Prelude to Legends: The Hyrule Fantasy

By Christopher Blair

In a time before the Legends...
Before the Epic we know began...

Before a Man became a Monster...
Before a Hero would be born...
Before a Princess would be burdened...

The War had yet to begin...

Chapter 5
The Final Year

Light flashed outside the Drow city of Durin. After a moment, it tore open and deposited Raura and Froru on the ground. The young Water Sage breathed with relief, for she had not been sure if they would complete the transit. It was then she felt the odd looks of confusion that were around them. She glanced to see several of the Drow watching her and Raura.
"Not many save the servants of Ganondorf choose such ways of travel," one of the city guards stated as he approached. Froru instantly noticed that on his armor was the mark of the golden TryForce. It was a sign that they were indeed in friendly lands. "May I ask why you risk such?"
"We seek to find the Sheikah Sage of Shadow," Raura replied. He pulled back the sleeve of his robes to show the mark of Time on his hand. "There may be a way to end the reign of Ganondorf, but we do not have the grace of time on our side."
The Drow nodded and led them into the city. Froru, who had never been in a city of the Drow before, found it odd that it was much fashioned after the city in Hyrule Castle. The different was that this city had a more deadly appearance to it, as if designed to not just repel, but to utterly destroy invaders. Perhaps that was why it still stood.
They came to a stop before what obviously was a home in the style of the Sheikah designs. The soldier bid them farewell before returning to his post, and Raura knocked on the door of the home. Who answered the call, he had not expected at all. "By Alahyde," he whispered, then finally smiled to his old friend. "Impa, you're alive!"
"Did you expect less?" The Sheikah warrior grinned and gestured for her guests to enter. Froru bowed to the woman and took a seat, looking around and noticing several things that, compared to the Sheikah homes she had seen before, seemed quite out of place. A necklace was hanging from some kind of handcrafted display. As she took a closer look, the young Sage found the mark of the Royal family in the pendent piece of the necklace.
"Are you of some relation to the Alahydes?" she asked. Impa and Raura looked to her, and then the female of the two shook her head.
"That belonged to someone I was given charge of," Impa stated, bringing Raura a warm cup of something that looked like tea, but the smell was a bit different, almost like deku leaves.
Raura nodded, then glanced at his old friend. "Speaking of whom, where is she? I would have expected to see our young heir here with you if you are the Sheikah that Narikah spoke of living here with the Drow."
Impa hesitated before she sighed. "Celestia has...departed. She's still alive, quite well, but for the past year, I have not seen much of her. She went off to check on things at Hyrule Castle despite my warnings."
"Does she know about..."
A nod. "She very much figured things out on her own about her bloodline through her mother, and where her mother really was." Impa knit her brow and took a deep breath before letting it out again. "I suppose it was rather obvious to her, but as far as anyone else could tell, she was just the sad victim of cruel fate to be without her mother."
"Excuse me," Froru softly quipped. Both Raura and Impa turned to her, and her face went red almost instantly. "Forgive me, but may I ask what this is about?"
"I suppose now is as good a time as any to drop the deceptions," Raura mused, Impa nodding in agreement. "You know how the story goes of how Celestia's mother died giving birth, correct?" He continued when Froru nodded. "Well, it was a lie, to protect her mother and Celestia. We knew that people would possibly reject an heir if it was know she was a Sheikah half-blood, so it was said that the mother died, and her origins not revealed."
"The princess is a Sheikah?" Froru arced her brow in interest. Things were now starting to fit. "What about her mother?"
Imp continued from that point. "Her mother accepted that she could not reveal herself and stepped back to watch Celestia from a position that would garner no suspicion." A smile flashed on her lips. "Nursemaid to the infant princess, which in turn would become her tutor and personal protector."
"When Celestia reached her Age," Raura said and he took over the explanation, "her mother took on a different role as personal aide to King Grevian, but was also still the princess' teacher."
Froru nodded, then suddenly realized something. Princess Celestia, at the time of Ganondorf's rise to power, had been only fourteen, merely a year after having come of age. That meant her mother had still been there when Impa took the princess to the Sheikah...but Impa had been Grevian's aide. It was then that everything fell into place.
"Impa?" she whispered. "You're Celestia's mother?"
The Sheikah slowly nodded, again that smile on her lips. "Indeed I am, young one. Grevian and I met when he stayed in my village for a time to learn our ways, before his father had passed away and given the throne of Hyrule to him. We fell in love, and I did indeed bear his daughter."
"Then why the deceptions?"
"As I explained," Raura began again, "The people of Tylon most likely would not have accepted a Sheikah blooded heir, so Impa kept her past hidden and took the name Hera while dying her hair so that it would be believed that she was a normal Hylian." He smiled and sipped down his tea before continuing. "I aided her in that respect by handling the infusion to keep her hair color a nice brown while she was in the public eye. You may be interested to know though, that she is not as young as one thinks."
"I am over sixty years of age," Impa stated, shocking Froru. "We Sheikah inherited some of the long life spans of our Drow ancestors and thus, begin to age much slower once we begin our coming of age. Celestia does not have that in her, but she will have a long life."
It was then that Froru remembered part of the reason they had come. "Do you know where we could find the Sage of Shadow?" she asked. "I know it's a bit off the topic, but it is why we came here."
It was then that Impa's eyes went slim. She nodded and stood up before walking to the back of the room. "Indeed, I know where to find her."
"Her?" Raura mused, most interested. "The warrior Sheik is the Sage?"
Impa turned sharply, the look in her eyes one of shock. "You've met Sheik?" she asked, her expression going near fright when the two Sages nodded. "The Sage she is not, but someone that is to be wary of, she is."
"You know this Sheik, I assume?"
Impa nodded confirmation. "I taught Sheik myself...along with Celestia, but she was impatient and left around the same time Celestia did. I hear word now and then of her appearance, but she does not come near this city."
"Someone to have as an ally," Froru stated. "She saved us from a group of moblins and led us to the Sheikah village not far from here."
Raura, while Impa began to tell the young Sage why they should not seek the aid of Sheik, noticed something in the back of the room. What appeared to be a bundle of brown hair lay as some kind of memorial. He recognized the hair as Celestia's, he had seen her enough times to know the aura, but something else seemed to permeate the feeling, some kind of anger and desire.
He pushed it from his mind. "Impa," he called, turning back to the Sheikah. "You said you knew the Sage of Shadow. If you could take us to her, this old man would be most grateful."
"You need not look, for she stands before you," Impa stated, pulling her glove off to reveal the dark purple mark of the Shadow symbol. "I was Awakened mere nights ago when I went into the Shadow Temple."
Froru looked to Raura. They both knew that this meant they need seek only two more Sages before they could seal Ganondorf away. Raura still worried though, for although he had seen where the Sage of Spirit would awaken, he had no visions as to the location of the Sage of Light.
Screams suddenly broke the tense silence. Impa snapped her head in the direction of the voices and grabbed her weapon from where it lay on a stand. "Stay here," she commanded, drawing the single sided blade from its sheath. "There's trouble."
Trouble was an understatement. As Impa reached the site of the scream, she found several Drow laying dead, but there were no wounds at all, only the looks of horror pasted on the faces of the victims. She turned, pondering who could have done this kind of murder. It was then that she got her answer.
The black form stepped out from the shadows, a sword of flame in his hand. Black armor was on his body, the image of a skull on the chest plate, but it seemed like there were other, more ethereal faces on the armor, each one screaming out in pain. "Sheikah," he spat, pulling back the shadows that cloaked his face. Impa gasped as she saw what he was; a Drow, but of night black skin instead of the blue that both Drow of the underdark and of the surface had. His eyes burned like red hot coals, revealing that he was quite not mortal. He raised his sword, flames shifting with it. "I know who you are. It is you who robbed me of the Princess that day!"
"I would do it again if she were here," Impa snapped, holding her blade back along her arm while taking a defensive stance. "She has already left in the company of another though, so she's quite able to handle herself."
The demonic warrior chuckled and stepped towards Impa. "Indeed," came his reply. "It so happens I care not for her now, it is you, Sage of the Shadows, that I want!"
Ganondorf already knew of her Awakening?! Impa narrowed her eyes, it was impossible for him to learn already. This man did not have the dark Emperor's foul smell about him, it was something else. She then realized that this was the wandering knight of death she had been hearing about, the Shadow hand of the Inferno, Ba'al. Her eyes locked onto the sword of fire he held.
"You know who I am," he whispered, stepping closer and closer. "Good, that makes this so much more interesting."
"Take one more step and your throat will be spilled upon the ground!" Impa shouted, slightly altering her stance to hold the blade more forward.
Ba'al smiled and continued. "Such a loud voice," he remarked, pausing before he was in reaching distance of the woman. "If I didn't know better, I'd say that's why your brother beat you as a child."
Eyes went wide. This man knew about that?! How? How could he know of her abusive brother, how he beat her after their parents had died? How did he know of the pain she had endured when she had begun training as a Sheikah warrior, the utter mocking words her cruel brother threw at her, that she would never be anything but a failure?
"You wonder this." He chuckled and lowered his sword but a bit. "I know everything about you, Impa Darkblade of the Sheikah. I know your own self-torture, I know how cruel your brother was, how he cared not one bit for you at all! In fact, he would have rather you died in your quest to be what you are, and I know it all, straight from his soul that burns in the Inferno!" Again, he laughed, a cruel and hollow laugh that reminded Impa of the one she had heard when Ganondorf conquered Hyrule Castle. "Just as all those I kill burn, so shall you, Sage!"
He surged forward, slashing with his blade. Impa managed to dodge it by sheer moments, but instead of coming back up, she felt a wave of utter torment sweep through her soul, causing her to misstep and fall back. Lakes of fire flashed in her eyes, souls screaming out for release, it was the vision of a nightmare. Was this the Inferno, the domain of the Lord of Flames?
"You see it," Ba'al said mockingly as he allowed her time to resume her footing. "You see what awaits all of this world, by my hand or Dragmire's. The lake of fire, the brimstone, the endless screams of the damned." He grinned, raising his flaming sword again and taking a step forward. Impa backed away, not wanting to feel that fire again, but she stopped knowing that she had to if this beast was to be defeated.
"What name does your master go by?" she asked with contempt. "So that I may know who it is we will hunt down and deprive of those he has stolen from Ieyadon."
"You truly think that you can fight the power of Mephistopheles?!" Ba'al yelled in amusement. His eyes flared to burn brightly, his sword rising to aim at Impa once more. The means was no longer intimidate this woman, her fate would be to die and suffer eternally. "Prepare for the Fire."
He stepped forward, flames leaping from his sword. Impa barely dodged, but that wave of darkness hit her again, and the vision of evil was so much more clear. A great beast stood amid the fire and the souls, laughing in joy while the screams from his prisoners cried out for help. The total despair and horror that swept over her caused her to again fall. This time, Ba'al did not grant her the chance to rise again. He was there in a flash, sword hanging over the woman's head and force her to feel the anguish that was the Inferno.
"Without you," he whispered. "They cannot seal Ganondorf away, which means yet another chance for my master to take the TryForce and surpass Dragmire. Make sure that my lord knows that my task is progressing well."
Impa could only stare in horror and he raised his sword to cleave through her, then saw a slim flash cut through his armor and into his shoulder. Ba'al screamed as he was forced to pull back from killing his victim, allowing Impa to roll away from him and get to her feet. "Who..." she muttered, then saw the blue and white clad form standing atop her home.
"It seems my instincts were right," the young warrior known as Sheik called, leaping down with a flip and facing Ba'al with blade drawn. In an instant, the demonic knight ran forward, slashing at Sheik, but she bent back perfectly and slammed her feet into his face when he missed. Both Impa and Ba'al stared in shock; his sword had not affected Sheik at all!
"Brave, are you?" he growled, swinging again only for the young female to draw out another blade and block. He grinned as he tried to see the fear in her eyes, but instead, there was only fire there, a fire that seemed to be fighting off the fire of his master. Ba'al could not understand it. How could this Sheikah be resisting the touch of the Inferno, how could she be fighting his power? He pulled back and feinted high, then thrust forward when Sheik had taken the false action.
Impa opened her mouth to scream, but found no sound coming. The total amazement of what she now saw was beyond her understanding. Ba'al sword had struck true into Sheik's exposed mid-riff, but the girl was un-affected completely! She wasn't writhing in pain or screaming in agony from the fires of the Inferno, she was simply standing there, eyes glaring at a horrified Ba'al.
"I hope you do know that your sword is now worthless," she spat only moments before roundhousing him hard in the head, causing him to hit the ground and drop his weapon of flame. Sheik took the opportunity, flashed out her blades, and pinned the Drown to the ground. He was completely horrified by how easily this Sheikah, this girl had bested him. She bent down to his face, not even blinking in the slightest.
"You wish to know why you cannot touch me with the fires of your Master?" she asked in a calm, yet some how, so frightening voice. "I do not fear the Inferno, I do not fear Dragmire's armies, and I do not fear death. My only enemy is fear, demon, it is the only thing I have to fear, and I am not afraid anymore."
That so young a person not only bested him, but had completely conquered his power terrified Ba'al beyond all belief. There was someone who had gone beyond the reach of his master, someone that the Inferno simply could not touch. How could this be, when darkness was in all souls, the very fact that allowed his power to bind them into damnation against their fate.
And then he saw why. Sheik had cast out the darkness, rejected it completely, killing only when no other choice was left, but at the same time regretting it all. She had rejected the darkness in her soul by rejecting fear, not afraid to die, not afraid to face the Inferno at all, for she accepted that things ended.
"Leave now," she hissed, pulling her weapons from Ba'al's shoulders and walking back while keeping and eye on him. "Go back to your master and do not return, or the vengeance of the Gods will take retribution."
He snarled in anger, taking his sword and vanishing in a burst of fire and brimstone. Sheik sheathed her twin weapons and helped Impa to her feet, then turned to leave. She was just pulling out the flash ball when Impa called for her to wait.
"What do you want?"
"Why do you always run?" Impa asked. She too sheathed her blade, taking a step towards the masked girl. "Whenever I see you, you vanish and leave not a trace. I know who you are, Sheik, how could I not know?!"
A pause as the girl seemed to halt from using the flash ball. She lowered her hand slightly while she turned to face Impa. "She's dead," Sheik stated coldly. "She died three years ago, and I'm what was born. You helped make me, Impa, you should know better than anyone that Sheik is who I am."
Before Impa could reply, she threw down the flash ball, gone in an instant. The woman could only drop her head in sorrow, then walked back into her home. Raura's eyes told that he knew everything which had happened, but that he still did not know everything. "I suppose I should be leaving with you," she finally said sadly. "Ba'al will be after me again, the least I can do is draw him away from Durin."
Raura only nodded and looked to Froru. "We should prepare to leave," he stated, getting up and moving to the door. "Impa, we shall depart Durin when you are ready. Pack light but enough, we have a long journey ahead of us to the Gerudo Valley."

As Impa, Raura and Froru began the long journey towards Gerudo Valley, Regalas and his group were trying the same thing, except their own road had become more delaying. Carath Mountain was on the extreme borders of Tylon, and since they were forced to sneak through the country, another year had gone by when they at last reached the plains of Rivedale. Regalas' heart sank more and more with each passing week. They were in the final year, and they still had yet to find the Sage of Light.
It was at Rivedale that they saw a billowing rip in the fabric of reality. Regalas realized at one that this was where Ganondorf had entered the Realm of the Gods to slaughter Latyra and Harkanian. They could do nothing to seal it again, but they could at least give their prayers to Alahyde here. It was nightfall before they continued on towards what remained of Hyrule Castle, but the sight that welcomed them there were one of nightmares.
Undead walked the streets, and the city which had once stood there was in ruins. A massive tower had been erected in place of the once grand castle of Hyrule, a tower they knew to be Ganondorf's own fortress. The trio, under cover of night, snuck to where the Temple of Time still stood. They knew they could find no one there, but a part of Regalas still hoped. The sight of the Master Sword, still laying where it had fallen four years ago, crushed all hope he had. Harkin had not returned, the Doors of Time were still shut...there would be no Sword Magnus.
"Where to now?" Nell asked softly. Regalas looked back to her and Darunia, noting the wait in their eyes. They had been very understanding in his need to have hope of Harkin's return, but he had no right to force them into going with them here. They were Sages, and he was not.
"The Temple of Light in Kokiri," he stated at last after minutes of silence. "It's where the Master Sword once rest, and it's where Alahyde appeared before Harkin." He finally smiled. "Maybe we'll find some clues to the Sage of Light there."
Nell and Darunia nodded in agreement, and when chance allowed, they escaped the city and made way for the Kokiri Forests. Regalas found a ranch on the way there, or rather the remains of what had been a large ranch. They took the time to investigate, and Regalas was heartbroken to find that this was what had been Alakahde Ranch, Harkin's home. Bodies long dead for years lay in a disjointed pile, not even buried or burned, but left to the maggots and anything else that would feed on the corpses.
"Those of Kazah'dur disgust me," Darunia spat as he looked upon the scene. "They would bury their own, but not those they kill. Its an insult to the Gods..."
Regalas only nodded and took the time to bury the remains properly. As he placed crude markers for the graves, he, Darunia, and Nell asked Alahyde to watch over the souls of those who had been killed her. They then continued on into the forest, guided by Regalas' memory towards the Temple, but when they got there, a horrible sight welcomed them.
The servants of Ganondorf had overrun the Temple, moblins patrolling the entrance while other creatures were undoubtedly inside. That's when the blaze of black flame burst out and dropped a man clad in black to the ground. The moblins at once rushed towards him, but one strike of his sword and they were destroyed, incinerated by the flames of his blade. Regalas recognized the weapon; it was Ba'al, Mephistopheles' hand.
Just as he moved to attack the demonic servant, Darunia grabbed him and shook his massive head. "Wait," the Goron stated, then turned to watch. Stalfos charged out from the ground. Just as the moblins before them, they were consumed by flames. Regalas understood now; enemy that Ba'al may be, he was merely clearing their way, but that would only last so far.
"We have to stop him now," the archer whispered, slowly moving to follow Ba'al. "If he gets to the heart of the temple, he'll flood it with the fires of the Inferno."
Darunia nodded and followed his Hylian companions, racing into the Temple while the remains of Ganondorf's forces burned on the ground. They were careful not to get Ba'al notice, then came to the chamber where the Master Sword had once slept. This place was the heart of the Temple of Light, but where was Ba'al?
"I wondered when we would face again," came the cold voice. The three spun to see Ba'al standing behind them, sword raised to point at Regalas. He smiled and stepped forward, snapped his fingers, and laughed as a door slammed down to cut off the only exit from the chamber. "It's amazing how long you've lasted. Four years since that day in the Temple of Time, Regalas Veradal dai Latyra. I was robbed of the Sword Magnus because of Ganondorf, but I will not be robbed of you!"
He had nothing. His sword had been left back in Teramin two years ago, and in his eagerness to return home to Tylon, he had in that time neglected to get a new weapon. All he had was a bow and half a dozen arrows left in his quiver. He could only hope that would do some good.
Regalas strung three arrows on the bow and aimed for Ba'al's hearts. His eyes narrowed, but in his hearts, he felt fear, fear of Ba'al's sword, fear of the Inferno he would be cast into if that wretched blade took his life, fear of failure. "Leave us be," he demanded still. "Your enemy is Ganondorf!"
"My enemy is all with life in their bodies!" the demonic knight spat, a blaze shooting from his sword. Regalas and his companions scattered to dodge the flames, and he fired his arrows, all three hitting directly through Ba'al's armor. The Drow stumbled, then laughed and pulled the arrows out, much to Regalas' horror. "Fool! you can't kill me, I am death!" He laughed and continued on towards Regalas, sword flaming hot. The Hylian could feel the heat of the Inferno now, the lakes of fire, the screams, the cries, and the horrible laughter of Mephistopheles. That ear splitting, high pitched cruel and terrible laugh.
Suddenly, just as Ba'al swung down, Regalas saw through and realized something; it was fear that gave the Inferno its power. Fear was the fuel to Ba'al sword, fear of death, of failure, of the Inferno itself. Fear was the ultimate tool of darkness. He dropped his bow and brought his hands up, catching the blade of fire, but this time it was not hot. The flames seemed to die at his touch. And that was when he saw the shock in Ba'al's eyes, not from his rejection of fear, but something else.
Light filled the chamber, but the strangest thing was, it was not from the lanterns or even from a celestial being appearing. The light was coming from Regalas, dancing about him with a golden hue while a mark burned into the back of his hand. Ba'al back away in horror as he realized who Regalas was, why he had been bound to the Sword Magnus, and why he had fought his way here.
It was him who was the Sage of Light.
"No!" the Drow screamed, his sword defeated not once, but now twice. "No, this can't be happening! Not you!"
As he stood, Regalas felt a voice echo in his mind, a soft voice that he knew well. It was the voice of Alahyde, telling him that he had at last passed the final test of his Awakening; he had rejected fear. "Leave my Temple now!" he bellowed, his voice carrying a power that was beyond that of any other sage. The chamber shook with the command, causing Ba'al to look about in fear. "You are not welcome in the place that I am charged with by God! Leave this Temple at once!"
God?! Ba'al thought in confusion. Since when does a Hylian refer to only one God?!
The room again shook, this time more violently than before. Ba'al snarled and vanished in flames before it bring his end. As the blaze of his departure faded, Regalas let out a breath and smiled. "Thank you," he whispered softly, then looked to his now fellow Sages. "Is this what you meant?" he asked of Darunia. "When you said that I alone was fated to find the Sage of Light, or that he would find me?"
The Goron smiled kindly as he nodded and patted Regalas on the back. "Indeed, Hylian. That is why I could not tell you as well. You never would have passed your test unless you discovered it for yourself."
Nell giggled and walked over to the newly appointed Sage. "It seems you've joined the ranks. Now remember, there's a strict code we must all follow. No drinking, no having sexual relations-"
"Whoa, kill all of life's fun why don't you!" Regalas cracked. "Nice try, but I happen to know for a fact that Sages are allowed to do normal things like all that, as appropriate."
Darunia let out a hearty laugh and patted Regalas again on the shoulder. "Indeed we are, my boy! Otherwise, I would not have my son to train for carrying on as Sage of Fire when I die!"
"Regalas, it's Raura, can you hear me?!"
The archer perked up his ears. I hear you, Raura. What is it?
"Then it is true what I felt, you are the final Sage. We have found the Sages of Shadow and Spirit, the Spirit Sage is Queen Nabooru of the Gerudo, it seems that she was Awakened months ago. You must hurry here to the Gerudo Valley at once!"
Regalas turned to his fellow Sages. It seemed they too had heard Raura's words, for they nodded their heads in agreement and followed him out of the Temple. Regalas, knowing the forest well, found a way through to the outside, then saw something he did not expect here; they had entered, of all places, the Lost Woods. It was an impossibility where they were, but even then, he realized now what the Woods were.
"Follow me," he stated, navigation himself and his companions through the trees. A small voice guided him, telling him how to reach where he needed to go. It wasn't long before they burst out of the woods into the entrance to the Gerudo Valley. Regalas looked back, but to his surprise, and that of Darunia and Nell, there was little more than the plains of Rivedale behind them. No forest or trees that could be called such.
"The Lost Woods hold many mysteries," Darunia mused, then proceeded into the valley. They traveled not far before they found Gerudo guards waiting for them. Apparently, Raura had informed the Gerudo to expect such an odd company.
"Regalas Veradal of the Clan Latyra?" one of the Gerudo asked. He nodded to her. "I am Iria, Queen Nabooru sent us to bring you to the fortress."
The three gave no complaint as their guides brought them through the desert and to the sprawling battle fortress that was the center city of the Gerudo tribes. This was where they all had hailed from before the pilgrimages out into the world. The entire city was an amazing example of the Gerudo culture; built to withstand the desert sun for thousands of years, yet made from the very sands it was built upon. It was indeed a monument to their way of life.
The guards led them into the central building of the city, then stopped once they reached a huge underground temple. Regalas and his companions looked about, realizing that this was the Temple of Spirit. They looked to their guides and were instructed that they were to enter the door at the far end of the massive chamber.
As they did so, the three were welcomed by the sight of Raura, Froru, Impa and the Gerudo Queen Nabooru. "Raura!" Regalas cried.
"It seems that so far," the old Sage replied after embracing the young man. "Your plan indeed is working. All seven Sages have been gathered...and it seems that Ganondorf will soon be in our reach to banish. He's coming here to the Gerudo fortress city, to wipe out his own kind."
The three who had just arrived stared in horror at those words. Ganondorf had been born in this very city, he was a Gerudo, why did he want to kill his own blood? It made no sense. Evidentially, Raura could feel their thoughts.
"We suspect that he wishes to prove himself as the ultimate evil, second only to his father." Raura knit his brow as he continued. "We also have word that Ba'al is on his way here as well, to destroy us before Ganondorf can.
"We just fought Ba'al in the Temple of Light," Nell stated. Raura's eyes arced in surprise as to how the three had survived with no weapons to fight the demonic warrior. "He was driven off when Regalas awakened, that sword of his had no effect on Regalas."
"Then you as well are devoid of fear," Impa remarked, her eyes shining with pride. "That means yet another cannot be touched by the Inferno's powers."
Raura nodded, then bowed to Darunia and Nell. "I thank you for coming all this way. I only hope it was not in vain."
The Goron nodded while the girl did as well. It was then that Darunia brought up a most important point. "How long do we have before the Armies of Dragmire reach us?"
"I'm afraid," Nabooru said as she finally spoke. "That we do not have long. We expect Ganondorf to arrive within the hour, so there is little time with which to prepare anymore than we have." She sighed, then continued. "And something else we have never seen here before is approaching."
Confusion ran abound the other Sages. Nabooru lowered her head. "There is a storm coming," she finally said. "A storm of rain, something that the valley has not seen in a thousand years."
"This is an ill omen," Darunia let out. Everyone knew that the Gerudo Valley had not seen rain since the last war with the Drow a thousand years ago, and that rain had been a rain of corrosion which almost had been the defeat of the Gerudo and Hylian forces that day. "I pray that history is not repeating itself, but I fear it may."
Regalas cocked his ears as there was a shout from outside the Temple. "He's here," he whispered, then turned to Nabooru. "I need a sword and arrows, preferable a straight blade as I'm used to."
The Gerudo Queen nodded and called an aide to fetch the requested weapons. She looked to Regalas, then sighed. "I thank you for your aid here, Hylian. If we succeed in sealing my nephew into the Sacred Realm, you will be considered one of us, as will all in your bloodline to come. That pledge extends to you all."
A general nodding of heads, and second cry came, this one in the tongue of the Gerudo. Nabooru snapped her head in the direction of the shout and knew that there was no time left; Ganondorf himself had arrived to lead his armies against his own people. She drew the scimitar from her belt and nodded to Regalas. "Come with me, all of you."

It was quiet in the Temple of Time. The stone halls had been undisturbed save for Regalas and his band when they had come. The Master Sword lay dark before the Doors of Time, not even reflecting what dim light came from the lanterns.
That is, until the blade began to glow with its own light once more. Silver blazed out while light burst from the keyslot in the alter to the Doors. The entire temple began rumbling, and as they had five years ago, the Doors of Time slid open to unleash the blazing light and energy which lay beyond.
Something came through. A large heavy boot of red stepped out of the light, followed by another. Gold rimmed the sides and the lining where the ankle joints were, while the red gleamed as if made of ruby. A hand reached down to the shining Master Sword and picked it up, lifting the Sacred Blade and casting the reflection of a shining blue eye in its face.
"It's time."

Regalas led the Sages in a run to the top of the Temple of Spirit while the rest of the Gerudo forces scrambled to meet their approaching enemy. Scimitar, and pike were gathered for battle, and even as the women of the Gerudo valley assembled, the armies of Ganondorf entered what was once his home.
"I have returned," he whispered to himself. He had changed much since the days five years ago when he took the TryForce and destroyed Hyrule Castle, thus beginning his reign of Darkness. Armor was laid over his leather attire, a cloak with the ancient Drow runes of worship to Dragmire sewn in flapping in the wind. He looked up to seen the growing storm clouds that bloated out what light was able to still get through here in the desert. He turned to Agahnim and grinned. "A grand sign for our final campaign against my one-time race, don't you agree?"
The Drow nodded. He as well wore armor in this march against the Gerudo, dark red armor, a black cape billowing down from his shoulder pieces. Large gems were set in the wrist and knees of the armor, each glowing with an evil energy. "The Sages as well are here," he replied. "So are the reports at least. I do not yet understand why they have gathered together."
"Nor do I." Ganondorf narrowed his eyes at the city where he had been born. Indeed, something bothered him about the rumors of the Sages. They had never been gathered together in one place, it was always too huge a risk. So why now tempt the death of all seven in one action now?
The armies of undead and creatures of the once Sacred Realm came to a halt before the massive Gerudo city. The single Gerudo male in all of Hyrule stepped out and smiled towards those he had once called his own. "I have returned to my home!" he bellowed, making sure that all could hear his voice. "Just as I said I would nineteen years ago when you cast me out! I'm willing to accept you back, merely hand over the Sages, and swear loyalty to me and Dragmire!"
"Omae o keiuseru, kikei!"
He laughed. "Indeed, I think not! I hold the TryForce itself, I am immortal! Freak that I am, I cannot die!" It was then that an arrow shot out and brought down one of the beastmen of the Dark World. Ganondorf raised a brow and grinned. "Very well," he said with amusement. "So be it! Berath, prove your loyalties!"
Just as Regalas and the Sages reached the top of the Temple, he and Raura looked out at the seemingly unending army, only to see yet another come from behind to join Ganondorf. "By Alahyde," the oldest of the Sages whispered in horror. "Galia's army."
"That filthy coward Berath betrayed us completely," Regalas spat in disgust. He strung his bow, took aim at Ganondorf, then saw the very man who had turned his back on Hyrule; Duke Berath of Galia. He quickly adjusted his aim and fired, his arrow striking true in Berath's throat. "Feel justice, ithaka."
Raura was about to scold the newest Sage, then realize that he had just taken out a man who would have died anyway for treason if they won the day. Even as he saw Berath's body fall from Ganondorf's side, rain began to pour down from the clouds, and a crack of thunder split the air as lightning flashed in the skies. "It has begun then," he whispered.
At that moment, the armies of evil surged forward, a thunderous cry coming from those of them that were alive. Arrows flew from the Gerudo archers, felling many of Ganondorf's soldiers, but still the undead, the beastmen, and the Galians came. Arrows continued to rain down upon the armies of evil, killing many that lived and bringing down those that were undead. Try as they might though, the archers of the Gerudo found that there were too many of the enemy to shot down at once.
The armies reached the walls and began to set up ladders to climb up into the city. Regalas used his vantage point to shoot down many of the invaders, but then an entire section of the walls exploded and fell. Regalas was horrified by the site as he realized that he had not seen the suicide runners bearing explosives to bring down the walls. "By Ieyadon," he whispered. "They've broken the walls."
"We have more troubles," Nabooru called, pointing to the west. Two pinpricks slowly grew, and Regalas' sharp eyes soon saw them to be the infamous witches of the temple out in the Deserts of Deception. "The TwinRova are aiding Ganondorf, I feared this would happen!"
Regalas strung his bow again, whispering words and igniting his arrow with a tip of fire. "Then let them feel what awaits their souls in the Inferno." He let go, the arrow streaking out and slamming into one of the witches, but it had no effect on her at all! "What?!"
"I should have told you!" The Gerudo Sage slapped her head in dismay. "The TwinRova are elementally imbued! You must strike one with the element that will smother their own!"
He nodded and strung another arrow and reignited it with flame. This time, he aimed at the other witch and struck with his shot, causing her to plummet towards the earth. "She's down!"
His cry of victory was in vain, for even as the witch fell, her sister shot down and grabbed her hand, both flashing and emerging from their light as a single being. The united TwinRova let out a laugh that was hideous to the ears and let loose upon the Gerudo with a hail of flame and ice.
"It seems you merely made them worse," Impa stated just as lightning flashed over head. "We must seal Ganondorf now, before that witch gets the bright idea to attack us."
Regalas looked to the other Sages, then nodded. "Yes, agreed. Start what you can, I'll try and make sure he cannot avoid the seal." Again he strung his bow and chanted, this time a different spell. Light blazed around the blade head of the arrow, golden light as pure as that which Regalas was the Sage to. He carefully aimed his arrow, then saw more light blaze around it. He looked back and realized it was into his arrow that the Sages were focusing their power.
"Alahyde, Father of Wisdom and our souls," he whispered, closing his eyes in prayer. "Guide this arrow to he who has defiled the gift you gave us, the gift that was to guide us from the hands of one truly in balance...and forgive us, for banishing it with the son of Darkness."
He let go, his arrow streaking forth down from the top of the Spirit Temple and racing towards Ganondorf. Nothing blocked its flight, nothing took the blow as the empowered arrow tore through the air towards its target. Just as Ganondorf turned, the arrow slammed through his armor and into his chest, bursting to unleash the seal of the seven Sages.
"What?!" he screamed, feeling himself being torn from Hyrule. His body faded in and out of existence, Agahnim staring in horror as the light of the Sages swarmed about his master in a sphere. "How dare they! This is why they gathered, to banish me!"
"Lord Ganondorf!" the Drow cried. He reached to withdraw the arrow, but was cast back to the ground, his hand smoking and scarred worse than before. "I swear, they shall pay for this!"
It was then that Ganondorf laughed and grabbed the arrow. "Indeed," he growled through his grin. "They shall, because they...have...failed!"
With a mighty pull, he ripped the arrow from his chest and threw it down, then cast out the power of the TryForce. The seal that had only begun to form shattered, essence flying out in all directions. The dark Lord of Evil smiled and turned to look at the Sages atop the temple. "Very clever," he muttered, then raised his voice. "But not enough! I am the master of the TryForce, ruler of all Creation!"
He raised his hands and fired off a massive blast of pure dark energy towards the Sages. He had only one target in mind though; the man who had fired that arrow. He was the one that had the skill to attempt such a shot at that great distance, he was the greatest threat of the seven.
Regalas gasped in horror when the seal failed and the bolt of energy was cast towards him. He raised his arms, then felt himself hit the ground and opened his eyes to stare in shock when Nabooru fell to the ground, smoke rising from her body and burns all over her skin. "!"
The Gerudo slowly opened her eyes and looked to the horrified six that remained. "We failed," she whispered, the pain evident. "But if we must die, it will be done as Sages; defending each other and our world to the end."
And her body vanished. It didn't go limp with death, it didn't burst into flames from the blast, it simply vanished in a cascade of light that streamed into the sky. Regalas felt tears run down his cheeks, then screamed out in a mix of sorrow and rage. Nabooru had taken the blow meant for him, died in his place, and he knew why.
He was the Sage of Light, the one meant to lead them all. He had to live, to continue the fight and continue to hope. It was all they had left now. It was all that was left.
He drew his sword and stood, looking down at the field of battle. Ganondorf's armies had stormed the city, battling the Gerudo forces that had no idea their queen was dead, at the hands of her own kin. A bolt of lightning flashed as he raised his sword and took a step towards the edge of the temple roof. "Ganondorf!" he cried, making sure that the Emperor saw him. "Ganondorf, son of Dragmire!"
The Gerudo man looked up towards Regalas and frowned. The Hylian was still alive?
"I live!" he continued, holding his sword high. "But in my place died Nabooru, queen of the Gerudo, your own kin! She died for a Hylian, a Hylian! Your blood died protecting those you wish to destroy!"
"Who are you to be so worthy?!" Ganondorf bellowed. He cared not for Nabooru, just as he had not cared when his mother died so long ago. The Gerudo said that it was sudden death from some kind of heart failure, but he knew it was not that. He himself had caused his mother's death, something that no one know, not even Agahnim. "Who are you to be so much trouble?!"
"I am Regalas Veradal!" the Hylian replied. "Descendent of the Clan Latyra and Sage of Light! I challenge you, dark king, I challenge you, to the death!"
A grin found its way to the dark king's lips. "The Sage of Light," he whispered, then drew his own massive sword. "Very well, Sage! Face me then!"
"Regalas, no!" Raura cried, but the man had already jumped off the end of the temple. He pulled out a hookshot from the holding pouch on his belt, aimed, and fired at a high rise of the walling that remained. Regalas was instantly swung about, releasing the hold his hookshot had and flying towards the Gerudo man who stood waiting.
With a flick of his wrist, Regalas flung the tool at one of the mortal soldiers who fought for Ganondorf, then swung his sword at the Gerudo. He knew his attack would be blocked, but at least he had blocked the swing that Ganondorf as well had made. Their eyes locked, blue against glowing red, both filled with fire.
"Interesting that like me," the Gerudo snarled, "you have red hair!"
"The blessing of Harkanian," Regalas snapped back, jumping up and kicking Ganondorf in the face, then deflecting a blow from his enemy. "All the more to rip out your black heart!"
There was that grin again. Ganondorf just couldn't seem to abandon it. "You fail to realize something," he returned, punching Regalas hard in the gut and sending him to the ground. "I can't be killed."
His chance was now. Regalas thrust forward and impaled his sword into Ganondorf chest. He almost smiled when the Gerudo gasped in pain, but could only stare when he pulled the weapon out and threw it to the ground. Ganondorf laughed and grabbed Regalas by the neck, then lifted him up to eye level. "Do you now see?!" came the words. "I am immortal, a God! I cannot die, and the one weapon which can harm me can be wielded by no one! I killed the Sword Magnus, I killed the Sage of Spirit...and I killed the Gods of Courage and Power! No one can stop me, not even Alahy-"
Suddenly, light burst down through the clouds, piercing the rain and shining upon the field of battle. Everything stopped as all looked into the sky to see the sun shining down as it had done until five years ago. The Drow of Ganondorf's forces screamed as their skin was burned, most of all Agahnim, who felt his face burst into flames from the light. The masses of undead suddenly collapsed as they were robbed of animation, and the beastmean shielded their eyes, blinded by the radiant sun of Hyrule.
And as Ganondorf himself, still holding Regalas, stared in utter disbelief at just how the sun could have cut through his unholy shroud, a figure appeared from the east, right behind Ganondorf's armies. Beastmen raced at him to attack, but in one move, the figure brought all of them down dead. His body was clad in armor of red and gold, long brown hair falling to his shoulders, and deep blue eyes sparkled. In his left hand was held a sword, and as he walked towards where Ganondorf stood, that sword shined with a light that was its own.
"No," Ganondorf gasped in horror, releasing Regalas and turning to face this new arrival. "No! This can't be! It can't! The Master Sword has no Magnus!"
But indeed, it was the Master Sword in his hands. The figure gazed at Ganondorf with a glow in his eyes that suddenly turned to fire. It was those eyes and that face which cause the dark King to become speechless. It was impossible, but here he stood, taller, not much older, but touched by experience none-the-less.
Regalas could hardly breathe as he recognized this new arrival. Nothing could have prepared him for the sight before his eyes, but it was not a dream, and it was not an illusion. "Can it really be?"
There was no doubt, it was all happening, it had happened.
Harkin Tridelan, the Sword Magnus, had returned.

To Be Continued...

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