Warlord v4 #4

Sep 09

Saga, Part Four : The Castle’s Secret
22 pages

Writer: Mike Grell
Pencillers: Joe Prado, Chad Hardin
Inkers: Walden Wong, Wayne Faucher, Dan Green
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Colourist: David Curiel
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Cover: Mike Grell

Travis Morgan, Shakira, Machiste, Tinder, Alysha Grant, Mariah, Katherine Archer, Ned Hawkins, Ewan McBane

Tinder and Alysha are meeting with men in a tavern in the shadow of Deimos’ former castle, trying unsuccessfully to convince them to join the cause of taking on the golden god. Leaving, Shakira finds them on the streets of the town and she quickly brings them up to speed on Morgan, Machiste and Mariah’s capture.

In the fortress’ dungeon, Morgan and Machiste are behind bars while McBane speaks with them filming their conversation with his video camera. Showing Morgan his video record, McBane narrates what happened to his group when they arrived in Skartaris. Once here, Hawkins changed after he found a diamond-like artefact. He leads Kate, Alysha and McBane straight to Deimos’ castle. Since that time Hawkins has solidified his power with Kate at his side. Alysha slipped away, and McBane is kept alive to feed Hawkins’ ego. Morgan questions his lack of moral will.

Outside the fortress Tinder, Alysha and Shakira look for a way to avoid the Theran guards as they infiltrate the castle. Shakira shows them a falls which the trio scale, and the cave beyond leads into Deimos’ former laboratory. While the stench of death is thick, the marvels of the ancient Atlantean machinery are great. They continue on.

In the throne room, the would-be-god Hawkins is telling a Theran leader that they will be paid when they’ve taken Shamballah. Kate stands at his side, and Mariah is shackled at his feet like Princess Leia in Return of the Jedi. The Theran protests and Hawkins shoots him in the head with his rifle. His comrades beg their pardon, and protest that the power of the Warlord is great. When Hawkins dismisses the notion, Mariah says that the Warlord is a man who can inspire courage. He needs no god’s powers. Hawkins laughs. He has Morgan in his dungeon and he will be killed. With that knowledge, the Therans are reassured.

Mariah protests that Hawkins promised to spare them if she helped. He carrots her by saying she needs to finish translation of Deimos’ books. Mariah has taken it as far as she can. A strange pattern of two symbols has stymied her. Kate laughs, knowing it for binary code. She will use her computer knowledge to complete the task.

In the bowels of the fortress, Tinder’s trio are killing guards as they search for Morgan. Tinder almost kills McBane as he approaches, but Alysha stops him. McBane is glad to see Alysha back. She tells him why they’re there and he says that he’s learned the difference between being a witness and an accomplice. He was on his way to free Morgan and Machiste.

Morgan is relieved to see Tinder alive. Now freed, the group is quickly discovered and must fight their way past a number of angry Therans. One of Deimos’ storage containers is knocked over, releasing a cross between a minotaur and a dinosaur. Its attitude is disappointing, and the group is forced to deal with it harshly. Still fleeing, they dive into the river and exit the fortress. Morgan gives Machiste the crystal Jennifer gave him. With it, he can communicate with its twin that Jennifer carries. And Jennifer is with Tara and the Shamballan army. Machiste needs to get out of the terminator and into sunlight for the magical crystal to work. Machiste rides off at the gallop.

McBane says that swords and bows are no good against Atlantean war machines. Morgan agrees and enlists McBane to show him the portal he came through from the outer Earth. Morgan exits, returning to the world he once knew.

Meanwhile, Kate has successfully encoded the Atlantean binary into a useable program, and Hawkins sees now, “It’s all so… simple,” as he holds up a strange rune-marked skull. eom

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