Volume VI Title 2: Hyrulean Adventure

Volume VI Title 2: Hyrulean Adventure

Many months after saving Zelda from Vaati, Link as if in a vision heard a voice that told him of dark clouds suddenly covering Hyrule, casting dread across the land, and beckoned him to come to the castle.
There he met Zelda who, relieved, informed him that the six maidens that protect Hyrule and guard the portal to the Four Sword Shrine had gathered in the castle to reinforce the seal binding Vaati, as it was assumed that the foreboding sky was announcing his impending liberation.

The maidens and Zelda performed the ceremony to open the portal, but as they moved to step in, the gate was shrouded in darkness and to everybody's shock a shadow that looked just like Link jumped out. Before anybody could act, the shadow imprisoned the maidens and Zelda into dark crystals and took them away.
Link run after them and into the portal, only to find himself in a Four Sword Sanctuary that had been covered in darkness, the four jewels missing from their pillars. Link caught up with his shadow but found himself unable to fight it as he had no weapon. Thus he came to make a difficult decision: to save his friends as well as Hyrule from his shadow he took the Four Sword once again, splitting himself into four but also allowing Vaati to break free. As Link attempted to confront his shadow he gave his back to the evil sorcerer and the latter took advantage of this to blow the four far away to the north east of Hyrule.

Link lost consciousness but while passed out he heard a voice. It told him that Vaati's magic had robbed the Four Sword of it's power to vanquish darkness and that to restore it, Link would have to find the source of this power, Force Gems that had been scattered all over Hyrule by Vaati's wind.
It was the owl Kaepora Gaebora, he had watched over Link and went on to tell him that before he could stop Vaati, Link would have to rescue the maidens and Princess Zelda. He also warned the hero about his dark counterpart: Shadow Link who had been causing troubles all over Hyrule.

Thus four-who-are-one began their new adventure. Starting from Zora's fountain east of Death Mountain, they returned south west toward Hyrule castle. On the way, they were unexpectedly confronted by a group of guards from the castle. It was kill of be killed and the four made short work of the frenzied guards, but these left no corpses. What could be happening?
Inside the cave of no return they also confronted Shadow Link and with advice from the ghost of one of his victims they defeated him... but they would discover soon that this was only one of many copies of theirs.
Every so often during their journey, the four would run into a barrier of darkness created by Vaati to syphon the land's power, stealing life force from nature, but with the Power of Four Sword, restored by the Force Gems collected, they could easily destroy them. As they approached the castle, Kaepora gaebora told them that one such barrier was being used by a terrible fiend to slowly steal power from the maidens. With renewed urgency the four fought their way past the hordes of strange guards that had taken over the castle.

Inside they met two bizarre friendly Zoras, but it was really a Great Fairy that had come to help the maidens but was cursed and split into two. Being able to become one again thanks to the four, the fairy removed the magic barrier that hindered them and promised to ask the other fairies to give them assistance (which they would, restoring their health and empowering their equipment).
Finally they reached the top of the castle and found a large monstrous shadow waiting for them. They fought the phantom by dodging its sword and reflecting his balls of magic back at it with the Four Sword, knocking it down where their blades could reach. Once the shadow was dispelled, the finally reached the chamber where the Blue Maiden was imprisoned and freed her from the dark crystal. Grateful, she offered to take Link as close to his next destination, the Eastern Temple, as she could protect them as long as they traveled by water. There, Link would find another maiden.

So they quickly reached the coast, south east. On the way to the temple they found themselves in the Blue Maiden's village. The place had been struck by calamity since a group of mages had come in, whirlwinds and evil shadows had begun to kidnap children and cause all osrts of troubles. The owl appeared again, and told Link that the Four Sword allowed him to faintly see the shadows of those taken to the Dark World and sense the Moon Gates: places where it was posible to enter the Dark World using a Moon Pearl. The village elder believing that this would allow them to save the village gave them a Moon Pearl and the youths used it (and others) to explore the village in both world. In fact, often during their quest the four would have to venture into the Dark World by this method, in order to progress in their own. Anyway, they were relieved to find the children unharmed in the darkened mirror of Hyrule, in fact they took advantage of the adult absence to play their games all day... but some of them were already growing bored with their new routine and looked forward to returning home.
The four went on to help the Seeker's Guild investigate the mages, but while they were exploiting the situation to practice their dubious spells, it was not a good lead as the real culprit was once again Shadow Link (with help from Vaati, no doubt). Defeating his shadow Link managed to return the village to normal and went on to the Eastern Temple. There, the four fought many enemies until the Yellow Maiden was at last free. With gratitude, she took them to the base of Death Mountain, telling them that another maiden surely was imprisoned in the Tower of Flames atop its peak.

With help of a friendly mage and the Gorons tribe, the four reached the tower and braved the dangers inside. Just as they were about to free the maiden, they met the owl again on a balcony and were informed that Hyrule Castle was once again in the grip of darkness. Perhaps this was the work of some evil that had hid in wait for a good opportunity to strike. Could this mean that another maiden had been imprisoned there? The four saved the Green Maiden and told her about the castle. She agreed to take them there, and compared the four's bravery to that of the Knights of Hyrule. The honored knights, she said, had the duty of guarding the jewels that had disappeared from the Four Sword Shrine. To reach the Realm of the Heavens and Vaati, they would have to find out what happened to the knights and the jewels.

As if on cue, while they made their way from the south back to Hyrule Castle, they run into a jewel encased into a strange structure on the ground that resembled Vaati. It was guarded by large shadow wielding a sword.

Upon defeating the lesser enemies surrounding their foe, the four were drawn through the structure's eye into the Dark World, there they could finally fight back the undead foe. Upon defeating it, the shadow revealed itself to be one of the Knights of Hyrule that had fallen under the sway of darkness. The knight expressed his grief and regret for failing to fight the darkness, and his fear that a similar fate could have befallen his brethren. The jewels were also cursed and used to form portals between Hyrule and the Dark World. The knight entrusted his royal jewel to Link, exhorting him to free the other guardian knights and retrieve their jewels, in order to reveal the path to the Tower of the Winds and reach the Realm of Heavens where Vaati resided.

The four crossed a swamp poisoned by Vaati's dark barriers, and in the cemetery behind, the gravekeeper told them that he believed many of the villainous creatures roaming Hyrule belonged to the dark tribe that, according to legend, was long before sealed in a mirror said to be hidden in the Forest of Light. But now the forest was covered by pitch-black clouds. It had become Forest of Dark.
During the heroes' absence, the castle had been secured and storming it was not an option. Therefore, the four sneuck in by night and went to the source of the evil, a ghost that had confronted them already in the graveyard. Once they were rid of it, they freed the White Maiden she agreed that they should ahead to her forest next, and seek the temple where the Dark Mirror was secreted after the dark tribe that long ago attacked Hyrule had been sealed into it. She could hardly believe that a forest empowered with the strenght of light could so suddenly be overwhelmed by darkness and hoped to find what mighty force was to blame.

In the forest, north west, the four found many devious Deku Scrubs. They appeared harmless, but were truthfully part of the dark tribe that slept in the mirror. Smug and not too bright they tried to persuade the Links into becoming Deku Scrubs, telling them that this would come to pass if they wandered in their Lost Woods long enough, and that soon their forests would be all over the world. Thus talking with the Scrubs, the four discovered who had set the dark tribe free and was now its king: Lord Ganon they kept on chanting as if in worship. This confused the heroes; was the mastermind behind all this havoc not Vaati?
In any case, the Scrubs were commanded by their King of Darkness to let no one leave the forest. In particular groups of four. Whoever Ganon was, he knew about them. The Scrubs blocked all the ways and hid the shovels so no one would use their underground passages, but the four managed to find them and escaped to the nearby village: Kakariko. Once home to many kind people, the evil climate so much stronger in this area of Hyrule had turned several of them into wrecks, thieves and jerks who would actually welcome the King of Darkness' rule. Furthermore, Link was accused of having set fires all over the place. It goes without saying that Shadow Link was responsible for this. The four tried their best to help the remaining good people. They captured the thieves, helped a ceremony to cause rain and put out the fires and once again defeated Shadow Link. Then swimming through the rapids, they made their way to the temple. But before its entrance another changed knight guarded a cursed jewel. The four defeated him, breaking his curse, and the knight gave them his jewel. Upon learning that Vaati had been freed he commented that this could be part of the plan of the one that put him under a spell to turn Hyrule into a land of darkness.

Urged by the knight, the four entered what Ganon had made his dwelling, the Temple of Darkness. The enemies were far more belligerent, but they made it to the top where they found the same Phantom they fought in the beginning of their adventure in Hyrule Castle, but this time it created three illusions identical to itself to fool the heroes.

Nonetheless, they prevailed and upon entering the next room they found that the Dark Mirror had indeed been stolen. The White Maiden told them that the mirror could also be used to reveal and give life to the wickedness within a person, then as an epiphany, she realized this could be the origin of all the shadows that had spread through Hyrule. The four freed the Red Maiden, and not knowing where to head next, the maidens held counsel to find a lead. When the name Ganon was spoken, the Red Maiden seemed to recall it, but then corrected herself: she had heard about a Gerudo nomad named Ganondorf. The Gerudo people, she said, were honorable and pure of heart, but while not believing in a connection it was decided they'd head to their village in search of clues. Beyond that, lied ruins and an ancient pyramid, so old that no one knew much about them and from which none returned.

The Red Maiden led Link to the Gerudo village, there Link heard the gerudo complaining that the man, Ganondorf had flouted their law by heading to their sacred pyramid through the desert, all for his own mad desire for power. Ganondorf was no ordinary Gerudo, he was one of the special children born once every 100 years among them and that would be destined to become guardian to them and the desert. But this one child, his heart grew twisted with every passing year. The Gerudo were very upset, they believed Ganondorf would die trying to pass the Desert Temple that served as a trial for those that would enter the pyramid. Upon learning that the four were sent by the Shrine Maidens, the gerudo agreed to let them go into the desert and to the pyramid. A perpetual sandstorm blew there, a barrier to hinder those who enter the temple. Eventually the heroes made their way to the village of the Zuna tribe. They were a cacti people that descended from those who built. They confirmed that someone had recently passed by their village (though recently could be many days for a village so isolated) and thet were told the piramyd had a secret, but the Zuna couldn't clearly remember if it was about some evil force or not.
Continuing their journey through the desert the four found another cursed knight. Upon defeating him, he gave them the jewel and told them that the one who defeated the knights used a mighty weapon that cast them into the Dark World where they were lost into the shadows. The jewels were cursed and the Tower of Winds vanished. This villain was also the one that created Shadow Link, it was a man from the desert, not Vaati, although he did use the hero's shadow to manipulate him into releasing the sorcerer.

The four succesfully passed the trial in the temple and entered the pyramid. Inside it was a huge maze, with dangerous monsters, but eventually they made it to a room with an ancient inscription. The Red Maiden translated it for them:

Seek you the world? Seek you power?

Does your soul despise peace and thirst for more?

Does your soul cry for destruction and conquest?

We grant you power to ruin the world. The power of darkness.

Evil spirit of magic trident.

You are the King of Darkness.

Seeing an indentation in the shape of a trident below the inscription, the maiden had to accept that Ganondorf had taken the weapon and that the King of Darkness was not Vaati.
In the adjacent room they found the Purple Maiden, and now that all six were reunited, they tried to contact Zelda. They made it and Link was able to hear the voice of his childhood friend, she expressed her relief to know they were all safe and told them she was kept in the now frozen Tower of the Winds before Vaati could cut her off from them. The last royal jewel was needed and there was only one place left for it to be hidden at, the area surrounding the tower itself. Because of the darkness gripping Hyrule, time had halted in that place and winter lingered on to the point of freezing the whole region.

The maidens took Link there and asked him to find the last jewel while they secured the Four Sword Sacred ground where they need to be placed. After crossing a frozen (and partially drained) lake, the four stood before a temple made for the largest part of ice (probably where the water from the lake went). But there they also found the last jewel and the knight guarding it. Once they had conquered the last jewel, the knight thanked them for breaking the spell on him and his brethren, and urged them to go through this temple to the Sacred Ground from which they could enter the tower reach vaati in his Palace of Winds.
They hurried through and found the maidens waiting for them in the Four Sword Sanctuary that lay within the woods. The maidens placed the four royal jewels back on their pedestals and sent a prayer to the heaven and the earth, which made the Tower of Winds appear once again. Without hesitation, Link rushed in.

Long and long the four climbed floor after floor, but eventually they reached the top and rescued Princess Zelda. She thanked him for thinning the darkness above ground, but the Realm of Heaven was still filled with Vaati's monsters. Link then stepped out on the tower's roof and onto the clouds, headed toward Vaati's palace. On the way he rid the place of his minions and finally found the Dark Mirror. It was encased in a structure similar to the one that held each royal jewel, and from the replica of Vaati's eye, more and more Shadow Links were generated, no matter how many the heroes defeated. Fortunately Zelda came to their aid and closed a magical lid over the eye. With the last few Shadow Links dispatched, they recovered the mirror and found themselves in front of the Palace of the Winds. Zelda created a bridge for the heroes to enter it and they did.

The palace was very different from the last time they came to fight Vaati. Far darker with no windows and decorated with strange statues of a blue wild boar standing up and fully clothed. Overcoming the trials inside, they went on to fight Vaati once more. It was an intense battle, but the sorcerer fell before the Four Sword.
Upon leaving the palace, they found Princess Zelda waiting for them, but they did not have time to celebrate, without Vaati's magic the palace was soon to crumble and they hurried to the safety of the Tower of Winds. But they found none inside: with no apparent reason, the tower was collapsing too. The four hurried back down the way they came, protecting Zelda from the monsters that someone was still summoning to hinder them. Then just as they stood in front of the exit, the floor gave in under their feet and they fell into the large empty basement.
Zelda came to, and found a raw patch of darkness in front of her. Whatever evil it was, she decided to seal it with her power... but it was not enough, and she was trapped in a sphere of shadow as the enemy revealed itself to be Ganon, the King of Darkness. The dark lord confidently challenged the four and a furious battle began. The heroes slashed at the fiend with the Four Sword, while Ganon attmpted to tear them apart with his trident. Using the powerful weapon, he also tried to trap them into the Dark World, but they would defeat the darkness and return to continue their fight. Weakened, Ganon could not keep Zelda imprisoned any longer. Once she was free she gave Link a special bow; she knew what Ganon was, an ancient demon from legends reborn, and knew what to do. She instructed Link to shoot the sphere of light that she would conjure into the fiend. But until she was ready, the heroes had to protect her from Ganon's assault. Using their swords they threw his magic attacks back at him, and then finally sent their arrow flying into the King of Darkness. At that time, as Ganon was enveloped in the light, the maidens appeared and together with Zelda they sealed Ganon away from their world and into the Four Sword. At last, the long struggle was over; the sword was placed back in its pedestal, making Link one again, and a barrier was created around it by Zelda and the maidens.

With Hyrule finally safe, the maidens scattered all over the land to lend their help where needed and see that everything was as it was meant to be, they found all of Hyrule rejoycing for the restored peace. The Forest of Light was slowly recovering, frozen Hyrule was returned to normal as spring set in melting the ice. The spirits of the Knights could now rest in peace, knowing their sacrifice had not been in vain and a great celebration was held at the castle for the hero Link. From inside, Zelda watched while musing over what the future could hold for Hyrule.

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