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Eternal Warrior

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The greatest fighter from an age when the sword was the law, Gilad Anni-Padda was ancient before the rise of the Pharaohs, and he shall survive the fall of nations yet to come. Though to an ultra-dense cellular structure that gives him great strength and the ability to heal from the most grievous of wounds, Gilad is even immune to the ravages of time.

Born before recorded history, Gilad has a long established relationship with the Geomancers, whose will he has pledged to enforce for generations as the Fist and Steel of the Earth.

Unity

When Erica Pierce, the God–like entity called Mothergod, tried to achieve Unity, a convergence of all the timelines, the Geomancers of two eras gathered the heroes of Earth to stop her in one final decisive battle for all eternity in the Lost Land, a place outside time and reality.

Footprints on the Sands of Time

Born before recorded history, Gilad the One was the pride of his tribe. Filled with the leopard spirit and told that he was the chosen of the spirits by his father, Gilad was the bravest and most powerful warrior they ever knew, unlike his brother, Aram the Other, who spoiled from birth was too soft and sentimental. After meeting a Geomancer who warned him of the coming of the end of all things, Gilad led an unsuccessful attack against the Sumerians, who in retaliation slaughtered his people. Though filled with rage, Gilad relented when the Geomancer revealed that his son Kalam still lived and would grow to sire many children long as Gilad did not go after him. Convinced by the Geomancer to accompany him, Gilad traveled all over the world and witnessed many marvels, as well as many things that made him wonder how soon the end would come.

5,000 years later, Gilad met with Jillian Alcott at the Sheraton Inn at the Tulsa International Airport to be equipped for a mission on behalf of her father, Neville Alcott of British Intelligence. While getting ready, Gilad shared with Jillian his belief that the emergence of beings like Solar and Harbingers signaled the end of the world that Geomancers throughout the ages had warned him about, when then he received a call from Geoff alerting him of such an event. As thugs sent to kill Gilad and Jillian broke through the door, Gilad vanished and joined the others in the Unity conflict.

Where Troubles Melt Like Lemon Drops

After Sting learned that Mothergod had killed Solar, Gilad ordered the others to withdraw. Hiding in some ruins with Geoff, Gilad met his future self from 4001. 157 days later, Geoff snuck into Mothergod’s complex and found an old record he brought with him from Erica’s house that told him that her father had abused her when she was little, when then Erica’s robs captured him. Meanwhile, the Gilads followed Geoff. Riding a pterosaur into the complex, Gilad asked his future self what the future held, but other than warning him of a fight with Aram he regretted having he did not remember much of his life after Unity. Taken to see Erica Pierce, Geoff confronted her over the real reason she planed Unity, to erase her father’s molestation. Enraged, she seemingly killed him as the Gilads broke into the room. Barely escaping, Gilad 4001confessed that he remembered Unity going differently than it had, which was worse than before. Offering to avoid the fight with Aram that his future self regretted, Gilad asked Gilad 4001 not to give up.

Standing on a mountaintop, Gilad 4001 thanked his past self for helping renew his spirit. As he contemplated the unique chance the Lost Land afforded him to see his past, the two Gilads vanished in a flash of light.

The 20th Century

Rise Up And Strive Again

Reappearing in his hotel room, Gilad found himself surrounded by dead bodies with Jillian nowhere in sight. Hearing shots, he followed a group of men shooting at police and demanded they tell him where Jillian was, when then she stepped out of hiding. As she explained that he had only been gone for a few minutes, Gilad collapsed due to exhaustion. Gilad awoke three days later in a secluded cabin, where as he fended off Jillian’s advances Neville arrived with a proposal for him. Tired of fighting, Gilad refused to fight anymore and left. Two weeks later, Gilad arrived at his friend Astrea’s castle in Greece. That night, Astrea gave Gilad an old battle helmet that had belonged to him, but that only depressed him more. The next day, Gilad traveled to Pilos to do Astrea a favor. While waiting in a bar, he ran across Aram, who, still mad at him for dragging him to fight in Unity, punched him. As their fierce fight destroyed the bar, it also renewed Gilad’s spirit. As Astrea arrived and they left together, Gilad realized that she had set up the fight with Aram to make him feel better.

Evil Reincarnate

During the 2nd Century, Gilad fought to place Huang Lin on the throne. Huang Lin and Chin Lee had rights of ascension, but Chin Lee was General Cheng’s puppet. Gilad defeated Chin Lee and Cheng, who committed Seppuku. Through yet still unknown means, Cheng came back to life and became the Immortal Enemy, a foe able to be reborn after each death. By 1992 Cheng had become Juan Caldone, a drug dealer who Gilad tracked to Bogotá. Attacked by Caldone’s men, Gilad killed them and crashed their helicopter in the jungle. As Gilad ran to hide, a toxic cloud surrounded him and he passed out. Gilad awoke in a plane where Caldone told him that he was going to throw him in the ocean. While Gilad talked with Alex Caldone, Juan's brother, Caldone shot him, then as Alex tried to stop him from shooting again Caldone killed Alex. Breaking his chains, Gilad jumped off the plane, but not before he destroyed the control console so it would crash. As Gilad returned home to LA, certain that he had killed Caldone, Bloodshot threw him on the ground and aimed a gun at his head.

The Blood Is The Life

During the Spanish Inquisition, Father Sebastian tried to burn Gilad at the stake, but he escaped. In 1992, Bloodshot revealed that he was there to warn Gilad about Project Rising Spirit, then as they left the hotel, two men shot at them from a speeding car. Getting inside Bloodshot’s car, the two managed to escape. When it seemed safe to do so Gilad jumped out of the car and watched as Bloodshot got away. As Gilad got in a taxi, the armed men returned. Donning his glove, Gilad ripped the roof of the taxi and jumped on the men’s car. As he dispatched them, one of the men revealed that the name of the man behind the project was Hideyoshi Iwatsu. Following Bloodshot to an abandoned warehouse, Gilad saved him from Iwatsu’s men. As they parted ways, Gilad shared what he had learned with Bloodshot, who left to find out who he really was.

Time & Space

In 12 BC, Gilad used the Bagh-Nakh given to him by Geomancer Gandhyrras to kill the dark priest Tvashtar to prevent his evil shadow from spreading across the globe. In New Orleans during the 1993 Mardi Gras, four men dressed as clowns accosted an amnesic Buck McHenry and took him to a graveyard where Master Darque revealed that he brought him to New Orleans to pluck all his secrets from his mind. Master Darque took Buck inside a tomb to torture him until he revealed the secrets of Geomancy to him. In a hotel in Baton Rogue, Geoff McHenry, who had an inexplicable psychic link with his uncle, felt everything that Buck was going through. When Buck severed their link, Geoff gave Gilad the Bagh–Nakh and told him to kill Buck to prevent Darque from acquiring all of his knowledge before Darque did. Confused, Gilad wondered why he could not kill Darque, so Geoff explained that Darque was destined to die at a later date, and if he were to die before then it would severely alter the timeline. Accepting his duty, Gilad left for New Orleans.

Space & Time

Arriving in the cemetery, Gilad found the corpses of the clowns hanging from a tree and strung up on a fence. Following a moaning sound, he found Buck barely alive inside a tomb. Meanwhile, Darque used Buck’s link to find Geoff in Baton Rouge. Recalling the time Buck saved him from hanging off a noose in 1889, Gilad killed his friend with the Bahg–Nakh, severing the connection between Darque and Geoff. The next day, Darque returned to the cemetery and resuscitated the dead clowns, who distracted Gilad while he grabbed the blade. As Darque contemplated taking the souls within the Bahg–Nakh, Gilad fought through Darque’s attempts to stop him and destroyed the blade, releasing the souls inside it. As the tomb filled with a maelstrom of evil, Gilad took Buck’s body and ran outside while Darque stayed. From a distance, Gilad observed as Buck joined the eight souls of the Seraphim of Bahg–Nakh and went to heaven while the tomb collapsed. Believing that Darque had been defeated Gilad walked away, but later that night Darque rose from the rubble.

The Musketeers

It was 1661, and the Musketeers were celebrating the season when Ilysēe walked into the bar. A player in a drama devised by Gilad, Ilysēe played victim for two out of work actors posing as henchmen to manhandle. Prodded by Gilad, D’artagnan saved the wench, who gratefully gave herself to him to do with as he pleased. Enchanted by Ilysēe, D’artagnan agreed to rescue a prisoner from the Bastille that he believed to be Duchess D’Terra’s lover. Rallying his brothers in arms, the Musketeers rescued the Man In The Iron Mask, Henri The VIII, self–proclaimed rightful king of France. Though Gilad pledged to help Henri take the throne from his brother Louis The XIV, he expressed disbelief that he would save France from a bloody revolution that Duchess Angelique D'Terre, a Geomancer, had foreseen. That night, Henri forced himself on Ilysēe.

The next day, the Duchess led Ivar & Gilad into the throne room to distract Louis with their swordplay while she readied Henri. To her horror, a beast had injured Louis, who sported claw marks on his face. As the Duchess warned the others of their plight, Ilysēe, weary that no one would believe what transpired the night before, clawed Henri and marked his visage. Enraged, he drew his sword and slayed the wench, revealing to the Duchess the kind of person he was. Entering the throne room before Aram & D’artagnan had finished securing an unconscious Louis in a barrel, Henri assumed the throne and, in his lunacy, proclaimed penalty after penalty against anyone that trifled with him. As the Duchess ran into the throne room to warn everyone of Henri’s travesty, he accused her of witchcraft and would have revealed her identity as a Geomancer had Gilad not stroke true and killed him. With Aram’s aid, Louis returned to the throne and proclaimed that everything was alright, unaware that D’artagnan was behind him clutching Ilysēe’s body in his arms.

That night, Ivar, angry with Gilad for the callousness he showed Ilysēe & Henri, attacked his own brother. As the fight raged, however, Gilad stood victorious over Ivar… but not for long, as that was when Aram joined the fray and knocked his big brother off his feet with one punch. Finishing his story, Aram surmised that in the end Gilad was no different from any other man, and that he had done as the Duchess instructed him simply because he did not know how to handle a woman. Aram then showed Archer a Polaroid of himself with Ivar & D’artagnan, which made Archer doubt his story as cameras did not exist in 1661, and though Aram tried to convince him that Ivar had brought it from the future, Archer still did not believe him.

When Hell Froze Over

In the 12th Century, Gilad visited the monastery in Ladakh to retrieve the Book of the Geomancers from the tomb of Tashi Khatun. In 1993, he visited St. Paul’s Chapel to retrieve the book from a soldier’s grave. Just then, Hook came out of the shadows and demanded the book. When Gilad refused, Welt hit him with a whip. Getting the best of his attackers, Gilad led them to the subway where he managed to escape. Back at the cemetery, Detective Morgan answered a call reporting the disturbance. Poisoned by a barb during the fight, Gilad was loosing blood. After Gilad exited a subway station and went home, Hook almost ran him over with a taxi. Seizing a cab of his own, Gilad used the cabbie’s gun to blow Hook’s tire. Loosing control, Hook crashed and his taxi exploded. After apologizing to C.C., the cab’s passenger, Gilad passed out over the wheel. The next day, while Gilad rested in C.C.’s bed, Detective Morgan arrived at her apartment and warned that others could find her as easily as he did, unaware that Hook and Welt were standing outside her window.

Child’s Play

In the port city of Aquabah, Gilad fought alongside Lawrence of Arabia to recover the book from the Turks. After Morgan left, Hook and Welt crashed through the window of C.C.’s apartment. As Welt chased her son Tommy, Gilad blindsided him and knocked him down. Going out a window, Tommy ran into the hallway outside his apartment and found Morgan. As Welt followed Tommy, Morgan shot a heater beneath his face and the steam pushed him off the ledge. Running inside the elevator, Tommy escaped with Gilad’s backpack. Realizing that Tommy had the book, Gilad passed out muttering Alcott’s name. At the hospital, Morgan reluctantly agreed to let Gilad go due to his diplomatic immunity. Finding Tommy in Rockefeller Center, Gilad shot Hook before he could get to him, but then Bolo, another supernatural foe, threatened to kill C.C. unless Tommy threw the book on a pyre. As Tommy threw the backpack into the fire, Bolo became invisible and tried to take the backpack before it burned, but Gilad stopped him. As Gilad opened the backpack and found that it had bricks inside and Tommy had the book, he realized that Master Darque survived the Bagh–Nakh and sent these attackers after him. Taking the book to Egypt, Gilad hid it inside the Sphinx.

A Gift Before Dying

In 1939, Nazis stole a crown that belonged to the family of one of Gilad’s friends. During the Battle of Dunkirk, Nazi General Guderian shot Neville Alcott in the legs when he tried to rescue Gilad, crippling him.

In 1993, Gilad discovered that the crown was part of a Hebrew exhibit in Berlin and asked Neville to help him return it to his friend Jessica, who was dying from lymphoma. The next day, Neville and Gilad arrived in Berlin to stake out the museum, where the exhibit had incurred the wrath of a group of Neo–Nazi skinheads. That night, Gilad broke into the museum while Neville waited in the car. While Gilad made his way inside, Neville witnessed as a van driven by a group of men garbed in black with the Nazi insignia in their arms drove up to the museum’s loading area. After grabbing the crown from its glass case, Gilad hid from the Neo–Nazis who were also after it. Discovering that Neville had tried to block their van with his car, the Neo–Nazis dragged him inside the museum, where their leader took his mask off and revealed that he was Guderian’s grandson. Using the weapons on display throughout the museum, Gilad killed the Neo–Nazis until their leader was the only one left. Unsuccessfully sneaking up behind him, Gilad found himself staring down the barrel of the gun of Guderian’s grandson. Before he could shoot, however, Neville stood up due it caused him great pain and knocked him out with a table leg. Three days later, Gilad returned the crown to Jessica.

There Will Be Another Time

In 79 AD Egypt, as Gilad killed the then–current incarnation of the Immortal Enemy, an Egyptian queen, he could fell as she tried to enter his body before she perished. Warned by the Geomancer of the era to not let that ever happen no matter the cost, Gilad knew that he would meet the Immortal Enemy again.

In 1993, Gilad found Juan Caldone in a coma in a Manhattan hospital and inadvertently awoke him from his slumber. Transferring his consciousness into Melissa, a nurse, the Immortal Enemy escaped from the hospital behind Gilad’s back. An hour later, Melissa followed Gilad to his apartment and used her allure to seduce him into a false sense of security so she could inject him with a tranquilizer. Realizing the ruse, Gilad fought until he could no longer stand. Meanwhile downstairs, Geoff arrived on Gilad’s building and sensed the uproar. Standing over Gilad’s unconscious body, Melissa injected herself with a poison before she kissed Gilad to transfer her consciousness into him. Arriving to the apartment, Geoff was startled to see the Immortal Enemy inside Gilad’s body standing over Melissa’s dead body.

Labyrinth of The Mind

In 970 AD Rome, Gilad chased General Cheng’s latest incarnation, Cardinal Plaegius, through a Christian Church. Cornered, Plaegius ordered two knights Templar to stop Gilad, one of their own, while he escaped. Making his way past the Templars, Gilad followed Plaegius into the catacombs beneath the church, a maze in which he surmised one could get lost in for years. Confidant in his long life, however, Gilad was not worried.

In 1993, Gilad convinced the cops that Geoff killed Melissa and ran away from his apartment after hitting him with a lamp. Walking into the apartment, Morgan addressed Gilad by name, but Gilad talked to him like if he was a stranger. After Morgan left to investigate a second body found in a car downstairs, the Immortal enemy walked out into the balcony and shouted into the wind that he had defeated the Eternal Warrior. While investigated the corpse in the car, Morgan learned that the kid Gilad had accused of committing the murders was Geoff, who unbeknownst to him was watching them from afar.

Calling Juan's brother, Luis, Gilad met with Caldone’s subordinates in a warehouse in the East River. Doubting Gilad’s claims that he was Caldone, Luis shot him directly, but then Gilad rose up and killed Luis. Turning to face the others, Gilad ordered them to call a meeting of the local crime families.

A week later, as New York found itself in the midst of a gang war unlike any ever seen before, Morgan was the only cop who recognized that something was amiss. While leaving a meeting with the other detectives, Morgan received a tip about Geoff’s whereabouts that sent him to a warehouse near the Brooklyn Bridge, where at that exact moment Gilad and Caldone’s boys executed the heads of a group of mafia families while Geoff watched, hidden in the sidelines. After Gilad and the others left, Geoff emerged from his hiding spot and ran into Detective Roberts and Morgan, who after recognizing the Geomancer symbol around Geoff’s neck knew for certain that he was not guilty of killing anyone.

Three hours later, while Gilad hosted a party at Caldone’s place, he received a phone call from Morgan, who told him that Geoff had revealed everything about him to him and that he would not let him get away with what he was doing. Enraged, Gilad threw the phone across the room and ordered his men to kill Geoff and Morgan. Meanwhile at the precinct, as Geoff told Morgan that the only way to stop Caldone was to kill Gilad and Morgan said that he called Neville Alcott to send someone to help them, Bloodshot walked into the room.

Thicker Than Water

In 1890 AD Africa, Gilad freed a tribe of slaves from an insane colonel stricken by Malaria who forced them to kill elephants for their ivory. On his way back aboard a motorboat, Gilad overheard two people talk about the legendary colonel, a man whose notoriety made him sound bigger than life. When asked how he judged a man, Gilad responded that the measure of a man laid within their soul.

In 1993, as Bloodshot, Geoff, Morgan, and Roberts walked out of the precinct, Caldone’s men drove by in their motorcycles and shot at them. While Morgan and Geoff took cover behind some parked cars, Roberts shot back despite Bloodshot warning him to hide. Tackling Roberts to the ground, Bloodshot took his gun and shot one of the bikers off his bike, then after shacking him up a bit, he got him to tell them that Caldone was staying in Gilad’s apartment at the Barbizon Hotel.

Returning to Gilad’s apartment, Caldone’s men told him that they were unable to kill the cops because of Bloodshot. Pulling his arm back to hit his men with the back of his hand, Caldone found himself momentarily loosing control of Gilad’s body. As Caldone ordered his men to prepare to leave New York by midnight, Bloodshot broke in through the window demanding that he release Gilad’s body. Killing Caldone’s men while chasing Gilad through the apartment, Bloodshot cornered him in a room on the second floor and threw him back to the first floor. Refusing to give up, Gilad threw a grenade at Bloodshot that forced him to jump into the room. Minutes later, Bloodshot walked back outside and discovered that Gilad was nowhere in sight. Finding a broken PC, Bloodshot interfaced with it and learned that Caldone escaped to Columbia.

Immediately after his arrival in Columbia, Bloodshot fell into a trap laid by taxi driver and a police office working for Caldone, but thinking on his feet he got out of it just as quickly. Making his way to Caldone’s state on a bike he took from one of his men, Bloodshot broke in through the front door and made his way inside the building, where he found Caldone inside a fortified bunker. Grabbing Gilad in his arms, Bloodshot forced the Immortal Enemy to jump into his body, where the nanites in his veins reacted to Cheng’s invasion as if it was a virus. Hitting a keyboard, Bloodshot forced Cheng’s energy to jump into the Internet. Freed from Cheng’s influence Gilad helped Bloodshot stand up and the two of them walked out of the room,

Meanwhile in London, Cheng’s energy erupted out of a computer and took over a kid called Timmy…

Death By Design

In a parallel to the Lone Ranger’s tragic origin, Gilad survived an ambush in a valley in Texas in the late 1860s. Aided by Scout, the Geomancer of the time, Gilad donned the guise of a masked avenger who sought to avenge the dead of his fellow rangers on those responsible for it.

In 1993, Bloodshot filed a report for Neville Alcott from within Kuang Pharmaceutical in Hong Kong that informed British Intelligence that he had found a lead on a drug supply bound for Spice Island. Confiscating a boat, Bloodshot made his way to Spice Island, where soon after his arrival he came upon a group of ninjas intent on killing him. Shot with a taser, Bloodshot helplessly fell to his knees. Before a ninja cut his head, however, one of them lunged at him and pushed him into the water before the yacht they were on exploded.

At the island control room of the drug lord Cheow, Tanaka chastised a henchman for detonating the yacht prematurely. Urging him to relax, Cheow took Tanaka to his office, where Tanaka told him that his superiors, who had made him wealthy and powerful, did not tolerate failure, and that his inability to capture a man in his grasp could be interpreted as a weakness. Placing the blame for Bloodshot’s escape on Tanaka, Cheow reminded him that it was his idea to lure Bloodshot to the island using a trail of bodies.

Trying to be understanding, Cheow asked Tanaka if Bloodshot’s capture merited the death of his ninjas. Dispirited, Tanaka stared into the distance and said that his time to capture Bloodshot was running short, and that anyone involved in this endeavor was expendable. Doubting Tanaka’s ability to capture Bloodshot, Cheow questioned the equipment he brought with him, a pair of shockers Tanaka was sure would have defeated Bloodshot that he now feared he would never get to test because he was killed in the explosion.

At a beach, as Bloodshot removed his savior’s mask to interrogate him, he discovered that he was really Gilad in disguise. As Gilad said that he followed the trail of a drug designer from California through a bunch of dummy corporations and Bloodshot told him that Neville sent him to investigate after Agent Whitaker turned up dead following a mule through customs in Hong Kong, they realized that they were on the same trail. As Gilad wondered why it seemed like the dealers appeared to be prepared for Bloodshot’s arrival, he said that Morgan had traced them to a company called Musashi, which Bloodshot recognized as belonging to Iwatsu. Realizing who they were after, Bloodshot and Gilad teamed up to attack Cheow’s compound.

Sometime later, while Tanaka and Cheow made plans to abandon the island for Mexico, Bloodshot used a bazooka to blow their escape ship as it entered the compound. As the explosion set the compound on fire and Cheow’s men panicked, Bloodshot and Gilad broke in and split up. While Bloodshot dealt with the henchmen in the dock, Gilad broke into the control room to deal with Cheow. Facing the barrel of Gilad’s gun, Cheow begged him not to kill him and said that he was just Tanaka’s employee. Shouting that Tanaka was crazy and obsessed with killing the demon Bloodshot, Cheow told Gilad that Tanaka had a weapon that could kill Bloodshot. Just then in the dock, Tanaka snuck up from behind Bloodshot and grabbed him with his shockers.

His Brother’s Keeper

In 1943, Gilad liberated a Nazi concentration camp moments after an SS officer forced two brothers to decide which of them would live and one would die, a choice that haunted them in the midst of their release.

In 1993, while Gilad watched Bloodshot fall to Tanaka’s feet, Cheow shot him from behind with a shotgun and the blast sent him careening out the window into the warehouse. An hour later, after strapping Bloodshot to a table in the laboratory, Tanaka went to inform Iwatsu that he had captured his foes while Cheow went to find Gilad, who to his surprise had stood up and escaped.

Escaping to the jungle bemoaning his stupidity in turning his back on Cheow, Gilad saw a helicopter land on the compound. As a cadre of armed guards deboarded the copter, Yoshi Iwatsu took control of the operation and ordered his men to shoot Cheow and Tanaka, the latter of whom escaped into the jungle. While Yoshi gleefully stood over Bloodshot, Gilad found Tanaka on the run. Confessing that Hideyoshi Iwatsu planned to save his life through a transfusion of Bloodshot’s blood, Tanaka told Gilad that Yoshi would kill his friend unless they worked together to save him.

While Yoshi and his men wheeled Bloodshot on a gurney to their helicopter and planted a bomb to destroy the compound, Gilad destroyed their chopper. After killing most of Yoshi’s men with a machine gun, Gilad ordered their leader to give Bloodshot to him. After the soldier complied with Gilad’s order and he broke Bloodshot free of the restrains holding him to the gurney, a second chopper filled with soldiers working for Tanaka arrived. Told that Hideyoshi was dying, Tanaka ordered his men to capture Gilad and Bloodshot, the only men who could save him. Shutting down the copter, Bloodshot forced Tanaka to choose between letting them go or dying when Yoshi’s bomb went off. Having no choice, Tanaka let them go and left with his men.

Aboard a boat leaving the island, Gilad pondered what Bloodshot’s life would be like after Hideyoshi died.

Fair Arms, Just Intents

Awoken by the sound of someone breaking into his friend Rosalie’s apartment, Gilad avoided the shots from a machine gun. Fighting his would–be killer, Gilad discovered his foe was an Aussie priest looking for Geoff McHenry. Striking Gilad in the chest with his own axe, the priest threatened to decapitate him, when then the blade showed him how in 793 Gilad executed priests and nuns faithful to Christ in the name of the Celtic God Esus, which made him drop the axe on the floor and condemn Gilad’s brutal 5,000-year-old existence.

Appalled by Gilad’s unholy lust for battle and murderous warrior code, which in his eyes made him guilty of much pain and death in the name of ego, the priest grabbed a sword and threatened to kill Rosalie unless Gilad told him where to find Geoff. While thrusting the sword to behead Rosalie, the priest saw how in 1359 Gilad broke into the Vatican and demanded payment from the pontiff for his men in the White Company as reward for their defense of the city of Cesena, a recompense he gained after he threatened to kill the cardinal.

Falling to his knees, the priest asked if every damn weapon in the apartment belonged to Gilad, who said that they did because Rosalie was his biggest fan. Upset that the priest was going to kill her, Rosalie hit Gilad in the chest repeatedly while asking who the priest was. As Gilad said he did not know, but that he recognized that the priest possessed the power and strength of a Geomancer, he heard the chi–crack of the machine gun and pushed Rosalie out of the way before the priest shot him.

Grabbing Rosalie by the hair, the priest aimed his gun at her temple and demanded to know where Geoff was, but Gilad simply apologized to Rosalie for letting her down. Before the priest could pull the trigger, however, Geoff walked into the room and stopped him. Pulling a union jack banner from his coat, the priest claimed that he was the one first chosen to inherit the blessing, and that because of that Geoff had to die.

Crushing the flash, the priest said that half a century before Geoff became Geomancer Buck McHenry chose him as his successor, and that as part of his destiny to become the eyes and ears of the Earth he learned the ways to listen, until the flag cheated him of his inheritance. Denied his role as Geomancer, his powers failed, and the cries of men’s pain silenced the whispers of the Earth, so he turned to God and the memories and the pain withdrew, until the mantle of Geomancer passed to Geoff. Since that day, when the pain re–awoke, he tracked Geoff through Gilad to kill him so he would become Geomancer and be free from the pain forever.

Denying the priest’s belief, Geoff said that once he rejected Buck’s lesson it passed him forever, when then Gilad pushed him out the window. Grasping the corner of the union jack as he fell, the priest re–experienced his fateful decision in 1915, when Gilad signaled the doomed charge of the Australians against the Ottoman Empire in the Battle of Gallipoli. Responsible for blowing the whistle that signaled the charge, the young man who would become the priest refused to condemn the brave soldiers to their death despite being told that it was the Earth’s will, so Buck stepped in and blew the whistle himself, which led to the historic massacre.

Laying on the hood of a car, barely alive clutching the union jack in his grasp, the priest asked Gilad why he spurred the soldiers to a needless death. Pulling the flag over the priest, Gilad said that the Australian’s bravery at Gallipoli gave birth to a legend from which the fighting spirit of a nation was born, and that the Battle of Gallipoli was the last time his countrymen fought under the flag of another, and the first moment they released their grip on the union jack. Though he tried to listen to the whispers of the flag, the priest could only hear pain before he passed away.

Blood Money

While Gilad witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, a potter on his way to Bethany tried to hire him as his bodyguard with the same 30 pieces of silver Judas Iscariot got for betraying Jesus, but Gilad declined.

In 1993, while Geoff, Edward, and Amanda helped Gilad move into his new apartment, Terrance, an envoy sent by Master Darque, delivered a cryptic message and a Roman shekel that Geoff told Gilad was one of Judas’ 30 pieces of silver, all of which held the necromantic energy of Jesus’ death, power Master Darque wanted Gilad to race him for. Learning the location of a second coin from the shekel, Geoff and Gilad went to find it. The day, Master Darque marked Terence with dozens of tattoos that symbolized men he had killed which transformed him into an Earth elemental that he sent to find the coin and kill Gilad if he got in his way.

Following the coin’s trail to a church in Maine, Gilad and Geoff came across Terrance, who had killed the priest. As a battle ensued and Terence almost killed Geoff, Gilad used his steel whip to save the young Geomancer from Terence’s grasp by severing his hand from his arm. Unfortunately, Terence reabsorbed the dirt and reconstituted himself. While Gilad futilely pummeled Terence into dirt, a priest walked into the room and threw a bowl of holy water in the elemental’s face that hurt him and forced him to flee.

With the father’s blessing, Gilad removed the second coin from the alter and gave it to Geoff, who told him that the third coin was in Virginia. Meanwhile in New Orleans, Master Darque acquired a third coin on his own. Asked by Sandria why he involved Gilad in his scheme, Master Darque told her that he did it to wear him down, so that once he was at the zenith of his strength, he could kill Geoff and enslave Gilad.

Arriving at the home of Dr. Spindell in Virginia, Gilad and Geoff were too late to save him from Terence, who arrived first and absorbed Spindell into his clay body.

Black Desert Rose

While pondering the Geomancer’s insistence that he witness Jesus’ crucifixion, an execution that was the Earth’s will, Gilad came across the potter, who asked to share the road with him. Amused, Gilad asked the potter why he was going to Bethany, and the potter replied that after selling a field for thirty shekels he desired to spend his newfound wealth on wine and women. Though the potter once again requested that he be his bodyguard, Gilad rode away to meet his destiny in another land. Chuckling at the notion that the potter needed protection for thirty pieces of silver, and thinking that he would need to be cursed for thieves to attack in broad daylight, Gilad ignored just how prophetic his words were.

Pushing Gilad aside, Terence lunged against Geoff, when then Gilad shot him with a shotgun that severed his hand and gave Geoff a chance to escape. Grabbing a box filled with coins, Terence took his leave, certain that he had acquired his master’s prize. Unbeknownst to Terence, he had taken the wrong coin and Geoff found the right one, which led him and Gilad to an archeological dig in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Terence returned to New Orleans, where Master Darque punished him for his failure and recruited another envoy.

Acquiring visitors’ clearance for him and Geoff through Neville Alcott, Gilad joined Professor Hawthorne’s dig, where he met Janine Noir, an attractive woman he felt inexplicably attracted to. Despite Hawthorne’s warnings of underground floods, Gilad climbed down a shaft to search for the coin. Enthralled by Janine’s beauty, Gilad had trouble concentrating on his goal, but he nevertheless found what he was looking for. Suddenly, a flood filled the cavern and washed over Gilad. As Gilad realized that the flood was Darque’s doing the water crushed him against the wall and took the coin with it.

Climbing out of the shaft, Gilad came across Janine, who chastised him for going into the chamber. Bidding her goodnight Gilad walked away from Janine, who returned to her tent, where Abdul, the water elemental, was waiting for her. Unbeknownst to Gilad, Janine Noire was in reality Mademoiselle Noir, Darque’s lethal seductress, who once before had seduced his brother Aram in a bid to kill him. Sending Abdul away, Janine mused over how she would kill Gilad the next day.

Unable to shake his attraction for Janine, Gilad returned to his tent, where Geoff introducing him to two friends of his who hated Master Darque as much as they did; Carmen Ruiz and her husband, Dr. Mirage.

Desert Mirage

Following his trail to a village in the mountains of Northern Ireland in 1483 AD, Gilad found Malloch, an individual in possession of the cursed 30 pieces of silver who used their power to grant the deepest desire of every man, woman, and child in an adjoining town in exchange for their killing Gilad. Finding himself barraged from all sides, Gilad cursed Malloch until he lost consciousness. The next day in Saudi Arabia, Professor Hawthorne introduced Gilad to Carmen, unaware that they met the night before and allied themselves to find the cursed coin. Just then, Janine walked into the tent and asked Gilad to help her examine the dig for damage caused by the flood. Watching from afar, Geoff said that he did not trust Janine and how she had Gilad wrapped around her finger, to which Hwen revealed that Gilad could not help himself as Darque had made Janine irresistible to men, a power he sensed when he first saw her.

While Gilad and Carmen went down into the cave and walked across the dig, Janine ordered Saul and Jawib to dispatch Abdul, who had lost his mind, and prepare to deal with the Mirage. Sometime later, Geoff and Janine joined Gilad and Carmen in the dig. As they made their way deep into the cavern, the earth quaked and the walls crumbled around them, trapping them in separate chambers. Meanwhile, Hwen invisibly floated over the camp site and found Saul, who used the coin to turn himself into a fire elemental. Back underground, while Janine futilely tried to kill Carmen, who successfully defended herself, Gilad was unsuccessful in freeing him and Geoff. Just then, Saul entered the cavern and tried to burn Gilad and Geoff with a burst of fire that Hwen deflected. Rushing Saul, Gilad punched him and made him loose control of his abilities. Before Saul imploded, Hwen directed his energy and absorbed the necromantic power in the coin, which destroyed it.

Finding Carmen, Geoff said that with the coin destroyed neither he nor Darque could find the other coins, which meant that their journey was at an end.

Access Denied

During the Texas Revolution in 1834, Gilad fought beside Gary Abrams, a young soldier with no family who died by his side during an incursion of their fort. Aware of the growing remarks about his never seemingly ageing, Gilad chose to discard his identity of Gilad Anderson and on that day he became Gilad Abrams.

While buying a plane ticket to New York from Saudi Arabia, Gilad learned that his passport was no longer valid, and that the US and England, countries in which he held dual citizenship, denied his existence, which resulted in his and Geoff being detained while the matter was settled.

Sent to a Detention Center for Civil Disobedience, Gilad came across Mohammed, an old ally that recruited him for a job near Djibouti to undo a Coup D’etat in exchange for his return to the States. Dispatching the guard, Gilad took his keys and then he and the others escaped their cells and stole the other guards’ weapons, with which they all escaped after releasing every prisoner in the compound, including Geoff. That night at Mohammed’s camp, he told Gilad that while they were out on the job Geoff could wait at his camp.

The next day, Gilad learned that their mission was to take a government building back from a group of rebels and rescue their hostages. While Mohammed’s men breached the building using CM gas, Gilad dealt with a sniper hidden on the roof of an adjacent building. Finding a way up to the roof, Gilad killed two guards and entered the building, where he joined Mohammed and his men. Together, they killed the rebels and rescued the hostages. Several hours later, Gilad returned to Mohammed’s camp and reunited with Geoff, who was eager to return home, which Mohammed promised would take no more than a week.

Near the last leg of their trip aboard a small plane headed to Florida from Cuba, Gilad lucked out and called Neville, who revealed that the problems with his identification were caused by a revamping of the agency’s various field operatives’ identification papers, a mishap he hoped had not caused Gilad any trouble.

On The Shoulders Of Giants

In the city of Cloux, France near Amboise in 1519, Leonardo Da Vinci bequeathed the plans for his helical air screw to Gilad in the hope that his invention would hasten the end of all wars.

In 1994, under the ominous sight of two military helicopters, Gilad made his way across the Nevada desert to meet with Dr. Steiner, a scientist he had not seen since the 1950’s who contacted him through Neville Alcott. Arriving in Crimminsville, a town straight out of American Graffiti, Gilad checked into a hotel room unaware that a soldier who had been waiting for him reported his arrival to Alan Sharpsteen, Dr. Steiner’s assistant. As Gilad made his way to Dr. Steiner’s military base on a rented Harley, two radio–controlled drone fighter planes suddenly flew overhead and caused an impact tremor that made him drive off the road into a ditch.

Standing on a cliff, Gilad saw a missile bank on the base in the distance shooting at the drones and wondered how many of them there were on the base. Driving to the gate, Gilad announced himself to the guard, who failing to find his name on the visitors’ list called Dr. Steiner, who to Gilad’s surprise was not expecting him. Following Dr. Steiner inside the base, Gilad learned that the people in charge did not want him to work on the field of nuclear science due to his idea that the Earth was a living entity who human beings had made sick.

While on his way back to Crimminsville, Gilad wondered if Steiner was laying to him about contacting him, when then two Huey helicopters flew overhead and shot him with their missiles. Throwing the Harley at the helicopters, Gilad caused them to crash with one another, when just then, Alan Sharpsteen drove up to him and confessed that he was the one who contacted him to stop Dr. Steiner from unleashing the missiles.

Returning to the base, Alan and Gilad found Steiner inside the control center standing over a dead controller’s body and holding a second one at gun point. Listening to Steiner rave about his desire to annihilate humanity to save the Earth, Gilad waited for his chance to jump at him to stop him from killing the controller so that his dead weight would pull the key that would release the missiles, when then CIA Agent Shepard walked through the door and shot Steiner between the eyes. Oblivious of the controller’s shock at almost being responsible for destroying the world, Shepard told Gilad that by his count no one had gotten hurt, a remark that prodded Gilad to tell Shepard that he was still the insensitive jerk he met four year earlier.

A Little Knowledge ...

During the 14th Century, Gilad and Sahbel the Geomancer’s search for a thief who stole a book inscribed by a powerful necromancer took them to Northern Persia, where they found the thief’s corpse in a cave adorned with spells of hate and destruction that he copied from the tome before its author killed him and took it back. Taking a torch to the thief’s twisted bones, Sahbel set them ablaze to rid the Earth of his evil before its growth spread. Like a score of slaughterhouses that screamed in Gilad’s head, a dark plume rose from the burning corpse while the cave quaked as the Earth sought to entomb it for eternity, nearly interring Gilad and Sahbel as well. Following Sahbel to an exit, Gilad swore to find the necromancer and destroy his books of evil.

In 1994, Master Darque walked into the corporate headquarters of Faraday Publishing Company Inc in NYC looking for Michael Faraday, who on a recent trip to the Middle East had acquired an ancient manuscript of arcane lore that he intend to publish. Calling the book his legacy and its knowledge his inheritance, Darque offered Faraday a million dollars for it, but, mocking his appearance, Faraday kicked Darque out of his office.

Waking from a nightmare in which he saw Darque walking away from the burning Faraday building with the book of necromancer in his hands, Geoff McHenry went to see Gilad, who told Geoff to lead him to the book. Meanwhile, Master Darque returned to his New York apartment, where Sandria mocked his failure to retrieve the book and inquired why he desired an outdated copy of a tome he already possessed. Sitting on a wicker chair, Darque told Sandria that the copy contained the secrets of the necromantic energy pool and how to tap into it. Finding the thought of common rabble having access to the Darque power intolerable, Darque sent his minions, Vise and Nitro, to the Faraday Publishing building to secure the mystic tome that he desired.

That night, as Geoff led Gilad to the basement vault at Faraday Publishing, elsewhere in the building Nitro set demolition charges on the support columns while Vise stood watch over him, when just then a security guard discovered them and Vise killed him. Back at the vault, as Geoff found the book Gilad heard the sound of Vise and Nitro coming towards them and sent Geoff away with the book while he stayed to deal with Vise.

After hiding the book in a trash can, Geoff ran toward the lobby, where Nitro was waiting for him. Running inside an elevator, Geoff kicked Nitro off him just as the doors closed. Meanwhile, Gilad pushed Vise into the building’s fuse box and cut the power out in the entire building, inadvertently sealing Geoff in the elevator. While Geoff waited for Gilad, Nitro pulled him by the hair on his head through the elevator’s emergency exit and demanded that he tell him where the book was, when just then Gilad jumped on him and pushed him off Geoff. During the struggle, Nitro dropped his detonator inside the elevator, so while Gilad kicked him off the elevator, Geoff went to find it and asked it not to blow up the building.

Later that night, Darque watched as a plume of smoke came out of Gilad’s chimney and smiled, pleased that Gilad and Geoff had destroyed the book and ensured that if he could not have it no one else would either.

Blind Fate

During the Siege of Indus in 326 BC, one of Hephaestion’s soldiers blinded Gilad and took him prisoner. Two days later, two soldiers took Gilad to see Lord Hephaestion, a Geomancer who used his link with the Earth to aid Alexander the Great’s campaign for profit. Though Gilad pleaded with Hephaestion to let him go so he battle for the people he intended to conquer as their champion, Hephaestion refused and ordered his guards to take Gilad back to his cell and remove his eyes. Breaking free of his bonds, Gilad lunged against Hephaestion to kill him, but one of the guards impaled him on a spear and stopped him in his tracks. Nearly a year later, a blinded Gilad, who the guards repeatedly stuck hot pokers in his eyes for weeks on end, laid in a prison cell.

Two years later, after Hephaestion’s death, the new ruler of the land freed Gilad from his imprisonment. Still blinded after repeated torture, Gilad moved to the remains of a small village to the north of Indus, where he spent his days and nights honing his sense of hearing until he was able to hit a target with a spear despite his blindness. Eventually, a woman called Khadania came looking for Gilad the One’s help, but he turned away. Days later, while walking through town, Gilad leapt in a fray to rescue an old man besieged by a dozen attackers. Despite his disability, Gilad defeated the assailants and sent them running like cowards.

Later, north of the village, Siri, the man Gilad saved, told him that the men attacked him for speaking out against the law that forbade him to rise above his class. While Siri longed for the days before Alexander’s men came and destroyed the peace in the valley, Gilad cursed Hephaestion under his breath. That night, while Siri slept, Khadania returned and urged Gilad to remove his blindfold and see her. Doing as asked, Gilad was astonished to discover that Khadania was a Geomancer, Hephaestion’s successor. Ready to resume his calling beside the eyes and the ears of the Earth, Gilad pledged himself at Khadania’s service. Holding Gilad in her arms, Khadania told him that he had already done what she needed him to do when he saved Siri, whose son would grow up to be a mighty general that would become a powerful leader in his own right.

One night in 1994, at Washington Square, Gilad placed a blindfold over his eyes and threw a spear at a tree while cursing Hephaestion under his breath as a reminder of what he had experienced once before.

A Bloody Day In London Town

In 1912, during family dinner at his brother’s house in Brooklyn, Buck McHenry sensed the awakening of what he called the evil across the sea and left. A few hours later, at Manhattan’s East River docks, Buck used his enhanced strength to get a job on a boat bound for England. Twelve hours later in London, the Immortal Enemy, reborn as a young boy, lured a man into an alley and transferred his soul into his body. The next day, Gilad, who at the time was an inspector for Scotland Yard, watched as the police took the boy’s body away, when just then a woman came running toward him yelling that she saw the man’s murder.

Two weeks later, Gilad stopped a group of twelve year old children from killing a man in the sewers. Meanwhile, in London’s East End, near Holden House, a group of children turned muggers delivered their stolen goods to the Immortal Enemy, who ordered them to stop killing their marks as they were leaving too many clues behind. Just then, Gilad broke into the room holding one of the kids in his hand. Lunging against him, Cheng failed to stab Gilad with a knife, so he escaped, leaving the kids behind to delay him.

Running away, Cheng collided with Buck, who was waiting for him atop a bridge armed with the Bagh–Nakh. Desperate, Cheng pushed Buck off the bridge and the they fell into the river just as Gilad reached the bridge. Leaping into the water, Gilad rescued Buck before he drowned, but lost sight of Cheng. Reaching the shore, Buck gave Gilad the blade so he could kill Cheng and trap his soul within it. Just then, Cheng rose from the water. Slitting his own throat, Cheng grabbed Buck to take over his body, but for unknown reasons the process failed. Deciding to stay until spring, Buck told Gilad that he wanted to go see the lillies.

74 years later, while reminiscing about Buck, who he missed very much, Gilad dropped a lily in the river.

The Root of The Problem

The Root of The Problem – Part I (Or What I Did To Infuriate The Sect)

While on their way to Dr. Gluck’s office, Aram gave a trio of homeless men 15 dollars on the condition that they do not spend it all on booze or cough medicine. Pointing out that those men could have been members of the Sect, Archer asked that Aram be more careful. Telling Archer that he was fantasizing, Aram told him that those men were bums just like him when he found him. Stating that some bums were drunks, Aram told Archer that he never knew when he might meet a genuine holy man from a religious order who had taken a vow of poverty, like members of several branches which have existed since the Crusades. Dropping Aram off at Dr. Gluck’s office, Archer left to seek out evil and destroy it. Making his way inside the office, Aram laid on the couch and told Dr. Gluck the story of what he did to infuriate the Sect. During the Siege of Acre, in 1191, Gilad reported to Richard the Lionhearted and King Phillip the II of France the progress of a siege tunnel, which had advanced since he put Aram at the head of the crew. Standing on his feet before Richard, Gilad’s posture bothered King Phillip, who refused to permit the collapse of chivalry and good manners simply because they were in the field. To appease Phillip, Richard asked Gilad to deliver his report on bent knee. Obeying, Gilad kneeled and said that the tunnel had reached the main battlements, but that Moorish archers on the ramparts sorely vexed them. Calling the guards, Richard had them bring a young knight called Lockinbar, the Archbishop’s nephew, into the tent. Trained by both Viking and Moorish masters on the use of the bow, Lockinbar left with Gilad to clear the ramparts of the Turkish archers.

Leaving the royal tent, Lockinbar asked Gilad if he would see any action, which prompted Gilad to inquire how he had gotten there from Normandy without being in a fight. Learning that Lockinbar spent his journey on a ship praying and fasting, Gilad believed that he should probably not meet his brother, who he called a lecher and foul–mouthed. Riding two horses to the opening of the siege tunnel, Gilad and Lockinbar found Aram fighting a group of Turks. While Lockinbar dealt with the archers on the ramparts, Gilad leapt off his horse and helped Aram. On the run from the archers and Turks, Gilad told Arm that Richard’s seers said that Saladin was en route to relieve the city, so Aram told him that they should raze Acre, but Gilad refused, claiming that they could not capture the city on their own. Riding back to their camp, Gilad told Aram that they had to capture the city before Saladin arrived and laid siege to them.

That night, in King Phillips’ tent, the king cursed Richard and his inability to get rid of him due to the strength of his army. Aware that Richard depended on the support of the Archbishop, Phillip sent Roderick to find Mademoiselle Phoebe, a spy posing as a harlot in the company of a group of Knights Templar, to get her to sleep with Lockinbar in a bid to get the Archbishop to turn on Richard. That night, near Tyre, Roderick met with Phoebe, who accepted Phillip’s orders. Leaving Phoebe’s tent, Roderick made a comment about her that enraged Brother Nicholas, one of the Templar Knight, who stroke Roderick with his sword, killing him.

Back in Acre, Aram took Gilad and Lockinbar to a local tavern despite the boy’s disapproval. In time, Aram got drunk enough to deluge Lockinbar with stories about Cleopatra and past loves, none of which the young archer believed. Wondering where the Geomancer was, Gilad worried that they had no way of knowing that Richard was right. Just then, the Knights Templar broke into the tavern accusing Aram and Gilad of being drunkards, gamblers, and fornicators who had betrayed the principles of their holy quest. Fighting the knights, Gilad urged Aram not to hurt them, as they were Phillips’ men and Richard needed his support. Escaping while the Templars burned the tavern, Aram, Gilad, and Lockinbar made it to a ridge from where they saw a dozen Oxen and two dozen Moorish slaves pushing a catapult toward Acre.

When Gilad and Aram returned to inform Richard of their discovery, the king chastised them for brawling with Phillips’ knights. As Aram blamed them for attacking them first, Gilad told him to shut up. Enraged, Richard accused Gilad and Aram of exposing Lockinbar to drinking and gambling at the risk of his spiritual well–being. Holding Gilad responsible for Aram’s behavior, Richard ordered them to steer clear of the fresh continent of Templar Knights due to arrive that day. Sending Aram away, Richard asked Gilad to stay behind. Ordering Gilad to travel to Jerusalem and meet with Saladin to deliver his terms for Acre’s surrender, Richard told him to leave Lockinbar in the care of the Templar. Leaving the tent, Gilad informed Aram of his mission and urged him to stay out of Lockinbar’s way, for if anything happened to him they would blame him.

The Root of The Problem – Part II

Arriving on the Valley of the Nine Oxen, where the Knights Templar’s camp was, Lockinbar reported to Brother Nicholas, when just then, Mademoiselle Phoebe emerged from her tent and invited him inside much to Nicholas’ dismay. Prodding Lockinbar to sit beside her on the divan, Phoebe told him that she was a holy woman, and that anyone who laid with her would become holy as well. Feeling unworthy, Lockinbar shunned Phoebe’s advances, so, in an effort to gain his trust, she relented her romantic pursue and asked him to tell her how England fared while its ruler was on a Crusade. Revealing that Prince John had usurped the throne while the Sheriff drained the country of taxes, Lockinbar told Phoebe of Robin Hood, who had taught him how to shoot a bow. Standing up, Lockinbar said that he needed to be at the front. Commanding him to come back, Phoebe gave Lockinbar an envelope that bore her seal to show Brother Nicholas when he wished to see her.

During a the Siege of Acre, Gilad informed Aram that he needed to leave on a mission for Richard. Just then, Lockinbar returned and joined them in their battle against the Turks. Smelling the scene of Phoebe’s letter, Aram asked Lockinbar if he would ever use it, but the youth told him that it was none of his business. While Gilad rode away and the knights used the catapult against the castle, Aram urged Lockinbar to introduce him to Phoebe, but the young archer refused, claiming that she was a saintly woman while he was unwashed.

That evening, King Phillip told Phoebe that while Gilad met with Saladin to cut a deal on Richard’s behalf, he planned to launch his own attack in a fortnight to make Saladin feel betrayed and push him to attack Richard. Urging Phoebe to seduce Lockinbar, Phillip wanted to tarnish Richard’s image to prevent him from returning to Britain. Telling Phillip that she had carefully cultivated an image of a virginal saint to his Knights, Phoebe assured him that her fall from grace would crush them, which is why she rallied them to take her to Jerusalem. Striking a deal with Phillip for her services, Phoebe made him agree that he would give all her men jobs once she accomplished her mission. Taking her leave, Phoebe returned to the Knights’ camp.

That night, one of the Knights Templar came to the battlefield looking for Lockinbar, so Aram, posing as the young archer, took Phoebe’s letter from Lockinbar’s hand and went to see her. Arriving in the Knights’ camp, Aram made his way into Phoebe’s tent and seduced her into sleeping with him. Meanwhile, in Saladin’s camp near Jerusalem, Gilad met with Saladin to deliver Richard’s terms for the surrender of Acre. Grateful of the king’s consent of an evacuation of the city, Saladin requested that Gilad relay a message to his king asking that he did not destroy a sacred Mosque built by his father. Making no promises, Gilad took a drawing of the Mosque back to Richard under Saladin’s threat that, should any Christian soldier wantonly destroy the Mosque, they would hunt him to the ends of the Earth and until the ends of time.

Five months later, time in which no one had seen Lady Phoebe, whose sight would inspire the troops, Brother Nicholas entered her tent concerned for her health. Though she objected, Nicholas pierced the veil of the curtain hiding Phoebe from him and discovered that she was pregnant. Enraged, Nicholas demanded to know who had visited this outrage upon her. Blaming a demon that stole upon her unawares and used his magic to seduce her, Phoebe assured Nicholas that Lockinbar had nothing to do with it.

A month later, Lockinbar, Gilad, and Aram watched as an entire garrison of Knights Templar accompanied Lady Phoebe to the battle field. Emerging from behind a curtain on a cart, Phoebe accused Aram of being the demon who defiled her. Chasing Aram, Nicholas led the Knights Templar after him to kill him. Grabbing a sword, Aram jumped on the catapult and launched himself against the Mosque, destroying instantly.

Simultaneously, across the land, Brother Nicholas and the Sect vowed to never rest until they destroyed the demon, Saladin vowed to never rest until he drove out the infidels from the holy land, Richard cursed Aram for brawling with the Knights Templar, and King Phillip blamed Aram of ruining his plans.

Laying on Dr. Gluck’s couch, Aram told her that everyone was mad at him, specially the Sect of Knights Templar, who had been after him ever since. Skeptical of Aram’s tale, Dr. Gluck remained certain that it would take much therapy to get at the root of his paranoia, so she suggested that he make an appointment.

Later, after Aram and Archer left Dr. Gluck’s office, a bum walked over to their car while they were at a stop sign to clean their windshield. While giving the bum some money, Aram became petrified in horror as he recognized that he was Brother Nicholas. Pushing down on the accelerator, Aram drove himself and Archer away as fast as possible, assuring Archer that the bum was most definitely a bum.

Chaos Effect Gamma

Lights Out

Finding the Secret Weapons running an exercise outside Heathrow Airport, Bloodshot stopped Mach’s high–jinks before he alerted airport security of their presence. Asking Bloodshot to let him run the team his way, Charles "John" Sinclair reminded him that he was the Secret Weapon’s leader, a de facto decision that Sonar, who Bloodshot could tell was bitter over what happened to the original Para–Man, did not agree to. Upset, Sinclair told Sonar that there were many things he did not agree with that he was stuck with, just like she was stuck with him. Just then, Jillian arrived to inform the team that they had clearance to enter the Tower of London to diffuse a hostage situation. Watching the Secret Weapons walk away, Bloodshot whispered to Jillian that for a new team they already had a lot going against them. Meanwhile in suburban London, the Immortal Enemy, empowered by the influx of necromantic energy, gained the ability to transfer his consciousness from Timmy, his latest incarnation, to the boy’s father without touching his new host or having to kill the child.

Beneath the Tarmac of Heathrow Airport, as Bloodshot made his way to the locker room to retrieve his bag, the lights suddenly went out and the lift he was in plummeted to the ground. Awakening an hour later unable to access his internal clock, read his metabolic system, or employ his enhanced strength, Bloodshot realized that his nanites shut down when the elevator did. Some miles away, the Immortal Enemy, drawn into town by the effects of chaos, wandered the empty streets, which reminded him of the days when he could kill an entire family and it would take the authorities weeks to find the bodies. Two hours later, Cheng discovered that he was burning out his host’s body and needed to find another one, when then he ran into an acceptable subject.

Under Heathrow, Bloodshot, unsure of what was going on topside, retrieved a dead guard’s gun and made his way to a system of access tunnels Neville told him about once. Coming upon a fork in the road, Bloodshot, unable to access any of the data stored in the nanites, had to make an educated guess on what path to follow, one of which had been walled off years earlier. Above ground, not many miles away, Cheng followed the death energy that caused the chaos around him in his new body, leaving Lloyd’s corpse behind on the lawn.

Reaching a dead end, Bloodshot turned back and found an exit that opened in a cemetery. Staring at Big Ben, Bloodshot noticed that there were no lights on in the city. Presuming that Para–Man had the sense to abort the mission, Bloodshot went to find the Secret Weapons. Sometime later, outside the Tower of London, Cheng attacked a sentry and two police officers, one of which shot him. Hitting Cheng on the back with the butt of his gun, Bloodshot stopped him from snapping a cop’s neck, when then, he recognized his distinctive eyes. Fighting Cheng hand to hand, Bloodshot accused him of being part of the craziness around them. Grabbing Bloodshot by the neck, Cheng, who was unable to take over his body, told him that he could make him watch while others died. Taking a switchblade out of a pouch, Bloodshot slashed Cheng’s face.

Certain that Cheng was connected to the night’s events, and feeling a different type energy coming off of him, Bloodshot chased him inside the tower. Feeling the same energy coming from the top of the tower, Bloodshot deduced that it was the center of all the chaos. Reaching the top of the tower, Cheng searched for the Silver Basin, a container of death energy that held the necromantic power he needed. Following the basin’s call to a hall in the wall, Cheng stepped through it, when then, Bloodshot jumped him and pushed him into the other room, where the Secret Weapons were fighting a man called Crona.

Clothes Make The Man

Standing outside the White Tower, Carol Hatcher accused Sinclair of not deserving to wear his suit, then she said that Richard would not have had them stand there like fools during a hostage situation. Pointing at the guards, Sinclair told Carol that there were two of their own inside, and that they deserved every chance to rectify the situation themselves. Laying against a tree, Andre DuBois asked Joe Valez what moved Carol, Richard’s death or the fact that Sinclair was wearing his Para–Man suit, which he himself was not sure he deserved. Assuring Andre that Sinclair, with whom he had worked before, could handle the suit, Joe said that Carol was another story. Fed up, Sinclair ordered Carol to fall in line, when then Tex, one of the burglars, opened fire on the guards. Telling the others to check their suits’ batteries, Para–Man ordered them to breach the tower.

Standing by a window at the top of the tower, Tex watched with delight as the guards scattered, when then a raven flew at him and he shot him. Recounting the legend of the ravens that guard the royal treasures in the tower, the burglars’ leader, a blonde woman, told them that the queen could sleep easy as they were too stupid to pull of a simple robbery. Telling the woman that there was time for them to retrieve the Silver Basil, Tex questioned why their boss wanted her to tag along and wondered what her part in the robbery was. Assuring Tex that he did not have to worry about her, the woman told him that he worry about the storm. Telling Tex that he would find out why she was there soon enough, the woman discreetly placed her hand on a knife.

Under the cover of a blanket of white noise generated by Sonar’s suit, the Secret Weapons broke into the tower, startling a sentry in the lower level. Advancing on the man from opposite sides, Tank and Mach told him to lower his weapon, when then the lights went out. Refusing to surrender, the man shot Tank, who snapped his neck. Upstairs, the woman killed all the burglars and filled the basin with their blood, which released a surge of energy. Kneeling down, the woman recited an incantation that called forth Crona, a spirit trapped within the basin that manifested beside her. Seeking nourishment, Crona sucked the woman’s soul.

Hearing a scream, Para–Man sent Mach to investigate, but soon as he took a step, Mach fell down and they all discovered that their suits no longer worked, but nevertheless, Para–Man ordered them to go up. Reaching the top of the tower, the Secret Weapons were astonished to find the badly decomposed corpses of the guards and the burglars. Enraged, Sonar accused Sinclair of being responsible for those people’s deaths, when then Crona ordered them to leave him to the power in the basin or suffer the same fate as the other mortals.

Angered, Mach lunged against Crona, who easily pushed him out of his way. Grabbing a scepter, Tank hit Crona across the jaw, but proving to be stronger than he was, Crona grabbed Tank’s neck and pushed him to the ground. Looming over Tank, Crona reached for his head to rip it off his shoulders, when then Sonar came running toward him with a sword. Promising to keep her alive long enough for her to see her own body rot, Crona shot Sonar with a blast from his hand, but then Para–Man tackled her to the ground before it connected. Standing over Para–Man and Sonar, Crona accused them of distracting him from tapping into the power within the basin, when just then, Bloodshot and the Immortal enemy came crashing through a wall.

Grabbing the side of the basin, the Immortal Enemy could feel it drawing the power from whatever was going on outside in great amounts, while Crona, sensing that he was not like the others, warned him not to test him. Deciding that they were out of their league, Para–Man ordered the others to retreat, but Bloodshot refused to let either Cheng or Crona have the basin. Telling Para–Man that whatever was going on outside powered Cheng, Bloodshot explained that it was the silver that was focusing it and ordered him to destroy it. Certain that his suit would protect him, Tank grabbed Mach and threw him against the basin, which shattered into a dozen pieces. Enraged, Crone lunged against Tank, when suddenly the ravens swoop down on the broken pieces of the basin and took them with them, taking Crona’s power as well. Grabbing an ax, Tank then beheaded Crona, who turned into energy and vanished.

Sometime later, while paramedics took Bloodshot out in a stretcher, Carol accused Sinclair of killing Richard and two guards had to drag her away.

Heart’s Desire

While on his way to Heathrow Airport, where Neville was expecting him to brief him on a mission to capture Mademoiselle Noir, who had escaped from MI–6, Colin King avoided an airplane that crashed within meters of his car. Feeling the blistering heat on his face and the stench of aviation fuel and smoke in the air, Colin wondered what brought the plane down, when then he heard the shrieking sound of a second plane crashing behind him and he realized that there was nothing natural about these disasters. Sometime later, Ninjak broke into MI–6 headquarters through the vent system. Informing Alcott that Heathrow was a disaster area, with planes dropping like lead balloons, Ninjak asked if anyone knew what was going on, so Sinclair told him that before everything died on them they registered a global power surge on the electromagnetic scale.

Deducing that Dr. Silk would be blind and more helpless than he had ever been before, Ninjak wanted to strike, when, suddenly, Mademoiselle Noir, empowered by the chaos effect, materialized in the middle of the room as an unearthly Goddess behind a carpet of red muzzle flash fired by puppets who were once MI–6’s finest. Falling to their knees, all the men in the room became Noir’s slaves, except for Ninjak, who despite his racing heart and lust for her, resisted her irresistible charms. Amazed by Ninjak’s resistance, Janine desired to know more about him. Taking Ninjak to a tropical island, Janine found him to be a man who had strength that made him a worthy lover. Savoring his immunity to her power, Noir found Colin to be everything she desired.

Confessing that when Darque made her what she was she lost the chance to love, Janine told Colin that she loathed the human cattle that fell at her feet, and that she longed for a partner who would love her, not her powers. In awe of her, Colin told Janine that in exchange of her taking him to face Dr. Silk so that he could finally end his struggle with him, he would be hers forever. Finding his heart’s desire to be a fair exchange for her own, Janine entered Colin’s mind and used his memory of Silk to take him to Dr. Silk.

Appearing in Webnet central in less than a blink of an eye, Ninjak engaged Silk’s security guards, when then Janine ended their lives with a snap of her fingers. Telling her to stay out of his business, Ninjak moved forward, but Janine ignored him and continued to interfere, until he threatened to rescind their deal unless she allowed him to finish things his way. Reaching the inner sanctum, Ninjak swiftly dispatched Fitzhugh, Silk’s bodyguard. Holding Silk at bay with the tip of his sword, Ninjak ignored his pleas for mercy and was ready to strike, but then he hesitated and pulled back. Realizing that his journey had been a mockery of everything he struggled for, Ninjak accused Janine of taking away the challenge and the prize of being hollow. Accusing Ninjak of being unbearably noble or pathetically squeamish, Janine used her spell on Silk to make him beg Ninjak to kill him, but turning his back on both of them, Ninjak told her to let him go and called their deal off.

Upset, Janine blasted Ninjak across the room with a wave of her hand and threatened to burn the flesh from his bones if he defied her any further, when just then, she noticed Fitzhugh wheeling Silk out of the room. Though she commanded him to return to her, Janine’s spell did not work on Fitzhugh, who took Silk away. Facing Ninjak, Janine demanded that he honor their deal. Asking Janine to reach into his mind, Colin told her that it was fitting that they should be together since they were kindred spirits destined to never find real love again. Showing her his memories of Michiko Okubo, Colin told Janine that her prize was as empty as his. Appalled, Janine accused Colin of buying her help with an empty promise. Her heart fluttering away, Janine released Ninjak, who through the vestige of their psychic bond, felt her hopelessness before she vanished.

Finding himself alone, Ninjak centered his thoughts and focused to drive aside the madness of that insane day. Though he threw away the change to kill Silk, Ninjak felt no regret, certain that Silk would soon die by his hand in a victory that he would earn. Hearing Webnet’s guards approaching, rallied, rearmed, and returned in force, Ninjak welcomed the challenge.

Risen From The Dead

Outside Heathrow airport, Gilad witnessed as an airplane crashed on the tarmac after its engines cut off as a result of the strange clouds gathered overhead. Wondering if anyone survived the crash, Gilad jumped over a fence and ran toward the airplane to help the survivors. Ripping a door off its hinges, Gilad walked inside the plane, while outside the paramedics and ambulances gathered around the crash. Kicking the emergency door aside, Gilad emerged from the wreck holding two children on his shoulders. Hearing the paramedics say that even their flashlights did not work, Gilad felt like he was back in the dark ages. Watching the paramedics take the passengers away, glad that theirs was the only plane on the glide path, Gilad wondered what would have caused the disaster, when just then, he felt a strange sensation that drew him elsewhere. Resigned to accept that the whole world seemed to have turned on its rear end in the last few hours, Gilad decided to play by the new rules and followed the strange calling wherever it might take him. Meanwhile, Malloch, empowered by the chaos effect, escaped his confinement within a cavern in a hillside near Heathrow

Sensing Gilad’s presence in a horse ranch where he was borrowing a mare, Malloch thanked the fates for delivering his old enemy into his hands. Retreating into the cavern, a resting place prepared by his followers, Malloch opened his lady Julia’s crypt and commanded her to rise so they might reign once again, but the death power that brought him back was not enough to rouse her from her slumber. Soon, Malloch found Gilad looking to take what he sought from him. Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, Geoff made his way to Gilad’s apartment looking to gather others who could help him against the chaos effect, when suddenly the pipes blew up and the stairwell filled with water that threatened to drown him.

While riding through a canyon, Gilad got the inexplicable feeling that Geoff was in trouble, when suddenly Malloch threw him off his horse. Lunging against Gilad, Malloch said that his death would awaken his lady, but Gilad hit him across the fate with a rifle and knocked him to the ground. Looming over Malloch, Gilad told him that he believed that he had died in a fire. Crawling away, Malloch said that the cursed silver coins wielded power beyond that ken that saved his body even as the fire took away his life, and that he had laid there ever since, interred alongside his coven, waiting for that night of death. Shooting the mountain to seal the entrance to the cave, Gilad told Malloch that he would have to dig his friends out. Crying out for Julia, Malloch used his power to barrage Gilad with a pile of rocks, but, standing his ground, Gilad shot him repeatedly. Taunting Malloch to pray to his dark Gods to keep his dusty bones together, Gilad shot him in the chest and said that that night was no different than the other times he defeated him and his damned priests.

Standing over Malloch’s remains, Gilad wondered what had brought him back. Taking a dagger from his bag, Gilad walked into Malloch’s resting chamber to finally bring peace to the lost souls that followed him and look again upon the face of the woman he stole from him. Back in Brooklyn, Geoff yelled for anyone to help him and asked the walls to tell him how to get out, when, suddenly, he vanished in a flash of light.

Reaching London’s East Side on his mare, Gilad felt Geoff calling him again, but he also felt that he was all right. Thinking that if anyone in the city would know what was going on it would be his brother, and that he would not be surprised if he had a hand in it, Gilad rode to Ivar’s apartment, where he found a letter addressed to Aram that said that Ivar had left in a time arc. Getting the feeling that the world was coming to an end, Gilad left Ivar’s apartment thinking that there was nothing he could do about it.

Fossil Fuel

Trapped in the flooded stairwell of Gilad’s building, Geoff McHenry could no longer feel the geo–lines of the Earth, when, suddenly, he vanished in a flash of light and reappeared in a cemetery in New Orleans where Sandria Darque told him that the world was full of Darque energy and that chaos was upon them. Taking Geoff by the hand, Sandria told him that there were others they needed to find before they traveled to Ladakh.

That evening, while Archer and Aram were stuck in Los Angeles traffic, an earthquake shattered the bridge they were on and sent all the cars down to the ground. While helping the other drivers, Archer got the feeling that Ladakh was calling him home, so he and Aram went to find a way to get there. As they sky darkened and the temperature fell, Archer said that it seemed like the end of the world, when then he and Aram came upon a mini mall under the protection of a man armed with two guns that was keeping the looters away. Stepping forth, Archer assured the man, Fred Ames of Ames music, that they were not looters. Shortly, a group of actual looters broke into the store, and while Archer and Aram attempted to dispatch them without bloodshed, one of them shot Aram in the chest and Fred, unaware of Aram’s immortality, killed him. Astonished to see Aram still standing, Fred gave him a boxed set of jazz recording as a thank you for his help.

Taking their leave, Archer and Aram followed a crack in the Earth that lead directly to Ladakh that took them to a petroleum field overran by dinosaurs. Igniting the oil around them to cook the dinosaurs, Archer and Aram took shelter in a ridge within the crevice. Just as the fire sucked the oxygen up, and it looked like the end was at hand, Sandria and Geoff appeared and took Aram and Archer with them to Ladakh. Telling them that the chasm would take them to the temple, Sandria left to search for the one who could end the chaos.

As Archer and the others neared the temple, a volley of arrows stopped them in their tracks. Showing himself, Chan ordered them to halt where they were, but then Archer told him that they were friends and had come to help. Aware of who Archer was, Chan gladly guided them to the temple. Reaching a high peak from where they could look at the temple in the distance, Archer knelt before it, grateful that he was able to see it again. Telling Archer and the others that a traveler had fallen out of the sky and not yet regained consciousness, Chan took them inside the temple in the hope that they might recognize him. Walking inside a room where the monks kept Ivar as comfortable as possible, Aram knelt beside his brother and grabbed his hand in his.

The 20th Century

Untitled Yearbook

In 1695, at Castle Winthrop in England, Gilad Anni–Padda left his wife Abigail and his unborn child in the care of Nigel the Geomancer while he left to seek out the Immortal Enemy. Aware that his offspring were born with a black heart, Gilad charged Nigel with killing his own son to ensure that his evil would not live, but Nigel refused to carry out his wish and warned him that such a responsibility would await his return. Two weeks later, Abigail entrusted her lady in waiting, Mona, with taking her child away once it was born to save it from its father, when just then, Abigail went into labor. While Gilad slayed the Immortal Enemy in the battle field, Abigail gave birth to their child, a son with mismatched colored eyes. Realizing that Abigail had borne the Immortal Enemy, Nigel tried to take the child from her bosom, but Mona knocked him out and escaped with the boy. One week later, Gilad returned to the castle and, together with Nigel, followed Mona’s trail to a pier, but Nigel could not tell where they had gone from there.

Two decades later, onboard a pirate ship, Captain Corbin, faced with a mutiny, challenged anyone brave enough to command the ship to face him in battle, when then his son, the Immortal Enemy, killed him from behind. Refusing to bow down to a cabin boy’s rule, one of the pirates shot Cheng, but regenerating from the wound, Cheng rose up and vowed that as the new Captain Corbin the sea would be an empire under his rule.

A year later, Gilad and Nigel arrived in a small coastal village where they joined a crew heading out to sea to hunt down Captain Corbin, a man fabled to posed the ability to grow missing limbs back that was responsible for a series of raids on other coastal villages throughout southern England. The next morning, a fleet of pirate ships under the command of Captain Corbin attacked the vessel that Gilad and Nigel were on. Leaping onto the deck, the Immortal Enemy mockingly called Gilad father and challenged him to cross swords with him. Proving himself to be stronger than Gilad, the Immortal Enemy swiftly disarmed him and stabbed him with a sword before he shot him with a cannon ball. Looming over Gilad, the Enemy grabbed Nigel and threatened to kill him to bring shame to Gilad’s responsibility to the Earth. Just then, however, as the Enemy realized that Gilad had vanished, as quickly as he disappeared, Gilad stroke the Enemy and severed his head from his shoulders. Taking command of the fleet, Gilad offered sanctuary in Winthrop to those who would follow him.

In 1994, while Gilad mused over how when he returned to Winthrop he was ready to forgive Abigail, only to discover that she had passed on, he wondered if the Enemy had chosen his own son to be the host of his evil soul or if it was just dumb luck. Just then, Rose, a woman Gilad had been dating, walked out of the bedroom and reiterated her desire for them to have children. Adamantly refusing due to his offspring’s curse, Gilad shared with Rose the story of the one son his wife bore in 1695…

The Search

In 1197 AD, in Nippon, the Kamakura Shogunate killed Kozo Tokimasa’s clan by order of Minamoto No Yoritomo, their shogun. Letting go of his dead children, Kozo grabbed a sword and swore to take as many Kamakura with him before they killed him, when just then Gilad Anni–Padda leapt into the fray and helped Kozo repel his attackers. Once they had killed everyone, Gilad gave Kozo the Book of Geomancers, which overwhelmed him with the sound of strange voices in his head. Watching Kozo collapse under the strain, Gilad told him that the book had chosen him to be the next Geomancer, and unless he mastered the voices before they drove him mad, he would kill him and begin the search anew.

Three days after the Chaos Effect, Gilad arrived at the monastery of Ladakh looking for Geoff and learned from a monk that he had vanished along with Archer & Aram into a time portal that took them to the end of time. Enraged, Gilad blamed himself for not arriving in time to help them, when then the monk told him that Geoff had left him one last task to perform. Relying Geoff’s message, the monk told Gilad that Geoff wanted him to retrieve the Book of Geomancers from where he hid it to find his replacement.

After recovering the book from inside the Sphinx, Gilad went to visit Geoff’s parents in the hope that the next Geomancer would be another McHenry, but either one of them heard the voices of the Earth after handling he book. Inquiring about other family members under the guise that Geoff might have gone to them, Gilad learned of the black sheep of the family, a blind ex–cop who, and Elyot Zorn, a shadowy figure that not even Alcott’s organization had much information on.

Meeting with Zorn, who upon handling the book could hear the whisper of a voice coming from a wooden table, Gilad sensing that a storm outside the window reflected the Earth’s rejection of Zorn as its Geomancer, accused Zorn of lusting after the power and refused to test him and train him to become a Geomancer. Unexpectedly, Zorn shot Gilad with a gun, but Gilad kept standing up. As a scuffle broke out, Gilad recovered the book and barely escaped before Zorn’s guards arrived. Watching Gilad run away, Zorn swore that he would have the power of the Geomancers. While Gilad ran down an alley, Zorn ordered his men to find out where he lived, and who his friends and loved ones were to ensure that he would find the book and recover what he believed was his.

The next day, Gilad decided to find the ex–cop that Geoff’s parents had told him about, hoping that, like Tokimasa before him who he found barely in time, would prove to be an excellent Geomancer. Blaming himself for Geoff and Aram’s disappearance, Gilad swore that he would never fail the Earth again.

The Immortal War

The Immortal War – Part I: Adrift

In a cavern in the Greek island of Myonos in 1320 AD, Gilad faced Sahbel in armed combat. Knocking Sahbel down with a head butt, Gilad refused to fight any longer out of fear that Sahbel’s fatigue would make him fight foolishly and he would get hurt. As Sahbel commanded Gilad to pick up his sword, Arani ordered them to stop. Upset, Sahbel said that he gave Gilad a command he refused, and that it he was to be Geomancer, Gilad was bound to obey him. Reminding Sahbel that he was not Geomancer yet, Arani told him that Gilad was his partner and not his servant, and that unless he learned humility he would never become Geomancer. Saying that he was mad to ally himself with an infidel and agree to take instruction from a woman, Sahbel left the arena. As Gilad told Arani that he could not work with Sahbel because he was too arrogant, Arani asked him to try, and told him that, for all his arrogance, Sahbel was the one chosen to succeed her and that there was nothing that could ever or would ever change his becoming Geomancer.

In 1994, Lt. Morgan responded to a report of a brawl in a seedy bar near the docks in New York Cit and found Gilad sitting at the bar surrounded by the unconscious patron. Slamming his fist on the bar, Gilad told Morgan that the new Geomancer had fired him, and that for the first time since the Geomancers gave him a purpose for his life a millennia earlier when he discovered he was immortal he had no idea of what he would do. While Gilad told Morgan that he was a warrior defined by his battles, the sound of approaching police sirens filled the air, and Morgan gave Gilad the keys to his apartment and asked him to wait for him there.

Sometime later at Morgan’s apartment, Morgan told Gilad that he sympathized with his plight as he had spent the last 25 years trying to make New York a better place at the cost of his children’s recognition and his marriage and of a crack house that he could not touch because it was politically protected. Certain that he could take down the crack house on his own, and defiant of man’s laws and customs, Gilad convinced Morgan to go with him to shut the crack house down.

Two hours later, Gilad arrived on his car and met with Morgan, who was waiting for him in front of the crack house. Opening the trunk, Gilad revealed an arsenal that left Morgan speechless. After Gilad armed himself for combat, Morgan told him that as a sworn officer of the law he could not get involved in stuff like what he was doing. Nevertheless, Gilad walked into the crack house by himself.

Busting through the door, Gilad opened fire on the drug dealers within the dwelling, , who shot him back with their own weapons. Meanwhile, in a back room, the dealer’s leader was on the phone with his boss, when the commotion of the gunfire caught his attention. Making his way to the cutting room with the help of Morgan, who reconsidered his stance, Gilad told Morgan to leave with the children who the dealers forced to cut the heroine and cocaine, while he set up the timer on a bomb. After Morgan took off with the kids, the dealer’s leader shot Gilad with a shot gun and told him to burn in hell. Second later, the bomb exploded and took the building down with it. Much to Morgan’s surprise, Gilad crawled out of the wreckage, injured by alive.

Elsewhere, two flunkies showed a picture of Gilad to the drug dealer’s boss, Juan Caldone, the Immortal Enemy, who vowed that this would be the last time he and Gilad’s paths would cross.

The Immortal War – Part II: Burden Of Knowing

Recounting the story of his rebirths following his defeat at the hands of Gilad to Councilman Lipato, a corrupt politician, the Immortal Enemy revealed how he survived the Chaos Effect by leaping into a monk’s body before his previous host exploded as the result of a burst of necromantic energy released when Hwen Mirage sealed the rent in time. Upset with the attack on his crack house, Caldone grabbed Lipato and transferred his consciousness into his body in a bid to destroy Gilad and escape the circle of death and life forever.

At the Midtown Police headquarters, the chief informed the detectives and officers, including Morgan, that whoever shut down the crack house acted outside the law just like the guys who ran it, and that they could not condone it. Returning home, Morgan found Gilad waiting for him ready to go out again and continue what they had started. As Morgan warned Gilad that there was political pressure on him to stop the vigilante responsible for attacking the crack house, Gilad inquired which politician was doing the most protecting and implied that he would kill him to stop him. Unwilling to help Gilad commit a political assassination, Morgan refused to give him the name, so Gilad left to go find it himself on the streets. Aiming his gun at Gilad, Morgan arrested him and threatened to shoot him unless he turned around, but reminding him that bullets could not stop him, Gilad walked out of the apartment anyway. Alone, Morgan turned to the phone and anonymously called the Councilman to warn him that someone was going to kill him.

Stopping Gilad on the steps of city hall, Morgan told him that he called the Councilman and warned him that he would confess what they did to stop him. Giving Gilad the choice between backing off and spending the rest of his long life in jail, Morgan asked him what path he would choose. Telling Morgan that he would make his own path, Gilad knocked him out and put him back inside his car.

Reaching Lipato’s office, Gilad discovered that Cheng had taken over the Councilman’s body and trained his gun on him to kill him. Just then, Lipato’s men burst into the room and opened fire on Gilad. Shooting Gilad in the kneecap to prevent him from escaping, Cheng gloated over him and said that he would take over his body, but refusing to allow Cheng to control him again, Gilad jumped out the window to escape.

The Immortal War – Part III: A Friend In Need

In a tavern in Deptford, England, in late May of 1593, the Immortal Enemy killed Gilad’s friend, Christopher Marlowe, and said that the friends of his enemy made themselves his enemies. Holding Marlowe’s corpse, Gilad vowed to find Cheng and promised that his death would be slow and agonizing.

Falling from the top floor of city hall, Gilad slowed down his fall by trying to hang on to ledges and flagpoles until he crashed on the roof of Morgan’s car. Meanwhile, back in the Councilman’s office, Caldone ordered his men to go down and find Gilad. Barely conscious, Gilad urged Morgan to take him somewhere else where he could heal, and though he was undecided on whether he should take Glad to the hospital or arrest him, Morgan nevertheless drove away just as Caldone’s men exited the building and opened fire on them.

Stopping long enough for Gilad to get inside the car, Morgan was still undecided on what to do, when then Caldone’s men found them. Leading on a chase, Morgan decided to hide Gilad and buy him sometime to heal. Crashing in Central Park, Morgan dragged Gilad’s body to a boat house to hide him, but just as they walked inside one of Caldone’s men shot him in the shoulder. Killing two of Caldone’s men, Morgan looked for the third one in the dark, unaware that he was behind him and had him on his sights. Unexpectedly, Gilad grabbed the man by the neck and, saying that Morgan was his friend, killed him.

The Immortal War – Part IV: The Last Trap

On the island of Avalon, Nimue, the geomancer, found Arthurus Rex, the once and future king who was in reality Gilad Anni–Padda, laying in a basket at the shore of the isle following the Battle of Camian along with her sisters. Worried over Gilad's grievous wound, Nimue instructed her sisters to take him to the Crystal Cave. Waking from a nightmare in which he relived Mordred’s treacherous attack, Gilad questioned himself for letting Merlin talk him into becoming king. Blaming himself for ignoring what Mordred would do to him given how his offspring tended to be like, Gilad felt betrayed by those he loved. Assuring Gilad that he did what the Earth needed done, Nimue said that Camelot and Arthur had to die so they could become legends, and that humanity needed legends if it hoped to survive and remind them of all the great things they might become.

In 1995, Gilad awoke in a boat called Camelot in Central Park calling Nimue’s name a week after he fell out of Lipato’s skyscraper. Reaching the shore, Gilad met up with Morgan, who reminded him of what had happened and asked him to explain to him what was going on. While walking out of the park, Gilad told Morgan about Chen, who wanted to take over his body to live forever. Blaming himself for falling into Chen’s trap, Gilad felt confident that he could now make his own plans and defeat Caldone. Elsewhere, Caldone, who feared that Gilad would kill, refused to abandon Lipato’s body and set a trap for Gilad.

Following a tip to an abandoned castle on its own island on the Hudson that a tycoon brought over at the turn of the century before he went bankrupt where Caldone had set up, Gilad donned a scuba gear and swam toward the fort while Morgan waited for him on shore with instructions to call Bloodshot if anything went wrong. Using mortars, Morgan activated all of the castle’s motions sensors as a diversion to give Gilad a chance to break inside undetected. Enraged, Caldone ordered his guards to open fire where they saw the mortar light, so while bullets hailed on him, Morgan ran away hoping that things were going smoothly for Gilad.

Reaching a grotto, Gilad killed a sentry in full view of a security camera. From the safety of the security room, Caldone ordered his guards to attack Anni–Padda, who at that moment had placed an explosive on the generator to blow it up. Engaging Caldone’s men in the generator room, Gilad activated the bomb and killed all of them in the explosion. Back in the security room, Caldone ordered his men to shoot Gilad in the head to slow him down and give him time to escape. Leading the guards on a chase across the castle, Gilad slaughtered the lot of them. Meanwhile, Caldone escaped to the roof and took over a helicopter pilot’s body to escape, but just then, Gilad shattered the cockpit and dragged Caldone out of the chopper.

While the two men struggled, Caldone attempted to leap into Gilad’s body, but using a gas bomb, Gilad blinded him and prevented him from escaping. Beating Caldone, Gilad proclaimed that their centuries–long battle was at an end, but, defiant to the last, Caldone swore that he would be reborn or posses another and face him again. Denying Caldone’s vow, Gilad told him that he had a new fate in mind for him.

Sometime later, with the help of friends who thought like he did that loaned him an aircraft, Gilad abandoned Caldone in the frozen wastelands of the Artic, where his body would freeze but he would not die, just slowly slip into suspended animation, never truly dead, nor truly alive, unable to reincarnate. Trapped with no one to posses, Caldone laid buried in the snow, which finally rid Gilad of him forever. Standing in the snow, Caldone cursed Gilad and vowed that his hatred lived forever.

The 20th Century

A Small Conflict

In 452 AD, in the Alps, Gilad Anni–Padda wantonly slaughtered Attila the Hun’s army to prevent them from crossing a stone bridge into a village he had sworn to protect. As the sun rose after a night of carnage, Attila offered to turn his men away from the path if Gilad would show then another way and fight with them. Accepting the Hun’s offer, much to Attila’s surprise, Gilad freely walked away without a backwards glance, proclaiming that sooner or later those he loved always died while he did not, and that life went on.

At the Van Anders Museum of Classical Art in the Upper West of Manhattan in 1995, Gilad met Migdalia De Los Santos during an exhibit of his personal art collection. Impressed, Migdalia, who as assistant curator of the museum had worked on the exhibit, got Gilad to reminisce about Ivar, who he believed was dead but remained certain would pop up again. Offering to tell her more, Gilad invited Migdalia to a late supper, during which she received a call about problems at her family’s neighborhood store. Driving Migdalia there, Gilad learned that her relatives refused to abandon their store out of fear that a street gang would strip it bare, so he called Morgan and asked him to send some squad cars.

Walking over to the gang’s leader, Ramon Villares, Gilad warned them that the people in the bodega that they intended to assault were under his protection, but they laughed at him. Challenging their toughest fighter, Gilad told the thugs that after he defeated him they would go away and never bother the bodega again, or else he would kill them. Snapping his fingers, Ramon called Hugo, a behemoth of a man who was twice as big as Gilad. Seizing Hugo up, Gilad ripped a bumper from a car and gave it to him to even them out. Offended, Hugo jumped on Gilad, who with one punch knocked the behemoth down. Turning to face the thugs, Gilad taunted them and they attacked him, when just then, Migdalia pushed Ramon’s hand aside before he could shoot Gilad, unaware that the bullet would not harm him. Grabbing Migdalia. Ramon threatened to slice her, but Gilad warned him that if he touched a hair in her head he would rip him apart with his bare hands. Unfazed, Ramon jumped to attack Gilad, who grabbed him by the neck and would have broken his neck like a twig had Migdalia not begged him to let him go. Tossing Ramon against a wall, Gilad ordered the thugs to leave, promising that if they ever menaced Migdalia’s cousins again he would return and hunt them down.

On the way to Migdalia’s home, she asked Gilad who he was, and telling her that he was just a man who knew sadness and loneliness like any other man, he said that he had lost everything he loved. Telling Gilad that he scared her a little, Migdalia told him that she had seen into his soul and very much wanted to know him. Taking Migdalia into his arms, the two of them share a passionate embrace and kissed.

Mortal Kin

Mortal Kin – Part I: Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth

At the Whitechapel District of London in 1888, Gilad followed a woman’s scream to a graveyard where he saw Jack the Ripper standing over her corpse. Warning the Ripper to walk away from the woman, Gilad swore that she would be the last to fall under his knife. His vow met with silence, Gilad told the Ripper that he should have never been born, and that as his father he was the one best equipped to make that judgment. Enraged, the Ripper rushed toward Gilad and picked him up over his head. Saying that Gilad was the one he most desired to kill, the Ripper tossed Gilad against a statue and ran away. Just then, two constables arrived and found Gilad looming over the woman’s corpse. As the constables accused him of being the Ripper, Gilad denied their accusation and promised that he was the one who would stop the ripper.

In 1995, Gilad took Migdalia home from the opera, unaware that an individual garbed in similar attire to Jack the Ripper’s was following them inside a taxi. Though Migdalia invited him to her apartment, Gilad told her that every step in a relationship should be savored and that the physical would be much sweeter for the wait. Following Gilad, the individual killed the cab driver and went inside the building, where he broke into Rosalie Thompkins apartment and eviscerated her.

The next day, Lt. Morgan knocked on Gilad’s door and took him to Rosalie’s apartment, where he met FBI Agent James Durant, who told him that the MO of Rosalie’s murder matched the deaths of five women whose only communality was that they knew Gilad. Accusing him of the murders, but offering not to arrest him yet, Agent Durant asked Gilad to let them examine his apartment. Giving Durant the key to his apartment, Gilad took Morgan aside and asked him to turn his back while he escaped to warn Migdalia that she was in danger. Reaching the museum, Gilad found Migdalia and told her to get out of town until he found the killer.

Sometime later, at a safe house, Gilad called Neville to check up on Jillian, and once he was certain that she was safe, he asked Neville to check some things for him. A short time later, Gilad led the police on a chase to the docks, where he forced them to open fire on him by leaping into the river from atop a crane.

Mortal Kin – Part II: Faint And Parry

At a graveyard in London, Gilad had to fight his way through a mob and constables accusing him of being the Ripper to escape. The next morning at Buck’s apartment, as Buck asked him what he was doing next, Gilad revealed that he knew something about the Ripper that no one else did. A few nights later in Whitechapel, Gilad accused his daughter, Diane Glastoner, of being the Ripper and unsheathed a sword to kill her.

In 1995, Agent Durant, refusing to believe that Gilad was dead, he ordered the police to continue searching for his body. Meanwhile, Lt. Morgan visited Migdalia and told her what happened to Gilad, and assured her that he had seen him live through worse. Asking Migdalia to watch her back, Morgan inadvertently said that if Gilad did not kill the women someone else did, a statement that made her question how little she knew about Gilad and made her believe that Morgan might be the one framing him.

The next day, Morgan, worried that he had not yet heard from Gilad, received a call from Neville, who told him that Gilad asked him to contact him if he proved to be unavailable and revealed that the person he asked him to check up on was indeed one of his offspring. Just then, Agent Durant walked into the room and Morgan hung up the phone. Soon as Durant left, Morgan called up an informant with connections in the FBI to ask him to look in on Agent Durant’s credentials.

That evening at the Museum, Agent Durant came upon Migdalia to ask her about Gilad, who he knew was her boyfriend. Just then, Morgan confronted Durant with how he learned about Migdalia’s connection to Gilad and said that he figured out that he was the killer. Reaching for a gun, Durant took Migdalia captive and shot Morgan, when then, Gilad showed up and tossed Durant, his son, across the room and away from her. Telling Migdalia that he had been healing from his wounds, Gilad revealed that he had used her as bait to bring Durant out, a statement that upset her. Refusing to be taken prisoner, Duran jumped through a window and Gilad went after him while Migdalia stayed with Morgan, who was still alive.

Chasing Durant down into the subway, Gilad followed him into the tunnels, where they fought while a train came bearing down on them. Punching Gilad, Durant jumped out of the way while the train ran over his father and cut off his left arm.

Mortal Kin – Part III: Fatal Thrust

In 1888, Diane Glastoner, Gilad Anni–Padda’s daughter and the confessed Ripper, grabbed her father by the throat and said that she ripped out the women’s hearts because she could not rip out his. With rage in her eyes, Diane said that her mother told her all about Gilad before she died, then she tossed him aside and damned him for not having her born male. Looming over Gilad, Diane said that she treated women in the basest way like men did and she would him. Kicking Diane off him, Gilad pushed her near his sword, and as she reached for the blade, she threatened to scream out that he was the ripper, certain that since she was a woman they would believe her. Telling Diane that she would not have the chance, as he was going to kill her, Gilad unsheathed a dagger and went after her. Mocking Gilad, Diane did not believe that he could kill his own daughter, but assuring her that he had already done it many times before, Gilad apologized to Diane for letting her be born and then stabbed her in the heart with a dagger. Standing over Diane’s corpse, Gilad plotted to drop her in the Thames to bring an end to the Ripper murders. Walking away with Diane’s corpse over his shoulder, Gilad mused that no one need know the truth about his offspring, his private shame and secret sorrow.

In 1995, inside an ambulance rushing to a hospital through the streets of New York City with Lieutenant Morgan and Migdalia de Los Santos inside, Migdalia wondered what she would tell the police about Durant and Gilad, who she did not know where he was. Elsewhere, in a subway tunnel near 26th Street, paramedics carried Gilad on a stretcher to take him to a hospital after a subway train ran him over and cut off his arm. Learning from the train conductor that Gilad was fighting another man, the police questioned Durant, who identified himself and told them that Gilad was a wanted man in a serial murder case. Just then, the police heard that there was an APB out on Durant for shooting Morgan. Failing to convince the cops that Gilad shot Morgan, Durant tossed one of them on the third rail and then went after Gilad, who he wanted to kill. Chasing the ambulance that carried his father to the hospital, Durant grabbed the back door, but then he lost his hold and rolled down on the street. Getting back up, Durant vowed that he would have his revenge on his father.

Later, at the hospital, Migdalia finished giving the police her statement, when, suddenly, the paramedics arrived with Gilad and took him to the OR. Behind Migdalia, the officer who witnessed Durant’s attack, briefed his colleagues on what happened to his partner. Watching as a paramedic rushed past her with Gilad’s arm, Migdalia shed a tear for him and blamed herself for not trusting him and believing his story. Accepting the police’s offer to escort her home, Migdalia left to go rest while she waited for Gilad’s surgery to be over. Inside the OR, Gilad woke up and asked where Durant was, then, when the doctor tried to anesthetize him, he stood up to go find Migdalia. Struggling with the doctors, Gilad put them down and walked out the door, but not before he asked them to put his arm on ice since he was going to be back for it later.

Walking out of the hospital, Gilad stole an ambulance and drove it to Migdalia’s building, where at that moment Durant was watching her from outside the terrace of her apartment. Walking into the apartment, Durant startled Migdalia, who drew a gun and warned him of making a mistake being there. Lunging at Migdalia, Durant grabbed her throat and slammed her against the wall, when, suddenly, Gilad broke through the door and, with leopard speed, pummeled him with his remaining arm.

Tossing Gilad off him, Durant said that he promised his mother that he would kill him when he strangled her 75 years earlier. Just then, Migdalia stabbed Durant on the back with a kitchen knife and he punched her in the face and knocked her down. Standing up, Gilad stabbed Durant with one of Migdalia’s relics. Standing over Durant’s body holding Migdalia with his arm, Gilad told her that he needed to go back to the hospital.

Three days later, at the hospital, Migdalia and Morgan visited Gilad. As Morgan told Gilad that he was jealous that his arm was back to normal while he was going to take weeks to recover, Migdalia asked him if all his children were like Durant, and he told her that all of them he had met were.

The 20th Century

Lest Darkness Fall

In late 1944, inside an underground V–2 rocket factory in Germany, Gilad stood at the mouth of a cave looking down at the rockets, when then a man came out of the dark and aimed a gun at his head. Exchanging passwords, Gilad learned that the man was Colonel Angstrom, a member of the Fenris Group, whose men stationed throughout the complex were ready to attack on his signal. Going over the explosives he brought with him, Gilad told Angstrom that high command was grateful for his help since the factory was too far underground for their bombers, when, unexpectedly, he aimed his gun at Angstrom and asked him why he was helping them destroy Germany since all their sources indicated that he was a loyal and dedicated officer. Coldly staring at the barrel of Gilad’s gun, Angstrom said that Nazi Germany was doomed, and that the sooner that Germany fell a new one would rise. Comparing him and his men to the great wolf Fenris, who helped bring about Ragnarok, Angstrom was certain that they would help bring the doom of the Nazis. Just then, Gilad shot a Nazi soldier and Angstrom worried that his men would hear the shot take it for a signal.

Running through the factory guns blazing, Gilad and Angstrom ran to the other end of the cavern, but the Nazis ambushed them. With their backs against the wall, Angstrom told Gilad to blow the rocket fuel tanks to take the rest of the complex with them, fully aware that the explosion would kill him and his men. Tossing the explosive at the fuel tank, Gilad destroyed the factory. As he walked out through the flames, Gilad lamented that Angstrom and his men had died as Germany could have used men like him, but then he mused that such were he wages of war on good men and bad.

One night in 1995, at a dock in New York City, a group of British agents killed a group of armed men that were guarding a crate with the symbol of the Fenris group that exploded when they opened it. On the other side of the dock, Herr Angstrom oversaw as his men loaded the real crate on a truck. Mourning the passing of his brothers and sisters, who died to make the trap work, Angstrom did not rejoice in the deaths they had just caused or will cause the next day. Reminding his aide, Hicks, that what they did was necessary, Angstrom told him that it gave him no joy. Climbing inside the truck, Angstrom and Hicks left to continue their work.

That night in London, Neville Alcott told his daughter Jillian that the New York mission was a total failure, and that most of their people died during the raid, which was a trap that Fenris set for them. Worried that the Fenrists were loose in New York City with an atomic bomb that they intended to set off before dawn, Neville called Gilad, an old friend and the only man who could stop them.

Lying in bed beside Gilad, Migdalia asked him if he ever got tired of life and if he ever wished he could die like other people, to what he replied that sometimes he did, and that he once tried going mad for a century but it did not take. Just then, the phone rang and Gilad spoke with Neville, who told him about the bomb. Getting out of bed, Gilad got dressed and then called Morgan and told him what was happening.

Sometime later, Gilad told Migdalia and Morgan that the Fenris League, a group that felt that civilization was teetering and that the sooner it collapsed the sooner something better could take its place, brought a bomb to New York that they intended to detonate just before dawn. Surmising that the bomb’s electromagnetic pulse would wipe out all electronics in the North–East corridor, and crash the world’s economies and governments, Gilad told Migdalia and Morgan to get those they loved out of the city in case he failed to stop Fenris. With Migdalia’s help, Gilad realized that since Fenris lacked a delivery system for their bomb, they would put it in the tallest building they could find to ensure the effectiveness of the atomic blast.

Later that night, at the World Trade Center, Angstrom and his men took the bomb to the roof of one of the towers and primed it to explode when the countdown reached zero. Suddenly, a helicopter opened fire on them and killed them all, then Gilad leapt off the chopper to find the bomb and deactivate it. Unexpectedly, the Fenrists transformed themselves into Werewolves and lunged at Gilad to stop him. Single–handedly, Gilad killed the wolves one by one, then he found the bomb and sat beside it to disarm the nosecone.

On the verge of dying, Angstrom pleaded with Gilad not to destroy the nosecone and said that civilization was doomed, like Germany was the last time they met. Telling Gilad that the Fenris league had kept track of him after the war, Angstrom said that they knew much about him and asked him if he was not weary of life. Crawling toward Gilad, Angstrom told him to let the bomb explode and accept oblivion with it so that he could be at peace. Though he felt tempted to accept what Angstrom was offering, Gilad destroyed the bomb with one punch. With his drying breath, Angstrom cursed Gilad.

A short time later, after Neville’s men took the Fenrists’ corpses away, Gilad told Migdalia and Morgan that Angstrom was right, and that civilization was doomed. Staring into the distance, Gilad said that he had seen all the warning signs before, but that unlike in the past, when if Rome fell Beijing still thrived, today they were all connected, and that the dark ages that would come would be darker and deeper than any the world had ever seen as a result. Swearing that civilization would not fall while Migdalia and Morgan lived, Gilad said that he had been looking for a cause to fight in, and that to stay the fall of night as long as he could and hasten the dawn that came after was it. Vowing to fight for humanity until humanity awoke and saved itself, Gilad had found a battle worth fighting for.

Childhood's End

Childhood's End – Part I

Early one evening in New York City, during the summer of 1995, three crooks killed a security guard during the commission of a robbery and almost ran over Gilad and Migdalia while escaping from the police in the armored truck. Enraged, Gilad followed the truck on foot over the cars on the street and forced the driver to stop. Watching while the cops took the startled crooks away, Migdalia told Gilad that he had to stop being so reckless, then she asked him if he was not afraid that the wounds he suffered might he fatal. Looking into Migdalia’s eyes, Gilad offered to tell her a story related to her question.

One night in the summer of 3214 BC in Mesopotamia, after Gilad and Aram carried lumber back to their hut, amid their father’s astonishment and fear from their brethren that believed them to be spawns of evil, the two brothers went their separate ways, with Aram going after a couple of girls while Gilad went to rest for the hunt. Turning to his father, young Gilad told him that he worried that his brother would never learn, but his father assured him that he was just young and that he would learn soon enough. Sharing his concern with the disappearance of some of their fellow tribesmen with Gilad, his father told him that he was going to stay to guard he village in case of attack while he and Aram went on the hunt that night.

Miles away, inside a cave infested with Spider Aliens, the Queen Mother told Niala the half–breed that their food supply was growing low and that they needed to find more humans. As her hunger grew daily, the Queen Mother accused Niala of doing nothing to remedy and wanting to see her perish of starvation. Assuring the Queen Mother that the thought would never cross her mind, Niala told her that she had sent a scout troop out to look for human villages to raid. Leaving the cave, Niala ordered A’Too to prepare the scout troop and lead them. Hitting A’Too across the face with a mace when he grabbed her hand, Niala told him that none of them would ever touch her and would only bow when she was their queen.

Meanwhile, Gilad and Aram followed the elders on the hunt for food, when suddenly the Spider Aliens attacked them and killed everyone except for the two brothers. During the battle, A’Too stabbed Gilad with a lance on the chest and the mighty Anni–Padda fell unconscious. Awakening hours later with his brother at his side, Gilad was shocked to see the lance sticking out of his abdomen. Certain that he would die if the spear was not removed Gilad asked Aram to remove it from his body.

Later, as the boy’s father visited his children in their tent and Gilad showed him that he was invulnerable, Gilad, who wondered why they survived while the rest of the hunters died, asked him why they were so different. Confessing that he was not their true father, and saying that the two of them were brought to their mother and him when they were infants by a man who said he could sense a noble spirit in him, Gilad and Aram’s father said that he loved them both as his true sons. Upset that his father had lied to him, Gilad stormed out of the tent and abandoned his tribe.

Back at the Spider Aliens’ cave, Niala informed the Queen Mother that they had discovered a village not far from there and were ready to attack. Later, while Aram and is father sat by a campfire, the Spider Aliens came and slaughtered everyone in the village, taking Aram with them as their prisoner.

Returning to the village, Gilad was appalled to discover that someone had set it on fire and taken everyone in his tribe.

Childhood's End – Part II

On 3214 BC, in Mesopotamia, Gilad Anni–Padda returned to his village after an argument with his father, who he learned was not his progenitor, and discovered that the village was destroyed and both his father and brother were gone. Noticing a Spider Alien warrior looking at him, Gilad disarmed him and used his own sword to cut off his head. Just then, Niala appeared and offered to help Gilad if he would lower his weapon. Offering to take Gilad to where the Spider Aliens had taken his people, Niala told him that if he killed the Queen Mother his people would be freed, but that he would have to trust her.

Later, Niala took Gilad to the aliens’ nest under the pretense that she found him hiding in the ruins of the village and took him prisoner. Betraying Gilad to her brethren, Niala ordered the aliens to restrain him with a collar and take him to the labs with his brother.

Hours later, Gilad awoke inside a Spider Alien with his hands in shackles and saw Aram hanging on the wall with electrodes coming from his head and chest. Suddenly, Niala freed Gilad and told him to follow her. Upset at her betrayal, Gilad wanted to kill Niala, but she assured him that everything was still going according to plan and told him to go kill the queen while she held off the troops. Tired of Niala’s deceptions, Gilad demanded that she free Aram, but she refused because he was in no condition to fight and would only put him in jeopardy. Reminding Gilad that he was the only one who could save his village, Niala urged him to hurry. Promising to return for him, Gilad told Aram that he had to free father and the others, but Aram ignored him.

Following Niala to the Queen’s chamber, Gilad was certain that Aram hated him, but then they came upon the Spider Alien army. While Gilad went inside the Queen’s cave, Niala ordered the aliens to let him go and told them that her orders came from the Queen herself.

Finding the Queen surrounded by his father and the members of his tribe, who were held on her web inside webbed cocoons, Gilad used the sword he acquired earlier and stabbed the Queen on the head, killing her instantly. As Gilad freed his father, Niala and the aliens walked into the cavern to kill him for slaying their queen. Revealing his deal with Niala, Gilad turned the aliens against her and watched as they took her away to make her their queen just as she wished. Freeing his father, Gilad forgave him and said that he understood that he was not different, just unique.

Moments later, while Gilad and his tribesmen walked out of the aliens’ cave, Aram punched Gilad in the face. Standing over Gilad, Aram lashed out at him for leaving him behind, then, as he walked away, he swore that he would never forgive him.

Back in 1995, in New York, Gilad told Migdalia that he and Aram were able to patch things up for father’s sake, but things were never the same again and now he was gone, perhaps forever. Assuring Gilad that he would see his brother again, Migdalia asked him what happened to Niala, and he told her that she got what she wanted and became the aliens’ queen, trapped forever on a web inside a cavern to do nothing but lay eggs.

Chop Shop

Chop Shop

Sometime in the 1200s in Transylvania, , Gilad Anni–Padda broke into the fortress of Duchess Bettina Olavashky and killed her for murdering local children and draining their blood to bathe in it. Standing over the duchess’ body, Gilad mused that those who denied the humanity of others lost their own.

In 1995, at the Glen Knolls Medical Center in mid–state New York, Dr. Sutter called his contact in the organ black market to acquire a heart for Jeremy Hartmann, who had two weeks left to live on behalf of his parents, for whom money was no object when it came to saving their child’s life.

The next day, in New York City, Gilad and Migdalia went to the bus station to find her cousin, Romero, whose parents were unable to pick up. While Gilad and Migdalia searched for Romero, a police officer that worked for Dr. Sutter tried to take him with him by force to steal his organs. Finding Romero in time, Gilad questioned the officer over why he wanted to arrest the boy, when, suddenly, the officer, unable to answer Gilad’s questions, punched him in the face with his baton. Enraged, Gilad lifted the cop over his head to throw him away, but then one of his cohorts hit Gilad over the head with a mallet. While Gilad lay on the ground, the cop and his partner took Migdalia and Romero outside and drove away in an ambulance.

Jumping over cars and running over them to chase the vehicle, caught up with the ambulance and caused it to tip over and crash. Running inside looking for Migdalia, Gilad beat up the cop and demanded that he tell him he kidnapped Romero or else he would rip out his heart.

A short time later, as the police took the kidnappers away, Migdalia told Detective Morgan that after the false cop told Gilad that they were after Romero to sell his heart in a black market of body parts, Gilad went to the chop shop where they were taking her cousin to shut it down.

Following the cop’s directions to the county coroner’s office, Gilad broke into the room right before the coroner sliced off a young girl to drain her blood and sell her body parts to three men from the black market that were with him. Standing in the door between the men and their escape, Gilad warned them that if the girl was alive they were going to jail, but that if she was dead they were bound for hell. After dispatching the three me, Gilad forced the coroner to tell him everything about the operation and convince him that he was telling the truth, or otherwise he would regret it.

Later that night in the hospital, Gilad told Migdalia and Romero that he learned that the chop shop in the city was just an emergency supplier, and that the organization had a body farm in South America, where, like a concentration camp, they held women pregnant and children were butchered for whatever organ they needed.

Refusing to abide its existence any longer, Gilad set about destroying the body farm.

Body Shop

Sitting on a fountain in Central Park, Gilad told Migdalia that it was important that she understood why he was doing what he was doing. Starting by telling Migdalia that in the core of his being he was still a savage, Gilad told her that when he was in his youth, back before men counted the years or recorded what they called history, he led his tribe in savage battle for the trill of it all. In those days, Gilad said, he was invincible and unbeatable, while his inability to die made him believe that he could not loose and made his tribe praise him.

Looking at his brother Aram, who had greater strength and was equally invulnerable, Gilad blamed himself for his sibling’s lack of a warrior’s heart following the loss of his spirit when he felt abandoned at the Spider Aliens’ camp. Later, inside his tent, Gilad’s wife told him that she heard he planned an attack on the city of Sumeria, and that she worried that their fortifications were too strong, but she told her to tend to her work and that he would take care of his.

Confessing to Migdalia that he now believed that he should have listened to his wife, Gilad told her that the city had fortifications such as they had never encountered before, and that in his pride he never thought he could lose, but ultimately the entire tribe paid the price for his arrogance when the Sumerians slaughtered them. Standing over the corpses of their family and friends, Aram blamed Gilad for the murder of his wives and children and vowed that he would never forgive him, then walked away. Alone with his guilt, Gilad did not blame Aram for his hatred, which he felt as well.

Telling Migdalia that he had done things in his life that later made him ashamed, Gilad said that he could perhaps make up for what he could not undo, which was why he had to go to South America the next day and close down the body farms. While Gilad found the concentration camp–like body farm, in New York City, Dr. Sutter called Roy, the owner of the farm, and demanded to know where the heart for the Hartman’s child was. Telling the doctor that he lost his local supplier, Roy offered to get him a heart from the farm.

Sneaking into the body farm that night, Gilad killed the guards on the watchtower and then went to find the rest. Meanwhile, inside a cabin, a Dr. Metcalf oversaw as men working for the farm removed a boy from his mother’s side to take his heart. Following the woman’s screams, Gilad waited until the Dr and the other men left her cabin to look in on her. Helping the woman to her feet, Gilad asked her how many men were in the farm, and as he told him what he wanted to know, the woman said that he would be doing them all a mercy if he just killed them. Promising the woman that he would find her son, Gilad left to kill every miserable bastard that was running that place. Elsewhere, a sentry discovered the bodies in the watchtower.

Breaking into the medical tent, Gilad saved the woman’s son and killed Dr. Metcalf, then he left the boy there while he went to take care of everyone. Looming over the doctor, the boy continued to stab him with the blade he planned to use to take his heart.

Armed with machines guns, Gilad slaughtered every man in the camp until there was only one left. Looming over the man as he laid on the ground bleeding, Gilad offered him a deal; either he would tell him who was running the operation and he would kill him, or he would turn him over to the women and let hem kill him.

Two days later, Gilad walked into in Dr Sutter’s office in New York City with a cooler that had Roy’s head inside it and placed it on the doctor’s desk. Looming over Stutter, Gilad asked him to choose between going to jail and going to his grave.

Later, while the cops took Stutter away, Gilad stared out a window and wondered how many other body farms were still out there.

Slaughter House

Slaughter House

While reading the newspaper and learning of the continual slaughter in Groznia, Gilad told Migdalia the story of when he was in Rome when the Visigoths led by Alaric the First sacked it. Explaining that he had helped set up Rome for the fall, Gilad said that there were people, one person in particular, about whom he still desperately cared about. Hacking and racing his way across Rome to reach her, Gilad had trusted the Geomancer’s judgment when he assured him that the slaughter and destruction were all necessary, but at that moment he doubted the Geomancer for he was losing the woman he loved. Rushing into Virgilia’s house looking for her, Gilad killed two Visigoths that were burning her library and then he ran deeper inside and found Virgilia, who had chosen to kill herself over letting the Visigoths ravage her. With her last breath, Virgilia asked Gilad to save her books, which she hoped might be used to rebuild what was lost.

Telling Migdalia that he fought in World War One, a conflict triggered by events that occurred in Groznia and one of the most horrific experiences that he had ever known, Gilad told her that he planned to kill those who currently lead the factions in war to keep the approaching dark night from coming in her lifetime. Vowing to continue killing until both sides got the message to stop, Gilad took off, leaving Migdalia to wonder what sort of man she had gotten herself involved with.

Sometime later, Gilad visited Edward Brisbane, a UN negotiator and American diplomat who 25 years earlier he rescued from Saigon, in his hotel suite in Groznia’s capital city of Sczaranja. Telling Brisbane that he intended to settle the war, Gilad asked him to deliver a letter to both factions when the leaders were gone that would explain that he intended to give them a common enemy, himself. Brisbane refused to deliver the note, as he felt that it would compromise his position there, but Gilad left it with him any way and, as he left, he told him to warn everyone that he would be the hand of death until both sides made a lasting peace.

That night, Gilad killed two Sarn faction sentries and took one of their uniforms to break into their camp, unaware that the Sarn leader, Daneel Rjankov, had given orders to shoot the sentries on sight for failing to report. An hour later, Gilad broke into Daneel’s tent, knocked him out, and left with him over his shoulder. Awakening in a cave, Daneel saw Gilad and the Viryats’ faction leader, Starn Mulak, sitting in front of him. As Gilad gave them the choice to negotiate a peace treaty or die at his hands, Daneel and Starn explained that if it was up to them they could find a way to live together, but after centuries of blood and forced unity under the heel of the Soviets their people did not want peace. Telling them to negotiate anyway, Gilad left the two men in the cave and went to give their people a common enemy.

Later, at the Sarn camp, Gilad told the Sarn leader, Colonel Gorp, that General Rjankov was in a secret peace negotiation with the Viryats, and that all units were to maintain current positions until otherwise instructed. When Gorp refused to obey Gilad’s order, Gilad sliced his throat with a knife and then killed everyone else in the tent with their own guns. As Gilad escaped the Sarn camp in a motorcycle, Colonel Vorn assumed command and ordered his men to ready the troops to kill the Viryats for the assassination of Colonel Gorp.

Common Ground

While writing his official report, Brisbane recalled his first meeting with Gilad Anni–Padda in 1968 Saigon and his recent request that he deliver a letter to both sides of the Sarn/Viryat conflict, which he intended to stop by killing off the leaders of the warring factions. Aware that Gilad had evidently kidnapped both the Sarn and the Viryat leaders, and had been busy assassinating Generals on both sides, Brisbane feared that that had only inflamed the conflict, not ended it, and it threatened to draw in the major powers as well.

Back at the cave, Gilad told Daneel and Starn that General Vorn had made himself very tough to get at, so he was leaving them with enough food and water for them to negotiate for a week while he went after him. Before he left, Gilad remarked that he left the water and food on opposite sides of the cave, which meant that the two men would have to reach some kind of accommodation.

Meanwhile, at the Sarn headquarters, Colonel Vorn received a communiqué from the UN forces warning him that if they did not remove their heavy guns from the safe–zones they would bomb the sites, so he ordered his men to chain some UN peacekeepers to the likely targets to keep the UN from doing anything. Changing the subject to Gilad, who they simply knew as a shadow assassin, Vorn ordered his men to let him come, as he had set a trap of his own for him.

After midnight, Gilad broke into the Sarn camp looking for Vorn, but when he went inside his tent to kill him, Erlik, a Soviet soldier, shot him in the back of the head. Kicking the gun off Erlik’s hand, Gilad fought him hand–to–hand while Vorn escaped. Just then, the guards opened fire on Gilad and left him for dead. Feigning that he was dead, Gilad let the guards take him outside and bury him in a mass grave filled with Viryats.

The next morning, the Sarn found the cave where Daneel and Starn were and Vorn killed them both to ensure that no one would question his authority. That night, outside the Sarn headquarters, Gilad rose from the grave and walked into Vorn’s tent. Looming over the colonel, Gilad told him that he was his long overdue death reaching out from the grave for him, then he grabbed him and took him outside. Holding Vorn over his head while the Sarn surrounded him, Gilad that there would be peace in Groznia if he had to kill every soldier there to achieve it. Tossing Vorn in the mud, Gilad turned back and walked away.

Three days later, time in which the fighting had stopped but it had become hard to find a leader who was willing to talk, Gilad visited Brisbane once again and told him that he had given up since the people hated each other and were going to keep on killing one another no matter what anyone did. Telling Gilad that he was not so sure about that, and that eventually leaders would emerge and they would remember him, Brisbane said that in the meantime they had a seriously destabilized situation.

Refusing to sit and watch the world tear itself apart, Gilad said that he had been there when civilizations collapsed, and that Brisbane had no idea what that really meant, and that all signs were there saying that it would happen again. As Gilad said that he always hoped that one man could change things, but he did was not so sure anymore, Brisbane suggested that maybe two men working together could do it, and offered to help Gilad with his knowledge and insight into the working of the international community to project the outcome of certain actions. Agreeing to Brisbane’s proposal, Gilad went to work with him in saving the world.

Armed Militia

Armed Militia

While having lunch with Migdalia in an outdoor café, Gilad told her the story of Ilsa Krofft, the daughter of a German field Marshall and an ace spy and saboteur for the Third Reich during World War II. A superb fighter, Ilsa constantly honed her skills against the best men the Wermacht could offer, and she was the principal reason Gilad did not just go in and kill Hitler to shorten the war. The last time Gilad saw Ilsa was late in the war, when he broke into her stronghold in Northern Bavaria called the Worf’s Teeth to rescue Buck McHenry and the Book of Geomancers and fell into her trap.

As Gilad offered Migdalia to fill her cup of wine, she asked him to tell her what happened next with Ilsa, when, suddenly a bomb exploded in the café. Later, after the paramedics took Migdalia to the hospital, Gilad spent the rest of the night pulling survivors out of the debris. The next morning, Gilad learned from Detective Morgan that the explosion was caused by a truck bomb that destroyed a building that held some ATF offices. While debating over which one of a slew of far–right wingers, from Nazis, to militias, survivalist groups, and hate groups, could be responsible, Gilad said that the only way to find out was from the inside. Reminding Morgan that Gil Abrams was just an assumed identity, Gilad told him that years earlier he and Buck McHenry decided to keep an eye on those groups, so he became Gil Masters and joined the paramilitary right. As Masters, Gilad said, he had shown up off and on for about two decades, which made him a mysterious and legendary figure on the right. Uncertain, Morgan told Gilad that he was always kind of conservative, but Gilad reminded him that there was a world of difference between conservative and reactionary and then he left to hunt down the bomber.

Elsewhere, in Holt, North Carolina, where a number of right–wing extremist groups that ranged from the Knightriders to the Aryan American Movement, held a joint gathering. Inside a cabin in their camp, the leaders of the various factions chastised Colonel Henderson Blackwell, the leader of a militia, for the bombing, while Reverend Fabius, the head of the American Values Federation, expressed aloof indifference. Just then, a guard informed the group that Gil Masters had shown up and was headed toward the cabin.

Walking out of the cabin, the Reverend, Blackwell, and the other leaders saw Gil walking toward them amid a crowd that was chanting his name. After introducing Gilad to the others, Blackwell asked him to tell them why he had chosen to come out of retirement, but then, as he told them that he wanted to shake the hand of the man responsible for the bombing, someone opened fire on them and hit Blackwell.

Going after the sniper, before he blew his cover, Gilad got on a motorcycle and went after him. Falling off the bike on his way up a hill, Gilad dislocated his shoulder and popped it back in by crashing against the sniper. Knocking the sniper off balance, Gilad removed his mask and was shocked to see that she was a woman called Rebekka Simon. Just then, Kross and the Knightriders came up from behind Gilad to kill Rebekka, but Gilad disarmed them and told them that she was his prisoner, and that he alone would question her. Pulling Rebekka away, Gilad warned Kross that if anyone touched her he would hold him responsible.

Watching from afar, Rebekka’s brother, Joshua, told the rest of their coalition that they were going to have to strike sooner than they planned, and that that might be their only change to save America, even if it meant risking his own sister’s life.

Counter Culture

Looming over Rebekka, who refused to tell him anything other than her name and that she considered herself a prisoner of war, Gilad was reminded of Ilsa Krofft, who the last time she saw had him and Buck cornered in that fortress of hers and had the Book of Geomancer, with which she figured she would win the war. Though Gilad tried to warn Ilsa that he was only given a tiny window of time to slip to slip in and get Buck before a fleet of Allies bombers arrived, she refused to believe him, until the bombs fell. As the fortress crumbled around them, Gilad and Ilsa fought for the book, then, as Gilad and Buck escaped, Ilsa vowed that she would find them and kill them, when then the fortress exploded.

Standing over Rebekka, Gilad wondered how long he could keep her alive and unharmed and not blow his cover as a Neo–Nazi, which was the only way he was going to find which right–wing nut bombed that building. Aware of a torchlight ceremony where something big was supposed to happen, Gilad left the tent to attend it, unaware that a moment after he left, Tyrell Stuart, the representative of the gun rights groups, broke into the tent and discovered that Rebekka did not have a mark on her.

Outside the compound, near a waterfall, Joshua and the coalition of Maccabee, Furies, and Underground Railroad prepared to attack once the extremists’ burning cross exploded.

At the ceremony, as Reverend Fabius delivered a speech calling for the unification of the individual leaderless cells to show America just how strong they were, Kross asked Gilad how the interrogation of his prisoner was coming along, so he told her that the girls was tough and stubborn and he had gotten nothing from her. Telling Gilad to give the girl to him, Kross promised that he would have the information and her screams, but Gilad suggested that with the press and the National Guard outside their perimeter, screams would give both cause to enter. Shrugging his shoulders, Kross told Gilad that a war was coming anyway and walked away.

Taking Gilad aside, Tyrell told him that he and his had no love for the ATF or the government, and that he was there because he was invited and wanted to see what was what. Remarking that he would die before they pried his gun from his fingers, Tyrell told Gilad that he neither he, nor the Nazis would blow up innocent people. Regaling Gilad with a story about his father, who came back from World War II with tales about a man he kept running a cross, a valiant warrior who hated the Nazis and all they stood for, Tyrell told Gilad that he was that man, who his father had showed him photos of. Stopping Gilad before he denied it, Tyrell told him that he saw Rebekka and that he admired him for not harming her, then he said that he and his men were pulling out of the camp that night.

As Gilad asked him who rigged the bomb in New York, Tyrell pointed him in the direction of the stage at a man garbed in a mask with the swastika emblazoned on it and told him that he was the most likely suspect. Taking count of the leaders of the cells around him, Gilad noticed that Raymond Barker, the head of the Aryan American Movement, was not present, so he instinctively suspected that eh was the man in the mask who Reverend Fabius introduced as Commander X.

As Commandeer X took responsibility for the bombing in New York, the first strike in their war, Joshua’s coalition attacked the camp. While Tyrell went to free Rebekka, Gilad went after Commander X, unaware that the Kross was going after Rebekka as well to kill her. As Gilad made his way across the coalition members, who believed that he was an enemy, Tyrell rescued Rebekka from Kross, who was going to kill her.

Finding Barker, Gilad promised to make him pay for what he had done, but, unexpectedly, Barker aimed his own gun at his head and said that someone else would take the mantle of Commander X from him before he shot himself.

The next morning, while the news reported that as the National Guard secured the area and all that was left were the wounded and dying while the other combatants seemed to have melted away in the night, Gilad tried to escape unnoticed, but then Joshua, who believed that he was a Nazi, ordered him to stop. Convincing Joshua that he was on their side with Rebekka’s help, Gilad proclaimed that the Right–Wing extremists had just been driven back underground where they would be harder to trace, and more dangerous than ever.

Filthy Lucre

Filthy Lucre

Somewhere in the Caribbean in 1777, the age of fighting sail, Captain Dark Gil led a group of pirates on a siege of Lady Samson’s royal vessel. Opening Lady Samson’s chest, Gilad found a bag of gold coins inside, like his informant foretold, that Samson, a British spy, was delivering to fund English attacks on the colonies. Spreading his share amongst his crew, Dark Gil sent the lion’s share to America to pay for the fight for freedom. Not merely pirates, but patriots, Gil plotted to use the gold to serve the cause of liberty.

In 1995, in Singapore, JL Tully, a broker at Petterman’s Bank, emptied the bank’s accounts and then wiped the files and all its traces to cover his tracks.

The next day in Washington DC, at the home of Edward Brisbane, Brisbane informed Gilad of the robbery and warned him that if Petterman’s failed it could ruin the credibility of the world banking community, and that if banks fell civilization would fall with it. Recognizing Fenris’ tactic, Gilad told Brisbane all he knew about the Fenris League, which accounted for some rumors Brisbane had heard about some people that wanted Tully dead, not caught.

Somewhere else, at a meeting of the Fenris League, it was decided to unleash the Wolfpack, their own force, to deal with Tully, who had gone rogue and instead of transferring monies into secret Fenris accounts placed them on his own.

That night in Monte Carlo, Gilad found Tully in a casino and made contact with him at the roulette table. Just then, as Amber Finn, a ravishing redhead, sat down beside Tully, Gilad noticed that she had a ring with the emblem of the Fenris league on her finger. Pushing Tully aside, Gilad warned him that the woman was a killer and told him to escape. Enraged, Finn transformed into a wolf and slashed Gilad on the chest with her claws while Tully and his bodyguard fled. Surrounded by casino security, Finn escaped through a window, then, while security was focused on her, Brisbane and Gilad walked out of the casino. A short time later, in Gilad’s hotel room, Brisbane confirmed that Tully was in Rio, so he and Gilad went after him, certain that if Fenris was sending wolves after him, it meant that they wanted him dead.

The next day, Miss Finn located Tully on a beach in Rio from her yacht and plotted to make contact with him, certain that he had ignored her face the first time he met her. Elsewhere, Gilad and Brisbane checked in on a hotel room that Gilad was a majority stockholder in with standing orders to have a room available for him at all times in the world. After Brisbane located Tully on the beach, Gilad suggested that they wait until that night to make contact with him certain that after the fiasco in Monte Carlo Fenris would be less likely to try for him during the day.

That evening, while Tully took Miss Finn to his hotel room, unaware that she was the wolf–woman who tried to kill him in Monte Carlo because she was wearing a wig, elsewhere, a group of wolf men attacked Gilad in a cemetery.

Back in Tully’s room, Miss Finn seductively moved in on her ignorant prey.

Ill Gotten Gains

In 1718, Captain Dark Gil Cooper decapitated Captain Blackbeard in battle, then he used his severed head to order his men to surrender or else face their Captain’s fate. Two years later, at the Terch State in Virginia, Gilad confronted the real Blackbeard, Jervis Terch, and accused him of tricking a demented fool into thinking he was him for the final battle to fake his own death, then he split his treasure with the governor to ensure his silence. Raising his sword, Terch aimed to kill Gilad to keep his secret safe, but then Gilad decapitated him. With the Geomancer’s guidance, Gilad took Blackbeard’s ill–gotten gains to use them for their work. Calling gold a tool that could be used to wreak great evil or create a great good, the Geomancer assured Gilad that they determined its path.

In 1995, in a cemetery in Rio de Janeiro, Gilad found himself surrounded by a pack of second–generation genetically–enhanced wolf–men sent to stop him while Amber took back the money that Tully stole for them. Lunging against his would–be killers, Gilad slayed the wolves and left to rescue Tully. Back at the hotel, Tully offered Amber a deal if she would spare him his life.

A half hour later, Brisbane and Gilad went inside Tully’s room and learned that he had left in Amber’s yacht. Certain that if Fenris wanted Tully dead they would have found his corpse, Gilad and Brisbane surmised that Fenris wanted the funds he took for them as part of their plot to manipulate the collapse of the world to convert it to gold and diamonds, which would still be good afterwards. Finding a Krugeand, Gilad realized that Amber took Tully to Africa, so he told Brisbane to see if his contacts could locate a small bank that had been bought recently, then told him his theory that Amber should have killed Tully outright, but since she did not perhaps she was no longer a loyal member of Fenris. Meanwhile, at the high council of the Fenris League, the leadership of the group ordered that Amber be killed for switching sides.

The next day in Johannesburg, Tully and Amber walked into the Craemer Bank to see the bank president. Using a false identity associated with the bank that he purchased, which had given him a line of credit anywhere in the world, Tully had the bank president take him and Amber to see the vault, where he kept a lot of diamond and gold arranged as per his instructions. As they left the bank, Amber told Tully that the money was too vulnerable in Africa, and so where they, which meant that they had to move it.

Watching from a top a water tank, Gilad called Brisbane and told him that they were right about where to find Tully and Amber. Though Gilad wanted to rob the bank to recover what Tully stole, Brisbane was adamant about doing things his way.

Shortly, Tully and Amber returned to her yacht, where they ran across Brisbane, who was there to talk some sense into both of them about the money. Unbeknownst to either of them, a group of Fenris league members in scuba gear was swimming beneath the boat ready to board the yacht to kill them, when, suddenly, Gilad killed them instead. As Brisbane offered Tully and Amber immunity from prosecution and new lives for them both, Gilad came onboard and warned them to get off the boat because Fenris had fixed charges on the hull and he could no get them off.

Suddenly, a group of Fenris wolves surrounded everyone and a battle ensued. Tossing Tully overboard, Gilad asked Brisbane to look after him while he dispatched the Fenris wolves. Standing back to back surrounded by corpses, Gilad asked Amber if she was ready to come over to their side, but she refused even though she knew that she could not go back to Fenris and found him to personally be an attractive offer. Reverting back to her human form, Amber mused over what might have been and kissed Gilad on the mouth before she leapt off the boat. Following after her, Gilad jumped into the water moments before the yacht exploded.

Emerging on a nearby dock, Gilad overheard Tully attempt to make a new deal with Brisbane and offered to not skin him alive if he signed over the bank back to Petterman. Standing on the edge of the pier while Brisbane climbed up the stairs to the street, Gilad stared into the distance to consider what might have been.

Voices Of God

Voices Of God

In 1844, the Khaldivs rebel forces, an offshoot sect of Islam, followed their leader, the Ma’Ah Ghurdan, in a final assault of their foes’ stronghold in Osks, capital city of Djurkistan near the Afghanistan border. Fighting beside the Ma’Ah, Gilad Anni–Padda guided and advised the Khaldvis into victory and the acquisition of their own country. Unfortunately those who created a country were not always meant to rule it, so, much as it hurt, Gilad killed the Ma’Ah and rallied his children to carry on for him and follow his teachings to select the greatest holy man among them to be Mahdev and rule until the coming of the Ma’Ah Bishmah, the messenger returned from God. Facing the Geomancer, Gilad expressed his dismay at having killed the Ma’Ah, who called him brother and trusted him, but the Geomancer reminded him that he achieved what the Earth spoke of what was necessary, and that in time all would be clear.

In 1995, Brisbane told Gilad that Djurkistan was a hotbed of terrorism, especially since it had returned to rule by the Mahdev, and that the Khaldivs were so extreme that even fundamentalist Islam leaders considered them excessive. Aware that they could no longer afford to remain reactive to world crises and that they had to anticipate problems and strike hard to prevent them, Brisbane introduced Gilad to the Force, a five–member team that he gathered to save civilization. Accustomed to fighting alone, Gilad neither needed nor wanted the Force, but Brisbane reminded him that they nearly blew their last task by not having enough people. Telling the Force that Gilad was vital for what he had planned, Brisbane proposed to make him the Ma’Ah Bishmah, the messenger returned from God that the Khaldivs were waiting for so that he can assuage their more radical elements and win better rights for women and install a more moderate leader than the current Mahdev. Telling the group that Djurkistan was sending out terrorists squads elsewhere throughout the world and was actively shopping for nuclear arms, Brisbane said that they if they destabilized the area the larger powers would get involved, and civilization would get trapped. Pointing out that the Khaldivs’ religion was the problem, Brisbane offered to change it, and said that the Force would be inserted in the region first to set up Gilad’s miracles to convince the faithful, after which Gilad would perform the final miracle; to die and come back.

Two weeks later, in the Kalari Desert on the border of Djurkistan, Ali Behwar, a man who got lost in the desert after his camel died, witnessed a man coming out of the desert, a feat that followed the text from the prophet who spoke of a return from the land where only death ruled. Looming over Ali, Gilad told him that Allah had sent him and that it seemed that was not his day to die.

Shortly, in Osks, Ali spoke to a crowd and told them that it was revealed to him that the man he met in the desert was Ma’Ah Bishmah when water, food, and gold fell from the man’s hands as it was written it would. Standing in the crowd, Shoshona informed Maggie and Noruma that Ali was amazing and that he might convince the crowd without their miracle. Elsewhere, Maggie did not think it right to play God to fool people, while Noruma considered them to be nothing but Pagans. Aware of what any religious fanaticism of any kind could do, Maggie told Noruma that no one could control the craziness because the craziness controlled them.

Meanwhile, at Lieutenant Morgan’s office in New York, Migdalia asked Thomas if he had seen Gilad, whom she had not seen much of lately. Sitting down, Migdalia told Thomas that she believed that Gilad blamed her for the explosion, but Thomas assured her that Gilad blamed himself for her getting hurt, and thought that maybe if he was not around she would be safe. Interrupting Thomas mid–sentence, Migdalia angrily said that maybe Gilad should have told her himself so she could then kick some sense into his thick head. Apologizing for her outburst, Migdalia said that she knew Gilad well enough to know that a crowbar would not open him up, then she thanked Thomas for his time and left.

Back in Osks, while Shoshona dispensed water spiked with hallucinogens to the crowd, the other members of the Force prepared the light show for their false miracle. Appearing in front of the gathered masses five minutes later amid a light show meant to enhance his performance, Gilad identified himself as the Ma’Ah Bishmah, the prophet returned, unaware that a man in the crowd had not drunk the water and saw through the special effects. Moments later, the man reported his discovery to the Mahdev, who had long expected the West to try something against their holy state. Enraged at the blasphemy, the Mahdev said that they would reveal the impostor and proclaim a Jihad against the dogs responsible.

That night, a man garbed in a tunic holding a silver cane walked into Gilad’s abode calling his name. Reacting instinctively, Gilad lashed out at the intruder, who then unexpectedly knocked him off his feet. Removing his hood, the man stood revealed to be Clay McHenry, the Geomancer, who the Earth had told that Gilad was doing something foolish. A short time later, after Gilad told Clay his version of what he was doing, Clay told him that what he was doing was doomed to fail. As he left, Clay reminded Gilad that he was better than that, or at least he used to be.

The next morning, Gilad met with the Mahdev, who asked him by what right he claimed to be the Ma’Ah Bishmah. Reciting the words from secret texts he helped write for only the Mahdevs long ago, Gilad proved that he was who he claimed, but then, when the Mahdev went to embrace him, he stabbed him in the heart. Looming over Gilad, the Mahdev recited the text of the final test, which said that the Ma’Ah Bishmah would die and rise back up again as proof that he truly was their lord.

Standing over Gilad, the Mahdev demanded that he rise up and proclaim himself, but Gilad would not move. Walking away, the Mahdev proclaimed Gilad’s death to prove that he was an impostor, a blasphemy for which many would die. Standing amid the crowd, Brisbane contacted the Force and informed them that they were in trouble.

Beware False Prophets

Standing over Gilad’s corpse, the Mahdev of Djurkistan accused him of proclaiming himself as the Ma’Ah Bishmah but failing the final test. Killed with his knife, the Mahdev dared Gilad to rise up or else the West would beware their wrath. Contacting the rest of the Force from amid the crowd, Erlik ordered them to abort, but Brisbane assured him that he had seen Gilad take some astounding hits and heal miraculously.

Calling Gilad a rotten bag of flesh, the Mahdev ordered his men to bring him the one who proclaimed him the Ma’Ah Bishmah. Pointing his accusing finger at Ali, the Mahdev ordered him to admit his blasphemy and admit that the impostor was in league with the West. Though he begged the Mahdev for his forgiveness on his knees, Ali was certain that Gilad was the Ma’Ah Bishmah and put his trust in him when the Mahdev frenzied the crowd to kill him for joining the false prophet. Just then, a man in the crowd discovered Shoshona. Pulling a gun out of his cloak, Erlik opened fire on the crowd so that he and Shoshona could escape. Ordering his men to go after them, the Mahdev planed to unite all Islam in a Jihad for their blasphemy when they were exposed as agents of the West. Telling his men to bury Ali, the Mahdev ordered them to display Gilad’s body so that when his friends came for it they would have them all. Meanwhile, Erlik and Shoshona hid in a well.

The next day, the members of the Fenris League met in a castle to discuss Gilad, who had become a thorn in their side ever since he became aware of them. As a female member of the Fenris leadership assured a man identified only as a Colonel that they had a sympathizer within the Force who kept them apprised of Gilad’s movements, another member said that with another failure or two they would not have the means to act and the world would suffer. Certain that with or without Fenris civilization creaked on toward its inevitable collapse, the members of the league knew that if they hoped to ultimately save civilization they had to be the ones to destroy it.

The next day, while Brisbane looked out at Gilad’s body in display on the town square, the other members of the Force wanted to leave before they were discovered, but Brisbane asked them to give Gilad another night before they quit. Elsewhere, a man informed the Mahdev that displaying Gilad’s body was a mistake as his legend had grown since he died and a mob gathered before the gates waiting for his resurrection. Calling them credulous fools, the Madhev wondered what they were waiting for, and his aide suggested that maybe they were expecting a sign. Enraged, the Mahdev returned to Gilad’s body with a phalanx of guards to show the mob their sign.

Calling Gilad an ungodly man working for the West, the Mahdev ordered the captain of the army to slice off his head to prove that he was not the Ma’Ah Bishmah, an order that enraged the crowd, who rallied to save Gilad’s life. Just as the captain was about to behead him, Gilad awoke and tossed him into the crowd much to the Mahdev’s disbelief.

Standing over the Mahdev, Gilad told him that he remembered him, the man who welcomed him with his lips but plunged a dagger in his heart. Telling the Mahdev that as darkness closed in he heard his mocking words, Gilad asked him if he denied the evidence before his eyes, then he proclaimed himself the messenger returned from God, the Ma’Ah Bishmah. Kneeling before Gilad, the Mahdev begged him for his forgiveness, which Gilad gladly gave him before he beheaded him as he refused to suffer him before him. Walking amid the crowd, Gilad ordered them to light a fire and gather their swords to spread the name of Allah and turn the disbelievers into believers, a proclamation that made Brisbane realize that, while his healing factor brought him back, his brain had suffered from oxygen deprivation and he had the mission confused with reality.

That night, Shoshona broke into the royal palace dressed like a Harem girl to speak with Gilad. Waking up upon hearing Shoshona’s footsteps, Gilad attacked her, so she defended herself and engaged him in physical combat. Across the street, Maggie aimed a rifle at Gilad and shot him with a tranquilizer. After Gilad fell by her feet, Shoshona contacted Brisbane and told him to get himself over to the palace. Shortly, Shoshona injected Gilad with an experimental drug that would kill him or cure him. Awakening some time later, Gilad recognized Brisbane as his memories had returned.

The next morning, the Ma’Ah Bishmah addressed the crowd and gave them a book in which he had written down all they needed to know to amend the law and live as Allah now willed it. Ordering them to choose a faithful and true man among them to administer the land in his place until he returned once more, Gilad said that he would reveal himself to them again when it was necessary and then walked back into the desert.

A few miles away, Gilad joined the rest of the Force in a clearing where they had a helicopter waiting for them to take them back home. Looking out into the desert, Gilad told Shoshona that somewhere deep inside part of him still felt dead, and that the messenger returned could never die again.

The Wings of Justice

The Wings Of Justice

In a makeshift air field outside Chateau Moulton, Nazi–occupied territory, in May of 1940, as thousands of Nazi troops stood by to parachute into Britain as the final stage of Hitler’s master plan was put into motion, Gilad boarded a plane to England to keep a man called Deiter safe because Buck McHenry told him to.

A short time later, the pilot received a message from the lead escort ship ordering them to intercept a formation of RAF fighters. During the aerial dogfight, Gilad wondered how he was going to protect Deiter and worried that he would fail McHenry. As Deiter lost contact with the other planes in his squadron, and he and Gilad saw as the British blew one of them up, Gilad ordered Deiter to go check on their men in the gun turret while he took control of the plane. While Deiter discovered that the gunner was dead, Gilad turned the plane against the British fighters, making sure to keep them away from the mid section.

Several minutes later, Gilad suggested to Deiter that they return to the nearest safe landing site for repairs, but Deiter, faced with the death of most of his crew, ordered Gilad to make for London at best speed. Upset that with the British’ resilience, Deiter wanted to drop a bomb on them that could not be ignored or survived. Nevertheless, Gilad insisted that they follow Luftwaffe procedure and return to the nearest friendly base and report, but Deiter insisted that they could not go back and wanted to take out part of London.

Feigning compliance with the others, Gilad suggested that Deiter take control of the plane while Frederick prepared the bombs and he checked on the fuel. Plotting to get rid of the fuel before they reached Calais, Gilad was caught sabotaging the plane. Pleading with Deiter, Gilad refused to help them commit suicide, but Deiter, who was afraid to die, wanted to continue with our without his help. Coming up on the Calais coast, Deiter ordered Gilad to put on his parachute so they could bail out before the plane crashed in London.

Seeing only one chance to succeed in his mission, Gilad punched Deiter and caused him to fire his gun in the cockpit, which depressurized and sucked Frederick out. As Deiter fell out of the cockpit, Gilad jumped after him and caught him, then the two of them parachuted into the beach and saw their plane crash in the ocean. Minutes later, Gilad knocked Deiter out and asked him to remember him kindly.

Years later, in modern London, as history was being made in Berlin with the fall of the Wall, Gilad and Neville watched on television as a news reporter interviewed Deiter Von Buskirk and his granddaughter, who told the reporter that the feelings of reunification ran deep in their people as they did in their family. Saying that after the war her grandfather, once a Luftwaffe officer, taught her that destiny was sometimes a long while in coming, Deiter’s granddaughter said that the people of West Berlin longed to meet their cousins in the East to share their mutual history, which her grandfather taught her.

Feeling honored, Deiter climbed to the top of the wall and sledgehammer to shatter it. As he prepared to deliver the first blow, Deiter thanked Gilad for giving him that moment.

Endgame

Endgame

Running through a forest in Moscow, Russia during the dead of winter holding a vial and armed with a machine gun, Gilad faced against a group of foes made up of Niala, a Spider Alien, a Nazi officer, a Fenris wolf, and a Visigoth, all of whom wanted to kill him for the vial. After Gilad shot everyone, the ice beneath his feet gave way and he and the wolf fell into the water, where he stabbed the wolf in the eye with the vial. Rising from the water, Gilad ran away, while behind him the wolf cried out into the night.

In an apartment in Moscow, as the Force told Brisbane that their mission had gone wrong, Shoshona, who believed that things went wrong when the assignment began, recounted their meeting in Maryland, where Brisbane informed them that the Soviet Union was experimenting with strains of the Ebola virus and said that the single most lethal strain was housed in Moscow. Believing that the vial was vulnerable to terrorist attack or reactionaries in the Russian government, Brisbane ordered the Force to travel to Moscow. As they left, Brisbane asked Gilad to stay behind, but he ignored him and left, which made him say that he had not been the same since they returned from Djurkistan and Abaki comment that his head was still mucked up.

Telling Brisbane about their mission, Erlik said that at first all went as planned, when suddenly, Gilad went berserk and killed the guard at the door of the facility and ordered the others to follow him. As they hit the basement, where the vial was situated, they heard screams coming up from up ahead and Maggie saw Gilad killing all the lab technicians and howling like a banshee. For a second, Gilad stared at the Force as if he could not remember their names, then he seemed to come back to himself and told them to blow the door.

After the explosives opened the vault where the Russians kept the vial, Maggie witnessed as Gilad killed Abaki and Sun after he took the vial and put it in the tube the made to hold it. After seeing Gilad snap Abaki’s neck, Maggie tossed a phosphorous grenade at him to burn out the virus in the vial, but Gilad escaped.

Stumbling out into the street in front of Shoshona, breathing hard and looking feverish, Gilad ran away from her, when then Erlik came out of the facility and shot him. Unfortunately, while Erlik wounded Gilad, he also got them the attention to the local soldiers, so Shoshona had to kill them. Just then, Maggie came out and told Erlik and Shoshona what she had seen Gilad do. Climbing on a truck, Shoshona, Erlik , and Maggie escaped.

Back in the apartment, after Maggie, Erlik, and Shoshona recounted their story for Brisbane, he asked them what happened to Gilad. Shoshona theorized that his recent death had scrambled all his memories, and that he might be flipping in and out of all the battles he had ever fought, which meant that he did not know friend from foe. Accepting her theory as a possibility, Brisbane ordered the three of them to get clean and rested because they were going after the vial, which had a homing device, to find Gilad before the authorities did. Saying that the only way to stop Gilad was to shoot him in the head, Brisbane ordered the others to leave but asked Maggie to stay behind. Once they were alone, Brisbane asked Maggie what really happened and she told him that it went down mostly as she said, except that Abaki killed Sun and went wolf on Gilad as planned, but it was not enough. Sending Maggie on her way, Brisbane unveiled a ring with the mark of the Fenris league and told her that he would call the group to tell them what happened.

Meanwhile, at the airport, Clay McHerny, the Geomancer, arrived to save his friend and the world.

Final Round

One hundred kilometers North–Northwest of Moscow, Gilad Anni–Padda stood on a clearing and shouted out to the skies for his brothers Aram and Ivar to aid him in his battle against the Huns, Visigoths, and Nazis that killed their village. Calling out to Gilad, Clay McHerny asked him if he knew who he was, but in Gilad’s eyes Clay’s face mingled with the visage of other Geomancers. Calling Gilad the once and future fist and steel of the Earth, the Eternal Warrior born before history began whose destiny no man knew, Clay once more asked him if he knew who he was. Falling to his knees, Gilad called out Clay’s name, then he said that his memory was jumbled and that he did not know from yesterday and asked him for his help.

Helping Gilad get up, Clay said that he the Earth told him that during the last mission where he was killed his brain was deprived of oxygen and that his body was trying to rebuild the parts of his brain that died. Giving Clay the vial that contained the Ebola virus, Gilad told him that the Fenrists wanted it and he could not stop them. Telling Gilad that that was not his job any longer, Clay assured him that he would watch over it, then he took Gilad to a cave, where, using an image that the Earth showed him, he carved a circle on the ground and laid Gilad inside it to make him whole again. Walking out of the cave, Clay stood watch over Gilad.

Back in Moscow, at the temporary headquarters of the Force, Shoshona wondered why they did not just hand over Gilad to the Russian authorities, so Brisbane told her that he had other sources they could use, then he warned her that if she crossed him he would feed her to the wolves. Taking his leave, Brisbane told the others to wait for him until he returned and be ready to move when he did. Once they were alone, Shoshona told the others that every mission they had undertaken so far had been a near or total disaster, to which Erlik commented that he still had contacts in Russia, and that if Brisbane messed up they would give him to the wolves. Sitting on a window ledge, Maggie agreed with Erlik, making sure to keep her true alliance a secret.

Elsewhere, Brisbane contacted the Fenris Group and told them that if they had kept their people out of the bunker then Gilad would not have seen their ring and gone berserk, but that at any rate, as per their agreement, he was triangulating on the signal in the vial and they would take it back by any means. Telling Brisbane that their wolves were closing in as well, the Fenris leader reminded him that recovery of the vial was irrelevant since all they cared about was to expose the virus to the air, after which civilization would fall and they could being to rebuild again.

Outside Moscow, a pack of werewolves discovered Clay and demanded that he tell them where Gilad was. Inside the cave, Glad in a dream he seemed to hear the harsh, guttural wolf voices and the deep stone tones of the Geomancer not far from him. Lost within himself, Gilad saw himself with his brothers before time began, he, Ivar the Timewalker, and Aram the Armstrong, who was also lost. Seeing the many women he had loved – his wives, his mistresses –, Gilad cried out when reminded of all the pain and the joy and the sorrow he had endured.

Finding himself in a dreamscape, Gilad faced a vision of the song of the Earth, who told him that the reason he was lost is that he had forgotten who and what he was. Telling him that he had strayed from his path, and let himself be drawn into pragmatic political struggles and become a soldier and not a warrior, the song told him that his cause was and must always be justice, not to fight for any one banner or country but for humanity. Reminding Gilad that his struggle was for everyone and everything, for the planet itself, the song sent him to find himself and remember.

Waking up from his trance, Gilad donned his battle glove and emerged from the cave to aid the Geomancer. Killing the Fenris wolves single–handedly, Gilad helped Clay to his feet, when, suddenly, Brisbane showed up with the rest of the Force and ordered him to give him the vial or else he would kill Clay. Holding the vial in his hand, Gilad threatened to crush it and kill everyone, then he asked Brisbane how long he had been a member of the Fenris League, a revelation that surprised Shoshona. Telling the others that he killed the guard because he wore a Fenris ring, and that Abaki was one of their werewolves and killed Sun, Gilad asked Brisbane if he was always a part of the league or if his betrayal was recent.

Confessing that his turn was a recent one, Brisbane aimed his weapon at Gilad and said that the league offered to make him one of their architects in the new civilization, his one final chance to truly make a difference and shape things the way he thought they should be. As Shoshona aimed her gun at Brisbane, Maggie shot her in the back and killed her, then she turned her weapon at Erlik, who indifferently switched sides to the higher paycheck. Sensing Erlik’s approach, Clay hit him with his cane, while Gilad stabbed Brisbane in the head with the vial. Looming over Maggie, Gilad grabbed her weapon, aimed it at her head, and shot her in the face, then he shot Erlik in the back to save Clay’s life.

Sometime later, after Clay and Gilad disposed of the vial, Gilad returned to New York to spend New Year’s Eve with Migdalia. Laying on the floor her apartment next to a chimney, Migdalia told Gilad that she was not sure he should have let him in the door as she was not a woman who liked being neglected. Apologizing for making the stupidest error he had ever made, Gilad assured Migdalia that he had learned that he could not save the world, but that there were other battles, various injustices that he would fight as he was meant to do. Spooning her, Gilad told Migdalia that that night was meant for them to spent it together, and that that was all that mattered.

Fist And Steel

Fist And Steel - Part I

In 1180 AD, Gilad Anni–Padda visited the Lamayuru Monastery in Ladakh, Tibet, the closest thing he had to a home in the world, to see his friend the Geomancer Tashi Khatun. Entering the temple, Gilad met with Tashi, who told him that he did not have many years left to live, and certainly not enough time to properly train a replacement, but that he thought he had found a way by creating a Tulpa, a necromantic puppet created for the specific purpose to outlive him and train his successor. Assuming the lotus position, Tashi told Gilad that forming a Tulpa was a very difficult and dangerous, and that he needed his help to complete the rite. Giving Gilad a dagger, Tashi told him that if he lost control of the Tulpa he had to kill him.

Entering a trance, Tashi looked into the space between worlds and sculpted the energy into his own image, giving form to his knowledge and experience so they could be passed to the next Geomancer, but something went wrong. Calling Gilad’s name, the Tulpa, a dark construct formed from mist that emanated from Tashi’s mouth, expressed a discomfort with the cold and his hunger, then he reached out to Tashi and said that he would take his place in the world of warmth and comfort. Pushing the Tulpa off Tashi, Gilad tried to choke him. Waking up from the trance, Tashi used the dagger to sever his connection with the Tulpa, who escaped through a window vowing that he would eat the Geomancer’s very soul, even if it took him an eternity.

Lying in Gilad’s arms, Tashi told him that without realizing it he created a mirror image of his pride in the Tulpa, and as his vanity became the Tulpa’s vanity, the Tulpa would not accept its role, so it struck out and attempted to take over his body because he would not accept his existence. Thought Gilad assured Tashi that it was all over, Tashi said that it was far from it.

800 years later, Tashi’s words still echoed in Gilad’s ears. Armed with the dagger, Gilad prayed for Tashi to watch over him and Clay as he went to find his successor.

Elsewhere, Clay McHerny followed a ley line to a cemetery, an area alive with Geomantic energy, where he communed with the Earth and experienced a vision of the Tulpa attacking a young man. Vowing to never let such a thing happen again, Clay followed the vision to find out where the Tulpa was. Watching the boy’s funeral, Clay awoke from his vision and faced a pool of geomantic energy in the form of a whirlpool. Just then, the Tulpa attacked Clay, who defended himself with his silver cane, which seemed to hurt the creature. Stabbing the Tulpa with the cane, Clay forced it to flee, but then Clay fell on the ground and passed out.

Finding himself in the corridor of an old museum where he could see staring at pictures of his past lined on the walls, Clay did not like to look at the pictures, as they were always the same. Walking through the museum, past the mirrors without reflection, Clay found a door that was not there before. Opening the door, Clay saw Tashi Khatun sitting on a mountain top in Ladakh telling him that he had to pass through the door and free himself from his pain and doubts to find the enlightenment he craved at the end of the short path. Just then, the Tulpa showed up and told Clay to run away because the short path was not for him.

Awakening from his dream shouting for the Tulpa to come back, Clay felt a presence around him, then a hand fell on his shoulder and he tossed its owner over his head. Landing on his feet, Gilad Anni–Padda told Clay that it was good to see him again.

Fist And Steel - Part II

In 1180 AD, in Ladakh, Tashi Khatun took Gilad Anni–Padda to witness the rite of the Chöd, which would prepare him to face the Tulpa in struggle that would be nothing like he expected. Telling Gilad that he was privileged to witness the rite, Tashi mentioned that the short path was not taken often because of its danger, then he described the Yogin’s actions for Gilad, starting with the red meal. With drum and trumpet, the Yogin called to the invisible world, then, imagining himself to be fat and bloated, just as his false ego, his sense of self, was fat and bloated, he dedicated his illusionary body, which he had held to be so precious, as a heaped–up offering, without the least regard, to all the Gods. Giving his flesh to the hungry, his blood to the thirsty, his skin to clothe those who were naked, his bones to fuel those who suffered from the cold, the Yogin gave his happiness to the unhappy ones and his breath to bring the dying back to life. Cursing himself if he shrank from giving himself, the Yogin damned the Gods and Demons if they did not prey upon it.

Watching the Yogin convulsing on the ground, Gilad wanted to help him, but Tashi stopped him and said that the others had joined in the feast. Pulling Gilad back, Tashi told him that as he knew enlightenment was a precocious jewel that had to be bought at a high price, and that an easy path leading to enlightenment was the wrong path, but that the Yogin was aware that he risked falling into madness, sickness, or death.

In 1996, in a cemetery, Gilad told Clay McHerny that he had sought him out to guide him in another stage of his education, a test not of strength or knowledge, but of essence of spirit. Calling it the short path, Gilad told Clay that they would see if he could give up his very self in the service of the Earth, then he gave him a piece of cloth and told him to touch it so he could see what he could only describe.

Floating in space, surrounded by colors, Clay felt like he had been there before. Facing a doorway, Clay crossed it and found himself in the museum from his dreams staring at a bright light that recognized him. Becoming solid and taking the shape of Tashi Kathun’s head, the light told Clay that it had come across many bardos, many planes of existence, to speak with him. Reiterating that once his pride almost cost him his life when he created a being in his own image that swore it would destroy him and devour his soul, Tashi told Clay that the Tulpa already ate him and merely reflected his own pride and vanity, his false ego. Telling Clay that he had to allow the Tulpa to consume the things that kept him from experiencing his true essence, Tashi said that he would pray for his soul and sent him on his way.

Awakening from his trance, Clay found Gilad putting together the tools required for the ritual of Chöd, the shot path of enlightenment at the end of which Clay might find enlightenment or madness, sickness, or death. Frankly, Gilad did not believe that Clay could cross the threshold, but it was his duty to prepare and help him. Unfortunately, Gilad had all the tools required for the ritual except for the Kangling, a trumpet carved from a human thigh bone.

As Gilad explained to Clay that his very soul depended on his understanding the red meal, the offer of himself in payment to all those who had provided him a life of ease, elsewhere in the cemetery, the Tulpa reanimated the corpse of the boy he killed earlier. Continuing Clay’s instruction with the black meal, Gilad told him that he had to face the harmful deeds he had committed in the course of his life, and that his sense of self, his false ego, would attempt to use those events as ransom, giving everything up to be spared the fires of destruction. Warning Clay that he had to realize that even the act of sacrifice was an illusion, and offshoot of his blinded, groundless pride, Gilad said that he had nothing to give, nothing to ransom, because he was nothing and his false ego was a phantom, an illusion.

As Clay explained that he knew he had done a lot of things in his life he was not particularly proud of, but that he did not believe who he was had to be destroyed, the Tulpa showed up to devour Clay. Having prepared for 800 years to face the Tulpa, Gilad engaged him in battle, but his punches were ineffective against its gaseous form. Meanwhile, the reanimate corpse went after Clay, who stabbed him with his cane, which caused the Tulpa to flee. Resigning himself to the fact that the Tulpa would never leave him along, Clay agreed to perform the ritual.

Moments later, after Gilad used a bone from the boy’s corpse to fashion a Kangling, he played it to help Clay immerse himself in a dream. As Clay played the trumpet, energy came pouring out from the Earth into Clay and took him inside the museum of his dreams, where he was surprised to find Gilad waiting for him. As the two walked down the long hallway, the Tulpa attacked Clay, who begged Gilad to help him, but as he had his own test, Gilad turned his back on the Geomancer and told him that he knew what to do.

Surrendering himself to the Tulpa, Clay gave his body, and the red meal began. Slowly, the Tulpa transformed into Clay, then, as the dust settled, Clay walked over to Gilad and told him that he had feasted on an illusion and that the black meal was finished. As Gilad asked where Clay was, Clay stood in front of a mirror and said that he was right there and about to see himself as he really was.

Vanishing in a blinding flash of light, Clay awoke in the cemetery three days after the ritual began. Standing over Clay, Gilad asked him what he remembered. As he picked up the Kangling, Clay said that he remembered a beautiful white light, then he walked away while playing the Kangling in his lips.

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