The City of Fire: Chapter Forty

THE house, if it could even be called that, was more rude and primitive than they had imagined. Within, it was nothing more than a single room, thrown together crudely from the broken rocks that were carried out of the mine. The window was a bare hole in the wall, and from this came the only light. There was no fire, or a place for one to be, and the only furnishings were a mound of straw atop a huge wooden pallet, and a tangled heap of full and empty hessian sacks mounded against the walls. It smelled rich, earthy: animal. There was something prehistoric about the dwelling--it was like being in a cave.

Zelda and Sofia sat nervously on the rocky floor, their backs to the wall, and watched as the Moblin lowered Link gently down onto the straw. He turned his head and looked at them; fear and pain were visible in his eyes, but also a kind of resignation. He lay uncomplaining, quiet as a child, as the Moblin turned away and began to rummage through the sacks.

She returned to him in a moment, bearing a flat piece of wood, a torn-up handful of cloth rags, and a big jar full of some dark substance. Gently she reached out and laid her giant hands on his broken arm; he flinched, and could not help uttering a grunt of pain. The Moblin uttered a vaguely comforting noise, and then briskly cracked her knuckles before reaching out once more. Link screwed his face up and turned his head away as he realized what she intended to do--then, swiftly and efficiently, she took hold of his arm in huge sausage-like fingers, and clicked the broken bone back into place. He gasped in pain; the shock had quite taken his breath away. With a brisk, businesslike manner, the Moblin splinted and bound the arm; by the time Link had regained his senses, it was done. He lay half-stunned, trembling with the aftermath of the pain.

"Link?" Zelda asked quietly, but he could not respond--he flicked his eyes in her direction to show that he had heard her. The Moblin unscrewed the top of her jar, and a bitter herbal scent filled the air, sharp and peppery. It was some healing unguent: dark, thick and sticky like tar. He lay quiescent as she gently removed the filthy remnants of his tunic, shirt and tattered pants, leaving him naked on the straw. The Moblin matriarch, taking special care to be gentle now, smeared the paste onto the worst of his wounds and wrapped them up in rough cloth bandages. She paid special attention to the half-healed cut in his cheek, tutting over it with an almost motherly air.

She finished quickly and, with a grunt of satisfaction, slapped the lid back on her jar. Another sack yielded a heavy woollen blanket, perhaps originally taken from the shepherds; she shook it out and ceremoniously laid it over Link. Tired and in shock as he was, he was half asleep already; he lifted his good hand and clutched the top of the blanket, turning his head to the side with a little sigh.

The two young women had watched all this with varying feelings, but mostly with relief; it seemed that they would be allowed some comforts. The Moblin matriarch's attitude towards them was affectionate; she stomped over to them now and with one heavy hand fondled Zelda's hair, touching and stroking it almost reverently. Nervously Zelda remained where she was, only watching as the jar was once more produced. It seemed her own turn had come to be patched up. She glanced at Sofia, who merely smiled weakly.

Zelda yelped in pain at the first touch of the dark paste. It stung like the sting of a bee, and she had to stop herself from flinching away. The Moblin grunted again and held her arm to keep her still while she applied the stuff to the Princess's many grazes. Thankfully Zelda had no serious wounds; the cuts were all barely skin deep, and although painful they posed no threat to her welfare. Sofia was a different matter; her left hand was now swollen and very painful, and it seemed possible that there were hairline fractures there; her hand had been caught between two rocks when the cave-in occurred. The Moblin bandaged up the affected limb, not even pausing at her squeals of pain. More of the healing unguent followed, until the red-haired woman had had her cuts and grazes similarly slathered in the stuff--and then she too was bandaged as efficiently as the others had been.

The Moblin put away the rest of her stuff and busied herself with the sacks. Zelda and Sofia waited, unsure of themselves--they did not know what they were expected to do next. Finally Zelda could bear it no longer, and she spoke up in a slightly tremulous voice.

"Th-Thank you."

The ogre female glanced round with slight surprise, and then the sides of her snout lifted in a smile--uncovering sharp doglike fangs that somewhat contradicted the friendly expression. She said nothing, though, and Zelda was driven to continue.

"My name is Zelda--this is Sofia, and the injured man is Link. We... we are very grateful for your help."

The Moblin grunted, seeming to understand little of what they had said. "Occa be I," she said after a long pause, in a deep bass. "Tha's ailing sma'."

Sofia frowned in confusion. "I... don't understand."

"I think I do," Zelda told her. "She said her name was Occa, and she thinks we're small." The mangled Hylian dialect was barely understandable even to her, and she had spent her young lifetime studying the languages of her country, both ancient and new. She remembered stories Link had told her about the Moblins: they were by all accounts surprisingly stupid creatures, and rarely mastered more than a few words of natural Hylian. Amongst themselves they spoke a degraded form of it, a heavily simplified language more suited to their carnivore's mouths and small brains than the fluting cadences of true Hylian. At least, that was what had always been believed... the skilful doctoring of Link's broken arm seemed to tell a different story.

She had never been so near to a Moblin in her life, and she had certainly never dreamed of speaking with one. It seemed that they were fated to befriend the most unlikely allies... Zelda smiled as she remembered old Diomedes in the Forest Temple, and before that Sofia herself. And Dark Link! Her smile fell as she thought of the ancient shadow, and she hoped that he was all right wherever he was. Hold on, Dark, she thought anxiously. We will come for you as soon as we can!

Sofia was leaning on her shoulder; the red-haired girl's eyes were closed. With a sudden start she sat up, blinking foggily. She looked exhausted. "Goddess," she sighed, "I was half-asleep."

"We should probably get some rest," Zelda told her, realizing that she herself was tired enough to drop. "We'll deal with this situation later on, when we're in better shape."

"Good idea..." With an effort Sofia got to her feet and stumbled towards one of the straw piles in the corner. She lay down clumsily, stiff with her injuries, and was asleep almost at once. Zelda followed her example, curling up next to the other girl. She had intended to stay awake a little while longer, just to see what their Moblin rescuer would do next, but she found the moment her head touched the softly crackling straw, she was dragged down into a deep well of exhaustion. Just before her eyes closed, she vaguely heard the Moblin female get up, and there was a grating sound of stone; the light in the room dimmed, and Zelda fell deeply asleep.



Wakefulness dragged her unwillingly from the gentle world of dreams, and brought with it the return of pain she had barely felt before. Every part of her ached in some way, and the cuts and grazes covered by her rough cloth bandages stung with renewed vigor. Zelda groaned softly and forced her tired eyes open; they felt dry and full of sleep.

It was dark in their room; she glanced toward the doorway and saw that a great boulder had been rolled over it, blocking the way out. There was a window, from where the light came, but it was too high for them to reach. Zelda blinked, rubbing at her eyes with the heel of her hand, and remembered what had happened and where they were. She sat up and looked about her, realizing that her clothes were gone and she was wearing only a crudely sewn shift of some stiff canvas-like material. Had the Moblin done that? Her eyes caught sight of her discarded clothing lying in a corner; the garments were torn in several places and stained by blood and dust. She sighed and touched the rough woven fabric of the shift, realizing that it was actually in better condition than her Hylian tunic.

Sofia was still asleep, but she was now wearing a garment similar to Zelda's own. She was curled up on her side in the straw, careless of the spiky surface, and breathing deep and slow. Zelda got to her feet, careful not to disturb the other woman too much. Her gaze went to Link, who was lying still on the pallet; he looked exhausted; his face was white and drawn as he slept. A wash of warmth came over Zelda, and she walked over to him to kneel beside his bed. Tenderly she reached out and brushed a tangled lock of hair from the young warrior's face.

Behind her, Sofia sat up with a rustle of straw, but said nothing. Zelda pulled her hand back quickly, feeling a little embarrassed.

Link murmured something unintelligible, and opened his eyes. The emerald-green orbs were peaceful, if shadowed by pain. "Hello, Princess," he said, smiling a little. Awake, he looked tired but comfortable.

"Link," she said with relief, letting the 'princess' pass for once. "How are you feeling?"

"A lot better, strangely enough." He carefully pulled the blanket aside, revealing the crude splint with which his arm had been bound. "It still hurts," he said, "but it isn't so bad."

"Good," she sighed. "We have to start thinking about what we are going to do now."

"I hope you don't expect me to fight like this," Link said with a wry smile.

Sofia pushed herself to her feet, wincing at the soreness in her abused limbs. "None of us are in very good condition to consider fighting," she said, "and in any case, we're locked in." Zelda glanced towards the door, or what passed for it. The boulder was taller than a man, and blocked the entire opening; they would not be able to slide out through that slim crack that remained.

"What about the window?" Link suggested, pointing with his free hand. It was a very high opening up in the wall, and it was surprisingly small given the giant proportions of everything else. Zelda looked up at it, judging the distance, then she nodded sharply.

"Sofia, could you give me a boost up? If I can climb up there I should at least be able to see out."

"Careful," the red-haired woman warned, but she did as she was asked and knelt down to allow the Princess to climb onto her shoulders. Zelda tried to be gentle in her movements, mindful of Sofia's injuries. She scrabbled at the wall as Sofia pushed her up; her fingertips caught on the bottom of the hole, and with a heave she pulled herself right up onto the ledge. It was barely large enough for her to get her head and shoulders through, but she did so and lay on the stone looking out, her bare legs hanging in the empty space behind.

"What do you see?" Sofia called, but Zelda was too preoccupied to answer her.

Faintly, far away, she could hear the chanting of the Moblin miners. The village itself, or what she could see of it, was half-empty; the rude stone hovels seemed even worse now that her vision was unclouded by exhaustion. Spitting, smoking fires burned everywhere, providing a poor sort of illumination--what they were burning was anybody's guess, but it smelled like garbage. Zelda wriggled forward a little more and leaned out in order to see better. Her attention was caught by a group of what had to have been Moblin youngsters; they were nearly naked and in the throes of some boisterous wrestling game. The subterranean village seemed strangely deserted, and she realised that that was because most of the adults would be down in the mines. The Moblins were little more than slave labour for Sepultura, and even though the thieving, brutish ogres were a dangerous pest on the surface, she thought of the unreserved kindness with which they had been met; it made her angry. It seemed unfair.

Sofia was hissing at her to come down. With slight difficulty Zelda wriggled backwards out of the hole and dropped the eight feet to the ground. She shook back her hair, panting slightly, and brushed dust off the front of her smock. "It should be easy to get out, when we have to," she said. "The adults are in the mines--we shall only have to worry about children and elders when we leave."

"Makes them seem a lot more Hylian, doesn't it?" Link asked suddenly. She looked at him; he was looking at his splinted arm. "That they know how to do this sort of thing, and have children and all." He sighed. "I will feel bad if we have to kill any."

"Hopefully it won't come to that," Sofia said quietly. "They have been kind to us so far."

"The question is," Zelda remarked, sitting down with some care, "what do we do next? How are we going to find Dark? The Moblins are prisoners here as much as we were--they won't be able to give us that much help. And Occa seems to want to keep us in here anyway, if the room is any judge. Link won't be able to get out of that window hole with a broken arm, and all three of us could not move the rock in front of the door. We're stuck here until the Moblins choose otherwise."

"Good enough," Link said with a sigh, leaning back and closing his eyes. "With all due respect, Zelda, I don't even want to think about our next step until we're all strong enough to go on. Let's just try to get from one hour to the next." Sofia nodded slightly, agreeing wordlessly with the young warrior's sentiments. They were all tired.

Time passed. The two girls sat dejectedly on the cold stone floor, speaking little; Link lay still. Things were not looking too good right now. Trapped--in the middle of an entire city full of Moblins! And with no weapons, and no more idea of where they were than where Dark was.

"We have to look on the bright side," Link said at last, without opening his eyes.

"There's a bright side?" Zelda asked sourly.

He sighed. "Not much of one, I have to admit. But, for the moment we're as safe as we ever could be down here. The Moblins don't appear to wish us any harm. We have shelter, and the Lizalfos apparently think we are dead. We can use this time to rest up and plan our next move."

There was a silence. Sofia looked suspicious.

"Link," she said finally, "let's look at it the other way for a minute. We have no weapons, and even if we did we're in no condition to fight. We've lost the first Amulet, and Goddess knows how we'll ever get it back from her. Dark Link is in Sepultura's hands too, and for all we know he could have switched sides by now--don't, Zelda," --as Zelda made to object-- "I know you have the utmost faith in him; I am starting to believe in him too, I have to say. But he was evil in the beginning, and to be honest I don't think he's the most mentally stable character in our little group. He's changed his allegiance once already. With a little friendly persuasion from Sepultura, who's to say he might not change it again?"

Zelda lowered her gaze uncomfortably. "You have a point," she said after a long moment, "but I won't believe that of him, not yet."

Sofia sighed again and dropped her own head. "Yes," she answered softly, "I know. And we do have to help him out--we are in his debt at the moment, no matter what else has passed between us."

Link shifted position on the pallet, and stretched out his good arm with a wince. "Nothing is going to happen yet," he remarked. "Like it or not, all we can do is sit tight and wait."

Somewhere far away a whistle sounded. The keening tone floated eerily to them through the miles of interlocking tunnels in the mine, like a wail or some strange animal's cry of pain. Almost immediately afterwards came faint increased sounds of movement--tools clinking on stone, the deep and rumbling sound of Moblin voices. A mirrored commotion, of voices and metallic clinking sounds, started up in the village itself, just outside their window.

"Sounds like a shift change," Sofia remarked sleepily.

Zelda sat upright and glanced over at her. "What do you mean by that?" she asked.

The Gerudo woman shrugged slightly, and then winced at the pain in her shoulder caused by the movement. "I visited one or two building sites back home," she said, rolling her shoulders back in a futile effort to get the stiffness out. "When they were working on something very large, something that needed a lot of heavy work, the builders worked in shifts of several hours at a time--so that there was always work going on, you see? When a shift changed, the worker teams swapped places so that everybody got a good rest, but the labour never actually stopped." She turned her head and glanced at the window as heavy thumps indicated an adult Moblin passing by. When the banging footsteps had faded again, she went on. "We used a gong rather than a whistle, but I suppose the idea is the same."

Zelda frowned, a new idea germinating in her head. "So when the whistle blows, everybody is moving around at once?" she asked, and a slow smile began to form. "They might not notice three people moving about at the time, would they? They would be too busy?"

"Probably," Sofia agreed, grinning herself as she too grasped the idea. "There is one escape opportunity, then!"

There was a sudden grating noise from the doorway. Link sat up quickly, suppressing a growl of pain from the sudden movement; Zelda and Sofia struggled to their feet as the boulder blocking the door was slowly rolled aside. A giant bulk stood framed in the doorway, light streaming in around it. Zelda exhaled slowly, recognizing the craggy and unmistakable features of their protector. Occa turned her head and grunted a few words to some hidden person, then stomped inside and slung a sackful of clanking things down onto the floor. Turning, the Moblin female heaved the boulder back into place. Her strength was truly astounding; the ankles and calves visible beneath her stained smock were like tree-trunks.

Zelda and Sofia glanced at each other, but neither said anything. It was going to be difficult to escape if the Moblin kept the doorway blocked all the time. Sofia flicked her eyes upward to the high window, an unspoken question in her expression; Zelda just shook her head. She would have had difficulty getting through there herself, and she was the slightest of the three.

Occa came towards her; the ground shivered at the weight of her footsteps. Zelda flinched as the giant paw reached down, but the ogre female didn't hurt her--just gently stroked her hair. She blinked and stared up at the Moblin, who looked down at her with an almost motherly expression. "Excuse me--" the Princess began hesitantly, but Occa turned away and busied herself with her sack, retrieving stained pots and pans and making a clatter that ruled out much further speech.

Link turned his head and grinned at the Princess. "She thinks you're a pet," he mouthed, a teasing twinkle in his eyes.

A sharp retort came to her lips, but after a moment she shook her head, her eyes widening slightly in thought. The way Occa kept returning to her hair... Zelda bowed her head, letting tangled, greasy strands fall in front of her eyes. Matted and covered in muck as it was, her hair didn't seem at all like a thing of beauty to her, but the way Occa treated it--the Moblin female could hardly keep her eyes off it--suggested that there was another reason why she had saved them. Zelda smiled suddenly at the flash of insight. The Moblin actually did see them as pets of some sort--that was what all the mothering was about. Occa was broody.

Occa was doing something else. The Moblin female had dragged out several ragged chunks of cloth and a pair of gigantic shears. Now, settling herself on the stone floor she hacked pieces off the cloth, and, threading a big bone needle with what looked like nothing so much as string, she started to sew. Zelda was surprised at the dexterity of those huge fat fingers as they manipulated the needle through the cloth.

Nothing further happened, and after a while they began to relax, even going so far as to gather around the pallet and strike up a conversation in low, subdued voices. Occa sewed peacefully, a giant bulk dim in the poor light, her big fingers guiding the needle skilfully through the rough fabric. Despite the Moblin matriarch's huge arms and predatory jaws, they could not feel threatened by her large and benevolent presence.

"Anyone got any further ideas?" Link asked in an undertone.

Zelda nodded, glancing at the Moblin out of the corner of her eye. As far as she could tell, Occa was blissfully unaware of their conversation. She leaned close and said as quietly as she could, "The shift change. That is the secret to this whole affair."

"Go on," Sofia hissed.

She glanced at Occa again, but the Moblin female hadn't moved. "If everybody moves around at once during the shift change, we'll have our best chance to escape then. In the general confusion, we ought to go more or less unnoticed. If we hurry, we ought to be able to make it out of the Moblin village and into the tunnel network again."

"What about her?" Link asked. "She's not just going to let us go, is she?"

Zelda looked towards the Moblin again, and realized suddenly what she was doing. Occa was sewing clothes. Not clothes for Moblins, certainly--the clumsy pants and jerkin she had already finished were doll-sized next to her massive calves. Clothes for them. She stared down at the shift she was wearing, understanding for the first time that Occa had made that, too. The Moblin female had seen the state of their clothes, and was expending time and effort creating proper replacements for them--the big stitches looked crude to her Palace-trained eyes, but she could see the careful effort going into each one. In Moblin terms, they were painstakingly tiny and neat. She felt a lump come into her throat.

"Ohh..." she sighed softly. "I hate to leave her behind... it's going to break her heart."

"Wake up, Zel," Link said with a tone of irritation. "She's just a stupid Moblin."

"Is she, though?" she asked, gesturing to his splinted arm and then to Occa's careful handiwork. Suddenly he looked rather uncomfortable.

They fell silent after that, each thinking how to get out of the cave. The situation no longer seemed cut-and-dried; sneaking away, after everything Occa had done for them, was going to feel like a kind of betrayal. Zelda sighed and lay back on the hard ground, flinging one arm over her eyes to rest her aching head. The best thing she could think of was to simply slip out beside her when she opened the entrance again--Moblins were notoriously short-sighted. It was an iffy sort of plan...

The whistle blew again, and Occa's piglike head jerked up, her small rheumy eyes blinking in the dimness. With a heave she got to her feet and laid hold of the sacks she had been carrying when she arrived. As they watched, she paused and then detached one sack from the rest; she tossed it to the ground before them. One gnarled fist scooped up the pile of makeshift clothes and deposited them at Zelda's feet. Then Occa shouldered several of her bags and, with a mighty heave, pulled the boulder back. Before they could move, the rock had rolled back into place over the door. They were alone again... and, again, shut in.

"I think we're supposed to put these on," Zelda said dubiously, lifting a lopsided garment from the pile.

"I think I'll pass," Link murmured, closing his eyes.

Sofia was going through the sack, lifting out various objects. "She's left us food," the red-haired woman said, setting out three heavy wooden platters. On these she placed a loaf of bread and a handful of wrinkled apples, more food stolen from the Kakariko shepherds. With a grimace of disgust, she added a large and unwrapped ham to the pile. Bits of fluff from the sack were stuck to the discolored meat. There was also a large stoppered jug, which held water--but no cups. Ah well...

"Farore, I'm thirsty," Link said, sitting up with a wince. "I wouldn't mind an apple or two either, if they're not too soft."

"We've got no knives," Sofia pointed out. "We'll have to break it up by hand... or I suppose we can just rip chunks out of the loaf." Her eyes slid sideways. "Goddess only knows what we're going to do with this meat."

"I vote we pass on the meat," Zelda said fervently.

They made a good meal out of it, in the end--the last food they had had was the bread and cheese brought back by Dark, after all. But the one thing they all enjoyed most was the water, which tasted cold and clean. It brought life back to their tired, parched bodies, and washed the dust from their mouths; they passed it around, taking turns to drink straight from the jug. In a few short minutes, all was gone save for the ham, which none of them (even Link) felt like touching. Zelda tossed it into a corner and picked up one of Occa's garments.

"You're not going to wear that," Link said incredulously.

"It would make her happy... and besides, our own clothes are barely wearable any more." She plucked at the shift she was wearing. "And I refuse to walk around in this!"

"These are cooler," Sofia said, holding a sleeveless shirt up to the light. It was barely worthy of the title--it was just two pieces of material sewn together, with hemmed edges for arms and neck. Frayed strands hung down from the bottom where the fabric had been imperfectly trimmed. "I'm going to wear it."

He sighed. "Well enough. We might all be scarecrows together, I suppose... Can someone help me?"



It seemed to take much longer this time before Occa returned, and when she did, she seemed nervous and aggressive. She bustled about their prison, dumping her sacks and picking things up off the floor. The three of them crowded into the farthest corner, frightened of the Moblin. Their new clothes chafed; the rough material was unsuited to being next to the skin.

Occa dragged out a huge canvas bag and shook it out, showering the floor with bits of straw. The Moblin female held the sack out to them and grunted a few incomprehensible words.

"What's she want?" Link asked, puzzled.

Zelda stared. "We don't understand you," she said to the Moblin.

Occa snorted heavily and pointed inside the bag with one fat finger. "In," she grunted.

"She wants us to get in the bag," Zelda remarked.

"Why?" Link asked suspiciously.

Zelda would have asked why, but Occa's nervousness was starting to alarm her. If the Moblin female chose, she could do dreadful harm to them with those trunk-like arms. Not that she thought Occa would, after all this... she had been nothing but kind to them so far. "I think we'd better do as she says," she said quietly, getting up. "She must have her reasons..."

"This gets worse and worse," Link complained, heaving himself up with a snarl of pain. They had used some of the spare cloth to make up a sling for his arm, but it was all makeshift work. Sofia helped him clamber into the bag, which was big enough for all three of them--just, and if you didn't mind elbows and knees digging into various places. They had just enough time to try and get settled, and then Occa lifted the bag by the neck and they were swinging in a hot, stifling darkness, light coming through the weave. Zelda squealed and started to struggle, realizing she was on the bottom and both Link and Sofia were crushing the life out of her.

"Argh! My arm--"

"Get off my ribs!"


"You're treading on my face--"

A snort from Occa and a shake of the bag silenced them. "Be still, tha!" the Moblin grunted, hoisting them all somehow onto her back. They could see little from inside, but Sofia put her eye to the weave. More light lanced through the holes in the weave as the Moblin female heaved back the boulder and stepped out into the brightness of the cavern.

"Where are we going?" Zelda whispered, struggling to get air into her lungs. Link was sitting on her.

"Don't know," Sofia whispered back. "Can't see anything much..."

But by the thumping of the Moblin's stride, Occa was carrying them away from the dwelling--at quite some speed. Zelda frowned, wondering what had upset the Moblin that much. Until they could see what was going on they would be helpless. Her heart gave a sudden lurch and she wondered whether the Lizalfos had finally informed the Moblins of their presence in the caverns. If that was so... Occa was either saving them, or handing them over.

The light dimmed slowly, informing her that Occa was leaving the main cavern behind. At last, the thumping and jarring stopped, and they were swung round in the air and dropped. Zelda wheezed, past even a groan, as she hit the rock floor. Then the top of the bag was undone and blessed air was flooding in. They sat up, all three of them, bleary and short of breath, and started to try and figure out which body part belonged to whom. Occa stood over them protectively, her small eyes flickering from side to side.

They were in another tunnel--only a few feet behind the Moblin matriarch's back was the opening that led back into the great cavern. She was a craggy silhouette against the torchlight.

"Are you letting us go?" Zelda asked, dumbfounded.

Occa blinked at her. "Ay."


"Nayru's Love, Zel," Link said, "don't ask questions! Let's just go!" He got to his feet, dusting himself down with his good hand.

"Thank you," Zelda said softly to the Moblin. Occa wiped at her eyes with one massive arm.

There was a crunch of feet on gravel and suddenly the light was blocked out. Another massive shape moved swiftly towards them. Occa turned to face the newcomer, a roar of challenge issuing from her jaws. "Kurgh--!"

The three of them watched in horror as the two Moblins closed. They had thought Occa big--but this newcomer was almost two feet taller than she. His head brushed the ceiling of the tunnel. One gigantic paw slammed into Occa's face as if batting away a fly; the blow smashed a tooth and flung the female into the wall. Other Moblins ran into the tunnel to encircle the three of them. There was silence, save for the sniveling of the fallen female huddled against the wall.

"How dare they..." Link whispered, trembling. "How dare they..."

"Don't," Zelda said emphatically, laying one hand on his arm. "They will kill us all if we move."

The Moblin who had felled Occa stood over them; easily the most intimidating creature any of them had ever seen. He was absolutely huge. His small eyes flickered over them with a light of true malevolence, and then he gestured to the others. So this was Kurgh, the leader of the Moblin camp...

"Bring 'em."

Occa staggered to her feet as they passed, and gingerly felt at her mouth, which was bleeding profusely. Zelda didn't have time to catch more than a fleeting glimpse into the female's brimming eyes before the Moblins had hustled them back into the great cavern. Captured again... and this time for real.



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