The Wonder Wolock: Sword and Sorcery, Part 1
Posted by: Byron Brewer, Managing Editor
March 31, 2011 13:40 | Updated: 2 years 11 weeks Ago
March 31, 2011 13:40 | Updated: 2 years 11 weeks Ago
Freezing winds began to blow as the Vortex of Viruses engulfs the one-eyed, multi-tentacled Kat’Wallidur. The whirling winds summoned by the black-clad Wonder Worlock then create a downward spiral, literally sucking the octopus-headed being into an alternate dimension – and not one from which his own personal energy flows.
Before the aperture can close, the Wonder Worlock lifts both hands and, in a spectacular display of his space-bending power, literally rips the eye from the cyclopean Kat’Wallidur.
The beast screams, but it is only heard in the mind of the Wonder Worlock.
PART THE FIRST
The world is one of molten lava, active volcanoes but a scientific race who hold dear their territory. Over the eons, they have fought for it, liberated it, bled for it, died for it. All that pride swells each day that dawns for the barbarian called Traven. For he is king of all he surveys – and more.
Riding on his personal hi’opsys – a primitive type of camel, almost – this morning, he smells the burning lava and smoke from nearby volcanoes and thinks, Aye, it is good to be alive this day.
The night had not been a pleasant one. Another long day among diplomats of other worlds and his own castle’s chaos; Marlee, his newest wife among dozens, did not take well to “sharing” this ruler. Malcontents, he thinks, I always chose malcontents!
Then, overhead, the orange skies of his world, known by most as Threlkel, turn crimson as a strange rupture opens above the riding king. Through the hole speedily arrives a body, a body without a head. It lands hard right before the front feet of Traven’s personal hi’opsys, causing the animal to buck and throwing the king a considerable distance into the hot sands of home.
Another bang is heard mere inches from Traven’s head, and the barbarian turns to see an eye looking at him – a giant eye, surrounded by tentacled limbs as unto the septopod beasties in the southern climes. But there is no doubt about one thing: this severed head belongs to the body yards away. And the eye is still glowing with some strange power, the mouth endeavoring to speak despite the decapitation.
It was then that an unnatural streak of horror ran up the back of the king’s spine, as he looked to the skies once more. The now-closing wormhole and great impact of escaping radiation from the alien being has somehow affected the great light- and heat-providing planetary rings that surrounded Threlkel. They are now slowly but surely disintegrating, right before his eyes.
For his people, this presents a worldwide catastrophe, possible annihilation.
“Zounds!” Traven says, as the enraged king reaches for his enchanted sword, the one the legends call Memorell, and brutally finishes the job on the tentacled head started by someone else. The body, scorched from atmospheric entry, has not moved. But the head of the cosmic entity once known by some as Kat’Wallidur speaks two words; they are his last: “Won-durr … Wonder War …
Traven recognizes the name of the Wonder Worlock, even in this far-off dimension, and also knows the cosmic conjurer may be his homeworld’s only chance of salvation. It was plain that, as of this moment, Threlkel was slowly dying.
As much as he hated it, the barbarian would have to go off-world again, away from his wives and children, away to seek this space-faring magician while the world of his birth lay in torment, not unlike the head of Kat’Wallidur before Memorell put an end to that.
Traven swings his enchanted blade and literally begins cutting the very air around him, slicing his way into the dimension from whence came the carcass of Kat’Wallidur. Here, he knows he will also find the Wonder Worlock!
Physically slicing an aperture into the other dimension, Traven’s senses detect a unique energy about. He is physically adrift in open space, the magicks of his blade not only protecting him but waiting to provide a cosmic cab ride as well. This energy signature he senses, it is not that of the space-faring mage; it is instead that of the One-Eye. The energy of Kat’Wallidur will lead him to the Wonder Worlock! Traven swings Memorell around and around his head, propelling him forward and toward the Mephistoff Nebula.
The cosmic champion called the Wonder Worlock soars through the spaceways of our universe, unbelievably enjoying a rare moment of adventure, watching the cyclical migration of the Pizzar, whale-like creatures that swim the cosmic oceans of this particular nebula. Such freedom, he thinks, such intelligence!
The Pizzar are a thoughtful but peaceful race which migrates from one end of the Mephistoff Nebula to the other, a distance of about eleven light-years. A matriarchy, the Old Queen is most likely leading her daughters, granddaughters, aunts, cousins and sisters on her last migration – at least as leader. One of her daughters or sisters will have to take the lead next cycle, and the Old Queen passes on experience and knowledge with her every action.
It is then that the Wonder Worlock notices the tail of an errant comet headed the way of the great pod, possibly pulled off its ages-old trajectory around a distant star by the gravitational pull of the pod itself. This occurrence is not unusual for the Pizzar; but not all of these occasions have a space-bending warlock as witness!
“Zootalaris!” the Wonder Worlock exclaims, and begins quietly chanting an incantation that should leave the Pizzar pod unharmed in the comet’s wake.
By the Vortex of Viruses
And by Ogor’s foul brew
May these large playful beings
See yon comet pass through!
Suddenly, by altering the vibratory rate of the Pizzar atoms, passing them through the spaces between the atoms of the comet, the great beasts become intangible and the comet continues on its way, realigning its old orbit as the gravitational pull of the pod is temporarily removed.
The pod continues on its carefree way, as does the Wonder Worlock. But if his game was more risk-involving than 3-D chess, he would wager the Old Queen gave him a definite if subtle wink as the Pizzar passed beautifully, memorably by, on their way to the other end of the Mephistoff Nebula.
Soaring the wide gaps between binary stars, the Wonder Worlock shoots multi-colored shards of pure cosmic energy in front of his path. With a mystic pass, these rainbow shards solidify into a huge celestial disc that falls toward the smallest of three worlds orbiting the binary. The disc lands atop a lake of molten lava, bubbling hot and steamy in its confinement.
The Wonder Worlock lands on the celestial disc, continues his forward momentum and – surrounded by three layers of esoteric shields – truly enjoys a moment or two of lava-boarding! The black-clad mage doubts whether the activity will ever be an event in the Cosmic Peace Games the systems around Mephistoff enjoy every seven cycles, but right now it is clearing his mind and allowing his weary, sore muscles some rest and recovery.
It was not too long ago that the Wonder Worlock was a prisoner on the planet Za, flung there by the unbelievably powerful eye beam of the being called Kat’Wallidur. For weeks – months? – the mage first walked in the grueling heat of desert sands under three tremendous suns … or shared caves with serpents and crickets, deriving nourishment at times from both.
“Ugghhh!” he says to no one.
He then remembers the soulful song of his companions, the blind crickets, and the memory also helps heal his form, inside and out. The chirping lullaby brings him true peace.
The tri-suns of Za beat down on the desert sands; the temperature at which even Za’nite life can exist in the open has long since passed. Above the scattered dunes, heat eternally radiates upward, making for a cloudless sky of cobalt blue.
Then, as quick as a hiccup, a vortex created by a whirling sword appears on a spot of ground where once the Wonder Worlock and a mighty mite, also named “Za,” conducted combat. Traven has arrived on Za!
Pulling his animal-fur cloak tight about him, he shutters. This world is far colder than Threlkel. He expects such shivering in the void of space, where he is somewhat protected by the enchantments laid down upon Memorell cycles agone by the Founders, but here? On this world of molten rock? Brrrrrrrrrr, he thinks.
The barbarian senses movement nearby, but sees nothing.
“Wonder Worlock!” he screams, his lungs full to bursting, fueled by concern for his people, his planet.
A small sound, really, but with a big reaction. Traven has been shot with a P'kar dart loaded with serpent syrup.
The warrior king is in the capture of the residents of – the Underground Commune of Za!
The Threlkel monarch is shocked when he awakens. He cannot recall a moment of his life when his sword was so far from his hand. Around him are masked humanoids – scientists? – conducting various experiments on their fellow humanoids! The screams of inhuman treatment and experimentation remind Traven of the torture chambers deep in Threlkel’s Forbidden Zone. It has not been used during his reign, he saw to that.
Traven wills Memorell to his hand; they are one, after all. But no soap. It is then the barbarian notices wires, cables and tubes coming from every orifice in his body -- every orifice!
Traven is stricken with pain as great as his women have described in childbirth, perhaps greater. Exotic energies mix with chemicals already pumped into his alien body before he ever awoke.
Chief Scientist Ursus and his cadre of knowledgeable gentlemen have never seen any humanoid as big, muscular or -- well – foreboding as the King of Threlkel. Their minds have still not wrapped around the idea that he is from another world. They believe that, like the mad Rock Wielder “Za,” this fine specimen of muscles and hair must be a product of genetic manipulation gone awry, genetic manipulation of a form they do not understand.
Chief Scientist Ursus is fascinated!
“What are you, large one?” Ursus questions Traven through a universal translator. “Who made you, such a marvelous specimen? We find no place where an uber-tube was removed. How were you grown? Tell us about your heavy sharp stick. Fascinating!”
“My name is Traven. I come from above. I am king!”
“Ridiculous! Only the small brown ones and madmen roam the surface of Za! You could not be from above. Why, they barely have a ‘society,’ if you must call it that like some of my gentlemen insist, much less a king. Bwahahaha! Now who made you? I must shake his hand, learn his secrets – then kill him. Who made you?!!”
The warlord concentrates, or does so as much as this body’s shock and veins coursing with chemicals allows. Memorell, he thinks, Memorell!! The sword abruptly comes alive! It begins hacking – all by itself! – its own way through the Za’nite forcefields surrounding it. Flying to Traven’s shackled hand, the sword slices away wires, cables and tubes attaching its master to monstrous machinery. Traven then whirls the sword toward seven scientists, who instinctively run from the accompanying cosmic lightning; they are, after all, underground dwellers, for the most part.
“Call the serf drones!” Ursus yells. “Seize the specimen!”
At that moment, Memorell penetrates Ursus’ internal organs. “Hah!” exclaims the King of Threlkel, pulling the sword from the Za’nite’s entrails.
The barbarian runs further into the underground labyrinth of tunnels, lacking the room to take flight. He hears no singing blind crickets or crawfish; they died out in this area decades ago, for … some reason. Traven turns a corner and is aghast to the core of his very soul: A giant “boom dart” – a Threlkel term, seldom used, for a device once utilized by the Founders during the Great Solar Wars – rises before his eyes like a towering monolith. It is, in fact, an intact nuclear bomb! Its like has been gone from Threlkel for ages, yet here sits one in plain view of the warrior king in the middle of Underground Za – the object of study, perhaps worship, by the masked denizens of the commune.
As the startled Za’nites turn their attention to Traven, his jaw finally lets him speak: “To have this device is madness, madness! Why do you gather before it like it is something of a holy nature? This is no deity but a weapon of great power, of mass destruction! No war ballads have ever been written about a boom dart; there were no war survivors to write them! Madness!”
In the expanse of the caverns, Traven is finally able to use his mystic sword to fly, to create a whirlwind that will carry the “dart” upward to the surface, where he can then carve an aperture to send this doomsday device to another dimension, another reality.
As the barbarian wordlessly rises along with the bomb, engulfed in the wind of a thousand worlds, the masks of the Za’nites are simultaneously swept off their faces as their “God” departs its longtime holding bay. Traven, airborne, looks back to see the faces of his hosts, faces which have been grotesquely mutated by centuries of exposure to nuclear fallout.
As Traven hacks at the air in the sweltering beams of Za’s triple sun, those same rays penetrate the caverns below, bringing the desert dayheat swiftly to the caves of Underground Za. The worshippers, the scientists’ cadre, all those nearest the breach begin to turn – to ash!
As Memorell swings wildly overhead the muscular warlord, the bomb is blown -- harmlessly and safely -- by cosmic winds into a wormhole which abruptly closes. Traven has been a master of controlling the properties of Memorell most of his life.
“This is a mad world, but I sense a familiar energy signature … it heads away from this planet,” says Traven, who throws his sword in the direction of the tri-suns, rises from the desert surface and would slowly disappear from view were there any present to witness.
“Madness!” By the time he exclaims the word, Traven is halfway across the Mephistoff Nebula.
TO BE CONTINUED …