Saturday, April 26, 2008


The Ancestral Trail #26: The Evil One

Fight to the Finish in the Final Battle


On the Twenty-Sixth Day...

Night arrives with Evil force.
Terror, bloodshed run their course.
Doom awaits on either hand
But victory in sea, on land,
Brings at last the light of day.
Yet to not turn so fast away.
For even in the final scene
All is still not what it seems.

The journey to the Ancestral City takes hours, but eventually Ravan starts to descent from the skies to the ground, where the Ancestral City awaits them. The skies are filled with darkness that can only be created by the Evil One, but Richard is able to make out several campfires on a series of low hills. Beyond this ridge, the Ancestral City's towers and turrets are visible, as is a peculiar light that hovers above the city.

Ravan descends and lands upon the ground within the forests on the outskirts of the Ancestral City. Orkan, Melek and Richard climb off the horse's back and find Juroot waiting for them nearby. The Guardian greets them and congratulates them on finding all of the pods, but says that the city must be recaptured before they can be returned to the Tree of Life. With this, Juroot leads the trio to the Council of War.

After passing through camps of eager soldiers, they all arrive in a clearing, where many creatures have amassed. Among the familiar faces to Richard are Oganga, Zard, Kika, and Tuska. Richard asks where Golan is, and Juroot answers that only Golan's spirit is with them - he will show himself only at the Tree of Life.

With the newcomers seated, the council begins arguing how to best enter the Ancestral City. Some argue for a direct attack, others for tunneling beneath the city walls. After a lot of arguing, Juroot calls for quiet and gives his decision: a compromise. The dwarfs will tunnel beneath the city while Oganga's bird forces will distract the Evil One's forces from above. The rest of the forces will surround the city and be ready for the signal to attack directly.

The council greets Juroot's plan with enthusiasm and the Guardians begin drawing up their plans of attack. When everything is decided, the Guardians disappear into the forest to sort out their armies into separate divisions.

The armies patiently wait for the signal to advance towards the Ancestral City. After a long wait, the signal comes in that the dwarfs have entered the Ancestral City and are ready to open the gates. Richard and his companions, marching in Juroot's forces, follow the Guardian of Truth towards the north gate of the city. Above, Oganga's birds attempt to distract the Evil One's forces below, many losing their lives to arrows.

An insect scout arrives and relays the bad news that the Evil One's forces are amassing at the north gate, preparing to attack; Juroot orders his troops to advance. Soon, a mass of the Evil One's armies pour out of the north gate in countless numbers, marching directly towards Juroot's division. Juroot's men surround the Evil One's army in a pincer formation. As a group of Landsmen face some Cozards, the Ancestral forces fire flamed arrows at the Evil One's forces. Scorpions burst into flames and Grapfrits explode while earwigs and killer bees twitch to their deaths, throwing the evil army into chaos.

A scout warns that the Evil One is bringing out catapults and is preparing an assault on Zard's forces on the west gate. Then, without warning, Richard watches as fireballs are fired from the Ancestral City towards Juroot's army, bursting upon impact and killing all nearby. The Evil One's lack of compassion for his own forces allows him to hurl fireballs at will. Juroot orders his troops to advance despite an approaching swarm of Grapfrits when he gets word that the dwarves have opened the gates inside the city.

With all four gates open, the Ancestral forces surge into the city and attack on all fronts. Inside, Richard sees the city in disarray as the forces of good struggle against the forces of evil. The streets are filled with scorpions, earwigs, Cozards, and killer bees, and some of the weaker Ancestral creatures fall victim to the Cozards' cruel fighting. Several earwigs attempt to attack Zard but are cut down by the Guardian's mighty ax. Juroot is besieged by a couple of Cozards before Tuska joins in.

Meanwhile, the oceans are also being fought over between the forces of good and evil. The first to strike are Nemis' ghost sailors, but Doonar's dolphins ram the specter ship until it disappears. Then comes Sumar, the Moss Beast, dragging herself through the mud towards the Ancestral Forces, followed closely by a giant squid and an army of stingrays. The forces of good are pushed back towards the shallows, where Tolosh await them. But before the trap can be sprung, the Tolosh are ambushed by alligators that had encircled them. The sea turns a bright pink as the Tolish are devoured by the eager reptiles.

Emboldened by this victory, Guardians Tishon and Shunta advance their forces and attack Sumar directly. The Moss Beast can't react soon enough and the twin Guardians slit her throat. With Sumar defeated, he squid and stingrays are easy pray to Doonar's dolphins. The few stingrays that escape to the shore are quickly devoured by the alligators. The battle at sea has been won by the Ancestral Forces.

Back at the ancestral trail, the forces of good are assisted by a mysterious column of flame that destroys many of the evil forces before dying down. Word of the victory at sea reaches the city and empowers the Ancestral Forces while demoralizing the Evil One's armies. The large numbers of the Evil One's forces now becomes a disadvantage in the narrow streets of the Ancestral City, known more intimately to the original inhabitants. The Guardians lead their troops through every nook and cranny in the city, cutting down throngs of the Evil One's forces stuck in the thin roads. The dead fall quickly now that the tables have turned.

Within moments, the battle is over - the Evil One's forces have been defeated. The forces of good begin the task of moving the dead - both good and evil - out of the city. A long process of sorting takes place, and eventually two piles of bodies - one for good, one evil - are erected outside the city walls. The piles become funeral pyres as they are lit, and the Ancestral forces watch along the city walls as their companions are given their necessary funeral.

When the flames eventually die down, Juroot wearily exclaims that the Final Battle is over, and the Ancestral World can begin again. The Guardian motions for Richard, Orkan and Melek to follow him, and the trio do. Juroot leads them to a familiar place: the tree of Life, where Golan is standing to greet the Chosen One. Golan congratulates Richard on completing the quest and mentions that Richard has learned much from his quest, to which Richard readily agrees. Richard wonders if the pods were responsible for his growth, but Golan reads Richard's mind and disagrees, saying the manner in which he gained that growth is most important and will remain with him forever.

Richard then recalls something and asks Golan who was the "one to guide Richard," since Richard had two companions on his journey, Orkan and Melek. Golan firsts takes the Life Force Pods and returns them to the Tree of Life, where they begin radiating a beautiful gold. Golan then answers that neither Orkan nor Melek was his guide - his guide was his inner self.

By now the remaining Guardians have arrived around the tree and Richard turns to Orkan. He gasps when he sees Orkan wearing golden armor and carrying golden weapons, just like the other Guardians. Golan reveals that because of Armor's death, a new Guardian is needed to take his place, and it was Orkan's destiny to join the Guardians. Richard inquires about Melek, and a small figure dressed in vermilion robes steps out from behind the Guardians. It is Melek, and Golan explains that he had become the Keeper of the Sacred Runes and will be the leader of his people.

Golan then informs Richard to say his farewells, as it is time for him to return to his own world. Richard feels like he is losing true friends, but he suddenly yearns for home and says his goodbyes to everyone. Golan thanks Richard again and remarks that the amulet Richard wears must remain in the Ancestral World. Richard nods and allows for the Guardian to reach for the amulet around his neck.

As Golan reaches for the amulet, Richard suddenly sees a blinding flash above the Ancestral City. A towering column of blackness with two slanted red eyes can be seen above the city. It scans the battlefield for a moment before vanishing in the air, leaving a distinct image of the Evil One's mask. Had the Evil One truly been defeated?


There is a lot I love about the twenty-sixth issue of The Ancestral Trail, and one thing I don't, but overall it is certainly a great way to..."conclude" a series.

For starters, the Final Battle is perhaps the best battle in the entire series. It doesn't skim on the fact that people die in this battle on both sides, and goes through great lengths to show that sacrifices were made so that the Ancestral Forces could win this war. The battle took up a good chunk of the final issue, and every word was put to good use, making up for many of the short battles in earlier issues (see Enlil, Fenrar, Zyton, etc.).

However, I do have to mention the one thing I didn't like about this issue, or at least one that is a little confusing. Throughout the battle, the Evil One is never seen directly, and he is never fought. The Guardians don't even seem to be concerned about him throughout the battle, focusing instead on the Evil One's forces themselves. Either this is a huge oversight on the part of the book's author, or there is another reason entirely. A possibility: could it be that the Evil One was never in the Ancestral World, he simply ruled over it using the creatures he created? Is that why the Ancestral Forces, even Golan, didn't bother with him once the final Cozard was dead and burned on the funeral pyre?

But back to the good things: the image of the Guardians around the Tree of Life is perhaps one of my favorite in the series. A direct second is that of Juroot fending off Cozards with his mace while standing in front of a banner that shows the mask of the Evil One, an image so awesome that it was used for this issue's cover.

Speaking of the cover, I love how the cover cleverly and subtlety informs the reader that the journey is not over yet, that the story hasn't finished. Notice how the ancient scrolls used for the title of each book are peeling away, revealing a bizarre, metallic-like plate? Anyone who has read the series beyond the 26th issue already knows what's going to happen, but those who don't can most likely take an educated guess.

Finally, there are no cards for this issue because...well, they've been used up in the previous issues.


"You have done well. Your task is almost done, but the Evil One's forces still hold the city. Not until they are destroyed can the pods be returned to the Tree of Life and the Guardians be reinstated. Only then will our world be secure."

Richard: "Where's Golan?"
"He is with us in spirit. Not until we reach the Tree of Life will he show himself."

"A frontal attack would cost too many lives. There must be a compromise. The dwarf forces will go in ahead and tunnel under the walls. They will give a signal when they are ready to open the gates. Oganga and his bird forces will create a diversion from above. Insect scouts will keep the Guardians informed of enemy activities throughout. The rest of us will divide into four groups and be ready to advance simultaneously when we get the signal. Zard, you take your troops through the west gate, Tuska take the east and Kika the south. Richard, Melek and Orkan will join me and go in through the north gate. Remember the Evil One's forces will be ready for us. Be vigilant and good luck."

"It's finished. Our lives can begin again."

"Don't worry, the pods have contributed much but their true wealth lies in the manner in which you gained them. The value of that experience will remain with you forever."

Richard: "Who was the guide you said would help me? You mentioned only one, but Orkan and Melek were with me all the way."
"Yes, I said there would be one to guide you, but it was neither Orkan nor Melek. Your inner self was your guide."

Go to #27 - Tengam, Gravity Defier


The Ancestral Trail #25: Fenrar, the Desert Stalker

Danger and Deceit at Dead River Sands


On the Twenty-Fifth Day...

Walking underneath the sun,
Do not fear the vision double.
Do not waver! Do not run!
Falsehood now is not a trouble.
Shifting shapes amid the sand
Travail the three by Wizard's Well.
A toothy welcome is at hand
To chink ajar the gates of hell.

As Syrus lifts his finger to finish Richard off with a single spell, Richard hears a voice inside his head, the voice of Golan telling him that the spell that freed them will also kill. Remembering that speaking their names backwards three times had freed them from the bubbles, Richard calls out Syrus' name three times backwards. The genie at first seems only angered by hearing such words and prepares to kill a dejected Richard.

Just then, Syrus' arms and torso begins shrinking, all being sucked inward towards a red sphere that suddenly appears inside Syrus' body. The genie collapses inwardly into himself, compressing himself into the red sphere like a black hole. When the red sphere is all that is left, the disc itself begins shrunking, until it disappears in a whiff of orange smoke.

With Syrus dead, the trio run through the door to find the Landsmen, who are waiting for them a short distance down the tunnel. They all cheer happily when they learn of Syrus' demise, and the group begins marching through the tunnel once more. Soon, they burst through the end of the tunnel and find themselves on top of Sorcerer's Falls, beside the lake that feeds the waterfall.

Richard asks Ronek if he knows anything about Wizard's Well, where the last pod remains. Ronek mentions he only knows that many creatures guard the pod and offers to accompany the trio to the desert. Richard declines, saying that the Landsmen need to return to Golan. Reluctantly, the Landsmen bid the Chosen One and his friends farewell and depart for the Ancestral City.

As the Landsmen depart, Richard and his friends read the Book of Propehcies, which doesn't shed any light on the creatures that guard Wizard's Well. Instead, he is more fearful of the shifting shapes mentioned, which Orkan points out could be the desert itself. With this knowledge in hand, the three resume their journey once more, climbing their way down the mountain and using the Path Finder to head through the last portion of the Yellow Stone Peaks. Eventually, they reach the edge of the desert.

The desert proves to be quite a foe for the three. Despite using the Path Finder to lead them, the desert makes sure their movement is slow and laborious, as dunes shift with the winds and the sun beats down upon them relentlessly. The leather straps of Richard's new armor digs sharply into his skin, but the surprisingly light armor feels like a welcome safeguard against whatever might lurk behind the dunes.

Just then, as the three arrive on a flat plain, the trio sees three figures approaching them from the horizon before them. Because the haze blurs their vision, they cannot make out who they are. Orkan suggests getting in a single file and the trio does so; to their dismay, the figures do the same. Orkan orders his friends to get down, and they do - their foes mimic their actions.

Richard draws his dagger and sees one of his foes do the same. Realizing what was happening, Richard throws his weapon into the air and sees a mirror image across from him. He quickly tells his friends that the three figures are nothing more than mirages, and does a jig to demonstrate; Orkan and Melek are amazed to watch one of their "adversaries" copy Richard's movements exactly.

Their scare over, the trio continue their trek. As their mirage counterparts disappear into the desert haze, several more shapes start to emerge. Orkan quickly denounces them as another mirage, but as they get closer Richard realizes that the shapes are real trees and exclaims that they've arrived at Wizard's Well.

They enter the trees and find themselves in an oasis of palm trees surrounding a crystal blue lake. The three head for the water, but are cut off when a large lizard darts out from behind a clump of rocks, a lizard that resembles the ones freed in Dragora's Lair. The lizard introduces himself as Fenrar in a very friendly tone.

Richard asks Fenrar if he's seen the Life Force Pod, but Fenrar doesn't know and offers the three a chance to swim in the lake before they search for the pod. The trio, needing no encouragement, head towards the water, cast off their weapons and belongings, and dive into the refreshing water. Fenrar watches them quietly through slitted eyes.

While the three are occupied in the water, Fenrar carefully starts moving all of their belongings behind a sand dune. When all of their weapons and items are hidden, Fenrar resumes his spot underneath a tree. Richard, sensing something is wrong, at this moment turns to face Fenrar, and watches the lizard changing shape. To his horror, Fenrar morphs from a lizard into that of a wolf, who howls into the air to announce his presence.

Finally understanding what the prophecy and Ronek meant, Richard and his friends scramble out of the lake to get their weapons, but Fenrar laughs when they find their belongings gone. Fenrar bounds lightly towards the trio and surveys them quickly before settling on Melek. Richard and Orkan have no time to react when Fenrar grabs Melek and shuffles away from them, the naked scribe positioned in the wolf's jaws and ready to be eaten.

Melek cries for his friends to save themselves, while Richard and Orkan watch helplessly, knowing they can't do anything without their weapons. As Richard looks around for something to help, he sees something in the sky and gasps in amazement. A winged horse is approaching the oasis from the sky, soaring towards the water's edge and sailing across the surface with beats of its mighty wings. Richard recognizes the horse as salvation, and Fenrar does as well when he sees the white creature.

Fenrar drops Melek, who scampers back to his friends, and Fenrar doesn't waste any time. His wolf body begins transforming once more, becoming that of a winged horse, only black instead of the trio's savior's white. The white horse lands before Fenrar and the shape-shifter lunges with its hooves. But the white horse manages to knock Fenrar so powerfully that it sends him off balance. Taking advantage of this, the white horse uses its hooves to send several powerful blows against Fenrar into the ground. Fenrar, defeated, finds his body morphing into several creatures simultaneously before his body vanishes into the air.

With Fenrar dead, the white horse approaches Richard. He introduces himself as Ravan, sent to help the three complete their quest. Richard tells Ravan that Fenrar took everything they had, but Ravan points out that Fenrar had hidden them behind a nearby dune. Their things retrieved, Richard pulls out the Path Finder and uses it to see out the remaining pod. He finds that the pod is nestled in a palm tree with razor-edge needles, and realizes he can't climb the tree.

Ravan assists and flies up to the top of the tree, and grabs the Life Force Pod from the tree's nest of leaves with his teeth. He then flies back down to Richard and gives the Chosen One the final pod. Richard, realizing his quest is nearly over, takes the pod with glee.

With the pod quest completed, Ravan tells Richard and his friends to climb on his back so he may take them to the Ancestral City, where the final battle awaits. The three friends climb onto the horse's back and Ravan soars into the air, carrying the trio towards the end of their journey. As they fly, Ravan brings them up to speed with the latest news, saying that Golan has amassed all of the Ancestral World's forces together and is only waiting for the pods and Richard's return.

But Ravan also brings bad news: Amor, Guardian of the Common Beasts, was killed by Cozards while attempting to reunite with Broon and his troops. Also, the Evil One's forces are also congregating towards the Ancestral City, and look to be fiercer than the last final battle before Richard's arrival in the Ancestral World.

As Ravan carries the trio, they see the skies ahead of them growing darker. Richard suspects the darkness has more to do with the Evil One, than anything. Conversation grows sporadic as the possibility of death in the coming battle enters their minds.


Fenrar is a creature that dwells within Wizard's Well. It is fair to label Fenrar as a general "creature" or "beast" because he is a shape-shifter who can change his appearance to any creature he wishes, though it is plausible that his primary appearance is that of a wolf. It can also be assumed that Fenrar holds allegiance to the Evil One, as he guards one of the Life Force Pods inside Wizard's Well. Fenrar's primary weapon is deceit: he lures unsuspecting prey to the oasis, lures them into a false sense of security, and pounces when they can no longer defend themselves.

"Fenrar was changing shape. His legs were getting longer, his tail shrinking. Ears pricked on his head and his jawline sharpened into a canine muzzle. Dark, wiry hair sprouted all over his body. The transformation was complete within seconds. In place of the lizard there was now a wolf. Fenrar raised his head and gave a ferocious howl."

Ravan is a winged horse that was sent by Golan to assist Richard in completing his quest. Little is known about Ravan other than he is one of the Mystical Beasts of the Guardian Tuska. Since Ravan was sent near the end of Richard's quest, it can be assumed that Ravan was only sent after Tuska and the Common Beasts, having been freed from from the clutches of the winged lion Kronis, arrived at the Ancestral City to take part in the final battle.


The twenty-fifth issue of The Ancestral Trail can at first glance appear quite shallow, but upon closer inspection there are some fascinating items to glean from this issue. For starters, and most importantly, the final Life Force Pod - the very items that Richard was meant to retrieve - has been found. Along the way he has faced many evil creatures, saved many of the Ancestral World's races and most of their Guardians, and grown from a timid boy to a battle-hardened fighter. It was once remarked that The Ancestral Trail is an elaborate allegory for growing up, and while that is a simplistic idea, it is a well-founded one.

Another item of note is the arrival of Ravan, the winged horse who saved the trio from Fenrar, who looked like he had them in his clutches. Many will see Ravan as nothing more than a deus ex machina, a creature brought in to save Richard at the last minute when no other feasible solution could be found. But Ravan is a little more than that: he is the embodiment of Richard's quest's fruits. By saving all of those races from the Evil One's power, creatures like Dion and Ravan could be sent out by Golan to assist the Chosen One in finishing the quest.

Also, the issue pulls quite a startling turn of events when it reveals that Armor, the Guardian of the Common Beasts, was killed by the Evil One's forces. This unexpected death simply reaffirms that death is a horribly deformed aspect of the Ancestral World under the Evil One, and no one - not even a Guardian - can escape it. This brings up the question of what will happen to the Common Beasts later on? Who will be their Guardian now?

On a final note, the last Life Force Pod has been retrieved, and I can reveal that, unlike in previous issues, this pod won't show its power to Richard in the next issue. Therefore, I can state that this Life Force Pod is the Pod of Truth.


"Surys! Surys! Surys!"

Richard: "There is one more pod at Wizard's Well. Do you know anything about the place?"
"Only that it's in the desert and guarded by a host of different creatures."

Richard: "Well, appart from a toothy welcome, it doesn't throw any light on the beasts that Ronek mentioned. It seems more concerned with deception - falsehood and shifting shapes."
"It could be the desert itself. The dunes move every year, creating new landmarks and covering the old. In the desert you can rely only on yourself. Nothing else is certain."

"It's okay. It's a mirage. There are millions of specks of sand floating in the air. When the sun hits them at a certain angle they become a natural mirror. We've been scared of our own reflections! Look."

"He's taken everything."

"I'll take you first."


The Ancestral Trail #24: Syrus, Spirit of the Sky

Devilish Dealings with a Devious Genie


On the Twenty-Fourth Day...

When risen from enchanted blight
A slender hope across the height
Takes them to the torrent's door.
Swept by spirit off the floor
Then in evil's clutches bound.
Break with thrice the backwards sound
Of names of those so tightly held
The genie's magic rudely spelled.

The three friends try to look for a way past the massive waterfall, but there is no visible pathway. Stumped, Richard asks Melek to consult the Book of Prophecies. After reading the prophecy, he takes another look at the waterfall and sees something he didn't notice before: a slim ledge running along the walls of the rocky face and towards the waterfall. He excitedly points it out to his friends.

The ledge is fairly narrow and looks dangerous, but they decide to risk it. Richard goes first along the edge, followed by Orkan and then Melek. At first the journey across the ledge is nerve-wracking, especially as the ledge climbs gets higher above the water below, but eventually the ledge widens and grows easier for them to manage. Eventually, they reach the falling water itself, and Richard takes a step inside. The wall turns out to be a curtain of water, and the three pass through fairly easily. They emerge in a tunnel that slopes upward into the mountain.

With the path ahead of them, the three start walking in the strangely lit corridor. After a while of walking, they find a small wisp of smoke rising from the floor ahead. As they watch, the wisp suddenly grows in size and a white shot of vapor spills out. The smoke begins to shape itself into that of a creature, one with an upper body and nothing but smoke for a lower body. The creature's final form is that of a genie.

The genie identifies himself as Syrus and demands to know what Richard and his friends are doing in his realm. Richard tells the genie they are trying to reach Wizard's Well and do not wish to disturb him. The genie laughs, saying he knows why they are trying to reach the well and points a finger directly at the trio. The three freeze where they stand.

Syrus smirks and causes multicolored ooze to emerge from the floor and surround the trio. Moments later, the three are wrapped by the giant hand of Syrus, who sneers at his captives before carrying them down the tunnel. The same smoke follows closely, obscuring the three's vision and blurring their senses.

After a while, their captive lets them go and the smoke clears. The three find themselves in a room decorated with fancy silk and rugs. Syrus floats before them above a carpet of small bubbles with tiny people inside them. Syrus declares that this is the trio's final drestination. Orkan tries to launch an arrow at the genie, but Syris points a finger at them. An instant later, the three find they have shrunk and are stuck inside a bubble like the ones on the floor.

With a cackle, the genie disappears, leaving the trio trapped in the bubble. The three try to break the bubble with their swords, but the bubble is rubbery and refuses to break. Defeated, they decide to see who is trapped in the other bubbles and roll over the floor inside the bubble. When they reach the other bubbles, they look inside and Melek recognizes the people inside. They are Melek's people, the Landsmen.

Melek strikes up a conversation with one of the Landsmen inside one of the bubbles, and the trio listen to the man's tale of how they were captured by Syrus. The man reveals that the genie is holding them captive until the Evil One arrived to put them under his spell, and that only magic could hope to break the bubbles. Realizing the Evil One mustn't find them here, Richard tries to think of a way out when he remembers the prophecy.

They remember prophecy's verse and figure out that saying the name of someone backwards three times is the key to breaking the bubbles. The trio give it a go, saying their names backwards three times, and the bubble that holds them bursts. Excited, Richard calls to the other Landsmen to do the same, and soon the room is filled with nonsensical words being spoken aloud. One by one, the bubbles burst until none remained.

The leader of the Landsmen, one called Ronek, approaches Richard and thanks him for freeing them, though points out they all still need to reach their original size. The prophecy doesn't mention anything about this, so the tiny heroes resort to searching Syrus' cave. There is a single door inside the chamber, and the trio and swarm of Landsmen head straight for the slightly ajar portal.

They find no one inside, but they do find several shelves holding countless bottles of potions. The bottles contain no labels, but Richard and his friends climb up a shelf to take a look anyway. After a bit of searching, Richard sees a bottle and his instincts tell him that this bottle contains the potion that will restore their height.

With the help of some Landsmen, Richard tips the bottle over on its side. He opens the stopper and a pink liquid pours out. Richard takes a small sample of the liquid and rubs it on the back of his hand. Moments later, Richard suddenly shoots upward and he returns to his original height. Quickly he grabs the bottle and pours its contents on the ground beside the army of Landsmen. The Landsmen mimic his actions, and soon everyone else has reached their original height.

Richard says that they need to leave before Syrus returns, but the Landsmen first need to collection their weapons. They all hustle back into the first room, where against one wall several pieces of armor and weapons lay scattered. The Landsmen quickly collect their belongings, until only a single armor remains, one that belonged to one of the Landsmen's greatest warriors before he was killed by Syrus. With their blessing, Richard takes the armor and puts it on.

The armor, despite its size, feels incredibly light, and Richards feel confident in taking on anything. With their weapons collected, the Landsmen start hustling back through the potions workshop and towards another door that hopefully leads to freedom. As the last Landsmen disappears through the door, a familiar smoke appears and morphs into the form of Syrus, blocking the three's pathway. The genie points a finger at Richard, and Richard feels helpless to do anything against the magical being.


Syrus is a powerful genie that dwells within the mountains that house Sorcerers Falls. Like many of the evil creatures in the Ancestral World, Syrus holds allegiance to the Evil One. He is considered very powerful in terms of magical ability, but he also has a workshop where he contains many potions that also perform magical tasks. Syrus' most recent duty was capturing and imprisoning the remaining armies of the Landsmen, holding them until the Evil One arrives to collect them.

"The smoke began to mould itself into another shape. First a round, bald head with pointed ears and a cruel mouth appeared. Then came broad shoulders, set above a muscled torso that shone as if it had been oiled. The lower half of the apparition was nothing more than smoke. The creature was a genie."

The Landsmen are a race in the Ancestral World that closely resemble humans in shape. Their stature makes them similar to dwarfs in size, though they are apparently slightly larger. It can be assumed that they are closely related to the dwarf forces, who were placed under a spell by the Evil One and put in the care of Zock before being freed by Juroot. The Landsmen were captured by Syrus and imprisoned in the genie's stronghold, presumably to hold until the Evil One arrived to put them under the same spell as the dwarfs were once under.


For the twenty-fourth issue of The Ancestral Trail, the issue's monster is that of one found in real world myth: the legendary genie. Syrus is a fairly interesting foe, because he has the potential to be quite menacing. Genies are thought to have unlimited powers, and during the brief time we see Syrus we can tell he's able to perform some powerful magic with the simple point of a finger. With that in mind, Syrus also seems to serve the Evil One, or at least he is in cohorts with him. This brings up the question: what if Syrus were just as powerful as the Evil One? How would that dynamic work between the two?

The enslaving of the Ancestral World takes an interesting turn when Richard and his friends find the Landsmen captured by Syrus in those bubbles. By now, the Evil One has to be panicking. Richard has freed all but one Guardian, retrieved all but one Life Force Pod, killed many of the evil creatures that roam the world, and freed many enslaved races. The fact that Syrus is holding the Landsmen captive but that the Landsmen are not under the Evil One's spell suggests that the Evil One is trying to recover his losses. All of this leads to the inevitable final battle for the Ancestral World, just as soon as Richard retrieves the final Life Force Pod at Wizard's Well.


Syrus: "Who dares enter the realm of Syrus, spirit of the sky?"
"We mean you no harm, Syrus. We only want to reach Wizard's Well. We apologize for coming into your domain uninvited. Please allow us through."
"You can't fool me. I know why you want to get to Wizard's Well."

"I think it's time you learned a lesson."


"This is your final destination. I hope you like it - you're going to be here a very long time so get used to it."

"Kelem! Nakro! Drahcir!"
-Melek, Orkan and Richard

"This belonged to one of our greatest heroes. He was killed when we were captured by Syrus. Now it is yours."

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