The Issues

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1 In the first issue, 14 year old Rubel returns triumphant from four years voyage aboard a trading vessel.  But all is not right.  Friends are missing, and waiting for him is an ancient magic which draws him through the city and back into the Sleeping Wood, where a mysterious Shadow Lady from his very early childhood has been waiting. . .

2 Rubel and Varkias make preparations to visit the princess Katara, but when they enter the city together, the populace reacts to Varkias' presence.  Imps are feared, as they are usually filled with black magic.

3 Rubel and Varkias impress the awed crowd, revealing that Rubel is the princess Katara's royal thief.  Rubel then returns to his ship to retrieve his belongings, only to be spotted by the captain and two Iron Guards.

4 Barricaded in the captain's office while the two iron behemoths smash at the door, Rubel has a vision.  After effecting a spectacular escape, he flees and steals a clean shirt to replace his other, now spattered with blood.  His flight, however, is hampered by more guardsmen who are now hunting for him.

5 Rubel fights the clutches of the Prince Guard, and learns that the princess has been missing under mysterious circumstances ever since he left the city four years ago.  He vows to find her, declaring that he will make war upon the soldiers should he discover that they are responsible.

6 Rubel fights and narrowly escapes the guardsmen.  Stealing one of their horses, he rides at a gallop for the palace hoping to find the princess to both disprove the stories of her madness, and have her call off the soldiers.

7 Rubel and Varkias enter the mysteriously empty palace only to find the sovereign deathly sick and barely conscious.  The Shadow Lady emerges and Rubel falls wounded to the floor.  He tries to leave, but runs into the Royal Guard and Prince Guard, who enter into battle over him.

8 The Royal Guard battles with the Princes's ensorcelled troops, and then make an escape with their king through a secret passage.  This issue also contains an 8 page short story about Quinton and Heath in Millbrook.)

9 Rubel becomes separated from the Royal Guard, drawn away by a cave troll with a lantern.  He is eventually discovered by the Prince's forces, and a chase ensues.  This issue contains the story of Sara Blue.

10 Rubel effects a miraculous escape, riding a soup cauldron down the mountain side, and landing in a tower top.  He and Varkias reunite in a small alley-way in the lower city.  Rubel pulls the arrow out of his stomach, and collapses into unconsciousness, waking up in a dream garden

11 Rubel and the Shadow Lady make their way through the dream garden of the Dragon, Cespinarve Rogue, in order to visit the king, who is imprisoned here as well.  Rubel fights with three guardians of the garden, and the Shadow Lady, Soracia, explains her motivations and the curse upon her.

12 This issue crosses the Heath and Rubel story worlds.  Heath is teased by the other children of Millbrook concerning her faith in Quinton.  She falls asleep beneath a tree and enters the caves beneath the dream garden where Rubel and Soracia are travelling.

13 The story of Cespinarve Rogue and McGi is told, and Rubel and Soracia gain entrance to the Tea House.  Soracia dies from her exertions and turns to sand, but not before she explains to Rubel the nature of her immortality and tells him that she loves him.

14 Quinton is arrested by the provincial magistrate and taken to jail.  Heath, Davin and Finnly set about planning what to do, and are contacted by Quinton by use of a talking message bird, but their conversation is overheard by one of Locumire's witches.  (Also this issue contains a four page Desmond the Daring story.)

15 Heath is attacked by Jurid, the shadow monster, and chased through the forest.  She manages to find and activate Quinton's trap, successfully capturing  the beast.  The group then travels to town to find Quinton, but nearly run into Locumire herself, who has arrived with the Shadow Lady.

16 Heath runs up to the window of Quinton's prison, and the Mage and apprentice discuss matters through the bars.  Many secrets are revealed, but the Shadow Lady soon comes to kill Heath.  The girl escapes through a magical gate and into the dream garden.

17 Heath enters the dream garden, where after walking on the grass, she narrowly avoids being eaten by a giant plant monster.  The gorgon descends upon her but she tricks it into leading her to the teahouse tower where Rubel and the king are already deep in discussion.

18 Rubel, Heath and the king hold a meeting where they compare notes regarding the king's son and daughter, the Shadow Lady, Quinton and the six kings' imprisonment in the teahouse tower.  When Rubel and Heath leave they are chased by the gorgon and confronted by a giant water squid.

19 Rubel and the squid monster enter battle, but they are stopped by Heath who speaks directly to the dragon.  We learn the dragon is fond of Heath, and so lets her and Rubel go.  Rubel wakes up wounded in the city.  Heath and Varkias run to Jenny Porter for help, but unwittingly alert a troupe of guards.

20 Varkias returns to find Rubel being searched by a troll seeking the lantern.  The three retreat down a troll hole when the guards come.  Heath and Jenny are threatened with imprisonment and must lie to escape.  The troll attacks Rubel at Quinton's tower, but is repelled by Soracia, who is dark and mysterious once more.

21 Heath is invited to live with Jenny.  Rubel arrives at Heath's window the morning after having healed himself with Quinton's potions.  He explains his plan to find Quinton, delivers a message from Soracia concerning Jurid.  The story of the Roam and the monster Chead is told.

22 The story of Chead and the Roam is completed.  We are introduced to Zelga's General Store, where Heath has a part time job.  Varkias arrives, invisible, and declares he is to be Heath's guardian.  The story of the key to Chead's prison is told, and how Heath is unable to find it with magic.  She and Varkias set off to Quinton's tower.

Heath and Varkias arrive at Quinton's tower to find prince Kangar's forces attempting to break through its magical defenses.  Heath devises a clever plan and gets in ahead of the soldiers to rescue a spell book.  A witch confronts Heath, and Rubel arrives to defend her.  Battle ensues.  The tower is destroyed and the three escape.

Time passes.  Rubel, while seeking the key, is seduced by Soracia and they kiss one another.  Heath learns of this the next morning from Varkias, and is very upset.  At work, she tries several spells from the book which appear to work.  It is learned by the readers, but not the characters where the key is currently hidden.

25  The Shadow Queen is summoned to Locumire's palace.  She has a plan to deceive.  Jurid is released.  Soracia's guard comes to life and Locumire is overpowered. The  Shadow Queen's unborn are taken back from Locumire.  A challenge is made to  Locumire - a test of strength. 

26 Heath starts school with a bang!  The teasing by the other children sets her temper raging. Rubel discovers where Jenny works.  Jenny's mother becomes more of a mystery day by day. Casper's pirates capture Rubel in the city. A disastrous day all round. 

27 Rubel finds himself the prisoner of Locumire's juvenile enchantresses. They have purchased him from Casper's pirates. Meanwhile, Katara is inspecting the catacombs beneath the city. She is raising an army. It turns out that Quinton is her prisoner.

28 Katara leads Quinton to a crushed clockwork warrior. While a prisoner he breaks all records for conclusion jumping. He believes that he just uncovered his spy contact in  the troll army. Oh, dear! Will he make his escape from Katara and survive the forest and its incantations?

29 Rubel is in a sticky situation - stuck in a chain bound coffin. He finally escapes Locumire's trap. Meanwhile, Heath is having a downer of a day. What will she do if her magic disappears? A visit by a sorceress is just the tonic she needs to try a new spell. Oops!

30 Heath is in trouble now. Cheat on one spell and the Wind of Destiny wants to kill you. Thank heaven for Catastrophe and Calypso. It is the end of the millenium and the dark Lord Ramanious is awake, needing Soracia back. The Shadow Queen is back in the Dream Garden as treacherous as ever.

31 Quinton makes his second break for freedom, dragging once again the same beleagured troll as on his previuos attempt into his schemes. Soracia makes her way through the Dragon's Garden with the gorgon at her side. Rubel visits Sara Blue and his mermaid friends to acquire magical weapons for his raid on Locumire's palace.

32 Heath, Rubel and Varkias plan their next move against Locumire. Heath alters a magical amulet to give Rubel protection against the witches. Jenny's mother plays her hand on the night of the party, threatening to expose Heath if she does not leave the house and if Jenny does not agree to an arranged marriage. Rubel invades Locumire's palace and is confronted by a dangerous servant of the enemy.

33 Kim and Lehanna, the two peculiar young witches in Locumire's care argue over Kim's plan to defect to the other side, to run away with Rubel. Sides are chosen and Locumire draws Lehanna deeper into her clutches. Rubel strives against a powerful sorceress.

34 Smith Robins discovers that his true love, Jenny, is to be engaged to the son of a corrupt official in a foul scheme. Tempers flare, blows are exchanged, vows sworn, and Heath promises to help him. --But Jenny's treachurous mother is one step ahead of the game, casting Heath into a deep spell wherein she learns more about herself and her relationship to her sister, the Shadow Lady.

35 Soracia finally executes the grand plan she has been brewing since the very beginning. In a bid to reclaim her soul from the Dark Lord, she breaks her black swords, sends away her magic cloak, and sets free the imprisoned Kings of the Garden. And then from its ancient slumber, she wakes the Dragon, ending forever the Dream of the Garden.

36 Rubel does battle with the Dark Lord's assassin, and with Kim's help, succeeds in slaying it. Heath escapes from captivity and challenges Jenny's mother, revealing the mystery behind their family and their history with magic and pirates. Heath then bids a teary farewell to Jenny and slips away into the night.

37 Soracia wakes up to discover that while she was in the Dragon's Dream, Quinton, King Rillion and her loyal Iron Guard have come to her rescue. She and Quinton make peace. Months pass and it is now Winter in Oceansend. Rubel, Kim, Heath and Varkias are living a drifter's existence from inn to hotel to road house. Hunted by the royal guard, Rubel finally brings the girls to an old hide-out secreted behind a stone wall in the market district. It is a warm haven, and they decide to make it home.

38 Heath and Rubel describe to Kim the enigma which is Quinton and the Monster Slayers. Heath explains with fevered enthusiasm her plan to create a sorcerer's workshop from which they will protect the city. Soracia, now in league with King Rillion's forces, rescues from the servants of a snake cult, one of their spies sent to the South. Rubel visits the forest, where even in the depths of Winter, it is warm and green.

39 Rubel and Katara meet in the Sleeping Wood and. . , have a ridiculous lover's quarrel, demonstrating that Katara has not yet achieved mastery of her vast powers nor her memories of all her past lives. Meanwhile, at the palace, her brother, Prince Kangar directs his armies against the world, only to be interrupted by Lehanna, who kills several of his soldiers and officers.

40 Heath nearly kills Kim removing one of Locumire's dark spells from the girl. In doing so, Locumire is alerted that the game is up, and she and her witches descend from the mountain to attack the protagonists' stronghold. Jurid, now grown huge and powerful, comes with them.

41 Heath does battle with Locumire through words and sorcery, while Rubel does battle with Jurid using a magical glass sword. Soracia comes to his aid. Calypso and Catastrophe show up and challenge Locumire to release Heath, or face battle!

42 Locumire is challenged by the two mysterious sorceresses, and Heath's memory of all her previous incarnations awakens, along with the power she has held. Locumire is defeated and a new truce and pact are established. Time flashes forward to Spring, where Rubel, Heath and Kim are rebuilding their home, and adding a tower. Leahanna and Kim deal with separation in different ways.

43 Heath and Kim are called upon to solve the mystery of a monster which has been tormenting people in the night. Its latest victim, a small boy, shares his secret with Heath and the monster, one we have seen before, is captured. Katara's army is infiltrated when Quinton constructs a device which will allow him to remotely control one of the legion of Clockwork Warriors the princess has discovered. His plan to destroy collapse the ancient temple in which the thousands of mechanical soldiers are stored meets with defeat.

44 Kim finds herself growing lonely and disheartened by just how powerful and well-liked Heath is becoming in their community. She leaves on her own and hides in a city garden near the ocean to feel miserable and do some soul searching. She is confronted by Soracia. Their reuninion is a strange and powerful one; Kim, who was the soul of one of the Shadow Lady's two magical swords, is confused and compelled, and confesses her troubles to Soracia. Their talk turns violent as Soracia explains some painful thoughts, and the girl's memories from her days as a sword return in a rush.

45 Kim and Soracia battle on the shores of Oceansend. Kim is able to summon the Black Sword Jale from within herself, but Soracia's age and skill win the conflict. Soracia leaves Kim by herself on the beach, while across the city, Leahanna, the other sword-maiden, awakens as well. Soracia seeks council with Quinton who explains to her a different picture of what it all might mean.

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