A few steps from the entrance of the A Major Test of Strength shrine in the area past the bridge, marked Ancient Columns on the map, I find another memory photo location.
This memory triggered is not a very pleasant one. Zelda is trying to unlock the shrine, but is unable to because it is only unlockable by the one who wields the Sword of Destiny. She’s trying to figure out another way to open it, when Link rides up on a horse. Zelda is not happy to see him, tells him she doesn’t need protecting, and to begone. I can’t help but think about the Legend of Zelda cartoon that aired when I was a kid, and imagine Link saying: “Well, I only happen to be holding the one and only sword that seals the darkness, so I thought maybe you’d want some help here! Excuuuse me, princess!”
I proceed from the area further along the road, keeping to the high ground, until I’m close enough to see the Tower for this region. It is covered in evil looking purple goo, which I know from my encounter with it in the Labyrinth in Gerudo that it is harmful if touched. Looking up the road ahead of me, I spy at least three heavily armed moblins, and elect to not try taking them on, as it would only serve to wear out weapons that I don’t need to waste. I glide from my location to a high spot on the far side of the rise where the tower stands, far away from the road leading to it, and manage to avoid the moblins notice. From what I’ve noticed, moblins seem to have rather dim senses. But also, I am wearing some of my stealth outfit, so I’m sure that helps.
So I need to figure a way up this tower that doesn’t involve touching the goo. There’s goo all around the tower, but maybe there’s some way I can get around it. But if I take a long route, it will sap all my stamina, and then I won’t make it.
There are a few free-standing columns about the tower, and I try climbing the nearest one, to see if perhaps from there I’ll be able to glide to a spot on the tower above the goo with a clear shot straight to the top. There’s no such route visible from the first column, so I glide over to the second, climb it, and check again. And so on, to the third column, where I spot a disturbing looking eyeball creature below, down at the base of the tower, in the goo.
I don’t know what the thing is, but it doesn’t seem to see me, despite having multiple eyes, or if it does, it doesn’t seem to care that I’m there. I look down at it a while, and zoom in using the Sheikah scope for a close-up. It looks a bit like a Beholder from Dungeons and Dragons.
I don’t know what else to do with it, so I fire an arrow at it. I use a flame arrow, and am fortunate enough to hit it on the first try. The fire arrow is powerful enough to kill the thing in one shot, and as it dies, something happens, an earthquake or something shifts the goo, and a column nearby where the eyeball-creature was topples, leaning into the tower, creating a climbable bridge to get me over the goo!
I run over to this spot, walk up the leaning column, and climb the tower, activate it, and download the map data for the region I’m in.
I take a moment to survey the surrounding landscape, and spot a number of interesting geographical features: a tower of rock that looks like a skyscraper-sized magic wand, or something; a likely fairy fountain spot, very nearby; a couple of shrines; and a few other odd geographic sites that unless I miss my guess are likely korok seed spots.
I have a mission to see that fairy and give her 500 rupees, so I glide that way and unlock her. She is grateful, and offers to upgrade my clothes, and so I upgrade everything I can. I have plenty of the materials she needs to do everything. I upgrade my climbing gear and my stealth gear and my cold resistant jewelry that I bought in Gerudo, and my rubber pants and helmet from Faron. So far as I can tell, this doesn’t augment the special power of these items, only their armor value. But I don’t really know the underlying mechanics, so it’s possible that by augmenting the base protective value of these pieces of gear, they also improve the elemental property for resisting that type of damage.
I also manage to catch 3 of 4 fairies that are floating about the pond, restocking my fairy supply. Good, I always need more fairies.
Having succeeded in the fairy quest, I decide to return back the way I came to see the man at the Stables who sent me out here with his money to offer to the fairy. I head down the road back toward the Stable, and it’s night time. I spot a moblin sitting by a fire, and it looks like I’ve found a camp. I get a little closer, and I sure have. The moblin is the only one awake, and is apparently on guard, watching over SIX sleeping bokoblins — and not weak-looking red ones.
I in no way need to mess with these monsters, but I feel like the game is challenging me to see if I can defeat this many enemies at once. I think about trying to sneakstrike them, but with the awake moblin watching over them, that’s going to be just about impossible. I don’t have any ranged weapon that can one-shot the moblin — maybe a bomb arrow would do it, if I could score a headshot, but even then, the upgraded moblins have a lot of hit points.
I try it, and it wakes up the whole camp, as one might expect. I don’t score the head shot, and I don’t take out the moblin. It does set all the bokoblins on fire, though, but this does only a little damage to each of them. It seems that bomb arrows do great damage if they score a direct hit, but their splash damage and the damage from the secondary fire that is generated isn’t necessarily a lot. It can take out a crowd of low-level enemies, but anything powerful can just shrug it off. For an arrow that costs 50 Rs, it seems a bit underwhelming for use against more powerful opponents.
I switch to regular arrows and try to headshot the remaining enemies from long range, which is pretty difficult and I loose a bunch of arrows but in the end I take out the whole camp at no actual risk to me, albeit at great expense. I’m down to about 60-70 normal arrows, 8 bomb arrows, and a little under 40 of the other kinds of special arrows — fire, lightning, cold.
I go down and loot their camp, and they’re well equipped. I upgrade a couple of my weapons, discarding weaker stuff that had been filling my slots, and move on.
On my way back, the road goes down into a valley or canyon, and I stick to the high ground, and take a ridge running along the right side of the road. This leads me to a section of the road where I spot the helicopter drones patrolling the valley below. I’m above them, and they don’t seem to see me or pay me any notice.
I want to assess how strong they are, and whether I can take them out, so I create a save point and engage. Holy crap are these things tough. It’s clear that the designers intend for these things to be enemies that you sneak past and run from. I hit the nearest one with a bomb arrow, and it does a sliver of damage, barely anything at all. Immediately, it retaliates with a massive blast from its underturret, and the only thing that saves me is the fact that I’m far enough back from the edge of the cliff that the blast impacts the cliff wall, shielding me.
A wall of explosion and flames flares up in front of me, temporarily obscuring my vision, and when it clears I see the drone is hovering there, looking around for a bit, as though checking to see that it got me. I back away, and a few seconds later it resumes patrolling its programmed route.
I nail it again with another arrow, and the same thing happens. No matter what I do, it never leaves its zone that it guards, and it only deviates from its patrol route if I hit it with an attack, and only then just for a momentary pause while it scans the area looking for targets.
I decide to see if I can take one of these things out, and just how much it would take. I run through every special arrow I have. There’s a few misses among those, but I nail the thing with 8 bomb arrows and between 100 and 115 fire, ice, and electric arrows before it finally drops. Every time I hit it, it fires a retributive blast at me with its eye-cannon, and I’m able to establish a pattern, a routine, of hitting it, backing off to use the cliff wall for a shield, and then running back up to nail it a few more times while it’s stationary and scanning for targets. I hit it 1-3 times per cycle around its patrol route, and it takes maybe an hour to bring the thing down — and in game time, it probably takes a day and a half. It’s a pretty epic fight, in a way, but in another way, it’s tedious — it’s a repetitive cycle where I attack, do damage, run away to disengage, it retaliates but never follows up, and never deviates from its programming, and this is the only reason I’m able to wear it down. It’s very powerful, but not smart — if it were smart, it would call in reinforcements, at the very least alerting its partner, or summoning a ground party, or divert from its route long enough to ensure that it has effectively neutralized the threat that it keeps detecting. All it would have needed to do to defeat me is fly to an altitude that gave it a firing angle that denied me the cover I had from the cliff face.
It’s an accomplishment to bring it down, even so, but in no way worth the high cost of arrows, so I restore from my save point and continue on.
The two drones are patrolling around two tall pillars of stone in the middle of the canyon road, and I spot a couple of treasure chests on them. I try to glide in to see what’s in them, and the drones pay me no heed. They appear to be looking down only, and are only interested in something on the road below if they see it, or in attacking me if I attack it. If I leave them alone, they pretty much leave me alone. So I leave them alone. One of the treasure chests contains an opal, and another contains a flame rod, and it’s a powerful one that fires 3 fireballs at a time,and has a +7 attack bonus. Worth it.
I wait until the coast is clear and then glide down off the treasure chest pillar to the road below and run. I manage to avoid detection, and the drones leave me alone. I get to the bridge, cross without incident, and make my way back to the stables. I talk to the guy who sent me to the fairy fountain, and he thanks me. Link holds his hand out as though he’s expecting payment, and the man tells him that his reward was getting to see the fairy. Yeah, really, Link. That dude said 500 Rs was all he had. What more do you want? You collected 3 fairies and got your clothes upgraded and you got to see another fairy. Don’t be greedy, dude.
Another guy at the stable tells me that there’s a strange platform on Washa’s Bluff. I hadn’t been on the Bluff, only around it, so I decide that’s the next thing I’ll check out. It’s a long walk, but not too bad.
On my way there, I’m attacked by a swarm of 20-30 Keese, and this time I’m ready for them, see them coming, and lob a bomb into the swarm just as it swoops in at me, and blow it up with perfect timing, taking out about half the swarm and the rest of them abort their attack and fly away. Cool! I collect a bunch of Keese parts.
The Bluff is large, and it takes a minute or two to travel from the road side of it to the far side, where a few of those giant mushroom-like structures are growing, like a small grove of tall trees, and I find the platform. It’s a circular man-made looking platform made from stone or metal, it’s hard to say, and I can’t tell what it’s for or what to do with it.
I can hear the accordion music of my bird-man friend Kass nearby, so I try to look for him. He’s up on top of the tallest mushroom platform, and I have no idea how I can get up there. It looks like trying to climb is out of the question, as the mushroom caps are quite wide, and I’d be inverted upside down, climbing on the ceiling to get to the edge.
I try it anyway, and find that I can do it. There’s a series of steps, I first climb a small shroom, use it to jump/glide to a larger one nearby, and do the same to get to the tallest one, where Kass is, and I just barely make it. I get up there, and he has a little house or something, more like a gazebo, in the middle of the mushroom cap. He has a book of his songs and notes in the gazebo, so I take a minute and read through them all, and get some tantalizing clues about places I haven’t been to yet and songs I haven’t heard.
I then go up to Kass and talk to him, and he explains this place. That platform is where I need to stand during a Blood Moon, and I need to take off all my clothes and that will cause the shrine to appear. Cool.
I don’t know when the next blood moon will be, but there was one just after I cleared out that shrine with the Major Test of Strength, so it’s going to be a while. Probably longer than I’m going to care to wait. But I’m not sure what else I can do.
I glide down to the platform and stand on it, and about the same time I do that, I observe a strange teal glow from a distant mountain. It’s not as far away as the other end of the world, but a neighboring mountain. I wonder if the timing is coincidence or if standing on this platform triggered something over there. I look at it on my scope, and it’s the spot where I was earlier in the day, the mountain with the shrine I transported in to, and more specifically it’s the place with the beautiful cherry tree in full blossom.
I decide that I have to check this out immediately, and transport back to that shrine, and quickly run over to the cherry tree.
Here, I see an amazing sight: a gathering of maybe a dozen or twenty of those strange glowing blue rabbits that you sometimes see at night and if you shoot them they don’t die by drop coins and run away. And they’re all surrounding a glowing blue, goat-like creature. I stand at a distance, and it’s pretty clear that I need to keep quiet and avoid detection or they’ll just disappear on me. I don’t know what to do, so I take pictures, and zoom in for a better look. The goat thing has four eyes — two faces really — and is very strange — but beautiful. It seems to exude power, but it doesn’t really do anything, other than just walk around in the vicinity near the cherry tree.
I’m baffled. This feels like an X-files moment. I’m witnessing something paranormal and out of this world. In a world with magic and ancient technology and weird monsters and skeletons rising out of the grave every night like clockwork, and dead monsters resurrecting once a month, somehow this seems extraordinary and truly magical.
I observe this strange gathering for as long as I can, but eventually I get too close and cause some of the rabbit-like creatures to disappear. Then I get a little closer, and as soon as I touch the water in the pool where the goat-creature is standing, it disappears from view. I back out of the pool, and a few seconds it re-appears, only to disappear again for good a short time after that. The rest of the rabbit-creatures are gone as well.
WTF was that? What do I do? Will it ever happen again?
In the Hyrule Compenium, the goat creature’s entry reveals that it is called the Lord of the Mountain.
But I have no idea what to make of it, other than I feel privileged to see a wondrous spiritual thing that probably no mortal was ever meant to.
There seems to be no quest associated with this; if it’s just a thing that serves no other purpose but to create a sense of wonder and awe about the world of Hyrule, my hat is off to the developers. Bravo. They really created a moment, and I almost hope that there’s no further explanation, and they let the mystery remain a mystery.