A Hero's BeginningsEdit
A mother lay on the floor, near death, her body having been heavily taxed by the birth of her son. A single thud echoed from the door, on the opposite side of the one room house, and the infant’s father approached the door, cautiously pushing it ajar.
“Good evening Tillorn.” spoke a chilling voice. Accompanying that voice was a figure no taller than a child, covered almost entirely by a large worn-out trench coat. The tip of a blade was barely visible from underneath the garment’s right sleeve. The infant’s father, Tillorn, recognized the boy by the silver hair that fell to his shoulders, and the scars along his cheeks and forehead.
“You have no place here!” Tillorn shouted angrily, his infant son entering a fit of bawling amidst the yelling. However, the silver haired boy simply smiled cruelly in response. Tillorn, despite his normal muscular and somewhat menacing appearance, drew back in fear; he stole a brief glance towards his wife and newborn son, hoping to comfort them. The boy at the door also seemed to be looking towards Tillorn’s family.
“Ah, your first son. It would be a shame for him to…” The stranger revealed his blade fully, a small dagger, and violently hurled it into a wall across the room. “Go prematurely.” Tillorn’s son cried louder, and its mother quickened her breaths, the dagger having very nearly killed her. She forced herself to sit upright, fear locked in her eyes.
“Please! Leave Ithan alone!” she cried, slumping back down afterwards, too weak to remain sitting up. Her health was already poor, and the birth had been too stressful for her body. With the nearest medic miles away, her chances of survival remained slim. The stranger seemed well aware of her weakness and impending doom, and let a cold grin slip across his face. Without words, he dove towards the mother and child, but was almost instantaneously intercepted by Tillorn. The two became briefly entangled and barreled into a wall. He forced Tillorn aside and stood up, visibly angry with having been interfered with.
“Your first mistake,” the boy growled, ripping out his dagger from the wall where it was embedded. The blade became literally covered with ice, and the boy thrust it towards the infant. However, the moment the attack was made, the room was filled with flashes of light and bursts of shadow, causing the air itself to be painted a dull shade of gray. From the rafters above dropped six men, known as Sheikah, the shadow folk. One of the six men moved himself in the path of the weapon, protecting the infant. It struck his chest, landing perfectly in the Sheikah emblem, a single open eye; the man fell to the floor, dead on impact. Tillorn roared in rage at the sight of his fallen guard, and brought out his weapon; a four-pointed shuriken of sorts, colored gray to appear inconspicuous, if such a thing was even possible. He aimed it towards his enemy, landing a clean hit upon the boy’s shoulder. Yet, it was as if the stranger didn’t feel pain at all. He merely staggered backwards out of the room, with no audible reply of any kind. The Sheikah guards remained motionless, for they dared not to leave the vicinity of the infant. Meanwhile, Tillorn’s wife, the mother of his child, continued struggling for life. The little baby bawled loudly, but all other things were silent. Tillorn felt fear growing in his heart from the silence, something was going to happen. Sure enough, the silence was broken by an explosion that rocked his ears. Both his front door and surrounding wall were shattered, filling the room with chaos. Two of the Sheikah were killed instantly by the force of door flying off its hinges; two others had been knocked unconscious and trapped under the rubble from the wall, and the fifth remaining Sheikah was merely knocked to the floor. Tillorn quickly turned to check on his wife, but she had vanished; with no time to ponder what had happened, Tillorn dove across the room towards his son. In a miraculous display of acrobatics, he picked up the baby boy, rolled across the room while cradling him and came to a stop in a corner, the child unhurt by the ordeal.
“This may be the only time we have to spend together, Ithan…” Tillorn spoke softly to his son. A cold breeze swept through the newly opened house, and the dimming fireplace went out completely. Every last candle in the home was also snuffed out, and the cold grew unnatural once more. Those Sheikah still alive did not rise; the cold had sapped the last of their energy. Tillorn was alone.
“Devils! I know who you work for! I know your plans! They cannot succeed!” Tillorn’s empty threats were silenced when his throat was nearly sliced open by an airborne knife. He quickly became better aware of his surroundings, but it was not enough to protect his son. Another knife had been skillfully sent soaring through the air, almost as if it was riding the cool breeze running through the house; it was then that Tillorn’s world came crashing down around him, his spirit crushed by what had happened, for the knife had not missed its target.
“No-no, it can’t be…” He shook his head in disbelief at what he saw. Then, without warning, and as if on cue, a tall robed man of very elderly appearance rushed into the house. He, like the Sheikah, had sworn to protect Tillorn and the rest of the Chiaria family. He had in fact sworn to prevent the event that had just taken place. The robed man now stared down the silver-haired boy, who had appeared in the house once more. The elderly man’s palms were open and facing the silver-haired boy in a display of aggression. A glowing orb of light had formed in each palm, and the robed man pitched them at the silver-haired boy, stopping him dead in his tracks. He quickly turned to speak with Tillorn, taking no notice of what had happened to baby Ithan.
“I cannot hold him off for very long, the element of surprise is now lost!” However, Tillorn had no ear turned towards the man. He was merely staring at the limp body in his hands.
“It’s too late…” The body had no blood, no wounds. The knife had been of shadow, taking the soul directly from the newborn. It now lay motionless in Tillorn’s arms, not dead, but far from life. Tillorn found himself falling upon those things so many did when in their greatest moments of desperation – prayer to the goddesses of the land.
“Oh goddesses, if I had but one option in this world, just one true prayer, let it be this! Give my son a chance in life, don’t let something so new, so fragile, end so soon!” Tillorn’s prayers were heard, as all prayers are. Yet, unlike most prayers, his were heeded as well, and his wish was granted in a silent display of light. All the while, the robed man and the silver haired boy were caught in a fierce grapple. It was a most odd sight indeed; a boy appearing to be no more than fifteen fighting a man who appeared over one hundred years old. Tillorn took no notice of the ordeal, for he had used the last of his life in making his prayer. He let out one last breath, one final goodbye, before collapsing to the floor, miraculously setting his child gently down first. In an ironic twist, Tillorn’s wish for a second chance at life for his son seemed to float away on the wind. The child had been given new life, but was quickly scooped up from the floor by a new foe. It was skeletal and hunched over, greatly resembling a small chimpanzee. Yet its body had little hair, and the creature had the look of one that had already died. “We win.” It snorted, grinning smugly, vanishing into the shadows with baby Ithan as it spoke. It was only then that the robed man became aware of the dire turn of events. Seeing no sign of the child, it was apparent that he had made a deadly mistake by placing his focus on the silver haired boy. Ithan had been left unattended, and now he was gone. Tillorn was sprawled across the floor, assuredly dead. The robed man had unfortunately made only his first in a series of mistakes.
“A foolish move on your part, my elderly Chamdar!” Cried the silver haired boy, capturing the robed man’s attention by direct use of his name. He once again brandished his dagger, but it proved no use due to more interruptions. Another Sheikah had kicked the silver haired boy away; this one greatly resembled Tillorn, but was of a slightly younger appearance.
“Am I too late?” He asked, realizing the answer to his question the moment the words escaped his mouth. The newcomers eyes passed over the dead form of his brother, and he saw neither his sister-in-law nor his newborn nephew. Chamdar shook his head sadly in response, watching for the silver haired boy at the same time. Both men stepped out of the house into the pouring rain, and lightning streaked across the sky. They were at the edge of a forest, the trees to their backs, with all the rest of the surrounding area one giant field. The outline of their foe was present as they surveyed the immediate area around the house, and they found themselves at his mercy. His true arctic powers became apparent, and the entire perimeter which they stood in lost nearly all traces of heat. Chamdar and Tillorn’s brother were stopped dead in their tracks by the chilling inhuman powers of the boy. He smiled, glancing at the shimmering heat outside of the perimeter, and then faced his foes.
“It would appear my allies and I have won this time, gentlemen.”
“Think again.” Chamdar and Stryver felt their spirits lift when the familiar voice cut through the air. It was a man that had once worked for the royal guard of Aberria, but left for unknown reasons. He bore very dull street wear, but underneath was powerful armor. Seishi Ma was his name, and he held his blade up close to the throat of Taden.
“Leave now Taden.” He threatened. Taden responded by rolling to the side, and stretching out his arms. The heat returned to the area, and the light became so great, that all were forced to shield their eyes for a moment. When the light dimmed, Taden was nowhere to be seen. However, he continued to speak from his hidden location.
“I shall depart for now, being outnumbered as I am. However, you must realize that all is lost, for we now have the child. You may as well have surrendered tonight, for your fate would have been far better than that which you will now experience.” He finished speaking, and left the trio alone, standing in the pouring rain. Tillorn’s brother, Stryver, turned to Seishi, and smiled grimly.
“Thank the goddesses you showed up, Seishi.” Stryver said. “I don’t imagine we would have lasted long against Taden had you not shown up.” Seishi sheathed his sword as Stryver spoke.
“I’m always ready to show that frozen brat a thing or two.” Seishi smirked. His smirk rapidly changed to a look of concern. “What’s happened here? Are Tillorn and Aurelia safe?”
“…We lost them both.” Stryver replied silently. “Ganondorf’s forces came in an unexpected way, and the guards were no match. The prophecy was carried out.”
“But what happened to Aurelia? She was not part of the prophecy…she didn’t die in child birth did she?” Seishi asked.
“There is no way to know.” Chamdar said grimly. “She has vanished, and the way a psychic dies is very mysterious, even I do not understand it. However, I would imagine she would contact us if she had not died. The most we can do now is be cautious and patient. Even if Ithan is gone for the moment, hope is not lost. We must gather any and all allies we can. They must be convinced of Ithan’s importance to the world.” Chamdar looked at both Stryver and Seishi. “We still have time; the prophecy states that Ithan cannot be useful until the age of 11. Even if it takes years, he will be rescued.” Each man looked to the ruins of the Chiaria house. The time had begun to bring together the strongest warriors of Aberria so that little Ithan Chiaria could be saved from his own destiny.
…Time is not to be wasted.
The Meeting HallEdit
Since the capture of Ithan Chiaria ten years ago, the King of Aberria has been gathering recruits for an attack upon the enemy stronghold in the northern mountains, known as the Algeré Peaks
During this time, those recruits had been instructed to scour the landscape for weaponry that had been lost long ago. Weapons not understood by most, but feared by all. These weapons were composed of the six major elements of Aberria, Fire of the Inferno, Water of the Gelid, Spirit of the Sunrise, Light of the Glow, Shadow of the Abyss, and Growth of the Weald
Tensions have grown strong, and the mysterious teenager Link has gone missing along with several others. It is now a great turning point for the people of Aberria.
The royal city of Aberria was nothing to scoff at. The castle of Aberria’s king stood tall and proud to the far south of the dark and dreary Algeré Mountains; the castle was a safe haven for the royalty of Aberria, and all its loyal soldiers. For many years it had held the mysterious power to drive back the evil of the world. To the castle’s rear was a mighty lake, a lake even larger than the well known Lake Aberria southwest of the castle.
Within the castle walls, King Daphnes Nohansen was holding a meeting with his most respected soldiers. Many warriors had come and gone over the year, and now the castle held some of the most powerful men and women in the world. But to the dismay of Daphnes, the number of attendees was devastatingly low. He scanned the room, determining who had and had not shown up.
“My soldiers, please, be at order!” Daphnes shouted, prompting everyone present to seat themselves at the table in the center of the room. “Where, might I ask, is Stryver?” Daphnes asked, noting that his seat was empty. The first to rise in response was Chamdar Taliesin, who bore the look of a man who had seen too many generations go by, and in truth, he had. Chamdar’s age was as much a mystery as the extent of his power, neither of which was known by any of his allies.
“Your majesty…” He said, taking a moment to make eye contact with each man and woman in the room. “I’m afraid that Stryver still has not been found. This makes three months that he has been missing.” Chamdar then sat back down as another man stood up; he was of a dark skin tone, a member of the Gerudo race hailing in the western parts of central Aberria. He bore little differences from the average man or woman besides his skin color, and his only unique trait was the mere fact that he was male, for pure blooded male Gerudo’s were born only once every one hundred years. He was known as Dajronon, and was in fact not the only male Gerudo alive. There was another, Ganondorf Dragmire, whose origins were unknown, who also happened to be the very man that King Daphnes intended to take back baby Ithan from. Due to Ganondorf’s actions, Dajronon himself had been cast out of his own land, the women there believing all men to be evil. Dajronon ran his hands over his thick black clothing, designed for the desert, as he spoke.
“Those sent to find Stryver have also not returned. Both Jonas and Koro have vanished.” Dajronon spoke of two creatures that were far older than most in the room. Jonas, who was known to be over one thousand years old, and Koro who was so old that it was thought he was born before official records were formed. Jonas was a typical Aberrian man, except for the fact that he had two rather angelic-like wings upon his back, and an exceptionally strong bone structure, that had saved him from many injuries that would kill a common man. Koro was a child in stature, but wiser than any teacher or sage because of his age; he belonged to a race of children called the Kokiri that lived secluded in a forest many miles to the south. Koro was the only real Kokiri to have ever left the forest and not been killed by the effects of aging.
“Well, I’m afraid we cannot delay this meeting any longer. I have given ample time for all soldiers to attend, and those who have not arrived will likely never come. I do not see the logic in waiting any longer.” Daphnes pulled out a rolled up scroll as he spoke, spreading it and laying it upon the table. Upon it was a large map of the world and extensive markings showing the accomplishments of the recruits over the years. Drawn across the map were images of various tools known as the Essence Weapons: six unique elemental weapons and six elemental swords, all created from six core gems known as the Essence Stones. Five of the specialized weapons were in the possession of King Daphne’s recruits, while the sixth was held by the opposing forces.
“I must protest this, is it truly necessary for us to once again review the status of the Essence Weapons?” Asked Kaimu Kotaro, the only Zora in the room. Zora’s were an aquatic species that lived in the eastern sections of Aberria, alongside its largest river. Zora’s stood roughly a foot taller than the average Aberrian man, and had amphibious blue skin texture, with fins protruding from their arms, legs, and shoulders, with the arm fins being detachable. One of the more notable features of the Zoras was their mysterious eyes, which appeared as little more than small slits on the face. No mouth was visible on the creature, but it did create very audible speech. Kaimu had two lightning bolt tattoos upon his arm fins, signifying his accomplishments in battles from years before. He functioned as an ambassador of sorts to the Zora tribe, carrying great weight when it came to decisions involving the Zoras and the Royal Family of Aberria.
“…No, it isn’t necessary.” Daphnes replied after a few moments of consideration. “I suppose we have reviewed the status of the Essence Weapons enough. With that said, I ask that everyone in possession of an Essence Sword please place it upon the table.” Daphnes spoke of the six swords that signified the power of their enemy, the Council of Algeré. The Council had been the driving force behind the evil building in the land for many years, and the Essence Swords were known to have originally belonged to the Council. The first sword set down was the Essence Blade of Light, the Sword of the Glow, which had been recovered by Seishi Ma several years earlier. He refused to make eye contact with Daphnes as he did so, having previously stated his only reasons for showing up in Castle Aberria was out of respect for his allies, not loyalty to the Royal Family.
“I give this sword as a sign of my respect for the Allies of Light, whom I will follow to death if it means the rescue of the prophesied child.” Seishi placed the sword upon the table and sat back down without another word. Next to stand was Chamdar, who placed the Blade of the Abyss on the table, the Essence Sword of Shadow. Following that was Kaimu with the Blade of the Weald, the Essence Sword of Forest, and Dajronon with the Blade of the Inferno, the Essence Sword of Fire. King Daphnes looked over the four swords and grimaced.
“Do we know the whereabouts of the remaining two swords?” He asked.
“The last time I spoke with him, Stryver still held the Blade of the Gelid.” Said Dajronon, speaking of the Essence Sword of Water. “And to my knowledge, none here have recovered nor heard the location of the Blade of the Sunrise.” He continued, speaking of the Essence Sword of Spirit.
“Very well.” Daphnes smiled. “You are well equipped and well trained soldiers. I expect nothing short of victory for you all.” Daphnes looked over those soldiers who had not spoken. First was the lizard creature, Majin, of the Tokay species. His species, short and reptilian, hailed from a distant land, though there were small families living in swamp areas scattered about Aberria. Next to Majin was Damanri, a Goron from the mountains outside the castle. His species was somewhat dull in appearance, with large rock-like bodies sporting bulky arms and legs that were just as rocky in appearance. His species was however the strongest in the land and much smarter than their appearance let on.
“Anything else, your majesty?” Asked Darrel Mytura, a man much whispered to be a descendant of one of the Ancients of Aberria. Next to him stood Helen Mytura, who was rumored to also be related to the ancients somehow, though the public history of both individuals was well shrouded in mystery. Each one was the epitome of beauty for a man and woman, and to be in their presence was often difficult for those not used to such beauty and grace. Being that their souls were so in tune with the spirit energy of the world, both retained a very youthful appearance, despite being middle-aged in actuality.
“No, I believe that is all. We will depart tomorrow morning. For now I suggest you all enjoy your last night in the castle, it may be the last time you see this place for many months.” The King was the first to rise, and smiled at his recruits, giving to them the hope they would so desperately need in the coming times.
All is not well…
“What…” A small boy’s voice is lost in the endless echo of himself. He turns to find a way out, but there are no doors. He cannot even remember how he got in this place.
“Hello? Anybody here?” Says the voice.
“GO TO SLEEP AND WAIT FOR US TO FINISH!” Screams a hating, desperate voice. It wants something of the boy’s, but why? Why pick on him? What did he ever do…what did he ever do…
All is never well…
Darrel stood at the edge of the Royal City of Aberria, which was the only actual city in central Aberria, the rest of the land being made up of small villages and cottages, save for the somewhat large settlement of Gorons in the nearby mountains, and the Zora’s that lived all along the rivers of Aberria. Within the city walked species of all sorts, though Aberrians and Zora’s were the most common, being that many Aberrians actually lived in the city, and the lake the Zora’s lived in was only a short distance to the north of the city and castle.
“Shall we go to our tavern?” Helen asked, stepping up beside Darrel and taking his hand. He smiled and placed his second hand over hers. The relationship he held with Helen was far deeper than any normal one of physical or emotional attraction. They held a spiritual bond in the most literal sense, each one depending upon the spiritual energy of the other.
“I suppose one last night of fun couldn’t hurt.” Darrel replied, leading Helen into the city. When they reached the official boundary between castle grounds and the royal city, two guards stopped the pair, motioning towards the center of town. “Is something wrong?” Darrel asked, already noticing the commotion.
“Darrel, look at that!” Helen indicated the very large fire that had begun on a single house in the city. Outside the fire stood Dajronon, several citizens, and a winged woman known as Eve who had also been present at the meeting but had remained silent for its duration. Her appearance gave the look of an angel, with her skin a beautiful glowing white typically seen only in the robes of royalty. Around her body wrapped a single flowing piece of cloth which was a slightly darker tone than her skin, but still similar enough to make it seem a part of her body. She bore a constant solemn look, as if she were trapped in an endless depression, but it did little to detract from her natural beauty.
“We need to investigate this.” Darrel nodded to the guards and then rushed on ahead and down a small hill into the city. “Dajronon!” Darrel called out. “What’s going on?” Dajronon held in his hands a Gerudo scimitar, and he took a moment to fight off several Gerudo women before turning to respond.
“A small band of Gerudo came into the city, and set this house on fire without warning!” He snarled, striking one down as it charged him. “I’m guessing that they knew this house belongs to me.”
“Is anyone else in the city besides you and Eve?” Helen asked, running up to Dajronon’s side and picking up a sword from one of the downed Gerudo women. Dajronon should his head and glanced briefly at Eve, who had managed to assist several citizens in putting out the fire.
“No, Majin went to the Zora’s city with Kaimu, Chamdar and Damanri are still in the castle, and Seishi is out somewhere outside the city. Dajronon glanced around, seeing that the Gerudo danger was gone. “I did get one of them to talk before they actually started fighting. First thing they told me was that they had no choice but to kill me, for the well-being of the Gerudo people. Then they proclaimed that they were officially turning against King Daphnes and they now followed the command of Ganondorf.”
“So they felt you had to die because there can only be one male Gerudo?” Helen asked, baffled.
“That sounds plausible doesn’t it?” Dajronon said angrily. “No, they already had it in for me. You guys knew that, it’s the reason I live here and not in Gerudo Valley. What’s bizarre is that they cast me out because of Ganondorf. This can only mean he either gave them a very good reward for allying with him, or a very good threat.”
“So now the King has the Gerudo to deal with just as his best legion of soldiers is leaving?” Darrel said, more to himself than anyone else. “Maybe somebody should stay behind to help guard the castle if they return.”
“No.” Dajronon replied flatly. “There are still plenty of soldiers here to help guard the place if they actually send in a true attack force. We need to all go to Algeré to help get Ithan back.”
“May I suggest something?” Spoke Eve, somewhat startling the three, as she rarely spoke. “This must be reported to the King right away, shall I do it?”
“Yes, good idea.” Helen answered. “We’ll all go.”
To the far northern reaches of Aberria sat the Algeré mountain chain, where atop its most fearsome peak lurked a man of much hatred and cruelty. An evil man if there ever was one, a man known by the name of Ganondorf Dragmire in his home land, and known only as ‘the enemy’ in Aberria.
He commanded a fortress not his own, a testament to his power, and commanded a group that he did not create, further exemplifying the sheer strength of his will. The group he commanded was made of six individuals, each one representing a species in the land of Aberria.
“Sir, the council has gathered in the meeting chamber.” The creature speaking was the very same one who had captured baby Ithan so many years before. His origins were unknown, and he had resided in the fortress of Algeré long before Ganondorf’s arrival or even the Council itself. Its name was Semel, and it was actually spoken of in myth, thought to kill those travelers that became lost in the north. Its existence was no myth however, and Ganondorf now commanded it as he pleased, using the creature as his personal servant.
“Tell them to be ready for my arrival, quickly.” Ganondorf motioned for Semel to leave, and the creature quickly obliged. Ganondorf turned to look out over the Algeré landscape. The presence of the Council of Algeré meant a great many things, including an influence upon the very climate of the fortress of Algeré. While the surrounding landscape was that of snowy mountains, and storm clouds did constantly move through the skies above, the immediate environment of the castle was not so uniform. Each council member bore immense power, and chose to exert that power by transforming the earth and skies around them. Lava flowed freely through the snow banks, and vines clung to the sides of the fortress. Creatures that had no place in the blizzard or the intense heat wandered about, and the air felt dry, as if the land was little more than a desert. On top of it all, darkness and light battled for supremacy around the fortress, creating an eerie gray haze that made Ganondorf’s stronghold nigh impossible to see from a distance.
“Lord Ganondorf, the council awaits your arrival.”
“King Daphnes!” Dajronon hollered towards the main gate of the castle, where the King stood. “I imagine you’ve heard what’s happened?”
“Yes, my guards have informed me, but only the basics. What exactly is going on? Is the city under attack?” Daphnes tensed up, prepared to give the command to attack at any moment.
“Not currently, your majesty.” Darrel said calmly. “Dajronon and Eve took care of the Gerudo threat, though their presence seemed more of a warning than an actual attack, am I correct Dajronon?”
“Yes.” He grimaced. “Perhaps we should gather everyone for another meeting?” Dajronon suggested with a voice full of uncertainty.
“…No.” Daphnes replied after a brief delay. “This isn’t important enough to take away everyone’s last night of rest. Besides, if the threat arrives again, I’ll have my soldiers take care of it. Meet with me in my chambers, we can discuss this attack in greater detail once there.”
Many hours had passed since the Gerudo attack, and all of the King’s recruits had since returned to their rooms to rest for the night. It was the final time of true rest for the soldiers before they embarked upon a journey to rescue Ithan Chiaria, a child that was understood to be important not only to the kingdom of Aberria, but the entire world. Though most would give up hope after ten long years of captivity, those working under King Daphnes knew that Ithan would be kept alive until he was no longer needed, meaning that the recruits still had time left.
And as the group slept soundly, the moonlight reflected off of a quiet stream passing through the castle courtyard. Kaimu Kotaro and Majin Kotage had been sleeping in the courtyard area when both were awoken by a distant bird cry.
“…Kaimu.” Majin whispered.
“I hear it.” Kaimu replied softly before going quiet. The two silently ascended a small watch tower leading out of the courtyard in order to give them a good look at the sky. Kaimu felt his attention being drawn to the many pictures of Aberria’s emblem, a great Phoenix, as he moved up the tower staircase. They both reached the tower’s top, and then peered out its massive windows, which overlooked the great lake of Aberria that sat behind the castle. Majin and Kaimu could each see multiple heads peering out of other towers and windows as their allies all awoke and also looked out towards the mysterious bird cries. Kaimu suddenly felt pain in his eyes, and shut them tight, but the pain immediately ceased. Upon opening them, he could see all the way to the mountains of Algeré, from which flew a massive phoenix.
“We have been shown the way.” Kaimu muttered.
Road to AlgereEdit
Though not all were accounted for at the King’s meetings, his recruits are now set to finally depart upon their journey. To their north loom the mountains where both enemies and captives wait patiently, but unbeknownst to both King Daphnes and the recruits, the enemy is not unaware of their approach.
...The air is growing cold.
CHAPTER 2 Road to Algeré
As the morning birds chirped, and the sun crept up over the hills, the King’s recruits roused from a most unexpectedly restful sleep. Uneasiness about the coming day wasn’t on the face of a single man or woman, but the looks upon their faces were nothing if not grim as the recruits gathered in the meeting hall. It took only a short few minutes for the group to assemble, and soon the King himself was entering the hall, preparing to give his departing words.
“This is no time for words. So instead I shall simply see you off.” He motioned for his recruits to stand. “It is time for departure”. One by one they departed in silence and moved to the northern side of the castle, coming out a rear entrance. Horses waited for each of them, and their supplies had all been prepared. His Majesty stood to the side as each recruit passed and checked their things. When it was certain that all their supplies had been brought, the King gave a grim smile and looked towards the forest.
“I cannot lie to you about this, and I dare not expect you to wish for lies from me. Some of you may not come back from this journey, and it’s possible we have misjudged our time and are already too late. Nevertheless, you cannot turn back.”
“I speak for all of us when I say, we shall succeed no matter the circumstances, and we will yet see you again.” Chamdar stared directly at the King as he spoke, convincing him of his words. “Goodbye your majesty.” He turned to the recruits. “Let us depart, we can linger no longer.”
Within a dark and twisted passage lay a hidden door. From just a few inches away it seemed a quiet and innocent passage, but upon approach and opening, it proved horrifying. A disgusting, skeletal hand reached for the door, and it opened upon its stretch. From within came the terrible shouts and screams of a victim most deserved of his fate. He cried out for explanation, for help, for protection, but none came. His mind was still only available to him through sheer force of will. The victim’s very soul cried out from within the deep chamber, but it soon grew quiet and once more none knew of its existence, as the door shut once more.
It had been one day. Though trained well in combat, possessing endless endurance, and being the smartest individuals in the world, the King’s Recruits were still unable to find common ground amongst the entire group. Some had begun to bicker as the evening sun waned. The Goron Damanri, an older stone whom had been on the wrong side in an equally old war. Kaimu had been on the other, and on more than one occasion their encounters had left vicious damage to each other and those around them.
“We’re stopping for the night, now” Commanded Damanri. His words were not well received; tensions had already grown high, and Damanri rarely put thought into how others might react to what he said. More than anything else, it was his demanding tone that set his allies off. “I don’t remember raising my fins and bowing to your presence. It is not you that I take orders from. You are as pathetic in your command as you are in combat. Who do you think you are, Goron?”
“You listen here, the past is the past! I have changed, I serve the royal family now!” Kaimu narrowed his already exceedlingly narrow eyes and took a stance of aggression with one fin arced up as a shield and the other pulled back in a throwing motion. Dajronon had been watching the two out of the corner of his eye, and decided to interfere when things began growing violent.
“You two need to get a grip! Take a moment to think about who our enemy really is.” He placed as much force into his voice as possible, if it wouldn't calm them, it would at least redirect their hatred from each other.
“Hard to tell.” Kaimu snarled at Damanri, facing away as he spoke.
“I’m warning you, Zora…” Damanri growled.
“That’s enough!” Chamdar hinted at rage as he raised his voice, and stepped between the Zora and Goron. “Damanri is correct. It is getting dark, and a lack of energy is no proper way to function if we hope to complete our task. Let us set up camp.” Chamdar’s words briefly calmed the fire between Kaimu and Damanri, and the two walked away without furthering their argument. Heeding Chamdar’s advice, the rest of the group began to set up camp. As camp was setup, Kaimu and Majin departed to find a body of water in which they could rest for the night. They initially walked in silence, but Majin soon broke it, attempting to find out the reasoning behind Kaimu and Damanri's hatred for one another.
“Kaimu, why is it you hate Damanri so much? In all the time I've known you, you have never really been one to be aggressive towards others without reason, are Gorons different somehow, or is it Damanri specifically?”
“Hard-headed, useless Goron…” Kaimu muttered, more to himself than to Majin, while simultaneously failing to answer Majin's question. The Tokay kept things light, chuckling to himself at Kaimu’s reply.
“Thanks buddy, but I need more details than that.” He commented. Picking up on the Tokay’s humor, Kaimu relaxed and humored Majin with a calmer response.
“I am seventy years old.”
“I’m green, glad we’re sharing.”
“Funny. Seventy years old means that I was in the war against Onox years ago.” Kaimu of course referred to many decades earlier in his life, when a somewhat insane, incredibly powerful and well armed soldier assaulted Aberria, claiming it to be his land and trying to overtake the entire country. Majin knew the war well, having been descended from a family that participated in it heavily, opposed to Onox and in defense of Aberria.
“Look I don’t want to stop you in the middle of a great story, but is this going somewhere?” Majin asked, a hint of sarcasm in his voice. Kaimu decided to continue with his story rather than acknowledge the question.
“During the war I fought alongside a convicted criminal, Feyelin Downon. We needed soldiers pretty badly at the time and his crimes were nothing more than minor theft, he seemed to have changed his ways. When he and I were in one of the largest battles fought, he was injured severely and our commanding officer had been killed, leaving me in command. Seeing the slaughter, I ordered everyone to retreat, not being able to locate Feyelin at the time, I assumed him to be dead so he ended up getting left on the field of battle.”
“...But he didn't die, did he?” Majin questioned. Kaimu shook his head briefly before continuing.
“I'm guessing the enemy at the time, Gerudo, also considered him dead because we retreated from that fight, and I'm surprised he wasn't killed by them. Whatever happened, he eventually managed to return to the main domain of my people, but...”
“He was very different, held quite a grudge against Zora's in general, though I know the source of that grudge is me.” Majin held up one of his lizard hands in a pausing motion while squinting his eyes shut, indicating Kaimu should stop.
“I'm confused, where does Damanri fit into all this?”
“Well, that's where Feyelin being so different comes in.” Kaimu paused again as he and Majin reached a small river flowing in the woods. He searched for a calmer portion of it, and then motioned for Majin as he began walking again. “Not more than a day or two after Feyelin returned, before any of us could really apologize or even explain things, there was in incident in Zora's domain involving both Feyelin and Damanri. At this point in the war against Onox, the Zora's and Gorons were working under a peace treaty. Unfortunately, that didn't lower tensions at all, nor did it make us all happy to trust each other. Damanri had been fooled into believing that the Zora's were going to launch an attack on the Gorons, aimed specifically at the leading Goron elders. Damanri was actually being influenced by Onox – mind control of some sort, and was on a mission, with Feyelin apparently, to assassinate the Zora King and Queen.”
“What ended up happening?”
“Feyelin added more lies to the mix. He told Damanri that I was the one who came up with the plan to attack his people. Damanri ended up coming for me first, and we were forced to fight. During the fight, others came to my assistance, and we stopped both of them. Damanri did listen to our words, but unfortunately his trust of the Zora's didn't increase any at all. He declared Feyelin a disgrace to all Zora's, and that in turn, no Zora could be trusted – a fool's decision.”
“Damanri ended up attacking Feyelin pretty viciously, and I personally stopped him, employing quite a lot of force, nearly killing him through some techniques that he views as 'dishonorable.' Basically I nearly drowned him...Well, any more detail is probably unnecessary. I think you get the picture now.”
“More or less. It seems mostly like a misunderstanding to me. One question though, what ended up happening to Feyelin?”
“He fled during the commotion. I don't know his whereabouts now, if he's even still alive. I'd rather he be dead, that traitorous scum, the Goron too. He doesn't trust me, and does not deserve my trust. I'd rather see him dead as well, that pathetic...” Kaimu trailed off, his anger taking command once again. Majin raised his hands in a mock defensive motion, and Kaimu curbed his rage.
“I'm going to head back and tell the others where we are.” Kaimu merely nodded in reply, and watched as the Tokay sprinted off through the woods toward the campsite. He turned and looked at the river that he and Majin had come to before promptly lying down in front of it, exhausted from his frustrations. A gentle breeze blew across the river, calming Kaimu once more. Unfortunately, in mere moments the wind had morphed from spring breeze to winter storm, and the air was snapping at the temperature drop.
“This can’t possibly be just the weather.” Kaimu muttered to himself. Not a second after the thought went through his head; he felt his body struck by an even sharper cold, accompanied by the pain of being suddenly physically bound to the ground. It took Kaimu only a few seconds longer to realize who his assailant was. There was but one famous individual who fought with unnatural arctic abilities.
“My good Zora, Kotaro, was it?” Taden Hothnight. It was not their first meeting, and Kaimu, even through the pain of the cold was able to recognize when he was being mocked.
“I see you still mask your fear behind the insult of your opponents.” Kaimu spat, shivering as he stalled for time. Taden Hothnight however, was not one so easily put off by words. Both his enemies and cohorts knew him well enough to know that words were how he weakened his enemy. He drew out the emotions of his opponents before striking out harshly, though as demonstrated by his restraint of Kaimu he was not beyond preemptive strikes in battle.
“And what have I to fear, good Zora?” Taden spoke softly, sporting the sort of natural arrogance that would drive those around him mad with anger. “Is it my short stature?” He looked down upon himself while speaking. “No, that certainly cannot be – after all, what is it they say? Big things come in small packages.” Kaimu snarled as Taden rambled on, trying to keep focus on escaping the ice-bonds instead of becoming distracted by both the pain and Taden's subtle mockery. “I suppose then it must be something else related to appearance! I certainly do have quite the childlike look don't I? But then again, children do hold vast potential...”
“I would hardly call you a creature of potential!” A new voice rang in the air, catching the attention of both Taden and Kaimu. The voice was young, but firm. “Potential would imply that you have the ability to do great things! All I see here is a few slabs of ice holding down a naturally aquatic creature, hardly an achievement – no offense of course Kaimu.”
“Oh I’m really not in a position to defend myself anyway.” Kaimu remarked, an obvious tint of dark humor in his voice. While still in pain from the ice bonds, Kaimu felt some cheer when he saw Taden’s eyes narrow in contempt.
“Ah yes, another child. Perhaps my statement about potential was misguided.” Taden mused. He adjusted his stance to face his new enemy, the Kokiri child Koro, who stood proudly across the river. He was attired in a simple green tunic with a dagger as his only weapon, though for his size, it was an adequate weapon. Flitting about alongside his head was his eternal partner, the fairy Juno. Koro only winked in response to Taden’s comment and then hurled his dagger, sending it towards not Taden, but Kaimu. Seemingly guided by an unseen force, the dagger cut through the bonds on Kaimu’s arms before becoming embedded in a tree. Even Taden was momentarily surprised by the effect, and when he turned back to face Koro, he was met instead with Juno, who was buzzing angrily at and around his face.
“People find that rude Juno!” Koro yelled, taking advantage of Taden’s distraction and running along a tree which leaned at an angle, bringing it out about halfway across the river. Koro leapt off of the tree straight into Taden, knocking both of them to the ground. Amidst the sudden chaos, Kaimu had managed to break apart the ice bonds holding down his legs and roll himself into the river to rejuvenate himself. Kaimu popped his head up above the water, looking around frantically.
“Koro, quick, grab my sword, it’s on the ground!” Kaimu was of course referring to the Blade of the Weald, the Sword of the Forest. Koro spotted it lying several feet from where Kaimu had first been attacked, but he was still grappling with Taden, each one trying to force the other into submission. Koro’s hands began to slowly turn blue, going numb from Taden’s icy frame. Thinking quickly, Koro suddenly went limp and leaned back, causing Taden to overcompensate in his efforts to force Koro down. Koro brought his dagger up as Taden rolled over him, slicing cleanly into his leg. Taden let out a grunt of pain and completely lost his grip upon Koro. Koro picked up his hat which had fallen off during the struggle and scrambled over to the sword on the ground. He picked it up and swung around sharply to find Taden attempting to drive his own dagger into Koro. As soon as the blades collided, the Sword of the Forest shot off an orb of green light. It slammed into the tree hanging over the river, causing it to grow greatly in length, stretching all the way from one bank to the other. Likewise, Taden’s dagger let off a smaller blue orb of energy, which struck the same tree, causing it gain a small layer of frost. Kaimu chose that moment to leap back out of the water and up next to Koro and Taden, effectively making the fight two versus one.
“Kaimu!” The voice of Majin was a wonderful thing to Koro and Kaimu, and it sealed the fate of their fight with Taden.
“Hmrph. It would appear that the goddesses are capable of pity. I leave you to their pity, for now.” Taden did a miniature bow as snow began to fall, and then in a blinding display of speed he pushed through Koro and Kaimu, while a painful winter breeze simultaneously blew through the area, forcing them to shield their faces; when the breeze died down, Taden was nowhere to be seen, and all that remained of his presence was some light snowfall and the frostbitten tree.
“What happened here?” Majin asked. “Was this…?” Majin trailed off as Koro and Kaimu nodded silently. Even though the signs of Taden’s intrusion were few, they were enough so that any of the king’s recruits could recognize them. “And Koro! Have you found any signs of Stryver or Jonas out here?”
“Not convincingly, but I have a hunch they’re out here. There aren’t a lot of other pressing matters for Stryver besides finding Ithan, so it’s more than likely that he just decided to go on ahead alone. Jonas is a total mystery to me, he could be anywhere.”
“Well, I’m sure that everyone will want to ask you the same question about Stryver, and I know they’ll be glad to see you.” Majin noted. “I’ll take you back to camp.”
“Yeah, I think we’ll just all stay there tonight.” Kaimu said, looking over his shoulder towards the trees Taden had fled into.
The Quietus Edit
Koro has been united with the king’s recruits once more, but there are still more who remain lost. Yet, they do not lay far from the recruits, but instead merely a few steps ahead. Stryver Chiaria now wanders deep within the northern forest, the Quietus. He desires most desperately to rescue his nephew Ithan from the clutches of the enemy, for together they are the last two Chiaria family members alive.
CHAPTER 3 The Quietus
The Quietus had a knack for sending people in circles. It wasn’t an overly massive forest, but it was dense, and dark. Just enough to confuse even the experienced traveler, and send him in circles for days on end. It was a rare thing for sunlight to truly shine through, so the forest was constantly in a state of dusk, with patches of light here and there, serving as beacons of hope for the weary who wandered the forest. For Stryver, the forest was a much worse place than what the legends of it had ever seen. Though he had visited its borders many times in his life, it was rare for him to ever set foot inside the place. Now he had been wandering the forest for days, knowing fully that he was traveling in a loop, despite making every attempt he could to deviate from his path and find a way out.
“This place has been cursed; there is no question about that.” He muttered, running on the last of his patience. For him, that was a great danger, for he was a Sheikah, and they were trained in the ways of patience and hiding in the shadows. That too seemed to him a sign that things were not as they should have been, that a foreign party was interfering with his progress. In his anger he swung his arms, striking a tree and then slumping against it. Then, to his surprise, and in another sense, relief, the tree fought back, using its branches to completely pin him to the trunk.
“What the…?” Stryver pushed back against the branches, now convinced that somebody was manipulating him. “Who is doing this? Show yourself!” Stryver then heard what sounded like numerous curses in various languages. He didn’t completely understand the words, but knew them to be battle cries. However, Stryver was not hearing the voice of an enemy, for moments after the cries rang through the air he heard the sound of flapping wings and the saw the silhouette of a friend. His newly arrived ally launched himself into the tree hard, forcing it to release its grip on Stryver. Then, just as quickly as it had come to life, the branches retreated and the tree went still.
“Jonas!” Stryver cried out in surprise, realizing who it was that had saved him. “What are you doing out here? You’re supposed to be with the other recruits.” Stryver brushed off the few pieces of bark still sticking to his uniform and then stepped away from the tree, keeping his eyes on Jonas the entire time, who never failed to impress him. Jonas was silent for a moment, choosing to stretch out his wings to their full six foot extent, allowing him to adjust the vest that they protruded from. To Stryver, it just seemed like he was showing off, despite having lived for some two thousand years, which would seem like more than enough time to grow bored with his wings. However, Jonas was well known for his constant youthful cheeriness, which was yet another oddity for his personality, considering that his closest friend was Eve, who was not the outspoken type. Though few knew it, Jonas and Eve were the result of an accident involving very powerful magic which left Jonas with wings, and Eve with much more. Finally, after staying silent for so long, Jonas responded to Stryver.
“After you were gone for so long, the King thought it necessary that a search party be sent out. I offered to go alone, but unfortunately I’ve been gone so long now that we’re probably both considered missing, captured, or dead.” Jonas paused and gazed at the damaged tree. “I’d say you nearly were.”
“Well, you have my thanks.” Stryver looked around. “I hate to admit this, but I think I’ve been tricked. In fact, I’m certain of it after that tree came to life. Someone knows I’m here, and has been forcing me to go in circles, somehow.”
“Well, we should probably get out of here.” Jonas smiled as he spoke. Stryver immediately took on an annoyed look.
“Yes…well, I think I’ve already clearly explained my problem.”
“Don’t you know the way?” Jonas was still grinning, making no attempt to hide his sarcasm. Jonas of course knew a way to lead Stryver out of the forest, and Stryver knew it too, but for Jonas there was no fun in just leading him out immediately.
“Yes, and I’m sure you do too.” Stryver’s voice took on a hint of irritation. While normally the two enjoyed a healthy amount of banter, Stryver’s patience had already been brought to its limits, and Stryver was a man who liked to get straight to the point of things.
“I suppose I could just fly up over the treetops to find the fastest route. And I think I’ve stopped that little ‘diversion’ that’s sending you in circles. It was the trees by the way, they’ve been bewitched, or whatever you want to call it. Somebody apparently felt this place wasn’t lively enough as it was.”
“Well, just… just go see where we are.” Stryver muttered, shutting his eyes and placing his hands on his forehead. “Give me a moment to gather my thoughts.”
“Be back before you know it.” Jonas winked and stretched out his wings before launching up powerfully into the air. He quickly vanished from sight, but continued to speak loudly to Stryver as he ascended. “…Hmmm, I’d say we’re already pretty close to the north side of the forest, but there’s something there that I don’t recall being there before, some kind of large chasm in the ground. If I had to guess, I’d say that whoever made that thing is the same person who made those trees come alive. And if I had to make another guess about this whole situation, it would be that the Council of Algeré is behind the whole thing.”
“Is there anything else?” Stryver called back up.
“No way to tell, there’s a pretty thick layer of fog right over the chasm, and stretching beyond it. I can’t even see the mountains, definitely not a natural phenomenon.”
“Okay, come on back down.” Stryver called up. “Living forest, brand new big hole in the ground, and a layer of fog that apparently blocks the entire northern mountain range. There’s no question about it, whoever’s past all that knows we’re here.”
Kaimu, Majin, and Koro had returned to the camp just as the sun was setting, finding that none of the recruits were aware of what had happened. Such a fact was rather surprising since the fight with Taden hadn’t been too far off. Koro was the first to point it to his two allies.
“I find it hard to believe that nobody heard our fight, not even a little bit of it.”
“Well, it was Taden after all; he’s never one to reveal his entire hand at once. He always has an agenda; I’m sure alerting the entire camp wasn’t on it.” Kaimu commented.
“Are you suggesting that Taden somehow prevented any sound from traveling outside of the river area?” Majin questioned.
“Is it all that unrealistic? I think we all know the power Taden holds, and I don’t think anyone here is under the impression that his power is some sort of trick. Besides, he has outside help as well.” Koro replied. At that point the three were inside the camp area, and the recruit on guard duty, Damanri, had more than noticed their presence. Though as always, his prejudice towards Kaimu overshadowed all else that he saw or did.
“Back already? Too afraid to sleep on your own?”
“I shouldn’t be the one afraid to fall asleep around here.” Kaimu muttered to himself, more for personal reassurance than for the purposes of a threat. Damanri didn’t seem to hear him, and had instead turned his attention to Koro.
“Yes, it is me.” Koro stated matter-of-factly, smirking. “And I have some important news, if you’d please gather together the rest of the group.” Damanri just paused for a moment and then turned without another word. The three waited in silence as the rest of the recruits gathered up, until finally they all stood before Koro.
“I’m not lost as some may have thought, and I’m not dead, as others may have thought, though I suppose that one is self-evident…as is the first one. Taden Hothnight attacked Kaimu earlier just as I showed up in this area. We managed to fight him off, but that’s all we did. It’s almost certain now that the Council of Algeré knows we are on our way, if they did not already know before. I suspect that they will begin to send out even more forces, and attempt to speed up the process Ithan is caught up in. It is imperative that we waste no time and reach him before time runs out. Otherwise, we all know the dangers that may fall before us.”
Despite his wings, Jonas preferred to walk whenever possible while around others, with Stryver being the only exception. As they moved slowly through the Quietus, he glided gently above the ground, making a great deal of juvenile effort to point out that he could effortlessly float, whereas Stryver could not. Much to Jonas delight, it was in fact beginning to grate on Stryver’s nerves.
“You know, I can only be grateful towards you for saving me from that tree for so long. I’m perfectly happy with the thought of you just flying off and vanishing into this fog.” Stryver said, a mixture of annoyance and humor in his voice.
“But then how would you get through the forest? I mean, granted, you are a skilled Sheikah who would never get lost like any old commoner might.”
“I hope you clip your wings on a tree.” Stryver said, unable to keep his grin completely back.
“I appreciate your friendship too.” Jonas coolly remarked back. He then eased himself down to the ground, and began to walk at a normal pace. The fog had begun to clear up, and both Stryver and Jonas slowed down, naturally apprehensive about what they might encounter. Jonas moved ahead first, and Stryver allowed him the honor, knowing he could get away faster through flight if he had to. Jonas motioned for Stryver to come closer, and soon they were both peering down the large chasm Jonas had spotted beforehand. After a few moments, Jonas took to the skies and began flying slowly over the chasm, attempting to gage its depth, but unable to see past the fog beneath.
“See anything at all?” Stryver asked, hope tracing the edge of his words. Beneath his words however sat the concern that the fog was just as unnatural as the living tree. “Well?” Jonas glanced back at Stryver, but said nothing before turning back around and diving straight into the fog. It was not uncommon behavior for Jonas, but it was particularly agitating for Stryver due to the sincerity of the situation. But before Stryver could become too irate, Jonas head emerged from the fog, bearing an ear to ear grin. He put a finger to his lips, alerting Stryver to remain quiet. Jonas very calmly flew over to Stryver and set himself down on the edge of the chasm. He leaned in and began speaking very quietly.
“There is something very large asleep down there. I expect that the moment I try and go back in there, it will wake up. It might already be waking up.”
“Well how large is it?”
“Large. Enough that it definitely isn’t natural. I have a feeling that the Council is behind this.”
“Just keep me on the right path.” Stryver answered calmly, slowly lowering himself over the edge. He trusted Jonas could lead him to safety; the man was annoying, but certainly still worthy of his trust. Jonas nodded, taking on an air of sincerity. Stryver did not fear making a mistake; he more worried that a beast of some sort, whether large or small, would attack him and cause him to become distracted. Putting his worries in the back of his mind, Stryver began climbing down, and it actually seemed relatively easy at first. Footholds were plentiful, and it seemed that there weren’t really any roots shooting out to get snagged onto. Stryver was soon within the fog, and had to completely rely on his sense of touch to get further down. The quiet flapping of Jonas wings nearby was a relaxing sound, but it wasn’t long before their pace quickened.
“Is something wrong, Jonas?” Stryver asked, sensing Jonas’ growing fear.
“Stryver, we may not be alone.” Jonas whispered. “You’re very close to the bridge now, but stay alert. I think I heard some sort of creature nearby.” Stryver listened carefully to Jonas’ advice, but made sure to remain calm.
“It’s probably just a bird.” He muttered, still carefully searching for footholds. Jonas knew better than to think that, but before he could issue another warning, an earth shattering roar shook the air. Stryver nearly released his grip on the ledge just to cover his ears; he knew that whatever had made that sound could be no more than a few feet away. The fog cleared away, syncing up with the appearance of the worm. Stryver knew it was all too convenient for this to be a coincidence. The creature was a worm of immense size; it sported bizarre spiked antennae atop its head along with two massive pincers around a maw filled with teeth. Its body was a grayish blue color, and appeared almost scaly. Stryver couldn’t see the tip of the worm, but recognized the creature, and suspected it sported a spiked tail as well.
“That’s no bird!” Stryver yelled in surprise. The worm snapped its pincers together fiercely, and lunged for the Sheikah. Stryver’s only choice was to jump from the cliff face. The fog had cleared somewhat, but when Stryver leapt away from the cliff, he went right back into the thick of it.
“Stryver, you idiot!” Jonas screamed, knowing it would be fatal to make any attempt to go in after Stryver. However, Stryver quickly rose back out of the fog, and incredibly was atop the head of the worm. He stood behind its pincers and in-between the antennae, which now were dripping a substance Stryver assumed was venom. Jonas was impressed by Stryver’s landing, but had little faith in anyone who attempted to stand atop a creature like that.
“Stryver, get away! You’ll be impaled by those things!” Stryver just laughed, acting as if it was part of his daily routine to ride a wild giant carnivorous worm.
“I’ve got things perfectly under control. Come on pal; let’s go for a ride!” Stryver moved his head to the side as a spiked antenna attempted to stab right through him. Rather than become worried at his situation, Stryver seemed to have produced an idea from his near death experience. “This critter doesn’t seem to have much intelligence, just instinct!” Stryver began to repeatedly stomp on the worm, bringing it to a much greater level of rage. It reared high up, and began attempting to throw Stryver off by smashing into the canyon wall. Stryver was nearly tossed clear of the monster, but managed to hold onto one of its pincers before he slid away. He was just able to pull off a back flip from the pincer, avoiding the gnashing teeth of the worm’s mouth, and went clear past its antennae. Both tried to stab him, but he was already out of their range, and they drove deep into the worm’s head.
“Excellent job Stryver!” Jonas cheered him on, watching as the worm began to flail about in pain. It started crashing into the wall more violently, and Stryver was no longer able to hold on. He was thrown into the fog, and out of Jonas sight, while the worm receded into the depths of the canyon. He held his breath at the sight of the worm tossing Stryver, but did not give up hope immediately. “Stryver, you down here?” Jonas called out to his friend. He looked around for a moment or two, but the fog was too thick for it to make any difference. He worried less about the beast attacking himself or Stryver and more that he would suddenly find himself right up against a canyon wall. The fear in Jonas’ heart grew greater when the worm came screaming from the depths of the fog once more. However, it was bleeding heavily, and seemed extremely confused. Without warning, Stryver too emerged from the fog, landing back atop the worm’s head. The Sword of the Gelid was now in his hand, and he plunged it deep into the brain of the monster. Jonas was completely sprayed with green blood, and nearly lost control of his wings. Stryver continued to stab the worm, and the two fell beneath the fog once more. All of a sudden, everything had gone quiet, including Jonas. He began to creep very slowly through the air, as alert as he could possibly be.
“Stryver? Where are you?” He called out, worried that the worm beast would attack him too quickly for Jonas to be able to respond.
“Here.” Jonas was now becoming quite irritated. It wasn’t very useful for Stryver to provide one or two word responses.
“Where’s here?” Jonas asked, becoming infuriated. However, he had to wait no longer when a hand reached out of the fog and pulled the slow moving Jonas from the air. The fog was now completely breaking up; leading Jonas to believe it may have been linked to the life of the worm.
“No time to chat. We should go, now. The fog has cleared, and I’m not sticking around for when it or that worm returns.” Stryver paced around as he spoke.
“Agreed.” Jonas took to the air once more, and hovered a few feet away as Stryver began to climb the cliff face once more. Stryver glanced back towards Jonas at the response, and the winged man had a look of extreme concern.
“Something wrong, Jonas?” It was never good when Jonas of all people took on a serious look. He never used facial expressions for a joke; if that man was worried, something bad was about to happen.
“Get moving now!” Jonas took to the air, and Stryver responded by getting up the cliff a few feet, off of the bridge. It became obvious at that point that the bridge had been too weak, for bits began crumbling away. Stryver paused to watch, and saw the last bit of life in the worm crushed away as the bridge fell atop it. The fog fully cleared, confirming Jonas’ suspicions that it was directly related to the presence of the worm. With no more need to stay near Stryver, he flew up and out of the chasm.
“I sure could use wings…” Stryver muttered, continuing to climb up the side of the cliff.
“Begin the process.”
“But he is not ready…”
“There is no more time to waste, begin the process now!”
It was the middle of the night, and Seishi gripped his sword hilt tightly, rising from a light sleep. He knew something unfamiliar was outside, and for Seishi, assuming the worst was the norm. Convinced that someone was waiting to kill them in their sleep, he crept out of his tent, determined to stop the impending attack. Nobody seemed to be on watch, and Seishi wondered to himself why he could not recall who had been assigned.
“Something isn’t right here.” He whispered to himself, making sure he had his shield as he looked around the area. He began walking away from the campsite, unaware of the fact that he was not following the intruder, the intruder was following him.
“Seishi…” His name was softly uttered by a rasping, wheezing voice.
“Who’s there?” He asked, unsheathing his sword.
“Seishi…” his name again was repeated, almost as if the voice were remembering the name. Seishi was not a man of fear, but he could not resist the cold shivers running down his spine as he heard his name spoken in such a way. Nevertheless, he was not a cowardly man, and unsheathed his sword, holing it in front of himself.
“I demand you reveal yourself! Tell me! Who are you?”
“FEAR!” The scream tore across the landscape, penetrating into the very dreams of those asleep. Moments later, Seishi was gone, and his equipment sat where he had last stood. There were no signs of any intruders or of a struggle.
“I can feel the winds of Algeré. We are very close now.” Jonas touched down next to Stryver. They had cleared the remainder of the forest over their past twenty minutes of travel. They had but a few sets of hills to cross now before passing over into the mountain range. Jonas, while a cheerful soul, had a foul grimace upon his face.
“Any lost man would be killed by these very mountains. I guided us through the forest, but it was by sight alone, it will take all that we have together to cross these hills, and I imagine that the dangers we’ve already faced were nothing more than a primer for what lies ahead.” Jonas darkly reflected on words of caution about the Algere mountain range, a place where dozens of men had been lost, and many more legends created. Stryver had a more practical set of feelings about the place.
“All that matters is that we get there. I already know it’s dangerous, and I have no intention of dying.” Stryver acknowledged Jonas warnings, but did not reconsider his choices just because of a few words about danger.
“Nor do I.” Jonas responded, taking off up the hill, his wings completely unfolding as he ran. Gradually, he lifted off, and soon was flying along at a speed few could match. Stryver sighed and took off after him.
“Can’t you just wait for a second or two?” Stryver complained as he chased after the aviating man. Jonas gave no reply, though Stryver did not know if he was not heard or was simply being ignored. Stryver made no attempts to slow him down though; he was just as aware as Jonas at the importance of getting to the mountains before sunset. Sure enough, Jonas reinforced that notion as he reached the first hill’s top, touching down briefly.
“We need to hurry! It’s getting dark!” He waited patiently despite his anxious warning, knowing his Sheikah ally would want a moment to gaze at the view he now took in. Stryver managed to catch up in a matter of seconds and abruptly stopped upon the hill to look around. For all the evil found within it, it was still a place of great natural beauty, and a sight that both men somberly took in, knowing in their hearts that they might never see anything so beautiful again.
“Truly beautiful, and horrifying.” Stryver thought out loud, staring off at the looming fortress, Turris Montanus, atop the fearsome Mt. Algeré. It seemed to warn off all those who would dare approach it. Oddly enough though, the fortress wasn’t much to look at, it was the thunderclouds and lava flows all around that seemed dangerous.
“Turris may not be far off, but that makes for no easy journey. The wolves in this region are still an obstacle for us to pass.” Jonas explained.
“Wolves?” Stryver muttered, looking out, seeing nothing but snowy wilderness. The only obstacle before his eyes was deep snow and hill after hill. “Wolves are no problem, Jonas; you have to be kidding me.” Stryver muttered, thinking Jonas overestimated the strength of simple arctic wolves.
“No, these are different. You may not have come here before Stryver, but I have. I barely escaped alive just because of the arctic wolves here. There’s something commanding them, making them very cunning, and very powerful. It’s as if the balance of nature is offset inside them. I got that same feeling with that tree that attacked you, and the worm in that canyon. Someone is trying to slow us down.” Stryver nodded grimly, needing to hear no more to believe Jonas.
“I agree with you Jonas, these things may be unnatural, especially the tree. However, we haven’t the time to speculate on feelings. We need to get past these dangers and into the enemy’s home.” Stryver explained intent on carrying out their mission with as little delay as possible. “The time to move is now. The sun is setting, and the snowy wilderness is not a welcoming place when the stars shine bright in the sky. Let’s hope luck is on our side.” Jonas nodded to Stryver, and both once again went running towards Turris Montanus. Stryver skidded along the slopes, and Jonas took to the air.
“See you at the mountaintop!” Jonas went screaming past Stryver, nearly knocking the Sheikah over. He had kept up a good pace, but not enough to outdo his winged ally.
“I hate that…” Stryver muttered, smiling to himself as he spoke.