These stories are fan-fiction, and are not intended to infringe on the rights of others in any way. The Thundercats characters are copyrighted by Lorimar Telepictures, Rankin-Bass Productions, Turner Broadcasting, or whoever owns the current rights. I post this freely, and make no profit other than the satisfaction that my fellow fans and I get from these stories. Enjoy!Chapter Six: Heroes of the Past
The control room at Cat’s Lair was filled with stunned silence. Everyone stood in a loose circle around WildKat as he grinned and gingerly played with the Serpent Sword, watching how the former Eye of Thundera seemed to float in the center of the bladeless grip.
Tygra was the first to break the silence. “So, WildKat. What have you been through?”
WildKat looked up quickly and made everyone mentally jump. Tygra could have sworn he saw a greenish glow behind his pupils for a moment. “I’ve been everywhere! I can see everything and I can do anything!” His excitement disturbed his friends and family.
Cheetara said, “Are you sure you’re okay?”
WildKat flashed her a quick manic smile. “Better than okay. I feel great! Hey, I want to show you what I can really do now!” He rapidly looked around the room as he tried to think of a good way to impress everyone. After a few seconds, an idea came to his mind. “Hey everyone, watch this!”
WildKat held the grip of the sword up, but didn’t extend the blades. The eye responded to his mental command and came to life, making a bright green light that lit the room. WildKat spoke excitedly to his tense audience. “What better way to deal with an enemy attack than…” Everyone was momentarily blinded as sunlight penetrated everything. “…To be invisible!”
Panthro cursed to himself as his vision cleared. He looked down and saw nothing but bare ground thirty feet below. “Whoa!” He started to panic and look around, seeing nothing but desert, forest, and blue sky.
Everyone else gradually regained their senses, and were shocked to see that they and the lair were quite invisible. Racina yelped in fright and tried to find something to hold onto, but couldn’t see anything. She collided with WilyKit and clung to her. WilyKit said, “Okay, brother—that’s enough.”
WildKat said, “Okay,” and commanded the sword again, making everyone visible again. The lair was still invisible, so everyone was still disoriented. Lepraa placed her hands on her hips and gave WildKat a bad look. “Okay boy-o, are you quite finished?”
WildKat was enjoying himself too much to hear her. He was so excited, he started to stutter. “I’ve always want… wanted to do this…” He held the glass-like sword grip over his head and started to say the familiar words: “Thunder… thunder… thunder…” The sword’s blades extended in steps to his words, glowed a bright green, and traced green and yellow flames in the air as he swung it around. He thrust it up over his head and finished with a “Thundercats, Ho!” The sword’s blades extended fully, making it six feet long from tip to tip. The cat signal beamed upward, but much higher than before—it didn’t stop until it was several miles in altitude and was much larger than normal. The signal was green and the Thundercat insignia was a bright gold in the center. It gave off a roar that was two octaves lower, and shook everyone to the bone like an earthquake. There was no doubt at least a third of the planet could see and hear this greatly modified version of the Cat Signal.
WildKat stood motionless and stared up into the gigantic display, holding it in the sky. Panthro broke his concentration. “Okay WilyKat, that’s enough for now.”
WildKat frowned in his direction with glowing eyes and let the signal disperse.
Panthro shrugged his shoulders. “Sorry, I meant WildKat.”
WildKat smiled furtively and said, “No big deal, Panthro.”
Tygra said, “Impressive. Now, may I please have my lair back?”
WildKat turned around and said, “What? Oh, sure. I was enjoying the view, though.” He looked around and saw no one else was enjoying it. Seeing Racina still clinging to WilyKit in fear and looking down brought him back to reality. The sword gave off a brief green flash, and suddenly the lair was visible again. “Didn’t mean to get carried away, folks.”
WilyKit said, “Sure you didn’t. So, what are we going to do with that sword? I mean, what is it now?”
WildKat said, “It’s the Serpent Sword.” He held it up by one end. “This is what the Sword of Plundarr used to be before it was used for evil. The eye is…” he searched for the words to use. “The Serpent Eye is the ‘conscience of the blade.’ Yeah, that’s the best way to describe it. It’s not good or evil anymore—it just is.”
Cheetara approached and put her hands on his shoulders. “That’s what worries me, Kat. It can be used for evil now.”
WildKat turned around and faced her. Cheetara always had a calming effect on him. “I wouldn’t do anything wrong with it, and I won’t let it fall into the wrong hands.”
Trameea walked forward and said, “I’m scared of that thing.”
“Honey, you shouldn’t be. It’s the mightiest weapon… er, tool ever made. We can do anything with it.”
Trameea caressed WildKat’s face with her hands. “Maybe, but I think it’s having a bad effect on you, my love.”
WildKat looked indignant. “On me? I’m just excited because… because for one thing, I risked my life to get it. Well, sort of. It guided me to it.” WildKat knew that wasn’t exactly right, it was that outside force that led him to it and had delayed him so he would get the sword after it was assembled. He knew something very powerful wanted the sword, and the universe itself might be in trouble if it gets it. He pushed his doubts towards the back of his mind—it was his sword now, and he knew how to use it.
Trameea looked into his eyes and could see the doubts forming. She quietly said, “Could you please put it away for now? It’s giving me the creeps.”
WildKat said, “Okay…” He started to open his pouch, then got an idea. “Wait, I want to try something.” Trameea backed off and joined the others with disappointment in her eyes. “Don’t be sad, I’ll make everything better right now.” He looked at the eye in the grip and concentrated on it. It opened and obeyed his command.
A shape started to form in front of him, much like what everyone else saw when he teleported himself into the control room from across space. The shape started to crystallize and become humanoid, but the being was coming from a place further than outer space. Everyone held their breath as the form sharpened and colors spread through it. Suddenly, the sword went blank and the room was back to normal, except for the humanoid in front of WildKat.
WildKat smiled and said, “Welcome back.”
There was a dead silence in the room until Cheetara nervously said, “Lion-o?”
Lion-o looked around at all the shocked faces and steadied himself. “Uh, yeah. What happened?”
Tygra approached slowly and said, “You were… dead, Lion-o.”
Lion-o looked genuinely surprised and became completely lucid. “I was? How?”
WildKat said, “The commander of the alien vessel killed you with both swords.”
“Both swords?” He looked around at the others who were frightened for the most part. Panthro had an expression on his face that said he wouldn’t come near the Lion Thunderian anytime soon. Lion-o suddenly remembered the incident and shivered when he thought about that life-sapping blast he received. “Oh wow, I remember now! If I was dead… did the Eye of Thundera bring me back?”
WildKat said, “In a manner of speaking.” He started to think of the possibilities and brought the sword grip to bear again. Lion-o’s eyes went wide as he saw what used to be the Eye of Thundera inside what was the Sword of Plundarr. WildKat concentrated and willed another being to materialize. This shape wasn’t as large, but it was looking familiar very quickly.
Lion-o’s face was frozen in shock for a few moments. “Jaga?”
Jaga the Wise nervously looked around, taking in the situation. “I… I’m back?” He looked exactly the way WildKat had remembered him before the cryogenic sleep on the flagship—middle aged with white hair.
Lion-o said, “You sure are!”
Jaga held his head in his hands. “This… this isn’t right. I shouldn’t be here. I…” He looked towards WildKat. “I cannot be allowed to live.”
Lion-o was surprised. “What? You’re back, you should be happy! We’re all together again.”
Jaga shook his head. “This is so wrong.” He looked at WildKat again. “I do not deserve to be alive.”
Cheetara said, “How can you say that?”
WildKat said, “I know what it is—the sword just showed me.”
Jaga nodded. “I destroyed Thundera.”
Lion-o said, “What?”
Jaga explained how he tried to dispose of the Sword of Plundarr in the molten lava on Thundera, only to have it settle to the center of the planet and rip it apart ten years later.
Lion-o said, “You can’t be held accountable for that! You couldn’t have known that would happen.”
WildKat said, “Yeah, Jaga. How were you supposed to know? None of us knew what the sword and the eye really were!”
Lion-o added, “Yes, Jaga. You didn’t even know about the sword the last time you appeared to me.”
Jaga shook his head. “No, I did know. When I died, I entered the astral plane and was stuck there for many, many years. The very nature of the astral plane allows one to learn everything—universal knowledge flows like a river, and I had learned of what I had done and could not pass beyond because of it.”
Lion-o remembered the book about ghosts by Jaregan that he had been reading. “So what you’re saying is that you stayed behind because of guilt?”
Jaga looked uncomfortably at the others silently watching the conversation. He wheeled around and stared Lion-o directly in the eyes and yelled, “Yes, that’s exactly why! I’m responsible for so many deaths, so much despair, so much heartache!” He turned away and breathed deeply a few times. His voice cracked as he quietly said, “Jaga the Wise, what a joke. I need to be alone for awhile.”
Lion-o tried to reassure him by saying, “It wasn’t your fault.”
Jaga sighed. “Maybe it wasn’t, but I’ll tell you something that was. When I was piloting the flagship to Third Earth, I altered your suspension capsule so you would be an adult when the trip was over.”
Lion-o’s eyes went wide. “You what? How in Jaga’s name could you do that?”
Jaga looked towards the floor. “I’m sorry, Lion-o. I’ve known Third Earth from a long time in the past. It’s no coincidence that it was our destination. It was your best hope for survival, but as you know, it’s a place with many hazards. I thought I was making a good decision.”
Lion-o shook his head in disbelief. “You stole my life! I believed in you, Jaga. I thought… never mind.”
Jaga sighed again. “I should leave now.”
Lion-o frowned. “By Jaga, you should.”
Jaga left the control room, and the others looked at each other. Lion-o said, “I need some time alone too,” and left for his own quarters.
After a long and uncomfortable silence, Racina said, “I don’t get it.”
Tygra knelt down and looked up into Racina’s eyes. “What do you mean, little one?”
Racina looked embarrassed. “I’ve heard you all talk about Jaga like he’s a god or something, and just now you said ‘By Jaga’ while talking to him.”
Tygra said, “Oh, that’s a different Jaga—from a long, long time ago.”
Racina held her mouth open for a moment, then said, “Oh.”
WildKat said, “Jaga the Mighty… hmm…” he looked at the sword in his hand.
WilyKit suddenly looked very concerned. “Don’t even think of it, brother.”
“You’ve brought back enough dead people for one day.”
Panthro added, “Amen to that.”
WildKat looked disappointed. “You don’t know, you haven’t seen through the sword like me.”
WilyKit said, “I don’t really want to. I don’t think that sword is a good thing.”
“Yes it is! It brought back Lion-o and Jaga!”
Tygra said, “I think we should just take a break and pick this conversation up later…”
WilyKit spoke more harshly. “You should give that sword to Lion-o, he would know what…”
WildKat shouted, “No! It’s mine! I went across space for it!”
Panthro started to say, “WildKat,” when he suddenly used the sword to teleport away.
Trameea looked up at Tygra with tears starting to form in her eyes. Tygra said, “I’m sorry, Trameea. I wish I knew what to do.”
WildKat materialized at a point on the reduced globe of New Thundera that was the opposite of the Cat’s Lair. He looked around at what was once the continent of Aldora, but was now an unsettled, featureless desert. He remembered a trip once taken with his family to this place, and wished the exotic Banyan trees were still there. After a moment of thought, he raised the Serpent Sword and wished them into being. The sword expanded his mind’s awareness over the fragmented remains of the once-beautiful continent, and made it into a facsimile of what he remembered. There was no new animal or insect life in this lush forest from his mind, but then he was focused on different things.
He spoke to no one. “So, they think I can’t handle this sword? I can’t deal with power? I’ll show them all!” He looked up into the dark blue sky, noting that the sun had yet to rise on this side of the world. The constellations looked familiar for the most part, but they were upside-down. He smiled as he remembered his father pointing out the new ones that resided at the southern tip of the sky that couldn’t be seen from the north. It also reminded him of the more recent trip he took with his sister to the Southern Hemisphere of Third Earth. His sister—she didn’t like the Serpent Sword, just like his mate. He would have to spend some time on this uninhabited part of New Thundera if he were to master the sword; then he could return to prove to everyone that it was good for it to be in his command. WildKat thought of all the good deeds he would do: the end of hunger, poverty, and hate. Peace would forever reign on New Thundera, and he would be the reason for it.
He said, “Who better to teach me than the last person to have this sword?” He held it up and willed into being the one that all thunderians revered throughout history—the warrior who became the first and greatest Lord of the Thundercats and appeared on everything from currency to everyday speech.
He eagerly watched as the dark figure of an ancient Jaguar Thunderian slowly got to his feet and stretched against the slowly brightening sky. He was one head taller than Lion-o and wore a very basic form of armor. It was an unremarkable single strap that traveled diagonally over one shoulder and became an elongated diamond in front. In the center of the diamond was an elaborately decorated Thundercats insignia rendered in gold that protected his breadbasket. He stretched, growled, and whipped his tail around. At last, he looked down at WildKat with an expression of curiosity.
He spoke in a very deep voice that had an intimidating growl in it. “Where am I?”
WildKat froze for a moment and said, “You’re on New Thundera—on what was Aldora.”
Jaga the Mighty tilted his head, and WildKat noticed his tall stature, long hair, and bandana made him look uncomfortably similar to Grune. “I know of no such place, little one.”
WildKat frowned. “Um, the other side of the planet from the Great Forest of Thundera.”
Jaga smiled and further exposed his upper canines. They weren’t “saberteeth,” but they were long enough to protrude most of the time. “Ah. Why do you say ‘New Thundera’?”
WildKat shared the story of the destruction of Thundera by the Sword of Plundarr. Jaga the Mighty listened intently and finally said, “So, you now possess what was once mine and you wish me to teach you its secrets?”
“Well, yeah. Something like that.”
Jaga’s voice deepened and his eyes glowed with the reflection of the beginnings of the sunrise. “A warrior has to be sure of himself, lest he die. Should I take you seriously, little one?”
“Don’t call me that!”
Jaga smiled and thumbed one of his fangs. “That’s better. Now, shall we begin?”
WildKat was excited. He was going to learn from the first Lord of the Thundercats—in the flesh. “Sure!”
“With a double-ended sword, you can’t maneuver as well. I’ll show you the basic moves.” He extended his hand, and WildKat handed him the sword.
Jaga smiled. “The first rule is that you must trust no one.”
WildKat froze with his mouth halfway open as Jaga the Mighty disappeared before his eyes. He waited a few minutes, but knew in his heart that Jaga wasn’t coming back. He was stranded on the other side of New Thundera with no way home. He felt his stomach turning to acid as he tried his communicator, but he was out of range by several thousand miles. He sat down on a large rock and pondered his situation. There was plenty of food around—he knew which roots and fruits were safe to eat, and his imagination was very generous when he created the forest that augmented the plant life that was already there. He picked an apple that came from his mind and the sword and bit into it. “Seems real enough.” He ate half of it and felt anger welling up inside. He stood up and hurled the partial apple into a nearby tree, watching it fragment against the trunk. He screamed, “Dammit!” and sat back down. He had nothing but time on his hands.
A tall Jaguar Thunderian materialized outside Cat’s Lair. He looked over the structure and said, “Not bad, but wrong species.” He activated the sword and changed the head from a lion to a jaguar in his likeness. “Much better.” He proceeded to teleport inside to the control room.
Cheetara and Tygra jumped from the tall shape materializing behind them. They looked up in awe at the jaguar wielding the Serpent Sword. Cheetara said, “Who are you?”
Jaga said, “Who do you think I am?” He whipped his tail around for emphasis.
Tygra had fear in his eyes. “J… Jaga the Mighty?”
“Who else?” He looked at the smaller tiger with disdain. “What happened to my people? You have no tails.”
Tygra said, “We… we evolved. No one has a tail anymore.”
Jaga sniffed and looked down his nose at Tygra. “Looks more like ‘de-volved.’”
Cheetara said, “If you’re really Jaga the Mighty, you wouldn’t be so arrogant.”
Jaga frowned. “Silence, woman! You know nothing of me. I don’t know what they’ve been teaching in the last… how long has it been since I walked here?”
Tygra stuttered, “Sev… seven thousand four hundred sixty-five years.”
“Ah. Well, you are still my people. You must kneel in my presence.”
Tygra and Cheetara hesitated.
Jaga’s pupils widened as he yelled, “Kneel!” He used the sword to force them to their knees.
Tygra spoke in a strained voice as he fought against the overwhelming force against his head and shoulders. “A Thundercat Lord doesn’t make his comrades or citizens kneel.”
Jaga let them stand up. “Then you don’t know your history, little ones. I am your ruler, and you will behave.”
Cheetara had a tear in her eye. “The history books say nothing of you being cruel. You were a fair and just king.”
Jaga’s voice boomed. “I am a warrior! The only reason I was ‘fair and just’ as you call it was because of that damned priest Tagalon. He took my sword one night, removed the eye, and put it in my crown. He sent the sword out into space, and I never saw it again. The eye by itself is weak, but it still had power. I couldn’t rule my people with it, and I couldn’t execute Tagalon for his crime, but I could use it for protection from my enemies.”
Tygra said, “But… you and Tagalon created our society—made it into what it is today.”
“Hmm, and the results I see do not impress me. I’m here to start over again and make us strong. We must be strong if we are to conquer Planet Plundarr and the Five Alliances.”
“Plundarr? We’re at peace with Plundarr now.”
Jaga laughed. “Peace? You know those lizards, apes, and dogs would conquer us if given a chance! I have the Serpent Sword again, and I can destroy them all with a thought!”
Cheetara looked up into Jaga’s eyes with an expression of pleading. “You can’t do that! They’re a broken people and can’t defend themselves. You can’t harm innocents, it’s against the Code of Thundera.”
“Don’t even mention that cursed code in my presence, woman! Tagalon wrote that code, and I was forced to live by it.”
Tygra said, “Is it really that bad? Thundera lived in peace and prosperity…”
“Yes, it is bad. Look what happened to you: you’re weak little cats constantly defending yourselves against the trash of the galaxy. We were meant to rule, and now that I’m back, we will.”
Cheetara said, “It’s not right. Everyone has a right to live their lives in peace. Our purpose is to protect them to ensure that peace.”
“Lazy blobs. Do you know what unlimited power is?”
Lion-o entered the room. “Unlimited power corrupts, and you’re a prime example of that.”
Jaga the Mighty spun around. “And who are you, little one?”
Lion-o looked up into the ancient jaguar’s eyes. “Lion-o, Lord of the Thundercats.”
“You? Lord of the Thundercats? Don’t make me laugh.”
“Do I look like I’m joking? I grew up thinking you were the greatest Lord of all time, and I see that you’re just like Grune the Destroyer.”
“Who is this Grune?”
“It’s not important. What is important is that you don’t belong here—your time has passed. New Thundera doesn’t need warriors like you anymore.”
“You have enemies, do you not?”
Lion-o shook his head. “Yes, but we live in peace now. We use our power for self-defense and defending others who are oppressed.”
“You mean you don’t wish to build the mightiest empire in the galaxy? You’re satisfied with living on this one little planet? It’s only a matter of time before an enemy empire discovers and conquers you. Thunderians will become slaves and be forgotten. Do you want this?”
“No, but if that day comes, we won’t go down without a fight.”
Jaga frowned. “You make me sick—you are weak. You are all weak. It’s clear I have much work to do, starting with you, little Lion. Kneel before your master!”
Lion-o frowned. “You can’t make me… aaaaaah!” Lion-o screamed as he was forced to his knees by the power of the sword.
Jaga the Mighty growled, “You will come to respect me and learn your rightful place, then we can build the mighty Thunderian Empire and be known and feared throughout the galaxy! I’m going to leave to see how the other worlds have changed since I was gone, but know that I can see everything you do, no matter where I am.”
Cheetara and Tygra helped Lion-o to his feet as the giant jaguar vanished from sight.
“Thanks. What are we going to do now?”
Tygra said, “I don’t know, except maybe append the history books.”
Cheetara nodded, “I say we should find WildKat.”
Tygra’s eyes went wide. “WildKat! I forgot about him.” Tygra immediately jumped to the control panel and tried to track WildKat’s signal, but with no luck. “He’s out of range. He could be back on Third Earth for all I know.”
Cheetara said, “I hope he’s okay.”
Tygra stood and held Cheetara in his arms. “I’m sure he is. Jaga the Mighty might be a lot of bad things, but he’s no murderer.”
Lion-o sat in one of the control chairs and started working on tracking his friend. “I certainly hope not.”
After several minutes of agonizing, Lion-o gave up. “I don’t know where he could be.”
WilyKit said, “Well, I do know he’s alive.”
Lion-o said, “Yeah, we all would have felt it if something had happened to him.”
WilyKit stood over the seated lion and put her hand on his shoulder. “My link to him is stronger, and the Warrior Maidens trained me to be more in tune with my senses.” She closed her eyes for a few moments and frowned. “I can’t tell where he is exactly, but I feel he’s on New Thundera still.”
Lion-o’s eyes brightened. “Then, we can find him?”
WilyKit said, “I don’t know. I can tell you one thing, though. He might not want to be found. I have a strong feeling of despair coming from him.”
Panthro frowned. “That’s probably a good thing—maybe he’s come to his senses.”
WilyKit nodded. “Yeah, you’re probably right.”
Trameea walked up to WilyKit. “Kit, we have to find him. Can’t you at least give us a direction?”
WilyKit shook her head. “I wish I could.”
Trameea’s eyes started to water. WilyKit put her hands on her shoulders. “Don’t worry, I’m sure he’s okay, wherever he is. I got a feeling of boredom from him too.”
Lion-o said, “If I only had the Eye of Thundera.”
Cheetara said, “Well, you still have me.”
Lion-o’s eyes brightened again. “That’s right! Cheetara, are you sure you want to do this?”
Cheetara flashed a smile. “Using my gift isn’t life-threatening anymore. WilyKit? Come over here.”
WilyKit looked surprised. “Me? What can I do?”
“You can help me to focus on your brother. Close your eyes, clear your mind, and concentrate on him.”
WilyKit nodded and did as she was asked. Cheetara cupped her head with her hands and concentrated. Her eyes snapped open and looked blankly. “I see him. He is… he is on Aldora.” Cheetara’s eyes returned to normal, and she hesitated for a moment before removing her hands from WilyKit’s head. Cheetara looked at the others and said, “He’s on the other side of the planet, near the exact opposite spot from the lair.”
Panthro nodded and started walking towards the door. He said, “I’ll fire up the Feliner.”
Racina hugged Trameea from the side and said, “I sure hope he’s okay.” Trameea stroked her shoulders and said, “Me too, little sister, me too.” She looked towards the departing panther. “Hang on, Panthro! I’m coming with you.”
WildKat sighed as he sat on a rock at the top of a cliff overlooking the ocean. He thought how easy it would be to simply fall and end everything. He wouldn’t do it, but the thought kept tugging at his mind. “Life is so fragile; everything is so fragile.” After staring into the heart of the Serpent Sword and experiencing its power, he knew he would never be the same. He tossed another rock over the edge and watched it arc slowly towards the rocks below. It seemed to slow down and drift, then suddenly sped up again as it struck below and ricocheted at an angle before finding final peace in the surf. WildKat sighed and thought about the silence surrounding him. There was no sound except for his breathing and the lapping of waves far below. He spoke to no one, as if to try filling the void. “I should have thought about some birds and crickets. Hmm, or at least a guitar or something. This silence is… oppressive.”
WildKat’s ears twitched as he picked up a faint whooshing sound in the background. He thought he must have been dreaming, but it was growing louder and louder and there was no way he could mistake the distinct sound of the Feliner’s engines. His heart leapt at the thought of being rescued then sank at the idea of being around the others again after the way he acted. He thought about his love Trameea, smiled, and said, “Oh well, I couldn’t hide if I wanted to—Panthro would find me with infrared anyway.” He laughed nervously to himself and waited for the inevitable as the sound of the Feliner suddenly grew louder. “Yep, didn’t take him long at all.” He tossed one more rock off the edge and watched it fall as he heard the Feliner land in the field behind him. He turned around to see not Panthro, but Trameea approaching. He smiled sheepishly and realized nothing really mattered in the universe except the love he felt for his mate.
Panthro sat in the cockpit of the Feliner and watched the reunited couple. He thought he would simply find WildKat, pick him up, and get back to the lair as soon as possible. After a minute or so of watching them crying over each other in the distance, Panthro sighed, reclined the pilot’s seat, folded his hands behind his head, closed his eyes, and smiled to himself as he enjoyed the warmth of the sunlight. “No big rush, I guess.”