Posted on December 31 2021 by David Nystrom
|| Part Forty-Three || Part Forty-Five ||
There was nothing.
No strange feeling of dying, no pain, no calls from beyond.
That was until Zelda fluttered her eyes open.
She was still in the cavern. Yoon was pressed up against her. Rassa was helplessly watching from the bottom of the stairs. And the swarm of souls just continued floating as if none of them were there.
“We’re… we’re safe!” Zelda breathed.
The wall between them and their destination suddenly lifted, and the two girls stumbled onto the safety of the stairs.
Yoon gave a signal to Rassa, who let out a long and relieved breath. Zelda too, took a few moments to gather herself.
“That was too close,” she said, taking Yoon’s outstretched hand to get up from the ground.
“I agree. Let’s find another way to leave.”
The duo climbed the short flight of stairs and examined the stone slab that rested on top of the hill. The ground itself jutted up to a flat plateau where the slab sat, and the stairs had been roughly cut out of the rock. There was hardly a landing around the slab, but just enough of an edge to stand on.
The slab itself looked like an unnaturally black type of stone. The writing that was carved into it had been written centuries prior.
“Take and find the secret door, and unlock the truth forevermore. Shouldst thou find a magic key, know thou carry thy destiny,” Zelda read aloud before looking up at Yoon. “Any ideas?”
Yoon grimaced and looked to Rassa, “Madame, what do you think?”
Rassa motioned to come back over with the stone, “Be careful though, it might be harder getting back.”
It was, actually, more difficult. Yoon and Zelda watched for an opening like they had before, but the pattern the glowing green souls made seemed to favor entry and not exit. After they watched the pattern cycle through a few times, they couldn’t see a way through like they had before.
Rassa had been walking about trying to find a switch perhaps, but so far had found nothing. A look of growing concern crept across her face as she spoke to Yoon and Zelda.
“Do you think it possible if only one of you went at a time?” she asked hopefully.
“I don’t think so,” Zelda replied. “Is there some way to slow them down or stop them altogether?”
Rassa shook her head, “I don’t think so. At least not without opening a portal to the world beyond or the Sacred Realm.”
The flash of an idea struck Zelda at the mention of the Sacred Realm. She was the awakened reincarnation of the ancient Goddess Hylia. It was within her abilities to visit this celestial plane, even if for only a moment. She bowed her head and began to pray.
A small orb of golden light left her hands and floated out into the sea of floating spirits. Instantly they were drawn to it, like ants to a meal. The orb never flickered as it absorbed one spirit after another. Within mere moments, there were only a couple left. More than enough had been passed on that Yoon and Zelda could make their way to Rassa. However, just before the final wave of them passed through, a tendril of dark smoke pierced its way out.
Zelda’s eyes ripped open, and she stumbled backward to the ground, clutching her hands as though they’d been set to the fire.
At this, Rassa rushed out onto the bridge and stood between the girls and the orb.
“What devilry passes through the divine land?”
The portal remained silent. It was no longer allowing things to pass through. The golden light turned hazy and red. A moment later, the orb flickered open and floated to the place where the stone slab had been moments prior.
The Eye gazed down around the room before settling down on Zelda. The pupil narrowed and a deep, chilling voice was heard.
“The blood of Hylia… I see you!”
Zelda writhed in pain as if a hot poker was being pressed to her skin. She cried out, the excruciating pain erupting all over her. At the same time, an ashy handprint appeared on her wrist and began pulling her toward the Eye.
Rassa sprang into action.
“You cannot have her!” She pressed her hands together, interlocking her last two fingers on each hand. A blue light erupted behind her and drew the Eye’s attention away from the princess.
A piercing scream erupted, and the Eye flickered in pain. But it quickly refocused and seemed to intensify. Purple and black flames encircled the eye now as its gaze scowled through Rassa’s magic. Then it shifted around the room, over and over as if it had lost sight completely.
“Be gone, foul beast!”
The circle of magic behind Rassa expanded and moved forward, enveloping the Eye. It shrieked and whined like meat in a pan. As the magic bound around it and constricted, the flames were snuffed out. Then in one blinding light, the Eye vanished. A shockwave erupted from the top of the stone in the center of the room, cracking it open, revealing a hidden compartment.
Zelda dropped to her knees and breathed hard.
“What was that?” She asked.
“An ancient evil, connected to this world through our own shortcomings,” Rassa panted. “Are you alright?”
Zelda winced as she nodded.
“Madame Rassa!” Yoon exclaimed suddenly.
They turned to see her at the broken stone column, looking down with concern and as though she’d seen a ghost.
Rassa approached first and caught her breath as she looked into the small opening. Zelda approached next. She was unsure what she was looking at.
The column had a flat bottom inside of it. On it, rested pieces of a blue stone that looked as though it had once been something larger. Some decorative trim appeared on a narrower piece that resembled a mouth hole for an instrument.
“Is that an ocarina?” Zelda asked.
Rassa picked up a piece bearing a metal ring engraved with the Triforce. She ran her fingers over the blue stone that it encircled and shivered.
“This isn’t just an ocarina, my dear… It’s the Ocarina of Time.”
Zelda’s face drained of color. The Ocarina of Time. A holy relic that had been carried by the Hero of Time, that had been used to seal away the Demon King, and was considered one of the most powerful tools at the disposal of the Royal Family. This instrument that was key to the success of Hyrule today, lay broken in the catacombs.
“Why was it here? How is it broken?” Zelda muttered out as the realization swept over her.
“It was likely hidden away. Your father, and maybe some of the sages, are probably the only ones who know it’s here. As to it being broken…” She trailed off, looking around the cave that was now darker than before. She scooped up the pieces and tucked them safely into a pocket in her robes, “Come. We must return to the surface and inform Lord Sagesse what we have found.”
* * * * *
“A great flaming eye?” Sagesse asked quizzically. “I was unaware such a cave existed and yet you hold the broken relic that proves your story true.”
“You didn’t know the Ocarina was hidden down there?” Rassa asked.
“The Princess of Destiny hid the Ocarina of Time some seventy or eighty years ago. I was but a glint in my parents’ eyes if at all even a thought back then. When I awoke as a sage, I was granted knowledge of many things, but of this item, I knew only its existence.”
Sagesse paced his office, holding a fragment of the Ocarina of Time in his hand. He held it up to the light coming in through the window, examining it closer, then returned to the desk and laid the piece with the others. As he sat down in his chair, his face darkened with worry and concern.
“Lord Sagesse,” Zelda began, “why were all those spirits trapped down there? It seems quite dangerous and unlikely that it was any sort of accident or oversight by somebody.”
“M’yes,” he hummed. “I agree. There is one possible solution that has come to my mind in the last few moments. One I think has crossed yours too, Rassa.”
She remained silent.
Yoon was sitting next to Lindsey near the corner spoke up, “They were sacrifices.”
Zelda felt the color drain from her body as Sagesse nodded.
“Who-“ Zelda cut herself short when she came to the realization.
“Adok, it seems, has arrived again in Castletown,” Sagesse said. “And with most of the military spread out across the country searching for Rutela, Castletown is as defenseless as a babe.”
Zelda leaped to her feet and drew her hammer. Looking around the room though, she saw that not everyone shared her enthusiasm.
“I see you’re just as motivated as ever,” Sagesse smiled at her, “however, I suspect even with your powers, Adok may prove too much. Furthermore, you are too much at risk facing him. We cannot, in good conscience, let you pursue him.”
“Am I not the heir of Hylia? Do I not contain the power to seal evil away as my ancestors have? It is not only my desire to stomp him out, but my duty as Goddess reincarnate. I am here to protect this kingdom, not cower behind an army.”
Rassa placed her head in her hands, “You don’t get it. Your ancestors utilized their powers because they had no other choice. You are eager to use them. You are glad to use them. You are rushing into battle without a second thought.”
“I am eager to put Hyrule out of harm’s way! I want to ensure a future for my family and the generations to come! Please, let me help hunt him down.”
Rassa and Sagesse exchanged an uneasy glance, followed by a long sigh and small smiles. Sagesse turned his eyes to Zelda and softened. He stood up and walked around his desk to put his hands on her shoulders.
“Princess Zelda of Hyrule. You are a fine leader. I admire your courage, and wisdom, and power. Perhaps you are right to want this. Perhaps your time is now. Come, we will muster the finest soldiers we have in the city and begin our search. Between your powers, mine, Rassa’s, and her protégé’s, I suspect we will be able to deal with whatever magic he can summon.”
“What about the Eye, Lord Sagesse?” Yoon asked.
Sagesse’s face went blank, “That is an evil far greater. Should we stop Adok though, I think we need not worry.”
“We need not worry? An ancient demon who seemed to be awakened by the presence of the princess seems worth worrying about and dealing with. Is that Adok’s goal perhaps? Or what if this is another being with its own intent?”
Sagesse smiled warmly and nodded, “You are not wrong in your cautions, young Yoon. You seem perhaps to have a destiny in this building perhaps. Come, let me show you all some of the work that we have accomplished in our search for Adok.”
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 story is getting an audio version in podcast form set to begin releasing in early 2022 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 Skyward Sword. He’s also an avid Smash Bros. fan. Every Era Has Heroes…