I think I get it though... I see a great similarity between this story and my story "Demons"
If you're inclined to read Demons, don't... I want to revise it first.
And, it seems, I have nothing to worry about when it comes to your descriptiveness, though I would have said something along the lines of "As the darkness flooded the room, to Link, everything shifted. The darkness was bright as day, the dimming light orbs turned black in his eyes..." as if he's going into an inverted stasis, clarifying that a little.
Sorry about the delay. Last week was just crazy for me.
But anyway, enjoy the next chapter.
Chapter 16: Visions
Link’s stomach turned and his breathing became heavy and labored as the image of Akio crumbled on the floor disappeared and he was again looking down the darkening corridor. With only a couple orbs still flickering Link spun around and saw the young Zora still standing near his father’s body, his eyes wildly darting around. Link’s breath caught in his throat when he noticed the dark figure with red eyes and sword drawn, standing inches behind Akio.
Akio spun around just in time to deflect the dark blade away from his chest with one of his finblades. Raising his other arm the young warrior rapidly unfolded his arm fin in an attempt to cut his assailant’s neck, but the dark figure dissipated like smoke and Akio sliced only the air.
“Run,” Akio commanded as the last orb died.
The full moon had come out from behind the clouds and at first Link thought this was a lucky break, but the dancing refractions of the moonlight passing through the current above made the scenery around him appear to be in constant motion, even though Link stood still. The discrepancy between his eyes and body caused his head to feel as though it was floating away from his body. Link clung to the wall for support.
“Take my hand.” Akio came up beside Link. “Close your eyes and follow me.”
Link did as he was told and was able to quickly bring himself back to his senses. However, keeping up with the young Zora through the winding corridors was difficult and forced Link to push his legs faster and longer than ever before.
They hadn’t gone far when Link’s spine began to tingle and the scene changed before his eyes again. This time he was speeding through the corridors with his eyes open and the night was bright as day, but he couldn’t feel his legs moving or even touching the ground. It was as if the scenery simply flew by while he remained still. Rounding a corner he spotted a Tem-kar Zora sprinting down the corridor with a Hylian dressed in green. In the time it took the pair to take a single step, Link rushed passed them and took up a position in the doorway a short distance ahead. Watching his prey, he waited until they were just a couple steps away. His feet touched the ground as his sword made an upward slice that cleanly separated the Zora’s head from his body.
Link’s eyes flew open. “AKIO!” He jerked backwards on the young Zora’s arm and in the moonlight he could just barely see the outline of a dark blade missing Akio’s head by mere inches.
The Zora warrior didn’t hesitate. Pulling his hand free from Link, he lunged forward and aimed his finblades at the dark figure’s chest. The red eyes of the phantom stared curiously at Link for a moment then its entire form disappeared before Akio could touch him.
“SHIZA!” Akio slammed his fist into the wall. Then he turned his attention to Link. “Let’s move!”
Akio grabbed Link’s hand and continued sprinting through the palace. The young Zora ran faster than before and Link felt as though his arm would be ripped from its socket but his sluggish legs refused to go any faster. They darted in and out of the twisting corridors for what felt like an eternity and with each step Link’s legs moved slower while his breathing got heavier. Link could feel Akio’s growing annoyance in each of the increasingly painful jerks to his arm, which the young Zora used in a futile attempt to convince Link to move faster.
Akio pulled on Link’s arm again, but this time Link couldn’t keep his balance and was sent tumbling into the floor. Akio released Link’s hand before he was pulled down too and let out a frustrated sigh. “Catch your breath.”
Link remained motionless on the floor for several long minutes as his burning lungs desperately tried to fill his body’s demand for air. Akio impatiently paced through the corridor.
“What was that?” Link finally managed to ask between large gulps of air.
“What?” Akio replied.
“That thing with red eyes, what was it?”
“A Living Shadow.”
A small shudder ran through Link’s body.
Akio stopped pacing and turned his attention to Link. “How did you know It was there?”
“Your eyes were closed, how did you know It was waiting back there?”
“I. . .” Link struggled to come up with an explanation that he could make sense of. “I don’t know.”
Akio grabbed Link’s shirt, pulled him into a sitting position, and pushed him against the wall. “Don’t you dare lie to me.”
“I’m not lying,” Link pleaded, “One moment everything’s dark while I’m running behind you, then I’m floating through the corridor chopping your head off, and then I’m behind you again pulling you out of the way of the blade.”
Akio studied Link for a long moment.
“And that wasn’t the first time.” Link paused. “When the orbs were going out I saw you get stabbed in the back.”
“Have you seen anything else?” The Zora’s tone was oddly calm.
“I. . .um”
“Um. . .About a week ago I saw the Zora Domain, even though I had never set foot out of the Faron Woods.”
“What did you see?”
“Everything. The lake, the waterfall, the coral buildings carved out of the cliff, and. . .” Link’s voice trailed off as the vision returned to his mind.
Link swallowed hard and tried to avoid Akio’s gaze.
“Tell me!” the Zora ordered.
“And bodies everywhere. All were bleeding, most were dead. I couldn’t look anywhere without seeing blood. Even the water was red.”
Akio’s body began to tremble violently as he released his grip on Link. Retreating across the corridor the young Zora doubled over against the wall.
“But it’s just a dream,” Link said, trying as hard to convince himself as he was Akio.
The young Zora didn’t answer.
For a moment the dominant sound was Link’s heavy breathing, which was close to returning to normal. Then a thought raced through Link’s mind. “My dream showed Zoras scattered throughout all the surface buildings. So if you can warn them, tell them to stay underwater we can change that vision just like I changed the other two.”
Akio finally spoke, but his voice waivered under the weight of his emotions. “There’s been a strange disease rapidly spreading since shortly after you arrived. It causes fever, fatigue, and. . .” Akio struggled to force the words out. “. . .and an inability to breath underwater.”
Link felt as though the air had been sucked out of his lungs.
“Our healers tried every remedy they could think of, but nothing worked. At first Bedic thought you were the source and believed if he could cure you, then. . .” Akio’s voice trailed off.
“Maybe there’s still hope.” Link said.
“What are you talking about?”
“The runes the shaman sent me retrieve. He told me when all four of them are put together they can cure any illness.” Link could see the hope rising in Akio as he spoke. “And I only have one more to find.”
“Where is it?”
“I don’t know,” Link grimly admitted.
Akio exploded. “What do you mean you don’t know?! What sort of stupid shaman offers a quest to find something without telling you where it is? And what kind of idiot accepts?”
“I don’t know because I haven’t had the chance to look for the shaman’s bird!” Link shouted above Akio’s rant.
“Bird?” Akio’s attention suddenly focused on Link.
“Yes, bird,” Link repeated. “He’s larger than most birds I’ve seen and. . .”
Link looked curiously at the young Zora. “How do you know that?”
“It’s been circling our territory for a couple days. Someone finally managed to capture it just before sunset tonight and that really stirred things up.”
“Do you know what was on the note?!” Link blurted out.
“What note?” Akio replied.
“The shaman and I use that bird to communicate. That bird would’ve been carrying a note telling me where to go next.”
“I don’t know anything about a note. . .” Akio’s voice trailed off for a moment. “But maybe that’s why the Primary was so interested in you.”
“The who?” Link said.
“The Primary Tem-kar.” Akio sounded a little offended that Link had never heard of the Primary. “He’s in charge of all Tem-kar and only answers to the Queen. I was summoned by him after dinner. He had a lot of questions about you.”
Link jumped to his feet. “Let’s go see him!”
“Wait a second.” Akio moved to block Link’s path. “No one sees the Primary without being summoned.”
“But you said he was interested in me.”
Akio didn’t answer right away.
“And I have information he needs to know.”
The young Zora took in a deep breath and let it out with a long sigh. “Fine. But once we’re out of the palace let me do the talking and when we get to the Primary don’t you dare speak unless spoken too. Got it?”
“Got it.” Link replied.
“You ok to keep your eyes open?”
For the first time since they stopped, Link shifted his gaze off Akio. The dancing refractions of moonlight were disorientating at first but Link found squinting his eyes made it bearable. “I think so.”
Akio turned and began sprinting through the corridors again with Link trailing behind. They hadn’t gone far when Link noticed the low roar of crashing water. The sound grew the farther they ran and before long the winding corridors opened up to a path with a wall of falling water on the far side. As Link turned to follow Akio downhill he could feel the cool mist on his skin and taste the fresh water with each breath. A new wave of energy coursed through his body and Link managed to close some of the distance that had formed between him and Akio.
The path they were on continued to weave back and forth as it made its way down the cliff behind the waterfall. About half way down Link began noticing the groups of Zoras below. They kept their backs to the lake the waterfall was pouring into and used torches and small fires to separate themselves from the darkness all around.
As they reached the bottom Akio changed. He altered his posture to take on a calm, commanding presence and he slowed to a quick, but not panicked, walk as he approached the first group of Zoras. Link was grateful for the change in pace, but was more than a little confused until he saw the reaction Akio received. Though no one made a sound Link could see the spirits of more than a few Zoras raise at the sight of a Tem-kar warrior calmly strolling through the darkness.
Link smiled to himself. However, the smile quickly faded as they came out from behind the waterfall. The entire lake was lined with groups of Zoras who kept the water at their back and the fires and torches to their front. Link leaned in to Akio. “How many are infected?”
Keeping his gaze fixed on the path ahead Akio whispered, “Hundreds.”
Link’s stomach twisted into knots as he tried to force his dream out of his mind while looking at the cowering crowds of Zoras. He had just about won his mental struggle when his spine began to tingle. Link gasped as the scene changed before his eyes.
When he returned to himself, Link found he was leaning against a nearby wall for support with Akio anxiously staring at him. Link could also feel the worried gazes of the other Zoras on him.
“What did you see?” Akio frantically whispered.
Link leaned into Akio so the others wouldn’t hear. “We need to get to the Primary."
The young Zora spun around and took off at full speed. Link did his best to keep up, but once Akio turned off the path that lead around lake, Link quickly lost sight of him in the narrow passages which weaved through the buildings at the base of the cliff. Following the path he had traveled in his latest vision Link confidently navigated the narrow streets while pushing his legs to their limits. The torches lining the route he took flew by so fast they seemed to blend into one long line of light and Link thought he spotted the yellow orbs on the outsides of the buildings, but if they were there then these orbs had gone out just like the ones in the palace.
Up ahead Link heard a loud crash. Managing to pull one final burst of speed from his burning legs Link rounded the last corner and skidded to a stop. At the end of the street two large blood stains smeared the wall above the crumpled bodies of the Tem-kar Zoras who had been standing guard outside. We’re too late.
The crack of splintering wood followed by shattering glass pulled Link’s attention to the doorway between the dead guards. Link quickly sprinted the remaining distance while retrieving his weapons from his back. With his sword and shield at the ready he stepped into the darkened room.
Akio was the first thing that caught Link’s eye. The young Zora was using the finblades of both arms to hold back the dark sword of the shadowy figure towering over him. Link began moving to help him.
“NO!” Akio motioned to the other side of the room. “The Primary!”
Following Akio’s directions Link spotted another sinister figure preparing to drive his blade into an unconscious Zora. Before the figure could finish, Link rammed him with his shield, sending both of them tumbling into the floor. Just before the phantom vanished Link thought he saw anger burning those red eyes.
Link twisted around. The other Shadow had vanished too and Akio was already at the Primary’s side. The young Zora rolled his leader over so he was lying face up, then Akio put his cheek next to the Primary’s mouth.
“He’s alive.” Akio’s entire body relaxed as he sat on the cool stone floor and leaned back on his hands.
A wide smile started to spread across Link’s face, but its progress quickly stopped. Before their eyes the Primary’s chest levitated a few inches off the ground then slapped back against the stone floor as a dark blade coated in blood rose out of his ribs. The Zora leader coughed and spat blood as his body convulsed and then was still. Link barely managed to point his face away before the contents of his stomach erupted from his mouth.
For a moment Akio was silent. Then a river of curses and foul names began spewing out of the young Zora. In his rage he cursed everything from the goddesses to the smallest creature that swam through the water. As he ran out of things to curse, his anger turned physical. He quickly emptied the contents of the wall shelves and hurled them across the room. Next he splintered the chairs and overturned the large desk. Finally he used his finblades to scratch and gouge anything he couldn’t break with his bare hands. When his emotions eventually burned themselves out, Akio collapsed into a heap by the doorframe and quietly sobbed.
Fear of the Zora’s outburst had helped Link calm his stomach quickly. Not daring to do anything that would call attention to himself, Link sat curled up behind his shield, and waited. As Akio finally came to rest by the door, Link peeked his head around.
Seconds slowly ticked by and turned into minutes as both of them sat across the room from each other, neither one saying a word.
At last Akio broke the stillness. “This is what you saw, wasn’t it?”
“Not exactly,” Link timidly replied. “In my vision the Primary was alone when he died.”
A halfhearted chuckle escaped Akio’s lips, before silence settled into the room again.
Link waited until he was sure Akio wasn’t going to snap again, then he stowed his shield across his back, sheathed his sword and began riffling through the papers scattered around the room.
“What are you doing?” Akio mumbled.
“Looking for the note.”
“Why?!” Link stopped and turned to Akio. “To keep anyone else from dying, that’s why! Wasn’t that the whole purpose of coming to see the Primary?”
Akio just stared blankly at the body of his leader.
“Fine. Sit there and mope.” Returning to his search Link quickly noticed that almost everything was written in Zoran. He couldn’t read a single word created by the intricate, flowing characters but it did enabled Link to rapidly scan through the scattered papers, since he only had to pause to examine the hand full of notes and letters written in Hylian. Most of what he found was boring diplomatic rhetoric but one got his attention. Link held it up as he looked at Akio. “Did you know about this?”
Akio didn’t respond.
Picking up a small book Link tossed it at the catatonic Zora. It bumped his leg.
Link waved the letter.
“What’s that?” Akio said flatly.
“It’s a letter to the Primary from the King of Hyrule. Did you know a couple months ago he asked for the Tem-kar’s help to deal with the Moblin and Bublin hordes gathering in the Wild Lands?”
“Wild Lands?” Akio paused. “That’s south of Hyrule isn’t it?”
“No.” Link shook his head. “The Faron Woods are south, the Wild Lands are east.”
“Oh,” Akio said in a half interested tone, “No, I didn’t know about the King’s letter. We wouldn’t have been able to help him anyway.”
“At that time we were frantically digging through our ancient texts to find a way to protect ourselves from the shadows that had recently appeared.” Akio motioned to the Primary’s body. “For all the good it did us.”
Holding in his frustration at the young Zora’s apathy, Link renewed his search. A half spilt vial of ink caught his eye. Moving closer he spotted a small piece of parchment lying in a puddle of black liquid. Most of the writing was blotted out, but enough was still legible for Link to know it was Hylian and recognize the handwriting.
“I think I found it.” Link carefully held the note up to the nearest light. “Can’t read all of it, but I think the shaman is saying the additional power of the Goron rune has eased the curse’s symptoms and. . .” Link strained his eyes to decipher the last line. “. . .the last rune is in Castle Town.”
With a wide smile across his face Link turned to Akio. The young Zora sat limply by the door, unaffected by Link’s words.
“Akio? Did you hear what I said? I know where the last rune is, we can save your people!”
The young Zora either didn’t hear or chose to ignore Link’s announcement.
Link knelt next to Akio and rested his hand on the Zora’s shoulder. “I can’t possibly imagine what you’re going through. To lose your father and leader in one night, it must be. . .” His voice faltered as he wandered into territory where language couldn’t follow. Pulling himself back Link continued. “But, we have a chance to keep more blood off our hands. Let’s not waste it.”
Unmoved by Link’s words the Zora stared blankly ahead.
Link took his hand off the Zora's shoulder. “Really. Nothing?” A bit of anger to seep into his voice. “Your people are going to be slaughtered and you’re just going to sit there!”
Akio remained motionless.
“Alright then. Stay here and wait for death. I’m sure the Shadows will be happy to oblige.” Standing, Link readjusted his weapons and just before he stepped out the door he looked at Akio. “I expected more from a Tem-kar.”
“I’m not. . .” Akio started to reply.
“Excuse me?” Link stopped halfway through the doorway.
“I’m not a Tem-kar. Haven’t finished the training,” the Zora muttered.
“The way you fought off those Shadows tonight certainly fooled me.”
Link lingered for a moment, but when it was clear Akio was done speaking, he left.
Once outside Link began retracing his steps back to the lake. With each stride he moved through the narrow streets faster until he was running at top speed. Glancing over his shoulder every so often, Link hoped to catch a glimpse of the young Zora. But all he saw were empty streets. By the time he exited the buildings Link had given up on Akio.
Ignoring the stares and murmuring of the curious Zoras he passed, Link ran to the river that flowed out of the Zora Domain. With the moon nearing the horizon Link found it difficult to navigate the shadow filled path. Fortunately, Epona wasn’t happy at being left alone in the dark and was complaining about it to anyone close enough to listen. Following her whining and snorting Link managed to quickly locate the stables, saddle Epona, and the two of them took off downstream.
By the way, what did you think of what's going on with Link after reading Chapter 16?
I think the connection between Link and the "Living Shadows" (who in my mind look like the "Dark Interlopers" from Twilight Princess, and by the way you've made a connection between the two of them, that's how I believe you see them as well) is incredibly interesting. I can't wait to see where you're going to take this.
I think the connection between Link and the "Living Shadows" (who in my mind look like the "Dark Interlopers" from Twilight Princess, and by the way you've made a connection between the two of them, that's how I believe you see them as well) is incredibly interesting. I can't wait to see where you're going to take this.
Actually, I hadn't realized that about the Shadows. TP did inspire this story so I guess it makes sense my descriptions of the Living Shadows were influenced by the Interlopers. I will say the two are very different, but more on that later.
Originally Posted by Majoras Deity
Excellent so far. Love the darker tone to the story. What made MM good 2. Keep writing
Glad you like it so far! If you see anywhere I can improve please let me know.
As per tradition, my time has ended up being limited today so I was only able to do a good read through of this last chapter. Just a few thoughts.
Link did his best to keep up, but once Akio turned off the path that lead *around lake*, Link quickly lost sight of him in the narrow passages
'lead around THE lake'
Link ran to the river that flowed out of *the* Zora Domain
Methinks this should be adjusted to either remove 'the', or change 'Zora' to plural: 'the Zora domain; Zora's Domain', etc. I guess it would all depend on your style, but be sure to watch who/what owns the words you are using and strive for consistency. It's been a while since I've read this one (not to mention I've jumped ahead ) so I could be wrong in my initial interpretation.
Sometimes you do and don't capitalize Shadows/shadows. Not sure if it's intentional or no; could depend on context, I suppose.
Pretty clean, no glaring issues. Paragraph length is okay, no run-on sentences that I spotted. The only bit I would say maybe look at is this one:
The torches lining the route he took flew by so fast they seemed to blend into one long line of light and Link thought he spotted the yellow orbs on the outsides of the buildings, but if they were there then these orbs had gone out just like the ones in the palace.
I wouldn't necessarily say it is poorly written, but it is a little hard to read -- had to take it slow to fully understand, and you want you words to be liquid for the reader. I'd vote either break it up or rewrite, especially the transition 'but if they were there then'. Too many linking words that can be too easily confused, IMO.
I'd give you a... B grade. What writing is there is decently arranged, and there are some good flashes of color here and there, but the overall impression was a little flat. I think this can be looked at from a vocabulary and description standpoint. Like I said, some descriptions you have are vivid and well placed, but it's spotty -- doesn't happen enough. Maybe a little more attention to character details? Try to flesh them out a little more.
Clear as mud? Again, there isn't anything that you are directly missing. My advice is to keep thinking how to grow your characters and your settings, especially as the story goes deeper. Be sure not to think of it as decoration, however, but as realism. Try to make it tangible and don't take for granted that some people may need a little more than imagination in order for them to truly feel like they are living in your world. It can be tough, especially when you don't want to weigh down the action with verbiage, but I think it would be safe in this instance for just a hair more detailing.
One word: immersion.
Anyhoo, that's my two bits from a cold start. If I can weasel it in, I'll see if I can't go back on another day to catch back up. Cheerio!
Sorry for the slight delay. Between taking into account a very helpful critique and pouring over the details to ensure everything is progressing as it should for the major event coming up in a couple chapters, this update took longer than I had planned.
But hopefully you'll still enjoy!!
Chapter 18: Lord Malik
At first the sharp clattering of Epona’s hooves against the stone path helped Link stay awake as they followed the Zora River south, but once the mountains faded back into the grassy dirt of Hyrule Field the soft rhythmic pounding of Epona’s gait became increasingly difficult to resist. Link found his best defense was to stop every hour and let Epona get a drink while he used the cool water of the river to wake himself up. However each time he stopped it took more effort to climb back into the saddle.
Finally the black sky to his left began to turn grey, signaling the end of this long night. As the first rays of morning peeked over the horizon they began to reveal the distant silhouette of Castle Town.
The Jewel of Hyrule. Link had heard that phrase used to describe Castle Town many times, but only now that he saw the city shimmering in a rolling field of green did he finally understand it. The towering spires of the King’s Castle rose out of the middle of the city and reached towards the heavens, sparkling like rubies in the morning light. Only one building in the city attempted to rival the castle, but it fell short. The rest of the rooftops were shorter than the wall that encompassed the King’s residence and continued to shrink as Link’s eye moved away from the center of the city, giving the illusion that Castle Town was built on a small hill. The roofs abruptly ended at the thick outer wall, which split the Zora River in half. Flowing around both sides of the city, the two halves eventually rejoined on the far side before continuing on their way.
In the field around the city, Link noticed a number of smaller paths merge into four main roads. After taking one last break he and Epona joined the road approaching Castle Town from the north.
The sun continued to climb higher in the sky as they approached the city, but even after the warm glow of morning turned into the brilliant light of day, all the drawbridges that Link could see remained closed. Hoping they would open once he got closer Link rode up to the water’s edge.
From somewhere above a voice called out. “Hello rider!”
“Hello?!” It took Link a moment to find the tiny speck of a man who stood atop the high walls of the city. “Can you let me in?”
“The city is closed. Ride on.” The guard’s tone was abrupt, as though he wanted this conversation to end as quickly as possible.
“A terrible fever has ravaged this city for the past three days. The gates are locked to contain it.”
Link shifted his weight in the saddle. “I’ll take the risk.”
“I have my orders.” The man then resumed pacing the route he was meant to guard.
Link wasn’t about to take no for an answer. “I have urgent business in the city. The lives of many Zoras depend on it.”
“Zoras?” The guard stopped and leaned over the edge of the wall. “Did you just come from the Zora Domain?”
The man quickly disappeared from sight. Link shifted anxiously in his saddle as he waited. Seconds turned to minutes and still no sign of the man. Ready to give up and try another gate Link started to turn Epona when he heard the man’s voice again.
Link spun around.
“Dismount and wait there.” The command was followed by a low boom from inside the walls and then the clinking of large chains gradually lowering the massive bridge.
Taking care to not further aggravate his stiff muscles and saddle sores Link slowly dismounted, took hold of Epona’s reigns and turned to face the opening gate. But the longer they waited the more restless Epona grew. She clearly didn’t want to be here and let her opinion be known through the constant nudging with her nose and stamping of her front hoof.
Link wasn’t convinced. He tried soothing his nervous horse by softly humming and petting her nose. However, once the drawbridge was finally down and the group of soldiers on the other side began marching across, all of Link’s efforts meant nothing. Rearing up on her hunches, Epona pulled the reigns free from Link’s hand, then turned and galloped away at full speed.
“EPONA!” Link started to run after her.
The command stopped Link midstride.
“By the authority of the King I bind you. Surrender your weapons and come with us.”
Link slowly turned to face the soldiers. About a dozen men in identical silver armor were stepping into the grassy field and quickly moving to surround him. The helmets they wore covered their heads but left their faces visible and Link was surprised to see that most of them appeared to be close to his age. None of them carried shields, but all of them kept their hand on the hilt of their sheathed sword. As the others finished taking up positions around Link, one man slowly approached. The deep lines and wrinkles in his face made him appear significantly older and unlike the rest, his helmet had a plume of red feathers coming out of the top and he wore a black cape.
“Surrender your weapons and come with us.” The man with the cape held out his hand.
For a brief moment Link considered using the leather strap the shaman had given him. It would only be a short sprint across the drawbridge and there should be some places to hide once he was in the city. But his aching body and fatigued muscles convinced him that once the ruby started draining his strength, there was a good chance he wouldn’t even make it across the bridge. So he pushed the idea aside, retrieved his weapons and offered them to the man in the cape.
As soon as the man had taken Link’s weapons he signaled his troops. They quickly closed around Link. One of them locked a pair of shackles on Link’s wrists while the rest searched his pockets. It didn’t take long for them to discover the Zora’s rune, which was handed to the man in the cape. Then Link was led into the city. Behind them the large bridge groaned as the clinking chains began to pull it shut.
Cursing himself for not running when he had the chance, Link grudgingly walked with the troops as they marched through the cobble stone streets.
Aside from the clanking of armor echoing off the stone buildings the city was almost completely silent. The occasional glimpses Link got through the mass of well-polished armor around him showed only a handful of people milling about between the tightly packed buildings.
Determined not to lose track of that rune Link kept a careful eye on the man in the cape as they marched deeper and deeper into the city. Finally the street opened into a wide courtyard just outside a large wall. The soldiers turned and followed the wall until they reached their destination.
Unlike the rest of the buildings in Castle Town which looked as though they had all been built from the same design, the structure Link now stood before was adorned with colorful glass windows, elaborate stone carvings, and rose so high that Link believed it was the building he had seen from the road which attempted to rival the castle.
The soldiers waited in the street while the man in the cape walked up the few steps to a large wooden door. A moment later the door briefly cracked open before shutting again. Link could hear the scrapping of heavy latches being moved, then both doors swung open and he was ushered inside.
The group stopped just inside the doorway and Link took a moment to study the room. Smooth polished stone covered the floor and acted like a mirror, making the house feel larger than it already was. Intricately carved pillars supported the tall ceiling above and the windows and walls were draped with lavish tapestries. As beautiful as everything was it still paled in comparison to what he had seen in the Zora Palace.
Across the room another door creaked open and everyone around Link bowed. After a momentary pause Link bowed too, but he never lost sight of the man in the cape.
The man was talking to someone Link couldn’t see. The two of them had a brief conversation then the man turned around and dismissed the soldiers. As soon as they were gone the door closed with a low boom.
From behind the man in the cape appeared a large robust figure. He was dressed in colorful and expensive robes which flowed from his shoulders down to his feet and only partially hid his large belly. The skin of the man’s round face and hands appeared pale, as though it had never seen the sun and his receding hair was neatly trimmed. In spite of his size the man moved with uncanny grace.
“I am Lord Cethin Damian Malik the third.” His tenor voice echoed through the room carrying an air of self-importance. A flash of confusion crossed his blue eyes as he studied Link for a moment, apparently not seeing the reaction he expected. “The Governor of Castle Town.”
Link stared blankly at the Governor, who was frozen in the middle of some strange pose.
Lord Malik took in a deep breath before releasing an exaggerated sigh. The man in the cape moved to Link’s side and whispered in his ear.
“Tell him what an honor it is to meet him.”
“I am honored to meet you,” Link said.
“My lord,” the man whispered.
“My lord,” Link repeated.
Lord Malik smiled as he released his pose. “Of course you are.” He motioned to Link. “What is your name?”
Malik glanced at the man in the cape. A sharp elbow rammed Link.
“My lord,” Link said, holding his now aching side.
“And where do you live?” Lord Malik made a sweeping motion with his hands that ended with his open palms pointed at the ceiling.
Link was beginning to wonder why this man couldn’t speak without moving every part of his body from the waist up. “Last Stop, my lord.”
“Such a quaint little town, Last Stop. I’ve never visited it myself, but the people I send there say pleasant things about it.” Lord Malik paused. “Now I suppose you are wondering why a boy, such as yourself, has been invited into my home.”
Invited? Link glanced at the shackles on his wrists.
“I received a summons from the King very early this morning. While it is not uncommon for the King to summon me, the time of day was very unusual. I was told to immediately send word to the guards at the city gates that they were to detain anyone arriving from the Zora Domain. Now considering the fact that every messenger sent to the Zora’s Domain over the last two months has failed to return, I believed the fever had begun to affect our King’s mind. However, I did as his Majesty commanded and here you stand.” Lord Malik barely looked at Link throughout his speech. Instead he paced back, completely absorbed in his own dialogue. “So Link, perhaps you would be kind enough to explain what a boy from Last Stop was doing in the northern parts of Hyrule?”
This show the overdressed fat man was putting on turned Link’s stomach, making him grateful his last meal had been hours ago. “Delivering a message from the Gorons, my lord.”
A small chuckle escaped Lord Malik's lips. “And what were you doing among the Gorons?”
“Returning Gordon’s baby, my lord.”
A deep laughter rolled out of Lord Malik and filled the large room. He laughed so hard that tears began to stream down his cheeks, smudging the colors and lines on his face. For the first time Link realized that Malik was wearing some sort of paint to accent his facial features.
“Thank you Link,” Malik said as he regained his composure. “It has been a very long time since I’ve such a good laugh.” He looked Link directly in the eye. “Now perhaps you would like to tell me what you were really doing in the Zora Domain.”
Link fidgeted under the sustained eye contact. “I’ve just told you, my lord.”
“And a very amusing story it is. In fact I might have to borrow it from you at my next party.” The pitch of Malik’s voice dropped. “But let’s have the truth now.”
“That is the truth, my lord.”
Out of the corner of his eye Link saw the man in the cape begin to move. Before Link’s mind could register what was happening a hard fist slammed into his gut. Coughing and gasping for air Link collapsed to his hands and knees.
Lord Malik slowly circled Link, the mask of civility beginning to slip from his voice. “I have been a gracious host up this point, Link. I’ve forgiven your lack of manners and indulged your truly creative story, but things will turn unpleasant unless you tell me what I want to know.”
“But I already have, my lord.” Link managed to squeeze out between coughs.
A black boot slammed into Link’s side. The pain and force of the blow knocked Link to the ground where he curled into a ball as the bitter taste of blood filled his mouth.
“Do you think me a fool?!” Malik’s anger was now clearly coming through. “For only a fool would believe that the First Commander of the Goron Patriarch would ever let anything happen to his son. And it would take a greater fool to believe that if something did indeed happen, that the proud Gorons would turn to a boy from a back woods town for help.”
“They didn’t ask for my help.” Link swallowed hard, attempting to get the taste of blood out of his mouth. Still holding his stomach he moved so he was sitting on his knees. “I discovered the baby in a wagon full of crystals.”
The man in the cape drew his hand back to strike Link when a very forceful knock on the door interrupted him.
Malik rolled his eyes and sighed as one of his servants appeared and answered the door.
“Lord Malik,” a commanding voice boomed from outside.
“Yes?” Lord Malik’s sweet civil tone returned as he glided to the door.
“May I come in?” The voice said.
“I have company, perhaps we can speak outside.”
Craning his neck Link saw the head of a soldier with white plumes of feathers sticking out of his helmet peek inside.
“Is that the one who claims to come from the Zora Domain?” the soldier said.
Lord Malik’s smile faded a bit as he glared at the soldier out of the corner of his eye. “It is.”
“The King has ordered that boy and everything he was carrying be brought before him.”
Malik’s smile returned. “Please tell his Majesty I will personally escort the young lad once I’ve had the opportunity to make him more presentable.”
The soldier locked eyes with the Governor. “My orders are to return without delay.”
“Of course,” Malik said through gritted teeth and a forced smile.
The man in the cape pulled Link to his feet and shoved him towards the doorway. Just before Link stepped outside he deliberately allowed a few drops of blood to fall from his mouth onto Lord Malik’s spotless stone floor.
The half dozen soldiers that awaited Link outside wore a slightly different style of armor than the troops that had brought Link to Lord Malik and had a white cape with gold trim draped across their backs. As they turned to begin walking; Link saw the eagle and Triforce which formed the royal family’s seal embroidered in gold thread across their backs. However, only one wore a helmet with white feathers coming out of the top.
“Apologies, Lord Malik.” The soldier with white feathers moved to block the Governor’s path. “My orders are to only bring the boy and all his possessions.”
Malik smiled. “But I am certain his Majesty will be interested to know what I have already learned from the young lad.”
For a moment the soldier lingered in Lord Malik’s path. Then he stepped aside and allowed the Governor to take the lead as Link was again led through the streets.
The group followed the massive wall that stood across the street from the Governor’s house for a short distance before squeezing through a narrow gate.
“Wow!” Link whispered as he emerged from the gate and got his first look at the castle. The mighty spires rose from the main structure and appeared tall enough to pierce the sun, which was just beginning to pass its mid-day position.
A soldier behind Link gave him a small shove.
Stumbling to regain his balance and catch up Link tried to focus his gaze straight ahead, but he kept getting distracted by the beautiful lines and intricate details of the palace’s architecture. His problem only grew worse as the palace drew closer, allowing more of the details to become visible.
Rounding a corner they finally stopped before two colossal wooden doors. Looking up at them Link understood how an insect must feel when it sees a human. The hinges groaned as the mammoth doors slowly opened and Link was ushered inside.
Pairs of columns lined the length of this long room. One member of each pair stood on the right side while the other stood on the left as they rose from the shiny stone floor. Just before the columns reached the roof a piece stretched out from each one and met in the middle forming a series of arches high above.
Massive stained glass windows filled the space between the columns, allowing a warm inviting glow to filter in.
In the distance Link saw two thrones sitting atop of a set of stone steps that spanned the entire width of the room. Behind the thrones a golden sculpture depicted a large triangle made from three smaller triangles. Out of each of these smaller pieces one of the three goddesses flew towards the heavens.
Link suddenly realized where he was. The Great Hall!
He had heard from the people that traveled through his village of how one day a month the doors of the Great Hall would be opened to everyone in the kingdom and for the entire day the King and Queen would listen to and settle disputes of any kind. They had a reputation of being so wise in their judgments that even the loser couldn’t find fault with them.
About half-way on their journey towards the thrones Link spotted a small pedestal sitting beneath the sculpture of the goddesses. Unlike the rest of the carefully polished stone this piece looked as though it had been exposed to the brutal forces of nature for centuries.
Still pondering why such a worn and ordinary thing would be in such a grand place, Link barely noticed when the soldiers around him came to stop at the base of the stairs. With a dull thud Link crashed into the guard in front of him, nearly knocking them both over. Several stern hands pulled Link back and held him in place.
A large voice filled the Great Hall. “His Majesty, Latif Erramun, King of Hyrule.”
Everyone dropped to one knee and bowed their heads as the King entered the room and took his place on the throne.
“Rise.” The authority in the King’s voice was tempered with a gentleness Link didn’t expect.
Looking up Link saw a well-built man whose muscles still managed to show through several layers of royal clothing. His dark brown eyes were set inside a chiseled face, which was framed by neatly trimmed blonde hair and beard.
For a moment the King studied Link. Without shifting his gaze, the King motioned towards the door he had just come through. A well-dressed servant appeared and approached the throne. The King whispered something in his ear and sent him away. Then the royal gaze shifted. “Lord Malik. I wasn’t expecting you.”
Malik bowed low to the ground. “Forgive the intrusion, Your Grace. Here are all the things the boy had on him when he was apprehended.”
On Lord Malik’s cue the man in the black cape ascended the stone steps and presented Link’s weapons and the Zora rune to the King, then returned to his place by Lord Malik’s side.
The King barely glanced at Link’s belongings. “Did you believe my guards to be incapable of this task?”
“Certainly not, Sire.” Malik lowered himself closer to the ground.
Link rolled his eyes. In the presence of the King, the Governor had somehow managed to make his grand gestures even larger.
“Then why are you here?” The King said.
“I’ve had the opportunity to chat with the young lad and I thought it best to relay, in person, what I have learned.” Malik raised his head to look at the King.
The King took a deep breath and as he released it he motioned for Malik to continue.
Lord Malik returned to his full height. “The boy’s name is Link and he comes from the town of Last Stop.”
A long pause followed the Governor’s announcement.
Finally the King broke the silence. “Is that all?”
Malik’s gaze fell. “That is all the truth I could get from him, my lord, before your guards arrived at my door. But if I were given more time with the boy I am certain I could persuade him to talk.”
“Your service to this city is invaluable, Lord Malik.” The King smiled.
“Thank you, Sire.” Malik bowed again.
“However, with the situation in Castle Town growing more dire by the hour I believe your attention is needed elsewhere.”
“But your Majesty. . .”
The King raised his hand. “Good day, Lord Malik.”
Malik took a moment to regain his composure. “Good day, your Majesty.” The Governor turned and began walking towards the door.
“Aren’t you forgetting something.” The King said before Malik had taken more than a couple steps.
“Sire?” The governor spun around.
The King motioned to Link. “I don’t believe our guest will have any further need for his iron bracelets.”
“Of course.” Malik motioned to the man in the black cape who quickly unlocked the shackles around Link’s wrists. Then the two of them strutted out of the Great Hall.
The King turned to the guards around Link. “Wait in the side room, until I call for you.”
No sooner had the guards left than the well-dressed servant returned, carrying a large platter piled with various types of meat and fruits. The servant bowed to the King then descended the steps and laid the food at Link’s feet before leaving again. Confused, Link looked to the King, who nodded his approval.
Sitting next to the platter Link carefully picked up a large drumstick. The succulent meat melted in his mouth as a rich assortment of spices and herbs swirled around his tongue. Link’s ravenous stomach took over. Shoveling fistfuls of the delicious food past his lips, Link tore into the meal. It wasn’t until about half way through that Link remembered where he was. With a piece of meat hanging out of his mouth and juice running down his chin he looked up at the King, who was smiling to himself as he inspected Link’s weapons. Slowing down, Link continued eating with the best manners he could muster.
When Link finished, the servant appeared again. He brought a napkin and took the platter away. Link did the best he could to clean himself up.
“These are very strange markings on your shield.” The King ran his fingers across the etchings. “Can you tell me what they mean?”
“No, your Majesty.” Finished with the napkin, Link gently set it on the steps in front of him and rose to his feet. “As an infant I was found in the Faron Woods, wrapped in the clothes I am wearing now, and those weapons were lying nearby.”
The King looked at Link. “Found by whom?”
“Eoghan,” Link replied, “he eventually adopted me and raised me as his son.”
“And what does Eoghan do now?” The King returned his attention to the shield.
“He’s a farmer.”
The King nearly fell out of his throne as a deep laughter rolled out of him. He put his hand over his mouth and quickly regained his composure. “Forgive me Link. If you knew your father as I once did, you would see the humor in that as well.”
Link’s mind flooded with questions but before he could decide which to ask first the King set aside Link’s weapons, leaned forward in his throne and held up the Zora’s rune.
“Now where did you get this?” The King’s brown eyes carefully studied Link as he waited for an answer.
Link began to fidget. “I found it. . .in a field.”
“Was this on your way here from the Zora Domain?” The King stood and began slowly pacing in front of his throne.
Fighting harder to stop his nervous fidgeting Link answered. “Yes.”
“And what where you doing in the Zora Domain?”
“Delivering a message from the Gorons.” Link found his unruly body easier to control now that he wasn’t completely lying.
“And what brought you to Death Mountain?”
A small involuntary smile crept across Link’s face as he stood completely still again. “I was returning Gordon’s baby.”
“And it was the Goron child that took you out of the Faron Woods to begin with?”
“No.” Link chuckled. “My friend, Aria, is sick and I am trying to find medicine for her.”
The King stopped and looked at Link. “You’ve traveled an awfully long and strange path to find medicine.”
Shiza! As Link’s mind scrambled to come up with an explanation, an uneasy silence settled into the room. Finally the King spoke.
“Did you know that I received a message from the Primary Tem-kar just before sunrise?” The King rolled the rune in his hands as he spoke. “Haven’t heard from the Zoras in nearly two months and yet this morning the Primary sent his fastest swimmer down the river to warn me that there was someone in the Zora Domain looking for this rune and I should be on alert incase this person made it to Castle Town.” He paused to hold up the rune again. “So did you find this in a field?”
Link’s posture fell. “No.”
The King settled into his throne. “Is there anything else you’d like to tell me about your journeys?”
Link took a deep breath. Starting from the beginning he recounted every detail of what had happened from the time Aria got sick to moment he stepped into the Great Hall. For the most part the King allowed Link to speak without interruption. Although he did occasionally ask a few clarifying questions. While the King’s interest in the Living Shadows was no surprise, the number of questions about the exact timeline of events surrounding the incident with the wagon struck Link as odd.
By the time Link finished, the sun was low enough that the myriad of colors in the glass windows along the western wall were being projected onto the stone floor.
The King stroked his beard as he leaned back in his throne. “You’ve put me in a rare position, Link. Much of what you’ve told me appears to stray in the realm of fantasy and yet you accurately describe places that I would not expect even Eoghan’s son to have knowledge of. So I must either accept every word you say is true or believe that you are the most fantastic liar I have ever met.” The King paused. “For all our sakes I hope it is the latter.” Turning his gaze towards the doorway to his right the King ordered. “Guards!”
The men in silver armor and white capes quickly filed back into the room.
“Bring the shaman, Minhaga, here immediately.”
“Yes Sire.” The guards bowed as they answered in unison.
“But your Majesty, there’s no time to wait for the guards to retrieve Minhaga from Last Stop!” Link shouted above the clanking of armor as the soldiers filed out of the room again. “Besides, Aria and my town need him there.”
The King carefully studied Link’s reaction as he spoke. “Minhaga arrived in Castle Town the morning after the fever.”
That is, If Epona is a she as you put in the text multiple times, it would be Filly, not Colt. (filly is young female horse and colt is young male)
otherwise, I really like your story so far and look forward to continue reading
The King’s words didn’t seem real. But those soldiers headed out as though they knew exactly where to go. Link looked at the King, who still had an intense gaze focused on him.
“You didn’t know?” There was a hint of surprise in the King’s question.
“No.” Link shook his head. “No, no that can’t be right. Minhaga promised he would care for Aria and my village until I brought him the runes.” Clenching his fists Link looked directly into the King’s eyes. “Please your Majesty, where is the final rune!?”
The King held Link’s gaze for a moment before a sorrowful look took over his features. “I’m afraid I can’t give you the last rune Link.”
“Why?!” Link’s tone had raised so he was nearly shouting.
Leaning forward in his throne the King spoke in a soothing tone. “Because the runes have but one purpose and it is not to heal.”
“You’re lying!” Link pointed an accusing finger at the King.
A flash of anger crossed the King’s face. Straightening his posture the muscles around the King’s jaw rippled as he ground his teeth. Closing his eyes, he took in a deep breath. When he finally released the air the anger had passed. “If the runes had any power to heal, don’t you think I would’ve risked anything to retrieve them three days ago?”
For this Link didn’t have an answer.
Neither one spoke again as they waited. Fortunately the guards were swift and before long the massive hinges groaned as the doors to the Great Hall opened again.
Much to his dismay Link saw the cloaked shape of the old shaman walking among the guards, though he was surprised Minhaga could keep up with the soldiers. The group came to a stop a few feet from where Link was standing.
In a blur of motion Minhaga drew a long dark sword from inside his cloak and slit the throats of the six guards surrounding him and Link. Before their bodies hit the floor he mounted the stone steps.
The King rose to his feet.
“Give me the ancient rune your family protects.” Minhaga ordered as the tip of his blade came to a stop at the King’s throat.
Link stood speechless. His body frozen in shock of what just happened.
Quickly masking the surprise at seeing his guards slaughtered the King focused his gaze first on Link then the shaman. “Like I told Link, the runes aren’t for healing otherwise I would. . .” The King winced in pain as Minhaga twisted his sword. “So if you don’t want them for healing, then what?”
“That’s my business.” The shaman adjusted his stance causing the cloak that covered his sword wielding arm to slip down to his elbow.
The King’s gaze focused on the black armor with an intricate pattern made of gold near the wrist. “Why do you wear the armor of the Gerudo King? Their last one died nearly a year ago and no male had been born to replace him.”
A dark chuckle emanated from cloak.
“Who are you and what do you want?” The King demanded.
“I want the rune.” Minhaga replied.
“Very well.” The shaman stretched out his free hand toward the empty throne beside them.
In a flash of light a woman appeared. She stood just a little shorter than the King and appeared to be near the King’s age. Her face was round and milky white and her soft features perfectly framed her bright blue eyes, which had dark bags under them. Two large braids of her golden brown hair came down in front of her shoulders while the rest of her hair disappeared behind her and even though she wore a white gown that covered her figure well it was clear she was embarrassed to be seen in it. On the sleeve of the gown Link noticed the Royal Seal. The Queen!
Using the arm rest for support the Queen lowered herself into the nearest throne. She seemed exhausted by the effort.
Minhaga quickly moved the sword to the queen’s neck.
“Give me the rune!” The shaman demanded, but his voice was strained, his breathing labored, and he was hunched over more than before.
The King had a harder time hiding the shock of seeing his wife brought into this. After a moment’s consideration, he slowly reached up and took hold of a chain that ran around his neck. Pulling on the chain the King produced a small triangle that appeared to be made of the same metal as the runes Link had collected.
Using his free hand Minhaga retrieved two runes from his cloak and tossed them at the King. “Get the one from the Zora Domain and put them in their place.”
While never taking his eyes off the shaman, the King slowly collected the runes and began inching his way between the thrones.
“Stop stalling!” Minhaga twisted the sword, causing the Queen to stiffen but she didn’t make a sound.
Moving slightly faster the King finally came to a stop before the old worn pedestal. That’s when Link noticed something he hadn't seen before. In the front of the pedestal were a series of grooves that formed the outline of a large triangle composed of three smaller triangles, all surrounded by a perfect circle. What confused Link, though, was despite the badly weathered appearance of the rest of the pedestal these grooves appeared as fresh as the day they were carved. Into these grooves the King slid the runes.
When the last one locked into place a band of pure white light formed around the base of the pedestal. Rising from the floor it began erasing the decades of decay, returning the stone to its former glory. At the top, the band constricted into a ball. One end stayed in contact with the pedestal as the other shot up towards the heavens, followed by a blinding explosion of light.
For a long moment all Link could see were dots of colors dancing in a sea of white. Slowly his vision returned to normal. Looking first at the King and shaman, Link could see them struggling to clear their eyes as well. Even the Queen, who had been looking away from the column of light, was blinking rapidly. A glimmer in the corner of his eye brought Link’s gaze back to the pedestal.
Out of the stone rose a sword. Its royal blue hilt, which was wrapped in a light blue cord, fanned out into a pair of wing shaped guards just before the flawless silver blade started. The craftsmanship was extraordinary. Not even the King’s guards carried swords that beautiful. And the blade seemed to glow with a light of its own.
Something stirred in Link. At first he tried to fight as it slowly rose from the depths. But it felt ancient and familiar. And it wanted him to take hold of that sword.
“So what now?” The King asked; his gaze refocusing on Minhaga. “I imagine you already know there is only one who can wield that sword and I’m certain it’s not you.”
The shaman drove his dark blade through the Queen’s neck.
In an instant the King’s face turned bright red as shock turned to rage. Before Minhaga could react, the King closed the distance between them, and slammed into the shaman at full force. The cloaked figure flew backwards before tumbling down the stone steps. He finally came to a stop in a crumbled heap at the base of the stairs, where he lay motionless.
Tears streaming down his face the King turned to his wife. Kneeling in front of her, he gently cupped her face in his hands and begged her to stay with him. Raising her hand the Queen gently caressed her husband’s cheek. She mouthed the words “I love you” just before the life drained from her eyes and her hand fell limply into her lap.
A long mournful wail filled the Great Hall. At the sound of it Link’s own heart shattered and he felt tears beginning to flow down his cheeks. For a moment time seemed to stop and Link feared they might be frozen here forever.
Then a dark laugh began to emanate from the crumbled heap on the floor as the shaman slowly rose. The hood fell revealing his face. Link cringed as he looked at the thin lifeless flesh that hung from the bones of the old shaman’s face. The orange eyes were set so deep in their sockets that Link could barely see them and the white hair on the top of his head was pulled back into a loose pony tail.
Link’s sorrow for the King turned to a seething hatred of this thing that killed without hesitation or remorse. Before he could act a flurry of motion caught Link’s attention. The King had retrieved the shaman’s sword from where it was lodged in the throne. Leaping down the steps he began using it to club Minhaga over and over again.
The shaman didn’t seem interested in defending himself and showed no signs of pain as the King landed one crippling blow after another. He just kept laughing.
Link had finally seen enough. Racing up the steps he retrieved his weapons and was about to join the King when that sword in the pedestal caught his attention again. Whatever part of him that had stirred was closer to the surface now and its desire to hold that sword was over whelming. Without thinking Link sheathed his own sword and took hold of the blue hilt. He gasped as a chilling rush of energy raced through his arm and filled his body. A swirling vortex of images from places, people, and battles he had never seen raged in his mind. But out of the chaos came two names. One belonged to the blue hilt with the glowing blade, the other was the true name of the shaman.
“Ganondorf.” Link said.
The laughter stopped, as did the King’s assault. Both pairs of eyes focused on Link just in time to see him draw the Master Sword from the pedestal.
The ground began to tremble. It shook so violently the windows of the Great Hall shattered, sending a razor sharp downpour of multicolored glass tinkling into the Hall. The King covered his head with his arms as he ran for the thrones. Ganon slowly rose to his feet with his eyes fixed on something to Link’s left.
A pillar of something that appeared to be black smoke rose from the pedestal. It lingered in the air for a moment then raced down the Hall and enveloped Ganondorf. Hiding him from view it raised him several feet in the air as a wild wind swirled through the building.
“Ganondorf!” Link shouted above the howling wind.
Dark laughter filled the Great Hall. It was different from before. This laughter came from a younger, stronger voice. A bolt of lightning leapt from the black cloud around Ganon and struck the King. Link was sure the King was the dead before he hit the ground.
Tightening his grip on his weapons Link shouted. “Show yourself you coward!”
The cloud parted revealing a thin bony figure who was wearing black armor that was much too big for him. Ganondorf’s body began to absorb the black cloud. As it did the dull skin that hung from the bones in Ganon’s face brightened and turned to a healthy grey color. His face also filled out, the wrinkles disappeared and his grey hair turned orange. The rest of his body was changing too. He stood up to his full height and filled out the armor that was once too big for him. And a bright yellow triangle began glowing on the back of his right hand.
When the last wisp of darkness had been absorbed he lowered himself to the ground. The broken glass crunching under his feet.
“Bold boy.” Ganondorf chuckled. Then he held out his right hand. His dark sword leapt back into it just in time for him to block Link’s attack.
Link attacked again, but was easily blocked. Now Ganon went on the offensive. Using his sword, he wove a complex web of steel that at first Link barely managed to keep up with. However, as the battle progressed Link started learning Ganon’s movements and began anticipating and countering his advances.
“Enough.” Ganon ordered and waved his left hand.
A moment later Link felt an invisible wall smash into his chest, knocking the wind out of him and causing him to stumble several steps backwards.
“You truly are the Hero of Time reborn.” Ganondorf chuckled as Link gasp for air. “We need to talk.”
“You created the curse that’s killing everyone, didn’t you?” Link managed to get out between breaths.
Ganon chuckled. “I created the curse, but it’s not intended to be lethal.”
Not supposed to kill. Link wasn’t sure he believed this. “Then what’s it do?”
“You’ll see soon enough.” A wicked smile spread across Ganon’s face. “Enough chit-chat. I have an offer for you young Hero.”
Ganondorf’s cheerful tone made Link’s stomach turn. “I don’t want anything from you.”
“But you haven’t heard what I have to say.” Ganon donned a tone of mock offense.
With his breathing finally returning to normal Link raised his weapons and prepared to strike again.
“Don’t act rashly Hero, I’m offering you away to save many lives. Even the life of your friend. . .Oh, what was her name. . .” Ganon’s voice trailed off as he appeared to be deep in thought.
“Aria.” Link growled.
“Right.” Ganon smiled. “Aria. You have the chance to save her life and countless more.”
Keeping his guard up Link held his ground. “How?”
“Lay down your weapons, kneel before me, and swear the loyalty of you and all your descendants to me.”
“And what if I refuse? Are you going to kill me?”
A dark laughter rolled out of Ganondorf and echoed through the Great Hall. Unable to figure it out the joke he had apparently just told, Link impatiently waited for Ganon’s volume to drop low enough that he could shout above it.
“What’s so funny?!”
Ganon quickly regained control, but remained strangely cheerful as he spoke. “I cannot kill you, Hero of Time. Seven times spanning countless centuries you and I have stood like this and seven times you have killed me. Even now your skill grows rapidly, so that within a matter of minutes a farm boy who has only been in one other sword fight in his life is nearly my equal. By the way, for ages to come I will laugh about how you nearly lost your head because a Goron baby distra. . .” A short bout of laughter erupted from Ganondorf.
“How do you. . .” Link started to ask.
But Ganon gained control of himself and continued. “Eventually I realized it is your destiny to kill me and even with all the power of the goddess Din, I am helpless to stop destiny.”
“You’re mad.” Link shouted. “You’ve already told me the curse isn’t supposed to kill anyone. Then, if that ridiculous story you just concocted is true, you admit that I’m going to kill you no matter what you do. Finally you follow all that up by demanding I bow and swear loyalty to you?”
Ganon lowered his sword and held out his hand. “So what is your answer to my generous offer?”
“No!” Link blurted out. “You admitted that you can’t stop me, so let’s finish this now.” He settled into his fighting stance.
“That’s unfortunate.” Ganon’s voice sounded disappointed, but Link thought he saw a smirk pulling on the corners of Ganondorf’s mouth.
The Gerudo’s orange eyes locked onto Link a split second before he lunged. Having never dropped his guard Link stood ready, but at the last moment Ganon’s gaze shifted to the sword in Link’s hand. Quickly entangling the Master Sword with his own dark blade, he ripped it from Link’s grasp. Then he jumped back a few steps, sheathed his sword and held his hands open with the palms pointed at Link.
Before Link could react a translucent sphere closed around him and lifted him a few feet into the air. Using his shield and then the sword still strapped on his back Link hacked wildly at the sphere until he was exhausted by the effort, but couldn’t break through. Meanwhile, Ganon conjured a ball comprised of flowing bands of white light. When it was about the size of a dinner plate the bands suddenly broke free and began twisting and weaving their way through the air. Link cringed as the snaking beams of light approached him, but they passed right by. Following the direction they went Link saw the light hit some sort of invisible barrier. The light beams spread out along this barrier revealing what appeared to be a massive curtain that rippled like water.
Turning back to Ganondorf, Link saw a wide, malevolent smile spread across his face as he slowly approached.
“You said you can’t stop me so why are delaying the inevitable?” Link shouted.
“Remember that I tried to reason with you young Hero.” Ganon’s voice carried a well-rehearsed mixture of sorrow and disappointment. “But you wouldn’t listen. So what follows is of your own making.” Ganondorf leaned in as close to Link as the sphere would allow. “And if you’re going to quote me you should at least get it right. I said I can’t stop destiny, but after what I’ve discovered I don’t want to.”
The Gerudo then took a few steps back and as he did Link saw a great power begin to radiate from him like heat off a fire. With a loud shout Ganon put both wrists together and thrust his hands forward. A moment later the sphere lurched backwards, smashing Link’s front side against his invisible prison. The abrupt stop a short distance later sent him sprawling backwards in the sphere and put a set of bruises across Link’s back that matched his front side. Craning his neck Link saw the sphere had been stopped by the pulsating curtain the tendrils of light had revealed.
Link glaced back to Ganon. The veins in the Gerudo’s face, neck and arms were bulging even more than his muscles as he fought against a massive invisible foe. For a long moment nothing happened. Then something cracked. A wide smile spread across Ganon’s face just before he released another shout. The shimmering curtain began to splinter and fracture as it started swallowing Link.
“Don’t worry.” Ganondorf said between heavy breaths. “The Master Sword will be waiting right here for your return.”
Also, realize that Ganondorf and Ganon and two different... I would say people, but that doesn't seem right... Beings, yes...beings. Their names are frequently mixed up together, an unfortunate occurance because of the obvious similarity.