Three Men In A Wind Raider

By T. F. Stephens  (Based on Mattel's Masters of the Universe)

After three weeks of scouting for enemy outposts in the Etherian Mountains of Planet Eternia, the flight out of the deserts and over the vast Sea of Rakash was torturously long for Titus Duncan, the Man-At-Arms.

In an aging wind raider, he and his comrades sped for a hard-earned retreat deep in the Vine Jungles, beside the cool streams and tranquil, green foothills of Mount Heuay, ..but, that paradise was still half a world away. The green and gold flying machine they shared, heavily armed and designed for short-range, aerial assault missions, rattled and sputtered.

And there were other problems.

The two men in his company were bitter rivals for the affections of his fierce and beauteous daughter, Captain Teela of the Royal Guard. As he adjusted the controls of his headset communicator for an emergency transmission from the Royal City of Eternos, the playful barbs exchanged between his traveling companions had nigh driven the old warrior stark, raving mad.

"Will'a you shut up, you dog-eating savage?!"

"Make'a me, little man! Ha!"

At the raider's controls, with the force and volume of a small, wandering hurricane, He-Man of the Vulnarians sang bawdy songs of the amorous ladies of faraway Cirsaly. Every lyric, an insulting mockery of the lusty sirens and exotic charms that were the island's legend. "I'd sell my soul'a for a wee gondola and back I'd go'a there, ..where I'd dance all night un-der moonlight to find a lovely pair ..."

In the seat behind him, clad in the green trousers of the Royal Guard, Sergeant Roberto Ruin-Zo of Cirsaly, slipped a silvery object from one of his pockets, hoping his comrades would not notice, ..when, quite miraculously, the awful singing from the front of the wind raider ceased.

"Holding out on us, brother?" asked He-Man, spying the young warrior from the corner of his eye.

Ruin-Zo gulped down a splash of ale. "So, we are brothers now that Iron Mountain ale is in the air -- eh, Vulnarian?"

"Big flask, sergeant," He-Man snorted with a half-grin over his broad shoulder. "Just thought you could use a little help with it, that we've finished Duncan's."

"Aye," grunted Man-At-Arms, extending his hand. "The man, who eats at my table every other night, trying to seduce my daughter, should be more generous. Pass me the flask, Roberto! And He-Man, set course for Eternos -- full speed ahead!"

Ruin-Zo muttered a curse and handed the old warrior his ale. "Pheggh! Help'a yourselves, ..but, why we turning back now?"

"I have a son, my friends!" cheered Man-At-Arms, throwing down the raider's headset communicator. "Only been with us for an hour and already up and about!"

"Congratulations, Titus!" laughed the big, golden-haired man, passing him Ruin-Zo's flask. "He's walking on his own, then?"

"Aye!" growled Man-At-Arms, swilling back his Iron Mountain Ale. "And he's strong, Adam -- pitched Stratos right out of a window this morning, I'm told! Oh, thank the gods he's alive! He's alive!"

The Vulnarian threw back his head and roared. "Ho! What I'd give to've seen that with mine own eyes!"

"What?!" Ruin-Zo croaked, awakened from daydreams of white thighs and fiery, red hair. "The little devil's just killed a man, and you laughing?"

To the handsome Cirsalian's surprise, He-Man laughed all the harder. "Stratos is an Avian, Ruin-Zo -- a bird man! Throws himself out of windows all the time! Now, what'll you name him, Duncan?"

"I'm going to call him ..Roboto," sighed the old warrior proudly, easing back in his chair. His eyes half-closed in deep contemplation of his mechanical son's name, ..and so much that he did not notice the perplexed look pass between the young men at his sides. "I say, brothers -- his name will be ..Roboto!"

There was deep, palpatble silence amidst the three warriors.

Duncan groaned, nervously. He turned to Lord Adam, at his side -- then, to his daughter's lover, Sergeant Ruin-Zo, ..examining both with great suspicion. "Well -- say something, you dim-skulled duo! What in Tytus's buttocks do you think?!"

With unusual caution, the big Vulnarian glanced at him. "Well,'s the most ...! It's a name fit for ..."

The aging warrior hammered his mace on the console in front of him, and the raider lurched sharply to the side. "Well, speak up, man!"

"Devils, Duncan! Don't rush me!" He-Man spat, pulling the raider out of a dive toward the golden Vine Coast below. Then, a vulgar smile curled the Vulnarian's lips. "Tell him, Ruin-Zo! What do you think of the name he's chosen?"

"Oh, no!" Ruin-Zo protested. "You are a friend of many years, Lord Adam, and have earned good Duncan's respect! You tell'a him!"

"Careful, my friend," the bronze warrior chuckled. "Duncan is the father of the woman you love and hope to wed. You don't want to him to reconsider your fitness for her hand! Tell him!"

"He-Man is right," Man-At-Arms grinned triumphantly, passing Ruin-Zo the ale flask. "If you would someday be welcome in my house as Teela's husband, there must be no secrets between us, Ruin-Zo. Now, what do you think of the name I've given my new son, ..Roboto?"

The winsome sergeant grumbled, tossing his long, black hair from his face and swilling back his ale. He grunted, wiping the sweat from his brow, as He-Man's and Man-At-Arms' eyes turned to him. "Eggh! I am a Cirsalian, old man, and no studied in the sugared flattery of your courtiers at Eternos. It is a stupid name! What the hell kind of name is Ro-bo-to? What thing is that to call a child?"

Man-At-Arms took a long drag from his smoking stick and glared over his armored shoulder. "You'll find out, if you ever cross him, Cirsalian. All eight hundred and thirty-nine, kordithium pounds of him! Remember that ..and to take care in your dealings with his sister, Teela!"

He-Man laughed. So hard that his ribs ached. "Aye, sergeant! Your attentions to her at court and in the streets of Eternos are too freely paid! Just remember that Roboto may not be so forgiving!"

"Too freely paid?!" snarled Ruin-Zo. "There is no woman in my family you've no touched, barbarian! No lady at court, whose charms you've no known better than her lord! In the Temple of the Sun, there's no priest's anus you have not been offered many, many time, ..but, my Teela, you can no have!"

He-Man glared over his shoulder.

"You are  jealous," the Cirsalian laughed, hammering his fist on the seat. "Admit it! You're jealous that Teela's attentions are paid'a to me and no longer to you!"

He-Man turned from the raider's controls. His face, red with anger.

The young sergeant suddenly found himself pulled high into the air over the Vulnarian's head ..and held there by hands that he'd seen turn lakes from their beds! He sucked in a frightened breath, as the wind raider raced over the Harmony Seas, and the sight of the churning water below set his stomach churning with them.

Man-At-Arms stood up from his seat. The old man's gray eyes wide with disbelief. "Lord Adam!"

"Ruin-Zo's right! I am jealous!" shouted He-Man over the howling winds around them. Glaring up into the guardsman's face with a murderous. "Teela is fierce and brave -- a woman the likes of which Eternia hasn't seen since the days of the Ancients! He will renounce his love for her, ..or I will throw him into the sea!"

"He-Man's gone mad, Ruin-Zo!" Duncan cried. "Do as he says! You must!"

The enraged Cirsalian growled and spat, swallowing his humiliation. "Phaaaggh! Captain Teela is'a my woman, Vulnarian ape! We'll do as we please the streets and anywhere else! Go to hell!"

Lifting Ruin-Zo even higher into the trade winds, He-Man turned to Duncan.

"If he were any less bold," Man-At-Arms laughed, lighting up another smoking stick, "-- I'd've pitched him into the sea myself! My daughter has chosen well. Put him down, Lord Adam."

In a heap, Ruin-Zo found himself dumped headfirst back into his seat, behind He-Man and Man-At-Arms. "You are mad, ..both of you! Should kill you just for making me drop'a my flask!"

"You're a fool, Ruin-Zo," laughed He-Man, slipping a flat, silvery object from his boot, "but, you have courage! You did not yield, even in the face of death! I like that! You may prove worthy of Teela, yet."

"I am honored, He-Man," Ruin-Zo answered apprehensively, taking back his flask, "but, I'm no finished with you so easily! Surely, there must be some maid amongst my sisters or cousins you have'a no known!"

"Your sainted mother, of course," He-Man answered, smiling over a broad, bronze shoulder. "I'd not sully that woman for all the silver in Elshimere, my friend. Nor've I known any of your wives!"

The young sergeant huffed confusedly, gulping down a splash of ale. "My mother was a man-hating witch, who try to poison our entire family! She's been in exile for years, ..and I no have any wi-ii -- you godless, dog-eating savage! I hope'a your stones drop off and crawl up your stinking, godless..."

A mischievous grin flashed between He-Man and Man-At-Arms. Then, a storm of laughter erupted from the two warriors, echoing like thunder into the jungles sweeping by below.

"I think a dip's in order!" thundered Titus Duncan, sighting a pond in the Evergreen Forests below. "Haven't bathed in days, ..and between you lads, the musk's damned intolerable! He-Man, ..take us down into that clearing near the pond!"

"I see it, old man," He-Man chuckled into the wind, easing the wind raider toward the tall, emerald grasses below. "Ruin-Zo's eldest sister has a birthmark on her buttocks shaped exactly like it! Makes me feel like singing!"

Show me the way, and I'll drift a day to that isle without a care!

Sell my soul'a for a wee gondola and back I'd go'a there!

Where I'd dance all night un-der moonlight to find a lovely pa-aairrr ..

-- of the golden thighs on the merry wives of Cirsaly Island fair!

Oh-hh, the golden thighs on the merry wives of Cirsaly Island fair!

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