Sora . . .
The King sprung forward, “Yes — yes, what?”
“Gods, are you still with me?” Jynn asked.
“Aye, my apologies,” Sora said, “Drifted off for a moment.”
“I see. You’ve been doing that quite a bit here lately. Ana will be fine.” Jynn jested.
“It’s not that. It’s nothing really. Just reminiscing of times passed.”
Jynn nodded, “Well in any case, I think we should be wary. It seems I may have been wrong about the storm. Appears it will catch us after all.”
Sora looked to the sky. A dark void, cluttered with storm clouds veiling most of the light the Earth, moon, or stars had to offer. Jynn had casted a sigil and created a dim-green, luminescent orb that hovered alongside them; emanating just enough to see the path ahead.
Thunder bellowed in the distance, ripping away the frail cloak of silence. An explosive roar that cracked the floodgates of heaven, allowing beads of rainfall to trickle down upon them.
The horicons continued to trot through the heathen-black night. “We should indefinitely pick up our pace,” Sora suggested.
“Aye,” said Jynn, whipping the reins of his mount, “I have a feeling this is not going to be pleasant.”
A droplet of rain struck Sora’s wind chilled face. He wiped it away with a knuckle. Not pleasant, at all, he thought. ”Yiah!"
Eoshi ramped his speed from a slow trot to a fierce stride when he heard his master wail and responded in a warble that was excited, yet uneasy. Sora realized that even Eoshi knew they were not escaping the steadily approaching calamity.
They dashed on, and as time passed, the sporadic droplets developed into a steady drizzle. The churning, eastward wind became stronger, and at their speed, the surge of the frigid, onrushing air was anything but welcomed. Their eyes watered, and their faces gradually became numb, eventually forcing them both to hunker in their cloaks to shield themselves from the savage gusts. Unlike them, the horicons were hardly affected. Resilient creatures they were, with their dense scales and underlying calloused skin. Their sprint was consistent and continual, to which the King and caster found reassuring. The furious pit-pat, pit-pat of the horicons talon-like feet, was amply satisfying as they seemed to glide across the dry plains, ever nearing Goron.
“How much farther would you say we’d be?′ Jynn called out.
“I’m not certain,” Sora answered. He pulled up the blind of his hood just enough to see. It mattered little because seeing anything in these conditions was near impossible, not even to mention the wind that brutally whipped at his bare face. He took a brisk look around, using only the sigil orb’s light to guide him. He noticed dried bushes and grass patches of faded brown emerging from the fractured Hardland plains. “Judging by the splotches of foliage,” he continued, “I’d say we’re nearing the Hardlands end. If we keep this pace we should reach Dry Run very soon, Goron is mere trot from there.”
“Good,” Jynn returned, “Once we’ve settled, the first round is on me.”
“Then the second and third are on I.”
To that, I have no objection, Jynn mused.
The two rode for on for another couple considerable and lengthy miles. At the ability to only cast one type of sigil at a time, Jynn cancelled the orb of light, and had casted a type of barrier of protection that surrounded both he and Sora, shielding them from the maturing burden of rainfall. In the orbs place, lanterns were lit, and while although not as useful, they were suitable enough to at least keep track of each other.
Not long after, both pulled their horicons to a halt. They had reached the age-old, desiccated river of Dry Run just as Sora said they would; and while the river had long passed carried its last drop of water, it wasn’t particularly dry tonight. Rain cascaded down and absorbed into the broad, deep, and dusty ravine.
“Be damned! What could have happened?” Sora barked.
They dismounted their horicons and stood looking at the remnants of a collapsed bridge that once led across the river.
“What is s a trip with you without some sort of tribulation?” Jynn smirked, “First a monsoon and now the only way across Dry Run is out? The gods truly favor us.”
“As they always have, kin.”
“Reminds me of old times,” Jynn said, then begged the question, “Well now, do you have any ideas?”
Sora couldn’t help but laugh, “Do I have any ideas? We just repaired the bastard not long ago. Can you not just mend or draw us a new bridge?”
“What exactly do you think I am? This isn’t a fabled genie, here’s your three wishes, deal done, bridge, women, and riches sort of thing you’d hear in children’s stories. I cant simply draw a bridge. Do you realize how absolutely draining it was to keep that light afloat and us dry for this long?”
“My apologies, I didn’t realize your parents had done so poorly at raising such a—”
Jynn raised his hand, with fingers and thumb together in a snapping gesture. “Go on, Sora. Say it, I beg.”
Sora cackled, “You think a bit of rain scares me? Besides, you do not have the—”
Jynn snapped his fingers. Instantly the barrier around Sora dissipated and the king’s laughter was quickly cut short as the flood of rain overtook him.
“I jest! I jest, Jynn!” Sora yelled!
Jynn smiled and snapped again. The barrier-like aura reappeared around Sora and the rain repelled from him like striking a flat stone.
“Gods!” Sora bellowed, wiping the rain from his face, “In all seriousness, what do you propose we do?”
“I’m not sure, but magi is most likely out of the question.” Jynn sighed, “I can’t even loose an arrow that would fly across Dry Run, so a makeshift bridge of that size would be burdening beyond question.”
Sora knew the answer but asked anyway, “How about flight?”
“You’ve heard me say how drained I already am, and how complex the concept of flight is. Man and beast is much different than that of earth and stone. Getting myself across is one thing, but both of us together along with our horicons would be tempting death.”
“Imagine if I were depleted of energy and we fall—” Jynn said, “Dry Run is twice the depth of your own cities walls. It would be unwise to take such a risk”
“Aye,” Sora frowned, “Well, we’ve come far to turn back.”
Ferocious claps of thunder beat the sky like a giant drum while the two pondered. The storm had only just arrived, and the rain exhibited no sign of ceasing. Lightning clashed and surged, illuminating the desolate plains with vicious, yet resplendent bolts.
“We’ll have to climb, then.” Sora exclaimed.
Jynn laughed. “You cannot be serious?”
“Well, what say you, Jynn?! I see no other way unless we travel East to Hatesong and cross there, but that’s a two or three days ride, and who knows how long it would take to have this bridge rebuilt. It took weeks to simply patch it.”
“How far is Hanging Rock from here?” Jynn asked.
“Not too far, why?”
“Is there not a set of caves not far from Hanging Rock?”
“Aye, merely a trot, what of them?”
“Why not take shelter there until morning or until the storm passes” Jynn suggested, “Allow me to rest, I may have an idea that may get us across at dawn.”
“Let us ride, then.”
Upon agreement the two made way back to their horicons. Before mounting, Sora reached into his saddlebag and pulled out a woven, drawstring sack. Inside were a sackful of yellow, tear-shaped berries that he proceeded to pull out three of.
“Say, Jynn.” Sora called. He spun the sack and tied it with the drawstring, “You’ve become soft on me. The old you would have been enthralled over the idea of climbing into Dry Run. Stimulated over the thought of risking our lives,” he laughed. “What has become of you?” He placed the sack back into the saddlebag waiting for Jynn’s witty response, but there was none. “Jynn?” he called. He buckled the saddlebags latch and turned to look at the caster, “Jynn—” but, his eyes didn’t meet those of his friend’s wild crystal-grey’s, but with a hooded man in a tattered, charcoal cloak. A word wasn’t even able to pass his lips before he felt a wooden club drive forcefully into his skull.
His knees buckled like a rag-doll and he found himself face down in the mud of the sodden plains. His eyes twitched as he struggled to stay conscious. He saw Jynn knocked out, lying on the ground a couple of feet from him before the faceless man veiled his eyes with a black fold. At that point, he gave up the struggle as he swiftly faded into unconsciousness.