Chapter 92 - The End to All Things
They had placed Nabooru and Giana on Epona as they rushed out the city gates. Sprinting across the drawbridge, they could see the multi-winged form soaring southwards towards the devastation. Xavier, now healed by Rauru and Zelda, was lumbering after them, albeit at a reduced pace. She was quite lopsided now that she no longer had a tail. Malon, Merin, Ashley, Rauru and Cayla were running alongside Zelda, keeping a trained eye on Link to ensure they would not lose him. Saria kept a wary distance but stayed high in the air to track Link that way.
Zelda berated herself for being so weak. The moment he laid his eyes of white on her, she felt her knees give out. The memories came flooding back to her of that fateful day her champion first died, he was wearing the same war paint and held the same commanding presence. Why did she ask Ballos to seal such unrestrained power in a mask? What was her reasoning for keeping that potent visage of her champion alive? She shook her head to dismiss these thoughts, she knew that a grave mistake was made and she must now fix things.
They stopped short of the first row of raging fires. They scanned the mayhem, spotting various Gerudo on horseback swiftly attacking both demons and Nevachreans alike. Gorons were rolling through the masses, uplifting Hungers and Gerudo with their mighty hammers or fists. Zoras were crouched low and sneaking through the chaos, stabbing those they could. The majority of the Nevachrean army was killed to the man. They stood no chance between the dragon fire above and the potent weaponry of the Gerudo.
“What happened?” Zelda asked confused. She hadn’t expected Zoras and Nevachrean countrymen to be participating in the battle.
“Maybe they joined up after it started?” Merin offered, breathing heavily beside her as she recovered from the run.
“That doesn’t explain where they came from.” Zelda countered.
Ashley pointed before firmly stating, “There.”
Zelda squinted her eyes to see a bulky shape hobbling towards them, leaning heavily on a hammer with each step. “Darunia!” She cried out.
They rushed forward to assist him in standing. Giana’s eyes bulged with fear as she beheld the imposing Goron king, his left arm completely gone. On the clotted stub where his arm used to be connected was some rudimentary bandaging, it was clear some Zora medicine was applied to staunch the bleeding so he could continue to fight.
“Are you okay?!” Zelda inquired anxiously, gingerly placing a hand on his rocky back.
Darunia took one look at her before grunting, “I’ll be fine. One of them Hunger demons got to me, but I taught him quite the lesson.” He grinned at the memory. Gazing up to the sky, he gestured towards the two flying figures opposing each other. “What of them? Who are they?”
Zelda’s countenance sagged at the questions, “The one with black wings is Link.” Darunia’s eyes widened, but he made no comment. “The other is…Majora. It is in control of Ganondorf.”
“Well that’s just lovely.” Darunia commented sarcastically. “What do you propose we do?”
Rauru interjected, “There is nothing we can do for now. Unless you believe you have the power to stop gods.” Greeted with nothing but silence, Rauru nodded his head as he turned his eyes skyward. “We must prepare for the worst.” They continued to watch the meteors rain down from the heavens. They had to look again but it appeared the moon was closer than it was previously.
Link flapped his six wings majestically as he sailed through the air, Master Sword firmly in hand. His focus was solely on Majora. Several meteors swept past him, mere feet from his position, however the innate sixth sense he had gained prevented any collisions. He swooped and twirled through the obstacle course of death, the moon’s wrath pouring down and destroying the land below. He flexed his wings and spread them out wide to stall his flight as he pulled up right beside Majora.
The mask twerked its head as it glared at him, “So you show your true face. What do you have to say for yourself? Come to apologize? I’m afraid we are far past that point.” It chuckled menacingly.
Many voices spoke out as one, “I have come to defend all that threaten the Triforce and my Goddess.”
Majora folded its arms as it mocked Link, “Always the pawn, aren’t you? Why not break free of your shackles and become unbound to the threads of fate? Hylia was made only to do good. Demise was made only to do bad. I was made to balance the two and make decisions on what was best for this world. I was unfairly caught inbetween a struggle I should have had no part in, but since I could not deny the fate for which I was created, I was betrayed and killed. Now that there are no strings on me, it’s simply time for me to return the favor!”
“The Goddesses’ will cannot be disputed. You shall comply and know your place in the order of this world.” Link intoned, holding the Master Sword level at Majora’s head.
“I knew my place!” Majora seethed, its horns wavering with anger. “It was your fault that the balance of the world has shifted! If only you had put on my mask, I would have killed you right where you stood!”
Link’s face was impassive and resolute, “It was not me. I was wrongfully imprisoned. Hylia never intended for this world to fall into chaos.”
“Liar!” Majora roared. Without warning, he surged forward tackling Link. They spiraled down towards the ground. Link swept his wings back and flipped over, dislodging Majora and flinging him away.
With Master Sword first, Link careened towards Majora’s dark form. Seeing the threat, Majora twirled to the side as the sword raced past his midriff, missing it by inches. With expert manipulation of his wings, Link immediately reversed and grappled Majora by the neck. With a heave, he dove them both into the ground sending heaps of dirt and rock flying into the air. Majora screamed in ire as Link dragged them both through the earth, creating a massive chasm in their wake. Several Zoras and Nevachreans screamed as they fell unexpectedly into the sudden gorge.
Kicking off the ground, Majora pushed Link back up into the air. Link smashed them both back down into the earth. Each exerting strident forces off the other, they skipped over the plains creating gaping holes and pits. Majora utilized Ganondorf’s powers to propel a burst of pure concussive force which somersaulted Link through the air before ramming down near the castle walls, forcing a huge depression into the earth. Sides of the newly formed canyon began to slip due to gravity and started tumbling down in a rockslide.
Majora marveled at his hands as he examined his newfound body, “I must thank Hylia. She couldn’t have picked a better body than this one. I am quite fond of it already!” Majora laughed perversely.
Link recovered quickly just in time to deflect the first magick blast from Majora. With ecstatic glee, it began hurling multitudes of dark beams at Link. He sensed each one of them and brought up the Master Sword to strike each back in turn. The unholy bolts rebounded off in various directions: collapsing portions of the town walls, decimating the windmill on the bluff overlooking Kakariko and even obliterating hapless demons and Gerudo as they ripped through the Nevachrean tent line.
A hovering dragon spied the two combantants and dove straight at Majora. He breathed in deeply before expelling molten flames at the hideous masked man. Alerted by the brightening glow from the incoming inferno, Majora shifted his body and directed a hand skyward to ward off the consuming fire. The firestorm encircled the body but then flowed back up the stream of flames directly into the dragon’s throat. Its eyes popped as scorching heat burned its insides, smoke drifting out of its orifices. Its eyes rolled back before plummeting to the ground in a huge crash.
Link used the distraction to close the distance and swung the Master Sword in a sharp arc aimed at the head. Majora picked up on the movement and fell back in time for the steel to glance off its mask, one of the upper horns shaved cleanly off. It flipped back onto its feet and generated a pulse that knocked the Master Sword out of Link’s hand.
A small glimmer of surprise played out on Link’s face but he recuperated promptly and delivered a roundhouse kick to Majora’s neck, bringing the body down to the ground. Link bolted off the ground and flew towards the location where the Master Sword lay. He was within feet of reaching it when Majora soared in from the side, barreling him over. Kicking and punching through the air, they struck hard into the rock bluffs of the Gerudo valley, causing the sands to skyrocket higher.
“Not so fast! You aren’t allowed to play with pretty things!” Majora giggled insanely, its bloodshot eyes boring into Link.
Sand drizzled down upon them as they exchanged blows. With a bone-crushing burst of energy, Majora catapulted Link through several pillars of sandstone, shattering each in turn. Multitudes of silt and rock clattered down, blocking off the pass and splitting the land in two. Cackling with pleasure, Majora deftly skipped from boulder to boulder as they collapsed to reach Link’s prone form. Majora was almost upon him when a flutter of wings and spinning blades erupted in front of his face.
“You will not ruin what we have worked so long and hard for!” Josclyn stormed, slicing a rather deep cut in Ganondorf’s left bicep. Two other Kokiri plunged downward from above, blades spinning; content to mutilate him from head to toe.
With uncanny reflexes, Majora thrusted both hands up and enveloped both Kokiri in vindictive discharges of dark energy. They shrieked and squealed as they tried slowing their downward velocity, their skin disintegrating off their bones. Majora released the flow of energy and chortled as their bones rattled to the ground in uneven heaps.
Majora turned its abnormal eyes on the final Kokiri, its high pitched voice oddly out of place, “One of Demise’s creatures aren’t you?” Josclyn glowered but said nothing. She knew when she was outmatched. “Come closer pretty fairy. Let me clip those wings for you!” At length she bowed her head and began floating further away, eventually disappearing beyond the farthest borders of the woods. Ganondorf’s shoulders shook with the intensity of Majora’s laughter, “Flee little demon! There is nowhere you can hide from my judgment!” Majora turned his face toward the moon and thundered out his mirth.
Oblivious to Link’s precipitous approach, Majora was stunned as he was lifted off the ground and tossed high into the air. Looking down at the rising figure of Link, a small cry escaped his throat as he spied the Master Sword back in Link’s grip. Majora soared southwards towards Lake Hylia, manipulating the meteors in the air to alter their trajectory towards Link. With calm demeanor, Link shot straight for each one, cleaving them all in half with the Master Sword; each piece thundering down below, killing all they landed upon.
Majora looked around for some form of leverage against Link but could see nothing in the darkness. A whoosh of wind signaled a meteor that had passed right by him. Link tore through the rock and plowed the Master Sword straight through Ganondorf’s stomach. Majora swiveled its head to look at Link, the bloodshot eyes screaming murder.
“Impossible!” Majora squealed. A faint glow emanated from Ganondorf’s hand. The Triforce of Power was protecting its bearer. “How are you still alive?” Link was ignorant of the fact he was being ignored completely by Majora. An inward battle was being fought within Ganondorf. “You died! I remember! I heard! The Triforce removed you from existence!” Ganondorf’s limbs were contorting and flailing, seemingly being fought over by two powerful beings.
Utilizing the lack of resistance, Link tilted Ganondorf with the Master Sword and plummeted straight down toward Lake Hylia. Ignoring the ravings of Majora beside him, he picked up speed and began to aim for a small island out in the middle of the lake. The moment of impact, all was still. Sound came rushing back as the entire lake imploded into a massive caldera, water plumes soared into the sky at the sudden displacement of land.
Water and snow was still fluttering down as Link removed his sword from Ganondorf’s body. Majora’s mask was split in two, each half sliding off of Ganondorf’s face. The man was unconscious from the ordeal. Link’s white eyes regarded the man, his irises lingering on the soft glow of the Triforce. He felt a strange aura about this man, something he had encountered before in a previous life. Magick created to ensnare the power of the Goddesses.
“There are more of you…and multiplying.” Link murmured to himself.
He gazed up to the high ridges of Lake Hylia and felt the presence of the interlopers. He was confused, it seemed like they had come back but were sporting a different signature than before. He raised the Master Sword and doused for the source of his troubling unease. The sword chimed within his mind at the location of these unholy magick users. In a flash, he launched off the island and was soaring through the air towards the Gerudo mass.
Stopping short of the chimeric army of Gerudo, Link beheld a seething mass of demons destroying or infecting them, making them a far more formidable army than ever. The magick of the interlopers was strong with these women. They had to be eradicated from existence. They posed a threat to both Hylia and the Triforce. He aimed his sword at the throng and called upon the blessings of Hylia to summon a holy ray of judgment. The Master Sword glowed with an uncanny luminescence.
Rauru breathed easier. The dreadful visage on the moon had slowly faded away back into its surface. It no longer looked like it was falling towards them. The meteor showers had stopped and the only sounds they could hear was the still raging battle between Gerudo, demons, Zoras and Gorons. Zelda breathed a heavy sigh of relief; at least Link stopped the coming apocalypse.
Merin asked anxiously as she indicated Link above them, floating ominously over the Gerudo horde. “What is that glow on his sword?”
Rauru looked up at him and deciphered the immediate peril. “He is removing all threats to the Triforce.” He said calmly.
“What do you mean by all threats?” Nabooru probed; a slight rise in pitch in her voice.
“Anything remotely connected to Demise or previous menaces in the past that had sought after the Triforce for vile purposes. If you are not of their ilk, you should not be afraid of what is to come next. We should all be spared.” Rauru explained serenely, his eyes creased with happiness that evil would finally be purged in the next few moments.
Malon cried out to Zelda, “The Gerudo! They are using magick from the ancient world to clone themselves after they die! It is unnatural.”
Zelda began to slowly fathom what Malon was implying. “What exactly does this mean?”
Malon jabbed a finger at Merin, Nabooru and Giana, “We’re all of Gerudo blood.” She turned to Link, the radiance around his sword swelling in brilliance. “He is targeting them all! We are going to die too!”
The last words barely escaped her mouth when a flurry of beams shot forth from the Master Sword, each one seeking its individual target. Thousands of beams lit up the night as they struck their marks. A great cry went up from the plains, as both demons and Gerudo alike were burning alive in holy fire. Nothing was left of them but ashes and dust.
Zelda knew now why Ballos had suggested she conserve her strength, to protect those she loved. She shouted, “Rauru, please help me!” She slammed a barrier down around Merin and Malon who were beside her.
Malon squawked as she beheld several beams heading straight for her sister. Nabooru could see her death approaching, her abhorrent dream coming back to her in waves. Nabooru did not have the coordination to leap off Epona and make her way to the protective shield Zelda was sustaining. She was still recovering from losing her ruby. She knew however that if she did nothing, both she and Giana would die. Tears streaming unchecked, she gave a tight squeeze to the little girl and kissed her passionately on the head.
“Always remember that mother loves you.” She choked back a sob. “Mother loves you very much.”
“Mommy?” Giana wailed, looking up fearfully into Nabooru’s eyes.
With a lurch, Nabooru tossed Giana towards Rauru who was running to aid her. She slipped off Epona with the force of her throw. She landed on the ground with a crack. She whimpered at the bone snapping in her arm as she hit the earth. Rauru groaned in surprise as the yelping girl crashed into him, bowling them both over onto the ground. Holding her snugly to his chest, he erected an aura that shielded them both.
The bolts hit them immediately. Giana trilled at the top of her lungs as the very ground seemed to quake and rumble around them. Arresting white light surrounded them as they heard animalistic howls just feet away from them. Giana turned her head to see her mother swiftly being burned alive.
“No little one!” He tried to cover her eyes and direct her attention away. “Do not look!”
She fought with him mightily and stared at her mother. She was writhing in pain as the light took over her body, rampaging through her innards and roasting her from the inside out. She had an arm out reaching for her, in hopes she might get to touch her daughter one last time. Eventually the strength in her arm gave out and it dropped to the dirt before shriveling into ash. Nabooru was gone.
Rivers of sweat were flowing down Zelda’s cheeks as she strained against the onslaught. Several more pulses exploded from the tip of Link’s sword and collided with her barrier, each time it tugged on her heart strings, causing Zelda to catch her breath. His assault was relentless. She knew the intensity had changed when she looked up and he was closing in on their position. He had annihilated all other Gerudo and abolished every single demon. The remaining Gorons and Zoras along with their newfound Nevachrean allies were standing around lost as to what they should do next.
“Hylia.” He called out firmly. “Release your struggle. Let me remove these last remnants of evil from this world.” She looked up at him, terror in her eyes, not for herself, but for her friends. “Please Hylia, we must fulfill our fates as protectors of the Triforce.”
“Do not do it Zelda!” Rauru yelled through the tumult of sound igniting around them. “He will destroy your friends!”
Xavier looked between both his father and mother and couldn’t understand why Link was trying to harm members of their pack. Seeing that he meant injury, she charged forward with intent to knock him unconscious. She didn’t want to permanently hurt him. His white eyes cast their gaze on her. With a curious motion, he outstretched one hand and flapped his wings adamantly. She was knocked backwards, stumbling and scraping various limbs on the jagged rocks underfoot.
Seeing the raw power Link wielded, Ashley and Cayla kept their distance. The synergistic beams of energy were swirling all around them, but none touched their persons. They were relatively safe from his judgment. Neither dared to move forward to stop him, they were unsure if he would turn on them and perceive them as a threat too. Saria from above was witnessing the devastation beneath her and couldn’t stop the tears from coming.
Malon and Merin were cowering below Zelda’s arms as she fought back against Link’s ruthless barrage. The small opening Xavier had provided for them was a gift, she knew the time was now to act. She screamed for Rauru, “Get over here now and protect these two as well!”
Without questioning, he held onto Giana securely and rolled into Zelda’s aura. He quickly freed the girl and propped himself up onto his knees as he redoubled her barrier. Nodding to her that all would be well, she dropped the energy and began pacing forward towards her champion. Satisfied that Xavier would no longer be a risk, Link turned back to resume the purge when he stopped short at the sight of Zelda mere inches from him.
“My Goddess, do you now see reason in what must be done?” He uttered gravely.
She tried to fight back the tears but her body denied her. Gritting her teeth, she longingly looked at him, her heart aching with regret. “Yes, I do. Please forgive me Link.”
“Very well, step aside and-” His voice caught in his throat. Stunned silence permeated the field. He looked down to see a sword made of pure light penetrating his sternum, its hilt in the hands of his Goddess. He mumbled monotonously, “I don’t…understand.” The white of his eyes flickered before going dark. He crumpled to the ground, his wings in disarray around him.
Malon screamed as she saw his figure collapse. Rauru disbanded the barrier as she sprinted toward him. She grabbed the mask loosely hanging onto his face and tossed it far away from them. She lifted him up and cradled his head in her lap. Zelda knelt down beside her and rested a hand on Link’s arm but Malon shot her a vicious glare.
“I’m sorry Malon…it was the only thing that could be done. He would have killed you all.” Zelda explained half heartedly. Her words felt shallow and empty as she watched Malon ignore her and begin weeping bitterly over Link.
His eyes fluttered as he responded to her touch. He raised up a hand to caress Malon’s cheek, gazing at her lovingly with his lone eye. “Hey…you look…beautiful.” He coughed up some blood. She quickly wiped it away with her shirt.
“Please don’t talk. We’ll get someone to heal you. Just hold on just a bit longer.” Malon pleaded.
Darunia had strolled up to the group gathered around Link. He took one look at the wound inflicted on Link’s chest and his expression darkened. The shimmering sword Zelda wielded had evaporated, but its mark that it left was awful. A broad laceration exposed Link’s innards straight through to the dirt beneath him, everything caught in the sword’s path was immolated completely. He placed a knowing hand on Cayla’s shoulder as they looked on in sorrow.
“Not…to worry. Triforce of…Courage can heal me.” Link placated.
Rauru sidled up next to Zelda and whispered, “If it has not healed him by now, then the effect of having it within him in the Sacred Realm has worn off.” She turned to him and saw the truth of his words. She had only known him for barely an hour but she knew his knowledge was irrefutable.
Merin hung back with Ashley, putting two protective arms around him and burying her face in his neck. He reached up around and placed a reassuring hand on her hair. Giana was let loose to leap to his side, her puffy eyes bloodshot from all her sobbing that night. She delicately placed her two palms on his legs and looked up into his face.
“You have to come back Link. You can’t die. You have to play with me. You promised.” She whined, an ardent look in her pupils.
He reached down and petted her glorious crimson hair, “I did, didn’t I?” He hacked briefly. “Well, when I…get better, I will…be sure to do so.” She shared his smile.
Saria had touched down and was sluggishly walking up to him. She was just above his head looking down at him. He noticed the movement and inclined his head to look up at her. “You stupid fool!” She exclaimed, hands on her hips.
“Saria!” Zelda gasped.
“You have a child to take care of.” She reflexively placed a hand to her belly, “You have children to take care of. Because of your bravado of putting on that mask, you can’t even do that!”
Zelda jerked her chin in Darunia’s direction. Getting the hint, he firmly clasped the Kokiri’s shoulders and led her bawling away from Link. Link began to cry, this was not how he wanted to have ended things with Saria. He knew he was dying and there was still so much more he wanted to do in this life. He gazed over, beyond his friends and saw Ashley nearby Epona. She was whickering anxiously to be at her master’s side but they calmly held the mare back. He smiled at her sadly but said nothing.
Ingo trotted up on Fado, several others following up behind. He took one look and bowed his head in solemn silence. Astride one of the summoned horses was Ruto and Veraca. Rescued from the riverside, they insisted that they rejoin the battle with their brothers and sisters. One look at Link’s condition struck a blow to Ruto’s heart. Her entire world shattered in that one instant. She moaned from the saddle, being restrained by Veraca. Malon was heedless of Ruto’s lamentation, her mind and focus was solely on Link.
“Malon.” He whispered. Her stare was passionate. She wanted to remember his face, to memorize each and every facet and curve. “Please look after our child.”
She nodded her head vigorously, tears streaming, “I will.”
His vision was dimming. He shook his head faintly to dissipate the fog that had begun to creep into his mind. Link wanted to remain here, in this moment, surrounded by his friends and family. He didn’t want to be dragged down into the darkness. “I wish I could go without regrets…but I can’t.” He wheezed.
Malon squeezed him tighter, “What is it? What can I do?”
His eyes lazily rolling, he tried to retain his concentration on her. “I wish I could have…taught our son or daughter…everything I know. I’ll never…get that chance.” He closed his eyes.
“Please don’t leave me. I can’t live without you.” Malon whimpered.
“You are…strong Malon. You are…like me. You never give up.” His pupils dilated as he stared off beyond her, as if another voice within were speaking to him. “Navi? Yes I am…here. I am…ready. Let us-” Link’s eyes stopped moving as the words hung on the air. His final stare aimed at Malon’s face, never leaving it until Rauru reverently stepped over and closed his eyelids. At this point Malon lost all control and slumped over his body, her moans being heard from everyone around. Xavier let loose a mournful yowl.
Saria was nearby vehemently shaking her head, “I won’t do it. I don’t want to do it! If I do, it’ll mean he’s truly gone and I don’t want to face that!” She sniffled.
Darunia beseeched her softly, “You are the only one who could. You were his best friend since his birth. You know him better than anyone. Sing a song for him.” She shook her head more forcefully, but he pressured, “Do it for him, for his memory.”
She shot him a scathing glower before treading forward to the middle of the gathering. All eyes turned to her as she began to haltingly sing. Even Malon’s tears began to dry as she looked up at the angelic Kokiri, singing of their dear friend. Her voice crystal clear in the night, it evoked memories of golden days long since past. Reverence descended upon the Hylian plains as everyone was brought together to remember their fallen comrade, their friend, their hero, their champion.
Oh, come away with us now,
To the woods green and fair,
Place your feet upon a bough,
Feel the breeze in your hair.
Remember the tidings of old,
As we walk along the forest path,
Of grand adventures seldom told,
Recounted to make us laugh.
Take your fairy in your hand,
Place her close to your heart,
Enjoy together the fertile land,
Made by the Goddess on her part.
You’ve touched people near and far,
Caring for them as your own,
They will think of you upon a star,
As the bravest man they have known.
With your journey now at an end,
May your deeds be written in tome,
Sailing on the cool summer wind,
A path to guide your way home.
End of Act 3.