Welcome to my debut on FFnet! If my formatting is messed up, I apologize and I'll do my best to figure this website out quickly. This story has been kicking around my head for several years now, and it's taken me a while to put it to paper. Despite the name, this is absolutely not a retread of Four Swords Adventures, but an original "game" that mixes up elements from various Zelda games. At some point, there will be artwork! Quarantine has been driving me up the wall, so making sprite art is keeping me sane.
[ADDED 8/10/2022] This story is set during Harry's third year, in which there is canonically no appearance by Voldemort. Some events of Prisoner of Azkaban will happen as in canon, but this story will quickly spiral away from the timeline of that book. Basically, the thesis here is "what if Harry faced a Zelda villain in his third year, since he didn't fight Voldemort that time?" Harry will not be finding the Master Sword during his quest, nor will he be fighting Ganon, nor will he be fighting Voldemort. He will use the Four Sword to fight Vaati, like the "Four Swords" in the title implies. I've gotten a lot of questions about this, so I'm adding a clarification up front.
[EDIT 7/24/2021: follow the pinned navigation post on garden-eel-draws dot tumblr dot com for art links! I've got 'em organized by dungeon so that even readers finding this years after posting can easily find what they want to see.]
Sopping wet and staggering on leaden legs, Harry made his way to the Gryffindor common room with his Nimbus Two Thousand clutched in one half-numb hand. He yawned the password to the Fat Lady, who tutted at his sorry state as she swung open. Harry stumbled through the common room, fending off Hermione with mumbles of "Quidditch practice, crazy Captain" and made his way up to the boys' dorms.
Two weeks before, in mid-September, the weather had taken a sudden and terrible turn. Though Scotland was not known for its kind climate, Harry didn't think hurricane-force winds and fat raindrops flying like tiny bullets were exactly normal in early autumn. Oliver had insisted on practice anyway, though, and the Gryffindor Quidditch team had spent three evenings braving the storms.
'At this rate, we'll win the Quidditch Cup by default. No one else would be mad enough to fly in a monsoon,' Harry thought wryly as he peeled off his sodden clothes. He'd changed in the locker room, but the trek back up to the castle had only gotten him soaked again. Silently, he vowed to learn the charm Hermione had used on his glasses to help him see during practice; maybe it could help protect the rest of him from the icy, wet awfulness falling from the sky.
Harry pulled his pajamas on, put his broom in his trunk, and fell into bed. His exhausted body sank into the mattress, the aches and pains of the past few hours fading away…
Harry blearily cracked one eye open. The lights had been extinguished and he could hear Ron snoring across the room. He had gotten used to the sound, though; it was actually a little comforting in its familiarity. That couldn't have been what had woken him up.
:Heir, you are needed.:
Jumping in surprise, Harry looked around. Who'd said that?
A sense of dread curdled in Harry's gut as his thoughts turned to the fugitive who was hunting for him. What if Sirius Black was in the room?
:Please, Heir, help usss!:
'Wait a minute, that sounded familiar,' Harry thought, his panic dying down a bit. During his second year, he'd gotten a fair amount of experience in listening to Parseltongue. It still sounded like English, but he'd come to recognize the faint hiss behind the words.
Harry cautiously leaned over the side of his bed and lifted the hanging covers to see under it. There wasn't a snake underneath it, as far as he could see. He slid out of bed and crept around the dormitory in search of the hissing voice.
The boy's head snapped up. "Where?" he called softly, wary of waking his dorm-mates.
:I'm on the wall, bessside the door. Please hurry, Heir!:
Puzzled, Harry padded across the dorm and scanned the wall beside the door. He wasn't sure how a snake might perch sideways on a smooth stretch of stone. Perhaps the snake was magic?
His eyes slid over a large imperfection in the blank stone and then flicked back to it in shock. A carving of a snake—some sort of cobra—stared at him from the wall! It flicked its tongue and then turned its head toward the door.
:Please follow me, Heir. You are needed,: the snake hissed.
Harry frowned. :Needed for what?: he asked. He was faintly surprised to hear himself speaking Parseltongue. It had been a while since he'd last used it.
:You are needed to sssave usss from the Wind.:
Well, that was unexpected. He'd expected to hear something about Salazar Slytherin or Voldemort, or perhaps even Sirius Black. :What kind of wind?: he inquired. :Because, if you mussst know, there's been a whole lot of that blowing around Hogwartsss as of late.:
:Follow me, Heir,: the snake said in lieu of an answer. It slithered across the wall and then around the door frame.
Curious, Harry fetched his Invisibility Cloak and trotted after the snake. He walked down the stairs and past quietly studying upper-year students, his eyes trained on the cobra. It slithered from medium to medium as it made its way toward the portrait hole; on stone it was a low-relief carving, in tapestries it was woven in grey and black thread, and on wood it became a stylized engraving. When it disappeared beyond the edge of the portrait hole, he quietly slipped out of the common room and into the corridor beyond.
The snake, traveling through portraits and startling a number of their unfortunate occupants, led Harry to a blank stretch of wall in one of the upper levels of the dungeons. Harry stared at it, perplexed. Was there supposed to be a door here or something?
The snake gave him a pointed look. :Ssspeak the word, please. We haven't much time.:
:Ssspeak what word? I don't sssee a door to open, ssso how…?: Harry trailed off as a doorway faded into existence. :Oh, "open." Now I get it,: he said sheepishly.
As the snake led him through the dark corridor beyond the secret door, Harry became aware of an odd feeling in the air. Heavy and oppressive, it reeked of malevolence. No scent or hint of some off-color gas could be smelled or seen, but there was definitely something wrong.
The tunnel let him out into an unpleasantly familiar room. Harry grimaced at the white marble pillars and polished stone floor. Somehow, he'd wound up in the Chamber of Secrets. The entrance in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom apparently hadn't been the only one.
He and the snake passed by the dead basilisk, whose corpse lay on the floor like a derailed, acid-green train. Harry was thankful the great beast hadn't yet begun to rot, its magic probably preserving its remains. He still shuddered, though, as he passed it by; flashes of memory played through his mind, showing the basilisk alive and trying to eat him. Thank Merlin for Fawkes and the Sorting Hat.
They kept going, leaving the great atrium with Slytherin's statue and his dead pet and heading into a labyrinth of hallways that Harry doubted he ever could have navigated alone. All he saw were stretches of dimly illuminated white stone and the occasional doorway. He'd tried to peer into a few, only to be scolded by the cobra for dawdling. It was very intent on stopping this "wind", whatever it was, and didn't appreciate Harry's youthful distraction.
'There were only dusty old scrolls in those rooms, anyway,' Harry thought with a mental shrug. Perhaps Hermione would have been excited, but he didn't have much use for ancient literature written in a language he probably couldn't even read. Maybe he would take his friends down here sometime, just to see what interesting things Salazar Slytherin had squirreled away.
The feeling of darkness weighing down on Harry's shoulders grew heavier as he and the snake went along. It became harder to see, the snake only a flicker of motion in the descending blackness, and the strange air was making it somewhat difficult to breathe. He put his hand against the wall and used the cool marble to keep his balance as he continued trailing the snake.
'Why am I still following it?' he wondered distantly, his head spinning. Now that he thought about it, going after a mysterious animated carving hadn't been a good idea. Going down to the Chamber of Secrets had most definitely been a terrible idea. So why didn't he want to turn back? 'I'll get lost anyway, now that I've gotten so far,' he rationalized. 'Might as well see what the snake is on about and then follow it back to the exit. Didn't it say something about 'saving us'? Maybe someone's in danger.' His mind called up the memory of Ginny, lying pale and still in the grand white atrium of cold stone, a teenaged madman standing over her with Harry's wand in hand. Yes, it was best that he see what was up before leaving. It wouldn't be right to just abandon someone who might be in danger.
The wall changed under Harry's fingers, going from polished marble to something rougher. He couldn't see anything at this point—not even the little cobra. His legs kept carrying him forward, though. Despite the awful sense of evil in the air, something seemed to be pulling him onward.
A light appeared in the distance, a square of grey in the expanse of inky black. Harry dragged himself toward it, feeling as though he were wading through thick syrup. The light grew larger and larger, bringing with it a sense of hope that Harry had finally reached his goal.
Harry emerged into a large room of blue-grey granite. The ceiling stretched far over his head, disappearing into shadow. Rows of stone benches stood in front of him, separated by a line of red carpet. He walked along the aisle between the benches, his foggy brain formulating the idea that he was in some sort of church or temple.
Shadows in the wall caught Harry's eye, and he looked up. Chiseled into the back wall was an ancient-looking carving. It depicted a large, chained-down eye beneath a dome of some sort. Above it were four swords and what appeared to be a representation of light.
'Swords? I've used one of those,' Harry thought with a sleepy smile. His gaze traveled down the wall and fixed on what sat before it. A raised platform took up part of the room, like an altar of some sort. In its center sat a small stone pedestal, and sunk halfway into the pedestal was a sword.
Giddy excitement bubbled up in Harry's chest as he made his way toward the pedestal as fast as he could. His body was made clumsy by oxygen starvation, but he managed to climb the stairs and run over to the sword with minimal stumbling.
'It's different from the Sword of Gryffindor,' he mused as he looked it over. The weapon's golden guard was shaped in a shallow crescent, three "teeth" spiking upward at the middle and ends. In its middle was a round engraving that resembled an eye. The grip was wrapped with thick golden wire and led down to a round pommel with a green jewel embedded in the center. Double-edged, the sword was straight and was only interrupted by two triangular projections near the hilt. It was pretty, but sensible—nothing like Godric Gryffindor's impractical, ruby-encrusted saber.
A curl of smoke rose from the slit the blade stuck out of. Putting one hand on the sword's hilt to brace himself, Harry crouched down to inspect the small hole. There wasn't much of a gap between blade and stone, but there seemed to be something moving down there. He saw what looked like swirling shadows. More wisps of black smoke rose from the tiny space as he watched, slithering through the air like insubstantial snakes. Was that the source of whatever was in the air? Harry wondered with vague unease whether the stuff was poisonous.
Upon standing up, Harry suffered a fit of dizziness and stumbled backward. He forgot to release the sword as he did, and the blade came free without any resistance. The boy fell on his rump with the sword clutched in his right hand, fighting nausea swirling in his gut.
Just as Harry began to recover from his bout of sickness, the room went cold. Terribly, deathly cold, as though a Dementor were waiting to swoop upon him. The light became bluish, casting a ghostly tinge that made Harry shiver with dread. He climbed to his feet with difficulty, intending to put the sword back before whatever booby-traps he'd set off could start trying to kill him.
When the slit in the pedestal suddenly spat a gout of pitch-black smoke, he hesitated. Hadn't he seen something shifting about beneath the blade?
Fright kicked his foggy brain back into clarity. 'What if the sword was there for a reason?' he thought with dawning horror. He was in the Chamber of Secrets! For all he knew, he'd just unleashed an eldritch creature than made the basilisk look like a garter snake!
Harry ran for the door, clutching the sword like his life depended on it—because, for all he knew, it did. He made it halfway across the room before a shockwave hit him in the back and slammed him face-first into the stone floor. Pain exploded in Harry's nose and stars sparked before his eyes.
He tried to get up, only to be knocked flat again by a wave of darkness. Unearthly howling filled his ears, interspersed by cackles of glee and roars of triumph. Wind ripped at his hair and clothes like insubstantial claws. Harry curled up in a whimpering ball, deeply regretting his decision to follow the snake. If only he'd stayed in bed!
Finally, the maelstrom stopped. Harry cautiously rose to his hands and knees, looking around warily. It was easier to breathe now. Did that mean all the strange, evil smoke was gone?
"So you're the Hero this time. Interesting."
Harry froze. Had that been…his voice? He hadn't said anything.
Trembling, Harry slowly looked over his shoulder. Another Harry stood behind him, wearing a smirk that would have looked right at home on Draco Malfoy's face. The other Harry had glowing yellow eyes that cast a sickly tint on his greyish skin. His robes shifted around him, half cloth and half shadow.
The boy grinned, showing grey fangs. "Surprised to see me, Harry? I must say, I'm surprised to see you. I thought you heroic types were usually blond." He cast a look over his shoulder. "Well, it seems the boss is finally coming through. Good luck, kid." The other Harry strode to the door and disappeared through it.
Harry stood up shakily. His legs wobbled like they'd been hit with a Jelly-Legs Jinx. What the hell had that been? First there had been all that smoke, and then another Harry?! How on Earth had he gone from lying in his bed to this nightmare?
An ominous rumble shook the room. Harry experienced the urge to cry and looked to the pedestal. That stupid, horrible, evil pedestal. Smoke was pouring from the damned thing again, this time tinted a bluish purple. What was it now? A giant basilisk made from shadows? A Dementor? A grey, yellow-eyed version of Tom Riddle?
Harry didn't get a chance to see whatever was coming through. At that moment, the sword in his hand pulsed, causing his vision to flicker and a sense of exhaustion to pull him toward the ground. When Harry attempted to toss the weapon away from him, it stuck stubbornly to his hand and throbbed again.
'Of course the bloody thing was cursed!' Harry mentally snarled as his body collapsed bonelessly. It didn't budge despite his attempts to get back up. His vision went dark as the sword pulsed more insistently. When his sight returned, the fountain of smoke pouring from the pedestal had grown taller. A cold wind began to swirl in the air, pulling at Harry's clothes and hair. Whoever "the boss" was, it wouldn't be long before it escaped.
The sword grew warm in Harry's hand, and he swore with every foul word he knew as it yanked him into unconsciousness.