The Ember Stone Heats Up The Road To "Artifacts"

If you play with fire, you're going to get burned - and Glorianna "Glori" Silver is most definitely looking to play.

Glori is the wielder of the Ember Stone, one of one of the thirteen deadly Artifacts carried by a handful of characters within the Top Cow Universe including Sara Pezzini (Witchblade), Jackie Estacado (The Darkness), Danielle Baptiste (The Angelus), Tom Judge (Rapture), the Magdalena (The Spear of Destiny) and, of course, Michael Finnegan, Glori's opposite as the wielder of the Glacier Stone. But beyond her rivalry with Finn, Glori and the Ember Stone are two critical players in "Artifacts," the upcoming 13-issue series written by Ron Marz and illustrated by a team of artists including Michael Broussard. CBR News spoke with Marz and Top Cow publisher Filip Sablik about Glori and her Artifact.

While many of the major players in the Top Cow Universe unwittingly stumbled upon the road to "Artifacts," Glori has walked this road her entire life. "She was adopted by a mysterious man named Wulfgar whose family, for generations, has basically committed themselves to recovering the Ember Stone and finding a suitable bearer," said Sablik. "She's been told from a very young age that this is her destiny and what she was born to do."

But it's not just the Ember Stone that Glori covets, as she's devoted every fiber of her being to claiming the rest of the Artifacts. The one that she's most squarely opposed to is the Glacier Stone carried by Finn, a low-level Irish thug, reluctant Artifact wielder and her co-star in "Broken Trinity: Pandora's Box," the currently releasing miniseries from writers Rob Levin and Bryan Edward Hill.

"She is, of course, the antithesis of Michael Finnegan in a lot of ways: she grew up privileged, believing that [pursuing the Artifacts] was her destiny, that she deserves this role. She embraces it. She sought it out. She's undertaking this absolutely by choice, whereas Finn is kind of stuck with it. We wanted these characters to have as much of a contrast as possible," explained Marz. "In some ways, she's not an overly pleasant character. Certainly, Finn is the more affable guy. He's the one you want to have a beer with. In some ways, Glori is more of the ice queen, no pun intended. She's more aloof and standoffish. Both characters are really a collection of contrasts with each other."

It's not just personality differences that separate Glori from Finn, of course - there's the whole fire and ice duality to consider as well. "Part of [the Ember Stone's] ability is to turn her into what is essentially a big honking dragon. I figure anytime you can get a dragon into your book, it's pretty cool," said Marz. "Because both the Angelus and Witchblade have an armored look that we're all familiar with, we wanted to go in a different direction with Glori. We came up with Stjepan Sejic's initial design to push it in the direction of this huge red dragon."

The war between the Ember and Glacier Stones has extended over multiple generations, indicating that Glori's fire dragon and Finn's frost giant are predestined to clash with one another. "Initially, the notion that I had was that, historically, some of this stuff was playing out in terms that could be associated with Norse myth - for example, ice giants and a fire dragon - and all of that actually ties into the Ragnarok myth, which ties into the end of the world and it ties into 'Artifacts,'" explained Marz of the rivalry. "We really did think about a lot of this stuff ahead of time. We weren't just making shit up as we went along."

The modern day conflict between the Ember and Glacier Stone bearers centers on Glori's devotion to collecting all of the Artifacts, while Finn has been told that he has to stop her. "On some level, part of that conversation between these two characters is Glori saying, 'I am compelled to gather up all of these things. I need to do it. It's what I was born to do. And Finn is going, 'I have people telling me that I need to stop you. Explain to me why this is a good thing.' And her basic response is, 'I don't need to explain myself to you. Because I said so,'" said Sablik. "But what's interesting is that in the first 'Broken Trinity' event, she seizes her destiny and gets the Ember Stone. She goes to do what she's been told is her right and her destiny, which is to kill the bearer of the Glacier Stone and take it from him - and in no uncertain terms, she gets her ass whooped. Now imagine that you're this phenomenal basketball player in high school where you dunk on everybody, then you get drafted to the NBA and in your first game, you just look like a complete fool. What does that do to somebody whose entire sense of self and purpose is built around this one thing? That's something that she's struggling with and as a character, it makes her pretty compelling."

Even if Glori is devoted to a fault, Sablik said that her eagerness to play a role in the "Artifacts" endgame makes her an invaluable character from a storytelling perspective. "You can't have everybody running around not wanting to be there," he explained. "But I think what's interesting about her is that I'm not sure she even knows exactly why she wants this. It's part and parcel of how she was brought up to believe. In a way, it's that same kind of faith that many of us have. We were brought up in a particular belief system and indoctrinated so early that if somebody actually sits down to question you, you're not really sure why it is that you believe that."

"But in her case, is it nature or nurture - is this part of who she is, was she raised to believe this stuff, or is it both? Her role, her compulsion, is to gather the Artifacts, and that's a bad thing in terms of what the ramifications of that are," warned Marz. "Glori and Finn will ultimately be pretty pivotal in the storyline because the functions they're supposed to serve - or, at least, the functions that they believe they're supposed to serve - are really what this story is about. It's about gathering the Artifacts and what happens if and when they are gathered."

"Artifacts" #1, written by Ron Marz and illustrated by Michael Broussard, launches on July 21, 2010. Tune into CBR every week leading up to the issue's release for further insight from Marz and Sablik.

Next week, we return to Finn to discuss his other Artifact: the Blood Sword!

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