Section Summaries

  • I'm Not Dead Yet
    • Tobias is still around. He found Quell's old Reaper Tuner.
  • Zombie Assault
    • Kae continues her descent to madness while Chamdar, Ayala and others defend HK from a Zombie Attack.
  • Winters Herald
    • Taden has arrived in Kakariko to kick ass and then kick more ass.

I'm Not Dead Yet

Tobias Pepperwhistle, Castle Town Ruins, 1st Night

“Bloody ‘ell, this ‘ole place is ruined. Ruins on topp’a ruins. It’s a right shit ‘ole.”

Tobias had taken to muttering to himself a day or so ago whilst wandering through the clusterfuck of a town. Hell, it couldn’t even be called that. It was an insult to upstanding clusterfucks the worldwide! The lavish life he and Harken had dreamt of wouldn’t be had here. Not any time soon at least.

He’d clambered atop this sagging bell tower to survey the remnants of what was to be his kingdom and was hours ago depressed by that crushing realization. Hyrule would rebuild. Well, if they won the war that is. And hell, he may even find himself in charitable mood from time to time and pitch in. For what better way to the hearts of men than through their, well hearts. Home is where the heart is and all that lot. He thought it all hairwash, but if that nonsense got him a stranglehold on the underground, then by the Four themselves he’d play the part.

Just as he was about to start the climb down from his precarious perch, a bit of rubble shifted and fell several yards away, crashing to the already pitted cobble stone street below in a thunderous cloud of dust.

Drawing a gauntleted arm up to cover his face, he still suffered a coughing fit as he sucked in all sorts of bits of dust, debris and whatever the hell else lay down below.

As the cloud began to settle, a bluish glimmer caught his eye something half obscured before the collapse was now visible and it looked… valuable.

Shimmying partways down the wall, Tobias kicked off hard, pirouetted mid-air and drove one blast knuckle enclosed fist into the wall of a building across the alley with a satisfying mini-explosion. He smiled. And then the wall gave way.

“Ah bollocks.”

Stone and mortar rained down above him and it was all the gangster could do to swat it aside as he fell. Pepperwhistle struck the ground with a hard thud and the air was forced out of him.

He sat up cursing. “Sakon’s sagging arse, I could use a nice cuppa Rosie Lee.”

Shakily he rose to his feet, flex his hands stretching his aching back and in general making sure all of his important bits still worked like they were supposed to.

Satisfied all was in working order, he brushed himself off and straightened his vest and hat. If he was leaning slightly more on his mallard headed cane than before, who was here to judge?

Sifting his way back through the ruins he found a more suitable route to the shiny object that caught his eye. The drooping stairs looked ominous, but aside of a few creaks and groans, all from the stairs of course. Again, no one round to prove otherwise. He found himself kneeling by a peculiar looking controller of sorts. He prodded it gingerly and it lit up with an eery blue glow and spat out a damned wraith! Falling backwards he crab walked back to the stairs, eyes locked on the apparition hovering before him.

It bobbed there, ghostly blue robes dead still even in the wind with a wicked looking scythe slung across its back.


That’s it.

That’s all the damned thing did. Just float there, looking all menacing and such. With the agility of a gymnast Tobias leapt to his feet and marched straight up to the creature with the all encompassing confidence of a god among men and creatures (prove otherwise, I dare ya, yeh sod). “Well, yer a right terrifyin’ beastie aren’ yeh?”

Cautiously, he bent down and retrieved the controller. It was roughly ovular in shape and all sorts of little buttons and knobs. Curious, he flicked one of the knobs which caused the reaper to float back from him. Pulling the knob towards himself brought the reaper forward.and pressing any of the various buttons caused the construct to perform any number of actions. He also found that by holding two buttons at once while speaking, he was able to give the reaper commands which it then carried out without the pressing of any buttons at all.

Satisfied, he pressed a button on the side that called the reaper back to him. As the beast dissolved into the controller, Tobias found that he could secure the controller to the gauntlet of one of his blast knuckles rather securely. With a sinister grin, the gangster started making his way out of city.

“Right ‘o, I believe it’s ‘ero time.”

3rd day

It’d taken a hell of a lot longer getting his affairs in order than he’d imagined it would. And even longer still convincing that old codger Bart that he hadn’t lost his bloomin’ mind and that was only pretending to “take off the black hat and chase after hero’s glory,” as the cantankerous bastard had called it.

So it was later than he’d wanted when he set out looking for the last vestiges of the Hylian resistance, and a damned good thing too. If he’d left when he wanted to, that big shamblin’ herd of rotted corpses, a gift from the bonehead in the floating castle (damned if that wasn’t impressive), no doubt, would’ve ended up aft of him instead of fore. Even then, a few of the ones in the back took notice of him right quick so that he was forced to smash in their pulpy melon heads and slather himself in their nastiness.

He stunk to high heavens and felt like arse. Even worse so when the mush dried, but the rat arsed shites hadn’t bothered him since. And so it was thus painted that he entered the Hylian camp to shouts and alarms.

A voice, disembodied as far as Toby could tell, rose above the din.

"Hylian forces, our camp is under attack! Any available forces, form up on me and take this abomination down!"

“Take down the abomination?” Tobias looked around, there corpses shuffling along hungrily and all moany like as far as the eye could see.

“Bugger me if I know which one ‘e’s talkin abou’.”

Figuring it wouldn’t matter which one he started with, Tobias cracked his knuckles and tapped the controller on his gauntlet. The wraith rose high above him awaiting its commands. Tobias winked, and it was surely lost on the puppet, but it pleased him to do so all the same.

“Alrigh’ beastie, ‘ows about we get to makin’ these wankers dead again?”

Zombie Assault

Vykos Osteon, Flashback in Necropolis, Day 2

The events surrounding him were like a blur. And before too long, Vykos' underlings were unable to contain one of his colossal Flesh Golems. The thing had grown too large and too resistant to the plagues, restraints, electric shocks, and toxins that would normally force reanimated servants into submission and obedience.

It was not long before the Golem reached his Sanctum. Bashing the doors in, the rotting beast stood nearly twenty feet high. Its right hand was fashioned into a bone sword, and its left had extremely sharp claws. It oozed blood, bile, pus, and sludge, and appeared to be crafted from a conglomeration of other creations all horrifically stitched and fused together. And when it spoke, it carried the voices of all who were forcibly assimilated into its collective conscious.

"We will end our suffering today, tyrant! You cannot stop us...there are more of your children who despise you than us!"

Now the Necropolis was floating somewhere between Lake Hylia and Castle Town. Rumbling throughout the hall gave Vykos cause for concern. Was this a true mutiny? Or was it his reinforcements? Either way, he made a mistake in making this creature too powerful to contain. It refused to obey him. Only one other tried, and it escaped to the Underworld with its freedom without trying to kill him. But as a Lich, death was merely a setback.

"You are not here to bargain, and I am not in the mood to deal, creature. A pox upon you!"

As the Golem closed the distance and brought back its sword-arm for an obliterating blow, Vykos brought forth a wave of his most potent plague craft sorcery. But it did not even register any damage. Not even a pustule of rot.

"Shit sticks."

Given his undead state, he could not teleport. There was no dodging or blocking or parrying this. As sword met Necromancer, everything suddenly went black...and then came the Tunnel of Souls. He would never hide his Phylactery anywhere near the Necropolis in case of a revolt. He'd had to regain his Kingdom once before. And while he was disembodied, his creations would all go out of control until his soul took root in a new body.

He had backup bodies buried all over the land. They waited for hundreds of years, and in some cases, thousands. They even existed in the Underworld. One was found in the 6th Circle of Hell. Never underestimate a Necromancer with time on his hands.

Somewhere on Death Mountain, Night 2

Rocky soil was always a bitch to climb out of. It was a miracle that the Gorons did not ruin this body. Sure, it was significantly shorter than the last one, and it was not a Wizzrobe frame, but a modified Stalchild frame. Lighter, easier to sneak around in. He could feel his soul take root within the body, and its leather bindings did not squeak and creak like the metal braces did in his other backups.

Where were the damned Gargoyles? Usually after an hour or two, one would find him and return him home. No staff, no minions, and no prospects. He could see the Necropolis' aura in the night sky, and he was frustrated. Luckily, no one was outside looking for him, so he kept skulking along until he could reach a high point and attempt to summon a ride from the Underworld.

As he chanted the foul Black Speech, a portal opened in front of him, and a skeletal Gargoyle emerged. Sure, it didn't have flesh, but it did fly well enough. Mounting up, he kept to the cloud cover as he headed back home. There was a lot of movement in the sky and on the ground. His creations truly had gone berserk...there was carnage everywhere, and his hordes were so disorganized. He'd lost at least half of his forces or more.

Vykos saw two major camps at opposite ends of the land. There would be battles, and there would be opportunities to rebuild. Once he got back home, he intended to deploy reanimation teams to start replenishing the roster. Craftsmanship didn't matter. At this point, he needed cold bodies!

Approaching his fortification, he took his mount in for a landing and sighed. His sanctum had been utterly sacked save for his Orb. His staff was missing, and his robe was torn to bits. But he did begin to give the order to rebuild. And he was ready to wreak more havoc. Death would rule this world!

GM POST, Somewhere between Ordon and HK, Day 3

The revolt was successful. Vykos was dead, easily destroyed. No one would be subject to his ruthless rule anymore. Now all who breathed the second breath of undeath would be free to choose. Some semblance of shambling sentience returned.

And now, the towering Flesh Golem sought to expand the ranks of the undead. Unless destroyed or rotted away, undead have an extremely long existence. Some keep going for thousands of years. And it's not an entirely boring existence, even as a zombie. There's never a shortage of brains out there...

It scanned the horizon, looking for victims. The living were the ultimate enemy. Only necromancers were willing to tolerate undead in any form. The only way to exist was to spread the plague. It could sense other liberated brethren to the south. Shamblers, zombies, smaller Golems. Plenty to work with. It could handle the north alone. And if it came to it, it could make friends fast.

Taking off at a full sprint, the 20-foot tall Flesh Golem raced toward the large amount of heat signatures coming from Hidden Kakariko. Of course, the Golem had no idea where it was. It just wanted to destroy the living and establish a new kingdom of free undead. Zombies started to follow it, albeit significantly slower.

Leaping over the clefts and chokepoints, it vaulted into the outskirts of the Sheikah capital and last bastion of the Hylians, seeking carnage. Assaulting a lookout post, its sword-arm severed the tower, and the talon-laden left arm skewered the Hylian soldier within, turning him instantly as the plague infested him. Roaring with the shrieks of a legion, it wanted more bodies.

GM POST, Aris, HK Command Core, Day 3

"The very chasms of the Underworld itself have opened right under our noses! We must mobilize defenses immediately!"

Aris felt the sickening presence of a colossal abomination starting to wreak havoc upon Hylia's last bastion. It seriously disturbed him, because suddenly everything and everyone found a Sheikah sanctuary that'd been hidden for millennia.

Scouts reported what brief tidbits they could find. It instantly turned anything it killed into undead unless it took the corpse into itself. Nearly twenty feet tall, it had a sword arm and talons in the other. Everywhere it went, it left plague-riddled pus in its footsteps. Impact craters of filth. Unspeakable stenches. Ranged attacks were the only thing that'd work, but the Scion was nowhere to be found, and none of the other Light Warriors were available to take on the threat.

"I've dealt with worse in my realm. However, my power in Hyrule is not what it is at home. I will need assistance. But for now, I will try to lead it away from the camp. I need archers and mages, whatever can be spared. Sound the alert, condition red!"

Hidden Kakariko Commons

Aris was a truly hulking being. With a perfectly chiseled frame and more than sufficient bulk, he towered over most. His appearance was almost too perfect to a creepy extent. And he smelled of sacred incense constantly. His blade shone brightly in the mid-day light, with the sun's rays glistening throughout its crystalline construction. And his ancient Deku staff had engravings that seemed to move intermittently. As he dashed toward the beast, he shouted loudly in his native tongue, trying to raise his voice above the bells that were blaring all throughout town.

"I have slain billions of abominations, and you will be next, worm!"

The Celestial's blade caught fire as he spread his wings, posturing and preparing a spell to begin his assault. He got its attention, and while a pair of soldiers' legs dangled from its jaw, it began to move toward him.

Aris slung a wave of holy energy at it, generated from his sword. In the Sacred Realm, that would've been all he needed to take it down. Instead, all he did was make it even more angry. He used his wings to hover backward, moving away from the population and further to the outer walls and crevasses of Hidden Kakariko. If he had to, he'd play cat and mouse with it until more help arrived. But for now, he'd accomplished his first goal of stopping the rampage.

Aris Mastigos, HK Outskirts, Day 3 [GM POST]

Doused repeatedly in plague slime and various gases, Aris remained unaffected by mundane ailments. He could feel the ground turn to dust where he stepped, and the stench bothered him, but otherwise he held fast. The golem went wherever he wanted it to go, and the continued smiting prayers kept its hateful gaze upon the Celestial Defender.

Projecting his voice, Aris sounded another alarm.

"Hylian forces, our camp is under attack! Any available forces, form up on me and take this abomination down!"

Exorcising prayers had no effect. These principalities were legion and they were laying waste with every step. To delay it further, Aris held his crystalline claymore aloft and began to emit strobe flashes, pulsing them right at its head. This dazed it briefly, but its arms and legs started to divest their armored contents, pouring out all sorts of undead minions onto the ground. Stalchildren, redeads, average height flesh golem bipeds, and crawlers with warped flesh and serrated tentacles.

"Triune, stand with me!"

The golem drove its sword into the ground and took a knee, and tentacles sprouted from the base of its "wrist," embedding into the ground along side it, pumping toxins into the soil. Its full attention was on spreading pestilence while the minions all converged on Aris.

Radiating with holy light, the Celestial began to cleave his way through the horde. Some incinerated when they got too close to him, and others were catching fire as he cut them down. He shouted others apart with Hymns of the Sacred Realm, roaring praises of the Triune in glorious battle.

The songs attracted further attention as archers began to rain down their quivers upon the golem. Hylian mages threw as much fire as they could at it, and it flashed ablaze.

"Disable its knees and feet! If we can contain it, we can save the camp's food and water!"

It had to run out of toxins at some point. But the hordes kept pouring out of its arms and legs and torso. How did they all fit in the cavity? Perhaps that was a secret best left alone...

Chamdar Taliesin, Hidden Kakariko, Day Three

"Hylian forces, our camp is under attack! Any available forces, form up on me and take this abomination down!"

Chamdar had watched Polaris depart, having noted the transformations begin to affect the physical as well as the spiritual, the mental. The process was underway. All would transpire as it needed to. But in the wake of the Red Ice General's departure, he began to hear the alarm in the distance. He heard Hymns. He heard the lightsong. He heard tumult and he felt decay and blight.

Horns of alarm blared. An attack already? It seemed too soon even for the one who called himself Lord Grem. And here they were, already bereft of some of their strongest warriors. Grimacing at the inconvenience of it, when he yet had so much to do, he broke into a run.

Not Twili at all, he soon realized. A pittance of Hylian soldiers were struggling to ward off a horde of the sickened undead, the very same who had claimed the streets of Castle Town as their own, driving out the people and the government and setting them to flight.

But worst of all... a towering beast marauding through the open street, an amalgam of pilfered flesh ten paces tall, full of rot and poison.

It was perhaps the worst thing that could happen as the defenders prepared for what would likely be their last stand. Only the young Scion's Celestial... companion stood against it.

"Disable its knees and feet! If we can contain it, we can save the camp's food and water!"

Chamdar obliged, raising his staff and letting the divine light of the Goddesses flow through him, setting him alight. That light flowed out from his hand through the staff, rippling up and down the haft and setting the runes of the Sacred Realm to blazing. At its top, a great spear blade of white-gold light took shape, glaring brilliantly.

He threw himself into the press, whirling the staff and using the holy light blade to shear through poxed flesh, which seared away as it passed. Hardened rays of divine light lashed from his free hand, devastating the ranks of the redeads and driving back the Stalchildren who hated the light to terribly. With undead abominations such as these, clever constructs and artifice would serve him little. It called for more straightforward strategy.

He came to the side of the Celestial with his crystal sword as arrows pin-cushioned the enormous golem and fireballs from Hylian mages set it ablaze. It seemed hardly to notice as it dumped more undead onto the streets, and more plague into the ground beneath their feet. Beneath his breath Chamdar spoke an incantation in the lightsong, language of the Gods, and drove the butt of his staff into the dirt. Lines of light shot out in multiple directions, crisscrossing and encircling, slashing out into a wide circle. A guardian circle, with he and the Celestial at its epicenter.

"Combat the blight!" he called over the clamor. "I will hold back the horde!"

Redeads shambled into the edge of the circle and their flesh seared. They stumbled away, unable to penetrate its barrier. Chamdar withdrew his staff from the dirt and stalked to that edge, holy energies suffusing his aged limbs, and swept the light blade surmounting his staff outward, using its reach to slash apart the creatures as they drew backward. It would keep the creatures away for a time while the Celestial did what he could to force back the pestilence. Meanwhile, Chamdar stepped back out into the horde, cutting and hurling streaks of fiery light into the ranks of the dead.

Aris, HK, Day 3

Help had finally come, and in a form he did not think he'd see in a very long time. The Second Scion did indeed walk Hyrule once more. While the Triune found him to be a pariah of sorts, Aris was inspired by a legend willing to do the right thing even while counting up the cost of running afoul of them. It's part of why he fell for the Fifth Scion as well. His station was a rigid one, and Nayru only knew the level of censure he would have for interference in the affairs of mortals. That is what the Scions were for, to be that bridge between the divine and mundane...

After receiving instruction and sufficient protection to do so, Aris gathered his staff and sword together in his hands, pointing his blade and staff head downward while raising them alight. He began to chant the 33 Names of Din to coax Power into his Benediction. The Celestial tongue had a boom in its cadence, causing the very ground to tremble at its sound.

He could feel the filth corrupting everything, spreading throughout the groundwater and trying to get to the fields. Driving his weapons into the ground, a nova of Holy Light spread quickly as he continued to chant in his Angelic tongue. Arcs of luminescent cleansing brought rapid life back to the nearby ground as Aris continued to channel his blessings of Life.

"I will not allow this pestilence to continue!"

Chamdar Taliesin, Hidden Kakariko, Day Three

The words of the lightsong--unintelligible to most mortal ears--leapt from his tongue, taking form before him in radiations of sonic light. Those coronal waves erupted out from his lips in a cone that warped the air before it, and where it struck, desiccated limbs were torn free of their sockets and brittle bones shattered as though beneath a hammer stroke. The language of the gods tore apart the unclean, crawling things, drowning out their paralyzing wails and robbing them of their power.

And even as the song continued to issue forth from his tongue, Chamdar was among them with his staff whirling. The luminous spearblade at its end ripped the creatures apart, and streams of sizzling energies lashed from his left hand, punching through flesh, bone, and sinew, leaving in its wake only smoking ruin.

The undead were no match for him. For them. They fell as wheat before the scythe.

Still, more poured in and it was all Chamdar could do to drive them back, to hold them from penetrating deep into the open streets of Hyrule's last safehold. Too many refugees, sick or wounded or both, clogged the main thoroughfare. They would be easy prey. No, this had to end here.

His lightspear took a gibdo down at the knees, cutting its legs clean off, and suddenly there was a pause. An opening. Breathing heavily--lamenting the bygone days of his youth when physical battle was so much more his thirst--he looked to see that this guardian spell was holding. Even so, Aris was surrounded on all sides by sickly redeads, the skeletal stalchildren, all clawing at the barrier of light to get at the creature within. All unable to do so.

And yet the walls of light shining up from the dirt were shimmering. Wavering. The barrier wouldn't hold forever.

From a distance, a thought struck him in that moment of calm. Chamdar knew this Celestial. He hadn't been able to pin down its identity at first, but now he remembered. Remembered harsh words that had once passed between them. Honest words, but harsh ones. Celestials and Scions were of different realms after all, and were meant to remain that way. One was not to meddle in the worlds and the lives of the other. Aris Mastigos, that was his name. A once-companion of Helena Orieda, before Chamdar convinced her to fall.

Aris put everything he could muster, which in the mortal world was not the full measure of his power, into his cleansing. Still, the abomination continued to pump its toxin into the land, blighting all that it touched. What had the towering Celestial said?

Right, Chamdar thought, the knees.

The monster, the great amalgam of sickly flesh, was in a low crouch. Tendrils had issued forth, plunging into the dry earth. It couldn't move, not while it was plaguing the lands here. It was vulnerable, all of its mindless focus on combating the purification song of its angelic adversary.

Chamdar left the encroaching horde to the archers, and to those few soldiers who had lined up at their backs. He shoved his way through the press, still singing the lightsong to drive back those creatures who tried to leap on him. Mages continued to hurl flame down into the surging tide of the dead, turning the whole shambling herd into a wildfire.

Ducking around a redead, pivoting on the balls of his feet and spinning around to its left, he came to the beast itself. Chamdar's lightspear slashed through several of the tendrils infecting the earth beneath his feet, severing their connection and causing them to flail in the air and wildly spray their sickness through the air. A gibdo came at him from behind, shrieking as it leaped on his shoulders. A burst of holy sound, a single harsh note, sent it flying away in pieces. In the moment of distraction, an arm swung out, freed to move now that its tendrils had been cut free. A huge, pestilent fist struck him square in the right shoulder and hurled him from his feet. He landed hard in the dirt, rolling onto his back as the best rose to its feet above him and lifted the first once again. This time the downward force would crush him.

It took one step as he cocked its arm back for the lethal blow. That one step was all Chamdar needed. Taking the haft of his weapon in two hands he drove the luminous blade into the knee of the creature's lead leg, letting the lightblade shatter outward in a burst of pure divine energies while piercing the flesh and bone. The ensuing explosion tore the golem's leg apart, and while it began to wobble, the Second Scion arched his back against the dirt, tilted his head back and released a torrent of sharp notes. The sonic wave of varicolored light slammed into the tottering beast's chest and tore it open. The force of the blow coupled with its suddenly broken balance sent it crashing backwards to the turf.

"Mastigos!" Chamdar called from where he lay, the words emanating out in the lightsong, which he knew the angel would well understand, "the connection is broken. Cleanse the rest of the taint and let's rid ourselves of this abomination! Something dark indeed is behind this; it will take our combined light to put it down."

Even as the song leapt from his tongue, the creature was already clawing at the parched dirt, pulling itself back to its one foot.

Aris, HK, Day 3

Surprises continued after he'd left the Sacred Realm. The Second Scion still walked this plane on his own terms, and Terminians had found their way here as well. All peoples had something to lose if the Twili overtook this land. The Triune would be at risk if the Sacred Realm had another breach so soon after Sourbeneton had attempted his usurpation.

The Second Scion though, he and Aris had a bit of an odd history. It had been millennia, a disagreement lost to antiquity, and it was the only time his inner flame burned for another before he'd met Lady Bryseis. If Chamdar had not met Helena, there would be no Scions. What happened in ages past was necessary. The four prior were imbued at the proper time for proper reasoning. One was the progenitor of his companion's clan, rising above a career of organized crime and escaping the hangman to become a driving force behind Sheikah preservation.

Aris could feel the land healing beneath him. Purification in the hymns and benedictions ripping the toxins from soil and stream. Aquifers no longer aerating agonizing death or the curse of second breaths.

"It is a relief to make your acquaintance, Terminian. While I believe it prudent to deliver Final Death to these wretched things, I believe their genitals have long rotted off."

Raising his staff and gathering Light from the Sun and the Heavens, Aris prepared a Smiting Malediction ready to unleash upon the flesh golem. Chamdar's technique was beyond on point.

"To think what our Light would do in the Sacred Realm, Talesin. We smite in the name of this land!"

Arcs of blazing sunlight burst forth from Aris' Deku staff, torrenting in multiple directions. One disintegrated the hewn leg as more colonized undead tried to climb free from its husk, and others made craters amidst the Kakariko grass as they purified more shambling hordes from Hyrule.

He retained some of the energy to resume charging it for one more blast at the golem.

"I gather more Light to put an end to it, and await your signal to dispense retribution!"

Elly, HK, Day 3

Elly kept watch over Kae, ready to knock her out of the way of any sweeping monstrous tree limbs. Her friend looked uneasy, and began to sweat profusely. She could see a tinge of pink in the perspiration on her forehead, and violet tears started to trickle from her eyes and drip from her nose. They crystallized as they moved across her face, which only made things more creepy. Her Light Medallion glowed around its housing, trying to contain further problems, but it was visibly taxing, even for Sage magicks.

Whatever was in there wasn't good for Kae. She had to get out soon, but from what she knew of telepathy in the Sacred Realm, breaking such a link at this time would not be wise.

Suddenly, it was worth thinking about considerably more.

Undead were shambling into their general area, and from what she understood of them, the scent of blood only made things more attractive. Closing her eyes briefly and taking a whiff, Kae had some of that mixed into the sweat...what the hell was going on inside that thing's mind?

"Kae, if you can hear me, you need to wrap it up in there. You are in danger. The village is under attack!"

Earth shook underfoot. Death's stench only got stronger. She had to keep the wretched away from Kae, maybe give her some more time.

Before they got too close, she gave herself some Shadow reinforcements with a brief kata. Six doppelgängers ran out and went to work on Elly's behalf. Her hooked kunai on chains did the rest. They didn't make much noise. Neither did her decoys. They didn't seem to hurt these creatures much, but they did allow her to go around to different groups and drop bodies for the second time. It worked after she somehow lived through the lake, and somehow she'd figured out how to expand upon the clone functionality...

These looked unlike any she'd ever seen before. What were these things?

Kae, Lovecraftian Mindscape, Day 3

Creepy child-like giggles filled Kae's ears repeatedly as the ginger-haired warrior woman kept dying. How did her sword get to the past? And who was wielding it? Why did her death keep warping her mind and bothering her so much? And what was that pain in her gut?

Everything in this space smelled of death in various stages. Entrails, viscera, brains, bile, worse. Of the millions of ways this person was murdered, every odor permeated and assaulted Kae's senses.

Colors started to invert in her vision, flickering chaotically. Static also flickered, distorting everything. She could comprehend speech playing backwards. She could hear the woman talking, taunting the forest girl...her cadences and accentures were Sheikah. Her stances mirrored that of Jaden's, too. But she was not dressed as one, and the Shadow Folk did not widely utilize Sentinel training until about two hundred years ago, when the Patriarch was inducted...

Sheikah did not have red hair like that either.

"What did this woman do to you that you hate her so deeply? You are making this seem as though it is my fault, because she is Sheikah, as am I."

She could hear Elly shouting, but could not make out what she was saying at all. And things only continued to get more visibly unstable. The thought noise only got more intense; it would be difficult to remain here for long.

Chamdar Taliesin, Hidden Kakariko, Day Three

"To think what our Light would do in the Sacred Realm, Talesin. We smite in the name of this land!"

Arcs of blazing sunlight burst forth from Mastigos' Deku staff, lashing in multiple directions. One disintegrated the toppled Golem’s hewn leg as more undead separated themselves from the husk. Others made craters amidst the Kakariko grass as they scoured away more of the undead taint.

"I gather more Light to put an end to it, and await your signal to dispense retribution!"

Balanced precariously upon its one good leg, hunched over so that it would use one arm to hold itself aloft, the Golem raised its free arm, flexing and unflexing its pilfered fingers. But rather than attack, it snatched a redead scuffling past and lifted it into the air, unaffected by its paralyzing shriek. In an instant, the Golem crushed it in that fist, taking the mess of dead flesh back into itself.

Healing itself by resorbing its minions. The wounds that his assault had made began to knit themselves together before his very eyes. From the stump of its knee, a new limb began to form. From its arms and shoulders, new tendrils began to sprout, wriggling sickly in the open air, growing again toward a length at which they could plunge themselves back into the earth and begin to spread anew their taint.

Chamdar backed off, his luminous spear blade spent and his staff once more a staff. The holy energies still suffused him, but even for a Scion the curse of age was not wholly lifted. Between his fights in Sirius’ laboratory and now this, his limbs were leaden and the cuts and bruises he’d taken ached painfully.

He opened his mouth to speak, but found that what issued forth was little more than a rasp. The lightsong, it appeared, had taken its toll. The divine tongue was not meant to be uttered by mortal kind. Not even one such as he. It always extracted its price.

The Golem snatched another passerby, a stalchild this time, and dangled it head first into its mouth, using free arm and teeth to pull it apart at the hip. The top half vanished down its gullet a moment later, consumed to fuel the creature’s return to full strength. The skeletal legs disappeared down its throat a moment later.

All the while, it cast an eye past Chamdar, who was watching in horror. It seemed to sense something about the newcomer, the Terminian with his spectral wraith, all cloaked and hooded, with a phantasmal scythe held crosswise in both unseen hands. The hem of that wraith’s cloak rippled as it seemed to float above a patch of dry earth soiled by congealed blood and the rended limbs of dry corpses. Chamdar too could feel a grim aura about the thing, an essence of bleak gray—cold storm-winds rising.

A reaper. It was death he sensed. Death of a different sort.

The hordes of undead, perhaps sensing the nature of this newcomer in their midst, shrank back from it. The archers and mages continued firing arrows and fireballs into the press, but their bombardment was largely ineffectual.

The reaper, though, that seemed to have a profound influence on the undead horde. One sweep of that scythe-blade, tearing through dead flesh well beyond arm’s reach, and a pair of wailing gibdos not only fell, but turned to ash where they stood, reduced to piles of dust and rotten rags in the dirt as their wails seemed to hang still in the air like a lingering echo.

Forcing the words out of his burning throat, Chamdar croaked to the other two:

“We need to end this here! Herd this filth back toward the Golem!”

“But will that not hasten this creature’s return to full strength?” The Celestial asked, even as he continued to let his light build.

Chamdar shook his head. “If we can put this thing back together, then we can end it with one combined strike!”

Seishi, HK,Early Morning 3

“Ok Sir, we’ve started gathering all of the lamp oil we can find. Now what exactly do you want us to do with it?” Sergeant Major Koma asked his commander as they coordinated the town’s defenses.

“Poor it on the road leading towards the village, we’re going to light the trail on fire when the Twili approach. That should slow them down a bit. Plus it will light up the battlefield for our archers. Oh right, Seishi pointed up towards the cliffs over the town’s tunnel entrance. “I want every archer, no, everyone who can use a bow well enough on that cliff. I want to make the most of this bottleneck.”

Koma was a bit skeptical of that order, “You sure you want everyone. Even with that bottleneck we might not have enough to hold them from breaking through, and when they do it’ll be too dark to climb down and they won’t be able to fire down without hitting our own people.”

Seishi didn’t show a single hint of concern, “Line the cave with torches and keep the phalanx columns just outside of the light. As long as the light holds out I’ll be able to hold that tunnel by myself until dawn.”

“Not that I doubt you but what if one of them gets a lucky shot on you?” Koma asked.

“That’s why I still want to phalanx behind me.” Seishi grinned. “Anyway, I’ll be in my tent, let me know if you run into any trouble.”

Seishi, HK, Morning 3

“Nayru be praised I never thought I’d see they day. You are doing paper work.” Laynnei jested as she entered her husband’s tent.

“Field Commissions and Non Commissioned Officer appointments. They still tend to only give me ‘trouble makers’ so everyone’s a bit under ranked. I’m short on leadership positions because of that and need to get this figured it out.” Seishi replied.

“It is almost as if this leadership thing suits you. And to think you spent all those years avoiding it. All though I had hoped your new rank would afford us more comfortable quarters,” she said as she laid down on the nearby cot.

“Colonel doesn’t mean what it used back during the Imprisoning War. That and we did lose the castle, again.” Seishi left his desk and sat down on the cot next to his wife allowing her to use is lap as a pillow. “But no, I don’t think is suits me, I just feel like I have to put in the extra effort. This unit I’m building, it’s worth it. I feel like I have to make sure it succeeds.”

“mMmmm... I’m glad you found something you enjoy. The war’s almost over though,” she said as she started to drift off to sleep but and a short moment realized the implications of what Seishi was saying and gained a second wind. “You want us to stay in Hyrule.”

“I do, but not just for the special forces and not just for me. Phoenix won’t be able to maintain a human for much longer and I owe it to him help fill the void,” Seishi explained.

Laynnei wasn’t foolish enough to take that at face value, “Is it really because you feel obligated to Phoenix, or is it because you feel obligated to your family’s old duties?”

“Both,” He responded without even without even giving it a second thought, “but more than just that. It’s because I owe it to our family too. The kids deserve to rejoin the world, but they won’t without us out of guilt. And is seems like a good time, the length of this war has given them time to start building lives and forging bonds. Plus, don’t act like you don’t enjoy helping in the hospital. Otherwise you wouldn’t be half asleep after pulling an all nighter.”

Laynnei attempted to play coy, “That was your son’s doing. He asked me to help patch up the Light Warriors who were injured in ways normal doctors couldn’t deal with.”

Seishi easily saw though his wife’s BS, “Who were all up on their feet by midnight. You, however, worked past sun up, until you finally exhausted. You can’t fool me honey, I know you actually like helping people. It’s why you became a healer in the first place.”

“You know full well that is a gross over simplification,” she fired back but quickly relented know that he was right, “but not untrue. I suppose it is time we returned to the world; I do have one condition though. Phoenix has wanted Senshi to join the black ops for a long time, both because he’s a good fit and because it might help him come to terms everything he’d had to do. I tend to agree with him on that and told him he should start grooming him for it back when the war started. The only problem is you; Phoenix won’t ask Senshi to join because he thinks he’d be betraying you. If you want us to stay in Hyrule you have to let this happen.”

Seishi was visibly annoyed by the terms, “Help him come to terms? How, by throwing him farther into the darkness? By subjecting him to the same things that haunted Nahc till the end of his life?”

Laynnei shook her head, “Nahc was a child who witnessed the most horrible things anyone had ever done in a war that was started by one man’s greed. Senshi’s a man who needs to realize the darker things he’s done to shorten wars and protect people he cares about weren’t wrong.” Seeing he husband was still unmoved she reached up and touched her hand to his cheek making him look her in the eye, “You know this is right, he will never find peace if he can’t embrace his shadows and see that what he does with it is good.”

Seishi let out a deep sigh before finally reluctantly relenting, “I guess it can’t be helped.”

“Good,” she said back in her usual above it all tone, “now that we’ve settled that I can finally get some sleep. You should too since you plan on fighting all night long. Your paper work can wait now that you will apparently have years to get everything in order.”

Seishi just smiled as wife drifted back to sleep. He tried to do the same but just as he started to nod off a random Sergeant bust in the tent in a panic, “Sir! We’re, oh I um… excuse me.”

“I am going to erase the part of his brain the lets him talk.” A still mostly asleep Laynnei mumbled.

“Please don’t,” Seishi quietly pleaded before turning his attention to the messenger. “Well, what is it?”

The now flustered sergeant began to stumble through his report, “We’re under attack, but not by the Twili. It’s a bunch of zombies, sir. The man with the wings and the old wizard have been holding horde off by themselves so the vanguard has been hold fast and continuing with the battle preparations for tonight. Sergeant Major Koma wants to know if we should engage though.”

Seishi showed little concern, “An Angel and Chamder should be perfectly fine against a few undead. There’s no point in exhausting the troops before the main event. No wait, tell Koma to send the Special Trainees. It’ll be good experience for them.

Guerrier, HK, Morning 3

“Ah man, ah man. I can’t believe we have to fight a zombie horde. Ok, you can do this Red, you can do this.” Private Shirt mumbled to himself psych himself up to join the fray. He was about to run in ahead of the rest of the Special Forces trainees but was stopped by Guerrier placing his hand on his shoulder.

“Red, was it? Why don’t you let my two friends jump in first?” Guerrier look at his bodyguards and motioned towards the enemy horde. The two gargantuan men smashed their palms together and let out an earthshaking battle cry. A second later both their bodies became engulfed in flames and they charged into enemy like Balrogs bursting forth from the blazes of Hell.

Guerrier addressed the entire training squad, “Those two won’t be able to distinguish friend from foe for a moment so its best if the rest of you stay back. Those who can attack from range should do so, but I need everyone else to protect a circular area around me of about ten meters in diameter. I will use that space to prepare an attack that will all but destroy the entire horde. It shouldn’t take long but if their miasma taints the area it will slow things down. Red, I need you to personally guard me from any enemies that may break through or dive-bomb from above.”

Private Shirt was a bit apprehensive about his roll, “Don’t you want one of the heavy armor guys for that?”

“No, they need to hold the line. I need someone quick on their feet like you. Don’t worry, I’ve place a divine mark on you that will help protect you from attacks. Now...” Guerrier took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. In that moment Red felt something odd. He could quite pin it but it was almost like a tension was released from that air. On top of that he could swear the eye slits in Guerrier helmet dimmed. It was almost as if there’d be a faint yellow glow coming from his eyes that he only just now noticed once it was gone.

Guerrier place his hand on the ground beneath him and a faint golden radiance began to emit from the soil, “…this will take a few minutes.”

Winter's Herald

Taden Horwendil, Upper Eldin, Night 3

It was slow going among the canyonlands, but night impeded the dark interlopers none. Deep in the folds of the Eldin ridge, they moved swift and silent. Overhead, the stars revolved across the nocturnal arc slow and steady, leaving slivers of silver light along the lines of their armor, and their steel. Under foot, whispering ripples of water dripped through cracks to form treacherous puddles and creeks, threatening to snatch them at a toehold and bear them down into the rapids clamoring breathless below. With their gloved and gauntleted hands, they clutched rocks and pressed their chests through narrow walls, moving vertically over the jagged outcrops as much as beside.

“We have no maps of these shadowlands, but they would be of little use down here,” the scout said from a perch, crouched above the muddy chasm the others filtered through in a line. “The Shadowfolk built this stronghold with more than brick and mortar in hand.”

“All maps lie, given time enough,” the elder swordsman, a trusted strategist among the nine, replied. He brought up the rear of the line. “And all great holds have a breach.”

“Quiet,” Taden hushed the men. After hours in the cracks of Eldin, he had grown short with their muttered words in the mirky Twili tongue. “Allow me to concentrate.”

As they clung flat to the wall of a crevice, he bowed his head and let his eyes fall half closed. In time, the thin outlines of objects hanging in the starlight gave way to a faint texture of air rising and fall through the canyons. Extending one hand, he felt the damp currents of heat and cold shift above their heads. He gradually deduced the icy cold paths of the riverbed below, and the warmth of a gathered army in the ridgelines beyond. At last, he felt what resembled the piercing sting of flame, and he clenched his fist shut in the open air. His eyes closed completely, and his mind opened to the eyes of a scorched and tortured prisoner.

”Is this what has kept your inner fire burning?”​

As quickly and quietly as the voice had come to him, it—or she?—faded from Taden's hearing. He opened his eyes, and found the cloaked and hooded visors of his men trained on him throughout his trance.

“We go north from here,” he said. “They are holed up in a gorge above the river’s bank at its widest bend. They are many in number.”

All at once, they melted among the dusk of the shadowlands again, and made their way north into the night.

Taden Horwendil / Upper Eldin / Night 3

”Sire, come quick! You will want to see this,” one of the Twili scouts whispered down to Taden. He climbed a short outcropping that overlooked a wide stream in the canyons, and saw it running into the mouth of a low cave. In the dark of night, he could just discern the wake of a line of small boats creeping along the current, floating quietly into the depths of the cave.

When his eyes adjusted to the distance, he could see two long ferries sailing towards the cavern, each with a strange demonic figure carved into its bow—one with a cloaked skeleton holding a large bell in either hand, the tails of the cloak flapping in the breeze, and one with a stone griffin’s head atop the bowsprit, its stone talons bearing bells that hung just below the water’s surface. The vessels moved without sails, and the gilded bells made not a sound. As they passed, he saw a red-eyed skull carved into the back of the first ship, and the unmistakable Weeping Eye of the Sheikah carved into the last.

“An underground river?” Taden mused.

“They are relocating their civilians,” the scout observed. “And part of their forces as well, it would seem.”

“But where are they going?” Taden wondered, waving the other scouts near.

“More trickery from the Shadowfolk,” another scout muttered. “Those are Sheikah boats. They must have gotten word of our advance.”

“We can still turn this to our advantage,” he said. “You two, follow those ferries to wherever they lead, and learn whatever you can without being detected.” The two he had spoken with nodded, lowered their hoods, and sidled down into the rocks to make their way downstream. They unraveled grappling hooks from under their cloaks and made ready to latch onto either ship at the stern.

“And you two, return to Captain Ryssdal at the Bridge gate, and warn him of the Hylians’ movements.”

“Yes sir, Lieutenant,” two more whispered in unison, vanishing into the shadows as quiet as the wind.

“The rest of you, with me. We will strike the Hylians in their hold while their numbers are divided, and leave the army to attack when we know where their forces are greatest.”

He opened his hand, and the Twili insignia emblazoned on the chest of his Dusk Mail gave a faint indigo glow. Along the rock wall behind them, a portal opened up leading back to Ryssdal’s location. He ushered the reporting scouts back to the Bridge through the warp, then clenched his fist to collapse the portal and returned to his men.

With the last of the boats out of sight beyond the cave, Taden and the five remaining scouts drew their knives, and made way for the wooden docks where the vessels had departed. They ran along the edge of a steep incline leading up from the water’s edge, and broke from the main road to weave through the crevices surrounding the settlement. In the distance, he saw the tunnel leading into the Hidden Village at the far end.

“Fan out along this central canyon and secure the ridgelines. They’re expecting an invasion, not a raid. Wait for my signal, and I will draw their fire in the canyon’s heart.”

As he spoke, Blue Fire glinted in his eyes and glistened off the drawn blades of his Twili shock troops, but he suppressed it and drew the hood of the Hated Cloak over his head to melt once more into the night.

Taden Horwendil, Eldin Province, Night 3

As the last of his men disappeared into the weaving tunnels of Upper Eldin, Taden felt a sudden weight shove down on his heart, followed by a great lightness like he had never felt, at least not that he could remember. He looked down at the demonfaced mask on his hip, lifting its vacant glare up to see a new, silver light in its eyes, like the brilliant light of the moon. He felt a strange connection to the silver glimmer within its eyes, as if someone from a past life called out to him across time, across the sky. It was tied somehow to the airy lightness in his breast, and when he pulled his eyes from the shimmering Yeti Mask, the air in his chest seemed to sink as well.

“Strength of the Shaman’s Mask, once marred by Storm’s wake, now senses its sister in the sky…,” he chanted in the Yeti tongue, a verse from an old curse to rid foul winter weather, although the night was clear. Black fangs of rock stabbed upward into a dark sky, deep and blue, veiled in infinite stars. At the apex of the stars, the moon shone brighter than it had in weeks, giving a sheen of white to the cliffs and boulders and blackening all the more the sharp shadows underneath.

Alone at the lip of a cave, Taden knelt down and closed his eyes. Amid the swirling forces that clouded his mind, he needed to rest and focus. From the impression of a woman’s voice that had come to mind before, tortured—or torturing?, to the veiled moonlight behind his Mask’s eyes, unseen--but intimately remembered, Taden discerned the work of a primordial presence he had come to know in the Light World: the Shadowfolk. Prior to the foundation of a living realm in the Light, that dark essence had given life her stage; and while the forces of Dusk in this era grew ever closer to overtaking the Light, who knew what secrets lay hidden in her ancient Shadow?

The time had come, he decided, to unleash his own manifest power on this realm, to tip those scales on which the Light World balanced, between Dusk and Shadow. Deep in meditation, he began to conjure the image of a great, black storm in his mind, until the pale moon above began to funnel its light through a ring in the center of a thunderhead gathering over the canyons. Opening his eyes, Taden rose to his feet, and heard the first far toll of thunder echo across the rock, and heard the crack of lightning flash and shatter among the clouds. Like the underbelly of a roused bull, stormclouds rolled over the night sky with moonlight in their midst, but the threatening rains did not yet break, only filling the air with a damp, electric tension that pressed against the rock, and somewhere against the flesh of the hidden Hylians.

With a new glint in his narrow eyes, Taden looked down through the canyon at his feet to a small opening in the distance. Hand at his hilt, a crackling energy sparked from his sheathed sword in faint waves, as ripples of cold, glowing smoke drifted from its length. Beyond the crevice at the far end of the canyon below, he felt the warmth of the mass of mortals thronged together in their hold, and tasted their hot breath, their panicked pulses on the thick air. At last, he had reached the breach of the Hylian holdfast, and now only needed to wait for his assassins to infiltrate the secret corners of the base, from ridgeline above to tunnels underground, before he launched his attack.

Taden Horwendil / Hidden Village (Old Kasuto) / Night 3

From the cracks and crevices of the ridgeline overlooking the Old Kasuto barracks, stars dusted the night sky and silhouetted a line of archers. The five Twili guard left in Taden’s contingent had taken up positions along the ridgetop, trained on the front gates and barracks built into a tunnel at the end of a canyon. They drew their black longbows back with Blue Ash powdering their arrows; with each archer ready, they awaited their lieutenant’s signal, and it came.

From the pitch black of the canyon below, a line of crystal blue light suddenly pierced the air, and Taden’s wet eyes flashed as the ignited Aurgelmir blade lit his bloodthirsty grin from below.

He charged forward, and with a swipe of his sword the lamp oil spread across the tunnel leading into the barracks caught fire, flames of indigo and cyan leaping to the passageway’s low ceiling. A spiraling inferno of Blue Fire formed in the tight passage, with Taden charging forward underneath, until he emerged on the other side in a column of flame that crashed through the phalanx of guards assembled at the sound of the sudden explosions.

Blue Fire rained down on the barracks from either side of the town’s central lane, as Taden’s archers released their enchanted arrows from above. As plumes of flame shot up from the tops of buildings with claps of thunder, he darted to one side and disappeared into the nearest of two guard towers. He sheathed his sword and vanished under a veil of Dusk that emanated from his cuirass as he ducked into the shadows.

“Torches! We need torches down here!” a panicked voice cried out.

Heavy boots and armor clanged in every direction as guards ran down from the upper stories to ground level, each carrying a lit torch kept at the ready by their bedside. But as they ran towards the door a fell wind suddenly gripped their company, and the light of each torch was snuffed out. Then, with a blue flash from the center of the room, Taden sliced into the closest guard’s back with his longsword, and pivoted to drive the point of his dagger into another’s neck. He kicked the second victim in the chest to free his knife, then sheathed it to wrap both hands around Aurgelmir’s hilt.

All the guards lunged at him like a crazed mob in the dark, until he spun around and blasted them all aback with a bright wave of jagged ice shards that stabbed into the ground in a glowing circle. He lowered his blade down slowly, then snapped it high in the air, and every shard of ice in the dirt floor whipped up and stabbed the guards in their necks, their stomachs, and in the flanks of their thighs. When the first ring of guards fell, he raised his sword again as the outer ring shrank back in fear, and with a warcry he stabbed his blade directly upward, bringing a column of Blue Fire shooting through the wooden ceiling into the floors above, until it erupted through the roof in a tumbling geyser of flame.

Taden appeared at the night flame’s apex, his robes and armor bristling in arctic winds, and he set his sights on the second guard tower. He sprang into the air at a high angle, then came crashing down on the second tower sword in hand, crushing the highest story of the structure and setting the next level aflame. Without stopping to attack the guards exposed in their quarters, he leapt from the collapsing wreckage to the ground, bringing a mantle of Blue Fire with him as he closed in on the lane of the central village.

Bounding into the air once more, he alighted a low rooftop with a nimble touch and darted along the spine, spreading the arctic fire behind him. He threw cold blasts in his wake at the buildings opposite his, and saw his archer’s Blue Ash-tipped arrows pierce the rooftops and burst into sapphire flames, setting off a chain reaction of icy explosions.

When the pale flames reached their peak over the town, and a conflagration of ice seized the aether of Kasuto, Taden charged directly into the wall of flames and behind them disappeared. The remaining townsfolk and guards tried to smother the arctic arson, even as the tops of buildings now reduced to ice began to crack and shatter into frozen ash. They strived in vain to stop the scourge from spreading to their ancient township, but the Twili’s arrows rained down from every angle like a wrathful winter.

While the chaos ensued, Taden made way for the caves at the back of the village leading to the underground river, where two of his other Twili guard had snuck into earlier. On the far side of the flames, he bent his head low and charged ahead under the oily smoke of the Dusk Mail, sheathing his sword and its light until he melted into the night’s shadows, past the radius of the freezing flames at his back. Under cover of darkness, he slipped inside the deep caverns, and began hunting the ferry that bore the evacuating Hylians.

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