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Chapter 8: A Bitter Truth

November 22, 2011

The stench of filth permeated the dungeon air, coming in waves as heavy doors swung open and closed by guards patrolling the area. The Sheikah prison was something thought only a rumor; it wasn’t possible that such divine creatures could have such tortuous conditions for their prisoners.

Sheikahmu held his right bicep to soothe the bruise the guards left as they dragged him past the Temple and into the inner workings of the Sheikah secret. His outburst couldn’t possibly warrant this treatment, but he had thrown a stone bench at the Highers when they decided Adorra’s fate. But it wasn’t that the Highers decided, it was Idona who purposely broke the tied decision in favor of her becoming a part of the Bloodline.

Though he didn’t know Adorra much at all he could tell that she was born to be a part of the Royal Guards. Something about her assured him that his assessment was correct, but he couldn’t figure out what that something was. Sheikahmu felt that his fate was also with the Royal Guard, but in the hours since his arrest those feelings were quickly fading away into the damp, horrifying uncertainty of the dungeon.

At first Sheikahmu quickly got up to see out of his gated cell every time he heard the metal doors open and close, but as he began to understand his surroundings his excitement for that noise dwindled. The noise was deafening and it echoed for what seemed to be forever. He sat in the corner of his cell, his knees to his chest and arms wrapped around his legs. The doors opened again, but this time there were more than one set of footsteps coming his way.

Idona stopped in front of Sheikahmu’s cell and folded his arms. This boy was just on his way to becoming one of the greatest Sheikah, and now here was like a caged animal.

“Sheikahmu, you look absolutely pathetic.”

He looked up to see Idona looming on the other side of the bars. “Have you come to mock the less fortunate?”

Idona laughed. “You still have your sense of humor. That is good; you’re going to need it.”

Sheikahmu scratched his ankle and grunted. “I have nothing!”

“You can have less,” Idona said. “And I will make sure of that.”

The two remained silent for a moment. “How long do you intend to keep me in this prison,” Sheikahmu asked.

Idona squatted to his knees. “I intend for your life to end in these very chambers.”

Sheikahmu shot up and ran to the bars separating the two and grabbed them. “Why do you do this to me?”

Idona grinned at the young boy. “I saw the way you looked at Adorra. That was a displeasing look.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” Sheikahmu said through his teeth.

“I have had my mind set on Adorra for much longer than you’ll know, and I won’t let some… prodigy boy get in the way of that,” Idona replied.

Sheikahmu sat down, feeling defeated. “I don’t even know her. She and I just met before I came to the Court. We talked briefly, but that was it! I don’t even think she liked me very much!”

“You really are a foolish boy,” Idona said. “Your ultimate fate was to be in the Royal Guard. It was almost not even a question. Adorra was also a definite to go into the Royal Guard, but I couldn’t let you two have a chance to be together out in Hyrule.”

Sheikahmu eyes widened. “I was to be a Royal Guard?”

Idona nodded his head. “Your temper is short, though. I would not have wanted it to be so had I known that.”

“So why not send me into the Royal Guard and have Adorra stay in the Bloodline?”

Idona chuckled. “You assume that I didn’t consider that. But I must tell you, I know that if I sent you into the Royal Guard that Adorra would simply worship your existence. She will be mine, Sheikahmu. She will worship me.”

Sheikahmu’s eyes swelled up. The enormity of his predicament was becoming all too clear. “So that’s it then. You will keep Adorra in the Bloodline and she will have a baby. That’s it.”

“Oh, not just any baby,” Idona said as he began to stand up. “It will be my baby.”

Sheikahmu quickly stood up and reached through the metal bars at Idona. “And what of me, Idona,” he growled. “What is to become of me?”

“You are home, young one,” Idona said raising his hand around the cell where Sheikahmu was held. “I’m sure you’ll begin to love it once you get past the stench.”

“Do the other Highers know of your arrogance,” Sheikahmu asked.

Idona approached the cell slowly. “Not as much as they will know of your suffering in this dreadful place.” Idona motioned for a guard out of Sheikahmu’s sight to open the door for him. “Your life will be a testament to the amount of physical pain and torture that a Sheikah is able to take before death.”

Sheikahmu watched as Idona turned to leave with a smile on his face. This was the end of life as he knew it. Adorra would be devastated by her fate, but hopefully her willingness to accept it would be better than his.

Idona made his way back to the Temple gates and was surprised to see Linyah waiting for him.

“Idona, are you sure of your plans,” she asked.

He walked up to her and put his hand on the small of her back, leading her back toward Kakariko Village.

“Yes, I am sure. He is convinced that he is imprisoned for his outburst concerning Adorra. He is still much too young to understand about what happened to his mother.”

“You mean, what we did to his mother,” Linyah corrected.

Idona stopped and crossed his arms. “We all sensed it, Linyah. He is far too strong to be free. He will eventually see the truth of what happened to Mardin.”

Linyah shook her head. “Still, it is a shame to have him pay for our mistakes.”

“There were no mistakes, only minor setbacks for the greater good. You know as well as I that it was not on purpose. We both could not have seen that coming,” Idona replied softly.

“And what of Adorra,” Linyah asked.

“She will still be in the Bloodline. We cannot go back on that,” Idona said.

Linyah stopped and cocked her head. “You are still going to be the one who mates with her aren’t you?”

Idona smiled out of the corner of his mouth. “The Sheikah Bloodline must continue.”

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Chapter 7: The Court

November 20, 2011

Sheikahmu made his way to the Court, still thinking about Adorra, and was met by Linyah, one of the other Highers. She brought him before the Court, a 15 foot tall circular stone wall that the Highers sat behind. In front of the wall were several stone benches where a Sheikah would sit while they waited for their fate and behind the wall where the Highers sat were a series of white stone columns, all elaborately decorated with the image of the Triforce, the Eye of the Sheikah, and the goddesses.

As they entered the Court, he saw Adorra sitting patiently on the bench. Her black ceremonial garbs were made from the silk of the Skullwalltula found throughout the Sheikah villages of Kakariko, Skelton, and Aginah; though they were mostly found in Skelton.

Her hair had been put up, revealing the tattoo of the Sheikah eye on the lower back of her neck, and her red eyes were accented by black eyeliner. As Sheikahmu entered the Court with Linyah, Adorra turned around and smiled.

Linyah walked through a door on the left of the Court and reappeared behind the wall a moment later where she sat with the six other Highers. Idona sat in the middle with three on either side of him.

“Highers, we are gathered to give life commitment to these two Sheikah who have completed the Trials,” Idona said. “We will now introduce ourselves and our reasoning for your fate, starting with Adorra.”

Sheikahmu and Adorra nodded as the Highers all shifted in their seats. To Sheikahmu’s far left, the first Higher stood up.

“I am Ikora, Higher of Skelton,” she started. “I have considered the performance of Adorra, and have decided her fate according to my opinion.”
Idona nodded. “What are your findings?”

“I believe her fate should be with the Royal Guardians,” Ikora said. The room erupted in murmurs and Adorra looked around, confused. “Adorra has the makings of a Royal Guardian. She exemplifies the use of magic, honor, and commitment that every Guardian of the Royal family needs.”

Adorra bowed to Ikora and smiled slightly as she glanced at Sheikahmu. “Thank you, Ikora.”

Idona frowned and turned to face Ikora. “Are your findings final?”

“Yes. They are,” Ikora replied sternly. “Is this finding not to your liking, Idona?”

Idona looked around at the other Highers and blushed. It was not heard of for a Higher to question another Higher’s decision of a Sheikah’s fate, but he had grown fond of Adorra over the last few years and secretly wished for her to be a part of the Sheikah Bloodline so he could have her.

“I did not wish to imply that your findings were unfit, Ikora. I merely wish to make sure that we all understood the fate you would have her commit to,” Idona replied.

The room again erupted in murmuring, but this time for longer. Adorra and Sheikahmu looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders.

Sheikahmu leaned over to Adorra. “Perhaps you are too beautiful to send away?”

Adorra glared at Sheikahmu and her face turned red. “And perhaps you will be too hideous for them to keep!”

“Silence,” Idona exclaimed. “We will not have any more interruptions, please.” The room became quiet again. “Her fate will be decided by majority, regardless of one Higher’s opinion. If need be I will cast my vote to break a tie. Let us move on.”

The Next Higher stood up and cleared his throat. “I am Noku, second Higher of Skelton. I have considered the performance of Adorra, and have decided her fate according to my opinion.”

“What are your findings,” Idona replied.

“I also believe her fate should be with the Royal Guardians,” Noku said.

Idona shook his head slightly in disgust. He had watched Adorra grow into the woman before him. Her every move made his heart ache. If she were to be a Royal Guardian he would never even so much as lay a finger on her.

“Adorra deserves to be amongst the elite of our society, which follow, monitor, and protect the Royal Family,” Noku said. He sat down and looked over to Idona, whose face was bright red as he drummed his fingers.

Again, Adorra bowed. “Thank you, Noku.”

“I am Linyah, Higher of Kakariko. I have considered the performance of Adorra, and have decided her fate according to my opinion.”

Idona looked up at Linyah. “What are you findings?”

Linyah saw Idona’s irritation and then looked down to Adorra. She was a beautiful girl, similar in physique to other girls that Idona pursued. Linyah was torn; on one hand Adorra was very well suited for the Royal Guardians, but on the other Idona was her closest confidant. He was obviously intrigued by this girl and would probably not let it go if she voted for Adorra to go into the Royal Guards.

“I believe her fate should be in the Sheikah Bloodline,” Linyah finally said. Idona sighed with relief. “Her mastery of magic is impressive, but she would be a wonderful teacher to a Sheikah child of her own. A Sheikah child would be blessed to be raised by Adorra, and I commend her for an amazing effort with the Trial.”

Idona smiled and folded his arms. He had never desired a Sheikah as much as he did Adorra, nor had he ever not had his way when it came to life commitment. When a Sheikah was fated to the Bloodline it was Idona who made the decision of which male would impregnate her. It was usually very cordial, as Idona and the other male Highers had grown close over the years.

Adorra stood motionless for a moment, trying to wrap her head around the fate suggested by Linyah. Sheikahmu gently nudged her heel with his foot and she snapped out of the daze she was in and bowed.

“Thank you, Linyah,” she mustered.

The next Higher stood up. “I am Faru, second Higher of Kakariko. I have considered the performance of Adorra, and have decided her fate according to my opinion.”

“What are your findings,” Idona asked him smugly.

Faru blushed. He had not ever seen a Sheikah as attractive as Adorra. If he were to vote for her to be in the Bloodline, he would have a chance with her.

“I, too, feel that Adorra did very well in her Trial, but her knowledge of magic would be served better by way of teaching a child of her own. I would suggest her fate to the Sheikah Bloodline,” Faru responded.

Adorra bowed. “Thank you, Faru.”

She looked over to Sheikahmu. His feet were crossed and he held his breath. She could feel that he wanted her to have the fate she desired. Maybe his fate would be the same after all, and they would have a chance to be in Hyrule together. She didn’t know him, but he seemed to have a very strong spirit, and passing his Trial so early in age, he must possess a strong soul, too.

Next to Faru, the Higher stood and pressed down her clothes. “I am Quinn, Higher of Aginah. I have considered the performance of Adorra, and have decided her fate according to my opinion.”

Idona glanced at Adorra and smirked. He could feel that he was going to get his way. “What are your findings?”

“My opinion was at first that Adorra learn the world of Hyrule as a Royal Guardian, but I have heard the opinion of the other Highers and have decided that she will be better served in the Bloodline. Adorra possess strength, and I would prefer to see that strength passed on to a child of her own,” Quinn replied.

Adorra’s hand began to shake in anxiety. She had always wanted to be inside Hyrule Castle, but that dream was quickly diminishing. “Thank you, Quinn,” she said as she bowed.

The last Higher stood up. “I am Reed, second Higher of Aginah. I have considered the performance of Adorra, and have decided her fate according to my opinion.”

“What are your findings,” Idona asked.

“I find that Adorra is fit to keep the Eye of the Sheikah watching the Royal Family of Hyrule. Her agility is astounding, and her use of magic was very well executed. I will vote for her fate to be with the Royal Guardians,” Reed said.

Adorra half bowed; feeling defeated by the split vote. “Thank you, Reed.”

The Highers all began to talk to each other. Sheikahmu was confused by the situation. Half of the Highers wished for her to go with the Royal Guardians, the other to the Bloodline. He felt that they would both roam Hyrule together, and maybe a relationship would blossom from their time spent together. As he thought about everything he put his hand on the small of her back.

“Don’t worry, Adorra,” Sheikahmu said under his breath. “You still have Idona to vote for you.”

Adorra forced a smile. “We’ll see, won’t we?”

Idona caught the exchange between Adorra and Sheikahmu. He could see the youthful look of adoration in Sheikahmu’s eyes. This boy was not just a brilliant magician, but he had eyes for the same woman.

Idona stood up and raised his hands up. “Highers, please.”

The room went still. “I have heard the opinion of my fellow Highers and will now make the final decision as to young Adorra’s fate.”
Adorra reached over and took Sheikahmu’s hand in hers. Idona was taken aback by this. He had noticed Sheikahmu’s adoration for Adorra, but now he was witnessing that the feeling was mutual. He felt a sickening chill down his spine. No one had ever crossed him in such a way, knowingly or not.

“Adorra will be of the Sheikah Bloodline and teach her child what she has learned in the course of her life,” Idona said.
Adorra began to sob. Her whole life was spent preparing for this moment, but it was not suppose to go like that! A few seconds later she collapsed unconscious into the bench. Sheikahmu quickly held her up and fanned her face with his hand.

“Someone please do something,” Sheikahmu yelled.

The room got louder in the commotion until Idona held his hands up. “She is fine, everyone! She is just overjoyed with the possibilities in front of her,” he exclaimed.

Sheikahmu cautiously laid Adorra down on the bench and, summoning his strength, grabbed a second stone bench next to her and threw it towards the wall of the Court. “Her fate is better suited with the Royal Guardians!”

Idona and the other Highers gasped. “Do you dare speak to a Higher that way, especially when you haven’t even received your own fate,” Idona called back to him.

“She is not overjoyed! She is ashamed of your fate,” Sheikahmu yelled. “She deserves to shadow the Royal Family and you know it!”
Linyah leaned forward and shouted, “Who decided your fate to be a Higher and thusly choose the fate of another?”

The Highers all started screaming at once. Idona left the Court wall and entered below where Sheikahmu and Adorra were. As he quickly walked toward Sheikahmu he started yelling, “It is not your place, child, to be announcing your opinion of another’s fate! But ironically, you have just decided your own!”

The room died down suddenly. Idona stood right in Sheikahmu’s face, both of them breathing heavily in anger and anticipation.

“Is it that you love her,” Idona whispered.

Sheikahmu swallowed loudly. “I barely know Adorra. I met her just before I even entered into the Court. How could I possibly love her?”

“Is she not beautiful?”

Sheikahmu looked over at Adorra, still passed out. “She is very beautiful, but love is something cultivated over much time, and-“

Idona began to laugh, interrupting Sheikahmu. “We are getting a lesson in love from a boy?”

The Highers began to laugh with Idona. Sheikahmu felt the blood rushing to his head and he felt dizzy. This was a moment he needed to remain calm in if he wanted to make anything of himself. The fact that he picked up a stone bench and threw it towards the Highers was not going to go over well.

Idona glanced at the broken bench and then back at Sheikahmu. “Let me tell you of your fate, young Sheikahmu. You are to be imprisoned for your lack of control and respect for the Highers.” Idona turned to the rest of the Highers. “Forget what fate you had for Sheikahmu, he has decided his own; and will spend his life in chains as a traitor of the Sheikah!”

Sheikahmu’s throat swelled and his eyes watered. Two guards appeared from the entrance of the Court and grabbed Sheikahmu’s arms and began to lead him out.

“Please, Idona,” Sheikahmu yelled. “Forgive me for my outburst!”

Idona smiled in satisfaction. “Look to the goddesses for strength, Sheikahmu.”

Sheikahmu’s tears were making it difficult to see well. He didn’t understand why he just destroyed all hope of being anything in life. He would never see Adorra again, and his mother’s memory would be stained by his childish act.

The guards led him to a carriage and put him in the back. As they pulled away from the Court he caught a glimpse of the sun going down in the west through the back of the carriage. He would find a way to see Adorra one day, and one day he would also make Idona beg for his forgiveness.

Chapter 6: The Demagogue’s Path

August 28, 2010

Nikomu patted her cheek with the damp cloth, cringing at the pain. Drador was exceptionally strong and had left her face swollen the prior evening. Her dark red hair kept getting in the way and was soaked at the ends, making it curl. She hadn’t really ever noticed her hair being curly when it was wet, but then she didn’t have a lot of time to make such an observation because Drador kept her very busy in his tents.

She felt as though she had drank an entire vase of Moa alone because of her head hurting so much and the fact that she really didn’t recall much of the night before. The last thing she really remembered was being on her knees in front of Drador and seeing his fist come at her, seemingly in slow motion.

It wasn’t the first time that she had been beaten by him. It was true that he enjoyed the company of many young women, but he always managed to pick her to make an example out of. He couldn’t even remember her name, something that she couldn’t decide if that was more humiliating than the beatings he gave her.

Nikomu’s tent was on the outskirts of the camp. It was a small one person tent that she had made herself long ago. No one ever visited her, and her life was a series of blurry memories between beatings. Her mother was also one of the women Drador had in his tent, but she had died a number of years before due to malnutrition.

The Gerudo had once lived in stone structures built into the mountains scattered across the Great Desert. Her mother told her of Drador moving them into the tents to “get away from the goddesses.” Once a noble tribe of warrior women, the Gerudo had transformed into lifeless followers of Drador Mandra, who stripped them of all dignity and pride. He took away the young Gerudo training grounds and the horses, telling the tribe that it was not their place to do the work of men.

But he was the only man.

All of the babies born to the tribe were Drador’s. Nikomu’s mother told her that he used to be present for every child’s birth, but he stopped shortly after she was born. That was fifteen years ago now, and the idea of his incestuous behavior had all but been accepted by the women of the tribe. Their numbers dwindled over the years, and now there were but a few hundred left.

She often wondered what having a child of her own would be like. Would Drador notice that she was pregnant? Would he care? Who would help her raise the child; being one herself?

As Nikomu pondered these things the cloth door to her tent was pulled back quickly, startling her. The bright sun shone in, making her close her eyes tight, so she raised her arm to her face to block the sunshine.

“You need to come with me, young one,” a voice said.

“Who’s there?”

“Dear, we need you to join us. It is important,” the voice replied.

Nikomu struggled to her feet and quickly began to rub her face with the damp cloth in an effort to help conceal her wound. “I am coming, please give me a moment to be proper.”

She finally emerged from her tent into the blinding desert sun. As she stepped out she saw Koume standing before her, her arms crossed and face stern.

“You are Nikomu,” she asked.

“Yes.”

“We have some very important matters to discuss with you. Please follow me to my tent,” Koume said.

They began to walk through the camp together and Nikomu noticed that it was strangely quiet. By this time of day the music was already playing and people were busy with their day to day chores, but today there wasn’t anyone. They arrived at the tent and Koume opened the cloth for Nikomu to enter first. As she did Koume looked around suspiciously before entering.

Kotake sat waiting in a corner of the tent with a bundle of black cloth beside her. Koume’s tent was surprisingly bigger than Nikomu’s.

“Nikomu, we understand that you had a rough evening,” Koume said.

Nikomu looked around the tent, only half paying attention to the old twins. “Yeah, I guess.”

“Are you alright,” Koume asked.

“Oh, yes. It’s nothing,” Nikomu replied. She smiled wryly and touched her face slowly. “Honest.”

Kotake picked up the bundle of black cloth and placed it in her lap. “Dear, do you not remember last night?”

Nikomu put her hand down away from her face quickly. “I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”

“Last night,” Kotake said curiously. “You were in very bad shape and we told you that we could heal you.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t remem-“

Koume interrupted her by putting her palm on Nikomu’s unharmed cheek and held up a bowl of a red, thick substance. “Please.”

She took a small cloth from her shawl and dipped it in the bowl, then turned the cloth over and dipped it one more time. She took the cloth and rubbed it on Nikomu’s face. She jerked her head back at first, but Koume’s touch was gentle. After covering the welt on Nikomu’s face she stepped back, as if to admire her work. A moment later, the pain in her face subsided and the swelling disappeared.

Nikomu touched her cheek in wonder. The pain was completely gone!

Koume smiled at her and handed her another wet cloth to wipe the red substance off her face. “We need to tell you our decision.”

“Your decision,” Nikomu asked.

Kotake stood up, holding the bundle. “Nikomu, we know what Drador does to you. We know what he’s done to many of the women of the tribe.” She smiled. “We have saved the Gerudo, and we want you to help ensure the future of our people.”

Nikomu was confused. She had barely any recollection of the previous night and now the two old twins were talking about the future of the Gerudo?

“I really don’t think you need to have me do anything,” Nikomu started. “I’m just a young girl. What do I have to offer?”

Kotake walked over to the young girl and handed the bundle to her. “Here, take a look at this.”

Nikomu held the bundle, but was still confused. “What is th-“

The bundle moved at one end.

“What is this,” Nikomu asked quickly.

“This,” Koume began, “Is our future.” Koume pulled back a portion of the cloth revealing an infant. “And you are going to shape our future.”

“I’m afraid I don’t understand! I can barely keep myself out of Drador’s sights, I don’t want to be responsible for another girl becoming his slave,” Nikomu exclaimed.

“Girl,” Kotake laughed. “This is no girl!”

Koume leaned closer as Nikomu pulled the cloth down further and gasped. “Who is this?”

“This is Mandrag Ganon, your surrogate son,” Koume whispered.

“My what,” the young girl asked.

Koume turned away from her and started walking toward her sister. “You know how our tribe works. Every one hundred years a new leader is born to us. This,” she said pointing at the baby, “Is our new leader!”

“I still don’t understand! I was just with Drador last night. He is sure to disapprove and kill the boy, and maybe me!”

Kotake laughed again. “You are right. He disapproved alright.”

“Disapproved? He knows?”

“Knew,” Koume said firmly.

The room went silent for a moment. Nikomu began to sweat. This was not going to go over well with Drador. “Where is Drador right now?”

The twins looked at each other and then down at the bowl of red substance. “He has done at least one good deed, and that is to heal the wound he caused by shedding his own blood.”

“Is he dead,” Nikomu gasped.

“Drador Mandra is no longer a threat to us. This boy was born to a Gerudo woman, who gave her life for our people, and we made the decision that we would be better served by a leader that has learned the meaning of respect,” Kotake said.

Nikomu looked down at the boy she held. His eyes were closed and hands in fists. “So I will be the Leader’s mother?”

“Yes, and it is up to you to ensure the safety of the Gerudo,” Koume started. “Teach him the meaning of respect, sympathy, and everything Drador never showed you.”

“What will you two do?”

Kotake grinned. “We will leave this place in search of new magic. We once roamed Hyrule learning from all the different races, but Drador made us stay here. That was never our desire.”

“The Gerudo deserve respect. We are the most cunning race in the lands,” Koume added.

Nikomu looked back at the baby. “I will do as you say, starting by moving the Gerudo back into the desert mountains. One day we will rule the Great Desert as warriors again. We will rule all the way to Din’s Barrier!”

“And maybe one day,” Koume said while staring into nowhere, “All of Hyrule.”

Chapter 5:Young Fate

August 17, 2010

At the age of seventeen every Sheikah was sent to the Temple to complete the Trial. It was rumored to be different for every person, but it was outlawed to discuss the experience. Once finished, a brief ceremony took place in the Court, the meeting place of the Highers. There they would decide which life commitment fit best and sent that person into training for the position.

There were only a few options available for the Sheikah to become. There were the Highers, who were the supreme leaders that chose the life work for each Sheikah; the Temple Guardians, who remained celibate and practiced magic while also maintaining the history of their people within the ever expanding temple; the Town Guards, who were the architects, agriculturalist, and builders of the Sheikah villages, of which there were three; the Sheikah Blood Line, who were women chosen by the Highers to birth the Sheikah children; and finally the Royal Guardians, chosen to learn every form of magic known in order to protect the Royal Family of Hyrule from any threat.

Every Sheikah was born with a divine desire to protect the Royal Family of Hyrule. The Highers knew that not everyone should or could do that, so they devised the life work system. If called upon, any of the Sheikah could serve the Royal Family, but that had never happened in thousands of years.

Sheikahmu’s mother was adamant that he be chosen for the Royal Guard. She saw the adventure in his eyes at an early age and knew that his studies needed to focus more on magic than anything else, something he was grateful for.

As the Highers and Sheikahmu neared the Court he was led to another building to the east. Once inside he was instructed to clean himself and change clothes. Sheikahmu made his way around a corner to change and walked in on a girl, around his age, just as she put her ceremonial clothes on.

“I’m terribly sorry,” Sheikahmu exclaimed.

The girl screamed and turned around. “What are you doing?”

“I’m sorry! They said to come around-“

“You should know better than to just walk into a room unannounced,” the girl interrupted. “Besides, you are in the women’s change room.”

Sheikahmu blushed and looked around quickly. “I wasn’t aware. Again, I’m very sorry.”

The girl stared at him for a moment and then smiled slightly. “What’s your name, anyway?”

“I’m Sheikahmu of Kakariko.”

“I’m Adorra,” the girl said as she started primping her hair, “Of Skelton.”

“Are you also here for the Court,” Sheikahmu asked.

Adorra turned around with a straight face. “No. I’m here to make sure you become a Cattle Guard.”

Sheikahmu cocked his head. “What?”

“You know. Pick up after the cattle of Hyrule. You’ll be a natural,” Adorra said.

“I don’t think I’ve heard of such a life commitment!”

Adorra busted out laughing. “You really are dense, you know that?” She shook her head slowly. “Cattle Guard…”

Sheikahmu grinned and raised his eyebrows. “You mean…”

“Oh, lighten up. I’ve had my Court postponed because of you. I was supposed to have it yesterday but because you had to do your trial now they pushed me back one day,” Adorra said.

“So you just did your trial yesterday,” Sheikahmu asked.

Adorra walked over to Sheikahmu. “Yes, and I’m sure to be a Royal Guard.”

Sheikahmu felt comforted listening to her voice. Because the Sheikah performed their trial at age seventeen he had to get special permission from the Highers to even attempt because he was only fifteen. They had originally wanted him to go into a surrogate family, but he had managed to convince them that he was ready. As far as he knew, this was the first time a Sheikah younger than seventeen completed the trial.

“My mother always wanted me to be a Royal Guard,” Sheikahmu said.

Adorra looked into his red eyes. “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t-“

“It’s alright,” Sheikahmu said. “Maybe we will both end up prowling Hyrule, protecting the Royal Family.”

Adorra smiled. “Maybe we will.”

They stared at each other for a few moments. Sheikahmu was taken by her beauty, her eyes, and her voice. She was a sight to behold, he thought.

“You are from Skelton, then,” Sheikahmu finally asked.

Adorra chuckled. “Yes, I come from the other side of the mountain than you. Have you ever been to Skelton?”

Sheikahmu shook his head. “I’ve heard it is nice though.”

“Nice,” Adorra asked. “I’ve never heard of Skelton described as nice before. It’s just desert, rocks, and Skullwalltulas.”

Sheikahmu smiled sheepishly. “Oh, I thought it would be more like Kakariko. We have hardly any sand there.”

A voice called from the other room for them to make their way to the Court. Sheikahmu looked down at his dirty clothes.

“Well, for not having any sand, you sure need to get clean,” Adorra said as she brushed his shoulder and turned to leave. “I’ll leave you to it.”

Sheikahmu watched as Adorra walked away, her straight brown hair bouncing as she stepped. He wondered how she managed to keep it out of her way while she performed her trial, but his thoughts kept going back to how beautiful she was.

Just before she rounded the corner she turned back to see Sheikahmu taking his shirt off, revealing his defined muscles. He was a bit younger than her, but she was confounded by how cute he was. The Sheikah were forbidden to mate, but not to enjoy relationships. Perhaps they would end up protecting Hyrule together, allowing for time to get to know each other better.

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Chapter 4: End of an Era

August 12, 2010

Drador Mandra looked down from his makeshift throne built for him in his living quarters as a beautiful young girl danced for him. While most of the women lived in tents with nothing but sand below them, he had the desert floor covered with the finest linens the Gerudos made. His eyes grew heavy from consuming large quantities of Moa, a potent Gerudo drink.

“You,” Drador shouted as he struggled to sit straight up, knocking his cup onto the floor. “You have not even so much as looked at me! Do you not know that I can and will have you?”

The musicians stopped playing and the girl stood still. Scared, she cowered behind a small piece of furniture, tears streaking her face.

“You are my servant, aren’t you?”

The young girl shook in fear. “Yes, my Master. I am yours.”

Drador leaned forward, his eyes beginning to cross. “Come closer.”

The girl quietly gasped at the demand, but began to make her way towards him. His dark brown skin was glistening from the sweat that poured because he had been drinking so much. He had deep red hair that flowed past his massive shoulders and his body looked as though it had been sculpted from the Desert Mountains.

Drador made a motion with his hands and the musicians immediately got up and left his tent. “What is your name, girl?”

“I am Nikomu, my Master,” the girl said through her tears. She reached the bottom of Drador’s throne and fell to her knees.

Drador put a hand on her arm and closed his eyes as he started to remove the strap from her shoulder. “I am quite sure you know what I desire, Nikomu,” Drador said under his breath.

Nikomu tried to wipe the tears from her face but began to sob uncontrollably. Irritated, Drador stood up and violently kicked Nikomu to the floor, causing her to scream.

“No one cares about your wailing, whore! You will rise to your feet immediately,” Drador yelled.

Nikomu stood partially up but the room was spinning causing her to lose balance and fall back to her knees. Drador clinched his fists and then let out a terrifying yell as he hit her on the side of her face, knocking her to the ground. She laid still, blood pouring from her nose and the corner of her mouth but still breathing. Nikomu was conscious but felt nothing. She kept her eyes open, trying to focus on anything in the room, but she couldn’t move.

Drador knelt to one knee next to her and leaned down to put his face next to hers. “I am your Leader and you will obey,” he screamed, spitting on her face.

As Drador leaned back up he felt the presence of someone else in his tent. He quickly stood up while turning around and saw Koume standing directly behind him. She reached out to strike him but he managed to side step her reach and grabbed her arms, pulling her to his chest.

“Foolish old witch! What are you doing?”

“Your time is over, Drador,” Koume said as she grasped for air. “There is another!”

Nikomu was finally able to move, and she started to drag herself towards the entrance. Drador clinched his grasp on Koume’s neck with his bicep and smiled. “There is no other! If there were another I would have felt it. You are terribly unwise for trying to kill me!”

Kotake stood behind Drador and Koume and raised one hand into the air. Her hand started to glow a brilliant blue and ice began to form all around her fist. Sensing the danger behind him, Drador threw Koume to the floor and spun around in time to see Kotake send a blast of ice which hit him in the middle of his chest. He took a few steps backwards and held his chest and coughed. Koume ran up and smashed his cup over his head and he fell to the ground motionless.

“Bind him to his throne, sister,” Koume ordered as she looked over to see that Nikomu was in the corner of the tent, clutching onto a wooden pillar and crying. Her face was starting to swell from the blow Drador dealt, and her body was covered in her own blood. Koume stood up and made her way to the frightened girl.

“Dear, you need not worry,” Koume said as she pushed back some of Nikomu’s red hair from her face. “We will heal your wounds, but now we must have you leave. Go quickly, child.”

Nikomu’s breathing was heavy, but she understood. Koume helped her up and held her as she made her way to the entrance. As Nikomu was about to leave the tent she turned to ask what would happen to Drador, but Koume put her finger to Nikomu’s mouth.

“Dear, the Gerudo are resilient,” Koume said smiling. “Leave these matters to the old ladies.”

Kotake finished tying Drador’s muscular arms to the throne as Koume came back into the tent. “I may have needed more rope,” she said as she pulled it tight on his arm one last time.

“He is strong, but we are stronger,” Koume replied. “Bring in the boy and the knife.”

Kotake dropped the rope at Drador’s side and left the tent for a moment. When she came back in she held a baby boy wrapped in a black cloth and an “S” shaped dagger. She placed the boy on a small table in front of Drador, whose head quickly moved up once, but was still after that.

A few moments went by in silence until Drador began to come to. He opened his eyes and saw a blurry mass in front of him and he tried to move his arms and feet, but he was bound to his throne. Confused, he began to thrash about, grunting and groaning as the rope burned his skin.

Finally, he understood he was not going anywhere and stopped.

Kotake poured a vase full of Moa over Drador’s head from behind him. “Need to wake up,” she asked sarcastically.

“What are you doing, witches? I will destroy even the memory of you both when I am free!”

Koume grabbed Drador by his hair and forced his head forward a bit. “See this baby? He is our new leader,” she said.

Drador began to chuckle. “Bring this child’s mother to me so that I may see that she is a Gerudo.”

Kotake leaned down. “The birth mother suffered the same fate as every leader’s mother. She is with the goddesses, blessed for giving us a leader who will surely not treat the Gerudo in such a barbaric way,” she whispered into his ear.

Drador’s heart began to pound in his chest. They had managed to hide from him the fact that a male had been born by a Gerudo women. “I will show you what the true definition of ‘barbaric’ is when I am free,” he said through his teeth.

Kotake walked over to the table that the baby was on and pushed it right up to Drador’s feet. He refused to look at the child and turned his head away and spit at Koume.

“This child will not know what it means to create a race that truly fears him,” Drador said. “He will not demand the respect that a true leader is entitled to!”

Koume pulled back Drador’s head by his hair with her left hand and with the other placed the blade of the dagger just below his left ear. “Let us wish to the goddesses that you are correct.”

The blade was precise and didn’t require much pressure for Koume to dig into Drador’s skin. He began to yell but was silenced when Koume swiftly severed his jugular, cutting his throat from left ear to right. Blood began to spill onto the table in front of him, covering the black cloth that held the baby. Drador’s eyelids twitched and his mouth moved up and down as he attempted to breath. His blood flowed down into his esophagus causing him to choke out of reflex and sending spatters of blood across the tent.
After a few brief moments Drador’s body lay limp on his throne. Blood covered his body and the table in front of him.

Kotake grinned and broke the eerie silence. “We have saved the Gerudo, sister,” she said.

Koume wiped the blade on her shawl. “We will need to name the boy,” she said calmly as she tucked the dagger away.

They both stood motionless, considering the task. Kotake took the boy from the black cloth and held him up.

“We will call him: Mandrag Ganon.”

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Chapter 3: The Trial

August 11, 2010

Sheikahmu’s heart raced as he began to fly through the air. His shoulder length blond hair waved as he jumped the hundred foot gap over the abyss to the next platform, and the white cloth he wrapped around his biceps rattled in the wind. The darkness made his landing difficult to navigate, but he managed to notice a spot where he could land and roll past one of the mechanized guillotines.

The noise from the trial was deafening; guillotines slashing about, other platforms moving up and down by way of huge metal chains, but as he soared to the platform below he took notice of how calming it was to have the air rush at his body. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath as he pictured his mother in his mind. She passed away only weeks before, but he was determined to show the Highers that he could pass the Sheikah Trails now instead of waiting another two years before he reached the proper age.

His right foot touched the platform first, as light as a feather. He immediately tucked his body and somersaulted past a giant guillotine just as it slipped into the ground. As Sheikahmu quickly stood up he saw a barrage of arrows darting right at him and without hesitation he stepped forward with one foot and bent his knee while he put his left fist to his side. Making a full circle with his right fist he then leaned down and punched the ground, causing a sphere of intense fire to rise up around him that disintegrated the arrows immediately.

The fire dissipated almost instantly, and after Sheikahmu stood up straight and gathered his bearings he noticed a pathway that led to a ledge. He walked up to the edge of the pathway and looked down into the depths of the Temple and noticed the sound of a platform moving on chains in front of him, though he saw nothing. He raised his right hand to his face and put his finger in the middle of his forehead. Closing his eyes he could see the platform in front of him, and with eyes still closed he took a step forward into the depths.

His foot landed on a solid surface, but the surface was moving. He quickly started to walk forward and made it across to a small walkway with a door where he opened his eyes and let out a large sigh. He hadn’t spent a lot of time learning how to see the unseen before, but his mother was very skilled at seeing with what she called the Sheikah Eye, or as others called it, the Mind’s Eye. She always told him that it was amongst the most important magic a Sheikah should learn, but also the most difficult to master.

Clearing his mind, Sheikahmu entered the door in front of him revealing a corridor with skulls lining the walls. The stench of bones filled the air making him cough so he put his forearm up to his mouth. The hallway led to a large open room, and Sheikahmu was surprised to see a river, lined with wood and stone, flowing perpendicular to him. As he stepped further into the room he saw it; a giant wooden ship with a large bird carved out as the figurehead.

The ship was docked to his right, but the bridge to the ship was on an elevated platform. Considering his options, he walked to the far left of the room and turned to face the wall of the platform. He began to run as fast as he could and judging the correct angle he leapt into the air and managed to catch the ledge of the twenty foot tall wall. Sheikahmu hoisted himself up and dusted off his deep blue shirt and surveyed the dock and ship. It was eerily quiet in this room. Even the river flow was quiet.

Cautiously, he walked across the docking bridge and stepped onto the featureless deck. He walked to the center of the deck and stood there for a moment, taking in his surroundings. It was still very dark, but torches were lit periodically throughout the large room. Suddenly, he fell to the deck as the ship began to move forward. Sheikahmu got up quickly and ran to the port side only to see the room he had been in was slowly disappearing into darkness.

The ship creaked as it went down the dark river, heading into only more darkness. Sheikahmu sensed that he would need to remain calm and alert because something was about to happen. All of the training his mother gave him was starting to come together. Months of practicing the same things over and over, days of verbal tests, were all comforting him as he stood in complete blindness.

Sheikahmu closed his eyes and put his finger to his forehead again and saw nothing. He concentrated harder, putting his left hand out in front to ward off an attack and keeping his right hand’s fingers pointed to his Mind’s Eye. He finally started to feel a presence close to him, but right as he did he was violently shoved to the floor, knocking the wind out of his lungs.

He laid there gasping for breath and trying to see the person who attacked him. Still enveloped in complete darkness he slowly got to his feet and took a deep breath. Sheikahmu felt the presence again so he swiftly reached out and grabbed the garment of his assailant. Snapping back he raised his knee and pulled the man to it, sending the man to the ground. Sheikahmu stood in position, readying himself for more combat.

The man stood up and put himself into a combat position just in front of Sheikahmu. They remained silent, focusing on where the other was. Finally, the man reached forward to strike Sheikahmu, but he sidestepped the attack and balanced on his left heel and stretched his right foot up, kicking the man in the side of his face.

The two traded attacks quickly, but after a while Sheikahmu’s strength proved no match for the man, who managed to pick him up and throw him against the deck. With the man standing over him, Sheikahmu imagined his mother waiting for him after his trial. She would not be proud of a son who got this far into the trial and let this man defeat him.

The man raised his foot to stomp on him, but Sheikahmu summoned the strength he had left in order to use the magic his mother taught him. As the man’s foot pounded the deck there was a blinding flash of light and Sheikahmu was gone. The man looked around in confusion, scratching his head.

Sheikahmu held onto the sail of the ship with all of his might and held his breath, closing his eyes and concentrating on his next move. He let go of the sail and fell to the deck, landing unnoticed. Sheikahmu sprinted up behind the man and attacked him as furiously as he could. Through the darkness they battled from one side of the ship to the other, but Sheikahmu was able to pick the man up and throw him off the port side of the boat.

Instead of the splash he expected to hear, he heard the man hit a stone floor. Confused, he ran to the side of the ship and saw a faint outline of the man lying on the ground motionless. As he tried to figure out how to get off the ship he looked forward and saw a stone wall crossing the river. Just before the ship ran into the wall Sheikahmu leapt off the ship and onto the stone ground. He struggled to his knees and looked back in time to hear the ship thunderously slam into the stone wall.

Standing up, Sheikahmu limped over to where he saw the man fall off the ship, but he wasn’t there. Fire erupted from the walls leaving hundreds of small torches burning, lighting the room, so he turned around and saw the huge ship’s mangled wreckage. The river flowed into a tunnel much too small for the ship to go into, causing the crash.

The moment was interrupted by the echoing sound of a heavy door opening somewhere behind Sheikahmu. He flung around and saw two people coming into the room and they began to clap. Sheikahmu smiled wryly, not sure what was going on. As they came closer he realized that it was the Highers!

“Bravo! Bravo, fearless one,” Idona said as he continued clapping. “You have proven yourself a formidable warrior!”

Sheikahmu cleared his throat. “Thank you, Sir. You are very kind to say.”

Idona laughed and turned to the other Higher. “He is charming, too!”

They chuckled and came closer to Sheikahmu. The Highers were more intimidating than the Trial to him. A Sheikah would only be in their presence a couple of times for their whole life, so this was no time to forget formalities. They both may have looked like young adults, but the Sheikah had a life span of hundreds of years and they didn’t begin show their age until late in life.

Idona stepped closer to Sheikahmu and pointed to the Eye of the Sheikah embroidered onto the front of his shirt. “The Eye of the Sheikah is our most sacred symbol, the only exception being the Triforce. Tell me, young one, do you know the meaning?”

Sheikahmu put his right hand on the symbol. “Separately, the three triangles forming the eyelashes above the single eye depict Din, Farore, and Nayru, who are the goddesses over the eye, which symbolizes the Sheikah. As a whole, it is a symbol that the goddesses desired the Sheikah to be the watchers over the Royal Family of Hyrule.”

“Your mother taught you well,” Idona said. “We all mourn her passing.”

“My mother would be honored to hear praise from a Higher,” Sheikahmu said as he lowered his head.

Idona put a hand on his Sheikahmu’s shoulder. “Let us go to the Court. We will discuss your fate there.”

Sheikahmu smiled. “Yes Sir.”

Sheikahmu turned to look at the wreckage of the ship one last time, wondering what would happen to that ship. Idona put his hand on the back of Sheikahmu’s head and started to lead them to the door.

As they walk away from the temple Sheikahmu pondered what his mother would think of the compliment from Idona. He had never heard of a Higher complimenting anyone, not that they were cold but rather that they were never seen because the Sheikah were rarely allowed to be in the presence of the Highers. Maybe one day he would know why Idona gave the compliment.

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Chapter 2: The Birth of a Demagogue

August 10, 2010

The sun was setting as dusk began to color the desert landscape with its usual brilliant palette. The sand glistened on the horizon creating a sparkling line that the Gerudo called Din’s Barrier, as it could never be reached and separated their land from the land of the goddesses.

As the temperature cooled with every passing moment the women put their woven shawls over their customary bedlahs, each one adorned with jewels of the desert. Though the Gerudo women had become accustomed to the climate of the desert, they still suffered the indignation of living in small communes of tents. Their leader, Drador Mandra, was content to have his people live in slums because, as he was overheard saying on many occasions, his women were easier to control when they had next to nothing.

From the time before Drador was born only two women had ever left the desert; Koume and Kotake. They were twins who had an especially curious nature when it came to the use of magic and they were the only Gerudo with knowledge of the other races and the magic they used. Drador eventually insisted they stay in the desert where they belonged, but the twins understood this to be a way of controlling a threat. They obliged him and continued to practice the magic they learned on their journey across Hyrule in private.

Koume sat quietly on a boulder overlooking a steep ledge, peering into the impending night sky as she tried to think back to all of the sunsets she had witnessed in her two-hundred seven years. She remembered the evenings being warmer in the past.

“I believe that tonight is the night,” Kotake said as she stepped up to the boulder where Koume sat.

Koume shook her head abruptly as if being awakened and then looked up at her younger twin sister. “I feel that tonight we will have new direction.”

The breeze grew stronger for a moment sending a chill down their spines and blowing their grey hair. Kotake smiled and sat next to Koume, putting her forearms on her knees. “Is this the One?”

“It should be warmer, sister. The One will be welcomed from the fire,” Koume said as she rubbed her face with her hand. “This is most definitely not the Him.”

Kotake’s smile faded. “What then, of the boy?”

Kotake coughed and started to stand up. “The wind is troubling. I feel he will be no threat. Drador, however, will be certain death to many- ourselves included.”

Kotake grabbed Koume’s hand quickly. “Shall we kill Drador tonight then? If he discovers this new child he will certainly kill him!”

Koume remained silent for a moment and looked out into the desert. “If a new day is upon us with the birth of a new leader, then surely it will set for Drador.”

“It is decided then,” Kotake said.

“Yes, sister, we will gather our things and change the course of the Gerudo,” Koume said quietly as she turned to go back to their tent.

Looking to the far end of their camp she saw the giant tent made especially for Drador by the women of the tribe. Silhouettes of the younger women danced on the walls of his tent, and faint music could be heard. He would certainly destroy the youth of a poor girl tonight, but they would have no need to worry after the evening was over.

Kotake stared at the tent next to Koume in disgust.

“His reign of terror is at an end. We will wait until most of the tribe has fallen asleep and make our way to his tent then. The goddesses did not mean for us to be ruled this way,” Koume finally said.

“Yes. We will name our new leader tonight. I will retrieve the boy from his birth mother before we leave. Though he may not remember it, he will be witness to the end of our struggle,” Kotake responded.

The twins began to walk to their tent as the air grew colder than before. The light from Din’s Barrier was beginning to dissolve into the twinkling of the desert stars and the music from Drador’s tent became clearer as the women of the tribe retired to their tents. This was the end of Drador Mandra; his disturbing taste for young women, blood, and self gratification would finally be paid for in his own blood.

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