You guys have outdone yourselves with this one! I can't wait to see the meeting between He-Man and Granamyr.
You guys are awesome!!
You included Icer, that was sweet!
You guys have outdone yourselves with this one! I can't wait to see the meeting between He-Man and Granamyr.
I haven't read the story completely, but what a nice art. It's good to see you 2 together making another epic story. It's been worth the wait.
I sure hope we will see all the characters with a white background.
Wow how many characters are ya gonna pack in this story guys
Loving that Habu is back, in whatcapacity is gonna be interesting. You've also shown a softer side to Rattlor too, which is interesting.
Knowing these two, SMB, each episode will be packed with characters! ^_^ I love love love it!
So cool you got all the ice dudes in there! I love seeing gbagok's toon-style representations of all the characters, especially fan-characters!
C'mon Evil Horde! *cheers*
Evil Simian Mechanic of the Horde!
Last edited by Patreek; February 11, 2008 at 01:21am.
Another Fantastic chapter. I'm really interested with the Teela story-arch. Just asking, but is that snake warrior behind Rattlor totally random, or is he there for a purpose. Just asking?
Wasn't the snakeman the snakewoman Serpentina?
This just keeps getting better and better!
I can't wait for the next episode.
Keep up the great work guys!
"It tasted good..." - Gwildor
THE DEMON KEY - Skelepimp Mini-Comic
Skelepimp Commissions are only a PM away....
Probably not though ... i kinda think she just wants all the power to herself. She's an opportunist.
Just trying to figure out why she has that insignia on.
Chapter Five: The Dragon's Gift
“Your Ice allies were useless,” says Skeletor, while he and Hexon watch a mystic viewing globe in the war room of Snake Mountain.
Hexon doesn’t respond to Skeletor’s remark, but instead waves his hand over the globe to show the image of Teela following the Kulatak caravan through the Ice Mountains. “My Darkspy is still with them,” he says.
“Brilliant,” says Skeletor bitterly, “so he can watch them find the counterspell!”
Hexon remains calm. “I suspected they might seek the Lord of Darksmoke. This plays right into our hands, Skeletor. They do not yet realize that as they search for the counterspell--they reveal the path to the Book itself!”
Meanwhile, the caravan reaches the foot of the ice mountain housing the fearsome fortress of Darksmoke. Battle Cat carries He-man and Teela under the shadow of the front gate. Their Kulatak guides will not continue as they approach the massive gates of the dragons’ fortress, preferring instead to say their farewells and wish them good speed on their journey. “I thought they were friends of the dragons,” says Teela.
“I guess even friends of dragons have to be cautious,” says He-Man. “Or maybe they don’t know how Granamyr will feel about them bringing us here. Either way, we’re on our own from here on in.”
There are no watchmen at the door of Darksmoke, nor any knockers or means of announcing the presence of guests. He-Man considers knocking anyway, but he senses that such an effort would be ignored. He cannot afford to be polite, so he pushes the doors open with a mighty shove.
Inside, the halls are warm, almost hot. The ice and snow on their clothes melts, then vaporizes, leaving them dry within minutes of entering. There are large, reptilian looking guards within the fortress, holding giant axes. Battle Cat growls at them, sensing the hostility within, and they growl back with their weapons held ready.
“We mean you no harm,” says He-Man. “We have come to speak with Granamyr, your master.” The guards stop, look at each other and lift their snouts as if they were smelling something in the air. He-Man only then realizes that someone or something is speaking to them telepathically, much the way the Sorceress speaks to him. The guards look down again and step apart, opening the way for the visitors to continue.
Eventually they come to a massive rotunda, full of gold and treasures. At the center is a huge fire pit, though it is not lit.
“Well this is getting us nowhere,” says Teela impatiently, but He-Man reassures her that Granamyr would not have let them come this far if he didn’t want them there. She scoffs. “That’s assuming he doesn’t just want a snack. Or that he’s not some trickster with a sense of humor. We know nothing about him.”
“We know the Kulataks trust him, and they give that trust with great consideration.” He looks around the mostly empty hall and frowns. “Still, perhaps we need to be a little more assertive. Granamyr,” he shouts, “we are here!”
At first, nothing happens. He-Man almost thinks Teela could be right about Granamyr being some kind of trickster playing games with them. But then smoke billows up from the fire pit, and the air in the hall turns arid. From out of the smoke, a fierce and brilliant eye opens onto He-Man. It glows so bright as to be almost blinding. The gigantic dragon rises up from the pit and spreads wings of awesome size. Granamyr is a towering figure of terrifying power. Even just the sight of Granamyr makes the ordinary dragons of Eternia seem like mere beasts.
When he speaks, it is with a thundering echo, as though conjuring a storm. “What willing morsels have stumbled into my den and disturbed my much-deserved rest?”
“Granamyr, I am He-Man. This is my companion Teela.”
“He-Man,” asks Granamyr, and with that his voice seems to grow ever so slightly warmer. The thunderous echo subsides as he says “this name is known to me. It has skipped off the tongues of wayward travelers and prophets before.”
“Then you know I come seeking help to fight a great evil.”
“I know no such thing,” says Granamyr angrily. “I have merely heard of you, He-Man--if that is your true name. I did not say I put stock in the whispers and lies of men.” He sniffs at the air, then leans down at Teela. “There is the smell of sorcery about this one...she is different.”
Teela looks first afraid, then angry. He-Man explains for her, “She had to defend herself against attackers in the Ice Mountains. There was magic there, but the Kulataks gave us shelter and aide.”
“Ah, so they have sent you to me? They are not usually so foolish. I shall have to punish them for directing outsiders my way.”
“Just for interrupting your lazy napping,” asks Teela, appalled. “You’re nothing but an overgrown bully!”
Granamyr’s fiery eyes narrow to sinister slits. “I can see humans have learned nothing in the years since I last suffered their company. Perhaps we should see how eagerly your tongue wags when it is roasted over a fire in my furnace?” He-Man objects, but a mystical force shoves him aside. “The woman has offended me, He-Man. I offer you leave to go with your beast and never come here again--or it will be you on whom I dine next.”
“I can’t let you do that,” says He-Man. He draws his sword and Battle Cat lets loose a challenging roar. “I’ll fight you if I have to.”
Granamyr almost laughs. “Granamyr does not fight, human. Granamyr wins.”
He-Man runs at Granamyr, but the dragon breathes fire to ward him away. He-Man leaps over the fire and almost comes down on Granamyr’s head, but the dragon’s wing rises up and bashes He-Man out of his attack. With a wave of his claw, Granamyr causes He-Man’s sword to fly out of his grasp. Soon He-Man, Teela, and Battle Cat are all paralyzed by Granamyr’s magic.
“I said leave, He-Man,” says Granamyr one more time. “If the woman is yours, find another.” Again He-Man refuses, and this time Granamyr settles back in his pit. He gestures again, and the heroes are released from the invisible magic grip. “Your determination and loyalty have impressed me He-Man, and that is not a small thing, for I do not impress easily. Tell me, what do you want of Granamyr?”
He-Man adjusts to this sudden change of fortune, and takes a moment to catch his breath. He explains what has happened on Eternia, and what little he knows of the mysterious Book of Evil.
“You speak of the Demonichron. It was sealed away by the Ancient guardians of this world at a very high price. To seek it now is to invite catastrophe, He-Man. For as honorable as you might be--the Book would rob you of that. It corrupts all who read from it and marks them for the rest of their lives in one way or another. My advice is to mourn your losses and move on.”
“But there must be a way to reverse the spell,” Teela insists. “You must know some way!”
“There is none,” says Granamyr, “without reading from the book. And to reach the book you would need it’s key.”
He-Man is disheartened, but he persists, “Can you tell us how to find the key? Can you set us on the right path?”
“I could...but I have already allowed you more attention than I have given anyone in the whole of your combined lifetimes--and for that I have been offered nothing but a few insults and rude tones. You have come into my home, upset my rest, and brought me no gift or other sign of respect.”
Teela is about to rebuke the dragon again, but He-Man stops her and says, “If we brought you a gift...would you help us then?”
“I might,” says Granamyr, crossing his arms in a manner that might befit an impudent child, “if the gift is pleasing enough.”
“We can bring you gold and treasures from around Eternia that--”
“These things I already have,” Granamyr says, spreading his arms wide to indicate the horde of wealth around them. “You cannot bribe one who has no need of greater wealth. There is however something you could bring for me.” He breathes fire at them, and He-Man and Teela both step back in surprise. But the fire doesn’t burn them. Instead it swirls like water and spins into something resembling a window. The image of a lush and beautiful forest appears inside of it, and standing in the middle of the forest is a tree so tall that its top reaches higher than the surrounding mountains. “This is Skytree. It has stood in this spot for generations--and it is the one thing on all of Eternia which is older than me. Chop it down and bring it to me. I should like to watch it snap and burn in my fire pit. Do this for me, and I will give you what you want. But if you do not...then you have wasted my time, and I will reclaim it with a feast of your flesh. Agreed?”
He-Man is uneasy with the bargain, but he sees no alternative and agrees. Privately he and Teela agree that Granamyr’s request is altogether spiteful and sinister, hardly becoming of the dragon who had earned the Kulataks’ trust. But they need the dragon’s help and cannot afford to argue. Granamyr offers to transport them to and from the valley of Skytree, so that they will not have to risk the Ice Trolls a second time--though he points out the inconvenience such spell casting causes for him. They are simply to call Granamyr’s name and he will bring them back to Darksmoke. And with another gesture, he sends them away.
Skytree’s valley is the most gorgeous of any that either He-Man or Teela have ever seen on all Eternia. He-Man suspects that Skytree itself could be the root of the valley’s prosperity. Teela however does not want to talk about it. She wants only to get their work over with so that they can begin the business of saving her father and the missing cities. Her single-mindedness is troubling to He-Man, but he chooses not to correct her under the circumstances.
Skytree is not hard to find from a distance, but inside the thickly forested region is another story. They cut their way through many vines and shrubs with no luck. “I think the forest is moving,” He-Man observes when the circle back through the same area they have passed by before. “I think it’s protecting Skytree. We’re going to have to approach this from a different angle. He climbs up through the roof of the forest and spots Skytree from above. He signals to Teela and Battle Cat which way to go, and leaps from treetop to treetop, always keeping Skytree in view.
Suddenly the leaves of the trees begin to shake, and branches rise up like an ocean wave to block him. “You may come no further, He-Man,” says a familiar voice. He-Man looks to see Mossman rising up out of the green. At first He-Man is glad to see his old ally--but soon he realizes that Mossman has come to stop him. He explains what Granamyr sent him to do, and the horror it stirs in Mossman is plainly clear.
“That old worm will never see Sky Tree fall! I expected honor from you, He-Man, not this evil!”
“I have no choice,” he explains, but Mossman doesn’t step aside.
“Nor have I, He-Man. This land is protected--it is the heart of Eternia’s flora. None may enter here but for the children of the trees themselves. I will not let you do what you intend--no matter the cost.” He-Man does not have time to argue. He leaps over Mossman and hurries onward to Skytree. Mossman sends branches and vines to restrain him, but He-Man cuts them down. Their chase takes them to the very trunk of Skytree. It is every bit as majestic as Granamyr, and He-Man is compelled to stop and admire the tree even as he readies to cut it down. But Mossman grabs him and pushes him down.
“You know not what the dragon has asked of you, He-Man! Skytree’s roots reach deep--he is a part of every living plant on Eternia. If you do this, you will be depriving a world of its original seed!”
“If I don’t do this, the cities of Eternia are gone forever!”
Something changes in the air around them, causing them to stop fighting. It starts as a staleness in the air, then it turns into a horrid stench. They look up to see the evil warriors of Skeletor, hovering in their attack ships. Stinkor leaps down to them while Evi-Lyn stands astride her ship.
“So this is Skytree,” she purrs with subtle menace. “Why it’s just a big log!”
“This is sacred ground,” Mossman shouts at her, “Depart or be parted!” She laughs at him dismissively.
“Get the Tree,” she yells at the others. “When we give it to Granamyr--he’ll reward us with the location of the Book of Evil and its key!”
“How did they know,” He-Man asks, but there is no time to find out. The evil warrior descend on him and Mossman. Suddenly they become allies again, united by a greater evil than the one that divided them. Mossman even saves He-Man’s life--but in that instant Stinkor surprises him and sprays his toxic odor. The stench is so thick that it starts to suffocate Mossman. He-Man tries to help him, but Beastman and Whiplash tackle him and hold him down together. From a distance, he sees Mossman’s leaves growing brown and his body turning very thin. The sparkle in his eyes goes dim and he falls down like a lifeless mass of leaves and moss upon the roots of Sky Tree.
“Ha! One down, one to go,” Stinkor laughs. He approaches He-Man, but suddenly there is a loud groan all around them. The trees begin to sway and shake as if moved by a gust of wind--but there is no wind. Suddenly two eyes open in the side of Skytree, and a great mouth yawns wide.
Evil-Lyn orders someone to start cutting down the tree, but Skytree’s features turn angry. Vines reach from around the tree like tentacles, snatching up the warriors and tossing them up into the air so fast and powerfully that they are sure to land miles away. Evil-Lyn makes her escape, but not before Stinkor is thrown after her. The two of them spin away into the distance and out of sight.
Battle Cat, having lost track of He-Man earlier during the race with Mossman, hears the sounds of the fight and arrives with Teela. But they are too late. All stand over Mossman’s fallen body. Skytree rumbles above them. The vines reach out to feel Mossman’s unmoving remains, and they shiver like hands feeling something cold.
“Death,” says the sentient tree. “None so honorable and so brave as this one shall die while I have life yet in me.” Small roots rise up from Skytree and infuse themselves into Mossman’s back and arms. Mossman’s body shivers and morphs as Skytree’s power brings new life into him. He changes and the color returns to him. His eyes open with a shining power. He-Man and Teela rejoice at the sight of this incredible resurrection. Mossman himself is amazed and he thanks Skytree for this tremendous honor. But then the matter of He-Man and Teela’s mission returns.
Mossman stands in their way again. He says, “You cannot do this, He-Man! Skytree is father to us all! You would be taking away something that connects us all as one. He is the oldest living thing on Eternia--he is worth more than the vanity of this small-hearted beast!”
Last edited by gbagok; April 4, 2010 at 10:02pm.
”I have a father too, Mossman,” says Teela strongly. “Is Man-At-Arms’ life less important because he is not so old?”
“Man-At-Arms you say,” interjects Skytree.
“Great one, you know this man,” asks Mossman, amazed.
“There has ever been a Man-At-Arms of Eternia. Long ago, one such warrior saved me from the Witches of Fire. I would do anything to repay that kindness. If my sacrifice would save not only him, but also others like him, then my life is forfeit, Mossman. Raise your axe, He-Man, and take your gift for Granamyr.” Mossman lets out at deep moan of surrender, and the very forest around them sways and somehow moans in response. They feel an energy of sadness, as though all the flora of Eternia has gone into mourning.
He-Man is about to raise his battle-axe, but he stops and looks back to Teela with regret. “We can’t do this, Teela. This is wrong. Even to bring back the cities...your father would not have wanted this.” Teela doesn’t want to agree, but she looks at Mossman again and recognizes how important Skytree must be to have saved him from death. She agrees to let Skytree live. The life force of the forest seems to brighten and swell with a celebratory power. Mossman expresses his gratitude and Skytree thanks them for their compassion. But when He-Man admits that there is a price for their mercy, Mossman is aghast. “You cannot go back! What the dragons wants is not honorable.”
“That may be, but it’s what we agreed to,” says He-Man. Skytree offers to shelter them, his power is such that the dragon could not come for them if he desired, but He-Man refuses. He suggests that Teela accept the offer, but she will not leave He-Man to face the dragon alone. They say their farewells to the others and call for Granamyr to take them back to Darksmoke.
When they appear in Granamyr’s hall, the dragon guards are waiting with their axes. Granamyr watches from his fire pit, looking unmanned. “I see you have no gift for me, human. Did you drop it along the way, or do you wish to test my patience further?”
“We won’t kill Skytree for you,” says He-Man boldly. “If you want another gift then name it, but otherwise...we are yours to do with as you like.”
Granamyr arches his brow in what must be a quizzical look for a dragon. “You surrender freely then? You realize you have wasted my time and power. I would be within my right to devour you both. That was the bargain, after all.” He-Man agrees and the guards ready their axes. But Granamyr holds them back a little longer. “Tell me, why spare the overgrown timber? Is it worth the life of the most powerful man in the Universe?”
“I consider all life precious, Granamyr. I took your bargain because it was the only one left to me. I gambled and lost. I will not regret sparing Skytree, only making the deal in the first place. I should have known better.”
Granamyr is silent. Then the guards vanish with their axes, and He-Man, Teela, and Battle Cat are left alone with the dragon again. “Honesty, compassion, wisdom, humility, and the honoring of a bargain? Even I did not think to live so long that I should see all that in one human ever again. You, He-Man, are worthy of your lineage.” He breathes fire onto the floor of the hall. When the fire dissolves, it reveals a scroll untouched by the flames. “This is the Tome of Scrollos. It tells of the key to finding and opening the book you seek. Take it and go with my blessing.”
“Is there any way I can thank you,” says He-Man, “any other way that is.”
“I am tempted to say that what you have demonstrated for me here today is payment enough. Humans of your caliber were a thing I thought never to see again. But if some act of appreciation is what your customs demand, then you may repay me, He-Man, by letting me rest in peace and never bothering me again.” He sinks back into his pit and is gone.
Where will the Tome of Scrollos lead He-Man and Teela next? How long before He-Man learns of the sinister new alliance between Skeletor and the dark wizard Hexon? And how will He-Man survive the ultimate challenge--reading from the Book of Evil itself? Don’t miss the thrilling conclusion to Part One of the Book of Evil: In the City of Wisdom!
I really like the artwork and how it blends in with the story.
I also liked the Granamyr wanting Skytree bargain.
BTW that Granamyr drawing is fantastic. The drawing itself says he is full of power.