The Pledge

From GargWiki
(Redirected from Alliance Chapter Six)
Jump to: navigation, search
Gargoyles: Dark Ages #6 by Clayton Crain

"The Pledge" is the sixth issue of the Gargoyles: Dark Ages comic by Dynamite Entertainment. It was released on March 6th, 2024. [1]

Solicitation

The End of an Era!

The Gargoyles attempt to reason with a Dragon - and the resulting battle, high in the skies above Castle Wyvern, will change their destiny forever!

The final chapter of the Gargoyles' legendary origin story arrives in December from writer and Gargoyles creator GREG WEISMAN and artist DREW MOSS! This 40-page issue includes a new text story from Weisman and all cardstock covers featuring art by CLAYTON CRAIN, ALAN QUAH, MIRKA ANDOLFO, KENYA DANINO, ERICA HENDERSON, and more!

The Story

Opening Quote

A treasure has been taken . . .

Chapter Story

Prince Malcolm wonders aloud if he's really seeing a dragon. Shahrizad tells the village children to run. The Captain of the Guard orders his archers to get ready. The warrior-priestess's pupil shares to her teacher and a rookling that the dragon is what she sensed. Mentor takes to the skies with several of his warriors, reminding the gargoyles to protect Wyvern Hill and everyone on it.

Mentor addresses the dragon, Wyvern, demanding to know his business. The dragon commands his fellow Stone-flesh to get out of his way. Mentor tells the dragon that he can't permit the humans to be hurt, only to be accused by Wyvern to be a fool.

With the archers ready, the Captain tells them to wait for his signal. He turns to Prince Malcolm, wondering if he's seen his daughter, Alesand.

Nearly out of the cave, Alesand tells Antiope she hears something. Antiope ensures no harm will come to her human friend, but it fortunately turns out to be her fellow rooklings, Caesar, Alexander, and Charlemagne. Knowing everyone is at risk at the castle, Alesand knows they need to warn them all of the danger approaching. Antiope agrees, even though she is unsure how they'll arrive in time. Keeping to herself, Angel watches the rooklings and child leave.

Soaring about the dragon's head, Mentor tries to reason with Wyvern, explaining that not only how the alliance is working, but also his mate's wisdom as well – that human problems soon become gargoyle problems. Wyvern argues the flaw in that argument: that humanity itself is the problem. Setting fire to the hill, the dragon recommends an end to Mentor and Malcolm's alliance.

The flames just barely miss the Captain as he orders his men to regroup to him. Shahrizad and Mack Kemp are trying to get all the rooklings and children to safety, and Shahrizad orders Malvolio and Benvolio to make themselves useful. Prince Malcolm orders the Archmage to do something, but the sorcerer tells the Prince that he might only have one chance so he needs to wait for the right moment. Malcolm asks the Archmage if he was being strategic or if was more concerned for his own survival. The Archmage admits both rationales are motivation.

Alesand sees Wyvern Hill in the distance, realizing they are too late, but Antiope is still determined to help out. Caesar agrees with the sentiment, but doesn't know how.

Mid-air, Mentor orders his warriors to attack. The swarm about the Wyvern's head, landing blows on the giant. Wyvern tells the clan that he's been reluctant to harm his fellow Stone-Flesh, but that he is losing patience. With the dragon distracted with the gargoyles about his head, the Captain orders his men to fire at Wyvern's chest. The arrows are swift, but ricochet and snap against the dragon's hide. Seeing the futility in that tactic, Prince Malcolm orders the Captain to redirect his men to put out the fires burning about the hill. Seeing how ineffectual the archers were, Wyvern mocks the humans, asking the gargoyles why the remain loyal to them.

Seeing his moment, the Archmage marshals his forces and directs a lightning bolt at the Wyvern's head, damaging the dragon's eye. Seeing the sorcerer, Wyvern blasts his fire at the Archmage, and Prince Malcolm tackles him out of the line of fire. The Archmage begins to express how he owes the Prince his life, but Malcolm won't let him entertain the thought, explaining he was merely doing his duty.

Deep in Wyvern's cave, Angel looks at the dragon's hoard with a Scrying Glass. She digs in the gold for a moment and finds a wooden flute. Her torch light fading away as she exits the cavern, the only light left in the large chamber is emitted from the Player Queen's body with the Player King at her side.

Above Wyvern Hill, a gargoyle coordinates with her rookery brother. The two crash into each side of Wyvern's head. Meanwhile, the warrior-priestess's pupil leads her brothers in tearing their claws into the dragon's hide, ripping off layers of stone-like skin. Simultaneously, Mentor and his second-in-command soar up from below, knocking the dragon's lower jaw into its upper, snapping off a tooth. Irritated, Wyvern shares that it'll take a decade for the canine to heal.

Glowing, the Player Queen cannot find what they are looking for, but is confident that Wyvern stole it. The Player King tells her to wait, noticing something in the distance. Suddenly, the Player Queen pulls something out of the gold – she declares that she's found Excalibur. The Player King is ecstatic and summons Castle Carbonek, determined to leave the cave before Wyvern can take the sword once more. Mists begin to surround them as the Player Queen asks about Shahrizad. The Player King tells his love that Shahrizad will "find her way back" and the two run toward the castle suddenly erected in the deep cavern. Before the mists dissipate, Brother Valdez suddenly charges toward Castle Carbonek, and shortly after, the castle and three humans have all vanished.

Instantly, Wyvern is aghast, roaring: "A treasure has been taken!!" Accusing humans stealing from his hoard, he curses Mentor and the Wyvern Clan for distracting him. Flying toward the full Moon, he abandons his effort to eradicate the human population on Wyvern Hill, declaring that the gargoyles' alliance with them will inevitably end as he has warned.

Flute in hand, Angel arrives as the commotion ends. While her love greets her, Angel's rookery sister asks where she's been. Alesand and the rooklings make it back, and Angel's love is confident that everyone has survived the ordeal, human and gargoyle alike. He does wonder where they young ones have been, and Antiope and Caesar answer they were only exploring. The timing works out in their favor as they are interrupted by the Captain swooping his daughter up, and thrilled to see she's made friends with the gargoyles. Alesand ad Antiope share a look.

Speaking to the Prince, Mentor tells Malcolm that they got off easy. While Prince Malcolm understands that, he's nonetheless grateful for Mentor and the entire Wyvern Clan, believing that the incident has proven their alliance has not wavered.

For the remainder of the night, construction continues at Castle Wyvern, with humans and gargoyles continuing to work in tandem. Angel hands over the flute she found to the Archmage, while her rookery sister continues to meditate with her teacher. Mentor thinks of his mate. The following day, the Captain and his men see to the protection of both the castle and the sleeping gargoyles. When night falls once more, Alesand and Antiope hurry to hear the last part of Shahrizad's Tale of the Three Brothers – and with what appears to be every human and gargoyle in attendance, they are not alone in wanting to hear the storyteller.

The Tale of the Three Brothers

Alesand comments how on the sixth night of the Light-Bringers' visit, there was no performance, due to Wyvern's attack. She and Antiope arrive just in time to hear Shahrizad begin the final part of the tale:

In 971, news that King Culen finally has an heir to the throne, Constantine, reaches Prince Malcolm and his family in Northern England.

Alesand notes that the story being told has very nearly caught up to the time she and the others had gathered by the fire. Prince Malcolm is in attendance once more, though his attention seems to be elsewhere . . .

Now seventeen, Prince Malcolm convinces Prince Kenneth to fight for Duff’s crown, arguing that if the two of them don’t deal with Culen now, Malcolm’s young nephews Maol Chalvim II and Kenneth III will one day feel compelled to confront Constantine. Kenneth II begins securing allies in Scotland, but realizes he’s going to require additional – and powerful – support. Malcolm and Lieutenant Robbie soon slip into Scotland and arrive at Wyvern Hill. Although they arrived with enough time to be amongst the gargoyle clan before they awakened, they knew that would not leave a good impression. Instead, they wait a mile or so from the cliffside. Prince Malcolm is hesitant about the pending encounter. He's only seen gargoyles from a distance, and he's never asked one a favor before.

As Shahrizad continues her tale, Alesand notes once more how shocked the Prince and her father are once more at just how accurate her account was.

They come across a young gargoyle sentry (that remembers Robbie), who leads them to the rookery to meet the clan’s Rhydderch.

That very gargoyle, also listening to the story, growls at the Storyteller's description of him, but another gargoyle is quick to calm him down.

Shahrizad leaves the tale there, much to Alesand's frustration. While Shahrizad explains that there are others around the fire that can continue the story, Alesand recalls telling the dark-haired lady that she never finishes a story – that she never reaches the end. But the teller of the tale assures her that "no good story ever truly ends. . ."

Review

Dark Ages: Alliance concludes in this issue. The final installment of the story feels compressed; perhaps it needed at least one more chapter. But it still contains many fine moments.

The "compressed" feeling comes from Wyvern the dragon's attack, which had to be told in just one issue. The battle is impressive, and makes Wyvern seem a formidable opponent (fighting on furiously despite everything that the gargoyles, the human archers, and the Archmage can do to him), but the lack of room meant that he has to call off the fight and go back to his lair in a rage after discovering that someone had taken something from his hoard. (Though his parting words about the outcome of the gargoyles' alliance with the humans are effectively chilling, given what we know will happen twenty-three years later.)

To make up for it, we have some good exchanges in the fight. Mentor continues to hold to the notion that working with the humans is the right course to take (even recalling "Verity"'s statement that human problems become gargoyle problems) – while Wyvern argues that humans are the problem. And the theft from the hoard itself offers material for future stories: the object in question is Excalibur, which Peredur and Blanchefleur recover; Wyvern had stolen the great sword. How he obtained it after its return to the lake (assuming that that took place in the Gargoyles Universe) is as yet unknown, but might be a story for another time. (So, also, is how it went from Peredur and Blanchefleur's keeping to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens – appropriately, hidden within another dragon, if of a different nature from Wyvern.) We see Brother Valdez following them as they head for Carbonek, which itself may offer material for future stories. (Excalibur is not the only object taken from the treasure; Angel finds a flute there as well, which she afterwards presents to the Archmage. In an amusing touch, we get a close-up of a goblet amid the gold before Angel picks up the flute; the choice of object for a misdirection moment evokes both Beowulf and The Hobbit.)

For all the "rushed resolution" feeling with Wyvern, the ending pages are charming, as we see hopeful signs for the alliance ahead (even while, again, knowing how it will conclude): Mentor and Prince Malcolm shaking hands, "Lefty" and a human workman building the castle walls together, and on the last page, Shahrizad beginning her tale to a crowd of humans and gargoyles side by side (with, as a final lovely touch, the Players' dog nestled up beside the gargoyle beasts). And, of course, the caption at the bottom, "Never the End".

We also get the final chapter of "The Tale of the Three Brothers", which concludes on the same note (Shahrizad pointing out "that no good story ever truly ends"). (My only regret about this last installment is that the use of plain text and italics to show which parts of the story were her tale and which parts belonged to Alesand and the others listening to her tale were inconsistent.)

First Appearances

Location

Objects

Tidbits

Cover Gallery

Dynamite Gargoyles Dark Ages 6 Gallery1.jpg
Dynamite Gargoyles Dark Ages 6 Gallery2.jpg


Links

<< Previous Episode: "Alliance" Chapter Five: "The Dream"