The damp, sinister passages within Snake Mountain were poorly lit by rows of torches, burning with an eerie, unnatural blue flame. Hurrying past the sconces was the hulking Beast Man, with the corpse of his master slumped over his massive right shoulder. Following Evil-Lyn the enchantress along the corridors, Beast Man wondered at her urgency. She had ordered him to recover Skeletor's body from the Moor of Doom, as soon as the mysterious sea of energies that had swept across the moor had lessened in intensity.
From her chambers in Snake Mountain, Evil-Lyn had seen the battle unfold in a cauldron of vision. She had observed the conflict with curiosity, as the weaker forces of King Randor had battled furiously against the monstrous horde of beings that Skeletor had thrown against them. She had seen the arrival of He-Man, the defender of Castle Grayskull, and the one-sided combat that had ensued between him and Skeletor. The Lord of Destruction should have won the battle without effort, and yet somehow He-Man had managed to slay Skeletor by hurling the legendary Powersword directly at his opponent. The immense portals Skeletor had opened were shattered, and the creatures from distant dimensions were destroyed. Not only had the skull-faced demon lost the power of the magical Orbs of Trath, he had also lost his life. And that presented Evil-Lyn with a peculiar conundrum.
For years she had been Skeletor's second-in-command, using her magical abilities to assist his numerous schemes and quests for power. She had always feared him, for she knew that he was envious of her skills. As time had passed, she had become ever more cautious, realising that she had allowed herself to become trapped in his servitude. As Skeletor's ally, she was vulnerable to betrayal; as his enemy she would have been hunted down and murdered. She had cursed herself for discovering the secret of the Orbs of Trath, for it had given Skeletor mystical power that had made him almost invincible. She had been relieved when He-Man had found a way to kill her master, for chaos would have flooded across Eternia had Skeletor's plan succeeded.
Yet now he was dead, she finally understood the protection she had been granted by her alliance with the Lord of Destruction. It was certain that with Skeletor gone, King Randor would hunt down all those who had served him. Evil-Lyn was more vulnerable than ever before, and she doubted that she could motivate Skeletor's warriors to fight against the enemy, and that was assuming she could locate them. Few of those who had left Snake Mountain for the Moor of Doom had returned, and she had yet to ascertain if the Clan of the Skull still existed. Tri-Klops and Trap Jaw had survived the battle, but were yet to come back. Zodac was missing. Yet her priority had been to locate Beast Man, who had not fought on the moor. He was loyal beyond question, and he would follow her commands as obediently as he had followed Skeletor's.
Beast Man would provide her with a degree of protection, but her true purpose for him was to carry Skeletor's corpse from the battlefield. She had located Beast Man in the Vine Jungle, and using her magic she had transported him to the Moor of Doom to complete the task. Now they were back in Snake Mountain, Evil-Lyn wondered with great uncertainty if the thought that had occurred to her should be attempted. She could walk away, and find a quiet corner of Eternia in which to hide, but could she spend the rest of her life running from Randor? She did not have the desire for power that Skeletor had possessed, nor the psychotic mind that could form the strategies necessary to gain it. The decision she had to make was a perilous one, but with the Orbs of Trath destroyed, the danger was lessened. Long ago, she had translated a great incantation, and she had never revealed its secret. She had never seen the spell performed, and was uncertain if it would work, particularly this long after death. Yet success would mean the balance of power would once again be restored, and her status would be elevated.
With doubts and unanswerable questions racing through her mind, she continued to lead the way along the dark passages inside the mountainous stronghold. Beast Man moved quickly behind her, the weight of the corpse barely hindering him. The blue flames of the torches danced in the air as the huge humanoid and the enchantress passed by, disturbing the dank stillness of the corridors. Finally they came to the altar room, and Evil-Lyn swept away the objects standing on the table at the end of the room. She indicated to Beast Man to place Skeletor's body on the altar, which he did at once, lying his master on his back with his arms by his side. Only once this task was complete, did Beast Man speak, his voice deep and guttural. "Why have we brought Skeletor's body here, Evil-Lyn?"
Evil-Lyn looked thoughtfully at Beast Man, and at that moment she realised that she had made her decision. She replied slowly, with measured words. "I am going to attempt to bring Skeletor back from the dead."
The vehicle that He-Man drove was a mechanical marvel. Named Attak Trak, it had a unique drive system that spun cogged wheels inside solid elliptical tracks. The body of Attak Trak was rugged in design, with seating for a single occupant. Behind this a raised rear section stood, with two multi-directional laser blasters. It was a heavy vehicle, suitable for traversing almost every type of terrain, and yet it moved surprisingly fast as the flip-tracks gripped the ground effortlessly, propelling the machine onwards. Attak Trak had been designed and built by Man-At-Arms, the royal armourer and weapons master.
He-Man's destination was the Moor of Doom, the site of the battle between the forces of Skeletor and Randor, where he had finally killed the demon. Victory had only been achieved by sacrificing the Powersword; the ancient weapon of Castle Grayskull that had been wielded by the defenders of the mystic fortress through the centuries. Now the weapon was lost, after striking the fateful blow that had split Skeletor's skull and drained the life force from his body. He-Man knew he had had no choice, indeed he had felt the will of the castle guiding his actions at that decisive moment, but the sword was the symbol that protected the land of Eternia and Castle Grayskull, and its power was enormous. Furthermore, it was the link between He-Man and the fortress he was destined to protect.
During the battle, Skeletor had used a new-found power to open portals to different dimensions, and at the moment of his death, these gateways had collapsed, spilling vast energies over the moor. As the days and weeks had passed, the energies had gradually dispersed, but even now the rocks still sparked randomly as the last traces of the ethereal substance defiantly remained in place.
Bringing Attak Trak to a standstill on the moor, He-Man turned off the machine's engine, and dismounted. The silence of the landscape was oddly intimidating. The last time He-Man had been here, the roar of the battle had been deafening; now the place was deserted and cold, despite the sunlight. He gazed at the great tors and menhirs that stood upon the moor. Once it had been home to a hardy people, centuries ago. They had used the great stones for many purposes, and He-Man had learned from the palace scholars that the seemingly untidy collection of monuments had purposes from the astronomical to the spiritual. Disguised by the natural features of the landscape, there stood the remains of the burial chambers and houses of long forgotten ancestors.
The Moor of Doom was vast, and He-Man realised that his search for the Powersword was a difficult task. Yet he headed for the spot where he thought he had encountered Skeletor, accepting that his perspective might be incorrect as he no longer had the patterns of the army lines to follow. As he searched the wilderness, he noticed a bizarre arrangement of rocks that he had not noticed before.
A collection of around a dozen huge granite slabs stood upright, as if they had been thrust upwards from the earth. Lying across these at a noticeably slanting angle was an enormous capstone, and the whole structure had the semblance of a monument or tomb. He-Man felt drawn to the formation, knowing in some way that these rocks had been placed here, presumably to mark the spot of his combat with Skeletor. Yet they were not a natural phenomenon, nor placed there by the hand of man. There was a mysticism about the stones, and though He-Man sensed danger, he would not allow himself to turn back.
As he neared the cromlech, he saw that the shape of the stones formed a roofed chamber, and a gap in the rocks provided access into the structure. He peered cautiously inside, but saw little, for the daylight was almost completely shut out by the giant walls. Suddenly he heard a noise, and a humanoid figure moved in the darkness of the shadows. Aware that the figure was watching him, He-Man stood his ground at the entrance to the structure, attempting to focus in the darkness.
Then he heard a male voice that sounded like the cracking of ice. "Is that Randor I see before me?" the voice asked.
Surprised at the question, He-Man replied, "I am He-Man, protector of King Randor and defender of Castle Grayskull. Show yourself, stranger."
Slowly the owner of the voice stepped from the shadows. His visage was fearsome, for his grey, angular face was capped by a pale exoskeletal crown. A bony ridge stood up from the centre of his head, and his eyes were a single red colour. His grey, muscular body was partly covered with black boots and gauntlets, and a huge piece of black armour protected his chest and back. A large red bat symbol was emblazoned on the front of his breastplate, and a bony ridge of black armour formed a collar that guarded the back of his head. His attire was completed by a long red cloak. The newcomer looked at He-Man with curiosity. "So Randor still rules Eternia?" he asked.
"As he has done for over four decades," replied He-Man, puzzled by the stranger's questioning.
"Forty years!" the armoured figure exclaimed, and there was anger in his voice. "I have been incarcerated for too long! The passage of time has been cruel, and I see the world has changed during my absence. And yet I still feel the taint of Skeletor! Where shall I find that cursed traitor?"
"Skeletor is dead," replied He-Man. "He fell by my hand less than a month ago."
"You are wrong, He-Man," responded the stranger. "Never make assumptions about Skeletor. I did once, to my eternal regret! I shall seek him out, though at present I am weak from my entombment. We shall meet again, He-Man, of that you may be certain!"
"You did not tell me your name, stranger," stated He-Man.
"No, I did not," the other replied. He turned around and walked back into the shadows of the cromlech. A sudden flash of light appeared from within, and then darkness returned. He-Man ventured into the chamber after the mysterious warrior, but the rocky tomb was empty.
Evil-Lyn backed away from the altar, staring at Skeletor's body in the candlelight. The words of the incantation were clear in her mind; she had an extraordinary ability to remember everything exactly as she learned it. And yet she was going to attempt something that she had never achieved before. The spell was unpredictable unless it was uttered within moments of death. Skeletor's corpse had been lying in state on the Moor of Doom for many days, amidst the swirling energies that had been released after his death. The incantation was more likely to cause the body to burst into flames than to bring Skeletor back from the dead, but she had made her choice, and now she was gripped by a peculiar curiosity. She had refined her translation over the years, and she understood the ancient words as accurately as those who had spoken them centuries before.
The spell had been written in an obscure dialect of one of the many Eternian languages, and she did not know its origins. It was peculiarly similar to the incantation that Trath had developed to release the power of his magic orbs. However the Spell of Resurrection was centuries older, and there had been noticeable changes to the vocabulary in the intervening years, although the grammatical structure remained constant. The language was preserved only in a handful of ancient scrolls, which she had discovered in the vaults of Snake Mountain. Evil-Lyn had a talent for deciphering ancient codices, and she had succeeded in reworking many spells during her time at Snake Mountain, though most of the documents she read contained nothing of magical power.
She extended her staff towards the altar. A blue sphere was attached to the end of the wand, gripped by a four taloned claw. In truth, it was as dangerous an object as Skeletor's Havoc Staff. The sphere began to glow softly as she began the invocation.
"Ya gallor adeem!
Ya gallor adeem!
Yerhawa ya trak dur ya moryat!
Tanor ya porth bayn ya urth ey ya mornans!
Geb nok mer ya moryat ya urth!
Ya gallor dur ya dassergyat!
Geb ya trak bar ya tulda!
Geb ya trak bar ya tulda!"
At first the spell seemed to have no effect, but she persisted, repeating the words over and over. She lost count of the number of times she uttered the incantation, but she was focused on her task. It astounded her at how much the spell drained her strength, and she wondered how long she could continue before she collapsed, but at that moment she noticed a barely perceptible flicker of torchlight from the sconces on the chamber walls. It was the only motivation she needed to continue; a signal that she had successfully invoked a greater power. As she continued with the spell, the flames began to dance more rapidly and with greater intensity. Suddenly all the sconces in the room flashed with flame simultaneously, and then the fires died, throwing an eerie blackness about the room. The cloudy, swirling glow from Evil-Lyn's wand provided the only light source, but its radiance was insufficient to illuminate more than the area immediately around her. Cautiously, she stepped closer to the altar, reaching forwards with the staff, trying to cast a light over Skeletor's body. Yet she never reached her destination, for standing before it was a sight that shocked her beyond words. There was not one skeletal humanoid before her, but two, both standing upright and staring at her with the icy gaze of death.