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 9

     Even the dark rain clouds couldn't dampen Fayette's mood when she awoke on the morning of her wedding. In just a few short hours, I shall marry the man I love, she thought to herself happily. They had invited no-one to the ceremony but Fayette didn't care. Her first wedding, to Raymundo had been a lavish, extravagant affair with hundreds of guests, and indeed, a day to remember. But that was in the past now, and although she still secretly hurt for her first husband, now was the time to look to the future, to her new life with Kendar. Humming an old Sosarian tune to herself, the princess began to brush her red-gold curls into place. She already had everything planned out. She and Kendar would move out of North Castle and buy a nice stately home together, perhaps back in Sosaria, or somewhere else completely. Maybe Moldera; she had spent many vacations there back when she had been a young girl, and after all, it was a time for new beginnings. There was no point staying at North Castle, not with Zelda forever resenting her, and her own mother angry at her for marrying Kendar. She, Kendar and the children could be very happy living elsewhere.

Hung in her closet was a beautiful cream silk dress. It hadn't been specially made for the occasion, but Fayette knew it would be perfect. She took it out and held it up, still smiling. This, teamed with a simple pearl circlet in her hair and her sapphire necklace and matching earrings would look wonderful. I wonder what Kendar will wear, she thought to herself idly. Of course, her dashing fiancé would look completely handsome in anything. Already she had ordered a carriage to be ready to transport her to Mido that morning. No-one was supposed to leave the castle, due to the approach of the Catalian army but Fayette had kept her plans secret, paying a driver a large sum of money to enable her to reach her destination. Nothing, not even a small fry battle such as the one that was about to take place, would prevent her from wedding the man she loved. It had not yet started to rain and Fayette wanted to be in that coach and on the road to Mido before the heavens opened. She quickly changed into the dress and grabbed a matching silk reticule and soft velvet shoes to wear upon her feet. On her dressing table in a crystal vase were some beautiful red roses that Kendar had given her only the day before. She'd tied a gold ribbon around the delicate stems to make it into a bouquet. Her mother would be heartbroken, she knew, to miss Fayette's wedding, but it was for the best the princess told herself. Her mother would only disapprove and try to stop her from going ahead with it, after all.



***



It did not take long for Robert's forces to reach the vast grassy plains that bordered the Tantari desert, and as Robert led his men from those sandy wastes, the night sky was turning from midnight blue to an ashen grey as the sun began to touch the world once more. Dark, heavy clouds were gathered over the green plains, but every so often, the thick blanket was penetrated by the day's new rays, shafts of grey light struggling to reach down and touch the rain soaked earth.

Even in the grim light, Robert and his men could not fail to see their goal the blue turrets of North Castle stood proud in the middle of the landscape, and while some of Robert's company surveyed it in awe, Robert could only hold it in the utmost contempt.



"Look, over there!"

"They're here!" Two men, almost instantaneously, called out as the spotted the approaching Catalian army. Drake snatched a spyglass from one of the scouts by his side and looked through it towards the north. Sure enough, Robert was approaching, and so was his army. Drake pushed the spyglass back into the hands of the waiting scout and turned to his men.

"Right. You've all been waiting for this. Those lot have no good reason what so ever to do this, it's just greed. So show 'em no mercy, for they will show you none. Some of you have faced battle before, some of you haven't, but just so you all know this isn't a rehearsal. You don't get a second chance, no one does. You're all going to have to kill today, and it isn't nice, but war never is. Now belt up, and show those lot what happens to them that thinks they can come to our country and challenge us on our own soil!" roared the knight, raising his sword. A thousand shining blades followed suit and an almighty cry sounded among the amassed ranks of the Hyrulian army. "Archers!" yelled Drake. The archers stepped forward and their captain, Dion Insequi, gave the nod to his men and drew his own bow tight, watching as the Catalians approached. They were still a fair way off, and Dion did not want to order fire until they were in range. There was also the possibility that a messenger from their side might be sent across to settle terms...but the King had made it very clear that this was an invasion of Hyrule, and invaders had no rights as far as the Hyrulians were concerned.

"Hold!" cried Dion, his voice loud and clear. Robert's men continued to march forward, drawing nearer and nearer and the sound of men marching reverberated throughout the plains like thunder.



"There's so many of them," muttered Aaron is disbelief under his breath, pacing atop his horse among his men. He was in command of the west wing of the army, and even he could see that the numbers were not adding up. With the absence of the men from Valour Hold, their army was severely under strength and the need to surround North Castle on all sides thinned out Hyrule's forces even further. He looked up to the sky, and the thunder of Robert's advancing army went on. He looked to the east, hoping to catch sight of the Valour Hold regiment, but to no avail. "Where are they?" he questioned in a hushed tone, before looking back to Robert's advancing army. He saw Dion's archers aim their bows, and watched as the morning light glinted off the numerous steel arrowheads aimed at the Catalians. "Guess we'll just have to do without," he added with a sigh, drawing his own sword.



Link watched at the forefront of it all, just before Drake's men. He looked back at the archers and then back to Robert's advancing army. They were well armed, he could tell, but Hyrule had one advantage and that was their cavalry. Robert had been unable to bring his own, and as a result all of his men were on foot. Suddenly, Robert's forces ground to a halt. Silence permeated between the two sides, thick and threatening. And then the rain came down.



The constant spatter and splash as each droplet of water hit the ground rose to a grand cacophony, the drumming of rain drops droned on as they hit metal, stone and earth. It gradually grew heavier, dropping at a faster rate, before suddenly dying off again. Eyes turned up to the heavily clouded skies, and the rain still fell, soaking all who stood in its path. As if someone was turning a tap, the rain grew heavy again, and Link reached out with his hand, palm upwards, fingers uncurled and watched as the rain spattered off his skin, big, fat wet droplets that exploded into a stream of rising water upon impact. The rain changed direction with the wind every few seconds, making it impossible to avoid it, and fat, wet, bubbling rivers ran everywhere at the feet of both armies. And then as soon as it started, the rain suddenly seemed to stop. Link looked back to Robert's forces, and saw the glint of arrows being aimed with wide eyes and then, there was a lone cry.

"Fire!" A thousand missiles sped towards the blue, red and gold of Hyrule, and Link reached to his back, grabbing his shield and crouching down underneath its cover.

"Fire!" cried a second voice. Dion's. The air hissed as more arrows cut through it, although this time in the other direction. Link dared to look out from under his shield, when an arrow suddenly struck through the metal, just inches from Link's face. The Hylian cursed and sank lower, suddenly realising that the ground was increasingly becoming muddier and harder to keep a footing on. Another round of arrows were fired from the Catalian side, and no less than a second later, Dion's men had responded. Link dared a glance at the men who all stood behind him, wondering whether they were to stand their ground or advance upon Robert as soon as the chance arose. Then it began to rain again. Water drops mixed with the flying arrows, and then Drake gave the sign. Not all heard the knight's roar, but they pushed on anyway at the insistence of their comrades. Link looked from side to side, then led the line forth, his fear conquered and his heart as stone.

"I hope you're ready Robert," hissed the hero under his breath as rain pounded upon his lithe frame. And then he broke out into a run, his sole intention to protect his land and his family.



***



Navi let out a gasp of relief as she reached the shelter of the Great Ruto Forest, home to the greatest faerie settlement in all of Hyrule, perhaps even the Demiari, the Silva-Veredis Le' Fey. It had taken her all day and much of the night to reach the main settlement of the faeries, and she was already beginning to feel that something was incredibly wrong, far beyond just the mysterious deaths at Valour Hold. She had been caught in the sudden downpour, not a good thing for any faerie, but luckily she had made it to the forest before it got too bad. As the faerie ventured deeper into the forest, she could not help but feel uneasy. She knew the Fey was magically protected, like her own settlement back on Maze Island, but she could feel something else, something behind her. She suddenly turned, only to be confronted with the dark trees that she had passed moments before.

"No. Not here," she murmured, a feeling of confusion washing over her. Whatever it was she was feeling was not in the forest, but it was nearby, and that made Navi feel extremely uncomfortable. Navi turned back to her present course, and it was not long before she came upon the clearing that was home to the Fey. Beautiful lights sparkled everywhere in the darkness, and the magical pool in the middle of the Fey shone under the light of the new down. Navi paused a moment, taking in the beauty, just for a moment forgetting all of her worry. It was not long, however, before the ancient faerie was focused back on the task at hand, and she looked all around her, trying to sense if any faerie she knew was near. She looked to the Great Palace, hidden in the trees, and shook her head. No, no one she knew there. She cocked her head for a moment, finding such a discovery odd. Surely Tamara should have been present. Unless...

"Navi?" The faerie span round, her heart thudding in her chest.

"Oh, Carrie...you startled me," sighed the faerie, her heart slowing once more.

"Sorry...but I'm glad to see you Navi. I mean, I don't know what to do..." blurted the red haired faerie at once. Navi frowned with concern.

"What...what is it?"

"It's Sprite...and Felicity...and Tiffany. They're all gone!"

"How do you mean?"

"Well I haven't seen Tiffany since I left her at Death Mountain, and Felicity is nowhere in the Fey even though she said she'd be around and now Sprite's gone to Death Mountain looking for that Mara woman!" cried Carrie, her eyes glistening with tears. Navi leaned forward and gave Carrie a light hug.

"Death Mountain?" she echoed.

"Uh-huh...and...and there's something wrong in the air? Can't you just feel it?" added Carrie, pulling away from Navi. The older faerie nodded in agreement.

"Well...I actually came here looking for Felicity. Something...something had happened at the Hold, something terrible, and I feel that Felicity may be in someway connected," began Navi.

"What? What's happened?"

"Every man in Valour Hold is dead."

"Dead?!" cried Carrie in shock. "How?!"

"I don't know. But a faerie of the settlement reported to me yesterday morning that she had seen a dark force the evening before, near the hold. We went to investigate, and they were all...but the thing is, there was an aura around all of them. A dark, evil one. A taint if you will..."

"But...but what's this got to do with Felicity?"

"She had the same taint about her. I think that she got that taint from being in close contact with someone extremely evil possibly this Mara character."

"But...but Flic said she hadn't seen Mara!" pointed out Carrie, feeling a little light headed.

"She was lying. I hate to tell you this, Carrie, I know she's a friend and all, but I think she may be in league with this witch." Before Navi had even finished speaking, Carrie flew into a rage.

"No! No! Felicity would never, ever do something evil! Not on purpose! I mean, Mara must have her under her control somehow!"

"Well, maybe. But...she isn't here." Carrie looked down at the ground, overwhelmed by Navi's words. Everyone in Valour Hold, dead? Felicity in league with a witch? It all seemed unreal.

"Wait. Oh my...you knew about the invasion, didn't you?" asked Carrie suddenly. Navi frowned.

"Invasion?"

"Catalia is invading Hyrule. Hyrule's forces are all gathered outside North Castle and...well doesn't Valour Hold have all of the best men?"

"Yes...yes I believe so."

"And Mara was in league with Robert, Catalia's King."

"And?"

"Hyrule will be expecting the men from Valour Hold, and Mara has killed them all. If Catalia is going to attack, now will be the best time, before help from Dalsona turns up!"

"We need to tell North Castle," concluded Navi, finally catching up.

"Come on. And let's hope we're not too late!"

 



The sound of battle could be heard all around Hyrule field, and as metal crashed against metal, Link turned and dealt death to just one more faceless stranger. They had met head on, the Catalians and Hyrulians, and Link could not tell from his position on how the fortunes of each side were actually faring. It was still raining, although only a fine drizzle, and the cries and shouts of men everywhere was almost deafening. But despite the chaos, for that was what it was, Link felt almost at peace with himself. True enough, his blood was rushing through his veins and his heart beating like a drum, but it was as if his senses were sharpened, for every sound, every swish of an oncoming blade, every grunt of pain as death emerged victorious, every thud of a lifeless corpse to the sodden earth, seemed all at once apparent to the hero. Link had suddenly found himself and his blade at one, every movement was swift and deadly, and no man who faced the hero lived to see the next stroke of the hero's sword. Link was surrounded by soldiers on all sides, both in the blue, red and gold of Hyrule and the purple and silver of Catalia but despite this, he saw nothing but his next foe.



"Is that Link out there?" asked Dion to himself, a little incredulous, as he stood on the slight rise by North Castle, arming his bow. Though the Dubation by birth could not see much in the melee, there was one figure who seemed to stand out, for they were cleaving a path through plum and silver bodies like a blade through grass without ever seeming to pause for respite. "It must be," he concluded quietly, aiming his arrow high into the air and letting go of the bow string. A thousand more missiles followed it and rained down into the crowd of fighting bodies, and Dion grabbed another arrow from his quiver. They were aiming as far back as they could, away from their own men. He frowned as he watched more men fall, and noted that the muddy field of battle was turning a crude and crimson red.

"Again!" he called, hoping his eyes were deceiving him. For it looked that Catalia were winning.



Robert smiled to himself as he watched the scenes of battle unfold. The Hyrulians had been clever in thinking that they could seize his men in a pincer like movement on both sides, but they had been unwise to Robert's thinking, and had played right into his gauntleted hands. For as soon as the Hyrulians had moved in, Robert had countered their move with one of his own sending out two vast regiments to outflank the flanks. This meant that the east and west flanks of the Hyrulians had become caught between two ranks of Catalians, giving them little chance of survival. The General King was admittedly surprised at the resistance of the Hyrulians so far, especially seeing as his forces easily outnumbered their flagging numbers. But he knew it was only a matter of time before they would break through. And then Hyrule would be defeated, and he would be glorious in his victory.



Trapped. That was how Aaron felt, and he was cursing his luck. As the east flank had crashed onto the east side of the Catalian forces they had barely flinched. Aaron had instructed his men to fight away, and progress was being made, his side slowly pushing forward, looking forward to a meeting in the middle with the west flank. But Robert had not won his superb reputation as a General lightly, and now Aaron could see why. Instead of stretching out his forces into a long line in an effort to avoid being surrounded, Robert had instead compacted his vast forces into a single squat unit that had almost invited envelopment. It had been too easy of course, Aaron had first thought, and now he knew why. For behind Robert's initial forces there had been two more regiments who had fanned out and surrounded both of the attacking Hyrulian flanks, sandwiching them between Catalians and Catalians. They were surrounded with no means of escape other than to fight their way through. However, it was hard. Hyrule's resources had already been stretched with the lack of forces arriving from Valour Hold, and as a result, his flank was thin. To attack one side of the Catalians meant neglecting another, and every man knew that the first rule of battle was to never turn your back on an enemy. To do so meant death. So they fought back to back, but every time a Hyrulian fell, it was becoming more and more difficult to cover one another. They were surrounded. Trapped.



"They're going to bloody massacre them!" muttered Drake, watching in horror as he saw Robert's forces surround the east and west flanks. He cursed aloud and cleaved the skull of an oncoming foot soldier in two from atop his horse. He was in the middle of the battlefield, where men of both sides were beginning to get a little thin. Bodies were strewn everywhere, but even Drake could see that the blue, red and gold of Hyrule was the far more prominent colour laid out on the bloody field of Hyrule. He held up his sword and called out to his men, drawing their attention to the battle on the flanks. He hated to change tactics mid-battle, but they had little choice. "To your comrades aid!" he bellowed, charging west. He turned back and saw from the south more forces arriving, obviously those who had been safeguarding North Castle's south side. It did not rest easy with him that North Castle would be exposed, but he supposed little could be done. "Desperate times call for desperate measures an' all," reasoned the knight gruffly, before felling his fourteenth Catalian with a sickening crunch.



"Oh, by the Goddesses! We're too late!" cried Navi as they left the forest. Even before they had left the cover of the trees, the two faeries had heard the noises of warfare, but now to see it with their eyes confirmed their worst fears.

"Link! We need to find Link!" said Carrie firmly, flying forward. "He'll know what to do!"

"Wait. We can't just go flying in there! There's a battle going on!" Carrie stopped.

"We're faeries. We'll be fine!" she insisted shortly.

"Not if we get hit by an arrow we won't. Look, if you just let me think a moment..." began Navi.

"We don't have a moment!" said Carrie in a raised voice laced with desperation. Navi ignored the younger faerie and closed her eyes. Carrie glared at her and looked back to the battle field which was thick with the bodies of fighting men. Navi suddenly opened her eyes.

"Right. Carrie, go and find Link and tell him. I'm going to go back to the Fey."

"What?!" shrieked Carrie incredulously.

"You'll find Link in the centre of battle, with dying or dead men all around him, just look for the trail of dead Catalians and you'll find him. They're losing, Carrie, badly. I'm going to go back to the faeries and summon them here. Hyrule is our land too and, for once, we aren't going to let the humans deal with this problem alone. Now go!" Carrie nodded dumbly to Navi's instruction then flew off. Navi watched her go, willing her on, then turned back to the forest. She didn't know what the faerie council would have to say about such actions, but she knew that, united, the faeries could help the humans, and she would do everything in her power to make sure that they did.



Aaron grimaced grimly as the blood of his enemy spattered across his face as he slew one more Catalian. They were surrounded on all sides, and the enemy was closing in on them like a pack of wolves would a lone deer. If things had seemed bad before, Aaron miserably noted, things were now looking utterly hopeless. There was no more than a few dozen of his own men left standing, and they were outnumbered thoroughly on all sides. Holding up his sword, Aaron beckoned their enemies upon them, but the Catalians seemed more content to prolong the moment and savour such a crushing victory. Suddenly, a more senior looking soldier stepped forward, facing Aaron and let out a sardonic sneer.

"Surrender now and you'll live. Or you can put up your weapons and say goodbye to any chance of seeing another sunset." Aaron at once turned to his nearest companion and spoke in a low tone.

"These men killed our comrades. Surrender is not an option. Our only chance is to charge them and hope we can break through," said the young captain stubbornly. His companion nodded solemnly, and Aaron turned back to the Catalian.

"We are prepared to die for our country, Catalian, the question is, are you willing to do the same?" challenged Aaron, before letting out a mighty roar and rushing towards the Catalians. He was swiftly followed by all of his men that remained, and this manoeuvre quite surprised the Catalians, whom had been expecting the Hyrulians, who had little chance of survival, to surrender. Aaron struck the first blow, and it was followed by many others, as they all abandoned any sort of formation and fought with little regard for anything but their own lives.



As Drake struck down yet another foe, his eye was suddenly drawn to the horizon on the east. From atop his steed he could see the glint of armour and weapons approaching, and his heart swelled at the sign of what he took to be reinforcements. His men and the men of the east regiment were faring far better than Aaron's side, and yet they were still somewhat on the back foot.

"All is not lost!" cried the knight as he saw the approaching forces and he wheeled around, dealing death to one more adversary. Such a call raised the hearts of the fighting Hyrulians, who had begun to feel jaded and exhausted from the battle. The Catalians were of course feeling similar feelings, especially after their night time march through the desert, and yet they had no such similar call to raise their spirits.



The approaching forces were the men of Orion Reyblade, as well as numerous other followers who had decided to follow as Orion passed through Ruto and Saria. As soon as Orion could make out the battle outside North Castle, he beckoned every man who was with him to charge. They galloped forth atop their steeds, and others without horses of their own ran forward on foot.



It was a welcome sight indeed for the Hyrulians, and they gave a great cheer when they saw men of their own colours approaching. Many of the Catalians turned in surprise when they heard Orion and his men thundering across the plains, and some of them began to flee in terror and desperation. As Orion saw the Catalians fleeing, he at first presumed it was because of he and his men, but it was not. A massive shadow soon shed some light on the true cause of the fleeing foreigners, and Orion, along with many others, turned to see a huge dragon looming above them in the air with green scaly skin and a mane of bright pink hair.

"Well I'll be..." muttered Orion with a grin on his face, while others began to run away and dive out of the angry dragon's path.



A plume of red hot flame suddenly seared through the air, extremely close to Drake in particular, toasting several Catalians.

"Sal?" muttered the knight in question when he, too, saw the dragon and his frown soon gave way to a smile when he realised that it was, in fact, the old comrade of Link and indeed a dragon Drake himself had once tried to slay. Shaking his head in disbelief the knight turned back to the battle, raising his sword in a salute to the great beast. "I've never been so glad to see a dragon," he muttered before plunging back into the melee. For the first time since the Hyrulians and Catalians had met that day, it looked to be the home troops who had gained the advantage.



"Sal?" questioned Link in shocked awe as he saw the shadow of a dragon swoop low over his head. The hero, who had indeed left a trail of blood in his wake, was distracted for a moment as he turned his eyes to the grey sky which was now illuminated by the presence of a great dragon. He pulled his sword grimly from the lifeless body of a fallen Catalian, before turning his eyes back to the battlefield which was now no more than a churned mess of mud, blood and corpses. He did not truly want to kill any of the men he had so far killed, and every time he ended another life he felt little, for he desired his sword to strike the heart of only one man, his kinsman Robert. For those that came across the hero, he was a fearsome sight. His face was spattered with blood, his dark hair was plastered with sweat, gore and rain against his skull and his sword was so thick with the blood of Catalians that the blade itself appeared to be a rust red colour. His mind was consumed with anger and rage, and yet the hero still felt strangely detached from all that was happening, he felt as though he were not truly there and felt somewhat untouchable. But the hero was not without injury. An ugly red weal marked his right cheek, and an unsightly gash was strewn down his sword arm, yet neither injury was anything more than a mere superficial flesh wound. The smell of burning flesh suddenly assailed the fighter's nostrils as he sank his sword into the neck of another enemy, and a burning man ran across his path screaming out to the Goddesses for redemption.

"Good old Sal," murmured the hero in appreciation. "It's been too long."



As Sal had landed, Zelda had jumped off the dragon and rushed into the castle grounds. Her first thought had been the Triforce. The Princess ran through the courtyard and across to the east tower. The door swung open easily, but as she passed the threshold, Zelda already knew that something was wrong. The magic spell that protected this tower from evil passing it had already been broken. Mara had removed it when she had taken the Triforce of Wisdom back at Death Mountain. Felicity's spell was still working strongly, and the Princess began to ascend the steps, knowing that this was her last chance to prevent Mara from carrying out her plans. If she could regain the Triforce, she might just stand a chance. She had to destroy the witch before the evil sorceress destroyed Hyrule. Felicity's magic had given her a second chance and she wasn't going to waste it. Hyrule's fate lay in her hands now.



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