Chapter 23: The Beginning of the End
The scene faded into darkness once again as Link and Zelda puzzled over what they had just seen.
The Sage of Cosmos had expressed emotion. She was friendly, polite, and sometimes harsh when she needed to be. People had distorted her memory with hideous thoughts, twisting her image to match their own fearful descriptions. At one time Link himself had bourn the same opinion; the vivid images that she had so cleverly instilled in his sleep… Leto's harsh, violent death seemingly at the hands of Artemis. Yes, the Sage's cunning was unmatched by none, not even Zelda I, whom had supposedly been the wielder of the Triforce of Wisdom.
Another scene soon materialized before them: the Temple of Cosmos standing tall, bathed in serene moonlight. The gentle chirruping of crickets sounded in Link's ears as he looked about the silent setting, searching for Artemis.
Clad in a silvery blue tunic and black pants, Artemis stood at the doors glaring up at the moon menacingly as her silvery eyes reflected the moonbeams. She stood as a statue, a pillar of wisdom looking into the unknown.
Gracefully, the young Sage took a step out onto the clear waters of the lake, walking daintly upon the water as she glared at the moon. A familiar scene… almost as if from a far off dream…
"Hear me, Oh Goddesses of Hyrule! Lady Din, Mistress of Power, Lady Nayru, Maiden of Wisdom, Lady Farore, arbitrator of Courage! Lend me your power! What will occur?"
As if in response, the wind began to moan and howl; swirling about the Sage in a tornado. The clear waters became alight with light so intense and burning that it almost rivaled the solar light of the Sun itself.
Through the intense burn of light, Link saw an image appear… Two men standing side by side, one clad in heavy black armor and the other dressed in great finery.
"The pieces are in place, Lord Jakkob," the man clad in armor said. He smiled with hideous yellow teeth, rubbing his gauntleted hands together with glee. "Soon Hyrule shall be yours, along with their pretty little Princess Zelda. Who would have thought that the 'Sage of Wisdom' leader of the Eight Sages, the Princess of Destiny, could be so foolish as to not see our advances."
"And I will have my revenge upon that foolish little Forest boy," the man dressed in finery declared in a low tone. He was a tall young man, with sun kissed skin and curling brown locks. His ears, pointed as any Hylian's, were pierced with multiple pieces of silver jewelery that well matched his blood red embroidered robes. An evil smile twisted on fine lips as curiously crimson eyes flashed beneath dark bangs.
The armor clad man fidgeted a bit on mention of Link I, his hideous smile fading from existence as his hands dropped back to his sides. "Should we not be cautious of the boy? He has the protection of Lady Farore, My Lord. He has fought his way past many a-."
"Sebastian," Jakkob whispered, narrowing his bloody eyes. "You forget that I have more than five hundred thousand men at my command… A little boy trapped in an adult's body cannot stand up to such serious matters."
"That is what your Father thought, Lord," Sebastian said, shrinking back as if to escape his Master's rage. "Instead of being triumphant in battle, he was chained and gagged forever in the Sacred Realm by Zelda and the Green One."
"I am not my Father, Sebastian," Jakkob said, smiling bitterly. "He thought that brute power alone could win a battle. I, however, know that strategy is the factor that matters the most in any battle. He and the Princess are in love, I can sense it in my magic. Say if they were to grow closer, and if I were to take her and force her as my wife… What would that do to Hyrule's Hero?"
"But what about the Sage of Cosmos? Artemis will likely interfere-."
"We shall have no trouble from Artemis," Jakkob said almost instantly. "She is not allowed to act unless matters become dire. And we need not fear the Goddess' Paladin, he has not even been conceived."
"The Paladin poses a threat, Lord," said Sebastian with worry in his voice. "When he is conceived and loosed into the world, he shall have the power of your birthright… The Power that was intended for you alone."
"The answer is simple," Jakkob replied, "We shall kill him as a newborn before he has the chance to surface… Once the Paladin is dead, nothing else halt my expansion… everything starts in Hyrule…"
The image flickered as light dimmed slightly. The Goddess' Paladin? Who was this? A person endowed with the powers of Ganondorf himself, destined to overthrow an evil tyrant?
The wind had not stopped its wild howling. It swirled wildly about Artemis, who stood calmly, looking up at the endless skies and into the Cosmos. A grim expression overtook her pretty features as she spoke for the first time since the eerie message.
"This… is the beginning of the end."
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