Horwendil, Not Hothnight
Stars cut across the sloped snow, under a line of moon. Taden lowered the hood around his neck to veil his eyes, and sank into the Wolfos pack they had tracked to this vale. His brothers rumbled into place in the canyon below, drawing the senses of the sentinels. He settled into place within striking distance of an old mother, and waited for their signal.
The ramhorn croaked, and Taden slew the mother wolf. Panic took the pack as thunder rippled into the peaks, echoing up from the canyons below. Ice crashed around them, and one poor pup chewed himself free from falling rock. He hoisted the she-wolfos over his shoulder and raced around the lip of the canyon, leaping from rock to rock, keeping an eye on the pack as its members ran down into the Yeti hunters’ trap.
When the carcass on his back draped across his axe, Taden felt a surge of energy through his spine. He muttered a prayer for good weather under his breath. When he reached the far peak, he scanned the carnage, and found one young Wolfos fleeing for his life, a desperate attempt to escape. While the Yeti warriors below jumped out from the bush to attack Wolfos head-on, Taden let his prey slip through his fingers.
The dark wolf lit by naught but stars cut across the slope, not seeing the ashen cloud that chased after. With the moon obscured behind his stormfront, Taden steadied his spear and slung it across the night, trusting his aim to the summoned blizzard’s wind. The fugitive fell. The blizzard cleared. The moon shone down again. He stood in the cold, panting slightly, his heart racing under the weight of his kill.
He lay the gored Wolfos mother down by the slain adolescent’s corpse. His mates brought three kills of their own, one for each of them.
“Two?” the Chieftain asked, eyeing Taden’s kills askance, weighing the size of the big mother against his own. “Three hunter, five meat.” Chief Ymir pointed at himself and his two guards, then at the five dead Wolfos strewn at their feet. “The godesses will not abide greed, Terminian. You killed a denmother, under full moon.”
The Chieftain and his two guards clenched the hilts of their hammers and shifted their weight, bracing against the outlander. Taden pulled the Wolfos hood low over his face and barked back. “The giants will abide.”
He disappeared into the night, leaving the Yeti tribesmen to carry back the evening’s prey, and take credit for the plentiful hunt.
Oh, Black BettyElizabeth/Hidden Grotto Safehouse/Midnight 0
A thrill of sadistic glee filled Elizabeth as she laid eyes upon her latest victim. Normally she didn't kill like this, but toying with a man's hope for survival was ever so much fun. This was the kind of kill she let her hair down for. One of the scouts for a Hylian merchant caravan wandered into her trap. And she was overdue for a big score. This happened to be a treasury run. Bank notes, letters of credit, and juicy rupees. Stuff she could easily fence through allies of convenience who needed her to be their scapegoat. In turn, they offered protection. Little did they know they funded her dark masters with every rupee.
Shirtless, chained to a stone table by all four appendages lie the hapless young man. Hair cropped short, eyes of a deep brown, and Knight tattoos on his arms. He was of a stocky build, but he had been felled in combat just hours before. Instead of killing him, Elizabeth sapped him on the back of his head with the hilt of Apocrypha. He had just come to, and was struggling ferociously. She'd already searched his things and gotten most of the information she needed, but there were a few pieces missing. Obviously, with a missing scout, they'd be extra cautious.
The room was very stark. There wasn't much there other than tables covered in occult symbols and implements of pain. And a bottle of wine which Black Betty drank deeply from.
"So this is the stuff horror stories are made of. I'm not telling you anything!"
He was so wrong. Hissing loudly, Elizabeth slammed her hands down on his arms and got in his face, slowly digging her nails into his flesh and drawing a faint amount of blood.
"Lies! You are the feature tonight, worm. Tell me what I want, and I'll give you over to release."
"Like hell you'll let me go." The scout spat straight up at her. "I can find my way back here. Your terror will end with the forces I muster."
In response, she drove her forehead into his and her nails ever the more deep. She could feel the pulsing warmth of sanguine joy start to seep onto her. And her victim reeled in pain, starting to let out the sounds of agony.
"You are only making it worse on yourself...have you made peace with your precious Triune? Stop resisting and your pain ends...don't make me get the hooks..."
He remained silent in disclosure, only uttering grunts of discomfort. Elizabeth released her left hand, balling it up into a fist, raising it, and driving it right into the man's sternum, causing him to writhe erratically.
"Ugh...fine...give or take a few hours because I've gone missing...near Faron Woods in the morning they'll be. Don't kill them...they'll give you what you want because you're you."
Take his head. A fine present it will make.
All pain ended for a short while as Elizabeth paced around the table, boring her gaze into his. She drew Apocrypha, and tapped it along the table's edges.
"You said you would give me over to release! You'd let me go! I...I swear I'll head to the woods and never bother you again!"
A dark red eyebrow was raised among perfectly pale flesh. "There's a reason why I've never been caught, soldier boy. It's because I don't ever let anyone go...the release I give is one of your death!"
Loud screams of "No!" echoed throughout the chamber as Elizabeth brought Apocrypha down upon the scout's neck. Her face was covered in vitae, which she licked from her lips as the body twitched, gurgled, and rattled. The head was placed in a bag. She would deal with the corpse later, unless her dark masters decided to show up and use it for their own vile purposes.
Finishing her bottle of wine and cleaning herself up, Elizabeth left her safehouse and rode off into the night in search of her plunder. Sure, she was one woman, but she had infamy and the blackest of magicks on her side.
A fiery red sun hung over the vast wastelands of the Gerudo Desert. Though twilight was fast approaching the evening air still radiated with leftover heat from the earlier hours. With the wind blowing quietly across the landscape small sandstorms could be seen drifting over the distant horizon. Bleak and barren the desert would have seemed completely lifeless that evening if not for the lone Mogma digging through the sand.
Awww, of all the crummy luck. Another one? Kourtz looked down at his hands, his face filled with frustration. Pierced on the ends of his claws were the skeletal remains of a small fish. I've put in full day of hard work and got nothing to prove for it. This trip has been an absolute waste of my time. Angry at the lack of progress he was making the Mogma stood up and flung the fish bones out of his pit. As it landed on the desert floor it came to a rest beside dozens of other small pits that had been dug thought the day.
Brimming with disappointment Kourtz took a moment to sit down and think things over. As he pondered the hours he spent trying to find anything of value Kourtz thought back to why he had come to such an isolated location in the first place. He had heard stories from his fellow Mogma that the Gerudo Desert was once home to an ancient civilization that had long died out.
Before its demise at some unknown calamity this civilization was so advanced it made the grander of Hyrule Castle seem like a primitive backwater he had overheard. Constructed by these beings was technological machinery that was literally alive, the power of lightning and electricity bent to serve them. Vast ships sailed across the seas that had turned to sand millennia ago and left their treasures buried beneath, forgotten victims of time itself.
Some civilization he said out loud. The only ruins I've found have been crushed up shells and fish bones. Out of desperation Kourtz continued to claw his way into the ground, having all but given up hope of finding anything. A few seconds passed and then to his bewilderment he actually felt an object at the ends of his mitts. His surprise quickly turned to hope and his ears perked up with excitement.
When he finally had his prize unearthed he brushed back his long brown hair and lifted up his goggles. Eh? What's this supposed to be? Kourtz looked into a crystal that sat in his hands. It was dark purple in color and had white circle markings etched into its sides. It made a distinct chime noise when he taped it. Well it’s not any ancient technology that’s for sure. But hey, at least I have something to take back with me.
Ignorant of its true power Kourtz slipped the crystal into his backpack and headed north towards Snowpeak Pass. Well so much for this trip.Time to haul my tail outta here. I don’t want to deal with any of those Gerudo that might be around at night. As he began his long trek back to his camp Kourtz thought to himself "I bet this crystal must be a decoration of some sort. Maybe it can fetch a few rupees when I get back to the shop at castle town market. At least this trip wasn’t a total failure".
Snowpeak - Night Zero
Kourtz was exhausted. It had been a hard long walk back from the Gerudo Desert and sudden change in climate certainly didn't help. Never the less the young Mogma continued on, the small paws on his feet trending their way uphill through the moonlit snow. In the distance the howls of wolf like creatures could be heard.
Fearing what could be out there Kourtz quickly looked around to gain his bearings. It was then he noticed a small stick with a piece of cloth tied onto it. "Ah, good. I wouldn't want to spend a minute longer out here in the open." Kourtz picked up the marker he had placed there and began digging a tunnel into the mountain side where it had once stood.
Kourtz climbed into a small burrow he had dug out earlier to make a temporary camp. As he lit a candle to illuminate the room a mat and a few supplies could be seen crammed into this small space. Sitting down to eat he began to think to himself "I shouldn't have come here in the first place. The rupees from that crystal will hardly pay off what it took to get this far." After finishing a small dinner of dried meat he set in for sleep before heading down the mountain in the morning. "I hope a collector or someone finds value in that stupid thing" he thought as he curled up like a ball and fell asleep on the mat.
Hours later he awoke to a thunderous explosion.
Screaming in shock Kourtz instantly jolted up and peered over to where the explosion had been. Near the entrance had been a crate filled with spare bombs. A white wolfos had dug it's way in and accidentally set them off. As he recovered from the shock two more wolfos climb their way in.
Growling angrily at him over their fallen pack leader Kourtz reached over and grabbed the first thing he could find. As the first of the wolfos lunged for him he pulled out a small yellow cane and flung a bolt of light at the beast. Suddenly the wolfos found himself flipped around, no longer lunging at the Mogma but at his fellow kin.
As the two monsters collided Kourtz wasted no time in getting out his slingshot. As the two wolfos shook themselves off and got back up on their feet they suddenly fell back down. The Mogma had fired a spray of electrified slingshot pelts at them leaving their bodies seething with pain. Seeing his chance Kourtz rolled over a bomb, and with a bang and a sharp whimper the lives of the wild beasts had ended.
Quickly packing up what he could Kourtz climbed back out of the burrow and noticed it was early dawn. Not wanting to risk another attack he took off into the distance, determined to get back to Castle Town
Mist hung in the pre dawn air as Polaris advanced, grey shapes dancing in and out of focus on the grey canvas of the landscape, everything transformed a dull grey by the thick fog. It made no difference to the exile general, the less who knew he came the better. He was his fathers son and the contents of the vault was, by right of birth his. That didn't change the fact that he still was only marginally welcome here. The frigid waste that Hothnight's sorcery had transformed Lanayru Province into was an all too easy thing for people to lay at Polaris' feet.
"Get in and get out. Plain and simple."
Nothing was ever plain and simple he knew, but it never hurt to try and reassure oneself in hopes of the unlikely occurring.
The massive waterfall jutted high up the face of the cliff. Such a magnificent and powerful thing, frozen solid. Foot upon foot of water turned ice stood between Polaris and the vault entrance. Being an ice mage has its perks though. Polaris strode confidently forward and passed through the solid ice wall like any normal man would have done with flowing water. The frozen falls did provide one good thing, it was unlikely anyone would be following him.
The immense carved stone door had the Eridanus family crest set upon it and Polaris knew that the magic here, was an old, strong magic. No amount of brute force would scratch the stone let alone budge it.
"Speak your name and speak it true and the stone shall answer." The old crone rasped in his ear, so speak he did. "I am Polaris Eridanus, the Red Ice general, son of Scorpius, first of my name and last of my line. Grant me entrance."
There was a low rumble somewhere below and deep in the belly of the mountain before the stone shifted ever so slightly and began to dissolve into thin air, the ten crimson snowflakes ringing a roaring dragons head set against a starry night sky that made up the Eridanus crest was the last to dissipate and Polaris could still see a faint outline of the dragons gaping maw as he passed through the entrance. Polaris found himself in a dimly lit corridor with flickering torches on wall sconces extending deep into the murky darkness ahead. Grabbing a torch from the wall he pressed on into the darkness.
At varying intervals there were alcoves cut into the wall on both sides of the corridor Large statues of Eridanus warriors long dead were chiseled from hard granite and stared down at him with even harder gazes. The torchlight danced across their cold faces and more than once Polaris thought he caught a hint of movement, but everytime he stopped and inspected a statue it was always unmoving stone that stared back. After walking for seemed hours, the hall ended abruptly at another crested door. He spoke his name much like he did at the entrance and watched as the door disappeared into oblivion. This time it was a wide circular chamber that he entered into. Seated on a mound of cushions in the center was the oldest looking woman Polaris had ever set eyes on. Her papery skin drooped from face and arms and there was a purple road map of veins and arteries snaking it's way across her body. Dressed only in a rough spun shift she sat cross legged humming a wordless tune that reverberated throughout the hall. Whatever the song was, it was a song of power, the air smelled of sulfur and was supercharged with static electricity to the point that it cracked and popped all around him.
"I've waited a very long time for your arrival my lord of Eridanus. Many centuries have come and gone they have, yet you never came. Now that you have, are you ready to wield the blade that was forged for you?"
"I'm no lord, only a warrior, but yes I'm as ready as I'll ever be."
A wheezing cackle of a laugh came from the old crone at that, "He thinks he's not a lord does he? Maybe he's not. Maybe he is and doesn't yet know it, but a man who denies a lordship to be called a warrior is either wise or foolish beyond measure, but how do we tell which it is? ...how to tell.."
Polaris didn't see where the staff came from, but the witch pushed herself upright with it all the same and leapt forward on toes more nimble than he'd expected. "Protect yourself my lord warrior and lets see if you're worthy."
Polaris snorted at that, "There is no honor in fighting an old..argh!" The retort was cut short as the staff smashed into the back of the proud generals skull. "Bugger your honor boy! Protect yourself or play the fool!" She cackled as she danced away, hopping from foot to foot taunting him merrily.
From time to time she lunged in with her stick, each time Polaris slapped it away nonchalantly. His frustration growing by the second until finally he lashed out with an offensive of his own. He was a flurry of punches and kicks and fins as he pressed the assault pushing her further and further back, yet never landing a clean blow.
Finally, with his anger well past boiling Polaris unfurled a wave sized blast of red ice and the wizened old witch was swallowed up in its tide and slammed against the wall. Frozen manacles at both wrists and ankles holding her in place.
The old crone tittered, "Now, where is your honor lord? Never mind that, your worth has been proved, claim your prize."
Polaris released the hold on the magic that held her in place and turned to the center of the chamber where a stone dais rose up from the floor. On an altar atop the dais lay the fabled blade of his fathers father and his father and grandfather as well. The haft of the blade consisted of a well ornamented cross guard of the purest vermillion, resembling icicles extending down a few inches towards the blade. The grip was wrapped in a supple crimson leather of hand-and-a-half length, to allow the wielder the option of both one and two handed combat. The leather started shaping itself to Polaris' hand the instant he hefted the sword. The pommel was a snarling red dragons head carved from a single large ruby with sapphires set for the eyes. The blade itself was a dull grey with rippling steel from the hundreds of times the metal was beaten out and folded upon itself to be hammered out again. A crimson scabbard donning golden scrollwork finished the set.
"This...this is a gift worthy of a.."
"Lord? Or a warrior? No matter. It was forged for you by mine own hand. I sung the spells of the ancients over the metal as it was worked. You'll find that this blade shall never scratch, rust or dull and none but yourself may truly wield it. For it was made for you. Name thy blade hero so that I might sing the rune upon the scabbard then be gone so an old womans work may finally be complete and she can die alone."
It was a long time that Polaris examined this majestic sword before settling in the name. The old witch nodded her approval when he handed her the sword and scabbard.
It was then that she began to hum once more, slow and low, almost mournful at first, then fast and fierce. Afterwards, Polaris was never able to recall how long it was she sang, nor could he remember the words, what he did recall was a pittance compared to the power and majesty of what she voiced.
"Down, down through valleys low and up o'er mountains high shall ye ride
Through castles in the sky and lava pits below, on the heels of thine enemies shall you abide
On rivers of foes Blood shall you glide, for none can withstand the might of Winters Tide."
The golden rune that seemed to grow up from the steel of the scabbard was beautiful and fearsome to behold. Polaris found himself admiring it long after the witch handed him the fruit of her labor. "'tis the finest I ever wrought. Treat her well. Now leave me."
Wordless, Polaris turned on his heels and walked from the circular chamber, the witches music stilling filled the air even though she'd stopped singing long ago. Partway down the corridor the music stopped and Polaris knew, she was gone.
The sad moment was ruined in an instant as the hundreds of granite Zora warriors, statues built for his ancestors, leapt from their pedestals and stormed towards him. Out of instinct Polaris threw up a solid wall of red ice and turned, sprinting back towards the chamber where he left the old crone. Only to find a solid wall where moments ago there was a door. He could stand and fight, but he knew he'd never survive. Eventually he'd be overwhelmed.
Back against the wall he watched them approach, several feet taller and wider than him they marched two by two towards him. Blade flashing he leapt forward and started hacking his way through the horde. The blade passed through solid stone like it was butter. There was no end in sight though and when he'd fought his way to the first alcove it was all he could do to dive inside for a short breather.
It wasn't long before the statues caught on and turned and started scrabbling into his tiny alcove. Polaris waited until they were almost upon him before yelling his most fearsome battle cry and drawing his blade up high..
He'd not seen the purple crystal jutting out from the ceiling above and didn't even know it was there until he sheared it in two. There was a moments hesitation before his entire world went white in a supernova of heat and pain.
Long hours later Polaris lay at the base of the falls, water tumbling down upon him by the hundreds of gallons in a time not his own.