War erupts in Hyrule as Ganondorf Dragmire attempts to conquer the kingdom. King Harkinian gathers his armies in preparation to liberate his people. In the middle of all this is a young man named L...
THE LEGEND BEGINS
By: Janus Kamaren
Chapter 11: The Decisive Battle
Link stood in silence, looking over his friend's grave. The morning sky was gray, and there was a light mist in the air.
"There was no other way, Link," someone said. Link turned to see Farore. He respectfully kneeled before her, but she told him to rise. Link looked back to Nathan's grave.
"Drakyira said that he would see things to the end," he said quietly.
"And he will," Farore responded. "Nathan is still with you, Link." Link sighed.
"He was gone the day he was taken by Ganon's servants." This time, Farore sighed.
"Yes, he was. But he held strong. He never betrayed you or Zelda." Link looked to Farore.
"How did they know?" he asked. "How did Ganon find out where we were?" Farore looked straight at him.
"Orgis." Link was shocked.
"Orgis, also known as Ophelius, has been a servant of Dragmire for a long time. While he once was loyal to King Harkinian, he held more loyalty to power and Rupees. Ganon offered him both. He has been gathering information about Ganon's enemies for years." Link suddenly realized something. Orgis had been there when he and Zelda were in the courtyard. The old man had stumbled in when Zelda told Link about her fear of snakes. Link knew that Ganon wanted the Triforce of Wisdom, and would do anything to get it.
"I have to go," Link said, starting away. Farore followed him.
"Link, you must think clearly before charging into Castle Dragmire."
"I have to end this now," Link stated, continuing towards Catherine.
"Link," Farore said sharply, "if you go right now, you will die." Link stopped and slowly turned to look back at the goddess.
"And you will leave Princess Zelda and the rest of Hyrule to a fate worse than death," she ended. Link looked to the ground with absolutely no idea as to what to do. He looked back into Farore's green eyes.
"What do I do?"
Small charges of electricity still coursing through her body, Zelda lay on the ground, shaking.
"The Triforce will be mine, Princess," Ganon said. "With it, I will lead Hyrule to a state of perfection, and all will bow down and worship me." Zelda said nothing, still groaning from pain. Ganon sneered at her.
"You think I'm evil, don't you, girl?" he asked, not expecting an answer. He laughed. "There is no such thing as 'evil.' It is nothing more than a mere fairy tale. It was created by men who wanted to scare others into following them." He smirked at Zelda, and with a quick gesture of his hands, her shackles suddenly latched onto her wrists again. With a flick of his wrist, his magic forced Zelda to sit up. Ganon turned to Mandrag, who handed him something that Zelda could not see. Zelda gasped as Ganon took a step toward her, an enormous black snake with red and yellow markings traveling down its body coiled around his arm.
"I would like you to meet Najeera," Ganon said. Her heart pounding, Zelda moved back against the wall. Ganon was slowly bringing the snake closer to her. Huddled against the wall, Zelda closed her eyes and looked away. Never in her life had she been this scared.
"What is it? Najeera wouldn't hurt you," Dragmire smirked. Mandrag was laughing in the background. Zelda could hear the snake hiss.
"She'll only wrap herself around you and squeeze tightly," Ganon continued. Zelda could feel the snake's hot breath on her skin. She shrieked as she felt its tongue lightly flick over her cheek. She couldn't give in, she just couldn't.
"Stop," she pleaded.
"Or perhaps she could explore your mouth and just nibble on your throat," Ganon smirked. Tears were running down Zelda's cheeks, her imagination alive with images of what the serpent could do to her. She was breathing quickly and heavily, and was bordering on hyperventilation.
"No, leave me alone!" she begged.
"What do you think?" Ganon laughed, shoving the snake in Zelda's face. Zelda couldn't help but open her eyes, looking deep into the snake's sharp, thin pupils. She screamed and turned the other way, sobbing uncontrollably. A Darknut stepped into the room.
"My lord, the villagers are out of control." Disappointed, Ganon handed the snake back to Mandrag. He grabbed Zelda by the hair and slapped her.
"We will discuss this later," he said angrily. He stepped out with Mandrag and the Darknut. He would continue after they got the villagers back under control. He ordered the Stalfos guard to come with them.
Zelda was sobbing, her heart still pounding.
"Despicable man," she heard a disgusted voice say. Zelda looked up to see Nayru, the goddess of wisdom. Nayru was looking in Ganon's direction with a furious expression, but her features softened as she looked down towards Zelda. Zelda was surprised as the goddess sat next to her, placing a comforting, motherly arm around her.
"It's okay," the goddess whispered.
"Lady Nayru, please help me," Zelda pleaded.
"I can't interfere like that," Nayru responded sadly. She squeezed the young girl tighter. "You did well," she said.
"He's going to do it again," Zelda whispered, tears still streaming down her face.
"Zelda, Link will be here soon." Zelda remembered something.
"Is Nathan-?" she stopped, unable to finish the question. Nayru sighed.
"He's left your realm, Zelda." Zelda's heart sank, more tears streaming from her eyes.
"Is Link okay?" she whispered.
"He will be. Farore is giving him aid." Zelda's sobs started to pick up again. The goddess placed the Princess's head against her shoulder.
"You will be all right, my child," she whispered. "Do not fear."
Hearing the sound of galloping hooves, a small group of Moblins mounted on large boars looked up. On the hill they saw a lone figure charging them, sword drawn. The leader gave an order, and they readied their maces, the group's lone archer drawing its bow. It waited until the figure was closer and fired. The youth swung his blade, deflecting the arrow. Seeing that the boy had the Master Sword, the Moblins became worried.
"Charge!" the leader commanded, regaining his courage.
Link saw four mounted Moblins headed straight for him. Digging his heels into Catherine's flanks, he charged them, undaunted by their attack. He cut through the first, then reached over and slashed the archer. He continued on his path, the last two Moblins chasing after him. He gradually slowed Catherine's speed, and suddenly stopped her. Catherine reared up on her rear hooves, whinnying. Link chopped off the left Moblin's head as it passed him. The last one turned around, confused. When it saw Link staring straight at it, Master Sword in hand, fear of the white blade overtook its heart. Crying out, it rode away. Sheathing his blade, Link continued his speedy ride towards his destination- the Hylian and Calatian camp.
"It's true. Orgis is a servant of Ganon, and Miniras was attacked." Harkinian brought his hand to his mouth. His most trusted advisor- a traitor? How could this be? King Caldin of Calatia, an aging yet strong man, looked somber. Talius looked to the ground, devastated by the news.
"What's happened to everyone?" Harkinian asked Link. The youth sighed.
"Several are dead, but most of the villagers have been taken to Castle Dragmire. The guards have been slain, and-" Link stopped for a moment, but continued. "Zelda has been taken." Harkinian clenched his fists. He looked to Caldin.
"We launch the attack today," he said. Caldin nodded in agreement.
"I will alert my captains," he responded, stepping out of the tent. Harkinian looked to Talius and Link.
"You two will sneak into Castle Dragmire and free the prisoners while Caldin and I attack Castle Dragmire from the front."
"Lady Farore told me of a secret tunnel that will lead us into the dungeons," Link said. He had told the King of his experiences earlier. Harkinian nodded.
"Good. Talius, go find twenty of our best men to go in with you."
"Yes, Father." Link and Talius left. Harkinian stepped out into the sunlight, his gaze resting on Death Mountain. His fury was awake. Ganon would fall that very day.
"I have an idea, my dear," Ganon said, Mandrag behind him.
"I won't give it to you," Zelda spat. Nayru had left a little before Ganon had come back. Zelda was doing her best to hide her fear. Ganon smirked.
"Ah, but you haven't heard my idea, or rather, my decision." He grabbed her face and forced her to look into his hateful eyes.
"Either you can give me the Triforce of Wisdom, or I will single-handedly slay every last Hylian villager right in front of you. You would look into the eyes of every man, woman, and child as I took away their lives. Think quickly," he said, stepping back. Zelda was lost. She couldn't do this. She couldn't end the lives of thousands, especially if she had to look into their horrified faces. But she couldn't give Ganon the Triforce, leaving everyone to a life of hellish bondage. Ganon grinned, knowing that he had the Princess trapped. He wouldn't kill her- her power had far too much potential. She would make a wonderful servant.
"My lord!" Mandrag suddenly cried. Ganon heard a roar outside. He stood up and looked out the barred window. Swearing, he hurried out of the cell.
"Come!" he ordered Mandrag. Since Ganon had forgotten to do so, the guard slammed the door shut, using its key to lock it. Zelda tried to look out the window, but her chains wouldn't allow her to stand that high.
Ganon and Mandrag stood on a tower, overlooking the valley at the summit of Death Mountain. The silver and blue-colored armor of the Hylian army shone brightly, while the bronze and red armor of the Calatians did the same. The banners of both countries blew in the wind. Ganon closed his eyes, clenching his fists. He began to glow with a dark red aura. Large stone doors in the castle's black walls opened, as well as the main gate. All was silent for a moment, but the silence was broken as Ganon's armies marched out of the darkness. They were as large as the Hylian and Calatian armies combined.
"Settle this," he said. "I have summoned our allies. They will be here soon."
"Yes, my lord," Mandrag responded. He looked back to the enemy, unable to hide the fact that he was unsettled by their presence.
Harkinian glared at the oncoming troops. Despite the fact that the ground was covered with Moblins, Goriyas, Darknuts, Stalfos, Wizzrobes, Lizalfos, and other horrible creatures, the King of Hyrule was not afraid. He began riding in front of his troops.
"Ammon," he called, "take your division to the middle! Split the enemy in half! Krin, take your division to the right flank! Take heart, and do not back down!" The King addressed all of his soldiers.
"Arise, my brothers! Now is the day! You can now take back all that Ganon has taken from you! Our country, even our very freedom that we hold dear will be restored! They are strong, but they do not have the heart of a Hylian! The courage of a Hylian!" He looked over his troops.
"And now, my brothers!" he called, looking at them intensely. "By the love of your wives and your children, I command you all to bring justice to our enemy! By the love of your families, I command you to stand as men of Hyrule!" The soldiers roared in response, raising their weapons above their heads. Harkinian looked to Caldin, who had given his own speech to his troops. Caldin nodded to Harkinian. The Hylian King looked back to the troops, holding his sword high in the air.
"Onward, Hylians!" he cried. Crisp, clear, powerful notes from horns of the Hylians and Calatians echoed throughout the valley. The allied soldiers charged toward their enemies.
"Fire!" called Mandrag, riding through the ranks on his black stallion. A volley of arrows fired into the air and rained down on the impending army. In response, the soldiers raised their shields above their heads, protecting themselves. Undeterred by the losses they did have, the armies kept charging. More arrows shot into the air, but the results were still the same.
It was at that moment that the Hylian and Calatian soldiers collided with the armies of Ganon.
Despite the thick walls, Link, Talius, and the rest of the troops heard the cries of the battle outside. They broke down the door and entered the dungeons of Castle Dragmire.
"Would you have any idea where she is?" Talius asked, drawing his two broadswords.
"No," Link admitted. "Let's keep looking." The group quietly made their way through the halls, but found no one in the cells. Suddenly, cries came from five men in the back. Link, Talius, and the rest of the soldiers turned to see a small group of seven Lizalfos attacking them. Unfortunately, the hallway was too small for all of the Hylians to engage the monsters. Link turned to see another group attacking the front. Alerting Talius, he cut through two Lizalfos. Talius and a few of the other soldiers immediately began backing him up. Link saw one Lizalfos running up the stairs.
"Link, kill it!" Talius shouted, chopping through more oncoming Lizalfos and Goriyas. Link shoved a Goriya out of the way and ran up the stairs. He had to stop the lizard before it alerted the entire castle of their presence. He saw it turn a corner and followed. He realized that he couldn't catch it, and stopped. He suddenly threw the Master Sword down the hallway and into the monster's back. It squealed and hissed, and finally fell silent. Link pulled the Master Sword out of its back, and looked up to see three more Lizalfos charging him. He deflected the first's attack and slashed it down the chest.
"Zelda!" he called.
Zelda looked upward. Did someone just call her name? She could hear the sounds of swords clashing down the hallway.
"Zelda!" the voice called again.
"Link?" she responded, quietly at first. She heard the cries of more of Ganon's minions. Her skeletal guard seemed nervous.
"Link!" Zelda screamed. The Stalfos guard blocked an oncoming attack, but its opponent knocked off its head. Link stepped into view. He grabbed the skeleton's key ring and unlocked the cell. He ran to Zelda, who immediately raised her wrists towards him. He finally found the right key and unlocked the shackles on her wrists. Taking her by the hands, Link helped her up. Upon standing, Zelda immediately threw her arms around Link's neck and planted a kiss on his lips. She then threw her face into his chest, tears streaming from her eyes. Link pulled the trembling girl closer to him, resting his forehead on top of her head.
"Zelda, I'm so sorry," he whispered. The Princess was still shaken up by her experiences as Ganon's prisoner, and continued crying into Link's chest. The chainmail beneath his tunic wasn't very comfortable, but she didn't care at the moment. Link shushed her quietly.
"It's okay," he whispered.
"Link," Zelda sobbed, "I'm so sorry about Nathan." Link squeezed her tighter. He wanted to stay with her, but he couldn't. He had found her, and he knew what he had to do next.
"I have to go," he said softly. Zelda sniffed. She knew that he was going to confront Ganon, and that she would surely die if she tried to interfere.
"I know," she responded. She finally looked up at him and saw a cut on his forehead. She placed a hand on the cut and closed her eyes. Link gasped as he was suddenly surrounded by a blue aura. It only lasted a moment, but when it was done, all of Link's cuts and bruises were gone, and he felt strength flow through his body. Zelda rested her head against his chest again.
"Be careful," she whispered. Link stepped back a little, gently placing a hand beneath her chin. He tilted her face up towards his. Her blue eyes were red and puffy. She gasped as he suddenly pulled her to him again, kissing her. Suddenly it was over, and Link looked into her eyes again. He brushed her tears away with a worn and calloused thumb.
"Your brother's with me," he explained. "We need to find him first." Zelda nodded and followed Link out of the cell.
"Talius!" Talius looked up to see Zelda running to him. He caught his younger sister in a tight embrace. The remaining nine soldiers were relieved to see that their Princess was still alive.
"Zelda, I was so worried," he whispered. "Are you all right?"
"I will be."
"Good." Talius looked to Link. "Link, thank you so much. We need to find the rest of the prisoners, and then we'll head out."
"Your Highness," Link said, "I can't go with you. I need to take care of something." Link turned around and headed down a dark hallway.
"Link, wait!" Talius started to follow him, but Zelda held him back.
"Let him go, Talius," she said, and he reluctantly consented. Zelda could only pray that Link would be all right.
Link walked down the corridors, no enemies lunging out to hinder him. Somehow, he knew where Dragmire was.
Link, this way...
Link stopped, hearing a small voice. He looked to his right, but saw nothing more than a black wall. However, he could feel in his heart that it was an illusion. He stepped through the fake wall into a small room lit by candles. The walls were much brighter than those of the rest of the castle. In front of him was a small altar. On it was a bow of fine workmanship, as well as a quiver of arrows with silver fletching. He pulled out one arrow. The shaft also had a silvery color, and the tip itself was made of silver. He put it back into the quiver.
"Welcome, Link," he heard someone say. He turned around to see Farore.
"What is this place?" Link asked.
"This castle was once used for righteous purposes. However, ancient sages once saw that a great evil would corrupt it. And thus this chamber was built. Its existence and its contents have since been kept secret. Not even Ganon knows of this room. The arrows behind you are the Silver Arrows. The Master Sword will destroy Ganon, but not until he has been pierced by one of these arrows." Link nodded. He turned and clipped the quiver to his belt and picked up the bow. He turned to speak to Farore again, but the goddess was gone.
Ganondorf was standing in silence in a large, circular room. Enormous black pillars supported the ceiling. The door behind him slid open. He turned around, knowing who would be there.
"Link, son of Arn," Ganon greeted. Link said nothing, the door closing behind him.
"You have come far," the King of Evil continued.
"I will end this today, Ganon," Link responded, glaring at his foe. Ganon merely laughed.
"So brave," he said, "yet so foolish. As I said to your friend Zelda, I will purify this land and bring its people back to the way they should be- free from the current dynasty's filth." Link wasn't fooled.
"There is a difference between helping people to better themselves and making them your slaves, Dragmire."
"Perhaps there is, perhaps there is not. Whatever the case, you have been a thorn in my side for far too long, and you have proven that you will not leave your ignorance." The hideous man drew his sword.
"Let us finish it," he growled.