Authors note. This is my take on the cartoon but I do not claim ownership for any part of it. There may be certain differences. In my one story, Princess of the sword, which unfortunately was lost when my old computer died I explained this rather well. She-Ra's birth name is Shyara, (in my version) and not only is she not Adora changed thanks to the magic of Castle Greyskull (yes I know there is a spelling difference only to signify the character's name.) Also I have worked very hard on changing certain things about this story so you might want to go back and re read it so it makes sense.

Grayskull and Veena are He-Man and She-Ra's parents (He-Man is five years older than his sister) while Adam and Adora's parents are King Randor and Queen Marlena. Grayskull was said to be killed two years before the abduction of She-Ra/Adora but was found along with Veena eighteen months after She-Ra/Adora were rescued (two people.) This story takes place eighteen months after She-Ra (Shyara) and Adora leave for Etheria. However the problem is King Randor did not agree to Adora's decision to leave as in the cartoon but because She-Ra had the legally responsibility as her childhood body guard until the age of twenty one (she was nineteen when she left and is now twenty) she felt that she had no choice but to bring her with her as it was the only way to 'protect her'. Adora has a daughter named Katelyn (my character) Father is currently unknown, but it was later found that Veena was given custody of her by Hordak who believed she was a nanny thanks to the protection of her magic. I think that covers it. If there is anything else I've missed, please contact me via PM. Any and all ideas have been used from others just as inspiration, and my own creative imagination.

Special thanks to one of my new readers who has pointed out problems with flow. I am attempting to correct the problem so some of the chapters will be taken down and reexamined. I am not rewriting this but I have added to it to try and fix the flow. Please PM me if you have questions. Thanks

Chapter One

"Give it up, Skeletor. You know you're never going to get into Greyskull as long as I'm around. Maybe it's time for you to give up and go home. It's too nice of a day to do this." He-Man retorted easily, hiding his inner frustrations through years of practice. "Why don't you give up and go home? If you'd rather stay here I can arrange a comfortable prison cell for all of you."

"Out of my way, muscle head. You're not going to stop me this time." Skeletor snapped. The hero who stood in front of the castle wouldn't win. "Give up? I know nothing of the sort." the villain denied.

"Don't you get tired of losing, bonehead?" He-Man asked as he waited for Skeletor to make his move. The bone faced goon had a plan; he always did, a new weapon, magic spell or even plot to take over Eternia, no doubt. This day was not going as planned.

"Yes," Skeletor agreed, "which is why I won't lose this time!" He raised a red jewel at which time he pointed it at He-Man and Battle Cat, releasing a ray of maroon light.

He-Man resisted the urge to jump out of the way; he had no way of knowing what this thing would do to Greyskull if he let it hit the magical defences, and without the Sorceress there to reinforce them, he couldn't risk Skeletor managing to neutralize them. His mother's powers were still weakened from the last battle but he hoped they would be enough if she had to use them; his father was at the palace, in conference with King Randor and knew he would not be there in time, even if he pushed one of the vehicles or even himself to max speed. Instead, He-Man blocked the ray with his sword; to his dismay, it bounced off setting a tree ablaze.

Battle Cat roared ran at Skeletor. Evil-Lynn muttered something about turning him into a kitten and blasted a magical beam at him, but with the help of his feline instincts made him leap out of the way. "You fool! You missed! Hit the green cat, not a tree." Skeletor ordered. "Panthor finish the job!"

Panthor and Battle Cat circled each other. The green tiger growled both breathing heavy and battered. Panthor was suddenly finished the fight. The large creature ceased its feral posture and suddenly turned his back on Battle Cat. As he walked away, Panthor looked back at Battle Cat and gave a low growl. Battle Cat stood his ground and remained in a defensive posture. The panther sped toward the Evergreen Forest and disappeared in the darkness of the trees. Taking advantage of Skeletor's distraction He-Man sprinted towards him. Skeletor caught the sudden motion, however, and fired at He-Man rapidly, laughing maniacally the entire time. He-Man somersaulted through the air in an attempt to avoid the shots. Still, one of the rays singed his upper left bicep. The pain seemed to encase the upper half of his arm, causing He-Man to hiss in surprise as he landed right in front of Skeletor. "You lose again, Skeletor. Time for you to go home, or I arrange accommodations in the royal prison."

"Oh really?" Skeletor sneered. With his free hand, he dug his nails into the fresh burn on He-Man's left arm. An involuntary yell let loose from He-Man's mouth, but didn't lose focus, if he did, someone would ambush him and he could not, would not, let that happen. Especially when he knew his mother would be hurt if he did. He wasn't about to let that happen. Instead he ignored it. He swung Skeletor around, forcing him to let go.

"Uh!" Skeletor yelped as He-Man knocked him against a stone wall. He-Man pulled out a pair of power cuffs and got them on the villain before he could move.

"No!" Skeletor gasped. "You can't do this!" He coughed harshly, and then went still.

"Funny," He-Man grunted. "I thought I just did." He frowned. He hadn't been as careful as usual but regardless of his condition, he knew the evil sorcerer would not only be fine, but come back stronger than the last time, something he was not looking forward too. A roar reminded him Battle Cat faced his own enemy, in the form of the purple cat Panthor. But he couldn't help him; he still had some of his own problems. Turning, he saw Evil-Lynn behind him, her hands raised. He dove out of the way, realizing too late she hadn't been aiming for him, they had been aiming for the castle's defences, the combined magic was too powerful for his mother.

'I have to stop him. He's not going to last much longer. You mess with my son, you mess with me too. And I'm not a force to be reckoned with. I'm a mother. Nobody messes with my son and gets away with it.' Veena thought as she watched helplessly from the castle window using her magic as secretly as she could to encase Evil Lynn in a force field. After nearly five minutes of holding the spell it died suddenly when Skeletor raised the ray to Greyskull causing Veena to collapse.

Skeletor fired constant shots, some of them came from the crystal, and others were stun beams coming from his hand. He-Man tried to dodge the crystal's beam as he blocked the stun beam with his sword, but when he instead caught one of the sphere's blasts on his arm, it quickly enveloped him. Pain radiated from his arm throughout his body. It felt as if someone were trying to rip him out of his own skin. The pain grew sharper, more intense, driving him to his knees. It was only a life time of stubbornness didn't bring him down fully. Skeletor laughed in delight, the noise grating on He-Man's ears.

"You'll never get inside Greyskull as long as I'm here to protect it." He-Man said forcing his voice to remain strong. He looked up to the window, where his mother watched with concern, unable to do more than she was to help him.

"That can be easily changed. You may have won this round He-Man, but you won't be so lucky next time." Skeletor vowed before vanishing into thin air.

He-Man put a hand to his head and gathered himself. "Blast. And I thought Skeletor had given up that routine." He-Man muttered. He smashed the jewel with the heel of his boot and blew out the fire the rays had caused, ignoring his injury. When the last tongues of fire had been blown out, he raised his arm and looked at it, hissing at the pain the movement had caused and the sight of the injury. The ray cut into his muscle and burned it so severely, the muscle blistered. He cast a glance at Greyskull; the Sorceress was on a scouting mission, and wouldn't be back for hours. His mother, the former sorceress, and Lana's mentor was there to protect Greyskull, but even her powers were not enough. He had been able to only because of his mother who protected the castle with its defences and her magic. 'She's going to be too tired to heal this. No sense in giving her more to worry about.' He thought looking over at his tiger. "Come on, Cat," he said reluctantly. The hero hauled himself into the saddle, barely having the strength to hold on. "I'm going to have to ask Duncan to take a look at this. Normally I'd go to my mother, but she has more than enough to worry about than just me."

''Thank you, He-Man. You were at the right place at the right time.'' His mother sent to him telepathically.

He waved in reply, but didn't go in. ''Always happy to help Maybe they'll leave you alone now.'' He returned ''I'll be back soon. Patrol shouldn't take that long tonight. I hope.''

Veena stood in the window of Greyskull, watching He-Man and Battle Cat leave, a concerned frown on her face. The feathers on her cape fluttered and swished in time with the movement of the breeze. She gazed out the large circular window at her retreating protector, lost in her thought.

'Eternian's champions and my children, have a heavy burden. Both He-Man and She-Ra are growing weary. The day after Grayskull leaves for Eternos, Skeletor decides to try to attack non-stop, preventing anyone from getting here to help him. And if King Randor thinks preventing either of them to help the other, well that's a different story. He can't do that! It's not right!' Veena grimaced. 'I wish-' She squared her shoulders and began to pace. 'I can watch the view screen.' Veena shook her head regretfully, and sighed. 'It's all I can do for the time being at least until Grayskull or Lana gets back. For right now I'd better keep an eye on Skeletor. He's up to something and I for one want to know what it is. Maybe he'll actually give up for a while. Ancients only know they deserve the break. If their sleep patterns don't return to normal soon, I don't know what might happen. If I get bored I can always find a book in the library, most of my books are about magic, but with Grayskull being a history buff, and a bookworm he has thousands of books to choose from. If he ever gets the chance to read them that is. He never does now that King Randor's asked for his help. He's not one to turn down the request of a friend, but there are nicer ways to do so.' She headed back inside; not knowing her son's life was in danger.

After Battle Cat was sure his lifelong friend was on securely balanced he began to run. While he was exhausted from he was the only one who could get to the palace. Something inside of him told him that his master needed him, but he wasn't just a master, he was also a friend. The faster he ran, the faster he got his best friend to the palace to someone like Duncan who could help him like he once helped him. For the first trek of the journey He-Man wasn't aware of the seriousness of the wound-some pain occasionally but nothing he couldn't deal with, he had before, but not like this. It was because the wound was deep he figured. But soon it became inflamed and sore and he found himself hot with fever. Slipping in and out of consciousness and delirium, he wasn't sure where he was going. He relied on Battle Cat to take him home, but the cat knew even at his speed which was faster than any vehicle ever invented he may not be fast enough. Clinging to his tiger's saddle was the only way He-Man could remain seated and prevent himself from falling off.

It was late in the afternoon, the breeze was gentle and cool against He-Man's face. The sun shone through the treetops but the path was shaded. It was quiet, just the rustling of the leaves could be heard. It was a few moments before he realized that they had stopped and as he opened his eyes. The fever burned in his veins and he wasn't able to focus. Battle Cat was near the point of collapsing as he raced through Evergreen Forest. So far Battle Cat had been lucky as he raced through the trees as so far there had been no sighting of Doom Troopers or Evil Warriors. Up ahead Battle Cat saw a clearing in the trees beyond, the clearing was known to all Eternia as Kings Point just beyond lay the palace of Eternia, and Duncan. On foot a normal human could make it to the palace in three hours, Battle Cat made it in half that time and by the time he made it to Duncan's lab he all but collapsed from exhaustion.

Duncan who had been working on repairing one of the vehicles nearly dropped a tool on his foot as he raced to his friend's side. He staggered slightly as he joined him in another part of his lab, only few had access, and he was one of them. It was the one space he knew he could speak freely. He-Man barely lowed himself down to the couch. "What happened?" Duncan asked punching in a code that would protect the room from outside ears. Something told him he wanted to talk in private.

He-Man grimaced. "Skeletor." He clinched his teeth, fighting the pain with all his might. "He was about to get into Greyskull and if I let him use the jewel on the door who knows what damage it could have done. I had no choice, but to take him down. I found it very difficult trying to say on the saddle, it's not as easy as it looks whenever muscle is throbbing. Normally there's no problem."

Every movement caused sharp pain to radiate throughout his body.

"Well for now Skeletor's gone. There will be another time I'm sure. What concerns me right now is that arm's going to be nearly useless until Greyskull's magic heals it, which will take hours. I should have something that will help, for a time. Now where did I put it?"

Teela entered the workshop watching her father ducked under the counters. She was the only one other than He-Man who had security access. "By the grace of Eternia, what happened?"

He-Man frowned at her reaction. "Skeletor again. I got hit with one of Skeletor's rays, in addition to this jewel. But there was something familiar about this jewel I've seen it once before, but I have no idea where." he answered, keeping his tone even.

Duncan popped back up with a small, round container in his hand. He-Man half-hardheartedly wiped at his brow; it was getting warm in the workshop, regardless of the large open windows. "You said you've seen it somewhere before?"

He-Man nodded, but as he was about to respond Teela cut him off. Teela's eyes wide with fear and concern. "You can't do everything alone, no matter how strong you are."

"She's right." Her father said the small jar in his hand. He then looked over at his daughter. "And you must remember it's his job to protect the entire planet. Sometimes there's no choice to do what you have to or little time to call for help. His home/mother was in danger." He agreed. "But it doesn't mean he can't ask for help."

"Tell the king, not to me. I usually do Duncan, but nobody else could get there in time, and my mother had more than just me to look after. There was no time. Besides King Randor won't have it. He believes I should do everything by myself. Heck, he won't even let Adam see his sister but we go in secret, sometimes to surprise her, sometimes to lend a hand."

He-Man shook his head to clear it, but it didn't help. His breathing was harsh, his heart was pounding. He deliberately slowed his breathing, leaning heavily on Battle Cat. He knew something was wrong, and the longer he hid it, the more trouble he'd be in later. "I'm not allowed to help my own sister anymore because of King Randor's order. Yet the last time I went to Etheria my sister was almost killed because she didn't have the help she needed, meaning I had to leave without the King's permission. If I had arrived seconds later, she could-"

"I know, I read your report. You had no choice." Duncan soothed, "You came to me for help. Etheria isn't used to the storms like we are. Even the king knows how dangerous storms like that can be when they don't have the resource we do. That was a few days before you got taken captive. Whether he knows it or not you did the right thing. Nobody can argue with that. It's unlikely they even have the same emergency procedures we do. It seems to me you're the only one your sister relies on, even if you're not on the same planet."

"I know. That's what scares me. She-Ra tried to implement them but nobody feels they'd work. I'm sure they'd want to try, but Glimmer won't let them. She also had to find Adora, who well had a run in with the resident bully. That's why I found my sister unconscious. Nobody gave her access to their fortified shelters. The last thing she needed was a panic. I may not have known what was going on when I woke my parents, but I did know about the storm seconds after I stepped through the portal. My strength was immediately drained. I wouldn't have been able to handle it if I didn't have help. I don't know how we did it, but we got inside just in the nick of time."

"That's what happens when you're out in a plasma storm doesn't it?" Teela's eyes widened, wondering what horrors he had endorsed the last time King Randor had called him into his study. This was rare mind you. It was only Adam he yelled at but recently that was also happening to He-Man. He wasn't even his son, and much older than the prince. "How can anyone prevent you from helping your sister?"

"Only because I have inherited powers Teela. Besides I didn't know about the powers my father set aside for me until after he disappeared. The pebble like drops are what drains power, not the storm itself. You have to be out in the storm to actually feel the effects. I'm not really sure how long she was out there, since I have yet to really talk to her and find out." He-Man shrugged, "I'm not sure why or how King Randor does that but sometimes there's no choice but to disobey his rules. Hordak is more dangerous than Skeletor and he knows it. She-Ra can handle it without me but sometimes-" the remainder of his statement stuck in the back of his throat.

"I know my history. Hordak has killed a lot of people. He kept your sister and the princess captive for ten years. Of course she's going to need help once and awhile. What the king is doing is wrong. You have a job to do, and the King has no right to tell you how to do it. You've been doing it for eight years without his direction; I'd think you have it down by now. It's not as if you're underage or something." Teela objected.

Looking at He-Man now, a feeling of profound gratitude swept over her. He had saved Eternia AND Etheria for what may have been the ten thousandth time yet he never even got a thank you from the King of Eternia. She was thankful Adam had accepted the responsibility of the second half of the power sword and though he was not the sole protector of Eternia he did his part. He had saved her so many times. She smiled slightly as she reflected back. Adam always had stood up for what he thought was right, no matter how the other kids teased him.

He-Man closed his eyes for several seconds, "I know Teela. I appreciate the compliment as always but I don't know what else to do. He made me swear NOT to tell anyone, but I have to I can't do my job with such weight on my shoulders. I have enough of it already. I have the entire planet to protect. Even I can't be in two places at once, but if my sister needs me I've to go to her! Hordak is dangerous. You don't want to mess with him when you're not ready for it."

"I know that and your father knows that. But what I don't know is why King Randor can't see that as clearly as we do. We've been there. He hasn't be he's seen the Horde. Now let's see about this cut huh?"

After shooing his daughter out of the room, Duncan closed the door. Duncan washed the area, careful not to re-open the wound with heavy pressure. "He-Man, this is not a normal cut, it's a burn. Skeletor's particular gift, no doubt. It will take a while before Greyskull's magic heals. Until it does, that arm will be useless, but this should help speed things along."

He-Man hissed through clenched teeth Duncan reached for the jar of paste and removed the lid…the aroma was strong but not offensive. "What is that? It smells familiar. Orange zest."

"I'm not exactly sure what it's made of," His mentor confessed, "but when She-Ra gave it to me she called it a healing salve. All of the ingredients she's listed, including orange, can be used as medicine. She did train as a healer." Pulling on some medical gloves, Duncan dipped two gloved fingers into the small jar. Once it was covered it with the orange paste he used a soft touch and spread it over the burn.

He-Man sucked in air sharply, "That she did. I thought that stuff was supposed to help, not burn." he complained, striving to keep his voice calm no matter how much it hurt to talk, not to mention breath.

Duncan smiled sympathetically, wrapping a loose bandage around He-Man's arm at the same time. "It's one of the side effects of this particular combination of herbs. Lemon balm for example contains chemicals called polyhedrons to fight several infection-causing bacteria. And White Aloe is supposed to be soothing, especially on burns, it also stings. It'll pass." He was right; within seconds the pastes started to sooth and ease the raw skin. He-Man didn't respond for several minutes.

"I can do something about the fever. I'm going to give you a shot to keep the fever down until we can get to Greyskull," Duncan said, already filling a needle.

"Duncan, Skeletor's going to attack. I can't... "

Duncan glared at him from behind his glasses, giving him 'the look' as it was often called. "I understand how you feel, but how can you possibly worry about Skeletor with the way you're feeling? I'll pull your father from the meeting. He looked as if he needed an excuse to leave anyways." He threatened. He didn't answer for several minutes. "Are you alright?"

He-Man shook his head, pulling himself back to reality. "Yes, I just lost myself for a minute thinking about how much easier it was when my sister was here," Duncan swallowed, but He-Man's words cut off his reply. "You're gifted in many ways."

"In some things... healing like this, not so much. Most of this I know from the years I spent studying medicine. Your father did teach me the basics of natural healing; years ago. Your sister has the talent now. But you're right. Things were a lot easier when she was here. And your father wasn't so concerned about you. He knows you're hiding something and he doesn't like it. He's been worried about you for months. You shouldn't be afraid to talk to him or me for that matter." He replied. 'If I had that ability I could have saved your father sooner than we did.' Duncan thought to himself as he replaced the lid on the jar, removed his gloves, disposed them and washed his hands.

"I told you everything I remember." He-Man winced as he leaned against the cool leather couch.

He folded his arms as he stared at He-Man. "Now, do you want to tell me why you went out there by yourself, instead of asking me, your father or Teela to go with you? You're exhausted. Skeletor's working around the clock to ware you and your father out. For some reason neither of you have assistance since King Randor has the masters out on patrols, or in other far off cities. That's not the worst of it though. King Randor intends to withdraw all Eternian support with Etheria. He believes even after all this time, the alliance with Etheria is a waste of time, even if he didn't put any support into it. Your father and I did all the leg work, sat down with the Etherian leaders and asked them for their support. If he does withdraw his support, we're not ever going to get it back. It was hard enough once, we worked for days on that alliance, trying to get the rulers to see it from our perspective. It was the first alliance your father drew, and the hardest. Didn't you say you had a hard time gaining the rebellion trust? That was probably because Angella had been taken prisoner which left Glimmer in charge; therefore they didn't have much of a trust for anyone."

"Yes. Rightfully so. Hordak rules the planet. I learned that the hard way once. Let's just say I'm not going to make that mistake again." He-Man admitted "If Hordak ever comes here; we're going to need all the help we can get. She-Ra has been given orders not to assist Eternia. I just didn't want to tell my father since it would give him more stress then he needs." He frowned at her protest and stated, "It's not that I've decided I don't need help. It's King Randor won't let me get the help. Six months ago, he put a ban on accepting help from Etheria, and vice versa."

Duncan shrugged. "Six months ago was the last time your sister was here, because she was injured while Hordak had the two of you captive. We didn't give her much of a choice but it was for her own good."

He-Man nodded. "I know. I don't fight with her about a lot of things, but a mental health break is one of them. And no she doesn't hate you. She appreciates it more than you know. For whatever reason he believes we gave up some of the kingdoms secrets but we know how to block mind control thanks to our mother. He pulled me into his office shortly after Shyara left and basically told me if I accepted her help I'd find myself in the prison minds."

"She's your sister! She has as much right to be here as you do and if certain things changed she would be here. No wonder you've been so closed off lately, you're worried about your sister more than you're likely to admit. But you haven't told your parents have you? You're going to have to tell him. Your father doesn't like secrets like this. Never has, never will."

"I know. It wasn't something I was going to keep from him anyways. Even if it is King Randor's order not to tell him. It's not like I can keep it from him anyways, he'll find out from you if you have to tell him." Duncan nodded, "We provide the rebellion with more than just aide. Prince Adam designed the literacy program and runs the tutoring program. He visits regularly so he can provide supplies, and assists. Plus it's a chance to actually go see his sister and niece. I've actually done that too, even if Katelyn is my adoptive niece and Adora doesn't have any relation to me, but still I have to see her, as much as she has to see me. That way I'll have something positive to bring back to Eternia with me after the visit is over. Marlena likes my updates."

He-Man stared out of the small window, looking up into the sky. It was almost as if he had lost himself with his thoughts. "Why doesn't he want me to help her? Or her to help me? She was living on Eternia for a two and a half years before she decided she was needed on Etheria. She stayed for an additional year before she left. He had no objections to that, he was all for it. He knew about the prophecy that stated we weren't both supposed to be here. Why would he have objections now? He hasn't seen how much the people of Etheria need her help. You and father have. Even King Miro. I've never seen him so proud in my entire life. Would it make a difference if he saw what good Adora's doing?"

Duncan shrugged, "I don't know. There were times where we needed the assistance of both of you. King Randor welcomed your help. But that was when you were both here." He-Man nodded. "But now, he's changed, in more ways than one. But allowing him to go to Etheria to see for himself, the only thing he would see is the fact his daughter- Adam's sister, is putting herself in danger and it's safer for her here. He's never believed She-Ra was capable of protecting her. I still have no idea why. It could be the old fashion law about woman not being allowed in battle, as they're bad luck but that hasn't applied for years. She's saved her life numerous times. If I remember correctly she was given the highest medal of honour for doing what she did for Adora, nearly killing herself in the process."

"Um hum. I gave that medal to her myself if I remember correctly. There was nothing else she could have done. Adam believes he said something that triggered King Randor's reaction, but I wasn't there so I've no idea. All she was trying to do was get his blessing yet he didn't even listen. She was really upset. I haven't seen her that upset in a very, very long time Duncan. It broke my heart. There was nothing I could do about it. That's never happened to me before! I've been looking after the twins since they were three! But somehow I don't believe it's just about Adora's leaving anymore. He's been like this for about six months."

Duncan nodded, "I know. I was there, remember? I gave you the job. It was because of the fact you had a sister, and knew what to say as a brother. I've seen it several times. I've never had any problems consoling her. Neither have you. You were very good at it as I recall. You were the one she confided in, especially when she had a fight with her brother; rare, but it still happened. Whenever she needs the extra help you leave, sometimes without telling me, but that doesn't mean the Sorceress doesn't tell me. I have to know, just in case. Now tell me, why you didn't call for back up?"

"I was heading back to the palace when my mother contacted me. There was no time for me to do anything but face Skeletor. She had enough problems trying to keep the force field up. Besides I wasn't alone, Battle Cat was with me. I wouldn't have made it back here without him. One thing I do know is I've never felt that sort of pain before. I had no choice but to do what I did. This time Battle Cat knew he had to get me home, and did so as fast as he could."

"So that's why he looks so exhausted. He forced himself to get you here." Duncan muttered placing a bucket of water down for the cat which he slurped up greedy within seconds. He refilled it and looked into He-Man's eyes but the hero spoke before he did. "It's time to call in reinforcements."

"Yes Skeletor aimed this jewel at me; after he had weakened me with his magic after Skeletor fled I said good bye to my mother, and Battle Cat raced me here. Somehow he knew I needed you, because normally the only thing he wants to do after a long battle is sleep." He swallowed hard; his throat seemed to be terribly dry. "Duncan I-"

"And why not? Even you need help, nobody can tell you otherwise. You may have been doing this 'job' a lot longer than your sister, but a wise man once said 'When things get tough, team work is the answer.' You and your sister have always that team. Desperate times call for desperate measures. You need her help."

Finally, He-Man nodded and got to his feet. He closed his eyes remembering the last day he spent on Etheria, and the promise he had made to his sister, and she made to him 'If you ever need my help call. I'll be there. Day or night.' It was the same promise he made to her, "You're right Duncan, as usual. I need the help. Not just from the masters this time. I need my sister, whether the king likes it or not." He-Man turned to Duncan, offering him a wry smile at the same time. "It's scary how well you know me, Duncan."

Duncan grinned. "That's part of my job, lad. It might be one of the reasons I was given your secret long before anyone else. I've also known your father for a very, long time. I never imagined his son would turn out just like him." His grin faded as he looked into his eyes, "You're physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. If you're forced to battle right now, you could make a mistake that costs lives. But I also know Skeletor isn't the least of your problems. Something or someone has been weighing you down. Does it have anything to do with the meeting King Randor had shortly after you recovered enough after being held prisoner? You didn't need the accusations."

Knowing the safety of others would be far more likely to persuade the hero than his own well-being, Duncan left it at that. He'd bring the subject up again later. "It does Duncan, more than you know." But as he was about to continue he staggered.

Seeing the hero squeeze his eyes shut and open them again, he asked in concern, "He-Man, are you alright?" Duncan squeezed his eyes shut, 'Please, not again. Don't let this happen.'

He-Man shook his head grasping the side of the counter to regain his balance and prevent him from falling forward, at least for the moment, "My vision got blurry for a minute. It's alright now. It's probably because I haven't eaten much today. I haven't had the time." He replied, putting a hand to his head.

His face was flushed, reddening at a fast rate. "Father..." Teela said worriedly.

Duncan felt the other side of He-Man's head. "You're burning up. The medication I gave you should have prevented that! Unless-" he exclaimed. Duncan swallowed, 'Please don't tell me it's the same thing that almost cost his father his life. We can't lose him! I can't go through that again, when his father finds out I don't think his father will be able to either. He'd blame himself for eternity if something happened to his only son and he wasn't there to prevent it.' He thought before he stood up "I can't believe this. His injuries are magically induced. We've got to get you to Greyskull. NOW!" His words were cut off by a memory of the past, combined with He-Man's words.

"Duncan, I was at Greyskull." He-Man informed him. "Why the rush? It was a jewel, nothing new. But you know there was something different about this particular jewel. I don't know how it's possible, but I've seen it before. It was much harder to crush then the diamond ray of disappearance was. It seemed to absorb my strength."

Duncan nodded. "I was afraid you were going to say that. It's possible you have, but you're not thinking clearly at the moment." He questioned swallowing heavily. "We'd better get you to Greyskull. You need magic to heal your injuries. Skeletor used his special ability to burn you, that's what's causing the fever. Your mother can handle it. If we get you there in time."

He-Man heard his voice, but to him it was far away. Something was wrong, very wrong. He could do nothing to prevent what happened next. The room spun around him like a spinning top. Reaching for the nearest solid object he could find, He-Man forced himself to stay on his feet but the spinning didn't stop. His head felt heavy. The next thing he knew he was sinking to the floor.

"Adam!" Teela cried racing to his side, dropping down beside him, his arm, holding on to the counter top, was the only thing that prevented him from going down.

"Teela!" Her father snapped, watching the door like a hawk, praying it was who he thought it was and not some other bystander who may have heard what she said. Man-at-Arms found he couldn't deny the truth; his daughter was too much like him not to see the hurt she felt at what she saw as her lifelong friend collapse in front of her. The Elders had been adamant that no one could know Prince Adam was He-Man or at least he was for the time they were combined. Discovery was always possible; Teela had been a concern for Duncan. Now she knew the truth. But it was the only way, it would be harder for her, but she knew the risks, and it was a risk she was willing to take.

"This is exactly the reason why we didn't tell you in the first place. He has a lot of other things to worry about." He used two fingers to feel for a pulse as visions of the past came back to haunt him. It used everything he had to keep them at bay so he could focus. "You're too close to him especially now. It's not as if he didn't want to tell you, in fact he told me he hated hiding it from you it was because he didn't want to put you into any danger. Skeletor would have loved to probe you for information. It's one of the reasons your mother is trying to teach you how to block spells of control and mind taps." Her father hissed.

Duncan's eyes never left the door, as the knob turned and the door opened. In seconds he sighed in relief when he recognized the figure that entered the room, a mirror image of He-Man. Grayskull, was He-Man's father, and Duncan's best friend since they were children. His appearance was largely the same as He-Man's, but they were also different. He was much older than his son, long hair gathered into two long ponytails, and a long brown fur cape covered his muscular shoulders.

Once he was at his son's side Duncan locked the door. "It's alright Duncan. I figured you need my help." Grayskull, the owner of the shadow said, catching his son second before he hit the ground. "Stay with me!" He ordered looking up at Duncan. "I shouldn't have stayed in that stupid conference all day. We're getting nowhere. Everything I set on the table is being rejected by the king! How does he know it won't work until he tries?! He asked for my help. I stayed up very late preparing for the conference. If I had a clear head, this never would have happened!"

"This wasn't your fault. It's been a very long time since you've had to deal with the job of a king. His request caught you off guard. It wasn't as if you could say no. He didn't give you much of a choice."

"It did Duncan; not very many things do that." He then looked over at Teela, "Your father's right though. You're lucky, it's only me. I was given this secret before he was."

Teela slightly embarrassed. "He's my fiancé or Adam is my fiancé. It won't happen again."

Grayskull nodded, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder. "I know you're worried about him. We understand. But He-Man's my son. He was the one hurt, not Adam." He reminded her, "I've been married for thirty two years, unfortunately for your father and mother, they have not been so lucky. Your father did ask your mother to marry him, but by the time the wedding rolled around it was too dangerous to proceed. If times were different he would be married by now. Marriage is the best thing that ever happened to me, next to becoming a father."

Duncan nearly chocked. Marriage was something he had considered years ago, but he hadn't considered it for years. He couldn't leave his post, Randor wouldn't allow it. "Maybe in another life time, if Skeletor's gone."

"As I've told you several times we will get you married, even if I have to marry you myself!" Grayskull said with a smile turning to Duncan's daughter. "And to answer your question Teela I know where to find her. I was the king who negotiated the alliance with Eternia and Etheria. It is only for the protection of the rebellion that few non-members know where the hidden entrance is. You be surprised how much different it is from Eternia. There isn't anyone else willing to help her so her brother and I do what we can. Protecting a planet is a heavy responsibility. We do what we can, but even I can't be in two places at once. I need to sleep too. However, my wife has told me I don't sleep enough."

Duncan looked into his old friend's eyes, "She's right. Old habits die hard my friend."

Teela looked into her father's eyes asking him without words what he meant, but he ignored it "I know where it is too, but I haven't been there more than two times. Once when I rescued her. Maybe I'm a bit old fashion, but I was her guardian once. I wanted to make sure she was really alright."

Grayskull nodded in understanding. "Don't blame yourself. Skeletor's been wearing both of you out. Randor's not taking my advice either. I was king for ten years, I know the ideas I'm giving him worked once. Why is he being so stubborn?" He answered. Duncan and Grayskull exchanged a short glance as Duncan gathering the supplies they'd need for the three hour trip. Duncan then filled in his oldest friend on the condition of his only son. Grayskull's chin rose slightly, "I should have known. He's my son, my flesh and blood. I should have been there! Yet he didn't call for help AGAIN." He paused, and looked into his eyes, "Do you think it's the same thing that almost killed me?"

He sighed, "Yes. He said the jewel seemed familiar, but he doesn't know how. I would have sent—"

"It's alright. Veena told me what happened. Why didn't he call for help I could have been there and possibly prevented it?"

"You have other things going on than just Skeletor this time." Duncan reminded him. While he had been given this information in confidence, his father had the right to know. But after a life time of friendship, he knew he wasn't going to like it. "The truth is Randor ordered him not to call for help, which includes you, and his sister. Accusations have been made against her as of six weeks ago; shortly after she recovered enough to go back to helping the rebellion. The masters will find themselves in the prison minds if they're found helping Etheria. He only asked me to keep it from you because he knew how much the conferences in Eternos were consuming all of your time. He didn't want to give you anything more to worry about. I'm telling you now because I know what you're going to say."

"What?! Why didn't I know this?" Grayskull exclaimed "Surely, Shyara would have told me."

Man-at-Arms swallowed hard. Hiding this from his best friend was the hardest thing he'd ever done. "She would have, if Randor hadn't made her swear not to. He-Man told me, in confidence and he's certain the same thing was done during the private meeting with Shyara. Even he wasn't allowed to attend, even with his sister's insistence. He-Man believes she was told something different but he was but he's not sure what it is. He didn't want to give you anything else to worry about. I only told you because I don't agree keeping this from you was a good idea. Yes, you will worry, but that's your job as his father. Teela's worried about Adam more than anything. I don't like it any more than you do old friend. He's never done it to them before, if they needed to speak with him, they've both been there at the same time rather than having him repeat the same thing twice. Nor has he ever refused her brothers attendance either. Something's changed in Randor, and I have no idea what. He won't talk to me; in fact he refuses to see me." Duncan argued gently. His eyes sought to reassure the former king, but it wasn't easy.

Grayskull nodded in understanding. "I know. Right now, it's He-Man I'm worried about. He's stubborn. He's so much like me, it's incredible. She's the only other person who could provide the balance between good and evil, at least for a while." Grayskull swallowed hard and looked over at his old friend, "Duncan, be honest with me. Did I ever act irrational, like King Randor?"

As his adviser he would tell him the truth. He no longer had the position but nothing would change. "Not that I can remember. But you put your people first. It made you a very good king. Randor is closed off when he's fighting with his emotions. You've always known how to deal with them, hide them if necessary. Come to me if you needed a sounding board. And when your children came to you, you always stopped to listen, making recommendations, but let them use their own judgements. When they couldn't go to you for one reason or another they came to me. I kept it from you, unless it was imperative that I tell you. As far as I remember, nothing they've told me would be applicable now. Randor on the other had has always been a bit mysterious to me. He doesn't let me give him advice the way he used to. Things have changed."

"I know. If he doesn't talk to me, his best friends since we were boys, who will he talk to? You're his chief adviser aren't you?" Duncan nodded, "I know he won't go to Marlena. She's had some very good ideas yet he dismisses them just as he does mine. I now feel I stayed up for three nights in a row for nothing." Duncan shrugged. "I was out for five days. He doesn't have time to stay out that long. I can't be in two places at once. We need more help than we have."

"I know." Duncan agreed. "The Sorceress is on the scouting mission."

"Right, it must have slipped my mind. Veena tried to remind me but I've been preoccupied by the conferences. If Lana's gone, Veena's by herself. She'll handle it. She's had to, she married me."

"Wait if the Sorceress- my mother isn't there, how can we help He-Man? Isn't Skeletor's gift poison of some kind?" Teela questioned. She closed her eyes, "I know you're He-Man's father, but as far as I know he doesn't have healing powers. That falls to She-Ra since they're powers are inherited right?"

Grayskull sensed the question was asked out of concern, "Skeletor's particular gift allows him to draw his power from studying the dark arts. I've very little experience with him Teela. But I did fight Hordak, for almost eight years." He explained. "Healing powers of the magnitude are inherited from mother to daughter. There are healing spells for those who have enough training. I've studied magic. But I'm not sure I'd have enough training to heal him. If there is any other person who can help him, it's my wife. But we have to move! There's little time."

Duncan looked into his old friends eyes, as if he was reading his thoughts. "Don't ask questions, go! We need to get to Greyskull." He swallowed pushing back the nightmare.