Hmmmm, very intruiging indeed.
I like this.
She stood atop the highest tower of the lime castle, watching over the dark aftermath of the battle that once was. She could not help but mourn the loss of what used to be the Evergreen Forest that surrounded and protected Grayskull, but thanks to a destructive blast from Evil-Lyn, was now a field of charred wood, smoking timbers and fallen trees.
Clutching her waist, her face winced in pain as a wave of naseau washed over her. The bandages were thick against her waist, and yet the dark tinge of crimson showed the wound was not healing as well as it should be after the care given. She glanced upward, smoke still rising from the horizon, casting a colored glow in the golden Eternian sky between it and the sun descending. A tear welled within the corner of her eye as she understood all too well.
She was dying.
The images still were fresh within her memory. Death was everywhere. Their world had been ravaged. A battle that originated at the Palace of Eternia spread like an ugly disease across the land, taking with it the violence and despair that always came with war. They stood victorious, for now, though there were casualties on both sides.
Trap-Jaw stood over the lifeless form of Buzz-Off, the Andrenid's wings impaled, and his head, separated from his body, still clutched within the mechanical claw's grasp. The villian's laugh sent chills thru those nearby who witnessed the horrific act as Lord Buzz-Off fought to defend his queen who was on a diplomatic mission alongside Queen Marlena to discuss a trade issue. The blood on Trap-Jaw's body was fresh, and his feet left prints as he walked thru the gore, as if he were using the decapitated scalp of the hero as a trophy, a means in which to intimidate the Masters.
Death did not end there, as many soldiers, good men and women, brave all, died in defense of the freedom of Eternia. Fighting to keep Skeletor's evil from infecting the land further. While the Masters fought the main squadron of Skeletor's evil henchmen, it were those soldiers who took it upon themselves to do battle with the skeleton forces at the evil tyrant's disposal. The soldiers were trained well, and fought with a fierce determination in defense of their city of Eternos. In the end, the skeleton warriors were no more, their forces depleted, but at what expense? The lives of those brave heroes snuffed out far too soon.
Yet not all of the casualties laid at the feet of the Masters, as the heroes knew that this evil would have to end one way or the other. They realized that it was them and Eternos who must survive, not the evil that was now spreading and threatening to destroy all within it's path. So the Masters fought mightily, and resorted to the tactics taught for times of war to drive the enemy away.
Two of Skeletor's main team did not live to see the end of this battle.
Clawful looked as if he were on the verge of taking the life of Ram-Man, had it not been for the timely intervention of He-Man who plunged his sword deep into the heart of the evil warrior.
The second death, was by her own hands. Like so many Sorceresses before her, she swore that she would only intervene herself in battle when it meant the defense of the Castle, and do nothing more in any other times. But when the battle shifted it's front to the grounds in front of the castle, the Sorceress watched from the eye of the skull and saw Teela about to be struck down by Webstor. Her daughter, her beloved child. Teela'na could not bear to outlive her precious child, and intervened, whether her destiny allowed it so or not. With skill and sorcery guiding her hand, she launched her Staff of Zoar directly at the villian, and the weapon sliced right thru his upper torso and went clean thru before magically returning to her own hand before Webstor's lifeless body could even finish collapsing to the dusty ground. Teela looked up at the regal woman watching the battle and briefly smiled her "thanks" before returning to her adoptive father's side in battle.
The war had been over seemingly for mere days, but the after-effects would be felt for years to come. Her ivory white wings curled inward as again she winced in pain, realizing that the inevitable was occuring. Teela's destiny was ready to come to fuition, as her own was nearing it's end.
He-Man personally carried her to the Royal Palace as the Masters followed closely, each with their own reasons to worry for her well being. She was an icon, a fixture in the lore of Eternia, someone who had a place in the hearts of the people and those that knew her best.
Skeletor had succeeded in penetrating her force field around Grayskull with the aid of Evil-Lyn's own power. Alone, she was more than a match for the magic that the skull-faced demon wrought, but with the aide of the evil witch at his side, she lasted for as long as she could before the shield failed and the evil ones lowered the jaw bridge, readying themselves to purge the power of the Elders.
However once the jawbridge was lowered, it was the Sorceress who greeted them at the mouth of the Castle, prepared to defend her home with whatever means necessary. As before, she fought valiantly, engaging both enemies in a battle of sorcery and hand-to-hand combat, fighting them both off to shield them from entering the ancient fortress, but a blast from Evil-Lyn from behind sent her hurdling forward and a stabbing wound inflicted by Skeletor's own sword into her waistline ended the battle.
Had it not been for Zodac himself, Skeletor and Evil-Lyn would have entered Grayskull to gain the world's ultimate prize. Realizing defeat was in their midsts, Skeletor called for a retreat, and the Masters were immediately at her side, looking on with grave concern at her injury.
He-Man and Man-At-Arms placed her in the Wind Raider and the gods themselves could not have moved faster to take her to the Royal Palace where the finest healers in Eternia awaited. The medics did everything that was within their power to heal her, but in the end it was of no use. It was the power wielded by Skeletor's blades that inflicted the wound, thus there was nothing that they could do. The news came to everyone hard, especially that of Adam, Teela, and Man-At-Arms.
Adam knew that it was in this moment, that not only would he be losing a cherished friend in the Sorceress, but someone far more personal to him in Teela. The two were no longer children. Now in their late teens, they realized who they were and what they meant to each other. Teela learned his "secret," accidentally witnessing his transformation months ago when he was preparing for defense of the Royal Palace against an attack at the hands of Evil-Seed. The two stared at each other when He-Man saw she witnessed the transformation, but all Teela could do to react was slowly shake her head with a cocky smirk.
"I knew it." She said with satisfaction.
Evil-Seed was defeated, but the damage was done that would open the door for Skeletor's own attack that would incite a war never before seen on these lands. However, for the time being, peace was known and felt, and Adam and Teela were free from their own personal bonds to be able to feel the love the other had for them. So much to the point where just days before Skeletor's surprise ambush, Adam proposed, and Teela accepted in tears. A wedding ordained by many, the King and Queen, Man-At-Arms, and yes, the Sorceress herself.
It was, unfortunately in this time, that the Sorceress was the one asked to perform the wedding ceremony.
Adam knew now what was to come, that Teela would be needed to step up to take her place as the new guardian of the Castle Grayskull, a duty that would require she leave the Palace, and leave him.
This was also the sole reason why Man-At-Arms felt the brunt of the knowledge of the Sorceress's demise when it was to come. He would lose the companionship of his daughter, and as her father, adoptive or not, he would feel her pain when the jawbridge would close, sealing her off from her family, and her love.
Teela had only laid eyes on the guardian a handful of times, but in each instance there was some form of bond that could be felt within her, one that she could not explain. It was almost as if she felt love for this special woman, and that she could feel the love emenating from her as well. How could someone love a virtual stranger? She did not know, but she did, and that alone was enough to force her to endure the pain of this moment.
The Sorceress looked down from the tower and saw that they were approaching. A tear slowly streaming down her right cheek, she turned and softly made her way towards the door of the tower to take her place once again on the Throne of Grayskull, once the regal seat of the great King Grayskull. The realization of Teela's destiny was now at hand.
"I don't understand father." Teela looked on questioningly as they slowly approached the ancient fortress in the Attack Trak. "Why is it that the Sorceress wanted me to come to Grayskull?"
"I can't answer that Teela." He answered, though indeed he did know. "The Sorceress requested you to come before her and for that reason alone, it is she who should be the one to answer you."
Teela looked away from her father with a concerned frown and upon Grayskull as their vehicle stopped and descended to the barren ground below. Climbing out from the Trak, Teela surveyed the ruins around them, the fallen trees and the scent of smoke that still wafted thru the air. Adam, who sat in the backseat of the Trak, stepped out and placed a supportive hand on her shoulder, one that she graciously placed her own hand upon. MAA joined them at their sides as the jawbridge to the Castle was slowly lowered to allow them access.
This was truthfully only one of two times that Teela had set foot inside of the hallowed halls of the Castle. The first was a few years back when she was critically injured during a battle against Skeletor's Evil Warriors, and an optic blast from Tri-Klops hurled her into a pile of sharp slabs of rocks, severely wounding her and causing a traumatic loss of blood. It was only the blood of her mother, the Sorceress, that kept her alive to this day.
The second time was on a much more pleasant note. Adam had proposed to Teela, and the two had entered Grayskull to personally ask the Sorceress to officiate the nuptuals. The graceful Guardian accepted and Teela could see the joy in the older woman's face, though to this day she could not quite place the feeling that accompanied it.
It was a terrible travesty though, that her third visit was under such dark circumstances. She knew the Sorceress had been mortally wounded and the life was slowly draining out of her. It was only the power of the Elders that was preventing the inevitable from happening on a much faster note, but as strong as the magic was, it still could not yield the forces of nature, as death was one of.
The trio wandered thru the corridors of Grayskull's halls, climbing a series of winding stairs, and passing an ordinate number of doors until they stepped up one final set of aged stairs to find a pair of golden doors that stretched high to the ceiling, nearly twenty feet in height.
Setting his hands against them, Man-At-Arms pushed the doors open and they stepped inside the mystical throne room of Grayskull, where right in the center, high atop a set of ivory white stairs, rested the Sorceress upon a golden throne.
The sight of the Castle's Guardian was enough to fill the three visitors with a deep sense of grief, and a loss that was soon to come. Her wings, normally full and expanded, were weakened and sunk low against the sides of her seat, and she rested uncomfortably to the side, elevating any pressure from her wounded side. She watched as they stepped thru the doors and approached the base of her throne, stopping at the very bottom step and in homage, one by one each one of them slowly dipped down to one knee in reverance to her. Smiling, though experiencing inside of her body the sense of eternal sleep rising within, she slowly began to rise, however the pain and nausea overwhelmed the woman and she slowly sank back into the throne as the trio slowly rose to their feet. But it was then that they first noticed the other figure appearing at the side of the Sorceress, the Cosmic Enforcer himself, Zodac.
"Zodac?" Adam quietly questioned. "Why is he here?"
"Because, Prince Adam," The enigmatic figure stated, startling the Prince at having so easily being overheard. "As Cosmic Enforcer I have been privy to many of the cosmos's deepest secrets, including your own personal kept secret. The importance of this occassion is why I am here."
Again, this brought a suspicious questioning from Teela,"Occassion? What ... occassion?"
"Teela," The Sorceress said softly. "Years ago I told your father, Man-At-Arms, that this day would come to pass, the very day your destiny would be revealed to you. I..." She clutched her side and grimaced in pain. Seconds passed before she could continue. "I just had hoped, it would not be so soon or under such circumstances."
"What are you talking about?" Teela asked, a suspicious frown etching it's way on her face. "My destiny?" She looked to the older man at her side. "Father, what is going on?"
"Let her explain Teela." MAA answered simply.
The three returned their attention to the Sorceress, who clutching the Staff of Zoar in her hand, held it aloft and a shimmering light sifted from it and slowly drifted high above their heads and formed into a magical frame. Inside, a scene from the past was playing itself out as the Sorceress spoke;
"The village of Palesea. Twenty years ago Teela, I left these walls in search of rest and to walk amidst the people of Eternia, but received far more than what I had anticipated. After doing battle with and defeating a warlord named Krom who attacked this village, the time of the Great Unrest had begun, and I had taken the position of guarding this peaceful village, protecting it in return for their welcoming of me with open arms."
"It was then that a wounded soldier was brought into the village. Thanks to his grave injuries, he could remember nothing. Not his name, who he was, or how he had come to being there. While the villagers went about their daily chores, it was who I nursed him back to health."
"As he began to recover, affection and caring turned to love." Teela's hand slowly found it's way into that of Adam's, as they continued to listen to the historical tale. The Sorceress continued;
"The village priest wed us by the stream in the very heart of the village, but the joy we both felt in our hearts would last not much longer. One morning I awoke, and my husband was gone. The villagers told me they saw him leave during the early morning dusk. I assumed that his memory had been returned and he left to rejoin his comrades in battle as the Great Unrest was quickly spreading across our lands. I waited, hoping for his return, until I could wait no more."
"I could feel the forces of evil gathering together, gaining in power. The Elders beckoned me to return to the walls of Grayskull where I belonged. I resumed my place on this throne, but my mind was not solely on my duty. I could not forget of the man I felt love for. Nor could I ignore the pleasant surprise that he had left me a gift."
"What was it?" Teela asked.
The Sorceress answered,"A child. One of whom I knew with my responsibilities could never be known as my own."
Teela watched on and listened, the look on her face telling a sense of confusion, but slowly growing in understanding as a younger version of Man-At-Arms appeared in the vision, holding a baby in his arms at the mouth of the great Castle.
"But she is your daughter." The young warrior protested.
Teela began to shake her head, knowing now what this was telling her. The answer to a question she had so secretly desired since she was a child.
In the vision, the young Sorceress spoke to the man holding her newborn,"I have responsibilities that you can not understand. In these walls is a power that the evil of this world will covet once and if discovered, and none who dwell here will be safe. They would be under constant attack and death would loom over their heads. It is not a life that I could raise a child under with a clear conscience."
Teela shook her head and tears herself away from the vision portal, tears that welled in her eyes spilling over. Her breaths grew deeper and quicker as she could feel a knot forming in her stomach. MAA rested his hand on her shoulder but she shrugged it away and he recoiled, feeling the sting but understanding that this shock had come from out of nowhere.
The Sorceress could sense her daughter's inner turmoil and looked at her in deepest sympathies, yet knew that she still must continue on. She said,"Teela, many times over the past nineteen years you have asked yourself who your mother truly was? Why did she leave me? Why didn't she love me enough to raise me?"
Teela brought herself to look up into the woman's eyes, soft tears slowly trickling from her eyes down her cheeks as she knew these words were indeed true. After so many years, she was finally receiving the answers she so desperately wanted. Just not how she longed for nor anticipated.
The Sorceress said,"Teela, my daughter, although you know now the answer to who your mother is, I can't feel that it brings a relief to the pain over the years this secret has forced you to endure. I can still look back and sense the pain in your voice when you first entered Grayskull, wanting to see me, to speak to me. I hid, watching you, wanting so badly to hold you in my arms like I was never able to do before, but I knew that I couldn't."
"Why!?" Teela cried.
"Because," The Sorceress answered. "Had I taken you into my arms, I never would have let you go. The last time that I held you was when you were but a baby, and I gave you to Man-At-Arms to raise as his own. I watched as he left with you for the Palace and I have never felt such grief were possible. I wanted you so terribly to be raised in Grayskull as my daughter, but the danger that would have put you in would have been an act of selfishness that I would not wish upon anyone. The greatest gift I could give you at that time, was a father who would raise you and love you as his own, and that is exactly what he did and I will be forever grateful."
Man-At-Arms stepped up to his daughter's side and again rested his arm around her shoulder, and this time she did not pull away but instead, placed her head against his shoulder as the Guardian continued.
"I watched over you Teela." She said. "Keeping a mother's eye on her child, letting you know on some level, that your mother was with you and loved you with all her heart. I always have Teela, and when I am gone, please know that I always will."
Words could not describe an emotion one would feel when they discover a secret such as this. A child thought lost to her mother now reunited after a lifetime. Wiping her eyes with the back of her hand, Teela took a step forward, one closer to the throne, and the warm smile and the light in her mother's eyes brought her into a run up the steps and for the first time in her life, felt the loving embrace of her real mother.
Both mother and daughter broke into tears that flowed freely.
Zodac watched upon them stoically, never moving or shedding a clue of emotion. Contrary, Adam and MAA stand side by side, smiling at the warm glow of the reunion between mother and daughter. Moments passed that slowly turned into minutes, until Teela finally took a step back and wiped the tears from her eyes and cheeks, looking on at her mother who still cried openly.
"But," Teela started. "Why now? Is it because..."
The delicate question could not be finished, as Teela now realized it was her mother who sat before her, slowly dying of a savage wound. The Sorceress broke her awkward pain by finishing her thoughts for her.
"Yes Teela." She began. "I am dying, and this is why you now know your lineage. I have been the Guardian of Castle Grayskull for a very long time, and now my time here is nearly thru. But this is not just the day that you discover your origins, but also the one in which you discover your destiny."
"My destiny?" Teela asked.
The Sorceress said,"The destiny that was laid at your feet from the moment of your birth, the day that you would take my place as the mystic Guardian of Grayskull."
"Take your place? But...how...?"
Zodac answered for the weakening Sorceress,"From your birth it was known one day when your mother was no longer able to assume the mantle of Grayskull that you would replace her. As a sorceress she passed her power onto you, but to help you hold a normal life, those powers were bound. Upon her death, they would again flourish, allowing you the state to assume your position on this very throne."
Teela stood, looking even more shocked than before. How could all of this be possible and happening in the span of a few minutes? Her wounds from the battle against Skeletor's warriors were not fully healed yet, and here she was, within the walls of Grayskull, and in such a short time, discovered not only her mother's true identity, but also a duty she was expected to assume. She tried to take it all in at once, but one question was the first to come to mind.
"But, how can I be expected to do this?" She asked. "Adam and I are getting married. One day he'll be king, how can I be his queen and the...?"
Her eyes met Zodac's own and a sense of the answer reeled her in. She looked to the Sorceress and no words were spoken, but the anguish of disappointment in her mother's eyes gave her the answer that she most dreaded. She shook her head in the negative, turning around and looked to the two men at the base of the throne's stairwell, but neither could bring themself to speak. MAA stood there, looking on with a father's pain, and Adam with the sad expression of a lost love.
She understood now, that she wasn't expected to marry, that the Sorceress of Grayskull was expected to forever be alone to fully perform her duties, guarding the power of the Elders against any attack, separating her from any outside influence. She looked back to her mother, and shook her head, taking a step back.
"No..." She said with finality.
The Sorceress could feel her daughter's pain and desperation, sensing the long held love for the young Prince now being taken away from her again. "Teela..."
"No!" Teela cried. "I can't! You can't expect me to give up Adam! I won't!"
Zodac stepped up, as the Cosmic Enforcer, assuming the duty of enforcing the situation. "Teela..." He began.
But Teela interrupted, never once willing to back down from anyone, even one so revered as Zodac. She yelled out,"I said no! This isn't fair! It isn't right!"
"It may not seem fair Teela," Zodac stated. "But it is your destiny."
"No it isn't!" Teela yelled, and she stepped right up to meet Zodac face to face. Teela was ever the bravest warrior in the Eternian army, something that gained the entire Eternian guard's respect, her father's pride, and Adam's love. "My destiny is what I choose it to be, not what someone else tells me it has to be!"
Zodac remained calm, but with a stronger tone to his voice> A tone that spoke he had made the decision. "Your destiny Teela, is to assume the throne of Grayskull's Guardian."
But Teela remained unwilling to yield her love and life,"My destiny is to be Adams' wife!" She strongly defied. "I won't let anyone take that away from me, not even you!"
Teela turned away and in tears, started back down the steps hurriedly and ran up to Adam. She threw her arms around his neck and wept against his chest,"I don't want to lose you Adam! Please...!"
Zodac took a step forward, as if he were to go to Teela again, but the Sorceress forced herself to her feet and took his arm in her hand, preventing him from taking any action.
The Sorceress said,"No, don't."
Zodac turned back to her,"Her fate rests within these walls."
"Only if she chooses for it to Zodac." The Sorceress said. "Fate is what we make it. We do not own Teela, and we can not expect her to give up a life she cherishes most because we expect it. Who are we to assume she is meant to take my place?"
"Who are we to assume that she is not?" Zodac countered.
The Sorceress looked down and anguish filled her heart as she looked at Adam holding her daughter who clung to him with the love she once felt for her husband and to this day, never has gotten over. How often she wondered what her life would have been like had he still been at her side. She answered Zodac's charge, nodding to the two, young lovers.
"That Zodac, is reason enough."
Zodac looked at them, and as cold an exterior as he held, he too knew the sting of loss, having lost his own brother to King Hsss so many eons ago. The pain of loss wasn't one he would wish on anyone, yet here he was expecting it of the young woman below.
Man-At-Arms looked at his daughter and Adam together. As proud of he was of the both of them, and knowing he sacrificed his own personal life for his duty, a probing question still remained that had to be asked, no matter the consequences.
Man-At-Arms said,"If Teela marries Adam and does not take the throne, what then? Grayskull will be empty with no Guardian. It will be prone to constant attack until conquered and Eternia will never know a day's peace."
Adam and Teela broke from each others' arms and looked at the master of arms, then turned to look up at the two figures atop the throne. The Sorceress again was sitting, too weak to stand for long, and Zodac stood unchanged. Though none could sense his thoughts, he was thinking back for an answer, until he finally spoke, his head turned to the woman seated beside him.
"There is, the other."
"You can not fight the darkness He-man!"-Shokoti-the Queen of Darkness
Arizona Mazter of the Universe
Hmmmm, very intruiging indeed.
I like this.
"It's a moo point. Kind of like a cow's opinion, it's doesn't matter. It's moo." - Joey Tribbiani.
Very nice..though you may want to watch out.....a common mistake is trying to be overly pedantic and your paragraphs become redundant.
"......the aftermath of the battle that once was..." is essentially...the aftermath of the battle aftermath..... etc etc.....
"No!" The Sorceress exclaimed, showing the first trace of her authority since suffering her critical injury. "That simply is not an option!"
Zodac said,"Circumstances seem to have dicated otherwise Teela'na. Perhaps it is time that we recognize that it was not Teela's destiny to take your place within Grayskull."
The Sorceress stared up at the Cosmic Enforcer, her green eyes trembling with intensity, fully prepared to meet Zodac in this confrontation while those before them watch on, seemingly forgotten. Her head stood proud and she again took a straight posture though it cost her much in physical pain, Teela'na stared upon the mystic beside her and spoke in her most commanding tone.
"When I gave him life and turned him over to the Temple, I swore that he would know nothing but peace! He will not be torn away from this life now!"
"He?" Adam said. "Who's he?" Adam glanced to Man-At-Ars but no answer was forthcoming. The Eternian commander seemed as perplexed as he. His querie went unanswered, as he, along with MAA and Teela, were all but forgotten by the two bickering figures atop the throne.
"When you gave him up at birth, you did so out of a mother's love and pain so he could live a life that you were not at liberty to provide, just as it was with your daughter."
The Sorceress countered,"And as with Teela, it would not be right or fair to walk back into my son's life and pluck him away from all that he has ever known!"
Adam, Teela and Man-At_Arms stood, stunned, not able to comprehend what they just overheard.
"Son?" Said Man-At-Arms.
Adams whispered,"You mean you didn't know?"
Duncan said nothing, but a slight shake of the head gave Adam his answer as Zodac and the Sorceress continued on.
Zodac said,"Your son has dedicated his life to the service of the Goddess..."
The Sorceress interrupted,"And this is exactly why he can not be approached by family that he has never known, to give that up!"
"Zodac, please!" The Sorceress cried thru clenched teeth. "If my years on this throne mean anything, then you will respect my wishes and leave Teelos be!"
The outburst suddenly took it's toll and the Sorceress collapsed back into her seat. Her ceremonial headdress slipped off and clattered down the steps as the Masters ran up to check on her condition.
Teela leaned down and took her hand into her own. She gazed into the woman's eyes and quickly realized that this was no longer simply the Sorceress that she was looking upon. It was her mother. Their smiles met as Man-At-Arms leaned in and rested a hand on the Sorceress's shoulder.
He said,"Teela'na, you should rest."
"No." She answered, her head shaking in the negative. "There will be plenty of time to rest later. There is too much to do now. Preparations to make."
"Duncan is right." Adam agreed. "You need to at least rest a bit, just for a while. We can watch the Castle for you. After everything you've done for us, just let us do this small bit for you?"
The Sorceress looked up into Adam's eyes and she smiled in gratitude, nodding. Here was someone that she often thought of as her own, once a boy, now a man, and soon to be her son by marriage. She wondered now if this was perhaps why she bonded so easily with Adam, out of longing for the son she reliquished well over twenty years ago. A son she held only once, when she carried him to the Temple and handed him over to the Priests and Priestesses. A pain of longing eased it's way into her breast. How desperately she wished she could see him just once more, a grown man, before she...
Adam interrupted her thoughts by slipping his arm under her own and around her back. He gently scooped her up into his care and slowly carried her down the steps of the throne, with the others in tow.
Adam glimpsed back into the sleeping chamber of the Sorceress and already he could feel the mournful sting in his heart, a small sample of the pain that he would experience at her inevitable passing.
She seemed almost angelic in her resting state, her head laid gingerly on the soft, silken pillows as the flickering gleam of countless candles danced off of the wall and enveloped her in their ethereal glow. If this was a small dose of the pain that he would be experiencing on her loss, his heart truly went out already to Teela. He knew she would experience an even greater sense of grief, having both found and lost her mother in such a short period of time.
"Adam?" Man-At-Arms' voice broke thru his self-cast trance and interrupted his thoughts.
He turned away from the door and stepped back out into the Castle's hallway where the others have already gathered. Adam walked up to the group of three and he could not help but notice the ashen look on Teela's face. Still beautiful in his eyes of course, she appeared so very tired, beaten down. The events of the past several days have finally seemed to be catching up to her.
Man-At-Arms turned his attentions to the Cosmic Enforcer and asked,"What do you know?"
As stoic as always, Zodac, his eyes stared past the inquisitive group and towards the Sorceress's chamber door. He slowly shook his head in the negative, saying, "I can not answer that. It is not my place."
"You know what Zodac?" Adam intervened, the first sign of anger and frustration settling in. "I have had it with your cryptic ways!"
Zodac turned to look at Adam who, uchdid to his credit, not back down, even in the presence of this powerful entity. Adam continued,"Now all three of us stood back in the throne room and we heard you and the Sorceress talking about `another,' about a..."
"A son." Zodac finished.
Adam said, "Yes! So as Cosmic Enforcer, if there is a way for the line of Grayskull's guardians to be reconstituted, then we have every right to know!"
Man-At-Arms added, "Besides, we may be able to help."
However, Zodac shook his head and directed their attention back to the chamber door, saying,"She does not wish for him to be brought into this." Despite his cold demeanor, despite his earlier argument to the contrary, the man's heart did indeed go out to the Castle's guardian, and he desired to hopefully see her wish go fulfilled. "She only wishes..."
"Then let her get angry with us!" Teela exclaimed, startling the others from her outburst. "This concerns us all and the future of Eternia! I just found out about my mother Zodac, and she's dying!" Teela's eyes watered, only adding to her anger as she hated displaying any form of weak emotional outburst. She stared into Zodac's eyes, pleading. "Please, if I have...have a, a...brother..."
"Half...brother." Zodac finally revealed.
They stared at him, the truth suddenly out in the open.
Man-At-Arms said, "Half brother? Why didn't she tell me?"
Zodac answered, "Noone knows, save the Sorceress, myself, and those that dwell within the Great Temple."
Man-At-Arms whispered,"The Great Temple? I was there just last...I never saw this boy.
"He is a man now Duncan." Zodac said. "A High Priest to be more specific."
Zodac watched them, their very eyes dancing in the desire to know everything. He sighed before he deigned to oblige them with a wave of his hand, beckoning them to follow.
"But..." Teela began, looking nervously back at her mother sleeping. "Should we leave her alone? What if she...?"
"Now is not her time Teela." Zodac answered to soothe her immediate concern. "Not yet. Come."
With them paying heed, Zodac led them away from the corridor and around a corner where flaming beacons set against the walls ignited to guide their way into the innermost lair of the Castle. In the deepest depths of the aged stone halls, Zodac held his palm up to the wall and a door slid open. An ivory white chamber appeared in steep contrast to the otherwise dreary interior of the Castle's walls. They stepped inside and a calming glow settled onto a golden emblem. All four stepped closer to this puzzle, its shimmering surface reflecting with what light was offered. It was old, perhaps older than even the Castle itself, yet kept in remarkably pristine condition. Zodac turned and spoke to the three onlookers.
Zodac said, "In ancient times, it was foretold that through the veil of darkness, a light would emerge and bring hope to the hopeless, and victory to the defeated."
"He-Man." Man-At-Arms stated matter-of-factly.
Zodac nodded, "Yes, but the prophecy goes deeper, far deeper, than even He-Man's great legacy. One to date unfulfilled. Inscribed into this wall by the Ancients themselves in a language long since forgotten, the prophecy reads;"
"And lo the child bared his soul to the goddess,
And shed light upon the land.
Beware ye who desecrates this light."
Zodac continued, directing his words to the trio listening intently,"A child born of two worlds yet one entity."
"What exactly does that mean, `one entity?'" Teela asked.
Adam added,"Are you saying this man has no father?"
Zodac answered,"Quite the contrary. He has both a father and a mother, different beings but one entity."
Teela held her fingertips to her temple, shaking her head gently,"I think I'm getting a headache. I just don't understand this."
"Neither do I." Man-At-Arms said. "`This one entity' business ... it makes no sense, but what makes even less sense is that he was borne from two worlds? Can you explain?"
"Not in detail I'm afraid." Zodac said. "Because the details behind his birth are forbidden knowledge. What I can say though is this. His conception occurred before the Sorceress took the reigns of Grayskull's watch when she was still young. When he was born, it was her time to step inside of these walls. Much as with you Teela, her heart ached at the thought of giving up her child, but in knowing the danger she herself would stand in, she did what was within the best interests of her child and gave him up."
Adam said,"To the Temple. But, why?
Man-At-Arms turned to Adam and answered this question himself. "Because the Temple is the one place on Eternia void of any threat from evil. It is the sanctuary dedicated to Eternia's Goddess, and has stood where it is now for untold centuries."
"Since Eternia first saw life walk upon it's shores." Zodac said. "Evil itself is powerless as it is protected by the Goddess herself so that those who dwell inside are free to commune and to pray. No evil being in Eternian history has ever dared attempt to breach it's walls, not even Hordak himself, for the knowledge of the Goddess's power and protection."
Man-At-Arms added,"It's tradition for soldiers from across the planet to venture to the Great Temple to pray and ask forgiveness after any battle that sees the shedding of blood. Legend states that Keldor himself once entered it's walls to be baptized before his demise into darkness."
Teela asked,"And this is where we'll find my brother?"
"Yes." Zodac said. "He serves as one of the High Priests to our world's Goddess, an achievement rarely attained by one of his younger years. His knowledge and power have served him well within the walls."
Teela wrinkled her brow. "His power? His powers weren't bound like mine were?"
"The power he inherited from his mother were," Zodac answered. "However the power he wields from his father, even our Sorceress could not bind for it is far too great."
Teela, Man-At-Arms and Adam all briefly exchanged glances amidst each other.
Zodac continued in a much more urgent voice, "It is this power that he possesses that could fulfill the prophecy of the Crown Jewel of Grayskull. However know this; it is as the Sorceress herself said. His destiny can only be fulfilled if he so chooses to allow it to be."
Man-At-Arms said,"We understand." He looked to the two young ones and added, "We must tell the King at once of our mission. He himself may wish to lead this journey as an ambassador."
Teela looked at Zodac, a pleading expression that he read easily enough. "Your mother will be under my care until your return."
She smiled,"Thank you."
Teela then turned to her father and fiance and the trio slowly made their way back down the hall to the main corridor to begin their task, as Zodac watchds after them calmly.
"You can not fight the darkness He-man!"-Shokoti-the Queen of Darkness
Arizona Mazter of the Universe
The Sorceress has a son? Intriguing. I look forward to finding out more about him.
(With many thanks to a dear friend who wrote the opening part of the Great Temple and its description)
Settling in for the coming night, the sun slowly tucked itself beneath the blanket of Eternian dusk. It cast the horizon in a quilted nightlight of reds, oranges, yellows and purple. The mother world's twin moons cast their smile upon the darkening sky, smudging it with a starry kiss. as the stars had begun to show.
Hoofbeats splashed crystalline waters as the royal party, led by King Randor himself and accompanied by Man-At-Arms, Adam, Teela and four Royal Guards, deftly guided their gleaming steeds across a trickling forge. Carefully they slithered their way through the steep, cascading greens in the foothills of Mount Eternia, the great beacon of their homeworld. The lush scenery clutched the weary travellers into its' bosom, soothing their determined minds with a gentle breeze of promise. The journey had been long and quiet, each member of the group having preferred to keep to their thoughts, and allowed themselves to become enveloped in the splendor of nature. It was not until they approached a clearing in the valley that a word was first uttered by Adam.
"By the Ancients..."
He brought his horse to a halt and gazed in wide eyed wonder. Startled by his abrupt stop, Teela brought her own horse alongside. She glanced at him curiously, but Adam offered no response, save for the tip of his finger, which he pointed forward, past the clearing. The guardsmen stopped behind them and followed Adam's finger. Man At Arms and Randor looked on in reverence as well, and the soldiers bowed their heads, parroting their leader, Man-At-Arms.
"Behold," said the King. "The Great Temple!"
More than double the Palace of Eternia itself, the Great Temple of the mother Goddess climbed above the apex of the mountain before them. Ivory towers rose resplendently from the pregnant soil to greet them. Eternia's twin moons smiled with pride, their sentiments echoed by their shimmering lunar companions, and they cast their adoration off of the meticulous cradle of stonework. Led by Adam, the small party urged onward. Though embraced by the enchantment, their thoughts retained a sense of purpose.
They journeyed several leagues from the crest of the plateau, and into the tender greens which stretched out across the womb of Mt. Eternia. They passed through a brilliant arch, a golden gate encrusted with a Goddess' bounty of sparkling jewels and gemstones. They radiated the magnificence of the halls through which they entered, their beauty pulsated through their own bodies, and invigorated them as they stepped onward.
Intricate carvings within the walls told tales of the planet's war-raped history. Numerous depictions fortold a great coming, by way of a shining beacon emitted from the eyes of a horse mounted gladiator with drawn sword. Others retold the trials and tribulations of opressed ancestors, drawn in red by trembling hands. Despite the violent embellishments which trapped their thoughts within a gurgling pit of purpose, it remained a work of wondrous beauty. The assaultive gallery gave way to vibrant orchards grinning under the playful nudge of moonlight. Fruits of all kinds, many of which never before seen by civillian eyes, tempted even the hardiest of palettes with the ripeness of a rainbow. The Temple's grounds were fertile with invitation and quickly dispelled any sense of forboding. They traveled onward, through the orchards of averice and into the white marble streets of the sanctuary's skyline interior. They passed by many a smaller inner temple replete with colorful candles and peasant offerings strewn about their foyers in respectful bundles.
Teela whispered to Adam, riding alongside her. She gestured to a cascading waterfall in the center of a courtyard. It wound down many levels, spiralling from one pool downward into another, and gently cascaded down the slope of the courtyard, thru the Temple, and to the point where they first crossed the path of the mountain stream. Birds hovered about the falls, and a doe trepidly approached, and lowered its tiny head to drink.
"And peaceful." Adam added.
The stars had now fully emerged and chimed their presence overhead. Tiny flames danced to their arrival, and now lined their foot path as they approached the pinnacle of the Temple. Finally their eyes were treated to a flowing waterfall fed from the heart of the Main Hall. Pines lined both sides, as proud as anything beheld during their quest. They followed the gleaming trail to what they all silently hoped would be the solution.
Slowly the twilight of the stars rested over the Eternian horizon and the royal party brought their steeds to a halt at the base of the Great Hall's steps.
Teela looked about her, her green eyes forever watchful and alert, and she was the first to see the older woman in gold woven robes of snow-white, stepped from the framed entrance of the Hall.
"Father?" She spoke, drawing the elder man's attention to the woman, whom with the aide of a cane carved from the sacred ash tree, carefully made her way down the winding steps to approach them.
At first sight of this most regal of women, Man-At-Arms immediately descended from his stallion, followed at once by King Randor, the soldiers, and finally, Prince Adam and Teela. It was when, and only when, the woman reached the final step to greet them, that one-by-one, they began to bow in homage, first the King, then Man-At-Arms, and the Royal Guard. Adam and Teela watched in curious fascination before they too placed a hand to their stomach and bowed in a proper showing of respect.
A smile etched on her ageless face, she beckoned them to stand with a glide of her hand and gentle words, "Rise my children, and be welcome."
And stand they did, but none lost their proper humility nor did they find themselves taking their eyes from her to closely examine the splendor of their surroundings.
Man-At-Arms nodded his head, "Astrid, Priestess Astrid."
Clasping her wrinkled hands in front of her waist, this one known as one of the fabled "chosen ones" of the Eternian Goddess closely scrutinized each of them before she herself spoke.
She said, "It is indeed rare for us to have such distinguished guests at this such a late hour. To what do we owe such an honor?"
King Randor spoke, "Truthfully your Grace, we come not on a mission of reverance, but one in the name of Eternia."
The High Priestess Astrid said, "I see." and looked from one member to another.
It was then that the Prince spoke up for their group, "We've come in search of someone of great importance. It is peril that we find him."
It was then that the old Priestess's face softened.
"Ahh." She exclaimed. "So then the time has indeed arrived."
"The time?" Adams asked.
"How could you know why we're here?" Teela added in question.
The Priestess Astrid said, "I have been a Priestess to this Temple for a long time my dear. Since before your baby feet first touched Eternian soils."
She turned from her guests and carefully approached a wall, gnarled and faded by time, but still kept within it's natural splendor by the many hues of flowers growing around it. As she leaned on her cane with her one hand, she caressed the runes long ago embedded into the stone and closed her eyes in a blissful peace.
"This," she began, "Is what remains of the wall inscribed so long ago and preserved by none other than the great King Grayskull himself in his castle's walls. It was later brought to us for safe guarding following his death by the hand of Hordak."
"What is it that's so special about it?" Teela asked, as she peered closer at the ancient inscriptions, but recogned none save for the lone image of a winged male warrior.
The priestess answered Teela,"It tells of a prophecy many eons ago, one foretold by an Apothecary of King Grayskull himself. Of the champion of the Castle Grayskull."
Adam looked to Man-At-Arms in frowning confusion. "But...He-Man isn't the champion of Grayskull?"
The priestess Astrid nodded, "He-Man is indeed the champion of the people my Prince, and of all of Eternia itself against any enemy. Yes, he does indeed also defend Grayskull against many perils, yet he is not the ordained champion of the Castle. That distinction goes to the one you have come seeking here this night."
The group looked toward each other with the exception of the Royal Guards who stared straight ahead in an ice-like earnest, past the Priestess and into the Temple's Hall itself.
King Randor tilted his head slightly, "Then...you know who we have come for?"
She nodded in an expectant understanding. "Yes." she said. "I have known he was the one since the day he was first brought to us by his mother. I could see the pain in her face as she handed him over. Sense the turmoil she felt in her bosom at losing a child, even to the Goddess herself."
She looked to Teela, and the warm sensation the young redhead felt inside of her helped her to realize the true pain the Sorceress felt when she too was forced to be given up for her own protections. The Priestess continued, "No mother should feel the pain of seperation from her young, and yet twice your own mother was."
The Priestess looked up from Teela to the King and Man-At-Arms and smiled, "Tonight you shall be our guests. Following the rise of the sun, after the Ra'el Mygid, you will come to know the one you seek."
The King smiled and held up his open palm. He shook his head, "My Lady, this is a matter of urgency and we truly can not..."
However his protest was silenced by the Priestess's own words in a voice soothing, yet one even a King would feel compelled to listen to and obey from sheer respect alone, "We are quite aware of the wars that are fought outside of our borders King Randor. We know of the bloodshed and the tragic loss of life, no matter how wretched that life may be." She looked from Randor to Man-At-Arms and back again, then continued, "The one you wish to meet, is the one performing the ritual purification this next morning. You will meet him then."
And none could protest this final word by this elder Priestess as she took Prince Adam and Teela by the arms and guided them toward the stairs, leading into the Great Hall, with the King, Man-At-Arms, and the Royal Guards who followed closely. They stepped thru the framed door, on this final part of their journey to find Grayskull's "Crown Jewel," and two inately carved ivory doors slowly shut.
"You can not fight the darkness He-man!"-Shokoti-the Queen of Darkness
Arizona Mazter of the Universe
The front of the shrine was dominated by four gigantic statues of the Goddess Herself, the sun's rays of this early morning hour shined on the back wall of the innermost chamber, thus illuminating the statues seated there, the top of the facade crowned by a row of doves. The central entrance lead into a large hall with massive pillars fronted by figures of the Eternian history, including that of the same winged warrior depicted in earlier carvings seen.
The eight champions stood quietly, and waited just outside of this sacred shrine to the great Mother of Eternia. Thru the open chamber door they would soon be led thru to take part in the ritual purification to purge from them the sins of war.
The night had been a restless one for Teela. Dreams haunted her from the moment her head rested against the soft cushioning of her guest bed and well after her eyes closed, allowing her to slowly fade from the plane of the wakened world.
The most horrid of these dreams had been the one in which she stood side-by-side with the Sorceress in combat, defending Grayskull against Skeletor. They fought well as a mother and daughter should, but when Skeletor struck a death blow to her mother, Teela did not fight him, nor did she attempt to save the woman who brought her into this world. She simply stood there and allowed the protector of Grayskull to slowly bleed to death until her eyes drained, void of life and she remained at Skeletor's feet with his sword embedded in her stomach.
Teela had awoken from this nightmare, distraught, with tears taking over as she felt a burden of pain and guilt she never thought could possibly take her down. In the past four years, she had battled every one of Skeletor's warriors and walked away successfully, but this was a battle she could not see herself on the winning side of. Her own mother was lying in Grayskull, dying at that very moment, and there was nothing that anyone would would be able to do in order to sustain her life.
"How was this possible?" She asked of herself silently. "This all is too unreal to be happening."
But happening it was, much to the young warrior's disbelief, and to an extent, she felt a well of both anger and bitterness threatening to erupt within her. Anger towards the vile demon who caused all of this and tore away at the light of her mother's existence, and bitterness for the secret having been kept from her in the first place. Had she known, had she only been aware of the truth, perhaps she would have been better prepared to serve and protect her mother only days ago when she suffered the fateful wound. After all, it was only right. For too many years the Sorceress defended all of Eternia by guarding the secrets of Castle Grayskull, yet when the time came for her to be protected, Teela felt like a failure in her mother's time of need.
Man-At-Arms explained it to her best at the Palace as they prepared to leave for the Great Temple that resided in the hills of Mount Eternia;
"Your mother did what was needed in the best interests to protect you and Eternia as a whole." He explained. "She protects a power that could bring a galaxy to it's knees. If any evil force were to discover she bore a daughter, they would never rest until they had taken you to serve their own dark desires."
Teela refused to listen to her father's explanations at the time, but she could hear the truth in his words now. Had Skeletor, King Hsss, Shokoti or any other of Eternia's villians learned who she truly was, Eternia would fall. No mother would choose anything over their daughter's own safety, especially this one she had recently discovered to be her own.
Morning came slowly for this daunting young woman, who stood alongside Adam and the rest of the royal party, each one clad in a simple, cloud-white robe of some fabric she could not identify. It was explained to Adam and Teela that a warrior's garb had no place in a house of worship, especially when they were preparing to receive the Ra'el Mygid.
Teela looked back over her shoulder at Man-At-Arms who stood nearby, supporting his daughter in this her first experience inside the Temple's halls. She said, "Father, I still don't understand why we have to take part in this ceremony. Why can't we just meet him afterwards?"
Man-At-Arms answered, "Because we are under the roof of the Chosen Ones, and of the Goddess herself. The purification ritual is one of the oldest traditions in Eternian history, and we best not show disrespect to these good people."
"Yeah, but..." Teela began.
"Teela," King Randor interrupted. "We are here to hopefully lead one of their own to another place, take him away from all that he knows. The very least we can do is follow in their ways."
Teela turned back around and folded her arms across her chest, still not satisfied and more than just a little uncomfortable in this situation. Her nerves did her stomach little good as she subconsciously lowered her hands to her stomach in a vain attempt to soothe herself. It felt like a tribe of Eternian crowl monkeys were at war within her insides.
Adam spoke up,"But how are we to know what he looks like if we...?"
Teela's heart skipped a beat and her eyes widened. She pointed before her and said, "Father...?"
They all looked up into the direction that she pointed, and laid eyes upon the one they had come in search of. Teela fought the urge to let her emotions break loose, but in the end it was a losing battle as her eyes began to water and she quickly wiped them with the back of her hand at the sight of this unknown sibling who approached them, joined by three priestesses.
Taller than Adam, yet not quite as tall as He-Man, Teelos was an impressive sight to behold. His lean, well-toned frame spoke highly of his strength of character and despite the peaceful way of life under the Temple's care, he possessed clearly the body of a warrior. He walked with an upright posture and they could clearly see that he took great pride in his path in life He wore the gold and white robes of the High Priest that adorn his tanned form in a regal splendor that would befit many a king. Teela's eyes continued to grow misty as she took note of his emerald green eyes and flaming red hair adorned in a ceremonial headdress of chainmail cast in jewels and beads.
Her brother. Whether full blooded or half, there was her own flesh and blood who stood before her, eyes of tender mercy which fell upon each of them, and lingered just a moment longer on herself than what Teela would have felt comfort for. With the grace of the most formal traditions, the High Priest bowed to them at the waist, and one by one, each member of the party returned the gesture of respect.
"Welcome," He said. "...To the House of our Mother. This is the first Ra'el Mygid for you, is it not?" He asked, his eyes focused solely on the two youngest members of the party in Adam and Teela.
"Yes," Adam replied. "We recently fought in a harsh war that saw..."
The Priest said, "Much devastation and many deaths. Yes, I know. It is why our Mother has led you here to Her home, so that the blood shed by your hands can be washed away in Her waters and forgiven by Her care."
Teela felt growing confusion well within her. Something more of a question she did not quite comprehend. She said, "I still don't understand. We fought against Skeletor's evil warriors. They live each day killing and maiming innocent lives. We end it by slaying the evil ones and it's we who need forgiven?"
Man-At-Arms scolded, "Teela! A little respect for..."
Teela flushed but the Priest held his hand up, easing the tension felt as quickly as it had been dealt. "No, it's ok. Many who come here have questions and every right to see them answered." He looked at Teela and continued, "The Eternian Mother gives all the gifts of choice and free will, and unfortunately, many abuse that gift as tho it were a right. All life, no matter how wicked or vile, can be precious. They are the Goddess's children, no matter how cruel their hearts may become or how far they have strayed from her path."
Teela blushed and looked down to the stone floor of the temple. "I'm sorry. I meant no offense."
A hand gently under her chin brought her gaze into his own and the Priest smiled, "Your sincerity serves you well. I am not the least offended. Come"
His smile reassured her as she accepted his offered hand and silently she walked alongside him, wondering how he would feel if he were to know right now who she was. That he was walking side-by-side with his own half-sister.
Thru the framed entrance, he led the eight into a glorious garden that surrounded a large pool in the shape of the Osk, the fabled urn in which the Goddess took her first drink after bringing life to the first of the race known as Eternians. Dominating the head of the pool was a large, golden censer with flames dancing above. To each further corner were smaller censers, also lit and the three priestesses fed those flames with bundles of powdered herbs that gave off a fragrance of sweet smoke.
The Priest said, "This sacred pool allows us to attend and perform our religious rites in a state of purity under the grace and care of our Lady of Eternia. The garden is Her peace and love, the water Her bath which will cleanse you of the ill you came here of."
Teela looked down into the trickling water, now seen as being fed by the waterfalls they encountered first arriving thru the Temple's roads. She saw the pool was flowing with colorful, exotic fish and flowers such as white and blue lotuses.
Noting her look of curiousity, he smiledd noted , "Life in it's purest forms."
Teela looked at him expectantly, not quite sure whether it proper or if it was the right time to speak, but he did so for her, rather unexpectantly saying, "Your robe."
"Excuse me?" Teela said, caught slightly off guard.
He said again, "Your robe." As he held his hand out.
Teela looked at him and understood now what he expected of her. She looked back at her friends who waited behind her. Embarassed, mortified, she looked to the young man in front of her with her face fully flushed red and shook her head in the negative.
He did get upset, nor offended. Instead he placed a comforting hand upon her shoulder and looked into her eyes. "I understand the hesitation." He began. "But when you were first brought into this world, you were without anything covering your body."
"Yeah well," Teela began. "My body has changed just slightly since then."
Watching this exchange from a scant number of feet behind the pair, Adam couldn't help but whisper to Man-At-Arms beside him, "If he's as stubborn as his sister then this could be interesting."
"Shh. Adam." His father Randor reprimanded, but all eyes again turned to the two unknown siblings before them.
The Priest said, "You were first in your most purest of form. To be cleansed you must be so again."
Teela shook her head,"Well then I'm just not going to be..."
He interrupted, "If it soothes your mind, then those others here will turn away."
She looked up at him, her eyes saying enough and he looked over her shoulder and gave them a nod. The soldiers, as well as Adam, her father and the King turned their backs away from them and the pool. He looked to Teela once again and held his hand out and she sighed defeatedly as she begun to undo the ties of her tunic.
Her feet slipped gently into the pool as he assisted her down the small, marble steps, his hand in her own, he too entering the waters of the pool in little more than a simple loin cloth. Knee deep, they waded thru until they came upon the gentle falls that flowed from the urn being held in the hands of the statue depicting the Goddess. Teela could not help but notice how soothingly warm the waters were for such an early hour. He raised a hand to the statue and spoke in the ancient tongue.
"Synda tyia serida d'aske ... life, death, innocense, purity."
With her hand, he directed her under the flowing water as it gently washed over her, and his words continued, "Mother of Eternia, bless this child before you and relieve her own her burdens and free her from her sins."
He then brought her from under the falls and lowered himself down into the water onto his knees, bringing her down along with him. With one hand holding hers, he rested the other behind her head and said, "Bless again this life first gifted with your care and grace." And he slowly lowered her back, submerging her entirely beneath the water. No sooner was the waters washing over her body than did his eyes curiously narrow at something he saw, something not of the norm...a golden aura permiated around her body as he brought her back above the water's crest.
Teela stood side by side with Adam at the side of the pool, both with fresh robes wrapped around their naked bodies as the warm winds blew gently over them. Watching them both with a genuine curiousity, the young High Priest settled his own thoughts about the auras radiating around both of these young ones after emerging from the waters of the Goddess. Regarding his duties once again, he turned to face the King and Man-At-Arms and extended a hand, but they held their hands up.
"No," Randor said. "We ourselves are not here for the Ra'el Mygid. It was their first for..."
Teelos sighed and stepped forward, hands clasped before his waist. He said, "You fought in the war outside these walls?"
Randor said, "Yes but we..."
The High Priest stood mere feet away, and tilted his head slightly to the left. "Blood was shed by your hands."
Man-At-Arms answered, "Yes but..."
No more was said. The Son of the Goddess turned from them and walked back to the mouth of the pool and looked again to them, hand extended. No more needed be said. Randor looked to Man-At-Arms.
"He has her stubborness, that much is certain." And the rest of the party slowly begun to disrobe.
Seated in the gardens outside of the sanctuary, the eight members of the Royal party fed lightly on the breads and fruits left for them following the purification ceremony. Tastes never known before Adam or Teela but savored immensely.
Adam said, "I've never tasted anything like this."
Man-At-Arms said, "That's because outside of these walls there is nothing else like it. The fruits and herbs are grown nowhere else on Eternia."
As the four soldiers replenished themselves from the purest of waters in their goblets, Randor looked at the young ones and smiled. "So how did it feel?"
No other word could come to Teela's mind other than, "Clean."
Adam added, "Pure."
Satisfied and smiling, Randor took another bite from an herbed piece of fruit when footsteps alerted them to another presense. They looked to the heart of the garden and saw the High Priest. he said nothing but simply stood there and watched, bare chested but clad in white trousers and sandled feet.
"Father?" Adam asked.
But Randor had no answer. The feast following the purification was usually a private time of reflecting. He shook his head as the young man slowly walked forward until he stood before them, his arms crossed around his muscled chest and the waist length hair blowing against his flesh. The burning gaze of his eyes shifted from Adam to Teela, and was enough to discomfort all eight of them until his words finally yielded.
"Who are you?"
Arizona Mazter of the Universe
I am liking this more and more. Can't wait to see what is next.
"It's a moo point. Kind of like a cow's opinion, it's doesn't matter. It's moo." - Joey Tribbiani.
The Dark Hemisphere.
Eons ago, Eternia was once a world of completion where it's two suns revolved in a circular pattern around the globe, bathing it's lands in shades of night and day at regular intervals. That is until the acts of the demonic warlord known as Hordak split the world into two seperate realms. In the acts of war against the dark goddess Shokoti, Hordak employed four wraith sorcerers to perform the Spell of Seperation. This resulted in the hemisphere of the planet undergoing a change, being split into one of light where both the sun and moon reigned as the norm, and a dark hemisphere where perpetual night reigned supreme. None of heart traveled these parts unless under dire obligation, and even then did they do so with a fool's hope in remaining alive long enough to see their homelands again.
Snake Mountain had changed. Some years ago, the now deceased King Hsss released the almighty Serpos, an ancient god beast worshipped by the clan of the Snake Men, who was in actuality the very structure surrounding the mountain's highest tower that bore it's namesake. It was the combined power of He-Man and the Elders that emerged victorious over the enormous snake deity and reimprisoned him back in stone around the mountain, this time with all three heads intact and flaming lava coursing down from each structured jaw.
It was the caverns of the mountain, as well as the shell of Serpos himself, that served as the headquarters for this force of darkness for many years. No light penetrated these cold, stone walls save for what was given by the flames that danced from the countless torches lined against the walls, or the fissures that spewed the dim light from the magma below.
And it was within these walls that he ruled the Dark Hemisphere with an iron grip. His name was known throughout every kingdom. Skeletor. His reach of power was feared. Possessing near limitless mystical might and commanding a legion of the most feared warriors across the planet, this tyrant made it known that you would either serve him, or you were an enemy deserving of a death that was often doled out. Many dark forces over the years had made the attempt to attack and conquer Snake Mountain. They saw their own deaths as their reward.
"Well?" His chilled voice grated against their nerves as the warlord awaited for a recon report from the field. His face could not be seen from the dark recesses of his cloaked hood, but the small, red embers that burned within were the telltale sign of his anger and annoyance.
Skeletor reached to the side of his stone throne, his hand outstretched and rubbed the back of the great, purple beast he coined Panthor, as he stared ahead at the armor clad warrior, Tri-Klops, a man who was blind from natural sight but could see artificially thru the three-eyed visor around his head. Tri-Klops was skilled in sword fighting, superior to even He-Man, but he also served as the inventor of Skeletor's army, having created a vast number of weapons and vehicles for their disposal.
Tri-Klops answered, "It is confirmed Skeletor. My Doomseekers have followed the Masters from Grayskull. The Sorceress is in fact dying from the wound she suffered at your hands."
"And the Masters do nothing to aid her?" Skeletor mused. "How very disappointing. Not that there is anything that can be done. I dealt the blow by magical force and as such, only I can undo what was done."
Tri-Klops spoke up, "Forgive me for interrupting Skeletor, but it seems that the Masters are doing something, but we are unsure of what exactly."
Skeletor looked down at his one most trusted advisor and the red embers began to take on a harder glow.
Tri-Klops quickly looked down to avert the burning gaze of his master in a vain attempt to avoid his anger. He answered, "My Doomseekers that were outside of Grayskull, picked up talks of the Masters venturing to the Great Temple of the Eternian Goddess. They were followed to the Palace and it seems that King Randor is leading his son, Teela and Man-At-Arms on a mission to the Temple."
Skeletor's hand left the back of Panthor and slowly wrapped itself around the upright staff of his ram-skulled Havoc staff. His grip tightened so that Tri-Klops would realize it best to not dawdle in his speech.
"Go on," Skeletor said. "Quickly!"
Tri-Klops regained his composure quickly to continue on, "I could not get the exact details of their mission, but it would seem they are headed to the Temple to find someone, a male I could gather."
Skeletor rubbed his chin thoughtfully, "A Priest perhaps?"
"Perhaps." The husky female voice interrupted. "Or perhaps something more."
Their heads turned as the sorceress Evil-Lyn stepped into the council chambers, and her mesmerizing eyes sparkled with a sinister knowledge. Carrying her staff in hand, she slowly walked toward her master's throne, cool in disposition, until she stood at the base of the steps. She looked up into his presence, and she smiled -- confidant, coy.
"You have something to add to Tri-Klop's report, Evil-Lyn?" Skeletor asked.
Evil-Lyn held up her staff and peered into the globed crystal held by three carved claws around it. The globe slowly began to take on a purple glow before it faded and she answered, "Not just something to add Skeletor, but something that could cause the need for our hand to be forced to intervene.
Skeletor saíd nothing, but waited as he was all too used to this witch's ways of delaying an issue in order to taunt those around her. Still, today was not a day to be pulling such mind games with him and he stood, ready to speak out when she continued.
She said, "While Tri-Klops's Doomseekers could not follow the Masters on their journey thru the skies, it seems my own talents were able to. The Masters are in search of someone at the Temple, but not quite what we were to be expecting."
"Do tell." Skeletor said.
Evil-Lyn continued, "It is common knowledge that the line of Grayskull's Guardians is a heritage passed down from mother to child, and with the wonderful Sorceress at death's door, it appears the Masters are in search of her heir."
"WHAT!?" Skeletor bellowed. His voice boomed off of the walls of Snake Mountain, inciting Panthor to rise and and the beast bellowed an animalistic growl of rage bent on backing up his master's own anger.
Skeletor took a step down from his throne, his Havoc staff firmly in his grasp and his gaze fixed on Tri-Klops who quickly took three hasty steps back, clearly intimidated.
Skeletor seethed with white hot rage at his servant, "You said that Teela refused the mantle of Grayskull! You said..."
And a blast from the ram-skulled staff emitted from the hollow eye sockets, and struck Tri-Klops. The jarring blast sent him crashing against the wall, where he collapsed into the stone floor, an unconscious wreck.
Evil-Lyn chuckled, "Begging your pardon Skeletor, but Tri-Klops is right. When Grayskull's defenses were down and we learned of the daughter's heritage, she did in fact refuse to take the place of her mother inside Grayskull. However I do not think it was Teela that the Masters were speaking of."
Skeletor turned to stare at his chief lieutenant and her face was cold, deadly serious now as opposed to the subtle taunts from before.
She continued, "It would appear that our dear Sorceress has been...a busy woman in her past."
Skeletor turned his back to the witch and began to pace in an effort not to strike down his entire line of followers out of anger. He was close, so close to achieving his given destiny of ruling the power of the Elders, to have this...THIS...obstacle come into play! He stood still, which made everyone watching him tense even more.
Skeletor whispered, "A daughter."
"No." Evil-Lyn answered. "A son."
Skeletor turned back to face her again and she continued on, "They are inside of the Temple's walls, protected so we can not reach them, but if they are successful..." She smiled. "They will have to leave the protection of the Goddess."
Skeletor grew deadly silent until the torches nearby flared up, illuminating his skeletal features and red emblazened eyes.
He said, "Then perhaps it is time to test our newest...aquisitions."
Arizona Mazter of the Universe
Finally got a chance to sit down and read this.
It's really good-very well written and the story is flowing well.
I'm interested to see where this leads. I'm also interested to see who's left in your stories world and what the next battle will be like.
"Who are you?"
The question danced in every one of their heads as he stood before them, with his hands clasped behind his back, watching them, and waiting.
They glanced briefly away from him and toward each other, looking for some signal as to what they should do or say. None came forth. It had all seemed so easy when this mission first began. Find the High Priest, explain to him the situation, and return with him to Grayskull. Now they were looking upon this young man, and they realized things were not quite as simple as that.
Man-At-Arms looked at his daughter Teela and winced emotionally for her and what she had to have been going thru inside. For so long he had been the only family she had, her adoptive father, and yet in the past two days, she had discovered the identity of not just her birth mother, but now also a half-brother who noone had ever suspected even existed.
"Who are you?"
"A rather bold question." Randor said, finally breaking the awkward silence that seperated them.
Everyones eyes shifted from the King to the young Priest, as he eyed them all with a peaked curiousity.
He said, "One that bears an intriguing answer, I'm sure."
He stepped from the garden's entrance and drew near. His sandaled feet stepped from the marble grounds to the green foliage where their tables resided.
Man-At-Arms cleared his throat and spoke, "In all my years taking the Ra'el Mygid, I was under the impression that time was to be given for meditation and retrospective."
The Priest smiled at the subtle attempt at changing the subject, and held up a hand to pass on the offered fruit from one of the Eternian soldiers. He again looked at MAA and a gentle breeze blew against him and Teelos felt a chill briefly. He subconsciously rubbed his forearm with his free hand to 'warm up' and he said, "Well then, if you are that familiar with the Ra'el Mygid, you'd also know its a time for counseling if warranted."
"Is it?" Asked Randor.
"In all of my years performing the Ra'el Mygid," Teelos countered. "Never have I seen before what I saw this dawn."
He approached them from the side, and stood to the left of Man-At-Arms and Randor, but faced Adam and Teela directly as he continued on.
"Our Great Mother embraces us each in her light, what many would call their auras, but never before have I seen auras radiate so..." He searched for the right words to describe what he saw thru his mind's eye, before he continued, "...brilliantly. I should like to understand it better."
He slowly brought himself down to one knee at the edge of their table, and rested his forearms up on the edge as he glanced them over. He studed their reactions to both him and his words, as well as each other.
"If you would be so kind?" He added, inducing a subtle hint their way.
It was time. They had hoped to find the more proper of times to have this moment, but then they realized that there was no true, "proper" time for what was about to occur. Whatever the young Priest saw, it gave rise to his curiousity about them, and they were now backed into a corner from which they would not have to emerge from openly.
Randor, as King, took it upon himself to begin, fighting inside for the proper words to let this man know of not just of the importance of their being here, but of the respect they held within their minds and hearts.
"Your Grace," Randor began.
"Teelos," The youth said, allowing them the respect and gift to make use his true name. This did not go unnoticed by Teela however, as she noted the distinct similiarity between their names. A note from their birth mother no doubt.
Randor began again respectfully, "Teelos, there is indeed an explanation for our being here, although it was not for the reasons you may have been led to believe."
Teelos pushed himself up from his knee and stood upright, his arms folded over his bare chest as he watched them, his interest peaked.
"You deceived me?" He questioned accusingly.
"No!" Man-At-Arms interrupted. "At least...not intentionally, and it is your forgiveness we ask if that is what it appears like."
Teelos made no sign of relaxation as he turned his head just enough so that he could steal a look at the female beside these men and then back again at the elder who had spoken. "Go on." He said.
Man-At-Arms ran his fingers thru his chesnut hair that has wisps of gray showing before he let out a long, drawn breath. "It's not so easy as that. We came here, for a reason. An important one. To meet you, to talk to you of something of great importance, yet..." Duncan rested his head down into the palm of his hand as he fought to find the right words. "Where do we begin?"
Teelos answered matter-of-factly, "I would say the truth would be the more proper way to start."
Adam said, "It is not as easy as that, given the nature of our visit."
"Which would be...?"
"Where did you get your name?"
All eyes turned to Teela as she asked the simple question, but perhaps in doing so, opened a doorway that could allow them all an easier entrance into a difficult situation.
Teelos watched her with a freshened interest, his eyes keenly narrowed at her own as they burrowed into his soul. "My mother I was told." He finally said, beginning to chip away at the thin veil of ice that had seperated them. "They tell me that when I was brought to the Temple the day of my birth, my mother gave them my name, and I was known as such from then on."
Teela timidly swallowed hard and followed up, saying, "My name is Teela."
He nodded. "I am aware, I heard your father call you as such. The irony did not go unnoticed."
Adam spoke up, "Teelos, it's because of your mother that we're here."
"Adam..." Randor scolded gently, perhaps having thought it too soon to begin this part of the process.
"No," Teelos said, his eyes on the Prince but his words for the King. "Please, go on. What do you mean this is about my mother? How do you...?"
Man-At-Arms said, "We've known your mother for many years Teelos, tho we admit we did not know of you. Your mother brought you here because..."
Teelos nodded, his eyes partially closed. "Because she was a woman of importance that would have put my life in jeopardy. I know. But please, continue. What is it about my birth mother that brings you here, to me rather?"
They fell silent, and thought to themselves on how best to break this saddening revelation. This was the time they were waiting for, but they weren't ready. How could they be? They shifted uncomfortably as he watched them, and waited for the explanation, until one opted to answer for them.
Teela said, "She's dying."
They all turned and stared at the young female warrior as she lowered her head, trying her best to fend off the tears she had thought she sealed away, but it was clear she did not succed. Pity was felt by all for this sense of loss coursing thru the woman, but noone could take the time to properly express such feelings. Man-At-Arms, Randor, the others, they looked to Teelos and slowly nodded, confirming what she had told Teelos to be the truth.
His face grew grim, unreadable. "Dying. ... How...?"
Adam said, "In battle. She was wounded while in combat against Skeletor who is..."
"I know the name." Teelos said with a sour tone to his voice, one that did not go unnoticed. "Please tell me why this brings you here. Am I to give her the Last Rights?"
Randor said, "If you choose, that would be much appreciated, but this runs far deeper Teelos. Have you an idea of who your mother truly is?"
Teelos answered only by shaking his head in the negative, then spoke up, "I was left here the day of my birth. I was told she watched over me tho from that very day until now."
Man-At-Arms said, "And it was not a lie Teelos. Your mother did indeed love you as much as a mother could love a child, but for your own safety and the protection of Eternia she gave you up to a life of peace inside of these walls. It wasn't easy for her to do that, to give up not just one child, but two?"
"Two." Teelos whispered and his eyes fell to Teela, and the young female nodded, acknowledging the evidence as fact. He now understood who she was to him, blood relation. His sister.
Man-At-Arms continued, "Had she kept either or both of you, not only would you have been put in mortal danger, but so would the entire planet of Eternia and possibly the universe."
Teelos placed a hand to the side of his head as tho to ward off the silent pangs of a steadily rising headache and turned away from them. He asked, he wanted to know, and slowly the answers were coming to him tho now he was not quite sure he wanted to know. He took a few steps away and turned back around, doing as best he could to regain his composure and not allow himself the luxury of indulging those rising emotions.
"Well..." Teelos began meloncholy. "I asked. A mother, a..." He looked at Teela. "Sister?"
Teela looked down at the plate in front of her before she raised her head and answered, "Half-sister."
"Half-sister." He repeated. "But this still does not tell me exactly why you have come here looking for me."
Adam spoke up,"Teelos, your mother is the Sorceress of Grayskull."
This "small" revelation brought reknewed interest to the expression on the Priest's face as he stared at Adam, then diverted his gaze to Randor who continued the explanation.
Randor said, "The Sorceress, your mother is dying Teelos. She fought bravely but her time on our world is not much longer. When she dies, Grayskull and the power inside will fall vunerable to the first evil force that sees fit to make it their own."
Man-At-Arms continued,n"The Sorceress is from the long line of Grayskull's Guardians, passed on from mother to child since King Grayskull's death eons ago. Teela..." Randor looked to Teela who again kept from engaging in eye contact with this newfound sibling for fear of emotions running rampant on her part, or fear of his not accepting her. Adam draped an arm around her shoulder, offering her a small bit of comfort. "Teela and Adam are to be wed, and she will be the Queen of Eternia when it is her time."
A shadow began to fall across the face of the young Priest as an understanding began to creep into his being, knowing what it is that they wanted, what they hoped for and expected of him. It was not a revelation that he was particularly endeared to.
This was his life, the only one that he had ever known, and they were here expecting him to simply walk away from it for a duty he knew nothing of. How could they have just arrived here, assuming he would give up such a peaceful existence for people he had never known before until today?
"So," He began. "Instead you thought to come here and pluck me from the services to Her Grace and replace a mother I never knew and live a life of war instead of the peace that I have known."
"Teelos, it is not like that." Randor protested.
Teelos stared, not just at one but in turn, at all eight of them. Royalty and Guardsmen alike. The King said it wasn't like that, but contrary to however they wished to package it, this was exactly how it was. He took a deep breath, the frown on his brow ever increasing, and slowly he exhaled...and turned and walked away.
Last edited by Shokoti's Slave; September 24, 2009 at 09:14pm.
Arizona Mazter of the Universe
This last portion was really well written. It was a pleasure to read.
If anyone were to look from below, they would swear that he was not a man, but a statue for as stoic as he stood upon the balcony of the high tower. A rare privelage indeed for any who dwelled within the walls of the Temple; to have been given the quarters of one of the Sky Towers as their living chambers. Only those of the highest accord were to be recognized with such a gift. The standing of Teelos, both as High Priest and prophecy had given him this honor.
Still, he would not allow as such to spoil who he was, or more to the point, who he believed himself to be. He allowed only the most meager of possessions to adorn him room; that being a table with writing materials, two chairs, a bed and a washing basin. Material goods meant little to him as he was raised with no reason for such. The only goods he kept of his own were his clothes, both temple and the more ornate priest attire, inside of his closet. Along with these lied a gift that to this day, remained a secret and unknown to him; locked away in a solid oak chest.
Often he would wonder what "gifts" these could be, to be freely given by the Temple's High Council on his sixteenth birthday, but more often he would wonder why these gifts were to remain secret until the day that his destiny "came to fruition," as the Priestess Astrid would say. He had no need for such possessions as a Chosen One of their Goddess, and until now, until this very morn, he had thought he knew all there was to know about his supposed destiny. He just naturally assumed that he would live out his days as he has for these past twenty-four years; as a Priest to the Goddes of Eternia.
"You knew." He whispered gently for her to hear, having sensed her presence entering his chamber.
The High Priestess's face was marred with a concerned sadness for the child that was given to their Temple some twenty-four seasons ago. A gift she would say to breed what would be given to the world on the day he came to light. She stepped softly out onto the balcony and took her place to his right, overlooking the boundaries of Mount Eternia's scope.
Nodding solemnly, she answered, "Yes, I knew. I have known since the day you arrived to us in your mother's arms, I have known that you are the one."
"The one." He said, more a statement than a question.
"Yes child, eons ago your birth was foretold of by the Ancients, borne of a single entity but two parents. A child of light and rebirth."
Teelos looked over his shoulder to the Elder at his side, with no trace of emotion on his face save for a critical eye and what might be construed as a mocking disbelief. He turned his back to look over the streets on the Inner City of the Temple far below, and spoke with bitterness swollen in his voice than he had wished to allow.
"And here I thought I thought I had already learned all of Eternia's fables."
"This is no fable dear child." Astrid begab to explain. "There is a stark difference between fantasy and reality, and the reality of the situation is as you see it before you. The Goddess works her wonders in ways we can not begin to understand, but those that we also can not deny."
The High Priestess turned to him and placed her hand on his in a reassuring gesture towards this young one who was as a grandson to her. She continued, "You know the prophecy as well as any within our walls. Grayskull is to remain empty save for it's one guardian until the time comes where it's king will come to claim the throne and the power within as is his right for the benefit of the people and land of the Lady."
Teelos smirked, despite the overwhelming sense of foolishness of this assumption toward him, but out of respect he said little, save for, "And you think me to be this supposed king?"
Astrid took his hand into her own and clasped it between her palms, prompting him to turn to look into her eyes. Teelos did and despite his denial, he found himself reluctantly acknowledging that she believed sincerely her words and beliefs, despite how impossible it remained.
"Not `think' my dear," She said with positive conviction. "I know. Your own past, your heritage, preordaines the prophecy that will one day be yours to fulfill."
Teelos shook his head in disbelief. "I have heard enough." He said as he turned to walk off of the balcony and back into his chambers but Astrid gripped his arm with a surprisingly strong hand, and stopped him from walking away from her.
"It is your destiny Teelos. You must understand that."
"Only if I so choose for it to be!" Teelos countered angrily. "It is my path if I choose to walk it! You are well aware that I have always believed destiny is what we make it! It may have been...foretold, that I would sit on this throne, tho you have still yet to convince me of this, but if I choose not to, then ..."
Teelos stopped talking. He closed his eyes and shook with the effort to control himself from losing control of his temper. He was starting to believe what she was telling him, and he hated himself for that fact. Until this day his life within the Temple had been one of peace and perfection...and now his life was seemingly being thrown into turmoil.
A lone tear of frustration streamed from his clenched eyes and down his cheek, and the High Priestess reached and wiped it free with her forefinger. Teelos opened his eyes to look at her and he spoke with a hoarse voice.
"I am expected to give up serving the Goddess in order to replace a mother who never showed her care for ..."
"Did not care?" Astrid said with a gentle sadness. "Teelos, your mother's heart was breaking as she handed you over into our arms to raise. She wanted nothing more than to love you and raise you as any mother wishes. She loved you child, more than even she thought possible."
"And this is why she abandoned her own flesh?"
"That is why she saw fit that you be given a life with us that she herself could not provide. A life of simple pleasures and peace."
Teelos could not help but find himself swimming in the caring eyes of the older woman. She had no call or reasoning to tell untruths, especially in so delicate a matter. He did not like this, but yet still he listened.
Astrid walked to the outer edge of the balcony, inately carved in white ivory knots and twists. The sound of a bird's wings broke the silence and both dwellers of the balcony looked skyward to see the great bird flying overhead. Pointing a finger, she directed his attention and continued.
"Think hard child. Each year on the anniversary of your birth. Each year, you had a visitor, did you not?"
The memory of course served him well. The fresh image of the blue and gold falcon implanted itself firmly in his mind's eye.
Each year on the morning of his birthday, he would find the falcon perched on the rail of his balcony, watching over him. It would be there as he rose from a slumber, and remained throughout the day. It seemed always to be in content to watch over him, despite whatever his deed may have been; whether it was sleeping, eating or meditating.
The grief induced reality was fresh in his mind, and he remembered how he would hold his arm out as an open invitation and laugh when the falcon flapped it's great wings to rise into the air and landed on his forearm. He remembered always holding out pieces of fruit for the bird between his fingers, sharing his own refreshments with his annual visitor, none-the-less suspicious over why he was always of such interest to this special animal.
Astrid's words drew Teelos from the memories induced upon him. Pleasant tho they may have been, they had a lingering affect om his heart and soul. He inhaled sharply as the knowledge of the vistor's identity shattered the final barriers he had drawn about himself, and slowly, the tears overwhelmed him. They trickled slowly down his cheek and pooled on the cleft of his chin. He exhaled slowly and closed his eyes as Astrid continued.
"Your mother never abandoned you Teelos. She has kept watch over you since she first delivered you to us from out of harm's way."
Teelos was too emotionally spent to speak, let alone put up any further arguments. He turned to look at this Elder Lady whom he had held in the highest of honor and regards. His eyes brimmed with more tears as she spoke to him with the kind wisdom she was always reknown for.
"Had she kept you with her as she so wished, your life would have forever been in peril through the constant attacks on her as well as on Grayskull itself. She gave you up for a better life of peace and..."
Teelos interrupted in a choked voice, "But if I do what everyone seems to expect of me, her sacrifice will have meant nothing!"
"No, no Teelos. Come." She said, and took him by the arm. She guided him back inside of his ivory white chambers as she spoke in comforting tones. "No gift of the heart means nothing when it is so freely given, and that of a mother's love is always given without condition." Astrid led him to the open door frame that served as his closet. She pointed to the sealed box. "It is time to know of your heritage."
Caught off guard, Teelos simply looked at her, neither saying nor doing anything until her nod prompted him to slowly kneel down inside of the closet. He reached inside and slid the long, decorative oak chest from it's station inside. Decorated lavishly with jewels, it was a beautiful sight on it's own as it was picked up into his arms and carried across the room to be set down upon the bed.
Astrid offered him a key with a white opal embedded in it's handle. He hesitated but she nodded, smiling.
"Your mother knew that this day would come. Oh she wished with all her heart that somehow, in some way, that it would not, seeing her desire to keep you safe from all harm. Yet deep within her heart, yes, she knew."
Teelos inserted the key into it's slot and with a slight turn of the wrist, a click was heard from within, releasing the lock and allowing him to gently lift the lid open.
"By the Goddess..." He whispered to noone in particular as he looked down on what was perhaps the finest carved sword any eye would have the privelage to perceive. He gently glided his fingers along the blade that stretches a length of three feet and was carved with intricate symbols unseen by Eternian eyes for a millenia. Even with that first touch, he could feel a strong energy that he was unable to describe in words course thru his being.
Astrid said, "The Sword of the Ancients, the only weapon that rivals and perhaps bests the power of the Sword of Grayskull itself." She watched, now more serious than casual, as Teelos remained speechless while he closely scrutinized this treasure of a gift. "Your mother made sure that you would be well prepared in the event that your prophecy might unfold."
Teelos grasped the hilt and the power within sent a jolt thru his body as he carefully lifted it from it's containment. His face quite betrayed the amazement he felt inside, which pleased the aged High Priestess. The weapon itelf was power, yet as light as air, as tho it was constructed of magic itself.
Astrid said, "The Ancients crafted this weapon from their very essense so that it would serve well the prophecized King. No other would do."
Teelos, the sword handle grasped in one hand, and the blade gently resting down across his open palm of the other, closed his eyes and his head swam in the events of this day. A half-sister ... a mother dying and in need ... a destiny that until today he had remained ignorant of. The burden on him was the weight of the world, as his own had changed course so drastically.
Eyes remaining closed, his words came softly, "I had always assumed my destiny was to serve the Goddess of Eternia within these walls."
Sensing his desire to be alone, Astrid turned and stepped outside of the doorframe of the room, and paused long enough to turn back to him with a final word.
"You need not be confined to these walls child, in order to serve our Lady of Eternia in your own special way."
And with that, the reknowned High Priestess made her exit, leaving Teelos to his thoughts.
Arizona Mazter of the Universe
Very much interested to see what Teelos's destiny is.
The early morning sun loomed across the Eternian horizon, basking the sanctuary for the land's warriors in all of it's winsome glory. Many of the Temple's inhabitants, both clergy and those citizens in homage, rose at these earliest of hours; some to pay their proper respects to the Goddess within the Inner Temples, some to go about their work, and others to simply drink of the harmonious beauty of the land washed in the copious hues of colors their Lady showered across the skies overhead.
Birds chirped as they rose and fluttered about the many trees, sereanding all with their euphonious songs of cheer. The morning dew, with the balmy scent of a rich honey, pleased the senses and heartened the calm that dwelled within as it glistened off of the flowers and ripe green grass.
It was a time well cherished within the Temple's walls, to greet the rising sun as tho you were greeting the Goddess herself, and in the minds of many, they were. It was a time of tranquility, valued by all, much as was the day's polar opposite in the night.
Despite negative beliefs that evil thrived under the cloak of darkness, many a follower could be found beneath the dwelling of the star lit skies, looking up in wonder at the glorious silvery moon, or those heavenly bodies, watching the stars twinkle, their soft light dancing in the heavens. Many would try and gather the shape of the Eternian contellations, others would simply lay back and dream, swimming within their very own thoughts of what was, and what might be.
A pity then it was, that these visitors could not share in the splendor, nor the peace. For to them, this visit was short-lived, and a failure.
"But father...we can't just give up!" Teela protested with the strength of desperation in her voice as Man-At-Arms finished loading the saddlebags of supplies to the side of his horse.
Man-At-Arms glanced up as he checked the harness of the saddle of his horse, making sure that the buckle was secure. Once satisfied, he turned so he might face his daughter. As the others made due with their own preparations for their homeward bound journey, the wise MAA could do little more than sigh in an exasperated sense of defeat.
"Teela," He said gently. "There is simply nothing more that we can do."
"No," Adam interjected as he took his place beside his future bride. "It isn't true. There has to be...something, that we can do to convince Teelos our mission is just! We can stay, talk to him and..."
King Randor mounted his horse, following that of the four Royal Guard soldiers that were stationed behind him on their own steeds. The monarch said as calm, tho strongly as possible, "Adam, it was simply too much for him, to expect of him to do what we asked."
"But we can't just give up!" Adam protested vehemently. ""Too much is at stake to just..."
"Adam!" Interrupted his father, his voice commanding. "We came here to do no more than to ask, to try, and both we did. We can do no more and we can certainly not force him to leave the only home he has ever known his twenty-four years."
Teela pleaded, "But..."
With his hand held up to affectively silence his daughter, Man-At-Arms said, "His life here is as important to him as our own lives are to each of us. We can not expect him to simply give up everything he values and walk away any easier than we would be able to do so ourselves."
"Then what are we to do?" Adam asked. "Grayskull...I mean, what do we do about that?"
Randor shook his head in the negative, visibly dejected, and answered in a grave voice that left all within their small party unsettled, "I wish I knew, but alas, I don't."
Man-At-Arms lifted himself up onto his horse, and Adam and Teela knew that there was no more that they could do to argue their cause. Slowly, with no small amount of remorse, they too mounted up on their own steeds and followed as the King led the procession down the paved streets of the Temple.
Adam turned and looked at the face of the woman, who in their teens, had captured his heart. A woman who had always stood tall and proud against the most lethal of dangers without a sign of fear to betray her beauty. A woman who he fervently dared to dream would one day become his queen. Yet now he was unsure of anything that would happen in the future. Most of all, now he feared that fate would intervene against them, and that she would be torn away from him as a result, and never know of her love as a wife. Despite all of her strength and gifts, Teela's face now betrayed her. In it, he could see regret, sadness, and anger.
"Teela," He began, but she shook her head, cutting him off before he could even truly begin to express himself.
"I'm fine Adam." She said, but not convincingly to even herself. "What am I saying? I'm not fine. I...I'm angry Adam!"
Adam replied, "You have every reason to be. We came here with a purpose but..."
"It isn't that!" She sharply raised her voice, drawing the attentions of her father and the King ahead of them, but once they saw it is a more private conversation between the young ones, they turned back to face the path and allowed them to go on in private, allowing them that at least.
Teela continued, her eyes narrow slits as she stared down while one hand softly stroked the black main of the horse she was riding. She said, "I mean, it isn't just that."
"Then, what is it?"
Teela looked at him as she allowed her horse to maneuver itself of it's own accord thru the streets, following those ahead on the path. The royal party slowly passed the graceful falls they first marveled at upon their nightly arrival just two short eves ago.
"Adam, that was more than a priest back there...more than, than a potential Guardian." She looked away briefly to see that they were approaching the arched gateway that served as both the entrance, as well as the exit, of the Temple. The closer they got, the more her heart began to fall into despair over the possibilities, as well as limits, of her future with Adam.
Drawing more firmness to her voice, Teela continued, "That was my brother, half or full...we, we share the same blood, the same mother!"
The multitude of Temple patrons up at this early hour dispersed from the path of the royal party as they continued on.
Teela continued, "I just feel so...cheated."
"I understand." Adam said.
"No, Adam, you don't." Teela shook her head. "I discover the truth about my mother, and I am going to lose her because of Skeletor before I can even really know her. They wanted me to take your place, and probably will still, and for that I may lose you as well...and now, I've lost a brother I never knew that I had before I was even given a chance to..."
"Maybe not." Adam interrupted, his face marked with a sudden surprise, as he looked ahead, noting quite suddenly of their parties' sudden stop. Teela followed his gaze and looked to the forefront and blinked rapidly in disbelief, as tho she was trying to decipher whether her eyes deceived her.
At the gateway of the Temple, sitting atop a stallion the color of fresh, unspoiled snow, was Teelos. His posture upright, his face without clear emotion, he was clad in no more than a tanned sleeveless tunic laced up from the navel to the collar, leather trousers and sandals, along with his mother's gift, the Sword of the Ancients, at his waist. His own travel necessaties packed at the glorious steed's sides, Teelos cautiously approached the awe-induced group until he came face-to-face with Randor himself.
Teelos stared the Eternian ruler right in the eyes, his strength of character paid him no mind to the possible differences of social status nor importance.
"I make no promises." And he said no more than that. With no other words escaping his lips, the young priest pulled the reigns of his horse to turn the mount around and slowly headed out of the gates, leaving his home for the first time in his twenty four years.
Randor and Man-At-Arms stared ahead at his exit, too surprised for words...the members of the Royal Guard looked at each other in bewilderment that stilled their tongues...Adam looked at Teela, and found an expression of optimism on her face. One by one, the royal party followed Teelos out of the gate and onto their journey.
The image of the traveling group slowly withdrew into a haze, as they were being watched from afar in the foreboding caverns that served as Snake Mountain's throne room. The green glow eminating from the Doom Seeker dissipated in the air and the spy device drew back and hovered at the side of it's inventor, Tri-Klops.
"So this so-called legend of the King appears to be true." The skeletal warlord said in a fearsome voice of gravel against it's own.
"Yes. The first borne son of a Guardian, borne under the eye of two worlds as one." Evil-Lyn added. "The prophecy of the Ancients is very precise, and it appears the child has been found."
"Only..." Tri-Klops cuts in. "A child no longer."
"Indeed not." Skeletor said quietly, his chin rested on his knuckles as he gave thought to the situation at hand. "A grown man of strength and prominence. Everything the stories have foretold appears to be unraveling before our very eyes." Skeletor's right hand absent-mindedly reached over and began to stroke the soft,velvety fur of the purple panther who rested at the side of his throne. "If the legends about this king are true, this young priest already possesses great power without the power of the Elders to complicate things further."
Evil-Lyn, ever the personification of a cold, evil confidence, turned to face the warlord who sat atop the stone throne, one hand rested on her hip, the other which wielded her own crystal wand of magic. In her soothing tone, she added, "Great power indeed does this young one wield my lord, and should he set foot inside Grayskull and accept the mantle..."
"No!" The tyrant erupted as he lept upright and gripped his Havoc Staff. "He will not reach Grayskull, none of them will! I have already sent our newest recruits to intervene by any means necassary. They will see that his party does not reach Grayskull, at least, not before it has already been conquered."
"If then." Evil-Lyn mused.
"Precisely dear Evil-Lyn." Skeletor said as he descended the stone slabs and set foot in the midst of his own evil warriors. "If they are slaughtered, it will be of no loss. If not, what they find on their arrival will not be what they expect."
Skeletor looked to Beast-Man and red embers began to arise in his hollow sockets, and he growled, "Summon the steeds."
Arizona Mazter of the Universe
Can't wait to see what happens next. Again, it's well written and you did an excellent job of painting the picture of the group meeting Teelos at the gate.
Now quit reading this and hurry up and write more.
**sorry for the lengthy delay between chapters! I was on a much needed vacation!**
Twelve hours, and many a long, tiring mile later, King Randor had brought the team to a halt at the border of the Fertile Plains and the Evergreen Forest to make camp for the night. Adam made note that speed was of an urgency, but Randor, backed by Man-At-Arms, made not their horses, as well as they, would need the rest to continue at first light.
The moon was just sparkling in it's crowning glory with the stars dancing in the night sky for all to see. The camp itself was meager, with just sleeping sacks stationed in a ring around the campfire so that no direction could go unseen in case of enemy attack. This down time allowed for the company of heroes to meet between themselves, discussing what they may. Man-At-Arms and Randor talked amidst themselves, as did Teela and Adam, as well as two members of the guard while the other two prepared the evening's meal over the large fire.
Conspicuous by his own preference to remain with his own thoughts, Teelos sat off to himself aside the far end of the fire. Remaining cross legged with eyes closed, he took the time to bring himself to meditation, clearing away all thoughts of the conscience for proper illumination.
His eyelids fluttered, the visions again having drifted from the furthest recesses of his subconscious...
A strange land came to him, unknown of origin or purpose ... surrounded of a vast desert, much resembling Eternia's fabled Sands of Time, yet this strange land seemed to be teeming with rich life ... Temples were the decor of the land, harvesting cities structured in stone and gold ... strange pyramid style monuments of great stature ... all a mystery without an answer when the visions of the other worldy dieties came upon him, always as before ... a woman radiating in a golden brilliance, her wings spread outright with the sun behind her, casting her face in shadow. The only name that comes to him, tho the origin he had no answer ...
"Isis..." He whispers softly so that only he could hear.
The visage of the female slowly dissipated and in her place stood a statuesque male figure with the head of a falcon and the body of a bronze warrior ... Without warning, the man's form disintergrated into a bloody dismemberment, a fright that shocked him from out of his meditation and he found himself staring wide-eyed into the face of one of the Royal Guard.
"Begging your pardon your grace." The soldier said, offering Teelos a small, wooden plate with roasted fowl and portions of fish. "Are you not hungry?"
"No, please." Teelos said with a shaken voice, as he accepted the offered plate. "Thank you."
Teela and Adam watched the man from afar as he picked up a piece of bread with the fowl on it and took a healthy bite. Adam could not help but see the expression on Teela's face as her brother ate.
"Teela?" He said gently, drawing her attention to him. He gazed deeply into her sea green eyes and smiled. "Go over and talk to him."
Teela turned back to watch Teelos and she sighed, letting her shoulders sag as a sign of her inner discouragement. "I wish I could Adam." She said. "I want to, but what is there to say to make things any easier? I...besides, it looks like he'd rather be by himself."
"Teela, something tells me that it wasn't just the mantle of Grayskull that lured him from the Temple. Maybe, it might have something to do with him realizing he isn't alone in the world?"
"He was never really alone Adam."
"No, but as far as he knew, he had no family. He just discovered a mother and sister as you found out about your own mother and a brother. Similiar wounds Teela."
"I know." She smiled, resting her head against his shoulder. "What heals one wound may heal another."
Adam leaned his head in to kiss her tenderly on the forehead and they took the moment to relax, but as they looked to steal another glance at the mysterious young Priest, they found him watching them. Teelos turned his head away quickly to avert their gaze, perhaps trying to hide his own discomfort of loneliness. Teela looked up into Adam's blue eyes and he smiled, nodding his assurance and she turned again to her half-brother.
Teela slowly forced herself up to her feet and hesitated, drawing on that inner strength that brought her many a victory on the battle field, but this was more unsettling than any fight for any prize. In a war, one knew how to react. With blood relation, any number of obstacles could arise when you least suspect it. Teela forced herself to take that first step, and paced herself, she found herself at Teelos's side. He glanced up at her and for a brief moment, silence ruled the moment.
"May I...?" She finally said, motioning to the log he was using as a seat. "Oh, but, if you'd rather be alone..."
No, please." Teelos said, scooting a bit to the right, to make room. "Please sit."
Teela took her place at the left of him and the two just sat there for several long, uncounted moments. Neither spoke to the other, neither made the first move to break the ice with the other. How could one? In situations like these, emotions and common sense tended to freeze up, making one awkward, tense...
"Thank you." Teela finally said, breaking the embarassed quiet and drawing Teelos's fixated stare from his unfinished plate of food to her.
"For what?" He asked in genuine interest.
Teela smiled, "For coming with us."
Teelos said nothing in answer to this. His reasons for going perhaps were not the same as what they may expected of him. The High Priestess Astrid talked long into the night with him and allowed him the decision to return to the Temple if that was his wish, instead of taking his destiny into hand. It was a choice he needed to think about with great focus and clarity, without any outside influence. He looked away from her and gazed into the dancing flames of the fire as the soldiers who prepared the food finished their chores to have the time to relax themselves.
Not allowing him to stay distant from her, Teela worked to keep the mending of the bridge and continued, "What changed your mind?"
Teelos set his plate to his feet and leaned forward, resting his arms over his bent knees. "My, our, mother is dying, that is reason enough." He turned and looked her in the eyes and his face was stoic. "I go to pay my respects to the woman who gave me life and a purpose."
"You mean..." Teela began, a frown starting to show itself across her face. "You mean you're just going to visit? Not...?"
His demeanor immediately changed. "So that is what this is about." He said with an icy chill backed to his voice and looked away. "Reassurance. I do not recall ever giving you any indication as to my intentions for coming along with you. I told your king himself that I made no promises. My place has always been within the Temple. There my life has always held meaning and it has satisfied me."
Teela shook her head. Her ears were keen but still she could not believe what it was that she was hearing from this man. The ice was certainly broken between them, or had at least started to be, but now it was out in the open and Teela was not known for her lack of tact.
"I can't believe this." She said, her own voice shrill enough to draw the attentions of the eyes around them as her voice began to rise. "You talk of your place in the Great Temple, and while the rest of Eternia may risk death and destruction and you may do nothing to stop it!? How can you be so selfish!?"
"Teela!" Man-At-Arms' voice called out sharply, having overheard the start of this sibling debate.
But Teelos looked to the respected master of arms and held a hand up to ward him off. "No," He began. "Let your daughter speak her piece." Teelos lowered his hand and shifted his body so that he could turn to face his sister and those around them grew weary at what was obviously about to occur. "Selfish. Is that what you think of me?"
Teela nodded, accepting the gauntlet, never one to back down. "Yes, that is exactly what I think of you!"
"That's rather hypocritical of you, don't you think?" He challenged.
"Excuse me?" Teela reacted, aghast that anyone would dare say something like that to her of all people, the Captain of the Royal Guard.
But this was not just anyone. This was her brother, her own flesh and blood in which they shared the same mother. They shared the same wit, the same temper, and obviously, the same acidic tongue.
He answered her, "To condemn one for not doing the same duty that you yourself rebuked? I mean, that is why we're here, now, is it not?"
"Different?" Teelos scoffed. "Is that your sweetened way of telling me that your life and dreams mean more than my own?"
"That is not what I said!" Teela raised her voice.
"That is exactly what you said!" Teelos matched her shrill tone with his own. "You expect me to give up my life and everything in it so that you do not have to make the very same sacrifice? We would never have met nor be having this discussion had you yourself agreed to take the mantle of Grayskull, but no! You wish to be wed! You wish to be queen one day! Since the day I first met you dear sister, it's all been about what you want! What you need! I was perfectly happy with my lot in life until you came along, expecting me to change all I know! Be damned any other lives, even your own brother's so long as Teela is not inconvinienced!"
Teelos stood up and moved away from her amidst the stunned silence. Not even Adam or the King could bring themselves to move to intervene and calm things, so great was their shock at the emotional outburst by one of Eternia's High priests. Always have they been known as calm in demeanor, but this was certainly a different calling.
Tears welled heavily in Teela's eyes as her brother lowered himself to the ground, on top of the blanket laid out for him and he pulled the cover over him, turning his stare back to her for one brief moment to continue his verbal tirade.
"Perhaps before you next accuse one of selfishness, you'd do well to look into a mirror and see the poison of your own venom."
With that, he rolled over to his side to rest. Noone spoke. Adam sat down beside Teela and put an arm around her shoulder, allowing her to rest her head against his chest and weep.
Arizona Mazter of the Universe
The Cosmic Enforcer retained his vigil over the bedside of the Sorceress whose health was steadily deteriorating. For long had the Elders' power staved off the poison of Skeletor's blade, but there was so much even the power of Grayskull could do in such balances between life and death. It was soon to be her time - and no sorcery could deny that fact of nature the Goddess herself decreed. Soon the poison would fully contaminate her bloodstream and she would pass to the Goddess's garden and be with all of those who went before her.
Though his perpetual stoic demeanor betrayed no emotion, Zodac indeed was feeling the pain that this tragic loss would soon bring. Though ordained that the King of Grayskull would usher in a new era for the land, it made it no easier to accept the inevitable. For Teela'na was far more than than the Oracle guardian, someone who protected these walls and the power that lied within. She was an icon, a friend to many across the land, including himself.
Suddenly he took his eyes off of her form. He could sense that something was coming. Long had he been a defender of the light, having fought at the sides of the Elders as well as He-Man himself. He knew evil. He could sense it, and it was fast approaching these walls.
Zodac's staff flew from it's resting spot against the wall of the bedchamber and into his hand. He gripped the weapon with both hands and his helmet slipped over his face and his tattoos began to glow with power. He turned about and exited the chamber, heading to defend the castle against whatever threat was fast approaching. A daunting task to perform alone. The Sorceress could call upon the power of Grayskull to defend it and the walls that shielded it. Such was not his right.
The griffins flew over the highest tower and the lead beast swooped down low and Skeletor lept off. His feet hit the green stonework which raised dust into the air, scattering it in the heavy winds that blew over these heights. One-by-one, he was joined by his warriors - Evil-Lyn, Tri-Klops, Trap-Jaw, Beast Man and Whiplash. Skeletor knew the Sorceress was gravely injured, but the castle was still yet not without it's defenses, so he took no chance. His deadliest of subjects would be at his side for his moment of triumph.
Gripping his Havoc Staff tightly in his right hand, Skeletor took a step forward, headed toward the tower with the single blockaded door, decreeing, "After all of these long years, my destiny is about to be consummated!"
Suddenly a powerful surge of enchantment struck the evil warlord in the chest, knocked him down and sent him skidding across the stonework and to the feet of his warriors.
They looked up and saw the powerful, majestic figure perched atop Grayskull's highest tower with battle staff in hand.
"You will go no further." Spoke the Cosmic Enforcer in his usual impassive tone. "A destiny will be fulfilled this day, but not the one of your own delusion of grandeur."
Yet as respected as Zodac was throughout the world, his commanding tone was met and answered back by a sneering laugh of disdain from Skeletor whom rose to his feet. The skeletal faced demon said, "I respectfully disagree!"
Skeletor swung violently with his Havoc Staff and a crimson arc of energy erupted forth and struck out at Zodac who dove out of the way! The blast struck the moss-covered stone of the parapet with devastating force which sent the rubble flying!
With a perfectly executed handspring, Zodac landed on the roof amidst the evil warriors and returned fire from his own staff, but a shield erected about the villians deflected it!
Beastman roared in an angered command and one of the remaining griffins swept in low and collided with Zodac, raked him with a swept claw and knocked him aside! Skeletor raised his staff, the hollow eye sockets glowed with fierce energy and he uttered the command,
Evil-Lyn was the first to strike as she wielded her wand and a blinding violet energy wave lashed out at Zodac but his experience and power was vast and he defelected the energy blast with his own staff! The blast struck a stonework pillar, sending rock crumbling! Zodac sprung from the path of the falling rubble and Evil-Lyn's power warped around the heaviest of the boulders and sent them hurdling toward the Cosmic Enforcer! Zodac sprung over one, then used a second as a springboard to launch himself at the witch! The pair's respective staffs collided and Zodac ducked down and threw her over and down hard to the floor!
Beastman jumped from his griffin steed with his whip in hand and cracked it around Zodac's staff. A tug-of-war ensued and Trap-Jaw looked to take advantage and lept into the fray, brandishing his mechanical claw! The cybernetic evil warrior reared his mechanical arm back to strike and Zodac pivoted at the waist, using the leverage to bring Beastman flying forward and straight into Trap-Jaw's path! Blood spurted into the air as Beastman's shoulder was skewered by Trap-Jaw's arm! Beastman roared and collapsed to the floor, his paw clutched at the gory wound!
"For that you will pay!" Skeletor roared at the expense of his most loyal henchman! "Kill him! Kill him now!"
Teeth gritted, Tri-Klops shot at Zodac from his omega-beam eye. Zodac saw it coming and gutted Trap-Jaw with his staff and swung him around into the beam's path! Trap-Jaw collapsed to the stone floor, a charred piece of his back smoking but Zodac did not see the lashing tail of Whiplash as it came against him and struck him square in the back! Zodac was knocked across the roof and he struck the wall! Tri-Klops lept across the clearing and brought his sword down but Zodac struggled to his feet and brought his staff up to block the deadly blow! But no sooner was the blow defended against than Evil-Lyn again lashes out with her power! Weakened and with his staff blocking Tri-Klop's deadly sword blow, Zodac was struck in the leg, crippling him!
Zodac collapsed to his knee and Skeletor aimed his Havoc Staff toward the stone pillar and fired! The blast struck, Tri-Klops lept back, and the rubble collapsed, burying Zodac alive! The evil warriors regrouped and stepped closer to inspect the carnage inflicted and they smiled in grim satisfaction. Only Zodac's hand was left intact - and it was not moving.
"Come." Skeletor laughed to his minions as he headed for the main tower. "Grayskull's final defense has fallen! The power of the Elders will finally be mine!"
The Evergreen Forest...
The Evergreen Forest was colossal, one of the great wonders of the Eternian plain. The trees towered over the heads of the party that traveled through, sheltering them from the burning glare of the noon-day sun overhead.
The mood was a sullen one, even in this peaceful of settings of the quiet, lush foliage of the wood. Birds chirped from their perches but it offered none any comfort. The wind whistled through the branches but it would not relieve any of the chill of the discord.
Teelos rode alongside two of the Royal Guard at the front of the company, rather than within the company of the king or his own sister. Feelings were tense after the emotional eruptions between brother and sister just a scant two nights ago. His stare bared down on the forest trail they rode upon, though his mind wandered back to the young woman who rode ahead of him. The gall she showed. The nerve in expecting him to do what she herself was unwilling to, and then condemning him for his reluctance. He had not spoken since that night, not to Teela, nor any of the rest of the royal party.
Indeed they looked at him differently now than they did before. When they first met him, he was a subdued High Priest that spoke lightly and with reservation. That all seemingly changed the night he and Teela exchanged hard words. He was not acting then as a priest nor an emmisary. He acted as a man, her flesh and blood, and he showed with anger he was as mortal as any of the rest of them.
She couldn't resist. Time and time again on this journey she stole glances at him from over her shoulder but looked away quickly when she caught his eye. "Was she wrong in her questioning him?" She asked herself repeatedly but her stinging pride refused to acknowledge that possibility. He was her brother. He should be able to see the position she was in. Her love and engagement to Adam was a different engagement than what he himself had. She believed that. She had to.
"Teela?" Adam spoke and brought her from her private thoughts.
Teela answered,"I'm fine Adam. I just want to be left alone."
"You're angry with him."
"Well wouldn't you be?" She asked. "Didn't you hear the way he talked to me? He called me a hypocrite. A hypocrite!"
"Well..." Adam observed. "You did call him selfish first."
Teela pulled her steed to a halt to face Adam as the rest of the party continued onward.
"Who's side are you on?" She asked in a demanding tone. "You're to be my husband! You just met him!"
"So did you." Adam said. "But that isn't stopping you from judging him, is it?"
"Adam, I do not want to lose you! If I was to take the mantle of Grayskull..." Teela stopped and shook her head. "Forget it. You don't understand." And Teela nudged her horse into a trot to follow the others.
"I don't understand?" Adam asked in subtle disbelief as he urged his own horse on to match Teela's stride. "Don't you think I'm at the risk of a loss as well if worse comes to worse? I stand to lose as much as you do Teela. This is not just about you! This..."
"Hold it..." Teela said as she raised a hand, her eyes forward.
Adam turned to see what it was that took her attention away from their talk and he frowned. Teelos had pulled his own steed to a stop and turned it around, his eyes wandering throughout the trees with a look on intense scrutiny on his handsome features.
Having seen this, King Randor turned his horse around and approached him.
"Teelos??" He asked. "What is it?"
Teelos narrowed his eyes as he followed movement through the lofty trees and he said, "We're not alone."
Everyone's eyes then looked up and they all saw shadows that lept from branch to branch with fluid grace. Each form moved in a circular pattern above them until they formed a ring around the treetops. Then ... they lept.
The eyes of the heroes followed as the reptilian forms dropped down around them, one-by-one, until they are surrounded at all points. The hisses from their bodies chilled the blood. The hood at the back of the one's slender form unfolded. The long tongue of another unfurled from it's mandibles. The unnaturally long arms of another drew back to normal length as the ghastly mouths in it's palms sealed shut. More forms dropped down until finally, a heavy thud hit the ground. The hulking girth of this form, the largest of them all, stood upright and it's tail shook with the death rattle.
"Snakemen." Teela gasped, her eyes wide.
General Rattlor bellowed, "Make this slaughter slow and painful!" He roared to sound the attack!
Arizona Mazter of the Universe
Getting more and more interesting.
Really like the development of Teelos and you do a great job with your action scenes.
Wow, a great continuation of the Masters story. Keep it up, I was kinda hoping that Randor would have been listening to Teela ranting about Adam not understanding the loss of a brother, etc. It would have been neat to see Randor acknowledge some kind of mental remembrance of Adam losing his sister Adora to Hordak or Skeletor or some such. I really wish they had been able to incorporate a MYP She-Ra in the cartoon.
Ugh! I wish I would have thought of that!
Thanks for the good words folks! Currently working on the next chapter.
Arizona Mazter of the Universe
Well, now you have thought of it You are the author and can always amend your story a little. It's like some of the small gramatical mistakes I saw that could be fixed. All the new readers of the story would never know that you added something, and you just direct the older readers to reread it.
Kinda like rewatching a movie to see stuff you may have missed before.