Chapter 13 - Setting the Stage
It was starting to get dark, the last rays of the sun dwindling on the horizon. The guards kept a watchful eye on the perimeter, working in shifts throughout the day and night. Crossbows were armed and nocked. Their arrows at the ready awaiting any wanderers or intruders who would dare enter their firing range. The wall was blockaded by stone and mortar. Various crates of artillery were stacked up alongside it for lack of anywhere else to place them. Regardless of this formidable obstruction, they still needed to defend the gate to their fortress. The gate commander siphoned off several scouts who were returning to head back to the fortress for rest from their patrols.
The gate commander was not to be taken for granted. She was a woman, like every other person living in the fortress. She wore the standard full body garb that was required of a person in her position. Each guard was adorned with an ivory robe reaching down to their ankles, around their midriff was a simple leather belt keeping it in place. The higher in status one achieved, the more jewels they could set into their belts.
The bottom portion of the robe had far more material than the top portion causing it to billow out the sides of each leg even in moderate winds. It was easily taken off by unclasping the buttons at the back; afterwards they could easily slip out. They wore plain sandals or nothing at all on their feet. Many of the women ignored callouses forming on their feet, it only made them tougher in their opinion. To improve their harsh stance and appearance, they would cover their faces with purple sashes strapped around their heads leaving only their eyes to glare at trespassers.
She was a Gerudo, an ancient race of thieves consisting mainly of females. For scientific reasons unknown, only one male child was born to the Gerudo every hundred years. That lone male child would become the next Gerudo king. One might wonder how a child might be born to a race of all women, but the solution is pretty obvious. The leader would choose who was to bear the child and that woman would then go out to the nearby provinces and steal a husband. They would take their prisoner groom back to the fortress and mate with them many times. Within nine months she would give birth to a baby boy. That was being hopeful. If it was a girl, it didn’t matter, just another apprentice to the Gerudo culture. No one outside of the Gerudo was quite clear what they did with the stolen men after that.
These apprentices wore plain, drab, white clothing worthy of their stature. They were the lowest on the totem pole, second to even children. They were forbidden to cover their faces until they had earned the respect of their peers. It was during these apprentice years where they would be subjugated to the other women for pleasure. After all, there were no men around. When they weren’t pleasing their superiors in carnal bliss, they would be tasked with mundane chores such as cleaning the fortress and tending the horses. The Gerudo took great pride in their marksmanship on horseback and regularly held tournaments for the best archer in the community.
Then there were the elders of the Gerudo tribe of which there can only be six at any one time. Each of these women wore attire similar to that of the regular guards but instead of ivory tones, each woman wore fabric dyed in the color of their choice, most of them choosing shades of purple and red hues. Each elder had a specific set of ancestral scimitars that were passed from one woman to the next. Each woman cared for her weapons well, making sure they were exceptionally sharp and deadly.
The most interesting aspect of these elders was the inlaid jewels carved into each of their foreheads. Elaborate frame designs of purest gold was cut into their flesh and pushing far into their hairline, set in these mounts were rubies of the most scintillating sheen. Each elder undergoes this painful procedure willingly for it is the lifeline of order and command. With these elaborate ruby fixtures, the six elders can communicate telepathically across great distances with each other and with their current king; this single fact is the best kept secret of the Gerudo. No races outside of their own realize this key tactical advantage they can access.
The gate commander spied the twinkling lights across the southern plains and flicked a hand in the direction of the nearest guard. With a quick motion of her fingers she relayed the message without uttering a word. Within seconds the guard slinked off into the shadows of the barricade as the commander waited patiently for the result. Within a scant few minutes, Nabooru leaped down from nowhere and landed with perfect grace on the brick wall. She stood up and looked towards her commander for details.
Nabooru was currently the highest ranking female on the elder council of the Gerudo and very well respected. She had gained her position through intense training and leadership abilities. It was said that her skills with the scimitar were unparalleled and no one except for Ganondorf, their king, could match. She wore a lavish set of deep violet pants that bulged around her legs giving an impression of fullness, strings of gold were embroidered in the fabric in vertical lines. The ruby emblazoned on her forehead glinted off the nearby torch fires.
Unlike most elders, Nabooru dared to be different; instead of a full covering robe, her upper body sported a cloth wrap of like color to her pants wrapped around her breasts leaving her midriff and arms bare. Her dark skin was offset by her flaming red hair that reached to the small of her back; she preferred it tied into a ponytail and then locked into position by a simple, metal clasp. Her forest green eyes could pierce stone and her face was without blemish. Nabooru was the perfect woman to many a man she had stolen.
“My lady,” the gate commander began, “there are firelights on the horizon just south of the ranch on the plains. The army is surging northward to Hyrule Castle. There is no indication they are headed west at this time.”
Nabooru nodded and walked up to the parapets gazing over the fields. She extended a hand as a scope was delivered to her. She brought it to her eye and viewed in greater detail the mass traveling northward. Even at this distance it was hard to make out individual troops, so condensed this army was. That was no way to force an army to march. She collapsed the device onto itself with a scoffing huff. She turned to her commander and threw her the scope.
“Keep me informed commander of any changes to their movements in our direction.” She ordered.
With a nod the commander resumed her patrol of the wall as Nabooru leapt down to the sand below. With a flash of pain she hit the ground in a tumble. She quickly righted herself in a roll before shakily getting up to her feet. She glanced up to the upper ridges of the fortress to Apolloni, another elder. With a confirming glance she knew she had felt it too, it was Ganondorf’s thoughts within their rubies. He was communicating, but not with them. With a savage snarl, she knew exactly who was intercepting his messages. She should have killed them when she had the chance!
They had yet to take the castle, let alone the town. He knew that much from sitting in the dank cell. It was mostly pitch black but he had no need for manufactured light sources. With a hint of magick at his fingertips he was able to see quite clearly in the dark. He shifted comfortably in his sack cloth overalls as he patiently awaited his summons. They would be here soon enough.
A blast of air blew down the prison corridor heralding their entrance; a grin spread across his face. He hadn’t been entirely sure if they would have heard him from such a distance. Now that they were here they could talk about matters important to the future of the Gerudo and ultimately his ambitions. He leaned back against the wall, one leg situated on his knee as he waited for them to reach the end of the prison corridor. The pitter patter of their feet was drowned out by their hushed whispers, each talking over the other trying to get a word in. It seemed both were unsure of what they were doing here at all.
As they rounded the bend and looked into his cell, Ganondorf casually turned his head to view them, “Good evening witches.” He spoke with an air of childish defiance.
“You do not talk to your mothers that way!” screeched the female on the left with a blue crystal engraved on her head.
“We raised you from a crying babe, now a king of the Gerudo! Have some respect!” demanded the female on the right with a red crystal engraved on her head.
Each woman was dressed in ceremonial garb with intricate designs of blue, brown and grey; atop each head was fixed a turban with matching prints as their clothes. Both had a long crook nose and eyes that were fixed slightly further apart from the bridge of the nose so as to look ghastly to any normal Hylian. Their age was undeterminable as their wrinkles could attest, their faces and hands shriveled images of their former selves.
Ganondorf snorted at this reprimand; he did not need these witches telling him what to do. He stood up from his bench and walked over to talk to them directly. Each witch looked up into his face for he towered over them, neither one of them could have been more than 4 feet tall. They didn’t mind his imposing figure, for to them he was still the child they had raised.
“I summoned for you to help me with a task that must be done here in Hyrule.” He commanded the two witches.
The blue crystal witch cackled, “It seems he wants us to help him in his time of need Koume!”
The red crystal witch chuckled, “It seems our young child has lost the memory of his powers Kotake. He can’t seem to get himself out of a measly cell!”
Both witches were laughing at his expense. With a flurry of energy he blasted the cell bars outward in a concussive blast. The witches had only a split second to erect a barrier to shield them from the destructive force emanating from their child. They slammed into the opposite wall with a grunt. Struggling to pick themselves off the ground they turned to each other for support as they trembled up onto their feet.
“What a nasty child he is,” Kotake accused, “to hurt his poor mothers this way.”
“Maybe we should simply leave him.” Koume offered, “He seems to be doing fine on his own.”
Ganondorf turned their feet to stone as they struggled to apparate into the air. He looked down on them in disgust as he spoke in a low, menacing tone, “You are only surrogates. You were never my real mothers. I took the magick you taught me and made it my own.” The two witches groaned in pain as the stone encroaching around their feet got tighter, they looked up at their rebellious son with disbelief.
“We taught you everything you know about the dark arts!” Kotake pointed out.
“Is this how you treat your teachers who poured their hearts into you?” Koume pleaded.
Ganondorf smirked at this in disdain, “I’m sure you did.” With a thrust of his arm and a cry from the witches, he broke them free of their rocky bondages with a crack and hovered them inches from his face.
“You may have been my teachers, but I am still your king.” He pointed out with obvious malice, “You will obey your lord and do as I say.”
Without another word he dropped them to the ground, each witch hurting in various places and making horrible sounds as if to garner sympathy that clearly wasn’t coming. When the two had finished their complaining he began to stride down the hall. Each witch took this as a command to follow their king. They each fabricated a broom out of the ether and rode alongside each other just paces behind Ganondorf as he led them out of the prison.
“Now is the time to strike, just as they are reaching the castle gates.” Ganondorf stated plainly. Both witches looked at each other in confusion.
“The Hylian army has all but abandoned this hovel my lord.” Kotake pointed out.
“They would not return for fear of the Nevachrean army. There is no point in claiming this kingdom.” Koume agreed.
Ganondorf quickly backhanded one of the witches off her broom; he did not see or care which. He had always hated how they treated him in the past. “Hyrule is still my conquest. It always has been. I will not let some upstart army that we have been fighting against for centuries claim what is rightfully mine.”
Kotake assisted her twin up onto her broom as she warbled, “But is it not late now to be claiming something that has already fallen?”
“I agree dear sister. The Nevachrean army already has their foot in the door. What can we do?” trilled Koume.
Ganondorf stepped out of the spiraling staircase and into the cold marble hall of the castle. He took one look at the guard who had just woken from sleeping against the wall. With a jolt he raised his spear but was vaporized on the spot as Ganondorf swept past his ashes. He huffed as he looked around the pitiful preparations to defend a place that has long since been abandoned. With a shake of his head he continued onward towards the palace gates.
“There is but one thing I do not wish them to have.” Ganondorf explained, “That is the Master Sword. I have done research on the valuable artifact and I truly believe it holds the key to accessing the Triforce. There are too many chess pieces on this board, but this is one I can control now.”
“You can’t surely be protecting something that can harm you my lord?” Kotake queried.
“The pure, holy energies entombed within the blade would surely tear your body apart!” Koume warned.
Ganondorf grunted his displeasure at their lack of fore sense, “You two are short sighted beyond belief. No wonder my mission failed here at the castle. You witches did not have the sense to see the danger a lone boy could pose to our plans!”
“That is not right to accuse us of my lord Ganondorf!” Kotake skirled affronted.
“We did not know such a thing as a time traveling boy was possible!” Koume let slip.
Ganondorf rounded on them swiftly, bearing down on them with his penetrating gaze, “Time traveling? You knew what had happened and did not venture to tell me?” He violently pointed to his red ruby carved into his forehead. “We could have alleviated the problem if you two had taken the initiative and warned me of that possibility.”
With a gust of wind, he blew them off their brooms. They each hit the ground with a withered crunch. The witches were not used to such treatment but they dared not disobey their king, they also found it hard to be fully venomous to their own child they had raised.
Ganondorf with witches in tow headed down the path into the town plaza, guards and citizens were vaporized with dark energies if they dared cross his path. Kotake and Koume joined in by freezing hapless villagers and burning houses down with their magick. It seemed Ganondorf didn’t care, so why should they?
Ganondorf presently stopped in front of a magnificent structure, the Temple of Time. Its white spires reached into the sky as if grasping for glory, its façade dressed in cathedral like tones. Stain glass windows were embedded at intervals throughout its frame. This sacred place held the Master Sword, a sword said to be evil’s bane and kissed by the Goddess Hylia herself.
“Koume. Kotake.” He gestured them near to him. “Assist me in placing the aura around this building. Use me again as the pivot point of the spell.”
“What would that serve?” Kotake interrogated him.
“There are already protective barriers in place anyway.” Koume added.
With a deep breath to control his bubbling rage he clarified, “I leave nothing to chance. There may be protective barriers around the Master Sword but they are scattered across the land and I know not where they are. There are too many variables to control. This will be one variable I can govern. Now lend me your power to do for me what you’ve done for my ancestors. Erect the aura.”
The witches looked at each other, each wondering if the other would put a stop to this madness. With a shrug of their shoulders they consented to do Ganondorf’s wishes. With a flourish, they began to draw cryptic circles of magick in the air. Their chanting started from a low moan that grew into a fever pitch as they continued drawing their dark symbols into the circles. Ganondorf started to feel the energy seep into his feet and crawl up his body until he gripped it in his heart. With a forceful scream he released the magick into the air as a dome of pure malevolent energy visibly descended around the Temple of Time.
Hands and knees on the ground, he panted in exertion at the spell they had just cast. He could feel the tug of his heart strings as the aura pulsated both in front of him and inside his body. Nothing would get inside that barrier with him still alive. They would have to kill him first. He pulled himself to stand and smiled at the two witches at his accomplishment.
“You have grown stronger my child…my lord!” Kotake began but changed her term of endearment as Ganon shot a look at her.
“I remember when you were weak with sickness for a week of your first aura casting.” Koume reminisced.
“That doesn’t matter.” Ganondorf waved his hand, “The first step is complete. We must hurry if my plan is to succeed.”
With a motion of his hand the witches trailed after him as they strode out unchallenged through the town gates into the field, leaving behind piles of ashes, ice sculptures and a few flaming buildings.