Chapter 85 - The Looming Storm
Darunia smashed his fist into the nearby boulder. They were waiting up near the entrance to their former home, eagerly awaiting any word on how the meeting went down. The answer was less than ideal. They figured having Gorons there would disrupt the overall situation and it would be best to send in Sheikah. Their ability to hide in the shadows when needed was essential in not blowing their cover. They were there as a failsafe should something go wrong.
“Forget being subtle! We should have been down there to protect Link! I should have been down there!” Darunia shouted directly into Cayla’s face, pointing a finger down the slope towards the ruined town.
Her face was impassive, her swirling emotions hidden behind a façade of supposed indifference. “We were not expecting the additional men from Nevachrea to ambush us, nor the ability of the Gerudo elders to be controlled by their king. Nabooru is not at fault for this but it was wrong that we had her accompany Zelda to the graveyard.” Her tone was monotonous and her eyes stared straight ahead, not even looking at the Goron king, ashamed of her ineptitude at protecting both Link and Zelda.
His eyes turned to Nabooru, “Could you not control yourself? Why did you let him take you over like that?” Darunia demanded.
Nabooru wiped a tear from her eye, “I don’t know what happened. I’ve never felt anything like that before in my life. I was aware of what I was doing but I could do nothing about it. My body was not my own. I felt…violated.” She hiccupped, trying to maintain a sturdy temperament.
Darunia expressed his anger with a bellow, “Doesn’t matter now! Link is being taken off by the Nevachreans rather than by Ganondorf, which is what we had expected and wanted. With his help, Link could have secured the sapphire. Now we’ve lost that advantage!”
“I’m sorry.” Nabooru began. “I truly thought I could take care of Zelda. I didn’t want to be a burden to anyone. I just wanted to help.” She broke down and began to cry. She was still reeling in shock that her lover, Talon, had died. Goddesses knew where Malon and Giana were. For all she knew, they were also dead.
Cayla wrapped a comforting arm around the Gerudo woman. As much as she disliked their race, she had to admit Nabooru received a rather abrupt wake-up call of her love being killed and by her own king no less. “We’ve all lost someone dear in this war.” Cayla consoled, she turned to the stretcher they had made for Impa. They had carried her all the way up to the Goron city, they would eventually bury her but it was not determined where. Until that time, the body would reside here safe in the city until the war was over.
“So what is our next step?” Cayla asked, handing Nabooru off to another Sheikah to be solaced better.
Darunia folded his arms as he looked down across the plains, viewing the seething horde of men, horses and potential demons in disguise. After several minutes, he spoke slowly, “We trust in Link. It appears he is being taken directly to Naar. It may not have been in the company of Ganondorf but the end result should still be the same. We must trust he will find a way to acquire the sapphire without Ganondorf’s help. We set up Gorons at key locations within the camp alongside the Sheikah and when he gives the signal, we will attack and bring him out with the sapphire.”
Cayla’s gaze turned towards the Temple of Time, just visible over the walls of the city. “And of Zelda? Do you think Ganondorf took her to the temple?”
Darunia grunted, “I can’t say, but we should split our forces. Several of us should remain at the capital and wait for Link and the others. If Ganondorf is there, we shall also deal with him. I will go myself to the temple and await my sworn brother. We need to make sure the way ahead is safe for him to accomplish his task. A lot is riding on his shoulders.”
“But Ganondorf has the other two stones, as well as the ocarina, which is necessary in opening the door of time.” Cayla pointed out.
“If Link has the sapphire, Ganondorf will come to us. We’ll be ready for him.” Darunia rumbled heatedly.
“This isn’t a very well thought out plan. We should focus on getting Link away from Naar once the sapphire is acquired. With no one there to help him but us, he’ll need all the assistance we can offer.” Cayla murmured, shaking her head.
“Whatever. We don’t have the time to think of a better one. We must work with what we have.” He unfolded his arms and began walking down the decline with a growl. “Fine, we do it your way! Come. The more time we waste, the less time Link has. Let’s put the plan into action now.”
The Gerudo king stroked the fire he had created carefully. The wind was picking up and it was getting colder. Despite the midday sun beating down on their heads, the air still felt chilly against their skin. For Zelda, it was torture and she was found shaking profusely, her teeth chattering being the most obvious symptom of her freezing. Ganondorf was born from the desert and these types of conditions were normal during the deep reaches of the night. He was not heartless however and established a roaring fire without prompt for her.
Apolloni had started to make some lewd and scornful remarks about Zelda but was sharply reprimanded by Ganondorf and ordered to stand by Appa and tend to the horse. She stomped off in a foul mood before digging out some apples from their saddlebags and offered a few to the eager stallion. She turned around and folded her arms defiantly as she glowered at the two of them enjoying themselves by the fire. Merin sat aways off from them, seemingly aloof in her misery. She hadn’t spoken a single word since they left Kakariko.
“What do you see in her?” Zelda asked indicating Apolloni, her teeth still rattling.
He barely even glanced in the elder’s direction, “She is a prodigy, even among us Gerudo. Most children don’t get good with the sword or the art of warfare until they are well into their twentieth cycles. She had impressed her teachers at the young age of thirteen, at a time when she should have been an apprentice doing the bidding of her superiors.”
Zelda cocked her head; Ganondorf was staring longingly into the fire, as if reminiscing of the golden days long gone. She kept quiet for fear of breaking the moment, allowing him to release his thoughts as they came. “Never before in Gerudo history had a female been born that wasn’t with crimson hair. She was the object of much ridicule for it. Being the young king in training, I knew my place and I did not do anything to favor her over any other. She eventually grew to defend herself and earn her keep among the Gerudo far earlier than she should have, eventually becoming an elder.”
Her attention wandered over to Apolloni, who had since stopped staring at them. She was now grooming the horse and making soft noises to it which seemed to calm the animal. “Is that why she is such a…difficult person to be around?”
Ganondorf stifled a small chortle, “I guess you could say that. She fought hard to earn her place as elder at such a young age. Most females do not get that status until they are well into their forties. The fact she is just turning twenty five this cycle is quite the accomplishment. I have much respect for her, despite her demeanor.”
Her teeth finally slowing down due to the embracing warmth of the fire, she began to smile at the Gerudo king. “You really do care for your people.” He nodded without saying a word. “So why did you take me? Do you care for me too?” She had made it come off as a joke, but his expression was serious.
“I have always coveted your land, Zelda.” His scrutiny was penetrating. She couldn’t help but look away from the intensity of his gaze. “I seeked to take it from your father, your king, I will not deny that. My goal, even today, remains the same: to establish a better life for my people. I need the power to do that. Once I acquire that power, what better way to cement ties between Hyrule and the Gerudo than in marriage?”
Zelda gasped at the absurdity of his notion, she hadn’t even considered the thought of being involved with him in that way. Her expression was a mixture of disgust and loathing, “If you are talking about the Triforce, why would you need me? You’d have all the power you’d need to run the kingdom yourself!” The horror of his proposal was sinking in.
“At the cost of many lives, yes.” He admitted. “If I have you by my side and we drive the Nevachreans out together, there will be no question as to my loyalties and the people will rally around us. The Gerudo will be accepted into your culture and we will be free to live our lives, prosperous in our kingdom. How better to win the hearts and minds of the Hylian people than through political subtlety? With the power of the Triforce behind me, it would behoove you to support the true ruler of this kingdom.”
Zelda shivered again, but not from the cold. “You know I could stop you.”
He smirked before turning back to the flames, “Indeed. You are quite different than when we last met. There is…something more about you that intriques me. You have definitely changed Princess Zelda.” This time, he did nothing to hide his mirth and let loose a few chuckles. “And to think, you were once that spoiled little brat who came to visit me in my prison cell so many cycles ago.”
She looked around at the camp they had set up just outside the western walls of the town. They were allowed to pass freely through the Nevachrean camp earlier. Several of the awful sights and sounds made Zelda wretch, she couldn’t bear to see what they were doing to the women. They had set up a makeshift shelter of tarp attached to a lone tree, spread out in a fan formation to several stakes dug into the ground. It wasn’t much, but it would block a good majority of the wind that night.
“Why did we not take shelter in the homes inside the city?” She inquired.
Ganondorf looked up and scanned the eastern horizon, “There is a danger there I’d rather not confront yet until it is time.”
“And Link? Are we not going to help him? Is he not integral to your plans?” Zelda grilled.
“He is.” He confessed. “But Naar will not kill him. He might come to grievous harm but he will not die. Naar wants him alive for the very same reasons I do: The Triforce. We are all going to converge on the same place. I am just taking measures to ensure most of the game pieces are in my pocket rather than in his.” The king grinned, “Better to have most of the cards than none. Besides,” Ganondorf considered in a tone that brought a shiver to Zelda’s spine, “what Link will go through next will make it easier for me to bend him to my will once he’s back in my possession.”
Zelda wrapped the blanket she had received earlier tighter around her body. It looked like it could snow at any time. The grey clouds from the west were looming over the plains. This was going to be a rather bad winter. She hoped they could resolve this war and remove the Nevachreans from their soil before the first frost hit but now she wasn’t so sure it would happen that way.
Her thoughts were interrupted by Ganondorf’s apposite question, “So why don’t you try to escape princess? If you have the power you say you do?” A slight crease of his lip belied his humor.
“I, too, would like to have most of the cards stacked in my favor. I’m merely staying to keep an eye on you.” She finished with finality, hoping it sounded rather brave.
His eyes were indecipherable. “Indeed.” He stated unflappably.
Naar was in a good-humored mood as he strode through the camp. Several of the men were staring profusely at their general. He actually had a smile on his face! The news from the outer fringes of the camp had traveled fast and he was walking out to greet his Dark Mistress who had returned home with a prize. After so many things gone wrong, it was finally time for things to swing his way.
He clapped his hands in excitement upon seeing his blue beauty standing tall, looking regal and utterly striking. Her nude form was enticing to him and he was thrilled to have her back again, not the least of which for what she could do in his bed. Ruto bowed low in deference to him as she presented her two prisoners.
“And who do we have here?” He walked over to Malon and roughly copped her hair, feeling its luxurious texture pass through his fingers. She trembled in revulsion at his touch. He laughed heartily at her disgust. “You’ll learn to appreciate me soon enough.”
Standing beside him, Ruto gestured to her, “Her name is Malon. She is the lover of Link and currently with child.”
His gleaming eyes lingered on her, “How interesting. So the boy has found a whore. This will make quite the bargaining chip indeed. And who is the other?”
Her eyes turned away from his, she couldn’t bear to see the anguished look Veraca was giving her. “He is Veraca, the current king and ruler of the Zoras.”
Naar clasped his hands together and brought them up to his lips in thought, “It may not be Link himself but these are both worthy trophies indeed. You have done well Ruto. I am most pleased.” He grimaced briefly, “That’s more than I can say for my other commanders.”
She intruded upon his thoughts as he leered at Malon, “My lord, there was one other with us, but he parted ways shortly before we came here. He is now somewhere in the horde of Gerudo tracking north at the southern borders of Hyrule.”
He looked over at her fleetingly before waving a hand, “Then he is of no use to me. Forget him. I am well aware of the Gerudo army and have taken measures to stop it. However I’m going to be enjoying her right now.” He gripped Malon by the arm roughly and began pulling her away. She began struggling before a punch to the gut stopped her protests.
“What about our marriage?” Ruto probed eagerly, her eyes never leaving Naar. “You promised that when I came back you’d have arrangements made for us to be wed.”
Putting a lone finger on his cheek, he mused a moment, “I did, didn’t I? Well, unfortunately, you did not bring Link back. As much as I will enjoy and appreciate Malon today, you still did not bring me back what I wanted.”
Ruto quailed, “But he was not what we agreed upon as conditions for my success!”
Naar sniffed as he began dragging Malon away crudely, she was digging her heels in the mud trying to stall the inevitable. He in turn grabbed a fistful of her hair and began yanking it hard to ensure her cooperation. When her screaming had sufficiently calmed, he continued to escort her away. “Not my concern Ruto. You should have known I wanted him back alive. Was he not the topic of our last discussion? We will be married after you bring me Link.”
A look of hurt crossed her face as she gawked after them, “What about Veraca?”
Without bothering to look back, “Detain him in the prison tent. I will see to him later. Do what you want with him.”
Ruto fought hard to not display weakness around the rest of the men who were looking to her for direction. She wanted to run away and cry in a dark corner, she was hoping and aching for the day that her dreams of marriage would finally come true. Naar had shattered all that. It was clear he never cared for her from the start, only with what she could give him. And now she brought him Malon, his new sexual muse.
Her thoughts were distracted by a lone soldier to her side who was smiling at her arrogantly. He thought it so funny that Naar’s Dark Mistress was shunned. She quickly punched his face before slicing his arm off with a fin. She grabbed his cheeks and gave him a deep kiss before pouring burning acid down his throat.
Completely oblivious to the turmoil he had caused, Naar had his mind set on one thing. He was wholly dedicated to ravaging this desert beauty and lover of Link’s. What cruel torture he would impose upon them both through her, he smiled cruelly at the myriad of deeds he could accomplish.
Upon seeing the command tent ahead, Malon began to panic and started screaming. She tried to tear away from his hold but only managed to receive a cuff across the face. “You will obey me and you will be mine. Or you will die. Make your choice.” Several men looked up from their campfires and leered at her, they knew what was to come and enjoyed imagining what vile acts Naar would inflict upon her.
This was a nightmare. She couldn’t believe she was back here in the heart of the camp after seven cycles trying to forget it. This time there would be no Sheikah to save her. She couldn’t rely on some hidden savior to pull her out of Din’s forge. She knew in her heart that she was not strong enough to defeat Naar. It would end in her death. With a toss, he threw her through the tent flap onto the ground. She rolled a bit before stopping next to a small body.
“Giana. No!” She whispered forcefully.
The little girl woke up and turned to her sister, her eyes popped open and she began to make a leap for her. She wrapped her arms around Malon’s neck and began crying copiously. She didn’t seem abused or damaged but rather well taken care of. Her dress was muddy but not torn and there were no lingering marks on her face or skin. If it weren’t for the iron collar and chain tied to a post, you would think she hadn’t been living in the worst place in the world.
Naar observed them for several minutes as they wept together, holding each other close. “Do you know this girl?” He asked. His tone was soft, but his demand was clear.
Malon nodded, “She is my sister.”
“My day has gotten a lot more absorbing.” Naar’s eyes glinted.
With a flurry of anger, she shouted at him, “What have you done with her, you sick fuck! She is just a little girl!”
Ignoring the outburst that would have so easily claimed the life of one of his men, he stepped forward and pointed casually to Giana, “Her? Nothing. She reminds me strangely of the daughter I once had…well, minus the red hair. I don’t know what to do with her honestly.” Malon stared at him distrustfully. She couldn’t believe a man as despicable as Naar would allow a young girl to go untainted. Naar snorted, “Believe me if you want, but I honestly couldn’t bring myself to harm her. It was her eyes. They remind me too much of my daughter. Keeping her around gives me…comfort, for some odd reason.” He rubbed his chin as he looked down at the dirt flooring, pondering his own thoughts.
Giana looked up at him with her sky blue eyes. “He’s a bad man.” She stated firmly.
Naar laughed loudly, jolting both girls horribly with the suddenness of it, “Oh, I had to chain her to that post. It was for her own good, she kept escaping. And we all know what happens to unchecked females in this camp, don’t we Malon?” His final words brought a quiver to her body.
Without warning, he clutched a handful of hair and began dragging her to his bed of furs. She screamed in agony as Giana shrieked at seeing her older sister in pain. With a wrenching throw, she landed roughly on the pad of skins. She wheezed heavily as the wind escaped her lungs. Her pupils bulged upon seeing Naar pounce upon her meek form. His blasphemous hands went roving across her body, slipping underneath her clothes to fondle her soft skin.
She tried to scream but was muffled by a forceful kiss from Naar. She wanted to puke as his callous tongue invaded her mouth, running its length across her teeth and tickling her tongue. She beat hard against his chest but was quickly silenced by his hands twisting her wrists together and placing them above her head. He began to tear off her clothes, moaning in apparent lust as he heard the sound of fabric ripping, exposing an endowed breast.
Giana shrieked at the insane treatment of her sister. Without thinking, she rose up and began running towards them to stop Naar from hurting Malon. The collar yanked her back down to the ground, causing her to hit the dirt hard with her elbow. She whimpered as she saw blood oozing from the wound. The iron stung something fierce on her raw skin.
“Leave her alone! You’re a bad man!” Giana cried, tears flying from her eyes.
Naar was already unbuckling his belt with one hand as he utilized his knees and remaining arm to control the writhing woman beneath him. He would have her regardless of her unwillingness to submit. “Don’t worry Malon.” Naar sniggered, “She is going to have to learn about this some day, might as well watch her sister enjoy it.”
His laughter incensed Malon more causing her to twist uncontrollably beneath him. She began to cry alongside Giana, she was overpowered and could do nothing to stop his ruthless approach. With a shudder she laid stock still as she felt his engorged member resting comfortably against her outer folds, a chilling shiver ran up her spine as her memories flashed back to that awful night when she had lost Giana and was assaulted by a large Nevachrean. Why must she go through this lurid nightmare again? Did the Goddesses hate her so?
“There’s a good girl. Just accept it in and it’ll be over soon.” His chuckling was nauseating.
The tent flap roared open as Argonim paced in. Within seconds he was blown back against the tent structure rocking it to its very foundations. He uttered something incomprehensible as he looked down at the gaping hole in his chest. He collapsed to the ground, grunting in misery as the regeneration began to take place to mend the dreadful wound. Malon started moaning in despair, the Goddesses must love playing cruel jokes on her. This was the very man she did not want to see ever again.
“Damn it Argonim! How many times must I tell you to announce your arrival before entering the tent? Do you not see I am busy?” Naar bellowed. Without regard for modesty, he leaped off Malon and swept in on the muscular brute, jamming his bootheel into the man’s chin. Even with his trousers down around his legs, he was quite adept at inflicting pain on others.
Sputtering on rising blood and bile, Argonim managed to rasp, “I’ve brought…him for…you.”
Naar’s fury was intense. He did not want to be bothered with more stupid prisoners. “Brought who?”
Unable to speak further, Argonim crooked a finger for the soldiers to bring Link in. Naar’s eyes widened as he beheld the youth he had been searching for orbits. Hastily bringing up his trousers and swiftly buckling the clasp, he knelt down and regarded the young man. “He has grown wings.” He commented to no one in particular.
Indeed, it was the most shocking aspect about Link now. He had grown older but still remained recognizable to Naar. His wings were the only oddity about him. They were stretched and splayed out at an odd angle, as if he was involved in a rather close quarter battle which might have damaged them. With his quarry finally within his grasp, he wasn’t exactly sure what he should do next, there were simply too many options.
Link shakily rose his torso up onto his forearms and gaped at his surroundings. His eyes fell first on Naar, a rigid fear danced across his irises. Then dread filtered in as his focus fell on Malon, half naked and splayed out on Naar’s bed. A small sniffle diverted his attention to Giana, landlocked by an iron collar, unable to move more than a few feet from a post. This was not what he was expecting to see when he finally met Naar. Things had gone terribly wrong.
“Welcome back to your final home Link!” Naar clapped him roughly on the back, sniggering as he did so. He grabbed a fistful of feathers and began tugging on them, “Extraordinary. I’ve never seen the like.” Hearing the small gasps from Link, he continued, “Does that hurt? I wonder what would happen if they were…to suddenly separate from your body?”
“Not as long as I have the strength to fight you.” Link spat, jerking violently to dislodge Naar’s mocking grip.
“Just as brash and bold as I remember you.” Naar chuckled. “Better judgement tells me I should take you immediately to the Temple of Time, find Ganondorf and perform the rite to open the pathway to the Master Sword. However, I just can’t help myself but have a little fun with you first.” Like an over eager kid opening his birthday present, Naar sat down cross legged beside Link and leaned forward to continue his inspection of Link’s wings. “Speaking of Ganondorf, where is he?”
Argonim mumbled, talking over the pain, “He went…his own way. He said he’d…come find you.”
Naar cocked an eyebrow but dismissed the news, “No matter. I have two pieces of what he needs. He’ll get his due. He’ll comply as long as he thinks I’m upholding our bargain.”
Link attempted to rise up but the throbbing in his head brought him back down. The thumping Argonim gave him did a number on his skull. That man was freakishly strong. The tussle with Nabooru didn’t help matters for his wings ached something fierce. The compounding injuries sapped his strength, he inwardly prayed to the Goddesses to give him the power to slay his foes.
“What will you do with them?” Link motioned with his chin to the two women. He tried to keep Naar distracted long enough so his inner energies could summon a weapon of sufficient application to surprise the general.
Naar shrugged, clearly enjoying his momentary victory. “The girl I think I’ll keep as a pet since she reminds me so much of my daughter, it’s the least I could do for her. Maybe display her as a mascot for the Nevachrean Empire?” He guffawed at the notion. With a sly sneer, he indicated Malon, “I think once I’m through with you today, I shall have you chained, bound and hanging by the beams while you watch me pillage your true love. Seeing as you Hylians did the same with mine, I felt I should return the favor…to each and every one of you.” Naar’s voice dropped at his final words.
Feeling the surge explode in his hand, he sprung up into Naar’s face, bringing the apparated dagger up through his nose. A spray of red flashed upwards and splattered against the tent fabric. Naar thundered in indignation as he expeditiously materialized a club and crashed it down on Link’s head. Link crumbled beneath the force of the blow and lay still, a slight red dribbling down the back of his sandy blond hair.
Naar clutched his split nose cursing the vile youth for the atrocity. He yelled at Argonim who had just finished recovering. “Bind his hands and bring him to the arena pit, his penance begins now!”
“As you wish.” Argonim said annoyed. He spat a clotted glob of blood off to the side before gripping one of Link’s boots and pulling him along the ground out of the tent.
After Argonim and his entourage left, Naar propped himself back into a chair before leaning back to allow the healing to hasten. His only thoughts were on Link and how he could summon a weapon, only Nevachreans had that power…