Chapter XVIII - Captive
The warmth of my blood was stolen by the laugh that echoed hollowly in my ears. I cursed myself for my carelessness as I fell towards the earth, waiting for the painful impact.
But suddenly a pair of large arms encircled me before I crashed and held me against their frame. I assumed the goron had caught me for I felt I would be crushed in their hold. I waited further, expecting at any moment to succumb to the paralysis and slip into unconsciousness… yet I did not. I could not move at all—not even an eyelid—and was amazed to find that I retained my sense of feeling, and my hearing. I assumed that although I did not finish the spell of Nayru's Love, I was able to resist sleep.
"You didn't kill her, did you?" the Haladin guard, Clade, asked with amusement.
"I am not so tactless; pain of death should be savored," a man replied; his voice matched the face of the bald man with the false smile.
"Then you and Master Aga—"
"Don't speak his name," the bald man hissed.
"Sorry, force of habit," Clade said nonchalantly and I suddenly heard the tearing of fabric. "I see now why you were chosen… given your common interest in pain." I then heard Clade dismount and scuff the earth with his boot.
"Don't patronize me," the bald man sighed. "I am the best in the business of thievery. Now, what took you so long?"
I am being kidnapped… My neck throbbed and queasiness crept upon me, but I pushed these pains aside to listen further.
"The Hyrulean king demanded his stupid officer accompany us," Clade snapped. "But His Lordship sent the monster after him. He's probably dead." I then heard more scraping and the patting of cloth. "Now am I convincing enough?" I heard Clade mount his horse and fury at his betrayal shuddered through me, heating the entirety of my body, the fervent desire to punish him prompting me to move. But I could do nothing; my inability angered me further until it became nigh unbearable.
"The dirt smudges are a bit overboard," the bald man replied offhandedly. "Are you sure the horse knows the way back?"
"…I purposefully took a horse from the castle stables."
"I'm relieved you're not a complete imbecile."
"I would kill you were I not under orders. Now get this over with; I must return before His Lordship."
"Gladly." I heard the pipe whistle once again and Clade's body shifted in his saddle. There was silence for a moment, then the goron that held me spoke.
"When will she wake, Sakon?" His voice was deep yet timid and my fury faltered when I heard the name of Sakon; I knew I had heard it before…
"Not for a long while."
"Will she be alright?"
"As long as she breathes, I don't care." I felt a sudden tug on my hair, and my coronet was ripped away. "Now, take her to the caravan, quickly."
As the Goron carried me away, another man then spoke. "What did you dose the needles in?" he asked with a soft inflection; it was not an accent I was familiar with and I assumed it was the dark haired man with the dangerous blade.
"A mild paralysis and sedative."
"… You call that mild?"
"Enough Igos, I need to make the final touches on this," Sakon said in a louder voice, drowning out the complaints of the dark-haired man, Igos.
"On what? I thought we were going to take her and go…?"
"Calatia's banner must be seen on the saddle. Once that imbecile returns to the castle, they will see the princess's crown hanging from the horse's reigns, and believe she's been taken by Calatians."
"And what are we to do with her? You tell me we are to start a war, but you've yet to tell me details of this endeavor…"
"Only I am privileged to know. My master swore me to secrecy."
"…And is he from Calatia?"
"Who's Calatia?" the goron yelled to them, stopping and turning back.
"The country across the sea, the sworn enemy of Haladin!" Sakon said as if it were an obvious fact. "This princess is engaged to Haladin's future king and once they find her body on the Calatian cliffs, all of Hyrule will be wroth; this princess is the only heir to the throne and is most beloved. Hyrule will demand Haladin join them in war against Calatia."
My heart stopped; did this thief, Sakon, truly believe he could force Hyrule from peace by my death alone? My mind began to turn very quickly at his conspiring words, forcing me to remember the vivid dreams I had after I was poisoned by the wolfo so many years ago… each and every one.
"Dire consequences await you down the path of ignorance."
In that moment, I knew I could no longer ignore the visions I pretended were mere dreams. For Sakon was the name I had heard mentioned by the man with the frightening golden eyes… along with Calatia.
And the girl I had feared for in my dreams… was me.
My breath stilled and I truly felt as if I would slip from consciousness. Why… why did I not realize this sooner? Only in the bonds of peril, when it may be too late, did I choose to acknowledge, to heed the visions I'd had...
"What do you truly believe in?"
Magic… foresight…destiny… as I remembered the warnings I had seen, and read, things began to bind and unwind themselves… and I began to believe.
Had my demise been determined, destined for this day?
"Through the river of time, one truth yet remains; righteous ruling brings the sun's light whilst the wicked brings the moon's darkness. All shall be warned from this day hence, if such an evil befalls the land of the Goddesses, creatures of the night will bring to pass its ruin."
If I did die, and Hyrule joined Haladin in battle against Calatia, it would explain the appearance of ancient beasts, of the land slipping into ruin…
The diminishing protection of the Goddesses…
But what was to be gained from my death a part from war? Was there one hiding in the shadows to steal the crown, to usurp the throne? It was apparent my capture had been planned for quite sometime... with someone from the castle acting as an accomplice. Yet how was that possible? Who was this traitor? Could it be the same lord that held the allegiance of Clade and Sakon? It had to be someone I once met, in reality… or…
Then I knew. It had to be the man with the golden eyes. He who always waited in the shadows of my mind to torment me in my weakest hours, to seize my heart in fear and cower before his might.
I suddenly remembered the incident in the dining hall with Ganondorf, where I imagined his eyes the same that plagued me. Ganondorf and I were not yet married and if I died now, the crown would not pass to him. But I had witnessed his power, with my own subjects and with his own guards, and knew of his countless victories against the surrounding kingdoms. Surely he possessed enough power to attempt to overthrow me and take Hyrule for his own? As compelling as this revelation was, Ganondorf had saved me from the bullbo. If he wished for my death, would he not have let me perish?
As my questions were answered, more took their place, but the goron's booming voice interrupted my thoughts. "There will be a war?"
"Yes imbecile, that's why I recruited you!"
"I wish you had refused the job, Sakon," Igos sighed.
"The offer was too high."
"I don't like it; killing a woman is a sin."
"Am I going mad?" Sakon began dangerously. "As I said, you were not hired to think, Ikanan."
"I agree with Igos," the goron said loudly. I was somewhat relieved; two of my captors were not blood-thirsty bandits like their temperamental counterpart.
"Silence, both of you," Sakon screeched. "If it weren't for me, Darmani would still be caught in the storms of Snowhead and you Igos… you would be lying dead in Milk Bar Latte, overdosed from Chateau Romani!"
At his mention of Snowhead Peak, I presumed the goron, Darmani, and Igos at least, hailed from Termina, the kingdom to the south of Hyrule.
"The fate of the princess should mean nothing to you," Sakon continued. "The Four Gods kill women all the time; why make me the villain?" There was no mistaking his reference; I was familiar enough with the lore of the Four Gods to know that Sakon hailed from Termina as well. Igos nor Darmani replied to Sakon's irrational outburst and after a few moments, he huffed, "Forget this nonsense; carry on." I heard him walk away and then two loud slaps cut through the air, sending the horses back to the castle. My hope faded at their dying hoofbeats and Darmani gently set me down in the caravan with a heavy sigh.
"Don't mind him, Darmani; his anger will pass," Igos nearly whispered as he approached.
"I don't like it when he yells," Darmani said lowly. I felt a strange hint of sympathy brushing against my heart, but I quickly disregarded it; he was still aiding in my capture.
"Yes, I know."
"Igos," Darmani began as I heard Igos start to walk away.
Igos's steps paused. "Hm?"
"I don't want her to know she will die… she would cry. Can it be a secret?"
Igos chucked. "Yes Darmani, a secret it shall be."
At his terribly considerate words, I could feel tears prickle beneath my lids. I willed myself to not give in, to not lament my fate. But silently they fell, running down from corners of my eyes, soaking into my hair.
I could not brush them away.
We journeyed the rest of the day and into the night at a swift pace, stopping only for minutes at a time to allow the horses some respite. Somehow, before dawn broke, I had fallen into a numb sleep. When I awoke some hours later, it was dusk and the caravan had stopped. I took a deep breath, and slowly opened my eyes. I sighed in relief; I was able to move my body at last. As I listened to my surroundings, I could hear the call of seabirds and the faint roar of waves in the distance.
The sea? I had been taken to the shores of the Great Sea.
My body stiffened. I cannot be here! I sat up quickly, blood suddenly pounding heavily in my ears, the dizziness causing me to sway on the spot. I shook my head and jumped from the caravan before anyone could stop me. I had to escape before I was taken any farther from the castle, but most of all… I could not bear to be so close to these murderous waters.
"She's running! Igos!" Sakon screamed.
I glanced behind me saw Igos racing towards me. My captors had stopped the caravan at the shoreline, loading their things onto a wayward dock. I turned back around to find the main shipping docks away in the distance, but I would not give up. My body ached terribly from the effects of the paralysis, causing me to stumble and the sand slowed my escape further. Despite the help of my riding dress and boots, I was not fast enough; Igos easily caught up with me and grabbed me by the waist.
"Release me!" I shouted, my voice breaking slightly from disuse.
I used my magic to send a shock through him. "Sucoro'da!" His gripped slackened and I pulled away as he staggered back, holding his head. I ran on ahead, but still he followed after me. My heart sank and I cursed inwardly; the power of my magic was hardly a threat; my full strength had yet to return.
I came upon a lighthouse, and knew it at once to be one of Sunset Bay's great lighthouses, a harbor city in the Fallon province in northwestern Hyrule. As I raced up the path leading up to the door, I heard the sing of Igos's sword as he unsheathed it. I called out for help, praying someone would hear me, but Igos grabbed me and pulled me back.
"You're more trouble than you're worth," he muttered and knocked the hilt of his sword against my head.
A lifetime seemed to have passed before the veil of blackness was lifted and I opened my eyes. I found myself in the throne room and for a moment, I thought I had returned to the castle… until a faint glimmer caught my eye beside me.
"Yet you are still helpless…" a hoarse voice rasped.
I turned fully and stared wide-eyed at the mirror beside me that cast back an ugly reflection. "What do you want of m-me?" I asked in a small voice; I had not been visited by the hag for four years until two days ago, but then it was only her voice that haunted me; her wrinkled, pocked face beneath a soiled cloak still caused me to shudder. "Why do you call upon me now?"
"Impudent child, you claim to believe yet still you waver. Such weakness must be undone if you are to prevail."
"Prevail? I do not—"
"Be wary of ones you call friend, be wary of ones you deem enemies," she said barely above a whisper, as if the air itself has spoken.
"Cease these riddles; I will listen, so please, tell me who—" Suddenly the hag disappeared. I called out, but there was no answer. Her reprimands left me uneasy and I fell to my knees, shaking my head. It was too late to heed the warnings of the past. I was powerless to prevent my death…
"Despair not at your darkness, child." A beautifully deep voice echoed throughout the room.
"Power you have not, yet wisdom is granted… and courage you shall be given," said another voice. I stood, searching desperately to find these voices, never wanting them to silence.
"Listen still, daughter," yet another beautiful voice spoke. It was lyrical, soft… somehow familiar. "Thou must live, for it is only through thee that others shall be given life." I pleaded with them to stay, to make themselves known unto me, but their presence faded… the comfort and warmth I felt vanishing into nothingness.
"Courage shall come!"
It was midnight when I finally awoke, and I nearly moved to escape again. However, the beautiful voices echoed still and I refrained from moving, keeping my ears open instead.
Then I heard the sound of the crashing waves of the Great Sea and I bit back a moan; we had left Hyrule. I opened my eyes ever so slightly and found myself in a boat, placed upon a mess of blankets against the mast. Listening further to my surroundings, I heard Sakon and Igos conversing quietly on the other side of the boat.
"Sakon, I've been wondering… how did you come to be involved in these war plans? Clock Town folk are usually a peaceful people."
"The network of assassins is well organized. My master gave me this offer and in return, his lord would give me whatever I desired."
"Who's that?" Darmani asked.
"Fool, you are not important enough to know," Sakon replied crossly. "I was posted in Calatia for a time as a spy, trying to find a weakness in their rulers, but my master's lord suddenly thought of another plan four years ago and that princess is central to that plan."
My former anger returned, my nails digging into the palms of my hands; I had been conspired against before I even came of age…
"This is the turning point. My name will go down in history after this is over. You should be honored, Igos, to be apart of my legacy."
Igos chuckled quietly. "All this for the sake of glory…"
Sakon burst into laughter. "You dare look down upon me? You are no better, Igos… becoming an assassin out of revenge. You cannot be half-hearted in this; our work is an art." Igos said nothing and I heard him climb the stairs and begin to walk about on the upper deck. "I can hear them now," Sakon continued dreamily. "'Sakon the Elusive: known for killing the most beautiful princess in history and starting the Binding Wa—" Sakon stopped short, then said impatiently, "Why are you doing that?"
"What?" Igos asked.
"Acting as if we are followed?"
"To make we are not being followed."
"That would be undeniably preposterous."
"But Sakon," Darmani said, "what if we get caught?"
"Silence; your stupidity is beginning to bother me."
I could not keep silent any longer. Sakon's cruel arrogance to Darmani had finally broken me. This wicked, conspiring Terminan, could not be allowed another breath; he deserved retribution for his crimes against the crown and against Hyrule.I would not allow those prophecies to come to pass nor allow the remaining peace in Hyrule to vanish, no matter the cost.
In the blink of an eye, I whipped the blankets from me and stood, muttering the spell for Din's Fire, letting the heat form in my palms. Directing the flame with my hands, it flew towards Sakon, and just as he turned his head, it struck him in the shoulder, knocking him back against the railing. I moved to summon another, but felt a strange coldness envelope me, and the fire would not form again.
Darmani and Igos stared at me in shock, but as Sakon stood, he merely smirked, dusting the embers off his shoulder, not at all affected by my sudden outburst. His eyes narrowed, but he still appeared as if he were smiling. "You've singed my clothes, you insolent wretch."
"Despite your arrogance, you will be caught," I said icily, trying to hide the quake in my voice. "And shall only be granted death."
He laughed. "Of all the lives on this boat, princess, the one you should be worrying about is your own," he sneered.
I drew my hands up again, trying to will my body into using magic, when suddenly Darmani begged me to stop. I glanced to him and in that distracted moment, Sakon lunged towards me with a dagger in his hand.
Pressing it against my throat, he said through gritted teeth, "you Hylians pride yourself on your magics, yet you hardly use that intellect of yours to study the logic of the world. Your petty magics cannot beat the steel of a sword." He then pulled the dagger away, and struck me across the face, the blow nearly sending me to my knees.
Darmani moaned sadly and before I could retaliate, Igos suddenly gasped and called out in alarm. "Sakon, there is a ship!" My heart leapt.
"What!" Sakon hissed. He left me where I was and rushed up the steps to the upper deck. "Preposterous," he breathed. I tried once more to summon Din's Fire, but to no avail. The paralysis had somehow restricted my magic usage.
"No one in Calatia knows what we've done," Sakon explained. "And no one in Hyrule could have gotten here so fast." I peered over the side and saw a large ship in distance. "It… it must be fishermen," Sakon said unsteadily.
Igos gestured to the sea. "Yes, but why in the night? There have been sightings of monst—"
"They're getting closer," Darmani warned.
"It's the trickery of the moonlight," Sakon reasoned. "This is the fastest boat in the Great Sea; I made sure of it…"
"Pirates?" Igos suggested.
As I stood there I realized Darmani and I were the only ones on the lower deck of the boat. What seemed a wise idea at the time but remained foolish in the end, came to me.
With Darmani staring away at the pursuing ship, along with Igos and Sakon, I backed away towards the railing, carefully shifting my weight so the boards would not creak. I climbed over the railing and lowered myself down the hull. Slipping my foot into the water, I nearly gasped aloud; it was like ice. I instantly regretted my hasty decision, but there was no other means of escape. Gritting my teeth, I took a deep breath and submerged myself into the frigid water. I shuddered immediately and began to swim towards the other ship.
"…Where is she?" I suddenly heard Sakon say loudly.
I dove beneath the water to hide myself and swam for as long as possible. I came up for air and the coldness nipped at my lungs and skin. I tried to catch my breath quietly, but it was useless; my chin was quivering and my breaths came in audible gasps.
"Go in! Go after her!" Sakon screamed frantically.
"…I can't swim," I heard Igos say.
"I will sink!" Darmani cried.
"Damn you both! Turn us around! She's headed for that ship." I dove beneath the water once more but it merely worsened my shivering. I came up again and thankfully, the moon had become hidden by passing clouds.
"Veer left, left! I can hear splashing!" Sakon shrieked. My heart hammered so hard against my chest I hardly heard what he was shouting. Despite my frantic swimming, I could feel the blood leaving my extremities, pooling towards the center of my body. The ship was still such a far distance away, but I would not give fate, nay my death, would not be decided by destiny. "Thou must live..."
In that moment of determination, a sound like the wailing of the dead, suddenly echoed all around, emanating from somewhere beneath the sea. Fear clung to me like my wet clothing, and I ceased all movement. No…
"…They have even caught monstrous fish in the Great Sea."
"Ah…so it is true," Igos lamented faintly.
"Princess?" Sakon called, his voice dripping with glee. "Do you hear them? Can you hear the cries of the sea monsters?" I said nothing, when suddenly I saw a form break the surface of the water near the boat. It circled about quietly, its body remaining submerged apart from a great fin that warned of danger. Sakon snickered wickedly. "Unfortunately for you, I know these monsters."
"What are they?" Darmani asked with apprehension.
"Gyorgs. Do you know what happens when they smell blood in the water? They go wild. Ripping and shredding anything they can catch." Not once had I come across this monster in the archives of the library; how did Sakon know such details? I shook my head; no, it did not matter; how was I to escape? There was no possibility for magic usage for my body was already weakened, nor was I a quick enough swimmer to elude the sea monsters; I was trapped.
Sakon continued to taunt me. "Their cries grow louder when they are about to feed. I'm safe in this boat, unlike you, Princess." Just then, something brushed against my leg, and my breath hitched. "Just swim back now, and I give you my word that your death will be painless. I doubt the gyorgs will be so obliging."
My trembling became nigh unbearable and I glanced to the boat then to the ship in the distance; I would never make it. But despite being ripped apart and dying in agonizing pain… I could prevent the war Sakon was plotting; he could not kill me on Calatia's lands.
"Hurry, Princess!" Darmani suddenly pleaded. "Sakon is going to put his blood in the water!" I bit my lip; I would not yield. It was my duty to protect Hyrule, I must! "Please!" His booming voice shook.
"Last chance; reveal yourself!" Sakon bellowed. I remained silent, closed my eyes and held my breath.
"So be it; farewell Princess!" A quiet splash sounded across the water, and the air itself seemed to still. The boat rocked against the waves, the moan of the wood breaking the silence. The three captors looked onward at the sea, unable to find me in the black waters beneath the covered moon.
I released the breath I held…
And the gyorgs went mad.
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