or, enter your birth date.*
Chapter IV - Aidan, Death and Rebirth
For the longest time, I drifted in darkness. I saw nothing, heard nothing... felt nothing. Time ceased to exist. Lost in dreamless slumber, I could do nothing. The embrace of oblivion dulled my senses and numbed my thoughts.
Out of nowhere, the song of whales rang in my ears. Weightlessness gave way to sinking immobility. Lethargy and grogginess washed over my body. I struggled to lift my eyelids, which felt like heavy weights. Amid the overwhelming lethargy, I struggled to regain focus.
Where...? Where... am... I...?
I wanted to fall asleep once more. I wanted to drift away, to be one with the peaceful darkness. My hazy thoughts moved in and out of consciousness. The darkness' peaceful embrace seemed so alluring, so comforting to me. The warmth of this place soothed me, as though I had returned to my mother's womb. As I furrowed my brow, a voice called out from the darkness.
Son... my son...
The ancient voice echoed around me in every direction. My eyelids fluttered in the darkness. Hazy blue light pulsed around me, unfocused and blurry. I could do little to stop myself from closing my eyes again. I felt so very tired... like I couldn't wake up at all...
Bubbles brushed against my skin. Muffled noises echoed through the liquid surrounding me.
Child of my womb... the hour of your rebirth has arrived...
Searing warmth travelled down my skin and face. Lethargy gave way to fear. The memory of my encounter with the blue light filled my mind. Glowing symbols branded my flesh, tracing patterns along every limb of my body. As terror gripped my mind, the ancient voice called out once more.
Awaken, my son... Awaken...
Compelled by the voice, my eyes snapped open. I found myself suspended in fluid, with my arms and legs tucked into my chest. Walls of pulsating silver flesh greeted my eyes, followed by bubbles floating through liquid. I tore my hand and legs away from myself, and whipped my head around. To my own horror, I found those same walls surrounding me from all sides, pulsing with blue light in vein-like patterns...
What is this?!
My heart raced. I could not breathe. Terror drowned out all reason. The walls felt as though they had begun to close in on me. As I grasped at the fleshy membrane confining me, I panicked.
I had to get out of there. I had to get away from this. I could not breathe. I did not want to drown. I did not want to die here.
Then, amid the terror and confusion, I felt it. Blue light silhouetted my form. From deep within me, a force unlike anything I had ever known manifested. Energy surged through every part of my body.
I looked down at my form, silhouetted by the light, and watched as the same patterned that branded my skin on the deck of that boat manifested once more. Pressure built up within me and around me. I squeezed my eyes shut, unable to stop the overwhelming flow of power from assaulting my senses. Pressure built up around me. The sound of walls crumbling, followed by the droning hum of energy, filled my ears.
A loud boom tore through the madness. Currents of water swirled around me, surging with blue energy. Within moments, I found myself sucked into a raging whirlpool. I screamed at the top of my lungs, unable to escape the torrent of water and energy.
The current of water pulled me higher, until I floated at the center of a swirling cyclone of water. Cascades of torrential rain, wind, and lightning swirled around the vortex. My heart throbbed in my chest. The sound of my screams echoed in every direction. I clenched my fists and gritted my teeth, my will fighting against the alien power rushing through every part of me.
...and redeem this world.
Time slowed to a crawl. Boundless power raged inside me without restraint. Thunder rumbled through the air. Lightning flashed through the downpour. Powerless to stop myself, I wrapped my arms around my torso.
Stop! Make it stop!
Just suddenly as the madness had begun, it ended. The column of water housing my form collapses into the sea. Hot, searing energy recedes into my skin. My eyes opened, and I plummeted from the heavens.
My blood curdling screams echoed through the air. Below, wreckage and debris littered the swirling waters. Out of a small handful of steam boats that caught my eye, only one sailed toward me. Terrified beyond belief, my body spun toward the deck of the ship.
The screams of the crew filled my ears as my back collided violently against the metal flooring. It caved in around me, and I fell through a hole onto a stack of wooden crates. Laying on my back, I closed my eyes. I drew in deep gulps of air, while countless noises and voices assaulted my ears.
Wind and rain pelted my face. My heart pounded in my ears. I could not stop myself from hyperventilating or trembling helplessly where I laid. As I rested there, scared out of my wits, a terrible, sickening feeling washed over me.
Every inch of my body felt... alien to me. The way the water trickled down my face, the way the damp wood touched my back... it all felt wrong. Even the way my skin moved as I twisted my right arm around seemed off. I no longer felt like I was in my own body...
"What is going on down there?!"
"Something fell out of that typhoon! Tore a hole right through the deck!"
Even as I became further lost in the whirlwind of emotions, I felt the eyes of the crew above boring into me. I heard their gasps of shock. Their terrified voices further fueled my own. I dared not open my eyes, too afraid to confront the awful truth...
"What in the world?"
"By the Gods..."
"Captain! Come quick! There's someone down here!"
The ship tossed and turned in the turbulent waters. With each passing moment, my fear and anxiety. Every footstep, every hiss of steam, every groan of metal left me further on edge. As my pulse quickened, my terror became unbearable.
Deep within my body, that same terrible power that forced me out of the chrysalis and into that storm paralyzed me. I gasped for air, suffocating under the supernatural force surging inside me. I squeezed my eyes shut, focusing every ounce of willpower on burying that overwhelming energy once more.
Alien sensations assaulted my mind. Like an extension of my being, I felt propellers of the ship slicing through the water, the building pressure of water in a steam boiler, and fish and aquatic life swimming through a black, undersea abyss. Then, at the bottom of that abyss, the most horrific thing I had ever seen assaults my senses.
Three pairs of glowing blue eyes snapped open from a bulbous form. Eight massive tentacles, like those of an octopus, slithered to life, grabbing and crunching boulders and broken ships alike. From its place in the darkness, it let out rumbling groan, which shook the very sea floor. Every limb, every movement that... thing made, sent ripples down my skin, and chilled me to my very core.
Make it stop... please make it stop...
"Why is there a naked, silver-skinned man in my cargo bay, Ansley?"
"I don't know, Captain. He fell from that vortex... the one that shot up from the Abyss..."
Make it stop!
Searing warmth slowly traveled down my face and body. My eyes snapped open. I found two figures standing in front of me. They jumped backwards. I squirmed on the crates, helpless to stop the flood of power from taking hold of me once again. I lurch backward, and as the surge of power intensifies, I catch a glimpse of my right palm.
No... Oh God no...
Instead of the pale, human flesh I had known since birth, an immaculate, chrome-like surface greeted my eyes. The shape of my hand, the length of my fingers... only the basic structure resembled anything of my original form. This "skin" bore no wrinkles, imperfections, or blemishes. Running down the center of my palm, a series of small, black grooves formed a pattern resembling the head of a trident—the very same one formed by the brand that appeared on my flesh that fateful night.
What is this? What the hell is this?!
I watched as that same blue light traveled down the groove along my forearm, and into the ones on my palm. Then, to my sheer horror, my hand began to melt into water before my very eyes. Horrified beyond measure, I threw my head back. An inhuman shriek passed through my lips. In my mind's eye, I saw that horrible monster from the dark depths of the sea push itself off the sea floor and rush to the surface. As if in response, it let out a shriek of its own, completely identical to mine.
Explosions rocked the ship. My form dissolved into liquid. I sensed the pressure of the steam boilers as the water levels dropped, in spite of my liquefied state. I screamed into the depths of my mind, conscious and still very much aware of everything around me. My watery form slithered along the ground, away from the captain and his first mate with frightening speed.
What's happening to me?!
My mind reeled in a whirlwind of terror and confusion. I had no idea how I was doing any of this, or what I had turned into. Power unimaginable coursed through me without restraint. As the boat rocked and pitched violently around me, I screamed at the top of my lungs in sheer panic.
The sound of my ethereal voice echoed through the halls of the ship. My liquid form sloshed against the wall. Between the sensations of the boat drifting along turbulent water, the continued vision of that cephaloid horror rising from the depths, and my transformation into this form, I found myself living my worst nightmare.
More explosions rocked the ship. I slithered along a baseboard. As I made my way deeper into the ship, several footsteps ran past me. Voices from the deck above filled my senses.
"The ship! She's taken on too much water!"
"Abandon ship, all of ye!"
"The people of Vednas were right... The Abyss truly is holy ground. We should not have dared cross these sacred waters!"
"We have brought Haidros' fury upon us!"
How? How am I doing this? Why is this happening?!
Lights flickered off. Metal groaned. Wood snapped into pieces. Glass shattered on the ground. Everything rocked from side to side.
Blue light shimmered inside my liquefied form. In the depths of my own mind, I squeezed my eyes shut. I tightened my grip around ghostly fingers. My will struggled to tame the furious energy that raged within my being.
In the darkness of the vessel, my form rippled with power. Water pooled into my being. I felt myself gather mass, and I rose up from the ground. My form expanded into a large bubble of water.
Take it back! Take this horrible thing back!
The water shifted and changed, taking on a humanoid shape. Blue lines of energy traveled down every part of my being. Wreathed in energy, I screamed with a newly-formed mouth as my body solidified, morphing into chrome-like skin once more. I wrapped my arms around my torso and collapsed onto the floor.
Wrapping my arms around my shoulders, I cried out at the searing warmth permeating my entire body. Burning light flared from the brand all across my skin. Squeezing my eyes shut, I gritted my teeth, trying to repress the terrible force consuming body.
Before I could even begin to make sense of my predicament, the walls and floor burst up through the walls and floor around me. My eyes snapped open, and an inhuman shriek of terror escaped my lips. I flipped onto my back, where I found myself staring face to face with a set of giant octopus tentacles.
Like something out of a horror movie, they trashed and grabbed at everything they could find. In the back of my mind, I felt that thing out there, tearing and ripping the ship apart with monstrous strength. I forced myself onto my feet and ran. More and more octopus-like arms burst up around me, covered in suckers and eager to destroy.
Terror consumed my every thought and emotion. Even as power surged through my body, I could not escape my own awareness of the monster that now loomed around me. The creature was all around me—all around the ship. Trapped aboard this vessel, my mind raced..
Help me! Please God, help me!
Waves of ocean water burst through the hallways, flooding everything in sight. Before the flood of water could consume me, I sprinted up a set of stairs. I stepped onto the rain-drenched deck of the ship. There, I found myself staring up into those eyes—those six cold, soulless, glowing blue eyes. Fear rooted me in place. Like some unholy bond, I sensed the monster's every movement, as though the it were a part of me.
Anger overwhelmed my thoughts. I clutched my head, and fell onto my knees. The creature shrieked in rage. It wrapped its tentacles around what remained of the brass, copper, metal, and wood.
I can't... I can't... stop it...
The wind howled. The skies rumbled. Torrential rain pelted everything in sight. Lightning flashed amid dark clouds. Waves crashed against the ship and the monster.
I felt it. In the deepest reaches of my own soul, I sensed the storm above and below. I wanted to block it out, to drown out the all-consuming sensations that pulled at my mind. Overwhelmed, I screamed into the storm. With one last thrash, the monster drug the ship under the water, and me along with it. I sank deeper into the wreckage with gasping breaths. The intense, searing energy receded in my body. The monster's shrieks and roars became the last thing I heard before darkness consumed my awareness.
or, enter your birth date.*
Chapter XI, Part II - Zelda/Ganondorf: Boundless Wisdom...
Mist surrounded Charles and Zelda. The two of them peered back at each other from afar, their expressions solemn and morose. Zelda, bathed in radiant light, stepped closer toward Charles, who squinted his eyes.
"Impa... is she... safe?"
Charles nodded his head.
"I left her in the care of our allies. I'm sorry I had to... separate her from you like this."
"I... understand. With... the Demon King upon... us... there... was nothing else... you could have done. I am glad... that she is safe."
Charles closed his eyes, mulling over grim scenarios. Within the light, Zelda pondered their next course of action. The two of them knew they had to get as far away from Ganondorf as possible. Charles, desperate for an answer to their plight, peered through the light and at the Hylian woman within.
"Where do we go from here, Zelda?" Charles took in a deep breath. "Link is dead. The Sages are out of commission. Without the Master Sword, we don't even stand a chance of stopping him. What can we do to stop Ganon? What can we possibly do at this point?"
Zelda turned away from him, and focused inward. The symbol of the Triforce glimmered on the backs of their right hands, spreading gentle warmth across their skin. Through the darkness of the dream-void, images filled her mind: of deep blue seas, schools of fish, and kelp forests. Within that endless expanse of water, she sensed a presence—one that she had longed for since her arrival in this world.
The floodgate of emotion burst open. Myriad feelings washed over her thoughts, ranging from relief to desperation. She brushed aside Charles' words, focusing solely on the light of the Hero's Spirit lost at sea.
"Link... he is alive..." Zelda could do little to hide her excitement and relief at this revelation. "The plane crash... that you spoke of... he did not die. Look..."
Charles blinked. "What do you mean?"
"Close your eyes... Focus your mind..."
Charles closed his eyes. The warmth of the Triforce of Wisdom enveloped him in golden splendor. Like gravity, he found himself pulled into Zelda's vision. He found himself surrounded by the sea and its bounty. Wading through the darkness, a Zoran figure sped through the water. On the back of the figure's left gauntlet, the symbol of the Triforce resonated in response to their own.
Like a ghost, the silhouette of Link overlaid the Zora. As Charles peered further, he noticed that Link's eyes remained closed, as though lost in slumber. Within the figure, a second silhouette, bathed in eerie light and just as ephemeral, appeared alongside him. The silhouette shifted into a woman with coppery hair and determined green eyes. She pushed herself onward, gritting her teeth as scales and fins traversed the waters around her at startling speed.
Zelda blinked, unable to answer Charles' question. She closed her eyes and peered into the woman's mind. Images of pandemonium on a plane tore through the ocean waters. Men, women, and children shifted and transformed around her, changing into forms resembling the tribes of Hyrule. Behind a wall of light, the girl ran, her eyes full of panic and terror at the events around her. She screamed at the top of her lungs as the wall of light descended on her...
No... I don't want to die! Please, God... somebody, anybody, help me!
The painful psychic feedback nearly sent Zelda lurching. Charles, too, gritted his teeth and forced himself to look onward. Through the images of pandemonium, a name made its way into her mind.
"Alex... andra." Zelda furrowed her eyebrows. "Alex... andra... Leslie... Donovan..."
"My God... She's the one Link got bonded with. But how? How did they survive? There's no way anyone could survive like that!"
Zelda glanced over at Charles.
"You underestimate... the Hero. Look..."
More painful images assaulted their awareness. The figure of Link stood within the cabin of the plane, calling out to the passengers twisted by the Convergence. They watched as explosions rocked the plane, and a large hole pierced the fuselage. Despite his own hybridized form, he fell from the heavens, wreathed in wind and magic.
For countless minutes, the green-clothed figure that restored hope to Zelda's heart swam through the salty waters, dragging the few survivors of the plane crash onto floating debris. She watched his endurance waned more and more with every passing second, until Link could no longer keep his head above the water. As his twisted form sank into the dark depths, he reached into a pouch, and pulled out the Zora Mask. Cascades of energy snaked down his entire form, and he lacked the energy to scream as the mask worked its power on his body.
The ocean currents carried the inert Zoran form, until it came to rest on an abandoned cay. Other bodies, bloated from exposure to the water, washed ashore along with wreckage from the plane crash. As the sun forced the figure from unconsciousness, Zelda sensed not the will of her champion, but that of the woman named Alex. Charles and Zelda both felt their hearts wrench at the woman's screams at her new form.
Horror gave way to determination. The images of the past gave way to the present. Alex's ghostly visage, filled with resolve, narrowed her eyes at the endless blue abyss around her. Zelda sensed her unwavering determination, her refusal to give up, to give in to her present circumstances.
Charles and Zelda collapsed onto the misty ground, gasping for air and drenched in sweat from the metaphysical experience. Charles pushed himself back onto his feet, and wiped away the moisture that drenched his forehead. He looked back at her, in awe of the revelation.
"I don't believe it..."
Zelda, forcing herself onto her feet, gazed back at him with a resolute expression of her own.
"If the Hero... if the champion... of the gods... had passed away, Charles... I... would have known. He has been alive this entire time... bound to the soul of that woman..."
"How is that going to help us, though? Link and this 'Alexandra' are lost at sea somewhere, while we're here with a Demon King breathing down our necks! How are we going to find them? How will they find us? What are we going to do about Ganondorf in the meantime, Your Highness?"
Zelda's stone-faced expression offered little comfort to Charles. She offered her hand toward him, while the mist weaved across the ground.
"At least... we know that there is still hope... for your people... and mine. My power alone... is not enough... to stop Ganondorf. Even with the Triforce of Wisdom, I could not reach out... to Impa. My power alone... is not enough. Perhaps... if Link and I... combine our powers we can restore... the fractured wills of the Sages. We must find Link... and Alexandra. Until that day comes... until we are able to meet again... we must do what we can to protect... the Triforce of Wisdom. We cannot allow him... to get his hands on it."
"So... that's your action plan?" Charles shook his hands, incredulous. "Running away from Ganondorf and hoping Link shows up to save the day?"
Zelda shook her head.
"With the Triforce of Power at his disposal, Ganondorf... is all but unstoppable. You know this, Charles. You know my legend...You know what it takes... for us to seal him away. To face the Demon King head-on as we are... is suicide. All we can do... is hold him at bay... until Link can arrive." Zelda closed her eyes in thought. "He will pursue us where ever we run. We can lead him away... somewhere far away, so that he does not cause further damage..."
"And where do you suppose we would go? There are people everywhere, Zelda! There is almost no place on this planet that you won't find civilization on! If we go through with this, there is going to be collateral damage!"
Zelda nodded her head in understanding.
"I do not know... if that can be avoided. Ganondorf's eyes... are everywhere. He has already begun... his assault on this world. I saw it myself... several of your people... have become thralls under his sway. That which... he cannot control... he will raze to the ground. We have... to keep moving. We have... to stay one step ahead... of the Demon King... It's the only way... to protect our worlds..."
Charles shook his head. Her words rattled him to his very core. His thoughts shifted toward his estranged family. In the face of this imminent danger, he wanted nothing more than to run back to his family's manor, and warn them of the coming storm.
Yet another part of him saw the futility in such an action. He knew how stubborn his father acted, and never took his concerns seriously. He only cared about his only son carrying on the family legacy—one that Ganondorf would end if his rampage continued on unabated.
Blood is supposed to be thicker than water... I can't just leave my family like this! I feel so helpless... without Link or the Sages, we've got no chance of doing anything about Ganondorf and his monsters! What am I going to do...? What the hell can I do?!
Visions of monsters razing his family home filled his mind. He saw his sisters screaming in terror as Lizalfos and pig-like Moblins descended on them. Armed with a shotgun, his father shot shell after shell of ammunition into the monster. Yet as one monster fell, several more took their place, and before long, his father met the same fate as his sisters.
The final visage of his mother screaming into the flames and fury wrenched at his heart. Charles saw the rest of the once-pristine, manicured homes become consumed by the inferno, as countless screams and monstrous shrieks echoed into the twilight. Charles screamed and collapsed onto his knees. Zelda, sensing his distress, rushed over to him. She placed a gentle hand on his shoulder.
"No... no... Mom... Dad... my sisters... they're going to kill them. They're going to kill every last one of them!" Charles, fighting back the emotions that threatened to overwhelm him, looked up at Zelda with watery eyes. "Zelda... please... they're my family. They're all I have left... there has to be something we can do. I can't just leave them... I can't just abandon them to die like this...!"
Zelda knelt down in front of him. In spite of the radiant glow that surrounded her form, she peered back at him with intense determination. Charles dared not look up at her, dared not show her his own weakness and distress any more than he already had. She cupped his chin with her fingers.
"Charles... look at me."
For several tense moments, Charles said nothing. He drew in a deep breath, and forced himself to peer back at her.
"I know... what it is... you feel. I, too... have lost family... to that monster. Your family... may as well be... my family now, too. I will see... what aid I can provide... for your loved ones. I promise you... when this is all over... I will see to it... that you are reunited..." Zelda took in a deep breath. "I have already lost... so much to that monster. I do not wish... to see anything happen to your mother... father... or sisters..."
"Thank you, Zelda... that really means a lot to me..."
The two of them said nothing for the longest time. After some time, Charles regained his composure, and in what time they had remaining in the dream realm, began to devise a plan of action with Zelda...
Nevada, United States — Blackwell Residence
April 18, 2016 CE (51 Eldin, 1437 HCE Hyrulean Reckoning)
3:00 PM, Pacific Standard Time
Streets and houses whirled by Emily. The sounds of her classmates chattering to one another droned in her ears. Despite the cacophony around her, Emily's thoughts ventured elsewhere. She let out a plaintive sigh, watching the school bus grind to a halt.
For a brief moment, she looked up, watching some of her classmates grab their backpacks and file their way toward the front door. Her eyes glanced at the sidewalk beyond, while the engines roared to life once more. At the sight of them laughing, light and carefree, she sunk into the brown leather seat.
I wonder what Grandma is up to...
She wiped the strands of dirty blonde hair out of her eyes. The hair clips her grandmother had gotten for her did little to contain her bangs. To the young woman, every day felt harder to face than the next. She wanted to see her mother and father again, the ones stolen from her that terrible night.
"Emily? Your stop's coming up," A boy next to her said.
Emily tore herself away from her thoughts and glanced out the window. Sure enough, the sight of the Nevada cul-de-sac she now called home came sprawling into view. Emily forced a smile on her face and turned toward the boy.
The bus came grinding to a halt. She scooted past him, and made her way toward the front door. Emily nodded her head at the bus driver before stepping onto the pavement, and making her way toward her grandparents' home. After several minutes of walking, the familiar house came into view. When she looked closer toward the home, she froze in her tracks.
Dread welled inside her. That terrible, sickening malice—the same feeling she had in the lobby of Northfield Hospital so long ago—poisoned the air. The front door to her grandparents' house swung ajar. Clutching the strap to her backpack, she mustered her courage, and ventured inside.
She expected to hear her grandparents' voices. Instead, she only her rumbling and tearing noises. Her entire body trembled, and it took every ounce of willpower she had to venture further into her home. Furniture, family photographs, and broken glass littered the living room. Blood splatters stained the carpet red. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted the limp feet of her grandfather.
Hisses and growls filled the air, followed by the tearing of flesh and fabric. Disturbed by the noises, Emily rushed into the kitchen. Claws scuttled against wood. She crawled on the ground, and peered around the corner.
A pair of serpentine demons loomed over the lifeless bodies of her grandparents. Emily pulled herself away, unable to stop the flood of tears streaming down her face. She dared not cry or utter a sound. Frozen where she stood, she could do nothing else but wait for the danger to pass.
She glanced up at the cordless phone on the kitchen counter. The insidious beeping of a lost connection rang in her ears. Her heart raced. Roars filled the household, and the sounds of claws tearing into wood filled her ears. Broken glass clamored from the hallway. Metal clanking against wood soon followed, and a loud, booming baritone voice rang in her ears.
"Where. Are. They?!"
Emily cowered at the rage-filled voice. She scooted up against the refrigerator, shaking uncontrollably. More footsteps trampled through the house, and another man's voice responded.
"Sir... we've torn apart this entire house looking for them. They're nowhere to be found!"
"I grow weary of your excuses, Terran... They are... still here! You will find them... or I will have your head!"
The sound of that booming voice sent chills down Emily's spine. His threat, punctuated by the broken English words he uttered, fueled her terror and panic. Her stomach twisted itself into knots. The anger, the malice that clung to the air... it overwhelmed her now. She wanted to run, to get as far away from the vile aura that blanketed her home.
Metal digging into drywall rang in her ears, like nails on a chalkboard. Bits and pieces of debris fell on her head. When Emily looked up, the clawed fingers of a golden metal gauntlet dug deeper into the wall.
Dad... Dad, no...
A dark-skinned face leered at her from above. She knew that face all too well, for it haunted her every waking moment since her father's disappearance. Emily screamed and crawled away, frightened by the pair of eyes that bore into her own: a normal grey eye, and a right glimmering a sickly yellow light.
"What... have... we... here?"
Emily shook her head in disbelief. She fell on her backpack, paralyzed by fear. The figure of Ganondorf stepped fully into the kitchen, and studied the child. A glimmer of recognition filled his eyes. He remembered his puppet, Alicia, in the company of a little girl during his awakening.
From deep within him, the conscious will of Samson Blackwell rushed to the surface. With a ferocity he never before experienced in his vessel, Samson clamored for control of his body. Ganondorf lurched backwards, taken aback by the suddenness of Samson's mental assault. As he stood there, frozen and his throbbing head in his spare hand, Emily looked, disturbed by the sight before her.
"Dad...?" She asked, "Dad... is that... you?"
The glow in his right eye flickered, while the iris shifted between a demonic green and a golden amber. The figure in armor fell onto his knees, lost between the war of wills inside himself.
His voice softened. Although still a deep baritone, Emily sensed a change. His face, scrunched up into a painful grimace, peered down at her with a worried, terrified gleam.
Emily pushed herself onto her feet. She mustered her courage and approached the dark figure, certain that her father, Samson Blackwell, stood before her now.
"Dad... what happened to you?" Emily pleaded for answers, "Where's Mom? What have you done to Grandma and Grandpa? Why have you been doing these awful things?!"
Tears streamed down her face. Samson wanted to embrace his child, the very person who kept him sane within the edge of madness. He felt his control slip, and Ganondorf took control once more, letting out a rage-fueled screamed. The scream became drowned out by Samson's resurgent grip on his form. With what strength he had left, he looked down at his child.
"Emily... Get away..." He called out to her, "Run... get out of here... I can't... stop..."
Samson screamed and clenched his head in pain. The symbol of the Triforce of Power glimmered on the back of his right hand, flashing ominously in the dim fluorescent light.
"No... stay... away... Stay away... from my daughter... Don't you dare... lay a hand on her!"
As her father battled for control his body, Emily bolted from the home. Ganondorf's screams of rage and hatred echoed through the air. Lizalfos and men alike chased the little girl from the home. She screamed at the top of her lungs, and bolted through neighboring homes, also torn open and ransacked. Demonic shrieks filled the growing night. Lizalfos scurried across walls and ceilings, eager to make a meal of the child.
She dared not look back. Her heart pounded in her chest, and with what speed her legs could manage, she bolted into the street. People and bystanders screamed at the sight of the Lizalfos. Emily bolted into the crowd, who also fled down the glitzy streets and roads of the city.
Time lost all meaning to her. Emily did not know how long she had ran from the Lizalfos. Fear and screams drowned out all reason, as did the instinct to survive. As her stamina gave out, she collapsed in the middle of a road. A car skidded to a stop just mere inches away from her.
Holding up her hands to block out the glaring headlights, she saw the driver's side door open. A tall, effeminate figure with long, pointed ears stood over her, his eyes full of concern. Two eyes gazed down at her with worry and concern: a brown left eye, and a blue right eye. The figure brushed the long, flowing blond hair out of his eyes and rushed to the girl's side.
Before the Aberrant figure could react, the Lizalfos descended on the girl and his vehicle. Warmth permeated the figure's right hand, revealing three triangular shapes, arranged to form a pyramid. As the Lizalfos charged at them both, he held up his right hand.
Golden bolts of energy surged from his hand. The Lizalfos convulsed in place, paralyzed by the attack. The figure rushed toward the little girl, and pulled her to her feet.
Images flashed in the figure's mind: of a hospital under siege, of a mother and child at the mercy of a man turned demon, of otherworldly shadow magic the world had never seen up until that point. Recognition filled the figure's mind, and without another word, called out to Emily.
"Quick, get inside!"
Emily knew not what to believe. She did not know who this figure was, nor the other Hylian Aberrants that accompanied him. The others rushed the girl into their car, as her savior stepped back into the driver's seat once more. Slamming on the gas pedal, the car ran over the Lizalfos with a sickening crunch before speeding off into the desert night.
All around them, chaos ensued. Silhouettes of man and monster waging war shone from the windows of the buildings around them. Emily sank into the back seat of the car, unwilling to look at the sheer pandemonium anymore. Despite being in the arms of a stranger, peace and relief washed over her.
She knew not how to make sense of the whirlwind of emotions running through her. The shock of losing her grandparents began to settle in, and for the first time in a long time, she openly wept. The Hylian Aberrants, sensing her sorrow, rubbed the girl's shoulders.
For several hours, none of them said anything as Emily wept. The sun sank down into the horizon, giving way into night. Drained and exhausted, Emily dared not look up at the strangers around them. Sensing her unease, the driver peered up at her through the rear view mirror.
"It seems we all made it through the belly of the beast alive... for now."
Emily glanced up at the driver. As she peered onward, flickers of recognition filled her mind. She remembered seeing this figure on the news before, while eating dinner with her grandparents. Something about a missing college student turned Aberrant escaping from a hospital...
"I have a sister around your age," the driver began, "I think she just started middle school not too long ago. Haven't seen her in a while, though..."
At the sound of the feminine voice speaking to her, Emily perked up. Her stomach rumbled. The figure nodded in understanding.
"I heard that rumble!" The figure chuckled, flashing a disarming smile. "You must be exhausted after that insanity back there. Tell you what, I'm getting hungry, too. Let's go grab a bite to eat, and then we'll talk, alright? I'm Charles, by the way—Charles Victoria. You are...?"
"Emily..." She paused for a moment before continuing. "Emily Blackwell..."
Charles' eyes widened in surprise. He recalled the news bulletin on the radio several days ago.
"The FBI are still searching for the whereabouts of Alicia and Samson Blackwell, who disappeared from a hospital in Northfield, Minnesota over a month ago. They are wanted for questioning for both the Pleasant Grove massacre and for possible connections to the Los Verracos drug cartel. If you or anyone you know has information regarding the missing couple, they have set up a hotline..."
Oh my God... could she be related to this "Samson Blackwell" somehow? I remember hearing about how he and his wife had left behind a daughter when they disappeared... If she is his daughter, then that vision...
Despite his thoughts, he smiled at Emily through the mirror.
"Nice to meet you, Emily."
April 24, 2016 CE (57 Eldin, 1437 HCE Hyrulean Reckoning)
Charles fiddled with the hood on his head. He clutched the bags of hamburgers, food, and drinks carefully as he made his way to the car. Glancing around, he saw no sign of Ganondorf or his monsters, and he did not wish to linger around the restaurant for too long. He opened the car door, and handed everyone their meals.
"Alright, everybody, let's hurry up and eat. We've already had enough insanity for one night. I don't wish to linger here any longer than we have to..."
Everyone nodded their heads, as though an unspoken commandment passed through their ears. Emily found it strange, being in the presence of these people. Her grandparents hated Aberrants with a passion, calling them people possessed by demons. Yet these people had offered her nothing but kindness and shelter in the short period of her acquaintance.
Something about Charles made her feel different, as though she stood in the presence of a prince or other royalty. The way he carried himself and commanded the hellish situation they face... she could not begin to thank him enough, for saving her life. As Charles started up the car and drove off, she bit into her hamburger, feeling relief as the much-needed sustenance danced across her tongue.
Never before had the sweetness of ketchup and mustard felt so good to her. She felt thankful to be alive, and safe in the presence of these strangers. Emily took a sip of her soda, also relishing the sugary, carbonated taste in her mouth. Charles, taking a bite out of his own hamburger, glanced up at Emily through the rear view mirror.
"Feel better now?" He tipped his drink cup at her. "I'm glad. Trying to do anything on an empty stomach is hard, huh?"
He mulled over her words, unsure of how to begin his line of inquiries without upsetting the newcomer in his midst. In the back of his mind, he sensed that the girl held great importance—to what, he did not know. Biting into his hamburger, he placed his hamburger down onto his lap before continuing.
"Say, Emily... I know we haven't known each other for very long, but I have a few questions I'd like to ask you, if you're willing..."
Emily perked her head up, confused. She sensed the seriousness behind the female voice that uttered Charles' words. He had something on his mind... and she did not know what.
"Yes, Mr. Victoria?"
Charles shook his head.
"Please, just call me Charles. Whenever someone calls me 'Mr. Victoria', I always think of my father. Force of habit, I guess, but that's neither here nor there. On that note... do you happen to know anyone named Samson Blackwell?"
Emily froze at the sound of her father's name. The question that passed through Charles' lips chilled the girl to the bone. Charles frowned.
Oh great, now I've spooked her. Way to go, Charles! Why don't you make the situation worse, why don't you?!
"...Sorry. It's just that you have the same last name, so I was wondering if you were related..."
"...Do you know my dad?"
Charles' eyes widened.
So she is his daughter! Perhaps she can help shed some light on what this 'Samson Blackwell' has to do with Ganondorf.
"Look, I'm not the police, nor am I the FBI. Nobody else understands what either of us are saying except you and I. This isn't an interrogation or anything like that. You don't have to answer that if you don't want to. I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable..."
"No, mister... if you know of my father... you have to help him! Please!"
Charles, sensing the severity of the conversation, looked toward the other Aberrants, who nodded back at him. He pulled the car off to the side of the road, and parked it along the red desert earth. Charles turned his head around to face Emily.
Emily looked up at him, her face full of untold sorrow. Between the loss of her grandparents and the reappearance of her father, she found herself at a loss. She knew no one else who lived here. To her, it seemed like history now repeated itself. Despite what her father had become, she felt an overwhelming desire to help him.
She did not know what help this stranger could offer her father. Now more than ever, she wanted to be with her family, the people fate had ripped away from her. Alone, and with no other course to turn to, she made her decision.
Charles... please help my Dad. Please... someone help my Dad. I just want my father back... I don't want to be alone anymore...
Charles stepped out of the car. The Aberrants sitting beside her motioned for her to join him outside. Kind voices echoed inside her thoughts.
«Sir Charles wishes to speak with you outside, little one. Please do not be afraid to speak with him.»
«He and Her Highness will surely help you.»
Emily shuddered at the voices echoing in her mind. The alien sensation of their telepathy unnerved her. She shoved away her discomfort as they smiled down at her, their right eyes glowing with an eerie light.
She did not know who the Aberrants meant by "Her Highness", but she felt she would find out soon enough. She stepped out of the car, and stretched her legs. The group had done nothing but drive since the incident days ago, and it felt nice to get up and walk around for a change.
Charles took a seat next to a formation of rocks in the desert. He motioned for her to join him, and she followed. She stood beside him, unsure of what would soon unfold.
"Emily... thank you for trusting me. I can only imagine the hell you've been through... so I'll try to make this as painless as possible. You were asking me earlier if I could help your father... Are you aware that the FBI is searching for him and your mother?"
"My Grandpa and Grandma... we used to watch the news all the time. I haven't seen my dad... since the night my father was touched by that light..."
Despite his veneer of calm, Charles' mind churned in revelation. Between the vision of Ganondorf he received on touching Emily days ago, his instincts around the girl, and his own broken memories of the Convergence, he seized on the connection.
"Emily... is your father an Aberrant like me?"
Emily frowned, unsure of how to answer that question. The light twisted her father into a monster, as it had done to countless others that night. Charles lowered his hood, exposing his long, pointed ears to the girl. He made no attempt to hide his condition from the girl.
"The light twisted me, too, Emily. I'm... different from most Aberrants, though. There are many, like you've seen in the news, that have lost their minds completely. I'm not like those Aberrants at all. My companions are the same way." He motioned toward his fellow Hylian Aberrants, who nodded at him in understanding.
"My father... he's not like you at all. When the light touched him... it twisted him into a monster," Emily began, "Ganondorf... that monster inside him... he's hurt so many people. He's got my mother. He... he was the one I was running from... when you found me, mister.
"He was about to kill me, too... but when he saw me, something inside him changed. My father tried to save me, to protect me from the monster's wrath. That's why those... lizard monsters were after me. The monster sent them to try and kill me..."
Charles' eyes widened. He lowered himself onto one knee, and placed a gentle hand on Emily's shoulder. Tears welled up in Emily's eyes.
"My father was a good man... he never used to be like this. The monster is making him do all these horrible things. Please... you have to help my father! You have to help me bring him back to normal!"
Emily wrapped her arms around Charles. She cried into his shoulder. He said nothing as he embraced her back.
For the next several minutes, Emily poured her heart and soul to the Hylian Aberrant who had offered her comfort and solace amid the chaos that consumed her life. She told him all that she knew about her father: from the night her parents argued, to the aftermath of the Convergence... up to the events that lead to their meeting. Charles found himself awestruck by the turn of events. When she finished her harrowing story, Charles had only one lingering question.
"Emily... thank you for telling me all this, but I need to know... when you encountered 'the monster'... when you encountered your father, on the day I rescued you... did he have a mark on his hand like this?"
Charles exposed the back of his right hand to the girl, revealing the symbol of the Triforce branded into his skin. Emily's eyes widened at the mark. The sight of the triangles sent chills down her spine.
"...Yes..." Emily looked up at him, in shock and awe. "... Just who are you, mister?"
Charles closed his eyes, unsure of how to answer her question.
"A victim of the Convergence, Emily... just like your father. I don't know how else to explain it. It's moments like this I wish Zelda were around... she would be a lot better at explaining this than me..."
Emily shook her head.
"Wait... Zelda? As in... the Princess Zelda? Of Hyrule and The Legend of Zelda?"
Charles nodded his head.
"Just as your father has become a vessel to Ganondorf... I am one to Princess Zelda herself. I also carry a piece of the Triforce. That's why Ganondorf is after me... and from what you've told me just now, he very likely wants you dead as well, if your presence alone was able to cause your father to rebel against him like that..."
Sonic booms filled the air. A gust of wind rushed past the group of people. Above them, squadrons of fighter jets rushed toward Las Vegas, the town they had just narrowly escaped from. Charles and Emily stood up, their eyes widened.
Before Charles could say anything else, explosions rocked the air. Plumes of fire and smoke rose up from the glitzy lights in the distance. Swirls of black and crimson energy whirled around the city. Dark shapes shot up toward the planes. Before they could fly off and return to base, sparks of energy shot up at them.
More blasts echoed into the night. The silver streaks, consumed by flame, veered off into the desert night. Rows of cars drove past them, frantic and terrified. He turned toward Emily.
"Emily, I need you to get into the car."
"Charles... I'm scared..."
"I know. I'm scared, too... More scared than you realize..."
As the two of them made their way back to the car, his thoughts turned elsewhere.
What the hell is the army doing?! Are they insane?! There are still people in there!
Both Aberrant and Terran alike piled into the car. Charles turned on the engine once more, and shifted the car into gear. The car moved back onto the road. He glanced up at the rear view mirror, his eyes wide with fear.
Several men and women, their eyes gleaming with malice, charged at the envoy of armored vehicles driving past them. Like frenzied savages, they charged at the platoons of soldiers descending on the desert. Inhuman screeches and roars disturbed the peaceful silence of the desert.
From around the area of Las Vegas, the swirl of black and crimson energy gathered into a vague, boar-like shape with glowing yellow eyes. No amount of speed could get them as far away from Ganondorf or his malice. Other cars drove alongside his own, fleeing into the night as he did.
They sped off into the fading light, away from the coming storm.