~Link, Zelda, Ganondorf, Nabooru, Navi, and other related characters and places are all property of Nintendo. No infringement intended
CHAPTER 7 - Fading Light
Kassala sighed, she knew that the past year and a half had been too good to be true, and she was right, for here they were again, advancing on Hyrule Castle. Only this time the Gerudo were not marching forward to face a well-prepared Hylian army, but rather a hastily pulled-together company of Hylian soldiers, desperate to defend themselves from the invaders of the desert. From where she stood, she could already tell that the Gerudos outnumbered the Hylians practically two to one. Oh, what she would have given to not have to fight them, but she really had no choice; the penalty for desertion was death. For a moment her thoughts turned to Nabooru who was now waiting back at the Gerudo camp, what would become of her if she were to die?
Kassala was forced to tear her mind away from her thoughts as Ganondorf yelled out the command to attack, his voice sounding clearly above the heads of the Gerudo troops.
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A shiver went up Gavin's spine as he studied the swiftly approaching Gerudo army. The Hylians were hopelessly outnumbered: the period they had been given to prepare had not provided enough time to fully assemble the amount of men needed. At that moment reinforcements were supposedly being gathered, but even if they were able to pull together another army, he didn't believe that it would be in time.
He suddenly felt a reassuring hand on his shoulder and looked over so see Captain Malcolm next to him. Shaking off his doubts, Gavin gave the command for the company to advance.
"Good luck ol' friend," Malcolm said extending his hand.
Gavin grasped it, "May the Goddesses go with you Malcolm." And with that they both rode into combat. Storm clouds began to thunder incessantly overhead, foreshadowing the upcoming battle.
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Hyrule Castle was in disarray as guards and servants ran to and fro, attempting to prepare the castle against invasion.
In the King and Queen's bedroom, anxiety hung heavily in the air. Celine lay on the large bed, her breathing coming in short deep gasps and moans, interrupted periodically by cries of pain. The king sat by her bedside holding her hand tightly and watching nervously as Impa endeavored to make the queen as comfortable as possible; with all of the chaos that had been abounding, a midwife or healer had been impossible to find. "How much longer?" King Trebonius asked in a strained voice.
"Any time now," Impa replied grimly.
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On the battlefield, pandemonium also prevailed as the Hylians were hopelessly being overtaken by the large Gerudo forces. Gavin looked around desperately as Hylian soldiers fell left and right under the brunt of the Gerudo onslaught. Suddenly his eyes rested on Ganondorf; the thief was meticulously wiping out soldier after soldier and at the same time barking out commands to his army. Maybe if he could somehow stop the Gerudo king, the Gerudo troops might fall into enough disorder to allow the Hylians some breathing room. With this thought in mind, Gavin wheeled his horse around to face the king of thieves. Ganondorf grinned nefariously as a young Hylian soldier on horseback boldly rode forward to confront him. Drawing his sword, the evil king prepared to meet him. The two engaged in a combat of swordplay and balance, as each tried to maintain the advantageous position on their horses. Gavin for the most part had the upper hand as Ganondorf, under the rain of thrusts and parries, had to continually reach for his reigns in order to keep from falling. Suddenly an unexpected twist of events occurred as a Hylian soldier from the midst of the fighting tumbled into Gavin's horse, causing the stallion to rear and unseat its rider. Gavin hit the ground hard and was momentarily stunned by the impact. Once he had gathered his wits about him, he reached for his sword, but the action proved too late as he felt the biting pain of cold metal ripping through his middle.
Gavin's anguished gasp was mingled with the mocking laughter of the Gerudo king.
"Stupid fool," Ganondorf muttered as he turned his horse about and returned to the fighting.
Gavin could only lay there, his hand over his wound trying hopelessly ease the bleeding. The pain seemed to pulsate in every vain of his body, blurring his vision, and filling his soul with immense agony. Soon darkness veiled his eyes and he lost consciousness. Kassala was not far from where the event occurred and had watched the entire tragic scene unfold unmercifully before her eyes. Despite the fact that it had been over a year, she still recognized the green-eyed Hylian who had saved her life those many months ago. Not sure whether it was her conscience, her sense of justice, or gratitude that worked upon her so, Kassala fought her way over to the wounded young man and using her shield for protection, dragged him as far as possible from the commotion of the battle. Checking his pulse, she could only make out the slightest flutter of a heartbeat. Suddenly a ragged cheer could be heard from the direction of the fighting. Glancing over her shoulder, Kassala saw that the Hylians were retreating toward Hyrule Castle Town with the Gerudo army closely in pursuit. Unsure what to do, she turned back to the wounded soldier. To her surprise his eyes were slowly opening. Upon seeing her, a Gerudo, leaning over him, his eyes widened and he weakly attempted to sit up, letting out a cry of pain as he did so. "Sh...sh.." Kassala urged, "I am here to help you, but you must be quiet or else we will both be killed." As she spoke, she tore off a piece of material from his tunic and lifting his armor compressed it firmly over the wound. The Hylian could do nothing more than gaze up at her in confusion.
"Kassala? What are you doing?" Kassala whipped around to see Kalimara staring at her in shock.
"Listen Kali, I can explain..."
"Are you crazy!? If you are caught you will be executed for certain!"
"Please Kali, I have to...I just can't leave him here."
"You've done enough already, now come on we must join the troops in advancing on the town."
At these words, the wounded Hylian let out a distressed cry and weakly grabbed Kassala's arm, his eyes beseeching her. "Please....please," he said in a barely audible voice intermingled with painful gasps, "my wife.....my child.....please you must warn them....help them please..."
Kassala leaned closer to him, "Where can I find them?"
"Kas!?" Kalimara stared at her in disbelief.
The Hylian painfully described in short sentences the location of his home and after finishing again pleaded, "please...help....them....." His voice trailed off and his eyes closed as his last breath left him.
For a moment Kassala just stared sorrowfully down on the dead young man, once again resenting war and its effects.
"Kassala, please tell me you are not going to actually do this. It's treason! You'll be punished, killed!" Kalimara pleaded.
Kassala stood and, without even so much as a glance in Kalimara's direction, took off toward Hyrule Castle Town.
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Celine let out a cry of utter torment, her body was bathed in sweat, and she was breathing heavily. Impa kneeled at the foot of the bed, calmly urging the queen to push. "Something isn't right!" the king exclaimed in apprehension, "shouldn't it have been her by now!?"
As if in answer to his question a loud wailing filled the room. Impa lifted a tiny bundle wrapped in towels. Looking over at the king wearily she said, "It's a girl."
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Mariana held Link tightly as she walked anxiously about the small room, humming a soft melody to him in attempts to block out the sounds of the turmoil that was plaguing the town. She knew that something was not right, but was unaware of the fact that the town was being overrun by Gerudos.
She was startled by a sudden pounding on the door. Too afraid to do anything, she became motionless and stared fearfully as it burst open and a young Gerudo entered, carrying a scimitar and shield.
Mari's heart froze in horror, "Please, spare my baby, don't hurt my baby," she begged, not for herself, but for Link.
The Gerudo looked on her in pity, "I am here to help you, but we must hurry, the Gerudo are attacking the town."
Mariana stood in confusion. "But...but.." she stammered.
"Your husband is dead," the Gerudo explained. Kassala winced, she had not meant to put it so bluntly, but they didn't have time for long explanations. Mari's eyes filled with tears. "No, no," she cried, her worst fear having been realized.
Overwhelmed with grief she collapsed to the floor sobbing and hugging Link closely to her.
"I am sorry, but we must go now if you are to make it out alive," Kassala urged. Mariana wiped away her tears and nodded, not questioning the validity of Kassala's words. Standing, she grabbed an extra blanket and wrapped it around her baby, "I am ready," she said in a wavering but determined voice.
Kassala nodded, "Follow me closely."
Mari gasped at the scene that met her as they exited the house, Gerudo were everywhere, burning homes and attacking civilians. Kassala used her shield to protect the young Hylian mother and her baby, and quickly guided them down a back passage leading to the front gates of the town. She was unaware, however that her movements were being followed. After reaching and exiting through the main entrance, Kassala quickened their pace until they were a good distance from the besieged town. Once she judged that they were far enough away, she turned to Mari, "I cannot lead you any farther, but the forest is only a short distance from here. If you can make it there, you will be safe."
Mariana nodded, "Thank you so much." Quickly she turned and soon disappeared within the dark folds of the night.
Kassala watched her run, "Good luck," she whispered under her breath. Suddenly she heard a noise behind her, and turning around found herself face to face with none other than her king, Ganondorf, astride his black horse. Behind him she could make out the forms of at least five other Gerudo on horseback.
Ganondorf glared at her through narrowed eyes, "So you have decided to turn your back on your own people, have you? You know what happens to traitors like yourself!" Kassala remained silent, staring defiantly back at the Gerudo king. Inside her chest her heart was pounding furiously, but she would not give him the satisfaction of seeing her cower before him.
Ganondorf smirked, "You must think you are pretty brave, well we shall see about that.
Matar!" he barked.
"Yes my liege?"
"Take two with you and follow that Hylian. I want both her and the child dead, do you hear me!"
"Yes Mandrag Ganon, sir."
Matar and two of the other Gerudo galloped off in the direction that Mariana had taken. Ganondorf watched the three disappear out of sight. For some unexplainable reason he sensed something about the two Hylians that Kassala had saved, something he couldn't quite grasp but that he knew must be dealt with. He turned toward the remaining two Gerudo behind him, "You two execute the traitor!" he commanded.
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From atop a small hill Nabooru had been watching the action and proceedings of the battle, ignoring the warning given to her by Kassala to stay at the camp. She had observed in fearful awe and excitement as the Gerudo army had invaded Hyrule Castle Town, setting it aflame with commotion. It had come as a great surprise to her when she had seen an obviously Gerudo figure leading what appeared to be a Hylian safely out of the town, and what baffled her more was the fact that Ganondorf, himself, had followed her. It was only when the remaining two Gerudo that had accompanied Mandrag Ganon prepared to carry out the traitor's punishment, that the sickening realization had come over Nabooru as to who the 'traitor' was. She watched in absolute terror as the sentence was brutally carried out. Tears began to flow freely from her golden eyes, as she waited for the king and the others to return to the town. Once they had, she ran as fast as her legs could carry her down to the limp form of Kassala.
"Kasi, Kasi!!" she cried, leaning over her. "Oh no, Kasi please!" Kassala's eyelids fluttered for a moment, and then painfully opened. Seeing Nabooru's tear-stained face leaning over, she attempted an encouraging smile, "Is that my tough girl, crying?" she said feebly.
Nabooru shook her head and wiped away her tears, "Gerudos never cry," she said. "There's my girl," Kassala cringed and coughed up some blood. She looked up at Nabooru, "Remember...your promise," and then was silent. "I will Kasi," Nabooru whispered fiercely, her sadness beginning to be replaced with an incalculable hatred for the one she called 'king.'
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