Chapter 15 – Disturbing Shadows
In a strange reaction to the magics she had used in plumbing the ground in her fight with Link, Zelda had discovered something. With the departure of her shadow and closest companion, she had gone to her empty tent to think. To stew. To plan. In was in the hour before dawn broke that she remembered something she had felt while down there. A clear something that smelled of old magic but rang clear like crystal.
In a heated rush she was out of her tent yelling for shovels. The gorons were the most help in the search for it. She knew that it was a gift from the goddesses. Their gift making-up for the loss of Link. It was too much of a coincidence not to be related by fate.
Well past morning they dug, until they discovered the underground passages. Musty and smelling of old dirt and death she sent people searching for a crystal. A few hours later and ten bodies also, they emerged holding their prize. A large dark violet crystal, the size of a man's head. It did not capture the light well and one could easily get lost in its many facets of black and purple. Zelda sent her probes rushing over and through it using all of her senses at her disposal. In a flash of understanding her mind connected with it. Within its center she saw a tale unfold before her. The tale of the ancient Sheikah.
She came back from her trance, a near ecstatic gleam in her eyes and face. She turned to seek out Sable and gestured her and other leaders into her tent. She placed the overly large gem on the map and turned to Sable. "Alright. Let us discuss something of the past and of the future, shall we?"
They looked at her in bewilderment, waiting for her to continue. Her smile widened. "Sable, please tell us a story of why the Sheikah have bound themselves to the royal line."
Sable was caught off guard at the question, but glanced at the gem and knew there was some connection. "It is a long one." She warned.
Zelda shrugged. "It’s in that story where the origins of that crystal lie."
Sable nodded and began. "Over two thousand years ago we were a prosperous race, watching history go by. We recorded what we saw and heard in vast libraries under our villages. At this time in our history there were three sects, guilds as we called them, in our society. A guild of mages, a guild artisans, and a guild of fighters. The Mahgi, the Kahjin, and the Rakijn. Each was tasked by the elders to record a different facet of history. So they did. Yet, as they recorded they as well adopted what they saw and heard and passed it along to others who followed after them. At this time our society fit seamlessly between the guilds. Until Pertyth's Dying Lament."
"Pertyth was an ancient seer. People came to him to have their children's fates read, or the best dates for their wedding days. The elders would consult at length with him on many subjects, for he was older than old. Old enough to have been the elders' elder three times over. So it was with some apprehension that he died with a prophecy screamed from his lips. 'If Hyrule's royal-line dies, so do the Sheikah.'
"So it was with fear the elders decided to heed his last prophecy. Some didn't agree, but the majority chose to find this line and protect it. Those that didn't are no longer with us. So for decades we searched for this Hyrule, without avail. And slowly are numbers dwindled. Until a young Lord in the very area we lived stepped-up and began to conquer and claim land as his own. Saying he would create a kingdom out of the many hylians here. The elders cautioned restraint, for hope had bloomed he would make Hyrule. But the Rakijn went forward and offered him their services. To speed-up the process.'
"Then another young Lord stepped-up to challenge this one, saying he would make a kingdom of this land and call it Hyrule. Once more the elders cautioned restraint, but the Mahgi lent their support to him. Then, yet another lord stepped-up from a small town he lead. He said none would conquer his kingdom. His small town. Other towns rushed to his banner, pleading for protection. He offered it. He said, 'I do not need to make a kingdom, I already have one. And I'll call it Hyrule to spite the others.' So the Kahjin lent him their support against the wishes of the elders.'
"Thus, was our bloodiest war waged. A war that tore this land and our society apart. Thousands of our people died, a religious mania sweeping over the survivors. Each faction screaming they would save us all. The war lasted two decades. The fighting was never constant, but happened in phases. Neither side could gain an advantage. The Mahgi had magic that altered the land. Yet, the Rakijn were the best fighters that had ever existed. And they had trained their king's army. It was that army that had dominated most of the war. The Kahjin, only had inspirational speeches and beautiful art to keep their side's hope up. The thing they made them prevail was they fought a defensive war.
"Then after two decades the tides of war shifted. In a large battle in the mists of Hryule's plains all sides met in chaos. The Sheikah numbers were decimated after this fight. Not even a one hundredth of our people remained compared to when Pertyth made his lament. It was also in that great affair that the two false kings fell dead. King Harkinian then crowned himself King of Hyrule. He sent the armies of those two factions away in exile from his kingdom. Never would they be allowed to come home."
"The true king had been the King supported by the artisans. The Kahjin. The magics guild, the Mahgi, came to their senses and dejectedly joined with the Kahjin in supporting the King. The Rakijn, though, felt a deep shame for their mistake. They blamed themselves for starting the whole war and ignoring their elders. In their shame they could not rejoin with the remaining Sheikah. They left us, what few were left. They wondered away to the east to find a new home. Knowing eventually they would die out.'
"And that is how the Sheikah became bound with the Royal-line."
For several minutes there was silence. None spoke, letting the feel of the story work its way through them. In the end Zelda broke the silence. "Ah, my dear Sheikah. The story does not end there."
All eyes were once more upon her. Her smile came back in force. "Oh no, this crystal has shown me the rest. Names I am sure your vast libraries will confirm. The Mahgi supported a false king named Norwagia. When he died his armies and their families were sent to far far west. To the very sea where they split into factions who each went their separate ways. Some went north from there and became the notorious Pirates of Portleon. Some moved south and became the simple nomads called the Norwas. The rest took-up the trade of the sailboat. They were the first to cross the
. They now thrive on that trade, their ships protected by the Pirates.' Great Sea
"As to the Rakijn, they supported a false king calling himself Acodia. His own families and armies were sent to the north, banished. There they settled and eventually created an empire calling itself
. Now, as to the fate of the Rakijn. Simple. The traveled east, settling in this very spot. Knowing with time they would die out, they created this crystal," she gestured to the gem on the table, "A crystal that holds their memories. You see they did not wish to be forgotten. They wanted to pass-on their knowledge whole. Not through some Hylian lineage, but completely intact within that crystal. Now you see? Within that crystal lies the knowledge of the greatest fighters to ever exist!" Arcadia
"And I've seen their glossary. Browsed it. They have in-depth knowledge of the anatomy of all the races. Of many creatures. Where to hit a Sheikah to kill them in one strike. The same with a goron."
Silence greeted her excitement. Silence akin to awe. Zelda saw greed pass over their eyes, as they imagined what they could do with that knowledge. Zelda smiled ruefully. Let it tempt them a moment. Let it whisper possibilities to them, then she would shake them.
Crack! A bolt of light flashed and everyone came to their senses, shaking the effects of the crystal from their minds. Zelda saw the shame they were now experiencing for the thoughts they had harbored only a moment ago. "Have no fear. I felt the same thing when I first felt it underneath in the ground. It has a way of wrapping you up with its whispers. So there is no reason to feel any shame." That should remind them I know what they were thinking. "As to using it. Oh, I already have a plan for it. Though, it will be implemented after Hyrule has been retaken. Clear?" A reminder why they are all here to center them. It is almost too easy.
She quickly declined anymore small talk and ushered them from her tent. Oh yes, she had plans for the crystal. In fact, it would take some careful tweaking and it would serve her purposes perfectly. A replacement for Link. Numerous replacements. She chuckled to herself and lost her mind within the crystal, carefully analyzing its interior. Trying to completely understand every facet of it. Then, she would change it for her own uses.
The shadowed thing had one last layover before making its trek back to the far north. Its stop-over was
. It had, for once, very specific orders for his agent. He doubted his agent knew all theat was happening around him. For once, Quiri was out of his league. The thought had made the shadowed thing smirk. His gray features, like leather, cracking at the movement. For hours he waited in Quiri's bedchambers located in lower sections of the castle. He wished to surprise his young follower. His mind wandered to their very festive evenings so many years ago. He then recalled the key words that word affect Quiri the most. Hyrule Castle
Quiri entered the room quickly. He began to disrobe, first removing his purple robes and hanging them behind the chair. Next he removed his leather armor showing his bare chest and scar-riddled back. The shadowed thing remembered those scars deliciously well. Though, he noted the thin scars on his forearms. Those he had not done. Quiri then stepped in front of the mirror to examine his features and screeched.
Instead of his reflection, he saw the vision of his master. He was not fast enough as the figure emerged from the mirror and clasped a leathery hand over Quiri's screaming mouth.
"There, there puppet. No need to be startled."
Quiri's body still convulsed on its own volition, a natural reaction to be in his master's presence. His master reveled in the spasms. Within in the span of a few minutes Quiri had his body under relative control. The occasional spasm was still felt, though. His master removed his hand from Quiri's mouth and smiled, showing black teeth. "Can we talk civilized now? Or do you still need a few moments, Puppet?"
"I-i think I'll b-be okay." Quiri drew a haggard breath, memories flitting beneath his consciousness, triggered by his master's pet name for him. It took all his mental strength not to start screaming again.
The figure smiled and walked towards the bed, examining the small room carefully. "It’s so quaint here. I'd imagine, if you had half the kingdom eating out of your palm, you would have better quarters. I'm surprised not to see a few female decorations here."
Quiri shuddered again. His neck spasmed. "Y-yes, well. Thanks to your m-m-ministrations my s-sexuality isn't all that clear." There was a weakness in his tone.
His master flat-out laughed. "But I never laid a hand upon you, dear Puppet? So how can you say things like that?" The shadowy thing leered at him.
Quiri drew in a large breath to calm himself and to stop himself from vomiting. He then let it out slowly, but he started coughing which tensed his body-up again. "Memories are str-stronger than real ph-physical abuse."
"Ah the games I play with people. Men believe physical pain is the way to go. Oh no, change a few memories and you can create your own trauma victim. Tell me, who was it with you, I forget." The last word was spoken in a sinister edge.
The image of the man came to Quiri's mind unbidden. His pale complexion and lust-craven eyes. Quiri almost messed his pants at the memory. He knew the memories were false. He knew Ahganim was only doing this to remind him what he was capable off, but cold reason rarely worked against his master. "M-m-my fa-fath.....father." Quiri spit the last word out.
Ahganim's whole face became a sinister sneer. "Ah, I recall now. He was a sweet man, wasn't he?"
Quiri sagged to the ground, his legs unable to hold him. He did not bother responding.
"I have news for you Quiri."
Puppet still not respond.
"You see, the Heir you seek has had the triforce awakened within her."
Quiri did not react, his mind off on what Ahganim was saying and what his memories were telling him. His father whispering in his ear, calling him 'my sweet little puppet.'
Ahganim continued talking, as if Quiri did not exist. "Which means you are now in over your head. None here save myself stand a chance against her schemes now. You stood some chance a few weeks ago, but not now. Already plans have been set into motion. By the end of the month both Muion and you will be dead, and the Heir on the throne. To be honest, I'm almost looking forward to the challenge." He smiled and then considered Quiri for a moment. He smirked. What good is a hyian if you don't break them a few times to keep them in line.
He continued. "Muion's plea to the Gerudo was never delivered. Zelda has two spies within the castle. Her Secret Guard. They've been keeping her informed of everything you two have been plotting. I should kill you for that lapse. You told Muion my own plans, which wasn't a mistake, but the Secret Guard overheard it. Therefore, the Heir now knows her father is alive, and that she has a half-brother somewhere in
. Oh, and of course she knows how to spilt Arcadia with civil war. These are all highly sensitive subjects that you let her find out about." He tsked. Arcadia
"Now Puppet." Quiri flinched. "Here is what you must do. Do these things, and you will live, without more memories from me. Okay?" He asked in a gentle voice. He placed his hand upon Quiri's shoulder. The Sheikah began to tremble. "First, the King must die. Zelda must be Queen in the times ahead. Second, Muion must die. I'm sure you won't have to personally see to that. Third, Zelda must be given a different Hero."
"Oh I know, what you're thinking! 'But there is only one!' " Ahganim mocked Quiri's voice perfectly. "Just trust me. There are three more that bare his likeness. I will find one of them and send them into Zelda's clutches. Okay? Good." He cooed at Quiri, who was now rocking in place, his arms clasped around his legs. "And finally, there is a young Sheikah warrior residing in
. Goes by the name of Chan. He is her eyes and ears on what goes on in the city. And has a large role in her plan of taking the castle. Capture him and break him as I broke you. Do not warp him as I have so lovingly done to you. Just break his oath to the crown. Clear? If he doubts her and can successfully ignore her commands, it will shack the very foundations of the Sheikah, and the Heir's belief in them.” Hyrule City
Ahganim now paused. Regarding Quiri with twinkling gold eyes. He slowly slipped his mind into Quiri's waiting memories. Quiri screamed at the invasion. His voice going higher and higher until his throat was raw with blood. Then he stopped and began to sob. Ahganim smiled fondly at him then. As a father would upon a son. He then departed by stepping back into the mirror and walking away.
Quiri staggered up and went to the cleaning bowl. He fished out his knife and began to slowly make cuts up and down his forearms. He dropped the knife to the ground and watched as the blood slowly flowed into the water. He finally breathed a sigh of relief.
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