Posted on September 25 2020 by Bryan King
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Link clenched his body as tightly as he could as he plummeted downward, anticipating a sudden, deadly impact with unrelenting ground below. He estimated that he had only been falling for several seconds at this point, but the anxiety from his expected demise had made it feel like an eternity.
“I’m sorry brother!” he heard from a ways below him. He couldn’t see Rukio in the pitch blackness of the chasm, but he could only imagine the look of terror on the young Goron’s face as he too awaited his end from their rapid descent. “I’m sorry that we couldn’t help your people! I’m sorry that it’s my fault! If I’d have been more careful–”
“This isn’t your fault Rukio!” Link shouted back in his general direction. He thought about how best to bolster the spirits of his companion in their final moments when a low growl emanated from below them. It reverberated around them, filling their chests as though it were the fireworks that Link had witnessed every year at the Castle Town spring festival. He tried to focus on those times, pushing thoughts of what awaited them below as far from his mind as he could. Death from the impact had been a terrible enough prospect, but being devoured by whatever lurked below was much worse. The sound began to grow louder. He focused more on his memories of the fireworks, of their bright bursts and subsequent roar, and of how he felt as he gazed upward at them surrounded by friends and loved ones.
The growl became closer and louder still. He focused hard now. If these were to be his last moments, he wanted his thoughts to be of them, of their smiles as they looked back at him, their faces illuminated by the menagerie of colors flickering in the skies above them. He thought of King Rubeus, of Audwin–
His body met the ground beneath him as his thoughts had turned to the face of Princess Zelda. However, where he had expected a quick death, he found only surprise as it felt as though the elevation of the floor had changed to accommodate his landing.
“Link! Brother are you there!?” Rukio called out from what seemed like several meters away. Link, who was now on his hands and knees realized that there was give to the ground beneath him. This was no cobblestone or packed soil, but a slightly-cushioned surface of some make. What was even more surprising was the fact that it felt like it was moving.
“Yeah, I’m here!” he replied, beginning to bring himself upright, taking care to maintain his balance on the unsteady terrain.
“I’m here too!” a voice high and to his left called out, causing him to reflexively bring his sword in front of him. He reached with his free hand for the lantern that had miraculously remained attached at his belt and began to light it.
“Who’s there?!” Rukio called out, a quiver in his voice that Link could tell he was doing his best to mask. He would be lying if he too wasn’t feeling unsure of himself given the gravitas of the voice they had just heard. He had finally lit the wick in the lantern and lifted the light as high as he could in an effort to identify who or what it was that had them in its grasp.
“Oh! That’s a really good idea!” they heard the voice say. “Hold on a second. I’m gonna put you two in one hand and I’ll light this place up a bit so we can talk. That sound good to you guys?” Link was taken aback. He had been expecting a life or death battle, not cordial exchanges. He almost fell to his knees once again as he suddenly felt the ground move a bit.
“Oh man! Whoa!” Rukio exclaimed as he too was being moved. Link could see him being brought closer after a moment through the immediate radiance of the lantern until finally he was placed next to him. Rukio proceeded to pick Link up and gave him a forceful hug that caused Link’s bones to creak and pop. “I thought we were done for!”
“We might still be for all we know,” Link said as he smiled and gave Rukio a pat on the back before being set down. “We still don’t know what we’re dealing with here,” he said with a whisper.
“This ought-a do the trick!” came the voice once more followed by a loud scratching sound, akin to the sound a matchstick makes when ignited against a surface. Lanterns illuminated themselves in a similar, sequential fashion to the ones in the cavern above, and could be seen extending upward in a circular design as far as they could see. When they lowered their eyes to meet the mysterious creature, they were astonished at what they found. Hovering dozens of feet above them was the largest Goron face that either of them had ever seen. It gave them a beady-eyed smile as they were lifted higher. It had now become apparent to Link that they had been resting on the palms of its hands. As they drew closer, he was able to discern tufts of white, spiky hair that extended from the top of the Goron’s head. He appeared older in comparison to Rukio, as wrinkles were carved deep into his face along his forehead and around the corners of his eyes. “So, what do we have here I wonder!” the large goron said as they were now much closer to his face. “Looks like one of my kind, and… one of a… not of my kind. Well, what brings you down here to my home little ones?”
“We fell,” Link said after exchanging a quick glance with Rukio. “We ran into some Stalfos in the cavern above and were outnumbered. We thought we were done for before you came along.” The large Goron’s face turned stoic.
“Stalfos you say?”
“That’s right!” Rukio said. “Real nasty ones too. Me an’ Link fought a bunch of them off but after a while they got to be too much. We got pushed down here.” The giant Goron ran its free hand through its hair.
“That would explain why things have felt… different as of late. I ‘member her sayin’ that there was somethin’ a brewin’ and it wasn’t good…”
“Her?” Link asked.
“Oh, the erm… the Great Fairy up top,” the Goron said. “We’ve made good friends, me an’ her. We keep each other company since we’re kind of stuck here. Not many places for a Goron of my size to go ya know,” he said with a chuckle.
“How did you get so big?” Rukio asked. “I thought Marbaro back in the village was the biggest Goron I’d ever seen but you definitely take the cake!”
“Ain’t sure myself,” the Goron said. “Just grew this way. S’pose it’s just how I’m s’posta be. I made my peace with it a long time ago. The Great Fairy calls me the ‘Guardian under the Mountain’ which I get a kick out of.” He paused, his expression becoming morose. “Some guardian though. We got boney creatures lurkin’ about and here I am down in my hole sleepin’ through the whole thing. Is she alright? Is Yadira alright? The Fairy?”
“We’re not sure actually,” Link said. He then recounted for the Goron who they were and the events that had brought them here.
“I see,” the Goron said. “How’s about this little ones. I’ll set you back up top, and then you can continue your search? Sound good?”
“That works for us!” Rukio said without a moment’s hesitation. Link had grown to appreciate the eagerness of his companion more and more.
“Good deal! After you find her, can you come back here and let me know if she’s alright please? Don’t have many friends you know, and it would bother me pretty fierce if somethin’ were to happen to her.”
“We’ll do just that,” Link said. “By the way, what’s your name?”
“My name? It’s… uh… well that’s to say…” the Goron said as it began to scratch its chin in thought. “Heh, seems it’s been so long that I’ve forgotten it. Yadira just calls me her guardian.”
“‘Guardian’ isn’t really a name,” Rukio said. “We need something better.” The two of them thought hard for potential names but weren’t having any luck. “Not sure what you’d call a big Goron like that,” Rukio told Link under his breath. Link’s pointy ears perked up a bit at that statement.
“‘Biggoron’. How about we call you ‘Biggoron’?” The Goron thought on it for several moments and smiled wide.
“I like it! I’m Biggoron! Guardian under the Mountain! Alright you two. Hold on tight. We’re goin’ up!” Link and Rukio braced themselves as Biggoron slammed his free hand into the side of the rock wall and began to hoist himself upward. They continued their ascent until the cavern above began to come closer and closer into view. The chittering of Stalfos was beginning to increase in volume as they approached.
“What do you say I give ’em a scare?” Biggoron said with a wink. “Cover your ears lads!” Link and Rukio did as they were asked. Biggoron inhaled deeply and let out a thunderous roar, shaking what felt like the very mountain itself. They emerged from the opening to see the hordes of Stalfos moving away, their weapons held in front of them and their bones rattling in fear. Biggoron set Link and Rukio down in front of the staircase that they had seen from earlier. “Go on now boys! Go find Yadira and make sure she’s alright. I’ll take care of the riff raff! It’s my job after all!” he said with a wink. Link and Rukio began to run toward the staircase. Link looked back to see Biggoron using his giant fists to slam groups of Stalfos into the wall, laughing all the while.