by Terence Micharoni 10-17-00
It was a cold, dark night, around three years before the Masters of the Universe saga entered our lives. Skeletor, an evil magician known for his powerful speeches and thirst for power, was a loyal member of Hordak’s army for the past 10 years, or so it seemed. He was a field commander who was also The Horde’s top recruiter. After winning several medals for his daringness and commanding several victories, Hordak was indeed impressed. He decided on that night to appoint Skeletor as his apprentice and fine tune his sorcery (which was rather weak), accentually making him his second in command. It was one of the worst mistakes Hordak could have made…
Skeletor was notified that Hordak himself wants to speak with him. Feeling a little startled by this news, he says to himself “Why in the world would Hordak want to speak with me? Have I done anything wrong?” He then is escorted to Hordak’s throne room at the top of Snake Mountain by two, four-armed, 7-foot hairy beasts dressed in black cloaks and holding menacing twin-bladed laser spears. These are Hordak’s royal guards. When they finally come to the door, it opens and the guards leave. Inside, Skeletor is greeted by Hordak and Hordal, his only son and apprentice to him, and the only one in the universe that Hordak loves and trusts. He is also one of only two beings that Hordak is loyal to, the other being Horde Prime, but for very different reasons. Hordal he loves. Horde Prime he fears.
HORDAK: Skeletor, you have been in my army for 10 years now. You started out as a foot soldier, and worked your way up to the dual jobs of field commander of the north peninsula squad and our top recruiter. Your victories as field commander were rather impressive. You did not sit back while your men fought. You fought with them, and loyally terminated those who turned back. And since I put you in charge of recruiting, our membership has risen 60%. To make a long story short, I have taught Hordal everything I’ve known since he was a baby. There is nothing else I could teach him, so I’m making him co-leader. Our goal now is to overthrow King Randor, destroy He-Man and his forces, and rule this planet as father and son. Now, under Horde Prime’s rule of one apprentice and one master, we need new apprentices. Hordal has picked Evil-Lyn to be his. I pick you to be mine.
Just then Evil-Lyn steps in, kneels to Hordal and goes by his side. Skeletor is astounded and shocked with joy that he was chosen. But he also is quite glad that Evil-Lyn was also chosen, as she was the only one on Eternia that he actually admired enough to be friendly with (although the word friend was still to strong of a word to use).
HORDAK: So Skeletor, do you except?
SKELETOR: Yes Master!
HORDAK: Great, Skeletor. You won’t be sorry. When Hordal and I sit on the thrones in the palace, you will be given an entire country to command. Now, come to my sorcery room where you will start your training.
HORDAL: And Evil-Lyn, follow me to my training room where you’ll begin yours as well.
Now, almost two and a half years have passed. After intense training, Skeletor went from being a novice magician to a full flegged master of the dark forces of sorcery. Less than three years ago, only the top brass of King Randor’s army knew of him. Now, all of Eternia knows and fears his name.
Evil-Lyn, on the other hand, is not nearly as well known. She was also taught a far different kind of sorcery. She became a master of healing, teleporting, turning objects into other objects, etc. But when it came to fighting, while she was by no means a slouch, she was also no match for Skeletor.
Hordak, being the intelligent leader that he is, has begun to wonder if his army can ever take out King Randor’s army, especially when they have He-Man, the one Eternian that even Hordak himself has lost to. Realizing this, he tells Hordal what’s on his mind.
HORDAK: Look at this! We lost again last night! We just sent 75 of our top troopers in an attack on Castle Greyskull. Led by Commander Mantenna, over 30 were killed, and many more were badly injured. And get this? They were defeated by Man-At-Arms, Teela, Ram-Man, Stratos, Fisto, Buzz-Off, The Sorceress, and He-Man!
HORDAL: 75 men defeated by a mere team of 8?
HORDAK: That’s correct. But the problem goes much deeper than that. We would have won had it not been for that wretched He-Man. Ever since Horde Prime gave me my position of power I’ve put a bounty on his head. While many has tried to collect, few have come back who did. From the top on down, we’ve all been defeated by him. Skeletor lost to him. Your chest is scarred for life from your battle with him. Heck, even I lost to him. Time and time again, we all lose to him. I have begged Horde Prime himself to come down here and challenge him, but he does not want to get involved in this planet’s daily squirmishes. I am leaving this world to head for Etheria. It will be much easier to conquer.
HORDAL: What? You can’t give up father! This is our world, and we must rule it!
HORDAK: I’d love to, dear son. But I see no hope. I will be headed for Etheria in roughly a month or so. I ask you to join me as I take it over.
HORDAL: I’m sorry father, but I will not leave Eternia.
HORDAK: Then I must go alone, my son. I will take half my army with me, and the other half will be yours. I guess we will no longer be co-rulers. I will once again rule all by myself, with Skeletor by my side as my number two, and you will rule The Horde here on Eternia on your own, with your loyal apprentice Evil-Lyn.
HORDAL: Sounds good to me, but I hope you reconsider, father.
HORDAK: Sorry, but I have already given it much though and my mind is made up.
The two tearfully embrace and notify their apprentices through holographic images…
Skeletor is enraged by the idea. This is his planet and he does not want to leave it. While riding Panthor, his purple lion-like ride, he arrives at Evil-Lyn’s room.
SKELETOR: Did you hear the news? Hordak wants to leave for Etheria! He wants to take me with him and half his army, while you would stay here with Hordal and the other half of his forces.
EVIL-LYN: Yes, Hordal told me a little while ago. I’m in shock.
SKELETOR: This is insane! I will never leave Eternia to go to Etheria. It’s nothing more than admitting defeat. I’m staying put.
EVIL-LYN: But you must go! If you don’t, Hordak will destroy you!
SKELETOR: I’ll take my chances. There’s a lot you don’t know about me, my dear. I have become very powerful over the last few years. I have ensembled my own group of rebels. When I felt I was powerful enough, I was gonna challenge Hordak myself. But now it looks like the fight will be much sooner than I had though. Join me, Evil-Lyn. Take out Hordal, while I take out Hordak. After our victories, we will kill all those loyal to them and lead our own, new and more powerful army to destroy He-Man once and for all!
EVIL-LYN: But why would I turn my back on Hordal? He’s done nothing to me. He is not like his father, and taught me so much that…
SKELETOR: That’s the problem, he’s nothing like his father! He’s a bumbling idiot! Do you honestly believe he can lead The Horde on this planet without Hordak by his side?
EVIL-LYN: Well, no, but…
SKELETOR: But nothing! His army will crumble in no time when Hordak leaves. Now, will you join me or not?
EVIL-LYN: It all sounds good, but how am I going to be able to defeat Hordal? With his power, he will kill me in no time.
SKELETOR: Then I will kill him myself. Are you in?
EVIL-LYN: Umm, yes!
SKELETOR: Excellent. Evil-Lyn, meet Beast-Man, Mer-Man, Trap-Jaw, Tri-Klops, and Jitsu. These are just some of the rebels I’ve got to assist me.
A hairy monster, a walking fish, a creature with metal jaws (who’s eating rocks from a bag), something with eyes all around his head, and a human with an over-sized golden hand enter the room. These are some of the ugliest things Evil-Lyn has ever seen, and she’s seen a lot.
SKELETOR: Well, what do you think?
EVIL-LYN: Are they as mean in battle as they look in person?
SKELETOR: Even more so. Now, enough talk. We’ve got much work ahead of us.
Skeletor is on his way alone to the throne room when two royal guards approach him. Before they could even get the chance to tell him that not even he could go beyond this point without permission, Skeletor kills them both. He blew the first one’s head off with a laser shot from his Havoc staff (the magical staff is best described as a stick with the skull of a ram on the top), while he set the other one on fire by pointing his finger at him. Now, Skeletor continues walking forward until he reaches the throne room. He knocks on the door with his staff. Hordal opens the door, only to be blasted back about 30 feet from a shot that was fired from Skeletor’s trusty staff.
HORDAL: ARRRRRGGGGGGGHHH!!! Wh-what gives???
SKELETOR: Prepare to die, Hordal!
Skeletor shoots a fireball from his Havoc staff at the fallen Hordal, but at the last second, Hordal jumps up 10 feet in the air and it misses him. Hordal, now on his feet, grabs his weapon of choice, a magical laser axe.
HORDAL: I don’t know what your motive is, but your puny powers are no match for mine!
Hordal lifts his axe and thrusts toward Skeletor. When he gets to him, he swings it at his head. Skeletor lifts his staff and blocks, but the sheer force of the blow knocks him down and into the stone wall.
HORDAL: I have you now, traitor! Here, taste the blast of my laser!
Hordal shoots a beam from the top of his axe at Skeletor. Skeletor deflects it with his staff. Hordal shoots two more blasts at the skull-faced demon. While both are again deflected, the last blow knocked his Havoc staff out of his hands.
HORDAL: You’re weaker than I though. Apparently my father didn’t teach you very well. Either that, or you didn’t listen, fiend!
Now, Hordal raises his laser axe above his head and it begins to glow very brightly. He then swings it downward at Skeletor, who is still on the ground. Somehow Skeletor manages to roll and the axe misses him. The power of the laser axe was so great it crumbled about three feet of the wall. Now, Skeletor reaches for his staff, while Hordal is running after him, arms back and ready for another swing. As he starts to swing, Skeletor bangs the bottom of his staff on the ground and disappears into thin air.
HORDAL: Huh? Where did he go? Was the power of my laser axe so great it caused him to disintegrate?
Hearing all the commotion, a puzzled Hordak enters the room, and soon realizes what is going on. Now, Skeletor re-appears right behind the still-stunned Hordal. Before Hordak could warn his son, Skeletor thrusts his staff into Hordal’s back, and it comes out through his heart. Blood is everywhere. Hordal lets out a very brief scream, and dies before he could finish it.
HORDAK: NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! What have you done!?! Damn you, bone-head, for you have killed Hordal! You will suffer a fate worse than death for this!
Skeletor knew Hordak was a very powerful foe, so he did not want to wait for an enraged Hordak to attack him. He raises his Havoc staff, and points it at the two chairs of the throne. Suddenly, both of them start to break apart from the cold, stone floor. Now, they are heading right toward Hordak!
SKELETOR: You look tired, oh dear master. Why don’t you have a seat? No, have two. I insist!
Both throne chairs hit Hordak, and hard! This knocks him back a bit, and he grabs his chest, as they clearly knocked the wind out of him. Skeletor howls out a wickedly evil laugh.
SKELETOR: What’s the matter, Hordak? Is old age starting to kick in? Surely I thought you would be a tougher opponent than this.
HORDAK: Bah, if that’s the best you got, you are in deep trouble! Behold!
Hordak raises both his hands in the air, and a large ball of light begins to form, perhaps 10 feet in diameter. He throws it at Skeletor. While he put up his staff to block it, the circle of light was so large some of it hit Skeletor, while the rest hit and went through the stone wall. Now, a large part of the wall is destroyed, and through the hole you can see the clouds outside, indicating just how high Snake Mountain really is. Skeletor is now on his back. Hordak picks up Skeletor’s Havoc staff, and throws it through the hole in the crumbled wall. After nearly a minute, the staff falls into a murky swamp. At this time, the badly hurt Skeletor finally manages to get back on his feet.
HORDAK: Now what are you gonna do? Even with your Havoc staff you were no match for me. Imagine yourself without it!
SKELETOR: Your tough talk doesn’t frighten me, Hordak. Just like I killed your son, I will kill you, and all those who support you!
Hordak is stunned that Skeletor, while seemingly facing death, is not scared one bit. But it is his over-confidence that will do him in.
As Skeletor continues to mumble on, Hordak calmly put out both of his hands, and soon a strong gust of wind was formed. As he pointed toward Skeletor, the wind blew toward old bone head, pushing him out of the hole in the damaged wall. He now is trying his best to hold on, hanging on with his bare hands on one long rock outside of the room.
HORDAK: This is the message I send to all those who go against me!
Hordak steps on Skeletor’s hands, causing him to apparently fall to his death, landing in the stinky swamp, which is teaming with man (and beast) eating creatures. Satisfied by his victory, Hordak runs to his fallen son. Knowing there is nothing he could do for him now, he arranges for his body to be burned.
Skeletor is now lying in the swamp unconscious, and a hungry swamp dragon is about to satisfy his hunger. Just when he is about to take a bite out of crime, he is blasted in the head by none other than Evil-Lyn. Skeletor is lifted out of the swamp by Evil-Lyn’s mastery of levitation. With his great strength, Beast-Man picks up Skeletor, who is near-death, and they quickly take off to their secret hideout…
Several hours have now passed, and Hordak orders a massive search for Skeletor’s body. He also notices that Evil-Lyn is nowhere to be found, and concludes that she was either killed by Skeletor as well, or was in on his failed coup to overthrow him. He orders her, if found alive, to be killed. After three weeks of not finding Skeletor’s body or any trace of Evil-Lyn, Hordak presumes them both dead. It’s time for him to take off for Etheria. Two days later, every one in his army leave Eternia and head off to Etheria, knowing they’ve got an entire planet to conquer…
Meanwhile, back at their secret hideout in a remote cave, Skeletor is finally able to start walking again. Although by far not his usual, powerful self, he is indeed feeling much better each and every day, due to Evil-Lyn’s healing powers and a special brew of herbs and plants she has given him. It smells awful and tastes even worse, but it sure does work.
EVIL-LYN: Look at you, Skeletor. You’re finally walking about on your own! Well, I’ve got some good news for you. My magic informs me that today, Hordak and all his forces took off for Etheria. They think we are dead, and they’ll bother us no more!
SKELETOR: Excellent! That fool should only know! So, Snake Mountain is now empty?
EVIL-LYN: My magic tells me that it is inhabited by no one, although I sense some rumblings several miles beneath the surface (but that’s a whole new story).
SKELETOR: Great. Then we’ll all head for Snake Mountain first thing in the morning. Why settle for a cave when we can have an entire mountain? Hehehe!
When Skeletor and all of his henchmen finally arrive in Snake Mountain, all of Eternia, now thrilled that The Horde is finally gone and assuming that they can at long last live in peace, have a new leader to worry about now. Although his forces are smaller than The Horde’s were, he knows full well that quality, not quantity, wins wars. Heading up toward the throne room, Skeletor sees that there is now one new throne, sitting where the last two that he destroyed were. As he sits on it, a very evil grin comes to his fowl face.
SKELETOR: One throne is all I’ll ever need! Today Snake Mountain, tomorrow the world! Heh heh heh heh heh heh!!!