Establishing Hyrule

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"Zelda," I say, walking up behind Fintan. "When she touched the wound, it healed with a white light. I have no idea where that came from, but that's what I saw, if it helps."

Fintan looks from me to Bryarly to confirm this, and she nods. 

"Zelda wanted to look at the cut, to see how bad it was, and when she touched it, it healed," she says. "I don't know how, but it did."

"Thank you. That was all I needed," Fintan says, and he walks away at a brisk pace, as if he is looking for someone to tell this to.

"Are you okay?" I ask her. "He was kinda rough..."

"Yeah, I'm fine. So I'm not the only one who wondered what happened..." she says.

"No, I guess not. I've been wondering, maybe it has something to do with the whole 'goddess reborn' thing....?" I say, open-endedly.

"I don't know," she replies. "But that would make sense."

"Anyway, your arm is healed, and that's what matters," I say. "Right?"

"Right," she says, smiling.

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(hello? Anybody there?)

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"Hey Leo?" I ask when he turns to go back to the others. "What will he do with Zelda now?" 

He looks at me. "I don't know. But don't worry, they're probably just interested in her powers, like we are."

That calms me down. I nod slowly. "Yeah, probably..."

"Are you ok?" he asks and he walks up to me. 

I sigh. "Yeah sure... It's just, we don't know these people. They seem harmless and nice, but what if they want to use Zelda for her powers? What if-"

"Bryarly, when did you became so suspicious?" he asks. He's worried.

"I don't know... I just want things to work out on the surface here you know... It's just so nice here and I really want us to stay..." I say.

"We will, just don't you worry," he smiles. "Let's go back."

"Good idea," I smile too. 

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The arrow flies from the bow, striking the wooden post in the centre. Pipit's breath escapes him in a low whistle as I stride over to retrieve it, and Link nods approvingly.

"Why is it that you don't use weapons?" Pipit asks, frowning.

I shrug, looking down at the bow. "I don't know. I choose not to, is all."

Sault chatters on about the different types of woods that can be used for making bows, how each of them has a different effect, and the two Hylians listen attentively. I occupy myself with inspecting Pipit's dagger. It's very different from any I've seen among our people. The blade is stouter, and slightly curved. There are tiny engravings in the steel, looking far too elaborate for a simple dagger. 

I hand it back to him and turn away. Surely they had something better to talk about than a single weapon? But then I wouldn't know. 

I was already getting hungry anyways, and I wanted to get some more rest.

As I enter the camp, I glance over to where two of the Hylians are sitting together, discussing something with troubled look. The word "powers" is what catches my attention.They stand up, seemingly about to leave. Curious, I make my way over before they can get very far.

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"Wait... you can't be serious!" Sault blurted. He and Malania had just been secretly called over to listen to some important news from Fintan. "That girl Zelda is the Goddess?" "She's the goddess reborn, weren't you listening?" Melania teased.  It didn't seem to make much of a difference, but at any rate Sault turned back to Fintan as he continued the briefing. "I've disclosed this information to Sheik, who in turn ordered all of us to keep a very close eye on her. Our duties will also include acting at her discretion; anything she wants, we have to do it for her."

 

Sault processed the meaning of all this for a moment. "Oh... this means we'll be acting alone as the Goddess' guardians, right? Just the three of us and Caoilainn" He concluded. Fintan nodded in response. "I'll divulge all of this to her later of course. You two had better get ready for the most important mission you've ever faced in the meantime."

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"First up," I say, glancing around at my friends "we've got to escort Zelda and the rest of the Hylians back to their own camp."

"Ok then," Sault nods. "We'll warn the Hylians and gather our things then-"

I shake my head. "No. Sheik says we're not to leave until morning. There's no way we'd make it back before nightfall and he doesn't want to run the risk of Zelda getting captured, especially knowing that the Demon Lords are still on the loose."

Melaina frowns. "So what are we supposed to do? Keep them here for another night?"

"Yes," I reply. "Don't look like that! We've got no other choice, it's our duty to protect them."

Sault smiles. "Ok, I'll go and let them know that they're welcome to stay another night."

"Thanks," I say. "I'll go and tell Caoilainn what we've discovered."

And with that, we break off. Sault makes his way out of the main doors, and I set to follow him, but stop still when I hear Melaina's voice behind me.

"Fintan?" she asks.

I pause, turning back to look at her. "Yes?"

"There's one thing I still don't understand," she says.

I take a few steps closer to her. "What's that?" I ask.

"I don't know how my arrow ended up in that tree. You and I both know that I fail to take things seriously sometimes... but I'd never do something like that. I'm worried that they still think it was me. I'm worried that you guys think it might have been me..."

I give her a soft smile. "I know you well enough to know that you'd never do a thing like that. Trust me when I say that suspicion never even crossed my mind. As for the others... they'll come around. They're wary of all of us, not just you."

She smiles. "Thanks Fintan."

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I hear footsteps approaching from behind, and I turn to find the source of the sound. Caoilainn is walking up to us. Immediately I get nervous, thinking back to something I might have done to upset her.

"What are you talking about?" she asks as she stands over us. 

"I'm sure you'll learn of it soon. Fintan already left to go tell someone else. Have you seen him recently?" I ask, still a little shaky.

"Nope," she says, popping the 'p'. "So..."

She pauses, and an awkward silence grows between the three of us. Bryarly, sensing this, stands. 

"I'm gonna go find the others, so I can figure out what's going on," she says, walking away.

Now Caoilainn and I are left alone, and she kneels.

"A little bird told me that someone likes me..." she says, grinning. I blush a little, but I try to maintain my composure.

"Y- Yeah..." I say, stuttering. "I- I really like you..." I can't believe the words coming out of my mouth! She's gonna reject me, now that I've told her everything.... I think. My chance is gone. I sit silently, nervously awaiting my doom.

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I raise my eyebrows in mild surprise at his nervousness, a fleeting smile flashing across my face.

"Me?" I ask. The poor, poor guy. Oh, the poor guy. Nevertheless, I can't do anything to stop my face from heating up a little.

He nods, an embarrassed look on his face.

"I see," I say slowly, getting up. After a moment, I add, "You're not so bad yourself."

He blinks, looking extremely puzzled. "What-?"

"Well, I've gotta go catch up with the others," I interrupt, offering him one last smile before I dart away, stepping quickly and avoiding meeting the eyes of the other Sheikah.

Walking quickly, I don't notice Fintan and the others until I walk right into them, just barely stopping myself from falling over.

"Oh, hello," I greet them with a laugh. "Sorry about that, I was... a little distracted."

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"You know what I don't understand?" Callia asks me.

"No?" I say, turning to her.
"How can there still be demon lords here when Demise was defeated by Link?" she asks me.

"I've been wondering about that too..." I admit. "But then you can also ask why Zurin or Batreaux didn't disappear then..."

She sighs. "You're right about that... Maybe we should go back to the sky and ask Zurin? Or send him a letter or something?" she proposes.

I nod. "That's a good idea. We'll see what we'll do when we are back in our camp."

"Good. Hey I'm going to see where Fledge is. Want to come too?" she asks while standing up. 

"Sure, what else would I do," I smile and I follow her lead.

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I continue to sit there for a while, just staring off into the distance. That went better than expected, I think. Did not expect to get out of that without getting punched in the face....

After a while, I stand, and turn to head back towards the camp.

"Who knows? Maybe I still have a chance with her...." I say out loud to myself. Pushing the romance out of my mind for the time being, I walk back into camp. I scan the small crowd for someone I know, and I spot Link and Pipit together on the opposite side of camp. I stride towards them, and greet them with a friendly wave.

"Have the weapons been repaired yet?" I ask the two.

"Yup!" Pipit says, handing me my sword and shield.  "I'm just glad they're finished. It felt weird not having a sword for so long," he says. I quickly inspect the blade and shield, and whoever made the repairs did so with great skill. I make a mental note of that, and replace the sword and shield on my back. 

"No kidding," says Link. "It's like you're missing a part of you." 

"Have you guys heard from the group of four we met yesterday? I haven't seen them around...." I say.

Link and Pipit look at each other, then shake their heads. 

"Neither of us have seen them," Link says. "Not for a while, anyway."

"Thanks," I say, and turn to go find the four strangers.

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Along the way to find the Hylians and tell them about Fintan's decision, Sault bumped into Leoni. "Ah, sorry about that," he apologized, "I was actually on my way to see you and the rest of the Hylians. Do you have a moment?" Leoni nodded. "Actually, I was looking for you guys as well. Do you have any news about our plans for today? Oh, by the way, you can call me Leo." Sault grinned; this guy was incredibly easy to get along with, something he was glad for. "Well, Leo, the plan from our leader is to let you guys stay another night. They also want us to keep a close eye on Zelda for some reason, something about their suspicions."

 

The words apparently made Leo a bit anxious. "Ah, don't worry," Sault assured him, "they just think there's a tiny chance Zelda might have drawn the attention of those Demon Lords the other day. We need to be extra sure us four Sheikah are enough to watch over her before she leaves, I guess." Sault then put his hand to the side of his mouth and whispered, "Between you and me, I think she's got four of the best Sheikah bodyguards you could ask for." Leo seemed a bit more relieved, but it was almost like something else was troubling him. Sault couldn't even guess what; he wasn't nearly as perceptive as Fintan. "Well, if you or the Hylians need anything else you can talk to me." He offered before heading on his way.

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The night passed surprisingly uneventfully. I spent my evening coaching the junior Sheikah in meditation, then Caoilainn took over to teach them in the martial arts. I made my way over to my tent, stopping to talk with the Hylians who had congregated their tents close to ours. They still seemed to be a little wary of us, though I put that down to the recent events. Bryarly still seemed a little nervous around me after earlier, but there was nothing I could do to fix that. As for Leoni, he seemed to be somewhat distracted, though he and Sault were chattering away like old friends. I'd have to keep an eye on Leoni, make sure that it was nothing too important playing on his mind.

The evening passed away, and I slept like an infant. When I awoke the next morning, I did my meditation and my stretches like usual, ate the morning meal with both the Hylians and my fellow Sheikah, listened to Sheik's briefing and promised him that we'd deliver the Hylians back to their settlement safely. And then we set off.

Despite suspicions, the journey from the Sheikah settlement to the Hylian settlement by the Sealed Temple was extremely uneventful. The others talked, while I tried to keep my wits about me, watching out for approaching danger. Yet, none came.

"Callia and I were thinking about writing a letter to Zurin," Bryarly says as we walk through southern Faron Woods.

"Who's Zurin?" Caoilainn asks.

"A friend of ours," Pipit says, one hand still resting on the hilt of his sword.

I frown. Where have I heard that name before?

That's when we round the corner to where the Hylian settlement stands. Or at least... stood. Everyone stops still in their tracks, staring. I can't hear a single sound but heavy breathing.

"What... what happened?" Zelda says, looking horrified.

Where the Hylian settlement once was, stands nothing but blackened housing beams and piles of ash. There are stray pieces of brickwork and flooring tiles, but nothing salvageable. It's been burnt to the ground, nothing but charred remains have been left.

In the corner of my eyes, for just a moment, I see a dark shadow lurking amongst the tree trunks. But when I narrow my eyes to get a closer look, it vanishes from sight, almost disappearing from thin air.

"I'm so sorry..." Sault whispers.

Edited by NayruGoddessOfWisdom (see edit history)

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Tears start to roll down my cheeks. We worked on this for so long. This was our dream, where we belonged to be. And now, it's all gone. Nothing's left but a large pile of ash. "No..." is all I can bring out.

"This is all my fault," Zelda speaks, surprisingly clear. 

"Zel..." Link says, putting his hand on her shoulder. She shrugs it off. 

"No! You know it's my fault!" she yells. "They want me." 

The Sheikahs look surprised to hear that. "Zelda," Fintan tries.

"No Fintan. You all know it's true. Especially your group!" she yells. "You know that they only want me," she whispers.

Sorry and fright is all I feel for her.

The Sheikahs look down to express their sorry.

Zelda is right. 

They want her. 

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Cleaning the village was incredibly miserable work, though all the Sheikah present opted to do the bulk of it. The houses are all gone, as well as the gardens. Who knows how much the Hylians must have lost in the attack? Something's not right though, shouldn't there be something else among the wreckage? Cleaning through the ruined buildings feels especially weird; there's the expected burnt wood and broken plaster, but... wait...

 

"Hey, everyone, I don't mean to be morbid or anything, but shouldn't there be more, you know, bodies?" Sault pointed out. the others look up, eyes wide as they realize the same thing. The settlement wasn't exactly bustling, sure, but there were a few people who hadn't travelled to the Sheikah with Zelda. Where could they have gone? The answer became apparent as the whole area was searched and nothing turned up.

 

They must have taken the others, it's the only explanation." Link concluded. "I wonder if there are any clues where they went?" Nobody found any concrete evidence, but Fintan did have a suggestion. "As we entered the village I saw a figure disappear over there." he said, pointing southeast. "I suspect being seen was intentional, so that we would be compelled to give chase." The group agreed this was likely, but opinions on the next course of action differed. A few of the hylians wanted everyone to travel as a group to wherever the captives were being held, but Sault pointed out this would take too long and put Zelda at risk. Fintan and Melania suggested splitting up, with one group heading to find the captives and another staying here to protect Zelda, but retracted this idea after realizing a fractured team couldn't deal with the Demon Lords if they decided to ambush one group or the other. Link wanted to bring Zelda back to the sky and keep her there while this mess was sorted out, but she refused, putting the Sheikah in a position where they had to obey her interests.

 

"Okay, this isn't going anywhere." Sault interrupted the arguing, exhausted. "Let's just defer to the Hylians and travel as a group, unless anyone has any objections."

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(There weren't much other Hylians mentioned but I'll come up with a few ;) To make it more interesting, let's say that Emzy stayed there too, ok?)

 

I'm embarrassed to admit that I had almost forgot about the others. 

Groose.

I had grown quite fond of him, you know. He always helped me when I wanted to change something in my house design or something. He used to be so annoying when we were younger. He bullied almost every one of us, except for Zelda. But now he had become a real friend, one to keep. And now no one knows where he is. 

And Emzy, she's been my friend for so long... Good thing she almost never gets scared. 

"Who was here?" Fintan asks. 

Callia sighs. "Groose definitely. For Cawlin and Strich I'm not sure, they often came to visit him. And Emzy of course." 

"They're all alone," Karane sobs while walking around the rubble. "And in danger."

"Hey, Groose and Emzy are very strong," I smile to her. "They'll be alright." 

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