Posted on October 11 2019 by David Nystrom
A light breeze blew into the room from the balcony doors that opened up to the bright light of a new day. As Osmond began to sit up, he flinched and covered his eyes. After letting them adjust for a moment, he took in the lavish surroundings of the room.
A large landscape painting of a hillside covered almost the entire wall across from the bed. The bed, he then noticed, was soft and nearly three times the size of his own bed. The posters that held a canopy overhead were intricately carved with tiny ivy and berries. Fresh vases of flowers were seated at the foot of the bed, and in a few other places around the room.
He began to push himself up, but an eruption of pain like fire made him realize his arm was heavily bandaged. He let out an audible groan then winced as he turned it over and examined it.
The door to the room clicked and opened.
“Goodness! He’s awake! Go, fetch Lady Impa!”
The portly maid scuttled out nearly as quickly as she entered, only to return a moment later carrying a tray of food. A second, much younger and smaller maid followed behind her with a pitcher of water.
“Don’t move dearie,” she smiled warmly, “you should stay put and eat. You’ve been out quite a while now.”
“Where am I?”
“Hyrule Castle of course,” said the maid.
“How long have I been out? Where’s Aldwin? The Princess? The boy?”
The maid looked uneasy and set the tray on his lap. The younger maid poured some of the water into a small glass and set it beside the bed.
“Best to let Lady Impa answer any questions you may have,” the maid said as she and her partner sulked their way from the room.
When the door closed fully, Osmond slid the tray to one side and climbed out of the bed. His bare feet touched the thick carpet, warmed by the morning sun. He took a long and deep breath, then tried to stand.
He immediately regretted trying to do so though. His legs were weak, and he collapsed. He caught himself on the edge of the bed by the blankets though, and the tray of food hurled into the air. With a tremendous clatter, the plates and silverware hit the floor.
The door swung back open and the two servants rushed in.
“I told ya to rest up and stay in bed!”
“I’m sorry,” Osmond pulled himself to his knees and offered to help clean up.
His hand was shooed away by the maid, but the younger girl seemed to appreciate the offer of assistance. That was until she too received the glare of her superior.
“Now get back in bed,” the maid took Osmond by the shoulder and helped him upright.
He braced on the edge of the bed and swiveled around to sit down.
“Please, just tell me what’s going on,” he asked.
“Leave us,” a commanding voice came from the door.
A tall woman with blazing red eyes and short black and silver hair stood in the doorway. She wore shining armor that bore the crest of the Royal Family on one shoulder, and a Sheikah Eye on the other. Her hand rested on the hilt of her blade that was secured at her side, but Osmond could see the handle of another weapon attached to her back. This weapon though, was obscured and somewhat hidden by the crimson cape that rolled its way down to her ankles.
“Y-yes m’lady!” The two handmaids bowed and exited in a flash.
When the door closed, the tall woman moved with heavy steps around to the side of the bed where Osmond sat.
“Having trouble with the legs, Sir Osmond?”
He nodded, “just Osmond ma’am, and yes. How long have I been unconscious?”
“It was touch and go for a while, but Lady Laruto and Queen Rutela have managed to do some good work it seems.” She reached into a satchel that was slung over her shoulder and pulled a small vile with a red liquid in it, then handed it over to Osmond. “Drink this, it’ll help you regain your strength quicker.”
“What do you remember from that night?”
Osmond drank the potion and thought on his answer a moment.
“I remember fighting Adok… Then he started using his magic and I couldn’t breathe. When I was free, he attacked the Royal Family and started summoning monsters. We fought them off, Aldwin, Sir Ralphine, and I. Then we got separated trying to get to the castle because the Princess was missing. Aldwin and I found her and saved her from a Stalfos… Then… Then…”
He trailed off as the woman placed a hand on his shoulder, “that’s good enough.”
The vivid memory returned. Aldwin crying out in agony. The blood. The swords. All of it.
“He will be remembered well.”
Osmond felt the wind in his lungs disappear. His throat swelled shut and he dropped his head from the woman. Still though, her hand remained on his shoulder and provided some strange sense of strength.
“My first tour of duty was north of Hyrule, on some god-forsaken continent that doesn’t seem to know spring’s fair weather. I had four close friends on that quest, the squad was probably thirty strong, so that was a pretty lucky thing to have. Then we got ambushed in the night. Seven of us returned. A year later, with a larger and more heavily armed group, we returned to wipe out the clan of Bokoblins that had done it…”
She took a pause to pour a glass of water. As she sat down beside Osmond, she drank the clear liquid down and licked her lips.
“When we found them, it appeared they hadn’t killed everyone. Some were taken as prisoners and eventually eaten, others were sold into slavery. Three though, were still alive and with the clan, including one of my close friends. Their hands and feet had turned black from the frostbite and their bodies bore scars in the most heinous places you can imagine. Yet still they hung on to life. Why they did though, I’ll never know because the moment I saw them, I knew there were fates worse than death… Your mentor was a brave and strong warrior and seemed to have taught you well. I doubt he’d very much appreciate your mourning his death.”
Osmond released the grip he’d absentmindedly formed on the edge of the bed. Silently, he nodded.
“When you are able to walk about freely, get dressed in the clothes that are over there and meet me outside the throne room.”
The woman stood up and strode confidently towards the door. She paused to look back at Osmond, who hadn’t moved yet, then she opened it and left.
* * * * *
The walls in the hallways of Hyrule Castle were just as extravagant as the bedroom Osmond had woken up in. Paintings of far off lands, vases and sculptures, and banners made clear the importance of the Royal Family.
The red potion he had drank indeed did help with the physical pain, but he still felt a slight daze in his head that encouraged him to hold the railing as he descended into the Castle foyer.
The foyer was home to several suits of armor that had been worn by the Kings and Queens of old. Their presence in the hall was meant to remind visitors of the long and storied history the Royal Family had, while also allowing the public to view a piece of history. The latter though, was only permitted on special holidays or when the Royal Family was away.
When Osmond reached the polished stone floor a pair of guards near a doorway snapped to attention.
“Lord Osmond, Lady Impa is waiting,” one of them said.
“Th-thank you,” Osmond gave the guards a strange look before walking through the door.
Inside there was a small table with candles and a few books on it. Kneeling before it, was the tall armored woman that had visited him in his room.
“If you’re well enough, kneel and pray,” she said without lifting her head.
Osmond did as he was instructed, folding his hands before him and looking up at the painting on the wall of the Triforce. He was no stranger to prayer, but his method of speaking with the Deities was significantly less formal.
“As a soldier,” Impa began, remaining in her prayer position, “we are expected to fight and follow orders. A knight though, is charged with leading and inspiring as well. The eyes of both the faithful and unfaithful take notice when a Knight bows before our creators.”
“I’m not a Knight though. Or a soldier…”
“Amen,” Impa touched her fingers on her forehead, then across her shoulders before rising to her feet. “Come with me.”
Osmond recreated the motion and followed her back out into the foyer. The two guards walked a few paces behind them as they crossed to a pair of large and heavy wooden doors. With strong arms, Impa pushed them open.
Stone pillars stretched two stories tall and flowed into large arches that held the ceiling in place. The windows along the sides of the room, reached just as high. They were clear, except for the Triforce emblem near their rounded tops which glowed in the sunlight. The floor was the same style of stone that was in the foyer but it was broken up only by the thick, burgundy carpet that ran down the middle of the room from the doors to a raised set of stairs. The large platform was home to three large and unmistakable chairs. Beyond the thrones was a small alcove and one more window, larger than the rest, that had the full Hylian Royal emblem set into it.
Osmond followed close behind Impa, the clicks of her boots resonating loudly in the chamber. A door near the end of the hall opened and several sets of feet could be heard scurrying in. Impa came to a sudden stop and firmly motioned for Osmond to do the same. Promptly, she dropped to a knee and glared at Osmond. He hesitated only a moment before looking up and seeing the King, three sages, and a few other dignitaries.
“My boy!” The King bellowed as his face lit up and he trotted ahead of his entourage.
Osmond dropped to a knee with a hard thud and lowered his head.
“Please, please, no need for formalities on this occasion,” Daphnes chuckled.
Osmond nervously rose to his feet. Impa remained in place.
“Your highness, the boy has awakened but I have not had time to fully brief him on his charge,” Impa said.
“I suppose you haven’t had a chance to fill him in fully either,” Daphness pushed his tongue into the side of his mouth. “No matter, we can discuss the matter fully this evening. Please, walk with me Sir Osmond.”
Before Osmond could say anything, the King had placed his arm around his shoulders and began leading him around the hall. Impa fell in with the rest of the group, receiving a caring pat on the shoulder from the Sage of Shadow, Sagesse.
“My daughter told me one version of what happened to her that evening, the boy told another, so you can imagine my eagerness to hear your own version.”
“My version, sir?”
“As I’ve heard it, you and your mentor arrived just in time to fight off a Stalfos. But when the horde arrived, you all decided to stand and fight. I’ve also heard that the plan was to run while your mentor held them back. Which was it?”
Osmond stuttered and tried to fight the gruesome images of that evening away. He glanced back at Impa then watched his feet.
“The second one, your highness. Aldwin told us to run, the Princess instead drew her bow and tried to fight.”
The King gave an approving grunt, not letting his smile fade, “I figured as much. Zelda is brave, but foolish yet. She thinks she could solve every problem with a well-aimed arrow.”
Osmond didn’t know if he should laugh along with the King or not so instead, he remained silent.
“Your actions on that night were beyond courageous though, and you will forever have the gratitude of myself and the Queen. If Impa hadn’t told you, Sir Aldwin was given a Knight’s funeral and granted permission to be laid to rest in the Cemetery of Time. His sacrifice will not be in vein.”
“That would have made him very happy, thank you your majesty.”
The King nodded, then motioned toward a small door. They stepped through and emerged in a small garden with running water. The King strode past Osmond and walked to the balcony that overlooked Castletown’s western region where the Coliseum had stood.
“A scar on this city, this kingdom that is impossible to forget. Something that has marked the end of an era I fear.” The King’s tone turned somber as he stared down at the dark pit and crevasse that split part of the city.
“Your majesty, have you been able to track the man who did this?”
“Man did not do this. Evil and malice twisted what was once a man named Adok into the abomination that attacked us that evening. He’s a Gerudo extremist, loyal to the House of the Boar, or at least that what we’ve been able to find out. Several garrisons of soldiers and knights have been deployed since that evening in search of him, but all we have is his name and tribe. No trace of him.”
“Maybe he’s not hiding in the desert?”
The King gave a small laugh and nodded, “I knew I liked you. Everything your uncle said was true and then some.”
“My uncle?” It occurred to Osmond then that he hadn’t so much as thought about Uncle Henry since waking up. His thoughts had been entirely in his own world.
“He’s come to visit you nearly every day. Though he didn’t seem too pleased when he learned of your entry into the Tournament.” The King raised an eyebrow and grinned at Osmond.
Osmond felt smaller than a mouse.
“Don’t worry though. After a bit of discussion, he came to peace with several things, including your use of the sword and desire to be a Royal Knight of Hyrule.”
Osmond smiled and laughed, “I could never be a knight. I played a swordsman in front of that crowd, but my destiny I fear is carpentry.”
“That’s a shame,” the King frowned and reached into his pocket. “Who am I going to give this Knight’s Crest to then?”
Osmond’s eyes widened as he looked down at the leather belt, studded with brass, and bearing the Crest of the Knights of Hyrule. Any man who wore one, was immediately identifiable as a member of the highest order of soldiers in all of Hyrule. Only members of the Royal Family, Sages, and a few Nobles out classed and out ranked them.
“A Knight’s Crest?!”
“And all the duties, honor, and glory that accompany it. Should you accept it that is.”
Osmond began to reach for the crest. As he lifted it from the King’s palm, he felt its weight and stared in awe at it. He held it in his hands and felt the overwhelming emotions of his dream coming true.
The King placed his hand on Osmond’s shoulder and began to speak loudly, “all present bear witness to this. I, Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, King of Red Lions do Knight thee. Sir Osmond of Castletown, Royal Knight of Hyrule.”
Several quiet claps went up from guards and the King’s possee. Osmond had become a Knight.
“Lady Impa, please escort Sir Osmond to the Temple of Time so that he may swear in and be given his initiation assignment.”
Impa stepped out from the crowd still wearing her stoic expression. She bowed dutifully before the King then snapped to attention before Osmond.
“Sir Osmond, please follow me.”
Osmond nodded, finally breaking his eyes away from the belt. He started to follow Impa, then paused and turned back to the King.
“Your majesty, thank you. This has been a dream of mine since I laid eyes on the Hero’s Statue. I will not let you down.”
“Nor do I expect you to, brave Sir Osmond.”
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. The first six chapters of the full story are available in podcast form, with future chapters in the works. To find it and learn more about the project, head to erawithoutahero.wordpress.com or follow him on Twitter. Every Era Has Heroes…