Story concept: Eyas Stormwolf

Written by: Eyas Stormwolf

© Eyas Stormwolf

The months of Summer had crawled by slowly under the aching heat of the sun; a season seemingly much hotter than usual. It was as though even the weather had conspired against the Eternian people, whose lives had been affected deeply by the ongoing battles across the land. And yet it was the forces of Skeletor and Hordak who had suffered most in the blazing temperatures; fighting in both hard-defined battle-lines and spontaneous campaigns wherever they encountered each other. Skeletor had been forced to allow Clawful's crustacean army to return to the ocean, simply because their anatomies were ill-prepared for surviving this long out of the water.

Skeletor's replacement troops had been better able to cope with the seasonal conditions, but their numbers struggled against the persistence of Hordak's warriors. And yet the Horde were far from home, their supply-lines easily disrupted. Both sides plundered the stockpiles of the population, raiding towns and settlements frequently.

King Randor had had some success in building a base in the north. The great garrison at Giant's Pass, restored to its former glory by his friend Draji the Dwarf, was now a strong military outpost. Randor had spent the Summer trying to devise strategies with his comrades Fisto and Man-At-Arms. The king had also won the help of many of his allies across Eternia. Collectively they were causing significant disruption to both Skeletor and Hordak's campaigns. But it was not enough to claim outright victory. The Summer had reached its end without the king being any closer to reclaiming the territory he had lost in the south.

The intensity of the Summer had been replaced with an equally oppressive Autumn. The autumnal colours had been swiftly blown away by gales, and almost endless downpours of rain had caused floods in many areas. The Fertile Plains region was now a swamp of mud, making the task of the troops based there practically impossible. Fighting in these torrential storms had ceased almost completely: the opponents held their lines and took as much shelter as they could find. Both Hordak and Skeletor had seen the strategic importance of taking the plains, but still neither had the advantage. The Autumn had been a dire time for the population in the centre of the conflict, for their harvest had been poor and much had been stolen by the combatants.

The Dark Continent had, throughout the course of the year, been more successfully controlled. It had always been a wild and largely inhospitable region, but had generally avoided territorial disputes. That had changed in recent months. Most of the sectors Randor had controlled had fallen to Skeletor, but in truth, the king's control had always been limited to a handful of ports and outposts. Hordak had surged forth from the Fright Zone region and established control of some areas formerly allied to Skeletor. Now the continent was divided randomly between Skeletor's armies and the Horde, with regional commanders ensuring their territories remained the property of their masters. For no apparent reason, however, neither side were able to penetrate the Gwylvos Forest successfully: troops sent into the region disappeared and were never heard of again. Both sides had decided to stay clear for the time being as a result.

Despite the lack of progress in the Southern Continent, Skeletor had actually achieved much more than ever before. He had spent years exploring numerous schemes to breach the defences of Castle Grayskull - always unsuccessfully - but never had he built up enough of an army, or devised a strategy of tactical brilliance, to advance as far as he had this year. He had, largely under the influence or his ghost Scare Glow, completely changed his approach. Some things remained unchanged - he still longed to possess the power contained within the mysterious fortress - but he had learned patience. Instead of throwing himself into ill-conceived schemes, he had surrounded himself with tacticians and listened to their advice. It had conflicted with his arrogant nature, but he had forced himself to change his method, realising that it would benefit him.

He did not have the region he needed to conquer completely under his control yet, but, by the onset of Winter, Skeletor had allowed himself an indulgence by invading the royal palace. Not that it necessitated an invasion in the truest sense of the word; the palace had been abandoned when Randor had headed north. Skeletor also held the city of Eternos, which stood a short distance north of the palace. The city had been evacuated too, but Skeletor did not care. It was easier to walk into places than waste resources on sieges.

Winter was turning into a horrendous, endless blizzard; wet like the Autumn but intensely cold. Thick snow fell most days, but on the plains it rarely settled blanket-like across the landscape. Instead it mixed with the endless mud, churned up into a frozen, dirty vista which spread for hundreds of leagues under the ill-tempered grey sky. Holding the palace and Eternos was now proving to be a great advantage for Skeletor, for it finally gave him two strongholds in which he could garrison his troops. He wondered if, at last, he held a potentially decisive position. His soldiers had decent shelter to return to, while Hordak's remained confined to tents or the barns they holed-up in whenever they had the chance.

Although he was frustrated with the lack of a significant victory against Hordak, Skeletor was in a buoyant mood. He believed that fate had begun to favour him, and recent developments had certainly given him cause to adopt that viewpoint. Even he, with his black heart and self-interest, had been gladdened to learn that Beast Man was not dead. Skeletor had assumed that Beast Man had died when patrolling the borders of the Fright Zone three years ago. It had intrigued him to learn of his lackey's escape.

Beast Man had not come straight back to his former master. He and Stratos had reached the coast before parting, and he had stowed away on a private ship before Hordak's soldiers had caught up with him. Beast Man had been just a shell of his former self; the three years in captivity had taken a huge toll on him. Beast Man had used the Summer months to rebuild his strength and to make his way back to his home territory in the Vine Jungle. He had been replaced as leader of the beastmen, but, having regained his strength, he challenged his replacement. Clan leadership had always been established by brute force by the beastmen, and Beast Man defeated his opponent. Three years without a fight meant victory did not come easily, but he won. Having established his authority, Beast Man had then decided to renew his allegiance with Skeletor. It was the safest course of action, and mutually beneficial.

Now Beast Man stood with others in Skeletor's hierarchy, studying a large map spread out across the table in one of the palace's meeting chambers. Beast Man knew some of his companions; others had joined Skeletor during his absence. Webstor was a masterful strategist whose work with Scare Glow was producing impressive results. Kobra Khan and Clawful were both leaders of powerful armies. The tall and elegant Katja, the new leader of the Clan of the Skull, was a loyal and determined woman. Despite her early failings after being made Levyek's replacement, she had now established her dominance and increased the size and influence of the movement.

It was an impressive team that Beast Man had rejoined, but those here in the palace were not the only members. Trap Jaw and Mer-Man were overseeing matters at Snake Mountain alongside Jitsu. The martial artist had found his freedom several months ago when Randor's troops had been thrown into disarray by Faker posing as He-Man. Jitsu was being moved from one prison to another when his guards were misdirected and ambushed. His location had not been known by Skeletor, so it was simply a fortunate coincidence rather than a co-ordinated rescue mission, but neither Jitsu nor Skeletor was concerned about that. Now Jitsu was back and ready to fight.

Skeletor concluded the meeting, satisfied that his instructions had been understood. He strode from the room and walked through the deserted palace corridors, casting his eyeless stare at the great arches and balconies, the smooth columns and symmetrical balusters. The crustacean army had torn down many of the banners and tapestries which had formerly decorated the palace's great halls, and vandalised many of the statues which lined the corridors, but despite their vulgar lust for destruction, the palace still retained much of its majesty.

Skeletor found himself in the throne room and gazed upon the seat from which his enemy had ruled the kingdom. He paused for a while, staring at the elegantly carved wooden chair, twenty paces ahead of him. Suddenly he strode forward and climbed the steps to the throne. He turned and sat in Randor's seat, reclining casually as he looked at the room from a new perspective.

This is mine, Randor! Skeletor thought to himself. This... all of this... belongs to me! It is my destiny to rule Eternia!

Standing on a snow-covered turret, the Sorceress of Grayskull gazed at the grandeur of the Evergreen Forest. She had stood on this spot many times over the years - thousands of times - often drawing upon the ever-changing view to calm her thoughts. The burdens of her role meant she frequently needed solace, and the beauty of the lanscape usually brought her comfort. Recent events had weighed heavily upon her, and now not even the majesty of the forest could lessen her distress.

The Elders had known - or at least anticipated - that Skeletor and Hordak would succeed in increasing their power. The future was never completely clear, for many possible futures existed; the actual course of events only becoming certain when they took place. The Sorceress had seen glimpses of what might come to pass, and it had troubled her deeply. She knew that the current crisis would not end swiftly. The Elders had seen certain events unfold and had endeavoured to counter, but some of their plans would not come to fruition for several years. The Sorceress wondered if the people of Eternia could survive the years of darkness which looked set to descend upon them.

The Sorceress wondered how things had gone so badly wrong. When Moss Man had taken He-Man into the forest, she had caught a glimpse of a brighter future; a future where the Defender of Grayskull had stood against the onslaught and driven back the enemy. Now she questioned her interpretation of the vision. He-Man was dead. Perhaps it had not been him she had seen. His death had caught her off-guard: she only saw it when she touched his arm as he asked her to conduct his marriage ceremony.

In that brief moment, she had seen him falling from the sky towards a silvery ocean. She had gasped suddenly then, and had to pretend that she was overcome with joy at the prospect of He-Man marrying her daughter Teela. She had done as they had asked, and married them within the walls of Castle Grayskull, before the ancestors and spirits who lived in the fortress. It was with heavy heart that she bid farewell to He-Man the next morning, knowing that she - and her newly-married daughter - would never see the young hero again.

Eternia needed a hero - right now - but the man chosen by the Goddess to fulfil that duty had been slain by one of his closest friends. Stratos had flown far from the Fright Zone on the day of his escape, but not far enough to evade the bats that Hordak had sent after him. They had caught him and infected him with the malevolent serum Hordak had devised; a potion so powerful that it changed the genetic structure and the thoughts of the birdmen it consumed. Stratos had fallen prey to Hordak's magic formula and become a loyal adherent.

Most of the Avians had been affected by the serum. Avion, home city of the birdmen in the Mystic Mountains, was now transformed into a Horde outpost. The survivors of the attack, which had changed so many of their number, had fled. The civilians were safe in the sanctuary of Mairhi Island, guarded by a handful of warriors. Some had intended to join forces with King Randor at Giant's Pass, but the preservation of their own kind had meant this was impossible.

Hordak's birdmen had tried to take on the Giant's Pass garrison, but they were unable to do so. The king's archers were too good at taking them down before they were close enough to attack with their crossbows, and there was also the problem of the rogue dragon who attacked birdmen with unstoppable fury whenever he saw them. Hordak had chosen to use his Avians elsewhere, knowing that Skeletor's hold on the Fertile Plains had become stronger during the Winter.

The Sorceress wondered when a new hero would be found who could achieve what He-Man had barely begun. She did not understand why his life had been taken just at the moment the people of Eternia needed him the most, and the Elders would not give her an explanation. Perhaps they did not know themselves. It all seemed so utterly pointless; such a waste of life. Now her daughter was a widow, and Eternia had lost its son.

The young warrior woman, who shared her mother's name, had fulfilled the duty asked of her by King Randor, and visited his allies to request their commitment to his fightback, but all was not well with her. The death of He-Man had set upon her a terrible melancholy, and her devastation at his loss had not lifted since her return to Castle Grayskull to continue her training. Even the Elders had begun to doubt her suitability to take on her mother's role as Sorceress of Grayskull when the time came.

The Sorceress could not help but worry for her daughter, and she sensed that young Teela might have to take on her title sooner than she would have wished. She had learned so much, but she still was not ready. The Sorceress had been prepared for this task since birth; Teela had been prevented from knowing about her connection to Castle Grayskull for almost her entire life. This was not the way a Sorceress should be brought into the role. Everything was twisted out of order, and the Sorceress disliked the lack of balance intently.

The whiteness of the landscape before her made the Sorceress think of her companions in the far north. Suddenly she sensed pain, and tried to focus on its source. Images formed in her thoughts, and she saw old friends; members of the Council of Grayskull, comrades she known for many years through times of freedom and hardship. The picture gradually became clear in her mind, and instantly tears appeared in her eyes.

Oh no! she thought to herself, dismayed at the scene. Please, not him!

Wiping her face, the Sorceress knew she had to travel to Giant's Pass. Leaning on her staff, she invoked mystical energies. In an instant, the turret where she had been standing was empty.

Two guards stood at the entrance to the small chamber, and they pulled their spears to their sides to allow the Sorceress access as she approached. She nodded at them both in silent acknowledgement before walking past them. The room she entered was underground, so the only light came from a dozen torches spaced evenly around the chamber's walls. The setting was a solemn one and the room was unfurnished apart from eight plain wooden chairs placed against the walls and one plinth in its precise centre. The plinth was draped in a fine blue cloth; neatly embroidered with gold thread along its edges. A wooden frame with carved handles rested upon the cloth.

Randor's body was laid out upon the frame, his head resting upon a pillow and his hands placed across his chest, clutching the grip of his sword of office. Always of great bearing in life, the king looked even more regal in death. As the Sorceress approached, tears welling up in her eyes, she realised that this was the first time she had ever seen her friend looking so peaceful. Finally his burdens had been lifted, and he was free from the hardships which plagued his kingdom. At last he would be able to rest with his ancestors.

Standing beside the king's body in silent contemplation were Fisto and Man-At-Arms. They glanced at the Sorceress as she arrived, but said nothing. The Sorceress walked to Randor's side and placed her right hand upon his, silently wishing him a good journey. Randor's companions stayed silent, maintaining their respectful vigil. Eventually they moved away and sat down on the chairs in the room, their gaze still upon the king.

Time passed and other friends joined them. Draji, the dwarfish warrior and builder who had restored the garrison in which they were now, and Shara the Shapeshifter arrived an hour or so after the Sorceress. All present were surviving members of Randor's secretive Council of Grayskull; a collection of friends and allies who had influenced life on Eternia since the overthrow of Hordak's empire long ago. They had all lost close comrades over the years, but the loss of the king had still come as unwanted and unexpected news.

Eventually the Sorceress decided it was time to speak. Her voice was quiet as she asked how the king had died.

"We suspect foul-play," Man-At-Arms replied grimly. "Randor had been walking in the hills - a respite in the weather had given him the opportunity to leave the garrison for a while - and he set up a temporary encampment at the head of a valley. It was one of his favourite retreats. He had a strong contingent of guards with him, plus his personal staff. We had no reason to suspect he might be in danger."

"My visions have been so confused... so many images vying for my attention," murmured the Sorceress. "I saw none of this. What happened in the hills?"

"No-one saw anything," Man-At-Arms continued. "The guards were all as vigilant as ever, and the camp was never attacked. And yet six men and women of the party fell sick about the same time as Randor. All since died. It would appear that they all drank water from the stream near the camp."

"It seems someone knew of the king's pleasure at resting there and poisoned the water source," added Fisto. "All seven became ill rapidly. The soldiers did their best to bring them back to Giant's Pass as swiftly as they could, but it was too late. Randor and three of the others perished before they returned; the others soon after. We have no idea who did this."

"I shall try to find out," said the Sorceress. "The Elders may reveal the truth to me."

The room fell quiet again and the companions kept each other company as they remembered many years together as friends and allies. All present had seen so much change during the last fifty years. The had witnessed the downfall of King Miro at the hands of Hordak, and seen Eternia fall into an era of despair. The young princes, Keldor and Randor, had led the rebellion as outlaws. Hordak had been too complacent and under-estimated the determination of the princes and their friends. Eventually the Horde met a decisive defeat, and Randor claimed the throne.

There had followed over forty years of relative peace in Eternia. Danger was never absent - and there had been some strong challenges to the king's rule in that time - but Randor had always been powerful and fair. He had surrounded himself with loyal allies who had kept the dangers at bay and built a mighty kingdom. Now that establishment had begun to crumble, as evil forces once again sought power. And now he was gone at the time his people needed him the most.

The silent vigil was broken by the arrival of a guard who stood at the doorway. The soldier caught Man-At-Arms' glance. "Sir," he said in a hushed voice.

The old weapons master acknowledged the new arrival. "Yes, captain?"

"The pyre is ready and twilight is beginning to fall," said the soldier. "With your permission, sir, we are ready."

Man-At-Arms glanced around the room at his companions before answering. "Thank you, captain. Please fulfil your duty."

The soldier turned his head, glancing back towards the room's entrance. He nodded and then stepped aside as eight smartly-dressed soldiers, wearing their ceremonial costumes, entered the room. They stepped lightly but in unison, and four went to each side of the king's plinth. The captain observed from near the doorway, and gave softly spoken instructions. As one, the soldiers lifted the wooden frame upon which King Randor was laid out. They then carried the king's body from the room. The captain turned and marched out after them. The king's friends rose from their chairs and quietly followed.

Hundreds of soldiers, friends and royal staff were waiting outside the garrison in the freezing twilight air. Torches had been lit for the procession, and the eight soldiers marched towards the great stack of timbers which would soon be ablaze. They rested the king on the pyre with great dignity, under the watchful gaze of the assembled throng.

The captain gently removed the king's sword and walked back with it to Man-At-Arms. Holding the weapon horizontally, he offered it to the weapons master. Man-At-Arms grasped the great sword and stepped back.

It was Fisto who had chosen to light the pyre, and he took hold of the torch which was handed to him with the steel gauntlet he wore on his right hand. Slowly he walked around the timbers, reaching out and placing the burning torch against the wood and straw. Soon the pyre was alight, and Fisto stepped back to rejoin his companions.

It did not take long for the pyre to begin to blaze. The crowd remained in place as the flames rose; a great beacon in the darkening sky. The pyre would burn for hours that night, and many of the onlookers would remain outside late into the night despite the Winter's chill.

Standing together, Draji, Shara, Fisto, Man-At-Arms and Teela silently bid Randor their last farewells, grateful that their friend was now free, but distraught at his loss. And in the ever-darkening sky, Teela the Sorceress saw Randor's spirit gaze down upon them, his expression contented and peaceful. Moments later, the ethereal silhouette drifted high into the night to begin his journey to his eternal resting place in the Hall of the Ancestors within Castle Grayskull.

From across the land they arrived at the palace; lords and emissaries from every corner of Eternia; men and women once allied to King Randor. None had answered Skeletor's summons by choice. The skull-faced monster had sent messages requiring their attendance, knowing well that his orders would be ignored. He had then sent his underlings to fetch the people whose audience he sought. As the days had passed, more and more of these leaders were brought before him under duress.

Skeletor wanted to draw attention to himself, and as he sat on Randor's throne, staring at the frightened crowd, he waited impatiently. She would not keep him waiting for long, knowing that he would slay everyone he had brought here if she failed to arrive. The throng was extremely nervous, their normally proud demeanour at formal matters of state noticeably absent. They were not restrained in any way, but they were all prisoners. A vile collection of Skeletor's soldiers stood in rows behind them, supervised by Beast Man and Scare Glow.

There was little space left in the throne room, but all could see Skeletor in his elevated position. He was, despite his irritation at the delay, enjoying the moment. He thrived on the fear he created, knowing that his master plan to bring more land under his influence was taking shape before his very eyes. He had not caused Randor's death - and he still had no idea whether the deed had been done by the Horde or an independent adversary - but now he intended to take full advantage of it. The king's former allies no longer had his support to fall back upon. That structure had now collapsed, and they represented small, vulnerable regions, ready for the taking.

Suddenly there was a flash of mystical energies in the centre of the chamber, and the Sorceress of Grayskull appeared. Her face revealed the anger she felt, knowing the scores of dignitaries in the room were Skeletor's hostages, and their survival depended largely upon how she dealt with the situation.

"At last, Sorceress!" Skeletor announced. "You have been trying my patience!" His voice was loud enough to fill the entire chamber. No-one was going to miss a single one of his words.

"There have been matters to discuss with the Elders of Grayskull," replied the Sorceress.

"You have matters to discuss with me, Sorceress, not tiresome phantoms!" Skeletor snapped. "You know why I have... asked for your attendance?"

"That is for you to explain," retorted the Sorceress.

Skeletor nodded. "Yes, you are right," he stated. "It would seem fate has decided to place me upon the king's throne, would it not?"

"It would appear you have chosen to place yourself on the king's throne," replied the Sorceress.

"Of course, it is no longer Randor's throne," continued Skeletor. "Randor is dead." He turned away and shouted at the crowd. "You hear me? Randor is dead! Your king is gone!"

"Loyalty to him has not died," the Sorceress stated firmly.

"Of course not," replied Skeletor. "It is that loyalty that I intend to claim. All here swore allegiance to the King of Eternia! Now I claim that title, and I expect equal loyalty!"

"You delude yourself, Skeletor!" the Sorceress replied sharply.

"No, Sorceress, I do not," Skeletor retorted. "These emissaries..." - he waved his hand as he spoke - "respect the traditions and customs of Eternia. For many years I have considered such matters to be trivial and pointless. But now... now I have a greater appreciation for such things."

"You appreciate nothing other than your own misplaced self-importance," said the Sorceress.

"Oh no, Sorceress, I appreciate much more than that," said Skeletor. "For example, I appreciate the fact that Randor is dead and has no living heir. And you know what that means must happen to the crown, don't you?"

The Sorceress drew breath sharply. He cannot be planning to reveal this she thought to herself. She spoke quietly when she replied. "The crown must be granted to the closest male relative," she stated.

"So everyone can hear you, please," Skeletor insisted.

"The crown must be granted to the closest male relative," the Sorceress repeated. It was a tradition she knew everyone present was aware of.

Skeletor gripped the arms of the throne. "And who is Randor's closest male relative?" he asked.

"They are all dead," the Sorceress replied sharply.

"Not true!" snapped Skeletor. "I have hidden this secret from the world for many years, but now I am ready to reveal it! No longer need I be ashamed of my past! It is time for my inheritance!"

"You cannot..." began the Sorceress.

Skeletor interrupted her quickly. "I can do whatever I wish, Sorceress! Tell them! Tell everyone here who I once was! Tell them why I have the right to claim the throne!"

The Sorceress leaned on her staff and sighed deeply. "You do not expect people to flock to your side if you do this, do you Skeletor?" she emphasised the name as she said it.

Skeletor shrugged. "If they do not obey, they will die," he stated dismissively. "Now tell them!"

"Skeletor is... was Prince Keldor," she announced to the crowd. There was a gasp as she made the proclamation.

"And now you will call me King!" shouted Skeletor. His remarks were now addressed to Randor's former allies. "I claim the throne of Eternia, and I require your allegiance!" he stated. Slowly he rose from the throne and grasped his sword. He walked towards the nearest emissary. "Do I have your allegiance?" he asked.

"Never!" the man replied defiantly.

Skeletor swung his sword and beheaded the man where he stood. "Fool," he remarked. He turned to the crowd. "Do not make the same mistake, people of Eternia!" he commanded. "I do not need or even wish to kill all of you. I shall allow you to rule your regions - under my close supervision - but you will submit yourself to my rule. The choice is now yours. You declare your allegiance, and benefit from my protection, or you die. You have just seen the idiocy of martyrdom. I trust you will allow that to influence your decisions."

Skeletor walked towards the Sorceress and grabbed her by the arm. "Now, my old adversary, we have other matters to attend to." He marched her from the throne room and into a nearby corridor.

"What do you want now?" the Sorceress hissed.

"All of this... the baubles of high office... the kingdom... they mean nothing compared to what I truly need," stated Skeletor. "Now I am king, I demand access to Castle Grayskull. It is my right!"

"You presume too much, Skeletor," the Sorceress replied.

"We shall delay no longer," Skeletor announced. In the next moment they both disappeared as a flash of energy lit the corridor.

They reappeared on a great open plain, surrounded by the trees of the Evergreen Forest. It was a location the Sorceress knew well and one which Skeletor had come to many times himself, to gaze upon the mighty fortress at its heart, desiring its power. Skeletor had tried many times to devise a strategy to enter Castle Grayskull, but he had always failed. Now he stood, staring at the open ground, a look of utter disbelief etched on the bone of his face.

"No!" he cried aloud. "This is an illusion! I demand..."

"You can demand nothing," the Sorceress replied. "You should have listened when I told you I had matters to discuss with the Elders of Grayskull! The fortress is gone, Skeletor, and it will not return while you threaten it!"

"Impossible!" screamed Skeletor. "I cannot be denied my destiny!"

"You should have learned that you will never manipulate the castle's power for your own evil ends," said the Sorceress. "You may claim the kingdom, but Castle Grayskull's magic is beyond your reach."

"You lie!" retorted Skeletor. "You are the Sorceress of Grayskull. You cannot exist without the fortress. Make it return!"

"I no longer hold that title," the Sorceress said. "I cannot return to the castle as long as I am alive. The Elders insisted that I severed my bond to Grayskull before I came to the palace."

Skeletor glared at the space where Castle Grayskull once stood. Now he was lost for words, incredulous at the emptiness of the landscape before him.

Suddenly the Sorceress began to shimmer as her physical body started to transform into mystical energy. Skeletor glared at her as she slowly ceased to exist. "You still have time to become the man you once were, Skeletor," the phantasmal Sorceress uttered as she became less real. "Your fate can be in your hands!"

"I shall conquer the world, even if it takes my dying breath!" retorted Skeletor. "This is not the end! Eternia cannot exist without Castle Grayskull!"

"The castle will return when it so desires," said the Sorceress. "And now it is time for my final journey. May peace be with you, Keldor."

The Sorceress's ethereal form, now simply beautiful fragments of light moving shapelessly in the air, drifted towards the place where Castle Grayskull had once stood. As her energy reached where the great jawbridge had once been, she vanished from Skeletor's view, passing from one dimension to another.

Skeletor fell to his knees, staring in fury at the snow-covered plain, cursing the ancient fortress with every malevolent beat of his blackened heart.

Castle Grayskull seemed no less real than it had before as the Sorceress's energy drifted through its corridors and staircases. She was no longer in control of her form; the castle was controlling her. She passed many familiar sights as the fortress's magic pulled her. Eldor's phantom smiled kindly at her as she passed him; one of hundreds - thousands - of spirits who existed in the castle's great vortex of energy.

For many years she had served as the Sorceress of Grayskull, taking on the role as a young woman even before her friendship with Randor. For fifty years she had guarded the castle's secrets and kept watch over the chosen heroes of the Goddess. She had fulfilled her duty with distinction, but now she needed to rest. She had awaited her journey to the Hall of the Ancestors with excitement for many years, knowing that one day she would finally be at peace. And yet it was not to the Hall that the castle's magic drew her. As she passed by its entrance, she felt a moment's anguish.

The spirits of the castle felt her concern, and at once a thousand voices appeared in her thoughts, calming her. They reassured her that she would enter the sacred chamber... but not yet.

She drifted into a room which she had visited many times. Lying asleep on a luxurious bed was her daughter, Teela. The young woman had been created from her own energy, and had grown into a fine warrior in the king's army. She had never known the truth about her creation until just a few months ago. The baby girl had been adopted by Man-At-Arms, and he had named her after her mother, although it was only the Council of Grayskull who knew the true name of the Sorceress.

The voices appeared again in the Sorceress's thoughts.

Teela, dear and loyal friend, the voices whispered collectively. Now do you see why it is not yet the time for you to join us?

The Sorceress continued to look at her sleeping daughter, and slowly understood.

You must join her once again! the voices continued. You must become as you once were! Make her strong! You shall exist together as one!

Slowly Teela drifted towards the young warrior woman's body. Destiny had decreed that they were to be reunited; two souls bound together in one body; a body that possessed the strength of youth and the wisdom of the ancient spirits. Willingly Teela allowed herself to pass into her daughter's physical form. And in that moment, she felt joy more powerful than she had ever encountered before. Blending with her daughter's body, she realised that the girl had kept a special secret from her; a secret that was destined for greatness.