Disclaimer: I dont want to get in whatever trouble people can get into when using other peoples characters so - The Legend of Zelda, Link, Zelda, Ganon, Hyrule and other related characters and settings belong to to that wonderous console company, Nintendo. No infringement intended.
Shadows of Fate
Juliet A. Singleton (firstname.lastname@example.org) & Kirsty Singleton (email@example.com)
Timothy forced himself to keep his eyes open, as the murky morning light tore at his eyes. He turned and saw Aden, his eyes half slits, stifling a yawn. He turned back, looking at the mass expanse of sea in front of them, swearing that he could see land at the very edge of his sights. Aden apparently saw it too.
"Could it be, that the shores of Benlucca are close?" murmured Aden. Timothy nodded, too tried to even murmur. Aden looked around himself. "Then we must be upon the waters of the Great Sea, close to the Windward Straight," concluded Aden tiredly. Timothy nodded again. He took a small sip of water from his canteen.
"These waters are fraught with unfriendly ships, we must be vigilant, and careful," he warned sensibly. Aden agreed.
"But if we do reach Benlucca, then where?" asked Aden. Timothy shrugged.
"Brianna said that he was the leader of a small community, although she never said where. But Queen Zelda told me, that he must be head of the Gerudo. We will have to question all around us, someone has to know something, or even seen Brianna," said Timothy. Aden nodded, understanding, just as Timothy, that the task ahead was near impossible. But that would not deter him, nor Timothy. Both of them would do everything in their hearts and souls to ensure the safe return of the Hylian princess.
"Have you ever been to Benlucca?" asked Aden. Timothy shook his head.
"I am afraid that my reply is no. It will certainly not do us any favours, the fact that we have no knowledge of this land," replied Timothy truthfully. It was a question he had anticipated, and dreaded.
"Perhaps we could find a guide. We have money, we can offer anyone a generous enough pay," said Aden hopefully.
"It is an idea that had crossed my mind. I only hope that there will be somebody willing an able once we leave these waters," said Timothy gravely.
"Then I should pray to the Goddesses that they provide us with such an aid," said Aden solemnly. At that moment, the two heard cries and yells far away. They both turned the direction of the commotion, and on the horizon to their east, materialising through the early morning fog, they saw a great ship. The two stared at it in dismay, as the only kind of ship that would grace these waters would be that of a pirate. Timothy looked forward, seeing that the coast of Benlucca had already begun to drift nearer. He looked at Aden.
"We must hurry," he whispered. Aden stood and ran to the small mast of the boat.
"The wind is blowing in our direction, it will help us, but if steered correctly, it will also help them," judged the Catalian. Timothy looked back to the ship. An explosion punctured the still air, and the next second, Timothy was rocking on his feet. He heard a splash, and snapped his neck to his left, and saw that Aden was no longer standing on board. His head reeling, Tim ran over to the side of the ship, and saw Aden flailing in the water. He realised that the ship had been hit, by cannon-fire. Even now he could feel the ship sinking beneath his feet. He looked behind him at the approaching ship, then jumped overboard, landing next to Aden, covering him even more in water.
"What d'you do that for?" demanded Aden.
"The ship's sinking. We can't stay on it. Come on, the longer we stay here, the shorter our lives become," said Timothy, grabbing Aden by the arm and helping him swim away from the boat.
"Er Tim, we aren't going to last long in these waters," said Aden breathlessly, after they had swam for over twenty minutes.
"We have no choice," stated Tim firmly, even though he himself was beginning to feel a little fatigued. He risked a glance back at the small speck which had been their boat. A great looming shadow in the form of their pursuing ship stood over it. "We aren't even near Sosaria, she won't have stood a chance," murmured Tim, thinking about Leigh's plans to head back to her country, informed to him by Brianna.
"Who?" asked Aden, swimming forward. His limbs were past aching, the icy waters had set in, almost numbing every bone in his body.
"No-one," breathed Timothy slowly. They had hardly moved at all, but his weariness caused by lack of sleep was causing his pace to falter. They swam on in silence.
As Tseremed and Link drew nearer to the outskirts of Evian, finally leaving the dank and depressive woods of Dew, Tseremed turned to Link as they rode along.
"'Twas not always like this. Dew was once a peaceful and beautiful place, granted the bridges were patrolled by trolls, and packs of headless didst roam the highways, but it was still easy to the eye. Now, under British's new regime, well as you can see, this place, 'tis not so beautiful any more," said Tseremed sadly.
"Headless?" asked Link, looking around at the trees that left them behind. Many had blackened trunks, and those were the ones that were left standing. It looked as though the woods had been plundered by wood cutters long ago.
"Yes, a body of a man, except, as the name may suggest, quite headless," said Tseremed with a nod.
"What happened to them?" asked Link.
"Well, since the toll paths were created, British doth send his men patrolling, to assure no strangers roam the paths, nor do any foul creatures," said Tseremed.
"And that's a bad thing?" asked Link, noticing his companion's dour tone.
"British's men are all brutes, who hack at trees with their swords and axes to supply themselves with night light and warmth. They burn the trees to capture packs of wild animals and creatures, instead of taking to them with their swords," said Tseremed.
"I see," said Link, not sure what else to say. He pushed on his steed, not wanting to encounter anything tonight. Tseremed looked up to the night sky.
"Do you have an alias? If thou art asked thy name, I wisely advise thou not to give them thy true name," said Tseremed.
"Yes, Aimé, she said I would be called Gibson. From the Isle of Scars," said Link.
"Thou should have introduced thyself as that then, you didst not know whether I would aid thee or not," said Tseremed sternly.
"It slipped my mind," said Link simply.
"Thou shouldst make sure that doth not happen again my lord," said Tseremed quietly.
"I can assure you that it will not," promised Link. Suddenly, Link's horse reared from the ground as a dark figure ran from the side of the road. Link quickly recovered and reigned his horse.
"Headless!" yelled Tseremed, also regaining control of his fear struck steed. He drew his bow and swiftly planted an arrow into the figure, which as Tseremed had said, had no head. But as the figure fell, the two travellers found they were surrounded, by eleven or twelve of these creatures which had stealthily crept from the trees. Link looked around as they closed in, his horse pawing at the ground nervously. He drew his sword, ready to defend himself. Tseremed had done the same.
"How can they see us?" asked Link.
"They have aid from some evil force of magic I would guess, a dark mage sitting in the bowels of this earth I would assume whom has his own evil eyes trained upon us," said Tseremed. The strange, naked creatures drew closer to the two, brandishing roughly hewn clubs, strange guttural sounds emitting from their chests. Link rode forward and struck out with his sword, slicing the nearest creature across the chest, and as it fell to the ground, immediately the rest of the pack leapt towards Link, ignoring Tseremed. Tseremed let out an annoyed groan as he rode into the melee of bodies. Link's horse received two sharp blows from the club of one headless and reared again, but Link did not lose control and he continued to fight the fiends. Tseremed joined in, stabbing several of the creatures in the back as they focused their sole intentions upon Link. Just as the two finished up, they heard a great calling and crashing as several more figures came stamping from the woods. Link, thinking it was more headless, charged towards them, but he realised that these figures had an extra feature this time, heads. A torch was held to his face, and Link looked down to see a disgruntled looking soldier staring at him from under a low brow.
"The king's men," muttered Tseremed.
"What you be doin' here, 'tis night, thou shouldst know that 'tis outlawed to travel after dark!" declared the man.
"We were delayed kind sir, by this bunch of headless, we will shortly be getting on our way," said Tseremed. The soldier glanced down at the bloodied bodies strewn about him. Three or four more men appeared from the woods.
"What be thy name, stranger?" asked the man, directly to Link.
"He is Gibson of the Isle of Scars," replied Tseremed shortly.
"Does this man not have a tongue?" demanded the soldier glaring at Tseremed.
"He does," replied Tseremed finally.
"Then let him reply for himself. Pray Gibson, what company doth thou keep? Dost thou not know that this Tseremed is an outcast! Escaped from the blade of mine own sword only because he didst agree to assist in certain tasks given to him by British. Not one other of his companions or cohorts would accept it," snarled the soldier. Link looked back to Tseremed who was hanging his head.
"Yes, I know him," said Link. The guard eyed him warily.
"Where didst thou say thou hailed from?" he asked.
"The Isle of Scars. I didst train in the Library of Pain there," said Link, as proudly as he could muster.
"Then 'tis even more of a surprise to spy the company thou dost keep, didst thou know that he is a ranger? A cowardly cur who cannot use a sword, only the mere bow," asked the soldier with a sneer.
"He uses a sword well enough," retorted Link angrily.
"You say you trained at the Library of Pain?" asked the soldier with a laugh, "Didst thou train there or did thou merely stand at the door begging to be let in from the cold?" asked the guard. Link flashed his sword before the man's eyes.
"My word was that I trained there, nothing else," said Link. The soldier backed away a little warily. Link found himself smiling at the reaction. Meanwhile he noticed a number of men piling dead wood near the bodies of the headless.
"You may proceed, but I doubt either of thee has enough gold to pay the toll, and then thou shalt be left for the hungry wolves to devour," said the man finally nodding his head. Link nodded back to him.
"I hope our paths do cross again," he said politely, before riding on ahead of Tseremed. As they left the final part of the forest, they gazed back to see a huge blaze light up the night sky.
"They shall be burning the bodies," murmured Tseremed, before turning back to the task ahead.
Tim wearily opened his eyes, then allowed to drop them shut again. He suddenly felt a jolt through him, and his eyes snapped back open, and he bolted upright. He stifled a howl of pain as a sharp sensation shot across his stomach. He gulped quickly, and placed a hand to the pain. He looked around, seeing he was upon a beach. The sand beneath him was black, like ash, and blue water lapped at his feet. He was soaked and shivering. He managed to ease himself up off the ground, still holding his stomach. He cast his gaze the length of the beach, his tired eyes searching for any signs of life. He couldn't remember anything, how he'd got here, or where he was. He looked down at himself, water dripping off him, and saw a red streak flickering painfully across his belly. He removed his hand and studied the wound carefully. It looked as though he had caught himself on something jagged, a piece of driftwood perhaps. He sat back down, almost throwing himself down. He examined the wound closer and grimaced. He didn't know how long he had been here, and then as he pondered this, something entered his head. He looked wildly around, and stood up again, clutching at the wound.
"Aden!" he called, cupping one side of his mouth with his free hand. Desperately he looked around, he could see nought but the ashen shores of this strange place, and the stark tall cliffs that towered over him, threatening, as giants. He coughed a little, a spray of water emerging from his throat, and began to drag himself along the beach, three-legged, using his free hand to support himself. "Aden!" he yelled again, but his voice had grown strangely quieter. Another crackling pain crossed him, and he slumped to the floor. He shut his eyes for a moment. He needed to deal with this wound, if he didn't he wouldn't be getting much further. He looked around yet again, searching for anything that could aid him. His bleak eyes suddenly caught sight of someone approaching, a figure. He began to back away, still not able to stand. The figure waved.
"Tim!" called the figure. Timothy relaxed, but even this motion caused him dire pain. Aden jogged up to him. He surprisingly didn't seem too wet, as if he had had time to dry, and in his arms he carried several items. "Hey, I thought you were out for a little longer. Sorry I had to leave you like that, but I needed some stuff," apologised Aden, dropping the contents of his arms to the ground. He sat down besides Tim. "That wound needs to be cleaned," he added, taking out a small flask from his pocket. He pulled a rag from his other pocket. "This is the best I could do, I spotted it further along this place, it seemed to be better than anything we had," said Aden, referring to the rag. He soaked it in water, and Timothy lay backwards, allowing his friend to tend the wound. "This water is fresh, I found it in a spring a little further up," continued Aden. Timothy winced a little as Aden went about his work, but said nothing. After a while, Aden helped up Timothy, and handed him the rag. "Wrap that round you, to stop the bleeding. There ain't much left I can do for ya', but by my reckonings we should be near a town. I seen some smoke spiralling up from the dense woods that crown these cliffs, it has to be a town or something," said Aden. Timothy obliged and pulled off his wet and bloodied shirt, wrapping the strip of cloth around him, tightly and sparingly. He noticed, bare chested, that the climate was a lot warmer than the shores of Hyrule. Aden nodded. "Let it dry in the sun for a while, it's over warm in any case, no doubt it'll be warmer as the day wears on," advised Aden. Timothy shrugged and slung his wet shirt over his shoulder and stood up, a little uneasy at first. The wound still taunted him cruelly, but he supposed he would survive for an hour or two. "Come on, this way. I did a little exploring whilst you were out, I found a path that cut through the cliff and wound its way upwards to the top," said Aden, motioning for Timothy to follow.
"What happened?" asked Timothy, at last finding his tongue. Aden barely glanced over his shoulder.
"Wish I could tell ya, but fact is, I have as much clue as you do. Only thing is, you got yourself a nasty trophy, I escaped with not a bruise. And I'll tell you another fact, we're damn lucky to be swept onto these shores, and not to find ourselves in the bellies o' some sea serpent," said Aden seriously. Timothy grinned a little at Aden's comments, then trudged on, following him along the skirt of the cliff.
After a short while they came to the scar in the cliff that Aden had talked of, and began to climb upwards. They hardly climbed, just steeply walked, but at some points, were the path was worn by wind and sea, they had to trust their feet as well as their hands. This pained Timothy a great deal, which Aden spotted and was keen to assist. But soon they found themselves at the top of the grass laden cliffs, a lush jungle before them.
"Woods?" asked Timothy critically, thinking of his friend's earlier description.
"Aye, maybe not quite, but can you think of another name to call it? I have never been nowhere but Hyrule and Catalia, and neither of them have nowt like that," said Aden.
"This is a jungle, a typical feature of Benlucca. I know we certainly aren't in Sosaria, they don't feature the ash like down there," said Timothy, nodding down at the dusty beach.
"And how would you know?" questioned Aden, striding forward. Timothy shrugged.
"Lady Fayette often talked of her homeland, she never mentioned ashen beaches," said Timothy. Aden shrugged.
"That don't mean there is none. You know she would never mention anything bad about her beloved homeland, I certainly wouldn't mention such a feature of Catalia if it had one," said Aden.
"We were closer to Benlucca anyway. If we were in Sosaria we'd be dead by now. They have soldiers crawling everywhere to ensure no-one creeps in, no matter what the incident," said Timothy logically. Aden seemed to pause for a minute.
"I would suppose that was a fair assumption," he finally declared with a shrug. He turned and looked at Timothy. "What, do you suppose, are the locals like?" he asked, sounding a little more nervous than Timothy would've liked.
"I've heard they can be very friendly..." said Timothy slowly.
"But?" asked Aden.
"They've also been known as not so friendly," added Tim. Aden raised his eyebrows.
"Well, let's hope they're feeling accommodating today," sighed Aden. He turned. "This way?" he asked, looking up at the thick and lush entrance to the jungle. Timothy nodded.
"It looks like a path has been made through here, so I guess it must lead somewhere," confessed Timothy.
"Aye, into the arms of savages," said Aden, not sounding overly sure of himself.
"Or allies. We need all the help we can find, and we aren't going to find any if we don't at least look," said Timothy sensibly. Aden still wore a look of doubt about his face. Timothy grinned at Aden's uncertainty. "There's no need to be so wary," he said.
"How'd'you know? These people might shoot us with arrows and stick us in a cooking pot before we could say, 'Excuse me, do you know a guy called Molasar'?" accused Aden.
"That won't happen," said Timothy surely.
"You'd best hope it doesn't," said Aden in a warning tone, before he stepped through the canopy of leaves and wood, and into the cool shade of the jungle.
Leigh cursed under her breath as she was dragged across the sweltering sands of Geyser desert.
"You do know..." she began, pausing for a slight breath, "that you will all go to hell for this," she informed the men who held her captive. They all laughed, unimpressed by her threat.
"Hell, why where is that Avatar? The Guardian has promised us all immortality if we do bend to his will," said Hook, turning around to face Leigh. Leigh squinted as the glare of the sun shone in her eyes.
"You won't be immortal if the Guardian is dead, then you'll be in hell," she spat. Hook just grinned.
"Avatar, Avatar, thou dost have so much to learn. Tho art the only mortal alive who can kill him, and then only with a weapon fashioned by thy own hand and drenched in thy own blood...and where thou art going, I cannot see such a thing occurring," sneered Hook. Leigh watched him in shock. That's how she could kill the Guardian?
"You ignorant pig, you've just told me how to kill the Guardian!" exclaimed Leigh with a laugh. Hook grabbed her chin in his undamaged hand.
"Thou wilt never put the information to good use," he promised. Leigh tried to shrug from his grasp but it was useless. He maintained his steely eyed grip with her, and a sneer formed on his lips. "Thy end is near Avatar, thou shouldst relish thy final hours," he advised.
"That's what you think," muttered Leigh, tearing herself from him. The men laughed at her efforts, and Hook joined them. Leigh stared around at them, and then charged at the nearest man, punching him in the stomach and grabbing his sword. She turned to face the rest of the subdued company.
"Well, didn't you find that funny?" she questioned. A few of the men glanced to a fuming Hook. Hook stepped forward, drawing his sword. Leigh waited. "This is going to be even funnier," she muttered dryly. He leapt forward and tried to disarm her, but Leigh calmly deflected the blow and delivered a few of her own. "Can't you do any better against me? A woman?" taunted Leigh. Then she felt a blow in the small of her back and she fell forwards, crashing into the sand. She was surround as the men drew their swords and began to beat her with the hilts of their swords.
"Make her suffer," she heard Hook command, "but keep her alive."
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