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HH's Literary Repository

Hyrulian Hero

Zelda Informer Codger
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Location
SoDak
  1. It didn't take but a minute.

    Stopping to chip a bit of discolored stone from the wall, he holds it up to his eye to study it. Odd geometric shapes catch his attention, the jagged edges of the subject showing a bit too perfect in the light. The cleavage divides golden ratio by golden ratio, pleasing to the eye and fantastical to behold. Uncommon shades caught somewhere between a grey-green and a midnight blue and cool to the touch, cooler than expected. And as his vision slips from edge to edge, patterns emerge. Like hieroglyphs in some ancient barbarian crypt. Forms too regular to be natural and too unnatural to be man-made.

    Madness, they had called it, to believe that man could live in such a place. He, against all convention, had taken the writings as truth and led the crusade deep into the earth. Armed with but his fervor, what some had called fanatical zeal, he pushed downward and downward. And his surety is being rewarded. It's not so much that the people of the caverns had etched the walls surrounding him with minuscule workings of tools or implements, in fact, his companions largely fail to acknowledge the disposition of the place as that of artifice. No, it's as if the ancient dwellers of this chamber deep below the earth had influenced their domain by virtue of their presence. The rocks formed in just such a way due to the suggestion of vile practices and dark rites practiced here. Swirls in the sandy ground were as they were in response to the aura of rancor exuded by those who trod here. From the ceiling, even, fall drops of water that plop somehow discordant on the limestone and quartz to the beat of pagan drums and gnashing teeth. Every experience with which he is being provided proves his claims to be more than wild ravings to his peers.

    The very first day in the dark, they had passed through a narrow spot in the tunnel, wherein had once been afixed a portculis. He had been the only one to see how it had once been. The grooves in the ceiling, though not visible to the eye, had certainly been mortared over to mask the intent of its builder. Ridicule followed from his companions who posited that he was grasping at straws.

    But he knows it was there. The same of the hook they had come upon, high on the wall, where these previous denizens had hung robes, or bodies. Natural cave formation they had said. He couldn't expect them to follow his superior intellect with their closed minds.

    From down the tunnel, faint mumbling from the group and shadows cast in their torch light are growing faint. He bids them for another moment to glean what he can from this place.

    Earlier, a pair of columns had risen up above a dry, underground lake bed. Towering into the darkness, they were only just too perfect to have been the work of geologic forces. Strange angles protruded from them, angles that should have turned torchlight outward but instead cast shadows where they shouldn't. Angles that could only have existed beneath, in this place.

    Warm illumination rolls out across the stone as the man moves on, fire capturing each detail of the rock face. Basalt slides coolly by as his fingertips graze across. The light bounces too softly from a depression in a shelf he leans out to avoid. Here in the wall, a lip of rock distends forth, forming a place where one could gather an assortment of one's liking: roses, candles, other, more sinister things...a microcosm of possibilities nestled in the hollow of stone. This being where the light of his torch seems to be collecting and from which, not escape, he draws his hand down to it.

    The scientific curiosity competes with and conquers the apprehension of the unknown. "I've found something!" He cries. His distorted voice echoes him. No other answers forthcoming, he exclaims again into the dark. The light at the end of the tunnel has dimmed to nothing and the footsteps have faded.

    Resignedly, he takes up the guide line at his feet and knots the rope to signify this place. Now, resolving to return, the man continues on, this time, the way he came. Left hand grasping the life line; right hand, the torch. Left brain, ahead; right brain, ahind. Left, earth; right, earth.

    What manner of mystery perplexed him in these corridors? The forms in the bedrock they'd seen an hour earlier, sculpted by human hands or human imagination? Had the plank they unearthed the day before been carried here by a member of an ancient tribe or a seasonal flood? He shakes his head to clear the conflicting thoughts.

    The path rises steadily as the thread leads him on, over a mound that may have contained shattered earthen jars, around outcroppings showing pick marks...or was it natural wear? Surely the expedition would see that the boot tracks in the dust were at least solid evidence of sentient activity in this place. Their constant refusal to credit the proof would finally be squelched when he returned them to the stone basin, showed them the designs in the stones, brought them upon a stone concretion, too hard to be natural.

    Hooked into the edge of his perception, he can just hear an inhumanly quiet voice far ahead. His pace becomes a bit quicker. He recalls his elation earlier upon discovering painted images on a large stone. The others had written them off as lichen, red, orange, white. He stumbles a bit as his foot catches on a human skull. No, its a rock. Perhaps these beings turned remains to stone as well, surely a spectacular find! the skull seems to cry out to him as he hurries on, wheezing with the effort.

    Ahead he hears more voices, now louder and with greater emphasis. His pace quickens further and his lungs burn. He shouts and echoes scoff at him. The rope he follows tears at his hand as it slithers through, taking flecks of skin until his palm is slick and wet. His feet fly as they threaten to outrun his torch.

    "See what I've found!" He runs on, furiously pumping legs, furiously pumping heart. Another minute and two. His legs begin to cramp and moisture rims his eyes and beads on his forehead. The voices ahead are shouts and the tunnel is bright with light that illuminates nothing. Shrieks and moans ricochet from every angle, screams of terror and sadistic lechery tear through his mind. Something was down here. The thought grips his mind like some dark denizen of the underworld. Guttural groans and mad cacklings reach a crescendo. "SOMETHING IS DOWN HERE!" and his hand snags on the rope.

    It's a knot.

    A second passes. His wild eyes grow distant and unfocused for but a moment, then snap back as his mind butchers its way into the present. Cotton invades his mouth and cascades down the back of his neck, causing his hair to prick. Nostrils flair, skin blanches, extremities tingle.

    A minute passes. Cold sweat trickles down between his eyes. The rope drops, the knees go weak. He calls out again and again, the words being chewed up by the darkness and regurgitated back in distorted, unfamiliar syllables. He sinks down to the ground, breathing hard. Tremors overtake him.

    An hour passes. He makes his way down the tunnel, follows the guide line. The fiendish cord proves circuitous and he finds himself returned to the knot. Once, thrice. The torch gutters and goes out. The vile darkness settles about him. He strikes his knife against his flint, revealing a moment frozen time with each strike.

    A day passes. He dreams in the dark. Haunted, morbid dreams. Dreams of grotesque beings with hollow eyes and hearts, breathing darkness, beating drums stretched tight with flesh. He awakes in the dark. His hands search the wall, guiding him up. He feels outlines too straight and groves too intricate. Details of portent. Surly there was a clan that had made this their place worship, had performed their wicked rites here.

    Hunger grips his stomach and thirst parches his lips. Oppressive darkness robs him of sight and he stumbles with every step. There are no sounds, no breeze, no warmth. His thoughts turn continually to despair.

    A week passes. He wanders down corridors and passages he is sure have been seen only by the evil spirits who built this place. He wheezes as he walks and he hears his eye lids close and open again as he blinks. His mouth is dry as the dust he kicks up with each step. His hunger is matched in ferocity only by his rage at having been left here. His hatred burns like the sun, so very far out of reach.

    When the man calls now, there is no echo. His shouts for rescue crack out from his throat like leaves scraping across bare rock. His mind is full of vengeance, retribution for the suffering he's endured.

    A month passes. He no longer weeps. His voice sounds only in vitriolic curses hacked out between bouts of barking coughs and ragged gasps. His eyes remain closed as they have long since dried and become frothy white. Fingers and toes lose their nails and back hunches to accommodate the twisted warrens he wanders.

    A year passes. The infinite emptiness in its stomach becomes a comforting constant. The foul air and crushing silence are its closest companions. Stringy and pale hair swings from a mostly bald head and nails: hooked, black, and piercing jut from its digits now. The jaw, hanging ajar at a disturbing skew, sports ugly fangs like the stalactites and stalagmites of its subterranean domain. Above the jagged entrance to its cavern of a mouth, the once shining orbs have sealed, forever separating it from the truth of its eternal phantasm. What is left of the tunic that had hidden a man's impropriety drags along the floor of its home like intestines drug by the disemboweled. It shambles in the heart of the earth, alone.

    Shreds of humanity, left over from the routines of its previous life, find their way into the creature's manner. It screeches and howls in an unholy tongue to the gods of this place. It cuts its body with shattered stones until it fills the carved depression in sacrifice to its masters. It doesn't remember why it claws reliefs into the walls where it sleeps until its nails are bloody stumps at the ends of raw, pallid phalanges. The beast only remembers that it's always been that way. Under the soles of mankind, the monster beats its skull against the carved monoliths it worships, pounding out a rhythm to chill the spirit.

    Centuries pass.

    And then, as it happens, the pitiful demon experiences the inexplicable as it dashes itself against the rocks, punishing itself for the glory of its lords. A sensation that has been long forgotten like an extant repression from the halcyon years of youth. It sees. The parched spheres beneath layers of scar and skin flare with pain as the light squirms its way into the beast's mind and etches threats and revelation into the inside of its skull. Illumination shines from somewhere far away within the caverns. As it listens, snapping its head away from the searing radiation, it hears footsteps. And voices.

    Men come upon a stone basin spattered with blood, see freshly carved idols chiseled into solid rock. Inhuman footprints cover the ground and evil-looking words scrawled in blood cover the walls, the ceiling. Then comes the pounding. A rhythm to chill the spirit. And then chanting in demonic tongues. And then the nearing of dry footsteps.
 

Hyrulian Hero

Zelda Informer Codger
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Location
SoDak
Remember that I welcome any and all thoughts, praise, criticism, correction, editing, conversation, angry faces, and fan fiction based of my work. Please don't hesitate to interpret anything I have on here, I would love that.
 

Hyrulian Hero

Zelda Informer Codger
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Location
SoDak
The rust stings my eyes.

Surely the salt is a menace.

Don't patronize me! This predicament is your design!

I did not wish this...

That's exactly what you did.

Would that this had not been my wish.

Insincerity. You envied them their youth, their vitality. You were jealous of the squalor into which you plunged your kingdom, and humiliated by it. You could not allow another to purge your domain so you, "Went down with the ship", as it were. *chuckles* Vanity. Pray, has your unparalleled selflessness eased your spirit?

Puns, blackguard? A low stoop for a king, 'fore a king.

You're a shipwreck!

And you, a stone. And now both keep company with the fish and eels. My failings are my own, and you are the worm, calling the lion low. You coveted the fortune of your neighbor and would have robbed the new generation of opportunity! Your craven carcass rotted in a festering citadel as you stole the light from the eyes of the remaining good souls of the world! Curb your accusations, spineless wretch...

Ha ha ha...your shame has weakened you, brought you to your knees, shattered your defenses. You point condemnation in every direction and claim pure intent. You hide behind a straw wall, thinking yourself above question. But your greed robbed her of her heritage, your envy stole her innocence. You are, yourself the theif who snuffed the light.

Circumstance found you and your people plagued by famine and drought. And when at last, only you remained, you were left holding the weight of your regret and burden of your impotence. You misplaced your anguish at your ineptitude and pined for those things which had passed.

...blast this corroded spike and its maker and the wind that brought you blessing! It itches and burns, it writhes through my head and burns through my mind! A thousand ancient curses on you!!!

Your quarrel is as dated as your oaths, fiend.

A quarrel that began in the scorching desert at your cold shoulder. As in life, you shirk responsibility and wield blame as this blade! You witnessed the plight of my kin yet held your nose to the sky. May the wind of guilt score your conscience and topple your self-righteous ego!

And now the heart of the matter, your refusal to accept your gross negligence and failure to lead your pack of cut-throats in a manner befitting the title, "King of Thieves". Once again, you play the martyr, twisting history to your whim and casting aspersions with prejudice. Your world's fate can be credited to none other than yourself.

Our world's fate came about at your hands, Daphnes! Your heart is a hard as...as mine is now!...GAH! Curse the fire of this sacred blade! When finally it dissolves in the salt of this foul sea, I will again rise and you, you will remain restless in the pit of the world forever!

That pain is but a shadow of my agony at my failure to lead Hyrule to prosperity! Blaze with pain forever, swine! May the name Ganondorf be ever reviled! May the tongues of Hyrulians spit the syllables with contempt! May your memory be an indelible strain upon the memories of every generation!

And you, "Deposed King of Hyrule", may your name be forgotten to the ages, may your line end in disgrace and obscurity! May Hyrule languish in paucity and fail utterly as its scattered tribes debase themselves to ruin! Desolation overtake even the echo of your title!

Long live the King of Nothing!

Like most of my writing these days, this one turned out to be a bit esoteric. Unlike most of my writing from the old days, I didn't intend for it to be. I put this bit out for a writing competition here on ZD-i so I was intentionally trying to make it more accessible than some of the things I write. I used two characters who are well-known to the Zelda fanbase and had them interact in a conversational way in an attempt to make it an easy read. I planned for it to be easy to follow, to flow as conversation should, and to be straight forward with little actual substance, as that makes for easier reading and therefore, more enjoyment on the part of the reader.

That style, of course, doesn't fit my literary paradigm. I prefer to struggle line by line to pick out subliminal themes and root out hidden concepts and entendre. As I wrote, I decided that the identities of both characters should be obscured but slowly revealed as the conversation progressed. I mean, I've got to have my cake and eat it as well, right? So that, of course, makes it hard to follow if I'm intending it for an audience who will give it, at best, a single read if not simply skimming through it. Knowing this, I wanted to drop bright neon keywords into the conversation to catch the eye of the casual reader but alas, keywords have a habit of revealing too much in a cryptic piece.

So I come to the end and I say, "This is why I hate writing dialogue, it's a constant stream of 'he said this' and 'she said that'. What can I do to avoid this obvious pitfall?" So I ripped all pretense of quotation away from the intercourse and colored each speaker's voice independently. Honestly, I also figured the color would make up for the slog of comprehension the reader was undertaking as well by removing repetitive phrasing and breaking up the work for the eye.

All in all, I was actually quite pleased with the way it turned out, even if it is a departure from my favored style of writing. I've put together a little breakdown of some key points.

____________

The rust stings my eyes. (Ganondorf: the Master Sword is rusting and the rust is hurting Ganondorf's eyes as it corrodes.)

Surely the salt is a menace. (Daphnes: hinting that they are under the ocean. This shows us a callous and unrefined side of Daphnes.)

Don't patronize me! This predicament is your design! (Ganondorf: An angry response to Daphnes childish taunt. The predicament referred to is the fact that Hyrule is drowned and both kings are dead.)

I did not wish this... (Daphnes: An honest response of regret at having wished for Hyrule to be flooded.)

That's exactly what you did. (Ganondorf: A hint that the other speaker is Daphnes as he literally WISHED on the triforce for Hyrule to be flooded.)

Would that this had not been my wish. (Daphnes: He believes the results of this wish were necessary though not ideal.)

Insincerity. You envied them their youth, their vitality. You were jealous of the squalor into which you plunged your kingdom, and humiliated by it. You could not allow another to purge your domain so you, "Went down with the ship", as it were. *chuckles* Vanity. Pray, has your unparalleled selflessness eased your spirit? (Ganondorf: He doesn't buy that Daphnes is truly torn about sinking Hyrule. He believes Daphnes was jealous of the opportunity that Link and Zelda had before them and didn't want them to have the chance to restore Hyrule where he had failed. He then jabs at Daphnes by accusing him of running away by "going down with the ship", an obvious allusion to Daphnes assumed form on the Great Sea, the King of Red Lions. He wraps up with a sarcastic inquiry about how Daphnes feels about turning tail.)

Puns, blackguard? A low stoop for a king, 'fore a king. (Daphnes: Daphnes takes exception to being taunted about his altered form and calls Ganondorf out on it, telling him that it's beneath a king to slander another king using puns.)

You're a shipwreck! (Ganondorf: Reacting violently to the pithy retort, Ganondorf's cool slips and he flat-out name-calls the king of Hyrule.)

And you, a stone. And now both keep company with the fish and eels. My failings are my own, and you are the worm, calling the lion low. You coveted the fortune of your neighbor and would have robbed the new generation of opportunity! Your craven carcass rotted in a festering citadel as you stole the light from the eyes of the remaining good souls of the world! Curb your accusations, spineless wretch... (Daphnes: Daphnes takes Ganondorf's comment in stride and plays the "turnabout is fair play" card by name-calling Ganondorf a rock, which he now is. He then alludes to them being at the bottom of the sea with fish and eels. He backhands Ganondorf with another name, 'worm', and elevates himself by calling himself a lion, another reference to his boat form. He defends his sinking of Hyrule by reiterating that Ganondorf would have killed Zelda and Link and had been kidnapping little girls and bringing them to his fortress. Twice, here, he impugnes Ganondorf's courage, first by calling him craven, then spineless, both contrasting him with Link's courage.)

Ha ha ha...your shame has weakened you, brought you to your knees, shattered your defenses. You point condemnation in every direction and claim pure intent. You hide behind a straw wall, thinking yourself above question. But your greed robbed her of her heritage, your envy stole her innocence. You are, yourself the theif who snuffed the light. (Ganondorf: Coming back strong, Ganondorf tells Daphnes that he's fooling himself by believing that Ganondorf is the one to blame. He probes deep by implying that Daphnes had not only failed as a king but as a father due to his selfishness. And, of course, the obvious misspelling of the word "thief" which was a bit of a Freudian slip on my part.)

Circumstance found you and your people plagued by famine and drought. And when at last, only you remained, you were left holding the weight of your regret and burden of your impotence. You misplaced your anguish at your ineptitude and pined for those things which had passed. (Taking the high road, Daphnes ignores the direct attack and focuses on the implication that he is to blame for the current status of Hyrule. He asserts that Ganondorf is impotent, inept, and unable to live in the present, captivated by the past.)

...blast this corroded spike and its maker and the wind that brought you blessing! It itches and burns, it writhes through my head and burns through my mind! A thousand ancient curses on you!!! (Ganondorf: Here, Ganondorf is distracted by the Master Sword in his face. He outright curses Daphnes as well as the Master Sword, Hylia, and the wind itself.)

Your quarrel is as dated as your oaths, fiend. (Daphnes: He takes the opportunity to point out that Ganondorf is complaining about things which he had been battling and failing against since time immemorial. He also engages in some harsh name-calling, calling to mind the demon-king as a hint to the reader at who is talking.)

A quarrel that began in the scorching desert at your cold shoulder. As in life, you shirk responsibility and wield blame as this blade! You witnessed the plight of my kin yet held your nose to the sky. May the wind of guilt score your conscience and topple your self-righteous ego! (Ganondorf: Now he finally admits to his quarrel and defends it by blaming Daphnes directly for the downfall of the Gerudo. He again refers to the wind and the Master Sword, this time actually calling it a blade, another escalation toward revealing who the two characters are.)

And now the heart of the matter, your refusal to accept your gross negligence and failure to lead your pack of cut-throats in a manner befitting the title, "King of Thieves". Once again, you play the martyr, twisting history to your whim and casting aspersions with prejudice. Your world's fate can be credited to none other than yourself. (Daphnes: Seeing Ganondorf's accusation for what it is, though ignoring any truth in it, Daphnes berates Ganondorf for avoiding responsibility and calls him the 'King of Thieves', giving away to many readers who the other speaker is. He breaks down that Ganondorf is playing innocent and wallowing in self-pity when he should be taking responsibility as leader of the Gerudo.)

Our world's fate came about at your hands, Daphnes! Your heart is a hard as...as mine is now!...GAH! Curse the fire of this sacred blade! When finally it dissolves in the salt of this foul sea, I will again rise and you, you will remain restless in the pit of the world forever! (Ganondorf: The other speaker is positively identified now, with Ganondorf's final assertion that Daphnes is to blame for the fall of the Gerudo due to his refusal to help the tribe when he saw them in danger. The pain of the Master Sword distracts him once again and he curses the Master Sword again. He warns that when the blade finally rusts away in the salt water, he will again be free to avenge his people but Daphnes will remain a restless ghost, unable to do anything to stop him on the bottom of the ocean.

That pain is but a shadow of my agony at my failure to lead Hyrule to prosperity! Blaze with pain forever, swine! May the name Ganondorf be ever reviled! May the tongues of Hyrulians spit the syllables with contempt! May your memory be an indelible strain upon the memories of every generation! (Daphnes: This is Daphnes' coup de maiter, in which he finally certainly reveals the name of his adversary. First, he compares the pain in Ganondorf's head to a fraction of the guilt he feels at having failed his people. Then he crafts a compound curse which he lavishes heavily on Ganondorf. Each of his curses is an oath that Ganondorf will ever be remembered as a leader, Ganondorf's worst fear.)

And you, "Deposed King of Hyrule", may your name be forgotten to the ages, may your line end in disgrace and obscurity! May Hyrule languish in paucity and fail utterly as its scattered tribes debase themselves to ruin! Desolation overtake even the echo of your title! (Ganondorf: Ganondorf's penultimate verse. He heaps a compound curse upon Daphnes, each of his oaths being a promise that Daphnes memory is so tarnished that it will die out, Daphnes' worst fear. His hope is that Daphnes will forever be forced to go on as a ghost but without the respect or fealty of his people.)

Long live the King of Nothing! (Ganondorf and Daphnes: Finally, though both wish for the opposite fate for the other, they both raise their voices and lob a final insult at each other. The homogenity of their curse contrasting their differences and uniting their similarities as each calls the other the king of nothing. This is evinced by the red and blue colored voices coming together as a violet voice.)
 

Hyrulian Hero

Zelda Informer Codger
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Location
SoDak
I remember vividly the smell of the fetid water. The oily texture, the taste of decay…a boy’s first taste of the world, even before his mother’s milk. I plunged from a world of darkness into a world darker still. My first cries drowned in that tub of viscous slime, as much water as that woman cared to muster for the birth of her only son. Of the only son.

This realm I entered in cool, dark filth; a small pity the woman had taken on me. It was to be the only pity taken on me by her or any other. While the others slept on mats and blankets, my body was covered in sand to hold me in place. The gritty amarillo particles drifted into my nostrils and caked my eyes when I grew exhausted enough to sleep. I don't like sand. It's course and rough and irritating, and it gets everywhere. Each morning was waking in a pile of coals, each evening, a bone-chilling tundra.

This desolation found me learning to crawl. The woman withheld comfort when the cactus' barbs found my infant flesh, showing no sympathy. The sand burned my knees and delicate hands as blisters raised and the skin thickened beneath them. The edible and unpalatable were discovered between bouts of retching, swelling, andpsychedelic trips, sans parental guidance. Before my first steps, my well of tears was spent, leaving but desiccate cisterns filled with skeletal briers growing from the rotting remains of green shoots.

When my eyes had bled their last, I believe that to be the time that the woman deemed me weened as I recall her presence no later than this. An ancient pair overtook the tasks involving my rearing beyond this time. A pair of beings so ancient as to seem mystical to my yet blue eyes, weaving songs of incantation over me and preforming singular rituals on me. Never a kind word, a gentle touch, a caring glance. But never did they fail in teaching and discipline.

I recall the heft of the first scimitar I gripped. Not an implement of sport or game, but a tool of brutality, its leather haft crusted with the crimson spirit of its previous victim. Unimportant was my age by this crucial moment, though I could count still my years with the fingers of a single hand. Where one might have expected anticipation or even excitement, a sense of solemnity pervaded the court. The conscious spectator might have picked up on a hint of ceremony, even sacrifice. As the curved blade danced about, clashing with the other's steel, the women looked on with austere expressions of...disinterest?

Bright sparks lit her soft cheeks and plump lips, her golden skin and russet braids. Her countenance played host to little expression, a lapse in poise would be frowned upon, likely with a cat of nine tails. Graceful was every movement, dangerous and understated. Her svelte form slid like desert shadows over ridges of sand. At last, she allowed her eyes a single candid moment of stark, scintillating emotion. A precious drop of briny moisture rolled from an eye, across the top of her lip to the corner of her mouth where it mingled with her blood as I withdrew the cruel razor from her middle to no discernible approval either from the two crones who raised me or the congregation in general.

On the day a proven adult lay eviscerated at my feet, my hands and feet were shackled to the stone pedestal before the colossus idol and my flesh was drawn open with primitive stone knives. The powdered thorns of our native plants were rubbed into the open wounds, acquainting me with a fresh definition of pain. As the sand scored away the scabrous blood, furious scars rose in their place, tracing across my body with the dark plant matter. Ancient patterns ran over my juvenile muscles and rippled over the veins of my arms. Pride inflated my ego, the closest the tribe would ever come to an act of respect.

When ruddy hair began to appear in certain, predesignated areas of my body, my witch-mothers took me up to the top of the highest mountain, the proven adults of the whole tribe in step behind. In one accord, they spread their arms toward the whole earth, a grand gesture revealing a world for which I only now, at this late day, have words. Verdant plains of grass and flowers, sylvan glades perfumed with sweet pollen and earthy humus, vast spans of cool, coruscating water. Deep within my bosom swelled then a recess, the match of which was only the width and breadth of that heaven beyond. This land which the myths praised, they vowed, was to be my domain.

In that moment, a young lifetime of stifled imagination, squandered potential, and buried love was stripped of its callous scales and a single tongue of flame was ignited within, as if seen from a distance. The stone encasing my undeveloped heart cracked, and a ray of light the color of that land's glory shone upon it. Golden radiance flooded through my life, innocence, peace...hope. For a moment.

The subsequent event divorced a boy entirely from the first and only hope with which he'd ever been provided. Though so very many years have passed, the goddess has yet to expunge the memory from my grotesque and fractured soul. Would that I could take in hand a firebrand forged in the fire of my anguish and burn the obscenity from my mind. It wasn't the bloodletting, the ritual flogging, the clothes stripped from my body. It wasn't the blinding pain that coursed through my body as they implanted the gem of the royal diadem in the front of my skull that night atop the mount.

Sweat beaded on my naked form and slid down the angles and curves of my body, reflecting firelight in the frigid night air. My body heaved spasmodically beneath the weight. I thought in the first hours that I might even find the tears of my youth, but there were none to be found. As the night wore on, each woman came to me and took up the chain that my hag-mothers had latched to the diadem buried in my bloody skull, and mastered me. Each woman in turn took my sex like a robber, stole the innocence of my newly pubescent youth, and soiled it. The crown of my future dynasty that had so recently begraced my bloody brow was the bit by which the steed of my masculinity was broken again and again.

And last to steal my seed, the mothers who had raised me, the two witches in their vile manner. They took me at once, driven by avarice, by envy for their charge. Greedily, madly, they broke my body and my will with zealous fervor. The fetid stink of their breath still curls through my nostrils, my fingers still feel the texture of their oily flesh, my tongue is still thick with the taste of decay...a young man's first taste of manhood, even before his first love.

As the exhausted matriarchs fell prone in rapacious ecstasy, the bloody sun, aloof and unsympathetic, crested the rim of the world, throwing the castle of that land's monarchy into sharp silhouette. In my mind's eye, I saw the inhabitants of that land below dancing in the streets, raising their families, sleeping in warm beds, laughing, loving. A twinge of pain churned in my heart, like a scimitar in a girl's stomach, and for the last time, a tear rolled from an eye, across the top of my lip to the corner of my mouth where it mingled with my scowl. I hated those people. I hated my mothers, I hated the sand, I hated my crown, I hated being the only man, I hated that land below, and I hated their mythical golden power. That land would bow before the name Dragmire.
 

Hyrulian Hero

Zelda Informer Codger
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Location
SoDak
I still came back to visit every year but it felt like a lifetime had gone by since last I'd laid eyes on the place. I suppose it always feels that way. The picket fence was mostly still intact and I bumped my palm across every plank as I shuffled up to the gate. Wild grass and unpruned trees did their best to hide the forgotten old house and every year they came closer to success. This year, the ivy that had patiently been snaking its way up the crumbling chimney had reached the top and sent up bright green suckers to scout new purchase.

Red shutters hung from their windows or were absent altogether, having fallen into the tall weeds long ago. There they'd sit in the weeds, motionless and silent as the grave as they slowly returned to the earth. I could still feel the brush strokes as I painted those shutters as a boy, my pops hanging them one by one. Not really in my mind so much but in my hand, somehow. The way a dementiac can't remember his own name but still calls his daughter every year on her birthday.

The name on the mailbox had entirely faded over the years, my family name. Fitting. I passed through the gate and made my way up the porch steps to the front door, the way I had a thousand times before. Ever since I left my childhood home, I'd been making this pilgrimage, every year on the thirty-first of October. It's somewhat morbid now that I think about it. Most of the locals simply call it the haunted house so it just feels fitting. Almost everyone calls it that, everyone except the oldest crones and codgers, they still call it the old Smithe house.

The old Smithe house had been the subject of fanciful tales since the land had been homesteaded a long, long time ago. Dreadful ghosts inhabited the house if the elders were to be believed. Fearful backwoods degenerates with nothing better to do than spin fantastic yarns about old houses. Never in all my years living in the home, nor since, had I ever had even the inkling of an otherworldly presence.

The door glided silently open as if its hinges had been oiled only yesterday. The house was exactly how I had last left it. No rats had nested in the couch, no bats had roosted in the rafters, even the wealth of spiders that blanketed the exterior of the house had given the inside a pass. Most of the furniture was covered in white sheets to keep it from collecting the dust that lay thick on every surface. The dust remained undisturbed as I drifted slowly through the house and my memories.

They were fond memories, images of easier times, of mother and pops smiling over Sunday dinner, of my siblings hiding beneath the stairs and behind the coats as I counted to thirty-three. The black and white photographs on the wall depicted a family which bore no smiles, but I knew, as I was the youngest boy in the pictures, that we had turned off our levity only for the flashbulb, then immediately returned to lively banter and joyous conversation. It had been such an idyllic life back then.

The grandfather clock had long since ceased to tick, its hands resting where they had chosen to stop at some point in the distant past. I retrieved the key and cranked the spring that powered the ever-reliable time-piece, setting the hands back to the work. The rhythmic, metallic "tick...tick...tick" put my spirit at ease, recalling those nights so long ago when that clock dragged me down into the netherworld of sleep night after night. Everything about this old house was exactly how I'd left it in a past that only I remembered.

I glided silently up the stairs, neither a creak nor a groan from the steps, and into my parent's bedroom. The bed was made beneath the ghostly sheet that covered it, the dresser drawers were closed and mother's various perfumes and jewellery were set nearly in their places atop it. Aside from the dull atmosphere that clung to every exposed feature, the house was ready to once again be a home, almost as if hibernating expectantly. Above the dresser was mounted a tarnished mirror, hardly able to serve its purpose through the thick dust that covered it. Into the venerable wooden frame was set a yellowed piece of parchment.

Carefully plucking it from its place, I began to read the youthfully imperfect cursive penned to it. The letter was short and sad epistle, recounting a deadly pestilence that had infected an entire family from a nine-year-old boy's vantage. It seemed as though several of the family had already passed on at the time of writing and the boy suspected he too wasn't long for this world. It was signed "Peter Smithe".

I was about to set the letter back in the mirror's frame when I sensed something shift. The dust around me lifted and danced as I heard the front door howl open slowly. The very floor seemed to quiver as the century-old iron grated and swollen wood scraped across the floor. The windows in my parent's room shuddered violently as the door shut slow and loud. Hushed voices shushed each other as the tip-toes could be heard stressing every floor board to squeel against its neighbors.

Boys come to brave the haunted house on All Hallow's Eve. Every footfall on the bone-dry staircase elicited a cry of alarm from the steps as the interlopers ascended. Slowly, the sound of measured breathing neared the door to my parent's bedroom. The knob turned clockwise slowly, dust sloughing off as it revolved. The breathing stopped abruptly as the door squealed open into the silent room beyond where I stood motionless in the semi-darkness.

Face to face we stood, the young boys and I. For an eternity in a moment we eyed each other, gazes locked and breaths arrested. Nothing in the world moved as we stared, not a quiet breeze, not a dust mote in the air, not a beat of a heart. A long, silent time seemed to pass before being obliterated by an earth-shaking *BONG* as the freshly renewed grandfather clock struck midnight.

Immediately and in unison, as the color drained from their faces, the boys screamed. Not a scream of boys, not a scream of earthly fear. It was a primeval scream, a scream from the oldest parts of human minds that guards the boundary between the natural and the unimaginable. Not an exclamation of surprise or a cry for help, it was unadulterated oblivion vocalized. A wail that shattered will and reaction and left the mind with only fragments of thoughts.

Their clamor seemed to last the entirety of the twelve tolls of the clock and when the frightful cacophony had subsided, I realized I hadn't even had the mental faculties to recall what had taken place. I deduced, however, that the intruding children must have bolted down the stairway and out the front door in a swirl of dust and tears that wouldn't calm for many minutes. Clearing my mind, I turned to the mirror to replace the letter I still held in my hand. As I did so, I noticed that the boy's disturbance had upset the dust on the mirror leaving me a less obscured view of myself.

Returning my silent gaze in the mirror was a pale boy, translucent and faintly glowing in the midnight hour. I returned my letter to its place and made my way back home to a pine box beneath a worn stone that read: "Peter Smithe".

So if this Halloween, you find yourself nervous when you walk by an abandoned manor in the dead of night, remember this: haunted houses don't exist; they're just walls and roofs and stairs and shutters that belonged to someone a long, long time ago.
 

Hyrulian Hero

Zelda Informer Codger
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Location
SoDak
The last of the coals in the hearth glowed dimly,
And low and hollow the wind growled grimly,
The moonlight bare on the smothering snow,
Laughed silently thus in its phantasm glow.

Clenched in the teeth of our pup was the bone,
Of our holiday ham as he slept like a stone,
'Neath the withering fir that too early was sawn,
And would stripped clean tomorrow end up on the lawn.

The dishes like charnel from our gluttonous feast,
Lay scattered like ribs of some fabulous beast,
The scent of the meat yet hung in the air,
A silent vignette of a chewed cadavere.

And floorboard shadows from the advent candle,
Bobbed thereby in rhythm to sweet strains of Handel,
Like tongues of flame they guttered and leapt,
To quiet our spirits as vigil we kept.

For this night the sun would descend to the nether,
And wake an old soul bound in snow furs and leather,
With a mane bright and white as goose down feather,
And a thrice twisted crown made of holly and heather.

They told us he'd show on Nativity's Eve,
And a bundle of toys for good children he'd leave,
Or perhaps, it was said, a birch switch he'd tote,
"To beat out the devils!" They'd gleefully quote.

On cue, it would seem, as there my thoughts tarried,
To this side of Styx my judgement was ferried,
Or thus I inferred as I heard then a hoof clop,
And another draw nearer outside on my rooftop.

My mother and father I'd surely believed,
When earlier screaming and threats I'd received,
Should I and my sister keep raising a din,
We'd cry tears on Christmas because of our sin.

And then as the hoof falls though muffled by snow,
Rang out up above, I trembled below,
Huddled up tight on the couch by the tree,
I pled for God's mercy to justify me.

My mumbled petition croaked out and then ended,
As ashes like ebony snowfall descended,
And dusted the masonry under the flue,
Chilling my heart as my reticence grew.

Refuge, in panic, I found myself seeking,
I cast to my sister and called without speaking,
But a scowl contorted her somnolent brow,
Her face still creased from our earlier row.

And that last accusation, my heart, made afeard,
In my conscience, the guilt for my actions was seared,
Closing my eyes hard, I prayed a quick death,
And burried my head and held a deep breath.

The smell arrived first, like spruce tip and clove,
And a sulfury vapor with those, interwove,
Next came a jingling, course and arcane,
They may have been bells, but they sounded like chain.

The way a soul knows when another draws nigh,
I sensed in my spirit a presence pass by,
A spectre of purpose, stern and austere,
Fatherly, somehow, and likewise severe.

The breath in my lungs then gave up its yield,
And gasping and grasping the blanket revealed,
Just one of my eyes in the dark of the room,
And my nape hair stood straight as the thread on a loom.

A moment, no more, set my eye on the being,
A memory that to this day sets my heart fleeing,
Though faced away, I saw what I needed,
To warrant my fear before I retreated.

Like ancient rhymes told, smoke circled his pate,
His shifting suggesting unnatural weight,
His body was wrapped in a monstrous coat,
Smeared black in a layer of thick creosote.

My eyes snapped shut as quick as they'd peeled,
As a gruff voice rolled forth like a coffin unsealed,
"I saw your sister sleeping but I knew you were awake,
It's true, you know, the roll I play, of which the legends spake.

My job, it is, to judge the hearts of little girls and boys,
For one I bring a whipping switch, and for another, toys."
A momentary lapse in fear allowed my inquiry,
"Which" I gasped through welling tears, "did Santa bring to me?"

A silence led up to a wordless reply:
A rush like the wind in the starry night sky,
Once more I peaked out after long I had waited,
The speaker like teardrops had evaporated.

And all of the room remained just as before,
Save a neatly wrapped box 'neath the tree on the floor,
The trivial contents I hardly regard,
As the meaningful gift had been writ on the card.

"Good will to all men, and not just to saints,
Mercy's unbounded by mortal restraints,
By grace I have left this, your spirits to lift,
For what is a present but an undeserved gift?"
 
Last edited:

Hyrulian Hero

Zelda Informer Codger
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Location
SoDak
Just wrote this one today. This song has always been kind of a joke but the tune is just so dang catchy...that's why he used it twice. So this is a parody of Funky Cold Medina. Fair warning, there are too many and too few syllables in many of the lines, non-rhymes, and ridiculous scenarios because that's what Tone LOC would have wanted. Also, some mildly explicit lyrics.

*Parental Advisory*

So I'm at the Lumpy Pumpkin,
And I'm lookin' for a date,
Feelin' like Weird Al said,
"Like wow man, can you relate?",
Kina's at the bar,
But she ain't want none this elf,
If she be that way,
Then I guess she play,
With them pumpkins by herself.

And Groose has got his chickies,
At the other end of the place,
Tellin' them he's the slickest knight,
Just to rub it in my face.
So I pulled the guy aside,
Told the ladies, "He'll be see'n ya.",
I asks him straight,
"How'd you get a date?",
He said, "Funky Cool Saflina."

Funky Cool Saflina.

So that was Groose's secret,
For how to pick up chicks,
Saflina was all I needed to,
Get myself in the mix.
"It's like playin' Epona's Song to cows,
Or Love Potion Number Nine,
You'll ask her to,
Scoot close to you,
And she'll be so inclined."

So I gave some to my bird,
When she began to beg,
Then she winked at me,
And involuntarily,
She laid a dozen eggs.
She used to squak and squabble,
Whenever I had seen her,
But now I'm blessed,
When I fill her nest,
With the Funky Cool Saflina.

Funky Cool Saflina

So I screwed up all my courage,
And walked on up to Kina,
She said, "Who are you?",
But I played it coo',
And offered her Saflina.
She said, "What's in this drink?",
I said, "You'll like it, try it."
When the drink was gone,
That chick was on,
The Cool Saflina Diet.

So I took her to my dorm room,
Yeah she had my knees a-wobblin',
But when she got undressed,
It was a big old mess,
Kina was a moblin.
So I threw her out, I don't play about,
With no pigly misdemeanor,
If she got a snout,
Then I ain't about,
That Funky Cool Saflina.

You know what I'm sayin' y'all? That swine ain't fine.
Yeah, Funky Cool Saflina.
I ain't gettin' down.

Back out on the prowl,
Leavin' those pumpkin lumps in the past,
Gotta get some affection,
And I'd better get it fast.
I was gettin' desperate now,
So I made a drastic inquest,
And before you knew,
Got a table for two,
With the finest little zoran princess.

So after we have dinner,
I can sense she's gettin' ho'ney,
But before I can proposition her,
She's talkin' matrimony.
Now the most that I was hoping for,
She'd play my ocarina,
But that's what I get for messing 'round,
With the Funky Cool Saflina.

Funky Cool Saflina.
 

Hyrulian Hero

Zelda Informer Codger
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Location
SoDak
At a certain point, the fishes begin to wheel circles above the clouds. Beneath the waves flash schools of birds; scales above and feathers below. The breeze from the north guides the herring downwind and the ocean current gently blows the albatross along its migration. Sunlight glides up from the firmament, moonlight from above, reflecting and shining alike.

Green sea and green sky refuse to part company, as if the deep is shedding the infinite expanse above like a skin. So inseparable they look that one might expect to sail up the edge of the sky and circumscribe what lies between. The sickly clouds and foam clump and stretch and break apart, each robbing the other in kind. When the rain drives down in torrents and gargantuan bubbles from below threaten to capsize ships, the dichotomy plays out like a prisoner exchange.

The court of Poseidon laps at Hermes' doorstep, its breakers rolling along the shore of the heavens. Shimmering, silver tide collecting twinkling stars, burying them beneath the surf, sprouting galactic abyss, spinning through gulfs of stellar brine. Inexorably expanding, condescendingly vast, irreconcilably alike.

And there, man. A point on a lower-dimensional plane, he treads water on the horizon line. Realms beyond his imaginings, gods and monsters there play. The sea collides with the sky, looking both as a single beast, provoking Ouroboros to envy with the spectacle. Naked of scale and feather, man bobs impotently in the liminal niche, a voyeur only. The elaborate gaud of his fecklessness he wears with pride, like the slime of a worm, and his hubris is the adornment of his insignificance. His eyes too weak even to witness the extent of his folly and the wind and waves, too great to witness his labefaction.

Hear then, the fate of man: that his body be buried in the sea and his shadow in the sky, that the body might feed the albatross and the shadow, the herring, where the two may return to the earth as one.
 

Hyrulian Hero

Zelda Informer Codger
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Location
SoDak
June 3

I don't think she even knows I exist. Dale let me pretend to smoke his cigarette while she walked by on her way home. I'm sure I looked cool, I just can't seem to catch her eye. Dad is out for crab season again but before he left, he bought me a Wii U, one of the special Zelda ones with the gold designs on the game pad. It included The Wind Waker remake so I'm going to start playing it tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, it's the last day of torture before I get out of that academic Alcatraz.

June 4th

So it turns out The Wind Waker remake is basically the same game, just with a couple of tweaks. I guess it looks better too. She walked by on our side of the road today, Dale and me were sitting on the stoop when she went by, debating whether Frog from Breath of Fire or Wart from Link's Awakening had better artwork so I think I looked pretty casual. We've been sitting here every school day for weeks but I don't think she noticed me. Until today! Me and Dale were pretty loud because he's a freaking idiot and thinks that Frog looks more like a toad so I think she looked over because we were almost screaming at each other. She totally winked at me!

I only played a little of The Wind Waker tonight because I was kind of distracted. I'm like collecting pigs and I gave up after trying to get the sword from this hippie dude who wouldn't give it up. Laundry day.

June 5th

She didn't walk by today. I don't know why I thought she would, we're all out of school but I thought for some reason that she'd be out. I basically gave up after a while and got some mac and cheese for lunch. It's the off-brand stuff, dad says he's not made of money. Why's he always out working if he's not making enough to buy real Kraft?

June 6th

I met up with Dale at the park and we played Risk. There's a big map of the world painted on the blacktop behind the school and the countries are all there so we have been planning to do it for months. We only played for like an hour and a half and we'd only just picked all of our countries and placed our troops. We took a picture so we can remember where our troops are but I doubt we'll ever actually finish the game. Besides, I might just lose the picture, I'm absolutely sure he's going to hold Australia till the end of time.

Toilet backed up today, I spent forever cleaning it up.

June 7th

I swear I saw her on the next street over today! I kind of snuck out but like casually to see if I could see where she was going. No dice but it was exciting to see her again. When Dad called today on the ship's phone, he asked about the Wii U. I think it means a lot to him that I enjoy it. I told him I've been playing every day, I just got to a windmill island. It reminds me of the one from Ocarina of Time where that creep is playing a phonograph or whatever.

Weird coincidence, the pirate chick in The Wind Waker winked at me. It reminded me of when she winked at me the other day.

June 8th

Today was rough. I've been use to seeing her walk by every day and now I feel like I have some kind of obsession. Even when I'm just relaxing, I see her where she isn't. Like that pirate in The Wind Waker, at the end of the aisle at the store, in my dreams; I'm actually not sure it's healthy. And I'm not sure if I love her. It seems like my mind is getting more desperate for her.

I went over to spend the night at Dale's. They got a new fire pit and we roasted got dogs and marshmallows. The dude's got both parents and doesn't even notice how cool they are. I brought my Wii U over to his house and after he went to bed, I played The Wind Waker some more.

June 9th

Last night I got the Tingle Bottle from a prisoner. It's supposed to let you send messages to other Wii Us but when you try to use it, it's just a message about how you can't do it anymore. Went to sleep and had weird dreams. I usually do when I don't sleep in my own bed. She was in my dreams and so was that Zelda game. Still, I risk these weird dreams because summer is only so long and there aren't many sleepovers during the school year.

Tonight I played it again and something weird happened. A Tingle Bottle washed up on shore, that's not supposed to happen, right? I ran over and picked it up and there was a picture inside. No message, just a picture of the sea. The sender's name said "Kat". It was a nighttime pic with stars and the moon but nothing really interesting other than that. It worries me that there may be a bug in the game. Nintendo is usually so thorough with their play testing. Was it really possible that something was still running behind the scenes on their servers? Maybe a Nintendo staff messing around? Dale told me once that his uncle worked at Nintendo. I wouldn't put it past him to mess with me.

June 10th

The toilet backed up again. I called Dad and he told me to check out the crawl space and see if there was anything obvious with the pipes. He said if I tap on them, I might be able to at least figure out if there's a clog or something. I freaking hate spiders but I hate the house smelling like sewage even more. I grabbed the flashlight and entered the dungeon. I tried to pretend like it was a dungeon from the Wind Waker but that didn't help much.

It was slow going because I had to make sure there wasn't anything nasty every inch of the way but I checked out the pipes underneath the bathroom and couldn't find anything obvious. No bad patch jobs, no leaking pipes and no roots strangling them. Dad said that happens sometimes. As I was making my way back to the hatch, I saw her walking by on the sidewalk through the screen vent. I scuttled over to the vent as quick as I could, discounting the acute likelihood of putting my hand on a spider or a centipede, but by the time I got to the vent, I had lost sight of her. When I got out of the crawl space, I even ran out to the sidewalk and looked down the street but she wasn't there.

I moved the TV and the Wii U over to the window before I played this evening. I'm not going to miss her again.

June 11th

More weird dreams last night. I dreamt that I was Link on an island on the Great Sea and my only companion was that girl pirate. But she wasn't just that girl pirate, it was also her. I don't really know how to explain it but it was definitely both of them or maybe just her, I don't know. It's hard to remember exactly what happened because I don't think a lot of it made sense, but I clearly remember her giving me a wink just like that pirate does in the game. That game is on my mind so much now, it's really addicting. Unfortunately, I may not be able to play it for much longer.

There was another glitch today and it had to do with the Tingle Bottle again. Another one washed up on a shore on some island, I can't remember the name. There was another picture of the ocean. Totally nondescript, just the horizon line and a curl of wind against the backdrop of a starry sky and moon. The sender was Kat again. If the servers were still running, wouldn't I be getting a random assortment of senders? It gets worse though . This time, the icon for my Tingle Bottle in my inventory turned into the Tingle Tuner of all things from the original game! I'm wondering if maybe there's some kind of data breakdown and some of the original code was left in The Wii U version. I'm going to try to figure it out tomorrow after Dale and I hang out.

June 12th

Hot dogs at Dale's house again this evening. When I got home, I called Dad and talked for a few minutes. He said the skipper had gotten word of a jackpot a day out so they'd be out a few extra days at least. Instead of heading back tomorrow, he's likely to be gone until the seventeenth at least. It's not like I'll starve to death or anything but I miss him.

I haven't been able to find anything about the Zelda glitches online. It seems like no one else has run into anything like this. Another bottle washed up though and inside was another picture of the ocean at night. Kat again. I looked out the window at our moon and imagined I didn't have to be so alone, that maybe she was looking up at the same moon and thinking the same thing.

June 13th

Last night was so bad. I don't think I shut my eyes from 11 to 6. I read about sleep paralysis in health class but this was like...bad. I woke up like right after I shut my eyes. There was this incredible pressure on my chest and I felt like I couldn't breathe. My room was pitch black but as I stared straight ahead, unable to move, I saw her. She was in my room, sitting on my chest, constricting my lungs, stealing the air from them. I was so scared, I thought I was going to die. I imagined my face turning blue and my eyes bulging and Dad returning to find my pale body lying in bed like he found Mom. And he'd cry and swear and ask God why I had to die and I'd feel guilty for dying while he was gone and putting him through more grief.

But I didn't die. I don't think I slept or breathed last night, but I didn't die. I didn't sleep, I didn't even blink. In the darkness, I kept my eyes locked on hers and didn't close them for a second. It was the worst nightmare I've ever had and I think I was awake while I was dreaming it. In the early hours, as the faintest light from the early, pre-solstice sun began to illuminate my room, she started to fade. She faded further and further until I could only see her eyes, because mine hadn't left them. Just before she disappeared completely, I swear one of her eyes shut just before they both became completely imperceptible.

I couldn't go back to sleep, not even in the daylight. That was the most scared I've ever been. I wanted to play The Wind Waker to give me something to focus on but I went for a bowl of cereal first. It took me almost two hours to finish my soggy frosted flakes but by the time I had, I was ready to forget about the night. Wearily, I turned on the Wii U and picked up where I'd left off. Another bottle had washed up and another picture of the ocean's nightscape appeared on my screen.

There definitely was a progression. I had noticed yesterday that the moon in the picture seemed to be waxing further every day and this picture continued the progression. Just a few days from full prominence. My Tingle Bottle icon was still a Tingle Tuner and it gave me an idea. The only reason I can imagine the Tingle Tuner showing up in the Wii U version of The Wind Waker is that either it is a fragment of code left over from the original or that maybe the developers had at one point intended the Tingle Tuner to be useable in the Wii U version.

Out of sheer desperation for something complex to occupy my thoughts, I hooked up my GameCube controller USB connector to the Wii U. I dug my GameCube/Game Boy Advance cable out of a box in the attic and along with it, my Game Boy Advance. I stole the batteries out of the remote and hooked everything up. I thought maybe if there was code left over for the Tingle Tuner, maybe a fragment of functionality might still exist.

It does. When I hooked up the Game Boy Advance to the Wii U, it recognized it immediately. The error code about the Miiverse doesn't show up anymore; now an onscreen keyboard comes up on the Game Boy Advance and prompts me to write a message to put in my Tingle Bottle! This must have been the original stand-in for the gamepad! I wrote a message using the Game Boy Advance, "Who are you?". If it's a staff member (or Dale's uncle) at Nintendo, they're going to be so surprised that somebody's responding!

I'm so tired but I don't know if I want to sleep tonight. That dream terrified me last night but I still can't stop thinking about her.

June 14th

I didn't sleep. She was there again on my chest, sapping my rest and my air. I could tell this time that she was smiling. Not a scary smile like she was enjoying my torture, but an innocent smile, like nothing was out of the ordinary. There she sat all night, eyes locked with mine, smiling while I burned with terror inside, every moment feeling as though I would die for lack of oxygen.

I'm exhausted, my body feels incomplete, like I'm a visitor from the realm of death, trespassing into the world of the living. I ignored Dad's call today, I can't talk to him. Or anyone for that matter. Someone rang the doorbell earlier, probably Dale. I couldn't even muster the energy to answer it. It took everything in me to roll over and hit the power button on the Wii U.

There was a bottle on the beach. I opened it to find a picture of the ocean backed by a night sky and swollen, gibbous moon, nearly full. Along with the picture was a single word that I think must have been an answer to my question from the previous day. "Kat". Well that didn't tell me much, but it did confirm that I was communicating with someone and not just bits of leftover development data floating around. "But who are you? I didn't know this service was still available. I'm using a workaround to send messages via the Game Boy Advance!"

June 15th

I just want to suffocate. All night, her eyes, I can smell her breath, it smells like an open grave. My throat is swollen shut and my eyes are dry, sleep feels like a forgotten acquaintance. My mind is full of barriers and walls, thoughts end in different places than they ought. The hair on the back of my neck won't settle, every direction my mind goes ends in bed last night.

I asked her. I asked her who she was. A voice that sounded like a viper shedding its dry skin. "Katrina." Her lips didn't move but she said it and she winked at me. My eyes grew wet but they burned as if my tears were tainted with blood.

When she faded and the morning dawned, I inched over to the Wii U at a snail's pace. I dreaded to turn it on but something primordial drove me to start the console.

The picture in the Tingle Bottle was that of a full moon gleaming in the sky surrounded by an array of stars. Blue spirit flames engulfed an ethereal vessel with tattered sails and a sere pennant flying above. A message accompanied this photo as well, a message that will keep me from sleep even if Katrina doesn't visit me tonight: "I love you and I'll be seeing you soon."

"I love you and I'll be seeing you soon." Came my dad's voice over the answering machine. So singularly focused was I on the message in the bottle that I hadn't even heard the phone ring. I jumped up to answer the phone, my vision going immediately black for lack of sleep. After a moment, I crawled over to the phone and hit 'replay'.

"I'm sorry about the internet, I forgot to pay the bill last month so I'm sure you've been bored out of your mind without it this past week." That would mean the Wii U couldn't have been connected to the internet? "Listen, we were headed out to that jackpot when a squall came up. It pushed us off course a bit and we came upon an abandoned vessel. You wouldn't believe we could see this ship in the storm with no lights on it. If it weren't for the full moon, we would have motored right by!" I finally talked to Dale about Katrina today. He never once saw her walk by the house while we sat there. In fact, he says I would just 'space out' sometimes when we were there on the porch but he swears up and down that he never saw a girl walk by. "We have an obligation as seamen to check out suspect vessels so we moored ourselves to her and I went aboard." That first wink she ever gave me is burned into my head now, it's all I see. "The ship was completely abandoned save for a single passenger, a girl about your age. I'll be out of service soon but I wanted to tell you that I'm bringing her back; she'll stay with us until we can find family to return her to. She says her name is-"

I slam down the receiver, cutting him short. I don't need Dad to tell me her name. I already know.
 
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Hyrulian Hero

Zelda Informer Codger
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Location
SoDak
Amongst the most uneventful of my years was that time I spent in the coastal mountains of Oregon Country. Nestled in a forested mountain draw which spilled out into the thunderous Pacific, the tiny enclave which I maintained for several years was home to the quietest spell of my life. The utter isolation of a life hard lived on the extremities of the earth tends to bring a man close to God. And monsters.

Being, as I was, deep in Indian territory, I had seen my share of uncivilized humanity. Like to the white man, there were those Indians who would give you the furs off their back in a pinch, and many who would sooner take your furs and leave you naked in the wilderness. Some would find this basic integrity preferable to the one who would sue the furs off you in a court of law back in Missouri. I'd prefer to leave the pretension of civility aside myself but the worst inhabitants of those woods were no different from their city-dwelling brethren; they would sue you into Sheol too if a judge were more handy than a spear.

I settled, then, between two verdant ridges which spent most of their time looking out over the ocean and little time watching the goings on in my camp. As I lay on my cot at night watching the mist slide down their slopes, I wondered how detached they truly were. Did they see the brilliant death fires dancing on the waves tonight? Did they remember Cook's white sails gliding by on the horizon? Did their roots still drink the blood of a thousand years of fallen war bands? These ancient giants hid their secrets well.

From my home between the hills, a three hour walk would find me in a Nestucca village, the shortest trek I could make to hear human voices. These were some of the less hostile Indians I had come across and provided I brought beaver pelts, they were happy to feed me smoked lamprey and even let me sit in their lodge while they wove fish traps and ground herbs. On occasion, I would find myself tagging along on foraging expeditions and even making myself useful with a net in the creek.

These particular Indians seemed to have regular encounters with pioneering white men aside from myself. They could often be seen wearing articles of clothing that were decidedly not of Indian make. Jewelry, too, would their women wear made of gold links and cut gems, adornments which they themselves were not known to produce. Never did I see another trapper or expansionist enter the camp but the French and British were said to have forts and settlements to the north, and as I didn't recognize the language carved into the rings the women wore, it was likely they dealt with the French.

My own cabin, I constructed after careful study of their lodge. A long, thick beam I hoisted into place and shingled the roof with overlapping planks that kept the Western rains at bay during the long winters. These people knew their land well and I would be loath not to heed the wisdom of their ancestors. My pelts stretched out over the fire in front of my lodge, a visitor would not have expected to find a white man residing there. By necessity, any man, savage or civilized, living in the untamed wilds of Oregon Country was close to the earth.

We all took our food from that earth, our water where it bubbles it through the mossy ground. It yielded up stones for grinding, trees for chopping, pushed up the mountains and cupped the lakes to keep them from spilling out. Even that humming earth though, that hid my home from the uninvited, that exuded the fog in the lowlands on cold mornings, that earth harbors secrets that will haunt me to my end.

And it was a chill on the breeze that morning that carried me off down the deer trail toward that isolated Nestucca settlement. A pack of furs I bore, heavy and hot against my neck, insulating me from the nip of the wind and staggering me when I needed to stop and sit on a rock. The trail wound around knolls and cut across hillsides; the deer that carved it with their black hooves tended to change elevations slowly. But the seeming aimlessness of their route was the most efficient way to the Indian camp. North I trekked along the path, through the ancient forest on its ancient hills fed by ancient streams. Again I stopped and lit my pipe. The wind rustled that canopy overhead, like a whispered prayer to gods with no temples, and shadows fluttered about me as I sat resting. The wilderness offered respite on a rare whim.

When at last I enjoyed the shade of the longhouse roof, my feet were sore in my leathers and I longed for the sweet spring water that was being passed around in a goblet. Another prize won in trade with the white traders. To see such a vessel used to hold contents as pedestrian as water in such humble hands seemed to me a very odd sight indeed. Sapphire and gilded mother-of-pearl would have made for a king's ransom in the old world but here it was making a water cup for forest-dwellers. The characters making up the wording relieved on the goblet were simply not recognizable. And not only were they foreign to me, they didn't seem to fit in any typical form with any written language I had seen. Not the French I had assumed from quick glances at the women's jewelry.

It happened that while I was gazing intently at the cup in the hand of the wrinkled old woman next to me, that she became acutely aware of my interest as evinced by her gaze which mine met only after a subconscious embarrassment at having been caught overcame me. A quiet and indecipherable conversation between the old lady and her husband followed. Side-eyes and sharp syllables followed for several moments. The husband and their boy got up and consulted with a number of other braves in hushed tones before the band shuffled to the door and motioned me along. I left my pack of furs which had not yet been traded, and gulped down the water the woman handed me as I made to follow the men.

Bows and spears were retrieved from where they lay. The arrows they choose were not tied with arrowheads made for hunting rabbits and coyotes, these were long and serrated, like weapons of war. Pipes were smoked in preparation as weapons were gathered and before I could get a good bead on what was happening, we were headed west. Women and children followed as well so I can't say I was particularly worried about the implications of our match but something uncomfortable paced from one side of my mind to the other, wearing a path into the floor of my thoughts like the hooves of a deer.

The earth dropped low as we walked, coastal mountains giving way to a wide and ominous swamp. Not truly a swamp, but a vast delta which fed into a great bay; still, a swamp it could be called. Mosquitoes swarmed around us and brackish water lent its pungent odor to the air, multiplying the effect of the swamp gases on my mind. I was dizzy and a little disoriented which might have been the death of any American settler if not for a band of keen-eyed and sharp-minded Nestucca blazing the trail. What was our destination though? Never had I been enjoined to accompany the tribe when they carried war weapons and I certainly I never imagined I would be accompanying an armed band this far from their home.

Several of the children laughed and played as we went along, helping to temper any disharmony I may have been experiencing. They too seemed eager to show me wherever waited at the end of our path. They hid behind logs and threw pine cones at each other, just the way we used to do back on the farm. The adults seemed largely to ignore the youths until they began tripping over them at which point the children would get a stinging slap on the rear from a bow or spear shaft. That would keep the little ruffians out of the path of the adults for a moment or two before they slowly began encroaching again on their elder's space. A few short seconds later and one of them would end up under the feet of a wizened man and subsequently, at the business end of walking staff.

Mist lay low and late at the grass. Milky fog obscured the meandering channels as winding streams leaked into sickly pools of dark water. Here and there, a copse of eldritch pines towered imperially over the swamp. These cyclopean gargantua stretched from the northwest passage down to mexico and stood as eternal titans, a testament to the indomitable West. The oldest of them took a minute and a half to walk around and the tops could not be seen on a cloudy day. I reckoned these cedars of Lebanon would outlast my kin, the expansionists, the Indians, maybe even the mountains they grew on.

And there it was that we stopped, under the watchful eye of those primordial sentries. I could see nothing to indicate that this stagnant pool was any different from any other stagnant pool we had left behind in the past hour. The quiet breeze was stained with salt and I figured we must be close to the bay though its green waters were not yet visible to the west. Gnarled and stunted spruce ringed us all round and the always-grey overcast promised a light drizzle incoming. What a dismal destination these Nestucca had chosen.

All were quiet, reverent almost, as several of the warriors unslung wooden devices from their backs. These devices they lashed together with leather strips into some kind of conglomeration of...well, I didn't quite know. The sting of smoke hit my nose as morsels of venison were freed from a wrap and stuffed away within the wooden device. The sudden realization that it was a trap made me question how that fact had escaped me until now. There were loops of supple leather around the circumference of the device and it seemed that when a rope was pulled from above, the snares would pull taut. The whole concept seemed so abstract and unexpectedly ingenuitive. Was an Indian expected to hide in a tree and wait for a bear before pulling the rope up? But a bear was surely too heavy to be pulled up a tree by one man or even two or three. My questions were about to shift in tone and direction though.

Into the glassy pool went the contraption. The mire quickly swallowed it up as the rope uncoiled. And the rope continued to uncoil. I realized as I watched that I could see the bed of the pool just inches below the surface. Like a viper wiggling its way into a burrow, the rope was sliding down into the muck quicker than it ought and with greater implications. Seeming to float through the mist hanging in the grass, an elder Nestucca glided to the edge of the pool and cast a handful of dust and seeds into the water. The ripples emanated toward the banks and disappeared as the rope stopped advancing abruptly.

Quietly and slowly, the elder began his throaty, warbling chant. It was something otherworldly to hear the primal ululations of a man with whom I shared little. They say that human language began as music, the way dogs howl and pigeons coo. If this is the case, perhaps the old man and myself could have sung our meanings to each other like they must have before the schism at the ziggurat in ancient Babylon. I was convinced for all the world that the man's wailing was exactly that language that could convey all meaning to all people although my ear had lost the means to hear its truths.

A dance emerged as first his right foot left the ground, then stamped down before his left foot rose. More fervent grew the utterances of the ghost in the mist as his feet picked up pace and carried his body effortlessly through a pattern evidently honed over a long life well lived. Breath left his mouth as smoke from the fire in his voice as he whirled and waved and wrapped the world around him. He blazed on for many minutes as the tribe watched him intently, seeming more a party to the spectacle than mere observers. And I too watched and waited, and felt the dance and the song, and I feared it.

For as they warned in St. Louis, the Indians were part of these woods. That's why we called them savages after all, it means "people of the forest". Truly they were close to nature, but for all of its providence and bounty, nature also is the mother of all that is strange and unknown.

Several braves took up the rope and began to draw it forth from the quagmire. The firestorm continued to turn and twist and sing as they pulled in unison, the swollen tether pulled taut and vibrated in their hands like a piano string humming to the beautiful, dreadful music. Cubit by cubit, the murky pool disgorged the rope until the sediment began to stir and distend. The top of the rudimentary trap pierced the silt as the hunters withdrew it and with a wet slap, the trap itself followed, caked in mud and drawing out with it the miasmal fetor of the underworld.

Onto the bank they drug the stinking mass as the rapturous elder ceased his appeal. The smell overwhelmed me and I staggered back another several steps. Then every soul in the swamp, save myself, advanced on the trap as, to my horror, something all too natural began to squirm and struggle within the sludge. Spasmodic twitching and gurgling screams followed as the Nestucca hunters took hold of the thing from below.

Ravenously, they tore into the trap and its flailing captive. From my distant vantage, I heard primarily and smelled as well the creature caught in the snare. This both for the score of bodies that crowded around the vile scourge and for the discordant odor now stifling the swamp. Its cries weren't hard to distinguish from the exultant exclamations of the Nestucca. Bewildered fear rang out sharply between growls of frenzied bloodlust. Such a spectacle of frenetic ecstacy had the hills that kept my home never seen. After a moment that lasted far too long, the gluttonous orgy subsided and I turned my eyes back from where I had hidden them as the commotion died away.

A sharp but not entirely hostile command came forth and I recognized it to be that of the elder. As I fixed my gaze on him, he beckoned me and repeated the command in his mellifluous voice. Though delving the deepest reservoirs of my courage, I could find no resistance to offer and found my legs, against the strength of my will, forcing me hence. Step by trepid step, I drew nearer the captive and the waiting hunters. The antediluvian pines and spruce gazed down on my encounter with this denizen of the deep and mumbled to one another in the silence. Nearer and nearer I came until the smell and the fear were overwhelming. Still, in time, reached the waiting band of Indians and their prisoner.

Indicating the fetid thing with a gesticulation that left margin neither for misunderstanding nor refusal, the elder signaled his expectation. Slowly, and against my better judgment, I stretched out my hand toward the slimy thing. A lilting, arcane moan came from the quivering mass as my hand drew nearer. Something familiar in the beast's groans clenched my psyche as my hand clenched something solid within the muck. Something too natural, too familiar I gripped for a brief moment; a tick of the second hand, a human hand. Instinctively, I knew what the tribe expected, and even as I reflexively withdrew from the slime, I ran my fingers along the fingers of the ensnared and slipped a ring from the finger of the man from beneath.

In the years that followed, I found myself many a time contemplating that day beneath the hills and the trees. How for a year and a day afterward, I couldn't wash the stink from my hand. How I washed the ring I had withdrawn from the ichorous cocoon and recognized the now familiar symbols there inscribed. How just before the Nestucca had heaved the body back into the pool, I had seen upon that body the eyes of a man like myself. And how, for a brief moment in time, I was jerked abruptly from my world into a place where another was torn from his, and the illusion of a conquered globe from which all secrets had been wrung was shattered.
 
Joined
Jan 11, 2021
Gender
man
"The ship was completely abandoned save for a single passenger, a girl about your age. I'll be out of service soon but I wanted to tell you that I'm bringing her back; she'll stay with us until we can find family to return her to. She says her name is-"

hoooooooooooly s**t.
 

Hyrulian Hero

Zelda Informer Codger
Joined
Oct 6, 2016
Location
SoDak

hoooooooooooly s**t.
Heh, I'm glad somebody got a kick out of it. I thought my tastes might be too far removed from the ZD cool kids but I thought it was just the right amount of creepy. I was hoping to throw it up on the next writing competition so people would read it all the way through but it's seeming increasingly likely that WW HD will be announced for the switch soon and writing about the WiiU's dead features will no longer be "current" (I know I'm late to the party). Anyway, thanks for taking the time to give it a read.
 

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