I promised that I would squeeze in two posts before the year was over, and this is me keeping that promise. I have talked about my plans for 2019, but I don’t know for certain what will come. So while plans are great, I’m going to give a brief list of what I hope to achieve in the coming 12 months!
- Publish Eagle Down by the end of March.
- Complete the first draft of Phoenix Launch sometime in September.
- Revise and publish the first half of The Era Without a Hero on my Zelda blog.
- Write for at least 20-minutes every day, no matter what.
- Create more frequent content for the blog (including reviews, previews of my work, and overall more posts).
Those are my biggest goals as a writer for the next year. If I can hold to those, I will be thrilled! Not only that, but it means you all will get two stories from me within the next couple months.
Regarding my Zelda story: this piece of work was my first completed novel. It was long, it was a task, but I love that story so much. When I finished it, I immediately started work on The Iron Chronicles and took virtually no time off. I had accepted the fact that I could never publish it and earn anything from it, because I frankly don’t have any rights to do so. However, for 5-years worth of work to sit on a shelf and collect dust seemed wrong. That’s why I’m bringing the story back and sharing it for free. It’s a tale that I care deeply about, and want fans of the game series to be able to explore. My biggest complaint with the most recent entry (Breath of the Wild) was that the massive world had no content. This story began long before that game was even announced, yet captures what I think is the same essence and can fill that void land with a story that’s compelling and exciting.
I have shared snippets of my stories on here, and even full works like my short stories. However, I have something very special to share with you all. The prologue to The Era Without a Hero is a unique portion of the story that was thought up when I originally planned it as its own video game. I envisioned the player interacting with this island cave as a sort of menu where they could select the main story, minigames, an online mode, and eventually DLC. However, when the game concept was abandoned in favor of simply writing it as a novel, I kept this setting as a way of putting the reader in the right mindset. Today, I’m sharing with you that prologue. When I publish the first chapter on my Zelda blog, located here, the prologue will also be available. The hope is that I can post one chapter per month in 2019, which will lead me to the halfway point of the story.
Enough chatting though! I hope everybody has a safe New Year, and I look forward to all of your feedback on both stories in 2019! Thank you for reading!
The Era Without A Hero: by David Wayne Nystrom
Based on the Legend of Zelda video game series created by Shigeru Miyamoto
The crew bustled about pulling up the sails, tying down portions of the ship, and readying the small row boats that they would use to pull ashore. There was a heavy splash as the anchor dropped and the ship gradually lurched to a stop.
I emerged from my cabin and ascended the steps to the helm. I gazed out over the salty waters and cupped my hand over my eyes to see the small spec of earth piercing the waves. A small peak of gray rock jutted up from a mound of green. A few tropical trees sprang up across the island and a thin layer of coral was visible just off its coast.
“That be it Cap’in?”
“Unless our patron disagrees, I do believe it is Torvo.”
My first mate nodded to some of the other men enthusiastically. They gave a celebratory revel and continued making landing preparations.
“Do you disagree, Madame?”
The tall and thin figure standing in the corner shook her covered head. She was a wealthy and confident woman yet had kept her true identity hidden. She’d paid well enough in advance that I had no qualms about sailing into the Great Sea, yet the bounty she was seeking seemed hardly worth the dangers. I had suspicions that she was connected with the Royal Family, likely a direct descendant of those who first landed in New Hyrule. My only clues were her accent and the scarf she wore under the hood, which bore the ancient Sheikah emblem.
After giving orders to my men that were to remain on board, I descended back into my cabin and retrieved my pistol and sword. I took an extra pouch of gunpowder and stuffed it in my coat pocket before slipping my satchel over my shoulder and concealing the gun.
When I returned to the deck, the woman was seated on my personal boat, awaiting my orders for us to row ashore. I climbed in with two of my men, and they began rowing us ashore. Three more boats, each with four of five people in it, rowed along just behind us.
“I only want yourself and I to journey into the cave,” the woman said.
“My men will go into the cave with us, madame. This is part of their reward for the journey here. They didn’t leave the safety of our waters to come to this place for only a few hundred rupees.”
“Where’d you come by all this information anyways? Doesn’t seem like the sort of treasure or knowledge an aristocrat would be interested in.” Admittedly, I was searching for more information as to her true identity.
“Shows what you know about aristocrats, Captain Grandersen,” she chuckled a little.
The island’s sand was golden and crunched firmly beneath my boots as I stepped out. The small peak of stone appeared larger now, and some of its details were distinctly more visible. AS the woman pulled her cloak to one side, she pulled a weathered old piece of leather from an elegantly crafted leather pouch. It was a map that clearly showed this strange and out of the way island.
“How long have you been holding onto that map?”
“This way,” she said, ignoring my question and taking quick strides up the grassy knoll.
As we approached the rocky peak, a heavy boulder that was about as tall as any of us rested against an alcove. She stepped up to the rock and pressed her hands against it.
“Yes, this is it.”
“What is it?” Torvo asked scratching his greasy white hair.
“Move the stone, there’s a cave behind it.”
My men looked at me in confusion, but I nodded giving my approval. They dove at the stone and began heaving hard. They pushed and pulled and tried to pry the stone away with logs and shovels, but it did not move. After a half hour or so, several men retrieved ropes from the row boats and tried to pull it away with those, but still nothing.
When they began to rest and sip from their canteens, muttered comments about it being too heavy floated out of their mouths. I looked to the woman, who was flipping through a small journal and running her fingers along the rock.
As I approached, she answered my question before it could even pass my lips.
“They used switches back then,” her regal accent was more evident due to her enthusiasm, “if we find it, the door should open with ease.”
My men resumed their attempts at opening the door, with several fanning out to search for the switch at my behest. I began digging around in the bushes and shrubs not far from the mysterious woman, when I found something under a thick layer of moss that had gathered not far from the stone.
“My lady,” I called the woman over.
The thing was an inscription. It was written in an ancient text that I had only seen used around the Tower of Spirits and Hyrule Castle back in my youth. Despite it having been decades since having to read and write in the ancient language, my teaching hadn’t worn off and I could still plainly read it.
“’Beyond here lay the words and treasures of a land erased by the Gods and preserved by Faith’,” I read aloud.
“You can read that?” She said, astonished.
“Yes, my lady. I may appear a simple privateer, but I assure you I am not a fool. It’s the language of legend, is it not?”
Her blue eyes narrowed in suspicion of me, but she set about copying the inscription down on a blank page in her journal. After copying it herself, she held the page to the stone and made a rubbing of the original writing.
“Cap’in! There’s Deku on this island, and they ain’t friendly!” One of my men shouted, stumbling away from some trees.
I looked up to the skies and saw that the sun was almost directly overhead. I gave orders to avoid the Deku and continue searching until twilight set in. If we hadn’t found a way into the cave by then, we’d return to the ship for the night, then return with some tools to fend back the living shrubs.
When dusk arrived, the woman seemed displeased with our abandoning the island until dawn. I assured her that we would double our efforts the next day, which seemed to ease her tension a little.
As I sat down to eat my dinner that evening, there as a soft knock at the door to my cabin.
“Come in,” I said, wiping the crumbs of bread from my scruffy facial hair. I promptly hopped to my feet when I saw it was the woman, “apologies my lady, I would have opened the door had I known it was you.”
She gave a soft laugh, “there is no need to apologize Captain. We’re far from Hyrule, there is no need to stand on ceremony out here. May I join you?”
I nodded and motioned to the chair on the opposite side of my table.
“A glass of wine, my lady?”
She shook her head and helped herself to a bit of turkey and a roll. She tore bits of the roll off and carefully put them into her mouth, still concealing her face.
My curiosity was overwhelming, “why do you hide your face?”
Her eyes peeked up from the shadow of her hood, “because I fear what I know.”
“And what is it that you know?”
“That the value of this treasure we seek is enough to make the greatest of men stumble. It is more valuable than any trinket of gold or silver you or your men have ever sought or dreamed of seeking. I hide my face because I know that there are men of darkness around every corner that would destroy me to obtain this treasure.”
“Why not send on of your great knights or holy servants?”
“What makes you think I command great knights or servants?”
“Your dismissal of ceremony for one. That purse you have at your side, is too well made to be from any port I’ve sailed into, and your accent betrays your capital city identity. You are no ordinary citizen, and too intelligent to be any aristocrat.”
She had stopped eating at this.
“Perhaps I have truly figured you out?”
“With all due respect, Captain,” she said rising to her feet, “you do not have the slightest idea of ceremony, nor who I am. I trust our search will resume at dawn?”
I rose to my feet and nodded, “yes, my lady.”
“I shall meet you on your boat then,” she turned and left.
I gave a small bow as she left, then sat at finished my dinner. Once I’d finished, I went to my bed and tried to sleep as best I could. I went over everything I’d seen and learned about the woman, but still her true identity evaded me.
The next morning, as I walked the deck, I found the young maiden standing near the bow staring out at the island in the morning fog. I approached her, so she would notice my being there, yet we said nothing. We stood there for a few moments before a shout from the crow’s nest above alerted us it was dawn.
“Time to go my lady,” I said softly before turning and barking orders to the crew that was making ready.
Once on shore again, everybody resumed searching as they had the day before. More prepared, they fought back the Deku and gained access to areas on the island that were previously too dangerous to search. However, the search yielded nothing new and as midday approached, we reconvened near the cave entrance.
“Can we jus’ blow ‘er up?”
“Aye! A blast from one of t’e cannons would do it!”
“Or we tie a ‘eavy line to t’e ship an’ tow ‘er away!”
Suggestions of every kind came from the men, most weren’t bad. However, many of the ideas, depending how deep it was, put the contents at risk of being damaged. If the treasure were even half as valuable as our maiden patron suggested, it was too much of a risk.
“My lady,” I began, “you must agree with my men and I when I say this past day has been fruitless. It would seem that the only way of opening this cave would be by use of a blast from the cannons. I don’t want to damage any treasure that may lay beyond it, yet I don’t know of any other way at this point.”
She stood motionless, staring at the sand around the edges of her cloak. The sound of the waves crashing on the coral reef seemed to echo in the hollowness of her silent answer. She agreed but was fighting with herself internally to find any other answer.
“Unless you have some sort of magic up your sleeve-“
“Magic! Captain!” She exclaimed, cutting me off.
“Magic?” I asked.
She sprinted over to me and pulled my sword from its scabbard on my hip. I stumbled back, and she began running up to the wall of rock next to the stone that blocked the cave entrance.
With great force, she drove the tip of my blade into the stone and suddenly the wall illuminated with a purple and pink light. The light formed a rectangle in the stone that remained even as she lowered the blade at her side. Her eyes darted from side to side across it, looking at the boulder and back to the wall.
“’Beyond here lay the words and treasures of a land erased by the Gods and preserved by Faith’,” she recited from memory.
“Preserved by Faith,” I mumbled under my breath as I stared at the illuminate block on the wall. I pressed my hand to my chin and thought hard about the words. Then I took my blade back from the woman and raised it up myself.
Pressing the tip into the stone, I drew three equal size triangles into it. One on top of the other two, so that it formed a recognizable symbol to everyone. It was the Triforce. It was the symbol of Hylian Faith.
When I stepped back, everybody paused for a moment. The image of the Triforce remained on the stone and began to shine with a golden light. It flashed so brightly, everyone had to avert their eyes for a moment. Then it faded, leaving the dark outline of the Triforce that I had traced.
The earth began to shake and rumble then. I had to brace myself against a nearby rock, as did everyone else. Some simply fell to the ground and others held onto a tree or similar rock. The woman though, held her hands out to the sides and seemed to hover off the ground a few inches.
Once I was able to pry my eyes off of her and her magic, I saw the source of the quake. The boulder, or door as it seemed to be, had begun to crack and dissolve. Bits of it crumbled and fell away, and before long it had turned into dust and gravel. Beyond the spot where it once stood, was a cave filled with darkness.
As I peered down into the black, I called for my men to bring me a torch. A moment later, the woman and I began to descend the stairs that were chiseled into the ground beyond the cavern threshold.
Our feet clicked on the cobble steps and then struck the floor. I continued to move forward, searching for a place to light the cavern up with. Then I found a large basin with some tinder resting in it. Lowering the torch carefully, I lit the bowl. As it caught fire, two lines of flame shot out in an angle, which then lit a pair of cauldrons across the cavern. Those two were then joined by one more strip of fire. All together they created a large triangle of fire which illuminated the cavern.
Our eyes adjusted to the firelight, and we could see shelves filled with books and scrolls. Suits of armor lined one wall of the cave, shields, swords, and maces as well. Chests overflowing with rupees and gold were scattered about. A thick layer of dust and cobwebs covered everything, but the shine still remained. The lady was right about treasure being here indeed.
My men cheered and began running about, grabbing as much as they could in celebration. I gave a good hearty laugh and picked up a golden chalice for myself and raised it in the air as if giving a toast to which my men cheered.
Then I noticed the woman, rummaging through the scrolls.
“My lady, we have found the treasure, that tattered paper won’t likely fetch much back in Castle Town,” I joked with her.
“You may have found your treasure Captain, however mine is far more valuable,” she said opening scroll after scroll, scanning every individual one for something.
“And what treasure would that be?” I said as I walked to the lower level under the triangle.
I approached a small table on the lower level in the center of the cavern. Looking around I noticed the things on this level of the cave were less treasure and more historical. There were paintings, sketches, and what appeared to be maps.
One painting showed a great hall with seven people seated at a long table. Above them was an ornate stain glass window depicting a sword, six circles, and the Triforce. These seven people were all very different. One was significantly shorter than the rest, two were blue skinned with gills, one was an owl, one wore a crown and had flowing silver blonde hair, one appeared to be made of stone, and another had their face hidden by a hood.
I continued searching the area when I returned my attention to the small table. On it were several pieces of parchment, a dried-up ink well and quill, and a candle, melted over its holder and onto the wood.
I moved aside some of the parchment and noticed a thick leather-bound book resting beneath them. The leather had a green stain to it, and on the cover was imprinted a Triforce with symbols all around it in a circle.
“My lady,” I called out, “would this be the book you’re looking for?”
She rushed over and stood at the top of the steps to see me with my hand on the cover. Slowly she approached, and I stepped back for her to look at it. Softly, her fingers touched the leather, tracing over the triangles and down its spine.
She carefully lifted her cover open and reached up to lower her scarf and blow away some of the dust. I could still not see her face, but for the first time, I saw a bit of yellow hair fall down from behind the shroud.
She began to turn the pages slowly, then reached over, grabbed the rickety looking chair and sat down. I stepped closer and looked down at the pages over her shoulder. It was written in ancient Hylian, like the inscription on the doorway outside.
“Here lies the account of the Keyfinder, and link in lineage between the world that was and the world that will be,” I read aloud.
“It seems that I picked the correct captain for this journey,” she said sitting up straight in the chair.
I stepped back and watched as her hands reached up and lowered her hood. Her hair was fine and golden. Ears pointed towards the heavens and small Triforce’s hung from each. She lowered her scarf to reveal a face I never expected to see.
I nearly stumbled backwards as I recoiled and tried to bow at the same time.
She rose and stood over me as I dropped to my hands and knees.
“Yes Captain, I am Princess Zelda.”
I was horrified. I had treated her like a higher being, but never had I even suspected she would be royalty.
“Do not fear Captain, my identity was not revealed on purpose. You were to treat me no different and you still will not, understood?” She said, replacing her hood.
“Y-y-yes your Gr-Grace.”
“Clear the cavern except for yourself and I. Tell your men to gather what they wish and return only when you give word.”
I hopped back up a level as she sat back down and promptly told the men to go back to the ship. I told them to take back whatever gold and treasure they desired, but to leave one boat and not return until I signaled.
When I returned, I found the Princess seated and the book opened to the first page. Opposite on the table, was another book, new and unmarked, with a freshly opened ink well next to it.
“We will take turns reading and writing. To start, I will read, and you can write,” the Princess said, “this book will not survive a trip across the sea back to New Hyrule, so we need to copy it, word for word, into the common tongue. Can you do it Captain?”
I nodded taking the seat opposite her. I picked up the quill and dipped it into the new ink well and readied myself to write.
“Make sure. Word for word. Every detail is imperative,” she took a deep breath and began, “‘It is the end of the Era of the Great Calamity and I fear this shall be known as the Era Without A Hero. I write this to tell account that there were heroes. Though not the Hero of Time as we had prayed for, Hyrule was not wiped out without hope. Hyrule’s bloodlines still run strong and always will. Here lies the account of the Keyfinder and the last Knights of Hyrule, the links in lineage between the world that was and the world that will be…”