Chapter 1: War Upon Hylia
Two children, Mathias and Allisandra, strode across the steppe toward the grove of apple trees that lay across the fifth of seven hills between the town of Larth and the main pass through the Death Mountain Range. This path ran parallel to a wide, cobbled road used by the populace to reach Upper Hyrule. From the hills, the children could watch as the occasional farmer would pass by with donkey-driven wagon in tow.
These two youngsters were the offspring of the richest merchant in all of Larth. As such, they had ample free time to indulge in the simple pleasures of youth, while their peers worked away on their own family’s farms. When the two reached the orchard, they scouted for the best fruit, ripe for the picking.
As the two rejoiced in their discoveries, a mass of men appeared on the horizon just cresting the seventh hill. They were marching in indiscriminate order, apparently in a light sprint and the group carried a menagerie of weaponry: swords, spiked shields, spears, and maces. They made it unnoticed all the way up until the fifth hill, when young Mathias became aware of their presence. He jumped to the ground and peeked over a mound, commanding his sister to follow suit. The two gasped in wonder as the men passed under their gaze, heading southeast along the road.
It was from this vantage point that they could make out whom these men were. They bore the symbols of the Cusantach on their armoring, adorned with the green and navy tartan of their native garb. Their hair was greasy, and tied back in a series of interlocking braids. What was loose flew from the faces to where the wind carried it, sweeping across the painted facades of their bearers. Most striking, and yet unknown to the children, was that this war party was lead by Eirhan himself. Matthias and Allisandra couldn’t have possibly known that this war tribe was heading straight for Larth.
* * *
The next morning an expedition from the Castle arrived to find themselves to late. Larth was in ruins. The smell of burnt flesh was thick in the air, invaded the nostrils and taunting the back of each soldier’s throat. Ash caked black the normal shiny stone streets. Bodies were heaped a dozen high in several piles around the city, dominated by a torn and dirty flag bearing the symbol of Cusantach. It was on this day that each soldier bearing witness of Larth swore that it would be their sword to part Eirhan’s head from his body.
The leader of the expedition, Sir Heironus, ordered the soldiers to search for any survivors. He joined them; cast his red cape behind his shoulders and drawing his sword, in case a rogue Cusantach lay in waiting, itching to cast down a senior Hyrulian military officer. “Just like a dirty Human would,” Heironus sneered to himself, playing to his delusions of self-importance.
“Captain!” A young soldier called his commanding officer, alerting the dandy knight of a possible discovery. “I’ve discovered a survivor!” the soldier then confirmed. Heironus sheathed his blade and pulled the cape around it soldiers. The winds coming off Death Mountain were too cold and harsh for a Hylian more used to the tropical clime of the southern shores. He then strode the source of that young Hylian’s voice, turning a corner and spotting the mangled corpse of one dirtied Cusantach, a young human with his clothes ripped asunder, and the bludgeoned remains of a female Hylian, her mangled hand still gripping a pot.
The young soldier turned to smile at Heironus, expecting some level of kudos, but instead spotting Heironus filling a once-empty pot with his breakfast. Heironus spun around, steadied his posture, and took another good look at the dead bodies. The process repeated itself and the young soldier wondered how such an incompetent officer could have risen so high in the ranks.
Capt. Collonius, just a rank under Heironus militarily, but a thousand ranks superior in regards to the respect of the men under him, spotted Heironus desecrating the poor dead woman’s kitchenware. He shook his head aghast and ordered the surviving Human be tossed in the wagon. Once that was complete, he suggested the young soldier join his comrades in burying the dead.
“Heironus, for Din’s sake, you are a disgrace,” Collonius condemned. Heironus brushed himself off, and attempted to salvage what little respectability he hadn’t violently discharged from his esophagus.
“Silence, Collonius. Show some respect to your C.O.!” Heironus ordered, missing the irony in it all.
“Indeed. Perhaps we should report to the Crown Prince directly. It would also be best that the soldier’s be instructed not tell the populace of this tragedy. It’d be best that panic not spread across Hyrule.”
“It might steel their resolve.”
“Rather I think it might also have the unintended consequence of emboldening the Cusantach,” Collonius spit in disgust at the word.
“I disagree. You’re much too harsh in this regard. This is a matter of rounding them all up and throwing away the key.” Heironus asserted with a smug grin.
Collonius responded with an air-chilling stare. “The Cusantach would wipe out every Hylian in Hyrule if they could. If you won’t stop them, I will. I’m riding to the Castle at daybreak, I suggest you do the same.”
The next morning, as the sun broke atop the peaks of Death Mountain, Collonius departed what remained of the town of Larth, following the main road southeast to Hyrule Castle. In tow were a small escort of eight soldiers and the carriage of Sir Heironus, who was still sleeping at that hour.
Despite the departure of the senior leadership, a salvage crew still remained to clean up the mass graves and build a proper cemetery. Perhaps if the Castle was feeling generous, they might fund a memorial as well. It was already decided Larth would serve as a military outpost to guard the main road to Upper Hyrule.
Meanwhile, the last senior official, a senior attaché from the Castle, made her way from the barracks to the medical tent in the center of the town. Surveying the town, this woman felt a particular pang on her heart. So much death – and for what? Shaking aside her feelings, she cast aside the doorway to the tent, steadying her entrance with a tap of her walking stick on the ground. She then pulled back her hood and approached the only surviving Larth citizen, who was lying wide-awake on the bed in the far corner. His face betrayed a sense of confusion. He looked lost.
“Hello there young man, my name is Impa, nursemaid to the Princess, and attaché from His Highness Crown Prince Cyrus II. If I could have a word?”
The young man waved his hand at a chair sitting bedside in a “if you wish” kind of gesture. Impa took the invitation in stride and sat beside him.
“I’m sure this has been a rough few days on you,” she sympathized maternally.
“You have no idea,” the man responded curtly.
“I’ve been asked by the Crown Prince to ask you a few questions about the incident,” Impa then stated. “To start, what’s your name?”
“I… don’t know.”
“You don’t know? Do you not have a name? Suffering from amnesia perhaps?”
“Yeah, I can’t remember.”
“Okay then. Well, we found you in the house of a Hylian woman with a bump on your head and a dead Cusantach on the ground. Do you remember what happened there?”
“Mistress Impa,” a young soldier then called, emerging through the door of the tent. “Might I have a word? There’s been a development.”
Impa nodded to the young man and walked over to the soldier. He then whispered something into Impa ear, sending the old Hylian’s eyes wide open. She mouthed “are you serious?” Turning a bit red she ordered the soldier to retrieve some Hylian Identification Papers for the young man.
Impa then turned to the bed-ridden man, “Pack your things, we leave for Hyrule Castle in an hour.”
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