Author's Note: This story takes place after the events of "Year One: Prelude." It ties into "Preludes and Beginnings," "The Elfsong of Eternia," "The Crossroads of Destiny," "Prophecy & Change," "Just Another Day," "Liberty and Valor," "Manifest Destiny," "Roots," "The Final Adventure," "A Winter's Heart," and "The Shroud of the Horde." These characters don't belong to me.
This episode takes place immediately after the flashback in "The Ordeal of Man-E-Faces." During the course of that episode, the man known as Man-E-Faces was manipulated by Skeletor into attacking Castle Grayskull. He-Man won the day and found an ally in Man-E-Faces.
HE-MAN: YEAR ONE
Man-E-Faces sat down before He-Man, a man looking troubled. His eyes, human ones, looked at the champion of Grayskull, searching for an answer. He-Man, likewise, was looking for just that. However, no question sat between them.
For weeks, Man-E-Faces tormented the Widgets. It was when took over their fortress that Skeletor took interest in Man-E-Faces and with Beast-Man's help, took control of him. They attacked Castle Grayskull – seeking, as usual – entrance into the ancient fortress. However, with the help of the Sorceress, Skeletor was stopped.
"So . . . what is your real name?"
Man-E-Faces coughed. "I liked Orko's name, to be honest."
An awkward pause passed between them. Man-E-Faces looked to the window. Outside, the sun was shining. Spring was on in full force, trees and flowers in bloom, the animals awakening from their winter-long slumber.
"How did you become this?" asked He-Man.
Man-E-Faces smiled sardonically. "I was an actor. Absolutely terrible at it. I was playing the part of a monster." At that, his face spun until it reached the Monster mode. "Just like this! But I couldn't get into character. I couldn't understand what it was like to be a monster. I met up with a wizard who, after a hefty sum, promised me the ability to know just what it was like to become a monster.
"What could I say?"
He-Man nodded. Man-E-Faces spun back to his Human mode.
"So, I agreed. He transformed me into the Monster and then took all of my possessions." There was a pain underlying the surface of the words. He-Man watched as his new ally struggled past this point in his life. "I couldn't control the transformation. I would shift, you see, between being the Monster and myself. I wandered the woods, searching for someway to help myself."
"What happened then?"
"I met a scientist. He helped me. Build me this containment suit. Allowed for this robotic system to come and stop me if the monster got to be too much." He then spun to Robot mode. "I thanked him and went on my way. But people still regarded me as a freak . . . a terrible monster. And the more the robot stepped in, the more I began to interface with it. It became another part of me . . . another face."
He-Man frowned. "I understand," he said and meant it too.
"Thanks. I appreciate that."
He-Man stood up. "I'd like to offer you a place with us."
"What do you mean?"
"Skeletor's strike against us was harsh, but it's nothing we haven't seen before. What's worse, he's done even worse things. We need someone like you, Man-E-Faces. Between your Monster strength, your Robot computer, and Human mind, you're a valuable asset. Plus, the local theater has been lacking a little."
Man-E-Faces spun to Human, his eyes wide and grateful. "I . . . thank you." His question was answered: where do I go now?
Just an hour or two later, He-Man made his way through the Palace, often times catching gazing looks of admiration or amazement. It was something he was still getting used to, though he had had some of that already in his life as Prince Adam.
He entered into a small room just off a short, empty corridor. He locked the door behind him and pulled out his Sword of Power. He felt good about himself. Man-E-Faces was the first of Skeletor's minions he had brought to the other side. After facing off against Skeletor's newcomers Spikor and Kobra Kahn just two weeks ago, it was nice to have else on their side to help even the odds.
Orko, too, was feeling good about this, and having heard about He-Man's success at bringing Man-E-Faces to the side of Eternos, went to congratulate the champion of Grayskull. However, as soon as Orko popped into the small chamber, he was stunned as He-Man's sword began to flash and light.
"LET THE POWER RETURN!"
Right before Orko's saucer-wide Trollian eyes, He-Man transformed instantly into Prince Adam! Adam sheathed the sword and it seemed to vanish.
"Holy crap . . ." Orko muttered.
Adam spun around. "ORKO!"
"I . . . I . . . um . . . I . . . YOU'RE HE-MAN?"
Adam quickly put his hand onto Orko's face to shut him up. "Yes."
"But how? I mean, is it a transformation spell? Is He-Man a different person?" Orko fired out, his questions running together. It was so odd to think that He-Man and Adam were one and the same, just by the differences in their personalities.
Adam told Orko the gist of his origin. "I am Adam beneath He-Man's muscles and all that. That's me."
Orko nodded in understanding. "That's a lot spells on your sword, then, if it can do all that. On Trolla, it would probably the most powerful item there."
Adam was a little taken aback by this. "Seriously?"
"Oh yeah. Extremely powerful."
"Huh. It is the key to Castle Grayskull's power. I think."
"This is so neat . . ." giggled Orko.
"Yeah," Adam then replied. "It is. But Orko, you absolutely HAVE to make sure you don't tell anyone."
"I mean it."
"It's a matter of life and death. Really. You can't tell anyone."
Orko rolled his eyes. "All right, all right. I won't."
Adam nodded and hoped that Orko really meant that.
Skeletor's boot slammed into the water, the cold salty seawater spraying against as he walked onward. Mer-Man was in front of him, leading Skeletor ever forward onto to their destination.
"How much further?" questioned Skeletor.
"Not too far," Mer-Man replied.
Skeletor said nothing and continued on, despite his thinning patience. This had better be worth the time and effort that Mer-Man was putting him through.
"Okay, this should be it," Mer-Man told Skeletor about twenty minutes later.
They stood on a large rock jutting out from the ocean a few feet out from the beach. Located on the Dark Hemisphere half of the Sea of Rahkash, the sky above was dark gray, foreboding and seemed to threaten terrible storm.
"Where is he?" Skeletor demanded.
Mer-Man smiled and pointed into the water. At that moment, a huge, hulking creature stood up from the water, looking much like a cross between a lobster and human. Claws for hands and a thick, red exoskeleton.
"Name's Clawful. Willing to serve you, Skeletor."
Skeletor's face did its best impression of a smile. It was very indeed worth the wait . . .
A week later, on April the 15th, a burst of energy and light exploded in the Geyser Fields some fifteen miles northeast of the Palace. A man appeared, blue skinned and wearing a green cloak. A gut hung over a black belt as he surveyed his surroundings; a black beard sat on his dark blue face.
"Where . . . where am I?" the man – his name Jarvan – asked aloud. "Another world, it seems, than the one I wished to journey to. "I'll need to find my way home, if possible. I'll need a dimensional gate."
He pulled out a yellow orb and it lit up, searching for a place where the correct energies lined up. It pointed to one place in particular . . . Eternos.
Jarvan would not describe himself as a simple man in any way. In fact, considering the power he wielded, he would probably be among the most powerful beings on his home planet. However, on Eternia, despite his power, he was nowhere near as top echelon of sorcerers or wizards. Skeletor, the Sorceress, and even Evil-Lynn . . . they all outranked him by leaps and bounds.
Jarvan's goal had been to send himself to various worlds in the hopes of returning to his own and conquering it. The world had looked down upon him darkly as he had murdered and manipulated many of his species. His return trip had been unfortunately interrupted when something – or maybe someone – re-directed his course and sent him to this world.
"The longer I stay here, the more time I waste," he said to himself, frustrated.
Adam sat in a coffee shop on the second level of Eternos, nose-deep in a book. For the most part, it was empty save for a small group of teens sitting at a long, nearby table. One of them laughed unexpectedly, breaking the calm of the café. The sky outside the window was bright blue, flat puffy clouds floating among the sea of the sky. Below the clouds, it was a busy day, market goers and visitors wandering the streets, buying and selling or chitchatting.
All of a sudden, the door to the café flew open and Teela appeared in the doorway. Her eyes locked immediately on Adam, who tried to hide his face in his book. It was a futile measure as she strode right towards him. Adam looked up from the book, trying to act surprised.
"Oh! Teela! What a pleasant surprise!"
"Shut up, Adam. You're late."
Adam closed the book and looked at her, rolling his eyes as he did. "Come on, Teela. Can't we skip this?"
"Nope, not this time."
"Can I buy some time?"
Teela looked over at the window. "Maybe."
Adam sat up. "Let's make a deal, Teela. I buy you a cup of coffee or whatever and you let me off the hook for this afternoon's exercise."
Teela bit her bottom lip, quite unsure about this idea. "I . . . well . . . all right."
Adam slid to her a few gold coins. Teela bought her tea and rejoined Adam.
"Thanks, Teela. I appreciate it."
"Well, what does it really matter?" she asked rhetorically. "Seems like I can't get anything out of you anymore."
"Thanks for the potshot."
"I mean it. You're impossible to get you to work these days."
"I just . . ." He didn't know what else to say. "Do we have to talk about this? I mean, we used to be able to talk about other things. Until you took this position, we were best friends. Can't we be best friends again?"
Teela cleared her throat. "I . . . yeah."
"Then drink your tea and let's not talk about this right now."
Teela resigned herself to this. "All right, Adam. Sure."
Adam smiled a little. "So . . . seeing anyone?"
"Nope. Not at all."
"Really? There was that Malik guy back at the Palace of Wisdom you were telling me about. What was all that about?"
"Oh I dropped him like a bad habit."
"Brutal. But not surprising."
Teela shook her head. "No, it wasn't like that. He's a nice guy. Really great. A sorcerer in training. But he and I . . . it just wasn't working out. And it probably wasn't going to in the long run. We broke up, but he kept pursuing me. I was so glad I got to graduate early." She sighed. "What about you?"
Adam coughed and leaned back. "Different girl every week, it seems."
"No one in particular?"
"Nope. None of them are really my speed, I guess."
Teela smiled a little. "Who is your speed, then?"
Adam grinned a little. "I don't know. Haven't, um, found her yet."
Suddenly, the entire café shook. Adam and Teela were both on their feet, their eyes at the window. A massive rock slammed onto the ground, destroying a poor farmer's market stand. Teela and Adam ran out of the café.
"EVERYONE INSIDE AND INTO YOUR BASEMENTS!" he then shouted.
As people fled into the nearest building or structure, Adam and Teela ran up the main road towards the Palace. Soldiers were in motion, helping to get people to safety. Upon reaching the pavilion before the doors to the Palace, Roboto, Mekaneck and Man-E-Faces rushed out.
"More rocks on the way," Mekaneck observed. "One on the lower level and the other – crap. LOOK OUT!"
All of them jumped out of the way as a huge boulder smashed down right in front of them.
"Do your best to stop them," Teela commanded, brushing off dust and dirt. "Adam . . ."
"I'll got get your father," Adam lied, running into the Palace with Teela.
They both diverted paths, Adam running towards Man-At-Arms workshop. Yet, before reaching it, Adam snuck into a closet. A moment later, He-Man emerged.
He-Man rushed back down the same corridor he had just ran down as Adam. He then journeyed outside, where Mekaneck was helping Roboto aim his lasers at in-coming rocks and boulders.
"Any idea where they're coming from?" asked He-Man.
"Mount Gryphon, just a mile away."
"Right. Man-E-Faces, you're with me."
Man-E-Faces nodded and ran alongside He-Man through Eternos.
As the rocks pummeled Eternos, there was a flash of light in the courtyard. Orko, who was trying his hardest to get back into the Palace, suddenly found two hands upon his arms.
"What the - !" he yelped.
"You . . . little creature . . . you have the powers which I seek!" Jarvan announced.
"What are you talking about?" questioned Orko, trying to break free. "Who are you?"
Jarvan gripped Orko's arms harder, energy beginning to sizzle at the point of contact. "I am tapping into your magic, little sorcerer, and very soon, you will open a portal that will take me back home!"
"I don't think so!" Orko shouted and concentrated hard. Small fireworks flared and exploded all around them, Jarvan thrown back off-balance.
Orko went flying across the courtyard, with Jarvan hot on his tail.
"I'll get you, you flying pipsqueak!" bellowed Jarvan as he thundered ever forward.
"You'll do no such thing!" came a commanding voice. Jarvan stopped in his tracks as King Randor himself stood between him and Orko.
"And just who are you?" asked Jarvan, magic forming between his fingers.
"I am King Randor," he said proudly. "And this is my court jester. You want him . . . you'll have to go through me."
In shadow of Mount Gryphon was a small village and weigh station, considered the gateway to Eternos. As He-Man and Man-E-Faces rushed at high speeds through the village, on-lookers stood amazed by the two fantastic heroes.
As soon as they reached the base of Mount Gryphon about five minutes later, they didn't find anyone there. Instead, there was a glowing, fog-like light – a field of pure magic.
"It's sorcery, all right," Man-E-Faces said in his Monster mode. "I can smell it."
Right when he said that, the light flashed, a rock appeared and it went flying towards the Palace. He-Man looked to his new ally.
Man-E-Faces switched to Robot mode. "Analyzing the energy field . . . something very powerful must interact with it. A disruption will most likely break the spell."
He-Man looked at his Power Sword. Orko had said it was a very powerful object. The hero of Eternia plunged his blade into the energy field. Huge lightning blasted every which way from the point of impact, but they soon died off as the field itself vanished completely.
"Mission accomplished," Man-E-Faces stated with a smile, now back in Human mode. It felt good being a good guy.
"Not quite," He-Man then said. "Someone cast this spell. Almost as if it was . . . a distraction." He sheathed his sword. "Come on. Let's get back to the Palace, pronto!"
Skeletor came to a halt while Beast-Man lingered back. A stench so very horrible and disgusting drifted heavily from the ravine below them. Skeletor turned to his orange-furred companion. "Are you coming or not?"
"The smell . . . it's too overwhelming!"
Skeletor grunted, hating this weakness in his most loyal of minions. He stepped down into the ravine by himself, Havoc Staff in hand. The ravine itself – located at the southern edge of the Plains of Perpetuia – was filled with dense plants, each one of them dreary and pathetic looking. The air itself seemed choked by the awful smell.
"Who's there!" came a loud shout. Skeletor stopped in his tracks as a man walked out from the brush. He was tall and lean, his fur all black save for a white strip that ran between his pointed ears all the way down his back, as well as down his arms. On top of this, he wore an orange armor. This man was the origin of the horrid smell.
"My name is Skeletor. I am in need of your services."
The man's eyes went wide and he fell to his knees.
"By the Ancients, I have heard of you! Whispers . . . but only growing louder! How can I be of service to you?"
"Join my army and become one of my Evil Warriors."
"I shall! Stinkor, the overlord of wretched stench, will serve you, oh Skeletor!"
King Randor went flying across the courtyard, the Honor Sword on the ground next to him. Jarvan lunged forward, heading right at Orko. The Trollian rushed away, but Jarvan was faster. Magic went flying from his fingers and snagged Orko in mid-air.
Orko was dragged over to Jarvan and with one hand on his arm, Jarvan placed his other one on Orko's hat.
"I am joining my magic with yours, little creature!" yelped Jarvan. A portal suddenly opened behind them both. A circle of crackling blue lightning surrounded total darkness. Jarvan knew better.
"That's not my homeworld," he snarled at Orko.
"Fine by me!" Orko cackled, yanking himself free from Jarvan's grip.
"Why you misreble little - "
"WATCH THE POTTY-MOUTH, FATSO!" shouted He-Man, leaping onto the scene. His fist collided with Jarvan's face, sending the evil magician staggering backwards.
King Randor then slammed his body in Jarvan.
"No! NO!" Jarvan shouted and he tumbled right into the portal. As soon as he did, Jarvan vanished, trapped in another dimension. Orko waved his hand at the portal and it disappeared, the crisis averted.
"Where did you send him?" asked He-Man.
"A prison dimension. Its where Trolla throws some of its bad guys."
"A good job, Orko," Man-E-Faces said, having arrived just as the portal closed down.
"I agree," He-Man added.
Orko shrugged. "Um . . . okay. What are you guys talking about? You were the ones that saved me!"
"That's right, but it was you who stayed calm. Whoever that guy was, its obvious his intentions were to use you," Randor explained.
"His lack of concern for the welfare of Eternos is an obvious sign of his attitude towards life," He-Man said. "You did a good job handling the situation. For that, you deserve a reward."
Orko smiled. "I . . . well . . . shucks. How about some cake?"
Skeletor approached his final destination. The man before him was fairly well-built, his long dark hair back in a ponytail. As rumor had it, he had traveled across all of Eternia, becoming – as he traveled the paths and seas of the world – a great warrior.
Skeletor was in need of great warriors . . .
"Join me," he offered the man before him. They stood upon a hill at the Golden Islands. The sun was setting, casting the sky orange and red.
Skeletor pointed to the man's right arm. Instead of a hand, there was a stub. A price had been paid during his travels. The Berserker Islands had cost him his hand.
"Join me, Jitsu, and not only will I restore what was once lost . . . but I can improve it."
The man called Jitsu didn't have to think for long.