Chapter 12 – The Gathering Forces
In the following weeks many events occurred in rapid succession. Muion's deal with the Gerudo went through. The ranks of his crony guards were bolstered by teams of gerudo woman. He raised the taxes throughout the realm and put bounties on every royal guard's head. As well, a portion of the villas was ceded to the gerudo. The occupants of the farms were put under direct gerudo control. None were happy with these recent decisions. Yet, no one rebelled. Numerous parties of royal guard attacked the gerudo held villas, but were defeated and taken prisoner. They were summarily beheaded.
The gorons were ordered to make the
livable as soon as possible. The main areas and fortifications of the castle were done. The walls and keep reinforced in the past year. Yet, the minor detail work of the walls and decorations were still unfinished. Muion wished haste to move into the new castle . It seems he felt uneasy in the old one. new castle
The Zoras had since pulled themselves away from the outside world again. The help they had offered the villas was now withdrawn. They were sequestering themselves away until the troubled times had passed.
Order had been brought back to the vast field and valleys of Hyrule. Teams of bandits had been rounded up and sentenced to the construction teams of the
. Some had been given to the Gerudo to do with as they pleased. And this was yet another gesture that worried the populace. A race of warrior woman they had feared, but knew had been kept at bay in a desolate desert, were now given almost complete freedom to move around and do as they wish. Most times whatever a Gerudo did that violated the laws, the guards looked the other way. It seems they too were getting special favors from the harlots, as the hylian women referred to them as. new castle
Amongst the villas is where the armed and most outspoken of rebellions was taking place. As of now many representatives from the various militia units were present. They had agreed to meet in the musty basement of an inn. The light was prevalent has many held their own lanterns. They were arguing with their leader and trainer, Dashiva. Among the men present were several leaders of various royal guard squadrons. Tiryn, who had brought the remaining ones together through a loose system of communication was not present. In his stead was the sheikah Shawn. It was his voice that currently spoke and mirrored many of the men's own minds.
"We can't just sit around the borders of Hyrule for no good reason. Eventually, and by that I mean soon, Muion will send out his guard and begin to hunt us. And when we're gone it'll be you next. Do you not think it obvious that the most resistance comes from here? He is no fool. I can even guarantee that he knows of your militias. If he doesn't, then Quiri does. Then what happens when half the guard storm through here attacking? You'll be on your own! The royal guards will have been hunted, all because you refuse to act!"
They were cheers and mumblings of agreement through the gathered men. Some sat upon barrels while others stood against walls. Shawn chose to stand in his full sheikah attire, knowing the effect it would have on the men.
Dashiva sat across from him. His black hair long with pale blue eyes. He knew much was riding on this meeting. He had stalled action for two weeks now, not hearing a thing from the Heir. It was confusing. First, a word sent by courier to send Shawn or Cory to her immediately. Then another saying to tell no one where she was or if she was alive. Not even the brothers.
He shook his head ruefully. He did not know what she was planning or even if it would succeed. He knew one thing, though, he had to keep his people and the royal guard from storming the castle. He knew the Heir would not want that and prayed he had not misplaced his trust in her. "And then what, Shawn? We storm the castle. We kill Muion and Quiri. Then what?"
Shawn balked. "By then the Heir would come from hiding and assume the throne." His blue eyes sparkled as he spoke.
Dashiva had to wander at the lad. He could not read people very well. That was never his strength. He could easily read a battlefield, though. He knew not why Shawn was pushing for this. But, he knew an impossible attack when he saw one. None, of his militia men were ready for a prolonged war. The royal guard were ready but not for a prolonged siege on a castle. None here had even an inkling of what was necessary. Maybe, Shawn and Tiryn could lead them, but not to victory. "Who are you doing this for? For the Heir?" He asked.
"Of course! Why else have we all come here but for her. Hundreds have already died for her and I bet every man here would give their lives a dozen times over for her!" He roared the last part and almost every man here echoed his call.
Dashiva slowly shook his head. The men were being bought with glory and words. Yet, he thought they would go nowhere without his say. He was their leader. He had trained them. But, he knew if they were excited enough then they would leave this day, gather their men and march off. That's what Shawn was wanting to do. He was good at it Dashiva had to admit.
"Shawn, have you not thought that maybe the Heir as other plans in motion?"
For an instance a shadow past in his eyes. It was gone in a moment. "If she did she would have been in contact with us. I think that it is up to us to bring Hyrule back and present it to her. As any loyal subject would do! Am I right?" His raised his hands. A chorus answered him.
Dashiva grunted, growing weary of this. The meeting had started with each man speaking his mind. Some wishing for action to stop any more abuses placed upon them. Shawn had spoken last. He had wanted to only assure his men, not gather them for Shawn to take away.
He stood finally. The Heir had chosen him to lead and command these men. He had their respect. He was tired of Shawn blinding them with his wishes. He cleared his throat rather loudly. Every man in the room instantly held his attention. He felt like smirking. Conditioning his men to stop whatever they were doing, just by clearing his throat, was a carry-over from their days in training.
If Shawn was awed by the gesture, he did not show it. Instead, he stood his ground defiant. "Well, Dashiva, what words of wit and wisdom will you impart to us that’ll keep us safe in our beds while Muion rules?"
"When will you be hunted?" He asked quietly, the men pulling forward on reflex to better hear him.
"Easily within the month!" Declared Shawn. He darted his eyes left then right. He was catching on.
"How do you know? What are your sources?"
"Ah, good point. Put yourself in Muion's shoes as I have done. Would you let parties of armed men camp out at your borders just waiting for someone to inspire them to attack in a united force? How long would you wait to hunt them Dashiva?"
Dashiva let his face remain passive, but inwardly he cursed. That was the clincher it seemed. Even he himself had to admit that waiting would mean death. The only thing he had staying his hand was his trust in the Heir's judgment. If he could tell Shawn then this would go away! Yet, he stuck to his orders.
"You are right, Shawn. I would not wait for long. I would wait only long enough to establish a defensive position, then strike."
"You see! I am not right! We need to attack!" This time the roar was deafening. Dashiva could not sway the popular vote. It seems the men were called to action. His eyes narrowed. He would stall then. These were still his men, not Tiryn's and not Shawn's. He would lead them and none else.
"Silence!" His voice boomed. The voice of a drill instructor shouting over everyone else. A voice all heeded. Dashiva knew that sometimes one had to be either loud or quiet. And now he needed to be loud, to drown out Shawn's words from their minds so they would follow his orders and his alone. He regarded the sheikah with some appreciation. He was able to come here and undermine his own control over his men in a short time. The Heir chose her inner circle well. "Not one man will leave here tonight in an uproar screaming curses into the night of what you mean to do! We are still in secret and must act so. We have families to tend to and farms to set ready. We cannot just leave in a night and go do battle. Much must be considered and planned. Agreed?" He turned to Shawn.
Shawn grinned. "Of course." His smile sent a chill down Dashiva's back. It was the smile of a man who had accomplished all he had set-out to do. And with a shock Dashiva realized it. His men had not been the target. He had been the target. Shawn had used the militia men to acquire his services in the attack. The Heir chose her circle very well.
He recovered from the shock. Shawn would interfere no more. "Alright men, return to your homes and squads and make ready. Have extra food stored and at the ready. I believe it will take much food to feed this endeavor. Do realize we will be gone for some months, but it will still be weeks before we mobilize completely. Clear?"
Their was a round of agreeing sounds.
"Right then! There is still much to plan. I'll send out notes for the next meeting in a week’s time. Dismissed!"
The men all stood and saluted quickly before filing out, giving their good-byes to Shawn and their commander.
Once alone Dashiva turned to Shawn. "Whose idea?"
"Whose idea was this? Tiryn's or yours?"
Shawn smiled. "Mostly mine. Tiryn went along with it, though. He's got in his fool head he'll not survive this struggle."
"So you used him to bring the royals together. And me to bring the militias together? True?"
"I'm no fool, kid. I can see your scheme. I know you know tactics, and you know we have not the men to do this. What else are you planning? There must be something else or we all die."
Shawn sat down and the smile vanished from his face. His shoulders shrugged. "We'll have a few teams among the sheikah who'll help. They're our edge."
Dashiva nodded. He wasn't completely sure what the Sheikah were possible of, but he hoped it would make the difference. "Why then?"
"Why not." His tone was guarded. "The longer we wait the better a position Muion will be in. It’s better to strike now while he have a strong position than to wait. Waiting would just drive everyone crazy."
Ah, I see. Shawn had waited for the Heir and she had not come. He had lost faith in trusting her. Dashiva could not blame the kid. He himself felt the same way, yet he held to his faith in her. Only a girl she may be, but she had already proven herself in his eyes. "She's not abandoned us, I still trust her and so you should, too. Even if she has contacted no one.”
Shawn only grunted at the comment.
Dashiva was doing it all for her. Like all of us were. Why? For her dream to come to pass? Because it warmed his heart to help this kingdom that wasn't his own? Why would so many men follow the Heir so easily? She was not special. She was a young girl, a princess. Beautiful, yes, but nothing stood out about her. Nothing to explain why people who had only heard mention of her were throwing their lives away.
Dashiva heaved a massive sigh. It was a little too much to consider for him. As always the motives of people confused him. Even his own. Yet, he followed his instincts and sometimes he hoped he made the right decisions. Like doing all this just for her.
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