Beginning of the End (part 2)
Adam let go of his head and lifted it once more towards the window, blinking at the scene of the exhausted peasants before him. Their pains are distressing, and yet they are simple... pains of hunger and the daily struggle to survive... My own hunger, though, has never been for food or drink. Even here, cloistered in the Old Temple, silenced by vows and my birth-right abdicated, my mother still ensures that I have the basic necessities. And this I resent. There is no escaping my royal inheritance and the fawning concern of the courtiers, masking their suspicious questions and surreptitious stares of contempt...
The Night-time deepened rapidly and the peasants felt the dark lurking mountainously behind them, weighing on their bent backs - they hurried on to their shoddy homes. The Guards were already behind the gates... barring them now... manning the parapets now. Beyond them, beyond the cracked walls and toppled battlements, the lone searchlight washed the smashed and pitted road in pools and lines of shadow, evoking a patchwork of black and white. This final beam of light swung left and right of the road-way that had once brought traders, entertainers, and news into Eternos. It shone remote and alone over the rutted and muddy fields that were once farmland and orchard, now a wasteland of smashed weapons and concealed bodies. These unrecovered dead lay under mud and within wet holes, beneath slain horses and crushed war-machines - each unknowingly awaiting their chance to twitch and quiver with treacherous new life under the necromantic command of Skeletor's sorcery. With secretive purpose, the Night thickened, hiding this brutal reality with a dream-like illusion of stillness, cut only by the vacant to and fro of the last electric-lantern Eternos had.
It had been thus for years now. Eternos had become cowed, defensive, and within its deteriorating walls the royal subjects - man, woman, and child, whether peasant or merchant, devotee or scoundrel, royalty or beggar - prayed to the venerable gods for protection during these long, Night-hours. Adam heard their prayers in his mind, sensed the question upon dried and pale lips: "Great gods, will the walls fall tonight? Or can He-Man end this long war?" In the silence he waited for his heart's answer, but the silence was broken only by the spit and crackle of his solitary candle as the flame burned low and then went out.
Within his cell, Adam fell into darkness as Night suddenly flowed inside through the window. It emerged from the shadows from where it had hid in corners, to slide down from the black ceiling above, slithering over his flesh and sinking into his outline... until he had vanished, leaving the room bare, solitary and still - as if he were gone forever.
His heart measured the silence with irregular and anxious beats, but offered nothing more.