When he had finished looking over the catapults - which took longer than he had expected: each Goron team felt the need to point out exactly what made their design work, and why it would work better than any of the others - Link made his way down the steep corridors and tunnels to the caves where the Gorons cared for their captured horses. They were sparse, but enough to keep the horses alive and active. Amongst the various breeds and colours, Link finally spotted the mane he had been looking for. Epona whinnied loudly as he approached, pushing her way through a small crowd of tall, thin scout's mounts and rubbed her head into his face.
"Aw, I missed you to girl. It's good to have you back.
Navi, flitting out of her saddle bag, where she'd been sleeping, crossed her tiny arms and tutted at the display,
"Geez, get a room you two. Preferably one where you can help her into the suit of armour the Gorons smithed last night."
"Armour?" Link looked at Navi, confused, "What armour?"
"The armour Darmas ordered last night, idiot. You'll need it by the sound of things. You'll be heading the charge down the mountain with him."
Link had a brief, vivid vision of what would happen to anyone who joined a Goron war-charge without very heavy armour. He winced.
"They were going to make you up a suit too, but I told them about the enchanted chain mail, and they figured that Epona wouldn't be able to carry two suits of heavy armour anyway." The horse snorted indignatly, and flicked at Navi with her tail.
"Woa girl, she's right, you're tough, but all that armour would be a bit much, besides, I'm gonna need all the mobility I can get." Link stroked her nose, speaking in calm, steady tones. He didn't need to, but it still felt natural to assume a horse didn't understand your every word.
Epona gave him a, 'don't you use that tone on me' look, but calmed down, and followed Link to the nearby armoury, where her new suit of plate mail was waiting.
Link had expected something fairly basic and ramshackle, given the extremely short amount of time the Gorons had had to measure and make the thing, but when he finally saw it, his jaw literally dropped. A huge plate of metal had been shaped into a head mask, with gratings over the eyes, with mobile plates down the neck to allow for movement of the neck, more metal had been formed into a saddle-like arrangement to sit on the back, with a leather-like substance forming hinges and joints to make the whole thing as form-fitting as possible. Chain mail had been formed into loose armour for the upper calf. The whole thing was devoid of any decoration, but to a soldier's eye, it was a thing of beauty.
Pulling a pair of enchanted gauntlets out of the saddlebag, he began lifting the huge peices and fixing them into place, whilst Navi flitted around him, advising on where to tighten the buckles and where to shift the plates slightly, and Epona stood stock still, with the look of one resigned to having to remain so for quite some time. When the armour was finally fitted, Epona shook herself slightly, causing the metal to ripple and clatter all along her body, and tried trotting around the open area in the centre of the cave. It fitted perfectly, and Link took off the gauntlets and threw them down at his side, wiping his brow.
"I don't see why you don't were them all the time." commented Navi, settling down on his shoulder, "They would be damn useful in a fight."
"Yeah, but most of the time, they're just a nuisance, when you want to pick up a mug, the ability to crush a man's head with ease is just really annoying. I ruined hundreds before I worked out why it was happening. Plus, gloves get really hot after a while."
Epona trotted back, whinnying happily.
"Well, I guess her aproves. Just as well, we're gonna need that stuff." Link got up again, patting the horse's metal-coated nose.
Just then, a Goron ran in. To see a Goron running, instead of the usual, long paced lumber, meant something was up. Looking around, he spotted the Hero and raced up.
"Brutha, the attack begins! You are needed! Darmus wants you with him!"
In a single, fluid movement, Link picked up his saddle, which had been lying by the armour, placed it on Epona's back and jumped up. Navi vanished underneath for a second, pulling the clips under the horse's belly tight, and then returned Link's shoulder.
"Well then, lets get going."