The Taking of Snake Mountain

For many days Keldor and Hordak had traveled through the Dunes of Doom. This was the first time that Keldor had ever set foot in the fabled dark hemisphere and he saw that the rumors of its dangers were true. On a daily basis they were attacked by numerous creatures and monsters that he had only known of through myths and scary stories that Eternian children would share with each other at school. Hordak told Keldor that they were heading towards the one place on Eternia that was worthy of being their base of command.

When they were a day’s hike from Snake Mountain, Hordak pointed it out to Keldor. It was a gigantic structure that could be seen from miles away. As they walked towards it, Hordak recounted the story of its creation.

“When I first came to Eternia many years ago, I heard tales of a past ruler named King Hiss. He was a Snakeman with genocidal tendencies and a misplaced belief in the inherent superiority of his race. A millennium before he had waged a genocidal war against the humans of Eternia. He eventually came to his end when a person who some think was named He-Ro vaporized him. I suspect that He-Ro’s source of power is the same as my eventual enemy, Grayskull, but if the stories of He-Ro’s exploits are true, the power must’ve lost some of its potency.”

Keldor then replies, “What happened to his people?”

“The Snakemen fell into chaos upon Hiss’ death. After a few hundred years of war and anarchy, a man named Tyrant became their new king. He was one of the fools who sided with King Grayskull against me during my first invasion of Eternia. I saw to it that he soon paid for his mistakes. His death led the Snakemen to once more war with the humans of Eternia. Since then the Snakemen have become much weaker than they once were. Various groups took it upon themselves to wipe them out once and for all. Today very few remain.”

Hordak then went on to say, “Snake Mountain is a marvel of engineering. Hiss reportedly used hundreds of thousands of human slaves in its construction. To build the snake that is coiled around the mountain, they first had to carve a spiraling path around the mountain. Apparently hundreds plummeted to their deaths during this time. However, that was nowhere near the amount of death and injury that was to come. Following the creation of the path, thousands upon thousands of slaves were injured and killed while carving the snake from the nearby rock quarries and then dragging it up the mountain side. It is said that the catacombs beneath the mountain are a maze made with the bones of those who died during its construction. There is also rumor of Hiss putting the 10 best craftsmen to death upon completion of the castle. He supposedly had them skinned and used their bones to build his throne. Since the death of Hiss, not a living soul has entered the mountain.”

Walking in silence for a few minutes, Keldor eventually says, “Why is it that no one has ever taken over Snake Mountain since the time of Hiss?”

“King Hiss was a powerful mage. He placed a number of charms and seals throughout the mountain to deter anyone who hoped to enter. Anyone entering the mountain is soon killed. Over the centuries, many have tried. There are apparently untold riches inside the mountain; what Hiss amassed while plundering villages throughout Eternia.”

Sitting with Keldor to eat, Hordak then continued, “When I first came to Eternia I had always meant to conquer Snake Mountain for myself, but was sidetracked by the war with Grayskull. Before I had the opportunity to conquer it, I was banished to Despondos by that fool Grayskull.”

Hordak then told Keldor that they would make camp for the night and in the morning they would head out and travel the final leg of their journey to Snake Mountain.

In the following morning, Hordak and Keldor continued their journey to Snake Mountain. Along the way they were attacked by various creatures, including Shadow Beasts, but Keldor and Hordak quickly dispatched them. Finally, they arrived at the base of Snake Mountain.

Arriving at the entrance to the mountain, Hordak told Keldor to use his magic to scan for traps. Reciting an incantation from a long dead language, Keldor and Hordak could see an ethereal green energy flowing along the walls and floors of the passageway into the mountain. Hordak told Keldor that those waves of energy were a trap left behind by Hiss. Lifting his right hand, Hordak cast a spell that neutralized the magical barriers in the hallway. Continuing on, Hordak told Keldor that they would need to be careful while journeying through Snake Mountain, because there was no way to neutralize all of the traps until reaching the throne room.

Along the way to the throne room, Hordak and Keldor saw the remains of people who had in the past attempted to enter Snake Mountain. Their bodies had long since rotted away, but the bones showed the telltale signs of powerful traps. Some were singed, others were shattered and even more disturbingly, some seemed to have been completely vaporized.

After hours of slow progress, Hordak and Keldor finally entered the throne room. Hordak then told Keldor that they would have to combine their powers to disable the traps throughout Snake Mountain. Kneeling next to each other, a red glow grew out of their bodies that grew until it filled the room and continued to grow until all of Snake Mountain was enveloped in a flowing red energy. Now the traps that Hiss had set were neutralized and Hordak and Keldor could search through the mountain at their leisure.

During their searches, they found multiple armories throughout he castle. The weapons and armor had been untouched for millennia, but they were still in excellent condition. Hordak was pleased with this, knowing that his army would be able to put them to good use. Furthermore, they found many rooms filled with treasure. Untold riches were at their grasp and Hordak knew that this would be sufficient to hire a great many warriors. However, the one room that drew Keldor the most was the throne room. While Hordak was still inspecting the armory, Keldor headed back towards the throne room. Walking up to the throne, made of ancient bones, he wiped away the thick dust and marveled at its construction. The seat of the throne was leather, likely made out of the flesh of those who constructed the Snake Mountain. The throne radiated a dark power that Keldor felt that he could almost reach out and feel. Sitting at the throne, Keldor knew that someday it would be his. The only question was when...