Disclaimer: "He-Man and The Masters of the Universe", their characters, and concepts are the property of Mattel and Hallmark.
A/N: The Original MOTU(`83) ended without Teela ever finding out who her mother was. After seeing "Teela's Triumph", I thought that the ending was open to interpretation. IMO, I felt that this particular story arc deserved a better resolution.
This story takes place a few weeks after "Teela's Triumph".
"Checkmate!" cried Prince Adam in triumph. A game of 3-Dimensional chess sat on the table between him and Teela. A dozing Cringar lay on the floor underneath the table.
"Hunh … Wha' ?" grunted a distracted Teela in reply.
"Well, that's three in a row for me," said Adam with glee.
"Oh." Teela looked downcast towards the floor.
"Teela, are you all right?" asked Adam, concerned. "Normally, you wipe the floor with me in 3-D chess."
"I'm fine," said Teela.
"Is something wrong?" said Adam. "You hardly touched your food at breakfast this morning."
"I'm FINE!" Teela snapped. At this, Cringar suddenly jerked awake, knocking over the 3-D chess set on the table. "Sorry," Teela then said apologetically. "I didn't sleep last night."
Or the night before that … or the night before that … or the night before that, Adam thought. I could hear her pacing all night upstairs.
"I … really should go," said Teela. "I … have some work to do." She then turned and left the room.
"What's eating HER?" Cringar asked. Adam only shrugged his shoulders and shook his head in reply.
"Your Highnesses wished to see me?" asked Teela. She was standing in the Throne Room before King Randor and Queen Marlena.
"What troubles you, Teela?" asked King Randor.
" 'Troubles' ?" asked Teela quizzically, her eyebrows narrowed in puzzlement. "I'm afraid I don't understand, Your Highness."
"You've hardly eaten at all in four days," Queen Marlena replied for her husband. "And we've heard reports of your spending these past four nights pacing back and forth in your room."
"With all due respect, I really have no desire to bore Your Highnesses with the trivial details of my personal life…"
"Teela, you're as close as a daughter to us," said Queen Marlena. "What troubles you, child?"
Teela sighed. "Well … it's about my mother," she said. "As Your Highnesses know, I've been searching for her." Teela paused. "I … really haven't been having much luck," she said dejectedly.
"I'm sure you'll find her, Teela," said King Randor.
"Sometimes, these things just take time," said Queen Marlena.
"I hope so, Your Highnesses," said Teela. "I hope so."
So close … and yet, it seems like she's a million miles away, Teela thought as she stared out over the balcony and into the starry Eternian night. The Sorceress gave me a clue -- a MAJOR clue. Teela rested her elbows on the balcony railing. As much as I appreciate the hint, it still doesn't answer the question of one, WHO is my mother and two, WHERE she is now. Teela paused. I know now what I must do.
"I REALLY wish you hadn't come," said Teela to Orko
"Why?" Orko asked. He sat next to Teela -- uninvited -- in the Wind Raider. "I figured you could use some company."
"This is something I need to do alone," Teela replied firmly.
"You're not going back to the Crystal Sea, are you?" Orko asked with a hint of worry on his voice.
"No," Teela replied flatly. "I'm going to talk to the Sorceress."
"The Sorceress of GRAYSKULL?" Orko's eyes were now as wide as dinner plates.
"What would SHE know about your mother?"
"That's what I'd like to find out." Teela looked over the side of the Wind Raider as the massive stone walls of Castle Grayskull emerged from the mists below. "We're here."
"What makes you think SHE knows anything?" Orko asked after they had landed. Teela stretched her legs by putting one foot -- and then the other -- on the engine manifold.
"She gave me a tip … a BIG tip … about her when I sat in for her at Grayskull," said Teela.
"You think she wants to talk?"
"I don't know," said Teela softly. "That's what I'm here to find out."
The Sorceress of Grayskull silently sat on her throne deep within the castle, watching -- and listening -- to Teela and Orko through a transparent magical sphere floating before her (As a security precaution, she made it a point to monitor all conversations occurring on Grayskull's grounds.)
It fascinated her to no end to see what people did when they thought no one was watching. She found it … educational … to see how people behaved in their more-or-less …unguarded … moments (Those times when any and all veneers of pretense and posturing were stripped away.)
"Aren't you going in?" Orko asked. Teela was doing lunges against the front of the engine manifold.
Teela straightened herself up. "I have to think," she said. "I need to figure out an angle of attack."
Orko's eyes widened. "You're going to attack the CASTLE?!"
Teela let out a snort. "No, silly," she said. "I need to figure out how to broach the topic."
"Why don't you just ask her?"
"It's not that easy," said Teela. "The last time I tried it, she stonewalled me." Teela paused. "I don't think she quite trusts me with that information yet."
"Teela, you're not making sense!" Orko exclaimed. "Why would she give you a tip and then stonewall you?" Orko paused. "Shouldn't the fact that she gave you a tip AT ALL tell you something?"
Teela gave a shy smile. "You're right," she said quietly. "Maybe I am paranoid." Teela paused. "I guess I'm just nervous." Teela sighed. "I came SO close at the Crystal Sea … only to have it yanked away from me at the last second." Teela paused again. "I don't know how much more of this I can take."
"Does she know how much this is hurting you? That you haven't hardly eaten or slept in DAYS?!" Orko paused. "That this has been going off-and-on for MONTHS?"
"No … and she's not GOING to know, either," said Teela. "Right now, I don't have the luxury of appearing weak." Teela paused. "If I'm going to get through this, I've gotta be strong." Teela paused again. "It's almost time … I'd better get going."
Orko placed a comforting hand on Teela's shoulder. "I'm sure you'll be OK."
Teela straightened herself up. "I hope so," she said.
"You're not just ANYONE," said Orko. "You're Teela, Captain of the Royal Guard." Orko paused. "You're as tough as they come!"
Am I tough ENOUGH? Teela thought. THAT is the question. Teela let out a deep breath. The Sorceress HAS been known to … test … people in the past, she thought. Let `em coast for awhile … and then pull the rug out from under them, just to see what they're made of. "I'm gonna go," she said.
"You want ME to come?" Orko asked.
"No … stay here," said Teela. "As I said, this is something I have to do alone."
Teela, you are nothing if not persistent, The Sorceress thought as the image of Teela walking up the bridge which led towards the Castle appeared in the viewer. With a wave of her hand, she dissolved the viewer and lowered the drawbridge, allowing Teela to enter.
Look sharp, stay cool, Teela thought as she entered Castle Grayskull's cavernous throne room. She came to a stop before The Sorceress's massive stone throne. Don't let her see you sweat.
"Sorceress," said Teela, bowing her head slightly out of respect.
"Teela," came the reply from the throne. Before Teela could utter another sound, the Sorceress threw down the gauntlet: "Why do you seek her?"
"Your mother," said the Sorceress. "I presume that's why you're here." Softening a bit, she then added, "I'm curious … after all these years of not knowing … why now?" The Sorceress then paused. "Why the sudden obsession?"
She DOES know something! Teela thought excitedly. "Several reasons," she said, composing herself. "Curiosity? Basic questions…"
"Who am I?" said Teela. "WHAT am I?" Teela paused. "Where did I come from? Where was I born? Who were my parents?" Teela paused again. "Not knowing doesn't bother nearly as much as … the deception."
" 'Deception?' " The Sorceress raised an eyebrow.
"Just about everyone around me seems to know … who my mother was."
"And you … Don't," said the Sorceress, completing Teela's sentence.
The Sorceress relaxed a bit on her throne. "Your mother has many enemies," she said. "Any one of whom would think nothing of killing you … to get to HER." The Sorceress paused. "Is that a risk you're prepared to assume?"
What could my mother be doing to offend THAT many people? Teela wondered. "An enemy is an enemy is an enemy," she said. "I fight enemies every day … their motives are irrelevant." Teela paused. "How would fighting my mother's enemies be any different from fighting Skeletor and HIS crew?"
"How much is this worth to you?" asked The Sorceress.
Teela thought fast. "It's worth a return trip to the Crystal Sea."
The Sorceress's eyebrows shot upwards. "THE CRYSTAL SEA?" she exclaimed. "You would risk your life … AGAIN … for a piece of information?"
"I don't know what else TO do," said Teela. "I could spend the rest of my life not knowing a thing about what goes on inside the walls of Grayskull … and I would be happy." Teela paused. "But to ask me to go through life not knowing who my parents are … ESPECIALLY in light of the fact that everyone else around me seems to know … is a burden that I cannot bear."
"I see," said The Sorceress. A look of concern crossed her face. "Is it true … that you're hurting?"
A chill suddenly ran down Teela's spine. " 'Hurting' … How?"
"You haven't been eating or sleeping."
Sucker punch to the gut, Teela thought as she fought to maintain her composure.
The Sorceress grinned lightly. "Well?"
She already knows … so there's no point in lying now, is there? said the Drill Sergeant inside Teela's head. Buck up, soldier … tell her and get it over with. "Yes, it's true," Teela confessed.
"Is it also true … that this has been happening off-and-on … for MONTHS?"
Where does she GET this stuff? Teela wondered. "Yes, it's true," she said. She then added, "You know … I REALLY wasn't expecting this."
"I know," said The Sorceress with an impish grin. "That's why I asked." The Sorceress paused. "You've told me EXACTLY what I wanted to know."
"Which is …?"
"The Truth," said The Sorceress. "You told the truth even though you were tempted to deceive me … in order to save face." The Sorceress paused. "I now know I can trust you."
THAT'S nice to know, Teela thought.
"Your mother cares for you," The Sorceress said softly. "The place where she is now … is no place for children."
Why are YOU telling me this? Teela wondered.
"Your mother gave you up … because you needed something … she could not provide," The Sorceress continued. "Safety … Security … Stability." The Sorceress paused. "A chance to grow up around other people … other children."
Just where in the name of the Ancient Ones is this woman LIVING?! Teela thought.
The Sorceress then did the unexpected: She stood up, disappeared into thin air … and then reappeared right in front of Teela at the base of the platform! A stunned Teela could stare stock-still at The Sorceress -- who was now mere inches from her.
"Your mother loves you," said The Sorceress.
"Just once," Teela stammered. "I'd like to hear those words … coming from … HER lips."
The Sorceress then reached around Teela's back, gently pulled her into an embrace, and whispered in her ear, "You just did."
Teela returned the embrace and put her head on The Sorceress's shoulder. Thank you, she thought.
You're welcome, came the reply from inside Teela's head.
Startled, Teela jumped backwards. "You HEARD that?"
"We are one, Teela … You and I," said The Sorceress. "A part of me … resides within you," she said, placing a small delicate hand over Teela's heart. "I can hear your innermost thoughts."
"I … really should go," said Teela. She backed away and turned towards the drawbridge.
"Teela, wait!" cried The Sorceress. Teela turned back around.
"There's … a favor … I'd like to ask of you."
"Oh!" said Teela, smacking the palm of her hand against her forehead. "Almost forgot." She clenched her right fist and placed it over her heart. "I'll keep your secret," she said with a smile.
The Sorceress smiled and nodded slightly. Good girl.
"So…?" Orko inquired as Teela climbed back into the Wind Raider.
" 'So' … What?" Teela replied.
"Who is it?" Orko asked. "Who's your mother?"
"I … can't tell you," said Teela. "I promised … to keep it a secret."
"You can tell me."
"No," said Teela firmly. "It's no one you'd know, anyway," she lied.
"Pleeeeeeeeeease?" Orko pleaded as Teela started the Wind Raider.
"One little hint?"