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Thread: Dark Legacies - Part I

  1. #1
    Queer Sorcerer Telkan2's Avatar
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    Dark Legacies - Part I

    It's taken far longer than I expected, but I finally present to you:




    With Artwork by Ofty, Gbagok, and Telkan2

    ***

    Works Cited

    The majority of characters and locations incorporated into this story are the sole property of one of the companies listed below:

    Mattel, Inc.
    333 Continental Boulevard
    El Segundo, CA 90245
    310-252-2000

    Mike Young Productions
    20335 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 225
    Woodland Hills, CA 91364
    818-999-0062

    Filmation Studios

    ***

    For continuity purposes, in my efforts to piece together a coherent history and storyline, certain parts of this story rely on elements taken from the “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” televisions series(es) and comics. Material was borrowed from the following sources:

    ***

    Comics:

    Masters of the Universe: Icons of Evil: Beastman

    Krikman, Robert, Ian Richter, Val Staples (w), Tony Moore (p), and Val Staples and Mark Sweeney (i). “Beastman.” Masters of the Universe, Icons of Evil #1 [One-Shot] (June 2003), Image Comics.

    Masters of the Universe: Icons of Evil: Tri-Klops

    Krikman, Robert, Ian Richter, Val Staples (w), Diogenes Neves, Antony Bilal, Renato Arlem, et al. (p), and Bill Crabtree and Ron Riley (i). “Tri-Klops.” Masters of the Universe, Icons of Evil #1 [One-Shot] (October 2003), CrossGen Publishing, LLC.

    Masters of the Universe: Volume 3, Issue 5

    Santalucia, Emiliano, Lori Ann Scott, Val Staples (w), Enza Fontana, Emiliano Santalucia (p), and James Offredi and Deidre Vance (i). Masters of the Universe [Volume 3], #5 (July 2004), MVCreations, LLC

    ***

    Television Episodes (2002 – 2003):


    “Beginning, The (Part I)”
    “Ties that Bind, The”
    “Snake Pit”
    “Separation”
    “Out of the Past”
    “Rise of the Snake Men (Part I)”
    “Price of Deceit”
    “Power of Grayskull, The”
    “History”

    ***

    This work is solely that of a fan who wishes to honor the characters (and thereby the creators of said characters) that sparked in him a passion for fantasy and creativity that remains with him to this very day. No infringement on the copyrights or the creative talents of others from whom I’ve borrowed is intended. Thank you!
    Last edited by Telkan2; May 26, 2008 at 03:30pm.
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  2. #2
    Queer Sorcerer Telkan2's Avatar
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    Prologue


    A hulking man stood at the mouth of a cave, his enormous frame blocking all sunlight. He walked slowly into the echoing chamber, his head bowed, disheveled hair hiding his features. The man stopped beside a small, fiery pit, and knelt on one knee. “Welcome,” an ethereal voice greeted.

    “Thank you, Great One, I am honored to be invited to your home.”

    A slight breeze whirled through the chamber. The smoke from the fires in the pit began to part, and a woman arose from the flames. Her skin, both ageless and blemishless, was the color of ripened olives. A magnificent crimson headdress, in the sculpt of a cobra and inlaid with gold, lined the curves of her body from head to waist. In her slender hand the woman held a long crimson staff, also in the shape of a serpent.


    The people of Eternia called her the Goddess, but in truth she was no deity. It was a title of awe and wonderment, as her powers and grace were beyond those of any known living being. She was a sorceress that was said to have walked on Eternian soil along with the Ancients, and the people respected her all the more for it.

    “Rise, King Grayskull,” she instructed, as she stepped out of the magical pit.

    The man obeyed, but kept his eyes to the ground. “My wife told me that you visited her dreams, and asked to see me.”

    “She spoke the truth, and I am pleased to see that you trusted her instincts—as you know, she is of the twenty-eighth generation to spring from the family sown by my seed.” The Goddess changed course, reaching over to lift the man’s chin. “Time is of the essence now, Grayskull.”

    Their eyes met, and he was amazed by the light shinning from within. Without conscious effort he raised his hand into the air. An enchanted glow, brilliant like the lights in the supernatural one’s eyes, extended from his palm. The glow traveled from his hand and into the air, coalescing into the outline of something that appeared to be a sword.

    To King Grayskull’s amazement, when the glow faded away he found an actual blade resting in his grip. It was intricate and broad, and it was heavy enough that men of normal strength would have great difficulty holding it aloft. “What…what is this?” he stammered

    “You hold the Sword of Power,” she replied. “Dark days lay ahead for Eternia, and you will need a powerful weapon to defend these lands.”

    The king’s mind was swimming. “Dark days?” he echoed. “What do you mean? And what will I be defending Eternia against?”

    “You will know when the time comes.” She could see that the worry and self-doubt creep into his eyes. Smiling warmly at him, she began to fade away, leaving the king alone with his new sword. Her voice became disconnected once more, as she whispered a final encouragement. “Do not fear, Grayskull. You have the power!”
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  3. #3
    Queer Sorcerer Telkan2's Avatar
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    Chapter 1 - Part 1

    Chapter I

    Fifteen Years Later…

    With a heavy sigh, and even heavier heart, the Lord of Zalesia cast his vote with the others. Sweat collected around the hand he used to grip the legendary, ram-headed Havoc Staff. “I have often lobbied my fellow Council members to overturn our antiquated policies on the rearing of a family,” he reiterated before taking a moment’s pause. “However, I will rule alongside them in this instance, because I feel the Council of Wisdom would be better served by the prelate’s removal.”

    The Councilmember on trial, Prelate Horüd, was a Spikean through-and-through. He hissed at the Lord of Zalesia through clenched, fanged teeth.

    “Let it be done,” Lady Shokoti proclaimed, rising from her seat on the Council’s dais, and lifting her azure face and arms towards the silent crowds watching with anticipation in the balconies high above. “The Council of Wisdom, by a unanimous vote, hereby strips Prelate Horüd of all titles and responsibilities. Despite my esteemed colleague’s view, ours is still an order that demands distance from the intimate connections made by normal Eternians. We must remain unattached, so as to remain fair in our renderings.

    “Prelate Horüd broke his vows, and produced an illegitimate son—a half-breed boy named Zed—with his Stillian mistress.” Casting her gray-eyed gaze back to Horüd, she continued. “That is why you will be banished from this Council. You may gather your things, but then you must leave the sanctity of Castle Eternia at once.”

    Shokoti took her seat once more, and Prelate Horüd spat green on the blue, marble floor of the Council Chamber. He was silent, eyeing each of his former “brothers” and “sisters” for what seemed like an eternity. His long, leathery red wings (a genetic defect shared only by his younger brother) furled and unfurled at the edges with each rasping breath he took.

    The looks of alternating anger and hatred that swam across his glassy red eyes unnerved even a Spelean guard near the dais. (The Speleans, though startling to look at for some humanoid Eternians, were a generally peace-loving species. However, their genetic “cousins”, the Spikeans, were known worldwide as being terrible, bloodthirsty brutes.) It’s amazing the others ever allowed him to join the Council at all, thought the guard.

    “Very well,” Horüd finally acquiesced, in a tone so hushed that even the visiting warrior-prince He-Ro had to strain to hear. “I shall gladly leave this wretched place. I swear to you, though, you have not heard the last of me!”

    *****

    A short time later, as wine-red dusk faded to violet night, Prelate Horüd perched himself upon the narrow ledge of Castle Eternia’s uppermost echelon. His razor-sharp talons gripping the blue stone hard enough to crack it, the Spikean seemed like a horrible, living gargoyle keeping watch over the Eternian landscape thousands of feet below. Just as he was about to take flight, he heard the sound of cloth rippling quietly behind him. Horüd swung around in the blink-of-an-eye, and jagged Spikean daggers flew from his hands.

    Before they could reach their target they simply dropped to the stone floor of the turret. “You need to be quicker than that if you wish to do me harm,” said a hushed voice from beneath a flowing, shadowy cloak and hood.

    “How could you let this happen?” Horüd hissed. “How can I manipulate the Council into doing your bidding if I’ve been stripped of my title?”

    The hooded one gave a shallow laugh, which made Horüd’s blood feel momentarily icy. “I do not need your help for anything. You are but one puppet out of hundreds.” A step closer. “I had great plans for you, Horüd: you were to be the highest general in the great kingdom I am building.”

    “Then why did you not stop Grayskull’s people from telling the Council about my cursed spawn?”

    “Despite the designs I had in mind for you, your stupidity is astounding sometimes.” Though angered, Horüd dared not make a move against the powerful dark one before him.

    The hooded figure continued. “Too many knew about your foolish indiscretion: King Grayskull and his family, Veena and He-Ro; Grayskull’s most trusted advisor, Eldor; and, of course, Eldor’s son Light Hope—the young fop who discovered what you had done in the first place.

    “I could not dispose of such influential beings all at once, or it would have been clear that someone close to them was behind their destruction. No…too quickly would the trail have led back to me, and I was not about to throw away centuries of planning because of your mistake!”

    “What now, then? Am I finished, or do you have other plans in mind for me?”

    “Though your assistance with the Council is lost to me now, my original plans for you remain intact. Return to your home, and continue your work with the Orcs beneath the Well of Darkness. I will contact you when the time is right for the next step.”

    “But when will I—?” Horüd crumpled, as if his insides were bursting to break free beneath his oily gray fur. He writhed in silent agony, unable to force screams of pain from his seizing lungs.

    “You will know all you need to know when I deem the time is right. Now go!”

    Just as quickly as his innards had started convulsing, they stopped. Horüd kept his keen eyes to the ground, so as not to let the hooded figure see the look of hatred lurking there (or the tears of pain). Without a word, the Spikean leapt from Castle Eternia’s highest tower and took to flight.


    The hooded figure stepped towards the edge of the turret, and allowed blue hands to run across the cracks where Horüd’s talons had broken the stone, while watching him disappear with gray eyes. After long minutes of careful listening, the hooded person decided it was safe to do away with the hood. Long, dark hair spilled out as Shokoti disposed of her disguise.

    Soon my plans will come to fruition, and then Eternia will be ripe for the plucking! Standing at such a great height, with a cool breeze skipping along her cheek, Shokoti allowed her mind to take her back to a time when she was still considered a child by her race’s long-living people. There were no lingering thoughts of those cursed people, though. Instead, she was focused on a particular faraway night…

    *****

    Far from home, participating in an ancient rite of passage ritual, the young Shokoti had become lost in the bleak Ice Mountains. For hours upon hours, blizzard-like winds and snow fell from the heavens, threatening to bury alive any who dared leave the sanity of shelter. Yet, there she was: cold, hungry, alone, and angry that her own family had agreed to put her through this brutal, barbaric, and antiquated ritual.

    My magic is already stronger than most of theirs, she thought bitterly. That’s why they really sent me away! They could sense the power growing within me!

    Shokoti was determined not to grant her village’s Shaman the satisfaction her demise would bring. Instead, with only her dark thoughts as company, she trudged on, determined to return victorious.

    Suddenly, a Snow Beast descended from a cliff high above! The beast was larger than most of the homes in Infinitia (her village), but that hardly fazed the brazen girl. “I was wondering when you would stop your cowardly stalking, and actually pounce!”

    The Snow Beast took a swipe at Shokoti with its massive paw, and as it did so she neatly tore part of its flesh away with a massive knife that she had been concealing since first feeling its hungry eyes at her back. The monster shook the icy canyon around them with its painful cry, splattering the white ground with splotches of sticky purple ooze.

    Just as quickly as she had wounded it, it struck back at her with its other paw, throwing the blue skinned girl into one of the cold mountain walls nearby. She jumped back to her feet as quickly as she could, but it was too late!

    The Snow Beast was mere inches from her, its yellowed teeth, stained with dried blood from an earlier kill, bared against her as it growled deeply. It released a deafening roar, and the canyon quaked again, but this time the shaking did not stop when the beast did.

    “Fool!” Shokoti screamed over the rumblings. “You’ve caused an avalan—”

    Before she could finish the word, the ice behind her gave away, and she tumbled backward into a massive cave. The cascading snow sealed the icy maw just as quickly as it had first revealed it, but at least Shokoti had the satisfaction of seeing a massive pillar of ice crush her beastly opponent before her view was blocked.

    The sheets of snow and ice finally ceased falling outside, and once more Shokoti was alone, only this time she was trapped in a silent cave behind tons of frozen precipitation.

    Might as well have a look at my tomb, she thought bitterly, conjuring a floating ball of blue flame before her. The entire chamber lit up as the light from her flame refracted off of thousands of the most beautiful crystals Shokoti had ever seen! In the very center of the room was a giant crystalline orb, to which the other crystals all seemed to be pointing.

    “Welcome,” said a deep voice.

    “Who’s there?” Shokoti called, gripping her dagger once more.

    “There is no need for that here, Shokoti, I mean you no harm.”

    “Wh-who are you?” she asked, hating with every fiber of her being the trembling, mewing sounds her words made.

    The orb began to glow brightly, completely eclipsing the blue light created by Shokoti. Within the orb a wizened face appeared. “I am the Oracle of the Crystal Sea.”

    “The Crystal Sea? That’s…”

    “Yes, that is some distance from your desired destination. You ventured from the correct path quite a while ago.”

    “Literally or figuratively?” Shokoti chuckled.

    The Oracle did not return the sneer. “Perhaps both,” he replied evenly. “You are destined for great things, Shokoti, but the path you take in life will determine if those things I speak of are for good or ill.”

    The girl was intrigued by the mystic’s words. “Tell me more,” she beseeched, “it’s not like I’m gong anywhere any time soon.”

    “Should you turn away from the hatred and the evil that threatens to bubble-up and spill from your heart, you will sit proudly amongst the wisest beings Eternia has ever seen. Together, you will help a great king defeat terrible, unnatural armies.”

    The Oracle’s visage disappeared from the crystal, and was replaced by a moving image of soldiers clad in silver and red moving across the lands of Eternia. In their wake flowed a river of fire and blood. An enormous red bat seemed to be leading the way.

    “Looks unpleasant,” she replied lazily, as a second force appeared in the orb. The new army, with Shokoti amongst its leaders, overcame the aggressors easily.

    “So what’s the alternative?” she asked as the Oracle’s face returned to the glassy surface.

    Bound by inalterable nature to answer such questions of those who seek them, he told her. “You will spawn great darkness and pain in every corner of Eternia. Eventually, it will even eclipse other worlds, so great is this darkness.”

    Shokoti gave a chilling smile, thinking back to her weak parents and the Shaman, and the revenge she would exact with this darkness the Oracle spoke of. “More.”

    “Please,” the Oracle tried in vain, “what I see is horror beyond reckoning, and no possible good could come from you learning more of the evil within your soul!”

    “But you must—I command it!”

    “Very well; such is the curse of being a mystical nexus between time and space.”

    The wizened face vanished from the orb, and a stunningly handsome blue-skinned male replaced it. He had a neatly trimmed goatee and moustache of black.

    “He is an Infinitian?”

    “He is your son.”

    “My son?” she gasped. “Wh—”

    “His name will be Keldor, though eventually another name will encompass him. Ultimately, he will be more terrible than any of the armies I mentioned before. His wickedness will surpass even your own! Yet even he will be defeated…eventually.”


    A young, blonde haired Eternian youth replaced the image of Keldor. “The heir of Grayskull, a warrior called He-Man, will stop him after years of battle and bloodshed.”

    She cared not for the last bit of information. “The most powerful being to walk Eternian soil will be my son? And all because I ‘chose the wrong path’?” she asked, a grim smile creeping onto her beautiful blue face…

    *****

    I will see to it that the entirety of the Oracle’s prophesy does not come to pass, Shokoti thought to herself, her consciousness once more returning to the present. Once I have created the most powerful army Eternia has ever seen, I will conceive Keldor, and allow him to command once he’s old enough. He will indeed sit upon Eternia’s throne, but I will be the power behind that throne!

    Her reverie was shattered by the heavy footsteps of Light Hope. The rotund young man pointed at the horizon, where the faint outline of Horüd could still be seen flying away. “It must be difficult to watch a Councilman fall, even for our leader.”

    Shokoti snorted, although she adopted a slightly warmer tone than she had used with her servant moments ago. “My dear boy, I was granting audiences within that chamber before His Majesty, King Grayskull, took his first step. Indeed, I was sitting in that same spot before your father drew his own first breath.”

    “And that was eons ago,” Light Hope said in jest, a smile lighting up his rosy red cheeks beneath a mountain of auburn beard.

    Shokoti allowed herself a slight chuckle. “Close enough. My point is this: I have seen more Councilmen and -women fall than I care to reflect upon. Some left in disgrace, but most succumbed to age. Horüd’s seat at the Council is not the first that has had to be filled, and it will certainly not be the last.”

    A third joined them upon the top of Castle Eternia, clearing his throat softly. “Pardon the interruption, Milady, but King Grayskull has asked that my son join the prince and I at his banquet table,” announced Eldor.

    “Very well,” Shokoti replied, only now turning to face her company. “Please extend the Council’s gratitude to King Grayskull for allowing us to enlist his son’s protection.”

    “Even were it against his father’s best judgment, I’m sure He-Ro would have come along, old friend. With one as dangerous in knowledge and skill as Horüd, who knows what could have happened had he not agreed to leave so peacefully.”

    “Indeed.”

    For just a flicker, unnoticed by anyone, Shokoti’s eyes darted towards the thick tome that Eldor clutched tightly in his gnarled hands. Once that book is mine, “old friend”, Horüd will be the least of your worries!

    Moments later, Shokoti watched as the convoy carrying Councilmember Light Hope and King Grayskull’s two emissaries departed Castle Eternia.
    Last edited by Telkan2; February 9, 2008 at 05:35pm.
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  4. #4
    Queer Sorcerer Telkan2's Avatar
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    Chapter I - Part 2

    Horüd carefully navigated his way through the honeycombed, magma-dripping tunnels beneath the Well of Darkness. He still seethed with anger: anger at Shokoti for not stopping that interloping fop Light Hope; at the Council for stripping him of his position; and most deeply, he seethed with anger at the Stillian harlot that had lured him into her sweet trap in hopes of making a name for herself.

    Landing silently in the cavernous central chamber of the mountain, Horüd’s ruminations had left him in no mood for further annoyances. Unfortunately, his dead sire’s other child, the younger, did not seem to notice. (Or perhaps he did notice, and that notion tugged at Horüd’s temperament even more.)

    Striding arrogantly along the rocky floor, and using his massive red wings to overstep the larger streams of lava, Hordak approached Horüd and gave a slight bow. “Welcome back, My Liege.”


    Horüd knew the title was given mockingly now, but he silently vowed that one day—once Shokoti had fulfilled her end of the bargain—his insolent little brother would tremble with fear at the very air surrounding him.

    “What is it, whelp?” he snarled. “I’m in no mood to be bothered by trivial matters, so choose your words carefully and make sure they’re important.”

    “My words are always important,” the cocky Hordak retorted, “even if you’re not wise enough to listen.”

    With a seething hiss, Horüd took to the air and descended upon an oblivious, passing Orc. Horüd’s talons drove deeply beneath the smaller creature’s shoulders, and it squealed like a pig as it was taken to the highest reaches of the cavern and then dropped with a sickening thud-crunch!

    Returning once more to face his brother, Horüd demanded, “Who told you?”

    “Let’s just say a little Imp told me about your earlier humiliation.”

    “I’ve warned you to keep that—”

    “The term you’re looking for is ‘familiar’, brother; we wizards use familiars to be our eyes and ears when we are erstwhile engaged.”

    “Keep that thing away from me! Next time I catch it, your precious little Imp will be sorry you ever conjured him!”

    Hordak was through toying with his older brother, and so he just smiled smugly. The younger Spikean had always known that Horüd was jealous of him. Their father was the mightiest wizard the Spikean species had ever produced, but those magical genes had decided to skip the firstborn son. Between the two of them, only Hordak’s murmured incantations would yield results.

    For years, as Horüd wasted his time studying the more tangible sciences, and playing puppet to a mysterious secret master, Hordak had studied the darker, supernatural sciences. He had become powerful—more powerful than Horüd could ever dream—but he allowed his older brother to think himself more potent because it amused him to do so. It would make overpowering him later so much the sweeter.

    “What was it you wanted to tell me, worm?”

    Hordak found his brother’s sinister eyes. “The other Spikeans have finished adding the final touches to the battle suits, and the Orcs have completed forging Prime’s outer shell.”

    “My master will be most pleased with this news,” Horüd replied, his annoyance with Hordak ebbing away slowly. “Soon, I will lead the greatest, most horrible army this world has ever seen, and once my enemies have been conquered, so shall my master be overthrown. Eternia will be mine for the taking!”


    End of Chapter I
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  5. #5
    Sorcerer of Night Lord_Of_Destruction's Avatar
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    Darn it you beat me to the punch. I was going to have Shakoti be Keldor's mother!

    Nevertheless I am interested to see where this is going
    "How I loathe heroes! Always getting in the way and acting so... so... heroic!"

    please check out my fan fics at:

    http://www.fanfiction.net/u/399417/

  6. #6
    Queer Sorcerer Telkan2's Avatar
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    Chapter 2 - Part 1

    Chapter II

    The great, yawning jaw-bridge of Castle Grayskull lowered to the ground, slowly bridging the pristine waters of the moat that surrounded the great, white-marble castle.

    “Your father’s keep is strange indeed, friend” Light Hope commented to He-Ro, who sat beside him in the transport. “It is both beautiful, with its clean walls and golden etchings, and yet terrifying with its threatening façade.”

    “Indeed,” the mousy haired prince agreed, eyeing the fortress. “It was my father’s intention to show his people that he is noble and kind, and to show his enemies that he is a force to be reckoned with.”

    “And I would add that his goal was met successfully,” Eldor spoke up from the opposite side of the carriage. “During the twenty-odd years that I have served His Highness, none have been bold enough to launch an outright attack against Castle Grayskull.”

    “Not even those cold-blooded vermin, the Snake Men,” He-Ro reaffirmed.


    Once inside, the trio strode purposefully through the many corridors of Castle Grayskull. Light Hope continued to marvel at the beautiful tapestries and statuary that could be housed past such an intimidating threshold.

    “Greetings, Your Majesty,” Eldor hailed as they entered the castle’s magnificent banquet hall.

    Beneath enormous scarlet banners baring the cross-like Grayskull Crest, King Grayskull himself was already seated behind the long, wooden banquet table. His white-marble seat of honor could scarcely be seen behind the bulging muscles of his upper torso. The king’s long blonde hair, usually unkempt due to his frequent take-charge nature in the field, was neatly combed back behind his should blades.

    “Welcome, friends,” the king replied, rising to his full, 7’ height. His voice ricocheted off the walls, echoing all the way up to the ceiling high above before silently escaping through the crystal skylights.

    “Father, how fared the battle in Gar Farian?”

    “Well enough, He-Ro,” Grayskull answered, retaking his seat as the others took theirs. The prince sat on the king’s right-hand side, with Light Hope next to him. Eldor sat on the king’s left-hand side, although he left an open chair between them.

    Grayskull continued, “We were able to drive the Snake Men back to their steamy, jungle realm once more. Unfortunately, the vile Snake Face was able to claim the lives of numerous Farians before we arrived.”

    “Detestable creatures,” Light Hope commented with disdain.

    “You will find no argument from me there, son of Eldor.”

    “Where is Her Grace,” Eldor asked, indicating the seat he had left empty.

    King Grayskull sighed before answering. “The work of a sorceress is never done. Veena insisted on staying in Gar Farian for a bit to ensure the Snake Men did not return. I tried to convince her that our Man-At-Arms would be able to hold them off until we could return, but nevertheless she remains in her falcon form, perched in a tree at the center of the village.”

    “That’s my mother,” He-Ro remarked jovially, but with great pride lacing every word.

    “Now tell me,” the king went on, as the servants began bringing the food, “how was today’s Council meeting?” His large blue eyes fell squarely on Light Hope.

    “It could have been much worse,” Light Hope answered, pausing briefly to thank the attendant for the glass of white wine he had just been poured. “Lady Shokoti banished Prelate Horüd from the Council, and thankfully he left without incident.”


    Light Hope paused once more, and hesitated slightly before asking, “May I ask you a question, Your Highness?”

    King Grayskull swallowed a large portion of roasted pheasant. “You want to know why I invited you to come with your father and my son tonight,” he ventured.

    “Yes,” Light Hope responded, flushing with embarrassment; it gave him an odd look about the face, since an enormous, red main of hair already framed his features. “If I may be so bold, Your Highness, I have not dined in this great hall since I left to join the Council five years ago.”

    “You know why that is, boy!” Eldor snapped, as if his son was still a child acting up at the dinner table. “The Council of Wisdom must be allowed to operate independently from the government, lest the people stop trusting in their judgments.”

    Light Hope blushed even more intensely. “I understand that, father, and that’s exactly my point. Why have I now been invited back?” He faced Eldor fully now, saying, “The people know that you attend the Council meetings as the king’s ambassador, but that you don’t actually participate in the proceedings. Those same people, however intelligent, will nonetheless wonder if my visit is recreational or if the king is trying to lobby me with something. The people must know that the Council is not influenced by politics.”

    Before Eldor could retort, King Grayskull broke the tension with a hardy chuckle. “It is no wonder your son was granted a seat on the Council.” He turned to look at Light Hope once more, although the momentary twinkle his laugh had produced was gone. “You’re in danger.”

    “Danger? From what?”

    He-Ro answered, seeing the panicked look on his childhood friend’s face. “We fear that Horüd may try to seek revenge against you, since you were the one who informed the others that he had broken his vows.”

    King Grayskull continued. “The magical defenses that protect Castle Eternia will not hold back someone who once sat on the Council. Lady Shokoti, and the others who are endowed with mystical powers, will need to set-up new enchantments.”

    “They may even require assistance from the queen and the Council of Elders.”

    “I see.” Light Hope sipped at his wine. “But, father, what about the Book?”

    “No!” Eldor cut him off, slamming his gnarled hands down on the large, dusty tome with a thud! “You know, as do the rest of us, just how powerful—and dangerous—the Book of the Ancients is! The last time a spell was cast using this book it gave rise to the snake god Serpos! It was all the previous Elders could do to stop the beast.”


    “But you have the book now, not the Snake Men’s ancestors. You and King Grayskull wrested it from them to keep Eternia safe,” Light Hope pressed. “You would never use the Book for evil!”

    “I would not perform evil works intentionally, no,” Eldor agreed, calming somewhat. “Nevertheless, anything that could create a beast as powerful as Serpos was is too powerful for a mere mortal to use.”
    Last edited by Telkan2; February 11, 2008 at 01:22pm.
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  7. #7
    Heroic Warrior Yaoi HuntressE's Avatar
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    This is getting really interesting. Could you refresh my memory, what do the Stilians look like again?
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  8. #8
    Queer Sorcerer Telkan2's Avatar
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    Thanks for the compliment, Yaoi HuntressE; and, sorry to beat you to it Lord_Of_Destruction.

    As far as what the Stilians looked like, I can't exactly recall. It was just the name of an Eternian city that I picked off of a map.
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  9. #9
    Queer Sorcerer Telkan2's Avatar
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    Chapter 2 - Part 2

    Shokoti laughed wickedly as the images she had just seen in her scrrying pool rippled away. “And that’s exactly why that book must be mine, old man!”

    Whirling about, her emerald gown twirling behind her, Shokoti returned to her throne. Deep in the Sands of Mystery, not far from the Darklands, Shokoti had long ago built an impregnable pyramid. This was her sanctuary, where she could hatch her schemes without the prying eyes of the others on the Council.

    Settled in her seat, a large golden statue in honor of herself looming above, Shokoti cast a summoning spell. In the blink of an eye the enchantress was looking down at Horüd once more.


    Realizing that he had been teleported to his master’s temple, Horüd immediately filled his mistress in on what Hordak had told him about their secret project.

    “Your younger brother is quite the taskmaster,” she replied coldly. “He has done well, overseeing the construction of my army while you’ve been busy producing mutts and losing your seat at the Council.”

    Just as quickly as Horüd had initially filled with excitement at Hordak’s news, that excitement drained away, replaced by bitter contempt for the witch Shokoti. “Yes,” he muttered.

    Shokoti continued, “While I am pleased by this news, I have summoned you here for other reasons. Tell me, Horüd, what do you know about the Book of the Ancients?”

    He thought for a bit, although he honestly did not know much of its history; only whispers and legends. “It was written by the Ancients,” he ventured, but seeing the seething look on Shokoti’s face he realized even that fact might be wrong. Stumbling, he added, “Oh, and the Snake Men were the first to unearth it, and their leader used it to create Serpos.”

    The last bit of information was correct, but it did not seem to counteract the first incorrect statement. To herself, but loudly enough for Horüd to hear, she said, “It’s amazing how little knowledge is required to become a Councilmember these days.”

    She continued, “The Book of the Ancients, contrary to the title the early Snake Men gave it, was not written by the old fossils. In fact, it was the Great Supernatural Hand, which formed this mud-ball from the chaotic cosmic soup eons ago, that wrote that book. And I want it!”

    “But how will I get to it?” Horüd asked. “Eldor never lets it out of his sight, and his magic is comparable to that bird-brained Veena!”

    “Veena’s magic will not be an issue; she is currently protecting a disgustingly quaint little hamlet from some of my other agents. As for Eldor, he will not realize that the book is your true goal.”

    Horüd’s shrewd eyes narrowed. “Because they think I will be coming for that wind-bag Light Hope.”

    “Exactly! Their attention will be on him, so stealing the book will be easy.”

    “And you’re sure I’ll be able to get into Grayskull’s castle? It’s protected by all of those magical charms.”


    “Don’t worry about that. With Veena’s added powers out of the way, I will be able to transport you directly through the Council of Elders’ weaker charms.”
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  10. #10
    Queer Sorcerer Telkan2's Avatar
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    Chapter 2 - Part 3

    The Lord of Zalesia entered his private chambers and sealed the large doors securely behind him. The day’s events had left him tired, and he was glad to be home once more. He approached a section of the wall near his bed and waved his hand in front of it. A column of stones vanished, revealing the secret place where he kept the Havoc Staff when he was preparing to let his guard down. Once the staff was secured inside, he waved his hand again, and the stones reappeared.

    “You can never be too careful with that staff,” a woman’s voice spoke from the shadows of an unlit portion of the chamber.

    The Lord of Zalesia snapped his fingers, and every candle and torch in the chamber came alive. He knew whose voice it was, but he was still relieved to confirm with his eyes—especially since she was so beautiful. “Ve’Lyn.”

    She smiled at him. The enchantress’ face was slightly lined with age, but with her blue eyes and white-blonde hair she still looked beautiful. She wore a white gown with a bronze tiara and bronze vambraces. A shimmering, golden colored cloak was draped over her shoulder. Ve’Lyn arose from her seat, and approached the master of the house. After an embrace, she whispered tenderly, “It’s so good to see you.”

    “And you as well, my darling,” he replied. “I did not know that you were planning a visit. I would have been here when you arrived had I known.”

    Her smile quickly faded. “I have left my home for good,” she said sadly.

    “But why?” he asked, the shock in his voice quite evident.


    “The kingdom is deserted because most of the bird-men have decided to make their homes closer to the ground. I urged my husband to join me away from the mountains and clouds as well, but he refused.”

    “The Egg of Avion?”

    A scornful look crossed her face. “When we were married I already knew that he was the Guardian, but I was young and naïve enough to think that he would be there for me—and eventually our daughter Veena—in the same way he was for that blasted Egg.

    “When Veena left home, and eventually fell in love with that barbarian king, I warned her about the responsibilities that would keep him from her. Fortunately for her, it seems I was wrong, and my daughter’s husband has been far more nurturing and supportive than her father ever was…to either of us.”

    The Lord of Zalesia reached out and stroked her face, brushing away a tear with his thumb as he did so. “You deserve a husband like that, Ve’Lyn. You are the most beautiful person I know, and because of that you are the first woman that has ever made me consider giving up my post on the Council of Wisdom to pursue a family.”

    That made her smile, and she tucked into his arms. “Thank you,” she whispered. “You are always so kind to me.”

    “Then stay with me, Ve’Lyn, and I will shower you with such words each and every day. Nothing would make me happier.”

    “Of course I will!” she exclaimed.
    Last edited by Telkan2; March 12, 2008 at 11:09pm. Reason: Replaced "wristlets" with "vambraces"--you learn new words all the time!
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  11. #11
    Queer Sorcerer Telkan2's Avatar
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    Chapter 2 - Part 4

    [NOTE: Please offer your feedback! I would love to know what folks think! ]


    The king was the last to finish dining, since he had ordered a third (and then a fourth and fifth) portion. “Excellent,” he exhaled, running a mighty hand over his rippling abdomen and full belly.

    “Would Your Majesty like some dessert?” asked the chef happily.

    “No, thank you,” he replied with a grin. “If I eat any more I’ll be receiving my just ‘desserts’ all night long. I’m sure my guests would delight in your treats, though,” he added, noticing the hopeful looks in his and Eldor’s sons.

    “Something with lots of sweet flavoring,” He-Ro added with a hearty laugh.

    The chef toddled off, and King Grayskull slowly rose from the table, motioning that the others should retain their seats as he stood. “If you will excuse me, it’s been a very long fortnight, and I am ready for a peaceful slumber.”

    “Good night, father,” He-Ro replied. “I’m glad you’re back.”

    “Good night, Your Highness,” Eldor and Light Hope chimed in, as the king left the great banquet hall.

    Nearly half an hour later, having gorged themselves on the chef’s sweetest cakes, He-Ro and Light Hope were done for the night. Eldor, who had finished after one tiny bite of cake (“Too sweet for my old tastebuds.”), dozed silently in his dinner chair.

    As Light Hope rounded the table, gently pulling part of his elderly father’s long, gray beard from the leftover cake before waking him, the air suddenly crackled with fury! High above, just beneath the skylights, there was a flash of light. Horüd appeared, keeping himself aloft with those enormous, blood-red wings.

    “Look out!” He-Ro cried as the man-bat swung down. The seat the prince had been sitting in was reduced to splinters by Horüd’s talons. The son of Grayskull searched the room quickly, spotting his magical staff: the Staff of the Ancients, rumored to be as old as the Book of the Ancients, but not nearly as powerful.

    As a frantic Eldor used his magic to unleash lightening bolts against the attacking Spikean, He-Ro ran towards his staff; without it, he had no powers of his own. Suddenly, it vanished in a shimmering, rainbow-like glow, only to reappear in his very hand. The prince held no doubts that Light Hope, currently ducked under the table, had used his magic to aide his friend.

    “You will not keep me from my goal!” Horüd shouted, arcing back in the air and doing a somersault so that he could swoop down beneath the table.

    A magnificent beam of magic knocked the wretched creature off course, slamming him into one of the scarlet draperies hanging from the walls. Untangling himself quickly, Horüd realized that He-Ro had launched the volley with his staff.

    “Your pathetic wand won’t stop me, boy!” Horüd hissed, preparing for another attack. At that moment he realized that King Grayskull, his mighty sword poised for attack, was speeding down the hall; numerous castle guards followed him.


    Before the heroic king could enter the hall a magical red seal spread across the entryway like a mystical web. Quick thinking, Shokoti, Horüd thought to himself.

    He-Ro noticed the sudden blockade as well, and briefly turned so that he could break it down by magic.

    “He-Ro!” Eldor cried, as Horüd knocked the old man off his feet while he, too, was distracted.

    The prince turned back around, firing another magical volley at Horüd, but it was too late. With one taloned hand the monster had a squirming Light Hope, whose simple magic did not seem to be helping; in the other hand Horüd grasped a bruised Eldor.

    “Son!” King Grayskull shouted from the other side of the transparent red seal. “Look what else he has!” With his clawed right foot, Horüd held Shokoti’s prize: the Book of the Ancients!

    He-Ro dared not launch an attack against Horüd, lest he hurt his friends, but he also knew he had to act somehow.

    “You’re too late, fools!” Horüd rasped, as he and his spoils vanished in the same crackling light the villain had first appeared in.

    As soon as they were gone, the cursed seal vanished, allowing King Grayskull and his troops into the room. He sheathed his sword and placed a strong hand on his son’s shoulder. “There was powerful, evil magic here tonight,” he said gravely.

    “What do we do now?”

    With his personal adviser captured, King Grayskull summoned his governmental advisers, the most recent in a long line of elected officials known as the Council of Elders. Centuries ago, King Grayskull’s ancestors were the first to unite all of Eternia’s people under one banner. Ever since, the reigning king had relied on the Council of Elders, a group of men and women—most of whom possessed great magic and knowledge—selected by their own people, to help the king (and / or queen) govern. The current group of Elders, rumored to be the best and brightest assemblage the planet had ever seen, came at once.


    The first to speak was the representative from Zalesia, a stunningly beautiful woman, bald, with purple eyes. (She was also sister to the Lord of Zalesia.) “We apologize, Your Majesty, but the evil force aiding Horüd was too powerful for our magic to hold at bay.”

    Steagor, the scaly, green representative for the Caligars spoke next. “All of Eternia is in danger if the source of this attack gets its hands on the Book of the Ancients. Last time it was used Serpos devastated Eternia, and it was all our predecessors could do to stop him. Who knows what might happen next.”

    “Perhaps the Council of Wisdom can help us,” said Emperor Gnarl of the Mer-People. “Since one of their own was taken, perhaps they can help us locate him.”

    “At least that’s a place to start,” the king agreed. Turning to his son, he said, “Contact your mother, and have her return to Castle Grayskull. With her added magic, perhaps the Elders can prevent any further attacks. Meanwhile, I shall visit Castle Eternia personally.”
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  12. #12
    Court Magician monstarmaster's Avatar
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    grats

    This is one of the best stories i ve ever read here and i have read hundreds by now.....

    Keep it on. The pictures are awesome too...I especially like the one of Hordak with his wings looking younger and of course smaller than his bigger brother.

    Thanks so much for your commitment to this great story and the artworks.

    Kind regards

    monstarmaster

  13. #13
    Queer Sorcerer Telkan2's Avatar
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    Chapter 2 - Part 5

    The young mystic known simply as Starchild greeted King Grayskull and his group at the castle’s threshold, which was designed to look like a giant, blue jungle cat. Gazing down at the tiny figure, the king said, “I assume the Council already knows what has happened.”


    “Yes, Your Highness,” she answered, her voice still squeaky with age (even though she was actually older than the king). “We are all here, except the Lord of Zalesia; he was unable to join us on such short notice."

    Starchild then led them to the rest of the Council. Rather than the large, round room used for public convening, they were gathered in a much smaller chamber. The place was like a war-room, filled with computers and tracking devices that were being manned by various Council members. Between two tall, narrow windows, Shokoti led the operation from a metallic chair suspended from the ceiling.

    “Welcome, King Grayskull,” Shokoti said, her automated command seat turning so that she faced the king.

    “Lady Shokoti,” he greeted. “I wish it were under better circumstances that I was visiting you this night.”

    “As do I,” she replied with an audible sigh. “We are searching every inch of Eternia for Light Hope and Eldor.”

    “And the book!” He-Ro jumped in helpfully.

    Shokoti looked at the boy condescendingly. “Yes, and the book.

    King Grayskull took unhappy notice of the tone, and the somewhat condescending look she had given his son, but finding his friends was too important at the moment to reprimand their only hope.

    “Shokoti!” an excited voice rasped from a nearby console.

    “Yes, Phyroah?” she inquired, her chair turning automatically to face the reddish-orange Fire Man.

    “I’ve found them! Horüd and a group of Spikean warriors are holding them near the Caverns of Rakash.”


    King Grayskull and He-Ro rushed over to stare at the tiny computer screen, careful not to get too close to Phyroah’s fiery head and shoulders.

    “Excellent,” Shokoti replied, having accessed the information via a small screen on the arm of her command chair. “King Grayskull, can I assume that you will be leading a rescue operation?”

    “Of course,” the warrior king replied curtly, as he turned to face her. “A battalion awaits my command just outside. We should reach the Caverns of Rakash by sunrise.”
    Last edited by Telkan2; February 23, 2008 at 02:59pm.
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  14. #14
    Queer Sorcerer Telkan2's Avatar
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    Horüd’s talons reached out, slashing across Light Hope’s broad face. Tiny rivulets of red life seeped from the wounds. “Insolent dog, I shall teach you to undermine your betters!”

    Light Hope and Eldor were held against the jagged, brown rock of the cave’s interior by magical chains. Horüd stood before them, pacing back and forth, furling and unfurling his wings.

    “You should never have broken your vows, Horüd,” Light Hope replied, tasting his own tangy blood as it reached his lips. Horüd struck at the other side of his face.

    “That must be your master,” Eldor pronounced, looking at a spot behind Horüd.

    The Spikean spun about, staring at the cloaked, hooded form that he knew was Shokoti. When she spoke her voice was different, disguised by an enchantment; no doubt meant to fool Eldor and Light Hope. “Where is the book?”


    Horüd snapped his long fingers, and one of his Spikean servants fetched the artifact from its nearby hiding place. He carefully handed it over, trembling slightly at the thought of how much power lay beneath the furry brown binding.

    “Excellent,” Shokoti said, her disguised voice sounding masculine and hollow. “Prepare your forces, Horüd. King Grayskull and his forces are on your trail, and will be here by dawn.”

    “How did they find us?” Horüd asked, a slight hint of panic creeping into his voice. The idea of battling the pup He-Ro was one thing, but the mighty King Grayskull himself was another matter entirely.

    “Phyroah, the Council of Wisdom’s pet matchstick, located you. He relayed your location to the king.” With that last comment Shokoti vanished, book in hand.

    Horüd cursed. The Spikean warriors he had brought with him were not nearly enough to hold back King Grayskull, let alone whatever other warriors he may be bringing with him.

    Sensing his enemy’s thoughts, Light Hope casually remarked, “Looks like your boss has left you high-and-dry.”

    Horüd did not bother to respond. He was already busy plotting how best to ambush the human ruler…and still manage to save his own gray hide.



    ***
    Sorry for the back-to-back posts! I'll try to keep 'em seperated.
    Last edited by Telkan2; February 14, 2008 at 08:57pm.
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  15. #15
    Heroic Warrior Lion-O's Avatar
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    Neat. That's all I can say.
    It's great being Lord of the Thundercats - especially hanging out with Cheetara - but the one draw back is that He-Man can still beat me up.

    http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/...06#post1993306
    Somewhere In Exo-Squad, a fan art by Matt Tyree (just in case you're curious)

  16. #16
    Heroic Warrior Galvatron's Avatar
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    Very interesting story telkan
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  17. #17
    I need a MOTUC... 2-bad's Avatar
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    Great story telling Telkan & I love what you've done with the images.
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  18. #18
    Queer Sorcerer Telkan2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by monstarmaster View Post
    This is one of the best stories i ve ever read here and i have read hundreds by now.....

    Keep it on. The pictures are awesome too...I especially like the one of Hordak with his wings looking younger and of course smaller than his bigger brother.

    Thanks so much for your commitment to this great story and the artworks.

    Kind regards

    monstarmaster
    Thank you, Monstarmaster, that is quite the compliment, especially in light of all the fantastic story tellers we have floating around the Org!

    Of course, I wuoldn't have any artwork at all if it wasn't for Gbagok being kind enough to let me use his models, and for the original piece by Ofty (which will be coming soon, and is absolutely amazing)!


    Quote Originally Posted by Lion-O View Post
    Neat. That's all I can say.
    Quote Originally Posted by Galvatron View Post
    Very interesting story telkan
    Thank you for your comments Lion-O and Galvatron! I hope I can continue to keep you entertained!


    Quote Originally Posted by 2-bad View Post
    Great story telling Telkan & I love what you've done with the images.
    Thanks, 2-bad! Again, I have Gbagok to thank for the models, and Ofty for the amazing piece coming soon (and Filmation / MYP for the backgrounds, LOL)!
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  19. #19
    Heroic Warrior Hordaks Henchman's Avatar
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    this is great. i like this.

  20. #20
    Queer Sorcerer Telkan2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hordaks Henchman View Post
    this is great. i like this.
    Thanks, Hordaks Henchman!

    I had hoped to post the next segment tonight after getting home from a weekend trip to Chicago, but my partner had an accident that required going to the ER over night

    So, once he's better and we're able to make it back home, I'll add the next section.
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  21. #21
    Movie mayhem!
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    You do a great job of editing these pictures to fit your story! very impressive! Will be fun to see how this story plays out! :-)

  22. #22
    Queer Sorcerer Telkan2's Avatar
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    Chapter 2 - Part 7

    Quote Originally Posted by Patreek View Post
    You do a great job of editing these pictures to fit your story! very impressive! Will be fun to see how this story plays out! :-)
    Thank you, Patreek, I'm glad you're enjoying the pictures. They're a lot of fun to make--"nerd art" as my partner refers to it, LOL!

    And now, after too long of a delay, here's the next part...

    ***


    The sky had begun to turn pink above. “The cave should be around here somewhere,” King Grayskull said intently, his massive sword firm in hand.

    “Eldor’s telepathic cries are being muted by magic,” He-Ro said, using the giant emerald in his staff to reach-out magically. “However, I am getting a vague impression of him, almost like a shadow, in that small cave to the North.”

    “Let’s move!” Grayskull ordered, his battalion marching behind.


    The air in the cave was damp, and smelled of salt and mold. All about the rescue party there was darkness. “Give me some light to see by, son.”

    He-Ro raised his staff and the emerald on top began to glow, casting an eerie green glow on their surroundings. “Look!”

    “I see them,” replied Grayskull, rushing towards Eldor and Light Hope, who were still bound to the wall.

    Suddenly, there was a thunderous rustling sound, as ten Spikean warriors in battle togs dropped from the ceiling, their wings and talons beating at the heroic warriors. Horüd was the last to drop from the ceiling, landing slightly to the right of Light Hope (and yet, as per his calculation, out of King Grayskull’s massive reach).

    “You invaded my home, beast,” the king proclaimed, “and you have hurt my friends. For those reasons alone, you deserve to be destroyed. But…” he paused, holding his sword up slightly, “mostly you’re going to be destroyed because you detest me.”

    Grayskull rushed forward, diving Spikean warriors bouncing right off of his massive frame. Horüd pulled out a glistening red crossbow and fired directly at the king’s heart, a shot which was easily deflected by Grayskull’s Sword of Power.


    The king reached out and clamped a hand against Horüd’s throat, driving him back into the cavern’s wall with as much force as he could muster without killing him. “Say goodbye, bat,”

    “Father!” He-Ro cried, his tone laced with panic. The other Spikeans, having picked off the king’s battalion with surprising ease, were encircling the prince. With each pass they would slash with their talons, or strike with their solid wings. The prince was doing his best to fend them off, but they were attacking too fast and furious for him to think of a counter spell.

    Grayskull released his grip on Horüd and jumped to his son’s aide, using his sword (and occasionally his bare hands) to take the assailants down. Within moments, it was over. Though wounded and bleeding heavily, He-Ro was able to focus long enough to enact a weak healing spell before he blacked out. The king caught the young warrior as he fell, the wounds and blood all but gone now, and lowered him softly to the ground.

    In an instant Grayskull had turn back to face Horüd, but the red-winged Spikean was gone. Somehow, in the commotion, he had slipped past Grayskull. Another day, vile foe, he swore silently.

    “You’re safe now,” Grayskull promised moments later, as he cut through the magical chains restraining Light Hope and Eldor.

    “My eternal thanks, Grayskull,” Eldor wheezed, his momentary relief surpassing the usual urge to refer to the king by a more proper title.

    “None needed. Tell me, though, where is the Book of the Ancients?”

    Light Hope answered ominously, “Horüd’s employer arrived before you…and took the book.” To himself, the newly freed Councilman was busy trying to find something in his memory: he felt like he could almost recognize the hooded one’s voice, but the possessor of that voice eluded him.

    “If someone starts using the book it shouldn’t take long to trace it,” Eldor said gravely. “Especially if it is used to unleash another monster like Serpos.”

    *****

    Back within the safety of her pyramid, Shokoti placed the Book of the Ancients upon the stone slab she used for conjuring. She ran her slender blue hand along the cover.

    Everything is falling into place, she marveled. Soon I will be able to sow the seeds of destruction amongst the so-called heroes of Eternia.

    She closed her eyes and murmured a simple charm, enabling her to find the precise spell she desired within. A chilling wind blasted in from nowhere, blowing the creaking pages of the manuscript open. Once the wind settled, the book was left open to a page nearly three-quarters of the way through.

    “The legends were true!” she marveled loudly, her voice echoing in the surrounding shadows excitedly. Slowly she ran her finger across the title of the spell on that page, reading the nearly forgotten language:

    Soul Transference...




    End of Chapter II
    Last edited by Telkan2; February 22, 2008 at 04:21pm.
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  23. #23
    Queer Sorcerer Telkan2's Avatar
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    Chapter 3 - Part I

    Chapter III


    Ten months had passed, and it almost seemed like the threat Horüd and his master posed was gone. There had not been a single disturbance across the vast planes of Eternia. Even the Snake Men were keeping to their swampy jungles. It all left King Grayskull and Eldor with mixed feelings of anticipation and dread. Something big was coming, and it was just a matter of time until it struck!

    With a strange sense of relief, terrible news finally reached the kingdom, and Eldor sensed that it heralded the beginning of the time they had been waiting for. First, it was discovered that Queen Veena’s mother, Ve’Lyn, had been serving as the Lord of Zalesia’s mistress. This was brought to light when the adulterous enchantress gave birth to another daughter, named Lyn, and subsequently lost her own life. Worse yet, the illegitimate child was then kidnapped by the Snake Men.

    From the massive throne in his secret antechamber (hidden behind the real throne room), King Grayskull summoned Eldor to him. Unlike the rest of the castle, this room was made of dark gray stones. An imposing statue of Grayskull, donned in full battle regalia, towered over any who would stand before the secret throne. The chamber was cold and drafty, and the few who even knew of its existence were all too aware of the types of clandestine meetings that happened within its walls.

    The wall opposite Grayskull’s seat slid aside so that Eldor could enter; beyond Eldor, the king could see that Veena had cleared the real throne room and secured it from even his own guards.

    “The queen seems so stoic,” Eldor said as the room sealed behind him. “How is she really doing?”

    “As well as can be expected,” the king replied. “She is saddened by her mother’s passing—and by the kidnapping of this baby—but she is also angered by Ve’Lyn’s betrayal of the Guardian.”


    The older man nodded. “That’s not why you’ve called me here, though.”

    “No, my friend. I’m assuming you already know that the Council of Wisdom is convening today.”

    “Yes, my son told me of the trial earlier.”

    “Good. I want you and He-Ro there. The Lord of Zalesia may be able to provide some insight into whatever is looming on the horizon.”

    “Your Majesty, I would be a poor advisor if I did not bring up the possibility that perhaps his child was taken simply to remind the people that the Snake Men still pose a threat.” With a disgusted shiver, he added, “Or perhaps they were merely two lost and hungry reptiles.”

    King Grayskull nodded his agreement. “Nevertheless, I want you there.”

    “Yes, Your Majesty.”
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  24. #24
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    Chapter 3 - Part 2

    The Lord of Zalesia had known even back then, during Horüd’s trial, that he himself would one day be forced to choose between the Council and a family. What he never could have even conceived of, though, were the more gruesome circumstances which had brought him here.

    From the center of the chamber, the audiences high above watching with baited breath, he pleaded, “My friends, will you not help me?”

    “Our sacred oaths as members of the Council of Wisdom prohibit the taking of mates and the rearing of children,” Shokoti replied curtly. (The Lord of Zalesia sensed that she also wanted to remind him of Horüd's disgrace but did not.) “You have broken this pact,” she continued. “The theft of your child is punishment by the Ancients for your misdeeds.”

    Tears of frustration welled up in his purple eyes, and he saw the beautiful Ve’Lyn in his mind. “Her mother died in the bearing of her. Surely that is punishment enough?” he choked.


    Stroking his red beard to disguise the look of remorse on his own face, Light Hope stated matter-of-factly, “Even if this is true, we may not interfere. Our treaty with King Hsss would be violated by—”

    “By taking my daughter he has already broken faith with the Council!” The gray haired man’s shout echoed throughout the chamber, startling the observers above.

    “No,” Shokoti replied coldly, “not with us. Your child should never have been born and is not our concern.” She sliced her hand through the air like a knife, as if she had spoken the final word on the matter.

    Though he already knew he would most likely lose his seat on the Council, the Lord of Zalesia stated through gritted teeth, “My daughter is a part of me. If you deny her, then you deny me.”

    “You must choose,” the Starchild’s soft, innocent voice interrupted. “Where are your loyalties?”

    The horrifying thought that he may never see his precious little girl grow into a young lady passed across his mind as he looked back at the Starchild. He tore the Council seal from his lavender robes. “I hope that answers your question!” he retorted, turning his back on the Council as the piece of fabric fluttered silently to the floor.

    “We may be in error,” Eldor’s voice floated to the angered father’s ears, causing him to pause briefly. “The child is, after all, innocent of any wrongdoing.”

    Shokoti’s thoughts stirred venomously. There is no ‘we’ here, Eldor. You are merely Grayskull’s puppet, and I am the Council! Aloud, Shokoti curtailed Eldor’s comments by saying, “Its very existence is an abomination. Better that it should die now!”

    “This isn’t over,” the Lord of Zalesia vowed, resuming his grand exit.

    “Clear the chamber!” Shokoti commanded.


    High above, the Council’s servants escorted the people from the viewing areas. Once the round room was sealed, Shokoti whirled on Eldor. “From now on you will refrain from speaking during such events, Ambassador of Grayskull! The people of Eternia look to us as an independent body from the government, and I will not have that notion tainted by the bleeding-heart words of a non-Councilmember.”

    Everyone in the room seemed stunned by the tongue-lashing. Eldor was the only one who managed to overcome his surprise. “I apologize for overstepping my bounds, Lady Shokoti. I offer the Council my apologies, and vow that it will not happen again.”

    Shokoti stormed from the room, and the others took different exits. Only Eldor, Light Hope, and He-Ro remained. “I can’t believe she spoke to you like that,” Light Hope muttered. “I’ve never heard her lose her temper to that degree.”

    “Perhaps,” He-Ro acquiesced, “but aside from her inexcusable tone, she had a valid point. In fact, did you not just make a similar argument not too long ago?”

    Light Hope nodded in agreement, but said, “I will talk to her, father.”

    “No, son,” Eldor replied. “I’m sure with the rising of the sun it will be forgotten.” Secretly, though, Eldor could not wait to discuss Shokoti’s behavior with the king. He had heard about the woman’s insolent tone the night King Grayskull went to Castle Eternia in search of help, and now this. Perhaps it was time to start reexamining the ties between Grayskull’s kingdom and the Council of Wisdom.
    Last edited by Telkan2; February 23, 2008 at 08:52pm.
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  25. #25
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    Chapter 3 - Part 3

    Torches cast an orange glow across King Hsss’ humid throne room. Beneath the magical “skin” he wore, the true King Hsss—a mutant amalgam of five speaking, intelligent, and dangerous snakes—coiled and uncoiled impatiently.

    He spoke to the intruder standing boldly at the foot of his throne. “You were caught s-s-skulking around my home, Spikean. What is your purpos-s-s-se here?”

    The Spikean spy knew that no matter what his answer, the Snake King would soon devour him. “Despite my pleas, I was commanded by Prelate Horüd to see what is keeping the Snake Men from their usual mischief.”

    King Hsss regarded the mammal with hungry, yellow eyes. “We have our reasons-s-s-s.” King Hsss thought back to the visit he had received some time ago…

    ***

    King Hsss, alone in his private quarters, had shed his magical skin, and the real monster had slithered into a deep pool of stagnant, green water. Hearing a strange sound, he lifted one of his heads above the water.

    Standing boldly in his private sanctuary had been Shokoti, hooded and cloaked as usual. “Greetings, Hsss. It has been too long since our last visit.” She looked disappointedly toward the edge of the slimy pool, where the king had shed his suit. “You’re not wearing the gift I gave you all those years ago. You’re not bored with it already, are you?”

    Hsss’ other four heads surfaced, one of them with a fat leech wiggling between its fangs. “You have come to collect payment, I pres-s-s-sume?”


    “Very perceptive, reptillious one. For years I have manipulated matters from my seat on the Council so that your people were never truly in harm’s way from this planet’s defenders, even concocting a bogus treaty. I also created the magical skin that lays crumpled on the floor so that you could move more easily amongst the humans. Darkly, she concluded, “Now, it is time for repayment.”

    “I'm lis-s-s-stening.” One of his heads struck at a scurrying swamp-rat that had lost its way.

    “Hold off on any further attacks for the time being. Replenish your forces, and prepare them for a massive battle—the biggest this planet has seen in an age!”

    “And when will this-s-s battle happen?”

    Shokoti reached out with her magic and sent the king into convulsions. “You will know when I decide to tell you…”

    Then, months later, she visited him in the same way, but his time she had another demand. “It is almost time,” she promised, “but first our enemies must be softened. Send a small group of your men into the city of Zalesia. Within the Zalesian leader’s chateau they will find a tiny newborn. Bring her back here and await her father’s inevitable supplication.”

    Preparing himself should Shokoti lash out again, Hsss cautiously asked, “How will his begging soften the others?”

    Shokoti grinned. “It is not his begging that will soften the others. It will be Serpos…”

    ***

    As he refocused on the present, and the piteous Spikean spy still begging for his puny life, King Hsss was made aware of a much bigger prize: the Lord of Zalesia, escorted by two Snake Guards, being brought into the throne room.

    “If only you would—” but the Spikean was cut-off.

    “Enough. We will continue this-s-s conversation later. I have other…matters to deal with.”

    Noticing the new arrival, and grateful for the reprieve, Horüd’s agent stepped aside to make room for the Lord of Zalesia, hoping that he could quietly slip away through the shadows.

    “And to what do I owe the pleasure of a visit from a representative of the illustrious Council of Wisdom?” Hsss asked, though he already knew the answer.

    The response came, “I no longer represent the Council. I have come for my daughter, Hsss.”

    “And what do you offer in return, Lord of Zalesia?” he asked, rubbing the hands of his skin-suit.

    “How do I know she still lives?”

    Hsss rose from this throne, and summoned his scepter. In a vaporous cloud of green mist, baby Lyn’s body appeared, suspended high in the air. The nasally cries of the infant filled the stone chamber.

    “There, you have s-s-seen her. You know what it is I want.”

    The Lord of Zalesia hung his head, knowing all too well what the motivation behind most of King Hsss attacks was: “Yes, the power to rouse Serpos from his long slumber.”

    “Precisely,” the evil ruler agreed, his eyes flashing red.

    His head still hung, the human continued, “I can create an amulet which has the power to control the ancient god beasts of Eternia. In exchange, you will return my daughter to me. Alive and unharmed.”

    Hsss drew nearer to his prey, descending the steps of his throne. “Of course. That seems more than…equitable.”


    Suddenly, Hsss leapt past the Lord of Zalesia, nearly toppling him over in the process, and grabbed the screeching Spikean as he tried to flee. In a flash, Hsss’ skin-suit had melted away, and his five reptilian heads were busy tearing the winged creature asunder.
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