So I have come back to the world I first explored publicly. I learned much and was glad to being entertainment to so many. However I returned myself one night and a seed planted itself that I left a plot hole, in the rules I set up or interpreted from Mattel and their evil minions of corporation. Hard to say, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized there was more I could work with here. So I will be delving back into Eternia and the world of He-Man.
For those that have not read Champion of Grayskull, you will be a bit lost so I shamelessly recommend reading it before proceeding on. This story is based off of both the 200X series and my own story woven from it. Characters will be here that have not existed before, and old favorites of course.
Bit of a long intro but I wanted us all on the same page, God help you all if you actually get inside my head, I am a writing machine these days and stories are at war in there!
As I once beat to death, and now renew, I do not own He-Man or affiliated characters, the Overlords of Mattel do.
For sake of reference, for the end of my story to this one time is now covered by the letters AH (After He-Man).
200AH Vine Jungle
The vibrant vines that named the jungle were never ending. The choked every path even as sunlight pierced through the foliage from the hidden blue sky above. The animals prowled, hunted, and died in shadows and light as men moved through their world.
Humidity caused what was already a warm day to become steaming and unbearable as the squad of raggedly dressed men cut the vines down with barely adequate swords. Rust was on some of the blades, and seemed to be on the men as well. All their dress was dark cloth that covered their arms and bodies in worn wrinkles and currently seemed to keep all the heat in.
The leader of the small band kept his eyes on the map, barely held together by the paper it was made of, as he guided all to their goal. His dark eyes peeked ahead and saw the end of the jungle before the rest.
With a yell they emerged at last from their long trek through the wilds of Eternia, far from the law abiding world of Eternos and its spreading cities and rules. They had learned of treasure hidden deep in the royal reserve where only the special friends of the royal family or the Council could tread.
The map had been the only proof they had that this ultimate treasure even existed, but there are always the desperate willing to do anything other than an honest days work. Now before them was the mythical fortress of story, Castle Grayskull. Its dull gray stone turrets and walls surrounded by the equally legendary abyss.
For a moment some of them wondered how many of the "stories" they had grown up on were real and how much was just fantasy. The moment passed as the leader roughly shoved them forward with words and fists. They marched on their goal with no idea of the danger they were in.
The only warning they got was the cry of the hawk circling overhead. A few glanced up and noticed the odd coloring of it, orange and blue were not usual colors. Then there was a mighty roar and a green/gold blur was among them. It was a demon that had no shape or substance.
The men were sweaty, tired, and now faced with legend. It was far too easy to accept the protections on the fabled castle were true. They scattered in all directions, most disappearing back into the jungle and finding many of the natural predators there waiting for them. Screams were many, but none of them noticed that they were only herded away from the castle.
The only one who did not run away, was the leaders. His swarthy features were hidden under his scruffy dark beard and his eyes were focused only on the promised treasure. He came to the edge of the abyss and saw the solid dark wood of the draw bridge as the only way across without some flying ability.
Frustration turned to fear as a loud thump came from behind him. Turning slowly, his ratty clothes blowing in the always present wind, he saw a massive Eternian tiger. It was mostly green fur with gold stripes standing out on it. There was a horrible intelligence staring at him from its eyes. Worse was it looked familiar to him, a creature of legend that could not possibly exist until now.
"Battle Cat..." the legendary mount of He-Man, the constant companion to the defender of Eternia. As a boy he had dreamed of being the hero, and now his cynical adult self was confronted with the real thing.
The tiger gave a mighty roar again but did not advance. He seemed to be waiting for something...or someone! With a quick turn he saw her on top of the castle. Massive wings encircled her as a staff was in her right hand. She was as beautiful as legend said, and as fearful to him as the tiger.
The last thing he saw was a flash of light as blackness claimed him.
The Sorceress sighed as Cringer pulled the last man to the clearing far off in the Vine Jungle where the Foresters would find them. Already she could feel them getting closer on wind raiders from Eternos.
They were more impressive than the models she had once ridden, those had been glorified chairs that could fly with supplies, now they had tangle shields and the abilities to track and scan massive amounts of data. Her father had been curious far more about the advances in technology than she ever was.
Smirking slightly she allowed herself to remember the shocked faces of the latest group to find the castle once again. Unlike some other attempts right after He-Man left Eternia, they were more benign. Not the first, and unlikely the last. Compared to Skeletor and Hordak however, they were easy to deal with.
Sensing the return of her old friend, she lowered the draw bridge for Cringer to make his way back inside. Even after almost 300 years he did not seem any older or show signs of losing strength. He was still scared of lightning, but it all faded if the castle or she were in danger. Her emerald eyes glinted with mirth as she remembered the tiny kitten hiding between her legs as a hare had surprised him so long ago in another lifetime.
Sighing, she closed the drawbridge and awaited the next set of visitors.
356AH Castle Grayskull
The Sorceress looked sadly at the scrying pool. Her fiery hair was currently free from her helm as she had felt the pull of the Elders awaken her. It had been inevitable that this would happen. As her love had always told her, and her time as guardian had shown, there would always be those that wanted to take than earn.
Fires burned with fury, consuming homes, shops, and lives. Smoke blacked out the moons and stars as she saw black shapes emerge from the inferno. They were not innocents fleeing the destruction, they were the destroyers. Worse they wore an old emblem.
The red bat blazed on black armor as a new "Horde" marched away from their handiwork. They were only one regiment, a rag tag imitation of the real thing, but for the defenseless town, more than enough. She was about to dress when a movement revealed she would not be needed.
Red and silver streaked across the sky, and she smiled wide as "For Eternia!" echoed even through her magical pool. The Mystic Warrior blazed into them. Long ago she would expect them all to be felled by the initial assault of blazing white energies, but as time passed, her father's power had begun to wane.
Even so, half the New Horde fell in that first instant. Fear was on every face as they faced a legend, the former Man-at-Arms and now Mystic Warrior. He had the mace with him and did not even slow as he blazed through the forces around him. Blaster fire caught him in the shoulder, and she cried out in dismay.
He was an old warrior, and you do not get old without learning to survive pain and surprise. Grinning as evidenced by his twitching mustache, the sigils blazed on his exposed face and most of the rest were flung across the field or sent flat against the ground.
Only one remained standing. One disturbing individual. He looked calmly but angrily and the Sorceress had to concentrate to hear what was being said.
Pain seared from his left shoulder, but Man-at-Arms had suffered worst. He was getting too old for this kind of adventuring. The vision had not come in time to prevent this for some reason, and truly this kind of horror seemed more of his own time than now. The Council might have become more in love with politics than helping people, but they still did right by all of Eternia.
The King of Eternos was not as humble as his ancestors, but given he had little hardship that was not surprising. The future seemed to be moving away from the old truths and hopes, but right now this was still far from anyone's thoughts. Why the Horde?
Facing the last one standing, Man-at-Arms felt a chill in his body. Something was wrong with the woman in front of him. She was human, his senses and instincts screamed she was powerful, far more than she should be. There was something like a mask staring at him and he could not say why.
The red glare shocked him. The laughter was not a woman's, the dark eyes were not reflecting the emotion he was seeing. Her pale features and midnight hair seemed unkempt and her clothes were the only thing immaculate about her. The dark metal of the armor just made the red of the bat stand out more.
"I remember that power, and the worthy fool who came to me with it, and I know of you...Duncan you were called?" the casual tone and the use of his old name shocked him more than any threat. Worse he had heard that voice before. He had nightmares for years afterward of what might have been.
"You cannot be! You were undone by He-Man!" Man-at-Arms felt the blood drain out of his face as full throated laughter no human could make came out of the woman's tiny frame. She held her sides in mock amusement as she tried to breathe.
"You should know by now fool, I knew the danger to me, I knew what could happen, Hordak is FOREVER!" without warning she extended her right hand and red energy blazed at him faster than he could every hope to dodge. The world blurred as he felt himself tossed back yards across the ash strewn fields.
The flickering light of the fires gave a sickly cast to her face as she advanced on his now prone form. His body burned with pain like he had not felt in years. His arms would not obey and his powers were just lost to him. Fear entered him, not just of death, but of where this creature would eventually go. NEVER!
"Amusing as this has been, I have work to do. DIE!" more red energy blazed but this time it never reached him. Man-at-Arms felt better than he ever had. Squinting open his eyes he saw the woman was now the one afraid. All around him he saw something he thought never to see again.
"IMPOSSIBLE! You are dead, DEAD!" the woman possessed by Hordak was trying to fend off an emerald shape, a very familiar emerald shape. The features were very blurred but it was no doubt in Duncan's mind, He-Man had somehow returned. Whatever strength Hordak had left was gone now, the woman was screaming in rage but unable to run away.
He saw He-Man embrace her and it stopped, as quickly as it began it ended. A sobbing innocent was in his arms and Hordak, wherever he came from, was gone there again. The shade only glanced blankly at Man-at-Arms and then vanished as quickly as it had appeared.
Moving quickly, smirking that his wounds seemed to be healed, the Mystic Warrior made sure no other surprises lay in wait for an age deeply unprepared for them. All of the fools that had done this atrocity were still secure and would remain so until the current Masters could arrive, although they bore little resemblance to the name.
Shaking off his judgement of the current crop of this generation, he summoned his chair and made the journey to his icy abode. He had to find out where Hordak's spirit was and how it had returned however feebly. Even as badly as he had been struck he knew he had seen the limit of the warlord's ability, not even a third of what he was once capable of.
Dark thoughts kept him focused on his journey home, but he still felt the Sorceress looking in on him and sent her his warmest assurance he was fine and hardly in need of worry.
Dispersing the pool, the emerald eyes of the Sorceress were just as troubled as her fathers brown ones. Ghosts could persist of course, more than enough magic had shown that time and again, but of all beings to cling to this world, Hordak had been the worst. Even seeing her love return in some form had not been worth it for that.
She had felt the power of Grayskull shift during the battle, Hordak had revealed himself and the power had called its Champion once again, this time from the grave. Would it do so again?
"I am telling you Control, these statues are huge and heavily detailed. There are four of them and there is no doubt about it, they are Eternians we know very well," the bright blue eyes of the lead scientist barely contained her joy. Her well rounded form practically quivered in the white jumpsuit covered with a pale blue jacket.
Long blonde hair trailed down her back as she relayed again even higher resolution images from this world she had "discovered." All evidence pointed to earlier visits by none other than living legends of her own world. Similarity in language was astonishing and more than that a sync up to her own world's legends was staggering.
Not only the statues, but memorials and verified historical fact was everywhere here in this agrarian world. They had technology but lived in balance, and even had people that could manipulate energy or the elements at will, something her own world once claimed was possible.
Correction, that we DID do for fact! The discovery was astounding and would take centuries to fully explore. She had tried to dismiss it down to pure coincidence, but then the statues, oh the life size statues. And the reception to the Bright Moon Court when they learned her name.
Adora was named for one of her ancient ancestors, supposedly a lost Princess, but now who knew for sure. The spooky moment of looking at Prince Adam and Princess Adora of Eternia had sent more than chills down her spine. She really looked like her ancestor, if a bit more well endowed in some ways.
That was next to nothing to the purely astounding statues of He-Man and She-Ra! They were far too detailed to just be an artist rendering of either set. All the old holo recordings were not fictional, they were real! She felt so highly strung she needed to breathe a moment to calm down.
More was the meticulously kept records in Bright Moon, Whispering Wood, and Thallymar. All of the dates synced up, the information was identical and what was more, it tied in perfectly to the story of He-Man. The book she would write, it would be amazing!
"Control do you read me, Control?!" contact had been steady before today, but maybe the sun was interfering somehow. Glancing up at the deep green sky was still a bit disconcerting, but after several worlds explored by the space program Adora was getting used to it.
"Adora, descendant of Princess Adora, do you hear me?" Adora whirled in her silver comm chair to the vid screen. It was still static but he voice had been clear. That reference was disturbing though, only her family knew that part of the story. They never touted it these days, long after the fall of the monarchy to the Council and the Republic of Eternos.
"Who is this? Cal is that you?" if her home world teammate was having a poke at her because of this and their former relationship, she would kill him! The static remained but the voice returned.
"No, I am not your friend from Eternia, but I was once and still wish to be a friend to your family, please follow the route I give you and I will give you the answers you need to hear," the static cut out completely and all the power died in her ship. Real panic crept in, but her personal hand held began to beep at her.
Its green light indicated a download received into the simply square blue device. Queuing it up, a clearly marked trail led up into the foothills and mountains only a day's walk from her ships landing spot. Curiosity overcame her as to who that voice belonged to, and since she still had a week to explore before being missed, she wanted to know.
The sun blinded her at the myriad reflections 2 days later. Sweat creased her brow and her jumpsuit, while well designed for the confines of a starship, was a little thin for the nights up this high. It was well worth it though, a massive castle, made of crystal no less, was not in front of her.
The path led her right up to the massive white iron gate. It opened at her approach and only once inside did she have the disturbing thought that the mapping scan never saw this structure and it should have. The light inside was splendid, more than bright enough to see but not blinding as it was outside.
The soft blue surfaces were filled with colors, but did not blend the edges of corridors or arches leading away. Her hand held continued to guide her even here. Winding corridor led deeper into the center where the most awesome spectacle yet awaited.
A massive column of light flowed in the center of room easily able to hold her drop ship without any problem. The hand held began to blink every light and emit so many sounds of detection she thought there was a problem, then it went dark as her ship had.
"I apologize for this and your ship, but I had to stop you Adora," she flinched from the male voice so close to her. Looking around she tried to find the source and suddenly found her blue eyes drawn to the pillar. She felt it "looking" at her. No eyes or face, but the sensation of being looked at was strong, and no threat was felt by it either.
"Who are you? And what do you mean stop me, you said you had answers?!" outrage overcame fear as she realized her curiosity had gotten the best of good sense. Instead of denial she felt warmth flood her limbs and gentle laughter echo through the chamber.
"You are so like them, I miss them so much but to all things there is a time and place," the pillar of light shifted in some way and a pool of white mist swirled into being. Inside of it was not a just a holo recording, but a real image of this room and in it was...Prince Adam and Princess Adora! Just like the statues only they were talking to the pillar and Adam seemed angry while his sister seemed shocked and dismayed.
The mist vanished and she stared in wonder at it now. It had been here with them!
"Yes I knew them Adora, your namesake and her brother were good friends and better allies than any could have hoped. You must not reveal the truths you have learned here or all they suffered and sacrificed for will be for naught," she felt confusion at this, after all to learn that the heroes and stories were true...it would be wonderful!
"For you and those like you yes, the truth would simply be what is should be," the pillar of light seemed to shine a bit brighter to her eyes, "you would revel in the fact that such goodness could really exist and be inspired by it, but it inspired you anyway, to come out here so far from home."
Nodding emphatically that the stories had indeed driven her forward, Adora opened her mouth to argue her case when the light dimmed and another pool formed.
This time it showed a blue sky and a stone castle...in the shape of a skull! It was glowing with green energy as it was assaulted by a force of people led by a blue skinned man. The image wavered and it was closer. He had no face.
"By the Elders no, he was real too?" And as bright and shining as the revelations had been, the rest of it fell into place as the mists again scattered. The good in the stories were true, so too was the bad. Skeletor had existed, Hordak had existed, all of the evil had been just as real. Understanding began to glimmer in her mind. She began to see what this being was getting at.
"Yes Adora, the Horde murdered many Etherians and Eternians before they were done, and they are but one of many that would be all to happy to once more take what is not theirs to wield wisely, the Sorceress and I safeguard these places against them, but we can only do so much," again the pillar dimmed. In the face of so many truths in her head, Adora finally pulled the name of the being out of her memory.
"You're...you're Light Hope aren't you?" she felt the warmth wash over her again. All the old stories now blazed complete in her head. She saw it all so clearly, they still held so much sway with her family, but others just treated them as old tales now. If they found concrete evidence of it, how soon before the Council or others in the Republic government began to tear Eternia and this world apart to get at the wells of power?
"You must carry the burden and make sure no one learns of what can be found here, I cannot hide Etheria itself, but the statues and memorials can be forgotten, they will persist, but only for us," the voice did not sound happy with this and Adora agreed, but she also saw the dangers now.
"I am sorry it could not be better for you, of all families, you deserve to know the truth," Adora shook her head suddenly. Just as the wider world of Eternia had begun to move on from He-Man, so had her family. Only a few branches still claimed the people in the stories had been real, and even in those He-Man and She-Ra were considered simply legend.
"I was so happy to know they were real, to know that it was not all just invented..." her voice trailed off into tears as she knew her time was ending here. No one would believe her, not her possible future children or anyone. It would just be another story if ever discovered.
Light Hope suddenly blazed, his light making the chamber hard to look at. She felt something massive in the room with them suddenly, something beyond comprehension to her. As suddenly as it had begun, it ended.
"Adora, for your courage and sacrifice I looked through the streams of time, you earned this one thing I can tell you," his voice sounded strained, but there was laughter in it, "one day your descendants will see them again, He-Man and She-Ra will return in Eternia's greatest need."
She saw it then, the vision he had seen. Buildings that blinked with just as many lights as now were filling the night sky reaching like elongated fingers far above the streets and people. They were across fields and forests as two figures stood before Castle Grayskull.
Blonde hair to his shoulder, massive arms and legs giving away his identity even more than the leather cross guard and loin cloth with fur topped red boots, was He-Man. His massive sword sheathed on his back and a red armored green Eternian tiger at his side, Battle Cat.
Next to him stood a woman who looked so similar to him she had to be his relative. Her back length blonde hair framed her pale faces as a crystal tiara held it all back. A strapless white bodice was enclosed with a golden wire bird design as her thigh length skirt nearly met the knee high red boots. Her own slimmer sword seemed a twin to He-Man's.
She-Ra stood alone, no sign of her own steed Swift Wind in the vision. Both heroes looked at the cityscape with sad glacial and blue eyes. As it faded, Adora felt tears trailing down her face, of joy. She had really seen them!
"But Light Hope, why would they be needed again?" the question escaped her lips before she really thought it through. Without pause he told her the reason the Champions would return. Adora began to scream in horror.
Adora kept her word to Light Hope. She also swore to keep the stories alive to her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren if she could. Time marches forward on Eternia, ghosts of the past are not so easily shaken and old wounds will be reopened.
Castle Grayskull once again stands over all the histories of Eternia, and safeguards all its hopes.