Self Pity, And All Its Friends
Majin Kotage – Zora’s Domain – Day 7
Truth of the matter was, Majin didn’t remember much of his two days in Zora’s Domain.
It was a conscious decision on his part, made out of necessity as much as desire, and yet wholly unsatisfactory in execution. When he’d undertaken to drown away all conscious thought and memory in the aftermath of that terrible battle on the Field of Hyrule, and of his actions thereabouts, it had been precisely those memories he’d sought to eradicate. Instead, however, all he’d done was cloud his mind in the perpetual fog of alcohol and those poisons amongst his stock that, when used sparingly, provided certain narcotic effects. He perished all memory and all capacity to remember the time in which he was affected, but the memories of before lingered on in him, and drove him deeper into the darkness of despair beyond the rim of his mug.
He recalled on occasion the company of his perhaps friend, perhaps simply acquaintance Polaris Eridanus. More than once the red-scaled Zora came to him and spoke in friendship to him, but Majin did not want to hear it. Even Kaimu, whom Majin had once thought dead, and even after had not thought to see again, had come to him as he’d sat beside the great falls. Majin, however, had not proven to be very good company.
And so, after two full days and nights of wallowing, he found himself seated atop the falls once more, legs dangling over the edge, wiping sloppily spilled Ordonian brandy from the corners of his reptilian mouth. Beyond, in the chambers of King Tiburon, Majin could hear the clamor of planning and strategizing, of orders given and taken, of oaths sworn and positions usurped.
He could have been in there, been a part of the great councils, privy to all the intentions and ideas of the Zora high command. But what good would that do? They were planning for a war that he’d caused, marking off the numbers of the dead and expected dead as numbers on a ledger, and each one was a black mark on Majin’s soul.
He tipped back the clay mug, letting the bitter, fruity liquid course down his throat and warm his belly. There, poised at the precipice of a hundreds-foot cliff, he contemplated his worth.
Majin had killed before. Hell, he’d killed for all the wrong reasons, money, renown, his signature on a sheaf of parchment. He’d never cared, for what did it matter to him? He’d been betrayed in his time, and ever after he hadn’t cared for the fates of others.
But never had his actions escalated to such a monumental scale. After the Dragon Mask, and the unholy blood-rage had seized his mind and driven him to slaughter, after he’d torn off that mask and woken as himself amidst a field of bodies on a field of battle that all his own, he’d been changed in his heart. It had been as though he was awakening from the warm confines of his insulated worldview to the nightmare of his reality.
And yet, for the third time, he rose from his perch and tottered away, once more lacking the fortitude to do that thing that he so often considered. The rocks at the foot of the falls remained, for another day, bloodless.
Instead Majin strode maladroitly back through the tunnel and down the long, winding path to the water’s edge far below, where he was surrounded by the clamor of Zoras preparing for the bloodshed that was soon to come. Everytime he turned, Zoras looked askance at him, wondering why their lord gave such a wretched drunk leave to dwell within their demesne. Majin gave them an indelicate hand gesture and went on. What the hell did he care what they thought of him? How could they think any less than he himself?
He turned another corner down another tunnel, down to the very lowest level of the cavernous Domain. There, carved out of the very rock across the tunnel from the Zora’s bazaar, occupying a passage that had long been condemned for its lack of integrity, he passed into the ill-conceived and unwanted heart of their only tavern. The chamber was a long, low-ceiling of vaulted stone, not particularly broad but large enough for a few castoff tables and benches, and a bar.
The barkeep, an older Zora whose name Majin had never bothered to ascertain, frowned at him as he entered. The Tokay scrambled up onto a stool across from him and set the mug, rather forcefully, down on the bar top.
“I seem to have—hic—finished my drink,” he slurred. “Gimme another.”
He ignored the unpleasant sniff as the barkeep went about pouring. He was already considering whether his next drink and his next hour of solemn contemplation would give him the mettle to take the plunge.
Polaris Eridanus/ Zora's Domain/ 7th Day
"Good morning General Polaris Eridanus. My name is Lady Stella Delphinus. I have been informed you have inherited my former position as general of the Royal Zora Army. Congratulations sir!"
Well. This was awkward. Polaris looked at the former General who's job he now held, met her gaze, held it for the briefest of moments and snapped of a crisp salute in return.
"At ease my lady. This is my comrade Kaimu Kotaro. I wasn't aware that King Tiburon was demoting you...my apologies."
Looking on the young woman Polaris saw a bit of himself. There was a fire and a devotion that burned in her eyes, yet it was plain to see that Tiburons dressing down had cut her to the bone. She was still shaken, but doing a fine job of hiding it.
Before either spoke, Elizabeth entered carrying a lute. Polaris made a snap decision,
"It's a far cry from your former standing my lady, but it may be a step back in that direction. It is within my power as general to name a Captain, and I choose you Stella, if you'll have it."
Elizabeth's instrument shone in the pale blue light of the Zora throne room. "Stella, Elizabeth. Elizabeth, Stella."
With introductions now out of the way, it was time to get moving.
"Alright ladies, Lord Kotaro, it's time we move. We've been stagnant for far too long.
Kaimu, it's time we got to see that old friend. And Lizzy, bring your instrument, we may need it where we're headed."
Assuming that the others would fall in behind, Polaris exited the throne room and strode down the corridor and out into the Domain proper.
Aside of a few brief conversations, Polaris hadn't spent much time with his grieving friend over the last few days. He'd been content to keep his distance and allow him his opportunity to wallow. However, that didn't mean he wasn't keeping tabs. If the Shadowcloak had been in any fit state, Polaris' tail would've been outed and likely gutted within minutes.
The ever present din of thousands of gallons of water crashing to the rocks below grew louder as they approached the falls. Stopping near the precipice, Polaris peered down below and then looked to the shadows.
Out of which stepped a Zora whom he didn't recognize, "Where's Coru?"
The unknown Zora shrugged as he strode forward, extending a hand.
"Dunno. He got pulled last night. Your spook is now Tiburons. I'm Jaran."
The idea of Tiburon commandeering his spook wasn't unheard of, it was a bit perplexing though that he wasn't notified of the change. No matter, there was work to be done.
"Understood. I assume you didn't let your mark jump?"
Jaran shook his head, smiling longingly,
"No sir. He's down at The Grubby Ghini probably swimming in the last of old Carns Ordonian brandy. Probably the last we'll see for some time too."
Polaris was already moving away when he heard the young sentry sigh in dismay at the prospect of no more booze.
Tucked away in the darkest corner of the bottom level of Zora's domain, the tavern wasn't known for the greatest of atmospheres. Pushing open the doors, Polaris strode across the room, nodding to the barkeep Carn who was grumbling and absentminded lot polishing a dirty mug with an even dirtier washcloth.
Seated at the far end of the bar tipping up an oversized clay mug, Majin Kotage sloshed more of the fruity booze on himself than he did down his gullet. Polaris strode forward as he sat the mug down.
Looking up at the general, Majin grunted and reached for his mug once more, only to this time be stopped. Polaris placed a hand atop the mug and slid it out of the Tokay's reach.
"I think you've had enough."
Majin grunted again and went for the mug, Polaris put a steadying hand on his chest and pushed him firmly, but not unkindly, back on his stool.
"Listen friend, I know you feel about as low as an Octoroks offal right about now, but we...I need your help.
Now sober up, because unwittingly or not, you started this war and now, well, now you're going to help me finish it."
Elizabeth/Zora's Domain/Day 7
After Nerisse helped Elizabeth prepare for her next mission, they didn't spend too much time talking. Nerisse warned Elizabeth about overplaying what resources she had and playing up her Crimson Raiders as much as she had been.
"Your Raider Warbands and the Gerudo Skirmishers are not too different. We don't do protracted battles. Remember that you lost all but a Lynel nearly three days back."
Beth reluctantly agreed, but she had a rebuttal all her own.
"And I had no choice. The fourth thing any cultist is taught is martyrdom's purpose. If the best thing to do with one's life is to spill it on the ground to preserve our way of life, it is done as a statement."
The two butted heads a little bit but came to a mutual understanding as to how to approach bringing Namira into the war. From what Beth knew of Namira, she was hoping to profiteer. But harboring the Eclipse as well as cutting Calatia off from the mainland proved to be two things that got out over the past few days. They proved to be disastrous. Namira needed friends. Bloody Beth on retainer was especially something the headlines in Castle Town didn't need to have on them.
After spending a little time with her lute, Nerisse bid Beth farewell. Beth would miss Nerisse, even though they had hit a rough spot in their relationship. The Border Guard was able to fill her artistic side through Beth's twisted poetry. She'd even purchased a printing of Bloody Beth's finest writings to read in her travels. The ones she wrote before the Eldin Incident, at least. Post-incident induced insanity with repeated readings.
Grabbing her dark-stained lute that some of the cultists managed to filter through to her, Elizabeth made her way toward the main corridor where Polaris was conversing with a female Zora of significance. Some of the other Zora making their rounds were casting fearful glances while a few actually turned and ran in terror screaming her name. This amused her, but she also felt a little bad because these people were her new allies. Gaining popular support would take time.
Shaking Stella's hand, Elizabeth smiled as warmly as a twisted soul could. Her vision flickered; she could see Stella's face double as an enraged Oni of Light for a brief moment, and she looked disturbed. Trying to save face, she giggled.
"A pleasure. Any friend of Lord Polaris is a friend of mine. Good to see you again as well, Lord Kotaro."
And off to the bar they all went. She did her best to avoid eye contact with Kaimu so as to keep the peace. Their initial meeting was heated, and the group had to gel if they had any hope of succeeding. And if she had any hope of requesting a second sanctuary in Zora's Domain.
Observing the Tokay who had helped her clear a pathway to survival three days prior was baffling. And from what Polaris said, if it was true, she was surprised that the fellow was only drinking heavily and not dangling from a rope in the infirmary. Polaris had the tact that she didn't. She quickly ordered a shot of Captain Reynolds' Calatian Reserve and shrugged as she threw it back.
"Don't judge me. This has been a hell of a morning already."
Beth shuddered as she felt the warmth of quality spirits hit her system, doing her best to keep it together.
~Zora’s Domain, The Grubby Ghini, The Seventh Day~
Kaimu had no interest in judging Beth further than he already had. Watching her down drinks alongside Majin was frustrating given the task was to put a stop to the drinking, but he was not ready to escalate the tension any further.
His attention was squarely on Majin. An old friend, he felt pain watching the Tokay struggle. Kaimu had seen much of the Battle of Disharmony from afar, and the relatively small creature had done great damage in his dragon form.
“Oh.” Kaimu uttered the word softly, clutching his chest. The metal plate was still there, he had almost forgotten. He felt something moving, spinning in the center, and then a noise like steam screaming up from a crack in the earth.
“Remember...” It was the voice of Sirius, and it spoke aloud, catching the attention of Polaris. Majin looked looked over as well, though in his drunken state it was hard to tell what the Tokay was actually comprehending.
“His carnage...was brought on by your shadow...” Sirius had planted a message in the metal plate somehow, something time sensitive, perhaps location sensitive. It managed to trigger exactly when he encountered Majin. The mad scientist never let up, even when nowhere in sight. It all rushed into Kaimu’s mind, his doppelganger hadn’t merely died, he had been forced to inhabit a mask constructed by an ice shaman, Taden Horwendil. That mask had fallen into Majin’s possession. Kaimu, sickeningly, was also indirectly responsible for the carnage Majin now lamented.
Kaimu plopped down next to Majin and put an arm around him.
“I think I know your pain now, old friend. That man Sirius left me with the memories of what my clone did. It was not I who died on that mountain, nor was it I who inhabited that mask. Just as it was not you who performed those acts. Sirius is an evil man, and he created the tortured souls that drove you to do what you did.”
Rykos Bumba / Zora's River / Night 6
The stars of Hylia twinkled through the overlapping canopy of trees that piled up around the Zora's Riverbanks. At the apex of the great flow, supine on a rock fixed to the cascade's south bank, a lone Tokay looked up at them through bleary eyes. Clouds of smoke slowly trailed from the trees nearby, a gruff voice behind them.
"Time flows like a river," Rykos sang, reciting desert poetry, "until sun leaves but cracks."
He emerged from the shadows and plopped down on the grass next to the lizard man's stone. "As the arrow flies from the quiver, so too the past at our backs."
Rykos stretched his arms behind his head and gave forth a bovine yawn. He reclined on his back and looked up at the same stars, cigar pinched in his teeth. "Did you ever consider how small we are?" he asked directly. The Tokay gave no answer. Rykos paid no mind; he was in a rhetorical mood. "Such a vast Realm we live in, and for but short a time," he went on. "How tempting it is to believe our lives of no consequence, a dimwitted saunter down a path unlit: no turning back, yet no knowing the way forward..."
In the distance, crickets chirped, a steady whirring only audible by its pulsing out of step with the roaring rhythm falls.
"Still, as big as the world may seem, things hidden in the dark have a way of finding us out."
Rykos finally turned to look over at Majin. The Tokay had gone to sleep.
"Great plan, genius," came a gravelly voice from the woods. "Normally the victim has to be awake for you to lure him into a false sense of security." From the shadows by the riverbanks, a great, black Bullbo emerged to sniff at the ground by Rykos's head. She carried a heavy pack and saddle on her back, with a giant war hammer that hung from one side. Hathor's wide snout was stuffy in the humid air. After two nights, she had had quite enough of hunting the perimeter of Zora's Domain, but they still hadn't found a way past the falls.
"If you're so impatient, why don't you leave me to find this Bloody Beth while you go back to the Field and find some shit to roll in?" he shot back. The boar nuzzled against his shoulder as he patted her nose.
"If you insist," she grunted, trotting back into the woods in the direction of the plains.
IC: Rykos Bumba / Zora's Domain / Day 7
"I'm sorry, what?"
"Pig. Tar." Rykos pounded his fist on the bar. "You know, cactus milk and scorpion root?"
"My apologies, sir, but we do not serve pig tar." The condescending Zora leered at Rykos down the length of his thin, spotted nose.
"Fine. Make it a pondscum," he griped, twisting the end off a cigar and flicking a flame up from his thumb and forefinger. "You do sell pondscum, don't you?" he asked, butt of the stoagie between his teeth.
"Yes, sir," the bartender sighed, "but we Zora will not allow smoking." He pointed his long, scaly finger at a sign on the wall bearing a red X over the image of a puff of smoke and fish gills. Rykos said nothing, but stared down the old frog as he punched out his tobacco on the moist stone of the bartop. The Zoras and the Gerudo may be in alliance for now, but he didn't have to like it.
Turning around on his stool to take in the patrons, he noticed a gang of subhuman reptiles enter the bar, including the Tokay he had chanced upon the night before. Not far behind was a tall, crimson vixen the likes of which Rykos had only ever heard sung. They all took a seat at the far end of the bar, the red-laced lioness letting her long legs lilt to and fro with such subtly that one had to look away to not be hypnotized by her hips. Rykos downed his glass of pondscum and slicked back his matted tuft of red hair.
"Now what's a rose of the desert like you doing in a backed up sewer like this?" he smiled, grinning through brown teeth.
Elizabeth/Zora's Domain/Day 7
Beth took a seat on one of the bar stools and ordered an appetizer of seared Floria Tuna. It had been hard to keep things down over the past few days. Mental illness led to physical illness amidst her recuperation. Now, she was back in enough to control to feel comfortable eating again. And having the revenue she did from her life of vice, she lived like the most reviled crime lords.
The bartender gave her pushback when attempting to take her meal order. It didn't last long when he got the dreaded glare of Black Betty.
"Last I heard, barkeep, any good businessman shouldn't care where the rupees come from. Shut up and take my money."
He scurried back to the kitchen to drop off Beth's ticket. After she had covered her face with her palm, she first looked over to see how Polaris was handling his drunken Tokay friend, and then was startled by a disproportionally bulky Gerudo man. This fellow wasn't really Beth's type at all, nor did she think he was in her league, but that didn't stop him from at least making a move.
"Now what's a rose of the desert like you doing in a backed up sewer like this?"
Beth smirked confidently and sipped on a glass of white wine as she balanced herself with a gentle sway. Even though being hit on wasn't her idea of a perfect morning, she had to play nice. Nerisse had to deliver Tiburon's request to Namira today. Anything causing a compromise of any sort would look terrible upon the Order, and it would also run the risk of Tiburon making good on his promise of Beth's life being miserable for its short remainder.
"Well, this is one of four places in all of Hyrule I can have a drink in peace. Everywhere else, there are five million reasons to give me grief."
Sighing in relief, Beth traced her finger along one of the wanted posters hanging near where she sat. Zora officials recently stamped "Null and Void" along the description of her bounty within the Domain. Eventually, she wouldn't have to worry about that. She was resolved to help the Zora unseat the King of Hyrule alongside her new allies. And she was hoping that this fellow would not be persistent.
Stella Delphinus/ Zora's Domain/ Day 4
"Thank you for the promotion general" Stella said to Polaris. "And nice to meet you was well Master Kaimu. Lady Bryce..." For a moment she stood there. She always hated to seem disrespectful, but in her eyes this butcher deserved no respect. Still if she was going to be working with her then she at least needed to seem somewhat agreeable. "...good to make your aquatints."
Stella followed as the three lead her to the shabby bar on the underside of Zora's Domain. "Ughh... This place. Not my kind of stuff" she thought inwardly.
"If you guys don't mind I'll wait outside" said Stella. Nodding to her the trio went in, leaving her to stand outside in the front. With staff to the side she straightened up her back and waited there, as if standing on guard. After all these years this posture had become somewhat of a habit of hers.
Taking a moment to catch a breather she gazed wide eyed at the falls above her. Rarely ever venturing into this part of the city, Stella had never taken the time to appreciate the beauty of this particular waterfall before. It reminded her of why she wanted to join the military in the first place. Stella had a deep love for her homeland and wanted to give every fiber of her being to protect it.
As Polaris, Majin, Beth, and a Gerudo newcomer all chatted just out of earsight the female Zora watched the water and waited for their return.
"I sure hope Polaris knows what he's doing. For all he's done, the men still consider him a new comer. I wonder if the rumors are true. About him not being of this time period in history." She wished to ask him this, but knew now was not the time.
Deep in thought Stella took the time to reflect upon the day. Polaris, Tiburon, her demotion. Suddenly the Zora captain gasped and clasped her mouth with her hands in shock.
"Oh no. No, I couldn't have. Did I leave the ice box open when I went to get breakfast this morning?" Then the truth hit her.
"Oh, on second thought I remember hearing the door close behind me as I left. Heh, guess I was worrying over nothing."
A few minutes passed. As time went on she became slightly worried at how long things seemed to be taking. Checking to make sure nothing had gone wrong she called in to Polaris "Sir, is everything going OK in there?" The red ice general turned around and gave a thumbs up. Stella nodded her head and returned to the entrance.
As the minutes passed boredom began to set in. Stella looked to her left, then to her right, yet not a single soul could be seen aside from those in the tavern. With no one watching Stella briefly contemplated singing a song to help pass the time.
"No, that would be stupid" she thought to herself. Slowly and dully time passed. Once again she wanted to see what was going on. She looked in to check, but it appeared they weren't done talking yet.
"No worries. When there done I'll be ready to go at any time. Yep. Any time now..." As she stood there the waterfall pored down as always, and water reflected light shone of the cavern roof. Some ants crawled across the floor, one of them trying to drag a lief quite a bit bigger than himself. Other than the occasional sound of stray chatter coming from the room behind her everything seemed the same as the moment she walked in. Quiet. Stagnant. A feminine sigh occasionally broke the silence.
And then nothing.
"...Oh GOOD GOD! How much longer is this going to take? There's NOTHING happening here. Somebody please! Anybody! Make something interesting happen!"
IC: Rykos Bumba / Zora's Domain / Day 7
"Well, this is one of four places in all of Hyrule I can have a drink in peace. Everywhere else, there are five million reasons to give me grief."
Rykos hiccoughed into his cups as Beth reclined against the bar. She had an ease about her like that of a victor emerging from a bloodied battlefield, now returned to her haven behind the falls. He wondered who had really lost the great battle for Hyrule Field, after all. This wanted criminal of the Hylian regime now drank and played her lute and planned the overthrow of Hyrule at large, under King Tiburon's guard.
"Such a heavy price on such a pretty head," he cooed. The vermillion vixen glared at him sidewise and kept facing towards the bar, looking at her reflection in a greasy wall mirror. Looking into the mirror himself, Rykos noticed the Zoras and Tokay she had come in were grimacing in his direction from a booth across the room.
"You bear it well," he remarked, "the danger, the risk. It becomes you." He looked at Beth's glossed over reflection and met her eyes. "I mean, just imagine the price someone would pay for knowledge of your whereabouts. And yet, here you sit?"
Now Beth clunked her glass to the bartop and turned to scrutinize Rykos. She didn't speak, but he rose from his stool and strolled around to her other side, putting himself between her and her amphibious companions. He extended one long arm around her shoulders and let his thick, leathery hand rest on the small of her back, just under her lute.
"So whaddya say to letting a greedy old pig buy a you a drink, Bloody Beth?" he asked in a low, threatening tone. "And then maybe you'll play me a song."
IC: Hathor / Zora's River / Day 7
Napping by the banks of the river, Hathor sneezed as the low-hanging mist of the morning settled around her. Even close to midday, the sun did not burn off the fog in these parts, so wet and cool was the air. And yet, the wet ground made it easier to hear the footsteps of one slinking out of the caves leading into Zora's Domain. Hathor looked up over the tall grass and was surprised to see a Gerudo warrior slinking through a nearby creekbed, making her way West with the morning sun at her back.
"Let me guess...," she muttered to herself, too low for the woman in the distance to hear, "You must be Nerisse."
She stood up from the mud she lay in and shook herself off, clods of dirt flying every which way. She reared back her neck then shoved her snout and tusks into the earth, scooping a small trench from the ground. She rolled her shoulder once, and snapped Rykos's warhammer from her saddle and nudged it into the hole. She scraped mud back over the top of it, then snorted once to send a jet of flame over the spot until it was scorched black.
"Now, let's see where you're off to...," she whispered, waiting for Nerisse to clear the area, then heading after her direction.
== Judgement Error ==
Majin Kotage – Zora’s Domain – Day 7
Majin groaned, turning away from both of the Zoras. He didn’t really want to hear what they had to say. Kaimu didn’t get it, though in his heart Majin appreciated the true Kaimu’s concern. It wasn’t about the Dragon Mask, or at least it wasn’t entirely that.
“I did this…” he murmured, draining his mug and tossing it—rather forcefully—back across the table at the bartender. “Not just the battle, not just dragon’s victims… I did it all… The whole war… It was me.”
“Hey!” a deep voice growled from across the room. “Shut up over there! Can’t you see I’m trying to—hic—chat up the lady?”
Majin grimaced, glancing back at his well intentioned Zora friends with a bleary-eyed stare.
“Excuse me gentlemen,” he murmured. He turned to the bartender and snapped his fingers. “Another.”
The Zora, bearing an expression of distaste, poured another mug and set it down before going to attend to those sitting further down.
In one swift motion he put his hands on the stool, then stood up on his hands and bent himself around until he was standing upright atop the bar. He swept a hand down and picked up the mug, then on deft feet he strode down the bar top until he stood in between Beth and the dark-skinned man who’d so rudely interrupted him.
“I have a drink for you, greedy old pig,” Majin said, his speech slurring ever so slightly as he swung the mug down an, sloshing liquid flying through the air, smashed the glass against the side of the man’s head.
Kaimu Kotaro - Zora's Domain - Day 7
Majin turned away from Kaimu, murmuring, but not too silently to hear some choice words. 'I did it all. The whole war'.Kaimu could not deny that, Majin's involvement with shadowy and secret matters was not a new development. For him, having experience working with the Tokay, it was entirely believable that his involvement went beyond mere crazed participation in a battle. But he knew scant few details, piecing together what he knew from borrowed information given to him by Ithan, and now too by this dictionary of a metal plate fused to his chest.He watched with great interest as Majin surprisingly deftly bolted down the bartop, stopping before the Gerudo man that was harassing Beth.
“I have a drink for you, greedy old pig,” Kaimu saw it coming, anyone watching knew this story. Drunk gets drunker, drunk sees something that catches his interest, makes him angry, whatever. Drunk attacks. He moved to intervene, but right on cue, the metal plate fused to his chest pulsed and seethed, bringing him to his knees. He felt his eyes seal shut, and the sound of the world around him dropped out.
The Library of Lunar Solace
"Wake up Uncle." The voice of Bernard was unmistakable. Having only spoken with him a few times in his life, nevertheless he was the only remaining direct relative of Kaimu's. Kaimu opened his eyes, and saw he was no longer in Zora's Domain, though a glance at his now ghostly looking body made him question if he had truly traveled anywhere at all. His encounters with Sirius were enough that the magical and metaphysical were not shocking.
"Bernard." Kaimu smiled meekly. Bernard's form was solid, unlike his own. And yet it had an element of in tangibleness to it, as if despite his physicality, he wasn't really there either, not as the living. "Where are we?"
"You are just seeing across the void, into the purgatory that houses my soul. When Sirius fused that metal plate onto your chest, he linked a small part of you to this place. This place, by the way, is not a part of Hyrule as such, it's another realm, the door to which is in within a notebook. That notebook is here in the castle dungeons, with Sirius." Bernard paused briefly. "Well, Sirius isn't really here. I mean he thinks he is, but I wouldn't recommend hunting him here, you'll only find disappointment."
"Bernard, I'm so sorry." Kaimu got the words out. His regret at seeing his fallen nephew was great, as if he was somehow responsible for the child's safety despite having relinquished him to the King long ago.
"Don't be, I am not the only Kotaro who has died." The words piqued Kaimu's interest.
"What do you mean, what do you know?" Kaimu inquired.
"The Kotaro clan is gone Kaimu. You are not the Zora you once were. Of course you are still you, but your family, your home, your life. They have all changed forever. Do you still feel the need to call yourself Kotaro, when all that is Kotaro is dead, standing before you and telling you of it?" Bernard's words were harsh, and unwanted, but nevertheless struck a deep chord within Kaimu. Bernard was right. The Kotaro clan had been dead for years, and Kaimu's new clan in Labrynna had refused to adopt the name, rarely addressing him by his full name. He needed to be reborn. He looked up to the ceiling and saw a pattern of stars. Two in particular caught his eye. One northward, and another not too far off, shining incredibly brightly.
"Is this some kind of hall of answers, more than just a library? I'm having a hard time keeping my suspicions in check." Kaimu continued to stare at the ceiling. Bernard reached out and grasped his hands, surprising the elder Zora, as he had not believed physical contact possible.
"You won't find any real answers here, just new questions. But you might also find a new beginning." The stars swirled and morphed, and seemed to form the image of a Zora. A Zora Kaimu recognized, recognized from the memories of AvaKai, recognized from the halls of Zora's Domain. He stood tall, proud, and a unique shade of red. "Sirius has been hunting this one because they share a common foe, a common past. He sought you out because he knew you were part of that past."
"What are you saying?" Kaimu asked tentatively.
"Kaimu Kotaro, on this day, you cease to be Kotaro. The Kotaro within you perished when you left that village behind years ago. Now your name can at least catch up with who you truly are." Bernard bowed before his uncle. "Kaimu Eridanus, I pray that you bring Sirius to justice, and do not let him manipulate you or your lineage any further." Bernard smiled and clapped his hands, and the world went dark again.
Kaimu opened his eyes, and rose from the ground. The metal plate was upon the floor where he had knelt, removed from his chest, possibly because of Bernard, or perhaps it had simply run its course. No longer would he have a link to Sirius or Bernard, or that strange Library. But now he had a new link, a link to his future. He eyed Polaris curiously, who was watching Majin intently, as the mug smashed across the Gerudo's head. Now was not the time for a family reunion, but when the dust settled from Majin's actions, a new era would dawn for both Kaimu and Polaris.
: Rykos Bumba / Zora's Domain / Evening 7
The clammy brew dripped down Bumba's face, gathering at his jowels into tusks of heady drool. He wiped his hand across his mouth slowly, and dragging it down into a simmering frown.
When he looked up at the tottering Tokay, a dark red spark of venomous flame spiraled from the cores of his eyes. A pall of shadow seemed to fall over his mind from the Tokay's gaze, but in his drunken state, he was acting on bravado and instinct, too dense for the shadow's subtle fingers.
"I see I'll have to teach you toads some manners before we disembark," he said. With the Tokay still on the bartop, he shot out his arm and snatched the lizard's legs, snapping his leathery ankles together in one bullish fist before the drunken man could react. He clenched his fist until a searing heat shot into Majin's shins, and Rykos's palm burned a bright amber.
With a huff, he hurled the frogman across the room, slamming him into an embossed shield and pair of spears that hung above the round table where his Zora companions sat. The Tokay crashed into a heap of fins, chairs and ancient armor, his scorched feet still sizzling in the spilled beer.
"Let that be a lesson to you lot," he spat. "Shut your beaks when humans are talking."
Elizabeth/Zora's Domain/Day 7
It was refreshing to see Majin be honorable and stand up for her. For one not of the Eclipse to perform a random act of kindness filled her with a feeling of inner renewal. This wasn't about feeding her ego, though. This was about respect. Even though she was a despicable, wretched bitch, no one talked to her like that without a death wish.
Taking a step back to allow Majin his peace and freeing the large Gerudo's hand from the small of her back, Beth thinned her lips. Her eyes narrowed and a familiar scowl emerged. It wouldn't be a lie that she nodded in approval when glass met face, and when Majin was sent flying, she slung her lute over her back. There was no need to glow, but she began to allow unnatural mental influences to permeate the air around her. Majesty. Awe. Intimidation. There were urges to draw Apocrypha and stab so deep that the fat wouldn't let her pull the blade back out. These urges had voices, and they were gnawing at the core of her mind. She could visualize the sadistic glee. Then reality filled her vision.
There was a little problem to giving in to her urges. Tiburon had just revoked her bounty temporarily. Appearances had to be kept to an extent, but defending herself was not against any law. Most women didn't stick up for themselves in this time. But most women weren't Elizabeth Bryce.
"Make that three places."
Not backing down, Beth took a few steps closer, leaving little space between her and the churlish man who had harmed one of those responsible for her escape from the Siege of Lon Lon. And where she came from, this was Majin indirectly calling in a favor.
"Not interested or impressed. Get out of my face before I implode yours."
The fact that she even gave a warning was a big step for her. It had the great potential for being a mistake. She could see the others watching her from a booth, but they weren't moving yet. She wasn't expecting help, and she didn't want it. No man treated her like a whore and got away with it.
IC: Rykos Bumba / Zora's Domain / Day 7 (Late Afternoon)
Rykos sneered up at Beth, who stood just a few inches taller than he. He met her bloodthirsty leer with a smoldering glower.
"Get used to this face, sweetheart," he snored. "You'll be seeing a lot of it the next few days."
He backed away from Beth and stretched his arms out, cracking his scorched knuckles as he looked across the room at the others. "You and the squidbillies got a job to do for the Zora King, I believe."
Rykos turned to walk out the door. "Just consider me the insurance policy." When he reached the threshold, Beth forced a question on him.
"General Namira sent you?"
"Aye," he grumbled, not looking back over his shoulder as he spoke.
"How do we know you speak the truth?" one of the Zora asked, shouting from the corner.
Rykos heaved one great sigh, sending whisps of smoke up over his shoulders. "You don't, General Polaris," he replied. "I'd watch out, if I were you."
He marched out of the tavern and proceeded up the sloped stairwell, making his way back to the cave he entered from.
OOC: Rykos threatens the bunch and says he'll be "insuring" their mission for King Tiburon, then makes his exit from the tavern.
IC: Hathor / Hyrule Field (near Zora's Domain) / Day 7
Lurking just on the outskirts of the trees surrounding Zora's Domain, Hathor noticed a young Gerudo girl slinking along the low bushes. She crawled along near her, following her for a while, dragging her leathery belly across the earth. The girl was sneaking away quickly, and picking up her pace as the sun lowered in the sky.
When she stopped at the edge of a clearing, Hathor emerged from the brush on the far side, her wet fur shining in the gathering moonlight, red eyes piercing into the Gerudo's like hot coals.
"You are Nerisse, cunning and brave," she said, walking towards her slowly.
"How...how do you know my name?" she responded, startled by the talking boar.
"I am Hathor--like you, a daughter of the western winds," she was close enough now to hear the girl's heart racing under her ribs, to smell the acrid adrenaline in her sweat. "General Namira has sent us to broker a trade with the Gorons, and we have need of the Crimson Eclipse if we are to succeed."
Hathor knelt down on the grass next to Nerisse and leaned toward her, presenting her empty saddle. "I will deliver you to the desert much faster than your feet can take you," she said. "Come, and I shall tell you more along the way."
Rhunerys Telaris/ Desert/ Day 7
Leaning in tight against Khamseen, Rhunerys felt her elation rise as the wind whipped at her hair. The biting sand intermingled with the desert winds funneled around and away from her and her aura. As they topped the rise, Khamseen pulled up short and Rhunerys whooped exultantly as the steed reared on her hind legs, kicking out her forelegs as if pawing at an unseen foe.
"Whoa! Whoa, easy girl."
Rhunerys patted her mount soothingly as she stepped down, sand crunching beneath her boots. She gazed out across the dunes, observing as an Ampilus skirted the edges in and around the countless swirling vortices of quicksand until a massive Hrok swooped down, plucking the peculiar desert crustacean up from the ground and swallowed it whole, shell and all.
As the bird flapped it's wings, rising higher and higher, Rhunerys observed as one after another of the three fanged desert moldorms leapt from the sands, snapping at it's tail feathers.
Sighing, Rhunerys kissed Khamseen on the snout, "I think you're going to have to sit this one out girl."
The pale mares coal black mane ruffled ever so slightly as Rhunerys gently blew against her forehead. Raising her arms as she whispered unintelligibly under her breath, Rhunerys gazed on as from the hooves up, Khamseen crumbled to sand and was borne away on the unruly desert wind.
When the only traces of Khamseen that remained were for hoofprints in the sand, the sand sorceress clapped her hands once and strode toward the far side of the dune the waiting dangers below. Before the sorceress had taken more than three steps her head snapped up and her gaze bore into the heavens as her eyes flashed the gold of the desert sands.
Polaris Eridanus/ The Grubby Ghini/ 7th day
As the situation escalated at the bar escalated, Polaris found himself torn. His loyalty to Majin pulled him in two separate directions, on one hand he felt a burning desire to intervene and protect his friend. However, a few fingers down on that same hand, that same loyalty told him that this was something Majin needed. Briefly it seemed that Kaimu was going to step forward and Polaris could have both desires satisfied at once, then the salt water Zora crumpled to a knee gasping as the metal plate clattered to the floor at his feet.
Kaimu remained in a kneeling position for a few brief moments before Polaris tore his eyes from his now rising compatriot back to Majin who was actively smashing a mug across the face of Bumba. Polaris' flesh broke into goose pimples as Kaimu's gaze passed over him.
Polaris clutched the bench at his side as his black eyes tinged a sandy gold before flaring crimson.
Among the raging winds of the Desert Wastes
Just like his last visit to this wasteland, the sands swirled, the winds howled and visibility was nil. Unlike his last visit, Polaris wasn't alone. The young sorceress Rhunerys was with him.
Polaris lunged at the woman, wrapping his scaly hands around her throat,
"Damn you whench! Your meddling ways end here!"
Grunting, Rhunerys struggled against the stronger Polaris. Lights flared and danced at the edges of her vision as she struggled for her life.
"Tut, tut, tut. You shan't be killing me before I hit my prime."
The elder Rhunerys materialized as if from the aether, clapped her hands once and sent Polaris skittering across the sands, when he tried to rise, the general found himself fettered in place by sand bourne bonds.
Glowering at the two incarnations of his eternal torturer Polaris spat in their general direction.
"General, you forget your manners, be more gentlemanly in the presence of ladies."
The elder Rhunerys broke off into a cackling fit that was reduced to a wheezing cough. The younger Rhunerys took this opportunity to chime in, "What, I don't understand any of this! Who are you?!"
Mastering her cough, the elder Rhunerys took on an air of calm resolve, "You need not worry yourself about who I am, just know that your next actions are of the utmost importance to the survival of the Gerudo race as a whole. Your desire to help the General here is admirable, but some things are vastly more important.
No worries my dear, when the time to act presents itself, I am confident that you will."
The elder Rhunerys clapped her hands once more and her younger self vanished in a whirlwind of sand.
"Now, on to you General. I regret to be forced to come clean regarding your parents, or at least the ones you knew. They were creations of mine. Bourne of the same sands in which you are now bound."
Polaris' scream was full of anguish, a primal rage coursed through his veins as he struggled against his bonds. Rhunerys grimaced as the strain to hold Polaris in place wore on her.
The entire fabricated realm shuddered and shimmered as the bonds snapped and Polaris loosed a guttural yell as he lunged at the sand sorceress with malice in his eyes.
Rhunerys winced when the bonds broke, gasping, a single clap was all she could manage.
The young Rhunerys appeared outside the Gerudo Fortress which houses the seat of the desert power and their leader, General Namira, in a whirlwind of sand. Leaning against the wall and gasping for air, Rhunerys was oblivious to the sidelong stares and glances she merited from the passing sentries.
The Grubby Ghini
Polaris returned to himself clutching a handful of splinters, he'd unwittingly crushed the backrest of the booth in his anger at finding out the truth behind the lie of his existence.
Deaf to the goings on in the bar around him, Polaris was drawn back to the present at Rykos' declaration and found himself questioning the porky brute.
"How do we know you speak the truth?"
Bumba sucked in lungfuls of air, letting it out in a massive sigh that was accentuated by wisps of smoke that curled around his shoulders as it rose upwards in an undulating cloud. "You don't, General Polaris," he replied. "I'd watch out, if I were you."
Crimson danced along Polaris' fingertips as the splinters extricated themselves from his palm and fell to the floor shattering like so many pieces of blood red glass.
"I consider myself warned then, you would be wise to do the same, desert scum."
Polaris took in the silent room before tossing a fistful of red rupees on the bar, nodding to the barkeep.
"To cover the damages.
Now, unless there are any objections, I suggest we move. There's a lot of ground to cover if we're going to reach the Water Dragon in a timely manner."
Kaimu Eridanus, Zora’s Domain, Seventh Day Kaimu felt a scream tear through his mind. He looked down and saw a single metal fragment still in his chest. He was amused at first, wondering how he had not noticed, until he realized that noticing alerted him to the pain he felt from it. He tore it out angrily and heard a whisper of words from Bernard.
“15 seconds...” The words faded, meaningless. The shrieking of Vector caught his attention, the little keese had returned from wherever he had been feeding. He tucked himself safely into Kaimu’s back, and the newly minted origin of the Eridanus line followed Polaris out of the bar.
“Polaris, we have at least a few moments while our comrades gather themselves. I have something to share with you.”
“Please do.” The Red General looked on curiously.
“I’m not sure....I’m not entirely sure how to say this, but I think I’m your ancestor. You are from the future, are you not?” Kaimu could not recall in the moment if Polaris had divulged that detail, but it was obvious to him from his chat with Bernard and his murky memories of AvaKai. Polaris nodded, amused, and clearly curious. He was a creature well beyond being shocked by talking of his time jumps.
“I spoke with someone named Bernard Kotaro, my nephew that died during The Battle of Disharmony. His soul is being held captive by Sirius. He showed me a strange constellation that looked like you. He said I am Eridanus. I sort of just took it for what it was, a new name to represent my new life, my life after the destruction of my clan at the hands of Davus Fulmen.” Polaris perked up at the mention of that. He had heard a similar story briefly from AvaKai.
“Please go on.”
“Davus Fulmen robbed Sirius Fulmaren of a poison, a poison Sirius himself had never revealed his intentions for. He used it to completely destroy my clan, it was the entire basis of AvaKai, but it happened years ago. I hold Sirius responsible indirectly, though he has plenty of other crimes to atone for. Davus however, is out there, and is the truly murderous one.”
'Elizabeth/Grubby Ghini/Day 7'
The fact that the large Gerudo man actually listened to her surprised her. It also surprised her that Namira did send him to help them. Had she known that she would have let him down more gently. But the fact that Majin was injured did not sit well with her. Anger boiled, and she acted on it. And she was smart enough to let him try to take the first swing. Elizabeth wasn't sorry for what she did. But she couldn't just stand there and seethe. Seeing Polaris and Kaimu leave the room shortly after, she made her way to where Majin was, downed.
He was shaken up but he'd seen worse. After assessing his condition, Beth thought it best not to move him and let him come to on his own. In the meantime, though, those deranged urges began to rise in her once again. Thankfully, she had her lute. And peering around the bar's entry, Polaris seemed to be talking about something important that she wasn't privy to.
As Elizabeth was getting up on one of the tables, those who hadn't fled the bar during the near-brawl began to get excited. She drew her famed dark-stained lute and began to strum. She had a mischievous grin as different chords resonated. Testing vocal scales, this warm up started to throw the patrons into a mesmerization.
"Hope you all enjoy this, friends! This is going back to a time before I had a cult. I played the Ghini many years ago, and it was one of my favorite intimate settings. I'm going to do one song only, but it sure is good to be home again. Sing along if you know it!"
All of the bar and kitchen staff filed behind the bar. Beth began to tap her feet in a catchy rhythm and took to her lute again. As she broke into song, she felt all of the things that could cause her bounty to return leave her with haste. It was a release unlike anything she'd ever felt when she felt overwhelmed like this. Feeding off of the crowd's energy only helped her push voices from her head.
It truly was good to be alive and in the presence of these patrons. How many of them were fans before she went crazy? Some of them became fans again as a result. She would peer over at Majin from time to time, and it looked like he was stirring.
Not only did this give Polaris and Kaimu some privacy, it also brought in some revenue! Folks were throwing rupees at her feet. Not that she needed the money, but it did encourage her to play another song.
Polaris Eridanus/ Zora's Domain/ 7th Day
The constant roar of the falls was muted to a dull thrum in the depths of Zora's Domain, with Kaimu's revelation however, the aeonian drip, drip, drop of water falling into the low pools in the was caucophonous. Polaris closed his eyes as the full weight of what Kaimu was implying settled atop his raging emotions. After what had just happened with Rhunerys, this seemed a more than fortuitous occurrence. She hadn't seen this coming in her sands, and that scared her.
Beating back the emotions elicited by Kaimu's revelation, Polaris mustered a smile. A true smile. There may have even been a twinkling among the depths of those Stygian tinged eyes. She was scared and he was winning. Well, gaining ground at least."Kaimu... I believe you. And finally I understand why I'm here. The Goddesses have smiled upon me. The crimes committed by both Sirius and Davus are multitudinous, and they will get their just rewards. Your clan...OUR clan, will have justice served."
Polaris was unsure as to whether Kaimu took any satisfaction in his statement. Perhaps the aged Zora was past the point of searching for revenge, or perhaps he found Polaris' words as mere garnish on the lifeplate that he'd been served. Whatever it was, Kaimu's expression remained impassive.
"Words I know, are wind. I could as well stand here and declaim the virtues of a lantern at night, or speak inane nonsense such as, the moon doesn't shine. But, hear me now, Sirius, Davus, myself for that matter, we are all marionettes. Dancing to the whims of the puppetmaster. Rhunerys Telaris, a sand sorceress of immense power, it is with her machinations that this all began, and also where it shall end.
I don't believe she foresaw our meeting here. And because of that, I think that maybe you can give me answers where she has refused."
Polaris clasped Kaimu at the forearm, still smiling, "I am honored to be of your line."
'Elizabeth/Grubby Ghini/Day 7'
Her second song was much better received than the first. The patrons were feeling her passion in every note. But she couldn't play all day. Their group had to set out. But she realized she needed something she hadn't in almost four years.
Elizabeth had to find a new ride. She mourned Tenebrous, and even conversed with the crowd about it after she came down from the tabletop.
"Thank you all for your support. I am fighting for your people as well as my own now, and three days ago my faithful stallion Tenebrous was slain by a sanctimonious paladin by the name of Soldat du Ciel. He will answer for that. But I have to set out for a task on behalf of your king. This will require that I get a new mount. Who would like to accompany?"
The bartenders looked angry when she asked this. All their business was about to walk out the door with a controversial cult leader. Looking back at the staff, she chuckled.
"What do you think I'm going to do? Lead them off to my sanctuary? Kill them? They'll be back. I may be a horrible person, but I'm honest."
Leading the way, Beth saw Polaris and Kaimu engaged in deep conversation. With a fairly decent crowd standing behind her, she nodded at the two Zora and at Stella who was also loitering nearby.
"Sorry to interrupt. I need to get a new horse before we set out. Which way are the stables?"
The two veteran Zora paused briefly. Polaris didn't seem offended. He motioned the general direction and kindly reminded Elizabeth not to take too long. Beth agreed and marched on, signing autographs and answering questions for some of the new fans she'd just picked up. For being infamous, there were many who were drawn to her for one reason or another.
When she had arrived at the stables, there were four horses on display in the sale pen. A chestnut bay, a white and black paint, a pony, and a rather large mare that was off in the corner grazing. She wasn't sure what breed it was, but the other horses stayed clear of her.
"We Zora don't usually have a market for horses. Most of the time they're for work or for military. The ones left here are either military cast-offs or what we couldn't sell when the war hit two days ago. Sorry, Bryce. We don't have any Blue or Red Roans. That Bay isn't bad though. Didn't you used to have one?"
Taking a moment to cover her face with her palm, she mourned Tenebrous once more. He was loyal, well-mannered, and full of spunk. The crowd following her started to murmur a bit as the Zora horse dealer talked about what was available.
"So I wouldn't recommend that pony for what you do. I can't guess your business, but the paint is older and should probably only be used for farm work and recreational riding. I'll probably find a home for him but if the war gets bad, demand is going to be there."
"But I see you're clearly not mentioning that bulky mare over there. She looks like exactly what I'd want since you don't have what I originally wanted."
This mare was tall, muscular, and fairly agile. She wasn't as fast as a charger or as slow as a pack horse, but it looked like it had seen combat a few times for being so young. It was mostly black with a white mane and tail, and it had grey spots near its hooves. Its eyes were a deep brown, and it just plain looked mean.
"With all due respect, Bryce, that mare is trouble. Like I said, this is slim pickin'. While I don't care for you as a person, I do care about you as a customer. That bitch will buck you off and break your neck. I know most of Hyrule probably wouldn't mind that-"
Her entourage started to boo and curse heavily at the sound of that. Elizabeth walked closer to her dealer and cracked her knuckles under her gauntlets. Beth's gaze turned murderous at this disrespect.
"Keep talking and I'll just kill you and take it. Give me a raw deal and I'll do the same. So she has issues. What is it with people not taking my money around here?"
Shooting another nasty glare his way, Elizabeth walked into the pen and approached the troublesome mare. It looked at her and let loose a loud whinny as if it had been startled. Removing her gauntlet, she held out her left hand and let it sniff her. Strangely enough, her hand was nuzzled gently. After spending a few moments talking to her and petting her, Beth got up on her with no saddle.
"I don't think you'll mind if I take her around the corral a bit..."
The crowd that had gathered there grew in size a bit. Elizabeth Bryce was shopping for a horse, and it drew a lot of attention that otherwise wouldn't be on the stable mid-day in Zora's Domain. Not everyone there was her fan, and the horse dealer wasn't too happy about the unauthorized test ride, but since she threatened to kill him twice already, it was a calculated risk.
She was talking to it as she brought it to a trot on bareback. Soon she was turning and trying brief canters, looking impressed with the speed for such a massive horse, let alone its maneuverability. It tried to shake her a few times, but she applied more leg pressure to show dominance. Cheers started coming her way more steadily as she gave a full gallop a try. This mare definitely was better at top end speed than a standing start. She would have to remember that if she wanted this horse. But even with no saddle, it felt right under her.
"That there's a Percheron. Normally a war horse, can be used on a farm. But considering your occupation, I can picture you riding across the land sowing carnage of all sorts. I guess the temperaments match."
"You're riding on my last iota of mercy. Give me a price for a full kit with medium barding armor. Remember what I said about raw deals."
After a few minutes of negotiation, the dealer's assistants went to the storehouse and brought out a jet black saddle with extra bags and some steel barding armor to go with it.
"Don't expect military grade. Can't guarantee the condition but it is the best we have. And considering you're such a big spender and you can afford it, I take it you know how to outfit her. This armor was hers when she came in. So you're in luck. Don't leave it on her overnight. Do we have a deal, Lady Bryce?"
Dismounting and letting the hands outfit her new steed, Bryce handed a large sum of rupees to the dealer and shook his hand.
"I shall enjoy my new ride. Her name is Myr-Acharn. She took more to it than whatever she used to be named. Good day, and if any of my people seek business from you, do not hesitate to help them."
Her following cheered when she climbed up once more and had Myr rear up with Apocrypha drawn.
"Bloody Beth is back! And this time she fights for us as well as her Lord!"
Riding confidently back to Polaris and Kaimu, she chuckled as her followers dispersed back into the bar.
"Well, friends, what do you think of my new friend, Myr-Acharn?"
Demands of the Righteous
Soldat/Zora's Domain/Afternoon 7
Two guards escorted Soldat through Zora's Domain on the way to meet with General Polaris Eridanus. He supposed they were there to prevent panic as they were to show him his way. After all, to all the Zora in the city it would look like a Hylian Knight was waltzing freely through their home. His thoughts weren't on that though; nor where the consumed with his concerns with King Tiburon's motives. Instead it was the cities landscape that overwhelmed his thoughts.
There was a rather large pool in the center of the domain and there was no telling what the residences were like, but the main areas of the city: the markets, the entrance, the chambers where he met the king; these were all shallows or dry land. So that what was it about this place the demanded a wind mage act as their ambassador. After learning Kamen wasn't a true member of the order, Soldat had assumed he was used out of some desperate necessity. He guess they had to have someone who could manipulate air to survive in the Domain much like how a power like Richter's was need to survive in Volcanic lands of the Gorons. He wanted to give the Patriarch the benefit of the doubt. He wanted to believe that Kamen's exclusion from the order and life on the farms was a mistake and upon his discovery was seen as a boon as it let him fill this roll. He was no longer able to remain so naive though. It was clear to him now that Kamen was sent here to cover up his existence. The Paladin couldn't help but wonder how many lies his culture was build upon, and just what were the motives of those parties who know the truth. Just what where the motives of Kamen Viento?
"General Eridanus," Soldat's escort spoke as he rendered a salute, "I'm sorry to interrupt but his Grace would like me to introduce to you Sir Ciel of the Guardian Order."
"It's Master Soldat du Ciel," Soldat cut in having been dragged from his ponderings by the guards error, "Unlike the Hylian's the Guardian Order does now hold concepts such as Feudal Nobility that interfere with proper military stru-" His words feel silent and he on reflex he reached for his sword as he finally noticed the witch upon her mount. He counted his blessing that he had enough sense and strength of will to stop himself from drawing it. He was here under diplomatic flag after all and no matter what couldn't draw his sword without his host permission. All he could do was grip it's hilt tight and demand an explanation, "What is she doing here!?"
Elizabeth/Zora's Domain/Afternoon 7
Today was a great day to be the Bloody Maiden. The High Priestess of a growing religious order. After two days of painful recovery, she was feeling better than she had since this adventure started. Well, short of the derangements that she started to learn how to battle. Seeing things that weren't there, hearing voices that may or may not have been the Dark Father or his minions, and feeling urges to lose all methodology to discord. Yes, short of that, Elizabeth Bryce was feeling great. Captivating a bar full of patrons with her music and feeling alive again. And she'd just made a new equine friend and purchased her freedom instead of killing for it.
Reporting to Polaris and Kaimu, it wasn't about seeking approval for her choice in purchasing the pugnacious Percheron. It was a declaration that Black Betty was back. Looking down at the two Zora, she wasn't really paying attention to anything else around her. And it was an odd feeling not to be watching every corner of her vision. Something felt off, but not enough to raise defenses. She thought her sigil was just flickering because that had been its usual behavior since the Siege of Lon Lon.
The problem was that this was her body's usual reaction to the presence of holy energies. And she was on such an adrenaline high from a good day that her usual cautiousness was the last thing on her mind.
When she heard a Zora escort coming toward their group, she could hear shattering glass in her mind. A cacophony of voices and out of tune instruments started to play, and only she could hear it. Because not only did that holy presence set her at solid unease, but the source of it caused all of her joy to turn to fuming lividity. It was the murderer of her previous horse who she loved very much. The only being in all the land who happened to defeat her in combat. Soldat du Ciel.
Polaris did look a little put off when Beth started to seethe. Her neck muscles constricted, and her teeth clenched. Narrowed eyes shot a glance right at Soldat, but he was more focused on Polaris than her. How he didn't notice her when she was projecting unnatural waves of dread was beyond her. But it gave her time to prepare something scathing to say. She would have loved nothing more to trample him when he wasn't paying attention, but a Zora military escort meant he had some sort of arrangement in the works.
"What is she doing here?"
Placing her hand firmly on Apocrypha and looking for a good reason to draw it, the Bloody Maiden didn't wait for Polaris to answer him.
"I go wherever I want, whenever I want, worm."
Raising an eyebrow, she chuckled, tapping the hilt of her blade.
"Give me a reason to paint the walls with you."
Polaris Eridanus/ Zora's Domain/ Afternoon of the 7th
Any reply Kaimu had had in mind would have to wait as first Beth and then the paladin from The Battle of Disharmony, Soldat du Ciel, joined them.
"What is she doing here!?"
"I go wherever I want, whenever I want, worm. Give me a reason to paint the walls with you."
And they were getting along smashingly.
Polaris looked to Kaimu, the elder Zora nodded eliciting a sigh from Polaris. "She is here for much the same reason I assume you are master paladin. King Tiburon has tasked us with reaching the Water Dragon Faron to learn what we may in regards to the Time Stone vault."
Soldat obviously wasn't sold, "Listen. Whatever crimes she's committed, and I know they are multitude, she's here under my protection and I won't have my adopted niece..." Polaris halted mid sentence, " I won't have you two fighting and threatening this quest. So it's time to put aside your differences at least for the duration of this alliance."
Polaris turned to Beth, "Lizzy, play nice. No painting walls with our new ally. Understood?"
The hate burning in the eyes of the sanguine she-devil dimmed a bit and Polaris caught a brief glimpse of her mother behind all that blood soaked fervor that made him sigh and smile inwardly. "Not lost yet."
Facing the guardian in all of his righteous fury once more, the chains that slithered around Polaris' forearms and attached to the Makhaira criss-crossing his back clanked softly. Polaris dipped his chin, closing his eyes as he did so in the manner of a duelist. He would've drawn his blade for a proper deulists salute, but he feared what sort of reaction naked steel would produce in a gathering such as this.
Neither relented much, both still clenched tight the hilts of their respective blades. This journey was going to be mind numbingly stressful on top of physically daunting.
Polaris spread his arms wide and turned a slow circle, trying to figure out when so many people had shown up. The onlookers consisted of his party, the bar patrons, those following Beth and the ones merely hoping to see a spectacle murmured among themselves, excitement for a fight building. He stopped his turn and projected his voice to the crowd.
"Friends. Allies. Enemies. This motley crew has been assembled with a singular purpose. War. But war and leaders of war are far from single minded, we all have something to gain,"
Polaris nodded to Beth, Soldat and the others.
Again he looked at those gathered, and if his eyes lingered on Stella for a bit longer than the rest, he'd never admit it.
"However, the hope for war, the hope IN war, should be the same for us all. For I say that the great underlying goal of war is peace."
Those gathered looked at him like he'd lost his marbles, but Polaris simply returned their wary looks with a thoughtful smile. He'd jumped off this ledge, it was time to make of it what he could.
"The small minded General leads his army into war to achieve victory, and so his own nature will ultimately force him to return to war over and over and OVER again."
Polaris pounded his fist into his palm with each 'over' to stress his emphasis on the word. A cold crimson anger tinged his voice and people shivered as the temperature dropped several degrees. It was through gritted teeth that he spat.
"I have been that general."
There was a collective inhalation of breath from the crowd that told Polaris he had their attention.
"The deep minded General leads his army into battle to confirm a victory already his, and so the nature of the world will force him to return to war time and again."
His voice cracked and trailed off into a whisper as a thousand thousand battles replayed in his head in an instant.
"I am that general."
The gathered assembly applauded and hooted and hollered, but Polaris raised a single scaled digit, signifying he was not yet done. Shouting to make himself heard over the din,
"The wise General leads his army into battle to reshape the world, and in doing so creates one which does not need him."
A hush fell over those assembled, and Polaris strode forward extending a scaly red hand to Soldat.
"Help me become that general."
Soldat/Zora's Domain/Afternoon 7
The Paladin's had remained fixed to the hilt of his sword even after the General extended his hand in friendship, "A wonderful speech General Eridanus, sadly my concerns remain unaddressed. I suppose that is my fault though since my question was not phrased properly. You say she is here for the reason we all are, to seek the Water Dragon and win this war, this is neither accurate nor what I meant. You're goal is to win this war; my goal is to mitigate the damage it will cause and route any demonic influences that seek to profit from it. To that end I am not consider as to why the criminal Elizabeth Bryce has joined this expedition. I am considered with why the Zora are tolerating the presence of the Cultist Bloody Beth, a woman aligned with, no, worships the very demons that would see all life on this world extinguished. If you can answer that, I will gladly accept your outreached hand.
== Something, Something, Desert Plot ==
Rhunerys Telaris/ Gerudo Fortress/ Afternoon of the 7th
The young sorceress leaned against the warm stone and mortar wall of the desert stronghold known as the Gerudo Fortress in a state of bewilderment. Never mind that she was in the heart of a city which she was literally laughed out of, what was more concerning to Rhunerys wasn’t where she was, but how she’d arrived there. Her thoughts were a whirlwind as the late afternoon desert sun bore down relentlessly, exacting one final toll for the day from its inhabitants. One moment she was prepared to press into the gritty labyrinth that would have lead her to the feet of the Thunder Dragon, the next she found herself whisked away to a wholly foreign, yet strikingly familiar realm. The cryptic warnings of the wizened hag were laid out for her minds eye, yet she couldn’t make sense of what she’d said. The red Zora was not her concern, a greater task would present itself, a task that meant life or death of the Gerudo as a race.
Not wanting to do what she knew must be done, Rhunerys pointedly ignored the snickers of the sentries that shuffled past on their routine circuit of the fortress perimeter instead choosing to soak in the now waning light of the sun before it disappeared beyond the dunes to the west and gave way again to the cold fury of the moon. Long after the chirping guards had passed, she reluctantly pushed herself away from the wall and dusted off her leggings before walking into the fortress’ entrance chamber. It’d been some time since she frequented these corridors, but the memories of a childhoods worth of training, running, playing and laughing washed over her all the same as she wound her way to where she knew she’d find Namira.
Taking a deep breath, Rhunerys turned the corner and strode into the chamber with a faux air of confidence. One of the chamber guards approached her, but faltered under her gaze and promptly scurried away. Namira looked up from the papers before her with a clear look of disdain on her face.
“You would dare show your face here?”
Rhunerys turned her withering gaze on the General who returned it without hesitation. ”Yes sister, I dare that and more. There is much that we need to discuss, I have reason to believe that the existence of the Gerudo as a race is threatened.”
Namira rubbed at her temples, “Because your doomsday predictions have been so accurate in the past? No. I’ll not hear it.”
Rhunerys clenched her fists at the slight, ”Our differences aside, you would be a fool to ignore this warning.”
General Namira rolled up the gathered maps setting them aside before taking her seat with a sigh.
“Fine then. Proceed, tell me big sister, what is this great apocalyptic threat that we face?”
Relaxing ever so slightly, the sand sorceress paused as she gathered her thoughts, made to speak and then hesitated. ”It’s… It’s complicated. A witch possessing power so great that I cannot begin to fathom how she… she overpowered my with my own sands.”
Namira chuckled at this, “You, marked a fanatic and zealot bring me this? This is the great warning that will save our race, which to my knowledge has nothing to fear? No sister, you’ve cracked. You’ve spent far too much time alone in the wastes and it has broken you.
Broken or not, I see that you’re still arrogant. Your sand? Mayhaps you’ve spent too much time eating cactus blossoms in the wastes? Don’t you remember sister…”
Half..we’re half sisters. Don’t forget that my father…”
“Yes, yes, your father was a myyyystical desert spirit.”
“I’ve heard. Spirits daughter or not, it’s time you were reminded who wears the mantle of command here and what it’s like to fight something a bit more intelligent that desert lizards.”
Namira stood and whistled. A pair of stone panels, one on each side of the hall, slid upwards disappearing into the wall above. From each alcove stepped a woman adorned in the ritual garb of Gerudo sand benders. Twins. Nodding at the two mages, Namira reclaimed her seat.
Rhunerys snarled at her little sister clutching the leather pouch at her waist, she stepped back defensively as the pair approached. The mage on the left, with palms flat and arms extended turned on the spot, dragging her feet as she spun, Rhunerys tensed as the scraping of loose sand against stone was the only sound in the hall. As she completed her rotation, the mage flicked her wrists simulataneously pointing both palms towards Rhunerys. There was whoosh sound as a wave of sand rose up from the floor and bore down on the eldest Telaris daughter. Rhunerys let loose her hold on the leather pouch full of sand from the wastes and stared down the sandy tsunami. Moments before she would have been overcome by the wave, Rhunerys clapped twice and the raging sea of sand parted in the middle breaking off to the left and right. In the middle stood Rhunerys entirely unscathed and leering at her sister while the remnants of the attack slammed into the wall at the back of the chamber.
”I did not come here to fight. I came here to avoid destruction. Call off your mages while you still retain the option.”
Namira didn’t even flinch to acknowledge the threat as the second mage stepped forward smirking, with the slow practiced movements that showed her years of tutelage under the Gerudo sand masters, she wordlessly mouthed her commands and raised her palms toward the ceiling. A trio of vipers erupted from the piles against the back wall and slithered their way towards Rhunerys, hissing and spitting and trailing sand as the advanced on the sorceress.
Rhunerys, jutted one hip to the side and rested a hand on it, raising an accusatory eyebrow she took her eyes from the approaching vipers long enough to look at the second mage,
”Really? This is where you take it? I thought you were battle mages, not actors. This isn’t a dramatization, girl.”
Never looking away from the mage, Rhunerys clapped twice and a the remaining mound of sand swirled to life in the form of a massive serpent that lunged forward, striking with a violent grace it consumed all three of the smaller vipers in a single gulp. Slithering slowly forward the serpent wrapped itself casually about Rhunerys’ shoulders as she began to hum. Low and melodic the tones reverberated about the room as the air itself seemed to vibrate and time itself appeared to slow. The bewildered mages comically exchanged glances in slow motion, their movements were halting as if the weight of the desert pressed down on them.
They were still in the process of turning their eyes back to Rhunerys when, unbidden her eyes flashed the gold of desert sand and she cackled gleefully, a sound much akin to the tinkling of glass chimes in the desert wind. Her hair splayed out around her as the serpent that lounged across her shoulders exploded in a whirlwind of grit and fury.
”Such a pity to waste lives needlessly, when Gerudo blood is so precious, but..you were warned. They die sister and their blood is on your hands.”
Mouths agape, the twin mages tried to scream, but any sound was drowned out in the fury of the mini desert storm that split in two and moved forward, several hundred pounds of sand poured into the mouths of the helpless mages. Their bodies bloated as they filled to and past their capacity, skin began to crack and sand, not blood started to leak out from the fissures and pool around their feet, piling up and burying them in the middle of the Gerudo Generals chamber.
Namira looked off put and uncomfortable.
Rhunerys showed no remorse, but spared her sister the gory conclusion, clapping her hands twice, the whirlwind kicked back up, swirling around the room and out the open windows. There was no trace of the bodies once the sand cleared, bourne away on the sandy whirlwinds the corpses were reduced to sand and added to deserts stockpile.
Eyes still glowing, Rhunerys approached her sister, ”Ignore my warning if you so choose, it would be folly, but you’ve lived a life defined by folly little sister. But do NOT think to test me again, I AM the deserts daughter, and you would do well to remember where you live.”