As is appropriate for Horror Month, this comic begins with a bejeweled skull (a demilich?) playing matchmaker for a lich.
The demilich expounds upon the virtues of various women in the Forgotten Realms, especially those with possible crossover appeal to readers of the Forgotten Realms comic book. In the end, like all right-minded individuals, the lich chooses Jasmine as his future bride.
Well, perhaps I spoke to soon in calling the lich “right-minded” as the lich toddles down to warn the rest of his brides to expect company… and they turn out to be a bunch of frozen corpses.
I wonder if the lich’s name is Bluebeard?
The scene then cuts to Jasmine and Ishi walking on a snowy mountainside. Ishi is quite enchanted with the natural beauty of their surroundings, while Jasmine can’t wait until they are able to get back to civilization.
At this point Agrivar and Minder make their way down the slopes carrying the Shield of Mithrak. Ishi is about to bring up Jasmine’s complaining, but with Agrivar present Jasmine quickly changes her tune. In fact, she says her only complaint is that, “There is not enough adventure in these cold lands for hot-blooded women.”
Of course, at this point they are attacked by a tribe of barbarians who worship Render the Bear God.
The battle goes pretty quickly, with the barbarians fleeing after the Realms’ Master crew dispatches the polar bears. The demilich watches the proceedings and decides that just to be on the safe side he had better separate Jasmine from her companions before he tries to abduct her. Luckily for him, the barbarians provide him with inspiration.
At the barbarian camp, there is dissention in the ranks. The chieftain argues that they lost the shield because they were unworthy, and that they must purify themselves with ritual and sacrifice. On the other hand, Arvan believes it is a sign that they need new leadership. The argument between the two is cut short by the appearance of the demilich in their fire.
The demilich claims to be an emissary of Malar the Beastlord, which he quickly changes to Render the Bear God when the chieftain points out his error. The demilich tells them that Render wants the winged woman as a sacrifice. If the tribe wants to get back into the favor of the god, they must capture the girl and deliver her to the skull.
Arvan is quick to believe the skull, but the chieftain is skeptical that the skull’s claims. The demilich then provides a answer for the chieftain's concerns.
This argument proves persuasive to the rest of the tribe.
On board the Realms’ Master, Jasmine and Ishi enjoy some hot drinks together. It doesn’t take long for Jasmine to rub Ishi the wrong way. Ishi grimly states that it is lucky that they are crewmates, or she would be forced to challenge Jasmine over her continual insults. Of course, Jasmine twists this to her advantage.
Poor Ishi never knew what hit her. One minute she is in the familiar territory of threatening her teammates and the next she finds herself in a game of seduction she is ill-equipped to handle. Jasmine quickly lays down some self-serving ground rules for the duel of hearts, most notably that if either of them dies, the other automatically loses because, “you can’t compete with a ghost.”
Elsewhere on the ship, Vartan, Agrivar and Omen argue about returning to Halruaa. Captain Omen thinks that Halruaa is the only place with the resources to look into Vartan’s condition (namely that his god keeps possessing him). Captain Omen is also hoping to get an opportunity to defend his good name in front of a more neutral court. Vartan thinks that Captain Omen must be nuts to want to return to a country run by his ex-girlfriend. Vartan is also not thrilled at the prospect of having even more wizards poking at him. At this point the argument is ended by a barbarian boarding party.
The Realms’ Master Crew finds itself in pitched battle with the barbarian raiders. The barbarian’s new chieftain Avran admonishes them to kill all of them “except the girl”, who Ishi is quickly able to surmise is not her.
Jasmine quickly finds herself surrounded by barbarians. She takes to the air in order to escape them, but this proves to be a mistake.
Using his handy new body, the demilich clubs Jasmine over the head and stuffs her in a net. The barbarians flee immediately, but the demilich takes a few minutes to taunt the Realms’ Master crew. Ishi engages the demilich in battle, but it teleports away with Jasmine as soon as the tide begins to turn.
Knowing that she “can’t compete with a ghost”, Ishi is now very determined to bring Jasmine home safely.
- It is awfully convenient that the woman the lich chooses as his new bride happens to be on his doorstep.
- I really enjoy the interplay between Ishi and Jasmine.The two seem to be born to rub each other the wrong way.
- I am glad the chieftain wasn’t fooled by the demilich, even though it lead to his gruesome demise.
- This is the last we will see of Jasmine in this comic, as the story continues in the abominably bad TSR Worlds Annual. I will be recapping the events of the Forgotten Realms portion next time, but I just can’t bring myself to talk about the rest.