Tomb of the Magic Stealer: Mad Halls Of Grayskull

By T. F. Cooper  (Based on a story by Gary Cohn)

Standing before He-Man was a mirror of himself. Identical to him in every way, but one.

There was a consequential hardness one attained coming of age in an army of men that was nowhere upon him. The golden hair and pale bronze skin that had made Lord Adam an oddity amongst the Vulnarians was miraculously replicated in this man. That of his body the blanket left naked showed a physique molded by sport, and not even the hint of a scar marred his bare shoulders and chest.

This man, who resembled him in every other way, was no warrior.

Clearly mesmerized by the likeness they shared, the stranger approached He-Man. Unsettled by the hardness in the Vulnarian's broad, bronze face and the uncompromising steeliness of his stare, the stranger studied him. Careful not to lose hold of the fur blanket around his waist, he approached and extended his hand. "I am Adam, ..Prince of Eternia -- son of Randor and Marlena. Forgive my ..curiosity, ..but the resemblance .."

As if entranced, He-Man clasped the man's hand in his own. Confounded, He-Man said nothing. The pale bronze of his face reddened, ..and he fixed his icy glare on the feather-clad witch. "Yes -- the resemblance between us is strange, indeed. Mayhaps, good Zoar will explain it. Now."

"This He-Man," Teelana answered the young nobleman, "guardian of the secrets of Castle Grayskull ..and the last of his kind. He is here to lead you on a perilous journey, Adam. All will be made clear, when you have fulfilled your sacred mission."

"To find the Fearamid of Extreia?" He-Man queried, warily.

"To save our world," the Sorceress retorted. "Our enemy is very powerful -- many heroic warriors have fallen at his hand. For this reason, the Ancients have forged for Adam a great weapon ..and tempered it with all of the powers of Grayskull."

"The broadsword you spoke of, eh?!" the young man gleefully exclaimed. "Though I've practiced with saber, dagger and lance, I don't think Duncan's ever shown me a real broadsword. I can't wait to hold it! What do you know of swordplay, Mr. He-Man?"

At this, the big, bronze-skinned warrior strode up to the man, as if to give him a closer examination. So pale, this Prince Adam was - his unscarred flesh barely known to the sun's infernal kisses. So soft and pretty was he that He-Man was nigh offended by his golden beauty. "Nothing of swordplay, Son of Randor -- only of war."

"You will find it in your chambers," the Sorceress nodded. "Go, now, Adam. Rest and gather your strength. At dawn, you sail to the Isle of the Four Grails with your friends ..and into legend."

"Sleep well, then, ..both of you," smiled Prince Adam, strolling out into a torch-lit corridor and descending the rocky stairs to Grayskull's lower levels.

"He knows, ..doesn't he?" He-Man observed. "His instincts tell him we are one and the same, ..but he hasn't learned to trust those instincts. He's who I might have been, had the men of Vulnar's Valley not made me something ..more. He is not a fighter! He is not ready."

"Prince Adam has seen many mysterious things in the brief time he has dwelt here," Teelana answered, "and you will make him ready, ..should you choose to accept your destiny."

"My destiny?" He-Man replied. "To save your Eternia."

"To lead Prince Adam where I cannot," Teelana corrected him, "as I am bound to this fortress by powers beyond your comprehension. To right the chaos you have inflicted upon our world ..and bring order to the discord you inflicted upon yourself, when you cheated Oblivion."

"I caused this." He-Man looked away. "My resurrection has doomed your world, ..but how?"

"Like the Talon Fighter, the Fearamid is a living machine," Teelana answered, drawing her feathered cloak about her. "Its dying alien creators, once conquerors of Eternia, designed it to siphon and convert Eternia's natural magic into enough demonic power to resurrect their race. When the Ancients defeated them and cast the Fearamid into Oblivion, its nano-soul was destroyed -- its memory and purpose wiped out! Only a great source of natural, Eternian magic, like your Sword of Power, could have awakened it, ..but something else guided it here."

"Skeletor," deduced He-Man. "Somehow the demonking of your Eternia has made the Fearamid's mind think this world is the Ancient Eternia it left unconquered. My Eternia."

"It was written in the Scrolls of Helos," the Sorceress began, peering up into the darkening skies, "that a terror from the Beyond Realms would lay siege to Eternia, this day, ..and that a golden-haired warrior from the ancient bloodline of plains kings would raise arms against it. Adam of Eternos is that warrior."

"If you are not truly human," inquired He-Man, suspiciously, "and this Grayskull is yours, ..why should you care if mankind is destroyed?"

"There was a small village in Cirsaly," Teelana confessed, "where I lived and loved as a mortal, ..until the Horde destroyed it. Just before she died, the first Sorceress summoned me to this castle and entrusted its secrets to me. The child in my womb would never know her mother. More than this, I cannot say."

"No more need be said," He-Man answered, casting off his sword and other armaments to rest. "I've doomed your world. If need be, I will die saving it. I will lead your Prince Adam on his quest the Isle of Four Grails and, then, to destroy the Fearamid. He will face his destiny, and he will be ready, ..or you will never see either of us again. Skeletor will see to that."

"When the Fearamid is returned to Oblivion, a wound will be made in the wall between our worlds," Teelana said, standing stoically before the stained glass of an arched window. Her back to him, as he undressed. The dread in her voice chilled the air between their bodies. "Your blade will guide you back to your Eternia, ..and your presence here will be forgotten. Even by me."

"Is that what you desire?" He-Man asked, resting his hands on her shoulders. Worn down by their duel, his anger at her bled away from him, ..while desire to plunder her body's treasures ruined his will to do little else.

"Grayskull desires nothing for itself," Teelana whispered, turning to He-Man ..and finding her lips hauntingly close to his, "and I am as one with its hallowed halls, as are you with your blade. I Grayskull."

The big, bronze-skinned warrior's hands swept down over the Sorceress's shoulders and hips, drawing her feathered gown with them the floor. Gathering the tender harvest of her womanhood to him, He-Man tasted her and felt her shudder against the contours of his body. "Tonight, you are a woman, ..and I am yours."

Naked and drunk with arousal, He-Man led the comely Teelana down onto the soft blue, scarlet and white feathers of her cloak. His weary lips rushed against hers in a deep, hungry kiss, as her pale thighs parted around him, and sparing no arch, curve or shadow his worship, ..he loved her.

Until the moss-laced castle ramparts cried out her ecstasy.

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