The area around the shrine I just cleared looks like a mushroom forest, only it’s made from stone capped with snow. It seems that the area must have been a great cavern at one time, which collapsed, leaving remnants of the cave ceiling attached to natural stone pillars standing. Exploring this area fully is tricky, due to the verticality and gaps between the “mushrooms” it is not easy to hop from one to the next.
I mill around a bit, looking for anything of interest, but apart from a few mushrooms, there’s very little that I can find. I do keep running into icy lizals, though, who are annoying and I eventually grow tired of the area and decide to move on.
Moving back to the north, there’s areas I can see on the map at the very northern edge of the continent that look to be of interest, and I hike out there. I end up finding a shrine and a few korok seeds, basically what I expected, as well as a few monster camps and a few wandering lizals in addition to the usual moose and wolves and wooly rhinos. The mountain smooths out and eventually turns into a wide tundra field, where standing off in the distance I see the shrine, and a large structure which looks to be another labyrinth like the one I found in Gerudo, according to the map.
I take on the shrine first, as it’s nearer. It’s a really simple puzzle; I have to use magnet power to lift a large steel block up on a track, to uncover a chest containing the key to the shrine master’s chamber. To preven the block from falling and crushing me, I have to get it above two moving platforms, and then use the time stop ability to freeze the platforms so they give me a little extra time.
Between the shrine and the labyrinth, there’s a lynel patrolling the road, and so I give him a wide berth. I still don’t feel confident to fight them, and I’m not really looking to do battle, my mission is to explore.
The labyrinth contains another shrine in the center, just as the first one did, and solving this maze is a nice challenge. It’s not as large as the one near Gerudo desert, and I seem to have a bit easier time navigating around it. Again, as with the previous maze, after a while I decide to get up on top of the maze, and in the absolute center, directly above where the shrine is on the roof I find a chest containing 300 rupees.
I encounter some lizals and some of that evil eyeball goo, clear it, and eventually figure out how to get to the central chamber and access the shrine. There’s a few other chests scattered about in various parts of the maze as well, and I find another meteor rod, which is nice to have in inventory when exploring the cold regions if you expect to do a lot of climbing. With my climbing gear equipped, it enables me to scale the labyrinth walls more easily, and break the rules of the maze, which I don’t feel bad about.
Outside the labyrinth the round is barren, dead rock, but there is a single tree growing near the back end of the labyrinth, where I find another korok.
Out in the distance, I can see that I’m getting closer to the volcanic region that I have not yet set foot in, and Hyrule Castle is also looming closer, though still way off to the south. I expect I’ll be finding some Gorons in the near future.
As night falls, I see the mysterious teal glow of the Lord of the Mountain off in the distance, and I put everything else on hold to try to get out to see if I can get to Satori Mountain in time. This time, I make it. I transport to the nearby shrine on the mountain side, and run up to find the Lord of the Mountain there, with his retinue of glow bunnies. I try not to disturb them, but I can’t get very close without driving off all the glow bunnies. The Lord of the Mountain remains, though, and this time I just stand there and watch him from a respectful distance, to see what happens. He doesn’t disappear by morning, and by noon we’re still standing there in the shadow of the cherry tree, looking at each other. It seems like a moment where time has frozen. Nothing will happen, but perhaps he is waiting for me to do something.
I decide to try to ride the Lord of the Mountain, and, when his back is turned to me, I glide down and land on his back. He is apparently ride-able, but I don’t have enough stamina meter to tame him, and he throws me off, and then disappears.
I pick myself up and then warp back to the labyrinth again, hike one orbit around it to the north just to make sure I didn’t miss anything else, and finding nothing, head south down the rim of the high lands the labyrith is built on. To my right, mountains, to my left a deep and vast chasm, that I cannot see the bottom of.
The terrain here is a wasteland, it looks almost like a lava field where magma has flowed and cooled relatively recently, and nothing yet has started to grow upon it. But what seems like a road, or enough of a path to call a road, stretches out before me, and continues to the south and east, along the edge of the canyon.
I follow it for a distance, marching far, but mostly uneventfully, for several hours. There’s very little here to find. Occasionally a moose, some wolves, or a fox, and little else. I pass the night walking, and fight a couple of moblin skeletons who rise out of the ground. One drops a Dragonbone Moblin Club, and one drops a Knight’s bow, which I pick up for my inventory.
Eventually, I come across another lynel guarding the road ahead of me. I sneak off to the side of the road, and, clinginging to the very edge of the canyon, sneak around it, keeping low and out of sight. The road forks here, to the left it goes down and more northerly, while to the right it slopes more upward and to the south. I take the south fork, and the terrain begins to change. I start seeing large carved stoneworks that have an ancient look about them, and remind me of the Forgotten Temple area. Continuing forward, I eventually reach a wooden bridge, rather rudimentary in construction, heading into a wooded area.
As I cross it, suddenly it becomes pitch black dark, and I am greeted as though I have entered a shrine. Apparently there’s a shrine in this dark region that I must find. I spot a torch nearby, and, not wanting to ditch my nice weapons, decline to pick it up, and instead set my Dragonbone Moblin Club on fire, and plunge into the darkness.
Ahead of me, I find a few standing braziers, which I light with the torch. I get about three or four braziers into the darkness when my club burns out, consumed by the flame. It is absolutely dark with barely any visibility, perhaps six inches or so around me, the glow coming off of my Sheikah slate, and it’s completely inadequate to see anything. I fumble about in darkness, and, applying my resourcefulness, I try various items in my inventory to see if anything will help:
I don my luminous armor suit form Gerudo Secret Club, and I am able to see myself a bit better, but it doesn’t do much to illuminate my surroundings at all. I try spawning a Sheikah bomb, which does cast a bit of a glow, less than a torch, though, but better than nothing. Carrying it about, I’m able to just barely get around, and avoid running into walls, trees, and water, for the most part. If I have to climb or swim at all, I can’t carry the bomb or torch, though, and it puts me back into darkness, which is very dangerous. There are also wolves, and great swarms of kees, and if I have to fight them off, I again risk either extinguishing or breaking my torch, and being plunged back into blackness.
I find that the meteor rod that I picked up recently also glows a tiny bit when held, and when I actually use it, the fireballs that it shoots off light up things quite a bit — although, this is incredibly dangerous, as the meteor balls bounce around all over the place, sometimes coming back at me, and light everything they touch on fire. I use it one time to ignite a brazier that I encounter, and then use the brazier to light a torch, which I go back and pick up, now that my burned up club has freed up a weapon slot in my inventory, and then try to explore as much as I can by torchlight.
In certain parts of the dark region, I can hear a Hinox snoring, and I try to avoid it, but something tells me I’m going to need to deal with this Hinox in order to pass this challenge, one way or another. Eventually, I get to a point in where I’ve ascertained that there seems to be a stone building of some sort, perhaps a temple or pyramid or ziggurat, which is semi-ruined, semi-standing, and somewhere in the area there’s this Hinox. I find an area with a lot of flammable material — leaves and vines, and burn it away with the torch, and then I find a fire rod and a flame spear — neither of which I can spare an inventory slot for, so I leave them.
Near the vicinity of the fire rod, I find the Hinox. It a black one, and black as night, nearly impossible to see by the glow of my sheikah bomb. Standing on top of a fallen stone pillar, I look around and can see a glowing orb, and by the rhythmic way it’s rising and falling it must be around the Hinox’s neck. Scanning around a bit further, I spot the basin that the orb must be place in nearby. I very carefully creep around the Hinox, until I find its hand, and then climb onto it, and wait for it to put me on its chest.
It’s impossible to see what I’m doing, and I fall off two or three times, but to my great fortune the Hinox remains sleeping. I finally manage to get to where I can grab the orb, and then, hoping it will land quietly enough, I throw the orb onto the ground to the right, and then jumping off, coast to the ground. By some miracle, the Hinox is still sleeping. I was sure that it would have awoken from that, but I’ve gotten quite lucky.
I pick up the orb, and walk it over to the basin, place it in, and then the ground starts rumbling as the shrine appears out from the ground. Still the Hinox remains asleep. I try to spawn a bomb so I can see the path between me and the shrine, and, forgetting that I had spawned and dropped a bomb earlier, this detonates the already-spawned bomb, which wakes the Hinox!
It wakes, and I can see its massive eye peering at me. Somehow, it doesn’t manage to attack me, and I make it over to the shrine, climb up to it, and enter without having to fight. A stroke of luck.
The shrine gives me an Ancient Core, and a spirit orb, and, when I exit again, the Hinox is back to sleeping. I thought that perhaps once I had cleared the shrine, the darkness that covers this area might have lifted. But the area is still dark as pitch, and I don’t feel much like trying to explore this area any further, so I opt instead to transport back to the shrine at the labyrinth that I had just cleared earlier, and retrace my steps back to that fork in the road.