Chapter 27 - Shutting Out the World
Blood-curdling screams echoed throughout the night as it reverberated down the multitude of corridors littering the fortress. Link sprinted through the hallways, closing in on the source of the shrieking. The closer he got the more it sounded like Saria's voice! Anxiety rising in his chest, he skidded around a corner as he nearly bumped into a contingent of Gerudo guards, also enroute to the calamitous racket.
The shrill screaming intensified as Link came upon the awful scene. Bile churned in his stomach as he saw his friend, Saria, being eaten alive. The Gerudo guards stopped short as they beheld the grotesque spectacle. The Kokiri girl they had all thought died was fully healed and whole but was covered in blood and gore. She was greedily raking her nails into Saria and yanking out entrails before greedily chomping them down.
Link's vision went red. Surprising a nearby guard, he snagged one of their spears from them and charged forward intent to impale the abomination of a Kokiri onto it. Kiera looked up too late as Link ran her through with the spike. A look of disbelief spread across the girl's face before she slumped over onto the shaft. Link let the end drop with the weight of the body but maintained control of it as his fury subsided. He dared not look at his friend who seemed to be still alive but in shock of what was happening.
A sickly intake of breath engaged his attention back onto Kiera just as the rest of the guards caught up with him. They were surrounded on both sides by Gerudo, all unaware of the danger they were now in. "Oh no..." Link cried.
Kiera's head flipped up as she took hold of the shaft, holding the stare as she slowly dragged herself closer to Link with each squelchy pull. "You...left...me!" She rasped each word on the intake of each breath.
This wasn't happening! How did Naar turn the girl into one of them?! He promptly dropped the spear and let it hit the floor, stunning Kiera briefly. With effort, she stood up with the wooden shaft clearly through her body and snapped the front end before flinging it aside. Kiera leapt through the air and tackled Link to the ground, her claws raking his skin drawing blood as her teeth gnashed at his face. It was all he could do with his arms to force her away from him.
"Help!" Link yelled.
The Gerudo roused to action as they surged in at once trying to separate the two children, instantly Kiera flipped around to one of her assailants and bounded into her arms. Rapidly wrapping her arms and legs around the poor woman; the Kokiri bit deeply into her neck before tearing off a chunk of flesh with her teeth. The woman screeched as she collapsed to the floor under the weight of the diminutive girl.
Surging off the falling body, Kiera hurled herself into another Gerudo biting her nose as the woman yelled in pain. Blood started spurting everywhere as Kiera wound her way through each woman inflicting grievous wounds on everyone. She flipped in midair as a scimitar sliced just inches under her feet. She hit the ground lightly before she started clambering up the wall. Impossibly skittering along the wall like a demonic spider, she bypassed several Gerudo and went straight for Link.
Link yelped as he saw the nude figure of Kiera soaring straight at him, her claws bared, her bloody mouth gaping in a furious scream. Her cry was throttled as her body was cleaved in two; both halves fell to the floor with a sickening squash. Link looked over in appreciation at the woman who had saved him. She was breathing heavy, resting on one knee as she nursed the patch of skin on her arm that had been violently torn off.
"You...left...me!" Kiera gurgled as blood frothed at her mouth.
Link fell backwards onto his rump as he scrambled to get away from the profane Kokiri. She was slowly dragging herself to him on her arms as the legs squirmed towards their master in anticipation of being rejoined once more. Freaking out as she seized one of his feet he slammed his other boot into her face. A crack was heard as he broke the nose. Blood started to stream out of her nostrils but it did little to stop the inevitable truth: he was going to be eaten alive too.
"Help! Help! Help!" Link started screaming with every kick to Kiera's face, it was becoming quite unrecognizable now. The lower body had already settled back onto the torso and was slowly crushing itself together. With one final kick he knocked her hard enough to release his foot. He fumbled on all fours trying to flee from this nightmare but Kiera was insanely swift. She heaved herself onto his leg and sunk her teeth into his calf; the pain was agonizing as he felt the teeth burrow deeper into his skin. Kiera moaned at her victory as she prepared to rip off the delicious meat in her mouth.
"Get your head down boy!" A resounding voice echoed through the hallway, without a second thought Link lay as flat as he could onto the cold stone. Kiera halted her immediate meal to glance up at the new intruder. Ganondorf stood firm in the center of the corridor calmly aiming an arrow at her face.
Kiera roared in fury as she bounded off the floor at Ganondorf intent to kill. The arrow sailed through the air and buried itself between her eyes. Looking cross-eyed at the arrow penetrating her skull for a moment, the effect was almost immediate. Ganondorf quickly grabbed Link roughly by the arm and dragged him further down the hall as he commanded any remaining Gerudo who could move to do the same. The Kokiri's body started expanding in bulbous boils until she had begun to fill the entire corridor with her disgusting mass. One final scream erupted in the hall before she exploded in a hail of ashes and blood.
Link lay there stunned at what had happened. Giving him little time to ponder, Ganondorf brought him to his feet. "Humph," he scoffed, "The only way to truly kill these creatures is to make sure not a single scrap of them is left. Doesn't matter how they are killed just that not one piece is left whole."
"Ho, ho, ho! That old man's weapon isn't a failure like we thought." Kotake cackled as she emerged from the shadows behind Ganondorf, scaring Link in the process.
"He, he, he! Right you are sister. I believe this shall come in handy for our forces!" Koume agreed.
Link didn't have time to understand the whole explanation, Kiera was dead and Saria was injured. He limped down the passage to where she lay. His eyes creased with dread as he looked upon her fading form, her innards had been violently ripped from her bowels and some were mangled beyond repair. He crumpled to the ground beside his friend as the tears flowed unabated down his face.
Saria's head meekly turned to Link as a smile glossed over her features. It was apparent she couldn't feel any pain anymore. "It's okay Link, it doesn't hurt. I actually feel fine." She assured him.
Link wept bitterly, "You are not fine Saria...you're dying."
Saria looked away as if distracted, "Sora is almost here. I can feel her coming. Don't worry Link. It'll be all right." Her voice was so innocent, so childlike. He almost wanted to believe it himself.
A flicker of light heralded the entrance of Sora who raced to her companion's side. She looked upon her dying soul mate with utmost love. This was beyond anyone's ability to heal. Link wasn't aware of how calm Sora was in the midst of the events that had occurred. Sora touched down gently on Saria's chest as she hugged her face in her little arms. Saria warmed to the touch but did little else to acknowledge her fairy's embrace. Sora serenely rose from the dying body of Saria and fluttered over to Link.
"Link, the great Deku Tree long ago gave all of us fairies a special gift before we were bonded with the Kokiri who was to be our eternal companion." The sprite explained.
Link stared numbly at the fairy, clearly not understanding, "I...don't...what?"
Sora smiled forlornly, "We may not always have seen eye to eye Link, but remember me for the good times? Okay?"
With a quick peck on his cheek, she left the bewildered Link to his thoughts as she turned to focus on Saria. Ganondorf and the others stepped up behind him to look on as the remainder of the Gerudo picked up their wounded and trailed off towards the medic ward. The little sprite was busy at work utilizing unseen forces to propel Saria's organs back into her body. The strain was evident on her little face as she struggled to maintain her concentration.
With one last look at Link, Sora mouthed a soft goodbye as she spread out across Saria's chest directly over her heart. The glow of the fairy intensified as a slight buzzing was heard, static electricity surged through the air as Link's hair began to stand on end. The two witches gasped in shock at what they thought was impossible. The expanding luminescence enveloped Saria entirely and they all had to look away from the blinding light.
The corridor dimmed again as Link beheld Saria fully healed with only a soft glow pulsating within her by the heart. Sora was gone. In time even the glow faded leaving nothing but flickering torchlight. Ganondorf was intrigued at the interesting turn of events and waited to see how it would play out. The witches hissed at each other in whispers of explanations on how this was conceivable.
Saria awoke as if from a deep, restful slumber, unaware of what had happened around her. She gazed around at the four of them before settling her eyes on Link. They both shared a smile as they took solace in the fact they were together again. With a dawning realization, she looked around at the bloody mess and random viscera littering the hallway. Her eyes began to grow as the memory of the awful event began to seep back into consciousness.
"What happened?" Saria asked tentatively.
Ganondorf intervened before Link could respond, "Nothing, my dear girl." He knelt down beside the Kokiri, offering an arm to assist her off of the floor, "Merely a nuisance that has been taken care of. You are safe now."
The witches stared at each other confounded as Link's mouth plummeted. His experiences with this awful man had not painted a delightful picture of him in Link's mind. He had not considered the whole person aspect of who Ganondorf was, his motivations and his values. Everything he knew about this man was completely one-sided. Was he really all that bad? How much change did he really impact on the future of these people?
Gratefully accepting his help, she was lifted up onto her feet. She felt a yearning in her heart but couldn't find what she was looking for, "Where is Sora?" Saria asked.
Link stood still; he really had no idea how to explain what just happened. Saria was startled, taking a few steps back as words rang out in her head. Do not fear Saria, for I am here with you always. I am now a part of you and will never leave your side again. All you have to do to find me is search your heart and I will be there. Saria gripped the front of her shirt and gripped tightly as she cried happily at the words flowing through her mind.
"Saria?" Link questioned with concern, "Is something wrong?"
She opened her eyes to assuage his worry, "No. Sora is still with me, inside me somewhere. I don't really know how, but she will always be with me now."
Ganondorf merely rubbed his beard as he considered what transpired with the Kokiri and fairy, "Fascinating." Ganondorf conceded. Link and Saria turned to his imposing figure, "You were on the verge of death but your fairy sacrificed herself to save your life, now she lives on inside you?"
Saria nodded, it seemed the most logical explanation. Kotake stepped forward, "This is impossible, not even our strongest magicks can bring a dead person to life!"
Koume stood beside her sister pointing at Saria, "This is unnatural to the laws of our world. What have you done?"
Ganondorf swept the two accusatory witches back with a rush of wind, "Silence you old goats!" Link wanted to snigger at what he had thought was a joke, one look at Ganondorf's face indicated otherwise. He was upset with the two croons.
"Old?" Kotake squawked, "I'm 382 years old! I'm still young!"
"Liar!" Koume refuted, her red crystal flashing, "You are the same age as me! We are both 402!"
Their squabbling erupted forth before Ganondorf bellowed for them to be quiet. He pressed two fingers to the bridge of his nose as he fought to remain his composure. He looked up at nothing in particular as he spoke mostly to himself, "So they have forced my hand. We have no choice."
Ganondorf signaled the two witches to accompany him as they made their way outside the compound. Link and Saria followed the Gerudo king. Saria stumbled slightly as she drew in deep gasps. Link immediately came to her aid and held her up.
"What's wrong Saria?" Link worriedly asked.
"I don't know." Saria's eyes were wide, staring at the ground. "My back..."
Still holding Saria to keep her from falling, Link looked at her back and noticed something extraordinary. Four body length gossamer wings were unfurling from her spine. They slowly spread out in a clover pattern, reflecting the multitude of light around them. Link was entranced at her new appendages as he excitedly explained what was happening.
Saria stood up and tried to look behind her but could only see the edges of her newly molded wings. She tested them slightly and found she could manipulate them. She giggled in delight as she started flapping them intensely to see if she could fly. She managed a few inches before losing control and falling to the ground. They both laughed as she attempted it again with little success.
Link shook his head in astonishment, "Saria, you are more beautiful than ever."
She looked down blushing at his compliment. What a sweetie he is! Sora intoned in her mind. "Thank you Link." Was all Saria could say.
With a jerk of his chin, he indicated they should catch up, "Come on, let's see what Ganondorf is up to. We can show the rest your amazing wings later!"
They caught up with Ganondorf on the parapets overlooking the gorge of the valley. He was in a heated debate with the two witches as they hiked up the steps to their level.
"You already have one in effect my son....lord! Erecting another would be highly dangerous!" Kotake warned.
"Having two on your heart would be a great strain and could possibly kill you!" Koume agreed.
Ganondorf slashed a hand through the air buffeting them all with a surge of power, "I understand the implications! Just do it! We need to defend this place until we are ready! I am the king of the Gerudo and you will obey me!" He stormed.
If they were anyone other than who they were, he would have killed them on the spot. The fact he needed their assistance in this infuriated him to no end. Ganondorf prepared himself as the witches reluctantly agreed to start the blasphemous ritual. Drawing symbols in the air, a hum of energy started encircling Ganondorf as crackling bolts of magick shot forth from his body. A slow dome of malicious energy coalesced high above their heads before slowly descending, encompassing the entire Gerudo domain.
Ganondorf fell to one knee as the strain of maintaining the huge aura penetrated his heart. The beating felt unbearable as two different barriers tugged at his inner soul. Within moments the ritual was over. Ganondorf collapsed to the ground panting heavily. So much power was resting in his body, it took all of his effort to maintain both the barrier here and the one guarding the Temple of Time. He would be highly vulnerable for the duration of these auras, he knew.
Beating footsteps prompted Link to turn around. He saw Zelda and Malon running across the inner enclosure sands to meet up with them on the rampart. They all embraced affectionately as the two girls marveled at the new wings Saria has sprouted. She enjoyed showing them off and was flapping them furiously, much to Malon's delight.
Zelda walked up to Link to ask the obvious question as she viewed the domed barrier overhead, "What happens now?"
Answering her question for Link, Ganondorf picked himself up off the ground, "Now we wait it out. We prepare a plan to fight back." He was still winded.
Link interjected, "What about the rest of Hyrule?"
Ganondorf glared at the insolent boy who dared question his decision, "What about them? We leave them to their fate. My concern is for my people. You should feel fortunate that you are under our protection for the time being." He gestured beyond the barrier, "I could have thrown you out there to fend for yourself."
Without another word, he swept past the children with the witches in tow. They continued watching until they had disappeared into the fortress. Impa silently stepped out of the shadows behind them, placing a calm hand on Link and Zelda. They all turned to face her.
"What happens now Impa?" Zelda asked.
Impa merely shook her head, "Nothing now. We are trapped here until Ganondorf lifts the barrier. We are now part of their world. We must adapt and support them as best we can. But do not be deceived, we fight for Hyrule, not for the Gerudo. Remember that."
They all nodded as they looked out over the gorge through the shimmering light. A silence descended upon the group as they gazed upon their homeland for what seemed like the final time. Nobody wanted to admit what was apparent in all their hearts: Hyrule was lost...
In battle, in the forest, at the precipice in the mountains,
On the dark great sea, in the midst of javelins and arrows,
In sleep, in confusion, in the depths of shame,
The good deeds a man has done before defend him.
- Bhagavad Gita Scripture
End of Act 1.