Chapter 1

Etheria, the present

Adora looks out across the serene landscape of Skydancer Mountain. Heavy mist clears away as the former Horde Captain looks towards her sworn enemy Catra. Clad in Horde red, Catra kneels on the rocky ground, the heels of her boots digging into the softest spots of soil. Adora steps forward, trying to say something to Catra, but nothing can escape her lips.

With her jet black hair covering most of her face, Catra grins as she stares blankly at Adora. Eyes green with fire, the fearsome beauty pulls out a dagger. Catra quickly rakes the blade across her throat, tearing into flesh. Her body trembles slightly as she falls backwards.

Screams finally ring out from Adora as the honorable woman races to the dying villainess. "Catra! No!" As Adora races to the dying woman, she can feel her boots sinking into the hard rocky ground. Trying to reach out once more to Catra, Adora cries out as her body sinks into Skydancer Mountain.

Drifting through the rock and soil, Adora makes her eventual path to the heart of the mountain: the Crystal Castle. A castle made of gleaming rock and pure crystals, Adora floats through the walls. Finding herself in familiar territory, Adora cries out as the love of her life approaches her.

"Bow." She whispers as her blue eyes fall upon him. His golden chest plate offers a beating heart. Trying to trace her fingers over his chest, Adora looks into his eyes. "Bow, please, don't go."

Fading away from existence, Adora relives her painful loss. Bow is dead, as is Catra. She falls to the ground, struggling to keep her tears in place. Pulling her blond hair back, Adora pauses as a low gurgling sound raises in intensity from behind.

Whipping her head around in fear, Adora rests her gaze on another lost soul. Spira, code name Double Trouble, twists and turns her decayed body in front of the princess. Hissing followed with a loud shriek, a reanimated Double Trouble crawls towards Adora. Hungry for flesh, Double Trouble nearly grabs hold of Adora's ankle.

Kicking with all her might, Adora scrambles to escape her former friend turned monster. The lighting of the crystal walls that make up the castle begin to glow and fade. Adora is able to see images and then there is darkness. This ebb and flow of light begins to play tricks on her. Soon Adora finds herself in a growing nightmare, full of all her victims from her time as Horde Force Captain. Men, women, and children reach out to grab hold of her. Ghosts from her past, there is no real need for them to grab her, these images from Adora's past already have her...

Resting in unease, Princess Adora throws her body across her bed. Tangled in a long embroidered shirt, Adora fights to remove the sheets and blankets on her bed. She feels gripped in paralysis. Unable to catch her breath, the princess searches for a way out of her bed. Air soon fills her lungs. Her hair is matted in sweat. This is all just another night of restless sleep.

Trying her best to focus on her breathing, Adora throws her blankets off the bed. The princess slowly places her feet on the cool stone ground and grimaces in fear that she will sink through the floor. Assured that she is fully awake from her nightmares, Adora throws a robe over her night fashions and heads to the massive dining hall in the Eternos Palace. This is her new home. Leaving Etheria behind was a difficult choice for Adora. However, with the various threats of evil vanquished on both Eternia and Etheria, Adora knew her next logical step would be to reconnect with her family. She thinks about her new home as she heads towards the dining hall.

A few lights emit a faint glow in the dining hall. The smells of something sweet hangs in the air. Teela, a warrior goddess and friend to Adora sits hunched over a dining table. Smiling to herself, Adora approaches the feisty red head. "Couldn't sleep, or were you working late?"

Teela looks up before taking a bite of some sweet bread, "I couldn't sleep. You too?" Adora nods while leaving out the details of her painful nightmare. The two friends sit together as Teela offers Adora some of the bread. Pulling apart a few pieces of the warm bread, Adora relishes each bite and comforts in the company of her friend. Pausing before a bite of sweetbread, Teela looks towards Adora, "You look like you've seen a ghost."

Sighing, Adora hangs her head, "More like a crowd of ghosts. I always dread the night, because that is when they come: my past misdeeds, all for the taking. I sometimes wish it were me dead, instead of them." Reaching out to squeeze Adora's arm, Teela sits at the table with her friend silently. Doing her best to shrug the moment off, Adora wipes the tears in her eyes.

Thanking Teela, Adora smiles warmly before scooping up some more bread, "This is really good." Teela chuckles while cracking a joke about her secret ability to cook the unhealthiest food possible.

On the matter of their friendship, Adora speaks softly, "I know this must be weird. You were involved with my brother and now we have become friends, but I want you to know that I have valued becoming friends Teela." Listening with an open heart, Teela thinks of her relationship with Adam. A great deal of heartache has been placed upon that man, too much. "Adora, whatever has occurred between your brother and me; that will not stand in the way of our becoming friends. I have valued your time here. Honestly, it is nice that Adam is away on Etheria." With, she wants to add, that blond with the tight curls named Sweet Bee. However Teela refrains and instead falls into a nice conversation with Adora.

Talk eventually turns to the source of Adora's matted hair and restless night. "You must miss Bow a great deal. How do you handle that?" Shrugging at the question Adora sighs, "I don't handle it. I miss him every day. We had to lose so much for our freedom." Reaching out in an act of compassion, Teela holds onto Adora. Crying in her hands, Adora realizes she is showing too much vulnerability.

Reassuring words are expressed by Teela to remind Adora that the royal princess is not alone. She has friends on both Eternia and Etheria. Everyone is rooting for her. The entire kingdom has been rejoicing in Princess Adora's return to the Eternos Palace.

Conversations soon shift once Adora finds her eyes getting heavy. Sleep might actually be in her plans for the evening. "I think I shall retire now." Teela smiles, "Sweet bread has that effect."

Smiling, Adora follows up with a chuckle, "Yes. Thank you for sharing Teela. I think I am off to bed, maybe do some light reading before falling into slumber." Inquiring about the reading, Teela looks on as Adora explains, "A dear friend of mine named Spira wrote these make believe stories about the history of Etheria. I do not know where she got her information from, but so far they have been enjoyable. The books have no title, but they are bound in gold covers. I have started calling them Golden Books."

"How nice Adora. Is your friend planning on writing anymore?" Adora sadly shakes her head, "My friend is no longer alive. Spira was a glamorous double agent for the Great Rebellion. We were close and our friendship was nearly lost once I found out she was spying on the Horde. Had it not been for her spying and revealing certain truths about the Hoard, I would have never begun my own journey to finding out the truth."

Adora goes on to explain the distressing fate of her friend, "Spira was eventually held prisoner for her crimes against the Horde. Primed for an execution, the Great Rebellion and I, as She-Ra, crashed the public execution to save her." Teela sits in shock, "Were you too late?"

Recounting that day through memories as vivid as the present world around her, Adora bites her lower lip before sharing in Spira's fate, "We were all safe. Spira was saved from execution. A battle was of course unfolding in the public arena of the Fright Zone, but we were all safe. Or at least I thought we were. Hordak had his aim on me and fired, I had no clue, none at all. Spira jumped in to take the shot. I lost her before my eyes." Adora's eyes well up, "I let her down. She was such a dear friend that knew of my secret as She-Ra. And I knew of her secret as a writer. It was a talent that no one really knew about and I was honored to be involved in that regard. Now I have just been spending my days reading her Golden Books."

Teela nods and remarks, "Sounds as if Spira was a wonderful person." Adora agrees. The two women stand still together, unsure of what to say next. Sensing the need for space, Teela hugs her friend before stepping away into her own thoughts and motives for the night.

Alone in the dining hall, Adora takes a look around the grand room where countless meals and memories have been made. Her hands trace a wooden table as her mind travels into a realm of fantasy where her childhood got to be not unlike that of her brother's childhood. Where there was no Horde; a world free from oppression and misery. She imagines what a chance to have grown up with her family would have looked like. Knowing this to be but a dream, Adora instantly feels guilty, for without her life experiences she would more than likely have turned out differently. Not to mention her other family on Etheria. A life going on without her friends from the Great Rebellion is an existence she can't even toy with.

Walking towards her room in the middle of the night, Adora thinks about her friends on Etheria. She wonders how everyone is. It has been a few months time since she last saw any of them. Adora tells herself that is due to her trying to create a new life, though it is quite possible that stepping back onto Etheria is just too painful. Unsure of the ability to admit that to anyone is unclear. What is clear though is that Adora is going through something. Some great tribulation is unfolding in her life and she isn't sure what to make of it.

Finally in her room again, Adora slides underneath her covers. A slight night chill has entered the palace walls; or is that an internal chill? It does not matter for Adora is finally feeling the edges of sleep approach her. Reaching out for one of Spira's Golden Books on a slight night stand, Adora opens the front cover. Marveling at the work within, Adora delves into an all new story based on the events on Etheria from long ago. She reads the first few words slowly with eyes that grow heavy: Most stories shift over time, but this story of the past is as fresh as a crapple picked from the magical trees in the Whispering Woods. Before there was a Bright Moon and many other modern kingdoms on Etheria, there was only one place of rule: Argonia. A massive kingdom covering the land of what would one day become the Fright Zone, Argonia was a benevolent kingdom charged with protecting the towns and villages that were spread throughout the glorious world of Etheria. There was a king and queen, though the queen died giving birth to two daughters one with hair so golden it shined like the sun. Dubbed Etheria's Golden Girl, Solaria was gentle in her approach to the world yet full of strength for the greater good to triumph over all. The other daughter, Lunamera, had hair the color of blood and a condition that afflicted her skin. Unable to stay out in the sun for long, lest her skin boil and burn, Lunamera stayed inside pouring through information of the world around her.

The day eventually came for the daughters of the king to grow into their roles as adults. One was to marry while the other was to protect the kingdom by becoming one of the Guardians of the Gemstones. Five special gemstones each with their own unique magical properties were responsible for protecting Etheria from the threat of evil. Four Guardians already existed: Rubee, an archer with the ability to control the element of fire in some instances. Second there was Jade, a brave warrior with the ability to be as strong as the ground around her. Her skill with lifting and throwing rocks and boulders was uncanny. Third was Onyx. Her lightening swift skills with swords and other weapons made her a flurry of energy that could find her darting in and out of the most dangerous of situations or building the perfect blade in the shortest time. The fourth Guardian was Saphire, a warrior who could control and manipulate dazzling beams of light.

Neither Solaria nor Lunamera knew what their powers would be. That answer would not be revealed until one of them was chosen to become the fifth and final Guardian. Both had to enter a contest to see who would win and be chosen to become the final Guardian of the Gemstone. Solaria was apprehensive of her role in this contest. She did not want to go up against her sister. Lunamera was different though, she wanted more than anything to win and become a Guardian. She was willing to do anything, including putting her sister in harm's way if it meant the chance to win.

The contest was a set of games meant to gauge certain areas of ability such as intelligence, strength, skill, and heart. It was a brutal contest. Solaria wanted to work with her sister, to find a way to change the old rules of Argonia. She reasoned they could both become Guardians of the Gemstone. Lunamera was not interested; she wanted the title for herself.

After an arduous ordeal with the games, everything came down to a seemingly innocent event. A lone unicorn was lost in a meadow and in the clutches of a large lion. Trying her best to avoid the sun, Lunamera was uninterested in saving the unicorn. Feeling the blisters and boils begin to bubble up across her face, the sister with hair the color of blood left the unicorn in search of the final game in the contest. Solaria refused to participate in the contest until she could save the unicorn.

A creature of such majestic beauty, the unicorn was a dying species throughout Etheria. With a kind heart for both creatures embroiled in a fight for survival, Solaria managed to free the unicorn to safety while also soothing the lion's hunger until better sustenance could be found. This act of kindness and love for the world around her became the deciding factor in Solaria achieving the worthy spot as the fifth and final Guardian of the Gemstone.

Wanting her best to be fair, Solaria pleaded with her father, the king, to allow a sixth and most special spot to be created for Lunamera so that they would both help protect the world of Etheria. Disgusted by his daughter's refusal to help save the unicorn, the king remained firm in the rules. Lunamera would not become a Guardian of the Gemstone and instead would find marriage, thus one day becoming the ruler of Argonia. Solaria felt terrible, for she wanted her sister to be by her side. Solaria soon joined the other Guardians and ushered in a brilliant time of peace. Dubbed the Golden Girl by the people of Etheria, Solaria became a beacon of hope for everyone. With powers of super strength and a basic understanding of elemental magic as well as healing magic, Solaria had become the protector of Etheria. Everyone rejoiced in this hono; everyone but Lunamera.

Angered by the rules and her new lot in life, Lunamera became cold and bitter. Resenting her new life, she sought refuge for a brief time with a mysterious man without a home or past. Knowing he could never be her spouse, she kept him as a close friend before hiring him as a Count in the Argonia kingdom. Eventually a suitable prince was chosen. Soon Lunamera was betrothed to Prince Kroma, a brave and daring hero of battle. She was happy for a brief time; at least that is what she told herself. Her life would become even more different than planned when she found herself with child. Carrying the future heir to the kingdom, Lunamera found herself resenting everyone around her.

On the Night of the Shooting Stars, a great night where the Etherian skies light up with the bursts of shooting stars, Lunamera gave birth to not one, but three daughters. Three heirs to the kingdom; each with their own unique beauty and power were born and Etheria would never be the same. Born under the falling stars, the sisters three were called the Star Sisters. They were named Starla, Jewelstar, and Telescopa (later to be nicknamed Tallstar.)

Time moved on and the land became a dangerous place. Barbarians from hidden pockets of the world came out trying to kill the sisters. The Star Sisters grew up unable to leave the kingdom and see the world. Golden Girl and the Guardians of the Gemstones fought endless battles to ensure the safety of Argonia's heirs while Kroma and Lunamera watched over them closely. The king of Argonia grew old and shed silent tears as he knew his granddaughters would have a terrible life filled with fear. His passing rocked the kingdom to its core. Solaria and Lunamera had to step up to even greater roles in the kingdom. The kingdom needed protection from the threat of a growing number of dangerous barbarians and creatures.

No longer babies or children, the Star Sisters grew into young women. Unaware of the world outside the castle gates the Star Sisters viewed the beauty around them during the day and looked up to the stars at night full of hopes and dreams for a better world. This is where the story truly begins. Queen Lunamera rules Argonia as her sister Solaria seeks to banish evil from Etheria…