History "The Harrowing"
The goddess Morte Mamme lies imprisoned within an egg-shaped crypt in Joplin
. For hundreds of years, she has patiently sought a means of escape from the trap set by her brother, Leviathan. Hope arrives in the form of maggots that feed upon the goddess's flesh, shed their skin, and sprout wings. An earthquake cracks open Morte Mamme's prison, allowing the bees to escape to the outside world. Elsewhere, Vera Wyshak receives her last rights from a priest on death row. She has been sentenced to the gas chamber for an undisclosed crime, and Wyshak tells the priest he is wasting his time, because she does not fear death. One of Morte Mamme's flies lands inside of the priest's coffee mug, and the man makes the mistake of drinking it. He begins to choke, and is possessed by the goddess. Morte Mamme tells Vera to travel to Joplin, and the priest suffocates on the insect lodged in his throat. Wyshak takes the man's clothing, and escapes from the prison.
Vera is given a ride by a tattoo artist from New York City named Ron Ringwood. They travel by motorcycle to Legs Benedict's Egg Museum in Joplin, where they are greeted by their guide, the elderly Bunny Benedict. Wyshak finds herself among six other individuals, each having been called by the goddess Morte Mamme to locate and free her. Bunny tells the group that the egg museum was built around a huge egg-shaped monument, and has been preserved and protected by the Benedicts for generations as part of a pact her family made with the Indians. As Bunny gives her tour of the Egg Museum, another earthquake cracks open the floor, revealing a stairwell that descends into darkness. Curious, the group takes a pair of lanterns, and follow the stairwell. Bunny, injured in the earthquake, remains topside. They discover a granite rock covering a chamber of some sort, and use their collective strength to move the rock blocking the entrance.
The group discovers the bodies of six other people that have been dead for
quite some time, in addition to Morte Mamme's prison. A message on the seal reads: "Sex Liberabit, Si Aenigma Explicata Erit" (Six shall release if the puzzle is solved) They determine that they must stand in front of the seal, and speak the Latin phrases directly in front of them. After doing so, they enter six individual chambers, and the room begins to spin. The goddess Morte Mamme appears before the group, and informs them they have been chosen to serve as her Harrowers, blessed warriors against evil demons known as Cenobites that were created by Leviathan. The goddess tells them that the bodies of the six fallen in the chamber were once her Harrowers, killed when her brother tricked them. She arms each member of the group with a weapon charged with her life-force, and Vera receives a boomerang. Morte Mamme tells the group that they will follow in the footsteps of their predecessors.
The goddess warns the Harrowers that by summoning her, Leviathan has sent six Cenobites to stop the group. Upon returning to the surface, the Harrowers discover Merkova, a hideous Cenobite with a dog's skull sutured to her face, along with the remaining demons. Bunny hangs from the ceiling by hook chains. The group attacks the Cenobites, and Vera saves Ron Ringwood from being castrated by one of the Cenobites using her boomerang. In retaliation, the Cenobites string Wyshak up using hook chains, and she asks Morte Mamme for help. The goddess turns Vera's blood and saliva poisonous to the Cenobites, and the demons are forced to release the woman when the pain caused by her blood grows too intense. Vera spits on one of the Cenobites, and dissolves the monster. The Harrowers succeed in destroying the Cenobites in battle, with the exception of Merkova, who grabs Bunny, and returns to hell.
Morte Mamme informs the group that Leviathan's commander, The General,
would suffer unimaginably for the failure of his soldiers. The goddess then tells the group that they need to enter Hell, in order to rescue Bunny Benedict. She explains that Bunny has been a faithful guardian over her tomb, and that she can not be foresaken. As the Harrowers prepare to enter Hell, Leviathan gives The General one final opportunity to prove himself. The General creates a horrific monster from the body parts of his fallen Cenobites, Leviathan names it The Furiae, and The General sends it after The Harrowers. The group valiantly combats the monster, while Ron Ringwood searches Hell for Bunny Benedict on his motorcycle. One of the Harrowers, Marty Sevenbirds, courageously sacrifices himself by hurling himself and the Furaie into the deepest pit of Hell.
Meanwhile, the Cenobite Pinhead
discovers that Bunny Benedict is actually a
male while torturing her, and becomes amused. Before the demon can use a blowtorch to give Bunny an impromptu gender reassignment surgery, Ron finds the pair on his bike, uses his axe to cut Bunny's shackles, and drives off with her before Pinhead can harm her. Marty's sacrifice frees Morte Mamme from her prison, and Ringwood returns to the other Harrowers, with Bunny in tow. The goddess takes Benedict, and places her into her body, briefly impregnating herself. Within moments, Bunny returns to the others, and Morte Mamme explains that Bunny has twenty-four hours in her old form before a transformation occurs. When Benedict asks the goddess what she will turn into, Morte Mamme states that she does not know. The goddess tells her it is destiny's decision, and that she is merely destiny's conduit. Morte Mamme then disappears.
Meanwhile, back in Hell, Pinhead tearfully mourns the death of his beloved Merkova. mortally wounded with Marty Sevenbirds' divine sword during the battle at the Egg Museum, Pinhead vows that his paramour will not have died in vain. Twenty-four hours later, the surviving Harrowers gather with Bunny in a Joplin park to await her transformation. They watch in bewilderment as Benedict becomes a little girl, and runs off to play with a group of other children. Morte Mamme then appears before the Harrowers, and tells them to prepare, for Leviathan has countless souls in need of liberation. Vera's time as a Harrower has only just begun. Back in Hell, The General pleads with Leviathan to allow him yet another chance to destroy the Harrowers, proclaiming "This time, it's war...". "Death, Where Is Thy Sting?
Later, in Manhattan
, New York
, Vera is now working separate from the other Harrowers. A subway token mysteriously appears in Vera’s pocket, and she boards a train headed for The Bronx. Wyshak notices Katie Johnson feverishly attempting to solve a Lament Configuration, and advices the woman against it. Vera tells her she doesn’t want to go where it will take her, and Katie asks if the box is responsible for the disappearance of her husband, Daniel. Wyshak offers to help Daniel, and produces her boomerang from her jacket. She hurls the weapon, cutting a rift between Hell and Earth. Katie demands to follow Vera, and Wyshak agrees. The women enter Hell, as passengers aboard the subway car watch on in amazement.
Vera and Kate enter hell, which appears to them as a beautiful, sunlit field. Wyshak knows better than to trust anything that she sees, and Johnson becomes angry, saying that her husband couldn't possibly be there. Vera stabs a bee preparing to sting Kate with a metallic stinger and spits on the insect, to determine if it is Cenobitical. When the bee dissolves, Vera tells Johnson to follow the swarm of bees passing overhead, and the women proceed to follow the swarm. Soon, they discover hundreds of souls planted in the field. The souls are all members of the Johnson clan, cursed in 1620 when Philip Johnson offered the lives of himself and wife, Grace, after his young son Robert solved a Lament Configuration. Philip agreed with the Cenobite Fulgar to take Robert's place, but fled with his family to America, before Fulgar could claim them. One year later, Fulgar returned for Philip and Grace, burning their home to the ground, and branding their two children with the symbol of Leviathan.
Katie asks Vera if she can hack at the roots with her boomerang, but Wyshak
discovers that the roots are all interconnected, and in doing so she causes more harm than good. She follows the roots to a tree, and discovers the souls of Philip and Grace Johnson embedded in the bark. They warn Vera that Aparius, the Bee-Keeper of Hell, will be returning, and Wyshak says that she can rescue their souls, but only if they are willing to accept the transformation that comes with their freedom. The pair agree, and Aparius confronts Vera. She uses her boomerang to decapitate the Cenobite, and cuts into the tree using the weapon. After killing the queen bee, Wyshak purposely cuts her thigh with the boomerang's razor-sharp edge, and allows herself to bleed on the roots of the tree. Her plan works, and the souls of the Johnson clan are freed. Vera channels the goddess Morte Mamme, who envelops the souls in her fiery womb, and purges the corruption caused by Leviathan. Katie and Daniel return to earth to spend their last twenty-four hours together, and Wyshak disappears for parts unknown.
Powers And Abilities
- Vera's blood and saliva have been blessed by the goddess Morte Mamme. They are anathema to all things Cenobitical.
- Wyshak possesses a boomerang that was forged from her very being by the goddess Morte Mamme. It can slay Cenobites, and cut a temporary inter-dimensional rift between Earth and Hell.
- Vera shares strong telepathic as well as empathic connections to the Goddess Morte Mamme, and her fellow Harrowers.
- Wyshak can psychically sense Cenobites in her immediate vicinity.