Chapter 7- A Looming Cloud
††††††††††† Tiryn walked slowly down the corridor, his back as straight as possible.† There were aches in his hands and in his knees as he walked, but they were something he had gotten used to.† The pain he felt in his heart was something entirely different.† His mind recalled the conversation well.† Quiri coming to him acting with the King's voice, telling him of his reassignment because he had failed the King.† Telling him maybe he should watch his opinions more carefully in his next service or he'd find himself on some border fort advising some young lieutenant.† He scowled.†
††††††††††† He had only told the King of the happenings of the Guard and he was punished for it?† He had given his entire life to the kingdom.† He had given his own retirement to the King.† And this is how he repaid him, by being hoisted onto his prissy daughter.
††††††††††† He stopped in front of a door.† To his right and left were two guards at attention.† A purple sash tied around their waists.† The Heir's Honor Guard.† To him the very notion of separate guard violated his ideals of the chain of command.† To him this kingdom had too many heads.† It would be better off if a few were rolling away.† He wished the King would start with Muion, that arrogant bastard.†
††††††††††† He knocked.† A servant opened the door and asked his business.† Tiryn eyed the youth carefully.† He was young and short with nothing standing out about him.† "Tiryn, on command of King Oberon to report for my new assignment with the Heir."
††††††††††† The servant nodded and retreated into the room, announcing him to the inhabitants of the room.† Tiryn shook his head, they were announcing him like she was already sitting on the throne.† He walked in, dressed in his old guard uniform.† He glanced about and noted another servant in the corner.† The first had taken a spot by the wall.† Her shadow was behind her, his eyes boring into him.† And there she sat, her nose as high into the air as it could go.† And this is what he was supposed to advise?† He would start by knocking her down a few rungs in her attitude.
††††††††††† "Present yourself, Former Captain."
††††††††††† His eyes narrowed.† She knew why he was here.† This was only formality and she knew it.† Her spies among the servants would have brought her word by the time he had finished preparing himself in his best uniform.† He bowed to her.† A simple formality to remind him where his place was.† She's clever. †"Former Advisor Tiryn hereby presenting my services to the Heir of Hyrule by command of King Oberon."† He raised himself out of his bow.
††††††††††† She nodded her head a fraction in response.† "What function do you think you could fill for me?"
††††††††††† No 'sir,' to show respect to his age.† It appears she likes this situation as much as he.† This was not going to be an easy task, not at all.† "I am a very aged man, Heir.† I have years of both tactical and conventional knowledge to offer.† I am aware of many truths among our people that I could share and I know much of the current standings of many of the guard."
††††††††††† She nodded lazily.† Her eyes had drifted towards the window while he had been speaking.† "How fascinating.† Do you not think I don't have others who fill these tasks?"
††††††††††† His eyes narrowed to slits.† "Possibly, but I doubt they have over seventy years of experience to offer you."
††††††††††† She yawned, slowly bringing her hand to cover it.† She excused herself and spoke.† "Truly.† So you offer out-dated knowledge?† Correct?"
††††††††††† His fists were shaking.† "How dare you...."† He took a foot forward, his fist slowly rising in anger.
††††††††††† As he spoke Zelda'a entire face and demeanor shifted.† Her bored eyes steeled over in an instant and her back stiffened.† He barely registered the change when he saw Link blur from where he stood.† Tiryn's mind registered the threat and his old body reacted.
††††††††††† In less than a moment he felt a pressure against his arm and he moved.† His arm went limp and he dropped his weight from his knees.† His body sank and the pressure was gone.† He kicked out with his feet, throwing himself against the wall.† He drew a foot-long dagger from its hiding place and threw it where he predicted his attacker would strike from.† He wasn't disappointed.
††††††††††† Link was in that space in a instant, but the dagger did not strike him.† Link's gloved hand darted out and grabbed the knife as it spun.† He launched himself forward and Tiryn blinked once.† When his eyes reopened the point of the dagger was touching his right iris.† Link's stern face was behind dagger, his hand on the hilt.† Tiryn's breath was caught in his throat.† He had never seen someone move that fast.
††††††††††† Soon Zelda came into his view.† Her expression was passive, her eyes looking him up and down.† "Interesting.† You have pride in what you know.† I see why my father would value your advice.† It also appears that people have forgotten that you were considered the greatest fighter in Hyrule once upon a time."
††††††††††† His only response was to exhale.
††††††††††† She continued speaking. †"The question is why would my father send you to me?† Does he no longer need you when he has relied upon you for so long?† I think not.† I think he is sending you to help me in some way.† Or, someone close to my father has gotten you from his side for a reason.† What did you tell my father before you came here?"
††††††††††† Seeing little options he answered her.† "I told your father of secret meetings between Muion and his lieutenants.† As well as your influence throughout the castle.† Especially, among the Guard."
††††††††††† She nodded.† "I see.† Do you still hold some sway over the Guard?"
††††††††††† He would have chuckled if not for the point against his eye.† "Itís hard to cast off old memories of the man who lead you through battles and taught you how to fight.† I did not bribe or win the loyalty of my men by sweet words or such.† I earned it by example.† I was their wayward father, their mentor, and their advisor.† Those are bonds which run deep.† Bonds which sweet words canít always break"
††††††††††† Zelda took that in.† Then answered.† "What do you know of what Muion wants?"
††††††††††† "He wants the crown.† Itís not hard to guess that.† He also wants you wed to him.† To him you are a future conquest.† Something he'll get down the line.† As of now the Guard are his current project.† And you are unsteadying that hold he has on them well."
††††††††††† She chuckled.† "Is it really so hard to fathom that he'll not wait for my hand.† That'll he'll take the throne through force?"
††††††††††† "Not even Muion holds that much control over the Guard.† They are loyal to Hyrule."
††††††††††† Zelda brought her finger up and shook it back and forth.† "Ah ah ah.† It was what you yourself started.† You made them obey the chain of command, did you not?† To listen to their commanding officer?† And if their commanding officer told them to keep the servants under arrest, or say offer a price reward for detaining one of royal blood, would they not do it?"
††††††††††† "Officers are not so easily swayed."
††††††††††† "Oh really?† Then why are some loyal to me and listen to me and disobey Muion's orders?"
††††††††††† "Then they can be swayed!† That does not mean that Muion is trying to take over the castle."
††††††††††† "Oh, then why is every captain I have influence over sent out into the field, or sent back to the desert for additional training?"
††††††††††† "He is possessive of his Guard.† That is the explanation."
††††††††††† "Oh really?† Was he that possessive when I acquired two of his squad for my own Honor Guard, before he was promoted?† He never voiced any complaint.† This possessive trait people are beginning to see in him is only a clever ploy to explain his near iron control over the Guard.† Tell me I'm wrong, old man."
††††††††††† "Words, only words!† You are a child delving into a world you are barely old enough even to realize."
††††††††††† Zelda shook her head.† "Tiryn, I am faced with a decision.† You raised your hand to a member of the Royal Family, therefore I should have you executed.† This will make my father enraged of course, but he will grudgingly understand.† There were, of course, numerous witnesses who saw you raise your hand against me.† Even threw a weapon.† tsk tsk tsk."† She shook her head but continued.† "The choice is I could incorporate you into my schemes of holding this land together.† Your influence with the Guard would be invaluable.† As well as your own experience of things.† Which should I choose?† And make this decision with your head and not your pride, please."† She looked him in the eyes.
††††††††††† Tiryn tried to ignore the knife point before him.† On the one hand, he did raise his fist to a member of the royal family.† He should be executed.† But, she was right.† That was his pride in the law speaking.† His brain told him to stay alive and help her, let his advice help shape her young decisions, but her schemes?† "What schemes do you speak of?"
††††††††††† She smiled a small smile.† One that instantly spoke of hidden knowledge.† "Who do you think stopped those raiders, hm?† Do you think that a militia rose from the fields on their own behest?† Do you really think the King of the Gerudo sent out a detachment of gerudo to help?"
††††††††††† His mind went reeling.† She had known of her father's plan from the start.† Her influence did not end in the castle as the King thought, it stretched to the fields and even into the desert.† Where else had her fingers gone?† He swallowed audibly.
††††††††††† She smiled.† "Release him Link, I think he's come round to our side.† Finally."
††††††††††† Link stepped back and handed the dagger back to Tiryn.† The former captain took it and sheathed it.† He turned his attention to the Heir, his eyes narrowing.† "You played me well."
††††††††††† She smiled at the compliment.† "I did want your help once I learned my father had released you.† I also knew how stubborn you could be."
††††††††††† He grunted.† "I still doubt Muion will forcibly take the throne."
††††††††††† Zelda laughed.† "How quaint.† If you're right, youíre right.† But I don't think so.† Already a lieutenant and five captains have been brought into a conspiracy.† Luckily one of the captains involved is among my secret guard."
††††††††††† "Secret guard?"† Tiryn did not like the sound of that.
††††††††††† She smiled again.† "Yes, I'll explain about them later.† For now I would wish you to meet the members of my inner circle.† Shawn.† Cory.† Reveal yourselves."† The two servants in the room stepped forward and their forms shifted.† Tiryn now stared at two young men with shocking white hair and blue and yellow eyes.† They were both wearing huge grins.† "Sable, appear, please."† From a shadow on the other side of the room, a good distance from Link, stepped out a woman wearing a purple robe.† She as well was smiling.
††††††††††† Tiryn was silent.† Once again she was messing with him.† Showing him exactly what she wanted to and when.† Was this her final hand, or was she still holding other cards?† He was beginning to think it was better to just follow along.† "Inner circle?"
††††††††††† She nodded.† "Yes, people with whom I hold the utmost trust.† People I know who follow me not because of what I was born into, but because of who I am.† These are the people who when they speak, speak with my voice.† Understood?"
††††††††††† He nodded.
††††††††††† "Good.† What I want from you is to reestablish ties with the lieutenants who remain here in the castle.† I know at least one who will follow you again.† Of course, it must be done in secret.† Sable will provide you with adequate cover from prying eyes."
††††††††††† Tiryn nodded slightly, realizing the great lengths the Heir was going to in trying to counter Muion's movements.† Then he remembered the ex-captain
.† He smiled.† "Why not eliminate Muion the way you did with Trent ?" Trent
††††††††††† Zelda looked at him.† "Itís been tried.† He didn't take the bait."
††††††††††† "Then why not outright assassinate him?"
††††††††††† Zelda looked at him, but Cory spoke first.† "Hey, now that's an idea.† Have Sable go through the shadows and kill him when no one is looking.† Man, I feel so dumb for not thinking of that!"
††††††††††† "Cory, watch your tone!"† Shawn barked, frowning at his brother.† Then he turned to Tiryn.† "We've tried that.† He's got a protector.† We don't know who, but someone is watching him.† Which is why we are trying to be extra careful now."
††††††††††† Tiryn nodded, then shot a glare at a Cory.† Who returned the look in kind.
††††††††††† Zelda noted the byplay but chose not to comment.† Instead, she made her way to the chair and sat down.† "Gentlemen, right now I would like to continue my lessons with Sable in peace.† Cory shall remain as guard.† Shawn, you and Tiryn go and discuss the best strategic points in the castle to hold.† Shawn, listen to him, he does have decades of experience to add."† Shawn nodded.†
††††††††††† Then she looked towards Link.† "Link, go find Chan and see what he has found out about the captains in the field.† Also, send a messenger to Gaurrun of the Gorons.† The one leading the completion of the Castle.† See what he has to report on the camps and guards there."† Link nodded and strode from the room.† Tiryn looked to Shawn and together they left. †Cory took up a position against the wall and shifted back into his disguise.
††††††††††† He was a short man with black hair.† His gait was a strong one as he was trailed by four stone-faced guards.† His skin was tanned deeply and there were scars crisscrossing his face.† A thin strip of hair, barely considered a mustache, was seen above his bloodless lips.† At the moment he was not smiling.† Down the corridors he marched, a dreadful purpose belying his every step.† As he walked his eyes darted about, noting who made way for him, who dropped curtsies, and who had the audacity to scowl.†
††††††††††† Most who scowled were servants.† He noted their faces and added them to his list of soon-to-be-beheaded.† That thought made him smile. He reached his own quarters and made a small gesture with his hand.† The four guards took-up positions around his door.† He himself walked through and shut it behind him.† He went to his desk and was seated, waiting, staring from one shadow to the next.
††††††††††† "Well, the anal Captain Muion is finally late for once.† What an honor."† The voice came from everywhere.
††††††††††† "Show yourself, shadowman."† Sneered Muion.
††††††††††† There was a chuckle and from the shadows stepped a man with white hair and red eyes, wearing a purple robe.† He smiled at Muion's sneer.† Quiri made his way slowly towards the Captain, the smile never leaving his face.† "You must realize that I have to record this milestone.† You've never been late before."
††††††††††† Muion only glared.† "Let us just say that Tiryn being removed from the King caused me to shift a few more people from the Castle."
††††††††††† Quiri raised his eyebrow.† "How so?"
††††††††††† "Don't play dumb with me, I know it was your doing.† Something you would do just to vex me."
††††††††††† Quiri laughed.† "That was not the only reason, believe me.† Tiryn was being more observant than I believed possible.† He was telling the King more about his daughter than I was comfortable him knowing.† Tiryn may have even been able to blow my own cover.Ē
††††††††††† Muion replied.† "Understandable, I guess.† But to the Heir of all people!† Why not to advise me?† Then I could control him.† With her having him thatís just that many more of the guard she can influence, which post-pones my plans further because I must yet again reorganize the guards in the castle!† The castle and that bitch should have been in my hands by now."
††††††††††† "Just be glad it will add to your image of being overly possessive of the Guard."
††††††††††† Muion snorted.† "An image you fostered o -so well.† Knowing full well how much it would gull me.† I'm only possessive of which ones are in the castle.† What of the King?† Does he suspect anything at all, yet?
††††††††††† Quiri shrugged.† "He's being lead by my hand.† I can't say I have everything in hand, but thus far he believes the shtick about creating an image.† It has separated him from everyone else.Ē† Quiri paused, carefully calculating events in his head.† ďCan you be ready in two weeks?"
††††††††††† "If you don't throw any more surprises my way I can.† How much longer can you put off not talking to the council.† It has been over a month now?† They must realize that something is amiss."
††††††††††† "I haven't heard a thing, which means we still have time.† And that is what matters.† I can get away with lying to the King far longer than I can putting off the council."
††††††††††† "Okay, what happens when the council sends someone to investigate?"
††††††††††† "I deal with them quietly.† And you must be ready to move the next day.† This plan is only going to succeed because the Sheikah have removed their agents from the castle.† On my orders.† Or shall I say the King's orders.† Once their agent does not report back, they'll infiltrate the castle through the secret tunnels.
††††††††††† Muion grunted again.† "What about those wards you said you were readying just for those tunnels?† Are they not designed to keep your shadow people out?"
††††††††††† "They are, but only when you are ready to take the castle.† If I raise them now every sheikah within ten miles will know what is going on and they'll use nonconventional means of entering the grounds?"
††††††††††† "What exactly do you consider a nonconventional method for sheikah?"† Mused Muion.
††††††††††† Quiri chuckled.† "They'd storm the gates, of course."
††††††††††† Muion laughed aloud.† "The idea of these shadow people, in the sun, charging towards the keep is almost unbelievable.† But, I'll make preparations for it just in case."
††††††††††† "Good.† That is why it is important for you to have the Heir secured and docile as soon as possible.† She will be the only one who can keep them in line.† Most of this plan hinges on securing her."
††††††††††† Muion nodded.† "She'll be in my hands within an hour of the plan's execution.† By then the King will be dead and the castle mostly secured.† Of course, you will have raised the wards by that time, correct?"
††††††††††† Quiri nodded, going through the plan in his own mind.† Unlike Muion, he did not need to voice it out loud.† "I've had a thought.† We're being overly confident.† The Heir may be trickier to grab than you think.† She has a way of being quite devious.† I think you should hold off Oberon's death until she is secured."
††††††††††† Muion stared blankly.† "That is an idea.† A just in case scenario?"
††††††††††† "Yes."† Quiri responded vaguely, his mind beginning to wander.† He remembers his orders clearly, he also remembers the amount of leeway he had been given.† "I've another thought.† Don't kill the King at all.† Keep him.† Use him to keep her under control."
††††††††††† Muion nodded, his own mind following Quiri's.† "I see.† I believe I'll keep him then, but not whole.† As punishment for her unruliness I'll take a piece from him and present it to her.† What do think you of that?"
††††††††††† Quiri nodded, a small smile appearing on his face.† "A very wonderful idea.† Is the rest of the plan still satisfactory?"
††††††††††† Muion nodded firmly.† "It is to me, unless you have any more thoughts?† Yours are usually much sharper than mine."
††††††††††† "Very true. For now no more thoughts come to mind.† I believe it is safe to say this meeting is at an end.† Till next week or before if things go awry?"
††††††††††† Muion nodded at the response, watching carefully as Quiri disappeared into a wall.
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