Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Brave New Eternia or Etherian Epitaphs - Act One

Vol. 1, Episode #1

Act One

Dusk approaches, bringing with it an unsettling calm that has rested upon the surface of planet Eternia, like dust after a battle. The music of life and vibrancy that once filled the Evergreen Forest has been replaced by the death knell that is deafening silence—the caged bird without its song. In spite of the breath of life that fills it, the Mystic Mountains remain in suspended animation, like ghosts frozen in time, above the clouds. Not even the Sea of Rakash or the Ocean of Gnarl begs to offer a wave. Even the plumes of molten lava that permeate actively above the Dark Hemisphere have been quieted—the smoke without the sizzle—despite its high level of occupancy from Snake Mountain. The Royal Palace, nestled in the center of the city of Eternos, which is always booming with busy bodies, has retreated into itself. One particular place, Eternia’s most magical, continues to thrive. Always stirring, never stopping, and ever vigilant, the Castle Grayskull stands—clinging to the last of its murky lime exterior that the light offers.
Within the walls of this haunted stone edifice, its keeper patiently examines the living portraits, suspended in mid-air; pictures that record only the most significant events of the planet’s history. The breath-taking depictions are so life-like that they make the viewer feel as if they are a part of the memory—the ghost inside the film. Today, the Sorceress, in all of her ethereal grace, clings to these paintings like a sacred artist; however, admiration and pride have taken aback to miscalculations and trepidation. As the images and landscapes fight to come alive within the canvas, the Sorceress clasps both hands around her staff, bracing herself against it. The Sorceress listens intently, as she hears her own voice narrate this particular event, which is due to the fact that it occurred during her tenure as guardian of Grayskull.
Peace—however, brief, can only be appreciated during times of great sorrow…
As the Royal Family of Eternia welcomes its first heirs, fraternal twins, a boy and a girl, a vision of the great warriors of the Prophecy revealed itself. Unfortunately, I was not the only one who felt the significant importance of these births; thus, prompting me to reach out, for the first time, in my true form, to the greatest ally of the guardians of Grayskull throughout the ages…
“Congratulations, your majesties. They are…” before the youthful Duncan, known as Eternia’s Man-At-Arms, could finish his sentence, the Queen, elated, interjected.
“Just like you, my love,” the newly crowned King of Eternia added, gracing his wife’s forehead with a kiss, as she lie in bed, exhausted from labor, nestling the twins between her. Before the Queen could close her eyes to rest, the maternal instinct within forced her to question the security of the latest additions to her family.
“Duncan, are you sure that newly formed barrier you created will keep Keldor at bay?”
“Queen Marlena, all of the tests I’ve recently conducted have concluded that the wall is nearly impregnable. Even our largest photon canons failed to put a crack in it,” the Man-At-Arms reassured her.
“The wall’s durability truly speaks to your genius, my friend,” the King Randor complemented.
“With all due respect, your highness, a part of me cannot take full credit for the invention that created it. It’s as if the Elder’s themselves were guiding my hand, and the discovery of the rare minerals used to power the device was pure luck. The entire experience felt almost mystical,” Duncan concluded.
“Thank God you and your incredible mind is on our side,” Queen Marlena spoke with admiration and gratitude.
“God? As in only one, my dear,” Randor asked puzzled. The Queen looked upon her husband with an assuring nod accompanied by a smile. “I keep forgetting that your home world of Earth has many strange beliefs.”
Unscathed by her husband’s ignorance, Marlena stated “Home is wherever you, Adam and Adora reside.”
“Home is Eternia, now a place of peace, no longer burdened by unnecessary conflict like the Great Unrest. Nothing like that will ever tear my family a part, again. I swear it! By the house of my father…”
“But sire, you’re the father of your own house now,” Duncan added.
“Right you are, Duncan.”
“If your majesties need nothing else of me, I would like to post extra guards around the perimeter, so my Queen may rest a bit more comfortably.”
“Thank you, friend,” Randor said.
“Yes, thank you Duncan,” Marlena added.
Man-At-Arms nodded and removed himself from the Royal Family’s bed chamber, but as he began to make his way through the corridor to the guard station, something hauntingly familiar caught his eye. Perched in the sill of the window, still as a statue with a dead-pan stare, a creature of the Evergreen Forest appeared. The falcon was breath-taking in hues of blue, white, and orange, but the royal weapon’s master knew this winged-messenger of the forest. The bird was ever vigilant and most determined to help Duncan locate the rare resources needed to build the device, which would create the wall. At first, Man-At-Arms believed the aid of the beast to be divine intervention on behalf of the nature gods, such as the Moss Man, or the Elders themselves; however, a part of the heroic warrior felt connected intimately to this creature. Before he could give thanks to his feathered friend, the silhouette of a rare Eternian beauty appeared before Duncan. If Queen Marlena gazed upon her, she would think the woman to be an angel, based upon Earth standards, as she glowed, wrapped in wings adorned in a falcon head-dress. The angel spoke.
“Danger… Extra guards will not be enough. Bring the infants to…” but the winged-one was too late. The ghostly image vanished along with the falcon, as the Royal Palace began to shake from being bombarded by devastating blows. Trapped in a momentary state of confusion between the woman and the blast, Duncan stood still until another attack forced him to move. Racing towards the window where the falcon once sat, Man-At-Arms looked on in terror, as his worst fears became realized. There was no time for self-doubt, or to beat himself up with unanswerable questions of how or why and with what. The brief passing of time had yet to wipe the memory of their faces from Duncan’s mind, and though he could not see all of Keldor’s forces, he knew the villain brought more allies than just Evil-Lyn and Mer-Man.
Man-At-Arms placed his hand against the wall, to the left side of the window, revealing a monitor to read his heat signature. As the green light concluded its scan, the wall adjacent to the window revealed itself to be a complete weapon’s rack. Duncan gripped the double-photon blaster in both of his hands, and began to fire upon the interlopers, after signaling the entire Royal Guard. He ceased fire for only a second when a great shadow began to cast itself through the sill. A shuttering chill ran through his bones, as the two enormous, yellow-eyes peered back at him. As the crimson-skinned, snake-like creature with flailing tentacles began to exhale from its nostrils, Duncan quickly stepped back, turned, and ran. The beast burst through the wall, scaling after its prey.
“Mer-Man, I am impressed,” the mistress of night uttered sardonically. “I didn’t know you could control one that big.”
“The Spidersaur and I…”
Before the foul-fish could complete his line, Evil-Lyn cut him off with “…obviously met after you lost your undersea kingdom.” The witch began to chuckle, as Mer-Man drew his sword from his waist. Laughter turned to an earnest stare, as Evil-Lyn’s eyes began to glow in wicked hues of indigo and violet. As the two evil warriors prepared to face off, the royal guard abandoned their initial posts, and began to charge towards the vile ones, weapons in hand. “Let me show you real power, Mer-Man,” Evil-Lyn uttered despotically. The witch began to twirl her elongated crystal ball staff, and the air grew still, as the incantation ruminated from her dark lips.
            By the power of darkness,
            Let evil be done—
            And see my face,
            In the eyes of everyone…
The dark echo of the last line brought the spell to life, and the royal guards began fighting amongst themselves ruthlessly, believing they were combating the witch herself. Evil-Lyn and Mer-Man glided past the guards with ease, as the witch gloated about the perfection of her magic. “What a waste of a brilliant spell on such less-than-worthy adversaries. It’s too bad we don’t have the Defenders of Eternia to thrash…” Suddenly, Mer-Man was knocked to the ground, and just as Evil-Lyn turned around, the witch was greeted by a golden club, courtesy of Eternia’s own living periscope.
“Happy now,” Mer-Man bubbled, as he and his ally both lay sprawled across the dirt, gazing at one another.
Meanwhile, within the royal bed chamber, the newly formed Royal Family was greeted by something much worse than Evil-Lyn, Mer-Man, or a Spidersaur.
 “Did you really think a Mystic Wall could contain me? But, I do give you credit for trying, Captain Randor,” the dark figure spoke, shrouded in a blue cloak whilst pointing his double-edged sword toward the Royal Family. Marlena stood by her husband’s side, as the twins, though safely nestled in their cradle, began to whimper softly.
“It’s King Randor now, Keldor” his royal majesty spoke, unsheathing his sword.
“King? KING?! Tell me, Captain, how does the second born heir to Miro’s throne bequeath himself such a luxurious title?” Keldor harkened.
“When the first born heir is a traitor to his own planet,” King Randor returned.
“Traitor? I… But it is of no consequence, see I too have a new title, and a new name,” Keldor raptured. “Behold! I am Skeletor! Overlord of Evil, and the last face you will ever bear witness to.” In that moment, Skeletor disrobed his cloak, revealing a hollowed-skull, which once was covered by flesh as well as a hulking new battle armor. Just as Skeletor prepared to strike, Man-At-Arms burst through the chamber doors, still being chased by the Spidersaur. Before Skeletor could react, Duncan leaped above his head, kicking the skull-face in the path of the creature’s elongated jaws, and without warning, the beast chomped down. The Spidersaur shook for a moment, as if digesting a Windraider.
“I hope Keldor will be enough to sate the beast,” the Queen uttered.
“He’s looking a little boney these days,” Duncan replied sarcastically.
Before victory could be claimed, or laughter for that matter, the creatures facial tics went from expressing digestion to disruption. The half blade of an axe as well as the tips of the double-edged sword began to reveal themselves past the head of the Spidersaur, and within seconds, Skeletor burst through the back of the beast, evoking a mad laughter. “No walls can contain Skeletor, mystic or otherwise,” and with that, the Overlord leapt towards his enemies with a fury never before seen. Man-At-Arms prepared to fire the double-photon blaster, but Skeletor was too fast, slicing through the weapon with his sword, which he allowed to fall, sticking into the ground, before Duncan’s feet. As the weapon’s master grabbed the sword of Skeletor, the dark lord charged a yellow energy around his battle axe, and swung; thus, shattering Duncan’s armor as well as knocking him through the palace wall. Randor readied his blade between his eyes, but before he could strike, Skeletor’s battle axe sliced down the middle of the metal.
Taking advantage of the fear-filled faces that accompanied the king and queen, Skeletor grappled them both, by their throats, squeezing, as he lifted them simultaneously off the ground. “Death would be too great a reward for the both of you. I’d rather you live with the killing pain of daily suffering,” Skeletor decreed. As the husband and wife remain in mid-air by his hand, Skeletor peered between the two bodies to discover the cradle.
“Do whatever you wish to us, Skeletor, but I beg you, leave the children in peace,” Queen Marlena released, barely breathing.
“They are innocent, Keldor. Br… please…” Skeletor’s grip tightened before the first word of the second sentence could escape Randor’s lips completely.
“The Royal Family of Eternia at the mercy of Skeletor. This is rich! You may proceed with your begging and pleading. How I do enjoy it. Oh King Randor, why so blue?” Skeletor quipped, tossing the nearly strangulated couple to his left. The two clenched their throats, coughing and inhaling as much oxygen as allocated. “The future heirs to the seat of Eternia are innocent, now. But, in time, they will grow, and probably be an even bigger nuisance to me than their father. In order to complete my conquest of this planet, all threats, present and future, must be eliminated!”
Realizing Skeletor would show no mercy to their children, King Randor and Queen Marlena stood ready to defend them, but the Overlord of Evil could not afford such distractions. Utilizing his talents of the magic, Skeletor animated the scattered weapons, both broken and still intact, to spin and swirl in mid-air ready to strike down the royal couple if need be. Skeletor then lifted the now screaming infants from their cradle, as a wave of water, rose up to the gaping hole Man-At-Arms created in the wall, carrying Mer-Man. Glancing over at his slain beast, Mer-Man lamented, “What happened?”
“An unfortunate accident I’m afraid. You should better train these creatures from the deep, Mer-Man, and remind me to thank Hordak for the spell that created this armor. It not only allowed me to pierce that accursed Mystic Wall, but it also protected me from an unfortunate accident of my own,” Skeletor sarcastically slithered out. Bound by fear, the fallen sea king bowed his head. “Where is Evil-Lyn?” Skeletor demanded.
“Handling Ram Man and Mekaneck,” Mer-Man replied.
“Good. I am ready to go. Summon Beastman to the rendezvous point. We cannot afford any distractions,” Skeletor ordered. Placing the infants within the pool of water that coated the floor, singular waves raised up to carry them, and just before a massive wave would wash away the evil ones from the bed chamber, Skeletor retorted, “Before I bid the king and queen farewell, I leave you with a gift.” Skeletor produced a small metallic box from his belt, and struck it to the ground. “From one traitor to another, the punishment of all defectors to the dimension of Despondos, the Creeping Horak! The Horak will grow and grow until it consumes a thousand souls, and I’ve selected you two to be the first on its list. Enjoy!” As the Horak began to ooze forth from its container, Skeletor forced the weapons that kept Randor and Marlena at bay to fly, and thrust the royal couple against the wall.
  Elsewhere, the Lord of Avion, Stratos, carries an injured, but resilient Man-At-Arms across the sky. “Thank the Elders you were just arriving as Keldor—I mean, Skeletor blasted me through that wall,” Duncan spoke with gratitude.
“Skeletor? Anytime Man-At-Arms, but are you sure we should be flying to the barrier you created? You’re hurt. Perhaps we should return to the Royal Palace and…” before Stratos could finish, the Eternian weapon’s master cut him off.
“There’s no time. The Palace has fallen, and the king and queen as well as the prince and princess may all be… But I can’t allow Skeletor’s reign to persist. I must take a stand, and drive him back beyond that wall, even if it means sacrificing my own life to do so.”
“Then, I have no choice but to make a stand with you friend.”
“No Stratos. As proud as I would be to have you fight by my side once again, I am not too proud to realize I am injured, and may not succeed; thus, I need you to return to the Palace, scrape together what heroic warriors are left, and prepare a second line. You will be Eternia’s last hope.”
“Though I do not wish to leave you, I will do as you ask.”
The unsung bravery of these heroic warriors broke my heart, and forced me to make a terrible decision…  
“Forgive me Ancients and Elders, but I must break my promise to protect this castle, and all its secrets. The brief vision of peace has been shattered, and unforeseen events have forced my hand. Grayskull, reveal unto me a way to travel beyond these walls with my power!” The castle began to shake, as a crystal emerged from beneath its bowels. The castle then began to speak.
“Keep the Crystal of Alanar close to you, Teela’Na. The crystal is the only link to your power outside this castle, but only for a short while. As the crystal’s power fades, so shall your own, and if you do not return within the walls of Grayskull before the crystal’s power is gone, you too will fade and cease to exist.” With gratitude, the Sorceress accepted the terms of the arrangement, and took wings to aid Man-At-Arms.   
At the far edge of the Evergreen Forest, a minor tear in what Skeletor called the Mystic Wall reveals itself as well as his minion, the Beastman. In the company of his Shadow Beasts, Beastman awaits the arrival of his master, but unbeknownst to him, an injured Man-At-Arms waits in the bushes nearby. Bracing his mace, preparing for the perfect opportunity to strike, Duncan’s focus is distracted by the re-appearance of the falcon above now perched on a branch. As the falcon descends, Man-At-Arms watches the bird transmogrify itself from creature to woman, but the female in question is one he has seen before.
“Greetings heroic Eternian weapon’s master, I am the Sorceress of Castle Grayskull…”
“You were the one that tried to warn me of Skeletor’s attack, and you also helped me locate the resources I needed to build the wall. Sorceress? Grayskull? Well, at least that explains it, but why have you come? Legends say the Sorceress cannot leave the castle,” Duncan questioned.
“The legends do not lie, but strange times allocate special exceptions. I’ve come to help you finish what we initially set out to do, and drive Skeletor back behind the wall. In order to accomplish this task, you need to be at your best,” and after she spoke, the Sorceress raised her hand, healing the wounds of the heroic warrior, and gave him new armor for protection.
 “Thank you, Sorceress. Before we enter this battle please tell me…”
“The king and queen are safe. Mekaneck, Ram Man and Stratos have found them, but the Creeping Horak Skeletor unleashed upon them continues to devastate the Palace. That’s all I can see.”
“What of the twins?”
As the Sorceress began to unveil their fate, a quiet stream flowing through the forest began to rage like a flood, and materializing from the pool stood Skeletor accompanied by Evil-Lyn, Mer-Man as well as the twin infants. Skeletor began dishing out orders. “Mer-Man, return to Snake Mountain and ready the device to shatter the rest of this putrid wall. Evil-Lyn and I will prepare these insignificant infants for their journey, whilst Beastman stands guard here.”
“Why has Hordak taken such a special interest in these two tiny babies anyway Skeletor?” Evil-Lyn asked.
“Dear Evil-Lyn, when you are in the service of Hordak you do not ask why, you just obey, and as long as he enriches my power with his own I will ask no questions. Besides, knowing the pain and misery the twin’s absence will cause Randor is an added bonus, and as future ruler of Eternia, all interferences must be eliminated.”
“I wonder how Hordak feels about your ambitions to conquer the planet he himself desires?” Evil-Lyn riddled sardonically. 
“Tempt his bat-ear, and I will send you to a place that makes Despondos look like a day at the Rakashian shore,” Skeletor threatened.
Suddenly, a falcon burst from the greenery, creating the perfect distraction for Man-At-Arms to grab the twins, who were now wrapped in Skeletor’s blue cloak. As Duncan began to run back into the forest, a purple blast from Evil-Lyn’s staff greeted his back, causing the master to toss the infants in the air. The falcon cleverly swooped down to retrieve the children, and placed them within an already assembled nest atop a tree. Diving back down in the woods, the bird returned to her human form, preparing to aid Duncan who was now surrounded by Shadow Beasts.
“Get those infants…” Skeletor commanded, as Evil-Lyn prepared to move through the shadows up the tree. The Sorceress observed the dark witch scowling the branches, and before she could aid her friend, she charged at Evil-Lyn, knocking the mistress of night onto the ground.
“I don’t know how you recovered so quickly Man-At-Arms, but I guarantee this time, you will regret these heroics,” Skeletor threatened.
“As long as good exists on Eternia, there will always be a Man-At-Arms to confront you, Skeletor” Duncan retorted heroically, in spite of the dire circumstances surrounding his present situation.
“Yes, I count on it. ATTACK!” Skeletor prompted, and his vile minion, the Beastman, released a hideous growl that commanded the creatures to finish the job. Saliva began slipping out the sides of the Shadow Beasts’ mouths, as they closed in, longing for the taste of blood. From the forest, without warning, Evil-Lyn emerged. Gliding backwards in the air, the witch broke the circle that surrounded Man-At-Arms, who quickly took the offensive, slamming his mace into everything that blocked his path to Skeletor. Beastman untethered his black whip, and retrieved Man-At-Arms mace, but the weapon’s master used equal and opposite pressure to flip the brute and take it back. Though the Sorceress feared a heavy spell would drain the crystal to half strength, she did not think twice, as beams of light began to burst from the ground beneath the clawed feet of the Shadow Beasts, causing them to circle mid-air, and then, crash concurrently into their master, forcing the small army to retreat.
Whilst Duncan dodged the battle axe Skeletor wielded, an intrigued Evil-Lyn observed her opponent display signs of weakening after the spell, and always the opportunist, she took advantage of the situation. “I did not know the Defenders had a magician in their ranks,” the witch remarked.
“There are many things you do not know, Evil-Lyn, but I will teach you,” and with that, the Sorceress produced a staff of her own, then lunged at the dark mage, overpowering her not just in magic, but might as well. As Skeletor shattered his mace, Man-At-Arms prepared for the next blow to pierce his chest again, but the Sorceress used her staff to block the attack. “You will never succeed, Skeletor.”
“Yes, I will!” Skeletor combated, but only after seeing out of the corner of his eye, Evil-Lyn emerge, and blast Man-At-Arms, then overpower the Sorceress from behind. Now, trapped and bound, Duncan to a tree, and the Sorceress entangled in a mystic web that drained her power, Skeletor began to postulate. “I’ve heard tales that the Castle Grayskull is guarded by the legendary falcon, Zoar, but you must be its counterpart. Tell me Sorceress, are the stories true? Does Grayskull possess a power that rivals the Elders?” The Sorceress refused to answer. “You’re silent tongue tells me everything I need to know. After I destroy the Hall of Wisdom, and wipe those wretched Elders off the face of the planet, I will be dropping by.” Evil-Lyn’s magic began to reach out, and bring the infants from the nest to her feet. “But just in case,” the dark one stretched out blue-skinned arm, and began preparing a spell.
From out of nowhere, a silver axe gliding through the air pierced the magical connection’s Skeletor and Evil-Lyn were invoking. As the nest began to fall, Evil-Lyn leapt with her arm out-stretched to gather the infants, but the witch was quickly kissed by a large fist that drove her back through the opening in the Mystic Wall. A muscular, bare-chested, brown haired brute emerged from the woods after placing the nest on the ground, as his axe returned to his hand. The brute spoke.
“Release the woman, and fight me you skull-faced coward.”
“With pleasure ape man, and after I conquer you I will allow Beastman to take you as a slave,” Skeletor replied.
“I am no beast. I am Oo-Larr, the He-Man, and I will crush your bones before I am a slave.” Oo-Larr and Skeletor began clashing battle axes, creating thunderous sounds. The Jungle He-Man eventually overpowered the Evil Lord of Destruction, by not only dismantling his axe, but destroying his battle armor. On Oo-Larr’s third strike, the vest shattered, and a gash in Skeletor’s meek blue skin presented itself. Beaten, Skeletor barely rose to his feet when the He-Man threw his most powerful punch, plunging the evil one back to the Dark Hemisphere. The Sorceress, immensely drained, was freed from her magical entanglements upon her captors exit. Oo-Larr broke the chain that bound Man-At-Arms, and before platitudes could be exchanged, the master of weapons raced over to the nest, and discovered two happy infants cooing.
“Thank you, Oo-Larr, for coming so quickly. I know you were a bit tired after battling with Gygor,” a voice from the sky spoke. Then, a green-skinned woman, wearing crimson snake armor, holding a cobra headed staff, descended.
“Goddess, thank you for the aid,” the Sorceress said.
“Goddess?” Duncan uttered puzzled. He then turned to Oo-Larr to thank him, but the brute walked on with little regard to Man-At-Arms.
“Goddess, if my duties are done, I would like to return to the jungle,” Oo-Larr beckoned.
“Of course, and as for you, Teela’Na, be thankful I do not beseech both councils as well as the Cosmic Enforcers to strip you of your powers and post.”
“I do not understand. Why are you angry with me?” the Sorceress questioned.
“Because of your little field trip outside the walls of Grayskull, Gygor, evil gorilla lord of the Vine Jungle, mounted an assault that almost costed us the castle. Oo-Larr and I could have aided this Man-At-Arms, as I and the He-Men have done for countless ages, but you do not think like a true guardian of Grayskull. Instead, you acted tempestuously, following the impulses of your fool-warrior heart. But, the prophecy has not been shattered, and that is the only factor that saves you now.” The Goddess’ words were stern, but true. She then extended her cobra-headed staff, releasing an orb of emerald, static energy that filled the gap Skeletor had left. Piece by piece, the shards of the Mystic Wall reassembled themselves until the last space filled revealed Evil-Lyn, smirking, as she cradled an infant to her bosom. The last shard clicked into place, and even the Goddess’ heart filled with remorse. The Sorceress looked on, but Duncan seemed at peace.
“Everything’s alright, Adam and Adora are safe. Look,” he cried out, revealing two infants within the nest. The Goddess stood next to the Sorceress, as they surrounded the cradle of sticks and twigs.
“That is not the child of the prophecy,” the Goddess said, as she raised the baby girl in her arms.
“That’s not Adora?” Man-At-Arms questioned, as the Sorceress retrieved the infant from the Goddess.
“This is what Skeletor meant…” the Sorceress whispered faintly, tears clouding her eyes.
            “If this is not Adora, then…” Man-At-Arms raced to the wall, punching it as hard as he could, watching the shadow of Evil-Lyn grow smaller and smaller. “Open this wall NOW!” Duncan commanded to the Goddess.
            “I cannot. If the Mystic Wall is breeched now, the prophecy will be shattered, and all of Eternia will be lost. I will not sacrifice the fate of an entire planet for one child, regardless of its birth right. The boy is our only hope now.”
            “Skeletor sought the power of Grayskull, and what better way to ensure his victory, then having his own Sorceress at his disposal,” the guardian spoke.
            “Are you saying he mystically impregnated you? How will I explain this to the king and queen?” Duncan spat.
            “You will explain nothing. The king and queen can never know of the special destiny that awaits their son. As for the girl, give her this on her sixteenth birthday,” The Goddess handed Man-At-Arms her weapon, and explained. “The Staff of Ka will aid this one alongside the next He-Man. It will help her unlock her true potential, until the day destiny summons her to take your place, Teela’Na.”
            “Yes,” the Goddess answered, before the Sorceress could soften the blow. “The Sorceress must protect the castle at all costs, especially to avoid another tragedy like today. Trust in my wisdom, Man-At-Arms. No other on this planet has the potential to father this child than you. Before I depart, Teela’Na, I have a job for you if you think you can handle it.” The Sorceress did not answer with words, but a slight nod, and in turn, the Goddess materialized a small, metallic box. “The Creeping Horak was just about to devour your new friends, but the situation was contained. I would banish the evil myself, but I have urgent business on Trolla.” Teela’Na held the container tight, as the Goddess vanished from plain sight. Remorseful, she turned to Duncan, who had already begun to make his way back to what’s left of the Royal Palace. He heard her cry out, but continued to traverse the Evergreen Forest.
            “Duncan, please…” the Sorceress released, as she began to fade in and out of existence.  
            The Royal Palace of Eternia was barely recognizable, and all that remained among the ruins of pillars blanketed in smoke and fire, were the broken people that lie in its wake. With the moons aligned, the Overlord of Evil sought to carry out that which was already put in motion, and as long black, fingertips arose from the Well of Darkness, Evil-Lyn felt a chill go through her bones, as the wails of mothers of missing children filled the air. The Living Picture turned dark, and removed itself in place of another, as the Sorceress began to cry the same tears she did that day.

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