The Legend of Zelda
Hall of Eagles
24 years before the Imprisoning War…
A brisk wind flew across the landscape. Autumn leaves danced across the bare ground at the base of a massive cliff made of basalt and granite. Standing high in the northern sky, the mighty cliff face stood out above all like a monolith made by the Gods. At the very top of the cliff, there stood a fortress that was just as magnificent and imposing; made from the very basalt which it stood atop. The fortress bore massive, gray walls that surrounded it on all sides in the shape of a hexagon, with towers attached to each corner. Within the center of the hexagon was a mighty tower that stood above all, and at the top of this tower stood a massive statue of an eagle; its wings outstretched.
Just outside of the fortress, there was a small brook that led from the spring which the fortress stood upon. The brook, sacred to the people within, left the fortress by a large drain that was protected by bars of iron and steel. The waters drained down the mountainside and made their way north towards the rivers below. Nearby, a small grove of trees grew alongside the brook.
Beside this grove were three figures. One was a man, barely thirty years of age. He bore a great, black beard and was dressed in kingly armor and robes, and bore a pale crown upon his head. Beside him was a woman who was only a couple of years his younger. She dressed in clothing just as regal as his own; in a dress designed to withstand the wear and tear of the ground at their feet. She too wore a crown, though hers was much smaller, and shone like gold. Playing at their feet was their small, five-year old daughter, who bore light brunette hair like her mother’s but had the same eyes as her father’s.
The little girl giggled as she danced alongside an Eagle Butterfly, one of the creatures native to the region. The butterfly, which was brown with white stripes and blue dots across its body, seemed to dance in the air as it flew. The little girl smiled and giggled as she attempted to dance just like the little creature in the grove of trees.
“Don’t go too far, Hera,” the lady said softly.
“Ah, let her be, love,” the man said with a smile, “It is not often she gets to wander about like this. It’s best she enjoys her freedom before she has to put up with body guards.”
“Like us?” the lady asked, “Seems a pity that the guards are shirking on their duties…”
“Pity, schmity,” the man laughed, “I gave them the day off.”
The lady looked at him in surprise. “Darling, that is not proper; there could be danger…”
“It is peacetime, Persephone,” the man said, “There are no dangers in a thousand miles of here. None dare stand an attack against the famous Hall of Eagles, and with the greatest of swordsman standing as their king to boot any assassin with half a brain would keep themselves as far away from us as possible.”
The lady chuckled slightly. “If you say so…I guess that’s why I fell in love with you so easily.”
The man looked at her. “Why is that?”
The lady gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Because you’ll always be there to protect me.”
The two looked down. The young girl was staring up at them. Her face bore a look of concern as she stared up at them with her big, blue eyes. Carefully held in her hands, she held up the small butterfly to them both. It wasn’t moving.
“It fell down,” she said, “Can you make it better?”
The lady, her mother, immediately felt concern. She bent down upon one knee and took her hands in one of her own. As she did, she slowly stroked her daughter’s hair.
“I’m sorry, darling,” she said, “Mother can’t fix it…”
“Then who can, mommy?” she asked.
“No one can, dearest,” she said, “I’m afraid it’s dead.”
Before she could answer, there was a sudden and very noticeable hush upon the landscape. The trio looked around. The man’s eyes gazed across the land in apprehension. The woman quickly held her daughter tightly while the little girl let out a small groan of fright.
“I don’t like this,” the man said as he put his hand upon his sword. “Take Hera and head towards the fortress. I’ll follow behind.”
“Will you be alright?” the lady asked.
The man slowly drew a large, claymore-like sword from the sheath on his belt. “I wouldn’t boast about being the best swordsman in the world if I didn’t have the confidence that I was capable. Now go, both of you.”
The lady picked up her daughter in her arms and briskly walked up the path towards the fortress. The man followed behind, his back to them while he held his claymore-like sword in a defensive guard. The man’s weapon glinted with the light of the sun, but soon turned gray; storm clouds were coming in from the north.
The man turned at the sound of his voice. Too late. Before he could even strike, a powerful, black fist suddenly came from out of nowhere and struck him full in the face.
When he awoke, dusk had already fallen. He let out a massive cough; blood was pouring down his beard. A large clot was clouding the vision of his right eye, but he could still see with his left. He let out a groan and another cough as he tried to stand.
Almost dusk? He said to himself. Why didn’t anyone come to search for us? That’s the last time I let the guards any days off from now on.
He coughed more blood. As he tried to stand, he stopped and grabbed his ribs while he hissed with pain. His attacker had beaten him while he was unconscious. Beaten…but not killed. That struck him as odd…very odd.
Unless he was never the intended target…
“Persephone!” he shouted.
He looked around. There was no sign of her, or their daughter. Had they gone back to the castle?
No…if they did, they would have sent for help. She would never leave him like this…
“Persephone!” he shouted again, “Persephone, where are you?!”
He looked around. He couldn’t see anyone. A wind was picking up, and a storm was still high overhead, ready to burst its massive load of rain upon the ground below. As he continued looking, he suddenly noticed a trail of blood leading through the grove of trees towards the cliff wall.
He was starting to panic. He tried to find his feet despite the pain in his side. His right arm hung limply to his side. Slowly, he stumbled across the path towards the grove, following the trail of blood that led towards the cliff.
What he saw shook him to his core.
There, lying in a clearing next to the cliff face, was his wife.
Her dress was torn. The shirt had been pulled apart as if the attacker was attempting to rape her. A large gash down her side was oozing with blood; she had been bleeding for quite some time. Her crown was gone, and her face was pale. She lay quietly upon the ground with her left hand clutching something tightly, refusing to let go.
The man rushed to her side. He dropped his sword, which he had dragged on his way there, and quickly held the body of his wife in his arms. She hung limp in his hands. As he held her, devoid of his own pain save the pain of grief, he looked into her closed eyes and tried to wake her.
“Persephone…please, wake up...”
She didn’t answer. Her pulse was slow, and was barely holding on. He shook her slightly.
“Persephone,” he said, “Please, wake up…don’t leave me like this…”
The man could get no response from his wife. Giving into grief, he bent his head down onto her breast. Slowly, despite full restraint, he began to weep.
“I thought that…kings do not cry for loved ones…”
He opened his eyes in a start. He looked upon his wife’s face. She looked back, weakly, with her gray eyes gazing at him in sadness.
“Persephone,” the man said, “By the Goddesses, you are alive…please don’t scare me like that.”
He buried himself in her shoulder. Out of joy for her well-being, he continued to weep. Planting kisses on her neck, he cried. He had almost lost her.
“There’s nothing you can do for me now…”
The king’s eyes slowly widened. What was she saying?
“What are you talking about?” he asked as he looked into her eyes again, “You’re going to be fine. Everything’s going to be alright. I’ll take you to the physician; Corin can help you, you’ll see.”
With a weak hand, the lady brushed a tear from her beloved’s eye. The man took the hand and held it tightly. He looked deep into his wife’s eyes, and noticed that they were starting to fade.
With her final words, Persephone, Queen of the Hall of Eagles, died in her beloved’s arms.
The man felt her last breath rattle slowly before she gave up the ghost. As her hand slowly opened, it revealed that she was holding something inside. The man got a good look before her arm fell lifeless to the ground. It was the broken wing of the butterfly that their daughter had caught.
The man suddenly felt himself give in to the grief. His restraint was broken. His body stopped fighting. Inside, he felt such immense pain it was like someone had driven a sword inside and twisted it with all their might. His heart was cleaved in two. He was broken…
To be continued…