Chapter 14 Ė The Division
††††††††††† Muion was troubled, deeply troubled.† Things were moving too quickly for him.† Something was in the air, something floating above his head.† He could feel it; he just did not want to be around when it dropped.†
††††††††††† The Gorons at the
had rolled away in the middle of their job.† No one had heard from the rebel Gerudos and the royal guards are beginning to mass for an attack.† None of these was a coincidence.† The Heir was rallying her forces, making preparations, moving among the shadows, and when she showed her hand he would be ready.† If it was war she wanted, then war is what she would gf get. new castle
††††††††††† He called for a messenger.† "Take note and send this message to the Gerudo king.† Tell him things are moving quicker than we anticipated.† Tell him to ready his forces sooner than expected.† Tell him time is limited and the whole of the villas will be his if he can rally his troops fast enough."† Muion stepped forward and pressed his seal upon the paper.† "Now go."
††††††††††† The young guardsmen nodded and was gone in a blink.† Muion turned away from the youth, confident the young guard would have the message sent.† What he failed to see was the smile on the young manís face.† It would seem the far away Gerudo king would be receiving no missives.
††††††††††† It was a strange night of strange meetings with strange people.† The moon hung high in the sky, its full brilliance shining across the heavens.† But, the night was a dark one.† Shadows cast long across the world.† And something moved in those long shadows, unseen and unfelt by the masters of shadow.† It moved towards a ruined space in the forest, trying to bring under control a threat just beginning in its infancy.† It would normally not strike itself, or even bring itself out in the open this way.† It could risk too much, but this threat was proving to be a very dangerous one.† Already, they had in the span of a month ruined years of planning.† Yet, it had patience.
††††††††††† Within the strange night a strange meeting was taking place.† A meeting of minds and a meeting of plans.† It was a strange meeting because five of the races of Hyrule were represented.† They were all there for one purpose, united by a single mind.† That mind was now speaking in level tones, leaning over a broad table with a blueprint-map upon it.† Six faces peered over the map, listening to Zelda speak.
††††††††††† "As you can see from the map, there are four main-ways into the castle from the city.† After the sheikah strike, these four entrances into the castle grounds must be held against the crony guards which will come from the garrison in the city.† That is where each of you comes in.† The sheikah will sweep over the walls taking care of most of the resistance there.† Then they'll enter the castle.† Whatever is left, including what will be coming out of the castle will need to be dealt with by you."† She paused now looking-up at her companionís expressions.
††††††††††† Rytala, young and lithe as he was, seemed to be drying out.† His odd flesh was a pale blue, but his eyes seemed Hylian enough.† Instead of hair he had long fins cascading down his head.† He was garbed in leather armor that had dried out long ago.† He had only joined them this evening.†
††††††††††† Gaurun had arrived with the workers from the
the day before yesterday.† He was short and built like a boulder.† His very skin seemed to be rock, yet it flexed and moved like muscle.† His face seemed softer, like liquid mud.† And his violet eyes shown in the dark.† Golden Castle
††††††††††† Sable was here as well, standing beside Link.†
††††††††††† Last was Sahoori.† Her thin body without a trace of fat.† Whip-cord thin arms that moved showing every muscle and tendon under the skin.† Her taunt face was tanned to a light brown, and her fiery, long hair was tied in a tight braid behind her head.† She wore very thin clothing that would have been scandalous in the castle.
††††††††††† These were leaders of the various people that now occupied the ruins of the forest.† They had all pitched their equipment and tents.† Though, the Gorons only burrowed a little ways into the ground, while the Zoras stayed in a pond that the Heir had summoned by manipulating the web of the forest.† The Gerudo, who outnumbered everyone else, took up most of the available space.
††††††††††† Zelda began again with her plans.† "There are four secret passages.† Each has been blocked by a bloodward.† One is in cellar of the castle, near the wine stores.† Another is in the south wall itself.† Another in the east wall and the last between two trees.† The one into the cellar is the one myself, Link, and Chan will take to go after Muion and Quiri.† Gaurun, we will require some of your special crop."
††††††††††† The goron nodded, a loud rumbling coming from his throat.
††††††††††† The Heir nodded.† "The passage between the two trees is where Sahoori and her team will emerge.† The Gerudo will emerge first.† Hidden by their cloaks they can begin to create the chaos.† Remember Sahoori, kill only if you have to.† I wish you to remind the rest of your ladies this.† The only ones you may kill outright are the captains and lieutenants.† From there the three goron teams will emerge.† Two from the walls.† The last from between the trees.† Each of the goron teams will have three members whose sole goal is to bomb the gates.† Blocking them will aid in keeping the crony guard from the city coming in.† As to the Zoras, you may appear at any time you desire, as long as it is after the Gorons have bombed one or more of the gates.† Clear?"
††††††††††† Rytala quirked his head to the right, his eyes gazing at her.† Then he spoke, an odd tremble on his tongue with every word he spoke.† "Why are the Zoras even there, then?† Are we only here for show?"
††††††††††† Zelda nodded.† "If the guards see a united front of the races against them, it will have a larger impact than if they only saw the Gerudo and Gorons."† The comment seemed to quell any more questions from the Zora.† "Any other questions before I continue?"
††††††††††† None spoke, so she continued.† "As I have already said, try not to kill if possible.† If at least three gates are sealed with the Goron's special crop then the final forth gate with be easily held.† As a general guideline, the Gorons will be better suited to holding the gates, while the Gerudo and Zoras better fitted for combating the guards directly.† However, as Link and Sahoori have explained to me, sometimes in creating chaos it shows up in our plans.† So, as leaders be aware that the gates must be sealed or held.† If you see guards rushing in through one, kill them and hold that gate.† Clear?"
††††††††††† There were various assents from around the table.
††††††††††† "Good, then that's the plan."
††††††††††† Questions instantly went up from everyone save Link.† His eyes wondered elsewhere as Zelda smiled.† His thoughts once more leading him astray.† He listened, though, curious why he was thinking this.† Why she seemed to be bothering him of late.
††††††††††† "Glad you asked.Ē† Link had missed Gaurunís questions.† ďAt some point in the fighting you will hear my voice.† All will hear it.† Those that obey what I say will drop their weapons.† Those that do not, must die.† Clear?"
††††††††††† There was cracking sound as Gaurun cleared his throat.† "We will hear your voice?"† His own voice was a deep rumbling that emanated from his throat.† "How will that be possible?"
††††††††††† Zelda's eyes went from Gaurun to Rytala.† She knew these two had not yet seen her magics and would be the most skeptical.† Her eyes then lighted on Link, she almost scowled when she saw his attention was elsewhere.† She would speak with him about it later.† She had wanted to smile more at Rytala and Gaurun, implying to them that she had many secrets.† Link's attitude had ruined that feeling for her.† She covered her lapse by speaking.†
††††††††††† "As you have noticed there are many odd things occurring around you.† The Gerudo's robes.† The fact none can hear anything from this camp outside the treeline.† And, of course, the pond that was discovered earlier.† All these feats have been done by me.† Thanks to recent events, which though were painful, have left me with knowledge of magic.† So, when I say you will hear my voice...you will hear my voice.† It will be loud and it will be clear."
††††††††††† Rytala's expression shifted from neutral to slightly awed.† He spoke.† "Rarely have I seen magics in the art, and would, if possible, see you commit something before we ready ourselves to the attack."
††††††††††† Gaurun, seemed to growl very loudly, but he was nodding in agreement with Rytala.† "Strong true.† I would be eager to see you perform such a thing."
††††††††††† Zelda offered them a look of pleased satisfaction.† A few more hours passed within the tent, making the meeting last until midnight.† They talked amongst themselves, Sahoori and Sable fulfilling the roles Zelda knew they would.† The two were answering Rytala's and Gaurun's questions about her.† Building her mystic in their minds.† Link, though, he was off in the corner.† She would say he looked troubled.† The meeting finally came to a close with all parities exchanging pleasantries.† At least everyone was getting along.† Sable lingered in the tent's entrance for a moment, a small smile playing across her lips.† "G'night, your highness."† Her voice spoke of warmth as she exited.
††††††††††† Zelda ignored the farewell and turned to face Link.† He looked to be lost in his own thoughts, she found that shocking.† Never had she seen him bothered by anything, taking all things in stride.† Never letting his focus of protecting her go astray.
††††††††††† To help him, she placed an emphasis on comfort in her tones and body language.† She walked over to him and gently placed her hand on his shoulder.† "What is bothering you, Link?"† She asked him in a quiet voice.
††††††††††† He looked to her hand on his shoulder then looked to her face.† His eyes narrowed.
††††††††††† And she dropped her facade in a heartbeat, taking her hand from his shoulder and taking a step back.† She relaxed and became the regal princess again.† Link it seemed did not wish to be comforted.† "Tell me what is bothering you, Link."† Her voice was tuned perfectly.† Her tone just sharp enough to elicit obedience.
††††††††††† Link looked up at her face and stood.† For long moments the two stared at each other.† Neither blinking and neither moving.† Zelda was using every mental probe and ability she had to search him, find some wisp of what was troubling him.† She could not crack him.† Yet, it seemed he could see right into her soul.
††††††††††† He left abruptly, leaving the tent without making a sound.
††††††††††† Zelda quickly recovered from the shock.† He just disobeyed me.†
††††††††††† She rushed from the tent.† Once outside she paused searching the dying fires and sleeping silhouettes for him.† There.† She spied a moving person going towards the outskirts of the camp.† She hastened after him.† She was amazed how quickly Link had moved, was still moving.† He had now stopped at the edge of the camp.† He stood there for moments, ignoring all things around him.
††††††††††† Zelda stopped some meters from him, curious what he was going to do.† Just when an inkling of impatience touched her mind, he moved.† She gasped at the sight.† Or the shadow.† It was incredible.† She had never seen anyone move so quickly and deftly before.† His sword glinted what light there was, making the air sparkle with the speed it was moving at.† Link's body shifted and contorted across the small area with leaps, bounds, and rolls.† And never once through the display did Zelda hear him make a noise.
††††††††††† For a time she watched, slowly realizing that Link was venting.† Letting out his feelings in the only way he knew how.† By fighting.† The troubling matter was, she knew that it was her that was bothering him.† The thought disturbed her greatly.† She could not understand what she had done to make him feel this way.† She toyed with the idea of commanding him again but knew he would not obey.† Other approaches came to her mind, but she discarded them quickly.† Now, she would wait until he was ready.
††††††††††† Then he stopped.† It was done so suddenly it took her mind a moment to realize he was no longer moving.† She waited.
††††††††††† He approached her silently.† She could barely make out the features of his face in the dark.† He was not even breathing heavily.† He stared at her for moment, then began to pass her.
††††††††††† Patience be damned!† "Halt."† Her voice was spoken with a dangerous edge.
††††††††††† Link glanced at her, but did not stop his gait.
††††††††††† The Heir then saw red.† She sent her probes into the ground, wrestling and wriggling with the dirt and rock.† The ground began to rumble and quake.† Voices could be heard rising about the campsite.† Mutterings and curses.† Zelda heard them faintly but did not stop her probes as her eyes tried to drill into Link's departing back.† He did not even miss a step on the shaking ground.†
††††††††††† Then a giant hand burst from the ground and wrapped its massive fingers around the Heir's shadow.† Link moved effortlessly and danced up the fingers to stay crouched atop the hand.† The hand shifted, still trying to grasp the Hylian but he moved with it, perfectly balanced.
††††††††††† Zelda's anger worsened.† A swirling light began to manifest itself around her.† Like lightning it coalesced and flashed about her.† With raging eyes she grasped one of the coils of light and wrestled it to submission.† She then threw it, arching it towards Linkís shadowed form.† He saw the light, it was hard to miss, and it illuminated his grim features for a second before he nimbly launched from the stone hand, away from the strike.† The coiled light struck the stone hand, obliterating it into a hundred pebbles.
††††††††††† Voices were now approaching.† Her mind registered Gerudo accents.† "Seize Link!† He has betrayed his oaths!"† She shouted, gesturing with a rod of light towards where Link had landed.† He was briefly illuminated before a dozen figures were upon him.† Zelda then let the coils of light vanish from around her body.† In the dark Zelda could barely distinguish one moving form from another.† She heard the sounds of metal on metal, knowing the Gerudo had opted for their scimitars instead of spears.† Within a few moments she noticed a frightening pattern.† Many of the forms were falling and staying down.† Link was winning.
††††††††††† The light blazed around her again, coming to life crawling up her arms.† It was in that flash that a mess of bodies now approached her figure.† In front of her, illuminated by her light, were five Gerudo attacking a lone figure.† They moved quickly, slashing and cutting with their large swords.† But Link was faster and his body twisted and moved fluidly to easily avoid the strikes.† His own sword was in his hand and it moved like water from one edge to the next.† Then in a quick series of strikes he rolled through mass of woman and was in front of the Heir.† She blinked and he stood before her, tall and cold.† The point of his blade drawing a trickle of blood down her neck.
††††††††††† The Gerudo stopped instantly.† They were all tense, their swords in various positions of attack.† None moved for a very long time.† "Call them off."† His voice was a cold whisper.
††††††††††† "You heard him."† Her eyes did not leave Link's.
††††††††††† The Gerudo hesitated, but eventually followed orders.† Now, though, there were other bodies around them.† Zelda heard shocked whispers and gasps of surprise.
††††††††††† "All of them."
††††††††††† Zelda spoke with utter calm.† "None interfere."
††††††††††† "Follow me."† He gestured with his free hand towards where he had practiced earlier, half the gathering crowd tensed at the movement.† "Just us."
††††††††††† She nodded barely.† Together they walked off.† His steps matching hers, and his blade matching the movements of her head.† He knew that if his blade left for a second, she would kill him.† He had seen the look in many of the people he had fought over the years.† The same look now burning in her own eyes.
††††††††††† They were once again on the edge of the ruins.† The Heir waited patiently.† But, not for very long.† "Well?"† Her tone was flat.† "Is this where you tell me what was bothering you?"
††††††††††† "You already know."
††††††††††† "Not specifically."† He did not respond.† "Fine, I know something I did is bothering you.† I just don't know what."
††††††††††† "You've changed."
††††††††††† She snorted.† "Of course, I have.† I've grown."
††††††††††† "You've grown in worse ways."
††††††††††† "Really?† How?"† There was ice in her tone.
††††††††††† "You use people."
††††††††††† "I've always used people, Link.† I'm the Heir to a kingdom that has dozens of plots running through it.† How else can I counter those plots if not through deception?"
††††††††††† Link did not respond.
††††††††††† "All this affair was only about how I've used deceit?† You've never had a problem with it before?† Why now?"
††††††††††† "You're worse than before.† You're using people that care about you."
††††††††††† "All for the greater good."
††††††††††† He was silent again.
††††††††††† "This conversation doesn't change what has happened.† You disobeyed two direct orders.† You broke your oath to me.† And now you stand with a sword at my throat threatening my life.† There is..."
††††††††††† "Why didn't you tell her?"
††††††††††† Anger brewed within Zelda for being interrupted.† "Tell her?† Who?"
††††††††††† "Sable.† She asked who the Hero was.† Why didn't you tell her?"
††††††††††† She smiled.† "Maybe, I don't know who the Hero is."†
††††††††††† Link thought that smile on her lovely face was sickening.† "You do."
††††††††††† "And you need me to confirm it.† Right?"
††††††††††† He did not speak.
††††††††††† "Yes, Link, you are the hero of legend."
††††††††††† "Why didn't you tell me?"
††††††††††† "Because you're not ready."
††††††††††† "No, you were going to use me against Ahganim.† The point of the arrow you would shoot at him."
††††††††††† "And that's wrong?"
††††††††††† Link shook his head.† "You were looking forward to the challenge.† Of matching Ahganim plot to plot.† It was only going to be a game.† Like it has turned into."
††††††††††† Zelda was silent.† Weighing his words carefully against her own introspection.† Was he right?† It was a thought she would have to consider much weight with.† It was no lie that she had been looking forward to facing off against Ahganim.† Upon considering it, her own patience since the awakening of the triforce had been stretched recently.† At least when it came to those close to her.† She realized it was due to the way the triforce had awakened in her.† It was something she knew only time would heal.† Yet, Link had crossed the line.† She had only wanted to restrain him.† Now, though he had threatened her life.† Anger splashed across her psyche once more.† "Fine, you are right.† I had been looking forward to facing him.† But, I wouldn't have done it at the expense of others.† Still my actions now speak how I want as little loss of life as possible.† I even wish to reunite the five races under a single banner.† Tell me how that is evil?"
††††††††††† Link for once in the meeting broke eye contact.† "It is not.† Just how you are going about it."
††††††††††† Pointless.† It was pointless to sway him.† She realized that now.† She had acted too rashly in pressing him.† It had forced him to fight her.† Forced him to make up his mind on her.†
††††††††††† She sighed and Link's eyes narrowed.† To defeat the Six Demons she needed the Hero.† Link had been conveniently there for the task.† Already a fighter and willing to do what she said.† Now, he would no longer listen to her.† He was now just a betrayer.† Luckily, the now dead seven-wise men had provided her with three other heroes to choose from.
††††††††††† "Well, what now Link?"
††††††††††† He was silent.
††††††††††† "According to Law, you should be put to death."
††††††††††† His hand tightened and the tip pressed against her throat.† Another trickle of blood came loose.†
††††††††††† Zelda refrained from gulping.† "I see that option doesn't please you."
††††††††††† "If I am the Hero, then killing me would doom everything."
††††††††††† Link looked away from her face, unable to look at her while she wore that smile again.† "That's just it Link, this time around there's more than one Hero.† You met one of them in the forest.† Which makes you expendable."† Shock froze his face as he turned to meet her eyes and that smile.† "Now, if I die...then the world is doomed to darkness."
††††††††††† His arm went lax.† The tip of the sword loosened its pressure upon her neck.
††††††††††† "Now, you realize how I was trying to help you.† Help you take up the mantle.† Help save the world.† Yet, you had to question how I did things, had to doubt me.† Doubt that I cared for my people."† She looked sad for a moment.† Then in a flash anger was in her voice.† "I cared for you Link.† More than I thought at first.† And you've betrayed the trust I put in you."
††††††††††† Link's sword slowly dropped and he silently backed away from her.
††††††††††† "You know I must uphold Law.† But, you have helped so much.† The choice is simple.† I grant you your life.† Your past deeds wash away your present sins.† But, I will not help you leave this campsite.† If you wish to leave, I suggest you get started.† Before anyone else with a sword wakes up."
††††††††††† Link's eyebrows knit together fiercely.† He quickly sheathed his shortsword and drew his greatsword.† He was a blur as he vanished from the light caste by her coils.† Zelda waited a few minutes, hearing the shouts of surprise and the occasional clangs of metal.† There were curses and there were screams of rage.† Zelda smirked, realizing that Link was gathering supplies for a long journey.† She idly wondered where he would go.† Then the word 'escaping' was shouted.† Then she reached within to her source of magic and let it brim full in her mind and throat.† Using the voice of her mind she projected her words across the campsite.
††††††††††† "Let him leave.† His past deeds have washed out his present sins.† He has been granted my boon of his life.† Yet, let the word spread throughout that Link, the traitor and the betrayer, will forever be known as Oathbreaker."
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