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Ari is a main villain in the Arc 3: A Crisis on Both Worlds of the W.I.T.C.H. comics. He is the Lord of Arkhanta who transformed the land by capturing the banshee Yua.

He and his son Maqi later reappear as part of the supporting cast in later arcs.

Appearance

Ari has blue eyes and short dark blue hair with a single braid coming from the back of his head. In the front, a small tuft of his hair is a lighter blue. He has tanned skin and appears to be well-built, both are probably because of his former occupation as a farmer.

Plot

Background

Armour.jpg

Ari was a young farmer in the world of Arkhanta who lived a life of labor and toils. His wife, whom he loved dearly, Jamayeda, died giving birth to his son, Maqi, who had a condition which made him unable to connect with other people as most other children did. Believing it to be an illness, Ari searched incessantly for a way to rid of his son's strange affliction, consulting the land's wisest physicians and scholars, but none of them could help the boy.[1]

Ari then followed the legend of the banshees and caught Yua to help his son. Yet for all her power, Yua was not able to grant Ari's wish, because her magic extended only to material wishes. Devastated, Ari instead wished for the Scarlet Stronghold, an enormous palace that would serve as their home, and sufficient wealth to satisfy any earthly desire his son could have. Lastly, he wished for the banshee's eternal servitude, and she could not refuse.[1]

With Yua's powers, Ari soon became Lord of Arkhanta[1] and greatly improved the life of his fellow farmers by transforming the land. For this, the people of the land came to love him and respect him.[2]

Arc 3: A Crisis on Both Worlds

Time and time again, Ari made pleas to the Oracle of Kandrakar to "heal" Maqi. The Oracle, however, reasoned that giving Ari what he wanted was not the Oracle's role. Appalled and frustrated, Ari eventually declared war on Kandrakar, hoping that the Oracle would reconsider. The threat of Ari's power grew more and more concerning, especially when Kandrakar's ambassadors arrived from Arkhanta with mental trauma that caused them to act out violently and told the Oracle "It's all your fault", clearly reflecting Ari's views and his future intent of hostility.[1]

Soon "visitors" came to Ari's home, pulling the lord away from watching Maqi. Ari went to go meet them and overheard their discussion of “thinking before they act”, which he chimed in was a wise decision. Hearing they knew his name while he didn’t know them, Ari warned that he would defend himself if need be. They introduced themselves as the Guardians of Kandrakar and Ari, understanding they were more messengers of the Oracle, mocked the observer for "hiding behind little girls". He complimented their bravery for coming to Arkhanta, but declared they came in vain as he refused to hear whatever the Oracle would say. The leader of the group defended that the Oracle was not responsible for what happened to Maqi, to which Ari snapped at her not to speak of his son. He ranted about the Oracle having never answered his calls for help and thus did not deserve to be hailed as some great being. Ari intended to bring him down someday soon.[1]

Having said his piece, Ari ordered the Guardians to leave, being lenient enough to let them go safely. Once he turned his back, however, Orube tried to attack him with a magical blast. She was stopped by Will but an outraged Ari ordered Yua to remove the intruders and sent them to a place they couldn't return from. Yua obeyed and the group disappeared. Ari went to visit his garden, believing the Guardians gone only for them to appear before him again. He fled back into the citadel, questioning Yua on why they were still alive. He ventured down to her prison and commanded the banshee to seal up the Scarlet Stronghold and attack the group with all her power, telling her not to disappoint him again. Yua obeyed, striking them with her magic until they had no choice but to retreat to Kandrakar. With them gone, Ari believed he had beaten the Oracle yet again.[1]

Sometime after this, Ari stormed into Yua's prison and demanded to know what the Guardians were doing, not wanting to be caught off guard again. Yua questioned if he was scared of them and he challenged if she, with all her powers, could defeat them. Yua showed her abilities to him by eating a flower, giving her enough power to look through time and space to show him what the Guardians were doing at that exact moment. After watching the bickering between Will, Irma, and Orube, she declared their great weakness was the doubt they had in each other and in the Oracle. However, Ari snapped that he did not need her advice on how to beat them, ordering her to wait for his next command as he left the prison.[2]

Ari went to visit Maqi and as the boy continued not to notice him, he grew frustrated. He asked the universe why his son could not comprehend the love Ari had for him, all the struggles he'd endured to provide for him, yet even the magic of a banshee could not "heal" Maqi. As he took out his anger on Maqi's untouched toys, he took notice of spinning top and decided that his anger should be reserved for the Oracle. He decided he would make the Oracle feel his pain by taking away the Guardians who were faithful to him. Going to Yua, Ari had her enchant Maqi's spinning top to attack the Guardians wherever they were on Arkhanta. They were currently hiding in the village of Urdath where a harvest festival was taking place in Ari's honor, but even this did not stop the lord from sending his tornado. It decimated Urdath, though the Guardians managed to rescue the people. They stopped the storm and received Ari's message that he would use anything at his disposal to destroy them. The people of Urdath rebuilt their town, but this attack enlightened them that Ari was not such a "just" lord after all.[2]

On a new day, Ari once more journeyed to Maqi's room, watching his son draw and telling him of his great wish that Maqi could be happy just as Ari was happy on the day of his birth. Seeing the boy was sleepy, Ari tucked him into bed and told him stories of how Ari would defeat the "villainous" Oracle and his Guardians. With renewed purpose, Ari went to Yua with his next command: allow him to speak to the Oracle directly. She wanted it would be no small task but as it was his wish, she would grant it. As promised, Yua's powers gave Ari a window into Kandrakar through which he could at last speak to the Oracle himself. The smug lord taunted the observer with his new ability, to which the Oracle called him impudent and arrogant. A new barrier was erected to prevent further breeches, but Ari had already fulfilled his goal to spook his enemy.[3]

When the Guardians arrived to fight once again, Yua fulfilled Ari's plan in separating one from the group Orube. Orube was dragged down to Yua's dungeon an Ari watched as Yua took command of her thoughts, making her a puppet. They sent her back upstairs where the others found her and as the newest Guardian struggled under Yua's power, she warned the others not to take her to Kandrakar before fainting. Ari asked Yua how the girl could resist and Yua admit the warrior was strong, though Yua was still stronger. The Guardians took Orube to see the Oracle and with Yua controlling her, she attacked the observer. W.I.T.C.H. quickly realized that she was being controlled and they struck out with their powers, imagining it was Yua they were attacking. This tactic worked, sending the magic through the connection to attack Yua and sever her hold on Orube.[3]

Ari received a request from the outer village of his kingdom to visit them; he had been putting this trip off for weeks as he didn't want to leave Maqi. However, it had finally come time to go and while he tried to spend a little more time with Maqi, a servant came to tell him the carriage was ready. The doting father promised Maqi he would return soon with present, hoping they would make him happy. As he went to the carriage, Ari asked the servant if he truly had to go so far, to which he was reminded that Arkhanta's people needed him, which reminded him of how Maqi didn’t seem to need him. He boarded his carriage and drove off. However, during the ride, he was suddenly contacted by Yua, telling him that the Guardians had broken into the stronghold and attacked Maqi (Which was not true). Horrified, Ari commanded her to bring him back immediately and was teleported into Yua's dungeon in time to see Irma holding an unconscious Maqi (who she had just saved from Yua). Believing the Guardians were trying to hurt his son, Ari declared the Oracle had no honor. Orube tried to tell him that Yua was the one to harm Maqi but the banshee insisted on her innocence and Ari was already decided that the Guardians were his true enemy. Clutching his injured son, Ari cried for Yua to destroy the Guardians, though they escaped back to Kandrakar.[4]

Though Ari burned with a renewed hatred for the Guardians of Kandrakar and the Oracle, he put aside his animosity to celebrate Maqi's birthday. He summoned the finest performers in Arkhanta to put on a play, “Behind the Mask” just for Maqi within the boy’s own bedroom. Ari sat with the boy to watch the play, struggling with his mixed emotions of joy for the birth of his son and grief for the death of his wife that intertwined on this anniversary. He again considered the Oracle the source of all his grief, letting it fuel his growing hatred and desire to destroy the observer and his Guardians.[5]

Ari stormed into Yua's dungeon, now demanding that she send him to Kandrakar so he can enter through the front gate. Yua pointed out that "Kandrakar” was coming to him as the Guardians had returned. One of the outside guards came to say the same and Ari was determined to personally make them suffer for what he mistook as an attack on his child. He asked Yua to give him something to protect himself and she warned that such armor would be hard to control, but he angrily commanded her to obey. Yua constructed for him magical armor and a sword that would give him strength and protect from magic.[6]

Ari donned the armor and went to meet W.I.T.C.H. in his house, declaring their defeat would be the next thing to burden the Oracle's conscience. He struck the floor with the magic sword and caused a ripple that separated the group, trapping half of them behind a wall while he faced the remaining three. Orube tried to attack him, but he deflected both her magical and physical attacks, gloating over the Guardians with his obvious advantage. Taranee and Hay Lin also tried to fight back but they, too, could not break through Ari's armor. He proclaimed the armor was made by his hatred for the oracle and his sword made to punish the Guardians for trying to hurt Maqi. As he continued to threaten the three, Taranee created a plan to stop him. Hay Lin used her powers to throw sand into Ari's eyes, blinding him temporarily. This let the group knock him off his feet and the heavy weight of the armor dropped him so hard against the ground that he passed out.[6]

When Ari woke up, he was alone, pinned to the ground in his heavy armor. He was found by Yua, freed by the Guardians and in possession of Maqi. Terrified, Ari commanded her not to touch his son, but Yua gloated about no longer being his servant. She told him of her original plan to kill Ari in revenge for the years he stole from her, but that didn't feel like enough. Ari begged her not to harm Maqi and the banshee revealed she would instead take the boy as her own child, declaring that after watching him grow for so long, he was partly hers, too. Ari screamed after her, sobbing within his unmovable armor, declaring that Maqi was all he had. But Yua proclaimed he no longer had anything at all, taking Maqi and all the magic she'd used with her. As she flew away with the child, the Scarlet Stronghold Citadel vanished as well as Ari's armor, leaving him still sobbing at his loss.[6]

A crowd of villagers came to him, having seen Yua leaving or were just confused by the missing building. They asked Ari what happened but he could only sob about his stolen son. The villagers panicked at the thought of Yua attacking them, but W.I.T.C.H. pushed their way through to face Ari. He blamed them for releasing Yua, calling them fools to not think the banshee would take her revenge by running off with his child. Guilty for their part in Maqi's kidnapping, W.I.T.C.H. offered to help recover him and though Ari hesitated to trust them, he had no alternative to rescue his child. The group set out on horses and Ari led them to the Banshee swamp where he had long ago captured Yua.[6]

After a long travel, they arrived to the swamp and ditched the horses to go further on foot. The banshees sensed their presence and appeared before them, warning them to turn back to their homes. Ari refused, having nothing to go home to without Maqi. He quickly spied his child's discarded tunic, and grew enraged, though Will held him back as the banshees began their attack. They use their magic to keep them back and eventually caught them all in a vine net. Yua stepped out to defend her family, clutching Maqi in her arms and Ari lunged to reclaim his child. Yua tried to fly away, saying Ari was the true villain who imprisoned her as his slave, while Ari clung to her clothing and demanded the return of his innocent son. With this midair struggle, Yua lost her grip on Maqi and he plummeted to the ground, landing hard. This stopped the fight cold and all rushed to check on the boy. Ari tried to cradle him in his arms but Yua meekly declared they should not move the child, only to be harshly rebuked by the heartbroken father. As a weeping Ari asked if she was pleased with what she had done, a saddened Yua admitted that she only wanted revenge for the suffering Ari had put her through; she never wanted to bring harm to little Maqi.[6]

Orube checked on the child and declared him very weak, but while the others suggested taking him to Kandrakar for treatment, she agreed with Yua that it was too dangerous to move him. Ari pleaded with them to do something for his son and Will suggested using the Gift of Xin Jing. The others agreed and each Guardian transferred this healing power into the unconscious child. Maqi soon opened his eyes and to everyone's surprise not only did he survive, but he was finally able to speak, calling Ari "Daddy" and hugging him. Ari cried with joy for his son's renewed life and, repented, admit his wrongs while offering to repay the Guardians. Orube reiterated to Ari that they came in representation of the Oracle and that he was never the source of Ari's anguish. Ari understood, though asked the warrior if she had ever felt such a strong desperation as he had. She admitted she may have, but one should never answer evils with more evils, a lesson Ari swore he would teach his son and thanked the Guardians for all they'd done. Yua, giving up on revenge with Maqi now safe, slunk away with her sisters into the swamp. Ari and Maqi returned to their people and balance was restored to Arkhanta.

Despite the dangers he had nearly unleashed on them, the people of Arkhanta still considered Ari their ruler. The Scarlet Stronghold was rebuilt where Ari and Maqi continued to live, both a lot happier without hatred or desperation in their home.

Arc 6: Ragorlang

Ari later reappeared when the Guardians visited Arkhanta as ambassadors of Kandrakar. He and Maqi greeted them in the reconstructed Scarlet Stronghold. The two invited the girls to participate in the popular games of the world. While W.I.T.C.H. performed rather poorly and hilariously, Ari and Maqi still congratulated them.[7]

References

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