Fantastically Phantasmic

Phasma Timora, Kakariko Graveyard, Night 0

Moonlight broke through the heavy array of rain bearing clouds cast above the graveyard. Spirits wandered freely in the darkness, now with the solitude from others, and the power given by the night. Some of these ghostly apparatuses had conjured themselves up, with their own sheer distaste for the world, and perhaps a purpose they thought was now their own. Others, however, were summoned from their unhappy slumbers beneath the grave by curious necromancers.

A withered old man robed in green, dirty, and absolutely soaked cloth quietly and slowly tread through the yard. Bright silver light shone from the top of the strange orb infused atop his wooden staff, seemingly protecting him from his potentially dangerous undead surroundings.

He halted before a quiet, eroded grave. Miniature lakes and streams of rain water coursed through the grave.

“Yes, this will do,” he wheezed. “Definitely.”

He dug his staff a few inches into the dirt and began etching a rough circle around the grave, placing different coloured talismans in each corner. Mumbled phrases from an unknown tongue were quickly uttered. As this continued, the circle lit up, and the water inside scattered a purple light across the graveyard. This light spread itself through the soil like a spider’s web, and the grave is the centre. The grave itself began emanating with a violet tint, quickly gaining more energy until the blaring light violently dispersed itself and re-emerged as an energy throbbing orb.

Quickly pulling out a bottle, he grabbed the orb from the air. He sighed with relief.

“This has been one of the easiest ones in a long time…” He muttered. Typically, at least some sort of struggle is expected from newly conjured spirits.

Now exhausted, the man pulled a crumpled piece of cloth out of his pocket and spread it evenly across the ground. He uncorked the bottle, and quickly flipped it on top of its head placing it directly in the centre of the cloth. Finally, he pulled the four talismans out from around the grave, and placed them in each corner of the cloth.

Without muttering a word, the man tapped his staff against the ground, transferring the silver light from the orb in a large stream akin to a lightning bolt. The talismans’ respectively coloured energy seeped into the bottle and quickly thereafter, evaporated.

The cloth levitated off the ground, closing around the bottle. With that, the mish-mash of material took life in front of the man’s eyes. Yellow crescent lights mirroring the moon lit up in the hood followed by the violent growth of two skinny translucent arms. The newly born spirit collapsed onto the ground. The man darted his eyes around the graveyard, dumbfounded.

“What was done wrong?!” He shouted frantically. “Damn it! If I had known all of this was…”

Mumbling and fumbling over himself, he haphazardly collected what little materials remained, and stumbled angrily out of the graveyard.

As the rain grew heavier, the phantom awoke, rising off the muddied stone, half-conscious and unaware of its surroundings.

Hazily, the phantom scanned the graveyard, until seeing his previous resting place. Though there was fine print on the grave, it was unsalvageable and simply not decipherable; except for the large (though clearly worn) letters reading “Phasma Timora.”

Fogged memories revealing themselves, Phasma recalled his previous life. An impeccable sorcerer of dark magics and spiritual manipulation, which he found to be quite ironic given the circumstance. These skills, he remembers, were used to aid the royal family during the more dire times of a war. However, which war he had partaken in, he is not sure.

Regaining full consciousness, he casually drifted across the graveyard. It was dead. This may of course seem an obvious and rational thing to most, but to an enthusiast of the afterlife, it’s incredibly odd. After moments of exploring his new surroundings, footprint-sized puddles quickly made their way to Phasma’s grave and back accompanied by circular holes and scrapes of similar diameter.

“Have I been summoned?” Phasma thought. The idea enraged him beyond anything he had ever felt.

Between thoughts of rage and frustration, a light voice cut and interjected itself into his consciousness. As if trying to be payed mind to, the voice increasingly grew louder and more invasive.




Furious, Phasma silenced himself, awaiting for this unknown presence to explain its pretentiousness.

Hey! Finally! Okay, listen to me. You’re right; you’ve been conjured up by an’ old Kakarikan geezer, and this dude is extreme bad news. Not in terms of danger, per se, but his general douche levels are remarkably off the charts.
So, you may be asking yourself- wait, no, I know exactly what you’re thinking! So you are asking yourself, ‘Okay, great. So why are you in my head?’, and that is a great question! This guy uses an old method of conjuration, which involves summoning a living thing from the ground to grant life to a dead organism. It just so happens that I happen to be that living thing, and I’m stuck inside of your body! Marvellous, eh? Yeah, I know. So! My advice to you is to go to the village and absolutely pulverise that punk.

Phasma paused. He decided not to question it or think about it, because that would only further his intense confusion. Looking down, he glided above the footprints out of the graveyard. The moon was still hung high above the sky, granting all undead creatures some magical boost of power.

Trails of rain water poured down the hillsides on both sides of the graveyard’s narrow pathway. As Phasma approached the village, the rain let up slightly. This, apparently, is a common occurrence in the town. Natural dangers and precipitation are more heavily focused above the graveyard. The townsfolk believe it to be the strong spiritual forces surrounding the yard.

There!” The voice shouted. Phasma’s gaze was fixed on a rundown shack on a small incline.

Phasma Timora, Kakariko Village, Night 0

A warm dim light resonated out from the cabin’s worn crevices, which illuminated the otherwise totally black village, save for the moonlight. Phasma followed the fairy’s guidance and approached the home hesitantly.

Bum rush him! Run in there, plunge your fingers into his wrinkly, old throat and rip out his insides! Do it!” It urged, anxious for a gruesome end to the man’s life.

Phasma bundled his shapeless energy into a small, dense orb and rushed into the door, flinging it off of its hinges (though he has just found himself in the form of a poe, this ability seemingly has come as a second nature to him). The deafening crack of splitting wood jolted the man awake from his short-lived rest, and sent him into a dazed scramble off of the damp bed. Phasma remained still, frozen and apologetic toward the frightened old soul. 

GETHIMGETHIMGETHIM!” The vengeance-fuelled fairy screeched.

Snapped out of his empathetic state, Phasma rushed toward him. To Phasma’s bewilderment, however, was the man threw himself out of Phasma’s trajectory, desperately searching for a means to defend himself. This chain of events continued briefly, until Phasma made direct contact with the man’s chest. A harsh crunch followed the blow, and he let out a yelp of pain before falling to the floor. Sprawled on the moistened carpet, he fingered for anything that could potentially sway things in his favour. Of course, this effort was met with a heavy drop onto his hand, crushing his bones into a sharp mess of shards and powder.


Phasma rose above the bruised, twisted man before him, shrunk himself down in size once again.. As a last ditch effort, the man swiftly stuttered out a mess of sounds and ancient words. Upon its conclusion, Phasma’s body was ripped and contorted as he was flung back to back between the mossy walls. A strong light shone from the center of his being, shooting a barrage of bright rays around the room. This light was accompanied by a high-pitched hissing, not entirely dissimilar to a red-hot kettle, or geyser. And what followed strengthened the similarities, as the light rays were joined by an almost complementary black essence being spewed across the floor.

The light, at a near blinding brightness, screeched one last time before being beamed out of Phasma’s body. The two beings soared in opposite directions and smacked off the walls.

Oh, gods, no no no…” The light gently rose from the ground. “This can’t happen again! It won’t!

The man, upon his final breaths, chuckled satisfyingly.

“Oh, it certainly can happen. And it will.” With his non-crippled hand, he sketched the vague shape of a box. “Right now.”

A metallic frame materialised itself from the surrounding wood and furniture in the light’s radius, and slowly a decently sized crater replaced the carpet and hardwood floor. 

“As if I could let a destructive, angry glutton such as yourself roam this Earth, Medicrises.” The man wheezed, and the small object continued forming. “I know not what this soul will pursue once he has awoken with a clear conscious, but all rogue spirits should have the luxury of a weapon…”

With his last remnants of strength, the man scribbled gestures into the damp and dusty carpet. Near Phasma’s motionless body, a thin metal stick was materialised followed by the quick creation of a long and sharp scythe. By the time this finished, an iron cage had fully materialised itself around the fairy.

A half-hearted smile stretched across the man’s face as his final breath escaped his crushed lungs.

My Brand!

Isaac Telmar, Hyrule Castle Town Catacombs, Morning One

It seemed like mere days since he'd stood here in this very junction, teetering at the edge of the waste drainage canal, ignoring with hearty disdain the words of the Scion's relentlessly annoying rodent, the Plenipotentiary. Then, as now, there had been war in Hyrule. Then, as now, he had had little use for it.

But then, unlike now, he'd been a slave, living a life without choice beneath a thin veneer of free will.

Thou shouldst show more interest. These Twili bring magic of a dark and terrible nature, even one such as thyself cannot challenge it should they establish dominance.

He snorted, but not wholly out of derision. He didn't need to see his reflection in the languid flow of waste water to feel the black mark upon his cheek, left by the surprisingly gentle, remarkably hungry, wickedly insane Twili Subcommander. He didn't have to wait for the Brand to burn with vicious need, nor be surprised now when it remained cold on his flesh, to know that the Voice had been right, after all.

It was almost enough to find and kill Taliesin with his own hands.

The sound of squirming, the rasp and rattle of chains scraping against stone and mortar, brought his head around.

Mere paces away, in the exact spot whence the Plenipotentiary had excoriated him for his wretched ways, a Twili in armor, ragged and scored by blades and claws, sat with his arms bound behind his back. The chains that held him were threaded through wrought-iron bars in an intricate lattice that made escape all but impossible for him. A handful of paces further down the side of the canal, another of the dun-skinned interlopers sat, similarly bound. Both directed eyes of striking reddish-orange toward him, with expressions ranging from expectant to vaguely terrified.

"Have you ever spent time contemplating the nature of servitude?"

He started to pace to and fro between them, arms crossed behind the small of his back, and for once there was no upward curl to the left corner of his mouth. Stern of expression, he strode five paces, spun on one heel, and then traced his footsteps in the other direction.

"I have," he went on, "and I have come to realize some things about the nature of our world as a result."

Two more long strides, his coat fanning out behind, a chill gust through the tunnel tugging at the stiff spikes of his hair, and he stopped and turned to face the two bound figures. Their eyes trained on him as he let his arms fall to his sides, fixed on the pair of items held in those hands, down against his hips. In the right was a mask, black, shaped as a skull with vertical slots on one side of the mouth, the other side looking as though it might have been broken off.

In his left, the Sun Shard pulsed with a grim, golden-violet light.

"You know me, don't you?" he asked, arching one expectant eyebrow. "Speak."

"I know you, Kinslayer," the interloper to his left declared.

Now, his lip curled upward.

"Of course you do," he replied, almost breathless. "I have perhaps not achieved the apex of infamy reached by erstwhile colleagues of mine, but yes, you know my name.

"What, pray tell, does that recognition inspire within you?"

For a moment there was silence.

It had been a truly peculiar six months. Six months of groping about, seeking to grasp onto something, to establish who and what he was. So much of his six hundred plus years had been ruled by the infernal creature tugging at the end of his leash, bidding him this way and that. What was he now? What was his identity? He hadn't been sure, couldn't be sure. Not at first, not as the dreams of opening draconic jaws wide, inhaling souls and expelling them as impossible dark fire had taken root in his unconscious mind. Not when the memories of his early life, his first life, had filtered in with the other dreams to form a tangled welter of death and fire, resentment, hatred, and a tiny shred of love.

It had taken a long time to suss out exactly who, and what, he was now.

"You're going to kill us," the one to the right said in hushed tones, "to feed our souls to the demon writ upon your flesh."

Isaac nodded; it was as he'd known it would be.

"Indeed, but think, think! What comes first to mind, when the name Kinslayer is whispered in dark corners?"

Silence, and then...


The smirk deepened; heat flashed sooty red in his eyes.

"Do you not see the contradiction in terms?" he asked, resuming his circuit, stalking hither and thither along the crumbling precipice of the canal. "Chaos is disorder, it is the absolute liberation of all things from the tireless attempts to define and constrain them."

"Long have I fancied myself an agent of disorder, a true herald of chaos, but even as I engaged in the unpredictable, my actions served the purpose of another, and the results of my slayings named me that which I have ever railed against, a slave, bound in a perverse system of order and obedience that, though I could not truly see it, was order all the same."

He lifted the pair of items up before his face, made a show of scrutinizing each closely, then looked around the mask to meet the gaze of the interloper bound to his left.

"I've sought power and I've sought death, in nearly equal measure. One I've found in spades, but the other has eluded me no matter how many of the powerful and terrible I've thrown myself against. Now, though, I finally understand. My foe, my true foe, is that which has stretched forth its unseen hands for six hundred years to play me as its puppet." He stepped casually, almost lazily, swaggering, toward the interloper bound in chains to the far right end of the subterranean corridor. "You see, true chaos is absolute freedom, the casting off of all chains. It is an impossible dream; something we strive for but never truly reach."

He let his left hand fall to his side once more, and held the Warp Eyes mask aloft. So clean-polished was it that he could see his reflection in the dark surface. Again he could see the gray-black mark on his cheek. He could feel again the fingers that had placed it there and he could wonder.

"You Twili should understand this. You worship a chaotic power, but the very act of worship, of servitude, of organized religion, is the act of bowing before order. You live the contradiction even as I have."

He let the mask drop from his fingers, and then, as he locked eyes with one, then the other, he slammed a boot down on it, crushing it beneath his heel. It was a simple thing then to use the same foot to sweep the shards into the moving water.

"Balanced between two perverted systems of order, two warped constructs of unwitting slavery, you must play both sides against the middle. Such is the only way to be free."

With his now free hand, he undid the top buttons of his crimson undershirt, drawing the left aside to reveal the serpent's maw poised above his heart. It did not shine with its former luster. Not anymore.

"Marked by each, by my slaver and my would-be slaver, I'm no longer bound by either." His smirk reached its broadest and deepest, and his eyes were alight, passionate, as he drew closer still to the left Twili. "Free of the compulsions of my former master, what do you think that means for you?"

For a moment, for one instantaneous flash, hope reflected in the Twilis' eyes.

"It means you don't need to kill us, as you have so many."

"Precisely." He listened to the sigh of relief even as he tucked the Sun Shard back into his belt. The air was barely finished whistling past the Twili's teeth as Isaac's blade opened his throat all the way back to the spine. The thick spurts of blood sprayed ineffectually into the slowly running water. "And that is what is going to make these next days and weeks so remarkable, don't you think?"

He turned as flecks of red clung to the thick fibers of his gray coat, and strode several paces toward the other Twili, who now seemed to shrink back into the bars, as though trying to delve through them to escape.

"Here's the dirty little secret," Isaac said, practically purring as he approached in swaying, swaggering steps. "I don't need to kill anymore, am not bidden to murder, a true revelation if you ask me. But, well, I have other considerations, and frankly it seems that we've all become just a bit too comfortable in our roles, if you ask me."

His free hand lashed out, not to immolate the poor, cowering bastard, but to strike the links of chain and reduce them to molten dross. The iron fell away with a dull clatter, and suddenly the interloper's hands were free and he was flexing them before his face. Furtively, his eyes shot up to Isaac and back several times, as though he was unsure if this was really happening.

"I... can go?"

Isaac nodded, his eyes flashing. Momentarily, the Twili shrank back again. Though he could not see it, it was because in that moment his eyes changed not to sooty red irises, as had always been. In that moment the iris and sclera had been wholly taken by an infernal orange, with his pupil a serpentine slit of black to slash through the blaze.

"You can go," he replied softly. "Take these tunnels out of the city and go tell your people."

The Twili turned to run in the opposite direction, past his brother in arms, but halted near the bend and looked back, sudden confusion written into his countenance.

"Tell them what?"

Isaac's smirk deepened; his eyes flashed again with that diabolic blaze.

"That Kinslayer stands with Hyrule."

It All Leads To This

Harken Zeiss, Night 0, Hyrule Castle Town Sewers

Harken Zeiss stood bent over a ramshackle table, peering at a tattered map. The thing had once been a fine depiction of Castle Town, but months of use intense had taken their toll, and the myriad of edits to buildings and streets had more than smudged the cartographer's original artwork. Such was life in Castle Town, anymore. His small band of survivors barely had the food to survive day to day, let alone such luxuries as art, or time for that matter. This was the only map left, and he'd had them searching for more since almost day one of their little resistance.

Still, what he saw drawn here was perfect. The last altercation between the Duskblooded at the castle and those zombie-things had shifted the landscape, such that it was. The sewer opening on Dromand Way had been uncovered, and it was a prime approach vector for the castle. His accomplice, Tobias Pepperwhistle, had just brought that report yesterday after returning from a spot of scavenging. He'd also brought worse news. That blaggart Penumbra, the Duskblooded's leader, was prepping for something big. That's why the Duskblooded had skirmished against the zombies. They were looking for more bodies to fuel whatever heinous ritual was being planned.

Which meant two things. First, the castle larders would no doubt be less than well-defended, if those zealots were performing some ritual. And second, Harken's Haunts, as they'd taken to calling themselves, would have to stop this Penumbra to have any chance of surviving the coming months, if it was to be as big a ritual as all that.

Harken turned to Tobias. "It has to be done, then, doesn't it, old friend?"

"Aye," Tobias said with a nod, cracking his knuckles. "No sense jus' wastin' o-way, 'Ark m'boy! Castle's got food, an' I've not 'ad a propah steak since this 'ole shite-show started."

Harken shared a dour smirk with his longtime compatriot, then nodded back. "So be it. Check on our armoured beating-stick and get the gang ready. We'll hit them at dawn, before that old bastard Penumbra gets a chance to do whatever vile thing he's planning."

Penumbra, Early Morning 1, Hyrule Castle Cathedral

Penumbra's gaze glided over the gathered masses in the Cathedral. Though his congregation was smaller than that which the massive building was built to hold, it was still a respectable number. Hylian and Twili alike were gathered, though the Duskblood Corruption affected them all, twisting their physiognomy no matter each devout's origins. He had spent months cultivating this herd, this crop, from the survivors eking out a living in the benighted ruins of Castle Town. Now, finally, there were enough of them.

"My children," he called out to them, arms raised, "our ascension is at hand. As the light fades, the Penumbra grows to full Umbra, until Dusk comes upon the land. Too long, now, has the light faded. Too long, now, has the Penumbra gathered shadow to itself. Transcendance is at hand."

The crowd listened raptly as he preached, as they always did. They had no choice but to listen. His voice pounded through their veins. Their ears were not his audience, their souls were not that to which he called. He lifted the knife that lay upon the lectern, the same knife he had used so long ago to slay the bishop that once led services in his now-defiled place, as he strode from the pulpit. Before he had crossed even half the distance, the first of his zealots had already taken a knee, already tilted his head back, already revealed his neck and the veins of Duskblood within.

Penumbra released that potent vitae in a single stroke. The man collapsed with bliss upon his face.

Quietly, murmuringly, Penumbra started the rite. An ancient tongue of demons, never meant to be heard in a place once consecrated to the Divine Golden Triune, now seeped into the very walls as the fellowship took up his susurrant chant. Another throat was slit, pouring more blood onto the already stained stone. When the third sacrifice fell, the thick cruor from all three began to pool unnaturally around Penumbra's feet. He continued his gory work.

Harken Zeiss, Early Morning 1, Hyrule Castle

The halls of Hyrule Castle were ominously empty, but Harken led his three-man team through them nonetheless. Just on the edge of hearing, a low murmur reached the trio.

Harken motioned for a stop, and each of them listened in silence for a moment.

"Cathedral," whispered the man on his right.

"Likely. Base of operations. And we're headed that way, anyway," responded the woman on his left.

"Wherever it is, I don't like the sound of it," Harken muttered with a grunt.

"We're not far," prompted the girl, "and if I'm right... We should check it out, either way."

Harken nodded in assent and motioned them to move out. This time the female took point. She used to work in the castle and knew the quickest route to the Cathedral. Minutes later, they arrived to a dismaying scene.

Corpses littered the pews and aisles of the Cathedral. Some were rotted, some rotting, others newly made, but they all stank of putrefication and the wretching tang of Duskblooded corruption. The man gagged and retched, curling over himself as he was overcome by the taint. Bloody vomit spread around him, then was drawn along the floor toward the only figure left standing.

Harken named the odious beast. "Penumbra."

The erstwhile Twili acknowledge him, after a fashion. "No longer."

Penumbra circled his hand to his side and Harken saw too the massive pool of Duskblood on which he and his lone companion stood. He managed a single word before the rising tide consumed both of them.


Penumbra, Morning 1, Hyrule Castle Cathedral

The Duskblood rose and swallowed the encroaching pair, encapsulating them both in Duskblood golems. They would live, for a brief moment, until they were needed to serve their part in the ritual.

"I am the Penumbra. I am the harbinger of Umbra. The final three sacrifices, in mockery of the Goddesses who once mocked the world..."

He looked to the large windows as the sun broke over the horizon. "The Hylians think Dawn is their salvation. But Dawn is merely another aspect of Dusk. Bring the Dusk eternal, Oh Umbra! Let this be the Last Dawn!"

As crescendo to the murders committed, Penumbra plunged his dagger deep between his ribs, and with a final Dusk-fueled surge of monstrous strength he yanked it through his solar plexus, tearing his chest in twain. The foulest of Duskblood burst in a fountaining cascade, arcing to spray over the twin Duskblood Golems. The creatures reveled in the shower, if such mindless abominations could be said to revel, and then they, too, burst in a gory explosion of vitae.

Harken and his companion were gone. Now, two different figures stood were once the golems loomed. The one, a woman of indistinguishable feature, appearing cloaked in shadow despite the burning torches, despite the flickering candles, despite the burning beams of dawn's early light.

The other was a Zora, red of scale and a crazed look in his eyes.

Isaac Telmar, Hyrule Castle Town Streets, Morning One


It was the only word that Isaac could come up with to describe the current state of the once-bustling capitol of the realm. After all of the battles, after the wars between titanic, ascendant powers such as himself, and the Lights against whom he'd fought, much of the city's infrastructure was in ruin. Many streets were torn up, the cobblestones and mortar shredded by the unleashing of nigh-godly forces, fire, thunder, lightning, and any number of others too. The walls of buildings had caved in or exploded outward, spreading refuse, rubble, and thick layers of dust across every surface and through every thoroughfare.

Isaac strode now through the southeast sections of the city, and as he turned out of a narrow alleyway into the main street, shards of shattered glass crunched beneath his drake skin boots, bringing him to a tense halt. He cast his eyes this way and that, searching, but saw nothing.

Such was life in Castle Town, these days. Too few of the living, too many of the shambling, ravenous dead. Already he had encountered the walking corpses since coming here, and though he'd had little difficulty in evading them, and was certain he could repel them by more direct means if necessary, he was loath to thrust himself into open conflict with the things just yet.

Not when he could feel things happening in the palatial ruin further on. The dark mark upon his cheek bone was pulsating, almost in the manner of the Brand when it burned hot on his flesh to bid him heed. This was what he'd been waiting for, what he'd suspected for weeks, months even, might transpire here in this den of death and dusk.

Thoughtlessly, he realized he'd stepped out into the very middle of the street only when, a few buildings down on the left side of the street, a door desperately clinging to its frame by one hinge burst open.

"Son of a bitch..." he growled under his breath, swiftly reaching down to drag his blade free as two ash-gray skinned corpses stumbled maladroitly into his path.

Lips curled back into a snarling rictus, he stalked forward and, with all of the lithe grace of the living, he quickly sidestepped a hasty, off-balance swipe and brought his blade up underneath the armpit, severing the arm at the shoulder. Unlike his usual victims, this wound sprayed nothing but a dribble of black, congealed blood and elicited no outward displays of pain or anger.

The other corpse was trying to flank him, he realized. Quickly he used a boot to the knee to send the first corpse tumbling to the paving stones, then spun and took the second's head off at the neck. This time, the body staggered for a moment, groping about, and finally slumped and fell.

Disgusted, he turned back in the direction he was heading and, as the armless corpse was struggling to push itself back up to its feet, his free hand lashed out and loosed a spray of oily-wet flames that quickly spread and enveloped the thrashing creature.

"Miserable fucking wretches..." he murmured, spitting on the immolated corpse as it died its final death. "I don't have time for you."

Without another look, he pressed on through the streets heading north. Toward the ruined castle, and what he thought he might find there.

Naxx 40

Vykos Osteon, Necropolis Nexus, Day 1

Six months seemed like a day for Vykos. Being undead meant he had no need to sleep or eat, so he was hard at work reinforcing his position. His first move was to get his Necropolis free-floating. After that, he used acquired materials to experiment and enhance his armies in all aspects. He needed to, because Hyrule Castle Town had become a wasteland of sliver demons, a small faction of surviving mortals, and a doomsday cult. Hylian and Twili forces alike had tried to take the town, but between the four factions residing there, they were pushed back. Their corpses were fought over each time as well. Whether Sha'Tive wanted them as fuel for her children or the mortals wanted to create them, Vykos wanted to harvest and subjugate.

His main wars were against the Twili, the mortal stragglers, and the doomsday cult. The slivers had a silent understanding of sorts, but skirmishes did happen. He had the advantage of a floating command center with heavy defenses. Mortals did try to breach, and they did see the inside while they drew breath. But they were overtaken. 

At present day, the necromancer required more materials to experiment, and they have become harder to come by. His armies on reserve have been given deployment orders. To sow pestilence across the entire land, destroy the living, and convert it upon death to his forces. He is not sure what has constrained his usual supply outright, but rumors of a being simply called Prince have arisen...

Vykos' armies consist of various undead units. Stalchildren, stalfos, stalmasters, redead, gibdo, ghini, stalhounds, and zombies. He has also created modified versions of these with enhanced bladed bone extensions. Most of these roving bands now carry a conversion plague that causes anything they kill to rise and serve in undeath. 

These armies have been sent to the four corners of Hyrule in search of materials, and are highly dangerous to the common citizen. 

Meanwhile, the necromancer works in his Nexus, perfecting a secret horror he intends to unleash upon the land should he procure the necessary elements...

The Artist Currently Known As Prince

Prince, Hyrule Castle Town Streets, Morning One

"Hey, hey, hey!!!"

A child's voice broke the silence of death as Isaac continued his stride through the city. A zombie emerged from a nearby manhole, sluggishly rising to its feet before adopting a more lively gait as he pointed accusingly at the offender.

"No one kills my zombies except me, you tosser! What did they even do to you?!" it continued with a tone of voice that implied indignation, "What, are one of these rotters one of your own? Maybe a mother, a father or a sister? Oh, oh! I know, maybe you're one of those hero guys that decide one day that the world needs 'saving' and you're here to save the princess first?"

The zombie had comically put its fists on its hips and was leaning forward at this point, as if it was a mother scolding its child while it waited for a response.

Isaac Telmar, Hyrule Castle Town Streets, Day One

"Tosser?" Isaac asked, incredulous. And then the rest of it registered. "Hero?"

"Didn't you hear me say that, dipshit?" the zombie demanded, fists planted firmly on its hips, leaning in as though it were a school teacher scolding its student.

He took a step back, unable to suppress the smirk that so often came upon him in moments such as these. Instead he lowered his blade and raked fingers through the jagged spikes of his hair.

"Brand burn me but you might be the least informed person in all of Hyrule at this point..." he murmured. Speaking louder, he said "I think you've got the wrong impression there, corpse. If there are distressed princesses about, I'm not likely to be the one to rush in to save them. And as for mothers, fathers, or sisters, there's not much risk for you on that count, either. I killed every single one of them six hundred years ago."

He began to walk, taking slow steps at first, judging the creature who had stumbled out to confront him in such... callow fashion.

"I'll be honest with you, corpse. I've little interest in you and yours." He slid his blade back into its sheath, playing a gambit he wasn't certain would work, but one that could yield benefits if it proved to be successful. He jerked his head toward the devastated ruin of Hyrule Castle, further north. "The object of my interest lies further on.

"I think, perhaps, you and I don't need to be enemies."

Prince, Hyrule Castle Town Streets, Day One

"Oh ho ho...No."

An odd looking blood red sword whizzed by Isaac's head, sticking itself in a brick wall. Before the zombie could laugh with satisfaction, the sword dislodged, pathetically clanging on the ground. Isaac blinked once at the sword before turning back towards the zombie with an unimpressed expression, resting a palm on the hilt of his sword. The first thing he noticed was that the zombie's arm seemed to have split in half, as if the sword had come from inside its arm. The rest of its body suddenly began to distort and bloat, before exploding into a mist of gore; In its place, Prince stood. The Twili boy pinched the bridge of his nose.

"Like I said again, no one kills my guys except me." He growled, gesturing the remains of the zombie that was there moments ago, "Any asshole who messes with my shit gets dead, or starts working for me so they can avoid the former! What the fuck are you even here for anyway, smart-ass?"

He held a hand up and like magic, the sword that had been flung returned to his hand. He promptly pointed it at Isaac's face.

"There's like twenty of my dudes hiding in the thirty foot radius where I'm standing. Don't be cute with me."

Isaac snorted in amusement. The punk who controlled these wretched cadavers was a mere child...

Isaac Telmar, Hyrule Castle Town Streets, Day One

"Don't be cute with me."

His grin broadened, even in the wake of this Twili creature's gruesome unveiling. Even in the wake of the showy attack, the display.

"So you are the source of this undead contagion?" He paused, craning his neck to look up, toward a sky full of striated clouds. Toward the vast, floating necropolis seemingly borne upon those clouds. "Or at least, you're part of the source."

Calculating, affecting an air of calm bordering on submission, Isaac let his hand drop away from the pommel of his dagger.

"Listen, friend. I'm quite serious; we needn't make enemies of one another." He lifted a hand up to his face, turning it over to make a show of inspecting it, wholly unaffected when flames sprang up to envelope it from wrist to fingertips. After a moment, he looked past it to the juvenile Twili. "Not when your desiccated corpses will go up like so much firewood."

He closed the hand into a fist and shook it, dispelling the flames.

"Hell, I'll even make you a deal. I happen to be in the business of making corpses, more often than I dispose of them. I think there's an arrangement to be made here." He turned his eyes, however briefly, toward the castle looming beyond, moldering ruin that it had become, and for an instant the mark upon his cheek pulsed anew. "I'll tell you what. You help yourself to the bodies I leave behind. I've no need for them once their souls are spent. Given time, I'll feed you enough cadaver flesh to swarm over Hyrule and even beyond.

"And all you need do, for now, is lend me those twenty dudes of yours for a little... investigative foray to yonder castle."

Prince, Hyrule Castle Town Streets, Day One

Holy shit...Someone who speaks his language for once. The boy was so certain this was going to be another instance where he had to waste perfectly good zombies overwhelming anyone who had the balls; Never would he expect cooperation from someone. The opportunity made him giddy to the core, but he kept a stony glare in hopes to hide his excitement. There's nothing 'cool' about squeeing, he wasn't a little girl...God, girls are gross...

"Hmm...Smart thinking there; Was honestly expecting you to lose your cool and try to kill me like everyone else...Or more pathetically, beg for mercy.' he responded, dispelling his sword and crossing his arms. He felt so awesome folding his arms, like that Ganon guy he had heard about when he had his zombies tell him a bedtime story.

'If it means you can net me more zombies than you lose, fuck, who am I to refuse!"

He stopped to consider the situation more thoroughly.

"...But this doesn't mean I trust you, I'm not that stupid. I need a way to keep an eye on you."

As he said this, his fingertips began to glow like they were burning from the inside. Isaac noticed that behind Prince was a zombie that was staring back at him, but more curiously, what appeared to be fingerprints glowed faintly on its temple. The very moment this occurred, the zombie left its clumsy gait and stood at attention, it's eyes fixed on the Twili boy. The sinister implications were clear. 

"Lean over and gimme your head real quick." He said, walking in the most nonthreatening way possible towards Isaac.

CONTINUES ON In Ruins Wake Part I P#55

Sacred Duties

Kae Bryseis, The Sacred Realm, Day 1

What a long, strange trip it had been. Within the course of three days, Kae, Elly, Felis, Mirra, and her new love, Aris, had reclaimed the Sacred Realm from the clutches of a rebellious fallen angel, banished said fallen angel back to whence he came, and obtained the Light Medallion on loan from Rauru as a reward for her bravery. Her high-risk mission was more than a success. She was not doomed to die before her prime as many had feared.

The others did not go through empty handed, either. Elly was able to enhance her ability to work within a group setting more so than going alone, and she also obtained dual starmetal chain kunai with interchangeable heads as her gift from the Celestial Council. She had gotten a pair of replacement daggers shortly after arriving, but this gave her range that she didn’t have before. Sure, her ancestral daggers were still in the hands of that deranged lunatic who attacked her in Hyrule Castle Cathedral, but she was just waiting to run into him again. He wouldn’t get so lucky this time.

Mirra had found a new strength and restoration while exposed to this plane, and that alone was enough to keep her satisfied. However, she was blessed with increased healing abilities, learning more of the inner workings of Hyrule’s many races. She opted to stay behind to continue her education and aid the Celestials in their restoration efforts of the Sacred Realm.

Kae had indeed found a new bulwark in her Celestial companion, Aris Mastigos. He had intercepted the party as soon as they’d gained entry to the Sacred Realm, on the outskirts of the Light Temple grounds. As soon as he’d known a Scion had pierced the veil between worlds, he did everything in his power to assist them. With a towering, seven foot chiseled frame, he could hold the greatest of foes at bay while melting the heart of nearly any woman. His gilded hair fell nearly to his waist, and he was clad in shifting metallic robes. His eyes were a sapphire blue, and his face was perfectly set with high cheekbones and a firm jawline. His voice carried force behind it, and it enchanted the Scion with nearly every word. He was armed with a wizard’s staff and a Celestial bastard sword. While his specialty was in weaving all sorts of holy spells, he could do well with his blade or his body. In return for his successes and heroic deeds, he was bestowed a new staff made of consecrated Deku wood. It was set with a jagged translucent crystal that shifted in color just like his robes.

Aris was able to do much to help the party. He had timeless expertise in many areas, not including combat and the divine. Elly was skeptical of him, especially in his very sudden flirtations with her best friend and her charge. She was glad that Jaden was genuine in his affection, as she doubted Aris being truly in love with Kae. After all, it was only three days. Was it a defense against Lynn’s toxic influence? His heart appeared to break when he’d heard the stories of what Kae’s friend had become and what she had done to her. It also angered him with streaks of indignation. Elly couldn’t quite understand it. Aris was an ancient, timeless being, and Kae had just turned seventeen. Felis vouched for him, as they did know each other for a good while. Still, being able to win the heart of a Scion was questionable, especially given that she had had a desire for years for Lynn to be more than just her friend.

In three days, she had made serious life shifts. She defeated a fallen angel attempting to attain godhood, saved the Sacred Realm, and met a breathtaking man who completely rewrote everything she ever knew about romance. The thoughts of going back to war concerned her, especially given that Aris was willing to risk everything to go back to Hyrule with her and assist the Light Warriors. Aris also had reservations about meeting Kae’s older brother, who was highly protective of her.

Indeed, Aris' intentions of journeying to Hyrule required a good deal of convincing to the Celestial Council. They knew of the new romance and severely frowned upon it, but given the nature of Hyrule and what the Twili had done to it, they granted him loan of the Magic Mirror in order to go and help with the war effort. They also warned him of creating Nephilim offspring with his new Scion lover. These half-Celestial, half-mortal beings ran the risk of upsetting the balance of life on any plane. As long as he didn’t do this, the others would not censure him.

Gathered together in the Hall of Heroes, Aris, Kae, Elly, and Felis prayed together. They didn’t know where they would end up back in Hyrule, but their time in the Sacred Realm was over for now. The others needed them, and Aris knew the passage of time was different in this plane. Three days here had to be months in Hyrule. The Twili had gained a distinct advantage before, and no doubt Kae’s absence was damaging to the Hylian defense.

With the Light Medallion grafted into her flesh right at the top of her breastbone, the Scion gave thanks for everyone's good fortune, praising the Three for her reprieve. Aris prayed for protection and wisdom. Elly lifted up needs for endurance and the will to never stop pressing on. And Felis hoped that the land had not fallen to the Twili in their absence.

They knew not where they would phase back in when they returned, but they all uttered prayers that it would be favorable territory...

CONTINUES ON In A.D. 2108 War was beginning P#110

History Channel Presents: Relic Hunters

Lynn Hothlight, Small Forest Village, Late Afternoon 1

Two months on the trail of a particular Hated Relic. She didn't know which; her sense of its location faded in and out without warning. She had followed the last tugging of her mind in this direction, though, and had stumbled upon this quaint little village. The place had a single inn and tavern, where she was now sitting and waiting for some sign that Taden's influence was twisting these people. He could be subtle, or not, depending on his current whim. The people seemed peaceable enough, the worst she could see was grumbling and arguing. But it could be the beginnings of something worse. Any one of them could have recently found an old knick-knack that was destroying them from the inside.

"You keep your voice down! Scare the outland guests right out of here, you will, with talk like that!” an older woman chided one of the younger villagers, gesturing in Lynn's direction. Lynn's attention was pulled back to the room.

“Aw go easy on ‘im, Moni,” countered another. “Lad’s right, after a fashion. Like I been sayin’, that fella harassed me at Heemee’s was right suspicious, and I ain’t take no liking to folk like that, claimin’ to be of the Crown without his papers.”

"War or no, the wrong sorta folk are peepin’ into our affairs,” chimed in a third, sitting off by himself.

“Last thing we need is another hay tax,” muttered a fourth.

Lynn set her mug on the table with a loud clunk. The beer was flat, anyway.

"You all should listen to him. He's right to scare you." The crowd turned to glare at her. "War is coming, to all of Hyrule. I have seen it. But it's not the war that should worry you. There are far, far worse evils than war in this world."

"And who are you, then, trying to scare us and ruin our peace? No war's ever come to this place, and no war ever will. Hmph!"

Lynn pulled the hood from her head, revealing her platinum blonde hair and hauntingly light blue eyes. "Me? I'm the one who will save you from a terror you don't even know. I amone of the terrors."

She parted from her table in the corner of the room and strode toward the innkeeper. "Where is this newcomer? Take me to him."

Where Horwendil and Hothnight Are One

Taden Horwendil, Forest Village, Early Evening 1

A pale palm pressed against the pane of a window leading into the pantry of the Ragged Maiden's rear. From its fingertips, a ripple of frost spread across the lower left frame, coating it in ice. When the right hand fell away, the left rose up in its place, a black gauntleted fist. With a rap of his steel knuckles, Taden cracked the frozen glass and reached over the windowsill, unlatching the empty frame and tugging it open with a flick of his wrist. He only had to raise it halfway to slip into the room, rolling onto the floor amid a cold gust of wind and a few shards of icy glass.

For hours, he had watched the sleepy inn from the shadowed woods beyond, listening to the two fellows managing the place as they attended to chores inside and out. By sundown, the younger man had left on some errand or another, yet to return, and a few guests had the proprietor occupied. Taden had wandered for more than a day in Faron wood, and now an empty stomach had led him into town. It was a deeper hunger that led him to the wood to begin with.

He lifted up two fingers, and a point of Blue Fire illumined the mostly bare shelves. Perhaps he wasn't the only one hungry in this bleak little village. "Eh, the old farts could miss a meal or two," he murmured, as his searching eyes fell on a side of cured bacon. He pocketed the meat along with a couple small potatoes. Now if he could just find a little wine for his yakskin flask, he'd be on his way.

Watch This

Chamdar Taliesin, Forest Village Inn, Day One

This morning was not the first morning in the past six months that Chamdar sank into an unoccupied, back-corner booth shortly past sunrise and called for an empty glass and a bottle of Romani Reserve, a rich Terminian merlot for which he had long possessed a great fondness. How long had he been keeping a room in this place? Chamdar had been coming and going for months, spending an inordinate amount of rupees to retain his room even during those periods when he had no choice but to up and leave, often suddenly, with no sure estimates as to when his business would conclude and allow him to return.

Sitting back in his shadowed corner of the common room, absently swirling a glass of red in his left hand, his eyes were firmly affixed to the luminous silvery face of his pocket watch. On that face, numerous sets of instruments clicked and turned, spinning and displaying rapidly changing sets of characters and images in intricate and dizzying sets of varicolored, runic characters. His eyes had to flicker this way and that, up and down, right and left, roll in a circle one way then back and then back again in order to follow some of the messaging relayed to him by the one of a kind device.

Time passes strangely in the Sacred Realm, as if I was not already aware, he mused privately as he briefly focused on one set of blinking data. Then his eyes rolled to the next and he found himself making a vastly different set of observations. Chiaria... what grand manipulation have you been playing at?

Letting the hand holding the watch fall to the bench for a moment, Chamdar raised the glass to his lips and gently tipped it back, taking a long swallow before setting the glass back down on the tabletop. Almost reluctantly, he lifted the watch back up and began scanning its rapidly shifting surface once more.

Mytura and Bryseis continue to wage their war against the Twili, and it appears that their efforts may at last be paying off. New soldiers filter into their ranks even now.

It was that thought of Mytura, and that last observation, that caused Chamdar to set the watch down on the edge of the table before him. Slowly, almost hesitantly, bone-thin fingers went to a dial jutting slightly from the upper right curvature of the exterior and slowly cranked it.

A golden light began blinking in the center of the watch's face. With a sigh, he closed his eyes and forced himself to remember.

A Forgotten Grotto, The Land Before Time

"I do not believe that I can do this alone," Celeste argued, her voice full of passionate ire that was so uncharacteristic of her. Here in the dark, standing amidst a triad of crystalline pillars all glaring with different shades of dazzling light, she stood with her back straight and her fists planted firmly into her hips. Had she known where to direct her glare, she would certainly have done so. "I need aid! I need someone strong enough to stand beside me. Chamdar can be that, if you will but allow yourselves to see in him what I always have!"

Standing further back in the cavernous grotto, well away from the gleaming pillars, Chamdar watched with a wary eye, unsure. Here even he could feel the crushing presence of gods, of true gods, pressing so heavily upon him that he thought that the forces might pull him apart at the joints, or else compress him into a point of super-dense matter the size of a pea.

Even now, he was not sold on Celeste's plan. Her desire for this had taken him by surprise, so soon after her own elevation. He could hardly fathom what she was thinking, to make such demands of the Goddesses who'd raised her up from toiling poverty to make her their Scion, their Living Goddess.

The red pillar flashed with such intense crimson light that it made him retreat further into the shadows. Never had he been a fearful boy, but these were no wolfos preying at the fringes of their village. They were not even the rank and file demons who had begun of late to prey on the predators.

These were the Goddesses, the Divine Triune.

But we do not see this one as you do, Hylia.

The green pillar glared brilliantly, blindingly, though Celeste refused to shrink back from the glow.

He has courage, but he is not what we seek.

And then a radiant blue flash from the third pillar.

He has the capacity for wisdom, but he is too prone to obsession ever to heed it.

And the flash again from the towering vermillion obelisk.

He has power of a kind, but no will or sense of how to direct it.

The incandescent, colored lights faded to naught but dull pulses within the crystalline faces of the pillars as the voices fell silent. The Goddesses had spoken, succinct and direct as was their way.

Hylia, their Living Goddess, had been resoundingly denied. Her shoulders slumped in disappointment and defeat as she turned back toward him and stepped out of the center of the pillars, off of the triangular, raised dais between them, and out toward where he stood watching. There was regret, and a deeper sadness, in her wet, shimmering eyes.

"I am sorry, love," she said softly, casting her gaze down into the bare rock beneath their feet. "I did not believe they would refuse me."

He shrugged, unable to look at her. She had placed all of her faith in being able to convince the Goddesses of what she needed. Chamdar thought that this was perhaps the first time in her life that she had not been able to sway someone to her way of thinking.

She had certainly managed to sway him.

"It is alright, Celeste," he murmured. "You still have the Red Ice General to stand at your side. He will be a better, more stalwart guardian for you than I ever could."

She looked up, sniffing and using the back of one gentle, porcelain hand to wipe away the tears stinging at the corners of her eyes, and met his gaze with a sudden, rapturously powerful look that sent a charge down his spine and out through every bone, tendon, and fiber of muscle.

"The Red Ice General is a great warrior and a man of true integrity," she insisted, each word resonating in his ears, "but he is not you, Chamdar. With Lord Eridanus at my side I do feel strong, but with you... with you I feel invincible."

Forest Inn, Late Afternoon One

His eyes slid open as the swirl of memories faded, were drawn into the shimmering face of the watch and logged. He loosed a sigh and took up his merlot once more and taking a sip. His face contorted; he had left the glass too long and allowed it to get too warm and stale. Time always passed differently when engaging certain of the pocket watch’s functions.

Setting the glass aside, he took up the watch, scrutinized its surface again for an instant, then snapped it shut and buried it deep in one of the pockets of his cassock.

"You all should listen to Hem. He's right to scare you." Chamdar paused in rising from his booth when he heard the familiar voice echo through the clamor of the common room. "War is coming, to all of Hyrule. I have seen it. But it's not the war that should worry you. There are far, far worse evils than war in this world."

"And who are you, then, trying to scare us and ruin our peace? No war's ever come to this place, and no war ever will. Hmph!" A bold statement, given the war happening mere miles from the village.

A figure across the room pulled a hood from over her head, revealing platinum blonde hair and hauntingly light blue eyes. "Me? I'm the one who will save you from a terror you don't even know. I am one of the terrors."

Lynn Hothlight parted from her table in the corner of the room and strode toward the innkeeper. "Where is this newcomer? Take me to him."

Quickly draining the rest of his piss warm, stale wine, Chamdar took up the staff he’d left leaning against the window on the booth’s opposite bench and took several steps out into the heart of the room. He drew eyes to him with a pronounced clearing of his throat, including those piercing blue ones.

“Good afternoon, Lynn Annei,” he declared. “Perhaps I am mistaken, but I rather thought you would be off somewhere, shoulder to shoulder with your comrades, fighting off the encroaching darkness.”

He stopped several paces from her, aware of the many patrons looking from one to the other as he leaned forward toward her, almost conspiratorially.

“Or perhaps the better angels of your nature have been… superseded. Perhaps now you heed some devil whispering in your ear.”

Lynn Hothlight, Late Afternoon 1

“Good afternoon, Lynn Annei." 

Lynn turned to the familiar voice. "Taliesin."

“Perhaps I am mistaken, but I rather thought you would be off somewhere, shoulder to shoulder with your comrades, fighting off the encroaching darkness.”

Lynn flexed her fingers into a fist, then relaxed her hand. Chamdar sauntered closer, no doubt enjoying the attention from those patrons still interested in this little distraction from their dull, meaningless lives. Nonetheless, he leaned close to whisper in her ear.

“Or perhaps the better angels of your nature have been… superseded. Perhaps now you heed some devil whispering in your ear.”

Her fingers flexed once more into a fist. She had no doubt he noticed the tense muscles.

"Don't fool yourself, Messenger. I fight a darkness far worse than these Interloper scum. It's a battle you've fought for generations, yet is no closer to being finished. Go back to your drink, old man. You have already been tested by the Hated, and you were found lacking."

With that, she chose to present Chamdar a face of ignorance, in all appearances disregarding the man. Her attention remained, cautious, but hidden behind feigned disinterest. Instead, she refocused on the barkeep, who had just finished handing off a mug of something-or-other to one of the farming louts under his patronage.

"Perhaps I did not make myself clear, old man. Either you show me this new-comer, or I'll find him myself. And I promise you won't like my search methods."

Any one of these damnable cretons could already have fallen into Taden's grasp. Any one could be sinking deeper into his influence, while she wasted time with a washed-up Scion and a stubborn barkeep.

Chamdar Taliesin, The Forest Village Inn, Late Afternoon One

"And perhaps I need to make myself clear now, Lynn," Chamdar interjected, stepping deliberately in between the young Sheikah girl and the bar, making it impossible to ignore him, feigned or otherwise. "Your search methods are irrelevant, because if your search turns anything but wholly non-violent toward the people of this village, I will stop you."

Slowly, with elaborate flourish, one weathered hand went to the hilt of the katana belted at his hip.

"And if you wish to take a moment and review our respective records where Hothnight is involved, allow me to highlight the differences. I, with this very sword, removed the Hated from this land for centuries. I, with this sword and with the Goddesses at my back, sealed Taden Hothnight away from Hyrule until you, in your petulance and your ignorance, went and undid my work." He took a step closely, leaning down so that he came fully eye to eye with the girl. "With the centuries of time my actions bought for the people of Hyrule, how many lives do you think were saved? Meanwhile, your most meaningful contribution to this war effort has been to get yourself possessed by a fragment of Hothnight's soul and unleash the rest upon the land once more.

"So really, Lynn Annei, what am I supposed to think of you when you still speak of 'the Hated' with such reverence?" He drew an inch of Aurgelmir's steel free of the scabbard."Perhaps I should consider rectifying your colossal mistake right here and now. How do you think this sword will react against the piece of Taden that has been manipulating you these last months?

"Care to find out?"

Taden Horwendil, Faron Woods, Night 1 (Early Evening)

From his perch in the corner of the Ragged Maiden store room, he saw two figures thrown into the night out the Inn’s back door. They landed in the muddied street with a wet thud, and that gargantuan shopkeep turned on his heels, wiping his hands on a rag and cursing the meddlers under his breath. Impressively enough, the old curmudgeon had the strength of arm to heave them both out at once, one in each hand.

He quickly recognized the young Chamdar Taliesin, who after some months travel had finally caught up with him in this dense wood. The scion’s return had lingered in the back of Taden’s mind all this time, as if he were never far off. When the tall sorcerer rose from the earth and dusted himself off, Taden saw the long scabbard of Aurgelmir swing from his waist, heard the glint of its steel as he hastily adjusted his belt and squared off against the other.

A young woman Taden didn’t recognize pulled herself up slowly from the cobblestones. He was stunned by her shock of white hair and gleaming eyes; for a moment, it seemed as though she glanced right at him through the frost on the shattered windowpane—though her eyes emitted a brief white flash that made it hard to tell the direction of her gaze. No sooner had she risen than Taden lost sight of her, absconding into the shadows of the Hidden Village streets like a blot of ink on parchment.

Chamdar looked to his left and right for a moment, also losing sight of the swift young girl, and vanished himself into the enveloping dark. No torches lit the dirt paths of this forest village beyond the sole flame at the Ragged Maiden’s door. A certain distance away from its hearth, nothing could be seen in the oil of night.

Not long after the two were expelled, Taden could hear an argument brewing in the common room amongst the pub’s patrons. He listened at the door to the small pantry where he hid. The boss’s brother had returned with more than his shipment of wine—something gleaned from a strange wreckage site in the western wood?

Perhaps hunger made him miss whatever loud crash the men heard on their errand. Even now, that same hunger kept him single-mindedly intent on finding food and drink, and he realized the wine he was searching for was waiting unattended in the innkeeper’s wagon.

While the two brothers continued to bicker, Taden slipped back out the broken pantry window and sidled towards the wagon hitched on the inn’s north side. He raised his black hood over his face and crouched low, lowering each step softly in front of the other. As he reached the wagon, he heard the front door of the inn creak open, and Glen begin to lumber back around the long building with his bounty in tow.

Whatever booty Glen had garnered from the wild, its heft slowed him down long enough for Taden to nab two bottles of Gerudo Red from a crate in the back of the wagon. There were a few crates of wine rattling in the back, with four bottles to a crate. With the bacon, a loaf of bread, and some potatoes pocketed, he crept back into the darkness and made his escape from the little town. This neck of the woods was becoming far too lively for his taste.

CONTINUES ON Nothing to See Here P#63