The Saga of Eternia

Volume Two

"The Coming Of Evil"

Part Two

By Casey Gilman

"Wow...what a mess," Orko said in awe as he looked over the remains of what used to be a dining hall. Beast Man and his forest savages were gone thanks to Skeletor's magic, but many injured soldiers, as well as some not so fortunate soldiers, lay strewn about the devastated room looking like the toy army men in Orko's bedroom. Prince Adam had ordered the entire staff of palace medics to attend to the wounded and the deceased, while he went off to make sure his pet and friend, Cringer, was alright. Duncan had moved quickly to his workshop so he could try to conjure up a miracle to save the king, the queen, and his own daughter. That left Orko to survey the damage to the palace.

The surroundings had suffered just as much as the soldiers. Great tapestries that had hung on the walls for ages were now shredded. Beautiful oaken tables and chairs were now kindling. Fine china that had been handed down for generations was smashed. Even the unfathomably expensive hard marble floor had deep scratch marks in some places, making Orko wonder just how powerful this new evil was that had been unleashed upon Eternia.

Orko had seen about all there was to see in the dining hall, so he decided it was time to head out and make his way towards the entrance. He and Adam and Duncan had already been through the palace briefly, so Orko knew that the dining hall was damaged the most. He knew he'd probably be done soon and couldn't wait to go help Duncan beat the evil wizard.

However, just as he was leaving, something on the floor caught the small magician's eye.

"Wow! My Golden Klunker!" Orko yelled in delight. He picked it up, and saw that one of the forest savage's claws had shredded part of the air duct causing the orb to fall out.

"At least SOMETHING good came out of this!" Orko said optimistically as he hovered out of the room.

* * *

Adam hurried through the halls of the palace, searching frantically for his feline friend. Knowing how timid Cringer was, Adam suspected that he'd hid somewhere at the very first hint of Skeletor's coming. Adam prayed that he hadn't hid somewhere that Skeletor's troops could have found him and slain him easily. Even more troubling was the fact that if Cringer was hurt, there was a chance that his blood would be on Adam's hands.

Sure, the evil battalion arrived at the palace and begun the battle before Adam returned with Duncan and Orko, but had it been the mighty He-man warrior that had returned instead of Adam, some of the damage might not have been done. Some of the soldiers' injuries might have been prevented. Some of their deaths...

Adam couldn't think about it. He tried to block it out of his mind by focusing on his search. Then he saw a quivering mound of blankets and sheets in the washroom. He removed them, uncovering his frightened friend.

"Don't kill me! I wanna keep all nine of my lives!" Cringer shrieked in terror.

"It's only me, Cringer," Adam tried to calm him down.

"Sorry, I thought you were one of the monsters that everyone said were in the palace,"said Cringer.

"The monsters are gone, but they've beaten a lot of our soldiers, and kidnaped my parents and Teela," Adam explained,"We need to meet up with Duncan in his workshop. We have to find a way to save our friends from Skeletor by sunrise."

"Skeletor?" Cringer asked.

"I'll explain in more detail on the way,"Adam replied as he and Cringer rushed off to Duncan's workshop on the other side of the palace.

* * *

"Where have you taken us, you hideous freak?" Teela demanded to know.

"Your eternal resting place, if you don't silence yourself!" Skeletor snapped back.

The evil wizard had taken them back to his newfound headquarters within the tunnels of Snake Mountain. He had used his magic to create unbreakable chains to separately bind his three "guests", to ensure they wouldn't escape.

"Why do you want this magic object so badly?" King Randor asked.

"That is not your concern!" Skeletor barked,"You'd just better pray that I get it tomorrow morning, or you'll all die!"

A lump formed in Randor's throat. He knew that Duncan had lied to Skeletor in order to buy himself time to come up with some kind of plan. The King knew that Duncan's intellect was unparalleled by the citizens of Eternia City, and that Duncan had been a powerful warrior in his day. Even so, this situation seemed nearly hopeless to Randor. He feared that not even Duncan could find a way to beat this powerful wizard.

* * *

The Sorceress had told them that Skeletor sought to enter Castle Greyskull in order to obtain some sort of power. If access to Greyskull was what he wanted, then why go after this object of magical power? Obviously, it must have something to do with a plan to enter Greyskull's walls, as the castle was rumored to be well-protected by powerful magic from the Sorceress. The fact that Skeletor wanted to meet there a half hour after sunrise, helped to prove this theory. But what is the magical object? The Ruby of Randor was the most powerful magical object in the palace, but it didn't take a genius to realize it was no where near powerful enough to beat the Sorceress's magic. However, Skeletor seemed like he knew what he was doing, and seemed very insistent that such a magical object resided in the palace, so perhaps there was something that not even the royal family knew about.

Duncan looked at the clock in his workshop as he sat in his thinking chair and pondered this whole turn of events. Nearly midnight. Time was running out.

There were three possible solutions. One: They could assume Skeletor was right, and search the palace for the object. Duncan might be able to whip up a device to detect a magical object, however he didn't know much about sorcery, to say nothing about combining science with it. It would take a miracle to create such a device by dawn.

So on to option two: Duncan could build an object to trick the wizard. Perhaps he could rig it to explode when Skeletor tried to break into Castle Greyskull, obliterating him. Once again, Duncan didn't know much about sorcery, and Skeletor would most likely be able to detect whether or not the object was the one the sought, as he must have done with the Ruby of Randor. Also, an explosion could potentially cause harm to the royal family, if they were still in the vicinity.

Duncan would have to use the third option: Find a way to fight Skeletor head on. He'd have to craft some new weapon, some new technical marvel that might have some hope of beating a powerful sorcerer in six hours or less. It would also be wise to construct some sort of armor to defend himself from the wizard's attacks. Duncan had been working on new suits to aid miners, and there was a chance that a few modifications would make one of them battle-ready.

Duncan got set to work.

* * *

In the heart of a deep forest, darkened by the shadows of midnight, Lyn lit the candles set all around the interior of her small hut. Thirteen exactly, just as in countless nights in the past. She knew this spell was probably futile, but the potential rewards it could grant her warranted the task of casting it every single night. Lyn sought something. An evil force, that certain legends and ancient texts predicted would appear on Eternia one day. No one knew when. The chance that it would even occur in Lyn's lifetime was almost nil. But she cast the spell to seek out this evil force every single night, in the faint hope that she would get lucky.

They had called her a witch. They had cast her out of the village of her birth. She decided years ago that she might as well prove them right. The powers of darkness were now her's to command (some of them anyway), but she needed more power.

Lyn knelt down in the center of the candles and closed her eyes as she began to chant softly and pour a small vial of blood on the dirt floor of the hut. Ironically, the villagers who she hated so proved to be an essential supply of magical components that she could tap into whenever she needed to.

As soon as Lyn dropped the fresh human eyeball onto the puddle of blood, the thick red liquid began to bubble and boil. An unholy steam came up into the air, as the boiling blood became so hot that the eyeball melted and mixed in with it. The steam began to changed color. Every night it had turned yellow, meaning that the supposed evil being was not present. Tonight, however, Lyn's luck changed as the thick steam turned coal black.

Lyn's eyes lit up as she realized her devotion had not been in vain. She must make preparations, because she would only get one shot at this.

* * *

Parts snapped together, screws turned, and sockets connected while sweat poured down Duncan's face. He had made the modifications to a mining suit first, because he had a good idea of how to go about it. The second task was much harder, but Duncan could see it nearing completion. The final part was put into place, barely three and a half hours after Duncan had first conjured up the idea in his mind. The fact that he had finished this new invention in such a short time could have meant that some greater power was guiding him...or that he had gotten sloppy due to stress and exhaustion.

But it was done. A small-one handed mace, made completely of metal and plastic with circuitry inside. Besides being a simple blunt weapon, it also had the power to give off enormous electrical shocks. It was just a guess that electricity would hurt the wizard at all; but physical damage and energy were the only things Duncan could come up with, except sorcery.

"There, it's finished," Duncan broke an hours long silence.

"What does it do?" Orko asked. He had been there since right after Duncan thought up the idea, along with Adam and Cringer and all of them had been informed of Duncan's plan.

"It's a mace," Duncan replied,"It can inflict great physical damage due to the dense alloy I used in making it, and it can also give off electrical shocks."

"What's it called?" Orko wondered.

"I haven't had time to come up with a good name," Duncan responded, as he held it up and looked it over.

"What about Wizard Slayer?" Orko suggested.

"Or Suicide Mission," Cringer whimpered.

"The name's not important," Duncan declared,"Now, before I use the few remaining hours of the night to get some much needed rest, I want to tell you all my exact plan. About a half hour before dawn, I will head out with a few soldiers to Castle Greyskull. While I take on Skeletor, the soldiers will help get our loved ones to safety. And Adam, you must stay here no matter what. If something tragic should happen, you'll need to continue the royal bloodline."

"I understand," Adam said sadly. His heart had long since sunk into a murky pit of despair, and he could tell by the way Duncan talked that the inventor knew there would be a great chance of a tragedy occurring this morning. And Duncan was always right.

"Don't worry, Adam," Orko comforted his friend,"I'm sure Duncan will be able to beat Skeletor. In a few hours, everything will be ok again. You'll see."

"Yes," Duncan agreed, though his tone said a different story,"I'm sure it will all be alright. And don't blame yourself about that He-man thing, Adam. This is Skeletor's doing, not yours."

"But if I hadn't been so selfish and skeptical..." Adam started.

"It doesn't matter," Duncan interrupted,"The past cannot be changed. You must learn from your mistakes and prevent tragedies in the present. Now please leave me, all of you. I must rest."

Duncan walked to his small hammock, as the door closed behind Adam, Cringer, and Orko.

"Maybe we should all get a little bit of rest," the prince suggested.

"Good idea," Orko yawned, and floated in the direction of his bedroom, as Adam and Cringer walked off in another direction.

"Where are you going?" Orko noticed it wasn't the direction of Adam's bedroom.

"I'll go tell the acting captain to ready some soldiers for Duncan," Adam realized that in his exhaustion, Duncan had forgot to let any soldiers know about his plan.

"I'm coming, too," Cringer added, "I'm too scared to be alone right now."

* * *

Adam quickly told the acting captain about Duncan's need for a few soldiers. They had all been waiting to hear from Duncan for hours, since Duncan had told them earlier that night not to take any action, and that he would come up with a plan first. Word had also gotten out all around Eternia City about the attack on the palace, the abduction of the king and queen and Teela, and that Duncan was trying to save them. Hence, few were sleeping that night.

Adam wasn't going to sleep, either, as he had told Orko and Cringer. Though Duncan had told the prince to stay in the palace (and Adam usually listened to and obey Duncan), Adam was technically of a higher rank, so he could do whatever he chose to do. Besides, Duncan had said something far more important: "You must learn from your mistakes and prevent tragedies in the present." A determined Adam ran off, followed by his timid tiger, to do just what Duncan's wisdom had suggested.

* * *

"Dawn nears...soon the power will be mine," Skeletor muttered to himself, as he watched the black sky melt into shades of blue from his snake's mouth lookout. The wizard had been craving this power for ages; power whose key lied within Greyskull's walls. Soon it would be his. Whether the object was brought to him in an hour or whether he had to slaughter the royal family and rip the palace apart searching, he would have his power.

Randor heard the wizard's mutterings and wanted to declare him a fool because no such powerful object existed. But he would be signing all of their death warrants, because it would reveal that the wizard had been lied to, and Randor knew there was no way to convince him that the object didn't exist.

"Will you be requiring our services, master?" Beast Man entered the chamber, approached Skeletor from behind.

"You and twenty of your new minions shall accompany me," Skeletor replied,"I should be able to finish this by myself, but after all this time, I don't want to take foolish chances."

"Unbind me, and we'll see how well you can handle me by yourself!" Teela challenged him.

Skeletor turned his head and glared in her direction,"I'm really going to enjoy killing that one."

* * *

Duncan arose from his hammock, only partially rested. In his heart, he hoped that the previous night had been a nightmare, but his mind quickly eliminated that hope.

As he suited up in the high-tech metal suit he prayed that Teela would come out of this alright. Duncan didn't mind sacrificing himself, but his daughter's life was just beginning and he didn't know what he'd do if she were to die.

Duncan picked up his new weapon firmly, his fingers gripping around it and becoming one with it. His eyes became cold, like that of a hardened warrior, as Duncan was reminded of his more adventurous past. The inventor had done his part. Now the Man-At-Arms had to finish it.

* * *

"The time has arrived," Skeletor declared as the blue was invaded by brilliant orange light,"Ready your troops, Beast Man. We'll leave in five minutes."

* * *

The Attack Trak slowed to a halt in front of the foreboding stone bridge which bridged the gap over the great chasm surrounding Castle Greyskull. The five soldiers that accompanied Duncan got out of the back and hid behind the ruins of the Wind Raider. They had not arrived as early as Duncan would have liked, for the inventor had come up with an extra last minute idea. He held this idea in his left hand; a small box which he had experimented with weeks ago, that he realized might come in handy now. Duncan just hoped that Skeletor's desperation would overrule his ability to detect magic.

Suddenly in a blue flash, a portal appeared and spilled out twenty forest savages, followed by Beast Man, Skeletor, and his three captives.

"Do you have the magical object?" Skeletor approached Duncan, not over-looking the fact that Duncan looked ready for battle. It didn't matter; Skeletor was confident that he could beat this man easily.

"Right here," Duncan handed Skeletor the box.

"At last!" Fortune smiled upon Duncan as an anxious Skeletor quickly opened it. He was greeted by a small light bulb that gave off white concentrated light; a new form of energy Duncan had been experimenting with. Skeletor shrieked as the incredibly bright light penetrated his empty sockets and seemed to fill his entire head. He dropped the box, shattering the bulb, but Duncan had already sprung into action.

Skeletor felt energy surging through his chest and into the rest of his body. It hurt a lot, similar to Teela's laser gun the night before, only a hundred times worse. Skeletor dropped to the ground, clutching himself in agony. Duncan would have kept the electrified mace on the wizard, but it malfunctioned and the electricity stopped flowing. Duncan looked at it closely to see if he could quickly fix the problem, but suddenly a magic bolt shattered the mace into metal flakes.

"Treachery!" Skeletor cried out,"Kill them all!"

Beast Man and his savages turned to the hostages to see that five soldiers had been trying to carry them off quietly. The savages quickly charged all eight of them, with the intent to rip their bodies apart. The soldiers raised their weapons and quickly moved in front of their king, queen, and captain ready to fight to the end.

"As for you," Skeletor closed in on Duncan,"I am going to make sure you die VERY painfully! No one double-crosses Skeletor and gets away with it!" The wizard fired a stream of black magic at Duncan, which quickly ripped his makeshift armor to shreds. As his body burned in the dark inferno, a horrible realization came to Duncan: He had failed. Now they were all going to die, and Skeletor was going to head for the palace and tear it apart looking for whatever it was that he wanted. Duncan only hoped that Adam, Orko, and Cringer would survive.

Skeletor focused all of his power at the inventor, concentrating so hard that he failed to notice the forest savages getting squashed by a boulder, or the Power Sword of Greyskull breaking his magical chains and freeing his captives.

"Why don't you pick on someone your own size!" a voice boomed behind Skeletor, as a mighty punch broke the wizard's concentration and sent him reeling to the ground. Skeletor got to his knees and looked up at the man who had just knocked him down. He was a huge man, close to seven feet tall, with long blonde hair and bulging muscles. The man was clad in brown boots and a brown loincloth, with gray leather straps across his chest. This man was the He-man.

"No! It can't be!" Skeletor cried in shock.

"That's right, Skeletor," He-man glared down at him,"I'm putting an end to your evil deeds!"

"I don't know where you came from, but I won't let you ruin me!" Skeletor fired his black magic beam at He-man, but the mightiest warrior on Eternia quickly drew his power sword and reflected it back at the wizard knocking him flat on his back.

"You still have to deal with me!" Beast Man challenged the warrior as he cracked his black leather whip.

"Don't bother! I'll take care of him for ya!" growled a large cat covered with a helmet and an armored saddle, as he pounced the master of the savages.

"Get off of me!" Beast Man howled, as the cat kept him pinned down.

Meanwhile, Duncan had taken refuge behind the Attack Trak, as every pore in his body felt like it was on fire. He had been joined by Teela, Randor, and Marlena, and a fourth companion had just floated towards him.

"Duncan! Are you ok?!" Orko was shocked by the sight of his friend clutching himself in a huddled mass.

"I' fine," Duncan forced the words out,"...told you to the...palace..."

"I was going to," Orko explained,"But I couldn't find Adam anywhere! I was afraid he might be in trouble! And since this is the place where everything seems to be happening this morning..."

"He's not here," Teela explained,"We'll have to worry about him later. I'm going to help this stranger, if there is anything left to help with!"

Teela rushed back to the battle.

"Wait, but isn't that-" Orko started.

"That's...a mighty warrior..." Duncan interrupted.

"I hope poor Adam is ok!" Marlena was worried.

"I'm sure he's fine," replied Duncan as he turned towards Orko,"...probably no where near here."

When Teela got back around the Attack Trak, she found He-Man and his cat standing over Beast Man, with the fallen Skeletor behind them. The five soldiers were just standing in awe at this remarkable warrior.

"Who are you?" Teela wondered.

"I'm He-man, and this is Battle Cat," He-man walked over and extended his arm in a firm handshake,"We're defenders of all that is good and right on Eternia."

"Where did you come from?" Teela asked.

"That's not important," He-man replied,"Let's just say we have strong ties to this castle. It appears our job is finished, so we will take our leave of you, ma'am. I suggest that you hurry, too, and get some medical attention for that brave man who fought Skeletor."

"Do you have a place to stay? I'm sure the King and Queen can fix you up a room in the palace!" Teela offered.

"Thanks, but no thanks," He-man declined,"We prefer to wander the land in search of evil."

He-man mounted the saddle on his mighty feline companion, and they turned to ride away, when the Attack Trak suddenly flew through the air and crashed back to the ground behind them.

"So you DID bring it!" Skeletor was down but not out. He got to his feet and pointed his still smoldering staff towards the shocked group that had been hiding behind the large ground vehicle.

"We didn't bring anything!" Duncan forced out,"We have no...ugh...magic object, Skeletor! You're on a fool's quest!"

"You didn't bring it; that little floating imp did!" Skeletor declared,"Now be a good little imp and hand it over!"

"Yikes!" Orko cried as his treasure orb flew out of a pocket in his robe and flew through the air into Skeletor's hand,"My Golden Klunker!"

"You're the fools!" Skeletor cried out,"You had a relic with unheard of magical power and you didn't even know it!"

"Give me back my Klunker, bone-brain!" Orko shouted but didn't dare make a move towards the evil wizard.

"Yes, give him back his Klunker," He-man dismounted and approached Skeletor threateningly.

"Keep your distance, He-man!" Skeletor warned as he held the orb towards Castle Greyskull,"One move, and I use this orb to destroy your precious Sorceress!"

"You're bluffing!" Duncan cried,"You can't...beat someone as...powerful as her... with that!"

"Ha! You have no idea what I can do!" Skeletor mocked,"You didn't even know you were in possession of such power! Greyskull is mine!"

"I don't think so, Skeletor!" He-man yelled as he ran to pounce the evil wizard. Skeletor was about to make good on his word and fire a magic beam at the castle when a flying rock knocked the orb out of his hand.

"Alright! That was a 500-point shot easy!" cheered a triumphant Orko.

"Good job!" He-man commended as he held Skeletor down.

"No!" the wizard shrieked,"The power was supposed to be mine!"

"You're beaten," He-man told him,"You will need to be punished for your crimes!"

"Ha ha ha! You've got a lot of learning to do!" Skeletor cackled as he vanished from beneath He-man in a puff of smoke. A second smokey burst took Beast Man with him.

"You should have slain him!" Teela cried,"Now he's still out there!"

"Sometime's killing isn't the best way to deal with a problem," He-man informed her,"And if he returns, so will I."

As the mightiest warrior in all of Eternia rode off on his steed (after righting the Attack Trak), Teela laid her father down inside and drove the tired group home.

* * *

"Adam! Thank goodness you're alright!" the prince shared a hug with his parents inside the palace.

"I'm glad to see you're ok, too!" Adam rejoiced,"So I take it Duncan beat the wizard?"

"Actually, my father was beaten, but he's alive and healing in one of the medical chambers," Teela replied,"A strange warrior named He-man showed up and took care of Skeletor."

"I better go see how Duncan is," Adam headed off to the medical facilities of the palace.

"Probably a good idea," Teela decided,"I left him alone with Orko."

* * *

"Thank you again, for bringing me my meal," said a tired and bandaged Duncan as he finished it and set the tray on a table by his bed,"But you really didn't have to stay while I ate."

"But I was afraid you'd be lonely!" said Orko,"Want me to entertain you with another toy soldier battle?"

"No, I think three is all the excitement I can stand tonight," Duncan declined.

"I think you two have seen enough battles today anyway," said Adam as he entered the room.

"So, I take it you changed your mind and sought out a second chance from the Sorceress?" Duncan assumed.

"I had to," Adam confessed,"I mean look at the damage that was done. My parents and Teela could have died. In fact all of you would have died had I been any later. And some of the soldiers who fought and died last night might still be alive if it weren't for my selfishness and skepticism. I'm sorry."

" I'm also not sure how to deal with Skeletor. I'm not sure I can bring myself to kill him,"Adam continued.

"Well, perhaps a more civilized method for beating him will present itself," Duncan suggested,"We'll just have to wait and see."

"So who's up for dessert?!" Orko asked with glee, as he wiggled his fingers and mumbled some magic words. Duncan was greeted with a cream pie flying full speed into his face.

"Orko!" Duncan scolded through a faceful of whipped cream.

"Oops sorry," Orko apologized,"I was trying to make it apple."

The End