Family Tangles
by Alexandra spears

Back at the Palace, King Randor had just received a message from Skeletor, saying that he had Lady Edwina and that she would be a prisoner unless Prince Adam and Princess Adora came alone and unarmed--and with Adora's daughter Kathryn.

He-Man and She-Ra and their aunt Morana were keeping an eye on the baby when Randor came in to tell them. He-Man was getting ready to look for Edwina. "She's going to be just like her father," Morana said, tears streaming down her face. "Just like Keldor."

She-Ra frowned. As far as she knew, her uncle Keldor had died before she and her brother were born. She'd never heard her aunt talk about Keldor. "Was he this bad?" she asked.

Randor looked at his daughter. "Adora, I never told you or Adam...but Keldor turned to evil years before you and Adam were born. He was meddling with some magic that was best left alone and his appearance was altered and he became Skeletor. Some people thought Skeletor was from another dimension and that when Keldor summoned him he was killed, but the fact is, Skeletor is your uncle. Just before his transformation he'd left his wife and daughter."

"I never told Edwina about what her father did," Morana added. "I thought it best if she thought her father was dead. Keldor was very jealous because Randor was the eldest and he wanted rule of Eternia. Just after he...changed, he met up with Hordak and began studying under him. He thought he could acquire power enough to overthrow your father and rule Eternia. He suggested that Hordak conquer Eternia, and when he did, Skeletor was going to kill him and take over himself. But that failed and Adora was kidnapped."

She-Ra was slowly shaking her head. He-Man looked shocked. All these years they'd been fighting their own uncle! "Does Mother know?" He-Man asked.

"Yes, she's known for a long time," said Randor.

"Now he wants us to come to Snake Mountain with Katie," said She-Ra. "Somehow I don't think Edwina's his prisoner. She has something planned, I'm sure."

"Edwina doesn't know that he's her father," He-Man pointed out.

"Still, he'd know Edwina's his daughter," Morana said. "It's hard to tell what's going on."

"What are you going to do?" Randor asked his children.

"Adam and I would go, but I'm so hesitant to take my baby," said She-Ra. "I'd contact Skeletor and see what he wants."

Edwina walked with Skeletor to his throne room. "I'm glad some member of the Royal Family wants to help me," he said. "Tell me, Edwina, what do you know of your father Prince Keldor?"

"You knew him?"

"You could say that."

"He died when I was two. Why are you interested?"

Skeletor laughed. "Your mother won't admit the truth to you. I was Prince Keldor of Eternia."

"You're my father?"

"Yes, yes. I was married to that woman Morana before I...changed. She kept interfering, wanting me to stop experimenting with my magic. When I became like this she wanted no part of me."

"Well I'll help you, Father," said Edwina. "You should have ruled Eternia."

Skeletor seemed to be grinning. Like father like daughter.

"This is quite a serious accusation, Adam," Randor said, stroking his beard thoughtfully. "Are you sure that's what you heard them saying?" "I heard it as well, Father," Adora put in. "She even wants to harm Katie." Reflexively she clutched her sleeping baby more tightly. Randor's sister-in-law Morana stood to the side of the dais. Her head was bowed, and she put a hand over her face and started crying. Her reddish-brown hair hid her face. "I tried. I tried to control that girl. I tried my best...but since her father...." Marlena stepped from her throne to put a consoling arm around her sister-in-law's shoulders. "We know you tried." Morana looked up, her eyes red, tears streaming from them. "How do you do it? I mean, Adora was raised by the Horde but she still turned out to be a good, kind, and decent young woman. Edwina had the best and look!" "Adora was under a spell," Marlena reminded Morana. "I still believed I was doing good," Adora murmured. "But that's the thing!" Morana said. "Adora, you always wanted to do good deeds, even while with the Horde! The Horde exploited that. But I try to instill morals in my daughter and I fail miserably." "We should find Edwina and confine her so she can do no harm to my children or my granddaughter," Randor said quietly. "I'll find He-Man," said Adam. "I'll stay here with Katie--as She-Ra," said Adora. "If anyone tries anything they'll be sorry."

Edwina had commandeered a Wind Raider and was heading for Snake Mountain. Skeletor was too ugly for even Edwina to seduce, but still he might like her proposal. Edwina had been jealous ever since the twins were born. No one had ever thought Randor would marry--no woman was ever to his liking. It had been thought that after he was gone, his younger sister Morana would assume the throne, then after her, Edwina. Her mother's younger siblings were of no consequence. Then that Earth woman just had to crash on Eternia, and on top of that Randor had fallen for her the minute he'd seen her! And a year later Edwina's twin cousins had been born--heirs to the throne! Even if something happened to Adam, Adora would be next in line. So many in Edwina's way, and now Adora had just given birth to a daughter. Edwina would not kill them herself--she would get someone else to do it and this way their blood would not be on her hands, so she believed. Skeletor was perfect. He'd been trying to do it for years and Edwina would give him a golden opportunity. She could easily lead him into the Palace, she thought. Finally Snake Mountain, aptly named for the stone snake that coiled around a mountain, loomed into view. As this was the Dark Side of Eternia, the skies were perpetually red-gray. Streaks of lightning raced across the sky. Edwina landed the Wind Raider near the base. She wasn't worried about being caught, because she was here to help. She took a little compact from a pocket in her dress and looked at her face in the compact's mirror. Perfect. She smiled and got out of the vehicle. Edwina seethed as she thought of Adam marrying that barbarian Teela. More children to get in the way. She would have turned back if that thought hadn't popped into her mind; this place was just plain scary and no place for a lady. As she found an entrance into the mountain, Skeletor himself accosted her. "I knew there was an intruder here," he said, his grinning skull seeming to grin even more. "What brings you here, woman?" "I am Lady Edwina, niece of King Randor," said Edwina haughtily. "I don't like my cousins Adam and Adora. I want to be Queen of Eternia but I have all these relatives in my way." She said the last sentence as if it were a huge tragedy. Skeletor thumped the end of his Havoc Staff on the ground and placed a clawed hand to his chin, appearing to think this over. "So what do you want from me?" he asked, not unkindly. "I could lead you to the Palace so you could get rid of them--and Adora's newborn baby." "Foolish wench! I could easily make my way into the Palace!" Skeletor roared. "I had been hoping that you'd help me," said Edwina. She didn't like being called a wench. That was her name for Adora. "However, I have something else in mind," said Skeletor, his tone changing abruptly. "Right this way...Lady Edwina, was it?"

A few months went by. Edwina, realizing that Adora would be right there to stand up for her brother, had stopped flirting with Adam. Still, though, she batted her eyes at him whenever he looked in her direction. That winter was a bad one. Ice storms made coming and going hard if not absolutely impossible. Work to rebuild Princess Morana's home could not begin yet due to the terrible weather. Spring had just arrived but there was still a few feet of snow on the ground. Spring had been there a few weeks and the snow was just starting to melt when Adora gave birth to her baby, a beautiful, healthy little girl whom she named Kathryn. She was sitting up in bed a few hours after the birth, holding her newborn daughter. "What a beautiful baby!" Queen Marlena exclaimed as she gently lifted her granddaughter into her arms. "She looks just like you, Adora, but I can see a lot of Sea Hawk in her." "Oh, let me see!" Princess Morana said, peering over her sister-in-law's shoulder. "Look at her eyes...what a beautiful blue-green...." "I think she's going to have blonde hair," said Marlena. "I can tell right now she's going to be a beauty when she grows up." Adora smiled. It was only natural for her mother to say that. Adora's father and brother also got to hold the new baby. Little Princess Kathryn was just looking around, probably trying to figure out what all this was. At last Kathryn was back in her mother's arms, and she soon fell asleep. Adora glanced at the bookcase behind which was the niche where she kept her sword and her late husband's weapons. Kathryn would inherit her father's things. Which reminded Adora--she was going to have to take Kathryn to see her other grandfather, the Falcon.

Edwina didn't think much of the new princess that had been born last week. Sometimes during the night she could hear that baby crying. Fortunately Adora seemed to be smart enough to keep that child in her room with her at night, rather than in the nursery. A few times Edwina had peeked into Adora's room to find her breast-feeding that baby, of all things! Edwina could think of better things to do with her breasts, rather than feed some screaming brat! They were one of her best features, if she did say so herself. It was a good thing she was unable to bear children for some reason. She'd much rather keep her figure, thank you very much. Edwina was wandering down a corridor when she met up with Adora, who was carrying her baby. "Too bad you'll never land another man, if you ever wanted to," she said snidely to Adora. "What do you mean?" Adora asked, clutching her baby a little closer to her, as if to protect her. "Don't you know that childbearing could ruin your figure?" Adora was wearing the red bodysuit she'd always worn before she became pregnant. "In case you haven't noticed, I'm back to what I was before I became pregnant," she said. "You know, you could look a lot prettier yourself if you didn't act so ugly." With that, Adora turned and walked away. "Little wench," Edwina hissed. Why did Adora insist on showing her up? Edwina had been here for a few months now and she was still no closer to exacting her revenge on her cousins. Part of it was because she really didn't know what she wanted to do. Another part was because the twins' parents would readily believe them over Edwina.

Adora was in the nursery, giving her baby a bath, when Adam came in. "Adora, have I got some good news!" he exclaimed. "Edwina's leaving?" Adora asked hopefully. "No...." "This should be good," Adora smirked. "What is it?" "Well, I asked Teela to marry me...and she said yes!" Adora grinned at her brother. "Congratulations!" "We're going to do like you did...wait until the wedding night. If nothing else, it'll show that cousin of ours who the decent ones are around here." "I think she'd still think that you and I were behaving inappropriately," Adora said. "Yet she sees nothing wrong with flirting with you." "Oh, and Teela said that if she sees Edwina even looking at me, she'll give her a good working over," Adam chuckled. "Teela knows that I'd have nothing to do with Edwina whatsoever; she just hates seeing her bother me." "I guess this is something even He-Man couldn't handle," Adora said. "Are you kidding! Last month when I went to fight Skeletor's flunkies as He- Man, she just about threw herself at me! Fortunately Battle Cat can run faster!" Adora was giggling and trying to hold it in. She felt so sorry for her brother. Their cousin had a warped mind, that much was clear. She found herself wondering just how warped. Then she wondered if she really wanted to know. Adam watched as Adora carefully bathed her daughter. She laid Kathryn down on a soft towel and without being asked Adam got the sleepers Adora had laid out. "Thanks, brother." Adora put the sleepers on Kathryn and placed her in her crib. "It's her nap time," Adora said softly, careful not to disturb the baby, who was drifting off to sleep. She leaned on the crib's railing, just gazing at her baby. Soon little Kathryn, or Katie as she was often called, was asleep. "She'll sleep for a few hours," Adora told Adam. "Hawk would have loved her. I think sometime next week I'll take her to see her other grandfather." The twins left the nursery, Adora glancing behind just once at her baby. They had started down the corridor when they heard loud voices coming from one of the rooms. It was Edwina and a man neither of the twins knew. "Great, she'll probably wake Katie," Adora muttered. Adam put his finger to his lips and guided his sister to the door. They could hear a heated argument. "What do you mean I'm not good enough?" a man's voice shouted. "I thought we had something. I burned down your home for you so you could stay here, otherwise your uncle wouldn't have allowed it! I'm trying to help you here!" "Just so you can be my consort when I become Queen of Eternia!" Edwina shrieked. "I want you to kill my meddling cousins! That baby too!" Adora put a hand to her mouth. Tears sprang to her eyes. "I don't care about my uncle. Or my mother. Once they're gone I'll be Queen, and I can wait until they die." "Look, I don't believe in killing babies!" "Durkan, honestly! You could just...cause an accident, that's all!" "I'm not too fond of the idea of killing your cousins when as He-Man and She-Ra they keep Eternia safe from Skeletor!" Edwina gave a short, bitter laugh. "Maybe I ought to try seducing Skeletor then." "Ha! You deserve him, you washed-up whore!" Adam and Adora ducked into another room and peered out as the man called Durkan stormed out of the room. "That's who she was with when Bow and I overheard them," Adam whispered to Adora. "Think we'll be considered petty now if we tell our parents?" Adora asked. "Definitely not. Come on." "Wait--I want to get Katie." Adora headed for the nursery and came out holding her baby, who was wrapped in a blanket. The twins walked down the corridor to the throne room, ready to tell their parents what they'd heard.

That evening Marlena decided to confront her children. It was better to get a straight answer from them than wonder what was going on. Adam and Adora sat on a couch together in the gallery. All around them, on the walls, were pictures of their Eternian ancestors and relatives. The people in the paintings seemed to stare accusingly. "Let me get right to the point," their mother said, standing in front of them. "Have you two been doing anything you shouldn't?" "No," said Adam. "Like what?" "What do you do when you're alone together?" "Mother, what kind of question is that?" Adora demanded. She knew now where this conversation was going. "How could you ever think that Adam and I would behave improperly? We're brother and sister! We love each other but not like that!" "Mother, who or what gave you such an idea?" Adam wanted to know. "Your cousin Edwina had some concerns--so she said," Marlena admitted. Adam and Adora looked at each other with looks that said, "That figures." "Mother, she was giving me a terrible time yesterday," said Adora. "Kowl was with me." Marlena studied her twin children. "I believe you two," she said. "I explained to her that twins tend to be rather close. Despite the fact you didn't grow up together, you two have developed a special bond." She sighed. "The fact that you two were discussing names made me think...." Adora laughed. "Mother! I was running names by Adam to see what he thought. I was also going to ask you for Earth names--I was wanting to see what everyone thought!" "I guess I should have stayed longer at the door," Marlena said. "I'm sorry, you two. Edwina's a very crafty liar. I'm sorry I suspected you of such a thing." "Well, at least you asked us instead of just assuming what Edwina said was true," said Adam. "I suppose if she saw me giving Father a kiss on the cheek she'd think something nasty," Adora put in. "I have no romantic feelings for my brother or my father or any of my relatives whatsoever." "Same here," said Adam. "I believe you, you two," Marlena smiled. She went over to them and hugged them both. "Now go do whatever."

The twins were walking down the corridor after the talk with their mother. "I couldn't believe that!" said Adam. "I love you but as a sister. I couldn't ever think know...." "Same here," Adora replied. "We do spend a lot of time together though...but I grew up without you and I want to make up for lost time." "We need to find a way to get Edwina out of here," said Adam. "She's causing trouble again but this time she's more subtle." "Well, I'm going to lie down, Adam. Maybe this baby will take the hint and stop kicking for a little while." "Okay, Sis," Adam said, patting her shoulder. Adora entered her bedroom and sat down heavily on her four-postered bed. On her nightstand was a picture of her and Sea Hawk at their wedding. She picked up the gold-framed picture and stared at it. Eighteen-year-old Adora and twenty-three-year-old Sea Hawk stared back at her, giving no hint of what fate had in store for them. Opening the drawer on her nightstand, Adora pulled out a letter. Swen, one of Sea Hawk's crew, had found it a couple of months after Sea Hawk's death. It had been addressed to Adora, and the date on it was about a week before his death. "My dearest Adora," it read. "I keep having these dreams, dreams that tell me I won't be here much longer. I didn't want to tell you because I wasn't sure if they were just dreams. However, I had instructed Swen to find this letter and give it to you should I die in the battle with the Horde. "I don't want to die, don't want to leave you. I love you more than life itself. Adora, should we ever have a child, and I'm not here to see our child, I want you to let that baby know I love him or her. Give our child, should we have one, my weapons, handed down to me from my father. "It's late now, and you're sleeping peacefully, looking so much like an angel. I'm about to climb into bed beside you and hold you. Adora, I've felt for a long time that I've been living on borrowed time. I feel I should have been dead that day Scurvy blew up my old ship and I found my father. Maybe Fate had something else for me to do. "My darling, I will always love you. Never forget that. "Your loving husband, Sea Hawk." Tears came to Adora's eyes, as they always did whenever she read Sea Hawk's letter. He'd been having premonitions of his own death and he hadn't wanted to worry her. He'd also thought that Adora might conceive within that time. She was glad that he'd thought of that. Her child would feel good knowing that he or she was loved by his or her late father. She knew that she would show this letter to her child when he or she was old enough to understand. Carefully putting the letter away, Adora opened a secret panel behind a bookcase. She put her magic sword into the niche. Other items were there, things that had belonged to Sea Hawk: his impact ring, which increased one's blows a hundredfold; his photon cutlass, which could cut through anything or stun; and the seven-league boots which allowed their wearer to jump great distances. Whether her baby was a boy or a girl, Adora would give the child those weapons. If she had twins they would be divided between them. Closing the panel, Adora lay back on her bed and closed her eyes. So many things were going on right now, and sleep was a good temporary escape.

A little later Adam went to his room, on the way peeking into his sister's room. She was sleeping, he noticed. He smiled slightly. It probably could get tiring, carrying an unborn child. She had about three months to go. Closing the door to Adora's room quietly so as not to wake her, Adam went into his own room. He sat on his bed and thought. How could his mother think for even a moment that what Edwina had said about him and Adora was true? He and Adora hugged each other a lot, but why shouldn't they? They were brother and sister after all. He'd always wanted a brother or sister while growing up and now that he knew he had a sister, he merely wanted to show that he appreciated her. He and Adora could talk about anything at all to each other. Each was the other's best friend. Suddenly the door to his room opened. Adam looked up. Didn't people knock anymore? Edwina stood there, smiling wickedly. "Hello, little cousin," she said, her words sounding slurred. No wonder, for she held a bottle of liquor in her hand, and it was three-quarters empty. Too bad she didn't pass out already, Adam was thinking. "What do you want?" Adam demanded. "Not what. Who." What was that Earth expression he'd heard his mother mutter one time? Sounded like "sheet" or something. "Don't you have a man waiting in one of the rooms or something? I think you may have taken a wrong turn," Adam said coolly. "Why have your sister when you can have me?" Edwina asked, slowly advancing towards him. "Why don't you ask someone who's interested? I'm sure if you go into the bad part of town you'll find lots of volunteers," Adam countered. He had to get out of here. "In some parts of the world first cousins marry," Edwina said. "Here, have a drink of this...." "NO!" Adam shouted. "And I heard about the lie you told about me and Adora. My mother didn't believe you." "You and Adora hug all the time," Edwina said, sounding wounded. "Am I not good enough?" "Just...get...away!" Adam said, springing off his bed. Edwina went for the door and blocked it, laughing drunkenly. The smell of alcohol hung around the room like strong perfume. Adam wanted to throw up. Here was his cousin trying to seduce him, after insinuating that he and his sister had been doing things they shouldn't. Smelling the alcohol didn't help either. Suddenly the door seemed to open a little. Edwina stepped back, drunkenly wondering what it had done that. The door slammed open, nearly hitting Edwina. There stood Adora, her hair slightly rumpled. Adora immediately grabbed Edwina by the back of her neck and squeezed, her long fingernails digging in. "Ow! Let me go you little tramp!" "You want to see a tramp, look in the mirror," Adora replied. "It's not bad enough that you woke me up, but you're bothering Adam too. Go in your own room and sleep it off before I knock you out and take you there myself." Adora squeezed harder. Edwina left the room, Adora right behind her. Even drunk Edwina remembered that even while pregnant Adora was a formidable fighter, so she offered no resistance. "I'll go, I'll go," Edwina said. Adora let go. "Leave us alone. And quit telling lies about us. One of these days you're going to trip yourself up." Just then King Randor came down the corridor. "What's this?" he asked. "I think Edwina found her way into your wine cellar, Father," Adora said innocently. "She was in Adam's room, bothering him. Maybe she thought he was one of her boyfriends. I suggested she go sleep it off." Edwina stumbled into her room and slammed the door. "She was bothering Adam, you say?" Randor asked. "More like trying to seduce him," Adora replied. "I'd never seen Adam so afraid." Randor heaved a sigh. "So she lied when she said she'd changed." "There isn't much we can do since she and Aunt Morana have nowhere to go," Adora noted. "I'll speak to Morana," said Randor. "I have little choice but to let Edwina stay here." Adora nodded slowly. "I'm going to go see if Adam's all right, Father. He didn't look very well." "All right, Adora." Randor patted her shoulder and continued down the corridor. Adora went into Adam's room. "Adam?" His bathroom door was closed. "In here. Talk to me through the door." "Are you all right?" "Yeah. That really bothered me though. I'm going to take a nice long bath."

Bow and Adam were sauntering off after the snowball fight. They were laughing, just being good buddies. "So, is Teela your girlfriend?" Bow asked. Adam blushed and Bow snickered. "Well, I'd like her to be...I mean, now that she knows I'm He-Man she seems to be around quite a bit. I don't know if she likes me or the fact that I'm He-Man." "Maybe she felt she had to choose and now that she doesn't...," Bow began. "That could be it too. I'm seriously thinking about finding a wife, though. Adora's been married and widowed already. Poor thing." "I think Teela would be good. You grew up together, you know each other pretty well," said Bow. "Better that than a stranger." They heard something as they came upon a rather secluded area of the Palace grounds. There was the sound of a woman moaning. "Sounds like someone's having a good time," Adam whispered. "How would you know?" Bow asked. "I've heard my sister and Sea Hawk when they stayed here for a while. I'd never seen two people more in love," Adam replied. "I've passed by her bedroom. It was really faint but don't think I didn't know what was going on." He smiled slightly, remembering that his sister missed her husband a lot. Bow merely raised an eyebrow. "Spying on Adora?" he needled. "No...but her bedroom is right next door to mine. I can't help but pass it sometimes when I go to my own room." "Just joking...what on Etheria is going on there?" He pointed. Adam crept a little closer. When he came back, he was rolling his eyes. "It's my snobby cousin Edwina and a man," he said. "In the snow?" Bow asked as he and Adam hid behind a tree. From over where Edwina and her lover were, the two friends could here the man saying, "Yes, this is definitely payment enough, dear Edwina. I'll see to it that you're living in the Palace. And maybe one day I may be your consort." "You're the best so far Durkan...provided I find no one better you may very well be my consort." Bow and Adam looked at each other. "Payment?" Bow asked, peering around the tree. "She won't hesitate to trade her favors for what she wants," Adam explained. "One time she hinted that if she weren't my cousin...." He shuddered. "Looks like they're really having fun," said Bow, making himself heard above the cries of pleasure coming a short distance away. "Let's get out of here. They're too busy to notice us." "I'm about to be sick anyway," Adam added as they quickly left the scene.

The next day, the Royal Family was at the table having breakfast. Edwina and her mother, Princess Morana, were to leave soon for their home to the west. Edwina looked awfully smug, Adam couldn't help but notice. Probably had a good time yesterday. "Imagine, I'll be a great-aunt!" Morana said to her niece Adora. "You already are a great aunt," Adora said, smiling. "You can bet I'll spoil my great-niece or -nephew," Adora's aunt replied. Edwina merely sat there, silent. She didn't care about the new cousin she was going to have. Her mother might as well have said it--she would never have grandchildren, so her brother-in-law's grandchildren would do just fine. Under the smug look she was seething. She would get revenge. "Your Majesties!" Man-at-Arms came running into the dining room, an urgent look on his face. "Terrible news!" "What is it, Duncan?" Queen Marlena asked. "Princess Morana's home has been burned down; it happened last night. All was lost in the blaze." Randor's sister-in-law gasped. "Oh no!" she cried. "What shall we do? Where shall we go?" "Take it easy, Morana," Randor said. "You and Edwina will stay here until your home can be rebuilt. Our other brothers' and sisters' homes are too far away to travel to, especially in this weather." "Thank you, Uncle," purred Edwina. "You won't regret this." Adam and Adora looked at each other across the table. Adora sighed quietly; only Adam noticed it. Adam's look clearly said that he thought there was something not right about all this. "I should hope not, Edwina," Randor was saying. "Really, Uncle, I've changed my ways."

Adam and Adora sat in the den later on that morning, Orko pacing around in mid- air. "I don't like this, Adam," said Adora. "The things she was saying to me yesterday! Insinuating that my baby isn't Sea Hawk's among other things." "Wait till you hear what Bow and I saw and overheard," said Adam, his face turning red. "She and someone named Durkan were, um...." "Having sex?" Adora prompted. "Uh, yeah. Bow and I saw them quite by accident. They were saying something about a payment and that this Durkan fellow may be her consort." "Consort?" Adora asked. She looked pensive. "That would imply that she wants to be or will be queen of something--but what?" Adam shrugged. "I don't know. But isn't it odd how last night their home burned down? You know Father would never let Edwina stay here otherwise." "Sounds suspicious...but let's not jump to conclusions," Adora said. "Maybe we should tell Mother and Father?" "Hmmm...that would risk sounding spiteful and petty--almost as bad as Edwina. No, we should listen in when we can. And you know Edwina will act like Miss Perfect for our parents." "Maybe I should give her another scary present," suggested Orko, settling himself down between the twins on the couch. "I don't think that would help," said Adam. "She seems to hate you the most, Adora." "Maybe because I'm a lady and she's nothing but a tramp," Adora said firmly.

"Aunt Marlena, I've noticed something about Adam and Adora," said Edwina shortly before lunch. The two women were on a balcony in the Palace. "What about them?" Marlena asked. "They seem...well...too close, if you take my meaning. They hug each other all the time and I've never seen a brother and sister that close." Marlena scrutinized her niece. "Adam and Adora are twins. Twins tend to be closer than most brothers and sisters born at different times. There's nothing wrong with them hugging. They grew up apart and they're trying to make up for lost time. In fact, my younger sister and I always hugged each other. We grew up in a loving home." "I just thought you'd want to prevent something from happening...if it hasn't already happened," said Edwina. "I mean, Adora's pregnant...who knows?" Edwina turned and walked away. Marlena looked after her. She shook her head. There was absolutely no way Adam and Adora could do something so horrendous. Adora had been married! Doubt had been planted in Marlena's mind. Adam had been hugging Adora a lot after Sea Hawk's death. The twins did spend a lot of time together.... No. It couldn't be...could it?

After lunch Adam and Adora were in the Royal Library, looking up names for Adora's baby. Adam was snickering at a name in particular. Unbeknownst to them, Marlena was peeking in at them. If one didn't know better, one would think Adam was the expectant father rather than Adora's dead husband. Should she tell Randor? Marlena left, went to sit down somewhere to think. Meanwhile, Adora was saying, "It's too bad Hawk's not here to help me pick out a name. So I'm asking you what you think and I'll ask everyone else. I want my baby to have a nice name. Maybe I could ask Mother for some Earth names--our names are Earth names." "Supposedly Adam was the name of the first Earth human," said Adam. "Maybe that's why she gave it to me--the first Earth baby born on Eternia." "And she called me Adora because I looked...adorable," Adora giggled. "Hmmm...maybe one of these days Teela and I will marry and have a family. Doesn't hurt to look at names now." "My child may like some cousins...he or she likely won't have any brothers or sisters," Adora said, sounding sad. "I think I'll ask Teela next," said Adora, closing the book. "After your training session. I don't have to train because I'm pregnant." "Maybe when I'm an expectant father someday I won't have to," said Adam. Adora lightly hit the top of his head with the book as she got up. "You won't be the one carrying the baby, silly," she smirked. "Oh yeah." Adam grinned boyishly. Teela sauntered into the library. "There you are," she said. She went over and grabbed Adam by the ear, grinning mischievously. "Ow--Teela!" Adam protested. Adora stood at the bookshelf behind the desk, smiling. She hoped Adam and Teela got together...despite their bickering they seemed to be perfect for each other. "Think you'd better get moving, brother dear," said Adora. "I may come out to watch you fall on your face later." "So funny I forgot to laugh," said Adam. "Come on, handsome," said Teela as she took his hand and led them out of the room, leaving Adora to lean against the books, giggling. "Women," Adam murmured.

A lot of the partygoers were outside on the Palace grounds. Adora was helping some of her younger cousins build a snowman. Adam and Bow, along with some others, were engaged in a snowball fight. One of Adora's older cousins, Lady Edwina, looked Adora up and down. Lady Edwina was something of a snob and was very selfish. The only reason she was there was because she was the daughter of one of Randor's younger brothers, whose widow had been invited. They wanted no hard feelings in the family, so Edwina was there. " tacky. Pregnant and without a husband," said Edwina to Adora.

Adora understood why even Orko didn't like her--and he loved everyone. "Edwina, let me set this straight. I was married to my baby's father. Since I was eighteen. I'm twenty today. So go figure. It's the same as if I were maybe this far along and he died--I'd still be a single parent." Edwina was a tactless as she was selfish. "How do we know that's his child?" "I don't think you'd understand, Edwina," said Adora, shaking her head. "You, who would cheat on a boyfriend of yours, dare to lecture me, who has had only one lover--my husband. I'll tell you what--Hordak should have kidnapped you and not me. He wouldn't have needed to put any spells on you!" With that, Adora whirled around and walked away. Of all the troublemakers in this universe, this one just had to be related to her! Edwina sauntered off. Adora had more fire than her twin. Yet she was just as much of a goody-two-shoes, despite her upbringing in the Fright Zone on Etheria. "I'll fix you, little cousin," Edwina muttered. Kowl, a bird-like creature that resembled a cross between a koala bear and an owl with huge ears, flew up to Adora. "Who was that?" he asked as he perched on Adora's shoulder. "My cousin Edwina. She is so rude and arrogant. Her mother--my aunt--is so nice, I just wonder what happened." "You remember my cousin Red-Eye. I can relate," said Kowl. "Well the best we can do is ignore her. She's not going to ruin my and Adam's birthday--I won't let her," Adora declared. "So--how do you like our snowman?" "You are quite the artist," said Kowl. "Your little cousins had fun." Adora winced a little and placed her hands on her belly. "My baby's kicking," she told Kowl. "Why does Edwina appear to hate you?" asked Kowl. Adora sighed. "She was married a few years back but her husband divorced her. And it turns out she can't have children of her own, but that's not why he left her. He left because she was very rude and overbearing and she had affairs with other men. I can't remember how many lovers she has now. I think she's jealous because I had a loving husband and I'm going to have a baby. And I was the center of attention at one point when Adam found me. And my mother says people can't get enough of twins, even here on Eternia." "So your cousin is easy and loose and is trying to condemn you because you're a widow," said Kowl. "That's pretty much it. Hawk and I waited until our wedding night. We were each other's first and only lovers," Adora said, staring off into the distance. "I don't know if I'll ever marry again. It hurt too much losing Sea Hawk. Even given the fact that I'm widowed, not too many men want to raise other men's children. Right now I think about the good times I had with Hawk, and I think about being a good mother to my baby." "I overheard her insinuating that this baby might not be Sea Hawk's," Kowl said, sounding disgusted. Adora walked on towards the activities going on, Kowl riding on her shoulder. "Trust me, it is," Adora said. "I think that because she's easy she thinks other women are too. That and she wants people to look at me like I'm some kind of harlot to make herself look better. I've had no man since Sea Hawk's death. Besides, I'd still wait until the wedding night. And how soon do you think I'd remarry after the death of a husband whom I loved very much?" "I never doubted you for a minute, Adora," said Kowl sincerely. "You are a very honorable person and she is not. Plain and simple." "Thank you, Kowl," Adora smiled. "Besides, everyone knows that you were married to the baby's father," Kowl added. "And I'm sure everyone knows what kind of woman Edwina is. I wouldn't worry." "I'm not worried." Adora smiled and pointed. "Look and Bow and Adam trying to hit each other with snowballs." "There's that saying, boys will be boys," Kowl hooted. Adora laughed. "Let's go watch them."

It was Bow and Glimmer versus Adam and Teela. A field had been cleared and fortresses made of snow were at opposite ends. Adora sat in a snow bank to one side, Kowl next to her. A friend and ally, Stratos, sat on the other side of Adora. "Why aren't you out playing, Adora?" the bird-man asked. "I don't want anything to happen to my baby, Stratos," Adora replied. "Besides, sometimes it's just as much fun to watch." Teela's head poked up over the one fortress. Bow's poked up from the other. Teela blew Bow a kiss, which caught him off-guard long enough for Teela to lob a snowball at him. It hit him square in the face. "That'd probably work better than a cold shower," Adam snickered. He looked over to his left and noticed his sister sitting there with Stratos and Kowl, laughing. She needed to laugh, he thought.

Edwina stood apart from all the games and activities going on. She pulled her cloak more tightly around her body. Her Uncle Randor had all but banished her from the Palace. The only reason she was here now was because she'd actually begged, saying she was sorry. Randor wanted no strife in his family; they had enough problems from Skeletor. Edwina was several years older than the twins. Her father and mother had both married young, when they were around sixteen. Edwina's father had died when Edwina was a very little girl. Edwina remembered the twins when they were born. Odd...for some reason, at one point, she'd forgotten that Adora had existed. Oh yes...that spell the Sorceress had put on everyone. That spell had been lifted when Adora returned. Randor was two years older than Edwina's father. He'd married that Earth woman when he was in his mid-twenties. His eldest child would inherit the throne. If he hadn't had any children, Edwina would have been next in line, since her father was the second child in King Miro's family. That made Edwina rather angry. Adam was next in line, being the older twin, and if something happened to him, it would go to Adora. Edwina was furious at the way she'd been treated. That Orko was a walking-- actually floating--joke. She would find a way to gain revenge. What if she and her mother had no place to go? The thought made her smile. She felt a hand on her shoulder. Turning, she saw who it was and smiled. "Durkan," she said. "Are you going to do it now?" "As soon as I get my payment--now." He tugged at her cloak. " the snow?" "Hey, I'll keep you warm." Edwina laughed. "I meant, this is certainly new. Once you, do it, and let me know when it's done." "You have my word, milady." They fell into the snow together.

This is that story I mentioned, still working on it:

Princess Adora was home at last. Finally the Royal Family of Eternia was complete. Adora had been kidnapped by Hordak when she and her twin brother Adam were babies. She had been raised on Etheria under spells of control. Even when she was a Horde force captain she didn't know the evil the Horde stood for--until Adam came and found her. After two years, Etheria was finally free from the Horde, thanks to Adam and Adora--in their identities as He-Man and She-Ra. Now Adora could keep her promise to her parents and return home. Adora was nineteen, and she'd been married for a year to Captain Sea Hawk. He was going to live on Eternia with her, but he had been killed during the battle. Adora was mourning her husband's loss even as her brother escorted her home.

Adora sat in her bedroom in the Royal Palace of Eternia. Her husband had been dead for a month now. The battle had raged for two weeks and he'd been killed towards the end and he'd died in She-Ra's arms, telling her that he loved her. He'd taken a shot from Admiral Scurvy that had been meant for She-Ra. He'd pushed her out of the way, laying down his life for her. It had been a month since Adora had made love with her husband. That last time had been the night before he died. Sea Hawk was buried here on Eternia, in the royal cemetery. After all, he had been the husband of the Princess of Eternia, and a hero. Adora's family had loved him while he was alive; he'd been like another son to Adora's parents. And Sea Hawk had taken good care of Adora while they were married. One time during their marriage Adora had become ill with a bad cold and Sea Hawk had stayed with her constantly. It seemed that all of Eternia had come to Sea Hawk's funeral. The days following had seemed like a blur, with people consoling Adora. As Adora sat at her dressing table, thinking, her hand went down to her abdomen. She'd been waking up feeling sick the last few mornings and she had seen the Court Physician. Adora was pregnant. Four weeks, the doctor had said. She was four weeks along. Adora knew that she'd conceived that last night with her husband. She wanted this would be all she had left of her beloved husband. She wondered how she would tell her family. She was single again and she was going to be a mother. But then, she reminded herself, the baby had been conceived in wedlock. It was just that the baby's father had died very shortly after conception had taken place. She was a widow, not a girl who'd never been married. There was a difference. There was a knock at her door. "Come in," Adora called. Adora's father, King Randor, entered. "Are you all right, Adora?" he asked, sounding concerned. Randor knew that his daughter missed her late husband terribly. "I'm fine, Father...I was just thinking," Adora said. "About what?" Randor asked gently. "About the baby I'm going to have. I'm pregnant, Father. I just found out today." "Oh, Adora." Randor hugged his daughter. "Are you happy for me?" Adora asked. "Of course! Why do you ask?" "Because my baby will have no father. Sea Hawk is dead," Adora replied. It occurred to Randor what Adora was saying. "Adora, this is anything but a disgrace. You were married for a little over a year. How far along are you?" "A month." She blushed. Randor nodded. Apparently Adora had conceived right before her husband died. "Well, my dear, you'll have part of your husband with you." "I know. I really want this baby." "We'll see to it that you have the best care during your pregnancy," Randor told his daughter. "After all, we're talking about my first grandchild." He smiled. Adora stood up and hugged her father. "Daddy, I don't know whether to be happy or sad. Happy because I'll have a baby of my own, sad because Hawk won't be around to see his child." "We'll help you, sweetheart," Randor assured her. He kissed her forehead and hugged her. Adora stood there for a long time, enjoying the hug her father was giving her. After a while, Randor gently placed his hands on her shoulders and looked at her. "We have to tell your mother and Adam and everyone else," he said. "I'd like to tell Mother and Adam," Adora said. "All right," Randor said. He hugged his daughter again.

Adora was six months along when she and Adam had their twentieth birthday. It was a special birthday for the twins. They'd celebrated their eighteenth and nineteenth together, but this was the first birthday where Adora was home for good. Adam and Adora's Etherian friends were also invited. The twins' birthday fell in the winter, and as part of the celebration there would be winter games. "How are you feeling?" Bow asked Adora. She knew what he meant--how was her pregnancy going and how was she holding up since her husband had died. The archer was a very good friend of hers. "I'm all right. But this baby likes to kick when I'm trying to sleep." Adora smiled. "Here...put your hand there." Bow tentatively reached out and touched Adora's belly. He could feel something moving inside her. "I got a kick on the hand," he grinned. "We're debating whether it'll be a boy or a girl. I say it's going to be a girl," Adora said. "Adam says it'll be a boy." "Maybe you'll have twins--one of each. You're a twin." Adora shook her head. "We're sure it's only one baby. The physician only heard one heartbeat. Still, my mother didn't know she was going to have twins until I was born." "I still remember that day, twenty years ago today," Marlena added as she came up to her daughter and her friend. "I remember thinking Adam was an awfully small baby, and I'd carried to term. Then the pains began again, and Adora was born, five minutes later." She kissed her daughter on the cheek. "Happy birthday, sweetheart." Adora hugged her mother. "Thank you, Mother." "Yes, happy birthday, Adora," said Bow. He also gave Adora a hug, careful because she was pregnant.