OLD SARAH MUMFORD

Real Name: Sarah Mumford

Identity/Class: Human witch

Occupation: Hermit

Affiliations: Black Knight, Captain Britain, Greymalkin, Vortigen (a.k.a. the Walker) 

Enemies: Mordred (see comments), his trolls

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: a small stone cottage near the coast, Cornwall

First Appearance: Hulk Comic#1 (March, 1979)

Powers/Abilities:  Sarah is versed in at least minor magic, being able to cast spells of concealment. She is skilled in the use of herbs for healing purposes.

History: (HC#1/2) - Old Sarah Mumford, known for her eccentric ways throughout the parish, was out in the snow collecting firewood, accompanied by her cat Greymalkin. In spite of it being June, the ground was blanketed in white, and as she noted the winged horse of the Black Knight flying overhead, Sarah commented that the "Dark Rider" was an ill omen. She spotted a figure standing on the shoreline looking out to sea, and mused to her feline companion that it all started when this stranger came among them. She pondered why he wandered the seashore, and what thoughts were behind his sad and empty eyes. But she fell silent as she witnessed a downed helicopter, which suffered a near collision with the Black Knight's winged horse.

(HC#6/2) - Dusk had fallen, and Sarah was back in her cottage sitting at a spinning wheel, when a knock at the door disturbed her work. She opened it to find the stranger outside, and he politely asked her if she would tend to an injured horse for him, a very special animal. She scoffed at this last, saying she has seen it all, until she discovered that the horse in question was the bat-winged steed belonging to the dark rider of her omens--the Black Knight's Valinor. Hiding her fear that this was an "omen of omens" and the beginning of something bigger, she ushered the horse into her barn, and the two men into her home, to wait by the fire while she went to hunt for herbs in the woods. Fearing the forces that seemed to be gathering that night, she was startled by a nearby noise, and terrified to spot a shadowed figure walking towards her, carrying a forked staff. She raced back to her cottage, where she hurriedly informed her two visitors that "He walks the byeways again". She told the Knight, who sought to face this unknown threat, that "His power is too great" and that they must conceal themselves. Then she revealed her knowledge of magic, casting a spell to hide the entrances to her home, to keep the mysterious Walker out. But confronted with a cottage with no windows or doors, the Walker realised that spellcraft was at work, and smashed his way inside anyway.

(HC#7/2) - The Walker proved to be a friend, sent by Merlyn to aid the Knight and the stranger (now identified as Captain Britain). After the newcomer restored Britain's shattered memories, he left the building to prepare their way to Otherworld, where Merlyn awaited. Confused, the Knight asked Sarah who the man was, and she explained about the twelve pathfinders who revealed the ways for others, and how six of them turned to evil, becoming followers of the Nethergods. Not knowing whether the Walker had been one of the six fallen ones, Sarah had at first feared the man she spied in the woods, but now she knew he was one of the Proud Walkers, the six who remained on the side of good

(HC#8/2) - The Walker returned with Mordred and his trolls in close pursuit, and informed the two heroes that they must leave immediately if they were to evade this threat. The Black Knight, his horse still too weak to fly, told Britain and the Walker that he would stay and buy them time. Britain insisted he would not abandon his ally, but Old Sarah called him a fool, and told him that if the Walker said he was needed elsewhere, then he was, indeed, needed elsewhere. She would stay and defend her home as best she could.

With the Walker and Captain Britain gone, the Knight rode into battle against the trolls. But Mordred had snuck around the back of the cottage, and he and his trolls poured inside through the windows and doors. Sarah, surrounded and brandishing a small axe, told them to stay back, or she would split them like dead wood. Mordred told her to stand aside: "I have no time to dally with potion peddlers!" Sarah hurled her axe at him, narrowly missing her target. Outraged, the evil magician ordered his trolls to seize her and take her outside, where he tried to use her as a hostage to force the Black Knight to surrender. Sarah made a run for it, but Mordred spotted her, and with a terrifying spell, turned the old lady into a gnarled and lifeless tree.

(HC#9/2) The Black Knight, having proved victorious in his fight against the trolls, rode back to Sarah's cottage, to find it in ruins. Greymalkin sat nearby on a tree that was not present earlier. On one branch of this dead tree a fruit grew, and Valinor instinctively knew to reach forward and eat it. A surge of energy flowed through the steed, healing its wounds and restoring its energy. Well enough to fly once more, the horse lifted its rider aloft, and they set off, the Knight vowing "Mordred - I come! For Sarah, for Merlyn, for justice!"  

Comments: Created by Parkhouse and Stokes.

Although the text of these stories refers to Modred, that character is meant to represent the illegitimate son of Arthur, who is better known as Mordred (or Mordred the evil, first adapted in Black Knight Comics#1 and Marvel Super-Heroes II#17), to distinguish him from Modred the Mystic (first adapted in Marvel Chillers#1). I have thus edited the profile to refer to him as Mordred--Snood.

Per The Unpublished Moore site:
"Moore had planned to do a three-part horror story early during his tenure on the Captain Britain, featuring Old Sarah Mumford, but Alan Davis steered him towards sci-fi instead."

by Loki  CLARIFICATIONS: No known connections to and not to be confused with:

Greymalkin, her cat, has no known connections to and should be confused with


Greymalkin was Sarah's feline companion. While looking like a perfectly ordinary cat, he was brave enough to take on a full grown wolf, and tough enough to win that fight. He was last seen perching on a branch of the dead tree that had once been his mistress.(HC#1/2, 6/2, 7/2) 


Appearances:
Hulk Comic#1 (March, 1979) - Steve Parkhouse (writer/pencils), John Stokes (inks), Dez Skinn & Richard Burton (editor)
Hulk Comic#6/2 (April, 1979)
Hulk Comic#7/2 (April, 1979)
Hulk Comic#8/2 (April, 1979)
Hulk Comic#9/2 (May, 1979)


Last updated: 05/08/03

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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