||Pen and Ink
Hal Foster All
As Beric sacrifices himself to save his Prince’s life, Valiant finally recovers his wits and lands on the extremely hostile Misty Isles…
Aleta, spellbinder of Val’s nightmares, has recently been ill-used by fate. Never the supernatural monster he believed, she was, however, in dire straits with a flock of suitors and her own courtiers pressing her to marry immediately and produce an heir. So it was with mixed emotions that she saw the boy she had saved burst in, snatch her up and flee the Isles with her as his rather uncomplaining prisoner.
Val, wounded, exhausted but triumphant, now has the cause of all his woes chained and at his mercy as he turns toward England…
After crossing a vast desert with pursuers hard on their heels the couple reach the port of Tobruch, where the local despot tries to buy Val’s hard-won prize. Somehow his hatred towards her has become something else and soon he is protecting her from bandits and numerous other perils.
She returns the favour when he is injured: nursing him through fever and even convincing a band of roving Tuaregs to escort them across Arabia. By the time the couple reach Bengasi Val is again her slave, but only realises it after a recuperative stay in the palace of the Sultan. It’s at that moment that Donardo, Robber Emperor of Saramand strikes, stealing Aleta and setting his band of brigands upon Valiant.
The villain’s biggest mistake is not ensuring Val is dead. Alone and weaponless, the Arthurian knight relentlessly tracks the thieves and deals with them mercilessly before reaching Donardo’s citadel moments too late to exact full vengeance.
Unable to liberate Aleta, he instead foments a full scale war between the Robber Emperor and his neighbours, each as wicked and untrustworthy as Aleta’s abductor…
Barbaric and time-consuming, the conflict rages, with each king secretly seeking to double-cross his temporary ally. However, whilst Val is riding a tiger by acting as the warlord of the attacking forces, Aleta takes her fate into her own hands and escapes from Donardo’s castle and is (relatively) safe when Saramand is sacked and the Emperor meets his long-delayed fate…
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