I’m on my second turn through Iron Gold. The first read was such a whirlwind that there were moments I didn’t fully process until now, one of which was the mention that Fitchner au Barca may have been the only man in history to escape the Deepgrave prison.
We don’t really have a lot to go on here. The mention of Fitchner’s maybe-escape from Deepgrave comes in a Darrow chapter (page 254 of the Iron Gold ebook). Darrow and his team are in Deepgrave trying to figure out why Apollonius isn’t where he’s supposed to be. When Winkle points out that prisoner 1126’s collar or implant isn’t on the system, Darrow responds:
“What do you mean it’s not on the system? He can’t have left the damn station. He’s a prisoner of the state. He’s on code black, no transfer. No one in history has escaped from Deepgrave.”
After which this very brief exchange happens between Sevro and Clown:
“Your dad did,” Clown says to Sevro.
“That wasn’t exactly an escape,” Sevro mutters under his breath. “I swear to the veil, if that slimy shit has been out in the worlds all this time…”
Sevro’s obviously annoyed that there’s a chance that Apollonius might have escaped, which might have colored his response to Clown about his father. But the muttering part still makes me think this probably isn’t one of the stories Sevro proudly tells his Howlers over a round of Ambrosia. Also, either Darrow didn’t know about this situation or he also doesn’t consider whatever Fitchner’s involvement with Deepgrave was to be a proper escape story.
So what is the story?
In case your memory’s a bit rusty, Deepgrave is the mobile prison set on the floor of Earth’s ocean. It’s where the Society’s criminals were sent, and later, the home to the war criminals and other bad people who might otherwise have received a death sentence after the Society fell, had Mustang not abolished it. In Iron Gold, it’s the prison that held Apollonius, who, it turns out, was leading a relatively comfortable existence in the underwater prison.
Deepgrave seems legendary, so it’s only fitting that Ares would have tangled with the prison at some point during his life. Still, I can’t imagine we’d get that little tease and not hear the rest of the story. It’s possible this tale will be told at some point in a later book, but it also makes me hopeful that there are more Sons of Ares comics planned.
(Sons of Ares spoilers ahead!)
The first series of Sons of Ares comics took us through Fitchner’s time at the Institute, his attempts to rise within the Society and, of course, how he met and fell in love with Bryn, which led to their efforts to conceive and bring Sevro into the world. The story ends with Bryn’s death and Fitchner’s rise as Ares.
Sons of Ares offered a number of reveals, some of which were contradictions to the story Fitchner and Sevro told Darrow about what happened to Bryn. We were also introduced to Bryn’s sister Ryanna, who’s alive at the end of the story, though we still don’t know what became of her.
Suffice it to say, there’s more to Fitchner’s story than we’ve heard. That may seem like an obvious declaration, considering he was busy being Ares for years before he met and recruited Darrow, and Jove only knows the things he was getting up to. But we’ve only gotten snippets of his past and associations.
If these blanks aren’t going to be filled in with Dark Age and the book that follows, perhaps another comic series will tell more of Fitchner’s story. I seriously need to know about this kind-of escape from Deepgrave.