Chapter 5 – Meetings in the Night
Two weeks passed before Princess Zelda was once more contacted by the Sheikah. She found in her room a simple note saying to meet at Link's training ground at midnight that eve. With much excitement she gathered up her things and sent
to fetch Link. Within minutes he returned. She told him to make the arrangements for the encounter. She wanted her secret guards to be the ones patrolling the courtyard. She wanted him by her side as well. Casper
Soon night fell and the Heir and Link made their way to his training grounds. The area was sparsely lit by oil lamps. As the Heir made her way down the stairs to the patch of grass she beheld four figures in front of her. Three were youths. Some years older than herself. Likewise they shared common facial features. She assumed them to be brothers. Standing alongside them was a woman of what seemed a youthful appearance, but at the corners of her eyes she had the same signs of aging that the elders had. She herself was garbed in a purple robe. She had stark white hair and ruby red eyes.
The three brothers were ostentatiously dressed. One wore a blue cloak covering his purple attire. One wore a red cloak covering his own clothing, and the last a gold cloak. They all shared the same features of white hair. Yet, each of their eyes matched their cloaks. As well each held a long staff in their hands, topped with an orb the color of their eyes. Upon getting closer to them they all went to one knee before her.
"To you we pledge our lives and to you we pledge our services. If anything you ask of us can be done we shall do it. To you we offer our blood spilt before your own."
Zelda was taken aback. The only words she could think of was to say ‘rise’. They did and waited for further instructions. "Well, I guess thank you for pledging yourselves to me, I first expected you to tell me your name."
The woman smiled. "My name is Sable. I was chosen to be your mentor."
Zelda nodded and turned her attentions to the three brothers. "I assume you three are to be the sorcerers I asked for?" She asked quirking her head to the side.
"That we are. My name is Shawn." Spoke the one wearing a blue cloak. "This is Chan," he indicated to the one wearing a red cloak. "And this young fellow is our very immature brother Cory." He indicated to the one wearing the yellow cloak.
Cory narrowed his eyes at his brother but remained silent.
"Now, you told the elders you wanted sorcerers, right?"
"Well, we're more elementalists instead. We're hoping that's good enough." Shawn spoke hefting his staff.
Zelda looked perplexed. "Explain, please."
Chan spoke before his older brother could. "Well, each of us was born with a certain talent, or affinity to an element. And so, we can manipulate and create that element from our staffs here. Mine is fire..."
Shawn interrupted his brother. "My own is ice."
Cory spoke next. "And mine is lightening. The most lethal of us three." Shawn grunted in response. "You'll notice they don't argue the point." He grinned.
Chan broke into the conversation next. "He may be right, but he still has a bunch more to learn. Such as finesse…you know fine control. Not just pointing and blasting."
Cory gave his brother an evil stare. "You want to go at it again? I think it'd be fun to see." Cory raised his staff angrily.
"Enough." Shawn called his tone had gotten very serious. "There will be no such displays here in front the Heir or anywhere on these grounds. Besides, you both know your magics can't affect one another. No matter how hard you try." He directed his last statement at Cory.
Cory and Chan looked at one another abashed. They then turned towards Princess Zelda and once more went to one knee and asked for her forgiveness.
She gave the three brothers a very strange look before giving them her forgiveness. She then nodded to herself. "Thank-you for the introductions. I, of course, you know as the Heir of Hyrule, Princess Zelda. At my side here is my ever present companion, shadow, and friend, Link." Link made no motions. "Now let me explain the situation to you. My father is tearing this kingdom apart. He'll break it trying to fulfill his vision. I want his dream to come to pass but not at the sake of my kingdom. This is where you four come in. Much of the past few months I have been trying many things to keep the peace. Selecting kinder guard captains to go out into the fields and not be so harsh at the
. Donating to the poor residents of Hyrule Market Town. Doing much the same to farmsteads who cannot afford food because their sons went off to either join the Guard or help build the Golden Castle . Golden Castle
"I've set-up a network of spies within the castle itself to keep me informed as to what most of the people are up to. Already I've taken care of several future threats my father was too blind to see. Yet, he plows forward with his goal, pushing the people too far. You three brothers will be my liaisons to the Sheikah network out in the kingdom. The elders have told me they will send more informants to the other races to help me get to know them better. This information is to be relayed through the three of you to my shadow Link."
The three brothers looked on in some apparent dismay at the situation they now found themselves in. Sable raised her eyebrows in response.
"Link, tell them what you have set-up and what functions you do, please. Then explain our plans."
He nodded. "I am foremost her protector. I have retrained twenty guards who are completely loyal to her. They are the eyes and ears of the castle. They are also instruments, at times, in her plans. I have also set up thirty secret guard who show their allegiances elsewhere when they lie with her. They are the rest of the eyes and ears of the castle. Among the Guard there are seven captains loyal to her. They as we speak are out among the kingdom doing her wishes as best they can. These are key people she must be in contact with. She as well has Gaurun, a goron down by the castle construction in charge of the goron teams working there."
"Right now the Guard holds their allegiance in an awkward position. Most were loyal to Captain Trent before his execution. With him gone the Guard has been disorganized and seemingly lost. That is why the revolts took so long to quell. Now, though, a new Captain of the Guard has been chosen. Some of the captains distrust him and his methods, most though will eventually look to him. The new recruits coming in are being put under heavy training by the Gerudo out in the desert. It seems Muion wants a force strong enough to put fear into the minds of the people. These new recruits unfortunately are being trained to obey the chain of command. This mean they will follow the orders of their captains over the King’s words.”
"This could be a problem in the future if he were to try and take power. Say, by wedding the Heir and killing the King. That is why you three will be positioned in the castle. You are her escape route if this ever comes to pass. I can do my best, but it would seem your skills are more suited to cutting a path to freedom.”
"With that in mind, other precautions against Muion will be set up. However, for now a larger problem is imminent. The King has put into motions a dangerous plan. He has hired several bands of mercenaries to strike at the villas to the south. In the Belt of Hyrule. They will ravage and rampage until he sends his newly trained guard to exterminate them. This act shows the people that the new guard are both needed and should be feared. It will also make the people more amiable to paying the new taxes. We cannot stop the plan, but we can cushion the blow.'
"The key to helping them lies in the Gerudo. Specifically, their High Cheiftess Sahoori, second only to their King. She has expressed wishes to meet with the Heir. We believe that she could organize a contingent of Gerudo to go out and eliminate the mercenaries before too much harm is done. The second key to stopping any further plans of this nature will lie with the villas themselves. We believe that a secret militant force could be trained within the villas. A force that only meets regularly to train and practice and could if necessary band together to form a quick army to defend the fields. For this plan to go forward, a charismatic leader will have to be found.’
“Your job is to find such a person. He must be a capable leader, general, and fighter. He must be able to spark inspiration within people. When this person is found, he must be brought to the Heir and told his role. Told that he must help train the common laborers and craftsmen for battles. He will be given helpers from a few of the loyal captains and the Sheikah. If things go well with Sahoori there will also be Gerudos to aid in their training. Another point is that the people of the villas must understand who is it that is helping them. They must understand that it is Princess Zelda providing them with help in the case of another mercenary army attacking."
Link finally stopped and stepped back, watching the shocked faces appear on each of the sheikah. They all wore faces of shock, but Cory's was the only one whose mouth was gaping. Zelda only smiled. "You now see what it is exactly we're up against."
Sable nodded. "And I also see what made you snap of your little world. I'm surprised Quiri didn't see it sooner."
Zelda nodded. "Link was the one who opened my eyes and has been my advisor and confidante ever since. He is the first of my Circle."
Chan gave her an odd look. "Your what?"
Zelda chuckled. "Call it the fancies of a child if you will, but it is my private dream. When I ascend the throne I don't want to have to pick between power hungry dukes and bloodthirsty guardsmen to surround myself with like my father had to do. I want there to be a circle of people that I can trust completely with anything. People I would trust with my life. My circle will be of people able to lookout for each other and help me in attaining my own vision for this kingdom. Link was the first. Sable, you Shawn, Chan, and Cory are the next people to be welcomed into my circle."
Sable looked at Zelda strangely, cocking her head to the side and spoke. "And what exactly is your vision your highness?"
"My vision is of a kingdom where people will look upon the Golden Castle not as an oppressive symbol with dark guards coming from it, but will see it as a beckon of what can be accomplished. I want them to look up at it and know that there Queen is there to love, nurture, and protect. I want people to live a prosperous life filled with health, knowledge, and happiness."
"Wow." Chan said softly. "Your Grace, I'm gonna speak for my brothers and say I can't wait for that vision to come to pass. I almost saw it in my mind. Wow. Yeah, we'd be honored to become part of that dream and become part of your circle."
Zelda felt tears welling up in her eyes, but she still stood there regal. She shifted her gaze to Sable and waited for her reply.
Sable looked Zelda up and down and then stepped forward. She took the Heir's hand into her own. "Dear, when you spoke I saw that vision as clear as the sky. One day it will come true and I will be there with you when it does."
Zelda smiled softly before speaking. "Thank you, thank you all." Silence descended as they all looked from one another mulling over the new arrangement. Zelda's thoughts were now turning towards what to do next now that she had the resources before her. She was also anxious to know what magics she could learn from her new mentor. "Sable, will you please come with me. I am interested to learn what you have to teach me."
Her mentor nodded and the two began walking off. Zelda turned her head and spoke to Link. "Get acquainted with them Link and don't forget what I told you to do."
He nodded and waited for them for them to walk away before turning and addressing the brothers. "Your attire must change. And your appearances. The King must not become aware of you three. I believe brown hair and eyes would be best. As to your staffs, are they necessary for you to protect with?"
Chan spoke-up first. "They are focal points for us and amplify what we can do. They are also the weapons we have been trained to use. But," he smiled, "we have our ways of hiding. We wouldn't be very good spies if we all walked around looking like this." He was silent a moment before he motioned with his hand. He was now much shorter with tousled brown hair and eyes. He was dressed simply in servant's attire, and his staff had disappeared. He smiled again. "See?"
Shawn and Cory then followed their brother's example and as well shifted.
Link spoke. "Good. From here on out you three are to be Zelda's personal errand boys, as far as servants go. I think it best if you three as well become boys closer to the Heir's age." The three nodded and shifted again. Link continued. "You are as well to hide your identities from Zelda's own Honor Guard and her secret guard. Sable herself will not need to hide. Zelda has already explained to the King her need for a Sheikah by her side. There is one last order for me to complete before we retire. You three are to be my friends."
The three brothers gave him peculiar looks. Shawn cleared his throat. "I'm sorry?"
"I was ordered to become friends with you."
Chan chuckled, Shawn smiled, and Cory laughed. "No problem, Link." Spoke Shawn.
Cory stifled a laugh and asked. "Do you know how to be friends?"
Link regarded him with a blank face. "I have not known a friend other than the Heir."
Cory nodded. "I see. Well, first we got to get to know each other. Tell us of yourself."
Link nodded. "I was born somewhere in the
. My mother and father are unknown to me. A servant named Melia found me when I was a young. She raised me here in the castle with the King's blessing. When I was still young she died. The Head Cook told me she had gone away because of something that had happened in town. Later, I learned she had been murdered by thugs. From then I was raised in the kitchens. Hyrule City
"There I met the Heir and together we roamed the Castle hiding from her Guard. When the King became aware of this he took me aside and told me I was to train to become a swordsman. He said when I was ready I would become part of her guard. For years I was taught to fight. Eventually, my instructors noticed that the King no longer inquired about me and ceased training me.
"From there I trained myself. When I knew I was ready I informed the King. He told me to best her current guard to assume my role. I did. Since then, I have been guarding her. Recently, she has expanded my duties to include that of Captain of the Honor Guard, advisor, and strategist."
Shawn nodded, looking at Link carefully. "How old are you now Link?"
"I turn seventeen in three months."
Shawn regarded Link more carefully. "How old were you when you bestest her guard, and how many were there?"
"Eleven and five."
Shock now appeared on all their faces. "Very well," Shawn spoke, "Link, I wish to fight you. Among my people it is a way of learning the nature of someone. That, and I am more than curious to see how well you fight. Do you accept?"
Link nodded and began walking off towards the middle of the courtyard. Once there, he unsheathed his sword. Shawn followed him, motioning with his hand. His staff appeared abruptly clasped in his grip. He bowed to Link who in return nodded.
Shawn slowly circled his arms tense. Link stood still, following the sheikah with his eyes. Shawn moved quickly and abruptly, swinging low. Link leaped back avoiding the staff's reach. He landed, then suddenly launched himself into a roll forward. He came out of it swinging deftly and quickly. Shawn was instantly on the defensive, parrying and blocking; his feet moving quickly in tandem with his arms' movements. Links’ slashes became more and more intense before the Sheikah gave a cry and leaped back. Shawn decided that close range would be a mistake.
He began to stab his staff forward, trying to go between Link's defenses. He failed as Link parried every thrust easily. Link tried to advance again, but Shawn moved to keep the distance between them. Shawn pulled his staff back quickly, Link stepped forward to close the gap. Shawn jumped to the side and back swinging his weapon in a high arc down on Link. Link brought his sword up and blocked. And as he did Shawn Moved. He was at the one end of his staff one moment and the next he was instantly next to Link, his right leg shooting out and kicking Link in the side.
The impact did not have the desired effect. The sheikah's foot landed, but Link did not move. Instead he rolled along the foot, quickly reaching down and grasping it with his free hand. He pulled forward and Shawn was sprawled across on his back with Link's blade striking his staff, causing him to release it. Then the sword's tip was at Shawn's throat. The sheikah's eyes went wide with shock. "Yield." He stammered.
Link sheathed his sword and proffered his hand to the sheikah. Shawn took it and was hauled to his feet. He walked over to where his staff lay, retrieved it, and in a second it vanished. Shawn brushed himself off before speaking. "Link you are a person who doesn't let things surprise him, are steady and strong of will. You know restraint and you are a very serious. All that and one incredible fighter."
Chan whistled softly. "No kidding. Way to state the obvious bro."
Link turned to the two spectators. "Would you like to get to know me?"
Cory snickered. "Nay, I'm good. Seeing you take out an elite fighter is enough to keep me on the sidelines."
Cory nodded. "Yeah. We've been trained since birth to fight. I'm not one of the best, though I don't have to be, I got my lightening. Shawn there strove to be one of our best. He always was the over-achiever."
Link turned to Shawn for confirmation, who only nodded. "I see. Are we friends yet?"
Shawn chuckled. "We're getting there. How about another round?"
Link's only answer was unsheathing his sword. Into the early morning the four companions fought and spoke. Each telling more and more of themselves. Towards the end Chan had an odd thought. He noticed that not once did Link smile.
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