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Legends of Rasul: Hands of Darkness

DekuNut

Emperor of Rigel
Joined
Jan 29, 2011
Location
Tangent Universe
As many of you may know, I'm an avid member of our RP section. Just for fun, I decided to start novelizing our current premier RP, which is also the second-longest RP thread in ZD history (the longest RP technically, but we started a new thread around 200 posts into the original, so we're still about 100 posts behind the longest thread). EDIT: It is now the longest RP in the RP section. Rejoice) Feel free to read, and if you enjoy, why not come join us? We'll be sure to keep Storm at bay a little bit ;)


Chapter 1 - A New Beginning


Darkness.

Peace.

Tennor sat at the bottom of the lake, staring at the inky blackness before him. It was quiet, and that was all he wanted.

The sun was just coming over the horizon, its first rays kissing the shoreline. It wouldn't be long before light would flood his sanctuary, ending his moments of contemplation, but he silently hoped for these last few minutes to last forever.

The dark, the quiet... sometimes, it almost helped him forget.


The water around him rippled slightly. It wasn't any of the creatures of the lake - he knew their movements. The fish were slight, their movements blending in with the waves lapping on the shore above, the moving water but a gossamer sensation on his skin. No, this was something new. Something unnatural.

Slowly, Tennor began to surface. As he rose, a figure came into view. He took note of what he saw. Their face looked Hylian, and their armor - that of the Knights of Hyrule - seemed to agree with that fact. The armor itself was in need of some love, but looked sturdy and fit well. Medium build. Deep blue eyes. Probably female, but her red hair was cut short. It wouldn’t be hard to mistake her for a man. But, most importantly, they looked healthy. Even if she was dangerous, he felt confident in his ability to escape to the lake. It was worth a shot to make his presence known.

“Good morning,” Tennor announced, stepping into the waist-deep shallows.

The Hylian looked surprised, but only for a second. Her eyes slid up and down the Zora, no doubt making a similar check as he’d done moments before. It seemed he fit her qualifications for safety, as she began her own introduction, “Good morning. My name is Mailan Bannikur,” she glanced warily downwards at the edge of the water before offering her hand. She moved forward slightly, but her feet remained planted on dry land.

Something about this woman seemed familiar to Tennor, but he couldn’t quite place it. However, he’d come across many people in his day. He dismissed the importance of any prior knowledge of each other - their past lives held no sway any more, “A pleasure. What brings you here?” noting Mailan’s hesitance to get her feet wet, he took the initiative to approach and grasped her hand in a firm shake.

“I heard that you’re willing to act as a guide to travellers in these parts,” she told him.

“You’ve heard correctly.”

“I need one. I have to get to Kakariko Village, and this isn’t exactly the safest time to be travelling alone.”

Tennor nodded in agreement, “It’s a dangerous world these days. Give me a few moments and I’ll join you.”

He turned towards the abandoned building he used to hold the tools of his trade, but she stopped him, “What would you like for payment?”

Tennor turned to her and raised an eyebrow, “It’s the end of the world, Miss Bannikur. Of what use is money?”

He returned a few minutes later in his own armor. On his head sat a bronze helmet that carried back over part of his head-fin. The front fell halfway down his face, the only uncovered spaces being the holes his dark eyes peered out of. His chest piece was a light, sleeveless chainmail bearing three blue circles. He held a gleaming spear, shining as if he had spent many hours polishing it. The regular gear for a Zora guard, “Let’s be on our way.”
 
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DekuNut

Emperor of Rigel
Joined
Jan 29, 2011
Location
Tangent Universe
I never updated this thing, but I've got like four chapters written, so I'll upload them now.

Chapter 2 - Finding the Way

It was a silent hike, with Tennor walking a few feet ahead of his client, eyes swiveling across the overgrown trail, in search of any signs of... well, anything. It took Mailan half an hour to try and break the ice with her new companion, “So what’s your story?”

Tennor waited a second to collect his thoughts before replying, “I was a bodyguard back in the day. As was my father. He was the captain of the guards for most of my childhood, and effectively second to the king himself. After their generation was over with, I took my turn, serving as captain beneath Qu-” he hesitated for a second before clearing his throat, “Beneath Queen Ruto. And now, with the my queen and the rest of my people gone... well, I think it’s all I know how to do.”

Tennor couldn’t see, but Mailan’s mouth twitched into a small smile when he stuttered. Not a smirk, but a sad smile of understanding.

“You and the Queen... were you close?”

“About as close as a guard and a queen can be I suppose,” the former steel had returned to his voice, “If I may so ask, what awaits you in Kakariko?” The last sentence held a warning, an iron curtain that hung in the air between them. Mailan’s line of questioning was over.

“I’ve heard recently,” she replied, “That the village is still safe. The walls that kept the city protected from the beasts of the mountain and the stalfolk of the field had been able to shield it from the infected as well. I’m hoping to join them.”

This was news to Tennor. There was still a settlement out there? A community of regular people? It sounded too good to be true. But he wasn’t one to put her down. Hope was something rare in this time; best let her cherish it... and maybe consider feeling it himself.


Tennor was surprised how good of time the two were making. Usually his clients were slower, either out of shape or overencumbered. Mailan, however, was neither of those things. It was a pleasant surprise to say the least. As they were, it would take the pair around a day to reach Kakariko.

As they approached the large field that took up a majority of the once-great kingdom, Tennor began listening, searching for any attackers lying in wait. The field was no doubt the most dangerous place in Hyrule. Even back before, the place was crawling with monsters. But they were all gone now. Scared of what had replaced them no doubt: the infected.

When the disease began to spread beyond the desert, the first major outbreak was in Castle Town. Fearing for their lives, the Hylians left the city, not realizing that they'd be trapped in the field. The landscape was all well and good for when you didn't care about leaving Hyrule, and even highly defensible in case of invasion, but the sheer cliffs were prison walls for those refugees. They couldn't escape then, and even now, without pursuit, many were still unable to do so.

Not that the creatures really wanted to. Foolish travelers came through here all the time to sate their appetites.

Foolish indeed, Tennor thought to himself.

But this was the only way for them to go. The back roads to the village all spent a large amount of time trekking Death Mountain, and while there are more mutants in the field, he'd rather deal with ten Hylian mutates than a single Goron.

Upon reaching the break into the field, Tennor was relieved to see only one mutant, off in the distance. They must be congregating elsewhere. Hopefully not after some poor soul whose life was about to become a brief living hell. He pushed the thought out of his mind... right now, he needed to focus.

"So," Tennor started, "Our best bet is to go straight across. Make a beeline for-"

Mailan stopped him and produced a map from her bag, "This is the safest route. Going straight across, we lose our cover fairly quickly. We’d have to extend our trip into the nighttime, but I know about a safehouse on the way there that should be safe for us still,” she gestured to a large red X on the map.

Tennor took the map and looked at it, surprised. Most of the people who came to him just listened to what he said. Even more surprising, though, was that Mailan's plan was sound. While he didn’t cherish spending the night anywhere near the accursed field, losing cover was just as dangerous. Her map had them following the forests that sat on the edge of the field, and avoiding the farm entirely. But most important was the safehouse. If they wanted to make it to the village in one go, they would have to walk through the night. If the place was fortified, not only would they have protection for a time, but they would be able to rest, making the latter parts of their journey safer, "To the safe house then."
 
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DekuNut

Emperor of Rigel
Joined
Jan 29, 2011
Location
Tangent Universe
Chapter 3 - The Stoic Rogue


And so their trek began. Mailan reflected on what they had to look forward to. Silent hours of just... walking. She would’ve appreciated some conversation to distract her from the nervousness in the pit of her stomach, but Tennor hadn’t exactly been very talkative ever since she tried digging a little too deep into his personal life But still, her interest was piqued by his denial of any conversation related to Queen Ruto. She had ideas on what might’ve happened, but without him speaking to her, she wouldn’t know for sure. After a few more prods to try and get him to talk about... well, anything, she gave up.

The optimist in her hoped that their hike would go without incident, and they would be able to reach Kakariiko by the next morning. However, it turned out to be the realist who was right. A few hours into the field, Mailan noticed a shape in the trees ahead and stopped. Tennor continued to move, not noticing, until she reached over and grabbed him by the shoulder, pulling him back. She quickly pointed towards a tall tree around twenty meters away, upon which stood a lone figure. They were just a silhouette against the sun, and neither traveller could make out any detail.

“Do you think a mutant could climb a tree at all?” Tennor whispered, “I... I think they may be living.”

Tennor was right. Coordination wasn’t exactly something the creatures were known for. A mutant would sooner uproot a tree than climb it. But just because they were a survivor didn’t mean that they were friendly. Based on his expression, her companion had the same thing on his mind. If they were friendly, they could be helpful. If they weren’t, then they could be just as dangerous as a mutant. Maybe even moreso.

The silhouette looked down and locked eyes with Mailan. There was something unnerving about them. Something almost alien.

“Hello?”

The figure stared down at them for a second before speaking, “Who are you?” it asked, “What do you want?” they couldn’t make out much from the muffled voice. Race, age, gender... nothing. But there was one thing she was able to tell - the person was as nervous as they were.

This knowledge giving her courage, she stepped forward, “My name is Mailan, and this here is Tennor. We were just passing through the area, and we apologize if we bothered you at all,” she stepped closer again, trying to make out more of the other person. They were covered in dark, flowing clothes, almost as if they were trying to keep people from being able to do just that. They were even wearing a mask, hence the muffled voice, “If you’d like, you can come with us. We have a safe place to stay the night and are heading towards a community of survivors,” she noted something in their hands. It looked like an old loaf of bread - probably stale, unless somehow she’d managed to bake some bread all the way out here, “And we have fresh food. You must be starving out here on your own,” Tennor shot her a glance of warning, but didn’t raise any vocal dissent to the invitation.

The other person leaped out of the tree, landing softly in the long grass below. They looked the pair over from afar for a solid minute before continuing, “My name is Iris,” the figure finally spoke, “As long as it’s no trouble, I would like to come.”

With that line, the nervousness melted away. The sense of mysterious bravado Iris had been sending off before was gone now, replaced with something more genuine. Tennor remained a little stiff. He was still leery of the stranger, but Mailan wasn’t quite as worried. “Welcome to the party then, Iris.”

Slowly, warily, Iris approached them. As she did, they could see more. Iris’s body appeared feminine, and as Mailan heard her voice more, she became more sure of that fact. The mask appeared to be stone bearing an unsettling red eye.

Behind her, the zora finally relented, loosening his muscles. He took a step forward and offered a hand to Iris. At this, the girl paused for a second, thinking, before tentatively reaching out and shaking it.

“A pleasure to meet you, Iris,” Tennor told her.
 
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DekuNut

Emperor of Rigel
Joined
Jan 29, 2011
Location
Tangent Universe
Chapter 4 - A Safe Place


Despite the warm welcome, Mailan noticed that Iris still hadn't taken off her mask. After the cold reception she’d gotten when trying to learn more about Tennor, though, she decided not to press the issue. Still, she had to wonder what the girl was hiding.

“So where are you two going exactly?” Iris asked, “In the long term. You mentioned some kind of community of survivors?”

“Kakariko,” Tennor replied, “According to Mailan here, it’s apparently fortified and full of the living... though admittedly I have my doubts.”

“Kakariko is safe. Trust me,” Mailan replied firmly. Unconsciously, she gripped the triangular, golden pendant around her neck.

“I went to Kakariko a few days ago,” Iris replied, “That was where I was able to get my hands on this bread. There was life there, but I dunno whether it was people in their right mind or if it was mutated ones. I never went close enough to anyone to find out...”

Mailan paused in her thoughts when she heard that, “When you were there, did you see...?”

“I didn’t see anyone,” Iris told her, “I got in, got what I needed, and got out. Are you looking for someone?”

Mailan’s hand squeezed the golden triangle harder, “Yeah.”

Tennor gave her a knowing stare. A quick glance in his direction allowed her to see him putting the pieces together in his head. He knew.

The Zora gave her a comforting pat on the back, “We’ll know when we get there,” he told her simply. His voice was filled with understanding... he’d lost someone too. She couldn’t tell if it was recent or a while ago, but he understood what she was going through.

“We need to move quickly,” Mailan reminded them, turning away and wiping a quick tear from her eye, “We still have a long way to go before dark.”


The building they found was a veritable fortress hidden within the woods. The outer walls were all natural - trees and bushes used to hide the building inside. Anyone looking from the outside would assume it was just a small cluster of plants. The citadel itself was made of a heavy, ivy-covered stone, granite maybe. Mailan had been here quite a few times, though it had been a long time. It was the princess’s favorite place to get away. Hidden away from the world, far off the beaten path. Zelda had once mentioned that this place was where she’d waited for the Hero of Time to awaken.

Despite his great deeds, Mailan had learned to have a small well of hatred for that knight. Even though he was no longer among them, the princess always spoke of him fondly, and the look in her eyes whenever she talked about the boy in green...

Passing those thoughts out of her mind, as she’d learned to do, Mailan waded through the flora. The door was blocked for now by only a single lock, which was removed usinh a small key she carried. The others followed behind her. There was a small kitchenette on one side of the room, and some chairs. Not far away, a door led to a silent yet ornate bedroom. On the wall across from the door was a ladder, which led down to a storage room and up to the roof. The light of the sunset flowed in from above, through an innate stained glass window featuring a blonde girl holding a set of triangles. Once more, Mailan’s hand went to her neck. Maybe coming here was a mistake. It was safe, sure, but there were a lot of memories here that weren’t conductive to her own survival.

She was brought out of her thoughts as Tennor loudly slammed the door behind them. He gave them an apologetic wave before quietly lowering the long timber to lock them in. A quick search of the building, as expected, returned no results of any fellow survivors or hidden dangers.

“We’ll be safe in here. Go ahead and get comfortable. I’m going up to the roof.”

Shutting the trap door below her, Mailan observed her two companions in the room below. They talked for a little bit before Tennor gestured towards the separated bedroom. Iris gave him a curt nod and disappeared into the room, while Tennor took a seat in one of the large chairs. He dropped his bag on the ground and leaned his spear against the wall, sinking into the soft cushion.

Moving away from the window, she stood and peered over the trees, out across the field. The sun was low, and she watched it set slowly, disappearing over the horizon as the world became darker.

I’ll find you, she thought to herself, Whatever it takes.
 
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DekuNut

Emperor of Rigel
Joined
Jan 29, 2011
Location
Tangent Universe
I haven't updated this in a while, but that doesn't mean I've forgotten about it. I've just been moving slowly. Hopefully now that I'm more used to my schedule, these will come more quickly.
Also, I plan on updating a few of the older chapters eventually, so feel free to comment with any errors, suggestions, or just weird points, and I'll update them with everything else. Thanks for your help!

Chapter 5 - Inner Thoughts


Tennor slept on the couch that night. And it was the best sleep he’d had in months. While at Lake Hylia he had felt alone, here he truly felt safe. He had spent what remained of the previous night exploring the small building, and had found it to be well-fortified and secure - two things sadly lacking in his former place of residence.

Awakening from his deep snooze, he found Mailan asleep on the chair across from him. Apparently she’d decided to return to the inside of the building after he had fallen asleep - which seemed like a pretty logical choice, all things considered.

His eyes drifting around the room more, Tennor realized that another of his companions had been the first to wake up: Iris. She had taken Mailan’s place on the roof, reading a book as the first rays of the morning sun grazed their haven. As if realizing she was being watched, the black-clad girl instinctively glanced through the window below her, spotting the inquisitive Zora. He gave her a friendly wave, which she ignored, wordlessly returning to her book.

Climbing the ladder the first time since the group’s arrival, he found himself in a mess of trees. While the building was taken care of, this roof likely served as a viewing platform, allowing the residents to see across the vast expanse of Hyrule Field. However, lack of maintenance had caused the trees to grow to the point where they obscured almost all of the world around them. Glancing around, the only landmark he could see was the towering mass of Death Mountain, as always looming over the land of Hyrule. For the first time, he realized how far the small group had travelled over the course of a single day.

“You know,” he told Iris, climbing onto the battlements on the edge of the building, “The mountain isn’t all that far off. If we left soon, we could probably make it to Kakariko by suppertime.”

Glancing back, he noticed that his companion seemed tense. He couldn’t see her face, but her posture seemed slightly less relaxed. While she didn’t utter a word or acknowledge his existence, her body language had given her away. The Zora pursed his lips for a second, but after thinking back on previous attempts to start conversation with the girl on more trivial matters, he concluded that he would have no luck in this endeavor either, telling himself he’d understand at a later time.

The Zora looked at the trees around them, trying to determine how he would go about climbing them for a better view, when he noticed movement out of the corner of his eye. Something subtle. His eyes darting in that direction, he saw that Mailan had woken up too, and was just staring into the empty building. Just like the previous day, he saw her clutching something around her neck. Seeing that, he was reminded of the heavy weight of the amulet that he, too, carried around his neck, hidden beneath his armor. His fingers had traced those blue gemstones hundreds of times, enough so that he knew every face and nick by heart. In his darkest times, that symbol had given him strength.

Mailan suddenly glanced upwards and caught him staring at her. They shared a gaze for a moment, each processing the other’s expression. For a brief moment, it felt like Tennor was staring into a mirror.

The two then looked away just as quickly, feeling both exposed and relieved. Looking over at Iris, he noted that she apparently hadn’t noticed the exchange. Their third companion’s gaze had remained fixed on the book. He gave an internal sigh of relief before tapping her shoulder, “Mailan’s up. Let’s get going.”


While the day before the group only had a few short conversations, today’s travels were somehow even quieter. Tennor could feel an awkward tension hanging in the air between him and Mailan. Despite her ignorance earlier of their quick exchange, even Iris seemed to notice it, and would occasionally glance back and forth between the two of them, trying to piece together what was happening.

They had walked for about an hour when something rustled in the trees a few yards away. Tennor and Mailan had been so focused on ignoring the tension that it had escaped their notice, leaving Iris the only one to see what was coming.

“Get down!” she yelled, as what could only be described as a beast crashed through the trees towards them. Tennor had to dive away to avoid getting hit by its initial charge. He attempted to roll back into a standing position, but he was a little rusty, and instead got a faceful of dirt. Mailan had been better prepared, leaping the opposite direction from him and already unsheathing her blade. Iris was nowhere to be seen. Having dropped the spear in his fall, Tennor quickly climbed to his feet and retrieved his weapon, looking at their aggressor.

He imagined that it had once been Hylian. Its skin was light and fleshy, between the pussey sores that covered its body. Its matted brown hair was partially covering its eyes and trailing down its back, stopping a little below the neck. It was around seven feet tall, and bulging with muscular tissue. Its eyes were bloodshot, with only hints of the green that had once been the prominent color.

Tennor hated thinking too much about these things. It always reminded him that there had been a point when these... creatures... had been regular members of society, with lives and friends and families. But, each time they were met with these hulking masses, he could still notice their similarities to their uninfected selves.

It sickened him. But he knew what they had to do.

Tennor threw a rock at the beast to get its attention, “Hey!” he yelled loudly, “Over here!”

With heaving breaths and heavy steps, it turned in his direction and smiled a rotting, toothy grin, before running at him again. As it approached, he held out his spear, ready to turn the thing into a moving kebab. To his dismay, though, he had placed his weapon too early, and the monster stopped just short of it, choosing instead to grab the fish-man. Tennor struggled to get free, but he was being squeezed too tightly to do anything.

“Close your eyes!” a voice called. Tennor barely had time to do so before a loud cracking noise could be heard below him. His ears popped, but he found that the creature had stopped struggling. Using the momentary loosening of the giant’s grip to squeeze out of its enclosed fist, he found himself landing on broken brown shells, with the creature above him looking pale, almost bluish, staring straight ahead. Mailan stood behind it, holding a second deku nut, ready for the thing to move again. And move it did - the nut only stopped it for a few seconds before it came roaring back into consciousness.

Mailan threw another, but she looked worried. Tennor understood - this was only a temporary solution. Deku nuts were always more of a backup weapon, and weren’t meant for dealing with any opponents for more than a few seconds

Swiftly, Tennor grabbed his spear and tried stabbing it. The beast, however gave no reaction to the wound. It bled a little, but in its brief moments of consciousness, its movement didn’t seem to be dampened at all. Pulling it out, he jumped away to avoid another nut aimed for the monster, “We need a new plan,” he told her, glancing around.

Suddenly, with a flash of light, a figure appeared above the monster, ramming into the back of its neck. At that same moment, it became lucid again, and yelled. The yell seemed more surprised than pained, but it was more damage than the others had been able to deal so far.

Looking at its back, they saw Iris clinging to the rags that were once its clothing, trying her best to hold on. And Tennor had to give her credit - she was doing exceptionally well for the situation they were in.

“Go!” she yelled, “I’ll catch up!” with another flash of light, she disappeared again, this time landing in front of the mutant. It tried to slam its fist down at her, but in another blinding flash she was gone, appearing again another ten meters ahead. The monster began sprinting, only for her to disappear again, popping into view even farther away from the group.

Tennor and Mailan began sprinting away.

They didn’t need to be told twice.
 
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Pen

The game is on!
Joined
Oct 5, 2010
Location
Sweden
Very nice! I really enjoy the things you've added and the things you've changed compared to the RP so far. Keep up the good work! ^^

Tennor spied that another of his companions had been the first to wake up: Iris. She had taken Iris’s place on the roof
This was the primary thing I noticed btw. I think it should be "She had taken Mailan's place on the roof" ;)
 
Joined
Aug 15, 2017
Gender
Male
And Tennor had to give her credit - she was doing exceptionally well for the situation they were in. breaths and heavy steps, it turned in his direction and smiled a rotting, toothy grin, before running at him again. As it approached, he held out his spear, ready to turn the thing into a moving kebab. To his dismay, though, he had placed his weapon too early, and the monster stopped just short of it, choosing instead to grab the fish-man. Tennor struggled to get free, but he was being squeezed too tightly.
It looks like you accidentally reused a sentence from earlier.
 

DekuNut

Emperor of Rigel
Joined
Jan 29, 2011
Location
Tangent Universe
In case anyone was wondering what's up with all this, school keeps a man busy.
It's worth noting that I updated the first five chapters based on suggestions from a few different people, namely @Pendio and @Domozilla777 , so thanks guys. And to everyone else who read it.
This is all in preparation for Chapter 6 to be released this evening. So... hype I guess?
 

DekuNut

Emperor of Rigel
Joined
Jan 29, 2011
Location
Tangent Universe
Chapter 6 - Paradise Found
After about five minutes, Mailan was sure they’d escaped the beast. Signalling to her slightly slower companion, she came to a halt, leaning against a tree. Tennor slowed down too, bending over his knees to catch his breath. The two sat there for a short time in complete silence, with the only sounds being their heavy breathing.

After a few minutes, Tennor finally spoke, “That was stronger than most of the ones I’ve seen,’ he admitted, “It didn’t even feel pain...”

Mailan nodded, “Yeah, a couple of them are like that. Usually the ones that had been infected for longer periods of time is my guess. The longer they’re like that, the more parts of them die, until they do nothing but move and eat. It’s terrifying honestly,” she slowly rose to a more upright position, squaring her shoulders, “How do you think Iris is doing?”

Tennor thought back to the last they’d seen of their companion. He had never seen a person move that fast before, “She’s probably fine. I doubt the beast will catch up to her. The bigger question is if she’ll come back.”

“She knows where we’re going,” Mailan pointed out, “Kakariko isn’t hard to find.”

“That isn’t what I meant,” the Zora replied, “She didn’t really seem... comfortable around us. She obviously isn’t a very social person, plus I really don’t think she wanted to go to Kakariko.”

Mailan raised an eyebrow, “What makes you think that? Why wouldn’t she want to find a safe place?”

“When I mentioned our arrival this morning, she seemed tense. Something was off about her. Maybe she has a bad history there, or maybe she knows something we don’t.”

Mailan thought for a few seconds, processing that, and simply sighed, “Well, either way, I hope she’s okay.”


Within a few hours, the pair could see the outer wall of Kakariko Village. It was larger than either of them remembered; no doubt reinforced to turn away the oncoming hordes. With a renewed sense of hope, the two sped up, approaching the hulking structure before them.

As they entered the shadow of the mountain, they were surprised to see Iris jog towards them. And not from behind either; she was actually ahead of them.

“Iris, how did you...”

“You took your sweet time,” she responded quickly, “I was waiting for the both of you before going inside.”

Mailan nodded, “Thanks.” Together, the three approached the city. Upon reaching the wall surrounding it, Tennor knocked on it, hoping that would draw attention to them.

And so it did. A minute or so later, a head popped out from a hole in the wall, staring down at them. It belonged to a man with a well-kept ponytail and the shadow of a beard, "Hey! Are you folks all right?" he seemed friendly enough, stretching his hand towards them, "I assume you folks are looking for shelter, and since you don't appear to be infected, I'd be willing to let you in. We could use the extra manpower."

“Told you,” Mailan said under her breath to Tennor before turning to speak to the man over the wall, “Thank you, sir!” Mailan called. She reached her hand out to shake it, only to suddenly feel her feet be lifted from the ground. She squealed a little from surprise as the man heaved her into the hole using just one arm. When she was safely inside, he offered the same to Tennor. Now knowing how this was going to work, Tennor did his best to help make lifting him easier, grabbing onto the edge with his free hand. He could see a small hint of thanks in the man’s gaze.

They all three turned towards Iris, only to find that she was gone again. That was when Mailan noticed that she’d gotten up to them without any help or anyone noticing. It surprised their new benefactor, but he took it in stride, stretching his obviously tired arm, “Name’s Dente,” he told them, “Welcome to Kakariko.”

Walking down the ramp and into the village, Dente began giving them the tour, “Have you folks been to Kakariko before?”

Tennor nodded, and Mailan gave a verbal confirmation. Iris didn’t react, too distracted looking around. A few people gave her weird looks, but she didn’t pay them any mind.

Dente ignored her and continued talking, “We built up the walls towards the field and the mountain, and cut off the graveyard, though we still use it for its intended purpose when the unfortunate need arises,” he gestured towards a building across the way, “We converted the old shooting gallery to a supply shed. You can get food there at meal times. Our elder will choose places for the three of you to stay when he has a chance to meet you, but I’m afraid he’s busy at the moment. Unless you know anyone here already?”

With the question, Mailan began searching the compound, looking for a familiar face, “With any luck...”

Her throat caught up as she spied a blonde head up on the hill watching them. The pink dress, the look on her face... without a second thought, she began sprinting towards the stairs. The others followed behind her, confused and calling her name, but Mailan ignored them.

It was her.
 

DekuNut

Emperor of Rigel
Joined
Jan 29, 2011
Location
Tangent Universe
A short chapter, but it felt weird to continue it beyond what we have.

Good news is, the next little while will come quickly. I'm doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) next month on this story, and hope to write 50,000 words before November 30th. Wish me luck, and be looking forward to far more of this story!

Honestly I'm wondering a lot about this chapter. I have no regrets for anything written here, but I'm not sure what people will think of it, though it's been kinda foreshadowed earlier.

Happy reading!


Chapter 7 - Loyal

Mailan rushed the stairs, surprising a guard who was standing by it. Another guard came towards her from the side, but she blasted past that one too. Mere yards from her target, a guard stepped directly in front of her. She tried to dodge to the side, but he reached out and grabbed her by the arm, giving her a sharp tug inwards, until she was inches from the man's spear. That sobered her up a little. She quickly stopped struggling and took a deep breath, drawing forth a voice slightly deeper than her normal one, but sounding surprisingly natural, "I'm not a threat to her."

The woman stood and walked over, a look of surprise on her face, "He speaks the truth," she replied after a moment, "He was one of my most loyal guardsmen before the outbreak. You can let him go, Sir Clark."

The guard nodded and let go of Mailan. She stood up and gave a deep bow, "My Queen."

Zelda gave a small smile, "You may stand. It is a pleasant surprise to see your survival, Sir Knight."

"The pleasure is all mine, m'lady," Mailan replied, straightening up.

"Sir Bannikur shall accompany me to my quarters," the Queen announced to her guards, "I have some questions for him regarding a small... sidequest I gave to him before Castle Town fell. Please stand watch outside. We shan't be long."

Mailan followed a respectable distance behind the royal personage, eyes locked to the ground. One guard held open the door, and the two entered, allowing it to shut completely before Mailan would again raise her gaze.

Zelda was just as she remembered. Her long blonde hair, her graceful movements, her calm yet warm voice… she had not changed at all.

They stood in silence for a moment, simply watching each other, before Zelda finally spoke, "Mailan..."

That was all she was able to get out before the girl wrapped her arms around the queen, "I'm so sorry I left you," she whispered, her voice returned to its regular pitch, "I should've stayed to protect you. It was my duty."

Zelda was surprised by the action, but she responded to the hug in kind, "Do not blame yourself," she responded, "It was by my orders that you left, and may I add, quite reluctantly."

Mailan looked up, staring into Zelda's knowing eyes, before leaning in and kissing her. The two shared their moment quietly before parting softly, yet reluctantly. Zelda quickly fixed her hair and Mailan returned to standing stiffly, as if the prior moment had not taken place,

"So, mission report?"

Mailan cleared her throat, "I was able to learn his location eventually. After he left the Shiekah, he spent some time traveling the country, searching out his family, before settling with one of his brothers amongst the Kokiri. Before I was able to track him down, however, I learned of Castle Town's ruin, and became... distracted from my charge."

"Understandably so," Zelda replied, "But he is alive?"

"Last I heard, though that was over a month ago. Anything can happen in this world."

"Then we'd best make our way to his location... though I can tell that you need a rest before you do much more travelling."

The knight gave a grateful nod. She hadn't wanted to mention it, but the constant travelling and worrying over the past few weeks had strained both her body and her mind. As much as she hated to admit it, Zelda's words rang true.

"I'll have the locals prepare a place for you. Did you have any travelling companions?"

"Two," Mailan told her, "A Zora guardsman named Tennor and a social outcast who has yet to tell either of us much of anything about herself other than her name, which is Iris."

Zelda seemed somewhat amused when Mailan mentioned her companion's names, but didn't mention "They are, of course, both welcome among us," Zelda replied, "Will they accompany us when we leave?"

"I find it likely Tennor will, though I'm not sure about Iris."

"Well, any help the two bring will be very welcome. I know Kakariko can't spare many of their able-bodied citizens."

The two walk towards the door, "You go find your friends. I'll arrange everything," Zelda announced. She reached for the handle and stopped partway there, "I love you. Thanks for finding me."

Mailan's face turned red, "Always."
 
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DekuNut

Emperor of Rigel
Joined
Jan 29, 2011
Location
Tangent Universe
This was a fun chapter to write. Honestly, Dente is my favorite of the main cast - and he isn't even my character! Mido, the guy who made Dente, is a great and funny guy who I'm happy to be working with. Hope you guys like him as much as I do.

Chapter 8 - Tea Time

The girl's sudden sprint surprised all three of her companions. By the time they processed her disappearance, she was already halfway to her destination, and they could do nothing but attempt to keep up. Dente wasn't great at running; his job usually called more for upper body strength than lower, and with a town this size there was no use running anywhere, so he quickly fell behind the other two. They stopped most of the way there, finally allowing the struggling gravedigger to catch up.

Looking beyond them, towards the place of their gaze, he noted that the red haired girl was bowing to the Queen. It suddenly made sense to him; she had been wearing the armor of a palace guard. It seemed like, at some point, she was one. He was surprised, since he wasn't aware the Hylian army took many women, but was glad to see what had to have been a weight lifted off of her shoulders.

After watching her go inside, Dente decided to get to know the other newcomers, especially if they were soldiers. They always needed more strong fighters to guard the walls, "Say, I don't believe I ever got your names."

The Zora thought for a second, "You're right. My name's Tennor, and that's I-"

"Irene," the girl said quickly. Based on her having cut off Tennor and the brief look of surprise on his face, Dente had to assume that the name given was a fake one. Odd… worth thinking about later. But now wasn't the time for such matters.

"Well, Tennor, Irene, I'll quickly get back to our little tour while, ah…"

"Mailan," Tennor replied, "Her name's Mailan."

"Ah yes, thank you," Dente told the man, "While Mailan is having audience with the Queen. Come along now," he led them around the village and showed them all the important places. The windmill, the well, the shooting range, the two gates, and, of course, the graveyard. It wasn't actually much to show, other than the massive increase in size over recent months, but he was proud of the place. It almost disturbed him, but he was sure it was more to do with all the hard work he'd put in rather than the massive number of bodies buried under the ground.

"Well, now that all that's taken care of, I don't think there's much left to do at the moment. The Elder is still out on business I'm afraid, and I don't want to get you folks set up with a place to stay while one of you is absent."

'Irene' gave a slight, uncomfortable nod, "I believe I'm going to do a little exploring of my own if you don't mind." Before the gravedigger could respond with even a nod, she vanished. It shocked Dente, but Tennor seemed oddly nonplussed. It must be a normal occurance for her. And so the plot thickens.

"Well, while it's just you and me around here, what say you and me go to my shack for a nice cup of tea, and you can tell me about yourself?" Dente suggested.

"That sounds nice."

The water boiled and the tea poured, Dente carried the pot to the small table. He noted that the ceiling was a little low for his guest to stand comfortably, but sitting he appeared to be just fine. Pouring the cups, Dente sat opposite him, "So tell me Tennor, what manner of man are you?"

"That's an odd way to phrase the question," Tennor chuckled.

"I find that the most interesting questions have the most interesting answers." Dente rebutted, "And admittedly, hiding the lack of interesting qualities in my own history."

"Now you have me wondering."

"I'm afraid more talking and waiting on the subject will only leave you more disappointed," he admitted, "So to prevent that I guess I'll begin. I grew up in the desert…"

"Among the Gerudo?" Tennor asked, a shocked look on his face.

"No, no, I unfortunately haven't spent much time with those…. Ah, lovely women," a flicker of distaste crossed his face as he mentioned them, "We were a nomadic people. A group of odds and ends, left to rot in a place inhospitable to man. But we somehow survived. Sometime within the realm of my adulthood - too long ago for me to care to remember - I left that land and traveled to the green fields of Hyrule, seeking a better life. Kakariko had just recently been opened up to non-Shiekah at the time, so I took up residence here. When old man Dampe died, it was me who buried him, and I guess by some ceremonial right - or lack of people wanting to do the job - I took up the position."

Tennor smiled, "Sounds interesting to me."

It suddenly hit Dente that he'd said a lot more than he expected to. Usually when he talked about his history, he didn't say very much, just commenting on how he got his position of gravedigger. But with this gentleman, the words seemed to roll off of his tongue. He hardly knew the man, but he felt as if they understood each other on some deeper level. It comforted him a little; he hadn't always had a good life, and not many people in Kakariko could understand him on that level. But already from just a few minutes of banter, he started to feel like Tennor understood.

"Trust me," Dente replied quickly, "If you lived it, it wouldn't seem that way to you," he leaned forward a little, "Now back to the initial question: what lies in your history?"

"I was a guard, son of a guard, and always destined to be a guard. I had my own sort of teenage rebellion that wound me up in a lot of trouble, Came home afterwards and realized that mysaid rebellion was a self-fulfilling prophecy, reminding me that I truly am my father's son, as much as I wished to be otherwise. Though by that point I didn't mind it as much; after my little taste of adventure, home was a welcome change of pace."

Dente nodded. He understood the feeling.

"You served the Zora queen then?"

Tennor smiled a little, "Yes. Yes I did."

That smile was something Dente recognized too, though for some reason it didn't immediately register where from. Had it really been that long since he'd had that kind of relationship with that one?

Dente suddenly felt very old, and very disturbed. But the smile remained on his face, "Quite interesting indeed."
 

DekuNut

Emperor of Rigel
Joined
Jan 29, 2011
Location
Tangent Universe
It's a bit of a shorter chapter, more of a bridge than anything. The story will get moving again soon.

Chapter 9 - Denial
Their conversation came to a halt when a knock came to the door. Tennor tensed a little surprise, and saw Dente give a little jump of his own. Quickly, his host leapt from his seat and ran for the doorway. Opening the door, he found himself face-to-face with Mailan.

"Ah! Mailan!" Dente said, smiling, "I see your conversation with the Queen is over, hm?"

"Yeah," she replied, glowing, "Are the others here?"

"Just me," Tennor called, standing from his seat, "Our roguish friend went for a little walk. How was it?"

"It went well," she told him, biting her lip to hold back her excitement a little, "She promised us a place to stay here in town."

That stopped him for a second. When he'd promised to come here with Mailan, he hadn't expected to actually stay around. He never did. Whenever his clients reached their destination, he would inevitably return to the lake so he could get back to waiting… and hoping.

"That's… that's nice," he offered, suddenly feeling the wind knocked out of his sails.

Mailan didn't seem to notice his change in mood though, "Excellent! Come on, I'll show you where she suggested putting us!"

The girl immediately turned to leave, while Tennor turned to Dente, "Thanks for the tea, Dente. It was nice."

Dente nodded, "A good time indeed. I'll talk to you soon."

The two men shook hands and, for the time, parted ways.

Mailan showed Tennor to a small building in the corner of the village. It already held a few people, but there were a few extra rooms open for the newcomers. Tennor sat down on the bed in his room and gazed at the wall. There was no window in this room, and it was so barren that was really all there was to look at. But he didn't mind.. .his thoughts laid elsewhere.

The question of whether or not to stay was still on his mind. The question of whether or not he should leave the lake had been gnawing at his mind for months. Yes, she would go there if she could, but the fact stood that she hadn't. He'd waited there for six months, helping passing travelers and hoping that she would show. But she never did. No travelers seemed to have heard from her, no Zora appeared in the lake with him… it felt so lonely.

Reaching into his armor, he pulled out the gemstone he carried around his neck. It was beautiful. Meticulously carved. Three pentagonal blue gems housed in gold. She'd given it to him not long ago, referring to it as an engagement ring. As was tradition in her family.

Tennor had always been loyal. That was, he liked to think, his defining trait. But this wasn't loyalty and he knew it. He'd known it for months, and he had never wanted to admit it. This was denial.

Denial that the woman he loved was dead.

And he couldn't shake the feeling that he could've stopped it from happening.

A knock on the door jolted him back into reality. Quickly stuffing it back beneath his chestplate, he cleared his throat and told the visitor to come in.

It turned out that, once again, it was Mailan. She was in much higher spirits than he - though based on their circumstances, that was unsurprising.

"It's not much, but it beats the ground," she admitted, "What do you think?"

"It's nice," Tennor admitted, "I haven't been anywhere this nice in a long time."

"So nice of the Queen to give us a place…" Mailan said, her eyes giving a distant look.

Tennor's eyes smiled, "You're terrible at hiding it. You know that, right?"

"What?" Mailan asked, genuinely confused.

Tennor laughed a little, "You and Zelda. You aren't entirely subtle."

Mailan's face drained a little, but that didn't last long, "When people aren't looking for it, you can have a little leeway. Especially now…" she sighed, "And it's not like you're very subtle about how your relationship was with Ruto."

Tennor's gaze dropped to the floor. Seeming to realize that she hit a nerve, Mailan tried to apologize, "I'm sorry, I was just…"

"No, don't be," he replied, "You aren't wrong. But we really didn't need to be. However, your circumstances are… very different. Just be careful."

"It's not the insult I apologized for. It's for reminding you. Before coming here, anything that reminded me of Zelda hurt. And I can only imagine you must feel the same way."

There was a long moment of silence. The sapphire around Tennor's neck felt heavier than it ever had.

"Yeah."
 

DekuNut

Emperor of Rigel
Joined
Jan 29, 2011
Location
Tangent Universe
And things are starting to move again! Hurrah!

For today's random piece of trivia, I'm going to mention that we actually took the time a few months back to cast actors as the main crew. Mailan is Violette Beane, Iris is Daisy Ridley, Dente is Andrew Lincoln and Zelda is Alexandra Daddario. I've been really wishy-washy about my Tennor casting, and at the moment I'm tentatively settling on John Boyega. But feel free to give your suggestions for actors or make comments on these choices. As other characters get introduced, their actors will be revealed, but not until then.

Also, my writing was especially too fast this chapter, so extra shoutouts to my dear friend Domozilla777 (or "Atilla the Pun") for going above and beyond the call of duty in helping me edit this one. Wouldn't be able to do this without you bro.

Chapter 10 - Determination
That night, Mailan slept fitfully in her bed. Zelda wasn't far away, and, despite being even closer than they had in months, the distance was killing her more than ever. She wanted to be beside her at every moment… but it was harder to hide here, and as Tennor said, they were already toeing the line as it was. Eventually, however, the morning sun rose and she began to hear stirring in the main room. Deciding she'd rested enough, Mailan opened the door to join her fellow survivors.

She hadn't taken the time to look into the survivors the day before. She was far too distracted by everything going on. But now that she could, she was surprised to see how… similar everyone was. Hyrule in general was a very diverse kingdom, but just about everyone she saw was Hylian. No kokiri, no gerudo, a single Goron… and the only Zora around was Tennor. People did not seem to distrust him when he came out, but they did give him a few odd looks. It hit her that many of these people had never seen a Zora before. Despite there being so many kinds of people in Hyrule, most of them were very isolated. Mailan had gotten her fair share of exploration as Zelda's personal guard, but most people didn't have that.

Once her companion was up, they began to make their way towards the shooting gallery. As Dente had said, the people there were passing out rations amongst the arriving survivors. Taking their food, they chose to avoid the crowds. They'd both become accustomed to being alone, so this many people, even if it wouldn't have been many in the past, felt massive to them. They found a nice tree in the center of town and sat below it, looking at the far-off mountain range.

Something fell out of the tree, causing both of the eaters to pause and look. Surprise swept over both of their faces, it was Iris. Honestly, Mailan had forgotten that she had disappeared. Despite her helpfulness during their previous encounter with the mutant, she was always quiet and set Mailan ill at ease. Most of the talking that she had done lately had been only with Tennor. In addition,the lack of facial expression through her mask was almost haunting. In spite of that, the pair gladly welcomed her back and offered some of their food.

"Sir Bannikur!" came a call from behind them as their rations began to dwindle.

Turning back, Mailan made note of a young soldier running towards them. She looked away for a second and composed herself before standing. As before, her demeanor changed slightly. She was still recognizable, but certain attributes - her facial expression, her voice, her stance - all hinted at masculinity.

"Yes?"

"Queen Zelda has requested that you attend to her. She also wished to meet the companions you mentioned the other day."

Hearing her love's name, Mailan's heart skipped a beat, but her external facade didn't waiver, "Thank you . We shall attend to her shortly," once he was gone, she looked back at the group, her previous changes gone, "So how about it? Do you two want to come meet her?"

"I've met the Queen once or twice," Tennor responds, "but it has been some time, and it would be beneficial to give a real introduction."

The two turned to look at Iris, who simply nodded, "If you two are going, I may as well join you," she said with a flat voice. From her tone, Mailan guessed she wasn't very thrilled at the idea, but true to her word she followed them towards Zelda's house.

Unlike last time, upon their arrival, the guards chose not to try and stop her. It only took a small nod to get her and her companions into the building.

Zelda was wearing a simple pink dress when they entered, sitting by the window and holding a book. Mailan just wanted to stare at that sight all day, but it was not going to last. As soon as she heard the others entering, Zelda set down her book and smiled up at them, "A pleasure to meet you both."

Tennor stepped forward and gave a small bow, "A pleasure indeed, your majesty."

Iris gave a bow as well, though it wasn't quite as low and it looked like she wasn't quite accustomed to it. Despite this, Zelda gracefully laughed off her awkwardness, "Please, all of you, sit down."

Per her instructions, Mailan sat in the chair next to her, while Tennor and Iris took the couch across the way from them. It was silent for a moment before Zelda finally spoke, turning to Tennor, "If I recall correctly, the two of us have met before."

Tennor nodded, "Once or twice, ma'am. I was there during the reclamation of Hyrule Castle, and then we met a few other times while guarding my lady Ruto."

Upon hearing the name of her vassal, Zelda's face saddened, "I was wondering about her. Since you are here alone, am I to assume that she is no longer among us?"

Tennor's stomach lurched as he heard her say that, "The Domain fell to the oncoming hordes six months back, and we were separated during the escape. I have yet to see another Zora, Ruto or otherwise, since that unfortunate day."

A concerned look crossed Zelda's face, "I'm sorry to hear that, Tennor. I grant you my sincerest apologies."

"No need for you to apologize, m'lady," Tennor assured her, "It's my own fault for not doing my job."

"If you knew Ruto as well as I think you did, you would know she wouldn't want you to blame yourself."

Tennor didn't respond, instead staring down at the ground.

"And you," Zelda said next, turning to Iris, "Your name is Iris correct?"

"Yes."

The Queen's gaze slid over Iris's face, studying it the best she could, "I believe it's in everyone's best interests that our knowledge of you is kept as it is."

"If at all possible, that would be nice," Iris told her, "No offense to you or anything, I just… don't want to deal with that."

Zelda pursed her lips, "I see. Very well then. I'll keep our conversation of your past as it stands at the moment."

Iris gave what could be best construed as a thankful nod, but it was hard for Mailan to tell.

Finally, Zelda turned to Mailan, "And how aware are they of your history, my knight?"

Mailan hesitated a little, "Tennor knows, but Iris…"

Iris gave a stiff chuckle, "You're hopeless Mailan."

Everyone got a laugh out of that, even Zelda. It felt like the tension had died down a little.

"Mailan has told me that both of you fight well. Skillful, resourceful and courageous. Some of the most important traits for any warrior."

Iris seemed a little embarrassed by the compliment, but Tennor took it happily, "Thank you ma'am."

"I'm sure the village would be happy to have you both if you wished to stay and help defend it. They could always use more able-bodied soldiers, especially those with direct experience in fighting the mutants."

Iris shook her head, "I'm afraid that I'll have to pass on that offer, your highness. I'll stay in the city for a day or so more, but I'm afraid that the time I've spent here has already been too long for my personal tastes."

"That is understandable, Iris. A shame, but I thank you for helping Mailan arrive safely. If you ever change your mind, know we will gladly have you with us."

All eyes turned next to Tennor, who looked uncomfortable, "I would like to take slightly longer to think it over," he admitted, "Though it is surely a tempting offer, your majesty."

Zelda looked him up and down before nodding, "Thank you for considering the offer. Nothing is more important than protecting what remains of Hyrule. Now, if you would excuse me… I'm feeling tired, so despite this cutting our meeting short, I'm afraid I must rest."

Mailan was suddenly concerned. It was still quite early, and it wasn't like Zelda to take naps. She immediately knew something was amiss. Once her comrades had left, she followed Zelda to the bed in the back of the room, "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine, my dear. I just need a short rest… yes, that's all. Don't mind it."

Now that she was looking for something wrong, Mailan began to notice other changes she'd ignored in her haze of the past day. Zelda had lost a lot of weight. Her skin was paler than usual. They wouldn't be noticeable to the average person, but to someone who knew Zelda well, it was alarming.

Mailan walked closer and put her hand on Zelda's cheek, "There's more happening than that, isn't there?"

Zelda looked away from her. It was an expression she'd never seen her lover wear before, and it caught her off guard than anything else ever could:

Fear.

"You… you're infected?"

Slowly, Zelda nodded, "I can only assume that the Triforce is keeping me from going down the same path as the rest of those who were affected, but it still takes its toll on me."

Mailan leaned down and kissed Zelda softly, "We know where he is, Zelda. If we can find him, maybe he can help you."

Zelda smiled softly, "I hope so. I am sorry for not telling you before, but I did not wish for you to be as afraid as you are now."

"I'm not afraid." Mailan replied, "And I won't let anything happen to you."

Zelda nodded, but the fear in her eyes remained there. Mailan could not imagine Zelda holding it in, day in and day out, not being able to let it out without fear of disrupting the entire town.

"Make preparations," Zelda told her, "The elder and I will speak this afternoon. I shall speak to him of our decision, and then we shall be on our way by dinner."

Mailan nodded.

"I like your friends, Mailan. If you would like them to join us, you may request it of them with my blessing. They know how to keep a secret.."

Mailan wasn't sure what that meant, but she nodded, "As you wish."
 
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