Antiquities

The curator spreads her arms out across the marble room, displaying all the wonders the cavernous museum hall has to offer.  “Look at us…  Look at this, all of this around you!  This is our history!  Relics of ancient times, present times, all the times we say we know of!  And what good is any of it?  Our mothers and our fathers told us stories when we were young; of the great heroes before our time, and how the goddesses showered down upon them such treasures that no evil could stand.  Do you see even one of those treasures here?  Here, in what we call the greatest museum in the land?  Do not tell me you could not draw them on a parchment; we all know the greatest ones.  All of us.  But where are they?”

As she talks, her arms lower; her voice grows more somber.  The other two can see in her face the emotion of a believer, whatever it is that she believes.  “You see…  We have been at peace, for a long time.  I’m not talking about border skirmishes or rampaging monsters, I’m not even talking about wars, of which our countries have had their share.  I mean evil.  True evil, of the kind that covers every corner of the map with darkness, the kind only true heroes can repel.  None live today that were alive when that sort of evil existed, not even the oldest of races, and even their fathers were not alive then.  The heroes are legendary.”

Adele pauses, staring at both of them with her piercing green eyes.  “But what they ought to be is historical.”

She spins around, her sapphire dress sliding across the polished white floor, and her determined stature simply begs for any near her to follow, which the pair of confused guests do.  She leads them past rows of shields and spears and armors covering all the ages of war throughout the country and the countries adjoining it, to a small alcove in the wall, not exactly hidden but easily missed by hasty eyes.  The olive-skinned woman brusquely shoves aside the postman for a first look at the object displayed within:  an ancient kite shield, badly damaged and corroded around the edges, but polished to a nigh-impossible mirror shine within.  Had it been kept near a window the effect would be positively blinding; likely the reason for it being kept sheltered in the darkness.

“This, this symbol,” the desert woman remarks, wagging a finger at a nearly-faded rune in the center of the shield.  “I, I know this, I think…”

“As well you should,” the curator responds.  “It’s the mark of an ancient tribe of your people, long, long gone; I doubt anyone save historians or well-read sorceresses like yourself would bother to know it.  Three years ago I first saw a weaving owned by an old widow in your land, Lady Naoga, and goddesses know I offered everything I had to obtain it.  It is a weaving of one of the Heroes, and that shield,” she emphasizes, thrusting her finger at it, “is on it.”

The desert woman is quite taken aback; the postman, less so.  “I don’t get it,” he comments, staring skeptically at the shield.  “So an old picture uses the same shield; so?  It was a long time ago; I bet back then every warrior used the same kind of shield.  I mean, hey, if they were a desert tribe, shining these mirror shields at the enemy would work pretty good.  What makes it so special?”

Adele sighs as her thumb runs itself against the rough edge of the old shield.  “This, is exactly why I need your help,” she laments.  “As I said, we are at peace.  And when a nation is at peace, they forget what it cost to gain that peace.  They stop caring.  They stop seeing the need to worry about ‘evil’, and soon they forget what ‘evil’ even is.  You see, Mr. Postman, it is a country at peace that most needs weapons of war, so that when the war comes, they will be ready.”

“What, are you saying you want to start one?” he asks, still hardly convinced by her many speeches.

“I’m saying it’ll come one day whether I start it or not,” she responds, a lot less caustically than perhaps she could.  “I’m saying…  Look, Mr. Postman.  It’s clear that you’re not one for fancy words, so I won’t bother anymore.  I’m not a warrior, and I’m not a hero; I’m a museum curator.  I haven’t the first idea on how wars are won, on how evil is defeated, or on what it takes to be a hero.  But I do know that it takes something, and I believe that one day our land is going to need another hero, and whoever he is, he is going to need help, and I want to give it to him the only way I know how to.

“I have read the legends.  The legends say that a hero arises from nowhere and battles evil, and in every legend he uses a different tool to do it.  Each legend is different; sometimes he uses a sword, or a shield, or a magical staff or a musical instrument, but somewhere between history and legend their lies a map to the truth.  Mr. Postman, Lady Naoga, I mean to find these lost legendary tools, and enshrine them under safe care, so that when we have need of a hero, and when our hero has need of tools, whether it be seven years from now or seven hundred, he will have them, and evil will not.”

{For those of you who want just another random something, here you go.}

{For those of you that don’t, or for those of you who guessed, here’s the premise with the blanks filled in:  A Legend of Zelda story where the characters travel the world in search of well-known items in the series’ history that have been lost to time.  Exactly zero emphasis needs to be put on finding the dang Master Sword, because come on, you can’t walk three steps in a Zelda game before you accidentally trip over that thing.  Skyward Sword’s entire premise was about accidentally tripping over that thing, for frying out loud.}

{Optional side quests would of course include putting Rupees, arrows, and the still-beating hearts of your vanquished foes into pots, because you just know that someday someone will have a better use for them than you.  Your carrying capacity has been maxed out since last month anyways; they’re just dead weight to you.}

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