Dromand's Gambit is the 14th chapter of Epoch of Disharmony Season 1. The chapter stars King Dromand's Secret Agents as they are given a new mission from Impa. After learning about Majin's role in the Theft of the Hylian Trust, Impa concludes King Tiburon was the one who hired him. To prevent the remaining keys from falling into the wrong hands she sends her agents into Zora's Domain to steal the Zora Trust Key in secret. With the entire Zora army bearing down on them they must accomplish this daunting task alone, but victory may prove just as costly as defeat.
Forced Diplomacy Edit
Majin Kotage/Hyrule Field/Day 3
It hadn’t taken Majin long to discern where the team of his enemies had absconded to. Despite different paths, each member departed Kakariko for the broad expanse of the Field.
After exiting the Well and making for the safety of Kakariko’s west-facing shadows, Majin had beheld the barbarous scene laid out at the heart of the village with a tinge of horror. Torn apart by shards of ice like a hundred or more daggers, it appeared that Taden had left him a message. For all of the bodies that Majin had left behind him in Castle Town, Taden could leave just as many in his wake whenever he chose.
Once more Majin questioned the wisdom in seeking out one such as he.
It wasn’t difficult for Majin to slip past wary guards barring the stairway leading down into Hyrule Field, and when he emerged into the brightening light of day he once again took to the shadow of a boulder as he watched the one he sought lay what appeared to be a belt at the feet of a pair of sleeping girls before turning north with the wind at his back. Majin waited, watching him go, then slowly left the shadows and approached the tree in whose shade the girls rested.
They awoke to the Tokay sitting cross-legged before them, swathed in shadows with his butterfly swords laid casually out on the ground by his knees.
“You’ll have to forgive my somewhat sudden appearance.” He told them in a voice intended to be disarmingly affable. “Believe what you will about me, but I mean you no harm this day.
“What I need to know, most of all, is where you are bound. More importantly, I need to know where your companion, Taden, is bound that would carry him north.” He could tell that the archer was stunned by his approach, but he didn’t allow himself to be interrupted. “I was hired to steal the Hylian Trust; I did not do it out of loyalty or enmity, only rupees. If you can help me, then perhaps I can help steer you in the proper direction.
“Or we can fight and one, two, or all of us can die right here and now. I think we can all agree that a free exchange of information is the preferable alternative.”
As they became tired from a lack or sleep and the long walk across the field the girls had decided to rest beneath a tree. Tarah gripped Tadens knife tightly as she drifted into slumber, uncomfortable with sleeping in the open but too tired to care. She drifted back into conciousness later to the unpleasant sight of someone she recognised from the night before.
It was Majin Kotage, the Tokay Haldar had spoken of, the very thief they had been sent to find had found her first. Her grasp on the blade tightened as he spoke, surprised by his appearance and his words. He claimed that Taden was heading north when she thought he was with the others, and asked her if she knew of his destination. He also claimed to have only committed his crime for rupees, for which she could not oppose him as it meant they had a common greed.
She knew he was too strong to fight, so for the safety of herself and Shinsou she had to cooperate with him, but he seemed more aware of Tadens actions than she was, putting her at a significant disadvantage.
"I'll tell you what I know, but first I expect an apology for throwing me from a roof." She replied, forcing a smile as she spoke, still bitter about their previous meeting.
Majin could tell that she wasn’t pleased to see him. Why should she be? As she was right to point out, Majin had in fact pushed her from the roof of the Inn. Had he expected her to embrace him so soon after? Of course not, but while the tension between them was high, there was also a sense that they could deal with one another so long as their interactions remained nice and uncomplicated.
Majin nodded in concession. “Very well, I am sorry for the extreme actions taken earlier. I and my companions were outnumbered and overwhelmed by your team. I perhaps acted hastily toward you.” He leaned closer, as though taking her into his confidence, and spoke in a hushed tone. “Let us remember, however, that you did have an arrow trained on my friend at the time. In light of all that has happened, I think we might each recognize that we were caught up in a confluence of events that thrust us into conflict with one another prematurely. I will see no fault in your actions if you can overlook my own.”
And Majin leaned back again, drawing a deep breath through scaled lips.
“Unfortunately I cannot betray the identity of my employer entirely, for their true identity is a mystery to me.” He said, taking his time as he mentally conjured up every detail he could recall of their meetings. “She, for it was without doubt a woman with whom I met, never approached me directly, but instead tended to come at me sideways, and never when I expected her to appear. She came to me one night in Ordon, addressing me by name, and claimed to have work for me that would pay better than the jobs I’d been offered of late. I was hesitant to accept a contract from one who would not reveal herself to me, so at first I declined.
“The next time she appeared was on a day when I was basking in the sun and the glorious warmth of Lake Floria’s waters. She appeared as if from nowhere and claimed again to have work for me. This time she did not offer me the job, but told me without room for doubt that I was the one for this task. Not only would I complete the job as instructed, but a hefty sum of rupees would be deposited into my vault in Labrynna upon receipt of the object I was to steal.” Majin closed his eyes and sighed, wondering if he’d made the right choice. He was never one to pass up a well paying job, but he was one who worked in the shadows. Taking such a high-profile contract that thrust him into the center of a nation on the brink of war had been risky, perhaps even foolhardy. And he loathed politics. “It wasn’t until I received a small sum in advance that I accepted the job. After that… well you know the rest.
“The night of my invasion of Castle Town, I met my employer at the edge of this river you follow even now. I gave her the Hylian Trust and she gave me a statement confirming my payment, and then in a blink she was gone. I had no notion of what to do next, no friends or allies, and at least one nation that would soon be on my trail.” He leaned in again. “As you can see, I was not entirely wrong to have sought allies. I might be dead prematurely, and my story with me, had you four happened upon me alone. As to the matter of my employer, I have suspicions. You see, each time she came to me it was at the borders of Zora territory. First Ordon, then Lake Floria, and then finally this very river.
“And so for what it may be worth I would advise you to investigate the Zoras and King Tiburon. The Trust was created for a purpose, and its keys divided between the three tribes in order to keep it hidden safely away. If Tiburon, or an agent of Tiburon, has the Hylian Trust, then he is but one key away from possessing all three. I fear what would happen if such a thing came to pass.”
Majin let his tale sink in for a few seconds, running through it all over and over again in his own mind as he considered the implications. The notion that it might have been an agent of the Zora King had come to him even before he’d committed the theft, but by that time he’d already taken the contract. To have broken his agreement would have been against his principles. Still, with war looming and perhaps an even greater threat just over the horizon, he wondered.
“I would tell you more if I could, but what I’ve just given you will have to suffice.” His face then lost what little cordiality it had shown, instead turning grave. “I am not your enemy. Can you say the same for Taden Horwendil? I spy, cheat, steal, and kill for money, but what does he kill for? What did that squad of Hylian guardsmen die for, torn to ribbons as they were by shards of ice? Tell me what you know of Taden, of who he is and of where he is bound, and I think we might find common cause in attending to him.”
Tarah was confused, when she first saw Majin she had expected threats and conflict but instead was presented with details of his employment. Something was wrong, he had to be lying, she just didn't understand why a master thief would share his secrets with a stranger with whom his only previous contact had been in battle. His suggestion for them to search Zora's Domain seemed questionable as it could just be his way of distracting them, or leading them into a trap. She was shocked to hear of Tadens alleged actions in Kakariko, which she was unsure of yet somehow unsurprised by. However, his speech did sound sincere and convincing, so maybe he was telling the truth, or just a very good liar.
Her concerns with Majins honesty aside, he had told her what he knew of his employer, and now she owed him her knowledge of Taden, a situation she wasn't comfortable with since she barely knew anything about him. She contemplated forming a lie but cast the thought aside, and decided to just tell him the truth.
"I apologise for my previous hostility, it appears you do wish for peaceful discussion. I also apologise that I will be of no help to you, Taden Horwendil is an enigma to me, during the brief period I spent with him I learnt barely anything about him. All I know is that he spent time in the mountains to the North, so that may be where he is headed, I do not know why."
“Spent time in the mountains…” Majin mused, thinking over what little the thief girl could offer. “He did wear the pelt of a northern mountain wolfos, I think. Perhaps he is bound for home.”
After a moment’s silence, Majin rose from his seated position and replaced his butterfly swords in the sheaths on his crisscrossing shoulder belts. He looked to the thief, then the young girl accompanying her, and then again to the Dodongo hide sheath that rested on the ground near them. He knew without seeing it that the thief girl had a blade to match.
“I appreciate what little you’ve been able to give me, and in case you did not believe me before I am sorry for what transpired last night between us. I do not harbor ill will for the crown and Hyrule as the Zoras do. They were a convenient ally when I needed one and little else.” His eyes found Tarah’s once more and held them. “Go to their domain and see what you can learn of them. Though it is not unguarded, many of their forces have been sent to staging areas near the lakes in preparation for the war that may soon come. If you are skilled and stealthy enough, you may be able to slip in and out without bringing their warriors down on top of you. You won’t do as well as I would, but that can’t be helped. Nobody could.”
His promise kept in exchange for what information could be given, Majin turned and left the pair, turning north.
As Majin parted to the north, Tarah and Shinsou continued to follow the river, as they walked Tarah thought about Majins words. She felt she could trust the thief and decided that it would be wise to follow his advice and investigate Zora's Domain when she met with Kourtz and Leif.
As the sun rose and bore down on the pair Tarah began to notice that she did not feel it's warmth while Shinsou sweated in the heat. It was as if something was keeping her cool, as if Tadens presence had remained with her as the distance between them grew. This thought of Taden reminded her that she still possessed his blade, which she pulled from the sheath at her waist to inspect and realised that it was the source of her constant chill. It seemed to still be enchanted by Tadens icy magic in some way and drew the warmth from the area. Tarah was unsure on the benefits of having a frigid knife but didn't have time to consider it as they had arrived at their destination, Zora's River. When they reached the beginning of the steep river leading the the aquatic realm Tarah saw two familiar figures in the distance, she smiled at the sight and continued towards them.
Kourtz/Zora's River/Day 3
Beneath the pure blue skies and cascading rapids of Zora's River lay Kourtz engaging in one of life's greatest luxuries; sleep. Having finally drowned out the thoughts of the previous day he rested half way emerged from the ground with outstretched arms cushioning his head. Leaning upright against the tree next to him was Leif, ever vigilant even in slumber. Upon sensing movement in the distance Leif's eyes quietly sprung open and he kicked Kourtz slightly to awaken him.
"...Oww... Hun"? Looking around to gain his bearings he saw Leif's finger point out Tarah approaching from the distance. "Oh! Well then, looks like the gal's finally back. Yo Tarah! Over here"! As Kourtz walked closer to greet the thief, he finally noticed she wasn't traveling alone. "Hey, aren't you the young lady I saw in Kakariko last night"? Yes Mister Kourtz I am. Your friend Tarah told me all about you. After what you did I.. I felt compelled to come and thank you for helping me.
Slightly embarrassed at the girls kind words, Kourtz tilted his head away and scratched behind his ears as he replied back. "Awww, you came all this way just to tell me that. I'm flattered, but that wasn't anything special, really". But it was Kourtz. I... Just then Shinsou suddenly gasped in breath of air and skirted behind Tarah's back. Who's that right over there she said in a frightened voice. Judging by her reaction Kourtz could already tell who she was referring to. "That'd be Leif, he's a companion of ours". A companion? Is he... a good guy?
Turning around to see him Kourtz gazed upon the bloodied foot, inhuman claws, sheathed weapons hanging all over, and the cranky scowl on Leif's face. "Don't know. He looks pretty legitimate if you ask me" replied back the Mogma with a smirk. Shinsou gave a blank stare, clearly unimpressed with the joke. "So anyways watcha' doing all the way out here in the open, miss..."
...Shinsou. Well, I want to come and help you and the others. It's the least I owe you. "Outta the question Shinsou. It would only put you in danger if you tagged along with us. I didn't want to admit this, but... were all convicted criminals working for the Kingdom. There are plenty of people who want us dead. You could be locked up for just talking to us". I know that and I don't care Mister Kourtz. I know how to take care of myself. I know the land well and I can be of use to you. With a deep longing in her voice she whimpered back Please, I... I need this as much as you do.
Under normal circumstances Kourtz never would have allowed it. However he knew she was right. Over the previous day he had been at the complete mercy of events he couldn't control. He knew he needed someone on his side that he could fully trust. "Alright you can come, just promise me you'll flee at the first sign of danger". Turning to walk away he called back to the others "I'm headed to Zora's Domain right now. Anything you guys would like to say before we go there"?
Your Mission, Should You Accept It... Edit
Impa "I have something to say."
Unseen until she wished it, Impa stepped out into the middle of the group. Many of them seemed lost, confused, listless, frightened. The list went on. They did not seem prepared for the hardships ahead. And yet, as she looked from Tarah Vass to Kourtz the Mogma to Leif, her eyes only flickering over the little girl in their midst, she also saw determination. Perhaps the king was not wrong to entrust those gathered here with his sensitive missions.
"I know that you have encountered the thief who stole the Hylian Trust, and I know that you let him slip through your fingers." Her gaze settled on Tarah as she said this. "He was our hope of reclaiming the Trust, and now I understand he has been found in the company of the agents of King Tiburon. This is troubling news indeed, for I fear that it may mean that Tiburon is responsible for the theft of the key. If so then he has two, and you all have barely impeded his forces from climbing the slopes of Death Mountain to seize the third."
"But Majin, the thief, said-" Impa silenced Tarah with a stern look.
"You call the thief by his first name now?"
"He said he was hired by someone, a woman, not a Zora," the young woman contended. "He said that he turned the Trust over to her by the river."
"Indeed? Then the key could be anywhere, and we are left with no choice in any case." Impa crossed her arms behind her back and paced, looking from face to face. Were they ready for what came next? She took a breath and forged ahead. "I have come with instructions from the king. Since it seems we have reached a dead end in this investigation, we must resort to our contingency plan."
"Whad'ya mean 'contingency plan'?" Kourtz asked, tugging at the straps of his backpack.
Impa directed a grim smile in his direction. "I mean, Mister Kourtz, that we here are going to steal into the heart of Zora's Domain and take from them what has been stolen from us. We are going to steal the Zora Trust."
Leif The group procured mixed reactions, from a look of distraught to a blank stare at the algid ground. Leif inhaled scarce oxygen from the air, then boosted himself upwards from the tree nonchalantly.
The Mogma dragged his eyes across the faces of his comrades. "Y'know, personally, I think we'd all do best if we just did the stealth route through there. I'm not exactly comfortable with fightin', especially a lot o' things at once." Kourtz said anxiously. "Plus, if we were to dig tunnels, it'd give us a fast entrance and exit."
"It would be foolhardy to charge into Zora's Domain as you are currently equipped. The best option would be to stealthily make your way through the Domain undetected. Otherwise, this whole operation could become a very large hassle and we wouldn't want that, would we?" Impa elucidated.
Kourtz smirked. "Then I guess it's settled. We're going in stealthy. Unless of course anybody'd like to go separate ways for this?"
Leif began to crack his knuckles, the sound echoing through the river's pathways. "I'm going to be sticking with you. Stealth's never exactly been my forté..." he cracked his neck. "...ah. Anyway, I'll be travelling with you."
The members of the group glanced at Tarah, awaiting her decision.
Tarah Vass After the initial surprise of Impa's contingency plan subsided, Tarah was left confused. She had seen the Kings decision to recruit the group to start with as questionable, but sending them into the core of enemy territory to retrieve a protected artefact seemed like madness. However, no matter how foolish this quest seemed, or how probable it's failure she had no choice but to agree to it.
"Well then, as far as plans go this one seems fairly flawless. Count me in." She said sarcastically, and gazed towards the rapids of Zora river. "First of all though, we need to get up that river, which could prove tricky since none of us have fins."
Tarah glanced down to Shinsou and whispered "If you're coming along, just stay behind me ok?" which was met with a nod.
The group now began their trek up the river and Tarah noticed that Leif walked with a minor limp and remembered the injury he had suffered to his foot the previous night, and decided to attempt to help him as Taden had in the past.
"Stand still for a moment Leif, I want to test something." she said.
Crouching beside the river and collecting water in her cupped palm then pouring it over his foot, she then pulled Tadens hunting knife from her belt and pressed the side of the blade onto his wound. He winced slightly from the cold, but when she pulled it away the wound had been sealed by a layer of ice. This brought a smile to her face by confirming her theory that the blade was enchanted by the blue fire of an ice mage.
"That probably won't last long, but it should help"
Continuing to traverse the path beside the flow of water they quickly reached a complication as the trail narrowed and ended, forcing them to cross the rapids. This lead Tarah to test a second idea and dip her hunting blade in the water, which within seconds of contact formed a circular platform of ice which seemed to defy the flood for a moment before floating away. Quickly forming another Tarah quickly hopped onto it and used the increased reach it provided to leap across the water, just clearing it's tides. She then turned to see the others standing across the torrent, her face dropping as she remembered that they needed to cross it as well.
"Well then, who want to jump next?" She shouted to the others.
Shinsou no Ten Not looking very confident in herself Shinsou replied back, Ummm… I guess I up. I think I can handle it. Dashing at full speed she effortlessly leaped into the air and landed on the ice. With a second more Shinsou was once again on dry land. There, that wasn't so bad now was it Tarah said to her on the other side of the river rapids. Shinsou looked back to see Kourtz trying to balance, and yet slipping on the ice as he attempted the crossing.
On the last jump his awkward Mogma legs gave out and he splashed into the water. Shinsou quickly reached in and grabbing the fur behind his neck dragged him back to shore. Coughing up water Kourtz muttered back Gah, thanks Shinsou. After Leif made it over the trio continued their way toward the Zora's watery haven at the source of the river.
As the hours wore on Shinsou decided to ask a question that was nagging at her. Kourtz can I ask you something? Yeah sure, lay it on me. O.K then. I was wondering… As she began, her voice became softer and quieter. You said earlier that you are all criminals. I can kind of figure out what Tarah and Leif did, but what did you do to end up here? After a brief moment of silence Kourtz let out a deep sigh as he thought up the answer.
Truth be told I don't feel like I belong here. I was arrested for selling something called a timeshift stone. A timeshift stone? Yeah, according to the king it some magical crystal that can control time, or let people time travel, or some hocus pocus like that. Really, it can control time?
I guess so, but at the time I had no clue. It wasn't until I landed in Hyrule Castles dungeon that I even realized what I did wrong. So... Here I am today, hoping this quest will clear my name. Shinsou seemed very interested as she listened very intently. So if someone was to use a timeshift stone, could they go back and change the way things happened? I suppose so. But why are you so interested in this.
Oh no reason. Just curious I suppose.
Kourtz - Zora's Domain Entrance As twilight set in over Zora's Domain, the water reflected the golden light of the setting sun onto the eyes of the soon to be thieves of the Zora Trust Key. Peering around the corner Kourtz could see the entrance to their destination. Beneath the cascading waterfall stood a Zora Guard, blocking the only way he knew how to get in. Ah great. There's a guard standing right in the way. We can take him on, but that will alert everyone else about our little infiltration.
Scratching his chin he turned to the others. Any of you got ideas on what we should do? You know Kourtz it seems like every other sentence from you is always a question whipped back Leif. Really you think I ask too many questions? The dull response on everyone’s face seemed to confirm it. …Fine, I'll figure out something on my own then. Perhaps I can dig underwater or… something?
What a minuet Kourtz. Everyone turned to Shinsou who had placed the palm of her hand on a nearby rock. To the others she seemed… off. Her eyes stared out into empty space as if she was looking for something. After a tranquil moment of quiet she stood back up. Kourtz try digging in this wall over here. As the Mogma pierced his claws into the earth Kourtz became surprised at how soft the soil in the spot was. Digging in further he opened up what appeared to be a cavern leading to Zora's Domain.
What the... How did you know that was there? Like I said Kourtz, I know the land well. Hmm... Perhaps it was a good idea to have her come along after all Kourtz thought to himself. O.K then, you're sure this leads to Zora's Domain? Yes, I think so.
Well then, in we go.
Leif/Zora's Domain/Evening 3 The group advanced into the cramped cavern one by one, closing the gap between them and the light at the end of the tunnel. Leif noticed a pulsation similar to the beat of a heart rushing into all sides of each of his eyes. Since he hadn't slept in more than 24 hours he rubbed it off, assuming it was just a side-effect of not resting.
"Yo, we've reached the end of this tunnel!" Kourtz exclaimed. "But uh, looks like a bit of a drop... Say, I think I'll just dig a side tunnel to get down a bit safer. If you guys wanna risk breaking bones, you can jump."
Kourtz began burrowing downwards into the soft soil surrounding them. The dirt that was being thrown up the shaft began fabricating a make-shift wall at the previous exit. Once the steady flow of earth halted, the group followed down the new tunnel which led to the surface of an open area flooded with a few inches of water. A torrent of water gushed out from above them into a deep hole in the ground to capture the flow. Atop the exit of the water stood an armored Zora with a halberd facing the opposite direction.
Kourtz's eyes widened with anguish. He spotted a secluded hallway in the corner of the room and signaled the group towards it to avoid making any sound that would attract the Zora guard above them. Shinsou stopped to gaze at the caustic reflections strewn across the walls and ceiling of the area.
Tarah sighed. "Shinsou, this isn't a time to gaze at pretty sights." She whispered.
Shinsou shook her head and blinked. "Uh... yeah, right. Sorry."
They made their way towards the corridor quickly and quietly. Violet and blue light was scattered throughout the stone hallway from an unknown source. As the group continued through the narrow passageway mumbling was heard ahead of them, slowly increasing in volume. A heavy pulse entered Leif's eyes once again, much more violent this time.
"Damn it..." Leif mumbled.
Tarah Vass As she followed Leif's lead into the domain, Tarah couldn't help but worry. They weren't moving quickly or quietly enough for her liking, the others walked with the lightest tread they could but to her ears they were the footsteps of a mighty Goron crashing down the corridor. This paranoia of discovery had caused Tarah to walk slightly behind the others, sheltered by the darkness and safe to remain unnoticed if the others were spotted by the Zora forces. When they made it to the bright cavern Tarah still tried to remain in the shadows, pressing her body against the walls and pillars where the reflected light was least present.
They delved into another corridor and Tarah continued to stay behind until they hear the voices approaching. She caught up with the others who had stopped and crouched against the wall by a turn, a turn which could soon be the path of a major problem for them.
"So did you see those guys earlier? The Red one seemed a little, off." She heard one of the approaching voices say as she quietly moved ahead of her allies.
"Yeah, I agree, something seemed a little fishy about him." Another replied, followed by what sounded like a suppressed laugh.
At this point Tarah had silently repositioned herself to see that they were only two, and both seemed to be unarmed. She decided that this and the element of surprise could be used to their advantage and whispered to Leif.
"There are only two. You go left, i'll go right, don't kill straight away, they might have information."
She now gripped the handle of the hunting knife at her belt and pulled it from its sheath.
"Fishy? No? Never mind then. Hey, did you hear something?" The Zora said after a pause, and they finally turned the corner, wandering right into the Hylian trap.
Leif Without a second thought Leif unsheathed his sword as the echoes of the Zoras' tread approached. Once the webbed feet of the eastern guard entered Tarah's field of vision she swung the enchanted knife in a downwards arc as the guard passed by the corner, cutting a deep gash into the calf of the Zora as well as tripping it. The ice that was crawling briskly out of the gash started spreading across the Zora's leg then halted halted at the kneecap, preventing any possible movement in the leg.
Leif acted soon after. He crouched down and yanked the leg of the western guard from the knee then pushed upwards, knocking the guard down. Lifting his foot up, Leif sent a rose charge through his nervous and muscular system that quickly burst into his leg, building up force. Leif then plunged his foot downwards onto the fallen Zora's kneecap, shattering the bone into dozens of pieces causing the Zora to let out a weak whimper almost as if trying to hold back a possible scream, knowing it would just cause further pain.
"Well, I was expecting something a little less painful, but I suppose this works out fine." Tarah said whilst sheathing the hunting knife. "Now, you two wouldn't possibly know anything about the location of the Zora Trust, would you?"
The left one gulped. "N-No, of course not! We're just simple Zoras, nothing else!"
A grin grew slowly on Leif's face as the silence continued to fill their ears. Then, the grin shrunk down into a look of disappointment. He let out an exasperated sigh. If the Zora was attempting to avoid injury or suffering, why would it lie? It didn't matter. Leif nonchalantly shook his leg around beginning to build up a charge to once again threaten the Zora with pain. Before he could finish, however, a sharp pain shot into the corners of his eyes causing him to drop to the ground and drop his weapon. Blood eclipsed the white of Leif's eyes leaving nothing but a lone black circle. The slow but steady dripping of water splashing was muffled as his vision started to fade leaving tints of red across his peripheral vision. Once the sound surrounding Leif's collapsed body deadened and the violent pain strewing through the veins of his eyes continued, his consciousness slipped into nothing.
Tarah glanced over at Leif. "Hey, you there? Leif!" She sighed. "Well, I guess I'll have to interrogate you guys by myself until this fool wakes up. Now..." she unsheathed the hunting knife once again. "where were we?"
Worried of certain death, the Zora on the right spurted into confessions. "The Zora Trust is located in a small cavern at Zora's Fountain! You can get there just by following these corridors! Now, please don't hurt us, that's all we know regarding the Trust!"
"Well, alright. Killing you certainly wouldn't solve much." Tarah gazed at Leif's motionless body. She glances at Kourtz. "If anyone's willing to carry him, go right ahead."
Kourtz Alright, just give me a second.
Having dumped the Bombchus into his backpack Kourtz tore up the bag Taden had given him and used the cloth to bind the Zoras hands and mouth. As Kourtz glanced at the guards with the shattered legs, for the first time he felt legitimately guilty over what he was doing.
Sorry fella's. I got nothin' personal against you or the other Zora's. I wouldn't be doing this job if I didn't have to.
Kourtz then noticed the the guard with the frozen knee had been carrying something unusual. It was a boomerang, but like most of the Zora's weapons seemed to be made out of sharpened coral. Apparently the Zora didn't get the chance to use it before being attacked by Tarah. The Mogma pulled it away and placed it into his backpack, the guard unable to do anything but look on.
I haven't used one of these since I was a kid, but I have the feeling I'll need all the weapons I can get Kourtz thought to himself. He then turned to Shinsou.
Help me haul Leif outta here if you can Shinsou. It will only be a mater of time before someone finds these guys, so we gotta get moving before they do. Shinsou reluctantly grabbed Leif's legs while Kourtz hoisted his head. Taking off down the cavern they headed for Zora's Fountain.
Kourtz/Zora's Fountain/Night 3
After trudging through the knee deep water in Zora's Fountain the thieves arrived at what appeared to be the cavern the guards had spoken of. Kourtz set down Leif near a rock on the shoreline as he called over the girls.
"Yo, try to wake him up while I find a way in."
Kourtz walked over and looked up at the cave entrance. It was too high up for them to jump or climb too. The rock here was too solid to dig in as well. Seeing no other option the treasure hunter pulled out one of his Bombchu's and lit the fuse.
The others watched as it climbed up the wall and moments later blew up, showering down rocks onto the ground below. As suspected there was now enough debris on the bottom to climb their way in.
"Kourtz are you crazy! Someone will hear that" screamed Tarah. "I saw no other way to get in" replied Kourtz. "Besides it won't be long before they know were here anyways." With his claws he climbed up and looked into the caverns chilly entrance. "Were running out of time. We've got to get moving."
Tarah panicked, the explosion still echoed in her head, joined by her own voice screaming at her to run while she still could. She ignored this innate response to danger and turned back to Leif who had been awoken by the explosion and was trying to sit up. Realising he wasn't alert enough to run just yet Tarah grabbed him and thrust his heavy body over her shoulder. She and Shinsou then sprinted towards Kourtz and followed him into the gaping opening of the gloomy cavern.
Tarah Vass/Pre-Frozen Ice Cavern/Night 3
Once concealed by the darkness merely a dozen steps into the cave Tarah dropped the now awake Leif onto the hard rock floor and leant against the wall to catch her breath.
"Next time he needs carrying, it's your turn." She said between deep breaths. "Now, thanks to Kourtz, we need to hurry this up before a legion of Zora turn up and block our only exit."
Merely seconds after shouting this at the others Tarah heard the faint splashing of approaching Zora from across the fountain. "Great" she muttered, before once again breaking into a sprint into the depths of the cavern. Without need of a signal she could hear the others at her heels, their steps as powerful as the sound of the impact on the shallow water.
An idea came to mind as she saw a fork in the tunnel, the left path was covered by a wall of water crashing down from a crack in the ceiling. She signalled for the others to head in that direction and after hitting the water and moving through it she stopped and let the others pass her. "I really hope this works" she muttered, pulling Tadens hunting knife from her belt and holding it high in the flow. Tarah let out a sigh of relief as she observed the water beginning to solidify before her, pouring her concentration into the blade in hopes to strengthen the effect it slowly froze the entire waterfall. Pulling the knife from the wall of ice and turning to walk away she heard the angry steps of a Zora hoard run right past her and down the right of the fork.
"Hey, where'd you go?" Kourtz asked once she caught up with the others.
"I may have just solved our Zora problem, thanks to Taden." She answered with a smile. "They might not be fooled for too long though, so we should definitely keep moving. It can't be too much further now."
Leif - Mindscape
Constant thumps of pain continued throughout Leif's unconscious body. A weak, subtle tug could be felt in the very fabric of his mind as if mocking the vulnerability of a resting body. A strain on the eyes began to build as more pain pressurized on the skull tightening its grip on Leif's mind. Faint garbled voices could be heard in the corners of his mind, loosening his grasp on his own consciousness.
You've been in control for long enough, reptilian. Years of waiting and waiting, and now your body is in a perfect condition. Now, you can just relax and let me do the rest.
Leif's muscles tensed as more pressure was placed onto his entire body. Control was nearly completely lost over his body as his brain and nervous system needlessly attempted to fight back against an unstoppable force, slowly inching towards complete authority. A shock of pain entered Leif's temporal lobe in the brain reading the entirety of all of his memories. Suddenly, the violent force that seemed to be able to completely manipulate the body began to weaken. The pain coursing through his entire body shriveled back into an infinitesimal size.
As the strain that was pushed onto his conscious fled back to whence it came, Leif awoke to the sound of falling rocks and a ringing in his ears.
Leif - Pre-Frozen Ice Cavern
The group continued to follow the left path until the two paths intertwined once again leaving the group no choice but to follow the path the Zora will be heading or have already headed. A consistent drip of water dropped from the ceiling of the halls. "Y'know, if this place froze over, I bet there'd be huge icicles in here crashing on to people's heads constantly..." Kourtz muttered. "Eh, just a thought." Eventually a dead end was met at the end of the path. A colossal body of pink ice blocked their way halting any progress. "Great," Tarah said with exhaustion. "this basically guarantees that those Zoras are behind us." "We-" "and before you ask a question Kourtz, no, the walls are too solid to dig through." The stomp of Zora feet began to echo through the hall towards them. Instead of multiple, however, there only appeared to be one. Leif crouched behind a corner the Zora was approaching. As it crossed his field of vision he unsheathed his sword and sliced into the Zora like butter, killing it instantly. A slit in its armor unveiled multiple bottles filled with a captured blue flame, sending cyan sparks across the insides of the containers. Leif picked up one of the bottles and uncorked it, letting out a loud POP. He tossed the open bottle towards the wall of ice, smashing the bottle and causing the fire to spread quickly across the whole wall slowly melting it all down to a miniscule piece of solid pink. "Well, this whole scenario was pretty damn convenient." Leif said as he gathered up the remaining bottles of Blue Fire.
Kourtz stood motionless as the others ran past where the red ice had once stood. Stunned and sickened at the sight of the fallen Zora's lifeless body he found himself unable to move.
"Come on Kourtz we have to keep going" said Shinsou. "Y-Your right. Let's go."
As he rushed down the narrow tunnel a deep feeling of dread washed over the treasure hunter. Up until now he thought he could always back down or run away from the quest the king had given them. Now it was overwhelming clear he was in too deep to ever get out. He could either fight on till his mission was compleat, or join the fallen in deaths silent slumber.
At the end of the hall they came across a wide open cavern. However once inside there appeared to be no exit.
"Rats, is this a dead end? Shinsou! Quickly, try and find an exit before..."
"Before what may I ask?" At once everyone turned around to see an armored Zora Knight overlooking the cavern they stood in. Behind him more guards arrived from within the tunnel to reinforce his position. Kourtz began to visibly shake as the others readied themselves for a last stand.
"Oh, H-Hello there. Don't mind us were just in here... umm, sightseeing?"
"Is that suppose to make me laugh? Attempted theft is hardly a crime to be joked at Mogma, especially not when coped with assault and murder." At these last words Kourtz's ears dropped down as his face looked away in shame.
"I think you all know what you need to do. Surender or my battalion will kill you right here."
"Ha! If you think were going to give up without a fight then think again" replied back Leif.
"Then you leave us no choice. Men, let's show these criminals some of our hospitality shall we?"
Finally unable to hold back Kourtz had reached his emotional limit.
With everyone looking out on him the Mogma began to yell like a zealot revolutionary, his eyes widened with fear and adrenaline.
"I could care less what happens to the trust, or to this conflict, or to this stupid mission of ours! But I, AM NOT A CRIMINAL! I AM NOT A MURDERER!"
Breathing in heavily Kourtz pulled out the boomerang and continued on. "You Zora's stay back! I don't want to do this, but I will not let you kill me for something I didn't do."
As the Zoras lowered their spears for attack it was apparent his rant had fallen on deaf ears. "All men ready? CHARGE!" In an instant the guards rushed forward at the trio that stood before them. Yet with a loud crack and the sudden shaking of the earth everyone seemed to come to a sudden stop as they stood in silence at the growing rumble.
Out from the soil beneath them rose a hoard of skeletal beasts. Awakened from the dead by the sudden noise in the cavern the stalfos began to attack the Zora. As the guards suddenly found themselves fighting back swarms of keese flew out of cracks and crevices in the ceiling.
For a moment it seemed like this would be the salvation for Kourtz and his companions, until the creatures of darkness began to attack them as well. Worse still some of the Zora broke through and seemed intent on stopping the convicted thieves before them.
As the chaotic battle began to unfold Kourtz called back to the young girl in the rear.
"Shinsou get moving! We'll cover you the best we can. Find a way outta here!"
Plunged into a battle she wasn't prepared for, Tarah realised that sometimes you have to stop running and fight. She had pulled her bow out and was indiscriminately firing into the rabble of Zora and Stalfos, her arrows piercing scaled flesh and ancient bones. She kept her distance for as long as she could, but the hoard slowly approached her until she was forced to sheath her bow as the rusted blade of an undead sliced through the air, narrowly missing her head as she ducked. Tarah quickly pulled Tadens hunting knife from her belt and sliced as she rose again, shattering the bones of the Stalfos and sending frozen shards into the surrounding area.
She now faced the armies in close combat, her blade was small compared to the weapons she faced so she relied on her speed and agility to prevail. A Zora swung towards her with a mighty spear, but she jumped to the side and thrust her knife into it's side, quickly pulling it out to throw it to her right hand and catch the wrist of a skeletal arm with her left, moments before the sword it held cut her throat. Gripping the wrist she held the Stalfos in place and crashed her blade into it's skull. She now turned and pulled the rib from another Stalfos, and sunk it into the back of a Zora, and her knife into that of another.
Darting in an around the crowd, administering fatal blows whenever she could and batting Keese from the sky, Tarah still saw no exit. She would occassionally glimpse Shinsou in her peripheral vision, scrambling in the edge of the fray, clutching the walls in search of a way out. Tarah glanced towards her in a moment of calm within the storm and witnessed the rocky wall crumble to reveal a path into the darkness. A smile spread across Tarahs face upon seeing this and she sprinted towards the opening, thrusting her blade into the flesh or bone of any foe standing in her way.
As Leif and Tarah dashed away to brawl with enemies a swarm of keese descended upon Kourtz. With a strong throw of his arm he sent the coral boomerang flying into heart of the swarm. The swirling piece of living weapon cut effortlessly through the demonic bats, sending their sliced bodies tumbling earthward. Unlike how he expected it to though Kourtz's stolen boomerang landed away from him.
Running through the battle all around him to get it one of the keese that survived his attack swooped down and bit into the Mogma's left shoulder. Screaming in pain and anger Kourtz lunged his hand at the monster, skewering it on the ends of his claws. Tossing the fallen keese aside the bite wound appeared superficial as the coral boomerang was again picked up and flung at a nearby Stalfos. As it's bones collapsed back into the ground Kourtz caught out of the corner of his eye the sight of Shinsou being chased by a Zora.
Flinging it airborne the boomerang made contact with the aquatic knights head, only for it to bounce off his bronze helmet. Alerted to his presence the guard turned his sights from the young girl to the furry young man. Running from the Zora on his tail Kourtz fumbled through his backpack as he desperately searched for a bombchu. Now with in range the Zora threw his spear like a javelin at his fleeing target. Finally finding one of his mechanical bombs Kourtz leaped into the air and tossed his bombchu by it's metal tail towards the knight, barley missing the coral spear lunged at him.
Realizing what was coming at him the Zora panicked and tried to jump away. The resulting explosion was still too close to escape from, sending his helpless body careening across the room. Looking over his shoulder Kourtz saw that Shinsou had found an tunnel leading out of the cavern. Calling over to Leif, Kourtz pointed out the exit at which the girls stood. He waved for Leif to follow as the treasure hunter made a mad dash to reach them.
Amidst the clashing of blades and javelins Leif heard Kourtz call to him, pointing out the exit across from them. Leif sheathed his left sword and sprinted towards the tunnel swinging at incoming Keese above him. While running sword in hand, a Stalfos swung its sword at Leif's hand slicing completely across it leaving a gaping wound as well as causing him to drop his sword.
"Perfect, another injury to deal with..."
Leif looked back at his fallen sword that was now several feet away. Aware that if he were to go back for his blade the Zoras would notice their escape, Leif instead kicked his foot into the rib cage of the Stalfos pursuing him and tugged, snapping the bone off the spine. Leif caught the bone from its sharpened edge and hurled it at the Stalfos' skull, cleanly decapitating it. Leif ripped a small piece of fabric from his shirt and tied it across the wound on his right hand. He continued sprinting for the crawlspace.
Quickly and quietly Leif slid into the tunnel right after Kourtz. The group forged ahead hoping the Trust would be found soon. A loud screech was heard at the entrance of the tunnel, followed by a heavy flapping of wings. Leif pulled out a bottle of Blue Fire and tossed it down the path, creating a fiery barrier, hopefully preventing anything from passing by. Blood continued to trickle down Leif's hand onto the ground leaving steady splotches of crimson on the ground. Tarah looked back, noticing Leif's injury.
"Congratulations on getting yourself hurt once again. This time though I can't fix it up so you're just going to have to deal with that until we can heal you up."
Leif sighed. A faint light began to shimmer into the tunnel. The screeches and shrieks of the Keese faded into the darkness of the cave as the group made their way to the end of the tunnel. A large room loomed ahead of them with a single pathway. Kourtz gazed awestruck around the room due to the sheer size of everything around him, then quickly snapped out of his amazement.
"So, uh, this seems like the final stretch, thank the Gods. I'm getting sick of crawling through damp tunnels while getting chased by psychotic beasts. Not exactly my favorite thing to do... Anyway, we should keep going before that fire dies down."
Leif and company began walking through the room hoping that they'll make it to the Trust before the Keese and Zora make it to them.
King Tiburon/Zora Throne Room/3rd Night
Less than amused at being roused from his slumber at this hour, King Tiburon looked down from his throne at the nerve wracked guard and tried to restrain the rage that boiled through his veins.
"I don't know how they gained entrance to the cave my liege, but..."
"They did." The kings tone was firm and gave no leave for rebuttal. "The how matters not. The why is perfectly clear. Dromand has lost his key and he wishes to replace it with mine."
Rising to his feet the king began to pace, muttering to himself, "Where is that supposed Crimson General when I need him." Pausing mid-stride, malicious gleam in his eyes, the King turned on the quivering guardsman.
"Sound the conch."
If it were possible for the inept fool to tremble more, he now was. "Uh-uh...my lord! Are..are you sure?"
"Blow. The. Fucking. Conch. Now."
Fumbling with the leather strap at his belt, the soldier bobbled the shell horn off of buttered fingers and it fell with a splash. Hastily ducking down to retrieve it, the guard came up short when he found his king standing mere inches away from him.
Jerking the horn away, Tiburon shoved the guard mercilessly. "Damned fool. Get out of my sight."
Inhaling deeply he brought the shell to his lips. The deep bass rumble of the conch spread across the entirety of Zora's Domain, bouncing from wall to wall until the very air thrummed with it's reverberations.
"There. Let the abomination deal with them."
Zora Guardsmen - Pursuing Infiltrators of the Sacred Cave
"Over there! Down that tunnel!"
The sonorous boom of the massive conch halted the guardsmen in their tracks. Dropping spears and generally tripping over and running into each other, the guardsmen exited the cave a jumble of chaos as they fled for their lives.
King Dromand's Secret Agents - Chamber of the Zora Trust
Mid-way across the chamber, a raised dais in an alcove at the far end of the room became visible.
The boom of the conch horn was muffled at this depth, easily mistaken for thunder, yet not quite loud enough to mask the faint snickt made when the stone slid into place. Blocking off the tunnel they entered the chamber through, which happened to be the only visible exit.
The group as a collective turned at the sound. Confused glances that quickly turned into shouts were exchanged as the floor dropped out from beneath them sending them plummeting several feet down into the depths of a dark and murky pool.
High up above, tiny slots opened and water started to trickle down into the pool causing the overall level to rise.
That was the least of present concerns however.
The water began to bubble and boil some distance from where the intruders fell as a massive river broke the surface in a fiery rage.
Tarah was pleasantly surprised as she plunged into water instead of the instant death trap she had expected to lie beneath them. She quickly resurfaced from the depths of the pool and as she inhaled she saw the true horror of the Zora trap. It emerged from the water with a mixture of fire and steam, then fell back into the water before Tarah could see enough to know what it was. The room now darkened as the flames went out, and the only sounds were the splashes of the intruders attempts to stay afloat. This terrified her. The idea that something deadly was lingering somewhere beneath her and not knowing when it would strike filled Tarah with fear.
Knowing she needed to react quickly Tarah reached down to her belt to retrieve her blade, but was interrupted as the beast jumped from the water once again, this time closer to the group. As it rose from the surface it's flames rushed towards the thieves and they dove under the water to escape the heat. When they arose again, their foe seemed to be gone again, and Tarah used this time to pulled her knife from it's sheath and brush it across the surface of the water to create a platform of ice which she clambered onto to escape the jaws of the danger below.
Tarah now expanded the platform, just in time to have enough space to dive away from an oncoming fireball which to her surprise barely melted the flooring she had created. Unsure of how they would damage this monstrosity in the rising basin, she tested and idea. Moving as fast as she could she pulled an arrow from her quiver and held it next to Tadens blade, as she had hoped the icy aura slowly spread onto the cold steel of the arrowhead. A smile of hope broke across her face as her plan was working, a joy which was cut short as she temporarily forgot the threat they faced and was blasted off of the icy platform and into the depths of the water by the flames of the monster.
The pain of burning was cut short by the water but still stung, Tarah created a new layer of ice where she had fallen and climbed onto it, wincing at the pain of the ice touching her burns. From this flooring behind the others she called to them.
"I have a plan, but I need you to distract it before I can do anything."
"Got it Tarah." Turning to face his adversary, he yelled at the top of his lungs. "Yo fishface, try this on for a change will ya!" Hiding how scared he truly was with his attempt at trash talk, Kourtz threw his boomerang right at the monstrous Zora's exposed head. Though the curved piece of coral hit it's target dead on the Zora did little than hiss and shrug it off. "Oh, Come on!"
With a swing of it's scaled arm the River Zora knocked everyone off the ice platform and into the water once more. Diving underwater the group could see the faint light of the room reflecting off the aquatic beasts eyes as it approached ever closer. Facing down the river monster in the waters below Kourtz had almost nothing to use against it. The bombchus were useless while in the water. His electro-slingshot or Cane of Pacci could do the trick; if they didn't get left behind when he was arrested.
With only one option available Kourtz pulled his goggles down over his eyes, took a deep breath, and dove under. Thinking he could possibly use the boomerang's sharpened edge as a dagger he swam deeper in and got into position to stab it. Suddenly and unexpectedly however a swirling vortex of rushing water began to appear from the weapon in the Mogmas paw. Bewildered at how weightless it seemed to feel Kourtz took a chance and tossed it while still submerged. A whirlpool of boiling water followed as the boomerang sucked up it's victim and cut into it's scaly skin several times.
Pleased to see his new strategy working Kourtz swam back to the surface to catch his breath. Before he could gasp enough air however he felt a titanic pull on his tiny leg. Dragged back under by the might of the river zora the treasure hunter watched helplessly as the boomerang drifted back to surface without him. The Mogma struggled to get free as his lungs began to sting with pain.
The struggle did little other than to cause Kourtz to panic. He knew the monster was trying to drown him and that he had no way to fight back. The Zora was toying with him, death would soon follow. As he felt the last of the air being squeezed out of him, Kourtz' only hope lay with his new friends above.
Tarah Vass / Chamber of the Zora Trust / Midnight of the 3rd
Tarah looked around frantically, holding the blade in one hand and the arrow in the other as Tadens blue fire gradually spread across to the arrowhead. The thrashing in the depths had slowed and she feared for Kourtz, hoping that Leif could help him but when she glanced his was she knew he would be of no use now. His fatigue and injuries appeared to have overcome him as Shinsou dragged him onto the ice, he fell flat on the frigid surface and Tarah ran towards the pair and thrust the blade and arrow into the girls hands.
"Hold them together until the arrow is engulfed by blue fire, by then I should have returned." She shouted, before diving into the cold depths to rescue Kourtz.
As her body cut through the cold water below, Tarah grabbed the boomerang as it floated towards her. She swam with urgency, thankful for the time she had spent living by Lake Floria and the swimming practise that came with it. Somehow she caught up to the beast, and violently swung the boomerang towards it in an attempt to get it to release her Mogma companion. As she thrust her arm through the water, she lost grip on the coral and it flew into her enemy and caused it to release Kourtz, who she caught and pulled to the surface.
Kourtz landed on the ice next to Leif, struggling to catch his breath after being thrown out of the water. Tarah quickly emerged after him, rushing towards Shinsou who thrusted the arrow and blade into Tarahs hands once again. The arrow was now cold to the touch, and gave a blue glow. Hope now filled Tarah's smile as she pulled back the string of her bow and released the polar arrow into the chest of her foe which now lept from the water.
The arrow pierced the flesh of the beast and it's scales shined with icy crystals around the area of impact. A pained howl escaped the vicious maw of the creature as it fell back into the water. It now flailed uncontrollably in the darkness, still screaming with pain, as it flailed closer to the platform Tarah saw her chance to end this.
"Find the trust. I'm killing this fucker." She shouted to the others, then dived onto the back of the screeching monster.
It moved quickly and erratically but her grip was too strong, she held onto it's shoulders as it thrashed further down into the depths until it slowed slightly. She took this time to pull the hunting knife from her belt and push it into the throat of the Zora, it's rapid movement stopped as she thrusted the cold metal in and out of it's scaled flesh until it's blood clouded the water. Finally satisfied, Tarah cut out one of it's curved teeth and swam back up to the others.
As Tarah dove in to finish off their foe, the ice sheet drifted higher and higher towards the ceiling. Almost even to where they fell in at Kourtz lifted himself up over the ledge and onto the platform where the trust stood. Dashing over to it's pedestal and picking up the regal looking key, the moment felt somewhat anti-climatic compared to what else had happened throughout the night. Still the task the king sent upon them was finally over. They had stolen the Zora Trust and lived to tell the tale.
Emerging from the bloodied water Tarah came up to see Kourtz holding there objective in his claws. "We got it! We actually got it!" Everyone left out a sigh of relief and paused for a moment. "So umm... How do we get out of here?" With the water still rising everyone swam over to the entrance only to see it half way submerged. Trying in vain to pull it open panic set in once more.
"No, no, NO! Oh Gods, I almost drowned once. I do not want to go out like this!" Kourtz turned to his companions. "Come on. Think of something!" The silence between them was broken by Shinsou. "Mr. Kourtz I have an idea... but I'm not sure if it's safe". "I don't care what it is. We've got 7 feet of air left so unless you've got something better DO IT!"
"OK, hold on to something". As the young lady said these words the air around her started to radiate and glow. The water at her waist began to bubble and boil as cracks in the cavern around them began to appear. Yelling, screaming at the top of her lungs, it seemed the whole world was shaking around them. Finally with one last breath a tidal wave of earth and rock blasted forth, sending all flying about in different directions.
Kourtz/Zora's River/Late Night 3
Far below the falls at Zora's Domains entrance an explosion burst from the ground and out came two women, a Mogma, and a monster. Coughing and gasping for air the trio turned in awe towards Shinsou. "Well there, were out. Let's take off running before the Zora figure out were here". Not bothering to argue all took off into the distance.
In mid sprint Kourtz wasted no time in asking the most obvious question. Shinsou what in Din's name was that?!! How can you possibly break the ground open like that? "Ummm... Magic" was the reply. Meh, good enough explanation for me.
"Wait a second" asked Leif, now fully awake and in a run. "You could do that the whole time and you didn't think of doing it"? "If I did that while in the caverns there was a chance I would have killed all of you. I didn't want to take that chance until there was no choice left".
It was Tarahs turn to speak next. "Kourtz, do you still have the trust"? Yeah, I've got it in the bottom of my backpack. Let's get back to Castle Town so we can be done with this, once and for all.
With the Zora Trust finally in the group's possession they began running down to Castle Town. Leif started to think about what caused his recent black-out and the constant pain that's been pumping through his body since. The thoughts of a cause from something greater was creeping into his list of possibilities then pushed back out of his conscience. While walking his mind drifted off into thought.
Clearly this is nothing more than just a temporary problem, right? I mean, nobody experiences pain and hears voices permanently without having some sort of mental problem which I'm certain I don't have. Plus, it just came from out of the blue! No one in history has ever just suddenly been diagnosed with a psychological illness. Maybe while I was dozed off somebody here drugged me with something, but they'd never do that, would they? I mean, I never fully trusted them to begin with but I'd never expect that from any of them! But the country's at the brink of war and anything is possible. Trying to get me out of the way for whatever reason... Totally a possibility! In fact, almost definitely! This "alliance" is simply just a large pack of lying backstabbers! Rest assured, if they think THEY can trick ME with this little ruse they're trying to pull then they will be SADLY MISTAKEN!
Leif/Hyrule Field/Late Night 3
Leif's eyes darted open from their dazed stare into the approaching distance. He looked over to his comrades who were jogging nonchalantly beside him. Thawing ice damped his foot as his wound slowly ripped back open. His pupils lazily scrolled back to the center of his eye. Previous care he did have for his acquaintances slowly faded away as their destination loomed in the distance. The roar of the river strolling beside them silenced the imperceptible whispers in Leif's head. An inarticulateness filled the air surrounding the group.
"Hey, uh, sorry to interrupt," Kourtz mumbled. "but could we maybe slow down? My legs weren't exactly designed for running long distances."
Tarah slowed her jog to a fast walk. "Yeah, doesn't seem like a bad idea. We did just kill a massive River Zora while almost drowning, I think we deserve a break, what ever kind it may be."
The rest of the group slowed down one after another as they crossed the bridge going over the river. The castle walls were now in their sights.