It's unusual to find tragedy written into any television episode, and doubly unusual - even rare - to find it in a children's cartoon. In spite of that, however, or perhaps because of it, I find that the very few shows I saw in my youth which used tragedy in an honest way have been by far the most memorable, and the most powerful, shows I've ever seen.
One of the many strengths of the "He-Man" series was that it was often willing to work near the edge of tragedy. Episodes such as "Double Edged Sword", "The Remedy" and "The Bitter Rose" were among many which dealt with personal tragedies. The most noteworthy, and frightening, of these is the episode "The Problem with Power", where He-Man - believing that he has accidentally killed a man - throws his powers away to atone for his actions... leading to a second act of haunting melancholy as Prince Adam, powerless, deals with his guilt. The mood of despair is so strong that it's a difficult episode to watch even now, over a decade later. The "He-Man" series was so well conceived and so thoughtfully executed that it seemed to me it could support that most powerful of stories - a story with a tragic ending.
There was one tragedy which had been obliquely referred to in one of the early episodes, but never explored. I decided to explore it.
...In The Complete Kodak Animation Book, animation historian Charles Solomon quotes a Japanese maxim which is worth noting: "A weeping story is a good story, because it is always appealing."
FADE IN: EXT. LONG SHOT OF ETERNIA - EARLY EVENING Establishing shot. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. PATH TO GREYSKULL - EARLY EVENING We see some twisted metal beams, gears, smashed tractor treads, and the like strewn along the path Camera pans towards Greyskull. For some yards, we come across more wreckage of the same sort - something mechanical, and large, has clearly been torn to shreds. Pan ends next to Greyskull's doors. The Jawbridge is closed. SKELETOR and HE-MAN face one another. For a moment, neither speaks. Skeletor finally glances at the wreckage over his shoulder. SKELETOR Trapjaw told me it was indestructible. HE-MAN (shrugs; simply) Trapjaw was wrong. SKELETOR He-Man... you've thwarted me for years. Some day I'll learn your secret - and the secrets of Greyskull! Then you'll have to answer to Skeletor! HE-MAN I'll believe it when I see it. In the meantime... (gesturing to the path) ...maybe you wouldn't mind cleaning up this mess? SKELETOR I'll wring Trapjaw's neck when I find him... Skeletor teleports and vanishes. He-Man turns towards Greyskull; the SORCERESS comes to one of the windows. SORCERESS Thank you, He-Man. HE-MAN Any time. I'll, uh... (glancing at the path) ...pick up the trash later. TRANSITION (stock) INT. GREYSKULL - NIGHT Close shot of a hand, holding the Sword of Power aloft. Pull back to reveal PRINCE ADAM, no longer He-Man, lowering the sword to his side. ADAM An electric battering-ram! Seems like Skeletor's still got a few surprises left. SORCERESS It would appear so. Adam stops. He has something on his mind, and has been looking for a way to lead up to it. He looks again at the sword. ADAM Sorceress... I was wondering. You only gave me this sword a few years ago, and before then I'd only heard of Skeletor as a legend... (he knows the answer already) Were there other He-Men, before me? SORCERESS No, Adam. You have been the first to use the sword since the days of the ancients. ADAM That's what I thought. But... my childhood on Eternia was so peaceful... How could it - how did it happen that Skeletor left Eternia in peace, for so many years? The Sorceress pauses before answering, remembering. The memory is not pleasant. SORCERESS It wasn't his choice, Adam. When you were a very young child, Skeletor was fought at length and driven from this dimension... (closes her eyes) ...at great cost. ADAM Will you tell me about it? SORCERESS (after a pause - she'd rather not) It's a long story, Adam. ADAM (carefully) I have time. The Sorceress pauses, considering this. She then nods. SORCERESS All right, Adam. It will do you good to listen, and it will do me some good to tell the story. The Sorceress turns to the Mirror of Knowledge, and an image begins to appear - the image of Eternia's past. Camera moves in slowly on the Sorceress as she speaks. SORCERESS This was many years ago, Adam - back when you were still learning to walk. Back when your father, Randor, was still new to the Eternian throne. Back to a time when I was away from Greyskull, living by the Caves of the Crystal Sea... Close shot on the Sorceress, her eyes closed. SORCERESS ...with my husband, Dannon. Images are forming in the Mirror. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. AN ETERNIAN VILLAGE (DRISDOS) - DAY - TWENTY YEARS AGO From this point on, everything we see takes place as part of a flashback (unless we specify otherwise); all of our characters - at least, the human ones - are thusly younger in appearance. They are not, however, so young that we cannot recognize them. We see a variety of VILLAGERS in the process of rebuilding their homes; several Eternian TROOPS are helping them. To one side is a table of plans and papers. Some villagers stand near it, looking at the plans. Nearest to the table are DUNCAN, DANNON and TEELANA. SORCERESS (voice-over) It was a time of reconstruction for our world. Eternia had been ravaged by Hordak and his troops, and less than a year later the Orc Wars had been fought. ADAM (voice-over) The Orc Wars! SORCERESS (voice-over) Yes, Adam. And though the Orcs had at last been driven away, still they had done much harm to Eternia. We settled back to repair the damage that had been done, believing that we had, at last, won - and found peace. A closer shot of the planning table gives us a better look at our three heroes. Duncan, growing his mustache for the first time, is examining a blueprint for the village square. Teelana, the young Sorceress, notices something on the plans she likes and points it out to Dannon; she is young, and cheerful, as though grief and sorrow have never found a hold on her. (We will call her Teelana henceforward, to differentiate her from the present-day Sorceress.) Dannon is a magician, dressed primarily in black; he is a serious man, and brave, and there is a nobility in the way he carries himself. He smiles, amused, as Teelana nudges him and points at the plans. DUNCAN Well... this village fared pretty well. Another month or so and it should be back on its feet. DANNON Yes, this whole province seems to be in good shape. DUNCAN Maybe now we can all relax for a while. No more battles or conflict - just some well-earned peace and rest. TEELANA (to Duncan) I like the victory monument you put in the middle of the square. DUNCAN (with some surprise) I didn't put that there... A VILLAGER (holding a pencil, embarrassed) I did, uh, sir. It's not really a victory monument, it's, uh, a monument to peace. (quietly) I didn't think you'd mind. DUNCAN (slowly, frowning at the plans) Hmmm... Uh, Dannon, Teelana, maybe... (beginning to grin) ...you could go back to the Palace and order a crystal-stone for the monument. The villagers begin to murmur in surprise. A crystal-stone! Pretty damn extravagant. They are clearly delighted. TEELANA (as delighted as the villagers) A crystal-stone! DANNON Crystal-stones are pretty expensive, Duncan. DUNCAN (quietly) I've... got a little money saved up back at the Palace. DANNON (quietly) It won't be enough... (leaning forward whispered) ...so we'll help you pay for it. (the three of them smile) We'll meet you back at the Palace. DUNCAN I won't be long. (as Dannon and Teelana walk away) Uh - the Attack-Trak is this way. DANNON That's okay, Duncan. TEELANA We have our own way home. EXT. A SHORT DISTANCE FROM THE VILLAGE - DAY Dannon and Teelana step into shot. They are out of sight of the village. DANNON Well - shall we go? TEELANA Yes, Dannon. To the Palace! Dannon transforms into a raven, and Teelana into a falcon; the two take to the air. PULL BACK TO REVEAL: INT. GREYSKULL - NIGHT - PRESENT DAY Adam and the Sorceress are watching the tale unfold in the Mirror of Knowledge. The raven and falcon can be seen in the Mirror, gracefully flying together. ADAM Your husband! SORCERESS (a mild smile) My husband. -I met Dannon at Greyskull... DISSOLVE TO: INT. GREYSKULL - DAY - TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO ZODAC is bringing Dannon into Greyskull; Teelana awaits them. SORCERESS (voice-over) ...Zodac said he would introduce me to the legendary Sorcerer of the Crystal Sea - and there he was. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. BATTLEGROUNDS - A BATTLE OF THE ORC WARS - DAY Duncan and Dannon are leading the Eternian troops. SORCERESS (voice-over) In the Orc Wars, he and Duncan fought together defending Eternia - and they became fast friends. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE PATH TO GREYSKULL - A DARK DAY The path over the Abyss is crumbling. Teelana lies on the narrow span, unconscious, in mortal danger. Dannon is fighting to keep the span from collapsing, channeling his magic through a staff held over his head. ZANTHOR, the magician from "Golden Disks of Knowledge", walks away from them, holding the glowing Disks, ignoring their plight. The Jawbridge is open and trembling. SORCERESS (voice-over) And Dannon saved my life, on the horrible day when Greyskull was breached and the Golden Disks of Knowledge were lost... INT. GREYSKULL - NIGHT - PRESENT DAY Adam is incredulous. ADAM Greyskull? Breached? SORCERESS (with a smile) That's another story, Adam. - Soon, we fell in love. When we married, the Council of the Wise permitted me to leave Castle Greyskull so we could travel as we would. Zodac, our friend and ally, took up the guardianship of Greyskull while we were gone. (looking again at the Mirror) With Hordak gone, and the Orcs driven away, we all thought Eternia was safe at last... A new image forms in the Mirror. INT. A GREAT HALL OF A FARAWAY DIMENSION A crowd of thousands kneels. One man, evidently a great LEADER, steps reluctantly forward from the crowd, up some steps and onto a small dais. He carries a short white rod, his symbol of office. He obviously doesn't want to step forward, but he does so all the same. SORCERESS (voice-over) ...but we had all forgotten Skeletor - who, with Hordak gone, had the free run of thousands of worlds. The leader continues forward. He steps up before Skeletor, who stands next to their throne, and offers the rod. LEADER The world of Kaltos is now yours, Skeletor. I give you its leadership. I do this only for the safety of my people - you would not be ruler of this world, if I had my choice. SKELETOR (taking the rod) Ah! But it's not your choice! Skeletor crushes the rod and throws it down before the astonished leader, as a gesture of contempt. SKELETOR From now on you will not speak with such insolence to your new ruler! Put these people back to work - there will be time to worship me later! TRANSITION (stock) INT. HALL OF THE COUNCIL OF EVIL - NO PLACE OR TIME A large room in an unknown dimension. An octagonal table of solid stone. The Council of Evil is meeting: the eight most evil beings in this or any other Universe (except for Hordak, who is notably absent). Only two of the members are familiar to us: Skeletor, and the short alien MONTEIK (whom we met in the episode "Castle of Heroes"). The others around the table, while unfamiliar to us, are unmistakably powerful - and unmistakably evil. At the head of the table sits the notorious MORLOK - an evil magician, evidently human, with a fun-loving disposition. Unfortunately his idea of fun involves launching deadly, million-degree fireball spells upon unsuspecting victims. MORLOK (with a malicious grin) So you've taken over Kaltos once and for all, Skeletor. Very good! That will be one less obstacle for the Council of Evil in the future. SKELETOR I told you it would be easy. MORLOK You did at that... I lose my bet. Morlok gestures, and a drink materializes before Skeletor. MORLOK (continuing to all present) And now, perhaps we can solve the problem of the Three Staffs of Power... SKELETOR I'm afraid I'll be too bust to help the Council with that trifle, Morlok. I am returning to Eternia. Raised eyebrows and looks of surprise from the Council. SULLTI (a giant lizard, or a small dragon) You're leaving! SKELETOR I have unfinished business. MORLOK (still smiling, but in warning tones) It will remain unfinished. Even in this Dark Council you have responsibilities, Skeletor. Besides - you couldn't claim Eternia with that traitor Hordak- SKELETOR (cutting him off) And Hordak is exiled - to Etheria, never to return! As for me, I will do as I wish... whether you care for it or not! GR'MORA (woman, medusa, and octopus all in one) You would break the agreements! MORLOK (and he isn't smiling now) When you joined this Council, you swore an agree- ment to work with us, for our mutual profit! You would throw all that aside now, for your own pathetic battles? SKELETOR Swearing an agreement means nothing, Morlok - not to you, to me, or to any of this Council! You won't bind me with one of your "agreements" every time it serves your own purposes! MORLOK (now genuinely angry) Then you're throwing away a chance to work with this Council! SKELETOR I have no desire to be your errand boy! Morlok stands suddenly, slamming his fist into the table. He doesn't even notice the stone table cracking under his hand. MORLOK (as he stands, enraged) Skeletor! You defy the Council of Evil perhaps more lightly than you should. You want to take over Eternia - very well! Do it! But be warned: you are cast from this Council, and if you ever want our help again, it will be dearly bought! SKELETOR (stands; faces down Morlok) I'll bear your words in mind, Morlok Master of Fire. They will give me no end of amusement! TRANSITION (stock) INT. A HALLWAY OUTSIDE THE COUNCIL CHAMBERS Skeletor and Monteik walk away from the meeting. MONTEIK It doesn't pay to get Morlok mad at you, Skeletor. SKELETOR Morlok is a fool! He might want Eternia for himself, for all we know. I won't stand by and let him take it! MONTEIK Then what will you do? SKELETOR I have a plan - a plan that will destroy all Eternia's defenses in one quick move. Then nothing will stand in the way of my conquest! Eternia will be mine for the taking! MONTEIK That's what I like about you, Skeletor... you have initiative. The hallway ends with a sinister-looking time portal. SKELETOR Thank you, old friend. And now, if you'll excuse me... I have to lay my trap! Skeletor steps through the portal and vanishes. FADE OUT FADE IN: INT. PALACE ETERNIA - THRONE ROOM - AFTERNOON RANDOR and MARLENA sit on the dais. Perhaps the YOUNG ADAM is crawling near Marlena's feet. Duncan, Dannon and Teelana stand before them. RANDOR A crystal-stone? You bought a crystal-stone? MARLENA It must have cost you a fortune! RANDOR Why didn't you talk to us first? There's still some money in the treasury. We'd have been glad to help out. Duncan and Dannon exchange a glance. DUNCAN Well, uh... it was a pretty spur-of-the-moment thing, your Majesty. DANNON We... It seemed like the thing to do. RANDOR Well, the people of Drisdos fought long and were brave in battle - the kingdom of Eternia owes them a debt. So I'll send the Royal Sculptor there in the morning to begin carving the monument. MARLENA (quietly, to Randor) But what about the palace statues? You wanted so badly- RANDOR (sotto voce) Sh - sh! They'll wait. (with mock solemnity) After all - this is a monument. The two exchange a grin. Randor turns back to the others, returning to business. Perhaps Marlena looks down to see what the baby Adam is up to. RANDOR (clearing his throat) Ahem! Now, then - I've heard some reports of unusual activity in the area around Snake Moun- tain. There's probably nothing to it, Snake Mountain's been deserted since the Horde was brought down, but... if you could check it out... DUNCAN Of course, your Majesty. Dannon? DANNON Delighted. TEELANA Hey - - (taking Dannon's arm) you're not leaving me behind. TRANSITION (stock) EXT. THE WINDRAIDER IN FLIGHT - DUSK Duncan, Dannon and Teelana within. DANNON Any idea what this could be, Duncan? DUNCAN Oh, probably wild animals or something like that. Since the Horde was driven out of Eternia, Snake Mountain's been largely deserted... DUNCAN'S POINT OF VIEW OF SNAKE MOUNTAIN The Windraider comes around some peaks, and gradually Snake Mountain comes into view. DUNCAN (out of shot) ...only a few small villages here and there. As a result, you don't get much trouble from... As more of the mountain comes into view, we see flashes of light halfway up the mountainside: two dark figures, possibly Orcs, are cutting an opening into the rock with a welding-torch. DUNCAN (out of shot) -What on Eternia...? Those look like Orcs! And suddenly, we see laserfire. EXT. THE WINDRAIDER IN FLIGHT A laser shot pierces the ship's hull, and smoke begins to pour from the exhaust. The engine grinds. DUNCAN We're hit! We're going to crash! DANNON Your porta-chute, Duncan! Bail out! DUNCAN (grabbing the chute from under the seat, he tries to hand it to them) No... this is the only one! One of you... TEELANA Don't worry about us! Use it! DUNCAN But - what about - Dannon and Teelana exchange a glance, then suddenly change: Dannon to a raven, Teelana to a falcon. Duncan stares, amazed, as they fly from the Windraider. He grips the porta-chute and bails out. The Windraider crashes and burns. EXT. JUNGLE - NEAR SNAKE MOUNTAIN - EVENING Duncan lands and releases the chute. The raven and falcon fly down to him, and change back to Dannon and Teelana. DUNCAN That... that's incredible! Where did you learn to do that? DANNON It's not really something you learn - it's more of a gift. TEELANA Those born by the Caves of the Crystal Sea can teach themselves to become birds, with help... it takes practice, but it can be useful. DUNCAN (impressed) I can see that. DANNON We'll thank you to keep our secret, Duncan. DUNCAN Of course... The mountain is just off this way. Let's see what all this is about! EXT. JUNGLE - NEAR SNAKE MOUNTAIN - EVENING The three of them walk through the woods. DANNON I have some reservations about bringing you along, Teelana. TEELANA I understand, Dannon. I'll be all right. EXT. AN OPENING INTO SNAKE MOUNTAIN - NIGHT The three of them come out of the woods, contemplate the opening for a moment. DUNCAN This looks like the way in... let's go. They step in, Duncan first. INSERT: AN ELECTRIC EYE NEAR THE GROUND Duncan's foot breaks the beam, followed by Dannon's and Teelana's. They don't notice. INSERT: AN ALARM PANEL DEEPER INSIDE THE MOUNTAIN A light comes on and begins blinking. MERMAN's finger points to it. MERMAN (out of shot) Well... they're finally here! SKELETOR (out of shot) Excellent! Is the Road Ripper in place? MERMAN (out of shot) Of course! SKELETOR (out of shot) And they're right on schedule... INT. DEEP INSIDE SNAKE MOUNTAIN - CORRIDOR Duncan, Dannon and Teelana. DUNCAN Nothing yet. I don't like this - it's too quiet around here... DANNON Duncan - look here! Dannon points to a large double-door. Some light seeps out from under the door; shadows can be seen moving. DANNON See the light at the bottom of the door? Someone's moving back there. TEELANA Several someones. DANNON I don't like this - it could be a trap. DUNCAN (approaching the doors) Well, there's only one way to find out! Stand back! Duncan pulls the doors outward and open, and they see - DUNCAN Skeletor! Sure enough, Skeletor is seated just inside. Behind him stand ORCS. Hundreds of them. SKELETOR Ha-ha! Yes! Weren't expecting to see me again, were you, Man-at-Arms? But now I'm back! And as you can see, I've brought an ARMY of Orcs with me! Tomorrow we will attack Palace Eternia... at dawn! And as for you three... (standing) ...you are now my prisoners! (begins to laugh) Reverse angle onto Duncan, Dannon, and Teelana; they are staring at Skeletor in astonishment. As he continues to laugh - FADE OUT END OF ACT ONE
FADE IN: INT. SNAKE MOUNTAIN - VAULTROOM We pick up right where Act One left off. DUNCAN It... it's not possible! In the Orc Wars, we drove the Orcs back to the dark side of Eternia! SKELETOR I've brought them back! Aren't you happy to see them? (turning) Trapjaw! Merman! Escort our new prisoners down to the dungeons! Tri-Klops, you go too! I don't want to take any chances of their escaping! TRAPJAW All right, come on, you three! Merman, TRAPJAW, and TRI-KLOPS step into shot and push our heroes from the room. DUNCAN You'll never get away with this, Skeletor... SKELETOR Who's to stop me? INT. INSIDE SNAKE MOUNTAIN - CORRIDOR Duncan, Dannon and Teelana are being "escorted" to the dungeons by Merman, Trapjaw and Tri-Klops. DUNCAN (quietly, to Dannon and Teelana) We have to escape to warn the King. DANNON (with a nod; quietly) Ready when you are... DUNCAN Uh, Trapjaw, your shoe's untied. TRAPJAW (looking down in spite of himself) But I don't wear shoes... Yaaahhhh! The moment Trapjaw looks down, Duncan throws himself headlong into Trapjaw's body; they both hit the floor. Dannon turns on Merman at the same instant, taking his arm, trying to throw him. Merman manages to hold out, however, and trips Dannon to the ground. Tri-Klops tries to grab Teelana - but she steps down hard on the instep of his foot, and before he recovers from that surprise she spins his rotating eyepiece. TRI-KLOPS (completely out of control) Everything's - spinning - I... He falls backwards to the floor, completely disoriented. Trapjaw rolls away from Duncan, and stands; he aims his shoulder-mounted laser at Duncan and fires. Duncan rolls to the side. Trapjaw's second shot nearly takes off Duncan's helmet. Duncan counters by pulling out a bolo and throwing it. The bolo wraps around Trapjaw, pinning him and his laser arm to a nearby rock. Merman is on top of Dannon, trying to pin him to the ground. Dannon holds his palms outward and gestures, weaving a spell, and Merman abruptly floats to the ceiling. MERMAN Ahhhrrrrrrr! Let me down! DANNON (shrugs) Oh-kay... He releases the spell. Merman drops like a stone, and lands wedged between two stalagmites. MERMAN Me and my big mouth. As Dannon climbs to his feet - DUNCAN (activating a wrist radio) I just wish we had time to gift-wrap them. Duncan to Palace... Duncan to Palace, come in... DANNON Something wrong? DUNCAN The frequencies are being jammed! This is more serious than I thought. We've got to get to the Palace - there's only a few hours before dawn! TRANSITION (stock) EXT. AN OPENING INTO SNAKE MOUNTAIN - NIGHT Duncan, Dannon and Teelana come outside at a run. They stop, out of breath. DUNCAN Now what? DANNON Even if Teelana and I flew, we might not make it in time - and we don't want to leave you here. DUNCAN Then we may have a problem. TEELANA (looking in a different direction) I think I may have a solution... there! Reverse angle. We see the Road Ripper Teelana is pointing at. DUNCAN One of Skeletor's Road Rippers! DANNON Think you can run it, Duncan? DUNCAN I hope so - it's the only chance we have! Come on! EXT. JUST OUTSIDE SNAKE MOUNTAIN - NIGHT Distant shot of the three of them climbing into the Road Ripper, starting it, putting it in gear. PULL BACK TO REVEAL: INT. SNAKE MOUNTAIN - NIGHT Skeletor, Trapjaw, BEASTMAN, and EVIL-LYN are watching all this on Skeletor's viewscreen. Countless Orcs still stand silently behind Skeletor's throne. Onscreen, the Road Ripper moves away. SKELETOR They're on their way. BEASTMAN They'll reach the Palace just before dawn. SKELETOR And they don't even suspect! My plan is working perfectly! BEASTMAN Ahhrrrr... I still don't understand, Skeletor. Why did you want them to escape? SKELETOR So they can prepare the Castle for an invasion of Orcs - and that way, they'll be totally unprepared for the real danger! TRAPJAW The real danger? SKELETOR Yes! A stray meteor - which I happened to notice on our last destruction mission. I have diverted its course! And within the hour, it will destroy Palace Eternia - and all those within! EVIL-LYN And what if it doesn't, Skeletor? SKELETOR It MUST! I have tied all of my mystic power to that meteor - if it fails, I'll be exiled from this dimension! I cannot afford to have it fail! And it will not - with all the palace guard on the ground, they'll never realize their danger until it's too late! (almost to himself) It will succeed - it must! TRAPJAW Well, then, what are we gonna do with all these Orcs? SKELETOR (he's forgotten them) Eh...? Ah, the Orcs. Evil-lyn! Take care of the Orcs! Evil-lyn gestures, and the entire army of Orcs shimmers and vanishes. TRAPJAW Wha...? EVIL-LYN The Orcs were not real, Trapjaw - they were just an illusion! (she begins to laugh) TRANSITION (stock) EXT. PALACE ETERNIA - NEARING DAWN The Road Ripper roars towards the Palace at top speed. EXT. PALACE ENTRY PAVILION - NEARING DAWN The Road Ripper pulls up in the midst of the pavilion, and a handful of PALACE GUARDS immediately come up to investigate. Duncan is the first one out of the craft. A GUARD Man-at-Arms! Why did you come here in- DUNCAN No time for explanations! Wake the guards, Lieutenant, sound the alarm! (to another guard) Sergeant! Wake the King! SERGEANT He's already awake, Sir - he's been waiting for you to get back- But Duncan is already heading for the throne room at a dead run. TRANSITION (stock) INT. PALACE THRONE ROOM Randor and Marlena listen to Duncan. Dannon, Teelana and several guards stand by. RANDOR Orcs-! It doesn't seem possible! How could it happen, Duncan? DUNCAN Skeletor! MARLENA He's back on Eternia? DUNCAN Yes, your Highness. RANDOR From Skeletor, nothing surprises me. Captain Bonham - ready the troops! CAPTAIN BONHAM, the present Captain of the Guards, steps forward. He is fortyish, black-haired, and built like a bear. BONHAM Yes, your Highness! INT. SNAKE MOUNTAIN - NEARING DAWN Skeletor and his henchmen watch all this through the viewer. Captain Bonham and his men can be seen leaving Randor's throne room. SKELETOR (with a laugh) Look at them! They're sitting ducks! They have no idea what's going to happen! (stands, holds one hand aloft) And now... for the meteor... TRANSITION (stock) EXT. BATTLEMENTS - PALACE ETERNIA - DAWN Duncan and Captain Bonham examine a ground-plan of the Palace. BONHAM ...and our reinforcements are on the ground, here, here... and here. DUNCAN That should hold us for now. I want you at the forward outpost, John - that's where we'll need you the most. BONHAM I'm on my way. Captain Bonham leaves; Duncan moves back along the battlements to King Randor. Marlena stands a short distance behind the King; Dannon and Teelana are also there, standing a bit apart from the others. Dannon is weaving some sort of spell. RANDOR Are the defenses ready, Man-at-Arms? DUNCAN Yes, your Majesty. All of our ground stations are manned. Every spare man has been placed on the ground, or on the walls. RANDOR Now all we can do is wait. Camera goes to Dannon and Teelana. Dannon has created a ball of light in front of them, which both are looking into. INSERT: THE BALL OF LIGHT In the ball can be seen a tremendous long-shot of Palace Eternia. The fields surrounding it are peaceful. Perhaps the image occasionally flickers. DANNON (out of shot) No Orcs... they must be somewhere... An addition to the image. A forthcoming comet. Faces raised in terror. The meteor strikes. Massive destruction. Panic. Chaos. Palace Eternia silently collapses in flames... BACK TO DANNON AND TEELANA They stare at the image in amazement. The ball vanishes. They exchange a short glance. Dannon turns, saying nothing, and moves away at a run. TEELANA Dannon - She hurries to follow him. EXT. BATTLEMENTS - RANDOR, DUNCAN AND MARLENA - DAWN Duncan is watching the field through electrobinoculars. They wait. A pause. Randor happens to look up. Something catches his attention. RANDOR Duncan - what's that? Duncan looks up, raises the binoculars. INSERT: DUNCAN'S POINT OF VIEW THROUGH ELECTROBINOCULARS It's just a dot of light, but it's arcing across the sky - and we can already begin to hear it. DUNCAN (out of shot) It's a meteor - moving at tremendous speed! BACK TO RANDOR AND DUNCAN They still watch the meteor, awestruck by the sight. RANDOR It's heading straight towards us! DUNCAN (lowering the binoculars) If it hits us... (with terrible emphasis) ...it'll destroy Castle Eternia - and everyone in it! (grabbing the radio) Captain Bonham - emergency! Come in! INT. DUNCAN'S GARAGE - DAWN Dannon and Teelana run in; Dannon heads straight towards a Windraider. TEELANA Husband, what is it? DANNON It was a meteor. Skeletor - he has it heading straight towards us! (reaching the Windraider) It has to be stopped! Dannon climbs, unhesitatingly, into the Windraider. Close-up of Teelana. A beat. Suddenly, her eyes widen - she realizes exactly what Dannon intends to do. TEELANA (urgently) You can't stop it with this. DANNON (turning the ignition) I have to. TEELANA You're not serious! But she knows he is. A beat. She steps forward, resolute, desperate. He has the Windraider in gear. TEELANA I'm coming with you, then! DANNON (forcefully) No! (it's all he has time to say) You have more to think of than yourself, now. As the Windraider howls into motion- TEELANA (in anguish) No-- And she is left, alone... EXT. BATTLEMENTS - DAWN Randor, Duncan and Marlena. Very fast dialogue. DUNCAN (into the radio) No, it's no good. It's just absorbing the energy! Get out of there! Run! He turns to Randor. Shakes his head. They won't get away. RANDOR You mean there's no way to stop it? DUNCAN None! Not with all our troops on the ground! RANDOR What about the Ion Cannons? DUNCAN (shaking his head "no") It just absorbs the energy. It's no good. RANDOR ...Then we're finished. DUNCAN I'm afraid so. MARLENA But we can evacuate the palace! RANDOR (quietly; sadly) It would take hours. We have less than a minute. The meteor is very loud now. A beat. Or half a beat. DUNCAN Wait - what's that? INT. SNAKE MOUNTAIN - DAWN Skeletor and his cronies are watching the viewscreen. SKELETOR It's a Windraider... with that fool Dannon flying it! What is he doing? Skeletor and Beastman exchange a glance. EXT. BATTLEMENTS Duncan watches through the electrobinoculars. DUNCAN (in disbelief) It's Dannon! He's heading straight towards it! MARLENA He's going to stop it! DUNCAN If he does, he's going to be killed - INT. GARAGE - BEFORE THE DOORS Teelana, watching the skies. TEELANA No... husband, no... EXT. THE WINDRAIDER IN FLIGHT - DAWN Dannon. There are many regrets, but he knows there is no other way. He has only one last thing to do before the end. DANNON Oracle... Oracle of the Crystal Sea, hear my thoughts... He is closing rapidly on the meteor. He is about to hit. INT. GARAGE - BEFORE THE DOORS Teelana stands in the doorway, the dawn sky behind her, looking out. She turns away just as the sky alights; the explosion echoes. INT. SNAKE MOUNTAIN Skeletor stands in disbelief. SKELETOR No-- The meteor is destroyed, and his power is undone, and he fades from this dimension... SKELETOR --noooooooo! EXT. BATTLEMENTS - DAWN The explosion dies out. Randor, Marlena and Duncan stand a moment in shock. Duncan breaks the silence. DUNCAN (quietly) Dannon, my friend - why? RANDOR You know why, Duncan. You'd have done the same thing, if you'd had time. MARLENA (slowly starting to cry) But... but... he couldn't have died... his wife, they - they were - (she is now weeping) RANDOR Duncan... would you... DUNCAN (taking a moment to hear him) Uh... yes... your Majesty? Duncan slowly leads Marlena away. Randor takes a grip on the rail, closes his eyes for a moment. A young GUARD, obviously puzzled, approaches in the background. As he speaks, Randor opens his eyes. GUARD But - your Majesty - I don't understand. We've won. RANDOR Won? (the guard nods) No, guard... we've won nothing... Page. A PAGE comes into shot, holding a small recording device. RANDOR (issuing the proclamation) Let the word go out to every corner of the king- dom. From this day forward, the name of the sorcerer Dannon is to be revered as a hero... DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE LANDS OF ETERNIA - MORNING A long shot of the Eternian fields, starting with the Palace, slowly, gracefully panning towards the Crystal Sea. RANDOR (voice-over) ...as a champion of the kingdom. For Dannon has given us more than his service; he has given us everything, in order to let us be free. The kingdom's highest honors are hereby bestowed to Dannon, the Sorcerer of the Crystal Sea, who gave his life... DISSOLVE TO: INT. A CAVE BY THE CRYSTAL SEA - MORNING RANDOR (voice-over) ...in the defense of Eternia. As Randor's voice concludes, Teelana steps into shot. It is, in many ways, a different Teelana who stands before us now. For the first time, sorrow has found a hold on her; the knowledge of grief has entered her eyes, and it will never completely leave her for the rest of her days. She looks, now, like our Sorceress of today. She steps slowly forward. REVERSE ANGLE Teelana walks up to a globe set into the crystal stone. We have seen it in one other episode, only; it is the Oracle of the Crystal Sea. A face appears in the Oracle: very old, very wise, very kind. TEELANA (quietly) Oracle... my husband... ORACLE (also quietly) I know all about your husband. TEELANA (she almost whispers it) He is dead now. ORACLE And he died so that others might live. Teelana lowers her eyes. A pause. ORACLE He left a message for you. Close-up of the Oracle. ORACLE He said that he loved you, that he had to do what he did for all Eternia's sake... and that you would understand. Teelana has not looked up during this, but she has been listening; she nods quickly, understanding, blinking back the tears. ORACLE He also said he was sorry to have left you with nothing. And at this, Teelana slowly looks up, meets the Oracle's gaze. It takes her a moment to answer. TEELANA (she can barely speak) No, not nothing... (looking at herself) ...he left me a child. She looks up once again, shaking with emotion, torn between smiling and weeping; a slight smile comes through; a single tear forms on her cheek. TEELANA My husband left me a child... EXT. CAVE BY THE CRYSTAL SEA - MORNING Shot from the cave's mouth, looking in, as the episode gently ends. Teelana drops slowly to her knees as she silently begins to weep... SLOW FADE TO BLACK END OF ACT TWO
FADE IN: INT. GREYSKULL - NIGHT - PRESENT DAY Adam and the Sorceress stand before the Mirror of Knowledge. SORCERESS With Skeletor gone, Eternia had peace for many years. But it was a sad peace, for me... sad, and terribly lonely. ADAM I never knew. SORCERESS Don't worry, Adam. The sadness slowly faded, but my love for him remains. When you lose someone you care for deeply, the loss can be hard at first... DISSOLVE TO: EXT. BATTLEMENTS - DAWN Marlena, weeping, is led slowly away by Duncan. SORCERESS (voice-over) ...if you have such a loss, you shouldn't be afraid to cry. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. A SHORT DISTANCE FROM DRISDOS - DAY Dannon and Teelana turn into raven and falcon, and gracefully take to the air together. SORCERESS (voice-over) But there are other ways to deal with the sadness. I've thought often about why I cared for Dannon, the times we've had together... DISSOLVE TO: INT. CAVE BY THE CRYSTAL SEA Teelana talking to the Oracle. SORCERESS (voice-over) And if you talk about your loss, to others you know and trust, that will help as well. INT. GREYSKULL Back to Adam and the Sorceress. ADAM ...Like us tonight. SORCERESS Like us, tonight. (a kind smile) And when someone you love leaves you, they always leave you with something... they leave you with memories. And memories are the greatest gifts of all. Camera holds on the Sorceress' face for a long moment. There is, as always, a sadness in her eyes. And a certain peace as well. FADE OUT.