Chapter 7: The Labyrinth
Link folded up his map and placed it into his pouch. He tugged at his leather gauntlets, making sure that they were properly adjusted. He swung his broadsword, the blade cutting cleanly through the air. He sheathed it at his side.
“Link.” Link looked up to see Prince Talius standing in his doorway. Link bowed his head slightly.
“May I help you, your Highness?”
“I’d just like you to answer a question for me. How do you plan on getting to the Labyrinth?” Link was silent. He felt like an idiot for forgetting that his horse had been killed.
“On second thought,” Talius said, “let me answer it. Follow me.” Link followed the Prince through the corridors to Miniras’s stables. Talius led Link to a dark brown mare.
“This is Catherine,” Talius said. Link stroked the mare’s side.
“She’s beautiful,” he said.
“And she’s strong and fast. Quite possibly the fastest we have.” Talius grinned. “She’s also yours.” Link quickly looked at him.
“What?” Talius nodded. Link looked back to Catherine. “Thank you… but may I ask why?” Talius shrugged, looking back to Catherine.
“I can get myself a new one. Besides, you brought my sister back, and I felt that I should repay you, too.” Link looked to the Prince again.
“It was my pleasure.” The Prince looked Link straight in the eyes. “Good luck out there.” He started to leave, but stopped, looking back over his shoulder.
“Oh, and Link? Zelda likes flowers. I thought that you’d like to know.” He left the stables.
“This is a beautiful sword,” Ganon commented. Nathan didn’t respond. Ganon swung Nathan’s katana a few times, finally bringing it below Nathan’s chin, forcing him to glare up at the King of Evil. Dragmire looked horrible, due to his continued abuse of the Triforce. Small horns were starting to protrude from the top of his head.
“It would do well serving me,” Ganon said menacingly.
“No,” Nathan said defiantly.
“No? Wasn’t that your answer to the opportunity of saving your beloved father?” He removed the sword, Nathan looking back to the floor.
Don’t listen… he thought. Just don’t listen to him.
“Pitiful man. Imagine how he felt. Watching his son, whom he loved dearly, betray him.” Nathan was silent, trying to suppress his wave of emotions.
“Makes me think of your friends, for some reason.” Nathan maintained his stony silence. “When my men found them again. Thanks to my magic, I was able to watch it all. You should have seen their faces.” Finally, Nathan looked up again.
“You’re… you’re lying!” he shouted. Ganon grinned maliciously.
“Princess Zelda was on her knees, begging them not to kill her. That wench put on such a pathetic display. It all ended when a Moblin broke her arm with his bare hands and strangled the life out of her.”
“No… I don’t believe you!” Nathan cried, looking down again.
“And that friend of yours. Was it Link? Yes, Link. It’s true that he fought gallantly. Sadly for him, he was so distracted by Moblins and Goriyas that a Wizzrobe managed to hit him with a fireball.” Ganon looked down on his captive. “I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anyone scream that painfully,” he whispered. Nathan looked up at the King of Evil. Tears had started streaming down his bloodied face.
“Shut up! Lies! They’re lies!” He looked to the ground, sobbing. Ganon kicked Nathan across the side of his face and left the cell, the nearby Stalfo guard locking it. Nathan didn’t know what to believe. But deep down, he knew that his will was weakening.
Link crept slowly through the woods; leaving Catherine tethered to a tree. A few minutes later, he was at the entrance of the Labyrinth. He could see a small stone building and concluded that there must be stairs into the dungeon itself. Not far beyond the entrance was a cliff. Around it was the ruins of an ancient temple. Large and broken marble columns were all that remained, along with a few altars and pieces of flooring. Link passed under a large archway, still cautiously surveying the area. He heard a pebble drop behind him. He quickly dove forward, a large golden-scaled Daria jumping down from the arch, striking the spot where Link had been with a large double-bladed axe. Link drew his sword, pointing it at the Daria. It was larger and deadlier looking than a Lizalfo. All it had on was a bronze scale mail tunic and studded leather bracers on its wrists and ankles. The Daria roared and attacked a second time, Link blocking the attack, and then the next. It kicked him in the stomach, sending him back against a pillar. Link dove out of the way as the Daria charged him. The pillar crumbled from the impact. Still on the ground, Link saw the silhouette of the Daria rising in the cloud of dust. He barely rolled out of the way as it jumped at him again. He got back up, blocking each of the oncoming attacks, periodically managing to get his own strikes in as well. The fight was forcing him back towards the cliff. An altar supported only by stones was behind him. Finding an opening, Link managed to chop off one of the Daria’s horns. It roared in pain, and attacked again. Link rolled back over the altar, the Daria landing on top of it. Link blocked the Daria’s attacks, which were becoming stronger. He kicked out one of the stones supporting the altar, causing the Daria to lose its balance. Link quickly stood up and stabbed it in the heart. It cried out in pain, dropping its axe. Link removed the blade from the creature. It slowly swung at him once more and died. Link stood there for a moment, trying to catch his breath. Wiping his brow and sheathing his sword, he found a trapdoor that led into the Labyrinth and began his descent.
Everything was dark at first, but as soon as Link closed the door, the magic within the Labyrinth came to life. The torches lighting themselves, Link could finally see what was ahead of him. At the bottom of the spiral staircase was a long corridor. It was empty save for the skeletons of previous adventurers. Link slowly walked down the cracked stone path, his footsteps echoing off the bloodstained walls. He glanced at the paintings on each, revealing the history of the Labyrinth being used to worship an ancient heathen god. Scholars believed that ancient men must have gone through the temple in an effort to prove themselves to their god. Great treasures were rumored to be there, but all who had gone there had been slain.
Link suddenly felt the ground sink a bit under his weight. Link suddenly dove and rolled forward, narrowly dodging poison darts that riddled the wall all the way back to the staircase. Link looked back to see the darts suddenly melt, steam, and evaporate in a matter of seconds, leaving no trace of their presence. He was starting to realize why many people had been slain. The Labyrinth was designed so that the mistake of one could kill many.
The hallway opened into a large circular room. Looking to his right, Link saw an armored skeleton, long dead. In one hand was a tattered leather journal. In spite of the horror of seeing this dead man, Link carefully took the journal. The pages were faded and yellow, but he could make out part of the last entry:
“All have fallen in vain, for there is no treasure here.” Link couldn’t read the rest, except for one last little bit: “Beware the breathing idol.” The last small portion of the journal was a scribbled mess.
Link set the journal back on the ground. He wasn’t here for rumored treasure; he was here for aid in the fight against Ganon. And that he knew he could find. Although, he did not know the meaning of “breathing idol.”
He stepped through one of the doorways, a barred gate slamming shut behind him. Through the bars he could see the ground suddenly open into a large pit. Spikes shot from the ceiling as it quickly slammed down into the pit and slowly rose back up. Link turned around and surveyed the room he was in, which was also circular. Four torches were on the stone wall, and the remains of dead bodies were in various parts of the room. In front of the doorway ahead of Link was a single black statue of a knight. Upon closer inspection, Link saw a single word on its base: ARMOS. The statue was massive; Link only came up to its waist. He decided to squeeze past it and get through the doorway. As soon as he touched the statue, he heard a loud, high-pitched noise. A barred gate dropped in front of the doorway. Something suddenly grabbed the back of his tunic and threw him away from the statue. Link hit the ground and rolled into a wall. The statue, an Armos Knight, had stepped off of its base and was slowly walking towards him, sword raised. He quickly got to his feet, drawing his sword. Two parts of the walls opened, and two more of the knights stepped out. The original knight’s armor had turned red and black, while the other two wore gray armor. The one on the right swung first. Link dove out of the way and its sword got stuck in the wall. Hoping for the best, Link struck it below the knee, finding it to be surprisingly soft. The lower half of its left leg had come off quite easily. Link was standing behind it, about to chop off the other leg. Suddenly, it managed to rip its sword out of the wall and rammed the blade through its own torso. It barely missed Link, but still managed to tear off part of his tunic. Link was amazed at his luck. Had he been just an inch to the right, the blade would have skewered him. The statue seemed to be weakened by its desperate act, and Link took the opportunity to jump on its back, chopping its head off. He jumped back right as the second gray knight slashed at him, splitting its companion in half. Link wanted to know why the red knight had stopped, but it was the least of his worries. The statue swung again. Link ducked under the attack and chopped off his opponent’s hand. He slashed at its waist, chopping the knight in half. It shattered as it hit the ground. As the darts had done earlier, the statues’ remains melted into nothing. Now, it was time for the true Armos Knight to make its move. Link dodged its attack and struck it in the leg. His blade bounced off, not even leaving a scratch. The knight kicked him across the room and into the wall. He rolled away from its next swing, and struck again. Nothing. Link was getting very desperate and very worried. He backed away from the Armos Knight, quite unsure of what to do next. The statue managed to kick him again, and once again Link found himself on the opposite end of the room. As he crashed, his blade knocked against the Armos Knight’s base. The creature clutched its side, as if in pain. Link painfully got to his feet, the knight trying to hurry over to him. He raised his sword and plunged it into the center of the base. The knight was starting to stagger. Link ripped the sword out of the base and got out of the statue’s way. The Armos Knight crashed into the wall, breaking into thousands of pieces. As its companions had done, the Armos Knight and its base melted into nothing. The gates blocking the entrance and exit lifted, and Link limped into the next room, sword ready.
Link breathed a sigh of relief at what he saw. Upon a pedestal that came up to his chest was the Triforce of Wisdom. The golden triangle was floating, not lying, and gave off a bright golden glow. Sheathing his sword, he picked up the beautiful and sacred artifact.
You have done well, Link, son of Arn, said a small voice in Link’s head. It seemed to be coming from the Triforce itself. But I am not yours to hold. The image of a beautiful sword flashed in his mind. Its blade was white and its hilt dark blue. A yellow jewel was embedded below the center of the crossguard, the image of the Triforce engraved below that. Your potential lies in this, Hero of Legend. Seek the Blade of Evil’s Bane. Link felt as if a cool breeze was blowing all around him, and he found himself back outside, his wounds healed. He even found his tent set up as well, and Catherine already asleep.
Now sleep, Hero, the voice whispered. Your time will soon come. Sleep… Fatigue enveloping him, Link went into his tent, lying down on his blanket. He immediately fell asleep.
“Open the gates! Link has returned! Open the gates!” Harkinian, Talius, Zelda, and Impa all went to meet Link as he arrived. The youth rode in and dismounted, the portcullis closing behind him. He took one of his saddlebags off of Catherine as servants came to attend to the mare.
“Thank you,” Link said.
“Welcome back,” King Harkinian said. “Come with us.” Link followed the Royal Family and Zelda’s attendant to a separate, private room. Link looked all four in the eyes.
“I got it,” he said seriously. He reached into his bag and slowly drew out the Triforce of Wisdom. Everyone gasped. Harkinian smiled.
“My boy… this was the most rash and foolish action that I have ever seen you take.” He looked at Link. “Thank you.” The King began to reach for the Triforce, but stopped. He left his hand outstretched for a few moments. Everyone was quiet, wondering what the King was waiting for.
“I shouldn’t do this,” he finally said, lowering his arm. “Zelda… come here.” Zelda slowly came to her father’s side, anxious about what was going to happen. Harkinian gently took her wrist and guided her hand to the Triforce. She finally rested her hand on it, a warm, comfortable burning sensation filling her heart.
It is time, Princess Zelda, daughter of noble King Harkinian, she heard the small voice say. Suddenly, the Triforce seemed to dissolve and enter into her body. Everybody stepped back in alarm as the Princess was enveloped by a golden aura. However, it only lasted a moment.
Now we are one…
My thanks to Bioware for making Neverwinter Nights- Link’s fight with the Daria ripped off NWN’s intro.
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