• Published 4th Jul 2018
  • 23,812 Views, 4,051 Comments

The Power of Freedom - Greatazuredragon

Having long grown utterly bored with the destiny the gods had decreed for him, Ganondorf decided to take matters into his own hands and escape to a new dimension where he could be free. Even if that would mean turning into a pastel colored pony.

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XIII - The Wraiths of Winter

The Wraiths of Winter

Worried whispers and angry arguments resounded through the early night air as both pegasi and earth ponies stared wide eyed at the looming wall of dark clouds swiftly advancing towards them, as if a great predator rushing towards its prey.

For a brief moment, Old Oak found himself unsure about how to proceed. The tale told by Zelda and her companions sounded like utter nonsense at best, sheer lunacy at worst. The mere idea that some kind of, up to this point completely unknown, ice-sky-monster was about to assault the entirety of the lands under the control of the Three Tribes was simply ridiculous. There was simply no logical way that such a massive magical and weather based phenomenon could pass unnoticed by both the pegasi and the unicorns!

And yet, something deep within him, a gut instinct of sorts, told him that his old ears had heard nothing but the terrible truth this cold evening. And so, as his eyes took in the odd trio’s fierce visages as they defiantly stared at the incoming blizzard that seemed to be able to defy the winds themselves, as he took in the three strange ponies he knew were extremely powerful and dangerous as they acted as if they were preparing themselves for a fight, he made up his mind.

“Forest, find your mother and start gathering the villagers that live at the outskirts!” he barked towards the orange-coated mare, which startled her out of her wide eyed staring at the looming danger and made her gaze at him with wide eyes. “They are to barricade themselves alongside all noncombatants inside the houses around the village’s center! And keep a head count! No one gets left behind!”

The mare hesitated for a moment as an uncertain look attempted to take over her muzzle, before, with a quick glimpse towards Ganondorf, a look of fierce resolve banished whatever doubt she had and she nodded with finality.

“Right away, elder, just leave it to me!” she promptly replied before she galloped away as she shouted orders towards the worried crowd as she told them to get inside and gather those who lived further away from the center of the village.

“Woodcutter, get a group of ponies and bring as much firewood as you can!” he immediately turned towards the beige-coated lumberjack. “I want bonfires lit in front of all the houses with ponies in them and all around the center of the village! As swiftly as you can!”

The stallion simply solemnly nodded before he departed without waiting a single moment, all the while Old Oak had already turned towards the red form of the village’s blacksmith, who met his gaze with equal fierceness. “Forge Fire, gather whatever weapons you can from your forge and from the other villagers and bring them here!”

“Got it!” the mare readily answered as she gave the dark mass of cloud in the not so far distance an angry glower before rushing away to do as he had asked. This left only one pony by the elder’s side.

“Elder, you can’t be serious a-!” Sure Shot attempted to interject, only for a harsh look from the old stallion to silence her on the spot.

“If they are wrong all that we lose is some firewood and time, both which are easily replaceable,” Old Oak stated in a tone of voice that accepted no counter arguments as he gazed straight into the ranger’s eyes. “If they are right and we do nothing, we risk losing it all.”

It was that simple really. Either their crazy story was real or not. If it wasn’t, then all that those preparations would cause was some short term panic and the waste of some easily acquired firewood. But if it was, if this madness was actually true… then they could very well mean the difference between the village seeing a new dawn or not. Something that he knew that Sure Shot was smart enough to realize, a belief that was soon proved right as, though the mare seamed as she wanted to protest further, she gave the distressingly serious looking form of Link an angry glare, gritted her teeth, and nodded once with finality.

“What do you need me to do?” she firmly asked, her face contorted as if she had bitten a lemon, but her eyes were fierce and determined as her right hoof firmly held her bow.

“Gather those you know that can fight,” Old Oak said as he gave her a grateful nod. “Distribute whatever weapons Forge Fire brings to those who best know how to use them and protect the homes where the villagers will take shelter.”

A short nod was all the answer he received before the mare rushed to do as she was told, already shouting and calling her fellow villagers to order as she gathered those who could fight and separated them from the majority that was being lead into the solid wooden buildings all around them.

Meanwhile, the pegasi had formed up in two orderly lines as they stared with distrustful and angry eyes towards the looming mass of clouds bearing down upon them all, while the pink-coated mare that was the squad’s second in command barked orders, and her immediate superior tried to stay mostly upright as he cradled his head with one hoof and groaned in pain.

His weary eyes took in the preparations already underway, the mass of frightened ponies that were his fellow villagers as they rushed inside, the bonfires as they started to pop up all around the village’s center and the clamoring form of Sure Shot as she armed a select few with whatever weapons Forge Fire had managed to gather. A freezing wind washed over his old body as worry and fear gnawed at his insides, and he only hoped that it would be enough.

But as his eyes turned towards the strange trio just at the outskirts of the maelstrom of activity that had overtaken his quiet little village, as he took in the sight of the most unlikely of friends that were waiting side by side as they stared towards the incoming threat with identical looks of defiance on their hard eyes, Old Oak had an odd feeling that even if the preparations weren’t enough, those three would still spit in the face of fate and forge onwards, despite it all.

A fierce look overtook his own features as he pushed his worry and doubt aside and galloped towards the panicky mass of ponies, starting to shout and yell orders as he imposed a semblance of order to the crowd. There was no way he was letting a group of whippersnappers do all the work.

Ganondorf nodded in approval as he saw what the old timer was doing. Even if his plan was pretty basic, it still was fairly solid and showed initiative. It was always refreshing to see actually capable people placed in positions of power. The pegasi weren’t as organized, despite the pink one’s best efforts, due to the simple fact that their leader looked to be still slightly concussed from the pebble he had thrown. The sight made him snort in amusement. Seriously, it had just been a pebble, and he hadn’t even thrown it that hard.

“So what can you tell us about our new friends, Princess?” he calmly asked as he kept one watchful eye at the swiftly approaching mass of clouds while he checked his new broadsword and its rune work one final time. The ever increasing cold a sure sign that whatever it was that lurked within those clouds wasn’t far now.

The Wielder of Wisdom was way ahead of him though, as she already had her horn wrapped in a magical aura and her eyes closed as she extended her magical senses in order to examine whatever it was that was approaching.

“Definitely some kind of ice apparition, at least thirty individuals, but possibly more,” she answered after a couple of seconds before she snapped her eyes open and glared at the dark clouds. “They are constantly on the move, which, alongside the fact that the snow clouds themselves are completely saturated with magic, makes sensing their true numbers a difficult endeavor.”

“Now that is something we don’t hear every day,” he casually commented with a whistle. There had to be truly a massive amount of magic in that blizzard in order for it to give Zelda, of all beings, a hard time seeing through it. He knew from personal experience just how annoyingly sharp the Princess’ magical senses really were and how hard it was to fool them.

“Plan of engagement?” Link serenely asked as his new blade all but materialized on his left hoof, and he tested its weight as he defiantly stared at the incoming threat.

“Let them come, and then make them regret it!” The Dark Lord cheerfully replied with a fanged grin as he rested his massive broadsword upon one of his shoulders.

“Go support and be an overwatch for the pegasi,” Zelda immediately replied, acting as if Ganondorf hadn’t spoken at all. “And try and prevent the apparitions from bombarding us from up high if you are able. It’s very likely that these creatures may possess elemental attacks, so be on your guard.

“Meanwhile I shall provide cover fire while also aiding the earth ponies and ensuring none of the noncombatants face undue harm.” She continued as her horn lit up and she started to cast barriers and ward spells upon the houses in which the villagers were taking refuge. “If we work with the ponies it should be relatively easy to funnel the attackers towards us so as to allow us to take them down quickly.”

“Hey, what about me?” the large stallion grumbled in playful annoyance due to the fact that Zelda hadn’t taken the bait for once. The Wielder of Wisdom, for her part, simply gave Ganondorf a look that said that the answer to his question was stupidly obvious. Before, after a long moment, she finally deigned to reply.

“Simple, really,” she spoke with a voice as haughty and condescending as she could make it and a tiny smirk on her muzzle, as if a queen addressing a simple servant. “Destroy anything that comes into range and isn’t a pony.”

Ganondorf simply blinked upon hearing his instructions as he wondered if he had heard the mare right. Before he threw his head backwards and roared with laughter. Now that was a plan he could sincerely say he approved!

“That I can do, Princess!” he cheerfully proclaimed as he removed his sword from its resting place upon his shoulder and pointed it towards the swiftly approaching blizzard, before with a flex of his magic he started to empower the runic arrays inscribed upon the massive blade.

The runes immediately lit up one after the other with a fierce crimson glow that grew brighter and brighter with each moment that passed, before with a burst of light and heat the entirety of the blade was consumed by roaring flames.

“Come on, beasties!” Ganondorf boisterously shouted, completely unbothered by either the freezing winds of the blizzard or the scorching heat of his sword. “Let’s have some fun!”

“What the buck is that?!” Wonder Bolt heard one of his flight mates yell as he averted his gaze from the incoming threat and moved out of formation. Though he felt that the pegasus' distraction and breaking of protocol was slightly excusable this time. It really wasn’t everyday you saw a massive earth pony wield an even more massive broadsword that was apparently able to burst into flames.

He had heard of magical swords before, just like everypony who had ever heard a tale or two around a fire or ever listened to a bard. But that was very different from seeing one of said fantastical blades first hoof. Especially if you considered how they were stupidly rare and expensive. Buck, he was quite sure most unicorn nobles didn’t have access to such blades! So how the hay an earth pony had managed to get his hooves on one was a very valid source of incredulity.

“Focus, soldier!” Fierce Breeze barked, the harsh light in her eyes clearly showing that she didn’t share Bolt’s opinion about the soldier’s actions being excusable. “This is no time to woolgather! We’ve got incoming! Stay sharp and get back in formation!”

“But that earth pony’s sword just-!” the pegasus attempted to say, only for a very angry looking pink mare to press her muzzle straight against his and glare him down.

“I don’t care if his bucking sword burst into flames! Nor would I care if he had the long lost Rainbow of Light as its bucking hilt!” she roared at point blank as the soldier shrunk upon himself. “We may very well be about to be attacked by bucking ice wraiths, that have, of all things, dared to mess with the weather that we are duty bound to control! You will focus or by the great winds I will place you at punishment detail for the rest of your natural bucking life! Are we clear?!”

“Ma’am, yes ma’am!” the thoroughly cowed soldier, Wonder Bolt, and every single pegasus in hearing range shouted as one.

“Good,” she firmly stated with a sharp nod as the entire squad neatly fell into line. “Now get ready to take wing at a moment’s notice! I want whatever is causing this mess dealt with on the double!”

And at this moment, as the squad acted as a well oiled machine under the pink mare’s harsh gaze while they were battered by the ever increasing freezing gales, Bolt couldn’t help but be thankful for the fact that Ganondorf had pretty much all but removed Wind Shriek from command, at least for the moment. And talking about the lieutenant…

“Lieutenant, Wind Shriek, permission to proceed, sir?” Fierce Breeze dutifully asked of her immediate superior with a salute. All the while said immediate superior valiantly attempted to remain standing and not empty his stomach as he swayed in place, quite clearly at least slightly concussed.

Who would have thought that it was possible to throw a pebble hard enough to dent a military helmet?

“Urgh, W-what? Oh, yes… proceed… immediately, soldier. I… will follow you shortly!” the grey-coated stallion managed to mumble as he pressed his hoof to the side of his head and his eyes tried to focus towards Fierce Breeze’s general direction.

“Sir, yes sir!” Fierce Breeze shouted to the swaying lieutenant before she turned towards the squad and roared at the top of her lungs, which caused Wind Shriek to whimper due to the sudden burst of sound. “What the buck are you waiting for?! Move, move, move!”

As one fourteen pairs of wings unfurled and beat downwards as they threw their owners up into the air as the squad soared into the heavens with weapons on hoof and at the ready despite the now gale like winds that battered against them. They rose ever higher despite the freezing temperatures, well past the tallest building in the village in order to get an overview of the whole area, and there they stayed as they waited amidst the chilling night air.

“I want a line formed and ready to intercept whatever it is that’s foolish enough to attack us ready yesterday! Nothing shall pass!” she shouted as she gestured towards a group of pegasi before she pointed where she wanted them to move. “They think they can challenge us in the air! In turn, we shall show them who rules the skies!”

As far as rallies’ or speeches went, it was fairly basic. But as the squad roared as one and looks of determination took over their visages, Bolt had to agree that it was effective. The fact that a green blur had just blitzed past them, and was now hovering high above also probably helped to lift the squad’s spirits even further, it was always nice knowing that that kind of overkill was on your side of the battlefield.

Snow had started to fall by this point, a phenomenon that caused more than one pegasus to curse and mutter incredulously before they were silenced by a barked order from Fierce Breeze. They waited with bated breath as the bonfires down below sprung to life one after another and the last stragglers entered the wooden cottages and barricaded the doors. Nothing but the sound of the freezing wind and the falling snow surrounded them as they stood at the ready, waiting for the blizzard to hit.

Wonder Bolt checked his wing-blades one more time as he kept his position at the outermost left corner of the squad, as a blue flash of magic enveloped the homes into which the villagers had fled. He kept his eyes locked on the, now far too close for comfort, mass of dark clouds as the snow started to fall heavier and heavier with each moment that passed and the freezing winds grew ever fiercer.

He saw through the corner of his eyes as the lieutenant finally took wing and started to head their way, while Ganondorf and Zelda had taken position atop the tallest buildings in the village about fifty feet down below and the few earth ponies that knew how to fight had huddled together near the bonfires.

Wind Shriek reached their position and promptly opened his mouth to shout something; only for whatever it was that he was about to say to be silenced as an oppressive scream echoed through the night air.

The bone chilling noise was unlike anything Bolt had ever heard before, a supernatural sound that seemed to convey nothing but hate and hunger and caused more than one pegasus to shiver from something besides the biting cold. And soon after, several more bone chilling screams echoed in answer.

“Incoming at eleven o’clock,” Bolt heard Link’s steely voice cut through the howling winds and echoing screams. And as he looked towards where the green pegasus had said, he saw what they were about to face.

Several spectral figures were galloping amidst the freezing winds, easily over three dozen ice-blue near see through equine figures that seemed to disappear and reappear from amidst the dark clouds as they screamed and shrieked to the frozen heavens. Each of them had a near skeletal figure, with far too thin limbs and their ribs showing at their sides, as if victims of starvation.

And each and every single one of them looked towards Bolt and his flight mates with naked hunger in their shining ice-blue eyes.

“Take them down!” Fierce Breeze shouted as she charged towards the creatures without a hint of hesitation, while a green blur darted past her speeding form as Link dove straight against the beasts with impossible speed.

Bolt shouted alongside the rest of the squad as they followed both pegasus’ charge, only for their scream of defiance to be answered in kind, as the specters bellowed as one before they galloped through the air straight towards the pegasi and the ponies down below, their echoing cries making Bolt fold his ears flat as a shiver ran down his spine.

All the while, the freezing winds renewed their intensity and the heavy snowfall swiftly turned into a blizzard proper upon the starless night.

Link kept beating his wings in a constant rhythm to counterbalance the frozen gales that kept trying to alter his flight course as he dove towards the first ice wraith in sight. Hard eyes locked onto the spectral being as it charged towards him. The Wielder of Courage firmly held his new sword as he prepared for what was to come.

There were at least three dozen of the apparitions as their opponents, and a raging blizzard as the battlefield. All in all, those were truly excellent odds when compared to some of the situations he had been forced to face in the past. Especially when he considered that for once he actually wasn’t facing it by himself.

He tilted one wing slightly to the side as he spun sideways without losing any of his forward momentum in order to dodge a barrage of razor sharp ice shards that were shot by the creatures. Then he flapped his wings and increased his speed even further.

As he neared the first specter, he focused on the magic that dwelled deep within his body. Fighting semi-corporeal enemies like wraiths, ghosts and specters was always a slight annoyance, since they could more often than not phase through normal attacks unless you hit them at just the right time when they solidified to attack you. But thankfully there were ways around that.

Link didn’t really consider himself a mage or spell caster like Zelda, or even a warlock or sorcerer like Ganondorf. Not due to a lack of magical potential, but simply due to a lack of personal interest. He had always preferred to master the use of weapons, artifacts and other such items rather than learn the myriad intricacies of magic, since that fit his personal fighting style so much better than most spells. But being uninterested in magic didn’t mean he was unable to use it.

And coating his sword in magic in order to make it so that it could hit things it normally wouldn’t be able to was something he had mastered doing lifetimes ago.

His sword darted towards the equine creature’s neck as he sailed past the screaming specter’s see-through form while it kept charging forward without any care for the piece of steel heading straight towards it. The creature’s already transparent body turned near invisible as the blade neared its target and the specter turned intangible, only for Link’s magic coated blade to still meet its mark nonetheless.

A pained shriek echoed through the air as the Wielder of Courage beat his wings and reoriented himself towards his next foe, all while the blue specter just behind him dispersed into nothing amidst the frozen winds. Now certain that the technique still worked, he rushed forth and buried his blade straight into another specter’s chest. Meanwhile, his steely eyes tracked the winter spirits as some of their number engaged the other pegasi while the remainder rushed towards the ponies down below.

Unfortunately, the pegasi warriors apparently didn’t have something similar in order to ease things along, which meant that four out of five of their blows harmlessly passed through the wraiths. The creatures’ efforts weren’t so hindered. Trusting that Zelda and Ganondorf could more than take care of things groundside, Link rushed to the aid of the struggling pegasi, darting from specter to specter as he dodged and weaved amidst the hail of frozen projectiles thrown his way.

He downed another wraith just as it was about to strike down a harried looking pegasus, before he promptly closed his wings to drop a few feet in order to escape another that charged at his blind spot. A sudden rush of several pinpoint balls of flame and a huge wave of roaring fire came from the ground and proved his earlier thoughts right, as Zelda and Ganondorf joined the fight, downing several score of the creatures with their magical barrage.

The sound of thunder suddenly reverberated through the night as Link watched a wraith that had just scored a deep gash against a red-coated pegasus’ side be hit by a lightning bolt before he could finish the warrior. The creature screeched in pain as electricity coursed through its body, before a second bolt of lightning struck it dead on and finished the job.

“Lightning works!” he heard Wonder Bolt shout over the sound of the shrieking winds. “Get a lightning barrage going!”

He blinked once in surprise as his eyes found the azure-coated stallion and he saw exactly what Wonder Bolt was doing. The stallion bucked a dark cloud he had dragged out of the rest of the blizzard, which somehow caused it to shoot a lightning bolt straight at another wraith that was about to strike one of the other pegasi in the back. So pegasi could control lightning to some extent. An interesting and quite useful ability, he would have to try and see how it worked.

As a few more pegasi followed Wonder Bolt’s lead and gathered dark clouds in order to rain down lightning at the shrieking wraiths, Link dove back into the fight. He darted through the freezing gale-like winds as he struck and evaded, attacked and dodged, as more and more of the ice creatures focused on him as if sensing he was the greater threat. But even as he downed enemy after enemy, even as thunder resounded and fire roared in the background as the wraiths were struck down by pure elemental fury, the green pegasus couldn’t help but feel that something was amiss.

Shortly afterwards, as three more of the creatures fell to his blade, Link frowned as he finally noticed what had been bothering him.

He had already taken down over twenty of the creatures, and his fellow Triforce Wielders’ magical barrage had also dispatched an equal or greater number of the specters, not to mention the few that had been downed by the pony warriors. So why exactly was he still seeing over twenty of the beings galloping through the blizzard despite the fact there had been only a little over three dozen of them at first?

A moment later, he had his answer. As before his very eyes he saw one of the beasts shiver and tremble, before, with a haunting shriek, where there was once only one specter there where now two.

“How bothersome,” Link mumbled under his breath before he took a deep breath and shouted his new discovery to the four winds as he dove back into the fray. “They are multiplying!”

“So they are, isn’t that interesting!” Zelda heard Ganondorf gleefully shout back a moment after Link’s warning resounded through the night. A warning that was annoyingly enough quite accurate as the unicorn mare saw it for herself as an ice wraith that flew overhead spawned another one before both dive bombed towards her form atop a wooden cottage.

As she fought the urge to roll her eyes at the Wielder of Power’s antics, Zelda unleashed a trail of fire orbs at the two attacking creatures. Both of which showed a remarkable ability to dodge as they darted sideways to avoid her barrage. Not that it did them much good as each and every single orb detonated simultaneously the very next instant and turned all the area surrounding the creatures into an raging inferno for a brief moment.

The ice apparitions weren’t really a true threat for either Zelda or her fellow Triforce Wielders, at least individually. But sadly, the creatures had apparently some modicum of intelligence and had also realized that fact, meaning that they were now attempting to bury them under the sheer pressure of their numbers. Which, considering this new spawning ability, was regrettably a valid strategy.

All the while, the earth ponies were having a far harder time in dealing with the beasts as their attacks harmlessly passed through the creatures’ ghostly forms more often than not, to the point quite a few of their number had dropped their weapons altogether in favor of wielding long fiery branches from the bonfires as they used the heat of the flames to ward the ice spirits away as their efforts to harm them proved ineffectual.

Well, in most cases, that is.

“Get the buck out of my village!” Forest Blossom bellowed at the top of her lungs as she brought down her bare hooves down on a wraith that was kept at bay by the improvised torches of two other ponies. Her magic coated hooves actually found purchase against her semi-corporeal enemy, unlike her brethrens’ weapons.

Zelda couldn’t help the small smile that appeared on her muzzle as she saw the mare actually take down her enemy with a very rudimentary but effective use of magic. She eyed the mare’s now harshly panting form with interest for a brief moment as several awed earth ponies dragged her back towards the relative safety of the fires. Who would’ve thought that Ganondorf of all beings would be an effective teacher?

She dispelled the errant thought a moment later as she created a wall of blue energy to block a barrage of ice bolts that came from her side, before she twirled around and buried her magic coated blade deep into the side of a foolish apparition that thought that it could get the drop on her in her moment of distraction, and unleashed a barrage of spell fire at two others as they attempted to flank her.

“Come on beasties! Is this the best you can do?!” Ganondorf’s maniacal shout resounded through the heavens as a good portion of the eastern sky was suddenly consumed by a nearly out of control deluge of fire.

She placed any and all thoughts about Ganondorf teaching another being aside for the moment as she twirled between two charging specters and took them down with quick swipes of her blade, and instead focused upon how to deal with the issue of their foes’ growing numerical advantage. However, the sight of Forest once more rushing to strike at another wraith inspired her course of action.

Link, Ganondorf and herself could strike the beasts down easily enough despite their semi-corporeal status, but the same could not be said about most of their allies, which in turn forced the Wielders of the Triforce to take the creatures down basically all by themselves while also protecting said allies. Which really wasn’t an ideal situation against such numerous enemies, and that simply had to change.

Now with a new plan firm upon her mind, she exploded several more fire orbs amidst a gathering of the creatures before she teleported from her current position and towards the largest grouping of earth ponies she could see.

“Keep the fire going!” Sure Shot shouted as she let loose another arrow. The shot flew straight and true, only to harmlessly pass through the freaky ghost-horse things head as its body turned into mist.

She angrily gritted her teeth hard enough she heard them start to crack. But even so, her hoof stayed firm and her aim true as she took careful aim and waited for her chance. This had been the situation ever since the freakish things had descended upon the village. Nearly all attacks did buck all to the beasts unless they happened to hit in the split second just before the freaks themselves were about to attack. Which meant that the only reason Sure Shot and her fellow earth ponies hadn’t been routed by now was the fact that the freaky things seemed to be somewhat wary of fire, and the fact that the bucking strangers apparently didn’t share their little problem.

“How is Forest doing?!” she yelled over the loud sound of the blizzard and the shrieks of the specters as she released another arrow. The shot once again did nothing to its target, but at least this time it forced the thing to stop its attack short before it could hit one of her fellow ponies.

“Old Oak is treating her right now, but he says that he is surprised she can even stand!” Woodcutter shouted back as he threw a fiery branch straight at the muzzle of one of the beasts. It did little save make the freakish thing rush away as it turned to mist, but it’s angry shriek at least showed it hadn’t liked being near the fire one bit.

Sure Shot cursed underneath her breath as she let loose another arrow, fury and anger coursing through her very being. For some reason Forest had actually been able to hit the damn beasts, but whatever the buck it was that allowed her to do that had left her utterly exhausted. The mare had been dragged to the rear where Old Oak was tending to those who had been injured by the freaks’ barrages of ice shards, protesting all the way but too exhausted to do much else. At the very least the orange-coated mare had taken down a few of these things, which was much more than Sure Shot could boast about.

A roaring wall of fire burst forth from atop of one of the village’s cottages, and, despite the raging blizzard, even from where she was standing the ranger felt the wave of heat that came from the attack. But even as she saw at least five more enemies be consumed by the raging inferno, Sure Shot couldn’t help but curse once again as she let loose arrow after arrow.

She was completely useless. The skills and abilities she had spent so long training, so long practicing and perfecting, the very skills that had earned her cutie mark, could do absolutely nothing against this foe that threatened her home and all that she held dear. And she hated that with her whole being.

It had been bad enough when that annoying pegasus had started to mock her skills as he grabbed her arrows like they meant nothing. But at the very least, in that case her failure didn’t immediately put those that trusted her skills to keep them safe in danger. But now, now every shot that did nothing was one more failure to her name. Those who trusted her were being attacked and hurt, yet all she could do was fail in her duty, and that brought angry tears to her eyes.

A sudden flash of blue light amidst the defenders made the sea green mare shove aside that line of thought in favor of action as she spun around towards whatever this new threat was, arrow already at the ready. Only to stop at the last second as she saw what exactly was the source of the light.

“What are you doing here?!” she asked as she bit back the string of curses she wanted to throw at the white unicorn now amidst her fellow earth ponies. She didn’t like or trust Zelda, but the fact remained that the mare had already saved more than one of her friends with her spells this cursed night, far more than the ranger had managed to do, and as such she would push down her anger and frustration and try and be polite.

“Leveling the playing field!” Zelda immediately replied without even looking at Sure Shot as a fierce blue glow enveloped her horn. The ponies all around cursed and gasped in surprise as their weapons were enveloped by the unicorn’s glowing magical aura. A magical glow that persisted even after the needle-head’s horn had stopped glowing itself. “The spell won’t last long, about two dozen hits or so at most, but it will allow you to hit the wraiths!”

Sure Shot opened her mouth as if to reply, only to find out she had no words to speak. Her surprise lasted until Forge Fire spun into place and threw the large hammer she had been wielding straight at the snout of one of the freaky horses, which shrieked in surprise and pain before it darted upwards and away as the metal actually connected for once.

Sure Shot’s eyes immediately darted towards the large bundle of arrows right at her side as her fellow ponies shouted in joy and reformed the defensive line around the fire with renewed vigor. Her pride and ingrained distrust for the horned tribe battled for supremacy with her duty and need to help to defend her village.

“Oh, buck it all,” the ranger cursed as she firmly tossed her pride aside and turned towards Zelda with unflinching eyes. “Can you do something similar with my arrows?!”

“Better,” Zelda immediately replied as she closed her eyes and concentrated. Her horn glowed a fiercer blue hue for a moment, before it suddenly turned into a deep golden color. “Oh, blessed Nayru, creator of the eternal sky! Grant upon your daughter the holy light of the primordial dawn!”

She watched with unblinking eyes as her arrows were consumed by the golden glow, until each and every last one of them looked like they were made of solidified golden light.

“These light arrows will not only hit the wraiths despite their phasing abilities, but they will also deliver massive damage to them,” Zelda quickly explained as she reopened her eyes and gave Sure Shot a serious look. “But be warned, that each arrow fired will consume your magical energies to fuel the spell. You will grow fatigued far more swiftly than usual, and if overused can cause you to collapse!”

“Got it,” the ranger answered as she nodded in thanks, even as she already nocked one of the golden arrows to her bow. And just like that, the white-coated mare was gone with another flash of blue light.

Sure Shot had never bothered to learn anything about the headache that was magic, but even so she could grasp what the mare had meant to explain. She would have to power the arrows with her energy, and that would make her tired and maybe cause her to collapse. But, quite frankly, by this point of things she wouldn’t had even cared if the bucking arrows consumed her very soul to function. All that mattered was to protect the village!

She took aim and let loose, and immediately felt as if she had just ran around the whole village as a wave of tiredness hit her whole body. But Sure Shot didn’t give a buck to that! All that mattered was that the freaky ghost-horse thing she had aimed at had just disappeared amidst an explosion of light with a loud shriek of pain! She could now actually hit the damnable beasts attacking her home, and that was all that bucking mattered!

A huge fanged grin now firm on her muzzle, she aimed and let loose as she struck down another wraith as it attempted to bombard her fellow ponies with hail and ice.

So buck that annoyingly frustrating green pegasus!

Two more arrows sailed through the frozen night air, and two more of the abominations disappeared in explosions of light before they could finish their charge at the defensive lines eastern flank.

Buck these completely insane past few days!

Three more arrows were aimed and let loose in as many seconds, and three more of the creatures shrieked in pain as they disappeared into nothing.

And above all else, buck these bucking freakish ghost-horses that thought that attacking her village was a good idea!

And as she ignored the crushing wave of tiredness that had started to permeate her very bones, Sure Shot made good upon her name as arrow after arrow flew straight and true as freaky ghost-horse after freaky ghost-horse exploded in showers of light and shrieks of pain.

A fierce smile was firm on her muzzle despite the fact her brow was covered in sweat, and her barrel kept rising and falling as she fought for breath, and exhaustion wracked her body. But all that was irrelevant, her skills were needed to defend her home and that was all that mattered!

And as she fought back her growing fatigue and blinked sweat away from her eyes while she swiftly nocked another golden arrow upon her bow and took aim, Sure Shot decided that Zelda wasn’t that bad in the end, even if she was a unicorn.

As he was forced to abandon the thundercloud he had been using in order to avoid being skewered by a hail of freakishly sharp ice darts, Bolt had to admit that things weren’t looking particularly promising.

Oh, sure, after he had found out that the damned ghosties could be actually hit with weather magic the squad had managed to take down quite a few of them with some well placed lightning bolt barrages, or in the case of Fierce Breeze, actually coating her sword with weather magic in order to ram it through some of the beasts as they attempted to charge at the pegasi handling the thunderclouds.

But the fact remained that for every wraith they took down, two more seemed to appear to take their place. And the battle was slowly but surely starting to take its toll on the squad’s stamina. Dents and scratches littered their armors from blows they hadn’t managed to completely avoid, and more than one of their number had their coats matted the deep red of blood from where the armor hadn’t been able to completely protect them from injury.

And yet the enemy’s numbers seemed to be endless. Not even the impossibly fast green blur that was Link as he darted through the entire battlefield as he took down wraith after wraith seemed to be able to completely stop the creatures’ seemingly unending tide.

Bolt fought back his tiredness as he imitated Fierce Breeze’s idea and coated his wing-blades with raw weather magic before he drove them through one of the creatures before it could bite his head off. All the while the sweat that caked his body froze solid as the freezing winds battered his tired form.

He saw the mentioned pink-coated mare as she assembled and organized her fellow warriors into making a new set of thunderclouds. Truly the second in command of the squad had been a blessing from the great winds themselves. For while Wind Shriek barely managed to keep himself in one piece as he avoided the razor sharp frozen hail that the creatures kept throwing against the pegasi, Fierce Breeze kept a cool head as she commanded the squad and directed it into a coordinated counterattack that had so far prevented them from losing anypony.

As if in mocking of his thoughts, Bolt saw as if in slow motion as one of the creatures jumped forth from its hiding place upon a mass of dark snow clouds, right behind Fierce Breeze and his brothers and sisters. He opened his mouth to shout a warning, but before he could do so the creature unleashed a barrage of frozen shards straight at the mare’s back. Fierce Breeze shouted in pain as she was struck from point blank range, before right in front of Bolt’s eyes she fell towards the ground.

It was like a blanket of silence had fallen upon the battlefield as the pegasi followed the warrior as she fell into a thick cloudbank and out of view, before the tense silence was broken by a shrill, panicked voice.

“Retreat!” Wind Shriek’s shrill voice resounded through the night air as the lieutenant turned his back towards the fight and started to fly southwards with all his might. “Flee! Flee for your lives!”

Wonder Bolt watched, mouth agape, as the leader of his squad abandoned both his duty and his subordinates and flew away without a second of hesitation. His fellow pegasi faltered, uncertain what to do in the face of their flight leader abandoning the fight entirely and the seemingly never ending onslaught of frozen abominations that had already taken Fierce Breeze down.

Wonder Bolt saw the doubt and fear in their eyes, how they wavered between fighting and fleeing, not knowing what to do, while the frozen beasts shrieked and howled all around them as they closed in, as if sensing their weakness. With a jolt he realized that the whole squad was on the brink. That they were about to break and rout. And in doing so, would doom both themselves and those down below they were supposed to protect.


With that singular thought reverberating inside his mind Wonder Bolt roared in challenge as he dove downwards with all his might. His powerful wings kept beating harder and harder as he flew faster than he had ever flown before as he aimed at a group of four pegasi that were surrounded by the damned abominations. He flew faster still as he gathered all the weather magic he could into a single point right before him until he felt as if he was about to burst. Until finally, with a thunderous noise he tackled the spectral horses head on and unleashed all the condensed weather magic point blank.

A concentrated wave of wind and lightning washed over the battlefield as the unstable weather magic detonated right upon the creatures and eradicated them completely. The action freed his brothers and sisters from the encirclement and, far more importantly, the thunderous noise and the explosion of light that followed had grabbed the attention of every single pegasus still on the air.

“HOLD THE LINE!” he roared towards his flight mates even as he sunk his wing blades deep into one of the abominations as it charged him, and with a supreme effort of will pushed the weather magic still all around him through the weapons and into the beast in order to rip it apart. He ignored how his hooves trembled with exhaustion, the cold he could feel sapping his strength, and yelled with nothing but fierce determination in his voice. “We are the guardians of these lands! And we shall not fall! HOLD THE LINE!”

And as if in answer to his shout a green blur dove downwards with an echoing sonic boom, as Link charged at the largest concentration of abominations in sight. The green pegasus flickered from enemy to enemy at impossible speeds as lightning crackled around his blade and nothing but dissolving specters remained in his wake.

A flicker of courage had been sparked in his flight mates’ eyes. Bolt could see it as their hope battled against their despair. They held their weapons tightly and their eyes constantly moved from the creatures, towards him and Link, and finally to the distant fleeing form of Wind Shriek. Now he only had to fan those flames.

“We are pegasi of the Armada!” he shouted while he charged into the heart of the blizzard without a hint of hesitation and struck at any of the abominations in sight, all the while the faltering line slowly started to mend itself as his brothers and sisters remembered the true purpose of their calling. “Through generations we have kept these lands safe!

“And we shall not be the ones to fail this task!” he kept shouting even as he desperately dodged a barrage of frozen spears from the cursed beasts and struck at another one as it charged at his side. He could see the effect that his words had caused, he could see his brothers and sisters as they rejoined the furious battle with battle cries of their own, all thoughts of escape long gone from their minds. “HOLD THE LINE!”

His final shout was repeated by all the ponies amidst the sky as they charged against the wraiths of winter with renewed vigor. But even as he inspired his fellow warriors, even as he struck and weaved, parried and blocked, Bolt could feel himself growing more and more exhausted with each moment that passed. He had already used a lot of energy in the battle before that crazy stunt with the weather magic, and now he felt as his body started to fail him. Despite his exhaustion, he kept going. He refused to fall, to even contemplate the possibility of failure!

He forged forward as his squad finally got back into the swing of things as they retook their formations and dove into the fight with renewed vigor as they worked in pairs and trios to take the beasts down. He pushed his tiredness and fatigue to the side as he kept going, as he struck and spun, evaded and charged. But despite his will, eventually his exhaustion started to take its toll.

One of the beasts surged from a cloud bank as it charged at him from behind. He attempted to spin around, to evade the creature that sought him with ice and death. But his tired muscles refused to respond fast enough. Wonder Bolt brought his hooves forward in a last ditch attempt of defense as the creature bore down on him. Only for a snarling pink pegasus to surge from below straight at the monstrosity and sink her blade into its chest with a roar.

“Watch your six, scout!” Fierce Breeze shouted as she moved to cover Wonder Bolt’s back. Sword held high and body ready to act despite the fact her armor was covered in scratches and dents, how several patches of her pink fur where matted with the deeper crimson of blood and her wings trembled with the effort of keeping her in the air. “The Armada works in groups for a reason!

“And what the buck are you idiots waiting for?!” the second in command of their squad roared as she ignored her injuries and fatigue as she sunk her blade deep at another wraith. “Hold the line!”

The pegasi roared in answer as they charged at their enemies as one. They struck and dodged, attacked and parried, until not a single wraith remained in their immediate vicinity.

“Good! Now, Bolt, take those five idiots and get me some space! The rest of you with me!” Fierce Breeze commanded as the squad attempted to regain their breath, a look of resolute determination on her blood soaked muzzle. “We are creating a bucking lightning barrage and frying these things if it’s the last thing we do! Let’s teach those beasts what it means to mess with us! Now move it!”

“Ma’am, yes ma’am!” Bolt shouted in answer as he darted back to the fight and the five pegasi in question promptly followed his lead without a moment of hesitation. And as he fought alongside his brethren to allow Fierce Breeze the time to set up her plan, Bolt realized that, for the first time in quite some time, he had said the formal words used to address one’s superior officer with actual respect.

“Okay, now this is just getting annoying!” Ganondorf grumbled as a blast of freezing wind crashed against his body, only to be erased from existence by the flames of his fury. He roared to the heavens as he brought his flaming broadsword downwards straight through the foolish spirit that had just attempted to attack him and the wraith shrieked for a brief moment before his being was consumed by fire. “You lot just don’t know when to quit, do you?!”

Four more of the weird ghost equines charged him in answer to his yelled question. Two of them unleashed a rain of ice spikes straight at him, while the others attempted to flank him from both sides at once as they galloped through the air atop currents of freezing wind.

He stoked the fires of his anger as he used his flaming broadsword as an impromptu shield against the frozen darts, before he spun around and decked one of the ice wraiths right at the chin with a hoof crackling with magical energy and promptly turned towards the other one trying to strike at his blind spot and bisected it with a fierce swing of his sword. But even as the two specters dissolved into nothing, the other two that had been bombarding him with ice had already spawned two others.

“You think that stupid trick is going to be enough?!” he roared to his enemies as he raised his broadsword above his head and grabbed hold of the eternal fury he kept chained deep within him. “Let me show you the meaning of true power!”

The flames of his sword grew brighter and brighter, before he brought it down with a harsh slam straight to the ground. A wave of roaring fire sprung forth and barreled towards the four wraiths right in front of him, consuming them in an instant. The wall of heat and flame kept going for several feet longer as it destroyed seven more of the pesky annoyances, only for the cold winds to finally prevail as the attack started to slow down, taking down two more of the creatures before it faded completely, and leaving behind one single lonely wraith at the end of the path of destruction.

A single lonely wraith that, right in front of the Dark Lord’s furious gaze, spawned two more of the utterly annoying creatures, which in turn spawned two more each, all of it in the span of a few moments.

“This is really! Fucking! Annoying!” Ganondorf yelled as he charged at the apparently never ending sea of creatures, unminding of the biting cold and the freezing winds as he focused only on utterly destroying the irritatingly persistent enemies right in front of him.

“Ganondorf, they are absorbing some form of external energy to cause their propagation!” he heard Zelda shout amidst the blizzard as he eradicated everything in his path as he roared his anger to the heavens.

“Wonderful, that’s just great!” he sarcastically shouted back as he took in the implications of what the Princess’ words meant and bisected another enemy in two. If the ice beasties were using an external power source as fuel for their mass spawning trick, then that meant that they could keep doing it for a freaking long time. And as he noticed one of the annoying things rush away from him in order to spawn more of the damned things in relative safety, while four more charged against him in order to keep him busy, he decided that he really didn’t have the patience to outlast these annoyances.

“We have to take them down in one go!” he firmly declared as he unleashed a new wave of flame and crushed another pesky annoyance that attempted to blindside him with his hoof.

“Agreed,” Zelda replied as she appeared out of nowhere right next to him as she sunk her sword into one wraith before she exploded three more with a pulsating ball of flame. “You start the attack, I guide it, and Link prevents their escape!”

“Works for me!” he immediately replied as he took down two more beasts with one swing before he turned his head heavenwards and shouted at the top of his lungs. “Link, get down here!”

A muted sonic boom echoed as a green blur materialized but a few feet above the ground, blade straight through a surprised looking wraith. Link gave him a questioning look as his enemy dissolved into nothing, but nonetheless waited to see what he wanted.

“Get that instrument of yours and make those stupid things stay still for a moment!” he promptly yelled without wasting a single moment. “Zelda, get ready!”

The Kid didn’t need to be told twice, for, between one eye blink and the next, his sword had disappeared and a flute had taken its place. He started to play an uplifting song as he infused the world all around them with the magic of its melody. All the while Zelda had grown deathly still right in the middle of the battlefield as a brilliant corona of blue magical energy surrounded her whole body.

Not to be outdone, Ganondorf gathered his own quite considerable magical reserves. The fire of his sword grew brighter and brighter until it looked like he held a miniature sun in his hooves. At the same time arcs of magical energy sparked away from the Princess’ horn as if bolts of vibrant blue lightning and Link’s song reached its crescendo as a brilliant pillar of light surged forth from the pegasus into the heavens.

Sunlight bathed the battlefield as the fierce light of the midday sun shone in its entire splendor, as Link’s song forced the moon out of the sky and brought back the fiery orb to the middle of the heavens. And with a sudden surge of golden light each and every single one of the wraiths found themselves bound into place by golden sparks of light.

“Now!” the Dark Lord gleefully roared as he unleashed a veritable inferno into the world, an all encompassing sphere of blistering flames that sought nothing more than to consume it all. Only for the roaring inferno to meet and entwine itself with the vibrant arcs of magic that surged out of Zelda’s form with equal intensity.

The intricate weave of spells of the Wielder of Wisdom gave the mighty flames called forth by the Wielder of Power purpose and focus, as they turned what should have been an uncontrollable omnidirectional blast of flame into dozens upon dozens of fiery lances that bore down with pinpoint accuracy at each and every last foe held tight in the grip of the Wielder of Courage’s song.

Fire consumed the world for a brief instant before the conflagration disappeared and left nothing but warm calm air on its wake, not a single trace of the raging blizzard remained.

“Now, wasn’t that something!” Ganondorf cheerfully proclaimed with a boisterous laugh as he confirmed that there were finally no more of the icy annoyances around. The mass of dark clouds that still remained at the entirety of the northern horizon and were slowly encroaching at the eastern one could be somewhat of an issue. But that was for later. “Really persistent little buggers, weren’t they? But all in all, that was a very nice fight!”

“Truly,” Zelda readily agreed as she moved to the side of the Dark Lord as her eyes also scanned the sky for any lingering threats. “Are any of you injured?”

“Hah, it takes way more than that to take me down, Princess!” he happily exclaimed as he playfully shoved the white unicorn on the shoulder before he turned to the green pegasus at his other side. “Isn’t that right, Kid?”

Only to stop and stare as he took in the fact that Link’s brow was covered with a light sheen of sweat as he breathed deeply, as if he was short of breath. And considering what it normally took to make a dent in the green wonder’s stamina, that was more than slightly worrying. “You okay there, Kid?”

“Yes, I’m perfectly fine,” Link immediately replied with a small smile as he recomposed himself and nonchalantly waved away the concerned looks Zelda and Ganondorf were giving him. “The Sun Song simply took much more magic to power than I had expected, I will be fine shortly.”

“Very well, but do inform us should you need any assistance, no need to be careless,” Zelda promptly stated as she gave the pegasus a last scan for any possible injuries he may had failed to report. “Especially since I fear things may not be over yet.”

As he stared at the far horizon under the renewed light of day, Ganondorf watched the massive wall of dark snow clouds that stretched as far as his eyes could see and how they kept their inexorable march south alongside a continuous freezing gale, and nodded in agreement to the Princess’ words. They had won the battle, of that there was no doubt, but they hadn’t even scratched the source of the problem, whatever it even was in the first place.

“Unknown warriors, mysterious beacons and pink fire, huh?” Ganondorf mumbled to himself as he reviewed the Princess’ vision while an exhausted looking Forest charged towards him to enquire about his safety and well being. And as more and more ponies rushed towards the trio, the Dark Lord found himself musing on what they would need going forward with quite a bit of excitement as a large grin slowly grew on his muzzle

“Now, this is going to be interesting!” he cheerfully concluded. After all, he had always wanted to know what it was like to be on the other side of one of the Kid’s so called quests.

Author's Note:

Wow, another near 10k behemoth. I really hadn’t expected the battle to grow as it did! But all in all, I feel that I can’t complain with how the chapter shaped up in the end.

In some ways, I wanted to convey a fight of quality against quantity in this chapter. Like how that old saying goes: Quality shall always trump quantity, but quantity has a quality of its own. So, while the Triforce Trio clearly severely outranked the Windigoes in power and skill, the ice beasties outnumbered them several dozen to one and used that to basically try and bury our protagonists underneath a never ending sea of bodies.

This chapter also answers the many questions about the Sun Song I have been asked before. Link can control the sun and the moon with it, just like in the game, but due to the fact that there are no deities to aid in the process, the song drains a ton of magic to function, even from Link’s perspective. So he can do it, but not all the time or without consequences.

I also wonder which of you got it why exactly the Windigoes where multiplying like crazy and giving our heroes such a hard time. Here is a hint, as far as this story goes, the Windigoes feast upon negative emotions like anger and hatred, which they use to both empower themselves and multiply.

So, this officially concludes the first part of the story, with the Triforce Wielders situated in their new world and the threat they have to face emerging from the shadows. From here on out the second part begins, where, like Ganondorf mused, they will have to set out on a quest to decipher Zelda’s vision and find out how to stop the Windigoes for good before they freeze everything over.

Hope you all enjoyed the chapter.

Ps. I created a Character List for the story.