Our issue begins with Vartan screaming the name of his god as Labelas Enoreth pours his divine essence into his body. Agrivar charges forward and strikes at the elvish bard with his longsword, hoping to stop the assault on his friend. To everyone’s surprise she explodes into a cloud of dust when he does so.
It is too late though, as Vartan stands before them transformed into an avatar of Enoreth. It is then exposition time, as Vartan proceeds to explain the events of the Avatar novel trilogy the crew.
For those of you who were not obsessive readers of Forgotten Realms novels in the eighties, the Avatar trilogy was a series of novels meant to explain the changes between AD&D 1E and AD&D 2E in the Forgotten Realms. They introduced a cosmic entity known as Lord AO who existed above the gods and maintained the balance between their portfolios.
Lord AO became angered when the Tablets of Fate were stolen from him. In his anger he cast all of the gods, with the exception of Helm, from the heavens. As a result, the gods were forced possess mortals in the Forgotten Realms and possessed only a fraction of their normal powers. Helm was set up to guard the entrance to the outer planes from incursions by these deities.
The effects of the gods being cast down from the heavens was devastating. Divine magic ceased to work at all, while arcane magic was horribly warped. In addition, all manner of aberrations were were created as wild magical energies warped the bodies of normal creatures.
By the time the Avatar trilogy was done, many of the gods had changed and magic had stabilized into what it would be like in AD&D 2E.
We are not quite there yet in the comic though.
After explaining the Avatar trilogy, Enoreth explains how he had prepared Vartan as a vessel for his essence ever since the two met via the Chalice of Dreams during “The Dragon Reach Saga” way back in issue six. However, he was unable to enter Vartan because he was trapped with the rest of the Realm’s Master crew mid-teleport for a virtual month last issue.
This forced Enoreth to enter the form of the elvish bard. However, her body was not up to the task and she rapidly began to deteriorate. He says as her mind collapsed she caused great damage to the town.
Agrivar believes that the same fate will befall Vartan, regardless of what Enoreth says. To convince Agrivar of his sincerity, Enoreth briefly allows Vartan’s personality to surface. Vartan explains to Agrivar that this is his god and it is his duty to serve him in any way possible. Once Agrivar accepts this, Enoreth abruptly seizes control back and begins asking about the ship.
Captain Omen initially seems reluctant to talk about the ship, but Enoreth uses his powers to remove the wasting disease inside of Omen and store it in a jar. Enoreth does the same with Foxilion’s addiction to Cheeeese and offers to remove Agrivar’s alcoholism as well. Agrivar is suspicious of such an easy solution to his problems though and balks at having the deity take care of them with a wave of his hand.
Enoreth is not done granting miracles though. He begins to offer Ishi the, ahem, ride of her life before Agrivar senses his intent and intervenes. Enoreth then turns his attention to Minder, offering to restore her to human form… until he realizes she is actually a dwarf.
This realization amuses Enoreth and causes him to be just about as insulting as possible to Minder. Enoreth also launches into a rant about how stupid the dwarven gods are, and in true sitcom fashion one of them chooses that now is the time to show up.
That god is Clanggendin Silverbeard, the dwarven god of war. Clanggendin’s avatar form is apparently a giant creature made of earth with three dwarves at its core. Minder is overawed by the appearance of his god, but Enoreth quickly tosses Minder aside like a sack of potatoes to keep the Dwarf-Golem out of the fight.
Enoreth then grows to the same size as Clanggendin to confront him. The two battle, and Clanggendin reveals he is aware of Enoreth’s plans for the human ship and is here to stop him. Enoreth ultimately prevails in the battle by vaporizing the dwarven bodies powering the avatar.
Minder is of course horrified by the fact that Enoreth has just killed his god. Enoreth casually overpowers and humiliates Minder, while claiming that he only cost Clanggendin his mortal form and that the god will (probably) return once the time of troubles is over.
Most of the crew is just about fed up with this god, but Captain Omen, who seems to have a mixture of pragmatism and fear regarding Enoreth, intervenes before things come to blows.
After things have cooled down a bit, Enoreth tells Captain Omen that he has need of the Realms’ Master. Captain Omen is quick to ask, “What does God need with a starship?”, but Enoreth has an answer for him.
Well, that answers that question!
- This issue suffers from the amount of exposition needed to explain the Avatar Trilogy. It really grinds the middle of the issue to a halt.
- I remember when I first read the Avatar Trilogy that I wondered where all the non-human deities were. This issue of the comic helps explain that by noting that they seem to see the Time of Troubles as a human deity squabble and are lying low for the most part.
- Despite my love of Rags Morales’ artwork, I was not a fan of the “big hair” rendition of Enoreth’s avatar form. I loved the look of Clanggendin though.
- I love the beatific look on Captain Omen’s face once he is cured. It really sells the scene to me.
- I think Enoreth suffers from being too evil too quickly in this. I wish he seemed a little more genuinely decent early on in order to make the inevitable conflict with the crew that much more dramatic.