Disclaimer: I don’t want to get in whatever trouble people can get into when using other people’s 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.

Triad of Evil

Juliet A. Singleton (Scullys@bigfoot.com) & Kirsty Singleton (arcadionseye@btopenworld.com)



Chapter 5

    As Link ran through the dark streets of Catalia, he sincerely hoped that he would not be too late to catch one of Robert's ships. It would be likely that it would be the only passage Link could get back to Hyrule, and right now, the hero knew he could afford to waste no time in looking for a suitable ship to give chase to Robert's army. He felt as though his journey had been a terrible waste, for he had not stopped Robert and had only succeeded in lapsing one step behind the Catalian general and king. As his feet fell against the polished stone streets of the Catalian capital, Link saw the harbour come into sight. Letting out a grunt of frustration, Link began to run harder and faster, his lungs feeling close to bursting. He could already see that many of the ships had left the harbour, and there were few still anchored in the dock. Link slowed his pace as he approached the harbour, as there were many soldiers milling about in the dark, as well as many crowds of commoners who were wishing their men well. Link began to push his way through the throng of well-wishers, and approached the first boat he saw when he felt a hand grab him from behind. The hero whirled around, and came face to face with a hulk of a man, who glowered down at him. Link could tell by the man's uniform that he held some king of high rank within the army, but not exactly which.

"Where you off to boy?" inquired the man with a low rumble.

"I...er...I need to board my ship," stumbled Link, out of breath. The solider raised one eyebrow, and looked Link up and down.

"And which ship might that be boy?" Link looked to nearest ship and squinted hard at the name plate.

"The Black Adder, sir," gasped Link.

"The Black Adder, ey? And which regiment do you belong to do boy?" Link looked to the man's hand which was resting firmly on his shoulder and gulped a little.

"With all due respect, sir, I'm already late, and my captain won't be best pleased...so," began Link.

"Yes, boy, your captain won't be best pleased, especially seeing as he don't even know who in the void you are!" growled the captain. Link swallowed uneasily, and gave the captain his most winning smile.

"I guess you're the captain?" he inquired. The captain nodded.

"Want to explain yourself, boy? You weren't thinking about stowing away, were you?" Link looked to the ground, and looked over his shoulder. More and more ships were leaving the harbour, and only three were left, the Black Adder being one of them. He looked back to the captain.

"Please sir, my sister's been deathly ill and I had to help look after her," he began. "I wanted nothing more than to fight for my country, but all this time you good men have been preparing I've been at home looking after my sister...she's well now and I thought I could come over here and maybe catch a ship over so I could serve General Robert and his good men," said Link as sincerely as he could. The captain looked sceptical as Link spoke, and shook his head.

"You don't look like you'd last a minute over there boy, why don't you go back to your sister and make sure she stays well," said the captain patronisingly. Link frowned.

"Beg your pardon sir, but I'm as good with a sword as any soldier. I know I can help," said Link stubbornly. The captain broke into a smile, and folded his arms across his barrel of a chest.

"Really, son? Well, you don't look up to much, so why don't you prove it?" he challenged. Link smiled and drew his sword, the captain doing the same.

"I'd be glad to," replied Link, knocking his blade against the sea captain's. The man was surprised by the strength of Link's blow, but he was soon trading blows with the hero, unaware of his advisory's status. A small crowd had gathered around the duelling duo, and in no time, bets were being placed on who the eventual victor would be. Link was surprised by the captain's skill with a sword, but he knew that he had been out of breath to begin with, and it hardly made it ideal conditions for him to fight. The captain's swing was powerful, which surprised Link little when he considered the immense size of his opposer's brawny arms, but Link was faster on his feet and consequently harder to hit. The hero nimbly dodged any blows directed towards him, and slashed his sword towards the captain in a bid to disarm him. But just as Link became comfortable fighting against the captain, he was caught off guard when the captain switched his style and brought his sword crashing down towards Link's skull. It was only his cat like reflexes which saved him, he fell to the ground and put up his hands, grasping the captain's sword along its edge and letting out a groan as he tried to stop the captain from splitting his throat wide open. Letting out another grunt, Link tightened his grip on the blade's tip, ignoring the pain it caused him, and thrust the blade upwards causing its hilt to connect with a crunch to the captain's nose. The captain let out a groan, and Link leapt to his feet, grabbing his sword and pointing it at the distracted man's neck.

"You tried to kill me," gasped the hero, his breaths ragged. The captain, with blood gushing from his nose, gave Link a bloody grin.

"That's what you'll be facing over in Hyrule, boy, mark my words. I'd give you a place on my crew any day, but my ship ain't bound for Hyrule. I ain't no Catalian, and I certainly ain't not fighting no war for that General of yours. Not for the meagre gold he offered me, at least," grinned the captain. Link let out an infuriated gasp. Mercenaries.

"You just made me fight you, and you aren't even going to Hyrule?!" he exclaimed.

"Your brain's almost as sharp as your sword skill, boy. Let's see if you can run as fast as you think, and you might just catch a ship that's actually going to where you want," challenged the captain. Link turned, and to his horror, saw the last ship for Hyrule leaving the dock. He glared back at the captain, wishing he had more time to make the man pay for the time he had cost Link. The captain just shrugged at him.

"At least you didn't board my ship, else you'd have had no chance boy. Run along now, else you'll miss the last boat." Link spat at the captain's feet, a sign of frustration more than anything, then turned on his heel, before haring down the pier on energy he had no idea he had.



As he made it to the end of the pier, the last Catalian ship already seemed well beyond his reach. Letting out a monumental cry of rage, the hero launched himself off the pier and crashed into the cold, dark waters of the Opela sea. He was still well short of the last ship, and as Link surfaced, he let out a massive gasp, before swimming as fast as he could manage after the Catalian warship. It wasn't enough. Try as he might, Link had nor the strength nor the energy to catch up to the fleeing ship, and he knew that even if he reached it, it would be a task in itself just to board. So reluctantly, he turned back. He thought he had just enough strength to get back, and if he pushed on any longer he could very well drown. And that would help no one. As he made it back to the pier, he saw someone crouched down and watching him. As he swam closer, there was a splash in the water, and Link saw that the figure had dropped down a rope ladder. Letting out another gasp, Link gratefully laid hands on the worn rungs of the ladder, and climbed back onto the pier. It was only as the rope of the ladder chafed against his left hand, Link realised how badly he had cut it when defending himself against the captain's blade. Grimacing, the hero climbed on all fours onto the pier, before collapsing on his back, desperately gasping for air.

"You really want to get to Hyrule, don't you boy?" Link, with his eyes closed, recognised the voice immediately.

"You'd never understand," he sighed, turning onto his side, taking shallower breaths now. It was the captain. The man who had stopped him.

"You'd be surprised, Link. You should know, I never forget a face." Link opened his eyes and looked up at the captain, who had his sword in his hand. Link licked his salty lips and let out a wheeze.

"You know my name?" he inquired, preparing to defend himself.

"And you should know mine, son," replied the captain, offering a hand to help Link to his feet. Link paused, and looked hard at the face of the man before him. Suddenly, there was a flicker of recognition in the hero's mind, and he couldn't help but break out in smile. He took the man's hand and allowed himself to be hauled to his feet, before meeting the man in a grateful embrace. The captain, Link now knew, was none other than an old family friend Orion Reyblade.

"It's been a long time," said Link as the two drew apart. Orion grinned down at Link before giving him a pat on the back.

"Too long boy. I thought you was killed in that raid that killed your daddy...how wrong was I?" proclaimed Orion.

"I...I didn't recognise you," admitted Link as the two walked along the pier, back to the Black Adder. The crowds were dispersing now, and it was growing darker by the minute. The last time Link had seen Orion had been years ago, back when he was eight or nine he guessed. Orion had been a regular visitor to Kakariko, a trader in all sorts of fine things and an expert hunter. He and Link's father had often ventured into the woods to find the family supper, and he had told Link many a great story over a freshly roasted carcass of wild boar or deer. He had been a young man then, and not half as brawny, but the same grin remained, and the same dazzling green eyes. He had not been lying when he had told an unknowing Link he was no Catalian, if Link recalled correctly, Orion was in fact from the small region of Aidnaryk, though he had travelled so much since he had first left his home country, Link guessed that Orion now had a bit of every county in his blood.

"Why didn't you say? We could have both saved ourselves a lot of energy," inquired Link as they walked. Orion shrugged.

"I wanted to see if it were you, boy. Even back when you were small, I always knew you'd make a good sword. I just didn't know how good. You'd do your daddy proud, fighting like that. Though I don't know how glad he'd be to see you leave your sick sister in order to fight for this Robert. He sounds like a nasty character if I ever heard one," said Orion. Link looked to the sea as Orion spoke.

"That was a lie, Orion. I don't have a sister...she died along with my parents," said the hero slowly.

"You don't know how sad I am to hear that, Link. She was a beautiful girl, just like that mother of hers. You say she died...what about young Hayden?" Link swallowed uneasily, a flood of memories coming back to him.

"I'm the only one left, Orion. He died later on...though I always thought he had died that same day as the rest of my family," confessed Link.

"That's a great shame, Link. When I realised it was you, I barely believed it myself..." rumbled Orion. Link let out a long sigh.

"Orion, you have to take me to Hyrule. I didn't want to go there to fight for Robert...I want to go there to fight against him," said the suddenly. Orion stopped, and looked at Link with a frown on his great face.

"Fight against your own King? That's treachery Link, and I don't think your daddy would be best pleased to know his eldest son was doing such things," began Orion.

"You don't know who he is, do you? Or who I am? General Robert is who you knew as Bobby of the Kokiri. And I am married to Princess Zelda of Hyrule." Orion's green eyes widened as Link spoke and he shook his head.

"You what?" he gasped in amazement.

"You heard me, Orion. I'm as much a Catalian as you are. Hyrule is my home now, I only came back here to try and stop Robert from going to war," said Link.

"Well I'll be, Link. This changes everything. Come on, let's go on board."



The two were greeted by a few muted calls as they boarded, and Orion led Link straight into the captain's quarters, before sitting at his desk, motioning for Link to do the same. He opened a bottle of something rich looking and poured two small beakerfuls, before handing one to Link.

"What is this stuff?" inquired Link.

"Best Brynellian brew, my boy. Drink up, it'll warm you up," promised the captain. Link obliged, and gasped as the liquid ran down his throat.

"That's pretty strong," he wheezed. Orion grinned.

"Should be, I paid for it to be," he assured Link, knocking back his own beakerful. He relaxed back into his chair, and clasped his hands together, silent for a moment. Then he spoke.

"I'll give chase Link, we should be safe enough. Robert will just think we changed our minds and accepted his rate. This much I do know...he's not attacking from the west," began Orion.

"What? You mean...?" questioned Link.

"He's taking his men through the desert that lies just north of your castle. It'll be quicker in the long run, and cut out two battles in the villages that lie on the west. Robert doesn't want to kill Hyrule's people...just its nobility," explained Orion. Link nodded.

"We have to warn North Castle...they'll be expecting an attack from the west," said the hero absentmindedly.

"That's what Robert said. I can't believe that's Bobby. I said I never forgot his face, but I never recognised Robert for a second. He's changed Link...in a way you never have." He rose from his seat and walked over to the door.

"I'll tell my men to raise anchor. The way I see it, if we head for the west, you can ride to North Castle before Robert's men get through the desert. If you want our swords, you'll have them Link. We'll follow you. We might not look much, but we've had a lot of practice, more so than you'd think," said Orion thoughtfully. Link stood and walked over to Orion, gripping him by the hand.

"Just when I'd lost hope, you brought it back to me. Thank the Goddesses I stumbled into your path," said Link sincerely. Orion smiled at Link, and for a moment, Link felt like he'd some how found a piece of his past he'd like to hold onto.

"Think nothing of it son. Your father once did me a great service of saving my life. Now hopefully, I can pass the favour onto his son," swore Orion. "Sit tight Link," he added, before shortly leaving. Link smiled as Orion left and then sat back down. He looked down at his bruised and swollen left hand, feeling a sting of worry. That hand was his sword hand, and he sincerely hoped that the swelling would soon go down, else he'd be left with little way of effective combat.



***



As Nicolas made his way from the council chamber where he had been discussing military strategy with several members of the King's council he felt a sudden wave of sickness which almost knocked him off his feet. He let out a surprised gasp and stooped down to regain his senses, when he heard footsteps behind him. He quickly stood and turned, coming face to face with Kendar Hartrend, the good man whom had saved Link and Zelda's son.

"Are you...okay?" inquired Kendar, looking a little worried and also slightly nervous. Nick closed his eyes for a second, letting a stream of air leave his lips, and then put his hand against the wall, before crouching down to his knees.

"I..."

"Perhaps you should go and see a healer, you do not look at all well," began Kendar, reaching forward to help Nicolas. However, as he neared the King, Nicolas visibly flinched, and Kendar warily stood back. Nick looked at Kendar with obvious surprise, his forehead crumpled in pain. Their eyes locked for a second, and Nick thought for an instant he felt something. Recognition.

"Perhaps...yes, a healer," said Nick, although the words took an enormous effort to be spoken. Kendar looked over his shoulder and then beyond Nick, checking his surroundings carefully. Then he smiled, apparently satisfied, and leaned towards Nicolas' ear, lowering his voice to a conspiratorial whisper.

"It's been too long since I saw a King on his knees," he hissed. Nick blinked and when he opened his eyes, Kendar was gone. Letting out a shaky breath, Nick looked down to his hands which were trembling. Letting out a grunt, the King tried to rise to his feet, but it was useless. He wiped his forehead of the perspiration that was forming there and swallowed uneasily. As Kendar had spoken, his voice had changed. And it was a voice Nick could remember all too well as the voice of a very old acquaintance.



As darkness slowly began to descend over the land of Hyrule, the inhabitants of Valour Hold began to file back inside the famed keep that was their home. The day had been long, and with their leader, Captain Krin, away on request of North Castle, the men of the hold were especially restless. Krin was seldom called away unless the defence of Hyrule needed to be discussed, and an uneasy mood had settled over the knights of Valour Hold.

Footfalls echoed off the stone floors of the Hold as its soldiers trooped inside, causing Captain Isaac Robertson to leave his desk and stare out at the quickly darkening sky. Robertson was Captain Krin's second-in-command at the hold, and he had been for many a year. His face belied his true age, he looked a lot younger than his years, and his position often surprised any newcomers to the hold. Known by his men as the perfect foil to Krin's stern solemnity, Robertson was a man who was calm and happy by nature who nevertheless demanded the respect of all who met him. But this night, Robertson felt as uneasy as the rest of the Hold for a reason he could not quite lay his finger on. The captain frowned as he looked out at the sky which was still heavy with the black rain clouds that had been hovering over the Hold all day long. He had just this minute received a carrier pigeon from Krin carrying a message stating that the Hold was to be rallied and readied for combat in the next 24 hours. There indeed hung a threat over Hyrule, and North Castle was likely to be the target. Therefore, every man at the Hold was to make their way to North Castle and ready themselves to defend it. Robertson knew he could be ready in that time, and would send Krin a message in the morning telling his superior so. He let out a sigh and turned from the window, closing his eyes and slowly shaking his head.

"Snap out of it Robertson," he muttered to himself. The captain knew his men well, and had noticed how uneasy many of the knights had been this day. He couldn't blame them for he felt the same way. There seemed to be something hanging over the Hold, something far darker and far more sinister than those rain clouds in the sky.

Hours later, Robertson woke up with a start. He could not say what had caused him to wake, but at first he thought little of it, as he was a notoriously light sleeper anyway. Letting out a groan, the knight rolled onto his side when he heard a thud not far from his door. He froze for a second, listening intently, but no further sound pursued the thud, save for the sound of his own breathing. As he waited, Robertson slowly slid his hand underneath the mattress of his bed, grasping the blade that he had secreted there. The first thing he had learnt as a knight was that you could never be too careful. The knight slowly crawled out of his bed, and sat, hunched on his knees for a moment, listening further. There was still no other sound. Robertson looked to his window, but all he could see beyond was thick, black darkness. He slowly licked his quickly drying lips and rose to his feet, stealthily approaching his door. Once there, he pressed his body against the heavy oaken door and listened again. He could hear nothing. Robertson looked back to the window, feeling increasingly uneasy. There was not even the sound of a faint wind or the patter of rainfall, nor the usual sounds of the forest that Robertson had grown accustomed in his time at the Hold. Robertson had never considered himself to worry unnecessarily but at the moment, he was worried. He slowly pushed the door outwards, and peered through the crack beyond. More darkness. Guards patrolled the Hold all day long, and the night was no exception. This inevitably meant that the corridors of the Hold were supposed to be lit all night long by blazing torches. This was not the case now. Wiping his brow with his forearm, Robertson closed the door and crept across the floor to his desk. He quickly lit a candle, and pulled on some clothes, slipping his sword into his belt. He then grasped the candle and walked back to the door, still listening for any signs of life. By now, Robertson would have expected to hear the footfalls of the patrolling guards of the Hold. He had heard none. Again he slid the door open, and again he was confronted with darkness. He stepped outside of his room, the candle in his hand weakly illuminating the passage beyond him. The first thing he saw was a slumped form just yards from his feet and Robertson immediately concluded that the slumped form had been the origin of the thud that had sounded only seconds after he had awoken. He slowly crouched down next to the form, his worst fears confirmed. It was a guard, a guard he had known by name, and the guard was almost certainly dead. The unfortunate man's skin was a pallid white colour, his lips were tinged slightly blue and it was clear to Robertson that he wasn't breathing. Cursing under his breath, the knight rose to his feet, his eyes scanning the corridor in the flickering light. He walked over to a door that was adjacent to his own and knocked on it with his fist. It was the quarters of four of the initiates new to the Hold, and when no answer came, Robertson opened the door cautiously and stepped inside.

His heart hammering against his chest, Robertson held the candle in his hand aloft his head and looked around the dormitory. They were all in bed. Swallowing, Robertson walked to the nearest bed, and put the candle on the night table. No one stirred. Closing his eyes, Robertson lifted the blanket, then opened his eyes and looked down. The initiates were still in bed, but they too, were dead. A pale face stared back at Robertson, and the knight cringed as an icy cold chill began to creep down his spine. Whatever had killed the guard outside, whatever had killed the four young initiates, was in the room. Robertson dropped the blanket and reached for his sword. He turned and for a second he saw something move from the corner of his eye.

"Who goes there?" His voice sounded dry and weak, and it was how Robertson felt. An inexplicable fear had grasped him now by the heart, something he not experienced even when facing hordes of the darkest of creatures or the evil bloodthirsty Tanolians. Robertson was terrified, and perspiration was dripping down the back of his neck, his palms were becoming damp and the grasp on his sword was not as strong as it should have been. "Answer me," challenged Robertson, trying to muster some kind of motivation to move. But he could not. His eyes were suddenly drawn to the flickering candle on the nightstand, and what Robertson saw made his blood run cold. All around the flitting light of the candle there was a strange darkness that was slowly beginning to blot out everything, like a swarm of dark bodied insects. "What...?" questioned Robertson, his heart thumping so hard and so fast he swore it was about to burst from his chest. And then everything went dark. The ring of metal against stone shortly preceded a dull thud before the unnatural darkness simply evaporated, leaving the flickering candle enough light to cast a weak glow over the body of Captain Isaac Robertson, pale faced and blue lipped. He, like every other person within the Hold, was dead.



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