After being defeated years ago by the mighty King Grayskull, Hordak and his minions were banished to the terrible dimension of Despondos. However, centuries later, Hordak and his Evil Horde returned, prepared to conquer Eternia once again.
His invasion was wrought with struggle as the people of Eternia resisted against the Horde’s armies. He-Man, champion of Grayskull and the heir to King Grayskull, eventually defeated Hordak, sending the enemy and his forces into retreat. Meanwhile, the long-lost Princess Adora was returned to the royal family of Eternos after being kidnapped years earlier and transported to Despondos by Hordak’s Eternian agent, Keldor.
Adora found her place with her family, even as the dreaded leader of the Snake-Men – King Hsss – was restored. Furthermore, an encounter with He-Man’s doppelganger Faker led to the return of the ancient structure known as the Towers of Eternia. This event occurred three weeks ago.
Even though Hordak appears subdued, little does Eternia know that he remains a terrible threat.
Little does anyone suspect that a whispered and sacred myth from the past . . . is about to change everything . . .
Prelude: The Rider
It was pouring down rain when the rider came upon Castle Grayskull that autumn eve. There was a war far from here and Lord Gray, a warrior in the name of Grayskull Kingdom, came at long last to pay his respects. Months ago, his brother had perished while battling a creature known as Hordak. Gray had put off seeing his sister-in-law and the grave at which his brother was buried simply out of need to battle.
He mourned while making war.
Hordak, before battling Grayskull, attacked the vicious Snake-Men. In Hordak’s absence, however, the Snake-Men had risen again, stronger and more powerful than before. And there were rumors . . . rumors that sent Gray to Castle Grayskull in the first place . . .
The jawbridge to the great castle opened. Out walked a single figure, dressed in large brown robes; Veena, the wife of King Grayskull walked towards him. Gray dismounted his steed and the pair stared at each other in the pouring rain.
“You’re late,” Veena stated flatly.
“I’ve been fighting a war.”
Veena perked an eyebrow. “You’re seeking a way to battle King Hsss.”
“I’ve come for a number of reasons,” Gray replied, meaning it.
Veena sized him up, then turned. Gray followed, bringing his horse into Castle Grayskull. After entering, the horse was handed off to an aide.
“How many people are here?” asked Gray.
“Not many. Three aides, a dozen soldiers . . . and four of nursemaids.” She said this as the robes fell to the ground, revealing a full, pregnant belly. Gray took in the sight with little surprise.
“I see the rumor is true. My brother left you a going away present.”
“That he did.”
Gray pulled back his long, sopping wet dark hair. He then reached into his gray-blue robes and pulled out a scroll. Veena took it from him. She broke its seal, unrolled it and read the contents.
“It is as I expected,” she said after a length. “The line of Kings goes into hiding. In their place shall come a succession of Captains.”
Gray nodded. “The Council of the Wise gave me the option of leading Kingdom Grayskull out from the ruin wrought by the Snake-Men and the Horde. But ruling . . . it was more Grayskull and our father’s place to do that. Not mine.”
“I counted on that.”
She flashed a sardonic smile. “If you had been interested in your heritage, it would not have taken you eight months to see Grayskull’s grave.”
Nearly an hour later, the rain had ended. Gray was on one knee, Veena behind him. They stood before the gravestone of King Grayskull. After long moments of silence, Gray spoke.
“We were never close. I always regretted that.”
Veena nodded. “So did he.”
Gray smiled. “Funny. When he took over, I thought I would remain in touch with him. I felt as though taking on that burden would bring us both closer. Instead, it just drove us apart. Him, running the kingdom. Me, just running around. Having adventures. The past few months, I’ve wondered . . . what if I had been by his side when he battled Hordak? Would it have made a difference?”
Gray reached out and touched the tombstone. As soon as he did, a voice whispered in the wind.
Honor . . .
Veena’s eyebrows scrunched. “I did not say anything.”
Gray sighed and stood up. “It’s getting late. I need my rest.”
The dreams of Lord Gray were haunted. As he slumbered restlessly in his childhood chamber, his mind swirled with images of King Grayskull. His brother and Hordak and King Hsss and the Elders and Veena.
He saw in his dream King Grayskull’s blade. It radiated pure power.
The sword then slammed into the ground, right in front of Castle Grayskull.
Lord Gray stirred in bed, sheets intertwining with his limbs. Sweat trickled. He slept on.
A second sword crashed into the ground, next to Grayskull’s blade. It was far different. Smaller, golden, shorter . . . but it had on it a crystal at the top of its hilt, just where the blade began. Just as Grayskull’s did, so also did this sword radiate power. Huge bolts of energy blasted from the crystal.
A marvelous tower on the top of a far off mountain then replaced Castle Grayskull.
"Honor . . ." whispered King Grayskull. "Protection . . . and honor . . ."
Lord Gray awoke, sitting up in his bed, eyes wide, black hair a tangle. Outside, the sun was just beginning to rise. He dressed quickly and left his bedchamber. Lord Gray walked along the corridors until he reached a small door that led outside.
He found himself in a tiny garden placed right between the back wall of Castle Grayskull and the Abyss. In the early sunlight, Veena sat on a stone bench, stroking her bare belly and gazing out at the dawning sun. She hummed lovingly.
Lord Gray strode next to her and sat down. She was not startled to see him do this and simply took in a deep breath. Her wings behind her flexed a bit.
“Your slumber?” she asked, one hand on the firm taunt skin of her womb.
“Filled with eerie dreams, Veena,” he answered. He leaned forward and ran his hands over his face. “Tell me, what will happen here? What will happen to you?’
Veena looked sadly at a flower that was just starting to open up to accept the sunlight. “I will bare this child to term and place it into the care of the Council. They will raise this child to become the first of the Captains. For its own protection from those seeking revenge against King Grayskull or to be used against you.”
Gray’s eyes widened just a bit. Protection.
“And what about you?” he asked. “And Castle Grayskull?”
“I shall remain here. I will continue in use my power to protect Castle Grayskull. When old age has taken me, I shall call upon an apprentice. She shall take my place as Sorceress of Grayskull until she too is too old. And so on and so on.”
Gray nodded and his face sunk into his hands once more. Veena’s hand reached over and landed on his shoulder.
“What is it? What did you dream about?”
“I saw a sword. And not Grayskull’s sword. It was not the one I came for.”
“What did the sword look like?”
“It was gold with a crystal in its crest.”
Veena smiled knowingly. “Ah yes. That is your sword.”
Gray’s eyes widened in surprise and confusion. “What?”
“Your brother created it for you in the Great Forge. He never had the chance to give it to you.”
“Let me see it.”
Moments later, both Gray and Veena were within a large chamber. Veena held out a box to Gray. Gray opened it and retrieved the sword from within. As soon as he held in his hands, he could feel power flowing out from it and into his body.
“It’s . . . powerful!”
Veena smiled and her eyes showed Gray great wisdom. “When your brother died, both his power and life-force became one with Castle Grayskull, as well as his swords – the Sword of Power, and the sword you hold in your hands. The Sword of Protection.”
Gray swung the Sword of Protection out. “It’s incredible. I only wish I were better with a swordsman. My expertise is with a staff.”
“Your brother accounted for that. At your command, the sword can become a staff.”
At that, the Sword of Protection glowed white and became a battle staff, the crystal at the top.
“Amazing,” he said with awe.
“It can do more. As Grayskull was more strength, so then are you with your skills. It can give you a great arsenal. While King Grayskull was a warrior, you must be something different. Something more. You must become . . . a He-Ro.”
Gray smiled. “He-Ro, huh? I like the sound of that.”
Noon hour came and Lord Gray – or, He-Ro, as he was now called – stepped outside. His horse was drawn up at the land bridge. He unleashed a bolt from the Staff of Protection. Instantly, wings and a horn sprouted from his horse.
“I must be off,” he said, walking towards his steed. He looked back at Veena and smiled. “Take care of yourself.”
“I shall, Gray. You have done your brother a great honor,” she replied, an affectionate look in her eyes.
“Thank you. Good journey.”
“Good journey, Lord Gray, brother of Grayskull, He-Ro to Eternia.”
He-Ro rode off, his horse taking flight. Veena smiled and rubbed her belly, the child of a long line of children kicking and bouncing within. A new era had begun and Veena knew that one day, the Sword of Protection would be returned, empowered in the same way as the Sword of Power.
And then, sometime down the line, a descendant of the child within her would be its new bearer . . .
Most definetly more to come! Stay tuned! Up-date due on Tuesday!