Skeletor gathered his minions to his throne room. "I'm sure you have noticed my absence the last several weeks," he began, without much ceremony. "I suppose you may have been wondering what I have been doing."
"Recovering from the blast from your own staff?" guessed Clawful.
Skeletor immediately blasted his crustacean warrior. "Recover from that." Sitting back on his throne, Skeletor templed his fingertips in a seemingly composed manner. "I have been doing some research. I have found a new warrior that would serve my purposes. He has been frozen for thousands of years, perfectly preserved. All I have to do is convince him that Randor is a usurper and he will destroy the palace to avenge me." Skeletor laughed maniacally at his own cleverness, and the others soon joined in.
* * *
The week of the Eternian Championship Tournament had arrived. It began with a parade of the would-be new defenders of the realm. The Royal Family gazed over a wide assortment of colorful characters, including a few members of the Royal Army and Guard.
Fisto happened to observe one of the contestants, a dark skinned youth, was wearing a nearly identical suit of armor to his. "Castagir," he breathed. He quickly made his way to the tournament arena set up within Eternos Colosseum, usually the site of professional torkball games. After the Opening Ceremonies, Fisto found the young man.
"That's quite a set of armor you have there, boy," he said as he confronted the youth.
"I fashioned it after my father's," the young man answered without turning around.
"But your armor is blue, instead of his purple."
"I wanted to honor my mother as well."
"Good answer," Fisto chuckled. "How is the old bird?"
The young man finally turned around. "She misses you, Papa."
"Aye, I miss her as well, Castagir. After you win this tournament, perhaps we'll go see her together. So...what did you bring as a weapon?"
"I don't have your powerful hand," Castagir said, "so I came up with this." He held up a large mechanical grabber.
Fisto reached out and appreciatively fingered the weapon. "Make me proud, son."
* * *
"Prince Adam, awaken!"
Adam woke with a start. He had a lingering feeling that the Sorceress had called to him. "Sorceress?"
"Prince Adam, He-Man is needed!"
Adam sat up straight. "Is Skeletor attacking?"
"In a manner of speaking. He seeks to bring forth a warrior from the past, and to convince him that your father is an evil usurper."
"I assume this warrior is pretty dangerous if you want me to stop him now."
"Indeed. You need to travel north to the Crystal Mountains. Find a frozen cavern tomb."
Adam dressed quickly and hurried to Duncan's quarters. The old general was already up, tightening some bolts on his latest piece of work.
"The Sorceress called me this morning. Skeletor is back."
The Man-At-Arms grimaced. "What is he up to?"
"He is trying to raise a warrior from the past. I have to stop him without raising suspicions."
"Go. I'll figure out an explanation for you. Take the Wind Raider."
Adam picked up Cringer and hopped into the Wind Raider. He flew straight to Castle Grayskull; the Sorceress was waiting for him.
"Quickly, you must become He-Man!"
Adam did as he was told, and soon He-Man and Battle Cat were standing before Castle Grayskull. "Sorceress, what can you tell me about Skeletor's plans?"
"He is going to use a very powerful spell to awaken a powerful warrior from ages ago. "
"What can you tell me about this warrior? Do you know where his tomb is?"
"There have been legendary tales about the lost tomb of an ancient Probiscean general. It is possible that Skeletor has found the tomb's location."
"Probiscean? I thought they live in the valley between the Evergreen forest and the Vine Jungle."
"That is true. However, in the past there were several Probiscean tribes scattered throughout Eternia. I believe that there may also be more tribes in the Dark Hemisphere."
He-Man pondered that for a moment. "Do you know exactly where this tomb is?"
"I do not. However, I do recall tales that claim the spirit of the warrior may guide worthy seekers. That is the only clue that I have regarding the location of the tomb. Now, you must go quickly, before Skeletor finds the tomb."
Triklops guided the Collector, a skull-shaped flying machine, across the Ocean of Gnarl and north toward the Crystal Mountains. Skeletor viewed the trip from a throne in the back of the cockpit. When he saw what he was looking for, he quickly jumped up and pointed. "Over there. Put it down there."
Triklops did as he was told, then opened the exit hatch. The warrior wore cold-weather clothing under his battle harness, and Evil-Lyn sported a heavy cloak. Skeletor simply bore his usual outfit, as did Trap Jaw, who shivered at the chill air. Evil-Lyn noticed, then smirked, "Didn't you realize we were heading north?"
Skeletor ignored his bickering minions and purposefully walked forward. Beastman closed the hatch to the Collector then followed his master. Shortly, a loud noise startled all but Skeletor.
Getting over his initial shock, Beastman remarked, "That sounds like a herd of Eledons."
"Precisely," agreed Skeletor. "That tells me we are in the right location."
Skeletor continued to lead his group through a pass carved by wind and rain. Eventually he found what he was looking for, and entered a cave.
At the mouth, Triklops stopped Beastman. "Guard the entrance."
"What? Why should I?"
"Because," Triklops explained, "if any creatures come by, you can take care of them easily."
"Hmmm. I guess that makes sense."
Triklops joined the others, and found that Skeletor and Evil-Lyn had begun preparations in front of an altar. Evil-Lyn ushered the two warriors out of the chamber, and began to light candles. Skeletor removed his cloak and placed it over the head of his Havok Staff, then placed them along the side of the cavern. From a satchel he had carried under his cloak he produced a book, which he placed on the altar, between two of Evil-Lyn's candles.
He-Man guided the Wind Raider into the Crystal Mountains. He quickly spotted the Collector in one of the passes, and correctly assumed that Skeletor had gone in that direction. He and Battle Cat hopped out and began to follow the villains' trail, when they heard the blast of air rushing down the pass.
"Cat, that sounds like the trumpet of a Probiscean. That must be one of the signs of the spirit of the warrior."
Battle Cat growled in agreement.
The pair cautiously made their way down the mountain pass, looking for signs along the way. Several miles down, he saw an outcropping on the left side that resembled the upturned trunk of a Probiscean. He-Man patted his companion on the side and pointed it out. Examining the area around them, He-Man found the cave entrance under the outcropping. Beastman spotted them as well and called to the others for help. None noticed the brown and green falcon, seemingly watching from a nearby peak.
Triklops and Trap Jaw came blasting. He-Man and Battle Cat immediately took refuge behind some boulders. He-Man turned to his companion and joked, "I think I could use a little extra protection."
The crest on his harness began to glow, and then his harness expanded. It grew into a breastplate with articulated abdominal plates, pauldrons, and a helmet. His shield also formed over his bracer. "Interesting," He-Man mused. "I never expected that." Battle Cat growled his agreement.
Just then, Beastman reached out with his mind to Battle Cat. You are my servant, he demanded. Attack He-Man.
Battle cat roared in defiance, then leaped. Over the boulder, he pounced on Beastman. I am no mere beast, he growled, then roared, And YOU are lunch!
"Cat," He-Man wondered out loud. Then he had to move because Triklops and Trap Jaw had surrounded him and crossed blasts again. He leaped at Trap Jaw, who dodged his attack and tripped him into the nearby rocks.
Randor and Marlena took their seats of honor at Eternos Colosseum. Adam was conspicuous by his absence, but Duncan told them he sent the prince on an urgent negotiation between rival nobles. Man-E-Faces served as Master of Ceremonies, announcing the participants for each event.
The first event was wrestling. Castagir found, as he always did, that he was able to sense his opponent's intent and was able to maneuver to avoid any sort of danger. He was also far stronger than his opponent and easily dominated the match.
His second match was Danavas, a hunter. While extremely strong, he was still no match for the young man. After several rounds, his final match was against Kol-Dar, a warrior originally from Morainia. Both men were equally matched in strength and endurance, but Kol-Dar had much more experience and skill. Castagir's ability to avoid grapple was the only thing that prevented him from losing. The two wrestled back and forth for over an hour before the elder warrior finally managed to roll the younger in a backslide into a pin to end the first day.
* * *
He-Man quickly turned around and swept Trap Jaw's feet from beneath him. Beastman also scrambled to get out of Battle Cat's paws and began to run off, chased by the fighting tiger. Triklops was amused to watch the fight as it progressed, leaning leisurely against a boulder.
He-Man pounced to pin Trap Jaw, who had by this time adjusted his mechanical arm to a claw, and the villain grabbed He-Man by the arms and flipped him overhead with his feet. He-Man managed to roll with the momentum and return to a standing position, as Trap Jaw kipped up and turned to face his foe.
The gladiator produced a wicked-looking blade from a sheath at his back, and proceeded to attack with both his weapons. He-Man managed to parry all strikes, but Triklops soon noticed a pattern: He's fighting purely defensively. He is not making any lethal attacks.
He-Man finally saw his chance when Trap Jaw overextended his thrust on a spinning attack. He grabbed the villain's arm, and slammed him into the nearest boulder. Trap Jaw went limp.
Triklops quickly took up a fighting stance when He-Man whirled to face him as well. He decided to put his theory to the test, recognizing the danger in doing so, but confident enough in his own abilities to risk it. As he dueled the blond hero, he deliberately allowed opportunities for He-Man to strike a killing blow, yet his opponent never did. Triklops was certain that he noticed the slightest bit of hesitation that proved to him these openings were observed, but never acted upon.
Having proven his theory, Triklops began to fight in earnest. While amazed that He-Man's skill had grown considerably since their last meeting in the Ocean of Gnarl, the blond warrior was still no match for the triple-eyes swordsman. Unfortunately for Triklops, He-Man seemed to have a singular luck in remaining alive; however, he respected his foe too much to dishonor the duel by blasting him with his eye.
Triklops finally decided to attempt a particularly difficult maneuver: he leaped, kicked off a nearby boulder, and performed a back flip. The final result was to have been a rather deadly strike, but Trap Jaw chose this moment to rouse himself and tackle He-Man. Triklops mourned the loss of the beauty of his duel, but chose to again watch the two wrestle, until a certain armor-clad tiger returned to view. Regarding his ally and opponent, he decided that Trap Jaw deserved to learn a lesson and left him to return to the cave.
Several moments later, Battle Cat roared into the combatants' presence. Finding himself alone and faced with multiple opponents, Trap Jaw ran off to the Collector.
"Welcome back, Cat," He-Man cried. "I know you seem to understand me, but today I was able to hear what you were saying as well."
Yes,I felt it too, Battle Cat growled. It seems as if something awakened between us today.
"I'm glad this happened," He-Man replied. "Right now I need you to guard the entrance in case any of those fields return. I'm going to see if I can stop Skeletor." He-Man began running to the cave entrance. "I hope it's not too late."
Entering the cave, He-Man was met with the running charge of an enormous creature, nine feet tall, with great ears, a long trunk, and curved tusks. "Usurper!" this new foe trumpeted, as he slammed He-Man into the wall of the cave, momentarily stunning him.
He-Man slowly stood up, and in his blurred vision could discern his new opponent also had long shaggy reddish hair upon his head and shoulders, and gray skin over the rest of his body. He was armed with a massive great axe, which was raised for a killing blow.
Suddenly, the Probiscean warrior lowered his weapon. "Your Majesty, forgive me." The great being took a step forward. "No. You are not King Grayskull. But the resemblance is uncanny."
He-Man's head cleared. "You are correct, mighty warrior. I am a descendant of King Grayskull. His time has passed centuries ago."
The Probiscean scratched his chin with his flexible trunk. "The creature that awakened me said that a usurper had taken the throne and was on his way to destroy me. But perhaps what you say is true. There is a way to find out. Allow me..." The great gray being reached out with his round hand and touched He-Man's chest, closing his eyes in concentration.
He-Man remembered that Probisceans had extremely sensitive feet and hands, allowing them a sense of touch that seemed magical. After several seconds, the larger being lowered his hand. "I sense no deception in you, young man. King Grayskull is long gone. If his time is passed, then mine should have as well."
"It would seem fate has given you a second chance, even if it chose Eternia's mightiest villain to bring it about. Maybe your time has come again. I would gladly fight at your side."
"You honor me, as did your ancestor, Son of Grayskull."
"Actually, they call me He-Man."
"He-Man. Very well. My name is not pronounceable in your tongue, but your ancestor called me Snout Spout, for reasons best left long ago."
"Snout Spout it is then." He-man looked about cautiously. "I'm surprised that Skeletor hasn't attacked us yet."
"The others have left some time ago. I heard magical words spoken, and then could no longer feel their footsteps within this cave."
"Oh." He-Man was left somewhat speechless. "Well, as I said, you are welcome to return to Eternos with me. King Randor is assembling a band of warriors to fight Skeletor-"
"You are not King?" Snout Spout showed surprise for the first time, and He-Man realized that he had unwittingly revealed too much about himself.
Thinking quickly, He-Man said, "The landscape of Eternia has changed, friend. There are many new kingdoms. Eternos is now the shining light on this planet."
"I see," came the measured reply. "I shall have to travel a bit, I think. I wish to discover this new world before me. Only then can I decide where my place shall be."
"Very well. If you choose to join us, Eternos is south of Mount Eternia, and the Tar Swamp, though you may know them by different names."
"I will find it, in time."
He-Man held out his hand, and Snout Spout graped it in a warrior's handshake. "I hope to see you again," he said.
"The Green Goddess willing," was the Probiscean's reply. "But I do not believe she would have brought us together if our paths were not to cross in the future."
"Where will you go from here?"
"I will remain within these mountains for some time. There are sites here, sacred to my people. I wish to see them again, perhaps to gain wisdom contemplating my own ancestors."
He-Man reached up to clap his new ally on the shoulder. "Good luck on your journey, then. I must be going myself." He-Man turned to leave, the other following. Snout Spout watched as the Eternian rejoined his great tiger, seemed to have a conversation, then mounted the feline and rode off. Then he turned his gaze toward the falcon. He could not actually see the bird from that distance, but his other senses told him exactly where it was. He stared long enough for the falcon to know that he was aware of its presence, then returned to the cave to prepare for his journey.
* * *
"King Grayskull?" Skeletor's query was made to nobody in particular, but only one of his minions could guess his train of thought. "I wonder - is there a connection to that old castle?"
"There must be. It certainly seems old enough," was Evil-Lyn's reply.
"I seem to remember Miro having something to do with it. Some sort of ceremony he performed with his whelp many years ago. That must be where He-Man lives. And who knows what lies inside..."
"Hahaha...do you want to take it now?" Trap Jaw was eager to return to combat.
"No! Back to Snake Mountain. Triklops, send your doomseekers to Grayskull to scout it out. I want a full report by morning."
He-Man flew the Wind Raider back to Castle Grayskull. As usual, the Sorceress was waiting for him. "I sense you have questions."
"Yes I do," He-Man answered. "Snout Spout mentioned several things that made me think."
"King Grayskull is foremost among them." The Sorceress began to lead He-Man along several corridors deeper into the castle.
"He said that I resemble him."
"There have been several kings bearing the name Grayskull. They took the name when they became lords of this fortress. The man of which the Probiscean spake was the last man known by that name. He died fighting a great evil, and it was then that the Council of Elders felt it necessary to hide the true power hidden beneath these floors. King Grayskull's wife, Veena, became the first Sorceress, and his infant son adopted by one of the king's advisors, who forged a new kingdom that has long since been forgotten. It is from this child that your family is directly descended. Here we are."
The Sorceress opened a door above which was a sign: Hall of Heroes. Along the walls were various depictions of art, from paintings and tapestries, to statues and urns. On the left as he entered, He-Man saw a painting of a golden-clad wizard holding a staff like the one in the armory, fighting off reptilian men. Immediately to the right of the entrance, was a tapestry, with a picture of -
"That's me," He-Man breathed.
"That is King Grayskull. Notice, as you look upon many of these heroes, a resemblance among them. Most of these men and women are related; it would seem that the ability to access the power held within Castle Grayskull is hereditary."
"Who is that he's fighting?" On the other side of the tapestry there seemed to be a Spelean commanding a large army of Goblins.
"That was Hordak. He had been a Spelean named Pterak, and had become a wizard of some power. However, he wished for more. In his dark disciplines, he reached out and contacted a being known only as Prime, ruler of the Horde. Pterak renamed himself to honor his new master, and formed a band of the Horde here on Eternia. The Horde know only conquest and war. King Grayskull led the fight against the Horde."
"To explain the events of that battle, I must first explain another thing. For each of these heroes, the ability to access the Power of Grayskull is different. For you, the sword is the key. You must actively call upon the power. King Grayskull, however, had discovered no such focus. Instead, he slowly accumulated the power, growing stronger as time passed. When the battle against the Horde seemed all but lost, he was able to summon all the power within himself, and banish the Horde from Eternia. The effort proved too much for the king, however, and he paid the ultimate sacrifice to save his people."
He-Man suddenly realized, "Is that why I can't stay He-Man forever? To make sure I don't overload myself the same way?"
"That is part of the reason, yes," the Sorceress agreed.
He-Man held up his sword and said, "Let the Power return." Shortly thereafter, Prince Adam stood where He-Man had been. Adam sheathed his sword, then said, "I was also wondering about the Green Goddess."
The Sorceress nodded. "The Green Goddess is the oldest religion, if it may be called that, on Eternia. The Goddess is the personification of nature, and as nature has a way of preserving balance within itself, the Order of the Green Goddess is also charged with helping to maintain balance. I myself am a member of the Falcon Clan, as has been every Sorceress of Castle Grayskull since Veena."
"Falcon Clan?" Adam was clearly confused.
"There are different clans within the order, representing different aspects of the Goddess. The Falcon Clan specializes in magic, and in powers of the mind. It is because of my Clan that I am able to communicate with you telepathically."
"How do I join the clan?"
"There are two ways to enter the Order. You may be born into the order if either of your parents belong. However, if each parent is of a different clan, then there is conflict within the child, and whichever aspect is strongest determines into which clan the child is born. You may also be vested into the order. I myself was a healer before I was summoned here to Castle Grayskull. My predecessor, Kuduk Ungol, was ready to give up her power and chose me as a worthy successor. She taught me many secrets of the Castle, then performed a special ceremony that passed all her knowledge and power to me. Someday, I will pass my knowledge to another."
Adam was awed. "What other clans are there?"
"There are many different clans, each with few members. Magical clans include the Falcon, the Rodent, the Plant, the Chameleon, and others. Warrior clans include the Bear, the Wolf, the Serpent, and the Eagle."
"Eagle and Falcon sound similar."
"They would seem to be by one not of the Order. However, there are differences noticeable by the trained eye."
"That is a lot to think about," Adam said, after a few moments.
"You will have time to digest this information. But for now, I think you should return home. You have already missed the first day of the tournament."
Adam agreed that the Sorceress was right. He and Cringer flew back to Eternos just in time to see Kol-Dar pin Castagir as he slid into his seat next to his mother.
"I trust your negotiations went well?" she asked.
"It was most enlightening," Adam replied. "I learned more about history than I ever expected after finishing at the Hall of Learning."
"It seems you had quite a day," Randor remarked from the other side. "I'm glad to see you could make it back before the day was over."
"Barely," agreed Adam. "But I wouldn't miss the chance to meet the new champions of Eternia."
* * *
The next morning, Triklops searched Snake Mountain for Skeletor. Unable to find him, he turned to Evil-Lyn.
"He is busy," she said.
"I have a report about Castle Grayskull."
"Why don't you tell it to me," she cooed. "I will take it to him."
Triklops considered it for a moment, then realized that Skeletor would undoubtedly know the source of the information. "I think He-Man does live at that castle. My doomseekers tracked him back there. A few hours later, Prince Adam left and went back to Eternos. He must have been there on official business."
* * *
The next phase of the tournament was a field of obstacles and cover. The participants had to make their way to each of the stations and obtain the weapons behind. The first station held a rifle, the next a pistol, the third a crossbow, the fourth a javelin, and the final a ball. At each station, the participant had to fire the weapon at a target at the far end of the field. Complicating matters was Mekaneck, seated behind a safety shield, firing non-lethal stun blasts at the competitors. If the participants were struck, their turn at the event was over, but they gained points for each station reached, and more for successfully hitting the target.
Castagir seemed to have the ability to correctly determine the best time to move to the next station without getting hit, and won the event, followed closely by Kol-Dar, who was struck when trying to get to the ball.
Another event held that day was a gauntlet in which they had to run through closed course while buffeted from all sides by sandbags swung at them from ropes by active members of Duncan's group. Once again, Castagir won the event, finishing the course in the shortest time by avoiding getting hit altogether.
The third and final day of the tournament arrived. After a grand theatrical display by the great actor Aramond, he returned to his duties as Master of Ceremonies and presented the final event - the Grand Melee. All the participants were to fight at the same time, using only nonlethal tactics. Fisto and Ram Man served as the line judges and on-field referees. At the sound of the bell, all the would-be champions entered the arena floor at the same time.
Danavan ran straight for Castagir and swung a mighty blow with his wooden mock sword. The younger warrior easily dodged the strike, then grabbed the hunter and pinned him to the ground, using his large clamp to hold him in place. Kol-Dar had managed to strike another opponent and knocked him unconscious. Castagir dispatched another opponent with a set of shackles, yet another by wrapping the man's own weapon around him, and a third with a smaller clamp that he placed around her ankles and wrists. Kol-Dar scored an equally impressive amount of victories, and now it was sown to the two of them.
They met face to face in the center. "Looks like it's you and me, kid," Kol-Dar held out his fist.
"It appears that way," Castagir agreed. He touched fists with the elder warrior in a show of sportsmanship, and then they each stepped back a few paces. Kol-Dar picked up a wooden sword, while Castagir found a staff at his feet. Both men sprang at each other in earnest, trading strikes and parries in a flurry of blows that even gave Man-E-Faces trouble as he attempted to give the play-by-play commentary. Castagir's ability to dodge equally matched Kol-Dar's skill in blocking, as well as his ability to attack.
After several minutes, Castagir managed to get behind Kol-Dar and sweep his legs out from underneath him. The younger warrior quickly sprang into action, pinning the elder before he could get back up and grappling his leg. He turned Kol-Dar onto his stomach and applied a lock on his ankle with such force that the Morainian warrior had to submit.
The crowd erupted into cheers for such a dramatic victory as the new champion was led to the podium from which Man-E-Faces had been providing commentary, and which was set up before the Royal Family. Aramond instructed the lad to bow before King and Queen, then turned him around to introduce: "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you-" He paused for a moment both for dramatic reasons, and to gain a bit of inspiration, which he found with the struggling Danavan. "The Claaaaaaaaaamp Chaaaaaaamp!!!!!!!"
I thought I would do something a bit different. I wrote a bit of a bio for Teela, getting her caught up to the rest of the story.
* * *
"Captain Duncan, I need your help."
Duncan started at the sudden intrusion into his thoughts. The Sorceress had contacted him a few times before, but it was still a shock to him. He looked around to see if he was alone, then replied, "Yes, Sorceress?"
"I need your help at Castle Grayskull, if you please."
"I'll be there as quickly as I can." Luckily, he had just completed his shift as Guard Commander, and had changed out of his uniform into a more comfortable civilian attire. He quickly donned his leather jacket and ran to the barracks garage. His baby, a black two-wheeled Road Ripper with flames, was waiting for him. He fired it up, reveling in the sound of its engine, then peeled out of the garage and sped to the Castle that his old friend, the new King Randor, had shown him ten years prior. It had taken the then prince five years to confide his family secret; it had been torture for the young prince to keep it from his best friend, but the confession had benefited both men and the Sorceress since then.
It had been over a year since Duncan last traveled to Grayskull, but his keen intellect remembered the hidden pathway flawlessly. Several hours later, he pulled up to the gloomy edifice that always gave him chills. As he arrived, the drawbridge forming the mouth of the skull that gave the fortress its name lowered, with the Sorceress waiting for him.
"Thank you for coming so quickly, Captain."
"How can I be of service, Sorceress?"
"Please follow me." The guardian of Castle Grayskull led the Captain of the Royal Guard to the throne room of the fortress. At the foot of the dais sat a bassinet; from this came the sounds of a newborn baby.
"Is the baby...yours?"
The Sorceress nodded. "Her name is Teela. Unfortunately, I cannot care for her here, nor can I leave my duties to provide for her. Nor is it possible for her father. As it stands, I can only confide in you or in Randor. However, for obvious reasons, I cannot ask of Randor what I must ask of you."
"You want me to raise your daughter."
Emotions overcame the Sorceress, and she took some time to master them. "I truly do not. I wish only that I could raise her myself. I-" She finally broke down and began to openly weep.
Duncan was struck dumb for the first time in his life. He had met the Sorceress several times, but had always known her to be in complete control. He suddenly broke out of his stupor and put his arms around the woman, who buried her face into his shoulder; they remained in such a manner for several minutes, until the Sorceress regained her composure.
She wiped the tears from her eyes, then said, "I know that you are a good man, and the only person who could possibly understand what it is I ask of you. Please tell me that you will help me."
Duncan smiled comfortingly. "Of course I will. And when she is old enough, I-"
"Please, no. For reasons I cannot explain, Teela cannot be told about her parentage. However, her father left this for her." The Sorceress produced a wand with a cobra for a head. She pressed a button, and it expanded into a battle staff.
Some time later, Duncan left Castle Grayskull with Teela held in a sling he had devised from her swaddling blankets. He carefully placed his jacket back on and zipped the child in safely. His return to Eternos was much slower and more cautious than his trip to the fortress hidden in the Evergreen Forest.
Peace finally ruled within Eternos. The young King Randor sat in his waiting room. He had decided to grow his beard, and was sporting a new goatee to see how it looked. He found it a bit itchy as he was still getting used to the feeling. He was eagerly awaiting his lifelong friend Colonel Duncan.
Duncan had been leading a campaign to quell the remains of Prince Keldor's forces. Six years prior,
Keldor himself had been mortally wounded, and the bulk of his forces locked behind a Mystical Wall created by the combination of Duncan's technological skills and the magical abilities of the Sorceress of Castle Grayskull. Pockets of resistance had remained, but now they had all but disappeared.
The door opened, and the Colonel strode in. Three days on the road left him with an unkempt appearance, but both men knew that, while not entirely professional, they both would have preferred an immediate reunion to waiting for the soldier to clean himself first.
The men clasped arms in a warriors' handshake, then grabbed each other in a brotherly hug. "Glad to have you back, Duncan. I wish I could be out there with you."
Duncan laughed, "Too bad you're too busy running the world to go humping through the mud. So, how's my girl been?"
"Teela has been an absolute joy to have around. She and Marlena have become quite close. I think it helps to ease the pain of what might have been. But I think she needs her father."
"I'll stay as long as I can, of course. It all depends on my next assignment."
"I may have some good news about that, Duncan. But right now, you stink. Go clean up and grab some chow. The children will be back after lunch."
After a shower and a clean shave, Duncan began to feel like a human again. A large breakfast cleared the rumbling in his stomach, and then he returned to his friend and king.
After some small talk about the road and breakfast, Duncan decided to bring up the subject opened when he left earlier that morning. "So, what's this news you have for me?"
Randor's smile, incredibly, grew even wider. "Colonel Jensen is retiring."
"The Commandant of the Military Academy?"
"The very one."
"Is this an offer?"
"Well, you fit the rank, you have years of experience to pass on, and it will keep you around - for Teela, of course."
Both men chuckled.
"You could always make it a Royal Order..."
"Do I have to?"
"Of course not. I'd love to stick around."
Someone knocked at the door, and Randor answered, "Enter."
Paedos, the Royal Guard that escorted Adam and Teela to the Learning Center, led the children into the room. Adam looked a bit roughed up, and Teela sported a black eye.
"Daddy!" Teela ran into her father's arms.
"Ho there! What happened to you two?" Randor asked.
"Some of the bigger kids were picking on me," Adam pouted. "So I punched their leader."
"Good work, boy," Randor beamed. "You're taking after your old man's warrior ways."
"And what happened to you?" Duncan asked Teela.
"He's only six years old!" she cried. "He shouldn't be in my class!"
The two older men understood what had happened: Teela was the leader of the bullies. Randor gave his friend a knowing look, and Duncan took his daughter to another room for a father-daughter talk.
"Teela, we need to talk."
"What is it, Daddy?"
"You know that part of my job is to protect the king, right?"
"You are my daughter, and Adam is the king's son. So the two of you are like the king and I. From now on, your job is to protect Prince Adam the same way I protect King Randor. Even if you don't think he belongs on your class, you need to keep him safe. Do you understand?"
Teela thought about it for a minute. "Yes, Daddy, I understand."
Recruit Teela looked up to see the largest man she had ever seen before. The barrel chest, the out-thrust chin, and the deep-set eyes - she knew from the descriptions that this had to be Drill Instructor Remos, the most feared man in the Eternian Military Academy. She had hoped that she would draw him as her lead instructor, eager for the challenge, and intending to be the first recruit whose hand he would shake out of respect. But for now, to him she was nothing more than a green shirt.
"Pick up your gear and head out, you pukes!" The rest of the recruits that had gotten off the transport with Teela scrambled to pick up their bags, though Teela had expected that command and was ready. "We're going on a short, leisurely, stroll, hehe." After a ten-mile hike, the group made it to their barracks, men on the left of the second floor and women on the right. The first floor was dedicated to the mess hall, armory, and drill floor.
"Pick a bunk, drop your gear, grab some chow, and then I suggest you catch some rack, because it'll be your last chance for sixty-three days. Heh heh heh." A couple recruits almost swooned at the ominous tone of the Drill Instructor's voice. "First call is an hour before dawn."
The next morning was a prelude of things to come. A six mile run ended with an hour of calisthenics. This was followed by another hour of hand-to-hand combat. "If you can fight when you're tired, you can fight when you're not," was a common comment by the Drill Instructor during these sessions. After that they were allowed fifteen minutes for breakfast.
Breakfast was followed by an intense series of classes to indoctrinate the new recruits and teach them soldierly skills. Depending on the day the lessons may include drill and ceremony, weapons training, tactics and strategy, land navigation, first aid, and other special skills.
One particular day was set aside for marine training. Instead of a boat, however, a mock-up had been built with levers for the trainees to rock back and forth. "It's good to build up those scrawny muscles, you puny maggots," Remos said.
Half the recruits were assigned to rock the boat and the rest had to climb on board. D.I. Remos stood in his wide-legged stance with his arms crossed and had the trainees run back and forth while it was rocking. A large blond recruit fell down flat on his face after a lap and a half, and Remos was quick to get into his face. "Get up, maggot! Or maybe you should go back to the farm and rake up the mud!" The young man tried to scramble to his feet, but continually fell back down.
Teela also fell, and received the Drill Instructor's attention. "Hey, Princess, is this too much for you? Put on a dress and go back to the palace!" Teela gritted her teeth, and forced herself back to her feet. Through sheer determination, she managed to not fall again during the entire training session, unlike all the others. Kid's got spunk, the Drill Instructor thought to himself.
Finally, graduation day came. After a sumptuous breakfast, the proud graduates stood in ceremony as Commandant Dressal read the list of the newest members of the Eternian Royal Army to the cheers of the crowd. After the ceremony was complete, the new soldiers were dismissed. Teela stepped aside to greet her father.
"General Duncan, I didn't know the recruit was your daughter." The familiar rumble of the Drill Instructor was no longer as menacing as it had seemed before. Remos actually managed to smile at Teela. "You have a lot to live up to, kid. No wonder you were trying so hard. Gotta respect that." He held out his hand for Teela to shake.
* * *
Lieutenant Teela felt a knot in her stomach as Captain Drittes led her to his office. I'm not nervous, she said to herself. It's just because I'd rather be in father's group of warriors. And this uniform is too uncomfortable.
Inside the office were three other officers. The captain introduced each in turn. "Let's welcome Lieutenant Teela, new commander of Third Platoon. This is Lieutenant Ploff, of First Platoon. They are the rifle platoon. Next to her is Lieutenant Kling, of Second Platoon. Spyros is the century magician." The young wizard's robes bore the red insignia of a member of the fire elemental school of magic.
Captain Drittes continued, "Our area of patrol covers the lands just south of Dragon Valley. It is dangerous territory, with the dragons themselves, and the other wildlife in the area. Our main focus is to keep the dragons out of the villages and away from caravans. There are some bandits in the area, but for the most part they keep away. Right now, the century is in rest phase, but that ends in a week. Our transport to the garrison leaves in the morning. Until then, you are all dismissed."
A red, white and blue falcon flew across the Eternian landscape. The falcon made a right turn at Mount Zagraz and continued for several hours before nearing Castle Grayskull. It alighted on a windowsill and looked inside expectantly.
"Zoar, this is a pleasant surprise," called the Sorceress. "Do come inside."
Zoar, the falcon, flew up and transformed, becoming a tall, blue-skinned man dressed in a masculine version of the Sorceress's outfit. "Teela-na, as always, it is as a light upon all of Eternia your beauty. Unfortunately, glad tidings I do not bring. Skeletor is as a name giving fear to the entire Dark Hemisphere, and I understand that he attacks upon this side of Eternia. However, he now plans to attack Castle Grayskull itself."
"He plans to attack here? Why would he do such a thing?"
"It is as I have said. He-Man is the warrior's name he wishes to destroy. I have heard this name whispered in hopeful tones."
"Skeletor must be seeking revenge," the Sorceress mused. "When last the two met, He-Man redirected an attack back to Skeletor, severely wounding him. But why would he come to Grayskull seeking He-Man?"
"Skeletor believes He-man to live here."
"This most interesting indeed. I shall endeavor to have He-Man here to meet him. Do you know when he plans to attack?"
"I do not. I only can tell you that it will be soon."
The Sorceress pondered this news for a few moments, then said, "Thank you, Zoar. I shall have to prepare for Skeletor's arrival.
* * *
Queen Marlena searched through the halls of the Palace of Eternos, looking for her son. She eventually made her way to Duncan's laboratory, where he was adjusting something on Mekaneck's armor.
The Man-At-Arms stood up and turned to see his visitor. "Your Majesty. It has been quite a long time since you graced my humble lab with your presence."
The Queen smiled. "Duncan, I believe we've known each other long enough to dispense with unnecessary formalities. I was wondering if you knew where Adam is."
"Actually, I do. He is...unofficially a member of Randor and my group. I sent him out for research on a few matters."
"Hmm. Very well. When he returns, would you let him know I wish to see him?"
Duncan bowed. "Of course I will."
* * *
Several days later, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, and Triklops approached Castle Grayskull in a bone chariot. As they neared the jawbridge, Skeletor stopped and the other two stepped off to the side.
Skeletor sniffed the air, then turned to his witch. "Evil-Lyn, do you sense that? There is great power inside those walls."
"I feel it too, Skeletor."
"That must be the secret of He-Man's strength," said Triklops. "No wonder we never heard of him before. He must be trying to keep this place a secret."
Skeletor cocked his head, as if listening for some unseen signal. The he shouted, "He-Man! Come out here! I want to talk to you!"
The jawbridge lowered, and He-Man sat perched on Battle Cat, clad in his full battle armor, with his shield and sword ready. Skeletor laughed and aimed his Havoc Staff. The blast would have killed the mightiest of warriors, but it never reached its intended target; instead it was dispersed by some sort of magical force field surrounding the castle.
He-Man pondered his sword and suddenly wished he had a longer weapon. He felt a surge of power through his right hand, and realized that his sword had grown until it resembled a lance. "Let's go, Cat!"
Battle Cat roared, then bounded directly toward Skeletor. He-Man lowered his lance for attack. All three villains aimed blasting attacks at the blond warrior, but he managed to block them all with his shield. At the last moment, Skeletor jumped off the chariot, barely dodging He-Man's strike.
He-Man slid off Battle Cat's saddle, allowing the feline warrior to keep Triklops busy. He reverted his lance to its original sword shape, then set out to stop the skull-faced demon. The Sorceress cast a spell from within Grayskull, and Evil-Lyn suddenly found herself unable to speak, and with her arms bound at her sides.
He-Man caught a flash of movement in the corner of his eye, and lifted his shield in time to block a strike from the Havoc Staff. Skeletor leaped up, his cape flapping in the breeze. The Havoc Staff disappeared, replaced in his hand with a sword. While still in midair, Skeletor unbuttoned his cloak and tossed it at the blond hero.
Triklops managed to get a blast out, but Battle Cat dodged it, and then pounced. The mighty tiger knocked the swordsman down, then covered him, holding his throat in his teeth. Within seconds, Triklops passed out from lack of oxygen. Battle Cat, bring that man into the castle, the Sorceress requested.
He-Man sidestepped the makeshift distraction and blocked the incoming overhand strike. He quickly dropped, then spun in an attempted leg sweep, but Skeletor flipped to avoid getting knocked down, landing in an expert swordsman's pose.
Evil-Lyn looked around, and found that she was unable to help either of her comrades in any way. She ran to Skeletor's chariot and jumped on, then looked at the controls. Finding the button she sought, she turned so she could reach it with her fingers, and wiggled them until she was able to press it in. The chariot powered up, then began to move on its own to return to Snake Mountain.
The blade flashed, then a sickly green blast of magic streaked toward He-Man. Skeletor sprang into an attack, but again the distraction was not enough to prevent He-Man from blocking the attack. The pair then began to duel in earnest, trading strikes and parries with blinding speed. Skeletor was clearly the more experienced, but He-Man had his shield and enormous strength on his side. The blue villain spun after a dodged uppercut strike and produced a green bladed war dagger. A drop of liquid fell from the tip of the blade, and a small circle of grass where it landed immediately turned brown. He then renewed his attacks.
He-Man parried Skeletor's strikes, but a flick of the villain's wrist caused a few drops of the acid to splash onto his enemy's leg. The pain coursed through He-Man's leg, allowing Skeletor the opportunity to slash across the blond hero's chest, opening a gash in the armor. He-Man was dazed, allowing Skeletor to open another gash in the armor, this time with his long blade.
Skeletor cackled with glee, knowing that he was going to kill his enemy. He readied his poison blade, just to make certain, to pierce the holes in the armor, but He-Man recovered in time to block with his shield. The dagger punched through, and stuck. He-Man tossed the shield to the side, then back handed Skeletor in the face, knocking him back several meters.
He-Man clutched his chest, checking for an injury, finding only a scratch, despite the burning pain. This gave Skeletor enough time to recover and return to his feet. Looking around, he realized that he was unarmed, and that his allies had left him. He cast a spell, opening a portal back to Snake Mountain. Before stepping in, he turned to He-Man and said, "Farewell, you muscle-bound buffoon. Do me a favor and die painfully." He howled in laughter and stepped into the portal.
He-Man gasped in pain, then a grim smile crossed his features. He raised his sword and said, "By the power of Grayskull." Bright golden bursts of energy poured out of the castle and into He-Man, healing his injuries and reforming his armor. Sheathing his sword, he said, "Sorry, Bonehead. I'm afraid I can't grant that wish." He then picked up his shield, pulled out the dagger, and recovered Skeletor's sword.
He entered Castle Grayskull, and saw Triklops bound, with Battle Cat standing guard. She thought it best to keep him as a prisoner instead of dinner, the great feline growled to his friend.
"She's probably right," He-Man agreed. The Sorceress approached, and he said to her, "Let's trade." He offered Skeletor's weapons. "I think these would be best kept here. Be careful with the dagger. It's poisonous."
The Sorceress conjured a box, into which He-Man placed the blades. The box then disappeared, apparently returning to wherever it belonged. "I have cast a spell to disable the ability of this man to produce his energy blasts. I believe that if you were to have contacted Prince Adam of Eternos, then he shall be able to conduct the prisoner to the proper jail cell."
He-Man grinned, "Yes, Sorceress, I believe you are right."
* * *
Hours later, Prince Adam landed in Eternos with his prisoner. He gave his report that during his mission for Man-At-Arms, He-Man and the Sorceress presented Triklops to him, to be taken to jail. The swordsman was conducted to the special prison that Duncan had created for Skeletor's minions. After that, Adam set out to discover what his mother wanted.
He found her in her waiting room. She dismissed her ladies-in-waiting and indicated that her son should join her in her settee. She studied Adam's face for some time, while he sat confused by her manner.
The Queen then said to her son, "You are a man now, that much is obvious."
"Mother-" Marlena placed a finger on her son's lips to shush him.
"I know by the look in your eyes, and by the way Duncan has taken you under his wing, that there is more to you than the boy who goes out fishing with his pet tiger. As heir to the kingdom, you have to look to the future. Especially if you are taking on danger." Again she held up her hand to stop Adam from speaking.
"There are a number of eligible young women for you to choose from. Have you given any thought to marriage?" Marlena could read the answer in Adam's eyes. "She is eligible, of course. But I think she has her mind more on her career, like her father. There are a number of options, women of nobility, that would be very politically advantageous. Before you protest, that is the same way your father and I met."
Queen Marlena stood and walked to a console, pressing a button. Her secretary silently entered the room with a number of files, which she handed to her Queen. Marlena returned to Adam.
"I thought we could look over some of the more promising choices..."
Last edited by hawggie; September 30, 2008 at 11:00am.
Not sure about He-Man's sword transforming into a lance...seems more like She-Ra terrritory to me. Other than that, I really dig how this is coming along. Can't wait to read more!
I wanted He-Man to be able to have different weapons for special occasions, like the various "Power" weapons the figures have, but are somewhat based on the sword design. I almost used the idea in Morainia to get him the axe, but decided that he would have thought to use the shield instead.
We get to learn a very little bit about some of the villains here. I stole a bit about the triklops bio I wrote for the New Vision, but it's somewhat modified for this version.
* * *
Triklops sat causally within his cell. He had already taken the measure of his confines. The cell was extremely well made, although he was unfamiliar with the metals used in the creation of the bars. This surprised him, since his time as a blacksmith gave him the opportunity to work with all sorts of metals. His visor indicated to him that these were far stronger than anything he had ever had the pleasure of forging, but he was sure that the molten fires deep within Snake Mountain would melt anything.
His optical blasts were still disabled, but all the other functions of his visor seemed to operate normally. The guards had taken his armored harness, but they had given him a plain green tunic, His built-in chronometer told him that it was nearly time for his lunch. This time, it was not a normal guard that brought him his food, but rather Prince Adam, the young man who had brought him from Castle Grayskull to Eternos.
"Well, well, well," Triklops said. "The young prince himself. What did you do to get punished with meal service duty?"
"I wanted to ask you some questions."
Triklops accepted the proffered tray, then sat on his bunk as Adam pulled up a chair and sat down. "Do you mind if I eat first? These steamed vegetables get soggy of you let them sit too long."
Adam indicated that he would allow the request. Unlike the previous occupant of the cell, Triklops ate in a civilized manner, apparently savoring every bite. When the swordsman was finished, he placed the tray by his side, then turned his attention to the prince. "My compliments to the chef. They do their best at Snake Mountain, but the quality of the ingredients just isn't the same. And this tunic you've given me to replace my battle harness. You were kind enough to give me my favorite color."
"I'm glad you enjoy it," Adam replied, not entirely certain if Triklops was being sarcastic or not.
"You have some questions for me?"
Adam was snapped back to his original purpose. "Yes. What is your name?"
Triklops tapped his visor. "I thought you people already knew that."
"I mean your real name."
"I have been Triklops for so long, that any other name is meaningless. But I was once known as Terrance Kelops."
"Where are you from, originally?"
"A coastal trading village called Portoc. It was destroyed before you were born. I am the last survivor of that village."
"How did that happen?"
"Raiders attacked and burned the village. Some years earlier, they had attacked, killed my parents, and burned out my eyes."
Adam found himself growing sympathetic to the man he considered an enemy. He was no longer simply some villain, but was becoming a person. Triklops noticed the change in expression in his interrogator, and asked, "Do you have other questions, or did you simply wish to revisit the worst days of my life?"
Again, Adam was snapped back to his purpose. "From what I know of you since the wall fell, you've shown a yourself to be a man of honor. Why are you serving Skeletor?"
This question surprised Triklops. It was now his turn to be speechless. Adam waited, but when he did not get an answer, asked, "Do you even know?"
Triklops stared directly at the prince. "It is, as you have unwittingly implied, a matter of honor." He again indicated his visor. "He gave me back my sight. He returned my life to me, and gave me a purpose beyond being a mercenary. He was like a second father to me."
Adam was shocked. Skeletor, a father figure? "What about everybody else?"
"Evil-Lyn, for example."
Triklops chuckled. "You say it just like he does."
"What are you talking about?"
"Evil-Lyn. That is how Skeletor says it. But it is Evelyn. Honestly, I don't know much about her. She is as secretive as she is beautiful. Although, with her lavender eyes, I would guess that she comes from Garisca."
"The village of healers?" Adam was incredulous; he had never known Evil-Lyn to perform any healing magic.
"It is a guess," Triklops restated.
"You have nothing more to add?"
"You know as much about her as I do."
"What about Kronis."
"He is no longer called Kronis. We call him Trap Jaw now."
"What happened to him?"
"He was nearly killed in battle. They saved his life, but they got to him too late to heal him completely. I had to replace his arm with a temporary mechanical version, but the scientists created a better version. They also made him a new lower jaw. Needless to say, he is not exactly a pleasant fellow since then."
Adam paused; Triklops could sense where his next line of questions would lead.
"Is Skeletor my uncle Keldor?"
"No. Keldor and Skeletor are quite different."
"But they are both skilled warriors and wizards, wear similar mantles. Keldor was a Gar, and Skeletor also has blue skin..."
"Blue skin is common on the Dark Hemisphere. It is a very dangerous place, so you do anything you can do to get ahead. Entirely coincidental."
"What can you tell me about them?"
Triklops smiled. "It seems you know quite a bit already."
"Are you mocking me?" Adam stood up, hoping to look menacing.
"Not at all. But if you are looking to find some secret weakness, or learn of some great plan, I'm afraid I can't help you. Skeletor likes to keep things to himself until the time is right."
Adam realized that he was not going to get anything more out of the prisoner, so he turned and left. A pair of guards entered the hallway to collect the finished tray.
Man-At-Arms had been watching the interrogation on a monitor, and sent for Adam when it was over. When the prince arrived, he said, "I have a mission for you."
"A mission?" Adam's eyes lit up. "Does this mean I'm part of the Defenders of Eternia?"
"It's not so dangerous as all that," Duncan explained. "It's closer to what you've been doing already. I want you to go to Garisca and ask about Evelyn. She should be about forty years old. Find out where she came from."
Adam landed his Wind Raider outside the small village of Garisca nestled between the Rivers of Life. Orko, always interested in learning more about the magic of Eternia, accompanied the prince, as did the teen's constant companion Cringer. They were warmly greeted by an small group of women led by a gray-haired matron. All had the same almond-shaped, violet eyes as Evil-Lyn.
"Greetings, young noble. I am Monah, First Mother of this village. Are you here to seek the services of one of ours?"
Adam bowed in greeting. "Thank you for the welcome, First Mother. I am Adam, Prince of Eternos and this is my friend Orko."
Orko laughed nervously and waved hello. "Um, hi."
"And my fearless friend over there," he gestured toward the cowering tiger, "is Cringer. We are here to ask for information about a possible former member of your village."
"This is most unusual," observed Monah. "However, you may be in luck. We keep records of all our daughters, so I may be able to help you. Follow me. please."
"Excuse me, Mother Monah?" Orko raised his hand.
"Yes, little son?"
"Would it be okay if I stay out here and meet with some of your villagers?"
Monah smiled warmly. "Yes, little one. Our village is one of sharing. Learn as much of our magic as you may."
Adam noticed that some of the youngsters had been holding out their hands to catch Cringer's attention. Cringer usually shied away from children because of their excitability, however these ones used soothing words to cajole him and began to play with him.
Orko was amazed. "How did you know I wanted to learn magic?"
"I can feel your potential, and it is natural for one with the gift to wish to acquire new skills."
Monah led Adam to the second largest building in the village. The largest was, by its markings, a hospital. Monah led the prince into a room with a set of shelves within the walls. Each shelf was labeled with a letter of the alphabet and held a number of volumes.
"We have a small population, by choice and tradition, and we only have our daughters, no sons. Therefore we never repeat a daughter's name for several generations. What is the name of the daughter you seek?"
"Evelyn," Adam replied. "She would be about forty years old."
"I can tell you that we have never had an Evelyn in my lifetime," Monah said as she pulled one of the 'E' books from its shelf. "Let's see...the last Evelyn we had was two hundred thirty-seven years ago. I doubt that it is she whom you seek, as she remained here for all her days."
Monah replaced the book, and sat upon a stool near a reading desk. "We have an Eva, but she is here also. Perhaps you might be seeking a Lynn." She got up and pulled an 'L' book. "Perhaps not. She was born one hundred years ago, and when she came of age she was hired by Count Aldus Marzo, to care for his infant son Premo. After that, we have no record. I am sorry, young prince, that I could be of no help."
Monah led Adam back outside, where he found his two companions still engaged by the villagers. The elder placed her hand on the young man's shoulder. "Allow your friends to enjoy themselves, young son. I feel that you are greatly fatigued, much more so than you realize. You should take a bath in our healing waters and take advantage of our skills while you wait."
Adam nodded; Monah gestured to a younger woman, and she led him off to a private chamber. "You can change in here brother. Here is a robe and a towel. Beyond that door is a heated bath. I will return in an hour."
Adam settled himself into the soothingly warm water. An hour later, he was awakened by the light touch of his attendant upon his shoulder. She gave him privacy to dry off and don his robe, then led him to an unusually shaped table. She had him lay down, then wheeled over a cart with vials of oils. She began to rub the oils into his muscles; he could feel his entire body loosen and strengthen at the same time. She continued to massage him for an hour, after which he was completely relaxed. She then helped him into his robe and led him to another room with a bed and fresh linens. Various flowers and herbs were placed around the room, creating an unusual combination of aromas.
"Lie down here, brother," she gently ordered. Adam did as he was told, and almost immediately fell asleep. When he awoke, Cringer was sleeping under the bed, and Orko was napping, floating in a corner. Adam's clothes were cleaned and pressed, neatly folded on a dressing table. Adam quietly dressed so as to not awaken his friends, but he was unsuccessful, as they felt his movement and awoke.
"Wow, Adam, you must have been really tired!" Orko cried. "You slept all day. But I learned a few healing spells, that might come in handy." Cringer meowed in agreement.
"That's great, Orko." Adam finished dressing, then left the chambers to discover that it was now evening. His attendant left to get Monah, who came to see Adam off.
"Ah, young prince," she said. "You have completed the healing process."
"I feel much better. Thank you, Mother Monah. How may I repay you?"
"There is no payment necessary, son. As I said, all things are shared in Garisca. Now that you are refreshed, I believe that you are needed to return home. I am sorry that my information was not helpful to you."
"It seems our source was incorrect," agreed Adam. "But your service was very kind. Thank you again." Adam and his friends returned to his Wind Raider and returned to the palace to give Duncan the report of his experience.
"You're right, that did seem to be a dead end. Unless she is descended from one of these Gariscan women, or in fact, any Gariscan that has been hired out of the village. Which would be next to impossible to track down. The mystery of Evil-Lyn will have to remain that for now."
Last edited by hawggie; October 22, 2008 at 01:51pm.
Reason: had to retype a word
So far this is my favorite chapter that I've written in this fan fic.
* * *
Evil-Lyn stomped into Skeletor's throne room. The looks she passed to the assemblage caused all to shrink away. It would almost be comical to see these large, fearsome warriors retreating from the much smaller woman if not for her magical power. Only Skeletor himself seemed unaffected.
"My dear Evil-Lyn," he nearly purred from his throne, "whatever darkens your mood this day?"
The witch glared at him. "Someone has violated my personal space. My entire library is gone!"
Skeletor finally seemed to show some surprise. "What do you mean? Not everything?"
"Yes!" she screamed. "Every last scrap of parchment! Gone!"
"Who could have done something like that?" asked Beastman, so quietly it might have been to himself.
"Obviously not you, cretin!" Evil-Lyn whirled around, taking in the entire group. "In fact, nobody here would have cause to raid my library. The only one who would is...no! He couldn't have found out..." She quickly stepped out of view.
Skeletor scratched his chin in thought. "An interesting occurrence."
* * *
The Royal Family of Eternos was just about to sit down for lunch when Randor received word from his secretary that there was an urgent message waiting for him in his office. He excused himself, but came back at about the time Marlena and Adam were finishing up. His face was twisted in anger.
"What's wrong, father?"
"I have called for an assembly of my Council. I figured I would tell you first before you heard about it in gossip. Jitsu and his forces from Anwat Gar have attacked Dyperia."
"My brother," Marlena gasped.
"Stephen is fine. However, Dell is missing. It was as if he disappeared into the night. Nobody saw him leave, nor any kidnappers, but it happened during the attack."
"What are we going to do?" asked Adam.
"I'm ordering troops to Dyperia at the Council. I've also sent word to the Qadians, Adreenos, and Avion requesting additional aid. Adam, come with me."
Randor led his son to the War Room, where the Defenders of Eternos and the remainder of the Council were already waiting. The King did not even wait for the door to close before he began to speak.
"I'm sure some of you have heard by now. Anwat Gar has attacked Dyperia and apparently kidnapped Prince Dell. Over there it is just after dawn now, so it was a surprise night time raid. Besides being an ally of Eternos for generations, the king of Dyperia is my brother-in-law. Needless to say we are going to immediately mobilize reinforcements to help him in any way we can. General Tyros, which legions are ready to move out?"
The general checked his electronic pad. "The Third Legion is just coming out of green phase and about to go into field training."
"General Valos," the king continued without pause, "I want you to send the Second Air Company as well. I want them to have air support, especially if Avion and Adreenos are unable to send enough troops."
"Man-At-Arms, I want you to pick out a group of Defenders to go as well. We know that Jitsu has allied himself with Skeletor, but we don't know the reason for this sudden attack. It might be a diversion. We need to find out what is going on over there, but we also need to make sure that Eternos is defensible as well."
Duncan looked to his warriors. "Mekaneck, your abilities will help to keep an eye on things. Man-E-Faces, your skills will enable you in infiltrate Jitsu's forces if at all possible. And Ram Man. I need you to be a wall for these two if necessary."
Mekaneck was taken by surprise. Unlike everybody else in the room, including the young Prince, he had never seen any combat before. He felt the burden of responsibility like a ton of bricks, but did his best to hide it.
"Also, back to you, Tyros."
"I want two scout teams to go in. We need as much information as possible, and we need to find Prince Dell."
"I want to go too!" cried Adam.
"No," said Randor flatly. "You are the future king, and must remain here."
"You always say I should be more like you, father. Going to Dyperia is exactly what you would do if you were in my place. You can always have more kids. Besides," Adam looked directly in his father's eyes, his face set just as firmly as Randor's,"it's family."
Randor's pride in his son swelled as it only had during his Ascension. "Very well, son," he said quietly. "Just be careful."
Randor looked around the room, then declared, "You have your orders. I want to see movement within the hour." As the others bustled to follow the king's wishes, Adam pulled his father aside.
"You know you sent Teela."
"It's part of being a king and leader, son. You can't let your feelings get in the way of making the tough decisions. Do you realize how many times I had to order Duncan into battle? As much as we want to protect our friends, we also have to have confidence in their abilities. Besides," Randor showed the slightest hint of a smile since receiving the news of the attack, "we both know that Teela is one of the most skilled warriors in all of Eternia."
As father and son left the War Room to get ready for Adam's foray into battle, Randor's secretary approached. "Sire, there is a Spelean delegation here to see you."
"Speleans? Did they say what they want?"
"They would only speak to you."
"Hmm. That is the Spelean way. Go ahead son, I have to take care of this." Randor embraced his son and told his secretary to see the delegation to his office.
Minutes later, Randor was surprised to see exactly which Spelean he was talking to. "Chirops," he greeted, recognizing the high-ranking member of the batlike race.
Chirops, like most of his kind, was very tall and thin, over seven feet in height. He had to stoop to enter the room, and bowed at Randor's greeting. Three others followed him, one carrying a long wooden box. They were covered in fur, ranging from reddish orange on one to dark brown. Chirops himself had graying black fur.
"King Randor, unfortunately I do not come at a good time."
A kitchen worker delivered a tray of fruits to the office. Randor indicated that the Speleans were welcome to the food. Chirops declined while the others modestly chewed on them, savoring the juices more than the pulp.
"How may I be of service?"
"Lord Dactys remembers the manner in which you helped to solve the territorial dispute between our people and the Caligar, and asks forgiveness for this additional request. One of our sages is missing. His name is Batros. He has been gone for several weeks and we have been unable to locate him."
"I am surprised," Randor said. "It is not like Speleans to bring such matters to the other races."
"Unfortunately, there are many different clan of Speleans. Lord Dactys was chosen to represent our kind to the surface races. Batros is from a carnivorous clan. Lord Dactys fears that if he should attack a surface dweller it might bring about fear and violence toward his people."
"I understand," said Randor. "You may tell Lord Dactys that he should have no fear of an attack. We will attempt to find Batros and return him unharmed to your people."
"Lord Dactys sends his gratitude," Chirops declared. He held out his hand, and the other Spelean handed him the box. Chirops opened the box to reveal a magnificent Spelean blade, made from a black steel and encrusted with rubies. "He wishes to present you with this blade of honor."
* * *
Randor, Marlena, and Duncan walked the Defenders to the hangar. Colonel Volor was waiting by the Max Raider with a pilot. Marlena clung to her son, hanging from his neck as he gripped his father and mentor in warriors' handshakes. Ram Man and Man-E-Faces saluted and turned to go, but Marlena quickly disengaged herself from her son and grabbed Ram Man's arm.
"Bring my son home in one piece," she pleaded.
Ram Man smiled gently and took the Queen's hands in one of his massive paws. "Fear not, my Queen. I'm as big as an entire army, and they'll have to go through me to get to him."
Marlena smiled nervously, grateful for the large man's assurance of Adam's safety. She let him go, and then he joined the others in the Raider. Randor wrapped his arms tightly around his wife to comfort her.
The pilot started the engine for the Raider, and then lifted off. A Company of Air Guard in their Sky Sleds and a number of transports followed suit, and the entire retinue headed north west. An hour later, they landed at the camp site of the Third Army Legion, under the command of General Myrmid. The general had erected a large tent for the air leadership, and had assembled his colonels and captains for the meeting. Adam was surprised to see one particular person wearing the blue sash. "Teela," he breathed.
General Myrmid heard him, and turned to see where the prince was looking. "Ah, yes. Captain Drittes was offered a position as head of security by Count Marzo after he had taken care of some garcs harassing his lands. We had a qualified replacement, so I allowed it. Lieutenant Teela was immediately promoted to Captain, and took over. So, let's get down to business. Technically, your title places you in charge..."
Adam put up a hand to stop him. "General, I know enough to know I should listen to your experience. Trust me, you won't have me fighting you for control. But, as soon as your soldiers are ready, I would like them to load up on the transports so we can get to Dyperia as quickly as possible."
The general nodded, then issued the command to strike camp. "We'll be ready in two hours."
Last edited by hawggie; December 19, 2008 at 10:37am.
That afternoon, King Randor and Man-At-Arms received another message: Marzo Manor was under attack by Skeletor's forces. The two men looked at each other. "Why Marzo?" Duncan asked.
"Send Fisto, Clamp Champ, and Orko. Make sure Avion and Adreenos know to be ready in case of attack."
"Orko, Sire?" asked Man-At-Arms in disbelief.
"He's a magician, he might be needed."
Man-At-Arms nodded. "Sound the alarm."
Down in the cells, the guards were bringing lunch to Triklops. The alarm startled them, and he took advantage, grabbing the spear of one and throwing him into the other. He rotated his visor to the red eye and blasted both guards with a stunning blast. Closing the door on them, he switched to his green eye, searching the upper rooms through the walls. Seeing the object of his search, he took off at a run, avoiding other guards as much as possible.
After a few turns, he found himself at a closed door. He switched to his red eye again and kicked the door down, rolling into the room and blasting the guard behind the desk. Then he blasted open the door to the vault and retrieved his sword. He quickly made his way to the outside and hopped onto the first vehicle he found, a green Road Ripper with the Eternian Dragon mounted upon its front, and sped out onto the streets.
Word of his escape spread too late to recapture Triklops. This was doubly true due to the vehicle he had stolen. It was an experimental version of a Road Ripper, with a doubly-powered engine making it one of the fastest vehicles on land.
* * *
Shortly after nightfall, the Eternian force made landing in Dyperia City. King Stephen and his generals met the Eternian leadership and warmly embraced his nephew.
"Of course my father would have preferred to come himself," Adam began, but a wave of the king's hand stopped him.
"I too am a king, and I know all too well the duties he must face. Of course, he must take care of his own people and land, but I am eternally grateful that he allowed you to help. Please, let us go to a more secure area and discuss these trying matters."
An official led some of the Eternian colonels to show them where the troops were going to garrison, while the key leadership followed King Stephen to his War Room, where a map of the three islands of Dyperia was set up with troop indicators. Once everybody was settled, the king began to update the newcomers about the status of the battle.
"Anwat forces have taken over Little Island. Fortunately, they don't seem to be treating my people overly harshly, though obviously they are prisoners. Right now, we have blockaded the other two islands with our navy. Today, we had a naval standoff, but no real combat."
"How did they get Prince Dell?" General Myrmid asked.
"Nobody knows," King Stephen replied. "He was in his quarters. The guards heard him cry out, but when they entered the room, he was gone. There was no sign of forced entry."
"What is your plan for the morning?" Adam asked.
One of the generals answered. "Our ships are still out there. We plan to press forward onto the island. Our first goal is to gain a foothold on the island, and then to drive them off, and if necessary, to follow them back to Anwat Gar."
"Have either of you used aerial attacks?" asked Adam.
"No. We do not have a large enough air force, and I'm assuming they don't either."
"What do you have in mind?" General Myrmid wondered.
"I was thinking we could hide Colonel Volos's Company behind the navy. At the critical moment, they could pop up and turn the tide of the battle."
"That just might work," mused one of the generals.
Adam ordered, "Colonel, make it happen."
* * *
Man-E-Faces was given control of a small speedboat, and shortly after arrival in Dyperia was soon skimming the surface of the Ocean of Gnarl toward the Little Island and the Anwat Gar forces. He activated a cloaking device, and his boat vanished from sight and sound.
Several hours later, he slipped past the Anwat fleet. One of the guards on the boats noticed the wake. He nudged his partner. "Did you see that?"
The other guard looked over the railing. "Probably one of those Ickies."
Man-E-Faces continued past, and found a spot with a singularly knotted tree. He beached his craft and camouflaged the signs of his mooring. He gathered his gear and changed his appearance to that of a Dyperian fisherman. He assumed that the Dyperians were most likely on a curfew, so he decided to not be seen as he made his way around the island. He modified his image to a darker outfit so as to blend with the shadows.
He was able to hide and sneak his way to the nearest village. He waited for about an hour as he assessed the activity of the guards, and found an opportunity to slip into the village without being seen. He looked into the window of the first house to which he came, and found a family inside. He knocked quietly at the door.
The door opened a crack, and the patriarch peeked out. "Who's there?" he demanded.
"I am a friend. I am from Eternos.
The old man opened the door wider, and took a hard look at the actor. "What's your name, son?"
"They call me Man-E-Faces."
The old man looked him up and down. "I only see one."
"If you let me in, I'll show you."
The man thought about it for a moment, then opened the door and let Man-E-Faces in. The younger man entered and closed the shutters of the windows, then dropped his disguise.
"I see," said the old man. "A wizard, then."
Man-E-Faces nodded slightly. "A talent I have."
The old woman stood up and approached the young man, "What brings you here, sonny?"
"I was sent to gather information. How many soldiers are here, what they have been up to, have they hurt you people at all?"
A man about Man-E-Faces's age, the old man's son by the look of him, answered, "They showed up about a week ago. They killed all the soldiers, and anybody who resisted, but have otherwise left us unharmed. Whenever we go out, a guard joins the boat, and one of their ships accompanies ours."
"Do you know how many soldiers they have?" asked the Eternian hero.
"Not exactly. There are three villages on this island. Each has its own detachment of soldiers. The main force is in the East Village, our largest. Their commander has set up in the Precept's mansion."
"Thank you. That is quite a bit of information. If you don't mind, I will make a report to the main island."
Man-E-Faces sat off to the side and opened his communicator. Prince Adam and General Myrmid answered. Man-E-Faces reported all the information to his commanders.
"Good job," the general said. "See what else you can find."
* * *
That night, as Adam lay down in preparation for the upcoming battle, he began to dream. His dreams were terrible, but vague. He could remember a face of bone, but not Skeletor, and other unknown monsters. During the pre-dawn preparations for battle, General Myrmid noticed the haggard look on the prince's face.
"Have nightmares, Prince?" he asked.
"How did you know?"
"It's all over your face. Don't worry, it's a good thing," the general explained. "You worry about your soldiers, and it manifests as monsters in your dreams. The same thing happened to me before leading my first battle. It goes away with experience."
Adam felt somewhat reassured, and the preparations continued. Soon, the command Raider was floating slightly over the water behind the Dyperian fleet. The Anwat armada floated silently into view, and soon volleys began to fly between the two groups of ships. At a signal by General Myrmid, the Eternian Air fighters rose, and the matched aerial and naval might was too much for the invaders, who quickly turned back toward Little Island.
The defenders pressed their advantage, following the Anwat ships with the air fighters harrying the routed attackers along the way. Halfway to Little Island, Mekaneck noticed something out of the corner of his visor. "What's that?" he shouted. Magifying his vision, he saw a number of Mer-Man's fishman warriors throwing javelins from a mile away.
The others turned to look where he was pointing, but it was too late. The first javelin bit deeply into the side of the leadership's Raider. The engines sputtered, then the craft fell into the water. Luckily enough, it landed on its belly and floated on the ocean.
While its occupants recovered their bearings, a great sea creature surfaced. Riding its back was Mer-Man, who quickly grabbed Adam. When the young prince tried to fight him off, the fish man stabbed him with a poisoned dart, whose venom acted quickly and rendered the Eternian unconscious. He then slipped a breathing device over his mouth and sank beneath the surface.
Last edited by hawggie; December 19, 2008 at 10:44am.
Reason: added a few paragraphs
The Defenders of Eternia rode to Marzo with a battle fully engaged. Trap Jaw, Blade, and Clawful led Skeletor's forces against Marzo's guards, who were led by a seemingly larger Drittes. They had heard that Evil-Lyn was with them, but she was nowhere to be seen.
In fact, Evil-Lyn was at the battle site. She was deep within the manor, in the Count's hidden library. "It's not here!" she cried in frustration.
"What is it you seek?" asked Count Marzo, who had entered the room unseen by the intruder.
Evil-Lyn spun around, surprised at his entrance. She was even more furious at herself for being caught unaware.
"What are you doing here? You're not supposed to be here!" Evil-Lyn screamed at him.
"I'm afraid you are mistaken, my dear," replied Marzo. "This is my library. You are the intruder here." Marzo took a closer look at the woman. "You look familiar. Do I know you?"
"No!" she screamed. Evil-Lyn raised her wand and sent a blast toward Marzo. He ducked, avoiding injury, but when he looked up, she was gone.
Evil-Lyn reappeared at the edge of the battlefield. She shouted to her companions, "We're going. Now."
She raised a red gem and opened a portal back to Snake Mountain. She quickly entered and vanished. Trap Jaw and Blade looked at each other, then ran to the portal, followed by most of their soldiers. Clawful was busy fighting Fisto, who punched him square in the carapace, sending him flying through the portal just before it closed. Orko floated over to the portal's previous location, and waved his hands around.
"Portal that once was here. We need you now, so reappear!" Nothing happened, so he waved his hands more vigorously. "Doorway to another land, open now, I command!" The portal opened slightly, then immediately closed again. Orko was pitched over, rolling somersaults in the air until Clamp Champ caught him.
"Are you okay?" the young warrior asked.
"There's some powerful magic holding it closed," replied the Trollan, who caught his breath then floated to the portal's previous location. "Nope it's gone. I was quick enough to try to open it before, but whoever's on the other side is way too powerful."
"Don't worry about it, Orko. We'll get them," Fisto consoled the small mage.
I realized that I was focusing a bit too much on Adam's adventure in this chapter, so I had to write the events of the actual battle. Reread chapter 11.3 again to see the beginning of Man-E-Faces spy adventure.
Hey, your story seems cool. Is there any way you could write a quick summary about what's happening in the story and character bios thus far, so I can catch up? There is just way too much for me to read right now.
Hey, your story seems cool. Is there any way you could write a quick summary about what's happening in the story and character bios thus far, so I can catch up? There is just way too much for me to read right now.
Sure. I'll just need a bit of time to write that up.
Adam/He-Man: Adam is Prince and Heir Apparent to the Kingdom of Eternos. As with all Eternians, at the age of fifteen he officially becomes and adult, and during his Ascension (similar concept to a bar/bat mitzvah) receives a sword of rare red Eternium. After the ceremony, Duncan takes him to Castle Grayskull to meet the Sorceress, who tells him he is the direct descendant of the Kings of Grayskull, former rulers of Eternia, and from which bloodline his family holds power. She believes Adam to be the fulfillment of certain prophecies and gives him another sword from the castle's armory, a sword crafted in Ancient times, and merges Adam's two swords, giving them the appearance of the red sword. Over the next year, Adam becomes an ambassador for his father, serving on diplomatic missions. Then one day, the mystical wall intended to hold the forces of evil on the Dark Hemisphere of the planet falls, and an attack force makes itself known. Adam is relaxing with Orko and Cringer when the battle begins, and learns to call upon the power of the sword to transform into a large barbarian warrior, which Orko named He-Man. For now, Adam must keep his dual identity secret; it is only known to Duncan, Orko, and the Sorceress.
Duncan: Also known as Man-At-Arms, Duncan is the loyal General of the Eternian Royal Army and King Randor's most personal bodyguard. A technical wizard, he spends his free time in a laboratory, creating weapons, armor, and gadgets for the defense of Eternos. He is also the foster father of Teela. Having discovered Adam's dual identity, he is trusted with helping Adam keep it a secret. When Skeletor and his forces threaten Eternia, Duncan retires his official rank to lead a group of warriors to defend his land.
Randor: King of Eternos. A powerful warrior, he is equally skilled in diplomacy. He was named successor to his father, King Miro, instead of his older half-brother Keldor, an arrogant, cruel man. When King Miro disappeared, Prince Keldor began a civil war of succession Adam was born near the end of this war. Randor defeated his brother, who received a mortal injury in the final battle. Randor asked his friends Duncan and the Sorceress of Castle Grayskull to create a barrier between the Dark and Light Hemispheres after Keldor's forces fled to the darkness with their fallen leader. After this civil war, Eternia has achieved a level of peace, as Randor's rule has been marked by his efforts to unite Eternia, even ceasing long-standing territorial disputes between Avion and Adreenos, and between the Speleans and Caligar. Randor expects greatness of his son, and often pushes him to greater effort. If not for his duties as King, he would personally lead the fight against this new resurgence of evil in his lands; as it is, he takes up the sword whenever possible.
Marlena: Queen of Eternos. The younger sister of King Stephen of Dyperia. She was married to Randor when she came of age in a political union between Dyperia and Eternos. The union quickly developed into mutual respect, and then love, and the two see each other as equals. Though often working behind the scenes, Marlena is a quiet second voice to her husband's booming warrior bass. In fact, is was Marlena who mediated the treaty between Queen Adreeno of the bee people and Lady Delora, co-ruler of the bird people of Avion (ed. note: I haven't included this in the story yet). Of course, she is a mother to Adam first of all: her latest project is to find her son a suitable bride.
Teela: Teela is the daughter of the Sorceress of Castle Grayskull and an untold father. She is two years older than Prince Adam and views him as her "little brother." After her Ascension, she joined the Royal Army, and soon thereafter joined the elite unit of Royal Guard. She advanced to the rank of Lieutenant and became Adam's personal bodyguard. To advance in her career, she has most recently been reassigned to a regular unit in the Army and has been promoted to Captain.
Orko: Orko's bio isn't much different than Filmation or MYP. He is a young Trollan magician, accidentally teleported to Eternia. He rescued Prince Adam, who was stuck in the Tar Swamp, and was made the Court Magician of the Royal House of Eternos. Though seemingly more competent than Filmation or MYP, he still has trouble with the difference between Eternian and Trollan magic. He witnessed Adam's first transformation into He-Man, and in fact inspired He-Man's name.
Buzz-Off: Buzz-Off is a high-ranking warrior of the Adreenid clan, a beelike humanoid race. He is the main representative to the other races. A strong ally of King Randor, he shares a warrior's respect with Stratos, though their peoples have only recently formed a truce; prior to that, they had quarreled over territorial disputes, though it had not actually broken into war.
Stratos: Lord Stratos shares rule of the city-state of Avion with his sister Lady Delora. While she is in charge of daily activities of Avion, Stratos is leader of the Avionian army. Of the nonhuman races, he is the strongest ally of Randor.
Fisto: Duncan's younger brother Daniel. During the last battle with Keldor's forces, Daniel fought Kronis. Both men were seriously injured, with Daniel losing his right hand. It was replaced with a bionic one. After he recovered, he decided to head south, where he was given the name Fisto. He married and had a son, but after the fall of the Mystic Wall, he returned north. He arrived just in time for battle. Fisto is one of the strongest of the Heroic Warriors; in fact he was able to stop one of Ram Man's charges.
Man-E-Faces: Aramond is the greatest actor on Eternia. In his youth he took some magical training at the learning center, in which he studied the art of illusion. He is able to project an image around himself of any disguise, and his natural skills allow him to mimic any voice. His actor's training also included swordplay and marksmanship. Man-At-Arms provided him with a harness which continues his illusion even after unconsciousness and a microphone which allows him to capture additional sounds and voices.
Ram Man: Ramson is a warrior from the northern villages. He joined the Heroic Warriors after the fall of the Mystic Wall. During the first battle, his ax broke, so he began fighting hand-to-hand, eventually ramming one of the cannons head on, earning him the name Ram Man. After the battle, Queen Marlena ordered Man-At-Arms to create him a new armor to protect his head and neck in case he repeated the feat.
Clamp Champ: Castagir is the son of Fisto. He followed his father north, and competed in a tournament to find additional Heroic Warriors. He won the tournament, defeating Kol-Dar in the final event. He wears armor similar to that of his father, and mimics the bionic hand with a series of mechanical grabbers, resulting in his code name.
Mekaneck: Micheal was an orphan from Marzo County. At the age of ten, he was moved to Eternos City and became a ward of the Learning Center, and joined the torkball team. After his Ascension, he started working as a mechanic in Man-At-Arms' laboratory. Man-At-Arms discovered that Micheal had an extending neck, and crafted a suit of armor and a helmet for him, which when worn together produced a brace around his neck, protecting it. He also crafted a modified torkball bat for Micheal to use as a weapon, and gave him the name Mekaneck.
Snout Spout: Snout Spout is a Preternian warrior of the Probiscean race, and ally of King Grayskull. Skeletor and Evil-Lyn resurrected him from his tomb in the Crystal Mountains. He-Man intervened before Skeletor could complete his plan of convincing Snout Spout that Randor was a usurper. Snout Spout has since chosen to travel Eternia and learn how the world has changed since his time.
Sorceress: Teela-Na is the current guardian of Castle Grayskull. She is also a member of the Order of the Green Goddess, under the Falcon Clan. She was vested into the order by Kuduk Ungol, her predecessor as the Sorceress. She is the mother of Teela, though she was forced to give up her child. She has become a mentor to Adam, helping him to deal with the power of Grayskull.
Zoar: Zoar is another member of the Falcon Clan. He is a Gar, a blue-skinned human race from the Dark Hemisphere of Eternia.
"Adam!" Teela cried. She tossed her weapon and shield, and dove after her friend.
"Captain, no!" one of the soldiers cried; he tried to grab her, but she was gone before anyone could reach her.
She dove deeply, but there was no chance of her ever catching Mer-Man and his steed. Still, she was determined to do everything in her power to protect her former charge, turning back only when he began to run out of air.
"That was a helluva throw," Ram Man observed as the pilot guided the Wind Raider down to help gather the leadership.
General Myrmid answered, "They are used to throwing those tridents through the water. It's thicker than air, so they need stronger arms to throw the same distance as we do. That means throwing them in the air gives then greater distance."
"Where's Prince Adam?" Mekaneck cried.
"Under the surface," Teela replied from the water. "Mer-Man put some sort of breather on him and dragged him under. He seemed to be heading south."
General Myrmid touched the communicator. "Send a detachment with sonar south. Look for-" he paused to look at Teela, who had been loaded into a Raider.
"A fishman riding a giant sea monster."
"Look for a sea monster. Take care - one of ours is being held captive."
"What now?" Ram Man asked.
"We continue," Myrmid answered.
Ram Man grunted, then leaped out of the Wind Raider onto a nearby boat. Teela and Mekaneck followed suit.
* * *
Man-E-Faces, dressed again as a local, joined a caravan headed for the East Village. He was surprised at how lax the security of the Anwat seemed to be. They never even noticed that a new villager was around.
It did not take very long to travel to the East Village. Using the camera built into his helmet, Man-E-Faces began taking pictures of all the Anwat activity he came across. The caravan ended at the market, and the spy set himself in a quiet location.
Being patient paid off. Within an hour, he noticed a large group of warriors flanking obvious leadership. In the center of the group was a grizzled veteran in red and gold armor, with a long ponytail rising from the top of his head. Man-E-Faces guessed that if this was not Jitsu himself, this man had to be the commander of the invasion.
* * *
Adam awoke with a start. He had been having nightmares again. He found himself in a damp cave, lit by phosphorescent algae. Sitting next to him was Dell, who jumped up when his cousin stirred. "Are you okay? You were screaming in your sleep."
Adam ached all over. He sat up, groaning. "It was just a nightmare." Suddenly he missed a familiar weight at his hip. "Where's my sword?"
Dell shook his head. "I haven't seen it. You didn't have it when they brought you in."
Adam looked around, unfamiliar with his surroundings. "Where are we?"
"I don't know," Dell replied. "I woke up in my room surrounded by complete darkness. Somebody grabbed me, and I called out for the guards. A hand covered my mouth, and then I was somewhere else."
"What do you mean somewhere else?"
"I wasn't in my bed, but he didn't pull me up. I just was somewhere else, but it was still too dark to see. I was there for a while, but eventually I ended up here. The darkness just...I don't know...disappeared."
Adam rubbed his temples, trying to push out the headache. He couldn't process what his cousin was saying enough to figure out what had happened. Just then, part of the wall slid away, revealing itself to be a rock. The two young men jumped to their feet, but before they could reach the opening, a fish man stepped inside with a tray of food. Another two fish men flanked him, bearing spears. Nobody said anything; the one fish man put the tray on the floor then stepped out, pushing the slab of rock back into place.