(The Cursed Can Dream No More)

If nothing else, it could certainly be said Empress Zelda knew how to make an entrance.

In the pale light of the predawn hour, sentries on the walls of Belakar City saw the flying fortress on approach and raised the alarm, but when a spectacular burst of light cast a glowing simulacrum of the Calatian Imperial standard across the sky above the city for several seconds, its citizens' panic turned to puzzlement. Was this a trick of the enemy?

With expert timing, the flying fortress sailed over the countryside, and was brilliantly outlined by the rising sun as it settled over the city, its twisted spires wreathed in a halo of golden light. As the awed Calatians gazed up at the fortress, a small airship descended from an open hatch on the bottom of the gargantuan structure, a figure standing atop its upper hull.

The sunrise glinted off of highly polished armor, and the wind stirred a long scarlet cloak, sending it streaming around the figure atop the airship. Some sharp-eyed citizens recognized their Empress even before her magically amplified voice echoed down from the fortress above them, ringing with a commanding echo.

"People of Calatia," Empress Zelda began, "see the weapon of the enemy which we have captured this night! With this battle platform, we will take our legions to the Enemy's most secret and secure fortress and lay waste to it. We will show them the true strength of our mighty empire!"

From her perch, Zelda could hear the cheers of the Calatians, and she reveled in the sound. Truly, she was born to lead an empire, she thought. Midna's ridiculous concerns about her being in some way still tainted by Ibnis' dark power were completely unfounded. The so-called Queen of Twilight ruled only a realm of half-light inhabited by passive, serene citizens. True, the Usurper King had fanned the flames of passion in a few of the Twili during his coup and brief reign, but Midna knew nothing of commanding a vast empire, and had no idea of the power and responsibility Zelda held. Who was she to decide if Zelda was worthy to bear her birthright, the Triforce of Wisdom?

"Legions!" she cried out, putting all the royal command she could muster into her voice. "Assemble on the plain outside the city. You will be taken up into the fortress, and then we leave immediately for the fortress of the Divine Host! To war!"

As the people of the city cheered again, the disciplined, regimented legions of the Calatian army that had gathered here in the capital made their way through the streets to the main city gate, their armor gleaming in the morning sun.

First came the mounted knights, the cavalry, their commanders carrying lances from which fluttered long pennants with their regimental standard. Next came the infantry; the swordsmen, the pikemen, and archers, their armor, weapons and uniforms all impeccably maintained. Even in the hurry with which they moved through the streets, the movement of the army was still an awe-inspiring sight.

As the legions moved into the great plain before the city, the fortress behind her opened and lowered out the teleportation array, the sinister crystal flower used by the enemy to kidnap untold numbers of people. Now under Midna's command, the teleportation array returned those who had been snatched from their homes during the battle the night before to the main square of the city, depositing them in a large group around the plaza's assorted fountains and statues.

For several minutes, the Empress stood atop her airship and watched her armies move through her city. Most of the arriving legions had set up camp within the city walls, intending to leave by ship, but at least one was still in the forest outside the city, its white canvas tents standing out like patches of new-fallen snow among the blue-leafed trees.

Even without the powers of the Triforce of Wisdom to amplify and augment her own natural abilities, Zelda sensed the activation of the portal above the capital's walls. She closed her eyes in concentration, and determined that four individuals of great power had arrived. Two she recognized immediately as Daskin and Erike, though they were now the Bearers of Power and Courage, respectively. A third presence felt like Lynaka, though Zelda puzzled over this, since Midna had reported that the Hero had been killed by…

Zelda's eyes flew open in horror. Ganondorf was here! Not only was he here, she sensed within him the disturbingly familiar energies of the Triforce of Shadow.

Even as she drew her powers about her in preparation, Zelda sensed Daskin's presence drawing closer, and she turned to see him soaring through the air toward the Phoenix, his hair and jacket fluttering in the wind.

Daskin touched down a few feet away, his face uncharacteristically solemn. Zelda knew at once he was about to say something she did not want to hear.

"Ganondorf is here!" Zelda snapped in lieu of a greeting. "Quickly, back to the city walls, before he can attack the legions!"

Daskin raised a hand. "Wait," he said, and she regarded him questioningly. "He's with us," he explained.

"What?" Zelda demanded, not quite able to believe what he'd just said.

"It's complicated and I still think he's hiding something from me, but yes, Ganondorf is working with us," Daskin replied. "As usual, he's running half a dozen schemes at once and only telling us what he thinks we need to know, but it does seem he really is on our side." He frowned. "For the moment, at least."

Zelda began to ask another question, but again, Daskin raised a hand.

"We've got a lot of catching up to do," he said, shifting uncomfortably. Daskin paused, looking out over the city, one hand on the sword at his side. He sighed. "There's…There's no easy way to say this…" He looked around the upper hull of the Phoenix, his jaw muscles working as he tried to find the right words. "Um, maybe we should go inside," he said, gesturing to the hatch between them.

Zelda nodded wordlessly and stepped forward, swiftly levitating down into the cabin of her airship. "Take us back to the fortress," she said to Impa through the cockpit door, then closed it.

Hours later, when all the legions were aboard the mile-wide monstrosity and they were well out over the ocean, Lynaka turned from the wide window in the tower room she'd claimed for herself when she heard a knock at her door.

"It's me," Daskin's voice said, muffled by the steel door.

"Come in," she said, leaning back against the windowsill.

The salty sea breeze from the vent next to the window toyed with her hair, sending red strands floating around her face as she watched Daskin open the door and step inside, looking uncharacteristically solemn.

"How did she take the news?" Lynaka asked. The mustering of the legions, the departure, and the reunion with Daskin's parents-in which Daskin had had to physically restrain his father from attacking Ganondorf, and Lynaka herself had to explain to Lord Fenris what had really happened-had been so chaotic that she hadn't been able to exchange more then brief greetings with Zelda.

"It was hard to tell," Daskin said, shrugging out of his jacket, which he tossed over one of her chairs. He rolled up the sleeves of his shirt as he joined her at the window. "When I told her, she went very, very still. I thought she sounded upset, but trying to keep it under control." He frowned. "Or, she could have sincerely had that little of a reaction; it's hard to tell with her now. She seems…" He leaned against the windowsill, crossing his arms over his chest. "Zelda seems almost like a completely different person now. If she didn't look and feel exactly the same through my higher senses, I'd believe you if you said she was actually one of the old Emperor's other nieces."

"To me, she seemed very… cold," Lynaka said. "She didn't seem at all excited to see me again." She shrugged. "Zelda does have a great deal more on her mind now, but still, the… warmness, the pleasant demeanor she had when we first met is completely gone."

"She worries me," Daskin said, gazing out over the ocean. "My mother explained what happened to her, but still, I didn't expect such a drastic change."

Lynaka glanced over at him. "What do you mean?"

"Even though she doesn't have Wisdom at the moment," Daskin said, "she still feels extremely powerful, more powerful than she should be without it. That, combined with this new cold and calculating mindset she seems to have, feels disturbingly similar to someone else we know." He gave her a sidelong glance, raising his brows for emphasis.

Lynaka's own brows rose as she caught his meaning. "You don't think…?"

Daskin shrugged. "I haven't seen the two of them talking, but I sure wouldn't be happy if I did. The last thing Zelda needs right now is some Dark Lord whispering in her ear." He took a deep breath and let it out, drumming his fingers on the hilt of the Twilight Blade at his side. "The thought of what Zelda could do with all her power and the armies she commands makes me distinctly uncomfortable. The last thing we need is a Dark Lady."

Lynaka was about to reply when she noticed the white sails of a ship against the deep blue ocean far below. The fortress overtook the ship and passed it with such speed that Lynaka turned to Daskin in surprise. "Just how fast are we going?"

Daskin looked down at the swiftly passing sea. "My mother thinks this thing is capable of moving up to three hundred miles per hour, perhaps more."

"Per hour?" Lynaka said incredulously. Then she reminded herself that she'd seen far stranger things in her life than a massive machine that could fly through the air more swiftly than any living creature.

They both turned at a short, sharp knock on the door. "Yes?" Lynaka said.

The door opened to reveal the Emissary Val, who said, "A Sheikah agent finally got through to Viserys; his fleet is going to meet us two hundred miles off the coast. Lord Fenris wants you two to come up to the control room so we can discuss strategy."

"Strategy?" Daskin said with joking bluster. "We go in, blow up the fortress, kill all the sorcerers, and then Lynaka here sticks the Dark God with her sword so the Goddesses can destroy him. What other strategy could we need?"

Val gave him an amused half-smile, but otherwise ignored the joke. "Come on," she said, stepping back into the corridor.

"Do you ever take anything seriously?" Lynaka said to Daskin with a grin.

He gave this exaggerated consideration, stroking his chin with his fingers. "The way I see it," he said, "I can either crack jokes and not take this seriously at all, or I can take this completely seriously and give in to my nagging urge to find a cave to hide in until this is all over."

"Make sure this cave has room for two," Lynaka said with a wry smile, tossing him his jacket.

"I thought Gerudo never ran from a fight," Daskin said with feigned shock as they walked out into the corridor.

"Gerudo don't generally fight gods," Lynaka replied, only half joking.

Erike paced back and forth along the row of consoles in the flying fortress' control room, waiting for the others to arrive. She paused, palm resting on the pommel of the Master Sword at her side, and looked around the room, fighting impatience.

Lord Fenris stood at the makeshift strategy table they had set up in an open area of the command room, poring over a map of the Far South. He wore his forest-green Hylian Army uniform, his sword at his side, and Erike noted that his hand had not once left its hilt since Ganondorf had entered and crossed to stand next to him. The Dark Lord had marked the location of the Divine Host's hidden fortress, and the two of them were rather tersely discussing the best approach to the enemy's stronghold with their newly acquired battle platform.

Neither man was bothering to hide the animosity they harbored toward one another, but at least they were making good on their promise to set their differences aside for the duration of the mission.

Lady Midna stood next to the main control console, occasionally making minor adjustments. Her long sleeves and the hem of her dark robe swirled with her movements, half-hiding the sword at her waist. Erike noted that Midna's weapon was the one her son had borne before he had received the Twilight Blade; apparently Daskin and his mother had traded swords.

The door at one end of the control room opened, and Zelda entered. To Erike's surprise, her friend's hair was pulled back into an uncharacteristic severe braid, and her attire was somber; her boots, trousers, cloak, and high-collared jacket were all black, the buttons gold and stamped with the Calatian Imperial standard, the hems of her garments trimmed in dark red. A rapier hung from her belt, and she also wore gloves.

But most surprising was the utter lack of any warmth in her expression; granted, she had just learned of her fiancé's death, but still, Zelda's entire demeanor was remarkably cold.

"Where are we?" she said to Lord Fenris, crossing to join him at the strategy table.

"About five hours from the rendezvous point, I estimate," he said, looking up from the map. "From there, we estimate perhaps an hour to the fortress, at top speed."

"What sort of resistance can we expect?" Zelda asked Ganondorf.

"There are usually no more than twelve of the Divine Host's highest-ranking sorcerers in the fortress at any time," the Dark Lord replied. "But, we must take into consideration that the Dark God himself will be there; even in his inhibited mortal form, he still wields great power. All of the sorcerers will summon their bound armies, which will further complicate things."

"That is why we are bringing the legions," Zelda said, a slight tinge of impatience coloring her voice. "While my armies and any troops Viserys brings engage the sorcerers' forces, we will enter the fortress and destroy the Warlock and his acolytes. Lynaka and the Triforce Bearers will find the Dark God and destroy him."

Erike took a step closer as Zelda turned a cool stare upon Midna.

"On that subject," she said in clipped tones, "if you are not planning to keep my Triforce for yourself, Queen of Twilight, I will be requiring it back now."

"You keep talking to me like that, I just might keep it," Midna said without turning. "Getting snippy with me isn't helping."

Zelda broke away from the table and marched towards Midna. "We do not have time for this!" she exclaimed. "You will return my Triforce, or-"

"Or what?" Midna said, turning to fix her with a disapproving look. "You'll take it?"

Zelda glared at her. "If you insist on continuing with this farce, I may have to!"

"Nice to see we're all getting along so well," Daskin remarked dryly as he and Lynaka entered the control room, accompanied by Val.

"Oh, do shut up!" Zelda snapped, half-turning in his direction. "Not every situation requires your inane commentary."

"Good morning to you, too, Empress," Daskin said with sardonic sweetness.

Zelda hissed an exasperated sigh past her teeth. "Why anyone would give a piece of the Triforce to an oaf like you is quite beyond me."

"This is exactly what I'm talking about," Midna said, crossing her arms. "My son is your friend, or at least he was, and this is how you treat him now?"

"Pardon me, Your Majesty, if I no longer find your son's obnoxious japes amusing," Zelda said with forced patience. "I have a great many more concerns now, and I have had to put aside such childish things. In light of his responsibilities, perhaps your son ought to do the same."

Erike narrowed her eyes at Ganondorf when she saw him smirking, but he returned her gaze unconcernedly.

She sighed to herself. Before anyone else could speak, she raised her voice and said, "If we can all resist the urge to argue with one another, our strategy still needs refinement. We will all be engaged in battle before the end of the day; we should not waste our energies on each other."

Zelda fixed her with a glare, but remained silent, and returned to the table. Erike saw her sister give her an approving smile as she and Daskin moved to join her.

They were five hundred miles from the coast when the Divine Host struck.

Daskin was engaged in a discussion with his father over the legions, and whether they should attempt to teleport them inside the fortress' walls or deploy them outside, thereby drawing the attention of their sorcerer-commanders away from the strike team. Suddenly, his mother shouted, "Get down!" and he felt a brief build-up of power nearby before a massive beam of energy tore an entire wall off of the control room.

Daskin momentarily gripped the table against the intense wind that howled through the breach. But as he sensed the powers of the sorcerer attacking them charging again, he allowed himself to be sucked outside amid a flurry of papers, then engaged his levitation abilities.

With the Twilight Blade in hand, Daskin soared over the twisted spires and towers of the flying fortress, searching for the enemy mage. He'd done this dance so many times he thought he could follow the steps in his sleep; the Divine Host attacked, his friends fought off the soldiers while he, his mother, and any other mages that happened to be with them searched for the sorcerer-commander and killed him or her. Did the Dark God's armies ever change their strategy?

Below, he could see the charging shapes of the Divine Host soldiers in their black-and-purple uniforms, screaming incoherently as they hurled themselves against the Calatian soldiers spread throughout the flying castle. The legionaries shouted their own war cries, screaming orders to one another as they gathered against the rushing tide of steel battering them from all sides.

From the breach in the command tower, Daskin saw flashes of light as a sorcerer attacked his friends, but as he moved to assist them, a lance of fiery orange energy whirled up from the roof of one of the spires and impacted him in the chest.

Drawing deeply on the energies of the Triforce of Power, Daskin shrugged off the assault, and instead followed the line of the beam right back to its caster. Beam after beam screamed up at him as he dived like a hunting falcon toward his prey, but Daskin ignored them all, shielded in far greater energy.

When he was so close he could see the purple-robed sorcerer's eyes widen in terror, Daskin slowed to a stop. "My turn," he said, grinning.

A ribbon of brilliant golden energy wound its way through his fingers for a fraction of a second before spreading out to engulf the enemy sorcerer completely, leaving little more than a puff of ash behind.

Pausing only to smirk at what was left of his opponent, Daskin flew back up to the command tower. As he approached, he ducked as an enemy soldier flew backwards out of the breach, screaming like a madman until it slammed into the wall of the spire closest to the command tower and plummeted out of sight.

Inside, Ganondorf towered over the others in the room, laying waste to the invaders with every sweep of his massive arms and spin of his blade. Nearby, Daskin's parents stood back to back, relentlessly fending off soldiers whose apparent objective was destruction of the control consoles. Erike and Lynaka stood a few paces in front of them, whirling and pivoting as they moved in a synchronized deadly dance among the press of foes.

Daskin studied the flood of black and purple for a moment before he realized where they were coming from. He floated backwards a few dozen yards, preparing to cover himself in destructive energy and plow through their lines, but he suddenly stopped when he noticed Zelda stumble after a tremendous blow from her opponent snapped her rapier.

He altered his trajectory, preparing to assist, but Ganondorf was closer. "Zelda!" the Dark Lord called, and tossed her his sword. Before she had even caught it, Ganondorf produced an enormous double-bladed axe from beneath his cloak and resumed smashing his way through the enemy soldiers towards the door. Zelda dodged and spun among the knot of Divine Host creature-soldiers gathered around her, twisting her new sword among them with deadly accuracy.

Obviously, they had the situation under control, Daskin thought, so he resumed his hunt for the sorcerers commanding the horde. They liked to stay well away from the action, but in a place where they could see their troops in order to direct them. Many simply flew above the battlefield out of bowshot, but some were more clever and hid themselves.

As Daskin flew among the towers and spires of the fortress, he searched with both his eyes and his higher senses for the enemy mages, but he didn't have to look very hard, because no sooner had he spotted one perched atop one of the towers when two more appeared, hovering next to their comrade with their voluminous robes fluttering in the wind.

"Three of you?" Daskin shouted challengingly. "That doesn't seem very fair."

The sorcerer who seemed to be the leader, a pale-skinned man with long dark brown hair, raised an eyebrow at the challenge, then gestured sharply with one gloved hand. Three more purple-robed mages appeared, swiftly flying into position to completely surround Daskin.

The Bearer of Power grinned widely, drawing deeply on his Triforce. "That's more like it!" he exclaimed, adding a thunderous rumbling echo to his voice simply because he could.

As one, the Divine Host mages attacked, hurling twisting bolts of elemental fury at him. Daskin passively allowed them all to strike him, absorbing the energy of the blasts with his own powers, then sending them flying back at their casters a moment later.

The enemy mages scattered like a flock of startled birds, but Daskin gave them no chance to recover. Narrowing his eyes at one of the mages, he flung out his hand and loosed a bolt of lightning from his palm. The writhing ribbon of energy chased the sorcerer across the sky before lancing through his chest, continuing on to the right to intersect another frantically dodging mage, and then snaking up to ensnare a third.

Daskin rolled his arm as if cracking a whip, and the long bolt of lightning twisted and snapped the three pinned mages into their comrades. Daskin added another bolt from his other hand, and for a long moment, held all six imprisoned in a twitching cage of blue-white light and energy before suddenly quadrupling the amount of power flowing into the lightning web.

When the light faded, accompanied by rolling thunder bouncing off the walls of the flying fortress, nothing remained of any of the mages but a few scraps of burned cloth slowly drifting with the wind.

Daskin looked down at the powerfully shining Triforce emblem on his hand. "I love this thing," he said to himself, grinning.

He looked around the gargantuan structure, noting that battle still raged between the legionaries and what seemed like hundreds of remaining creature-soldiers.

"Now," Daskin said slowly, casting the net of his senses again, "where are the rest of you hiding?"

He had extended the range of his senses nearly a mile in all directions when he abruptly encountered a presence radiating so much magic that he reflexively dropped his sword and clapped his hands to his ears, though his ears were not what was being deafened.

Daskin had been falling for some time before he regained enough control to direct his plummet onto the roof of one of the towers. He landed heavily, and rolled for several yards before he managed to stop himself.

The overwhelmingly powerful presence continued to assault his higher senses through its mere existence; if this was a god, it was ten times stronger than any god he had yet encountered, infinitely more powerful than was possible for any mortal.

He writhed uncontrollably on the rooftop, clutching his head and trying frantically to shield himself. Now the Dark God seemed to be specifically targeting him, and Daskin felt like he was caught in a flooding river, desperately close to being swept away.

Finally, after several agonizing minutes, Daskin managed to summon enough power from his piece of the Triforce to shield his mind against the assault. His head still throbbed with one of the most painful headaches he'd ever experienced, but at least now he could stand up without falling over.

As he opened his eyes, he became aware of a large dark figure standing a few feet away. He turned, and saw that it was a very tall man in a richly brocaded dark purple robe and cloak, his face hidden by an enshrouding hood.

When he spoke, his voice was so loud and so deep that Daskin didn't understand his first few words. "-Power, are you? Where is Ganondorf?"

Daskin blinked through a renewed surge of pain. "Why?" he managed. "He… owe you money or… something?"

The tall figure's glowing purple eyes flashed within his hood. "You dare be flippant with me? Do you know who I am, mortal?"

"Someone I shouldn't be flippant with, apparently," Daskin said, knowing perfectly well whom he was addressing. Part of him quavered in alarm, insisting that this was one of the very few beings in existence that posed a threat to him as Bearer of Power.

However, another part of him took perverse delight in the fact that he was one of the very few mortals who could be flippant, even rude to a god and get away with it. A twisted part of him was so amused by this that he started laughing.

Setarekh's glowing eyes seemed to goggle at him in disbelief. "Are you mad?" the evil deity said, astonished.

Somehow, Daskin still could not stop laughing. "Quite probably," he struggled out between giggles. "I'm standing here, talking to the fourth most powerful entity in existence, and I'm laughing at him!"

"I could obliterate you in an instant!" the Dark God raged. "You are so insignificant in comparison to me that I would require only the barest fraction of my power to reduce you to your constituent atoms!"

"Funny," Daskin said, crossing his arms casually across his chest, "a fraction of your power's all you got, isn't it?"

Setarekh's glowing eyes narrowed. "More than enough to destroy you," he rumbled.

Daskin rubbed one hand across his upper lip and sniffed. "So do it already."

"You WANT me to kill you?" the Dark God said incredulously.

Daskin shrugged unconcernedly. "I don't think you can. You'd have done it already if you could."

"Do you not recall the pain you experienced merely from sensing my presence?" Setarekh thundered. "How much more pain do you think I could wring from your pathetic body if I meant to?"

Daskin held up his hand. "Well, you should have done it before I learned how to block you," he said, only half bluffing; Daskin wasn't sure just how much of the Dark God's power he could repel, but he certainly wasn't going to voice those doubts.

"Your pathetic barriers are nothing against my power," the Dark God growled. "I am superior to you in every conceivable way."

Daskin hooked a finger behind his ear and wiggled it mockingly. "I'm hearing an awful lot of talking and not a whole lot of 'reducing me to my constituent atoms'," he said, pitching his voice into a mockery of the Dark God's.

If Setarekh has teeth, he's probably gnashing them under that hood, Daskin thought amusedly, watching the dark figure's gloved hands clench into fists. He had no idea why he was persisting in something as unbelievably foolish as antagonizing the Dark God himself, but he kept on.

He raised his hands and waved his fingers invitingly. "Come on then," Daskin said. "Obliterate me already."

With a thunderous cry of rage, Setarekh threw out his hands and hurled twin screaming streams of scarlet-and-purple energy at Daskin.

Daskin drew upon the Triforce of Power more deeply than he ever had before, putting every ounce of his concentration and will into shielding himself from the punishing assault. He felt the shield turning the Dark God's onslaught aside, but knew that he could not maintain this level of power for long, even with the Triforce.

When he detected a subtle twist of power high above the rooftop where he and Setarekh stood, Daskin risked a momentary relaxation of his concentration just enough to see what it was.

The Dark God took full advantage and poured more power into his attack, forcing Daskin down to one knee, but Daskin considered this worth it.

Lynaka erupted out of the hole in the command room, soaring down to the rooftop in a long, graceful dive, her arms stretched out to the sides and her pure white blade shining in her hand. Daskin followed her with his eyes as she fell, gradually turning herself in the air until she was oriented for her landing.

With a tremendous crash that actually buckled the metal of the rooftop, Lynaka landed on her feet a few yards behind the Dark God. Setarekh effortlessly turned to direct one of his streams of obliterating energy upon her, but astonishingly, Lynaka dodged and rushed forward, her sword curving out in a gracefully deadly arc.

Setarekh reeled, but Lynaka's blade still sliced through the tips of his fingers. The Dark God bellowed in pain, his fingertips smoking, and stumbled backwards.

"How…?" he gasped, genuine surprise in his unnaturally deep voice.

Lynaka boldly strode forward, holding up the pure white sword, its brilliant green gem flashing in the bright sunlight. "I bear a weapon of the Celestial Realm, forged by the Divine Smith himself," she said. "I know your secret, and now turn it against you. Meet your fate, devil."

With that, she charged, obsidian ribbons of energy snaking out from her hands to wrap around the blade of her sword.

But, the Dark God vanished in a swirl of crimson light, disappearing before she could reach him. Lynaka slowed to a stop, whipping her sword out into a frustrated slash through the fading remnants of power.

"Took your sweet time getting here," Daskin panted, sinking down to sit on the metal rooftop. Resisting the Dark God's attack had drained him more than he was willing to admit.

"I was busy," Lynaka said with a half-smile, allowing the obsidian energy to fade away as she sheathed her weapon. "His minions were bent on destroying the controls, and I felt it to be a good idea to stop them."

"Another minute or so and you'd have had to find yourself a new boyfriend," Daskin said only half teasingly.

Lynaka fixed him with a fondly amused look. "You can probably stop doing whatever it is you're doing to make your voice echo like that now…"

"Am I still-" Daskin paused and returned his voice to normal. "I didn't realize I was still doing that."

Lynaka walked over and sat down next to him. "We could hear you talking all the way up in the command tower," she said with a grin. "Over the battle." She shook her head in amazement. "You are insane."

Smirking, Daskin folded his hands behind his head and lay back, as if they were on a calm beach and not a windy rooftop on a flying fortress hundreds of feet above the ocean. He looked up at her, grinning. "That's why you love me."

"Oh, is that why?" she said, quirking an eyebrow playfully. "I was beginning to wonder."

"Well, yeah," he said, closing his eyes. "Who else do you know that's crazy enough to mock the Dark God himself right to his… hood? I've got more guts than anybody you know."

"I'd say so," Lynaka said teasingly, and he felt a finger poke him in the stomach.

Daskin opened one eye, giving her a mock-irritated glare. "You'd better watch it, woman," he said. "You keep making cracks like that, I might not come save you next time."

"Seems to me I saved you," Lynaka said in mock indignation. She pretended to ponder this. "Actually, as I recall, I've never needed you to come save me."

Daskin propped himself up on his elbows. "I've rescued you plenty of times."

Lynaka cocked her head, adopting an exaggerated thoughtful frown. "No, I don't think so. I can't think of even one time."

Daskin rolled over and got to his feet. "I think we've got better things to do than sit around talking during a battle."

"Oh, now we've got better things to do," Lynaka said, laughing. She raised her arm toward him. "Help me up."

Daskin crossed his arms. "I thought you didn't need my help," he said, fighting not to smile.

She sighed and extended her hand, also fighting not to smile.

Daskin grabbed Lynaka's hand and started to pull her up, then relaxed his arm for just a brief moment, causing her to unceremoniously thump back down on her rear. Laughing, he pulled Lynaka to her feet.

She gave him a good-natured frown and punched his arm, but her expression abruptly turned serious as she gazed at a point beyond his shoulder.

Curious, Daskin turned to look.

And that was when he saw the hurricane.

Author's Note: Thanks again to hairyhen for beta reading. Thanks to you for reading. Till next time!

[Edit: As you may have guessed from this being the last chapter and yet clearly not the end, I have abandoned this story. If you're really curious as to how this story would have ended, I've posted my outline notes for the ending on my DeviantArt account; there's a link to that post in my profile on this site under the 'Legend of Zelda' heading.

This story as a whole is nowhere near my best work, and I don't consider it worth finishing. It frustrated me endlessly through the last year I struggled to work on it, and as far as I'm concerned, if I don't enjoy writing something, it isn't worth writing. So, if you're disappointed that this story will never be finished, I apologize, but there are better stories out there for you to read. As of this edit, I'm working on a Star Wars story entitled 'One Missed Strike: The New Jedi Order' which you can check out if you're interested. If Star Wars isn't your thing, you may enjoy some of the stories in my Favorites list.]