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The Dream Gem (revised)

Part 1

The Dream Gem
by Alexandra Spears and Jennifer Thomas
A black cloaked being sat on his throne made of bones in a dark, damp room, his hooded head turned to the crystal ball embedded in the table before him.
“Where are you, witch?” his high, echoing voice muttered with impatience.
“Now, Skeletor, is that a nice thing to say when I’ve found what you’ve been looking for?” It was Evil-Lyn, a woman of strange beauty whose cheek bones nearly jutted from under her pale, stern face.
“Do you have it!”
Reaching behind her blood red cape, Evil-Lyn brought forth a small, glassy object, balancing it on the tips of her fingers. “The Dream Gem!” she proclaimed. Her large, callous eyes glittered, reflecting its midnight blue-green hue.
An inky blue hand appeared from under Skeletor’s black cloak, then, snatching the Gem away. “With this,” he said gleefully, “we can control dreams!” He cocked his head back laughing, the dim torch light catching glimpse of his eyeless, skinless face. “And I have a special surprise waiting for both Prince Adam and Princess Adora!”
“There is more, Skeletor,” Evil-Lyn intoned. “He who is injured in the dreams we control, become injured in waking life.”

***

By the edge of a roaring fountain, a young, fair skinned girl sat, dipping her finger in the pool as the ripples distorted the reflection of her shimmering blue eyes, her red button nose, and the golden hair flowing off her shoulder to her other hand. And there she remained, staring blankly into the water as if seeing something other’s could not, till another woman’s face appeared next to hers, a bronze skinned beauty with shoulder length, reddish brown hair.
“Princess Adora,” she whispered.
The blonde girl twirled around. “Oh, you startled me.”
“Sorry.” She grinned, leaning her wooden staff against the fountain.
“What is it, Teela?”
“Princess Adora, I seem to have lost your brother, Adam.”
“Please, you don’t need to call me that. You don’t call Adam, Prince.”
“I’m sorry. I’m just not used to having you around. I mean,” her voice faltered, “now that you’ve returned from Etheria.”
Adora hopped to her feet. “So you’ve lost Adam, huh?”
“We had a training session this afternoon. He didn’t show. I bet he’s asleep somewhere.”
“I'll find him,” Adora sighed, trotting off.

In the Royal Palace Stables, Adora found her all-white horse, Spirit. She leaped on his back, combing his long, white mane with her fingers, saying to him; “Let’s find my brother.”
Adora rode Spirit to a riverbank minutes from the palace outer wall. There she found her twin laying against a tree, a straw hat covering his face, his orange-striped green tiger, Battle Cat, beside him.
Adora dismounted, snatching his hat away. “Honestly, Adam, you’ve gotten yourself into a bad habit!” she snapped.
“Huh? Wha’?” Adam was waking and the first thing he saw was the look of annoyance on his twin’s pretty face. “Oh, I thought you were Teela, the way you sounded.”
Adora crossed her arms and tapped her foot. “Adam, you don’t have to pretend to be lazy anymore, okay? Everyone knows you’re He-Man and I’m She-Ra.”
“Pretend?”
“And it’s time for training. Teela’s a lot more upset about this than I am.”
“But I’m the most powerful man in the universe! Why do I need training?”
“I don’t know. But you shouldn’t break a promise with Teela. Besides . . . I think it’s her way of getting you to spend time with her. You really shouldn’t neglect her; someday you may regret it.”
“Right, I was just getting ready to wake up,” Adam said, taking the hat from Adora. “Come on, Cat.”

The green moon of Infinity crossed the path of the Eternian sun, and Adora knew it was bedtime. She was in a much better mood now that she tried to understand her brother. It had become a force of habit with him, she figured, acting lazy.
Adora unstrapped her suit from her shoulders, letting it fall to the floor in a crumple, before slipping under the all-white covers of her enormous royal bed. Then she tapped the light globe on her nightstand, shrouding the room in darkness, as she buried her head in an enormous white pillow. All the while, she was unaware that she was being watched.
Suddenly, the door to her bedroom opened. Adora reached out and touched the globe again, giving off enough light to see Adam, standing there at the foot of the bed, a chrome plated dagger in his hand.
“Adam . . . what are you doing?” she asked.
Adam did not respond, but sprawled on top of the bed, raising the dagger high.
“Adam!” she gasped, slinking back against the headboard.
“I’ll teach you to call me irresponsible and lazy!” he snarled.
“I didn’t say that!” she protested as he advanced. “I just said you didn’t have to pretend anymore!”
The dagger he held was about six inches long, a couple of inches wide at the base. It glittered in the light. Her heart was pounding as her brother came even closer. She was unable to move, so frightened and confused was she. He was nearly touching her now. She looked at him to find some reason, a curl on the ends of his lips to reveal this was all some sick, practical joke, but she could see nothing, nothing but a mad gleam in his eyes. He stabbed downward, then, aiming for her chest. Adora parried the dagger, and it plunged into her left forearm. She screamed.
Adora opened her eyes and sat up in bed, still screaming. Before she knew it, Adam, who slept in the next room, was at her side.
“Adora!” he gasped, reaching out to her. “Your arm! . . . What happened?”
She looked around, dazed, noticing her arm bleeding profusely, turning the bedsheets and a corner of the pillow red. “Get away from me!” she shrieked, closing the wound with the palm of her hand, turning her shoulder to him.
“But . . .,” he uttered, leaning over the bed.
She pushed him away with her good arm. “I said get away!”
“Adora, you’ve been hurt . . .”
The door opened again an elderly couple entered the room, a woman in a jade nightgown and a white bearded man in a purple robe.
“We need Duncan in here,” the elderly woman said, her eyes focusing on Adora.
“Adam attacked me, mother,” Adora said, still hysterical.
“Is that true, son?” the old man asked.
“No, Father. I heard Adora scream and I rushed in here. I don’t know how she got hurt.”
“I’m getting Duncan,” he replied, a hint of doubt in his voice.
Adam went back to his room, confused. Adora was mysteriously hurt and she was accusing him of all people! Why would she do that? Was it because she had been angry at him earlier that day? And how could his own father not believe him? He sat on his bed thinking.

Adora lay in bed, still frightened. Her mother was holding her arm up, pressing it to slow the bleeding. Adora’s father had gone to summon Duncan, palace inventor and royal advisor.
“What I don’t understand is how Adam changed so quickly. One minute he was on the bed with the knife, and the next minute the knife was gone and he was walking up to me.”
Just then, the king came in with a middle aged man dressed in a blue helmet and orange plate armor.
“Well, Princess, let me see that arm,” he said, uncorking a blue glass vial he produced from beneath his armor. “Hmmm . . .,” he intoned, rubbing his mustache. “It’s cut through almost to the bone. Nothing serious.” He poured the blue liquid over the wound, then, and Adora felt a tingling as almost instantly the blood dried, her skin sewed itself up, and her natural skin tone was restored, so that it was impossible to tell where she had been stabbed only moments before.
“It’s amazing, Duncan! How did you ever come up with that?”
He smiled. “Oh, it’s nothing really, just a few rare Eternian plants gathered from here and there, you know.”
“I don’t know what in the world got into Adam,” the queen cut in.
“I was a little annoyed with him today, Mother,” said Adora. “But I can’t believe he’d do something like this. I don’t know . . . I’m just so confused right now.”
“May I suggest a scientific approach to this mystery?” Duncan asked.
“Of course, Duncan,” the king replied.
“You say Adam attacked you with a knife, and by the look of your wound, it seems likely. But where is the knife?”
“I don’t know. He must have dropped it under the bed.”
Duncan took a quick glance. “Nope . . . I don’t see it here. But if we do find it, it should have your blood and Adam’s finger prints on it. That should prove whether he did this.”
“What do you think, Duncan? Do you think Adam did this?” Adora’s mother asked.
“I don’t think he had any part in it. With so much blood, you’d think he would have stained his hands. Were his hands clean when you saw him?”
“Why, yes,” she replied.
“If Adam was mad at her, why would he pick this time of all to attack? And if he wanted to kill her regardless of the fact we are all sleeping in adjacent rooms, surely he would have succeeded. Adam is a warrior, after all. He can kill ten heavily armed men in less than a minute. Why should he have such a hard time with one, defenseless woman in her sleep?”
“Come to think of it, he wasn’t struggling with her when we came in,” the queen replied.
“That’s enough!” the king interjected. “If Adam did not do this, as you say, what happened then that can explain this?” He pointed to the blood stained bed-sheets and pillow with a look of frustration.
“Something is aloof in our fair kingdom, your Highness,” Duncan replied. “I have an idea what, but I won’t make any conjectures until I have gathered more evidence.”
“I don’t know about you!” Adora blurted. “But I saw what I saw. And it’s hard not to trust your own eyes . . .”
“Well,” her mother said. “We’ll have you moved to another room, and I’ll call the maid-servants to have this bed cleaned.”
“I don’t know if I can sleep now . . .”
“Well, try to,” her mother said, patting her on the knee. “Your father and I will go have a talk with Adam.”
“I can’t believe that Adam would attack you,” said the king. “But we will speak with him.”


***

Skeletor and Evil-Lyn gleefully watched through a crystal ball, all that transpired in the royal bedrooms of Eternos.
“Such a nice little scene this little jewel has caused,” Evil-Lyn smirked.
Skeletor turned the gem over and over in his hand, probing it carefully as a child would a new toy, with his empty eye sockets as if they empowered him to see the flash of images reflected therein. These images were of lush green plains turning to blackened ruin, of nameless, faceless things that cannot be described but be known in nightmares, and of the many screaming mad whose minds cannot endure such visions. But all to Skeletor were things of beauty. “Now let us probe Adam’s dreams,” he said at last, touching the Dream Gem to his crystal ball, weaving his spell once more.

***

It took a while but Adam managed to fall into an uneasy sleep. The whole incident with Adora and the talk he had had with his parents weighed heavily on his mind. He woke up seemingly seconds later to a female voice.
“Adam,” she said. Adam opened his eyes, seeing the silhouette of Adora in the dim moon light by his bed. “I don’t like you attacking me.”
“I did not attack you!” he yelled. “You’re my sister! My own flesh and blood! I would never do such a thing!”
“Then how do you explain what happened to my arm?” she demanded.
Adam had no answer.
“You’re lucky I didn’t bleed to death,” she continued. “That wasn’t very nice, Adam, brother dear.”
Adam was confused. Adora had never spoken to him this way. “What are you going to do?” he asked, a strange tone in his voice.
“You’ll see . . .,” she whispered, stepping into the circle of light encompassing his bed.
Suddenly, Adam was being shaken awake. There was Adora with a concerned look on her face, her hands on his shoulder. “Adam, you were yelling in your sleep.”
He raised his head groggily, brushing the hair from his face. “Strange . . .,” he mumbled.
She sat down on the edge of the bed. “You really didn’t attack me?”
“Of course not!”
“Then who did? Someone disguised as you?" She shrugged.
Adam sat up suddenly. “I just had a nightmare, and in it, I thought you were going to kill me . . .”
“Why would you dream such a thing?”
“I don’t know.”
“So you’re saying what happened to me was . . . was a dream?” She furrowed her brow.
“Maybe.”
“But I got hurt. How could I be hurt dreaming?”
“I don’t know, but you woke me up before I could be attacked . . .”
“And you woke me up right after!” she exclaimed with a tone of sudden realization.
He tossed the bed sheet aside. “Maybe that’s the answer! Put your clothes on. We’re going to see the Sorceress.”

***

Skeletor and Evil-Lyn cursed. Adora had awakened Adam in time.
“Well, there’s always tomorrow night,” Evil-Lyn said.

***

Three people stood in a torch lit, limestone chamber. One of them was a handsome, bare chested, muscular man. Next to him was a beautiful girl, lightly clad in white and gold, with golden hair flowing down between a golden, eagle-wing headdress. Facing opposite them was a stone faced woman in orange, blue, and white feathers and an eagle’s cowl.
“I have been expecting you,” the woman’s voice echoed.
“Then you know why we’re here, Sorceress?” the girl asked.
“Yes. My very antithesis, the Queen of Darkness, Evil-Lyn, has found the Dream Gem. With it, she can control dreams, dreams whose effects last in the waking world.”
“That explains my injury,” said she. “Adam didn’t do it. Evil-Lyn was trying to make me believe he did.”
“And in my dream,” he added, “you were wanting revenge for something I supposedly did.”
“It appears as if the Lord of Destruction is trying to drive the two of you apart,” said the Sorceress. “You must not let that happen. As He-Man and She-Ra, the two of you are a powerful team. You must destroy the Gem before it destroys you.”
“The Lord of Destruction . . .,” she intoned. “Skeletor. Even in Etheria we have heard his name. I know he is terribly evil, but what does he want with us?”
He-Man turned to her. “Skeletor is fighting a war that started with our father many decades ago. He rules the Dark Side, the other side of the planet that is forever in darkness, but craves to control this half as well, the Bright Side, governed by our father.”
“And we are heirs to his throne.”
“Right.”
“His army is small and no match for the Royal Guard,” the Sorceress cut in. “But he wields great magic.”
“Yes,” He-Man said. “And the Sorceress, here, is our only guide to stopping this kind of treachery.”
“Can you stop the dreams?” She-Ra asked her.
“No. The Dream Gem is beyond my power to stop. Only by destroying the Gem can you insure a safe sleep.”
“Where can we find him, then?” she asked, drawing her sword.
“Snake Mountain,” He-Man replied. “The highest point of the Dark Side.”
“Then we will go there,” She-Ra said.
“Snake Mountain is far and the journey is dangerous,” the Sorceress warned. “And no one has gone there and returned.”
“I’ve heard this kind of thing before,” She-Ra replied. “Let’s go.”
“No!” the Sorceress protested. “It would take days, and by then sleep would overtake you, and in your dreams Skeletor would have you both destroyed.”
“Then we are doomed.” She lowered her sword. “We can’t go without sleeping.”
“Can you teleport us inside?” He-Man asked.
“I could try, but Skeletor may sense my magic and know you are there. If you do not catch him off guard, he will easily destroy you.”
“This is beginning to sound hopeless,” She-Ra muttered.
“Teleport us near it, then!” He-Man demanded, unsheathing his sword, “and we will find a way inside!”
“That,” the Sorceress replied. “I can do. Just remember not to sleep, or even take a nap, not even for a second!”



The Grayskull Library

Part 2


He-Man and She-Ra walked ankle deep in strange, green sludge, down a dark pipe ten feet in diameter. The stench was unbearable so they breathed through their noses and spoke as little as possible.
Following the roaring sound of falling sludge, the twin heroes came to the end of the pipe, where there was an immense, rectangular room. The room was so vast, in fact, that He-Man and She-Ra could see only the wall opposite them, and the many rows of green pipes draining sludge into an immense pool of sludge fifty feet below.
“Wonderful place you’ve brought us to!” She-Ra grumbled.
“I got us in; didn’t I?” He-Man replied.
“Where do we go from here?”
“Look over there,” he whispered, pointing to a rusted grate in the center of the ceiling. “That should lead up to the lower dungeon.”
Suddenly, there was a noise like the croaking of a giant bullfrog. Following the noise were two, larger than man sized, winged reptiles.
“What were those things!?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ve never seen them before.”
“And I thought you had a summer home here,” she replied, hoisting herself up over the lip of the pipe.
“Ha-ha,” he quipped, following her. But his grip was not as certain, and as she got to her feet, he slipped. “Adora!” he cried. She-Ra leaped, landing on her stomach halfway over the edge of the pipe, catching her brother’s hands, holding him over the pool of sludge.
“I’m surprised you haven’t gotten yourself killed all these years,” she grunted, “without me to lend you a hand!”
“Pull me up!” he cried.
“Swing back into the pipe!”
“I can’t! The sludge will carry me off. You’ll have to pull me up!”
She-Ra started to pull when she felt herself sliding forward. “It’s too slippery,” she gasped. “I’m going with you!”
“Adora, if we fall in that sludge we’re done for!”
“Do something!” she grunted, sliding further so that now, her whole upper body dangled over the edge of the pipe.
He-Man let go with one hand, unsheathed his sword, and nailed it into the pipe’s inner wall, using it as a handle to pull himself in.
“Well, that went well,” she sighed, looking at him with her head upside down.
“Why don’t you just lift me up. I’m not as agile as you.”
She-Ra drew her sword, running it through the pipe. Then, holding on to her sword with one hand, she did as he suggested with the other.
“Be careful up here,” she said. “It’s slippery as a leech’s back.”
“Now what do we do?” he asked, carefully getting to his feet, “smell the fresh air?”
“Listen for croaking,” she replied, removing a lasso from her satchel.
“You’re not going to do what I think you are?”
“Hush,” she said. “They’re coming.”
“You are!”
“It’s all right. I do this all the time with Spirit.”
As the two reptiles flew by, She-Ra hurled the rope. At once she was dragged off the pipe, swinging from the creature’s neck, her boots only a few feet from the pool’s surface.
“Adora!” He-Man cried, reaching out to her.
She-Ra climbed the rope quickly, leaping onto the creature’s back, then blindfolded it with her hands. “I’m all right, Adam!” she called.
She-Ra proceeded to turn the creature’s head in the direction of the rusted grate, slipping her fingers between the grate’s slots. But with one eye uncovered, the creature squirmed from her grasp, and she was left hanging from the grate.
“Adora, you’re crazy!” He-Man shouted.
“Don’t worry,” she shouted back. This time there was a tone of uncertainty in her voice.
She-Ra remained suspended from the grate for what seemed like a whole minute. She pulled herself up, then, parallel to the ceiling, seeing that two hinges held the grate in place on one side, and a latch held it shut on the other. But the latch was on the inside, and try as she may, she could not reach between the metal strips with her finger to unhook it.
Her mind raced for answers, now, as she glanced down at the moving green sludge fifty feet below. There’s only one chance, she thought; if I wrench the grate open, and the iron isn’t as rusted as it looks, the latch should break and the hinges should hold, then I can climb up.
She-Ra jerked on the grate with all her super-human strength, and found herself suddenly swinging with a metal grinding echo. The passage to the dungeon was unbarred. The hinges were holding.
She clambered up quickly and found herself in a dark room. But He-Man was still waiting below. She would have to go back and test the grate again. And so she did. Hanging upside down by her feet, she swung the rope to him, holding the other end. “Catch!” she called out.
He-Man ran, jumped, and grabbed the rope, climbing up into the dungeon to meet her. “Hi sis,” he said with a tone of sarcasm.
“Come on,” she said, “there’s a light up ahead.”

On tip-toe they walked down the humid corridor, past many bar-windowed doors, to where the light was coming from around a bend. Cast against the wall, a patchwork of loose, cut stones, were the shadows of two human figures. He-Man and She-Ra leaned forward just enough to see a purple, man-like creature with spikes all over his body, a three fingered, metal prod for a left hand, and a barbed whip in his right hand. Kneeling beside him was an old, bony, trembling man, dressed only in stripes of blood.
“I’ll teach you to slack off, slave!” the monster cried, lashing him with the whip. The man could but groan in misery.
“Who is that?” She-Ra whispered.
“That’s Spikor, a spike fiend from Xyrzitz II,” He-Man replied, “one of Skeletor’s minions.”
She-Ra clenched her teeth. “I used to watch this kind of thing a lot with the Horde on Etheria. I hated it then, and I sure hate it now!”
“She-Ra, wait!” He-Man ran after her.
Spikor silenced his whip, turning to the sound of foot prints. “Who’s there?”
Her sword sung a sharp note as she freed it from her scabbard.
“Wait!” He-Man called again. “We’ll need him for questioning . . .!”
Spikor’s eyes widened with surprise as the torch light on the wall illuminated her face. Even the old man raised his head to look.
“I’m just going to hold him,” said She-Ra without turning. “You can ask all your questions then.”
“You can’t,” He-Man argued; “he’s covered with spikes.”
“Hey!” Spikor cried. “What’s going on?”
“Oh? I see one place that isn’t!” She-Ra replied, thrusting the palm of her hand into Spikor’s crotch, lifting him over her head.
“Ugh!” Spikor yelped. “Lemme go!”
“Where is Skeletor!?” she demanded to know, tightening her fist around his genitals.
“F-Follow the path to a stairwell. Skeletor i-is on the ninth level behind two big doors. Now let me go, please!”
“Thank you.” She pushed him, then, up against the ceiling with such force, he stuck there. “If you’re lying,” she continued, brandishing her sword, “I’m going to come back and get you.”
“Well, that was one way to handle him,” He-Man remarked.
“Thank de gods that be!” the old man said in a hoarse whisper, lifting his arms as if in prayer to the twins.
He-Man leaned him against his shoulder. “What is your name, old man?”
“I can stand,” he rasped. “Mi name is NoOne.”
“NoOne?” He-Man repeated. “That’s an odd name.”
“That’s what mi mother called me, ta fool the dark minions ‘ta thinkin’ she hadn’a son. They asked of her; ‘You have any wee ones?’ and she answered ta them, ‘I have NoOne.’ Then in mi village they were all a sayin’ ‘NoOne did this, and NoOne did that.’ Was very confusing at times. But they found out about me when I were in mi teens, and I was a taken ta be a slave of the mountain, been so ever since.”
“Are there more of you down here?” asked He-Man.
“Aye, lots more.”
“We don’t have time to free everyone,” She-Ra said.
“All wa need is te find de way out. There be no guards down ‘ere but ‘im,” said NoOne, pointing up. “Wit’ all them damn spikes, the whole lot of us couldn’a hurt ‘im, not wit’ our bare hands.”
“Go down this corridor,” said He-Man, “and you will see an open grate. Climb down the rope attached to it, and swing across to the middle pipe. Swim through the sewage and you should find yourself outside the mountain. From there, you’re on your own.”
“Thank ye,” said NoOne. “What are yur names, great warriors?”
“I am She-Ra,” said she.
“And I am He-Man.”
The man’s eyes glazed over. “He-Man!?” he gasped, nearly tipping over. “Are ye really him!?”
“Yes,” he said, smiling.
“Have ya come to destroy tha Dark Lord?” he asked, touching He-Man’s breast, feeling his muscles.
“Um, yes.”
“Oh! Good luck ta ye, then, He-Man! May the Ancients be watching over ya. You too, fair lady.”
“She-Ra.”
“Good luck to you, NoOne!” He-Man replied, waving as the old man hobbled out of sight.

Upon reaching the second floor of Snake Mountain, He-Man and She-Ra met with gray, toad-skinned creatures standing no more than four feet at the topmost part of their hunched backs, with long snouts and teeth jutting up from their lower jaws. In their four fingered hands they carried small wooden shields and short jagged swords. Soon they appeared on all sides, surrounding the twins.
“What are they?” She-Ra asked, raising her sword as she stepped closer to her brother.
“Grunts,” he replied. “More of Skeletor’s brainless followers.”
“They’re coming closer,” she said a bit nervously.
“Don’t panic,” he said, raising his sword. “Just put your back against mine.”
One of them leaped at She-Ra. She swung her sword screaming, and his head fell off, black blood coating the blade. The rest followed.

Ten minutes later, He-Man and She-Ra stood within a circle of fallen bodies. The grunts had kept on coming till every last one of them dropped dead at their feet.
“I can’t believe it,” She-Ra said, panting. “It’s like they had no regard for their own lives.”
“They die gladly for Skeletor,” He-Man replied.
“What did we . . . kill forty, fifty?”
“Lucky for us, I think most of them are asleep at this time,” he said. “Are you all right?”
“Yes, but tired. If I just rest a little . . .”
“No!” he cried, grabbing her arm. “Remember what the Sorceress said? No napping, and this time you’re going to listen to me!”
“All right,” she groaned. “But I’ve never felt so tired.”
“Shake it off, Adora. We just have a little further to go.”

Seven floors up, beyond the many shadowy chambers of lit candle stands and red, mosaic windows, the Eternian twins came to a double door. The door was ten feet wide and twenty feet high, made of solid, black onyx, the handles of which were made of gold in the shape of nude, bat-winged women. Grabbing one of these figures by the waist, He-Man pulled on the door, finding it, to no surprise, locked.
“Shall we?” he asked.
“Yes,” she whispered. “Let’s knock.”
Two fists knocked the door off its hinges. The twins entered the room, finding Skeletor in his bone throne, his wooden, crystal ball table, and Evil-Lyn beside him.
“I have been expecting you,” Skeletor said. “Looking for this?” He raised the Gem.
“Hand it over!” He-Man cried, drawing his sword.
“I think, not,” Skeletor replied. “Did you truly believe I didn’t know you were here? I could have destroyed you and your sister hours ago! But I wanted to play with my little new toy, first. It was my plan all along. What you experienced back in your cozy little beds was but a tease for you to come here. The Dream Gem is much more powerful when its subjects are in close proximity. You see . . . you have sealed your own fate.” He stood, then, and laughed.
“What are you talking about!?” He-Man cried. “We aren’t going to sleep!”
“Are you?” Evil-Lyn said, tossing what looked like a ball of white yarn from her hands. The ball was aimed at She-Ra. She swung at it with her sword, hitting it, causing it to explode into a fine, white powder, and the next thing she knew, all was a blur.
“Adora!” He-Man cried, as his sister fell to the floor, her eyes closed.
Skeletor walked up to him, Gem in hand. “Now look here,” he said, “in the Gem you will see your sister, and the world I will create for her through my subtle suggestion.”
He-Man stared in awe at the reflection of Adora, sleeping in the Gem.
“Now awake, She-Ra!” Skeletor commanded.
She-Ra opened her eyes, finding herself in total darkness. Her only sense of her surroundings was the cold air, and the smooth, stone floor she felt with her hands. She looked confused. She could not remember who she was, or where she had just been. This is what He-Man saw in the Gem. On the floor under his feet, however, She-Ra lay sleeping.
“Help me!” Adora cried.
“Skeletor, stop this or I’ll have your heart!”
“Touch me,” Skeletor replied. “And she’ll stay in the dream realm forever!”
He-Man backed away and turned to She-Ra, shaking her, but she would not wake.
“Now let’s see.” Skeletor pondered. “You are fourteen, and it is the most horrible day of your life. Hmm, what day could that be?”
“Skeletor! No!” He-Man screamed, looking into the Gem once more. There he saw a young Adora stripped of her clothing, not as beautiful as the woman on the floor, but slightly shorter, with pale, almost blue skin, and small, underdeveloped breasts. And she was sickly thin, so much so, that her ribs jutted outwardly, and her legs were like sticks bent inwardly. He-Man noticed, then, that this frail creature that was his kin, was chained to a green brick wall by her hands and feet. “Help me . . .,” she moaned. There in the corner of her cell was something else, a giant, brown, furry thing, with eyes glowing yellow in the dark. “Someone please, help me . . .,” she moaned again, pulling on her chains.
“How delightful!” Evil-Lyn said with glee.
“Yes,” said Skeletor. “Watch as She-Ra relives her worst nightmare, that which she keeps locked away in the deepest, darkest part of her soul.”
“Adora!” He-Man cried. “Listen to me!”
The young girl turned her head. “Huh? Whose there?”
“This isn’t happening!” He-Man shouted. “It’s all just a dream!”
“Grizzlor!” she screamed as the brown thing stood and moved towards her.
“You’re not fourteen, Adora!” He-Man continued. “You’re not a child anymore!”
The Adora in the Gem looked up as if she could see him. “Who are you!?”
“What are you doing!?” Skeletor cried. “Stop it!”
“I am your brother, Adam. Don’t you remember!?”
“Yes, I think so . . .”
Grizzlor raked his black nails across her bare belly, and three bloody gashes appeared on both the young girl, and the older woman who now mumbled and thrashed on the floor.
“And you are She-Ra!” He-Man went on. “You’re twenty-six now.” With that, Adora grew into a woman right before their eyes. “And you are the most powerful woman in the universe!” Her clothes wrapped around her, then, and she wrenched the chains from the wall, pushing Grizzlor away.
“No, He-Man!” Skeletor cried.
“Now I remember!” She-Ra exclaimed. “Where am I?”
“You’re in the Dream Gem,” He-Man said. “And you are asleep. Wake up!”
“No, Adora,” Skeletor grumbled, “you are fourteen and . . . and . . .”
“I can’t wake up! I’m trapped in here.”
“Find the way out!” her brother replied. “You can do it!”
“All right,” she muttered, her sword raised overhead, “here goes nothing . . . For the Honor of Grayskull!”
Suddenly, the Gem filled with light, and all that could be known of her was her shouting; “I have the power!” She thrust her glowing sword into the floor, then, and the Dream Gem in Skeletor’s hand shattered into many bits of glass.

***

Adora rubbed her eyes as Teela’s angry face came into focus. “You too!” she bellowed.
“Huh? Wha-?”
“I guess laziness runs in the family.”
Adora sat up, feeling bark rub against her back. Next to her was Adam, sleeping against the same tree. “I guess I dozed off . . .”
“I can’t believe this!” Teela said, throwing her hands up. “I send you to find Adam and you fall asleep!”
“I’m sorry, Teela,” she said, yawning. “But for some strange reason, I’m just really tired. Never felt so tired before.”
Teela yawned. “Well . . . I guess it’s too late to be training now. Any room left on that tree?”
“Sure,” Adora said, scooting over.
And there the three of them slept peacefully, all through the afternoon.

***

Meanwhile, back at Snake Mountain . . .

“What happened!?” Evil-Lyn shrieked.
“I don’t know!” Skeletor replied. “The Gem was working perfectly and then it just . . . broke!”
“You don’t think it’s my fault; do you?”
Skeletor turned to her, letting the remaining pieces of broken glass fall to the floor. “Well, whose fault is it, then? I send you to get me a Dream Gem and you bring me back this faulty thing!”
“You were the one casting the spell, not me! It’s your incompetent sorcery!”
“Don’t talk to me that way, witch, lest I disintegrate you!”
She backed away. “You wouldn’t dare!”
And so they argued, all through the night.

THE END



Part 1

The Grayskull Library