Chapter 4 - The Fall of the Kokiri
The screams were deafening, the chaos absolute. The raging pyres rose higher with each successive tree that was scorched and burnt to the ground. The screeching cries of the Kokiri fell on deaf ears as some were butchered on the spot while others were captured as potential prisoners and spoils of war. Some of the female Kokiri vomited in nauseating disgust at seeing the ugly, brutish men do unspeakable things to their friends, screaming in terror when they did those same things to them.
Homes were destroyed and various Deku Tree sprouts were hacked to pieces. There was only one tree that refused to be cut down or burned, the great Deku Tree; even in petrified death, it resisted even the most persistent pillager. It did nothing but stand ominously over the destruction of its home, its world, its children.
In the center of the whirlwind of death, blood and pain was General Naar. Standing nearby were three of his most loyal and trusted men: Talamir, Thanan and Timner. Naar looked around in indifference at the burning village. He spied a drawing scrawled on a nearby tree at its base of a small kid battling a monster, but gave it little thought. A Kokiri fell from the treetops above with an arrow through its throat, the body slammed into the ground just feet away from Naar’s boot. In obvious disgust at the pitiful corpse, he sneered and kicked the body away as two attendants emerged from the din and quickly rushed in to wipe his boots to keep them clean.
Naar pointed at Thanan and commanded, “Why are all these imbeciles’ children? Are there not any parents or adults here? Where are the men?”
Of the three, only Thanan stood up to Naar’s imposing figure and demanding words.
“My lord,” he bowed low in deference to his commander, “according to our sources, these are the Kokiri of the Lost Woods. It is heard that they can never grow old and stay just the way they are unless they leave the forest. We’ve killed many, but there are dozens more that are being taken prisoner. There are six over there.”
Thanan pointed to a nearby copse where four Kokiri girls and two Kokiri boys were beaten and bruised. Locked in chains and with wide eyes glancing wildly around at the mad terror that surrounded them, they were absolutely wretched looking. The shock of seeing their houses burning and their friends slaughtered had not fully dissipated from their minds. They had no tears left to cry.
“My lord,” Thanan insisted, “what shall we do with them?”
“They don’t age you say?” Naar licked his chapped lips as he slowly walked over to the pitiful looking group, enjoying the looks of sheer horror on their faces as each boot step crunched on dried grass; each step a collective wince amongst the Kokiri.
He was quite the imposing figure. Billowing winds from the raging fires swept his white flowing hair around him. He loved to keep it long. In Nevachrea, the longer your hair, the more power and wealth it was assumed you had. He wore a black girdle around his inner tunic which was grey; on top of it was articulate armor that reflected the lights from the nearby fires. It was not full bodied but covered several key areas which allowed freedom of movement should the need arise for speed. He wore black gloves with metal knuckles that were not just for show, for they looked worn and used. He sported a majestic, jet black cape that was crimson red on its inner folds. He did not seem to be carrying any weapon at his waist and appeared defenseless, despite this lack, one would not misinterpret his inherent lethality.
Naar scratched absently at his beard as his forest green eyes pierced the very souls of the Kokiri as they huddled ever closer as if to protect themselves from his terrifying gaze. Suddenly, an evil grin spread across his face as he let out a laugh that startled the Kokiri.
He turned to Thanan, “Take the girls and toss them to the troops. I’m sure they’d love some unique entertainment right now.”
Thanan returned his smirk. Talamir and Timner were a bit shaken, neither man liked the prospect of utilizing the children like that, but they remained silent.
“What of the boys?” Thanan pushed, “You did not say their fate.”
Naar ignored the quivering Kokiri by his feet and looked over the devastation of the forest before sniffing the acrid air and responding, “Drag them out into the forest and kill them. I don’t care how, so long as it’s long and painful.”
With a wicked grin, Thanan signaled two other soldiers and grabbed both Kokiri boys by the hair and started dragging them out of the copse kicking and screaming. They were out of sight but the girls could only imagine what was happening as their screams died abruptly only to be renewed with horrible clarity. Talamir and Timner started grasping the hairs of the girls and began dragging them away when Naar spotted one specifically.
“Halt!” He raised his hand; both Talamir and Timner let their prizes drop. Naar pointed to the tallest one of the bunch with sparkling green hair. It had now faded and was covered in caked ash and blood. On her neck she wore a beautiful medallion which scintillated a deep green hue in the fading light. “That one,” Naar sneered, “I will take with me to my tent tonight!”
Naar stepped closer and stooped down on one knee to look at her more clearly. He placed a hand on her chin, marking its features as he moved her face from side to side. He moved on to her hair, feeling its softness through his fingers. He briefly shut his eyes and shuddered with a deep inner need, an urge that he hadn’t felt in a long time. He moved down to her shoulders when he became unnerved as a bright light shoved itself in his face. He rose up roaring in rage as the bright light pricked and prodded his face with the effect of a hundred tiny daggers.
With unnatural speed, Naar grasped the shining light in his hand and began squeezing. The light started to flicker and fade as it revealed itself to be a small fairy. Angry at this impudent assault, he began crushing the life out of the fairy. He paused as the girl beneath him began crying out in pain. She was writhing on the ground as he continued to squeeze the life out of the little fairy.
“Ah…so you two are connected.” He looked around and finally noticed other Kokiri with similar bright lights hovering nearby. He had not noticed them with the light from the fires. “So each one of you has your own personal fairy; now that is interesting.”
He signaled to a nearby soldier to grab him a leather pouch to which he unceremoniously dumped the fairy inside and drew the drawstring tight.
“Now I have leverage on you girl. You try to resist me in any way and your fairy will die.” She simply looked away in contempt at his threat, “Oh yes,” Naar laughed, “you’ll do. I won’t hurt you…not yet anyway.”
An arrow zipped through the carnage and plowed itself into Naar’s right shoulder. He snarled with agonizing pain and snapped in the direction from which the arrow had come. A young boy in plain green clothes was prancing through his men on a red-coated mare. Upon closer look, he also noticed the boy had a bow and arrow! He snapped the end of the arrow shaft off and casted it into the brush.
“Get that boy!” Naar bellowed, “Dead or alive, I don’t care! Just bring me his head!”
Out of nowhere, two horses appeared from the mists as if summoned by magic. Talamir and Timner jumped onto the horses and galloped towards the boy. The boy veered off from his intended course, slashing his sword right through the face of a nearby grunt. Blood spurted in a wide arc as he made his way straight for the small group of Kokiri girls. Naar saw the change in plans and moved to intercept him.
Link had been meaning to catch them all, but only one held onto his hand strong enough. It was the green haired girl that he hoisted behind himself on the mare. Naar quickly summoned a scimitar from the thin air and made to slash the legs of the horse clean through. Seeing the threat, Link galvanized Epona into a towering leap over the stroke; Link slashed downward in return and clipped Naar’s cheek forcing him to recoil backwards with the pain.
Link brought Epona back around and was going to go for another pass. He instigated another leap but Naar caught onto this tactic and swung in a higher arc. Blood flared and sparkled in the air as he nicked the horse in its hind leg. A painful whiney issued from the horse, but it landed and kept going. Naar swore a curse and pointed at his men who were just reaching the scene, “Talamir! Timner! Don’t let him get away. I want both their heads!”
Naar turned on his foot as his two servants galloped off in dogged pursuit of the green-clothed boy. He walked back and looked down on the three Kokiri girls who were left behind. He chose one at random by the hair and began dragging her away kicking and screaming.
Epona galloped at a decent clip, but her max speed was severely hindered by her bleeding hind leg. If not treated fast, she would eventually bleed to death. Saria started to awaken from her stupor and realized with shocking clarity what had happened and grabbed Link by the shoulders, “Link! We must go back and save the other Kokiri! They’re killing them all!”
“Saria, I tried to save the other girls along with you, but only you held on.” Link anguished over the despair his friend felt, “If I had chanced another pass, neither of us would have escaped. I tried to save them all, but only you held on. I’m sorry. Who was that man?”
She put her arms around his waist and buried her face into his back, ignoring the pain bolting through her head as she pressed the blood-clotted bruises sprawled across her face into his tunic.
“I don’t know,” Saria sobbed, “I really don’t know. Many of the other men looked up to him, but that’s all I know!” She gripped his waist even harder, causing him to shift in the saddle slightly to make it more comfortable, “Oh Link, you can’t believe what they are doing to the forest. To the other Kokiri! You can’t believe what they were going to do to me, what they are doing to the other Kokiri girls right now! Sora! That man has my fairy!”
Link cringed to see his best friend in such horrible misery. He had a vague idea of what happens between a man and a woman but not any specific details on what actually occurs. He could surmise the worst of it though and it made him angry. He was about to console her when an arrow zipped by his ear. Looking back, he saw two riders on jet black horses galloping towards him.
“Sorry Saria,” Link yelled back through the wind buffeting them both, “but hold on tight. I’m going to try to shake them off our tail!”
He swerved Epona left and into a thicker conglomeration of trees. It hadn’t been touched by the army, but he could see the burning pyres dimly through the crowded trunks. He could faintly hear the screams of the Kokiri and almost wanted to cry. An arrow thunked hard into a tree on his left as he swerved right. It was getting darker and darker; finding a clear path for Epona was getting difficult in the invading gloom. Another arrow flew past his right cheek, clipping his ear. The stinging was replaced with numbness as he felt a slow dribble of warmth run down his neck.
He saw a patch of bushes that looked decent enough for a hiding spot. He swerved Epona away from it to divert attention to the inconspicuous spot and trailed the two riders in a half circle through the trees. Arrows were whistling through the air as each rider nocked another to their bows. Just as he was coming up on the patch of shrubbery, Epona tripped on something rock solid and went flying as Link and Saria flew into the brush. A whining cry erupted from Epona as she landed with a bone-crunching jolt. Blood gushed from her two front legs as she tried in vain to stand up. She fell back down on her wounds, opening them up even more, forcing panicked cries from the mare.
Link regained consciousness first and realized a branch was sticking very hard into his back. He rolled over and saw Saria passed out cold next to him; branches and twigs stuck to her clothes and hair. Link desperately searched to find what made them crash and found a sleeping Goron hidden in the brush. He prodded it with the pommel of his sword before its head zipped up. It was about to get up to talk to Link when he shushed it to stay down. It turned to him with a lazy look in its eyes.
“Oh hullo there, you must be the legendary Link, the Dodongo buster. I would recognize your outfit anywhere. Am I correct?”
Link hurriedly said, “Yes.”
“Oh good!” the Goron drawled, “I was just coming to visit. I heard so many things about you. I wanted to see where you were born and-”
“That’s not important right now!” Link hissed, “The Lost Woods is burning down, the Kokiri are being slaughtered and my horse tripped over you and is now in grave pain!”
Saria finally sidled up to Link’s side, clearly recovered from the ejection off Epona. She was staring at the Goron with obvious interest. It was a creature made seemingly of pure rock but had an organic look to it. Its backside was covered in scales of plated rock which provided defense and support when they rolled across the ground. The only places of real vulnerability were its face, stomach and the undersides of its arms.
Link continued, “There are two riders coming this direction and they will kill my horse and capture us. Finding you was a stroke of luck.” Link paused to gauge whether this was really true or not, glancing briefly at his struggling horse, “Their arrows can’t harm you, neither can their swords. You’re made of mostly stone and rock!”
The Goron was about to protest that statement when Link crouched low. Saria followed his gesture when the riders strode up leisurely, looking down upon Epona’s wretched body.
“So what do you think we should do with it?” questioned Timner.
“Who cares?” Talamir scoffed, “Just kill it and find the boy and girl.”
After a laugh, “Well, you always did have the better sense of judgment Talamir.”
At this, both of them laughed. One raised his sword for the lethal blow when the Goron reared up and smacked the black haired one to the ground and snapping the neck of the horse that the other was on.
“What the hell is that thing?!” Timner exclaimed as he hit the ground rolling.
In a flash, a sword was in his hand and he was preparing to strike the Goron across its neck to behead it. Within seconds a big stone fist plowed into his face with the force of a piston. Timner crumpled to the ground, his face completely caved in. Blood was spurting out of the orifices in his face as he rolled over in the grass motionless. As Talamir lay unconscious on the ground, the Goron stomped on his spine with an audible crack. As both men lay dead, Link shook the Goron’s hand in thanks.
“Thank you again,” Link said with obvious relief, “but I advise you to get out of here quickly. You may have beaten these two men, but there is no way you can beat an entire army by yourself. Leave here and find a safe place to hide far away from Hyrule.”
The Goron nodded, “Very well, I will warn my kinsmen in the mountains. I will see you in another life Link, Dodongo buster!”
Much to the surprise and fascination of Saria, the Goron tucked himself into a ball and rolled off into the distance as she curiously looked on. As the crashing of foliage started fading in the distance, Link turned to Saria to see her brimming with tears. He swept her up in a hug, she readily returned the favor. The only matter now was getting out of here themselves.
A low moan jolted the two of them out of their quiet moment. Link looked in abject disbelief as he slowly watched Timner’s face slowly expand outward to its original form with a sickening squish. More groaning followed by several cracks from his spine, Talamir started aligning himself properly to stand. It was unbelievable, the Goron had killed these two men outright, yet here they were, reshaping themselves as if nothing had happened. Their glazed eyes were filling in with color once more.
Talamir had not fully straightened his spine and was leaning onto the nearby tree for support. He croaked, “You and your friend will regret that…Link, Dodongo buster!”
Stunned, Link realized they were awake during the entire conversation with the Goron. This was a situation he was quite unprepared for. How could you kill someone if they kept coming back? Link cast a desperate look at Epona who was wildly snorting and still trying to get up. But the pools of blood around her were too thick.