Symka: Part 33

Copyright Sean McGinity © 2005

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion

"Even though it appeared we destroyed Mordo, his evil is eternal."

Page One

Splash Page

Lurch stands before Gideon, El Tigre, Silver, and Dale Turcott. He looks visibly weakened. He is propped against a dais. Upon the dais is the last of the Symka tablets. El Tigre looks troubled, studying Lurch cautiously. Silver's eyes are on El Tigre with concern. Gideon is watching the whole thing, arms crossed with a defiant look on his face. He still does not trust Lurch. Dale looks out of place, keeping a strong grip on the automatic rifle he holds in his hands.

Caption: Last issue, Mordo made his move against Lurch, attempting to breach the sanctity of Lurch's temple with the aid of Snapshot, who made some sort of deal with the demon.

Caption: Mordo was repelled however. But not before leaving El Tigre with the message that he would turn El Tigre's son against him. A shocking revelation since El Tigre doesn't knowingly have any children. And this just after learning Lurch was his own father...

Caption: Lurch has decided to come forth with the truth to El Tigre. He is about to tell him the tale...

Lurch: As you know by now, I've lived a lifetime in hiding from the evil that is Mordo. He has shaped my existence, forcing me to hide here on Mordo Island behind the safety of this temple. I hid to prevent Mordo from using me for his own machinations: to have me killed in order to imbue my son, Joaquin with my own energies, and with an evil blood lineage.

Page Two

Panel 1.

Flashback of last issue, with Mordo melting into the pentagram upon the floor.

Caption: "Today we stopped Mordo. Even though it appeared we destroyed him, his evil is eternal. He cannot be permanently defeated with a simple warding spell, no matter how powerful."

Caption: "But this buys us the time to use the Symka tablets... to resurrect Manapatapoo."

Panel 2.

1/4 shot of the group. Gideon is pointing at Lurch demandingly. El Tigre is cutting Gideon off.

Gideon: Get on with it, Lurch. You abandoned your son...

El Tigre: Gideon... I can speak for myself here.

El Tigre: Lurch... you say you're my father. And Mordo says I have a son. Why should I believe either of you? And why should I trust you? Why should you even matter to me? I want the truth. No more double-speak. No more secrets.

Panel 3.

3/4 shot of Lurch. He is hurt by El Tigre's tone.

Lurch: As much as that stings me, I deserve it, son. I did... abandon you. And for that... that I can only apologize and try to make it up to you. I cannot go back in time and change the way things happened. And even if I could...

Panel 4.

1/4 shot of El Tigre. He hears Lurch's words and they sting.

Lurch: ... I wouldn't.

Panel 5.

Side shot of Lurch and El Tigre. They are looking at each other, reading each other.

Lurch: It was dangerous under my care...

Page Three

Splash Page

Flashback. Lurch's face is in the center of the page surrounded by his recollection in images around his head. Upper left side of the page shows a barren rocky landscape, charred as if burnt by some unearthly fire. Connecting directly to with an abrupt change in landscape is a lush jungle, with luscious greens and browns, with exotic fruit growing from the trees. On the upper right of the page is a sinking ship in a far, far shot, with a group of some Spanish people swimming away from it towards an island. On the bottom left of the page are the same shipwrecked people, eating the fruit from the trees. Bottom middle of the page shows the shipwrecked people building some huts on the island. On the bottom right of the page, a couple of the people walking down a stone stairway, torches in hand and finding Lurch sitting upon a stone throne in some underground bunker, looking over his shoulder at them.

Lurch: I changed this island, through my magics, from an evil barren place to a lush paradise, one in which trees could grow and bear fruit and the island could sustain life.

Lurch: The first residents stumbled here from misguided voyages over the ocean. Shipwrecked and near death, the island was a tropical paradise where they could regain their health. And I made sure the island could sustain them.

Lurch: And these people not only survived but flourished. Even though they eventually could have left the island, most of them stayed. Of those that left many returned later with their families they had left behind.

Lurch: Although I coaxed the eco-system in secret, hidden within an underground bunker, they eventually found me.

Page Four

Panel 1.

In the same bunker, Lurch is standing as these same people kneel before him in worship.

Caption: "And they worshipped me as some god."

Panel 2.

Lurch walking out from the underground bunker shyly. Around him are all the villagers, watching him with awe, as if he were some god.

Caption: "I refused their worship, preferring to remain in secret but eventually I could not resist them. Eventually I mingled with them, acting as their equal."

Panel 3.

A saddened beautiful woman being helped off a rowboat to shore by one of the islanders. Another woman, obviously related to the first one, with a large smile is looking about excitedly at the island.

Caption: "It was several generations later before your mother traveled here from abroad, taken along by a caring cousin who had heard about the wonders of this island."

Caption: "You see, your mother had suffered much at the world's hands and needed something to bring her out of her bitterness at the world. Her cousin thought this island paradise that was whispered about could do that to her."

Panel 4.

Front 1/4 shot of Lurch. Over his shoulder is Joaquin's mother walking purposely towards Lurch. Lurch has an eye on her, with his head slightly turned.

Caption: "And she thrived here. I had never spoken to her other than to nod a hello. Then, one day, when she said her spirit had fully healed, she approached me."

Panel 5.

3/4 side shot of Joaquin's mother and Lurch. They are facing each other. She has a hand on his forearm.

Caption: "She thanked me for allowing her to live in this paradise without war, crime or poverty. It had changed her and she was grateful to me for that."

Page Five

Splash Page

Full shot of Lurch and Joaquin's mother. He is holding her up, hands on her waist. She is jubilant as is he. They seem like the happiest people in the world, and obviously in love with each other.

Caption: "She won me over."

Caption: "I cannot explain exactly what it was... maybe it was her fragility. She seemed so much more mortal than the others who had lived and died on my island.

Caption: "She was so radiant... more radiant than any other person I had ever met. And it made me forget about my own troubles...

Caption: "...about Mordo."

Caption: "And because of her I let go and spent all of my time outside the temple. And because of her, for the first time in ages, I was happy and enjoying the fruits of my labor."

Page Six

Panel 1.

Lurch walking hand in hand with Joaquin's mother in a far shot. They are walking through a wondrous garden with amazing flowers, along a pathway that cuts perfectly through.

Caption: "Mordo never came. Days, weeks, months went by."

Caption: "Spending more time with the people made me realize I could make the island even better. I used my magics to make the island more breathtaking, more life-giving. I was a slave to the people because she loved me."

Panel 2.

Close-up shot of Joaquin's mother. Lurch has a gentle hand upon her face. She is closing in eyes in complete trust."

Caption: "And it made her smile. It made me smile."

Panel 3.

3/4 shot of Joaquin's mother. She has a hand on her belly. She is telling Lurch off-panel that she is pregnant.

Caption: "It was your conception that changed everything, Joaquin. She told me she was with child. It wasn't planned..."

Panel 4.

1/4 shot of Lurch. He looks distrustful of Joaquin's mother (off-panel).

Caption: "...or maybe it was. Maybe it was her intention. I don't know. But her pregnancy scared me and some of my old fears of Mordo resurfaced."

Panel 5.

Full shot of Lurch and Joaquin's mother. She is looking at him, looking for approval. Lurch is distant with her, unsure and trying to let on about it.

Caption: "With a child, I was fulfilling what Mordo wanted: an heir to the bloodline, someone to make his soldier. My child was someone he had every intention of corrupting to murder me.

Page Seven

Panel 1.

Same shot as last, except it is a closer shot. Lurch has turned his back on her and is clenching a fist. She has a hand on his shoulder, trying to find out what is wrong with him. He has obviously said something to upset. He is angry. His face is twisted with an evil grimace.

Caption: "I just couldn't let that happen. How could I have been so foolish as to make this mistake? And she sensed that change in me. And we started to fight. All the time.

Panel 2.

Lurch is motioning for her to go away. Another tight shot.

Caption: "I was too afraid to tell her my fears... what I thought could happen."

Panel 3.

Full shot in a large panel. Lurch and Joaquin's mother have been fighting. Mordo has suddenly appeared through a teleportation portal. They are in the flower garden, surrounded by villagers. Everyone is reacting to the sudden appearance of Mordo.

Caption: "We were together in the fields among the workers when Mordo made his presence known."

Page Eight

Panel 1.

Mordo prominently in the panel. Behind him is Joaquin's mother, screaming.

Caption: "She was afraid, seeing what she thought to be the personification of evil she read of in her bible. She froze."

Panel 2.

Wide shot panel. Joaquin's mother has changed her gaze to Lurch, who is looking back at her. His whole world is crumbling around him. She is realizing everything about Lurch. Every single happiness in her, every single trust is being shattered in this moment.

Caption: "You see, she didn't know who I was. She thought I was some powerful man. She just didn't know where that power had come from. She never questioned it because she thought I was a force for good..."

Caption: "...an angel in human form."

Panel 3.

Large panel. Mordo is talking directly to Joaquin's mother. Her descent into despair is continuing and is reveling in it.

Caption: "Mordo made it perfectly clear to her by announcing to her who he was... or more importantly who I was to him."

Caption: "Mordo had always kept tabs on me. Even though I hadn't seen him in years, he knew what was going on with me. Even though he could never sense my presence inside the temple, he always knew when I ventured out."

Caption: "He had been picking just the right moment to reenter my life. He had learned of the pregnancy.

Panel 4.

Close-up shot of Mordo's face. His twisted forms into something of a smile.

Caption: "And how delighted he was."

Page Nine

Panel 1.

Close-up shot of Joaquin's mother. She is breaking here, the enormity of the situation finally getting to her. Her eyes well up.

Caption: "I saw her every little trust in me shatter in that moment. I was not the person she thought I was. I was a monster... no different than Mordo. I was evil and I had tempted her into having my child. She must have thought I planned the entire thing."

Panel 2.

Far shot of the scene. Mordo stands in the center of the panel, with Joaquin's mother on the left side and Lurch on the right. Mordo is savoring the moment, deciding what he is going to do next. He has his gaze fixed on Joaquin's mother. The villagers are all gone now, watching the scene in the distance, not wanting to be any part of this but curious nonetheless.

Caption: "Mordo was toying with me. I was not under the protection of my temple. I was in the open, completely at his mercy."

Panel 3.

Over the shoulder shot on Mordo, focusing on Joaquin's mother.

Caption: "And so was she."

Panel 4.

Tight shot of Joaquin's mother's torso, her hand upon her belly, feeling the child within her.

Caption: "And so was my child."

Panel 5.

3/4 shot of Mordo, extending a hand towards Joaquin's mother, his showcase. She is in the shot in a far shot, still crumbling under the situation.

Caption: "Mordo told me then that he would rear my child and look after his mother. He relished every word, measuring my reaction to it."

Page Ten

Panel 1.

Far back shot of Joaquin's mother, running away into the jungle.

Caption: "She panicked in that moment and ran away."

Caption: "Mordo, in his arrogance let her go, supremely confident in being able to track my child down. And I let him believe that."

Panel 2.

A further flashback. Large panel. Joaquin's mother is standing barefoot on a stone floor, in a stone room. Lurch stands before her, casting magic over. It is like a weightless spring shower over, swarming warmly around her. She is giggling from its touch and enjoying the moment.

Caption: "What Mordo didn't know is that I had cast spells on your mother when I first started caring about her."

Caption: "I told her it was a healing spell to cure her of any sickness she may have but in truth it was a spell to make her invisible to the world. It was like the spells I had cast upon the temple. As with the temple, I cast the spell repeated times on her, each spell increasing the potency of it, so that each one added to the next. As safe as the temple was against Mordo, your mother and now by extension you were invisible to any sort of tracking, even from someone as powerful as Mordo."

Page Eleven

Panel 1.

Mordo, standing some 100 feet tall stands over the temple, burning the trees around the temple and everything else around, including the villagers and their homes. Lurch stands within the doorway screaming in despair at Mordo to stop.

Caption: "So when she left, cursing my name, my lineage... she was out of the picture."

Caption: "Mordo would later curse me because he couldn't find both of you. He hounded me and taunted me to reveal your location. But I lied and told him I had lost you both."

Caption: "Because of my fear of Mordo, I made sure I never knew where you had gone."

Panel 2.

Far, far shot of Joaquin, as a young boy sitting alone on a bench in a schoolyard. He is alone and looks sad. In the foreground in a tight 1/4 shot, standing behind a chain link fence is an old man in a suit, watching Joaquin. The old man is a disguise of Morpheus.

Caption: "And I maintained that lie, relying on others I had sent out to keep tabs on you Joaquin. I dared never lay eyes on you myself, for fear I might betray you to Mordo."

Panel 3.

Back to the present. Gideon is getting involved again.

Gideon: Or for fear of leaving the island, Lurch? Is that what held you back?

Lurch: Revealing myself would have endangered him. What I did, I did for him.

Page Twelve-Thirteen

Panel 1.

Ignoring Gideon, El Tigre steps forward on Lurch, angered. Lurch is hesitant.

El Tigre: And my mother? What about my mother, the woman whose name you won't even mention?

Lurch: Yes. I... I apologize. I have spent my entire life pretending I didn't know where she was... or who she was... so much so that I have not thought of her name in over twenty years.

Panel 2.

1/4 shot of Lurch, reflecting back. He smiles at that, enjoying the letters sliding over his palate.

Lurch: Her name is Luisa.

Panel 3.

Lurch is looking sidelong at Joaquin, avoiding his gaze somewhat, his eyes sketchy and questionable here. Is he afraid to show his emotions or afraid he will be caught in some lie.

Lurch: She... she...

Lurch: I don't know what she was thinking when she did it. I had approached her through one of my agents afterwards, to make sure she was fine... and...

Lurch: ...and to make some sort of peace with her. She died. She did not want me to find you.

Panel 4.

Side 1/4 shot of both men. El Tigre is angry and saddened at the same time. Lurch is defensive.

El Tigre: She died?

Lurch: She took her own life.

El Tigre: Why?

Panel 5.

Lurch is pleading with El Tigre, unsure of the words he has chosen.

Lurch: I don't know. And trust me when I tell you I have asked myself this same question a thousand times.

Lurch: I couldn't understand why she would do that and leave you. Did she not realize what could happen to you?

Panel 6.

Lurch, downcast.

Lurch: Her... death caused me a great sorrow. I had totally lost you, my little son. And my own affairs took a horrible twist that tied me up for the next decade or so. It wasn't until much later that I learned what had happened to you, moving from foster home to foster home, never once finding a family that would take you.

Lurch: But in the back of my mind, I think it was best I didn't find you. I think I purposely made sure I didn't find you. Because it would only endanger you to Mordo.

Page Fourteen

Panel 1.

El Tigre interjecting Lurch's speech, surprises him.

Lurch: If he ever found you...

El Tigre: But he did! Despite everything you say you've done, he did find me.

Lurch: Yes... your altercation against Morpheus where that blasted demon appeared.

Panel 2.

El Tigre looking at Lurch (off-panel), questioningly.

El Tigre: You knew?

Panel 3.

Lurch and El Tigre. El Tigre is a little confrontational. Lurch is being authoritative with him.

Lurch: I knew enough. I know that you summoned Mordo.

El Tigre: I did not summon him. He appeared...

Lurch: ...when you stole the staff from Morpheus, Joaquin. As hidden as I made you through my magics, the moment you touched Morpheus' staff, it was like a flare to Mordo. He knew exactly where you where.

Panel 4.

Lurch continuing with his authority on El Tigre, who starts to bow before him.

Lurch: Morpheus' staff was in fact stolen from Mordo himself ages ago. When you touched it, he had finally located you.

Page Fifteen

Panel 1.

Lurch is pointing at El Tigre, questioning how El Tigre could not have known his connection to Mordo when Mordo presented himself.

Lurch: He must have been shocked you didn't realize exactly who he was to you. But he likely didn't want to blow that cover.

Lurch: He made sure to keep that staff in your company, under the man you called Stick, to keep tabs on you. Giving you the staff might tip his hand, so he put an enchantment on it to make sure no one else could wield the staff. Specifically done to keep you from handling it again.

Panel 2.

Lurch gives an accusatorily look at Silver, whom he recognizes as Stick's partner. The mention of Stick's name has brought up some emotions in her, but she is fighting them back.

Lurch: And stupidly, Stick kept the staff, never once thinking about refusing such an unearthly weapon.

Silver: Stick kept the staff because it meant something to him, before that evil freak ever put any curse on it.

Panel 3.

Continuing on...

Lurch: Be that as it may, Mordo was able to keep his eyes on Joaquin, and know when he traveled to this island. Everything as he had planned.

Gideon: And used Snapshot to get in.

El Tigre: Wait a minute, you still haven't told me how you knew Mordo appeared to us?

Panel 4.

Lurch is struggling with what to say next. Morpheus worked for him, and Morpheus tried to harm them... He struggles with the words.

Lurch: I... I...

Page Sixteen

Splash Page.

Marimus makes her entrance and all eyes are on her. A glimmering force field is around her like a second skin, which had kept her invisible, and the invisibility provided by the force field start to dissipate. Lurch looks at her, with a look of recognition and annoyance in his face. Gideon is awestruck, realizing he knows her as well...

Caption: And she makes her entrance. This woman who had hired Snapshot to appropriate the tablets.

Marimus: Enough of this. I tire of your stories, Lurch. I tire of your long winded statements about how miserable you are. I tire of your very presence.

Lurch: Marimus?

Marimus: There are matters of grave importance to deal with now, something you would do well to remember.

Page Seventeen

Panel 1.

Close-up of Gideon, almost suffocating.

Caption: The woman who brought Gideon into this world.

Gideon: Mother?

Panel 2.

Marimus glares at Gideon, her lips twisting with a dark-born hatred. This all gets a reaction from the crowd, just now realizing who this woman is.

Marimus: I have no time for you. Your despicable ways have long haunted me...

Panel 3.

Gideon is heartbroken in a tight 1/4 shot. He hangs his head somewhat, taken by surprise by her reaction.

Marimus: ... but I have been long enough out of your company to have gathered the strength of will to oppose you.

Panel 4.

With vitriol and pure hatred, her face red with anger, she points a finger at Gideon. Her force field forms around the finger in a long spike. Gideon is taking all of this in, unsure of what to do.

Marimus: You cannot fool me. I know you've taken over my son. Your presence burns within him and I can sense your evil presence. You have taken my dear son's body, but your very soul is that of Manus Katharta.

Marimus: My son is dead to me.

Panel 5.

1/4 shot of Marimus's face.

Marimus: And I would kill you for his murder.

Page Eighteen

Panel 1.

Marimus walks past Gideon towards Lurch her anger calming somewhat, dismissing Gideon. Gideon is pleading with her. The others look uncomfortable, unsure of what to say to Gideon.

Marimus: But first I have other matters to discuss with Lurch. Lurch, hand over the Symka tablet peacefully...

Gideon: No. Mom, it's me. It is me.

Panel 2.

Asserting himself, Gideon steps forward, resolute in what he is going to say to this woman, and make her believe him. He doesn't care if these others see this emotion in him, these feelings he has kept hidden for so long. Truly, she is the last one he had let himself care for. At least that deeply.

Gideon: Would my father know how you prepared me in that lone cabin in the middle of nowhere, teaching the sacred magics of nature. We kept that from father, as you said he would kill you if he found out. I didn't understand why we kept it secret until that day... the day I stumbled upon one of father's rituals. He was slaughtering his own disciples, absorbing their essences into his own in some blood magic ceremony."

Panel 3.

Marimus's reaction as her guard comes down. She is truly listening to Gideon and starting to believe he is her son.

Gideon (off-panel): Would he know how I came to you crying, telling you I was afraid of him... more afraid than I had ever been. And how you held me, then forced me to leave to save me.

Panel 4.

Gideon looking pleadingly at his mother (off-panel).

Page Nineteen

Panel 1.

Marimus squints her eyes somewhat, taking it all in, but so used to seeing deceit in others, that she is unable to be sure of this man's allegations.

Gideon: Mother... mom, it's me.

Panel 2.

Fighting back the emotional side of himself, Gideon puts on his strong, cold face. His hands are at his sides, gripped tightly, squeezing the tears and love away in front of these strangers. He remembers his father and hatred comes up in him.

Gideon: And Manus Katharta... my father... is gone. I killed him with my own hands.

Gideon: I saw him die.

Gideon: And ever since his death, I can feel this power... this uneasy sensation... within me that I... I cannot explain.

Panel 3.

Side 1/4 shot of Marimus is skirting the line between being cold and showing love for her son. A smile born of happiness and pride is sneaking up on her

Marimus: As is your destiny. When you took his life, you also took his power as your own. As it... likely was with Manus, your father... when he first gained his own power from his father, the power takes a few years to work into. As you mature you likely will become more powerful.

Panel 4.

Gideon touches Marimus's force field with a questioning look upon his face. He questions her with his eyes why she isn't taking it down. Lurch is watching, unimpressed with this display. El Tigre looks uneasy at having this interruption.

Marimus: His wrath when you left... I cast a spell to protect myself against him... this force field around me. When I cast you out to save your life, I never wanted to touch anyone ever again. And now... now this can never come down... no matter how hard I try.

Panel 5.

Dale decides the break this up and get their minds back on the mission. He is standing right next to the tablet.

Dale: Gideon, look its great your dead mother is back with you. I'm happy for you, but I don't care if she rose right out of a grave and is the next coming... the tablet stays with us. We came here with a mission to unite the tablets and I'll be damned if we blow it now.

Dale: For anyone.

Page Twenty

Panel 1.

Large panel of the group. It looks like the topic was going to heat up just now, but suddenly Marimus, Gideon and El Tigre get distracted by something on the fringes of their subconscious.

Marimus: No.

Panel 2.

Same group panel. The three of them are starting to get antsy. The others are wondering what the hell affected all three of them.

El Tigre: What is that? Silver: What? Gideon: You haven't touched any of the tablets, Silver. You wouldn't have felt it. Silver: Felt what?

Gideon: Pitawa is coming. Silver: Pitawa? Where? Are you sure?

Gideon: Dead sure...

Page Twenty-One and Twenty-Two

Double page splash. A 30 foot tall Pitawa steps through a portal onto the island, just next to the temple.

Caption: ... he just stepped foot on the island.

Caption: Next issue, all hell breaks loose as Pitawa comes for the tablets.