Sitting within the underground encampment, Shakti and Shehra waited for nearly half an hour until the guard that had led them here arrived with an elderly man and a young girl. “Here are the girls I was telling you of sir,” the guard explained. “The girls who claim that they are daughters of Link.”
Inspecting them, the elderly man nodded, inspecting closely so as to ensure those rather surprising claims.''You, young lady,” he spoke, looking at Shehra, noting her fair skin and blonde hair. “You bear resemblance to Link, but also to someone else who was sacred to Hyrule. Tell me, who was your mother?”
“My mother?” Shehra asked. “Why she is the head bodyguard to my aunt, Namira, the leader of the Gerudo tribe.''
Looking her up and down, the old man then asked, “Are you sure of that? Are you sure that your mother wasn’t the beautiful embodiment of the Goddess of Wisdom, Princess Zelda? It would explain the... air, that surrounds you and your stance, if that makes any sense...”
Shehra looked confused at this, but Shakti began to ponder upon this statement. She knew Fiora wasn’t a native Gerudo, but a beauteous young woman her mother had hypnotized and changed. Her mother had told her that Fiora originally had very pale skin, blue eyes, and long golden hair and that she had infiltrated the fortress through sheer skills, yet had joined her after a rather short confrontation. She had also heard stories of Princess Zelda from the older Gerudo who dared venture into Hyrule Town to mate before her father, Link arrived. Could it be possible,Shakti thought to herself, that the woman who had infiltrated the fortress had been none other than Zelda? The theory, however ludicrous it seemed, did not hold much water, as Fiora was most assuredly bronze of skin, like a native Gerudo...And yet Shakti had seen many wonders and unexplained phenomenons in the short time out of her home. Perhaps it was time to actually speak of those suspicions, as she turned to her half-sister. “Shehra, you need to know something about your mother...” She began, getting her sister’s attention. “You see, she wasn’t born in Gerudo Valley. She was an outsider.”
“Outsider?” Shehra wondered looking at her own body. “Then…is that why I’m not bronze-skinned or have red hair like you or our sisters? Is this why I am stronger in the ways of magic than in sheer physical strength?”
“Perhaps,” Shakti nodded. “My mother says that your mother was very fair-skinned and had very blonde hair just like you, in the past. She spoke not of me how she came to join us or how she changed...And yet this idea that this old man is throwing at us might explain a few things.”
“Then...was my mother really Princess Zelda?” Shehra asked, a little shaken by all this, however true it might prove to be.
“I don’t know.” Shakti admitted. “But we’d better go home and try to get some answers. Perhaps there is a lot more going on at home and in this world at large than we ever knew.”
“Yes,” Shehra agreed, “But first we need to know about what’s going on here. Why are those monsters treating people like slaves? How are they doing it?''
As they spoke, a sudden, and loud, booming sound was heard from up above as the ground began to shake. The screams of people inside the tunnels were heard as most of them ducked trying to avoid debris from hitting them, the whole situation lasting for nearly ten minutes before it stopped. Getting to their knees, Shakti and Sherha inspected each other to see if either was injured. When all they discovered were some minor cuts and bruises, they nodded to each other and tended to the wounded. After they were finished and the initial shock passed they asked the elderly man was just happened and if, by any chance, it was not the first instance of such an event.
“That came from Death Mountain,” he explained. “Ever since the natives there, the Gorons, were driven from it, it has ruptured like no tomorrow. Their powers over Earth and Fire were enough to quiet it and cause it to erupt once a couple of years or so, in a controlled manner. But now, with Ganondorf’s magic rupturing it in addition to no one there to tame it, it goes off pretty much once every two weeks.”
“That’s terrible!” Shakti exclaimed. “What happened to the Gorons? My mother tells me they were strong and mighty warriors who ate rocks and specialized in making bombs, amongst such things. How could they have been driven away from their home?”
“Yes, they were formidable,” the old man nodded. “But brute strength does little against an army of ghosts and evil spirits. This army drove the Gorons from their home and we haven’t seen them since. Rumors spread that they fled to the Lost Forest to live with the forest folk, the Kokiri, but no one knows for sure.”
Turning to Shehra, Shakti motioned that she wanted to talk to her in private for a moment. Getting the message, Shehra rose and they went to a corner making sure none would hear. “Sister, this is the third time we’ve heard of Ganondorf causing chaos,” Shakti explained. “I’m starting to think that mother was wrong about him.”
“Yes, I know.” Shehra agreed. “We should see if this is true and head to Death Mountain. Then if it’s true, we’ll head to the Lost Woods to rescue the Gorons and the Kokiri. Then we should head home and tell our mothers about this, as well as all the other Gerudos, should they wish to listen to us.”
“Yes, but first we need to know about those horrible spiders.” Shakti spoke reminding her sister of that ghastly scene they had witnessed in the village. Nodding, the pair turned to the young girl that had accompanied the old man and she went on to explain what she had endured whilst being enslaved, a tall and very pretty woman in a blue dress and long reddish-brown hair. “It was horrible,” she began. “The poison lasts for nearly three months, from what we've seen. When it wears off, the spiders gather us up and bite us again injecting more venom into our bodies. It first weakens our muscles, making any attempt at struggling a massive ordeal, then it travels through our body and into our mind, tapping into our will, our thoughts, our emotions, and it gradually dulls them away into nothingness until finally the only thought in our heads is a small voice trying to break free. It keeps track of the time, but it doesn’t get out until three months pass.”
“It’s quite an ingenious system,” Shakti nodded. “Diabolical, but ingenious. But however did you manage to escape?”
“Well, when the venom wore off in my brain, I was near a brazier of hot coals,” she explained. “I pretended to still be under their control, and then out of the blue I knocked it over burning the cobwebs and killing my spider mistress. As the monsters dealt with the damage, I managed to flee and headed to the graveyard where I hid and discovered this tunnel by accident. So I hid there, and I’ve been here ever since wondering about the others… Especially my loving husband who I had to leave behind. I…I still remember when we were young, and how we used to dance all day as I would tell him that he was the most handsome man in Hyrule, and he would tell me that I was even more beautiful than the Princess herself...”
Keeping their emotions under control, as per the training they received, neither Shakti nor Shehra could completely hold back their disgust and their compassion for this victim of poor circumstances. They were warriors, controlling their body and their mind, but yet it was an arduous task not to want to simply charge at the ruffians and monsters in the village without any second thought. It would be a poor decision leading to an fate worse than they could imagine, yet the temptation to lead through anger and indignation, at this very moment, was quite present. ''We have to warn the others, to let them know the true horrors we've witnessed and try to free the people from Ganondorf's torment. This is not right in the slightest,'' Shakti declared, her fist clenched tightly as she motioned for Shehra to follow her, a gesture she did with nodding agreement.
Exiting the tunnels, what they saw was a shocking sight, a nasty surprise with but a silver lining to keep their hopes up as many monsters seemed to have found the entrance to this lair full of rebels. They were numerous, yet they were held at bay by a single warrior showcasing agility and quick-thinking as she darted and sliced through the opposition with firm determination, despite the fact that she was losing ground rapidly. Fiora, it seemed, had found both the rebellion and the girls whose hope they represented would be a shining beacon to all of Hyrule.
“Mom!” Shehra cried out getting Fiora’s attention.
“Girls!” She shouted, the relief in her voice being apparent despite the battle she was locked in. “Thank goodness, I'm not too late!”
“Mother, what are you doing here?!” Shehra cried.
As Fiora struggled with her opponents, she spoke, “Delivering a message from your father!'' she shouted, throwing a few daggers at a few opponents before umping on top of a gravestone to avoid a nasty blow. '' He wants one of you to go to Death Mountain and recruit the Gorons...for a war!”
“A war?” Shakti asked. “Against who?”
Fiora fought off a big Poe, using a well-placed spell to hurt its ethereal form, then said, “Ganondorf! The Gerudo have declared war on Ganondorf!”
“Why?” Shakti said, picking up her weapons as she tried to help her mother's bodyguard against the mass of opponents in front of her.
“Because he wants us to kill your fa-“ Fiora began to explain, before her words were cut off as a Skulltula managed to pounce on her, pinning her down, biting her in the neck in a swift strike.
“No!” Shehra cried as the spider positioned her fangs to Fiora’s neck, fully aware of what it would all entails for her mother. It was, however, too late as the Skulltula dug her fangs into her neck again much to Shakti and Shehra’s horror. As weakness began to spread in the bodyguard's body, the horde grew bolder and more relentless as it advanced toward both Shakti and Shehra.
Shehra rushed to try and help, but Shakti stopped her. “No Shehra!” She spoke, “There are too many of them!”
“But….but my mom-” Shehra spoke sobbing a bit, her whole warrior training crumbling in front of such a shocking sight.
“-risked herself to give us this message.” Shakti cut her off, explaining as the Skulltula dragged their new victim to her web. “We need to fulfill her mission, it’s what she would have wanted. It's the entire reason why she was seeking us in the first place, I bet.''
Mustering up the last bit of free will in her Fiora called out, “Don’t worry about me! The mission is more important now!” Then she slumped as her eyes glazed over succumbing to the poison.
“She’s right, Shehra. We need to fulfill father’s wish.” Seeing the uncertainty and pain in her sister’s eyes, Shakti assured her, “Don’t worry. We’ll get her back, but we need help. We need to find the Gorons!”
Looking her sister in the eyes, Shehra nodded regretfully. She didn’t want to leave her mother behind to these insidious monsters, but she knew Shakti was right. “Yes,” she relented. “Yes, we must take care of our new mission.''
Nodding sympathetically, Shakti spoke, “Listen Shehra, I think we should split up. Father needs to hear of this, and if we’re going to war I want to see how we’re gathering for it. Therefore, I will go back. You head to Death Mountain, and I'll buy you time to do so. Wouldn't want those monsters to go through the tunnels, after all.''
“Me?” Shehra asked. “But why? Didn't the old man say that the Gorons moved to the Lost Woods?”
“He said that they might have moved to the woods. There's still a chance that they're around the mountains,” Shakti explained as she took out the Biggoron's sword. “As for the first question, you're much wiser than me and I know that. Therefore, you'd be a better fit to talk to them all. If the old man's also right with his theory of you being Princess Zelda's daughter...well that's always a huge plus, isn't it?”
Seeing the wisdom in her sister’s words, Shehra nonetheless reluctantly nodded as she made her way to the Death Mountain's gate, using the acrobatic skills that her mother had judged necessary to teach her while she was far younger. Looking at the determination on Shakti's face and the cheer boldness of her decision, Shehra could not help but fear that this might be the last time they'd speak.
“Good luck Shehra,” Shakti simply said, not too loud as she got into a warrior's trance, taking her position as she looked at the mob, ready for a battle that might prove to be legendary...and maybe her last...