Queen Marlena's Halloween Party (Part One)
by Zoar28 aka Telkan2 aka Brett King
Unholy representations of ancient demons, cast in glistening black marble, surrounded the Eternian sorceress Evil-Lyn. Flickering flames licked the sky, savoring the taste of the fresh air that had only recently broken through the aged seal of the chamber. A long slab of black marble, in the form of a sacrificial table, rested in the center. Everything seemed to whisper, *Evil*!
From atop their high pedestals, the demons studied she who had broken into their long buried sanctum. The woman’s skin was smooth and pale. Her lips had been painted a dark red-black, as had her long fingernails. Elegant eyelashes, surrounding two pale gray eyes, fluttered every few moments.
A suit of dark purple and sapphire covered her slender body, just as tall purple boots covered her feet and sapphire wristlets covered her forearms. A long, willowy cloak of black cascaded down the wicked sorceress’ back. Atop the woman’s head, an ornate headdress the same coloring as her garment rested like a crown.
Evil-Lyn lifted her arms towards the sky, though the chamber’s ceiling and tons of brown earth separated them, and closed her eyes. Inhaling deeply, the woman called, “Hear me, elder demons of Eternia! Hear me, oh terrifying creatures that were ancient before mountains stood!”
The muffled sound of thunder sounded in the distance, and the chamber began to quake. The eyes upon the demonic statues shown blood red as their collective voices growled, “Speak, mortal.”
Evil-Lyn opened her eyes and smiled with wicked intent. “I have come, oh exalted ones, to seek your aid in bringing anarchy to this planet…I have come in search of the *Nightmare Ruby*!”
“The Nightmare Ruby doth not come without cost, sorceress.”
The woman nodded. “I understand, horrid ones. If the ruby succeeds in its task, then the souls of every being on Eternia shall be *yours* for the taking once they cross the River of Death.”
“Thou plan sounds promising…but know ye this: Shoulds’t thou fail, then we shall punish thee…and it will *not* be a punishment to thy liking!”
Suppressing a shudder, the woman nodded solemnly. “I accept your terms.”
“So be it!”
There was a brilliant flash of blood red light, and when it was gone a large ruby rested upon the sacrificial table. The gem sparkled in the torchlight, and reflected in Evil-Lyn’s pale gray eyes.
“Ah,” she marveled, taking the Nightmare Ruby in her hands and caressing its smooth surface. “At last, I will be able to make the dreams of my enemies into reality!”
Evil-Lyn paused for a moment. “But who to start with? Of course”—she snapped her fingers as the idea struck her—“what better way to bring anarchy to Eternia than making their leaders go mad as their darkest fears become real!”
Muffled thunder crashed once more as Evil-Lyn threw her head back with laughter.
The dark sorceress reappeared in her chamber within menacing Snake Mountain. Somewhere in the dark valleys beyond the black mountain walls, a creature called for mercy, making Evil-Lyn’s blood run deliciously cold…the creature’s plea was savagely ignored.
A fire-driven lamp rested in each corner of the room, casting a sinister yellow-orange glow across everything. On the large, black wall opposite the chamber’s entrance, an intricately carved stone skull held a giant mirror in its mouth. Beneath the mirror rested a small, bare table.
Evil-Lyn placed the Nightmare Ruby upon the table and then fixed her gaze in the mirror. “Show me,” she said, waving a hand in front of the reflective surface. The mirror rippled like water as another replaced Evil-Lyn’s image.
Empowered by the Nightmare Ruby, the sorceress’ scrrying mirror opened the mind of one of Eternia’s slumbering rulers… *** “Come to me, Marlena,” he whispered, the faint touch of an Eastern-European accent lacing his words. The man’s eyes were black with evil intent, but the Earth-born queen of Eternia was unable to break their intense gaze. He was dressed in a fine black suit, which contrasted with his stark white skin, and a glinting golden medallion hung from his neck. A flowing cloak of black velvet, inlaid with a satiny red fabric, hung from his shoulders. “I…” Marlena tried to resist, but she could make her slender legs, covered in a soft beige fabric and knee-high black boots, stop moving towards the man. “I don’t want to!” “But you have no choice, Marlena,” he whispered, reaching out with one hand to touch the silky white sleeves of her blouse. The other hand, meanwhile, pressed against the red hair on the back of her head, pulling the queen closer. “Marlena Glenn…*vampyr hunter*!” “No…” she resisted half-heartedly, unable to break the man’s unnatural hold on her. He leaned towards Marlena’s neck, careful to avoid her silver cross necklace, as the hand behind her head pulled it slowly to the right. Suddenly, something…no, *two* somethings…grazed the throbbing vein in her neck. And then, all went black…
Queen Marlena's Halloween Party (Part Two)
Marlena jerked up in her bed, cold beads of sweat resting atop her brow. Beside her, King Randor, her husband, also awoke. The man sat up beside her, and pulled her close to him; the brown hair of his beard tickled the queen’s scalp. Through the room’s window, one of Eternia’s moons pierced the deep purple sky with silver slivers of light.
“Did you have a nightmare, my dear?” he whispered groggily.
Marlena swallowed hard, and regained control of her trembling body. “Yes.”
“Care to tell me about it?”
The woman chuckled, pulling herself gently from his grasp. “It was quite strange, actually. You see, one Earth people once believed in creatures called vampires. They were undead beings that stalked the night, feeding on the blood of humans, according to the old stories.”
“And you had a nightmare about one of these…*vampires*?” Randor ventured.
“Yes,” she replied, looking into her husband’s brown eyes. “Perhaps it’s because of an old holiday that comes about this time of year on Earth called Halloween. On this day people dress- up as monsters…not just vampires, but witches, werewolves, mummies, and many kinds…to ‘scare’ other people into giving them candy.”
The king sighed. “I’m afraid your people are quite strange, my dear.”
The queen laughed. “Perhaps you’re right, my king…but it’s a fun day, nevertheless…”
Evil-Lyn waved her hand again, and the image of Eternia’s rulers vanished from her mirror. “Excellent,” she smirked. “Now that the Nightmare Ruby, in conjunction with my own dark powers, has shown me one of Queen Marlena’s fears I can make that fear reality…the darkest recesses of her mind shall become my playground!”
As she spoke, Evil-Lyn brought the gem into her hands and held it close to her chest. The sorceress closed her eyes as an eerie red aura surrounded her. “Soon, *Your Highness*, soon…”
There was darkness…and then, there was an annoying light beyond the sleeping queen’s eyelids. Marlena squinted for a few moments before managing to open her green eyes to the new day fully. The sun beckoned her, from its place in the sky, to awaken. The queen yawned widely and stretched. Then, blinking away the last vestiges of sleep from her eyes, Marlena noticed that Randor was not in bed beside her. “How odd,” she said to herself. “Randor *always* wakes me up when he gets up. I wonder—”
There was a sudden knock at the wooden double doors to the bedroom. Marlena left the warm confines of her bed, and pulled a long purple robe over her thin nightgown. “This had better be good,” she muttered to herself, “because this floor is *far* too cold on my delicate feet!”
One of the palace guards was standing on the other side of the door when Marlena opened it. The man was clad in the typical green- and yellow-armor and silver helm worn by the royal guard. “Your Majesty,” he said sharply, offering a stiff salute.
“Yes, Commander, what is it?”
“Captain Teela did not report for duty this morning, and we cannot locate her.”
Marlena quirked an eyebrow. “That’s not like Teela at all,” she said, rubbing her arms for warmth. “Have you asked her father, Man-At-Arms, where she is?”
“No, Queen Marlena…because he is gone as well.”
“Oh, dear. Well, perhaps they’re on a mission for my husband. Have you asked him about their whereabouts, yet?”
“But…” the guard hesitated, furrowing his eyebrows, “that’s what I came here to do, Queen Marlena. Isn’t he here with you, still?”
“No,” she replied, surprised. The queen stepped back into the room to show the guard that she was alone. “He isn’t in the throne room?”
“I’m afraid not, my queen.”
“Th-thank you, Commander,” she replied before closing the door with a soft *click*. To herself, Marlena wondered aloud, “Where could they all be?”
Suddenly, an apparition of the Sorceress appeared opposite the queen. The mystical guardian of Eternia was dressed, as always, in a simple tunic of soft white feathers and a long cloak of azure- and orange-feathers. A headdress, sporting the image of a falcon’s visage, similarly covered her head.
“Sorceress!” Marlena gasped.
“Greetings, Queen Marlena,” the Sorceress’ soft voice filled the chamber. “I know what has happened to your husband, Man-At-Arms, and Teela. They were spirited away during the night by Evil-Lyn, and taken to Snake Mountain.”
“Oh, no!” Marlena gasped. “Couldn’t you save them, Sorceress?”
“I tried, Your Majesty, but I was unsuccessful. Snake Mountain’s mistress recently came into possession of a ruby whose powers are far more ancient and powerful then my own. As it is, Evil-Lyn is nearly a match for me, but with the Nightmare Ruby…”
The queen’s legs began to give way, forcing her to sit on the edge of her bed. “Please, Sorceress, contact He-Man…or one of your other champions…to rescue my husband and friends.”
“That, I cannot do. The heroic champions of Eternia, those that I would normally dispatch to handle a situation like this, are all involved in a fierce battle with Evil-Lyn’s teacher, Skeletor, on a faraway world.”
“So can’t *you* do something?” Marlena persisted.
“If only I could, but I *cannot* for two reasons. First of all, I am powerless away from my home in Castle Grayskull; besides, the power of the Nightmare Ruby is far greater than my own.
“Secondly, only *you* can free the others from Evil-Lyn’s grasp.”
“*Me*?” Marlena echoed, her eyes widening in shock. “But what can *I* do against a sorceress like Evil-Lyn?”
“She has placed them within prisons created by your mind, and only you will know how to free them from these prisons. After freeing them, it will then be up to you to destroy the gem lest Evil- Lyn use it again in the future.”
The queen stared at the floor, wondering at the Sorceress’ mysterious words. When she looked back up, the other woman’s spectral image was gone. “Well, then…if I’m the only one that can save my husband and friends, then I had better get ready for battle. And, I think I know what the Sorceress meant when she said that I would know how to free them all from their prisons…”
Queen Marlena's Halloween Party (Part Three)
Hours later, the queen was ready. Taking the cue from her nightmare the night before, Marlena had created an outfit appropriate for such an “adventure.” Using a clothes-replicator, the woman had created a white blouse, beige pants, and knee-high black boots.
After donning her new suit, Marlena had gone around the palace, collecting what she thought she might need when she finally arrived at Evil-Lyn’s dark den. The various objects lined the inside of a large black bag upon her back.
Taking a long, last look in a nearby mirror, the queen quietly escaped the palace without alerting anyone to her intentions.
Despite the fact that it was mid-afternoon, the sky around Snake Mountain was dark purple. The pointed peak was like a great black stain of ink against the heavens, illuminated only briefly by flashes of deadly lightning.
A wolf howled in the distance, sending shivers down Marlena’s back. “No sense in staying out here,” she said to herself nervously. Then, the queen chided herself. “Don’t be a fool…you’re a grown woman, Marlena Glenn! You’ve flow through space, married into royalty on an alien world, and encountered everything from talking tigers to skull faced demons…you’re not going to let a wolf in the distance scare you, are you?”
Pushing aside all other thoughts, the woman crept through the main entrance to the mountain, which was oddly unguarded. As she continued on her way, though, she failed to notice the pale yellow beam spanning the width of the floor, which her ankles soon broke.
Snake Mountain’s silent alarms rang-out within Evil-Lyn’s chamber. Calling upon the powers of her scrying mirror once more, the sorceress brought forth an image of the intruder. “Ah, she has arrived…*good*!”
The woman spun about, beholding her newest weapons in the fight against the Forces of Good. Three ghastly creatures stood within the unlit recesses of the chamber. “Go,” Evil-Lyn commanded. “Hunt her down, and do with her as you like.”
With assorted sounds of acknowledgment, the three beings left to prowl the dark corridors of Snake Mountain...
Queen Marlena's Halloween Party (Part Four)
Marlena continued her search for Evil-Lyn and the others. With the exception of her tall black boots *clicking* and *clacking*, and the dripping sound of water droplets striking stagnant pools, not a sound could be heard…until something moaned in the dark corridor ahead of the queen. Then, like beacons in the night, two glowing red eyes sliced through the shadows. A hulking mummy followed the orbs, arms outstretched and covered from head-to-toe in yellowed bandages. With each stiff step the creature moaned even louder.
“Oh!” she gasped, taken aback by the unusual sight.
The mummy swatted at her angrily with a giant bandaged hand, but Marlena managed to duck in the knick of time. As the monster’s arm cleaved the air where Marlena’s head had been mere moments prior, the queen ducked beneath it and made her way behind him.
As the mummy attempted an awkward turn, made worse by the tight bandages that restricted its joints, the woman reached deep into the black bag she carried and freed a long dagger.
Lifting the sharp, glistening blade into the air as the creature completed its rotation, the queen quipped, “I hope this does more than just make you angry!” Marlena brought the blade down on her adversary, slicing the bandages into ribbons.
As the yellowed gauze fell to the cold ground, she beheld a sight even more startling than the mummy itself…she beheld the person under the wrapping!
“Man-At-Arms,” she gasped, seeing the familiar red hair, moustache, squared jaw, and less familiar nightclothes. “It looks like I was right; the prisons that the Sorceress mentioned appear to be the bodies of Earth monsters—”
Just then the man collapsed, falling like a sack of bricks. “Oh, no!” Marlena gasped, kneeling beside her downed friend. No matter how hard she tried, though, the woman could not reawaken him.
“Queen Marlena,” the Sorceress’ phantom voice urged, “you must *hurry*! As soon as Evil-Lyn learns that you’ve caught on to her trick, she will use the ruby to summon more ghouls!” “Right,” Marlena sighed, reluctantly leaving the man behind...
Queen Marlena's Halloween Party (Part Five)
“What’s going on?” Evil-Lyn wondered aloud, pacing back and forth within her chamber. “Why haven’t I heard back from those transformed imbeciles?” The sorceress tried to locate the queen on her mirror again, but failed to do so.
Squinting her eyes and pursing her lips with anger, she vowed, “If they fail me, it will be the *last* thing they do!”
It felt to Marlena as if she had been wandering through Snake Mountain’s dank halls for hours, but still she could find no sign of her other friends; or, for that matter, Evil-Lyn and the Nightmare Ruby.
Leaning against a wall for a few moments’ rest, the queen slid to the ground. “I’ve been at this for so long, and I have yet to see that blasted—”
A collective squealing interrupted the woman’s sentence, issuing forth from the shadowy ceiling high above her. Marlena slowly got to her feet again, never averting her eyes from the darkness above, and pulled a tiny glow-rod from her bag.
She activated the cylinder’s emerald light, and held it upwards. Her eyes widened like saucers as thousands of angry, hiary bats crashed down on her. The winged creatures swarmed around Marlena, snapping at the woman with millions of tiny teeth and pulling at her red hair with their talons.
Closing her eyes and mouth and ducking her head, the queen fled from their fury. After a few moments of running, though, she realized that they had not followed. Marlena turned about, startled to see Teela standing where she had been attacked; not one bat was in sight.
The captain of Eternia’s royal guard was clothed in flowing light gray robes of pure mist. Teela’s beautiful eyes had become entirely, unsettlingly so, black. The captain’s auburn colored hair flowed down her back unhindered, writhing like a nest of angry serpents. Two sharp fangs, capable of piercing flesh, showed slightly beneath her upper lip.
The vampiress laughed wickedly. Obviously, all traces of the woman Teela used to be were buried deeply in the monster’s subconscious. “Give up, Queen Marlena, and I shall give to you a…*gift*.”
“Really?” Marlena replied, backing away cautiously as her former friend floated towards her. “And what might that gift be, Teela?”
“I shall make you my first ‘child’…you should be honored.”
“Thanks, but *no thanks*!” The queen reached into her bag again.
“Daggers don’t work on vampires, You Highness,” Teela mocked. The vampiress hissed loudly and pulled back her lips to reveal more of her fangs.
“I *know* daggers don’t work on vampires, Teela…that’s why I brought *this*!” She removed a tiny blue bottle marked “Holy Water”…borrowed from a temple on the way from Palace Eternia to Snake Mountain…from her bag, and threw its contents at her friend.
As the liquid struck her, Teela did a backward somersault in the air. The former captain clawed at her skin everywhere the Holy Water touch, trying in vain to stop the burning sensation that was consuming her.
As the creature dropped to the stone floor in agony, the mist that was surrounding her congealed, transforming into a long gray nightgown. The blackness and fangs retreated from her eyes and mouth respectively. As soon as Teela was free from the spell, though, she lapsed into the same unconsciousness that her father had.
Marlena checked to make sure that Teela still lived, since she wasn’t sure if Evil-Lyn’s spell had transformed her into a full vampire…which would steal the breath from her lungs…or not. Luckily, the captain was still very much alive.
Queen Marlena's Halloween Party (Part Six)
“Randor,” the queen called, looking around her. “I know that you’re here somewhere, too. Show yourself…I won’t hurt yo—”
Suddenly, something barreled into her, knocking the woman into the unforgiving wall to her right. Marlena, dazed and disoriented, didn’t trust her eyes at first when she saw what had pushed her like that.
With eyes like silted lanterns, and a body completely covered by thick bristling brown fur, Randor was more feral than human. The once king of Eternia crouched close to the ground, his long razor sharp talons scratching the stone softly. Equally sharp fangs gnashed with eager anticipation, and drool trickled from his thin, blackened lips. The werewolf sniffed the air and a growl bubbled from his throat.
Randor lunged again, talons outstretched to run her through. The queen sidestepped, narrowly avoiding her husband’s attack. “That was close,” she gasped.
“I don’t remember much about werewolves,” Marlena continued. “The only thing I remember being able to end their plague…aside from a silver bullet, which I’m *not* about to use on my husband…is daylight!”
She reached into her bag, noticing for the first time that Randor had slashed through the sleeve of her white blouse. Beyond the tear, she further noticed, lay a tiny scrath. “Looks like that last lunge was even closer than I thought!”
The creature snarled, readying for another attack.
“I *really* hope this works, or else I’m in trouble!” She produced another glow-rod, this one solar- powered, from her bag.
The queen flicked the rod’s switch, sending a wave of golden light over the werewolf. It yelped, and shielded its eyes, before collapsing to the ground like his two predecessors.
The coarse fur fell away, revealing Randor’s true body, which still wore the nightshirt from the night before. The yellow coloring drained from the king’s eyes, and the fangs and talons retracted.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Marlena narrowed her eyes in anger. “Alright, Evil-Lyn…it’s your turn, now...!”
Queen Marlena's Halloween Party (Part Seven)
The single, stone door to Evil-Lyn’s chamber eased open just enough so that Marlena could enter. The queen entered stealthily, but did not see her adversary anywhere in the dim light cast by the room’s flaming lamps.
Parallel to the woman, however, beneath the dark sorceress’ mirror, what could only be the Nightmare Ruby winked at Marlena. Staying close to the ground and walls, she made her way over to the table supporting the gem.
Suddenly, the door behind her slammed shut. The queen ducked into a deep patch of shadows and surveyed the room again. Still, though, she did not see Evil-Lyn.
After a few moments, Marlena continued. Finally, she had made her way to the table. Standing, so that she was looking down at the table, Marlena took the ruby into her hands. “Now to dispose of this nasty little gem,” she whispered.
As the queen turned to leave the room, she happened to look into the mirror. Rather than her own reflection, however, she saw only Evil-Lyn. The red haired ruler gasped, and nearly dropped the ruby where she stood. Spinning on her heels, Marlena tried to flee…but crashed into the wicked sorceress.
Evil-Lyn did not budge, but her heroic enemy fell to the floor. “You didn’t honestly think that *you*…an alien queen from a backwater world…would be able to stop one such as *I*, did you?”
Marlena smiled smugly as she stood. “I thought it might be fun to try, Evil-Lyn.”
“How quaint." The wicked woman crossed her arms and quirked an eyebrow in bemused wonderment. “Tell me, Queen Marlena, do you have something in that bag of yours that you think can *stop* me?”
“Maybe. Let me see…” From the very bottom of the queen’s bag, she removed another tiny blue bottle. This one, however, contained only regular water, taken from a fountain in the palace’s courtyard..
Evil-Lyn laughed heartily. “What’s that supposed to do…make me *melt*?”
Marlena shook her head. “No…just prove as a distraction!” The queen splashed Evil-Lyn in the face with the liquid.
As the sorceress cleared the last of the water from her eyes she could only watch as Marlena hurled the evil Nightmare Ruby towards the mirror.
With a loud *crash*, which sent shards of mingled red and reflective glass to the ground, the threat of the ruby was ended. Clouds of crimson magic, long trapped within the gem, fled like a flock of startled birds.
“No!” Evil-Lyn shouted, curling her fingers and raising them towards her face in disbelief. “It *can’t* be!”
While a shocked Evil-Lyn was distracted, Marlena tried once again to flee. Just as she reached the stone door, however, something stopped the queen in her tracks. “Let me go, Evil-Lyn!” she called.
“Never,” the sorceress spat, turning to face the Earth-woman. “Now, because of your accursed meddling, I will have to flee my home lest the demons of ancient Eternia find me.”
Lifting her sorcerous hands towards the sky, Evil-Lyn prepared to end Marlena’s existence once and for all…but then, the queen disappeared in a flash of blinding red light. Similarly, in other parts of the mountain, Randor, Man-At-Arms, and Teela had disappeared.
“Who did that?” Evil-Lyn demanded, looking about herself angrily.
“We did,” the collective voice of Eternia’s most ancient demons replied, “because thou hast failed. Destroying Queen Marlena woulds’t serve no purpose.”
“Please, oh exalted ones, spare me!”
“No, mortal! Thou hast agreed to thy punishment already…”
A terrible storm raged outside of Snake Mountain. Winds howled, lightning crashed, and thunder roared. But, even the Forces of Nature could not drown out Evil-Lyn’s shriek of torment that late- afternoon…
Queen Marlena's Halloween Party (Part Eight) As the dying light of dusk succumbed to the ebony wings of night over Palace Eternia, Marlena found herself resting comfortably in the bed that she shared with her husband. The king stood over her, just watching.
“How are you, darling?” Marlena asked the former werewolf.
“Much better, Marlena. Of course, anything’s better than being trapped in the body of a…a…”
“Right,” the king echoed, “a *werewolf*. Tell me, how’s the scratch I gave you?”
The queen gave a dismissive gesture, and said, “I wouldn’t even call that tiny thing a scratch…besides, it could have been there before I even encountered you.”
“Still…” Taking a sudden interest in the floor, Randor continued, “I hope you know, my dear, that I didn’t mean to attack you like I did. I had no control—”
“Oh, I know that, Randor.” The queen laughed, “I’m just glad that you’re *you*, and that you’ll *never* be a werewolf again…same with Teela and Man-At-Arms.”
“Speaking of those two, I should probably go check on them.”
“Of course, my dear,” Marlena replied, closing her eyes as he kissed her forehead gently before leaving.
As the door closed behind the king, the queen turned her attention to the window. The pale silver glow of a full moon already filled the sky beyond. No matter how hard she tried, Marlena could not seem to tear her eyes away from the distant mass.
“I love full moons,” she said to herself, “they’re so beautiful.”
The queen reached over to deactivate the room’s lighting-orb, so as to enjoy the natural light, and gasped when she saw her hands. A faint dusting of cinnamon-brown fur covered each hand, and her manicured fingernails had become long black talons.
Feeling her face in panic, she noticed more of the fur. Suddenly, her vision became keener, allowing her to see things as she never had before, and her ears became more attuned to the sounds of night.
“Oh, no!” she shrieked. “The scratch Randor gave me when he was transformed…it’s turning me into a...