Time FluctuationsSirius - Night 3 - Death Mountain Crater
"Just as Tiburon sends his sentries to unearth the Goron Trust, so too by now must Dromand have ordered my companions into Tiburon's Domain," he continued. "But still, there is a strategy, perhaps most effective of all, that no side has employed in this race for the Keys of the Trust," Taden said, turning away from Majin and Sirius to walk down his icy tunnel, headed towards Goron City.
Sirius surroundings dropped like they had when he entered the moon door and waltzed right into his own past. It chilled him to think that as his world fell apart, he could not imagine another moment in his life when he was visited by his future self, besides the one time as a child.
But as that familiar wall of water-like rippling moonlight rose once more, the memory seeped into his mind from far beyond the heavens. The imagery began to sharpen, and he was suddenly seeing a small village. It didn’t make any sense though - the time stone had been a brief occurrence, a flash, it should never have been amplified. There was no explanation for a second jump. He pulled a small notebook from his jacket pocket, scribbling down his thoughts of the moment.
Timestone experiment is having unanticipated, ridiculous crazy absolutely nuts side effects. I seem to be experiencing another flash of my own past. I’m in Labrynna I think, and this is my 17th birthday, Full Moon. BOOOOORING. I-
He stopped writing and looked up. There was no wall, he was simply in his old village in Labrynna.
“What!?” He watched in horror as he saw a younger version of himself dragging his father into the marketplace. And then, she spoke.
“You can’t change this one, Sirius.” Her voice was silky smooth all the way up until the utterance of Sirius’ name, where it became harsh and bitter, with a delicious edge of sarcasm. “How did you do this one, dear” Sirius spat onto the ground, refusing to face the face behind the voice, the voice of his ex-wife. “”Did you steal my science experiments again?”
“I just thought you’d want to see your dear old dad one last time before you kill him.” She referred to the day Sirius murdered his own father. An abusive man, he had only briefly shown any love or caring when first adopting Sirius, before falling into alcoholism and violence against his family.
That family betrayed him in the end.
Sirius watched the scene unfold. He questioned his true presence in this place. His exwife was a crafty sorcerer, and he wondered if perhaps this was nothing but her mind games. He waited for the voice in his mind to confirm his suspicions. But there was nothing. It was no trick he could reveal, at the very least.
It was a quick, violent, and unsettling thing. He watched as his younger self forced his Father up onto the chopping block, his mother and siblings not screaming, but staring silently. They had refused to defend him when he struck back against his father. Times were tough and the fear of losing their home overpowered the fear of their own father.
“I guess it wasn’t that quick after all.” Sirius grimaced as his younger self continued to drag the ceremony out, brazenly declaring as he raised the sharpened moonstone axe.
“This village will burn under the moon tonight.”
He was back in the crater with Taden and Majin, and not a moment had passed. His mind seemed unable to hold onto the memory of what happened, and he immediately slipped back into his previous demeanor. He responded to Taden right on cue.
“And what is that, O cryptic one?” Sirius called out.
"Destroy them all."Majin Kotage – Death Mountain Crater – Night 3
“Destroy them all.”
Perhaps it was the words themselves, and perhaps it was that they passed through the mouth of a murderer, but Majin was struck again by the company he now kept. Polaris had been an eminently honorable warrior of the Zoras, and Kaimu… Well, what had become of him had not been his doing.
Taden Horwendil and this Sirius were a different sort. A darker, crueler sort. He’d sought Taden out for that very reason, but was he prepared for what came next?
“I am not sure how the Keys of the Trust may be destroyed,” Majin said in the deep, throaty rumble that was now his voice. His head swiveled on its thick, serpentine neck from Taden to Sirius. “When I held the Hylian Trust in my hands I felt magic in it, wards and protective spells of great strength. If they can be destroyed I know not how.”
Then he turned his head around to look down upon Sirius with his baleful draconic glare, wisps of dark vapor still wafting up from between his teeth. His claws flexed and his wings beat restlessly. A part of his conscious mind wanted to reach down, rip open his belly and spill his innards all over the smoking, sulfurous stones beneath their feet. Despite what he’d seen after they passed through the lunar gateway, he still wanted to hurt him.
Do it! Kill him now! Avenge us!
He faltered. Those were not his thoughts. They were not, he suspected, the thoughts of a singular being at all. There was a plurality to that mental voice, an echoing quality that bespoke the unification of several.
I was your friend, Majin, and he ruined me.
“I owe you this.” Majin growled, lumbering to offer Sirius his side profile and striking him with one beat of his great wings, hurling him from his feet. Majin felt powerful here wearing the Dragon Mask. He turned back to face Sirius as he clambered back to his feet, the dark smoke pouring out of his maw in thicker clouds now.
Kill him now Majin! Kill him for me!
He stopped short of immolating Sirius in a torrent of shadow-fire. Maybe it was the scene he’d witnessed in that in-between place, and maybe it was that hearing Kaimu’s voice in his head disturbed him greatly. He wanted to tear Sirius apart, but in that moment he knew that he couldn’t.
He reached up and tore the Dragon Mask from his face, and the next instant he was Majin again, clutching the Dragon Mask protectively in his reptilian fingers, his shadow-mantle draped about his suddenly diminutive shoulders. Glancing from face to face, he deliberately tucked the mask into his shoulder belts beneath the wall of manifest darkness.
“Consider that single blow your chastisement, though it is not the hundredth part of what you deserve for what you’ve done. The greater part of your punishment for what you did to my friend has been suspended.” He gave Sirius a meaningful look. “So long as you play nice.”
He swept his gaze about then to encompass both of the monsters in whose company he found himself.
“If Polaris is here, it is to finish the mission that Horwendil interrupted. He will seek to forge an alliance between the Zoras and the Gorons of this mountain. Such an alliance would place Hyrule at a significant disadvantage.
“What should we do about that?”Sirius - Death Mountain Crater - Night 3
Sirius hesitated, deliberately, but still as subtly as he could. His knowledge of the tensions between nations was enhanced by what few memories the false kaimu had given to him upon death. He knew Polaris was likely in the vicinity based on his journey with Kaimu through the temple of forgotten depths.
But he had no interest in securing or weakening any one faction. His personal goals were more broad, but relatively adaptable. He would follow along with Majin, having little immediate direction of his own, beyond a very anxious desire to introduce himself to Polaris. Another Zora of excess power was a rare thing, and Sirius was intrigued greatly by the memory of himself that Kaimu had transferred to him. He knew he was destined to meet Polaris eventually, and he was always a gentleman to lady fate.
“What I did to your friend was nothing. He is - was - a copy, a fake, the real Kaimu lives, thankfully, elsewhere. I can’t have all my best subjects turned into magical artifacts, at least not the real ones.” He smiled, unsurprisingly. In his pocket Sirius thumbed the small moon gem containing the kaimu soul fragment. Though unconfirmed, he had a growing suspicion that it contained the tiniest hint of another soul as well, one who resonated with Kaimu in his greatest moments. He tried as best he could to focus, follow their cosmic echo back across the void, and touch their mind.
He got only two words out, and had no way of knowing if they even reached their destination. His messages were complex, riding along the background noise of the universe, and unlike telepathy, resonated directly with the soul of the target instead of their mind. If he was right, the man or creature on the other end would hear his words, and know his voice. And when they next met, they would not be the strangers they otherwise would have been. Realizing his silence was becoming obvious, he looked upon Majin and Taden.
“I don’t know that I care. I have no personal attachment to these groups, and my knowledge of their squabbles is limited. But if you can’t destroy a key, Sirius waved his hands in the air and the ghostly image of the lunar door appeared briefly, illustrating his impending point.
“Maybe they should be lost forever, in a place nobody thinks to look.” He scowled. “Unfortunately, some jerks made me use up the full moon’s power already, so you can forget about any more doors until the next full moon.” He smiled. “Of course there are always other ways. I guess it depends on how much bloodshed you wish to avoid.” He scowled one last time. “Or enact.”
Taden Horwendil / Death Mountain / Night 3
When the sound of dragonwing and shadowfire filled the hallway behind him, Taden turned back to see Majin threatening Sirius. The Tokay-cum-Dragon seemed enraged by bloodlust at the sight of the lunar mage, who himself seemed transfixed in another world altogether, his eyes entranced.
He stood in the arch of the dark tunnel, veiled in its shadows, watching the two. He did not know Majin's relationship with this false Kaimu, or how it involved Sirius, but he feared that slaughtering the undead Zora and conjuring his Mask would haunt him beyond this fateful night. But for the fall of Ymir, he would bear the company of ghosts.
"Hiding the Keys in your doorway would only put you in the position all three men seek. Dromand, Tiburon, Darmoto--would they not give their kingdoms to be the lone soul with knowledge of where the Keys are kept?" Taden stood in the archway of the tunnel and crossed his arms, glaring at Majin and Sirius as they simmered in the Crater's heart. "I would not so readily make myself a wanted man among the races of this Realm. No, if we collect the Keys for ourselves, it will only be to annihilate them all."
He held open his hand and tongues of Blue Fire lapped up from his palm and fingers. "Only then will the fires of war be reduced to ash." Ultimately, he wanted only to return to Termina, and as Jotun's ghost had seemed to warn him, Sirius's door may be the way; but after his time in the Yeti Village, having his life saved by the medicine man who only wished to see him home, he could not leave this Realm while the clouds of war gathered over Death Mountain. He could not desert the Yeti after becoming one of them. Thus was the Curse of the White Moon.
He dropped his hand back to his side, and lifted the other up to his Mask, sliding it over his head to drop down over his face. In a flash, he was a Yeti once more, better protected under his thick skin from the heat of the inner Crater. He spoke in the harsh growl of an elder ape.
"I am the New Moon, guardian of the Yeti Tribe above all else. I will rip up this Realm from its foundations, and destroy whatever causes of war may fall upon it, if it means sparing the life of one of my brethren from this scourge that the Hylians have wrought upon them. Whatever power may lay in the Keys of the Trust, be it the power of the Goddess herself, I will eradicate them and all who would seek to control them. Better chaos should reign than this Hylian hegemon," he spat, and his thick wad of Yeti saliva boiled against the black Death Mountain stone.
"If Polaris would form an alliance between King Tiburon and Darmoto, my suggestion is simple: we turn it to our advantage. I seek an audience with the Goron Patriarch in their City, but first will need to stop at a storehouse for supplies. If you would resist me, then kill me now, while you have the chance. If you would follow, then stay out of my way."
He turned again to go, as the last of the frost steamed away from the tunnel he stood in, and lumbered down the corridor under the great hulking bulk of his Yeti form. Ahead, lay an ornately carved gateway, signaling a path into the Goron sanctum.
Sirius - Hyperspeed Whale - Unknown Point in the Past
Taden had just finished speaking, and Sirius was once again unfairly whisked away from his place in time. He wracked his brain for answers, why would he be unstuck in time all of a sudden? Certainly Vera wasn’t responsible for all of it? She probably would hate it if she found out he was calling her Vera.
The world shifted and twisted around him. His years as a self proposed man of science had whittled away the shock of most things. The recent night’s events had taken what little was left.
In a flash the world sharpened, only to blur slightly more. But it was different. Sirius felt his footing, he was on a...a ship? No! A WHALE! He remembered. It was the last time he ever saw the real Kaimu Kotaro. Unlike his last time travel experiments, where his body physically moved, it seemed to him that only his mind had traveled in time, temporarily replacing the mind of his past self.
The whale beneath his feet moved at such speeds as not to be believed. It was the product of his first partnership with his exwife, one that had resulted in many horrific creatures, amongst other things. While his exwife had been responsible for helping create the whale, she was nowhere in sight. However, there was one creature nearby besides the whale.
Kaimu stood poised for attack, staring Sirius down.
“Sirius! You claim to have no responsibility in the plague that destroyed my village, but I know this to be different. That wizard did not create that plague, he stole it!” Kaimu screamed at Sirius, accusing him of creating a plague which Davus Fulmen had stolen, and subsequently used to decimate Kaimu’s village. Sirius stole a glance at his surroundings. Nothing but ocean, moving too fast to see clearly. He knew the whale would die from exhaustion soon, or possibly hit something else big. Either way there was very little time.
“Look Kaimu, I really don’t have time for this right now. I think your soul fragment is tainted by time dust.” He paused. “Right you haven’t heard of time dust. Well if you grind a time stone down into a powder - which by the way is impossible - it supposedly modifies the effects of the time stone to be less...predictable? I guess I’m not sure, but the point is your soul fragment is tainted and I’m not supposed to be here and this is VERY INCONVENIENT!” Sirius stamped his feet as he finished yelling, always one for flair.
“Enough! Your ranting will not spare you from your fate!” Kaimu was only moments from attack. Sirius felt the relaxing shudder of the world as he once again was unseated and began to fall back towards his previous place in time at death mountain. His past self would have to handle the rest.
“Well Kaimu, this has been very informative. Looks like I need to ditch this little soul fragment of you. But I can’t just put it anywhere...Ah ha, your friend will do just fine!” Only a few moments left before he would travel back to his own time.
“Explain yourself, what is this soul fragment you speak of?” Kaimu demanded answers.
“Ah...spoilers, sorry.” And just like that, Sirius felt his mind shift and hurtle back to the present day, where absolutely nothing had changed, and nobody but Sirius knew anything had happened at all.”
Sirius & Vera Fulmaren - A Hole in Time
“Oh gods no...”
Sirius looked up slowly. He saw the landscape of death mountain for mere seconds before it blurred again. He grimaced as the world swirled around him, teasing thoughts of returning to his own time before violently halting in an infinite gray churning sky. The ceilings, floors, and walls around him had no boundaries; Sirius merely existed outside the void for all of eternity, and none of it.
“Vera, what have you done?!” Sirius screamed, knowing it was his crimson haired ex wife behind it all. Since the first time he had met her, he’d found himself fantastically, deliciously, morbidly, and unendingly in love with her. She herself expressed a vivid need for him in her life, but only when it was convenient to her. He was used to being cast aside enough times, that he viewed his time in her presence as a brief privilege, one which would quickly turn to a prison if left alone long enough. He was sure it was her.
“You ass!” She slapped him, appearing from the scowling void, scowling. “I am not having a discussion about this, Siri.” He cringed, hating the nickname, it reminded him of the servants of his old lab, who first referred to him as Siri, and he never seemed able to properly understand them when they did. Still, it was nice to see Vera again, for all the bad blood between them, there was also plenty of disgusting lust and self satisfaction.
“What are you smiling at?” She barked, her grace and relaxed demeanor unable to stay in sync with her angry questioning.
“Oh, just remembering why I love you so much.” She smiled, and stomped her right foot down upon his. He winced, but refused to react. “Ah yes, I see your feelings haven’t changed.” He paused for a moment to collect his thoughts.
“Wait a minute, what were just talking about? You aren’t having a discussion about...what exactly? What are you talking about?” Sirius referred back to her initial declaration, unwarranted and unexpected.
“About watching after you, dear.” Vera took his hand somewhat gently, and her voice calmed. The madness in her had retreated, though it could still be seen hiding in the corners of her eyes. “I found some of your old laboratory staff, you know the ones you tried to sacrifice to that zora abomination a few days ago.”
“How did you know about that?!” Sirius fumed. His lab was a place of personal, secret work to him, and he had been intent on keeping the disaster that was Kaimu a secret from Vera, the one person in the world who could instill guilt upon him. Not for the creation of the mad beast, but for his shoddy first try. “Well...It doesn’t matter, that was the first try, I have plans for a different one, a better one. I just need...I need another full moon. I’m not going to argue with you, knowing what else you probably know, so...right, you found some of my old staff. Are they still alive?”
“No of course not! disgusting men and women, couldn’t possibly imagine the world putting up with them any longer. They told me what you had done, and I saw it necessary to keep an eye on you, lest you go too far into the moonlight. Of course they feared you would kill them if you found this out - considering your history, so I saved everyone the trouble and took care of it myself.”
Vera’s power over Sirius was absolute, obvious, and enviously abhorrent.
“And now, Sirius.” She continued. “I think we should return to your new friends.”
And just like that, the gray mass that had been, and in most ways continued to be nothing, became reality again.
Sirius and Vera stood side by side, once again back upon Death Mountain in the right part of history. Sirius did not know how long Vera would be imposing herself upon him, nor did he know how she gained the power to pluck him out of time. He would discover it in time, if his will was to be realized.
“Oh...dear.” Sirius mumbled, as he realized he was not in quite the same place he had been moments earlier. It would be mere seconds before the other inhabitants of the chamber noticed his presence.
"As I said, if Dromand does indeed place blame on the Zora nation, and I cannot claim to know his mind, only relay what I've seen, war is nigh inevitable. The Hylians are many where we are few, any can see that. The Zora and Goron peoples altough stout, could be overrun by sheer numbers. The only hope is to band together and repel this threat at all costs. Lest we be driven from our ancestral homes."
“Here here!” Sirius pumped a fist into the air. All eyes were upon him immediately. “Okay so you can see me, noted. I’m assuming you can see her too?” He looked to Vera. “Yeah, I’m sure you can...Well this is awkward, isn’t it? Uh...Not sure what to say...uh...I come in peace?” Sirius stuttered his way through his sentence. Vera was swift to rescue him.
“Patriarch!” She began. “Honored brothers, and guests of the Patriarch!” She shot a glance at Polaris, as did Sirius, who restrained his urge to go wide eyed, when it became apparent who Polaris was. The look in the Zora’s eyes said he felt just the same, mysteriously recognizing one another, having never met. Sirius mouthed the two words at Polaris soundlessly.
As Sirius shared his private moment with Polaris, Vera continued as his spokeswoman and protector.
“Our appearance is alarming I’m sure, but please listen! We have no ill intentions and bear no weapons!” She spun around, forcing Sirius to comply, making it obvious that there were at least no visible weapons. “We will submit to a search as well should you desire it.” Sirius raised an eyebrow and moved to protest, but Vera’s foot stayed firmly upon his, a lovely reminder of his place before her.
“My name is Vera Fulmaren, and this is my husband Sirius Fulmaren.” Sirius restrained himself from reacting to her words. It was wise to pretend to be married, it would be more trusting than the truth of the situation. He listened as Vera continued. “We wound up here quite by accident, but I must stress we do not bear ties to the Kingdom of Hyrule, we are from the land of Labrynna.” Sirius finally chose his moment to interject.
“We traveled with others, among them a Tokay and a man that is most certainly not from this land.” He said no more, and Vera ceased as well, as both held their breath, hoping that their resemblance to Hyrule’s citizens would not be the failing of their proposed goodwill. The Patriarch would now either be willing to listen to their mad story and even madder sudden appearance, or see to it that they were locked away, or worse.
IC: Taden Horwendil / Death Mountain / Night 3
In his Yeti form, the sweltering heat of the mountain was a welcome warmth. His white coat of fur wafted behind him in the subtle breeze of the volcanic chamber, taking him ever lower. Taden turned his nose up and sniffed the air as it poured towards him, and caught a familiar scent.
Tiburon's Red General was nearby. With any luck, the Zora wouldn't recognize him in his Yeti disguise. But he needed to be sure.
Turning a corner, he spotted a single Goron guard perched by a freestanding torch. He approached him from behind in the firelight's flickering shadow. Slowly at first, then too quickly for him to react, the dancing shadow of the Goron guard was eclipsed by the wall of darkness cast by the Yeti behemoth as Taden smothered out the flame and smashed the broad side of his axe into the lone guard's skull.
In the sudden darkness, he fumbled through the Goron's effects, and swiped a wallet and a set of keys from his belt. Before he had time to inspect either, he heard the harried footsteps of approaching guards, alarmed by the snuffing out of the light just away from their post. Plucking the Yeti Mask from his face, he dashed off into one of the tunnels off to the side, disappearing into the dark with only a trace of Blue Fire left where his footprints had been. When he reached a safe distance, he donned the Mask again, and took on the Yeti form.
Taden approached the wide door of a Goron shop, and stepped in gingerly, resting his fleshy feet on a woven moss mat. He dusted soot off his neck and shoulders, and eyed the assorted wares. No shopkeeper was present, but stacked neatly along two rows of shelves he saw fine articles of Dodongo hide, polished hammerd and smothing gear, and bottled potions red as magma.
"Hoy, shopkeep!" he shouted into the back room, and his guttural voice shook loose the dust from the idle countertop. Behind a tattered curtain, he heard the frantic clanging and grinding of metal on metal.
"Just a minute!" someone answered. "Who pesters old Popper at this Din forsaken hour? Can't you see I'm working?!"
The curtain blew aside in a roaring plume of flame, and in its place stood a diminuitive old Goron with mounted cannon on his back, and what appeare to be a reinforced glass bottle of fuel on his stomach. He grinned broadly, proud of his new invention. As he stood beaming amid the fizzling embers of his curtain, hanging in molten tatters around his head, Taden settled into the certainty that Popper thought he was a first-time customer. The indefatigable arms dealer had recovered by leaps and bounds since Taden saw him in the King's shackles.
"My name is Jotun. I hail from the Yeti Village. Long have the Yeti and the Goron shared the range too foul for human foot in peace and brotherhood. When last did ye visit my tribe?"
Taden narrowed his beady eyes at the Goron, who seemed to stare back at him inquisitively from behind a lowere welding mask. "Farore forgive me, but it is many moons since last I had the pleasure of wandering the peaks of the Yeti domain. On my life, I must make a trip there soon," the begoggled gunsmith all but sang behind his visor, coaxing Taden toward the counter with his wrinkled hand.
"Then I shall welcome you into my hut with all the honor of a king! My most trusted servants shall be at your command." He extended a broad hand to shake with the shopkeep, still oblivious as to whom it was he stood before.
"So be it!" Popper shouted back heartily in response, and clapped his hand down into Taden's. A fiery vitality had coursed into his bones since he left Dromand's dungeons. "But tell me, what brings you from the cold reaches of Snowpeak to our red caves?"
After exchanging such pleasantries, Taden knew he could be blunt with the bombsmith. "I know ye to be an armorer to all races, and lo, the hour is at hand that the Yeti have need of your implements of war. Would that I brought tidings of peace to your abode, but nay, I fear an era of discord shall soon haunt the realm."
Popper rocked back on his heels and crossed his arms, studying Taden more closely. "What can I get for you, my Yeti friend?"
For a moment, he suspected Popper was calling his bluff, but until he proved otherwise, Taden would assume the old codger was telling the truth. "With a long road ahead, I shall need Red Potion and a tunic that can withstand this mountain's heat, as well as a lodestone Compass. Do you have such as this in a Yeti's size?"
"My friend, are you in luck!" Popper replied, pouring on his slickest sales pitch. "Our clothing articles are made of pure Dodongo hide pieces stitched together with the finest Lon Lon leather. They expand and contract in extreme temperatures to fit the wearer's shape, and may easily stretch from a human to a Yeti such as yourself! Buy your genuine Dodongo hide tunic today and I'll even throw in a free pair of expanding Lon Lon leather boots!"
Taden nodded in the affirmative. "I'll take it."
"Splendid!" Popper crooned. "Will there be anything else, Jotun, sir?"
"Just one thing. Could you fill this wallet with your most refined gunpowder?" he said, emptying a wallet of Red Rupees on the countertop, then throwing the empty satchel atop the heap. The greedy old Goron turned up his visor, and the ruby light glimmered in his eyes. He could see his dark pupils darting around the piled treasure, counting up the rupees in his head.
"That won't be a problem, sir," Popper said happily. "Are you sure there isn't anything else I can do?"
Taden thought for a moment. "You know, I suppose it would be rude of me not to visit the Patriarch while I was in town. Once you've gotten my order together, do you think you could draw me a map to his quarters as well?"
Popper bowed graciously to the valued customer as he walked backwards into the storeroom to collect Taden's things. "Oh, certainly sir, that won't be a problem at all…"
Bartering For Alliances
Patriarch Darmoto – Goron City – Night 3
Alone in his private chamber, Darmoto, Patriarch of the Goron tribe, had spent much of his time meditating on the woes of the realm. Hyrule, it seemed, was gradually descending toward open war, a war that each side would seek to involve the Gorons in.
Darmoto had no taste for war. Certainly in his youth he had traded blows with the beasts of the mountain’s heights and depths, wielding hammer and bomb and his own rock-hard fists in a flurry of battle-stirred emotion, but that thrill had faded long ago. He knew that the Gorons had a reputation for a certain thick-headedness that verged on cliché, but for all that he looked the brute to those who beheld him, he had devoted the latter years of his life to the higher mysteries. He fancied himself more the philosopher-leader than the warlord, these days.
And yet the Gorons bore one third of the Trust, the promise that had been made by all, and with the theft of the Hylian key he knew that war would soon touch his mountain realm.
A knock, echoing with the strength of Goron knuckles, came at his door. With a grimace and a sigh he untangled his legs, curled beneath him in a meditative stance, and pushed himself to his feet. For his advancing age, Darmoto was still burly and powerfully strong even for one of his kind, but more and more he was beginning to feel the weight of years pressing down upon his heavy limbs.
“Come,” he called, and the door slid open to reveal Gorodan, one of his favored warriors. “Why are you not at your post, Gorodan?”
The spike-maned Goron inclined his head. “Forgive me brother, but I was approached by a crimson-scaled Zora who claimed to have come on behalf of King Tiburon, son of the late King Zora, who was your Sworn Brother.”
Sooner than I expected.
“Very well Gorodan, you may show him in and then return to your post.” Gorodan bowed again and backed his way out through the threshold, disappearing into the heart of the city.
The figure that appeared through the dimly lit entryway sent a ripple of surprise through the Patriarch’s stone-faced exterior. Tall and, as Gorodan had claimed, scaled in bright red, this Zora bore the tattoos of the Zora death rites inscribed into his body and no small number of weapons upon his person.
Gorodan should have disarmed this one. The Zora stood proudly before him and, though he made no move for his weapons, Darmoto could read the aura of casual lethality about him, in his stance and his bearing. This was not a man to be trifled with. Why would Tiburon have sent me one such at this?
“I apologize for a lack of formality, Zora. It is not out of disdain for you and yours, but we Gorons are a simple folk.” Darmoto lumbered forward several steps and held out a hand to shake. “I am given to understand that you have come on behalf of King Tiburon. I think I know why you come now, but I would like to hear the words from your own mouth, and a name to go with them.”
Polaris Eridanus/ Goron City/3rd Night
The guard, whom Polaris came to know as Gorodan, turned out to be rather cordial after getting over the initial shock of having a crimson Zora armed to the gills pop out of the mountain at his feet. After a few moments hesitation Gorodan removed the spear from beneath Polaris' nose and helped him stand.
"If you bear news from King Tiburon, Patriarch Darmoto will want to hear it at once. This way."
The two strode side by side up the mountain path and into a relatively freshly carved tunnel.
"As you well know, my brothers have been carving out the belly of the mountain for years now."
Puffing up his chest with an air of obvious pride, the massive Goron spread out his hands wide, eyes twinkling as he reveled in the glory that was Goron City.
"We've made substantial progress."
To say the city was less that impressive when compared to the Goron City that Polaris knew, would be an understatement. In it's present state it was nowhere near the sprawling multi-tiered bowl that the general recalled, yet the diligence with which the Goron builders worked at their task was, nonetheless impressive. There were masons hard at work with hammer and chisel shaping a stairway down to a lower tier where other Gorons could be seen tossing bomb flowers into a partially excavated tunnel. The central pedestal that would one day be suspended high above the chamber by an intricate series of ropes was now held in place by scaffolding.
There was no giant Goron faced mason jar to speak of, and as far as Polaris counted, the level where the jar sat was still under construction.
"Indeed you have friend!" Polaris replied not wanting to offend.
The two of them stopped before a closed door on one of the upper levels. The Patriarch it seemed, did not yet reside at the heart of the mountain.
Gorodan beamed one last time before settling into a reserved expression and rapping his huge fist against the door. As the knock echoed through the chamber, Polaris took one last look at his surroundings and marveled at the artisans painting the walls. Seeing it in this unfinished state gave him an entirely new respect for the handiwork of the master Goron builders.
The words, unspoken seemed to touch Polaris at his very core, reverberating to the depths of his soul. Looking around, he saw that he was utterly alone. Perplexed, the general flinched when a wise and wearied voice replied from behind the stone door.
The door slid open and Gorodan turned to Polaris one last time before entering the chamber,"Wait here."
A few anxious moments passed wherein he pondered the voice that penetrated his very being before Gorodan retreated backwards from the entryway and motioned for Polaris to enter before lumbering off into the din of construction. Taking a few calming breaths of his own, Polaris adjusted Winters Tide and his new chained blades on his back and strode across the threshold.
A flicker of surprise danced across the visage of the stout leader of the Gorons, gone as quickly as it appeared, before he spoke.
“I apologize for a lack of formality, Zora. It is not out of disdain for you and yours, but we Gorons are a simple folk.” Darmoto lumbered forward several steps and held out a hand to shake. "I am given to understand that you have come on behalf of King Tiburon. I think I know why you come now, but I would like to hear the words from your own mouth, and a name to go with them.”
Polaris graciously accepted the hand that was offered and shook firmly, but not menacingly.
"I'd like to first thank you for being so gracious as to see me promptly Patriarch, for it has been a difficult path I've tread to arrive here on your mountain this night." Releasing himself from Darmoto's grasp, Polaris took a respectful step back and bowed.
"I am Polaris Eridanus. I come on behalf of King Tiburon of the Zora tribe. I'll not mince words, I come to seek an alliance with you and yours should current events escalate." Hoping his forthright approach wouldn't offend the Patriarch, Polaris pushed on.
"The Zora do not look for war, but to deny that a storm is blowing in when the wind rises and clouds swirl is folly. The Hylian Trust has been stolen or lost, and my liege fears that this act will unjustly be placed at his feet. That is why I and my companions, of whom now I have been regrettably separated, were sent in urgency. Polaris frowned as he pondered the circumstances that had separated him from Majin and Kaimu.
"The Zora had no hand in the thievery, but I fear Dromand may not see it that way. I've not relayed this news to my king, but just yesterday we were assaulted in Kakariko. A force of Hylian soldiers arrived during the skirmish and suffice to say, we barely escaped the village by way of the well. I've journeyed through catacombs and temples time has long since forgotten, I've fared rapids of liquid fire and barely survived long enough to be spat out of the mountain at Gorodans feet. I did all of that and would have braved worse if the situation called for it, just to stand before you now."
Pausing to let his words sink in, Polaris drew another deep breath and continued.
"As I said, if Dromand does indeed place blame on the Zora nation, and I cannot claim to know his mind, only relay what I've seen, war is nigh inevitable. The Hylians are many where we are few, any can see that. The Zora and Goron peoples altough stout, could be overrun by sheer numbers. The only hope is to band together and repel this threat at all costs. Lest we be driven from our ancestral homes."
Majin Kotage – Goron City – Night 3
As Taden, still masked in his Yeti façade, slipped into the Goron shop Majin slipped away into the shadows.
His cloak dispersed around him into a hazy darkness that blended him into the shadows of the subterranean city. If Polaris was here in Goron City to finish their mission, then he needed to see it for himself. His newfound companions were strange, and he suspected that they would not hesitate to destroy the Red General if it came down to it. Perhaps Majin could find a way to head that off.
Fingers and toes gripping the rough stone he crept down the walls of each tier of the city until he reached the basin. A Goron stood outside of one door, and beyond he could just hear a pair of voices echoing through the cavern.
"I am given to understand that you have come on behalf of King Tiburon. I think I know why you come now, but I would like to hear the words from your own mouth, and a name to go with them.”
Majin, still gripping the wall with an arm and both legs, reached with his free hand down to his belt, pulling out the blowgun and one of several different types of poison-dipped darts. They ranged from the very lethal to the only mildly troublesome, several having very exotic and specific effects. The one he thumbed into the long wooden tube now was non-lethal, but it would render even a Goron unconscious for a time.
He took aim and with a single breath the dart flew and buried itself in the Goron’s neck, or rather the place where its head met its shoulders, as there was very little neck to speak of. The Goron seemed barely aware of it, swiping across the back of his head like he was bothered by some buzzing irritant.
A moment later he stumbled and dropped.
Majin tucked the blowgun back into his belts and crept down the wall and into the dark passage, his nebulous shadows cloaking him in darkness against the ceiling as he drew as close to the room beyond as he could without being seen.
“…The only hope is to band together and repel this threat at all costs. Lest we be driven from our ancestral homes."
Majin settled in and awaited the Goron Patriarch’s response, knowing that Polaris’ life might very well hang in the balance. If the Gorons and Zoras united then war would be inevitable, and Taden would kill him to prevent it.
As he gripped the ceiling, hanging upside down in the darkness, he reached down and drew out the blowgun again and another dart. This time it would prove quite fatal, and Majin dearly hoped that he wouldn’t have to use it. If Darmoto agreed, though, Majin was resolved to act. He liked Polaris. The death of the Patriarch during this meeting would drive a wedge of suspicion and hostility between the Gorons and Zoras, effectively ending their chances at an alliance. It might also spare Polaris’ life in the process.
He thumbed the dart into place and waited on the Patriarch’s answer.
Polaris Eridanus/ Goron City/ 3rd Night
Unexplainable occurrences happened each and every day in Hyrule. With instantaneous transportation to an age long lost to antiquity being one of the more recent ones in his life, the general didn't immediately balk at the tale told by Sirius and Vera.
Grinding his teeth Polaris looked the man up and down, unsure what webs spun through time and space linked the man and Zora, one thing was sure. It was he who Polaris now most wanted to speak with.
Polaris missed much of what Vera said after Sirius mouthed those two words so it came as a bit of a surprise when the man spoke up.
“We traveled with others, among them a Tokay and a man that is most certainly not from this land.”
"Patriarch, there are few Tokay in Hyrule of which I know. One actually was a companion of mine, lost I feared. If Majin yet lives and traveled alongside these people then that is proof enough for me that they are no friend of Dromands."
Polaris' eyes never left those of Sirius all the while he spoke. It was Polaris' turn to silently mouth words.
We need to talk. Later.
Turning back to face Darmoto, Polaris awaited his response.
Polaris reacts to the sudden appearance of Sirius and Vera, vouches for them by extension because of Majin and then waits for Darmoto to speak.
Patriarch Darmoto/ Goron City/ 3rd Night
"Very well. Sirius. Vera. However peculiar your tale, if Polaris is able to vouch for one of your number, you may stay."
Motioning the husband and wife forward, Darmoto sighed. War truly was inevitable. Tiburon would have blood. As would Dromand. That which he'd tried to shelter his people from for so long now stood before him.
After the commotion settled, Darmoto turned his gaze on the imposing crimson Zora. "For years I have feared it would come to this Polaris, and I cannot dispute the merits of the argument you've made. Yet no good will come of this. War and bloodshed. Countless lives lost. Those are not good things."
With a weary sigh the Patriarch shook his head. "I am sorry Polaris, but you must tell Tiburon that I am not yet willing to accept conflict as the only course of action. There may yet be hope. Until all hope is lost, I will not form an alliance that, by it's very formation is an act of war.
You may leave. I hope that we never speak of terms of war again friend Zora. " Turning his back to signify an abrupt end to the meeting, no one was able to see Darmoto grimace at Polaris' parting words.
His mouth a thin line, Polaris bowed stiffly, "I thank for your time Patriarch. And I too hope that we do not meet again to speak of war, for at that time it may already be a war lost."
Turning on his heel, Polaris strode from the chamber.
'Sirius & Vera, Midnight of the Third, Patriarch's Chambers'
It was a lucky break, to teleport into the chambers of the gorons, and be given only a passing observance, and subsequent acceptance. Polaris intent was clear enough, and Sirius wasted no time in following him out of the chamber, Vera in tow. Neither bothered with parting words, the Patriarch did not need them.
As they followed the timeless warrior of the zora, Vera got a quick bit of advice whispered into Sirius’ ear.
“I do not recognize this one, but it is clear you seek him. I will help you, but don’t be a fool and move too quickly.” Sirius didn’t reply to Vera. She was right, and he knew it. He had a tendency to jump to the end goal of his plans, sometimes to great disastrous effect.
He mulled over what he knew of Polaris, from the memories of Kaimu. He thumbed the soul stone in his pocket. Polaris and Kaimu had fought an ancient beast, all consumed by time stones. Kaimu had been forced out of his own time stream briefly, and met with Sirius and Polaris, a moment that was likely very close. Sirius could only assume Polaris too experienced time fluctuations. Perhaps something more.
Giving Polaris the soul stone of Kaimu was the only answer. It would let Sirius once more plant his feet firmly in time, though the universe was desperate to recall him to the void. What would happen when Polaris had a fragment of Kaimu’s tainted soul in his possession was something Sirius could not know, but merely predict. He predicted chaos, and perhaps a small semblance of power, and certainly an unpleasant meeting with father time. Fittingly, only time could answer the questions that plagued his mind.
Sirius and Vera reached Polaris, who had momentarily paused mid-stride, aware of his new followers.
“Polaris.” The name was heavy with meaning, and light on answers. “There are many sons and daughters of the heavens, but you are the only Zora I know of whose name walks the stars, and whose legend swims the river of time. My name is Sirius Fulmaren. How I know your name is a story for another time, but suffice it to say, your old ally Kaimu played a part in some of the knowledge.” Sirius closed his eyes, smiled, and opened them again.
“And the rest is, well as they say, history.” He began to walk a slow circle around Polaris, but appearances were everything to Sirius, so he made sure to remain non violent, and non threatening. “You know what? We have the time, perhaps now is a good story time. What do you say?” Sirius and Vera stood on opposite sides of Polaris, not boxing him in, but making it clear that a conversation was going to happen, one way or another.
Deceiving for Conveniences
Polaris Eridanus/ Goron City Corridor/ Midnight of the 3rd
It came as no surprise to Polaris that the Fulmarens followed him out of the Patriarchs chambers. It was after all, what he'd hoped for.
As the couple took positions that places each on one of his sides, Polaris nodded. Although he was always prepared to fight if the situation called for it, here he was hoping for conversation and answers instead of conflict.
"Regale me Sirius. Pull me into the never ending aether that comes with a magnificent tale and let us dance with devils in the pale moons light."
Sirius & Vera
Sirius stared dumbfounded as Polaris launched into poetry.
“Um...yes...yes of course.” He nodded, and reviewed the plan in his head. Vera’s warnings of patience still rung in his ears, so he paced himself as he released each word, ensuring it was time for them to be spoken.
“Polaris, until recently, I had no idea of your name. No idea if you were real at all. You see I have been searching for you, searching ever since I first learned of your legend.” He paused and gathered his thoughts once more. “Cast upon the shimmering walls of one of the last great timestone caverns, your tale is one I know neither the beginning nor the end of. And yet, it echoes across my entire life’s being.” He paced around as he spoke, the words quickening with each footstep.
“You are not the only one in this world to stretch yourself across the void of time, and plant your feet in the history of others. I have been searching for you, and yet, I do not know why. It is a feeling, a feeling that we are connected, that I did not stumble upon your legend by chance. I ask only this, do you feel it resonate at your core? That you and I walk the same path?”
The words hung heavy in the air. Sirius had many questions about himself, and it was undeniable, at least to himself, that Polaris represented the path to answers.
Polaris Eridanus/ Goron City Corridor/ Midnight of the 3rd
As Sirius paced and spoke, pouring his feelings out to Polaris all the while, thoughts of their mental connection weighed heavily on the general. The connection to Polaris was, on a more than mental level it echoed in the dark recesses of his soul.
Whomever in the cosmos dictated the tale of the lands below the aether, that entity was pulling these two together. Why? No answer to that just yet.
“...I ask only this, do you feel it resonate at your core? That you and I walk the same path?”
For the first time during the few minutes of conversation, Sirius held completely still and gazed intently at the crimson scaled warrior, his wife, looked on with a mixture of curiosity and hesitancy. Polaris looked first at her and then brought his gaze upon Sirius locking and holding his eyes.
"I know not from whence you came Sirius Fulmaren, but know this, only three people excluding myself, know where I've hailed from and I'd hazard to say that maybe only one or two of them believed my tale. And you to come to me here and now, in this time and place with such talk of prophecy and legend as if the very authors of the universe were putting us together?"
Polaris paused and chuckled to himself as he extended a cold scaly hand, "Hello Destiny. I am Polaris Eridanus."
Sirius & Vera
Sirius chuckled softly back at Polaris’ and shook his hand.
“Vera and I have known each other for a very, very long time. We happen to share similar histories, and until recently, employers. We were in the business of hero searching you see, officially tracking and documenting the gods among men, as they say.” Sirius continued to shake Polaris’ hand, a gleam in his eye.
“My dear Polaris, you know as well as I, that there are more than three in this world who know of you. For what I know of you comes from a very reliable place. It is all from the monks who once lived not far from here, so long ago. Their history still remains tucked away in a corner of this world. That history is of you, my friend.” Sirius grinned and clapped Polaris on the shoulder. “I have seen it, the great mural of your legend. Nameless you stand, surrounded by a dragon you call friend, and a deadly scorpion from the depths you call enemy.” Sirius shouted in joy. Vera chose to interject.
“You are spoken of in legend by these people. To you that may mean little, but the battle you partook in beneath the earth is not the only thing we saw upon the stone mural.” Vera spoke cryptically, but seemed uninterested in explaining further. Sirius picked up where she stopped.
“Indeed, it is fair to say, that you have perhaps not yet experienced all of the legends they have to tell of you. For the battle I have described is not the only tale painted upon the stone. Farther down it, as if to indicate the future, stood you and two others. Those two were myself and Vera. We have no memory of such a time.” His grinning continued. “Not yet, anyway. So you see, Polaris...It is quite exciting to finally meet you. Tell me, have you heard of these monks? Perhaps you've met them on more than one occasion?”
Polaris Eridanus/ Goron City Corridor/ Midnight of the 3rd
Polaris listened intently as Sirius relayed the tale of the monks that he and Kaimu encountered during the ridiculous battle with ancient scorpion. Apparently, the time hopping he and his draconic ally did had a far greater effect across the ages than he had taken time to consider.
"That I'm aware of, I've only met those particular monks once. And quite recently actually, or..well millennia ago if we're being technical..."
Sirius' eyes lit up at this as Polaris tried to back track, "The scorpion proved to be quite the adversary, Kaimu and I, for that is the dragons name, battled it across more than one age I fear, because of the time stone mounted atop it's back. Our meeting however, I have no explanation for. Perhaps those monks held some greater understanding of the universe and foresaw the crossing of our paths."
Polaris didn't want to burst his bubble, but he wasn't entirely sure he was a prophetic hero either. "Although, one thing did strike me as odd, the monks referred to us as their Redeemers...goddesses only know what they meant by that."
Sirius avoided further commentary on Kaimu. He had managed to establish a solid enough friendly tone with Polaris. It felt fragile, and certainly not something that could withstand the truth of what Kaimu was, and how his life ended.
“That battle cemented your place in history, at least as far as they were concerned. Vera, don’t you-” Sirius turned to see where she had moved to, but could not see her anywhere. “Ah...of course. Well Polaris, it seems my companion has other needs to attend to. She’s never had a problem finding me before, why start worrying now right?” He laughed and didn’t bother waiting for a response. “I’m afraid my immediate goal in life was finding you, I embarrassingly have little direction now. If you do not oppose it, I would travel alongside you for a time.”
C: Taden Horwendil / Late Night 3 / Death Mountain
Taden made his way carefully through the maze like Goron tunnels, back in his human form and relying on stealth to avoid guards and builders alike. With his Dodongo tunic and boots, he was fully clothed again under his Yeti breastplate and cloak. His prized Wolfos Hood he had left behind in Snowpeak, exchanged for the Shaman's Mask.
He rested his hand on the lacquered wooden face tied at his waist that bore Master Jotun's likeness; even in the heat of Death Mountain, its surface was cool. Leaning back against the wall, he lingered in the shadow as a troop of laborers hustled by with a log along their shoulders, then sidled slowly forward until he reached the Patriarch Darmoto's Chambers.
It was no surprise to see the sentry out front fainted. Taden noticed the dart protruding from his the neckless back of his head. Majin was inside. In the light of the narrow torches that stood outside Darmoto's door, his shadow cast against the stone walls loomed higher as he pulled the Yeti Mask over his face. Squatting down, the oversized apeman nudged the stunned Goron's ear.
"Hoy, brother mountain dweller!" he cried, rousing the Goron guard. His eyes lifted sullenly and he groaned, only to slip back into unconsciousness while sitting upright. "This is no time for a guardian of the mountainside to be asleep at his post!"
Taden shook the Goron and slapped his stony cheeks, but he was still drowsy. When he heard several footsteps coming towards the heavy iron doors that sealed off Darmoto's chambers, he pulled the guard over his shoulders and slunk back into the shadows, ducking to keep his large head forms scraping the ceiling. With his Yeti strength, even a sleeping Goron was not too heavy a load.
Summoning a glove of Blue Fire over his free hand, Taden snuffed out the torches on either side of the doorway, coating the hall in darkness. He stepped back into the tunnels and turned the first corner he came to, then set the guard down and steadied him against the wall. He groaned once more, and began to mumble.
"Spies…," he whispered, then more forcefully, "Spies!"
Yanking the dart out of the Goron's neck, Taden stabbed it back in over the Goron's heart, in the fleshy underbelly where their armor was weak. The remaining toxin shot immediately into his bloodstream, and the guard slumped over again, his fat face slapping into the stone floor.
Raising his axe up, awkwardly under the low ceiling of the Goron tunnels, he slashed into his quarry's neck once but found it too tough to sever in one below at his low height. Taden had to resort to sawing the Goron's head off by rocking the axehead back and forth over his spine, grinding through it until his victim's head came rolling off at last with a wet spurt. He turned back to the wall and looked to see if anyone was coming down the dark tunnel.
The Red Zora from the previous night's battle in Kakariko, Polaris Eridanus himself, strode forth from the Patriarch's quarters in a warlike crimson huff. Stomping his feet, the Red General stormed down the hall, followed closely by the madman from the mountains and his sorceress wife. The trio left down the opposite hall from Taden, too transfixed by their own troubles to notice the sudden darkness, and he breathed a sigh of relief. Turning back to the corpse, he turned it onto its back and tugged the poison dart back.
Still in his Yeti form, he now walked towards the Patriarch's doors, knowing Majin was still inside. Sirius, Vera, and Polaris had walked on, but Taden was not likely to get this close to Darmoto again. He pushed open the doors and walked inside regally.
"Your excellency," he began, "I am Jotun of the Yeti Tribe in northern Snowpeak. I come to this land to bring you goodwill in these ill-begotten times of war."
Stepping into the center of the chamber, he cast his eyes around the room once for Majin, but saw nothing but a half dozen places the Tokay could hide in shadow. Darmoto stood before him in a dim circle of torchlight, gazing upon him with suspicious eyes.
"Even now, I find intruders who would do mischief in your hallowed halls," he continued, brandishing the dart that he had found in the guard outside. "Let your own eyes be the judge! This poison was spewed into your own soldiers by an assassin's breath!"
He threw the dart down at the Goron Patriarch's feet.
"It is an ill time for mountain dwellers. Let us not forget who our natural allies are in these troubled times."
Taden dropped to his knees, prostrating himself on Darmoto's handwoven rug; even then, at his Yeti size they were still almost at eye level. He unstrapped his axe from his back and laid it sideways along the floor before Darmoto, then spread his hands over it, casting a brief glow of Blue Fire along the steel.
"As shaman of the Yeti people, I have been sent here to prevent a war between the Hylians and the Zora from reaching our lands. To that end, I am at your service," he concluded, bowing low at the Patriarch's feet, looking down at the axe and dart between them. "Only say the word, and I will find the assassin and kill him. What say you?"
Patriarch Darmoto/Patriarchs Chambers/ Early Morning of the 4th
Darmoto's back was still to the chamber entrance when his doors again opened. With a heavy sigh the patriarch turned to face the newcomer and was surprised to see a massive Yeti. His first reaction was to reach for his war hammer, but he relaxed as the Yeti identified himself.
Wincing, Darmoto again grew restless at the sight of the poison dart, his discomfort grew when blue flame danced along the battle axe which the hulking shaman laid aside the dart and prostrated himself at his feet.
"Master Jotun, you bear alarming tidings. My ultimate hope was for my people to remain independent of this war for as long as possible."
Darmoto placed his granite hand on Jotuns shoulder and sighed, "It has grown increasingly apparent that that was the foolish hope of an old man. Rise shaman, I accept your proposal and kneeling is no place for a sworn brother of mine."
The Yeti rose to his full height to tower over Darmoto. Unflinching, the patriarch grasped the creatures meaty forearm and locked eyes.
"As my sworn brother know that our piece of Trust remains safe at the heart of Dodongo's Cavern, but also know that by accepting my brotherhood, you agree that we march together if we march to war."
Releasing his grip on the shaman, pulse quickening Darmoto stepped within range of his hammer, "If those terms are not acceptable to you, I'm afraid I can't allow you to leave this chamber."
IC: Taden Horwendil / Early Morning 4 / Death Mountain
"Where falls the hammer, so too shall fall the axe," Taden smiled through black Yeti lips, grasping Darmoto's hand firmly. "We seek only the peace and solitude of our tribal vale, and the Gorons' protection is essential to this. If the Sky people bring war to Death Mountain, Snowpeak shall stand with you. I accept your terms, and call you brother."
At his speech, Darmoto seemed to relax, and took a seated position at the back of his hall. Bowing to him slowly, Taden stooped down and picked up his axe from the ground. The Goron did not flinch.
"I believe the assassin who lurks my brother's halls to be the same who plundered King Dromand's keep. If I am right, there can be doubt that he serves the Zora, after striking both here and Castle Town. I will go to the Dodongo's Cavern," Taden said, sparks of Blue Fire flashing in his round eyes, "and flush out the worm called Shadowcloak."
Taden presented the map he had gained from Popper, and Darmoto nodded towards him gravely. He walked the map up to him, and using charcoal on his thumb from a nearby sconce, Darmoto circled the canyon where Dodongo's Cavern lay. Taden thanked the Goron wordlessly with a low bow then turned on his heel and left the chamber.
Outside in the hall, he found the torches still capped with ice from his Blue Fire, keeping the place in darkness. Not wanting to attract attention, he slipped off the Yeti Mask, and in a column of Blue Fire resumed his Terminian form. Lighter and faster now, he stole into the shadows, and made way up the tunnels to the open air outside.
Taden lifted his hand to his face to block the sun's first rays from creeping over the horizon and glancing off his skin. Its light stung, even in the heat of Death Mountain, and he pulled the gunny hood of his cloak low over his head. Looking about quickly, he found a pair of Dodongo plodding along a rocky path, and began following their trail. Eventually, using the map to guide himself from Goron City to Dodongo's Cavern, he reached the wide mouth of a cavern untouched by Goron masons. The Dodongo pair came to a rest, and grazed on the leaves of Bomb Flowers just outside the cave's entrance.
Deep in the winding crags of the mountain range, Taden slunk silently into the ancient cave. Turning round, he spread his arms just inside the entrance and patted the ground, then flung his hands high over his head, drawing up a curtain of Blue Fire that draped across the cave's mouth. It burned for an instant, then left a wall of steely blue ice blocking entry.
Dusting off his hands, Taden faced the downward tunnels of Dodongo's Cavern again, and set foot into its dark depths. In the heat and the dark, Taden's skin faintly glowed from within with the light of Blue Fire. Unholstering his axe, he began to walk down the center of the tunnel, foregoing stealth for speed.
Alone For Now
IC: Taden Horwendil / Morning 4 / Dodongo's Cavern
As he came to the end of the entry tunnel leading down from the cavern's mouth, Taden arrived at a great chamber of fire with high archways on either side leading off in different directions. A wide pool of gurgling lava swam out before him, and long stalactites hung down from the black ceiling, their razor tips wavering in the heat as if the stone itself were melting. Indeed, crags of rock broke free from the earthen walls and crashed into the pit, hissing and crumbling into the restless maw of Death Mountain's inner reaches.
He breathed slowly in the dense air, scanning the chamber for some clue where to go next. Majin and the others would be hot on his trail; he needed to learn the area and find its central chamber quickly.
A few paces down one of the tunnels leading away from the pit, he came to a large iron door that was firmly locked. When he turned to go check the other path, he noticed a crack in the wall that a pulsating light seemed to be coming through. It flickered and dance unevenly, like a halting breath.
Back in the front chamber, he scooped up a Bombflower from a patch that ran in a ring around the far side of the lava pit. While its leaves burned towards the explosive seed, Taden rushed back towards the barred door, the smoke from the smoldering fuse stinging his eyes.
He placed the Bombflower at the foot of the long crack in the wall. When the fuse finally gave, the seed burst in a small flash that shattered the rock surrounding the crack. And before the smoke cleared, Taden was met with a Dinalfos leaping into battle with a silver key around his neck. He had awoken the gatekeeper.
Slanting and feinting backwards as the Dinalfos slashed with his crude blade, Taden eventually drew the beast out towards the lava chamber, where he had room to swing his axe. Unhinging Ginnungagap, he slashed lengthwise at the Dinalfos once, and it bounced back with lightning reflexes, only to snap forward with its fiery jaws and gnash Taden's leg with its flaming fangs.
"Ach, bloody reptile!" he shouted, kneeing the dragonform in the eye with his free leg. The beast recoiled and Taden hobbled away, and the two began to circle each other carefully. The Dinalfos swung his sword gallantly in the scorching heat, his tongue now wet with the taste of blood. Taden leaned back on his good leg, sweeping his other sore foot out in front of him. He circled until the pit of lava was at his back, and the Dinalfos was ready to lunge at him.
When the brute made his attack, Taden feinted sideways and swept out his hands, sending a sheet of Blue Fire across the ground where he stood, creating a ramp of ice that curved around into the pit. The Dinalfos slipped on this once and his long claws kept him from regaining his footing on the slick surface, and he tumbled tail first into the churning magma.
Lunging towards the ice ramp himself, Taden coasted to its edge, then bent down to snatch the small key from around the Dinalfos's neck just before he sank into the inferno. Before he could savor the kill, however, the ice ramp beneath his feet began to snap and shatter, and he was barely able to dive back to the solid rock before it burst and dissolved in the lava pool. Even his ice from Blue Fire would not last long in the belly of Death Mountain.
Walking back to the locked door, Taden opened it and followed a short hallway that split off into a fork, one leading downward into a lower level, and the other leading upward into a higher chamber. In the middle of the fork, there was a signpost with a lantern hanging from it. He check the sign, and found an arrow with a Skull pointing towards the downward tunnel on the right, and an arrow with a Flame pointing towards the upward slope to the left.
Pulling the lantern off the sign, he sliced through its base with his axe once, then carried on down the downward slope, the one marked with a Skull.
Majin Kotage – Goron City – Morning 4
Dodongo’s Cavern. Where the Trust was kept. Where Taden was now bound.
Majin had found himself in some strange alliance with the murderer in the Yeti mask. Taden provided the kind of muscle that he needed in the perilous times he found himself in, his axe and his ice and his unemotional willingness to take lives all put to Majin’s intended use.
But he was still a wildcard, and Majin was not sure he wanted that man to put his hands on the Goron Trust. It held power both real and symbolic, and in the care of one such as Horwendil…
It would be best that he or another were to acquire it, or else that he be present to watch over it if Taden should put hands on it.
Decided, Majin dropped from the ceiling of the chamber, his shadow shroud condensing around his shoulders into the black cloak. He put the blow gun away and emerged into the heart of the city. Outside of the Patriarch’s chamber the Goron sentry he’d incapacitated lay dead, slumped against the rough-cut rock of the wall, a tiny needle hole in the tough flesh over his heart.
One more lesson. One more reminder that wherever Taden went, death was sure to follow after.
“Polaris, forgiving me for what I have done is not something I require, but that man is responsible for the death of Kaimu. It may have been a fake Kaimu, but nonetheless it was his doing. He must be brought to justice, and we must prevent him from taking the trust.”
“I couldn’t agree with you more,” Majin announced, approaching the sound of familiar voices. Sirius stood facing the one that Majin knew he would have to face. Polaris Eridanus, the Red Ice General, stood in conversation with the lunar wizard, and it appeared that they discussed the very matter that Majin had come to broach. “Hello Polaris, I’m pleased to find you looking well.
“Taden has through deception done what you could not achieve through honesty; he has entered into an alliance with the Goron Patriarch. He has discovered the location of the Goron Trust and has entered Dodongo’s Cavern, the traditional feeding ground of the Goron people, in order to acquire it.”
As Majin spoke, he warily eyed Sirius. He did not know what to think of the man, and he was uncertain of how he would react. By his own admission he appeared to share the same belief that Taden could not be allowed to attain the key, but he was a mystery to Majin.
“I am going there now. I would welcome your aid in this matter.”
Knowing that Taden was already far ahead, Majin took off at a run. Though his legs were short they were also strong and propelled him swiftly through the subterranean halls of Goron City, up several levels of winding stairs cut out of the rock of the mountain and out into the light of the morning sun.
To his right as he exited onto the mountain slopes there was a gate of iron bars protecting a sheer precipice. Majin turned that way and vaulted over, the fingers of his left hand snagging the bar to turn him in mid air and bring him back against the wall of stone rising above the cavern’s mouth. With sticky fingers that gripped the rock and held him fast against the cliff wall, Majin descended and dropped down before the entrance to Dodongo’s Cavern.
A wall of ice barred the way, glistening blue and white in the sunlight. He couldn’t tell how thick the ice was, but knowing Taden it would not be easily passed.
At least, not in Majin’s current state.
He reached down and pulled from his belt the mask of his erstwhile friend and ally, Kaimu, donning it. In mere moments, he loomed over the cave mouth in dragon form, his jaws wide as a billowing stream of dark fire crashed down into the wall of ice.
Now cleared of obstructions, Majin reverted back to his Tokay form and strode into the darkness, hoping that Taden was not already too far ahead to be caught.
Taden Horwendil / Morning 4 / Dodongo's Cavern (Yeti Remix)
At the far side of a canyon filled nearly to the brim with magma, Taden came to the end of a long rope bridge that hung from the ceiling. He looked down and saw the boiling fire belch and hiss menacingly. Above him, Fire Keese wove in and out between the thick stalagtites from which the tethers of the makeshift bridge were hung. On either side of the canyon, Torch Slugs trudged along the ground, leaving short trails of fire.
Raising one hand into the air with two fingers together, Taden pulled the Yeti Mask down over his face with his free hand, and when he emerged from blue flame as the Yeti his two fingers were still pressed together. Swiping them once across his front, the red flame trailing from the wings of the Keese changed into Blue Fire, and the plume of flame leaping up from each Torch Slug became a sapphire blue. The Blue Fire Keese continued circling the cavern as if nothing had changed, and the Blue Fire slugs went about their slow feeding.
When he pulled the Yeti Mask off, the Keese were still in their Blue Fire form, as were the Slugs. The Slugs left slick trails of ice in their wake, but they melted before long; and when one Keese brushed against a hanging rope of the footbridge, it froze on the spot. The ice did not reach far down the rope's length at first, but when Taden lifted both arms into the air, the Blue Fire Keese all spread to either side of the lava canyon in two rows, then sprang towards the hanging ropes as one when he clapped his hands together.
Breathing out forcefully as he lowered his cupped hands, a white breath of ice spread out from his lungs and began to stretch across the swinging bridge, freezing it solid until it became rigid and stiff. Then, with a slash of his axe, he severed the last two lengths of rope holding up the bridge, and it began to drop away towards the wall of the canyon he had entered from. As each pair of tethers bore the weight of the drooping bridge, they snapped where the ice had made them brittle, faster and faster until it slammed against the near canyon's edge. The rope bridge shattered on impact, and its frozen hunks splintered down into the all-consuming fire below.
As he turned his back on the wreckage to walk through the next door, a pair of Blue Fire Keese swooped down from the flock to join him. The dozen or so others remained aloft, diving down at the fire slugs that lurked along the entrance.
Early Morning 4 Goron City Hallways
Polaris gave a silent nod in response. Sirius, thrilled at his luck to find the one creature he had been unable to find for decades, wasn’t quite sure what to do next.
Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, with Vera gone, Sirius lacked the grounding force to resist dealing with his other problem, the time corrupted soul stone. His initial thoughts had been that giving the stone to Polaris would free him from his unstable state in time, and yet now he could not figure out why he would think that to be true. Certainly the stone was more or less infected with a broken version of Kaimu’s soul, one that absorbed a mass quantity of time energy during his battle in the north.
Giving it to Polaris wouldn’t solve the problem, but it might provide more answers. Polaris was not of this era, that much was clear.
“Polaris, excuse me just one moment.” Sirius whipped out his notepad and began scribbling as fast as he could.
I am writing in this notebook as a distraction, I hope that Polaris doesn’t read this later.
Sirius finished writing, put the notepad away, and grabbed the soul stone from his jacket, keeping it concealed in his palm.
“Ah, okay all done. I know this is all very odd, but I’m glad we see eye to eye.” Sirius grabbed Polaris’ hand and shook it. “I hope that nothing comes between us in this fresh new alliance.” He removed his hand from Polaris’, revealing he had left the soul stone in the Zora’s red hands.
Polaris Eridanus/ Goron City Corridors/ Early Morning of the 4th
Puzzled, Polaris stared at the misshapen stone in his palm. Not removing his gaze from the chunk of rock, "Uhh, Sirius? What is thi..."
The words died in his throat as he looked up to see Sirius' reassuring smile, then his face and finally his entire body blur until he and the rest of the corridor weren't much more than silhouette.
The stone grew unbearably hot in his hand, yet when he tried to drop it he found that he could not. In fact, the shimmering stone was the only clear object to focus on as his feet left the floor and time folded in on itself.
Polaris' ears popped when his feet touched the cool stone of this foreign chamber. Once his vision returned, Polaris found that the stone, no longer superheated or glowing still sat in his outstretched palm. Looking up, the still smiling Sirius stood feet away. It was then that realization dawned on the crimson general, "Is this a timestone?"
Sirius, Goron City Hallways, Early Morning 4
The implication that the soul stone was a time stone was one Sirius immediately wished to refute. But years of self critical assessment and self improvement in his scientific study quashed such personal desires. Polaris, while guessing blindly, could very well have been onto something.
“Polaris, I seek directness and I seek answers. Many people do not like this, they find it off putting, offensive, inhuman, unemotional.” He shut his eyes. “Well, I am not here to argue that. A woman...no, a witch, named Telaris, she was responsible for who I became. She cursed me, she cursed Vera. The curse was to us a boon at first, an opportunity that over time grew into a burden.”
“Sirius, you are being surprisingly indirect for someone who claims to be direct.” Polaris seemed not able to resist making the observation.
“Ah...yes.” He hung his head slightly, and pushed down the discomfort of his own contradiction. He raised it back up and met Polaris’ gaze. “My own origins are a mystery to me, I know of my childhood, but not my birth. I wish to discover the truth, but thus far the universe has refused to give it to me. I have learned to travel time, seek heroes, and even create heroes, all so that I might learn how I came to be.”
“And you believe I fit into your journey?” Polaris continued to palm the stone, analyzing it as he spoke. Sirius felt he had already made it clear Polaris was vital to his own history, but provided an answer nonetheless.
“The stone in your hand is...the product of my first successful soulstone experiment. I previously was involved in some rather questionable practices with now dead necromancers and mages. Using my research and direction, they were able to create the first living clone of a still living creature.” Polaris looked dumbfounded.
“What do you mean, living clone of a still living creature?” Sirius hesitated to respond to the question. He needed Polaris to know the truth, it was too risky to hide it. If he hoped to work with the zora to find answers, there could not be any lies or secrets.
“...When I first arrived in this time, I became caught up in a series of complicated events with another Zora clan, one that lived off the eastern coast of this land. I’m afraid we didn’t end on good terms, and I was unable to follow through on my original intent, which was to endow the same unnatural life and power I have, onto another.”
“...Go on.” He had Polaris’ attention thanks to the Zora comments, though likely he’d had his attention since the first first cosmic link between them had occurred.
“The name of the Zora who I had to depart from, and ultimately clone...Was Kaimu Kotaro. The Kaimu that you knew was not the true Kaimu, he was nothing more than an empty shell, a fake, a copy created by me in absence of the real thing. That Kaimu’s torment and unpredictability was directly because of his chaotic and unnatural origins. It is regrettable I suppose that it had to reach that point, but it was necessary.” Sirius was already feeling defensive. He knew that his work was philosophically and morally questionable, but he believed that the ends justified the means. The Kaimu he had created was not a living thing, not a real soul, and thus, had no rights in the world it existed within.
Polaris seemed less than impressed with the brash manipulation of life. Sirius tensed his body and mind, knowing what was coming. He kept an eye on the corner of the room, waiting for their guests arrival. Polaris was already coming back at Sirius with a very accusatory and upset tone.
“Why would you do something like this?! Did you ever consider the consequences?!” Polaris began to shout, clearly offended that someone would pretend to be a god so lackadaisically. That familiar hiss and pop of time travel filled the room, and Sirius broke into his fallback demeanor of sarcasm.
“Did I ever consider the consequences?” He sarcastically quipped back. He gradually turned his gaze towards the left, where the pop and hiss sound had come from. There, shockingly, and completely unsurprisingly (to Sirius that is) stood Kaimu Kotaro, fully in dragon form. Sirius spoke the words he knew he was meant to speak.
“Why don’t you ask him? What do you think Kaimu?”
“Kaimu?!” Polaris exclaimed at the sight of Kaimu, speechless beyond the name call. Kaimu seemed to be opening his mouth to speak, but his body was already fading into thin air. Sirius watched contentedly as he vanished, only for his jaw to drop in shock as Kaimu completely and fully materialized.
“WHAT?!” Sirius shouted, knowing that this was not how things had gone before. Kaimu ran over and grabbed Sirius with one powerful claw.
“I SEE YOU!” Kaimu smirked and squeezed tightly, as the shocked Sirius began to panic. He had not anticipated the timestream changing like this. Something was wrong. Sirius turned, and realized Polaris was gone, completely. The soul stone was in his own hands again. It dawned on him, the fragment of Kaimu’s soul was having some kind of effect on the time stream, it was changing it, and not for the better.
With only seconds before the dragon would tear him apart, Sirius plunged the soulstone into Kaimu’s mouth .He watched as it immediately shattered inside the dragon, sending a screaming pain through Sirius’ head and blacking out the world for a few moments. When reality twisted back into view, Kaimu was gone, Polaris had returned with the soul stone in his hand again, and seemed completely unaware of what had just transpired, beyond the initial appearance of Kaimu.
“What just happened?” Polaris’ question was almost comical to Sirius, as he had no idea just how absolutely screwed up things had actually gotten for a moment. To Polaris, all that had taken place was a brief appearance by Kaimu. With the action calmed for a moment, the next great mystery of the universe was able to present itself.
“...Your battle against the lava scorpion sent Kaimu briefly forward in time to this moment. But we have more pressing matters despite what just occurred. I’m sure you have other issues to discuss as well. In any case, LOOK!” Sirius pointed to a pedestal on the far side of the cavern. Something that neither he or Polaris had managed to see, somehow.
“...That’s the trust.” The words left Polaris’ mouth, while Sirius had none. It was a shocking turn of events, and the next, only more so. “...You!” Polaris shouted as the unmistakable form of Taden appeared from the darkness of the caverns entrance, running full speed towards the goron trust.
“Polaris, stop him, we have to take that first, he is not to be trusted!” Sirius had no real history with Taden beyond their initial fight, but the killing of his dragon, while something he ultimately allowed, was not something he wanted to have occur so soon. Bitterness was not so easily let go. Both began to run towards Taden and the trust. Both made it only three steps before the crushingly familiar sound of timeshifting rang in their ears. With only mere steps between them and the trust/Taden, they were yanked violently back in time and space, being dumped back into the original Goron City hallways they had been in prior.
Sirius immediately began stomping his feet and cursing loudly, his cries echoing through the halls.
“Polaris, forgiving me for what I have done is not something I require, but that man is responsible for the death of Kaimu. It may have been a fake Kaimu, but nonetheless it was his doing. He must be brought to justice, and we must prevent him from taking the trust.”
Polaris Eridanus/ Goron City/ Morning 4
Polaris was battered with a whirlwind of information from both Sirius and Majin, the common denominator from both of them was, stop Taden.
Yeah. No shit.
Of course he couldn't say that, but he wanted to. Stopping Taden was always a goal of his, no matter which Taden.
As Majin scampered off, Polaris turned to Sirius, "Whether or not I agree with your practices, what's done is done. We have more pressing matters and neither Majin nor Taden will wait."
Not to be outdone, Polaris leapt the iron barred gate and fanned out his extremities as he let gravity take over. Three quarters of the way down, Polaris twisted in mid air, unsheathing one of his chained blades during the motion.
While Dragon Majin was still melting the ice, Polaris' blade sunk into the stone above the entrance. Pulling the chain taut, he swung into the cavernous opening freeing his blade and landing, already at a dead run.
When the pitter patter of Majins feet signaled his approach, Polaris was crouched down examining a signpost, "I once knew a dragon. Twice actually...ironic that both were artificial constructs created and given life by mad men."
Standing, Polaris turned to toss the sign to Majin. "Up or down? My guess is deeper into the mountain."
Sirius peered beyond the iron bars, down to the cavern entrance below, catching a glimpse of Polaris as he vaulted his way inside. He simultaneously grimaced and smirked, briefly wishing he could harness the lunar energy as he had been doing only a few hours prior. For Sirius, there would be no intense acrobatics or similar displays of prowess.
“I know I said we’re in a hurry, but you’ve outpaced me just a tad!” He hollered down over the edge, but got no response. Either they had no desire to answer, or the echoes of his voice were unable to penetrate inside the cavern. He touched his hand to his soulstone pack, and realized that the Kaimu soulstone was once again back in his possession.
“That’s...what?” He muttered, previously certain that the stone had properly returned to Polaris. He whipped out his ever trusty notepad, deftly grabbing a small cylindrical container next to it.
Kaimu soulstone either returned to my persons, or has somehow duplicated itself thanks to the timestream hiccups.
Polaris and Majin are, for now, allied with me in pursuit of Horwendil. The trust is something that we can agree does not belong in his hands. However, who it truly will fall to is another story, and I must remain vigilant and prepared for all scenarios.
In accordance with the waning of the moon cycle, I am going to resume use of the lunar whip.
He put the notebook down for a second, and rolled the container around in his hands, popping the top off. Sirius shrugged and jammed the kaimu soul stone inside. Nothing happened. He immediately began writing again.
They aren’t all winning ideas. He took the soulstone out, put it in his pocket, poised to resume writing. Before he could start though, he had one final desire to look at the stone. He fished his hands around his pockets, but the soulstone was nowhere to be found.
“Oh, of course.” He laughed at the situation, realizing that the stone was once again gone. Satisfied with the bizarre analysis of the situation, he banged the cylindrical container on the ground, and a magnificent, glowing, lunar whip emerged. “Oh god how does this work again...” He snapped his wrist, focusing his eyes on the fence. The whip wrapped around it tightly, and then seemingly of its own accord, ripped him forward and over the fence, dropping him down incredibly ungracefully to the cavern entrance below.
“Ow, god damn it! Jeez, motherf-” Sirius rubbed his temples after hitting the ground, having lost his grip on the whip handle, unprepared for the sudden motion. “Okay, so I need practice.” He dusted himself off and walked into the cavern, catching up to Polaris and Majin at last. He offered his response to Polaris’ question.
Majin Kotage – Dodongo’s Cavern – Morning 4
Signs of Taden’s passing were everywhere. The corpse of a Dinalfos spilled its blood on the rocks of the cavern and a signpost that was meant to point the way lay on the ground, hacked off by his axe.
They faced a choice, one or the other, up or down.
Sirius thought down, but Majin felt drawn up the other path, and took a step toward it.
“I think we need to go up.”
Drawing a deep breath, Majin forged ahead. He didn’t wait for the consent of the others; he had Taden on his mind. Something told him to go up; something told him that it was the only way.
He ascended through the darkness of the rising tunnel, hands fingering the hilts of his butterfly swords. He wanted Taden’s strength on his side; he thought he could use the man if things became as bad in Hyrule as he thought they would. He was beginning to wonder, though, if the man wasn’t too much of a wildcard. Common purpose became a quest to stop him in the space of a heartbeat. Could an alliance built on that kind of uncertainty last? He doubted it.
But he wasn’t going to let Taden get his hands on the Trust key either. He’d seen the kind of evil that could be created by the theft of one. If another was to be stolen…
Majin was greeted with a blast of hot air as the tunnel opened into a vast chamber. He walked out onto a ledge plummeting down a dizzying distance into a canyon that glared red from the molten rock bubbling at the bottom. As he stared down he could see that there were lower ledges as well, and what appeared to be the wooden posts to which the ropes of a suspended bridge would have been tied.
Taden had opted not to leave them a place to cross. The tunnel down would have been the wrong one.
At this level, however, a broad stone platform was suspended above the canyon by black chains lashing it to the ledges on their side and the other. A pair of wide wooden planks stood straight up on either side of the hanging stone circle attached to lever systems. They appeared to be bridges that could be lowered to the ledges on each side.
There was no other way out to the platform but by the chains that held it aloft.
“I’m going to have to go first,” Majin told the others. “I’m the lightest one of us. I’ll get across the lower the bridge for you.”
With no protests voiced by the others, Majin tested one length of chain and, once he’d deemed it strong enough to support his weight, scampered out onto it. Heights had never been a problem for the Tokay called Shadowcloak, but he opted not to look down until he’d made his way all the way across and pulled himself up onto the flat-topped stone.
He hurried over to the raised bridge that would allow Polaris and Sirius over onto the platform, but before he could manipulate the lever and lower the plank, a sharp, barking cry froze him in place. He heard the impact of feet and felt the platform shudder. Slowly he turned from the lever to see a mass of green and brown scales and the glint of dark red off the double-blades jutting from its tail.
Lizalfos, a distant and exceedingly stupid evolutionary offshoot of the Tokay. Fangs glittered in its mouth as he stalked forward toward him. Majin turned from the lever and rose to his full height, which was infantile next to this beast. The Lizalfos carried a long, curved sword in one of its clawed hands.
“Alright then,” he said. His cloak lost its shape, expanding outward in a cloud before sucking into itself, compressing into a shapeless knot in his left hand. With his right hand he pulled one butterfly sword from his belt. “I’ll have to deal with you first.”
With a barking battle cry the Lizalfos darted forward, bringing its sword down in a vertical slash. Majin caught the blade on his own, staggering slightly under the force of the blow from the much larger foe. Almost before he could act, though, the Lizalfos shifted its feet and its bladed tail swept around toward him while his blade was held aloft.
The shadows expanded and solidified into a shield on his left arm, which soundlessly absorbed the blow. He used the forced of the attack to disengage from the Lizalfos and dive sideways over his right shoulder and reorient himself.
The Lizalfos pursued, leaping at him and stabbing forward with its blade while in the air. The shadow-shield fuzzed and shifted in shape, extending into a whip that Majin snapped forward to take hold of the sword and pull it wide. In a blink he was inside the Lizalfos’ defense and he dragged his butterfly sword across its chest and stomach.
So intent was he on scoring a mortal blow, though, that he failed to account for the tail as it swung around, this time from his right. He grimaced in pain as blade dug into his hip.
They parted, the Lizalfos bleeding from a deep gash down its front, Majin from a shallower cut. The Lizalfos leered at him with its hate-filled, reptilian glare, then bounded forward.
The next few blows were traded rapidly. Majin scored a hit on its left shoulder, then its right thigh. The beast was growing more erratic as he wounded it again and again, this time opting for quick, shallow cuts instead of trying to kill it in one fell swoop. It lunged at him when he danced back out of range, then spun and swung its tail at him wildly when he deftly moved aside.
Majin backed up to the edge of the platform, so far that his heels peeked just over the edge. The Lizalfos recklessly pursued, lunging forward with his blade raised up above its head. As it neared and leaped at him Majin ducked down and rolled between its legs, using his butterfly sword to block the bladed tail as he bounced back to his feet and spun. The shadow lash thickened, lost its solidity, and became a tendril of compressed shadow-vapor.
The Lizalfos skidded to a halt at the very precipice. Majin hurled the tendril at it, striking the beast in the back as it teetered on the edge.
He heard its barking cries fading into the canyon until they at last came to a sudden end.
Pained and bleeding, Majin replaced the butterfly sword on his belts and let the shadows settle back around his shoulders as he walked over to the lever and used the crank to lower it to the ledge where his companions awaited.
Once across Majin looked from Polaris to Sirius.
“Come on, Taden can’t be too far ahead.”
Polaris Eridanus/ Dodongo's Cavern/ Morning of the 4th
With Majin and Sirius in tow, Polaris took the lead as they exited the room. Coming out onto a small ledge with open air to the front and right and a stone wall, with a recessed door, Polaris felt that the trio may be able to advance quickly.
That feeling was greeted by the snickt of metal bars sliding into place and barring their advance. Striding over, )?,Sirius gave the bars a perfunctory shake that reaffirmed what they all already knew.
"Okay, now what?"
Upon closer inspection, the ovular room was home to multiple ledges jutting out from the stone walls, all suspended several stories above a roiling pool of molten rock. The ledge nearest them was somewhat larger than the rest with a trapezoid shaped button at it's center. Between that platform and theirs multiple red, white and blue octagonal targets hung suspended from the ceiling.
Unsheathing his chained blades, Polaris turned to his companions, "You may want to take a step back."
Not waiting for a reply, Polaris lashed out with his right arm, the chain growing taut as the blade sunk into the target with a muffled thunk. Swinging out over the abyss, Polaris flung his left hand blade forward, striking the next target even as he was wrenching the first blade free.
The process was repeated until at last he dismounted from the final target and back flipped down to the platform, landing in a crouch.
A few short strides placed Polaris at the center of the platform. Stepping on the button, he watched as the bars lowered and his friends made to move to the exit. Majin and Sirius had barely taken two steps when the bars slammed back into place and Polaris was thrown to the ground and a pair of Stalfos Knights wielding swords and wooden shields dropped onto the platform.
The skeletal warriors leapt forward, swords slashing down towards the grounded general. Throwing his arms up on the defensive, Polaris caught both strikes on his chains, deflecting them just enough to allow him to leap to his feet.
As his enemies circled, Polaris drew Winters Tide with his left, keeping one of his chaotic chained makhaira in his right. The closest Stalfos Knight charged again, looking to ram Polaris with his shield while the second hung back.
Matching his enemies charge, Polaris leaped at the last second, using the shield as a springboard front flip forward. Upside down in the air, Polaris drove Winters Tide into stone to stop his progress and right himself while simultaneously hurling the makhaira at the distant skeleton.
The blade exploded through the shield and lodged itself in his enemies rib cage, but the Stalfos he vaulted smashed its shield into Polaris' back driving him to the floor. Rolling to his back, Polaris had just enough time to jerk hard on the chain in his right hand as the Stalfos that had attacked him windmilled forward with his sword ready to deal a fatal blow.
The makhaira caught bone causing the distant Stalfos Kinght to stumble forward just in time to be cleaved in half by his companion. Polaris growled in both pain and anger as the sword still managed to graze his rib cage tearing open a gash in his side.
Anger flared in the Crimson Generals eyes as he lunged forward snagging the wrist of his attacker. A whiplike snap pierced the air as the temperature on the platform plummeted and a whirlwind of arctic energies exploded outward leaving undead knight coated in a jagged layer of blood red rime.
Tipping his incapacitated foe onto the door switch, Polaris closed the distance back across the gap I'm short order as the bars once again descended into the floor.
"Alright, lets get on with this."
Dodongo's Cavern, Morning of the Fourth
The radically unlikely trio entered into the third room. Sirius, always a chatterbox, blithely observed the situation.
“I feel like we could have helped you out a little more.” He mentioned to Polaris. He turned to Majin immediately after. “And you as well. Seriously, are we just going to watch each other take turns here?” Neither seemed inclined to respond. Just as well, it was a rhetorical question anyway, as were most questions he posed.
“Well would you look. at. that.” The room was perfectly round, with spike barriers, fire pits, and rolling boulders scattered everywhere. In the middle of the room was a giant rectangular lake of fire which ran all the way through, entering and exiting through small cavernous openings near the floor. It was easily a twenty foot drop from the edge into the lava lake. The only thing crossing above it were sturdy metallic looking (though clearly not metal) rails, which the boulders rolled on in a figure eight shape around the entire room. To top it all off, a massive rotating blade sat just above it all, making any kind of vertical excursion incredibly deadly. Were it not for the blades, going over everything would have been very viable option for the trio.
“Who made this?!” Sirius called out. “It's like an obstacle course for torture victims. I mean granted, it gives you ideas. Like look at those boulders! Those are perfectly spaced! Amazing! I bet you two haven’t since anything like this before eh?
“This is not a time for games, Sirius. Is this how you are going to approach every situation?” Polaris asked.
“Yes.” Deadpan. He took out his notepad, and in full visibility of Majin and Polaris began flipping through. He noticed a crude drawing of all three halfway through the journal. “That...was not there before.” He looked up from the notebook at Majin, deep red as always, and Polaris, with his eerily translucent skin.
Sirius shook his head and shut his eyes, then opened them once more. Both allies had returned to their proper color schemes. He pondered internally if he had switched universes, or was merely losing his mind. Sirius began to scribbling as fast as he could, drawing lines left and right, adding diagrams, and crunching numbers. After a minute, Polaris once again pitched in.
“What’s the plan. You seem to have something going on there.”
Sirius closed the notebook and looked ahead. “You see that?” He gestured towards the boulders rolling around the room, each one moving at the same mammothly high speed. “Those boulders are perfectly timed. There’s twenty feet of space between each and it only takes thirty seconds to get around this room. But the track itself is just rails, there’s no support over that lake of fire in the middle of the room, so there’s no way over that. Not to mention the traps before you even reach the middle.”
“We can see that.”
“Yes, I’m just thinking out loud, thank you. Give me a break here.” Sirius gritted his teeth. It wasn’t an uncommon occurrence for him to state the obvious, but it was often helpful to his thought process. “There’s no special solution here, this is just a nightmare. We need a way to stop the boulders from rolling, and-” Sirius heard a clicking sound, and looked down to see that all three had been standing on a large heavy switch, which had finally given way and clicked down.
“I think we just activated something.” Sirius muttered. He was right. Fire jets began spraying out of the lava lake, and a torrent of both fire and ice keese emerged from the ceiling, only to be chopped into thousands of pieces by the spinning blade above. Ice and fire shrapnel began to shoot around the room, forcing all three to take cover for themselves. The boulders, curiously, stopped completely in their tracks, and then less curiously, began to tick like clocks.
“No. Really? No! Come on!” Sirius shouted at the rocks, realizing darkly, as likely did Majin and Polaris, that the giant rocks were in fact giant disguised bombs, perhaps of Goron origin. “What is this, some kind of torturous armory? No, sorry, said that one already...” He performed the joke to no one in particular, hopping over spikes and running towards the lava lake.
“Polaris! Majin! We need to stop the fan blades from spinning! We don’t have much time!” No answer at first. The screeching of the dying keese made communication difficult, and both allies were nowhere to be seen, likely crouched somewhere to avoid the living shrapnel. “Okay, gotta do this my way...” Sirius pulled out his lunar whip and took out a small vial of black liquid from his pocket. Hastily he scribbled into his notebook.
Not much time, running whip experiment with subrosia tar, expecting same results as always
While writing, Sirius looked up at the blades and then around the room for the tallest structure. He saw a large impromptu rock staircase leading the thirty or so feet up into the air, to just below the point of the spinning blades. He raced over, hopping fire pits and narrowly avoiding being set on fire by keese or knocked senseless by some of their frozen dying bodies. He reached the staircase, and then realized, somehow having missed it before, that there were dozens of other people standing around in the chamber.
“What...?” Sirius felt as if he had been granted a moment frozen in time. The panic he was feeling temporarily subsided, and indeed it seemed that even the chaos around him had been briefly distilled. Every single person in the chamber was just another version of himself. Together they spoke a single line.
“Death is the sign to your future.”
And then they were gone, and in their place stood Polaris and Majin, who seemed entirely unaware of what had happened. There was no time to reflect, so Sirius had to move on.
“Come on, quick!” Sirius ran up the staircase, which he had previously overlooked thanks to its uselessness of being a staircase leading straight to death. He resumed his prior experiment, and dumped the liquid in the vial all over the whip. It immediately turned green and became harder than diamond.
Sirius eyed the spinning blade cautiously. He counted the amount of seconds between each pass of one of the blades above him. After calculating how much time he had, he deftly thrust the result of his experiment into the rock wall. It stuck out in the path of the blade, which screechingly halted as it collided with the object. He heard grinding noises indicative of the blade struggling to move against his weapon. He also heard the ticking pace of the rock-bombs increase, and his stress levels with it.
“Um....Okay...get on top of the blades!” Amazingly enough, Polaris and Majin complied, likely convinced of his plan after his surprising and sudden halting of the blade mechanism and the looming ticking of the rock bombs.
Sirius looked down to the other end of the room, the one they were trying to reach. He realized with horror that there was no exit. “This seems to be a one way room.” Sirius said.
“No, it isn’t.” Majin pointed up, where about fifty feet above their heads sat a small, but obvious exit from the room. The ticking was the loudest it had ever been, and most of the released keese had died, leaving it the only prominent noise in the room. And then, it stopped.
“Okay, we probably only have ten seconds or so, Majin, can you kindly use that mask and-” The explosion instantly cut out all sound. Sirius reached for his weapon on instinct, yanking it out of the wall, releasing the blade simultaneous to the rock-bombs blowing up. The spinning blade that all three stood upon shot violently upwards, and while Sirius could not see thanks to dust and debris, he could hear the roars as Majin took dragon form, likely shielding all three from death by falling stones. Then he felt the pieces of the blade falling away, and a heavy force half-grabbing and half-hurling him upwards.
He felt his body crash hard into rocks, and then slump down. He had hit a wall, and was falling. No. Not falling. Sitting.
“What happened?” He opened his eyes in time to see Polaris sitting up looking equally starstruck, and Majin finishing his transformation back into a Tokay. A thunderous crash startled Sirius to his feet. He saw that the door behind him, the door they had all traveled through after the explosion threw them off the blades, was now collapsed in with rubble.
“No going back that way.” Sirius coughed and turned to Majin. “I suppose I owe you some gratitude for being so quick there. I know you started putting it on before I said anything.” He coughed again, wincing. “So thanks.” He dusted himself off and gave one final hacking cough. “Forward then.”
IC: Taden Horwendil / Morning 4 / Dodongo's Cavern
After climbing what seemed an endless staircase, Taden arrived in an ornately hewn room with a high altar at the top of the stair. Behind it, three laughing faces were carved into columns along the rear wall, and within their gaping grins churned crackling flames.
Each face's eyes were turned at a slightly different angle: the middle one looking directly down the stairs to the wall at Taden's back, while the other two stared off slightly at either diagonal. Following the gaze of one of the fiery faces, he noticed a locked door to one side of the large room. Looking back to the altar, he noticed inside the middle face's mouth the shadow of a treasure chest doused in flame.
Walking up to the top of the altar, Taden doused his own hands in Blue Fire and reached into the central face. The natural flames in its mouth gave way at his enchanted touch, and he retrieved a small key from the chest without delay.
"Hm, that was easy…," he pondered, studying the rusted key. He walked down to the first locked door and opened it, revealing a room with a tiled path leading up to another sealed door. Before he could approach it, some of the tiles shot up from the floor and began flying towards him, but he easily dispatched these with Ginnungagap, holding the mighty axe aloft and letting the tiles crash into it.
"Mere child's play," he grinned, holstering his axe as the bars lining the far door gave way to the next room. Here, Taden found a long hallway carved crudely into the cavern rock, with two long lines of prison bars along either side. He had found a dungeon beneath the altar.
"I don't imagine Dodongos have much use for dungeons," he wondered aloud, eyeing the Goron metallurgy of the locks and bars. "The nation that makes war on Death Mountain may never leave it." He grimaced as he walked to the far end of the long cell, but as he stepped towards the door his foot triggered a switch that sent more bars clanging down over it. He was trapped.
Then, behind him, a ring of flame opened up in the floor. He turned round just as a ball of flame seemed to leap forth from it, then sprout arms and legs to start running towards Taden from where it landed on the ground. The little flame monster charged quickly, and when Taden brought his axe down the creature dodged from side to side avoiding it. It leapt up into the air once and bashed Taden in the face with its feet made of flame, then dashed out past the prison bars to taunt him with its dance.
"You think you're slick, huh?" Taden clapped his hands together and drew them apart slowly, creating an arc of Blue Fire that hovered between his palms. He hunkered down and tucked his arms by his waist, then thrust his palms forward to blast the dancing flame with a lash of Blue Fire that spread against the entire lower half of the wall. The beast was blasted back and frozen to the wall, unable to dodge the blast for its width.
"Now for these bars…," Taden said, turning back to the sealed door. But before he could lay a hand on them, the ice on the far wall shattered and the little black ball of flesh that made the monster's body shot back up into the air and grew limbs of flame twice as long as before, making him far taller than Taden and allowing him to dance across the long dungeon hallway on legs of fire.
"Back for more, eh?" Taden rounded back on the flare dancer and clenched his palms. He grit his teeth, and watched as the creature bounced from one side of the cell to the other with ease, moving like a wildfire on the wind. "Only one way to deal with a problem like this."
Taden lowered his center of gravity in the narrow barred hall and closed his eyes. He drew in one quick breath, then opened his eyes and mouth to reveal that they were filled with sapphire flame. Throwing his arms in the air, a shockwave of Blue Fire erupted out from his body in all directions, coating the entire room in ice. Once again, the flare dancer was sealed to the wall, this time the ice so thick that Taden could barely discern his black form under its surface.
"That ought to do it, unless…," he waited, watching the creature's corpse carefully. And sure enough, it began to glow bright red under the ice, until Taden saw it begin to crack under the surface.
"This is no Goron magic," he realized, unhooking his axe. In a flash of ice crashing against the iron dungeon bars, the flare dancer sprang from his prison again, this time his flames in brightest blue. It began spinning around wildly, until a whirlwind of Blue Fire gathered up the shards of ice from the explosion and started flying around the room uncontrollably.
"Fine, we do this the old fashioned way," Taden said. He ran to the other side of the narrow hall and hoisted his axe up, ready for the dancer to charge at him. He gathered his own aura of Blue Fire to protect him from the flying frozen shrapnel, and when the two collided in the center of the hall, it sent a white light and rushing wind across the room as if an arctic volcano had burst.
When the smoke cleared, Taden's axe lay driven into a floor coated in ice, and the two halves of the Flare Dancer's body lay on either side of its blade. The Blue Fire magic of the beast stood no chance against the cold steel of Ginnungagap. Behind him, the circle in the floor where the creature had emerged now began to glow, until a large golden chest materialized at his feet. He opened this, and found a large golden key with a ruby in its head laying inside.
"Now we're getting somewhere," he said, scooping up the key.
In the wreckage of their battle, the iron bars of the far door had been coated in ice. Walking up to these, Taden removed one glove and pressed the flesh of his hands against them, freezing them to the core. They shattered at his touch, even as the remnants at the top of the door retracted into the slots they had fallen from.
Taden continued into the next room, and found himself back in the main altar chamber, having come out on the other side. Only now, the three faces at the top of the room all had their eyes glowing, with their mouths shut.
Scaling the steps, Taden arrived at the high stone altar at the top of the chamber, and found a finely engraved keyhole in the center of the altar table. He clicked the key into place, and the mouths of the faces cracked open, the lava that had given light to their eyes now flowing down the staircase to the floor below. Taden had to climb on top of the altar to avoid getting swept up in the river of fire.
As the cascading lava reached the lower level of the room, it reached a patch of Bomb Flowers growing from a crack in the wall, and caused an explosion that tore down the wall and created a clear path for the lava to flow down the dark tunnel the staircase was carved into. By walking along the river's edge, Taden was able to follow the path of the lava as it flowed further down into the mountain.
Eventually, he came to a wide open room of unhewn rock, clearly not inhabited by any of the tribes who had formed the altars above. As the lava continued to flow, he realized it was filling up a massive basin that had three large, perfectly smooth boulders sitting in its center.
From his perch on the lip of the huge round basin, he could see a much larger, more decorated key sitting in the middle of the three huge boulders.
"The Goron Trust at last…," he said, but it was quickly consumed by fire as the lava trailed around the rocks and rose to about half their height, slowly gaining depth until the rocks would be submerged completely. Just before he lost of them under the rising magma, though, it reached another patch of Bomb Flowers that almost seemed to have been planted at the far side of the chamber, and when these exploded, a pile of rocks at the far end of the basin gave way, allowing the lava to flow on again.
As long as it streamed down from the long staircase above, the lava was blocking his access to the Key, surrounded by the strangely polished, almost obsidian boulders in the basin's center. Then, coming up from the darkness of the downward tunnel revealed by the Bomb Flower blast, he heard a great rumbling, as if the earth beneath his feet were shifting, followed by a horrific maternal cry from somewhere deep in the mountain, and he realized where he was.
"By the Giants," Taden cursed, "the rockmunchers hid their Key in a Dodongo's nest."
Majin Kotage – Dodongo’s Nest – Morning 4
It was clear that the odd trio of spelunking companions had wound their way ever higher up the mountain through its labyrinthine tunnels. Majin was beginning to wonder if they’d made the right choice taking the rising path when it had been so clear that Taden had descended. There had been no way to cross the yawning chasm of the canyon; Taden had left them no bridge to cross. He could only hope that their confused, obstacle ridden path through the subterrain would cross Taden’s ere it was too late.
Majin fingered the Dragon Mask as he walked through the darkness. It had already served them twice since coming to Dodongo’s Cavern. Would he need it again? The whispers, Zora whispers, creeped beneath his skull and slithered along his thoughts whenever he donned it.
That thought was pushed aside when the tunnel through which they trekked opened into an empty space that, instead of a room, appeared to be a broad fissure in the rock of the mountain. High above, so high that it was little more than a sliver, was the light of day.
Below, as the rough crack in the mountain stone pressed in but never fully closed, there glared a sinister red. There was no other way forward; there was only up and down.
“We need to go down,” Majin asserted to his companions. “It doesn’t look like it will be an easy climb.”
Being the best climber, Majin led the way. Casually he slipped down into the fissure, gripping the uneven stone with his suctioning reptilian fingers. His descent was swift, and because he could so easily grip and hold himself to the sheer stone, he was able to clamber this way and that, discerning for his allies the best path down into the darkness.
As they slowly climbed down through the ever-narrowing fissure, twice they heard the dim echo of detonations and felt the rock all around them quake. Two explosions. Though Majin knew not the source, he had his suspicions.
They were getting close.
In all it took them a long time to descend to the point where the narrow enclosure opened into a wide open room of unhewn rock. Into its basin from a river of lava flowing down along a winding stair poured a river of molten rock. An acrid, sulfuric smell assaulted Majin’s sensitive nose and tongue and the heat of the chamber struck him in a wave as he held himself in the mouth of the fissure with his legs split to grip each side.
Directly below him, amidst the free-flowing lava, was a ring of glassy black boulders between which something glittered in the dark red glow of the chamber. Majin’s breath caught in his chest.
Could that be it? Did they beat Taden to the Trust?
No such luck, Majin realized a moment later when he saw the figure standing at the edge of the lava flow, looking toward the ring of boulders with hunger reflecting in his eyes. He was so close, but a river of lava still kept him back. If Majin could just drop straight down…
That was a dangerous proposition, though. A slight deviation either way could cause him to plummet into the fiery river flowing all around the Trust.
He had no other choice.
Balanced as he was between the sides of the fissure, Majin pulled the Dragon Mask out one more time and, with a deep breath and more than a moment’s hesitation, donned it as he let himself drop into the vaulted cavern.
In mid-air he warped, black flame swirling around him, and emerged as the mighty green dragon bellowing his defiance and loosing streams of black fire as he spread his wings wide, slowing his descent. With a thunderous crash of his talons and his incredible bulk landing atop the obsidian boulders, Majin turned his wicked maw to look toward Taden.
“The Trust Key will never be yours,” he roared, his deep voice filling the chamber as his sinuous neck twisted and swiveled, scaled lips drawing back to reveal glistening fangs. “The very reason I sought you as an ally is the reason I cannot allow you to leave this cavern with it.
A mighty roar, deeper and louder than any Majin’s dragon form could have produced, shook the very stones of the mountain as Majin drew his head back and threw it forward, unleashing a jet of black shadowfire at Horwendil.
Taden Horwendil / Day 4 / Dodongo's Nest
Strangely, it wasn't until the blast of black shadowfire melted on his skin that Taden felt the oppressive heat of the chamber. The air rippled and the walls seemed to pulsate with heat as the smoldering lava rose higher.
He stumbled back after the blow but braced his fall with his hands, then pushed off from the rock to face the black-fuming serpent with Axe at the ready.
"The Thief who started a War now calls me dangerous?" Taden spat, laughing at the monster. "But see what profit our conflict, that it should lead us even to the Goron Trust?"
Taden lunged forward and brandished the broadside of his axe to absorb Majin's next thundering peal of shadowfire, and the spiraling flames disappeared into the obsidian depths of Ginnungagap.
"You should have guessed by now that I do not seek the Key for myself," Taden shouted, his voice booming in the sudden silence after the serpent's second blast subsided. "Giants willing, it will never be mine!"
Though Majin remained poised to pounce above the oversized eggs, Taden turned his back to him and continued to speak, folding his hands behind his back thoughtfully, leaving the wide-eyed fury of Jotun's Mask hanging at his neck to leer at his opponent.
"You see, before I entered Darmoto's throne room, I saw you slithering in the shadows, and I knew you would be the first to hear of our alliance. When we first parted in Goron City, I threatened to destroy the Keys to bring the lot of you down here."
He clenched his fist, and his anger seemed to make the Mask tremble. "And when I bid you don the Dragon Mask last night as that moonlit madman coerced us into his portal, it was not in hopes you would turn it on me."
Taden relaxed his fist and looked down at the floor, turning Jotun's likeness up toward Majin's towering gaze.
"I am certain now of what I learned in the depths of these caverns this morn. I began to suspect as much in Snowpeak, when this Axe created the Dragon Mask you wear now, but it wasn't until the lunatic Sirius's portal brought us here that I realized the truth."
Taden tilted his head back to look up at the ceiling of the chamber, to the strip of light from the chasm in the ceiling Majin had descended from, and the mask around the back of his neck lowered its eyes across the room.
"In these caves I encountered a magic more ancient than Goron or Dodongo, a dark being able to manipulate the Night's Flame, like myself." Taden snapped his fingers, and Blue Fire appeared above his head in three rotating flames.
"This was Yeti black magic, long locked in this volcanic tomb. I know not how it came to be here, but I sensed in it the sorcery of my Snowpeak kin. Only Ginnungagap could set it free, as it freed the soul of your Zora comrade, on the shoals of the Arctic Sea."
Taden opened his arms wide and the radius of the spinning Blue Fire orbs grew wide with them. His feet left the ground.
"Do you not recall this magic, Majin?" he asked, floating into the air. "This archaic inferno of black and blue, this hand of fate that lifts death's shade only to lower graven images over those who survive it?"
Majin lifted his massive head and craned his neck to follow Taden's ascent, the twisting light of his Blue Fire flashing against the dragon's green and black scales.
"Whether allies or enemies, it inevitably would have brought us here in time--you in the cloak of your fallen comrade, I in that of mine--for we are but slaves to its omnipotent rule," he cried out. Taden's voice had reached a fever pitch. He shouted into the curved black wall of the chamber like a sage in the desert night.
"Motherless mother who bore us across the Arctic Sea," he intoned, addressing Majin without facing him, his echoes filling the room. "Endless night and bottomless abyss that predates the ordered Realm of the Goddesses, it is Shadow, and it knows us as we shall never know ourselves..."
At last, Taden turned his Terminian face back to Majin, and his eyes and mouth were wide and bright with Blue Fire.
"Night's Flame burned before fires of Din, when chaos reigned o'er seas of darkness on wheel of ice and wind…"
Taden began to convulse with the fervor of prophecy, and Ginnungagap floated from his back to levitate over his head, taking the three balls of Blue Fire into its high orbit. The Yeti Mask, too, as if of its own accord, pulled away from his neck and looped around to adorn his face, and in a flash of Blue Fire, Taden became Yeti. He dropped back down to the ground with the full force of weight, slamming his fists into the rock, and the Axe continued hovering over his head with the orbs of Blue Fire in a ring around its blade.
"We are kindred spirits, you and I," Taden bellowed across the magma pool to the Dragon, the aura of Blue Fire meeting that of Shadow in the center. "In exchange for using its power, we are its loyal subjects. The Shadow brought us here, and it alone allows us to leave."
Taden flung his arms up over his head once and roared, sending Ginnungagap to fire off shots of Blue Fire on its own while soaring around the room, then hurled himself headlong into Majin's maw and slapped his wide palms together to hammer them down on the serpent's snout.
Watching the Battle Unfold, Dodongo’s Nest
The Fourth Day
Sirius had opened his notebook up while Taden and Majin began the traditional exchange between beings of great mind and power. The notebook felt strangely light in his hands, despite its relative thickness.
It had no limit to the number of pages, having been magically enchanted by the witch Telaris years before, the same time she granted Sirius immunity to the aging process, a power she promised to revoke if he were to ever turn upon her.
Similarly, she granted him the notebook, claiming it had been constructed from the bark of very old trees in the Lost Woods. Sirius began to reach into his jacket for the writing tool, but realized it was time to drop the facade. He did not need to appear like had to use any tools to put words to the pages. He stared intently upon them, and the words began to appear.
Fulmaren Logs, New Cycle First Official Entry Sequence Name: Critical Points in Time
He stopped the intensity of his stare and the words paused. And yet, after only a moments rest they began appearing once again, despite Sirius making no direct effort to write them.
“What...?” He muttered, watching in bewilderment as someone or something else appeared to be writing in the notebook.
Addendum - A note from the future Author: Sirius Fulmaren, Kokage Tsukiakari, Morton Waypost,
“....I don’t understand.” Sirius continued to mutter while staring upon the words. He shut the notebook and looked up and saw that Taden and Majin had begun to fight. Taden’s impressive mega white wolfos form, and Majin’s imposing shadow arachnid form thrashed across the room.
“Polaris, are you seeing this?” Sirius turned, and saw Kaimu Kotaro standing next to him.
“You would bring up the dead so easily?” Kaimu casually muttered. Sirius, while increasingly accustomed to totally random shifts of reality, could not wrap his mind around what was happening, and merely stood in place with his mouth hanging open. As was his common fix, he shut his eyes, then reopened them.
As soon as he opened his eyes, things were once again back to what they were. Yeti Taden and Dragon Majin clashed, while He and Polaris looked on. No sign of Kaimu.
“You know it’s funny.” He said to Polaris. “This pretty much just happened in the mountains.”
Polaris Eridanus/ Dodongo's Nest/ Day 4
"This pretty much just happened in the mountains."
"Okay! I know you weren't there bu..." The words died in his throat as Sirius whirled around to face Polaris only, he wasn't there.
"Oh. Alright then."
He shouldn't have reached out to Kaimu. That much was evident now, as he stood well past "too late," and wholly alone in the middle of the swirling winds of the desert wastelands.
With nothing better to do he started walking towards the setting sun in hopes of finding out why he was here.
After trudging along for what felt like hours in a blinding maelstrom of sand and wind, Polaris faintly heard the melodic thrum that he had come to associate with Rhunerys' magic.
Stopping and turning in a complete 360 he began to shout, "Show yourself witch!" Polaris stamped his feet in frustration, "Where are you?!"
A flicker in the distance caught his eye and he sprinted in its direction, only to have the anomaly disappear just before he reached it.
Frustration mounting, Polaris screamed into the desert sky. "When will this thrice damned ruse end! Face me witch!"
"Now son, that is no way to speak in your mothers hearing." Startled, Polaris turned back to face from whence he came and looked upon the faces of the last two people alive or dead he'd ever have thought to see here.
Before him stood both Scorpius and Lyra Eridanus, his parents. "Wha- what are you doing here? Where's the witch?"
Scorpius chuckled, "Oh she's here, she's always close," his mother added, "Watching. Always."
"So I've learned. Why though? Why harass me?"
"She.." Lyra began to speak, but before she could finish her body began to shimmer and she faded into dust. Lost in the howling winds. Scorpius opened his mouth, but his words were lost to the storm as he too drifted off on the winds.
"Sandborn are ever so unreliable in this plane. And with this wind! Poor constructs can't be blamed." Rhunerys' voice came from behind him.
Turning to face her, Polaris' hand went to his blades hilt, "Now, now. There'll be none of that." The with flicked her wrist, humming an unidentifiable tune and Polaris hand was swatted down to hang limp at his side.
"Violence here will get you nowhere my son." A wicked grin splayed across her face as her features contorted and morphed first into those of his father and then his mother before settling back onto the gnarled visage of the witch.
"You! My parents? What are sandborn?" He was at her mercy, the least he could do was get answers.
Chuckling, Rhunerys bent and scooped up a handful of sand in her closed hands. Whispering into her clasped hands she began to hum before tossing it into the air. The sand spun giving off a golden light before settling into the form of a non-descript female Gerudo.
Rhunerys clapped her hands once, and the desert warrior fell to ground. A pile of sand.
"Why, they are my creation. Just as your parents were. You didn't think I could leave just anyone to be the force for my pole star did you? I made them to do my bidding and raised you myself from behind the scenes."
"You are a bastard. The parents you knew, never were." Cocking her head to the side she chuckled, "More talk later. Your friends need you now."
Polaris tasted ozone as he hit the floor and stumbled forward into Sirius back. "Oh good. Just in time."
Sirius pointed to a boiling pool of lava near which Dragon Majin and Taden were locked in the heat of battle. Molten breakers of magma slammed into stone as the pool raged.
The magma pool exploded skyward and the largest Dodongo Polaris had ever laid eyes on slammed down with a stone crumbling force and a roar that shook the very walls of the chamber.
As liquid fire and rock rained down all around them the MegaDodongo roared again.
"No sand there."
Majin Kotage – Dodongo’s Nest – Day 4
Majin’s head swiveled on its long, thick serpentine neck, black flame licking out between glistening fangs as he loosed a growl of pain. His vision swam slightly from the force of the Yeti’s blow, but he kept his feet firmly planted upon the obsidian boulders and lashed out with long, hooked claws to rake Taden’s chest and belly even as a ball of blue fire burst against the hard scales of his lower back, flashing from hot to sudden, arctic cold as a layer of frost formed over the ridges alone his spine.
Wings unfurled in sudden motion, spreading wide and giving a mighty flap to shake away the ice. A moment later he was airborn, lifting himself into the air above the Yeti as his great maw stretched wide.
From those gaping jaws came not a long stream of shadowfire, but a stream of black fireballs that struck all around the hairy Yeti, bursting upon impact into swirling pillars. All the while the Trust Key glittered from the center of the three boulders on which the Yeti now stood.
Majin rose higher into the cavernous chamber, preparing to dive at the Yeti to attack with his immense bulk, teeth and claws, when to the far end of cavern the lava lake erupted upward in a mighty spray of burning rocks and molten stone. Up out of that tumult rose a dark figure like nothing Majin had ever seen, and a reverberant roar trumpeted through the chamber that made Majin’s dragon-form seem pitifully small by comparison.
A mighty Dodongo, like unto no other Majin had ever heard of or seen, rose up from beneath the turbulent surface, lava streaming down its thick-scaled back as jaws capable of swallowing the Dragon or the Yeti whole spread wide.
Ignore the beast! Kaimu’s voice screamed in his mind. Attack the Yeti! Kill Taden! Do it now!
Majin looked back down to the Yeti, who reached down between the boulders with one hairy fist to snag the key there, even as he craned his neck to stare at the terrible beast. He'd not heard Kaimu's voice since the first time he'd donned the mask, but he felt it now thundering through his mind, affecting his perceptions.
He shook his head as though to shake off the intrusion upon his thoughts. It agonized him to watch the one he’d intended to stop take up the treasure, but there would be time to deal with that later.
“Keep the Trust for now, Yeti!” He bellowed, turning in the air to soar toward the titanic creature lumbering toward them through the lava. “Possession won’t mean anything at all if we die down here!”
With powerful beats of his wings he soared high above the Dodongo out of reach even as it threw itself back on its hind legs and tried to snap Majin out of the air in its terrible jaws. As the great fangs snapped closed just beneath him he craned his long neck down under his belly and loosed several more shadowfire balls into its snout and head.
He wheeled in the air, flying back toward the end of the chamber where the others looked on, spinning to dodge another ball of blue fire launched from the levitating axe. His attacks had done nothing but enflame the rage of a beast already infuriated by the invasion of these interloping thieves.
As he soared high over the chamber, eyes searching, they fell upon a hole that looked to have been blown out on the far side opposite the great stairs by the Goron’s special crop. Lava flowed into that breach, big enough to admit them but perhaps narrow enough to forestall the Dodongo’s advance.
Majin pointed as he dove down low and wheeled around the boulders where the Yeti stood, and passed over Polaris and Sirius standing on the narrow shore.
“There! The lava flows down that tunnel! That is our escape route!”
She's a Big One
Taden Horwendil / Dodongo's Nest / Day 4
Looking up to the ceiling, Taden noticed a long row of jagged stalactites leading towards the tunnel Majin made for. The ground began to shake beneath his feet, and the Mother Dodongo exhaled a hot wave of breath as she began to roll forward into a mammoth ball.
He slipped the Goron Trust into the folds of his Goron Tunic and called out to Majin. "Very well, let us finish this."
Taden thrust himself into the air with his Yeti strength and grabbed hold of the stalactites with both hands. As the Dodongo rolled forward, he curled himself upward to evade its granite spines, and began to hurtle forward as it crashed into the far wall and began careening towards the others.
With a great Yeti howl, Taden summoned Ginnungagap back to himself as he grasped the hanging rock with the long digits of his feet, and wielded the axe in his broad hands upside down. Swinging down once, he brought a deep blue guillotine of flame swirling through the air directly into the Dodongo's path, but only managed to knock her back once, not pry her open.
He noticed a flash of red blink briefly in her eyes, and a deep groan winced from within her coiled belly, but then a wave of magma crested underneath her bulk and she was buoyed forward into the escaping thieves again.
"Aim for the blasted tail!" Taden roared, cursing the boiling air when she tumbled past underneath. Like its eyes had flashed after it was wounded, the monster's tail now seemed to throb with red. As they rushed down the turning chasm, he spotted a tall fork in the distance, with a massive column of unhewn rock stemming the lava's flow around a small raised platform.
He looked for the others further along down the cavern, and began lunging from rock to rock after the rampaging beast, Ginnungagap hanging from his feet.
Day 4, Dodongo Chase
"Aim for the blasted tail!" Taden roared, chasing after the Dodongo down the lava river. Sirius and Polaris had managed to run down a portion of the cavern, as a small rocky shore rose up from the edges. Unfortunately, the ledge would only take them another fifty feet or so before dipping down into the magma, leaving no ground to stand on.
“Polaris!” Sirius shouted over the fury of raining rock and fire. As soon as the name came out, he heard a massive screeching, grinding sound. It was unmistakably the sound heard whenever a timeshift occurred. He caught a flash of his and Polaris’ past selves warping into the chamber. The sound halted, and he wasted no time resuming his speech.
“That’s us! It’s not right, we were supposed to appear before Taden took the trust. The timestream is breaking down around us, we need to find a way to stop it.” As he finished his sentence, the past versions of himself and Polaris blinked out, returning to their own time.
“You can’t fix what you’ve done.” A new voice spoke, belonging to neither Sirius nor Polaris. Sirius turned, witnessing the burning effigy of a cloaked figure. It spoke in a deep and rumbling laugh. As was typical, Polaris had again vanished. “Death is the sign to your future.” The burning man hurled a fistful of ash-like material at Sirius, where it clung to the skin of his face and hands, causing a searing pain, but leaving no marks.
“What sort of demon are you? Where do you come from?!” Sirius shouted, but was forced to shut his eyes from the pain. He knew it would all be gone when he opened them back up. Sure enough, the moment he opened his eyes, Polaris stood before him again.
“This is no time for discussions!” Polaris answered the question, unaware it was not intended for him. “Majin and Taden are giving chase, it’s our turn. Get on!” Sirius looked at the shore, where a massive slab of red ice now sat, Polaris atop it. He grinned and hopped on without another word. Polaris shoved them off the shore and they went racing down the lava river.
There would be only moments before they caught up to the roars of the Yeti and the Dragon. But moments were all the universe needed. The notebook in Sirius’ jacket, which to that point had been a relatively passive object, began to actively vibrate around, and it sounded as if was slamming and opening itself shut repeatedly. He yanked it out and viewed the first page it turned to. There was but one word.
“Polaris, I have to get on the platform!” Sirius shouted, looking up ahead to the small platform attached to the rooms singular column.
“That monster will rip right through it, you’ll be dead in a second!” Polaris hollered back.
“Don’t worry, I have a plan!” Sirius put as much force as he could into the words. His only plan was dedication to the instructions in his book. Polaris sighed, somehow loud enough to be heard over the chaos of the lava river.
“Well then, here we go!” Polaris made an unfamiliar motion with his hands, and the red ice platform exploded off of the lava, landing hard on the jutted platform, unceremoniously dropping Sirius and Polaris onto its rocky surface. The red ice raft itself had snapped into two pieces, otherwise undamaged. Sirius turned and saw the cloaked figure on the platform again. It managed a smile before falling backwards into the lava and vanishing just before touching it.
Both travelers jumped to their feet, and watched horrified as the massive Dodongo came thundering down the tunnel towards them. It’s equally huge tail swung back and forth, giving away the creatures only visible weakness. Sirius glanced at the pages of his notebook.
He pulled out his lunar whip, and gripped each end tightly, before pulling as hard as he could. It extended to twice the length, and each end became incredibly sharp. He then snapped it in two and handed one to Polaris, keeping one for himself. He placed one tiny remaining fragment in his pocket.
“Don’t worry, as long as I keep at least one piece of this thing, it will recall and regenerate lost energy.” He nodded to Polaris. The understanding that these impromptu devices were for attack was a clear one. “Wait until the last possible second, if she swings that tail away, we miss our chance.”
They held their breath, bringing back their arms in a readied stance, and then each hurled the spears as hard and as fast as they could. The lunar weapons whistled through the air, leaving a glowing trail behind them.
With a satisfying flesh-piercing thump, the weapons plunged deep into the tail, doing their damage and then breaking down moments later. The Dodongo roared in pain, but only slightly reduced its speed, still continuing to charge down the tunnel at a relatively fast pace.
“Okay, go now!” Polaris grabbed Sirius and kicked both red ice slabs into the lava. He tossed Sirius onto one, landing on the other himself. “Stay balanced, stay aware, and stay alive!” The lava river was so imposing it seemed to beat with its very own heart, and the pace of the rapids picked up. Both Sirius and Polaris were shot off down the river, each literally surfing their way across the magma as the monstrous, but now damaged Dodongo roared behind them.
Polaris Eridanus/ Magma Rapids/ Day 4
Taden leapt from stalactite to stalactite with Majin flying just below. Further down, both Sirius and Polaris rode the magma rapids on boards of solid red ice as the mother Dodongo gave chase.
Sirius and Polaris separated, one to each side of the tunnel as the beast plowed between them sending up massive breakers capped a glowing red. With the beast now back in front of them the surfers had to deal with it's massive tail and random splashes of magma that sent them and their boards vaulting high into the air. It was on one of these vaults that Polaris spied a lone bomb flower sprouting from the stonewall up ahead.
Legs already pumping, Polaris leapt from his board, momentarily going horizontal as he ran up the side of the tunnel wall to snatch the flower. As soon as he plucked the explosive plants fruit its stem began to hiss and spark like a make shift fuse.
Back on his board and with a hand on each side of the bomb, Polaris channeled massive amounts of red ice, encapsulating it in a glistening crimson shell. Riding high on the waves, Polaris leapt straight up, spinning mid-jump and hurled the bomb at his Yeti compatriot.
"Never thought I'd say this, but TADEN!! A little help here?"
Halting his progress only momentarily, Yeti Taden dangled one handed from a stalactite and flipped Ginnungagap up into his free hand with his feet. That axe trailed blue flame as Taden swung in a wide arc, swatting the bomb at Sirius.
Encased in red ice and cyan inferno the bomb flower plummeted towards Fulmaren. Who, with his moonbeam whip back in his possession managed to lasso the projectile just long enough to imbue it with the Luna's cool essence before whipping it up into the skies once more.
Even in dragon form, Majin was prompt if anything, opening his maw wide the shadow wyrm was wreathed in a roiling black flame that entirely engulfed the nigh overloaded bomb flower. With just seconds to spare before detonation Majin lashed out with his sinewy tail striking the bomb flower, now wreathed in both blue and black flame with a red ice core that glistened with an otherworldly aetherical glow courtesy of Luna and her heavenly sphere.
The quadruple charged nuke slammed into Mega Dodongo's flank detonating in an aurorian display of light. The tunnel shook under the force of the explosion and all five inhabitants were sent hurtling through a newly formed crater in the wall.
Polaris landed with a muffled thwump and went skidding across the hard clay.
Coughing and rubbing his eyes, Sirius was the first to sit up, looking around he witnessed Taden helping Polaris to his feet as sinuous muscles popped and stretched along the length of Majins body while he shook himself.
Looking further around the grove, one would notice row upon row, hundreds upon hundreds of bomb flowers sprouting from every place imaginable. Wall. Ceiling. Floor. Too many plants to number.
"Ugh. Guys? This is bad!"
As his three companions took in the room, the giant Dodongo reared up on it's hindquarters and with a massive inhalation of air prepared to breath fire.
Majin Kotage – Bomb Flower Grove – Day 4
The mighty Dodongo reared up on its hind legs, its fang-filled maw agape and a visible maelstrom of air sucking down its throat. All around them, clustered on the clay floor of the cavern, and clinging to the sheer walls rising up into the black, bomb flowers sprouted from the rock.
They had mere moments. Majin had an idea.
“Sirius! Climb on my back!” he grumbled in his throaty dragon voice. “Use that whip of yours and dislodge some of the bomb flowers by its head!”
Even as Majin spoke, he lowered his sinuous neck to allow Sirius, who looked more than a little apprehensive, to throw one leg up over the thick dorsal spines and climb aboard. Spreading his wings wide, he seized Polaris in one thick-clawed hand and Taden, who’d pulled off the Yeti mask for a time, in the other.
With all of the strength in wings and legs both, Majin crouched and hurled them all into the air. It was a struggle to get airborn carrying so much weight, and he knew he’d not be able to keep them aloft for long, but it was enough. He managed to wing them toward the Dodongo’s inhalation, and as soon as they drew near enough Sirius whip flashed out, snapping at a cluster of five bomb flowers hanging precariously close to the Dodongo’s mouth, already pulled toward the vortex of its breath but held too fast against the stone.
Sirius’ whip did its job and they came free, spiraling into the sinister red burgeoning deep in its throat. A sudden choking noise filled the grove and Majin flapped his wings all the harder. The Dodongo had blocked the hole their attack had blown in the rock wall and stemmed the full force of the lava flow, but that wasn’t going to last long.
Straining with all of his might he got them as high as he could in what seemed a crevasse that rose high through the darkness above. Just when he knew he could bear them all no further, a violent detonation rocked the chamber and he glanced down to see vicious explosions ripping through the Dodongo’s throat and belly. It staggered and finally fell with a violent tremor. Somewhere above, Majin could hear the brutal shriek of stone ripping apart.
And now unobstructed, the lava flowed in. It swept fast into the basin of the chamber, swirling around the walls as it rapidly rose.
When it hit the lowest bomb flower clusters, they exploded with a force that shredded the walls and floor of the cavern. Lava burst in from all sides now and rose ever faster, tearing more holes with each cluster of bomb flowers set alight, until the force of its push into the crater spurted it upward at them with inconceivable force.
“This is where you get off!” He told them, and released his tight grip around Polaris and Taden, who plummeted in free fall toward the spurting, spraying lava shooting up at them from beneath. “You know what to do!”
And Polaris, as he’d done in the lava flow, threw his hands out as he descended, and from them stretched a shimmering crimson light that spread beneath them in a circle and, just as the lava reached them, solidified into a solid, circular sheet of red ice. The lava struck the bottom of it and hurled it back up toward Majin, who now carrying only Sirius’ weight, was with all of his strength winging his way up through the darkness.
And then, against the dark red glare of the lava shining prismatically through the shimmering red ice, Majin saw the end of the line. The rock closed in above, sealing them inside where they would be crushed and incinerated. There was no way…
Majin’s eyes fell fortuitously upon a single, wayward cluster of bomb flowers growing out of a tiny fissure in the stone above. There was a chance.
“Brace yourselves!” He bellowed, then with his jaws still wide he breathed a stream of shadowfire at them, intiating the volatile chemical reaction that ignited their fuses.
Eyes shut, mouth shut, soaring straight up at breakneck speed into a solid ceiling of rock, Majin braced.
He didn’t see the explosion, but he heard and he felt the wave of flame rolling across his scales, and he hoped that Sirius had found some way to shield himself from the blast. Suddenly he was out of the oppressive heat of the cavern and, as his eyes snapped open, he found himself soaring up into the air in the dim gray of morning. He wheeled, turned to look upon a throng of faces both familiar and alien to him, and dove toward the field as Polaris and Taden, riding the crest of the geyser on a platform of red ice, were hurled into the clear air through the hole they’d blasted out from beneath.