Posted on June 28 2019 by David Nystrom
A burst of excitement swelled up from the crowd as some entertainers from the Gerudo city, Medina completed their act. It was a daring act of magic consisting of fire and ice coming together to create something similar to fireworks. The fact that they used a pair of ancient tools to do it was truly remarkable.
“You don’t really think he’ll listen, do you?” Sagesse said, not lifting his head.
Had Kalia not known of Sagesse’s tendency to meditate during down times at these sorts of events, he might have thought the Sage of Shadow was asleep. The elder man from Kakariko had his head down and his arms crossed across his chest.
“No, I know Huron will encourage him to go anyways and by the time he allows the boy to talk, he’ll have to be swept away so the lad can get ready for his fight.”
“What do you make of him?”
“The boy?” Kalia asked.
“Ah. Well he’s talented, that’s for certain. Is he from one of the great mage families from beyond the desert?”
“I cannot say. I’d not heard where he hailed from, though based on what I’ve seen and heard in rumors, he may be from Medina.”
Kalia took a drink from his tea, as the feathers on his forehead ruffled up a little. “That would be interesting.”
“Wouldn’t it be though.”
“Do you suspect he’s of royalty then?”
“Naturally. His blade’s hilt is telling enough of that.”
Kalia thought on it for a moment before he opened his beak to speak, then stopped himself.
“What is it, old bird?” Sagesse lifted his head slightly, his hood revealing his red eyes.
“I don’t trust rumors, and many years ago swords like that were not uncommon among the Gerudo Nobles. If he’s from Medina, I’d stake he’s the son of a Noble.”
“And there lies the difference between us.”
Kalia raised an eyebrow.
“Rumors thrive in shadow, just like me. They grow powerful and wise to the ways of the light.”
“And light reveals them for what they really are. Hallow truths meant to fill the void.”
Both Sagesse and Kalia smiled.
Across the platform, Fado had succumbed to Huron’s pressure and was chatting Osmond’s ear off. The million questions were only ceased thanks to a very intimidated page boy beckoning Osmond away to prepare for his battle.
When Fado returned to the table, Huron took a swig of ale and raised an eyebrow at the Kokiri.
“He’s quite the interesting lad. His trainer is that scholar bloke that got injured all those years back. Aldwin, I think he said his name was.”
“Aldwin? Name sounds familiar, not sure why though.”
Fado shrugged, “if the man taught that sort of speed, he must know something about the sword.”
“I bet old Ralph out there could best him!” Huron finished off his ale as he stood up and approached the podium to make the announcements.
“A worthy opponent. I hope you return to the tournament next season sir,” Ralphine extended his hand to his heavily breathing and defeated opponent.
“An honor to lose to your rapier my lord!”
The two men shook hands, then raised their fists together in gratitude to the crowd and were rewarded with thunderous applause. Tarnel, a burly swordsman from Kakariko City, had been bested by Sir Ralphine in a matter of minutes. He’d landed the initial strike but paid a dear cost of two quick stabs and a variation of the infamous spin attack, resulting in the match ending.
As Ralphine’s name was elevated on the bracket, he walked to the edge of the arena where Osmond stood waiting.
“You look nervous.”
“I do?” Osmond blushed.
“Don’t worry,” Ralphine placed his hand on Osmond’s shoulder. “You out match this entire city. Let wisdom guide your feet, power move your blade, and courage be your shield.”
Osmond smiled and nodded. After Ralphine left, Osmond stood in the archway and waited for his signal. He listened to the crowd. He felt the air and the moment settle around him. He scanned the parts of the crowd he could see, wondering if his uncle would be out there.
“Osmond of Castletown!”
He willed his feet to move and they began carrying him out into stadium. Large basins of fire were lit along the crenels at the peak of the stadium, with several smaller versions around the edge of the battle arena.
Osmond waved to the jubilant crowd as he made his way to the center of the pit. When he reached its middle, he held his sword high in the air and let the excitement sweep him away for a moment. As the hype began to reach its climax, the Sage of Fire made the announcement for Osmond’s opponent to enter.
“Adok of the West!”
Osmond turned and felt the same strange and uneasy sensation that had come over him both times he’d crossed paths with this man. The hairs on his neck stood upright, his pulse quickened, and for a moment he felt a dizziness in his head.
Darkness veiled his face from the black robe that he wore. Long flowing parts of fabric drooped down around his waist and to the ground. The sleeves dragged along the ground as well but were cropped up to allow his hands exposure to the outside. His skin was blue.
Is he a Zora?
The hilt of his blade was shimmering gold with its grip wrapped in a sort of white cloth. Its scabbard matched the man’s cloak, save for the line of silver that extended the length of it. It was secured to the man’s hip by a black leather belt that was swallowed up by one of the folds in his cloak.
“Good luck,” Osmond said, getting into his fighting stance.
There was no response.
“Begin!” Huron shouted, slamming his fist on a bell.
Osmond wasted no time, digging a foot in and exploding forward. He raised his sword over his head and brought it downward. As it cut through the air, he caught glimpse of Adok’s eyes. They were solid black. More importantly in the moment though, they were unaffected by the attack as he simply pivoted, and the attack missed.
Adok brought a palm up and into Osmond’s gut, propelling him up into the air and back at least thirty feet.
A nervous gasp let out from the crowd.
Osmond scrambled back to his feet and drove in with his shield in front this time. Just when the shield should have slammed into its target, Osmond felt his feet leave the ground again. He swung is sword around, hoping to catch Adok but he was again too far. At least forty feet this time.
Aside from the step he’d just taken to parry the attack, Adok had not moved from his starting place. Osmond thought for a moment, then decided he would attempt to avoid whatever counter move his opponent was rendering.
I’ll fake the attack, make him counter, then strike!
He charged at Adok, sword extended out at one side and his shield in front of him. When he was about ten feet, he rotated his sword so that the point was facing Adok. Once within striking distance, he started to move his sword forward then pulled it back, awaiting the parry.
It didn’t come.
Instead, Osmond felt his feet leave the ground once more. He wasn’t hurled backwards though, as he’d expected. Instead he felt his throat close up as if he were being strangled.
Osmond dropped his sword and shield and began clutching at his throat. His feet kicked back and forth, he gasped for air, and he watched as Adok reached his hands up to the edges of his hood.
“People of Hyrule, guests from shores far and wide,” his voice rumbled from deep within him, “I hope I have your attention.”
Osmond strained to call out for help, but no sound escaped. The tension around his neck eased enough for him to breathe, but when he looked down, he was still ten feet or so off the ground.
“It is time you knew the price of reckoning for your sins.”
As Adok’s hood dropped, the gnarled blue-gray skin and a scarred body became visible. Several scars ran jaggedly around his neck, a few extending down beyond his collar. One very distinctive scar ran from his cheek, over his left eye, and forked off just above the brow. The eyes that Osmond had glimpsed were, in fact, a very deep blue with an almost smoldering purple haze in the pupils. As he spoke, his yellow and jagged teeth that resembled a rusted saw blade drew eyes away from the rest of his disfigurements.
“The greatest weapon you have all held on to was your confidence. Your greatest weakness though, was your arrogance, and that has bred ignorance among you.”
He raised his arms out to his sides and began to float upward, drawing level with the platform where the King, Queen, and Princess were seated.
Osmond fell to the ground and breathed heavy, feeling around his neck and shoulders for the phantom arms that had suspended him.
“Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, King of Red Lions,” Adok pointed a finger firmly at the King, “look upon the reflection of your sins and tremble!”
Adok thrust his arms outward, his cloak ripping free from his torso and revealing the rest of his scarred, bruised, and worn body. The ground started to rumble as dark purple and black orbs of magic began assembling in Adok’s palms. When he slammed them together, a pulse of dark magic erupted in every direction from his body.
The Coliseum shook violently, the fires spilled out and erupted, and the thousands of fans in the stands began to flee. The earth began to split in parts, with dark shadows slithering out and beginning to form up into monsters.
As a heavy plume of dust and smoke filled the air, Osmond reached for his sword just as he watched the platform with the Royal Family on it collapse in a tremendous crash.
David Wayne Nystrom is a Staff Writer for Zelda Dungeon. This story is an imagining of the final days in Hyrule prior to the Great Flood talked about in the opening cinematic of The Wind Waker. His top three Zelda games are Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker, and Link’s Awakening. This story is also available in audio form, thanks to an ongoing podcast. To find it and learn more about the project, head to erawithoutahero.wordpress.com or follow him on Twitter. Every Era Has Heroes…