Warlands: Dark Tides Rising #4

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Previously: #1 | #2 | #3

The heroes have formed a party, Zadok, Pelonis, Laina, Baggot, and Iona. Balen and Kyra have gathered an army after Balen has prophetic dreams of his death. He has dreamed that the others kill him at the highest point, legendary Luzien's Ladder. So they are all heading that way.


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Kyra and Balen continue to debate what they are doing as they march toward Xian-Li. Kyra keeps pressuring him to accept his riches, power and glory. She wants to be an empire. But Balen still questions it. Finally asking why he gets the prophetic dreams.

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The heroes are a step ahead. They're already climbing through the cold and Laina is freezing. They're having a rough go of it until some monks show up to greet them. Shaizan invites them to Xian-Li.

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After spending some time in Xian-Li the monks lead the heroes to the gate of Luzien's Ladder. Said to be haunted by the ghosts of a long dead race of Giants, it seems this is their entry point. This is also where the monks leave them. It is their quest and the monks must go back home.

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Shaizan and the monks know that Balen and his army is coming. They expect to be attacked. They know they already destroyed one city and being monks, they are not prepared to fight back. They are peaceful. However, Shaizan is making the case that they can no longer stay isolated and will need to defend themselves.

The heroes have begun battling the giant ghosts. To their surprise they are able to defeat them. They did not seem to expect their weapons to do anything to ghosts. But it is working.

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Balen and his army have found Xian-Li and are heading that way. They are greeted by the monks. To their surprise the monks offer everything to them in exchange for peace. Either this is a trick or Shaizan was overruled in his bid for defending themselves.

Things seem to go well though as they lead the army to their home, peacefully. Kyra is happy, thinking it is a wonderful accomplishment to gain such a nice city.

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The heroes are still ahead of them however. Having defeated the giant ghosts, they're looking for a way up the mountain. It is extremely steep and flat, no ladder, no way to fly, or climb. Laina stumbles across a place in the ruin with something magical emanating. Turns out that it is the way up. They all start to float upward, only Zadok is questioning and cautioning. The others are just enjoying the ride!

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The adventure continues! Not a lot of action in this one. Some great scenery and splash pages though. The story is developing nicely, though poor Balen is being led to his doom. Kyra is power hungry and influential but the dreams are really leading him along. Why go to the place where you just dreamed of dying? And why would these random people be coming to kill you? It is obvious that if this turns out to happen, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I do like the pacing though. The characters are interesting and nothing feels rushed yet. Mateo's art really grows on me too. I like the story telling a lot. Still doesn't feel the same as Pat's original Warlands, but I do like it.

Only two more issues left. Is it all going to come to a rushed crammed ending or are we going to get stuck with a cliffhanger? Not sure which I'd prefer...

To Be Continued!



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