Sojourn was a CrossGen comic book series about the adventures of Arwyn and her friend Gareth as they traveled in a fantasy world with dragons, trolls, and magic. Starting in 2001, it ran for 35 issues (including a prequel) before it was forced to end by the bankruptcy of CrossGen in 2004. For a time, this series was Crossgen's highest grossing comic.
A woman named Arwyn, her dog Kreeg, and a one-eyed man named Gareth travel throughout the lands of the planet Quin
looking for 5 shards of a magic arrow to defeat the evil dictator of the land, Mordath. Along the way they meet a thief named Cassidy who knows Gareth from the past. Near the end of the series a Snow Troll, or Iskani, named Gustavus, who could have possibly joined the group, was introduced.
Most curiously, the hero of this series was not a Sigil-Bearer. Instead, the hero (Arwyn) is on a quest to kill the Sigil-Bearer (who is Mordath).
Characters (In order of appearance)
Races of the Five Lands
- Humans - Have a distinctly European look in Middelyn, and a Middle-Eastern look in Oudubai. Distinct Medieval and Muslim cultures depending on area. Most concentrated in Middelyn, and Oudubai.
- Trolls - Most have greenish skin, glowing green eyes and some form of horns sprouting from their foreheads. Long lived. Barbarian-like culture. Most concentrated in Grinbor.
- Ankharans - Distinct African look but with bird-like wings. Eqyptian-like culture.
- Iskani or Snow Trolls - Relatives of the Trolls. Long Lived. Nordic-like Culture. Most concentrated in Skarnhime. Have some form of tusks sprouting from their chins.
- Urnethi - Underground dwellers. Insect-like. Most concentrated in Oudubai.
- Dragons - Most concentrated in Middelyn and Islands in the oceans of Quin.
- Carvers of the Glade - Small green creatures. Most concentrated in the Glade of Heroes.
- Note- Gareth is the Narrator for issues 1-17. After issue 17 there is no narrator.
- Prequel- This issue is a flashback showing when Mordath's Castle was attacked by armies from all around the world of Quin. They are led by an archer named Ayden, who has the appearance of an old man. His armies are able to defeat Mordath's Trolls. Mordath is killed by one of Ayden's arrows. Ayden breaks the arrow into five pieces and gives one to each of the five races. Hundreds of years later, two figures go to Mordath's tomb. One puts its glowing orange hand on the corpse's head, igniting a spark in Mordath's eye.
A few blue elf-like creatures fight in this issue with Ayden's army; they were probably Ron Marz's version of the inhabitants of Skarnhime and are seen in the series only once more.
- Issue 1- In this issue we meet Arwyn, Kreeg, and the resurrected Mordath. Arwyn saves a young girl from Trolls, finds her husband and daughter dead in their home, and kills the Trolls responsible. As her town of Gerrindor burns, she swears revenge on Mordath. Mordath is informed that Gerrindor is destroyed and that he finally holds control of the lands he has wished to rule for 300 years.
- Issue 2- Arwyn is dreaming about her husband and daughter being killed by the Trolls when this issue opens. She awakes and we see that she is near Mordath's castle. Meanwhile, Mordath kills an Ankharan named Hanun by using his own left hand, which is a dark red, to set the prisoner on fire and throw him out of a large window. During their conversation we learn that Mordath can enjoy no pleasures, and that he has a large hole in his cheast and stomach. Outside, Arwyn sees the flaming corpse soar through the air. She tells Kreeg to stay and leave her to her own fate but he continues along with her. With he bow, she kills a Troll, and uses his cloak and horse to trick two guards. She kills them and makes her way into the castle with Kreeg. When she gets behind Mordath, she shoots an arrow at him, but he senses it and merely sets it aflame. Troll guards attack and overpower her. Far away, a tattooed hand takes Ayden's bow off a shelf.
- Issue 3- Arwyn awakes in a dungeon full of skeletons and rats. A living one-eyed man is next to her. He says his name is Gareth and points out Kreeg, who is still alive, muzzled in a corner. Just then, Mordath comes down into the dungeon.
- Issue 14- The history of Ankhara is given. Arwyn, Garteh and Kreeg are outside the Ankharan walls and the main entrance to the area is well-guarded. Once night falls, they sneak past the guards to a secret entrance that leads to the tunnels in the Ankharan cliffs. The tunnels are full of writing and statues that mirror the Eqyptian style. Arwyn discovers the tunnels also serve as catacombs and are full of tombs and mummified dead. Gareth is able to find a passage into the city. The three find themselves in the troll governor's personal harem. Suddenly, guards enter to take away three of the Ankharan females. Gareth and Kreeg hide, but Arwyn is spotted by a guard and she attacks him when he tries to take her away. Gareth quickly attacks another of the guards while the third is killed by one of the Ankharan women. After the short battle, a large Ankharan male grabs Gareth by the throat and asks Gareth why he shouldn't him.
- Issue 15- Bohr reaches Akhara and enters, believing that Gareth and Arwyn may be inside. Meanwhile, Arwyn gets the large Ankharan to release Gareth by hitting a pot over his head. It is revealed that the Ankharan women in the harem were going to try and assassinate the new governor of Ankhara. Arwyn tells the group, who turn out to be the Ankharan resistance, of her quest to gather the fragments of Ayden's arrow. The male Ankharan, whose name is Rahm, tells Arwyn that the fragment of Ankhara has been lost for generations. The group is led away from the harem. Governor Koht is informed of the missing women at the harem as Bohr enters and tells him of the current situation involving Arwyn's quest to defeat Mordath. Rahm leads Arwyn and Gareth to a temple serving as the home for the resistance in Ankhara. He tells our heroes of the fight between Mordath's troops and the Ankharan army. He also reveals that he is the Dawn Warrior of his generation. The Dawn Warrior is charged with leading in times of war and is trusted to wield the Dawn Sword, an ancient blade that glows like a flame when exposed to the sun. However, it has been lost. He asks Gareth and Arwyn to help the Ankharan cause. Arwyn is reminded of those she has lost and is told by Gareth that he will follow any decision she makes. She goes to Rahm and tells him that she accepts his offer. In his narration, Gareth reveals that he didn't know at the time that his decision to follow Arwyn would get him executed.
- Issue 16- Gareth fantasizes about Arwyn in his dreams and awakes to her telling him that Rahm is gathering everyone.
Sojourn had 4 trade paperbacks released before the bankruptcy of Crossgen
, which collected the entire Ron Marz run of the comic.
- TPB #1 "From The Ashes"- Collected issues #0-6
- TPB #2 "The Dragon's Tale"- Collected issues #7-12
- TPB #3 "The Warrior's Tale"- Collected issues #13-18
- TPB #4 "The Thief's Tale"- Collected issues #19-24
- TPB #5 "The Sorcerer's Tale"- Collects issues #25-30 (ISBN 1-933160-44-6) released by Checker Books in February 2007
There was also one collected edition not included in the 35 because it was merely a reprint of the Prequel and issue 1 put into one comic. The series ended with a cliffhanger that would have led into a 2 issue mini-series called Sojourn+Lady Death illustrated by George Pérez and written by Chuck Dixon and Brian Pulido. Oddly, Lady Death wasn't a series that was connected to the Crossgen Universe. The series ended 1 month before the actual bankruptcy of Crossgen (issue #34).
- Ron Marz- The Writer for the Prequel issue and issues 1 through 24.
- Greg Land- The Penciler for the Prequel issue and most of the issues between 1 and 33.
- Ian Edginton- The Writer for issues 25 through 34.
- Sergio Cariello- The Penciler who was to take over for Greg Land starting in issue 34, the issue that became the final one.
- Chuck Dixon- The co-writer for issue 34 he was responsible for writing the cliffhanger ending to the series.
- Stuart Immonen- Guest Penciler for issue 7.
- June Brigman- Guest Penciler for issue 12.
- Aaron Lopresti- Guest Penciler for issue 17.
- Luke Ross- Guest Penciler for issue 21. He would team up with Ron Marz again for the Darkhorse Comic Samurai: Heaven and Earth.
- Lewis LaRosa- Guest Penciler for pages 1-9, and 21-22 of issue 26.
- Tom Derenick- Guest Penciler for pages 10-20 of issue 26.
- Cliff Richards- Guest Penciler for issue 30.
- Greg Land did covers for all issues penciled by himself. The other covers were done by their respective pencilers except for issues 30 and 34 which were done by Land.
- It is said, near the end of the series, that the moon of Quin crashed to the ground long ago, but when Shiara attacks Mordath's castle, a moon can clearly be seen.
- The residents of Skarnhime are extremely physically different in the first few issues of Sojourn than they are in issues 31-34.
Continuation of the Series
Many fans of the series wonder what would have happened if the series had continued. There are a few facts that can be found on the internet and back issues of Sojourn.
- Arwyn would have battled Lady Death for her life in the crossover mini-series Sojourn+Lady Death if the series had continued. (Seen in Comic ads)
- The group would have added a new group member. (Previews Solicit)
- They would have traveled to the planet's lost continent, or "The Lost Lands", where Quin's moon was said to have crashed long ago.
The inhabitants of the lost continent were called Lyrin and Khiva may have been of that race. (Previews)
- Mordath was going to use a child to give himself a youthful new body. (Issue 34)
- The series was going to most likely end at issue 41, with a total of 44 issues including Prequel and the two crossover issues, as stated by writer Ian Edginton.
- The series was solicited through July 2004, issue 37. (Previews)
- In the Pay-to-play version of RuneScape, the Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG), there is a race of Trolls, who are very barbaric in nature. When traveling throughout the Troll Stronghold and Trollheim, a piece of music for the Music Player will be unlocked called "Sojourn."