The peace and tranquillity has, once again, returned to Hyrule. As the sun greets the inhabitants with a new day, a chorus of birdsong breaks through the air. All is peaceful and quiet. It was five years since the defeat of
Dark Link. His quest for vengeance, put to a short-lived, abrupt end, with the blade of my own sword. However, not everything in Hyrule was ideal. In Verul, my home village, the people were forced to flee and abandon their village, as the Gerudos invaded, attempting to gain more land. This village would soon be forgotten to history, and become part of the great shifting sands of the vast desert of the future. I was not even there when it happened. I was at Lon Lon Ranch, home to Malon, the woman of my heart, and Talon, the wise and, often sleepy, rancher. The great Hero of Time, Link, also joined in my company. We were standing outside the gates of the ranch, reflecting on the events that had transpired 5 years prior. Link and I had become very good friends since our adventure together. We had been sitting in silence for several minutes, before Link broke that silence. "You know what I still don't understand?" I knew what he was going to mention, but I asked, anyway. "What?"
"Well, when the guards investigated the castle, they only found the body of Toro. What happened to my brother? Or your guardian?"
"I don't know, Link. It is a mystery, yes, but we really shouldn't dwell on it. We'll drive ourselves mad if we try to figure it out."
"Yeah, you're right, Joran. But, there's another thing. There's this vigilante out there, calling himself 'The Blue Baron.' He takes care of criminals the King and his Honor Guard fail to catch."
"So? He's doing Hyrule a favour."
"So, it is against Hyrule's law to take the law into your own hands. I was thinking, because we're kind of honorary soldiers, we could catch him, and reveal his identity to all." Link was always looking for some sort of adventure, while I just wanted to settle down. "Why? He's not doing harm."
"He broke the law, Joran. That's why."
"And how are we going to do this, exactly? The man is said to posess sword skills that can even best yours, Link. There's no doubt he could take both of us on. Also, we don't even know what he looks like. All we have is vague descriptions of some man in a blue helmet. I'd say, it's already too late to track him down."
"I don't care what you say, Joran. I'm going after him." With that, Link fetched Epona, and galloped away toward the castle. I simply sighed, went to get my horse, Honor, and I rode straight after him. I couldn't let him go alone, after all.
Flash back five years. In the tallest tower of
, three men lie dead. But, it's not all as it seems. Hyrule Castle Dark Linkwas still there. His essence, part of Ganondorf's evil power, still hung in the air. It re-entered Dark Link's body and he awoke from his seemingly eternal slumber. At first, he couldn't remember anything, but he felt a pain in his chest from the wound created by my sword. He suddenly remembered everything and cried out in frustration at having failed at his goal. What Dark Linkdidn't realize is that someone was watching him, warily, pretending to be dead. It was , my guardian, the man who raised me. The treasonous soldier, Toro Beldar, had put a dagger in his back, but the strike had not been lethal. He saw Kiel Dark Linkget up, stagger at first, then, as he gained his footing, brought out a grappling hook. He attached it to the sill of the window and proceeded to scale down the tower. When Kielwas sure Dark Linkwas out of earshot of any noises coming from the tower, tried to stand up. He cried out in pain, the dagger still buried in his back. He cursed at the dead man behind him, and removed the dagger from his back, with another cry of pain. He then managed to stand up. He was still in tremendous pain, but he would make it. He was bleeding profusely, however. He then headed toward the door and stopped when he heard footsteps. The guards were coming up the stairs to investigate. He knew the guards would never believe his story, so he had to find another way out of the tower. He saw that Kiel Dark Linkhad left his grappling hook hanging in the window sill by accident. He thanked the godesses that the evil young man had been so careless. He pulled himself out the window, and began his steady climb down, just disappearing out of eyesight as the guards entered the room. There they found the body of one man, a man they had known. Toro Beldar, a former soldier to the King, who murdered soldiers he believed to be inferior. Because Hyrule's King was kind, he allowed Toro to live and instead banished him. He had joined forces with Dark Link, but was thwarted and killed by my own hand. had finally reached the ground and scanned the area around him for any sign of Kiel Dark Link. He could find no one, and suddenly felt weak. It was at that point that he remembered that he was still bleeding badly, and decided to head to to ask for medical assistance. He desperately needed it. He made it around the castle to where his faithful mare waited for him. He mounted her, and rode off toward Kakariko. When he arrived, he saw a frightening scene before him. A large, burly man was holding a sword to a boy's neck and was demanding something. As Kakariko Village approached, he could hear the man demanding rupees from the boy. The boy clearly did not have any, and told him several times. However, the man was persisting and was growing increasingly aggressive. At this, Kiel charged the man and fought him off, even with the wound in his back. The man dropped his sword and ran away. Kiel then turned to the boy. "Are you all right?" he asked. The boy nodded and looked at Kiel , admiringly. Kiel then suddenly collapsed from the pain in his back. The boy helped him to the village's medic. After several days, Kiel 's wound began to heal. After leaving the medic's hut, he went in search of the boy. He saw an old blacksmith's forge, which clearly hadn't been used in a while. There was a small shack behind the forge. He knocked on the door and the boy was inside. "Hello there. Do you remember me?" The boy nodded. "Good. What's you're name?" Kiel
"Fano" the boy said, meekly. "I see you have a forge here. Are you a blacksmith?"
"Really? How old are you, if you don't mind my asking?"
"Fifteen" the boy replied.
"My, you are a young blacksmith. Where are your parents?" At this the boy hung his head, sadly.
could see tears forming in his eyes. "Oh. I'm sorry, lad. Was this your father's business?" The boy slowly nodded his head. Kiel decided to help Fano out. "So, I guess you own the business now, right?" Fano nodded again. "You don't get much business, do you?" Kiel
"Well, lad, I'll solve that problem for you. You see, after I stopped that man from robbing you, I felt like that was something I needed to start doing for everyone."
"What's that, sir?" Fano asked, confused. "Bring justice, lad. Stop the criminals and work for the law. Oh, and by the way, I forgot to introduce myself to you properly. My name is
, so you don't have to call me 'sir'." Kiel
"Okay. Nice to meet you,
"Now, back to what I was going to ask of you. I am going to need a helmet that will conceal my face. Also, it must be blue, for Nayru. Can you do it?" Fano nodded eagerly and raced into his shack to get his tools and materials. When he emerged again,
spoke to him once more. "Fano, do you know how to use a sword?" Kiel
"Well, I was thinking, if you also made a sword for yourself, I could teach you how to use it."
Fano agreed with this with an enthusiastic nod. "Alright. Once you've made my helmet and your sword, we'll set to work with training." With that,
sat down and rested his 54-year-old bones. He was nearly ready to undertake his next quest. It took him a few weeks, but Fano completed the helmet and sword. Kiel took his shining blue helmet. "This is marvellous! How did you get so good?" Kiel
"My father was one of the best blacksmiths in Hyrule, and taught me everything he knew."
"Well, he certainly must have been a fantastic blacksmith, for you to be so good, so young." The boy smiled and was clearly appreciative of the comment. "How's your sword coming?"
"All right. Let's see it." Fano picked up his blade and unwrapped the cloth around it. It was a magnificent sword. Its silvery blade shimmered brightly in the sunlight. The hilt and handle were the same colour as
's helmet, a vibrant blue, with the same glow to them. "A fine looking blade. I wouldn't mind having one like it. Well, Fano, would you like to learn how to use it?" Fano nodded and held up his sword. "Whoa, not yet, lad. First, you have to learn how to use your mind, then, you will be ready to fight." Kiel went through everything he had been taught as a young boy by one of Hyrule's finest warriors. He went through everything he had taught to me as well. After another few weeks, Fano had become an excellent swordsman. He even caught Kiel by surprise a few times. Kiel really was the finest teacher of sword skills in all of Hyrule. On his final day of staying in Kakariko, Kiel gave Fano all the rupees he was carrying, a total of 312. "For the helmet" he said. Fano grinned at him, and said "Thank you, Kiel . You are kind." Kiel
"Well, what would you pay for a helmet as fine as this?" He put it on his head, and mounted his horse, Farona. "I'll tell others of your skill, lad. Your business shall thrive once more. Also, if anyone trys to push you around, show them what I taught you. They'll surely back off."
"Thank you, my saviour."
"I'm not your saviour, lad. You are. Now, if you don't mind, 'The Baron' has business to attend to. Farewell."
then dug his heels into the sides of Farona, and she galloped out of the village, carrying her master to his next endeavour. Kiel
After 5 years, Olan was growing tired. He had been wandering that whole time, and was ready to collapse from exhaustion. Since escaping from the tower, he tried to find his way to the
. He had gotten lost in the vast expanse of Hyrule Field because he had not remembered where the valley was. He was finally headed in the right direction. He reached the valley, and crossed the bridge toward the fortress. He had just entered when he collapsed to the ground and passed out from exhaustion. When he awoke, Gerudo Valley Dark Linkfound himself surrounded by Gerudo. He slowly stood up, and saw a familiar face peering toward him. "Ganondorf?" he asked, astonished. What he saw were the features of his revived master. He then grew disappointed as he saw his master's eyes lacked the malevolence they should have had. "Oh, Fandoron. It's you. What's going on?"
"Olan, we found you unconscious just inside the valley. Are you all right?"
"Yes, but what happened? Why are you the king?"
"I'm the only male. You should know that."
"What about Ganondorf? He's the true ruler."
"Oh dear. I see you haven't changed. Oh well. Maybe we'll turn you yet."
Dark Linksuddenly flew into a rage "You'll do nothing of the kind, traitor!"
"Traitor? I didn't..."
"Silence! You betrayed your cousin. You should be on his side, conquering Hyrule! Well, if you won't help revive him, I'll do it myself. Give me your power, and you will serve by my side."
Ganondorf had also given Fandoron his own power, though he never used it. "I will not give you any of my power, Olan. You will have to get used to.."
"Defiant, are we? Fine! Then you and the rest of your foolish race will meet your doom."
Dark Linkhad summoned a massive ball of dark energy, and was about to unleash it, when Fandoron relented. "All right, Olan. You win. Take my power. I don't need it anyway."
"Good. Now, Gerudos!" he said, addressing them all "Bow down to your new king!"
"New king?" At this,
Dark Linkgave a cold, hard stare to Fandoron. He quietly stood up from his throne, turned to face Olan, then sunk to his knees and bowed. The remaining Gerudo did the same. "Excellent. Now, it is time to wage war against this land! Fandoron, gather troops for the coming invasion. We will attack tomorrow, starting with the land in the immediate area." Fandoron gazed sadly up at him and said, reluctantly, "Yes, my liege." He then walked out of the room, hanging his head in shame. He was, once again, forced to serve evil. He then walked into the war room with the best Gerudo generals and said "Well, what choice do we have? Attack or be obliterated. Let's get to planning our strategy." They then began to discuss their plans for invading the area around the , including my village, Verul. The war was coming, with Gerudo Valley Dark Linkat the helm.
In the throne room of
, the King sat, addressing Link and I, standing before him. "So, your plan is to capture this 'Blue Baron' and reveal his identity?" Hyrule Castle
"Yes, my lord" Link said, respectfully. "Then what?"
"Well, your highness, put him on trial, perhaps even behind bars." At this, I muttered, under my breath, "This is a bad idea."
"What was that, Joran?" The King had heard me. I knew I couldn't hide anything from him. He was very wise and could easily tell of my objections. "This is a bad idea, sir. This man is doing us a favour and..."
"Joran! What are you saying? We let a criminal go scot free just because of some favour? No, not in my land. You will do as I say, no objections."
"But, King Guran..."
"Oh? Do I detect treason?"
"No! Of course not!"
"Well then, Joran. You will help Link bring him to me, or be banished from the castle. Your choice." The King had never spoken to me in such a tone before. In all the quests I carried out for him before, I never had the slightest objection. The King did not like being disobeyed. I still felt that this wasn't right. "Yes, your majesty. I'll help Link."
"Excellent Joran. I knew you'd come through. You and Link are my most trusted men. Now, I have some news for you two. I recently received a message from the
. Fandoron has been overthrown as king and the Gerudos invaded the land surrounding the valley." This news hit me like a blow to the face. That meant my home village. "What? When did this happen?" I asked. "Around a month ago. I don't know why the message took so long to get to me. I'm just glad the Gerudos stopped there." Gerudo Valley
"Who overthrew Fandoron, sir?" Link asked. "That, my friend, remains a mystery. The messenger refused to reveal any more details. This news concerns me, though. My troops are depleted and I'm not sure many in Hyrule would enlist to fight, if the worst were to happen. I just hope the Gerudos don't try to move further into Hyrule. They're forces outnumber ours by at least ten to one." I winced at those odds. I didn't like the sound of that one bit. I knew how ferocious the Gerudos were. "Well, lads, I think that's enough of that subject. Now, go and find this Baron and bring him to justice. He was last sighted in the Zora's River. Go and speak to Princess Ruto. She will give you more information." At this, Link's face dropped. He didn't relish the idea of seeing the demanding, forceful princess of the Zora's. "Yes, sir" we said in unison. With that, we left the room and headed out of the castle. As we reached our waiting horses, we began to discuss our mission. "I still think we should just let him be. What harm is he doing?" I asked. "He's breaking a law that the King chooses to enforce. That's the harm. I don't want to talk about that anymore. We should formulate a plan." I paused for a while, thinking it over, then reluctantly said "All right. So, any ideas?"
"Well once we get to the Zora's Domain and speak with... uh... Ruto we should search the immediate area, to see if he's decided to stick around." I noticed his hesitation at mentioning the Zora princess. "All right, that sounds good. But, what's so bad about meeting with Ruto?"
"You noticed, eh? Well, when I was a kid and I found her in Jabu-Jabu's belly, she was really pushy and demanding. I instantly took a dislike to her. The worst part is, she still remembers when she gave me the Zora's Sapphire, and expects me to marry her, even though I gave it back. I also find her obnoxious and... well... annoying."
"Wow. You've really got an issue with her. I don't see how she could be that bad."
"Trust me. When you meet her, you'll know what I'm talking about. Come on, let's get going." We mounted our horses and they galloped away from the castle, straight towards Zora's River. When we reached the river, we saw several Zora Guards standing in front of the gates. "HALT!" one of them ordered as he saw us. "What is your business here?"
Link spoke up and said "We are here to meet with Princess Ruto. We have been sent by the King of Hyrule to find and arrest the Blue Baron."
"Oh, so you're on official business. All right."
"Why are there so many of you guarding here?" I asked. "We are here because of the Blue Baron's recent sighting. If he's here, he has no way out without getting caught. Also, King Zora is concerned with the news from the Gerudos. He says we must be on constant alert. All right, you may pass." The guards stepped aside and opened the gate, allowing us access to move through to the domain. After jumping through the waterfall, thanks to Link and his Ocarina, we headed toward the royal chamber. There we saw King Zora sitting upon his throne. "Are the pair here to speak to my daughter?" he asked "Yes, King Zora." Link said. "Very well. She is in Lord Jabu- Jabu's fountain. She'll be glad to see you, Link." At this, Link gave a barely audible groan. He was really not looking forward to this. After King Zora shuffled out of the way, we went up and out to the fountain. When we got there, Ruto was talking to Lord Jabu- Jabu.
"Why doesn't he come back? Some man he is! Leaving his fiance waiting like this. What's wrong with him?" She hadn't yet seen us, and I turned to Link with a look of surprise. He gave me an 'I told you so' look back. As we approached, I tripped and fell with a loud 'splash' causing Ruto to whirl around in surprise. "Link! Where have you been? And who's this? You're a terrible man for..." Link interrupted her, though. "Ruto, I'm here to talk to you. And, I told you before, I'm not your fiance. I gave back the sapphire, remember?"
"What? No, Link. When I gave you the sapphire-"
"Ruto, I don't want to talk about it. I just-"
"That's Princess Ruto to you! Also, you still haven't told me who he is! You!" She said, pointing at me "Who are you?"
"My name is Joran. I'm Link's friend. We're here on official business."
"Oh, really? And what would that be, Jorad or whatever?"
"It's Joran, and we're here to ask you about the sighting of the Blue Baron."
"Oh. Why didn't you tell me in the first place, Link? Joral here had to do it for you." I gave a faint sigh at her getting my name wrong, again. "Princess, I tried to tell you but you kept interrupting me!"
"Sure, Link. I guess I'll have to talk to Joram about it. At least he acts like a man!" Link groaned in frustration and simply walked away. It was now clear to me why Link didn't want to talk to her. From what I had seen, I didn't really want to talk to her, either. But, it was evident that she wouldn't listen to Link, so I had to do the talking. "So, Jorag" she said, getting my name wrong for a fourth time "what do you wish to know?"
"We would like to know precisely what happened here with the Blue Baron. He's an outlaw and we're going to catch him."
"An outlaw! Ooh, how exciting! I bet you'll catch him for sure, Joraf."
"It's Joran and, yes, we will catch him, Link and I." I was getting a little nervous with the new, softer tone she was now speaking with. I knew what Ruto was trying to do. I decided to keep it quiet, though. "Oh, sure. Link will help, but you will do most of the work."
"Uh... yes.. well. Can you tell me about the incident? Give as good a description as you can."
"Let me see. I remember, a man astride a russet horse, fighting off some thieves. He wore a blue helmet, and had a sword with a dark orange hilt, and a bronze coloured blade." My eyes opened wide in shock. That had been the colour of
's blade. "Are you certain on the colour of the sword?" Kiel
"Yes. It was unmistakable. After he fought them off, he rode his horse away toward
." Lake Hylia
"Thank you, Princess Ruto. This information has been very helpful."
"You're welcome.. uh... what's your name again?" I groaned, silently, to myself. "Joran."
"Yes. Your welcome, Joran. For being so nice to me, I'd like you to take the Zora's Sapphire as-"
"No, no! That's fine, thank you! I already have one. I mean, someone else has already.. uh.. goodbye!"
With that last rush of panic, I grabbed Link's arm and ran out of the fountain before Ruto could respond.
As I rushed out, I thought I could here a voice say "well I never" but I didn't stop to check. I ran straight out of the domain, with Link trailing close behind. We got to the entrance to the river where our horses were waiting. We jumped on their backs and rode straight away.
As the sun begins to set, a man stands, admiring its beauty. The sky colour a mixture of crimson and gold. But, there was a sadness in his eyes, and his heart. He had managed to wander out to the field to watch the sunset, just as he often did in the past, but today was not the same. He felt a terrible shame at having given up his kingdom to evil. Ganondorf's cousin sighed sadly before strolling back toward headquarters. He was to meet with
Dark Link, and he was already late. He knew Dark Linkwould be furious with him, but he no longer cared. He eventually reached a small, simple building consisting of just two rooms. The roof was perfectly flat, and there was no door, just a doorway. This meant that conversations inside could be heard outside. This was what was happening now. As he approached the building, he could hear Olan's angry voice. "Where in Din's name is Fandoron? He's already over an hour late! If he comes any later, it'll be his head!" At that, a man stepped in through the door, glaring hard at Dark Link. "Sorry for being late" he said, cooly "but I had other matters to attend to."
"And what would that be? Watching the sunset? You're a fool, Fandoron. Who would want to witness such a trivial thing? Only a childish man, that's for sure." Fandoron's stare grew even harder, and
Dark Linksaw it. "It's very dangerous for you to be looking at me like that. Do you wish to tilt with me, coward?" Fandoron didn't say anything, but continued glaring toward Dark Link. "I've warned you once. Don't make me do it again."
"Fine. I'll make you kill me instead." he drew his blade, his eyes searing with a cold malevolence, almost as bad as his cousin's gaze. "Fight me. Usurper."
"What's this? Did you find a spine, all of a sudden? Very well, Fandoron. You shall get your wish."
Dark Linkdrew his sword and stared down Fandoron. He motioned with his hand, trying to get Fandoron to come at him. Fandoron shook his head and did the same motion to Dark Link. Surprised at Fandoron's sudden courage, he bowed his head slightly, then suddenly charged. He took a swing at Fandoron, who easily blocked his blow. Fandoron shoved Dark Linkhard with his free hand, sending him sprawling. Dark Linkwas nimble, though, and jumped up as quickly as he fell. The onlookers merely stood there, wide-eyed. They had never seen their king take up arms before. Fandoron ran forward and swung his blade straight for the middle of Dark Link's head. Dark Link's sword met Fandoron's with a mighty crash, and both men began pushing all their strength toward one another. Fandoron had a size advantage, and his weight was pressing Dark Linkdown, almost until he was kneeling. Dark Linkrefused to give in, however, and pushed back with incredible strength. Fandoron was caught off guard by Dark Link's sudden surge and stumbled backward. Dark Linkseized his opportunity and thrust his blade forward, catching Fandoron in the shoulder. He dropped his sword and cried out in pain. He fell to his knees and Dark Linkstood contemptuously above him. "You cannot beat me, weakling. Though your display was impressive, your sword skills are that of a whelp. Concede defeat and your life shall be spared." Fandoron said nothing at Dark Link's ultimatum. He simply knelt there, thinking. Weighing his options. He suddenly picked up his sword and leapt at Dark Link. Time seemed to slow as Fandoron soared through the air and swung his sword horizontally, that would have sliced Dark Link's head clean off. However, Olan ducked and thrust his sword forward once more. This time, it went straight through his chest, and back out the other side. As Fandoron fell, the onlookers gasped. He fell to the floor on his back. Dark Linkhad let go of his sword, and stepped toward Fandoron. He placed his foot on Fandoron's chest and pulled his sword out, as if pulling it from a pedestal. The floor around them was turning red as Fandoron's blood poured out of his dying body. "Foolish Fandoron. I told you. You cannot defeat me. I am too strong for you. May Din's Fire burn your soul throughout eternity."
"Olan. You will meet your end. Your vanity blinds you. Link.... will... triumph." After saying his last words, the death rattle hissed through his body, and his once fiery eyes now wore a blank stare. Fandoron was dead. His death was a noble one, trying to free his race from the tyrannical rule of
Dark Link. But it was also a futile one, as he would never have bested Dark Linkin a sword battle. His death would not be in vain, however. The onlooking Gerudos who saw the fight were inspired by their king's valour. They would plan a rebellion against this dictator. However, they would bide their time, and wait for the right moment to strike and bring an end to the darkness.
We had been travelling for days. We searched the area around
and found nothing. My patience were beginning to wear thin. This Blue Baron, whoever he was, was certainly good at keeping hidden. Link and I had barely spoken to each other since we left the Zora's Domain. We weren't angry with each other, we just didn't feel the need to chit-chat. We were nearing Lake Hylia when we decided to stop and rest. We dismounted our horses and got some food and water out of our packs. We sat in silence for a while. Link suddenly spoke. "This guy is hard to find. Whoever he is, he's good. By the way, you've never told me the description Ruto gave you." Kakariko Village
"That's because it's the same as all the others. A horse and a blue helmet. A man with a sword. It's much too vague. This is really beginning to irritate me."
"Well Joran, you didn't have to come with me, you know. You could've stayed at the ranch."
"No, Link. I will fight by your side, always. I can't let you do this on your own."
"Why not? I defeated Ganondorf on my own, didn't I? Who's to say I can't now?"
"I don't doubt your abilities, but two heads are better than one, so having two of us makes us both stronger. We're unstoppable together."
"I guess you're right, Joran. Now, I can tell you have a theory about the Blue Baron, so, why don't you tell me?"
"How can you tell?"
"Come on, Joran. After all this time, don't you think I know you by now?"
"All right. I think I know who he is. Ruto's description of his sword really got me wondering."
"Well, remember when you said that the guards only found one body in the tower? I think
didn't die and he escaped." Kiel
"So, you think
is the Blue Baron?" I nodded. "It would explain a lot. What are we going to do when we catch him?" Kiel
"That's what I've been thinking. He is the man who raised me and trained me. How can I arrest him?" I groaned in frustration. "I can't do that, Link. Now you've got to understand that we can't arrest him."
"Well, we could think of a way for him to make amends without having to serve jail time."
"How are we going to do that?"
"We could tell him to ask to be the king's personal servant."
"What? Not only would the king deny that, but
would absolutely resent it. For Din's sake." With that I got up and walked off in no particular direction. I didn't wander far, though. As I stared up at the starry sky, I thought I heard a cheerful melody behind me. Just as the melody ended, clouds began to form in the sky. Suddenly, it began to pour rain. I went back over to Link who was grinning and hiding something behind his back. "What did you do?" I asked. "Nothing. I'm just standing here, minding my own business." Kiel
"Really? What's that?" I said, pointing to the ocarina in his hand. "Oh, I was just practicing a little tune." he grinned, slyly. "You played the Song of Storms, didn't you? That's what I heard. Why would you do that?"
"I thought you could use some cooling off." I growled in frustration. "Come on, Link. We need to get to the village. We'll need to find someplace to dry off, thanks to you."
"Hey, don't blame me. It's your fault for being such a hothead." We jumped on our horses backs and rode away toward the village, the horse's hooves splashing on the soggy ground the whole way there. We arrived, drenched from the rain, and went into the local tavern to dry off. Link went up to the bar and ordered a drink. I walked up to him "What are you doing?" I asked.
"Well, we're not going to be dry for quite some time. We should relax for a while."
"Relax? We don't have time to relax. We need to keep focused on finding the Blue Baron." I noticed a cloaked man at the end of the bar fidget slightly when I mentioned the Blue Baron. "What's wrong, Joran?" I simply pointed to the man and we walked over to him. "Excuse me, sir?" Link asked. He looked up at us, but his face remained concealed. "We are looking for a man. The king has ordered his arrest. He is called the Blue Baron. Have you seen him?"
"Why, no" the man responded, rather nonchalantly. "I've never even heard of him."
"Really? He's quite well known throughout Hyrule. How can you not have heard of him?"
"Because, I generally keep to myself. The only places I ever see are this tavern and my home."
"Well, all right then. Thank you for your time" Link extended his hand. The man simply looked at his hand and turned away from him. "I have something to ask as well" I said.
"I've already told you everything."
"No you haven't. Remove your hood."
"You heard me. Take it off."
"Why should I?" he said, aggressively. I was equal to him, though.
"Because if you don't, we'll be forced to take you outside." The whole bar quieted down when I said this.
"Trust me, you don't want that."
"Oh, really? Why would that be?" He answered me by knocking me over with a hard shove. He ran past Link, who dove at him too late. He continued out of the tavern. "Link quick! After him!" We ran after him out into the night. It was still raining. I heard the whinny of a horse and I saw a man astride his horse shoot straight past me. "Come on! Let's get the horses!" We ran to Epona and Honor and sped off after him. We went in the direction of Hyrule Field. When we reached the field, he was riding hard toward the
. I dug my heels into Honor and he responded with a loud whinny. He reared up and then charged straight toward the rider. I glanced behind me for a moment to see Link and Epona trailing just behind. The man and his russet mare turned towards the entrance to the forest and went in. We followed suit. As we entered the forest, we were only a few paces behind him. I dug my heels into Honor again, and he ran on faster. We began to gain on the man. We chased him through the bush with branches whipping in our faces. I suffered a few cuts and scrapes, as did Link. Finally, I caught up to him. As I reached his side, I reached over and grabbed his hood. I pulled on Honor's reins and the man fell off his horse and hit the ground, rolling. His horse stopped immediately. Link leapt off Epona and held the man down. I turned Honor around and he trotted over to him. I stopped and jumped off Honor's back. I looked down at the man. Because I had removed his hood, his blue helmet was exposed. Kokiri Forest
We had finally caught him. "So" I said. "Mr. Blue Baron, would you kindly remove your helmet, so we can see who you are?" He said nothing. "Very well. I will do it for you." As I bent down to remove his helmet, he knocked Link to the ground and drew his sword. I saw it's colour. It was the same colour as
's. "You'll have to beat me to get your wish." Kiel
"Very well, Baron. I'll let the Hero of Time have at you"
"Hero of Time?"
Before he could react, Link had already charged toward him. The Blue Baron turned with a lightning fast reaction and blocked Link's attack. Surprised at his speed, Link stepped back and tried a jump strike. The Baron simply moved aside and let Link bring his sword down on air. The Baron then kicked Link to the ground, causing him to drop the Sword of Courage. "Ha! Hero? What kind of hero fights like that?" Link grew angry at this and picked up his sword once more. "Well well. You've some courage, lad. Let's see you use it." Link rushed at him with a flurry of attacks, but the Baron blocked each one. Link then struck the Baron with his shield, sending him stumbling. Link then leapt over his head and swung down with his sword. Amazingly, the Baron blocked even this strike. "You've some impressive skill, lad. Your probably the best swordsman I've fought. Even better than my best student."
"Wait. You're a teacher?" I asked. The two stopped fighting. "I've taught many, yes. But my best student was one quite similar to you, soldier. Wait, why should I tell you this?"
"Because I believe I know who you are."
"All right then, go ahead. Tell me. What's my name?" I took a long pause. I was hoping that my theory about him was correct. "
." I saw his shoulders slump forward and his head drop. He then raised his sword in challenge. "How do you know that?" Kiel
" I stepped forward, into the moonlight. "It's me, Joran." Even through his helmet, I saw his eyes widen. "Joran? I don't believe it. I need to take a better look at you." He took off his helmet and, sure enough, there was the face I thought I had lost five years ago. He stepped forward, and looked hard at my face. He then suddenly cried out "Joran! It is you! Oh, Farore's wind it's good to see you!" Kiel
"Yes, you as well,
"Look at you, lad. A soldier for the king. I never thought you'd do it."
"I'm not a soldier,
. Link and I were charged with the quest of finding the Blue Baron." Kiel
"I see. Well, you found me. What happens now?"
"We're supposed to bring you to the castle to be put on trial."
"On trial? For what?"
"Well, the king enforces this law that nobody but the Honor Guard is allowed to catch criminals without the king's consent. He strongly believes in it."
"So? All I have to do is ask his permission. Problem solved."
. It doesn't work that way. The king wants permission before every criminal quest. You've already broken his law. It's too late to ask permission." Kiel
"Well, what if I choose not to go with you?"
please. Don't make us fight you again. There is no other choice. You have to surrender. If you run, we'll just keep hunting you." Kiel
sheathed his sword. "I guess you're right, Joran. I'll go with you. I'm getting too old for this, anyway" he smiled. "Just let me get Farona." Kiel
"I'll come with you."
"Don't you trust me?"
"Not in this instance,
" I smiled. I got on my horse and followed him towards his. He climbed onto her back and we rode towards Link. "Come on, Link. Let's head back." He climbed onto Epona and rode to our side. Before setting out, I turned to Kiel . "Don't worry, Kiel . I'll think of some way to fix this." Kiel
"That's not necessary, lad. I need to face the music, like a man should." The three of us then galloped away, on towards
Hyrule Castle, where 's fate awaited. Kiel
As we travelled, someone else was on the move as well. The Gerudos were mobilizing. They were preparing for a full on assault of
. They travelled onward, cutting down anyone standing in their way. They were moving quickly. They had already reached their first designated resting point, Lon Lon Ranch. They threw the inhabitants out of the ranch and stole their horses to use for their cavalry. Talon and Malon fled toward the castle, riding the only horse they managed to keep away from the Gerudos. Along the way, they nearly ran over a young man who seemed to be searching for something. "Whoa, sorry there, lad" called Talon. Hyrule Castle
"Where are you headed?" the young man asked.
"We're fleeing from our home. We are trying to make it to
." Hyrule Castle
"Fleeing? Why, what happened?"
"Gerudos invaded our ranch and threw us out. They nearly killed us" Malon said.
"The Gerudos are invading again? I shall go to the castle as well. We must warn the king."
"Wait, before you go, I must know your name." Talon said.
"I am Fano. Now, I must warn the king and then join in the fight. I shall avenge your loss."
"That's awful kind of you, stranger. We'll see you at the castle." They rode off into the distance toward the castle. Fano then ran as fast as his legs could carry him, desperate to warn the king and join the fight. At the ranch,
Dark Linkwas speaking with the Gerudo generals. "Our strategy shall be this. We send in the weakest troops first. They will attack briefly, then retreat back. They shall repeat this process several times until I deem it necessary to stop. Then, when the enemy is weak from exhaustion, we shall send in our best warriors to finish them. We will take no prisoners. Every one of the king's men must die. When that is finished, we shall descend upon the castle. I will personally slay the king and any others who resist." A look of fiery rage entered his eyes. He was thinking of the Hero of Time as well as me, the one who killed him. "Yes. That is how we will take Hyrule. I will then revive Ganondorf and we can rule this land, forever." A cold shiver went down the spine of every Gerudo in the room. The plan for their rebellion was to happen after the battle. They all hoped that, somehow, Dark Linkwould fall during the battle so they wouldn't have to take any more innocent lives. Dark Linksuddenly strode over to one general who hadn't really listened. "Is that clear, Haruna?"
She was suddenly brought back from her daze. "Wha- yes, sir. That is crystal clear, sir." She was thinking of her task of finding Nabooru, who was in hiding. Nabooru was the one who would head the rebellion. "Good. Now, off with you. I need to be alone." The generals all got up and left, except for Haruna, who hadn't listened again. "Haruna!"
"Do you mind! If you do not leave now, I will make sure you never see another day!" She hurriedly left the room. As soon as she was gone, he heard a voice speaking to his mind. "You are almost there, Olan. I am nearly ready to return."
"Remember, the Hero of Time remains your greatest threat. Destroy him at all costs."
"What about Joran, the one who stopped me?"
"Do not worry about him. I will personally take care of him when I am revived."
"Yes, Ganondorf. You can make him suffer."
"Now, you must go. Destroy them,
Dark Link. Spare no one in your quest. Make me proud, my son." Ganondorf's voice faded and Dark Linkwas, once again, alone with his thoughts. He stepped outside and called to his army. "Gerudos!"
They all turned to face him at once. "We move out at dawn! Remember, show no mercy! Kill them all, by any means necessary. This battle will be known as the Fall of Hyrule. The Age of Darkness will begin. I promise to you all, you shall be honored and will have a special place amongst the hierarchy of the Dark Lord, Ganondorf. Good Luck, may the darkness guide you to your greatest victory!" Surprisingly, most of the Gerudos clapped and cheered at
Dark Link's stirring speech. There were a few who didn't move at all. They had plans of their own. If they had their way, Dark Link's blood would be splattered all across the battlefield, and his black heart would be cut out. Their own plan would plot the fall of Dark Link.
We reached the castle, escorting
the whole way. We dismounted our horses, and walked the rest of the way. We reached the front gate to the courtyard. The guard stopped us. "Stop. What business do you have?" Kiel
"Do you not recognize us? We are the men charged by King Guran to capture the Blue Baron" I said.
"Oh, you're those two? I didn't realize. Is this him?"
"Yes" Link replied.
"Hmph. You're shorter than I pictured you."
"Don't be fooled, man. I can still teach you a thing or two!"
"All right! Take it easy! It was just an observation! You may pass." He stepped aside and the gates opened. We eventually made it to the throne room. The king saw us entering with a third man. He sat on the throne with Zelda seated beside him. "Ah, Link and Joran. It's good to see you. Did you complete your task?"
"Yes, King Guran. This is the Blue Baron" I said, letting
step forward. Kiel
"So, you're the infamous Baron, eh? What have you to say for yourself?"
"Your highness, I am not a criminal. I have seen far too much corruption to stand by any longer. What I did was necessary."
"What you did is break the law. You must seek my permission before every endeavour. If you do not, I can only assume what you are doing is for sinister purposes."
"Sinister purposes? I was bringing justice. I did not have the time to ask permission."
"Well, if you don't seek my permission, how do I know you haven't committed murder as well?"
"King Guran, I have not killed anyone in my pursuit of justice. I was doing this to help you."
"And how is breaking the law helping me? No, I will have to sentence you. I decree that you shall spend six months in the dungeons for your crime."
said nothing more and stepped back. "Before I have the guards take you away, I will see to it that these boys receive some recognition for their efforts." Kiel
"Pardon me, your highness" I said. "But, I'm not a boy any more. I am 21 years old. I would like to be referred to as a man."
"Very well, Joran. If you insist. There's no need to split hairs. Link, do you have the same wish?"
"Yes. Joran and I are the same age."
"All right. For you men I will bestow the honor of-" he was interrupted by a guard bursting through the doors. "King Guran!" he panted.
"What is it?"
"A man and a young woman have arrived with urgent news!"
"Well, send them in!" The guard ran out of the room and returned a few moments later with Talon and Malon. "Who are you? What news do you bring?"
"Malon?" I said as I saw them.
"Joran. Thank Farore you're here! We've just fled from the ranch!"
"The Gerudos attacked. They were led a by a strange man in black." Link and I looked at each other in shock. We both knew who she was referring to. "The Gerudos attacked again?" the king said. "We shall not stand for this! Lieutenant!" he said to the guard at the door. "Go and gather the troops. We need to advance toward Lon Lon Ranch. We must stop these Gerudos!"
"Yes, my lord." The lieutenant then quickly left. With that a young man came running in. "Who are you, now?"
In the door stood a young swordsman I had never seen before.
seemed to recognize him, though. "My king, the Gerudos are mobilizing! They are headed this way!" Kiel
"What? A direct attack on the castle? By Nayru, they're trying to take over Hyrule! Link, go and catch my lieutenant! Tell him to get the troops massed around the castle outskirts! Hurry!" Link simply nodded and ran hard out of the room.
The young man suddenly looked toward
. " Kiel ? Where have you been? I've scoured the whole land looking for you!" Kiel
"Fano! How are you lad?" I then intervened. "Wait, you know him?" I said, indicating Fano. "Indeed, Joran. He was the one who inspired my quest for justice."
saved my life." Kiel
"Really? Well, I'm not surprised.
was always one to help. I'm Joran, by the way." Kiel
"My name is Fano."
"Pleasure meeting you, Fano."
"Pardon me, Joran, but, we've an emergency to attend to!" a deep voice said to me. The King of Hyrule was glaring toward me. "Do not fraternize with the criminal. He still needs to be taken away."
"King Guran, this man raised me and trained me in swordsmanship. Surely he can make amends some other way."
"No, Joran. He must take his punishment."
"What if he helps you, certainly that would redeem him?" I hadn't even seen Link re-enter the room so when he spoke, I jumped. "In what way could he help me?"
"He could help us in the battle."
"Who says you're going to battle, Link? You and Joran are to stay here. I can't risk losing you two."
"What? Your highness, myself and Joran are sworn to protect Hyrule. We must fight!"
"I agree with Link, my lord. We are going to serve you in this battle. It would be my honor" I said.
"As well as mine" Link said, bowing. "Well, you two could turn the tide for us. All right. You may fight."
As soon as he said it, Malon shot me a concerned look. Zelda did the same with Link. "Don't worry, Malon. I will return safely. I promise" I said to her.
"Yes" Link said "I give you the same promise, Zelda. I will survive, and fight with all my strength." Neither one of them said a word. They were little reassured by our promise. "Very well" the king said. "However, the Baron is not allowed to take part." Malon suddenly spoke up. "Excuse me, your lordship?"
"What is it?"
"Well, I was thinking, the Blue Baron could maybe stay here and protect Princess Zelda. That would certainly make up for any way he has wronged you."
"Hmmm... interesting. That could be a possible solution."
"Yes, father. That would be wise. He could also protect you."
"Well, I'm not sure I need protection, but, I certainly wouldn't want anything to happen to you, Zelda. I also need every available man for the battle. Very well. Baron, you shall remain here to protect my daughter. That will serve as redemption for your crime."
"Yes, your highness. I will defend her with my life."
"However, if I tell you, you must go down and join the battle. If the situation grows dire, you will be needed to fight."
"Of course, my lord."
"Once the battle is over, you must leave this castle and never return. You now have my permission to serve justice. You are now an exception to my law. However, if you ever set foot on these grounds again, you shall be thrown in the dungeon. Is that clear, Baron?"
paused to let the king's decree set in. "Yes, King Guran." Kiel
"Good. Now, Link, Joran, go and join my troops. I will put you, Link, as the commander of the cavalry. While you, Joran, shall command the infantry. Now, go!"
"Wait, your highness" Fano said. "I am well trained in swordsmanship. May I join the fight?"
"Yes. We do need every man we can get. You will help Joran with the infantry. Now, go with the protection of the godesses. Fight with courage. For Hyrule!" The three of us repeated this cheer. "For Hyrule!" We saluted the king and left to join the king's troops. I didn't realize it, but
Dark Link's words to me five years ago had come true. He was back, and war had swept the land. He had prophesised this battle. We reached the troops and told them of the king's declarations. We then led them out toward Hyrule Field. That was the battleground where the for Hyrule would take place. Battle
The Gerudos were coming fast.
Dark Linkand his troops left destruction in their wake. He made sure anyone who resisted would be destroyed. A small group of brave Gorons learned this lesson the hard way. After seeing them burn Lon Lon Ranch to the ground, they were determined not to let this deed go unpunished. However, even after much fighting, every last one of them had breathed their last. They were overwhelmed by an entire battalion of Gerudos. After that small battle, they continued forward. Dark Linkwas riding a stolen horse at the front of the army. He suddenly came to a stop and held up his hand to signal the troops' stop as well. He put a hand to his brow and searched the distance. "What is it, Lord Dark Link?" asked a young Gerudo soldier by his side. "I thought I saw someone. Someone I know." As he continued searching, he spotted what he saw before. He had been right. He saw Link on Epona at the head of the king's cavalry. He was shocked but not surprised. He knew word would spread about his invasion, he just didn't know how quickly. He spotted the king's infantry march up next to the cavalry. He was now surprised at who led them. "Joran? The king chose that fool to lead? And look at how few there are. This will be too easy." He saw another young man standing next to me. He didn't recognize him. "Who's that he is with? He's not a soldier. Ah, well. It doesn't matter. He will soon fall with the rest of them." He then continued riding forward, signalling for his troops to do the same. He did not notice a small group of them sneak away toward a hidden cave. Inside this cave sat Nabooru. This was the place they were to meet before they were to kill Dark Link. Nabooru turned her head to see who was there. "Oh, it's you" she said as she stood up and strode over to them. "Yes. We are here. We are ready."
"Why so few?" Nabooru asked Haruna, the leader of the group of four. "The rest have sided with
Dark Link. They believe that he is unstoppable and that his conquering of Hyrule is the only way to bring genuine peace."
"Those traitors! If he wins, he will revive Ganondorf and we will be living in a world of suffering and darkness. Oh, well. There's nothing we can do about it now."
"When do we leave?" asked a young Gerudo, named Garu. "Soon, sister. Very soon. We cannot abandon our plan, even though our numbers have shrunk by half."
"But, how can we succeed, with so many loyal to
Dark Link?" asked a very tall Gerudo named Kuronoo. "We must succeed, for all of Hyrule. Do not worry, sister. We five will make up for years of Gerudo injustices."
"If only Ganondorf hadn't been born. None of this would have happened" the final member said. Her voice was clearly one of a leader. She was one of the generals. She had been named after her mother, Saborna. Saborna was Ganondorf's second-in-command, the one he betrayed. She took the blame for the Gerudo raids. Those same raids that caused the kidnapping of a thousand of Hyrule's sons, including Olan. She had a strong feeling of hate toward Ganondorf, because her mother spent her life rotting in the dungeons of Hyrule, thanks to his betrayal. She hated his protege,
Dark Link, just as much.
"I know, Saborna. Not a day goes by that I don't wish the same thing. He had my mother murdered after those raids. Which is what makes our mission all the more important. We must not allow Olan to succeed, so Ganondorf does not return. All right. Shall we go?" All of them nodded. "Good. Let us do it. For our home. For Fandoron. For Hyrule!" The rest of them took up this cheer and they stalked silently away, toward their goal.
I gazed into the horizon and spotted them. They were moving fast. I turned to the troops. "Warriors! The enemy approaches! Be prepared!" The infantry began picking up their weapons and putting on their helmets. I turned to the young man beside me. "You too, Fano. You'll be commanding the left flank. Be prepared for anything. Do not let them take you by surprise."
"Understood. Shouldn't you warn Link?"
"I trust he has seen them. But, just to make sure..." I called to him. Link and the cavalry were about twenty metres away. He heard me and rode Epona over to me. "What is it?"
"Did you see them? They are coming, fast."
"Yes, I've seen them" he said, in a nervous tone. "What's wrong, Link?" He looked at me and I actually saw fear in his eyes. "I've never admitted this to anyone before. I'm scared, Joran. For Hyrule. For the troops. I don't want to see them die. And also..." he hesitated. "I don't want to die, either." It took a minute for his words to set in. The Hero of Time, the bravest man in all of Hyrule, just told me that he was scared. "I know, Link. None of us do. I wish more than anything that we didn't have to do this right now. But, Hyrule's safety is at stake. We must fight. And, the truth is, I'm scared too, Link." We looked at each other one last time, and he rode back toward the cavalry, without another word. "Keep safe, my friend" I said as he rode off. I turned once again to the horizon. The Gerudos were closer still. They would be upon us in mere minutes. I turned to the infantry and, with a nod to Fano, shouted my command. "Attack!" we ran forward, toward the Gerudo army. Link commanded the same to the cavalry, and they charged forward as well. Then, the two armies met with a clash. All around Hyrule field, there were people engaged in the melee. The battle had begun.
In the tower, five people could hear the sounds of battle outside the tower. King Guran looked out the window and surveyed the scene. "Blast! The Gerudos have even more than I thought! I need to go down there."
"I must, Zelda. The troops need me. Baron, you stay here. Make sure no Gerudo gets through that door!" the king of Hyrule said, pointing to the doorway to the castle. "I will, my liege."
"Good. Now, listen for my signal if I want you down there, understand?"
"Yes, sire. I will fight if needed. What will the signal be?"
"You'll know when you hear it. Now.." he grabbed a large spear hanging behind the throne. It had been his from his days as a soldier. "To the fight!" With that, he ran out of the tower, ready to join the battle.
stood by the window. He would keep a vigliant eye on the battle, checking to see if any Gerudos broke through. So far, none had. He turned to see Talon, Malon and Zelda staring at him. "Do not worry, friends. Link and Joran will not fail. The Gerudos will be defeated. And, if the worst should happen, know that I will defend you all to the bitter end." They gave Kiel a nod at his heroic words. They knew he meant it. Talon then stepped up. "If I had a weapon, I would be honored to fight by your side. However, if you do fall, I will be certain to carry on your fight, weapon or no weapon." With Talon's brave words, they all turned to the window to face the ghastly scene before them. Down at the battle, we found the fight surprisingly easy. The Gerudos kept retreating back. I shouted above the fervour "That's it, lads! We've got the on the run!" Right after I said it, I caught a glimpse of Kiel Dark Link. It looked like he had a smile on his face. Why is he happy? I thought He knows he's losing. Why would he be happy to lose? Then, I had a frightening thought, and my heart dropped. He's wearing us down! These are the weaker troops! No wonder it's been so easy! I called above the noise again. "Fall back, men! Fall back! He's trying to wear us out. Don't give chase! FALL BACK!" I shouted as loud as I could, but, to my horror, no one was listening. I turned to the right to see Link and Epona chase and cut down several Gerudos. I had to warn him. I ran toward him, fighting my way through a throng of Gerudos. I was nearly overwhelmed by five of them when I saw a blur in front of my eyes, and four of them lying dead. I disposed of the last one and turned to my mystery saviour. "King Guran! What are you doing here!"
"No time, Joran. I heard your call. You were right. Go! Warn Link! Hurry!" I rushed off toward Epona and her mount. I shouted at the top of my lungs "LINK!" he turned his head and galloped over toward me. "What's wrong?"
"Link, order your men to fall back. Olan is tiring us out with his weaker troops! He'll be moving for the kill soon!" Link's eyes opened wide in horror. He called above the noise "CAVALRY! FALL BACK!" to my relief, they did as he ordered. I turned back around and saw that the infantry, led by Fano, had also stopped chasing and had fallen back. Fano had heard me. I then turned to where the king was. He was surrounded by eleven Gerudo warriors. He was fighting hard, but it was clear that he was tiring. I rushed forward and jumped into the middle of the fray. I blocked a Gerudo's cutlass with my shield and, at the same time, took one down with a thrust of my sword. I knocked the other back with my shield, and finished her off as well. I fought off three more this way, and they retreated. The king and I continued like this until we drove them all back. We then looked at each other. "Fine skills, my lord" I said.
"Thanks. It's been while since-"
"Look out!" I suddenly saw a Gerudo archer raise her bow, aimed straight at the king. She let fly her arrow, and I dove at the king. I knocked him to the ground, hoping to help him evade the arrow's deadly path. I looked down at the king and saw an arrow embedded right through his chest. I was horrified. I looked up to find the archer, but she had run off. "King Guran! No! I must get you back to the castle."
"No. It's too late Joran" he said, through pained breaths. "The arrow has pierced my heart. Go. Continue the fight. For the sake of us all."
"No, I will take you to the castle for-"
"Farewell, Joran. Farore be your guide." His body went limp and the light of his eyes went out. "No, my king! Stay with me!" but he was gone. I stood up. I looked at him one more time. "Do not fret, King Guran. I will ensure your death will not be in vain." I turned toward the battle once more. I met the eyes of a Gerudo warrior with a large black and gold scimitar. We looked at each other for a moment, then charged toward each other. We met with a clash as our blades crashed together.
As the five Gerudos reached the battlefield, they were horrified at what they saw. Everywhere, people were fighting. Strewn all over Hyrule field were the dead and dying bodies of both sides. "This is it. We take him down now" Nabooru ordered. "Over there, Nabooru!" shouted Garu as she spotted
Dark Link. "Let's do it." They charged on toward him, unnoticed by anyone on the battlefield. They got closer and closer, their cutlasses at the ready. Suddenly, Dark Linkturned his head in their direction and simply pointed. Twenty Gerudos had surrounded them in mere seconds. "Ah, Nabooru. It's good to see you again, traitor. I knew of your plans all along. What do you take me for? A fool? Right, keep them on constant watch. When Ganondorf is revived we'll let him decide your fate. Undoubtedly, it will not be good for you. Now back to the battle." He galloped forward on his jet black steed. He called to his initial attack group. "Rest now. You have done well. They seem to have caught on to our strategy, though. No matter. Gerudos! This is it! Full scale assault. I will join the fight this time! It is time for the reign of darkness!" With that command, every last one of the Gerudo's best warriors charged toward our depleted and tired army, led by Dark Link. I turned to my left to where Fano was standing. He gave me a grim smile and a slow nod. I said "Well Fano, if this should be the end, I would be honored to die fighting by your side."
"Indeed, Joran. I will give my life, if necessary, for this land and for the people living in it." Then, Link rode to the front of our army. The cavalry and infantry had merged into a single unit. A battle cry was heard, and we met the Gerudo's charge head on, with Link out front. Epona gracefully reared on her hind legs and sounded with a loud whinny. The fighting was fierce, and our troops were falling. I became surrounded by ten Gerudos, who waited. "Come on then!" I shouted to them. They hesitated, then moved in. I suddenly saw a blinding flash of light. When I recovered my vision, every Gerudo around me was lying on the ground. I saw who had saved me. This mysterious man looked like a Sheikah. I saw a Gerudo come up behind him, but I reached his side in time to dispose of her. "Thanks for the save" the mystery Sheikah said. "Likewise" I replied. "Who are you?"
"My name is Sheik. I have come to help."
"Well, I'd say you've done a fine job thus far."
"Um... yes" this 'man' sounded almost female to me. Our eyes met for a moment and my eyes shone with recognition. Before I could say anything, I saw another blinding flash of light, and the 'man' was gone. "Was that...? No, it couldn't be." I then heard some shouting from a familiar voice. I looked to my right and saw a man with a bronze and orange sword, clad in a blue helmet taking on six Gerudos at once."
!" I ran over to him and helped him fight off the group. "Am I glad to see you, Kiel !" Kiel
"No time. Keep fighting." Immediately after he said it, I was suddenly being dragged away very quickly by a man on a horse. I saw this man's black gauntlet on his hand and then heard a familiar voice. "Well well, Joran. We meet again. Let's see who dies this time." He threw me to the ground and stopped his horse. We were well away from the rest of the battle. It was just me and Olan. One on one. Nowhere to run. No one to help me or him. He dismounted and drew his sword. "This time, let's have a real fight, shall we? No more underhanded cowardice."
"As you wish, scum." I drew my sword and beckoned for him to come at me. "All right, Joran. You'll soon realize what a mistake you've just made. Just ask Fandoron." My eyes opened wide in shock. "What?"
"Fandoron did exactly the same thing to me, daring me to challenge him. Well, you'll soon join him when the last drop of blood falls from your honorless body." That word. 'Honorless'. It nearly drove me mad. I had always believed in honor. I never stooped so low as to do what Olan was doing right now. "Let us finish this, Olan. I will ensure I avenge the loss of my king, with your head!"
"Oh, the king has fallen, has he? Well, that just saved me a whole lot of trouble. All right then, let's do this." He moved quickly toward me and swung his sword. I raised my shield to block his blow, and brought my sword forward in a thrust.
Dark Linkdid a backflip and stood on the blade of my sword. Oddly, I couldn't feel his weight. "Surprised? Well, so was Link that first time. You really need more practice." He swung his sword horizontally and caught my left shoulder, cutting it badly. I dropped my shield. "Well, that was fast. I thought you'd put up a better fight than that." I ran forward and took several swings at him. He blocked every one of my blows and kept cutting me with quick movements after every block. My arms and torso were now covered with wounds and I was bleeding badly. I tried to fight, but the loss of blood was making me weaker and weaker. I eventually collapsed to the ground, defeated. "Go on then. Finish me" I said as he stood there. "No I'd rather not."
"What? But you've won, take your revenge."
"Well, I would except, I was going to let Ganondorf do that for me. You'll have to stay here, like a good little boy. You won't have any problem with that, will you?" With that he mounted his horse and rode back towards the battle, leaving me lying on the ground, badly bleeding, and far away from any help. "This should be fun" I said.
About half an hour before that, the people in the tower stood, waiting.
was still watching the battle. Zelda came up next to him. "I hope they're all right." Kiel
"Don't worry, princess. Link and Joran are excellent fighters. They won't fail. Your father was also a great fighter, and I'm sure he still is."
"How do you know that?"
"Because, he was the warrior who taught me my skills. I'm surprised he didn't recognize me." Princess Zelda nodded.
She then posed a question to
. "Can you sense something special about Link? It seems to me that he has done something else. As if, he is responsible for Hyrule surviving this long. I feel like I was there, only I can't remember it." Kiel
"Well, the lad does have a tremendous amount of skill. I also remember Joran calling him something. The Hero of... Time?"
"Hero of Time?" Suddenly, memories came flooding back to Zelda. The sages had initially erased her memory of the events, so she could grow up and have a normal life. They didn't erase Link's memories because he needed them to inform the princess of Ganondorf's plans. She began to remember seeing Link, fighting an enormous boar-like beast, with two massive swords in his hands. Then, she remembers helping him finish the monster off by pinning him with her light magic. She remembers masquerading as a Sheikah man, teaching Link songs and giving him important information. She even remembered when she saved Princess Ruto from under the ice in the frozen Zora's Domain. She looked at her right hand, and finally remembered why the left side of that triforce mark always glowed. She remembered that she was the bearer of the Triforce of Wisdom. They suddenly heard a chorus of shouting from the battlefield below. They all seemed to be saying something in unison. "
! Broken Arrow !" was the shout. It was the code that Hylian soldiers used to either call in reinforcements, or signal the fall of a leader in battle. "I guess that's the signal. I must go." Broken Arrow left the room and ran down the hall where he ran into a tall woman. "Sorry, my lady. I'm trying to get down to the battle." He then continued on running leaving the confused woman standing there. "What battle?" It was Impa. She had just come up from the dungeon where she had been repairing one of the empty cell doors, so she had heard and seen nothing of the battle. She then ran into the tower. She saw Zelda in there, with a man and young woman she had never seen before. "Zelda? What's going on?" Kiel
"There's no time to explain. Right now I have to go down there!"
"Whoa, wait a minute! I don't want you fighting in any battle!"
"I have no choice. They need my help! If I can't go, then Sheik can!" Impa eyes widened. She now knew that Zelda had recovered her memory. The Sage of Shadow nodded and let her go. Zelda ran to her room, changed her clothes, used her magic to disguise herself even more, then ran down through the halls and all the way down to Hyrule Field to take part in the
for Hyrule. Battle
I called to my horse, Honor. Luckily, he was just inside Castle Town Market, so he was free to run out. He reached my side and whinnied his concern when he saw me. "Good lad, Honor. Now, come down here so I can climb on your back." Honor knelt down and I crawled and managed to climb onto his back with a great, painful effort. I sat upright. I felt for my sword at my side. Unfortunately, it was still on the ground and I wasn't about to get it, considering the pain I was in. I suddenly remembered that I had grabbed a battle axe before heading out and put it on my back. I pulled it from the straps holding it to my back and grasped it as firm as I could with my right hand. I had some difficulty keeping hold of it. I took one of the straps that used to hold the axe off my back. I then strapped the axe to my right hand, so I would not drop it. I held it aloft and took a couple of practice swings. The axe did not come loose. I then dug my heels into Honor's side. He reared on his hind legs and the sound that he made could almost be described as a roar. He charged back toward the battle as I held my axe at the ready. I drew nearer and nearer. I finally reached the battle and took a swing of my axe at a nearby Gerudo engaged with Fano. She fell to the ground with a thud and Honor thundered on forward toward my goal.
was battling hard. There were none in the Gerudo army who could best him. Kiel Dark Linknoticed this and turned his horse in 's direction. He charged forward, sword ready. He reached Kiel in the blink of an eye and slashed at him. Kiel blocked the blow with his sword, but was sent tumbling backwards by the strike. Kiel Dark Linksmiled evilly and jumped down from his horse. He walked over to who had recovered. "So, old man. You and I are quite alike. We both rose from the dead, to face each other in battle once more." Kiel
"Well, this time you don't have any cowards to save you."
"What, you mean Toro? I never needed him. I would've taken care of you myself. Toro was just loyal, that's all."
"I know Joran took care of him, and you. He is twice the swordsman you'll ever be, so this should be easy."
"You may want to think about that last statement."
did not like the tone Kiel Dark Linkwas using. "What did you do?"
"Oh, I've seen to Joran. I've left him in the field for Ganondorf. He really didn't put up much of a fight."
became stricken with grief. He believed that I would be dead by now. "You.... evil... I will avenge him!" Kiel
"As you wish."
Dark Linkran forward and raised his sword. blocked his strike, and quickly countered, cutting Olan's arm. He grunted in pain. He swung his blade vertically. Kiel blocked it yet again, and used his free hand to knock Kiel Dark Linkdown with a punch. He thrust his sword toward the ground, but Dark Linkrolled out of the way and used his shield to block 's second thrust. He kicked out his right foot and knocked Kiel 's feet out from under him and he fell to the ground. Kiel Dark Linkjumped up and swung his sword downward. He knocked Kiel's sword away, and pointed his sword toward 's neck. "So, old man. It's time for your end. Burn in hell, you fool!" He was about to strike Kiel down when he heard a shout close behind him. A young man was charging toward him. His silver blade held aloft as he gripped the blue handle. He was charging toward Kiel Dark Link. As he reached him, Olan wheeled around and thrust his blade through the young man's chest. Fano's eyes were now filled with pain. "Fano!" cried. Fano dropped to his knees and fell forward to the ground as Olan withdrew his sword. Kiel quickly grabbed his sword and jumped up. "Now I'll kill you for certain, you vile fiend!" Kiel
"Oh, was he a friend of yours? Don't worry, you'll join him soon enough." As soon as he was about to start toward
once more, he was swept away. He was held in the firm grasp of a man astride a beautiful brown mare, clad in green. He noticed another horse alongside it. This horse was a male black stallion. "Hello brother. It is good to see you again" the man in green said. "So, Olan, you thought to leave me for dead, eh? Think again!" He looked to his left and gasped in shock. "Joran! How?" Suddenly, Link threw him threw the air and he landed hard on the ground. We brought our horses to a stop and dismounted. Link had given me red potion, so I had recovered significantly. I had also picked up my sword along the way. Link strode up to Kiel Dark Link. "This has to end, Olan. If you surrender now, we can stop this fighting. I don't want to have to fight you again, brother."
"Surrender? You are a fool, my so-called brother, if you believe that I will surrender. No, I will fight until both of you lie dead upon this battlefield!"
"Olan, please" Link begged "don't do this. We can resolve this another way."
"Never, Hero!" Link shook his head sadly, then drew the Sword of Courage. "Very well, Olan. You leave me no choice." He and I both began to move forward. "You honorless cowards! Give me a fair fight!" I then spoke up. "We've tried that, Olan. But it is you who is honorless. Slaughtering brave and noble men for the sake of what? An evil fool who brainwashed you? That, Olan, is not a fair fight. We tried to give you one, but you have chosen the cowards' way!"
"Fine! I'll just have to kill you both at once!" He summoned his dark power and blasted dark energy toward us. We jumped out of the way and charged forward. He sent bolts of lightning from his fingers, one of which struck me, knocking me to the ground. I tried to move, but found that I couldn't. "So, Hero of Time, it's just you and me. Again."
"So it is, Olan. So it is." Link raised his sword and brought it down towards
Dark Link's head. Dark Linkdrew his sword quickly and blocked Link's strike. He countered with his shield, hitting Link in the head. Link staggered backward, but remained standing. He ran forward and thrust forward with his sword. Dark Linkdid that same backflip and landed on Link's sword. Dark Linkswung his sword and caught Link's shoulder. Link dropped his sword, but was still standing. Dark Linkrepeatedly swung his sword at Link, catching the Mirror Shield every time. Link continued blocking with his shield, but was growing tired. Dark Linkthen swung his shield forward. Link moved out of the way, but Dark Linkswung his sword and knocked Link's shield out of his hand. Link was now defenceless. "I've been waiting a long time for this, Hero of Time. I'm finally going to finish you!" As he ran forward, Link saw a blinding light. He then thought. I'm dead. I let Hyrule down. I've failed. He heard a voice calling to him. "That must be the goddesses" said Link. The voice called him again, but he recognized it. It sounded like... someone he knew. His vision cleared and he was still standing on the battlefield. He saw a man fighting with Dark Link, but not faring very well. He then knew immediately who it was, as he saw the Sheikah clothing on 'him'. "Wait, Sheik isn't real! Oh no! Zelda!" He rushed toward his sword and picked it up. He ran toward the fight. Zelda was being overwhelmed. Link knocked Dark Linkaway from her, and fought harder than he ever had. Dark Linkwas caught off guard by this. Link drove him back, and now Dark Linkwas the one being overwhelmed. His shield was knocked flying away, and Link knocked him to the ground. Link leapt up in the air, and flipped his sword to point it at the ground. He came down with full force. The Sword of Courage went straight through Olan's body, and stuck in the ground. Link leapt off him, leaving his sword in his dead brother's body. He walked forward and pulled his sword out. He raised his sword in the air and shouted in victory. Everyone across the battlefield stopped to look to Link's position. They saw a triumphant Link, sword raised high, with Dark Linklying dead on the ground. Everyone returned his cheer, Gerudo and Hylian soldier alike. Link's triumphant cry could be heard clear across Hyrule. The war was over. They had won. The clouds that hung over the field were now dissipating as the sun poked its glistening head out and shone down to lift the darkness.
About a week later, Link and I stood together just outside the castles gates, staring at the sunset. We were silent for a while. I broke the silence this time. "Link?"
"Do you ever get the feeling that this will never end?"
"What do you mean?"
"It's just that, evil keeps coming back. Especially when all seems right, something keeps happening to threaten the peace. Are we cursed? Do the goddesses hate us?"
"Joran, we are not cursed. And the goddesses do not hate us if we maintain noble spirits. I've come to learn that, as long as good exists in the world, so will evil. That is the eternal battle. Good versus evil. In a way, yes, this will never end."
That brought my spirits up a little. I was still stricken with sorrow for all the brave souls who fell in the battle, especially Fano and King Guran. I then remembered something. "Link, you said you were going to ask Zelda to marry you. Have you done it yet?" Link paused, then slapped his forehead. "I completely forgot! How is it I forgot something that important!"
"Well, you were just in a battle, Link. That's bound to have an effect on you."
"I suppose you're right." He then paused, thoughtfully. He was about to speak when Zelda came up behind us. "Hello men" she said, sadly, as she approached. Link quickly whispered his plan in my ear, then turned to Zelda. "Hello, Zelda" said Link. "Greetings, my princess, or should I say, fellow warrior" I said. She smiled at that last remark. She then said "I'd be fine if you called me that." I slightly bowed before her. "Oh, Joran. There is no need for such formality. We're friends now, not dignitaries."
"I'm honored that you consider me a friend, your highness." She gave an exasperated sigh, then turned to Link.
"What a beautiful sunset. Don't you think so?"
"I can think of something more beautiful" he said, turning to her with a smile. "Don't be so corny!" she said, giggling.
"No, I'm serious. You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen." She was clearly flattered, and nearly blushed. She never blushed at anyone's comments, no matter how sincere they were. That was how strong she was. Link looked toward the sunset again and waited for the sun to fully go down. He then pointed at me. "Is this really necessary, Link?" I asked, indignant. I did not want to do what he had asked me to do. It made me feel foolish. "Joran!" he said. "All right, I'll do it!" I began to play Zelda's Lullaby on Link's ocarina. I wasn't very good at it, and I thought it sounded terrible.
Link got down on one knee and grasped Zelda's hand. Zelda had a shocked look on her face. She knew what Link was going to do. "Zelda-" she interrupted him before he could get his prepared speech out. "Yes I will!" Link looked stunned. He hadn't even pulled his written speech out yet and he already had an answer. I stopped playing the ocarina. He looked at me, and I shrugged. He got up and said "Really? Great!" They then hugged and kissed each other in a warm embrace. I smiled at this happy scene. I then left for the castle to give Hyrule's princess and future king time alone.
Three days after that happy event, a tremendously sad one was to take place: the burial of King Guran. Everyone in Hyrule gathered at the Kakariko graveyard to pay their last respects to their king. Nalquiz, the royal mage, gave the service. "It is with heavy hearts that we are all here today. And yet, also, tremendous pride in what our king did for our land. He gave us his life, in exchange for our survival. This kind and noble deed shall not be forgotten. King Guran shall remain in our hearts forever. His daughter, Princess Zelda, will now say a few words." Zelda stepped up next to her father's coffin. She held back the tears and composed herself very well. "My father was a great ruler. He was just and fair. He was a caring, passionate man who loved his land deeply. He was a skilled soldier. A warrior for all time. But, most of all, he was..." I saw a tear drift down from one of Zelda's sapphire eyes. "...my father. The man who raised and cared for me. Who loved me. Who gave me all of his wisdom so that I could one day inherit this great kingdom. The man who I have loved since my youngest years. I will continue to love him as long as I live. He will be sorely missed." She finished her emotional speech without once losing control of her emotions. I looked around to see even grown men and soldiers in tears at her speech. The coffin was lowered into the ground as the Song of the Royal Family was played. When the service was over, I stayed behind with Malon, Link, and Zelda. We were the only ones left. The four of us stood over King Guran's grave in silence. Zelda handed each of us a crocus. One by one, we layed the flowers on top of the grave. We then gave one last look to the grave, and then left for the castle. The next day, I was wandering the halls of
, when Zelda approached me. "Hello, Joran." Hyrule Castle
"Hello, princess. How may I be of service?"
"I know this seems awfully quick, but Link and I are planning on having the wedding tomorrow. I've just come to formally invite you as our first guest. Also, you can be of service by not being so formal with me."
"Will do, your high- I mean Zelda. Thank you for the invitation." I continued my random strolling of
's hallowed halls. Zelda went back to her room to continue the planning. I continued wandering, when I came upon Link. He was leaning against the wall of the hallway, just staring out the window. "Link?" Hyrule Castle
"Joran. How are you?"
"I'm all right. I've just been invited to your wedding."
"Zelda told you, did she? Well, that's good" he said with a sigh.
"You know what it means when we're married, right? I'm going to be king."
"So? That's good, right?"
"It would be, if I were worthy of the title." I was shocked to hear him say that. "What? Your the Hero of Time for Din's sake! You've saved Hyrule three times already! How does that not make you worthy to be king?"
"I can't possibly live up to King Guran's reputation, Joran. He was the best king this land will ever see. I don't even know the first thing about ruling a kingdom."
"I'm sure you'll pick up some things from your queen. Zelda is strong and she learned a lot from her father. You will be a great king, Link." He continued staring out the window, but knew I was right about Zelda. She was more than qualified to show him everything about being a king. I left Link alone with his thoughts and left the castle. Now was my time to think.
The next day, I arrived at
to witness the marriage. Not only was this a marriage ceremony, this was the coronation af Hyrule's next king and queen. Once again Nalquiz gave the service. "Today, as one era ends, another shall begin. While the good king gave his life for us all, he would have wanted us to move on. We will, with this joyous and momentous occasion. We have all gathered to witness the union of these two people. Zelda, princess of Hyrule, and Link, the brave and noble hero. Now, let us get on with the celebration." The wedding was emotional, though nothing compared to the previous day's events. The two of them said their 'I do's' and as they kissed, a raucous cheer went up amongst the people of Hyrule. After a few minutes, a young man and young woman came in carrying crowns on red pillows with gilded edges. Tassles adorned the corners of these pillows. The young woman handed Nalquiz her crown. The crown was a standard shape, with several points around the top. A bright sapphire was on the front of the crown, with a Triforce symbol above it. "Please kneel, princess." She did as instructed. "By the power vested in me, and with the guidance of Din, Farore and Nayru, I crown you Queen of all Hyrule. Nayru protect you Queen Zelda!" Another raucous cheer went up. Then, the young man handed his crown to Nalquiz. This crown was slightly larger than Zelda's, and had a large emerald in the centre. The same Triforce symbol sat atop the emerald. "Please kneel, Link." He knelt down and bowed his head. "By the power vested in me, from the great golden goddesses, with guidance and wisdom, I crown you King of Hyrule. Keep the spirit of Farore, King Link!" Even I took up the thunderous cheer that came with this. Everyone then began chanting "Hail King Link! Long live Queen Zelda!" Once again, I became caught up in this cheer. The two of them acknowledged the masses as the cheering continued. Hyrule Castle
Later in the day, I was standing on a balcony with Malon, watching the sunset. I turned to her and my heart beat faster. I remembered what I had been thinking of the previous day, and said "Malon?"
"Uh... there's something I've been meaning to... umm... ask you."
"Well, go ahead. Why are you so nervous?" My hands were shaking I was so nervous. I wasn't even this nervous before the battle. Come on, man I thought What's the matter with you? I've faced tougher things than this, right? I then pulled a small box out of my pocket. I then said "I... love you. Will you... marry me?" My voice cracked as I asked the question. I opened the box to reveal a ring with a ruby in the centre. I chose the colour to match Malon's hair. "Oh Joran... yes!" I was ecstatic. This had now become the happiest day of my life. We kissed and then, gazed into the sunset, together.
The next day, I found
wandering about the castle courtyard. "Ho there, Kiel !" He turned toward me, and I saw a sad look in his eyes. "Hello, Joran." Kiel
"What's the matter,
"I just feel awful. I haven't felt the same since the battle. I'll never forgive myself."
"For letting Fano die. It should've been me, not him. I'm old, he was young. It's just not fair."
"Death is not fair,
. Maybe the gods have some other purpose for you, yet." Kiel
"Did I ever tell you about your father, Joran?"
. Why?" Kiel
"You are so much like him, Joran. He and I were the best of friends. I'm sure your brother would've been just like him, too. That day, when the Gerudos invaded, he tried to get you all to safety. He left your brother, Rilon, your mother, Laya, and you in my care. I was to protect you. He went out to the fight to prevent the Gerudos from reaching you. He battled hard and kept them at bay for a time. As I saw more of them coming, I turned to your mother and asked if she would be all right if I went outside to help your father. She was just as much of a fighter as your father, and told me that she could take care of herself. As I stepped out of the house, I saw your father fall." I could see tears forming in his eyes. I also felt the beginnings of tears. I was merely an infant when this all happened.
had told me nothing of my family's past, not even their names, until now. "What was my father's name?" I asked. "He went by Hunt, that's what everyone called him, but his real name was Gralan." Kiel
"Why did everyone call him Hunt?"
"Because every time someone saw him, it seemed like he was hunting for something. In a way, he was. Anyway, I saw your father fall, and fought off the Gerudos that were there. I knelt down beside him, only to see that he was already dead. I heard a scream come from within the house. I ran back and saw your mother and your brother dead on the floor. The Gerudos had come in to kidnap you and Rilon. Your mother fought back intensely, and was killed in her effort. In the scuffle, they also inadvertently killed your brother. You were lying on the floor next to your brother, crying. As I picked you up, I gave you a promise. I promised to protect you and all who are young to prevent anything like that happening again. However, I've failed at that promise, with Fano's death." I was nearly in tears at
's tragic story. " Kiel , Fano's death was not your fault. He valiantly gave his life for the cause of Hyrule's survival." Kiel
"He died saving me."
"Well, you saved his life. You do not realize what good he did by saving your life,
No matter what I said,
would not believe me. He was inconsolable. I then decided to try and cheer him up with my good news. " Kiel , I'd like to tell you something." Kiel
"What is it?"
"Well, Malon and I are getting married."
"Really? Good for you, lad. That makes me very happy." I smiled at him, and he smiled back. Then my guardian and I walked back to the castle, with a new hope stirring in our hearts. We had defeated
Dark Linkand it was time for peace once again. This time, it would last longer than before.
That night, across the vast emptiness that was Hyrule Field, there is nothing to be seen. Suddenly, a dark figure rises from out of the shadows. This was not a person, but a spirit. This figure searched the field with its piercing red eyes. These eyes began to glow brighter and almost lit up the entire field. Then, a ghostly whisper could be heard. It said "The blood of the hero shall be taken by the innocent." The figure then receded back into the shadows to gain its strength. This figure would threaten again. But, instead of all the land, it would threaten only its king and a select few of its inhabitants. As Hyrule slept, the evil grew in strength. This would be a new kind of darkness. A darkness that inhabits mind and soul, and can curse those it chooses. It would take many years, but it would be back.
Dark Linkwasn't finished yet.
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