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Title: Earth Magic
Author: Shadowlander Email: Shadowlander1@coastalnet.com

EARTH MAGIC (1/?)

The dream always started out the same; the palace was being over run by Skeletor’s forces in one last blood bath to decide the fate of Eternia. Queen Marlena really hated this dream, not because the skull-faced demon kept winning and enslaving the entire planet’s populous. Granted that was a very bad thing and had to be avoided at all costs, but that’s not what really irritated her about the dream. Sure she could think of at least ten other dreams she would sooner have; most of which involved her and Randor in a secluded cabin without another soul in sight for at least fifty miles in any direction and lots of whip cream and a fireplace.

However something about watching her friends and family getting butchered in front of her never really did score high on her list of things to dream about. Although, oddly enough, dreaming about Skeletor, Mer-Man, Evil-Lynn, and Beast-Man doing the can-can in front of a firing squad did figure pretty high on her little list of enjoyable dreams for some really bizarre reason. So here she was again, for the fourth night in a row having the dream. {Well not “THE” dream, because that would be just her and a naked Randor on a deserted island and since she really, really liked that dream she wouldn’t have minded it being repeated every night. However, since the dream gods, or whatever they were called on Eternia, seemed to be in a rather pissed mood concerning her this week, there was no chance of her actually getting to have that one anytime soon.} Instead she gets stuck with a repeat performance of “House Guests From Hell” night after night. Which went a little something like this.

The royal palace lay in ruins, the battered, torn remnants of the once proud royal guard lay scattered about like broken forgotten toys left by a bored child. Even the mightiest of Eternia’s heroes, He-Man himself, had not been able to withstand Skeletor's last assault on the throne. The man who had once been the most powerful in all the universe lay just outside the throne room surrounded by hundreds of mangled attack droids and seven of Skeletor's most powerful henchmen; all of whom had joined He- Man on his journey to the other side.

Now all that stood between the people of Eternia and a future of slavery at the booted foot of the death-faced monster, who fancied himself the master of the universe, was two aliens. Once long ago, the two had made separate journeys to the distant planet, finding themselves a new home and family among the royal court. Over the years the two had settled in, making their home in the palace, watching so many grow up before their eyes.

Now all that had ended; their adopted home invaded, their friends and loved ones laying dead around them as they faced their executor one last time with defiance. They would not go down without a fight, they owed it to all those who had giving their lives to stop Skeletor and his minions from overrunning the palace. >From stealing all of Eternia's hopes and dreams, but most of all their owed it to themselves; they may just be two aliens but this was their home too and they would not give it up without a fight.

Skeletor stood before the last of Eternia's "defenders" tasting the victory that lay within his reach waiting to be claimed. After so many years, the throne would be his and soon all of the universe would fall to his great power. Just as soon as he rid himself of the two minor annoyances that stood at the foot of the dais leading to the long denied throne. Who would of thought that in the end it would be the court magician and the Queen herself putting up the most resistance to him? The two that had outlasted all of Eternia's great heroes, who had cost him the most with their last desperate act to save the doomed world?

He could still feel the mind-shattering pain of his missing hand, one that had been so swiftly removed by the sword the battered bloody Queen had used so efficiently to remove from her person mere moments ago. The evil, self-proclaimed, master of darkness longed to remove the defiant Queen's oh-so amused little smirk as she stood ready to remove any other of his body parts that got near her in the immediate future. "You will beg me for death!" he hissed, gripping his staff firmly with his one remaining hand. Already picturing the countless tortures he would subject her and the floating little magician at her side, who had somehow maintained the flimsy little force field keeping him from his destiny. He would enjoy watching as his minions broke them both, first at the rack and then through daily whippings. Maybe he would keep the Queen as a plaything for a few centuries, tying her mortal life to his soon to be immortal one, once he stormed Castle Greyskull. He paused a moment, enjoying the look of terror that had crossed the woman's face at his words. He would draw out her death, he decided firmly, only realizing too late that the Queen wasn't even paying any attention to him anymore...her gaze seemed focused on something right behind him.

"Excuse me." A voice rumbled suddenly cutting through the quiet, that had descended on the war torn throne room after Skeletor's initial cry of pain as the Queen cut off his hand, like a knife. A persistent tapping on his shoulder getting his attention at long last, with an annoyed growl the skull-faced demon turns to face the fool who dared to interrupt the great Skeletor. Only to find himself staring into a field of dark fur!..but that was impossible Beast Man lay dead near the palace gates, having been killed by Man-at-Arms even as the creature had been breaking his back. Besides the mindless fool would never have challenged his master, his rational mind reason. A low growl cutting through the confusion clouding his mind, drawing his gaze upward. Until the wannabe conquer finds himself staring into the face of something even more scarier then he would ever be no matter how long he lived.

The creature was huge, a near giant of fur and muscle, that seemed to loom over him. Its muzzle slightly parted giving Skeletor a good look at the rows of fangs filling its mouth. "You are trespassing." A deep booming voice growled, a clawed finger coming up to poke at his chest knocking him back a few steps into the flimsy force field that had been barring his way just moments ago, now trapping him with this creature from the great abyss. "Can I kill him, Marlena?" the creature suddenly asked one massive hand wrapping around his neck and lifting him off the ground.

A quick squeeze caused Skeletor to drop his staff as the creature shook with laughter at his strangled protest. Its glowing yellow eyes boring into the master of evil, with a power unlike any he had ever encountered before. "Sure." Came the soft-spoken answer right before the creature plunged its hand into his chest and pulling out his cold black uncaring heart. Dropping the lifeless body of Eternia's would be conquer the creature turns it attention to the two figures huddled before it, their terror hanging heavily in the air. "Can't leave you alone for a moment can I?" The creature asked cocking its massive head to one side. It seemed to be thinking something over, as if it was deciding to tear out their hearts as well. "I'm coming for you," it added after a moment. "WAKE UP!"

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Queen Marlena set straight up in bed, her heart threatening to pound itself out of her chest, a strangled gasped ripped from her lips as she tries to untangle herself from the nightmare images playing themselves out in her mind. Slowing her rapid breathing, she tries to recall as much of the nightmare as possible. Knowing that she would be taking another trip to Castle Greyskull in a few hours to recount as much as she could to the Sorceress, in hope that some answer could be found in the sacred halls of Greyskull. At this moment Marlena was ready to consult with the Ancients themselves if it meant putting a stop to the dreams. Only to nearly jump out of her skin as a hand reaches out of the dark even as the bedroom door flies open slamming itself against the wall.

"We heard a cry," Man-at-Arms explained hurriedly, sword in hand, clad only in his sleeping shorts, his sleep addled mind still playing catch up. Behind him the royal guards on duty arriving in pairs, filling the corridor having been alerted by the same call that had pulled him, yet again out of a sound sleep for the forth night in a row.

He could hear his daughter's voice in the outer corridor calling for order, as she quickly mobilized the assembling guards to secure the area.

Reaching over to turn on a bedside lamp, King Randor briefly looks up at his old friend standing in the threshold of the royal apartments, before returning his attention to his trembling wife. "We're fine Duncan." He says in a choked voice gathering Marlena in his arms, his own heart pounding in his ears. He hated the effects of the nightmares were having on his wife, it was rare that either of them had ever been forced from slumber. Well not since the early days of their daughter’s abduction by the evil Hordak anyway. "The dream...was it about the creature again?" He finally asks in a low voice, absently running his hands down her back in a soothing manner.

Absently shaking her head, Marlena tries to regain control of herself. Only to be interrupted by the arrival of an equally terrified Orko flying through the open doorway over Man-at-Arms' head, the little court magician having awoke in much the same manner as the Queen. Without a word the little magician throws his arms around Marlena's neck, even as she reaches up with one arm to return the hold, not leaving the safety of the King's arms. This too had been happening over the last four nights turning the palace upside down as everyone from the court physician to the Sorceress herself, tried to find the meaning of the shared nightmares the two have been having.

After a moment, "This is getting really old." Marlena said in a shaky voice with a small smile. "On the upside I did get to cut off one of Skeletor's hands this time." She continued, trying to find some humour in recurring nightmares, even as Randor and Duncan stared at her in disbelief. Sometimes they really didn't understand her. Only to laugh again at the matching dumbfounded looks on Randor and Duncan faces. Sometimes it was just too easy teasing them, she decided with a faint grin. Once again forgetting about the slight culture barrier she constantly faced over that last two decades. Granted the over all language may be the same, but some things just do not translate all that well, apparently her sense of humour was one of them.

End Part One.