THE OBSIDIAN CANTICLE:
The Comic in Text Version
PAGE 1: PROLOGUE: To the left stands a woman shackled in chains, to the right are the portraits of two men and one woman. They overlook a city where a demon lurks.
Narrator: Darkness has fallen over the city of Levwyn. Premature dreams struggle to come alive as the demons come out to feed. I who am made seen by the immortal stars make this vow to you...
Hell! I will scorch your shadows and extinguish your flame before the next dawn rises to your evil.
PAGE 2: CHAPTER ONE THE OBSIDIAN CANTICLE:
Narrator: When the day sets, Morg-Arisk, the gate of the demon world opens... and lets all hellish beasts out into the mortal realms.
Seblue: They're all around us, Agnor, can you feel it?
Agnor: Yes. I can smell their foul souls.
It's why we must do this. Hell, it's so dark tonight!
Agnor (thinking): I pray that Otrani will understand... I'd hate having to hurt him into reason.
Narrator: Every night, more and more humans fall prey to the demons. But you know, in the end... we all must fall.
Seblue: Just hurry ok? I got your back.
A demon is sniffing the air, picking up a scent.
Agnor: Great! Better release that night sun, then!
Seblue: Yeah sorry. It's such a compulsive habit: reaching for its protection. You done?
Agnor (unlocking a door): Done. The easy part is over.
Narrator: Might as well fall... ...for something.
The demon climbs a stairway towards Seblue and Agnor.
Seblue: Agnor...! Company!
The demon leaps towards Seblue.
Agnor (preparing to shoot an arrow): Seblue! Look out!
Blood spills. Somebody screams.
The demon lies beheaded by Seblue's sword.
Agnor: Are you okay?!?
Seblue: Oh Agnor... You're so cute when you think I'm dead!
I've survived hungrier devils, remember?
Agnor: I know, it's just... I don't want to lose you to them. Especially not tonight.
Seblue: Don't worry. I'm not going anywhere! ..so don't ask me to leave again. We'll see this through together.
Agnor: You follow me. And I follow a vision in a dream.. ..It doesn't seem to creep you out one bit.
Seblue: We still have our Night Sun. If it gets too risky touch it and the demons will vanish.
Agnor: But they still exist, even if we don't see them! I'm not doing this just to save myself!
Seblue: I knew you'd say that. Well... If you're gonna be so serious all the time... We should just go inside. Save the world and all that.
They enter a large house.
Seblue: No sign of Otrani here.
Agnor: He must be up in his study, as suspected.
Seblue: We can't let him see me Agnor! Or he won't help us.
Agnor: He'll need to be convinced regardless...
Seblue: What will you do if he refuses? What then?
Agnor: He won't. I know his price.
PAGE 5: Narrator: Focused on the study of magical theories, the wizard Otrani has scarce thoughts for the demons lurking outside his head... (Otrani notices someone in his room and gets up from his chair).
Otrani (thinks): What the devil?
Agnor: 'Evening Otrani!
Otrani: Oh! 'Tis only you, Agnor. Forgive my reaction... I almost took you for a demon!...
Agnor: No offense taken... The beasts hunt hard tonight, we're all quite edgy... I borrowed Seblue's key to enter. I hope you don't mind.
Otrani: Not at all. I lock the shop at sundown and open under no pretext 'til morning! Even wizards need to be cautious when the demons roam! Lord Griall must do something to break their resolve or the city will be completely despoiled.
Agnor: There isn't much Lord Griall can do. Gold and strength of arms are his only arguments, and this evil won't be sundered by neither. Others measures must be taken!
Otrani: Say you didn't come here in the middle of the night to discuss politics...did you?
Agnor: No. The hour is too late for that,Otrani.
Otrani: Then why are you h-- Oh!! Agnor! Aren't you wearing that night sun I gave you !? Without it, the demons can see you!
Agnor: Yes, and I can see them.
Otrani: What! ...Are you mad? Or do you hope to go hunt the fiends yourself? To see is to believe, Agnor. Trust the old saying!... If the demons don't manage to kill you, they'll command the eye of your soul! They'll render you to their will!
Agnor: Superstitious nonsense! Don't worry Otrani. I'm not so easy to sway.
Otrani: I'll worry less if you don't try to prove it to me. Why have you come here, at such a late hour?
Agnor: Oh, I wanted a regular service, nothing more. I came to purchase some sorcery. I need you to cast a spell... The Obsidian Canticle.
Otrani: There! I knew it! You've completely lost it!!! That canticle is Forbidden!
Agnor: You mean it frightens you and rightfully so... But I won't be manipulated by your fears. I need the spell cast. Tonight.
Otrani: Who the hell needs a dead person resurrected? I don't know what's gotten into you, boy, but i'll cast no such thing! I won't jeopardize your safety-
Agnor: Do not patronize me, wizard! Casting for gold is what you do. Have you ever cared about your clients, beyond the weight of their purse? I don't want any special treatment.
Agnor (tosses a purse filled with coins on the wizard's table): Here! This should cover the fees.
Otrani: I've had it with your tone, Agnor! Leave my shop, or I'll spell you out of here!
Agnor (prepares to shoot an arrow): You won't have the time to speak your magic!
Otrani: What?! Quit this madness at once! I know you won't dare hurt me!... Not after everything I've done for y-
Agnor shoots the arrow towards the wizard.
The arrow flies past the wizard, sticking his robe's sleeve to the chair he was sitting in.
Otrani: ?!? What's the matter boy? Did you lose your aiming skills along with your sanity?
Agnor: No but... You were right Otrani, I don't dare harm you. But now that you're hooked, I have a tale for you...
I'm not deluded... Even if it was hard to convince myself of it too... Several nights ago, I suffered a dream collapse. My body fell into a deep slumber, imprisoned by unholy magic... For three nights and days, my body lay paralysed... while on the other side of consciousness, my spirit encountered the maker of the coma: it was the soul of a dead magic wielder, who had a dire message. A host of demons will march on Veraija Kith, our capital tonight. Their strength will be magically increased and our armies will get decimated. Yet there's a way to stop them if we act stealthily and fast. The spirit has been observing the living, humans and demons alike. He knows the secret way into the monsters' lair where they hide their magic crafts. He also knows of a way to stop their raids! He will help me defeat them... If I follow his orders. The first condition is to revive him!
I didn't trust him at first but then I remembered what you've told me: the dead are bound to speak the truth, aren't they?
Otrani: Yes! But how far does the truth really take anyone in this world!
Otrani: I mean the dead have their own agendas for meddling with the living. It's never without risk to revive them!
Agnor: I spent 3 days with this guy: I believe he wants to stop the demons. His hatred for their raids was very lucid. I'm not changing my mind. If this is the only chance to stop the demon attacks, I'll take it.
Otrani: A dream collapse can have the seems of a calling... but you risk your life too readily.
Agnor: So are you in?
Otrani: What is his name?
Agnor: Nezakar Skanth.
Otrani: I don't like the sound of it... But I know how stubborn you are when it comes to stopping those fiends!
You do realise that he'll be back in the flesh and out of your control? He could kill you!
Well... if he proves dangerous, you can always try to kill him... again.
Otrani: The spell will give him life until dawn... when the last shade of night fades, he too will vanish into the afterlife. Until then... he'll be as alive and mortal as any man.
Otrani: Oh! And one more thing: I do trust your word so promise me you'll keep Seblue away from him. I don't want my niece involved in this!
Agnor: ... I... I... promise you. I want nothing more than her safety.
Otrani: Then... May the gods of the afterlife be merciful upon our intrusion.
Otrani burns the magical scroll and speaks his spell in wizard tongue.
The scroll is burnt and diffuses a dark smoke. The smoke takes the shape of a male figure, which materializes into living flesh.
Agnor: Is it done, Otrani?
Otrani: Yes... I mean... I think.
Agnor: Ah you think. That's nice.
Agnor: Nezakar? Can you hear me?
Nezakar turns towards Agnor and Otrani and his eyes glow red.
Otrani: Hell upon us! Those red eyes! It's... a demon!
Otrani begins casting a spell against Nezakar.
Agnor: Otrani, don't! He's our only chance!
Nezakar rushes towards the wizard and grabs him by the neck, choking him.
Nezakar: You were trying to tell me something?
Nezakar: Foolish man! Your pathetic spells won't work on me! But you deserve a lesson in assault strategies!
Agnor: The hell Nezakar! We had an agreement! You swore not to harm him!
Nezakar: Hahaha! Did I?
It must've been while I was dead... and far from these earthly temptations! Oh how I've missed drawing their blood!
Otrani: Glrrg... I resurrected you!...
Otrani: ...De...mon... Arrgh... If -If...
Nezakar: You'll need to squeal louder than that, worm!
Otrani: If... If you kill me... The- spell will cease! You'll die!-
Nezakar: Humph. A coward's pathetic lie, no doubt!
But... Agnor IS right!...
Nezakar tosses Otrani aside, and the wizard hits a column and falls to the ground.
Nezakar: I DID promise to leave his wizard alive.
Agnor leans over Otrani thinking: Otrani? Gods! This is worst than I hoped.
Nezakar: Best be on our way then! Come along. The night is short.
Nezakar walks out of the room and meets Seblue.
Seblue: Rotten devil! Your word is as hollow as your heart.
Nezakar: My heart?
Seblue: Maybe Agnor still trusts you, but I won't forget that you hurt uncle Otrani.
Nezakar: Ah I get it. You must be "the girlfriend", right? Seblue? I'm glad Agnor brought you along just like I asked him.
You look better now that I'm alive... Death distorts the most beautiful... Things.
Seblue: You wanted me along? Why?
Nezakar: Agnor is quite an obedient boy, isn't he? I like that... And I guess you like it too. See? Us two can share some common interests. Don't let your hate distance us. You'll get used to my touch before long.
Nezakar leans towards Seblue and brushes her face with his fingers.
Seblue thinking: Hell spare me! What a psycho-
Seblue: What you better get used to... is this!
Seblue raises her sword and Nezakar backs off.
She swings the sword in front of him and the point of her blade scratches his cheek, cuts off a bit of his hair and he smiles.
Nezakar giggles: Alright, alright... I get it! You're obviously still angry that I strangled the old man... Humans are so damn sensitive.
Nezakar touches his hair and thinks: Hmmm... I didn't expect to lose body parts so quickly...
Nezakar: I gotta work on my timing here! I promise the fun will improve between us!
Seblue: Yes... I'll aim much lower next time!
Nezakar: Great. Let's both do that... Which reminds me... Where is your boyfriend hiding? Hell has no time for his conscience tantrums.
Agnor: Are you alright?
Otrani: Yes! Obviously better than you! You are following a monster Agnor? The gods help us! He must have shattered your reason with demonic spells! ...I can't believe you made me summon that!
Agnor: It does seem crazy but Nezakar will help us-
Otrani: -Defeat his own? You ARE deluded!... I hope you'll come to your senses... and outlive the night, boy. But I'd prefer it if you left now.
Agnor walks out of the room and finds Seblue.
Seblue: Agnor, what happened? The demon almost killed Otrani in front of you and you just stood there... We can't let him have his way like that. It will lose us.
Agnor: I know... It's just I couldn't react back there. I kept thinking how we need this creature...
Seblue: To the point of sacrificing friends?
Agnor: No... Please forgive me. Nezakar won't get away with such actions again.
Narrator: While a few strides away ...
A group of demons are overlooking the city's streets from a higher location.
Demon1: All of you make quiet! And come see! Quick!
Demon2: Is more food coming this way?
Demon3: Shut up Kervo! Down there, look! ...It's... That thing! ...Is that...? It better NOT be Him ...!
Narrator: He has traveled dozens of ghost cities but none felt as deserted, as this town of living men.
Do they call this being alive, cowering behind their walls? The humans trade their fear for life, hiding away... blind to whatever hope lies outside their borders. And those who dare face the demons become victims of obsession... too entangled in their hate to see anything clearly...
Can't they understand that their defenses never hold? ...And that sooner or later you must deal with your devil, or else, he will deal with you?
Demon 1: Skanth?!? ...So... he didn't die?
Demon2: Of course he died, you idiot! We saw a red passage after his death! ...But his very blood was sorcery! We can't trust our eyes with him...
Demon3: But why does he appear tonight when the armies march?! I say we inform Zordevoza!
Demon1: He won't be at the lair--
Demon2: Then we deal with Skanth...
Demon3: Yes! We'll make him dead again! And Zordevoza will reward us for the kill!
Demon1: Bah! I take no orders from Vagarth Hounds!
He jumps down into the street.
Demon1: Not everyone wanted that passage! Zordevoza knows it!
Nezakar walks through a street and senses a presence behind him. He turns and faces the demon Kervo.