Establishing Hyrule

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Sault had been pacing the settlement area for a while when the arguing came to his attention; it sounded like Melania and Zelda. By the time the scene came into view, Melania was walking away in a whirl of anger while Zelda stood there, utterly shocked. Link must have noticed too, because he was running to Zelda's aid at that moment. Melania passed by Sault without a word, leaving Sault to gaze at Link and Zelda alone and to themselves. They really seemed like a good couple... no, two parts of a whole, they were so in love.

 

Suddenly there is a rapid patter of feet and Fintan of all people jumps into the scene. On instinct after hearing Caoilainn's testimony, Sault dashes to him to stop whatever his plans are. The next events happen in a blur; Sault grabs Fintan's arm, Link wraps his arms around Zelda, and Fintan, somehow completely unhindered by his gripped arm, clenches Link and Zelda by the neck. In a most unpleasant sensation, everyone is torn away from the Sheikah settlement by the power of Fintan's teleportation spell.

 

This new environment is dark, rocky, and very dry. Sault is far from a practiced meditator, but even he can feel the haze of darkness that travels through this chamber. "Oh, we have an extra guest this afternoon, it would seem," a voice muses. The unwitting captives turn around to see a most alarming sight; another Fintan, looking terribly worn out and dehydrated, is chained to the floor beside a Demon Lord, the one who must be behind all this. The Fintan who teleported everyone here frees himself of Sault's grip, then drags Link and Zelda toward his apparent master. What in the world could be going on here?

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I try to restrain my excitement after talking with Caoilainn. She didn't reject me! It's a miracle! I think as I quickly follow her, looking for my friends. I look around the settlement, and I see Pipit and Karane to my left, chatting. 

"Caoilainn!" I call after her. "Over here!" I say, pointing to where the two stand. She turns and walks over beside me and we walk to Pipit and Karane. 

"Figured anything out yet?" Pipit asks. "If anyone could reason this out, it would be you, Leo." 

"I've spent hours thinking about it, and all I have to show for it is a bad vibe about this whole Fintan business," I say.

"Have you seen Fintan, or Sault?" Caoilainn says, abruptly.

"I haven't seen either of them all afternoon, but I'm sure they're around," Karane says. "Although, now that you mention it, I haven't seen either of them, and I do get a weird feeling coming from Fintan. It's almost like he's not himself."

"I get the same feeling," I add. "Have you seen Link or Zelda? I want to talk to them about something."

"Come to think of it, I haven't seen them either," Pipit says. "I wonder if Melaina knows where they are..."

"Well, you can ask her," Karane says, pointing to the approaching Melaina. 

"Have you seen-" I begin to ask, but Melaina cuts me off.

"Link, Zelda, Sault, and Fintan are all gone!"

Edited by ElwayGuy7 (see edit history)

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Sault is looking around him in a state of shock, and I can't say I blame him. But what really surprises me is that it took me this long to figure out that the Chosen Hero was Link... given how protective he is of Zelda, I should have realised it a lot sooner. But all this thinking makes my head spin, so I decide to listen to the conversation instead.

"How nice of you to join us," Blagdan says, directing it at Sault. "I wasn't expecting your company, but it's a nice surprise nevertheless." He turns to my clone, taking Link and Zelda from his grip. "See to it that he stays out of trouble."

My clone marches over to Sault, grabs his arms, and pulls them behind his back where he holds them in place. Even from this disadvantaged position I can see from his expression that he's desperately trying to understand what's going on here. Link and Zelda, to their credit, are keeping very level heads in this drastic situation, but even Zelda looks a little fearful of the Demon in front of us.

He grins maliciously. "Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Blagdan. I'm somewhat renowned among the demonic community as a biological scientist," he says, giving them the exact same introduction as I got. "And from what I've heard, you were responsible for the destruction of my best piece of work... a mechanical automaton that I named Koloktos."

I watch Link clench and unclench his fists - Koloktos must mean something to him.

Blagdan continues regardless. "But I need your help to make my finest creation yet. Don't look so scared, Hylia," he says, addressing Zelda with the name of her first form. "It's a painless process, well- the cloning process is painless. As for what comes after... you'll see."

Zelda looks horrified. Link reaches for his sword. Sault struggles in the grip of my clone, and I sit there, feeling utterly helpless because there's nothing I can do here.

"I'm so sorry," I say, my strained voice barely audible. And I really am, because it's thanks to me that we're going to fail the most important mission of our lives.

Sault glances at me, then to Link and Zelda, then to Blagdan. His expression is fiercely determined. "You won't get away with this, Blagdan," he growls.

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Utterly furious at his inability to prevent all of this, at the miserable state of his friend, and the hopelessness of the situation, Sault flies into a rage. Leaning his head forward, he reels it back quickly to headbutt the Fintan doppelganger and lands a blow right on its nose. The impact should have left Sault reeling, but surprisingly contact with the monster's skull is soft and malleable; it doesn't stop his captor's grip from loosening though as it reels back in a daze. Acting fast and without remorse, the Sheikah grabs a utility knife from his back pocket and charges the false Fintan, impaling it on the blade with incredible ease.

 

The beast that resembled Fintan let out a cry of agony as, rather than blood, pressurized dark haze spouted from the stab wound. Undaunted, Sault made another swipe at the monster's chest while Blagdan was preoccupied with hurriedly conducting his plans for Link and Zelda. This time, the wound caused the "skin" surrounding it to crumble like dry mud under a boot, and the damage was so great a huge cloud of black mist expelled out. Crumpling like a dry leaf, the monster caved in on itself completely and dissolved to dust, scattering back into the darkness of this place.

 

The demon Blagdan was clearly not happy to lose his creation, and furiously grabbed Link by the hair. "One more step and I'll spill his blood!" the Demon Lord warns with a ferocious snarl. Sault doesn't move an inch, but Zelda reaches from behind to push Blagdan on the back of the head. Her hands must have barely impacted with his head, but nonetheless Blagdan recoiled as if he'd been hit with a fireball; he jerks his hand back and Link wriggles free, but grits his teeth as he loses a few dozen hairs in the process. "Zelda, the chains, grab those chains!" He says and the mortal goddess looks to Fintan. The demonic chains melt in her grip like thawing ice, and Sault's friend is free. Picking up the barely-conscious Fintan, Link makes a break from the chamber with Sault and Zelda behind him, leaving the still reeling Blagdan behind.

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We'd searched the camp for Link, Zelda, Sault and Fintan at least three times now, and there was still no sign of them. Sun was setting and no one had spotted them. Not until we left one of the tents, and spotted a rather odd sight indeed.

Link, looking exhausted, is just barely carrying Fintan, setting him down as they reach the entrance. Zelda and Sault are with them, each looking just as worn out.

"There they are!" Melaina exclaims, about to run over to join them.

She lets out a startled cry as I whizz past her, feet pounding against the earth. Adrenaline overrides the pain in my head, but it's still there and it's what keeps me going.

Fintan and Sault barely look up in time to anticipate my arrival, alarm flashing across their faces. The first punch lands on Fintan's jaw, knocking him over with it's force.He goes down with a cry of pain.

"Caoilainn!" Sault yells, grabbing me before I can land a kick. "Caoilainn, calm down!"

"Let go of me Sault!" I snap, wriggling free and landing none too gracefully on my bottom. Furious and embarrassed, I spring up from the ground and make to attack again, but this time I'm grabbed by both Sault and Link, each taking one of my arms.

"Caoilainn," Zelda says, gentle but firm. "We'll explain everything to you, please don't worry. You'll see that this has been one big misunderstanding, I'm sure."

I'm about to protest, but her soft smile and Fintan's groan of pain win me over. Grudgingly, I concede with a nod.

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I press one hand to side of my jaw where Caoilainn's punch landed. My jaw is aching, but it's nothing compared to the pain that her punch flared beneath my skull. It was a long walk back from Eldin, a walk that I couldn't even manage. I had to let Link carry me, feeling as pathetic as a child, for the majority of the way. I haven't had a sip to drink for twenty four hours - neither Sault, Link or Zelda had any supplies on them - they weren't prepared for an adventure when they arrived, meaning that my throat now feels like it's coated in sand and salt.

I glance over to Caoilainn, who watches me with a look of hatred. Over the past two days, I've been kidnapped, cloned, chained up, starved and dehydrated... and that's the greeting I recieve when I return home?

"Melaina, get some water..." Sault says, kneeling down to where I'm hunched over on the ground. She dashes off into a tent.

He tilts my head up, examining the bruise on my jaw. My vision fades in and out, Sault blurring from focus as he studies the damage. He waves his hand in front of my face as my eyelids droop.

"Fintan!" he snaps. "Stay with us!"

Melaina kneels down next to me, a bottle of water in her hand. She passes it to Sault, who uncorks it and holds the rim to my lips. The cool liquid floods my mouth, never in my life have I ever been so relieved. I greedily gulp the water, grateful for the refreshment.

"What happened?" Melaina asks, studying me with concern. I want to tell her that it's ok, that I'll be ok... but my vocal chords are still dried out.

"It's a very long story," Zelda sighs from above me.

Edited by NayruGoddessOfWisdom (see edit history)

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As Zelda tends to Fintans' wounds and Melania gets him the proper nourishment, Link and Sault relate to the gathered Hylians and Sheikah the events in Eldin. "After Fintan leaped out of nowhere," Sault explained, "I grabbed him by the arm and the next thing I knew, all four of us were in this weird place. It was dark and creepy, and full of evil." "It turns out the guy behind all of this is called Blagdan," Link added, "and he's out to do something with Zelda and I. Whatever it was, I don't think he had a chance. We all got away before that demon creep could harm anyone. Thank goodness those caves had an exit only a few miles away from a bird statue, so we could fly back here in time to save Fintan." "Oh, and don't forget I killed that monster pretending to be him!" Sault interjected. "With him gone, we're double safe!"

 

"That... may not be the case." Everyone turns around to see the source of the voice is the real Fintan, who propped himself up at some point. "Link, do you remember losing something? A bit of hair perhaps?" he asks the hero. Link thinks for a minute then nods. "Come to think of it, Blagdan had a firm grip on my hair... I lost a bit when trying to escape." He answered. "When that Demon Lord cloned me, all he needed was a bit of my hair..." Fintan replies. Everyone else's expression turns to horror. We might have a huge problem...

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"But we know that he couldn't have cloned you until after you left. So, that leaves a few possibilities," I say, walking up to the group. "Possibility #1: You 4 escape before he clones anyone, and you all make it back, but he has a clone waiting for action. Possibility #2: He clones Link only shortly after you escape, and then sends him after you, catching you at some point and replacing himself in the group somehow. Possibility #3: He cloned you all shortly after you left, and he sent 4 clones after you to replace all of you, recapturing you, and sending the 4 clones to us, here." 

"If only one of us had been replaced, then we would have noticed," Zelda says. "Right?"

"More than likely," I reply. "It would be nearly impossible to notice unless you 4 split up at some point. And he didn't have the hair needed to clone either Zelda or Sault, am I right?" I ask.

"He didn't get any hair from me," Sault says. "I know that."

"Me neither," Zelda replies. "But why does that matter?"

"Because we have eliminated possibilities 2 and 3, this leaves only the first one. We have to assume he will make a clone of you, Link, and he will try to send it here. We need to be careful and not leave the Demon Lords any possible place to make the switch. I hate to say it, but that means Link will have to be guarded closely until we can know for sure there is no clone. I wouldn't wish it upon you to share Fintan's pain. Does that seem reasonable?" I say.

"I guess. It won't be pretty, but I'll have to deal with it. I wouldn't want to put you all in danger," he says. We all break up, and a couple of the guards from camp follow Link. I run off to find Caoilainn, and after searching camp, I find her in her tent. I slowly open the flap and peek in.

"Hey," I say, softly. "Are you all right?"

Edited by ElwayGuy7 (see edit history)

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Everyone trails off to various areas. The Hylian's head over to their camp to go and rest up as it's getting late. Link and Zelda were at the back of the group, closely followed by Sault, who agreed to watch the Hero for the night. Caoilainn vanished off with Leoni in tow, her still looking a little vexed and him trying to relax her.

As for me, I just lie back on the damp grass, watching the constellations in the inky black sky. I'm feeling a little better now that I've had something to eat and drink, but my muscles are still weak, something that might take a few days to rectify. I don't have the energy to get up and go to bed just yet, so I just lie there, appreciating the feel of grass against my skin and the familiarity of being back home, where I'm safe. For a while back there, I honestly thought I wouldn't see this place again.

Melaina's figure shifts into view, and I twist my head a little to see her standing over me, hands on hips, wearing a small smile.

"Hello," I say with a grin, as if it were any other day.

"Hello," she replies, suppressing a laugh. "What are you looking so chipper about?"

I shrug. "Maybe I'm just deluded from exhaustion, but I'm happy to be home."

"Fair enough," she says, lowering herself to lie down next to me on the grass. We lie in silence for a few moments, watching the night sky.

"I didn't doubt you for a moment," she says.

"Hmm?" I ask, turning to look at her.

"Your clone, it attacked Caoilainn. She swore blind it was you, but I didn't believe her," Melaina explains.

"Huh..." I muse "well that explains a lot..." she doesn't say anything for a moment, so I quickly add. "But thank you, you were the last person I would have wanted to turn against me."

She pauses. "I am?"

"Yeah," I reply, "we've been friends for years."

She nods, and we lie quietly for a few minutes more, soaking up the calm atmosphere while it's still here. But eventually, I let out a grunt as I push myself into a sitting position. "Right," I say. "I should go brief Sheik on what happened..."

"Oh come on," Melaina says, sitting up with me. "You've been through alot, just go to sleep! Brief him in the morning!"

"No," I say "I really should do it now."

"I won't let you," she says, wrapping an arm around my waist and hauling me up to my feet. "You're going straight to bed."

"No, I-"

"Don't argue with me Fintan," she says, shooting me her 'don't mess with me' look.

I sigh. "Alright... but I'm seeing him first thing in the morning!"

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"Fine," I reply. "Are you going to be ok?" I ask. He still has pain, he's just too polite to mention it.

He nods quickly. "I am."

"Are you sure?" I ask, raising an eyebrow. 

He sighs and puts a hand on my shoulder. "Melaina. I'm fine." 

I watch his hand and feel the warmth through the thin fabric of my clothes. 

"I'm fine," he repeats softly. 

"Ok then...Good night Fintan..." I say. 

"Good night," he smiles. 

I give him a small smile back and turn around to go to bed.

When I lay down, I think about the fact that I'm so glad he's back. I mean sure, we have some contrasts, but still, he's my best friend. He's the only one that has never been mad at me when I was acting mean or thought I knew everything better. He never left my side. I smile briefly and shift around in my bed until I fall asleep. 

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"This tree has blood on it," Leoni remarks as I strike yet again.

"It's mine," I tell him, balanced on the balls of my feet as I ready another kick. "This is... my... training area."

"Just yours... And you train until you bleed?"

"Sometimes. Like right now."

Leoni seems worried, looking as if he's about to give me some sort of advice. I cut him off with a glare, and kick hard.

"I was so... stupid," I say, recoiling. "I thought... that it was Fintan... without even thinking."

"You just made a small mistake," Leoni said assuringly. "After all-"

"But it was a mistake!" I cut him off, ashamed and angry. "And mistakes get you killed, Leoni! I've known Fintan years now, how couldn't I tell that something was off?!"

I kick again, harder. A thwack follows, and then a stinging in my foot.

"There it is," I say as I regain my balance. I gesture to the red stain left on the bark, shining under the moonlight.

"... Do you have any bandages?" Leoni asks, hesitant.

"In my tent," I say gruffly, turning away from the tree. "I'll do it myself, so don't worry."

"Alright..."

We walk in silence back to the camp, and stop outside my tent. I scrub my hand through my hair, taking a deep breath.

"I'll apologise to Fintan in the morning," I tell Leoni. "Good night."

"Night, Caoilainn," he says with a small smile. Patting me gently on the shoulder, he makes for his own tent, looking back over his shoulder at me as he walks.

I step into my own tent, patching up the cut on my foot as best as I can. I'm suddenly exhausted, and am asleep before I fall onto my pillow.

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((I'm going to Paris until tuesday, I won't have any internet there, so keep it up while I'm gone! Bye!))

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(( Have fun in Paris! I hate to be the bearer of bad news... but I'm an awful human being... I'm heading off to New York City! I know I only got back from Wales a week ago but I've got another school trip now. I, like Franne, will be back home on Tuesday but they'll be no wifi there. It won't even be like Wales where I can carry on reading because roaming charges are crazy... anyway, you can easily keep it going with the three of you for the four days! I really look forward to reading it all when I get home!  Bye! ))

 

I wake at first light, just like any other day. It takes me longer than usual to haul myself out of bed and get dressed because my muscles are still aching. My headache is still present, though the pain has significantly numbed since last night. I make my way over to my usual spot to meditate. I spend a few minutes trying to find the connection - a little out of practice, but I find it eventually. It's soothing to be back in my Palace of Balance... I finish up, stretch out, and make my way over to the Temple of Spirit.

Sheik's already in the room as I make my way through the door, helping to prepare the morning meal. He looks up as he hears my entrance, stepping forward to greet me.

"Fintan," he says "I'm glad to see you back to your usual self."

I nod. "Thank you, can we go and have a word somewhere quiet?" I ask.

He nods. "Of course."

He lays the dough he was kneading down on the work surface and leads me to a side room of the temple. The two of us sit down on cushions on the floor.

"I'm presuming you're here to brief me on what happened?" Sheik begins. "Sault's told me what he knew, but there were some points missing, and I need to hear your side of the story."

"Of course," I reply. "It began three days ago..." And so I relay the events back to Sheik. I tell him how Blagdan snuck into the camp and kidnapped me, how he cloned me, about his plans, and about the time that I spent chained up in the cell. Then, how Sault, Link and Zelda arrived and the events that followed."

"Fintan," Sheik says softly. "I'm sorry you had to go through that."

"Don't-" I begin, but he holds up his hand to cut me off.

"No, Fintan," he says, his voice firm. "The mission is important, but you can't put yourself at risk like that. You're one of our best men, I won't have you exposed to that kind of danger. You have to swear to me that you won't do anything like that again."

I sigh. I don't really want to promise something like that... but it's not like I can exactly play the hero with my injuries... "I swear," I reply.

And with that he dismisses me, and I make my way out of the Temple of Spirit. I'm sure exactly how I feel. How am I supposed to not put myself at risk? That's my mission... to protect the Hero and the Goddess at any cost... I'm still musing over my thoughts as I step out into the sunshine, and walk right into the path of Caoilainn. I flinch, expecting her to launch another attack, but she doesn't.

"Can I have a word with you?" she asks.

Edited by NayruGoddessOfWisdom (see edit history)

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"Er... Sure," Fintan says, seeming cautious.

I fidget for a moment, unsure of what to say for fear of getting angry again. After a moment, I put my hands away and get to it.

"Fintan,I have to apologise to you," I say. "I'm sorry for not recognising you'd been replaced, and I'm sorry for blaming you... and I'm sorry for punching you when you got back from the demons' territory, and giving you a bruise."

Fintan laughs a little at my list of apologies, and I give him a small smile back.

"Apology accepted, Caoilainn," he says, offering me his hand. I shake it, and pull him in for a hug.

"Caoilainn?" he says after a moment. "You're a lot stronger than I am."

"Oh!" I let him go, stepping back. "I'm sorry. I forget sometimes."

He looks down at my bandaged foot, a knowing look on his face. "I see you were busy training. Are you going off again?"

"I was actually going to get some breakfast," I admit. "But I'll be training. I might try out some weapons."

Fintan smiles. "I'll go with you. I'm glad we're on good terms again, Caoilainn."

"Me too," I reply, grimacing as my stomach growls. "... We'd better move quickly."

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After waking early, I lie in bed silently until I hear the sounds of the others beginning to stir. I get dressed, and I step outside the tent into the sunlight. I let my eyes adjust for second, then I walk towards the center of camp, where the dining area is. I grab some food, and a piece of fruit, and I head off to find Caoilainn. I find her sitting with Fintan, and they are chatting like old friends, seeming to have gotten over yesterday's events. I walk up to them and set my food on the table.

"Do you mind if I sit here?" I ask casually.

"Go ahead," Fintan says. I sit, and take a bite out of my apple. We all sit, chewing quietly, in silence. The awkward quiet is broken by Fintan.

"So, Leo, what's your plan for the day? Do you usually train, or...?" he trails off.

"Usually not, but I might today, because of all the danger we've had to deal with recently. Usually I would take a book and find a tree, and I would climb up, find a spot to sit, and study for a while. In fact, I was studying when I heard about the arrow that got all of this started," I say, chuckling. "But studying science won't do me any good against a Demon Lord..."

"You got that right," Caoilainn says. We all laugh, and I smile at her. She grins at me for a second, before returning to a more serious expression.

"Well, we can all train together, then. As long as Caoilainn doesn't mind," Fintan says, turning to face her. She considers it for a moment, swallows her food, and turns to us.

"Fine. As long as you guys are productive, and you don't distract me," Caoilainn says.

"I'm glad you said yes, cause I'm really interested to learn about how you fight. Fighting without sword and shield is unimaginable to me..." I say.

"And fighting with them is weird to us," Fintan says. "I guess we'll all learn a little today!" We laugh some more, and I finish my apple. It is then that it hits me: I have known these people for only a few days, and we talk like we have known one another forever...

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