The Dream

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Gargoyles: Dark Ages #5 by Clayton Crain

"The Dream" is the fifth issue of the Gargoyles: Dark Ages comic by Dynamite Entertainment. It was released on January 24th, 2024. [1] The digital version of the comic became available on Kindle on January 3rd, 2024.

Solicitation

The four youngest Gargoyles find themselves at the mercy of a menacing dragon, and while Mentor and Goliath ready their warriors to do battle with the great beast, the Archmage tells Angel that his magicks have sensed a problem — and an opportunity…

Writer and Gargoyles creator GREG WEISMAN and artist DREW MOSS continue their epic origin tale in this 40-page issue, which includes a new text story from Weisman and all cardstock covers featuring art by CLAYTON CRAIN, ALAN QUAH, MIRKA ANDOLFO, KENYA DANINO, and ERICA HENDERSON!

The Story

Opening Quote

I feel something new . . . or, no . . . it's something very, very old . . .

Chapter Story

Prince Malcolm and Mentor oversee the construction of Castle Wyvern. Mentor complains about the slow pace, arguing their efforts will take ten years only to be quietly told by the Prince that is, in fact the usual span of time to build a stone castle. Mentor recommends not telling anyone else that, or risk taking twenty years to complete their fortress.

With the gargoyles taking over the night shift, one of them tells the Captain of the Guard he can retire for the evening, but the human explains he doesn't want to miss witnessing the two species working together for a common good. Angel's love is mutually enthusiastic about seeing the fruits of their alliance.

Alexander observes a giant turning wheel, wondering why the gargoyles don't use it. The clan's second-in-command explains that the humans use it during the day, pointing out the gargoyles are strong enough to not need it. Alexander figures that makes little sense; construction would be more efficient if the gargoyles used it as well. Caesar and Charlemagne hop on it, entertaining themselves. Alexander tells both of them to slow down as the clan's second-in-command nervously looks up to see the attached pallet crash in the pulley above, crashing on the turning wheel. Brother Valdez runs to admonish them, asking the "diablos" what they are up to. Alexander insists he wasn't responsible for what happen but as the turning wheel snaps off its axle, the rooklings run off.

The Trio meet up with Antiope and Alesand, who wonder where they were. Antiope reminds them that they promised to take Alesand flying, and the Trio are eager to gain more distance from the scene of their accident. Alesand isn't quite ready when Caesar and Charlemagne grab her hands and they leap off Wyvern Hill, but soon enough she expresses how it is everything she ever dreamed. As they glide under the light of the full Moon, Alesand points out the village and her her grandmother's cottage. They soon land just outside a cave, and Alesand thanks Antiope for the amazing experience, much to the chagrin of Charlemagne.

Alexander wonders aloud what's in the cave, and Caesar and Antiope are both eager to explore it. Early on in, Caesar spots a torch. The five approach an ancient threshold built into the cave's natural arch, decorating with ancient glyphs. Alesand wonders what the glyphs mean, while Alexander shares that while he can read, he can't read the glyphs. Surprised her friend can read, Alesand asks Alexander if he can teach her and he agrees. They continue deeper in the cavern, they approach an ominous chamber, featuring a skull carved into the rock. They decide not to stick around, and go deeper.

They soon discover a larger chamber, this time with a giant structure adorned with glyphs. Caesar asks Alexander can read them, but his rookery brother admits he can't, though he is keen to learn how. Charlemagne is dismissive of the effort, figuring "they'll just come up with new chicken scratches to confuse you." Alesand notices that Antiope is oddly silent and still, having not gone up the structure's steps like the others. Suddenly, Antiope is terrified and grasps Alesand's arms. She tells the young human that the structure is a Ghost-cage. Alesand is confused, but Antiope doesn't elaborate. Instead she tells Alesand they should leave.

As the five go further down the steps, Alesand begins to wonder if they are lost. They then arrive at another large chamber, this one littered in gold. Antiope tells the human girl not to touch it and to go hide, but Alesand doesn't understand why. Caesar, however, does: Atop the piles of gold sleeps a giant dragon.

Back at Wyvern Hill, everyone is preoccupied with the nightly duties. While Prince Malcolm and Mentor watch two gargoyle beasts tow a heavy load, Brother Valdez reports to the Prince that more men will be needed tomorrow to bring stone from the quarry. Elsewhere, Nicolas shares to the Player King that while he's apprenticed to be a weaver, he really wants to become a player himself and act. Mary listens in on their conversation. Meanwhile, the clan's warrior priestess makes progress with her pupil, who is beginning to gain insight from the winds. A rookling quietly observes the two behind a boulder. And at the human camp, the Archmage corrects Angel as she continues her reading lessons. A fair-haired urchin watches from behind an open tent flap.

Alesand is still confused why she has to hide, but Antiope hushes her to be quiet. Suddenly the dragon's eye bursts awake and stone skin shatters and flies across the whole chamber, raining down on the rooklings. The dragon's roar is mighty, and Prince Malcolm can hear it faintly from the top of the hill. Brother Valdez suddenly excuses himself as the Player King and Player Queen draw their swords, which Nicolas is surprised to see are not mere props. The warrior-priestess's pupil shares what she has sensed: "I feel something new . . . or, no . . . it's something very, very old . . ." Meanwhile, Angel is focused on her lesson, but the Archmage orders her to be silent. He tells the gargoyle they have an opportunity.

The dragon begins to speak to the rooklings, demanding to know what is causing "all this racket". Caesar answers by sharing that they are gargoyles from the Wyvern Clan. With that, the dragon is keen to explain their ancient affiliation. According to Wyvern, the ancestors of the Wyvern Clan were first brought to his hill to protect his lands, his treasure, and his rest. Charlemagne is curious and asks who the gargoyles were supposed to protect against. Wyvern clarifies that the gargoyles were supposed to ward off humanity. Before Caesar and Antiope can stop him, Alexander blurts out that their Rhydderch made an alliance with the humans. The news that humans live on his hill is unwelcome to the dragon, who fears they will come for his treasure next. Caesar and Antiope try to relax Wyvern, explaining that no one knows about the dragon or his treasures. Alexander tries to explain how the alliance is symbiotic makes sense, with Charlemagne getting the details of their symbiotic relationship muddled up. Wyvern is unconvinced, and asks if their Rhydderch is foolish. He shares that his experience has demonstrated that humanity can only ever be a threat to all the stone-flesh.

It is at this point that the dragon begins to smell Alesand nearby. As Wyvern begins to pursue, Antiope bursts forward telling Alesand to run. Wyvern asks the rooklings to move out of the way so he can enjoy his meal. As they race up the stairs, Caesar wonders if dragons can really breath fire. His answer suddenly appears in the form of a giant scorching blast from the chamber. As they make it up to the chamber with the skull carving, Caesar tells Antiope to get Alesand to safety while he and his brothers try to lure the dragon away. Before that plan can come to fruition, the giant winged body jumps into the upper chamber. Charlemagne shouts at the dragon to eat someone his own size, and the dragon asks if he's volunteering. The Trio are stunned, and Alexander asks if the dragon would actually eat them. Wyvern admits that he wouldn't – he's too closely related to the gargoyles for that to be appealing. Nevertheless, he tells the rooklings to stay out of the way or risk getting harmed. Still feeling unsafe, Alexander tries to warn the dragon if anything happens to them, those at the castle will know something is wrong, but Wyvern interrupts him, outright troubled at the news about the castle. The dragon breaks though to the surface and heads toward Wyvern Hill. As he flies away, Angel quietly enters the cave.

From Wyvern Hill, Mentor and Prince Malcolm are horrified to see the dragon in the night sky.

The Tale of the Three Brothers

Alesand notes that the Light-Bringers only had three plays to perform, for they repeated the Italian tragedy. Alesand notes that because she saw it twice, she understood what happened in the play better. After their performance, Shahrizad continued her tale:

Still in the year 967, King Duff and his forces battle Culen's Irish Army. In the skirmish, Duff is wounded in the leg and swiftly carried away to safety Prince Kenneth fights valiantly and Robbie saves a distracted Prince Malcolm.

Alesand notes that, at this point in the tale, Prince Malcolm walks away from both the fire and the story being told:

An injured Duff names Kenneth as his heir once more. Kenneth protests at the development, insisting that his nephew is already heir. But Duff is adamant: the kingdom needs a leader and a king, not an infant. Kenneth assures Duff that their people would not need a new king only to learn that Duff was determined to be present at the battle the next day. Kenneth balks at the idea, reminding his older brother that he can't even walk, only for Duff to settle the matter: "We have ordered a litter. The men must see their King."

The next morning, Duff is present with four guardsmen holding his litter. Prince Malcolm and Robbie are on the field once more, while Prince Kenneth is relentless in his attacks. Just as the Scots begin to rally and win the day, Duff is betrayed and killed by one of his guardsmen. Kenneth takes his surviving family into Northern England. On the journey, Queen Katharine falls ill and dies.

Stopping the story there, Shahrizad promises to conclude the tale the following evening.

Review

We now learn at last the reason for the name of Wyvern Hill and Castle Wyvern – and it's a big one. Wyvern is the name of a dragon dwelling in the cave near Wyvern Hill that featured in both "Long Way To Morning" and "Shadows of the Past" – and a truly fearsome dragon at that, with all the classic features (wings, fiery breath, and a hoard). Furthermore, Wyvern the dragon is related to the gargoyles, even having his own version of stone sleep (though the rules for it appear to be a bit different than those of the gargoyles), and even brought the Wyvern Clan there to protect him and his. The quartet and Alesand, exploring his cave, unwittingly awaken him and let slip the existence of the humans, sending him into a just-as-classic fury. (At least they didn't steal a cup from his treasure – though they didn't need to in order to arouse his wrath.)

The adventures of these children continue to form a delight – if with darker elements even before they met Wyvern. Alesand gets to "fly" with the gargoyles for real, and is as delighted about it as in her dream. The Trio display their knack for causing trouble even before entering the cave, when they inadvertently wreck some of the machinery at the building site. On a more serious note, Antiope spots the Megalith Dance that will be turned against Goliath over a thousand years later, calling it a "ghost-cage". And poor Alexander displays a knack for letting spill information that he shouldn't, twice, in his meeting with Wyvern.

The rest of the cast get their own developments, while all this is going on. "Desdemona" and Angel continue their lessons (which are interrupted, for both pupils, by the dragon's awakening), complete with Angel reading a couple of fables, at least one of which may foreshadow her future development. Robbie eagerly toils on the castle alongside the gargoyles, seeing it as a way to bring gargoyles and humans together, while Prince Malcolm and Mentor comment on the work's progress in one of the issue's funniest moments. And young Nicolas seeks to join the players – whose king and queen seem themselves to suspect the dragon's approach (not surprising, given their true identities).

We end on a great cliffhanger – and a very appropriate use of the Wyvern clan's "By the Dragon" line (whose origins we may now know). The one concern I have is, with only one issue left of Dark Ages: Alliance, will that be room enough to wrap up this story? Will a single issue be able to do justice to an enraged dragon on the loose? We shall have to wait and find out.

First Appearances

Characters

Miscellaneous

Tidbits

Angel's reading lessons include two "real" fables (though both were first recorded after the tenth century), "The Scorpion and the Frog" and "Belling the Cat".

The "Italian story of betrayal" mentioned as performed by the players in "The Draw" is now revealed to be a pre-Shakespeare version of Othello.

Cover Gallery

Dynamite Gargoyles Dark Ages 5 Gallery1.jpg
Dynamite Gargoyles Dark Ages 5 Gallery2.jpg


Links

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