The Powers of Grayskull
It is a terrible night, dark and stormy. Lightning crackles, thunder rolls. Adam is asleep, but it is a troubled sleep. He tosses, turns, and moans as if plagued by a bad dream, which indeed he is.
There is a tremendous thunder clap. A dark figure is silhouetted by a shimmering dimensional gate. In his right arm is a weapon, extended out. In his left arm is a baby, crying.
“You may have defeated us but you will never see this child again!” With a cruel laugh, the figure fires his weapon and steps into the dimensional gate which swiftly closes and disappears.
There is another tremendous thunder clap. “No!” Adam jerks up in his bed, a cry on his lips.
He awakens before the beam lances him, the laughter of the figure still echoing eerily in his mind in the stillness of his bed chamber.
Adam shakes his head, shaking off the nightmare. “A nightmare. Nothing but a—”
“Adam? Adam, you must come to Castle Grayskull immediately, it’s very important!” The Sorceress interrupts his thought, telepathically.
“I’ll be there right away!”
Adam and Cringer stand before the Sorceress in the throne room of Castle Grayskull.
“The past and present, your dream and destiny, are more intertwined than you know. It is time you discover how.”
The Sorceress points her staff at the Mystic Mirror and Adam’s reflection whirls and dissolves to reveal . . .
Gray. He looks concerned. The harness of his dual sword is empty. There are battle sounds in the distance. “When my sword was lost in battle with the Snake Men, I had hoped it was a sign that a time of peace was upon us.”
“Sadly, that time has not yet come,” says Zilora.
Ollo continues, “Even now, the forces of evil are clashing—”
“—One will emerge victorious and then the true battle for Eternia will be upon us,” Tamusk concludes.
“Though I yearn for nothing more than an Eternia free of bloodshed, if battle I must, then battle I shall,” Gray says resolutely.
Something is flying overhead. Gray and the others look to the sky and urgently raise their guard. Tamusk aims his magic club. Gray suddenly recognizes what is approaching and calls out, “Sharella!”
A Turbodactyl lands and a woman dismounts. She approaches Gray and the others. “Hordak has put off his attack but attack he will.”
Gray shakes his head. “And so there will be more bloodshed. If only there was another way—”
Sharella puts her hand on Gray’s shoulder. “If there was, you would have found it. Never was there a heart as good and honorable as yours, my pupil.”
Gray looks at Eldor intently. “I must act, you must help me.”
Eldor pauses. “If you choose this path, there is no turning back, and you may perish.”
“And if I do nothing, then all of Eternia will perish,” Gray responds.
Eldor nods with sad resignation. “Go then and find Orokle the Great. He alone can give you the knowledge you seek. It is deep in the Tar Swamps that you will find him, far beyond the reach of my magic.”
“Then let it be done.” Gray dramatically mounts his Bionatops, which roars up and races from the Hall of Wisdom. As Gray gallops away, he pauses to look around, as he heads for the adjacent Tar Swamps, perhaps for a meeting with destiny.
Gray gallops through the dappled light, leaves and trees, and prehistoric creatures of the ever-darkening, thickening woods of the Tar Swamp. He gallops further into the darkness, passed dark gnarled trees, and then he sees it; a gleaming gold pyramid in the clearing.
A large Eternian moon shines down from above as Gray dismounts and approaches the pyramid, calling out reverently, “Oh, Great Orokle, I seek your help.”
The walls of the pyramid open and a Trollan with a long flowing beard and spectacles zips out: Orokle the Great.
He flies over and hovers near Gray. “That’s what I’m here for!”
Gray is taken aback. “You are the Great Orokle? But—”
Orokle looks over to the pyramid and shrugs. “That? Just for show. Impresses the Loo-Kee-loos. So what can I do ya for?”
Gray is about to tell him when Orokle holds up a hand. “Oh, wait, don’t tell me—” He narrows his eyes shrewdly as he circles around Gray. “The evil Hordak threatens to destroy your village! Am I right?”
Gray nods. “Yes, but I fear—”
Orokle holds up a hand and interrupts again, “—You fear you won’t have the power to defeat him. And I know just what you need.”
Gray is surprised. “You can give me this power?”
Orokle eyes Gray meaningfully. “Me? No. You must find it yourself. But I am warning you, it is a long journey and it will not be easy.”
“I would do anything to protect Eternia. Even give up my life if it was necessary,” Gray states solemnly.
Orokle is a bit uneasy. “Yes, well—listen close.”
Orokle looks out and narrows his eyes. “You must journey first past the Corridors of Lithos until you reach the dreaded Tunnels of Darksmoke.”
Gray journeys through the Corridors of Lithos, riding his huge green Bionatops as night turns into day. The Corridors stretch behind him as far as the eye can see as he gallops into the Tunnels. All seems calm until two ferocious dragons appear; one red and one green, both impossibly huge. As they roar and snap at him, he maneuvers his Bionatops to avoid their massive jaws. Ahead, four more dragons—two on each side—breathe down fire. Gray courageously gallops through the fiery gauntlet. He and Bionatops emerge out of the far side of the Tunnels, the ferocious dragons roaring in the distance.
“If you survive the Tunnels of Darksmoke, you will come to the Labyrinth of Thorns. Many have entered, few have returned. Choose your path wisely.”
Gray is before a foreboding Labyrinth made of tall, briar-like hedges. There is a single entrance. Inside, there are several dark, thorny-hedged pathways through the maze. Gray looks down and sees broken briars and other signs of footprints, then notes a particular pathway. “Many footprints lead in but only that pathway has footprints leading out.”
Gray and Bionatops proceed through the chosen pathway. As they travel through the briar maze, Gray brightens to see an opening, leading to daylight. As they exit the Labyrinth, Gray’s eyes adjust as he sees a small rock formation looming ahead in the far distance.
“If you make it through, your final destination stands before you: the Imperium Crevasse. But to reach it, you must cross the entire Sands of Time.”
Gray travels through the impossibly vast Sands of Time as the fierce sun beats down. Gray sees that his Bionatops is panting, overheated, and breathing heavily. There is still a great distance to travel, but Gray dismounts and indicates a nearby, shaded watering-hole to his weary, overheated Bionatops. “Rest here, old friend. I will return for you.”
Gray arduously descends into the keyhole entrance in the side of the rock formation as punishing temperatures and freezing winds whip past. Gray reaches the bottom, emerging from the punishing gale. As he steps upon the floor of the Crevasse, suddenly all the winds and cold abate.
“Climb to the bottom of the Crevasse. There you will find a Crystal Cavern. You must enter it.”
Gray looks around and sees an impossibly large boulder blocking the Cavern entrance. He sets his jaw. Determined, he summons all the strength he can muster. His strong arms strain and bulge as he manages to finally move the boulder aside.
Gray enters to find Orokle, sitting inside patiently. Orokle looks up and smiles. “Ah, you made it.”
Gray is stunned, then angry. “Orokle, what sort of trickery—I journeyed to find great power.”
Orokle smiles and indicates a box; the same one in which Adam found his sword. “Open the box. It contains a sword of great power.”
Gray opens the box and looks down. As he pulls out a dual sword, he looks puzzled. “But this is my sword. I had lost it in battle with the Snakemen. It possess no great power.”
Orokle smiles. “No, but you do. You discovered that on your journey. You showed courage, wisdom, honor, and strength. It’s all inside you, Gray. You are a hero; always have been.”
Gray looks down. Power appears to be emanating from his very being and imbuing the sword.
As he begins to exit, Orokle calls out, stopping him, “Um, Gray? I was not sure you would make it, so I did not tell you this before; you will not survive the battle with Hordak.”
Gray allows this to sink in for a moment, then replies heroically, “What becomes of me is not important so long as Eternia can be free from evil and live in peace.”
As Gray emerges from the Crevasse, he hears the fierce sound of a flying beast. He looks up to see Hordak upon Mantisaur land 50 yards away on a flat, rocky shelf. Dark clouds gather in the sky behind him. Beside him are Leech, Mantenna, and Grizzlor. A contingent of Horde Troopers come marching in from behind him and wait. It is an ambush.
Gray holds his staff out in front of him; the gleaming symbol of the power of the good and the way of the magic. Sunlight pours down on him and the unassuming rock face.
Darkness envelopes Hordak; the very symbol of evil. He signals and the Troopers charge.
Suddenly, Bionatops charges down into battle, kicking up dust from his hooves. He decimates clusters of Horde Troopers with his horn cannons, sending them flying through the air before falling to the ground. Gray aims his staff at the remaining Troopers and lets loose a fierce blast that sends those not flying through the air wounded, running.
Leech, Mantenna, and Grizzlor leap into action, all coming at Gray. Mantenna’s eyes pop out as he fires his distortion laser. Gray quickly deflects it with his staff, stunning both Leech and Grizzlor, before using his staff to clothesline Mantenna, sending the trio plummeting to the ground unconscious. Now it is just Gray and Hordak.
Hordak rises up and fires a powerful bolt from his crossbow. Gray tries to shield himself with his staff, but the bolt is too powerful, and it is knocked from his hands. He hits the ground hard. He starts to get up, obviously pained and wounded, but determined—with the look of a fierce barbarian on his face. He reluctantly draws his dual sword from its sheath, still uncertain whether it has any great magical properties. He painfully starts toward Hordak, his sword drawn back like a baseball bat, high over his shoulder.
Hordak lowers his bow, revealing three sorcerers dramatically levitating on the rocky shelf behind him. The sorcerers send out beams which converge on Hordak, generating a powerful hurricane wind. Gray pushes against the gail, advancing on Hordak undeterred.
“Your power is impressive, Gray,” muses Hordak.
He then unleashes a terrible shriek, separating the halves of Gray’s sword and sending him hurtling into the rock face.
“I summon forth a portal to the terrible dimension of Despondos!”
The three sorcerers leave their perch and encircle Gray from above, chanting, “Despondos. Despondos. Despondos.”
The sky swirls into a dark vortex and an ominous funnel begins to form. Gray, on his knees, sees his reflection in his sword; his pained face gets a resolute look and he starts to draw himself up as Hordak looks on stunned. Gray struggles to his feet and draws one half of his sword from the rock face, punctuating the action with the word “Magic . . .” and then the other with the word “Strength . . .” He continues, “Tempered by Heart . . .” combining the blades with a flourish, before holding aloft the sword and proclaiming, “I am He-Ro!”
A huge burst of energy emanates from his body and travels along the blade of his sword, parting the sinister vortex swirling over his head.
A fierce outpouring of energy shoots downward and the earth begins to quake as the ground before He-Ro is pulled downward in impossible swirls of energy.
A bottomless abyss is forming, and everything in its swath is pulled into it.
The rocky shelf behind Hordak begins to crumble, and it is pulled toward the abyss along with his sorcerers.
The Horde Troopers are sucked into the abyss, followed by the whirling, helpless cries of Mantenna, Leech, and Grizzlor as they join them.
He-Ro aims his sword at Hordak, who struggles to repel the impossible force of his magic energy.
Hordak remains wide-eyed in fury and surprise as his body petrifies and crumbles, and he and Mantisaur are pulled toward, then down into the abyss.
“I shall return, He-Ro! I shall find the perfect vessel, and by that hand shall I regain power!”
He-Ro lowers his sword as the fierce vortex dies down. He stands there, drained but victorious. Then he grimaces, weakens, and drops to his knees. His Wise Council come rushing to his side.
“He-Ro had prevailed but at a great price: as Orokle had prophesied, he had been mortally wounded by Hordak.”
He-Ro looks up at the Council members: Eldor, Sharella, Zilora, Ollo, Tamusk.
“When I am gone, my power will fill you. Use it well. Rule with kindness.”
Magic emits from the dying He-Ro, imbuing his sword with power. The power from the sword then flows out and imbues the Council members, and they become immortal Elders.
He-Ro smiles weakly. Still holding his sword, he continues, his voice weakening, “Fear not, my friends. Peace has come at last. My sword will reside in the Crystal Cavern until the day evil returns. And by my name, a great hero will be born. Until then, promise me...”
The Elders look down on He-Ro, tears filling their eyes. He glows with a final transcendent light, infusing the sword, and then he is gone.
The sword, glowing and magical, sails into the Crevasse, and the entrance flares and glows with great power.
Adam is in awe. “So that means this castle—”
“—A fortress of mystery created by the Elders to protect Gray’s power.”
“The power of Grayskull—It’s Gray, his power inside me, when I’m He-Man.”
“And reaching into your very dreams, calling out from the past to guide you.”
As Adam absorbs this shocking news, the Sorceress points at a dimensional gate. It is swirling like a thing alive.
“I cannot say where this gate goes. This door has never opened before. But I want you to pass through it and find someone in the world it leads to. I would go myself, but as you know, my power grows weaker the further I get from the Castle.”
“Can you at least tell me who this person is?”
The Sorceress waves her hand and a sword appears. “This will lead you to the one you seek.”
Adam reacts, “Why, except for this jewel, this sword looks exactly like mine! Wait, is this—”
“—The other half of He-Ro’s sword. And like yours, it is meant for someone with a very special destiny.”
She looks on worriedly as Adam struggles to understand.
“But how? I mean—”
“Adam, please, ask no more questions. Until you find this one, I can say nothing. The very fate of the universe may depend on your success.”
Adam puts the Sword of Protection in his scabbard along with his own. “Ready for an adventure, Cringe?”
You tell a familiar tale in a very clear and direct way - and that has strengths to it.
I am rather curious, though; why do you choose to write entirely in the present tense? Is it to give an air of immediacy - or is this intended for a younger audience?
It is written as a reimagining of the Mike Young Productions Masters of the Universe episode "The Power of Grayskull," incorporating elements from the Masters of the Universe miniature comic book "Powers of Grayskull: The Legend Begins" and the FILMation Princess of Power episode "Into Etheria."
Originally Posted by Scriptor
The narrative shifts so much, from dream sequence to the present to flashback, that I thought it would be best to use one tense. I thought that using present tense in particular would create a sense of haste or imminence, and would play on the nature of time, almost creating a dream-like stream of consciousness.
Primarily though, this story is a way for me to salvage some of the wasted opportunities from the episode in question and eliminate some of the concepts I did not like. And perhaps others will like it too.