The Legend of Zelda: The Knight-Breaker
WARNING: This story is ever-so-slightly different from my previous ones… It is rated R, for starters, and not just for language. Oh there WILL be cussing. And sex. And gay sex. And violence. And further cussing. So if you're looking for a happy little romp, full of adventure and romance…well, okay, you've come to the right place. But there will also be a lot of f-bombs (who came up with that phrase come on) and adult situations. Deal with it.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters or… You know what, fuck it. This is FANFICTIONDOTNET. If that alone doesn't tell you that the stories on this site feature characters and situations that are not the property of the authors…then I just don't know what to tell you.
Summary: Hyrule has hit the industrial revolution, and different kind of revolution seems to be lurking in the wings. Conspiracy, murder, and masks abound. Can anyone be trusted? There are things in the shadows that not even shadows can imagine.
It was dark. It was always dark. It was cold. It was always cold. And he was alone. He was always, always alone.
There were brief flashes of light, from time to time. He didn't know who they were, where they came from, or how long it was between each one. That was the worst part, sometimes, that he had no way of knowing how long he had been alone.
The shadow waited, in the dark, in the cold, going slowly insane and knowing there was nothing he could do to stop it.
Chapter One. A Brief History
The Hylian race is dying.
In the past fifty years, the birthrate among Hylians has dropped to nearly half of what it once was. The deathrate, on the other hand, has nearly tripled. The current average age of death for Hylians is forty-seven.
In comparison, the life expectancy of humans is seventy.
There has been no outbreak of disease, no plague or infection to cause this. New technology is springing up around every corner, and most of it would seem to improve the quality of life. And yet, for some reason, the Hylian race is dying.
And we are not alone. The Zora, once strong allies of the Hyrulian Royal Family and hardly a rare sight, withdrew into the ocean approximately forty years ago. This was not a sudden move, and records from that time indicate that the Zora believed removing themselves from human and the other land-dwelling races would somehow prevent their deterioration. The Gorons as well no longer keep contact with other races, and their former cities bear signs of full-scale abandonment. The Sheikah, never a numerous people, announced that they would be forming their own nation in the lands once belonging to the Garo.
No one knows what happened to the Kokiri.
Only the humans are unaffected, and their numbers increase steadily while others dwindle. The most likely hypothesis so far suggests a magical cause, since of all the races of Hyrule only the humans to do not have innate magical abilities. They can be taught, of course, and there have been human sorcerers who put even Sheikah to shame, but they are not born with the skill, and are indeed resistant to spells that would cripple a Hylian.
Thus the only problem remains…what is the cause behind this? Has the land itself begun to reject its own people? It is true that the monarchy no longer holds the power it once did…or any power, for that matter; but that hardly seems like just cause for genocide. And what living being would have the inclination, or the strength, for such a blight?
In my study of history, I have found a number of dips in population and birthrate that usually preceded some kind of social or political upheaval. War, or coup d'état, does not seem to be on the horizon, but we cannot put the possibility aside.
In the end, all I have is speculation. My people are dying, and no one else seems to understand. All I can think of to do is seek out more information, the cause of this, and hopefully a way to stop it.
I don't know about you blokes, but I don't want to die.
Note to self – Tighten up language, try to sound less like a conspiracy nut. Add more semi-colons. Bloody hell.
"He's been spotted to the north," the bartender said, his tone low. "Not more than a week ago."
The two men listening to him gaped. "How many killed?" the one drinking a straight whiskey breathed.
"At least a dozen," the bartender said, drawing the words out with relish.
"Madman," the Scotch-and-Soda said.
"Maybe," the bartender agreed. "But he gets the job done."
"Which would you rather have at your back," the Straight-Whiskey added. "A regiment of knights, or the Dawn?"
Across the crowded taproom, two men sat at a table. One, with long red hair and glasses, was jiggling his foot nervously and trying not to stare at his companion. The other was a young Sheikah, half his face hidden by a mask and most of his body wrapped in a cloak. His hair was long as well, but choppy, inexpertly cut. The redhead looked as though he'd never set foot out of a city in his life, yet here he was, in a tavern, on the edge of the wildest parts of the outlands.
The Sheikah was flipping through a stack of papers, wrinkled and water-damaged. Occasionally his eyebrows rose under his hair, and once he gasped softly. The redhead bit his lip at that.
"Well?" he asked when the Sheikah turned the last page.
"Can you prove any of this?"
"No. That's the problem. It's all hearsay and speculation. But I know it's true. I mean, I don't know a single Hylian without at least one parent dead, usually both."
"That's true…" the Sheikah said thoughtfully. "So your people are dying, and you can't find a cause."
"Essentially, yes. But yours are too."
The Sheikah glared at him, ruby red eyes narrowing dangerously. "I'm well aware of that," he said coldly.
The city boy gulped. "Begging your pardon."
The Sheikah let his gaze drift across the tavern, taking in rugged men and women gossiping over their liquor. He was the only Sheikah in the room, and there were only two Hylians beside the city boy. There were more than thirty humans.
"Extinction of a species…" he murmured.
"That would be the worst-case-scenario."
"There's something else, that I'm not sure you've taken into account."
The city boy's ears perked up. "Oh?"
"The other things happening recently. The king and queen passing within years of each other. The princess disappearing on her coronation day. This… Dawn person."
"Dawn's just a vigilante," the city boy said quickly. "We don't know if he's human or Hylian."
"True, but what he does is what's important."
"What he does?" the city boy repeated.
"He kills knights."
"So he says," the Sheikah growled. "But he kills them all the same."
"I don't understand what you're saying."
"The kingdom is falling apart," the Sheikah said, struggling not to shout. "Not just the Hylians themselves, but the whole country is dying."
"The way it was. The history, the traditions."
"Times move on," the city boy said. "Swords aren't efficient any more, the railway will be finished in a couple of years. The old traditions just don't hold up any more."
"And the fact that the only member of the royal family left hasn't left the palace since the princess vanished?"
"He's in mourning. Wouldn't you be?"
The Sheikah shook his head, gritting his teeth beneath his mask. "I don't think that's it."
"I'm sorry, but I don't know what you're trying to say, Sheik."
"Think about it Shad. The kingdom, Hyrule, is dying. And there's no apparent explanation for it."
"Hyrule is…" Shad's eyes widened. "You don't think…"
"I hope it's not true," Sheik sighed. "But it's a possibility that should be considered."
"Ganon," Shad whispered. "Dear Gods…"
"I hope it's not true," Sheik said again. "If it really is just… times moving on, I could accept that. But there are things happening that can't be explained through natural selection."
Sheik said nothing.
"It's best if you stay out of it," he said. "After all, if it is Ganon, and I do somehow help to defeat him, you need to stay alive to repopulate the species."
Shad laughed sheepishly. "I… I don't think that's going to happen."
"Don't be silly, you're very handsome, you could find a nice girl."
Shad coughed and refused to meet Sheik's eyes. Sheik blinked. Slowly, his cheeks flushed red.
"Oh… oh! Oh, gods, sorry, I didn't know you were-"
Shad hissed him quiet. "I don't exactly want to go advertising it. Especially in this crowd."
"Right, right, of course." Sheik pressed a hand to his flaming cheek. "Sorry."
"It's all right." Shad coughed again, uncomfortably, and started gathering up his papers. "I've got to get going. I want to make it back to Thurston by nightfall."
"All right. Take care."
"You as well. And you know where to find me if you ever need help of the scholarly sort."
"Of course." Sheik smiled at him, the tightness of his mask and the way his eyes crinkled making the expression clear. "Thank you."
The city boy left, followed by the glares of those bar patrons more observant than Sheik. He stared down at the table for a long time, finally removing his right hand from under his cloak and staring at the back of it instead.
"Which would be worse," he mumbled to himself. "Ganon, or our goddesses forsaking us?"
The bartender had finished his tale of violence and mayhem, and was basking in the new crop of discussions he had caused.
"Dawn's a menace," the Scotch-and-Soda said. "How long before he turns from knights to plain soldiers. Those are our boys!"
"My boys never fought for a corrupt kingdom," the Straight Whiskey said. "And they never will."
"Who's to say Dawn won't start killing innocent civilians?"
A Wheat Beer, who had been listening quietly for a while, raised his head. "Who's to say he will?"
"Well, a man gets used to killing; sometimes it's hard to stop."
"That's true," the Wheat Beer agreed, and went back to drinking, blond hair falling over his long ears.
The arguing carried on without him, after Sheik finished musing and headed to his room for the night, after the Scotch-and-Soda switched to plain Scotch, after the bartender stopped serving them at all and they were fueled only by their own vitriol. Others joined in, and by the time last call was announced there wasn't a man in the room who hadn't offered some kind of opinion about the man known as Dawn, the Knight-Breaker.
As the less deadly dawn was peeking over the horizon, the last of the men stumbled out of the tavern and toward his horse. He noticed the Wheat Beer walking west along the dirt track that served as a road.
"Don't you know it's dangerous out there? Where you going boy?"
The Wheat Beer turned his head and smiled a little. "Forward."