Warlord v1 #17

Jan 79

The Quest, Part 2: Citadel of Death
17 pages

Writer/Penciller: Mike Grell
Inker: Vince Colletta
Letterer: Milton Snapinn
Colourist: Adrienne Roy
Editor: Jack C. Harris
Cover: Mike Grell

Travis Morgan, Tara, Shadow, Ogir Falconeye

Morgan, Tara and Shadow are walking across a vast desert when they spot a city in the distance. When they arrive in the deserted place, Tara realises it is Timgad, the Citadel of the Sorcerer Kings.

As Morgan and Tara’s adventure unfolds, we also follow Ogir Falconeye’s visit to Timgad in the distant past when Skartaris was separated into city states ruled by evil sorcerers, its citizens wizards, ogres, elves and demons. Ogir was a minor wizard who came to Timgad to steal the contents of a small box.

Soon after Morgan and Tara arrive, they are beset upon by lion-like goblins. As they flee inside the citadel, they unknowingly retrace Ogir’s path all those years before. Ogir had retrieved the box and during his escape ran over a symbol on the floor. Part of the symbol had given way and he had fallen through, losing his hold on the box in the process. Now, Morgan does the same thing and he plummets down into a dark pit, and Tara is left alone to fight the creatures.

In the bottom to the pit, Morgan finds the glowing box that Ogir had stolen. It’s radiating a magical force that he can feel. And a moment later, with the box doing double duty as a lantern, he finds the skeleton of Ogir inside the bounds of a mystical symbol on the floor. As Morgan frantically tries to find a way to get back up to Tara, we learn that Ogir was trapped by a blob-like monster, and had hastily drawn the symbol on the floor to keep the creature out. Ogir had chosen to starve to death rather than be killed by the beast.

Moments later, Morgan discovers the monster is still there, and he runs back to the symbol for protection. Safe for the time being, Morgan opens the box and discovers an emerald fragment that matches the one on the chain on Ogir’s skeleton. Morgan puts the two pieces together and it is revealed to be the Hellfire Gem and its mystical energies destroy the monster. Now free to find a way out, Morgan bounds up a staircase and crashes into the room where he left Tara. The Hellfire Gem scares off the creatures and Morgan and Tara are free to continue their quest.

The Hellfire Gem’s name is referred to only in a caption, and so it feels somewhat awkward to have it introduced that way, rather than being a natural discovery by the characters in the story itself. Where’s the crabby old mystic who says, “I’ll tell you what it is if you let me have it for a while,” as a plot convenience? eom

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