DISCLIAMER: I DON'T OWN ZELDA OR ANY OF ITS CHARACTERS! NINTENDO DOES!
AN: OK, first chapter of the sequel to A gladiator's life, my only story ever to get more than 15 reviews! Read that first, although you should no that. As before, if you have a question in your review or if I just want to thank you for a glowing review, I will do so here. It'll be nice to get a fresh start, the one before this was getting stale.
Link looked down over Blood Fields in awe. His blood seemed to have frozen, and no matter what he tried he couldn't move from the ledge he was standing on. Down below, Hylians were rushing forward and being slaughtered by the small, organized legions of Jarmanians. There was a certain desperation in the way the Hylians through themselves to their deaths. Suddenly a dark shadow rose out of Jarmania, and blotted out the sunlight. The darkness moved over the field was a fog, and anyone it touched, Hylian or Jarmanian, was vaporized. It flowed towards Link, but kept its distance, swirling around. Two tendrils shot towards Hyrule…
"Link! Wake up, Link!" A voice shouted.
Link sat straight up, and almost screamed. Agraros stood over him.
"They'll be here soon, we should prepare. Are you alright?" Agraros asked.
"Fine. Pack up, move everyone up the sides and into the trees." Link said, still breathing hard.
Agraros nodded, and started to get everyone moving. Link thought about the dream. He had been having it for a week now. It first came two days before he met the full group of Royal Knights. He had been leading them for four or five days now, not trying anything big, just testing out how everyone fought. It didn't help that every time he slept, the dream started. He stood up. He had to help out, a caravan of important supplied was coming down this road, and it would be well guarded. The exact details of the shipment were vague, but Ocral, their spy in Jarmania, had overheard a conversation about an extremely important shipment coming through here. It was going to be well guarded, so this was likely their most ambitious project yet.
They had been lucky to find a spot like this on the road. The road entered the forest surrounding Jarmania a while up, but at this section the ground rose up sharply on either side. Hiding in the trees was easy, and it gave Link and the knights the higher ground.
Suddenly a horse came barreling down the road. Ocral was on it, and he was yelling, "They're coming! We have about twenty minutes!"
Link nodded. He liked Ocral, who was one of the few knights that had come to trust him so far. Ocral was an excellent spy; he was small, quick, and preferred knives and short swords. He was also very convincing and a good liar, all around a good spy. He was the oldest of the group, at forty-four. Link found it weird being his leader; at the age of nineteen he was the youngest of them all.
Everyone climbed the hills on both sides, evenly split. They crouched behind various trees. On the other side, Link saw Kasha draw her bow. Three others were proficient with ranged weapons, one with knives, one with javelins, and one with some sort of advanced weapon, called a "crossbow." One thing about the knights, they were a varied bunch.
There was the faint sound of horses trotting. Link slowly unsheathed his weapon. Everyone tensed up, peering from behind the trees. A couple minutes later, a caravan was visible. Link's vision had always been good, but as far as he could make out there was only one carriage. That didn't make sense; Link had assumed it was a large shipment of weapons or supplies. But then, valuable things could be very small… but Ocral had said it was for the war.
Link raised his hand. All the ranged fighters readied their weapons. There were several guards, most mounted. Some ran along beside, panting. About thirty, quite a large caravan for something so small… it must be valuable after all.
The first bunch of guards was beneath them. Link dropped his hand suddenly, and four guards were killed. They stopped as one, and looked up, confused.
"HYYAAHH!!!" Link shouted out, coming out from behind the tree, and jumping into the group. Everyone followed suit, leaping into the fray. Link parried two attacks, and then slashed one guard down, spinning to another and stabbing him. One came up from behind, but Kasha took him out with a shot to the neck. Link waved his thanks, and she nodded, shooting another. The driver of the carriage threw a bomb ahead, clearing out the area in front of him, and started the horses going. He came barreling down, and everyone jumped out of the way. Link dove out of the way, then turned and used his hookshot on the back of the carriage. It barely latched on, and he was wrenched off his feet. He was dragged along the dirt road, away from the fight. He retracted the hookshot, wincing at all the rocks scraping his chest and stomach. The pulled himself up, clutching the back of the carriage. He used the hookshot to bring himself to the top, and climbed on. The roof was fragile wood, and he stomped his foot right through. There was a cry of surprise from within, from the guard inside. Link dropped down, knocking him out with his shield. The carriage was virtually empty, but there was one small chest in the middle, as big as two fists. Link scooped it up, and opened the back door of the carriage. He clutched the container to his chest, and jumped out, rolling as he hit the ground.
The fall knocked the wind out of him. He rolled over, still holding the little chest, and rolled right into a ditch at the side. The carriage barreled away towards Jarmania, the driver blissfully unaware of the little robbery. Link gasped for breath, avoiding moving. He heard another horse, and looked up to see Ocral riding towards him.
"For Din's sake, you alright? Damn, that carriage was moving fast. It only got a little head start, but I couldn't keep up. Sorry." Ocral said.
"No problem." Link gasped. He staggered to his feet, getting his breath back.
They started walking back together, Ocral on the horse. He offered it to Link, who declined. "How'd the fight go?" Link asked.
"I don't know bud; I left as soon as I saw you being dragged away. For all I know, it's still on." Ocral replied.
The fight was in fact over when they arrived two minutes later. The knights had won, which was no surprise. Link had just started to relax when Kasha ran up to him. She looked upset.
"Link, someone's… someone was found dead!" She said in a wavering voice.
Normally this was nothing, but a group like this was expected to be able to easily beat an enemy force twice as large as them with no casualties. "What? Where?" Link barked.
She led him to the outskirts of the battle. A knight Link had never really known too well, Kirk, was lying to the side with a large wound in his chest. He was clearly dead. The group had gathered around the body, behind Link. He heard whispering and muttering, things like "some leader," abandoned his duty," and "doesn't care."
He ignored all this. He wrapped up the body in a blanket, and placed it over one of the three horses they had with them.
"We're pulling back to Hyrule. Someone is dead; he should be buried in his homeland." Link said.
No one grumbled, but they didn't seem too happy with the idea of going back to Hyrule. Agraros was watching him with concern, but Link avoided his gaze. They set off through the forest, towards the plains. Agraros approached Link.
"You know it wasn't your fault, right?" Agraros muttered.
Link nodded, and he wasn't lying. He didn't believe it was his fault, and as harsh as it was, dying in battle was always bad luck, a mistake, or lack of skill. What concerned him more was how quick everyone was to blame him. He didn't know how to impress them; no matter what he did they didn't like him. Without trust and respect, there would be more deaths. They were down to thirteen knights now, plus him. Kirk, though not particularly well liked, was a powerhouse with a war hammer and would be missed.
Meanwhile, at Hyrule castle…
"No, don't bother sending more spies. One was sent by the Royal knights, and he barely made it in. That's an elite warrior, too. He can give us reports, besides; Jarmania will be more alert after the incident with Link." Elisa said.
She was sitting at a table with the other members of the war council. There were four of them, and although she was in training, her opinion was still valued. After all, no one knew Jarmania like her.
The boss, Samuel Thompson, nodded. "I'm sure you are right, Elisa. We will get new information the next time Ocral is sent. No, we should focus on holding the plains."
Jerry Swanson, who's only real job here seemed to be professional suck-up, chimed in, "You're absolutely right, sir. The plains are vital"
Cecilia Rose nodded dully, her hand holding up her head. Elisa liked her, she was very sarcastic, cynical, and pessimistic, but very clever, and was excellent for working out the details of the plans pitched by others.
"Others," of course, refers to me and Samuel. Jerry just agrees Elisa thought, smiling.
"Well, don't bother with spear walls, the Jarmanians rarely use mounted units when up against lots of archers." Elisa piped up.
"So the archers are the best option?" Samuel asked.
"Sort of. But soon you'll see soldiers 'turtling' in. Basically, groups will cluster together, with shields to the front, sides and top. Arrows will be useless. You'll have to charge, while the archers hang back in defense. If you have any catapults that can be assembled there, they can bowl over troops marching slowly in that formation, break them up." Elisa said.
"Sounds good, if they abandon the formation the archers can pick them off." Cecilia said.
Elisa nodded. Samuel stood up and said, "Alright, this meeting is over. Jerry, inform the king that we are sending catapults, and men trained to use them. Cecilia, make sure the proper people and equipment is sent tomorrow. You may go. Oh, not you Elisa, stay a moment please."
Cecilia and Jerry stood, saluted, and left the conference room, which was so dark it felt like a prison. Elisa stood, but waited. When they were gone, Samuel walked towards Elisa.
"As you know, in a few weeks I am going to the plains as field commander. One of you three is going to be replacing me." He said.
Elisa nodded slowly. Samuel continued, "I'm sure you've guessed by now, but I'm recommending you. In the four days you've been here, you've learned so much. You're smart, as well as knowledgeable about Jarmania. If the position was offered, would you take it?"
Elisa nodded again. "Excellent. Of course, no guarantees. It is the king's choice. But I'm sure he'll agree. I just wanted to let you know. You may leave now."
"Thank you, sir." Elisa said with a salute, leaving the room. She didn't think the promotion would make much difference; they were essentially equal. Otherwise, she probably would have preferred to keep her current position. She entered her room, and looked out the window. Was Link still OK? She hadn't seen him since he left the castle two weeks ago. One week ago he been back to meet the knights, but she hadn't seen them. They had ridden off to blood fields, and weren't expected back for a while.
She sighed. What did it matter? She barely knew him. Nonetheless, she didn't sleep easily that night.
AN: What do you think? Please review!