The halls of Hyrule Castle were both closing in on them and unnervingly endless. Tapestries had tumbled from the walls. A fine dust of stone laid on most surfaces and carpets. And somewhere in the upper floors of the Castle, the rage of Calamity Ganon continued to storm. Lightning flashed through the windows. Thunder rumbled into their bones.
Link didn't even dare look behind them. They were running as fast as their legs could take them, the breath burning in their lungs. He couldn't let go of Zelda, couldn't stop.
They descended stairs two steps at a time, landing with graceless force.
Hopping over the fallen body of a knight, which only elicited a breathless curse from him and a sorrowful oath from her, they continued racing through the vaulted corridors that had once housed a proud garrison and a colourful court. Now, as the world ended around them, Link refused to let the Castle become his tomb.
He would run to the ends of the earth, would sail to distant lands, and he would keep her safe.
The question remained, though: when the Calamity found them… What then?
Because Ganon firmly intended to find them. It would scour the lands and the seas, the deserts and the skies, the deepest caverns and the highest mountains, the thickest forests and the most barren badlands until it found them both, no matter the hour and the year. The furious determination was like brand inching ever closer to Link's nape, and his lungs wanted to explode.
The madness of it was downright unfair. There was no arguing their case, no surrender possible. Link couldn't show himself as he was, an upjumped knight whose courage had failed him, just as Zelda was condemned to be hunted as an incarnation of wisdom, grace and heavenly power whether she was chosen of the Goddess or not.
And the guilt was growing, a small seedling that unfurled within him as he ran. He would take his mother with them, would send a rallying cry if he could. They would need help. The Champions had been defeated so quickly, and King Rhoam lay dead in the remains of his own throne. The hem of Zelda's dress was wet with her father's blood, her face wet with tears.
The small shoot of guilt whispered he'd failed her already. He'd failed them all. The window of possible victory had shot past them too fast, had closed before they'd even seen it.
But he couldn't stop running. He wasn't brave. Not in this. He was deathly afraid of losing her too.
"Link," she breathed, between lungfuls, "please, slow down―"
They couldn't slow down. But Link took several more heavy steps, then slowed to a stop, and turned to her, gulping down air.
She was taking heaving breaths, her hair in disarray, her eyes so full of tears it was a wonder she could see at all.
"Link," she gasped, holding her ribs, "we have…" She exhaled a few times, tried to catch her breath. "We have to go back. We can't leave them there."
The answer came to him before he could even voice the question. The Champions. Her father.
"Zelda," he breathed, shaking his head, the sorrow and the guilt combining into a powerful poison. "I'm sorry…"
"No," she sobbed, still breathless, "please, Link. Maybe they're not dead."
Mipha's unblinking eyes, the golden light utterly gone. Revali's ruffled feathers. Urbosa's bruised, sickly pale skin. Daruk's crumbling shoulder. Rhoam's blood. So much blood. Could they still be alive? "Zelda…"
The Castle rumbled again, and the oozing sound of the blighted copies of Ganon began to sound around the corner. So Link grabbed his princess' hand and pulled her along the hallway once more.
"Link," she begged, "once Ganon returns them to the Divine Beasts, they'll be impossible to recover―"
If she died, Link swore to himself, he would seek the highest tower in the world and throw himself from its summit. Or he would hunt Calamity Ganon and gladly fall to its blows. "They wouldn't want you to risk your life on their behalf." Even now, he could hear Urbosa raging at him, could anticipate Revali's smug admonishments, could imagine Mipha's quiet warnings and Daruk's loud outrage.
Not that he would ever get to confirm his suspicions. They were dead. Dead.
Mipha's eyes. It hurt his chest. She had been his friend. She had healed his wounds, warmed his spirits.
A first blight ―a fury of wind and malice ― turned the corner behind them, and Link sped up.
And then a second blight ―a hulking mass of fire and evil ― appeared ahead of them, at the foot of stairs.
Raising their weapons, both blights prepared to fire.
Link shoved Zelda into an alcove, pressed against her, desperately wishing he could become one with the stone, and braced for agony. The shots fired hit the ceiling overhead, and the masonry began to fracture. And the blights continued to advance.
There was nowhere to go.
As the realization dawned on him, as the blights closed in and Link saw their route of escape disappear, a strange, sorrowful calm came over him, and the madness in his mind settled.
He pulled away. Lifting his head, Link saw they were pressed right next to the hard panel of the treasury's reinforced doors.
And that they were slightly ajar.
Well, they were going to die anyway, so… Why not keep struggling?
Feeling with his hands, Link found the thick iron-wrought handles and pressed.
Pushing the door open, he shoved Zelda unceremoniously in, and pushed the heavy panel shut behind them. The slamming of the doors together rumbled in the stonework, and outside, with a crumbling thunder that quaked all around them, he heard the hallway collapse upon itself. A thick cloud of dust began to kick up from under the doors, and it took all of Link's strength to keep the doors firmly shut against the piling of stones and plaster. Eventually, he found the double reinforced bars at the top and foot of the doors, and lowered them, securing the doors against the outside world. Methodically, he twisted every lock, turned every bolt, until at last the vast contraption of the doors was shut in twenty different ways.
And then he managed to stumble away, coughing.
With the dust of plaster and broken stone floating in the air, the treasury was nigh impossible to see in. But at least, once the hallway's collapse settled, it was blissfully quiet.
And yet he stood in silence, listening to the pounding of blood in his ears and his breath racing, straining to know whether the blights would try to force their way through the rubble to reach them. No sound came, and finally he tried to find his bearings.
"Zelda?" He whispered.
"Link," she replied, blindly feeling for him in the darkened room. Her fingers found his tunic, and he seized her hand and squeezed.
"Are you alright?" He whispered.
"I'm not hurt," she said. She was trembling, and Link worried she was not alright at all.
Suddenly, a light appeared from around a shelf, and they found themselves blinking in surprise, flinching against the sudden candlelight. Zelda made a small sound, as though she were cringing away from an attack, but no blow came.
When his eyes finally adjusted, Link was dismayed to see Misko.
The silver bard looked terrible. His hair was a matted mess, his clothes were dusty and worn. Even his normally clean-shaven cheeks had surrendered to stubble.
"Highness?" His voice was a froggy croak. "Thank the Goddesses you're alive."
The Sheikah princeling's eyes went from Zelda's face to Link's, and dipped to their joined hands. And for the first time, Link thought he didn't look like the most arrogant prick he'd ever known since Revali.
Revali, Link reflected, with an ache that surprised him. He'd hoped one day to ask for a rematch. Now the score would forever remain the same.
"Misko?" Zelda asked, blinking blearily in the candlelight. She cleared her throat, which had closed up with too many tears and too much dust, and managed to croak, "What are you doing here?"
The Sheikah's red eyes squinted at them both, the confusion she displayed mirrored on his own face. "I am― I was hiding." He looked at the barricaded, reinforced doors. "I was in the back of the room, and I heard―"
Overhead, through layers upon layers of stone, the Calamity roared. Even from the vaulted and secure treasury, it sounded more like a force of nature than any living thing.
"That," Misko said, flatly. "I heard that." He was nervous, and he motioned for them to follow him.
Away from the doors. That was probably a good idea, so Link gently nudged Zelda forward.
They began to weave through shelves of rare books and armour, past darkened alcove where gems glittered.
"How long have you been hiding in here?" Zelda asked, horrified.
"What were you doing hiding in here?" Link asked, more pointedly.
The irony in Misko's eyes did not go unnoticed, and if he shot Link an irritated glare, Zelda didn't pick up on it. She stepped towards him, so that Link had to let her go, and as the bard paused to look at her, she brought a hand up to the poet's ragged face, so gentle that the Sheikah seemed taken aback. And, as Link once had, an age ago on a mountaintop, Misko turned into her touch as a seedling to the sun.
She studied his tired features. By the flickering candlelight, Link did too. The bard didn't look unearthly anymore. There was no sign of his previous elegance or poise. In that moment, he was painfully mortal, just as Link was, just as Zelda was. Watching them together now, Link wondered where the bard had gone. Gone the haunting music, the graceful notes. Gone the pristine clothes, the careful grooming. Gone the haughty smugness, the mocking smirks.
Misko the bard was breaking, just like she was. And in that moment, as the Sheikah poet reached up to brush her hair away, Link feared him more than ever.
"Misko," she said, her hand dropping away. "I… I know it won't be for long, but… I'm happy I got to see you." And now her voice cracked. "Alive."
Once again, fat tears began to roll down her cheeks, and Link ached to catch them, to wipe them away. But she was in Misko's reach now, and Link knew it wasn't his place.
Maybe it never had been. She'd stopped him on Lanayru. She'd put them both back their place. And now she had left his side to reach for Misko.
Misko, the silver bard. Misko, of princely Sheikah blood. Misko the courtly poet. Misko the perfect.
"Of course I'm alive," Misko said, with a mix of confusion and alarm. And suddenly his eyes met Link's, across the dimly lit room. "Shouldn't I be?"
It was unkind to wish he was, Link reminded himself. Focusing on the question, he managed to reply, "The King is dead." His voice broke on the last word.
Now Zelda did begin to cry in earnest, and Link averted his eyes, the shame of reminding her hurting keenly.
Wordlessly, Misko reached out to pull her in, but his gaze never left Link's, the disbelief warring with denial on his face. "Dead?"
"He might not be," Zelda wept, protesting.
"Calamity Ganon wore him down," Link said, numbly. "And he lost blood. A lot of it." Too much.
Now Misko's hand was on Zelda's hair, keeping her close, protectively. Licking his lips, the bard tried to find words. "How bad is it?" He finally managed. There was no mistaking the real question, though.
"It's bad," Link said, plainly. "The Champions are dead."
"What? All of them?"
"All but me," Link said, dryly. "We were separated, and they were killed one by one, before we could ever form ranks."
Misko took this in with surprising calm, though his eyes were still searching Link's face for more answers. In his arms, Zelda was sobbing helplessly.
"We couldn't stop it," she said. "We― They―"
Over their heads, the Calamity roared once more, and Zelda flinched.
"So we must run," Misko said, firmly.
It was the smartest thing the bard had ever said. There was just one problem.
"The way is blocked off," Link reminded him, nodding back to where the barred doors held rubble at bay. "Ceiling collapsed. At least Ganon's blights can't catch us now. But we can't get out."
Misko peered at him in silence, his expression hard to read. A hundred different hesitations seemed to flit across his face, a thousand thoughts.
And amidst it all, an unspoken truth.
Link raised a brow, waiting. Standing as they were, here, now, in the dust and the darkness, trapped like rats, the truth dawned on Link. In this treasury, this damned treasury that had given Impa so much trouble, that had baffled so many Sheikah shadows, the confusion melted away into grim amusement. He'd found the jewel thief. And that same thief might be their salvation, if the hesitation in his eyes was anything to go by.
Misko, Link thought, thinking back on too many hours of frustration. Misko, whose lineage was that of ancient Sheikah royalty, whose station had been afforded to him merely out of politeness. Misko, titled yet poor. Misko, who loved Hyrule's princess. Misko, who needed to make himself worthy.
It was difficult not to laugh bitterly. It was impossible not to feel a grudging sympathy.
How had he managed it? Link wondered if the thief knew of another way in and out. He hoped so: otherwise, they would all die in here.
And Misko, damn the poor poet, damn the foolish bard, was holding Zelda in his arms― holding her close, like a precious thing. Link could see the struggle in him: even here, now, at the end of the world, he was still clinging to his pride.
We can't get out, Link repeated, mouthing at his rival, the man who would have made a glorious prince at Zelda's side. And maybe if things had been different, he might have had a chance. A chance at wealth and a crown. A chance at the princess' love. And Link would have had to watch it all, would have had to watch them wed, would have had to guard their children. Torture.
But that future was gone now. Shut and barred like a door against a caved-in hallway. Either the bard's selfishness would be their salvation, or they would die now.
As though aware of Link's thoughts, the bard averted his gaze. And Link realized what a fool he was being.
"Misko," Link said, the sorrow and the helpless rage simmering inside. "Is there another way out?"
Zelda pulled away from Misko, wiping at the tears on her cheeks. "Link?"
Link took a step forward. "Another way out, Misko of the Sheikah. Surely there's some sort of secret passage? Was that how you snuck in to steal your princess' treasures?"
A flash of irritation flickered on the bard's face. "That isn't necessary."
But Link felt cruel. Jealous and cruel and angry and helpless, and he shook his head. "You can't tell me you want to dissemble now. Not when Calamity is upon us. Don't you want to meet your gods with a clear conscience?"
"Link." Zelda frowned at him now. Then, turning to Misko, she asked, "What is he talking about?"
Misko swallowed hard, his pale hands curling into fists. "Princess―" Then a muscle in his handsome jaw leaped, and his lips shut. He fought with himself, the shame and the fury at being cornered evident on his face.
Around them, the castle rumbled ominously, and Link wondered whether they were about to be buried under rubble. His eyes went to Zelda, who had reached out to a nearby counting table to steady herself. The urge to shield her was still overwhelming.
"Misko," she said, firmly, with a steadier voice than she'd had since Lanayru. "If you know how to get us out of here, now would be the time to share that information."
The bard shut his eyes, then exhaled. A moment passed, but Link saw the defeat dawn on him slowly, irrevocably. "Very well, your highness." He looked up into her eyes, then looked away. "It's back here."
She frowned. Her eyes briefly flickered to Link, but she was forced to look back at Misko as she followed him around another corner, into a recessed alcove. "And… how do you know that, exactly?"
There was a moment during which Link thought perhaps Misko would lie.
But he didn't.
"I'm sorry," the silver poet finally said, his voice echoing into the chamber. "I have committed grave offenses against you and your court. On many occasions, I slipped into this very treasury and stole from your father's own coffers. Gems, armour, rupees― I smuggled them out and hid them."
In the midst of the day's events, the confession seemed almost mundane. Even still, it brought the princess to a halt. Zelda peered at her devoted poet, gaping slightly in confusion.
"Misko," she said. "Did you steal… everything that has been declared stolen over the past months?"
The bard inhaled, exhaled deeply. "Yes, your highness."
She seemed to process this slowly, frozen in place. Then, she looked at Link. "And how long has my knight known about this and said nothing?"
"I just pieced it together," Link said. "Him being here― it made no sense, unless…"
But Zelda turned back to the poet. "Misko, why?" The trembling indignation in her voice was no doubt enhanced by the combination of horrors she'd already endured, because she was tense, her whole body closing in on itself even as she tried to remain straight-backed.
In that moment Misko looked up at her with a look that, even in dim candlelight, Link recognized only too well. Adoration. Devotion.
"It was for you," the bard said, bitterly.
"For me?" Zelda echoed, removing her hand from his, taking a step back. Link strode forward, but she paid him no mind. "After all my father and I did for you― were we not generous enough? Or did… did we fail at that, too?" Either she was in such shock that she wasn't thinking clearly, or the possibility of Misko going to such lengths to make himself rich enough to court her had never crossed her mind. If she had never entertained the fancy, then maybe… Maybe Misko's chances were even with Link's: non-existent.
The bard straightened, and, like Link, he seemed to struggle to not wipe her tears away. "Light of Hyrule," he said, softly, brokenly, "you took great pity on me, and granted me honours my family has long since stopped deserving. I owed you more than I could ever give, and I wanted more still." Then, the Sheikah's red eyes slid to Link. "Although I don't imagine I was alone in that."
Well, they'd both be firmly put back in their place by the time they died, Link bitterly reflected.
"Oh, Misko―" She said, sorrowfully. "Nothing in the world is worth surrendering your honour. Father and I would have given you more if you'd only asked." Then, remembering her father was no longer alive, she seemed to break, and her hand went to her stomach, flat and hard against her diaphragm, the pain and grief overwhelming.
And, as Link reached her side, she buried her face into his shoulder, to the knight's surprise.
Misko, who watched this with quiet resignation, did not react.
Outside, more thunder rumbled, distant, and a new shock made more dust fall from the ceiling.
As the rumble subsided, Misko cleared his throat, refusing to look at them directly.
"Since we all know what I am ― a bandit ― I may as well tell you how I did it." His mouth quirked with humor. "Especially since it may be the saving of us. After Lady Ashei spotted me in the hallway that first night with the sapphires, they started adding locks―" He jutted a thumb in direction of the double reinforced doors, where twenty locking mechanisms had been added, "Which gave me no choice but to find and use the messier option."
"The messier option?" Link echoed.
In that moment, something of the old Misko seemed to resurface, a mix of smugness and haughtiness that reminded Link a little bit of Revali. "The tunnels, of course."
"The tunnels?" Zelda repeated, hoarsely. She had pulled away from Link slightly and was wiping at her eyes with the heel of her palms.
"This Castle is old," Misko said. "And we Sheikah had been working on mapping all of the walled-off rooms, all the narrow passages that had once been servants' ratways. I found the tunnels by accident when I did some exploring of my own." He picked up his candle and motioned for them to follow him. "I don't think anyone else had bothered to investigate this one yet. Master Impa suspected a Sheikah from the mapping team of these thefts. It never occurred to her even a court bard could find something like this."
With a single, powerful push, Misko leaned his weight against a metal shelf covered in coffers and purses, and revealed a narrow opening in the stone that led into a darkened stairway. The steps disappeared down into pitch darkness, each step worn down to a smooth polish by what could have been centuries of use.
"Misko," Zelda gasped.
"There you have it," Misko said, his tone dry and his humour drier still. "All my secrets, in one fell swoop."
"Where does it lead?" Link asked, his heart beginning to race with a sudden, radiant hope.
"The outside," Misko said, "although I'm sure there are other connections that have been walled off over the ages. There are no intersections on this one. You'll find yourself under an outer wall guard tower, near the waterfall that originates around the second gatehouse."
"That's quite low on the hill," Link said, inching towards the darkened passageway. "The moat is shallow enough to ford there. We'd end up right behind the Cathedral district."
Misko didn't deny the assessment, too preoccupied by Zelda's expressions to respond. Link, for his part, was without words. There was a tiny ray of hope. Zelda might live.
Better yet, they might make it out of the Calamity's grasp and amass armies.
Of course, the city was under fire― the Cathedral district would likely not be spared. But further out, in the other provinces of Hyrule, there was still hope for warriors and soldiers.
It was not much of a plan, but it was something when they'd had nothing.
"Misko," Zelda said, seizing his hand and forcing the bard to turn to her. "All this― you did all this for me, you said. Please tell me―"
"I love you," Misko said, interrupting.
All the plans in Link's mind vanished, dissipated by the sudden shock of what the bard had admitted. Turning to look at the two of them, he was stunned to see Misko clutching Zelda's hand with painful closeness, the love in his eyes undeniable.
Zelda, too, seemed speechless.
"I've loved you for years," Misko said. "But you are a princess, and I am a poor princeling, whose only talent is the harp. And stealing." He cleared his throat. "I wanted wealth, your highness. To be worthy of you." The smile that spread on his face was not happy. "It was in vain, I know."
Zelda found her tongue. "Misko, I do care about you." She pulled her hand out of his. "But―"
"No," Misko said, dryly. "I know. Please, spare me the pain of hearing you say it out loud. I know you don't care for me the way I want you to. I know you have more pressing matters to attend." His eyes flickered to Link, then back to her. "And I know I cannot serve you in the way you need." His eyes were sorrowful now. "But when you think back on me, Princess, I hope you will think of me with kindness nonetheless."
"Come with us," Zelda commanded.
But Misko's eyes went back to the treasury, sweeping over walls of rare, ancient scrolls, treasures and chests―
"Misko," Zelda said, sternly. "Is your greed truly greater than your love of life?"
"Not greed," Misko said. He strode to the wall of rare parchments and pulled one out. His eyes skipping over the lines, he turned back to her and Link. "I have behaved wretchedly, it's true. But I know I can… make amends."
"There's no telling how long this Castle will stand," Link said. "You should come with us before it collapses."
"The Castle is lost," Misko agreed. "And soon nothing in it will be accessible to us mortals." He pulled out another scroll, unfurled it. "But there are things that transcend time― important things―"
"Misko," Zelda insisted. "We are leaving. Do stop wasting time."
"No," Misko replied, firmly. He looked at them with a newfound fire in his eyes. "I cannot fight. I cannot control those Divine Beasts. I can play the harp, and I can steal. But you," he continued, pulling more scrolls from their cubbies in the wall, "you both have a destiny. Do not wait for me." Now the scrolls were piling high in his arms. "I will aid you."
Zelda looked at Link helplessly, then insisted once more: "Misko, what good will those scrolls do?"
" 'When the moon bleeds and the fiends are reborn'," Misko quoted, reading from a scroll. "'the monks will invite you, as they have sworn.' There are prophecies here. Prophecies meant for those who wish to fight."
Overhead, the rumbling resumed, and this time Link felt an urgency in his gut. They had to leave. The longer they waited, the angrier the Calamity would be.
"I will find you," Misko swore, over his shoulder. He was stuffing scrolls into a large satchel ― a satchel he'd emptied of precious goods, and they'd clattered to the floor, glittering. "I will head home, to Kakariko village. And then I will find you."
"Misko, don't be stupid―"
"Zelda, it's time to go."
Before Zelda could protest once more, the bard turned. In the candlelight, his hair looked almost golden, and his red eyes were piercing.
"Sir Link," the bard called. "Take her from this place. Do what I cannot." And if his eyes belied his love, begged for mercy and obedience, Link refused to acknowledge it. "She must live," he insisted.
At least they agreed on that.
"Princess, it's time to go," Link said, as thunder continued to roll. "Come with me."
He took another candle and began to pull at his princess' hand, and though she tried to argue, her protests were weak.
The last thing Link and Zelda saw of Misko ― the Bandit and the Bard ― he was frantically pulling tens of scrolls out of their hiding places and stuffing them into a bag, a scattering of abandoned rupees and gemstones around his feet.
And then the stairs turned and they were plunged into darkness that Link barely held at bay with a single, flickering flame.
Zelda was not happy about this.
"Link, we cannot abandon him"
"He made his choice, and we need to go. If we die," he added, firmly, "then your father and the Champions will all have died for nothing." He tugged on her hand, kept her steady as they descended. "The gods are watching over us. Without Misko we'd never have known there was a way out. Bless the bastard's greed."
"Do not speak of him that way." Her voice took on a note of desperate pleading. "And you don't know that Father is dead. Please. Now that we're out of that death trap, we have to go back for him."
Link didn't reply to that. Instead, he said, "I have sworn to shield you, and so I shall. It's too dangerous to go back."
"You've sworn no such thing," Zelda angrily said. "I released you. And I remain your princess. My word is law―"
"Not in this," Link said, as they reached a landing of smooth, carved stone. "Not when your life is at stake." He turned to her, and in the candlelight she seemed torn between terror, fury and sorrow. "I will return for him," he lied. "Alright? But I will get you to safety first. He would never forgive me if I did otherwise."
She strangled a sob, but nodded. He squeezed her hand.
"Come," he said, with more gentleness. "I can hear water rushing. We must be close to the exit."
They emerged into sunset right on the low cliffs between the Castle and the moat.
And were stunned speechless.
Castle Town had erupted into an inferno, a blaze that was burning so hot they could feel it even where they were standing. The high Cathedral had melted, tumbling into a collapsed ruin of flaming lumber and stone.
And though they heard the roaring of the fire and the crumbling of the buildings, there were no longer any living voices. No cries, no sounds of battle.
Castle Town was gone.
To the east, the fields around the city walls were open along the Hylia river, mercifully deserted of either friends or foes.
They carefully made their way down from the cliffs and into the muddy moat, emerging on the other side some minutes later.
Zelda cast a look back up at Hyrule Castle with a mix of sorrow and fear.
"We will return," Link insisted, grasping her hand and pulling her up the bank of the river. She did not seem convinced, and did not reply.
As they strode into the fields outside of the Castle walls, they spotted corrupted Guardians making the rounds and firing wildly into the air, so they kept low, hiding in the tall, late summer grasses.
Suddenly, the sound of hooves ― many hooves― began to thunder up from the ground.
"Get down," Link said, pulling Zelda into a crouch. Then, through the grasses, his heart in his throat, he searched.
The city gates had broken open, and the sight that awaited made Link sick to his stomach.
A stampede of horses ― some ablaze and others merely terrified ― began to pour out of the flaming city. They were of royal stock; many were white, all of the same bloodline as Zelda's own gelding. Many others had colouring ― knight's stallions, gentle brood mares, hardworking pack horses. He saw a few donkeys, and several foals.
Many that were already ablaze died in that field, the smell of cooked meat reaching Link on the wind. Others managed to put their burns out by rolling and escaped, if they weren't seared to death by the relentless violence of the Guardians outside the walls.
From where they sat, watching the scattering herd of Hyrule's finest beasts, hunted mercilessly by the abominations under Ganon's control, a deep sorrow tore at Link's soul like a gaping wound. His beloved land of wild beauty and refined culture was more than under siege. Nothing was more obvious than it was now, under the terrified whinnies and cries of wounded and dying horses.
Zelda was crying, her sobs muffled against her hands. Her tears seemed endless.
Closing his eyes, Link fought against helpless tears of his own.
Hyrule was falling.
Hyrule had fallen.