Posted on July 13 2018 by Kat Vadam
Chapter Fourteen: Interlude
Zelda gave a soft, “hmm…” to herself as she took a large bite of her breakfast and marked the map with a large X. Too bad, too. She wanted so badly for this place to work for her new town. Akkala had always felt so majestic, ever since she first visited at the age of seven. Trees the colors of a brilliant sunset, lush greens and perfectly moderate temperatures. And brilliant storms that could awe and inspire the most cynical of court poets with the fury of the Goddesses. Part of her pondered in her youth picking up Castle Town and moving it to the region once she took the crown. Now, she knew it would be a less-than intelligent idea, one only completed for her own purposes, while disrupting the ebb and flow of the lands over which she would preside. Even still, she occasionally mused the idea to herself, usually from the roof of her study.
And the little round peninsula in the middle of Lake Akkala, rising from the waters on a spire of stone…it could have been perfect for a castle.
But for the displaced citizens of Ordon, it would have been far too small. Too cramped. She sighed, gazing out her open tent across the grasses and letting the breeze play on her face.
Zelda jumped at the voice with a squeak. “Link!”
The boy’s face hovered just inside the tent’s entrance, smiling. She hadn’t even noticed him appear, as though he just materialized out of thin air. “I apologize for frightening you, Your Highness.”
“Don’t do that!”
He chuckled and stepped into full view. He wore his tunic, knight’s broadsword slung across his back. The morning’s light glittered faintly off the hilt, casting little reflections across his skin and the fabric of her tent. “Sorry,” he chuckled again. “I just wanted to see if you were awake.”
“Since dawn,” she said, going to motion for him to enter. Then, she remembered Impa’s warning, and went to stand and leave instead. He didn’t kneel as she approached. He didn’t need to. They were alone, with the rest of her escort off training. It had been their clanging swords that had woken her.
Still, he did lower his head as she approached, stepping aside to allow her to exit.
“At the moment. Impa sent me to tell you that there is a Rito here to see you.”
Thank you, Impa… she thought, silently amused. Her advisor may have warned against getting too visibly close, but she certainly did not seem surprised by Zelda’s whirlwind bond.
“Wait, a Rito?”
Link nodded, pointing toward the front of their camp and letting her take the lead. He took up his position at her back. “With a message.”
“Deya!” she clapped her hands and set out in a jog. “He must have found something!”
“What did you send him to do again?”
“Find the cloaked man.” Her dress hindered her steps; she bunched it up as she ran. “From Ordon. The one who helped us.”
“Hmm…I don’t really remember him.”
Zelda said nothing to this; of course, he wouldn’t. He had been in the heat of battle, and then passed out. She tried not to think too much on it as she weaved through the small collection of tents that served as their mobile housing.
There were only five in total, each a different size and shade of blue to dictate station. Her own was true royal with a giant golden crest, and the largest. Impa’s, just outside hers, was a shade lighter and the second largest. She shared it with Rylan, as the only two other females in the entourage. The last three were all pale blue and scattered in a surrounding manner around hers. The camp seemed to take more room than necessary, and she had wondered if blatantly showing off station was the smartest idea. It would not have been hard to determine which tent would be the most valuable to attack, if such a situation ever arose. Again.
Regardless, it did not take long for the avian form of a Rito to come into view, standing near the ashes of what had been a campfire. Zelda watched as the Rito carefully considered a pot of her knights’ now cold breakfast.
“Hungry?” she called, momentarily forgetting herself. Link snorted with concealed laughter.
“Your Highness!” the Rito caught sight of her and knelt. He either hadn’t noticed her slip in demeanor, or smartly decided not to acknowledge it. “The blessings of the Goddess upon you this day!”
“And upon you,” she said as she approached him. “Stand, please.”
He did, shaking out his silver wings. “I bring you a message from Rito Village.”
“I have heard. What is it?”
The Rito rummaged in a boar-leather pouch on his hip for a moment, then pulled out a scroll of parchment tied with a fine violet ribbon. He presented it with a bow of his head. Zelda did her best to hold back her excitement as she took and unrolled it.
Your Highness, as expected, the bow came from the Rito Guard. The man we seek had lent aid during a Wolfos attack and broken his own bow in the process. I found a piece of cloth in the wood of the broken bow, and I believe it comes from the Gerudo. I am now heading for Gerudo Town.
“How does he expect to get in?” Link asked, reading over her shoulder.
“He better dress really nice,” she whispered to him. He snorted again as she smiled and continued reading.
I am accompanied by my friend, Avela. She will be the one to enter and see if anyone knows of the man.
I have also devised a method of localized teleportation, allowing me fast travel back to Rito Village, should it be necessary for me to return. I plan on placing various points like this along my way. Should you wish me to demonstrate this to you upon my return, I would be most happy. But hopefully, this will hasten my quest, and I should be able to find him and bring him to you in shorter time.
“He’s trying so hard to be formal,” Zelda muttered to no one in particular, “it’s so cute.”
I will provide you with periodic reports. I hope this helps.
“Teleportation,” she repeated, rolling up the parchment and passing it back to Link. “Impressive.”
The Rito nodded. “He tried to explain it to me. I did not understand, but he was rather excited about the prospect. I will be delivering all of his messages as needed, Your Highness.”
Zelda nodded, feeling that the Rito seemed a little put out. He shifted from one foot to the other, giving her the impression that he wanted to end this and carry on with his day. No surprise there: suddenly becoming a royal messenger probably had been farthest from his agenda. She donned her crown.
“Is he paying you?”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
“Enough, Your Highness.”
That’s not true to you, is it? she thought. He was lying through his beak, but who would say anything different to a princess? Fair enough. She’d make it worth his time. The faster the messages got to her, the sooner she met the mysterious man in the cloak. “How much?”
“A red rupee per message.” The Rito shifted uncomfortably, glancing into her eyes and shrinking beneath her steady gaze.
“Then I will make it another silver rupee per if these messages are presented to me as soon as you get them. And if I have something in return, you will send it back with haste. Yes?”
The Rito bowed. “As you wish, Your Highness.”
“Good. My next stop will be far southeastern Necluda, along the coast of the sea. Seek me there with his next report.”
“Very good, Your Highness.”
“Thank you, kind sir. You are an immense help to the crown.”
The Rito subtly drew himself up, pride practically pouring from his feathers. Zelda thanked him once more and dismissed him, not waiting for him to leave before turning back to return to her tent. She smiled wryly at Link and jerked her head for him to follow.
“You know, you can be quite frightening when you want to be,” the knight said, once they had returned to the tent’s entrance.
“What can I say?” she shrugged and stepped one foot inside. “Being a shiny golden headpiece can come with advantages.”
Yoro stood, looking out over his troops as they ate, silently cursing them all. Around one fire, several Bokoblins slopped some sort of sludge on their plates, only to have two Moblins smack them on the top of their heads and steal their food. The Bokoblins screamed, to which a Lizalfos responded by lashing out with its vile purple tongue and shattering one of the stolen plates. The Bokoblins and the Moblins turned, lunged, and suddenly all found themselves staring down the onyx blade of a Darknut’s claymore.
This was a normal night. When it came to battle, the different creatures came together and got the job done, each knowing their place, but there was just no taming a beast, let alone thousands. Something that Morris had been quick to point out when he first arrived. And nothing had changed now.
“Hard to find good help?” Morris watched the scene with a smirk, shaking his head as the bickering group found themselves broken up and scattered.
“You said you had people of your own sympathetic to our cause,” Yoro gestured broadly. “And yet, I do not see anyone new.”
“And you won’t. Not unless you need to.”
“Just how am I supposed to trust those words?”
“Not all battles are fought on the battlefield, Yoro,” Morris turned his back on the troops and returned to his own dinner around the fire the two shared. “Sometimes, wars are won by tearing your enemies down from within. And the only way to do that,” he took a bite of food, “is to have friends in the right places.”
“So you’ve said,” Yoro growled, shaking his head. He still had no idea exactly how Morris had come to corner him, taking charge of his coup. The man had shown him nothing yet, but still demanded cooperation with a mere allusion of superior strategy and “friends in high places.” Yet, Yoro had seen Morris kill one of his better soldiers with a simple flick of his wrist and a short blade.
He tried not to admit that it was a sense of fear that kept him obedient.
That didn’t stop him from being irritated.
A few moments passed before Morris spoke up again. “Speaking of wars from within, have you heard from your own ‘voice in the walls,’ as you’re so fond of saying?”
Yoro grunted. “The Princess is on the move. First to Akkala, then Necluda, the coast. After that, I will hear word.”
“Still searching for a new town?”
“And that waste of a king did nothing to stop her?”
“It would appear not.”
“This will work in our favor, then.” Morris took a bite of his bread, silently slipping into thought; Yoro often wondered what went on behind that stone facade. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but it requires training to become a master at any skill, correct?”
Where did that come from? “Surely, you would already know the answer to that.”
“Apply this same idea to a battle. The more you fight, the better you get fighting in wars. But there is still the element of thinking. Two men may pick up a sword, but the survivor will be the versed swordsman.”
What does this have to do with anything? “And your point?”
“At this moment, I am better prepared to take on Hyrule than your group is.”
“It’s quite simple actually.” He took another bite of his food. “I trained my men to be skilled not on the battlefield, but in the mind. And while people like us could always use people like you – easier jobs and whatnot – we don’t need you. They know what strings to pull. I could easily have them find you if I wanted, no matter where you go or how your defense is built.” Morris jabbed his utensil at the unruly troops.
Yoro reached for his sword. “I would have to cut you down if you did…”
Morris chuckled. “You’re not understanding me. I want you to look at your troops one more time.”
Yoro cautiously moved his hand away from his sword and turned his gaze toward his troops.
“Imagine that one of them wasn’t who they said they were. Would you know who?”
Carefully taking the beasts in once more, Yoro conceded and shook his head. “No.”
“And that is why we will win this for you.”
Yoro sneered. This conversation was going nowhere. “So then, you have me, you have my troops, our blades that you sought out and yet do not need, and now we are stagnant. It’s been almost two weeks. They grow restless, and my patience wears thin. What now?”
The General sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Coups take time, Yoro. Training takes time. You will learn soon enough, and when the time comes, I have no doubt your…blades will do their jobs, but for now, you wait. Sit. Have dinner with me. Let us discuss further your voice in the walls. There seems to be great potential you have yet to utilize.”
Featured Image by MuddyMink.