Posted on April 16 2021 by Alison Brunyee
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It always amazed me how beauty could be found in the most hostile of places. Clusters of electric safflina grew within the shade of palm trees. Despite the harsh wind, I took a moment to admire the tall yellow flowers, breathing in the citrus fragrance. Cicada screeches surrounded the oasis reminding me of long hot summers. I scooped up some water and poured it over my head, whilst Kilton took his fill.
Koume didn’t stop, however, she flew under an ancient stone megalith and into the Spirit Temple. Above, a colossal statue of the Sand Goddess sat in meditation with palms open to sunny blue skies.
“The Hylians say she’s an evil deity,” Kavia scoffed.
I stood up to adjust my leather belt. It wasn’t designed for my slender frame and I’d had to poke another hole in it. “She doesn’t look evil to me, fierce perhaps, but not evil.”
“She’s fierce only when she needs to be, same as all Gerudo.”
“Well, I’ve found with Goddesses, deities and fairies, doesn’t matter what they are. They inspire fear and devotion in equal measure.”
Kavia turned to me and nodded. “I should thank you.”
She didn’t reply and began climbing the steps leading inside.
I followed, trying to smooth down my hair which sprung to life in ridiculous tuffs. The Triforce carved into the stonework entrance wasn’t lost on me. It lay in the centre of a great pair of wings. I considered the symbol, wishing for the wisdom to find a way out of this mess. Peeking inside, all seemed very quiet. But I knew Ganondorf and the witch sisters lay in wait and suddenly I felt reluctant to leave the warmth of the sun.
“Come, my voe,” Kavia’s voice echoed from within.
In the first chamber, two enormous stone tablets greeted me. Cobras with gleaming fangs. There appeared to be letters inscribed on them in what I guessed to be ancient Gerudo language, but without the primer I didn’t have a clue. Two clay pots came hurtling towards me. I rolled, wrapping my arms over my head awaiting the next blow. When none came, I clung to the nearest cobra willing my legs to remember their purpose. Kilton pawed at the broken pottery.
“Leave that alone,” I snapped, dragging him away.
Ascending the next staircase adorned with crescent moons, reunited me with my Gerudo guide. From here, every passageway had flickering torches and the air became stale and dry. The faces of sleeping suns could be found on many of the walls. Nearby, booby traps circled the tiled floor waiting for victims to maim. Their horrendous scraping set my teeth on edge. The only living things in the temple consisted of monsters. Many parts were infested with skulltula spiders, their pokey green eyes starring out of the darkest corners. Stopping my husky companion from chasing after them proved to be an exhausting task.
In one room, a large shadow grew beneath my feet and it certainly wasn’t mine.
“Keep walking,” she instructed.
I rubbed at my chest. This didn’t help, especially now the unwelcome shadow had grown twice the size. I walked faster. “There’s something on the ceiling.”
Kilton sensed it too. He pulled at the leash, his gait speeding up. I’d had nightmares like this, being chased by a faceless stalker. I could never get away.
I’ve just about had enough of this. My fingers tingled. How can anyone offer praise to the Sand Goddess if they get chopped up or devoured? I glared at the ceiling.
Something large pounced and it became night. A flash of purple lightning illuminated the darkness along with a strangled caterwaul. An enormous black hand thumped to the ground, dead. In shock, I stared at my hands. They looked harmless, slender with some wrinkled flesh and dirty fingernails. But I knew how hands could be a blessing and a curse. They could create masks and destroy slingshots, hug those we love or kill monsters. It had been a long time since I’d conjured a spell. I knew something had changed since that dream with Azamuku. My magic was stronger and it had responded so quickly.
“You okay?” I reached for Kilton but he shirked away. The husky stood unblinking in the dim light, trying to fathom something out in his doggy brain. “It tried to kill us first,” I reasoned. Ignoring the guilt poking at my far too generous conscience.
“You speak true, the Wall Masters should stay away now.”
“Kavia, I thought you said this was a place of worship. So far, it’s more like a monster’s den.”
She sighed. “It never used to be like this. Our king has need of the temple and that comes at a price.”
A great price indeed. The desecration of a holy place dragged into a pit of malice. Call it intuition, a sixth sense, everything is wrong here. I should have learnt by now not to follow strange women into dangerous places.
“How much further?” I couldn’t help but feel hurt as Kilton backed further and further away from me. Would this be how Yasei reacted? I didn’t even want to entertain that idea.
“The central chamber is through here.” Kavia lingered in the doorway and peered into the largest chamber of the Spirit Temple.
From floor to ceiling, the burgundy walls were covered with Gerudo script. A plush red carpet had been laid leading towards another monolithic statue of the Sand Goddess. This one, having been protected from the harsh elements outside, retained its brightly painted features. The snakeskin the Goddess wore was deep emerald green. Her amble bosom confined within motifs of golden stars and a shining ruby nestled between them. Under her eyes, the red markings of a tribal warrior and a serious frown to match.
“Do not upset yourself, my lord. A mere child is powerless to stop our plans.”
“This baby is King Hyrule’s heir. The Princess Zelda must be eliminated immediately.” A great clatter followed. An empty chalice and blood oranges rolled into view.
Quickly, a shuffling servant came to retrieve them. Curly brown hair braided with strips of coloured ribbon. A long white robe graced the floor with symmetrical patterns of red and blue. She set to work retrieving the stray fruit before her green eyes went wide as saucers.
As I smiled and waved at Yasei, a giddy happiness swept through my heart.
An awkward pause followed. Then her attention turned to the red wine which she scrubbed furiously.
Yasei looked up and tapped the side of her head.
“It’s me,” I mouthed to her. “I’ve come to rescue you.”
“Moron, get out of here,” she implored. Then she was gone again.
“Ho, ho, ho! The slaughter of an innocent, we have taught you well, but such a bold move would arouse suspicion. The Hylians are still convinced it was you who sent the Dark Sorcerers. And we have yet to rebuild our ranks. Don’t you agree, sister?”
“Yes, our lord Ganondorf must be patient to wield the power of the Gods.”
“Patience,” his low voice rumbled through the walls. “While I languish here.”
“It will be worth the sacrifice.”
“Perhaps I shall send the princess a gift.” I could hear his smile and shuddered. “A shadow beast would suffice as a play mate.”
Caught in the middle of power-hungry games wasn’t a good place to be. I turned to Kavia, but she wouldn’t look me in the eye. King Hyrule isn’t above such tactics himself, but I still need to warn him. That would prove to be a problem, however, as I was in said enemy’s hideout about to come face to face with the man himself.
“Well, don’t just stand there eavesdropping,” both of the witches called out. “Get in here.”
“At once.” Kavia seized my hand as we went inside. Shocked, I could feel the Gerudo’s larger hand shaking around my own.
A large altar came into view set with dozens of candles and smoking incense sticks. She bowed on one knee pulling me down with her. From here, I couldn’t see the occupant of the onyx throne only an enormous pair of black and brown boots. White cloth had been wrapped around his calves which were as thick as tree trunks.
“What news, Commander?”
“My lord, we have secured goods from a merchant wagon.”
“Oh? Tell me of the spoils.”
My neck started to ache. How dare he refer to Yasei’s livelihood as spoils!
“From what we could salvage, there’s a number of jewelry items, spices, rugs, medicine and silk.”
“That means nothing to me. How much in rupees?”
“When sold, up to three thousand.”
“Pft, pathetic,” he spat. “Commander, do I need to remind you of the funds necessary to raise an army?”
“I’m aware, but everyday more and more caravans steer clear of Hyrule Field to avoid our raiding parties.”
“I don’t want to hear excuses.”
“With all due respect, we can’t steal from thin air.” Kavia’s frustration seeped through the cracks.
I didn’t expect that. The screams I mean. Her body flew off the ground so fast, that by the time I looked around, there was a Kavia sized imprint in one of the sandstone columns. She slid down motionless into a bed of rubble.
“Pathetic fool! Do you realize who you are dealing with? I am Ganondorf! And soon, I will rule the world!”
I fought back the urge to gag, and staggered to something that might resemble standing. Next to the throne, Yasei’s fingers twisted her left sleeve into a knot. My promise of a great rescue seemed hollow now. The two witches studied me from their hovering perches. Any retaliation towards the Gerudo King and I suspected my life would be forfeit. Not that this the hulk of a man needed their protection anyway. He had enough muscles to strangle a dragon.
Sparks of purple electrified energy crackled in his hands. “Anyone that can’t fulfil their duties will be replaced.”
Ah, that would explain a few things. I frowned at the dark magic. Ganondorf drew back his arm, and hurled the blinding sphere towards Kavia.
The warp hole wasn’t very big, but I had managed to create it in time. The orb went in one way and didn’t come out the other. At first, it seemed like a dream. I had pictured exactly what I wanted in my mind’s eye, ready to project that idea into the real world. But I couldn’t help but wonder. Where in Hyrule did it go?
“Please, there’s no need for that,” I gasped. Kavia had somehow managed to sit up. She clutched her forehead, dripping with crimson blood, but appeared to be breathing.
Koume flew closer. “Hmm, seems one of Azamuku’s disciples survived, my lord.”
The first male Gerudo for one hundred years stared down his nose at me. What little armour he wore was studded with topaz, suggesting royalty, but I wasn’t impressed. Nabooru had good instincts and in that moment, I saw an awful future ahead and I pitied the Gerudo.
“Azamuku served me well once. He had some skill, to be sure… but to be defeated by the Light Spirits so easily, he lacked true power.”
Such criticism intended to offend a pupil in awe of their master, but he’d guessed wrong. I’d known the unfortunate Interloper only as someone who’d opened the eyes of a very naïve boy. He’d been used and discarded like a pawn in a chess game. Caught up in a plan much larger than he could handle. Nothing new there. Maybe this was a fate for all magicians. Mr Muryō had been right, I should never have gone looking for trouble. But it was far too late to turn back now.
Featured art: Alison Brunyee via Canva.com
Alison Brunyee (Otwl) is an Original Content Editor for Zelda Dungeon. She likes reading manga and collecting Japanese wind chimes. Her favorite Zelda game is Ocarina of Time, but she is currently battling through A Link to the Past. For a bit of escapism during this tough time, check out more fan fiction from her alter writing ego – Otwl. Stay safe x