The Hero of Light -
Darkness of Light

By Serenity Searcher


Prologue - Shadows

Rain pounded mercilessly outside as a cloaked figure pulled a black sword from the body of his opponent, one of the sword school teachers in Hyrule Castle Town. The figure gave a small huff of disappointment and, blade still dripping blood, strode off into the pouring rain.

The streets of the market were deserted due to the hour and the storm so the figure went unnoticed as it made its way to all the separate sword schools in town. It would emerge from each a few minutes later and move to the next one.

The last school that was targeted was the one that Ilia had attended until a few days ago where she unexpectedly returned to Ordon Province. Dart the sword master was inside, still awake despite the hour. When the figure entered Dart looked up, unable to determine the identity of his late night visitor he stood and drew his sword. The intruder drew his blade and leapt towards Dart.

Dart easily blocked the first strike, and quickly took on a defensive style as the intruder continued with its measured slashing and stabbing, never leaving an opening for Dart to exploit. Dart took two steps backwards to give himself some space and, took the offensive his attacks were all easily blocked by the intruder who, with a flick of his wrist turned Darts sword to the side and took to the offensive once again.

Dart has been using all his skill to fend off the attacks from this intruder but, when the intruder went on the offensive again Dart could not keep up so he started dodging as well as blocking every attack he could manage. Dart felt his opponents sword graze his arm, and he glanced down, making the first and only mistake of the fight. Using that split-second distraction, the intruder stabbed his sword towards Dart's stomach, who recovering himself tried to block it, but the blade did not get there in time. He felt the sword go into his stomach, get pulled out again, and stab him through the chest before he died.

His evil deed done the intruder left the sword school and, walked down a lonely alleyway, towards a hidden entrance to the sewers. The entrance, hidden behind a broken cart had been discovered by accident earlier in the day when, a frightened and panicking Hylian soldier, running from a strange creature, had tripped and fallen through the cart into the open grate on the ground. Without hesitation the cloaked figure strode inside.

As though being guided by an unseen force he did not hesitate at any of the intersections throughout the tunnels. He strode deeper and deeper until, he came upon a door, which, could only be opened from the outside hidden deep in the labyrinth below the sewers. He walked up and opened the door wide.

Inside there were two statues of old women. The statues were held in place by six chains each. Each chain was made of thick metal that shimmered in one of six colours, yellow, orange, purple, blue, red and green that was anchored to a symbol. Each symbol represented one of the elements of the legendary sages, Light, Spirit, Shadow, Water, Fire and Forest. The cloaked figure simple went up to each symbol and, with his black blade, sliced through each of the chains as if they were butter, when the last chain hit the floor the two statues began to come to life.

The stone fell off the statues to reveal two old women in black robes standing there, they groaned and moaned as they ancient, stiff bodies free, finally from centuries of imprisonment. The two old women finally turned their attention to the one that had freed them, their faces split into identical grins. Without a word the three of them returned to the surface where the two old women pulled out their broomsticks. The old women took to the air and started levitating the cloaked figure between them, they turned and flew south.

The three flew over Ordon village as the sun was starting to rise. There was only one person outside but they did not look up. Just beyond the village an ancient fortress came into view. A huge great tower rose from the centre surrounded by low small buildings to restrict access to the tower, all of which was encompassed by a great wall. Within the wall were signs of movement, the fortress was protected by Moblins. One of the women actually smiled at this but waited until they landed atop the tower before she said anything.

"Ahhh some Moblins have survived, this will allow us to attack faster and, with no Hero in all of Hyrule, we will be unstoppable." Her voice was dry and raspy, yet her eyes were ice cold and full of purpose, while the others eyes were full of fire and hate for the land of Hyrule.

"Not so fast Kora, there is still hope for Hyrule, he is yet to kill the man who taught him sword fighting and, until he does, we cannot even risk acting. We acted too fast last time and as such, we over extended our forces, left an opening and were defeated by the Hero. "Her eyes flashed with fire at the thought of their defeat an untold number of years ago, although, they had at least destroyed the Sage's corporal bodies, leaving them only to exist as little more than spirits.

"Oh yes you were always the smart one Keezin, yes we will have to do that first." She turned to the cloaked figure "Your old master is in Ordon village, kill him and return here." The cloaked figure nodded once and left, the Moblins granting him safe passage to the edge of the fortress. He transformed into his Wolf form and took off at a run for Ordon.



Chapter 1 - The Dark Wolf

Mist hung low over the ground as Ilia watched the sun rise over Ordon. She had been doing this a lot lately, she was worried about Link. Nobody had seen or heard from him since he turned his back on the Goddesses and Ilia was worried. He was a hero chosen by the Goddesses themselves and he just turned around and said he didn't want to be the hero anymore.

Ilia took her mind off her worrying thoughts about Link by polishing her sword, not the Master Sword but the one she had been given by Dart months ago before she had last seen Link. The Master Sword was currently in a pedestal protected by the Spirit of Light in Ordon Spring.

A wolf was creeping through the mist towards Rusl's house. Ilia slowly stood and walked towards the wolf, it looked familiar, like the one that had run through Kakariko and the market so many times all those years ago. The wolf she later learned was actually Link. If Link was here in his wolf form something wasn't right, if Link had come back to be the hero he would have just walked into Ordon. This was something different, something wrong. Ilia followed the wolf as it approached Rusl's door.

When it reached the door he transformed back into Link, wearing a black tunic and matching hat. The sword slung over his back had a jet black handle. He knocked politely on the door, not noticing Ilia walking up the path behind him. Rusl opened the door and, seeing Link there quickly stepped outside, bringing his sword with him. It seemed that Ilia was not the only one who thought that Link showing up meant some kind of trouble, except this time Link was the trouble, he drew his sword and attacked Rusl.

Rusl was just as quick on the uptake; his sword was out in time to block Link's strike. They held that pose for a moment, then started fighting in earnest. Rusl was able to keep up with Link's slashes and strikes but was unable to take the offensive. Ilia joined the battle with a cry; Link easily blocked her strike but left himself open to Rusl's attack which grazed his arm. In response he swung his shield arm around and knocked Ilia to the ground and spun around slashed Rusl in his sword arm. Rusl let out a gasp and dropped his sword and was forced to duck to avoid a fatal strike by Link. He grabbed his sword in his other hand and rejoined the fight.

Ilia was surprised, Link was even better with a sword than he had been when she had last seen him, this was not good. Link was aiming to kill Rusl and though Ilia had no idea of his intention towards her she knew that he couldn't be trusted to leave her alone. The fight continued with link able to keep up with both Rusl and Ilia and even land a few glancing blows on each of them. Ilia yelled in frustration as her sword clanged uselessly off Link's shield yet again, then without warning Link back flipped away and quickly gathered a small burst of power in his sword, slashed horizontally and sent a shockwave at Ilia and Rusl. They were shockwave flung them backwards and made several of their wounds bigger.

Ilia could feel tears starting to form in her eyes. Link hadn't been to Ordon in over a year and now he came back to try and kill Rusl, one of his oldest friends. This was not the Link that had saved Hyrule and the Twilight Realm. This Link was darker, stronger, and merciless and seemed intent on bringing about death.

"Link why are you doing this? You said you would come back, you said you would ALWAYS come back. Link this isn't who you are. Please Link. Don't kill those you care about just put the sword away Link" Ilia's voice cut off with a sob, this was too much she had been through hell with her emotions because of Link once before and here it seemed it would be both physical and emotional hell, that's if she survived this fight.

"Ilia I am doing this because it's what needs to be done. The Goddesses don't care, I turned my back on them and look I'm fine, this land nearly led us to ruin because its government surrendered to Zant. It was nearly destroyed, and I saved it. Now it's threatening to lead us to total ruin, I am merely trying to prevent that from happening." Link said his voice was different, colder, less caring.

"Link you are the one who saved Hyrule Princess Zelda is not going to let it go again so easily, when another threat appears she will fight to defend Hyrule against it." Ilia's pleas seemed to be falling on deaf ears.

"She told me her story she surrendered in five minutes, she is not strong enough to defend Hyrule, and so new leaders must be put in place. It's that simple Ilia, but for this go well the most talented sword masters in Hyrule must be eliminated, else a hero will rise up to stop me, this is for the benefit of Hyrule."

"Oh and who would these new leaders be Link?" Ilia fired back.

"Oh they will be Kora and Keezin, wise old women who are skilled in magic; they will be strong enough to protect Hyrule." Ilia saw his eyes glint strangely at the mention of those names.

"You have lost it Link, I'm sorry but you have to be stopped here and now" with a cry she was about to throw herself at Link once more but Rusl held her back.

"Ilia we can't win this fight, he's just too good even for both of us. Can you feel as though there is something off about him? That shockwave he used before was black, his clothes are black and even his sword is black, something tells me he isn't himself really, that Link's not even the one driving that body. I think our best chance is to try the Master Sword." Ilia quickly took stock of the situation, both her and Rusl were panting and bleeding and tired, Link however had a few minimal injuries and seemed only slightly tired by the fighting.

"You're right, Ordon Spring isn't far, would we make it if we run?"

"Maybe but he has his wolf from that could chase us down. We have to try." Rusl's face showed nothing but conviction, this was a difficult choice but there was a threat to Hyrule and it had to be stopped. Without another word they both turned and ran down the path towards Ordon Spring. Link's body rippled and he was in his wolf form, chasing them down.

They reached Link's tree house where he caught up with them once more, cutting across the path that led to the spring. Fangs bared Link leapt at Rusl who knocked him aside with a well timed punch; Link was back on his feet again and running towards Ilia, crackling with energy. He released the energy which flung Ilia into Rusl and they both landed heavily, while Link opened his mouth and a ball of black energy gathered there. He released the spell causing Ilia and Rusl to dive to the side and watch as it slammed into the wall behind them leaving a deep crater. Ilia and Rusl ran for the spring while they still had the chance.

Link caught up to them at the edge of the spring. Rusl saw him and threw himself at Link, to give Ilia enough time to retrieve the Master Sword. Rusl was too tired to hold him off for long; Link quickly gained the upper hand and savaged Rusl's side. He then charged a ball of black lightning and launched it at Ilia. The bolt caused extreme pain on impact and launched her towards the sword, when she hit the ground and struggled to get up.

Link walked towards Ilia slowly, she was trying as hard as she could to reach the sword. Blood was streaming down her arm and into her eyes, obscuring her vision. With a desperate lunge Ilia managed to close her hand around the hilt of the Master Sword, she felt a surge of warmth flow through her, she drew the sword and turned to face Link. The sword flared with a brilliant white flame.

Ilia swung The Master Sword at Link, creating a horizontal line of white fire, which sent Link flying out of the spring. Link tried to re-enter the spring but a golden shield was denying him access. Ilia, overcome by injuries and exhaustion collapsed into the water.

...

When Ilia came to she discovered that her wounds had been bandaged, Link had left and she had been brought back to Ordon. She tried to sit up but felt her head start to spin and quickly lay back down. Ilia saw Rusl lying in a bed on the other side of the room having a red potion poured into his mouth by Beth.

Ilia stood this time without the head spin and grabbed two nearby potions, one blue and one red and an empty bottle placing them in her pack. Rusl quickly joined her gathering potions of his own and placing them in his backpack. Beth looked shocked that the two badly injured people were getting up and preparing to leave so quickly.

"Wait, stop, you should give your selves time to properly recover, both of you are still hurt." Beth cried trying to get them to lie back down.

"We're fine Beth." Rusl grunted in pain as he straightened up," We only have to get to the Spring, Ordona will heal us much quicker and there isn't time for us to sit around here waiting to recover. Ilia grab your bow, we might need it." Rusl led the way out the door and towards the spring.

Ilia and Rusl, tired and sore entered the spring to see the great glowing figure of Ordona appear before them. Ordona took the form of an Ordon Goat and healed their wounds and restored their energy, that alone made Rusl and Ilia think that they did not have much time before whatever had sent Link to kill Rusl would come after them in full force. Ordona spoke to them in a deep, musical voice.

"Rusl it will take the witches several days to gather their forces and their first target shall be Ordon village. You will have to gather soldiers from Hyrule to defend the village. Ilia you will have the more dangerous mission, you have the Master Sword and as such you will be the one to fight the witches themselves. To do this you must gather two very powerful objects from opposite ends of Hyrule: The daggers that have the powers of ice and fire. The Frost Dagger is located in Chilfos castle, beyond Snowpeak Mansion and the Blaze dagger is located in the Lava Core deep within Death Mountain. You must obtain these items if you wish to defeat the witches but if you are going to take up the mantle of Hero you should find the Triforce of Courage hidden in the Temple of Time." Ilia already knew where it was but she was wondering how Ordona knew it.

"How do you know where the Triforce piece is? Link told me months ago and I hadn't seen him since before today. Come to think of it how do you know where all the other stuff is?"

"The balance of Hyrule was threatened by the witches centuries ago, the Hero of that time was able to defeat them and, with the help of the sages seal them away. The goddesses knowing that that would not be good enough created daggers that had the power to permanently defeat them. They imparted the knowledge to us Light Spirits for when the witches were released. There is little time. Be warned, the witches have placed a spell on Link, making him their most valuable servant, he will be hunting you now. Be careful and good luck both of you.

Ilia mounted Epona while Rusl mounted his own horse. The two rode north to where the path divided, with one route leading to Hyrule field while the other led deeper into Faron woods and onto the Temple of Time. Rusl rode off towards Hyrule while Ilia went towards the sacred Grove and the Temple of Time.



Chapter 2 - The Temple of Time

The very air of the Sacred Grove seemed different; the air here seemed sweeter, more mysterious than anywhere Ilia had ever been in Hyrule. This place was so far out of the normal traveller's way that few would ever see this place, let alone feel what it was like to walk through a forest so ancient and sacred.

Ilia arrived in the first small clearing in a series of many, to see a white wolf, clearly waiting for her arrival. Ilia drew the Master Sword by instinct, once more feeling a slight tingling through her body from the power of the Master Sword, the wolf leapt at her and Ilia blacked out.

…

When Ilia came to she was standing in a large white area with green hills off in the distance. She heard a slight noise behind her and whirled around to discover that there was a skeleton in armour standing behind her. The skeleton seemed to have a sad smile on his face as he looked at Ilia. The shield on his arm made Ilia aware that she did not have a shield with which to protect herself, the skeleton also seemed to notice this, as he reached behind him and brought out a shield.

The shield was breathtaking. Its surface was a silver mirror with an engraving of a wolf; the border was gold in colour. Ilia took the shield and was surprised to find that it felt natural, like she had been using a shield for years. She gave the skeleton a quizzical look to see if he could explain why the shield felt so perfect, and he spoke for the first time, in an ancient voice that had seen its fair share of trouble.

"That shield was created especially for you Ilia; it is a weapon of immense power. It is a part of the destiny that you have now accepted by coming to claim the Triforce of Courage. You will become a hero in your own right, a leader in the war against the witches that is to come. I will do my best to prepare you for your mission. Now come at me" he said dropping into his battle stance as Ilia lunged at him.

The skeleton caught Ilia's attack on his shield, striking with his own sword, Ilia blocked and struck again, only to be blocked once again. Ilia noticed that the skeleton's style of fighting bore great similarities to Link's. He was easily a better swordsman than Ilia and two minutes after the fight began, Ilia were on the ground after a heavy hit from his shield. Pulling herself up from the ground she leapt at the skeleton again, this time being more cautious, watching for openings and using her shield more often.

When they came apart the skeleton said "Enough, you have proven to me that you will make a worthy hero. Now it is time for me to tell you something. The Master Sword must be placed in a Pedestal of Time at the end of the ruins beyond the Sacred Grove; this will open the Door of Time to allow you to enter the Temple when it was intact, where Link has hidden the Triforce of Courage. There was a flash and Ilia returned to the Sacred Grove.

Ilia had barely taken three steps when a horn sounded and a group of wooden puppets dropped around her, Ilia drew her sword and watched their actions. One lunged at her whom she blocked with her shield as she slashed at another, it fell apart and Ilia whirled around just in time to stop an attack from behind. The wooden figures worked well as a team but they were frail and easily disposed of. As the fourth wooden puppet went down Ilia heard the horn sound again as more dropped down to attack her again.

Though the puppets posed little threat in their small group they just kept coming, Ilia was making slow progress and was tired from all the fighting she had done. She reached yet another clearing that was, for once free of puppets although there was a small blue figure standing on a rock in the centre of the area. The blue figure was obviously a skull kid, a creature of the forest known for their love of pranks and fun. Ilia took a deep breath as she realised that this skull kid would be the last obstacle before she arrived at the Temple of Time.

The skull kid blew the horn again and this time six puppets dropped into the area. Ilia did not hesitate, she threw herself at a puppet, cutting it down and started moving towards the skull kid. He simply laughed and blew his horn which created a small tornado, which swept Ilia away into a rock to be an easy target for a puppet. Rolling out of the way Ilia moved closer to skull kid who tried to stop her with another tornado, with another roll Ilia dodged it and moved to within striking distance.

Ilia swung the sword at him, stopping before she hit him and opened her mouth to say something when she was hit from behind by a puppet. Ilia hit the ground hard and heard the horn blow again and more puppets joined the fray. Ilia stood and quickly counted that there were now ten puppets around the clearing and they were all coming after her at once.

The skull kid was once again hiding behind his puppets so Ilia decided the easiest way to get to the skull kid was through. She leapt at the gathered puppets and brought the first two down with a single slash, using her forward momentum she cut right through the centre of the group of puppets. Ilia slashed at him and he blocked with his horn, he played a note and sent a ball of green energy at Ilia, which launched her across the clearing into the crowd of surviving puppets as the skull kid summoned more to the fray.

Ilia did not have time to count the puppets as they attacked her she was tiring and was barely keeping up. She had to end this fight quickly, striking two down and blocking an attack from a third she looked around for the skull kid. She saw him perched on a stump on one side of the clearing, laughing and enjoying the battle. Ilia started heading towards him.

Ilia almost got within striking distance before he noticed her; he tried using the tornado to blow her away which Ilia dodged, he used the green energy again, which was blocked by Ilia's shield. Ilia leapt and knocked him to the ground, checked to make sure that the puppets weren't too close to her and amongst her panting managed to say "I… I win; can I please go to the Temple of Time now?"

The skull kid laughed as he pulled himself up "Sure that was fun, can we play again sometime?" he leapt up and away taking his puppets with him. Ilia tired from the fighting, wanted to rest but there was too little time for that so she pressed on, into the ruins of The Temple of Time.

…

Rusl had arrived at the southern entrance of Castle town as the sun was setting. He took the well known route straight to Telma's bar. When the Twilight had covered Hyrule this had been a gathering place for those willing to resist enemy occupation. Although the Resistance was no longer needed the main members still kept together, and had contacts in place so that if a new threat ever appeared they would be ready.

When Rusl arrived at the bar he looked towards the table that was always manned by at least one key member. Tonight there were two people at the table: Ashei and Shad. Ashei had a few loyal soldiers as her friends that went searching for rumoured artefacts together, searching for a way to help ensure Hyrule's safety. They would be the perfect group to accompany Ilia, Rusl thought as he turned to ask Shad who had contacts in several units in the army.

"Shad I have information that Ordon is about to be attacked, I don't know by what or how many but it will happen soon, can you get some soldiers together to help me defend it?" Rusl asked keeping calm, knowing that he supposedly had a few days up his sleeve before the battle began.

"Quite the vague source you have there Rusl. I suppose I could get the Hawks to go down to Ordon with you. It will take the Hawks about 24 hours to mobilise for that kind of trip." The Hawks were a highly trained group of soldiers; all of them had exceptional marksmanship skills with both a bow and the newly designed weapon, the pistol. They were all well skilled with swords and the unit had three battle cannon. They were a worthy choice to be the first line of Defence for Hyrule.

"Thank you Shad; while we wait do you know anything about a war against two witches that happened centuries ago?" Shad knew a great deal about the history of Hyrule and this war was no exception he launched into an explanation of a war long forgotten.

…

Ilia strode into the ruins of the Temple of Time. The once great columns had long ago been broken and fallen in pieces to the ground, statues were missing limbs and heads and very few were still standing. She strode through a stone archway to discover a pedestal resting in the grass in front of her. Remembering the skeleton's instructions she placed the Master Sword into the Pedestal of Time. The Master Sword glowed a pale blue then stopped and Ilia knew the Door of Time had opened.

Stepping through the Door of Time brought Ilia into the temple as it used to be, before whatever tragedy had caused its destruction. Two owl statues flanked the entrance and soft light infused the vast hall. It the air of the Sacred Grove was special the air here felt almost alive. She walked once more through the great archway to see the Pedestal and behind it a great stained glass window.

Plunging the Master Sword into the pedestal once more, Ilia knew she was following in Link's footsteps but she couldn't help wondering why he had done this. He had saved Hyrule and now he was helping those who wished to destroy it. Why? The stained glass window disappeared and a set of Golden steps leading up to it shone into existence. Ilia raced up the steps knowing that Link had to be stopped and to do that she first needed to obtain his piece of the Triforce.

Ilia strode up one of the great white staircases to be met with an ornate door, flanked by two statues with an image of the complete Triforce above the door. Link had never said where in the Temple he had hidden the Triforce of Courage but Ilia thought that the Triforce symbol above the door might be a clue. She went through the door and ended up in a room with swinging blade pendulums. Ilia strode out and barely dodged a blade pendulum; her exhaustion from her fight with the skull kid was making her sloppy and make stupid mistakes. Running past the first one Ilia stopped in time to let the second go past, then it was a simple matter of walking to the opposite end of the room and through the door into a great dim hall. Crouched in the centre of the hall was a man in golden armour.

The armour covered him from head to foot, leaving only a slit for his eyes. His helmet had the appearance of a wolf and his sword strongly resembled the Master Sword, he stood as Ilia approached, they both drew their swords.

"Who are you? Ilia asked, edging towards the armoured figure ready to begin the battle at a moments notice.

"I am the Guardian of the Triforce of Courage, in the event that it does not have a holder I am summoned to protect it until a replacement can be found." His voice was deep and not human, Ilia was shocked at the bluntness of his statement, a replacement? He made it sound like there was a list of heroes just waiting for their turn to take up the Master sword and Triforce of Courage.

Ilia raised her shield as she asked "Do I have to kill you or is there some other reason you are here?" The guardian merely chuckled.

"You do not have to kill me I am merely a test to determine whether or not you have the courage to face those that have the power to defeat you, those that threaten all of Hyrule and those that are blinded by magic, like the last hero. Now come at me." He raised his sword and shield and waited for Ilia to strike.

Tired though she was Ilia knew that she had to fight now, in the future she might be hurt, bleeding and nearly fainting from exhaustion but she would not be able to give in. Hyrule was depending on Ilia. Ilia slashed at the Guardian who blocked with his shield and returned the strike, which Ilia caught on her shield, knocked the blade down and stabbed only to meet nothing but air as the Guardian turned away to attack from the side. Ilia blocked the strike on her shield, jabbed the shield towards him and slashed again, only to meet nothing but air again as the Guardian jumped back, then towards her again making Ilia duck under the blade.

A golden ball of energy appeared in the Guardian's hand, he pointed at Ilia and a huge blast of Magic shot towards her, Ilia barely managed to raise her shield in time. The sheer force of the magic forced her back towards the wall. The magic faded away and Ilia knew what he meant by someone with the power to defeat her, that had been an impressive blast of magic, only her shield had saved her. The guardian continued his magical onslaught; firing small balls of magic at Ilia as she ran towards him to combat wither her sword once again. Ilia slashed at his hand as he launched another magical blast, the Master Sword cut through the magical blast forcing it back in the direction it had come from, straight into the Guardians hand. The Guardian's hand was smoking slightly as Ilia slashed at him again.

The guardian blocked and continued slashing at Ilia who went on the defensive, dodging and ducking like mad to avoid the blade. Panting heavily Ilia leapt back, slashed forward and overextended herself leaving herself open for the Guardian's sword to flick up to her chin. Ilia held perfectly still, the cold steel of the sword resting against her chin.

"You pass, take the Triforce of Courage and go, face down the forces of darkness and rescue our fallen Hero." The Guardian removed the golden triangle from his hand and passed it across to Ilia, the mark of the Triforce appeared on the back of her hand, with the segment representing the Triforce of Courage glowing a brilliant gold. Ilia felt her energy returning as the Triforce worked it's magic, granting its bearer the Courage, strength and stamina to face down their enemies.

"You should rest here for a while, recover your strength, time is relative here, you can relax and return to your time just after you stepped through the door of time." The Guardian turned and walked away, fading as he did so, his duty done he returned to the Sacred Realm. Ilia sat down feeling her energy return, within a few hours she would be ready to go and begin her quest for the daggers.



Chapter 3 - The First War

Rusl listened in awe at the story that Shad was telling him, the first war with the witches had been brutal and almost cost Hyrule everything.

"In the days before the war with the Witches, there was no Ordon Province; we did not have any warning of what was coming from the south. A great army of Moblins poured forth from the forest, it split into separate groups. The smaller towns and villages stood little chance against such great numbers so it came to be that only Kakariko, Hyrule Castle Town and Zora's Domain were safe, for the time being.

Zora's Domain became a stronghold against the Moblins as they tried to take over the source of all water in Hyrule, the Zora battled valiantly and managed to hold the attacks off, Hyrule began to think it had a chance. Then the Gerudo came in from the desert, they were retreating for the first time in their history, The Fortress had fallen and so they retreated to Castle Town. Another army of Moblins chased them in from the desert, Hyrule began to lose hope.

One day a man clad in green appeared, over his shoulder was slung the Sword of Legend, the Weapon of Heroes, the Blade of Evil's Bane and Hyrule's last hope: The Master Sword. The man called himself Link and there was something in the way he held himself that made the people believe in him, they wanted to follow him, they truly believed he could lead them to victory.

When Kakariko Village and Zora's Domain finally fell the surviving inhabitants made their way to Hyrule Castle Tow, The last stronghold in all of Hyrule. There they joined the United Army of Hyrule which contained members of all the races and Link the hero, was its leader.

A great centipede appeared near the city walls and looked as though it was going to destroy the city. The centipede attacked the Temple of Time which was outside the walls of the city in those days. A great Golden Giant appeared from within the Temple and defeated the Centipede, sealing it away underneath the Castle.

When the Moblins finally broke down the walls of the town Link's greatest allies, the Sages were able to use their powers to help drive back the Moblins. The army poured forth and they met the Moblins on the field, the diversity of the army shocked and troubled the Moblins who were forced back and eventually retreated towards the entrance to the southern forest.

The battle began at dawn the next day, the Moblins greatly outnumbered Link and his followers but they would not give in, they were fighting for their land and they would die to ensure its freedom. The Moblins fought on for most of the day, the army of Hyrule was eventually victorious. The Moblins retreated further back towards their stronghold.

After few days of marching and fighting through the forest the army arrived at a great, black, forbidding fortress. The fortress was well defended. Link led the army in an assault on the fortress, then once they breached the walls and the fighting became more intense Link and the Sages advanced to the tower in the centre and climbed until they arrived in a chamber, where they met the witches.

Instantly Link and the sages began to battle the witches but soon the sages were defeated and Link was on his own. Link was able to keep fighting, he was never going to give up and then the Sages returned. Their physical bodies were all lying on the ground and they rose up as spirits, bodies glowing with all their power.

The sages were able to help Link defeat the Witches and then seal them away in stone statues bound by magical chains. They were hidden in a dark passageway off the main sewers underneath the Castle. Victory had been achieved at great cost to Hyrule. They would have peace for a time. And so ends the Legend of Link enemy of the witches." Shad turned to look at Rusl, he was nervous, the first war had been brutal it had almost cost the sages everything and taken thousands of lives but they had had a Hero then. Ilia would try her hardest but she wasn't chosen by the Goddesses. Rusl had his doubts but he knew what must be done. There was no option but to fight.

…

Rusl joined up with the Hawks at Dawn and together they rode southwards for Ordon Province, they rode to war. The hours passed in silence apart from the sound of the horse's hooves beating against the ground. Sand the leader of the Hawks was a large man with a few scars from the Time of Twilight; he had been a soldier on the run and fighting for survival. After the Twilight faded he returned and took command of his old unit. This was the first time since the twilight that the Hawks had been needed.

Rusl led the way into Ordon village; the kids all came up running, eager to see the soldiers in their shiny armour. They were amazed by the three large canons the group had brought with them. Rusl managed to restore order long enough to ask the kids to call a village meeting they did so and Sand gave him a look but said nothing.

…

The whole village gathered outside of Mayor Bo's house to listen to Rusl's speech on what was going to happen soon. The witches were ready to go to war, this village would be their first target and if it was attacked none would be spared.

"Any of those who wish to stay and fight can do so, the rest of you leave today go to Castle Town you will be safer there." Mayor Bo was the only one who volunteered to stay saying that the other men should leave with the women and children and get them to the castle. Nobody wanted to argue.

Within an hour the women and children had left the village leaving just Rusl, Bo and the Hawks there. Sand instantly started setting up a defensive perimeter, focusing on the two main entrances to Ordon from the south: the creek and the ranch. The small hill to the Ranch was blocked off with a wall and covered by a canon and the majority of the Hawks, the creek was defended by the other two canons and the rest of the soldiers.

Sand and Rusl both knew the stakes of this battle, it was victory or death. They had to hold the enemy back for as long as possible so they set up a barricade preventing anyone leaving the village, for better or worse they were sealed in the village. Now there only remained the calm before the storm of war.



Chapter 4 - Chilfos Castle

"The best way to wipe out Ordon is a two pronged assault, a large force of Moblins comes in from the ranch while some Moblins on boats and some Zora Stalfos. The Zora Stalfos would walk along the bottom of the creek and avoid any defenses. Simplest, easiest plan". Link said as he studied the map he had drawn of Ordon Village. "Although the buildings could pose a threat, they could barricade themselves in there and kill far too many of our warriors perhaps we could use trebuchets or catapults to destroy the buildings as we attack, give them nowhere to retreat too. Trebuchets would probably be more effective." Link stood and turned to leave, but was stopped by a cloaked figure with the hood so low down that it obscured the figure's identity.

Link drew his sword and pointed it at the newcomer. Link gathered energy in his blade, ready to kill the stranger but he was stopped by Kora flying between them, Link did not lower his sword an inch. The stranger merely said "I was not aware that he would be this…volatile." He stepped around Kora and Link, towards the larger map of Hyrule on the wall and surveyed it with interest.

Link lowered his sword but did not stop staring at the newcomer. "Who is he?" he asked simply, staring daggers into his back. Why would they bring someone new into the equation now? Link was ready to hunt down Ilia; the Moblins would handle Rusl and whoever else tried to defend the village.

"He is a wizard we have asked to help us with our new, urgent task: finding and destroying Ilia." Link opened his mouth to object but was cut off as Keezin continued "He is unrecognizable, he is faster than you and has a way to track her, wherever she is in Hyrule, unlike you." Link smirked.

"He doesn't know Ilia like I do, her emotions are her weakness, fighting me brings out a conflict within her. She loves me but knows she has to defeat me she just can't fight against me. I will be the one to destroy her." He turned to leave but the Kora once again stopped him,

"Link you are the Darkness Leader, you must lead the Armies of Darkness in battle. Kill Rusl and we will let you chase Ilia until we need you again. Agaan, start hunting down Ilia, if you find her try to keep her alive for Link to have a little fun with her, he seems to want to do it himself. Link prepare for your assault on Ordon." She cackled evilly.

…

Ilia stood looking at the door to Telma's Bar. The best chance at her retrieving the daggers was with the help of the old resistance now known as the Liberty Forces. Ilia had not been to visit Telma since she had been given the Master Sword. In the two years since the Twilight Hyrule had changed and now Ilia was the hero, she had to protect Hyrule from the very person who had saved it last time. Putting aside her thoughts, Ilia entered the bar.

Telma looked up from the glass she was wiping when Ilia entered, a smile spread over her face as she came over to greet her friend. When Telma got close enough she noticed the hilt of the Master Sword at her shoulder, glanced down at her hand to see the Triforce of Courage glowing slightly, looked at Ilia with concern on her face and asked "Where's Link?"

Ilia took her time in responding, not many, if any people knew exactly what Link had been doing since the Twilight faded, let alone what he was doing now. Ilia knew that at some point in her quest to stop the witches she would have to face Link again but would she be able to do it? Would she sacrifice Hyrule for Link? Could she doom herself to misery by saving Hyrule? Ilia shook off her thoughts for the moment to answer Telma's question.

"Link is gone. I don't know where or when he is coming back, he seemed like he didn't want to come back when I saw him months ago." Ilia lied; she knew that Link was with the evil witches in their ancient stronghold south of Ordon. She just could not admit it out loud; she wasn't ready for all the hatred.

"He left you with the Master sword and the Triforce?" Telma asked.

"His circumstances for leaving were…a little strained; Hyrule needs a Hero so I stepped up. I actually came here to meet with the Liberty Forces." She said starting to make her way across to the back room where there was always at least one member stationed. Ashei stood at the table along with twelve other women all wearing armour. Ilia glanced at the map table, it showed a much larger, and more expansive map of Snowpeak than she had seen before. On it were three labeled passes all ending up at a certain spot, marked Castle of Ice. Ilia suddenly realized what all this meant.

"Rusl spoke to you didn't he? He knows you know Snowpeak better than anyone so he asked you to help me reach Chilfos Castle and they are here to help." She said pointing to the women standing at the edges of the room.

"Sorry to tell you this Ilia but we have to leave. Now. Rusl has already gone to reinforce Ordon but he won't be able to hold out forever, you need the daggers to be able to stop the Witches, they are our only hope at the moment unless Link returns." Ashei said, then she glanced at the women around her, giving orders "Move out, pairs get away from the town fast and meet up at Zora's Domain. We'll take the path to Snowpeak Ruins and then onto Chilfos Castle. Ilia you're with me, now move," The women all headed towards the exit to the bar then split into pairs, running in different directions, less than an hour later they had all left the town and were riding towards Zora's Domain.

…

In Hyrule Castle the Triforce of Wisdom was reacted to the proximity of another Triforce piece, it glowed slightly and Zelda knew that a Triforce piece was in the town below. One look out the window told her it was not Ganondorf, who would surely be attacking the town once again. Zelda had not heard from Link since they left the Mirror chamber two years ago, which was disturbing. If he had avoided this place for so long why was he here now? She felt the Triforce piece leave the city in a hurry. Where was he going? Why was he leaving so quickly?

Zelda didn't waste time thinking about it; she raced over to her wardrobe and pulled a secret switch at the back. It opened a hidden compartment to reveal a close-fitting blue, red and white uniform marked with the symbol of the Sheikah, the protectors of the Royal family until the end of the War with the Witches. That war had been brutal on the Sheikah, they had built a hidden village and disappeared, they hid from strangers, even within their own village these days, clinging to survival. Zelda quickly donned the uniform, looked in the mirror and gasped. She looked like a guy. This disguise would suit perfectly; she grabbed her long cloak and headed for the Castle grounds.

Zelda had received training in the ancient ways of the Sheikah which had been passed on to a few and adapted as the world changed. They were now known as Ninja Arts, every Princess learnt them along with archery and if she had the gift, magic. Zelda was talented at all three.

Running cat-like along the rooftop Zelda in her disguise kept an eye on the lone Guard patrolling the courtyard below. He turned and Zelda leapt down to the ground silently, raced across the courtyard off one rock, onto a low hanging branch and onto the wall. Dropping down the other side Zelda sighed, she couldn't be called Zelda in this disguise. She could hardly feel the Triforce piece anymore so she didn't waste any more time and took off after it.

…

Agaan finished his chant and looked at the map of Hyrule on the wall in front of him. It now showed a red X moving through Hyrule field, he smirked. "Got her she's heading north-east, towards Zora's Domain though why she would go there I have no idea." He pulled out a smaller map, waved his hand over it and said a few words and the red X appeared on the smaller map as well. He was ready to begin the hunt.

…

Ilia and Ashei galloped hard until the first light of dawn appeared on the horizon, they slowed their pace to a walk. "Sorry we left in such a hurry but we think there are spies in Castle Town, actually I expect there to be several. It would be easy, have a few civilians as your spies and they report on any unusual traffic entering and leaving the market place. If there was one in the bar they could have overheard an explanation and given detailed information." Ilia saw a hole in this idea and she said so.

"Wouldn't they have overhead us talking about Snowpeak and meeting at Zora's Domain?" Ashei gave a small smile.

"You're sharp, you know that? I did that deliberately, in case you didn't notice the bar went quiet while I was giving orders, and then we left in a hurry, nobody left before us. As soon as we left Telma stood near the door and stopped the first few people who wanted to leave, it was a trap for the spies. I just hope it worked" A look of concern crossed her face, but it was quickly replaced with a look of determination, Ashei knew that Telma had to look after herself for now, just as Ilia had to, she would have help but would it be enough?

The stories of Chilfos Castle told that is was defended by a legion of Chilfos, it was their home, their stronghold and the source of their power. Several Kings of Hyrule had led armies to try and seize the treasure that lay within, the largest army had numbered over thirty thousand and it had returned numbering less than a hundred. Nobody else dared to attempt reaching the castle since that day, until now when fourteen women were going to try what thirty thousand men couldn't. It was so crazy she could have laughed.

Entering Zora's domain Ashei saw that they were preparing themselves for war, as soon as Rusl had arrived with his news and Shad had told the story messengers were sent to the Zora, Gorons and one was even sent to look for the Hidden Sheikah village but was unsuccessful. As she watched a patrol of six Zora dove into the water and swum downriver, the Zora would not be caught unprepared by threats from the water, if they could hold the waterways, there was hope. Ilia and Ashei settled down to wait for the others.

As the afternoon drifted on the others began to arrive, the arrival of each pair brought with it information that they had gleaned from their travels. There was a larger number of Kargaroks in the skies over Hyrule field than ever before, many of them had strangely coloured eyes, signifying their use as spies. The witches would know when and where Hyrule was moving soldiers too. This was bad, not matter what Hyrule tried the Witches would see it coming unless they could take out the Kargaroks. Ashei stood and said to the assembled group "Ok we better get moving." She turned to lead the group to Snow peak but one of the younger members, a girl named Rhyn spoke up.

"Why do we have to go now? Can't we wait until morning?" Ashei stopped and with patience explained the situation.

"Right now we the Witches have their spies looking at Hyrule Field from the sky, spies trying to get information in Castle Town and their army is on the brink of invasion. The only thing standing in their way is Rusl and the Hawks in Ordon. The only weapons capable of destroying the Witches lie here at Snowpeak and on Death Mountain, opposite ends of the land; we don't exactly have the time to sit here waiting for the war to start." Ilia saw a problem with this plan, and Rhyn did as well and she spoke up quickly.

"Well if these weapons are at opposite ends of the land why haven't we split up?" Ashei had foreseen this question though and responded quickly.

"The only one capable of wielding these daggers is Ilia, the Triforce of Courage allows her to remove them from their resting places, it would be pointless splitting up because we need Ilia to take the Daggers, we are here to help her reach each Dagger as fast as possible. We have to do this. Let's move." Ilia and the others followed Ashei into Snowpeak.

…

Rusl was sitting on the wall, looking towards the abandoned ranch, waiting for any sign that the Moblins had come when Mayor Bo came up and sat beside him. At first Bo didn't say anything just sat and watched with Rusl but eventually he had to speak.

"Ilia is off doing something dangerous isn't she?"

"Yep" Rusl replied.

"What?"

"Hunting down the only weapons that could possibly win this war. You're worried about her aren't you?" It was a father's right to be worried about his daughter, Bo didn't like to show it but he was more worried about her than anything.

"Of course I am. It's my job right? Actually I'm more worried about what losing this battler and her town will do to her. You know what I mean her emotions are so strong, she could barely be with Link ages ago but she couldn't stay away. I'm worried it's all going to be too much." Rusl was about to agree with him but her realized just what Ilia had done when fighting Link, she had put herself in danger by standing up to him, she had risked it all, even with conflicting emotions to try and save Rusl.

"Ilia will make it she won't let us down. Let's just make sure that we do her and Hyrule proud. We will never surrender; we will go down with our teeth in their throat." Rusl was ready he knew and Bo knew just how this battle would end, Ordon didn't stand a chance, they had to fight until the end, their end.

…

The snow swirled, obscuring the drop to the left and everything further than two feet in front of the woman as they walked along the narrow path on the side of the mountain. Ilia could feel the cold even through her yeti suit, she was walking along behind Rhyn, the young girl who had a sharp mind and apparently even sharper aim with her bow. Ilia was looking towards the ground, trying to make sure she didn't step out over the gap when she was Rhyn's feet slide out from under her towards the edge.

Ilia raced forward and dove, catching her hand before she fell too far, Rhyn's momentum started to carry Ilia over the edge as well. A large, blonde woman named Bree raced forward and grabbed Ilia's hand with her left hand while her right gripped a modified hookshot. Breen pressed a button and with a bang, the hook was launched and embedded itself in the cliff face and lodged there. Bree then flicked the switch near her hand to retract the chain. The hookshot was working to its absolute limit to bring Rhyn and Ilia back onto the ledge and to safety.

Ashei continued leading the group, slowly and carefully along the ridge. They soon reached an exposed plateau as the snow storm eased. Looking down Ilia saw a multitude of passes through the mountains, several of which seemed to lead straight to a large glacier. Ashei stepped up beside her and saw what Ilia was looking at. "That is Chilfos Castle, where we need to get to. It looks far but following this pass it's two, maybe three days walk away although if this weather holds we might make it sooner."

"So it's two or three days there and three or four back? That's a week and we will have one dagger, I don't think The Witches will wait that long to attack Ordon, and I doubt it will last for very long. We have to hurry." Ilia headed for the path on the other side of the plateau to continue their journey while the weather was good.

…

Ilia found herself walking next to Bree hours later, listening to the story of how she came to be a part of Ashei's group. She was a friendly woman but she had had a hard time of it when the Twilight came, like most people in the group they were told to run, eventually she had met Rhyn, and then joined up with Ashei. The group formed over the next few weeks, growing to the size it is today. They had all become good fighters and were there to watch each other's back. They simply referred to themselves as The Cavaliers.

"What did you use to save us earlier?" Ilia asked when Bree had finally finished telling her story.

"Modified hookshot. The hookshot is a bit less versatile than the Clawshot which Link has, they usually fire their chain with a spring but this one" she holds up her hookshot "uses gunpowder to fire the hook faster than normal. It couldn't have grabbed that cliff wall, the gunpowder dug the hook into the wall, saving your life." Bree tucked the hookshot away they continued walking.

The weather remained clear with the exception of a brief snowstorm and the group was able to arrive at Chilfos castle three days after they had left Zora's Domain. Ashei looked towards the Castle and then the passes around, spotting a cave that led to a pass that would take them back to Hyrule she led the group over to it.

"This is our escape route, we get into the Castle we get the dagger, this is the way we come out. Skye, I need you to set up a cave-in, right here. I want to be able to make a quick, clean getaway so if we are being chased we blow the bombs here to cover our escape." Rhyn once again spoke up.

"What if one or two of us fall behind, get stuck or something like that? Are we just going to abandon them? I thought we were The Cavaliers, we never leave a woman behind." Ashei looked towards Rhyn, sadness in her eyes.

"That might not be possible this time Rhyn, we need to get this done quickly, it pains me to say it but if we have the army of Chilfos behind us when we get to the cave and you're not part of the group, you will have to find your own way back to Zora's Domain." Ashei looked around, considering for a moment then continued, "Rhyn stay here and give Skye a hand, you might have some visitors and we need this escape route." Rhyn nodded and started stringing her bow. The other twelve headed off towards the castle to do what thirty thousand men had failed to do : Retrieve the Frost Dagger, legendary treasure of Chilfos Castle.



Chapter 5 - The Frost Dagger

The ice walls glittered as Ashei led the group deeper into the castle. The lack of opposition was unnerving most of the group, Ilia walked with the Master Sword drawn, glancing left and right as she went. The group came across a large, ornate door which opened into a huge, empty hall with a staircase leading to the upper levels in the centre. As soon as the last member of the group entered the room the doors slammed shut, and Chilfos started to come down the staircase. The group was quickly surrounded. Ashei quickly took stock of their situation.

"We've got to move fast, take the ones that matter and get up the stairs, we leave a rearguard and we run for the dagger." Ilia risked a glance at Ashei, she had been focused on speed for days now, she was worried about something. The question was what could worry Ashei, it wasn't the Chilfos army, she would have thought of a different plan. Ilia pushed those thought to the back of her mind as the women charged.

Ilia blocked an ice spear with her shield, struck the wrist with her sword, and then cut down the now unprotected Chilfos; a second one threw itself at her. Ilia deflected its attack with her blade but left herself open to an attack from a third, she tried to get her shield up but it was unneeded, as Bree brought down the Chilfos before it could strike. She flashed a grin at her.

"Come on Ilia keep up. You're the hero after all." She laughed as she and Ilia ran towards the stairs. The group raced for the top of the staircase, avoiding spears thrown at them by pursuing Chilfos, a spear struck the woman next to Ilia and she fell with a shout, tumbling down the stairs. Ashei reached the top and started giving commands.

"Four people stay and hold the stairs, Ilia and Bree you're up front with me, the rest of you cover our behind, this is their territory. We have to watch our backs." Ilia was shocked, she had just seen someone die and Ashei hadn't even mentioned it. There was no time to dwell on it as Ashei and Bree were off down the next corridor, Ilia ran to catch up with them.

…

Zelda looked down at Chilfos Castle, she had heard rumours that Chilfos Castle held a great power, she wasn't surprised that now the Triforce of Courage was here. Zelda knew Link liked to adventure alone so she couldn't help but wonder why there were thirteen horses alongside Epona in Zora's Domain. Zelda felt magic disturb the air behind her and she reacted on instinct, she spun and kicked out, preparing a spell as she did so, her foot connected with a cloaked figure, readying a spell of his own.

A second kick and he dropped his spell and Zelda released her own, he faded into nothing. Zelda once again felt magic disturb the air behind her so she twisted and connected a punch to his face, which was quickly followed by a wind spell, which sent him into the nearby cliff. He responded with a blast of black lightning which Zelda blocked by raising a magical barrier, the shield outlasted the lightning and she launched a small glowing ball of light at him, the spell struck him in the chest and he went down.

"I can see when I'm beaten, until next time then." He disappeared with a wisp of smoke, whatever he had wanted Zelda knew he hadn't gotten it. She settled down to wait in a position where she could see Chilfos Castle, if Link was in there he could be in trouble when he got out.

…

The second floor was devoid of any life as Ilia, Bree and Ashei raced through it, checking each room for any sign of the dagger. They were soon ascending the stairs to the third and final level of the Castle.

The third level was as barren as the second; it was a large open room with a winding staircase in the middle. The stairs led to the top of the tower. The lack of opposition was unnerving, this was the home of all Chilfos and they had so far only encountered a few dozen on the lower floors. Ilia drew the Master Sword before she started climbing the stairs.

Ilia reached the top first and saw a throne made of ice. It was huge, and magnificently carved and seated in it was the largest Chilfos anyone had ever seen; in its hand was the Frost Dagger. Standing up the King Chilfos shattered it's throne and the pieces of ice formed a protective armour, and swung the Frost Dagger through the air to create a sword made of pure ice with the dagger at its centre.

A clatter on the stairs behind them announced the presence of a large group of Chilfos that had been hiding on the third level. Ilia and Ashei stared down the Chilfos King while Bree and the others threw themselves at the Chilfos emerging from the stairs.

The Chilfos King stabbed at them and Ilia rolled aside, into the path of several sharp icicles. Ilia blocked most of them with her shield but one got past, grazing her shoulder. Ilia drew back the Master Sword and once again it burned with white fire. Her sword strike was easily blocked by her icy foe, Ashei used it's distraction to throw a group of micro bombs into its back. The explosions ripped off a large chunk of its back armour revealing its brittle ice body. Ilia was knocked back as the King turned to attack Ashei with a gust of icy air, freezing Ashei to the spot. Before the frozen sword could kill Ashei Ilia stepped in and stabbed the Chilfos King in his unprotected spinal column, causing him to fall apart.

Ilia took one step in the direction of the stairs to help Bree and the others but stopped when she heard the cracking of ice behind her. The King Chilfos had reformed, this time the Frost Dagger was at its core, it was smaller and more compact with thicker armour. Raising its hand it created a small ball of ice and shot it at Ilia who blocked with her shield in the nick of time. As the ice shards went everywhere Ashei threw another cluster of micro bombs at it. The blast left a deep hole in it ice armour, not deep enough to reach the Frost Dagger at its core. Ice started closing over the new hole in its amour.

"It's the Dagger, it gives it the control over ice, we need to get it out, Ashei another group of bombs in the same place, it's our only chance." Ilia shouted of the sound of ice on steel behind her, Ashei nodded once and prepared another cluster of micro bombs. Ilia edged closer to the Chilfos King, waiting for the right moment to strike. Ashei threw the micro bombs, right on target and Ilia did not wait for the smoke to clear, she ran in and put her left hand around the Dagger.

As soon as she touched the Dagger Ilia's felt her hand get incredibly cold, so cold it was painful and ice was forming on her fingertips, she ignored the pain and pulled the dagger free. The Triforce on her right hand glowed and the pain stopped, and the King Chilfos fell apart. Ilia shoved the Dagger into a sheath on her belt, as she did so she noticed the blue lines on her hand; they had appeared when she touched the Dagger. The snow outside stopped.

The last of the Chilfos has been defeated so the stairwell was now free to travel down. Ashei raced for the stairs, setting a cracking pace even after the battle they had endured, only sparing a glance at the brave woman who had fallen trying to give them the time they needed to kill the King. Ilia stopped and looked at the fallen warrior. She had fought hard to help them but she hadn't made it. Ilia bowed her head before taking off after Ashei and the others.

Reaching the others that had stopped the Chilfos from coming up into the higher floors revealed that their group had been whittled down from twelve to eight over the course of a few hours. Ilia choked back a gasp, this was her first taste of war, and it was brutal. There was no guarantee of survival, even the very best could be brought down by a stray arrow. A tear rolled down her cheek as she looked at the bodies of the fallen. They had to be left here; apparently there was no time to bury them. Raising her head Ilia saw the legion of Chilfos approaching, "Time to go". The survivors ran back towards their escape pass, the Chilfos gave chase.

…

A group of people came racing out the castle, the Triforce of Courage bearer among them, Zelda could feel it. She allowed herself a small smile to see Link again after so long, he had been through a hard time lately and Zelda was prepared to do what she could for him. Looking down at the group however she saw no one wearing a green tunic, or even male for that matter. If Link was not among them why did someone else have the Triforce piece? What had happened to Link?

Zelda made sure she was still disguised and started to head for the group before she realised they ere running for their lives. An army of Chilfos were following them as they made for a short tunnel which lead to a pass through the mountains back to Hyrule. Zelda raced towards the group, knowing she needed to meet up with the Triforce Piece carrier soon; the fate of the war may depend on it.

…

As they raced up to the tunnel Ashei shouted "Skye are you ready to blow it yet?" Skye leapt away from the last she was placing to the start of the fuses.

"Yeah I'm ready. Blow it now?"

"As soon as I'm across." Ashei reached the other side of the bomb field and the fuses were lit. Ilia and the others soon joined her, turning to look Ashei saw that the Chilfos were too close to hope they all got caught in the blast. Bree had obviously seen this problem as well because she drew her sword, tossed her modified Hookshot to Ilia with a quick "Keep it" and ran straight towards the advancing army. Ashei watched Bree run into battle; it was too late to hope for a different outcome, she knew Bree had made her choice.

…

Bree cut down the first chilfos before it could even try to block, the second didn't get it's block up in time. Two came at her at once and with a quick sweeping motion took out their legs with her sword then finished them off. Behind her a colossal explosion went off, it was the bombs sealing the pass behind the rest of the Cavaliers, leaving Bree to die out here alone, she gave a skeleton grin; she would die saving the rest of the group, giving them the chance to get the other dagger. Bree would not give them the pleasure of an easy kill. She threw herself at the army.

Bringing down the first one was easy, the second one managed to get under her guard leaving her with an injured ram. She brought it down and stabbed a third, suffering an ice spear to the stomach for her trouble. Her reflexes were slowing down from the blood loss, causing her to fumble her next block and be impaled on the end of a spear; she died knowing she had put up a good fight.

…

Ilia ran along the pass, noticing the lack of snow falling, but not caring, her entire attention was focused on Ashei. Ilia had thought Ashei was a kind person, someone who cared, not this cold and hard warrior she had been today. Her thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of a boy in a blue, red and white body suit jumping down from the nearby ledge and instantly every sword in the group cleared its sheath.

"Don't attack, I am Sheik, I seek the Hero of Twilight. I thought he was with you but I guess I was wrong." He turned to leave and Ilia stepped forward.

"What do you want with Link?" Ilia asked, if anyone wanted Link they would have to find him after she did. Link had betrayed them all but there were very few people who actually knew of this. If this guy was working for the Princess who had been an ally of Link's in the Time of Twilight he had to be told the truth. "Link is currently in the service of the Witches, he has betrayed us. When we find him I talk to him first." Ilia started to walk down the pass again knowing that the others would follow.

…

Zelda or "Sheik" as the women knew her was troubled. Ilia had not only told them that they would get no help from Link but he would be fighting against them. Link had risked everything to save Hyrule and now he was trying to bring it down. He had singlehandedly turned the tide of a war, what would they do now that he had an army at his back? Their only hope was with Ilia.



Chapter 6 - The Battle of Ordon

The canon glinted in the light of the setting sun as Rusl watched the small group of Moblins on the ranch. They were a group of several large grey Moblins, bigger than average, and smarter but the looks of it. They hung well back clearly aware of the danger the canon posed. Sand approached Rusl as he watched.

"General Moblins" he spat and Rusl looked up but before he could say anything Sand continued: "Bigger, stronger, smarter Moblins. They were used as Generals in previous wars, makes sense it would happen again." His voice was even but Rusl could see that he was grinding his teeth, it was a bad sign. Before Rusl could say anything Sand started barking orders, "Everyone to your positions. Prepare for battle."The Hawks quickly moved to their areas, most of them went to the ranch entrance while the rest went to the creek with two of the canon.

Watching out over the wall with the Hawks Rusl was joined by Mayor Bo. He had a sword in his right and a metal gauntlet on his left; he was ready for the fight of his life. Sand was still giving out orders, "Ok archers, thin their numbers as they charge, this wall won't hold them forever, swordsman ready for when they get over it, save your pistols for when you need them and drop them." Sand walked over to Rusl and Bo, handing them a pistol each. "Very simple point and pull the trigger, they take too long to reload so just use them once."

The Moblins began their charge, Rusl had joined the archers on the wall and was picking off targets as they came running down the hill. A grey Moblin made itself visible in the crowd and Rusl loosed an arrow at it, catching it in the forehead and it dropped to the ground. Rusl loosed off another arrow before hearing Sand bark "Archers down." Rusl and the others dropped to their stomachs as the soldiers behind threw bombs over the wall, exploding on the Moblins closest to the wall and the canon fired, scattering the Moblins and forcing a temporary retreat.

Sand growled at the lack of commitment before he said "Won't be long they'll be back."The soldiers kept watch on the wall as darkness fell.

…

Bo was keeping watch over creek during the night sitting next to the second in command: Gorman. Gorman's eyes were fixed on a point halfway down the creek. He seemed to think there was something there. "Bo, what do you make of that shadow, next to the rock down there?"

Bo looked carefully and he could see the darkness was a little thicker there. Then as they both watched a small light appeared for a second then faded out. Gorman instantly knew what needed to be done. He got up and issued orders in a hushed voice.

"You two get that canon ready, you get the other, archers to the front bomb arrows only, wait until you see the boats then blast them apart, don't wait for my signal." He quickly raced to the back to grab his bow and supply of arrows.

The Moblins didn't know the creek well enough so they were forced to navigate with brief flashes of their lanterns to see any obstacles in their path, they lost the element of surprise but they had thought it would make little difference in the end. One boat left its lantern open a second too long and the canon on the left fired. The colossal boom woke the soldiers and its hot splintered the boat, drowning all the Moblins on board.

That shot signaled the start of the battle, the Moblins were now rowing as fast as they could into a deadly hail of canon fire and bomb arrows. The flashes from the exploding bomb arrows lit up the fleet for a moment and each shot was able to find its mark easier. The Hawks had a clear advantage, it didn't matter about killing the Moblins, just make the boat sink and their armour would drown them. Mayor Bo had little to do except watch as the hawks held off the Moblin fleet which after a short battle retreated back up the creek. They had survived the night.

…

Link's vantage point had given him a good view of both battles bas the Moblins tried to break into Ordon, with no success. He cared little for the Moblins that had been killed; they were serving a purpose after all. The defenders had left a major weakness in the creek area; they were too reliant on the canon to destroy the boats before they reached shore, a simple attack of Zora Stalfos would be enough to render the canons silent, allowing the Moblins to land their main force overrunning the village. Link gave a small chuckle as he went towards the new trebuchets, prepared to fire into the village at dawn, signaling the final attack.

…

"THIS IS IT!" shouted Sand as the first flaming boulder crashed into the shallow part of the creek and the Moblins charged. The archers had quickly leapt to the wall, firing as they went. The advancing Moblin force was so thick that the archers were almost guaranteed of a hit each time they fired. The arrows did little to slow them as each fallen Moblin was trampled by the ones following it. The first row of Moblins impaled themselves on the spikes of the wall, just as planned. The archers now drew their swords and hacked and slashed at the heads of Moblins, with bombs and the canon going off all around them, the soldiers looked as though they could hold the wall.

Halfway up the hill a group of Moblins stopped moving and drew out their crossbows, took aim and launched a hailstorm of arrows at the defenders on the wall. Rusl took one in the shoulder and dropped, avoiding the rest of the arrows, the other defenders were not as lucky: four of the six were killed outright with the other being taken off the wall with an arrow to the stomach. More defenders rushed to replace them, launching a return volley of arrows into the group of archers. Several Moblins had used the distraction to climb onto the wall and face the Hawks on even footing. The Hawks on the wall threw themselves at the Moblins, desperate to keep them out of the village.

…

Mayor Bo watched as yet another Moblin boat blew to pieces under the barrage of bomb arrows and canon fire and wondered, just what they hoped to achieve with this assault. The Hawks on the shore were more than capable of holding off a fleet of boats. They were losing a large number of soldiers, for no extra ground. Bo thought they would stand a chance until he saw the first Zora Stalfos emerge from the water.

The Zora Stalfos had barely gotten its head above water before a hole appeared in the front of its skull and it fell beneath the surface.

"Damn, ZORA STALFOS! Defend the canons." Gorman drew his blade and charged to the engage the Zora Stalfos as they emerged from the creek, other soldiers rushing to his aid, Bo among them.

The mayor brought his Iron Gauntlet down on the head of his first opponent, shattering it and causing the body to crumble. He brought his sword up to meet a blow from another and was forced to step back as a third joined the fray. The battle with the boats had just been a distraction while these soldiers came underwater to try and take them out on the shore.

The rhythmic pounding of the canons had changed; Bo risked a look over at the nearest one. It had been overrun and then, it suddenly exploded. The explosion took out all the Zora Stalfos that had been around it. Bo watched in amazement as more soldiers poured from the creek, they had no chance. He was brought back to the fight around him by a spear to the leg, slowing him to a limp but bringing his mind back into the fight as the Moblins landed their first boat on the shore.

…

Link watched as the Moblins started to force their way into the village. Link watched as Rusl battled hard against an unstoppable army, at length he gave up defending the top of the wall. The wall still slowed the Moblins which was giving the defenders some hope. Link gathered a ball of energy in his hand and launched it at the wall, blasting it to pieces, with grim satisfaction Link strode into the chaos unleashed in the village.

…

Smoke stung his eyes as Rusl brought his sword through a Moblin, blood sprayed up onto his face. The village was fully alight now; the unseen trebuchets had ignited every building, even half the grass of the village. Rusl's muscles screamed in protest as he struck his sword into another Moblin that died with a horrible gurgling sound. Panting heavily Rusl looked up from his fallen foe, what he saw filled him with dread: Link was walking towards him.

Looking around Rusl saw only Moblins and the bodies of his fallen comrades; he would have no help against the greatest opponent he would ever face. Exhausted and bleeding Rusl had to do his best to protect Ilia, their greatest hope in the war. He drew his pistol and fired a shot; it went into Link's shoulder, causing him to drop his shield as Rusl charged him.

Link had done no fighting to get to this point and so easily blocked Rusl's tired attacks. The older man did not give in, coming at him from all angles, trying to find a way past Link's black sword that flashed with greater speed than ever. Rusl picked up the speed of his own slashing before Link's sword crackled with black lightning as he slashed. The black blade cut Rusl's sword in two; Link followed it up by burying his sword in the chest of his old friend. Link wrenched his sword out and Rusl's lifeless body dropped to the ground.

…

Bo barely gave his opponent a second thought after his fist cracked through its skull. The battle was basically over. The canons were silent; Gorman and Sand were dead, brought down by one of the many Moblins now in the village. The Zora Stalfos had retreated once the canons had been silenced, their grim work done, not that it made any difference. There was an air of hopelessness amongst the half dozen soldiers with their backs to the wall, defending the exit from Ordon, giving Hyrule as much time as possible.

As Bo looked from a corpse to find his next opponent he saw link standing there, black blade pointed directly at him, crackling with lightning. The lightning flew towards him, flinging him through the air as the lightning burnt his skin, and ripped through his insides. He slammed into the barricade and blacked out.

"Well, well, well" Bo came back into consciousness to the sound of Link's casual gloating, "Bo here as well. I can't say I was expecting you here. Why did you come to a battle that you knew you couldn't win? Is it just because you're too sentimental to leave this place anymore? Your daughter is making things difficult for me, running around all over Hyrule. She got the Triforce piece didn't she?" Bo hadn't answered a single question so far which was making Link angry. "Answer me when I'm talking to you" black lightning struck Bo as Link yelled out in anger, causing Bo to black out again.

"Bo it helps if when I'm interrogating you, you stay awake makes this much easier for both of us." Link grabbed him and slammed him against the wall, holding him by the collar "I'm going to ask one more time, does Ilia have the Triforce?"

Mayor Bo looked down at the young man who was turning his daughter's life upside down. There was no trace of the gentle ranch hand anymore, first replaced by the hero, now he had been replaced by the darkness of the Witches. "I don't know I haven't seen her since she left. She could be anywhere. Now what are you going to do about it?"

Link seemed to think for a moment before driving his sword into Bo's chest. As he died Bo saw that he was the last soldier left alive in the village, they had all been slaughtered. Link ripped the sword out and blasted Bo's corpse out of lingering anger.

…

Hooves pounded as Ilia and the Cavaliers raced across the southern end of Hyrule field. Ilia's mind was back in Snowpeak, Ashei had had that she cared about all of the warriors who accompanied them but after five of them died, she didn't seem to care. Was Ashei always this hard and unforgiving? Was this what war did to people? Would Ilia end up like her when it was all over?

"Ashei, I thought you cared about your warriors, why haven't you said anything about them? Even now that we are safe for the moment, you haven't shown a touch of sadness, I thought they were your friends. Why should I fight in this war if I'm going to turn out like you?"

Ashei didn't say anything for a long moment, she was just looking south, towards Ordon where smoke could be seen. The battle for the village had begun; it might even be over already. Ordon was gone.

"That column of smoke is why. We are racing an army, we can't get bogged down by emotions, I do care. I make a note of everyone that has fallen and when this war is over I will mourn them properly but right now we need to move. If the Moblins get to Kakariko first, then we can't get to Death Mountain. Our best hope in this war is to get there before them." Ilia realized where the smoke was coming from.

"Ordon has been attacked? It's already started? They didn't have enough men did they?" Ilia felt the loss of her village, and those who stayed behind. It hurt tears were forming at the edges of Ilia's eyes.

"Ilia as much as it hurts, we can't deal with it right now, we have to ride to Kakariko." Ashei knew she was being hard on the young girl but seeing the smoke had made her realize just how close they were cutting it. Looking south she saw Moblins starting to leave Faron woods, heading west: towards Kakariko.

"Let's ride." The race west was on.



Chapter 7 - Race For Kakariko

Ilia crouched low in the saddle as Epona galloped across the southern area of Hyrule field, racing an army of Moblins to Kakariko Gorge, if the Moblins got there first Ilia and the others would have to retreat and come from the north which was several hours of riding: time that they might not be able to afford. The Moblins were closer to the entrance to the gorge but they were moving slower than the Cavaliers were. It was going to be a close race; Ilia spurred Epona on as the race continued.

The Cavaliers flew across the field, directly for the pass into Kakariko Gorge which the Moblins had nearly reached. The Moblins closest to Ilia changed direction and ran towards the women on horseback. With no time to waste Ashei drew her sword and shouted over the thunder of hooves "Swords out. Cut through the ones that matter and don't stop, to the Gorge. CHARGE!" Ilia drew the Master Sword and joined in the battle cry as they met the Moblins head on.

The Moblins were huge. They were all at least eight feet tall, with dark brown skin and thick, black armour. Dark eyes, sunken deep into the face and a mouth with large, protruding tusks. Overall they were a fearsome creature but every now and then a more dangerous Moblin was born. The original Moblin was mainly muscle, but not very bright but the rarer General Moblins as they were known were different: they were mountains of muscle, nine foot high with dark grey skin and more dangerous than anything, they were smart.

Both kinds of Moblins got in the way of the Cavaliers, their only objective was to slow them down enough for the leaders to get to the pass. The Master Sword glowed slightly as it went into battle against creatures made from evil sorcery; the first Moblin to meet the blade stood no chance as the Blade of Evil's Bane ripped his head from his shoulders. The sheer brutality and the spray of blood made Ilia falter, the Triforce piece on Ilia's hand glowed, blocking out the shock and fears and letting her focus on the battle at hand.

Within moments they were past the Moblins and still racing to the pass. Ilia finally saw who was at the front of the Moblin force: Link. If Link was here it could only mean he had killed Rusl and whoever stayed behind to help him. There would be time to make him pay later, now they needed to get to Kakariko first, it was their only hope. As Ilia drew level with the front of the force and Link she looked across once more to see him staring back at her. Over the great distance their eyes met, one held hope for the future and sadness as to how far her best friend had sunk, and the other held nothing but hatred and a mind that was not his own. Tears came to Ilia's eyes as Link stared at her with complete hatred. He had made her feel terrible, confused and heartbroken and that was when he was normal. Since then he had placed all of Hyrule on Ilia's shoulders, and was slowly robbing her of her will to fight, taking out everyone and everything that she held dear.

Riding through the pass Ilia thought she would see archers and canons lining the cliff tops, this was the perfect ambush site, to try and stop the Moblins. When they reached the exit Ilia saw why the pass was not prepared to stop the Moblins, there were only eight knights of Hyrule ready to meet them, including Auru, another member of the Liberty Forces.

"Auru there's not much time, Link is almost here leading his Moblin force. It looks small but if you weren't able to get many troops it will be enough." Auru's face looked grim as he replied to Ashei's dire news.

"We only managed to get twenty knights, Zelda knows of the situation and of the threat. She is trying to gather up as much of Hyrule's army that remains from the Twilight Crisis as possible. We have to trust her to come through for us at the end, but she needs more time. We do have a plan though; we get across the bridge and then blow it, making the Moblins take a longer road into Kakariko. It's not much but it's all we've got." Ashei nodded in approval and led the Cavaliers on at a gallop, trusting Auru and his knights to do their job.

...

Auru had gathered his knights in position to light the fuse as the Moblins got close to the bridge, he was hoping to take some of them down with the bridge. It was a foolish dream but anything he could do to delay the Moblins here would give Hyrule a better chance. There was little he could do in battle anymore; his age had finally caught up with him but he felt unsure that his plan would have the desired effect. If it didn't slow the Moblins down enough Kakariko would be destroyed within a few days and there were no other strongholds between it and Castle Town, and if the castle fell, Hyrule was lost.

The Powder Keg was there with a long fuse leading into it, so that the knights would be a safe distance away when it blew. The Moblins were getting close enough to the bridge, Link in the lead watching as they lit the fuse to blow the bridge away. Link merely laughed at such an obvious and desperate attempt to stop his troops, he gathered some magic in his hand and launched a small blade, cutting off the fuse close to the keg bur not setting it off. With a flick of his hand the Moblins charged, not getting too close to the keg, so they wouldn't accidentally set it off. Auru and his knights had little choice but to charge, they had to destroy the bridge, it was a badly thought out plan and now they were paying the price.

Soon the sound of Moblin grunting was joined by the crash of metal on metal as swords scraped off armour, bounced off shields and blocked opposing strikes. The stench of Moblin sweat was soon joined by the smell of fresh blood and the howls of the wounded. Auru brought down a Moblin in front of him, feeling his old bones straining with the effort, and warm Moblin blood running down his arm. He briefly saw the Powder Keg between two Moblins; it disappeared from sight as they converged on him. He ducked under the swing of one which carried on into the second Moblin, starting a fight between the two. Keeping low he ran for the keg and saw in his way a General Moblin towering over him.

The Moblin lashed out with incredible speed before Auru was even straightened up, forcing him to dive to the ground, rolling to the side to avoid a follow up blow. He leapt up and slashed, which was easily blocked, the Moblin reached out and wrapped its huge hand around his throat and raised him into the air. Struggling to breathe Auru saw the Powder keg lying untouched not far away; in desperation he threw his sword at the keg. His throw wasn't a good one and it went well wide, drawing his knife from his belt he realised he was down to his last weapon, if this throw missed the Moblin would kill him and he had to hope that someone else would blow the bridge. Taking his time Auru lined up the knife and threw all his hope rested on that knife. It struck the keg dead on causing a huge explosion, blowing the bridge to pieces, sending all that was on it to the river below.

...

A huge explosion behind them made Ilia, Ashei and the other Cavaliers look behind them. The bridge had been blown to pieces, and there was nobody left on this side of the Gorge. The knights had all been killed in the battle to blow the Powder Keg. A flawed plan that cost eight people their lives. Ilia took a moment to reflect on not the only the sacrifices already made in this war but the ones that were no doubt still to come, just how many Cavaliers would be left standing? How much of Hyrule would be untouched? Ilia followed Ashei and the exhausted Cavaliers into the village and to the inn, for a rest and attempt to reach the Lava Core in the morning. They had not stopped for a proper rest since they left Castle Town.

...

Ilia led the others out of the Inn the next morning, ready to get the Blaze Dagger, Sheik was bringing up the rear when he saw a black cloud flying down towards the group. She reacted quickly, knowing that it was some sort of threat.

"Ilia, Ashei, above us." Ilia reacted instantly drawing the Master Sword which reacted to the presence of evil, she had no doubt they would need to fight. The cloud settled on the ground leaving behind it a robed man that Sheik recognised.

"You? Your followed me here? How?" The man merely laughed and replied.

"I didn't follow you, I followed Ilia. She is the one my Mistresses want dead. With her out of the way we will win, there will be no denying it. Now Ilia please do us all a favour and die." He charged a ball of black lightning and launched it at Ilia. Sheik leapt in the way with her hand glowing gold, she punched the orb, shattering it and leaving everyone unharmed.

"I fought this guy out at Snowpeak while you guys were storming the Castle, he must have been following us for a long time. Don't worry I'll handle this."

"And I will handle Ilia" said a voice from behind the group, from the direction of the Gorge area, a voice that should not really be there. It was Link; he had somehow crossed the Gorge and entered the village. Ilia prepared herself to battle her most dangerous foe yet, as Sheik was ready to battle the wizard.



Chapter 8 - Darkness and Light

White flames ran down the length of the Master Sword reacting to the evil around them. Ilia hoped the cavaliers would realise a fight like this was beyond their abilities at the moment, it was the Triforce of Courage that gave Ilia what slim chance she had. Sheik was still a mystery to the Cavaliers and yet he was the best suited to battle that black magician, Ilia was about to start her battle with Link when he spoke with a snarl.

"Agaan, what in Din's name are you doing here? I told you Ilia is mine. Even with your superior tracking skill and speed I still found her at the same time you did. Maybe you're over estimating yourself in your old age? Maybe you are just no match for me."

Agaan was quick to reply, pointing at Sheik "He caught me off guard; I wasn't ready for someone like him to be there, they were in the Castle, I was going to ambush them as they left." Link cut across him.

"So basically you failed and in doing so gave me yet another enemy to deal with, to think they trusted you."Agaan looked taken aback by what Link was saying. Ilia was confused, weren't these guys on the same side, or was there something deep in Link, some last remnant of good preventing him from working with this wizard, if that was true there was hope for Link yet. The wizard could end up dead for all Ilia cared but if Link died, what was the point of saving Hyrule? There would be nothing worth fighting for left.

There was no more that needed to be said, Ilia knew that talking at this time would not help Link, the Link she had known before. Standing in front of her was not the Hero of Twilight but the servant of the enemy, an enemy that all of Hyrule needed to stand up against. He drew his blade, glaring at Ilia, his obsession. Ilia felt the Triforce warm as they began their charge.

The Master Sword was burning with white fire as it collided with Link's black blade, and for the first time Ilia noticed that Link's black sword was the same shape as the Master Sword, the sword was so familiar to him that he kept the same shape with his new weapon. There were no words said as they began their duel.

...

After Link and Agaan had stopped yelling at each other the magician attacked Sheik with an orb of black energy, which Sheik easily blocked with a glowing golden shield of energy sprouting from her hand. The golden shield quickly condensed into an orb which Sheik launched at Agaan, who easily dodged.

Sheik pressed the attack, loosing several blasts of magic at Agaan whose dodging became ever more desperate, until Sheik changed tactic and launched a concentrated burst at the ground near Agaan. Even though the wizard dodged the attack it had its intended effect. Upon hitting the ground the spell burst and sent a shockwave powerful enough to send the magician tumbling to the dirt. The sorcerer growled as he gathered black smoke around himself and launched straight towards Sheik who, quickly summoned another golden shield to stop the charge. The shield shattered under the attack sending Sheik flying. Sheik landed heavily as the smoke raced towards Ilia.

...

Ilia was losing. The Triforce of Courage was healing the minor scrapes and cuts she had received and gave her energy to try and keep her from tiring as the fight went on, with its powers divided; the Triforce was not enough to let Ilia win the fight. Link was as fast as he had been the last time they had fought, back in Ordon but there was something different about the way he fought as well: more direct, more forceful.

"Why do you keep fighting Ilia? Everyone in Ordon died, I killed Rusl and then I killed your father, fat useless lump couldn't even bother to stay awake while I was asking him some questions. He was pathetic." At that moment Link thrust his shield out, forcing Ilia to rock back for a moment while he jumped in a slow flip above her head, sword outstretched: The Helm Splitter. Ilia leaned her head to the side enough for the blade to whistle past her ear and bite into her shoulder. Screaming and dropping her shield in pain Ilia turned, the Master Sword's white fire flaring even higher as she did so. To Sheik and the Cavaliers that saw her, in that moment, they saw the true hero within her.

The smoke passed either side of Link who snarled, like the wolf he was as it went for Ilia. As it closed in it began to reform into Agaan with a sword drawn and pointed at Ilia's heart. Black lightning crackled around the sword, but it wasn't from Agaan. Link had trapped the smoke in a great cage of black lightning which forced it to turn back into the wizard. Link slammed the wizard into the wall while still in his lightning cage. Link walked over to the wizard that lay on the dirt, writhing in pain.

"Really Agaan, I told you Ilia is MINE! You brought this upon yourself." His sword, now surrounded by curling black shadows, was plunged straight into the old man's chest. The wizard screamed in utter torment as the shadows stabbed at him, over and over as Link merely drove the sword deeper. The wizard was dead and yet Link continued to drive the sword deeper and keep stabbing with his shadows, when he had finally had enough he wrenched the blade out and turned to face Ilia once again. The pair charged and recommenced their duel.

The Master Sword in Ilia's hand looked like a blade of white fire the magical glow was so intense. She fought harder, driving Link back. As they duelled Ilia was thinking "This is not Link, It can't be Link, Link had trouble killing things Telma told me, if this guy is so comfortable, so arrogant about my father's death it's not Link and if it's not Link he needs to die." Momentarily free of her internal struggle that plagued her when Link was around she was able to knock his shield aside and dig the Master Sword into his arm. Link yelled in pain and then yelled again as a Light Arrow buried itself in his shoulder, courtesy of Sheik.

After the light died down there was a different look on Link's face, it wasn't contorted with hate, no deep set lines and most importantly the eyes were blue, his blue. There was a moment of disorientation and the Link's eyes fell on Ilia. A look of sadness crossed his face but it was quickly replaced by the hatred and purple eyes that Ilia had fought so hard against, it was Link back under the control of the Witches. He saw both Ilia and Sheik ready to do battle with him, and decided that against two pieces of the Triforce he stood no chance and fled. Sheik dropped to his knees and Ilia's rage disappeared and the flames on the sword died down. They had survived once again by luck.

...

Ilia and Sheik were bathing in Eldin Spring, healing their wounds from the fight with Link and Agaan when the Spirit of Eldin appeared before them. The great owl of light slowly glowed into existence and began speaking to Ilia.

"Ilia, your destiny is greater than you know, you are the Hero of Light. The one who is said to venture into the darkest places to bring back the Hero that Fell, you are the one who must save Link, only by saving him can you win this war. I give you the colour of a hero to wear and an item that will set you on the path to becoming the Hero of Light." There was a flash of light and Ilia was wearing hero's clothes.

She was wearing a forest green tunic with brown boots and brown gloves that went past her wrists. She had a pair of white leggings and a leather belt around her waist. Across her chest holding the Master Sword in its scabbard was a silver belt studded with large empty orbs. Her quiver was at her hip and her bow strung across her other shoulder, she looked like a hero of Hyrule.



Chapter 9 - Interlude

The troubled mind of an ex-hero.

"Shadows viciously stabbed into an old man that had been foolish enough to get in the way, he had been warned and he had laughed at me. The sword in my hands was covered in blood as it flowed to the dirt at our feet. The evil Wizard was gone, then there was blinding light and pain."

The evil wizard? Agaan wasn't evil, he had just gotten in the way, tried to kill Ilia, my Ilia. My Ilia? She wasn't mine, she was the one thing standing in the way of the Witches' evil plans. No the witches weren't evil they were going to save this land from Zelda and Ilia was in the way, the one person that had a chance at stopping them. I was their loyal servant.

I feel a shadow coming over my thoughts, it's nothing, happens all the time, after it comes I remember more clearly. The first time I fought Ilia, I thought she was crying, which was strange but then the shadow, my friend the shadow came over and I remembered everything. She hated me, she couldn't stand the sight of me, all of the villagers hated me, the next time I saw them they hated me. Battle clouds my mind but when the shadow comes I see everything I saw, in greater detail.

I see it now, Agaan had betrayed me, he was trying to steal Ilia away to safety, or to aid her in her quest. I couldn't allow that so I killed him, if he had let Ilia escape everything we were working for was doomed. It was in removing this threat that allowed Ilia and that strangely dressed man to get the jump on me, wounding me enough that I had to retreat.

Ilia and the man were obviously getting desperate, trying to use some kind of mind altering spell on me, thankfully the shadow set everything right again. I mean they hate me, why would I think they are my friends?



Chapter 10 - The Lava Core

A plume of lava burst out of the ground in front of Ilia, causing her to jump back and raise her shield in surprise. From the fire burst a lava toad, slamming into the shield causing Ilia to stumble back. Before Ilia could raise her sword against the creature one of the new Cavaliers came out of nowhere, ripping through the toad with her scimitars, a grin on her face.

"Thanks..." there had been no time for introductions so Ilia left her statement open, allowing the new one to introduce herself.

"Nat, of the Gerudo, this is Am, another Gerudo." Am gave a curt nod when she was introduced. The name stirred something in the back of Ilia's mind, she had heard of the Gerudo, during a story of wars long ago.

"I thought the Gerudo were gone?" Ilia asked in confusion.

"We were thought to have died out a few hundred years ago, we didn't bother to try and tell Hyrule because no one here seemed to care that the Gerudo were extinct." Am explained.

"So how come you two joined the Cavaliers?"

"We were in Hyrule during the Time of Twilight, when it cleared and the barrier was placed around Hyrule Castle we met Ashei here trying to round up anyone that was willing to fight for Hyrule, we thought we could finally start on the way to restoring the name of the Gerudo, after all your enemy was the one who shamed us time and time again. Turns out we weren't needed though, Link stopped him. I would have thought he would be leading a quest like this though. Where is he?" She asked finally realising that Ilia was the only one dressed in green, the hero's green at that. Ilia once again looked downcast at the mention of her friend but her answer was different than usual.

"He has been taken by the Witches, who have convinced him to serve them, he is not his normal self at the moment, Sheik" she gestured to him as she said his name" and I managed to lift their control for a moment, although it was only through a huge amount of light magic." It was the first any of them had heard that he was not serving them willingly, although something must have happened to make him, because it was so against his nature that it would have been difficult to make him serve.

Ashei took charge at that moment. "As interesting as this subject is, this is not the place for this conversation. In case you have forgotten we need to get the Blaze Dagger and get out of here as quickly as we can." No more needed to be said as Ilia led the way deeper into the mines, heading for the spot the Gorons had told them about.

...

Deep in the mines, near where Darbus had once been locked away after the Fused shadow had tainted him was a door, sealed against the horrors within. An ancient enemy of the Gorons lay inside, just waiting for the one bold enough to unlock the door: Volvagia.

...

Ilia and the Cavaliers stood before a waterfall of lava, their Goron guide said that the door they were seeking lay beyond it. The Goron leapt up into the path of the lava and diverted it away from the door allowing access. The door itself was massive, twelve feet high, way taller than any Goron and very thick. Ilia led the group through the door to discover the Lava Core.

The tunnel sloped downwards and was incredibly hot, lit by torches that only served to make things even hotter. The tunnel was large, with deep gouges and large black burns on the walls occasionally hinting at whatever had been sealed away down here.

Turning the corner Ilia saw a red glow coming from the end of the passage but sitting there, in the tunnel deep in the Goron Mines was the White Wolf. Ilia drew her sword and approached the wolf.

"Wait here, I'll be back soon" Ilia told the group as the wolf pounced.

...

Ilia looked around the familiar white area and saw the Hero's Shade standing before her once again. He seemed to take in her attire in and thought it over for a moment.

"Farore I hope you know what you are doing. Ilia it is good to see you again, I was told that you would need my assistance to battle the foe you are about to face. The legendary dragon that has been slain several times but is always revived: Volvagia. This time though the legendary hammer is missing, the weapon that Volvagia has always fallen to in the past. This is why I came to you, to teach you what you need to win this battle." Ilia nodded the sheer immensity of the task that she was undertaking.

"The same Volvagia the Hero of Time defeated?" The Hero's Shade chuckled.

"The same Volvagia that I and several others have defeated, although I was wielding the Megaton Hammer when I did so." Ilia looked at her teacher in surprise, to have an old hero teaching her was one thing, for it to be the legendary Hero of Time was something else entirely.

"There is a technique that you will need, for more than just this battle, not a way of the sword, but a way of magic. You will teach yourself more magic without my help but this spell will be one of your most powerful: The Wings of Light." As he finished saying the name two great golden glowing wings spread from his back. Ilia gasped at the beauty of his wings.

"Now focus on your vessel of light, feel the amount of energy stored within? Focus on drawing it out and into the shape of wings, you can also channel this magic into your weapons when you need to." Ilia focused and drew out the energy, and golden wings burst from her back.

"These are not powerful enough for flight at the moment; they allow you to leap larger distances which will be vital. Take sword in hand and fight for light." The Hero of Time crossed his sword over his chest as the world of white faded.

...

Ilia led the group deeper into the tunnel towards the ominous red glow that got brighter as the tunnel sloped downwards, and turned several corners, soon they reached a point where the heat was unbearable and they stopped and pulled out the heat resistant tunics the gorons had provided them with. Once they were ready Ilia led them even deeper into the volcano until they turned a corner and beheld the Lava Core.

The cavern was absolutely massive, and at its centre was a huge floating sphere of lava: The Lava Core. The sphere itself had several large areas of rock that served as islands, constantly moving over its surface. Ilia steadied herself and released her wings.

"I don't think any of you will be able to help me for this one, this is the job of a hero, besides I'm the only one that can get over there, where Volvagia is. This is a hero's fight." With that she leapt off the ledge and flew the short distance to the core, feeling its pull as she landed on the bottom. The core was so large that it attracted things to it, meaning that Ilia wouldn't fall off even if she went to the very bottom; she drew her blade as Volvagia roared at the latest intruder.

The great dragon burst up from beneath the lava at the bottom of the chamber, it was different than the Volvagia the legends described; instead of being a long serpentine dragon, he was now thickly muscled with four legs and two huge wings alight with flame. Streaming from the back if its head was hair, made from pure fire. Volvagia was staring at her in utter hatred, eyes glowing red. Ilia raised her shield to block an incoming stream of fire and saw, instead of a tooth the Blaze Dagger.

The flames deflected harmlessly off her shield and Ilia ran, aiming for a higher part of the core, her wings giving her the ability to leap the gaps easily. Upon reaching the top Ilia turned and saw Volvagia diving towards her claws extended. Ilia threw herself to the side, avoiding the attack and stabbed the Master sword straight up, into his wing. As Volvagia flew over the sword cut through the wing, leaving behind a glowing red trail which left no mark behind it. Volvagia flew out and turned to attack again, undamaged.

Ilia ducked behind her shield as another jet of flame came her way, once again it was deflected. Ilia leapt into the air using the power of her wings and tried to come at Volvagia from above, but he was ready for her, extending a claw out he grabbed her and threw the hero to the ground, thankfully Ilia landed on one of the islands but she dropped her shield as she slide along the ground, leaving her with several large scrapes.

Volvagia didn't waste a second swooping in and unleashing a stream of fire at Ilia who had no choice but to run, leaping the gaps once again, trying to do a full lap of the core to retrieve her shield. Volvagia was ready for this tactic having faced so many Heroes before. As Ilia returned to the rock where she dropped her shield the dragon came in from above, blocking her path. Ilia felt the familiar energy of the Master Sword building and released it, wrapping the blade in white fire.

Volvagia released a ball of fire which Ilia countered by swinging her sword, the ball burst and the flames spread harmlessly past her. Gathering the flames on her sword Ilia swung again, sending a wave of fire at the dragon who roared and sent forth a huge blast of fire; red and white fire met and cancelled each other out. Ilia growled in frustration, her shield was right there and she couldn't even do any damage to the dragon.

Ilia put her sword away and drew her bow off her back and knocked an arrow. So far with her trying to conserve her power for her wings, which all though they only took light energy slowly would build up over time, she had done no damage to Volvagia, this time she needed more power. She drew upon all the light energy that was in the section of the Vessel of Light that she was using and put it into the arrow, she also sent a small string out from the arrowhead to the dragon's eye, ensuring she would not miss. She released the arrow.

It followed the string and impacted on Volvagia's eye, releasing a brilliantly bright blast of light. The arrow embedded itself in the dragon's eye and it roared in pain loosing a tremendous blast of fire at Ilia, as she rolled out of the way she felt the flames graze her, burning her arm and setting her hair alight. Grimacing in pain from the burn on her arm Ilia swept the Master Sword up and cut off her hair, leaving it once again close cropped to her head, like it had been years ago.

The dragon took off for a moment to recover from the arrow shot and Ilia seized the opportunity to race in and grab her shield. She scooped it up right onto the burnt patch of her left arm and hissed as it made contact, right now it didn't matter. She needed that shield. She glanced at the Vessel of Light and saw that five globes were still full; she had plenty of light energy left, smiling as she drew the Master Sword once again.

Volvagia returned around from the side of the core, losing a series of destructive fireballs. Ilia raised her shield and leapt to the side to side to avoid most of them, only misjudging the last one, it exploded next to her, showering her with hot gravel, burning and scraping her side. Ilia leapt into the air, intending to attack head on but gasped in pain and lost her focus, slamming back into the ground. Ilia focused her energy to her side for a moment, allowing the wound to stop aching and heal over enough for her to continue before throwing herself back into the air at the dragon.

Flying above a fireball Ilia swooped in to attack at a wing joint, Master Sword blazing with white fire. Her sword once again passed through the wing as though it were nothing, leaving behind it a ghostly red trail, Volvagia was gone before she could react and she was collected by the dragons tail, knocking her down towards the lava. Ilia managed to get her descent under control enough to crash land onto one of the islands, straightening up she spate out a gob of blood, aching all over.

Pulling herself to her feet Ilia realised that the only areas on Volvagia that had hit her had been its main body and arms, not the wings which she kept trying to attack, she decided to try something else. Once more taking to the sky she flew underneath Volvagia and swiped at his stomach, earning an ear-splitting howl of pain for her efforts, she had merely been attack the wrong areas. Every story said that Volvagia had been a serpent dragon; the wings were merely an illusion, created by magic.

When she had injured Volvagia she had destroyed the illusion and now she had a writhing, twisting, angry serpent dragon to deal with. Volvagia dived beneath the lava and disappeared from sight. Moments later there was a rumbling and the island Ilia was standing on shook and cracks started to appear until Volvagia burst through the centre, destroying the island and giving Ilia one less place to run to.

Volvagia followed as Ilia leapt from rock to rock, destroying each one he came to, and soon Ilia reached the edge of a rock with nowhere to jump to, she had to stand and fight, looking down she saw that she had four globes of light left. She gathered an immense amount of light energy in her sword, enough to empty two globes and leapt into the air, streaking towards the dragon as it dove, aiming to destroy her once and for all. Ilia swung the Master Sword with all her might, releasing all the light energy stored within the blade, smashing it into Volvagia's jaw, causing the dragon to scream in pain allowing Ilia to grab the Blaze dagger with her left hand, wrenching it out of Volvagia's mouth.

In Chilfos Castle she had grabbed the Frost Dagger with her right hand and felt cold and now there were blue lines on her hand. Her left hand now felt hot as her Triforce piece glowed and red lines appeared on her hand, she sheathed the dagger and started to fly back to where the others were waiting. She did not notice the bubbles starting to form in the lava below.

Volvagia was angry and far from finished, Ilia didn't have the hammer to kill him with so she fled, leading the group up the tunnel as fast as they could go, which was nowhere near as fast as Volvagia. Volvagia caught up to them within moments so Ilia turned and prepared to finish the battle.

Instead of the Master Sword she drew the Frost Dagger. The dagger grew to be the same shape and size as the Master Sword and it flared with freezing blue fire. Volvagia let loose a jet of fire and Ilia countered with a blast of her blue fire, forcing the dragon's flames backwards. Releasing a huge burst of blue fire Ilia managed to freeze Volvagia's head to the ground, she took up the Master Sword to do what many Heroes had done on their quests: kill the dragon Volvagia. White fire ran down the Master Sword as she plunged it into his head, killing the dragon once again. Ilia, a Hero that had not been chosen by the gods had killed Volvagia without the legendary hammer.



Chapter 11 - The Battle for Hyrule Field

The tranquil waters of the spring washed over Ilia, healing her wounds sustained in the battle with Volvagia. She had succeeded in the first part of her quest: obtain the Blaze Dagger and the Frost Dagger. Now she had to face the Witches themselves.

Time was of the essence. Ilia and the Cavaliers had obtained both daggers, despite losing several members and facing terrible monsters. However, they were relying on Zelda to gather the Army of Hyrule. They had placed their faith in her once again, since the Moblins were preparing to advance across Hyrule Field and lay siege to the castle itself. Once the army was ready they would take the fight back to the Witches, and make them pay.

They needed to pay! As she reflected on all that the Moblins had done, Ilia's fists clenched and her jaw locked. And the war had barely started! The monsters had destroyed Ordon, killing all those who fought to defend it; including her father, they had killed twelve Knights of Hyrule, and they had done unspeakable things to Link. More than anything else, Ilia hated what they did to Link. Her stomach boiled whenever she thought of just what they had done to him, and what in turn was happening to her. The crimes that the Witches had already committed were sickening.

Using Black magic to control anyone was bad, but using it to take over an ex-hero? Even one who had turned his back on the Goddesses who gave him his job, his life, and helped him become who he was; even if he was depressed and in a dark place, this was beyond terrible.

The last time Ilia had fought Link, Sheik had helped provide a huge amount of Light Magic that gave Link a few seconds to control himself. In those few seconds, he had showed an immense sadness. Ilia did not know whether he knew exactly what he had done under the Witches' control or he was just terminally sad at the moment but the meaning was clear; he was not doing this of his own free will. Ilia sighed for the seemingly hopeless situation. If that much Light Magic only freed him for a few seconds, how in the name of Nayru were they going to free him permanently?

Heavy footsteps approached and Ilia looked over her head to see Darbus, the Goron's Patriarch approaching her. Easing her tired and stiff body from the water she stood and met the Goron as he approached.

"Ilia, the Gorons thank you for destroying Volvagia, as several heroes have done over the years. You have given us peace of mind for a time." Darbus frowned, concerned at the latest development. "We have had to evacuate our city though; the volcano is acting strange, and it seems to be getting ready for an eruption. We will help with the war in whatever way we can." He nodded to her.

"Thank you Darbus, we will need all the help we can get."Ilia sighed, her shoulders slumping.

Darbus noticed Ilia's facial expression; she looked very depressed, like the situation was finally getting to her. Like she had run out of hope. Darbus was about to say something hopefully comforting to her when a Royal Messenger came sprinting up to Sheik.

Ilia and Darbus watched idly as the two had a conversation in hushed voices. The little of Sheik's face Ilia could see over the shawl kept flashing with concern. Something wasn't right.

The messenger ran off, leaving Sheik to call the Cavaliers and Gorons together.

"We're out of time, the Moblins have started advancing across Hyrule field; they are heading for the castle. The Army of Hyrule is not ready yet so it falls to the Cavaliers, Gorons and whatever Gerudo can arrive in time to prevent the Moblins reaching the castle. If they reach the castle, they can set Maladark free, and nothing we have, -not even a hero- is enough to stop it." The possibility of an unstoppable monster made Sheik tense; they didn't even have much hope against what they were up against now. Sheik took a deep breath to continue but Rhynn, one of the cavaliers spoke up.

"If not even a hero can defeat it, how was Maladark sealed away the first time?" The story of the first war with the Witches was one of the many tales of heroes that were not well known to the general populace.

"A great golden giant appeared and saved Hyrule Castle, sealing it away below the castle. It disappeared soon after. No one knows what it is or why it appeared."If they were hoping for a miracle, it wasn't going to be that giant. Sheik's eyes fell on the flaming red hair of Nat the Gerudo standing near the back of the group. "Nat, how close are the Gerudo to Hyrule field? Are they camped near Lake Hylia?" The warrior was grabbing at any possible hope at the moment.

"Yes, it's only the advance guard, but it should be helpful if we are going to fight off an army. Even so, we will need more than the Gorons and Cavaliers if we hope to succeed. Do we have some sort of plan at least?"Nat looked past Sheik to Ashei as she posed the question, making it clear just who the Cavaliers followed.

"There is that narrow pass between the cliffs in Hyrule Field, the Moblins have to pass through there to get to the castle, and if we are lucky we should be able to hold them there. Sheik, can you contact Zelda to give us what troops she has gathered and have them meet us there? Nat, we need to get a message to the Gerudo."Ashei kept her calm while running up plans that had a possible chance of succeeding; gathering what troops they could get was the first step.

Sheik stepped towards Eldin's Spring. "I believe I can get a message to the Gerudo faster than anyone." Reaching the waters, Sheik began to speak. "Great Spirit of Eldin, I, Princess Zelda, call upon you in our time of need."There was a collective gasp from the assembled warriors as Sheik's true identity was revealed.

The Light Spirit emerged from the waters, but merely disappeared without a word, hopefully to send the message to Lanaryu.

Ilia felt sick. Zelda -the woman who they had placed so much faith in- was here! Not doing what they were believing, hoping, praying she was doing! She had been with them, fighting the wrong side of the war. Why had they placed their faith in her again? She had failed in the Time of Twilight, only joining the fight right near the end, and here she was, shirking her duty once again. Why was it that just when Hyrule needed a strong ruler they got Zelda?

Ilia sighed, it was not all about Zelda though. Hyrule needed a hero and for the moment, that Hero was Ilia; facing the man she had had feelings for since they were young.

Link had saved Hyrule from the Twilight and then from Ganondorf himself; and what was his reward? A series of soul destroying events which lead to him being controlled by the Witches, dark magic and aiming to destroy the land he saved two years before.

Ilia wasn't even a real hero, everyone was saying she had just been the person Link saw when he turned his back on the Goddesses. She was a hero by circumstance, not divine choice. She approached Zelda. The knowledge that she had placed her faith in Zelda, who had then let them down made her vicious.

"Zelda, what are you doing here? When you were Sheik you told us you needed time to gather the army, but instead you lied to us. You were with us all along, why would you do that? We placed our faith in you and this is how you repay us? By lying, sneaking around and avoiding your duty. Why is that when Hyrule places faith in you we end up in serious danger? First there was the time of Twilight, when Link stood almost alone against an enemy that you surrendered against with an army at your back, now we are on the brink of war against an ex-hero and you are here helping us on a retrieval quest instead of raising an army to help us fight back. I ask you one more time; WHY ARE YOU HERE?" Ilia glared directly into Zelda's eyes. Her gaze was piercing, deadly, but there was something else behind it; fear.

Zelda was forced to look away from Ilia's eyes to stammer out a reply. "I discovered that the chains holding the Witches imprisoned had been broken, that they had been released. At the time, I didn't know or care how they had gotten free. I concerned myself with finding the Triforce of Courage. I was more concerned with gathering Hyrule's best hopes for survival together; I did not know that the Triforce had passed on to you."The princess couldn't totally disguise the disappointment in her voice. Her tone indicated that she did not truly believe Ilia could do it, although Link could and would have saved them.

"And after you found out that I had the Triforce piece?" Ilia asked.

"I stayed with you and your group. I wanted to know that you had a plan that was based on more than hope, which it is. I needed to be with you because I wanted to feel I was actually doing something. Once I gave the order there was nothing else for me to do in the castle, so I came to aid you in what ways I could. I actually helped you by doing this, saving you from Link when you fought him last." Zelda thought Ilia would be grateful for her help at this point, but when she looked back at Ilia, the other girl was furious.

"So you joined us because you had nothing to do? Is that really the best reason you have for joining us on our quest? I am a hero of circumstance! I was there when Link turned his back on the Goddesses, I was there in Ordon watching as he fell to pieces after the Mirror was broken, I was there when he tried to kill his oldest friend! I was there to watch him fall into darkness and I was given the impossible choice; save him and risk losing Hyrule, or kill him and kill a huge part of myself, thus condemning me to a lifetime of misery. I understand that the path of a hero is never easy, even a hero of circumstance. I have been given an impossible task where failure seems all too likely, and in some ways even if I succeed I will lose everything." Emotions were battling for control in Ilia but she couldn't break apart, not now.

Her feelings for Link would make it difficult, almost impossible to kill him. She also had to follow the very Goddesses he had turned his back on, almost as if they decided that his life was no longer worth living without having faith in them. It made her feel like he was a tool, nothing more. Still, she hated what he had become, not the man himself but who the Witches had forced him to become.

"Zelda, we need you to go back to Castle Town, gather whatever troops have been assembled and meet us at the north side of the pass. Quickly, go! We need speed now more than anything."Ilia's situation was getting to her; she was cracking under the pressure.

Zelda nodded and moved away.

With tears on her face Ilia turned to Ashei. "Ashei, I feel like being a hero is changing me for the worse. The last two years have been bad enough but I haven't had to worry about losing who I am. How did Link do this?"Bottled emotions were spilling over, raining down her face to the thirsty ground.

Concern flooded Ashei. The war was about to begin in earnest and Hyrule's best hope stood in front of her, crying. "Link didn't bear the Hero's burden lightly, that much I am sure of. I watched his face as we fought together on Snowpeak. I could tell he had it rough. More than rough even, he looked like he was barely keeping it together at one point. Everyone who becomes a Hero of Hyrule takes on what is known as the Hero's burden; they bleed, burn, freeze, fight, and sometimes die suffering to free our land." Ashei nodded to the girl in front of her. "I have faith that you will be able to carry this burden, fight the fight that you need to and come out stronger than you have ever been before." She left a comforting hand on Ilia's shoulder.

Eventually Ilia stopped shaking and the waterfall of tears stopped. After a while, she walked to Epona to prepare to ride off.

Ashei watched her go, before muttering to herself "Everything depends on that."

"Allright everyone mount up! We ride for Hyrule Field" The call went out amongst the Cavaliers who within moments were riding towards the north gate of Kakariko to Hyrule Field to go to war.

Hours later in Hyrule Field...

Link was leading the Moblin army when they came into view at sundown. At his back were dozens of grey General Moblins leading thousands of bulky, brown regular Moblins. The sheer size of the force amassed against them was incredible.

Seeing Link, Ilia felt the usual rush of emotions; anger, frustration, love, fear and now pity. He was forced to do this against his will and Ilia could only hope that Link himself had no idea what he was doing. No one should be forced to watch themself slaughter everyone they had ever cared about.

Without realising she was doing it, Ilia reached for the Master Sword on her back. Every time she had seen Link before, they were fighting within minutes.

Ashei placed her hand on Ilia's as it reached for the sword. "This is a full scale battle, not the short of one-on-one fights that the pair of you keep having. He's not going to come rushing at you and try to kill you." She said, keeping her hand on Ilia's.

Ilia didn't take comfort in the fact that Link would not start their fight straight away. She kept her hand on the Master Sword's hilt for a minute before letting go and turning her back on the Moblin force, heading for the command tent.

Ashei followed, picking up where she left off "The two of you in a full scale battle like this, you are going to fight each other. That's the truth. We don't have anyone powerful enough to fight with Link and they don't have anyone that we know of that can take you on. The biggest difference this time will be we won't be able to help you with this fight."

Ilia kept walking, her mind one again in turmoil. She was alone with the fate of Hyrule on her shoulders. She wasn't even sure she could even take Link on her own, not yet anyway. She had come so close to dying every time she had fought him. Why was she the one given the impossible task? Was she really a hero of circumstance, or did the Goddesses actually have a plan? Ilia prayed it was the latter because the alternative was just too terrifying to think about.

Rhynn came running up to Ilia and Ashei as they reached the command tent. She had been on a scouting mission and her report was not good; there were not only Moblins in the army, there were also Darknuts.

Ashei took in the information with an uneasy look on her face. They had been in a bad situation before, but now even disciplined soldiers would have a hard time not succumbing to hopelessness. Thank the Goddesses that the Gerudo had arrived. Zelda herself was coming, leading over a thousand troops. The battle would be difficult, almost impossible, but the fate of Hyrule depended on them holding the Moblins here.

...

Ashei called a strategy meeting in the command tent with all the gathered leaders.

Darbus, General Thorn- who was the leader of the soldiers that Zelda had brought with her- Zelda, Nara- Leader of the Gerudo advance guard, Rhynn and Ilia were surrounding a map spread out on a table.

Ashei stood before them all, looking over the map of the battlefield spread out on the table in front of them.

"The presence of Darknuts makes this a different situation; Darknuts can easily defeat most Hylians in one-on-one and sometimes even two-on-one combat, which is a problem under normal circumstances."Ashei let the news sink in to the gathered commanders. "And of course these are worse than normal circumstances. The enemy has a numbers advantage and with the Darknuts they even have superior forces." Ashei looked at the commanders, steel in her eyes. "You are the best of what we have,but what we need is a solution, and we need it soon."

Zelda came up with an idea to buy them some time. "If I create a magic barrier between the two cliffs it could slow them down, give us to at least tomorrow morning. It won't last much more than that though."

Time wasn't going to be good enough. If they were honest, they would need more soldiers. Ilia thought desperately.

Darbus's voice rumbled through the tent. "I think a Goron's strength would be enough to face a Darknut. If we can get messages to out Gorons on the battlefield and direct them to Darknut locations that would leave the Hylians and Gerudo free to fight the Moblins." He pointed to several locations on the map. "With spotters here, here and here, we can see the whole field and then send the messages." He reached below the table and showed them all a small, light brown mole with a rocky looking back. "This is a Death Mountain mole that Gorons use as messengers in war. The spotters point out the location of the Darknut then send the mole on its way. These things can tell the difference in the vibrations caused by the footsteps of something, even above ground in the midst of battle. I think these guys are our best chance to stop the Darknuts."

The strategy meeting continued for close to an hour before Ashei was comfortable with the plans. She then spoke to the group, voicing her final advice before the battle. "The most important thing that everyone in the army needs to know is that Ilia is the only one that is to fight Link. No one else has a chance against him...unless Zelda, would you be able to spare yourself to help Ilia? If the two of you fight him together you should be able to win."Ashei flinched as the two women responded emphatically.

Zelda spoke up properly first. "My main strength comes from my magic, not the sword. If I help, it would be difficult to hit Link and not hurt Ilia. Besides, I have a few spells that would be of more use on the battlefield itself, they should help us thin the enemy numbers."

Ilia spoke up as soon as Zelda finished. "Link is my battle to fight. The Hero's shade taught me what I need to know to take him on. The Master Sword is one of the only weapons we have against him, the other is Light Magic. I have both of those so I'm the best suited for this fight." She managed to look like she was ready to fight Link, though inside she was falling apart.

The gathered leaders parted, heading for their respective duties. Ashei indicated to Ilia that she wanted her to stay behind, a slightly worried expression on her face.

"Ilia, I need you to be honest. Can you really take on Link? This is not a fight we can bail you out of if you need help, he could tear our army apart. We are counting on you to stop him, or at least limit his impact on tomorrow's battle. I know you and Zelda don't like each other but I can't leave this to you if you can't do it. I can't trust Hyrule to someone who doesn't even trust themself. I know it's harsh, but there's no other option. If you can't do this I will make sure Zelda helps you."It was harsh and unforgiving, but Ashei knew how fragile Ilia truly was, especially in her devotion to fighting Link.

"I can fight him. I can keep him busy, but I'm not sure I can beat him, not yet. If Zelda is the only one that can help me, then as much as I hate it I'll need her to be ready to help me. Just give me a chance to fight him first." Despite her doubts, Ilia felt could fight him. She had to fight him. She knew that Light Magic was her way to free him and tomorrow would be a chance to save him.

Ashei accepted her request with a grim smile. This would be the first time in a very, very long time that the Hero and Princess of Hyrule didn't like each other. But they had never needed each other more. Such was the will of the goddesses.

The next morning on the battlefield...

The sword thudded off Darbus' rock hard back, causing him to turn around and slam his fist into the Moblin's face. As his opponent went down a messenger mole leapt from the ground.

"Another Darknut located sir, it's on the other side of those Mobins there. "The mole pointed to a line of three Moblins standing shoulder to shoulder, all charging at Darbus who smiled as he threw himself into battle once again.

The three Moblins were turned into mincemeat in seconds as the rock like skin of Darbus protected him from simple sword strikes and his great strength ripped through their armour like it was nothing. The Darknut was waiting for him as the battle raged around them.

Setting his fists ablaze Darbus leapt at the Darknut. His first strike was easily blocked by its shield, ringing with a deep gong sound. Swinging his left fist around he met the flat of the Darknut's blade, he swept his foot at the armoured legs but the Darknut leapt back, avoiding the attack and returned on the offensive.

The sheer power behind the strikes affected Darbus, he felt pain from the strikes, even in some places his rocky skin was torn open. He felt the muddy brown Goron blood leak down his arm; it'd earthy smell letting him know it was his own blood.

Curling into a ball Darbus started rolling, leaping into the air still in his ball coming down at the Darknut's head. His attack was blocked by both the sword and shield, Darbus leapt off the block reaching his hand out to grab its helmet and slamming the Darknut to the ground. While it was still vulnerable darbus brought his hands together, set them both ablaze and slammed them into the Darknut's head. It disappeared into black smoke.

Darbus once again threw himself into the battle, bringing Moblins down left and right, they were greatly outnumbered but they were fighting for all of Hyrule, there was no option other than victory. All thoughts of victory left Darbus as a great violet flash lit up the entire battlefield, a great, huge monster was forming from the light.

...

Ashei twisted underneath a Moblin blade, screaming to her nearby cavaliers, barely heard above the noise of the battle. She was trying to rally them together and reach the nearby Goron group, they had become separated half an hour ago but now the Cavaliers were getting overwhelmed.

"Rhynn! Get those two and attack those Moblins," she pointed out the target Moblins "we need to get to the Gorons" Ashei ducked under another blow as she assessed the mess they were in. Striking at the Moblin that was attacking her Ashei saw a group of five Darknuts closing in on Rhynn and her group. Felling her opponent she saw half a dozen General Moblins closing from the other side.

They were trapped between the most powerful enemies on the field behind Link but Ashei was not going to go without a fight, she ran towards the general Moblins where Skye was fighting. "General Moblins" was all she said, pointing.

Skye got the message instantly, reaching to her leg where she kept her combat explosives. She grabbed two thin cylinders, passing one to Ashei. Having fought together for so long both girls instantly knew what they needed to do. Ashei charged, engaging the first General with her sword as Skye charged engaging the second. Ashei blocked a strike and spun around behind her opponent, tossing her cylinder at the Moblins there, continuing her spin and stopping n front of her opponent once again. A moment after Ashei stopped her spin the pipe went off with a large explosion, wiping out two General Moblins as Skye's pipe went off wiping out three of the Generals. Ashei caught the General's blade on hers, smiling as Skye's blade burst out of the Moblin's chest spraying her with blood.

With a nod to the group of Gorons and Darknuts struggling Ashei, Skye and the other nearby cavaliers took off at a run. Skye reached down to her leg again, only coming up with one more thin tube. She frowned at her limited supply.

As they reached the group they saw one of the Gorons get overcome by the sheer strength of a Darknut. As he went down Skye threw her cylinder in the gap, where it exploded on contact with the Darknut. From the smoke came the large black sword, whirling through the air, Skye threw herself to the ground to avoid getting cut in half. Looking up she saw that the Darknut had removed its outer armour and was charging for her.

Ashei leapt in front of her comrade, stopping the Darknut. The pair engaged a flurry of blows with Ashie getting a small, shallow cut on her shoulder. None of her blows managed to get through.

Skye ran up behind the Darknut, attempting to perform the same combo that killed the last general Moblin a few minutes before. She was however intercepted by another Darknut and forced to fight one in full armour on her own. She was letting Ashei down and she was out of explosives, or was she? Back peddling to give herself some room she reached for the pouch on her belt and pulled out about a dozen minibombs.

"Ashei back off" Skye yelled, without waiting to see if she had been heard she threw the minibombs, aiming at weaker sections of the Darknut's armour. When the explosions cleared the Darknut toppled, exploding into black smoke.

Ashei looked up and saw the Darknut closing in on Skye from behind and leapt into action. Ashei took the first strike on her sword, drawing her second as she twisted, slicing the shoulder strap of its armour causing a piece to fall to the ground. Ashei soon become a flurry of sword strikes as she ducked, twisted and slashed avoiding everything the Darknut threw at her. Ashei was panting heavily as the last piece of heavy armour clattered to the bloodstained ground, she couldn't physically keep up the pace anymore.

Skye managed to get behind the Darknut and thrust her blade straight through, causing it to explode into black smoke. They were fighting to their limits and still they were barely surviving. A brilliant violet light lit up the battlefield, driving the last vestiges of hope from Ashei.

...

A Moblin charging blindly out of the smoke had the misfortune to run into Zelda and a blast of light magic. The Moblin was killed instantly and Zelda let out a breath, she was exhausted, she had been fighting harder than ever, drawing deeper and deeper on the reserves of power in the Triforce but even that had its limits.

She took a moment to leap onto the cliff behind her to survey the chaos of the battlefield; it didn't look good for the defenders of Hyrule. The Moblins had them seriously outnumbered, pushing them back.

There was no time to rest and watch as Hylians laid down their lives to protect their home so Zelda leapt down into the fray once again. Zelda blasted a Moblin as she ran into the chaos, she wasn't brilliant with her sword, and her true strength was in her magic which was running low.

She ducked under a blow from a Moblin, parrying the next strike. The attacks were relentless, giving her no time to counter with her blade. Drawing on the energies of her Triforce she cast a spell to alter the fabric of reality slightly. The Moblin blade passed right through her leaving her unharmed, while the Moblin was still blinking in confusion Zelda stabbed, bringing the Moblin down. The constant magic use and combat was wearing Zelda down. The only choice they had was to fight and win here.

Zelda threw herself into the combat, dispatching a few Moblins until she found herself facing a General Moblin. Panting heavily she prepared herself to fight, the General gave her no time to prepare as it came charging swinging its sword. Zelda had no time to evade so she allowed the blade to pass through her once again.

The spell left Zelda gasping and unable to take advantage of the brief opening it created. The General swung its blade again, meeting Zelda's with a clash that was heard over the sound of the battle around them, Zelda's energy was fading fast and the General could tell, it swung three more times with Zelda barely able to block each strike.

Zelda stumbled back, losing her balance and falling over, in this situation falling over could mean the end of your life. She was desperate and her magic was just about spent, she had enough for one last spell. She was about to cast her spell when a great violet light burst forth, bright enough to make the Moblin General turn, enough to save her life by giving her enough time to bring her opponent down.

As the Moblin fell Zelda looked at the source of the violet light and froze. They were all doomed now.

...

The Master Sword blazed with white fire as Ilia hunted Link down in the anarchy of the battle. The smell of burning Moblin flesh filled her nostrils as she cut through another one to see Link standing there, waiting for her.

"I've been waiting for you to find me Ilia and I have a little gift for your army." Link reached into his pocket and took out a small, lethal looking centipede with large serrated orange pincers. "This here was a little present to make sure that you would lose today Ilia, it was made from remnants of Maladark's power. It is known as Unaris."Link muttered a word over the small centipede and a great violet light illuminated the battlefield as it grew into a giant monster.

Unaris was now over forty metres tall, it lashed down at a nearby Goron, pulling it away from the combat on the ground, and, closing its pincers cut the Goron in half blood the clour of mud sprayed as the pincers brought the Goron's life to an end. Link laughed as he watched Ilia's face turn to shock.

"That is what is in store for the rest of your army, you can't stop it. Ilia did you really think that Hyrule stood a chance?" Link laughed as he watched the hope fade from Ilia's face.

"This was my chance, my big chance to try and save him and look at me, I've lost hope of even lasting a minute let alone saving him, and that's without worrying about the battle going on at the moment." The Triforce glowed silver for a moment and Ilia's doubts were washed away and her energy returned.

Ilia charged at Link with the Master Sword wreathed in an inferno of white fire. The sword strike missed as Link faded into shadows and reappeared on top of Unaris. Without thinking, without hesitation Ilia summoned her wings of light and flew to land next to Link on Unaris. With a battle cry she charged at the fallen hero.

Writhing Shadows wrapped themselves around Link's imitation of the Master Sword as he met Ilia's charge. When their attacks collided the magic on their sword sprayed around them creating a fireworks display of white and black magic.

Both fighters leapt back to avoid the spiralling magic caused by their clash, Link charged. Ilia ducked under the initial attack that was followed by razor sharp shadows, she blocked the shadows with her wing of light. After blocking the shadows Ilia tried to hit Link with the wing itself but he evaded the attack.

The two continued to exchange attacks but neither was able to land a hit for several minutes. Ilia stood back and launched five feathers from her wing like arrows at Link; he caught them all on his shield. With no warning his shield then split in two. Ilia charged to take advantage of Link's vulnerability but he merely smiled and pulled a second shield out of the shadows around his body.

The shield he pulled out was a Mirror Shield similar to Ilia's Mirror Shield of the Wolf but the image on Link's was a face in pain, his new Shield was the Mirror Shield of Agony from the old legends. Ilia shot another couple of feathers and watch as they ricocheted away from the shield with one landing a hit on a massive, pulsing purple orb on Unaris' back.

Unaris writhed and screamed in agony; Ilia and Link were barely able to hang on. The rage caused by the injury caused Unaris to start killing anything in front of it on the battlefield, Moblin, Darknut, Goron or Hylian, the massacre stained the field under Unaris' feet red.

The orb had only cracked and Ilia looked around to see several orbs on the back of the monster, she could destroy the orbs to bring down the monster but with Link there it would be difficult. She threw up a shield of light to block another strike from the shadows around Link's sword. Some of the shadows got through and were ripping into Ilia's arms and legs.

With small cuts on her arms and legs Ilia threw herself back into the battle, she was matching Link in swordplay but she still didn't have as much stamina as he did. The Triforce piece was glowing, trying to provide the necessary energy for Ilia to keep up with Link who had incredible stamina from his adventures that was boosted with the Witches' magic.

Drawing deep Ilia licked her foot out, caught Link around the ankle and pulled, momentarily making him lose his balance allowing Ilia to bring her sword into his shoulder. Ilia sent a pulse of Light Magic into Link and watched as his eyes changed colour to their normal blue for a brief moment. His eyes changed back as Link threw Ilia off him.

There was not enough light in that blast to free him entirely, looking down Ilia saw that two globes of Light were already empty, she couldn't save Link this time, she needed to save Hyrule first by destroying Unaris.

As their swords danced their deadly dance Ilia kept looking around, trying to find all the orbs on Unaris. She spotted four but paid for her lack of attention. Barely dodging a stab from Link she was instead caught by one of the writhing shadows. The pain it caused was immense, it felt colder than the ice on Snowpeak but the pain spread like fire, Ilia felt her blood seep from the wound, her shield arm was starting to go numb from the injury.

She attacked again, starting a furious series of attacks that forced Link back towards one of the orbs. Ilia had him forced against the orb, she drew more light energy into her sword and stabbed, Link stepped to the side to evade and the orb cracked and shattered causing Unaris to go wild with pain, Ilia and Link struggled to hold on.

Link was back on his feet faster and sent a knife of shadows at Ilia as she struggled to get up, she managed to reflect it with her mirror Shield and Link easily dodged the rebounded attack. Link snarled in frustration as Ilia rolled out of the way easily.

Focusing, Ilia blasted a ball of light Magic at Link. Her shot was easily rebounded with his Mirror Shield and Ilia had no choice but to raise her own. The shot bounced between the shields a few times then Ilia changed the angle of hers, sending the shot past Link and down into another orb. She was halfway there but Link was sure to catch on soon.

As the ground beneath their feet writhed and buckled once again Link caught Ilia staring at the next closest orb, one that was halfway down Unaris' body. The shadows around Link started condensing and forming into the shape of wings.

Ilia leapt into the air and tried to fly over Link who shot a chain made of shadows at her, it landed a direct hit on her stomach and he pulled her out of the air. The impact jarred Ilia; she struggled to get up as Link charged at her. Desperate Ilia summoned a dome of pure light magic to shield her.

Looking down at her Vessel of light Ilia saw that only two globes had any light left in them, this fight was draining her far too quickly, if she didn't have to worry about her supply of Light she would be able to fight Link on even terms, fight and win. The only problem was how could she have an unlimited supply of Light?

Link stood outside her barrier waiting, knowing that she couldn't hide forever due to a limited supply of Light. Ilia knew the longer she waited the less chance she had at destroying Unaris, let alone surviving the fight against Link.

Summoning White fire around her foot Ilia dropped the dome and swept her foot around, sending a low wave of white fire at Link, who dodged it easily by leaping into the air. Ilia used her wings to rocket forward, knocking him to the ground and sent a few feathers of light down at the next orb.

The feathers were a direct hit and powerful enough to destroy the orb. Unaris once again screamed in agony, twisted in torment and went on a rampage through a section of the Moblin army. Nothing stood a chance where it rampaged.

Link now knew exactly what Ilia was aiming for, she had no intentions of fighting to save him this time, she only cared about destroying Unaris, Link had to stop that at all costs. The Witches had risked everything on summoning Unaris, they were certain it could free Maladark and win the war for them. They had sent most of the army with Link on this mission and now they were losing most of the army.

Ilia charged at Link, continuing their deadly dance. Link would try and stop her from destroying that last orb so she had to be careful how she did it while working with a time limit. If she ran out of Light before she destroyed the orb she would have to actually get close to the orb, and Link was too good to allow that.

Ilia feinted to the right; Link saw through her feint and counterattacked, slamming his shadow wings into Ilia's Wings of Light. Her wings shattered instantly, blinding her for a moment. That moment was all Link needed to slam his shield into Ilia's arm. While Ilia was off balance Link reached out with the shadows and broke her arm.

Ilia let out a scream of pain; she was forced to drop her shield. Link kept attacking, and he slammed his shield into her once again. He stabbed her in the gut, twisted his blade and wrenched it out. Ilia's breath came out in ragged gasps but Link had turned his back on her, something in him couldn't watch her die.

"This is reward for resisting Ilia, this is what you fought so hard for, THIS is what awaits Hyrule."Link wasn't watching as Ilia slowly felt herself dyeing.

Ilia could try to heal herself, she didn't know if she had enough magic left to do that or she could die bring down Unaris and giving Hyrule a chance to survive. The Triforce on her hand told Ilia that she only had one real choice; she had to save Hyrule or die trying.

With that thought in mind Ilia focused her remaining Light energy into her sword and pointed it at the last orb on Unaris. This one was situated at the tip of its tail so it would have been impossible to get close to and while she was bleeding out impossible compared to the impossible. She released the energy in a thin beam, destroying the orb and with it Unaris.

As Unaris turned to black smoke and Ilia fell towards the blood stained ground she saw Link flying with his wings of shadow south towards Ordon. Ilia fell, she would be dead by the time she hit the ground.

...

When Unaris was destroyed the remaining Moblins and Darknuts retreated, the defenders of Hyrule that had survived were too tired to even cheer at their narrow victory, their escape. Not many of them saw Ilia's body as it fell.



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