The Citadel

One goron could easily overwhelm a normal hylian. Against three, even the Hero of Time didn't stand a chance, and Link knew this. So he dismounted when they ordered him to, allowed them to bind his hands, and didn't struggle when the leading goron lifted him bodily over one shoulder and, keeping him pinned there with one hand, began to climb the steep rock sides of the canyon. He almost cried out when he heard Epona whiny in terror below him, but he remembered himself in time, and, looking down, he was relived to discover that her fright had been caused by the two other gorons picking her up between them and following their leader up the wall.

The walls were high, higher, it seemed, than they had looked from the bottom of the gorge. For Link it felt like they were climbing up the vertigo-inducing slope for nearly ten minutes, and when they reached the top, the path below was completely obscured by the rain. Looking ahead again, Link noticed the faint outline of a cave mouth a few meters away from where his captor has stopped to wait for his comrades, he could also see  a rough track leading off to the right, where it went he had no idea, as the rain still obscured everything.

When the the two carrying Epona reached the top of the climb, the smaller one visibly struggling under his burden, the leader spoke to them for a while in their low, musical language. Link's goron had grown rusty from disuse, but he still managed to catch the odd word here and there. The word 'caves' came up a lot, and he caught 'prepare' at least once, and the word 'mushies' (not an exact translation, it's a racial slur used by the gorons about the hylians) several times. Eventually the two holding Epona nodded, put her down and lead her off down the path to the right . The one carrying Link shifted his grip on his prisoner and headed towards the cave mouth with steady, loping strides.

The first cave mouth lead to a long, winding tunnel, that eventually opened into a small chamber, where Link's captor was stopped by two other gorons, there was a brief conversation, during which Link was placed in a corner for a while, as the goron who had carried him explained what had happened to the two guards. When he had finished, one of the guards came over, and picked him up again, as the goron who had carried him from the valley sat down in his place.

This process was repeated several times, and each time Link was carried further and further into the mountain. As they got deeper and deeper inside Link noticed more and more tunnels branching off from those he was being carried down. Occasionally, the guards carrying him would come across other gorons, resting in the passage way, or carrying loads of rock, wood or metal on their backs. Link drew many looks from these as he passed, none of them friendly. Just as he was beginning to wander in the journey would ever end, the guard carrying him stopped in front of a large, circular, metal door. He called out a word, which Link couldn't recall the meaning of, and, with a hissing of steam and grinding of gears, the massive door swung open.

On the other side of the door was a massive cave, bigger by far than all the ones that Link had ever seen. High above he could just make out, through the billows of steam that erupted from cracks in the ground and various machines around him, walkways and platforms suspended from the ceiling and walls. In the centrer of the massive cavern there bubbled a massive lake of molten lava, the vapours rising from it's surface adding to the haze that hung over the whole space. Link's  guard turned and began to jog along the perimeter of the massive space, heading for another tunnel mouth, side stepping small craters that occasional billowed super-heated steam and kicking aside the fat lava slugs that slithered here and there across the floor. Upon reaching the cave mouth, the guard lifted Link off his shoulder and threw him bodily into it.

Link rolled as he landed, trying to steady himself despite his bound hands, and tripped forwards again. This time, the floor did not break his fall, he had stumbled over the edge of a large hole in the cave floor, and found himself skidding painfully down a narrow, rocky slide, that eventualy ended in the celing of a high-roofed, dingy cell, with thick metal bars covering the only exit and a small, sputtering lantern outside providing the only light. He landed heavily on his side, and for a few moments lay there, breathless, as he recovered from the fall. His bonds had been worn through by the slide, and they parted easily when he tested them, he picked himself up, and began massaging some life back into his wrists as his eyes adapted to the low light and he took in his surroundings.

The cell was reasonably big, and could comfortably hold ten to fifteen people, to a certain degree of 'comfort'. It was bare, except from a few squat stools by the bars and a lump of something unidentifiable in one corner. In the corridor outside there was a seat for a single guard, currently vacant. Link looked around dismally. He had never questioned his captors as to why they had taken him. He knew better than to question a person who could quite easily squeeze out his internal organs with one hand, but he now began to wonder in earnest: the cell did not look like one built for short-term prisoners.

Taking off his battered hat, which had, mercifully, stayed on throughout the ride, he went and sat himself on one of the few stools and shook the hat gently.

'It ok, I think you can come out now.' He said, quitely. A small blue glow suddenly shone though the fabric, and Navi fluttered out of her hiding place, where she had been huddled since the gorons landed in the valley.

'Where are we?' she wispered to Link, sounding afraid for the first time since he had met her.

'The goron dungeons.' replied a raspy voice, coming from directly behind them, 'but don't you fret, we won't be here long.'

The End

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