Disclaimer: Link, Zelda, Gannondorf, Hyrule, and anything that Nintendo has
created, are all Nintendo's sole property, aka, not my stuff, don't sue me.
.................. This indicates a change in point
of view. There has been no shift in time, though there may be a shift in
location. This technique of changing the point of view makes it easier for
the author to show what different characters are thinking and feeling.
~*~*~*~*~*~ This signifies a change in place and or in time.
Accompanying such a shift is usually a change in point of view as well.
Finally, this marks the beginning and end of a flashback
Author's Note: This fanfic was written with the
assumption that the reader has played Ocarina of Time or is, at least, familiar
with the storyline and characters. Enjoy the story!
A warm east wind caused the trees to gently sway and the
leaves to rustle quietly, whispering a soothing lullaby of nature. It was
night. The forest was dark and quiet. Through the canopy, the full moon was
partially visible, hovering in a sea of blackness like an island in the sky.
Though the foliage was dense, some of the moonlight still managed to
penetrate the trees and cast its beams to the forest floor. However, the
tranquil night was not enough to mask the deadly conflict that moved about
the wood. Two figures dashed from the darkness and through a pocket of the
moon's illumination. For a split second, they were visible in the light,
only to disappear again as their hasty movements returned them to the safety
of the shadows.
Sweat beaded on his brow as he ran. The evil was all around
in the forest. It swept through the trees like the wind, moving swifter than
any human could pace. Fatigued, the lead figure motioned to stop. There
would be no more running. The enemy was too close and too many in numbers.
Also breathing heavily, the second figure flanked the first, melting deeper
into the shadows by pressing close to the base of one of the trees. After a
short nod from the first figure, they both drew their swords, moving
carefully and silently, making sure the reflective metal avoided the beams
of moonlight. The slightest glint of mirrored light could betray their
positions and their already diminished element of surprise, something they
could not afford. However, those who pursued them took no such precautions.
Spying from behind the trees, Neilson could see their approach.
Moving in a line that stretched through the wood, five
medrian knights strode through the underbrush. Here and there, they would
become briefly visible as they broke through a beam of light. A glimpse of a
shoulder, the tail end of a cape being tugged by the wind...the dark gleam of
a drawn sword.
"This is it," Neilson whispered to his companion. "We fight
now." Neilson saw the movement of a nodding shadow acknowledging his words.
"I'll attack to the left, and you cover my flank, just like always." Another
nod. May the Gods of Gailins be with us, Neilson prayed. We must
succeed here tonight. To fail is to die and dying is not what I had in
mind. Neilson looked the other way to where he knew was the edge of the
woods. Just beyond that lay a field and a river. Once they crossed the
river, they would be exiting Gailins and entering the kingdom of Hyrule.
Only a hundred meters to the edge of the forest, Neilson thought.
But what good will that do us? To cross the field to the river is a good
hour's journey. We've been lucky to evade capture with this forest as cover.
There is no way we can traverse the field without being found...and what would
keep the medrian knights from pursuing us if we got to Hyrule
Neilson felt a surge of determination. The entire
kingdom is counting on us succeeding here. We cannot fail them. This is our
last chance. To fail is to die; to die is to fail. Failure is
unacceptable. Once again, he glanced at the second figure, still holding
steady at his post, waiting for the signal to attack. The movement of the
trees swaying back and forth caused the beams of light from the moon to
shift throughout the wood. The light skittered briefly across his face. The
boy's brown hair was wet with perspiration. His green eyes glinted with
determination and fear. He stood perfectly motionless apart from his nervous
fiddling with the leather strap on the hilt of his sword. He's only
fifteen, Neilson thought. I feel bad for him, his parents being
killed by the invasion and all. It's sad what this world has come
The sounds of snapping twigs and shuffling leaves drew
nearer. Neilson took one deep breath, and then another. Relax and
concentrate, he ordered himself. Hugging the base of the tree, he
strained to hear for their approach. While staring blankly ahead, it finally
struck him how beautiful the woods were. The heavenly rays of moonlight
flitted about in random patterns, offsetting the thick, dark silhouettes of
proud trees. The forest was at peace, calm and content.
Next time I get the chance, Neilson promised, I am
going to find time to just sit and admire the beauty of this world. Of
course, he often planned to do that, and other such things, whenever the
circumstances got to be as dire as they were. Spend time with nature, time
with his wife and children, time with his friends and hobbies.
Once we get back to Gailins, I'm going to take the family
on a picnic in the woods. Marcus and I can spend the afternoon fishing and
I'll end the day by taking Lenoir and Garret to the pub and buying everyone
a round! Neilson smiled at the prospect. It would have to wait, though.
There were slightly more pressing concerns to be dealt with at the
The sounds of footsteps grew closer. Neilson guessed they
were only about twenty meters out. Frustrated, he took another slow, deep
breath and held it. It always took him time to adjust when he was forced to
deal with an enemy without his magically enhanced abilities. Given normal
circumstances, he could have sensed their presence and exact location. Now
his only option was to hold his breath and listen. He could hear the
footsteps move around the forest, becoming farther between each other.
They must be spreading out, he figured. We will still have to
attack them first though, that will...what? The sounds of footsteps
stopped. Neilson listened harder. Nothing. He looked to his left. His
partner still stood, waiting, then turned and gave Neilson a worried look as
he too noticed the absence of crunching leaves. Neilson returned the
expression and then chanced a quick look from behind his tree. The forest
beyond was empty. The moving beams of white acted like searching lights, but
turned up nothing.
Glancing back at his friend, Neilson got a glimpse of his
face as the light once again shifted in the wind. His countenance had an
expression of terror burned on it, his green eyes wide as saucers. "Neilson!
Immediately, Neilson flattened himself to the ground, just
as a long, black broadsword swept through the tree that had been his cover.
Had he remained standing, he would have been caught by the blade as well,
and shared the severed tree's fate. With a grunt, the medrian knight shoved
the tree over, attempting to crush him, but Neilson rolled away, jumping to
his feet and bringing his sword up in defense.
Two medrian knights drove from out of the darkness,
attacking from both sides. Neilson dodged the attack from the right and
blocked an overhead swing from the left with the flat of his sword. To
defend against the medrian knight's massive strength, Neilson was forced to
brace the sword on his other wrist, resting it on the flat plate of his arm
guard. With great determination, he managed to throw off the medrian
knight's blade. Losing its balance, the knight stumbled back, giving Neilson
just enough time to charge the behemoth and strike at its unguarded
mid-section. However, Neilson's hasty attack left him open to a strike from
the right, and the other medrian knight exploited that vulnerability.
The black sword sliced through the air as Neilson attempted
to spin out of range. Sharp pain carved itself into Neilson's body as the
slash penetrated the armor on his left shoulder. Not wasting a moment and
blocking out the pain, Neilson formed a ball of yellow magic energy in his
right hand. Still spinning about, he launched it at the medrian knight with
all his strength. The knight simply batted it away with its armored
gauntlet, sending it high into the air, tearing through the trees and out
into the open sky. The knight advanced still. Oh, shit! Neilson
thought. They're stronger than ever!
Two more knights approached from the right. Where is
that boy!?! Neilson growled to himself. I told him to flank me to the
right! The answer came as a glowing yellow dagger flew from the darkness
and imbedded itself in the helmet of the knight who was farther to the left.
The other knight stopped and refocused its attention on the new threat,
turning just in time to catch a second flying dagger...in the neck. It fell to
the forest floor, and like its companion, disappeared in a fury of black
Yes! Neilson silently cheered. Three down, two to
go. Unfortunately for Neilson, the two that were left decided to team up
and attack him rather than split up and engage both adversaries. With his
left shoulder screaming in protest, he swung wide and hard to his right,
forcing one of the knights to jump back. Using his momentum to bring him
about, he spun and lifted his sword up to deflect the other medrian knight's
attack. The swords impacted with force, sending sparks and chips of metal
into the air. The black blade of the medrian knight received not even a
scratch from the powerful encounter, whereas Neilson's sword was blown a
huge dent in its sharp edge. Recovering from the overextended attack,
Neilson skillfully drew a dagger from its side sheath and flung it into the
faceplate of the medrian knight as he spun. Ducking just in time, the
warrior managed to evade the machete, but not Neilson's rebound attack. The
medrian knight collapsed to the ground as black flames fed upon its body,
leaving no trace of its ever existing.
Even with this small victory, Neilson knew he had made a
fatal error concentrating too much on one enemy. Red-hot pain seared through
his right side, even as he rolled forward. The fifth knight swung its evil
blade again and knocked Neilson's weapon from his grasp, sending it
cart-wheeling into the darkness of the forest. Moving sluggishly now,
Neilson still attempted to battle, fading right and back as the medrian
knight attacked again and again.
Out of the darkness, another glowing dagger shot through
the air, but this time, the medrian knight's fist intercepted it. The blade
was deflected and skipped off the knight's armored gauntlet to embed itself
in a nearby tree. Angered, the knight let loose a dark ball of energy. It
raced through the woods and Neilson heard a muffled cry as it found its mark
in the darkness. Neilson took advantage of the knight's distraction. Lunging
to the tree with the dagger in it, Neilson wrenched it from the wood.
Charging it up with all his magic energy, he whipped it at the knight as it
turned about. The attack was so powerful that it tore through the knight's
armor and flew straight through its chest. The final knight fell and burned
away, screaming until the black fire evaporated its voice. Neilson fell, but
"Neilson!" a worried voice shouted. "Neilson! Are you all
"Over here, boy," Neilson groaned. The young warrior
stumbled to where Neilson rested on the ground. The boy's body was scratched
and cut all over, and his shield had a large energy burn mark on it.
"Are you okay? Can you walk?" the boy questioned, worry
creeping over his face as he got a good look at Neilson's wounds.
"Listen up, boy," Neilson ordered, ignoring the question.
"You have to continue on to Hyrule and deliver the king's message. You are
our last hope. The knights will have reinforcements coming shortly, and you
cannot allow yourself to be caught by them, you hear?"
"Yes, I know! But what about you Neilson? You have to come
with me!" The boy's eyes watered as tears began to form. The pleading tone
struck at his heart, but Neilson knew that he could not go on.
"Boy, don't worry about me. I just have to rest a while.
I'll keep the knights off your back while you deliver the message. Then I'll
meet you in Hyrule when I get the chance."
"But..." the boy began, not wanting to leave his friend alone
in the woods.
"There will be no discussing it!" Neilson shouted, the pain
in his side growing. "You must go now!"
"Okay," the boy agreed, "but if you don't..."
"Now!" Neilson demanded, looking him directly in the
eyes. "Don't make me tell you again."
The boy nodded and took off in a dead sprint to the edge of
the woods, looking back only once to see Neilson motioning for him to move
faster. In seconds, he was lost from Neilson's sight, hidden by the trees
and the darkness.
I guess I will never be able to go on that picnic now.
Neilson thought with a heavy sadness. But at least I will be able to
enjoy this one last glimpse of beauty before I sleep...
The wind sung a song without words, pulsing, soothing
Neilson's mind. Neilson's eyes, growing heavy, took one last look at the
beautiful night. The rocking trees and the moving beams of light made the forest
look magical and surreal. A single tear fell from Neilson's eye as it closed for
the final time, and he became one with nature.
Morning sunlight bathed the field in golden radiance.
Stretching for miles, the tall grasses swayed in the breeze, turning the
vast pasture into an ocean of movement. Very few shrubs or bushes grew in
the field - nothing to break the sea of natural grace and beauty. However,
the lone figure sprinting across the serene plain gave no notice to the
splendor of the landscape.
A bridge could be seen in the distance. The babbling stream
it crossed curved its way through the field, quietly making conversation
with the rocks in its bed. Only a few minutes more and he would be in Hylian
territory. The sight inspired his pace as the distance to the bridge quickly
diminished. I will not fail you, Neilson, the boy thought to himself.
The king's message will be delivered and then I will come back and get
Unexpectedly, a freezing wind swept through the air and
chilled the young boy's bones. The temperature had not changed, but the
barometer of evil skyrocketed. Mere meters to the bridge, the young soldier
stopped and turned to look behind him. Nothing was there, but the feeling of
dread remained. The source of the shift in ambience revealed itself as the
boy turned around to face the bridge again. Directly between him and his
path to Hyrule stood a solitary medrian knight.
"Out of my way," the young warrior demanded, drawing his
sword and shield. The knight responded by drawing its weapon as well. "If
that's how you want to play it then, prepare to die!" Dashing
straight to the knight's position, he charged up his sword with light
energy. The blade was enveloped in a shimmering aura of yellow magic.
Lunging with a powerful two-handed jump attack, the boy slashed downward at
the knight's helmet. The medrian knight caught the attack high with a simple
horizontal block. Bolts of energy sparked upon the impact of metal. Landing
on the ground, the boy rolled to the left and dove forward. The medrian
knight's blade sunk deep into the ground he had cleared just a second
earlier. Still rolling away from the knight, the boy skillfully converted
his inertia to cartwheel to his feet, finishing off the maneuver with a back
flip to land in a crouched defensive position with his shield raised high
and sword stretched out behind him. Unimpressed, the knight went on the
Moving with surprising speed, the knight charged and struck
at an angle from the high right, clanging into the boy's shimmering blade.
It's sword blocked there, it quickly retaliated and struck again, this time
from the lower left. Connecting with the boy's shield, the knight was forced
to fend off the glowing yellow sword with its gauntlet. Sparks flew as the
blade skipped off the armored fist. The boy's sword flew wide from the
impact and almost wasn't quick enough to block the next attack, a forward
thrust aimed at his heart. Parrying the blade and spinning it off high to
the right, the boy spun and cut down hard at the knight's left shoulder.
Again, the armored gauntlet caught the attack.
Rebounding and spinning the other way, the boy quickly
struck at the knight's right side. His glowing yellow blade was stopped
short of its mark by the medrian knight's black sword. Averting the blade's
position, the knight spun the boy's weapon back to the left. Trying to
recover from the force, the boy drew his blade back up in a high vertical
defensive position, a bad move. Swinging with force, the medrian knight
advanced and smashed its armored fist into the sword, catching it with so
much power that it was ripped from the boy's grip and sent flying towards
the river. It landed just short of the river's bank and lay there, its edge
half buried in the sand.
Unarmed and with his shield as his only resource, the boy
was driven back as he blocked the knight's alternating attacks, the sword
from the right and the swinging gauntlet from the left. Ducking out of the
way, the boy managed to dodge a high cut of the knight's blade. However,
instead of moving back to strike from the opposite side again, the knight
spun in a complete circle and came back from the right with doubled speed
and power. Bracing his shield on his shoulder, the boy shifted all his
weight into the blow, but stood no chance. The sword hammered into the
shield and threw the boy five meters left. Struggling to get back to his
feet, the boy turned to see the medrian knight's massive bulk towering over
him, casting its shadow and blocking the sun from his view.
I'm sorry, Neilson, the boy cried in his mind. I
have failed you.
The medrian knight drew up its obsidian blade and struck
with lightning swiftness.
The sound of clanging metal forced the boy's eyes to open
again. His vision returned just in time to see a silhouetted figure drop
kicking the medrian knight in the chest. Staggering back, the knight slid
into a defensive posture with its sword pointing to the boy's right.
Turning, the youth saw his savior.
Standing with his shield at his side and sword raised at a
forty-five degree angle from its low position, was a blonde haired warrior.
He wore no armor, but a simple green tunic and gray leggings. On his feet
were brown leather boots, and he sported a long green cap that ended about
halfway down his back.
"What is your business here and why are you attacking this
boy?" he the newcomer demanded. The medrian knight, as always, didn't
respond. It simply stood there, studying the new threat that had emerged.
The green warrior stood his ground as well, unflinchingly starring back at
the knight. Then, in a slow and deliberate movement, the medrian knight
returned its black blade to the sheath at its side. Formally, it drew
forward in a polite bow, as a man would do when courting his lady. Both the
young boy and the green warrior watched, bewildered, as the knight
straightened, and disappeared in a flash of black light.
"I don't know what that was all about, but I sure am happy
he's gone," the green warrior spoke, unsure of exactly what was going on.
Returning his sword to the scabbard on his back and neatly placing the
shield over it, the green warrior turned and offered his hand to the boy,
who was still on the ground. Willingly, the boy took it and was hoisted to
"Thank you," he stammered, still in shock from the close
call, "for saving my life."
Casually, the green warrior accepted the thanks, "No
problem, I'm just glad that I was here to help." Turning to scan the rest of
the field, he asked, "You don't think there are anymore of those things, do
"I don't know," the boy answered. As the green warrior
turned back to face him, the boy noticed a symbol on the warrior's shield.
It looked like the crest of the Hylian royalty. "Sir!" he asked, becoming
excited, "are you of the royal family of Hyrule? I have an urgent message
for your king!"
The green warrior laughed. "No, not exactly, but I can take
you to him if you would like." Smiling broadly, the warrior extended his
hand in a gesture of welcoming. "My name is Link, welcome to Hyrule!"
Smiling back, the boy happily took his hand. "Thank you,
sir. I come from Gailins. My name is Lauren."
Two figures walking side by side approached the castle from
the east. One was a familiar face to the land of Hyrule. His unique style of
clothing made him easy to pick out in a crowd, along with the sword and
shield he carried everywhere, even if he was only going to the market to buy
some bread or milk. Another reason he was readily recognized was the fact
that he was the hero of Hyrule, a living legend of his time. The one who
walked with him, however, was obviously a stranger, given away by his
A dark blue vest was partially visible from under the light
cuirass he wore. The plated armor covered his midsection and right shoulder,
wrapping down and around his right arm, stopping at his wrist with a thick
metal guard. The sword he carried hung sheathed at his left side, clicking
against his armor as he walked.
His hair was brown and thick, ruffled by the wind and
looking as if it hadn't been combed forever. Piercing brown eyes told a
story of pain and hardship, a tale of horrible loss. However, in light of
his mission almost being complete, his step was lighter and carried more
energy than it had in months, despite his immense fatigue.
That didn't make up for any of it though. He was still just
a boy - a boy thrown unwillingly into a war, just like Link had been years
ago. Being forced into such conflict at such an age was an injustice, a
subject Link sometimes dwelled on in the dark hours of the night. Looking at
his new friend, Link could see something...a part of himself, in the young
boy: something he wished he didn't see.
"Wow!" the boy exclaimed, "It's even bigger than the one
back at home!" Link smiled at Lauren's amazement as Hyrule castle came into
view. "How tall is it?" he asked. Link thought for a moment.
"I have no idea," he confessed. "It never occurred to me to
"Anyway, exactly who was that guy after you and what did he
want?" Link inquired. "What kind of trouble are you in?"
"That was a medrian knight. He wanted to kill me, so I
couldn't deliver the king's message."
"Wow," Link commented. "What is the message that you have
to deliver? It must be really important."
"It concerns the whole country!" Lauren bubbled, "For
months, Gailins has been under attack by those medrian knights! The king
knows that they are being sent from Kerah, but we can't declare war on them
unless he can prove it." Lauren sighed heavily, "But it doesn't matter
because their army is much bigger than ours anyway."
"I see," Link mumbled, thinking the situation over. He
vaguely recalled the kingdoms of Gailins and Kerah. They were considered to
be lands of mysterious magic and war. Several times a century, they would
clash in battle over territory, neither one ever gaining any major advance
in the end.
That was not something Hylians often had to worry about,
being that they were rather isolated from other nations. Bordered either by
mountains or desert or water or seemingly endless plains, Hyrule had few
visitors from other nations when compared to Shiloh or Mecca, two of the
largest trading centers in the world.
Gailins and Kerah both were a good month's travel east of
Hyrule. Trading over such a distance was costly, and profits were near
impossible to turn after such a trek, so it was rare indeed to ever find
goods from the area. In fact, the only thing Link recalled about either of
the two lands was something he read in a Hylian history book.
It had been a rainy afternoon and he had been bored. Link
was still a boy and the castle had been new to him. By chance, he had
stumbled into the royal library. The massive room was stacked wall to wall
with thousands of leather-bound books, some relatively new, some nearly
ancient. Each bookcase stretched from the floor to the towering ceiling,
about three stories up. Link couldn't believe he had never been in this
room, given its enormous size.
Directly across from the entrance was a series of huge
windows. Rain batted against them and the dark clouds stretched out far
beyond the horizon. The storm didn't look to end anytime soon. Lightning
struck through the sky, illuminating the soggy Hylian countryside displayed
through the glass.
"Ah! Young boy, what knowledge do you seek?"
Link had been so surprised that he had knocked a stack of
almanacs over off a table. The hunched over old man had seemingly appeared
from nowhere. "W-what?" Link stuttered.
"What knowledge do you seek," the man had repeated, not
paying attention to the books all over the floor.
"Umm, I'm sorry about the books," Link apologized. "I
didn't know anyone was here. I was just bored and I've never been in this
"Ah. I see." The man squinted at Link. The spectacles he
wore were thick and oval, with a chain linking them to a pocket on the front
of his simple brown robe. "I see that you have the spirit of an adventurer,
young boy. Is that what you seek?"
"Huh, adventure?" Link asked, confused by the little man's
strange questions. "I guess...like I said, I was just bored and wanted to see
what this room was. If you would like, I can leave."
"You may do what you wish, but please take this book." The
old man handed him a heavy, brown leather-bound book.
"The Greatest Battles in Hylian History"
Surprised by the weight, Link had to grasp the book in two
"The knowledge you seek is in there. In the past we find
the future. It is an inescapable cycle. History repeats itself. To know the
future you must first know the past..." With that, the small man picked up a
stack of books and disappeared through a door between two towering
"That was weird," Link mumbled to himself. Not wanting to
dishonor the strange man's offering, Link plopped himself down on a purple,
velvet couch next to a lamp and opened the book to the first chapter. He had
become so enveloped in his reading, he was on chapter twelve about the great
crusades when the princess of Hyrule, Zelda, finally found him.
"And what are you doing in here?" she questioned, her tone
uninviting and her hands on her hips. It was obvious that she had been
looking for him, and the library was probably the last place in the whole
castle she had thought to check.
"I'm reading, Zel," Link stated, absorbed in the book.
"Obviously," Zelda shot back, annoyed. "When did you become
so interested in reading anything?"
"What do you mean Zelda," Link teased, looking up and
smiling, "I love reading. Knowledge is a powerful tool. To know the future
is to know the past. History repeats itself and stuff. You know that."
The jest had annoyed Zelda even further. "Whatever,
book-brain. I've been searching for you because father has some dignitaries
from Merhaven, or wherever, and he wants you to be there at the
"I believe that would be Marhaven, Zelda," Link
corrected. "They were our allies in the second great war against the dreaded
clan of Mignesh in the ninth century. But I'm sure you already
"You know what, Link," Zelda spat, "stop reading. I liked
it better when you were stupid." With that, she turned and left, shouting
over her shoulder that the banquet started at six and that he'd better be on
time. Link could already sense that being smart could be fun. Not knowing
what to do with the book, Link had taken it to his room in the castle. His
quarters were sparsely furnished, plain and simple, just how he liked it.
Link set the book on his nightstand, planning on reading more after the
boring ceremony and banquet. Link was glad he had read it after Lauren asked
his next question.
"Is it true that knights from Kerah saved Hyrule from an
Link nodded. "Yes, that was about twenty or so years back.
They helped us out in our war against Ganondorf."
Lauren looked up to Link as they walked. "What's a
Ganondorf?" he asked innocently. Link couldn't help from laughing.
"Just a very evil man, who is now gone."
"As evil as Stebos?" Lauren asked. It was Link's turn to
ask an ignorant question.
"Who's Stebos?" The name sounded familiar, but Link
couldn't put his finger on it.
"Another evil man. He's the high general of Kerah. Well, he
was. But now we've been hearing rumors that he has returned from his exile
and is back causing trouble. The king is very worried. Last time Stebos was
in power, he started a great war and almost toppled Gailins. We were lucky
to finally catch him though. They threw him in this prison called the Sacred
Realm or something." Lauren stopped to think. "I think that is what happened
at least. My brother told me a long time ago but I wasn't even born at the
time it happened." Link tensed up at the words "Sacred Realm."
"Where did they put him?" Link asked.
"The Sacred Realm," the boy repeated. "Well, at least I
think that's where he was sent. Like I said, I was too little. Nobody talks
about those times anymore. I guess they were just too scary or something. My
parents never talked about it either, even though my dad fought against
Stebos..." Lauren trailed off.
Link was too rapt to notice the boy's obvious distraught.
The Sacred Realm... he thought. Interesting...how would the people in
Gailins know about that? Finally noticing the awkward silence, Link
"Yeah, well anyway, Hyrule was fighting against Ganondorf
and we were losing badly. From what I read, a group of Kerahian warriors
just happened to be traversing the country for something at that same time.
Ganondorf didn't know who they were and assumed they were on our side. He
attacked them but they fought him off. Apparently, they were very well
versed in the ancient art of Mei'Kerah magic, and took out his troops with
little effort. They saved us and beat Ganondorf back into his own territory.
He didn't attack for months afterward!" Link thought a moment, straining his
memory for anything else he remembered from the book.
"They just happened to be there at the right time I guess,"
he admitted. "Anyway, ever since, we've been in their debt, but they have
yet to call us on it..." Link paused. "Well, at least that's what I read in a
book somewhere. At that time, I was just a little boy living in Kokri
Forest, and I didn't have a clue that there was even a world out here."
The duo entered crossed the drawbridge into the town and
Link led the way through the bustling marketplace.
Lauren's voice changed tone, one that sounded heavy with
defeat. "Oh, well, since he did you that favor, I guess there's little
chance of you helping us fight them then, huh?"
Not wanting to dampen the boy's spirits, Link decided to
answer safely. "I don't know. That will be the king's decision, not mine."
The conversation died as the duo left the marketplace and approached the
gates to the castle.
"So Link, where's that ten kilo fish you bragged you were
going to bring back?" the sentry at the guardhouse poked.
"Give me a break, Darren," Link started, "I didn't even get
to cast one line when this boy here comes out nowhere being attacked by a
"Right, Link," the guard snickered. "My, my, your excuses
just get better and better."
Lauren piped in to verify Link's story. "He's right, sir.
If it hadn't been for Link, I would have been killed!"
Darren frowned. "So, what you say is true then?"
"Yes, sir," Lauren answered.
"Well then, you're one lucky young lad that good 'ole Link
was in the neighborhood. Why were you being attacked?"
"He has a message for Harkinian," Link answered. "That's
where we're heading now actually."
"Well, go on ahead," Darren urged, swinging the gate wide
open. "The counselors from Newsbrook just left, so I think his majesties'
meeting is finished."
"Good," Link said, "Because from what I have heard, this
message is of grave importance." Lauren looked up at Link, and then to
"It is," he chimed in, "very important!"
"Then don't let me slow you down!" Darren said, stepping
from their way.
The path leading to the front entrance of the castle was
worn and well trodden, the feet of countless dignitaries and visitors having
crossed its surface. No matter the importance of the visit, whether it be to
deliver the daily supply of milk, or news of a terrible war or disaster,
each message started from the same gate and traversed the same ground,
equals in that aspect.
Link couldn't begin to fathom how many times he had walked
the trail over the years. However, it was one of only a few times he strode
across the proud walk with the specific intent of seeking audience with the
king. With a slight nod to another of the guards standing sentry by the
gate, Link and Lauren made their way into the main hall. A gasp of stunned
awe escaped Lauren's mouth as his eyes were greeted with the sight.
The vaulted ceiling of the foyer shot upward about twenty
meters. That gave the room ample space on the towering stone walls, space
that was occupied by hundreds of vibrant, colorful tapestries. Every
tapestry represented a village or town or city in the Hylian kingdom, with
each showcasing what that location was renown for.
On the wall straight ahead, was the tapestry representing
the agricultural village of Naptown. The vivid greens and rich browns of the
background cloth were offset by a basket of produce and a large sheath of
wheat, symbolizing the fertile lands and open fields of the area. The ripest
and largest fruits and vegetables were found in Naptown, and always brought
in a fair profit when their cart was wheeled to the Hylian marketplace.
On the far right wall, the deep scarlet and violet banner
from Mishel displayed a suit of shining armor behind a crossed broadsword
and mace. Mishel was home of the most skilled blacksmith clan in all of
Hyrule. Their weapons and armor were praised for their great strength and
reliability, giving their town the nickname "Home of the Iron Artists," for
it was true that they could do anything with metal. Link's own sword and
shield were presents from the town, forged by the oldest and most skilled
smith in the guild.
For a short while after saving Hyrule from the evil
clutches of Ganondorf, Link had spent some time traveling throughout the
country. In those many months, Link had made scores new friends and
experienced life as a free man, not a child cooped up and confined in the
Lost Woods. His travels took him as far as the East Coast and all the way to
the Illian Mountains. There, on the mountainsides, Link stayed in the snowy
Mishel village. Not long after arriving, Link heard stories of a terrible
ice yeti that had been preying on the village's thinning herd of mountain
sheep. For weeks, the monster had been hunted, but as the days drew on, and
more sheep kept disappearing, the people were beginning to lose hope. The
sheep were an extremely important resource to the residents, who relied on
the wool for their winter clothing.
As always, Link gladly offered his services to help. After
a week of waiting, the ice yeti struck once again. On the ready, Link had
confronted the monster, fiercely battling it to retreat up the mountain. As
Link pursued the monster, he found out the reason none of the villagers were
able to slay it. The ice yeti was a rare and enchanted creature, able to use
it's magical abilities to influence the weather and control the snow and
Following the beast higher and higher up the mountainside,
Link found that he had made a grave mistake. He had gone too far, finding
himself in the yeti's home territory. Manipulating the frozen ice and snow,
the yeti had formed mystical ice figures, each one of them glowing with a
frigid blue light from within. Link had dealt with the frozen statues in the
Ice Temple, but nothing had prepared him for the challenge brought forth by
the ice yeti.
Each of the frozen attackers wielded an ice blade, deadly
scythes as hard as steel. Link's trusty sword could hardly chip the blades,
which instantly healed their wounds in the cold weather. Retreating from the
battle, Link managed to escape with his life, barely.
Limping along with his damaged blade and dented shield, he
somehow crawled back to the village. While recovering from his wounds and
severe frostbite brought on by the ice swords, the elder blacksmith, Mirrah,
ordered his understudies to search for the most pure of iron ore, deep in
the mines of the mountains. With the utmost care and skill, Mirrah worked to
transform the materials into the finest steel ever fashioned.
By the time Link was back on his feet, Mirrah had finished
sculpting the new armaments. Wielding the new blade, Link immediately knew
that he had the upper hand on the ice yeti. The detail in the craftsmanship
was so acute, it was amazing. Custom fit to Link's hand, the blade was long
and relatively thin. Link had been worried about its durability until he
first tested it. It was rigid and firm, yet solid and light. Mirrah had
assured Link that the razor sharp edge could never be dulled.
The shield proved to be an equally exquisite piece of
equipment. Made of the same metal as the sword, it was remarkably light and
could absorb a tremendous amount of damage. Nothing Link had encountered
since his adventure to Mishel had been able to put a dent in the defensive
Needless to say, Link had easily dispatched of the ice
creatures and the yeti with the new weapon. As a display of their immense
gratitude to his selfless deeds, the town had given him the sword and shield
That same sword was now resting in its scabbard on his
back, the shield placed protectively over its polished edge. Mirrah's claim
had stayed true to its word for all the years Link had battled with the
weapon. It had never chipped or cracked, unlike the blades of unwary stalfos
or other monsters, which broke and shattered upon impact with Link's steel.
It had been a long time since then. Link was now a man, a man charged with
the heavy burden of defending Hyrule and its citizens.
Every time he entered the hall, which was quite often, he
was always overwhelmed with the memories of his travels. It had been years
since his last visit to Mishel or Capeport or Saintsans. Link promised
himself that someday, he would go and revisit the towns that had showed such
kindness to him, see old friends and catch up on the local news and
Taking a turn down a hallway to the left, Link pushed open
the door to the main audience room. In the chamber, stood King Harkinian,
shaking the hand of the final few senators who were leaving the meeting.
Upon seeing Link's entrance, the king smiled, then took on a concerned
expression as he noticed the look of solemnity that possessed both faces of
"How does it go?" the king greeted them in a cautious
manner, waving to the last of the dignitaries as they left the room. "Who do
we have here?" Lauren bowed to the king.
"It's truly an honor, your highness," he politely
"Thank you," Harkinian said. "And for what do I owe this
"Sir," Link cut in, "this is Lauren from the kingdom of
Gailins, and he bears news of a conflict that is ravaging his land."
"Well then," the king mused, "perhaps we should sit and you
explain this conflict." Harkinian took a seat at the head of the
table. Link took a chair to the right and Lauren to the left.
"Well, it all started three months ago," Lauren started.
"The meridian knights attacked us for no reason! They first struck at
Lemura, then at Harloem, and then at Greenwald! All in the same week! After
"Whoa, slow down, boy," Harkinian interrupted. "Easy, calm
down for a minute." Lauren stopped, but was wiggling in his chair. "You said
something about meridian knights? Who are they? To whom is their
allegiance?" Lauren looked down at the table.
"We don't know, your highness," he finally answered. "Our
best bet is that they are being sent from Kerah, but we have no proof."
"Okay," the king stated, nodding his head, "then what is it
that you want us to do exactly?"
"I have come to request your aid in the war against Kerah,"
Lauren stated, in a different type of voice, formal, like he had practiced
the phrase over and over.
"But you offer us no solid evidence of Kerah's involvement
in the attacks of your country." Lauren just shook his head. "I cannot
declare war on another nation if they are not implicated in any wrong
doings. I am sorry," the king apologized. Lauren looked as if he could
"But wait," Link countered, "Gailins needs our help. What
kind of country would that make us if we just stood on the sidelines while
they are being torn apart by an enemy? We could at least extend some aid to
them without involving Kerah."
The king thought a moment on the issue. "I just don't know
about that, Link. Sure, it would be the noble thing to do, but how long will
the people of Hyrule support a war against an unknown foe, an entire nation
away? Once we start losing soldiers, the people will begin to question
whether we should even be getting involved in other countries' affairs. I've
seen it happen before. It could end up in a major political and military
"I see," Link said, "but actually, I don't see. I know that
Hyrule's welfare is your primary concern, but what of the innocent citizens
"Yes, I feel for them, Link," the king answered. "But
Hyrule simply cannot enter into a war against a phantom enemy. From what the
boy has said, it seems that the people of Gailins have failed to mark Kerah,
or anyone else, as the culprit of the attacks after three months."
"But if they could, would you help them?" Link asked,
The king opened his mouth, then closed it. "That
"What?" Link asked, his tone betraying his shock at the
king's words. "Depends on what?"
"Link, it is too complicated to explain," Harkinian
answered, his tone changing to one Link couldn't get a read on. "It just
depends on who is attacking them and what their motives are."
"I can see how that might effect our actions, but I still
don't see why we can't simply help a nation in trouble. How would you
explain it to the innocent citizens of Gailins that we can't help them?
Because, what? Our populace will not support an extended military campaign
against a phantom enemy?"
"I think," the king said, "that you summed up the entire
thing quite well."
"Is that it?" Lauren spoke, quiet and withdrawn. Link had
almost forgotten that he was sitting there. "That is your answer, your
Harkinian turned to the boy. "I am afraid so, Lauren.
Hyrule simply cannot help you." Link starred angrily at the king, but then
noticed Harkinian's expression. The decision was obviously not one that the
king wanted to make. His eyes were distraught, conveying sincere sorrow for
"Then, as a citizen of Gailins, would you please make a
formal statement so I can report back to my superior?" Lauren's use of words
turned cold. "You said that you could explain it to the citizens of Gailins.
Please explain it once to me. I have shared in Gailins' hardships. My
parents and older brother were slain by the medrian knights in the first
month. Neilson, our closest family friend, died while delivering our king's
message here, along with other soldiers. I am all that is left of twenty,
sent here to beg your aid, and only because Neilson let me come because I
had nowhere else to go." Tears were running down Lauren's face now. "So my
only request is to know why you won't help us. There must be more reasons.
King Favar said that you are a compassionate, caring man. He said that you
would help. Is he wrong? You will not help us?"
Harkinian looked away, out one of the side windows. The sun
was high in the air, signifying the middle of the day. When he finally
turned back, he wore a new expression on his face. He turned to his right.
"Link, you are going back to Gailins with Lauren. If you can pin these
attacks on anyone, report back and I will mobilize our forces to defend
Gailins." Joy surged across Lauren's face, evaporating his tears.
"Thank you, thank you your highness!" he cried, almost
bouncing from his chair, "The people of Gailins are forever in your
"Thank you for reconsidering, Harkinian," Link said. "If
you have no more for us, then I will find a room for Lauren to stay the
night. We can leave first thing next..."
Lauren cut Link off in mid sentence. "I can leave now if
you want!" his tone revitalized and energetic. At the same time, a large
growl escaped his stomach. He looked embarrassed at the noise. "Well, I
mean, if you guys have any food here I could have before we go, if it's not
too much trouble...I'm kinda hungry..." His pleading green eyes looked up at
Link chuckled at the request. "As I was saying," he
continued, "Lauren and I will be departing for Gailins immediately following
lunch." Harkinian just nodded, not finding humor in the young boy's request
for food, as if he was already having second thoughts about his
"Just be careful," was all he said. Link and Lauren stood
and made their way to the door.
"Thank you! You're just as great as King Favar said!"
"I look forward to your return," Harkinian replied. Link
and Lauren exited the room, and the doors shut, leaving Harkinian to his
Link had never moved so fast in his life. Trees whizzed by
in a blur, the green and brown hues melding together in a massive wall of
color. Lauren was just ahead of him, streaking back and forth across his
line of vision, dodging the many trees in the forest back to Gailins. The
last time Link had experienced any speed that even compared to how fast he
was traveling now was when he had used the Pegasus boots, a long, long time
ago...and this was still much faster. Link remembered the problem he
had come across at the castle - Gailins was over two hundred kilometers
By horseback, it would have taken days to get there.
However, Link had been reminded exactly why Gailins was said to be a land of
mysterious magic. Lauren had given him a silver medallion to wear around his
neck, saying he would become a hundred times swifter once wearing it. Now,
with the medallion, Link could outpace any horse by many times. It almost
felt like he was falling off a cliff, but sideways instead of down, like
gravity had been skewed and was pulling him forward. It was an exhilarating
experience...but ended unexpectedly. Link could feel himself slowing down.
Is the magic wearing out? he thought to himself. Suddenly, Link's forward
movement came to an abrupt halt. It felt like he had run into a stone wall.
Staggering back, he strained to keep his balance.
"And that," Lauren said, leaning against the trunk of a
tree to keep his balance, "is why we don't run away from them..." A troop of five
meridian knights stood in their path, along with another form wrapped in a black
"How foolish it is to be running on grounds that are not
yours, little one!" the cloaked leader chastised. "And who is your green friend
Still dizzy, Link answered him. "I am Link, a warrior
from the nation of Hyrule."
"Ah, my Link friend," the cloaked figure mused, "you are
a foreigner here; I suggest you find your way back to your own lands, quickly."
"I am sorry,' Link stated, his vision clearing, "but I
am under orders to escort this boy back to Gailins."
"Really? Under orders from who?"
The figure thought a moment. Lauren had rushed to Link's
side and drawn his sword, nervously eyeing the medrian knights. Link stood his
ground, with his sword still sheathed. "Right, but unfortunately for you, this
boy is under arrest," the leader of the knights finally spoke.
"Under what charges?" Link demanded.
"Trespassing. This land belongs to the kingdom of under
the rule of Lord Stebos, and unless you want to be arrested as well, you had
"You lie!" Lauren shouted. "This land belongs to
Gailins! It always has!"
"Then it is your word against mine, and I seem to have
more support to my case than you do to yours."
"Come on Link, let's show these fools not to mess with
Gailins!" Lauren urged. Link put his hand up, motioning to Lauren not to move.
Link tired to negotiate. "It seems that my friend and I
may have taken a wrong turn. I am sorry we have caused you this inconvenience.
We will leave this property immediately..."
The leader of the meridian knights cut him off. "Yes, you will leave, but the boy stays. He has committed a
crime and must face the consequences."
Link scoffed at the remark. "Trespassing hardly
qualifies as an offence that requires consequences. Clearly the boy is just a
little mixed up. He has had a rough day."
"I don't make the laws, I just enforce them," the leader
"Liar!" Lauren shouted. "Kerah has no laws! Your only
laws are those which benefit themselves!"
The leader laughed. "Who ever said we were from Kerah?"
"You can't play stupid with me!" Lauren shouted.
"Calm down, Lauren," Link warned. "Let me handle this."
"There is nothing here to handle, friend," the black leader cut in. "You will give us the
boy and leave."
"It seems to me that you do not understand what I am
trying to say," Link retorted, growing annoyed. "My orders are to escort this
boy to Gailins."
"Careful stranger," the leader warned. "You are on thin
ice. You had better reevaluate your situation. It seems like you have difficulty
comprehending our laws here. If you interfere, you will be taken care of."
"I have my orders," Link replied.
"And I have mine," the leader answered back. "And since
you are interfering in the law, you must be dealt
with. I will take the boy, by force if necessary. Do not make me do that."
"I have my orders," Link repeated.
The leader stood silent, thinking. "Then you leave me no
choice." He motioned to the knights, who had been waiting patiently the entire
time. Pointing at Lauren, he ordered them. "Take him."
The meridian knights began to move forward.
"Come on Lauren! Run!" Link tried to move using the
medallion's magic, but didn't get very far before running into another invisible
"Link, we can't run," Lauren shouted. "The meridian
knights create an energy bubble that blocks most types of magic, including this
medallion's magic. We can only fight!"
"Thanks for telling me!" Link yelled back, turning to
face the oncoming enemy.
The knights advanced in a V-formation, with the tip
aimed toward Lauren. Their sheer size and menacing black armor were extremely
intimidating. Link had yet to battle one by himself, but his brief encounter
with the one in the field earlier that day had shown that they were adversaries
not be to take lightly. Lauren didn't know it, but he had been closer to death
than he probably had realized.
It had taken all of Link's strength to deflect the
attack that would have killed the boy. Even so, Link had faced off with more
powerful foes. The meridian knights were still smaller than the Iron Knuckles he
had clashed with in the war against Ganondorf...but not by much.
"You will pay for what you have done to my country!"
Lauren yelled. Link looked at him, just in time to see him take a dagger from a
hidden sheath on his side. Link felt the power from Lauren grow as he charged
the blade with magic energy. Launching it like an arrow straight at the leading
knight, the surprised knight had no time to react. It buried itself deep into
the knight's breastplate. Collapsing, the knight fell to the ground and
disappeared in a fury of black fire.
"How did you do that!?!" Link asked, amazed.
"With magic, how else?" Lauren answered quickly, drawing
his sword. "Ok now Link, I will need your help here. We are closer to Kerah now,
so these knights will be even stronger!"
"What?" Link yelled. "What do you mean they will be
stronger?" Link didn't hear if Lauren answered, because he had to dodge the
black orb of energy that was speeding his way. The ball of energy barely missed
Link's body and tore through the woods behind him, smashing through trees and
boulders. Flipping through the air, Link dodged two more attacks and landed on
his feet. So, is that how you want to play it then?
Link thought. Getting ready for the next wave of attack, Link readied himself
with his sword.
Two knights broke off from the formation and moved
toward Lauren, leaving two to remain focused on Link. They stood with the hand
with the gauntlet on it raised. Black energy, starting from their shoulders,
rushed down their arms and blasted from their fists toward Link. This time he
was ready. Swinging his sword, he caught both blasts and sent them back to their
originators. Clearly, the knights hadn't expected this. They tried to move to
avoid their redirected attacks, but moved too slowly. The black energy that was
meant to kill Link instead turned on its creators, sending them to the forest
floor to their demise.
Link turned to be astounded. Lauren had dispatched of
his two knights before Link had, and was now glaring at the cloaked leader.
"Now it is your word against ours," Lauren commented,
turning the cloaked figure's own words against him. "So what are you gonna do
about it?" The cloaked figure answered by vanishing into thin air.
They had to walk the final twenty kilometers to Apen,
the capital city of Gailins. The whole way, Link asked all sorts of questions
about everything he could think of, and Lauren struggled to answer them. The
first thing Link asked about was how Lauren had dispatched of the two medrian
knights with such ease when Link had originally found him unable to defend
against one of the foes near the river. The conversation had been extremely
enlightening and confusing at the same time, lasting over ten kilometers of the
"How did you defeat those two knights so quickly?" Link
"Simple, I just used my magic," he answered, which
didn't answer Link's question at all.
"I mean, when I saw you by the river, why did you have
so much trouble against that one knight?" Lauren thought about it.
"Well, there are a couple reasons. First off, after
running to Hyrule for two weeks, it gets kind of tiring. Setting up camp just to
have to pack up and leave again because the knights are too close; covering
ground extremely slowly without our magic through a thick forest, while all the
time under attack. It can quickly wear a person out." It almost sounded like
sarcasm, but not quite. "Also, since we were far from our lands, our magic was
already weakened from the distance. Except those knights, who are still pretty
strong even if they are far away from Kerah."
The insight made sense to Link, but the part about the
magic still confused him. "Why does the distance from Gailins effect your
abilities?" he had questioned.
"Because the earth is magical. It gives us all that we
Lauren sighed on the inside. He was having a difficult
time explaining how his world worked to Link. He had never met an 'outsider' in
his entire life before and it seemed alien to him that Link didn't understand
the magic of his land. It had always been a part of his life. The people he
lived with understood it. He tried to explain it better.
"This is how it works," Lauren started again.
"Everything about this land is magical. That medallion you are wearing is made
from metal mined deep in the earth. The earth is magical, and so is everything
in it. That is why it gives you special abilities. The magic creates life; it
nurtures us. It grows the crops that we eat, and flows in the water that we
drink. We live on the land and it gives us its power.
"Now this power is given to the land by the Gailian
crystal, a gem that holds the energy of the land. It is kept in the castle and
heavily guarded. If that crystal were to ever leave Gailins, our world would
slowly die. However, that is why people from Gailins never venture too far from
home. It makes them weak and tired, like when we were going to Hyrule. Normally,
we could have made a journey of that distance easily. However, because we were
so far from Gailins, it gave us a lot of trouble.
"For those in the group that were older, the absence of
the magic under their feet hit them hard. They had never experienced life
without the ever-present feeling of the land supporting them. That is why the
meridian knights overtook us so easily...I only survived because I don't depend
on the earth as much as they did..."
"But you can use that magic now, can't you?" Link asked.
"Yes, because we are on Gailinian lands, I am much
stronger! Being on foreign ground makes me feel slow and weak. You get me on
Gailinian lands like we are now, and I can take out a whole slew or medrian
knights, as long as we control the land."
Link was deep in thought. The way of life in Gailins was
odd, with all its magic and its 'earth energies.' After more consideration,
however, he struck that thought out. Link let out a small laugh at the thought.
Ironically, he used to live a lifestyle quite like the one that Lauren was
describing. In his few years living in the Kokiri forest, it was a known fact
that no one could ever leave the woods, or else they would die. The forest was
the life force of the Kokiri, just like Gailins seemed to be like for Lauren.
Of course, when Link finally found out that he was
actually a Hylian, he was given the opportunity to leave the forest. Link had
always known he didn't quite belong there. When the other Kokiri children would
talk about the forest speaking to them, he always would pretend that he could
hear it too, as not to be shunned even more by the others than he already was.
Link had known for a long time that he didn't quite fit
in. The only person who really had seemed to understand how he felt was his best
friend, Saria. When the rest of the Kokiri would talk about the forest telling
them of the upcoming danger of Ganondorf, Link had never heard a thing. None of
that really mattered though, since at that time, he was having terrible
nightmares of his own about Ganondorf.
"I think I understand what you are saying," he told
Lauren. Lauren nodded his head, probably in relief that he didn't have to keep
trying to explain himself. "So, you're saying that the power you live off of
comes from the land then?"
"Basically, yes. Everything we use comes from the land.
The older you are and the more accustomed you are to living off its power, the
harder it is to leave. Some people are so dependent on the land that they
probably would die if they got too far away. That is why land is so important to
us. We are always fighting with Kerah for more of it for that reason. They live
just like we do."
"Can't you just set your borders and live in peace
then?" Link asked, a very stupid question, but one that needed to be asked.
"No, the people of Kerah will never have peace. They
just want to destroy us and take all the land for themselves. They are wretched
barbarians. They will never be able to live in peace with their greed. As long
as we hold control of our lands, we will fight them to the end."
That statement brought up another question in Link's
head. "What is with controlling the lands anyway?
Isn't it all the same?"
"Can't you feel it in the ground?" Lauren asked. "Let's
stop here." They stopped and rested for a while. "Now just stand still and close
your eyes. Can you feel the power from the ground?" Link was surprised at what
he felt. He hadn't noticed it before, but now that his attention had been drawn
to it, the warmth and energy radiating from the ground.
"Yes, I feel it," he answered. Link was almost
mesmerized by the effect. "Wow," he commented, "I can see why you guys don't
like leaving here too much." Link opened his eyes and they started walking
"See, Link," Lauren said, "you got that nice warm
feeling because this is Gailinian land. If you were on Kerahian soil, it would
feel much different."
Link was beginning to understand now. "So is that why
you knew that we were on Gailinian land when we were stopped by the meridian
"Yup," Lauren answered. "You catch on pretty quick for
Link smiled. "Thanks. Would it feel different if you
were on Kerahian ground?" Lauren shuddered at the question.
"Very much so. It feels cold and draining, like,
like...I don't know. It's just very, very cold..." Lauren shivered again. "I'm
sure you'll feel it right when you step on it..."
Link nodded. Well, if I am going
to survive out here for very much longer, I had better learn as much about this
magic as I can, he thought. "How much longer until we make it to the city?"
"I'm glad you asked," Lauren proudly stated as they
cleared the crest of a hill, "because here we are!" Lauren thrust his arm out as
to display the magnificent city that stretched along either side of a river in a
massive valley. Small farms were dotted around the river's bank on the outskirts
of the town. Closer in were peasant homes, that surrounded the larger buildings
and acted as the transition between the rural countryside and the urban city
streets. In the center of it all stood a massive castle. It's towering spires
shot upward, reaching high into the sky, as if they were poised to pluck the
stars from the darkening sky. Silhouetted by the setting sun, the shadows from
the castle blanketed the town. Though it was not as large as Hyrule Castle, it
was impressive nonetheless.
Lauren and Link made their way down the grassy slope.
Across the fields, Link could see a farmer, his wife, and his children herding
the last of their cattle into the barn for the night. Stomping hooves and random
moos could be heard from the pasture. Lauren waved to the family in the field
and they waved back. Link wondered if they knew each other, but didn't ask.
Gradually, as Link and Lauren made their way closer to
the city, the scenery transformed from the grassy, open fields, into paved roads
of stone walled in by tall buildings on either side.
There were few people out on the streets. Even though it
was getting late, for a city of its size, Link thought it would be much busier,
with patrons emerging from restaurants and farmers entering pubs. The torches
that lined the street flickered, throwing shadows across the moist stone road
that was eerily empty. As they drew deeper into the city, many of the buildings
were two or even three stories tall. However, only about a quarter of the
windows were lit. The rest were cold and dark. Almost like he could sense what
Link was thinking, Lauren piped up.
"Most of the people who live here are fighting in the
war. They are stationed at the towns nearest to Kerah. I hope they are doing all
right..." Lauren trailed off, and Link didn't try to initiate anymore
conversation. The duo shortly made it to the gates of the castle. A quartet of
soldiers in full armor stood sentry at the entrance.
The blue steel of their armor threw off seemingly
magical reflections off from the burning street lamps. A yellow emblem of a
crescent moon and blazing sun was adorned on the upper left breastplate of each
of the soldiers, probably the royal crest or insignia Link guessed. Link and
Lauren approached them.
"I am Lauren Ashcroft Milliner of Larswoods Bay, member
of Expedition Force Journey One, requesting an audience with the king to report
on mission status." Lauren announced. Link was somewhat surprised at the
statement. It sounded so precise and military.
One of the guards laughed. Another one checked his
papers. "Expedition Force Journey One is commanded by General Markond. There is
no Lauren Milliner on his team list."
"I was an unofficial add on, late in the mission,"
This time, all the guards all laughed. "Right, kid,"
said the one on the left. "If that is true, why don't you run along and tell
General Markond to report himself?" The other guards slapped the soldier on the
back for the cruel jest, laughing. Lauren's expression was one of mixed
embarrassment and anger.
"General Markond is dead!" he yelled. "So is Lieutenant
Jerros, and the rest of the force. I am all that is left, and I have urgent news
for the king!" This made the soldiers laugh even harder, all but one. He studied
the sheets of paper in his hands. Tapping one of the other guards on the
shoulder, he pointed to a line on the paper, and then another. The guard stopped
laughing, starring at the paper. He motioned to the other two to come over and
look. They talked in hushed tones. The soldier with the papers approached Lauren
"How did you know about Operation Journey One? That
mission is classified. Lieutenant Jerros is stationed at Metros, he was not on
"Right, then you are misinformed." Lauren desperately
argued. "I already told you, I was part of the expedition into Hyrule. I am all
that is left of the task force. I have urgent news for the king!" The guards
still remained skeptical.
"And who is this you have with you here?" one of them
asked, pointing to Link. Link stepped forward, speaking for the first time.
"I am Link, royal ambassador from the kingdom of Hyrule.
I have King Harkinian's response to King Favar's inquiry. The message is of the
utmost importance and urgency to your current situation of war." Link surprised
himself with his military tone and precision. Maybe he was beginning to pick up
on this diplomacy thing.
The guards looked at each other, still unsure of what to
do. They drew together, whispering in hushed tones. Link couldn't make out what
they were saying. Finally, they broke from their huddle and the leader spoke.
"Very well, we shall escort you to meet with King
Favar." With that, the guard turned and opened the gate, motioning for Link and
Lauren to follow him. Two of the other guards flanked them on the left and right
while the fourth took up the rear, closing and locking the gate.
They walked the stone path that led to the main
entrance. The outer courtyard was filled with trees and colorful flowers that
gave off a warm, pleasant scent. The gray stone path wound around tall rock
planters that dotted the courtyard, each one containing streaming fountains and
decorated with colorful foliage. Trimmed bushes lined the path on both sides,
framing the walkways that meandered through the garden. After climbing up a wide
stairway, they emerged from the pasture of greenery at the castle entrance,
where two more guards stood duty. After a nod from the sentry leading Link and
Lauren, the two guards opened the large wooden doors and Link and Lauren were
led into the main hall.
Unlike the Hylian castle, the main concourse of the
Gailian castle was shaped like a wide cylinder with a ten-meter tall ceiling.
Red carpet led to the center of the circular floor from the front entrance. In
the middle of the room, the carpet divided into five different directions to
five different doors in the room, all of which were shut. Turning sharply, the
leading guard led them down the carpet that was furthest to the left. Interesting place to put the throne room Link thought.
One would have expected it to be the center door...
"Your highness," the guard proclaimed as he threw open
the doors, "news comes from Operation Journey One."
King Favar was a fairly tall man, moderately built, with
short, wavy red hair and a well-manicured mustache. He didn't wear a crown, or a
robe, or carry a scepter or anything else visibly royal. He was actually rather
plain looking for one of his title, wearing a dark blue vest, one somewhat like
Lauren's, with a red sash crossing from his right shoulder to his left hip, and
wrapping around his waist like a belt. Under the vest was a simple white shirt
with puffy sleeves. His baggy gray trousers hung past his ankles and rested atop
his glossy black boots. A sword hung sheathed at his side, but Link figured
that, due to its flamboyant design, it was only for decorative purposes.
King Favar was standing up over a large table that
stretched almost the entire distance of the middle of the room. It held numerous
candles on its surface, as well as maps, letters, and what appeared to be battle
plans. He was currently studying what looked like a map of charted enemy
The room itself was exactly what Link had expected any
throne room to look like, with the red carpet leading straight forward into the
rectangular room to end at raised platform where the actual throne sat. On
either side of the carpet, set close to the walls, were pillars holding up torch
pockets and tapestries. There were windows on the right side of the room that
faced to the inner courtyard.
A dim reddish purple light radiated from the windows,
signifying that the evening was quickly passing by. Link was almost tempted to
go over and peek out one of the windows to see if he could catch any little
eavesdropping spies, but restrained his curiosity. He was here on business.
"Well, it's about time we got some good news." King
Favar greeted. The guard at the door moved to the side, allowing Lauren and Link
to enter the room freely.
"You're highness!" Lauren exclaimed, rushing up to the
king. Quickly, he drew down to his right knee in a formal bow. "I have brought
news from Hyrule."
The king looked at him. "Who are you, boy?" he inquired.
Lauren didn't move from his position, his eyes still
fixed on the floor. He answered, "I am Lauren Ashcroft Milliner of Larswoods
Creek, member of Expedition Force Journey One."
The king looked down at him. "How do you know about that
mission?" he demanded. "That mission is highly classified."
"I was a last minute add-on, your highness."
"I didn't authorize that," the king countered. "Stand up
and look at me, boy," he commanded. Lauren rose and looked the king in the eyes.
"You look like you aren't a day over fifteen! I would never authorize a child to
take on such a dangerous mission!" Favar shook his head in disbelief. "Now tell
me, boy: how do you know about Operation Journey One?"
"I..." Lauren started, then stopped. He looked down at
his shoes in disgrace. "I am a friend of Neilson Cross. I begged him to let me
go on the mission because, you see, your highness, I don't have anything left
"Neilson Cross shall be reprimanded for bringing you
along with him on such a dangerous mission!" the king exclaimed. "Bringing a
child on a trek so far from the homeland! He could have put the entire mission
"Your highness," Lauren spoke, his voice full of shame,
"Neilson Cross is dead, and so is the rest of the team...killed by medrian
knights that pursued us from Kerah. I am the only one left." The king stopped
"How did you survive," Favar finally asked.
"It was just luck that I managed to get to the border of
Hyrule. I would have been killed, but Link here rescued me." Lauren gestured to
Link. The king refocused his attention, almost like he hadn't even noticed that
Link had been standing there.
"Your highness," Link spoke, politely bowing. "I am
Link, ambassador from the kingdom of Hyrule. I come bringing a statement King
Harkinian." King Favar nodded, motioning for Link to proceed. "King Harkinian
has decreed that Hyrule will aid you in your war, but only after certain
provisions have been satisfied. He has stated that the citizens of Hyrule, given
the current circumstances in Gailins, will not support an extended military
campaign here. From what we know, you have not yet identified who it is
attacking you, nor accumulated any hard evidence that it is the doing of the
kingdom of Kerah, or anyone else. If you can present Hyrule with evidence that
any party is indeed responsible for the attacks that have fallen upon your
country, Hyrule will mobilize its forces to defend you from the aggressor and
defeat them. However, until that party is identified, Hyrule cannot extend any
formal aid to your country."
King Favar pondered the message for a couple of seconds.
"Well," he finally spoke, "I guess that is the kind of response I should have
"But don't worry, your highness!" Lauren bubbled, "Link
was instructed to help us find evidence that Kerah is behind all the attacks!
He's a great warrior!"
King Favar turned back to Link. "Is that true?" he
"Yes, it is, your highness. I have orders to assist you
in finding out who is responsible for the attacks against your country." The
"Well then, I welcome you and your help. However, your
journey must have been long and strenuous. I will..."
Lauren jumped in, cutting off the king. "It was
strenuous! We were attacked by meridian knights on the way and...! Ouch, Link!
Why'd you kick me?"
Link cleared his throat, pointing to the king.
"Oh, I'm sorry, your highness," Lauren apologized. "You
The king smiled faintly. "Yes, I will arrange for a room
for both of you. Tomorrow, I will prepare a briefing for you with intelligence
we have gathered thus far."
"Thank you, your highness," Link said gratefully.
"Yeah! Thanks!" Lauren bubbled gleefully. The two were
escorted from the room. Lauren practically skipped out the door. Already waiting
in the main concourse was a castle servant. Link and Lauren followed her as she
lead the way down the red carpet to the door directly opposite the throne room.
Behind them, the double doors to the throne room closed. With that, Lauren
jumped up into the air.
"Hey, Link!" he called wearing a silly grin on his face.
Link couldn't resist from smiling himself. "What is it,
Lauren?" he asked.
"We get to sleep in the royal castle tonight!"
Link laughed at the boy's obvious excitement. "That we
do, Lauren," he smiled. "That we do."
"Lord Stebos," a cloaked figure reported. "News from the
mission to intercept the Gailins effort to reach Hyrule." A dark figure sat on a
throne. The throne was crafted from black iron, and adorned with powerful gems
mined from deep in the Kerahian soils. Intricate designs and patterns were
carved across the metal, forming curves that made the ornate seat seem to move
and flow with the lines.
"Report," Stebos ordered.
"Sir, it seems that Gailins has succeeded in contacting
the Hylian kingdom and are receiving aid from them. In pursuit of the final
remaining operative in their mission, we found that he was being escorted by a
warrior from Hyrule." Stebos raised his hand, indicating for the report to
"Well then," he pondered. "I believe it is about time
for me to call in an old favor... Jenove, we are traveling to Hyrule tomorrow."
Jenove bowed at the statement. "I will make the
necessary arrangements to do so, my lord."
Lauren sat on the bed, removing his armor and boots
while Link examined the room. The room was on the second level of the East Side
of the castle. The walls were adorned with oil paintings and solid colored
tapestries. Link looked out the window. Guards patrolled the grounds, up to the
tall stone wall that surrounded the entire area.
"So, Lauren," Link started, "I have a question for you,
but I think I already know what it is..."
"So, you figured out that I wasn't really part of
Operation Journey One, huh," he replied. It was a statement. Link turned back
from the window and nodded.
"Yes, and the guards at the gate were a dead give away.
So how did you find out about the mission if you weren't involved in it from the
"Well," Lauren started, "I lied about being part of the
mission, but it's true that my friend Neilson sneaked me along with them. He
told General Markond about me and that I was a good warrior. So I actually was a last minute add on."
Link thought a moment. "You are a brave young boy,
Lauren." Lauren turned a little red.
"It's true," Link replied. "Now if you don't mind, I am
exhausted. How about we call it a night?"
"Ok," Lauren agreed. However, Lauren still had a
question on his mind that he had to ask. "Link?"
"Mhmph?" Link answered, his face in his pillow.
"I have a question for you..." Link rolled over and
faced the young boy, his long blonde hair falling in front of his eyes.
"What is it, Lauren," he asked, brushing the hair away.
Lauren stuttered, then asked, "Where do people go when
they die? I mean, I've lost a lot in this war, and all the people I am close
Link knew where he was getting at, and didn't make him
say it. "I honestly don't have an answer for that question," Link admitted.
"Oh, ok," Lauren said, his voice now heavy and tired. It
didn't come to Link's realization until that moment that he didn't know when the
last time the young boy had had any real rest. They had departed from Hyrule
almost right after they had arrived. What a little
trooper Link thought. He's been through a lot.
"Good night, Lauren," Link said, blowing out the candles
on the nightstand.
"Night," Lauren responded, his voice muffled by the
pillow. The two warriors, one younger and one older, retired to their beds, and
slept till morning...
Harkinian was nervous. Very few people could ever do
that to him. He was the king of Hyrule and had confronted thousands of
dignitaries and other important people over the years without so much as
flinching. However, this time it was much different. The only other time he had
felt so anxious about a meeting was a long time ago, when Ganondorf met him
before the Great War. But now, he felt it again, the uneasiness in his stomach,
like the feeling he got whenever Link volunteered to cook for him and Zelda. He
was not going to enjoy this meeting. The door to the throne room was opened and
the caller announced the newcomer.
"Lord Stebos Darkedge of Kerah," the caller proclaimed
as Stebos entered.
"Your welcome is much appreciated," Stebos thanked
Harkinian, "but your information seems to be rather dated. I am no longer...how
to say this...with Kerah." This information
instantly sparked an interest with Harkinian, but rather than show it by
immediately questioning on the topic, he kept the conversation neutral.
"Hyrule is glad to see you here, Lord Stebos," Harkinian
replied as Stebos entered the room. Two others followed him in, both wearing
suits of black armor. "For what do we owe this pleasure?" Harkinian motioned to
the long table that sat in the middle of the room. Stebos' companions remained
standing on either side of the door as Harkinian and Stebos took their seats.
The table was covered in a lush variety of foods, ranging from fresh Zora clams,
to tangerines native to the Kokiri forest. A delicate arrangement made from
flowers grown in the royal gardens the perfect centerpiece, completing the
"I shall be blunt and straight to the point," Stebos
began. "You remember the day, long ago, when I helped you in your war against
Ganondorf, do you not?" Harkinian nodded at the question. That was not something
he would ever forget...
The lines were breaking everywhere. Moblins and Stalfos
were cutting through the Hylian ranks with what seemed to be ease.
"Your Highness!" one of the lieutenants hollered, "We
must retreat! The enemy is too strong! We cannot hold them back!" Harkinian
surveyed the battlefield. It looked hopeless. From what he saw, even retreat was
not an option. No, this looked like the end. Ganondorf's forces were carving
their way straight through the field to the town. Even the castle walls would
not hold back the enemy for long, given they lived long enough to retreat there.
The only other option was to surrender, something Harkinian swore he would never
do. So that left him in a tactical stalemate, with Ganondorf's forces coming
straight for them.
Harkinian opened his mouth to speak, but whatever words
he was going to say were covered up by the gargantuan blast that shook the
ground. Dirt and dust flew through the air, carried by winds of fury. It took
many moments for the cloud to settle before anything could be made out of what
had just occurred.
Out in the middle of the field, stood three men,
shielded by black, glistening armor, one holding a broad sword, one a battle
axe, and the third, a long handled mace. Around them, the bodies of moblins and
stalfos burned away, the telltale sign that they had been freshly defeated.
Approaching them from over far hill, was the king of darkness himself,
"What have you done?!?" Ganondorf exclaimed, surveying
the damage the three had created. "I don't know where Harkinian found you, but
you will pay dearly for this!" None of the three spoke. The warriors with the
mace and axe looked at the one with the sword, as if questioning what the next
move should be. The leader never had to make any orders because Ganondorf's
hastiness sent another wave of monsters to attack them. Swinging their mace and
axe, the two black armored warriors tore through the monsters effortlessly. The
one with the sword moved toward Ganondorf.
Ganondorf laughed. "Heh heh, you think you're so tough
that you can defeat my minions so easily, but you don't know who you are playing
with here. I am Ganondorf, dark lord of evil, and you, are now DEAD!" Lunging
forward, Ganondorf drew his blade and attacked the leader. The leader caught the
blow high in the air with his sword, and quickly countered with a thrust from
the right. Ganondorf barely deflected the attack, and had to immediately block
another slash from the side as the leader recovered and attacked again and
The leader forced Ganondorf back further, keeping him
solely on the defensive, not letting up at all. From Harkinian's viewpoint, it
seemed that it was taking Ganondorf everything he had to just stay alive. Then,
with all his strength, Ganondorf made his move. Throwing all his weight into his
sword, he deflected the leader's blade high off to the right.
"Now you die!" he yelled. Drawing one hand away from the
hilt of his blade, Ganondorf released a blast of intense magic energy, point
blank at the leader's chest. Effortlessly, the leader smacked the energy blast
away, batting it high into the air to disappear into the clouds.
Ganondorf didn't even have time to think before the
leader slammed his foot into his stomach, sending him flying high into the air.
Before he hit the ground, the leader shot an orange energy blast of his own from
his armored gauntlet. The blast connected with Ganondorf's midsection and sent
him to the hard ground. The other two warriors stood at the leader's side,
having easily dispatched of Ganondorf's remaining forces. Ganondorf looked up at
them from the ground, dazed and in shock. Blood dripped down his face and he
held his right arm, wincing in pain.
"Who are you?" he demanded, breathing hard. The leader
"It appears that you don't know whom it is you are
playing with here," the leader retorted, using Ganondorf's own line back at him.
"If you know what is good for you, you will refrain from interfering with the
missions of Kerah."
Ganondorf wisely took that time to escape, vanishing
into the air with his teleportation magic. The three warriors turned around to
be greeted by a mass of cheering Hylian troops.
Stebos' words interrupted Harkinian's thoughts. "I
assume that you also remember the promise you made that you would return the
favor in any way that you could, do you not?"
"Yes, I do," Harkinian answered.
"The time has come where I must ask your assistance on
an issue of grave importance to me."
"Just ask. Hyrule is forever in your debt for helping us
in our time of need," Harkinian said, thinking he would regret those words very
"I have fallen to a rather precarious situation, one
that is beyond my power to control."
This can't be good, Harkinian though to himself. I don't think I want to know what he wants... "How can
Hyrule be of assistance?" the king found himself asking. "We have long awaited
the time when we can repay you for your acts in the Power Wars during the
Ganondorf episode. Hyrule will do all it can to show how much your assistance
"I sincerely thank your generosity, Harkinian," Stebos
said. "I have fallen into war with two countries, and I cannot defend my
territories for much longer."
"For their forces to be threatening you, these must be
major powers in the world. Do you believe Hyrule's assistance will do any good?"
"Oh, yes they will. The forces I am up against are
armies with the same capabilities as yours. Yes, they are versed in magic and
sorcery, but that should be no problem. Their leaders are what threaten me, but
once their armies have been put down, I will deal with them personally."
Harkinian remained skeptical, but attempted to hide it.
"Exactly how long would you need to "borrow" our forces? And how many?"
"Oh, I would say five thousand would do, for about a
month. I really am not asking much. Once the opposing armies have been
eliminated, the task will be done and I will return them to you. If it weren't
for the fact that I am being attacked by two countries at the same time, I
wouldn't have needed to ask you for this."
Harkinian thought for a moment. For what Stebos seemed
to be up against, a mere five thousand men was nothing to ask. The general
populace of Hyrule would also support the effort. Memories of the Great War
still lingered in their heads, and the arrival of Stebos had given hope back to
the country. However, there was much that the country didn't know about the
"I would like to officially thank you on behalf of the
citizens of Hyrule for helping us in our time of need, Lord Stebos," Harkinian
said. Assembled in the throne room were Harkinian and assorted generals and
others of high rank. Stebos had introduced his companions as Marcus and Jenove.
They had been on a mission from Kerah that required them to cross Hylian lands.
Stebos was a tall, well-muscled warrior. He stood in
front of Harkinian in full armor. His companions had removed their helmets, and
held them tucked under their arms - Stebos had left his on. The companions were
both equals to Stebos in muscle and stature, the one to his left having
jet-black hair with other one having brown hair, with strands of gray mixed in.
Ignoring Harkinian's words, Stebos rudely asked his
companions, "Why are we wasting our time here? The mission is more important
than this." Marcus, the one with the brown hair, answered in a hushed tone.
"I believe it is advisable to meet with them. We have
done them a great favor, and they wish to thank us for it. You never know when
you may need a favor someday, and it is always good to have those out there that
who owe you."
"I don't think these fools will ever be useful to help
me," Stebos snidely retorted, just loud enough so that only those closest to him
could hear, including Marcus, Jenove, Harkinian.
Harkinian frowned. The reception of the new heroes was
not going very smoothly. "We would just like to show our appreciation..." he
tried again. Stebos remained silent.
"It was our pleasure," Marcus stepped in. "We..." Marcus
was immediately cut off by Stebos.
"We would love to stay and chat, but we have more
demanding concerns right now. Let me see how this goes then...ah, we did you a
favor, and now you owe us one, right? Good, now that that is understood, we must
be going now." With that, Stebos turned and walked from the room. Marcus and
Jenove looked at each other, and then followed their leader out.
"I don't think we will be hearing from them again..."
Harkinian muttered under his breath as they exited.
Now, that very same man sat in front of him, asking for
his help. However, his attitude, or at least manners, had changed greatly since
their last meeting. He had even entered the castle with his helmet off. Had he
really changed, or it was the entire thing just a front just to get what he
wanted? As much as he tried, Harkinian couldn't get a read on the man.
"Well," Harkinian started, "Hyrule is happy that we will
finally be able to repay your kindness you showed us those many years ago."
"I am happy that you agree to help us," Stebos replied.
"However, I need to return to my lands to over see the war efforts as soon as
possible. When can I expect your troops to arrive?"
"They will leave tomorrow morning. It will probably take
the better part of a month for them to arrive in Kerah, though."
"That is not a concern. I have methods that will be able
to get your troops there many times faster. I will leave one of my companions
behind to lead your forces to my lands for if you move your forces across Kerah,
you will likely find a most unpleasant surprise. For you see, things have
changed over the years. The leaders of Kerah have shown themselves to be...unpopular, to say the least. I have offered the people
of Kerah another way, a way they have followed willingly and with great relief.
You see, my war is for territory, and Kerah is the
enemy. We fight them, and we also fight the kingdom of Gailins."
Harkinian nodded, simply for a lack of words. He hid his
surprise at the news the best he could. "Well then, god-speed to you and your
people," he managed to say.
Stebos stood up from the table. "Thank you, Harkinian."
Turning, he walked toward the door and left.
"Is that man gone now?" Zelda asked, poking her head
into the room.
"Yes he is," Harkinian answered.
"Good," Zelda replied, seemingly relieved. "Who was that
"That was Stebos Darkedge. He helped us in the war
against Ganondorf, years ago, when you were very little."
"I know," Zelda answered. "I remember..."
"What?" the king exclaimed, surprised, "You were barely
six months at that time! Did you recognize his face after all those years?"
"No," Zelda answered," I didn't even see what he looks
like today because I was too afraid to look, but...I remember...I remember that
power. I could feel it coming back today." Zelda turned to her father. "I don't
like this...I don't like this at all..."
"Neither do I, Zelda," her father agreed, "neither do
"So here's a recap of the battle plan," Favar started,
pointing to the map. It was yet another mid-afternoon in Gailins, back in the
throne room, which that apparently doubled as Favar's personal military
operations study. The white afternoon light shone brightly in from the windows,
and it carried along with it the fresh afternoon breeze that rustled the papers
on the table. There were four figures standing around the table: Link, Favar,
Nikkole - Favar's second in command, and Lauren, who really wasn't at the table,
but exploring the throne room.
"So far, throughout this entire war, we have been
defending against attacks on every encounter," Favar explained. "This will be
our first offensive strike against the enemy. We believe that the enemy holds
positions at Marshwood, a small town near the Gailinian and Kerahian border.
Once we take that town, we will be able to move along down the river towards the
Kerahian capital, Slaincore. However, that all rests on whether or not we can
Link raised his hand in question. He had sat through a
morning full of meetings with Favar and his cabinet of military advisors, but he
still didn't know what his role in the overall plan was. "What is it that you
want me to do during all this?" he asked.
"You have a very special role in this mission, Link."
Favar answered. "Nikkole will explain."
Nikkole stepped forward to the table. A little younger
than Favar, he stood a few centimeters taller than Link. His orange hair had the
same style as Favar's, but was just a bit longer on the top. He wore a similar
outfit as the king too. His vest was a light yellow, and the shirt under it was
a startling bright orange, matching his hair. Though his clothing covered his
body, Link could tell that there were sculpted muscles hiding under the fabric.
His sword hung at his right side. A lefty Link noticed. From what he could tell by the
sheath, the blade was a wide broadsword - definitely not a decoration. Link didn't doubt his ability to use
it either. From what Link figured, he was probably a very respectable warrior.
Nikkole noticed Link sizing him up and smiled.
"Link," he started, snapping Link's attention back to
reality, "after every battle, the opposing force always sends out a messenger
back to their headquarters. It is your mission to find the messenger and follow
it back to their base. Once you are there, I am sure you will find proof on whom
the attackers are. Once you are finished, report back to rendezvous point B.
Then you will be given the opportunity to travel back to Hyrule and report your
findings. Hopefully then, that will be enough to convince King Harkinian to send
"Ok," Link said. "I understand. And how do I recognize
Nikkole answered. "The messenger will be the only
meridian knight on horseback." At that moment, the doors to the room opened, and
four other Gailians walked in. They wore what looked like military uniforms.
Link turned back to Nikkole and Favar. "That clears
things up, thanks." The four officers made their way to the table, glancing at
"Your majesty," the one in the middle said. "Here are
the latest reports from the front lines at Macon and Jackson." He proceeded to
place the papers on the table, but was startled by a tremendous crash that came
from the back of the room.
An old suit of armor fell into view from behind one of
the pillars. Embarrassed, Lauren peeked out from behind the stone column, his
face a bright red.
"Uh, sorry, I was just looking at the, and he,
yeah...his...umm..." he stuttered, turning to look at Favar. "Umm, yeah...am I
in trouble?" Even though an air of extreme seriousness permeated the room, the
group burst into laughter. Lauren looked on, bewildered. "Uh...are you guys ok?"
"I just don't know how to read this," Harkinian
admitted. It was late, and he was discussing the current predicament with
General Carley. Harkinian had also asked Zelda to sit in on the meeting. "From
the last we ever knew, Stebos was serving the kingdom of Kerah. Now he says he
is an "independent" fighting against Kerah and
Gailins both. I don't understand."
"I don't believe we should be helping this man," Carley
interjected. "He is obviously a renegade warlord hungry for territory. We don't
know if he is trying to form his own kingdom, or take over the other ones, or
even possibly perform a military coup. We should not be extending aid to help a
radical revolution in countries a hundred of kilometers away from here. It just
doesn't make sense, and we should not be getting involved."
"But I gave my word..." Harkinian started.
"Oh enough of this 'I gave my word' nonsense!" Carley
barked. If it were any other man, Harkinian would have dismissed them right then
and there for lack of respect, but Carley was different. Sometimes not the most
practical or economical, but his ingenuity and creativity on the field always
seemed to pull Hyrule through the tough times. "This is war and men's lives hang
in the balance! Just tell him that we cannot help. This is not our battle."
"When a king's word is not respected, neither will his
reign be respected," Harkinian calmly countered. "Everybody knows about the
great deed Stebos did for our country, and at the expense of five thousand men,
I cannot afford to jeopardize the situation by breaking my word, and having the
entire kingdom questioning my rule."
"I understand where you are coming from, but common
sense will have to overrule this bureaucratic nonsense. You are putting Hyrule
in a dangerous situation."
"And that is why I am sending you to oversee our
forces." Harkinian answered. Zelda smiled. Her father always had the hidden card
up his sleeve. "There is no one better to head this mission than you."
Carley opened his mouth to negate the situation, but
Harkinian had backed him into a wall. Harkinian continued.
"You see, I know you and I know how you think. If you
find out that there's anything fishy going on, you may take it upon yourself to
make the decisions that are in the best interests of Hyrule. I want to know
exactly what the situation is over there."
"Fine," Carley gave, "but it want it affirmed that I
feel that this mission may lead to the end of Hyrule."
Harkinian stifled a laugh. "General, I hardly believe
that this could spell something that drastic of consequences." Harkinian looked
up to see that Carley wasn't joking. "Your statement has been duly noted."
Harkinian said. "Dismissed."
"Thank you, your highness," Carley answered. With a
crisp salute and an about face, Carley strode from the throne room and through
the doors, shutting them on his way out leaving Harkinian and Zelda alone.
"That couldn't have gone any better," Zelda joked.
Harkinian didn't take to her humor, frowning even deeper.
"I just don't know about that..." he wondered. "I hope
he follows my commands...Carley's always been rather liberal in his
interpretations of orders..."
Zelda asked the obvious next question. "Then why are you
sending him to lead this mission?"
Harkinian sighed. "Simply put, because he's the best.
His decisiveness and ingenuity more than make up for his unpredictability, and
that is actually one of his traits that makes him good. The enemy never knows
what is coming."
"But if you think that he may disobey your orders, why
take the chance?" Zelda questioned.
"Because you will be there to make sure everything goes
"Oh really?" Zelda mused, "This is the first I've heard
"Yes, because you will also be there for another
"Continue," Zelda said, intrigued.
"Just two days ago, I sent Link on a mission to Gailins
to inspect attacks that were falling upon their land."
"I see..." Zelda started.
"It gets more complicated, trust me," Harkinian warned.
"I promised Gailins that if they could identify their attacker, that we would
mobilize to defend them. However, now that we know that the aggressor is Stebos,
this leads us to a very tricky situation. Gailins claims they are being attacked
and they don't know who it is. They could be lying and are just trying to get us
to take out Stebos for them. But then Stebos claims to be under attack by Kerah
and Gailins both. So, if he is telling the truth, then Gailins is on the
offensive side and not on the defense like they claim."
Zelda held up her hand to get her father to stop talking
before his speculations went too out of control. "I see," she said, "but I still
don't understand why I am going. You should just get
one of your other Generals to over-see the mission."
"You must go because I cannot let the military know that
Link is trying to help Gailins."
"So you are keeping secrets from your own military
advisors now? I think I am starting agree with Carley about this bureaucratic
nonsense." Zelda stopped to see her father frowning at her. She quickly dove for
a change in subject. "Then what happens if they find out what Link is doing
there, say, they get into a fight when he is there?"
"That's why you are going. You're the princess of
Hyrule. That title carries some weight. If anything should go wrong, then order
Carley to back down the troops. You do out rank
"I don't like this," Zelda bluntly stated. "But if you
think you know what you're doing, then I'll play along."
"Thank you, Zelda."
Morning was approaching. Silhouettes of armored troops
marched down the wide road. Leading the army marched the pikes men, with their
wooden spears held high against the pastel colors of dawn, waving back and forth
with each step. Following them were the swordsmen and the archers. Riding
follow-up were the mounted knights, trotting along on their horses. Behind them
taking up the rear, rode Favar, his royal coterie, and Link.
"You will have to be weary when tracking the messenger
knight, Link," Favar warned. "If it senses you following it, it will ride faster
and try to teleport away. Then we will have no chance of finding it." Link
acknowledged the words with a nod. "And watch out for anyone clad in orange
armor. They are the Kerahian guard, and are not to be taken lightly. Being
human, they don't posses a meridian knight's brute strength, but they have more
control over magic, and are much smarter."
"I will look for them," Link stated, "and if I do indeed
find the ones who are responsible, I will report back to you, and depart for
Hyrule to alert Harkinian of your condition."
Ranks upon ranks of Gailian troops marched by. They think they have it all figured out, don't they,
Jenove mused. It's time to show them how wrong they
are. He could see the ones he was waiting for through the trees as they drew
near, mounted on horses. The mighty king of Gailins, the
legendary Favar, will fall at my hands. A smile grew across the figure's
face. The time was now. Lurking out from the woods, he took aim.
"Thank you, Link, for all you are doing for my country,"
"It is my pleasure." Link answered. "I know the
hardships that..." Link didn't have a chance to get another word out.
A speeding orb of orange energy seared by his face from
an unknown origin. The ball grazed Link's cheek, burning his skin. Whipping his
head around, Link followed its flight path. Everything seemed to go in slow
motion from there. Link watched the energy homed in on its intended target.
It smashed into Favar's upper torso, burning away at his
armor. Link watched Favar's face contort in pain as the attack smashed into his
chest. He was lifted from his mount on the horse, and thrown hard to the ground.
Link was stunned, as were all around him. Regaining some of his senses, Link
turned back to where he thought the attack came from. Out of the corner of his
eye, Link caught the sight of a sweeping black cape disappearing into the
forest. As the cape melted into the shadows, a second threat emerged.
From all around, meridian knights grew from the forest's
shadows, seemingly growing from the earth itself. They marched to the edge of
the wood, swords drawn and powered up so they were glowing with a dark light.
Still in shock, Nikkole, one of the mounted soldiers
next to Link, took command. "The King has fallen! Fight for honor!"
Link launched himself from his horse, attacking the
nearest meridian knight. Cutting it down, he performed a timely back flip to
avoid the low slash from another enemy. In mid air, he charged up his sword,
blasting the enemy in the chest, throwing it backward to the ground. It had been
a while since he had been in battle, but Link easily settled back into his old
groove of combat, and the meridian knights became just more stalfos and moblins
to Link's blade.
The Gailian troops had been broken from their state of
shock. They were attacking the knights with swords and glowing orange arrows.
Running along the outside of the Gailian ranks, right
into the fray, Link cut himself a path through the meridian knights with ease,
slashing and spinning and flipping in a way that none of the Gailian soldiers
could match. The meridian knights barely had time to react to Link's presence.
Some would have enough time to block an attack with their sword or shield, but
none of them ever lasted past three of Link's strikes. In his path, Link left a
wake of burning meridian knights. However, his run was interrupted when he heard
his name being called over the noise of battle.
Roe poked his head over the stout stone wall, prepared
to form an energy screen if needed. Instead of the usual flying dust and smoke
that accompanied a blocked meridian blast, he observed something he did not
expect. He ducked back down.
"I don't know what happened, Sommers," he reported to
the soldier on the ground next to him, "but they are retreating for some
reason." Giving Roe a look of disbelief, Sommers took a look of his own over the
low wall. To his surprise, he caught sight of the last of the meridian knights
fleeing to the west. Sommers quickly ducked back down.
"You're right," he confirmed. "I don't know why they are
retreating, but I do know that means the messenger will be leaving now too. You
know what we must do." Roe nodded and both men jumped from their positions
behind the wall. Running past a small shed and a stone well, they stopped, their
backs pressed to the wall of a short brick house. Creeping around to the side,
Sommers poked his head out, still half-expecting an attack to fly from the trees
at his face. No such attack came. However, the mission rode past his line of
vision; the only meridian knight on a horse, galloping across the expansive
The interesting thing was, it was moving directly to the
north, not west towards Gailins. No matter Sommers
thought. Their objective was to follow the knight no matter what. North, South,
East, or through the gates of the underworld, he would follow that messenger.
However, if the knight got outside the energy bubble, it would be able to
teleport away. That was something he could not permit to happen.
Roe and Sommers sprinted from the house to the
accompanying barn. Immediately, the smell of hay bails and earth met his
nostrils. Surprisingly, there were a number of horses still in their stalls.
Sheathing his sword, Sommers darted to a rack of saddles against the east wall,
tossing one to Roe, who immediately threw it on the nearest horse. Sommers
grabbed one for himself and did the same.
Seconds later, the duo burst from the barn doors in hot
pursuit of the lone meridian knight escaping to the mountains of the north. They
raced across the empty plain, their flowing orange capes whipping about in the
Looking toward the call, he saw Nikkole shouting and
pointing. He was pointing across the far field to the east. Visible against the
backdrop of green forest, Link could make out a figure racing across the field.
At a closer look, two more figures could be seen, the
leading one being a mounted meridian knight. All Link could make out of the
other two was that they wore gleaming orange armor and flapping orange capes.
Looking around quickly, Link eyed a horse moving off into the forest, its rider
either abandoning it for the freedom of fighting on level ground, or for other
Link darted over to it as fast as his legs could carry
him, cutting down two more meridian knights on his way. Sheathing his sword and
slipping his shield over it on his back in one smooth movement, he launched
himself onto the horse. Grabbing the reins, he tore off after the knight and its
Link must have found the messenger knight! Lauren
excitedly thought. Lauren erupted from his hiding place from deep in the trees.
I know Link and the king told me to stay in the city,
but this will be my chance to avenge Neilson and my family...what have I got to
lose anyway now that I'm an orphan... A fifth figure joined the line of
pursuers across the open field.
This horse is never going to catch that meridian
knight. The steed was obviously only used for farm work, and lacked the
speed of a militarily trained horse. Sommers glanced up towards Roe, who was
much further ahead. They both knew the rules of engagement; never get separated
from your point man, but in the current situation, it didn't look like there was
much of a choice. Roe looked back at him. Sommers waved him to move on ahead.
They would not be able to stay together and stop the messenger knight both.
I picked the wrong horse Sommers thought, as Roe
furthered the distance between them, gaining slightly on the meridian knight.
Sommers was so focused on trying to keep up he didn't even notice the green
warrior creeping up from behind him. It was a good thing that his enhanced
senses allowed him to foresee the attack. He drew his sword and slashed
violently backward up along his left side, deflecting Link's blade.
Using one hand, he brought his horse to a stop, blocking
yet another attack from the mysterious green warrior in the process. Sommers
glanced back at Roe's progress, seeing that Roe had stopped his horse and was
beginning to make his way back to help. Sommers waved him onward. He could
handle this threat. Roe hesitated, then complied, taking off after the messenger
With precise accuracy, Sommers raised his hand, sending
a blast of orange energy right at his pursuer's face, forcing him to abandon his
steed and drop the ground in order to dodge. This will
be fun Sommers thought. This guy can't even defend
against an energy attack!
"Who are you?" Sommers demanded, jumping down from his
horse. This warrior was definitely not from Gailins. Wow, Sommers thought, first
Stebos abandons us to join Gailins, and now they are digging up warriors from
other places. "My colleague is up ahead, and you will not be able to stop
him. He will have your messenger in no time, so why don't you just run back to
the protection of Gailins so you don't get hurt here?"
"What are you talking about?" Link questioned. "My
mission is to stop that messenger. Why do you want to stop your own man?"
"Stop trying to confuse me and fight!" Sommers demanded.
The green warrior tried to protest, but Sommers launched himself into a furry of
attacks. Orange rays of energy flew towards Link faster than any arrow could fly
from a bow. However, Link knew how to deal with this.
Drawing his sword, he batted the blasts away. A
combination of his many years of training, combined with his natural skill,
allowed him to complete this near impossible task. He knew the minimum distance
he needed to pivot his sword to intercept each blast, tilting it back and forth
in precise, sweeping movements. Sommers ceased fire after watching the amazing
spectacle. Apparently, he had underestimated the ability of his adversary.
Link smiled as the last of the blasts rushed toward him,
smacking the final one back into Sommers' face. With a swipe of his fist,
Sommers knocked the speeding orange dart to the ground, where it exploded into a
spectacle of light and dirt. Sommers smirked. "You have gotten my attention,
stranger," he conceded. "What was it you were speaking of earlier?"
"I was wondering exactly why you are trying to hunt down
your own messenger," Link answered, a smile creeping across his face too.
Apparently he had impressed this foe.
"I'm afraid you are mixed up about this entire ordeal."
Sommers laughed. "You see," he explained, "you are fighting for Gailins, and
usually one does not make the error of mistaking his own messenger for
another's. If you have not yet been informed, Stebos and his fabricated army are
working for you right now. That messenger is on your side.
Regardless, it will not be allowed to carry out its
mission, and I fear that you will not be able to either." With that, Sommers
launched another salvo of orange blasts at Link. This time, the blasts were more
powerful, and much quicker. Link had a much more difficult time blocking them,
but they soon stopped. Either Sommers was starting to deplete his energy, or he
wanted to talk some more. The answer soon came, in the form of a shout from a
"Link! Get down!" Link turned around to see Lauren
galloping in his direction on a horse. From his sword, he unleashed a massive
yellow blast of energy, sending it straight towards Sommers. However, Link was
standing right between the oncoming attack and its target.
'Lauren! No!" Link called. Bringing his blade about,
Link swung with all his might at Lauren's attack. Link's efforts were barely
enough to alter the blast's trajectory away from Sommers. Lauren was obviously
more powerful than Link had been giving him credit for. Sommers dodged the
wayward attack by fading left.
"Link!" Lauren cried as he rode up, "What do you think
you are doing?!?" Once again, Lauren unleashed a blast at Sommers, again to be
intercepted by Link. "Link!" Lauren protested. "You saw what they did to Favar!
How can you defend him?"
"I would like to know the answer to that question as
well," Sommers agreed coolly.
"I will try to explain," Link started. However, before
he could begin, a piercing cry shattered the air. The three's attention was
diverted to its source. Off in the distance, near the tree line, Roe could be
seen, slumped on his knees, holding his side. A troop of about five meridian
knights stood around him, with the messenger knight off to the side, still
mounted on his horse. It gave a satirical salute to the bickering trio, and
vanished from sight as it left the energy bubble, teleporting away.
"NO!" Sommers yelled. Totally disregarding Link and
Lauren, he mounted his steed, and tore off towards his fallen comrade. Link and
Lauren both gave each other questioning looks, and then took off after him.
Barely in the trees, but hidden from view, Jenove watched them approach. Fools he thought. I will finish
you all later. With that, he made like the messenger knight, and teleported
The mission was a failure. The messenger knight had
escaped, the Gailian forces, after the fall of their king, were forced to fall
back to a defensive position, and Sommers' partner, Roe, was dead, another
victim of a meridian sword. Cautiously, the three warriors moved through the
forest. Sommers and Lauren insisted they be as careful as possible, saying that
the enemy was near. Link assumed they had some way of sensing the danger, but
what was odd was that he could also vaguely identify a dark presence somewhere
nearby. Maybe he could sense the meridian knights as well...or maybe it was just
his warrior's intuition.
The three spoke in a hushed whisper as they moved about
the wood, leading their horses by the reigns.
"From what you tell me," Sommers continued, "you are
saying that Kerah has been attacking you for the last three months, in the form
of Stebos' meridian knights?"
Lauren, still skeptical of the situation, acknowledged
the question. "Yes, we know that it is the meridian knights that have been
attacking us. From what you tell us, Stebos has defected, and joined us, and
began attacking you for the past three months, right?"
"That is correct, kid," Sommers answered.
"Don't call me that!" Lauren scolded.
"Yeah, right, kid," Sommers retorted. "You look like
you're fourteen. You shouldn't be fighting in a battle like this. Did you see
what those bastards did to my partner? He was one of the most powerful, talented
warriors I ever knew. Even he fell; what chance do you think you have?"
Lauren was obviously miffed. "For your information, I am
fifteen, and I've lost a mother, a father, a
brother, and my last friend on earth, besides Link here, to those monsters!
However, I have survived. That speaks for itself! And anyway, I have no where to
go now! No family, no friends, no nothing! You think you've seen it bad, then
try going through all this, and only being fifteen!"
Lauren was on the verge of tears, and Link could tell that he was using all his
strength to keep them from forming. "So when you go around telling other people
their chances, you had better do a little more research!"
"Lauren," Link hushed, "We
must be quiet. The meridian knights could be anywhere. We don't even know where
we are going." Link stopped walking. "However, we seem to be making some sort of
progress here." He turned to Sommers. "So apparently, this Stebos character was
attacking you when we showed up. From there, he retreated from the battle with
you to attack us." Sommers nodded.
"That seems like the only reasonable explanation at the
moment," he agreed. "Stebos is playing on the fact that both our sides think
he's working for the other side. He is a tricky warrior..."
Link slapped his leg in frustration. "Why does name
sound so familiar?" he asked. "I can't quite put my
finger on it..."
"Maybe because during the power crusades, he crossed
your land in search of the third power crystal." Sommers offered. "I remembered
when he came back, saying that he didn't believe that there even was a third
power crystal, like the legends say."
"That's it!" Link exclaimed. Lauren and Sommers shushed
Link to quiet down. "Sorry," he apologized, "but I just have had a realization.
I read about this Stebos in the Hylian history books. He is the one who saved us
from Ganondorf that one time."
"This puts a whole new light on the subject..." Sommers
commented. Swiftly, he drew his sword and swung it around to Link. "It would
make perfect sense to say that Hyrule is working with Stebos, helping him rob us
of our power crystals! We know you hold the third power crystal somewhere in
your land! You are helping him, aren't you?"
"What?" Link gasped, staring at the sharp blade pointing
at him. "No! We are not helping him! I was sent here strictly to help Gailins.
Now that it has been found out that Stebos is both your enemies, Hyrule will
help both your sides. My king promised to do so."
Lauren jumped between the two. "Stop that now, Sommers,"
he demanded. "Link is here to help us? Can't you see that?"
Sommers smirked, returning his sword to his side. "Yes,
I can see that, but a kid like you hasn't had enough battle experience to look
at this situation from any other angle."
Lauren was obviously becoming angry, either because
Sommers was right, or he kept calling him 'kid.' "You don't know what you are
talking about," was all Lauren could come up with.
"Yeah, kid, whatever. You may have been through a lot,
but you obviously haven't ever experienced betrayal." Sommers stopped, allowing
room for Lauren to say something, but the boy remained silent. "That's what I
thought. Stebos has committed treason of the highest order, and he must pay."
Link noticed the shift in the subject. At least Sommers wasn't the kind of guy
who would keep beating the lesson into a poor kid. He was all business. "That
Stebos, nobody knows his power better than I..."
Link asked a question that had been bugging him for a
long while. "Why is this Stebos so powerful anyway? What makes him so much
stronger than you or anybody else in this kingdom?"
Sommers stopped to think for a moment. He just shook his
head. "No one really knows the answer to that question. He just kind of showed
up in Kerah one day and got an audience with the king. When he came to us, he
was extremely powerful, but over the years, he learned many new things, spells
and abilities that we have never seen or heard of. Following his arrival, he
quickly advanced up the ranks in the Kerahian military, until he became our head
commander after creating a break through magic technique.
"He had somehow managed to find a way to create warriors
by using his magic; the meridian knights you have already seen. It is a mystery
how he learned to do this, but after leading Kerah to many victorious battles
against Gailins without us losing a single man, he gained widespread support
from our citizens. However, about four months ago, he abruptly turned on us. I
"You will hand over the crystal of Kerah to me, or I
will take it from you. If you comply with my wishes, you will be allowed to
live." Stebos was standing in the middle of the audience room, making his
demands very clear to the king, who coolly remained seated on his throne.
Sommers, Roe, and six of the other elite royal guards
stood positioned around the perimeter of the room. Things were taking a turn for
"Stebos, you must know that cannot be done. The kingdom
of Kerah depends on that crystal to give us our strength. With out it, our land
and our people will slowly die. I know you are aware of the consequences that
will result in removing the crystal, so why must you do this? We have given you
everything you ever wanted - even recovered your essence from the Sacred Realm
when Favar cast you there, and now you..."
"And I have served you well because of it," Stebos cut
in, "but now there is nothing you can give me that will satisfy my needs -
nothing but the crystal of Kerah. You will hand it over to me now."
The king stood from his throne. "You know that cannot be
done, and you also know that I will do everything in my power to prevent it."
Stebos laughed, "You know my ability better than anyone,
Ramien. You must know by now that you are no match for me."
"You may be right, but I must try to stop you, for if
you do acquire the crystal, then there may be no one left able to stand in your
"Precisely," Stebos agreed. "That is exactly why I
require it. This conversation is going nowhere. Since you will not agree to my
demands, I will take matters into my own hands. I am taking the crystal from you
now." Sommers waited for the king's signal.
"I am sorry you feel that way, Stebos," the king
regretfully admitted. "I thought that I had taught you better, but since I
helped you to become what you are today, it is my responsibility to stop you!"
Erupting from the throne, the king launched himself forward, with ninja-like
ability, spinning about, throwing his heavy robe from his shoulders. He landed
on his feet in a wide stance, his sword drawn and ready for battle. He wore a
trim orange shirt tucked into baggy black pants. His layered orange hair flowed
in the air as if there were a breeze in the room. However, Sommers knew that
this was so only because the king was using his immense magic to power up his
sword. "Let's see just how well I have taught you!" Ramien shouted. "Guards!"
That was his cue. Sommers and Roe launched themselves at
Stebos, along with half dozen other Kerahian guardsmen. Sommers attacked by
unleashing his most intense blast of energy. The orange energy raced toward
Stebos' unguarded side. With a movement so fluid, it almost looked like a dance,
Stebos blocked the blast with ease. The amazing thing was, he did the same for
seven other attacks of the like, all with what looked like effortless motions.
The redirected energies shot back at their creators, and
the two of the Kerahian guard were not fast enough to dodge were cut down by
their own attacks. Sommers had jumped out of the way just in time, spinning
laterally, high across the chamber to the other side. The renegade blasts tore
through the stone room, smashing through the walls and the floor. Sounds could
be heard as they continued tearing throughout the rest of the castle.
Stebos acted as if nothing had even happened, his gaze
never moving from Ramien. Ramien also stood his ground, staring back with his
The remaining six guardsmen regrouped and launched
another attack. Their swords drawn and powered up and glowing orange, they
struck. At the last possible moment, Stebos drew his own weapon, blocking all of
the strikes with his sword by only moving his arm. The rest of his body remained
perfectly still, his eyes still fixed on Ramien. After all the guardsmen had
made their passes, only four were left standing. Sommers and Roe exchanged
worried glances. Stebos still stood motionless.
"You know," he spoke to Ramien, totally ignoring the
guard circling him, looking for vulnerabilities. "Gailins will be pleased when I
return with the Kerahian crystal." At this remark, Ramien lost some of his
"So, you have betrayed us?" he asked, lowering his sword
a little, as if the news had sapped some of the strength from his body. "Are you
working for Gailins now? Do you not have loyalties?"
A coy smirk possessed Stebos' face. "Wouldn't you like
to know? You claim to have taught me, so shouldn't you already have figured it
out?" he answered, smiling. "I have had many different teachers before you, but
each one failed, and you are nothing compared to them, or me. You were a lousy
Sommers couldn't take it any longer. Stebos had to pay.
Launching himself through the air directly at Stebos, he let loose the most
powerful blast he had ever employed. The remaining guardsmen followed Sommers'
lead. Once again, with lethal precision, Stebos deflected the blasts back at
Roe managed to deflect his returned blast away from
himself with his sword. However, his technique was nothing compared to Stebos'.
The best he could do was send it upward to the ceiling where it promptly blasted
through the stone, causing an avalanche of rock to cascade down on him. Roe
skipped and flipped about, and managed to dodge most of it, but a large stone
caught him on his right temple, knocking him unconscious. He crumpled to the
The other two guardsmen fell as well, one of them
wounded and holding his shoulder, and the other one laying face down in some
That was when Sommers noticed that his blast never had
returned to him. Instead, it had been directed right at Ramien's face. Taken by
surprise, Ramien barely had time to move his sword to intercept it. The powerful
attack ripped Ramien's sword from his grasp and sent it to the other side of the
room. Moving with almost the same speed as the energy blast, Stebos charged
With that, Sommers made a last ditch effort to save the
king. He rushed Stebos with all his strength. A look of brief confusion flitted
across Stebos' face as he noticed the last remaining guardsman charging in an
interception course with almost the same speed as he was moving.
However, the novelty wore off as Stebos' fist struck
Sommers across the face, sending his flailing body to the far side of the room.
Sommers smashed into a support pillar, right shoulder first. Everything had gone
black at that moment.
When he had woken up, the throne room was in shambles,
and his right side and face hurt like no other. When he rushed to check for the
king, he found him, slumped over against the base of the throne, defeated. The
crystal of Kerah was also gone...
"Those are the events that have passed," Sommers
admitted. "I failed in my duty to protect my king and my country. Stebos will
pay for his deeds, and I am the one who will collect. Kerah is so weak and
disorganized that we cannot even defend against his meridian knights. Along with
the fact that our land is losing its energy now that the crystal of Kerah has
been stolen, there is not much Kerah can do about the situation. However, I
still can do much!
"With the crystal, Stebos has become even more powerful.
I thought he was teaming up with Gailins to finally take us out, but it appears
we were mislead..."
"It seems that Gailins has similarly been lead astray,"
Lauren admitted. "This whole time, we thought it was you attacking us..."
"Right, Stebos has been playing both sides off each
other to divert the attention away from him so he can make his move, and..."
Link trailed off. The other two went silent as well. They had been walking
through the forest to the north for many hours now. The sounds of the woods had
surrounded them the entire time. However, different sounds could now be heard,
sounds that were not natural.
Leaving their horses behind, the three silently sprinted
towards the noise. They stopped at the edge of the woods, and it was good that
they did. The end of the forest was the beginning of a giant ravine, with a
cliff face dropping to the bottom several tens of meters down. Link and Lauren
dropped to their stomachs, peering over the cliff's edge. What met their eyes
was the worst surprise they could have seen.
Masses of Hylian troops marched through the ravine, lead
by three figures on horses. What is this?!? Link
thought. On the far right rode General Carley. In between the two rode...Princess Zelda?!? Link couldn't make out who the third
rider was, but he was too bewildered to think about it. What are Hylian soldiers doing here? Link rolled back
"Those are..." Link didn't have to finish his sentence.
Sommers stood with his sword inches from Link's neck. Lauren had also gotten up,
and was looking at Link with a half angry, half-hurt expression.
"Those," Sommers finished, "are Hylian troops being lead
by Jenove, Stebos' second in command."
Lauren once again looked as if he could cry. Tears
welled up in his eyes. The expression on his face was almost enough to kill
"Why?" was all he could say, and he still choked over
the word. He turned around and hid his face in his hands. Sommers put his left
hand on the boy's shoulder as he wept. The sword stayed mere inches from Link's
"Lauren, I guess we are not so different now anymore. We
both have experienced betrayal in the worst degree..."
"Wait!" Link exclaimed, seeing exactly where this was
going, and not liking it, "there must be some sort of mistake here! Harkinian
"Silence!" Sommers bellowed, loud enough for the troops
below to hear. His voice echoed off the ravine walls, bouncing off the many rock
faces, so the troops couldn't figure where the source was. The entire body
slowed to a halt with the sound of clanking armor and stomping hooves, with the
soldiers worriedly looking around for the voice. Realizing his mistake, Sommers
lowered his tone
"You have nothing to say that will save you now. I
should have know that trusting you would have been a big mistake." Sommers'
sword began glowing with a deadly orange light. "Your time is up."
Left with no alternative and using all his speed, Link
drew his sword and knocked Sommers' away at the last second. The blast missed
Link, but instead tore into the ground he was laying on. The rock shuddered in
protest, and then burst into pieces. The once solid ground under Link began a
long decent to the ravine's base. Sommers and Lauren had to jump back as the
ground beneath their feet also disappeared. Once the rumbling of the miniature
landslide had ceased, they peered over the cliff edge.
The stones fell from under Link's body, but, through
some combination of luck and skill, he managed to roll to his side and slam his
sword into the soft clay that made up some of the ravine wall. He hung there,
his feet kicking at the rock surface to find something he could stand on. There,
a platform! A large rock jutted out of the wall about a meter and a half. There
were other such rocks on the face of the cliff all over the place.
By this time, all of the Hylian troops were staring that
the new situation above them. Many had actually had to run from the path of the
storm of rocks. Now they just stared at the hanging green figure.
"You are a tricky little fella, aren't you?" Sommers
snorted. Link looked up to see Sommers and Lauren standing at the edge of the
cliff, several meters up. Sommers extended his sword, preparing to finish the
job. "Too bad you won't find yourself getting out of this one!"
"NO!" Link cried out, but it didn't do him any good.
Sommers unleashed a salvo of orange blasts. Link blocked the first few, but one
of the blasts hit the boulder he was standing on, wrenching it loose from the
wall. Link took a giant leap and landed on another rock farther down the cliff
face. He swung his arms like windmills, trying to regain his balance, his toes
right on the edge of the platform. Sommers didn't give him a chance to recover,
sending down more attacks. Lauren just stared on with a look of indifference on
his face that was only betrayed by the tearstains lining his cheeks.
Jumping, spinning, and flipping through the air, Link
made his way down the cliff face, dodging the flying orange darts as he went.
"Are we under attack?" Zelda shouted over the sound of
Jenove answered. "Yes, those two at the top of the cliff
are from Kerah and Gailins."
"Then who is that green figure running away from them?"
Carley shouted back.
"Oh no!" Zelda exclaimed. "IT'S LINK!"
"Who?" Jenove asked.
"It's Link!" Zelda raised her hands, readying her magic
spells. With all her might, she sent a shock wave of energy streaming at the top
of the cliff. The wave was aimed just high enough so that it wouldn't clip the
top of the ravine and cause another landslide, but just low enough that the two
figures had to duck to avoid it. Behind them, the attack raced onward, severing
the tops from the trees in the forest just as easily as the wave cut through the
open air. The two figures at the top of the ravine gave each other looks, and
then smartly retreated.
Zelda noticed Carley staring at her. "Princess, I did
not realize you had that kind of power in you!" Even Jenove seemed impressed at
the display of raw magic energy.
"Oh," Zelda answered, "well that tends to happen when
Link gets involved in my affairs...just wait and see what I do when he gets his
little green rear over here!"
Link slowly made his way down the cliff and sprinted
towards the leaders of the pack.
"What exactly do you think you are doing, Link?" Zelda
yelled once Link got within an earshot. Link didn't even respond. He kept
charging until he was right next to the three leading the now confused Hylian
"Carley, Zelda! Get down!" Link launched himself at
Jenove, sword drawn. Surprised, Jenove managed to jump off his horse out of the
way. Link didn't give him time to do much more than that, as he came down hard
on Jenove with his sword. Jenove's blade just barely blocked the two handed
attack. However, Link was seemingly easily thrown off with a hard kick to his
"Link! What in Hyrule are you doing?" Carley demanded.
Link picked himself up from the ground.
"I don't know what you are doing here, Carley," Link
yelled, "But the real enemy is this man and his leader, Stebos!" Both Carley and
Zelda averted their eyes to Jenove, waiting for him to either acknowledge or
deny the accusation. Jenove smiled.
"You know Link, you are pretty clever figuring this
out," he commented. "However, not even you can stop our plan from being carried
out. Stebos was going to use this army as a distraction to Kerah and Gailins to
get his needs. However, it really doesn't matter what crystal we acquire first.
You may have put a stop on that plan, but since your king was so smart to send
his precious daughter along, I guess we will just hold her as ransom!" With
those words, Jenove jumped and knocked Zelda from her horse. Dragging her up to
her feet, Jenove stood behind her, his sword drawn across her neck. "If you knew
what was good for you, you will return to your own land, if only to try and
defend it from its inevitable destruction!" Zelda cried out as she vanished into
thin air as Jenove teleported them both away.
Carley looked at Link. "You screwed up this time, didn't
you Link?" Link didn't have the chance to reply, for suddenly, out of nowhere a
horde of meridian knights appeared in front of them, teleporting in seconds as
Jenove had teleported out. Carley gave Link another look. "I take that back,
Link, you really screwed up this time."
Link didn't attempt to refute the statement. "You're
right," he said looking back to the scarred cliff face where he had last seen
Lauren and Sommers, "I really did screw up..."
It was a very rare thing indeed, to be summoned by the
Great Deku Tree. Saria was nervous about the encounter. The Great Deku Tree had
specifically asked for her. What could he want? she
wondered. She took the winding path to the great opening in the trees, the
opening the Great Deku Tree occupied.
"I am here!" she called out. "What is it you need of
The Great Deku Tree responded. "Ah, my child! Thank you
for coming. I fear there is grave danger approaching. A dark 'stranger,' who we
are all too familiar with, is planning to make his move. We must be ready. Go
and find our hero. He will be the only one who will be able to defend us now."
"I understand," Saria answered. "I know what must be
The doors to the throne room burst open. The guard
outside flew through wooden planks as if they made of sticks, rolling to skid to
a halt on the red carpet. Harkinian was discussing trade relations with Albion,
a neighboring country. The head of the Hyrule's department of commerce stood up
from his chair.
"What is the meaning of this?!?" he exclaimed. His
protest was silenced as a green bolt of energy knocked him backwards. His body
slammed onto the table, sending papers and charts all across the room. Harkinian
was taken aback. The smoke and dust cleared from the destroyed doorway, and
three figures approached from the arched entrance.
"Stebos!" Harkinian shouted, recognizing his massive
figure. "What are you doing?" Behind him was Jenove, pressing Zelda in front of
him, his arm around her throat in a holding position.
"Zelda!" Harkinian cried. "Release her this instant!"
"After all I did to help you, you treat me like this?"
he questioned. "Sending one of your warriors to aid Gailins, and not telling me?
How can we build a working relationship if we can't trust each other?"
"There is nothing you can do to get me to trust you
after what you've done! Now release my daughter right this instant!" Harkinian
"Oh, I will, but you must do something for me first. I
require you to fetch me one of your citizens."
"Who is this one you speak of?" Harkinian demanded.
"I require the help from this 'Hero of Time' your
legends speak of. He must accompany me to the Kokiri forest where I will extract
the Kokiri crystal. It's a personal matter we need to settle between each
other." Stebos let out a sadistic chuckle. "Once I obtain the Kokiri crystal,
Gailins will have no choice but to give up theirs as well! Once I have all
three, I will be unstoppable!"
"You don't know what you are asking for," Harkinian said
darkly. "The Hero of Time will take you down."
Stebos laughed. "Believe what you want, Harkinian, but
either way, you will deliver this "Hero of Time" to me immediately, that is, if
you want your daughter to live and your country to survive my wrath!"
Harkinian shook his head. "I am sorry, Stebos, but the
Hero of Time is not here. He was the one I sent to Gailins."
A dark look crossed Stebos' face. "I see," he commented,
thinking. "You have one hour to get him here. For the time being, I think we
will rest here, and catch up on old times..."
Lauren still couldn't believe what had happened. How
could Link and Harkinian have betrayed him? Now he didn't have anyone left. Why
was the world being so cruel? Didn't fate ever get tired of antagonizing him? He
hadn't done anything wrong. Stop it!, he thought to
himself, this whining will do nothing for you. All you
can do now is try and correct your mistakes. Lauren rode next to Nikkole at
the front of the remaining Gailian forces. I will lead
them to the Hylians, and put right the things I have done wrong.
"How much further is it," Nikkole asked.
"Not much further," Sommers answered. Nikkole seemed
weary with the Kerahian riding right next to him, especially one so high in
"I don't believe that Link could have been working as a
double agent like that though," Nikkole said to no one in particular.
"But we saw what we saw," Sommers said. Nikkole looked
to Lauren. Lauren simply nodded. The Hylian army was being lead by Jenove.
"Somehow Stebos has convinced the Hylians to aid him in
our destruction," Sommers stated.
Nikkole just shook his head and the group moved in
silence. The soldiers who followed made no noise either. They were tired,
hungry, and lost without their leader. Still, they labored onward like machines,
thirsting for closure and revenge.
They were drawing near...
"What is that noise?" Lauren asked.
"I know what that sound is!" Sommers exclaimed. "That is
the sound of battle! Quickly! Let's go!"
The battle wasn't looking very good. The Hylian forces
were simply no match for the meridian knights. They had no means of defending
against the energy blasts, or their immense strength. Things were looking
hopeless. Carley stood in the middle of the mess, trying to yell orders over the
sound of clanging swords and explosions. However, there was not a strategy that
would help them. Having been totally surrounded and outclassed, there was no
amount of tactical genius that could save them.
Link was once again had fallen back into his battle
mode, destroying meridian knights with amazing grace and speed, but there were
simply too many of them for him to handle alone. Things started looking grim,
but then a ray of hope shot across the field, in the form of a Gailian energy
It cut through the ranks of meridian knights with ease,
sending them to the ground to burn into nothingness.
The Hylian troops all looked up in amazement as the
energy consumed the final enemy, burning it to a crisp. The saving blast had
emerged from high on the cliffs above. Standing at the peak of the ravine, stood
Nikkole, as well as Sommers and Lauren. In Nikkole's hand was a sparkling yellow
object. Jumping from the very top of the cliff, Nikkole flew all the way down to
Link, slowing down at the last possible moment to land gently to his feet.
"Just as I suspected," he said to Link. "This whole
thing has been a ploy. Stebos was smart to try and get our nations to fight, but
he underestimated a few things."
"What do you mean?" Link questioned.
"Stebos obviously wanted to frame Hyrule as being the
culprit of the attacks against Gailins and Kerah, but you messed up his plan."
"It was also the work of Lauren and your kingdom," Link
Nikkole gave a nod of acknowledgement. "That may be
true," he spoke, "but the fact still remains, we need your help in ending this
once and for all..."
"I am tired of all this nonsense! I can sense them
coming as we speak," Stebos looked to his second in command. "Jenove, your plan
has failed. It seems that the Hylians have allied themselves not only with
Gailins, but Kerah as well. No matter, that is no concern to me anymore. With
the crystal of Kerah, I am invincible. This will be easy. I have the crystal
now; I have got to be powerful enough to handle that forest and...him...Jenove!
We are leaving! Bring the princess, just in case..."
They were speeding back through the forest; all of them.
The entire remaining Hylian taskforce, the Gailian crew, and, after some
explaining, the newly recruited warriors from Kerah. Thousands of figures blew
through the forest, each one wearing a silver medallion around their neck. The
mass tore through the underbrush, kicking up leaves and dust in its path.
Abruptly, the forest ended, and the mass found
themselves racing over an open field. Seconds later, the river came into view,
its winding body signifying their entrance into Hyrule. Finally, the high walls
that guarded the Hylian marketplace and the castle came into view. It was late,
but Link noticed something odd.
Usually by this time, the town gates would have been
closed in defense against the stalchildren who ran rampant during the night
hours. However, it was far too late and dark, and the drawbridge was down. The
reason was made apparent as three figures walked from the entrance: Stebos,
Jenove, and Zelda.
Even though they were far out, Stebos' massive energy
was enough to cause an energy bubble, which effectively nulled the silver
medallion's power. The mass of warriors came to a screeching halt a good five
hundred meters from the castle gates, near the bulky mass of Lon Lon Ranch.
Stebos laughed. "So, you have finally returned. I was
wondering if you would ever figure it out."
Nikkole took the lead, stepping forward to address
Stebos. "Your reign of tyranny and deception has ended, Stebos! You're finished
Stebos seemed to find the words humorous. "How original of you Nikkole," his response boomed, loud
enough for all to hear, even from his position so far away. "You sound like the
righteous warrior I know you are! You are pathetic! You are too late to stop
me!" He held up the glowing orange crystal of Kerah in his hand. "With this
power, all your strength combined doesn't stand a chance!"
"You are so sure of yourself, but you have
underestimated our nations for the last time. This will be your downfall!"
Nikkole proudly held up the glowing yellow crystal of Gailins. "You will now see
the true fury of Gailins!"
Stebos was not amused. "It was unwise of you to remove
the crystal of Gailins from the home land. Slowly, like Kerah, your world will
now die. Your people will suffer, and then perish. You have sealed their fate."
"Their fate was already sealed when you removed the
crystal of Kerah!" Nikkole refuted, "Without the balance, you have destroyed
both our lands! Have you no loyalties?"
Before he could answer, Sommers jumped in. "Of course he
does not! He killed our king and stole our crystal! Even after all our king did
for him, he still betrayed us! This man knows nothing of loyalty! He only serves
Stebos laughed hard at the comment, so hard it almost
sounded maniacal. "You are right!" he proclaimed. "I only serve those who are
more mighty than I, and I have yet to come across anyone who can challenge my
power! And when you depend on one who has more power than you do to survive,
when they fail, you go down with them! Look at what happened to your kingdom in
my wake! It has fallen! If you fools have learned only one thing from me, it
should be that, in this world, you can only trust yourself!"
Nikkole shook his head, partly in pity, partly in
disgust. "That only happens when the powerful are as sadistic as you, Stebos.
That is what we have learned, that your kind must be destroyed!" With those
words, Nikkole let loose a massive blast of yellow energy from his hand that
housed the crystal. The giant surge flew across the distance separating the two
parties in an instant. However, a shield of another type of energy deflected the
impressive show of force. The blast shook the ground as the two energies met.
However, when the quake subsided, and the air grew clear, Stebos still stood his
ground, the crystal of Kerah glowing brightly in his hand. The orange shield
that he had erected with the crystal slowly faded away. He stood there,
"You fool! You think your pathetic attempts to stop me
will ever succeeded? I have killed your king and the king of Kerah! I have
murdered the countless others who have stood in my way. You are pathetic!" In an
instant, Stebos was right in front of Nikkole, and the entire massed armies of
three powerful nations. Nikkole was stunned with his speed. "Your abilities are
so frail, you couldn't even see me move," Stebos stated, leaning right into
Nikkole's face with the words. "Do you think you can kill something that you
can't even see?"
Nikkole stood steady in his same spot, his arm still
stretched out with the crystal from delivering the last attack. Once again,
Stebos moved with lightning swiftness. Link, and all who were around, could hear
the sickening crack of bone as Stebos caught Nikkole's arm between his knee and
elbow, breaking it. Sweat beads ran down Nikkole's face as he winced in pain.
The crystal of Gailins dropped from his fist to the ground. It landed on the
soft grass, bouncing once, to rest on its side by Stebos' feet. He leaned in
close to whisper in Nikkole's ear. Nobody tried to stop him. The entire army was
still in shock from the power they had just witnessed.
"Nikkole," Stebos whispered, "I know you are wondering
right now 'How is this monster still standing? I just attacked him directly with
the crystal of Gailins. I know you know the secrets of the crystals. The thing
you don't know is that when one of us uses a power
of a different kind, both powers are enhanced. You have only touched the power
of Gailins, something you were born with, something you have never been away
from. However, I have lived on Kerahian soil for most of my life, but that was
not supposed to be my destiny. I come from another place, where the power is
different. Your kingdoms wonder why I am so strong, but you have been standing
on the answer the whole time. You from Gailins are adepts of yellow earth. Those
from Kerah are adepts of orange earth. I am neither, so I grew strong, feeding
off of both your energies.
"However, now with the crystal of Kerah in my
possession, nobody from Kerah can stand in my way." Bending over, he scooped up
the yellow crystal from the ground. "Now, neither can anyone from Gailins. There
is only one who has a chance at stopping me now..."
Stebos took his index finger and placed it on Nikkole's
armor. "You are pathetic." With his finger, Stebos pushed Nikkole to the ground.
Still in pain, Nikkole just laid there, with Stebos towering over him, laughing.
Sommers had had enough standing and staring at the
entire event unfold before his eyes. He had had enough of Stebos walking all
over everybody in his path. He still had a score to settle with the evil man. He
launched himself from his horse, sword drawn, screaming the battle cry of Kerah
at the top of his lungs. Stebos turned with lightning reflexes, and held up his
hand. Sommers halted in his place in midair, as if time had stopped. Stebos
turned to him. "Like I just told Nikkole here," he announced, "None of you have
the power to stop me now! If you had joined forces sooner against me, you may
have prevailed, growing stronger by sharing your powers, but wait!" A satirical
grin crossed his face. "That is why I had you fighting each other in the first
place! You are silly men. I'm so crafty you didn't know what hit you until it
was too late!"
Link was taken aback by Stebos' choice of language. It
was almost childish. Link looked at him, which was a bad move. Stebos turned to
him, Sommers still held fast in mid air.
"And you! Hero of Time! You have a debt you owe me on,
and you owe me big!" Link moved to draw his sword from its sheath on his back,
but didn't move nearly quickly enough. With crystals in both hands, Stebos
turned and unleashed a spell. From both crystals, glowing chains of energy shot
out, wrapping themselves around Link's body. They pinned his arms to his sides
and his legs together. Losing his balance, Link fell on his face into the grass.
This seemed to amuse Stebos greatly. The chains held Link's body, but they
didn't hold his voice.
"What debt to I owe you?" Link exclaimed.
"You will see, but the moment is not right. There are
others who owe me more than you, and you will see when we get into the Lost
Woods." With those words, Link and Stebos both disappeared, to teleport back to
Jenove's side across the field. Link reappeared next to Zelda's side. However,
he was still tied up, and promptly fell to the ground again. Zelda moved to help
him, but Jenove's hand intercepted her, knocking her to the ground.
"Sommers!" Stebos called from across the field. "You
could not protect your king from me! Now let's see if you can protect yourself!"
Laughing, Stebos drew up both crystals and slammed them together. From them, a
giant energy flew high into the air. Hundreds of meters in the air, the blast
exploded into a fireworks of smaller energies. They fell to the ground, and, in
a puff of smoke, a meridian knight appeared in each one's place. "These warriors
have been created with the combined power of Kerah and Gailins, not by me! Let's
see how well you and your pathetic army fare against them now!"
With that, Stebos and his party disappeared across the
field, rushing towards the entrance to the Lost Woods...
As Stebos disappeared, his grasp on Sommers vanished as
well, causing Sommers to unexpectedly tumble to the ground. Looking up from the
grass, he saw the massive army Stebos had created. He looked over at Nikkole,
who still lay on the ground in pain.
"You are in command now," Nikkole stated. Sommers
nodded. "Take that monster down!"
"Order understood!" Sommers shouted. He stood up.
"Carley! Tell your men to back down! There will be no more Hylian blood spilled
in this war. Gailins and Kerah will end this nightmare, once and for all!"
With those words, the two armies of two longtime rival
countries came together and fought side by side, the discrepancies between them
turning petty and frivolous.
Stebos was right that we could not defeat him as
separate forces, but together, not even he will stop us this time!
It had been a long, long time since Link had seen this
place. Everything looked the same as it had when he had left so many years ago.
Even his tree house was still there, with the grass trimmed around the edges of
the roots, just how he used to like it.
Someone has been keeping it up for me Link thought.
Link looked around, as much as the chains would let him. He had been allowed to
walk on his own now, but trailing right behind him was Jenove. Stebos led the
way, with Zelda positioned between him and Link.
The trek through the forest had been long, and the
chains never loosened. They were pressing so hard on the shield he wore on his
back that the edges were digging into his skin. Link just clenched his teeth and
took it, for there was nothing he was able to do about it.
Stebos made his way through the small village, almost
like he knew exactly what he was looking for, like he had been here before. They
walked down the dirt path along side of the small creek that ran through the
tiny village. Link noticed something he hadn't before. The houses all looked the
same, but they were empty. Link knew that by this time a night, all the Kokiri
should have been huddled comfortably in their warm homes getting ready for a
night of sleep. However, nothing stirred in this place Link knew so well. Even
the fairies and the once abundant swooping colored flashy thingies were absent.
The woods were silent. There was no noise throughout the entirety of the forest.
Slowly, the group made its way onward, until they came to a narrow path at the
edge of the village.
"What do you need with the Great Deku Tree?" Link
demanded, figuring out where Stebos was taking them.
"So, you have finally found out where we are going?"
Stebos smirked. "So I am sure you know what I am after then, oh wise Hero of
"You want the Kokiri crystal, don't you? You lands are
just like this forest. The land gives you your life force. If you travel too far
from your land for an extended period of time, you will become weak and die.
Just like the Kokiri."
"You are smart," Stebos poked. "However, that is only my
secondary mission. My first one comes on a more personal note...revenge."
Link shuddered at the words. "Against who?" he
questioned, dreading the response.
Stebos laughed again. "Against all those who have done
me wrong. You are one of them, but there are others, including your precious
Great Deku Tree." Link had nothing to say. He was too confused at everything.
Stebos snorted and continued onward. A short while
later, Link, Jenove, and Zelda arrived with him at the great clearing, the one
that held the Great Deku Tree. It had been a while since Link had seen the Great
Deku Tree. The last time he had been in this place was when it had only been a
small Deku Sprout. He remembered that moment after his victory against Phantom
Ganon deep in the Forest Temple.
However, many years had passed, and quite apparently,
the sprout had grown into what had made the Great Deku Tree so amazing before.
The tree towered over the land, even larger than the one that had summoned Link
to speak with it so many years ago...
"So you have finally returned to us, Meikyle." The Great
Deku Tree spoke. "It has been a while."
"You!" Stebos growled, "it was you speak as if you are
glad to see me, but I will prove to you that I am not simply dropping by to say
The Great Deku Tree acknowledged Stebos' words with
"You know why I am here! You know what I am going to do
Again, the Great Deku Tree remained silent.
"Fine!" Stebos declared, "if you have no last words,
then farewell, old protector of the Kokiri!"
Link looked over to the location of the protest. From it
ran a small girl, dressed all in green. Tears were streaming from her face.
"Please don't harm the Great Deku Tree!" Link knew who it was. It was Saria.
"Saria!" Link yelled, "Get away! You don't know
The yellow and orange chains exploded into a fury,
wrapping around Link's head to cover his mouth, gagging him with their energy.
"Silence you!" Stebos angrily yelled. "We will have no
more of your needless meddling in affairs where you have already caused enough
destruction!" Stebos' voice made him seem like he was on the verge of totally
losing it. He refocused his attention on Saria.
"And what do you think you can do to stop me, little
girl?" he asked, sarcasm dripping from his words. "Are you going to try and
appeal to my sensitive side?" Stebos laughed.
"No, simply stalling for time," Saria said, looking down
as if ashamed of her words.
"What?!" Stebos exclaimed. From nowhere, a green flash
whipped by, moving faster than anything Link had ever seen. The chains on his
body loosened, then fell apart, the intense energy sizzling and burning away
The knights were different this time... They were the
same size as any other meridian knights Sommers had faced before, but they were
somehow darker, more menacing. Ranks upon ranks of them slowly marched forward
towards the combined forces of Gailins and Kerah. The allied troops maintained
their ground, watching the walking onslaught of power creep closer and closer.
Off to the side, Lauren looked up to Sommers, watching
Sommers was staring at the oncoming ranks of knights,
trying to count all of them. While doing so, he caught Lauren's look in his
peripheral vision. He turned to see the boy's questioning eyes asking him: what do we do now? Sommers didn't have an answer. He
looked the other way and was startled at the sight. Both the Kerahian and
Gailian troops were looking at him with the same expression as Lauren.
Sommers was one of the highest ranking in power in the
hierarchy of Kerah, being one of the elite royal guardsmen. But wait...Roe was
dead now, making him the last remaining guardsman. Looking to the ground, he saw
Nikkole, tying his arm up in a sling made from his flowing yellow cape. Noticing
Sommers staring, he looked up.
"That's right," Nikkole winced, tightening the cloth on
his arm. "They are waiting for you. Lead them to victory."
Startled, Sommers looked back along the ranks of troops;
his troops. Each one looked back at him, loyally waiting for his command. I am the last leader left he thought to himself in
amazement. Well then, I suppose I shouldn't disappoint
them now, should I? Sommers raised his blade to the oncoming wall of
Without the energy chains holding him up, Link fell to
the ground hard. Zelda rushed to his aid, but Jenove was there to stop her
again. Instead of merely holding her back, this time, he struck her across the
face with the back of his fist. The blow threw Zelda to the ground, where she
"You are gonna pay for that!" Link growled. Bringing
himself up on all fours, Link attempted to get up, but before he could lift his
head, Jenove's foot smashed into his face. The attack lifted him from the
ground, causing him to flip over and over to land on the ground, this time on
From this position, Link could still see Stebos. He was
holding his arm, grimacing in pain. Blood flew profusely from a giant wound on
his shoulder. Jenove approached Link, his sword drawn and pointed at Link's
"You will stay down if you know what is good for you,"
he commented. "I would kill you right now, but Stebos has reserved that right
for himself, so we will just wait and watch as he picks your little friends
apart with his new powers!" Link, not that he had any other choice, looked on in
"You will pay for that you insolent twerp!" Stebos
roared. The little green blur came to rest on a stump ten meters in front of
Stebos. Even though the stump added to his stature by about a meter, the figure
was still not even half as tall as Stebos.
"Right, Meikyle, just like last time."
That voice! Link thought. It
Standing atop the stump was an old "friend" of Link's.
He hadn't changed a bit since Link had last seen him. Mido proudly stood tall,
challenging Stebos with his tiny sword.
"Mido! What do you think you are doing?" Link exclaimed,
only to have Jenove's sword pressed further up against his neck. The cold metal
tip could be felt on his skin.
"Be silent and watch," Jenove demanded, "or I will
silence you." Link complied.
Mido totally ignored Link's outburst. "You finally have
come back to us, Meikyle, but I am sure it is not to apologize for your
misdeeds. I see you have the crystals from Gailins and Kerah both. You have come
better prepared than last time, but I see your friend Marcus is not with you
this time. What happened to him?"
Stebos growled. "You killed him."
"Oh yeah, I did," Mido laughed. "So I see you haven't
learned anything from our last encounter then, have you?"
"Fight me, and find out," Stebos invited. Gripping his
wounded shoulder, a green light started glowing from beneath his hand. When he
removed his hand, the wound was completely healed. "I learned that one from my
travels. You will see that I am full of surprises that you cannot even
Mido, the cocky, short little Kokiri child Link had
grown up with, stood proud with his tiny Kokiri sword glowing a deadly green.
Link could feel the power emanating from the short Kokiri. Where did Mido get that power? he wondered. Link looked
over to the side where Stebos was. Stebos' sword also glowed, but instead of
there being a steady aurora of color surrounding it like Link had seen from the
warriors in Gailins and Kerah, yellow and orange lightening skipped menacingly
over its surface.
After a moment of staring each other down, the battle
began. Without warning, Mido attacked, barreling down on Stebos.
The two swords connected and there was a brilliant flash
of light and energy. Link was temporarily blinded from the exchange of blows.
With white spots dancing in his vision, he picked out that Stebos was still
standing, unfazed from the attack. Mido hadn't faired as well. He still stood,
about ten meters back, but his clothes had energy burns on them, and he had a
large cut running across the left side of his face. You
don't know what you are doing, Mido! Link thought. You may have the heart, but you don't know what this man is
"Very good," Mido laughed. "Your skill has improved
greatly since our last battle."
What is he talking about?!? Link shouted in his
head. How does Mido know this guy anyhow?
"I told you I would be full of surprises," Stebos
laughed, "But you will pay for what you have done, Hero of the Forest!"
Link couldn't contain his surprise any longer. "WHAT?!?"
he exclaimed out loud. This caused pain in his throat, so he refrained from
saying anything else.
"That's right, Link!" Mido shouted. "I am the Hero of
the Forest!" Mido laughed. "I guess you can now see why I was so irked when the
Great Deku Tree called on you to save Hyrule. I thought I was the Hero! You were
just an outcast! I couldn't figure why the Deku Tree would call on you before
me...but I guess we both know why we didn't get along that well. It's almost
funny now that I look back on it...I was so immature those days, being angry at
you, chasing after Saria..."
"Enough talking!" Stebos demanded. "Fight me so I can
destroy you and then destroy this worthless tree of yours too! Once I take your
crystal, the world will tremble in my fist!"
Not looking as confident as before, Mido laughed. "You
know I cannot let you do that, Meikyle."
His whole body screamed in protest. That last attack had
been like running into a stone wall ten times. Those
crystals he acquired have really made him stronger...I don't have a chance.
"I will not allow you to take our tree or our crystal, Meikyle," Mido
"You are in no position to tell me what to do!" Stebos
shouted in rage. "And do not call me by that name anymore! He died when your
worthless tree abandoned him to Masresume!"
"Right," Mido laughed, "and it is his fault that you
decided to turn to a life of evil and destruction. I'm sorry, Meikyle, but I've heard your story one too many times.
Remember, during the last time you were here, I
whooped you and your friends' butts!"
"And you will pay for that one!" Stebos yelled in rage.
He attacked with all his power, slashing back and forth at Mido with his
menacing black blade.
Mido did manage to block many of the attacks, but was
not fast enough to dodge the rest - the attacks were coming in too fast. Though
he was quick with the sword and nimble on his feet, he was still not swift
enough, and was sent to the ground by a gauntlet smashing into his face. As he
impacted the hard earth, he heard some very disconcerting cracks from his bones.
He lay there, unable to move.
Stebos laughed. "See little man!?! You may have been
stronger than me the last time we met, but this time I have you!" Stebos raised
his sword high into the air to land the final blow.
"NO!!!" From the far right, Saria ran and dove over
Mido, protecting him. Stebos' sword screeched to a halt, barely stopping in
time. The blade rested up against Saria's trembling green hair. Link struggled
some more, but Jenove's blade held him down. Zelda still hadn't moved from her
place on the ground.
"Out of the way, Saria!" Stebos bellowed. "I do not want
to kill you, but if you persist to do this every time we meet, I will be forced
"You wouldn't!" Saria exclaimed, in her small scared
"Watch me!" Stebos yelled, madness growing in his voice.
He drew his sword back up into the air."
"Saria," Mido moaned, "please get away...escape. There
is not need to try to defend me anymore. I am lost..."
"Not on my watch you aren't!" With all her strength,
Saria formed a shimmering orb of green energy. With both arms, she launched it
directly into Stebos' face, as his hands were drawn back for the final strike.
The blast smashed into Stebos' helmet. The helmet deflected some of the attack,
but the blast was too intense. Groaning in protest, the mask shattered into a
million glittering pieces and scattered across the meadow floor. Finally, Link
got to see Stebos' face.
From under the helmet was a mess of green hair. Green
hair and a face that looked very familiar. Link couldn't quite put his finger on
what it reminded him of.
"It is time for me to remind you of exactly where you
come from, Meikyle! Even if it kills both of us!" Saria yelled.
"No!!!" Stebos cried in agony. "Get out of my head!"
Saria was attacking Stebos in no way any other warrior
could; attacking his mind and his heart.
It was night, and all the Kokiri were huddled in their
houses in fear. All but three. A great battle had been being waged between an
unknown wizard and the Great Deku Tree for many hours.
"Come on, Saria," Mido said in hushed voice. "Hurry up,
you do want to see what's happening, right?"
"No," she answered truthfully, "I'm only going because
he is." She pointed to the third figure that was
"Right," Mido acknowledged under his breath. "So you
didn't come just because I was going...?"
"No," answered Saria, oblivious at what Mido was hinting
"Hey, hush up you two," the leader called back. "They're
right here, but it looks like they are just talking now."
Saria crawled up to the ridge of the meadow where the
Great Deku Tree stood. The Great Deku Tree had scars and burn marks all over its
trunk, and a large limb from somewhere near the top of the tree had been broken
off, and now rested on the ground. The mysterious wizard didn't look much better
though, hunched over and leaning on his magical staff for support, his orange
robe burnt and tattered. The three Kokiri could barely hear the words they were
"You will not get what you seek," the Great Deku Tree
spoke. "Your powers are impressive, but in this land you do not stand a chance.
Go back to home, for the crystal of Kokiri will never be yours."
"I admit that you have caught me at a disadvantage," the
wizard spoke. "If I had known that traveling so far for Kerah would have had
diminished my power so much, I would have reconsidered stealing the crystal of
Gailins first... However, you, old tree, are missing one thing..." Behind his
back, the wizard began forming an energy ball. "The fact that I, Masresume, have never been defeated in battle, and I do
'LOOK OUT GREAT DEKU TREE!!! IT'S A TRAP!!!"
"WHAT?" exclaimed Masresume. He turned to see a small
boy galloping down the far hill, screaming and waving his arms. He turned back
to release his blast at the tree, but it was too late. A giant wave of green
energy erupted from the Great Deku Tree, smashing into him like a ton of bricks.
He lost his grip on the energy ball as well. It flew
wildly through the air, landing on the ground right next to the boy who had
foiled him. In the gigantic explosion, the boy was lifted up and thrown high
into the air to land a few meters short of where Masresume laid. That boy! My defenses are gone after that blast! I must
"If I cannot take your crystal, Great Deku Tree, then I
will take one of your children instead!" Picking himself up from the ground,
Masresume grabbed the small Kokiri child by his shirt. "Farewell until I return
to claim what is mine!" he called out as he blasted off from the earth, flying
back to Kerah with his new slave.
Stebos fell to the meadow floor, still holding his head
in agony. Saria sat weeping next to Mido. Regaining his composure somewhat,
Stebos attempted to stand up, but wobbled and quickly fell over. Jenove moved to
help his master, but Stebos held up his hand. Jenove stopped, his sword still
resting lightly on Link's throat.
"That is what you may remember, Saria," Stebos choked,
"but you didn't have to live through years of living with that monster. You
didn't have to do his every bidding, simply because that damn tree pissed him
off! That tree didn't save me from him, so I had to save myself.
"Right, after years of loyal service, he noticed that my
Kokiri powers worked very well in Kerah. You see, his land and our land are the
same, just run by different powers. My being a green earth adept increased my
abilities in their world ten fold. He used this to complete his wishes. You see,
this wizard was an outcast, angry and bent on destroying Gailins and Kerah. He
was slightly insane, always babbling about getting the three crystals, but he
was powerful as well.
"To reap his vengeance on Gailins and Kerah, he needed
the three crystals, but since he couldn't obtain it the Kokiri crystal, he used
me instead. And you know what? I was happy to do his bidding after that. We were
both outcasts from a place that didn't want us.
However, this wizard was blinded by his hate. He tried
once again to steal the crystal of Kerah, but this time, he was stopped and
killed. I had looked up to that man for thirteen years. In my time away from the
Kokiri forest, I had grown into a man. A man who had only seen failure in the
weakness of others."
"What do you mean?" Saria asked.
"The Great Deku Tree. We all looked up to it. It
protected us. For that, we worshiped it. However, when things got serious, it
couldn't even protect me. Neither could your worthless Hero of the Forest, who
had not even attempted to save that damned tree and left me to do it alone.
Masresume was the most powerful person I had ever met.
Again and again he would defeat the kingdoms of Gailins and Kerah in battle with
his dark magic. However, even he fell, and the man who was my captor turned
savior, was dead. I depended on him. Now I will finish his task and reap my
revenge on all who wronged me in the past, starting with this damned tree!"
With those words, Stebos let loose a blast of epic
proportions, one so large and so powerful, the air shook around it. It streamed
to its intended target, the Great Deku Tree. The Great Deku Tree saw it coming,
and prepared. A giant barrier of green light erected itself in front of the
oncoming blast. The blast connected with, and shattered the green shield. The
remaining power of the blast ripped through the bark of the Great Deku Tree, and
cut deeply into its trunk. However, right as the blast seared its mark on the
tree, Stebos fell to the ground, withering in agony. Saria also slumped onto her
side, and lay motionless.
"Ha ha!" Jenove cried. "Just as I thought!" Moving his
sword from Link's neck, he proceeded to kick Link in the stomach. Link's body
flew high into the air and landed in a heap next to Zelda's side. There he
rested, barely being able to breathe from the pain. "You fool, Stebos!" Walking
over to his master, Jenove knelt down to Stebos' side. "You thought you could
reap your revenge on the entity who created you? Killing the Great Deku Tree
will kill you too my friend, for you and him are one and the same! All these
pathetic Kokiri are."
The battle was intense. Sommers stuck as close as he
could to Lauren the entire time. He felt sort of an obligation to the boy now.
He had gone through so much at a young age. Then, after almost ruining Link and
Hyrule's standing in the boy's eyes by making a hasty judgement, Sommers felt a
responsibility to him; a responsibility to all the soldiers who now followed his
charge in battle.
However, his plans were fading fast, with the meridian
knights putting up more resistance than it seemed the two combined armies would
be able to overcome. The meridian knights fell to the ground, burning up and
evaporating into the air, but many more of the soldiers of flesh and blood were
falling. Still, Sommers battled on. He attacked with all his strength, with the
months of furry that had built up inside him. He was unstoppable in the battle.
Even though they were on Hylian ground, he never felt stronger. The meridian
knights would move to defend against his attacks, but his sword would find its
mark, if an energy blast didn't drop the knight first.
However, no matter what he did, there was always a
figure one step next to him, pacing Sommers' movements with equal, or perhaps,
even greater power. It was Lauren.
Lauren's eyes glowed fiercely, his sword enveloped in a
sheath of orange light. On numerous occasions, Lauren's attacks had managed to
sever an attacking meridian knights' blade in two. Sommers couldn't believe what
Not that it mattered. Even with the two super warriors
leading the charge, there were simply too many meridian knights to deal with.
Sommers looked to the side. There, a Gailian soldier's sword was being held at
bay by a meridian's gauntlet. The meridian drew its sword back to strike, but
never had the chance. A glowing orange blade flew through the air, severing the
meridian's arm from its shoulder. The rescuing Kerahian soldier extended his had
down to lift the Gailian warrior to his feet. In doing so, they didn't notice
the two knights approaching from the east until it was too late. They covered
their faces with their arms in defense. However, a streak of orange and a streak
of yellow flew to their aid. A burning orange arrow and glowing yellow dagger
stuck out of the chest plates of the two would-be slayers.
Good Sommers thought at
least we are working together. Even so, there were still too many knights.
From his side, he heard a cry. Lauren's sword had been knocked from his hand.
The meridian knight's blade was already on its speeding path to cut Lauren down,
and Sommers knew he couldn't do anything to stop it...
Then, from out of no where, a giant cut formed in the
meridian knight's side. The meridian knight stopped, looking at the cut that had
mysteriously appeared in its armor. Sommers was amazed to look around and see
that all of the knights had similar cuts in their sides. With a groan, all the
knights imploded, disappearing from the battlefield in a show of black energy.
Lauren had already found his way to his feet, picking up
his sword and sliding it back into its sheath at his side. "What now?" he asked
Stebos lay on his side, looking at the giant cut that
scarred the Great Deku Tree's massive bulk. His hasty attack had been his
downfall, a downfall that could have been prevented if Jenove had told him what
repercussions his attack would cause.
"If you knew that attacking the Great Deku Tree would do
this," Stebos gasped through waves of pain, "then why didn't you tell me?"
"Oh, because I trust you just as much as you trusted
me," Jenove cynically stated. "Remember the last time we were here, in this same
position? Marcus was still alive, but you let him die at the hands of this
little brat here." Jenove pointed his sword at Mido. "But I know what you did
after the battle.
"You had been so convinced that you could get the Kokiri
crystal without fighting, so Marcus and I let you have your little fun, going
back to the forest to see all your little friends. I know you had fun too,
pretending to be one of them again, amazing their small minds with how big you
had gotten and with your stories of adventure. However, when it came to this
one," Jenove pointed to Saria, "you almost gave in, didn't you?
"I remember, you coming back on that final day saying
that we would have to fight for the crystal because your plan to get them to
turn it over to you wasn't working. How stupid could you have been? First you
are taken away by a wizard who demanded the crystal, and then you come back
playing all nicey-nice, but wanting the crystal too? That was really smart I
tell you, great plan.
"Marcus and I both knew that you were trying to protect
them from your past, but we knew that you would fail." Jenove laughed and stood
up, pacing around Stebos' withering body. "But the greatest part was the look on
her face when you attacked. Can you say 'ultimate betrayal?'" Jenove laughed
louder. "Well of course you can! Look what I am doing to you right now!" Jenove
stopped his pacing, and knelt back down next to Stebos again
"But the part that really got to me was not your
stupidity or shortsightedness, it was your lack of loyalty. Loyalty to Marcus
and I, and loyalty to the mission. I saw it in your eyes that you wished nothing
more to just go back to the forest and become one of them again. A child without a care in the world.
However, we all knew that could never happen. You had seen too much and done too
much to ever regain your innocence as a child.
"So we fought, and we lost. You lost your chance at the
crystal, but I lost much more than that. I lost a brother. You could have
stopped it, but you decided to save your own worthless hide instead of helping
him. So when I spent the next day burying my brother, you went back to see her. I followed you, and I was so delighted to see your
pain. That day, a hero came into the woods. He replaced you are Saria's side,
and you still can't live it down! From that point on, I knew you were
worthless." Jenove stood up again. "Well, worthless as the warrior you needed to
be at least. You let your emotions cloud your judgement, and that cost me my
"Only due to the fact that you were stronger than I was,
I waited on the sidelines, letting you do all the dirty work, stealing the
crystals with ease whereas I would have been hard pressed to succeed. However,
since that day, I have been using you, planning my move to strike you when you
were weak!" Jenove laughed to himself. You are always rambling on and on about
how this world owes you debts all the time!" Speaking in a louder voice and
pointing at Stebos, he continued. "You killed my brother, so I suppose I shall
have to even our little debt out by killing your
sister!" With that, Jenove lunged at Saria, sword drawn.
"NO!" cried Stebos. Using all his strength, he threw
himself at Jenove. Jenove easily knocked him back to the ground.
"You did this to yourself!" Jenove laughed. "You taught
me well, Stebos! Now that you are no good to me, I will have to eliminate you
and step up to the challenge!" Stebos tried to make it back onto his feet, his
body shaking from the racking pain. Swinging hard, Jenove smashed his fist into
Stebos' face, sending him to the ground once again. "I will take great pleasure
in killing your sister while you watch. Then I will kill the Hero of Time, for I
know that has been your dream ever since Saria replaced you with him. Lastly,
Stebos, you will die. You will die, betrayed and alone in a world where
everybody hates you."
"Hey smart one," someone called over from the sidelines.
"You will have to go through us first."
Link and Zelda stood off to the side where they once
"What?" cried Jenove. "How are you still able to stand?"
Link laughed. "I think you underestimated our
"What?" a small voice cried out, only loud enough for
Link and Zelda to hear. "That was all my ability
healing you guys! Hmph! That's the last time I go out of my way to help you!"
"Hush up, Navi," Link shushed. "Thank you for healing
us. We couldn't have done it without you."
"That's all I needed to hear. Just some appreciation for
my work," Navi proudly exclaimed.
"Yeah, after all the help
you gave me when I was fighting Ganondorf in OoT, you owed me big time," Link muttered under his breath.
"What was that?" Navi shrieked.
"Nothing!" Zelda snapped. "Now scram, we don't want you
getting hurt here." Jenove laughed at the two determined adversaries.
"Do you really think you can match my power?" Jenove
howled. "You are about to be proven so wrong, you are going to wish you have
never been born!" Jenove rushed Link and Zelda, not moving as fast as Stebos
could have if he were well, but still, fast enough that it made the two worried.
"So Zel," Link whispered. "Do you think we can take this
"You really came back to see me?" Saria managed over her
pain. It felt like something was cutting into her very being. The pain was
excruciating, however, she absolutely had to know.
"What do you mean?" Stebos said through clenched teeth.
"I mean, after the battle, you came back to see me?"
Stebos shuddered in pain. "Not only that time, but I
made regular journeys to check up on you. The time we spent together, even if it
only was me just trying to get the crystal from you, that time was the best I
ever had." Stebos winced.
"I wish I could go back, Saria, I wish I could have made
things better, but I was consumed for my thirst for power. I needed to be
independent of everything - to be my own ruler - to never let what happened to
me so many times before happen again." Stebos let out a deep sigh. "But I see
now that that can not be done. All I have done is live a life of betrayal. I
even betrayed myself, and now look at what it has gotten me..."
"If you had come back so many times, why didn't you tell
me?" Saria asked, tears running down her face. She was deeply hurt. "You know I
still loved you then, and I love you now..."
Stebos groaned in pain. "Because every time I came back,
you were always with him. The Hero of Time. You even
let him into our secret place deep in the forest, and taught him our song. I
couldn't believe you had forgotten me so quickly..."
"Now that's not fair!" Saria demanded with authority.
"Link and I were just friends. You were my brother, Meikyle, my brother!"
"But..." Stebos began.
Saria didn't allow him another word. "And exactly what
did you expect me to do anyway?" she questioned. "I lose you once, and then you
come back, only to betray me! The day you left for the second time, I thought I
had lost you forever.
"However, in your wake, came a baby - Link. Immediately,
there was a bond created between us. He had lost his mother, and I had lost my
brother, just hours apart from each other. I thought that if I could become
close with him, maybe we could help each other..."
"I see now," Stebos painfully admitted. "It was selfish
of me to leave you like that... And now, look at what I have done...again..."
Saria offered her hand out to him, even though they were
lying on the ground. "At least we still have each other," she said. When he
reached out to that hand, and grasped it firmly in his palm, from that moment
forward, he was no longer Stebos, the dark, traitorous warrior of Kerah. He
became Meikyle, the scared little Kokiri boy without a home.
"You two are impressive fighters, but your raw power and
talent are still missing something," Jenove chided.
"Like what?" Link asked, breathing hard.
"Conditioning," Jenove said. "I can see that you are
both skilled, but you fight out of pure necessity. I fight for my reasons, but
one is strictly for the love of battle. You two are optimistic pacifists who try
to solve your problems with words. The only real way to obtain results is
"You know what," Link muttered, "you are absolutely
Link charged up his sword, blasting at Jenove with
multiple attacks. Zelda also opened up fire with shock wave eruptions. Jenove
blocked them with his heavy gauntlet and shield, sending the attacks skipping
through the air like speeding fireflies.
"Ha ha!" exclaimed Jenove, "you will have to do much better than that if you think you even have a
chance of beating me!"
Link charged in. Something about this man drove him into
a fury. It was his purely evil intents. A sadistic murderer with no purpose in
life but the thirst for chaos and destruction, the kind of person Link had sworn
to eliminate. Link had spent enough time in battle to know when he was out
gunned, and it clearly looked this way right now. However, that never kept him
from leaping into battle before, so why should it now?
Furiously, he drove at Jenove with his sword. He
attacked high right and slammed it down towards Jenove's neck. Jenove simply
batted the sword away with his gauntlet. Again, Link struck on the rebound, this
time from the low right. Shifting his weight, Jenove caught the blow on his
armored shin. Not giving up, Link spun around and, with all his weight thrown
into the attack, smashed his sword into Jenove's unguarded right arm. This time,
Jenove didn't even move from his position. The sword smashed into Jenove's
armor, not even leaving a dent. Jenove looked Link directly in the eye with a
"Like I said, you are going to have to do better than
"But don't say you didn't ask for it then!" Zelda
proclaimed from behind him. Jenove whipped around with lightning reflexes, but
it was too late. Zelda's blast smashed into his chest plate, sending him flying
through the air to skid to a halt in the grass. Moaning, he managed to pick
himself up, a gaping hole in the armor he wore.
"I suppose I have no room to complain for that one," he
growled, recovering and picking himself up, "but it is going to cost you!" He
drew tore off his damaged armor and threw it aside, drawing his sword up to a
mid-vertical position with the blade between his eyes. "You work well as a team,
but so do I!" Glowing with an orange light, a shock wave of energy exploded from
Link shielded his face from the blast. Wind and light
flew from Jenove's position, blowing leaves and sticks outward in a vortex of
dust. When the blast cleared, in his place stood two of him...two Jenoves, each
wearing a deadly grin on his face.
"Though Stebos may be a fool," they said in synchronized
voices, "he was an excellent teacher!" The two Jenoves split up and attacked
Link and Zelda one on one.
Zelda was quite a warrior, as far as being a princess
went, but nothing had prepared her for this adversary. Also, she lacked a
weapon, and had to rely on her energy blade spell. From each hand grew a
shimmering blade of energy, each one about the length and size of a Gerudo
warrior's blade. Usually, she could slice through about anything she needed with
the blades with no resistance. They were the best at slicing up carrots and
other things when cooking. However, she stopped using them after chopping
through a number of cutting boards.
Jenove powered up his sword as well, making it glow an
eerie orange. Time to see if these ham slicers can take
out a glowing sword... With all her strength, she launched herself at
Jenove, ham slicers first. Her right scythe was thrown off by Jenove's
intimidating blade, and the left one was knocked aside by his armored gauntlet,
which was also had developed an orange glow. However, proving he was not
finished, Jenove lifted his right knee to catch Zelda in her midsection,
knocking the wind out of her. Carried by her inertia, Zelda hit the ground hard,
but managed to roll out of the hall and regain her balance.
This was going to take a little more effort than her
kitchen utensils could cook up. Hey Link, she
thought to herself remember when we needed to cut down
that tree by the east wall? Placing her hands together, she interlocked her
fingers. The blade grew, the separate beams twisting around each other in a
spiral of power. The blade was now almost two meters long, and twice as thick as
the previous ones. It hummed with audible power. Jenove stood back, sizing her
"Oh yeah," Zelda said, "you mess with the cooking queen,
and prepare to be turned into mincemeat."
Link's blade quivered from the last blow, but its edge
remained sharp. His shield had taken and sustained many harsh blows, yet hadn't
obtained a dent. However, Link was not faring as well as his weapons. His left
shoulder was strained from swinging his sword so hard, and his right cried out
in pain from putting his weight into his shield to block Jenove's attacks. His
midsection cried out in pain every time he moved from a low drop kick he had
received early in the duel.
I don't know how much more of this I can take he
thought. Jenove moved forward again, attacking from the high right. Link blocked
the attack with both his sword and shield braced against each other. Swiftly,
Jenove drew his gauntlet back and punched Link's barrier with full force. Link
was thrown backward to land on his back. The ground was hard and unforgiving. He
cried out in protest from the impact, at the same time, losing his grip on his
shield. It was thrown from his arm and bounced across the grass out of reach.
Looking back up, Link saw Jenove's blade coming from the
sky, aimed right at his heart. With all the strength he had left, Link brought
up his sword to defend. He caught the approaching blade and stopped it
centimeters from his chest. Looking up, he stared directly into Jenove's eyes.
Jenove looked back and laughed, pressing harder and harder down. Link cried out
Along with the pain, Link's strength was slowly leaving
him. Jenove's sword crept closer and closer, until Link could feel its pressure
against his chest, the cold, razor sharp metal. Sweat beaded on Link's forehead.
The more he resisted, the more the pain in his arms and back grew. If he
lessened the pressure of his defense any further, Jenove's sword would run him
Jenove smiled, "You cannot match my power, so why not
just give up?"
"Never!" Link yelled. His cry of defiance earned him a
kick to the side.
"That's what I thought," Jenove replied, applying more
pressure to his attack. Link could feel a fire growing in his chest.
"You big loaf! Stop hurting my Linkie!" Navi zoomed into
view. "You've asked for it!" With that, Navi shot fairy dust into Jenove's eyes.
"What the?!?" Jenove yelled. The pressure on Link's
chest finally subsided and Link took advantage of the opportunity. Using the
rest of his strength, Link threw off Jenove's sword and flipped it up. Pivoting
his body, he skillfully kicked the flat edge of Jenove's sword, smacking it out
of his grip. Jumping to his feet, Link brought his sword up and struck full
force. However, even with his eyes closed, Jenove still sensed the attack.
Bringing up his gauntlet, he smashed the sword from Link's already weakened
grip. His eyes clearing, Jenove advanced to punch Link's face. Link faded to the
right and countered, smashing his left hand into Jenove's face. Jenove staggered
back, holding his cheek where Link struck him.
I didn't hit him that
hard Link thought. As Jenove lowered his hands, it became clear. An
impression of a triangle had burned itself onto deeply into Jenove's right
cheek. Link looked down at his fist. The TriForce of courage was glowing
brightly on his hand. Jenove looked at the glowing triangle, then to Link, and
Placing his sword back into his sheath, Jenove's image
flickered, and then vanished. Link heard a cry of surprise. He turned to see
that the Zelda's adversary had also had vanished.
"I feel I will need to use my full power on you now," a
Standing back where he had originally split into two
stood Jenove, whole once again.
"Not so confident anymore, are you," Zelda asked, still
holding her shimmering blade up in a defensive position.
"No," Jenove answered bluntly. "I just wanted to see
what you could do - to give you a taste of hope before I crush you!!!" Powering
up, Jenove's entire body began glowing orange. Link and Zelda knew what he was
doing. Focusing all the energy he had, Jenove let loose a bloodcurdling scream
as he sent a final blast at Link and Zelda - an attack to end it all. The two
targets looked at each other knowingly. There was nothing they could do to stop
"I guess this is it, Princess," Link gave. Zelda didn't
And, amazingly, it worked. Holding the crystal in his
hand, he projected a screen that intercepted the gargantuan blast. The resulting
collision between the energies exploded into a furry of fire and electricity.
Skillfully, the barrier of energy was manipulated so it deflected the residue
energy high into the sky. A giant beacon of power erupted into the atmosphere,
lighting up the land for all to see. "What!?" Jenove shouted, not believing what
he was looking at. Link and Zelda were equally stunned.
"I cannot let you hurt them," Lauren stated. The crystal
of Gailins rested in his right hand glowing fiercely. "This war has taken my
mother, my father, my brother, my mentor, and my king. Now you are trying to
take the only friends I have left. I cannot allow it."
"And who is going to stop me? You, little boy?" Lauren's
face grew red with anger.
He looked up, and Jenove was right next to him. "It is
too late for you, little one," he heard Jenove say. Not
if I can stop you!
With his last remaining strength, Meikyle launched
himself on an intercept course to Jenove's blast. Everything went in slow motion
from there. Meikyle watched as the energy grew from Jenove's fingertips. Looking
the other way, he could see the expression of terror burned on the young boy's
face as he turned. Meikyle saw the drops of sweat on the boy's hair fall slowly
to the ground.
When it hit him, it felt like fire. Meikyle welcomed the
pain...the pain he had felt for so long but hadn't let himself realize. It ran
through his body like magma in his veins. He turned his head, hoping to get one
last glance at her.
Saria lay on the grass, looking up at him with tears in
her eyes. Thank you he thought gratefully, for everything. He saw her nod, as if she had heard his
thoughts. The ground came up fast and hard.
"Nooooo!!" Lauren spun around to see Stebos leap up from
the ground and take the hit for him. Jenove had a look of amazement on his face
at the turn in events. He moved to redirect his attack, but was too late. Lauren
brought the crystal up and blasted Jenove directly in the chest. He was thrown
back, deep into the forest. Lauren cringed, as he could hear the sound of and
breaking tree limbs echo through the woods. From deep in the forest, Jenove
blasted through the trees high into the air.
"You haven't seen the last of me!" he bellowed as he
rocketed through the air overhead. "You will never be able to defeat the
alazarns of Old Kerah!" With that, he flew through the stratosphere and vanished
over the horizon.
"Good work, kid," Sommers congratulated, patting Lauren
on the shoulder. "That got him good." Lauren looked up at Sommers and gave him a
"What?" he proclaimed innocently. Then he burst out
laughing. "Fine, I'll stop calling you 'kid,' but what else am I supposed to
call you now?"
Lauren looked him dead in the eye. "You could start by
calling me Lauren," he suggested. This evoked another laugh from Sommers.
"You got what it takes, Lauren," he stated, holding the
crystal of Kerah in his palm. Lauren smiled. Both of them turned and looked over
to Link and Zelda.
Link slowly gave Lauren a nod, and Zelda simply smiled.
This caused Lauren's smile to erupt into a goofy grin that consumed his whole
face. Not only had he found a whole bunch of new friends, but also, they had
finally done it, even if it was only temporary: they had won.
"Please hold on! Please!" Saria cried, holding her
brother in her lap, brushing back the green hair on his head that was so much
like hers. "Don't worry, brother. I can heal you. I just need to go out into the
forest to get the right herbs! It will only take a..." she began to move to
gather them, but Meikyle grabbed her wrist, keeping her there.
"It is too late, Saria," he groaned. "I am too far gone
now, and even if you could save me, I do not deserve it after the life I have
Saria was sobbing now, tears running freely down her
cheeks. "No, I won't believe it," she cried, "I can save you. I can..."
"Saria, don't you see?" Meikyle gasped. "You have
already saved me...but I must go now. The other world calls my name and...and I
can no longer fight it...I love you sister...I..."
Meikyle's eyes closed, and his body went limp.
"No!" Saria cried, tears flowing from her eyes. "I can't
lose you again...you can't go! Not when I just got you back! No!...no..." Her
cries turned into sobs. She sat there on the meadow floor, rocking back and
forth, cradling him in her arms. Zelda, Link, Lauren, and Sommers looked back
from their celebration of victory, and became solemn.
"Oh Meikyle," Saria sobbed. "My little Meikyle..."