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.
Juliet A. Singleton (Scullys@bigfoot.com) & Kirsty Singleton (Indigo_Spacen@mail.com)
"For a mere mortal, you certainly possess some...insights that most of your kind would never even manage to dream of," commented Enzar thoughtfully as he paced the cavern, his wings clicking together with a distinct metallic click as he walked.
"Perhaps now you will consider me seriously," said Mara, satisfied with herself.
"Perhaps," murmured the Griffin, rearing on his back paws and opening his wings, before settling again. Mara stared at him in distaste. Perhaps? He was meant to say something like 'of course'. Mara hated it when things didn't go her way.
"Yes of course, the Triforce. It should be quite easy to get hold of, I really don't see why Ganondorf never managed it. I always knew he was an incompetent fool," said Enzar, veering off the subject.
"The Triforce is very well protected, Zelda has a very strong magical will, I don't think it should be as easy as you seem to think," pointed out Mara, as she remembered the sickening dizziness she had encountered when she had first entered the Triforce tower.
"Her magical will, as you might call it, is nothing compared to the vast quantities of magic that I can endure, store and summon. Although I do suppose for a mortal she is quite competent," mused Enzar. Mara let out a short sigh.
"As I do recall, you've been defeated before by Zelda and that husband of hers, what makes you think this time it will be any different?" questioned Mara, her words an attempt to humble the apparently not so mythical creature. Enzar turned to her, towering over her and frowned.
"Yes, perhaps I have been defeated before. But it was not Zelda or Link who vanquished me, it was that dratted Dalsonian prince whose family and kingdom had dealt with me before. He remembered a certain weakness of mine. I relied too much on the power of a certain organic substance known as Hagner's rock, but this time, I shall be reliant on nothing but myself," he growled. Mara nodded a little, taken aback. Then she smiled.
"Dalsonian prince? Perhaps you mean King Nicolas of Dalsona?" questioned Mara. Enzar frowned again.
"I took care of him, dragged him into the dark realm with the last of my powers. Teach a mortal to mess up my plans...and anyway, he was no King, his father was still on the throne," said Enzar, grinning a little as he remembered his handiwork.
"Well, there's a King Nicolas and his wife Selina staying at North Castle this very minute, he rules Dalsona," said Mara silkily. Enzar glared at her.
"You mean to say he isn't dead?" he demanded.
"He looked very much alive to me," replied Mara. Enzar let out a snort of discontent.
"Don't tell me he married the damn healer!" he cursed aloud, beginning to pace about more fervently, his black talons clicking off the cold cavern floor.
"Why, I do believe he did," recalled Mara. It looked as though Enzar himself would prefer to deal with those two, which suited her just fine. Enzar let out a roar of anger, his wings spreading to their full width.
"How long have I been away from this place?" he snapped, suddenly seeming a lot more agitated.
"I believe your last appearance was in 4545, about eight years ago," replied Mara. He let out a grunt.
"Eight damn years. It's not so long I suppose," decided the griffin. "I want to see the boy," he suddenly demanded. Mara smiled.
"Yes, the boy. Although he may be quite afraid of your presence," said Mara. Enzar laughed.
"What mortal isn't? Griffin's are very in touch with their emotional surroundings, I'm sure you'll know, I can sense fear in every creature, living or dead...even you hold fear of me somewhere," said Enzar with a grin.
"The boy sees me as a friend, I don't think your presence will consolidate his feelings that I can be trusted," replied Mara, ignoring the creature's insinuations.
"You have taken the boy from his home, his parents and he still sees you as a friend? Either he is deceiving you my dear, or the boy who possesses the essence of the three has sacrificed his common sense for such a privilege," said Enzar smoothly, grinning at Mara, revealing dozens of bright, white, sharpened teeth housed in that ebony black beak of his.
"No, the boy's parents were not in the castle, they had both abandoned him. I managed to convince him he was more in danger at the castle than he would be here," said Mara. Enzar raised an eyebrow.
"How do you know he has the power of the Triforce in him?" he suddenly questioned. Mara smiled.
"When you see him, you shall also know," she promised.
"When I see him? I was to understand I was not allowed to see the boy, due to my terrifying visage," laughed Enzar. Mara did not look amused.
"The boy is going nowhere, there will be plenty of time to see him. Meanwhile, I believe we both have more pressing matters to attend to," said Mara pointedly.
"My, we are a bossy little mortal aren't we?" asked Enzar patronisingly. Mara frowned again.
"I believe you have many things to be thankful for, and all because of me," she reminded. Enzar nodded.
"Perhaps. And I'm sure you shall be richly rewarded in due course, as long as you remember you are currently still a mortal, a status at which you shall remain unless a) you die, or b) I decide that you are worthy enough to become immortal," said Enzar in a business-like tone. Mara nodded, looking pleased.
"I'm sure you will come to the inevitable decision sooner or later that I am indeed destined to become immortal," she said. Enzar yawned.
"As for now, a griffin does need his sleep, especially after the tiring process of being resurrected. I shall bid you a good day...night? I'm sure there are plenty of places in this old place to sleep," said Enzar, before leaving the dank cavern. Mara smiled as he left, and immediately began to make preparations for the plan they had both so carefully discussed in the previous hours of darkness.
Link sat down on a rock, deep in the Ruto Mountain range and held his face in his hands, trying to rouse himself. Drake walked up to him, resting one hand on the hero's shoulder.
"We have searched every inch of this place Link…Ewan isn't here…perhaps he is back at North Castle…safely returned," said the knight quietly. Link looked up at his friend.
"I can't stop Drake. My son is out here somewhere, I know he is! I can't just turn around and go back
!" insisted Link, his voice raising a little.
"Hey, look, Link, we've been out here three days. We've searched everywhere we know of here. We all need rest, especially you," said Drake firmly. Link stood and frowned.
"If you want to go back to North Castle, there's nothing stopping you, but I refuse to return or even sleep until I know he's safe!" At this point Nick stepped forward, and Drake dutifully stepped to one side, supposing if anyone could talk sense into any man, it would be Nick.
"Link, listen to me," began Nick, his voice calm but still tinged with an edge of authority. Link cast his gaze to the floor.
"Look at me." He could hardly disobey the King's command, and immediately met Nick's sincere eye.
"Neither of you have children. Neither of you can understand," stated Link his voice deadpan and emotionless. Nick shook his head.
"You couldn't be more wrong Link. Although I can't claim to know what you are going through, I am as worried as you about his well-being. But I am also worried about your well being." Link shook his head.
"I'm fine," he said stubbornly.
"I don't believe that, and neither do you. Anyone can see you aren't even fit to be out here." Link resented the statement.
"He's my son. I can't just sit down and pretend this isn't happening. I need to find him!"
"And what use will you be to your son if you are dead?" The question seemed harsh, especially coming from the usually gentle Nick. Even Drake was surprised at his words. Link dropped his gaze again. Every bone in his body ached, and the pain in his back and ribs was more wretched than any pain he could remember having. Link had been so intent on finding his son, he had never even seen a healer at North Castle…not that North Castle had one now…but still, Selina could have always looked him over. He suddenly swayed on his feet, and Nick stepped forward to steady him. "You need to rest. Every spare man in Hyrule is searching for Ewan, and we will find him, but you need rest." Link gave a weary nod, raising a hand to his aching temples and squeezing his eyes shut.
It was late when the search party returned. Zelda watched them come in, from her vantage point in the gallery, and at once, spied Kaibre. He stood there, his head hung, and Drake spoke a few words to him. Eventually, the sellsword headed up the stairs, and walked straight past the princess, seemingly not noticing her. She followed him, grabbing his arm.
"Kaibre!" she exclaimed. He looked at her, his expression sad.
"Your highness..." he started.
"You promised me Kaibre, you promised you'd keep my children safe!" Zelda cried angrily.
"I have failed you, I know, and nothing will ever make up that fact. Punish me, if you wish, but I shall search for your son night and day, until I have returned him to you," Kaibre stated solemnly. Zelda stared at him, and their eyes met for an instant, before they both quickly looked away. Zelda let go of his arm, blushing.
"Yes, do that," she said, trying to keep up her royal demeanour. Damnit, why am I so attracted to him? she wondered, watching him out of the corner of her eye. She was tying to be angry with him, and yet, she found she couldn't be. It was almost disconcerting. Kaibre bowed slightly.
"Anything you wish, your highness," he said quietly.
"Zelda," she corrected, then wished she hadn't. They looked at each other again.
"I am glad your husband is back safely," Kaibre commented. Zelda quickly nodded.
"Yes, yes. But to return to this..." she began.
"I know, and I cannot tell you how sorry I am. I have made a dire folly, and I hope that someday, my sins shall be repented," Kaibre said, his head hung.
"I heard that you were poisoned," Zelda murmured.
"Yes, but I do not now how. The fiend of a healer must have somehow slipped it into my food," Kaibre said, looking a little angry.
"So, it definitely was her?" Zelda asked.
"Yes, the whole time. She as much as admitted it to me. Obviously, she did not foresee that I might live," Kaibre said.
"You are cured?" Zelda asked hopefully.
"I can only hope," Kaibre said.
"You look tired... you should rest," Zelda suggested, laying a hand on his arm without realising.
"No. I am going to see the healer now for a draught that will give me more strength, and then I shall go back out, searching again. Do not try to stop me," Kaibre said, in a stubborn tone.
"No! You must get a good nights sleep, I insist!" Zelda ordered. "Remember, I am your employer, you will do my bidding," she added. Kaibre looked down again briefly, then cast his eyes in her direction again.
"If you insist, then I have no choice," he stated.
"I do," Zelda agreed. He slowly walked away, and as Zelda turned to watch, she noticed Link stood nearby, a questioning look on his tired face. Her heart sank. He knows, she thought worriedly. Fayette must have said something... He turned and walked off, leaving her stood in the gallery, more ashamed than ever.
Nick walked into the room where he and Selina were staying during their visit to North Castle and sat down on the bed. Selina was not anywhere to be seen, and Nick guessed that she would be working in the healer's quarters, for any men that might need her help, such as Link. He let out a sigh and leaned back, kicking off his boots. They had searched every inch of Ruto mountain range, but to no avail. He was tired, but he felt guilty for just feeling it, when his best friend's son was in so much potential danger. Nick knew in a way how Ewan would be feeling, he himself had been kidnapped when he was younger, it was something he had seldom thought about for years, but this had brought it all crashing back. He felt uneasy, but he had a feeling it wasn't just Ewan's disappearance that was fuelling this apprehension he had. There was something else going on, he couldn't put his finger on it, but two days before, the day that Ewan's disappearance had been reported, during that evening, Nick had felt a strong sensation pour over him, like something was being disturbed. He couldn't quite place it, but he had only been filled with a force of foreboding, like something was going to happen, soon, and it wasn't going to benefit anyone. He let out another sigh, staring up at the ceiling. He had considered in confiding this to his wife, but he didn't want to worry her unnecessarily, or anyone else for that matter. It wasn't like he even knew what was going to happen, it was just a feeling.
Robert looked up at the mountain range, quietly impressed. The search party had only reached it now, and the head of the party had suggested, no, ordered that they rest for the night. Despite his trail all the way from Opela to this place, Robert wasn't tired. He hadn't volunteered to do night watch though, because he was planning to make his way to the mountain alone, and although if he'd been on watch it would've given him the perfect opportunity, he wouldn't risk the group like that. He was planning to sneak away, he just had to wait for the right time. He couldn't wait to get away from the company of men, who were sloppy compared to his own men in the Catalian army. Also, the captain repeatedly talked down to him, Robert of Catalia, despite the fact that he himself was a general. He hated being talked down to by anyone, especially anyone who was a lower rank than he was, but he had stayed quiet and obeyed any instructions given out, like a good soldier. But not for much longer, he may as well explore this Death Mountain himself, he was positive he could get in and back before the company even awoke to explore the mountain themselves. He watched furtively as the one man watch was momentarily distracted by a crackle of twigs nearby, and he quickly rose and melted away into the darkness, heading to the mountain. He had decided to set down a bed near the outside of the camp, he doubted he would be missed, and he didn't really care if he was, he didn't have to answer to anyone as far as he was concerned.
It didn't take Robert long to find the concealed entrance the group captain had spoken of, it was hidden by a mess of thorns and coarse, thick vines of ivy, or some other plant. He pushed it away with one hand, poking his sword in, then walking forward into the gloom. He quickly lit a torch and glanced around the dank, cramped passage. Death Mountain, the name sounded ominous, Robert supposed the mountain had been called that for a reason. What dark secrets lay between these walls, what horrors had gone on, vile acts committed? He shuddered slightly as a cold wave of air penetrated the passage, the flame on Robert's torch flickering. Sword in one hand, torch in other, Robert proceeded to move down the corridor, his boots snapping on some old bones of some long dead creature that Robert had no time to even contemplate how it had met its fate. He could feel something about this place, something in the dank, murky air. It had been disturbed recently, that he knew, being a Kokiri, he had highly attuned senses. Like Link. He and Link and the rest of Link's now dead family had had the purest blood, tainted by nothing. And Kylara, her blood was the purest of all, that's why she'd had to marry Link, have his children. Robert ran one gloved hand through his short, black hair, continuing to walk forward, disturbing recently woven cobwebs that were interlaced with struggling insects, flies, centipedes...He pushed them from his face using the back of his hand, when he heard a noise behind him. He whirled on one foot, only to receive a burning pain between his eyes. He staggered, dropping the burning torch to his feet, his sword clattering to the ground. He clutched at his forehead, and put out a hand to find the stable balance of the wall.
"Wh-?" he began in a mutter, looking up. He could see nothing, the passageway eerily lighted by the still lit torch at his feet. He let out a dry cough, wondering if it had been a low flying bat, a loose piece of rock... It didn't wash with him, Robert knew he was a strong man, such a pain to him could only be caused by a strong hand, or magic. He bent down, retrieving his sword, still holding his head with the other. The torch on the ground burned furiously, bathing Robert in a sickly light, and it suddenly caught onto the veil of spider silk that coated the place, streaking up the wall, almost scorching Robert's face. He moved away, the flame licking everything with its tongue of heat, lighting up the entire passage. Before Robert knew what was happening, still dizzy from the blow he had received, he was surrounded by the mocking flames. He let out a cough, standing straight and glancing from side to side, he began to back up the corridor when he stumbled and fell. He let out a muffled cry of surprise as he hit the ground, and he was consumed by pain as he hit his head off the hard stone floor. He bit his tongue to stop from yelling out loud, and tried to get up, blood seeping from his mouth. He spat angrily to the side, hot flames caressing his face and struggled to get up, an alien wave of darkness clawing at the edges of his vision, his mind. He let out a defeated sigh and lay back, slipping into a thick mire of sleep.
When Robert awoke, he wasn't in the happily crackling corridor of flames anymore, but on a soft mattress of straw, covered with his own cape. He let out an unhappy groan, reaching a hand to his head. As he did so, he felt the unfamiliar touch of new skin against his hand, soft skin, a woman's scent. He opened his eyes and looked up to the owner of that hand, and saw a woman of natural beauty, a face soft with kindness and humbleness, hair that was an unusual, yet beautiful shade of blonde, and green eyes that glittered with concern and sincerity.
"Shhh," she murmured, with perfectly formed lips, taking his hand and lifting it back to his side. Robert had never been captured by a woman's beauty quite so since...since Kylara. He swallowed nervously, his aquamarine eyes meeting hers in an unconfirmed glance. "You were lucky I was around, or else you could've been killed," the woman said softly, bathing Robert's temples with a soft cloth. He opened his mouth to speak, but his voice got caught in his throat. He'd never had the silver tongue when it came to talking to woman, except with Kylara. Everything with her had seemed so natural, so right. She put a finger to his lips. "You mustn't exhaust yourself, you've had a nasty fall and a horrible cut, although how you managed to cut open your forehead when you were lying on your back I don't know," said the woman, smiling at Robert ruefully, her voice so mild and soft. Robert tried to speak again, failing for another time and she smiled at him. "Here, have a drink," she murmured, offering him a small beaker of water, placing her hand on his shoulder and helping him sit up. He drank it gratefully, the cool water soothing his parched throat. He handed her back the empty glass, her hand still resting on his shoulder. He smiled at her thankfully.
"Thank you," he said, his voice no louder than a murmur. She stood, and smiled down at him.
"I couldn't very well leave you there to die could I?" she asked, the smile growing. Robert smiled back.
"I suppose not," he said lightly. She turned to leave, but he spoke again. "You can't save my life only to leave me without a name," he said. She turned and crouched down, meeting him eye to eye. As he gazed into her, she looked down, her face suddenly a picture of sadness.
"I think it might be best if I don't tell you that," she said quietly. Her gaze was averted now, so Robert took her hand with his.
"Why not?" he questioned. She looked back to him.
"You're with one of the search party's aren't you? Looking for the boy?" Robert was suddenly jolted out of his curiosity to know this woman, when he realised and remembered why he had been here in the first place. Her hand slid from his.
"Yes..." he said slowly. Was this her? The woman who had seen fit to take his kin's child? The woman fiddled with a decorative ring that was on her left hand, Robert watched her carefully.
"I never took him," she said, her gaze back to Robert. Robert frowned. Mara. This was her? Were they still in the mountain?
"Why are you hiding then?" he asked. His head was beginning to pound, a dull, thudding ache.
"The man who Zelda appointed to look after her son..." she started. Robert remembered the man quite clearly. He knew him in fact, he had served Seline awhile, protecting her from those Tanolians. His wife and child had been killed while he had been looking after Seline. Robert had felt no sympathy for the man, he was no real soldier. Sell swords, he hated them all. Kaibre, that was his name. He and Robert had had many a disagreement, the man fancying himself as quite the tactician. Robert had been charge, not Kaibre.
"Yes, Kaibre Lainge," acknowledged Robert, snapping from his thoughts.
"Yes him..." trailed off Mara.
"He's out looking for Ewan this very moment," said Robert. Mara looked slightly surprised at this statement, but the look soon passed. What she had wanted to ask was if he was still alive, but the fact that he was, made it even more convenient for him.
"He was the one who took Ewan! He wanted a replacement for his own son, but he needed someone to blame, so he chose me. He never liked me, I don't know why, but he became convinced I was trying to harm Zelda! That night, I heard something in the corridor, and it was Kaibre, skulking around, I followed him into the nursery and he saw me. He told me what he was going to do, but he was going to blame me, he tried to kill me. He said he would kill me, hide my body then tell everyone it was me who kidnapped Ewan. He said he would take some poison, mess the room up perhaps, then when he woke up he would tell everyone it was me. I managed to get away from him, and I just ran. I know it was stupid, if I had stayed I might've been able to prove myself innocent, but now, I just look all the more guilty," explained Mara, her words soft but sharp, tears staining her face. "I don't know what to do," she said, sounding upset. Robert wrapped one arm about her shoulder in a half hug, and hushed her.
"Do you know where Kaibre might've taken Ewan?" he asked.
"I don't know..." murmured Mara, sounding miserable.
"Look, come back to the camp with me, if the others heard your story, they'd be sure to believe you," said Robert chidingly.
"No, I can't I have to stay here. Perhaps if you found Ewan, then he would tell the truth, what really happened, then maybe I could come out of hiding, but I just look too guilty right now," said Mara, her words struggling against the emotion that was threatening to throw her. Robert saw the tears shining in her eyes, and stepped closer, hugging her tight. He hated seeing people upset, especially those who deserved it least.
"Don't worry, I'll sort this out for you," he pledged. Mara looked at Robert, he noticed a hint of longing in her eyes, and before he could say otherwise, she leaned closer to him, and kissed him. She seemed so subdued to Robert, but her kiss was so sweet, yet strangely intense. As she slowly moved away from him, their eyes locked, and Robert dropped his hand to her waist, leaning forward and kissing her again. He'd never been kissed by a woman like she had just then, and he'd never kissed a woman like he was that moment. He couldn't help but think of Kylara as his lips brushed hers, they had shared kisses when they had been younger, fourteen perhaps, but Kylara had told him quite sternly that it wasn't right. They weren't supposed to be together. Why had she relied so much on fate's way? Link never had, and he wasn't dead. Kylara was. He leaned back slightly and Mara pushed him back onto the straw, falling with him.
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