Anil stepped out from her tent with a hasty sort of gait, her head whipping from side to side as she quickly rounded the rotund structure of tanned hide, grasping one of its supporting poles as she arose onto her top-toes, shouting out with a desperate air, "Her fever isn't breaking, Haeboas!"
Some distance from the tent sat a campfire, joined by three bodies, darkened by the night sky that met their backs. The eldest of the three was Haeboas, a local medicine worker, her shoulders slouching helplessly as her head lowered toward the ground, thinking of what possibly to do next. Her companions watched her critically, her two students drawing in her lifelessness as they both gingerly eyed one another. If their teacher hadn't an idea of what to do, what could they ever hope to perform in turn?"
Anil walked quickly out along the desert sand, closing the distance between her and the campfire, her voice whetted beneath her tears as her words broke in two with tearful pleas, "Haeboas?! W-What can we do?! My child, she's- What are you going to do?!"
The elderly woman groaned, pulling her shawl over her head as she answered, "I've done all I can do, child. Sometimes that's all anybody can do. The goddesses always have need of souls to offer peace."
"D-Don't say that!" Anil cried, "My daughter, she's- she's everything to me!"
She fell to her knees, having made it to the medicine worker's side, grabbing ahold of the old woman's arm with two desperate hands, sending the two students up onto their feet, defensively. Haeboas waved them off in understanding of Anil's predicament, only able to offer a gentle touch as her hand cupped atop of the lost mother's.
"Please," Anil cried, burying her head in Haeboas' arm, her hands clutching tight, "Take anything you want, just- Please, save her… Please…"
Haeboas sighed, shaking her head, "I've done all I can, child. If it should comfort you somewhat, I will take a final look at her in assurance."
"Please!" Anil cries out once again, yanking her hands away and shoving them into her pockets, dropping pocketfuls of rupees to the ground at the woman's feet, "I've got so little, but please! Do whatever it takes! My little girl is everything to me!"
As Haeboas worked her way to her feet, her student rushed over to help her brittle frame, guiding her slowly along the sandy ground below while the elderly woman worked her walking stick around the various stones that littered the ground. Anil followed anxiously at her side, doing what she could to help the woman along without moving too quickly, leaving the second of the medicine woman's students to tarry behind, sure to brush her hand across the desert sand and check for any rupees that may have been obscured, carefully dropping them into a small pouch at her side.
The three women entered the small tent, Anil making sure the elderly woman was sound in her student's hands before rushing toward the mass of strewn out blankets near the center of the tent, falling to her knees at her daughter's side, the young girl's voice croaking as her body shivered visibly, almost as though she were in the midst of a mild convulsion. Anil's lips squeezed inward worriedly as she reached a wet rag down her daughter's face, the child's cheeks reddened and cracked from endless tears having chapped the skin to viciously.
"Please, do anything to help her," Anil pleaded, her hand reaching out to tightly clasp her daughter's, "Ease her suffering. I sent my sister to hunt down Hilarser, but she hasn't-"
"Hilarser's a fool," Haeboas bit back with a venomous voice, "I've spent two hundred years performing this service. I've seen everything and treated everything; if there is something I cannot cure, nobody can, not even the goddesses."
Anil's shoulders closed inward defensively as her head fell, "I just want my daughter to live. She trembles so violently, even while asleep. She cries every moment she's awake. She cannot eat, her limbs are cool to the touch. This is suffering I've never witnessed before…"
With a dismissive huff, Haeboas threw her shawl over her shoulder, giving a mere glance toward the young child before casting her eyes away, "It is as I say. There is nothing more that can be done. by anyone. Your child is in the goddess' hands now. Just keep her comfortable."
Anil released a hushed whimper as her hand jumped up to cover her mouth respectfully. She stared down at her shaking daughter, her tears welling up like massive puddles that trickled down, crossing between her fingers as her spine chilled at the thought of her daughter greeted by death at such an early age. Her body fell forward, resting atop her daughter in an empty embrace, leaving Haeboas to turn to leave, waving at her student to follow along. As quick as she'd started out, she recoiled just as fast, the voice of her other student crying out from outside the tent, catching the medicine worker off guard.
"-ey! Stop! Don't you dare-!"
The leather flaps threw open to reveal a young man, his face lost in an restful expression that also wore a deep pain, his piercing eyes staring deep into the tent as Haeboas frowned, grasping her student's arm and throwing her forward.
"You dolt! Get him outta here!" she instructed.
The student cringed, but advanced toward the man nonetheless, though was quickly stopped as a woman darted in past the man, the two in matching robes, and grabbed at the student, keeping her restrained as Haeboas scoffed, the man's eyes meeting her own as she grimaced.
"Hilarser," she acknowledged in annoyance.
The man known as Hilarser stepped forward, only acknowledging Haeboas with a dismissive nod, though the old woman was far from remaining silent, her voice escaping her in a gravelly tone, "Just let my students go. They won't do anything to stop you, alright?"
Hilarser watched her curiously, though before he could speak, Anil noticed his presence, her eyes glittering as they widened, and she immediately jumped toward him on all fours, throwing herself down at his feet, clutching his ankle as she welp aloud helplessly.
"Hilarser!" she spoke up in a tearful shout, "Thank the goddesses! My- My daughter! She's ill and nobody has been able to-!"
Her body shook in a recoil as she felt a hand against the top of her head, her first instinct to freeze at the unmistakeable touch of the Hilarser. She felt her fingers squeeze tighter around his ankle as though unsure of what might happen next, desperately trying her best to anchor herself to this world when Hilarser's voice arose, his voice a shallow sort of gentleness.
"Let's see her then."
Haeboas scoffed, crossing her arms, "I've heard stories, Hilarser. I'd like to see some of what you claim to do for myself. This kid has been on the brink for a week now with nary a hope of survival. I've seen to it myself that she receive proper care, yet it's done not a thing."
The man failed to reply, or rather, he hadn't a need to. He strode to the girl's side, dropping onto one knee as he examined her face, his eyes curling into a sad posture. He reached out a hand, grabbing the young girl's hand lightly with Anil looking on from behind him, still on all fours as she was lost in the presence of this man. Haeboas watched as well, though her face was more one of contempt.
"We'll see," she spoke challengingly, more to her student, though also to Anil, "This man claims to hold the power of the goddesses. A more ridiculous statement I have yet to hear."
She turned toward Anil in warning, "Be wary, child, of those who claim more than they can prove."
The mother hasn't heard a word. Her eyes were entranced still by the presence of the Hilarser in her tent. That alone was cause for such awe, though here he was, hovering above her daughter, offering help that mere womankind among the Gerudo were so incapable, it seemed. She bit her lip as Hilarser leaned his body closer, reaching his other hand up to rest it upon the girl's mouth, covering it softly as his eyes wove their way up her face, coming to a stop at her nose.
The Hilarser turned his face up, taking a deep, gentle breath into his mouth before leaning closer, just as softly exhaling through is nose and into the girl's own, a plume of thinning air appearing visibly only to the trained eyes of the medicine worker, whose irises glimmered, intrigued at the sight. As the man pulled away, just as fast as he'd let loose the breath of his life, the girl's shaking began to waver, an immediately outpouring of sweat beginning to break out upon her skin as her fever broke.
"By the goddesses," Anil whispered in awe, feeling her arms weakening to the point of her dropping herself, "You…"
She reverently crawled forward to where the man stood up, immediately prostrating before him as she cried heavy tears in thanks, "You truly are Hilar-"
"Don't," he interrupted, earning a gasp from the woman, "I've done this for you. Do something for me now. I am not Hilarser. My given name is Ganondorf. My mother died in childbirth to give me that name, and I dare not squander her effort."
Haeboas scoffed under her breath, rolling her eyes as she muttered quietly, "Blasphemy…"
Much too happy to deny this man even her very soul, Anil merely nodded graciously, "Th-Then thank…you. Ganondorf."
"You have my thanks," the man nodded graciously, "Keep her warm and hydrated while she sweats out her illness. The goddesses will see that she is well in a day or two."
Anil nodded rapidly, "Yes! Yes, I will-!"
He shook his foot, pulling it away from her clutches gently enough, "Don't latch onto me. Latch onto your daughter. She's the one who deserves your devotion."
Now even she being taken aback, Anil nodded nonetheless, carefully sliding her legs along the tent bottom to join with her daughter, pulling up a blanket as Ganondorf nodded approvingly, turning to leave as he left the mother with his parting words, avoiding Haeboas' sinister glance as he stepped out into the dark of night, greeted by four white clad women, two of whom had strung up the lagging student to prevent her from interfering. He waved them off, his two white-clad peers releasing the student as she stumbled away in a fright, perhaps afraid that harm might have been done to her, though she gasped relievedly as Haeboas followed the man from the tent with quicker steps.
"What have you done…" she spoke, not as a question, more in hiding her amazement, though Ganondorf payed her no attention as he gathered his peers.
"Hilarser," she went on, forcing his attention, "How long do you plan to hold onto this charade?!"
He shook his head, "It's no charade."
"Your father can't live forever," Haeboas challenged lowly, "Sooner or later, your choices will determine the fate of your people. We Gerudo are a proud people, Hilarser, and we're not above killing our own to survive if we must."
Ganondorf turned to face her, a grey-pale look on his face, "Then you kill yourselves just as well. If my father should die, then he dies. I suppose I should get on with my goal before that happens."
"Pfft," Haeboas scoffed, slowly shaking her head at her aged neck, "Despite your age, you're still a child. Chasing fantasies. Fancy an answer to me, and be honest, Hilarser, what is your goal?"
His eyes narrowing, Ganondorf peered off into the distance, reaching an arm up to cross his chest, his fist resting at his shoulder in a salute, "I'm trying to save our people from extinction, Haeboas. That's all. Despite what you may think, my breaking tradition is not an attempt at self-destruction."
He lowered his arm, turning his hand down to stare into his hand with a saddened expression, "You saw what I did in there. Such a gift… It would be folly to waste it on-"
"Survival is not waste, child," Haeboas interrupted with a critical glance.
Ganondorf answered, "It's not good enough to survive, elder. Our people deserve to thrive. Now, if you'll excuse us, my peers and I must move along. We make for Hyrule Castle in the morning."
"Hyrule-?! Hilarser! You taint the very language of your ancestors by uttering such a word!" Haeboas shouted angrily, waving her walking stick in Ganondorf's direction, despite his distance.
"I've seen the future, elder," he answered absently, hopping onto his horse, offering a simple stare back down toward the medicine worker, "If things continue as they are, we will no longer be alive to defile those same ancestors you so revere."
A/N: 'Hilarser' is being used as a title bestowed upon the men of the Gerudo, their rarity making them worthy of such distinction.
I apologize for this prologue possibly being vague or confusing, but I didn't want to start of the story immediately with exposition, which will occur next chapter. It will involve a lot of 'interesting' content, to say the least, and I'm expecting a considerably fun time when it comes to creating a Gerudo society xD