Masters of the Universe: First Interlude

Beak: I don't understand. Where am I?

Just off in storage, waiting for the next moment that the Sign Holder will transform.

Beak: I don't like it. It's boring here.

Don't jinx it. Be thankful that you are not privy to some of the more warped brainstorming that happens around here. * shudders *

Beak: Storms? Should I have brought an umbrella?

Never mind. Just try not to touch anything. You never know where it might have been. And, don't worry. You're safe and will be going back to your friends soon enough

Beak: But they don't know who they are. And I don't think Bob will be happy when he realizes what has been going on. He gets very upset when he isn't the hero.

He saved Ivan.

Beak: True, but he doesn't like Ivan.

Yeah, well, tough noogs. We all have to suffer in this life. Trust me.

Beak: I'm hungry. Do you have any bananas around, by any chance?

Sorry, fresh out. The last of them had turned black and I made banana bread. Would you like some?

Beak: Heathen! How could you squish the innocent like that?

Quite simple. I used a wooden spoon.

Beak: Ew.

What? It's tasty! I added walnuts.

Beak: I think I would like to leave now.

No can do. You have to wait until you switch places.

Beak: What did you do while the Sign Holder is here?

We played poker. I owe him fifty bucks by this point, so I am in no hurry to have him back.

Beak: Oh. So…have you ever considered the advantages of worshiping the Great BaNAna?

I am not exactly a… religious type, if you will.

Beak: But it is very rewarding. And we sing songs.

Oh, dear.

Beak: I know a great one. * karaoke style * I have a luv-ely bunch of ba-na-a-nas, dee-dil-dee-deedee. Here they are all wai-ting to be saved…

Yeah, I think we need to get things rolling again. We're up to Part IV and no closer to reuniting everyone back together. So much to do!

Beak: Or how about some haiku?
        Oh, Great BaNAna
        So fair is thy gentle curve
        How lovely thy peel.

Quick! Back to the story! Back to the story!

Masters of the Universe: Part IV

We're Stilia waiting for an explanation…

Making His Way North From the Eternian Palace…

Ivan: I hate the cold. There was a reason why I moved to California.

Random Soldier: I beg your pardon, sir?

Ivan: Forget it.

Ivan was not a happy camper right now, and let's face it, Ivan's idea of roughing it means staying at a hotel with no room service. The afternoon was wearing on, and at present a very pissed off gray kiwi was flying a sky sled toward the Ice Mountains; straight into who knows what, without either of his wards. They had both disappeared, as well as Ferdie and the muscle-bound Beak.

Ivan: Not that I feel too bad about banana-brain, but Lita and I are going to have a chat when I find her. She's becoming a bad influence on the kid.

Random Soldier: Sir, did you say something?

Ivan: Look, Private. I'm in a very bad mood right now, but am to keep it to myself. So unless you want me to share my feelings with you, I would suggest canning it.

Random Soldier: Y-yes, sir!

Ivan would have preferred to not have to deal with this kind of stupidity, but without his wards he was forced to take a small squad of soldiers with him. There was too much at stake to risk going alone. He had to find that moronic Drake before the duck got himself shot. Not only because it would mean that they would never get out of this world, but he couldn't take the chance that the death of any member of their party would result in the memory lose of those who still knew what was really going on.

Ivan: If I ever find out what deity is responsible for this mess, I am going to personally hunt them down and shoot them.

Hmm. This might be a good time to switch to another scene. We'll come back to this when Ivan's a little closer to his destination. And maybe feeling a little less…moody.

* * *

Castle Grayskull

The Sign Holder blinked in shock

Sign Holder: So I become some huge, powerful hero?

Iiwi: Technically…no.

Lita: She's right. Beak was the one everyone was calling 'He-man.'

Sign Holder: Nuts.

As he sat with his wings crossed and pouting, Cringer came up to him and nuzzled the small, brown kiwi. The tiger gave him such a pathetically cute look that the Sign Holder could not help but smile and scratch the tiger behind the ear.

Sign Holder: I think I get why this 'Adam' guy keeps you around.

Cringer purred happily. Meanwhile, Ferdie was having a minor mental break down.

Ferdie: * high-pitched voice * The Sorceress has lost her mind. Hehe! She's telling Teela about Adam's secret, because she's not really Teela. Hehe! And I'm not Orko. Hehe! And Adam doesn't become He-man, because He-man is somebody else and Adam just 'pops' out of existence. What's to worry about! Hehe!

Lita: He's taking it better than I thought he would. * turning her attention back to Iiwi * Alrighty, so now that you have explained what happened to the kid during the battle, it would be nice if you could clue us in as to why everyone is acting so strange. Except us.

Ferdie: * high-pitched voice * Except you?!? You're standing around, talking about being from another planet, and you say everyone else has lost their minds?!?

Lita: Said the blue weirdo from the planet Trolla.

Ferdie: * high-pitched voice * That's beside the point.

Iiwi: The explanation is quite simple, Lita. The Sword of Grayskull protected those of you who were in closest contact to it during the switch.

Sign Holder: That would make sense, since it is a magic sword. But why not also someone like Ferdie, who has taken the place of a magician?

Lita: A very inept magician.

Ferdie: * high-pitched voice * Hey! I'm floating right here.

Lita: Yeah, I know, and it's really beginning to get on my nerves.

Sign Holder: * ignoring the two * My point is, Orko has magic. So why didn't it shield Ferdie as well?

Iiwi: * sighing * While it is true that this is a magical world, not all magics are the same, in strength or origin. Orko, himself, is not magical. He merely possesses the ability to tap into the energies of the world around him and manipulate them. It is the same with Evil-lyn, whom your friend Ferdia has replaced.

Sign Holder: Then why is the sword different?

Lita: It has something to do with this place, doesn't it?

Iiwi: That is correct. Castle Grayskull contains within it the very strongest of magics. Far in the depths of the castle is an orb that holds the energies of the Elders, a counsel who ruled this world for more than a millennium. The Sword of Power is connected direct to that energy, just as my own magic stems from that power. And rather than being a separate entity, the sword is rather like an…extension of that power. As your fingers are of your arm.

Lita: Then why isn't it Iiwi we're talking to? I can't tap into Teela's memories.

Iiwi: When the exchange occurred, your comrade Iiwi was in control of this body. But the powers around her, and that coursed through her, was too much for her to handle. Had I not surfaced to help, Castle Grayskull might have suffered damage, or worse, Iiwi might have been killed.

Lita: Sucky. I guess that's a pretty good excuse. How long will you be able to hold things together here?

Iiwi: I am not certain. With each passing moment I begin to feel the wear of suppressing the natural dominance of your comrade. It is weakening me, and I fear that eventually she will once again surface when I am no longer strong enough to maintain the powers that are working against me. A resolution to this situation must be found before then. Time is against us.

Sign Holder: * shaking his head * I still don't get it. If the sword protects us from this amnesia thing, then why didn't Beak know who he was? Lita said he thought he was He-man.

Lita: And that's another thing. If He-man and Adam are suppose to be the same person, then why have they split? Why isn't it the Sign Holder who becomes big and puffy?

Because no one really wanted an image of a minor in a fuzzy loincloth?

Iiwi: That, unfortunately, is not an answers I will be able to give you. At present, the circumstances that led to the split of Adam and He-man is as much as mystery to me as it is to you.

Ferdie: * high-pitched voice * And what about that imbalance between good and evil?

Everyone turned to stare at the bluebird.

Ferdie: * high-pitched voice * What? I wanna know.

Iiwi: I can feel the strain upon the Castle. Something else occurred during the switch; the power within Grayskull was accessed, but I do not know to what end.

Sign Holder: But other than you and the sword, what else has the power of the Elders?

Iiwi: Since the time when the Elders began their rule of Eternia, they used their magic to help protect this world from evil. Some of the projects they undertook still exist to this day, and they still draw upon the powers that are contained within the castle.

Lita: Do you have any idea where this 'incident' occurred?

Iiwi walked over to a window and gazed off into the distance.

Iiwi: I believe the source of our troubles began on Berserk Island.

Ferdie: * high-pitched voice * Oh no. Teela's going to have to fly us somewhere again.

Sign Holder: Is that name a reflection on the mental state of its inhabitants?

Laughing, the red bird turned around and walked back over to where the Sign Holder was sitting and using Cringer as cushion.

Iiwi: Berserk Island gained its name because it is the home of many dangerous creatures. They are not insane, just wild. Untamed, if you will.

Lita: Well, that just makes a whole world of difference.

Ferdie: * high-pitched voice * Wait a sec. Berserk Island? I think that there was a mission from the castle to there. Man-at-Arms sent one of the Masters to go and get something. Now let me think…

Iiwi: I believe you are referring to the discovery of the Scepter of Light.

Lita: That's the thing that Bob mentioned. There are people coming from Avion to get it.

Sign Holder: The who-how of what?

Lita: Right. You were still seeing pink elephants at that point.

Ferdie: * high-pitched voice * What's an elephant?

Lita: * ignoring Ferdie * Is the scepter, by any chance, one of the 'projects' which the Elders had something to do with, Iiwi? I mean, Sorceress…

Iiwi: * smirking * You are very quick, young lady.

* * *

Village of Stilia

Ivan and the squad arrived safely and without incident to the home of the Kulataks. While the soldiers began helping the wounded to the transports, Ivan was brought to the Kulatak Elder.

Ivan: So, I hear it's been a bad day.

Kulatak Elder: That would be putting mildly. We have both lost good men this day.

Ivan: *shaking his head and mumbling to himself * Open beak and insert foot.

Kulatak Elder: What was that?

Ivan: Just me wondering if I am going to start a civil war before the day is over. I'm sorry, things keep going wrong today, and I think I am down to my last good nerve.

Kulatak Elder: I can understand this. But it is late now. This 'Beastman' could not have gotten far through the mountains without one of his steeds. If we hurry, we may be able to re-capture him.

Ivan: And Ram Man? Is he conscious yet? I have a few questions for him.

Kulatak Elder: * puzzled expressions on his face * I cannot explain it. After Beastman reappeared and attacked, your Ram Man was gone. It is a mystery, as is how Beastman gained entrance into our city unobserved.

Ivan: Gone, huh? That's not a good thing, especially today. What about those who were caring for Ram Man? Do they even have a clue…?

Kulatak Elder: * sadness returned to his face * They are dead. Killed by Beastman, whom I fear may have been the one responsible for Ram Man's disappearance.

Ivan: Great. So to get any answers at all, we have to find Beastman before he becomes a fuzz-cicle.

Kulatak Elder: There is very few daylight hours left. We must depart immediately.

Ivan: Lay on, McDuff.

The Kulatak Elder gave Ivan a quizzical look, but said nothing. Instead, he led the kiwi through the ice tunnels to where a party of Kulataks had gathered and were boarding beasts of burden. Ivan looked the white mammoths with uncertainty.

Ivan: Are you sure about those? They don't look like they move too quickly.

Kulatak Elder: Their advantage is not in their speed. And we shall need them if we suffer any more casualties. Scouts will run a head and pick up Beastman's scent. It will stand out in this icy wasteland. And my warriors are egger to begin this hunt.

Ivan: Just be sure they know to bring him in alive. This is not the time for vengeance.

The large white beasts let out deeps honks and the procession began. Ivan went over to where two of him men were waiting with sky sleds. He boarded his and fired up the engine. An evil smile spread over his face.

Ivan: Let's hunt some duck.

* * *

Northern Ice Mountains, just a few miles away…

Ferdia: How much further?

Squeaks: Just beyond the next pass. That's where the entrance to the village is. But we're not going to be able to get in that way. The Kulataks probably have it heavily guarded, given the damage it took from Beastman's attack.

Ferdia: Let me worry about that. You just make sure that you can recognize Beastman when we find him.

Squeaks: * rotating his visor * Switching to infrared mode.

Ferdia: When we get to the cavern, I will lead a direct attack on the remains of Randor's transport and the entrance to Stilia. This will draw out most of their warriors, leaving the village itself mostly unprotected. Meanwhile, you shall sneak into the mountain using the underground tunnels that Trap-jaw found months ago. Make your way in and find Beastman before our forces become overwhelmed out here.

Squeaks: Are you sure? My skills probably would be better utilized…

Ferdia: *
coldly * Finding that walking carpet before he gives away any vital information about Skeletor's plan. I am perfectly capable of leading this assault.

Squeaks: It's just you usually aren't one to get so… physically involved in a battle.

Ferdia: You doubt my abilities and powers?

Squeaks: No, no! Not at all, I just wanted… wait! * his voice drops to a whisper * Something is coming toward us from just up a head.

Indeed, there was a large form pushing through the snow and bitter wind. The two villains quietly landed their bat wings on a higher ledge to get a better look. To their surprise and shock, they discovered it was Beastman himself stumbling along beneath them.

Ferdia: I may just kill that idiot.

Squeaks: Not without getting an explanation out of him first.

Together they vaulted down the cliff side and landed down beside the great, hairy beast.

Drake: Evil-lyn! Tri-klops! You came for me! Wait… why?

Ferdia: * sarcastically * Certainly not because we missed your sharp wit or delightful odor.

Squeaks: Be grateful that the Eternium arrived safely to Snake Mountain, or else we would be here to remove your hide to decorate the wall of the throne room.

Drake: * gulping * Then Skeletor's not mad at me for getting captured?

Squeaks: We didn't say that.

Ferdia: It all depends on what you told the Masters before escaping.

Drake: Nutten'! I swear! I woke up in that stupid ice village, smashed people up and ran out! * brushing ice out of his fur * Uh, could we go somewhere warmer? Please?

Squeaks: We should go before any of the Masters show up. Like He-man himself, who is no longer occupied with troubles at the Eternian Palace.

Ferdia: Indeed, though it is disappointing that we don't have the time to lay siege to Stilia.

Squeaks and Drake glanced at one another, but decided not to comment, as the orb of her staff crackled with power. And there was also that little twinkle in her eye that suggested Ferdia would like nothing better for them to give her an excuse to use them for target practice.

Squeaks: Uh, maybe some other time. I'll signal the others to turn back.

Drake: * sniffing at the air * Uh-oh.

Ferdia: What now, hairball?

Drake: We're not alone. They're coming.

Ferdia: Who?

But before he could answer, there was a howl of rage and several Kulataks came bursting through the surrounding drifts. Ferdia yelled in surprise as she tried to hold off the large, wolf-like warriors.

Ferdia: * to Squeaks * Call the men back! Tell them to attack! There may be more coming!

Squeaks: Already done!

The mouse unsheathed his sword and ran to the aid of his comrades. Two Kulataks ran toward him, claws posed to strike. Squeaks leapt and quickly turned his blade on them from behind. He caught one across the hindquarters and the other through the shoulder. They roared in rage, but moved off. Now Squeaks used his gamma blaster to drive off three that had leapt on Drake, who was moving sluggishly due to injury and cold.

Ferdia, on the other hand was holding her own, alternating between using her sword and magic to throw down her opponents.

Ferdia: Just a few more, and then we can make our escape!

Ivan: That's what you think, bluebird! Drive 'em back into the sea, boys!

Random Guard: Sir?

Ivan: You know what I mean!

His canon ready, Ivan shot down at the trio, scattering the group as they dodged in various directions. Squeaks was forced to back off from Drake's position, and Ivan used the pause in the mouse's attack to land and join in the fray. He went running after Squeaks, mace brandished.

Ivan: Time for a little payback, rodent!

Ivan came at him full force, wielding the mace with such accuracy that he knocked Squeaks off his feet before the mouse knew what hit him. And he was given no chance to recover as Ivan charge up his laser and fired directly at the mouse's chest, sending him hurtling off into a cliff wall. There was a loud crash and the unconscious Squeaks flopped limply into the snow.

Ivan: * growling * And now for Drake…

The duck had wisely started to retreat upon witnessing what had befallen Squeaks. The problem was, it is very difficult to lumber away quietly. He caught Ivan's attention and the kiwi ran after him. Ferdia, who had run over to Squeaks's crumpled form, saw that Drake was now the focus of Ivan's fury.

Ferdia: * chanting * Icy winds, full of fury that blast; freeze that Master dead in his tracks!

Ivan: Oh, no you don't!

Ivan geared up his laser, but started to feel his joints immobilize as the wind whipped around him.

Ivan: Damn it! When I get free, detective…

The purple haze around Ferdia glowed brighter, and more of the warriors around Ivan suddenly stopped moving as ice began to form on their limbs. The situation was dire, but fortunately, Ferdia had not noticed the Kulatak Elder creeping up behind her.

He charged at the enchantress, knocking her staff away and breaking her concentration. The storm calmed and Ivan tore free of the frost that had grown up around him. Without thinking, he aimed his weapon at her and fired. Just in time, both Ferdia and the Kulatak Elder threw themselves out of the path of the assault. Unfortunately, this meant that the laser fire hit the frozen cliff wall instead. A deep, thundering sound began to vibrate through the pass.

Ivan: * smacking his wing to his head * Well, that was a stupid. * to anyone who was listening * Run for it!!!

The avalanche cascaded down the mountainside, right on the heels of the fleeing soldiers. They managed to find shelter under a rocky outcrop, and Ivan ran to join them just as the snow rushed over the group. Huddling as far back under the covering as he could, Ivan guiltily wondered what had happened to the group of Kulataks. In the end he convinced himself that they must know how to survive something like an avalanche to have made this habitat their home for so long.

When the rumbling finally stopped, the kiwi and his men dug the snow out of their way and looked out at the drastically changed landscape.

Random Soldier: Uh, sir? I thought you wanted to bring Beastman in alive?

Ivan leveled a look of sheer venom at the man .

Ivan: Are you looking to be put on latrine duty for the rest of your military career? Fan out! Look for survivors, not to mention Skeletor's minions.

But it was too late. Ivan saw the purple glow as Ferdia levitated Squeaks and herself up to when they had left their batwings. She laid the still-unconscious mouse on the vehicle behind her and took off. Ivan resisted the urge to open fire, knowing all too well that the rest of the mountain was just waiting to come down on them with only the slight provocation.

Ivan: Great. That's just great. The enemy gets away and I buried our allies.

Kulatak Elder: Do not be so hard on yourself.

Ivan spun around and saw several Kulataks digging out of a drift. One of their large beasts honked loudly as it struggle to shake the snow off its long, white fur.

Ivan: You're okay? I would have thought… You used your large friends here as protection against the avalanche, didn't you?

Kulatak Elder: As I said, their advantages do not lie in their swiftness. It would take more than half a mountain to move one of them against their will.

Ivan: Sorry about that. I let my temper get out of control. I should have known better.

Kulatak Elder: Perhaps, but at least our enemies did not recover their friend.

Ivan: Yeah, well, neither did we.

Kulatak Elder: Is that so?

He pointed past the kiwi, over to where another group of Kulataks were struggling to pull a large white and orange beast out of the snow. Apparently, Drake knew nothing about escaping avalanches and had been caught up in a particularly rocky portion of the slide. He was mangled and spitting up snow.

Kulatak Elder: I do not think he will give us much trouble now.

Ivan: Maybe not, but be sure to tie him up anyway. As uncomfortably as possible, if you will.

* * *
The Sands of Fire

The Sign Holder was leaning over the seat to look around at the ground below them. It was a fascinating geological phenomenon, as large mounds of sand spurt lava up constantly. There was no vegetation, only burning desert and craggy gorges.

Lita: It's not so bad.

The others looked at her skeptically.

Lita: What? I'm not saying I want to build a summer home here. But the sedimentation bands are really quite lovely.

Sign Holder: You've got to stop quoting old eighties movies. * pointing his thumb back to Ferdie * You're almost as bad as he is.

Lita: He only wishes.

Meanwhile, Ferdie was curled up into a fetal position and a turbulence bounce away from starting to suck his thumb.

Ferdie: * high-pitched voice * How did I get talked into this? We're going to Snake Mountain. That's where Skeletor and his goons are. * grabbing the Sign Holder and shaking him * It's a really bad place to go!

Sign Holder: Hey, I thought you were glad to not be heading for Berserk Island?

Ferdie: * high-pitched voice * That was before I found out where the scepter was taken to! This is suicide!

Cringer: * huddling down pitifully * Mew!

Ferdie: * high-pitched voice * See! Cringer agrees with me.

Lita: Cringer's a 'fraidy cat. He doesn't count.

Ferdie: * high-pitched voice * At least let Adam, or whoever he is, change into He-man.

Lita: No way, Jose'. It's bad enough having you along, and you only about half believe that we haven't lost our minds. It would take too long to re-explain everything to him about what is going on.

Sign Holder: What's so tough? Skeletor stole the scepter, we have to get it back. It's not that complicated.

Lita: I'm in charge, and I say we stick with our plan as is. End of discussion.

Ferdie: * high-pitched voice * Geez. Who died and crowned her queen?

Sign Holder: She is still wearing that gold tiara.

Even Cringer snickered.

Lita: What was that?

All: * innocently * Nothing! (Mew!)

Lita: Don't make me come back there, because I am about this close to opening a can o' whoop-ass on all three of you…

The gentle teasing continued, keeping the mood light enough to prevent Ferdie from bailing out and a two-hundred pound plus tiger from sitting on the Sign Holder's head. Had they been paying more attention, there might have been the slight chance that they would have spotted the dark figure below them, sitting motionlessly on a large purple panther.

But in accordance to the whims of the author, and for the sake of plotline, they were too busy to notice that the cloaked individual was aiming his havoc staff directly for them.

That is, until the sky hawk suddenly began to shake and smoke.

Sign Holder: Lita! What's going on?!?

Ferdie: * high-pitched voice * Ahh!!! The tail's on fire!

Cringer dove for the floor again.

Lita: Okay, no need to panic! I'll just glide us in for a bumpy landing!

Ferdie and the Sign Holder: AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!

But, no such luck, as the wing hydraulics seized up and put the craft into a nosedive. Lita desperately pulled back on the stick as the others huddled in the back, praying to various deities that they might somehow live through this.

The good news is that there was, fortunately, one being with enough interest and power to ease their fall that saw fit to help them land in one piece.

The bad news is that said being was also the same one who crippled their sky hawk in the first place.

The glow from the Dark Lord of Snake Mountain's havoc staff edged the beak of the vehicle up some so that when the craft hit the ground, it was more of a horizontal skid across the landscape than a fatal 'crunch,' which would have left the shy hawk looking like an accordion. That does not mean that the craft did not start flipping end over end through the air as it ricocheted off a large rock, and then hit the ground again, going into a roll that bent and snapped the wings off. Inside, everyone crouched into a ball to prevent injury as the metal around them screamed and bent with each bump.

Finally, what was left of the vehicle lurched to a halt and settled enough for the very shaken occupants to stagger out.

Sign Holder: I vote we keep to walking from now on.

Ferdie: * high-pitched voice * Urg…

Cringer: mew…

Ferdie: * high-pitched voice * Can we go home now?

Sign Holder: Um, Lita…

Lita: Nope. We've come this far, and we need to get moving, because I am willing to bet someone noticed our little belly flop.

Sign Holder: Lita…

Ferdie: * high-pitched voice * Little! We were almost killed!

Lita: Almost. There's a difference. And you know what they say, 'Any landing you can walk away from…'

Ferdie: * high-pitched voice * Should teach you to stay firmly on the ground?

Sign Holder: LITA!

Lita: What!?!

Sign Holder: DUCK!

The dust bunny never saw the energy blast that rendered her and the others unconscious.

* * *

The Dungeon of Snake Mountain

Lita: Ugh. Cringer, that had better be you licking me.

Cringer: Mew?

The large tiger's muzzle was only inches from her nose, and she shoved him back as she struggled to sit up, despite the waves of dizziness and nausea that flooded her senses. On the plus side, the lighting around her was very dim, so it did not add to the migraine that was currently pounding in her head.

Lita: Oye. I hope this isn't what a hangover feels like. Ferdie? Kid? You guys okay?

The bluebird lay a few feet away from her, muttering incoherently.

Ferdie: * high-pitched voice * Ohtrolly…molly…

Lita: Yeah, he sounds okay. How about you, kid? Kid? Kid!

But the Sign Holder was nowhere in sight. And Lita could not go looking for him, as she discovered there was a chain attached to her leg and a very sturdy looking cage around her.

Lita: Damn. Ivan is going to kill me.

Cringer mewed in sympathy.

* * *

The Sands of Fire

The Sign Holder woke up near the still smoldering remains of the sky hawk. But now he was all alone.

Sign Holder: Lita? Ferdie…I mean Orko? Cringer?

The howl of the wind was his only response. He quickly got to feet and ran over to some rocks for cover, just in case something might have been lurking about.

Sign Holder: Okay, quick assessment. I am in hostile territory with no supplies or transportation. Lita and Ferdie must have been captured, as I would hope she would not purposely leave me behind. I don't know where I am, or where I should go, and do not know enough about this place to fake my way through a confrontation, even with huge sword to back me up.

He sighed, knowing that there was really only one logical solution to this problem. He just was not really sure logic was going to be the best gamble right now, with Lita and Ferdie's lives on the line.

Sign Holder: But what else can I do? If that cloaked guy comes back, I sure as heck don't have the power be able to fight him magic.

Picking up a small rock, he found a spot of ground that was relatively flat and began to carve into its surface. After a few minutes, he nodded in satisfaction and stood back up. Then, unsheathing the Sword of Power, the Sign Holder took a firm hold of the hilt as he lifted it high into the air.

Sign Holder: Here goes everything. I just hope that Beak understands the message.

Lightening flashed ominously over his head as he began to speak.

* * *

The Village of Stilia

Drake: I'm not tellin' you nuttin'!

Ivan: Fine! Be that way, you oversized sheepdog! But you better get used to freezing your butt off, because we aren't going anywhere until you tell me what happened to Ram Man!

Drake: I don't know what you're talkin' about!

Ivan growled in frustration. The stupid duck was even more stubborn in this form than normal. The gray kiwi was cold, tired and hungry. But more than that, he was sick of this world and the fact that it was beginning to feel like everyone around him was laughing at a punch line and he did not even know what the joke was. It was all Ivan could do not to point his laser canon at Drake's head and fire a clean shot.

Ivan: Maybe I'm not making myself clear. After all, you do seem to be lacking in the higher cerebral functions department.

Drake: Huh?

Ivan: * pointing a finger at Drake * You…tin-y brain. Me…get-ting sick of you.

Drake: Hey! I'm not stupid, ya know!

Ivan: Ri-ght.

They were interrupted as someone else entered the icy prison.

Kulatak Elder: It is getting late, Man-at-Arms. Perhaps after some sleep, this situation will be more easily dealt with.

Ivan: Maybe, but we're going to need to put guards on him around the clock, heavily armed guards, or we may get a very nasty wake up call.

Kulatak Elder: As you say.

He left the room to gather some warriors. Ivan turned back to the imprisoned duck.

Ivan: Last chance before you sit on ice all night. Could make for some frosty cahones come morning, if you catch my drift.

But Drake did not appear to be listening to him. The duck suddenly had a very spaced-out look on his face and he was swaying back and forth.

Drake: Don't… feel… so… good…

And with that, he collapsed on the floor. Ivan just stood and stared as the duck began to glow and change shape, until after a minute or so he no longer resembled a Platyrian version of Big Foot. Instead, the duck was now looking more like his usual self, save for the massive armor and helmet. Picking his jaw up off the ground, Ivan raised an eyebrow as he prodded Drake through the bars. Drake groaned in response.

Drake: Uh…

Ivan: Are we cognizant?

Drake: * voice edged with pain * I don't know what in the name of the gods happened, but I just bet that black fiend was responsible.

Ivan: Oh, joy. The question is, will this be an improvement over before?

And so Ivan is now left with a semi-conscious Drake who, it would seem, has overcome his former case amnesia. Will they be able to work together to rescue Lita and Ferdie? Will Beak be able to figure out what is going on in time to help them? Just what is Skeletor up to with this seemingly random, yet vile plan? Will Iiwi ever be able to make a real appearance in this fanfic?

For these answers, and more, stay tuned for Part V!

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