Damnation marches in,
Apocalypse foretold by myths,
Earth's realm ends in pain
As the rivers run red,
With the blood of the suffering
Humanity punished for all its sins.
Bow Down...As the heavens collide
Bow Down...For the sins of the flesh!
–Vader: As Heavens Collide
My piercing eyes never fall asleep
I smile to the tears going down your cheek
My cold touch is what you fear in the night
My breath is the path to the gate of your Hell
My power may steal your voice from a throat
I am the low in this world of sin
Unknown, untouched, in my domain!
–Vader: I Am Who Feast Upon Your Soul
CRIES OF FLUTTERSHY
Dark, unnaturally deformed devils of the caverns swarmed his vision. Ducking beneath the swing of another Minotaur, the king channeled energy into the right hand side spike on his shoulder armor. Within the blink of an eye, it was pulsing with frost magic. Charging at the one behind the first, he threw himself at the creature's waste, wrapping his large arms around its figure and puncturing the devil's chest with the empowered tower on his shoulder.
Within moments, the once living beast had frozen over. It shattered when the monster and Link crashed to the floor. Fluttershy hid herself in a small room, using her senses to buck whatever dashed past the doorway, or was sent flying by her friend's furious assault. Her legs still hurt, but the young Pegasus was determined to invoke some assertiveness and take a page from the warrior's book. She will fight by his side, never again will she allow herself to be threatened or put in harm's way.
Fluttershy was glad that the monsters' attention was not currently on her, at the moment. Her determination was high, but her ability to move was limited by her still sore injuries.
The king slammed his fist into the snout of another monster, one possessing horns in its maw, horns it implored to rip his face to shreds. Luckily, through his aggressive attacks, Link still possessed a level head and upbeat senses, allowing him to counter and retaliate. Though he was still slightly dazed from the effects of the coma and the songs Fluttershy sung to revive him.
Oh, he would not be bested again. His guard will not be dropped. The time for rest is over, he would see to it that everything in his and Fluttershy's path, bled to the death.
Another brutish bipedal monster heaved a wooden table over its hideous head, bringing it crashing down on Link's back. The Hylian fell with a snarl, but managed to roll over and launch a spiked kick into his approaching adversary's hip structure, forcing it to give way and lose balance with a shriek of pain as the sharp, needle sized blades bolted to the back of the dark lord's heels dug deep to the bone.
Releasing his foot which ripped skin and muscle, Link launched a spin kick at the large, nightmarish brute, removing its feet from beneath it and quickening its descent to the floor. More monsters came screaming, the hero of Time jumped to his feet and slapped the palm of his right hand into the fist of his left. Rearing his left arm back, a wind-like vortex formed over his arm pushing it back in a winding motion. Taking a step forward, Link released the thunderous punch into the chest of the first beast to reach him. The powerful spell of the Titan' Fist invoked thousands of pounds of pressure, allowing Link to send the demon flying back into a group of others. Quickly looking over the spot where his fist connected, he noted with glee that the demons chest had imploded upon itself, bleeding threads of the skin and organic tissue lay about in a large hole.
Another monster screamed loudly to his left, its quick feet making short time to reach the target. Link turned and flung his shield up, blocking a jagged blade attached to the monster's arm from cleaving his head in two. A resounding clang bellowed about the hallway, leaving a ring in the large ears of the Link.
Pushing the beast back, Link rotated his grip on the shield so the edge was parallel to the floor and launched his right arm towards the stunned demon. The edge of his shield, sharp and straight, tore through its neck and decapitated the brute's head.
Picking up the sledge hammer, Link whirled about on his boots and smacked another goblin-like demon with his shield. It spun in a circle stupidly, allowing Link enough time to bring the hammer vertically down on its head, caving in the skull.
Fluttershy could hear where the monsters were, shadows of this darkness. Her ears twitched from side to side, the ability to pinpoint the location and origin of a noise was very strong with her. Heavy steps, unlike the unique ones of her friends whose was equally heavy in its own right, pounded by, closing in on her.
She smelled a jagged piece of wood about the length of her forefoot, resting next to her. The approaching threat was several seconds from her, so she picked up the wooden shred and tossed it towards the sound.
Her aim, although not entirely straight, connected with the beast all the same. A grunt and the crashing sound of both the wooden plank and the threatening steps she heard were sent to the floor. From the sound of the plank bouncing off the brutish beast's head, she hit it hard as it didn't make much effort to get back up.
Smiling at her work, she noted that she was getting better at defending herself.
Link, in the midst of a power struggle with a cannibalistic Minotaur, took note of Fluttershy's archery. He gave a dark grin at her work, even without her eyes or wings she still could "see" what was around her. The pride he felt in being her friend was swelling.
"Link, watch out!"
A club slapped him from his thoughts and he landed on his right arm. A pair of teeth grabbed and punctured a vulnerable part of his arm. The Minotaur was all over him, beating at his chest and sinking its rotten teeth into his arm, where the armor did not cover. He tried to break free, kicking and squirming in the beast's grip, but to no avail. It was locked on tight.
With a disgruntled and slightly painful grunt, Link powered the fingers of his free hand and released a barrage of lightning into the Minotaur's eyes. The blast and torture exerted upon it forced the creature to scream and release Link's arm. It flung itself back, writhing in pain and clutching its melted face, still roaring.
Looking around, he noticed the rest of the creatures were momentarily immobile, slipping on the blood of their brothers and the numerous crushed bodies and limbs of their fallen comrades. He knew he had little choice, even now the venom and infection from the Minotaur's teeth was moving in his veins. Taking a deep breath, Link called on his magic and concentrated on his arm and body as a whole, allowing the darkness he carried to push the bacteria and venom from the wound. It poured out in a mix of sickly color. Red and yellow, disgusting...
Now that he had cleansed himself, it was time for the next step. He must hurry, every second he waits the enemy manages to slip closer to his prone form. Turning his focus to fire and his right hand, he channeled the energy of Din into his right arm, the fabric and his flesh becoming retardant to the heat. His arm ignited, a fierce fire burning over his palm and fingers, giving a large glow about the hall. With hesitation, he finally placed his hand over the wound...
The first thing he registered was the smell of singing flesh, then the burning sensation on his skin. Growling and groaning, he forced the fire to close his wound before whipping his hand back. Smoke rose from the spot, it felt like a red hot iron plate was slapped over his upper arm. The burn continued to pester his nerves, he shook from the feeling.
Snorting, he rose to his feet. Grabbing the downed and injured Minotaur, Link threw it against the wall violently, and placed both hands on its shoulders. Giving a loud and blood curdling roar, a show of the inner beast he held, he watched as the aura of the Minotaur became visible and pulled it into his own aura. The body of the screeching beast began to rot in his grasp, charring black and falling to a crumbled heap of embers.
Releasing the corpse from his grasp, with a large ferocious scowl on his face, Link gave another mighty roar as the life-force from the demon revived his energy. He sheathed the hammer, drawing the Master Sword in its place. Holding the sword with both hands, he gave a challenging grin to the rest of the creatures who still struggled to find a footing in the mass of blood and bodies.
"Come for free suffering..."
The challenge in his dark and ominous voice rumbled throughout the area. The fiends began howling in anger at his taunting. He widened his stance, giving him full control over momentum to be spawned by the first attack.
Fluttershy could hear her attacker stirring from the hard blow to its hard and stubborn head, there were no more enemies that could broadside her in the immediate area, so she ventured out from the room she hid herself in. Trotting over to the large swine on the floor, she painted the scene out in her head using her senses. With the coordinates in her mind on the location of its head, she turned and put everything she had in to her hind legs, bucking right on target. She heard a sickening crack and the lack of noise from her opponent proved that she broke its neck with the kick. She shuddered, the old Fluttershy wanting to apologize hysterically... But things were different. This thing wanted to end her life, she had to defend herself.
It was just registering that fact that proved difficult for her. She had never resorted to violence before. Dropping her head, she made quick to return to her hiding spot, not wanting to involve herself in another life or death struggle. It was better if she left Link to do it, he needed to channel his rising aggression. She only wanted to get out of here and forget this place...
Though she worried for her friend, something told her that if she interfered in the battle, he'd be hurt or killed. Best if she closed the door and let him focus.
One of the brutes had managed to stand, it held two large crude clubs, one had a nail sticking out of the head of the weapon, likely the determining factor in gaining an advantage over enemies. Despite the beast's size, and weapons of choice, Link didn't want to wait for it to come to him.
Link cried after charging forward and tackling the large monster, it wheezed what breath it held as it was knocked clear out of its lungs by the sheer force of impact caused by Link's heavy frame colliding with its own. Upon striking the ground, Link grabbed its head and slammed it down on the stone as hard as he could. With it stunned, he stood and slashed at another monster, taking it down as it clumsily attempted to defend against his precise assaults.
The others were still struggling to gain ground. Link brought the Master Sword down on the heart of the first devil, ending its unholy life. Ripping the sword free, he took a look at the others who were now on their knees and hands. He became annoyed by their lack of stability. He wanted to fight, now! But his shoulder began to ache, his ability to swing with his weapon arm was severely hampered now, until he can heal it.
There had to be another way to destroy the last of these damned beings. They would not stop following him until either he or they were dead. Looking around, he noticed the roof of the hall seemed weak at one spot; the wheels of his dark mind began to form a plan.
Sheathing his shield, he reared back and tossed the Master Sword at the Minotaur to the farthest right of this group. Now empty handed, Link pointed both bald fists at the floor. A wind like aura began gathering around his arms, another show of his dark gifts from the Evil King who hoped to use him.
When the hum had ceased, and he felt enough power had been charged, he punched forward with both fists, making sure to plant his feet firmly. A large blast was released, pushing everything with great force back, all the demons were forced off of the slippery blood and broken forms onto clear and dry ground. Above them, the stone ceiling seemed to be failing.
Drawing the sledge hammer, Link approached the Minotaur whom his sword was still embedded in, and retrieved his blade. Placing the hammer down, he quickly heaved the heavy corpse of the slain Minotaur over his head and tossed it at the others, grounding them again. His shoulder began pulsing new waves of pain through his nerves, complaining about the weight he just pressured the wound with.
Gripping his arm briefly, he retrieved the hammer and ran over to the group of minions. Looking up as they moved the heavy body off of them, he stepped back and brought the hammer up in a reverse vertical swing. Upon colliding with the roof, it caved in. Heavy stone blocks pounded down on the minions, burying them alive.
A chain reaction began, the path had lost some of its support and was now crumbling down.
Link jumped to the side, rolling upon landing and dashing away towards the hall where Fluttershy hid in one of the rooms. The collapsing bricks were closing in on him, frantically, he increased his speed, almost tripping on his legs as they burdened to carry his weight as fast as possible from the impending doom of stone.
Taking another jump just as he reached the corner, the hall had been sealed off. He turned about, gasping for breath as he watched the dust and pebbles settle. Taking deep breaths, he rested himself again the wall, gripping his arm. It must have been the burning he used to amputate the wound so it would not get infected.
He felt weak, the adrenaline from the battle having given out on him, bringing him down into a state of exhaustion. Without the adrenaline in his veins, the pain he felt in his arm grew more vigorous. He winced whilst opening and closing his fist, moving the muscles of his arm. The wound was tender, and very sensitive.
Standing, with his hand still clasping his left arm, he made his way gingerly back to the room where Fluttershy waited. With the cavern caving in and the resounding silence, she had opened the door and was twitching her ears to and fro, searching for noise, her snout in the air trying to pick up any scent besides that of blood and burnt flesh.
She turned her head to Link, recognizing his boot steps. Though, she took note he was walking slowly, almost limping.
He watched her with a somber expression, mouth slightly agape, still out of breath. With each exhale, a mist spawned from his lips. Perspiration or simply moisture of the air. It was quite cold here, too. Already, she had picked up his lantern which he left in the room when the they came upon the large group of beasts lurking in this hall. She held it up in her maw, offering it to him. With his good hand, he took it gently and walked into the room with Fluttershy following him.
"You're walking strangely...What's wrong?"
"One of the damned things bit my arm... And another one slammed a table on my back."
He sat down on the cold floor, letting the cool climate take the heat of battle from him. He drew the Master Sword, concentrating briefly. The mark of the Triforce on his left hand began to glow, and the jeweled eye on the hilt followed with its red tint. Slowly, he placed the tip on the surface of the stoney floor, opening his eyes in time to watch as a silent wave of energy shaped in a circle expanded outward to all areas. Immediately, the atmosphere felt lighter and not as threatening or ominous.
Breathing a sigh of relief, both felt a dark weight on their shoulders lifted with the purifying spell. Fluttershy began to smell Link's arm, finding the burned spot. She could still feel the heat coming off it, the burn was pretty bad, too. The skin had smoothed over, but it was definitely going to get infected. That would disable his sword arm, leaving both very vulnerable here. Most of Link's fighting ability depended heavily on his left hand, if it was injured severely like so to the point where he couldn't use it to maximum performance, it wouldn't take much for his offense to fail. He was very fierce, no doubt in her mind he would fight regardless of injury limitations.
A fact that worried her.
If she couldn't fix his arm up, he'd be gruesomely hurt...or killed. She didn't want to lose another friend, and she couldn't take another minute of loneliness in this hell. The dungeons were crawling with evils, all waiting for unsuspecting ponies or knights like Link to stumble in blindly with no defense, ready to pounce at a moments notice.
"...Link, do you have anything that heals?"
The shy pony asked quietly, breaking a silent Link's thinking. Responding to her question with a tired grunt, he began digging in his pouch with his good hand, pulling one of his legs closer for comfort. Fluttershy continued to look him over, using her hooves to feel for more injuries by touching the aggravated spots and listening to Link for sounds of pain or discomfort.
Digging deep into the magical pouch crafted by the child-like Kokiri from the forest he was raised in, Link searched for magic potions or gauze to wrap his arm in. Not finding any, he retreated his hand from the infinite pockets of his pouch and closed the flap.
"I possess no sort of healing objects..."
Fluttershy stopped her braille search, taking a moment to think... Pushing off her friend's leg, she began to search the immediate area for any plant-life; herbs or any chemicals that she may recognize to produce healing proportions.
Her nose led her to the walls, up on the tables, dangerously close to a lit torch, and finally under the door. Link watched her the entire time, not sure what she was looking for.
"What are you looking for, my dear?"
Fluttershy waited to reply, still deciphering the scents her nostrils captured from beneath the door. There was the blood of the ghouls haunting the halls, slain by her friend, burnt flesh from one of his fire attacks...lots of dust... and rats. Lots of rats.
Not detecting a smell of plant-life, she sighed sadly.
"I was looking for some herbs... Twilight taught me a thing or two about chemicals..." She said shyly.
Link hummed to himself in thought, there were plenty of rooms in the halls, some were empty and some were filled with odd things. Most were used for torture chambers, and he was certain that one held Fluttershy at one point...
His face became grim, shooting a hardened gaze to Fluttershy briefly, he looked her over. Taking in all that his tunic and tattered cape shreds had wrapped, he remembered that not only was he after the Shadow of a thousand souls...but Fluttershy's captor. Giving a low growl of contempt, he rose to his feet once more.
The spirit of Heroes said that he must gather the blood of the fallen in order to regain it. The Shadow must have spread his essence into its servants' blood in a well-planned attempt at hiding it from him. It expected him to run and try to escape without ever once making a stand...
What an act of jest.
However, the spirit had neglected to mention the nature of this "gathering". Was he supposed to carry the spilled blood, drink it, or burn it? In all the infinite space of his two Kokiri pouches did he have that many bottles, so choice one was out of the question. Choice two disgusted him deeply, he was not a blood drinker... And choice three would take way too long. Blood doesn't burn easily, it usually just evaporates.
Approaching the door, with Fluttershy leaping to the side to remove herself from his pathway, he opened it and looked at the carnage he left behind. A sick satisfaction dwelt in his stomach, the site of the massacre brought joy to his darkest desires.
"...W-what is it?"
He heard Fluttershy ask behind him. Link continued to take in the blood ridden walls, trying to figure out what he was supposed to do with all that liquid.
A sudden shiver ran up his spine, he felt a presence of non hostility tap into his mind and begin projecting images of him standing in the middle of a large group of enemies, then over to a scene where they were felled by his sword, not a singly one standing but him and Fluttershy. Finally, he saw himself raise his left hand, the pulsing emblem of the Triforce shining forth. His vision watched as the blood rushed up his legs, past his chest plate and into his eyes.
When the images left, his head jolted back from the imaginary force of the dream. Placing his right hand over his scalp, he squeezed his eyes shut.
The Triforce of Courage was obviously the key to recalling his lost fragments of the Hero's Spirit to his vessel. But hesitation set in, exactly what would happen if he absorbed that vile blood into his eyes, would it corrupt his vision? Would it blind him? Or would it simply make him sick?
...Only one way to find out.
Taking a step outside and closing the door behind him, he carefully walked to the center of his war spoils. Puddles of red and black life, the treasures of his quest, lay in waiting. Reaching the center of the hall, where the battle was most heaviest, he pushed all thoughts from his mind. Searching deep into the Triforce he held with his will, he located the eye of control. Pressing his will to command the ancient relic dwelling in his flesh, he felt the mark ignite with the holy grace of Courage.
Raising his hand high and squeezing his fist tight, he waited for the right moment. The sounds of liquid bubbling reached his ears. Furrowing his eyebrows in puzzlement, Link cracked an eye at his surroundings. The blood was moving, like a body of water being pushed by the wind. A sudden presence of great evil tug at his senses...
'Something is very wrong here...'
Opening both eyes, he watched as the blood began combining with other puddles, rising up and taking a shape he slowly began to recognize. The figure that was still forming began to look almost exactly like...
Link's face bore horror, he dared his eyes to lie to him, closing them and trying to wish they were merrily deceiving him. Opening them again, the shape had not changed! Link reached for his his sword.
Before he could finish his remark of surprise, the spawn of the demon's blood launched itself forward and sent a punch to the dark king's chin, the force of the blow being too strong for Link to withstand it and retain his footing. He was sent crashing back into the ground, bouncing like a ball and flailing like a rag doll, until finally coming to a complete stop on his stomach. Groaning in both pain and shock, Link rolled over to face the demonic being who had finished mutating itself so that it now looked... whole. It bore flesh, clothes, eyes, a nose, ears, and a mouth. It had all the features needed to pass itself off as one with the living.
As he attempted to stand, drawing his sword, the demon slapped the evil-repelling blade from his hand and wrapped its hands around his throat, the petite figure exerting immense strength and lifting the king's heavy frame from the spot where he fell.
Still holding the king firmly, it tossed Link into the wall and raised him as far as its arms would reach. Link's legs kicked for ground, his arms wrapping around the wrists of his oppressor's vice-like grip. He continued to wiggle in the demon's grasp, trying to break free.
His eyes locked with the spawn's red gaze. His shock began drying, being burned away by his growing anger, the hatred he held in his heart. His grip soon grew stronger, drawing a weary glance from the creature holding him against the wall to fall to his fists. With a muffled growl, Link began exerting his own raw strength and might against the force his enemy was using.
Slowly, its hands lost their hold on his neck. Quickly, Link brought both legs up and kicked hard off the chest of this thing. It bounced off the wall parallel to Link's, allowing him to land on his feet. Bringing both hands up to his throat, he coughed and gasped, recovering as much as he could before the demon could get up.
The door Fluttershy hid in opened, and the little pony stepped out, looking away from the battle in confusion as she searched for the source of the noises and sounds of struggle coming from the hall. Her head turned to Link's direction, her ears catching the sound of him coughing hysterically.
"Link! A-are you alright?"
The king took notice of his friend who was rapidly making her way towards the sounds of his coughing. Link raised up his palm in a motion for her to stop, trying to force the word out. She could not see his hand signs, not as she reached him and began looking around.
He pushed his friend with both hands back in the direction of the room. He heard running footsteps from behind, looking around he saw the figure launch a running kick at his forehead. Link ducked, grabbing the attacker's foot and sending it crashing into the floor beside them.
"What was that?!"
Fluttershy jumped in panic, still very skittish of her surroundings. Link continued to push the Pegasus into the room, until she was back in. Jumping to the spot where his sword lay, Link dropped on top of the blade, rolling over and grabbing the hilt.
Before he could make a stand, the demon was already all over him. Grabbing his foot, it hurled him into the wall, forcing the stone to crack beneath the weight of his body and the momentum of the throw. Link dropped to his knees, slightly dizzy from his head striking the concrete. Shaking himself free of the blow, he looked up, raising the Master Sword.
Once again, the creature proved impossibly faster than he was. With a club it had picked up that was left behind by the previous horde he slaughtered, it brought the wooden weapon down on the back of his head. Upon impact, Link gave a short grunt before his world began to slow significantly down.
The power of the blow had hit home, he will soon lose consciousness. Already, his eyes made for the back of their lids, but he fought them out, willing himself to stay awake.
"Fluttershy..." He whispered, "Must...protect...Fluttershy..."
His vision began to swim, blurring in and out of focus. His hearing was beginning to fail, all he could hear was the club dropping to the ground. The dark king began to sway, his sense of balance leaving him quickly... He watched with his hazed vision as the demon marched over to the door and entered.
His words fell on deaf ears.
He heard Fluttershy scream his name, Link lost his control over his legs, falling forward. Moving his hands, he pushed and pushed, but his strength wasn't there. The Spawn had hit him too hard. Forcing his head up with his gaze locked on the room where Fluttershy was hiding, he pushed himself forward. The Spawn appeared in the door, Fluttershy on its shoulders, kicking and squirming beneath its strong hold.
Giving a defiant and spiteful growl of warning, Link watched as the devil took off at a full run down the hall, kidnapping his friend.
It was all that he could see before his will finally shattered. Link's eyes closed on him, giving in to the blow to his head, and forcing him into an unwanted slumber. He could still hear her cry his name in fear and panic...
"...Link...! ...Help me...!"