"Begins Our Tale of Woe": Jason and Glenda return to where they started, Tintagel at night, watching patiently until the guards are sufficiently bored. Glenda waits in the bushes nearby with a radio which Jason instructs
- Jason, my life has been lengthy and desolate from the very start. In the brine of years I have been nothing but assaulted by continually choosing the lesser of many evils. The fact is, you have to live with him. But, I have to answer for him.
- -- Merlin
Appearing in "Begins Our Tale of Woe"
- Tintagel Guards
Synopsis for "Begins Our Tale of Woe"
Jason and Glenda return to where they started, Tintagel at night, watching patiently until the guards are sufficiently bored. Glenda waits in the bushes nearby with a radio which Jason instructs her to start in an hour while he runs towards the castle ruins. He creeps along the fence towards the security gate justs as the one awake guard steps out to stretch. Jason pokes him on the ear, and the man freezes as Jason slips past onto the grounds, and the guard soon resumes his duty, none the wiser.
Jason follows a secret staircase leading deep beneath the castle where he comes across the door to Merlin's sanctum. The engraved stone door is flanked by two familiar figures, stone grotesques like those that defended his crypt beneath Castle Branek, only this time he has come uninvited. The unliving statues become animated by the intruder's presence, and Jason runs back up the stairs, leading them away from the door. As he reaches the top, he fails to notice a third waiting for him also, and he is struck on the head trying to pass under its legs. The creature lifts him above its head to throw him into the sea far below, but Jason resorts to summoning the Demon, whose ferocious savagery makes short work of the statues, before restoring Jason so Merlin cannot control him.
Again, Jason descends to the ancient wizard's sanctuary. He unlocks the door to find Merlin awake, waiting for him sombrely. Jason demands Merlin undo the curse and release him from Etrigan, but the old man regrettably denies his request, knowing that his half-brother is too dangerous to set free and he would not wish the burden on anyone else. He explains Jason must accept the weight he bears as Etrigan's jailer, just as Merlin must live with the guilt of cursing him with it. Defiant, and left with no other options, Jason turns on his portable radio, and the precise musical scale Etrigan revealed to Glenda puts Merlin in a deep trance.
Merlin follows the sound mesmerised as Jason leads him from the castle towards the bushes where Glenda waits. She is amazed and terrified to witness Merlin himself as he lumbers towards her in a daze, brushing against a shrub of hawthorn. Merlin lets out a ghastly cry and disappears right before their eyes. The pair stand bewildered until Jason also writhes in pain as Etrigan rips himself free. With Merlin banished by the hawthorn, a strong magical bane, the Demon is no longer Merlin's servant. The cruel, hateful Demon, finally able confront his mortal prison for the first time face to face, considers whether to kill him or not. Glenda produces the Philosopher's Stone and demands Etrigan release Jason, but the Demon points out that the stone also served Merlin, and is now devoid of power. Sensing the defeat in Jason's heart and the numbness of his soul, Etrigan allows him to live his miserable existence and kisses him farewell.
Merlin sheds a tear, helplessly watching the events leading up to his fall unfold from his torturous, thorny imprisonment. Asteroth on the other hand, gloats at the old man's suffering and asks him if he wants to watch it all again.
- Etrigan's next publication appearance is Millennium #8.
- Jason and Etrigan are bound together again in Cosmic Odyssey, while this storyline continues in Action Comics #636 - #641 and Demon Vol 3.
- Etrigan kisses Jason Blood in this issue, starting a trend where he plants his lips on a few others, including Batman, Wonder Woman and Glenda Mark.
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