Crowns of Deception

By Forlorn Rain

Chapter XVII - Emergence

I wandered about the castle aimlessly, trying to sort out the confliction within me.

"A malevolence draws near … like the dark clouds of a storm, it will cover the land in darkness." Each time those words repeated in my mind, a mounting sense of despondency grew within me. Why had I stayed to listen to Sahasrahla's speculative words?

"You must heed his warning…"

No, no I did not stay because I felt I should… it was curiosity… mere curiosity. It did not matter if history revolved around the Triforce; such silly beliefs belonged in the ancient times. The Goddesses did not bother to concern themselves with their creations below their thrones; how many people truly still believed in their power? How many people believed their prayers would be answered?

I sighed heavily, stopping myself from scoffing further. My bitterness had stemmed from that day four years ago, twisting and burrowing within me, feeding upon the darkness I submitted myself to, encasing my heart in its tendrils… and hopelessness prevailed.

Even if I desired to revive the faith I lost… I felt incapable… unworthy. Redemption seemed an impossible endeavor, and my fate was sealed… no matter how much I hoped otherwise.

My steps faltered, and I suddenly wanted to laugh. Is this why I felt myself wanting to believe in the Triforce, to undo the past… changing the course of the future?

The wish is the reflection of the heart… what the wisher most desires…

Did I… already believe in its existence?

With one wish… life could be given to he who was lost—

—No… enough.

It was an impossible belief. There was nothing that could fade the scars of the past; it could not be undone.

I sighed expectantly; it was mistake to pursue the mystery of the mark on my hand once again and I would not further risk unlocking more unnecessary confliction. It was enough.

I closed my eyes, inhaling slowly in attempt to rid myself of the unease I felt. Opening my eyes, I continued on, and as I walked about the castle, it seemed eerily quiet; I could only hear the echo of my heeled shoes. An overwhelming sense of loneliness came upon me and I wanted nothing more than to seek comfort in Impa's arms. Passing a window, I saw the weather had changed dramatically. I bit my lip; the autumn rains would surely delay Impa's return even more. I decided then to send a message to Impa and turned down a corridor leading to the main hallway. Just as I rounded the bend, I heard urgent voices emanating from the council chambers ahead. I hurried over to the double doors and peered around the one that was ajar.

"I must inform His Majesty as well. Where is he now?"

"There is no need, Sir Cidreth, I will tend to that."

"Yes, f— Counselor Iras."

"Now then, back to your post."

The informant, Sir Cidreth, the son of Counselor Iras, bowed and saluted then headed to the doors. What matter was so urgent, so secret that Sir Cidreth could not report to my father? I waited by the door to question him, but it was he who noticed me upon his exit.

His face shaded and he quickly bowed. "G-Good day, Your Highness!"

"And to you, Sir Cidreth. What news do you bring?"

His mouth moved as if to speak and suddenly decided against it. He stole a glance at Counselor Iras and replied, "It may disconcert Her Highness..." His slight smile told me he withheld purposefully; was it out of command or worry on my behalf?

"Please, Sir Cidreth, the matter seemed quite urgent."

He met my eyes and reluctantly nodded his head. "My scouts tell me that—"

"Your Highness," Counselor Iras interrupted, making his way to us. "How do you fare this day?"

I could only see half his body from where I stood behind the door, and I stepped out fully to greet him. As I did so, I found Counselor Warnock, the Minister of Foreign Relations, coming forward as well.

"How do you do, Princess Zelda?" Counselor Warnock asked warmly; I wanted to roll my eyes at his exaggerated tone; it hinted dangerously of condescension.

"Good afternoon Counselor Warnock, Counselor Iras." I greeted. "I am well, as I hope the same for you; thank you for your kind inquiry." Counselor Iras simply bowed his head to me.

"To what do we owe this blessed visit?" Counselor Warnock asked, his lips slightly puckering.

"…I thought I heard raised voices."

"Oh… my deepest pardons." Counselor Warnock said with a deep frown. "I am sorry to have disturbed you, but worry not; it is nothing to concern Her Highness with."

I cleared my throat, deciding to match his disregard with bluntness. "I believe I shall be the judge of that, Counselor." I said calmly. His face reddened and he mumbled an apology.

Counselor Iras then stepped forward. "If I may, Your Highness, Sir Cidreth has just given us a report of noteworthy occurrences across Hyrule; nothing so new to discuss however."

More beast sightings no doubt. "I see, but if you would enlighten me, I am interested in the welfare of our people."

Counselor Warnock shifted uncomfortably. "With all due respect, Your Highness… we were informed that these reports were to remain undisclosed and given only to His Majesty or Prince Ganondorf."

My hands fisted at my sides. "I attend the council meetings; I am privileged to know such information."

"Forgive me, Your Highness, but we were ordered—"

"By whom, Counselor?"

"Prince Ganondorf, Your Highness," Counselor Iras answered, his face impassive.

I suppressed the mounting anger from my face as I glanced from him to Counselor Warnock. "Is this true?"

Counselor Warnock merely smiled nervously.

"You will inform a prince of a foreign country, a man who is yet to be my husband, but you will not tell me, your country's sovereign?"

"Your Highness—"

"His power is not greater than mine. I am Hyrule's Princess, and he the Prince of Haladin; you are not bound by his orders but only to mine and those of King Harkinian."

Counselor Iras simply looked to Cidreth, as if speaking with his eyes, and Counselor Warnock reached out to me apologetically. "Your Highness… Prince Ganondorf merely wished to keep you from further worries and..." he trailed off. My heart was stung by this treacherous news. So I was thought incompetent of handling such secrecy? It is by your doing; do you truly blame their concern? You were lifeless for nearly two years…

"…In your delicate state—"

I held up a hand. "Enough, Counselor, I shall speak with His Majesty and Prince Ganondorf on this matter." Both counselors bowed and I saw them glance to one another as they did so; they did not think me competent either. All they saw was a woman, a weak princess with a pretty face who grudgingly served the men she was powerless against. It is your fault… you are still that little girl who wishes that fairytales were real. You are still terrified to confront—

Silence! I did not have the will to face those haunting memories; suppressing them allowed me to endure. Learning those forbidden magics was the only way I could become a strong ruler; I must not let those hindering memories, full of hopeless emotion keep me from proving my worth as Hyrule's future queen. Too many years I had wasted on dreams and desires.

"Good-day, counselors," I said with curt bow of the head. I then turned to Cidreth. "If you would be so kind, Sir Cidreth, might you escort me to the west wing?"

Cidreth bowed. "I would be honored, Your Highness." He bid goodbye to his father and Counselor Warncok and saluted them. He gestured politely for me to lead the way and I did not look back as I left the council chambers. Silence ensued until we reached the adjoining hall.

"Thank you, Sir Cidreth, for obliging me," I said quietly.

"Not at all, Your Highness. I am delighted to be of assistance." I looked at him and smiled. Cidreth was a handsome man, as many ladies of the court would agree. His hair was brown, wavy, constantly falling in his dark eyes and he was a few years old than me, not much taller for that matter, but always treated me with the dignity I deserved as princess. But I did not respect him for his appearance. With his father as the Minister of Defense, high expectations rested upon his shoulders. As the lead informant, Cidreth was diligent in all his duties and was fiercely loyal to his subordinates and his superiors.

"I must admit," I began, "I called upon you for reasons other than an escort."

He grinned. "So your true intent emerges. How can a simple scout help his princess?"

I looked around for any signs people and then continued. "Tell me of the reports."

Cidreth's face fell in the slightest. "I must obey my fa—Counselor Iras. Her Highness witnessed herself I am bound by orders not to divulge."

"I shan't repeat your words," I reasoned as we walked on. "None will know you have revealed such private information… not even your father."

"And I trust you not to, but my conscious you see…"

I nearly laughed. "I admire your integrity."

His face shaded. "And I your resolve…" he said quietly.

I felt in that moment that his sincerity ran deeper than feelings of respect and I quickly dismissed it. "Your kind words attempt to distract me…"

Cidreth laughed nervously. "Pardon me."

He said nothing more so I continued my attempts to persuade him. "I do not wish to beg, Sir Cidreth; I must know." Cidreth remained silent and flung his hair from his eyes, biting his lip in indecision.

"I do not have such impenetrable integrity as you; do not force me to command," I said with some hesitance.

He glanced about warily. "Very well, I shall tell you." I nodded my head with a smile of thanks and he stopped by a suit of armor and looked to me gravely. "The scouts have reported more beast sightings and attacks, but that is not new." He began in a hushed voice. "The Gerudo Valley has become even more dangerous. Sink holes have begun to appear all over, arbitrarily I might add."

My brows furrowed; sink holes were only heard of in the Gerudo Desert itself, and even then were very rare.

"The coastal towns, Sunset Bay and Crescent Harbor have reported a rise in tidal waters; they have even caught monstrous fish in the Great Sea. I have also heard rumors of two fishermen missing since their voyage three months ago."

I could not believe what I was hearing.

"And the mountain lands have quaked twice in the past month. They were not dangerous enough to cause damage, but the people are frightened."

"Once set in motion, the destruction cannot be undone. The Goddesses shall command the earth to purge the golden land of the abomination, and none shall be spared."

I put a hand to my head.

"And Hyrule field now has—Your Highness, are you alright?"

I blinked furiously, trying to silence the echoing prophecy. "Y-yes, yes, I'm fine, please continue."

"Ah… that is all the summaries…"

"Thank you for divulging, Sir Cidreth, truly. I-I must excuse myself for now."

"…Yes, of course," he answered, his face drawn with concern. "Perhaps we can meet later then?"

I simply shook my head. "Y-yes perhaps; good-day." I stumbled back to my chambers, feeling as if forces were trying to pull me in every direction. Part of me felt a great terror at the reports; the other part of me laughed at the ridiculous coincidence of it all. But why? Why was there so much conflict within myself? You know why, but you choose not to listen. You scoff at the Goddess, you heed not their warnings. Like a frightened child, you cower in your solitude, wallowing in your sorrow and self-pity.

I screamed for silence inwardly as I shut my chamber door. You are not fit to be Hyrule's Queen. I walked out to my balcony, still arguing with myself and stared out at the dying greenery, feeling my eyes burn. Even if you wish to believe the histories, the prophecies… the Triforce, and the mark you bear decrees you as chosen… you do not deserve such power.

I recalled the words of the soldiers, of Cidreth, of Sahasrahla, the cautionary passages I'd read over the years. I thought of my circumstances, of my impending marriage, the pulsating scar upon my hand…

You are nothing without him.

My tears fell. No longer… I could deny it no longer: I believed, at least, in the prophecy.

Evil was not waiting in the shadows… it had already seeped into the land.

Hyrule had become tainted.

I did not leave my chambers the rest of the day. I had collapsed onto my balcony and the chilly evening air woke me though I did not move until nightfall.

I dreamt the same terrible things again that night and when I awoke the next morning, the day of our departure to Haladin, a deep feeling of dread took hold of me and I felt twisted from within; I muttered another memory suppression spell, not wanting to relive last night.

What did my dreams warn me of? Did the evil dwell among us already, or was it just on the horizon…? I would not voice my concerns to anyone for I knew I had to sort myself out first… but I did not know where to start. My impatience for Impa's advice grew nearly unbearable and I realized I had not sent a message yesterday like I planned. I called for page to inquire of any news of her, but he returned with none. Before I could worry any further, I remembered we were likely to rest in Kakariko for the night and I would be able to meet Impa there.

I cheered some by that prospect and readied myself for the journey. I dressed in a simple, deep red dress and brown riding boots—more fitting for travel. I pulled half my hair back to keep it from my face and placed a small coronet on my head, for I was required to distinguish myself in public.

My handmaidens knocked and entered my room, bringing two servant men with them. They gathered my packed belongings and I led them down to the courtyard. Every step I took, the increasing sense of forebode grew stronger, trying to overcome me. As I passed through the entrance hall doors, the morning air caused me to chill. I wrapped my cloak tighter about me and made my way to the carriage. My father and Ganondorf were already waiting, conversing with the Captain of the Guard, Captain Viscen.

"Everything is prepared, Your Highness. We depart on your command."

"Very well," my father said.

Ganondorf then turned to him. "Your Highness, is there a need for so many guards? My own lieutenant is to meet us in Kakariko with an escort of twenty more men."

My father shook his head gravely. "Indeed so. I met with Counselor Iras. The beast sightings have become much more frequent… alarmingly so I might add." At his hushed words, the sense of betrayal I felt yesterday returned, but I did my best to put aside my bitterness; I did not want to make the journey more unpleasant than it already would be. I would have to confront them both concerning their exclusion of me upon our return…

"It is best to be overly prepared," my father continued. "With your ten accompanying us, I think the number with our eight is sufficient. My men are Hyrule's finest knights after all," he finished, his voice ringing with a note of pride.

"Of course, Your Highness, a wise decision." I detected a hint of sarcasm and I pursed my lips. Ganondorf then turned expectantly to me with a smile on his face. "Good-morning Princess Zelda; you look radiant as ever." His eyes glanced over me. "Are you fit for travel?"

His sweeping eyes caused my face to flush and I nodded my head stiffly. "I am in your care."

His smile widened. "Allow me to help you inside." He took my arm in his and steered me to the door. Despite wearing thick gloves, I touched his hand as lightly as possible as I stepped into the carriage. My father followed after me and sat beside me, for which I was greatly relieved. Ganondorf then climbed in and the door swung shut.

The coachman whistled harshly and horses took off, lurching the carriage forward. I moved the curtains aside to allow light in and watched the drawbridge lower as we rode through the courtyard towards it. We crossed the moat, then passed through the inner and outer gates. Making our way through town, nearly all stopped to watch us ride by. Some bowed, and others whispered to one another while their children waved excitedly. I closed the curtains on my side; the cloth helping to muffle the commotion. The Castleton drawbridge was then lowered and we quickly crossed over the run-off of Zora's River. Emerging onto the field, I moved the curtains aside again, expecting to see the beautiful changing colors of the autumn season blooming across Hyrule Field…

…But was only met with the sight of thick, swirling fog.

The feeling of trepidation instantly returned—ten-fold—and I felt an odd sensation in my chest, as if there were a heavy weight crushing down upon me. I took slow, deliberate breaths, trying to ease my discomfort, but it would not cease and I rested my head against the wall.

As we traveled eastward towards Kakariko, I battled inwardly with myself whether or not I should voice this unrelenting, fearful feeling. I looked at my father; he would dismiss my unease as nerves. And Ganondorf… he would feign concern, smile mockingly and agree with my father. My heart fell; there was none I could trust apart from Impa…

The silence between my father, Ganondorf, and me remained for only a short while. Ganondorf began to speak of all sites to behold in Haladin and all things to entertain. Through all his sorcerer-like flattery and beguiling depictions, not once did he speak of the remorse he felt for his adopted father's passing; it was as if we were to attend a celebration rather than a memorial.

Nearly three hours later, just when I thought my ears would start to bleed, the carriage came to a sudden halt. I could hear the arguing of men's voices outside and I looked to my father curiously.

Furrowing his brows, he opened the door and stood upon the threshold. "Why do we stop?" I noticed the fog had yet to recede.

Captain Viscen jumped from his seat beside the coachman. "Pardon me, Sire. The scout reported seeing a… beast… up head. We must take another route."

My father sighed. "You are sure of this?"

"Yes Sire. Even the horses are restless."

"Do you not think our forces able to dispatch it?"

"With all due respect, we dare not risk the—"

Just then, a blood-curdling roar echoed across the field and the horses whined, clomping their hooves nervously into the ground. There was silence for a moment, and then another—a slightly different pitch—followed in suit.

"There are two!" a frantic voice in the distance shouted.

"It would seem we have no choice!" Captain Viscen grumbled. "Sire, please stay inside," he commanded. "Officer Rinald, bring me my horse!" A Hylian guard appeared on horseback and dismounted, Captain Viscen quickly taking his place. "Escort the carriage to the southeast route!" he ordered as he rode away.

"They cannot battle monsters," I said as the carriage door shut, muffling the voices and clank of armor.

"Do not fear for them, Zelda,"

"The guards should return with us—"

"No, the beasts must be disposed of before they cause harm. We will go another route." I peered out the window, narrowing my eyes, trying to see the beasts they spoke of, but I could not see them through the fog. I glanced over at Ganondorf; he was staring out the opposite window with a look of deep concentration.

The carriage began to turn around as the stifled voice of Officer Rinald spurred the coachman on. "Faster man, hurry, before—" Another roar echoed outside even louder than before. I pressed my hands against the panes of the glass, still seeing nothing but billowing, grey haze.

"Go!" The carriage lurched forward and the horses took off in a sprint. I fell back against the seat, but continued to search the fog with my eyes.

"I apologize for the delay, Prince Ganondorf," I faintly heard my father say.

"An apology is needless, Your Highness."

"Nevertheless… I suspect the southern route will add nearly half a day. We will not reach Kakariko until well after dark."

We were now traveling back to the Crossways, the place where the road from Castleton split west, east and south. The alternate route to Kakariko would take us past Lon Lon, then carve northeast to Kakariko. The prospect of a lengthened carriage ride only increased my apprehensions. I was anxious for the fate of Captain Viscen and the few who stayed to fight.

I could not deny that I was terrified as well. The events of the day had played out nearly exactly as my dream: the fog, the beasts; the disturbing shouts of men…

Hesitantly, I turned to my father to tell him what I saw… what was to come…but then I heard the gallop of something other than the horses. My blood froze, yet my heart quickened.

And suddenly, the carriage lifted into the air and fell with a violent crash. My head knocked against the wall and I inhaled sharply, and through the ringing, I could hear screams echoing from outside.

The carriage door shook, and was forcefully pried open and there stood Officer Rinald wide-eyed, blood running down the side of his face. "Sire! Lord Ganondorf! You must escape on horseback with the princess!"

My father's face hardened and he stumbled towards the door. "Bring me a sword."

Officer Rinald's eyes widened further. "But Sire—!"

"That is an order."

Officer Rinald gritted his teeth and disappeared. My father began to climb out when I called to him thoughtlessly. "Father, you cannot do this!"

He turned to me. "Remain here, Zelda, and for Goddess's sake, be silent." He looked to Ganondorf, nodded his head and with that he was gone.

I moved to follow when Ganondorf caught my hand and shut the carriage door. He pulled me to him with a strange look upon his face. "Are you frightened, princess?" He then took both my hands in his and I did not resist. I simply swallowed the tension in my throat and bowed my head as I sat down across from him. I could feel the quaking of the earth from the sprint of the horses, I could hear the cries of the guards. Fear churned within me, causing sickness to take hold; my breath turned shallow.

"You are trembling," Ganondorf said quietly. He then moved to sit beside me and I could not help but stiffen. His hand found my chin and he raised my head to him. "I will protect you," he said in a low voice. I furrowed my brows, trying to think of a response. Hearing such gallant words from him had an unfamiliar feeling attached… a deeper meaning… hidden…

Suddenly the carriage was knocked again and I fell against Ganondorf. I held my breath, wanting to rush out the door when another knock lifted the carriage. I let out a small cry as the carriage overturned, and Ganondorf took me into his arms, shielding me from harm. The carriage rolled numerous times, my breath taken at each turn as Ganondorf weighted atop me. Finally the carriage came to a stop on its side, the door crushed against the ground; we were trapped.

"Are you alright?" Ganondorf asked. He sounded oddly composed. Surely he had been injured?

"Y-yes," I answered, my voice breaking. "Thank you," I added, trying to calm my breath as he released me.

"Be still; I will get us out." Ganondorf stood as much as the small space would allow and touched the window. "Shield your eyes," he commanded without looking at me. I curled my head to my legs and covered my ears. There was then a loud shattering noise, and the sounds of the outside poured it. Ganondorf had broken the glass with ease.

"What is happening? What of my father?" I asked quickly as I too tried to stand.

Ganondorf turned to me with the same, strange look upon his face; it was as if he knew something I did not. "I will go to him. Do not leave the carriage." He swiftly climbed out the window and disappeared, but I would not heed his command; my concern was too overwhelming. I pulled myself up out of the broken window but the site before me froze me to the core. It was as if I had stepped into my dream.

The fog swirled about the landscape as if it was rushing towards me and the wind whipped against my face with an icy breath. The earth was spotted with blood and guards were scattered about, some moving feebly; others as still as death. A dead horse lay tangled in the broken axel and I covered my mouth to stifle a gasp. The beast was no where to be found yet I could hear its low growls coming from the brush in the distance. Ganondorf had joined my father at his side, sword in hand, and looked about warily with the rest of the guards.

Then finally… the beast revealed itself.

An enormous boar, with bloodied tusks and crimson eyes, came charging out of the fog. It was a Bullbo, one that had escaped Captain Viscen and his men. The shouts of warning were followed by a mass of spears, but the flint did nothing to hinder it, not even piercing its hide. Steel-tipped arrows rained down upon it, impaling their mark yet the bullbo's speed only increased; the efforts of the guards had merely angered it further. It stopped just before us, rearing its head with ugly screams… and suddenly charged directly for my father. I jumped from atop the carriage without thinking and before I could utter a warning, time slowed of its own accord. My father raised his sword and sliced down the bullbo's face. The bullbo cried out, and tried to stop itself. The nearby guards rolled out of its way as it turned suddenly.

And threw my father into the air.

I felt my mouth fall open, but did not hear the scream that followed. I ran forward thoughtlessly, tears springing from my eyes as I watched my father's body hit the ground. Do not die! Do not leave me!

Then all eyes turned to me; the bullbo had turned its course towards me. The shouts of warning stopped me in my tracks. If I ran, I would be caught in the bullbo's tusks. If I took cover in the carriage, I would be crushed. And if I used magic… I would cause an uproar, forever to be feared; none knew of my skills but Impa, Sahasrahla and….

Just then something uncoiled within me and my vision tunneled. I felt as though I'd faint, but strangely my body stilled. My surroundings began to blur and everything became silent.

The white fog melted into a dark forest.

The bullbo shifted into the form of a wolfo, bounding towards me through the trees.

I was rooted to the ground, but my fears left me… for I knew what was to unfold.

The wolfo would lunge for me, injure my arm, and I would cower upon the ground, waiting for death… then…

He would come.

I closed my eyes and waited.

The wolfo howled, its pursuit drawing nearer.

I drew in a deep breath, hearing his running footsteps behind me, feeling his anger and concern for me… Hearing his voice as he called out for me…

I was then thrown to the ground and I opened my eyes, expecting to see that long forgotten fierce gaze…

But it was only a pair of amber eyes staring down at me. I exhaled sharply, covering my face as I returned to the present. It had been an illusion; the bewitchment of my heart had overcome me once again. I weakly mouthed the incantation to clear my mind before I was overrun with emotion.

"Are you hurt?" Ganondorf asked gruffly.

I shook my head, trying to forget those cold, narrow eyes. "M-my father… where is—!"

"He lives." He interrupted, not bothering to disguise the edge in his voice. He then gathered me into his arms and set me on my feet.

"Wha… what of the beast?"

"It demolished the carriage and disappeared, but you must escape quickly."

"No, I must tend to my father!" I cried, seeing the guards crowding around his body that lay unmoving.

"Your safety is what matters now; you can be of no help here." I glared at Ganondorf. Why was he so insistent? Was his concern for me truly sincere? He had kept me from harm and saved my life; had I judged him wrongly?

"I will not leave my father here."

"He is no shape to ride. Leave him to me, princess, do not worry." Ganondorf then grabbed my arm and steered me to one of the horses that had been used to pull the carriage—the only one of the unhurt three that had not run away—and lifted me upon it with ease.

"But the beast is surely to return," I argued. "Please, Prince Ganondorf."

He looked at me with a hint of a smile. "Dusk draws near; you must reach Castleton before dark. It would be Hyrule's greatest tragedy if their princess was taken by a beast."

I furrowed my brows and before I could argue further, he called for a Haladian guard; he was young, perhaps only three years my senior.

"Sir Clade, take the princess back to the castle at once."

"Yes, My Lord."

"Wait, Lord Ganondorf!" Officer Rinald called. Ganondorf turned to him impatiently. "His Majesty insists I escort Princess Zelda as well."

Ganondorf's amber eyes darkened slightly. "Be vigilant, officer, or you shall answer to me." I was once again surprised at how dangerous he sounded. Did I mean so much to him? I ignored the guilt that crept upon me; perhaps I had been too quick to suspect him of deceit.

"Be careful, Prince Ganondorf," I said to him. "I am entrusting my father to you."

As he nodded to me, I could hear the dull, thumping of hooves in the distance. The remaining guards shifted around nervously and braced themselves.

Ganondorf drew his sword. "Go now." Officer Rinald kicked the sides of his horse and made a strange whistling noise; my horse and Clade's followed. I kept glancing back, watching the forms of my father and Ganondorf fade into the fog.

Officer Rinald, Clade, and I rode for some time in anxious silence. The fog began to disperse the closer we got to the Crossways and before I could question him about our distance from the castle, an ear-splitting roar echoed behind us. I turned my head and saw the bullbo running straight for us, gaining speed at an alarming rate. Its chase was relentless; it seemed as if it were following… me…

"Escort the princess ahead, I will draw it away!" Officer Rinald shouted to Clade.

"Are you mad?" Clade yelled back, but Officer Rinald was already veering south, drawing his sword. He shouted at the bullbo and waved his sword about, trying to catch its attention. The bullbo began to follow him, drawn to the glint of his steel and armor. I turned back ahead, hoping he would be able to outrun the bullbo on horseback and my eyes watering from guilt and the wind. Why had I not voiced my worries? I could have prevented this had given up my pride, my fears and told of my vision!

Clade and I continued on quickly and not a few minutes later, I noticed three persons standing by a caravan beneath the cover of three trees to the west.

"We should warn them," Clade said suggested loudly, but I was already steering my horse over to them. Clade followed behind me and I stopped within hearing distance.

"There are beasts about, good sirs, you must seek shelter!" I yelled. They did not reply so I spurred my horse to trot closer. As I neared them, I suppressed a gasp. One the three persons was a very large Goron, with hair as white as snow and wore a string of large purple beads about his neck. He was heavily tattooed along his massive arms and wore gauntlets on his large hands. He stared at my horse with a fierce expression on his face.

The second person was a swarthy man with long black hair, pulled back atop his head and had a brooding look on his face. It was apparent he was not Hyrulean for his clothing was very foreign, consisting of a short purple cape and copper rings about his wrists and ankles. He also wore a necklace with an unfamiliar crest, but what alarmed me most was the sword that hung at his side: it was very large and wide.

The smallest of the persons was a man with short, pointed ears, similar to a Hylian, with his hair completely shorn. His squinted eyes made it appear as if he were smiling; immediately I was distrustful of him.

I dared not move closer and simply repeated myself. "T-there isn't much time." My voice trembled as I tried to regain my composure. "Please heed my warning!"

"You must listen," Clade said, unfazed by the peculiar trio as he approached from behind me. "Escape while you can."

The bald man looked to Clade, and they stared at one another for a moment. He then turned to me with a questioning brow. "But may I ask, Good Lady, where is the nearest village?" I simply looked back at him in disbelief. I was not particularly bothered by his lack of respect; perhaps he did not know who I was, but it was his lack of concern that alarmed me.

Turn back.

"We are but simple, poor travelers," he continued, "and we've broken a wheel on our caravan."

I understood instantly. These travelers had not heard of the beast menace; I tried harder to convince them to leave. "The nearest is Castleton to the north. I urge you to seek shelter; I fear the beast shall return any moment."

The small, bald man with the false smile snickered and glanced once again to Clade. "Then there will be no one to hear you scream."

I furrowed my brows in confusion and in the blink of an eye, he whipped out a small pipe and aimed it towards me.

The spell of Naryu's Love had barely fallen from my tongue before a needle pierced my neck. Vision spinning, I clumsily pulled the needle out as I felt a paralysis flow into my blood and course through my body. I cried silent objections as my eyes rolled back and I fell from my horse… hearing Clade chuckle beside me.

Please note the name difference:

Captain of the Guard: Viscen

Commander of the Hylian militia: Virnen

Oh and please review ;)

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