Once I’m out of the Shrine, it’s dark out and raining. I’m not sure what to do next. I feel like I have ADHD. No matter where you go, there’s something else to do, and if you go a little bit off the trail of the path that accomplishes whatever that is, you get into something else. It’s great that Hyrule is so densely packed, but at the same time it is very easy to get sidetracked, distracted, and lose track of what you were doing and what was really important about it. Things like leads and hints are easy to lose track of, even if you’re trying to keep a diary of everything you’ve done, need to do, seen, heard, or noticed.
I wanted to clear a few more map pins that I’d placed so long ago that I couldn’t remember what they even were. But most of them are probably Shrines I spotted from way far off when I went up to the sky from a SkyView Tower I unlocked in one of the regions of the land.
Anyhow I feel like I’m losing the plot a bit. I travel from one place to the next, without really knowing why, just following the next visible distraction that just came into view, and it all becomes a blur.
So, one of the markers I put down when I summoned the Lord of the Mountain was over a ridge, and it’s hard to know where the actual origin point of the glowing beacon was, but I tried to mark it with the Purah Scope as best I could, and I go to that point, and when I get there, I’m well into the southwest part of the map, in the area between the central Hyrule area, Gerudo Desert to the west, and Farron to the south. It’s a rocky gorge, with steep walls that are very high and would be difficult to climb up from the bottom without a ton of stamina. There’s a road running through the gorge, about midway up, I guess, with bridges connecting between some rocky high spots. The pin I’ve put on the map happens to be right on a Zonai device dispenser, standing on a tall pillar of rock in the middle of this gorge, off to the side of the road. I was hoping to find a cave or something, but OK, it is what it is. I use the dispenser, might as well since I’m here, and look around to see if maybe there isn’t anything else of note nearby, say a well hidden cave or anything like that. But it’s pretty hard to get around in this area, and there very easily could be plenty of stuff hidden just out of sight, or out of reach, where you’d need to climb down and take your time getting around if you wanted to see it, and unless you knew it was there, you likely wouldn’t bother. Not if you were in a hurry and had other places to go and things to do.
I don’t especially feel like taking the long route to the next map pin, so I look at the map for the nearest spot to fast-travel to. There’s a pin where I spotted a Shrine, I’m pretty sure, up on the mountainous ridge separating Gerudo desert and Farron. I’d like to go there and check it out. So I fast-travel to another shrine that’s nearby, but it’s still going to be a bit of a trek to get to this pin location on the map. I have some climbing and some gliding to do to reach it.
When I get close, I spot a smoke signal coming up from the top of the far side of the ridge. I think that must be it, the location of interest that I pinned, and not a Shrine necessarily, and head towards it, taking a somewhat long route to avoid having to climb a steep, tall cliff. When I reach the smoke, I think the area looks a bit familiar. It’s the place where I met the woman cooking terrible meals in BOTW. The fire is still burning here, but now there’s a dark skinned Hylian woman who’s trying to clean up the area with a broom. It’s even more of a mess than I remember it being in BOTW, with a ton of tumbleweeds. She’s complaining about the tumbleweeds, they’re everywhere and she can’t get rid of them all. I grab one using Ultrahand and hold it near the fire until it catches, then touch it to the others which start to light up creating a huge fire in no time. After they’re all burned away, the woman is thankful and rewards me with a special shield, and it’s actually a very nice one, with a defense rating of 55.
I look around to see what else might be worth checking out nearby, but seeing nothing very obvious, and not really wanting to get into the Gerudo Desert again, I decide to fast-travel again, this time to the Eldin region where I have some more map pins to check out. The destination I picked happens to be the horse stable where the weirdo Hylians hanging out in their underwear were staying. It’s right on the edge of Goron territory, and the moment I arrive, Yunobo is back. But my pin destinations lead me away from Goron City, and he says goodbye again as I head in the other direction.
The first thing I encounter is two Hylians, a woman and a fancy dressed man, who appear to be waiting to talk to a chicken who is sitting near a tree. They say the chicken has strange powers and can tell them the future, or something. I try to talk to the chicken, but the man in fancy clothes says not to interrupt. It’s pretty weird, and I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be comic relief or what.
But it’s not the thing I had pinned, so I move on. It’s a fairly long haul over land to get to the Shrine I can see, and no faster way to get there than to run. I run and run, and get into a fight with some bokoblins who happen to be carrying a load of fire seeds. As I’m fighting them, two or three more bokoblin skeletons appear. I don’t have too much trouble with them, with Tulin helping, and end up taking a decent haul of materials form their corpses.
While I’m collecting them, I spot a balloon off in the distance, near by the Akkala Skyview Tower. It looks like Kilton’s balloon. I take a detour to get to it, and when I do I find Kilton’s brother, Kolton. He remembers me and wants more bubbul gems. I give him most of the 13 I have, and get a Lizalfos mask, Moblin mask, and the Mystical suit body piece, which has the special property of trading rupees for hearts if I take damage. Interesting. If I get rich, I could be nearly immortal in that. He also has a helmet and boots for the complete set, but doesn’t offer them this time. Kolton also offers to trade common items for bubbul gems, and I’m not sure if I should refuse them and come back later, holding out for something better, but I do take a load of fire keese eyeballs from him. I’m not sure that I should have.
The Shrine I want to check out is still in view, but still distant. I head back in the direction of it, and as I’m going up a ridge, I suddenly realize where I am — approaching the village of Tarrey Town from the north approach. It looks like it’s bustling. I decide to stop in and check things out. There’s a lot doing on. My first stop is to pray at the stature, since I have enough to cash in for another Heart Container.
An old man and woman are talking about life in the town. Hudson Construction is headquartered here, and Hudson and his Gerudo wife now have a daughter, who is coming to the age where she needs to travel to Gerudo Town to learn the ways of the Gerudo women. There’s a man who wants to sell access to a rail car that will take me down to a construction site below the town. And also he has a glowing gem, of the kind that is always attached to a shrine quest. I buy the gem from him for 50 rupees, and pay him the 20 he wants to grant access to the rail car. I ride it down, carrying the gem, and talk to the workers at the construction site. Apparently there is a lot of rock falling from the sky, and a lot of Zonai devices landing in this spot. They are studying it, trying to figure out how to make it work. I carry the gem until I get to the edge of the water of the lake that fills the southern side of the area near the construction site. Then I put it down and take a walk to get a better view of where its beam of light is pointing to. It’s across the water; apparently I need to build a raft or other vehicle capable of carrying the gem to its destination so I can open the shrine here.
It’s not easy. There are no steering sticks around here, and I have none in my inventory. I manage to glue together some wood pieces, enough to float the gem, but without a way to steer it, it’s hard to get it where it needs to go. I manage through a lot of trial and failure to steer with a fan, and correcting course every time it turns the wrong way, which it does a lot because the load is unbalanced and causes the boat to turn in a wide arc. But eventually I manage to get the rock to the shrine location, and after unlocking the shrine I have enough Light of Blessings for another Heart Container.
One of the workers at the Construction Site is trying to demonstrate a vehicle they’ve constructed to two Gerudo women. They are trying to figure out how to control the vehicle, which has no steering stick. I have none, either, so I can’t help them. But there is a Zonai dispenser in the Construction site, so I go over and try using it, hoping it will give me the piece we need. And guess what, it does. I get four steering sticks, and run back over to the vehicle and show them how it works. They are thrilled and give me 100 rupees and a sleepover ticket for the Stables.
The other workers at the construction site are Gorons, and they talk about Yunobo and Goron City like I didn’t just come from there and know all about them. They even seem to be ignorant of what happened with Yunobo, who was under the spell of someone until I broke the mask that had been used to charm him. I feel like this is a bit poor game design on the part of the developers; I should have been able to deliver important and interesting news to these Gorons, and they should have treated me differently for having already befriended and saved Yunobo.
I return to Tarrey Town and use the Statue again to increase my life meter. And there’s still one more Shrine, further up the ridge, to the south of Tarrey Town, which was the thing that originally brought me out this way.
I head back out onto the path out of Tarrey Town, and head up the hill to the south, and follow the curve around to where the shrine is. As I get closer, I spot what looks like some kind of stage, set up on a flat part of the ground just below the level where the shrine I’m heading to is. And I see a Hylian standing there. Curious, I run over to talk to him. He says that he is with the Hudson Construction company, and will be building “dream homes” on this very spot in the future. For more information he tells me to go to Tarrey Town, where I just came from, and talk to Hudson, who I just did speak to. Again, I feel like this is disappointing work on the part of the game developers, who should have anticipated that I might come there through the way I did, and prepared different dialog in that case.
At any rate, now I’m finally at the Shrine I wanted to visit, so I enter. This one is a “vehicle test” where they take away all my gear and provide me with some weak, basic weapons, and then set me loose in a large arena filled with Zonai Construct soldiers, who have weak hitpoints and mostly have weak weapons. All I have to do is defeat them all. It’s not that hard, now that I have a big health meter, but it’s not that easy, either. I am given a few arrows and a weak bow and a thick wooden stick to start out with. I use the arrows to headshot the first, nearest Zonai Construct Soldier, knocking him down and then run up and beat him to death with the stick. He drops his weapons and I get access to a vehicle. The vehicle sucks, it’s just a sled with a fan on it and a control stick. It has decent speed but terrible turning, and is pretty much useless. I proceed around the arena clockwise, trying to figure out what it is that I’m supposed to do, until I realize that all I actually have to do is defeat these construct soldiers, which I’m capable of doing without the vehicles getting in my way. But spread out in every area of the arena, there are various vehicles of different types. I suppose if I wanted to, I could use them to ram or run over the Zonai constructs, and perhaps conserve weapons. But I find that I don’t need to. The constructs are spread out enough that I can fight them one on one, without the others also getting alerted and ganging up on me. Maybe 1 or two will alert and come over, but by the time they do I’ve defeated the one I’m engaged with, and picked up an extra weapon. About half of the construct soldiers are armed with bows, and so when they shoot at me, and miss, I pick up their arrows, and replenish my stock. A few of the later construct soldiers have fire weapons, but I head shot them, knock them down, and steal their weapon, and then finish them off. I end up not actually needing the vehicles at all, and could have done better ignoring them entirely. There’s a cage-like structure in the middle with what appears to be some more advanced Zonai tech weapons — I see what looks like a beam emitter or a flame projector. The only way in is through the top, which is open to the sky, and the only way to get up there seems to be to fly over with a zonai wing vehicle that happens to be included in the arena. But I don’t see how you can get the vehicle out of this cage, unless there’s a trigger inside of it, or something.
I wonder if maybe the idea for this challenge was to commandeer the wing craft, use it to drop in to the cage, then quickly assemble a vehicle and arm it, trigger the walls of the cage to open, and then go on a cleanup sweep around the arena using the vehicle mounted weapons to make short work of the remaining soldiers. That would have been fun, and probably necessary if I had any fewer hearts than I now do.
After clearing the fight, I pick up another Light of Blessing.
The last point on the map that I’d pinned is nearby, but it’s high atop a mountain, and there’s nothing nearby that I can get to easily to come at it from above. Looking at it, it seems like there’s some kind of structure, a castle or fortification of some kind, built at the top of it. It looks foreboding and difficult, and I imagine if it were populated by an intelligent defender, would be very difficult to take.
Well, as it turns out, it’s dark and raining out when I get near the place where I’d have to start climbing. And as it turns out, I’m right back near the South Akkala Stables, the place with the talking cucco and where I pick up Yunobo. I decide to wait the rain out, and to kill time I go back to the Stable, and explore the well. The chicken is still down there, and has laid two eggs. I talk to the woman tending the sheep, and she tells me she hears him sometimes, but can’t find him, and hopes that his is OK and that he has company. I guess maybe I could try to find another chicken and throw it down there…
While I’m here, I happen to spot Penn, the Rito who partners with me on stories for the Lucky Clover. I talk to him, because he has a red “!” to indicate he has something important to tell me. He says that the word is that the talking cucco who knows all is someone I should talk to. Well, OK I guess now I can do that, then.
I walk back over to where the All Knowing Cucco is, and find that the fashionably dressed man is walking away. He tells me his fortune, which is that great wealth is to be found in the northeast. Hmm, OK. The woman who was waiting after the well dressed man tells me to go ahead, because she’s still trying to decide what questions she wants answered. I talk to the cucco, who says that he recognizes me, and says that I need to complete some trials before I can learn my fate.
The first one is to make it to the top of the Stables under a time limit. This takes me a few tries, but isn’t that hard. I run to the edge of the hill that I’m standing on, then glide down to the back of the Stable, use Ultrahand to lift a box high into the air, put it back down, stand on it, and use Recall to lift myself up, then climb the rest of the way to the top.
The second trial is to bring three logs to the top of the hill where the cucco is. There’s three trees right nearby, and I use bomb arrows to turn them into logs, and Ultrahand to put them on the hill right in front of the cucco.
Having passed my trials, the Cucco reveals my fate: to be ambushed by the Yiga Clan! I’m attacked again by three ninjas, who I kill pretty easily. I just switch over to my sapphire rod, freeze them, and then hit them hard with a high damage weapon. They don’t stand a chance.
Penn the Rito swoops in after the action is over and tells me that he found out too late what was going on. He thanks me for the story and pays me 50 rupees, plus a 20 rupee bonus from Traysi herself. I wonder how close I am to earning the frog armor suit.
Well the weather is nice again, and it’s the middle of the day, so I might as well get to work climbing up that tall mountain to find out what’s up there.
I start climbing, and get to a ledge where I can rest and regain stamina, then walk over to an outcrop which I Ascend through. Then I climb some more, and reach another resting spot. Then it starts to rain again. I get under another outcrop and Ascend again, and then I’m stuck until the rain subsides. When it does, I resume climbing again, and don’t stop until I get to the top.
Here, the mountainside turns into castle walls, and I’m in a location called South Akkala Citadel. I climb up and over the wall, and as I get to the top I’m alerted to the presence of a monster just on the other side of the wall. I see it when I get to the top: a bokoblin, and he’s well armed. He seems to have some kind of electric weapon.
I’ve forgotten that I unequipped my gear so I can climb faster, and am at a temporary disadvantage as I try to fight unarmed and unarmored. I try to throw a bomb, but my fingers can’t find the right button. He hits me, and the shock damage causes me to drop the weapon I’d just drawn, and takes me down to about 1/3 of my health. Fuck this. I should have saved.
I switch to another weapon, and hit the Bokoblin repeatedly, until he falls down. Unfortunately he drops shockfruits, and I step on one taking some more damage. Fortunately I don’t die and the Bokoblin does die. I pick myself up and gather the loot that is lying about.
I am on a pathway spiraling up around the mountain top citadel, and I start following, as the pathway turns slightly to the right.
A little further up the path, I come to a lone moblin, and he’s sitting next to a campfire, unaware of my presence. I knock a bomb arrow with my multi shot bow, and try to nail him in the head. The explosion knocks him clean off the mountain, dropping him far below, but he’s only about halfway damaged. His weapon is on fire, but he’s out of my way and no longer a threat.
I scout out the campsite, and there’s not much left. A downside of using bombs is you tend to destroy useful things.
Looking over the edge of the spot where the Moblin was camped, I see a large flat area covered with rocks below, and at the far end of it, I spot an electric Gleeok. It’s too far away to see me, and I’m glad for that. Looking around the area, I observe a row of cannons facing outward, to defend the citadel from outsiders, looking like a rather formidable defense. I’m not interested in trying to take on the Gleeok yet, but more interested in continuing the climb up.
I know that not much farther above my location, there is a Shrine. And once I unlock it, it’ll be a great fast travel spot to return to this location with ease.
Unfortunately it starts raining again. It seems to be raining about every four hours here, and usually there’s a threat of lightning. I’m nearly to the top of the mountain, about to enter the citadel proper, but now I have to wait for the rain to stop so I can climb again. While I’m waiting, I look around and find a pathway leading further up. I go up a short stairway, then branch off to follow a natural trail up a ridge. At the top of the crest, I see a courtyard with some stonework walls laying in ruin. In the center, a pool of Gloom with five hands coming out of it, each with an eye in the palm. Gloom Hands! I have only encountered these twice before… the first time I was very new to the game and pretty weak, but used high ground to avoid them. The second time was in the Labyrinth in the northern part of Hyrule, deep in the north, and deep in the Labyrinth. That time, I was up on the top of the walls, well out of reach of the hands, and rained bombs down on them, quite effectively, and managed to destroy them; then Phantom Ganon appeared, but after a few minutes as I tried to figure out a way to engage him from atop the labyrinth walls, he disappeared.
This time, I’m not on high ground, but I’m a lot better equipped. I fire some arrows from my double shot bow, tipped with bombs, and these seem to do a lot of damage to the hands. I take the hands down to about half their hitpoints before I have to engage them with my melee weapon. They do grab me once, but I shake out of their grasp and continue fighting back, using my sapphire rod to freeze them. This works, but only very briefly, as they seem to break free of the ice almost immediately, allowing me insufficient time to follow up with a switch to a heavy hitting melee weapon to do extra damage. But it is enough time to hit them with another arrow.
Before I know it, the Gloom Hands are defeated. Now I’m expecting to face off with Phantom Ganon, but he doesn’t appear! Strange. I wonder about these encounters, are they random? If so they seem very uncommon. Are they in specific locations? Is there any “progression” to these encounters — as I have more of them will they become “deeper” events? I have no idea.
With the Gloom Hands defeated, it seems the entire mountaintop citadel is empty. I find a treasure chest, and some boxes which I loot, but nothing much worth the climb. I look around pretty thoroughly and don’t find hardly anything at all worth mentioning. Well, there’s some remarkable looking cannons mounted along the walls, facing outward, but they are decorative only. Very old, rusty and full of cobwebs, and with no way to interact with them, it seems. I wonder if I could go back in time to see this place in its glory, what it would be like. Looking down from here, I see the Thunder Gleeok that I saw before, down below, seeming to guard its territory.
I don’t figure I’m capable of beating the Gleeok still, but I want some practice, so I save the game, and jump down to glide in and try to target the heads with my bow. This doesn’t work so great. The bow isn’t strong enough to do them a lot of damage, they don’t get stunned, and when I land it shoots lightning at me, killing me instantly, despite having two pieces of the rubber armor suit on.
Oh well, time to restore.