Priests of Infinitias
By T. F. Cooper (Based On "He-Man Meets Ram Man" by Gary Cohn)
On a world far from Earth, lost beyond time and space ...
In a wasteland just beyond the Evergreen Forests of planet Eternia, did Lord Adam, He-Man of the Vulnarians, awake half-buried in a smoldering pile of rocks.
Through the smoke, he saw Castle Grayskull, an ancient stronghold of limestone and mortar, haunted by the alien conquerors, demons and the spirits of kings, who were once the masters of the world! To keep their most powerful secrets out of the hands of their enemies, Eternia's ancient rulers concealed them in a Hall of Wisdom, hidden behind Grayskull's walls. Since its capture from tyrants by the first Warrior Ancients, has the castle been under siege from all, who relentlessly pursued power.
And one, the Vulnarian's enemy, who pursued nothing less than the omniscience of the gods.
And lumbering toward it on mechanical legs, barely alive, was the heavily armored Ram Man of Talos! Having hammered the vault of Grayskull for two days in succession with his korodite-helmeted skull, good Hiram of Talos could do little, but lumber like a beast. Behind the towering castle door that Hiram had vowed to tear down, a golden-haired devil from the Vine Jungles tormented the spirits of the Dead.
Or so the poor, strange, skull-faced Wizard of Snake Mountain had told him.
For the love of sweet Orphael. For memories of a cottage filled with such song to make the heart soar from one's chest, did the mad Ram Man of Talos lay on, ..and with enough force to fell the tallest and broadest of trees! His heart pounding! His hard face stained with tears, he lay on! Pounding the castle's door, again and again!
For two years, had Hiram prayed to the old gods for Orphael's resurrection, ..but, the brute did not understand the powers at work in the lands of the Dead. When the poor, hooded wizard had told him that his boy's restless spirit now cried out from beyond Grayskull's walls, he trusted him, since it was well known that wizards could hear such things. When Lord Skeletor told him the boy's ghost wailed out with such terror that he could no longer find the peace of mind to practice magic, the black-cloaked wizard had come to Hiram...
"You saw the bloodthirsty savage's awesome strength, Hiram of Talos!" The wizard-king Skeletor warned, standing at the edge of the bottomless Abyss, over which Grayskull floated in empty air. "It is strength gained by feeding upon the souls of dead children--of your precious son, Orphael! We must take He-Man by surprise, ..by smashing down the castle door!"
Lingering close to Skeletor, Lord Adam saw the phantom of a small, dark-haired boy. "Help me, father! You will be hailed as heroes and all Eternia will love you."
"Orphael. Sweet, sssweet ..Orphael," choked Hiram, drenched with sweat. His heavy armor and the tunic underneath it, matted to him. Father ..here. Soon ..together ..again. Heart ..p-pounding s-so hard. Stay ..alive."
Then, Lord Adam turned to see a thing, crouching over the mound...
Grotesquely male in its height and musculature. Naked, but, for a few crude, leather armaments, it was covered entirely with reddish brown hair and held in one of its fists, a whip, ..around which the air crackled with blue-white electricity. Beast Man, apelike priest-king of the Gorre Jungles, growled, and the korodite-laced whip cracked against He-Man's back ..and coiled about his throat! Struggling to breathe, the big, bronze-skinned Vulnarian's mind shut down, and he remembered the events that led up to this horror...
They are damned, the Priests of Infinitias.
The four kings in Skeletor's inner circle are called scientist-priests because of what they engineered in the Etherian Mountains, twenty-years ago, and it is for that unholy crime against mankind that they are so damned.
Many years ago, four Infinitian scientists gathered in the tomb of Keld'Thor the Great, the first king of Eternia to unite the Light and Dark Hemispheres under one crown. There, in exchange for great power on the Dark Side of the world, they unleashed from the collective, sentient minds of Eternia, an abomination - an unspeakable horror born of the mortal brain's most primitive chambers and incarnated him within Keld'Thor's mummified body.
Through these four scientist-priests, Skeletor ruled the Dark Hemisphere of Eternia. His sole ambition - universal domination, ..through the conquest of the secrets of Castle Grayskull. Known by many names throughout the ages, he was incarnate destruction and the shameful, yet inescapable fear of it.
With extreme prejudice, did the big, golden-haired warrior pursue the Scientist Priests of Infinitias. The atrocity of human bondage had long been offensive to the Vine Jungle Vulnarians, and He-Man determined that Sijanus Trap-Jaw, the undead Lord of Sybronn, who used technological wizardry to make vulgar puppets of dead men, would soon taste his outrage.
"Take care," the Man-At-Arms at Eternos had warned him. "The rule of the priest-kings is like a many-headed beast. Trap-Jaw of Sybronn turns men into half-machines with his damned science, but, he takes his slaves from the camps at Titanos, which are ruled by Tri-Klops and his sons, who procure their slaves from the glorm, Tremarixes..."
The Enemy of Man had placed the burden of supplying his armies with deadly weapons and flying machines almost entirely on Trap-Jaw's undead shoulders, and a sizeable labor force was needed to satisfy his master's demands. The Horde War had cost Trap-Jaw many slaves, so much that trade with Lord Tri-Klops of Titanos was insufficient to replenish his supply. His other source of human slaves were the monsters, who dwelt below ground with him.
Believed to be the eldest children of Procrustus and the sun goddess, Hyperia, some of these savage and powerful, four-armed predators even surpassed He-Man in strength and were the most feared of the half-gods. Wars over many eons had much reduced their numbers, and a great swell of the glorms had killed each other off. Those cunning few, who remained, dealt in the capture and trade of humans, and their networks stretched from the Dark Hemisphere to the Iron Mountains.
Of them, none were so dreaded as Tremarixes the Headtaker.
"Bring me your sons, and I will leave you in peace," the glorm said to the weary folk of the tiny farming kingdom of Talos. "Trap-Jaw of Sybronn will pay many gold pieces for sturdy, hearty boys made for work! Bring them to me, and I will leave. Force me to take what is owed, and I will slay the strongest fighting men among you. Bring them now!"
"I am full-grown, monster," a hooded man offered. "I am strong. Made for work. Take me!"
"Look around you, fool," an older man scoffed. "Even our women are big-boned -- strong and well-fed! The gods've blessed us with strength, vigor ..and fertility! He leaves us men, only so we might beget more sons with our women!"
"So, has it been since the end of the War of Marlena, and so will it be today! You are nothing -- mere animals to be bred like sheep or horses and sold to the mines of Sybronn! Now, bring me your sons! Bring them now!"
The tall, hooded stranger grinned, strolling casually into Tremarixes's path and looking down at his own fists. Each was tightly balled, enough that the knuckles almost seemed to glow through his bronze skin. "We are not sheep or horses, demon, ..but, the answer is still the same. Nay!"
A bronze arm, threaded with large muscles and nigh thick as a tree, was thrust into the air from the stranger's robes! There followed a deafening crack heard throughout the village, and Tremarixes was seen pitched backwards over many huts, into a large pile of chopped wood. A great cloud of dust and splinters arose from where Tremarixes fell ..and from it, a roar shook the skies overhead.
Men and women around him scattered into the shadows.
The mysterious stranger cast aside his tattered robe, revealing himself a bronze-skinned giant beneath it, outfitted in little more than a loincloth. From harness of grayish metal enveloping his broad chest and shoulders, the big man drew a silvery broadsword that gleamed with the rage of the heavens and brought it, in both hands, before him!
Tremarixes charged from the cloud of dust!
Clearing the distance between them on all six of its mighty limbs, he saw that his human prey, the He-Man of the Vines, stood before him. Then, a wild battle-cry deafened him, and Tremarixes saw his blood spilling over the swelling muscles of his bare stomach! He howled at the huge gash ripped into his chest, while barely a trace of his savage attacker's musk lingered upon the air. "You! You are a Vulnarian -- the Vulnarian! Prepare to meet your tribesmen in Oblivion!"
"Oblivion, son of Procrustus?" half-naked barbarian growled, swinging his broadsword for the glorm's neck and tumbling back to the ground, upon his boarhide-booted feet. "I've made war with the dragon god of Oblivion and fed him to the worms! I am man, demon--only a man--and I don't fear Oblivion or any of the terrors of the gods!"
A crimson glow blazed in the monster's eyes, and he roared with a dreadful confidence. "I will rip out your spine with my teeth, when I kill you, Vulnarian! I will rape your woman and use her skull for a toilet! Your Oblivion will be a hell of my making, and you will be shown your place, ..as food for the gods!"
For a silent moment, He-Man and Tremarixes the Headtaker circled one another.
Spinning his hoary Sword of Ancients in one hand, the golden-haired Lord of Vines studied his giant enemy for the most devastating point of attack.
The monster before him snarled!
Again, like a bull, Tremarixes charged. His four gargantuan arms, each as thick as a tree, with large, ugly muscles ..and fingers tipped with nigh indestructible claws! His predatory grin flashing an awesome array of jagged, yellowed teeth! Each combatant taking measure of the other, ..with a roar, they collided in an explosion of rage and destruction!
Lord Adam of the Vine Jungles swung his weapon forward, and Tremarixes the Headtaker felt the bite of cold metal into his skull!
His forehead slashed open, the glorm tumbled backwards over the ground, snarling as his barbarian foe advanced, and the crimson ran down upon his face! Onto his teeth! Tremarixes would not underestimate the ambitions of this human - this Vulnarian - as he had before. He stood, playing the lumbering brute he believed his opponent expected him to be. Then, ripping a large and dead tree from the ground, the glorm roared, such that the marrow in the bones of the Talostines was rattled, and he saw them scatter to the shadows along the edges of the street.
In a cloud of wood and debris, the dead tree exploded against He-Man's bronze flesh and the korodite of his shield. The barbarian staggered backwards, ..and his monstrous enemy attacked! Amidst the flying wood shards, two savage, blows ended the battle, ..when Tremarixes's ugly head lie in one pile of blood-stained lumber, and the vile sex of him lie in another.
So swiftly was the glorm struck down, no one present knew for sure, which blow came first, and a great cry of unfettered triumph and gratitude resounded from the throats of the long-suffering people of Talos...
All hail, the great He-Man! Hero of Eternia! Champion of Man!
With a signal from a middle-aged man in golden robes and lavish gold jewelry, watching from a hill nearby, soldiers surrounded He-Man ..and aimed their spears for his broad chest.
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