"Scars": For years, Zatanna Zatara has been trying to find a way out of the nameless nothingness into which she plunged herself and the other residents of the House of Mystery, and she blames herself completely for the hell they now face. After scouring the l
Appearing in "Scars"
- Eric Augustine (Dies)
- The Nameless
Synopsis for "Scars"
For years, Zatanna Zatara has been trying to find a way out of the nameless nothingness into which she plunged herself and the other residents of the House of Mystery, and she blames herself completely for the hell they now face. After scouring the library for the thousandth time, she still has found no solution to their aimless drifting. Fortunately, her companion Etrigan bares no ill will against her for what happened. Each of those who are trapped does his or her part to get out. Despite that, the others are growing restless. Rather than try to ease their minds, the pair make love, to ease their own minds.
Cassandra Craft, meanwhile, passes her time by trying to divine the future of the House's inhabitants, but can see nothing but darkness ahead. She is interrupted from her fruitless scrying by Nightmare Nurse and Black Orchid, who report that their exploratory excursion has brought no results of note. Despite all evidence pointing to the likelihood that they are alone in the void, Cassandra still has the impression that there is a dim but unmistakable presence waiting to meet them soon. Nurse and Orchid are naturally frustrated by Cassandra's insistence, and begin bitterly criticizing her and Zatanna's leadership - and her complicity in trapping them there. Angrily, Etrigan appears and warns them both to fall in line. Aside, Orchid warns Nightmare Nurse that they can rely on each other instead.
Suddenly, Cassandra discovers the presence she had spoken of floating in the void - it is a man. Etrigan retrieves the body, and Asa begins trying to heal him, surprised that he is still alive at all. He was exposed to such dark magic that destroyed his soul. Zatanna interrupts the congregation around the body, explaining that this is her job to do, as the Nurse warns that the wrong spell could kill him. Probing his subconscious with her magic, she draws his story from him.
From within his comatose state, the man introduces himself as Eric Maitland Augustine, and more than one hundred years ago, he was blessed to be one of the eight members of the deepest inner circle of the Order of the Golden Age. Their goal was to explore realities that intersected with their own. Having inherited a book thought to open the door between worlds, he studied it for years, and finally, they opened the way to a variety of other dimensions. While some worlds were like paradise, others were darker - and eventually they found themselves trapped in the Nameless with no way home. The rest of his number died, and he remained alone, teetering on the edge of madness. Regaining full consciousness, he explains that with the Justice League Dark's help, they might all find a way out of the Nameless.
Zatanna believes his story, and within two weeks, they have mapped their way to a dimensional portal with Eric's assistance. Etrigan, though, doesn't trust him, suspecting duplicity - a thing in which Zatanna is not as much an expert as he.
Upon their arrival at the portal, Zatanna realizes that she can't let the others make the sacrifice of their lives trying to escape if it turns out to be a trap, and grabs Eric, and thrusts him and herself through a window into the void, toward the portal. Turning on her, Eric warns that it's too late for them all and he attacks with dark magic. She sees the House approaching the portal, and uses magic to send it away from harm while she faces Eric Augustine alone.
However, she finds him dead - empty. Instead, she faces the portal itself, which had been the gaping mouth of a giant stone head, floating in the Nameless. It explains that Eric had just been a psychic puppet. He is called Non, and the Nameless is his home for all time. Eric's story had been true, with the minor ommission that he had died with his fellow travellers, and his body was then used as a thrall to lure visitors to this place where their magic would be absorbed.
With the rest of her companions gone, though, all that remains is to consume Zatanna herself. Zatanna, still wracked with guilt, accepts death, if it means she saves her friends in doing so. Suddenly, though, her friends return to come to her rescue. They focus their magical energies in a single attack that sends Non into oblivion - though he swears he'll be back.
Afterward, Zatanna wonders why the others came back for her when she had stranded them all there in the first place. Asa reminds her that years ago, she had saved her from The Between. She was just returning the favour - and besides, Zatanna is the only one who can get them out of the Nameless. In the meantime, they now have to deal with Eric, whom Cassandra revived from death in order to undermine Non's spells. Zatanna orders that he be killed in order to prevent Non from ever returning.
Though that decisive move worries the others, far more worrying is just what price they will all have to pay to get home.
- This book was first published on September 24, 2014.
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