Deception at Darksmoke


Aidan Cross

You are reader # to enjoy my story! Thanks!

Copyright 2/15/99

King Randor, Queen Marlena, Prince Adam, Man-At-Arms and Teela looked up in wonder at the dignified dragon above them. Lord Granamyr, oldest and wisest of dragons, was holding a special ceremony in his home of Darksmoke to pledge eternal alliance with King Randor and the Royal Family. He was impressed by the many times that He-Man and the Heroic Warriors had helped him out, and felt this was the best way to pay his respects. Unfortunately, He-Man had apparently been unable to make the ceremony, but Granamyr was most glad to welcome the Royal Family and the majority of the Heroic Warriors.

"Planet Eternia has a long history of tussle between dragons and humans" said Granamyr, "but now I feel it is time to put a complete end to that. With such a just and fair King as you, Randor, dragons and humans are permanent allies."

"It is a great honour, Lord Granamyr." said King Randor, gazing up in admiration at the colossal red dragon lord.

"And to think that back on Earth, everyone believed that dragons were just mythical creatures." said Queen Marlena.

"Indeed." replied Granamyr. "I happen to know a fair amount about planet Earth, and a very long time ago, dragons inhabited your world, Queen Marlena, but at the time of the legendary battles between He-Ro and the Snake Men, they were called to Eternia to assist He-Ro in his battles. And they made Darksmoke their home."

"I never would have dreamed that dragons actually existed! It’s the same with unicorns, no-one thought they were real on Earth either."

"Exactly." said Granamyr. "Unicorns were another creature which once inhabited Earth, and many other worlds, but were taken from Earth by the universal council of magic to increase their power."

"As a child I used to thrill to tales of dragons and unicorns." said Marlena. "I would have given anything to live on Eternia if I knew it existed….. I guess that’s why I’ve always preferred this planet to Earth."

"And we are glad to accept an Earthling as a citizen of Eternia!" said Granamyr.

"Is the ceremony starting soon?" asked Prince Adam.

"Not long yet, Adam!" said Randor. "The warriors are just outside making preparations. You should go out and help them, Adam- it’ll start quicker with more help!"

"If you don’t mind, I’ll help too." said Teela. "I want to look out for He-Man!" she bowed to Granamyr. "Glad to be acquainted with you!" she said. Adam bowed, and she and Adam left Granamyr’s dwelling.

"Yes, it is such a shame that He-Man couldn’t come." said Granamyr. "It would have been nice to give him a special honour after the many things he’s done for me. But still, I’m sure wherever he is, he’s doing something noble and good."

"I have a feeling he could show up later." said Man-At-Arms. "He wouldn’t like to miss out on an occasion like this!"

"I hope so." said Granamyr. "And what about my little friend….. Orko? Isn’t he around?"

"He’s in Trollah, visiting his girlfriend, Dree Elle." said Queen Marlena.

"It would have been good to have him here to do some tricks….. but nevertheless, look outside. The warriors are doing a marvellous job."

Outside, the Heroic Warriors were busy getting everything ready for the ceremony. Stratos and Sy-Klone were putting up a banner above Granamyr’s entrance, and Ram Man and Mekaneck were putting up special flags, and many other warriors were putting up stalls and entertainment. After a while, the whole place was looking magnificent. Dragons from all over Darksmoke were flying through to join the celebrations. Then Prince Adam called for Granamyr to come outside. The great dragon lord flew out from his home, perched atop his roof, and Randor and Marlena stood elegantly posed in his doorway. Then a brass band played a fanfare, as Stratos and Sy-Klone unfolded the banner, depicting the words "HAIL KING RANDOR AND LORD GRANAMYR- ALLIES FOREVER". The crowds cheered, and the ceremony had begun.

But elsewhere in Darksmoke, far more sinister things were going on. One dragon warrior had not been too pleased about the great alliance that Granamyr had pledged with Randor. His name was Morning Star, and he had a history of crimes and violence in Darksmoke. He was far more tempted by the ways of evil… and he had always desired to be not just lord of Darksmoke….. but King of Eternia. He greatly envied both Granamyr and Randor’s positions. But rather than sit in his underground home feeling depressed, he had felt it would be much better to take some kind of action. Maybe he could use this ceremony as a way of disparaging both Randor and Granamyr from their positions. That was why he had called to his aid the Lord of Destruction- Skeletor.

"I can hear those blasted celebrations from here." Morning Star said to Skeletor. "How they sicken me."

"Well let’s not just sit here." said Skeletor, walking up to the evil dragon, his long, black cape gliding along the ground. "Let’s get round to doing whatever you called me here for. What is your plan, Morning Star?"

"We must find some way of attacking the ceremony….. so we can destroy Granamyr and Randor. Then I can become Lord of Darksmoke, and King of Eternia."

Skeletor’s eyes lit up abruptly with rage. "What! The position of ruler of Eternia is for me, and me alone. Never shall I let any other being take that position. Lord of Darksmoke I will allow you to be, but in no way shall I let you rule Eternia from the throne!"

Morning Star was silent for a few seconds. Then he said "Alright then. I shall settle for being Lord of Darksmoke." But deep inside, he knew that once Skeletor was placed on the throne, Morning Star would attack him with his evil dragon friends. Morning Star felt he and his fellow evil dragons would be way more powerful than the heroic army in attacking Skeletor. He would rule in the end. But for the sake of keeping the scheme going, he would now stick to the basic idea of being lord of Darksmoke.

"Granamyr has held his position for so many thousands of years." Morning Star said. "It’s about time we disparaged his rule….. isn’t it Skeletor?"

"Then we must make a proper plan. Otherwise we shall stand no chance."

"Alright then. Why don’t you radio for your entire army, Skeletor? We could stand an even better chance with a full force….."

"That’s exactly what I shall do." said Skeletor. Through the radio system on his wrist-bands, he sent a signal to Snake Mountain for all the available members of his army to join him at Darksmoke.

And within a few hours, a huge gathering of Skeletor’s warriors was assembled in Morning Star’s underground home.

Skeletor led Tri-Clops and Evil-Lyn up to meet Morning Star. "Morning Star," he said, "meet Tri-Clops and Evil-Lyn. They are my two best trusted warriors. Together we shall plan how we attack the heroic fools."

"It would be better if we didn’t just spring out and attack." said Evil-Lyn. "We need some way of sneaking up on them….. maybe tricking them into giving the position of Lord of Darksmoke to you, Morning Star."

"Wise words, Evil-Lyn." said Skeletor. "But what shall we do?"

"Since I am an expert at disguises, maybe I could go in disguise and…"

"Yes!" said Skeletor. "That is what we shall do. You go in disguise, Evil-Lyn, and pretend….. no! I have a much better plan."

"What’s that, Skeletor?" asked Morning Star.

"I shall announce it to the whole army! SILENCE!" he called. The huge crowd of evil warriors fell silent. "Now I have your attention," said Skeletor, "here is my plan….."

The crowd of evil warriors looked up silently at their master, his red eyes shining out from his fleshless cranium, his havoc staff held upright.

"We can trick Granamyr into thinking that Randor has turned against him." Skeletor said. "Evil-Lyn can accomplish this with her magic….. we need a fake royal family. Some of us should go disguised as the Royal Family, while the real one is captured….. and our fake ‘Randor’ should declare that he is handing the position of Lord of Darksmoke over to Morning Star! Then, while we have the real Royal Family, and the army is still in Darksmoke, we shall make an attack on the palace. It shall be a pitifully easy task! And I shall place myself on the throne of Eternia."

"An excellent idea!" said Morning Star.

"But what if Granamyr refuses?" asked Evil-Lyn.

"He cannot refuse!" boomed Skeletor, his loud voice echoing throughout the cavern. "Randor is King of Eternia- and he has power over all. Since Granamyr believes Randor to be such a wise King- he will abdicate within seconds!"

"An excellent plan, Skeletor." said Morning Star. "Let’s put it into action at once!"

"We need to select warriors to pose as the Royal Family." said Evil-Lyn. "I shall pose as Queen Marlena. Who should be the others?"

"Hmmm….. Beast Man." said Skeletor. The hairy henchman from the Vine Jungle stepped up to join his master, and growled "Yes, Skeletor….. what do you want me to do?"

"You have posed as King Randor before…" said Skeletor, "when Evil-Lyn used the shaping staff?"

"Yes, master."

"Though I never imagined you to be a good actor, you were fairly convincing then. You shall pose as King Randor."

"Yes, that was marvellous!" laughed Evil-Lyn. "I loved wielding the shaping staff… if only He-Man hadn’t destroyed it!"

"And we need someone to be Prince Adam!" said Skeletor. "Who volunteers?"

From behind the caped figure of Skeletor, Tri-Clops said "I’ll be the Prince, master. I can trick them."

"Very well, Tri-Clops. And we had better disguise someone as Man-At-Arms….. chances are he may work it out, knowing his mind- so we must capture him, and select a fake Man-At-Arms!" he scanned through the sea of evil warriors, and picked out the face of Spikor. "Spikor!" he called. The untouchable master of evil combat stepped forth. "Yes, Skeletor?" he said.

"Since joining my army, you have impressed me with your skills. Now let’s see how you fare by posing as someone else. You should be our fake Man-At-Arms!"

"I am honoured, Skeletor." said Spikor, bowing to his master.

"Then let’s not waste time. Evil-Lyn- cast the spell!"

Evil-Lyn spun around quickly, so fast that she became a mere blur. When her figure came to a halt, she was in the form of Queen Marlena. An exact replica of the Queen.

"Perfect, Evil-Lyn!" said Skeletor.

"Exactly!" laughed Evil-Lyn, in Queen Marlena’s voice. "Now for the others!" She rose her arms into mid-air, and brought a burst of magical stars down onto Beast Man’s hairy figure. In a flash, he became King Randor. Then she did the same to Tri-Clops, and he became Prince Adam. Then she re-enacted the spell one last time over Spikor, whose deadly form disappeared, replaced by the relatively harmless-looking form of Man-At-Arms.

"Perfect!" said Skeletor again. "And now- we need to capture the real things!"

"Leave that to Webstor, Lord Skeletor." came a voice from high above, and down from the ceiling, on his rope, descended the spidery form of Webstor, his extremely thin, black body landing firmly on the ground. "Together with my good friend Kobra Khan, we shall use our classic form of capture to get hold of the Royal fools!"

The scaly, green figure of Kobra Khan stepped up from the crowd of warriors. "I ssssure will help you, old friend….." he hissed, in his slow, hoarse voice, "my ssssleep gasss will knock them out in sssecondssss."

"Then go now!" commanded Skeletor. "Soon we will have King Randor and the Royal family kneeling at my feet, begging for mercy!"

Webstor and Kobra Khan departed, to put stage one of their plan into action. "Once we have succeeded," said Skeletor to Morning Star, "you will have played a major part in helping me take over Eternia. You will be given a very high ranking in my army!"

"Indeed so, Skeletor," said Morning Star, "Indeed so….." then he began to whisper, "until I dispose of you, so called ‘Lord of Destruction’."

All spirits were high at the ceremony. But Teela was looking glum. "Hey, what’s up, Teela?" asked Prince Adam.

"It’s just that I’d prefer it if He-Man was here." she replied. "It’s so frustrating- he never comes to occasions like this. And it’s at times like this that I’d get to know him much better….. we always seem to be fighting evil when we see each other."

"Never mind, Teela." said Adam. "He may turn up later."

"He could quite well." teased Man-At-Arms, being one of the few to share Adam’s secret. "You know just how unpredictable He-Man is."

"Hmmm… suppose so." she said. "Though I doubt it."

King Randor and Queen Marlena were stood just a few metres from Adam, Teela and Duncan, watching an air show by Stratos and Sy-Klone, The two warriors were performing amazing feats in the air, such as flying through spinning hoops, and dazzling the people and dragons beneath them with aerial aerobics. The crowd watched in amazement as Stratos flew with all the grace of an eagle, and Sy-Klone spun through the air so fast that to everyone below, he merely appeared a vague, flickering shape.

The Royal Family were completely unaware that they were being watched from above by two sinister evil figures. Atop a jagged mountain, Kobra Khan and Webstor cast their evil eyes down on the happy crowd below.

"When do we ssstrike?" hissed Khan.

"Wait until the Royal Family is stood away from everyone else….. then I’ll cast my hook down."

They waited patiently for several minutes. The Royal Family was still busy watching the air show. "When’s that blasted thing gonna finish?" complained Webstor. "What’s the thrill out of watching two idiots whose sole power is flight? That’s such a boring power to have. What’s the enjoyment they get?!"

"Well… SSSy-Klone can ssspin, too."

"Yeah, guess so, but isn’t he just a complete fucked-up jerk? Thinks so big for his boots….. knowing He-Man’s hatred for egotism I’m surprised he hasn’t given that idiot the sack."

"He-Man probably doesn’t believe in sssssacking people. Knowing hisss mentality."

"Knowing HISS mentality? Is that a pun, Khan?"

Khan slapped Webstor lightly across the back. "Oh ssshut up, you know I can’t help ssspeaking like thisssss….. hey look, Randor’s moving away….."

"Ah, yes. Now’s our time to strike." Webstor could see that Randor was moving slowly away from the air display. Queen Marlena was following him. They were heading towards a small stream between the mountains, probably just to admire it and share a romantic moment together. The crowd was turned away from them, busy watching the air show. Webstor knew it was time to strike. "I thought of a better idea… if I hook my rope to that hold in the mountain and swoop down on them, then bring them to the top….. and you know what to do, Khan."

"Ssssure thing… then go ahead."

Webstor quickly hooked his rope onto the hold in the rock face of the mountain, and swooped down on the King and Queen. The King and Queen got a terrible shock when they saw his thin, spidery form drop down in front of them. Before they could cry out, Webstor had wrapped his four arms and four legs around their bodies, and ascended the rope back up to the mountain.

He dumped their bodies by Khan, and Khan sprung up his hood and released his deadly sleep gas. Webstor looked down to see Man-At-Arms, seemingly talking privately with Adam, away from the crowd. So he sprung into action and leapt down in front of the Prince and his mentor.

"Webstor!" called Adam.

"I’m flattered you remember me, idiot!" laughed Webstor mockingly, and threw his arms and legs round both Adam and Duncan, then sprang back up the rope and onto the cliff. He held them tightly in the rope, their cries unheard by the crowd below, and Khan released his sleep gas, knocking them instantly unconscious. Their bodies dropped to the ground beside those of the King and Queen.

"Isssn’t it good when we work together…" hissed Khan.

"It sure is!" said Webstor. "Now let’s take these fools to Skeletor! We make a perfect team!" The many times that Webstor had worked with Khan, they had proved an effective duo. Skeletor had never given them much praise….. but that was just Skeletor. Webstor had never liked Skeletor much, in fact he had only joined his army because Khan had. The two had known each other for a long time, and Webstor had paid regular visits to the kingdom of the Reptons when Khan was a member. When Khan was expelled from the snake race after joining Skeletor, Webstor had joined the army to work closer with his old friend.

Webstor leapt over the mountain tops, like a giant, human spider, with the Royal Family caught in his rope. Kobra Khan followed closely behind, until the two reached Morning Star’s home.

Webstor untied his rope, and threw the unconscious bodies of the Royal Family to the ground. The crowd of warriors cheered. "Thank you." said Webstor, bowing to them.

"Don’t let it go to your head, ssscumbag." laughed Khan.

"Excellent work." said Skeletor, glancing down at the unconscious bodies of the King and Queen, the Prince and Man-At-Arms. "At last I have these four fools at my mercy….. I can’t wait for the torture I shall enact when they awaken! Now for the next stage of our plan!"

The fake Royal Family stepped forward. Skeletor took a glance at their unconscious bodies, then at his fake Royal family. They looked exactly the same. No noticeable differences.

"Go at once to the ceremony," said Skeletor, "before anyone notices that the Royal Family have vanished. And tell Granamyr what I told you before….. you’re forcing him to abdicate to give Morning Star the throne."

"I shall follow close behind." said Morning Star. "I will put on my act about ‘changing my ways’. I can’t wait to see that fool Granamyr’s reaction!"

"Then go now!" said Skeletor. "We must not waste time."

"Right away, master." said Evil-Lyn, completely unrecognisable in her false form of Queen Marlena. The fake Royal Family departed, followed swiftly by Morning Star, who flapped behind them, concealed by the mountains, as the evil warriors, in their disguises, made their way towards the ceremony.

The crowd cheered as Stratos and Sy-Klone finished their air act. The two warriors of the air landed and bowed to the spectators. No-one had noticed that the Royal Family had disappeared. Teela had tried looking for Man-At-Arms, but when she couldn’t find him, she assumed he was simply caught up amongst the crowd.

The fake Royal Family made their way towards Granamyr’s home. As they walked towards his great stone dwelling, Stratos walked up to them. "What did you think of our air display?" he asked, fooled by their false forms.

"Unfortunately I didn’t see all of it," said Beast Man, from his King Randor disguise, "but what I did see was remarkable!"

"I was pretty impressed too." said Tri-Clops, from his Prince Adam disguise.

"But if you’ll just excuse us, Stratos," said the fake Queen Marlena, "we must talk with Granamyr."

"Sure thing, your majesty." said the birdman, and went off to join the other celebrations.

Granamyr had been watching everything from his home. He and his dragon brothers, Lexon and Taras, were peering through the door, enjoying the whole spectacle, and talking with whoever came in to see them.

The Royal Family walked through the door.

"I much enjoyed that air show." said Granamyr. "How about you, your majesty?"

"It was marvellous-" replied King Randor, "but I’m afraid I have something more important to talk about."

"And what might that be, your highness?"

"Well- it may come as a surprise to you, but I feel we can agree it amicably. You have been the Lord of Darksmoke for a very long time, haven’t you?" King Randor said.

"Many thousands of years." replied Granamyr.

"Exactly. And after so long, I feel it is time for you to abdicate from your position."

This took Granamyr by surprise. He looked down on the King in astonishment. "Why?!" he asked, bewildered. "How does the lengthiness of my rule make me less worthy of keeping it?"

"Well, being so many thousands of years old, you will have become more frail in body, and weaker. In other words, you are no longer a strong leader."

Granamyr couldn’t believe it. This was preposterous, though he could not admit it before his King. "What do you mean?" he asked, as politely as his frustration would allow. "We dragons do not grow old in the way that you humans do. We only become stronger and more powerful with age, and so currently I am more powerful as the ruler of Darksmoke than ever before!"

"But still, I feel you have held your position for far too long. The dragons of Darksmoke- and the small population of humans who populate this area- need a change. Therefore you must abdicate your position at once, for I am handing the position of Lord of Darksmoke over to Morning Star."

Granamyr’s eyes opened wide in amazement. His dragon brothers were equally astonished- they couldn’t believe what they were hearing. The noble King Randor handing rulership of Darksmoke over to the evil Morning Star?!

"This is ridiculous!" said Lexon, Granamyr’s youngest brother. "Morning Star has lived a life of crime for the past few thousand years! He lives in disgrace! He could never be Lord of Darksmoke!"

"Precisely." added Granamyr. "I hate to call one of your ideas ridiculous, King Randor, but even if you do feel that Morning Star should take my position, the population of Darksmoke surely won’t!"

"I’m afraid you’re wrong, Lord Granamyr." said Randor. "Just look outside." The Royal family moved to one side, and through the door, Granamyr saw Morning Star addressing the whole gathering outside.

"I am leaving my evil ways behind." he was saying. "I have learned a lot from my past doings at Darksmoke. All my schemes got me nowhere. You no longer have anything to fear from me. Although he never said it, one of the reasons why King Randor agreed to hold this ceremony was so he could hand the position of Lord of Darksmoke over to me. He and I have discussed this whole issue carefully, and Lord Granamyr will abdicate from his position today!"

Granamyr was shocked. How could King Randor spring this up on him all of a sudden? And besides, Granamyr was convinced that Morning Star was lying. Many times before had he claimed to be doing something good, but actually had a trick up his sleeve!

"King Randor, you’ve been tricked!" said Granamyr. "Morning Star is bluffing- you can never trust him!" before Randor could reply, Granamyr shot out through the door of his home, with a huge burst of his mighty red wings.

"This whole thing has been sprung up on me from out of the blue!" he declared. "I believe that King Randor has been tricked." he looked over at Morning Star. He could see the evil in the dragon’s eyes. There was no way he could be telling the truth. "You can never be trusted!" Granamyr said angrily.

"I’m afraid you are wrong." said Randor, emerging from the doorway with Adam, Marlena and Duncan. "After careful consideration, Marlena and I have decided that Morning Star is a worthy leader for Darksmoke."

"I tell you, Randor, you are mistaken!"

"My father’s right." said Prince Adam. "He has thought about this issue very carefully, and I see no reason why Morning Star should not take over."

"I agree." said Man-At-Arms. "I, too, have spoken to Morning Star in great detail about this, and can see he is not lying. In fact, I contacted He-Man about this earlier today, and even he is all for our King’s decision."

"Morning Star has only succeeded in deceiving you!" said Granamyr, his voice filled with mortification. "I refuse to abdicate, King Randor. I urge you to reconsider your decision!"

"I’m afraid you cannot, Granamyr." said Randor. "This is my final decision, and I tell you that you must abdicate. If you refuse to obey your King, you will be arrested."

"This is preposterous!" shouted Granamyr. "I will not…"

"So you want to be arrested then? I order you to abdicate at once, Lord Granamyr- I will say no more."

Granamyr looked down at the Royal Family in sadness. There was no use arguing. Granamyr was convinced that Randor had been tricked, but the King had made his decision and obviously wasn’t changing it. The great dragon cast one long glance over the rocky mountains of Darksmoke, and his many dragon friends, then the army of heroic warriors whom he had befriended. He had thought this ceremony was for the purpose of pledging permanent alliance with King Randor. But the King had obviously had other ideas all along. Through his stone doorway, Granamyr called to his brothers: "Come along, my brothers. I cannot waste time arguing. We must leave Darksmoke at once."

His brothers flew out from the doorway, and together with Granamyr, took one last glance over the kingdom of Darksmoke. Then, with a mighty flap of their wings, they took off and rose into the sky. And they flew out of Darksmoke, their ancient hearts filled with a sense of sadness and betrayal.

The heroic warriors, and the dragons and people who populated Darksmoke, looked up in confusion at the colossal figure of Morning Star. Each and every one of them had known for a long time about his many evil doings in the past. It was going to be hard getting used to him being Lord of Darksmoke, especially since all of them had loved and respected Lord Granamyr to all extremes. But then, it was the King’s decision, and King Randor knew best. But many of them could not help but feel he was mistaken.

"Citizens of Eternia- meet your new Lord of Darksmoke!" declared Randor. A cheer ran through the crowd… but not a raucous cheer. "I know it will be hard for you to get used to me being Lord of Darksmoke," said Morning Star, "but I tell you that I have left behind all my evil ways, and I hope that you shall forgive me. I promise to make Darksmoke a new and greatly improved place!" And with that, he flew through the entrance to what had been the home of Granamyr for so many centuries. The Royal Family then followed him through.

King Randor smiled evilly and triumphantly at Queen Marlena. "Well done, Evil-Lyn." he said. "Your disguises have worked perfectly!"

"Now we have made Morning Star’s lifelong wish come true." said the disguised Evil-Lyn. "Now to return to Skeletor, and let him know of our success!"

Shortly afterwards, the evil warriors, still in their Royal Family disguises, emerged inside Morning Star’s home. Skeletor stepped up to them. "Have you succeeded?" he asked.

Evil-Lyn spread out her arms, and in a bright flash of light, turned the evil warriors back to their true forms. "We have indeed succeeded!" she laughed. "We now have Morning Star in the position of Lord of Darksmoke! Granamyr’s home is now his. No-one suspected for a moment that we weren’t the real Royal Family!"

"And Granamyr?" asked Skeletor.

"We forced him to leave Darksmoke." growled Beast Man. "He is gone for good now. You should have seen his reaction!"

"And I feel I must congratulate you, Beast Man!" said Evil-Lyn, shaking the hairy henchman’s hand. "You played King Randor marvellously. I never would have thought you were that good an actor!" then she turned to Spikor and Tri-Clops. "You two were also convincing!" she laughed.

"Now we can begin the next stage of our plan." said Skeletor. "We can invade Eternos City. Now that the real Royal Family are out of our way!" he glanced down into a deep chasm in the rock, where the bodies of Randor, Marlena, Adam and Man-At-Arms had been thrown, still lying unconscious from Kobra Khan’s sleep gas.

"What are we gonna do with them?" asked Spikor.

"Just leave them for now!" said Skeletor. "The effects of the sleep gas will wear off eventually, but they are all weak. They will stand no chance of escape! I will now leave for Snake Mountain. I must assemble our most powerful weapons and vehicles, so we can invade Eternos! I shouldn’t even need a whole army, when most of the heroic warriors are ‘enjoying’ the celebrations here, completely unaware of the downfall of their city!"

The four warriors with him laughed with evil pleasure. Taking over Eternia was going to be easier than they could ever have imagined. "You four must resume your disguises." Skeletor told them. "The people may become suspicious if they notice the Royal Family has disappeared. You must maintain the act and take part in the celebrations, until I contact you to say that I have conquered Eternos!"

"With pleasure, Skeletor." said Evil-Lyn, and spread out her arms, turning the four warriors back to their fake Royal Family forms. Once she had become Queen Marlena, she said "We shall leave at once! Good luck, Skeletor!"

The fake Royal Family departed, and Skeletor entered the chamber where the rest of his army was gathered. "Strongarm! Trap Jaw!" he called.

"Yes, master?" said Strongarm, the cyborg warrior with the gigantic metal arm, as he stepped up to join his master. He was followed by Trap Jaw, his metal jaw clanking.

"You two must accompany me to Snake Mountain to prepare arms. We shall invade Eternos in The Collector. We should have no trouble taking over the city when it has no defence….. or monarchy!"

"Right away, master." said both warriors together. They quickly followed Skeletor out of Morning Star’s dark underground home, and over the secret rocky path to Snake Mountain.

Granamyr and his dragon brothers flew solemnly through the skies, before perching atop several high mountains which lay between Castle Grayskull and Eternos City.

They gazed over into the distance, where they could see the tall, shimmering towers of Eternos City, illuminated by the late afternoon sun. Granamyr had never felt this low in thousands of years. How could King Randor have ever agreed to let Morning Star take over as Lord of Darksmoke? He had even agreed to hold the whole ceremony not just to pledge alliance to Granamyr, but to force him to abdicate his position altogether!

"I will never be able to believe that King Randor could do something like this." Granamyr said solemnly, his tones tinged with sadness. "What can have come over him?"

"The answer is simple." said Lexon. "We have misjudged the humans. King Randor is not as wise as we thought. Even He-Man agreed to this! You have even misjudged him!"

"Exactly." added Taras. "All this about eternal alliance was a mere joke to King Randor. He is not fit to be King. We should protest against his reign."

"Steady on, my brother." said Granamyr. "Maybe King Randor was just tricked by Morning Star."

"Even so, what sort of a King would hold a special ceremony and pretend it’s for pledging alliance when it’s really just to force you to abdicate! He even refused to discuss it with you! That is not what I’d call a worthy King. It’s no better than anything that Skeletor would do. Come on, Granamyr, at least journey to Eternos and have the people know just how unfairly Randor has treated you!"

Granamyr stared into the distance, and pondered the thought. "Alright then." he finally said. "Head for Eternos!"

With a burst of their wings, the three dragons took off from the mountain peaks, and headed towards the gleaming towers of Eternos City.

The Grayskull Library

Part 2

Deception At Darksmoke- part 2


Aidan Cross

You are reader # to enjoy my story! Thanks!

Copyright 2/15/99

The evil vehicle called The Collector was fast approaching Eternos City. At the sight of the giant, clawed flying vehicle, the citizens rushed into their homes and bolted the doors.

On board the vehicle was Skeletor, together with Strongarm and Trap Jaw. At Snake Mountain, the evil trio had assembled a supply of their finest weapons, to deliver the greatest possible blow to the city.

"I don’t reckon we’re gonna need those weapons." said Trap Jaw. "I can see the palace from here, and there’s hardly anyone there- just those guards who pose no problem. We’ll be in there in no time!"

"Quite so." said Skeletor. "But we must be prepared, just in case we see anything unexpected. Remember, we have seen no sign of He-Man yet- and for all we know, he could be inside the palace! We shall radio for backup if we need it- though it looks unlikely that we shall. I will sit triumphantly on the throne of Eternia within an hour!"

The guards atop the roof of the Royal Palace spotted the Collector vehicle approaching. Instantly they started firing blasts from their guns at the vehicle….. but it simply swerved out of their way. Its might metal claws began snapping away, and its lasers came firing at the palace, scattering the guards.

"We can combat this vehicle with our lasers," said one guard, "but it’ll beat us before long! We need the Heroic Warriors!"

"But they’re in Darksmoke!" said another. "I’ll radio for Man-At-Arms to come here right away!"

Deep underground in the home of Morning Star, the Royal Family was just recovering from the effects of Kobra Khan’s sleep gas. Prince Adam, bruised and slightly dazed, managed to pull himself to his feet. Looking upwards, he saw that they were in what looked like a giant cavern. But where could they be? The last thing he remembered was being captured by Webstor and knocked out with Kobra Khan’s gas… so no doubt that Skeletor was up to something. He was probably trying to invade the ceremony at Darksmoke! Adam knew he must act at once.

But then he saw that Man-At-Arms’ wrist-radio was flashing. A voice came through saying "Come in, Man-At-Arms….. Eternos City is under attack by Skeletor….. we need your help….. please come in….."

Man-At-Arms stirred slightly, but had obviously not recovered enough to hear properly. Adam decided to answer it himself.

He gently grasped hold of Man-At-Arms’ arm and was about to reply, when the voice stopped and the wrist-radio stopped flashing. The guard who had been trying to call Man-At-Arms had given up. And no doubt he was currently engaged in a fierce battle with Skeletor!

Prince Adam gripped hold of the rocky sides of the deep chasm, and edged his way up. Gripping tightly, he climbed upwards until he reached the top. Once he had his feet firmly on the ground above, he looked around himself. Where was this place? Venturing further, he peered through a small, wooden door… and saw a whole host of Skeletor’s evil warriors all gathered inside, talking amongst themselves.

"This scheme is working wonders!" Whiplash was saying. "I can’t wait to smash the heroic warriors to pieces with my tail, once Skeletor has taken the throne!"

"Now that Morning Star is Lord of Darksmoke," replied Webstor, "we’ll be able to attack with him very soon! We just have to wait until Skeletor contacts us!"

This came as a real shock to Adam. Morning Star- Lord of Darksmoke? How could Morning Star have gotten hold of that position? Surely he was not powerful enough to beat Granamyr! Skeletor must have helped him before going to attack the city!

"Evil-Lyn’s disguises were marvellous!" said Whiplash. "Had I not known, I would have sworn that those four were the real Royal Family! Granamyr must have got such a shock when King Randor forced him to resign!"

So that was what the evil warriors had been up to! Four of them had posed as the Royal Family… in order to get Morning Star taking over as Lord of Darksmoke! And while Morning Star reigned over Darksmoke, Skeletor was using the real Royal Family’s absence from the city as an advantage to attack the palace! Adam knew he must act quickly! He dived into a dark crevice in the wall, drew his power sword, held it aloft and shouted:


The chasm was filled with a massive burst of light, transforming Adam into He-Man- mightiest man in the universe.

In an instant, he ran through a door which led outside. Once outside, he recognised the place- it was the home of Morning Star. He and Skeletor were obviously working very closely together! There was not a moment to waste. He-Man must save Darksmoke, his parents and Man-At-Arms- but first, he must save the Royal Palace, before Skeletor could take the throne!

Outside what had been the home of Granamyr for so many years, the ceremony continued. But under the gaze of Morning Star as he peered out from his door, the heroic warriors could not help but feel evil in the air. It was hard to believe that Morning Star could be telling the truth….. but some people had asked King Randor about it, and he seemed pretty sure he had made the right decision.

"I’ll never get used to Morning Star being Lord of Darksmoke." said Stratos. "Not after all the evil he’s done. And Granamyr was always so wise and strong….. it just doesn’t seem right, though I guess King Randor knows best."

"I get the feeling he’s been tricked." said Ram Man. "Just look into Morning Star’s eyes, and try calling him a good guy. No way. Something’s up….. but with the way King Randor is, I can’t do anything just yet."

"Don’t be getting so paranoid, Rammy." said Sy-Klone, walking up to him. "King Randor’s a good leader… he’d never have made this decision if he wasn’t sure about it."

"Well I think Ram Man’s right!" said Teela, calling to them from a distance. "There’s definitely something evil going on. And I’m gonna find it out. Just because King Randor’s a good king doesn’t mean he can’t still be tricked….. and I’m gonna leave shortly and find out what’s up!"

Just then, over the rocks came running the mighty figure of He-Man, as muscular and dignified as ever.

"Hey look, it’s He-Man!" called Sy-Klone. "He’s here at last!"

Teela went running up to the champion of Eternia. She had been waiting for him throughout the whole ceremony. "He-Man!" she cried. "I’ve been waiting for you!"

"Good to see you too, Teela." said He-Man. "But I’m afraid I have not come to enjoy the celebrations. Once again, the evil forces of Skeletor are enacting deadly plans!"

"Just as I wondered….." said Teela, "could it possibly be to do with them that Morning Star has persuaded King Randor to let him be Lord of Darksmoke?"

"It is to do with Skeletor," said He-Man, "but it is not Randor who made Granamyr abdicate." He looked over at the figures of King Randor, Queen Marlena, Man-At-Arms and Prince Adam amongst the crowd. It was really strange for He-Man to be seeing Prince Adam face-to-face. It almost felt like he was in two places at once. Pointing over to the Royal Family, he said "That’s not the real Royal Family. The King, Queen and Prince- and even Man-At-Arms- are really Skeletor’s minions in disguise!"

Teela gasped and put her hand to her mouth. "I thought my father was acting a little differently when I last spoke to him! But how do you know for sure?"

He-Man quickly fumbled through his mind for a way of explaining the situation without giving away his secret. "The Sorceress sensed everything from Grayskull!" he said. "She told me everything, and said that the real Royal Family is trapped in Morning Star’s home! We must rescue them- but first, we must save the Royal Palace, which is under attack by Skeletor!"

Teela got ready for action. "We must leave at once!" she said. "Shall we take some other warriors to help us fight Skeletor?"

"It would be wiser to let the others remain here, as there are many of Skeletor’s minions around the place who could attack at any moment! We can defend the city alone- and I know your strength, Teela. Together, we don’t need help!"

Teela smiled in surprise, flattered. She never knew that He-Man thought that highly of her as a companion! She suddenly felt like an ideal partner for He-Man, a worthy sidekick. Clenching her fists, she shouted "Then let’s go save Eternos!"

"And we must find where Granamyr is!" said He-Man. "We shall put a stop to Skeletor’s evil!"

Side by side, the two warriors jetted off into the distance, ready to save their world from the evil chaos which engulfed it. Skeletor could never win!

Down in the home of Morning Star, Queen Marlena, King Randor, and Man-At-Arms were just recovering.

"Uhh… what happened?" King Randor asked groggily.

"Well, obviously we’ve been captured." said Queen Marlena. "But where are we….. and where’s Adam?"

Man-At-Arms instantly realised that Adam must be elsewhere, putting an end to whatever evil scheme was brewing as He-Man. He also recalled hearing a message coming through on his wrist-radio, but being too weak to answer, and seeing the Prince escaping just then.

"I think I saw Adam escaping." said Man-At-Arms. "I don’t know where he is, but I’m sure he’ll be safe. Now we must try to climb out from here!"

"There’s no use in that!" came an evil, reptilian voice. Randor, Marlena and Man-At-Arms looked up to see the large, demonic form of Whiplash, his reptilian fangs bared over his scaly, dark green face. "You are in the home of Morning Star- and we shall keep you from escaping!"

"Morning Star!" exclaimed Randor. "So he is still up to his tricks! Even working with you, he can never win!"

"I wouldn’t be so sure….." said Webstor, coming up behind Whiplash. Then Kobra Khan entered the room above… then Clawful… nearly the whole evil army was there.

"You can still try escaping…" said Whiplash, "but only if you fancy suffering a painful death!" he lashed his mighty tail, and sent a stream of rocks spiralling down into the crevice. Man-At-Arms, Randor and Marlena only just managed to dodge them as they fell.

"Wait a second." said Webstor. "Where is Prince Adam?"

"Surely he cannot escape!" exclaimed Whiplash. "Quickly… we must find where he is!"

Granamyr and his dragon brothers had landed in the square of Eternos City. The people around them had stopped instantly at the amazement of seeing the three mighty dragons, and listened to Granamyr as he told his tale of what Randor had done.

"I do not urge you to protest against Randor’s reign." he said. "All I can ask of you is that you should give this issue careful thought, and do your best to persuade Randor to let me become Lord of Darksmoke again. It is not that I am covetous for this position out of greed- simply that I feel Morning Star has tricked Randor and that there was no real reason why I should have abdicated."

"We’re on your side, Lord Granamyr!" shouted one man. "Much as we all respect Randor, it sure sounds like he’s made a mistake here. I’ll talk to him the moment he comes back!"

Suddenly there was a shout. "Granamyr, wait!" Everyone turned to see He-Man running speedily towards the square, with Teela at his side.

"This is all a trick, Granamyr!" He-Man shouted.

"What is a trick, He-Man?" Granamyr asked.

"It wasn’t Randor who forced you to abdicate from your position. This is all the evil work of Skeletor! Morning Star has obviously contacted him, and Skeletor has been helping him to become Lord of Darksmoke!"

"Then how come I saw Randor and the Royal Family enter my home to tell me to abdicate?"

"That wasn’t them! All four of them were really Skeletor’s minions in disguise! Nearly the whole of Skeletor’s army is in hiding in Morning Star’s home!"

"So the whole thing is nothing but a trick?" asked Granamyr. "The… Man-At-Arms who spoke to me said that you’d given him consent about this decision."

"I most definitely did not! It’s all the work of Skeletor- and Morning Star, already proving to be a dangerous teaming. The real Royal Family has been captured, and I must rescue them- but first we must save the palace, which Skeletor is attacking!"

"Then we must go at once!" said Granamyr. Flapping his wings, he ordered "Come on, my brothers- we must help He-Man save the palace!"

Granamyr and his brothers, relieved at finding that the abdication was only a trick, took off into the skies, He-Man and Teela running close behind. When they reached the palace, they instantly saw The Collector, aiming its metal, clawed arms towards the towers. Its lasers had already caused some damage, and it was clear that the guards stood little chance.

But not for long! Granamyr flew towards the giant air machine, and sent a cloud of flame towards it. The flames hit one of the claws, and instantly burned it away.

On board The Collector, Skeletor screamed in fury "Blast it! Granamyr has followed us! What’s he doing here?!"

"I hope he hasn’t found out about our scheme." said Trap Jaw.

"I don’t see how he can have," replied Strongarm, "but it looks like we could have further trouble. Look over there!" he pointed to the right with his long, metal arm, and Skeletor and Trap Jaw looked round to see not only Granamyr’s brothers, but He-Man and Teela.

"Drat!" exclaimed Skeletor. "I knew He-Man would have to show up sooner or later! Quickly, my lackeys- forget the guards, just let us descend on the palace. We must break through those guards so I can steal the throne before He-Man gets to it!"

Trap Jaw was about to flick a switch to open the hatchet on the floor of the vehicle, so they could descend- but he was too late. Granamyr’s brothers flew directly in front of the vehicle, and fired bursts of flames from their fiery breaths. The automatic pilot instantly caused the vehicle to back off.

Then Granamyr flew in between the vehicle and the palace, he and his brothers completely blocking Skeletor’s way. The Collector backed off further. Down below, they could see He-Man shouting "Give up, Skeletor! There is no way you can take over the palace with us around! And don’t feel too confident about winning in the end- we have found out all about your scheme!"

"Blast it!" said Trap Jaw. "We’d better radio for backup!"

But just then, Granamyr flapped his wings, and together with He-Man and Teela, began to charge forward. "We will make our way to Darksmoke," said He-Man, "to return Granamyr to his rightful position and free the REAL Royal Family!"

"Never mind!" exclaimed Strongarm. "While He-Man is freeing the Royal Family, we can still attack the palace! What does Morning Star’s position matter to us?"

"No!" said Skeletor. "Granamyr’s brothers are staying to guard the palace! Even the combined might of all the weapons we brought are no match for them! We must make our way to Darksmoke and stop He-Man before he can foil our scheme. Once he is down, we shall attack the palace with Morning Star! Trap Jaw, set the automatic pilot to head for Darksmoke- and radio for the army! Tell them to assemble around the exterior of Darksmoke to prepare to fight He-Man!"

"Right away, master." Trap Jaw did as Skeletor told him, and radioed back to the army. He was answered by Whiplash.

"Whiplash here." came the reptile’s voice. "What do you want?"

"Whiplash- tell the army to assemble around the exterior mountains of Darksmoke. He-Man has found out about our scheme and is heading for Darksmoke at this very moment, along with Teela and Granamyr! We should reach there before him, but be on guard!"

"Right away, Trap Jaw!" replied Whiplash. "But I am afraid that the Royal Family have recovered from the effects of the sleep gas. Prince Adam is nowhere to be seen, and we think he has escaped- but we have the other three under control!"

"Prince Adam is of no concern to us!" replied Skeletor. "We all know how weak and easily afraid he is! But if he is seen at the same time as our fake Prince…"

"Don’t worry-" replied Whiplash, "we’ve checked, and he hasn’t been seen at the ceremony. He’ll be in hiding somewhere, no doubt. We shall go on guard and await your return, master!"

"We shall arrive soon. Over and out."

The Collector flew at top speed towards Darksmoke. This time, Skeletor was determined that He-Man should not stop him. Even with Granamyr, against the whole of Skeletor’s army, surely he stood no chance. Surely…..

Back at the home of Morning Star, the evil warriors were all preparing for battle.

"We must all gather around the outer mountains of Darksmoke!" Whiplash ordered. "And be careful- we have to avoid being seen by the heroic warriors!"

"It should be no trouble." said Clawful. "They’ll all be too busy enjoying those ridiculous entertainments!"

"I don’t think it’ll be so hard." added Fang-Man. "I know Darksmoke pretty well, and the mountains around that part are so tall that they’ll never see us!"

"Then let’s not waste time!" said Whiplash. "We must get there before He-Man does!"

The evil warriors set about assembling all their weapons and getting ready to fight.

"What about the real Royal Family?" asked Clawful. "What if they escape while we’re out fighting?"

"There’sss only one sssolution….." hissed Kobra Khan, "more sssssleep gass!" he stepped up to the chasm in which the Royal Family was held, and sprung up his hood. His sleep gas was released, and as it hit the Royal Family, they were knocked unconscious once again.

Once the evil warriors were finished, Whiplash shouted "Come on, then- let’s make our way!"

The evil army made their way out of Morning Star’s home, emerging from his door and marching along the rocks like a horde of bloodthirsty demons. When they spotted the ceremony in the distance, they quickly dodged behind the nearest mountains and made their way past carefully.

Then, once they reached the most outward mountains of Darksmoke, they stood around them in a straight line, weapons at the ready. The mountains were completely surrounded by a line of brutal evil creatures.

"Don’t say anything too loud!" said Whiplash, keeping his voice low. "The ceremony is just over these mountains, and we don’t want the warriors to hear us!"

The army quietened down, and stood almost silently, awaiting the arrival of He-Man.

But the first thing to come their way was The Collector. Skeletor had arrived! The vehicle stopped in mid-air, then slowly lowered itself to the ground. The side door slid open, and out stepped Trap Jaw, followed by the metallic figure of Strongarm, his massive electronic arm reaching right up to the line of warriors. And finally, out stepped the demonic figure of Skeletor, the sunken eyes in his yellowing skull blazing out with an intense red light, his havoc staff held upright aside him.

Pounding his staff on the ground, Skeletor approached his warriors and said "I am pleased to see you have assembled so well. He-Man should be arriving very soon… keep a lookout for him, and be prepared, as you must fight against Granamyr at the same time!"

"We’re all prepared, master!" said Webstor.

Trap Jaw and Strongarm joined the long line of warriors, and Skeletor stood in front of them, and aimed his havoc staff ahead of him, ready for battle.

Two running figures were approaching the evil army- one was the tall, muscular figure of He-Man, keeping a strong hold of his mighty breath as he ran. The other, running just behind him, was the beautiful Teela, her long red hair flowing in the breeze as she ran. And flying overhead was the colossal, winged figure of Granamyr, determined to return to his home and put an end to the evil schemes of Morning Star and Skeletor.

As they approached the mountains on the very edge of Darksmoke, they saw a whole band of Skeletor’s evil warriors, lined up around the mountains. And standing in front of them, aiming his havoc staff in their direction, was none other than Skeletor himself!

He-Man and Teela ground to a halt, and Granamyr stopped in mid-air. "He’s beaten us to it!" said Teela.

"Well if it’s a fight he wants, he’s got it!" said He-Man, and he and Teela charged forward at Skeletor. At the same time, the whole of the army charged forth at He-Man and Teela.

"You can never win, He-Man!" said Skeletor, as his staff clashed against He-Man’s sword. "You are heavily outnumbered!"

"Not quite." said Granamyr from above. "My power is equal to that of at least half of your army!"

"And never forget the power I have been given by Grayskull!" said He-Man as he picked up Clawful, and flung him into the mountains. The crab-like beast was instantly knocked unconscious.

Just then, Granamyr sent a burst of flames shooting out from his breath. As the flames scattered the evil warriors, they caught Trap Jaw’s arm gun, which set alight.

Trap Jaw yelled out as the flames coursed over his arm gun. "Someone put it out!" he shouted. "I’m gonna be burnt to scrap metal!"

"I should be able to stop it….. just about!!!" shouted Strongarm, bashing the flames with his giant fist, then spreading it out and using it to shelter the flames. When he removed his giant metal hand, the flames were extinguished….. but Trap Jaw’s arm gun was badly damaged. "It can’t fire any more!" shouted Trap Jaw.

"We can repair it later…" said Strongarm- "but forget about it now! We’ve gotta deal with these heroic fools!"

Granamyr shot another burst of flames at the evil warriors. "I can combat this one!" said Fang-Man, and shot a burst of his own flames from his mouth. They shot into Granamyr’s flames, and held together for several moments, but Fang-Man’s breath was not as strong, and he collapsed with exhaustion.

Whiplash trashed his mighty tail at Teela, but she evaded his attack with one swift leap through the air, coming down on his face with a mighty kick. And He-Man continued to do battle with Skeletor, using his mighty strength to throw off all the warriors who advanced on him.

But although the heroic warriors were battling well, how much longer could they hold on?

The sounds of the battle were loud enough for the warriors at the ceremony to hear. At the sounds of swords crashing and flames bursting, Stratos said "Hey, what’s going on round there?"

"I’ll take a look." said Sy-Klone, and took off into the air, spinning over the mountains. He came down a few seconds later and said "There’s a massive fight going on! He-Man and Teela are fighting against Skeletor’s army- and Granamyr is with them!"

"Granamyr?" said Stratos. "They must be trying to help him become Lord of Darksmoke again….. if Skeletor’s here, maybe he’s helped Morning Star trick King Randor! We’ve gotta help them!"

"You’re right!" called Ram Man. "Tell everyone they’ve gotta go over and help ‘em- I’ll go and tell the King!" Using his powerful, springy legs, he propelled himself over to where King Randor and Queen Marlena stood. "Your highness," he began, "it looks like you could have been tricked by Morning Star! He-Man, Teela and Granamyr are fighting with Skeletor’s army behind the mountains- if Skeletor’s here, perhaps he’s helped Morning Star trick you!"

"No way, Ram Man." said King Randor. "I know for sure that Morning Star was being honest. He-Man even gave Man-At-Arms his consent- I don’t know why Skeletor’s here, but it can’t be anything to do with Morning Star. Now you go over and help fight him."

"Dammit, how can you be so sure?" Ram Man replied. "You know about everything that Morning Star’s done before….."

"Yes, and we know that he’s changed his ways now." snapped Queen Marlena, in strangely harsh tones for her usual, gentle self. "So don’t try to say we’ve made a mistake!"

"I was only saying…" said Ram Man, "perhaps you should just give it some more thought…"

"For the last time… NO!!!" shouted King Randor, sounding like a mad dictator. "It is my choice, and don’t you try to say I’m wrong, or I shall charge you with treason! Now get out of my sight, you fool!"

Man-At-Arms and Prince Adam walked over to them. "That’s right." said Man-At-Arms. "Just you get away from here and cease your mindless nonsense."

"We’ve no time for hard-headed idiots like you!" added Prince Adam, in unusually thuggish tones.

Ram Man’s eyes opened wide with shock. This was not the Royal Family he was used to. It was not in the nature of Randor, Marlena, Adam or Man-At-Arms to shout like that, even at villains! Especially when all four of them had always been very good friends to him….. he did not wish to argue with them, so he slowly bounced away to join the battle. But he knew that something was up. Perhaps Randor, Marlena, Adam and Man-At-Arms had fallen under an evil spell by Skeletor?

The fake Royal Family quickly rushed into Granamyr’s home, where Morning Star sat in the great pit in the ground. "He-Man and Granamyr are battling Skeletor by the mountains!" said Beast Man, from his King Randor disguise. "They must have found out about our scheme!"

"Well if they have, I shall soon stop them!" said Morning Star. "They shall stand no chance against the might of Morning Star!"

Over the mountains, the battle raged on as more and more heroic warriors came charging over the mountain tops at the evil army. Building up all his strength, Ram Man leaped forward at Skeletor, and knocked the Lord of Destruction off his feet, sending him headfirst to the ground.

"Thanks, Ram Man!" said He-Man. "Good to have a helping hand in the battle… or should I say helping head!"

"I gotta tell you something, He-Man!" Ram Man shouted excitedly. "I reckon there’s something up with the Royal Family… and Man-At-Arms! They just shouted at me as if they were Skeletor or something….. I reckon Skeletor’s cast some spell on them or something!"

"You’re almost right!" replied He-Man. "That isn’t the real Royal Family at all- it’s really Skeletor’s minions in disguise! The real Royal Family is held captive in Morning Star’s home!"

"Shit! We gotta rescue them!"

"I will soon," said He-Man, "but first we’ve gotta expose the ones round there as fakes!"

Skeletor got to his feet, and fired a blast from the havoc staff at He-Man and Ram Man. The battle raged on.

Just then, a shadow fell over the battle as the figure of Morning Star appeared over the mountain tops. "Cease fighting!" he shouted. The warriors from both sides stopped fighting, and fell silent.

"I, Morning Star, shall gladly help you heroic warriors in defeating Skeletor. As the new Lord of Darksmoke, it is part of my duty to assist you in your battles."

"You liar!" shouted Ram Man. "We all know your scheme!"

"You are wrong, I am afraid." replied Morning Star. "And I order you to leave the fight, and come back to the ceremony. You all came here to celebrate- not to fight. So if you would all gladly come back, and I will take care of Skeletor myself."

A silent laugh ran through the crowd of heroic warriors. They could tell he was lying. He spoke in mocking tones- there was no way he could be telling the truth.

"None of us are falling for your lies." said Granamyr, just as the fake Royal Family appeared over the mountain tops. "Did you really think, Morning Star, that you could fool us after the many evil things you have done? You only want us to leave the fight because you can’t fight either side- you cannot fight Skeletor, as he is really your ally, and you cannot fight us, as it would give away your scheme. You should give in, Morning Star."

"Excuse me, Granamyr!" shouted King Randor, harshly. "I know for sure that Morning Star is telling the truth. Now if you would kindly leave, as I do not want to have to deal with fools like you!"

Now it was painfully obvious that something was up with the Royal Family. The heroic warriors could never imagine Randor speaking like this.

"Your words do not worry me, ‘Randor’." said Granamyr, "For I know that you are- in fact, you all are- minions of Skeletor in disguise!"

"What?!" snapped Queen Marlena. "We are nothing of the sort! How dare you accuse us of being minions of Skeletor!"

"Erm, it’s fairly obvious you are!" called Mekaneck. "I’ve never heard Queen Marlena speak like that!"

"And I most definitely did not give you permission to let Morning Star become Lord of Darksmoke!" shouted He-Man. "Unlike what you claimed earlier!"

The fake King Randor fumbled for words. "But….. you did! Don’t you remember, He-Man?"

"You did!" said the fake Man-At-Arms. "I spoke to you by radio- surely you must remember!"

"I don’t remember, as nothing of the sort happened! You might as well reveal yourselves!" he turned to Skeletor, and said "Give in, Skeletor. We’ve all sussed your scheme."

"No!" shouted Skeletor. "I swear it! I have not been working with Morning Star! I didn’t even know he had become Lord of Darksmoke! That is the real Royal Family!" but he knew his excuses were in vain. He-Man already knew for sure about his schemes.

"I think we’ll have to make them reveal themselves!" said He-Man.

"Leave that to me." said Granamyr, and flew towards the fake Royal Family, shooting a burst of flame at them. They scattered, but he flew closer, picked the four of them up in his talons, and said "Alright then. You who forced me to abdicate- show yourselves!"

"I’m telling you…" King Randor said, "We are the Royal Family!"

"Then I had better use magic to reveal you!" said Granamyr, and sent a burst of stars flying from his claws towards them. One by one, they changed back to their true forms- King Randor became Beast Man, Queen Marlena became Evil-Lyn, Prince Adam became Tri-Clops, and Man-At-Arms became Spikor.

"Blast it!" screamed Morning Star. "My scheme is foiled!"

"All evil schemes are foiled," said He-Man, "while the masters of the universe remain together!"

Skeletor flew into a rage. "So far you have foiled most of my schemes, He-Man. But some day, I will defeat you- you just wait and see! Now I shall leave- but you will hear from me again before long. And next time, you may not be so lucky!" He headed for the Collector, and then his whole army followed him, Strongarm and Whiplash dragging the unconscious body of Clawful onto The Collector.

"Just because I’m generous, I’ll let you go." said Granamyr to the four villains in his hand, and slammed them down on the ground. They quickly ran onto The Collector with the other warriors, its door slammed shut, and the machine took off into the skies, flew off and was quickly lost from view.

Now there was only Morning Star left. "I think I can deal with Morning Star." said Granamyr. "You go and free the real Royal Family, He-Man!"

"I will." He-Man replied. "After that, I must go, as I have things to do elsewhere- but enjoy the rest of the ceremony!"

"Good journey, He-Man!" said Granamyr. "Thank you for helping out, once again!"

He-Man bade Granamyr good journey, then ran off to the home of Morning Star. When he entered, he saw the King, the Queen, and Man-At-Arms lying in the chasm in the ground, just recovering from the effects of further sleep gas. He-Man dived into the chasm, and one by one, carried their bodies out and onto the ground above.

"Uhh… thank you, He-Man." King Randor said, groggily.

"You’re welcome." replied the champion of Eternia. He then explained what had happened, and told them that Prince Adam had escaped but been caught again, and he would free him in a few minutes.

"Then we are most grateful to you, He-Man," said Randor, "and although we wish you could stay for the ceremony, we understand you have business elsewhere. Good journey!"

"And you too, your highness!" said He-Man. He then walked out of Morning Star’s home, and sneaked behind a rock to change back to Adam.

Several minutes later, Prince Adam appeared alongside his parents and Man-At-Arms. "Thank the Elders you’re safe!" said King Randor. "Has He-Man told you what happened?"

"He sure has," said Adam, "but let’s get back to the ceremony! We’ve gotta make up to Granamyr!"

Shortly afterwards, the real Royal Family came back to the space where the ceremony was being held, outside what was once again Granamyr’s home. Granamyr was back in his pit, with the warriors gathered around him, and Morning Star was nearby, held in chains.,br>
As the Royal Family entered Granamyr’s home, King Randor said "I can only offer my most sincere apologies, Lord Granamyr. I did not expect the ceremony to be disrupted in this way, and I hope that now we can return to the real point of the ceremony- pledging eternal alliance."

"No need to apologise, King Randor." said Granamyr. "It was all the doing of Morning Star and Skeletor. I shall summon my brothers back here, and we shall send Morning Star into exile. Now, hopefully, we can get on with the ceremony without further interruption!"

"We can indeed!" said King Randor. "And I shall begin by once again declaring that I wish to pledge eternal alliance with you, Lord Granamyr, and the heroic warriors are always at your service!"

"I accept!" replied Granamyr. "I am proud to have you as an ally, King Randor, and I am pleased to aid the heroic warriors in their quest against the forces of evil! Now-let’s continue the ceremony!"

The heroic warriors all ran outside, and back to the celebrations. Granamyr flew out of his door, and perched atop his roof to watch. Then King Randor, Queen Marlena, Prince Adam and Man-At-Arms- with Teela at their side- stood in the doorway of Granamyr’s home. The warriors all gathered in a crowd before them.

From the rooftop, Granamyr announced "I pledge eternal alliance with King Randor! Our ceremony was interrupted today by the forces of evil- but with the help of the heroic warriors, we stopped them. And I would like to thank all the heroic warriors for the help they have given me since they formed- and especially He-Man, even though he is sadly unable to join us just now. I am honoured to help you out at any time, just as you help me- and with our alliance, we shall in the end drive the forces of evil away from our world! As we continue to work together, Eternia shall be a free world- once again!"

Part 1

The Grayskull Library