Breath of the Wild: Before the Fall

It wasn’t that Link wanted to purposefully defy his father’s orders, but he could not just sit there and do nothing. He felt his body itch to head into the action and it only set his eyes aflame with the passion to fight. He was a soldier. Well, he wanted to be a soldier. While he was still in training, Link believed that he could handle himself out on the field. With a surge of adrenaline, the young boy grabbed the sword and accompanying shield that his father had given him, his reflection shining in the deadly steel. With a slight hesitation, he grabbed the hunting bow that hung from the wall by his bed. Link considered himself a mediocre-at-best archer, but he decided it was better to be safe than sorry.

Sheathing his bow as well as his quiver, full of arrows, he grabbed his blue scarf, which was adorned with the Hylian crest, and tossed it around his neck. Rushing out of the house, Link held his sword tightly in his hand. He wouldn’t lose it this time, he said to himself. His resolution filled him with determination to fight alongside his father. “Don’t worry, Dad. I’m coming.”  

Link finally crested the hill that overlooked the Military Training Camp. He had just been there the day before and now it was in ruins. The dilapidated gates were flung wide open as billows of smoke poured into the sky, tainting it a dark gray. Bodies were strewn across the ground, Bokoblin and Hylian alike. Deeper into the camp, valiant men fought bravely against the oncoming hordes of monsters. This was unlike any attack he had ever heard of. Bokoblins were never this organized, nor were they this prone to attacking. Usually, they stayed in their camps, isolated from the rest of Hyrule. As Link overlooked the now-battlefield, he heard a terrifying roar. Looking to the right, he saw what appeared to be an anthropomorphic lion with the lower half of a horse. He had heard of such creatures before, though he thought they were just relegated to the sands of time, conjured by myth and folklore – a Lynel. The other soldiers seemed to be too distracted to notice the approaching beast. Though fear welled within him, Link fully believed that he could take down the mythical enemy.

Without hesitation Link sheathed his sword, jumped down the hill, and threw his shield underneath him to slide down. His father had always scolded him for doing so as it wore the shield down, but there was no time for such trivialities. As the hill came to a dip with accompanying ramp, he drew his bow and notched an arrow. Within moments, he was in the air. The amateur soldier took a deep breath and pulled back the bowstring. All around him, time seemed to stop as he aimed at the beast. He had been training with a Rito, who were renowned archers, who had taught him how to fight in the air. Though without wings or any way to fly himself, Link had done what he could to adapt to the training. He had never thought he would have to put it into practice, though. However, in this moment, he was thankful for that Rito. With one eye closed, he lined up the arrow above the beast, taking into account the drop rate. Letting out his breath, he let the arrow fly.

The arrowhead whirred through the air, the feathers on the back of the arrow shaking unsteadily. As Link landed, he watched intently, hoping that he had landed the arrow on its intended target. The creature was now out of sight, but he prayed to the gods that he succeeded. Then he heard it: a loud cry emanating from the direction of the beast. The bass of the roar shook him to his bones, and as much as it frightened him, it also confirmed his hopes. “Yes!” He yelled, tossing his fist into the air in victory. However, the rumble continued after the roar had subsided. It was rhythmic and constant, almost as if– charging towards him, the enraged beast flared its nostrils, brandishing a large sword. Link turned ghost white as he realized that his fight was not done.

He drew his sword and picked up his shield, his own weapon paling in comparison to the massive size of his enemy’s. Link nervously stood there, waiting for the beast to slow down and prepare to fight, but it only seemed to be getting faster. As it neared him, he closed his eyes and jumped to his side, the monster narrowly missing him. When he noticed that he was unharmed, Link opened his eyes to see the beast facing away from him, having stopped in its tracks. It turned around and growled at the young soldier-to-be who was one moment short of quaking in his boots.

He steeled his resolve and shook his head, “Now is not the time for fear, Link!” He reminded himself, doing his best to calm his nerves. The monster was carefully pacing side to side, its eyes still on Link as it seemed to be waiting for the boy to make the first move. He knew that he didn’t have an eternity, so Link had to think fast, assessing the situation and acting simultaneously. Then, he noticed something: the arrow that he had let loose was impaled in one of the creature’s eyes. Link had created a blind spot for himself; if he could just get to the right of it… His plan was settled, but it was risky. He needed the beast to move towards him, which meant that he needed to move towards the beast. Throwing caution to the wind, Link began to charge the monster, screaming at it. The beast wasted no time in following suite, barreling head-on towards Link. It was a game of chicken and one that Link would surely lose.

As the Lynel neared him, Link knew that it was now or never. With the courage of a man with nothing to lose, he jumped to the side once again, but in the split second of his dodge, he grabbed the side of the monster and mounted him. Link’s hands dug into its mane, holding on tightly as it realized what had happened. Stopping its tracks, it began bucking wildly. With one hand holding himself steady, he drew his sword and began slashing at the back of its head, creating a weak spot in the otherwise leather exterior of the Lynel. Taking his other hand off of the creature, he lifted the sword over behind him and, with both hands, drove it into the back of the beast’s head, piercing it and exiting through its face.

Blood sprayed from the open wound, coating Link in the disgusting, purple liquid. Then, with one final cry, the Lynel fell forward and collapsed, its body limp. The boy sat there on top of it, his hands not leaving the sword, his adrenaline leaving him. He began heaving, his body coming down off of his high and desperately needing oxygen. As he turned away to look at the battlefield, he saw something that caught him off guard. While he was fighting, the remaining soldiers had killed the Bokoblins and had noticed Link’s battle. They had gathered around and begun spectating the fight, astounded when they saw him finish off the beast. Finally, one of the young soldiers approached Link, resting his hand on Link’s, trying to calm him down. The Lynel-slayer looked up and saw the face of his friend, Fledge, a mix of both astonishment and sorrow. Words escaped Fledge as he tried to figure out what to say to Link, but his friend decided for him.

“F-Fledge, where is my father?” Link questioned, his brother in arms looking at him with a pained expression. “That’s not funny, Fledge. Where is my father?”

“Link, he- we were overrun by Bokoblins and as we were pushed back towards the barracks, Lizalfos were lying in wait for us. Your father managed to fight a bunch of them off with the other more experienced soldiers – General Horwell, Lieutenant Eagus, and Commander Auru – they all fell saving our lives,” Fledge took a breath and continued, “they killed all of the Lizalfos, but their wounds were too severe.”

Link’s face was aghast; there was no way his father could be dead. Surely the Zora healers could have saved them, right? His denial was displayed clearly on his face as Fledge relayed the information. “Link.” A voice from behind the crowd of soldiers said softly. It was a voice he recognized and a voice that he was somewhat relieved to hear.

Mipha, the Zora Princess, stepped out from the crowd and slowly approached Link. “I tried, Link, but his wounds were too severe… I-” Link cut her off by pulling her into a hug.

“It’s not your fault. Don’t blame yourself.” He reassured her, despite the feeling of intense sadness building up inside of him. He felt like he was a dam about to break forth, but he managed to hold back his emotions. Denial had turned into sorrow and sorrow into anger. “I’m going to kill them.” Mipha pulled away from Link, confused by his changed demeanor. “I’m going to kill every last monster in Hyrule.”

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