In the past The Punisher didn’t care about music except for the sounds of guns and bombs going off on a criminal ring. That’s music to his ears. It’s still music to his ears after all these years of brutally fighting crime and fighting in the Vietnam War before that. But now, believe it or not, a harp has become a welcoming addition to his war repertoire. Frank admits he has no experience in music and doesn’t care about it. In fact, he didn’t think he can be good enough to learn any music skill other than beating on some war drum in the jungles of Vietnam to call his army troops into battle years ago. But that all changed when he happened upon WarHarp while he was invading a campsite run by a Native American death cult suspected in the disappearance of a group of teenaged boys that came from a small village nestled along the edge of a desert wilderness in Southern California.
One day, a group of boys went out on a hunt for prehistoric fossils when they found themselves gone without a trace. There was also with them a scientist by the name of Dr. Jeffrey MacDrillin, who is known for his work with a highly rare form of adamantium and his son named Joseph; both disappeared as well. Rescue groups scoured the area in a desperate search for the missing men only to come back empty handed. It is suspected that a mysterious death cult, known as The Servants of Tahquitz (an evil spirit of the Cahuilla Native American Mythology), is responsible for their disappearance. They are an incredibly dangerous group known for kidnapping, killing, and leaving their victims’ remains to bake in the sun as a sacrifice to this evil god of death and destruction. A few who escape with their lives tell tales of great horror occurring at that place. And yet, none of them was able to remember the exact location of the campground. Everything they remembered was all a blur due to some nasty drugs they were forced to take while being prisoners of the cult. Finding out about the men’s disappearance while enjoying some downtime at a coffee shop sipping coffee while watching the local news on TV, Frank Castle, dressed in casual wear, decided to give himself a shot at finding and rescuing those men — if they’re still alive — and punish the cult group for their evil!
The Punisher went back to his Battle Van to put on his black shirt, with his trademark skull emblem on it, and arm himself with state-of-the-art weapons, ammo, knives, grenades, and load lots of bottle water into his backpack. It was hot and windy that day, so Frank puts on a special desert camouflage “yankie” [blanket] which not only disguises himself as a desert rock, it also protects him from the burning desert sun and the blowing sand in the desert. When he was ready, he sets off to find the missing men.
Frank traveled through the desert for many days. He downed several bottles of water and slept under the “yankie” when days turned into night. The search appears fruitless until he happened upon an area littered with skeletal remains. He sees a rock stained with blood that must be the sacrificial rock, indicating that this area must be where the victims of the cult are sacrificed! His eyes grew wide in shock as he sees a few pieces of an ammonite fossil littering the ground among the bones that was stripped of all flesh by a pack of coyotes that were just here days ago — a horrific sign that tells Frank that it’s too late for him to save the boys. They’re all dead. The Punisher grits his teeth in anger! He becomes as hot as the desert sun. His hatred for the cult grew; they must be punished!!
He scours the area for clues, but instead found trails of faint footprints all leading to this area from the east. He starts tracing them in hopes these tracks come from where the death cult set up their campsite at. A half hour later, he sees exactly what he hoped for. A desert campsite serving as the cult’s secret lair. Cautiously and quietly, armed to the teeth, he approach the area and enter the main gate.
It resembles a Native American village with dome-shaped wigwams dotting the area. Many of them are arranged in a row which give Frank the impression that the wigwams serve as a prison for the unfortunate hostages while the other wigwams dotting the area serve as living quarters for the cult members. The main building in the center appears to be a 50ft LongHouse where all the cult members assemble. Poles lining the fence surrounding the area are decorated with skulls. Graffiti too explicit to read glorifies the Native American death god. Bloodstains littering the ground and walls, a large pole and a whip used to torture prisoners, everything that gives The Raging Punisher the inspiration he needs to punish the cult again and again and again and again!
The camp looks deserted, but Frank’s no fool. He’s been through situations where he thought a warehouse that serves as a criminal hideout is empty and deserted causing him to lower his guard down only to be ambushed by thugs who were in hiding seconds later. Thus, he has to keep his guard up in everything no matter where he goes. He explores every building he came across, every nook and cranny. But so far, so good. Nobody is around. Perhaps the cult is out searching for more victims for their weekly sacrificial ceremonies and have left the place deserted, assuming no one will ever intrude on their secret turf. But they are mistaken. Frank Castle have discovered their campsite… and plans to destroy it!
Frank approach the longhouse. He finds the door locked. Not wanting to blow his cover just yet, Frank uses a special skeleton key to unlock the door and slowly open it to reveal a large church-like meeting room with a hideous statue of a demon, likely of Tahquitz, located on the other side of the room with a horrific Gothic style crucifix hanging on the wall right above it. He crept inside, still keeping his guard up.
Cautiously he looks around to see wooden benches, one row on each side of the isle, that face the main stage where a podium and an altar is set up. And on the alter, The Punisher sees a row of human skulls, a goblet filled with what appears to be blood, and a Bible-like book entitled The Book of Hell. Frank tries to read the book, but every page in the book contains horrific text and a list of names of people deemed sinful and worthy of being food for Tahquitz to which Frank reads as people the cult plan to kill. He got wide-eyed when he sees that his name “Frank Castle” is on their hitlist right after the names of all the boys and the scientist have been crossed out! “Not if I kill them first!” he growled as he took the book, rip it up, and throw all of the pieces into one of the two large flaming urns nearby and set it on fire. He knocked away the altar’s contents, grabs toss the altar and toss it at the statue destroying part of it to reveal, to Frank’s surprise, a secret doorway that was hidden behind the statue.
Always on the alert, Frank slowly made his way to the door and notice that the door has no knob in which to open the door. So, with all his might, he kick the door open and barge in to find himself in a very dark room. Wanting to see what room he’s in, he took out an large LED flashlight and turn it on.
The room became very bright, revealing to Frank that this is some sort of a hoarding room filled with items looted from the victims of the death cult. He comb the room to see wallets with credit cards inside, smartphones, iPads, firearms, bags of cash, jewelry, and more ammonite fossils exactly like the shattered fossil he found when he was at the sacrificial ground. He then notices a bow holder hanging from a wall by a strap. “I could use that,” says Frank “besides I need to brush up on my archery skills.” He took it down and open it. There inside the case, he saw it–
— a strange decorative elaborate bow with a row of strings stretched across a curved stave whimsically designed to depict a handgun with its nozzle being plugged up by what appears to be a combat dagger similar to one of the knives Frank uses in combat.
Frank: “Holy *&^(! *pause* Never seen anything like this!”
He look at the bow carefully. “Well? Which string will I use to shoot the arrows?” he wonders in awe as Frank tries to figure out how this strange stringed bow can shoot an arrow. Noticing a quiver full of arrows lying next to where the bow holder was hung, he decided to take a moment to practice his archery skills. Frank took the bow and quiver and made his way outside where he found some bales of straw stacked along the side of one of the wigwams neighboring the LongHouse.
Frank: “Not the kind of targets I use, but they’ll have to do.”
Frank takes one of the arrows and mount it on the first string which is the longest of the group. He pulls them away from the bow and aim for the top bale. A second later, he lets go. A strange ping-like sound is made from the bow. Frank becomes puzzled as the sound coming from the vibrating first string lingers a bit before fading into silence as the string cease to vibrate. He heard bows make twanging noises before when an arrow is shot from them, but not like this! He tries again and again only to get the exact same results as his first attempt. Thinking that the other strings do the exact same thing, Frank starts experimenting with the other 6 strings and finds that they, too, produce a lingering sound. Suddenly, he realizes that what he’s handling is no ordinary bow! Taking another arrow from the quiver, he mounts the arrow this time on all 7 strings, took aim, and shoot.
A clear brilliant sound rang from the bow. It was sweet and very pleasing to hear, which gives Frank the clear impression that this bow can shoot arrows just like any other bow, yet it can also play music– like a harp. Frank stare at the bow for a moment and begin to pluck the strings, creating a beautiful sound that made The Punisher smile a bit.
Frank: [softly] “Cute.”
But then something happened that really got the vigilante’s hard heart to soften — Frank doesn’t know why, but he swears he can hear the voice of his late wife Maria throbbing through the strings as he continues to strum and pluck the harp gently. There are tuning pegs that look like the jagged part of the combat knife design located at the top of the bow harp. They hold the strings and change the pitch of the sound to a different key depending upon song. Frank reaches over to a peg at the back end and turn the peg holding the back string. It change the sound to what Frank claims to be a sound that uncannily match the voice of his youngest son Frank Jr. He reaches for the 4th peg, turning it to change the sound of the 4th string to produce a sound that Frank swore matches the voice of Lisa, Frank’s oldest daughter. He strums the bow harp repeatedly and listens as the sound of the strings uncannily similar to the voices of his departed family sing to him a song of love through the strings which move the vigilante to tears. And that’s what made Frank Castle, The Punisher, fall in love with this strange musical weapon.
Frank: [in a soft loving tone] “My 3 Loves…….. they’re speaking to me through this….. this bow harp thing………… *sniff* ……….. exactly as I heard it………. back when we were all alive………… happy………….*sniff*…………. without a care in the world……………. *strums slowly* Now………. now they live on…………. through the sound of this…………….. this bow harp………… singing out of love–”
A Voice: “Good! You can join them in Heaven if you’re good enough to be in it!”
Startled, Frank stops and turns abruptly to see armed hooded men cloaked in white robes each holding an AK-47 rifle in hand.
Cult Leader: “Stay right where you are, Castle! You’re not going anywhere except into the arms of Tahquitz, the god of death!”
Frank: “You must be Amos, leader of this death cult group, The Servants of Tahquitz, responsible for the disappearance and deaths of a group of boys days ago.”
Amos: “That’s right, Castle! We killed those brats and sacrificed their blood. And then, knowing that you were coming for us, we made the campsite to appear deserted to fool you into believing that we abandon the whole area while we, in fact, were preparing for our next sacrifice — at a much different spot than the area where the blood of those fossil hunting brats were sacrificed!”
Cult Member: “Our Lord of Death will be pleased with us. He directed us to set this trap for you, Castle! And you fell into it, hook, line, and sinker!”
Frank: “So I noticed!”
Amos: “I see you have in your hands MacDrillin’s creation, The WarHarp. It was created not too long ago by MacDrillin who used an extremely rare form of completely indestructible adamantium to create this musical monstrosity. In fact, he created it out of his admiration of you, Castle!”
Frank: [sarcastic] “Oh geez! Am I flattered. Where’s Dr. MacDrillin?”
Amos: “He ended up becoming one with Tahquitz right after we tried torturing him into telling the secret of how he created the musical weapon so we can learn how to create weapons and armor out of that kind of adamantium ourselves. But because he refused to disclose any information about it, we had no choice but to kill him and add WarHarp to our prized menagerie of wealth. We shall use it as part of our weekly sacrificial ceremonies where we will honor the god of darkness and make another kill! And you Frank Castle is going to be a welcoming addition into the realm of eternal darkness!”
Frank: [secretly taking out a flash bomb] “Where I’ll never be able to see any light again– including this one!”
Frank slams the flash bomb to the ground! FLASH!! A sudden bright, blinding light appear, blinded the cult group for a few seconds, giving Frank enough time to escape with WarHarp in hand.
Cult member: [regaining sight] “He’s gone!”
Another Cult Member: “Where he’d go?”
Amos: “Search the area! Find him! When you do, kill him! His blood must be sacrificed!”
The group frantically search the campground, unaware that a strange “rock” has just appeared right under their noses. That’s Frank under his desert yankie with a pair of assault rifles in hand and WarHarp slung behind him.
Amos: “Where is he?”
Cult member: “We can’t find him, my lord. He must have escaped from us. There’s no sign of him anywhere. Say, what’s that rock doing here?”
Another Cult Member: “Hmmph! Never saw a rock like that before. Shall we use this rock to offer up sacrifices to our god, my lord?”
Amos: “Yes. For this rock is exactly where Castle will be sacrificed upon once he’s caught!”
Suddenly the “yankie” flies off! The Punisher is revealed!
Frank: “The only ones who will be sacrificed to this Tahquitz F****r is you, you sons of–!”
His twin machine rifles sprays out a huge barrage of bullets at the group who return fire, but were no match for The Punisher who killed the entire cult in a matter of minutes, leaving no one alive — well almost no one. Frank sees one of them still squirming on the ground after being wounded by Frank’s gunshots. Frank came over and took off his mask.
Frank: “Well if it ain’t Joseph, the son of Dr. MacDrillin whom Amos claims to have created WarHarp for me.”
Joseph: “He did! My dad really did built that harp just for you.”
Frank: “For me? Really? I thought you guys were joking.”
Joseph: “No, we’re not. It’s the truth. My dad admired you so much that he decided to create a weapon to support you in your war against crime.”
Frank: “Oh really? Do tell me about it.”
Joseph: “My dad, Dr MacDrillin, was one of a few scientists in the world who can master the art of working with rare forms of adamantium which will make anything made from this special element completely invincible. Once made to perfection, the object made from this rare type of alloy can never be destroyed no matter what. The WarHarp was his latest and last project my dad worked on before he was killed. Inspired by the countless tales told of how you decimate and destroy organized crime, my dad began a project to create the perfect weapon suitable for the likes of you, Mr. Castle. He settled on creating an archer style bow so powerful that it can shoot an arrow through the thickest of steel. When the bow was finished, my dad tested it and discovered, much to his surprise, that every time he shoots an arrow with this special bow, the adamantium string produce a clear lingering bell like sound which gives him the impression that this bow can also be used as a musical harp as well as a weapon against crime. So he created several more strings from adamantium and put it on the bow. Like the first one, the strings made a lingering sound when the arrow is launched. My dad was amazed by it and so was I. He started plucking the strings, creating such beautiful music that I just have to possess WarHarp, which is the exact name my dad gave to the musical weapon, for myself so I can play tunes from it and become a rock musician. But when I asked ‘Can I have the bow harp?’ Dad blatantly said, ‘No!’ He made the harp strictly for The Punisher. I can’t have it. But I couldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. I was determined to get the harp for myself no matter what.
So, I did something I should never have done. I went and convinced Amos, leader of this death group, to help me get rid of my father so I can claim the bow harp for myself. Amos agreed to help me do this… for a price. I betrayed my father who end up being tortured to death for refusing to disclose the secret about his alloy work. Then Amos turned around and double-crossed me by seizing the harp for himself and forced me to join the Servants of Tahquitz, which is the exact price Amos wanted in exchange for helping me get rid of my father. He threatened to torture and kill me if I dared to escape and tell the authorities about what have happened! Since then, I grew to hate the cult especially after seeing many things the cult have done that caused me to become really sick to my stomach. But I never dared to protest, rebel, and escape to tell the authorities about it or else Amos will indeed kill me. Now that Amos and his men are dead, I’m now free from his grip and have come to regret my actions. Here, Mr. Castle. Take the WarHarp and use it in your war against crime. I don’t want it anymore.”
Frank: “Are you sure?”
Joseph: “Yes! I’m sure. My dad really did built that harp just for you! My dad wasn’t sure if you like music or not, but he knows how great you are in combat and wanted for you to have the best weapon money can never buy. So take it! Take the harp. It’s all yours.”
Frank: [grinning] “Gee! Thanks, Joesph! Go tell your father that I graciously accept his gift with utmost gratitude.”
Joseph: “Bu-bu-but he’s dead!”
Frank: [points a handgun at Joseph] “I know.”
Frank: “I just want you to do that when you see him in the afterlife.”
Frank survey the area and found that all cult members, including Amos, the leader are dead. Then he went back inside the LongHouse to plunder the treasure room, taking items he deems valuable and filling up as much as his backpack can hold. Then he finds a large bomb which he took, set it in the center of the LongHouse, and set the timer for 30 seconds. The bomb started ticking down as Frank went back outside, picks up WarHarp, kiss and cradle it in his arms, and begin strumming and singing along with it as both he and WarHarp exit the main gate and walk several feet away from the area. Then, 30 seconds later– BOOM!!!! The bomb exploded, destroying the entire campsite. The whole area went down in flames as Frank Castle, humming, strumming, and cradling WarHarp in his arms and in his heart, walk into the desert sun. His job is done. The nightmare is over. The campground is destroyed. And the cult is punished! All in a day’s work… for The Punisher!