"…I started my prayers to the Gods, thinking that I was soon to meet them. I couldn't feel anything anymore, and I swore that on the wind…I heard voices from the afterlife. I damned the accounts and curiosity that had led me to this icy grave… Then…as I lay there, I felt someone reach out and speak to me in a tongue that I had never in all my time heard before. I looked up, and there, in the moonlight, I saw a man, peering down at me with eyes the color of fresh blood. My screams unsettled him, and he said something once more in that odd language…before offering me a drink from a strange canteen he kept on his person…I had found what I was seeking in this stranger."
In the winter of 2057 Hyrulean Reckoning (hereafter abbreviated HR), a young explorer by the name of Brian Marchland was said to have been stranded in a raging blizzard while out questing for a little-seen race of people. Far from his home in western Brynnel, he lay starving and close to hypothermia. However, the young man didn't know that secretly, he was being watched and looked after. Someone had been following and keeping a close eye on him, with him being none the wiser.
Unwittingly, Marchland had stumbled into the homelands of what he later called the Shadow People, so named by him because of their 'mysterious grace and unknown ways.' He was accepted into a tribe of these people, and through time and friendship with the man that had saved him, Marchland started to learn more of their ways and customs, which he detailed meticulously in his journals with both words and pictures. He lived with them a total of three years, and at the end of the duration, before returning home, Marchland had written what was to date the most comprehensive guide in understanding a race that had been elusive over the history of the world.
By this time in history, the Shadow People had been servants and nursemaids to royal families throughout the world for several generations, but little was known of their true heritage and fashions. Those that were in service of royalty often shed and spoke little about their past lives and culture, and while some clung to old ways, often it was secretly and cautiously. This was to promote ill blood between races in far later years. The Shadow People, who call themselves the Shiekah, faced hatred, fear, and possible extermination. Even in what are called 'enlightened times,' little is still known of this race. First, determining factors that influenced the relationships between the races will be explored, followed thereafter by the language, culture, and rituals of these fascinating people. Notes have come from several sources.
Royalty and Darkness
Marchland learned the mother tongue of the Shiekah in the several seasons' time he stayed among them, and spoke extensively with many of them. Little by little, he learned more about them. According to the oldest of the tribe he lived with, written stories that dated back nearly a thousand years prior told of the first Shiekah to leave her tribe and venture into her Hylian neighbors' territories. This woman was named Jenlava Semel-Vestigium; her exact birthday and which tribe she came from, as well as when she died, isn't known. Shiekah are wide-spread throughout the world, and stories carry from tribe to tribe both orally and in written language. The group that Marchland found himself in boasted that their particular tribe was the pioneer Jenlava's birth tribe. They were located in Jueland, close to what is today known as the country's capital. Jenlava arrived to the providence's royal family sometime around the spring of 1034 HR. At first she was regarded with suspicion and distaste; her clothes and speech were different from anything that anyone had encountered before. Documents in the achieves of the castle vaults wrote several accounts of incidents involving Jenlava, who had taken up residence in the castle as a cook and nanny for the royal children.
"And this woman, with her scarlet eyes and accented speech, came to the castle and in the broken common tongue, requested an occupation of her fair Majesty…granted the position of chefe she lived in the kitchens. For a long time, whispers followed her, and she never spoke of where she was from or what her odd habits meant…Many look'd down on her with disdain until it was proven she could be trusted."
The elder of Marchland's tribe filled in the missing gaps in the royals' story. The Shiekah elder of Jenlava's time, Shiekah accounts had told, forbade Jenlava to reveal anything about herself or her tribe to the Hylian outsiders for fear that they may be discovered and possibly attacked or forced from their homes. Curiosity spurned Marchland, who had been there for almost three years by then:
"I asked him [the tribal elder] why he had risked his whole tribe to save my life if it was custom that they not communicate with outsiders. He, a little old man of what must have been sixty or so seasons, laughed in a rattling voice and told me that he would reveal it in time, and he asked me why as a whole my people seemed so impatient. I felt the blood come to my face…He never spoke meanly, but with the curiosity of a child. Humbled, I sat back in the warmth of the fire and continued to listen to his tale…"
Jenlava was finally accepted as one of the castle staff several years after she arrived. Finding Shiekah names and accents hard to mimic, Jenlava's name was later changed to the less exotic 'Jennifer' by the royal court. Hearing of her exploits in letters written back to her people, several others from her tribe wished to venture into the world as well. The elder of the tribe was concerned, and sent only one out to greet their fellow tribe-member. This young man, his name lost to time, was later to become Jenlava's husband, and according to documentation, he and Jenlava had two children of their own a few years after their marriage, performed with Hylian rites and ceremony, took place.
Jenlava's descendents numbered many in the next few hundred years, and all remained in Jueland's castle walls to serve the family in whatever capacity they could. They were praised as 'more loyal as even the most steadfast knight,' and were a favorite among the ruling class for their obedience. They moved beyond the cooking and nursing classes to become advisors and consorts to the monarchs; in the meantime tribal life and methods changed little for their families left on their lands.
Hundreds of years passed in this fashion; still many people were unaware of true Shiekah ways and lifestyle. The ban by elders to speak was never officially put into place in later years, but was expected to be known by those Shiekah that ventured out into places and people that were not their own. Mistrust and wariness were still held close by some Hylians and humans, who wondered and feared what the Shiekah could want in royal homes and politics. The upper class, who had the most exposure to these newcomers, were known to harbor the most resentment, believing that since they came from humble beginnings, the Shiekah should not be allowed among 'better blood.' Among detailed notes of culture, Marchland's journals concluded here somewhat ominously. Shortly thereafter, due to illness, he was forced to return home, where he named his apprentice as his official successor. After Marchland's death in 2063 HR, this apprentice, Oswald Gridis, carried on his research, passing the tradition down into his own family.
In 3010 HR, events, wariness, and racism came to a boiling point. In the Sosarian royal household, the ruling couple at the time, King Cyanic III and Queen Salinade I became the parents of twin children, Prince Ferdric and Princess Kaila, who were the queen's first offspring. A nursemaid was appointed to the children, a seventeen year old youth by the name of Avaina Proditio-Cultellus. Secretly married the year before to a Hylian noble, the girl's union had been declared 'unholy' by temple priests and was annulled. A child had come from that bond, an infant boy whom the mother loved dearly. But because this child was born from a dissolved marriage, he was called illegitimate and was sent away to Catalia. On the ship's voyage, illness struck brutally, and the child, under the care of a nurse, perished.
A distraught Avaina threw herself utterly into the task of caring for the royal children, so much so that some held thoughts that the Shiekah considered them her own. In January of 3011, while the king and queen were away to Hyrule to forge what was later known as the 'Traveling Blood Treaty,' a tragic event struck their house. The prince, hardly a year old, had been poisoned, and the kingdom as a whole was in an uproar. Fingers pointed madly in all directions. Finally they leveled squarely on Avaina, who had been the last to see the children the night the event transpired. Upon returning home from their journey, the monarchs, grieving and desperate to find the treasonous one brought to justice, leveled blame at the Shiekah and placed her in confinement, sentencing her to hang one week after the prince's death.
The scaffold prepared, the condemned was led from her cell on January 22, 3011 HR to the noose, where she was granted final rites to the Gods. She was also allowed a last speech to the crowd that hungered for her death, and the words she spoke were not in the common language, but in her native dialect. Another Shiekah, advisor to King Cyanic, wrote her last words in their tongue, and preserved it in later years. Scholars, while having a difficult time translating precisely what was said, were able in later times to record the gist of her last sentences:
"While I go without friend, child, or lover to my death, may it never be said I was alone. You hang me because you believe falsely that I committed a crime. May the Gods have pity on you, for from this time forth, you will all hang in nooses made of your own fear and hate for me and my people…"
A woman among the crowd, a Cecile Prolant, was close to the scaffold when this statement was made. She later wrote in her own private diaries about the occasion, strongly affected by the scene she had witnessed.
"…And the rope cut into her flesh, making it red. Her hands were bound before her, and a gag waited around her neck, in case she should cry out when the noose tightened. But she never showed that she was frightened in any way…Around me people cried for her blood, calling her a filthy murderess among other, vulgar names. The cold was something I'll never forget; it snowed around us, the sky the color of a dove's wing, as though the Gods wished to freeze us all for taking this girl's life. Then the trap door that waited under her feet was taken away, and she dropped like a stone, the noose still around her neck. I shut my eyes, and around me, the crowd roared approval, asking for body parts after she was released from the rope…I never in my life felt any more ill. The King and Queen have said that none of this child's 'kind' is to serve any important role in the castle anymore, and they are 'little better than dirt…' Still, the image of that girl dying is etched in my mind…"
The times when a Shiekah could be welcomed into a kingdom with favor were clearly over. In Sosaria, Jueland and Brynnel, it was made legal for several years to kill a Shiekah on sight if he was suspected of 'doing anything suspicious,'---and that definition was left up to the one that was to do the killing. This philosophy later spread to adjacent Moldera as well, and all of Jueland's neighboring countries with the exception of Catalia, whose penalties were far lighter. In Dubatio, while conditions were not so harsh, any Shiekah that lived among Hylians were subjected to harsher penalties, made to pay more taxes, and their children could be taken from them for whatever reason their Hylian neighbors saw fit.
Only the Benluccan capital of Eridye (which had been declared a pacifist area by the ruling king at the time), as well as most of Hyrule, did not impose many restrictions on any Shiekah wishing to live among Hylians and humans (1), although due to political ties, this information was kept highly private. The Hyrulean Royal Family was known to keep Shiekah as low-ranking servants and nursemaids to their children—because Hyrule was and remains a world power, this was not questioned by their allies too severely.
1. 'Human' refers to those of non-Shiekah, Hylian, Gerudo or Kokiri bloodlines for the sake of this documentary.
In the years following the dreadful restrictions, many Shiekah traveled in any way possible to the countries that seemed to welcome them, often placing themselves in dangerous situations. Many went furtively aboard ships; others saved what money they could to bribe whoever they could find to move them and their families to safer ground.
Even then, they were sometimes betrayed, sold off to their executioners for more money. In many countries, groups were formed to round up and kill Shiekah, groups that went by different names as years went by, but the most common moniker was the tongue in cheek phrase, "Aylaya kan Shiekah Moros," which translated from Old Hylian means, "Friends of the Downtrodden Shiekah." These squads, as well as many others acting in their interests, would often chant this phrase as they beat and sliced away at the flesh of a victim that was often minding his own affairs when caught. One incident was recorded in blood-chilling accuracy by the head of one such squad, a man called Corbin 'Red' Nandye, infamous for his hate of the Shadow People. Once the son of nobility, he fell out of favor, and spent his time a twisted and dour man.
He placed propaganda posters across towns and cities, all urging to root out and do away with what he referred to as 'the Dark scourge.' When in Evian, Sosaria, he and several friends encountered a Shiekah on their way from a local tavern. What followed was later to be called 'an act of madness and bloodlust the likes of which were never seen outside the battlefields.' During this bloodbath, Nandye said:
"…so we met her outside the bar, y'know, on the way to the brothel. Someone made some comment about her, and it just escalated from there. We all treated her like how one of them should be, like a streetwalker, and when she refused us we wailed on her good with our clubs and daggers. Then we left her there, and when she called to us for help, we just laughed and kicked dirt on her. Her filthy, inferior blood was all over the place, filling up the streets where only the superior people [Hylians and humans] should go. So we stood and waited, yelling names an' all at her until she stopped moving…Then we left her there for the street cleaners to carry off…"
Incidents like this were sadly common. Later Nandye was tried for a similar incident before a court of law involving a half-Shiekah child, who he had tortured. The sole reason this case was tried at all was because the child had been adopted by Hylian parents, and while they tried to keep the child's heritage a secret, it was rooted out by spies for the Moros, as the organization's name was abbreviated to.
Even in countries where it was safe to declare openly that one was of Shiekah blood, many of the immigrant Shiekah were afraid to mix with the populous of cities and towns, living on the outskirts in homes they often constructed themselves, wary of any visitors that were not of the same race.
By 3027 HR, it was clear that the war declared on the Shadow People was starting to have ill effects on them. Their numbers, what could be found of them, dropped, although this may be due to the fact that many went into permanent hiding. To see hide or hair of any living Shiekah was an experience of a lifetime to an outsider, and it was around this time that Daniel Gridis, descendant of the famous Oswald, started to follow his illustrious forebear. His family had moved from their native Brynnel to southern Catalia by this time, and when out to market one spring day, he encountered the first of what was to be many experiences with the Shiekah.
"Putting the apple I had just bought into my satchel, I looked more closely at the vendor. He was in the shadow under the canopy he had set up to shield himself from the unusually hot April day, but a ray of sun caught his eyes, enough to let me see the color…And I nearly collapsed where I stood. It was one of the Shadow People! I asked him in his language, 'What is your sorrow?' and after his initial surprise and fright, he held out his hands, covered in scars. His thumb on the right was missing, and he said, looking into my eyes all the while with that haunting red gaze, 'They were mangled like that when I was five seasons old, in west Dalsona. So that I couldn't learn a proper trade.' I felt anger then as I have never before. I vowed then that in spite of whatever hardship and danger I would personally encounter, I would lift the stigma placed on these once noble people…"
From that day forward, Gridis did what he could to research and learn about the persecuted Shiekah. He made swift friends with the apple vendor, who revealed much of the Shiekah secrets and ways to him. Adding this to fill in the gaps of Marchland, a slow picture began to form of some Shiekah history. Using the information he had, Gridis made a crusade to enlighten the average man as to what the Shiekah were really like. However, he faced personal peril, and, feeling foreboding, named his son Thomas as his successor, making copies of his notes and journals before he sailed off to Jueland.
As he preached in the streets in the hostile country, Gridis encountered those that were willing to join him privately to aid in his mission. A band traveled from Jueland to Sosaria, where actions taken against the Shiekah were said to be the strongest. It was there that spies for Gridis's pack, called simply 'The Allies,' unraveled the true perpetrator of Prince Ferdrick's death, committed years before.
A native noble to Sosaria, Duke Harold Wellington Crumple IV, was said to be in line for the position of chief advisor to the king. Right before he received the position, though, a nephew to the king stepped forth, and on the merits of blood, was given the occupation. An enraged Crumple sought to take his revenge in any way he could, and having learned potion and spell making from his mother, a renowned duchess as well as witch, he set about framing the childrens' own nursemaid as the guilty party. After committing the deed, Crumple spoke quietly of the incident to friends, who were all but pleased to talk after being told by some higher ranking friends of Gridis they would face the gallows unless they came clean.
It was reported by the duke's friends that the Shiekah girl was wholly innocent of any wrongdoing, and had even tried to fight off the boy's attacker when she discovered he had dosed the child with slow acting, magical poison three days before the prince's death. However, the duke, who had been spying on the young woman, knew the location of her family, and threatened to murder them as well unless she was silent. On further investigation, it was revealed that Avaina attempted to tell other servants of the duke's treachery, but was ignored, seeing as Crumple was a favorite among the household, giving the servants extra funds from time to time, and lavishing rich praise on the royals themselves. He fled the country the year after the incident, and had not been seen or heard from since; none knew where he went.
Armed with this information, Gridis and company set out once more to the streets, preaching the innocence of the betrayed Avaina. Many were outraged and in disbelief; many times Gridis and his band had to nurse wounds inflicted on them by angry crowds that had come to prevent their speeches. Gridis railed for Crumple's capture and prosecution, convinced that the duke lived yet somewhere, protected by friends. Those that remembered Crumple as a hard-working, honest man refused to listen to the truth that The Allies were attempting to spread.
By July of 3030 HR, word of riots reached the worried ears of King Pius Cornelius II, who sent guards immediately into Evian and other large cities of Sosaria to bring back information concerning the violent outbreaks. Upon hearing that these were the work of a pro-Shiekah group, feared by some to be militant and recruiting larger and larger amounts of people, Cornelius sent out more of his specialized guards, trained to deal with large crowds and war-like situations. It became more and more difficult for Daniel Gridis and his followers to hold meetings; it was now common knowledge that the king wished them dead. Back in their respective countries, each member of The Allies was wanted for high treason, their rulers informed by Cornelius. As Gridis wrote to his wife, Melinda:
"…even food can hardly be purchased anymore for the terror that I maybe caught and killed. There won't be any trial for me and mine, my dear. We are considered lower than rats. I know now to the full extent of which the Shiekah must suffer the whole of their lives, and am thankful that I had a fortunate life at all. Posters are up all over declaring rewards for our capture, and to see the pictures they have sketched of us is terrifying, like looking at a fresh death mask removed from the corpse…Pray for me, love. Keep Thomas safe and warn him of his heritage. One day he will more than likely be in my position…I must sign off here, for the candle I'm writing this by is of poor quality and is slowly dying. By the time you receive this, Gods know what may become of me…"
Gridis and most of his fellowship were able to remain out of the king's clutches for another few months. Life was miserable—forced to live in the gutters off of scraps of food when nothing else could be secretly procured, Gridis and many of his supporters were made to contend with illness as well as festering wounds. While a few were indeed captured by the king, in the weeks to follow, many died without a healer to attend to them. In a panic, Gridis could see his ranks waning. Already weak with fever and delirious from his pain, he one day scribbled several disjointed notes to his family, speaking of his condition as best he could, and then stumbled into the streets, where he once more began to preach. This was not his usual method, and forgetting caution, Gridis happened upon the local chapter to the Moros—who, on Cornelius's behalf, kept Gridis as a prisoner in one of their homes for almost a week before taking him to the king, in the meantime torturing him as they saw proper.
Weak and half-alive, Gridis was granted a trial, for which he was hardly coherent. An impartial advisor was hired to speak on his behalf as law decreed. The hearing lasted a week, and by the end of that week, Gridis was too weak to leave his prison cell. No healer was brought to him, though the soldiers guarding him knew of his condition. Gridis's advisor, a callous man that agreed with the views of the time that Shiekah were 'inferior,' botched the trial for his client. Hours before Gridis died in his cell on September 18, 3030 HR, he was declared guilty of treason against his country and people. He was given a pauper's burial in a mass funeral mound in a Sosarian graveyard, where to this day no marker is set.
Always close to the Shiekah themselves, it was Gridis's daughter Nanala who at last married one. In May of 3037 HR, she was privately wed in a sympathetic temple to the son of her father's friend, the apple vendor. Maintaining a Hylian surname and living a quiet life, the couple managed to avoid notice by those around them. With the birth of their first and sole child, a son, they secured the services of a midwife that was sympathetic to the Shiekah cause. Thomas, Nanala's elder brother, had as predicted by this time gone off to continue his father's work, although far more cautiously.
The pair named their newborn son Victor, giving him a Shiekah middle name that was only initialized when written. When the child was four months old, his mother and father allowed his fortune to be read(a custom called 'fate-scrying' by the Shiekah) by a full-blooded Shiekah relative, who declared, "This child shall turn the tides of fate."
These words were to prove prophetic. A war was brewing, and it would change the cultures of both sides involved for the rest of time.
The Coming of the End
By mid-3060 HR, twenty-two year old Victor had gained a keen interest in his uncle Thomas's work. Since childhood, he longed to follow in his relative's footsteps, but his mother, recalling her own father's death, forbade her only child from becoming involved in such research. When Thomas returned from a journey to Benlucca, the young man, hearing of his kinsman's experiences, decided at once to accompany him on the trip back. Despite his family's clear misgivings about his departure, Victor went with Thomas to the Benluccan capital in June of 3060.
After several days' sailing into the Great Sea and then into Benlucca Bay, the men stopped at a port in Samarasha, a seaside town south of Eridye. It was here that Thomas told his nephew he would sometimes encounter some of the worst cases of abuse among the races. Finding lodgings in an inn a few streets over from the port itself, Victor waited with marked impatience to catch sight of one of the Shadow People:
"…it's a seeming eternity. Yet each day we stop by the docks, we go unrewarded. Uncle Thomas has told me it takes patience, like waiting in the grasslands for the rabbit to eat out of your hands. I've heard the horrible stories, and I know that somewhere a Shiekah is perhaps undergoing the same torture I've heard about. It makes me angry that my uncle can be so matter-of-fact about it…When confronting him on his seeming calm on why we didn't hasten to discover cases of abuse, he told me that the longer that one does this, the more accustomed they grow, and thus feelings are no longer as strong. Gods help me, I never want to be that jaded…"
After about three weeks in Samarasha, Victor grew irritated with the lack of progress, and wandered down by the docks alone. While standing to watch the new imports and ships come to port, he observed unexpectedly what he had been yearning to see.
"Then as the cold sea breeze whipped around me, I saw her. She was coming from a merchant's ship, handling the cargo almost as well as a man might have. At first I couldn't discern her from her ship-mates, but as she placed a box down, she glanced up at me. I felt my heart stop, and not only because she was easy to gaze upon. Just under her left eye, which bore no trace of her heritage, there was the weeping red eye, the mark of the Shiekah…"
Trying to seem as casual as possible, Victor Gridis detailed in his notes how he approached the young woman, trying to seem as casual as possible. He reported that rather than coming off as the 'suave figure I was trying to cut,' he instead tripped over his own feet and went tumbling. To his great embarrassment, he looked up to see that she was laughing at him, and recovering himself, he picked himself up and introduced himself. The young woman revealed her name was Dayna Groveland, and the two spent the afternoon together discussing their situations and life stories. After reaching the proper age, Dayna had taken up the trade of cargo-carrier aboard merchant ships, a rare occupation for a woman, let alone a Shiekah.
Dayna, as it turned out, was a half-Shiekah, like Victor himself. Branded with the symbol under her eye, as was custom for 'half-breeds' in Jueland, her birth country, at the time, Dayna had lived a more comfortable life than many. The servant to a couple sympathetic to the Shiekah, she was even allowed contact with the tribe that her mother had hailed from. Sent away when Dayna was a child due to her indiscretions at having a child with a Hylian, the mother had remarried to another Shiekah and later bore another child, Dayna's half-brother, a Yarvis Amaritudo-Sinus.
Dayna approximated her age at about 25; it was unclear due to the fact that her precise birthday went unrecorded. The two spent the rest of that day speaking to one another, and when he arrived back that evening, Victor told his uncle of the encounter. He also wrote in his traveling journal:
"…she's of interest to speak to, this woman. I feel as though we're on our way to a close friendship, although I know that it will probably have to continue on in the form of letters upon my return home. I admit that I've grown fond of it here in spite of the inconveniences…"
In August of 3060 HR, after two months of research and tedious recording of notes, Victor and Thomas returned to Catalia, where they were received warmly by Nanala. Victor's father had left the area, a concerned Nanala revealed, to head to Dalsona, where his birth tribe resided in the southernmost area of the country. While they had been away, events in some countries against the Shiekah had escalated. Showing them several letters from Victor's father, who had left in the midst of July, Nanala retold a chilling incident.
As was commonplace in those days, a Shiekah had been cornered and beaten in the streets; but what was uncommon were the events to follow. As it was later unearthed by historians, the beaten Shiekah was not a servant to anyone in the area. He was actually a high-ranking soldier within a Shiekah tribe some miles off from where the beating took place, and had come to the nearest town searching for medication for an ailing family member. After the beating, he returned to his tribe, where it was later decided that the tribe would attack those responsible. At last, the Shiekah were fighting back against their tormentors.
Three days after the initial incident, on July 17, 3060 HR, several Shiekah ambushed the town of Morha, Dubatio, and wreaked havoc on the unsuspecting townspeople. Several townspeople, including women and children, were killed in the onslaught, and while the majority of the attackers escaped after the slaughter, the two that were captured were killed on sight. Times were now uncertain, and now anyone of Shiekah blood that was from Dubatio was being forced out or murdered. Many of the native Shiekah to Dubatio fled to areas like Catalia or Hyrule, many frightened that their welcome there would run short as well.
About a week after returning home, Victor received a letter from Dayna, who, unlike many Shiekah in her position, had been taught to read and write. The contents of the letter were disturbing. After leaving Benlucca, Dayna detailed that she had been sent next to Sosaria, where she witnessed a Shiekah riot of 'disturbing magnitude.' Reports now made it clear that a revolution had taken place across the world; riots and violence were now common in other once-tranquil countries as well. Victor's own father returned in a sorry condition; beaten like many others, he remained an invalid the remainder of his days.
While in Sosaria, Dayna herself had been caught in the tide of a rampage while walking with some items through an open-air market late in the night. She had been badly injured, taking a spear to her side, and while the wound had been serious, she was determined to write to Victor to warn him that such danger could threaten him on his travels. Dayna also revealed in her missive that due to the severity of her injury, she was being sent to a specialist healer in Catalia, just a few miles outside of the town where Victor lived.
In late August of that year, Victor made the trip from his hometown of Opela to one of the small, sparse villages that Catalia is well-known for. There he found Dayna, who had weakened considerably on her trip to Catalia. Anguished, Victor vowed to remain beside her until she was able to return home. This meant fetching things the healer needed, as well as staying awake night and day to attend to the woman's needs.
Ever the researcher, Victor brought his field journal along as well. While the entries from this time are far between, Victor reveals his growing feelings for Dayna as well as his apprehension at the growing violence rampaging throughout the world.
"Each day, the reports I hear grow more and more upsetting. Dayna, when she is awake and feeling coherent enough to ask, seems to know that I embellish the good bits of what I hear, though she doesn't challenge me for the whole truth. Steadily, I see her growing paler, and no matter how long I stay awake with her, telling her whatever tales I can think of until the healer comes with her pain medication, it doesn't seem to aid her. I can only pray now…"
In early September, upon hearing the news that his sister grew no better, Yarvis himself finally came from his tribe to see to Dayna's needs. His coming was a great surprise to both Victor and Dayna herself, and of course, Victor spoke of the other man's arrival in his notes. His first impressions are of an imposing, almost fearless figure, like something out of old tales set in folklore:
"He arrived in full Shiekah garb, which until that point I had only heard of or seen pictures, hastily sketched in my grandfather's notebooks. He looked to me with eyes that sized me up and dismissed me in a fraction of a second. He went instantly to Dayna's bedside, and together they spoke their own dialect. I stepped outside, feeling as though I was intruding on something private, and when I returned, I saw that Yarvis had gathered Dayna in his arms in an embrace. I felt a surge of jealousy that I didn't have license to do the same…"
In the days following Yarvis's arrival, tension became clear between the two young men. Victor found himself under intense scrutiny from Dayna's half-brother, and finally, a few nights after his coming, the two went aside and had a private discussion. Yarvis revealed that he had come not only to see his sister, but to also see the man that she professed to love. Victor realized with a start that Yarvis was referring to him, and came to terms with his own feelings for Dayna as well.
"It hit me then powerfully. I cared for her as I did no one else. Yarvis caught my expression, and said gruffly that we couldn't marry. My thoughts hadn't even ventured down that road, but as he said it, I knew that someday I wanted to make her my wife. When I asked him why this wasn't possible, he told me that his sister's proper place was with her tribe, away from people that would seek to abuse her. I told him that if she married me, that I wouldn't allow anything to ever happen to her, and he snorted before going off wordlessly into the dark."
Marriage and Blood
In the ides of September, Victor professed his intentions to Dayna, who agreed that they ought to marry. Heading off to the nearest temple the next day, Victor retrieved a priest, and the two were married while Yarvis was away. Their happiness complete, the new couple spent even more time together. However, when Yarvis returned two days after the marriage took place, he dragged the information from Dayna as to what had happened. Enraged, Yarvis confronted Victor, where the two came to blows. Victor left the fight thinking that both needed time to think and come to terms with the situation. But, the next morning, when he awoke, he discovered that his wife was missing. His brother in law had left a note scribbled hastily, telling Victor that Dayna's place was with her own people. Victor left in a hurry to catch a ship to Jueland, and during the duration of the trip, he wrote that he was 'hardly able to control his anger.'
Getting off from the ship in Jueland's largest port city, Jenvina, Victor started asking after his wife. No one seemed to know anything, frustrating the young man even further. Booking a stay in the famous Alchemista Inn, Victor wandered the streets for several days, making little progress, his despair increasing. At last he ran across a tavern where Yarvis had been seen with what witnesses described as 'a tearful, sickly looking young woman.' Little had been revealed as to where they had been headed, except to say 'someplace south.' With this scrap of information, Victor started the search for his wife once more.
However, he ran across several dead ends. It took the exhausted Victor the better part of two months to at last discover the tribe that his wife had been kidnapped to, all the while dodging anti-Shiekah hunters and the more frequent happenings of insurgence. The air was growing colder, and with Jueland's hilly terrain, the snows came quickly. Victor found himself ill-prepared, and growing all the more resentful to Yarvis.
By November of the year, Victor's desperation waxed keen. His clothing had been worn ragged, and he was hunting almost daily for meager shares of meat and wild vegetables, which were fast growing harder to discover. Like everything else, this was chronicled in his journal. He sensed he was growing close to the area where his brother in law had taken his wife, and his bitterness had become piercing by the time he stumbled across the Shiekah village, where the pair were reunited.
"…And just when I thought I could walk no more, and the blisters that plagued my body were at their worst, I spotted squat buildings, made mostly of stone. I recognized the art and carvings on and in the stone; they were clearly Shiekah. I had spoken to the inhabitants of several villages, who had informed me that this was one of the few remaining Shiekah settlements in the area, and my heart leaped. I approached the village, and was met almost at once by the fierce warrior protectors of the village. I spoke to them rapidly in their dialect and told them who I was looking for. After a lengthy conversation and several minutes of waiting, Dayna ran out of one such building and into my arms…I held her for a long while, feeling close to tears of relief. She was safe."
Safe, but ill from infection from the wound she had sustained, Dayna quickly took her husband into the heart of the village. Victor grew anxious and asked after Yarvis, who, Dayna replied, was off in an involved hunting party and would be gone for the better part of a week. Victor wished to leave right off and return to Catalia, but Dayna warned him that to leave without speaking to the elders would be a grave mistake. Victor relented, and they sought an audience with the tribe's ruling body of elders.
"….and then I learned that Yarvis had been lying to them all the while, calling me an unfit husband to his precious sister. The elders regarded me with veiled disdain and suspicion, but after a few hours, I was able to make them see that I committed no wrongdoing. They withdrew and spoke among themselves. I waited on eggshells until the one representing the elders spoke to me. He told me that I would need to speak to the Oracle, the ultimate ruler and arbiter of decisions. I felt the air leave me. I had only heard of the Shiekah oracles in stories and in the journals I had read. No one before me had ever seen the Shiekah Oracle, and I knew that in a fashion, I was being honored. After several more minutes, I was taken at last to see the Oracle, and my heart was in my throat."
Victor and Dayna were led to the most ornate building in the village, where tribal members preceded them inside, to see if their leader was awake and willing to give an audience. Victor was then led inside alone, where he caught sight of the famous Oracle. His reaction was one of great shock and awe.
"There, seated in the shadows, was what appeared to be a small child, no more than five, maybe six seasons old. He introduced himself as Ursmala, Oracle to his people, and asked me what it was I needed of him. I breathed that I needed to take my wife from the village to get her the proper medical treatment, and started to explain myself once more. After I was through, the small boy smiled. 'I can see your surprise. You think it's odd that a child rules a village. But I'm not ordinary. I know that, and I can see deep in your eyes you feel the same.' I was taken aback; the words he spoke were true. But then his little smile widened. 'You may take her and go. Live happily together and produce many children, yes?' I felt a blush start, and I nodded and left as quickly as was polite."
Victor and Dayna departed that bitter night, and reached the ship that would carry them home to Opela. By the end of November, they had settled back into their homeland, where Victor took a hiatus from his research and tended to his wife's condition. Several months passed, and in June of 3061 HR, Dayna bore their first child, a daughter whom they named Nonia. Victor's happiness seemed complete, and time passed into the spring of 3063. Then, all was shattered unexpectedly.
In late March of 3063, late one night, Victor awoke to find his home in flames. In desperation, he woke his wife and retrieved their daughter from her cradle before fleeing into the dark. In the haze of smoke and flame, Victor could make out that his house had been targeted and burned by several people wielding torches, and before he could react, he spotted in the dim that one of them was none other than Yarvis.
As history would later reveal in the incident, Yarvis had gone among members of other tribes, slanting the story of his sister and her husband to portray Victor as a heartless man. One of the militant Shiekah that clung to old ways and grudges, Yarvis was stated as saying to his followers that, "…the Hylian race…is inherently evil." However, since his sister was a half-Shiekah and raised with tribal values and customs, he felt that she, as well as his young niece, could be 'saved from the oppression…of the Hylian [Victor].' Since he was raised with values adhering strictly for the most part to the Hylian way, in Yarvis's view, Victor could not be converted to the Shiekah way of thought.
Several neighbors that had seen the fire already had sent for the town guard, adding confusion to what was already a site of chaos. Upon the arrival of the guard, several Shiekah drew their weapons, not wishing to spend time in the castle dungeons. A bloody fight ensued, and during the battle, Victor and his family fled. Wanted now by Yarvis and his men, Victor and his family were forced to become nomads, fleeing Catalia to take up residence in the mountain town of Havershad, Brynnel. A quiet town without many residents, Victor discovered that he and his family could live safely there while he worked as a miner in the mines to try and earn what money he had lost.
A year passed in what was relative solitude and tranquility. Victor and his family kept mainly to themselves and began to carve a niche from what had been a shattered life. Victor became well-known throughout the town in which he settled, and was a favorite among the small populous. Slowly, money was coming back, and according to plans in his journal at the time, once they had the proper funds, he was going to move his family to Jueland, where hostility had recently been calmed. Not having the appearance of a typical Shiekah, he was confident he and his wife could fit in among the people there without notice.
In the late summer of 3065, Dayna once again fell ill. The infection she had sometime before had left her more susceptible to illness, and Victor was forced to once more care for her. On top of it, he had a small child to watch after, and the stress took its toll. He began to fear a descent into a breakdown in the autumn of that year, and when Dayna was able to care sufficiently for herself, he left her side briefly to visit Kanma, a city in southern Brynnel, not far from the sea. He remained there for about a week, and then made the trip back home.
When he arrived, he found the town in chaos. Anti-Shiekah raiders had seized control of the city, and a local Shiekah tribe, after hearing the news, had poured into the streets to attack, where certain mayhem had broken out. This event would later come to be called the 'Havershad Massacre.' Taking place on September 12, 3065 HR, it was a day that later went down into history books with infamy. Several were killed, and in the bloody bedlam, Victor returned home to an empty house. In a panic, he rushed into the streets, trying to get past the warring faculties without receiving injury himself.
After three days, close to madness in his grief, he got word that both his wife and child had perished in the massacre. Torn apart by his great sorrow, he delved into the origins of the bloody feud, and found that the leader of the Shiekah tribe that had attacked was his own brother in law. By word of mouth and rumors, he discovered that Yarvis had been going from one tribe to another, organizing a network of people to spy on Victor and his wife, all to assure his sister's safety. Try as he might, Victor was unable to find any trace of his elusive brother in law and from that moment forth, blamed Yarvis for what had happened to his family. Making a personal war against him, Victor took to the streets and tried to create an army.
By December of 3065, Victor had rallied several behind him; his army numbered close to a thousand. The majority were neutral people that had no thoughts concerning the Shiekah specifically, but had found a charismatic leader in Victor. These were the dregs of poor society that looked for a cause to rally behind, or people that, like Victor, had lost family members to one side of the battle or another. Their goal was to once and for all stop the warring sides.
Deeply hated by the anti-Shiekah supporters and disliked even by the Shiekah themselves, Victor and his army faced a perilous task. By February of 3066, Victor had sent his newly assembled network out into the underbelly of the world, trying to discover where his brother in law might be hiding. By this time, people that saw Victor described him as 'a bitter man, hell-bent on vengeance, making it the cornerstone of a life otherwise not worth the living.'
Yarvis, in the meantime, had sent word through his own network that his brother in law was a murderous fiend, like the rest of the Hylian people. The deaths of Dayna and her child, Yarvis stated, were Victor's own doing; he had abandoned them when they needed him most. This built Yarvis's assertion that Victor was a poor husband. With this slant on the truth, many Shiekah were sympathetic to Yarvis, taking a banner under his cause. Across the world, attacks on Hylians grew, and vice-versa. One side had demonized the other, and it seemed there was no resolution in sight.
On March 23, 3066 HR, Victor and his group stopped over in Mayajand, Brynnel, after several days' marching. Word had come to them that another insurgence had taken place in the neighboring town of Garyala. Garyala was a town nestled in the mountains of the region, and for years had been a hotbed because of its proximity to a nearby tribal area. As Victor and his party rested in a tavern, it was discovered that they were a peace group. Hell broke loose, and in the fray, Victor lost the ring finger on his left hand, and with it his wedding band. This was later to spawn a nickname for him: 'Victor the Loveless.'
Victor accepted this moniker with a bitter tolerance. He and his people, after the attack, continued on to Garyala, where Victor found that he had just missed Yarvis's growing army. The people of the town told him that Yarvis and his army, aware that Victor and his army were in the area, had fled to Hyrule, where they were hoping to recruit the large Shiekah population there. Victor and his army then traveled to Hyrule themselves, settling in the southern areas until the whole of the army could be transported by ship to Hyrule.
In early April of 3066, the entire army had arrived, and Victor's spies reported that Yarvis had already swayed most of the Shiekah population with his bent on events. The Hylians in the towns, however, were receptive to what Victor told them, and while many didn't wish to be directly involved in the fray, some gave money to the cause. About 300 more joined Victor, however, and in a game of cat and mouse, Victor and Yarvis ran circles around one another. The royal family of Hyrule refused to say one thing or another in the growing dispute. The king at the time, King Marcus Plerbius III, was an apathetic individual who cared little for politics.
The stage was set for skirmish. Another few months of recruiting passed for both sides, and in the winter of the year, large blizzards beset the country. It was the bitterest winter in years, as weather almanacs would later report. Holed up in Nabooru, Victor and his mass faced a miserable time with few supplies and even less money. Illness and death came quickly to the weak and the malnourished and even Victor himself fell ill. A raging fever brought him terrible dreams, and one in particular was disturbing.
"…I was in the afterlife for a brief time, with the Gods themselves. They told me that my mission to bring peace was just and right in their eyes, and that any that opposed me deserved death and a stay in the darkest areas of the afterlife forevermore. I woke with a cold cloth on my forehead. I didn't know what I had dreamed could have been prophecy…"
After this, Victor's journal entries are almost non-existent, and those that are written are rambling. He dedicated himself night and day to his mission, sick or not. He began to believe whole-heartedly that he was sponsored by the Gods to deliver the world from the evils of war. While some feared that the fever had made him mad, others supported him without reservation. In the warmer months of spring, 3067 HR, Victor set out anew. His supplies and recruits were less than before the snows had come, but he had a passion to spread his word. Rumor began to circulate more and more that he had gone insane.
Yarvis, hearing of the news, had convinced his faction that Victor was a dangerous individual, and the reports of his madness only bolstered this view. Even those that were Hylian now began to express doubt that Victor could carry off his cause, and it seemed that with each passing day, Victor grew more and more fanatical. One of his supporters, Gen Darnmaker, was later to say the following of him:
"…to watch him go downhill like that…was difficult. In the beginning we all believed him, wanted to make the fighting and the hate just stop. Then it seemed the fever he got warped his mind, made him believe that he was a kind of saint, a crusader for the Gods themselves. It got so bad that you couldn't question him openly, no matter what he did. Once, someone questioned why we were headed to a certain town, and Victor began to shout, the look in his eyes enough to freeze one's blood cold…He caught my gaze, and I had to look away, my heart pounding."
With the peacemakers' weakening morale and problems caused by further skirmishes between the radical sides, some began to desert, while others feared retribution for doing so. Yet others, curious after hearing the rumors or wanting badly to end the battles, joined. In May of the year, Victor drew close to Hyrule's capital, Mido. He had gotten the idea into his head that he ought to have an audience with the king, hoping that the royal family would officially declare a ban on further fighting. It was then, on an otherwise quiet night, that the deciding events in this chapter in history occurred. The date was May 6, 3067 HR.
While overnighting in Mido, Victor and his party were ambushed by Yarvis and his army, who had been waiting in the town. Yarvis's main head of strategy had projected that, after watching the opposing army carefully, Victor would be in Mido. Swooping into the tavern where they were staying, Yarvis and his army slew all that stood in their way, even innocent bystanders. Victor and his army counterattacked, and the battles were taken to the streets. The fights continued on into dawn, until Victor withdrew his people from Mido. Several on both sides had died in the fighting, reddening the cobblestones with blood. Yet another event in a string that would last for a little over a year, this battle offset the war that became known as 'The Trail of Bloody Sorrows.' During this time, both sides seemed to forget the true reasons for their respective causes, pouring out their most primitive urges and hatred. Their true meaning, that of reaching understanding, was lost.
The King, frightened by the violence, had set out his army to quell the fighting, no matter what side it took place on. Many small battles were part of the larger whole, raging in both towns and grasslands, areas with people and those without. Hearing of the war, several from other countries, both Shiekah and Hylian alike, traveled to the country to be part of the fighting. Able-bodied people, both men and women alike, signed up to be part of the ranks. Those that Victor and Yarvis had named their warlords began to actively recruit as numbers died in the fighting. By this time, Victor's warlord, Samuel Karthen, was for all intents and purposes the leader of the army. He quietly assumed control from a man that he had once admired and had been good friends with, allowing Victor to remain part of the army but not really an active member.
Both sides of the war seemed deadlocked in numbers, prowess, and skill. The Shiekah, fighting with all of their pent-up hate from years of oppression, introduced ways of fighting and magic new to the Hylians, and vice-versa. Neither side wanted to give a bit. Losses were more or less equal on both sides after battles, and recruiting, thanks to immigrants from other places, was strong on both sides. The common people of Hyrule began to fear what they saw and heard of the battles, and others buried loved ones that had either joined the fighting of their own free will or, in some cases, had been part of the third faction in the war, the King's men, who still couldn't end the war despite their efforts. The blood continued to flow unabated for several months.
After months of fighting, the deciding battle came on July 15, 3068 HR. 'The Deadlock,' occurred on the rain-swept fields of Hyrule, twenty minutes outside of Mido, that day. The fighting had been particularly brutal of late, and the tides had finally begun to turn against Victor's army. Casualties and losses had been heavy in a conflict the day prior, and when the armies clashed again, Victor, who had been largely inactive in the battles, took up a sword and joined the bloodlust. While fighting, Victor was set on by Yarvis himself, who was thirsty for the death of the man that he held responsible for his sister's demise. While men died around them, the two released their respective frustration, fury, and hate for one another.
The discord lasted for a total of four hours. Most of the men on both sides had taken part, and at the end of the fourth hour, as dusk came to the land, several of them lay never to rise again. Among the slain, the two continued to fight, until the end of that last hour, when Victor at last corned an exhausted Yarvis and put an end to his life. Those Shiekah that remained were forced to retreat. However, with what was said to be his last breath, Yarvis wounded Victor critically. While he was tended to by his healers quickly, Victor was fading.
On July 21, 3068 HR, Victor Gridis seemed close to his end. Lying on a cot within the confines of his healers' tent, his madness seemed to abate somewhat in the face of death. The King, taking heavy casualties of his own, forged that very day a decree of peace to be signed between Hylians and Shiekah in every country. This was called the 'Treaty of Buried Arms.' Officially signed by the last ruler to take part in the pact, the king of Lemmink, in November of the year, it at last laid rest for the most part a chapter that had been going on in history for almost forty years. In all, an estimated 10,000 (2) on both sides had given their lives for the war efforts.
While special, discriminating laws would be put in place against the Shiekah in some countries for several years afterward by bitter Hylians and the remains of anti-Shiekah groups, violence for the most part was banned. The Shiekah withdrew back to their own lands for the most part, deserting the Hylian cities and towns, and both sides lived in quiet enmity for years afterwards. To this day, an amount of prejudice and misunderstanding remain.
Victor Gridis's death was recorded as July 23, 3068 HR at the age of 31. Before he passed on, however, none other than Dayna arrived, with their daughter, who was now a little girl of seven. An astonished Victor listened to his wife's tale of what had happened that day a few years before. Dayna told her husband that she had been attacked in her home, and had managed to escape to Catalia once more, where she lived in seclusion to raise their daughter. The blood that had seemed evidence of their deaths had been that of the man that had tried to murder them, Dayna said, as she had killed him with the kitchen knife she had after the attacker tried to harm her baby. There had no way to contact her husband during that time; most letter carriers and ships to carry them overseas had been employed for various war purposes.
In sorrow, Dayna mourned the loss of her brother, whom, she asserted, had only been doing what he thought was right for her at the time. She then embraced Victor, who, witnesses say, 'held to her as though she was his salvation.' However, near dawn, he drew his last breath. He was buried in a cemetery in Mido along with his fallen men, where his grave was quietly overlooked as that of a hero. To this day, his place in history, along with the events he had a hand in, are regarded differently by historians and in popular opinion, depending on what source they originate from.
2. ' Approximate estimate of fighters on both sides of the conflict; when civilian casualties are added with those of the King's lost soldiers, the number is closer to 18,000.
Dayna Gridis returned to Catalia, where she lived out the rest of her days, dying an old and unmarried woman in 3108 HR. Her daughter, Nonia Gridis Janwais, married a Hylian man and later started a now famous charity to aid war victims. She also carried on the work of researching the Shiekah. Starting her first diary in 3081 HR, Janwais compiled the earlier tomes of her forebears, which will be gone into in further detail in later pages. These detail Shiekah speech, religion, dress, and ways of life.
The war had a violent impact on the ways of life on both sides, which is richly detailed in Janwais's diaries. The most definitive source for the post war years, it is most commonly used in teachings to refer to those times. While tragic, events like these instruct future generations to be wary of seeds that can cause similar conflict. Janwais said it eloquently in one of her diary entries:
"…Without conflict, there are times where there can be no learning. But it's unwise to begin conflict for the sake of it and learn from it after the blood has been shed. Although a child at the time, I recall my own personal losses well, and hope that as years go by, others will keep the same in mind. Many died in the name of bringing war. But, because of hope, just as many died in the name of peace…"
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