Chapter III: The White Island of Valoo
Valoo, the capital city of the Rito Confederation, was a sight to behold. From the very inch where the sea touched land, white marble gleaming in the sunlight stretched high on all sides in a magnificent multi-tiered castle. Pillars and statues held up various aspects of the architecture such as balconies and lofty towers. Parapets surrounded the three main levels of the island and a legion of Rito guards dressed up in the most ornate of uniforms marched counter-clockwise around the island, taking an hour just to circle the island once. The top of the island rose up like a cone towards the heavens, crowned by a Temple adorned all over with the finest gold. Statues of the patron sage of Rito, Medli, stood out from the four corners of Temple.
As the clipper ship docked along the southern port, a group of Rito diplomats greeted Princess Zelda, Impa, and Rourke at the platform. Princess Zelda performed the duty demanded by protocol of presenting her credentials, a letter of recognition from Crown Prince Cyrus, and in return the Rito delegation presented Zelda with a letter of welcome from High Chieftain Komali VI. The two groups nodded to each other politely, exchanged handshakes, and then followed the Rito guards to the accommodations that would be hosting the Hyrulian diplomats for the evening.
After the Rito delegates left for the night, Rourke grabbed Zelda’s luggage, the many parcels that they were, and dragged them over to her chambers adjacent to the main room they were first led into. Ornate carvings ran from the floor to the ceiling bearing the images of Rito generals and famous figures in the history of the Great Sea. A statue of the Hero of the Winds stood in the center of the main room. Apparently this was the rooming reserved for embassies from Hyrule.
Rourke was stunned by the sheer wealth that the Rito displayed. “It is nice isn’t it?” Zelda smiled as she questioned Rourke. The two never really had a moment to talk alone, and it almost seemed intentional. He sensed some apprehension from the Princess.
“It is,” Rourke replied, smiling.
“The Rito have always been a fabulously wealthy people, big traders. They’re ability to fly gives them a natural advantage over other merchants, being able to just fly goods from one place to another.”
“Yeah,” he replied, instantly feeling ridiculous for such a response. He ran other responses through his mind, but the moment had passed.
“Thank the Goddesses that the Rito have been such steadfast allies to Hyrule, although, our two nations are like brothers, since the days of the Great Flood. What with the Hero of the Winds and all.” Zelda then gestured towards the statue in the main room.
Feeling a little awkward in the present situation, Rourke stood up, hands at his sides and looked around. “Well, looks like your all set up and ready to go.”
“I guess so,” Zelda replied, somewhat regrettably.
“Well, goodnight Princess” Rourke waved as he left the Princess sitting on her bed and shut the oaken double doors behind him.
Zelda sighed to herself as she folded some clothes into the bureau in the corner. She spotted a mirror on the wall in front of her and looked at her complexion. She thought to herself about Rourke, about what he was, and how he didn’t know it. How could she be cordial to this man? Sighing once more, she pulled down the comforter and lied down on the bed, having just donned her nightgown. Her head hit the pillow and her eyes snapped shut. It was refreshing to fall asleep on dry land for the first time in a few days.
Rourke walked towards his room, which he shared with Impa and noticed that the old woman had already passed out on the bed in the center of the room. Rourke sat down on the couch in the corner and lied down to get some much-deserved sleep.
“AAAAAHH!!!!” was the scream that awoke both Impa and Rourke from their slumber. He turned to Impa who shouted to him, “That’s the Princess!” Feeling incensed, Rourke climbed off the couch and tried to open the door. Locked. He then gathered his strength and attempted to kick the door down, but the door wouldn’t budge. Suddenly, he could hear the sounds of men laughing in the main room. Consumed by rage, Rourke got a running start and slammed shoulder-first into the door, sending pieces of wood hurtling into the main room.
The first thing he noticed was that the statue of the Hero was shattered onto the floor around him. Pieces scattered in a pattern along the pedestal it stood on. He then noticed that the doors to Princess Zelda’s chambers were open and Zelda was nowhere to be found.
Searching for a weapon, Rourke produced the arm of the Hero’s statue and swung it around as a stone club. He then strode out the doors to the hallway, exiting the main room, to find a Cusantach warrior standing over the body of a Rito guard. Before the warrior could react, marble connected with flesh and Rourke violently cast down the Cusantach to the floor. He then grabbed the Rito’s main armament, a gleaming iron sword.
All this commotion alerted the Cusantach warriors in the hallway ahead, one of which was carrying an unconscious Zelda over his shoulder. He shouted something in the Cusantach dialect to his partner, handing him the Princess and sending him ahead to escape with their quarry.
“Bring it on boy!” the remaining Cusantach shouted to Rourke, drawing a sword from his sheath. Rourke’s eye betrayed his anger, but the Cusantach wasn’t shaken. The kidnapper charged forward swinging wide at Rourke. Rourke blocked the swing with a low cut and landed a jab at the warrior’s cheek. The Cusantach spit some blood aside, angered by this dishonor, and charged once more. Rourke, despite his furor, played it smart, using his sword as a lance and allowing the warrior to skewer himself while charging. Blood ran alongside the blade as Rourke pulled the sword out from the dead human’s chest cavity and pushed his body aside.
Focusing once more on his quarry, Rourke broke into a sprint, raising the sword into the air, and letting a battle cry while giving chase to the Zelda-bearing fiend. The pursuit continued left, right, and down a long hallway. Finally Rourke had trapped the Cusantach at the edge of a large balcony that looked over the tides below.
“Take another step and I’ll gut ‘er, I will!” the warrior shouted at Rourke, waving a blade around to show he was serious. “Fherus doesn’t want ‘er alive, he wants ‘er dead!”
Rourke’s face twisted in a brief moment of recognition at what was said, then pointed his weapon at the Cusantach, slowly walking forward. “Let her go,” he then ordered. The Cusantach was clearly scared after seeing his friend dispatched so ruthlessly and efficiently.
“N-n-no! Don’t come any closer!” At this point the warrior lifted Zelda off his shoulder and turned to edge of the balcony as if he were to drop the Princess into the sea. Rourke responded by leaping forward, attempting to catch the Cusantach off guard. He was too late. Zelda’s eyes opened just as she was dropped off the balcony and began her descent seaward. Her screams was all Rourke heard before there was a splash. Before the warrior could follow her into the waves, he was pinned to ground, impaled by Rourke’s newly found sword. Blood rushed to the warrior’s eyes, clouding his vision, as his mouth curled into a smile and he gave up the ghost. Rourke drew his blade and leaned over the balcony, getting ready to dive after Zelda.
Before Rourke could jump, he saw a Rito guardsman, bearing Zelda in his arms, and flying up to the balcony. “Lost something?” the guard smirked, gently setting the dazed Princess back on her feet.
“You’re okay Zelda!” Rourke exclaimed, in a rare instance of happiness.
“No thanks to you,” Zelda retorted with a faux-serious snort, tending to her one unshod foot, which became clear to Rourke as the source of the splash he heard.
Rourke snorted back, “Well excuse me, Princess.”
Zelda smiled at his demeanor, she was enjoying ruffling his feathers, so to speak.
At this point, the Rito had flown off to return to his post. Zelda and Rourke walked back to the room. Zelda’s steps were uneven due to her missing one high-heeled shoe, forcing Rourke to support her by wrapping an arm around her torso. When they reentered the main room of their quarters, Impa rushed over to help Zelda into a chair. Rourke tended to the shattered statue, gathering all the pieces into a singular pile for easier cleaning.
“Are you okay Princess?” Impa prodded maternally.
“I’m just fine,” Zelda assured, “thanks to Rourke.”
“He was very brave Princess,” Impa agreed.
Rourke let some blood flush his cheeks for a moment, but quickly regained his composure. “I’m be sleeping in this room tonight, with one eye open, of course. I expect the Rito will be most apologetic in the morning. I know I’ll have many questions for their security director.” Rourke pushed a chair from the wall to next to Zelda’s chambers.
Zelda and Impa nodded and walked into Zelda’s room. Impa made sure the Princess was settled and shuffled back to her own room, closing the door behind her. Rourke wished the Princess a bed-bug free rest, in his thoughts at least, and closed the door to her room. He then sat in his chair by the door and propped his sword up where he could easily draw it.
Sleep overtook Rourke as the night passed on whence he would dream about fighting great warriors in battle and winning the favor of damsels in distress.
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