Establishing Hyrule

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"I think we should, given the approaching sunset." Sault replied. His mind was still on autopilot for the most part; he just couldn't get the thought of Batreaux out of his head. Why did he become so nervous when the subject changed like that? It was almost a given the demon was hiding something, but perhaps out of shame and guilt rather than concealing a malicious event. He would have to pay Batreaux a second visit at some point.

 

"Sault, do you want to ride on my Loftwing?" Callia asked, pulling Sault out of his thoughts. He quickly nodded and hopped up on the huge bird. Looking around one last time, he spent most of the ride watching the town of Skyloft shrink away, then disappear suddenly in the clouds.

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(( Thank you!  :n_n: ))

 

After the awful ordeal in the dark room, Blagdan unlocks me from the table and drags me roughly by the arm through a labyrinth of corridors. Each wall is made of a dark brown rocky material, and I can hear the voices of various other Demons coming from all kinds of directions. It only seems logical to assume that I'm deep within Demon territory... and guessing by the humid air and the type of rock, it's in the Lanayru Province. I'd only been in the area once before on a mission a couple of years ago... I can hardly remember it. Definitely not well enough to break free and be able to successfully get away without being chased down and caught.

I'm dragged through to what appears to be a holding cell and pushed inside. I expect Blagdan to leave and lock the door behind him but he lingers for a few moments more. With a nonchalant swish of his fingers, he summons an iron shackle around my ankle with a chain that's embedded deep in the floor of the cell.

He grins smugly. "Doubly secure... even if you could find a way out of the cell, you've got to escape that."

And with that, he turns, shutting the cell gate behind him and locking it with his demonic magic. Once he's gone from the room, I drop down to the floor, sitting with bent knees and tugging experimentally at the shackle and chain. It doesn't take me long to figure out that I'm not going to get out of here like that. So I opt for a different tactic.

I move to the lotus flower position, the chain clinks a little as I do. I close my eyes, press my fingers into my palms and take a deep breath. I've never tried to communicate with anyone through my mind palace before... I know that I won't be able to get a perfect message sent, but if I can at least get someone to sense something... feel something... it should be enough.

I push all my other thoughts aside, and draw lines between my mind, body and soul, completing the connection. I try to find a path to my friends, to anyone who's open enough to pick it up... 

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As the sun sets over the camp, I decide to retire, taking a small loaf of bread with me, for if -or rather, when- I got hungry.

Fintan is still striding about, a stony expression on his face. As he passes by, I catch his arm and he stops, pausing to look down at me.

"What is it now, Caoilainn?" he asks. I hold up my food as a sort of gesture of invitation.

"Do you want to take a break and meditate, maybe?" I suggest. "You seem a little stressed, and I was hoping for some company."

He seems to be debating with himself, but eventually nods, somewhat reluctantly. It's unusual, especially for someone like Fintan, who usually loves to meditate.

We step outside, and find a shaded area to sit down. Fintan assumes the lotus position naturally as ever, and I mirror his movements successfully but without the same grace.

"Thanks, Fintan," I say, before closing my eyes.

I don't meditate often, preferring combat training, and so it takes me a few minutes to find the connection that Fintan and other Sheikah talk about. I fumble around for it but after a while, it comes as naturally as if I were an expert. But something isn't right.

Instead of the tranquility that is to be expected, there's a moment of blazing heat, coming from far away but still tangible. Frowning, I concentrate on that heat. I don't know an awful lot about auras or energies, but this is distinct, like... a plea. And it's definitely coming from Fintan.

My eyes open quickly as I feel hands on my shoulder. Fintan has me pinned to the tree bark, his stance firm.

"Fintan!" I yell, immediately struggling. A surprised grunt of pain leaves me as he drives his knee into my abdomen, leaving me winded.

"You're not going to say a thing," Fintan warns, his eyes fierce.

A solid punch lands on the side of my head, and all is black.

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The party doesn't get much of a welcome when Sault and the rest of the group touch down in the Sheikah settlement. The Hylians group up and discuss the events of the day, but Melania is the only one to welcome him back personally. "I'm only saying hi because I've been so bored around here, of course." She teased with her usual playfulness. They both take a minute to catch each other up on the events in the sky and on land.

 

Among the strange happenings, the news about Caoilainn's disappearance is by far the most unsettling. She's the last person a Demon Lord could get the drop on, which means either an incredibly powerful monster is out there... or she was tricked by someone here. "We'll have to work together and find our friend," Sault concluded. "We better leave Fintan out of this, since you made it sound like he can't be disturbed right now." Melania nods her head in agreement and the two head out to search the area.

 

It's a slow job, scouting the area on their own without causing the others concern, and by the time Caolinn is found the sun has almost completely set. Melania finds her unconscious and slumped against a tree facing away from the village. Utterly stunned, after a bit the two Sheikah try and coax her awake but nothing happens; whatever knocker her out must have hit with incredible force and precision. "It's no use, we have to get her in a bed and watch her tonight." Sault decided. Melania agreed, working with him to get their friend into bed, then spending the rest of the night taking turns watching her.

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Blagdan appears on the other side of the gate with narrowed eyes, his fists are clenched - he's not impressed. I can see the horrific clone of myself lurking just over his right shoulder, arms crossed.

"He dropped by to fill me in..." Blagdan says, lips curled in disgust. "He told me that you've been trying to send telepathic messages to your friends."

I swallow hard, unsure of how to respond. I take a single step forward, opening my mouth to speak but Blagdan raises a hand to silence me. Magic sparks through the air as he causes the shackle on my ankle to vanish, replacing it with a separate shackle on each wrist, connected to the floor by two short chains. The new chains stop me from being able to stand. The sudden change drags me down to the ground, landing awkwardly on my lower arms. A shooting pain runs up from my wrists to my elbows.

"You can go..." Blagan says, addressing my clone. He vanishes with a click of his fingers, presumably returning to the camp before anyone could realise he was gone. But a small spark of hope rises within me - if he knew, then that means someone must have picked up my message... someone must know that something's wrong.

Blagdan steps closer to the bars of my cell as I move to my knees, chains rattling. "That was a risky move, Fintan. You shouldn't have done that. Your friend has suffered because of your insolence."

My heart drops. Did he hurt someone?

Blagdan turns to go to the door, but pauses to glance over his shoulder. "And no food or water for you... that's the price you pay for trying to cross me."

And with that he exits, leaving me alone with a sick feeling in my gut. I just wanted to warn them - instead I've caused one of my friends to come to harm. Not only that, but I've probably made the mission so much more difficult... I swear I was just trying to do the right thing.

Edited by NayruGoddessOfWisdom (see edit history)

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My eyes open wide and I bolt upright, hearing someone make a startled noise close by. I look down, confused, to find I'd been tucked into a bed. Melaina sits watching me, a worried expression on her face. Sault is in a chair next to her, snoozing.

"Where's Fintan?" I ask her, kicking my blankets off. "Where did he go?"

I'm about to get up when Melaina takes me by the shoulders and forces me back. Panicking momentarily, I let her settle me back. There's a throbbing pain in the side of my head, much as I hate acknowledging it.

"You need to lie down for a bit, Caoilainn," she says gently. "I haven't seen Fintan around, I couldn't tell you where he is. Why do you need to know?"

"He attacked me," I inform her. Momentary shock passes over Melaina's face, quickly replaced with the same concern as before.

"Caoilainn, he'd never attack you!" she says assuredly. "Your memory is probably hazy, maybe your attacketlr happened to look like him?"

"Just like Fintan!" I insist. "It was him, Melaina!"

She seems to be debating with herself. After a moment she arrives at a conclusion.

"I'll go and have a look around for Fintan later, I promise," she says. "But Caoilainn, you probably need something to eat, you were out for a while. Do you want some breakfast?"

About to protest, I scoff when my stomach growls, directing a half-hearted glare at Melaina.

"... Fine. But you have to keep your promise!"

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(I'm going to switch to Melaina now! Maybe I'll switch to Bryarly later on, but from now on I'll write from Melaina's now?)

 

"I will," I give Caoilainn a small smile. "I'll keep you posted."

She nods and starts eating. 

I walk out and decide to look at Fintan's favorite spot to meditate. My stomach feels weird, I just can't imagine Fintan doing something like that. He's been my best friend since we were kids. I know him better then anyone, and he's the kindest person I've ever met. He would never hurt his friends, never. Maybe if I find him I can ask him what's going on.

I push some branches aside and step on the stones. I see him sitting in the middle, sitting on the ground. 

"Fintan?" I ask softly. 

He doesn't reply. 

I frown, but go sit next to him. "Hey," I say. 

He keeps his eyes closed and ignores me.

"Fintan?" I ask. 

No reply. 

"Fintan," I say, now more firmly. 

He still doesn't flinch. 

"Fintan! What's your deal?" I ask, a bit angry and I put my hand on his shoulder. 

He suddenly opens his eyes, irritated. "What," he sighs, bored. 

"What's going on with you? This is not how I know you..." I tell him, worried.

He sighs again. "Just leave me alone. I don't want to talk to anyone."

"Fintan, don't be so... Harsh... That's not how I know you..." I say softly. 

He looks in my eyes and grabs my arm. "Leave. Me. Alone." 

I shake myself loose and turn around. When I'm a good distance away, I sit down on a tree stump.

Those eyes that stared at me... They were amber colored, sure... But they were not Fintan's. 

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I don't how long I've slept for, but judging by the voices coming from the cave system, I'm guessing that it's morning.  It's impossible to tell for sure here - there's no windows, not even a crack to help me judge the sunlight. I had to sleep on the dusty floor. There's no bed in here, not even a blanket or some hay to soften to ground. I can feel a crick in my neck as I push myself up into a sitting position, but when I raise my hand to rub it, I'm stopped short by the chain. A dry aches emanates from the back of my throat, accompanied by a gentle headache - the first signs of dehydration.

I look around to see if I've been left any water, but to no avail. That's when I remember Blagden's punishment... the ache worsens in the knowledge that I can't soothe the pain any time soon.

I sit in silence, unable to even walk about and stretch my legs because of these wretched chains. I consider meditating for a moment, but I wouldn't want Blagdan to see and think I'm trying to send another message to my friends. I can't bear to think that one of them has been hurt by the Demons. I don't even know who it is...

And it's sitting here, listening to the malicious voices of the Demon Lords, warped and echoed through the cave system, that the injustice of it all hits me.

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((Sorry for the long absence guys, just really busy with show choir & life. I will get back to posting regularly!))

As I walk around camp, I get this weird feeling in the pit of my stomach that something isn't right. It seems like ever since we came back from the sky, something has been off. I can't say how I know it, but I just feel it. First, Fintan is behaving weirdly, and next, Caoilainn is attacked, allegedly by Fintan. I can't even make sense of it any more. My thoughts are jumbled and cloudy, a tangled web of all of the things I know. In this state, I can't figure anything out. I try sitting up in a tree, like I usually do, but this bad feeling breaks my concentration. With a grunt of frustration, I climb down the tree and walk back to camp. Caoilainn! I remember, I haven't talked to her yet. I hope she's all right...  I quickly walk to her tent, and find her sitting up, eating breakfast. 

"Hey," I say, tentatively. "How are you doing?"

"Better. Thanks for asking," she says, smiling a little, then wincing in pain. 

"Whoever it was sure got you pretty good... Are you sure it was Fintan?" I ask.

"I'm positive. I know what I saw. And something isn't right about him. I can't place it, but I could tell his aura was different than usual," she says. 

"i've been getting a bad feeling ever since we got back. Maybe something happened to Fintan..." I say.

"Yeah..." she says, trailing off. 

"Do you want me to get you anything? Do you need anything?" I ask. "I can get you something if you want..."

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"Some more bread would be great," I reply without thinking. After a second though, I change my mind. "Actually no, don't do that, I have enough. Sit down."

I still find Leoni's nervous behaviour to be amusing, smiling softly as he sits himself down quietly.

Lying down again, my arms folded underneath my head, I close my eyes. "Now tell me what Skyloft is like."

He frowns, looking puzzled. "Why would you want to know about Skyloft? This ordeal with Fintan-"

"Can wait," I interrupt, opening my eyes as I address him. "After all, I've been instructed to stay here and rest. Much as I hate it, they have a point. My head is still pounding. So tell me about Skyloft."

"Well..." Leoni hesitates at first, but then sighs his defeat. "Alright, okay. But only because you're sick."

I close my eyes again, and wait for him to start.

He starts with Skyloft's location, high up in the clouds and out of the reach of demons and other surface-dwellers. Only their birds, Loftwings, can carry them back and forth. Leoni describes the houses, the people who lived in them, the buildings scattered about the place.

All the while I lie contentedly, images of birds and colourfully-dressed people flitting across my field of vision.

"Caoilainn," Leoni pauses. "Do you want me to stop?"

I crack one eye open. "Fine, you've talked long enough anyway. And you probably want to discuss what's happening with Fintan, am I right?"

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"I don't know..." I say. "It just worries me so much. I just don't want to see anyone hurt or killed because of this, especially you," I say, surprised at my slip of the tongue.

"Wait, what?" she says.

I decide that in terms of my feelings, it's now or never. And besides, she probably wouldn't punch me full force if I said something wrong. I take a deep breath, and then I begin.

"Ever since I first met you, I really liked you. And by liked, I mean I had never loved anyone or anything as much as you that first day we met. I only carried you away from the fight because I didn't want to see you hurt. I want to always be there for you, at your side, having your back, helping you when you need it. Do you feel the same, or is it just me...?" I trail off nervously, blushing a little.

 

((Sorry for the short post, I don't have much time in the mornings))

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I spend the majority of the morning slipping in and out of a daze. The cell is empty, there's nothing here for me to do... passing time seems impossible. My throat burns and my head is beginning to throb from dehydration as the hours tick by. A few Demons come and go from the room, peering through the bars of my cell like I'm a caged animal. I suppose Blagden has been boasting about his accomplishment... and all his Demonic friends have come to see if it's true.

It must be late morning by the time that I hear my own voice coming from the labyrinth of volcanic corridors - well, not my own... his. I stumble forward, pulling as close to the bars as my chains will allow, ears straining to hear what they're saying.

"It's risky," he says. "They're getting really suspicious - I think I'm going to have to act fast."

Blagdan doesn't say anything for a few moments. Eventually, he sighs. "It looks like this can't be pulled off as elegantly as I had hoped..." there's a few more moments of silence before he says "But you're right - you need to act fast. Today's the day. This has to be done by the end of the day. Isolate the Mortal Goddess and the Hero from the rest of the group, cut them off, then teleport to bring them to me. By the time the rest of those pitiful children realise what's happened, our job will be done."

"Consider it done," my clone says.

I strain against the chains, feeling the pressure in my wrists as I struggle to catch the tail end of the conversation.

"Don't disappoint me," Blagden says. "If you let me down, you'll suffer for it."

"I'd never let you down."

Edited by NayruGoddessOfWisdom (see edit history)

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I blink in surprise, a little taken aback at his honesty. After a moment, I clear my throat and speak up.

"Well that was... something," I say. "I don't think anyone's ever said something quite like that to me before. Most of the others aren't quite as... articulate."

"I'm sorry," he says quickly, "I was just rambling and I-"

"It's okay," I cut him off with a little smile. It drops quickly though. "But if you want things to be serious between us, you ought to know the rules. Firstly, no more rescues; I'm fine fighting by myself. Second, no distracting me from any training or work I have to do. And lastly, no public displays of affection!"

He nods, a grin spreading across his face. "Agreed."

"Alright then," I say, getting up and ignoring the pain in my head. "Now that that's all over, let's go sort out all of this. We should find your friends, I think."

Striding ahead and refusing to grimace, I listen for the sound of Leoni's footsteps and smile softly when they pick up behind me.

Edited by ButterflyBabyBlue (see edit history)

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I'm walking forward without paying any attention. My thoughts are with what happened with Fintan.

Suddenly someone stops me. "Melaina?" It's Zelda. "Are you ok?" she asks, worried.

I blink a few times and nod quickly. 

"Are you sure? Did something happen?" she asks. "Maybe you should sit down..." she says, pulling me softly towards a bench.

"I'm fine..." I reply but I let her guide me to it and we sit down. 

"What happened?" she asks. 

"It's Fintan..." I say, and I tell her everything that just happened. 

"Hmm..." she mutters when I'm finished and she has a troubled look on her face. "Do you believe Caoilainn?" she asks suddenly.

"What?" I ask, a tad confused by her sudden question.

She turns at me. "She said that Fintan attacked her, and she looked pretty sure..." 

I jump up. "You don't know Fintan. He would never do something like that."

She looks slightly startled by me being so cold all of a sudden. "Melaina I'm sorry I didn't want to insult anyone I just-"

"You don't know him. Stop thinking like you do. I don't know what was wrong with Caoilainn, saying something like that, but he wouldn't do that. Never. So just mind your own business, ok?" I snap at her. I don't look at her reaction, I just turn around and walk away.

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"All right Fintan, enough delaying," Blagdan says, flexing his fingers as he uses his magic to unlock the gate of my cell. I softly drop my head, pain throbbing from beneath my skull at the volume of Bladan's voice. "Your friends will be here in just a few short hours and I want to make sure you have the best view in the house."

He pulls my chains from the ground with his demonic magic, leaving them attatched to my shackles, swinging from my limp arms. He grips my shoulder, dragging me to my feet so fast that it makes my head spin. I want to protest, but my vocal chords are dried out.

I'm pushed through the corridors of the cave system. To be honest, I'm rather glad at the opportunity to stretch out my legs after being forced to sit for so long. But it's hard to ignore the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Time is running out. My friends have, at best, an hour to realise what's going on and stop Zelda, and whoever the Hero may be, from being exploited. There's nothing left that I can do to help them... but still I worry. Either the Mortal Goddess and the Hero will be bought here and the prosperity of the surface will fall, or they'll stop my clone before it's too late - but what will happen to me then? They won't know where to find me, even I don't know where I am. And they'd have to take down Blagden, or at least find a way to sneak around him... there's too many risks... no matter what way I look at it, it seems like I've failed my mission...

The more I think about it, the worse the throbbing in my head becomes. But I'm quickly distracted as we arrive back in the labratory that I first found myself in. Blagdan pulls me up to the front of the lab and uses his magic to fix the loose ends of my chains to the floor, forcing me to sit once again.

Blagdan gives me a most sadistic grin as he turns away. "Get ready Fintan, because you're about to see history in the making."

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