The Tale Of Teela: Endure, Mighty Teela!

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

The streets of the Royal Cityís hardworking northeastern quarter were littered with the usual array of screaming merchants, horses, dogs, mischievous youths, wary centurions and curious aristocrats, as He-Man rode into Eternos. The most exotic foods, spices and spirits were sold here, drawing the wealthiest of King Randorís subjects away from the cityís pristine northwestern side, between arrangements for this party or that. Pipers played. Dancers danced, and ornately attired noblewomen, with servants in tow, perused the bazaars with feigned indifference, until a flash of bronze thigh, bare shoulders and musk turned their heads toward the half-naked Vulnarian galloping toward the Royal Palace upon his armored beast.

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, Duncan, the last of the warlike Berserker Nation, in the luxurious courtyards surrounding the Royal Palace of Eternia. The Man-At-Arms, whose robust physique was magnificent, even under his heavy, bronzium armor, was a fierce and capable warrior, in his own right; the same could be said of his daughter, Captain Teela. Duncan was also a master scientist, whose knowledge of weapons technology was unsurpassed in the Eternian kingdom. Though the old man had not asked for He-Man's help, the Vine Jungle warrior was proud to give it.

"In the wee hours, guardsmen of the Palace's Northeast Tower reported finding a small, uncharted embattlement on their scanners, somewhere along the Harmonic Coast. Teela set out to investigate it on her Battle Ram, ..accompanied by Sergeant Ruinzo. They have not been seen since, and the small fort is gone!"

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 Duncan, against whose back he'd stood in pitched battle, Adam of Vines remained silent on the subject.

"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 stood with Duncan in the heart of combat! Even now, their mutual trust was such that Randor freely spoke in his grief-stricken friend's behalf.

"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," Duncan continued. "Every twenty years, Point Dread rejoins Grayskull ..to sip of its holy energies and renew its strength. As its power drew Skeletor from the Shadowlands, then, so will it today! He'll seek out the child he created there, ..and that is when I'll destroy him!"

"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.

Duncan, with great care ..and dread, was first to speak. "Goddess, friend of mankind, ..where is my daughter, Teela? Am I too late to ..?"

"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 Royal Palace's many terraces, He-Man, King Randor and Duncan watched as the skies over the Teela of the Plains grew unnaturally dark and clouded over far too quickly to be the work of the elements! The apparition, which stood in the statue's place, dissipated like smoke, leaving the cold gray metal of the monument beneath, and lightning flashed above its head!

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 Royal City, in my place!"

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 bronze of Duncan's armor, as the metal would allow. Their right arms rushed out into the space between them and clasped together in a hearty exhibition of their friendship. "Duncan, it has been too long since this arm was raised in her country's service!"

"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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