The Lost Tales of Teela
By Kirk Trigon (excerpt from Eternia Lost: Origins of the Masters of the Universe)
Teela is the daughter of Zor, king of the ancient Helestrian gods and master of the Sun, and Hela, goddess of war and spirit of the land (eternis). Her worship can be traced back ten-thousand years ago to the dawn of Helestria.
Like her mother, Teela also presides over the land, as well as dreams and fertility. She grants souls life eternal in the Land of He, which was believed to extend into the dream realms. Having taught man to make fantastic weapons from stone to defend himself from the monsters and giants of ancient Eternia, Teela is primarily a goddess of war.
The Birth of Teela
She was born on Helios, a celestial city floating over the Sands of Time. There, in the Hall of Wisdom, Zor and Hela have gathered a tribunal of god-scientists, who engineer every aspect of reality and beyond. It is this celestial congress that shapes Teela's destiny and, ultimately, that of all Eternia.
However, it is historical fact and tribal mythology, which conspire to make her the most widely revered deity on all Eternia.
Before her birth, the celestial congress warns the divine couple of a prophecy that has come to their attention. Their unborn twins, Teela and her brother, Coda, are incomplete beings and will serve Eternia poorly, in this condition. Coda is a beautiful god of love and devotion, whom the primitive world will deny. Teela, half-woman and half-dragon, is a fierce warrior goddess destined to destroy Eternia and slaughter the celestial congress. To avert cosmic disaster, Zor orders the divine scientists to engineer an 'equation' that binds Teela to her brother's gentle will for all eternity.
Hela, secretly resentful of the elder sky gods' interference in their private affairs, welcomes their destruction. She drinks a potion that inflames her unborn daughter with hunger, causing Teela to devour her twin and ingest his power. When Teela is born wearing her dragon crown, and Coda does not follow, the sky gods are horrified.
In spite of Teela's dreadful entrance into the world, Zor studies his daughter and finds her to be possessed of as much wisdom and compassion, as strength. When she is old enough to stand, Zor awards the seat in the Hall of Wisdom, once intended for her twin brother, to Teela.
Once more, Hela finds that her influence over Zor's judgement is second to another's and determines to remedy the situation.
Teela Slaughters the Celestial Congress
Teela makes no secret of her contempt for the posturing and vanity of the god-scientists, who keep mankind savage and ignoble to justify their pettiness and cruelty to him. When the celestial congress withholds rain to further undermine man's progress, Teela begs them to be merciful, but they refuse. Hela hears of Teela's grief and offers her daughter comfort. She tells Teela that the sky gods have rain for blood and surely enough to save her mortal subjects.
Teela returns to the Hall of Wisdom and, once more, appeals to the celestial scientists to end the drought. When they refuse her, Teela massacres half their number, before Zor restrains her. The blood of the slaughtered sky gods falls to Eternia as rain, saving the world .. and fulfilling a prophecy.
The offended god-scientists plot to remove Teela from the Hall of Wisdom, but know that they must be careful, as Teela is her father's favorite in all of heaven. They complain to Zor that Teela is too young and impetuous to sit among them and that the order of things would be better served, if she were to live among the mortals to whom she is so devoted. Reluctantly, Zor finds some truth in their appeal and, upon Hela's suggestion, appoints Teela ruler of man and Eternia.
When all is done, Hela's influence over her husband, Zor, is second to none, and Teela, oblivious to her treachery, is conveniently placed in her mother's debt.
The Courtship of Procrustus
The most notorious of the monsters, who enforce the draconian edicts of the celestrial congress, is Procrustus, Teela's four-armed half-brother and king of Eternia's giants. When Zor appoints Teela to be mistress of the land, Procrustus (meaning 'Claims the Crown') rallies the giants to contest her right to rule.
Though the god-scientists of Helios are eager to be rid of Teela, they cannot deny Procrustus's claim. They remind Zor that Procrustus is the son of Nox, the sentient cosmos, and of Hela's giantess sister, Vargonis, whose magic bells make earthquakes! Acknowledging this to be an auspicious enough lineage for an Eternian ruler, the celestial congress rules that the matter can only be settled by marrying Teela to Procrustus. As Teela is very beautiful, the king of the giants finds the terms of the settlement more than satisfactory.
Teela agrees to marry Procrustus, but only if the giant can subdue her in fair combat, proving himself a worthy king and protector. Zor gives his consent, and the contest proceeds.
Procrustus knows Teela to be unbeatable in battle, as do all the gods, but enters the tournament assured of an easy victory. Prior to the contest, he swallows the burning, two-headed wolf, Luceres, intending to overpower the young goddess by sheer weight. Increasing his bulk tenfold, Procrustus succeeds in besting Teela, and calls Zor down from the sky to proclaim his victory and seal his betrothal to Teela. Before Zor can congratulate the king of giants, a fever seizes Procrustus, causing him to burst aflame!
Suspecting treachery, Teela hammers her mace into Procrustus's belly, forcing him to disgorge his pet wolf. Luceres escapes into the skies, where he becomes Eternia's two moons, and Procrustus returns to his own true size. Infuriated by his deception, Teela attacks the giant, who, desperate to escape her, digs a hole to the center of Eternia. To spare him certain destruction at Teela's hands, Zor condemned the King of Giants to bear the planet's crust on his four, weary arms. Procrustus's punishment stands uncontested, and Teela is crowned the goddess of man and Eternia.
Teela Destroys Death
Few among gods or mortals are bold enough to challenge the tyrannical god-scientists or the giants, who enforce their will on Eternia, but Teela is not alone in her defiance of them. In the Sands of Time, the hero Garykonas has often found himself in conflict with the cruel giants, as well as the predatory Snake Men of the Serpentis Deserts. Possessed of great strength and courage, he is their sworn protector and Teela's mightiest mortal ally.
She once entrusted her half-mortal brother, Garykonas, with driving the horseless Sun Chariot across Eternia. On his last occasion to perform this duty, the hero stops to admire a beautiful maiden bathing in the sea.
The maiden, Myzar, is one of the Adorae, the sacred warrior virgins, who stir the Winds of Honor on winged horses, ferrying the souls of the righteous dead to the foothills of Helios. Myzar is also the guardian of an island sacred to Hela, whose soil holds properties that nullify mortal frailties. Admiring the gold of his flaming chariot, Myzar consents to lead Garykonas to this island, in exchange for a sword crafted from the chariot's metal. After following her to the island, Garykonas twists a strip of the chariot's metal into a flaming sword and presents it to her. Pleased with it, Myzar gathers up some of the island's soil into an urn and sends Garykonas back to his people with it.
Mankind mixes the magic soil into the land and yields a great harvest. When man eats of the harvest, the weakest among him are cured of their ailments and live twice as long as the gods originally intended. The priests and wizards, who once used their secret knowledge of healing and communication with the gods to rule the kingdoms of man, soon find they have no power over them. The strongest of mortals grow even stronger and throw off the oppression of the giants and elementals, who enforce the will of the gods.
Hela hears of Garykonas's adventures from her priests and is outraged. After beating Myzar nearly to death, the Queen of Gods dispatches the Adorae to Eternia to collect Garykonas, and though he fights valiantly, visiting many injuries upon them, the hero is carried to Helios in chains and imprisoned.
When word of Garykonas's capture reaches Teela, she flies to Helios to negotiate his release in the Hall of Wisdom. There, before Zor, Hela and the celestial congress, Teela asks that the hero be returned to Eternia and the judgment of his fellow mortals.
Teela finds there is no confidence in mortal judgment, among the gods. Hela charges that Garykonas interference in the human condition make pretensions to godhood and, therefore, warrant cosmic punishment! She also reminds the gods that Garykonas is partially divine and, therefore fit to suffer divine justice. Zor, Garykonas's father, shows him no mercy and blames Teela for her brother's misfortune, as she had entrusted the Sun Chariot to him. The god-scientists, all sworn enemies of Teela and Garykonas, concur with Zor, asserting that Garykonas and all mortals are innately ignoble and unworthy of the trust Teela places in them. The Hall of Wisdom denies her request and, to the surprise of all the sky gods, Teela accepts their judgment without contest.
In consideration of mankind's innate ignobility, the young goddess announces that she will rectify the problem by making mankind more like his gods, and returns to Eternia.
There, Teela gives all humankind immortality, upsetting the natural order of the cosmos and enraging the gods! Hela demands that Teela restore man to his appointed, finite existence, but Teela refuses. The queen of the gods sends the Adorae to punish her daughter with spears and swords, but Teela, who is unbeatable in battle, does not yield. Though they assail her in the hundreds, Teela cannot find the will to bring great injury to them. With a half-hearted effort, Teela breaks a few of their backs and sends the rest limping back to their winged horses.
Zor, assured that nothing will come of punishing Teela directly, turns his attention to Eternia and the mortals his daughter loves so much. He assails Eternia with unbearable heat and drought. He sends Hela to shake the land and his sister, Vargonis, to crack open the sky and empty its terrors on the heads of mortalkind. A great portion of the world is destroyed with storms and quakes, but Teela is undaunted and man remains immortal.
As the world is ripped asunder, Teela guides man to the Land of He, a realm of eternal sunlight, beyond all material things, where the soil is dense, fertile and full of spices. When her mortal charges are safely away, Teela strikes a bargain with the gods. She promises to permit mankind to die naturally, if his land is made whole again and his champion, Garykonas, is freed. Unable to uproot man from the Land of He, the gods accept Teela’s bargain. Eternia is restored and Garykonas is released.
In turn, Teela restores the cycle of mortal life and death. Man, once more, is consigned to a finite existence, but those mortals most faithful to Teela will never forget their brief time in the Land of He and find their way back, when the time comes.
Garykonas's liberty does not come without consequences. For desecrating Hela's island, Teela consigns Garykonas to the maintenance of her stables for seven years. During that time, Teela gives the duty of driving the Sun Chariot to Myzar, the warrior Hela dismisses from the Adorae for dishonoring her sworn duty.
Teela and the He-Men of the Vines
The following lunar myth makes the jungle goddess Teela (or Tee-La), daughter of the wind goddess, Celis, and the land, Urjukota, responsible for the birth of the Henimyar Valley He-men.
When Molock, the giant panther-demon, ravages the Vine Jungles, devouring Dak's entire tribe, the young hero attacks the beast with his sword, but cannot pierce its hide. Accepting, however reluctantly, that he cannot vanquish Molock in conventional combat, Dak goads the beast into swallowing him, intending to destroy him from the inside.
In the belly of the beast, Dak finds himself assailed by the beast's very blood and organs. Molock's heart is a black fortress filled with an army of zombies, men devoured by the beast over many centuries! His blood is a winged, flesh-eating dragon! His seed is a herd of lusty bulls! While traveling the vast, treacherous mountains that are his bones, Dak is attacked by a great white bull, Molock's raging seed.
Worn down by his battles with the zombie armies of Molock's heart and his war with the hungry dragon, Dak is gored under the bull's horns, until a woman attacks the beast with her arrows. The huntress sends many flights of arrows into its hide, and it turns on her and attempts to rape her. When Dak castrates the bull and throws his organ into the river, the bull follows it and drowns. To Dak's surprise, as he lays dying on the river bank, the huntress dives into the river to retrieve the bull's phallus.
After she recovers it, the huntress, Teela, attempts to rub the organ over Dak's body, but he is disgusted by the act and fights her off. With great effort, Teela subdues him and, waving it over Dak's wounds, the dismembered organ heals them. She then instructs Dak to paint the bull's seed over her arrows and, with them, to attack the zombie fortress.
When he does, the life-giving power of the seed restores the undead warriors to life. Led by Dak, they burst from Molock's chest and are returned to Eternia. Molock, wounded from within, retreats to the sky and becomes the light of the moons.
In gratitude, Dak and the liberated warriors honor the goddess Teela, whose arrows restored them to life, and set her above all their gods.
These are the first He-Men.
Much of Teela’s legend was inspired by the life of a Helestine princess named Es'Teela the Mace, who lived over ten thousand years ago and fought in the Helat’s wars against King Havokrates (or Havok) of Snake Mountain.
The legends Es'Teela inspired are more widespread than any other on Eternia. Today, even goddesses worshipped thousands of years before Es'Teela's birth have had aspects of her legend woven into their own. She is the defiant Ternya of the Graylands, Tilay in the Vine Jungles and Tiuay in the Ice Mountains. Even, Hela, the heroic martyr of the Fertile Plains, from whose legend much of Teela's is derived, has acquired many of the Helestrian goddess's attributes.
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