By T. F. Cooper (Based on a story by Gary Cohn)
The streets of the
Since the reign of King Miro, Eternos had the burden of shouldering the world's aspirations - a city dedicated to science, art and religion, distinguished by lush orchards and magnificent towers of pink granite, pale blue marble galleries and golden limestone walkways.
Its seated monarchs, King Randor and Queen Marlena, were held in far greater esteem by their Vulnarian friend, than they knew. To protect them from the machinations of his deadliest enemies, some of whom could probe the secrets of the mind, Adam could not reveal his true origins to them. Though they did not yet know that he was their son, the rulers of Eternia honored He-Man, as a peer, and insisted their generals and courtiers pay him the respect accorded governors and foreign dignitaries.
The courtiers, however reluctantly, complied with their king's wishes, but made their disdain for his wild heritage evident in subtle, cowardly ways, ..even while their highborn ladies did all but beg for his savage attentions. Only in the company of Duncan, Randor's Man-At-Arms, and his heroic daughter, Teela, captain of the Royal Guard, was He-Man reminded of the fellowship he had shared with his lost tribesmen.
As dusk yielded to dawn, a half-hour later, He-Man
joined his valiant friend,
"In the wee hours, guardsmen of the Palace's
Could the Lord of Time have been right?
That shrines everywhere, dedicated to Mighty Teela, Eternia's Holy Warrior, had been mysteriously silenced that morning was a queer coincidence.
It was no secret among King Randor's
courtiers and elite guardsmen that Captain Teela and
Sergeant Ruinzo, a fierce and handsome warrior from
faraway Cirsaly, were lovers. Their disappearance was
easier to explain than the vanishing embattlement, which had no business having
been there, in the first place. Out of respect for
"Point Dread, Castle Grayskull's flying outpost, is such a fort," asserted He-Man. "It goes where the Talon Fighter carries it. Can there be some connection between it and Captain Teela's disappearance?"
"More than you will ever know, Adam of Vines."
A familiar voice sounded from behind them, and a heavy hand - one, which once
liberated Eternia from intergalactic tyranny - came
to rest on the old soldier's heavily armored shoulder. King Randor,
a warrior, whose aging body was still hard from the punishment of war, had
"Many years ago, at Point Dread ..," Randor began, "Great Teela, the goddess for whom Captain Teela is named, was captured and subjected to a vile ..experiment, by the scientist-priests of Infinitias! Though Duncan and myself freed her from the demonic designs of her enemies, they resulted ..in an infant twin of the goddess."
Just as the Vulnar Masters had trained him to know what intentions lay beyond the mask of an enemy, they had also taught Adam to master that which his own face showed the world. The shock of this revelation, however, would not allow it. "Blade of My Brothers! Teela is the Goddess's ..sister?!"
"Through this violation of the goddess," Randor explained carefully, "he who guided the hand of these intellects, had intended to create for himself a 'bride' to whom Grayskull would yield its cosmic secrets."
Man-At-Arms was not a man of words. His face twisted with the disclosure of his daughter's secrets. "The power of Point Dread flows through Teela's veins, Adam! She is connected to that bloody place - and now, ..to Skeletor too, mayhaps!"
"Skeletor?!" He-Man exclaimed. The haunting sight of his massacred tribesmen, brought low by Skeletor's black works, still tormented him!
Adam had been told by the elders of his tribe that any years ago, four Infinitian scientists gathered in the tomb of Keldor 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, 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 Keldor's mummified body. Through these four scientist-priests, he ruled the Dark Hemisphere of Eternia. His sole ambition - universal domination, ..through the conquest of Castle Grayskull. Known by many names throughout the ages, he was incarnate destruction and the shameful, yet inescapable fear of it.
A nightmare, cloaked in legend. Skeletor.
The mere mention of the demon's name aroused the kind of furor in He-Man, which one gives the basest insults! "No, friend Duncan! I have known your daughter in war ..and love! In flesh and spirit! She is a warrior, whose courage shames all others, save Randor's and your own! No matter what hand he had in her making, noble Teela is your daughter, and she will never call the Lord of Snake Mountain her master!"
"Tomorrow will be Teela's
twentieth birthday, Adam,"
"Save her." A voice whispered from above, and when they looked upon its owner, whose head towered above the Plains, even Randor was humbled. The gargantuan, solid corodite of the Teela of the Plains, which Randor's father, King Miro, saved from burial by storms, in the Sands of Time, glowed molten hot, ..until much of the bluish gray metal rippled to warm pink. When the transformation was done Mighty Teela, heroic warrior goddess and friend of Eternia, stood before the world of mortals, and the three men were brought, as one, to their knees.
"Save her, Duncan," repeated Great Teela, faintly. "I cannot ..destroy ..our daughter. Skeletor is using her ..against us. Grayskull ..defenseless .."
The goddess's typically august voice, a sound which might reduce mountains to powder, faltered unsteadily, betraying her agony, and the blood of her champions burned to see her in this pitiful state.
"Endure, Great Teela!" He-Man reached over one of his shoulders and found the ancient, silvery weapon that his Vulnar tribesmen died protecting. "Our foes, ..be they flesh, bone or shadow, will know destruction, this day - so swears, Adam! Open Grayskull's gate ..and lead on!"
From one of the
So violently bright was this illumination that even He-Man was forced to look away!
When he uncovered his eyes, though it seemed impossible, the forty-foot high, stony arch of Castle Grayskull's entrance awaited them at the edge of the terrace, where, only seconds ago, the scent of the Royal Orchards played on the breeze.
The roar of He-Man's Battle Cat was heard above, where the green and gold-streaked beast could be seen perched high atop Grayskull's doorway. "Will King Randor be joining us, Lord Adam? He smells much better than what I'm used to carrying!"
"You should be so lucky, King of Kittens!"
He-Man laughed. "His Majesty needs you here, guarding the
When Battle Cat had grounded himself, He-Man turned to Randor, and found he could not hide the esteem, in which he secretly held his long-lost father. "Eternos watches from his chariot in the sky, awaiting the hour of battle. Someday, I, too, will know the honor to fight at your side, King Randor."
"You will, Adam of Vines," the king replied, with a mysterious and dreadful certainty, "-- and on that glorious day, I will be equally honored."
King Randor abruptly turned
Man-At-Arms around to face him and dug his old fingers as deeply into the
"My friend and king, ..your place is here. I'm your arm, now!"
Randor smiled assuredly and walked back toward the palace, with Battle Cat in tow. "Go, man - save your daughter, ..and may the Master of the Universe guard you both!"
He-Man, carrying the Sword of Power before him, stepped toward the stone arch, beyond which, lay only shadows and the stench of death, ..and Man-At-Arms followed, bronzium mace in hand.
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