Now then my lords and ladies, where were we? Ah yes, Adora had been rescued by the Sea Hawk and,
What was that?
Hmm, you're right, the destruction of a Horde ship does seem to be the type of thing that would attract Hordak's attention. Time was running out for him as well, since he needed Adora if his evil plan was to succeed…
Deep below the scorched and barren lands, where the light could not reach and the sounds of the damned could never escape, an unholy trio was setting in motion a most sinister plan. Hordak presided over the room in silence as two beings cowered before him. To his right stood a clocked figure. The figure's skin was gray and the loose fitting tunic made the figure's gender a true mystery.
The second person in the room was easier to identify. She was a woman, with golden locks, tanned skin that spoke of a lifetime spent outside, and a body that even the loose robes could not hope to hide. Her face, however, bore a look of pure evil upon its handsome features.
Hordak stared at the gray skinned creature as the strange being wheeled a covered cart into the room. "False Face, I trust that by my presence here you have completed the task I assigned you?"
False Face nodded mutely. Reaching out to a nearby collection of jars, the creature reached into the nearest one and removed a set of teeth from it. Sticking the white teeth into the gray folds below its baleful eyes, he turned back towards his master and spoke. "Aye my lord. She stands before you!" Gesturing towards the blond and the cart, False Face removed the tarp with a theatrical relish.
On the cart lay the blond, or at least an extremely good copy. Her hair, skin, and face were all the exact same as the figure standing before Hordak. The only difference between the two was the multitude of wounds that peppered bound female's chest. Hordak leaned in closer and examined both the living blond and her deceased doppelganger. "Impressive work. The other rebels think she was simply captured?"
"Aye my lord, she was only slain moments ago."
"Excellent. Continue the next phase."
False Face nodded in agreement and gestured towards the woman. She silently stripped off her robe and sat down on an adjourning table next to the body. "My lord, pray tell me, shall I accompany her?"
"Yes, it would arouse too much suspicion if she simply walked away. I want you and full compliant of troopers to put her in the last know location. Arrange something, but nothing too suspicious. I want my daughter to clasp this viper to her breast without hesitation."
An eerie light shone from the ceiling as the table and cart were pushed together. The light grew brighter, completely enveloping the two figures as a strange wet sucking sound emerged from under the floor. The sound of the female's screams soon drowned out the noises as Hordack and False Face silently watched.
Adora popped her back as she rose from her bed. The Sea Hawk had been kind enough to allow her to stay in her own private quarters, but his kindness sadly had a limit. "I'll be taking ye has far as I dare, but I won't drop anchor." She recalled his words (and his breath) as they sailed.
The rest of the crew didn't exactly welcome her presence, but she was never threatened or mistreated. She worked alongside them, but as Adora and not as She-Ra. The sun had graced her once pale figure with a deep tan, and the work had given her figure muscle enough to rival her alter ego. Her days had blurred together onboard the ship, and for the first in a long time she actually felt some comfort. Here she was simply one of the crew, and she was able to disappear into her tasks.
She knew all that would change once they sighted land. But she was happy for the moment. She had taken to acting as the ship's eye, spending long hours in nest watching the horizon. Her training had been for the army, but she found herself rather adept at watching the skyline for change or for approaching ships.
It was during one of these stints she spied the tell-tell signs of a Horde ship. Floating bits of debris peppered the ocean's dark surface as she gave cry to the men below. Boats were readied and arrows cocked, but judging from the flames hungrily devouring the rapidly sinking ship there was little hope of finding anything worth taking.
"Man overboard!" Adora suddenly shouted as she spied a tiny figure sprawled out on a large chunk of debris. The men grumbled, but a stern look from the Sea Hawk convinced them to drop the boats over the side.
Adora watched the deck as the small boats darted out into the open waters and overtook the makeshift raft. She could see Mr. Swan dragging a half-dead figure off the chunk of wreckage and ordering the men to row. She felt strange as the boats approached, like she were watching a fully completed regiment of Horde troopers matching towards her rather than the men brining back a captive. "Perhaps I should watch over this one." She thought as the boat bearing the injured captive arrived first.
Her opinion changed slightly as they hauled the stranger up onto the deck. Despite the scars and the highly emaciated frame, the stranger was a clearly a woman. The pitiful figure moaned as she was brought on board and quickly sent below decks. Taking careful notice the crew's stares she followed the Sea Hawk below after their guest.
Below the decks, Adora sat in silence as Mr. Swan and the Sea Hawk argued. The first mate acted as the ship's surgeon. The elder man busied himself with attending to the woman's various wounds as the Sea Hawk fumed. "I don't like it. A Horde ship has been destroyed and we should up to our necks with Horde Troopers, but the seas are calm."
"Perhaps they didn't have time to send out a distress call captain." Mr. Swan offered as he poured a healing salve over her sun-scorched back. "Or maybe they were under orders not to. Hordak's hold on this part of the sea has been slipping as of late."
"Aye" the Sea Hawk agreed as he shot a glance in Adora's direction. "But let's leave all the same. When she's awake" he jerked a thumb at the still unconscious woman, "find out what happened. We'll toss her overboard later if we have to."
Walking back to the deck, he passed by Adora. "Do you disapprove?" His tone suggested sarcasm, but his eyes had nothing but the truth. Adora fell in step behind him.
"Actually no. I had a rather odd feeling when I saw that girl being brought on board. She could be a rebel, and valuable, but this whole thing could easily be a Horde trick. I say we watch her."
The Sea Hawk's face broke into a large smile. "You are truly a worthy addition to my crew. Will you not stay on with us?"
Adora gave a sad smile as they walked outside together. She whispered softly as not to attract attention from the crew. "You know I can not do that. The longer I'm here, the more danger I'm putting you and your crew in." She knew her presence was not exactly a welcome one, but she had slowly won many of the crew over.
"Aye, you are." The Sea Hawk agreed as he took the ship's wheel. "Ayast you dogs, cut that sail and secure the boats!" he shouted to the crew. He ignored the crew's grumbling, but it was something that was growing harder and harder to ignore…
False Face was no stranger to discomfort. Once the Horde ship had sunk, he had dived into the choppy waters and clung to the bottom of the closet pirate boat. It had been fairly easy to stretch his grayish skin out and hold onto the bottom without attracting attention. Had he been capable of breathing, he might have been worried.
"Now, I wait." He silently thought as he slipped free of the boat. Letting the current carry him, he drifted under the larger ship and affixed himself to the bottom.
Adora kept a vigil over the possible rebel as the ship sailed away from the wreckage. "Perhaps you're an innocent, and perhaps not, but I will not let anyone else suffer because of my presence." Adora kept her thoughts to herself, but she also kept her sword ready. Seeing that the injured figure was still sleeping, her thoughts drifted into other directions. "With all this power I yield, and yet I am utterly helpless. If She-Ra were to walk this blighted land again, I might as well be sending up a signal fire to the Horde. But if I were to never call upon the power of Greyskull, then Hordak's reign would be utterly unopposed. Things were much easier when I was a simple Force Captain."
"Where am I?" the question shook Adora from her thoughts as the young woman sat up.
"You're with friends, if you behave, and enemies if you don't." Adora warned as she stood up. Calling for the Sea Hawk, she silently waited by the woman's bed as the pirate captain and some of his crew entered the cabin.
"Alright miss, we have taken the time to pull you from the ocean's clutches, now perhaps would be an excellent time to convince us not to throw you back." The Sea Hawk said politely.
The woman covered herself as best she could and looked at the captain. "My name is Orrim. I was taken prisoner by the Horde when a rebellion broke out among the prisoners."
"Really? And what circumstances lead you to be onboard that ship in the first place? Not that we judge mind you. Just a matter of curiosity, that's all."
"I was simply a farmer. I struck a Horde Trooper was sentenced to death for my crime."
"And you thought a watery grave would be preferable to a shallow one? A woman after my own heart." The Sea Hawk grinned as Adora gestured to him. "Excuse me. I'm sure the rest of my crew will keep you more than adequately entertained."
Following her out into the hall, the pair began to speak as Orrim continued her tale to the crew. "Well, do you think she was lying?"
Adora bit her lip. "I honestly don't know. She may have been a farmer at one point, but judging by some of those scars I doubt she has worked the land for a while."
"So, a rebel then or maybe a member of the Horde?"
"It's possible she's working for the rebels. If she were a Horde she would have told us and probably announced our arrest."
The Sea Hawk grimly laughed. "Well she's hardly in a position to be doing much of anything at the moment. What do you think? Should we toss her overboard now, or wait until she actually tries something?"
"I say we wait. When you get close enough to land to let me go, I'll take her with me. Agreed?"
"Aye," the Sea Hawk thought for a second before clasping her outstretched hand. "Though I'll be loath to see ye leave."
"Keep up the flattery and I might change my mind." Adora winked as she left the pirate standing in the hallway.
Orrim splashed her face with the warm water given to her by the crew. Her body ached, but she ignored the pain. The last thing she recalled was being leading her men into an ambush deep within the Cursed Forrest. How then did she end up on a boat in the South Seas? Horde ships were fast, but she knew of no craft that fast.
Was this some kind of trick? Hordak's reputation for torture was well founded. Perhaps this was elaborate plan to coax information out of her. Rubbing her head in an effort to stop the dull ache that started behind her eyes, Orrim decided a weapon was needed. As she searched the room, her quest was halted when the door opened and the captain of the vessel entered.
"Up and about I see." He smiled as he stared at her sheet-covered body. "Good, that means we can get down to the business of what to do with you."
Orrim tightened the flimsy cloth around her body. Backing up, her fingers touched the cool metal bowl that served as a washbasin. Her hopes of using it as a weapon dashed when she found the thing had been affixed to the stand (which was bolted to the wall). "Well" she began, trying to stale for time, "what are you going to do with me, if I may ask?"
"Provided ye cause no trouble for either me or me ship, we let you go at the nearest port. The moment you start anything, love, we let you go wherever we are at the time. Do we have an understanding?"
"Good. I'll send someone down to see about getting you some proper clothes. Perhaps."
As the Sea Hawk left the room, Orrim felt the pressure behind her eyes increase. Her eyes felt heavy as she collapsed onto the flat table. "Did they drug me?" she wondered as the taste of copper flooded her mouth. The room split before her eyes as she felt herself falling.
The figure that rose from the table certainly looked like Orrim, but there was something in her eyes, something dark and twisted. "Master, I am ready." She whispered to herself.
"Not now you fool!" Her master's voice blared in her mind. "Wait until you have made contact with the rebel forces! If you're discovered now, you risk undoing all we have accomplished so far!"
"You are correct Master, as always. I shall hide myself until the time is right. But before I revel myself, how many troops can I count on for support?"
"At the moment there is only myself, but I can assure you, when Lord Hordak's plan succeeds, the two of us will be all that is needed to bring down the Rebellion and restore out Master to his rightful place in the cosmos!" False Face's scratchy voice chortled in her mind.
"Long live the Horde" the figure that was Orrim and yet was not swore silently as she resumed her position on the table.
Nearly a week had gone by since they had rescued their latest passenger. Adora had given her word that she would be responsible for the woman, and she had honored her agreement. When land had been sighted, Orrim gave a sigh of relief, but Adora could allow herself to feel those same feelings.
She had feeling about the woman. There was clearly something she was hiding, but as of yet Adora had made no motions of trying to discover the woman's secret. Her suspicions about Orrim's connection to the rebels were strengthened when she saw the woman handle herself against the crew.
A particularly drunk crewman had made an attempt to become rather closer to Orrim than the woman in question would have liked. With one twist of the man's arm, she brought the much taller sailor to his knees. "No simple farm girl knows moves like that," Adora thought as she had watched the scene from afar. "And if she were Horde, she would have taken advantage of the situation." When Orrim let the man go, she was convinced of the woman's loyalties. "She's a rebel, no doubt about it." Adora had decided to keep her thoughts to herself, mainly as the rebellion was not a popular subject of conversation among the crew.
When land was sighted at last, Adora had already made her goodbyes with the crew and boarded the small boat with Orrim. As they paddled away from the ship and towards the distant trees, she wondered about what her course of action was to be once they made landfall.
When she was a Force Captain, she had to live by her wits and think at least three steps ahead of the enemy. She could also count on the support of her troops and the finest equipment the Horde could create. She had none of the last two. Orrim had shown no signs that she recognized her, but if they encountered any members of the Rebellion that was a situation that would likely change.
"You seem like a capable woman" Orrim broke the silence between them, as the shore grew closer, "why haven't you taken arms against the monster that is blighting our lands?"
Adora gave an inward sigh of relief. "Dying doesn't seem like it would solve anything."
"But you chose to accompany me to the shore, and judging from that dot on the horizon your friends aren't waiting on you."
"Aye, but my reason for leaving is different. I grew tired of the sea and I would like to feel the solid dirt beneath my boots. I have no use for your rebels."
Orrim's tone grew cold. "I never said anything about the Rebellion."
"And I am sure your comrades are thankful for it. I'll see you to shore, but we go our separate ways once we touch the beach."
"Alright, perhaps I was careless during my stay, but shouldn't you reconsider? We need all the help we can get and Hordak's hold grows stronger with each passing day."
"His hold does not grow stronger you fool." Adora shot back, "He's already won. He only allows your pathetic group to meet because it amuses him. Nothing more and nothing less."
"You're wrong! We are building an army that can take back this world, and with the Queen leading us, Hordak's days are numbered."
Adora fell silent. Orrim took that as a sign that she had won, but Adora was focused on what she had said before. The queen? She knew of Glimmer's royal blood, but when last they meet she had the impression that her mother was dead and she was not certainly calling herself a queen.
She didn't dare ask any questions least she revel her past, but the possibility presented by Orrim's words both troubled and excited her. If Glimmer's mother was still alive, then perhaps there was a chance that she could join the rebels as She-Ra. Her mind flashed back to her early campaigns.
She was barely tall enough to sit properly in the horse's saddle, but this was her moment. She had been trained since the moment that she could walk in all the ways of war. She also had another reason for wanting to see the battle first hand: she wanted to please her father.
Queen Angella and King Micah were the last holdouts. Their kingdom had resisted the Horde for nearly four years, but the time had come to finally crush them. Adora's orders, carried out by the ever-loyal Horde Troopers, were to first poison the land against the people. Full frontal assault had proven to be time consuming thanks to the high cliffs and secret trails and caves. Making use of the people's dependence on the underground water that flowed throughout the mountain range, the order had been simple. They were to poison it.
Slime from the deepest pits of Hordak's fortress had been cultivated and injected into the soil. From there the mass of bacteria would infest and infect everything it touched, be it mineral or man. The stench of the dead made her eyes burn, but she rode into the battle with her sword held high; thanks in part to Modulok's designs, new vehicles capable of scaling the high cliffs were brought to bear upon the people while aerial bombardments destroyed the rest of the land's defenses.
She knew the whole thing was a test from the very beginning, but she was smart enough by that point to keep her mouth closed. Fire raged all around as she slashed her way through the dying. She ignored the screams as she and her troops made their way towards the crystal palace of the royal family…
She blinked the memory away as she stopped in her tracks. Orrim was looking at her too intently for her own good, and she decided that a change of pace would do her some good. "Well, I wish you luck in your rebellion." She quickly said as she turned and began to walk away from the rebel.
"Wait, perhaps if I took you to some of my friends we could convince you? At the very least I owe you a hot meal for saving my life."
Adora silently swore as she stopped. If she refused or ran, that might prompt Orrim to follow her. If she agreed, then the odds of her being recognized would be increased. Of course, the offer of food did make the offer more tempting…
Turning back to face the anxious rebel, her fingers landed on the hilt of her sword. "If worse comes to worse, I can also fight my way out." She thought. To Orrim she answered the woman's question. "Very well, I'll walk with you a ways."
The trip took them far into the interior of the land. The sparse rocks and dirt gave way to a dense forest. The landscape didn't bring back any memories, so it was doubtful that Adora can ridden there. That didn't that she would be unknown to the locals. Her hand never strayed from her sword as she followed Orrim.
The younger woman turned and smiled at her. "We're almost there! Once we get past these trees we'll find a safe house."
"Alright, but I don't plan to stay too long."
The rest of the trip was utterly silent as true to Orrim's words, they came upon a small house hidden within the shadows of the forest. Orrim gave a low whistle and was in turn greeted with a high pitched one as several armed men suddenly appeared all around them. The men's bows were all aimed at Adora, which did little to soothe her nerves.
"Wait, she's a friend! She helped save me from the sea and the Horde." Orrim ordered. The men stepped back, but their arrows were still aimed at Adora's heart. The closest one lowered his arm and spoke to her quietly. Adora was unable to make out what was being said, but the worried looks Orrim shot her did not reassure her.
She did not hear the words, but the gestures were simple enough to understand. She flinched when her sword was taken from its scabbard, but she offered no resistance as she led inside. Once past the old wooden door, she felt tightness in her chest that she had not felt for quite some time. Before her, seated at a small table with a meager meal untouched was the one person she would have offered prayers to the uncaring gods above and below never to see again.
"Hello Force Captain Adora." Glimmer said through gritted teeth. "It has been far too long."
Adora was roughly shoved into the cottage while Glimmer stared at her. "So, you found me out. I hope I haven't kept you waiting."
"Actually this was truly a divine gift. I had been inspecting the rebel station in the area when out lookout on the coast spotted our missing comrade in arms walking with "a blond beauty". I assumed they were talking about you."
"Insults do not become you princess."
"No, you are correct." Glimmer quickly stood up. Adora brought her arms up to protect her face just as the rebel princess fired a blast from her fingers. Adora tensed up as the blast knocked her through the door and into the dirt.
Glimmer marched outside and stared down at her. "I've been training. What about you?"
Before Adora could answer she was blasted again. Her tunic was in tatters and her flesh smoking as Glimmer placed her heel upon her chest. "I was going to torture you, but I think I'll use an example from you and simply kill you here before my men." She spat as her hands started to crackle with energy.
Orrim stood over a water trough and splashed water in her face. Her head had started to hurt the moment she neared the cottage, but she didn't think too much of it. The aching increased as her vision began to swim. "What's going on?" she muttered as one of the archers grabbed her arm. The ground pulsed under her feet as the man dragged her around the building.
The woman that slipped free of the man's fingers looked like Orrim, but she was not. Glaring at the archer, she hissed as the sound of battle reached them. "Who are you to lay your fingers on me?"
The archer smiled. For a reply his features started to droop and with his hands he reshaped his face until it resembled a figure she was more familiar with. "Master!" she whispered as False Face put a finger to his drawn back lips.
"Quiet. Your orders have changed. Adora must not be killed, least by that rebel wench. Also, talk of the men implies that Queen Angella survived. Hordak wants both of them brought before him. Remember, I will be watching." He reshaped his face back to its previous state before pushing the double agent away.
Orrim nodded and dashed out just in enough to see Glimmer poised over the fallen Adora and preparing to deliver the deathblow. "Wait!" She shouted her eyes glazed over. She threw herself before the enraged leader and begged. "Please, please commander, do not allow yourself to fall to the Horde's standard. Take her before the Queen and let her judge."
Light still danced on Glimmer's clenched fist as she stared at Orrim. "Stay out of this!" She ordered.
"But will the men think? If you simply slay her on her back, then you would become no better than her."
"Quiet!" Glimmer shouted as hot tears rolled down her cheeks. "You have no idea the horror she has committed, or the hell she has wrought. Her life is a mockery of all things just, a mockery that must be stopped at all cost!"
Adora, coughing through bloodied lips, looked at her would be slayer. "You have a point. I have committed terrible evils, both against you and others, but I have changed. Should I not have the chance to right the wrongs I have committed?"
Glimmer spat on Adora's face. "No." She raised her fists up towards the sky and prepared to bring them down when Orrim put herself between the rebel leader and her target.
"I won't let you kill her!"
"Move you filthy traitor!" Glimmer shouted as the men looked on in confusion. Seeing that Orrim made no movement, Glimmer powered down and stepped aside. "Very well. I shall take her before the queen and let her pass judgment." Turning to the rebels, she issued orders as she walked back inside the house. "Bind her and ready my horse. I shall take her to my mother personally. The rest of you move out."
Just before she disappeared into the interior of the cottage, she cast one last look at Orrim. "I will deal with you later, but for now I want you to accompany the rest of the men back to base camp and wait for me there. I won't be long."
Orrim blinked as she suddenly found herself standing before her leader and her friend being tied up. "What's going on?"
Glimmer shook her head in annoyance. "Just follow my orders." She almost shouted as she slammed the door behind her, leaving a very confused rebel standing outside.
"What did I do?"
It wasn't the fact that she had been beaten. It was the fact that she had been denied both food and drink for longer than she cared to remember, nor was it the fact that she had been forced to surrender her sword and be marched behind a horse.
No, what was driving her mad was the fact that Glimmer had not said a word after heading out from the rebel camp. She marched without protest the whole way, past the trees and streams until they passed from the forest into the scraggly foothills of the mountains that surrounded the area.
The sun was already setting as Glimmer rode on. Adora's legs screamed in protest as she marched behind her horse. Glimmer rode on as the moon cast a pale light upon the narrow trail. Adora forced herself to continue, but her feet finally gave out. "We're almost there. Keep walking!" Glimmer ordered as she dismounted. Clenching her fist, her hand lit up and acted as a torch.
"I have not had neither food nor rest since we met. If your intent is to kill me, then go ahead." Adora said through clenched teeth. Glimmer stared at her silently before reaching into her saddlebag and pulling out a piece of dried meat.
"Here" She tossed the scrap at Adora's feet, "if you're so hungry then eat."
Adora stared down at the tiny morsel. Her hands were still bound, but she refused to lower herself. Glimmer stared at her and laughed. "So the mighty captain thinks herself better than an animal? Alright, I certainly wouldn't dream of forcing you to do something against your will." Glimmer causally drawled as she undid the rope attached to her saddle. "From here we walk." Pointing with her glowing hand, she gestured towards a even small trail leading further up into the mountains.
"Your mother must be very secure." Adora replied as she began to walk on the narrow path. Glimmer raised her fist to strike, but lowered it instead. Adora could tell her words struck, due to the light being increased.
"Just keep walking."
Orrim, or rather the evil double, leaned against a boulder and emptied her shoes of gravel as False Face looked on through a telescope. "Did you bring the sword?" he asked.
"For the hundredth time, yes." Orrim groused as she slipped her shoes back on her feet. "I know what the Master said, but why should we risk brining the two so close?"
"The Master ordered us to bring his daughter back, but she is a useless mortal without her sword. Our spies have shown us that much. I agree, it is risky, but we must have both items for our Master's plans. If only that blasted princess didn't take her."
"You have a bow master, and the skills to go with it. Why not strike that annoyance down and be done with it? You could even say I came to rescue her."
"And lose the possible hiding place of Queen Angella? Nay, Hordak would stretch my flesh across the whole of the wastelands if I did that. If this some form of rebel trick, then there is nothing lost, but if she's alive, then our reward will be doubled."
Unaware of their extra guests, Glimmer marched Adora ever higher on the mountain. She ordered her to stop as her fist glowed brighter. Adora prepared for an attack, but relaxed slightly when an intense beam of energy shot from Glimmer's finger and struck a small outcropping of rock.
The mountaintop shuddered as the rocks slowly rolled away, reveling a dark tunnel that lead into the mountain. "Move." Glimmer demanded. Adora silently went in first and slowly made her way as Glimmer followed her.
The path before them was smooth. Glimmer's natural light chased away most of the shadows, but not enough to make it easy. Adora still found herself tripping on the occasional loose stone. The path lead downward into the heart of the mountain, but there was no end in sight. Adora silently bore her treatment, but she was thinking about her predicament as Glimmer ordered down a series of paths.
She was bound and unarmed. She might be able to work a way around one of those, but not both with Glimmer present. "Stop here." Glimmer ordered as she placed her hand over a stone. Adora had to shut her eyes when the chamber suddenly became flooded with light.
When the spots finally dissipated to where she could see, Adora gasped at the sight before her. On a raised dais, inside a clear cube, sat Queen Angella. The queen looked exactly the same as Adora remembered all those years ago. Her smooth skin was without a sign of aging or blemish. Her wings were folded over her body like a robe. It was here face, however, that was the strangest thing.
Her eyes, still piercing blue, were wide open yet the queen showed no signs of seeing. Adora felt as if she were watching a statue rather than a human. "Are you ready for your judgment?" Glimmer asked as tears flowed freely from her eyes.
"Wait, what happened to her?" Adora asked as she walked closer to the cube. Ignoring Glimmer, she stepped directly in front of the queen and peered closer. "I recall ordering the attack on the castle, but I was ordered to stand down by my father."
"Quiet!" Glimmer spat as sobs racked her body. "I remembered the attack. My parents had me hidden after you unleashed that plague upon on kingdom. When you broke through our defenses, my father and I rode away while my mother stayed behind to make sure of our escape. I heard her screams." Her tears were now flowing freely from her face and splattering on the stone floor. "I heard her screaming as you stole her soul and her mind!"
"I won't argue that I did, but as I said before being interrupted, I had just broken through the main gates and was in the process of laying waste to the palace guard when your mother flew in from one of the parapets and started decimating my troops." Adora flashed back to that day as she spoke. "One of her spell blasts wounded my horse, causing it to throw me. I hit the ground hard, but I had been trained to take punishment. When she passed by me, I picked up a discarded spear and hurled it. I remember piercing her wing" She paused to stare at the unblinking figure. "I see you must have mended that. As I was saying, I managed to bring her down when my father arrived. He ordered me to secure the rest of the castle, and I did just that. I followed my orders to the letter."
Glimmer, having finished crying, stood before her with a blazing fury in her eyes. "Very well, you didn't do this to my mother, but rather your father. Since I am unable to kill that beast, then I will just have to substitute you for him." Her fist began to glow even brighter than before, illuminating the entire chamber and even some of the tunnel beyond. "Now die." There was hatred in her eyes but not in her voice. Adora almost admired her lack of ceremony, since most rebels she had killed before her desertion all seemed to be inspired to talk for hours and seemed inclined to put in her some form of trap.
Her death would be postponed, as the familiar twang of the bow and the whistle of an arrow in flight interrupted Glimmer's shot. The wet sound of wood piercing flesh brought Adora's eyes to the rebel's leg, where a long arrow was now sticking out of her thigh. Glimmer stammered in disbelief as she slowly sunk to the floor.
Adora turned towards the corridor before Glimmer's light totally faded. An archer stood in the doorway with another arrow cocked. Orrim languidly draped her arm over his shoulders and stared at the two women with mild amusement.
"Orrim!" Adora almost shouted as she walked towards the pair. "For once I am glad to see another member of the rebels. Hurry, untie me."
"Sorry Adora, but I'm afraid I rather fancy the look of you bound." Orrim smirked as she stepped aside. The mysterious archer readied his bow and aimed at her heart.
"What is the meaning of this?" Glimmer shouted as she tried to sit up.
"I wouldn't move too much princess, or else my master here shall be forced to pierce your lovely hide yet again."
"Loath though I am to admit it, I agree with her. What is going on Orrim?"
The rebel turned to the archer and the two seemed to communicate without speaking. The archer, his bow still at the ready, stepped forward. "Orrim had the rather bad luck to be captured."
"Traitor!" Glimmer hissed as her light increased with her mood. "You sold us to the Horde, for what, money?"
"Oh, little Orrim remained loyal to your ideals to the very end princess." Orrim chuckled as she ran a gloved hand over her face. "In fact she gave a rather moving speech right before we killed her."
"That's not possible!" Glimmer stuttered as her light began to dim, casting long and strange shadows over everything. "Razz said she detected nothing, that you were the real Orrim!"
"The fact that you have so much faith in that third rate street performer is only one of the reasons for your death." The archer joked. "Now, while I would enjoy nothing more than killing the two of you, I am afraid I must hurry." Turning to Orrim, he jerked his head towards Adora. "Bring her with us. The Horde drop ship should be here soon."
"What about her?" Orrim jerked her thumb in Glimmer's direction.
The archer grinned. "Perhaps I should show her my real face before I kill her." The archer's smile grew to an inhuman length as Orrim drew Adora's sword and kept it leveled at her. With Glimmer covered, the archer lowered his weapon and put his hand to face. Glimmer almost fainted and Adora gasped as the man shoved his fingers into his eyes and apparently plucked them both out before taking out his teeth and smashing his nose into the center of his face.
"False Face?" Glimmer asked. "I thought you just a rumor spread by the Horde."
"No your highness, I am very much real." False Face smiled as he slipped a pair of eyes into his dropping sockets and another pair of teeth into his mouth. Picking his bow and arrow up, he drew back on the string. "And now you die. Pity your mother wasn't actually alive, but I'm sure her corpse will still bring in some profit. Lord Hordak was wondering about what happened to it."
As False Face told of his plan, Adora looked at Orrim through the corner of her eye. The double agent stood ready with her own sword. Adora had no idea how skilled Orrim was with a bladed weapon, but she knew she had one thing over the Horde agent.
She tired, hungry, and most of all, angry.
Letting out a bellow of rage that shook even the glass cube behind her, Adora charged Orrim. The Horde agent reacted as she had expected and swung Adora's own sword in a wide arch. The blade was heavy, and it was clear that even a fighter of Orrim's caliber was unused to the weight. Had Adora been unprepared, the point of the blade would have sliced her midsection.
Adora, however, had planned on that and stepped back, but only far enough for the blade to slice through her bindings. Flexing her arms, she grimly smiled as the ropes fell to the floor.
"Oh" was all Orrim could muster before Adora slammed her fist into her jaw, knocking her out. Dodging False Face's arrow, she grabbed her sword by the hilt and held it aloft. She could see the fear in his clay like face as she spoke.
"By the Honor of Greyskull!"
The crypt blazed with a light that did not come from Glimmer. Every inch of the chamber glowed as if a sun had appeared inside. The torches that dotted the wall suddenly burst into flame as the light grew greater. Glimmer shielded her eyes as False Face dropped his bow and ran back towards the relative safety of outside.
When the light dimmed, a goddess of strength stood in Adora's tracks. With one heave, her sword sailed through the air and embedded itself in False Face's torso. He snarled in anger, and much to both women's horror, stepped to the side. He tore himself free with a disgusting rip and wobbled on his feet. With one hand he clenched his finger around his wound in an effort to keep himself upright while with the other he withdrew a vial. "Your father wants me to bring you back alive, but he didn't say uninjured!" he spat as he uncorked with the top with his thumb and prepared to fling the deadly liquid.
"No!" Glimmer shouted as she painfully twisted around and fired a blast at the spy's face. His putty-like face sizzled as the blast disintegrated half of his face and blasted a hole in the wall behind him.
False Face dropped the vial and put his hand to the ruined side of his head. "You wench, I'll replace that with your own skin!" he slurred through half gone lips. His face fell like a melting candle, causing his one remaining eye to tumble out of the socket and roll along the ground. "My eye!" he screamed as he fell to his knees and groped with his one hand.
"How long before the drop ship arrives?" She-Ra asked as she retrieved her sword from the wall.
"In a thought, perhaps a day, I don't know!" False Face wailed as his fingers slapped the cold stone.
"Let me end your blindness." She-Ra offered as the evil creature's finger landed on the eye. As he laughed in triumph, She-Ra brought her boot down upon his hand, crushing both it and its contents under her heel. As he bellowed in rage, she brought her sword down in an arch that the unconscious Orrim could never had hoped to duplicate.
False Face's head silently screamed as it rolled away. Glimmer, her brow wet with sweat, raised her fist one last time and turned the still moving thing into a foul smelling stain on the floor.
She-Ra bent over to examine the wound as Glimmer tried to bring her fist up again. "I wouldn't do that. If you killed me, what would you do with that Horde ship?"
Glimmer lowered her hand and turned her head away as She-Ra grabbed the arrow and snapped it near the base. Making a makeshift tourniquet with her cape, She-Ra stood up and walked over to the oozing mass that was once False Face. Gripping the edges of his robes, she bundled the mess up and started to drag it away. Before she left the chamber, she grabbed on the torches. "Keep that power for when you need it. If I fail, then it will be up to you."
"What about her?" Glimmer jerked her thumb in Orrim's direction.
"If she's the good one, leave her alone. If the evil one greets you, kill her."
She-Ra stood outside with the torch in one hand and False Face's remains in the other. She saw the glint of the metal ship flying through the air. She could almost imagine the Horde Troopers standing on the open deck with their weapons already drawn. As the ship drew closer, lights appeared on the deck and the cold sterile voice of a Horde Trooper called down to her to surrender.
In response, she took the torch to False Face's robe and started to swing it overhead. Letting it go, she watched as the flaming mess soared through the air and splattered on the deck, spreading the fire. "Come on, follow procedure" she muttered.
On deck, the Horde Troopers busied themselves with putting out the fire. "Bring craft around" The commander ordered in a neutral tone as foam guns were broken out "begin bombardment."
A gigantic gun was hauled up on deck as She-Ra smiled. "Like the tides." As the ship began to turn to put the cannon in the proper firing position, She-Ra grabbed one of the boulders that acted the door to the crypt. Her brow knotted in effort, she lifted the massive stone up over her head and threw it through the air.
The boulder struck the cannon, sending it hurtling back through the deck. The ship titled dangerous to its side as She-Ra threw another boulder and aimed for the engines. The ship spun around like a leaf as the rock connected. Out of control, the ship spun wildly in a death spiral before crashing to the ground in a massive explosion. With a grim smile, She-Ra drew her sword and dashed down the mountain towards the wreckage. Those Horde Troopers that were not incinerated in the crash crawled out and tried to put up a resistance, but she knew their tactics and limits. She cleaved a path of destruction through the metal shells. Her sword sang with the thick fluid that pumped through the metal bodies. The fight was over scarcely before it had begun.
She-Ra stood among the bodies and admired her handiwork. "I doubt they send a signal, but I had best take the proper care just in case." With a sigh she willed the power back. Adora looked back up at the long walk and sighed again. "Maybe I should have kept the power a little longer this time."
She hurried back up the crypt, as she knew her presence as She-Ra had already alerted her father. She only hoped that there would be two live bodies waiting for her when she got back. She kept her sword drawn, as she doubted either bodies would be friendly.
When she arrived back, Orrim was nervously sitting in the corner while Glimmer had propped herself up to a sitting position. The hate in Orrim's eyes was now replaced with confusion and fear. Adora trusted that this was the good persona, but she was not that trusting. "The troops have been dealt with. Where do we stand?"
Glimmer tried to sit up, but her injuries forced her to remain in her position. "The same as before. Thanks to you, my mother's secret is no longer secret. She'll have to be moved."
"So that's it? You lie to those men and women, claiming that you have the protection of your mother. At least Hordak was honest with his troops."
"Shut up!" Glimmer shouted, but she didn't fire any blasts. She looked away from both Adora and Orrim.
"I don't know what happened here, could someone please tell me?" Orrim nervously asked as she looked at her fallen leader to Adora to the preserved from of Queen Angella.
"Simply, you're dead and the Horde used some kind of magic to bring you back and put some form of double agent inside you. As for your great and fearless leader, she's been lying to the Rebellion this whole time. The queen isn't leading them. She's just using her name to install loyalty."
"No, no, none of this can be true!" Orrim panicked as she started to back away from the two of them.
"It is" Glimmer said softly. " I had to put hope back in the people's hearts, or else Hordak's victory would have been complete."
"You lied to me, to us!" Orrim spoke with a tone neither women had heard her use before. "How people willing died because they thought their queen was giving them orders? How many willingly marched to die because of your lies?"
"She has a point." Adora said quietly as she turned and left the pair.
"Wait!" Glimmer cried, "I know how to restore my mother!"
"If you were capable of that, then haven't you done so by now?" Adora asked, but she did stop to hear the woman out.
"Orrim, do you remember when Razz and I left?"
"Yes…" Orrim answered slowly, as it was clear she was not interested in talking to her former leader.
"We found a cure. It is hidden high in the Mountains of Death."
"Then why not go get it?" Adora questioned.
"Because all members of the royal court are not allowed to enter, a spell prevents us from going, and I couldn't send any of troops there without arousing suspicions. Please, I know if anyone can survive that area, it would be you. Bring my mother's soul back. With her power and yours combined, Hordak can be driven from this land forever!"
"Why do I get the feeling you have spun similar tales before?" Adora shot back. "But your proposal is the only one, so I'll go. I want her to accompany me." She pointed at the confused Orrim.
"What? Why me?"
"Because I doubt Glimmer will want you back." Glimmer looked away as she spoke. "And if I am to go to that blasted strip of land, I am going to need some help."
Glimmer wept softly as she sat up. "Thank you. Razz will give you a map that will show you exactly where to go."
"What about her?" Orrim asked as she pointed to the still figure of the queen.
"If you help me to my horse, I'll summon Razz. She'll move my mother to a safe location." Glimmer begged.
Adora was not amused, but she gripped Glimmer in one arm and her sword in the other. "You are beginning to become more trouble than you are worth. If I do this task, then can I count on the rebels to at least leave me be?"
"If you do this for us, I swear we will never bother you again."
"Good. Orrim, take her other side and help me carry her down."
And thus the three made their way down the path and around the burning remains of the Horde troops. Finding Glimmer's horse, the pair placed her none too gently on the saddle. "Remember our bargain." Adora reminded her as she rode off. Glimmer said nothing, which gave her little cause to celebrate.
"So, what will become of me?" Orrim asked. True, the girl was not exactly unskilled, and she did have some connections that could come in handy, but Adora felt conflicted. Did she dare turn her back on her?
"I'm not sure." Adora slowly said as her hand rested on her sword. It would be easier to kill her, but that would have been something Force Captain Adora would have done. "I could use someone like you. If you accompany me, I promise a fair share."
Orrim cast her gaze down at her boots. "I don't know. If what you and Glimmer said is true, wouldn't I be a liability?"
"You would be, but I'm trying to be better person. I will give you this warning, though. If you try to betray me, I will kill you." There was no menace in her voice, but Orrim knew Adora meant every word of what she said.
The pair shook hands and began their trek east towards the Mountains of Death. "If I died" Orrim began, "then I think I need a new name."
Adora slowed down her pace as she thought. "Maybe I was too hasty to bring her along with me" she wondered. "How about Double Trouble?" she said aloud and hopped that would be enough to silence any furthers inquires.
"Double Trouble?" Orrim said the name a few times as she kept the pace. "I like it." Then, for reason unknown to the former rebel, Adora laughed. The laugh continued as they passed through the hills and valleys and into the open fields.
And thus it ends. Double Trouble, to my knowledge, never made it onto either show. This story is original but there is no intent to profit from it. All characters all owned by their respective owners.
Next time out see Adora and Double Trouble fight Queen Angella's soul in "The Empty Castle". I also plan on introducing characters from the old Masters of the Universe line that never made it into either the old series or new remake. 'Till next time