Y'all Can Wake Up Now

Goron!Alauth/Day 7/Castle Town

Sneaking through the castle courtyard was proving to be difficult using the Goron construct. A Goron was not expected to be in the castle, and so he had to frequently explain himself as a goron peddler and blacksmith supplying the army's upper command with custom armaments designed to their specifications. Most gave him a queer look, but none stopped him, and since he wasn't in a secure area of the castle they didn't bother to verify his story. After all, for the time being, the Gorons were opting to remain neutral in he conflict between the Zora and Hylian nations. No reason to cause another intercultural incident.

But the Goron construct proved a bit unfortunate when he noticed a familiar face from the fight at Lon Lon. It was the Moon Man, the magic user who employed a Lunar paradigm, unconscious and being dragged through the courtyard by a pair of guards.

What is he doing here?

He slowly trailed the group. There were two other younger unconscious prisoners, each with their own pair of guards escorting them. They didn't concern Alauth.

The group entered the dungeons. So, the goron rolled into a stone ball and followed. At high speeds. Crashing through the barred door and sending the Hylians careening. They coughed and groaned as the goron unfurled itself and gripped the waraxe it was borrowing.

"What in the... Goron?" One guard caught a glimpse of him before being crushed under the shard weight of the axe's head.

The goron lifted the bloody axe from the broken corpse. "Big Brother Darmoto sends his regards." The axe fell unto another Hylian body.

Leif - Hyrule Castle Dungeon - Day 7
Leif glanced up at Chamdar and the others and brought his eyes back to the floor. He wasn’t sure what to make of the sudden decisions thrown at him or what purpose it would truly serve him in the long run. However he had no plans for the near or distant future, so he figured it wouldn’t be too much of an issue. After he was dragged into simply killing a guard, to stealing the Zora Trust, he really wasn’t sure to do with his life any longer. 

He let out a sigh. “Sure. I accept this ‘Eye of Truth’, not like I have anything else to lose.”  

Taden Horwendil / Castle Dungeons / Day 7

“What do you want to know?” Chamdar, the man in robes and armor, smiled at them thinly.

Taden ignored the newcomer and faced the King. The Blue Fire still lapped in the brazier, casting shadows along the dank brick, whisps of the red flame occasionally flashing through. When Leif roused from the corner and accepted the offer, Taden watched the relief seep into the King's brow.

"Let me see if I've got this," Taden said. "We're free to go at any time, and the Eye can be hidden whenever we want? Is there no difference in the acceptance of your offer and its refusal?" Dromand and Impa simply seemed to stare through him, waiting for his answer.

"As usual, you leave us little choice," he barked.

Taden crossed his arms, and noticed Chamdar do the same. "With no knowledge of the task before us, in this dark and silent cell, you ask us to step blindly into the Shadow," he said. He watched the Blue Fire play across the upper body armor, the sword and knife, and the engraved staff Chamdar carried with him. The young mage had seen wars beyond his years.

"But here's a question for you, O Living Scion. Whose Shadow is it?" He looked briefly at Chamdar, digging into the man's hooded gaze with his own searching, depredatory stare. "Yours?"

Chamdar made no answer, but Taden saw around the corners of his mouth a slightly suppressed grin. The false smile from before had faded; he seemed tempted to retort. But Taden turned to Impa. She too waited with arms crossed, watching him coolly. He dropped his hands to his sides.

The blue flame went out of the small brazier, and the warm light of Din's own fire crackled under its grate once more.

"I will wear your mark," he said, in low tones, "but my Axe must be returned to me at once."

Cautiously, he extended a hand towards the Sheikah woman, as Dromand and Chamdar looked on. The others stood behind him, eyes fixed on the wax seal in Impa's wrapped hands. She opened her palm, and the seal fell as far as the cuffs of her boots, dripping red as it swung from a thin metal chain between her fingers. She looked to the King for his consent to Taden's added condition before stepping forward to mark him.   

Chamdar Taliesin – Hyrule Castle Dungeons – Day 7

Chamdar remained silent as Taden Horwendil in his cloak of wolfos fur posed his questions. Even when he addressed Chamdar directly did the Scion remain silent, though a smile—a true smile—tugged at the corners of his mouth. He smiled because he was not listening with a particularly close ear to the tirade. He was watching the young shaman’s eyes.

Chamdar knew that look, that searching look that stripped you down and sought beneath the surface. There was a fierce intelligence in that scrutinizing gaze, and a calculating mind. Though each here assembled was formidable in their own way, strong in different aspects of war-craft, only Horwendil seemed to Chamdar to be dangerous.

But Chamdar, in his way, could prove equally so.

"I will wear your mark," Horwendil said, in low tones, "but my Axe must be returned to me at once."

In the periphery of Chamdar’s vision he saw the King and Impa’s gazes meet. Neither spoke. He cleared his throat instead.

“If your axe is your concern, Horwendil, then I will place it in your waiting hands myself.” He uncrossed his arms, reached up to scratch at the stubble on his jaw. His eyes never left Horwendil’s lupine gaze. “We ask you to walk in the shadows, for it is there, unseen, that the greatest gains in war are made.

“Trust me,” he said, voice going suddenly quiet as he remembered, “I learned that lesson well.”

A long, pregnant pause settled over the assembled men and women. For an instant Chamdar was back there, reliving the secret counsels and the betrayals that to all here would be naught but far distant memories if they survived at all the passing of aeons.

He shook his head to dispel the dark thoughts, the melancholy, as it sought to get its claws into him again. He had work to do.

I am here because armies fight their hardest, fight to the last, when they have a figurehead who fights at their fore,” he explained. “I have led armies in battle before when the stakes were at their highest. It is the destiny that the Triune lay out for me. I will stand at the forefront of the Hylian army, and whether by deeds or by reputation and rumor eyes will be drawn to me.

“That is where you come in. You each have proven yourself skilled in the ways of deception, infiltration, theft, murder, and more. You have done what was asked for you and even exceeded your mandate. But for all the trial that acquiring the keys of the Hylian Trust entailed, this next leg of your journey will be more difficult still.

“The Trust Keys open the Time Vault. Inside that vault is stored the full horde of mined Timeshift Stones from the Lanayru Province. That is a cache of immeasurable power, power over the ebb and flow of time’s currents. That is a power that the Child of Hylia requires.”

“And why, might I ask, is that?” Horwendil queried. His voice remained as contentious as ever, though he had already given his consent. Chamdar met the full force of that gaze unflinchingly, but did not answer.

“Because, Horwendil, descended as I am from the Living Goddess, I can perceive time’s ebb and flow. I can glimpse matters of the future, and of the past,” Dromand replied at last, his voice like iron despite the trappings of youth and overfondness of drink.“I know what power the contents of the Time Vault have granted in the past—a pittance—and I know what they can grant to one who knows best how to work the material. If I do not move to possess it now, then others shall further anon. I prefer that power to rest in my hands, and the hands of my bloodline, than with those whose dark hearts will lead to its abuse. I will go to whatever ends to have it.”

Chamdar, despite himself, almost shivered at the King’s words. They were not so different from others he had heard, and from ones far worse and more terrible. But it was the will of the Triune, and whether pleased or not by his role, he would see it done.

At last, he looked to each other in turn.

"While the war is at its height, and all attention is focused there, you all will move about unseen. You will chase down the secrets of the Time Vault's location, for it is known to precious few who live, and in the fullness of time leads us there."

 “So,” he said, voice low. “What say you now?”  

Tarah Vass / Castle Dungeons / Morning 7

In her shaded corner, Tarah simply listened and thought as the conversation continued. The more she considered it, the more appealing the kings offer became. Her initial bitterness towards Dromand had subsided slightly and her anger turned to hope for the future. Reflecting on the past few days Tarah realised that she had enjoyed it. She had finally felt like she was a part of something and now realised that she could not simply revert to the life of a petty thief. She also now had Shinsou to consider. If she worked with the crown she could guarantee the girls safety in the castle instead of caring for her in the wilderness. Then there was the Eye of Truth. With this, Tarah would be able to further manipulate the magic of shadows. A power which interested her enough to be convincing alone. 

However, even with nothing else in his favour, the king had one last thing to convince Tarah. He didn’t have to say it but it was always on her mind, direct employment by royalty would guarantee a great reward and while her travels had changed her over the last week Tarah’s greed remained intact. This potential reward should see her to live her life with ease once this task was complete, and any other benefits were simply additional bonuses to her. 

Sitting silently in her dark corner, Tarah listened patiently as Taden questioned Chamdar. This discussion of politics and the importance of their actions was of no interest to Tarah. She fought for her own reasons, selfish as they were, and was not concerned by the fate of the timestones or the scion. As the king spoke of the vault, Tarah’s decision was made. She would join Leif and Taden in accepting the Eye of Truth, but never abandon the idea of leaving should events not go to her liking. 

“So, what say you now?” Chamdar asked the remaining thieves, and Tarah was the first to reply.

 “Upon the settlement of my payment for our last mission” She said, still doused in the darkness of the Scythe. “I will accept this mark.”    

Goron!Alauth/Day 7/Hyrule Castle Dungeons

Alauth's Goron construct looked at the Hylian prisoner addressing him. "Recreational? No, this is work, sadly. I am Gorogo, Goron Messenger. And this is a message."

Gorogo grabbed the last remaining Hylian guard as he attempted to flee, and dangled him by his arms. "Do you think the king will get it?" The Hylian stared at the Goron's face in terror. A new foul smell began to taint the air of death in the room. Gorogo squeezed his thumbs and forefingers together and a cracking snap came from the Hylian's arms. He screamed. Gorogo tossed the man against he wall, hard enough to make it seem he had meant to kill but weak enough to leave the man alive to tell tale of this attack.

"Now..." he said, lumbering over to Sirius. "We have things to do, Moon Man."

Sirius mumbled and muttered unintelligible things. It seemed whatever drug or poison had affected the trio of prisoners had hit him the hardest. Gorogo sighed and grabbed Sirius' collar, carrying him deeper into the dungeons.

"If you want to escape," he told the others over his shoulder, "you have two options: Brave the swathe of guards outside, or follow me deeper."

He took to the stairs, descending into the dank darkness. As he climbed ever downward, he heard random words amidst Sirius' babbling. "Severa... Bernard... Laboratory..." It was nonsense, save what he shouted as we finally regained consciousness. "Elizabeth Bryce!"

His eyes burst open, and a blast of lunar energy burnt Gorogo's hand, freeing the crazed scientist. In his hands appeared a whip of the same energy, one Alauth had seen used to great affect on the plains of Hyrule Field two days before. Minor confusion crossed Sirius' expression as he looked at Gorogo.

"Wait... Now, I could've sworn I was getting arrested by the Hylians."

Gorogo smirked. "You were, Moon Man. I rescued you. And now, we go to rescue the others captured by the Hylians."

"Who are you?" Sirius' gaze scanned over the Goron in front of him, then turned to annoyance. "Yes, Bernard, thank you. I already figured that out." These words were, rather oddly, not directed to Gorogo. The next, however, were. "You're the shape-shifter from the Battle of Disharmony, aren't you? What are you doing?"

Gorogo gestured down the stairs. "Let us walk and talk. I am here for the same reason, I suspect, that you are. To make allies, and to make party with the greatest that this land has to offer."

"Oh, have I got a party planned."

"... Right. The point is, we're of like mind. And I'd say we're both some of the greatest this land has to offer already. No reason not to team up, as it were."

"I consider..." Gorogo cut off Sirius response with a shush.

"Listen. Voices."

There was the faintest echo of voices from the deeper parts of the dungeon. Snippets of conversation reached them.

"... my axe... returned..."

"Taden," Sirius whispered, naming the voice.

"... I will place it in your waiting hands... walk in the shadows..."

Sirius cocked his head to the side on hearing this voice. "I don't recognize that one."

Alauth did, though. That voice brought back ancient memories.

The Ancient Past

"I do not trust you! You are a trickster by nature. I only suffer you still live because she wills me to suffer." Chamdar Taliesin glared at the current form of Malauth. It had elected, much to Chamdar's chagrin, to take on a Hylian form which mimicked his own.

"Oh, I know. And she does so make you suffer, doesn't she?" Chamdar's hand fell to his sword. "The Living Goddess Hylia. Such a beautiful woman. Pristine in nature and deed. I understand, you know? I see how you can love her so devotedly. Why you would want to suffer for her."

"Then you understand, demon, why I would kill you in an instant were harm to befall her?"

Malauth smirked at Chamdar, and the construct it held morphed into an exact mirror of Chamdar. "Do you think, perhaps, if I came to her like this... would she be so pristine and pure the following morning?"

Chamdar's face twisted into a snarl of rage and hate. His voice broke out in a growling yell and he charged Malauth, sword swinging to lay waste to the shape-shifter. This blow was blocked by an identical sword.

"Come now, Taliesin. If it takes such idle threats to throw you off your balance, how ever will you face Demise? His words, I guarantee, cut deeper than my own. He would do more and worse than despoil your love. Neither of us wish to see this. I am bound to her fate as much as you, now. My hopes ride on her shoulders as well. Demise will show less mercy to me than he will to you, and you already know you will see no mercy from him."

Chamdar spat in his own face; a glob of spittle slid down Malauth's cheek. "I suffer you here, but I do not like it. We are allies, but not friends. Never speak ill of the Goddess again." He turned and began to walk away from the Ma.

Malauth wiped away the saliva and called after Chamdar. "I do so only to warn you: Your feelings are not the wellspring of strength you believe them to be. They open you to rage and mistakes, to weakness. Tell me, Chamdar Taliesin, Scion of Hylia: What are you without her? Where is your strength without Celeste?"

Chamdar glanced once over his shoulder at Malauth, and for a moment his mask of anger cracked. Malauth knew the words had reached him. There was sadness in those eyes. A contemplative sadness as he thought about the future.

The Present

"Chamdar Taliesin." Alauth gave name to the speaker as they continued their descent. The armored man from its and Ella's jaunt into the past. The man they had brought back with them. He was awake. And he was here. "So this is what happened to you, all those ages ago..."

Sirius quirked an eyebrow at Gorogo, muttering, "Bernard..."

Alauth once again shushed Sirius. "They want the axe? Well, let's go make friends and give it to them."

Gorogo began to melt away, shrinking down to a more manageable size. Alauth reformed the construct it had not used in generations, not since Malauth had parleyed with the armies of the Living Goddess. The form which, for all anyone would be able to see, looked as though it could be Chamdar's brother. Finally they had reached the bottom, and here there was but one cell door with light behind it. This door Alauth pushed opened, and entered.

  "I'm afraid, Chamdar," he said, "that your promise will go unfulfilled, old friend." He hefted the deadly axe that lay over his shoulder and extended the haft to the pale-haired man with cold fire in his eyes. "It will be from my hand that Taden received his axe."    

Mark/Day 7/ Hyrule Castle Dungeon

Mark followed the strange Goron with the other two with a great grin on his face. He couldn’t believe his plan was working out so well; especially since he really didn’t even have a plan. One moment he was ready to charge into the castle and cause chaos, the next, he was with a rag tag team ready to break out a band of supposedly executed thieves.

Deeper and deeper, they went down into the dungeons. The goron and Sirius talked throughout most of the time. Mark really didn’t care much about their blathering, but when the goron mentioned wanting to make a party with “the greatest this land has to offer,” his interested was piqued. If Mark himself wasn’t included in this party of great people, then how could he ever be considered the most powerful? But it was not the time to be thinking of such things. Xiaber should be down there somewhere.

Voices up ahead stopped the group. Sirius and the goron both recognized one of the voices to be Taden. Xiaber must be there, then. Mark was about ready to run ahead, but no one else seemed quite ready to move. Figuring it was because of the other that he even got this far, he stayed with them. What would Xiaber think, anyways? Mark thought. Some random guy just charges in, grabs him, and runs out. He’d probably be scared out of his mind. The again, I’d imagine the threat of execution and everything else happening to him right now is already pretty bad.

  Either way, they’d be united soon.    

Xiaber/Castle Dungeons/Day 7

He didn't belong here. This recurring thought kept him silent throughout the days he was in the cell. He only spoke his name when asked by the others with him. They mostly ignored him, only adding to his idea of not belonging. The only other thing he would think about was the offer the king himself had made to them all. Xiaber, a weak kid who shouldn’t even be there, could be a Sheikah.

But why should he? He had just seen a new-found friend killed by the soldiers who had put him here. From what he had heard from the others in the cell, the king wasn't that great of a person either. Was there really a point in being a hero if all he did was save people from one cruel thing only to leave them ruled under another? 

That thought reminded him of why he even wanted to be a hero.

Ordon Village Outskirts/AD 1190

“Let go, stop!” Xiaber shouted as a group of older kids dragged him through the forest.

“Hey, we just want to show you something,” one of the kid snickered.

“Yeah, it’s really cool. I just know you’ll love it,” another kid added.

Eventually, they stopped at a small clearing. “Here it is!” the leader stopped everyone, giving off a huge grin towards Xiaber. Xiaber only looked confused, though. “Don’t you know? This is where he was buried, you know, the necro- uh, that guy who could raise the dead.”

Off to the side where Xiaber couldn’t here, one kid muttered to another, “is this really where he’s buried?”

“Who cares, he doesn’t know that,” was the answer.

“So,” continued the leader, “we’ve decided to test your bravery.” He pulled out some rope from a bag. “If you can stay the whole night here, you pass.” The kids brought Xiaber into a position where the leader could tie his hands together. “Not like you have any choice.” He began to laugh and the others soon followed. Xiaber started to shout in protest again, but was ignored. The boys tied him to a tree and left him after saying, “see ya tomorrow, loser!”

-later at night-

Xiaber couldn’t fall asleep. He wasn’t really in a good position for it, but even worse, any sound could have been a monster, and there were a lot of sounds. His face was still wet from tears, but he stopped crying a while ago.

A sound of rustling leaves came from behind Xiaber. He tensed himself as he heard a voice. “Why are you on my grave? Perhaps the foolish people thought I would enjoy a sacrifice. Xiaber screamed as a hand came from behind the tree grabbed his shoulder. Xiaber’s friend laughed as he stepped in front of him. “Sorry, couldn’t help myself.”

“What are you doing here, Salem?” Xiaber asked as he was untied from the tree.

“You don’t want help? And here I was after hearing what happened thinking that you would love for me to keep you company.”

“Keep me company?” Xiaber’s confused face made Salem laugh a bit more.

“Yup, I bet those guys that you could stay here all night.” Salem lay down on the grass and looked up at the sky.

“Great, my best friend is helping the enemy now.” Despite saying that, Xiaber also laid down next to him.

“Well I told Anthony that if you win, then they can’t bug you anymore. I doubt he’ll stop, though.”

“I guess it was a nice effort.” Xiaber sighed. With Salem, though, it was kind of a nice place. The stars were really bright.

A howl broke the silence. The two boys jumped up, looking around for where the sound came from. “I-I think we should go back now,” Xiaber stuttered.

“But the bet-” Salem was interrupted as a wolfos ran into the clearing. It looked at both of them before picking Xiaber as the first target. “Xiab!” Salem shouted as the wolfos charged.

A knife embedded itself into the wolfos’ stomach, causing it to trip and fall to the ground. Xiaber and Salem looked to the side at where the knife came from to see a man running up to the wolfos with a sword. The wolfos managed to get back up and block the sword with its arms, but when it tried to attack, the man dodged it and stabbed it in the chest. The wolfos fell to the ground before crumbling into dust.

The man sheathed his sword before turning around and facing the boys. “A forest isn’t a safe place to be at night, you know.”

“Sorry, sir,” Xiaber mumbled.

“But we have to stay out here,” Salem complained. “The bullies won’t leave him alone unless he stays all night here.” He pointed at Xiaber as he said that.

“I don’t want you two to be attacked by any more creatures, though,” the man insisted. “A hero can’t just leave some kids to die in the woods.”

“A hero,” Xiaber muttered to himself, remembering the stories his parents told of heroes who would save the land from evil forces.

“So you’re going to save us from monsters in the wood and send us back to the monsters in the village?” Salem’s words hurt Xiaber. Sure they were bullies, but monsters?

“Salem-” Xiaber began.

“No, he has a point,” the man confessed. “Heroes may save people from the monsters in the wild, but they can’t really do much about the cruel people back home. They can only hope that those people they do help will follow suite and try to help others. The hero’s kindness will hopefully spread through the people and stop the bullying on its own.”

The man walked up to Xiaber and knelt down in front of him. “I’m not sure about you, but I can tell you’ll be important someday. Maybe you’ll become a hero yourself and spread that kindness throughout the land.” He rummaged through his bag and pulled out a pendant. “Here,” he said, giving Xiaber the pendant. “Until you’re ready, this good luck charm will protect you.”

“Thanks,” Xiaber said, not sure on what else to say as he put it around his neck.

“I’ll leave it to you on whether to go back to your homes or not,” the strange man said as he walked off.

Xiaber cupped the pendant in his hands and stared at it with a smile. “Let’s just forget this bet and go home,” he said.

“Are you sure?” Salem asked him. Xiaber nodded his head. “Great… so how do we get back?”

Castle Dungeons/Day 7

That’s right. A hero isn’t just about saving everyone. Xiaber remembered how the pendant had sadly broken within a week of him getting it. Maybe if it really was a good luck charm, it could have saved him from being in this position.

Being a Sheikah, while not seen directly helping people, can help others go out and help even more people. It would definitely help him become a hero.

While he was thinking off all of that, the others were saying their parts. So far, everyone had accepted. He was ready to accept as well, but he was still a bit nervous about it. He still didn’t belong. Still…

  “Uh, I-” he cleared his throat, not saying anything in the past few days, which made everyone look at him. “I don’t really think I belong here…” Everyone starring was making him even more nervous, but he continued on, “but I accept it- if you permit it.”    

Chamdar Taliesin – Hyrule Castle Dungeons – Day 7

The levy broke. All of the anger, all of the bitterness, all of the feelings that he’d forced down beneath a thin veneer of composure since his awakening roared back into the foreground.

His all-too-familiar look alike was in the cell for hardly a blink before Chamdar slammed him up against the wall. He gripped his staff of holm oak in both hands and, horizontally, pressed it into the Ma’s throat beneath the chin, driving his head into the stones. Chamdar’s chin quivered and he ground his teeth behind a near-feral snarl. The runes on his staff glowed at first softly against the false flesh, then sizzled, coruscating sparks of divine energy running along its length.

“You…” Chamdar whispered, nose to nose with the demon. “You did this to me. Somehow…”

The demon made a strangled noise, but Chamdar didn’t let up the pressure as the holy energies began to blacken its flesh. The rest of the cell’s occupants fell away. Whether right or wrong, that familiar face brought back all of the issues to which he’d thought himself resigned.

Slowly, painfully, he eased back, though he never removed the staff from the demon’s throat.

did this? Do not your Goddesses dictate time and fate? Do you ascribe to me powers that should be theirs?”

His jaw flexed and the brief reprieve he’d given to his once reluctant ally ended. He drove its head back into the wall so hard that it bounced off with a loud thwack. The Ma liked to goad him, poke and prod him. In the past he’d been impatient with his words, but now they were as venom from his serpent’s tongue.

The crackling energies around the staff intensified, grew brighter. The light of the braziers seemed to dim and die as the holy light built toward incandescence. He wanted to kill this treasonous wretch, wanted wipe him from the face of the Goddesses’ earth.

But he wouldn’t.

  “Change out of that form, parasite. Change out of it before I force you out.”    

Kourtz/Hyrule Castle Dungeon/Day 7

Sitting in the corner on the tips of his hands and tail Kourtz listened in as the others replied to Chamdar and Impa's offer. One by one each one of them accepted in their own way the chance to become Sheikah, much to the Mogma's surprise. Kourtz had expected most, if not all of them to turn the proposal down. Finally after Xiaber had spoken out it was his turn to speak.

"Well it appears you're the last one left Master Kourtz. Have you made a decision" said Impa. Indeed he had. He had made this decision the moment he had first been dragged into the castle seven days ago. Turning to face the king he gave his reply.

"Yeah… Please don't take offence to what I'm about to say because I truly do appreciate what your trying to do. However with your permission your majesty I'm afraid I'm going to have to decline." It embarrassed him to be the only one in the cell to say that."So be it" Kourtz thought to himself.

"I apologize for not helping you further, but I was never that much help to begin with. My sole contribution to the group has been digging holes for them to sneak through. Aside from that I've been nothing but a hindrance. I was completely useless at the fight in Kakariko, I nearly drowned in Zora's Domain. I can't count the times I've had to be saved by these guys at Lon Lon."

"I'm not a hero; I'm just some looser who happens to dig in the dirt for a living. Honestly if you give Taden a shovel I'm sure you won't be missing anything." Done with speaking so lowly of himself, Kourtz let out a sigh. "If you need me to leave Hyrule, then I promise to you I will never set foot in this Kingdom again. But for me, this can't go on. Not like this."

Before any could reply however an unknown voice taunting Chamdar sounded out from the condors of the dungeon. Before he had a chance to figure out what was going on Kourtz found this newcomer standing in the cell beside them. Kourtz screamed and jolted back as the ancient knight slammed his lookalike into the wall. The Mogma backed up into the corner as Chamdar threatened this new foe, his fur covered back pressing against the stone cold rock.    

IC: Taden Horwendil / Castle Dungeons / Day 7​  

Taden grimaced as a lookalike of Chamdar burst into the cell bearing Jotun's Axe, only to be pinned against the wall by the first Chamdar.

“Change out of that form, parasite. Change out of it before I force you out.”

Losing patience at last, Taden brushed past Chamdar and confronted the doppleganger.

"I don't care who or what returns my Axe, so long as it happens now."

Coating his hand in a glove of Blue Fire, he reached out and wrapped his fingers around the handle of the Axe. With Chamdar's staff trained on him, the interloper dared not resist, but still his white, spotless hands would not release the battle axe. For a moment, their eyes locked, all in the room glaring at this false Chamdar to see if he would attack. Taden met his ancient stare, and found in it nothing more than an imitation--behind the mimicry of Chamdar's eyes there watched something not at all human.

"Don't make me ask twice," Taden snarled through gritted teeth. He shoved one incandescent hand into the changeling's chest, and pulled his blade away. Stepping back from the two, Taden turned to face Dromand and his prisoners.

"It would seem the face of your army has a twin," he chided. "Fitting, for a Janus-faced king."

Wordlessly, he nodded towards Impa, and while Chamdar kept his clone at bay with his scepter, the Sheikah approached them with her seal.    

Alauth/Hyrule Castle Dungeon/Day 7

Alauth choked on the end of the staff rammed into his throat. The burning of holy energies seared the flesh of this construct. Chamdar, it seemed, was one to hold a grudge. Strong emotions fueled strong responses, but they also made a person weak. Alauth wondered what it would take to truly break the once-proud Scion. He was already a hairsbreadth from the edge. It would be so easy.

But why? What purpose would it serve to shatter the thin veil of control, and sanity, that Chamdar drew over his wounded and shattered psyche? For a start, it would be entertaining. Though making myself target of his fully unleashed ire may be unwise.

The seething fury barely contained behind Chamdar’s fiery gaze brought memories to Alauth of a long time ago. Of the last time it had seen Chamdar driven to such a rage. When the Scion had managed to stand toe-to-toe against Demise himself, and come out alive.

Ancient Past

“This is it! After this, nothing will be the same. My entire existence leads to this moment, Chamdar. And I am proud to have it beside you.” Polaris Eridanus, the Red Ice General, slapped Chamdar Taliesin on the back. The younger man stumbled briefly forward, taken by surprise at the General’s rowdiness.

“No, General Eridanus, it is my pleasure to fight beside you.”

Polaris shook his head. “Afraid not, man. You need to survive this war. You stay out of this fight. I’ve got nothing left to worry about if this fight goes my way, and all my life ahead of me even if it doesn’t.” Polaris cracked a wry grin at Chamdar’s look of momentary confusion.

“I respect you too much to allow you to stand alone.” “That’s too damn bad, then. This is my fight!”

Malauth finally interrupted the two’s banter. “Enough! I’ve done as you wish, General, and Demise is on his way. Do you want him to walk in on you two having a moment, or would you rather be prepared to face him?”

Polaris nodded to Malauth. “Right. Priorities.” Chamdar, for his turn, merely glared at the Ma.

Polaris closed his eyes, perhaps saying a brief prayer, and clapped his palms together. When he drew them apart, a majestic red ice sword formed between them. “Winter’s Tide shall clash with the tide of demon-flesh crossing Hyrule. Let us see which has more resolve.”

The sound of laughter rose over the crest of a nearby hill. “Resolve? None can stand against the might of Demise!”

The Demon King followed the sound of his voice, rising over the hill and dragging his wicked blade behind him.

“The Red Ice General desires death at my hands? And here I thought it was the little boy who played at being Hylia’s champion. I don’t know what you are, exactly, fish-man, but I respect the species more than Hylians; unlike them, running and hiding like mewling simpering cowards, you have the courage to face me. It pleases me greatly to see such misplaced valor.”

“Enough words,” Polaris said, sliding Winter’s Tide into a martial stance. “We are men of action. Let’s act!” He charged at Demise, bellowing a war cry. Demise stood his ground, condescending sneer ever present as his expression. At the last moment, the King of the Ma brought his sword up to block Polaris’ fatal strike. An blast of cold air rushed down the hillside from the clash, flash-freezing the grass and raising goosebumps over Chamdar’s and Malauth’s construct’s skin.

The two titans of war traded blow for blow, neither attaining an upper-hand against the other. It seemed, for once, that Demise had met his match. Thrust, jab, parry. Parry, thrust, thrust. Their mesmerizing dance of death was like a well-choreographed display of martial ability. Some movements were faster than the eye could follow. Demise’s powerhouse approach was matched by the trained perfection of Polaris’ mastery.

The sneer on Demise’s face began to falter. Malauth could almost read worry in that expression. Then, in an instant, it was over. Winter’s Tide found its target, and tore a gash through Demise’s torso. At the same time, Polaris’ head hit the frozen grass. There was no blood.


Chamdar burst from the bushes, murderous rage forcing him into action.

“Ah, there is the so-called Scion of the Goddess. Come, throw yourself, upon my blade as well!”

Even as Demise spoke, he was forced to parry Chamdar's violent blows. Their swords met with tremendous force, sparks flashed as metal broke against metal. If the fight with Polaris was awe-inspiring, then this was beyond description. As they dueled, Malauth sent a tendril out from its construct, pulling Eridanus' remains back into the bushes. It knew that Chamdar's rage was no match for Demise's malevolence. Adrenaline would gave way, and the Hylian Army would lose two great leaders that day, if something was not done.

Hylia's voice shouted to Chamdar from Malauth's hiding spot. "Chamdar! Run!"

Taliesin broke focus for a brief moment, glancing to see from where the Goddess called to him. He still parried Demise's strike. He turned his eyes to see that Polaris' corpse was gone. He still dodged Demise's blow. He turned and sprinted for the bushes. Demise held the wound in his torso and did not give chase. Malauth and Chamdar fled with Polaris' remains.

As they made their escape, Chamdar growled warning to the Ma through clenched teeth. "Never. Mimic. Her. Again."

Behind them, Demise let loose a condescending ripple of demonic laugh which boomed out across the field.

The Present

“Change out of that form, parasite. Change out of it before I force you out.”

Alauth narrowed his gaze at Chamdar. “As you wish.” The skin of the pseudo-Chamdar construct began to shimmer and crawl as it grew lighter, stretching in some places, shranking in others. The wild locks of brown hair faded to a dazzling blonde, and grew in straight falls to the transforming figure’s hips.

Then, trapped beneath Chamdar’s staff, the Living Goddess Hylia smiled. “Is this form more pleasing to you?”

  Chamdar’s reaction was swift and violent.    

Chamdar Taliesin – Hyrule Castle Dungeons – Day 7

“Is this form more pleasing to you?”

That thin veil, that tiny sliver of self-control, that slight shred of his once-dignified air burned away in a flash of divine light as it erupted out through the tip of his staff, discharging into the demon’s form with such force that it bleached the stones of the wall clean of any impurities.

But Malauth, to its credit, retained the form of Chamdar’s love, and even as he drew away his staff it mocked him with a too-sweet smile.

“Such a temper…” it drawled. It gestured down along the curves of her stolen form. “You wouldn’t really want to hurt me…?”

He snarled. “You’re not her, demon.”

He swung the blessed-wood staff into the construct’s temple, suppressing a wince as the Hylia-form reeled from his blow, spinning into the stones and collapsing to her knees. Surprise tears welled up in the corners of his eyes as he struck again, slamming the butt of his staff up into her-its chin.

  “You have no right to be here. You’re a sickness like the rest of your kind, a rogue strand of a contagion that should have been wiped out long ago.” He threw the staff aside, letting it clatter into the far corner, then lifted both hands up in front of him, palms facing the construct. As his chin trembled a light began to build around his outstretched hands, contained in two globes of radiant, supernal energies. “I will wipe you from the face of this earth, demon, if you spend one more second in that form. I will finish what should have been finished a thousand years ago.”    

This Message Will Self-Destruct

The Final Sirius Post, Castle Dungeons, Day 7​ Sirius felt hazy, not like himself. His confidence, his bravado, his attitude, where was it all? Bernard seemed distracted, uninterested, and yet also defiant and commanding. A young Zora spirit with such control seemed impossible, he had after all only been under Sirius’ command for mere days.

He tried to focus, but the story about Severa he had just read overwhelmed him. He was in a room of the familiar, and strangers. His goal was accomplished, but it was a hollow victory. Nothing felt right. Why was he here?

It’s beginning to become clear isn’t it? Bernard’s voice never stopped. The ultimate creation of Sirius Fulmaren sees into the mirror finally.

“...No.” Sirius whispered, looking at his hands, his legs, his body. They were real, he was real. He could never inflict upon himself the horror of his own work. He was real. He was real.

No. Bernard’s tone was final. And Sirius knew, the Zora spirit did not lie. He could not lie about such a thing. But he had lied about one thing.

“Bernard.” He whispered. “I don’t remember leaving the stasis chamber in snowpeak. When I put my body in there, when I stabilized the lab, how did I leave without getting a replacement energy source. How did I leave that lab.” Bernard said nothing. Sirius stayed huddled in the dark corner of the room, as two of the individuals conversed with one another. One he knew to be the shape-shifter, the other was not familiar, though the shape-shifter gave his name away. Chamdar. The conversation was wholly outside Sirius’ realm of knowledge, and that made him curious.

“Sirius Fulmaren would like to offer a gift to everyone.” Sirius was suddenly speaking, catching the attention of everyone. He was alarmed. He had neither chosen to speak, nor expected his speaking to be in third person. It was Bernard. Bernard was in control now. And he knew darkly, in that moment, he was not Sirius.

“This body. THIS BODY!” Sirius motioned at himself. “Is something a few of you recognize. Your petty arguments stop now, this absurdity stops now. I will drive the king and his kind out of his castle, to know my name, to know that this is merely the first of many acts. I am not Sirius Fulmaren, I am merely his doppelganger, his clone.” The shadowy image of Bernard materialized next to the clone Sirius, henceforth known as Avarius.

“Avarius is his name.” Bernard said. Expressions in the room varied from shocked, to confused, to outright anger, though Bernard knew that the anger in Chamdar’s eyes was still due to the shape-shifters stubborn arrogance. In some ways he hated to interrupt, but it was necessary, it was time. “I don’t think many of you have time or interest to here the story of why there is a clone sitting in this room, and what the purpose is. I’ll keep it brief.” Bernard continued on.

“Avarius is a full formed clone of Sirius Fulmaren, designed to perform a reconnaissance mission for Sirius, to seek out possible information on the time stone vault. He was created so Sirius could stay in his Laboratory in Snowpeak, and attend to more pressing matters.” Bernard closed his eyes, and those close to him would see a single tear fall. “I’m sorry, I did not choose to do this. Avarius is also a living bomb, and for all the power in this room, it would be no small matter to stay with him when he explodes. Again...I’m so sorry, but this is who Sirius is, this is what he does. He uses, and then destroys.” 

The cloned Sirius, Avarius, dumbfounded, stumbled forward and fell on top of the strange hybrid Hylian, Leif. The hybrid struggled and pushed Sirius off, glaring. The Clone Sirius mumbled to himself as he was pushed away

“I completely forgot about the bomb tech...”

“There are two things that can happen now. One of you can stay behind and kill Avarius, and the explosion will be smaller, contained. But undoubtedly the one who stays behind to perform the act will die.” Bernard opened his eyes again. “Or you can ignore me, and the explosion will likely kill all of you.” He looked at Chamdar briefly. “Perhaps just most of you, but certainly the toll will be far larger should you choose not to heed my words.” Bernard began to fade again. “For those of you who have met Sirius, you know him to be capable of this. Kill him now, sacrifice a single soul for the good of you all, or experience a much harsher fate...”

Alauth/Dungeon/Day 7

Alauth stared down Chamdar until the tension was broken from a rather unexpected course. Sirius broke out in a rant. Only, it wasn't the true Sirius. And now, the dungeon faced imminent destruction by exploding person. Alauth supposed it had seen weirder things. But it wasn't going to die. Not now. Not after the centuries. Not after finally beginning to regain its former powers.

And it wasn't about to let Chamdar die. Not the only being left in Hyrule proper that it knew; that knew it. No.

"Time for us to go, Scion. I'll change, as you wish..."

Alauth's form melted down to a shadow on the ground, which flowed under Chamdar's feet. Then, from that shadowed ground, four walls of metal sprouted up. Once higher than Chamdar's head, a top grew from all four sides toward the middle, imprisoning the holy man in a protective shell. Hundreds of tiny insect-like feet sprouted from the bottom of the box, and it scurried away at impressive speeds, leaving the rest in the dungeon to sort out who would die and who would live.

Kourtz/ Hyrule Castle Dungeons/ Day 7

"Are you serious?" Kourtz asked the ghostly image in a state of disbelief. Despite his brush with powerful magic and endless danger in the previous days, nothing could have prepared him for this. In seconds he and the others lives were put on the line by a magical clone he had never even heard of, created by a mad scientist he had never even meet. Looking around the room he could see the same look of terror or confusion upon everyones face. Everyone except Taden. 

"Taden, please tell me this isn't true? Please tell me these guys are trying to fake us out!" 

"I'm afraid he speaks the truth" the shaman replied back to Kourtz. "In the high Arctic I meet this lunar wizard. A madman without conscience or moral standing, his insanity knows no bounds. I witnessed firsthand his ability to copy the mind and soul of his victims. Now he intends to turn this power against us."

"He's right" said Bernard bleakly. "There's not much time. One of you has to do this."

"Oh... Well then, this is a easy decision. I vote we force our mysterious shapeshifting pal to sacrifice itself while we all get away. That OK with you Chamdar?" 

Kourtz turned around to see the said shapeshifter transform into a strange legged cage and run off with the scions knight in tow. 

"Wait no! Get back here! We need you! Come back here and die!" As Kourtz ran out of the cell to chase them he found the demon had left behind a chest and backpack filled with their confiscated weapons. The mole-man reached in and found not only his stolen boomerang, but his slingshot and magic cane he had lost day one of his adventures. "About e'ffin time" Kourtz mumbled under his breath. He then turned to speak out to his friends. 

"Everyone get back. I'll find a way to get rid of bomb now."

"No, NO!" Sirius cried out in a panicked fit of rage. "What have I done? This can't be happening, not to me! I've killed so many clones before, but I am different. I am unique. I AM ALLIIVVEEE!!!" Cracking his whip the lunatic clone began attacking all who stood around him. 

"Don't worry, I'll knock him out. Perhaps that will stop the explosion." As the Mogma's boomerang was thrown towards his head Sirius knocked it down with his whip. Kourtz then charged up a shot with his slingshot. Again Sirius attempted to whip it out of the air, only to discover the pelts were electrified. As he fell to the floor screaming in pain Bernard shook his head.

"That's not going to work. This bomb technology is controlled remotely. There's nothing that can stop it now."

"There has to be a way. Taden, try and freeze him. The bomb can't explode if it's frozen." 

Nodding, Taden let blue fire ignite in his hand and sent forth a wave of ice which speed across the ground. Leaping forward the lunar mage summoned a beam of moonlight, melting the ice in an explosion of purple electricity.

"I already told you it's not going to work" said Bernard once more. "I'm sorry, but if you want to save your friends your going to have to sacrifice yourself." 

Kourtz growled at the Zora youth in deep frustration. "I don't need advice from a haunted, talking notebook! I'll figure this out, I have too! I know! I'll use my Cane of Pacci to reverse the bombs timer." Kourtz rapidly flung the yellow cane forward and back, launching beams of enchanted light. When they hit Sirius however all they did was spin him around and make the scientist dizzy. 

"You arrogant dumbass! What part of "it won't work" do you not understand? What, did you forget take your stupid medicine this morning?" 

"Shut up!" yelled Kourtz on the verge of tears. "We can't die here. Not after all we've been through. Isn't there somebody who can do something!??"

Tarah Vass / Hyrule Castle Dungeons / Day 7

Tarah simply observed the events as they unfolded. She remained still until there was mention of a bomb. Tarah took this announcement of the explosive as her invitation to leave. She was the third to depart, after witnessing the strange legged cage construct run from the room Tarah grabbed her bow, quiver and hunting knife as Kourtz withdrew his items from the chest that lay before them. Unlike her mogma companion, Tarah did not stay to fight,. She simply slipped out of the door. Tarah had no interest in sacrifice, and planned to retreat far enough to avoid the impact of the bomb whether someone subdued it or not. 

Not knowing if anyone had even seen her leave Tarah ran through the shaded corridors of the dungeons, covered in a shroud of darkness from her scythe. Taking steps two at a time she quickly reached ground level and barged past several guards who quickly gave chase as she left the castle into the town. Weaving through the crowd of the morning market she quickly lost the guards and reached the drawbridge. Sprinting past more guards, Tarah emerged onto Hyrule Field and didn’t stop until she reached a huge tree and clambered into its high branches. 

Hidden in the branches of the lofty oak, Tarah began to regret leaving her comrades behind but was still content with her decision. Life had trained her to flee, the only strange thing about this was that she hadn’t run sooner. Unsure of the fate of those in the dungeon, Tarah had no choice but to wait. She had not seen or heard any signs of an explosion yet meaning that someone must have made the sacrifice, or that this bomb was not as powerful as had been suggested. 

From her perch in the tree Tarah stared intently back at the castle, waiting to see any sign of those she had deserted in the dungeons. 

Tarah Vass / Hyrule Field / Day 7

As Tarah stared back at the castle from the safety of the vast field she began to wonder what had happened following her departure. If this Sirius, or Avarius, whoever he was, was to be believed somebody must have sacrificed themselves to halt the explosion or she would have seen its impact. 

Running through the possibilities Tarah considered each person who had been present in the dungeon. It wouldn’t have been Taden, he wouldn’t throw his life away for others. Kourtz however was definitely a possibility, she had seen him try to fight it, but wasn’t sure if Kourtz was willing to go as far a dying for the sake of others. She ruled out Leif and Xiaber, a killer and a cry baby. Neither of them had it in them. 

A smile broke across Tarah’s face as a thought passed her mind, how much would the King do to protect his people? This was a pointless thought though, Dromand would most likely just order Impa to take the blow instead of taking it himself. But wait, there had to have been more in that dungeon, two had arrived with Sirius, maybe they were the heroic type. There was still something missing. Someone else, but Tarah just couldn’t place it, until it hit her. 

“Shinsou” She muttered bleakly, before repeating the name slightly louder “Shinsou!” 

Slamming her fist into the rough trunk of the tree Tarah couldn’t believe her stupidity. The girl she had vowed to protect remained in the dungeon, in the face of danger. In a panic, Tarah jumped down from the tree and ignoring the pain from the impact she ran back. The anger she felt for her own instincts fueling her sprint, Tarah ran back towards the castle, desperately hoping for the safety of the girl. 

IC: Taden Horwendil / Castle Dungeons / Day 7

Taden scoffed, ceaselessly mocking the King. "And alas, your standard bearer is rolled away no sooner than he unfurls himself."

With his axe in hand, he became bold. Chamdar had been carried off by his shapeshifting lookalike, but the clone of Sirius still writhed on his knees just inside the dungeon door. Kourtz and Taden squared off against him, standing almost shoulder to shoulder as they stared down the second doppelganger. As he neared detonation, his composure collapsed, along with his motor function.

"N-No...!" he screamed, grunting to get the words out. He slammed his hand on the doorframe, blocking the exit with his dark aura of lightning; he gazed across the room at them with thunder in his eyes. Perhaps Sirius had not built his bombtech with the deepest, darkest dungeon in Hyrule in mind; perhaps Avarius was not certain how far his blast would fly once they made it past the door.

"How it huffs and puffs, and yet, if we chop off its head?" Taden glanced over his shoulder at Kourtz. The Mogma sank bank on one heel and raised his slingshot cord to his eye.

"Bomb's gotta have a fuse somewhere," he shrugged.

As the Mogma sent a volley of electric shot over the air Taden slung his axe over his back and barreled in towards Avarius, pulling the Yeti Mask from his cloak and tugging it over his face. In a burst of Blue Fire, he landed on leathery hands and feet in front of the kneeling mage, just as a flash of lightning stunned his senses.

Taden scooped up Avarius's numbed body and hurled him over the heads of his allies into the far wall, slamming his skull against the black brick. The clone began to squirm up from the ground, groveling on all fours, unable to stand for the moment. Taden shouted to the others.

"I led this abomination southward; it falls to me to destroy it."

In his Yeti form, his voice was a harsh growl. If he stood at his full height, his head would scrape the ceiling in the cramped dungeon, but he stayed bent low, walking on his forearms. In these closed quarters, he almost instinctively reached for his dagger, and then realized Tarah had fled. He reached over his shoulder and unclasped his Axe, rearing back onto his haunches and stooping to hold it in both hands, lowering his thick brow.

"Impa, get the King and Shinsou to safety. Any of you who would remain behind to fight it," he looked around at the lot, "keep your distance. Otherwise, go to your King."

While the way out was open, Impa threw Shinsou over her shoulder and took the King by the arm, rushing toward the door with them. But she stopped just outside the door, long enough to glimpse back at Taden and meet his narrow, black eye.

Just remember, Horwendil, she intoned to him, speaking with her mind, Once you wear the Mark, it is I who will give the orders.

He glared back at her with the immutable ape's scowl. The Yeti are of the Night's Flame, and heed not the words of man.

Before they attacked again, she shouted one last remark to the gathered thieves. "We will rendezvous at the drawbridge at sundown. If you wish to receive the Eye then, and its talents, you will come in peace." Then she disappeared into the endless halls.

Taden rounded at last on the purple powder keg. "I should've killed you when I had the chance," he said, then lunged through the air with a roaring howl that shook the walls of the dungeons. He raised his axe at an angle, then brought it slashing down on Avarius's neck.

The Avatar of Sirius Fulmaren - Avarius​

"I should have killed you when I had the chance." 

Avarius watched as the blade came crashing down. Mere moments before he had scrambled and fought for his life, but why bother now? He wasn't even the real Sirius, he didn't care if these people blew up, he didn't care. His life, all 24 hours of it, flashed before his eyes. Trekking from snowpeak to Hyrule, battling the fool Zerin, believing all the while he was on a mission to force information out of the royal family. He ended up being nothing more than an object of terrorism, a flagrant attempt at noise making, attention getting. The real Sirius still waited in his lab, somewhere deep inside, working on whatever nefarious, brilliant, and foolish plans he had concocted up.

Avarius life was over. The axe struck, the cut was clean, no blood flowed, he was not a true living creature. He wasn't even a proper clone. His always lifeless eyes watched his body, and after his two seconds of post decaptitatory existential horror, it all went black. The second clone made by Sirius was dead, its task completed.

Bernard Kotaro, Unwilling Servant​

The notebook clattered against the floor, and Bernar'd spirit looked down upon it. Avarius was a real piece of work. Taden seemed satisfied, believing to have disproved the bomb theory. Indeed, the few remaining in the room all breathed sighs of relief, exchanged looks, or otherwise revealed themselves to be at ease.

"15 seconds." Bernard uttered the words. He felt sorry for the mistake that Taden had made. Felt sorry for those that weren't already racing down the corridor behind Impa and the King. He looked at Taden. "Better run."

Kourtz/ Hyrule Castle Dungeon/ Day 7

Kourtz bolted out of the room, panic-stricken at the words uttered by the Zoran ghost. Had it been under normal circumstances Kourtz was sure he would have uttered something foul. Now however he hadn't even the time to speak such unnecessary words. He hadn't the time to do anything but run. Run as he did though he saw the others easily blast past him with their thicker human legs.

It was an incredible feeling to Kourtz. He knew in his mind that this was the end. There was no way he could escape the explosion in time, not at his pace. In seconds it would all be over. His quest would come to an end in the same place it started.

"Wait that's it" Kourtz thought in an instant. As the others ran up the stairs their non-human companion slid to a halt outside a nearby jail cell. The same one he had escaped from six days ago with his new friends. Whipping out the Cane of Pacci and blasting at the doors latch in a single motion, he heard it click open.

Ripping it open as fast as he could Kourtz ran inside. There he was confronted by a curious onlooker who stood before him.

"What? Who are..."

"IT'S A BOMB" Kourtz yelled as he passed the Human. As suspected in the back of the cell was a dirt filled corner. Digging for his life the mole man scurried his way underground. Desperately he began searching for of the tunnel he had created during his first escape. He prayed there was some remnant that the guards hadn't yet filled in.

"A bomb" Cirdan said as he stuck his head out into the empty hallway. Although he couldn't see anything he began to hear beeping. Beeping which steadily grew faster and louder.

"HOLY SHIT!!! WAIT FOR ME!!!" The man dove in after the Mogma as the bomb went off. In an instant the cell was filled with a fierce light and an unbearable heat. Screaming could be heard as the duo were engulfed in a massive explosion.

Gli/ Hyrule Castle Dungeons/ Day 7

Gli frowned bitterly at the shackles and chains that jingled around her wrists and legs, binding her from shifting from a simple standing position as they walked inside the dungeon walls. She let her mind wander in order to ignore the guards; Many of them were quite racist, it seemed, and she had little patience for it anymore. She saw it more worth her time to listen to the voices that chanted on in her head about everything and nothing. Though, among a few of her mental invaders, there seemed to be bigots even among the voices of madness, speaking ill of all but their own race, some even venemous towards their own in passive aggressive indifference. 

However, Gli was relieved that unlike the guards voices that bounced and echoed against the expansive stone walls, her mental conversations were mercifully quiet. In fact, she could barely hear them at all beyond the droning breathy whispers of unintelligible nature. She faintly smiled at their uncharacteristic softness.

She kept her eyes to the ground, watching her small feet drag stiffly on to carry her forward alongside the guards that escorted her. Had her head been less filled with madness, she assumed she might have actually been able to hear her own feet impacting the ground. Sadly, she could not hear them; There were far too many sounds around her. Minutes passed, and Gli began to ponder how the size of this dungeon. She at first thought its size gratuitous and wasteful, but then as she was allowed time to think over the voices, she realized how wrong she was to think such a thing. Of course this place is huge; It was made by, for and with the king and his desires involved. This was a place meant for nearly countless prisoners, and its expansive size was evidence.

She started to consider that perhaps the fact that these guards thought so little of her; Something less than human, they were going out of there way to give her the deepest, furthest possible cell they could find within the dungeon walls. It would be easier to forget about her, and if she were to expire, the stench would be far and out of the way. Gli then began to ponder on the possibility of being privelaged to experience the feeling of being devoured by vermin and maggots; an end of the physical form that would be as slow as it would be methodical. A cruelty greater than anything the world around her could muster; that of nature itself. She shivered knowing that if such a thing were to pass, she would be able to feel every second of it, and her only escape would be by the mercy of the magical amulet in her chest. 

She tried to allow her mind to wander further, but an oddity filled the room; Silence. Every guard had come to a hush, causing Gli to look up in response, finally tearing her gaze from the ground. The guards were curiously looking around, as if they were unsure of what to do. One of them broke the silence after several excruciatingly long seconds.

"Oi', what's that noise now?!"

Gli perked her ear, as if triggered by the guard's words. Much to her surprise, there was in fact an new oddity in the air. Beeping echoed through the halls, which seemed to louder and louder with each passing second. The Deku girl watched as the guards that towered over her walked forth, leaving her right behind them as they defensively grouped together in the corridor they had just entered, swords drawn and stance ready. The beeping was growing louder, but before Gli could think on this phenomenon, a voice from within her head erupted forth. Its loudness was such that she was certain that her ears had ruptured, despite the voice not truly being there in the plane of reality.

"DUCK!!!!!" the voice screamed.

Gli's head was splitting before the flash of burning white filled the room, followed instantly by a deafening boom. As she dove to the ground where she stood, she curled up defensively against the ground, hoping to protect her more vital areas; Mostly the amulet though. The searing heat was but a warm glow to her, however, the shock-wave that followed violently pushed everyone into the wall behind them with a sickening collective crack of bone and armor upon impact. She grit her teeth hard as she felt her left arm violently dislocate from the impact. She grunted painfully as she hit the wall shins first, and could faintly hear the crunch of her own flesh being pressed and cracked. She lied there in pain for what felt like forever.

Eventually, she was able to wriggle herself from from the pile of scorched bodies that she was a part of. Everything was blackened in soot and ash, with occasional glowing red in the brick. Her legs ached horribly, which wobbled weakly before she fell to her knees pathetically. She winced as she clutched her head; A concussion had blurred her vision and complicated the mere act of focusing on movement. Eventually, she slowly released her head from her grip as her small hands rested back to the ground. Despite the pain, she forced herself to move, ignoring the fact that everything ached. Her vision was failing again, but she knew the reason wasn't anything as merciful as sleep or death.

As she dragged herself forth, she happened upon a cell that was left ajar, unlike all the others. Her keen nose could smell the blood of living beings within the room, despite its emptiness. The room stunk; It smelled like the amulet in her chest. She lamented her failure to follow the trail while she still could. She lamented further as a horrible realization struck her; The search for the original owner may very well be a futile one, and she had given a promise that would be impossible to fulfill. She couldn't pass on to a host that was already dead, for the deal was for him to be alive. Dread filled her all the way down to her stomach, which festered in its unbearable indifference. She felt sick at the thought of the wrath of the Infernal spirit, should she ever admit she made such a deal.

Painfully and slowly, she rose to her feet, displaying barely enough strength to pull her chains from the ground. Lurching forth, she noticed nothing out of the ordinary about the cell room. However, as she peered into the darker crevices of the room, the Deku girl noticed a freshly dug hole in the ground, snugly resting in the corner. She opened her mouth to audibly respond to the oddity and possibility of salvation. Perhaps the man she searched for was still alive; Perhaps she still had a chance! However, she was not privy the opportunity as darkness engulfed her vision. Consciousness abandoned her briefly after, and Gli's body crumpled to the ground with a crunchy thud.


Taden Horwendil / Castle Town / Evening 7

Taden emerged from Dromand's palace at the south gate, having charged his way through the widest tunnels on long Yeti limbs. He tried not to linger on the fate of whatever souls were held prisoner in Dromand's dungeons. As he watched trails of chimney smoke drifting away under the rose hued clouds of sunset, he reflected that, at least now, they were free.

Tarah pressed through from the thronging town below to the paths leading up to the gate. He waited for her, arms folded under his cloak, with the Yeti mask now strapped at his hip. As she approached, Taden saw her study the charred black stains on his face and shoulders, and a searching question formed in her eyes.

"She's with Impa," he said.

"And where is that?" Tarah asked, taking the darkest sense of Taden's cryptic words.

He straightened up in his boots and let his cloak fall away from his chest. In one arm, he held the severed head of Avarius, the demon spawn of Fulmaren's laboratory. With them side by side, he could almost feel the magnetic tug between the head and Jotun's mask, so great was the seething rage in the mask for the scientific sorcerer's blight on the mountainside.

The other hand he held stretched out to Tarah, palm upward.

"Lend me your knife for a moment, and I'll tell you."

Tarah Vass / Castle Town / Evening 7

Sprinting back through the gates and into castle town with the speed and urgency of a rolling Goron messenger Tarah pushed past anyone standing in her way. She didn't realise it, but as she stormed through the crowds shadows formed beside her to force the crowds apart as if the Scythe itself was trying to aid her in her task to find Shinsou.

As she approached the gate to the dungeons Tarah saw smoke rising from within and feared the worst for her companions. A single regretful tear formed in the corner of her eye for those she presumed lost in the blast, only to be wiped away as she caught sight of Taden waiting at the entrance. Stopping dead in her tracks and attempting to catch her breath Tarah stared at Taden as he answered her question before it could pass her lips.

"She's with Impa," he said calmly, and in contrast to Tarah’s wild state. 

"And where is that?" Tarah asked promptly, sensing a darker side to his riddles.

Taden paused for a moment before responding, raising his palm as he spoke. 

"Lend me your knife for a moment, and I'll tell you."

“Fine, take it.” Tarah replied hastily, pushing the handle of the blade into Tadens outstretched hand. “Just make it quick.”

: Taden Horwendil / Hyrule Castle / Night 7

"Just make it quick."

Taden smirked at the impatient girl. "Yes, I wouldn't want to keep you waiting."

He clenched the knife in his right palm and felt its cool pommel drip icy magick through to his bones. It had a calming effect on his nerves, after the jarring blast from below still rattled him. He breathed deeply as the weight of the cold metal settled in his hand.

Holding up the severed, bloodless head of Avarius, Taden stared closely at the clone's dead eyes. This madman plagued the Yeti homeland still, his dark experiments creeping further into their sacred mountain range. In time, Taden would return to Snowpeak, and have his revenge on the Lunatic. Until then, he would keep a reminder on him at all times.

He plunged the knife into the pupil of Avarius's right eye, waited for its icy tip to freeze the gelatinous orb, then plucked it from its socket and held it up in the cool, twilit air. Its frozen core sparkled in the setting sun like a deep purple gem. Taden pocketed the frozen Eye of Avarius, then pricked the other from its socket and presented it to Tarah. The dark gem stared up at her from the end of the knife.

"This may prove useful should we face this enemy again," he said. "I doubt we've heard the last of Fulmaren."

Tarah looked doubtfully at the frozen eye's black pupil. The white of its cornea had crystallized into a translucent indigo hue. She pulled the dagger from Taden's hand and slid the Eye of Avarius into her robes. When she looked up, Taden had already started walking past the Castle gates towards town.

"And what of the girl du Ciel entrusted to me?" she yelled at the hoary back of his head. "I am to guard Shinsou until his return."

"If you hope to guard this child, you may learn something yet from the Nurse of Shadow," he called over his shoulder. "She waits for us at the City gates."

Mark/Hyrule Castle/Day 7

As soon as the head hit the ground, Mark charged into the room, saying to himself, “Screw the formalities.” While grabbing Xiaber’s arm, Mark noticed he had a big look of surprise on his face. That was to be expected, though. Mark ran as fast as he could, with Xiaber being partially dragged behind him, being left behind by some of the people while also leaving behind others.

After the dreaded fifteen seconds were up, a deafening explosion ripped its way throughout the halls. Mark and Xiaber found an extra boost of speed thanks to being chased by the deadly flames. They finally rounded a corner and hid behind a wall, saving them just enough from the extreme heat. When the explosion finally died down, Mark slid down the wall on to his butt and gave out a great sigh. “Man, that was a close one.” He couldn’t stop from giving off a cheeky grin.

Xiaber, on the other hand, just stared at Mark in even more confusion. Finally, he pointed a finger at him, as if in accusation, and said, “You’re supposed to be dead.”

“Me?” Mark laughed. “You’re the one that was executed and then brought into a jail cell where a bomb would be planted.”

Xiaber shook his head. “No, I saw you die, Marth.” Marth? Wait, was he talking about the old owner of this body? That would explain why he had been in control this whole time. But he thought his name was Mark.

“Well I’m a pretty good actor, huh?” Marth stood back up and started the trek to the entrance of the castle. “Anyways, now that that’s done, let’s get out of here. In fact, let’s get out of this whole kingdom. There is way too much violence and disharmony and such going on here.”

“Actually,” Xiaber stopped; looking down at his hands as he almost mumbled these words. “I- I’m staying.” Those words stopped Mark right in his tracks. His smile got wiped off his face.

“What did you say?” Mark turned around and looked at Xiaber. The boy timidly continued to stare at his hands. Those hands must have been a lot more interesting than the quite intimidating boy in front of him.

“I want to join those people. I want to be a Shiekah-” Xiaber began

“You want to damn yourself. Do you really think you can go head to head with anything those people will fight?” Mark’s hands became fists, and those fists were starting to shake uncontrollably. “You really aren’t that strong. Your best bet to even think about becoming some kind of hero would be to get out of here and train more. You have a broken arm for Din’s sake!”

“You don’t know me!” Xiaber exclaimed. They both seemed to be surprised by his outburst. “I’ve trained for years, and yeah, I still am weak, but doing this will help me become stronger. It will be the best training I’ve ever had. And this arm,” Xiaber slowly lifted the broken arm out of the sling, even though it was obvious it brought him pain, “is completely fine. As long as it can pull this string back,” he pointed at the bow on his back with the bad arm, “I’m good. You can go do whatever you want. I’m staying to protect it.” He ran away, leaving Mark to seethe behind him.

“‘Go do whatever I want?’ What I want is what you want!” Mark punched the wall, leaving a small chipped off hole there, but making his fist a bloody mess. “That’s what I’ve always wanted! That’s the only thing I can want when all there ever was was you!”

The sound of rustling metal made Mark look around to see a group of soldiers running at him. He unsheathed his sword and pointed it at them. “And what is it that you want!”

Cirdan/ Castle Dungeons/ Afternoon 7

Despite avoiding the initial blast, he still found himself dazed from the sheer deafening bang of the explosion's concussive properties. Cirdan's large body emerged from the dirt in a clumsy manner as he stumbled and shambled from his hiding place with the mole man he had followed. He pitied anyone who failed to avoid the mysterious explosion as he found himself unable to see much else than stars. He stumbled more, barely able to catch himself against the cell wall behind him as he clutched his head with his free hand. He blinked repeatedly as he shook his head, hoping to somehow shake his headache in a more literal sense while waiting for his vision to fix itself.

"Oye...Th' hell?" Cirdan grumbled under his breath. 

He straightened his back with a stretch as he massaged a shoulder, coughing and sputtering from the dirt and soot in his eyes and throat. His eyes drifted to the ground, using the moment of silence to occupy his thoughts more positively as he examined the broken and scorched brick ground. With a startled jump, he realized that the room he was once imprisoned had a new visitor; It didn't look pretty either, as the pungent odor of charcoal drifted from the heap of blackened flesh and armor before him. He dared not confirm whether it was alive; He told himself he would immediately regret it. Instead, he did the only thing he could think to do.

"Oye! Th' hell!?!?" He repeated in a mixture of surprise and exacerbation as he gestured at the body, looking to the hole he had left moments ago.

Kourtz/ Castle Dungeons/ Afternoon 7

Kourtz emerged from the ground following the mystery man he had taken cover with. Spitting soot out from his mouth he began rubbing the dust away from his face. Though the explosion had seared it's way through the dungeon he was somehow still alive. Kourtz knew Mogma's would burry themselves deep underground to survive the lava plumes whenever Death Mountain erupted, which is why he chose to seek protection in this hole. Still he didn't actually think it work. Saying a brief prayer of thanks to the gods Kourtz took a deep breath and cleared his blurred vision.

The Mogma solemnly wondered if any of his friends had managed to escape the blast. He was about to leave the charred cell to find out when he stumbled across a strange creature. It looked like a large Deku... no a Skullkid... no a... Kourtz had never seen a race such as this. It appeared to be a young woman from the eastern forests, but beyond that she was an enigma to him. Kourtz was about to say out loud he had never seen such a strange person in his life. However after meeting a time traveler, a shapeshifter, a clone, and a notebook with a Zora ghost in it over the previous hour, this was about par for the course.

"Oye! Th' hell!?!?" said the man next to him.

"Yeah... your guess is as good as mine as to what that is. ...Or how it even got here in the first place."

Though he didn't know if he could fully trust the girl it didn't look truly threatening. Kourtz felt bad for the pitiful looking woman. Despite his better judgement he couldn't just sit around and watch someone die. He walked over and slowly tilted the Deku Hybrid onto her back. He put his long left ear over where he assumed her heart would be. He could hear a faint sound but couldn't say if it was beating or not. Kourtz then raised her head up with his lanky arms.

"Hey, hey! Miss forest girl. Are you still alive? Say something if you can hear me!"

Gli and Cirdan/ Castle Dungeons/ Afternoon 7

Gli's eyes snapped open, darting immediately and manically about the room as she woke back up with a painful jerk. Her vision was slightly blurred, but she could still make out figures. She was being held up by what seemed to be humanoid, but covered in fur; A Mogma, she could only assume. She had seen several before in the past, and she had correctly figured the feel of their skin would be the way she felt them now. The curious phenomenon of being touched with nonviolent intent was soon lost from her mind as she looked to the other figure. It was large, muscular and unmistakably human...And it stunk...It smelled like...No. It couldn't be. 

The Deku girl began to hyperventilate, clutching her chest with one hand as the other pointed towards the figure.

"Y-you're supposed to be DEAD!! I saw you die at the block! Oh Goddesses please don't be a vengeful spirit to claim me!"

Cirdan, confused, started to move to try his best to comfort the creature, but this only worsened her panic.

"NO, A DEMON! I SMELL DEATH ON YOU!! STAY AWAY!" She cried as she tried to struggle away, but she was much too weak. Her body was currently not agreeing with the same vigor as her head was, as it seemed to be taking all of her strength simply to point at the man. She prayed that her strength would return as she stared, her eyes never blinking. She continued to hyperventilate, but this did not deter her resolve. Voices shouted unintelligibly in her head by the thousands, some yelling in pain, some in confusion, while the rest did the same as Gli was. Her mind was nothing but thousands of lives worth of panic, enough to bring ulcer to any living or normal being in seconds.

Cirdan stared back at her, lost for words and without even a bodily response to such a response from the small creature. He could only sigh and shrug, before he noticed something strange upon the creature's chest.

"Aye Mogma...' he started softly, which only made Gli gasp, which was what he hoped, 'Y' see that on 'er chest? It looks real nasty from 'ere, but I think I seen it b'fore..." He carefully pointed, crouching down to try to make himself seem smaller to the hysterical girl.

"I think tha's my amulet..." He continued with a squint, daring not to grow closer despite his curiosity.

Kourtz/ Castle Dungeons/ Evening 7

"Your amulet eh? Hmmmm..." said Kourtz scratching his chin. Staring at the woman he couldn't help but be put off by her otherworldly eyes, and the charred appearance of her skin. And yet as freighting as she seemed it was the plant girl who cowered in fear before them. Kourtz took a moment to ponder why she seemed so scared of this man. A second later his mind pieced together the pieces and the Mogma snapped his claws as he came up with an explanation. 

"Oh, I get it! You saw us get executed didn't you? That's why you think we're dead." Kourtz kneeled down next to the Human and softened his voice.

"Hey miss, please don't be scarred of us. I promise we're not going to hurt you. In fact, I think I can explain why you think we are dead. First let me assure you that we're not! See the King of Hyrule has been holding false executions outside this castle to convince everyone that we're all dead. In reality the only ones that have been beheaded were imposters who were disguised by magic. The king needed to convince everyone that we are dead so that he could recruit us as secret agents."

Kourtz let his words sink in for the girl while he turned to face the man. "Of course that's just how I'm still here. I assume you did something similar judging from what I heard you shout out of your cell earlier. Probably using magic like that yeah?" A nod was enough of a reply to confirm this to him.

"Well then that's enough explanation for me. Anyways we're getting distracted" said Kourtz turning to leave. "I think we need to get out of here. I don't know why, but someone out there trying to kill us. That bomb very nearly did the trick. We need to leave in case something else tries to finish the job."

Cirdan/ Castle Dungeons/Evening 7

"Sure, sure..." Cirdan absentmindedly responded, scratching his head and barely listening as he glanced back to Gli.

The Deku girl laid there pathetically, handcuffed and exhausted; This didn't sit well for him. Criminal or not, his conscience disallowed him to leave that cell without her. His eyes fixed themselves on the amulet once more, which seemed to be attached, if notgrafted on her right breast. He winced at the thought, but had to be sure. Gli gasped in surprise as Cirdan crouched down next to her with sudden movement and intent, but could not react effectively in her current state. He frowned and rubbed his chin thoughtfully as he eyed the amulet up close, along with the singed skin that surrounded its edges, before reach for it with his index finger and thumb. Lightly gripping the sides of the amulet, he tried to jostle the coin-like artifact from its current position, but to no avail; It was stuck there, which he found rather vexing. Gli grit her teeth in discomfort as the large man tried to remove what was basically a replacement for her heart, and sighed in relief when he quickly gave up.

With a frustrated sigh, Cirdan slowly rose back up to his feet as he crossed his arms. Realizing his mistake in lollygagging, he took a glance down the hall and then scooped the Deku girl up by her cuffed arms. Her smaller size made gripping both arms with one hand an easy task, which he mused to himself about as he lightly jogged to catch up with the Mole man. To freedom.

"Oye, wait up! I barely kno' the place since 'ey blindfol'ed me on th' way in!" He whispered as loudly as he could.

Kourtz/ Castle Dungeons/ Evening 7

"What? ...Oh you mean the way out." Kourtz almost didn’t understand the man who somehow had an even thicker accent than his own Mogma dialect.

"No worries. I’ll show you the way. I've been stuck here long enough to know my way around." Though it had only been three days Kourtz's time behind bars somehow felt like it lasted for over four months. He had a difficult time imagining what life must feel like for those who had stayed longer then that. Even for a being that spent most of his time underground he couldn't wait to see the open sky again. Within moments he would grant that wish.

"By the way, I didn't get a name from you."

"I'm Cirdan" said the man.

"Well my names Kourtz. Kourtz "the Mogma" if you ask any of my friends. It's nice to meet you, though I wish it was under better circumstances."

Kourtz/ Castle Town/ Night 7

Kourtz, Cirdan, and Gli all exited the dungeons through the smoking ruins on the side of the entrance. A bright moon crept over the horizon as the red glow of twilight gave way to darkness. Though Skyloftians patrolled overhead few could make out the figures shrouded in ash and shadow. From the castle grounds Kourtz snuck his way past the gates and into the quiet of a city fearful of war. Kourtz couldn't help but want to say goodbye to his friends, to tell them he was still alive. After a week of trying to escape from his servitude to the crown however he didn't dare risk going back for fear of being drawn into the conflict once more. Instead he came up with a new plan.

"I don't know about you guys, but I'm leaving this country for Calatia. Now that the war has started there's nothing left for me here."

Turning up North Castle Town Road Kourtz came upon his former business, the Mogma Treasure Shop. The door still hung open like the night the guards had burst in and arrested him.

"Well this is my place... Or at least what's left of it. I'm going to collect whatever remains of my belongings before departing. Will you two be O.K?"  Cirdan gave a thumbs up and said they would be.

"Alright then, best of luck to the both of you. Who knows, perhaps well run into another someday." As the others departed Kourtz entered the shop and tried to close the door as best as he could. Despite the time away the store seemed remarkably well intact all things considered. It was cold and dark inside with faint light creeping in from cracks in the celling. After endless hours of imagining this moment, it felt strange to actually be living it. With no one around he began to talk to himself.

"To think it's only been a week, and yet I don’t even feel like the same person anymore. Was it really worth it? After all I did to get to this moment... was any of that worth this?" Kourtz waited for an answer yet none came.

Alauth/Hyrule Castle Town/Afternoon 7

"Release me, demon, or so help me I will break my way from this construct and destroy you!"

Chamdar's shouting had not lessened, and it was true the heat of divine magic was increasing inside the box-construct Alauth had used to save the Scion. So, Alauth did as asked, spitting Chamdar out into the open air before reshaping the box into a Hylian form.

"That is, by my count, three that you owe me now, Scion."

"I owe you nothing." Chamdar retorted with scathing hatred twisting his voice.

"That's not very fair. I saved you from Demise, twice, and I just rescued you from exploding in a dungeon."

"There was on explosio-"

Chamdar's response was cut short as the ground shook and a large detonation blew masonry out from the castle walls to rain down on random sections of the town. Alauth turned from the ensuing panic and destruction to cast a wry look on the man.

"You were saying?"

"I could have survived that."

Alauth just hummed, amused. Chamdar began to stalk off back toward the castle.

"As I said, demon, I owe you nothing. That you live now is repayment enough for anything you could do or have done for me. And that is pending change. Should you cross me, ever again, but once, and all my powers will be devoted until my dying breath to seeing you destroyed, completely and utterly."

Alauth's construct bowed its head to Chamdar. "So be it, Scion."

Chamdar disappeared into the panic-stricken crowds.

Later, Night 7

Hyrule Castle Town had not taken the explosion at the castle very well. The idea that Zoran infiltrators had already made it so far into their most well-defended bastion terrified those who were willing to think about it. Many milled about the town with waxen expressions of fear, doing their best to pretend everything was alright despite the obvious truth staring at them in the form of black dusty smoke spiraling skyward from the castle.

Alauth mingled in with the masses, learning of their plight. It would be so easy to cause a panic, induce mass hysteria. But that wouldn't do, not yet anyway. It still had to find those who may have survived the explosion. They were marked by fate, for some important destiny. Such would require exploitation. The search proved worthwhile, there were at least a few from the dungeons it spotted also sneaking their way through the crowds. Kourtz the Mogma, and what looked to be the burnt remains of the plant-girl being carried by some man Alauth did no recognize.

Kourtz would lead it back to the others. Alauth followed at a distance, and the mogma went to a familiar place: the rundown shack of a shop he had once called home. The man carrying the plant-girl left, and after a few moments, Alauth flattened its construct to enter the ajar door without alerting Kourtz, and then returned to an old construct, with a new twist.

Meredith Delaan/Night 7/Mogma Shop; Hyrule Castle Town

Meredith watched her old friend Kourtz as he frantically packed what items he deemed important, or necessary for his flight. He had not noticed her enter because she had not entered. She stood there as though she had always been there, burnt and tattered scraps of clothing hanging on her torn and bloody body. A sliver of light from the door cast a line across the floor; she had no shadow to interrupt it.


The mogma jumped with a fright, and looked at the door, his eyes widening when he saw her.

"You left me, Kourtz. You left me in the dungeon to die."

He stumbled backward, tripping over some random bauble and tumbling to the floor, unable to speak.

"Why did you leave me, Kourtz? I thought we were friends."

Kourtz/ Night 7/ Mogma Shop; Hyrule Castle Town

The sudden appearance of Meredith caused Kourtz to jolt and stumble to the floor. Catching his panting breath he looked deeply upon his female friend. At first he thought she might be trying to play a cruel prank on him, but upon further observation something seemed... off. Her skin was grievously cut, burned, but not bleeding. Meredith's bright red hair seemed to flow windswept over her shoulders despite being in a windless room. Her brown eyes glowed in the darkness and despite standing with her back to the moonlight, she cast no shadow.

"WHAT IS THIS!!? You can't be, NO! YOU COULDN'T HAVE DIED!!! I, I..."

Still on the ground he dragged himself backwards into a corner, shaking at the sight of her ghostly shade. Overcome with emotion Kourtz tried to explain himself to the spirit.

"I didn't leave you to die. I could NEVER leave you to die. I tried to get back to see you. This past week I've done everything I could to get away from my servitude to the King. Please believe me Meredith, I've wanted to see you that whole time. You're more than just a good friend. You've always been more than that to me. You are... You're..."

Kourtz stopped. His eyes began to water as he felt his stomach drop into his chest at the thought of loosening his best friend forever.

"I-I'm so sorry Meredith! I'm sorry I couldn't be there for you. I never intended this to happen! Please, whatever happened to you, please forgive me!"

No Other Option

King Dromand/ Hyrule Castle/ Night of the 7th

The Hylian monarch sat hunched over an ornate desk, handcrafted and painstakingly carved by the finest artisans of the land. Bathed in the flickering light of dozens of candles, Dromand scratched away at the parchment laid out before him. He could've dictated the decree to one of his scribes and the finished product would have undoubtedly been prettier than what he'd managed to produce, but he hoped that a proclamation penned in the kings own calligraphy might carry some merit. 

He gave the document one last cursory reading before spreading sand over the moist ink and ringing the handbell. The man who entered the kings withdrawing room had a look of nervous anticipation about him that generally appeared on the face of a man about charge into battle or step up to the gallows. He would be doing neither this evening. The young man hurriedly dropped to a knee and waited in silence. 

"Squad leader Corven, I'm told you and yours acquitted acquitted yourselves rather admirably at the ranch and in The Battle of Disharmony. It is because of this that I have called you here tonight. You may rise."

With a tentative grace not usually associated with the rank and file, Corven rose and stood with send crossed behind his back as the King sized him up. 

"Plainly stated squad leader, we are at war. War requires many resources, and men. It is regrettable that this must be done, but I fear there is no other way. From this day forward and until this conflict is resolved, the kingdom of Hyrule is under mandatory conscription. Any man aged 16 years or more who is able to fight, must be conscribed immediately."

Dromand rose from behind his desk and, taking the freshly inked flyer with him, he stood before Corven. 

"Make as many copies as necessary, hang this in every inn, taproom and bazaar. Place it on every sign post and bulletin board in the city. Get me my army."

The King, despite his ravaged emotions, wore a mask of stony resolve as he clapped the man on the shoulder, "You may start now."

Squad Leader Corven/ Castletown Square/ Night of the 7th

"The land Hyrule, and the Hylian people's are the chosen of the goddesses! We are the most like them, formed in their image to live peacefully in the realm that they have created for us!

Yet, there are times when that heavenly peace becomes threatened. Now is one of those times my people! The Zora are not inherently bad, not are their allies, but for now, today, they are our enemies! They are a threat to our futures today! Perhaps tomorrow a treaty will be signed and nothing will come of this, but I fear that will not be the case. 

It is with great remorse that I pen this decree, but there is no alternative. As of tonight, all able bodied men aged 16 or greater must report forthwith to the nearest barracks and prepare for war.


King Dromand Hyrule"

Corven rolled up the original handwritten decree, tucked it in his inner pocket and leapt down from the fountain. The whispers in the crowd raised to a hum as need spread to all those in the back who could not hear. 

Approaching his squad members Corven motioned to them and they all snapped to attention. Stack upon stack of replicas of the original decree stood between he and them. 

"You have your orders, plaster this notice for all to see everywhere you find an opening.

And be ready for resistance, some people may not like this. Either way, be ready to train new recruits in the morning.


All saluted before hurriedly gathering arm loads of paper and hustling off in all directions to spread the news throughout the city. 

The People and Places of Castle Town

Night of the Seventh, Castle Town

The floorboards creaked. The a Zora crouched in the corner, her arms and legs bound. She was confused, disoriented, but still alive.

“...Why am I here?” She looked up to see a pair of grinning Hylian men. She knew little of the Hylian people, but it was clear these were not fully grown men. They seemed almost the same as Labrynnian men and women, though clearly of a vastly different disposition.

“We found you trying to sneak through the sewers.” The first one talking seemed positively mad. His friend, brother, whatever it was, continued to grin but eerily said nothing. “Best treasure we ever found down there.”

“What are you going to do with me?” The men both smiled wider.

“Well a prize like this in wartime is something special. Lots of people already hate the Zora, this war makes it a pretty dangerous place to be for someone like you.” The young man stopped talking as the front door was knocked upon loudly.

“As per the Kings order!

"The land Hyrule, and the Hylian people's are the chosen of the goddesses! We are the most like them, formed in their image to live peacefully in the realm that they have created for us!

Yet, there are times when that heavenly peace becomes threatened. Now is one of those times my people! The Zora are not inherently bad, nor are their allies, but for now, today, they are our enemies! They are a threat to our futures today! Perhaps tomorrow a treaty will be signed and nothing will come of this, but I fear that will not be the case. 

It is with great remorse that I pen this decree, but there is no alternative. As of tonight, all able bodied men aged 16 or greater must report forthwith to the nearest barracks and prepare for war.


King Dromand Hyrule"

“No! We can’t go to war!” The second man finally spoke. His fearsome silence was broken by his cowardly words. His friend looked upon him with contempt. The door was opened up and a group of Hylian soldiers rushed inside, stopping shocked at the sight of the Zora.

“What is going on here? Why are you boys harboring this creature?” Both looked at each other, unsure which was worse, the truth, or lies. Thankfully the urgency in the soldiers voice proclaimed it did not matter. “Surrender her to us, you both are officially now part of the Kings-” The crazier of the two young men seemed to be triggered by the word surrender. He pulled a knife, and moved to slash the Zora’s throat. She raised up her fins, and felt the rope cut, though a rather large gash also formed on her arm.

“No!” Her arms now free to move, she sliced her deadly sharp fins upward, slicing his entire hand clear off. He began screaming, and the guards drew their swords. Despite having just finished declaring her the enemy, but not evil, they seemed intent on vanquishing her now.

“You saw him, he was going to kill me!”

“....Zora soldier, you are to be brought before the King for trial. It is likely that death awaits you. Make peace with whomever you must.”

“You have no idea the mistake you have made in challenging me.” The Zora extended her arms, and her fins doubled in size, with a deadly toxin beginning to drip from them. “My name is Fiora Ta, and I bear a message for the Zora people. It was a mistake to try and take a shortcut. But only those here tonight will pay for that mistake. I will be leaving here alive and unchained, I promise you that.”

Elsewhere, in Henreth Tammas Room

The soldiers in the Inn finished calling out the decree from the King, and then began to enter rooms. It was late, but it was necessary to inform all now, so as to have as many bodies as possible ready for training the next morning. Time was short.

“You there!” They forced Henreth awake. “You have been conscripted into the Hylian army. Be present in the courtyard tomorrow morning at sunrise. “You-” They paused as a horrific set of screams echoed out in castle town. One soldier stayed behind to ensure Henreth did not try to run, while the rest rushed to the courtyard.

Hyrule Castletown

Though it was late, many had filtered out onto the streets as guards made a great deal of noise, announcing the new decree of the King. And in fitting fashion for the least safe castle in the all the land, screams were heard not long afterwards.

A bloodied young man ran out into the streets, trying to yell something, but making only incoherent sounds.

A Zora walked out from the home the man had emerged from, holding the heads of two guards. She tossed them onto the ground.

“The Zora’s of Labrynna have returned to their homeland of Hyrule, and stand as the allies of King Tiburon! Surrender now, else face this warning!” She felt her blood rushing faster and faster. The spell she was secretly channeling was growing more and more powerful. The few guards already standing nearby rushed at her, but she dispatched them with ease.

She felt the raw power bubble up within her. And then it all reached its peak. A torrent of water mixed with blood sprayed up into the air, its origin point unclear.

“The Zora forces of Labrynna march upon this land, and will arrive in mere days! You have been warned!” The pillar of blood water rushed around her and enveloped her entirely, before shrinking down, and exploding outward, raining blood down upon the town center.

In her place was nothing but the corpses of those she had taken down. The few remaining guards looked on in shock, before gathering their wits and resume their duties.

Henreth Tammas - Hyrule Castle Town - Night 7

Henreth had been sleeping fairly soundly during the night. He slowly awoke to hearing someone say "You there!" but was fully awake when the source of the words started shaking him by the shoulder. He leaned up into a sitting position on the bed and noticed that the person, or people, that woke him up was a group of soldiers. He was about to ask why they were there at all, let alone waking him up in the middle of the night when the closed guard started speaking again.

“You have been conscripted into the Hylian army. Be present in the courtyard tomorrow morning at sunrise. You-” The guard was suddenly interrupted by the sounds of screaming coming from outside. All the guards in the room rushed out of the room towards the stairs, except for one, who was making sure that Henreth didn't make any escape attempts. Wondering what could possibly be happening, he ran past the guard, who proceeded to follow him, downstairs to the first floor, and made his way one of the large windows at the front of the inn.

He made it to the window just in time to see the guards standing outside as a blood-covered young man was babbling gibberish. The man was moving around too much for him to determine for sure, but he could've sworn he saw the one of the man's hands missing. He soon noticed a Zora walking out of a building holding something in it's hands. He leaned forward and squinted his eyes to get a better look at what the Zora was holding, it was two decapitated heads. "Holy crap..." Henreth whispered to himself as the Zora tossed the heads onto the ground before speaking.

“The Zora’s of Labrynna have returned to their homeland of Hyrule, and stand as the allies of King Tiburon! Surrender now, else face this warning!” Water and a red liquid that was presumed to be blood flew into the air, the origin of all the water and blood was unknown. “The Zora forces of Labrynna march upon this land, and will arrive in mere days! You have been warned!” The blood and water surrounded and enveloped the Zora completely, it shrunk down, and exploded outwards, leaving behind nothing but corpses and raining blood. All living guards in the area were momentarily dumbstruck, before returning to their wits and continuing on with their jobs. Henreth turned to face the guard that was with him, the one that followed him downstairs with him to stop him from leaving, and asked a couple of simple questions: "What the hell just happened? Are all Zoras around here that violent?"

Hylian Guard - Hyrule Castle Town Inn- Night Seven

The guard stared at Henreth. Clearly the young man was unaware of the circumstances they were in.

"Son, there are no other Zora around here. This is war. Not much is safe anymore. Tomorrow begins your training. I would suggest you get to bed and get as much sleep as you can. Or don't. I suppose I couldn't sleep myself after seeing this..." The guard seemed to sit on his words for a minute. "Seems calm. You are free to wander castle town as you please, but do not attempt to leave. Any attempts will be stopped, and any resistence encountered will result in jail time. Understand"

Henreth Tammas - Hyrule Castle Town - Night 7

After he asked the guard what happened, the guard stared at him for a moment before responding: "Son, there are no other Zora around here. This is war. Not much is safe anymore. Tomorrow begins your training. I would suggest you get to bed and get as much sleep as you can. Or don't. I suppose I couldn't sleep myself after seeing this..." The guard stopped, seemingly thinking for a minute before continuing. "Seems calm. You are free to wander castle town as you please, but do not attempt to leave. Any attempts will be stopped, and any resistance encountered will result in jail time. Understand?"

Henreth let out an exasperated sigh as he sat down in a chair, "I've only been here for half a day at the most, and I'm already involved in a war. And if things like what I just saw is what the Zora are capable of doing, I'm in big trouble." He stood up as he continued to speak. "...Don't worry, I'll show up tomorrow, I don't think I want to start a problem after what just happened. I'd ask some questions first, but I'm not sure I want to dwell on this subject anymore." Before the guard could respond, he headed upstairs to go back to bed. As he climbed into bed for the second time that night, he contemplated his situation. 'If I can't avoid going to war for a kingdom I know nothing about, that's one thing, but I'm going to have some serious questions when I get the chance. I just hope that whoever I ask doesn't try to feed me any propaganda.' With that, he went to bed, or at least tried to , in the hope that it would go uninterrupted this time.

Sir Vincen Forneaux/ Hyrule Castle Courtyard/ Night of the 7th

Gritty sweat intermingled with soot and grime as it snaked its way from brow to cheek to jaw and finally chin, leaving salty streaks in the formidable layer of filth that lined the seasoned knight’s face before dripping down and splashing against his scuffed breastplate. His helm, long since removed, sat near shield and sword as the knight bent into a squat, bear hugged a large chunk of stone and mortar, and heaved it to the side with a grunt and a growl. The stone tumbled a few yards away, farther than some men could’ve tossed it, but a good deal shorter than he would’ve chucked it ten years ago. 

Removing the gauntlet from one hand, Vincen fruitlessly wiped his brow, more sweat poured from his scalp to replace that which he’d just wiped away. He spat in frustration. He'd been searching for hours, giving up had never crossed his mind and never would. Not until he found the boy or his lifeless body. 

“Where in the hell’d that boy get too? He went in through here..”

Vincen kicked at a pile of rubble in sheer frustration.

“ If I get my hands on the bugger who did thi…”


The knight scrabbled madly over the stones to the source of the disembodied groan. Slinging chunks of mortar wildly now, Vincen uncovered his quarry bit by bit, first a hand, then an arm, and then another. Clasping him by the forearms, Vincen heaved and pulled the young man upright in a cacophony of dust and stone.

“That'sa boy! I knew it’d take more’n a little explosion and cave in like that to kill the son of Sebastien Savassi! Bout as pretty as a camel’s arsehole, but you always had your father’s looks!”

Vincen laughed heartily as he clapped the bewildered young man on the back sending him into a coughing fit. As Zerin cleared his lungs, Vince went about collecting his gear, “Here ya go boy, you’ll be needin’ these. The good King has enacted mandatory conscription on account of the war, and after I heard you’d come through here today, well.. I figured..since you’re gonna be fightin’ one way or t’other, ye may as well apprentice under a familiar face. Whaddya say?”

Zerin accepted his belongings, still trying to get his bearings about him as Sir Vincen Forneaux, former partner of Sebastien Savassi smiled ear to ear eagerly awaiting the boys answer.

Hyrule Castle Courtyard - Night 7​

Zerin Savassi

The sight of Vincen upon awakening was surprising to say the least. Zerin strapped his sheaths onto his leather belt, attempting to grasp what little composure he can amidst his current surroundings and situation. A splitting headache, sore joints and an empty stomach were all ailing Zerin’s state of being.

“Mandatory conscription, huh…” Zerin muttered whilst reorganizing his belongings across his attire. “I got a bad feeling this whole war'll go down the shitter real fast.”

Zerin looked down at his hands, dirtied and bloodied from his temporary burial beneath the sheet of boulders and debris that caked his nearby surroundings.

“As for the apprentice business… Sure. But I think I’d prefer the title of partners over an apprenticeship. How about that?”

Vincen smirked. “Whatever ye want t’call it, it means th’ same damned thing. Now, I’m goin’ home t’my warm home. If ye’d be willin’ t’come along, I’d be happy to invite ye in!”

“As of now I just need to clean off this layer of dirt and soot covering me.” Zerin scratched his head and rested his head on the air behind him. “Let’s go to your place.”

Vincen smiled earnestly and nodded. “That’s what I wanted ta’ hear! Follow me and I’ll take ye there faster than ye can say go!” Chuckling at his attempted joke, he signaled Zerin to follow him and started walking towards Castle Town, now shrouded in a deep darkness being pierced by few and far illuminations throughout the city. While walking at a steady pace next to Vincen, Zerin stretched his arms to pop them and successfully did so. 

Briefly stopping at the fountain in the heart of town, Zerin cupped the algid water in his hands and splashed it into his grimy face washing away some of the filth on his face. He plunged his hands back in and started washing the ingrained dirt on his fingers and palms.

Now refreshed, they both arrived at Vincen’s house. An average two-story home, although slightly unkempt. What small amounts of grass there were strewn around the home grew long and uncut. Trails of moss and vine scaled up the sides of his home, parting ways where windows were placed then reuniting past the window sill. That could have been a sign of care towards the property, but Zerin didn't put too much thought into it. 

“After all o’those pit stops, we’re finally ‘ere!” Vincen pretended to sound stern, then chuckled at himself. He approached the door. 

“Where in hell’d those keys get to…” Vincen frustratingly grumbled. “There we are!” 

The sound of spare rupees violently scraping against metal filled the emptiness of the night around them. Vincen pulled out his key chain with at least half a dozen keys hanging off of the silver ring. What they were for, Zerin had no idea. 

Finally at the last stretch of their delayed, unorthodox journey across the city, Vincen stuck the key into the lock and turned, hearing the calming click of a door unlocking.

Cirdan/ Hyrule Castle Town/ Night 7

Cirdan only hesitated to watch the strange mole man dig his way into the interior of the building before finally turning to run for the darkness of the alleyways. He could tell the mood of the town around him was worsening, and he wasn't going to be seen if he could help it. Though, his business within the walls were not yet done. Like a tick knawing his flesh, the thought of someone trying to frame him and sentence him to death, though warranted, bothered him deeply; He was not going to be leaving such an issue unaddressed. Coming to rest in the empiest place he could find, he didn't hesitate to address a more immediate issue. Gli groaned loudly in pain as her back slammed against the wall with startling force.

"Okay you leafy lil' punk, wha' in th' Goddesses' name 'ave you done wit' my amulet! Don' lie to me neither...I kno' it's mine." Cirdan growled, his crooked nose just touching Gli's button of a nose.

Gli raggedly gasped to regain her lost breath from the impact, but otherwise stayed silent, responding with little more than a returning glare and scowl.

"Ah can do 'is all day, lass." he grumbled, digging a knuckle under where he assumed would be her clavicle. 

Gli responded with a scowl, only showing a stiff upper and a stifled grunt towards the pain. The plant girl remained stubbornly silent, which Cirdan only found increasingly vexing. He pushed his knuckle harder, hoping he wouldn't need to go to more painful measures to make her talk.

"Where...Did...You...Find this...?" He slowly growled. 

Cirdan began to realize just how exhausted and weak he was feeling. Painful hunger was creeping up on him from the days of starvation, as he realized his lackluster and uncharacteristic approach in making the plant girl talk. As his grip weakened, Gli dropped to the ground. She hit the ground hard, rump first, but did not react. Cirdan stumbled back before sitting down against the wall behind him with a plop.

"Aww...Fo'get it...I don' 'ave th' energy fer this..." He grumbled under his breath, his glare dissolving as he looked up at the sky. 

The bright blue was nothing but blinding after his week in darkness, causing him to squint as he looked. Cirdan sighed tiredly before his head limply dropped down, returning his gaze to the plant girl, whom laid against the wall across from him, as motionless as he was. Damning silence filled the alleyway. Long minutes passed as the two sat there, staring at one another bitterly. It was only until Cirdan forfeit his side of the stare did the silence break.

"...' Gli opened her mouth, but hesitated '...How are you alive?"

"Wha'?" Cirdan quietly grunted in response.

"...I...' Gli hesitated again, '...I saw you die...At the...The block..." Gli gestured her neck with a motion implying decapitation.

Cirdan grinned.

"Ah...Y'see...' Cirdan started with a tired sigh, '...Tha' wasn't me, lass...An imposter was what ye saw. A ruse...A spell...Y'see, tha' amulet is somethin' special...It ain't no normal coin."

Gli furrowed her brow as Cirdan leaned forward from his sit.

"...Is magic, y'see. A bit mor' than jus' a bottle o' manic spirits...I'm sure you've acquainted yo'self with its visitors..."

Gli let slip a face of of distress for only a moment, which was evidence enough for Cirdan, whom smiled.

"Lies an' nonsense, all o' 'em; A noisy side 'ffect in order to scare 'way th' ones unknowin' of its true power. Firs'ly, it 'llows a secon' chance to anyone tha' taps its power. By th' look o' ya...I'd say ye kno' 'at already.' Cirdan straightened up, his eyes locking back onto Gli, '...It also 'llows th' owner th' 'bility...o' shapeshiftin'."

Gli's brow furrowed at this development, her eyes wandering a bit at the thought.

"A magic disguise, 'ffective 'til death, or 'til you will it to change ye 'gain.' he smirked, 'Dandy, innit?"

Gli looked down at the amulet within her breast, stroking its face breifly in wonder. Cirdan remembered himself, slumping back down weakly.

"Once ye star'...Anyone touchin' it...Is 'ffected by its long as ye' draw breath...or tell it t' stop..." He began to mumble as his eyes fluttered closed. He was so very tired...

Gli slowly rose to her feet, leaning against the wall to support herself. She thought hard, before suddenly the amulet glimmered. Like a flash of sunlight, magic surrounded her body in an instant, and then it was gone. She looked at her flesh, which looked as healthily green and velvety as new. She even felt new too, in body and mind from the magic. A placebo, maybe, but effective nevertheless. 

She smiled sofly at this discovery as Cirdan looked back at her.

Lass looks good when sh' smiles...

Cirdan chuckled as he forced himself to push from the ground, and back to his feet. Gli wordlessly turned from him, and began to walk away, her strength restored. Cirdan's strength however, was dwindling. Desperation was setting in.

"Y'don't have to talk...' Cirdan said in defeat, 'But...if ye 'ave any decency...grab me o' bite...Ah can't be seen out 'ere...Y'know..."

Gli glanced back at him for a moment, hesitated, then wordlessly left. The voices cheered her on to leave him to die, for there was a stronger being to be found; its previous owner was deemed no longer worthy.

Hylian Soldiers, Castle Town, Night 7

The streets were filled with activity. And with the sheer number of torches and lamps, it was as if sunrise was already upon the city. Guards were moving throughout residences and the few inns, alerting young men to their recent conscription into the war.

Some had reacted in shock, some in disbelief. So far none had tried to openly run, whether it be from desire to join the fight, or fear of punishment if they didn’t, it was not clear. But it was not the job of these particular soldiers to spread the news.

They were hunting escaped prisoners. The explosion in the dungeons had been deadly, but given the average luck busting ability of the dungeon prisoners, it was likely many had escaped. They couldn’t be allowed out of the castle town limits, every last man was needed.

“Which one is next?” 

“Another imposter, false arrest. Not sure how this one survived, thought he was taking to be executed.”

“Well he’s one of the lucky ones.”

“As lucky as it gets.” The two soldiers held out their lamps as they moved through the alley. They weren’t the only ones searching, but they were the ones to find Cirdan. There he lay, looking exhausted.

“Well, looks like we get the prize.” The guards looked down at the fatigued man. “Before you ask any questions, know this - you are not going to jail, and you are not being released from the King’s grasp. You are now officially a part of the Hylian army. Come with us now and we will see that you get taken care of, and then you will be present at tomorrow morning’s ceremony.”

Bernard Kotaro, Late Night of the Seventh, Ruined Castle Dungeons

“So he’s going to leave me here to haunt the few remaining lost souls.” Bernard mused to himself. The notebook that had belonged to Sirius, left behind by the corpse of Avarius. He looked around the room. Everyone seemed to have made it out.

Almost everyone.

The body lay on the ground. Bernard paused as he observed the shape, the shape he had expected to be lizalfos in nature. Bernard went from appearing like a ghost in the dungeon to being back in the lunar library. He scanned through a few shelves, and found the book he was looking for.


He looked through its pages. This book was written by one of Sirius research jockeys, his half mortal, half robot creations that barely lived past a few days. It had tailed this Leif early on, but lost track of him after a series of incredible events in the mountains.

That was not a lizalfos body on the ground, though it was the body of the same Leif who had once bore the shape of a half lizalfos, half hylian.

“Sirius didn’t create Leif...” Bernard was shocked, expecting a creature that went through such harsh changes to be the product of Sirius. In fact, it seemed that he had been using him for data collection, as he was a very unique hybrid. The fact that he changed form completely was data Sirius had never collected, until now.

“I guess if he ever recovers me and this damn notebook, he can add a few more pages to Awakening.” Bernard shut the book and re materialized as a ghost in the dungeon, staring at the corpse of Leif. “It’s a real shame that Sirius completely forgot about me here in this dungeon...”

Cirdan/ Hyrule Castle Town/ Night 7

Cirdan looked at the men in armor, crossing his arms as he listened to them, his gauntlets reflecting the orange glow of their torches. Glancing back at where the plant girl had left once more, he let out a long sigh.

She really didn't come back...

"...Well...Ugh, bet'r 'an starvin'..." He responded in grudging resignation, his belly rumbling painfully.

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