From a Cave in the Woods...


Pibgorn - Mozart and the Demon Lover

5-23-2005 through 2-8-2006


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Pibgorn's sixth adventure, featuring Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a senescent demon, violin music, the missing puzzle piece of creation, vacationing in Hell, a shattered universe... and more!  This episode required considerable historical research by the artist, and in the interim Brooke re-ran the first 20 Pibgorn strips in annotated format, along with some other previously-unseen sketches. Those strips can be seen here.

 

Another time warp misadventure, this arc begins with a small recital,  with Geoff on piano, Pibgorn as his page turner, and Drusilla on the violin, who naturally uses body language to bring some extra flair. As they perform, we also see scenes from late 18th century Vienna, where an elderly courier, Herr Leitgeb, delivers a commission to a composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, to write a requiem for his employer’s late wife. (As the story develops, it is revealed that this commission is Mozart's legendary unfinished Requiem).

Returning to the present, their recital ended, Geoff and Dru bow to their small audience of Thorax, Oognat (who’s somehow ditched her body hair in favor of a nice cocktail dress), and Leitgeb, still alive and well, and obviously perturbed by Dru’s rendition of the requiem, which Geoff later criticizes as potentially getting her arrested for soliciting. Their next performance is hardly better: having acquiesced to a performance sans hip thrusts and the like, Dru makes up for it with a less-than demure dress. They proceed with a new recital as a new flashback to Mozart appears… Leitgeb returns to Mozart’s studio, where he is introduced to Anna Gottlieb, a young actress whom the courier is aware of. He is secretly smitten with her, having first seen her perform in Le Nozze de Figaro, and is rather unsettled when he learns how young she was then.

In the present, Leitgeb again angrily sits through Geoff and Dru’s recital. Just as Thorax warns Oognat that he feels a quantum anomaly coming on, Leitgeb jumps out of his seat and fires a bolt of magic at Drusilla, screaming that they deserved one another. His magic instead deflects around Dru and strikes Geoff and Pibgorn. The wave of magic seems to carry them away, streaking around the sun before returning to Earth, which has apparently split into two parallel copies. Recognizing that Dru is a demon, Leitgeb then vanishes in a burst of light.

Unable to chase him, Drusilla returns to find out what happened from Thorax, who points out that Geoff and Pib have been replaced by two strangers, Mozart and Anna. In the past, Geoff and Pib now stand in for Mozart and Anna, with Leitgeb unaware of their change. Catching on a little slower than Pib as to what happened, Geoff recognizes Leitgeb as the man in the audience who had yelled at Dru. Drusilla, meanwhile, is perfectly happy to kill Mozart and Anna to find out what happened to Pibgorn and “her” Geoff, when she’s halted by Thorax, who recognizes Mozart and has also guessed what had happened. Based on Thorax' prediction about what would happen to history if Drusilla were to kill Mozart, she uses her magical link to Pibgorn to find her and Geoff, only to find herself led back to Anna, who soon realizes that not only is she now a fairy, but she is quickly progressing through a pregnancy.

Back in Vienna, Geoff becomes determined to fulfill Mozart’s recorded history to the best of his ability, which includes the sad fact that he will die in a few months from rheumatic fever. Pibgorn cannot help him, as she’s been transformed into a human, which she finds after she shamelessly strips naked to find her wings and other fairy accoutrements gone. This does not help matters with Mozart’s wife Constanze, who clearly believes them to be having an affair. It is here that Geoff finds that time has become more fractured than they thought – not only is Constanze not at this time pregnant as history records her, but she and Mozart have no children at all.

Constanze is not alone in this belief – Leitgeb quickly develops his wrath towards “Mozart” as he catches Geoff during a tryst with Pib, who’s decided that the best way to deal with being accused of an affair is to actually have one. Wishing to take advantage of her fully human body, Pib rather surprises Geoff when she starts waxing about having a child. Hoping to restore history as best he can, he points out that Mozart and Anna Gottlieb never had children together, then returns to writing the requiem from memory, even though the unfinished work foretold Mozart’s death, now Geoff’s fate.

The real Mozart, meanwhile, travels around the streets of New York, finding his name and recordings of his work everywhere that music is involved. Finding him, Thorax has a quick heart to heart with him, explaining that he is fated to die soon if he returns to his own time. On the upside though, his life’s work remains uncontested, a debt to culture that cannot be repaid. Mozart straight-facedly mentions he wouldn’t object to a little money, though. As Thorax and Mozart take over for Geoff and company at the Café Moulin Noir, Drusilla and Oognat brood over a method of finding the demon, and rescuing Geoff and Pib.

Pibgorn is also the subject of discussion for Prince Crewth and Gaggot who, taking into consideration their recent rescue from genocide by her, decide to use executive clemency and cancel one of the death warrants set against her. The chance of having Pibgorn returned to them helps persuade them when Dru steps back into their lives at this point, ordering them to have their kingdom marshaled out to track down the demon for her. They eventually find Leitgeb by a lake, or rather he finds them, sensing their encounter with Dru upon them. This is witnessed by Oognat, who reports it to Dru, who arrives at the lake just to be caught in a sneak attack arranged by the fairies with Leitgeb.

The battle is short and swift – Leitgeb drains Dru of her energy, burns her body to ash, and disperses the ash into the air. The ash, however, merges with a cloud, which then “rains” lightning onto the ground and forms into Drusilla’s body, albeit little more than a charred corpse. Returning from a number at the Café she’d been sent to by Dru, Oognat chances upon Crewth and Gaggot and, stomping them into the ground after they reveal what they’d done, finds what appears to be Dru’s body. She’s still alive though, barely, and drains some of Oognat’s blood after sprouting fangs.

It turns out that Drusilla had made plans in case her first encounter with the demon went badly, and so had planted some of her life force on Oognat during an earlier encounter. Retrieving that along with some fairy blood, Drusilla is able to restore herself completely. Oognat is less than happy with her, however, and leaps away, only to be attacked by Leitgeb, again catching Dru’s scent. What follows is a rather graphic battle between Dru and Leitgeb, all whilst Thorax and Mozart continue their musings together. Although content to let Mozart have his brief vacation from his destiny, Thorax is still insistent that Mozart eventually return to his own time, not only to restore Anna, Geoff, Pibgorn, and himself to their proper places, but also for Mozart to finish his recorded work.

His point is proven when, while reading a copy of his requiem which Thorax just happens to be carrying with him, Mozart sees his notes suddenly change in the book. Geoff is then shown attempting to transcribe Mozart’s work from memory, even as he begins to contract rheumatic fever. Meanwhile, the demons’ bloody conflict continues, finally ending in Hell itself. Entering Leitgeb’s dreamscape, Drusilla appears undressed to Leitgeb’s dream self, who appears dressed as when he was posing as a courier to Mozart. Dru soon finds that only Leitgeb’s dream self is fully cognizant, and that his waking mind is amnesiac, unaware of who and what he is, and has slipped into dementia.

While trying to jog Leitgeb’s memory, Dru is re-imagined wearing 18th century clothes, making her resemble someone Leitgeb had loved but couldn’t remember, but Dru recognizes as Anna. A resultant mention of Mozart’s name draws Leitgeb’s anger, causing him to suddenly regain his memory. Soon after, Drusilla leaves Hell, taking a quick detour to rescue Anna, who tried to fly without knowing how to work her wings. Going into outer space, Dru, now aware of the temporal break, returns from space to the past. Stealing a violin, she draws the attention of Leitgeb, who quickly becomes irritated by her irreverent attitude, and another fight begins. Things end differently with Dru exploiting his affection for Anna, forcing Leitgeb to calm down enough to finish her explanation for his future actions, when he’d attempted to exchange her through time and space with Anna Gottlieb.

As Drusilla and Leitgeb fly off to restore matters, future-Leitgeb awakens in Hell and, having learned of Mozart’s presence in New York during their “mind meld”, flies off to finish the job. He soon lands near Thorax and Mozart, who is quickly jotting down musical notes he’d been composing in his mind. Juts as the demon starts zapping Mozart, Dru and Leitgeb arrive at Mozart’s studio to find Geoff on his last legs. Quickly giving him some advice on winning Anna, as well as threatening him if she ever saw him again, Dru quickly gathers her magic to restore history. Just as future-Leitgeb is about to finish off Mozart, past-Leitgeb fires a plasma blast at Dru, which also boomerangs around her, striking Geoff and Pibgorn.

Her magic on them also affects Mozart and the energy directed at him, combining into a nexus of energy which restores everyone to their appropriate place and time, at the moments of the first transference, but with Leitgeb absent from Geoff and Dru’s recital. Instead, he is seen back in Vienna, providing chaperone for Anna... Later, Drusilla had explained all that had happened to Pibgorn, who’d only been left with a vague impression of her time in Vienna, although she feels uncertain whether to trouble Geoff with the truth as well.

Geoff, meanwhile, has also talked about his “hallucination” to Thorax, who then hands him the completed requiem Mozart had composed just before being attacked, personally autographed for Geoff by Mozart. Later, Pib and Dru console him as he tear-facedly reads the finished music, not simply because Mozart had given it to him, but because he’d been able to finally finish it.

 

 

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