Event 3: Drifting
I wanted to put more detail and flesh out this chapter a bit more than it already is but I knew that I had to keep these chapters brief and focus solely on the action at hand. The goal of these events was not to expand my word count, but to fill in gaps within side character's stories as succinctly as possible. Ingo Gormon was a rather hard person to write for. I knew I needed a cohesive narrative flow that would bridge the gap from him leaving Lon Lon Ranch and winding up in Yolland. So I decided to do some 'time skipping' back and forth to better explain his journey to where you finally meet him within the story. I left a lot of details out, however I put in just enough where people can connect the dots and form a much larger picture of the arduous journey Ingo must have experienced to get to where he was in Yolland. I hope readers enjoy these snippets from the lives of these characters. This event takes place even before Act 1.
Event 3: Drifting
Ingo apparated a bow quickly before twisting around in the saddle. He nocked an arrow before leveling it at the nearest rider and firing. The arrow sailed through the air, narrowly missing its mark. He swore profusely as he yanked on the reins of his horse and jerked it northwards towards a treeline. He was no good at combat and having to learn how to defend himself on the fly while on horseback was even worse!
He spotted a drop off several hundred meters west of the looming forest, its edge flanked by several towering pillars of stone that were casting long shadows across the plains. A small precipice bordering path was barely visible at this distance but Ingo was willing to risk plowing his horse inbetween the line of trees and the edge of the cliff if it meant slowing down his pursuers.
The horse nickered wildly as an arrow grazed its left flank, causing it to veer alarmingly to that side to compensate for the pain. It took every ounce of force to wrench the panicked stallion back to the right so that he'd be able to make the narrow ledge path safely. Another arrow clipped his ear as Ingo cursed something fierce.
He whipped his head around to rage at the incoming riders, "To Din's forge with you! I don't want to join your abominable army!" Ingo cawed angrily.
"We don't care anymore!" One of the men shouted back, drawing several guffaws from those nearby.
Ingo's blood went cold as he realized they no longer were bothering to chase him down for recruitment but now were chasing him for sport. They would never give up. A sudden moment of inspiration dawned on him as he materialized several bombs in his hands. He dropped each off on either side of the horse and kicked its flanks to push harder. The leading man of the four did not see the first bomb in time when it erupted beneath him, sending both horse and rider flailing into the air. Bits of flesh, blood and limbs rained down like some macabre spectacle.
"Damn it Timner!" Shouted the blonde haired leader of the hunting troupe; wildly signaling the remaining two riders behind him.
The three diverged violently apart as several more bombs exploded alongside their steeds, each explosion frightening them further into hysteria. One horse's gait was interrupted by a fourth bomb kicking a plume of dirt high into the air just mere feet in front of it. It reared aggressively, knocking its blonde rider out of the saddle before losing balance and crushing the man's ribs and spine with the impact.
"Very clever old man!" Roared a rather lithe soldier on Ingo's right. He summoned a long club with which he swooped it down low as another bomb bounced his way. It connected with the explosive and sent it hurtling back towards Ingo.
"Farore's mercy!" Ingo skirled as he saw the imminent threat.
He immediately dropped the remaining bomb he had apparated and tore at the reins to twist his horse around towards the approaching men. The more rotund rider was the quicker of the two and threw a freshly minted javelin towards Ingo. He drew himself close to the nape of the horse's neck to avoid the toss, his nose tickling slightly at the sudden whiff of livestock assaulting his sense of smell. The rebounded bomb soared over Ingo as it exploded mere yards beyond, sending pulses of heat back towards the oncoming soldiers.
Both men reared their horses around, the fatter rider unaware of the final bomb Ingo accidently dropped. It bursted directly underneath the horse, vaporizing it instantly; the man screamed as he plunged forward with massive burns before snapping his neck on the ground. The final rider spat fervidly to the side before goading his steed to the chase again.
Observing that the previous two riders were fully healed and on freshly summoned steeds, Ingo knew he was fighting a losing battle. With little recourse left to him, he steered his horse towards the drop off and provoked it to full speed. The horse's breathing was already ragged and it was nearing the limit of its endurance. With a single squawk, both Ingo and horse leaped out over the precipice. His eyes were only on the other side, it seemed his horse might actually make the distance.
An arrow thunked into his arm knocking him clear out of the saddle. Without the balanced weight of both horse and rider, his steed did not make it to the other side. Its front legs crunched against the opposing rock wall before its body thrashed down the craggy side. With one blood curdling whinney, it breathed its last as it was impaled by a sharp rock at the bottom.
Ingo was oblivious to it all. He was spinning head over heels towards the rushing waters below that ran through the small valley. A blink and then he was under the icy cold waters. He couldn't breath, he couldn't swim. His vision went dark…
"'nother one brusher…" Ingo slurred as he thumped the mug down with gusto.
Francis twitched his mustache irritably at his brother's abhorrent behavior. At first he was overjoyed to finally reunite with his younger brother again after so many cycles apart. He was bedraggled but none worse for wear when he staggered in through the gates of Glaun'rung. Several folks recognized him even after all this time and brought him immediately to Francis for care. He had come in with a raging fever and had contracted a rather nasty cold during his long journey south from Hyrule.
Since his recovery, the cheerful brother Francis knew had become a rather intolerant, petulant, depressed man. Throughout his ravings night after night at the bar, Francis gathered that Ingo was wronged greatly during his tenure in Hyrule. Something about being fired for embezzling money and treating horses unfairly. At first he didn't quite want to believe Ingo was all that bad but the more his brother whined about his mistreatment, the more inclined he was to believe his former employer's side of the story without even having heard it!
"I think you've had quite enough, brother!" Francis snorted as he continued to dry a mug he had freshly washed in the sink basin behind him.
Ingo rapped a fist on the wood, jostling a rather timid man huddled in the shroud of his cloak at the end of the counter. "I'll tell you whensh I'm done!" He hiccupped.
"I honestly think you should take my advice and move on from here. It's getting rather unsafe." Francis warned his brother gravely.
"Safe? Thish bar ish safe! I gots you don't I?" Ingo reasoned with all his comprehending might, waving a hand at the rest of the inn's common area nearly tumbling off his stool in the process.
Francis lurched forward to grab his brother's arm to bring him back steady on the chair. "You fool! I'm telling this for your own good. There have been several folk eyeing you for the past several weeks now!" He hissed, trying to ensure his conversation was kept just between him and Ingo.
"I don't care." Ingo mumbled. "Stupid littlesh brat! Alwaysh dotin' on her like shome love shick pup!" He began to ramble, his inner rage rising to a fever pitch.
Francis shook his head and sighed. His brother was blind to the danger around him. He reached into his vest pocket to draw out a vial of potent liquid when he noticed some movement just outside the bar entrance. He scowled once he recognized the two men entering the bar. Two brothers, one of blonde hair and one of black hair, both with foul dispositions; they were the last two people he wanted to see at this hour.
"Afternoon Talamir, Timner." Francis welcomed, trying his best to hold back the resentment as he nodded to the two of them.
Talamir sauntered over to the drunken Ingo and heartily clapped an arm around the man. His gaze lingering on Francis as he teased, "You never told me you had another brother Francis!" Timner snickered with his own brother as he sidled up next to Ingo on the opposite side, situating himself firmly on the open stool.
"Who was that older brother of yours again?" Timner tapped his chin mockingly as he feigned remembrance. A snap of the fingers jerked Ingo briefly from his stupor. Despite the alarm, he continued to gawk at the bottom of his mug. "That's right! It was Regan, wasn't it?"
"A mighty fine soldier and one who has done countless deeds of heroism in the service of his country!" Talamir chimed in, a grin spreading across his features.
"Much like this fine lad will be!" Timner chortled as he nudged Ingo's ribs jovially. "We're looking for more recruits to join us in our crusade against the Hylian dogs."
Startled, Francis stepped back a few paces to avoid the bulky form of Talamir as he hitched himself up over the counter and began leaning over it to pour him and his brother a few shot glasses of whiskey. "Besides," Talamir began, "it's not like we need two bartenders in Glaun'rung. If he has no talent for it, we can keep you here and he can go off onto better things!"
"Most men should feel honored to fight for their country! We were a prospering nation once! We can be so again!" Timner toasted with his glass that Talamir handed him before downing it in one swallow.
Francis suppressed an outraged mutterance when both brothers smashed their empty glasses on the floor. "You're going to have to pay for those!" He fumed indignantly, mustache bristling.
Talamir waved a hand in dismissal, "Just put it on our tab will you?" The brothers hooted stridently at that. Jabbing a meaty finger at Ingo, still wavering on his stool, he continued, "Be sure to send him out to meet us this evening in front of the Temple of Ballos once he sobers up. He will be drafted into the army Francis. You know the drill by now, every able bodied man must join."
After a glare from Francis, Timner rebuked swiftly, "It is either you or him. We don't care which. As long as someone has the talent to stay behind and serve us all drinks when we travel home on leave!"
Both of them bellowed enthusiastically as they slapped the swinging flap doors on their way out, causing them to squeak painfully on their hinges. Francis's shoulders slumped visibily as he regarded his brother sullenly. What was he to do? He already lost Regan to this vain conflict. He didn't want to lose anymore family.
Recalling his present course of action, he reached back into his vest and brought out the vial. Uncorking the stopper, he gripped Ingo by the shoulder and brought the container beneath his nostrils. Within a few seconds, Ingo perked up with a shudder.
"Ugh. What is that brother?" Ingo grimaced as the putrid odor invaded his sense of smell, disappating the lingering effects of the alcohol.
"It need not matter." Francis uttered with urgency. "What does matter is that you follow me quickly and do exactly as I tell you."
Slightly confused at what was happening, Ingo complied and trailed his brother out the back entrance and toward the stables. Francis saddled the nearest spotted horse and brought it around towards him before strapping several packs of supplies he had picked up on their way out of the inn. Confident in their ability to stay affixed to the horse, he turned to his brother and smiled before embracing him fully.
"I don't understand." Ingo fumbled. "Am I leaving? Did I do something wrong?"
Francis withdrew and shook his head, wiping a tear from his eye. "Not at all. I'm actually trying to save your life. You must leave today or you will be inducted into the army and whatever Goddess forsaken rituals they perform on new recruits. I do not wish that upon you."
"That wouldn't be good." Ingo's expression turned dark with the realization of his current plight. "What about you? Won't you get in trouble?"
Francis shrugged. "Perhaps, it doesn't concern me overly much. I'm sure I'll be able to manage the brothers' wrath."
Tears welling in his eyes, Ingo embraced his brother once more. "Farewell Francis. I hope we meet again someday."
"May it be a day when this silly war is over and Glaun'rung is at peace." Francis agreed.
With an unsteady hand, Ingo hoisted himself up onto the horse before gently guiding it around towards the path. He looked around at the disheveled houses and unsightly rot festering in his beloved hometown. He wished deep in his heart that he might one day see this place restored to the glory that resided only in his memory. With one final look at his brother, he urged the horse into a canter and headed off toward the gates.
"Farewell brother. May the Goddesses protect you and may you find something to live for again." Francis whispered as he watched Ingo round the bend of houses and disappear.
His eyes writhed open as he squinted at the harsh light filtering in through the open window. His left arm was sore and an aching numbness permeating the limb. He rolled his head to the side and spied a silhouette against the bright window. The figure looked feminine. His gaze wandered down to see that the bottom hem of her dress was of a deep blue hue. Noticing him awake, the figure shifted in position and focused on him solely.
"Am I dead?" He croaked, his throat parched, craving thirst.
"No." A slight giggle from the chair.
"Are you an angel come to take me home?" He pressed.
"No." Another giggle, it almost sounded too young. A girl, maybe? "We found you half dead at the mouth of the river just a few miles east of here. It's a good thing my father found you when he did."
"Your father?" Ingo rasped, turning his head to stare back up at the boarded ceiling.
"Yes, the mayor of this town." The youthful voice confirmed. "He is the head hunter and they were out on patrol and found you bleeding with an arrow in your arm." After a pause, she continued, "Were you in trouble?"
"Yes. No. I don't know. I was escaping from a fate I did not wish to have." After a few struggled gasps, Ingo began to weep. "There's nothing worth living for anymore. Why did you save me?"
At his sobbing, the young woman got up from her chair and knelt by his side. The first thing Ingo noticed was her strawberry blonde hair trailing down to the small of her back. She smiled at him which caused dimples to form at the middle of her cheeks. He moaned as he thought he saw pity in her eyes.
"There are plenty of things to live for." She assured him, resting a calm hand on his uninjured arm.
"I've lost my home, my family, my life. What else is there to live for?" He raved.
For lack of a better response the woman shook her head slightly. "It's okay. My name is Orauna. Everything is going to be all right." She soothed, patting his arm.