Author's notes: Welcome! Long time fan, first time fanfic writer for He-Man/She-Ra. I hope not to disappoint! I'm already working on chapter two, but I still don't know where my brain is going with this story, so I'm just hanging on for the ride! Won't you join me?

~ Darcerin 1/2009

Nightmares, Chapter 1

By Darcerin

Adora was finishing her ride with her steed, Spirit, through the Evergreen Forest and was heading back to Palace Eternos on Eternia. It had been a beautiful day and Adora had enjoyed the vacation away from battling the Horde; instead finding quiet time for inner reflection and more importantly, bonding time with her estranged family.

Odd, Adora mused as she approached the castle's main gates, Adam said he'd meet me here about now.

Spirit snorted softly, indicating he didn't like the situation. Adora patted him on the neck. "It's all right, Spirit," she said, not sounding reassured herself. "Adam's either in the kitchen, having a pre-dinner snack, or he's goofing off somewhere."

Stranger still, Adora now noticed, there were no gate guards. Adam not being there was fine, the guards, not so much. Spirit took a step back and whinnied. Adora didn't try to calm him this time. She dismounted and suddenly realized how quiet it was. She put a hand on Spirit's side and without looking at him, said, "Go to the Evergreen Forest and wait for my whistle." Spirit didn't need to be told twice. He reared and turned back the way he'd come.

"For the honor-" Adora lifted her sword above her, "of Grayskull!" Instantly she transformed into the mighty warrior, She-Ra. Without hesitating, she pushed the gates open with her immense strength.

"I think my parents are going to have to invest in better gates if it was that easy for me to get through." She-Ra smiled to herself, but then shook her head. "This is no time for jokes; something serious is going on." She raced to the palace and found any further doors opened without resistance. She changed back into Adora in a normally quiet part of the palace; but it seemed as if the *entire* palace was quiet now.

"Adam? Orko?" Adora walked by Adam's bedroom and knocked on his door. No answer.

"Maybe he is in the kitchen after all." Adora thought. "Hopefully Orko hasn't transported the entire residency of the palace into another dimension, or the front gates will be the last of my problems!"

In order to get to the kitchen, Adora had to pass the throne room. If her parents were in there, maybe Adam was too, probably getting chastised…

"Mother?" she called out cheerfully, but the word stuck in her throat as she entered. The scene before her was pure horror. The king and queen had been murdered on their thrones; Teela and Man-At-Arms were just in front of them, lying on the floor, weapons in hand. They'd apparently tried to fight the attackers and defend the royal family, only to have lost. Orko was across from them, lying on his back in a pool of his own blood, his hands reaching up toward the ceiling, his eyes wide open.

Adora tried to look away before her eyes saw Adam and Cringer, further on in the room. Cringer's head had been partially severed, blood still dripping from his throat onto the floor. And her twin…Adam was slumped up against the wall in a partial sitting position, run through with his own sword.

Adora's legs could no longer support her and she fell to her knees and cried out a scream she didn't know she had inside her.

Adora! ADORA!" Bow shook his Rebellion leader fiercely. "Wake up!"

Adora's eyes flew open and she sat up so suddenly, Bow had to back up. "Bow? What happened? Eternia…" She suddenly threw off the thin blanket she's been asleep under, jumped off her cot, ran outside, and vomited into the bushes. Bow cringed as he followed her out.

"I was on guard duty," he offered when she shakily stood up, holding onto a tree trunk for support. "I came running when I heard the screams."

"Is everything all right, dearie?" Madam Razz yawned as she, Broom, and several other rebels came up to the tent.

"Yes, everything's fine. Go back to sleep, everyone." Bow urged. Most of the crowd dispersed back to their own tents, except for Razz and Broom.

Adora waited until it was quiet again. She didn't bother turning around. "No, everything's not all right. It hasn't been for a while."

"Those dreams still?" Madam Razz wasn't really looking for the answer she already had.

"Bow, what time is it?" Adora asked softly.

"Almost dawn."

"Call Glimmer and ask her to take over for me. I'm going home to Eternia for a visit."

"Right now? But the Horde is planning to enslave –"

"Just do it!" Adora snapped as she twirled around. Sensing the fright she'd invoked, she added a weak, "Please."

Bow turned and walked off, muttering something. Normally he didn't mind taking orders from Adora, except when they didn't make sense. While Glimmer was a good substitute, Adora knew the Horde inside and out, and had been a valuable asset to the Rebellion. They could really use her help tomorrow.

"Don't worry, dearie, he'll get over it." Madam Razz said in comfort.

"I'm not worried." Adora's voice was firm. "Bow can handle most things; I would think my orders would be one of them."

Razz could tell Adora was in no mood for conversation that would attempt to talk her out of going. "Are you leaving right now?"

"As soon as I get dressed and contact the Sorceress, yes. I'll be leaving Spirit here. If you need me – or She-Ra – you know how to contact me."

Madam Razz nodded wordlessly, as Adora continued.

"The raid tomorrow should be fairly simple. The troopers will be there to collect taxes, and when the villagers resist, that's when the Rebellion moves in – along with the villagers. We've been drilling for just this opportunity and I know we're ready."

"Be nice if we had She-Ra anyway." Broom said before Razz could stop him.

"There may come a time when She-Ra may not be available anymore," Adora said, in a sort of faraway tone, "so the people must learn to fight for themselves anyway." Adora let go of the tree. "Goodbye Madam, and Broom. Hopefully I won't be gone long."

"Adora?" The Sorceress sounded pleasantly surprised as she communicated through Adora's sword. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"Hello, Sorceress." Adora smiled tiredly. "Is everything all right on Eternia?"

"Yes, everything is peaceful here. Even Skeletor has been keeping to himself these days, it appears."

"Well, then, if it's all right, I'd like to come home for a visit."

The Sorceress briefly hesitated, and then said, "I will have Adam meet you here. The portal will be open after he arrives. I shall see you soon." The Sorceress ended the call before Adora could protest. Something was deeply troubling Adora; it was obvious by the dark circles under her eyes, but the Sorceress wasn't sure what it was that was bothering her.

By the time the portal opened in the usual spot in the pasture a mile from Whispering Woods, Adora felt like she could have fallen asleep on her feet, she was so tired. She drifted through the portal and as soon as she arrived in Grayskull, she gave the Sorceress a hug. "Thank you for humoring me," she smiled.

"Hey, doesn't your favorite brother get a hug, too?" Adam joked behind them.

Adora turned with relief and tears in her eyes. He was alive! She raced toward him and suddenly felt her world spin. She reached out for Adam –

Adam caught her before she tumbled to the ground. "Gotcha, Sis." He cradled her in his arms and looked over in concern at the Sorceress. "You were right to call me. I've never seen Adora this tired before."

"I have cast a sleep spell on her. There is a great disturbance within her, Adam, but it is not magical in nature."

"No, that would be too easy." Adam said in a sour tone that was not directed at the Sorceress. "Perhaps she just needs a break from fighting the Horde."

"Perhaps." Sorceress nodded thoughtfully. "Please take good care of her while she's here."

"Right, because the world needs She-Ra."

"No. Because the world needs Adora."

End Chapter 1