"Your true face... What kind of... face is it? I wonder... The face under the mask... Is that... your true face?"
-The Moon Child wearing Twinmold's Mask.
Behind the Bandana
Ningan sat in the Clock town Milk Bar, about to finish his bottle of the infamous Chateau Romani and head off. It was around 10 at night when a young man entered the building. Ningan glanced up for just a second before returning to his drink. He caught a glimpse of the man's appearance. Strawberry blonde hair, blue eyes, nothing out of the ordinary. Certainly not a Sheikah. No luck there.
Ningan took his final swig and rose from the barstool. But to his surprise, the young gentleman sat beside him. He stared directly into Ningan's red eyes. Ningan glared back. The man had a smooth skin tone. Not a hint of facial hair, so he was a good age. His hair was think, yet shining blonde. He was probably from a pretty sunny region, possibly the shores of the Great Bay, maybe beyond. So why was he staring at a regular guy in bar?
"Hey, those eyes are unusual!" he noted with surprise. "So you're not from around here, I'm guessing?"
Ningan just looked him up and down. Then, he stepped forward, insisting on leaving. An arm reached out to snatch his.
"Wait!" the man said. "I've got nothing to do all night, so you may as well hear me out. My name's Wickson. I'm from the Quazar Islands to the far west. I'm here to see the carnival. Now I've introduced myself, I think it's fair that you do the same. You look like you've got a story to tell!"
Ningan pulled out the barstool and seated himself once more.
"I'll talk to you, if you're willing to listen. And you will have to listen very closely. My story is a long one."
Wickson's eyes narrowed slightly as he leaned in to hear Ningan's tale...
Impa sat in Kakariko Graveyard with Penelope. It was a solemn, stormy day. Their umbrellas were raised, thick heavy droplets crashing down upon their delicate shield.
Together they admired a grave. It was dedicated to a Hylian Knight who served the Royal Family well. The sombre stone was crested with the golden Triforce emblem. A tear slipped down Penelope's cheek.
"He was so brave..." she whimpered. "His life was stolen too hastily!"
"Now, now, Penelope." Impa assured her. "Philip will be resting in the haven of the Goddesses now, for he led a great life, always aiding others. Also, it is not a life passed that is needing our attention. It is a life beginning."
Penelope wiped the tear from her cheek and gazed at Impa blankly.
"Philip's son, Ningan, is still on this Earth. He needs guarding. Unfortunately, it would not be suitable for me to care for him right now. An issue has risen concerning the Princess Zelda. As her attendant, I must see to her safety. This is why I must ask you a favour. While I am gone, you must care for my only son."
Penelope looked horrified at her proposal.
"But...I have no experience of child care! I never planned on bearing my own!"
"Teach him to cook. Teach him to sew. Teach him every skill and craft you know. These will guide him in later life. But most importantly, teach him respect. With this, he will travel far. Penelope, as his aunt and now godmother, you are my only hope for my son's future. If I return, I will take him with me, far from Hyrule. Until then, remind him always of my existence and tell him I'll return after my business in the Castle."
A flash of light and Impa was gone. Vanished from the graveyard. Penelope quickly repaired her appearance so as to seem presentable to Ningan when she told him the news. Before returning to the village, she glanced back at slate stone grave of her only brother. What would he make of this situation? Penelope could only wonder as she took her umbrella down the path.
"I grew up in a quiet village for the poor. It was founded by my own mother, but she had other duties than to care for such a small village. This is why I was adopted by my aunt. She was nothing special. Just a simple woman who lived in a house near the gates to the mountain. She would cook and clean always, that was her life."
"I would help my aunt do her duties and occasionally I would ask about my mother's whereabouts. She would always sigh and remind me that my mother needed to 'finish her business' as she would always say. I never questioned her. She was very good at diverting the awkward topic. A very clever woman, but not of my mother's blood. My father was a Hylian Knight who also worked for the Royal Family, supposedly a loyal servant to the King himself. He was killed in battle apparently. I always wished to see my father in life, and I always wondered what he would look like, what he would be like, and what he could teach me. Life is oh so unfair."
"She was kind enough to let me outside to play. There were no other children in the village, so I was alone. I used to play in the graveyard, dancing on gravestones and teasing the gravekeeper, which I found rather amusing."
"Or rather disturbing..." Wickson commented. Ningan darted him a look of detest before continuing...
Ningan, now at the age of 8, was dancing on the tombstone of the Sheikah Tribe. He heard a croaking yell from the graveyard keeper's hut and gave a chortle before hopping away merrily to the far end of the graveyard.
Ningan stopped and sat down beside the Royal Family's Tomb, admiring the crest of the Triforce. He remembered the legends his aunt had told him before bed. He knew of the three Goddesses and their tyrant of evil, they always fascinated him.
Suddenly, he heard a shriek that pierced his ears. With a jolt, Ningan leapt up from the ground. He looked around in terror, but saw nothing. He was sure that it came from above him but all he saw were the usual overcast, cloudy skies.
His veins instantly began to boil, like there was an evil presence before him. Out of fear, he turned and ran, straight into Dampe, the graveyard keeper, whose face was less than amused. Ningan's cheeks burned blood red.
"Right, out you go you little scamp!!!" he boomed, his face as twisted as a screw. "I've had enough of your antics! Now go!"
"Didn't you hear the screaming, Sir?" Ningan stammered.
"Screaming??? This is not another one of your practical jokes, brat!"
"No, Sir! Honest! I heard screaming from near the Royal Family's Tombstone!"
"Just leave, you foolish hoodwink!" Dampe snatched the collar of his clothing and dragged him through the passage of graves back to the village.
"I always felt a presence there, as though there was something there waiting to be discovered. Not that I told anyone. But nothing was ever found. I still have that feeling to this day, sometimes stronger than ever. At the age 12, I left Kakariko Village in search of both my parents. My aunt grieved, afraid I was dead. But I went, far from my birthplace looking for my destiny. This is where my real story begins..."
Ningan stood at the central tree in Kakariko Village. It was a beautiful summer's day and bees hummed about it, pollinating the flourishing flowers on its branches.
Equipped with only a Bottle, filled with fresh water from the well, and a lantern filled with oil, ready for use, he stepped out of the village entrance, boldly looking back. A summer breeze gently pushed the sails of the windmill and Cuccos joyfully chirped. Such a blissful village he was going to leave behind him. Ningan was determined to find his mother, the woman who had left him in the care of his aunt as just a baby, whose name was practically forbidden to speak of within his household.
He dashed down the steps into the great Hyrule Field without any more hesitation. But his thoughts still lay with his aunt. What would become of her, knowing that her adopted son had fled from her?
Ningan tried to shut all other distractions from his mind and concentrated on the Castle Town drawbridge. This was the gateway to a new life, he knew that for sure. His boots tapped along the wooden bridge and he heard the soft trickle of the river below it. Ahead of him lay long, narrow streets, filled with citizens passing by, crowding around stalls and trading goods. The town was alive. Ningan's heart leapt with the rhythm of the market and began to sprint into the main square.
"I first fled to the Castle Town, capital business centre of Hyrule. It was a shock to me, being so young and seeing so many people. My only goal was to find my mother. It was really difficult to find someone who would listen to me. All the citizens passed me by, only caring for their trading."
So many shops! So many things to purchase! Yet, so little money. It didn't matter. His purpose here was not to trade, but to inquire about the whereabouts of his mother. He tried to stop a passing man but he continued swiftly on. But Ningan was not discouraged. Every now and then, a citizen even stopped to talk. When he mentioned Impa's name, they would either laugh or look extremely confused.
Eventually, he came to a wise looking old man.
"Excuse me," Ningan approached him. "Do you know anything about the location of a woman called Impa?"
"Ah, Impa..." he replied distantly. "...the last of the Sheikah..."
"Have you heard the legend of the Shadow Folk? They are the Sheikah...the shadows of the Hylians."
Ningan knew almost all legends of Hyrule, so the Legend of the Shadow Folk wasn't new to him. But he hadn't known about his mother's ancestry, or any of her history for that matter.
"Impa is the last of the Sheikah. She is the only survivor from a terrible massacre that occured some years ago. But she is still an incredible woman. Always making a name for the Sheikah. For instance, Impa is responsible for the opening of Kakariko Village to other Hylians. A remarkable woman."
"Where is she now?"
"I believe she is still working at the Castle, as the Royal attendant."
Wow! Ningan's mother worked for the Royal Family! Not only that, but she was their attendant! His heart was filled with pride.
"If you wish to see the castle, head up that road there." he gestured with his head. "Although, I doubt you'll be able to meet her. That place is a pretty secure stronghold. You don't get in their easily."
"Is that so?" Ningan said before strolling up the road. A challenge. He was determined to succeed just to visit his mother. It sounded like an adventure. Something he'd always dreamt of.
"Shikashi directed me to the grand Hyrule Castle. I thought the Castle Town was too much for me, but this royal palace was something much greater. Its sunbathed white walls glistened with the purity within, but were forever guarded by endless guards. Shikashi was right. This was a challenge."
"It was a challenge indeed. Luckily, the guards weren't that alert. Quite simple, actually. I managed to reach the Princess in no time."
"You met a Princess?!" Wickson said in awe.
"It was very startling and unexpected. But she didn't mind. She found it rather amusing actually."
Ningan stood behind a tree, anxiously watching the guards patrol the gates of the Castle. He wasn't afraid, but he was shaking with excitement.
From the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of some long vines, flowing down the wall. Now was his chance. At the right moment, Ningan leapt from behind the tree and scurried up vines as fast as an ape. When he reached the top, he gazed down at the foolish guards who had not spotted his presence. It was gleeful.
"So you're feeling confident are you?"
Ningan jolted with shock and nearly fell from the wall. A hand grasped his shoulder to stop him. He turned around. A tall woman stood there, with shocking white hair, tied back into a tight bun. Her red eyes glowed down upon him and she smiled.
"You've got this far." she said calmly. "Why stop here? Go all the way? But I must warn you, while risks can be worthy, they're also dangerous. Remember this."
Ningan noticed bright white emblem of an eye defined on a piece of cloth hanging from her neck.
"Now it's your choice. I hope you make the right one."
With a flash, she was gone. Ningan stood, alone, confused and indecisive before the grandest building in the whole of Hyrule, determined to decide upon his fate.
"So there and then I had to decide. For I knew that the woman with whom I had just spoken...was my mother."
"But you said you met the Princess?" Wickson interrupted.
"Indeed I did. I'm not one to give up so easy. Now I had begun my challenge, I was going to complete it. I think it was what my mother wanted me to do."
"So how did you infiltrate the guards?"
"It took a lot of effort. I climbed, swam and crawled while avoiding masses of guards. But I got there. It was a very awkward situation..."
It was now nightfall and the moon had risen high in the sky. Ningan was crouched on a blue slate roof. He needed to get inside as the wind was biting his cheeks.
The nearest window was a blue framed window with a small pane. It was situated on the very top of a turret. It looked simple to force open and it looked secluded enough not to be of any importance. Ningan leapt from the rooftop and grabbed onto the windowsill. He pulled himself up and pushed the glass. It opened immediately and he fell through the window onto a plush carpet floor. He sighed with relief and accomplishment before standing up. That's when he saw the four poster bed. A young girl sat up and glared at him.
"Erm...hello." he said with embarrassment. "...I believe my mother works here. Is there any chance I could see her?"
The girl looked more embarrassed than he did.
"I just had a dream..." she said. "And you were in it."
An awkward silence occurred for a few seconds before she continued.
"I always have these visions of future events." she explained. "Whenever I tell my father, he simply ignores me. But my attendant understands. She says it's a 'special gift'."
"If you don't mind me asking...but are you the Princess of Hyrule?"
She smiled at Ningan and chuckled at his ignorance.
"Yes, I am the Princess. Just call me Zelda. So you say that your mother works here? Where are you from?"
"K-Kakariko Village. I live with my aunt, Penelope."
"Well, I can't say I know her. Who is your mother?"
"Her name is Impa, your attendant."
The Princess was stunned.
"Oh wow..." Zelda gasped. "She never even told me she had a child."
"I knew she was a worker for the Royal Family, but I never knew she would be the attendant of the Princess."
"Well, now I feel awful. It appears that she abandoned her own son just to care for me."
She hung her head in sorrow.
"She had no choice." Ningan comforted her. "My father died in battle and her job was her life. A child was a big responsibility. Now tell me about this dream you had."
"The dream, the Princess told me, took place in Kakariko Village. She saw my mother, stood in front of a giant Sheikah emblem in a dim room, lit by many weak torches. Apparently, a figure resembling me emerged from the darkness. Impa nodded her head as a sign of acceptance before vanishing into the wall with the emblem on it. Very mysterious dream, I thought at the time. But her unique gift became understandable when we found out she had inherited a great power. The Princess kindly invited me back to the Castle for frequent visits. For every time I was there, I never saw sign of my mother. However, it wasn't all disappointment. The Castle became my second home as the Princess taught me new valuable skills. "
Ningan and Zelda stood in the Castle courtyard. High up on the walls of the buildings were carefully positioned red targets.
"At a reasonable age, Impa taught how to handle a bow." she began.
In her hands, she held a small but beautiful bow carved of a golden oak wood.
She raised it up and inserted a pointed arrow onto its fine string. The string drew back as Zelda squinted her eye for precision. With a faint twang, the arrow glided through the air and hit the highest target with a slight thud. Ningan was impressed.
"Now, she also taught me that learning is only fun if it's a game. So here's the challenge: if you can hit the top target today, I will order for a room in the castle to be donated to you."
Ningan was shocked.
"Are you sure? I'm just a visitor! And I'm fine with staying in the allies, you know."
"Stop questioning and get to it! It'll be dusk before you know it! Take this!"
Zelda handed Ningan a small bow, like hers, but made of a dark willow wood. She also gave him 10 arrows.
"I wouldn't worry about running out. You'll probably miss and they fall back to the ground for reuse."
Ningan drew the bow...
"And did you get it?" asked Wickson.
"Of course I did. I am a natural with a bow. It did take me at least 10 tries though. So I earned my place among the Royal Family's association and had my own private bedroom down in the basement, amongst the servants' quarters. It was cosy and it was my own personal space. I finally felt at home. No matter how many times Zelda informed her father of my arrival to the Castle, he refused to believe I existed. He would ignore the idea that Impa had a son and in fact, she was not the last of the Sheikah. The King also refused to believe that his daughter had found a playmate. The staff at the Castle knew of my appearance and would clean my room and serve my food. I had all that I could wish for and life could not get any better. Until one day, the Princess left. I did not see her for days gone by. Then, he came: Ganondorf, the King of Evil..."
Ningan, now aged 16, stood in his room, packing a small satchel. He packed his bow, with some darts, a diary bound with a violet leather cover, his lantern and his bottle, filled with healthy blue potion from the Castle's stocks. His room was still full, a pillow filled with dreams, a bookcase filled with knowledge and a fire filled will warmth. Ningan was sad to leave such a harmonious haven, but there was no other option. Ganondorf's army was slowly approaching.
He opened the door quietly, and glanced up and down the corridor. There were no maids, no guards. Just the endless silence. Ningan swung the satchel over his shoulder and gently closed the door. He was still wary of any danger that could await him around the corner. Since Zelda had left, the Castle had changed. The halls seemed permanently dark, and nobody tended to the dirt in the corners. It was not the safe house which he had once known.
Ningan crept carefully towards the spiralling staircase. As he ascended the stairs, he stopped. There were voices ahead.
"The King ordered us to search every room." said a heavy, steely voice. "We must obey his orders."
"But seriously, this is going to take ages." came another. "I bet there aren't any Hylians left in here."
"Did you not swear loyalty to the King of the Gerudo? What if the king or queen of Hyrule is hiding in one of these rooms? You'll look stupid then!"
The wooden door clicked open, and a heavy, iron foot clanked onto the stone step. Ningan held his breath, and retreated back down the staircase. With every light step he took, another heavy step would follow ahead of him. The routine continued until he reached the bottom and dashed back towards his room. In a flash, Ningan clicked open the door and slipped inside unnoticed. He could still hear the voices of the men outside.
"There's bound to be somebody hiding in this basement." said one. "I knew we should have investigated this door."
Each step was slow and echoed down the corridor as they approached. Ningan held his breath as he stood with his back against his bedroom door. He had to escape but there was no way out: no windows, no doors, just the one he stood flat against to defend himself. Maybe he could manage to slip past them and reach the staircase? These soldiers seemed pretty slow. But the corridor was dark and narrow. What if he ran into them?
Daringly, he peeked through the gap in the door. Through it, he glimpsed the shimmer of bronze armour in the torchlight, and two gigantic axes. He had never seen anything of the sort, and was amazed by their size. Sure enough, the symbol of the Gerudo was hanging from their armour on a delicate sort of cloth. These were Ganondorf's soldiers, that was for certain.
"Smash the doors down." said one of the knights.
"What would be the use in that?"
"We need to surprise whoever's on the other side!"
They stopped at the first door on the opposite side of the corridor. Together, they both raised their axes above their heads. Ningan saw the opportunity before him, and pushed the door open a little wider. When the axes came crashing through the wooden door, he flung it open and hurried straight past the knights without daring to look at them.
He accelerated towards the staircase and climbed all the way until he reached the door to the main hall. Instinctively, he continued to climb all the way to the top without hesitation, until he reached the Princess's tower. Ningan kicked the door open and entered the royal refuge, still decorated with its royal blue carpets and four-poster bed. He saw the window and quickly unlatched it so that the stormy gales burst through.
Now on the roofs of Hyrule Castle, he could see the true scale of damage caused by Ganondorf's forces. A great inferno rose from the roofs of the market town, followed by an billowing cloud of coal black smoke. The drawbridge into the castle had been destroyed like every other piece of wood, and many more bronze knights were marching inside. Ningan scurried across the roofs, straining against the force of the rain. He needed to escape, to find Zelda and his mother. As he leapt down onto one of the surrounding hills, a small tear caught his eye which he immediately brushed away. There was no time for sorrows. He was now a man. He was going to have to fight for himself.
"My ambition to be independent was not what I had planned, and it didn't work too well. I lived in the wilderness, like a wolf, eating any beast I can find, bathing in rivers and sleeping beneath trees. I watched Hyrule change around me, from a fair land of dignity and beauty to a state of chaos and destruction. For many dreadful months I was an animal, never making contact with another Hylian, until I was rescued. Though my hero was quite peculiar and unexpected..."
Ningan sat under a tree in the middle of the night at the age of sixteen, somewhere in Hyrule he had never ventured. He could have entered a new realm for all he cared. And he didn't. The rain came down heavy and Ningan shivered, clutching a tiny piece of flint in his left hand, attempting to ignite a bundle of dry wood. Every time he felt a little energy, he might sneeze and drop the stone. He felt weak and incapable, so young and foolish. So much for making his own adulthood.
There was a flash of lightning and a crackle of thunder, almost in the same second. In the bright illumination, Ningan saw a silhouette towering above him. he cried in shock.
"Looking a bit lost, aren't you child?"
A tall man flashed a dark grin at him from under his umbrella, not a droplet of rain touched his face. His hair was short and as black as the thunderclouds above him.
"I trust you are Ningan?" he asked. "I was sent to search for you by your mother. My name is Tyruja by the way."
A gentle hand reached out from beneath his shabby brown cloak as if to greet him. Ningan didn't oblige.
"Suit yourself. It's a little stormy tonight, isn't it? Are you going to come with me to find accommodation for you or what?"
Ningan thought about it. If his mother had truly sent this man, surely he should trust him? Tyruja knew his name, that was for sure. He seemed a little intimidating but not evil. Ningan had learnt that risks were worth taking.
He stood up and dropped the stone in a puddle and gazed at Tyruja.
"Good boy." he grinned, twice as bright as before. "I knew you would listen to a little reasoning. Just like your mother. Now follow me. We're going to a private place. Very secret indeed. Once you enter, you mustn't breath a word to anyone. You understand?"
Ningan nodded. Tyruja turned and began to walk towards a rock face. In the dark, it was hard to make out what exactly was there. He tapped his umbrella on the wall. As if from nowhere, a wooden door creaked open to reveal a small passage. Tyruja entered first and beckoned Ningan. As the lightning flashed, he spotted a large eye carved into the rock above the door. He continued through the tunnel.
The tunnel was incredibly short. He expected a cavernous labyrinth that eventually led them to a secret shrine or something. Instead, they were almost instantly facing the storm once again. Ningan gasped. Ahead of him was a wide street with buildings lining each side like soldiers in a legion. The buildings were wooden and shoddy with corrugated rooves. It reminded him terribly of Kakariko. Home.
Tyruja looked back at him.
"What's up, kid? Looking a little under the weather!"
He chuckled to himself down the street. Ningan followed him, passing carts and crates littered along the road.
They stopped at the largest building in the village. The sign above it had faded ink lines that spelt: The Moonshade Inn. Tyruja pushed the wooden door gently open and its hinges whined.
Warmth filled the air as Ningan stepped into the Moonshade Inn, enough to dry his clothes in no time. There was a bar to his left with warm mugs steaming on its counter. A fire lit up the far wall but it couldn't be seen for the large crowd gathered around its hearth. They all glanced round as the door creaked.
Tyruja folded his dripping umbrella away and approached the anxious gathering.
"So you found the boy?" said a man, wearing a peculiar hat of leather with a brim that darkened his eyes. He looked very serious indeed.
"Well of course I did, Georgio!" Tyruja laughed. "You didn't expect me to fail and return, did you?"
Georgio wasn't laughing with him. He just glared at the new arrival. A woman who wore a cloth on her head occasionally glanced too but shied away whenever Ningan glanced back.
"So aren't you going to introduce yourself, fool?!" called a frustrated voice from the corner of the crowd. They all turned to see a long haired man swaying on a stool with a flask of brandy.
"I'm Ningan." he replied with confidence as he stared back at the drunk.
"Well then." said Georgio. "Isn't anybody going to escort this gent to his accommodation?"
A young man stood up from the back. His hair was much darker than Tyruja's, whose hair now revealed to be dark brown in the light of the inn. He wore a silver waistcoat which suited his smart appearance. He flashed a kind smile at Ningan.
"Marston, well volunteered. Take him to the fourth room." ordered Georgio.
As they were about to go upstairs, two figures appeared on the landing, causing the crowd to stare. It was Impa.
She looked no different from their first meeting. Her outfit stayed tied tightly around her shoulders and her white hair was even tighter. But beside her, was a blond haired child wearing almost the same outfit. It was Zelda.
Ningan's mouth gaped almost as wide as hers.
"Ningan!!!" she cried with delight.
"Princess!" he smiled. "Why are you here?"
"I've been here for a few days now. Your mother's here Ningan!"
Impa smiled sympathetically and placed her arm around Zelda.
"You've come a long way." she said. "I'm impressed. So have you, Princess. Two children to have journeyed so far need their rest. To bed now."
Ningan and Marston followed Zelda upstairs to the rooms. Impa went downstairs and fetched the steaming mugs from the bar counter. Ningan couldn't help but watch her attend to Zelda's needs.
"So you're Ningan, huh?" asked Marston, noticing his envious eyes. "I hear you've visited the palace too. A marvellous structure, don't you agree?"
Ningan nodded and entered his bedroom and staggered in the darkness. Eventually, he found a bed, which he collapsed onto to relive him from his exhaustion. The bed felt soft and clean, not perfect, but suitable. Ningan fell into a deep sleep.
The next morning, Ningan woke up. In the light, he now noticed more about his surroundings. His room was surprisingly comfy, it reminded him of the Castle. The windows were dusty and the room was practically empty, except for a wardrobe and a chest of drawers.
He ventured downstairs to the bar he had seen last night. It looked completely different. The fire smouldered and stools lay about. The bar was being cleaned by an unfamiliar man. The only thing similar was the drunk in the corner, snoring beside a smashed bottle.
"Hello." said the barman, smiling. "I don't believe we've met. I'm Jakunu, owner of this inn. And you are?"
"I'm Ningan. You weren't here when I arrived."
"Yes, I believe I was on an errand." Jakunu muttered. His eyes drifted to the snoozing man.
"I'd better wake Dormin before Georgio catches sight of him." he sighed. "I hear that Georgio himself wants to meet you in the Dojo."
"The Dojo?" Ningan frowned.
"Yes, the Dojo." Jakunu laughed. "It's the building where we all train. It's just across the street."
"Train? For what?" he was even more confused now.
"My, my, you have a lot to learn about the Sheikah, Ningan." he chuckled. "Now, I suggest you march over there without any more hesitation."
Ningan opened the creaking door and left Jakunu and Dormin in the Moonshade Inn. Outside, the street sprawled before his eyes. It was hardly Castle Town. Carts littered the side and cloths blew in the dusty wind. All of the buildings were made of a simple wood with large window panes, also dusty. There balconies on almost every house, allowing one to easily look down on the village below.
A building with two swords crossed over each other confronted him. This was labelled The Dojo in faint ink. He opened the door. Inside was a giant hall without an obstacle in sight bar for a few crates in the far corner. A ladder lead up to a deck lining the walls above him. Presumably a stand for an audience. Georgio stood in the centre, gazing at Ningan.
"Ah, Ningan! I know we haven't been properly introduced, but there's little time. You must begin training as soon as possible."
"Training for what?"
"Ningan," he explained. "We're going to make you a ninja."
Ningan almost swallowed dust with his mouth open so wide. A ninja? Why? What did this mean?
"Your mother tells me you have shown the appropriate skills for this position. You can climb, swim, jump, run, use a bow and arrow and can survive alone for a long period of time. Almost perfect. We just need to brush you up with some weaponry."
He showed Ningan two shimmering silver daggers with black handles. They were a marvel. Ningan took them and stroked their perfect blades.
"Now, it is understandable that your mother cannot be with you as you train. She is busy training Princess Zelda to become a ninja too. So I've arranged a tutor for you."
The door was forced open and a shriek filled the room. They both turned their heads to see the intruder. A blond haired woman of about 18 stood at the entrance with her foot raised and a sharp circular blade in her hand.
"You called on me, Georgio?" she grinned, flashing sharp rows of teeth. She glanced at Ningan and winked.
"Yes, I did Stalea." he sighed. "I would like to ask a favour of you."
He gestured at Ningan with his finger.
"I wish for you to train this young lad as your apprentice. It shouldn't be too difficult. He seems to have inherited most of his skills from Impa."
"I see." she pondered, as if considering the offer. "I accept. So does this make me a tutor?"
"Indeed it does. A tutor needs to show wisdom, patience and respect. Some I believe you lack but I will trust you with this task."
"Of course you can trust me, Georgio!" she gasped in horror. "I have been trained by the wondrous Impa! I have stolen her wisdom and her teachings!"
"I will leave you to put your teaching into practise. In the meantime, I hope the Dojo is still standing when I return."
He closed the door gently leaving Stalea and Ningan alone.
"So, kid," she said patronisingly. She was only about a year older than him. "What's your name?"
She threw her spinning blade through the air. Ningan had to duck as it hit the wooden wall with a thud.
"You've got wits, kid!" she grinned. "Now let's see if you can manage this!"
She drew a short but sharp sword from her back and charged at Ningan. Ningan was petrified. As the blade approached, he instinctively leapt upwards. He rose magnificently, almost touching the roof of the Dojo, before landing back on the floor. Then to finish, he spun round and kicked Stalea square in the back, knocking her to the floor.
A proud applause appeared as if from nowhere. Tyruja was sat on one of the benches, clapping gently. Georgio looked very impressed, but Stalea stood up wearing a disgraced scowl.
"Well done." said Georgio, somewhat nervously. "I'll leave you two to train then."
He left the Dojo, closing the door gently, leaving them in a tense silence. Ningan looked up to where Tyruja has been sitting, only to find a vacant space. He then turned to Stalea, who was already wielding her sword once again.
"Good start, boy." she said coldly. "But you still need a lot of training."
"I trained for about a year, none stop with Stalea, my tutor. She taught me constant awareness, sharp reactions and little mercy. These skills were vital if I was to become what I am today. The other villagers were usually away from the village, on 'special missions'. Only Jakunu, Dormin and another villager, Agabri, the woman with the cloth around her head, remained. Unlike the other females, Agabri mostly tended to washing and other chores. But sometimes, Marston and Tyruja would remain in the village, sometimes even watch me train from the stand above the arena. Stalea seemed to envy their freedom and I sometimes think that she didn't want to train me at all."
The blades clashed, creating a sharp, steely ringing sound which echoed through the Dojo. Ningan's daggers pushed against the strength of Stalea's saber, causing them both to sweat and grit their teeth. Finally, Ningan found hidden power and forced the blade away. She slid across the floor and retreated against the wall. Ningan advanced cautiously towards his tutor, wielding both daggers. As he approached, Stalea leapt up and kicked against the wall, sending her soaring over his head. He spun round quickly, but was disarmed as Stalea's saber sliced downward, knocking the feeble daggers from his hands.
"Well done, master." he bowed reluctantly. "You defeated me once again." Ningan strolled over and picked up his daggers from the floor as Stalea smugly sheathed her sword.
"You need more speed." she said snootily. "Don't creep towards your opponent when their down. Seize the moment and strike them down!"
Ningan groaned and went to collect his bottle of water from his satchel. They had been training for hours and he was becoming thirsty.
"You know what? I think we need to train a little differently." Stalea said, playfully turning her ninja stars in her fingers. "In order to improve your speed, I think we need to have a little race..."
"A race?" Ningan frowned, swigging from his bottle. "Around the village?"
"As if! The village is tiny!" she snorted. "Besides, I'm sort of sick of the village. If I wasn't here training you, I would be in Gerudo Valley right now, spying on those ginger fiends."
"So you're suggesting that we go outside the village?!"
"Yeah, why not? Unless you're too...afraid of the outside world."
"Hey, I survived in the wilderness for months when the Castle was invaded!" Ningan exclaimed angrily. "When have you ever stepped outside the village?!"
"Not for a long time..." she sighed. "Which is even more reason to do so. How about a race from here to...the Sacred Forest Meadow?"
Ningan almost spewed the water from his mouth in outrage. "The Sacred Forest Meadow?!?! That's miles away!!!"
"If you're going to improve your speed and stamina, you need to go long distance!" she insisted. "Anyway, I was thinking of adding a prize for the winner."
"A prize?" Ningan raised an eyebrow.
"I knew that would tempt you." Stalea laughed. "If you can beat me to the sacred pedestal of Forest, you get...a new weapon."
"What sort of weapon?" he frowned, screwing the lid back onto his bottle.
"Something that will interest you very much." she said, with a mischievous grin on her face. Ningan didn't quite trust his tutor, and placed the bottle back into his satchel. However, he had not seen Hyrule for weeks. It would be the perfect opportunity to catch a glimpse of the world he once knew under Ganondorf's rule.
"When can we start?"
"I've already started." she laughed, but still remained standing in the Dojo. "I'm giving you a minute's head-start, because I'm generous."
Ningan glared at her with mistrust and disbelief, before dashing out of the door and sprinting across the village. Agabri, who was hanging the laundry on the washing line to dry, caught his eye and watched in horror as he disappeared down the entrance tunnel. Ningan grabbed the door knob and forced it open, allowing the fresh air of freedom to whoosh past him. No sooner had he stepped forward when he heard the callous cackle of Stalea fast approaching him. He clenched his fists and sprinted across the plains.
Heaving and panting, his lungs almost collapsing from exhaustion, Ningan was cooled by the fresh forest breeze as he entered the Sacred Forest Meadow. Throughout the Lost Woods, he had taken a few detours but had not seen Stalea during the whole journey. Confident that he was winning, he dashed forward, only to find his path obstructed by a giant Moblin wielding a sharp spear. The Moblin roared and charged forward. Ningan shrieked and used his Moon Jump ability to leap into the air and onto a nearby wall. A Moblin? In the Sacred Forest Meadow? What was going on?
But as he crouched on the grassy wall, he could more Moblins; two, three, four; there must have been around six Moblins in total. In Hylian legend, the Sacred Forest Meadow had always been described as a tranquil haven populated with only a few Deku Scrubs. Ganondorf really had ruined all of Hyrule's beauty. Ahead, he could see the fabled staircase which led to the sacred pedestal of Forest. Quietly, Ningan hopped from wall to wall in order to reach it, occasionally leaping over the spears of the Moblins below.
Finally, he reached the staircase and slipped away under the trees. The goal was in sight, and victory seemed within reach. But then, he was confronted by the most powerful beast of all: the King Moblin. It towered over him with flaring nostrils and a gigantic hammer which could have easily crushed him spine. The Moblin roared fiercely and brought the weapon crashing down on the grass. It threw up pieces of soil, and the quake knocked Ningan backwards. The Moblin approached and Ningan closed his eyes to ready himself.
With a triumphant leap, he bounced high above the King Moblin, who stood dumbfounded. In mid air, Ningan drew his daggers and plummeted towards the monster's face. There was a terrible wail of agony as the King Moblin fell and erupted into blue flames. Ningan landed on the ground and replaced the daggers into his belt proudly. He rushed up the steps towards the goal with a golden grin, only to be struck with disappointment. Stalea was sitting upon a tree stump nearby, with a terrible smile. She stood up and strolled over to the sacred pedestal, placing each foot upon its smooth surface.
"I win." she said smugly. "Too bad."
"But...how?" Ningan said with disbelief.
"Ningan? Stalea?" came a familiar voice. Both Sheikah looked up to a nearby tree, where Tyruja was sitting on a withered branch. He look less than amused. "What are you doing here?"
"What were you thinking?!" boomed Georgio when the pair returned to the Hidden Village. "You could have been seen by civilians, or even Ganondorf's forces!"
His accusing finger pointed at Ningan. "As an untrained member of this tribe, I forbade you to leave the village! Then you go off to the Sacred Forest Meadow?! Ningan, as our leader's son, you are a key member of this tribe. If Ganondorf found you, he could use you and torture you for information! We have trusted you with valuable knowledge, and if you let that slip, we could all die!"
Ningan hung his head solemnly and shamefully. It was true: he had disobeyed Georgio's wishes, broken his mother's trust and put the whole tribe at risk. It was foolish and stupid.
Georgio's rage diverted to Stalea, who was still checking out her nails for splinters. "And as for you; I entrusted you with the training of a future warrior! How could you just forsake your responsibility and run around Hyrule playing games?! If I had my way, you would be stripped of your status as a tutor, and return to your training. But the great Impa has been very kind to you. Now, if I catch any more of this stupidity, you will both be sorry that you challenged my authority."
He stormed off to his house; which was a small shack in the corner of the village beside a flag which billowed in the wind. Stalea glanced at Ningan and then to the Dojo.
"If Tyruja hadn't been guarding the Forest Temple, we'd never have been caught." she muttered angrily. "Maybe you should have been quicker."
"How could I be quicker? I took the only route to the Sacred Forest Meadow and defeated a King Moblin! How did you beat me?"
"There are places about the Lost Woods that many don't know about. If you know where to go, you can reach almost anywhere in Hyrule just by exploring." she grinned mischievously.
"So you're saying...there's a portal from here to the Lost Woods?"
"Not here exactly." Stalea said. "Just outside the village, there's a cliff and...you can figure it out for yourself. Anyway, you lost the race so you don't get the prize."
"This;" she said, holding a rock. Ningan looked at it, unimpressed. "it's a Gossip Stone. Have you ever heard of them?"
"Yeah. Aren't they giant stones that are found all over Hyrule? They tell the time or something..."
"Not for the Sheikah tribe. If you have one, you can contact anybody else in the world who has one. For instance, me, Marston and Georgio have one each. I think your mum has one too. Watch."
She rubbed the stone once in her palm and it began to glow a wonderful silver. "Marston is that you?" she spoke gently into it. Ningan was transfixed.
"Hey Stalea. What do you want?" Marston's voice was crisp and clear, as though he were actually with them. Stalea smiled.
"Oh, I was just demonstrating how a Gossip Stone works for Ningan." she laughed. "We just got caught sneaking out the village to go to the Sacred Forest Meadow."
"You did what?!"
"Relax, nobody saw us. But I can't believe that Ningan didn't know about the Lost Woods Portal outside the village."
"Stalea, stop encouraging Ningan to break the rules!" Marston said seriously. "You're meant to be training him how to be a ninja!"
"Fine." she groaned. "Spoilsport." She rubbed the stone again and the mystical glowing effect faded. She pocketed the stone and winked. "I'll see you at dinner."
"I soon discovered that Gossip Stones were useful objects for the Sheikah. Even when Georgio was on the top of Death Mountain, Stalea could just rub the stone and ask him if there were any dragons there. I also figured that each of the Sheikah were responsible for monitoring a separate race: Georgio spied on the Gorons. Tyruja spied on the Kokiri. Marston spied on the Zora. Presumably, Stalea would have been monitoring the Gerudo if she hadn't been training me."
"Impa would take Zelda to a private training ground in order to train her without disturbance. I watched the Princess change dramatically during our time in the village. She became much more masculine in her figure and she hid most of her body beneath think white bandage cloths. Her skin tone became tanned too. Wherever she trained, it must have been pretty fine weather compared to the overcast skies of the Hidden village. As for me, I soon developed to the life of a Sheikah. always hiding, always training. I hadn't seen the outside world for years. It was my 18th birthday when I was first truly accepted into this tribe of Shadows."
It was a starry night and all constellations could be seen in the sky. Ningan could name every one as though they were his own children. Today was his birthday, but it was no different to any other day. He had trained with Stalea in the Dojo. She seemed to be more relaxed around him today and her lessons were not as strict, but she never mentioned it. Others seemed to be avoiding him. Tyruja was not seen in the Dojo and even Jakunu was away. Dormin simply muttered some abuse when Ningan asked where he was.
He sat on the balcony of the Stock house, a building where gathered food and medical remedies were kept safely in large crates. He spotted the pattern for Aries, the ram and his Zodiac sign. Tonight, it seemed to twinkle brighter than the Dipper itself.
Ningan heard footsteps on the wooden boards of the balcony and turned around on the spot. Marston stood there in his dashing silver waistcoat and strong leather boots. He wore his shield and sheath on his back and looked rather heroic. He smiled at Ningan.
"Hey Ningan."Marston called. "It's a very special day today, isn't it? Wasn't it this time 18 years ago when Impa, leader of the Sheikah, gave birth to a brave ninja warrior?"
Ningan laughed as he winked mischievously. Marston seemed to be the only member of the Sheikah that Ningan felt close to, other than maybe Stalea and Princess Zelda, but Stalea seemed bust at the moment and the Princess was never around nowadays.
"Are you going to join me at the inn?" he asked. "I've had a long day, I could do with a drink!"
"I suppose I could find a space on my schedule to fit you in!" Ningan winked.
They both leapt down from the balcony and walked down the dusty road towards the Moonshade Inn.
"Wow, it must be almost two years that you've been training here." Marston sighed. "Soon, you'll be sent on special missions to serve the Royal Family, like me."
"I would never be as good as you though." Ningan said with a grin. "What is it that you do outside the village?"
"Well, I do lots of things. Enough to fill my time. For instance, today I was investigating the state of Lake Hylia."
"Lake Hylia..." Ningan cast his mind back to the old legends of Hyrule. Lake Hylia was said to be the source of Hyrule's fresh water and a very magical place filled with the finest of fish and other aquatic species. "What's happening there?"
"Not much I'm afraid." Marston sighed. "It seems that the water is disappearing. Fast. In fact, I'll give it at least four months before Lake Hylia is no more than a puddle. It's our duty to monitor the situation as servants to the Royal Family. As well as the Castle, we must protect the land in Hyrule's name. And it's not looking good."
Marston stood outside the inn and waited for Ningan to open the door, which he did. He was confronted with a bright lively room with burning lanterns and all residents of the village glaring at him. There was a moment of awkward silence when...
"SURPRISE!" they all called. Cheers erupted from the crowd.
Ningan gasped at the amount of people who had turned up. Whoever knew how many people cared for him?
Georgio was at the front of the gathering. He stopped clapping and silenced the crowd.
"I would just like to say a few words for our new Ninja!" he announced. His serious expression faltered into a warm smile. It was a shock for all of us when this boy arrived in our community. It had been just a few days since we had taken on the Princess of Hyrule into our care. Suddenly, the great Impa requested that we permit her only son to enter this private village. And so we did, with much reluctance. He entered our arms bedraggled and soaked to the bone. But with the kind care of his experienced neighbours, this boy soon became a man and a true soul of our tribe. Now he is of adulthood, this man must be congratulated on his long and difficult life and graduated from his training."
He beckoned with his palm. Jakunu parted the crowd with a neat pile of clothing, presenting it to Ningan who gasped at the sight. He found a full ninja outfit of navy blue and indigo shades. As he felt the fabric, he discovered a lightweight, thin yet sustainable cotton. He held it up and admired the beautifully sewn red eye, the true crest of the Sheikah Tribe.
"Thank you so much!" Ningan praised the craft.
"This gift was courtesy of our needle skilled maid, Agabri!" Georgio pointed to the quiet lady on the barstool who gave a shy smile.
"Thank you, Agabri!" he thanked with a bow. "You are truly a marvel with a needle."
"A toast to our new ninja!!!" called Dormin sat on the bar with his rum raised. One by one, each flask was raised to the sky. Ningan saw Stalea with her ninja stars in hand, Tyruja with his regular umbrella poking the floor and Marston with his rum raised high. The only people he didn't see were Impa and Zelda.
Just then, there was a knock on the door. All heads turned. The door opened and none other than the Princess walked in. But she was far from a princess now. Her clothes were sewn tight and her face was almost completely masked by her bandana and fringe. Even her eyes had changed colour to the Sheikah red. She bared a striking resemblance to Ningan.
"Sorry I'm late," Zelda apologised. "But I couldn't miss my best friend's birthday."
She advanced through the crowd towards Ningan and presented him with a wrapped up parcel. Ningan carefully unwrapped it nervously. The villagers watched eagerly. He discovered a red lens looking glass with a violet handle. Ningan looked utterly confused.
"It's called the Lens of Truth." she sighed. "A treasure kept by my family but passed down through generations of your tribe. Your mother wanted you to have it."
"...Thank you, Zelda." he murmured.
"I would rather that you didn't call me Zelda from now on." she uttered. "I need to conceal my true identity from the rest of Hyrule. Impa suggested I give a new name for myself. So please call me Sheik."
The rest of the gathering were stunned, but if it was Impa's wish, they could not object. Ningan was hurt inside. suddenly, his childhood friend did not seem familiar any more.
Sheik strolled up to the bar and snatched a flask of rum.
"So let's drink to the birthday boy."
They applauded him before swigging down there drinks. Tonight had been the best day of his life. So far, anyway. It was just a shame that his mother could not be there to see him. He never questioned where she was. Instead, he raised his glass with glee and smiled with joy. This was a new beginning. Another new beginning.
"The next few years were tough. After I had completed my training, I was sent on various missions around Hyrule. It was a mess. Towns cloaked in darkness, forests infested with the foulest of creatures, mountains bubbling at the crater, Lakes dried to puddles. Ganon, the King of Evil had taken the throne. Hyrule was never the same again. Even Kakariko wasn't safe eventually. Most of the time, I was sent there to check upon the safety of the villagers. Georgio said that it would be practical to take my mother's place as guardian on the village, but not to reveal my identity to any of them. Then came the fatal day."
Birds chirped and soared around Kakariko Village, as Ningan sat upon the roof of his mother's house. The village hadn't changed much since his departure, except for the autumnal leaves which had since shrivelled and fallen from their gnarled branches. Though it was a sorrowful time, the ever changing season comforted him as he knew that spring would come back around. As he watched over the tranquil village, he spotted figure entering the village, somebody who he had never met, but recognised instantly, and so did the rest of the village. Ganondorf, wearing his golden crown over his fiery red hair, narrowed his eyes as he approached the central tree. Not one of them moved.
"Where is my greeting?" he boomed. "If my own subjects will not even greet their king, then they must suffer!"
With a wave of his hand, fire poured from his palms and ignited the tree. The villagers shrieked and ran for refuge in their houses. Ganondorf howled with laughter, and then ignited the small shanty buildings so that they burned like firewood. Ningan growled and tried to resist the temptation to challenge him. Now that his mother was gone, the village was his responsibility. Eventually, he leapt down from the roof and towards the King of the Gerudo, with his daggers raised. Ganondorf glanced at him and raised his hand. A terrible dark force knocked Ningan to the floor where he lay weakened on the torched grass. Ganondorf strolled towards him and placed his foot upon his chest.
"Foolish boy. Did you hope to assassinate your ruler to avenge your slum of a village? Nobody as unworthy as a poor adolescent can challenge me and hope to live." Ganondorf raised his long majestic sword to his throat. Ningan could only breath in the fumes from the burning tree beside them.
"Leave him, Ganondorf." came a sincere voice. Ningan expected to find Georgio, or even Sheik. But instead, there was his mother, standing boldly before the King of Evil. To his surprise, Ganondorf obeyed, and withdrew his sword.
"Ah, Impa: the last of the Sheikah, the loyal servants of the Royal Family." he cackled. "Tell me, Impa; where are your tribe now?" He roared with a callous laughter, but it did not stir her. Suddenly, another descended from one of the nearby rooftops and joined the confrontation. It was Sheik, standing on full display. It was not wise for her to be in Hyrule, never mind standing before the King of Evil who had searched for her for so long.
Ganondorf spotted the Eye of Truth on her clothing and grinned. "So you have managed to salvage a new member? How interesting!" He raised his fist to smack Sheik away, but Impa gripped his wrist and forced it away. Then, Ningan noticed a strange glowing symbol on his forehand. The Triforce.
"Sheik, run!" she cried, and Sheik obeyed, and fled the scene. Ganondorf drew his weapon and challenged Impa, who also withdrew her swords. Ningan lay in between, with Ganondorf's foot still firmly on his chest. Impa lunged at him, and he stepped away, locked in a vicious combat. Ningan began to slowly retreat, but could not remove his eyes from the battle. Then, Ganondorf knocked her hard in the ribs, causing her to fall. He advanced towards her with his sword pointed at her throat.
"Now, Impa: tell me where the Princess is!"
"I would rather die than betray her." she panted. Ningan watched her pull a Deku Nut from her pocket, and Ganondorf growled. In a flash on light, she vanished, leaving her son with the King of Evil. He glanced at him and saw the Eye of Truth. Ganondorf's eyes widened as he suddenly noticed the similarity between the young man and the woman he had just battled. Ningan inhaled sharply, expecting doom, but instead, Ganondorf flapped his cape and vanished. Ningan was left in a frenzy of flames. He knew he had to return to the village and warn the Sheikah.
"I told them of everything that had happened. Georgio was horrified. Stalea continued to point out how weak I was to fail, but Marston stood up for me. Even Tyruja was absorbed in concerned thought. Impa and Sheik never returned to the village. I knew it was a dark omen. Meanwhile, I visited the village every day to help restore its charcoal buildings and extinguish the last of the flames. Then, something amazing happened. A boy garbed in green came and slaughtered Ganondorf, freeing Hyrule from his evil grip once and for all. He had nerve, that kid. Apparently, the Princess was very close to him too. It was that day that I was summoned back to the village."
The Sheikah gathered around the hearth in the Moonshade Inn. Georgio held his hand in the air, to propose a speech.
"It is a very joyous day for us Sheikah. Hyrule has been saved from the King of Evil with the help of our Sheik. Zelda has since returned to the Castle to rule over what is left of Hyrule, and we wish her the best of luck. She in return, has sent us a letter thanking us for our support."
Tyruja dipped into his pocket and opened the delicate envelope.
"To all survivors of the Sheikah,
Again, you have helped my family in restoring this land to its former glory by training their heir to fight all forms of evil. I understand you have experienced a great loss to your tribe, but we must continue striving if Hyrule is to be great.
From the Princess, Zelda."
He folded the letter and placed it back into his pocket.
"Indeed, we have experienced a great loss. It seems that Impa, our great leader, ventured from the village in order to check upon her village. She never returned."
There was a gasp from the crowd. Ningan bit back a cry.
"Fortunately, she was awakened as a Sage. The Sage of Shadows. United with the other six sages, she helped to seal the Evil King in the void between worlds. Therefore, Hyrule is now free from his dark clutches!"
The Sheikah cheered, not just for Ganondorf's imprisonment, but also Impa's duties as a Sage. Ningan was terribly proud of his mother. It now occurred to him the trauma which she had gone through. Her husband had died, she had given up her only son for her career's sake, she had trained the Princess of Hyrule single handedly and given up her life in Hyrule in order to protect it. He applauded her efforts.
"Although she has left this world, she has left a descendant in her midst."
They all glared at Ningan. Ningan stared back.
"This," Georgio pointed at Ningan. "Is the heir to everything that the great Impa had accomplished. We can only hope that our new ninja can fulfil all that his mother worked for."
Ningan gazed into the fire. Could he become what his mother was? A loyal servant to the Royal Family and the carer to the Heir to the Throne? It seemed so unlikely, but the duty had been passed to him now.
"And now a toast. To the security of Hyrule, our fair land, to the honourable Impa, saviour of Shadows, and the well being of our tribe! Whoever said that Impa was the last of the Sheikah?"
He smiled cheekily and the rest joined him in a toast for the greatest story of all.
After the toast, the crowd began to disperse and visit their private bedrooms. Ningan climbed the creaky stairs to his own room and looked at the empty room beside it, once owned by the Princess. Would he ever meet her again?
A hand pulled him back. Ningan jumped and saw Georgio holding his clothing with a firm grip.
"I need to speak to you outside." he said.
Nervously, Ningan followed him out of the inn. Jakunu saw them leaving and seemed to sense something was wrong.
"Are you okay there?" he asked. "Not thinking of going on a midnight jaunt?"
"Nothing of the sort, Jakunu." Georgio replied. "I'm just having a private chat with the young lad."
Jakunu paused before sweeping the bar of its flasks and bottles. Georgio opened the door to reveal the starry night. Ningan hesitated, but realised that there was no use in resisting. Georgio was the boss. Together, they stepped outside.
Each star glinted through the thin layer of cloud. He could hear crows squawking from the rooftops. Georgio dragged Ningan towards the water tower, the source of water for the village. Its handle creaked in the gentle breeze, dripping droplets as it did so.
"You do realise you are now an experienced member of our tribe now, don't you?" Georgio asked him firmly, staring his red eyes into Ningan's, as though locked in a trance.
"Of course." Ningan replied. "What's all this about, Georgio?"
"I just need to ask a favour of you." he answered calmly. "A very important favour."
"Just spit it out!"
"Okay, okay." Georgio's voice dropped, the houses had ears. "This revelation about your mother had made me realise: our tribe is endangered. There are very little females in our tribe now, your mother and the Princess were two of our last. Confined to this small village, we do not socialise much with the outside world."
"So what does this have to do with me?"
"You are the son of the founder of Kakariko. This gives you an advantage. Since your mother left this world, you have inherited her village, her house and her duties. You must return to your home town, and find the forgotten Sheikah."
Ningan was shocked at his proposal. Leaving the village seemed impossible. He had lived here for six years of his life. It was his home now.
"The forgotten Sheikah?" he said with concern.
"It is believed that when the Sheikah left Kakariko to live in this village, some stayed behind to start a new life and leave their inheritance forever. These Sheikah would surely have descendants living in Kakariko and beyond. It is now your duty to search for these remaining Sheikah."
"How will I know when I have found them?"
"The item that Zelda gave you on your 18th birthday. It is a Lens of Truth, a legendary Sheikah craft. It allows the holder to see the invisible to the naked eye. This could mean finding any secret hidden by the darkest of cloaks, rumour has it that even souls of the dead can be seen through its red glass. Finding Sheikah should be easy with that in your satchel."
Ningan felt in his satchel for the wrapped up lens which he had not touched since. It felt smooth and mystical.
"One thing I forgot to mention. You will have inherited a house in the village which belonged to your mother. because of this, we, as a tribe, have decided that it would be best for you to live there permanently and give up your bed here at the Moonshade Inn."
He almost collapsed with despair when it struck him what exactly was going on. Ningan was being banished from the village. He thought of all his clothes, his bedsheets and furniture which lay in that room which had become his own.
"I understand that you're upset, but it must be done. If you can retrieve the descendants that our ancestors left behind, they will need shelter and accommodation. The Moonshade Inn is the only hotel with spare rooms until new buildings are constructed. I will allow you until tomorrow to pack up and leave. We all wish you a fair journey ahead of you."
Ningan turned on his heel to return to the Inn and saw Tyruja sat on the balcony, umbrella in hand. He had obviously witnessed the whole meeting and he attempted to smile at Ningan. Ningan continued walking into the building without words.
"I was angry, furious with Georgio's decision. But I kept the pain to myself. I was determined to make my last day in the village my best. Wishing goodbye to all my friends, promising them of my return before heading off, back to the village where I belonged."