by Mathew D. Rhys
Korah: Tales Of Atlantis
Korah: Tales of Atlantis is the story of Korah, a nineteen year-old Atlantean, a native of the forgotten colony of Avalon. Seeking his heritage and purpose, Korah begins a quest to "discover" Atlantis-- learn of her people, her nature. To do this, Korah travels to different undersea cities, some allied with Poseidonis, some not. He meets the various undersea denizens of the DC Universe, as well as many surface dwellers, who help him to learn more about his people and eventually himself. Through Korah's adventures, many disparate facets of the sub-aquatic DCU will be addressed, including the origins of many cities and races. Korah: Tales of Atlantis was conceived as a limited ongoing series.
Korah is a tallish young man with long, red hair and a goatee. In addition to having the basic swimmer's physique, Korah also has slightly webbed fingers, webbed toes, and calf-fins, all common traits to citizens of Avalon, his home city. Unlike the Poseidonians' calf-fins, those of the Avalonians are far more fish-like, each having two spines that can rotate out to extend the fin, stretching the skin taught between the spines.
Korah is very relaxed, but very passionate. He is the only child of an Atlantean couple, Tennial and Maryn. Being reared on his family's farm outside the Atlantean city of Avalon beneath the North Sea, he has had a good life and loving family. Korah thirsts for knowledge, for adventure and for a greater appreciation of the land he loves. He is an introspective person, an explorer with the soul of a poet.
Korah's mixed heritage (his grandmother was born on land) has inexplicably allowed him to live as freely on land as in the sea. He has also since childhood been able to communicate telepathically with sea life, something he has kept secret from everybody but the fish
Included are outlines of the first nine issues as presently plotted.
Issue One: Introductions and Farewells
The story begins as Korah, writing in his journal, tells of Avalon, and his love for the city. He works for his father on their ancestral farm, a heritage Tennial insists Korah continue. However, Tennial's brother Lar is a member of the city council and wants Korah to become his apprentice. Caught between their struggle, Korah leaves Avalon on the eve of his nineteenth birthday. He tells himself he craves adventure, but he really runs from his own conscience.
As he leaves Avalon, Korah stops by an old cabin outside town. The cabin is owned by an old sailor and friend of Korah's named Davey Jones. When Davey questions Korah's motives, Korah claims he only desires to know Atlantis better. Davey relents and presents Korah with a medallion, instructing him to present it to the regent of Tlapallan. With that, the two part company, and Korah swims toward Thierna Na Oge, the nearest Atlantean city.
Issue Two: Glimpses of Magic
As Korah begins his quest, he meets Torpal, an orca, and travels with his pod. The orca warns him of the danger of going to Thierna Na Oge, stating it is a place of evil. Insistent that he must go, Korah leaves the pod and promises Torpal he will meet him after the Great Hunt, an orca tradition.
Korah swims toward Thierna Na Oge and is nearly attacked by a giant sea-serpent, who is halted by Lloyd Pwyth, the creature's ten year-old handler. Lloyd takes Korah to Thierna Na Oge, where Korah, utterly awed, interviews both Lloyd and the older, bitter Phlegon about their city. Lloyd recounts the city's beginning as a colony of the Dreaming City, while Phlegon tells of some of Thierna Na Oge's darker times.
After Phlegon informs him of ruins outside the city, Korah leaves to explore them. While exploring the ruins, Korah is snatched up in an enormous sea serpent's mouth.
Issue Three: Greed and Brine
Korah has been within the mouth of the great beast for many days, although he does not know how many. He finds himself cast out by the monster and onto the floor of a lavish throne room. Upon the throne sits the aquatic telepath Kosnor.
After a display of telepathic bravado, Kosnor explains to a suspicious Korah that his own ability to communicate with fish is telepathic in nature and one Korah uses instinctively. Kosnor then offers to train Korah in the volitional use of his gift.
As Kosnor leads Korah through a stable of sea-beasts, one of the great creatures faintly begs for Korah's help. Korah intrudes into Kosnor's mind and sees his plan for terror and conquest. Wanting nothing to do with Kosnor's schemes, Korah frees the creatures and leaves. He swims away to find Shayeris, only to be attacked by another sea-monster. He fights off the creature as the issue ends.
Issue Four: Just Off the Coast
After suffering tortured dreams (a psychic backlash from his ordeal with Kosnor), Korah is woken by the soft voice of Miya Shimada, a.k.a. Tsunami. She tells him that she found him floating lifeless in the ocean near her home. Korah thanks her and suddenly realizes he is above water! After a brief set of introductions, Tsunami and Korah are caught up in a murder mystery involving a dead oceanographer.
Issue Five: The Great Hunt
Korah travels to the "Sacred Stream" to meet Torpal and his pod, as he had promised. He arrives after the orcas have hunted and becomes the first human to witness the Great Dance, an orca rite of thanksgiving.
After the ritual, Korah and Torpal go exploring at a nearby reef. They run across a Shark-man (Sher'hedeen) about to kill a pearl diver. Despite Torpal's urging, Korah challenges Ton (the Sher'hedeen) to battle for the man's life.
Meanwhile, Charnox and Biggle-- Atlan's fish-familiars-- search Avalon for Korah, but why? And what does Davey Jones have against Atlan?
Issue Six: The Ways of Kings
Terrified but defiant, Korah prepares to battle Ton for the life of an unlucky pearl diver. He does not know how to fight, but he, through instinct, reaches out and telepathically 'learns' to fight and is able to defeat Ton. Korah and Torpal then return the diver to his home, Pearl Island.
Once he arrives there, he is lauded by the diver and the people as Aquaman. Brought before their king, Keoki, Korah insists he is not 'Aquaman'. Keoki tells a tale of his youth when Aquaman saved him (the events of More Fun Comics #75), but states that the Aquaman he knew had black hair. To honor Korah, Keoki orders him tattooed, and Korah consents. He is accepted as a member of the tribe and aids them in their harvest before continuing on his journey.
Issue Seven: Lost Sons
After leaving Pearl Island, Korah ventures southeast. Before long, Korah spots what looks like a gigantic urchin on the sea floor. As he nears it, he sees that it is really a large city built of sharp pointed spires. Korah approaches the city gates and is told the city is Nepton, an Atlantean colony long thought destroyed. Korah requests an audience with the king. He is warily brought before the king, who is revealed to be Aquaman's son Koryak.
After his exile from Poseidonis, Koryak had wandered the ocean and happened upon the descendants of the original Neptonian colonists. The city had been destroyed 2,000 years ago by a great sea monster, and the survivors had lived in caves. Koryak discovered these cowering people and suggested they rebuild the city with sharp spires to fend off further attacks of the sea monster. After years of living in depressed fear, the people of Nepton asked Koryak to be their king. Koryak, ashamed of the way he had acted in Poseidonis, grudgingly consented.
Meanwhile in his stronghold, Kosnor telepathically uses a fish to find Korah. He gathers an army of sea monsters and attacks Nepton
Issue Eight: A Battle Joined, A Grief Shared
As Kosnor attacks Nepton with an army of sea monsters, the Neptonian Royal Security Guard goes to meet them in battle. Hard-pressed by the telepathically controlled fish, the Neptonian forces fight valiantly. Korah attacks Kosnor head on, and the two wage a give-and-take battle.
The fish greatly outnumber the soldiers, but the battle is turned by the arrival of Tsunami's daughter Debbie, who enlists the aid of sea-life. Meanwhile Kosnor has bested Korah in the telepathic battle. As Korah is held captive, and Kosnor gloats that he only came to Nepton to destroy Korah, as Korah's power is a threat to his plans. By force of his will, Korah breaks free and defeats Kosnor, but before he can be captured, Kosnor vanishes in a magic whirlpool. When Kosnor reappears a great distance away, he is approached by Naiad, Earth's water elemental, who tells Kosnor to stay away from Korah, as he has a great task ahead of him.
Back in Nepton, Koryak and Korah see to the wounded at the hospital and learn there were three soldiers who died. Feeling responsible for their deaths, Korah silently leaves Nepton.
Later, Koryak speaks with Debbie and tells her that he wants to court her. Aghast, Debbie explains that she is Atlan's daughter and therefore his aunt. Koryak replies by explaining that she cannot be as the Atlantean curse on the rulers of Atlantis ("Forever two brothers shall struggle for the fate of Atlantis") affects all siblings and tells of his own struggles with the curse. Shocked, Debbie leaves hurriedly, and Koryak laments his fate.
Korah sits on a cliff over-looking Nepton and fears that no one will be safe as long as Kosnor is set on his death.
Issue Nine: The Ballad of Davey Jones
A folk singer in a San Francisco coffee house entertains a full audience with an old song that is truer than any of them imagine.
During the Battle of the Spanish Armada, Welsh privateer Davey Jones is thrown over board. As he sinks beneath the waves, he is greeted by Atlan the wizard. Atlan offers to save Davey's life in exchange for performing a special task. Davey consents and Atlan casts a spell that gives Davey immortality and the ability to breathe water.
Then Atlan tells Davey about Twelve Mystic Crystals and twelve sacred coins that were created in Atlantis millennia ago, and charges Davey with finding them and bringing them to him. Davey spends years finding them, and finally locates the last of them in the Black Sea where an ancient, aged sorcerer warns him about the dangers of raising Atlantis. From there, Davey goes to meet Atlan and refuses to hand over the artifacts. Davey renounces his vow and leaves.
Note: "The Ballad of Davey Jones" is written as a narrative poem.
There are a number of other elements I have worked out that have not been developed into scripts. They include a definative establishment of Neptune Perkins in the place of the Golden Age Aquaman, the origins of the Maarzon Savages, the Eldfur Colony, and Lagoon Boy, and the reintrodution of Tlapallan into the current DC Universe.
In the many incarnations of Aquaman, readers were given a small glimpse of the vast and deep culture of Atlantis and her cities, but only a glimpse. Through Korah's journey, we will be invited to explore this vastness beneath the waves. Korah: Tales of Atlantis is not about a super hero. It is not about a cosmic messiah. It is about a young man discovering his world anew. It is about a man searching for a heritage in an arena filled with the unknown. It is about a man learning the definition of greatness.
The highly odd Mathew D Rhys is an obsessive storyteller and family man whose wife graciously allows him to prattle aimlessly, and gives him no end of joy in life. He hopes to one day write comics his son can read. You can read his original character fiction at dreamerpress.cjb.net.
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This piece is © 2002 by Mathew D. Rhys
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