to give his love serene thoughts for the night.

One such night, her dreams were of her childhood, when she and a childhood friend played in the Rushes. Playing in the Rushes is something like an earthly water flume ride. The currents in the Rushes converge ... and diverge, giving the young children the thrill of a fun park as they are pushed this way and that, flipping from one place to another.  Their laughter filled her dreams.

Unbeknownst to the beautiful dreamer, she is no longer alone, and it's not the celestial shaman that accompanies her in her cocoon. The visitors number in the hundreds, but the crowd has plenty of room, for they are tinier then a pencil tip, and even though they have eight legs to stretch, Arema is not disturbed by their number.  If she were to awaken, she may have likened their glistening bodies unto stars, at least before she screamed. 

But the beautiful dreamer is not awake but in peaceful repose, as the glistening creatures set to their task. It's not from sweat that their bodies glisten, even though they are hard at work spinning their web, but it’s oxygen that causes this sheen. These spindled eight-legged creatures are surface dwellers, and on a water world, surface dwellers need to adapt to survive. They have a halo of oxygen coating their hairy bodies in order to breathe and to allow for dives into the Oceanus' depths, such as this dive.  

In fact, the web itself is able to cipher oxygen from the water, causing it to glow in the muted light of the night. This webbing is stronger than the natural threads of any other world’s creatures. It can withstand the various radiations that pelt the surface of a planet, a surface that has no shade and its ground is a changing mirror that could burn like an oven.

The weave of the web is being formed in a spherical globe around the unconscious queen, like a black medieval snow globe with her at the center. The web starts to have a sheen, a glow of oxygen, and the denizens double their task, then triple, quadruple upon each others’ work to make the web more than it was before. This is also not the norm for these creatures, but this is what their master bids.

“All Hail!” “All Hail! The one with a black-centered hatred, the one with an ulcer of pus for a heart.”

Queen Arema's dream starts to take a dangerous turn. She can't escape the currents as they twist her toward Oceanus' Cankered Coral. Her friend disappears and she is alone, grasping at nothing to slow her progress which seems to only increase in speed.

This place, Cankered Coral, is dead. What was once vibrant with colors and full of life reaches out with sharp poisonous brown edges, threatening all who trespass with death. Arema's young self screams for help with no answer. Can you indeed die from your dreams?

A very real scream escapes Arema's lips even though her eyes are still closed. In her dream, time seems to stretch infinitely.Time itself is a funny thing. After all, time masquerades as a constant. It flows in a steady rhythm as seconds turn into minutes and minutes turn into hours and hours turn into days and days into years, but as we live these moments they shrink and stretch, and are very hard to catch. 

The Wonder Worlock can move through the fabric of space/time almost instantaneously. That is, once he has need. A need that is passed to him with knowledge.The most diligent can become delinquent when knowledge is the key.

And when dealing with missed time, these words are heard over and over again: “If only ...”

“If only I had known ...”

“If only ... I would have been there ... I could have stopped it ... controlled it ... beat it ... overcome it ... I could have SAVED ... IF ONLY... !” 

And it only takes seconds for loved ones to be lost. No matter how diligent you may be.

The wrong place at the wrong time, maybe even moments ...

 “If only ...” 

Seconds are what a heart full of HATRED needs. Cold and black, it beats deep within his chest. “Hail! Hail!” The creatures continue their circle dance. A few seconds of confusion and the deed will be done.

Currently, further than “a land far far away,” the Wonder Worlock just finished battling nature. A sun had turned nova and the indigenous population needed a few more seconds to achieve safety. Many loved ones were saved because he was there at the right time.  

No one would call the Wonder Worlock a fool. It only took a few seconds for him to notice something odd about his love. His mystic connection with her seemed to only be a reflection of what was there before, a wave that bounces back from a mirror at his senses and not the original thought. Something like a glitch.

A glitch is not an acceptable situation, as far as the diligent Dark Mage is concerned, and there is no time for thank-yous or good-byes as he envelopes himself on himself and “bamf,” he is gone in a swirl of violet darkness.

In turn, in a swirl of darkness he reappears in the heart of the underwater city of Oceana, the Golden City. But there is no one to see his reappearance. The bedchamber without a bed, the gilded cocoon that held his love was empty ... except for a shimmering sphere of black webbing. Black specks are afloat in the spaces between, they that were at one time busy creatures. The cold heart that tinkered with their DNA made sure that when their purpose was done, those creatures were also done.

The Dark Mage reaches out with his mind for those thoughts he has treasured, for any tendrils, for any hints, of Arema ... but touches nothing. He lashes out with anger and destroys the webbing in a flash of Hellfire. The mystic warrior ponders the words, “If ONLY...!” as he searches for answers in what is now a very empty universe.  

Empty without her.

Empty without ... Arema.




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