Later they are all sitting around
the camp fire together sharing stories. Conan told them of Wrath-Amon, how he
needs star metal to build seven temples to bring the evil serpent god, Set,
from The Abyss and into this world. Of how when his family refused to give him
any star metal, he turned them all to stone. Then he spoke of meeting Prince
Zula on a Stygian slave barge, and how they had made a daring escape. And of
how they later met Jezmine and Grey Wolf. He told them how Wrath-Amon sent the
evil sorceress Mesmira to Xanthus to kidnap their Earth Wizards. And when she
was discovered she turned Grey Wolf's brother and sister, Misha and Sasha, into
wolves with thorns from the lycanthrus plant.
In turn, Princess Ariel told them of Earth. She told them about the way things were two thousand years ago, before The Cataclysm. She told them of the runaway planet that destroyed the Earth of old. And she told them of the way the Earth is now. She told them of many of their more memorable foes of the past, such as Gemini, Argoth: The Wizard of a Thousand Eyes, Mindok the Mind Menace, Infernus and Zevon's werewolves, and the wizard Crom. She also spoke of her adventures here, since the wizard Crom had banished them to this world. Thundarr and Ookla joined in with their own tales. When they were finished, both parties were quite impressed with the others tale.
"You must be a very powerful warrior," Jezmine says to Thundarr with a hint of awe in her voice, "I have heard of the creatures that attacked you. They are called yeti. They are very strong and quite vicious. It is said that their very touch can steal the warmth from your bones."
“They are mighty beasts," agrees Thundarr, "but they are defenseless against The Sunsword."
"You come from quite a remarkable place," says Zula. "Machines that fly with people inside. Weapons that shoot beams of light more deadly than any arrow or crossbow bolt. Mechanical men who fight without question or fear. Amazing."
"It's not so different from your world Zula," replies Ariel. "We have our fair share of monsters, magic, barbarians, and evil wizards."
"I am more interested in this magical pool you mentioned," says Grey Wolf. "You say it has the power to cure lycanthropy?"
"Yes, that's right," replies Ariel.
"I wonder if it could make my brother and sister human again," says the wizard.
"I don't know," admits Ariel, "It worked on Zevon and his Pack, but they were werewolves from our world. It might not work on your brother and sister."
"But there's also a chance that it might," says Grey Wolf, and by the tone in his voice it was clear he meant to try.
"We would still have to get them to the pool," says Ariel, "and we're not even sure if we can get back to Earth."
"Bah!" Says Thundarr, "Ariel needs no magical pool to undo such magic. Remember the witch Circe, Ariel? She turned Captain Willows and his shipwrecked crew into frogmen, and you changed them back. All the sailors she had shipwrecked over the years while searching for a sorceress to switch bodies with were turned to stone, and you made them all flesh again."
"You have broken a curse of living stone?" Conan asks, "Could you return my family to flesh?"
"I don't know," Ariel admits, "I can try. But Circe was a witch, not a sorceress or a wizard. And she was vanquished before I had restored the crew and the shipwrecked survivors. This Wrath-Amon sounds very powerful. It will be a difficult curse to undo. But I do promise you that I will give it my best shot."
"He is very powerful indeed," says Conan, "And he has legions of snake men warriors at his command. As well as human followers, like Mesmira. Vanquishing him will be no easy task."
"Perhaps it would be too much for you four alone," agrees Thundarr, "It may even be too much for Ookla, Ariel, and I on our own. But the seven of us working together?"
Conan laughs, "Woe to any who stand before us!"
Then the two barbarians clasp forearms as friends. Just then, Conan's baby phoenix, Needle, wakes up and comes out of Conan's shield. The magical bird yawns and stretches its wings.
"Needle hungry," says the phoenix, "are there any pomegranates?"
"Lords of Light!" Exclaims Thundarr, "A magical bird!"
"Oh, him," says Conan, "That's Needle, my phoenix."
"A phoenix?" Says Ariel with wonder, "I have heard of these creatures, but I had never dreamed I'd ever meet one."
"He can be quite a useful companion," says Conan, "when he isn't distracted by pomegranates or falling asleep on duty!"
"Who are these people?" Needle asks.
"Only the people you let into our camp while you were supposed to be standing guard," replies the raven haired barbarian. "This is Thundarr the Barbarian, Princess Ariel, and Ookla the Mok."
Needle flies up to Ookla, who roars at the little phoenix. Needle screams and flies over to hide behind Jezmine. Everyone in the camp laughs at the phoenix's antics.
"Needle still hungry," says the bird.
"I'm sorry Needle," replies Jezmine, "I'm afraid our last pomegranate had spoiled while we were traveling."
"Oh," says the bird with a defeated air.
"Let me see," says Ariel.
Jezmine digs the rotted pomegranate out of her bag and hands it to Ariel. The sorceress casts a spell, and the pomegranate begins to glow a bright yellow. She throws the glowing rotted fruit out of the camp, where it lands behind the boulder which sits next to the path to the lake. A moment later a tree sprouts up, fully grown, and sporting ripe, red, pomegranates. Then Ariel uses her magic to telekinetically pick one of the pomegranates and hands it to Needle.
"Here you go, little friend," she says.
"Mmmmmm. Pomegranate," says the phoenix, and he shoves his face right into the piece if fruit and starts gorging himself. The others all laugh.
"Needle like sorceress lady," says the phoenix.
Princess Ariel strokes the magical bird's feathers. "I like you too, Needle," she says.
"You can keep him if you like," says Conan, "He can annoy you for a change."
"No way!" Says Needle, "Needle just got used to one big dumb barbarian. Not gonna switch for another! No way!"
The others all laugh at the phoenix, all except Thundarr and Conan. They both glare at the magical bird, neither very pleased about being called 'big dumb barbarians'. Then Conan brightens up as he gets an idea.
"Needle," he says, "Do you know of anything that might help our new friends here find their way home?"
"Home?" Needle asks, "Where's home?"
"Earth," says Ariel, "in another dimension."
"Ummmm," says the phoenix, "Needle has little bits and pieces of memory from phoenix ancestors. Hard to think."
"Memory of phoenix ancestors?" Thundarr asks.
"A phoenix passes its memories down to future generations," explains Zula, "When a phoenix is young, like Needle here, the memories are fragmented and incomplete. As the phoenix grows and matures, its access to those memories become more complete."
"Interesting," says Ariel.
"So?" Conan asks the phoenix, "can you think of anything that may help?"
"Needle remember something," says the bird, "It called The World Wand. It supposed to be able to open portals to other worlds."
"Where is it?" Asks Thundarr, "What does it look like? How does it work?"
"Needle not know!" Says the tiny phoenix, "Only have bits and pieces of ancestor memory!"
"Grey Wolf," says Ariel, "Do you know of anything that might help us?"
"I have heard of this device which Needle speaks of," replies the wizard, "But the legends say it was lost centuries ago. There is one person who might be able to help us."
"Who?" Asks Thundarr.
"He is known simply as The Hermit. He is a very powerful sorcerer, both old and wise. But his years of isolation have left him somewhat . . . eccentric."
"Where can we find this Hermit?" Asks Conan.
"He is said to live amongst The Mounds of the Titans, an ancient graveyard where many of this world's greatest heroes are laid to rest."
"And this graveyard," says Thundarr, "Where is that?"
"There," says Grey Wolf, pointing across the desert, "On the other side of The Dune Sea."
Ookla lets out a disappointed growl and buries his face in his palm. Zula laughs at his new friend's response.
"Do not worry, my friend," says the dark skinned warrior, "We will all be going together, and with enough provisions and water to sustain us all for many days to come. It will not be like when the wizard banished you to the middle of the desert with no food or water."
This seems to improve the mok's mood considerably.
"We should get as much rest as we can tonight," says Thundarr, "We head out at first light!"
"Why so soon?" Ariel asks.
"Because if this World Wand does exist, we need to be sure that no one else gets it first!"
"Like who?" Ariel asks.
"Wrath-Amon," replies Conan, "If he were to get his hands on a device like this World Wand . . ."
"He wouldn't need to build his temples," finishes Grey Wolf, "He could bring Set into our world and the gods only know how many reinforcements!"
"Exactly," says Conan, "As soon as we get our new friends back home, we will need to destroy The World Wand."
"But what of Sasha and Misha?" Grey Wolf asks, "And what of your family? Without The World Wand, they might never be returned to normal."
"I know my family would gladly sacrifice themselves to keep Wrath-Amon from bringing Set into our world," replies Conan, "Would your brother and sister do any less?"
"I suppose not," says Grey Wolf, "But that magical pool of Ariel's is the first real chance I've found to make them human again."
"I understand how you feel," says Conan, "but it is important that Set never returns from The Abyss."
"Just because we have to keep The World Wand away from Wrath-Amon doesn't mean we can't help your families too," says Ariel, "We can bring The World Wand with us to Earth. Then once we've tried to cure Sasha and Misha, we can send you all home."
"Aye," says Thundarr, "It is the least we can do to repay you for your help. And once we've sent you home, then we can destroy the wand."
"You would do that for me?" Conan asks, "For us?"
"Of course!" Thundarr says, "We are friends now, are we not?"
"We are," agrees Conan, and he and Thundarr clasp forearms as brothers in arms.
"Good!" Says Ariel, "Now that that's settled, let's get some sleep. We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow."