This story originally appeared as a back up feature in Sherlock Holmes; Dark Detective issue 7-9.
I've spoken before about The Soldier Legacy on this blog and how much I love that series. This back up really opens up the universe of that series.
This story is set in 1887 before the events of the first Nikola book A Bid for Fortune. in this story Nikola is hunting for a green opal set in a ring. It turns out that the man in possession of the ring, Jack Smeight, is responsible for the death of a friend of the current Soldier Legacy and we see Nikola and The Soldier Legacy battle over the ring's bearer.
It turns out that the ring has mystical properties - it is the Lifestone of Cantong and when Smeight kills a man it makes him stronger and he is able to overpower Nikola and Soldier Legacy.
In the end, Smeight is defeated and Nikola hands the ring over to Soldier Legacy for sale to benefit the family of Smeight's original victim. Nikola rejects the ring while it may prolong the life it steals the intellect.
Sequeria and Mason give us a Nikola who is an honourable man with hypnotic abilities, in a story that foreshadows many of the events in the Nikola books. I read this before reading the Nikola books and I enjoyed it but rereading it after the Nikola books the story is that much richer as I picked up on the small hints that the pair dropped.
Mason's artwork is top notch and the 1887 Soldier Legacy is clearly similar to the designs seen in the WW2 and modern day Soldier Legacies seen in Mason's book yet is unique enough that this is a different man (unlike the various incarnations of Shi from that comic series) I really like his Doctor Nikola drawings)