"Hey boy!" hollered a captain once he saw Link emerge from the Princess's cabin, "You're commanding the Red Regiment now!"
Well, this was rather shocking considering how Colonel Bright had fought for leadership of the Red Regiment. Slightly surprised but delighted, Link steadily made his way towards the captain.
"Didn't Colonel Bright want the Regiment?" he asked.
"You're right about that, but he changed his mind," explained the captain, examining his shield, "But then we reminded him what the Red Regiment's for."
What kind of Colonel didn't like the first charge? Link almost scoffed at the notion that the Colonel was terrified of the front lines. Then again, most were afraid of the Red Regiment because the latter served a certain function in battles. Whereas the Gold Regiment was made of the sturdiest men who guarded the very back lines, the Red Regiment was at the very front. Orange, Yellow, Blue, Indigo, Green...All were behind the Red Regiment. Back at Hyrule, every citizen knew that to be in the Red Regiment was to practically give away one's life so every time a boy joined the training camps, his parents prayed that he wouldn't be put in the Red Regiment.
"Just serve your country well, son," every father would say to their boy if life in the army was what they wanted, "Do the bare minimum."
Ironically, the more a father stressed to his son to "do the bare minimum", the more likely he was to be placed in the Dreaded Regiment, as the locals called it. Placed in a competitive environment, the boys always competed with one another to be the best, as was the natural behaviour of young boys. But little did they know that colonels, admirals, and generals scrutinized every actions the boys made more carefully than the youth suspected. While the boys dreamed of glory, they were unaware that the more bravery and skill they displayed, the higher the chance that they would find themselves in the Red Regiment. Only the most courageous and most skilled boys fought in the Red Regiment, because the notion of being the first to be sacrificed demanded unwavering nerves and the adequate techniques to defend themselves.
"You're the right size to lead the Red anyhow, Hero," continued the captain, "Slim but limber. Had we put the Colonel in there he wouldn't be able to keep up. You up for the first charge?"
"Always," responded Link.
The captain nodded, "That's always good to hear. You should've seen the argument we had trying to figure everything out a few minutes ago. Colonel Bright basically announced that he wanted to give up the Red Regiment and he was trying to force it down people's throats. No one would take it, obviously, so we needed someone crazy enough to take the job."
"Thank you for suggesting that I'm insane."
The captain shrugged, "Someone had to do it. There's a fine line in between bravery and insanity, and we figured yours was blurred to the point where we really couldn't tell which category you fit into."
"That's...very good to know."
"You weren't as crazy as the past captain, though, I'll tell you that. Then again, I'll really miss Morus; it's a shame he had to end that way."
"You know," said the captain turning to Link, "I grew up with him. In fact, I was the first person he was told to duel with. Blew me right onto my back, and that was the day they decided he was in the Red Regiment. I was more jealous than you can ever imagine. But I was young, and I didn't know the implications of being in the Red Regiment. When I found out, I couldn't believe I had spent years dreaming about it."
"It's a harsh regiment to be in."
"Well, it's your regiment now," reiterated the captain, "Just watch out, alright? We can't afford to lose you."
"Trius! Trius!" hollered the solder from the crow's nest.
Thrusting the captain aside, Link weaved his way through the crowd to where a rope ladder reached the ground. Everyone had heard the cries from the soldier in the crow's nest, and they had been fighting to see who would go up and look when Link appeared. Seeing the Hero, the soldiers pulled away and allowed Link to climb the ladder. Rung by rung, Link climbed as the soldiers below him held the bottom of the ladder in place so that the wind wouldn't cause it to sway. Gradually, the temperature dropped the higher Link went until the cold bit into his skin. Another summer had passed, and now autumn was here.
A soldier named Braveris was perched in the crow's nest and offered Link a hand once the Hero reached his destination. Braveris, being the respectable man that he was, moved aside and pointed into the distance.
"Look!" he urged Link, "We'll be there in a few hours."
Link followed Braveris's finger and saw a lush piece of land with mountains to the West and plains to the South. It was just as the Hyruleans' map had indicated. Slowly, the island of Trius drew closer to the fleet, the faint outlines of its trees and rocks becoming clearer by the second. Braveris stood back as Link watched the island, calmly commenting on the landmass.
"It's not as I imagined, you know," Braveris was saying, "I believed that if Trius was the place where Ganondorf wanted something done, it would be barren just as most evil places are. But this, this is different. Trius looks beautiful, actually."
"Surprising, isn't it?" replied Link, sill staring at the island.
"Now, look to the west of the island," said Braveris.
Link's eyes flitted to where Braveris had told them to. He had to squint to be sure that what he saw was true, but soon Link could make out the black sails of Ganondorf's ships, coasting towards the mountains.
"Why they'd even want to go through the mountains, I don't understand," continued Braveris, "They were better off going through the plains."
"The mountains, geographically, provide the shortest route to the Glass Palace," explained Link.
"So why are we taking the long route?"
"We have to try and intercept them, not follow them. Besides, Hyruleans generally aren't even familiar with traveling through mountains except for the Gorons, so I wouldn't risk trying to bring our armies through there. We're plains people, really."
"Well, as long as you can guarantee that we'll shoot across the plains and reach them on time, I don't really have any objections."
"We will. Our army moves quicker than Ganondorf's, which is probably why he's risking the mountains as well; he knows we're not familiar with them."
A giant whooshing sound caused Link to turn to his side, where Marius now flew.
"My angels and I are going to spy on Ganondorf's army. We'll return with news."
"Please be careful," advised Link, "And return quickly."
"Don't worry about me, Hero," returned Marius, "I'll leave now, but before I do I want you to look way into the distance at the center of the island. I can see the Glass Palace from here."
Raising his arm, Marius signaled the other angels to follow his lead. From the ships of the Hyrulean fleet, angels emerged and batted their wings, soaring into the air. As the angels sped past him, Link could barely catch the silhouette of the Glass Palace. If it weren't for the slight reflection the twilight made off of it, Link would have completely overlooked it.
Inside, Link's heart began to pound, much like Ganondorf's own heart as his ships reached the coast.
Time was of the essence now. Ganondorf hadn't left any time for his army to celebrate before ordering them to disembark. Now, the Gerudo's troops were clustered in dark masses of armour and flesh along Trius's shores. Night was moments from covering the world with her veil, rendering Ganondorf's army almost imperceptible. One by one the soldiers arranged themselves into perfect formation, prepared for the trek through the mountains. Proud of his troops, Ganondorf was moments away from addressing them when Reiza tugged upon his armour and pointed to the sea.
"Look there," she smirked, "The Hyruleans."
"What!" exclaimed Ganondorf, squinting to see, "They were at least a day behind!"
But Reiza hadn't been lying. Even through the darkness Ganondorf could spot the outline of a fleet of ships, their sails flapping in the wind. The Hyruleans were traveling in another direction, but they were still catching up to Ganondorf and it alarmed him to know that the Hero was only a few hours away.
"We certainly didn't count on this," muttered Reiza angrily.
"Tell the troops to move now," ordered Ganondorf, "We can't afford to wait anymore."
"What about the soldiers still in the ships?" inquired Reiza, "They're still out of formation."
"We can't wait," repeated Ganondorf, "I don't care if the Hyruleans aren't anchoring here, I want to get through the mountains as quickly as possible. So go, tell the captains to hurry."
Obediently, Reiza turned and began to walk away from Ganondorf. But a few moments later she stopped and faced him once more, her face stern and riddled with anxiety.
"There's a chance they'll move faster than we can, isn't there?" she asked Ganondorf, "You have a feeling that we won't be able to outrun them."
"Reiza," growled Ganondorf without looking at her, "Go."
Reiza flipped her hair and shot Ganondorf a concerned glance before she cupped her hands and brought them to her lips.
"We're on the move!" she yelled for all to hear, "Ganondorf wants us to go through the mountains now!"
"Through the mountains!"
"Come on, boys! For Ganondorf!"
"I don't want any lagging; follow me!"
The gruff voices of Ganondorf's captains reached his ears as well as the scuffling of feet through sand. So loud were the footfalls of Ganondorf's army that no one heard the sound of wings that beat nearby. Almost completely hidden from sight, Marius watched Ganondorf's every move as his army made their way to a nearby forest. With a flick of his hand, Marius drew his angels near and whispered to them.
"The real battle begins here," declared the King of Angels, "Disappear among the trees, blend in with the rocks, do anything in your power to keep Ganondorf's army in check. But whatever you do, please don't make a spectacle of the whole thing. If you need to attack, strike only the stragglers or those who wander off. And please keep silent, communicate with hands."
"Will you go with us?" inquired one of the angels.
"Always," replied Marius, "Always."
Oh no, oh no, what did he just do? And now, what was he doing?
Lord Hur crouched in the dark, silently rifling through Morus's bag. The Hero had taken it to his own makeshift quarters, but Lord Hur had managed to find it. While every other soldier slept, Lord Hur was looking for one thing in particular that would help him. The fact that Lord Hur was now at the second step of his plan was amazing to the young noble, as he had always thought himself cowardly. What had the first step been? Stealing that book. How did he even manage to do it? Lord Hur remembered: he had waited for Zelda and the guards to leave the cabin and had managed to slink in, unperceived. He had dug through the Princess's chest of books until he found The Art of Dark Magic.
What proved to be most ironic was why Lord Hur had stolen the book and why he was now stealing something of Morus's. Guilt. Guilt that he was not helping the Hyruleans in any way. Guilt that he had allowed so many horrible events to unfold. In essence, Lord Hur was trying to redeem himself by stealing whatever he needed to fulfill what he had in mind.
He had to know where Reiza was, and what she was seeing at this very moment.
"An object the target has touched," the book had told him. That's why the spell had worked in the first place, but now Lord Hur needed a stronger version of the spell. The book had told him everything. It had told him how he was connected to Reiza because of the spell. Why Reiza had left such a spell, Lord Hur couldn't understand. Either way, that was not important because Lord Hur needed to see her life as the present dictated, not the past.
Now, which doublet was Morus wearing the night he had slept with Reiza?
Blue, no, red. Red? No, green? Lord Hur had one chance because the arsenic would cause him to hallucinate to the point where he wouldn't be able to retrace his steps, just as he was retracing that fateful night at Fortune. He should have paid more attention to the captain; everything would be easier had he done so!
Wait! Lord Hur remembered! Blue!
The noble unsheathed a small knife he had brought with him, and proceeded to cut out a minuscule piece of fabric. It had to be small enough for him to swallow, just as his father's sheets had been easy to swallow the first time Lord Hur had been introduced to the spell in the vial. Ripping easily through the fabric, the knife presented Lord Hur with what he needed. He could leave Morus's belongings alone now, and he could make his way down to the cellar.
Lord Hur straightened. That was the Hero's voice. Oh no, oh no, what was he to do now?
Shoving the fabric in between the pages of the book, Lord Hur retracted his knife and stood. He could hear Link weaving through the makeshift barracks towards his own curtained area of the ship. Lord Hur needed to move as quickly as possible, but how?
Without thinking, Lord Hur ducked through the side curtain and bolted.
He saw Link stop in his tracks. The Hero had seen Lord Hur move, but he was uncertain as to who it really was. Slowly, Link crept towards his sleeping quarters while Lord Hur did the same, but away to the side. He could not afford to be clumsy and fall. Sidestepping all the way, Lord Hur barely breathed as he drew nearer to the trap door every moment. Should he run now? No, the Hero would catch him.
Link had disappeared into his quarters. Quick! Quick! Lord Hur stole away, his feet lightly gracing the steps as he ran through the trap door and towards his own cabin next to Princess Zelda's. Had the Hero seen him? Was he being pursued?
Slamming the door behind him, Lord Hur panted and wiped the sweat away from his brow. He would wait a minute or two, just to be sure the Hero hadn't caught him.
One minute. Two minutes. Three...
He was safe.
Placing the book upon the desk, Lord Hur opened a nearby drawer and pulled out a balled piece of cloth and a green vial, the latter of which was used in his father's murder. Nervously, Lord Hur set both upon the desk and unwrapped the cloth, revealing a suspicious mound of white powder.
The more hallucinatory elements you mixed with the water, the more you will see.
But how much arsenic could Lord Hur take? What were his limits? For years he had sought the help of arsenic for amusement, however Lord Hur was now consuming it for a serious purpose. How much had Reiza put in the first time? Judging by the very slight numbing of his body at the time, Lord Hur reasoned that she hadn't mixed very much. Then again, swallowing arsenic instead of breathing it in always dulled the effects...
Lord Hur was vastly ashamed at how much he knew about the subject. This would be the last time he involved himself in such activity.
Pushing his thumb and forefinger together, Lord Hur extracted fifteen pinches of arsenic and dropped each into the green vial. He then took the fabric from the book, rolled it, and shoved it inside with the arsenic. Water was the last he needed, so taking his own drinking gourd Lord Hur filled the vial.
He stood there for a moment, his hands by his sides. There was a chance that he would die, but Lord Hur wanted to aid Hyrule as much as he could. If not for Hyrule, for his father.
He would remain calm this time and watch every scene that unfolded.
His hands shook as he brought the vial to his lips. The sound of shattered glass followed as Lord Hur consumed the mixture and allowed the vial to drop to the floor.
How much time did he have to wait?
Five minutes was all that was needed, and soon Lord Hur found himself arching over his desk. Everything was beginning to blur, and Lord Hur felt his body go numb and heavy yet his heart was beating faster and faster. The noble wanted to turn back, but it was too late to revoke the spell. Fifteen pinches, had he really just done that? How stupid had he been his entire life?
He felt himself stagger back. Reaching behind him, Lord Hur managed to find a wall and slid down its face until he was sitting, legs outstretched in front of him. The blood rushed too quickly, and the room was morphing before his very eyes. Forcing his eyes to remain open, Lord Hur watched as his cabin gradually disappeared and, in place of the bed, was the cadaver of a man with gouged eyes.
In a flash, the man was now suspended from midair. But no, it wasn't the first man, it was someone completely different. Lord Hur had seen these events before, but now he was witnessing them in frighteningly clear detail. As one dead man gave way to the next, Lord Hur's heart sunk and his head continued to throb as Reiza's past whipped before his sight. A drowned man, a man with his throat slit, his poor father upon the bed, Lord Hur saw everything for a second time until suddenly, the scene changed to a part of Reiza's life he had never observed before. The clock tower of Clock Town rose up into the air, its sinister shadow sheltering a beautiful woman with the whitest skin.
Yes! Yes! This was what Lord Hur was looking for!
Stumbling about, Lord Hur followed Reiza from a distance as the woman made her way back to the brothel where she worked. Lord Hur wanted to scream, to shout, to cry out, "I found you!" yet he couldn't. Around him, everything grew darker and blurred except for Reiza's figure as she sauntered through the streets of Termina. Holding on to whatever he could to continue, Lord Hur stalked Reiza into the brothel and past every other whore in the place to her room, where she awaited clients.
Everything was moving much too fast.
"A man is here to see you," and soon Ganondorf was standing before her. Lord Hur had never seen Ganondorf before, but now he saw the dark eyes and felt the horrible presence of the Gerudo. Evil emanated from him so thickly that Lord Hur felt suffocated.
Another scene change, and soon he was leaving Termina on a black ship bound for the ocean. It was getting harder to keep his balance now, but Lord Hur fought on as the sea became fire and the ship transformed into land.
He was on one of the Islands, and that was when he saw Reiza during wartime.
Burned men, tortured men, men and women and children cut into pieces, Lord Hur couldn't stand it. His heart was beating much too fast now and what he saw did not help. The Stones, the weeping victims of war, he saw more evil than he had ever imagined. How had he thought he was on a glorious adventure?
One by one, the Islands flew past and the bodies grew increasingly disturbing and twisted to look at. Death made itself known to Lord Hur so many times that the noble thought it his best friend. Tears dribbled down his cheeks as Lord Hur shuddered so violently he felt as though his limbs would fall off and he would be as bare as the bodies Ganondorf's troops had impaled onto trees. The remains of a man were slumped onto a nearby branch, and without thinking Lord Hur reached out to touch them until he realized that what he touched was breathing. He was somewhere else again.
He was in the King's cabin, and the King was sleeping.
Staggering about, Lord Hur turned to see Morus, his eyes unnaturally cold, sword raised.
"No, no Morus don't!" cried Lord Hur, trying to grasp Morus's hand, "You can't do that! You'll die!"
Lord Hur lost balance and fell heavily onto his side, causing him to cry out. Morus simply stepped over him and continued solemnly on. Crawling, Lord Hur was yelling but it was all too late as the blade when down into the King's body, which only transformed into Morus's headless corpse the moment the sword fell. Lord Hur was lying in Morus's blood, his head to the sky as he convulsed and watched the day turn to night and night to day as all of the sudden he felt himself moving and sat up.
He was next to Ganondorf, and they were in a mountainous area.
If Lord Hur could, he would've jumped with joy because he had found what he wanted to see. Reiza was on Ganondorf's other side with a map stretched out upon her lap. Bringing in his focus, Lord Hur used the last of his energy to watch as Reiza's fingertips stroke the paper, indicating Ganondorf's battle formations.
Make a note of this, Lord Hur forced himself. Stalfos in the front, they would separate the moment they emerged from the mountains. The Hyruleans were approaching from the plains, and they would be pursued by one of the breakaway sections until the other half met them at the Glass Palace. They would be caught completely unaware and would be too exhausted to fight. Surrounded, they would die one by one, Link included and Ganondorf would have everything he needed.
That was it, simple as that. A pool of red had been creeping in from the brinks of Lord Hur's eyes the entire time, and now Lord Hur let go.
He fell down into a bottomless pit, his heart beating faster and faster. He couldn't breathe, he couldn't swallow and he could not longer control himself or feel anything until he felt something on his torso and a pair of hands on his wrists. Someone else was holding his ankles as he thrashed about, uncontrollable and the arsenic unrelenting as the red disappeared and his cabin took shape, along with Link.
"Lord Hur!" he was screaming, "Look at me, keep looking at me!"
"Why did he have to do that?" Princess Zelda was hollering, "Is he going to die? Is he going to die?"
Lord Hur tried to speak but his tongue fluttered too violently to form words. His cheeks were wet as tears had mixed with saliva from his mouth.
"Turn him over! Turn him over!" the Hero screeched.
"No!" Lord Hur wanted to shriek.
Princess Zelda had the book in her hands, and her look told Lord Hur she knew exactly what he was trying to do.
"You! Take his arms and I'll deal with this!"
The guard nearly dropped Lord Hur as Link wrapped his arms around Lord Hur's belly. The noble felt his eyes roll back in his head as the arsenic became too much. Then thick liquid fell out of his mouth, and Lord Hur began to calm.
"Has he vomited it all out?" asked the guard.
"We can only hope so. What was he doing?" mumbled Link.
Zelda presented him with the book and pointed to a certain passage. Lord Hur's tongue had stopped fluttering.
"I saw...I saw..." he said, "I saw everything. We'll be ambushed, we need to prepare...Plains...Ambushed..."
Lord Hur wheezed and grew limp, with Link and Zelda watching in shock. To their surprise, Lord Hur smiled: he had survived everything, and he could tell them all that they needed to know.