Posted on June 10 2022 by David Nystrom
|| Part Fifty-Six || Part Fifty-Eight ||
The cold rain that had been pouring was still coming down. As Fado and Osmond emerged from a small doorway into the temple sanctuary, they took in the scenario that was there to greet them.
The offertory basin was unlit, but fresh kindling had been stacked. The rain was falling all around but only beginning to creep in on the edges of the platform. The green ceiling was held up by black pillars where small sconces were affixed and lit. The small light provided them gave enough light against the dark skies to see around under the awning.
On the side opposite the entrance to the temple below, stood a figure in dark robes. Too tall and slender to be Adok, there was only one person it could be in Osmond’s mind.
“Rutela,” he called out. “You are hereby ordered to surrender and undergo trial at the command of his Majesty, Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule. Should you resist, I, as a Knight of Hyrule, will engage you in combat with the aim of subduing you. If you should perish by my blade, it will be called out as justice and you shall have no opportunity of defending your honor before your peers. If I should fail, another Knight will be tasked with accomplishing what I could not. Kneel and surrender or prepare to fall.”
The wind kicked up a moment and blew the hood off of her head.
Osmond recoiled at the sight and Fado winced, clenching his jaw in sadness.
Rutela turned slightly, revealing her disfigured state.
The scales that had once fallen from her head like a beautiful head of hair, were now tangled and bloody. They had dried out in places and looked like red strings with fishing lures on them. Her face had a massive dry patch that spread out across half of it. One eye had gone milky white and the skin around it a grayish purple. Her mouth opened up on the same half as the disfigured eye like an open wound providing clear visibility of her jagged and razor-like teeth, even when her mouth was shut.
“Please…” Her voice was strained.
Osmond drew his sword and took a step forward. He was more concerned about Rutela’s life than he’d imagined he might be. Her state brought him to a point of pity.
She reached out her shaking hands to him with her palms upward and a pained expression across what remained of her face.
“Osmond, wait,” Fado said calmly. He approached and stayed Osmond’s hand.
He stood before Rutela as she fell to her knees.
“Please kill me…”
“Your vanity and lust for power have brought you to this place,” Fado said. “Do you know the suffering you have caused?”
Rutela fell to the ground, sobbing. She laid her hands at Fado’s feet and pressed her lips to his feet.
“Kill me! I have brought only death to those around me!”
The pity for Rutela only grew in Osmond’s eyes.
“I killed Lady Ruto… I killed the Queen… I am not worthy of living! Please!” She desperately looked up at Osmond before continuing, “Drive your sword into my heart! End my miserable life!”
Osmond sheathed his blade and knelt down. He reached a hand out to her and placed it gently on her shoulder. All the things he had wanted to do and say. All the images of her attack on Zelda’s mother. All the wickedness. All the hopes for vengeance.
Her plea for mercy overrode it all.
“Stand trial. Confess what you know of Adok’s plans. Reveal who is pulling the strings, and you will have absolution,” Fado said. “I promise you.”
Rutela’s weeping erupted.
“I can’t! You have to kill me!”
“You must, Rutela,” Osmond said. “It is the only way to bring true justice.”
“You don’t understand!” Rutela recoiled suddenly.
“Then explain it,” Fado retorted. “You know Kalia and Sagesse and Huron will offer you the same forgiveness that I have. Even Lady Laruto, who you’ve arguably betrayed the most, will open her heart and welcome you home.”
As Fado rattled off the names of the sages, Rutela grabbed at her head.
“No! No, no, no!”
Osmond reached for the handle of his sword slowly.
“Wretched! Cursed! Traitor!” She cried and began to shake and rock back and forth. Suddenly she slammed her head against the stone ground. Her hands clutched the side of her head and she struck it against the ground once more. Fado leaped in front of her before she could do it a third time.
“Let me die!”
“No! I must not let him have me! Kill me!”
Her screaming became a jumbled mess of cries for death and incoherent babbling as she thrashed against Fado’s attempts to restrain her.
Osmond stepped back slightly, mortified at the scene. He was unsure what to do next. He didn’t know if he should draw his sword. He didn’t know if he should strike her with the hilt to stop the madness. He was completely frozen with bewilderment.
Just when her madness peaked, her eyes snapped to the side and locked onto something. Osmond followed her eyes and saw the dark tear in the air.
A slit of purple and black cut open the space near the far side of the landing. Rutela’s thrashing against Fado ceased almost at once. Her eyes widened and she began to tremble even more than she had before.
“Sir Osmond! Please strike me down, I beg you!”
Osmond looked over to Rutela, then back at the portal.
Before he could make any sort of move, an ethereal purple chain shot forth from the opening and bound itself around Rutela’s mouth. Another chain then raced out and constricted her arms and legs. As they wrapped around her, the links burned away the cloak and seared themselves into her skin.
“Pitiful wretch,” the gravely and hoarse voice of Adok rumbled out.
Through the portal, Adok stepped out onto the peak of the Wind Temple. He wore a dark cloak the hung loosely around his torso. His scarred blue skin blurred with the shadowy skies and his black eyes. His hand smoldered with the evidence of magic that had conjured the bounds that now wrapped the former Sage of Ice.
Hesitation was abandoned as Osmond drew his sword and he charged forward. Fado threw out his hand and prepared a blast of magic.
Adok reached out his hand and the two attacks were repelled instantly. He continued on his direct path toward Rutela.
Her eyes filled with panic and horror. She began to buck violently against the bounds. As Adok grew closer and closer, the terror gripped her more and more.
Osmond watched as a dark and curved dagger manifested from a flame in Adok’s hand.
Osmond, Fado, Adok, and Rutela all at once turned and looked out over the peaks. In the distance, a surging storm cloud erupted in thunder and lighting. Dark clouds began to encircle the tower as the thickly accented voice boomed over the rolling thunder.
“I will not allow such a monstrous act to unfold upon my sacred peak!”
The clouds suddenly parted and riding on a singular silver cloud, a frog with two large antennae trailing from his crowned head sat holding his chin high.
“You cannot deny me the blood I am owed!” Adok raised the dagger to toward the crowed frog.
“I am a god. I can deny your very existence.”
“Your power ends with the wind,” Adok said. “And I will take that power as well.”
Adok twisted the dagger in the air and a stream of purple power burst forth like a bolt of lightning.
“Njordos!” Fado shouted.
The Wind God had already seen the impending attack and sent forth a blast of his own lighting. The eruption of light and sound sent Osmond and Fado to the ground. Adok stumbled a bit, but then lifted off the ground and flew off the tower toward Njordos.
Osmond watched as the duo collided in the sky. Adok wielding his dagger infused with dark magic and Njordos with a bolt of lightning in his hand. They clashed with such force that Osmond felt his whole body slide backward. He grabbed hold of the ground where he could and looked up just in time to see the two of them collide again.
This collision sent a shockwave outward with such force the mountain just below split in half. Osmond dug his fingers into a newly formed crack on the ground and watched as the next collision destroyed what remained of the mountain.
From the corner of his eye, Osmond saw Fado rise to his feet and throw out his hand. He began to shout something that was drowned out as another mountain began to fracture and a rush of wind cut across the tower.
In one more tremendous explosion, debris from somebody falling to the ground flew in every direction. The dust settled and a deafening silence fell across the mountain range. Through the haze that now floated over the Black Cliffs, a single figure began to float back toward the tower.
The blue body of Adok, bruised and cut as it may have been, set down gently on the tower before Osmond. Fado was still holding his hand outward, though he’d dropped to his knees and was breathing as heavily as Osmond had ever seen him do. The faint aura of magic disappeared from Fado’s palm, and he looked over his shoulder at Osmond.
“Take care of the Princess, Osmond.”
Adok’s eyes flared with a burst of magic.
He raised the dagger above Fado.
His arm dropped like stone and Osmond watched as the dagger vanished into Fado’s shoulder.
There was a flash.
There was a scream.
Osmond blinked to make sure what he was seeing was real.
The dagger fell to the ground, clean of any blood.
The point of an icicle retreated from Adok’s arm, revealing a gaping and bloody hole.
At the far side of the tower, Rutela collapsed from the effort it had taken her to save Fado’s life. The sudden defense of her former ally had cost her everything now as Adok scooped up the dagger and turned to her.
Thunder rolled in the crater where one of the destroyed mountains once stood.
Adok weighed his options. He spat on the ground, gritting his teeth, and staring down at Rutela.
“You’ll never find the justice you seek,” she said weakly.
“He will betray you too.”
Adok turned and opened a portal, his nostrils flaring and his shoulders tense.
“Your plan will never work!”
Just as he stepped through and the purple-black haze disappeared, a bolt of lightning flew straight past the tower’s peak. Rutela rolled her head toward Fado and Osmond just as the silver cloud carrying a very badly wounded Njordos floated upward.
“Blast. He got away, did he?”
“Njordos,” Fado said, resting on a large rock that had at some point landed on the tower landing, “could you not defeat him?”
Njordos floated over by Osmond and stepped down from his cloud. His long lanky legs looked as though they wouldn’t be able to support this round body, yet managed easily with awkward movements. His wounds were rapidly healing themselves as he began to walk about and inspect Osmond.
“Not bad for a destined one,” he said.
“A what?” Osmond asked, more taken aback by the sudden casual nature of this god than the question itself.
“Oh… the tragedy it is then. Yes, I suppose that makes the most sense. Good luck to you, son. And on to you,” he quickly shifted his attention to Fado. “Still playing with child’s magic I see. You’ll never learn.”
“Njordos, what happened?” Fado insisted.
“And you, dear,” Njordos walked past Fado to the pale and dying Rutela. “My, what a final chapter. Truly a majestic scene. It always fascinates me when mortals do such acts. Tell me, did you know you’d save the young Lord Fado when you betrayed the council? What of-“
Rutela reached up her hand and grabbed hold of Njordos.
“I… I had no idea of their plan.”
Njordos stuck out his lower lip, “Ahh… it was the fool you played. Brilliant.”
“Njordos!” Fado shouted, irate and red-faced.
“Go in peace, Lady of Ice. Let these two players be witness to your final words and I shall ferry you to the heavens where atonement can begin.”
Njordos stepped out of the way and motioned for Osmond and Fado to approach her. Osmond, only just getting to his feet, stumbled toward her. Fado, taking a moment to gather himself, then followed as well. The two of them knelt down beside her.
“Forgive… me…” she forced out.
“You saved my life… Why?” Fado asked.
“Was it not you who called for him?” Her eyes shifted toward the Wind God.
Fado said nothing.
“What is his plan?” Osmond asked.
“To revive the Demon King himself… To free him from his captivity…”
“And you sided with this goal?” Osmond followed up, feeling his anger at her return slightly.
She weakly shook her head, “That was never my… my goal…”
“You were used…” Fado said.
She nodded, growing weaker and weaker by the second.
Osmond looked down and noticed her body turning to ice very quickly. Her hands and feet were already translucent as if she were an ice sculpture herself.
“Hu… Huron… E… Erie…” she sputtered.
“What about them?” Fado pressed.
“Go… go to… Moun… mountain… S… t… o… p… him…”
Rutela went rigid. Her eyes closed and a flutter of air like in the dead of winter escaped one last time from her lungs.
Njordos scooped a bit of his silver cloud into his hand and blew it underneath Rutela. The cloud spread out underneath her and raised her body upward. As it began to ascend higher and higher, the Wind god climbed aboard his own flying cloud, and he looked down at Fado.
“Yes, I was unable to defeat him. His future is dark and empty, so I had nothing to use against him. For this, I do apologize.”
“I do not think I will return to this world for a time. The winds are in your hands until the time comes that you will pass them on. Use them well.”
“Wait-” Osmond lifted his hand.
Njordos raised an eyebrow.
“Rutela knew more than she could tell us. Is there anything we can do to find out what she knew? How did she fall to such a state that she wished for death like that?”
The Wind God floated close to Osmond.
“Kaaayyyyy? What you ask is knowledge from beyond the grave, yes?”
“I am not a necromancer, nor do I know the Sheikah arts to tap into such power.”
“But you are a god, aren’t you?”
Njordos raised an eyebrow.
“You reside in the Sacred Realm with the spirits of the departed. Please. Hyrule is in danger and that information is invaluable to protecting it.”
The Wind God glanced over to Fado who cautiously moved his head to approve of the request. Njordos blew out a breath with a small laugh.
“She advised you to go to Death Mountain. I will see what information I can glean from the spirits, but it’s not likely I’ll find anything. Make for the Goron homeland and I’ll find you along the road before you reach there should I find anything.”
Osmond bowed, “Thank you.”
“Such a request of a god is bold of you, boy. You’re either cheeky or naïve.”
A strong wind began blowing from below and the Wind God lifted up into the sky with a woosh. As the wind faded, the basin in the center of the tower sanctuary erupted in a green flame with golden embers fluttering up from the fire. At the same time, a small chest appeared in a circle of golden magic near the edge of the landing.
Osmond knelt down and opened the chest.
Inside was a small key that was glowing with a golden light that faded as he reached down. By the time he’d scooped it up, he recognized it as one of the keys to the Spirit Temple. Inscribed on the base with the Wind Emblem and designed with a unique set of teeth, Osmond showed it to Fado.
“We’ll put it with the others when we get back to Castletown. For now, though, we should make for Goron City.”
Osmond tucked the key into one of his pouches, securing it with a small tie.
They were about to descend the tower the way they’d come up when Osmond pointed toward the far side of the landing.
“The bridge is back.”
Fado laughed in relief, “Thank Hylia.”
* * * * *
Adok climbed the stairs of Hyrule Castle and turned around to look out at the fires raging throughout the city. Smoke was blotting out the sun and monsters roamed freely. He pushed through the doors to the great hall and approached the still intact throne.
An albino moblin followed him through, accompanied by half a dozen bokoblins of varying ranks. They began engaging with the small contingency of soldiers remaining in the room and quickly overwhelmed them.
“You will never rule Hyrule!” one soldier shouted, lowering his shoulder through the bokoblin and charging toward Adok.
His progress was halted when the moblin swung a giant club toward him. The club collided with the soldier’s chest and knocked him off the ground and a few feet away. The chest plate caved inward as he bounced off the ground and rolled to a lifeless stop near one of the pillars.
Adok began to ascend the few steps up to where the king and queen seats were. When he stood before the two gilded chairs, he reached up and snapped his fingers. The group of monsters he was with ceased their actions and fell into ranks before the throne. One, wielding a large axe then approached and offered the tool to its master.
Adok lifted the axe over his head then brought it down on the first of the two cushioned seats. He swung again and again. His face turned into a fury of rage and anger. He shouted and grunted with each strike. Tears began to stream down his face as each blow broke the chairs into scraps. Splinters and spit flew wildly as he hacked away, his mind completely leaving him in the moments.
When all that was left was a pile of indistinguishable and broken pieces of wood, Adok rested the blade of the axe on the ground and turned to sit down but stopped suddenly.
Another soldier, clinging to life, crawled on his hands and knees over toward the broken thrones. He ground his teeth together and glared at Adok as blood forced its way between his teeth.
“The Hero of Time will come for you! The Goddesses will not allow your rampage to be victorious!”
Adok rolled his head back toward the soldier. He turned and slowly stepped in the soldier’s direction.
The soldier stared back defiantly.
In a swift motion that made even the moblin flinch, Adok brought the axe up over his head and down on the soldier. He repeated the act two more times then left the weapon to rest in the body.
Adok knelt down beside it and whispered into the ear.
“Where is your Hero of Time now?”
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 sometime in 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! Every Era Has Heroes…
David is an editor at Zelda Dungeon. He’s the author of the ongoing series, The Era Without A Hero, and his favorite Zelda games are Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker, and Skyward Sword. He’s also generally a fan of JRPGs and other major Nintendo titles, such as Smash Bros. and Mario.