The Present

My goodness children, where does the time go? Well, I suppose you wish to know just what She-Ra did next after she found the Locket of Clarity and rid the village of the fog, correct?

Very well then, let us look and see just how her path of redemption goes.

Tears of Crimson

In the days since the village had more or less been freed from the nightly attacks of the mer-people, She-Ra had been busy. Relying on her Horde training, she had turned the ancient walls into a defendable barrier and turned scared peasants into fighters.

The saying that the famed hero had returned had sparked a light in the villagers eyes, but al the hope in the world can't stop a Horde trooper.

"It's hopeless," she moaned as she gazed over the villages plans. Despite the mers no longer attacking, they simply did not have enough of anything. "What do I do?" she thought to herself as she looked over her sword.

"I want to help, but I just can't produce a diamond from a haystack" she cursed as she stood up and paced around the small room that served as her living quarters and general planning sessions.

Looking out of the small window, she spied the construction going on around the village. "I hope that will be enough"

While elsewhere

Hordak smiled as he traced his fingers lightly over the map spread out before him. "Shadow Weaver, this is the most recent map?" he asked as the mass of shadows behind him nodded. "Yes my Lord"

"Excellent." His voice rumbled in his throat as he fingers hovered a small red dot that seemed to glow near the southern portion. "Prepare as many troopers as we can spare. We will have my daughter back before the moon's end" he hissed as Shadow Weaver slinked away into the darkness.

Back at the village

"Endless meetings after endless meetings" She-Ra inwardly moaned as she paced in front of the door. With every single idea she had, the village elders spent more debating on it than she had it's creation.

"Let them talk, I've got more important things to do" she decided as she exited the town hall and began to make her way towards the wall.

"So you're the great warrior that my people fear" she heard a strange voice say behind her. Turning in an instant with her sword drawn, She-Ra found herself face to face with a unarmed young woman. The stranger's hair was a deep blue, but the thing that stood out the most was her style of dress.

She seemed to be wearing a skin-tight stocking, which gave off a strange glow in the pale light of day. Her top was a deep green, while the rest of it was blue. "I am Mermista" she said as she eyed the dilapidated buildings.

"I know, all you people are named that." She-Ra snapped as she kept her sword high. "Now, what business do you have here?"

Mermista smiled at her outburst as she causally strode around the dingy street. "Nothing so serious land walker. Since you have the locket, I was curious to see if you had used it."

"Used it? Use it how?"

This brought on a laughing fit from Mermista. "You have no idea on it's use, and yet you braved death to get it?" she wheezed between gales of laughter.

"Alright" She-Ra interrupted, "then just how do I go about using it then?"

"Not a clue, we've held the thing so long even we aren't sure of it's point." Mermista answered as she wiped tears from her eyes.

Walking towards the bay, Mermista turned and spoke before diving into the murky water. "Oh yes, before I forget, I think you should know something."

"And that is?"

"There's a fleet of Horde ships about three days away from here." She answered before diving into the water.

"Damn"

While out at sea

The large ship drifted slowly in the black water. Men were busy in the rigging as they climbed the bones that made up the vassal. An older man, his gut sticking far out over his worn and faded pants, removed himself from the crews and made his way below deck.

"Yes, Mr. Swen?" came the voice from the darkened interior as the man entered. "Captain, the lookouts have sighted a Horde fleet."

The Sea Hawk swaggered out of his bed and into the harsh light of day. "Now, when you say 'sighted a Horde fleet' Mr. Swen, you mean to say that the Horde has a fleet after us, or do you mean a fleet of Horde ships is in the area and in all likelihood doesn't even know where we are?"

"Err, the first one captain. The men are getting anxious though. Nothing good ever comes of the Horde passing through a port."

"Excellent thinking Mr. Swen. Set the sails at your connivance. It's been too long since our hold was loaded with treasure, has it not?"

The talk of treasure lightened Swen's mood considerably as he raced to tell the men. As the door closed, the Sea Hawk grabbed a nearby bottle of some miscellaneous liquid and proceeded to down the contents before collapsing back onto his bed.

Back on land

The news of the arriving fleet did damn little to motivate the villagers. Despite her orders to evacuate (as she knew full well that simple tools and antique weapons were no match for the polished and highly trained soldiers of the Horde.

"Forgive us She-Ra, but you have inspired us to fight." One of the elders said as she protested. Stunned, she sat silently as the villagers shouted encouragement and took to the streets.

The silence of the room greeted her quickly as the assembled elders and ragtag troops left her. "Amazing" a voice behind her spoke.

Drawing her sword, she turned and faced the stranger. "I am growing tired of these…wait, how are you?" she asked as the stranger entered the room from the back door.

"You can call me Bow." Said the youth as he stared up at her admiration in his eyes. "I'm an agent for the Rebellion. We heard rumors of your return, and we had to know if it was true or just a trick by Hodak.

"I'm real alright," she answered as she tried to recall just who the boy was before her, "and I'm glad you came. A Horde fleet has been spotted, and these people will be slaughtered. How many rebels do you have with you?"

Bow looked puzzled upon hearing her opinion. "I'm the only one; but, but you're She-Ra, can't you just stop them?"

Sighing, she sheathed her sword and sat down. "Look, this isn't some bedtime story. I am only one person, and unless a lot of help arrives here very shortly, a lot of people are going to die. Do you understand now?"

Bow slowly nodded. "I suppose. There is a small group of us near the hills. It will take a day or so to ride there, but we can offer some help."

"Glad to hear it." Standing up, she picked up her cloak from the wall and put it on. "Bow is it? You're a brave man" she said at length before leaving.

Meanwhile

"Sire, we are fast approaching the village. What are your orders?" a nameless Horde Trooper asked.

Hordak thoughtfully paused before answering. "Bring the fleet to a stop near the bay, and deploy our cannons. I want my daughter to be surprised." He said with sick grin.

The Trooper simply nodded and went off to carry out the order.

Back in the village

"This all hopeless!" She-Ra thought as she inspected the wall. "Do they really have so much faith in me that they can't see the danger they're in?"

Looking around, she started to think back on the words of the young rebel. "He's right, I am She-Ra, but does that really matter? These people seem to think that my being here is enough to stop anything, and yet I don't know how I am going to stop the Horde"

A lookout's cry snapped her out of her thoughts.

"They're here! The Horde is here!"

Shaking her mental cobwebs away, She-Ra once again drew sword and raced towards the outer wall. "I will not let this village fall!" she swore as she saw the Horde fleet bearing down on them.

Rushing to the walkway, she scanned the horizon as the ships began to form a line, blocking off any escape from the sea.

"Oh no" the realization hit her as she remembered the tactic her father used in this type of situation. "Everyone fall back!" she ordered as the first volley of cannon fire screamed through the air.

Seconds after the order was given all hell broke loose as the walls disintegrated under the cannon fire. She-Ra was thrown from the walkway and into the bay as the villagers; their moral already shattered, panicked and ran.

"Damn" she cursed as she fished herself out of the drink. The cannons continued to fire, blasting the wall into nothingness. Swimming as fast as she could, She-Ra ducked the flaming debris that showered from the sky. "We've got to regroup before it's too late" she thought before a large chunk of wood hurtled through the air and landed on her. Knocked under the water, she struggled to move as the ocean boiled around her. Bringing her sword up, she used it to pry some of the debris off as fast she could.

Her lungs burning, she looked up only to see the Horde ships blocking the harbor. Swimming as fast she could, she was about half way to the shore when a Trooper, his visor filled with arrows, tumbled into the water and landed on top of her.

Winded, and black spots waving before her eyes, She-Ra struggled to reach the surface as she heard the explosions and screams up above her, but the Trooper's body dragged her down.

The coppery tasting water running into her mouth, She-Ra struggled all the way down. "I'm sorry." She thought as she felt herself getting light-headed…

Some time later

She-Ra felt a tugging at her neck. "Am I dead?" she whispered as a annoyed voice answered back. "No, you're not."

Opening her eyes, She-Ra found herself propped up on a small outcropping of rocks in the ocean. The village was not in sight, nor any land for that matter. Mermista (one of them at least) was floating in the water and judging by the yanking earlier, the one who tried to remove her locket.

"What happened?" she asked as she tried to sit up. Mermista simply floated lazily on her back. "You fell in, and I thought you were dead. I suppose I was wrong."

The events that led to her being in her current predicament came rushing back to her. "How long have I been here?" she demanded.

"Hmm? Oh, not for too long I'd say." Mermista answered before she started to submerge. "Wait!" She-Ra cried, "The village, what about it? Do you see any captives?" she pleaded.

Mermista stopped just short of the water and looked up. "No. And I think I should give you fair warning; that deal you had with that tribe in the mountain doesn't hold to the rest of us. We want what is ours, but we can get it later. The sea is eternal you know." She added before diving under the waves. She-Ra could have sworn she saw a large blue tinged fishtail make a crude gesture to her before the blackness of the sea obscured her vision.

Removing the locket herself, She-Ra stared at the trinket closer. "She said I have to use it, but how?" She asked herself as she held it overhead. A stray beam of sunlight caught the reflective metal and the locket started to give off a bright red glow.

Placing it near her feet (yet far enough away to move if things got hairy) She-Ra looked on in amazement as the locket glowed even brighter before the light vanished. "Strange" she thought as she spied a ship on the horizon.

Squinting, she made out the familiar bone structure of the ship. "The Sea Hawk" she muttered. "He won't help She-Ra, but maybe" she wondered as she held her sword overhead. "Let the Power Return!" she shouted as she felt the magic fade. Her hair shortened back to it's familiar short cut, while her white uniform was magically replaced by the faded rags. Much to her chagrin, her height and muscles began to disappear as well.

The change back was always a disappointment. There was no exhilaration, no feelings of power; just the sight of the ground getting closer and her strength giving muscles shriveling back to her normal dimensions.

Picking up the locket (after making sure it was safe to touch) she waved it around, hoping that at someone on the ship was sober enough to see her.

"Captain, the lookouts are reporting a woman stranded on the rocks up ahead!" the Sea Hawk heard as Mr. Swen gave is report from outside. "Send some men out, and Mr. Swen, I don't want to hear any a woman being bad luck, understand?"

Adora sighed as she wrapped her sword up in her ratty cloak. "No point in scaring them off, but I wonder if that captain would recognize me if Bow didn't?" she wondered as she waved to the men in the row boats.

Her question was soon answered as she was led to the captain's quarters. The Sea Hawk was there, his grin as wide as ever, along with a large bottle placed on the table. "So, what brings a comely lass such as yourself to such a blighted bit of sea?" he asked as he opened the bottle and started to pour the contents into a glass.

"It's a long story." Adora answered as she took the offered glass. "My village was attacked by the Horde and I somehow floated out there" she gestured to the sea. "I see. Well, your tale is may be lacking a few things my dear" the Sea Hawk began, which sent shivers down her spine, "but it's a fine story all the same. Now, getting back to the matter at hand, you said it was your village that was attacked?"

Adora nodded as she drank the sweet smelling liquid. "We spied the Horde fleet ransacking a village not half a day's journey from here, but I rather you would call that place home." The Sea Hawk said as he stared her down, the humor gone from his voice. "Oh? And what makes you say that?" Adora replied slowly.

The Sea Hawk began to explain the history of the village (she had already heard it as She-Ra, but she felt no need to bring that up just yet) and how the mer-folk had managed to keep most boats away. Naturally, the presence of a healthy blond woman claiming to be resident there was enough to make the pirate suspicious.

"Now, then, perhaps you could be shining some light on just how you got out there, then, Captain Adora?" he asked. Adora blanched as he spoke. "The ports are buzzing about you; the wanted posters hardly do you justice."

"What do you want from me?"

"Well, now that is a question, isn't? Hordak seems rather perturbed at you leaving, which I don't blame him by the way, but what I require from you Captain is simple. You see several of my men have fallen to the wayside, incarcerated if you will, in various correctional institutes. I give you back to your dear old father, I get my crew back."

"I knew this was a mistake." Adora admonished herself. "Captain, since we are being so honest with one another, did you see that village?"

"That place? Aye, and the Horde burned it to the ground. Not even a single tooth to take."

The announcement hit Adora hard. "Damn it, I knew they weren't ready!" she loudly cursed as she smashed the glass.

The Sea Hawk looked puzzled at her outburst but said nothing. Continuing, he drew a cutlass and pointed it at her. "I'm sorry my dear guest, but you are now a captive. Don't do anything stupid; we need you alive but no one said anything about you being in one piece."

Adora nodded as several crewmen came and roughly grabbed her arms. "If they take me to my father, then perhaps there is still a chance" she thought as she stood up. "I'll go peacefully, but with one condition." She said as she started the Sea Hawk directly in eye.

"Really? And what condition would that be love?"

"All I ask is to keep my sword."

This sent the men muttering among themselves. "A sword? That's it?" the Sea Hawk muttered he looked over the weapon. "Hmm, Tempting love, tempting. But my father did not raise me to be a fool." Yanking the weapon from her, he tossed it into a corner. "If you're good I might just give it to you before we reach land."

Adora nodded mutely as she was led away.

Elsewhere

"Damn!" Hordak cursed as he looked at the map. "She's closed the gap again!" he raged as he stomped around his throne room. "Shadow Weaver, summon Leech and Modulak." He growled at the shadows.

By the time he had ascended his throne again, his general and weapon smith were both in the room and bowing low before him.

"Master, we have heard your summons, what would you have of us?" Leech wheezed through the fleshy pockets around his mouth.

"My daughter, by either accident or design, has managed to seal away the magic inside her. The attack on the village gave us nothing; and with less than a five moon rotation before the stars will be in alignment for my return, I am feeling…annoyed at this lack of progress." He said, sending shivers of terror down what passed for spinal cords in his men.

"I've sucked almost everything out of Catra sire, but she doesn't know where Adora is!" Leech offered in apology, his red-rimmed eyes looking nervously towards the floor.

"Yes, but I don't recall asking for that bit of information, now did I?" Hordak shot back. "Find her. I want her alive. Leave me" he ordered.

As the pair left, a strange clicking noise started from the back of the room. "Have I pleased you sire" Scorpina asked as she stepped out into the light.

"Yes you have my dear. I do owe you thanks; without your aid Catra may have succeed in her assault."

"Yes, thanks to me, but may I request a simple boon of you?"

"That being?"

"I want to be the one to bring Adora back before you sire. I am the only one who can crush her, unlike those bumbling fools!" she added, spiting venom in both senses at the departing forms of Leech and Modulak.

"Tread carefully woman; for at least they have not tried to outright betray me." Hordak cautioned as he ran his hand over Scorpina's face. "Bring my daughter home." He ordered. "As you order sire." Scorpina replied coolly as she clicked her claws together in a salute.

Back at sea

Adora sat in quiet contemplation in the makeshift prison cell. Opening her eyes, she spoke softly. "Came closer captain, I won't bite."

The Sea Hawk guffawed as he stepped into the small circle of light given off by the overhanging lamp. "I'd ask how, but I think I'd be better off not knowing." He answered as he held her sword up high in the dim light. "I want, that is to say, an understanding between us. This is not a personal matter mind, but simply a business transaction."

"I see, and what about you sacking the village? Was that just business for you as well?" Adora sat back.

"Yes, I am a pirate after all. It's what we do; besides, if it soothes your mind any we didn't take anything." He offered.

"No, it doesn't. Now is there a point to all this?"

"Yes there is. Here" he said as he slid the sword in-between the bars. "Just in case the Horde aren't planning on keeping their end of the agreement."

"They won't, but thanks anyway". Adora thanked her captor and went back to meditating.

The Sea Hawk lingered for a bit before turning back around and heading up back up to the deck.

The next day

"Horde ship off the port bow!" the lookout yelled, causing the men to rush to the side. "The captain is mad if he thinks the Horde's going to give us what we want." A few crewmen began to murmur among themselves.

The mutterings died down when the Sea Hawk and Adora came out on deck. "Alright men, now I know you might be thinking your captain has spent too much time out in the sun, but I do have a plan." He began as he started to whisper the details to the crew while Adora looked on in confusion, as she was too far away to hear.

While the Sea Hawk plotted, Scorpina was busy making plans of her own.

Looking through the spyglass, she smiled as she caught sight of the ship. "So, that's the pirate ship that wants to talk?" she absently spoke aloud to the uncomprehending Trooper. Tossing the glass away, she clicked her claws together. Several Troopers stopped their task and saluted her at the sound. "Send a boat out to discuss terms, but I want all guns targeted on that ship." She hissed.

Soon

Amid the choppy black waters the Sea Hawk stared out at the Horde ship. The helmeted Trooper hissed a recording in Scorpina's voice. "We will take your prisoner." "Naturally, but what precisely are we getting out of it?" he asked as he ran his hand over the trussed up blond figure next to him. "You get to scrap out one more day of worthless existence." The Trooper replied.

"A tempting deal, but I believe we can get a better offer for such a lovely prize." He remarked as he pushed the blond over into the trooper's boat and dived off into the water.

The Trooper barely had time to absorb the new data before the blonde's head fell back to revel a smooth and featureless face. Had the Trooper any free will of his own he might have question this before a flaming arrow fried from the Sea Hawk's ship soared through the air and struck the dummy.

Seeing the explosion through her spyglass, Scorpina gave a grim smile as she raised her arm and gave one word.

"Fire"

A few seconds before:

"Fire the arrows and hoist sail!" the Sea Hawk ordered, as he was pulled onboard. The men scrambled as Adora looked on. She was amazed at the sight of several men hoisting what looked like cannons up on deck. In lieu of shot, they loaded them with arrows.

"Fire!" came the cry as lit brands were used to light the fuses. The cannons fired on the Horde ship as their own projectiles were launched.

"Take cover!" Adora found herself screaming over the retort of the guns as the Horde cannons fire sliced through the topmast. The ship was nearly knocked over as the cannons fired again, this time punching a hole through the bow of the ship.

Looking up through the smoke, she heard Scorpina's voice being broadcast over the ship's speaker. "We know you have her. We can take her now, or we can fish from the your sunken wreck."

"Damn her" the Sea Hawk cursed as he wiped blood from his eye. "Men, prepare to repel borders" he ordered as he spied Adora leap from the side and into the brink. "Damn her" he muttered as the men scurried about.

"Perfect" Scorpina muttered as she spied the blond figure leap over the railing and into the ocean. Turning to several Troopers, she hissed commands. "Send a boat out and pick her up. The pirates we'll have to come back for. Lord Hordak wants us back as soon as possible."

Later

Adora stared balefully at the wall before her. After being taken on board, she was promptly stripped and put in irons in the brig, where she had been for almost a day (as near she could tell, as the room lacked any sort of windows).

The sound of the door hissing behind her brought her attention back to the present. The tell-tell clicking noise gave her guest away before she had even stepped inside. "Scorpina" she muttered. "Yes, Adora, still remember me after all those years don't you?" Scorpina hissed as she ran her claws over Adora's naked back. "Come to gloat?" Adora questioned as she readied herself for the worse. "Gloat? Over the woman who made me what I am today?" Scorpina asked as her tail flicked over Adora's bare thigh. "Whatever gave you that idea?"

Adora barely had time to flinch as Scorpina drive her stinger into her leg. The venom blazed through her blood as Scorpina laughed. "Painful? Don't faint yet, we have almost a whole day before we reach port. And I intend to make every second count." She spat a glob of venom onto Adora's back, which sizzled all the way down.

Adora ignored the pain as Scorpina dragged her stinger across her back. "Why are you flinching? After all, you made me what I am today" she said in a low tone as she flicked her forked tongue across Adora's ear. "I won't beg Scorpina." Adora shuddered as the venom made her leg feel as if it were on fire. "That never did much for you anyway."

"I suppose that was placing my sights high, but" she began before closing her claws and slamming them into Adora's lower back. "then again I never needed the begging, just the pain will do."

Adora grunted through the pain as Scorpina unleashed a flurry of punches. With stars dancing before her eyes (thanks due to a particularly hard upper cut), Adora felt the blood flowing out of her mouth as she heard Scorpina's heavy breathing. "Tired already? Hordak must be feeding you too much." Adora snickered despite the pain. "Shut up" Scorpina hissed between big gulping mouthfuls of air. "Look at me" she ordered as she stepped in front of Adora. "You made me like this!" she cursed as she held up her claws under Adora's eyes. "We were soldiers following orders, and it's hardly my fault you were captured by the rebels." Adora calmly said as she tried to ignore the venom in her veins.

"The rebels sliced me yes, but you were the one who left me in that desert. You went back for Catra, but you left me. And now" her tail swung closer to Adora's eyes, "you are going to suffer the same way I did."

A knocking at the door interrupted her. "Captain, we have a message for Lord Hordak."

Scorpina huffed in annoyance as she exited the room. "Daddy saves you once again, eh princess? Don't worry, I'll send in company so you don't get bored."

The last thing Adora heard before the slamming of the door was Scorpina's high-pitched laughter. The venom in her system made the rocking of the boat seem even worse than it was as large black spots started to swarm around her eyes. She hardly had the chance to swear before she passed out.

Some time later

Adora weakly opened her eyes. The poison had more or less passed through, laving her weak. The sound of Horde Troopers clanking down the hall snapped her attention.

The door opened again, and she could feel something heavy being pressed over her eyes. She heard her chains being unlocked, but she also felt several strong arms clamping down on her arms and legs, preventing her escape.

With a sinking feeling of remembrance, she felt herself being carried out of the cell and down the passageway. The path continued until she heard the sounds of the open air being very close to her. In an instant she was tossed through an open door. One quick yank of the hood reveled her location to be on the main deck, with a large fence constructed around it to prevent her escape.

"Just like old times, isn't it?" Scorpina laughed as the Horde Troopers marched around the fence with their guns at the ready. "I thought you grew out of this child's sport?" Adora shouted back as she stood proudly in the afternoon sun. "True, but what better send off could I give than this? Troopers, send out the other fighter!" she ordered as another figure, nude save for a bag over her head, was tossed into the makeshift arena.

"Catra" Adora whispered as her onetime friend stumbled blindly forward. The strange mask she had been forced to wear was planted firmly over her eyes. "I don't want you to feel that I'm being unfair, so I will give you two a weapon" Scorpina smiled as she picked up a familiar object.

"My sword!" Adora mentally screamed as she saw the blade fall like a beacon of light into the arena.

"Now fight" Scorpina ordered as she sat back and watched with a careful eye.

Catra rushed forward first, blindly groping for the sword as it hit the deck. Adora dropped into a fighter's crouch as Catra pulled the blade from the deck and slowly inched forward. "Catra, we don't have to do this" Adora pleaded as she noticed the scars and other wounds on Catra's body for the first time.

"Yes, we do" was the only reply as Catra swung at the sound of Adora's voice. Adora easily ducked the swing and rolled past her. "Damn you Scorpina" she cursed as she grabbed Catra from behind and kicked her legs out from under her. Catra went down, but not before she jabbed the sword back towards Adora's head.

Thankfully the blade had been tilted, so instead of having her skull spilt open, Adora was left with a ringing pain as the flat of the blade connected with her head. Using the distraction to wiggle free, Catra spun around and pointed the sword at her former commander.

"Things are getting complicated Adora. I'm sorry." She whispered as she gripped Adora's sword and rushed towards her.

"I'm sorry too." Adora thought as she easily sidestepped her friend and lashed out with her foot, striking Catra directly in the knee. She tumbled forward, the sword slipping out of her hands.

Adora raced to the fallen sword and held it high overhead. "Finish her!" Scorpina screamed at the Troopers. With the sounds of the rifles being pointed at her, Adora gave a small smile before she said the words.

"For the Honor of Greyskull!"

Seconds before Scorpina could witness the Troopers cutting Adora and Catra to ribbons, she was blinded by a brilliant flash of light. Big arcs of light and energy seemed to come from out of nowhere to surround the ship. "Open fire you fools!" she screamed above the raging din as the engery went from trapping her ship to channeling directly into Adora.

"What in all the hells?" she muttered as she stared at the sight before her. Adora seemed to be…growing?

The woman's muscles swelled as her height grew. Her short blond hair changed as well, becoming long flowing locks. The sword even altered, growing longer as a large gemstone seemed to grow in the center of the blade. The light grew even brighter as it swirled around Adora's transformed body before it vanished, leaving her clothed in a pristine white uniform of a vaguely familiar design.

"Scorpina!" the figure cried as she stared down the Horde captain, "this ends here." She said with no posturing.

"What are you fools waiting for, fire!" Scorpina ordered as she stepped out of the way and made her way to the arena floor.

She-Ra stood ready as the Troopers took aim. "Catra, we have to fight together now. We can settle our differences later, agreed?"

Catra nodded mutely before tearing her mask off. The sound of flesh ripping made She-Ra winced as she saw the massive amounts of scars and wound around Catra's face. "Just like old times" she said as She-Ra noticed the changes already beginning to take place. Catra blinked her weak eyes as purple fur began to spread out around her body, covering the signs of her torture. She fell to the deck with a angry roar as her bones once again began to shift and crack as they reshaped into the feline form. She-Ra ignored the sounds of bones cracking as she stared down the Horde Troopers before her, a dangerous glint in her eye.

The Troopers all fired on her position. Their orders were to fire, and they did; but their orders did not specify what do neither if the target blocked all their fire by twirling her sword around, nor if one of the targets changed into a large panther and landed in the midst of them.

She-Ra followed Catra over the barrier and jumped headlong into the fray. The Troopers who stood in her way were no match for her steel or Catra's claws. As the battle raged, She-Ra spied a familiar sight.

"Scorpina!" she shouted over the battle as she cleaved a Trooper's head from his shoulders. Wading past the blood and other fluids that now flowed freely on the deck, she hacked her way past the Troops until all that stood between her and the target of her vengeance.

"What are you?" Scorpina demanded as she faced the bloody soaked visage of vengeance before her. "I am She-Ra, and that's all you need to know" came the reply before She-Ra dashed forward. Scorpina feinted back but lashed out with her tail. She-Ra stopped short and cut in a wide arch that neatly severed the venous stinger. "You bitch!" Scorpina howled as she fell back, her stump lying bloody on the deck.

The two circled each other before Scorpina attacked, and with both claws she gripped She-Ra's sword. "I don't know how you did it Adora, and I don't care." She said through gritted teeth as the two were locked in stalemate. "But I will kill you!" she spat as she suddenly let go and sidestepped out of the way and dashed towards the bridge.

"No, you won't." She-Ra quietly answered back as she hurtled her sword through the air. It seemed almost like it was falling in slow motion as it flew, but reality sank back in when it entered Scorpina's back and embedded itself in the nearest wall.

Walking over the dying woman, She-Ra gripped the handle and leaned in close to her former comrade's ear. "I'm sorry about what you have gone through, and if I could change it I would, but we must break the cycle ourselves." She said softly as she pulled the sword out. Scorpina was already a corpse as she fell backwards.

Turning back to see Catra figuratively cutting through the troops like a heated knife through butter, she was confidant in her ally's ability to handle herself. "Just one more thing to do." She thought as she headed towards the bridge.

On the bridge, hidden away near several buttons of various functions, was a small blue lever. The Horde (and Hordak for that matter) did not favor the idea of any of their equipment falling into the hands of the enemy. So precautions were made, such as the self-destruct mechanism that She-Ra was presently activating. With a flick of the switch, the ship began to shudder as various safeguards were deactivated.

Exiting the bridge, She-Ra cleared the railing and jumped back into the battle that still raged. Cleaving her way through the mass of troops she reached Catra's side. "I've sent the auto-destruct command in motion, we have to leave!" she shouted as she deflected blast after blast from the enemy's guns.

With a brief nod of understanding, the pair fought their way through the troops. A Horde Trooper, besides the almost complete lack of any free will, will often continue to follow an order until a new order is given. She-Ra cursed this particular part of the troop condition as she scoped up Catra's mask and followed the ravenous panther below deck towards the emergency escape crafts.

The way was remarkable clear of Troopers, since most had been on deck during the fighting. She-Ra prayed open the hatch as the ship was rocked with another tremor. "Get in!" she pleaded as she placed the mask back on Catra.

As the process slowly reversed itself, She-Ra tossed the rapidly changing woman into the tube and jumped in behind her. Punching in a code she hoped still worked, she was rewarded with the sound of the tube being fired from the ship.

"We made it!" she proclaimed as she then turned her attention to Catra. "Catra…" she said softly as she noticed the amount of damage her onetime friend had taken in the fight. "Adora" Catra said through bloody lips, "take off my mask."

"If I do that, you'll change," she reminded the injured woman as she removed a medical kit from it's holding place and started work on the injuries. "No salve or bandages are going to help me Adora." Catra reminded her as she moved to remove the mask. She-Ra violently grabbed her hands and forced them down. "You are going to make it!" she cried as she pressed a compress over the blood soaked stomach to try and stop the crimson river. "I'm sorry Adora" Catra said as her protests grew weaker. "You sent me to Mysticor, but I betrayed everyone. I've done nothing but wickedness in my life, but you were the only good thing to happen to me." She whispered as she pulled the mask away from her face. "I'm sorry" she managed to say before her eyes lost the spark and went cold.

"I'm sorry too" She-Ra said as she did something she hadn't done in a long time. She cried

Placing the mask back on her face, She-Ra gently kissed Catra's still lips before holding her sword out before her. "Let the power return" she said as the feeling of the magic left. Her body shrank back to its normal dimensions as her hair receded. Her uniform also faded away, leaving her quite nude.

Putting her weapon aside, she simply held onto Catra's body as tears fell down her face.

A while later

"Captain, Horde pod all the starboard bow!" the lookout cried as the Sea Hawk emerged from the hold with the remains of drying paste on his clothes. "All hands on deck!" he ordered as the men rushed to side with bows drawn. "Mr. Swen, send out a raft. Mr. Mate, have all forward cannons trained on that pod. If anything looks funny, I want the sky blackened, understand?"

As the men lowered the boat, various crewmembers trained their arrows on the floating metal pod. The boat hit the choppy water with a slash and the men aboard rowed through the white-capped waves with no hesitation.

The men hooked the pod with no problem as the hatch opened up. A slim feminine exited the craft with a white strip of cloth tied around it. "Easy lads" Mr. Swen cautioned as he kept his crossbow trained. "It might be a trap."

The surprise then of Adora sticking her head out was met with disbelieving stares by the men. "I don't believe it!" Swen exclaimed as he helped the disheveled woman out and into the boat. "How did you escape?"

"It's a long story." She muttered as the men began to row back to the ship, letting the pod sink slowly beneath the waves.

Later

The Sea Hawk stared from across the table at Adora. "So, you say the Horde ship was destroyed?" he slowly repeated what Adora had said. "Yes."

"Well, you are truly a woman of some talents then." He said with a broad smile. "What are you going to do with me captain?" Adora asked. "Now, that is a question isn't it? It's not every day a woman who can destroy a Horde ship just falls in your lap. Tell me Adora, how would you like to be part of my crew?"

Adora blinked at the question. "You're joking; you wanted to turn me over to Horde!"

"Well, that was then. Besides, I doubt the Horde would know what to do with you." He said as he poured a glass and downed the contents. "You, or the Horde? An interesting choice captain, but I'm not sure if I could accept."

"I'm not asking for an answer right away love; take your time."

"There is a rebellion going on captain, and I see myself being a part of it." Adora answered firmly. "Rebellions come and go, but being a pirate is freedom." The Sea Hawk answered back. "But I respect your wishes. If fighting Hordak is where you want to search for your destiny, then so be it. But we will always have a place for you here."

Holding his glass high (after refilling it) he gave a small grin as Adora lifted her glass in return. "To friendship"

"To friendship"

The end