|Added On: ||February 28, 2010 9:04 pm|
|Community Series: ||MOTU Classic|
Wun-Dar:The Forgotten HeroV1:“Karak!” snarled the spike covered fiend from Loricatus. “We’ve got her!”Karak Nul, the leader of the band of mercenaries, descended the rotted staircase of the disheveled Inn. He was grim looking for an Eternian. His short hair was combed forward into his face and was as dark as his oily beard. He glared at the captive woman through merciless green eyes. The green skinned woman stared back with defiance, even as her arms throbbed from the vise-like grip of the Loricatian. “So young lady, you finally grace us with your presence.” Nul began as he approached. “I waited a long time for this moment.” As he spoke, Nul gently caressed the sides of the woman’s face. She turned sharply to avoid the contact and the mercenary withdrew his hand.“We found this on her.” The Loricatian said, producing a golden staff. “Ahh yes!” Nul hissed as he clutched the staff. “Could it be? The staff of the elders!” He then looked at the woman who refused to make eye contact and smiled. “It is isn’t it?” The bounty hunter laughed aloud and he strolled behind the bar with the staff in hand. The rest of the band filed into the Inn as their leader poured several flagons of mead. In a single gulp he emptied his large mug and then slammed it down on the bar. The room quickly grew loud with the chorus of laughter and beverage swilling. The woman, still being held in place by her captor, just looked away. Nul finished his second flagon and had poured a third. “A toast!” he bellowed as he leapt onto the bar. “To me!” he laughed. “Bounty Hunter extraordinaire and soon to be master of the universe!”His dozens of drunken followers applauded their leader. He took a bow and soaked up the adulation. He then glanced at his Loricatian friend, still holding the woman by the arms. He laughed again and leapt from table to table until he arrived at her side. He took her chin with his thumb and forefinger and turned her to face him. The smell of mead and sweat on him made her blanch and she turned away in disgust. Nul turned slowly to his men who were watching.“I guess I’m just not her type!” he laughed. The gang laughed heartily at his joke. Nul laughed with them for a moment but then quickly spun around and struck the woman with the back of his hand. She let out a cry of pain which silenced the crowd.“Well I don’t like you either!” he growled. “I just wanted this.” He said, brandishing the staff. “And you’re going to show me how to use it to get inside Castle Grayskull.”The woman, her face bleeding from where Nul’s spiked bracer tore her skin, spat in his face. Nul wiped the spittle from his cheek and lips and then struck her again. All those at the Inn were enthralled with the confrontation to such a degree that no one noticed the owner of the Inn. The thin old man with a short white beard and very little hair atop his head was a favorite target of Karak Nul’s abuse, and was witnessing the event. The old man felt for the woman, as he knew well what kind of people these so-called patrons were. Alas he could not intervene. The old man reasoned that not only would it be a futile gesture but perilous as well. It was then that he decided to run. The innkeeper left out the back door, walked briskly to the stables, and mounted his horse. Within a few minutes the town of Vinot was disappearing below the horizon behind him. By nightfall he was at the foot of a mountain near the fertile southern plains. Alone and frightened he took refuge in a cave. That night, after hours of staring nervously out into the wilderness, the old man fell asleep. The next morning, just as he was waking, a menacing shape appeared before him. The Innkeeper sprang to his feet terrified but as his eyes focused in the early light he realized that it was not one of Karak Nul’s mercenaries. He regarded the figure that stared back at him. If not for the fur kilt and boots, the man would be completely nude. He held a long spear in one hand and had a bow with a quiver of arrows slung on his back. With his other hand, he held the carcass if a recently vanquished animal. The innkeeper had very few dealings with these people who usually kept to themselves but he believed they were called Tundarians. This was a particularly healthy looking Tundarian hunter. The old man just smiled and waved sheepishly. The hunter just smiled back and lightly shook his head. “This is Tundarian land that you camp on, elder.” The hunter began. “Are you lost?”“No.” the old man stuttered. “Well, maybe.”“Don’t be frightened.” The hunter said smiling. “I’ve already killed dinner.”The innkeeper smiled tensely and then looked around for his horse. “Well, I guess I’ll be going.”“Wait. If you’re lost, I can help point you back home.”“That would be most gracious of you my good fellow, but I’m in no hurry to return there.”“Are you in some sort of trouble?”“Not yet. Not unless they find me.”“I see. Well, good luck to you, elder.”The hunter turned to leave and the innkeeper felt his heart sink.“Good sir!” he called. “Yes, old timer?” the hunter turned to answer.“Could you perhaps grant an old beggar asylum for the evening; Just until I get things worked out.” The hunter looked skeptically at the old man but, convinced that he could do no harm to the people of Tundaria, he tilted his head in a gesture to follow. The old man struggled to his horse and followed the hunter deeper into the cave. The Forgotten HeroV2:The cave system underneath the fertile southern plains stretched on for miles. Even on horseback, the Innkeeper was getting tired and he wondered how his new friend was able to continue without a rest. The caves themselves grew dark and cold as they journeyed but the hunter never made a torch or stopped to find his bearing. At one point, the Innkeeper lost sign of him completely and was about to speak when he felt someone tug at the reigns of his horse. “These Tundarians can see in the dark!” he thought. After what seemed like an eternity, the Innkeeper began to see light. More and more the light spread throughout the tunnels until they rounded one last bend and the cave opened up into a massive subterranean chamber. The cavern stretched on for as far as the eye could see. A hundred feet above, the ceiling had several large holes that allowed sunlight to shine in. The walls were adorned with a multitude of torches that lit the cavern as well as the many murals as bright as day. The sight was so much to behold that Innkeeper didn’t notice the entire city before him until they were almost upon the first structure. “By the ancients!” he gasped. The hunter smiled and handed the dead animal to another scantily clad citizen. “I take it this is your first visit to Tundaria.” “Y-yes it is and if I may say, my eyes have been deprived of a grand view indeed.”The buildings were all made from the clay of the very ground with thin roofs of sticks that some had rolled back to allow the daylight in. There were several unmistakable landmarks such as a tavern, a town hall, and even an amphitheatre. The Innkeeper was marveling at the sight of it all when he felt a tap on his leg. The hunter was looking at him and holding the reigns to his horse. “Are you coming down from there or do you sleep together?” the hunter asked.“Oh, y-yes, of course.” The old man stammered as he dismounted and followed the hunter into the dwelling. Inside, the hunter was greeted by a young woman, who embraced him tightly.“Wun-Dar, you’re back!” she said. She then looked over at the Innkeeper and smiled. “And you have a guest.” The old man bowed and smiled. It was then that he realized the young woman was wearing nothing but a loin cloth. He was about to scrutinize her further but she was already embracing him. “My name is Dore, Wun-dar’s sister.”“Pleased to meet you, I am Oroiti. Wun-dar is it?”Dore looked back at her brother who was putting his bow and spear away.“You haven’t introduced yourself yet?”“I saw no need.” He shrugged.Dore walked over and took Wun-dar by the arm. “This is my brother Wun-dar.” She said pointing to him. Wun-dar just raised his hand and shook his head which was fortunate for the Innkeeper since he was still scrutinizing Dore. Just then, another man came into the dwelling, startling the old man. “Wun-dar!” the muscular man shouted. “Hun-tor!” Wun-dar returned loudly.The two embraced and laughed.“You have brought your share of the feast, and soon we will celebrate.” “I cannot wait!” Wun-dar smiled. “Oh wait!” he said sarcastically, looking at his sister who glared at him, arms crossed. “This is Oroiti.” He took the old man by the arms and placed him in front of the other man. Hun-tor gave an odd look and patted the old man’s shoulder. “Well…..what have you brought to the feast Oroiti?”“Uh…uh well..I..” the old man looked around for help.“He is Wun-dar’s guest.” Dore announced. “That’s great.” Hun-tor said with an odd smile. “I found him sleeping in the fifth cave.” Wun-Dar spoke. “He said that he was lost and didn’t want to be found by those from his village. He asked for shelter for the night, and that is why he is here.” “Well, then he will be my guest.” Dore said confidently as she came over to hold on to the old man’s arm. Oroiti looked at her; she was now in a long one piece gown made from animal hide. Oroiti sighed. “Excellent!” Wun-Dar said as he and the other man led the others out.That night, everyone in the city gathered around several large fires and feasted. Everywhere Oroiti looked, there was meat passing in front of him. There was flekkete deer, lang barket, and vann feil, as Dore described; all of which was roasted over the fires and carved with the knives of those who intended to eat it. Since Oroiti didn’t have a knife, Dore cut his portions for him. After a while Oroiti began to feel as if she was treating him like a child or invalid, but her warm smile and visions of her in the loin cloth allowed him to endure. “So why would you fear the people in your village, Oroiti?” she asked as she tore into a piece of meat. “Well.” He began, as he anxiously sniffed the meat he was about to eat. “It’s not the people of Vinot that I fear, it’s our unwanted guests.”“Vinot, I’ve heard of this place. We trade there sometimes.” “Yes, I’ve seen a few Tundarians, but none as beautiful as you.” He smiled.“Yes, well tell me about these unwanted guests, who are they.” Oroiti’s smiled faded as his flattering remark fell on a deaf ear.“Well, unwanted is an understatement.” He began anew as he nibbled on the vann feil. “They are a group of mercenaries and bounty hunters. They took refuge at my Inn as they hunted for a young woman.”“They were hunting for a woman?”“Yes.”“To mate?”“No.” Oroiti smiled solemnly. “Their leader is a deceitful and cruel man named Karak Nul. He wanted her because he thinks she can get him into Castle Grayskull.”“How could she do that?”“I’m not sure, but she is not an Eternian like you or I.”“How so?” Dore asked, taken aback. “She is strange but beautiful.” He said as he thought of her. “With very pale green skin that seemed to glow in the sunlight.”“She sounds lovely, why say she is not an Eternian, because she has green skin?”“Well, she’s like no Eternian I’ve ever seen.”“Have you seen them all?”“Obviously not.” He smiled in understanding.“Well did they find her?”“Yes.” Oroiti said sadly. “I saw them beating her in my very own Inn.”“Beating her?” Dore exclaimed. The change in her tone alerted Wun-dar who had been chatting with his friend. He was now listening to his sister.“Yes.” Oroiti answered. “She would not give him what he wanted so Nul attacked her while his men cheered him.”“And you saw this?”“With my own eyes.”“You could not stop them?”“No.” Oroiti sighed. “What can an old fool like me do against three dozen brutes like that?”“What happened to her?”“I don’t know. I ran away. I wanted to help her. I knew she wanted help. It’s as though I could read her thoughts or perhaps she could read mine. I wanted to help, Dore.” Oroiti said, shaking his head. “But I was so afraid. When Nul first arrived, he and his gang drank everything in sight and beat me senseless. Once I tried to attack Nul as he slept, but he’s got a Loricatian watching his back.” “A Loricatian?”“A beastly creature covered with thick spikes over his body.”“The Spikors.” She said. “Yes, we’ve had dealings with them in the past.”“Well that’s why I ran. I didn’t know what else to do.”“Maybe Wun-dar could help.”“Help with what?” Wun-dar asked.“You could help Oroiti free that woman.”“She’s probably dead by now.”“No, Nul wouldn’t kill her.” Oroiti said. “He needs her to get into Grayskull.”“Why would he want to get into the ruins?”“I don’t know.”“It doesn’t matter!” Dore announced. “She’s an innocent person being terrorized by those ruffians!”Wun-dar looked at his sister. She glared back. “All right.” He said finally. “We’ll go deal with these bounty hunters.”Oroiti was ecstatic. He smiled and held Dore’s hand.“Thank you!” he cried. “Thank you so much for helping.”“Don’t worry.” Dore said. “Wun-dar is the greatest hunter in all of Tundaria.”“In all of Eternia!” Hun-Tor exclaimed as Wun-dar laughed.“He’ll defeat those thugs.” She continued.“Yes.” Wun-dar said. “After I eat.” The Forgotten HeroV3:Karak Nul fell asleep where he fell over drunk the night before. His men, all intoxicated, passed out in various and random places at the Inn. His Loricatian body guard, the only one unaffected by drink and seeing that the night was winding down, chained the green woman to one of the support columns and adjourned to a room upstairs. This left the woman alone in the conscious world. She looked around at her captors. Some of them snored loudly as they slept on tables, chairs or even the floor. Others were so far removed that they looked as though life had left them completely. She regarded Nul closely. He was lying on a wooden chair with his feet upon a nearby table. His right arm dangled to the floor while his left cradled her golden staff. She closed her eyes. The faces of the mercenaries filed through her mind’s eye until at last settling on one of the less astute members. She focused on that one. Soon the corresponding brute stood up without even stirring. The woman opened her eyes and looked at him from across the room. The man, a half-goblin mutant, stared blankly into the air. She focused again. The man began walking over to her. He then stopped at Karak Nul and reached for the staff. Nul’s arm was wrapped around it tightly. The man tugged at it several times until finally wresting it from his leader. Unfortunately the last tug sent Nul face first onto the floor. The woman reached out with her hand and the dazed mutant walked toward her. The staff was within a few inches when Nul grabbed her arm. “Not so fast, witch!”Nul turned to his henchman who was staring blankly forward with the staff in his outstretched hands. He waved his hand just in front of the man’s eyes to no avail. He then reared back and backhanded the man in the face. The shot sent the mutant tumbling to the floor. Nul then looked at the woman who was now staring at the floor.“Save your magic for Grayskull, my dear.” He said. “Because if you don’t you’ll be chained to this spot just before I set the Inn ablaze!”The woman just held her head down. A few seconds later she looked up. Nul was gone and the mutant was on the floor, shaking his head clear.Back in Tundaria, Oroiti had awoken to the sounds of music. Dore was singing as she prepared rations and packed them in a bag for Wun-Dar’s journey. The old man looked up at her and after a few minutes realized that he was staring. “Something catch your eye, old timer?” Wun-dar said, breaking the spell.“Oh, uh, just enjoying the melody.” He stammered. “You are an odd sort, innkeeper.”“So I’ve heard.”“Remember our arrangement.” Wun-Dar said, slinging the bag of food over his shoulder. “After we help this woman and rid your Inn of these bandits, you’ll assist our traders any time they’re in town.”“Absolutely.” He responded cheerfully. “Free room and board and rations for their journey home.”Wun-dar nodded as he grabbed his spear and bow. He then grabbed a large knife from the table and sheathed it on his belt. Just then another man appeared inside.“Wun-dar, the men are set.” He reported.“Thank you Fal-cor. How many volunteered?”The man smiled.“Actually everyone I asked wanted to go. I think they’re bored.” He laughed. “But I selected three: Hun-tor, Ban-ar, and Dor-no.”“Excellent, with you and I that makes five, plus our guide here.” Wun-dar said gesturing to Oroiti. “Six!” Dore spoke aloud. “I’m coming with you.”Wun-dar glared at his sister. Fal-cor, having witnessed such exchanges before, excused himself and left the room. “No.” Wun-dar said flatly.“Yes.” Dore responded indignantly. “No!” “Yes!”Wun-dar shook his head and then looked at Oroiti who was trying to blend into the wall. “This is what you’re so enamored with?” he asked rhetorically, gesturing to his sister.Oroiti was red with embarrassment. “He’s my guest, after all.” Dore continued. “And you’ll need a woman’s sympathy when you find her.” Wun-dar glared at her and then broke into a smile. “I wish you’d show me some of that sympathy for a change!” Wun-dar turned and left. Dore smiled triumphantly at Oroiti and grabbed her bow.Outside the dwelling the group had assembled. Fal-cor, wore the bleached skull of a lang barket atop his head and carried a sword and bow. Ban-ar was a massive individual carrying a bundle of javelins. His black war paint was streaked across his broad chest. Dor-no carried two swords and was the only one of the group, besides Dore, wearing a top. Hun-Tor, smiled at the prospect of battle as he brandished his two long hunting knives. Each of the group carried a small bag of rations.“Remember.” Wun-dar began. “We make for the town of Vinot. Once at the outskirts, our guide will remain behind whilst we look for the woman. Do not harm her.”He then looked at Dor-no, whose long flowing locks had become the stuff of legend in Tundaria.“And do not try to mate with her!” The group laughed as they set out. The Forgotten HeroV4:It was shaping up to be a beautiful summer day in Vinot. The sun breathed its warm light gently down on the town with only a slight breeze that brought a perfect balance. Even Nul and his men were pausing to bask in the splendor of it all. The only one who couldn’t enjoy it was their young captive who was chained to the metal cage that she was kept in. The cage was set atop a cart and then hitched to the back of a horse drawn wagon. Nul, had his own steed out front. “Warrick!” he called to one of his men. “You and the rest may remain here until the effects of your excess wear off.” He laughed. “Spikor and I will take the woman to Grayskull alone.”“Don’t forget our payment, Karak.” The brutish Warrick grumbled. “The gold in Grayskull’s keep is to be divided equally!”“Have no fear, mighty Warrick.” Nul laughed. “What would the master of the universe want with gold?” With that, Nul and his body guard were off down the road. That night, Wun-dar and his band had made camp in a wooded area just beyond sight of the town, whilst Hun-Tor scouted ahead.“Rest here for the evening while Hun-Tor locates them.” Wun-dar said. “What if they’re not there?” Oroiti asked. “You said they were at the Inn.” Wun-dar said. “Why wouldn’t they be there?”“Well, Nul plans to use the woman to get into Grayskull. I would think he would waste no time in going once they’ve got her.” “Perhaps; but if they have made for the evergreen ruins, then they would most likely take the Evergreen Road which would add a day to their journey. We still have time to search the town and then continue the hunt if we don’t find them.”Meanwhile, at the edge of town, Hun-Tor closely observed the Inn. It was a lively place. On occasion, a man, presumably one of the mercenaries would stagger out to answer nature and then bumble back inside. All told, he counted over forty bounty hunters. Hun-Tor opted for a closer look. He moved in slowly and kept low to stay out of sight. The town seemed deserted with the exception of the inn. There were no lights on in the other buildings and several doors were left to sway in the breeze. Hun-tor was now moving along the wall of the inn when the door opened. He stayed low and tight against the wall and the mercenary walked by without a word. The Tundarian thought about dispatching the bandit but remembered that his mission was reconnaissance and moved on. After the bounty hunter went back inside, Hun-tor peered inside the inn. He looked all over but could not see the woman nor could he see the Spikor that the innkeeper had mentioned. After observing awhile, he moved away and then headed back to camp.Once back, he reported to Wun-Dar. “I moved to the inn with no problem.” He began. “There are at least forty of them, all inside. No sign of the woman or the Spikor. The rest of the town seemed deserted.”Wun-Dar turned to Oroiti.“Could they be in another room of the Inn?”“I’m not sure.” He answered, perplexed. “The Spikor is most likely with Karak Nul, and the woman with them.”“What about the rest of the town; did the people evacuate?”“I don’t know.”“He’s either somewhere in the Inn, or he’s taken the road to Grayskull.” Hun-Tor concluded.“The only way to find out is to go down there and ask one of them.”Oroiti was astonished. “Ask one of them? Are you mad?”“I’ll get you a volunteer.” Hun-Tor said brazenly. “No, it’s my turn.” Wun-Dar answered. He put down his bow and spear and, with only his knife, trekked off toward the inn. Once there, he could easily verify all that Hun-Tor had said. He moved quickly but silently into the town to get a look at the Inn’s front entrance. As he moved along the face of some dilapidated buildings he heard a low moan. He turned sharply with his knife already drawn. It was an old man, badly wounded, lying in the doorway. Wun-Dar gestured for the man to be quiet but he didn’t seem to hear or see it. “Old man, what happened?” he whispered, with one eye on the inn.The old man groaned and then let out a sharp cry.“Karak.” He strained. Wun-Dar could see that the old man had several stab wounds and well as a few crossbow bolts sticking out of him. “Rest.” Wun-Dar said to the man, knowing his time was short.The old man strained to speak but only let out sharp cries that seemed to echo in the night. Just then, one of the mercenaries came out of the inn. Wun-Dar covered the old man’s mouth to silence him, but he would not relent. With the bandit closing in Wun-Dar, took his knife and quickly silenced the old man for good. The mercenary didn’t hear the strike and continued past Wun-Dar’s position, obliviously. The Tundarian moved swiftly behind the man and caught up with him whilst he was relieving himself. With the butt of his knife, Wun-Dar knocked the man unconscious and the carried him on his shoulder back to camp. Moments later, the man was being revived with a splash of warm fluid to the face. He startled awake and was confronted by the Tundarian party. “Where is your leader, Karak Nul?” Wun-Dar asked. “Who are you?” the man snarled as he struggled against the bonds keeping him down. “Let me up!” he demanded. “When I get out of here…”“Quiet, goon.” Wun-Dar interrupted. “Tell me where he went with the green woman.” “Die!”Wun-Dar gestured to Ban-ar who walked over with one of his javelins. The bandit looked terrified as the hulking Tundarian placed the sharp point of the weapon against his chest, his left hand on the shaft, his right at the butt. “No wait!” the man shouted. “He’s not here!”“Where is he?”“He left, down the road.”“Was the woman with him?”“What woman?”Ban-ar gave the butt of the javelin a smack which drove the point into the man’s chest slightly. It wasn’t enough to do permanent damage but the message was received. “Yes yes, she was with him!” he shouted. Wun-Dar looked at Ban-ar who reluctantly removed the javelin. Hun-Tor then spoke up.“So I guess it’s off to Grayskull.”“Uh, that’s not where he went.” The mercenary lied. “He, uh, he went to Everguard.” The man continued to spout off until Dor-no kicked him in the head. “We camp here tonight, tomorrow we pursue.” The Forgotten HeroV5:Wun-Dar led his band through the untamed Evergreen Forest. In the “Spear” formation, Wun-Dar at the point, followed by Ban-ar, Dor-no, Oroiti, Dore, Fal-cor, and Hun-Tor. The paths through the forest were barely defined but the Tundarians knew them instinctively. Towards midday the paths widened and were littered with the tracks of various animals and people. As the group pressed on the trees bordering the roads grew dense to the point of being a veritable wall. The seven paid it no mind and continued northeast until they came to a fork. One way continued north and east, the other north and west. Wun-Dar didn’t hesitate and continued north and east but as he rounded the edge of the forest wall he was confronted by three humanoid creatures. Wun-Dar stopped; his party each with their hands on their weapons. The creatures were slightly taller than he was, with a fury body and the head of a wild dog. Each wore crude metal armor over their gray skin and carried a battle axe and small shield. The one in the center was the largest and had a reddish mane on his head. He just snarled at the Tundarians as his cohorts’ saliva dripped from their blood-stained fangs. Wun-dar had seen these creatures before and so had Dore. She tried to set Oroiti’s heart at ease with a whisper.“Gnolls.” She said. “Don’t worry; they seldom attack when they are outnumbered.”Just then, the lead gnoll howled like a wolf and the trees around the crossroads began rustling. Soon several more of the creatures leapt out onto the paths. Wun-Dar looked over his left shoulder and saw another three then looked over his right and saw three more. “Nine, to our seven.” He thought. “One of which is an old innkeeper and the other my gentle sister.”Before he could look forward the leader spoke.“Surrender the woman, so that she may serve the tribe, or watch her die as we feast on the rest of you.”Wun-Dar held out his spear, poised to attack. The rest of the group unsheathed their weapons.“We fight and die together, gnoll!”The gnoll reared his head back and howled at a deafening volume.“Then so it shall be!” The three groups charged simultaneously. Wun-Dar charged ahead to engage the first group. Ban-ar, and Dor-no, turned left and attacked the three on the northwest road. Fal-cor, and Hun-Tor, turned around and attacked the three on the southwest road. Dore drew her bow and began trying to support Wun-Dar, whilst Oroiti clung to her side with a dagger trembling in his hand. Wun-Dar attacked the gnoll on the left first. He thrust his spear which was ably deflected, then deflected the gnoll’s counter. They fought ten bouts before Wun-Dar gained the upper hand. As the creature lunged with his axe, Wun-Dar spun out of the way and, with a swing of his spear, whacked his attacker in the back of the head. “One down.” He thought. The next jumped onto his back but was struck by three arrows in quick succession. Dore’s aim was perfect and the gnoll slid off of her brother and onto the ground. Wun-Dar then turned to face the alpha. Meanwhile, Ban-ar had thrown two of his javelins. One pierced a gnoll’s shield, the other the gnoll’s neck. Dor-no spun and swung his swords with precision, first knocking the shield from his opponent, then slitting his throat, then stabbing the third through the chest. What little fight was left in him was crushed when Ban-ar came down with his boot. Hun-Tor and Fal-cor had their hands full as they fenced with three gnolls. Dore fired a few shots to support but most impacted armor. It wasn’t until Dor-no, and Ban-ar rushed in, did they gain the upper hand and began to drive the gnolls back. Wun-Dar stared down the alpha who had abandoned his shield for a second axe. With a great howl he roared into action swinging wildly at the Tundarian. Wun-Dar dodged as best he could then thrust his spear into the animal’s left shoulder. The gnoll brought his right fist down and snapped the spear like kindling. Wun-Dar tried for his bow but was knocked off his feet by a shoulder thrust. He grabbed his knife and slashed at his enemy’s feet. The gnoll brought his axe down narrowly missing the man’s head. Wun-Dar rolled out of the way and then leapt back to his feet. He turned to face his adversary just as the second axe was flying toward him. He dodged with no more than a hair to spare and then flung himself at the beast. In no time, he was on the gnoll’s back stabbing with his knife. The alpha grabbed his leg and flung him into a tree. Wun-Dar saw the creature preparing to throw his axe, and so he threw his knife which struck the beast in the hand. The axe fell to the ground and in that moment, Wun-Dar charged. He slammed into his enemy at full speed, knocking him down. The gnoll managed to lock onto his shoulder with his powerful jaws. But Wun-dar bit him back in the face. The gnoll let go and Wun-Dar attacked with hammering fists until the alpha was out cold. When he looked up, Wun-Dar saw his band, tending to their wounds. Hun-Tor and Ban-ar cheered him for his savagery but his sister ran over to help bandage his wounds. As he sat there allowing his sister to aid him, Hun-Tor spoke.“Your enemy is not dead.” He said looking down at the unconscious being. “Shall I dispatch him for you?”“No.” Wun-Dar said. “Let him go back and tell his tribe what happened. Maybe next time they see a pack of Tundarians they’ll think twice before striking.” “Hmph.” Hun-Tor smiled as he picked up the gnoll’s battle axe. “Here.” He said tossing it to Wun-Dar. “To replace your broken spear.”Wun-Dar looked at the disheveled axe. “So much for the spoils of war.” He smirked.Wun-Dar got to his feet and looked around. His group was tired but nodded almost in unison that they were ready to continue. He then turned, faced the northeast road, and continued leading the way. Back in Vinot, one of the mercenaries had been draining excess mead from his body when he stumbled upon his bound and gagged companion. The battered bandit told his comrade about the Tundarians and how they meant to pursue Karak Nul and take the woman. The two men went back to the Inn and reported to Warrick, Karak Nul’s third in command.“So, these barbarians think to have the woman for themselves?” he bellowed. “I shall not share the gold of Grayskull with these cave dwelling insects!”The inn exploded with cheers from the rest of the bounty hunters. “Assemble men!” he ordered. “We will hunt these Tundarians down and cast them into the tar swamp!”The group assembled, fully armed and set out for Grayskull. The Forgotten HeroV6:With the carriage in tow over the rugged terrain, Karak Nul’s journey to the ruins of Grayskull took him several days. Oblivious to his pursuers, the bounty hunter took his time and reveled in his own accomplishments. As the caravan reached the fields of Licentia, within view of Castle Grayskull, he looked back at his captive and smiled. “There it is!” he hissed. “The answer to the great riddle: From where does the council of elders receive their power? My power.”“You’re mistaken criminal.” The green woman finally spoke. Her voice echoed as though there were more than one of her speaking at the same time. Nul was captivated for a moment. He saw her face in his mind and heard her voice speaking to him again and again. He felt as though he was about to fall. “Nul!” his loyal bodyguard shook him, attempting to snap him out of his trance. “Nul, what is wrong!” Karak shook his head and looked at the woman closely. She was staring at him like a predator preparing to strike. Nul got down from his horse and shooed his bodyguard to one side as he moved up to the cage. “I’m mistaken am I?”“The elders’ power is there own, there is no magic here.”“Do you think I’m a fool?” Nul raged. “The tale of the great wizard giving his sword to the people of Eternia is centuries old. That sword is the key to the wizard’s power and is hidden in this castle!”“That is a fairy tale passed down from mothers to their children.” She spoke in a melodic voice that seemed to ring in his ears. “You will find no power in this place or any other. Your doom has been ordained.” “By who, you?” Nul scoffed. “Without the staff you have no power!” “You are indeed a fool, Karak Nul.” She said as she closed her eyes. Nul was enraged and reached inside the cage to grab the woman by the throat. When he clutched her skin he felt his hand start to burn and his eyes went dark. Her face flashed in his mind’s eye. At first it was a benign look and her voice rang in his ears, and suddenly her image distorted into that of a frightening golden cobra which struck at Nul with long needle-like fangs. Nul felt his heart failing and was about to fall over when his spiked cohort woke him.“Nul!” he shouted into his master’s face. Karak’s eyes opened as if he was waking from a dream. He looked around. The cage was some distance away and he was at the edge of a precipice that over looked the cliffs near the castle. “What happened?” he asked fretfully. “You reached inside the cage and then you turned and started walking towards the cliff. You’d have walked into the abyss had I not stopped you.”Karak’s eyes grew red with anger. “That woman is a witch!” he seared. “But this only confirms to me that the ruins are the source of the elder’s power and that of the greatest wizard in the universe.”The two men walked back to their horses and mounted for their short ride to the castle drawbridge. Nul looked back at the cage. The woman was kneeling with her eyes closed. He got onto his horse and started off again.Meanwhile a sudden storm had picked up in the forests near the castle causing the Tundarians to take refuge in a small cave. Whilst the group waited out the weather, Wun-Dar began exploring the cavern. “Wun-Dar?” Dore inquired. “Where are you going?” “Fear not, Dore, nothing that dwells in a cave is cause for a Tundarian’s concern.”Wun-Dar looked around as he strolled through the darkness. He felt the slick rock face and examined the ceiling. As he continued deeper inside, Wun-Dar, his eyes adept in the darkness, began to see a faint light. He continued further and further but could not find the source. The light didn’t seem to grow any brighter or fainter but just lingered until Wun-Dar rounded a corner to see a small chamber with a campfire in the center.“Hello?” he called. “Is anyone in here?”After receiving no answer, he stepped closer to the fire. It was warm as though it had been burning for a while but the logs were barely singed. The light flickered off of the wall which drew his attention and that’s when he noticed the drawings. Around the entire circumference of the chamber was a long mural. Wun-Dar impulsively started examining it at an image of a man. His legs were clad in green armor and he had the torso of a great snake. His arms were snakes as well and they seemed to direct a great army towards a village. The next image was that of a man wearing a gray animal skull atop his head. He wielded a large axe and rode a great cat into battle against the snake man’s army. The next image was that of a beam of light coming down from the clouds. Where the light reached the ground there was a man in strange armor holding a great staff in one hand and a sword in the other. There was an image of a great battle and the armored man and barbarian appeared victorious. Then there was a picture of another battle at the snake mountain near Mount Barathrum. This time the two men fought against an orc-like man with pale skin and black armor. The pale orc was able to kill the man in the strange armor and then flee the battle. Then there was a picture of the man passing his sword to the barbarian. And then a picture of the barbarian raising the sword and surrounded by light. Wun-Dar looked at the image closely. It was the last image on the wall and it had faded over time. Behind the image of the barbarian shrouded in light and energy was a large shadow that he didn’t see at first. Then he realized that it was apart of the mural. Wun-Dar stepped back and nodded. Now he saw what it was. “It was the shadow of a castle, and the barbarian was Grayskull.The rest of his group was still at the mouth of the cave when Wun-Dar emerged. “Wun-Dar, the rain stopped, where have you been?” Fal-cor asked.Wun-Dar looked at the clouds breaking and the sunlight struck his face. He smiled and looked back at the group.“An omen.” He whispered. “What?” Dore asked.“We must leave!” With that the group headed out at a full run. The Forgotten HeroV7:“Tell me how it works, witch!” Nul shrieked, brandishing her golden staff. The green woman simply stayed in her kneeling position with her eyes closed. Nul gestured for Spikor to take her out of the cage as he went back to his horse and removed a long serrated knife. Spikor, genetically immune to the woman’s abilities, easily took her out and tossed her to the ground. She looked back at him with fire in her eyes. He simply stared back. The woman was starting to get to her knees again when she was grabbed by the wrist. She turned and looked back to see her captor with his blade pressed against the interior of her forearm. “I’m guessing that your extraordinary talents do not include resurrecting yourself from the dead.” He seethed. The woman just stared stoically into his eyes. Nul looked up at his body guard who was watching the prisoner. Without another word he struck her face with the back of his hand. The woman went sprawling to the ground. She propped herself up with her hands and looked back him. Nul was pointing his blade at her. “Tell me how to get into this castle.” He said menacingly. “Or I will gut you like a fresh dobber fish.” The woman just stared at him. He grabbed her and back handed her again. He then struck her with his fist and then another backhand. The woman was again sprawled out on the dirt. Nul turned again to his horse. Spikor kept watch on the woman as his master removed a large weapon from his saddle. The weapon was a glaive, a polearm consisting of a single edged blade on the end of a long pole. Nul walked over to the woman and placed the butt of his glaive into the sand so he could lean on it. He then looked at her again.“I grow tired of your games woman.” He sighed. “If you wish to maintain this stubborn silence, then I shall help you.” Nul nodded to Spikor who pinned the woman’s arms behind her back and pressed her head into the dirt. Nul reared back with the glaive, preparing to decapitate her when she began to speak.“It will take time.” She said evenly.Nul flashed an evil grin at his bodyguard. “What was that?” he asked politely. “The spell.” She continued. “To open the Jaw Bridge; it will take me a few hours to complete.”“You have two.” Nul said as Spikor released her. “A moment more and I’ll finish what we’ve begun here.”The woman was allowed to move around, under the close supervision of Nul and his Spikor to prepare the spell. Almost two hours later, Wun-Dar and his Tundarians had entered the fields of Licentia. They could see the castle and, for many of them, it was for the first time.“This is it?” Dor-no asked skeptically. Oroiti scanned the area and saw the woman tending a large bon fire. “There she is!” he cried. Wun-dar looked up and could see the woman. He also saw the Spikor, a massive and muscular humanoid virtually covered with a natural armor of deep purple spikes. Then he saw the man he assumed was Karak Nul. An imposing man in his own right, the villain was leaning on the pole of his glaive. “That must be your Karak Nul.” Wun-Dar said to Oroiti. “Yes, but what is he doing?”Wun-Dar’s thoughts began to get hazy. He tried to focus but the more he tried the more a voice intruded on his mind.“Help me, hero.” He heard in his mind as clearly as if the person was standing next to him. “He’s after the sword. He must not have it.”Wun-Dar’s mind cleared and he focused on the scene. “With just the two of them guarding her I think we can risk a frontal assault.” He said. The rest of the group acknowledged and began jogging up the hill towards the castle. At the edge of the chasm isolating the castle from the fields, Karak Nul’s patience was wearing thin. He looked at the sun and began to wonder whether or not the woman was genuinely trying to cooperate. He was just about issue another threat when he noticed six Eternians rushing their position. “Spikor, get her back inside the cage!” Nul ordered. The Tundarians all advanced on his position. Oroiti stayed behind, hidden from view for his own safety. Nul pulled his glaive from the ground and began whirling it around with one hand. Spikor walked over to his horse and retrieved a long, razor sharp trident from his saddle. He then faced the oncoming attackers and hurled it towards them. Wun-Dar watched him remove the weapon and prepare to throw it so he was able to dodge easily. Dor-no was not as lucky as the weapon completed its seventy yard journey by burying itself in his chest. Wun-Dar continued to charge even as Fal-cor and Hun-Tor were awe struck by the impossible throw.Once they reached the camp Nul had his blade inside the cage at the woman’s throat. “Trying to steal what I’ve rightfully stolen, Tundarian?” he shouted. “One more step and she’s useless to you.”“Surrender, Nul.” Wun-Dar shouted back. “You’re out numbered and trapped.” “Am I now?” Nul said, tilting his head towards the fields. Wun-Dar looked behind him just as Nul’s mercenaries were riding up.“What now.” Fal-cor whispered. “You four hold the ground, while I go after the woman.”Dore drew her bow and fired. The bolt sailed through the air and planted itself in the forehead of one of the forty riders. Fal-cor drew his own bow and fired. The bolt sailed into the neck of another rider. Ban-ar hurled one of his javelins into the crowd of bounty hunters. It hit home in the dead center of another rider’s chest. Hun-Tor, with no ranged weapon at his disposal, ran to the body of his slain friend and removed his swords. He then hurled them with all of his might. The first one struck a bounty hunter’s mount causing it to tumble to the ground. The next one’s handle struck a rider in the helmet, knocking him off of his horse. The Tundarians’ attack was having some success but as each second passed the mercenaries drew closer. In the meantime, Wun-Dar had met up with Karak Nul. Nul waved Spikor off. “Go destroy his friends.” He commanded. “I’ll take care of this one.”Nul twirled his glaive like the branch of a sapling and then swung it with tremendous force. Wun-Dar blocked the incoming attack with the gnoll’s battle axe. Then counter attacked. Nul easily parried the axe blows and counter himself. The two men fought more than fifty bouts with no clear advantage on either side. Just a few yards down the hill, the other Tundarians were being pushed back by crossbow fire and charging mercenaries. Ban-ar had used all of his javelins and was now fighting with his bare hands. Hun-Tor had lost one of his knives and was slicing his way through man after man with a single blade. Fal-cor was fighting ferociously, as was Dore but the onslaught was becoming too much for them. Dore kept firing her bow from behind her comrades and into the attackers. She was scoring hit after hit until she her self was hit with a crossbow bolt from behind. She went down with the shaft still sticking out from her shoulder. The other Tundarians had yet to realize that they had been outflanked and continued fighting. Wun-Dar, locked in combat, saw his sister fall. He immediately retreated down the hill as he saw the Spikor raise his crossbow for another shot. “Dore!” he screamed at the top of his lungs.But the second shot was on its way and, this time, the darkness covered her eyes. Wun-Dar plowed into the Spikor with no regard for his own safety. The beast’s crossbow was sent flying. The two men grappled for several seconds until Wun-Dar was pulled off by the other mercenaries. His body was bloodied from multiple spike wounds. Several of the men had to hold him back as the Spikor got up, noticeably winded from the fight. He looked closely at the Tundarian. The Tundarian stared back with a murderous look. Spikor then extended his hand, into which one of the men placed a large hunting knife. He raised the knife to Wun-Dar’s throat.“Wait!” Karak Nul shouted as he came down the hill. “I want this one alive to see my final triumph.” Spikor looked into the eyes of the Tundarian. He saw no fear. He saw no pain. He only saw the raw savage anger that he knew would come back to haunt them one day. Reluctantly, Spikor sheathed his blade and gestured for the men to take the prisoner away. The Forgotten HeroV8:“What shall we do with them?” one of the remaining mercenaries asked.“Just toss them into the abyss.” Karak Nul responded, dispassionately.The fifteen or so mercenaries left alive dragged the bodies of the dead Tundarians over to the edge of the cliffs. Wun-Dar, tied to a large wooden X, could only watch as his comrades were denied a proper burial. The bounty hunters were tired so they simply kicked the deceased off the edge. Fal-cor and Hun-Tor were first. Then Dor-no’s body was nudged off. Ban-ar, although riddled with several dozen crossbow bolts, was still breathing. Unfortunately he did not have the strength to protest. Dore went last. With a single heave from two of the bandits, she was sent to the bottom.Wun-Dar’s anger swelled within him as he saw his people dishonored so grievously. He ground his teeth so hard that several cracked open under the strain. For a moment he thought that he may go mad. Then his mind suddenly cleared. Peace filled his heart and the image of the green woman appeared in his mind.“Patience, hero.” He heard her say. “Our chance to escape is upon us.”Wun-Dar was confused as he watched the woman laboring over a fire. She looked as though she was concocting some magic spell. Wun-Dar was perplexed by the vision until he felt a tug at his wrist.“Shh.” He heard from behind. “I’ve come to get you out of here.” Wun-Dar recognized the voice of the old man.“Oroiti!” he whispered. “Hurry, I must save that woman or my kin will have been sacrificed in vain.”The old man cut Wun-Dar’s bonds and he dropped to the ground. Just then the woman recited a loud incantation and tossed a small bag into the fire. Seconds later there was a massive explosion. The force sent all of the bounty hunters to the ground. Wun-Dar was shielding his eyes from the debris when he saw the woman emerge from the smoke. “We must go!” she said, wasting no time. “He will soon be after us.” Wun-Dar nodded and took the woman by the hand. They began running towards the evergreen forest with Oroiti trailing behind. As the smoke began to clear, Nul saw what had happened. “That devious siren tricked me!” he thought as his eyes scanned the horizon. A moment later he spotted the three running into the woods. “They’re heading for the forest!” he shouted. “Don’t let them escape!”The bandits grabbed their weapons and dashed down the hill towards the forest. Nul and Spikor remained behind.Inside the forest Wun-Dar was running at such a pace that the woman was barely able to stay on her feet. Once deep enough, he stopped to let Oroiti catch up. “Thank you my friend.” He told the innkeeper. “I am in your debt.”“We are both in your debt.” The woman said. “But we must keep moving; those men have already begun searching for us.”“No.” Wun-Dar said flatly. “Oroiti, do you think you can find your way back to the storm cave?”“I think so, but why?”“Take the woman to the cave and await my arrival.” “Where are you going?”“These men want to hunt us like wild game.” He said. “It’s time I changed the rules.” Oroiti thought the plan unwise but something in the Tundarian’s eyes told him not to question the tactic. Wun-Dar extended his hand, into which Oroiti placed his dagger. “Go.” Wun-Dar said sternly. Oroiti nodded and moved off with the woman in tow.The bounty hunters, now deep among the tangles of the evergreen forest, had fanned out to search. As they moved forward the space between each man grew larger and larger. One bounty hunter thought he saw something behind a large tree, so he moved in for a closer look. As he drew near, he could see no signs of the woman. He turned to continue his search but was stabbed through the heart. Wun-Dar covered his victim’s mouth as he gently laid his body onto the ground. Another man was walking near one of the many waterfalls in the evergreen. He heard the snap of a twig and turned his back to the water. Suddenly and silently, a crossbow bolt shot from behind the falls and pierced the man’s neck. The position of the arrow prevented him from making a sound. Two of the hunters came to a small ravine over which an old log was stretched. They both slung their crossbows and began to walk across. At about midway they heard the sound of a tree falling. They looked up to see the tree as it collapsed onto them. Another villain was walking with his back to one of the ubiquitous rock formations. He saw something in the distance and raised his crossbow but before he could fire, a bolt penetrated his skull from above. Wun-Dar climbed down from the formation and moved on. The posse was now completely scattered and moving in all directions. One of them was walking near the edge of a pond. Wun-Dar sprang out of it and took him under. Another had stopped to load his weapon. When he reached back to his quiver he could feel no arrows. The puzzled man turned just as Wun-Dar thrust the arrows into his torso. One man found a rope tied to a tree and decided to follow it. The rope was draped over the side of a cliff as if someone was climbing down. He moved up and peered over the edge. Then he felt a sharp pain as he was kicked from behind. The man fell to his death.Because of the sudden loss of communication with the rest of the group, two of the men were sticking closely together. They stopped in front of a long hedge row. When the first man looked right, Wun-Dar emerged from the hedge and snatched the other. The first man could only hear a slight whimper from his companion. When he looked around and saw no one else, he felt his courage fail. The man darted away as fast as he could. Soon the remnants of the band were back in front of the castle, trying to explain what happened.“The forest is too dense!” one cried. “That savage was invisible!”“I’m not going to stay in there and wait for him to pick us off one at a time!” another shouted.Nul was furious and threw down his glaive in frustration. “Is there no end to your schemes, vile witch?” he shouted towards the forest. Nul looked at his Spikor. “Let’s go. I’ll hunt her, and that cave rat down myself!” The Forgotten HeroV9:Wun-Dar made his way back to the cave in which they hid during the storm. Oroiti and the woman were there waiting for him. “Thank the ancients you made it back, Wun-Dar!” Oroiti cried as Wun-Dar walked straight to the woman.“Who are you?” he asked flatly. The woman and Tundarian stared into each other’s eyes. Wun-Dar was captivated. Her eyes sparkled like golden disks but he couldn’t see his reflection. The woman was also intrigued. The Tundarian was a savage but intelligent creature. She felt that he was willing to give his heart to her if she asked. The time she spent in his mind along with the presence of the man before her allowed her to trust him immediately.“My name is Sharella.” She began. “I am the goddess of Grayskull, sworn to protect the power of the sword from those like Karak Nul.”Wun-Dar began to tremble and fell to his knees in front of her.“Then it is true!” he cried. “Goddess please forgive my impudence!”“Impudence?” she asked, astonished. “Hero you have saved my life and in so doing have done the greatest service to this planet.” She put her hand under his chin as he stared at the ground and lifted him gently to his feet. “You bow to no one!”The goddess turned and began walking deeper into the cave. “Come.” She beckoned. "I have much to show you.” Oroiti and Wun-Dar walked with the woman, though Wun-Dar was confident in their destination. He couldn’t explain it to himself, but he was certain he knew where they were going. When they entered the story chamber, Wun-Dar noticed that the fire was still burning exactly as it had before. The goddess waved her hand in front of the image of Grayskull and the wall moved aside. “Astounding!” Oroiti gasped. The opening revealed a long corridor that was lit by torches on both sides. Wun-Dar peered inside and noticed that it wasn’t a natural formation either. It appeared to be constructed from stones similar to the castle itself. The three walked on for a long while. The tunnel seemed to go down hill for thousands of yards. Torches, burning in the same inexplicable manner as the chamber fire, continued to light their way. Wun-Dar looked at his guide as well. As she passed near the torches their light seemed to radiate through her body as though she were a spirit sent by the heavens. The Tundarian began to question his own courage for the first time in his life. They stopped their walk at an ordinary wooden door marked by a strange crest; a winged shield, on top of which sat a horned helm. Behind the shield ran two swords and, at its center, a gray skull. The goddess grasped the iron handle and pushed the door open. They stepped into the room beyond. Oroiti looked around. There were four walls, dimly lit by the torch in the hall, and no doors save the one through which they entered. Sharella took the last torch from the wall in the passage and closed the door. The four walls were dank and featureless. “What is this place?” Oroiti asked. “This is a sacred place that only a select few will ever see. It is a gateway to a fortress of mystery and power.”“I see only the door which we came through.” Oroiti confessed.“That’s because you see with your eyes." she said. "Close your eyes and open your mind.”Oroiti looked at Wun-Dar who had closed his eyes and so he did the same. The Goddess took the torch and lit a small fire in the center of the room. At once light filled every space and reflected so brightly that Wun-Dar and Oroiti were forced to open their eyes. The two men stood awestruck. They now stood on the floor of the largest cavern they had ever seen. The ceiling was so tall they could barely see it. From the floor stretched four long bridges that spanned a great chasm. The bridges led to various points in what looked like the interior of a magnificent castle. Sharella began walking one of the bridges with Wun-Dar and Oroiti behind. They came to another door at which the goddess looked at Wun-Dar. He looked back and nodded. Oroiti was puzzled. The two seemed to converse without speaking. They entered the room. Inside there was a stone pedestal raised some feet from the floor. Atop of that, were two large cases. Wun-Dar followed Sharella up the steps. She looked at him. “When He-Ro passed, his power was transferred to his sword. He passed it on to Grayskull who ruled with a nobility and courage. Since the time of his passing, the elders of Grayskull have awaited his heir and, in the meantime, separated his sword into two halves to prevent evil from gaining the power. I was tasked with guarding these swords but I cannot do it alone. You, Wun-Dar, have proven worthy of the right to stand with me against evil.”“I accept this honor!” Wun-Dar cried. “With all my heart I will not fail you!”“You are indeed a mighty warrior, Wun-Dar, but Grayskull has many enemies and you will need an advantage to defeat them.”Wun-Dar looked down and saw that he was now clad in a mysterious black armor. Oroiti was astounded. Wun-Dar looked up at the goddess as she spoke again.“This is the armor of the cosmic enforcer; passed down by the very powers that sent He-Ro to aid Eternia in its darkest days. It will allow you to find evil in its most distant hiding places and through it you may also call upon a special weapon.”Wun-Dar touched the white symbol at the top and a strange weapon appeared in his hand. “What is this?” he asked.“This weapon was first given to the cosmic enforcers to combat the Evil Horde’s technology. It fires a projectile of pure energy that is drawn from the well of Grayskull itself.” Wun-Dar touched the symbol on his chest and the weapon vanished. Then he looked up and Sharella was holding a sword in both hands. It seemed ordinary; entirely silver from pommel to tip. Wun-Dar looked into the goddess’ eyes. He heard in his mind: “Take the sword.” He reached out carefully and grasped the handle. At once the handle and hilt began to change to match his black armor. “What is happening?” he asked, startled.“The sword will adapt to all those who wield it.” She answered. “It will become a part of you, and you of it.”“By the power of the ancients!” Wun-Dar gasped as he looked at the sword.“No.” Sharella responded. “By the power of Grayskull.”Wun-Dar stepped back to the center of the room, raised aloft the mighty sword and said: “By the Power of Grayskull!”Light and energy consumed his form as if he’d been set ablaze. The sword channeled the energy and then exploded onto him. Oroiti fainted at the sight. The light died down and Wun-Dar looked at the Goddess. She looked at him and he could hear her voice. In his mind she explained all that he needed to know about his new weapons and how to wield them to their fullest potential. It seemed only a few seconds and he was a fully trained guardian of Grayskull. “You have the power now.” She said. “Use the sword of He and the power of Grayskull to protect Eternia. This is your task.”“I accept this task.” He said in a more confident voice. “As a man of the sword of He, I will give my life to protect the power of Grayskull and the good for which it stands.”“Then go He-Man, champion of Eternia.”With that, he was off. The Forgotten HeroV10:Karak Nul, the Spikor, and the best five of his remaining mercenaries made their way through the Evergreen forest in a closely knitted group. Nul expected his adversary to use stealth and guile as before but this time he was facing a different man. The hunting party came to a small clearing in the forest facing the cave. Nul shook his head slightly in disbelief. The Tundarian was standing with his hands on his hips, directly in their path. Nul immediately noticed the black armor.“So, come to be buried in your best suit I see.” He smiled, brandishing his glaive. “I came to see that you return that staff you’re carrying.” Wun-Dar said evenly. “Is that so?” Nul fumed, as he planted his glaive in the ground and pulled the goddess’ staff from his back. “You mean this staff?”“That’s the one.” Wun-Dar said stoically. “Well here.” Nul said and planted the staff into the ground and retrieved his glaive. “Come and get it!” All five of Nul’s men pulled out their weapons. Two had crossbows, three had swords. Spikor had his trident and Nul his glaive. Wun-Dar pulled out his sword; the sword of He. Nul looked at it with eyes wide and mouth agape. “The sword of Grayskull!” he shouted almost hysterically. “Where did you get that? How did you get that? I had the staff; the woman couldn’t have let you into the castle.”Wun-Dar smiled at the raging bounty hunter. When he saw the Tundarian’s expression, Nul flew into a rage.“Kill him!” His two archers fired their bolts but both bounced off of the cosmic armor. “Aim for his head you dolts!” Nul screeched. At which the archers aimed and fired again. This time the arrows flew towards his head but as they drew near, their paths seemed to curve and they hit the armor again. “Your cronies are poor marksmen, Nul.” Wun-dar teased. “Perhaps if you had stolen better equipment….” Wun-Dar pressed the white symbol at the top of his armor and his energy weapon appeared in his hand. “Let me show you how it’s done.”Wun-Dar raised his weapon and fired two blasts. The first melted the brigand’s crossbow; the second disintegrated the other’s. The two men ran away as fast as they could. Wun-Dar pushed his armor symbol and the weapon vanished. The three remaining men saw this and charged with their swords. Wun-Dar readied his sword. Once they were in range, Wun-Dar used a backhanded slash to parry the first man, spun in place to avoid the second man, and then lunged to skewer the third man. He then removed his blade from the man’s gut and swung it behind him in a single motion, cutting off the second mercenary’s head. He then turned to the first man. The brigand attacked with a top to bottom slash. Wun-Dar blocked it, then with a quick twist of his wrist, disarmed his opponent. The bounty hunter’s sword flew into the trees some distance away. The man stood before Wun-Dar, looking at his hands as though they had failed him inexplicably. Wun-Dar tossed his sword from his right hand to his left. Then he balled his right hand into a fist and let fly a thundering cross. The brigand was sent hurling out of the clearing and back into the forest.“Whoa.” Wun-Dar thought to himself. “I had better learn to control this new power. I don’t even know my own strength.” Wun-Dar turned and looked at Karak Nul. He and his Spikor were staring back in amazement. “You’ve not won yet, barbarian!” Nul shouted.With that, he grabbed the staff of elders and ran back into the woods, leaving his Spikor to guard his retreat. “I knew we should’ve killed you when we had the chance.” Spikor lamented.“From now on, those chances will be few and far between.” Wun-Dar answered.“I don’t need a few. I only need one!” Spikor hurled his trident. It screamed in at such a velocity that Wun-Dar was barely able to dodge. Seeing that his opponent was off balance, Spikor rushed in. Wun-Dar moved aside as the beast came charging by and brought the pommel of his sword down onto his spiked head. Spikor dove into the ground and slid to a stop near his trident. Wun-Dar was about to move on when he saw the man get back up. “Where are you going?” he grunted. “We’re not through yet!”Spikor charged, this time with his trident in hand. Wun-Dar attacked with his sword. The two fought more that fifty bouts without tiring. Spikor thrust his trident which Wun-Dar caught under his arm. The Tundarian then thrust his sword which stuck in the Spikor’s armor. The two began wrestling for their weapons. They strained back and forth until Spikor lowered his head and lunged into Wun-Dar. The bandit’s spiked head struck the hero’s chest like a mace, knocking him to the ground. As he fell to his back, the Tundarian lost hold of his sword. He looked up to see Spikor standing over him with his trident. “Your meddling ends here, Tundarian!” Spikor reached back with his trident in both hands as he prepared to strike. “Wait!” Wun-Dar said, with his right hand outstretched. “Beg all you want, caveman, it won’t save you this time!”As his enemy spoke, Wun-Dar used his left hand to touch the symbol on his armor. In a flash Spikor went from staring at his enemy’s palm to staring down the barrel of his weapon. He let out an audible gasp and then Wun-Dar fired. Now alone in the clearing, Wun-Dar got to his feet and retrieved his sword. He looked around to find his bearings and located the trail down which Karak Nul escaped. He sheathed his sword, returned his gun, and chased after him. The Forgotten HeroV11:Wun-Dar chased the villain as far as Castle Grayskull. There, with just three remaining mercenaries to aide him, Karak Nul stood defiantly. “You have not won, Tundarian!” he shouted. “I still have the staff of the Elders and I will use it to gain entry into this place, with or without that accursed sorceress!”“Hand over the staff, Nul.” Wun-Dar said sternly, as he marched up the hill. “Never! I will gain the power!” Nul said, frantically. “I am destined to be master of the universe and live forever!”Nul pointed at the hero and his three henchmen attacked with their swords. The first swung wildly at his head. Wun-Dar parried it and disarmed him in a single motion. The second man thrust his sword at Wun-Dar’s gut. The Tundarian dodged the weapon, stuck out his arm, and slammed the enemy onto his back. The third man backed off a few steps to observe him. Wun-Dar just glared at the man. When he started to move forward, the hero just shook his head slightly. The bounty hunter charged whilst swinging his sword. Wun-Dar blocked the first strike; then the second; and then the third. The brigand backed off for a moment to collect himself and that’s when the first man leapt onto Wun-Dar’s back. Wun-Dar brought his arms back and drove his elbows into the man’s ribcage. He then grabbed his enemy by the shoulders and flung him to the ground. The swordsman raced in again. He swung his weapon left and right. Wun-Dar dodged the first few and then blocked the next. When the mercenary struck again, his blade shattered upon the superior edge of the sword of power. Wun-Dar grabbed the man by the tunic, picked him up, and threw him into the abyss. He then looked up at the shifty bounty hunter that had caused so much grief. Karak Nul was alone. He held onto the Staff of Elders with both hands, his glaive sheathed on his back. “Miserable wretch!” he shouted. “You may have defeated my underlings but you will have to pry this staff from my cold dead hands!” Nul planted the staff of elders into the dirt and pulled out his glaive. He twirled it around with amazing skill and then raced down after Wun-Dar. He swung his glaive so hard that sparks flew when its blade connected with that of Wun-Dar’s sword. The two wielded their weapons back and forth, bout after bout, for what seemed like an eternity. Wun-Dar tried at first to disarm the villain but it soon became evident that Nul would not relinquish his glaive. Nul tried repeatedly to sever one of Wun-Dar’s hands and allow him to take the sword. Nul soon realized that Wun-Dar was far too good a swordsman. “Are you frightened, Tundarian?” Nul asked menacingly. “I have been known to panic my enemies.”“Your lack of honor is the only thing that frightens me, Nul!”The two continued to fight. They fought over two hundred bouts without tiring. In fact the two’s energy seemed to double after the first hundred bouts. During the course of the night, Nul was slashed on the arm, and Wun-Dar was batted in the chest. Finally, Nul broke off his attack and ran back to the staff. He stood by it with his glaive in both hands, raised above his head.“You cannot defeat me!” he shouted. “I shall be master of the universe!”The hour was growing late. Wun-Dar watched the bounty hunter, now some thirty feet away, and knew that he must defeat him soon. If not, the brigand would hide away until his numbers were replenished and then return in force against him or perhaps the rest of Tundaria. “This ends now.” The He-Man said aloud.Wun-Dar reached back and flung his sword with all his might towards his enemy. Nul was lowering his glaive just as the sword of Grayskull impacted it. The sword crashed through the glaive’s handle and embedded itself in Nul’s forehead, just above his left eye. Nul’s arms fell to their sides each still grasping its respective half of the glaive, while the energy from the sword carried his body backward. The man landed with a resounding thud upon the dirt, just inches from the precipice. The hero walked up to his enemy and retrieved his sword. Instinctively he looked behind him and saw Oroiti and the goddess standing there. The goddess walked up and looked down on her captor. The blood poured from the deep gash in his head. She then looked up at Wun-Dar who was feeling neither jubilant nor festive in the aftermath of his battle.The goddess turned away and took her staff from the ground. She held it up and uttered a few words. “For the honor of Grayskull, I command the Jaw Bridge: Open!” Wun-Dar heard several low groans as the castle’s massive portal lowered onto the edge of the cliff. When he looked inside, he could see nothing but a blue mist that seemed to glow in the failing light. “We’re going inside?” Wun-Dar asked.“We are.” She answered. “So that we may contact the Elders at the hall of wisdom; they will want to speak with you.” The three walked across the bridge to the interior of castle and the Jaw Bridge rose behind them.The Forgotten HeroV12:Wun-Dar, Oroiti, and the Goddess, descended deeper into Grayskull’s Castle. Wun-Dar was amazed at the complexity of the corridors. Every few yards there was another one lined with several doors on each side. Near the entrance ways were large suits of armor and stone statues of various robe clad men and women. The walls were carved with intricate murals depicting battles near the castle, some of which were eerily similar to the ones in the story chamber of the storm cave. The three walked on through several archways, eternally guarded by vicious looking stone gargoyles, and then arrived at the main audience chamber. At the center of the room, high atop a tall staircase sat Grayskull’s throne. The goddess paused for a moment as she looked up at it. She then looked back to see Wun-Dar and Oroiti doing the same. “The throne of Grayskull.” Wun-Dar said in awe.“The well from which peace first sprung on Eternia.” The goddess began. “This castle was built on the sight of the ancient city of Licentia. When the battle with King Hisss’ snake men was completed, Grayskull accepted a mandate from the free people of Eternia and became king. As the seat of his new kingdom, he constructed this place.”“What about the tremendous power that dwells here?” Wun-Dar asked. “Where does it come from?”“That power was passed to Grayskull from the wizard He-Ro, when he was felled in battle. He-Ro gave his sword, imbued with all of his divine power, to the king. The sword adapted to Grayskull and amplified all of his most noble traits: His strength, wisdom, courage, and compassion.” “And by the power of Grayskull, I now have those same abilities?”“Exactly.” The goddess began walking on. “Come.”The three walked behind the throne into another chamber and the door shut behind them. It was pitch black. Oroiti started to murmur as he couldn’t see his hand in front of his own face. Then suddenly there was an immensely bright light to one side of the room. Wun-Dar shielded his eyes as he looked at the source. It looked like a mirror that stood from the floor to the high ceiling. It was glowing with all of the colors of Eternia. The two men were watching, perplexed, as the goddess moved up to it and began to speak. “Wise and powerful Elders, here me!” she called. There was a moment of silence and then a stirring answer. “Greetings Sharella.” spoke the voice that sounded as though all of the elders were speaking at once. “And to you, He-Man.” Wun-Dar looked up and could now see the faces of the elders looking down on him.“Thank you elders.” He stammered.“You have proven yourself worthy of the sword, He-Man.” They continued. “Know now that your destiny is to safeguard this place from those who would use it for the destruction of Eternia.”“I don’t know.” Wun-Dar said. “I killed those men outside. If the only way to stop evil is to become evil, then I am not worthy.”“He-Man, your wisdom shines forth even now. The regret to feel is not present in those you face. This proves your worth to us. We’ve been watching you, what you did was defend the innocent and yourself. You will carry the sword, He-Man. It is your destiny and you cannot escape it.”“I will try.”“We know you will. As for you enemy, we have plans for him too.”“He’s been slain.” Wun-dar said. “What plans could you have other than a funeral pyre?” The mirror changed from the faces of the elders to a window onto the outside. There lay Karak Nul, his body lifeless in a pool of blood. Suddenly he began to levitate and light energy surrounded him. His eyes opened, startling Oroiti and Wun-Dar alike. “Karak Nul.” The elders called. “What devilry is this?” he cried as he looked at his glowing extremities. “Who are you?”“We are the elders of Eternia; the keepers of the power which you sought during your murderous existence. Your tyrannical quest to gain entry into this sacred place has left many innocents in its wake. Now, by the hand of He-Man you were spared from serving a sentence befitting your heinous crimes.”“The power was there, it was my right to claim it!” Nul shouted defiantly. “To gain the power of eternal life!”“You may live forever, Karak Nul, but your mad dream dies here.”With that Nul’s body was engulfed in a fiery light. The energy consumed his flesh leaving only bones infused with the light that shrouded them. Now, only a scantily clad skeleton, Nul looked up with empty eyes. Suddenly, around his left wrist, a manacle appeared. It was fitted with an unbreakable chain and attached was a stone reliquary with a sculpture of the castle at its head. “What is this?” Nul cried. “Inside that reliquary is that which you sought all your life: the key to Castle Grayskull.”“What?” he gasped as he tried relentlessly to open it.“It’s futile to attempt to open it, Nul.” The elders spoke. “We’ve sealed with all our powers so that the key may never be obtained.”“What? No! No!” “You will be forever chained to your past crimes as you wonder the realm of Infinita with nothing but your frightful glow and the key that you may never use.”Wun-Dar and Oroiti watched as Nul’s body was cast into a void and then the mirror went dark.