Hyrule’s Castle (Present)
Zelda cautiously eyed the new visitors from her throne seat, as Nabooru, and her two guard companions walked down a carpeted aisle inching ever closer to her father in the throne room.
Nabooru was slender, and yet, voluptuous and impossibly shredded all at once. Her Gerudo garbs left little to the imagination, as most of her olive skin was exposed for everyone to see. Zelda admired how she could look so dashingly beautiful and deadly all at once.
“Greetings King Hyrule! I heard about a proposition that I wouldn’t turn down…and propositions so good that I can’t turn down, greatly excite me. So kindly propose.” Nabooru firmly stated in a strange, almost alien accent to Zelda.
“I see…Straight to the point.” The King gestured for his servants to bring out chairs, and refreshments for his guests before continuing, “Beautiful Nabooru, I called you here to grant you a sizeable piece of Land in exchange for some services.”
“Umm what services do you have in mind?” Nabooru teased.
Zelda saw the King’s cheeks turn red and even General Stonard seemed uneasy at the sight of the Gerudo woman.
“Protection services. You see there have been reports of strange happenings-” King Hyrule was cut off by Nabooru who finished his sentence to the astonishment of every soul present in the room, “in the North West Hebran region.”
Nabooru stood up from her chair, and took a jug of wine, and a large mug serving herself to her heart’s content.
“This land offering of yours better be better than what you were going to offer me when you invited me here.” Nabooru said in a serious no nonsense tone.
“The situation is that serious?” King Hyrule inquired.
“Well. As you know, I have scouts everywhere. It is our way, the Gerudo have traditionally done this.” Before she finished what she was about to say General Stonard felt the urge to add a few of his choice words,
“Indeed! Scouts in order to steal and murder!”
“General!” The King reprimanded.
“The old grouch is right though.” Nabooru replied with a smirk, “We are thieves among other things, but since I took over, at least the Gerudos loyal to me have stopped the murdering part. Either way, I sent two scouts to the north west. They never came back.”
Zelda and her father eyed each other turning their attention back to the Gerudo queen. Her tale was beginning to resemble their own account of their missing soldiers.
“So, I sent two more. They never returned. At that point I headed a party of my finest warriors and we found our scouts, or I should say, parts of them chopped off and spread all over the snowy terrain.” Nabooru’s yellow eyes betrayed her anger, as she recalled the events.
“Normally,” She resumed “ I would blame a deed like that to some sick individuals who ambushed my girls. But the second party I sent were part of my elite guards. I would pit any one of them against five of your best men, and your men would be returned to you in coffins.”
General Stonard let out an incredulous laugh at her statement. But Nabooru didn’t change her serious expression. Zelda could tell that she hadn’t made that comment to boast. She had said it in order to illustrate the seriousness of the situation.
“We are dealing with something very dangerous here gentlemen, and if you brought me here to engage whoever did this to my women and your men. And yes, I did hear reports of your patrols gone missing. I really hope that you will make it worth my while.” Nabooru finished.
“Well I am offering you the sole ownership of all the Canyon lands… including the Arbiter’s Grounds. The new Border would be drawn at Mount Hylia. All of this in exchange of you, and your guard to remain at the castle watching over us until Impa returns from her quest to the Hebran border.” The King offered, seemly pleased with himself.
Nabooru filled her mug with wine once more, and took generous gulp from it before replying,
“If you made me come all the way here for this pitiful offering… then you have greatly wasted my time and I expect to be compensated for my troubles.” Nabooru exclaimed in anger.
Zelda felt puzzled, she had felt the land offering had been more than generous.
“I don’t understand Nabooru. You have been given nearly all, if not all of the canyon lands to the South West.” Zelda asked.
“What a beautiful woman you have become princess. I had heard tales of your wisdom, but it seems you lack knowledge in the dirty trappings of politics and war.” Nabooru replied.
“Enlighten us then! You ungrateful woman!” General Stonard cut in.
“I kindly advise your general to keep his thoughts to himself. I am not in the mood to entertain jesters today.” Nabooru said throwing a menacing glance directed at the general.
“Not one more word from you Stonard.” The King commanded prompting Stonard’s thick visage to turn red in both; anger, and embarrassment.
“I am being offered lands that my people already occupy. The Princess herself has been witness to this in her constant travels to the grounds. My people live, and trade in that land with your soldiers.” Nabooru paused to take another gulp from the mug, “Hylians have never had any interest in settling in those lands, because they can’t farm or grow crops and the living conditions are harsh. You are basically offering me nothing. What’s more, I would actually be making you, and your people a favor by accepting such a generous gift.”
Zelda eyed both her father and the Gerudo warrior queen in stunned disbelief, and perhaps shape at her little grasp of the situation.
“How are we benefitting from this move?” Zelda questioned.
Nabooru sighed and smiled she seemed truly stunned by Zelda’s naïve nature.
“By accepting these lands you will remove your military presence in the area. Allowing you to amass your forces in central Hyrule just in time to prepare for the upcoming war. My people would be left to defend the Canyon routes from the mysterious Hebran invaders. Your father, Princess, plans for my people to be his first line of defense.” Nabooru finished.
Zelda was stung by her words and the realization that both Stonard, and Her Father had plotted against the well being of the Gerudo all along, and that she had gone along with the plan totally oblivious. Impa had been right about many things it seems. Her father wasn’t a great ruler.
As she pondered on the new found revelations. Nabooru stood up from her chair, tossed the mug and empty wine jug aside directing her gaze at her Father once more.
“I will propose now an offer that you will have to accept. You will keep moving your little border further east granting us vast Faron green lands. Otherwise I will decline your original offer and when the Hebran threat decides to make its way down Hyrule, we will stand idly aside, and we will let them pass unhindered and unopposed into Hyrule. You will have no prior warning, and who knows? Maybe they will offer me a better land deal than you. Do not think that I am not willing to deal with them because of what they did to my scouts. I am here dealing with you now after centuries of your people murdering mine. I will retreat now to my accommodations. You have until morning to make a decision.” Nabooru turned to Zelda, “It has been a pleasure to meet you Princess, it seems that you are the only noble spirit in this room.” Nobooru finished signaling her companions to follow her as she exited the throne room leaving Zelda, the King, and Stonard alone in the room.
“The audacity to come in here demanding favorable terms!” Stonard broke the silence.
“Indeed. It seems our young vixen is smarter than we thought.” King Hyrule added.
“The audacity?….the audacity to trick them into defending the western borders for nothing! Why wasn’t I told!” Zelda demanded angrily.
“Zelda! Reign yourself! This is how politics work. My duty is to save Hylian lives, if the Gerudo battle the Hebran threat before they ever get to our main lands it would be highly beneficial to us.” The King explained.
Zelda couldn’t believe her ears, her father was willing to sacrifice the Gerudo without a second thought, as if they were animals.
“I can’t believe this. They are our allies. You are even asking their queen to protect us from assassins, but you have no qualms about her people dying in our stead.” Zelda said.
“The Gerudo are born warriors…they like to fight and they like to steal things. They are criminals. Hyrule would be better of without them to be honest.” Stonard added.
Zelda stood up from her throne seat, and walked towards Stonard. Once in front of him she slapped the man across the face. She slapped him so hard that her entire arm throbbed in a jolt of pain. So hard, that Stonard stumbled into the ground. So hard, that her father jumped up from his own throne in astonishment.
“Zelda! The Goddesses be damned! What in blazes!?” The King yelled as Zelda was already on the way out of the room.
“Perhaps Hyrule would be better off without men like you.” She stated before exiting.
Hyrule’s Field (Present)
“You have been extremely quiet since we left the forest. So unlike you Aryl…so unfairy like.” Link protested as he made his way through the untouched white blanket of snow covering miles upon miles of Hyrule’s field.
“You haven’t been much talkative either…” Aryl replied.
“Well, I am tired of listening to my own thoughts. What do you know about Saria’s duty to the Kokiri?”
“Less than you…all she said to me was that they had to return to the Tree…because their mission was over.” Aryl replied before adding, “I should be returning to a Great Fairy myself.”
“Why haven’t you?” Link asked.
“Because Saria made me promise her that I would watch over you.”
“You make it sound as if it was a bad thing.” Link stated sarcastically.
“It is. I am tired Link.”
“I thought fairies couldn’t really get tired.”
“Physically, not so much, but Spiritually? Yes. I just said goodbye forever to a person that I had accompanied for centuries. If you think you are hurting for Saria…I am feeling a hundred times worst.” Aryl finalized.
A silence took over both of them for what seemed like hours. Until Link decided to speak again.
“We will return to the Forest…someday…”
“We will find nothing if we do.” Aryl said sounding defeated.
“Yeah…that might be so. But the Tree will still be there and at least he can tell us …well he can tell us something.”
“I am sorry about the way that I am treating you. I am just sad and angry. My spirits will improve in time. I hope.” Aryl said.
Link nodded and smiled. Everything that had happened between the night before, and their current situation seemed surreal. One moment he was returning home from an arduous mission, and the next; they were on their way to the ranch after losing their home, and everything that they had known to be home in their entire lives.
He still didn’t want to accept that he would never see Saria again. But his thoughts now turned to the Ranch, and Malon. It had been two years since he had last seen Malon. She was the same age now that she had been when he first travelled to the future 7 winters prior.
“I think Malon must hate me.” Link blurted out.
“The horse girl? Why would she?” Aryl replied.
“Well, I have a knack for disappearing when she least expects it for two years at a time.”
“Well your absences have all been justified, have they not?” Aryl reasurred.
“Maybe.” Link replied not convinced.
“Well that’s a bridge you will cross when you actually get to it.”
“It will be soon.” Link paused to look at his surroundings and at the sun, “We are making good time, we might get there by nightfall.”
Hyrule’s castle (Present)
Impa rubbed her chin as she pondered what Nabooru had demanded from the King. She had been away during the reunion planning their mission to the Hebran border. As always, the King sought her counsel. Stonard was too much of a prejudiced man to take his advice into consideration when it came to the dealings with the other Races of Hyrule.
“You are going to have to cede those lands to the girl. She is not a fool. The big problem that we have is that we have no idea if the Hebran issue is the work of a few members of a Sheika cult or a small army… for that matter a mid sized army. We just don’t know what we are dealing with.” Impa stated warily before resuming, “ So we might as well treat our only allies out west properly.”
The King sat on his throne with a flustered expression. His ultimate goal was to expand his Kingdom, not to do the opposite.
“There are peasants in the region who fought for us during the Civil War. They have formed farming communities in that area, most notably Ordona. I granted them their land.” The King explained.
“The Gerudo under Nabooru haven’t shown aggressive behaviors towards our men in the Nephra area. There have been no reports of thievery either. They are civilized. Ordona is further east near the woods, and from what you told me Nabooru requested the green areas closer to the Canyon. It seems like they will have little to no contact with our farmers in that region unless it is for trade, or procreation. The Gerudo do need men after all.” Impa finalized.
“Stonard will not approve of this.” King Hyrule cautioned.
Impa smiled, giving the King a curious look. Stonard’s military advice was appreciated, but he never had the last word on any discussion.
“Stonard is not King. All that matters is that you say yes, or no to her demands your Majesty.” Impa replied.
“Go inform the vixen of my decision. Tell her that I will grant her the lands…but she must respect the rights, and the ownership of the peasants lands in Ordona. In turn, I expect her, and her army to serve as our first line of defense against any threat from beyond the Hebran border, and also the security services of the castle are her responsibility until you return from your mission.” King Hyrule finalized.
Impa bowed, and exited the Throne room. She had much on her mind. She had spent the day selecting candidates and preparing supplies for their long and perilous journey in Hebra. More than preparations, her greatest concern was the prospect of having to face the Betrayed. Her people; the Sheikah.
The Sheikah were warriors well versed in magic and technology. Both of those went hand in hand. Impa came from a long line of Royal protectors. She was one of their best warriors, or at least she liked to think herself as one. No man in Hyrule could match her…well no man except Link…maybe. But this could change once they met with the Hebran Assassins.
As she walked towards Nabooru’s room, Zelda called out to her.
“Impa! Did you just talk to my father?” The young princess asked.
“Yes. I am on my way to deliver a message to Nabooru.” Impa replied.
“Did you know that they were trying to trick them?”
“Trick who?” Impa asked.
“The Gerudo! The land offering was a rouse!” Zelda angrily exclaimed.
“That is how negotiations work princess. Your father and well…his counselors, we were trying to get the upper hand. Nabooru showed she is a worthy leader and asked for better terms.” Impa explained.
“But that’s awful. They are our allies!”
“Not too long ago they were our enemies. But don’t be too distressed about this. Your father has agreed to Nabooru’s demands.” Impa finalized as they reach the Gerudo’s room.
With a few gentle knocks on the door one of Nabooru’s Gerudo guards opened it.
“We are here to speak with your queen.” Impa politely notified.
The Gerudo woman looked back into the room nodded and turned her attention back at Impa.
“You may come in.” The Gerudo woman replied.
“Ah the Great Impa! What a sight! What a stunning sight indeed! What I would give for you to join my clan!” Nabooru greeted.
“Nabooru, I am glad that you accepted our invitation to come.” Impa responded.
“I will be glad too, if my terms have been met.”
Impa nodded and smiled pulling out a royal parchment.
“This is a parchment granting you the Lands beyond Mount Hylia. You will get 50 Square miles of Green land to do as you wish. We have Hylians living east of your lands in Ordona. We ask that you do not interfere with them negatively, as those lands belong to them.” Impa explained.
“We have no quarrel with your people, provided that they leave us to our own devices.” Nabooru said in agreement.
“In exchange, the King expects you to defend our land from the West in case of any attack that might come, beginning with the Hebran threat.”
“No.” Nabooru calmly replied.
“What?” Impa questioned she could see Zelda stirring nervously beside her.
“Tell your king, that I request a thousand men at least, to do what you ask. All I have is 500 women at the fortress.” Nabooru replied.
Impa wasn’t surprised by the girl’s reaction. The Gerudo weren’t numerous. They weren’t much good in conventional head to head combat, though they could decimate an Army 3 or 4 times their size utilizing the canyon to their advantage. Nabooru, however, was right about their numbers being a liability in the defense of the area.
“Once I return from my scouting mission we can fine tune that request because I will have an idea of the size of the force that lurks in Hebra.” Impa said trying to convince the Gerudo Queen.
“No. What if you don’t return? We won’t know the size of the force, and I won’t have my one thousand Hylian men. I won’t send my women into their deaths like this. What good is land, if there is no one to live in it?” Nabooru replied.
“She is right.” Zelda agreed, “That’s a Royal Parchment and I am a Princess, I will sign the parchment granting you one thousand….and five hundred troops, as amends for how my father, and Stonard treated you earlier.”
Nabooru smiled pleased, but Impa was a bit disappointed at Zelda’s imprudence. The girl had just contradicted her father again, but this time in a decision sure to produce some negative ramifications for the kingdom.
“It will be my pleasure to keep you safe while Impa is gone Princess. Clearly, you are the Queen that Hyrule needs.” Nabooru stated.
“If that is all, we will take our leave.” Impa finalized.
“I do have one more matter that I wish to ask about.” Nabooru interrupted Impa and Zelda before they were about to make their way out of the room.
“Where is Link? He is your greatest Warrior, why isn’t he here with you?” Nabooru asked with a curious look in her fiery yellow pupils.
“What business have you with him?” Zelda asked her cheeks reddening.
“None. But, I do owe him a BIG favor, and now that he is grown I wish to repay him.” Nabooru explained teasingly.
“Re-repay him?” Zelda asked nervously, seemly bothered by Nabooru’s statement.
“Hmm interesting…either way, if you know of his whereabouts, please let him know that Nabooru wants to see him.” Nabooru finalized, taking a good look at Zelda before turning her attention to Impa, “You may take your leave my friends. A pleasure doing business with you.”