I've decided to try this fanfiction project simply because I had an urge to. I can't promises how often it will be up-dated. The chapters are particularly longer than some of my older stories, so just be aware of that. It's also worth noting that this story has nothing to do with anything else I've ever written. My intention is for this fanfiction to be more mature and independent than previous fanfics I've written. Like I said, I'm not sure if there will be a "Part Two." I have some of my own projects I'm working on -- and I also have work, two kids, a wife, and yardwork. Last but not least, only the prelude will be image heavy. Some chapters may or may not have pictures to go along with them; it's going to be a bit of a crap-shoot.
Anyways, I hope you enjoy! Thanks!
Legal Disclaimer: Yadda, yadda, yadda
I am Scrollos. Long have I observed the universe, and long has my gaze fallen upon its center, the world of Eternia.
At the core of Eternia lies the Starseed, a piece of creation itself. It is from the Starseed that magic, sorcery, and pure power comes from.
It is the power of Eternia, and there is no place more concentrated with that power than the fortress known as Castle Grayskull. It was constructed by King D’vann Grayskull to guard the power of Eternia, it has long since drawn forth dark and evil enemies.
Demo-Man, a creature of sheer evil, came to power in the ancient days and raised an army to claim Castle Grayskull as his own. This army of foul beasts and monsters tore through Eternia, bound and determined to conquer the world.
To defeat Demo-Man, King Grayskull forged the Master Sword – a powerful blade, infused with his very life-force; the very power, strength, love, and honor of King Grayskull.
Thus, in the shadow Castle Grayskull, a battle was fought. Clans and tribes loyal to King Grayskull joined with him against Demo-Man and his damned army. The Green Goddess, who led Grayskull to the Abyss where the castle was built, fought alongside him. Also present was the first Sorceress, Veena, the wife of Grayskull and the mother of his child.
(PRELUDE CONTINUED NEXT POST)
As the battle raged on, King Grayskull and Demo-Man came face-to-face. With his mighty mace, Demo-Man cracked Grayskull’s shield. With his enchanted skin, he was impervious to Grayskull’s axe. With his saber, he cut Grayskull’s flesh. But against the Master Sword, there was no defense and there was no counter-attack. King Grayskull used the Master Sword to defeat and disarm Demo-Man and reduced him to pale shade.
Veena and the Green Goddess used Demo-Man’s own magic against him and they banished the enemy and his army to the world of Infinita in the dimension of Despondos.
There was victory, but it was short-lived, for King Grayskull had fallen. Though he smote Demo-Man, the act destroyed the Master Sword and cost Grayskull his life.
King Grayskull passed his power to his greatest warriors – and to the castle itself.
The Master Sword, broken as it was, was in fact tainted by the darkness of Demo-Man. In striking him, some of the evil entity’s own darkness infected the mighty blade. So it was the Master Sword was reforged into three smaller swords. Two contained the power and honor of King Grayskull – the part of his life-force that was poured into the Master Sword. These became the Swords of Power and Protection and were locked away in the castle. The third, filled with darkness and vile hatred, was hidden away for no one to find.
Times passed. Champions of Grayskull were called upon during times of great crisis and the Swords of Power and Protections were sometimes used. To maintain Castle Grayskull, an order of Sorceresses was established.
After a long peace, Eternia has once again known war, and the aftermath of this war, the seeds have been planted for a new conflict. The war between good and evil is never-ending and today . . . today is no exception . . .
There was blood on his sword. His armor was heavy; heavier now than it had been in battle. The helmet, marked with a golden falcon, was scratched and dented. It sat at his cracked and worn boots, the falcon the only symbol of his royalty.
Prince Randor leaned against the wall of the courtyard. Scores of soldiers were around him – some living, some dying, and some injured beyond healing. Their lives would never be the same. Eternos and Eternia would never be the same. The enemy was defeated, but the cost . . . the human cost . . .
The prince raised his head. His father had been dead for a year and the war had stopped any sort of coronation. According to law, Randor was still only the prince.
Duncan, Prince Randor’s best friend and loyal lieutenant, stepped over. Atop a green body suit, he wore orange armor that was flacked with mud and blood. His blue helmet hung from his left hand and in his right hand was a computer tablet. This was business.
“Duncan. What is it?”
“Our sensors have confirmed that the Horde have effectively left Eternia. All dimensional portals are closed and their vessels have broken orbit.”
Randor nodded at the tablet. “Technology is a wonderful thing.”
“We are tracking them best we can, sire. I have made contact with several mystics and known wizards to help follow their exact route. The Comet Keeper, the nomadic Moonspinner . . .” Duncan trailed off.
Randor looked down at the helmet at his feet. Never before had he felt so powerless.
The prince looked to his friend, then followed his gaze. Two men were walking towards them – the Man-At-Arms Dekker, a dark skinned man with a thick black mustache and long black hair tied back in a ponytail. Next to him was a skinny pale man with short white hair and a third eye on his forehead; his name was Rohad, trusted advisor to Randor and the Royal Court.
“Your highness,” Dekker greeted, bowing a little, along with Rohad.
“What is it?” Randor asked, slowly removing his gauntlets.
“We’ve had a sighting,” Rohad reported.
Randor looked up. “What kind of sighting?”
“Keldor. His mercenaries have been sighted in the northern regions of the Evergreen Forest, near the border of the Mystic Mountains,” Rohad continued.
“We believe he is headed towards Point Dread,” Dekker followed up.
“Point Dread?” Duncan questioned. “Why would anyone go to such a foul place?”
“The fact that it is foul is exactly why he would go there.” Randor strapped his gauntlets back on. “Gather a team. Small, but enough to counter Keldor’s mercenaries. I need a fresh suit of armor and my sword cleaned.” He looked to the three crescent moons that hung in the star-filled sky. “We fly at first light.”
Prince Randor left them then to fulfill his orders. Stewards were at his side as soon as he entered the Palace proper. They took his weapons for cleaning and replacement. He allowed them without a second thought; his objective was the royal chambers.
He made for the nursery. He entered and passed a pair of empty bassinets. There, by the window, holding their son, was Prince Randor’s wife – the fair Princess Marlena. She looked up from the window with some suspicion; it quickly passed when she saw her husbands face.
“You’re home,” she breathed.
“I am.” They kissed. He leaned down and kissed his son, Adam. The baby boy slumbered quietly, safe in his mothers arms.
“Not for long,” he then said.
“Where are you going now? You told me that the Horde was defeated and were in retreat - ”
Randor nodded. “Keldor has been sighted in the Evergreen Forest.”
“Keldor.” She looked into the shadows. “You’re going after him, then?”
“He was Hordak’s apprentice. He - ”
She turned back to him, her expression hard and cold. “Bring him back here, Randor. Promise me. Promise me you’ll drag him into the dungeons and put him to trial.”
Randor took a step back. He had seen much of his wife’s dark side in the past few days, but the iron hatred in her voice was startling and new. She was speaking from a place of pure agony and stern, harsh anger. Randor felt similarly, but the battle yesterday had been cathartic and left him feeling more helpless than angry.
“I’ll be leaving at dawn. We believe he’s at the northern border of the Evergreen Forest. I’ll contact you as soon as I have news.” He touched her face. “I need my rest. As do you.”
“Adam will need fed soon. I will stay up for a little longer.”
“Let me see my son.”
She handed the newborn to Randor. The prince, in his armor atop his already firm and muscled body, seemed like a giant in comparison to the fragile baby. Randor examined his son’s chubby cheeks and thin skin; his puckered lips and faded hair. He was beautiful, this prince, this son of his.
He was worth fighting for.
The sun rose the next morning and Randor’s orders were fulfilled. A team of twenty specialized soldiers left Eternos, spearheaded by Randor, Duncan, and Dekker. Their troop transport was flanked by four Battle-Hawks that screeched around them in a defensive posture. Randor ignored the cries and pleads of his council, who had insisted he stay at Eternos. They had given him the same warnings three days before, when he and his Royal Soldiers left to engage the Horde invaders. He reminded them that it was his field tactics and chance for improvisation that led to the end of the war and the defeat of the enemy.
Besides, with Keldor, it was different.
“Be on your guard,” Duncan warned the soldiers. “Keldor is extremely dangerous. He is an excellent swordsman and a powerful practitioner of the dark arts. He has had access to many dangerous substances and weapons. Those that he travels with are to be regarded just as carefully, for they are not soldiers, but mercenaries. Exiled warlords and bounty hunters and creatures whom we do not fully understand.”
Dekker stood up with Duncan. “It’s worth noting also that we are dealing with ancient Eternian lore. There are many dark and wrong things about Point Dread. Legends speak spirits that walk its base and vile beasts that hide in its caves. Whatever Keldor is there for, it is naught for good.”
Randor heard every word of this conversation. He toyed with his helmet. When it came to Keldor, he wondered if there was any real good left inside of him. He wondered if the man he once called brother even existed.
(chapter one will continue in the next post)
pretty cool :D Good photography on your toys too
(chapter one continued)
Twilight had come and Keldor was thankful for it. He had been aware that they were being tracked for several hours and the darkness would help keep them hidden. If everything went as planned, the night’s darkness would give him the time he needed and his pursuit wouldn’t matter.
“They’re getting closer,” snarled Beast-Man. The huge, orange-furred, white faced creature leapt onto a nearby rock. He took in several deep lungfuls of air and then jumped down next to Keldor. “Five, maybe six miles out.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Keldor responded. His hand went to the hilt of his twin-bladed sword anyway.
They stood at the north edge of the Evergreen Forest; massive trees stretched towards the sky above them. Huge rocks long tumbled from the mountains jutted from the earth. Creatures of the night slowly began to emerge and scurry about.
Directly before them stood Point Dread, a steep-sided and rocky mountain. Compared to the rolling mountains around it, Point Dread was nearly bare. It was covered in nooks and crannies that were said to be haunted. There was no clear path to the top; no one had ever made it to the summit of Point Dread. Or so they said.
Keldor wasn’t looking for the top. He was looking for the bottom. He hoped that his information hadn’t been faked. The scrolls stolen from Geldor’s vaults and the story told by Monteeg were both too good to be true . . . or so he hoped not.
Keldor and Beast-Man were joined by others – the former aquatic warlord Mer-Man; the bounty hunter Eathos; the brilliant engineer-turned-mercenary Kronis; the lizard-like Whiplash; the crustacean Clawful; and Keldor’s witch apprentice, Evil-Lyn.
“Here.” Keldor came to a halt, his minions behind him doing the same. Before them were two huge boulders deeply imbedded in the mountain. There was a gap between them. Keldor raised his hands and closed his eyes. He could sense magic here. Powerful magic.
Keldor reached into his belt and retrieved a small vile. He threw it into the gap, where it shattered on the ground. Green liquid spread out quickly. Red symbols lit up all over the boulders; they were wild, chaotic, twisted symbols. Symbols of fear and warning. Keldor grinned.
Acid ate at the ground. A magic field sizzled and faded. The symbols flickered away. Smoke billowed out of the gap, blocking any view of what was happening. After several minutes , the smoke cleared there were a set of stone steps leading under the mountain. Keldor took a step forward. The acid had done its trick.
“Whiplash, Clawful, Beast-Man, Mer-Man – stay here and keep our guests out. Evil-Lyn, Eathos, Kronis, you three are with me.”
Keldor led them down the stairs to a stone wall covered in ancient symbols. A skull sat in the center of the stone. So far ,the information was correct. The Sword of Darkness was behind this wall. Keldor placed his hands on the wall and began to mutter the correct spell. He could feel it vibrate, but it was not enough. Keldor reached the back of his purple harness and retrieved his Havoc Staff; a long staff with a ram’s skull on its top.
He shouted several magic words and pressed the skull against the wall. It went from vibrating to outright shaking. Swirls of green and red energy appeared then disappeared all along the wall. The skull turned bright green, then black, then became ash and fell off the wall.
The wall swung open and a tunnel appeared. The walls were covered in skulls and there were apparitions in the corners of their eyes. Flashes of creatures too foul and evil to really describe. Keldor ignored them all and pretended not to hear the protests of his three escorts. Were they truly afraid of illusions?
At last, Keldor arrived at the central chamber. A large, rounded out cave that was glowing with an erie green light. Rocks littered the ground, none large enough to hide a fully-sized man. In the center of the cave, surrounded by an sheet of green light, hung the Sword of Darkness. It was black, tinged with purple, with a hilt that rose up into a pair of curls that faced out.
There was some commotion from outside. Shouting, roaring, weapons fire. Keldor had been found.
Keldor returned his Havoc Staff to its place and instead drew forth his twin-bladed sword. He spun and saw Randor and five other soldiers following him.
“Keldor! We have you outnumbered. Surrender now and you’ll receive a fair trial.”
“I think not, dear brother.”
Keldor rushed at Randor. He pulled at the hilt of his sword and the twin blades separated, becoming two swords. They crashed against Randor’s sword – the Honor Sword, a blade handed down from generation to generation, being re-forged with every new king.
Metal scrapped against metal. Keldor was good, but Randor was better. Randor swept back from the two blades and raised his shield. He swung it up just in time to catch Keldor’s first strike. Randor jabbed at Keldor’s left hand sword and knocked him off balance enough to smash the shield against Keldor’s chest.
Keldor rolled back, but kept his grip on the swords. Randor drew back, shield raised to his left and Honor Sword poised at his right. Keldor slid his blades together menacingly. Randor was not intimidated. He took a step forward, but Keldor flew at him, blades whipping through the air quickly. One slashed at his gut, so fast that Randor didn’t have time to move his shield. The sword cut across Randor’s armor, so no flesh touched. But Keldor moved in with the left sword and cut at the shield mechanism. It sparked on Randor’s wrist and the shield shuttered down into a orb on his wrist.
Randor ducked and fell back, avoiding both swings of Keldor’s blades. He tossed the Honor Sword up and held against them then, tension rising between both brothers.
“Where is she?” Randor spat. “Where is Adora? Where did Hordak take her?”
Keldor pushed his swords firmer against Randor. He sneered. “I’m not talk - ”
Randor kicked him in the knee, then shoved his own knee into Keldor’s exposed stomach. Keldor lost his grip on his left sword and Randor spun in with a kick to the face. Keldor sputtered back and with one powerful strike, the right one joined the left on the floor.
“Abandon this place and never return. Do that and reveal where Hordak took Adora and how to get there. If you do these things, I will let you go.”
Keldor blinked. “You would not.”
“I am your brother. No matter what happened or happens, I am your brother. Swear to me. Swear it to me on our father’s sword. Tell me what I need to know. Leave this place and swear never to return and then I will let you go.”
“You’re a fool, Randor!”
There was a flash of light. Randor stumbled back, hand on his eyes. Keldor leapt to his feet and moved quickly the Sword of Darkness. He whispered several spells and then pushed his hand into the green energy field. It was thick, like reaching into molasses. His fingers touched the Sword of Darkness –
As soon as they did, the green field grew red. Lightning shot through the chamber. Keldor whispered spells as fingers groped for the swords handle. The lightning grew more violent.
Dekker took a smaller bolt to his left eye. He roared in pain as his smoke rose from the wound. A nearby soldier moved to help him, but was struck in the neck. A soldier who was fighting Kronis was hit in the legs by a larger bolt. A much larger one blasted away Kronis’ jaw and arm.
Eathos dodged a big bolt, but received a medium sized one to both of his eyes. One Royal Soldier received a strike to the chest, killing him instantly. Another one was stuck in the stomach, killing him as well.
Randor was hit in the knee, ripping away most of its flesh. Duncan shoved him behind a large rock just as another bolt came careening towards them.
Randor pushed past the pain. He looked up at Keldor, whose fingers at last wrapped around the hilt of the Sword of Darkness. He drew the sword out from the energy field. All the lightning then concentrated on Keldor – specifically his face. Keldor screamed, the pitch rising higher and higher as he drew the sword out. Lightning sparked and shot into his entire head. His black hair was burning away, his flesh was melting.
“KELDOR! LET GO!” Randor screamed.
Keldor did no such thing. In spite of the lightning that was killing him, he kept on pulling the Sword of Darkness out. At last, the Sword of Darkness slipped free of the force field and Keldor tumbled back, screaming inhumanly as his face smoldered. The lightning had stopped, but the damage was done.
Randor tried to rise, but his knee had him in agony.
“Duncan – grab him!”
Duncan rose to his feet, but a force field appeared around Keldor and the Sword of Darkness. Similair force fields materialized around Eathos and Kronis. The witch, unscratched by the lightning, stared with deep concern at the convulsing Keldor.
A section of the wall suddenly collapsed, revealing Whiplash, Beast-Man, and Mer-Man.
“STOP!” Prince Randor shouted. “STOP! NO! STOP!”
Evil-Lyn gave Randor a passing glance, then ignored him. She levitated her wounded allies and leader and followed Whiplash through his man-made tunnel.
“Stop . . .” Randor attempted, but the pain was taking over. “Stop . . .”
The energy field faded away and the cave grew black as starless night and all Randor could hear were the agonizing cries of his men.
Marlena awoke to the sound of the door opening. A light fell upon her, then the shadow of a man. Her man. Prince Randor, her husband, and father of her children . . . her son . . .
Limping, Randor came to the bed. “You need to see a medic.”
“They have me patched up for now. I’ll be seeing Healers again in an hour.” Randor’s brown eyes found Marlena’s blue ones. “I failed, my dear. We lost Adora and now we – I – Keldor is dead.”
Marlena nodded a little and then hugged her husband hard. Randor released the Honor Sword and let it clatter to the ground.
In the next room, at the nursery window, a falcon landed and stared intently at the sleeping form of little Prince Adam. Then, as though knowing all that had transpired and would now unfold, it cooed and sighed. After a long minute, the falcon took flight, made one more stop, then made north. Its wings carried it deep into the Evergreen Forest and into the window of Castle Grayskull.
Once there, the falcon took the form of a woman, the Sorceress of Grayskull. And she prepared to wait.
END OF CHAPTER ONE
Oh man that was spectacular!
Thank you for that
Please oh please let there be a Chapter Two!
Very nicely written! And I love that the Master Sword was made into He-Man, She-Ra's and Skeletor's Swords. Very awesome idea!
The afternoon light poured through the vast windows and came down upon the classroom. Here, among princes, princesses, and the children of Lords, Ladies, Counts, and Knights, was Prince Adam, son of King Randor. He sat slumped back in his chair, chin to his chest. He was as skinny as a pole with a mop of blonde hair; when his eyes were open, they were crystal blue.
“We’ve concluded today’s lesson about the history of Avion and Andreenid. Thus begins Day One of our study of Eternos culture and history,” said Professor Smallen. He was diminutive old teacher, with big wild gray hair and a salt and pepper mustache. “You’ve all been assigned the basic history of Eternos last night. I’d like to take some time to review that information, if you would please.” He flicked the side of his nose. “Who here can tell me about the role Eternos plays in the Fertile Plains and how that affects its position throughout the Light Hemisphere?” He looked to a young blonde woman who sat near the front of the class. “Ileena?”
Ileena adjust the bronze tiara on her head and leaned forward. “Eternos, uh, is located in the heart of the Fertile Plains and it controls most of the agriculture. It also, um, has a big military.”
Smallen raised his finger. “Not just big, but the biggest, correct?”
“Very good. Very good. Now, who can tell me about the history of Eternos, hm? How old Eternos? Krittina?”
The feline Qadian perked up. “Legend claims it’s the oldest kingdom.”
“Actually, half-right. We do have confirmation that Eternos is among the oldest kingdoms of Men, but the reign of the Dragons is far older.”
Krittina rolled her eyes and fell back a bit in her chair.
“The question remains unanswered, however. How old is Eternos? Krill?”
“Um, 1,000 years?” the young man answered.
“Correct! And who can tell me what occurred in the Year 3754?”
David, a young man who sat next to Adam, kicked the prince in the shin. Adam sat up, startled. Smallen turned to him immediately.
“Ah, yes, of course. Prince Adam. Enlighten us. 3754. What happened in that year?”
Adam settled back into his chair and looked around confusedly. “Uh, what happened where?”
“Eternos, Prince Adam. What happened in the Year 3754 that was so pivotal the history of Eternos?”
Adam looked to his heavy text. “Um, that was . . . was that King Gray the Great?”
“No. You’re off by about a thousand years.”
“Oh. Okay . . . how about . . . um . . . the thing with Royal Council?”
Professor Smallen pinched the small of his nose, his forehead crinkled. “Yes. The coup that ousted your ancestor, King Vykron and led to rebellion of his son, Vykor.” Small rolled his head around. “How can you not know this?”
Adam shrugged. “It’s the past. It’s not that important, Professor. I’m sorry.”
The entire class glanced between the two of them.
“Not important? Not important?! Prince Adam, you will be the king of Eternos someday! You will need to know the history so that - ”
“Someday,” Adam replied. “But not today. My father’s a smart guy, Professor. He’ll teach me everything I need to know.”
“Prince Adam - ”
“History is in the past, Professor Smallen. There hasn’t been coup since then and there won’t be. Eternos’ military has only gotten stronger, so there’s nothing to be worried about. Trust me. Being a prince has been easy and being the king? Just going to be easier.”
Professor Smallen was about to speak, when there a loud, deep bell ringing from outside. “Dismissed.”
Adam was on his feet. On his way out, he hooked his arm around Lady Amanda’s shoulders. “Lady Amanda, how would like to join me and my little entourage tomorrow? It’s my eighteenth birthday . . .”
Lady Amanda giggled, as did the some of the other girls around him. Adam glanced at David to get on him about waking him in class, but Adam’s attention fell immediately to the tiger that sat in the outside corridor waiting for him. For a tiger, it was small and tame as a kitten. It had green fur and yellow strips and was fearful of everything – even a small class letting out.
“Cringer! You waited for me!”
Lady Amanda and Krittina both stopped to see the tiger proceeded to pet it with Adam. Cringer purred and rolled onto his back so they could get his belly.
Just then, a young woman with red hair and wearing a white and gold body suit stepped over. “Prince Adam.”
Teela glanced the two women that stood with him, and then at Cringer, and then looked back at Adam. “I’m here to remind you that we have a one-on-one training class at 3 Bells.” The two women could sense Teela’s hostility towards them just by the way she squared her shoulders. She shot them a cold, hard glance and then turned the same look to Adam.
“Do not be late, your highness.”
“Teela, come on - ”
“These lessons come at the authority of your father, your highness.”
“Whatever, fine. Come on, Cringer. Let’s get some fishing in.”
Adam and Cringer leapt over the small stone wall, trampled through a tiny garden, and then disappeared into the courtyard. Teela glanced at the two abandoned women, and then charged off. She was hardly a year older than Adam, but had long since surpassed him in maturity long ago. He seemed more a boy while she was more of a woman.
Teela rounded a corner, and then paused. Two of the Royal Guards were leaning against the wall, chatting away.
“ – it’s like said, I got no problem taking orders from a girl. That’s not a problem at all,” said one.
“And I have no real issues with someone so young too, even though she really young.”
“I’m with ya.”
“It’s just that fact that, you know, I feel like she only got the job as Captain because of Man-At-Arms being her father and all.”
The other guard nodded. “Yeah, I suppose, I mean - ”
“I just wish my Daddy was Man-At-Arms, you know? Then I coulda been Captain when I was 12!”
The other guard’s eyes widened like saucers. “Uh - ”
“What?” said the second guard.
“Gentlemen,” Teela addressed, appearing before them. “I find your lack of posture and overall negative attitude very disturbing. We have a job to do . . . and maybe it’s time you learn how to do it. Again.”
Chapter Two will continue next post.
Thank you for giving us this - especially at what sounds like a busy time for you. I do like the way in which you write; you draw a convincing distinction between the higher and more remote 'chronicle' style of the preludium and background history, while allowing a more vernacular approach to the interplay of the youngsters; it works well, I believe.
I hope you get chance to write more.
(And I do like the sideswipes at 'Captain' Teela; it was always rather hard to comprehend a seventeen year old girl as commander of the Palace Guard. Even if it were true, it would be sure to be resented!)
As always my friend you are the master story teller when it comes MOTU. It seems great minds think a lot because that's how I always thought Keldor was disfigured before the 200X series came out. Can't wait to see where this is going :D :hogrin:
(CHAPTER TWO CONTINUED)
“I mean no disrespect, your highness,” Professor Smallen pleaded.
King Randor waved his hand. “None taken, of course. Please continue.”
“Very well.” Smallen wringed his hands. “It’s just that this course was created to educate all these young people about each other’s kingdoms. But Prince Adam, heir to the throne itself, isn’t even taking the lessons about his own kingdom very seriously. He’s dozed off in every class I’ve ever had him in.”
“What is so frustrating, my king, is that he is a very intelligent young man. His tests scores are amazingly high and his papers, when he writes them, are very insightful.” Chief of Education Jodder sighed. “We are at our wits end.”
King Randor scratched his thick brown beard and turned his wife. Queen Marlena patiently lifted a cup of tea to her lips and sipped.
“He has always been a difficult lad,” King Randor said at length. “He never wanted to play in the games with the other boys. The most exercise he got was chasing after girls. I too have reached the end of my rope.”
“Perhaps – perhaps he is - ” Jodder paused and rubbed his bald head. “My queen, begging my pardon, but there is still so much we do not know about your homeworld of Eighth.”
“Earth.” Queen Marlena set her tea down. “Go on.”
“Earth, my apologies. Er, forgive this question, for I do not mean to sound uncouth, but is there any such condition on Earth that would lead such an intelligent person to be so uncaring in how their intelligence is used. Again, I mean no offense.”
“None taken. You seek a medical condition, correct?”
“Yes, your highness.”
“Yes, there is such a condition. We call it youth.”
Jodder and Smallen glanced at each other. Duncan – the Man-At-Arms – smirked from the back of the lounge. Queen Marlena caught her husband’s eye and quietly sipped on her tea. King Randor grunted and stood up.
“Gentlemen, the matter will be discussed at once with my son. I appreciate your time and concern. I will keep you posted, as I hope you will do the same.”
“Thank you, your highness.”
“A pleasure, as always, your majesties.”
The two men were lead out the door. King Randor turned to his wife. “Youth.”
Marlena finished her tea. “Yes, well, I can see no other reason for such laziness.”
“He is no longer a boy, Marlena. He is a man and tomorrow will be yet another birthday. Eighteen signifies adulthood on Earth, yes? On Eternia, he surpassed that two years ago.”
Duncan stood up straight. “I should go.”
“No, stay, it is fine.” Randor looked to skylight. “These are tired grounds for my wife and I.”
“Randor . . .” Marlena rose and took her husband’s hand. “You’re afraid I’ve coddled him. Maybe I have, but I still believe he simply hasn’t found an outlet for his potential.”
“And you’ve disagreed with my attempts at trying to help him it.”
“Yelling at him isn’t doing it, Randor.”
“I’m not – I’ve yelled at him perhaps four times – he is exceptionally lazy, Marlena!”
“He’s not lazy, he’s just - ”
“Misguided? How many times have I heard that?”
Marlena looked over at Duncan. Randor did the same. Duncan stepped over to the window overlooking the courtyard.
“Well, wha – hey, don’t look at me. I always thought I was coddling Teela and now look at her. She’s . . .” He stared outside. “She’s making a guard run laps in his boxer shorts?” Duncan grabbed his helmet. “Excuse me. It seems I need to have a discussion with my daughter about humiliating the troops.”
They excused the Man-At-Arms.
Marlena stepped away from her husband. “What are we doing wrong, Randor? Why can’t we get him to listen to us?”
“I ask those questions every day.” He walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. “Every day.”
Marlena laid her hands on his. “Maybe I have coddled him a little too much. I just . . . after Adora . . .”
“I know.” Randor kissed the back of her head. “I know. And perhaps my approach has been wrong as well. I will speak with him and then, tomorrow . . . we will find some new responsibilities for him. New tasks to fulfill. Maybe then, we shall see his full potential.”
But even as he said those words, King Randor was filled with doubt.
Man-At-Arms approached his daughter as she observed the tenth lap. She stood with her arms crossed, her back to a lavish garden full of a rainbow of flowers.
“Teela . . . what did he do?”
“Lack of discipline.”
“What does that mean?” He stepped a little closer. “Captain.”
She turned to him. “He was talking about me. They don’t trust me, father. They don’t think I’ve got what it takes.”
“They don’t know you yet, Teela. When the time comes, they will see.”
“And when is that time coming, father? I swear, you seem like you’re always ready for a war to break out.”
“You’d feel the same way if you’ve been through one.” He put his hand on her shoulder. “Regardless, I think you’ve proven your point. Give the man his dignity back; that will be a true test for you.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means - ”
Duncan . . .
“Uh . . .”
He could hear it in his mind. The soft lyrical voice, calling out his name.
Duncan . . .
“I – I forgot something,” he said at last. “I . . . excuse me.”
Teela watched him walk away, and then break into a full on sprint. She wondered about him for a moment, then called out to the guard to stop. The guard rushed over.
“How do you feel, lieutenant?”
“Fine, ma’am. Just fine.”
“You look like you could pass out.” He was a little overweight. “Go hit the showers, get dressed, and then, uh, tell everyone how great a job you did.” Let the man have his dignity. “GO!”
The guard ran off.
“Good enough,” Teela sighed.
Duncan stepped into his workshop and immediately locked the door. He sat on the floor and crossed his legs, the knees getting sore quickly. He cleared his mind and listened for the voice to return. The voice of a woman several miles away. The voice of a woman he once loved. The Sorceress of Grayskull.
Hear me, Duncan. You must come to Castle Grayskull at once.
“Why?” he asked aloud even as he thought the word.
The time has come and there is much we must discuss.
“I will be there as soon as I can.”
The telepathic connection cut. Duncan rose from his position and made for the hanger. Here, he found a Talon Fighter that had just recently completed repairs.
“I’ll be taking this a test run for a few hours,” he told the hanger manager. He also sent a message via one of the Stewards to make sure the king and queen were aware that he could be unreachable for several hours.
The Talon Fighter launched out hanger bay and shot into the air. Duncan swung it above the vast, stone city, then headed due north and accelerated.
(CHAPTER TWO WILL CONCLUDE IN THE NEXT POST)
King Randor found Adam next to the pond, the small tiger curled next to him. A fishing pole sat propped against a rock and a line fed into the water. The king did his best to quell his frustration and to mind his words.
“Wake up, son.”
Adam started. Cringer leapt and dashed behind a nearby tree.
“Whoa! Dad! What’s going on?”
King Randor circled Adam like a shark. “I spoke with Professor Smallen and Chief Jodder. They told me about your attitude today in class. It was extremely inappropriate.”
“Like teaching me about Eternos isn’t? I don’t even know why I’m in that class.”
“It’s a cross-kingdom, multi-cultural class. It’s to learn about the other kingdoms of Eternia.”
“Which is stupid. Why do I need to know about them? Why do I even need to learn all the same old same old about Eternos?”
“Because you need to learn patience. Because you need to learn about the kingdoms you’ll be interacting with, and yes, even modeling at times.” King Randor grunted and turned away from his son. “You will continue to take that class and you will be mindful and attentive to Professor Smallen and respectful to your classmates. In addition, I will be adding physical training and exercise to your schedule, in addition to your self-defense classes. Twice daily, with Teela. It’s time you also learn discipline.”
“Dad, you’re kidding! Teela’s - ”
“- The Captain of the Royal Guard and your chief protector. And I am your father and your king. You will do as I say or face the dire consequences.”
King Randor was close to losing his temper. He could feel the heat growing in his cheeks and he did everything not to rant at his son.
“All right, all right.”
“You will also apologize to Professor Smallen.”
“Dad -- ”
“You will do this, Adam!”
Adam looked down at the grass. Cringer was frozen with fear behind the tree.
“Look at me. Look me in the eyes,” King Randor snapped.
Adam looked up, but tilted his head so his blonde hair flopped back. His jaw was slacked and he clearly wasn’t impressed.
“One more final task. You will bring the kindling and prepare the fire for the Beacon-Lighting Ceremony tonight at midnight.”
This confused Adam. His father had always done this. That fact alone had stuck him as odd, because Adam always wondered why his father didn’t find an aide to do this. And now, he was being asked to.
“But father - ”
“You will do this, Adam. It is your duty as crown prince. Do you understand?”
King Randor stomped off. Adam sighed and glanced back at his fishing pole. There was nothing tugging on the line.
Castle Grayskull was myth. A legend lost in time. No one seemed to remember it. Those that did couldn’t say where it was. But Man-At-Arms stood in its deepest, most hallowed chamber – the throne room. Here, he stood in the shadows of huge statues of great warriors and ancient wizards and wise philosophers. Pillars separated each of the statues, brilliant marble pillars with faces carved on the top. A high, arched ceiling rose tall, and down from it hung ancient banners and flags. A single skylight shined down sunlight upon the throne itself, which sat on a dais. It was golden throne, with a ordain rug before it. There were two rectangular stones alongside, each covered in siguls.
Upon that throne was the Sorceress of Grayskull. She wore a dress of orange, blue, and white feathers. A headdress sat upon her middle-aged head; it was the face of a falcon, the beak hung just over her forehead. A pair of wings stood up from her backside.
Man-At-Arms fell to one knee, a fury of emotions clamped down behind formalities. The Sorceress rose and walked down the steps of the dais to greet him.
“Rise, Duncan, Man-At-Arms,” she told him.
He did so and looked deeply at her.
“I have come as summoned.”
The Sorceress strode across the stone floor, her shoes clicking with each footfall. “The time is drawing near. Is the boy ready?”
“Already - ?! I – I’m not sure, Sorceress. Adam is smart, but lacks maturity and - ”
“We are running out of time, Duncan.” The use of his name made his heart jump. “You have the intelligence reports. Goblins are moving into the Valley of Storms. Mount Barathrum has erupted. Storehouses have been raided as far west as the Borderlands. The kingdom of Morgior has gone silent.”
“A flood led to its evacuation. You’re grasping at straws.”
“Do not doubt me. The fortresses at Snake Mountain are rebuilt. Evil creatures are gathering and the ancient magics have been stirred. The creature that was Keldor . . . what has taken his place . . . what he has become . . . it is ready. The Sword of Darkness has taught this creature well. We have days, perhaps. At best.”
“Tee – Sorceress, I’m just not sure.”
“You must bring him here, Man-At-Arms. Tonight, if possible. No later.”
“I don’t know that I can. It’s his birthday tomorrow and tonight is the Beacon-Lighting Ceremony.”
“Then after the ceremony, he must be brought here. Prince Adam must face his destiny. Or all will be lost.”
The moons rose to their apex. Midnight had nearly arrived. Queen Marlena adjusted her crown and took in a deep breath. King Randor walked into their room, his face somber and his expression distant. The two of them embraced, finding comfort from the other.
The two stepped out of their chambers, accompanied by four Royal Guards. They turned several corners and walked down long passages until they reached the bridge that led to the lookout tower just to the left of the main entrance to the Palace. Atop the lookout tower was an open air pyre – a beacon to be lit once a year. For seventeen years, it was King Randor that gathered the kindling for that beacon and he was always the one to light it. This year, he handed that responsibility to Adam.
Imagine his shock when he found a pair of stewards still building the kindling into a proper pile.
“What is this?” the king snarled. “Where is Prince Adam?”
The two stewards stopped in their tracks. “He ordered us to, sire.”
“He - ”
“I’m right here!” Adam yelled, rushing to the pyre.
Randor pointed to stewards. “Out. Now.” The stewards rushed out. King Randor turned on his heel to his son. “What is the meaning of this? Why did you not do as I ordered?”
“Father, I just delegated the task, just like - ”
“I have never delegated this task, Adam. It’s personal. There are times when a king must – damn it, Adam! I cannot believe you defied me! This is tradition.”
“Father, I’m sorry, but it’s silly one. It’s - ”
“How dare you?!”
“Adam! Randor! Enough!” Marlena’s voice was stern and stopped them cold. “This is not the time for this. We have a ceremony to conduct.”
By now, others were beginning to gather. Captain Teela, Man-At-Arms, the Lieutenants, the Heroic Warriors – all of them were assembled in formal lines on the bridge. King Randor glanced back at them, then sighed and finished adding the kindling to the pyre. Then, lighting a torch a blaze, he stepped up and activated his comm-line to the speakers throughout the kingdom.
All of Eternos was awake and watching the royal family upon the lookout tower.
“My people! Just under eighteen years ago, a great tragedy befell my family. Our dearest daughter Adora was taken by the Horde. In the long, troubling years since, we have strived to find her, but to no avail. But this year, like every year, we light this beacon in the hopes that it will guide her back to us – no matter where she is or where she has gone. May the Elders be with her, no matter her struggles. May the Ancients grant her a path home, no matter where she is. May we be reunited, no matter how much we must suffer. Let the light shine for her.”
The torch was dropped upon the pyre and it broke out in a great flame. It lit the night sky and could be seen from miles away.
King Randor, Queen Marlena, and Prince Adam all waved to the crowds that had gathered. For a moment, Adam’s misdeed was forgotten.
But only for a moment.
King Randor turned to his son, his rage smoldering. “I have had enough of this, Adam. You have been nothing but a disappointment. You have many more lessons to learn than I ever believed.”
“Father, come on - ”
“Enough! This was a personal job. A dignified tradition that you have sullied and ignored. You fail to recognize the importance of doing such a thing. I have had it!”
Adam was speechless. His father’s face was crimson
“You have far too much to learn, Adam.”
King Randor walked over to the bridge and he and Marlena began to shake the hands of those that were gathered. They thanked them for their loyalty and friendship, as well as their continued support. Randor and Marlena paused and talked for Man-At-Arms for a good couple of minutes. Adam couldn’t hear what they were saying and Teela’s interruption only made it worse.
“Way to go, your highness.”
“Leave me alone, Teela.”
“Even I could have told you needed to gather that wood and stack it yourself.”
“Teela - ”
“Prince Adam,” Man-At-Arms said, stepping towards the young prince. “You and I are going on a little mission.”
“Now. It would be best if you were away from your parents anger tonight, anyways. They are aware of this, of course.” Man-At-Arms put his hand on Adam’s shoulder. “You have a task to complete tonight.”
(END OF CHAPTER TWO)