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"All Stories End, My Friend": In the swamp, Swamp Thing and Capucine are under attack by monsters of some sort, and though they are easily defeated, Capucine admits that they came for her before collapsing into Alec's arms. Worriedly,


Quote1 She got your body. Your immortal, powerful body. She never has to die. Which means I never get her. But you, Alec, in this body. Well, you can die. And you will. Soon. Quote2
-- Etrigan



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Synopsis for "All Stories End, My Friend"

In the swamp, Swamp Thing and Capucine are under attack by monsters of some sort, and though they are easily defeated, Capucine admits that they came for her before collapsing into Alec's arms. Worriedly, he carries her back to the house, where Guarav supposes that whatever caused her to collapse might have been poison. Fortunately, Capucine regains consciousness and explains that it was not poison - it is her inevitable death catching up with her. Her thousand years are nearly done.

Alec hopes that there is something they can do to prevent it, even going so far as to suggest going to Constantine for help. Capucine insists, though, that she seeks an end to her thousand years of pain. She warns that they still have much to speak of, but before that, she begs Alec to tell her a story - preferably one that will make her laugh.

Alec tells a recent story, taking place soon after he gave up his human body, before he sought Superman in Metropolis. He had been drawn into a movie theatre by the promise of the third part of a series he'd enjoyed, and realized that he'd never have a chance to see it the way he had become. But then he had an idea: he would use popcorn to hide in plain sight. Unfortunately, he was seen within five minutes, and the police were called and the theatre was evacuated. Alec admits that it may have been for the best - the five minutes he did see were terrible. Capucine reminds that all stories should end, rather than dragging on, over and over with a new part every few years.

Weakly, she explains that she does not wish to prolong her life. All she asks is that Alec keep her body from being taken by the demon Etrigan, as was promised to him. She worries that he will use her body as a slave or a lover. Alec is confused as to why Etrigan poses a greater threat than any other demon he's fought.

Guarav explains that Etrigan is an ancient beast in the service of hell. He was raised to the rank of rhymer by Lucifer himself. The wizard Merlin bonded him to Jason Blood in an effort to restrain the demon's lusts - but to no avail. Other sorcerers tried to use him, but he devoured their souls. He traded power for tastes of innocent flesh, fearing no church or god, and existing solely to spread evil. Guarav warns that if Etrigan wants Capucine, he will do everything in his power to get her, using guile and force. This is why Capucine chose Alec as her guardian, for the Sanctuary of the Green Leaf. She needs but one favour of him before she lets go.

Alec lays out Capucine's body in the swamp, and Etrigan approaches it, but he smells the soul of someone else. It is Alec's. Using the Gift of the Sureen - the Locum - Alec has allowed Capucine to use his body while he inhabits her human form. Capucine, as Swamp Thing, knocks Etrigan back, warning that Etrigan deserves no less than a trick like this. Etrigan responds that the trick was on Alec, not him. Angrily, she responds that she was given no choice in becoming what she was made into, for one thousand years. In response, the demon blows fire into her face, and lets her burn.

Alec, meanwhile, feels Capucine's body dying, and Guarav warns that if it dies with Alec in it, he will be lost. Alec believes, though, that Capucine will come back. Etrigan interrupts, warning that Alec's faith is misplaced, but promising that he wishes only to talk. He insists that Capucine is evil, and ever has been. Of all the years of Capucine's life, Alec only knows of one. Her first act upon meeting Alec was to kill two men, and then to request sanctuary based on a tale of lost innocence and noble warriors. She omitted, however, all of the killings she committed. She consorted with evil men, the likes of Vandal Savage. She has even garnered the epithet "The Murder Poet". Everything she has done for Alec was a manipulation. She had wanted to get into the Avatar's body from the start. Despite Alec's failure, Etrigan promises that he will bring Capucine back - and quickly.

Unfortunately for the demon, Capucine has come to understand how to control plants with her new body, and traps Etrigan within a thick tree. From within, he warns that he told Alec the truth about her. Angrily, she reminds that it was his dark magic that made her a killer. She hadn't known she could be anything else until after she met Alec. She is well aware of all of the suffering Alec has endured to remain a good man despite the power thrust upon him - and telling him the the "truth" surely will injure him further. Etrigan challenges her to prove him wrong, then, and Capucine offers a bargain.

Capucine returns to her body, and Guarav returns Alec to his. As Capucine lies dying in her own body, Alec begs her to tell him how he can help. She responds that she just wants him to stay with her, admitting that everything Etrigan had said about her was true - until she met him. Alec interrupts to point out that Etrigan had told him that she wouldn't come back - and the fact that she did makes him a liar. Taking her hand, he offers to tell her another story.

He explains that he will not allow her to die in this way. She has touched The Green in taking part in the Locum, and that opens a place for her within it. No one will be able to reach her there, and she may find peace with Brother Jonah there. He wishes he could offer her more. When he had met her, he had nearly lost his humanity, and she had been the anchor he needed. He will remember her as he knew her, and not as what she was. He carries her over to the glade, and lowers her into Brother Jonah's waiting arms in the Green, admitting that he will miss her very much.



Notes

  • This book was first published on October 29, 2014.
  • No special notes.

Trivia

  • Guarav is misspelt as Gaurav in this issue.



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