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Night of The Final Day

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Bremen Mask
Guru-Guru both pities and envies the soldiers who refuse to leave their posts.

Great Fairy's Mask
Tingle, the very incarnation of a fairy, refuses to stop believing in magic.

Mask of Scents
Kotake has more important things to worry about than the falling moon.

Bunny Hood
Grog reflects on cuccos, his father, and other strange apparitions.

Stone Mask
As he watches the moon fall over Ikana, Shiro remembers a princess in another castle.

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What he’d done when he left his old troupe hadn’t been a crime, exactly, but he wasn’t keen on lingering in the sight of the law. A soldier was stationed at each of the four gates facing the public squares, so he retreated to a corner of the laundry pool on the outskirts of town. He told anyone who asked that he set himself up here because people complained when he practiced at the inn, but that wasn’t precisely true. He’d been performing for as long as he could remember, and he no longer needed to practice.

He no longer needed to run, for that matter. He was probably the only person who knew the truth about what happened to the Bremen troupe – him, and the mask he carried with him. Animals didn’t live for very long, after all, and it was only natural that the lives of some animals were shorter than others.

That being said, he wasn’t keen on making his own life any shorter than necessary. The moon was falling, anyone could see that, so he was leaving town. Most sensible people had already left. The soldiers, however, remained at their posts. He overheard one of them sententiously remark that they considered it their duty to remain behind. They had sworn to protect the town, and they would not abandon it.

This was madness. If the falling moon was something that could be stopped, then they could try to stop it, but they did nothing but stand at their posts like statues while clutching their spears and staring at the sky with pale faces.

A part of him admired their resolve. He’d been on the road for so long that he no longer remembered what it felt like to stay in one place for more than a few days. No one he traveled with knew his real name, and sometimes he even forgot it himself. There were a number of memories he wished he could lose, which is perhaps why he passed the troupe leader’s mask to another traveler, relieving himself of his burden of guilt. For a brief moment he wondered what it would be like to be a soldier, valuing loyalty above your own safety and standing tall with a straight back as you faced the place where you belonged.

And then he fled, just as he always did, and put the cursed guards of this cursed town behind him.

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Fairies were real. Tingle knew this because he’d met one. Two of them, in fact.

He encountered his first fairy in a cavern hidden in the woodfall surrounding a half-sunken temple. His father warned him to stay away from the area, which is precisely why he went, poling himself out on an old raft he borrowed from a Deku Scrub merchant. There was a spring inside the cave, and the fairy appeared to him from within a circle of ruins emerging from the clear water. She was larger than life, with an eerie and otherworldly beauty. When she asked if he’d come to receive a boon, Tingle was so awed by her presence that he couldn’t speak. She shrieked laughter and vanished into the bubbles of her fountain, leaving him with a warm feeling in his chest.

That was when Tingle knew he wanted to be a fairy himself. All he had to do was find a suitable place to manifest his true form. A sylvan grove would be ideal, but the closest thing Termina had to a forest was the swamp he grew up in, which wasn’t mysterious or magical at all. Tingle therefore set out on a journey to scout locations, clothing himself in the green of the woods and stitching a mighty viper onto his backpack for protection. He held himself aloft by means of a large red balloon. It was inelegant, to be sure, but it would have to do until he developed the ability to fly on his own.

His father scolded him, saying that he was never going to learn to fly. But why not? Tingle had seen incredible things, even in the quiet and civilized haven of Clock Town. He discovered an impossibly deep cave in the northern wall, for instance, and who should live there but another fairy. She pretended not to notice when he presented her with a mask he carved in admiration of her magnificence, but his offering had disappeared the next time he visited her fountain. Maybe she was shy.

If she were going to thank him by teaching him the spell he needed to complete his transformation, the time was now. Everyone had fled town to escape the moon. The only ones who remained were him and the fairy and the strange boy who lingered by the owl statue in the central square. It would probably make sense for him to leave as well. If a fairy hadn’t come to him yet, it was unlikely that one would appear to save him now, but Tingle refused to give up hope. He believed in magic, and he would wait as long as it took.

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Kotake didn’t particularly care if the moon fell. It was far more troubling that her sister had managed to lose herself in the swamp forest.

Koume had never been the most level-headed person, but it wasn’t like her to disappear like this. She knew the woods like the wrinkles on the back of her hand, and she was more than a match for the creatures that lived there. If something had overpowered her, it wasn’t a good sign. As much as she hated to admit it, they weren’t getting any younger.

Kotake was happy where she was, and she didn’t want to leave the swamp. If nothing else, it was nice not to have to bother with the endless drama of the youngsters in the bay who insisted on playing at being pirates.

It was a lovely change of pace to make the acquaintance of the Deku King’s personal butler, who had welcomed her and her sister to the swamp. The stately Deku Scrub enjoyed Kotake’s tea, and she enjoyed his company. Koume and his son got along famously, chasing each other through the maze of mangrove roots that spread across the water. Together they used their magic to create a mask for the boy, who had a knack for finding rare mushrooms and often played a charming game of pretending that he was an exotic truffle-sniffing pig visiting from a mysterious foreign land.

Kotake sometimes thought it would be nice to have a son of her own, but what good would it do to have a child if she could barely keep track of her own sister?

After spending the better part of the day in nervous agitation, she finally went out to look for Koume, searching every square meter of the forest until she located a black-robed figure sprawled out like an overstuffed bat in a mossy clearing.

“Thought you’d go on holiday without me, did you?” Kotake griped as she handed her sister a bottle of sweet red tea.

Koume swiped it greedily without uttering a word of gratitude. “Do you think the moon will fall?” she asked instead. The trees were quiet, with nary a monkey to be seen, and the eerie silence put Kotake in a contemplative mood.

“It’s already falling,” she replied. “But we’ve already lived eight hundred years, and I’m sure we’ll live eight hundred more.”

“Speak for yourself, you old hag” Koume cackled. “I’m the younger sister, remember?”

“Sure you are,” Kotake agreed amiably, and together they sat comfortably on the forest floor as they watched their doom descend from a brilliantly red sky.

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Romani told everyone that “they” would come, and come they had. No one listened to the girl when she tried to warn them.

There were fewer cows in the barn now. If nothing else, the abrupt reduction of the farm’s livestock made space for everyone who came to the ranch to take shelter from the moon. For all the good that would do. Grog considered warning the refugees, but if they hadn’t listened to Romani then they certainly wouldn’t listen to him. It was probably better for everyone involved if he kept to himself and spent the last few hours of his life in peace.

Grog told himself that he wasn’t a bad person; he just wasn’t cut out to be the person he was supposed to be. His father wanted him to join the family business and become a carpenter, but he had no interest in building houses. He found straight lines and unyielding walls oppressive, and he preferred to be under the open sky. Sometimes he dreamed of venturing into the forest or setting out onto the sea, but he was just as clumsy at wielding a sword as he was at handling a saw.

Grog’s one talent was raising cuccos. To be fair, this wasn’t really a talent, as the birds more or less raised themselves, but they seemed to like him. What’s more, they trusted him. Grog could corral even the most unruly of cuccos, the odd ones that needed a bit more patience and affection.

While he was out and about on the ranch, he corralled his fair share of odd people as well, especially the visitors Cremia went out of her way to avoid, like the postman who came once a week from Clock Town. The man had a schedule to keep, he was always very clear about that. More often than not, he would hand the ranch’s letters to Grog instead of jogging all the way up the road to the farmhouse.

Although she never said as much to him, Cremia appreciated this arrangement. She occasionally gave him samples of the ranch’s prized milk. Grog had never developed a taste for the stuff, so he passed the bottles along to the postman. He never actually thanked Grog, but once, during a rare attempt at conversation, he gave him a strange hood with black button eyes and tall ears like a rabbit. It smelled of sweat, and Grog understood that it must have been one of the postman’s prized possessions.

Grog ran his fingers along the worn velvet of the mask’s ears as he watched the most recent brood of cucco chicks cavort across the cropped grass in front of their shack. Despite the rumbling of the earth, they didn’t seem to understand what was about to happen. Just like the people gathering in the barn, it was no use warning them.

Oddly enough, Grog found himself to be just as untroubled as the cuccos. He’d made his peace with his disgust for other people when he walked away from his father and left his home for good. Houses going up, moons falling down – it was all the same to him. His only regret was that he’d never see his chicks grow into the magnificent cuccos he knew they would become, if only they were given half a chance.

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Shiro had never been able to stand up for himself. He wasn’t a small person, nor was he weak. Quite the opposite, in fact. Shiro was always conscious of his size and strength, which is perhaps why he was always a little too conciliatory, perhaps a bit too indecisive. He preferred to remain silent. As a result, very few people noticed him at all.

He became a soldier so that he could wear a uniform and hide his face behind the visor of his helmet. There was a certain dignity in anonymity. He could almost be mistaken for just another part of the Clock Town wall, doing a duty that most people took for granted. He would never need to use his weapon; like him, it was simply there. It was useful sometimes, not to be noticed.

Except Shiro noticed things. He noticed the strange children running through the town, and he noticed that something about the moon was horribly amiss. When he tried to warn people, however, no one paid the slightest attention to him. He expected as much, so he set out on his own for Ikana Canyon. When the wind blew in from the east, he could smell the acrid dust on the air, and sometimes he could even catch strains of an awful wailing that sounded eerily like carnival music. If there was trouble in Termina, it was bound to have originated in that cursed place.

In the past, someone – perhaps someone as unremarked and unremarkable as him – had built fences at the mouth of the canyon to keep people away. The steps carved into the steep incline of the arroyo had been destroyed, but Shiro did his best to climb the wall as he batted away crows and keese and avoided the shadows. He followed the old sandy road that wound its way through the abandoned village in the foothills and ended at the front gate of Ikana Castle, but no one was there. It was clear that no one had been there for decades, if not centuries. Shiro called out, his voice echoing along the colorless stone walls, but nothing answered. He stood alone, surrounded by tall grass and the withered husks of long-dead trees as the moon grew ever closer.

Shiro had no desire to remain near the ruins of the castle after dark, so he waited until he was back in the canyon to rest. He sat on the ground with his back against the cliff and gazed up at the sky. As he watched the moon fall with his habitually impassive face, he allowed his mind to drift.

Shiro had never been able to stand up for himself. He wasn’t a small person, nor was he weak. Quite the opposite, in fact. Shiro was always conscious of his size and strength, which is perhaps why he was always a little too conciliatory, perhaps a bit too indecisive. He preferred to remain silent. As a result, very few people noticed him at all.

He became a soldier so that he could wear a uniform and hide his face behind the visor of his helmet. There was a certain dignity in anonymity. He could almost be mistaken for just another part of the Hyrule Castle wall, doing a duty that most people took for granted. He would never need to use his weapon; like him, it was simply there. It was useful sometimes, not to be noticed.

Except Shiro noticed things. He noticed how the smile of the man from the desert never reached his eyes, and he noticed how the princess watched him with eyes as cold as a winter wind. He noticed the fear she did her valiant best to hide. The emissary was a handsome and well-spoken man, and the princess wasn’t yet old enough to wear her hair down. There seemed to be no reason for her to be afraid of him, and yet she was, so Shiro kept watch, unremarked and unremarkable.

When the man made his move, as the princess had somehow known he would, Shiro did his duty. No one noticed as he ran through the Castle Town streets, hoping against hope that he would make it in time to position himself in the path of the man’s wild chase as he raced after the princess on his nightmare horse. As soon as the critical moment came, his spear was ready in his hand. This was the first time he had wielded it in his own defense, and he lasted for barely a minute, if even that. The foreign king barely spared him a glance before striking him down. Through the pain, Shiro assured himself that the man’s ghost of a glance may have been exactly what the princess needed, just a few precious seconds, a small moment of time that might have granted her the opportunity to beg assistance from someone who might be able to help her.

Shiro sat on the ground and leaned against the wall of a back alley and watched the life drain out of him, as red as the febrile sky above the canyon. His face was as blank as a stone as he watched the moon fall, as unremarked and unremarkable as a prop in the background of someone else’s story.