The year is 54 BW. Recent wars and inner strife have left the land of Hyrule weakened, and the king's suicide has not helped. Meanwhile, the eastern continent of Molderana's recent war with Dubatio and Dalsona have left the entire Medius Ocean closed to trade. Lord Thynnos of Molderana wants the source of all this trouble, the legendary Triforce. But with his only route to Hyrule closed by the Dubatian and Dalsonan fleets, he must find another way to this fabled land. He finds it in the southern continent of Sosaria, ruled by the beloved Princess Manoke...
Councilman Riktande, advisor to Lord Thynnos, sighed, and turned away from the window. "For the last time, Thynnnos, attacking Sosaria right out of hand would be madness."
"Why?" said Lord Thynnos in his massive chair at the head of the Council chambers. "Our fleet is large enough to crush theirs like an eggshell."
"Maybe so, but if you factor in their tactical advantages, it's not so clear-cut. With the Dubatian and Dalsonan fleets patrolling the Medius Ocean, our fleet can only attack in the Morian Channel, which does not offer enough space for our ships to maneuver. If we try to go through the Southern Ocean, we'll come up against the Sosar Islands. Our maps would be useless in that maze, and you can bet that their fleet commander knows every nook and cranny in that area."
"Our fleet would be murdered," agreed Councilman Garondyn. "Face it - it's impossible."
Thynnos sighed. "Nothing is impossible, merely difficult. I shall find a way."
Thynnos was a large man, his broad shoulders speaking of much physical power. His sun-bronzed face was accented by a hawkish nose and flinty eyes. A black mass of hair came to a widow's peak over his nose. His massive hands wore their usual white gloves. A golden chain around his neck was the only symbol of wealth he wore. His voice was a contrast to his gigantic frame, a silky bass that carried every emotion clearly. Thynnos drummed his blunt fingers on the table.
"The only way to Hyrule, short of going all the way over to the west, is from the south. And the south means Sosaria. If we take Sosaria, we will have the perfect launching point into that land." He suddenly slammed his fist on the table, making the council members jump. "I want Sosaria by the end of the year. Damn Princess Manoke, the Triforce will be mine!"
"I'm doing it because it's the right thing to do, Lummon. If I raise the prices, the farmers will get the money they're needing." Princess Manoke of Sosaria looked up at her advisor with her violet eyes honest. A bird sang somewhere off in another part of the garden maze. Manoke drummed her fingers lightly on the stone bench she was sitting on. Her advisor Lummon, a fussy man with a golden chain around his neck, sighed.
"But Princess, if you do raise the price of potatoes, then fewer people will buy them. Sales have been dropping anyway."
"So I'll have the cooks order twice as much as they usually do. We"ll have a feast of potatoes. Boiled, mashed, baked, anything. After the farmers get their money, we can lower the prices again." She idly scratched her cat Smoke's head.
Lummon sighed. "I suppose so." A slight crunching came from a side path, and a young page in uniform came out.
"Pardon me, your majesty, but lunch is being served." He bowed deeply and left. Manoke stood up, and left the same way. Lummon followed.
Princess Manoke was a strange girl, in many ways. Since her mother had died nine years ago in the vicious plague that had struck Sosaria, and her father four years later in a riding accident, Manoke had ascended the throne at the age of eighteen, the youngest queen in Sosaria"s history. Though inexperienced, she had learned quickly and was beloved by her people, especially the teenage boys. Crowds of them would follow her when she visited the towns of her realm.
And with good reason. Her violet eyes sparkled with wit, and her long, soft black hair fell down to her waist when undone. She often experimented with odd hairstyles, doing her raven locks up in buns or pigtails. On most girls, her somewhat plump frame would seem ugly. But with Manoke, it fit her rounded face like a jigsaw and simply accentuated her beauty.
Her mother and father both had numerous indiscretions. It was a common joke during King Otair's rule that there were two beds in the royal house: one for the king and queen and one for their 'guests'. It was well-known that Manoke was not her father's daughter. In fact, her father was Ryllan Tidos, Regent of Hyrule. His trade meeting with Otair had brought more than trade to Sosaria; it had given the king an heir out of wedlock. Though Manoke showed obvious resemblance to her mother, she had inherited the purely Hylian trait of long, pointed ears. When her father had seen those ears, he had called for Ryllan's death. But the Regent had disappeared long before.
Queen Polya had been accused of treason, but King Otair had been able to drop the charges. Though they had both been unfaithful, they still loved each other. But nearly fourteen years later, a plague had struck Sosaria with full force. Half the realm died before they could stop the spread. Polya had been one of the first to be infected, and died a week after. Otair had mourned for days, while the dead were piled in heaps to be burned.
But the plague had been stopped, and the realm had been saved. The people had celebrated for months, dancing in the streets and feasting. A much older and sadder Otair, weakened by the death of his wife, separated himself from his people and stayed in the palace, ruling from his citadel. He only ventured out to go riding, his favourite pastime. Four years after, he'd been out on one of those riding trips when his horse had reared up without warning and tossed him to the ground. When the beast landed, his hoof came down on Otair's skull, killing him instantly. With no other children or relatives, Manoke, a half-breed bastard, had ascended the throne. The people had low expectations for her, but behind those two-blood ears was a fiendish mind. Manoke had quickly picked up the skills she needed to succeed. She was not only a smart diplomat and a fair tactician, she was also the most generous of Sosaria's rulers. Two years ago, there had been a severe food shortage due to a drought. Manoke opened the doors of the royal pantry to her subjects, and vowed to eat the same as the people did until the drought broke: a boiled turnip for lunch, and a thin stew of mostly potatoes for dinner. When the crop had finally started to grow, she ordered a huge feast be made and served in front of the castle. The entire country came to eat.
Every week, she would ride out to a random town in her realm and walk through the streets, talking with her subjects and seeing things the way the commoners did. Often she would been invited into someone's home for a cup of tea. This was, in fact, the way she had gotten her cat, Smoke. Manoke had been talking with a woman in her home about the state of the town, and the woman's six-year old daughter came out to see this strange lady talking to her mommy. The girl, not really knowing who Manoke was but instinctively trusting her, said that her cat had just had kittens and asked if Manoke wanted one. Manoke had been slightly surprised by the offer but accepted the silvery feline with goodwill. Ever since then, the cat had been her faithful companion.
It was this kind of thing that had endeared Manoke to her people, in more ways than one. They loved her for her fairness and honesty, for the communication she had with her people and how she actually changed things for her people, instead of sitting on her behind like so many other rulers. Merchants would sell parchments with her portrait on them in the streets for a high price. Outside her bedroom, dozens of love-struck boys came to throw flowers on her balcony in the starry night. The servants would fight over who got to clean her room, and the hostlers would fight over who would stable her horse.
In a world engulfed in turmoil, Sosaria was an island of tranquillity, an oasis in a desert of war. The promise of infinite power, embodied in the Triforce, was consuming whole countries. And sooner or later, Manoke and her people would be pulled into this war-like it or not.
This story uses countries and ideas created by that most wonderful author and webmaster, Juliet Singleton. My thanks to her. E-mail me at GlnnMiller@aol.com.
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