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    Default The Legend of Zelda: Twin Kingdoms

    The Legend of Zelda: Twin Kingdoms
    (logo coming soon)

    Twin Kingdoms is a story based in the Legend of Zelda franchise, aimed at telling a story of war, conquest and heroic actions in a notably darker atmosphere than the franchise regularly provides. The story focuses primarily on the Kingdom of Hyrule and the Republic of Koholint, though other nations, regions and factions, such as the Gerudo and the peoples of Holodrum and Labrynna will have their own to contribute to the story.

    Many characters from many regions will be the main focus, with the story detailing their adventures, their ambitions and the outcome of whatever their goals are. These will be called Focus Characters, with chapters dedicated entirely to them, telling the story from their point of view. The FC of each chapter will be listed alongside a link to the chapter in the table of contents.

    This story is a solo venture, unlike the other story I've been working with, Storm Island.

    Table of Contents

    Chapter 01: The Legend Begins
    - Focus Character: Link
    Chapter 02: Royal Affairs
    - Focus Character: Mishel
    Last edited by AC-Prescott; 7th November 2013 at 12:46 AM.

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    Default Re: The Legend of Zelda: Twin Kingdoms

    Twin Kingdoms
    Chapter 1: The Legend Begins

    The roosters were crowing, signaling that dawn was upon the land. The golden glow of the sun illuminated the tall, rustic pine trees that surrounded Ranal's farm on the edges of the village of Eldin Township. Much of the town was still asleep with the exception of one man, a man with long tan hair that drooped over his forehead, covering all but the tips of his pointed ears. He was stood outside of the barn, adjusting the scarecrow that overlooked a cabbage patch. Satisfied with the scarecrow, he grabbed the wooden sword that was leaning up against it.

    With the wooden sword in hand, the man started hacking and slashing at the scarecrow that stood in front of him. He displayed an odd amount of skill for what appeared to be a simple farmhand; With an upward slash, he split the scarecrow's burlap head open, spilling bits of hay onto the muddy ground.

    Behind him, an older man was walking up the trail towards him, guiding a chocolate brown horse by the reins. "Link, my boy! How often have I told you not to abuse the scarecrow like that?" the farmer said. The hardened and stern look on his face turned to a hint of sadness, however. "But I can't get angry at you... not today."

    Link dropped the wooden practice sword, balancing it against the destroyed scarecrow. "Today's the day, Ranal."

    "It is."

    Link turned around, looking at the amber fields of wheat and barley to the south; the green groves to the west; the Ordonian Goat pasture to the north, and finally the Ranal Family farmhouse to the east, the place where he spent the past fourteen years of his life ensuring the people of Eldin Township would not go to bed hungry. "I'm going to miss it all, Ranal." he said.

    "I think the town is going to miss you more," Ranal replied. "You've really changed things around here, Link. I fear it would be just me as a mad hermit, tending to a dead field outside of a ghost town had you not entered my life."

    "I'm sure someone else would have filled the void."

    "Always so humble... You're something special. Embrace it for once."

    "Maybe," he chuckled.

    "Have you seen Sara yet?" Ranal started. "I suppose not, the day only just started."

    "I haven't, but I will."

    "Bring her into town for once," Ranal said. "We're beginning to think she doesn't like it here."

    "She's been here a few times, she says she doesn't like it here as much as--"

    "Now what could Ordon offer that Eldin doesn't?" Ranal asked.

    "I'd prefer not to get into this again..."

    "Yes, yes. My apologies." he said. He offered the reins of the horse he brought along to Link. "Your horse."

    Link grabbed the reins, tossing them up towards the saddle. He placed his foot in the stirrup and climbed up on top of her.

    "Have you seen Jezzia, by the way? She has yet to come for her own horse." Ranal asked.

    "I haven't," Link replied.

    "She must be warming someone's bed before she leaves."

    Link let out a nervous, polite laugh. "How did she get that reputation? It can't be true."

    "Have you seen the money that inn has been raking in since she turned it around?"

    "All through hard work, I believe." Link said. "You know, like what I've supposedly done these past fourteen years."

    "It's all a joke, my boy. But I should probably not be so hard on her..."

    "Your problem has always been with her father, not her. Keep it that way."

    Ranal sighed and nodded. "Yes."

    A moment of silence permeated the air between the two. Link finally spoke up, "Will of the Goddesses, I will be back. Goodbye, my friend."

    "Good luck, stay safe and keep warm," Ranal said. "Don't disappoint Eldin in the tournament!"

    Link snapped the reins and spurred his horse forward. As the horse trotted down the muddy path towards the town, he looked back. "Hopefully your new farmhand will have a better start than I did!" he shouted.

    "I'm sure he will, you troublemaker!"

    Link snapped the reins again, charging faster into the town. He rode through the town, passing the wooden, straw-roofed houses, passing the inn, passing the mayor's house, passing the town square and also the marketplace. He didn't slow down to wave or to greet anyone; he was intent on his last task that he wished to accomplish before leaving for the capital. Saying goodbye to his longtime friend, Sara.

    - - - - -

    The scene was peaceful and serene. Green leaves fluttered through the air under the clear, blue sky, landing in the pond at Ordon Springs. The twittering sonnet of birds complimented the sound of the wind that blew a refreshing breeze across the area. Small woodland creatures dashed through the tall grass, playing with each other, hunting for food and investigating the woman who was sitting on a log and staring out into the pond.

    The woman brushed her long and windswept, wavy blonde hair out of her face, revealing a peculiar pair of pink eyes and her soft, fair-featured face. She let out a deep sigh, taking in the beauty of the nature around her. A smile crept along her face as she heard the galloping of a horse in the distance. She turned to look at the western road and saw Link riding down it.

    As he dismounted his horse, she stood up and rushed over to greet him. If he hadn't been training to compete in the tournament for the past two months, she might have knocked him down with how hard she collided into him. Her happiness was more than palpable, as it seemed to manifest into a gust of wind as she bear hugged him.

    "Easy there, Sara. I don't need a bruised rib before I compete!" Link said, hugging her back.

    "Sorry..." she said, burying her face into his shoulder. "I'm just going to miss you is all."

    "Me too... I'll be back after the tournament is over. Don't worry." he said, letting her go. He took his horse's reins and led Sara back over to the pond. "So, how are things over in Ordon?" he asked as he sat down.

    "Things have been going well." Sara replied. "My brother has been doing a good job as mayor in my father's absence."

    "He's a good kid, your brother," Link said. "Though, I can't help but think that it should be you in the mayor's seat. You're older and more experienced."

    "Oh stop..." she said, nudging his shoulder. "Perhaps you've forgotten that I'm a woman? We're not allowed to do that."

    "Times are changing, Sara. Eldin is sending a woman to compete in the tournament, that's never been done before." he said. "And King Eldin's advisor is a woman, that's never happened before either."

    "Ah, Lady Mishel..." she replied. "Even if times are changing in Eldin and the capital, they certainly aren't in Ordon."

    "You know what my mother said every time my father would get angry at her?"

    Sara looked at Link, wondering.

    "She said, 'Women who follow the rules rarely make history'."

    After a moment of awkward silence between the two, Sara decided to break it. "I had another dream again last night..." she started. "It was a pretty bad one."

    "Oh yeah? What was it about?"

    "I saw Hylia's Great Gate, on Hyrule's border. Our armies were marching on it, trying to break it down. They tried and they tried, eventually breaking through. When they did, they were met by another army. The two battled..." she paused. "It was horrible, so much bloodshed... The leaves of the cherry trees turned red." she paused again and looked up at Link. "Link, I'm really worried..." she said, leaning up against him.


    "I've had dreams in the past that have come true, down to the last detail. I fear for all of our lives if this is one of them."

    "I'm sure you've had plenty of dreams that have never turned out," he said.

    Sara shook her head. "A few..."

    Link stared forward into the pond. The thoughts of what would happen began to flood his mind if Hyrule went to war with a neighboring kingdom. He always viewed his swordsmanship as not only a fun distraction from his obligations as a farmhand, but as a bridge towards nobility, chivalry and protection of others. He had difficulty wrapping his mind around the idea that those who'd chosen the path of righteousness could potentially be used as weapons in someone's plans for conquest.

    Sara broke the silence again. "I also saw Hyrule Castle. It was a smoldering ruin. The King and Queen were hanging from the gates, the Prince was sold into slavery in the deserts and Princess Zelda was missing... I couldn't see what had happened to her."

    "Mmm," Link said, unsure of how to respond. "I wish I could take you to the capital with me. You could see one of the magicians, see if your dreams have any credibility.

    Sara leaned onto Link's shoulder. "And what if my dreams were real, huh? I'd be in the middle of it all when the walls came crashing down." she said, raising her finger. "And it would all fall on..." She tapped him on the nose. "You."

    "That would be bad..."

    Behind them, the sound of another horse coming down the road echoed through the wilderness, this time from the eastern road leading towards Ordon Village. The two looked back towards the forest to see who was coming down the road to see a white horse with an armored horn. Seated atop the armored horse was an even more heavily armored figure. The figure pulled off its helmet, revealing flowing, red hair and pale, soft skin. Her fiery red eyes stared at Link and Sara.

    The woman tapped on her leg. "C'mon, love birds. Time for Link to go."

    Sara waved. "Morning, Jezzia."

    "Sara," Jezzia said, nodding.

    "You're not going to wear that all the way to the capital, are you?" Link said, studying her chain mail armor and her overcoat that sported the emblem of Eldin Township.

    "I should be asking you!" she remarked about Link's tattered and ragged looking clothes. "C'mon, farmer boy, before we're late for our own departure ceremony."

    Link huffed, then looked into Sara's peculiar pink eyes. "She's right. Do you need a ride back to Ordon?" he asked.

    "It's not that long of a walk, Link. I can handle it, I'm not a frail little flower."

    "I'll be home in about a month, I promise," he said, wrapping his arm around her shoulder. "Stay safe, and hopefully your father feels better before I return."

    Sara tried to fight back the tear that was forming in the corner of her eye. She grabbed onto Link's hand, saying, "Before you go..." She pulled a silver ring with a purple gemstone off of her left hand, slipping it over Link's pinky finger. "I want you to have this. It's a gift my mother gave to me when I was young, it's supposed to bring good luck to travellers... I don't travel, so you'll need it more than me."

    Link looked down and studied the ring, seeing every color of the rainbow shift through the inner core of the gemstone as the sun shined against it. He patted her on the back in thanks, standing up to approach his horse. As he walked over, he watched Sara closely and lovingly as she waved a stick through the water of the pond. Putting his foot in the stirrup of his horse's saddle, he heard some loud rustling coming from the forest behind him.

    Jezzia heard the noise to, immediately perking to attention and looking around. "You hear that?" Jezzia asked. She unlatched her sword's sheathe from her her shoulder and tossed it over to Link. "I think we've got company." She grabbed the two daggers that dangled from her belt, getting ready for another encounter with the local bandits.

    Link caught the sword, looked at Jezzia in confusion, then pulled it out and assumed a combat stance. "Sara, stick close!" he called out.

    As Link and Jezzia stood in front of Sara in an effort to protect her, a sniveling roar came from the forest, followed by a little green man. His pointed, acne covered face, short black hair and diminutive stature made it obvious to the group what he was, a goblin. Three more goblins followed the leader out of the forest in a wild and loud attack.

    "Goblins this far south?" Link asked.

    The lead goblin ran towards Jezzia, leaping into the air in an attempt to jump onto to her. She knocked him aside with her shoulder, spinning around with the blades in her hands to face the next goblin that was running at her. The second goblin stopped in his tracks, pulling a slingshot from his belt and taking aim. To his surprise, the tiny rock he fired from his slingshot bounced right off of her glistening armor.

    Meanwhile, Link was deftly dodging the other two goblins, stepping from side to side as they tried to jump on him. Armed with little more than sharpened rocks tied to sticks with discarded string, the goblins were both brave and vicious in their attack. Link sliced upward as one of the goblins attempted to jump over him towards Sara, burying his blade in the goblin's chest.

    The body of his now lifeless comrade crashing to the ground caught the attention of the lead goblin, who used a combination of clicks, grunts and vivid somatic gestures to halt the attack and for his fellow warriors to reform behind him. He looked up at the two, who had taken the time the goblins used to regroup to retreat towards Sara to guard her. "Gold. NOW!" he barked in a rudimentary attempt at the common language.

    "Keep looking elsewhere, we've got nothing for you!" Jezzia said.

    The lead goblin looked at the goblin to his right, clicking and snorting, shouting and nodding. Their attention turned towards their fallen friend before they descended on him like a pack of ravenous wolves. They looted all they could from his body. "Gold, gold! Happy!" he exclaimed with glee as he picked up an unimaginably small sack of coins that was attached to the fallen goblin's belt. Satisfied, he and his friends skittered away like cockroaches back into the forest. As quickly as they had arrived, the goblins were gone.

    Link breathed out, relaxing a bit and sheathing the sword. "Not every day you get to fight off some goblins, eh?"

    "Be thankful," Jezzia said. "I'd take a pack of goblins over a grizzly bear of bandits any day." As Link handed the sword back to her, she inspected it. "My new sword! Eww, it's covered in that sticky goblin blood!"

    Link turned to Sara. "You still want to walk to Ordon? My horse will be faster."

    Sara was nervously inspecting between the trees around her. "That horse ride sounds like a good idea."

    Link helped his friend up onto his horse, lifting her up almost effortlessly and placing her on top of it.

    "Just be quick about it, Link," Jezzia said. "We're leaving soon, remember."

    "Yes, yes. I'll be in the town square in ten minutes." he said. He snapped the reins, pressing his horse forward down the eastern road towards Ordon Village while Jezzia led her own horse west towards Eldin Township.

    - - - - -

    The early summer sun was beaming down on the town square where the four dozen citizens of Eldin Township had gathered. Exotic flowers of all colors lined the white wooden fences and the gables of the houses. The fountain in the center of the town was spraying water for the first time in three years. Nearly everyone was dressed in their best clothes, or at least the best that a small farming village far from any master tailor could offer. On the northern end of the town square were four people, two atop horses. One of the four, a large man with a shiny, bald head and a stately red and gold tunic was addressing the crowd.

    "Eldin tradition states that the closest living relative see their family member off when they leave town. Unfortunately, Link's parents are no longer with us. Do we have any volunteers for the ceremony?"

    A haggard man with tanned skin stepped forward. "I will, mayor."

    "Very well, Ranal," the mayor said, stepping aside to give Ranal the crowd's full attention.

    Ranal paced back and forth, starting his speech. "When I took Link in, he was but a boy, no older than myself when my own parents were taken from me. But he was a good boy. He understood much about the world around him... or at least the world around Eldin Township." he said, spinning around to pace in the opposite direction. "We've grown close over these past fourteen years, so much so that I see him as my own son. He's done so much to ensure that my farm is successful. Through his hard work and determination, we've had our most bountiful harvest six years in a row. The town really will be worse off without him." He placed his hand on Link's horse. "But you have a new calling, my boy. To put us on the map as a town that not only cultivates some damn good pumpkins, but some of the finest warriors, knights and protectors throughout the kingdom!"

    The crowd cheered.

    "Having said that... I, Ranal of Eldin, do hereby grant Link of Eldin permission to leave town. No longer bound to the land, he is free to come and go. May the road be safe and the wind be at his back."

    "Safety and prosperity," the crowd said.

    The mayor stepped forward again. "Any parting words, Link?"

    Link thought about what he was going to say, but the emotion of the moment derailed his thoughts. "Uhh... Not much aside from that I'm going to miss all of you and all of my friends from Ordon Village."

    "That is fine, Link," he said, turning towards a man with a bloated, rounded frame, a ruddy complexion and a thick beard. "Brin, any words about your daughter?"

    Brin stepped forward. "Yes." he said. "My daughter, everyone." he said, motioning to Jezzia. "We've had many disagreements over the years, especially regarding what she is doing now. But damn it if I'm not proud. She has gone from a little girl scared by her own shadow--"


    "--to someone even more fearsome than my wife!"

    The crowd laughed. Jezzia covered her smiling face with her palm, trying to hold back the laughter.

    "She's done a lot for this town, but I'm sure she'll say otherwise. Through her hard work, she's cleaned up our inn and made it an enjoyable place to stay while visiting, making us the town to pass through when travelling to the Gerudo Deserts. Through that work came our wealth, and through that wealth came her opportunity to do what she wanted to ever since she was a little girl. So now I say that I, Brin of Eldin Township, do hereby grant my daughter, Jezzia of Eldin, permission to leave town. No longer bound by the land, she is free to come and go. May the road be safe and the wind be at her back."

    "Safety and prosperity," the crowd said.

    The mayor stepped forward. "And you, Jezzia. Any parting words?"

    Jezzia turned her horse around to address the crowd. "Yes. I'd like to thank you all for everything that has led to this moment. Your day to day efforts have made Eldin Township a charming place to visit for many of the travellers that stop by my father's inn. Because of you, I've been fortunate enough to be allowed the opportunity to train in the art of the swordsman and chosen to represent Eldin in this year's royal tournament." she said. "Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

    The crowd erupted in delight.

    "That's it for the ceremony! Safe travels, Link, Jezzia. Make us proud and return safely!" the mayor said.

    The two representatives raised their fists skyward, turning their horses north on the road out of town. With a fanfare, the two thundered out of town and into the wilderness, starting their week long trip to the capital city. Their journey would take them through the deep and dark Faron Woods, alongside the Loto and Edrick rivers, across Lake Hylia and finally to Hyrule Castle.
    Last edited by AC-Prescott; 7th November 2013 at 12:41 AM.

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    Default Re: The Legend of Zelda: Twin Kingdoms

    Twin Kingdoms
    Chapter 2: Royal Affairs

    It was early in the morning. The clouds hung low in the sky like a thick fog, brushing atop the white and blue spires of Hyrule Castle. While the castle shined a bright white on sunny days, the rain soaked walls appeared a dull grey today. Still, the castle was a grand sight, with its tall spires, large bell tower and massive size capable of striking awe and wonderment into even the most oppressed of individuals, even on a cloudy, damp day like this one.

    Atop one of the tallest spires was a room filled with magical devices and potion racks lining the walls. Gems of all colors and sizes sat on tables and bookshelves. In front of the large mirror that hung on the wall was a young woman, running a brush through her milky white, shoulder length hair. She brushed the hair out of her face, staring into her reflection, studying the colorless, grey eyes that looked back at her. "Most magicians need to cast spells to look this good..." she muttered to herself, admiring her own beauty.

    Satisfied with her outward appearance, she stood up and walked over to the window. Her enthusiasm died down as she pushed the curtain aside to see the cloudy, depressing weather. She crossed her arms and leaned up against the wall, looking down into the courtyard below.

    Below, a man dressed in ridiculously elaborate, golden armor stepped into the courtyard. A luxurious red and gold silken cloak hung off of his back, bearing the royal crest of Hyrule, waving in the morning wind, revealing the pristine armor, with not a single scratch on it. "Atten-tion!" he shouted. As he stood firm like a statue with his hands at his sides, guards that were strewn about stood at attention and formed a straight line on both sides of the cobblestone aisle that stretched across the courtyard.

    Behind the man, the large wooden doors into the castle opened. Through them stepped two women, one considerably older than the other. The older of the two was dressed in a blood red silk robe, lined with golden tassels, jewels of all colors and embroidered in many places with the royal crest. Atop her grayed and brown hair was a golden crown, encrusted with a large sapphire, a large emerald and a large ruby, representing the golden goddesses of Hyrule, Din, Nayru and Farore. The younger of the two was a bit less lavishly dressed, but still carried a royal look about her; Rather than a robe, she wore a white and purple silk dress, lined with silver. Atop her golden blonde hair was a smaller tiara made of silver, holding only an sapphire to represent wisdom. The two strolled across the courtyard, careful not to break tradition of not making eye contact with the guards. With a stone-like gaze, the two reached the other end of the courtyard and entered.

    The two walked up the stairs, navigating the ornate stone hallways that held paintings of past kings and statues of past queens, all lit by an immense array of oil lamps. The two stopped outside of a door with a sign on it that read 'Royal Advisor to King Eldin III, Lady Mishel'. The older woman knocked on the door.

    "Just a moment, please," a voice called from within. The sound of a chair scraping along the ground could be heard before the door opened. Mishel's face lit up with happiness upon seeing her guests. "Your Grace," she said with a bow, then turned to address the other. "Princess Zelda."

    "Lady Mishel," they both said in unison.

    "Please, come in," Mishel said, stepping aside so her guests could enter. As she closed the door behind them, she said, "What can I do for you on this... less than stellar day?"

    "I've lived another day, at least," the Queen said. "As has my son, my daughter and my husband."

    "Fortune smiles on us," she replied. "But nature has a way of clouding over that fortune..."

    "Yes..." the Queen nodded. "Are you ready for the daily meeting with the advisors, Lady Mishel?"

    Mishel looked at the rumpled blanket on her bed and the empty potion vials on her desk. "I must tidy up a bit and do a bit of studying."

    "Ah. I see." the Queen said. "Speaking of, I saw you enter my son's room last night before I went to bed... how is he?"

    "Not well, Your Grace," Mishel replied.

    "Not well?" she asked. "How do you mean? Has his condition gotten worse?"

    Mishel looked down. "It would best... if we discussed this during the meeting of the advisors."

    A stone cold gaze came across the Queen's face as she nodded without emotion.

    Zelda stepped between her mother and Mishel. "How did you perform the ritual? Did you receive the blessing of the Goddesses?" she asked.

    "No. I called on different powers, powers that have served me well in the past." Mishel replied. "Powers that have saved lives."

    Zelda glared at her with suspicion. "You must be careful, Lady Mishel! The Goddesses do not look lightly upon those who put them aside. Look at what has happened to the Gorons! If my brother--"

    "Indoor voice, Zelda!" the Queen chastised. She walked over to the door, motioning for Zelda to follow her. "Perhaps we should all prepare for the meeting."

    "I'll be with you shortly, mother," Zelda said. "I have a few quick questions for Mishel."

    "Show respect with your questions. Be gentle, but most importantly, be quick. I imagine she has much to do before meeting with the other advisors." Queen Calia said. She opened the door and walked into the hallway, closing it behind her.

    As the door closed, Mishel looked at Zelda inquisitively. "So, what do you want to know?" she asked.

    Zelda took a seat on the chair in front of Mishel's table, idly flipping through the pages of the book on it. "Where are you from, Mishel? I was never told." Zelda asked.

    "The Wildlands, my lady," Mishel replied. "From the village of Rekkyv."

    "Rekkyv... Outside of Hyrule..."


    "Your powers were not granted and blessed by the goddesses, I assume."

    Mishel was silent for a brief moment as she studied Zelda in an attempt to decipher a deeper meaning behind the question. "No. I learned them under my own training, through my own study. Through years of trial, tribulation and many painful tests of my limits."

    "You're a witch. Forgive me for being uncomfortable with that fact."

    "I suppose some would call me a witch, those more devout than I am. But I have sworn an oath to the goddesses when I was chosen by your father. Have you forgotten?"

    Zelda looked out the window. "I..." she stumbled.

    "You don't have to apologize, my lady. I understand your concerns, your skepticism. I was a traveller for nearly thirty years, drifting from village to village in The Wildlands with my father. I am used to it."

    "It must have been rough."

    Mishel approached Zelda, grabbing her hand and looking deep into her ocean blue eyes. "Zelda-- excuse me-- my lady. I have been nothing but generous and hospitable to not only you, but your entire family since I have been given this opportunity. Especially your father. It breaks my heart that you still have lingering trust issues."

    "I'm... I'm sorry. I have been a rude hostess, haven't I?" she said, hanging her head dejectedly. "Even my mother has accepted you, despite the rumors..."

    Mishel tilted her head to the side. "Yes, the rumors..." she said, gazing out the window to see the busy marketplace of the capital. "Disgusting rumors perpetuated by ignorant people."

    Zelda stepped away from the window towards the door. "It will take some time, but I will try to be more friendly."

    "I would like that. Perhaps we can be friends soon."

    "Perhaps," she said. "I should be joining my mother. I've already stayed for too long."

    "Yes. It was good speaking with you this morning." Mishel replied, returning to the table. As Princess Zelda closed the door behind her, a smile widened across Mishel's face. "Finally..."

    Mishel sat down at her desk, returning to her studies. Before her was an ancient tome, the pages so dusty and aged that they were bound only by the magic contained within. The subject of the book was curses; how to craft them, how to study them and how to remove them. She immersed herself in the pages, trying to deepen her grasp of the nature of accursed magic, being startled by another knock at the door. "Coming!" she said as she slammed the book shut. Mishel opened the door to see an older man in his mid fifties, carrying an unsealed scroll in his left hand.

    "Lady Mishel," he said with a courteous nod.

    "Ah, Bensi. Has something happened?" she asked.

    "No. The prince is in the same condition as last night..." he said as he stepped into the room.

    Mishel nodded. "Good."

    "Yes, he's strong and he's fighting off the affliction," Bensi said. "But I can only imagine he's running out of time." He offered the scroll to Mishel. "Please, deliver this to the King."

    Mishel took the scroll. "Don't you... usually take these to him?" she asked.

    "I do. But I'm afraid to see his reaction. Perhaps he will take the news easier in the presence of his advisors."

    "Good idea," Mishel said.

    Bensi looked at the book on the table. "Ah, hard at work already, I see."

    "Yes," she replied. "I would like to return to my studies, if you do not mind."

    "By all means, carry on." Bensi said, quickly taking his leave.

    Mishel sat down and unrolled the scroll, beginning to read from it.

    "My liege, I bring grim news. Perhaps the worst news you've received in all of your time as our King. Your son's illness grows worse by the day. As you are aware, he has lost consciousness a few days ago and has been in steady decline since then. My wife and I have worked to stabilize him, but I'm beginning to believe I've done all I can."

    "I have run out of options, so I have consulted with Lady Mishel. Last night, she performed a ritual of salt and fire, of silence and study. With her knowledge of magic, she attempted to determine a potential magical cause for your son's illness, but was unable to do so."

    "The disease that grips the Prince of Hyrule is a powerful one. All of my years of experience as a doctor and as a man of faith have done nothing to prepare me for treating an illness like this. I fear that without a divine intervention, your son may be lost to the sickness."

    "I am sorry, my liege, but I must ask you to begin preparing for the worst. No efforts of mankind appear as if they will be able to save him. It's in the hands of the Goddesses now."

    As she read from the scroll, the onyx pendant hanging from her neck on a golden chain pulsed with energy. A devious smile crept across her face and she put the scroll down onto the table. She stood up and closed her eyes, raising her right hand forward. She cupped her left hand beside her hips and a mysterious orb of ethereal energy began to form within it. Gaseous vapors emanated from the orb, wrapping around her body as they snaked towards her right hand.

    Nearly half of the runes began to lift from the scroll, one by one, floating in front of her. An icy wind blew in from the open window, pushing the runes around in a swirling gust. The runes began to glow sky blue and shift forms into different runes, still swirling in the air. One by one, they began to fall back onto the page, returning to their inky black texture as if they had just been freshly drawn.

    After the wind had died down, Mishel grabbed the scroll and a length of red ribbon from her desk. She rolled it up, tieing it closed with the ribbon. She looked in the mirror and did one final adjustment to her windswept hair, then headed for the door.

    - - - - -

    Five men and two women were seated at a round table, illuminated by the light that surged through the stained glass windows. At the head of the table was a lean man with a stubbly, brown beard, covering his lightly wrinkled and stressed looking face. Atop his head was the most lavish crown, forged from platinum and encrusted from tip to base in gemstones of all colors. To his right was the Queen Calia, seated patiently with her hands folded on the table. To his left was Lady Mishel, fiddling with her snowy white hair. Around the rest the table were the advisors to the royal family; Advisor Anarien, the Keeper of Records; Advisor Hannelle, Keeper of the Coin; Advisor Grennen, the Grand General of the royal army; lastly, Advisor Blackmoore, Commander of the Navy. Stood off to the side was a special guest for today's meeting, the captain of the city guard, Lord McLerston.

    King Eldin opened the meeting with a prayer to the Goddesses of Hyrule. "May the Goddesses look down on us and bless us, our people, and our lives. May they bless this meeting so that we may make progress towards a more prosperous and more peaceful Hyrule."

    "Bless this day," the advisors replied.

    "What is our first order of business today?" King Eldin asked. "I assume the tournament, yes?"

    Advisor Hannelle nodded. "Yes, sir." As he unrolled a scroll, he continued. "It wasn't easy, but I have finished procuring the funds for the prizes that will go to the victors. A large portion of the golden coins has come from the royal treasury, as well as from lands afar. Through donations and no doubt attempted bribes, the peoples of Koholint, Holodrum, Labrynna, and even those treacherous Gerudo slave traders have supplied almost three-quarters of the winnings. The rest has come from our own pockets."

    King Eldin laughed. "I always did love you for your shrewdness, Hanelle. So what does the lucky winner take home?"

    "Two thousand golden dragons," he replied. "The runner up receives a thousand."

    "Will Sir Richard of Kanalet be competing this year?" Queen Calia asked.

    The wise old Advisor Anarien spoke. "Yes. I do believe I saw his name on the list."

    "Perhaps he will be kind and donate his winnings to the various charities again this year." she replied.

    "Ha! Are you so sure of him, Your Grace? Someone might actually defeat him this year!" Grennen said. "I have spent countless hours with Lord McLerston here, I'm sure he will have what it takes."

    Lord McLerston nodded silently.

    "The other finalists will each receive five hundred coins." Hanelle said.

    "Lord McLerston," King Eldin said. "What about security of the city while the tournament is in session?"

    McLerston approached the table. "I have supplemented the ranks of the city guard with volunteers. Some still require a spot of training, but I'm sure that will be done within the week." he said. "Castle Hyrule will be on strict lock down for the safety of the royal family and other heads of state."

    "Good. Bring any problems you have with this matter to me."

    "Yes, my liege." he said. He walked back to the pillar that he was standing near, resuming his statue-like posture.

    "And now for the most important matter... Is there any news about my son?" King Eldin asked.

    The advisors around the table were silent. Mishel turned to the King and placed a scroll on the table. "Yes... I'm afraid it isn't good news, my liege."

    King Eldin took the scroll from Mishel and unrolled it. "Goddesses..." he stuttered.

    "The royal physician came to me for assistance, as nothing he did had any effect on the disease afflicting your son," she replied. "He felt that my knowledge in the magical arts might help him make a breakthrough before our daily meeting... but alas, I was not able to help him, only determine a cause."

    King Eldin raised his glasses to his eyes and began to read the scroll. His expression changed from neutral to grim the further he read. He dropped the scroll and looked forward silently.

    Many around the table murmured and looked at each other with worry and confusion. The Advisor of the Coin spoke up. "What is it, my liege? What has happened with your son?"

    King Eldin picked up the scroll again and began to read aloud.

    "My liege, I bring grim news. Perhaps the worst news you've received in all of your time as our King. Your son's illness grows worse by the day. As you are aware, he has lost consciousness a few days ago and has been in steady decline since then. My wife and I have worked to stabilize him, but I'm beginning to believe I've done all I can."

    "I have run out of options, so I have consulted with Lady Mishel. Last night, she performed a ritual of salt and fire, of silence and study. With her knowledge of magic, she has determined that he has been placed under a curse, one that only an experienced and wise master of magic could craft."

    "The curse that grips the Prince of Hyrule is a powerful one. All of my years of experience as a doctor and as a man of faith have done nothing to prepare me for treating an illness like this one. I fear that without a master of magic, your son may be lost to the curse. That is why I have consulted with Lady Mishel."

    "I urge you, my liege, to allow her the time and access she needs to research the exact nature of this curse and how to free him from it. I believe that she is the only one who may be able to save him."

    As King Eldin returned the scroll to the table, a chilled sense of dread overtook the silent room. Despite the silence, one thought was on the minds of many, a thought that seemed to echo on the drafts that flowed through the room; Who would curse the prince, and for what motive?

    "Advisor Anarien, if I may..." Mishel started. "I was sent to the Goron Refuge when the Prince fell ill, so I am unaware of who was in the castle at the time. Did we have many visitors?"

    Anarien adjusted himself, speaking up in an old and sagacious voice. "Of course. Dozens."

    "Any known practitioners of magic?" she asked.

    Anarien scratched his chin through his long and silky white beard. "I would have to consult the records from that time, but I do remember that Grand Master Tingle of Koholint was visiting."

    King Eldin's eyes narrowed. "Yes! I remember that man... a man so old, so decrepit that I am surprised the grave hasn't taken him. What do we know of this man?"

    "Grand Master Tingle is currently on the Court of Koholint, much like this one," Anarien said. "He has served as the Master of Magicka for nearly three generations, being appointed by King Lochlan's grandfather." He leaned forward, looking deep into King Eldin's eyes. "As far as I know, his knowledge of magic can only be matched by the Seven Sages themselves, my liege."

    "Eight sages, Anarien," Mishel reminded him.

    "Eight..." Anarien said, searching the depths of his mind. "A mind as old as mine is forgetful, sometimes."

    "Darunia, of the Gorons," she said.

    "Ah, yes!"

    "Darunia is a false sage. The Gorons have fallen out of favor with the Goddesses with their twisted abuse of magic!" King Eldin snapped. "What is the point of this?! My son is what is important!"

    "My point is that if not even our own Court Magician could not decipher the exact nature of the curse, a woman with decades of experience starting from childhood, then it must have been placed on the Prince by someone even more experienced. Grand Master Tingle fits that description."

    King Eldin rested his elbows on the table, rubbing at the stress that was permeating him. "We need to establish contact with Koholint. Advisor Grennen, have Lord Randall choose three of our best riders to depart for the Great Gate tomorrow and have them report directly to me." he said, turning to Mishel. "Do you have any idea how time sensitive my son's condition is?"

    "It's hard to say. The best I can do at the moment is stabilize his spirit while I work on reversing the curse."

    King Eldin removed his crown, placing it on the table beside him and resting his forehead in his palm. "All of you... I need some time with my advisor in the magical arts, so that we may find a way to remove this damnable curse that has been placed on him. I will speak with any advisors relevant to this matter at a later time. Dismissed." he said.

    One by one, the advisors to King Eldin stood up and left the room in silence, followed by Lord McLerston, the only sound to be heard was the deafeningly loud creaking of the floor boards beneath them. Awkwardness and nervousness hung heavy in the air.

    King Eldin looked at his wife. "You as well, my queen."

    Calia looked at Mishel, then back at her husband. "But Eldin... he is my son too. I deserve to know--"

    "I will speak to you about it later. I need Lady Mishel's undivided attention if we are to quickly figure out the source of this curse." he replied.

    Calia looked down, clearly insulted by her husband's words, but she felt as if there was little she could do about it. To her, it was just another one of her aging husband's bad days in which he didn't want to see her. Silently, she stood up and approached the door to leave.

    "Mishel..." King Eldin said. "You must do all you can to save my son."

    "I will do my best, Eldin," she replied. "I can't make any promises, but I will try."

    "I know you can not if our suspicions are correct. I am not a person of magic, but to unravel the work of a man like Grand Master Tingle, a man with over a century of experience... It... It... It sounds impossible!"

    "I have a heavy burden on my shoulders, yes."

    "Have you determined the exact nature of the curse yet?"

    "My ritual yesterday did very little to tell me what is afflicting him. Every attempt I made at deciphering the curse was blocked by powerful magic."

    King Eldin sighed, looking up at the ceiling.

    Mishel looked down, tapping on the table with her long fingernails, trying to craft her words carefully. "What will happen from here? Our relations with the Republic of Koholint, I mean."

    "I do not know... But if we can prove that Grand Master Tingle was responsible, he must pay the price and be held accountable." he said. He looked her deep in her icy grey eyes. "I will have your support through it all, right?"

    Mishel nodded. The two leaned forward, locking lips in an impassioned and loving kiss. After, Mishel spoke up. "If I may get started on helping your son?"

    "Yes. Do what you can."

    "By the Goddesses," she said, pressing her right fist against her chest.

    King Eldin did the same. "By the Goddesses."

    As Mishel walked out of the room, King Eldin slumped in his chair. The stress he had been building up all throughout his reign had been getting to him recently, but the news that his son was under the influence of a curse of powerful origin hung on his shoulders like a heavy burden. He had been amongst the most faithful to the Goddesses in all of Hyrule, and as such, questions began to brew in his mind; Why would they allow this to happen to his son, the future King of Hyrule? Why have they not saved him from such a fate? Why might a high ranking official from Koholint be responsible?


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