Posted on August 07 2020 by David Nystrom
|| Part Twenty-Six || Part Twenty-Eight ||
The three of them stood on the waters edge and observed a doorway on the far side of the chamber. As they stepped out onto the ice, it proved solid. Thanks to the waves that had frozen with it, it wasn’t slick, and their footing was made sure.
Near the center of the lake, a hollow beating could be heard under the surface.
“Are there still fish living under all this ice?” Zelda asked.
“I suppose it’s possible,” Fado shugged. “Some creatures have a truly remarkable ability to adapt to extreme changes in climate. While this area has always been cold, this lake was not always frozen.”
They reached the far banks of the lake and entered a new hall that wound around and up to higher ground. A chamber greeted them upon exiting the spiral path. In it, they found some crates that had likely been supplies from a previous age along with the remains of a makeshift firepit. There was a small ravine just beyond the abandoned campsite, and the far side was home to a flight of stairs, carved with small Triforce’s and snowflakes.
Carefully, Fado approached the gorge and examined it.
“What is it?” Osmond asked, suspecting something.
“There’s… there’s a spell here.”
“A spell?” Zelda asked.
“It’s a barrier… it’s not keeping something in, but instead keeping something out. Osmond, hand me one of those crates.”
Osmond lifted one of the small boxes and handed it to Fado. Despite the box being the same size as the Sage, he hoisted it above his head and hurled it at the gorge.
The wood smashed apart and splintered, falling into the ravine below, and slamming on the rocky sides. The barrier that was in place, became visible when the crate collided with it. Its icy fractals shimmered with a blue light that slowly dimmed in the wake of the attempt to pass it.
“It makes sense she’d want to keep this place a secret. If there’s evidence that she was behind the fall of Zora’s Domain, she’d–” Osmond was cut off.
“No… This… this is a different type of magic…” Fado began to extend his hand out over the gorge.
When the very tips of his fingers touched where the barrier was, a violent explosion of magic erupted and sent him flying into the wall behind. He slammed hard against the stone and fell limp.
Zelda and Osmond rushed to his side, but he gave no response. Remembering the red potions, Zelda pulled the vial from Fado’s side and poured the syrupy liquid into his mouth. A moment later, his eyes weakly opened.
“It… it’s a trap…”
As soon as the words finished passing from his mouth, the rumbling that had beckoned them to the cavern returned. The earth around them shook violently and as fragments of ice and stone fell onto the barrier, it illuminated with the same blue glow it had when the box had struck it.
Osmond hoisted semiconscious Fado onto his back and he and Zelda began back down the winding path toward the underground lake.
When they emerged though, the ice that had covered it was shattered and afloat.
“Think we can make it?” Zelda asked, pointing to some of the larger chunks of ice.
“We’ll have to,” Osmond nodded.
With a deep breath, Osmond took the lead and leaped out onto the first of the icebergs. Zelda quickly followed. Bounding from one floating landing to the next, they made it halfway across when their movement came to a chilling halt.
“Osmond… What is that?”
Osmond lifted his eyes from the ice he was standing on to see the hairy leg of a monster slip beneath the water at its edge. Visions of the past Ruto had revealed to him returned, and he urged Zelda onward.
“Don’t stop! Just go!”
Zelda needed no further warning and continued the race to the far side of the lake. Icicles and stone began falling from above, splashing into the water all around the duo.
Just as Zelda’s feet touched the ground, the water in the center of the lake exploded as the monster from the vision emerged from under the water. The force of the eruption launched Osmond from the chunk of ice he was on, over to the ground. He landed on his side and slid over near the hall and Fado rolled a few feet further, remaining in his semi-alert state.
Getting back to his feet, Osmond and Zelda looked at the monster that now was standing above the water.
Eight hairy and frosty legs supported the pale blue abdomen of a gigantic spider. Its face, with frozen fangs pinching back and forth, spewed a frigid stream of air that froze anything it reached. The array of eyes flicked back and forth, taking in its surroundings, before settling on its challengers.
Suddenly, Osmond and Zelda dodged as one of the legs stabbed towards them. Osmond recovered and swung his sword towards it, but it glanced off without dealing so much a scratch. Zelda took note and pulled her hammer out. With a mighty swing, she tried to attack the leg but found it resulted in dealing no damage either.
The spider screeched, forcing Zelda and Osmond to cover their ears. As the arachnid reared back to attack again, a gust of wind pushed Osmond out of the way.
“Good to see you’re up!” Osmond called out, nodding to show his thanks.
Fado slowly got to his feet with one of his arms hanging limply at his side.
“Its abdomen! That’s where Skulltula’s are weak so I would try there.”
Osmond looked down at the tumultuous water with the handful of icebergs that remained. He sheathed his blade and began out over the water. Just when he reached the second iceberg, a rock fell from the ceiling above and destroyed the next platform he had been planning to reach. He looked up just in time to see another stone plummeting toward him. Without any other options, Osmond dove into the frigid water.
Zelda dodged another attempted attack and rolled near the stumbling Fado. Together they watched Osmond descend under the water.
“Osmond!” Zelda started toward the water, but Fado’s good hand shot out and pulled her back.
“No! It’s too dangerous!”
Osmond emerged a few seconds later and began swimming toward the nearest chunk of ice. He scrambled up to it and found himself directly below the monster’s stomach. Seizing the opportunity, he pulled out his sword and stabbed it upward.
Unfortunately, just as had happened with the legs, his blade was useless against it. He cursed hardly and began searching for any weak point on the beast. Then he saw it.
With the ceiling crumbled away, a room above them had opened up. Inside it, burning like the sun in the sky, was a tremendous blue flame. Seated on an altar, etched with symbols of water, ice, and the Triforce, the fire ignited a flame of memory in Osmond.
“Dowse the flame, and you will extinguish her ability to call it…”
Osmond turned his focus to the walls, searching desperately for a way up. Amid his search though, Zelda called out and drew his attention away.
“The ice is too strong!”
Osmond turned and saw her and Fado desperately fending off strikes from its legs. Zelda swinging her hammer and Fado blasting gusts of wind from his hands.
“Fado! Can you get me up there?” Osmond called out while pointing to the chamber above.
“I can try, but–”
One of the giant legs slammed down between Zelda and Fado, sending them in opposite directions. When Fado recovered to his knees, he thrust his palm towards Osmond.
Osmond pulled his shield around in front of him. The blast of air collided and lifted his feet upward. He climbed onto his shield and rode it like an elevator upward past the monster’s face. He quickly swiped the blade by its eyes, managing to scratch one of them and draw its attention.
With a roar, the spider lunged upward with its pinchers and front legs, trying to catch Osmond. One of the legs caught part of the ceiling and broke more of it free, providing Osmond with a larger opening than before.
Or so he thought.
His ascent came to a sudden halt when the same blue barrier that had prevented their progression across the gorge reappeared. He slammed into it with such force that it shook more of the stone around the room free.
Zelda cried out as she watched Osmond fall limp and helplessly into the waters below. Fado attempted to catch him with a gust of wind, but he was falling faster than the sage could cast the spells.
Osmond hit the water and sank into the darkness below.
The monster roared and slammed its legs violently into the walls around the cave. More and more parts of the walls caved in. Zelda fell to her knees, eyes fixed on the spot in the water Osmond had disappeared beneath.
“Zelda!” Fado shouted.
One of the monster’s legs came in from the side and struck Zelda. It sent her flying through one of the nearby stone walls, further weakening the structure.
Fado sank to the ground and weakly pushed more and more blasts of air at the legs slamming the ground around him. The edges of his vision began to blur, and his body grew heavy. He gave one last push to deflect an attack, but then fell to the ground.
He lay on the ground and saw as the arachnid raised a leg once more. The leg began to swing down. He closed his eyes.
It was over.
Fado expected to feel some sort of pain in death. He expected to see visions and memories of his long-life flash before him. He expected to hear the voices of his loved ones speak words of wisdom and comfort.
None of that happened though.
Instead, what could only be described as a heavenly chorus ringing out erupted, drowning out the screams of the monster.
Fado opened his eyes and saw a beaming bright golden light streaming out of the crater that Zelda had been thrown into.
The princess then floated out of the hole, waves of golden light encircling her. She moved towards the monstrous spider with a calmness and grace that seemed to terrify the beast. It roared and slammed its legs at her, but to no avail. With each strike, it recoiled as if touching a hot iron.
“I vanquish you in the name of Hylia, whose bloodline is secured in me,” Zelda said. She reached her hand skyward and a blast of golden light shot upward.
The strike pierced the barrier and it shattered into nothingness. The altar that the flame rested on, then cracked and gave way, falling on to the back of the creature. As the spider erupted in blue flames, it tried desperately to dive into the water to put it out, but as it did, the liquid disintegrated the beast. It was helpless and cried out as it decayed either by the flames or the water.
When at last the creature had vanished, Zelda descended to the waters surface and reached her hand down. Osmond’s body floated upward and over to the shore. She laid him down next to the awestruck Fado.
The radiant golden light that emanated from her slowly faded and her demeanor shifted back to one that was more familiar to Fado.
“Your Grace…” Fado choked out.
“What was that?” Zelda asked, looking down at her shaking hands.
“That was the answer to the question of who holds the Triforce of Wisdom.”
Fado turned his attention to Osmond and pulled the red potion from his pouch. Moments after it was touched to his lips, his eyes began to flutter open.
“Wha… what happened?”
Zelda threw her arms around him and held him tightly. Fado only gave a weak smile, before laying on his back with a pained groan. Osmond turned his head and observed Fado’s motionless arm.
“It’s more than a simple red potion will fix, I’m afraid,” Fado said sensing Osmond’s concern. “You’re fairly lucky yourself.”
The sound of hurried footsteps then echoed from the hall behind the trio. As they turned to see who or what was giving such haste, Ako the Zora attendant arrived.
“You must come at once my lords and lady,” his face was covered with a look of great dread.
When the trio arrived at the edge of the cavern, the first sign of trouble arrived in form of slowly descending flakes of snow. As they made their way back across the fountain, they found Ako holding a large glass bowl with Jabun inside it, standing atop the falls looking toward Hyrule Castle.
“I fear the dangers may be just beginning, my friends,” Jabun said gravely.
A strong breeze blew outward from the cavern and across the water. On it, was the icy chill that would be felt only in the dead of winter. Black clouds began to form above them, and as they began to make their way home, it seemed as though some terrible event was just on the horizon.
With each step, snow began to fall all around them. Silently. Hauntingly. It began to accumulate with every moment, like a white phantom of doom.
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. The first six chapters are available in audio podcast form and there’s a complete soundtrack for the first volume here. Head over to erawithoutahero.wordpress.com or follow the story account on twitter @ZeldaTEWAH where you can keep up on information regarding the future of the podcast, soundtrack, and other TEWAH news that will be coming soon! David’s top three Zelda games are Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker, and Link’s Awakening. He’s also an avid Smash Bros. fan. Every Era Has Heroes…