Warlord v1 #16

Dec 78

The Quest, Part I: Visions in a Crimson Eye
17 pages

Writer/Penciller: Mike Grell
Inker: Vince Colletta
Letterer: Ben Oda
Colourist: Adrienne Roy
Editor: Ross Andru
Cover: Mike Grell

Travis Morgan, Tara, Shadow, Saaba, Shakakhan, Joshua, Deimos

In the palace at Shamballah, Morgan sits alone drinking, claimed by melancholy. When he is summoned by the princess Tara he takes it as a challenge and attacks the guards with bare fists, venting his impotent rage upon them. Not until Tara shouts for him to stop does he do so. Morgan rails at the unfairness of having killed Deimos once, only to have him come back from the dead to steal his beloved son Joshua.

Tara goads him to shake him out of his drunken self pity, and the two set off to find their baby boy, accompanied by a big hunting dog named Shadow. On horseback they ride out into the forest and Tara seeks aid from someone who lives there in a strange little house.

They look up and a black bird swoops overhead. It transforms into an old gypsy-like woman named Saaba carrying a staff. She greets Tara. Before she will help Morgan and Tara, they must bring her payment. She desires the Eye of Shakakhan, who is the god of the Tree People. The couple have no choice so they head off into the gloomy recesses of the thick forest and are quickly beset upon by the Tree People themselves. Tara is captured immediately, and the dog is taken out of the battle by a net. Morgan is the last go down, fighting of course, but knocked out all the same.

When he comes to he frees Shadow from the net, and the dog takes to the road made by the thick interlacing branches of the forest. She follows the scent leading them to the bole of a huge tree. Through a crack in the trunk, they see light escaping. Morgan quickly neutralises the guard and enters the mammoth tree. Inside, Tara is about to be sacrificed to Shakakhan, a huge wooden statue with a red eye.

Morgan puts a bullet through the high priest's back and wades into battle once more, cutting down the Tree People with his sword and gun. Morgan cuts Tara free from the altar and she picks up the ceremonial dagger. Together they drive the natives off. Morgan scales the wooden idol and plucks the eye from its socket. Unexpectedly, Shakakhan comes to life, more than a bit upset at the loss of his eye. While Morgan grabs a vine to leap clear, Tara douses the wooden statue with an oil filled lamp.

Quickly the pair flee the tree and watch it, and Shakakhan, burn from a distance. They return to Saaba's and hand her the eye crystal ball-like gem. Muttering over it, Saaba conjures the image of Deimos as the evil one holds up the cpatured Joshua and promises to raise the baby to despise its own father.

Morgan and Tara feel helpless as the image fades within the crystal ball. Saaba dismisses them with a cryptic premonition: "The fate of the son is the fate of the father… and the fate of the father is the fate of Skartaris! They are intertwined, inseparable!"

As Saaba gloats over her new prize which makes her second in power only to Deimos, Morgan shatters her dream by blowing away her bauble with a bullet. Tara and Morgan ride off, continuing their quest.

Warlord moves to monthly status this issue, and inker Vince Colletta comes aboard to help facilitate it. The book would remain a monthly until issue #130, when it returned to bi-monthly status. eom

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