Looking For Thoughts – On Tavor
Once a week, longtime LFG fan and current LFG writer Ryan Costello looks at an element of Looking For Group lore, trivia, or development anecdote, and shares insight into why he appreciates it.
Since we internationally recognize October as Throw Short People Month, I thought I’d throw my shorties a bonus. Welcome to Looking For Thoughts, a new weekly column where I break down a topic related to Looking For Group. Some weeks I’ll expand on revelations related to the current storyline. Others I’ll share anecdotes I find interesting. Still others I’ll pull back the veil on some behind the scenes shenanigans.
We kick things off like I kicked off my first LFG arc: with Tavor.
Who Is Tavor?
An elven knight of Gamlon of station introduced on page 37, Tavor answered to the king directly, leading the forces against the Vullii assault. When the Vullii breached the castle, the king assigned Tavor to the protection of his daughter. Seemingly fatally wounded, Tavor handed his swords to the time displaced Cale. This, and instructions to save the Princess, magically returned Cale to his own time.
But that’s not the last we saw of Tavor!
Tavor survived his injuries and found his way to Kethenecia, where he met up with Cale and the group on page 62. Speaking fourth dimensionally, this is the Tavor of the present, who met the Cale of the present in the past. They time travel again shortly thereafter, so keeping track of when Tavor belongs can get complicated.
Back To The Past
They travel back in time to the same moment in the past to which Cale last traveled, but a continent apart. At this point in the past there are two Cales, both from the future, and two Tavors, one from this point in time and one from the future. When they meet the Archmage, Future Tavor tries to kill him, exacting revenge for the wrong he committed that is about to kill Past Tavor’s king. Time travel!
The group takes the Archmage’s side, defeating but not killing Future Tavor. This Tavor sides with this continent’s Vullii to try to stop them from killing a child and fulfill a prophecy. Even though Tavor wounds Cale, Cale is able to kill the child and return to their present.
We don’t see Tavor again until the infamous page 480, in which he kills Krunch. He’s much older now, living from the fall of Kethenecia to the present for a second time. Elves are known to be long-lived in fantasy settings, and LFG never establish how long an elf’s natural lifespan is in this world, so it’s possible that he could have lived this long and stayed as spryly and handsome (or dare I say he gets more handsome with age?) naturally. However, that’s not the case. Flashbacks show two prophet types (implied but never confirmed to be the Archmage and a cohort) orchestrating destiny again. They revived the fallen Gamlonian, granting him immortality.
It turns out, all this time, Tavor ruled Legara. The attacks by the Legion, the gentrification of the continent, all Tavor’s doing. And even though he and Cale both fought “for Gamlon”, their fights took them in opposite directions. Those divergent paths met again, and Cale, using the very swords Tavor gave him, defeated the immortal elf and captured him in a prison of fire and ice.
That was the last we saw of Tavor other than as scenery until he returned as cybernetic skeleton Vat.
Why Bring Tavor Back?
I wanted to kick off issue 58 with something other than the group. Firstly, I wanted more time between writing the group, Richard specifically, and publication to give Sohmer time to review them for consistency in tone and voice. I also wanted to set up a new plot, which meant working out the status quo of other characters in the world. Finally, I wanted to establish a villain.
The Villainous Vat
Tavor’s an ideal villain. When he first showed up, he represented everything Cale wanted to be. Confident. Heroic. Clever. Cale even started dressing like Tavor two minutes after meeting him, and he basically kept that look ever since. Tavor and Cale share so much in common that on the page intended to hint at Vat’s true identity, many readers suspected he was a Future Cale.
In addition to the connection between the characters, Tavor also has an incredible story arc, intertwined with LFG’s early metastory. Cale only knew Tavor for a few days when the elder elf tried to kill the Archmage. To Tavor, it had been generations. And then the next time they met again, it had been months, maybe years, for Cale, but it had been the exact same stretch of time again for Tavor.
What makes Tavor work so well as an LFG villain is the morality of the setting. The group, as established in the first few issues, are not good. And even the secondary characters we met by the time Tavor first appeared -characters like Aelloon and Styx- were as morally gray as the group. Tavor showed up as the comic’s straightest arrow, for once a noble hero. So for his and Cale’s relationship to organically build to a feud was intriguing and heartbreaking. The dynamic between our wannabe hero and his friend turned rival illustrated the unexpected depth that set LFG apart.
What Tavor Deserves
I admit, one other motivation for bringing Tavor back was feeling unsatisfied by his last appearance. Killing Krunch was a bold move on Sohmer’s part. It reestablished Tavor as the group’s greatest threat. I found the 10 page flashback that followed extremely compelling. So for Tavor to just die a few pages later, it felt like a missed opportunity. Furthermore, he wasn’t conclusively dead. True, only Cale’s swords, Good and Evil, could harm Tavor, but Cale didn’t stab him to death. He trapped him. And sure, his head melted, but it wasn’t by Cale’s swords. It was just an average head melting that any immortal could recover from.
You tell me!
I have a list of topics I want to cover, but I’m also interested in hearing what you’d like me to talk about. Behind the scenes stories of your favourite LFG product? A listicle of my favourite Lar looks? Commentary on a page I wrote? Let me know in the comments.
Now you know,