"Come one! Come all!" arose the harkening shouts of Cryer Lagun as he strolled down the main road of Hateno Village, hands cupped around his mouth as his lungs exploded in proclamation, "Don't allow your night to be a calamity as well! Come to the Airooma Circus and make tonight a celebration!"
The Hylian at his side dropped his face into the palm of his hand, "Goddess, Lagun, we're supposed to make them excited, not dreary…"
"What? It's catchy," he shrugged, allowing his boisterous lungs a rest from his incessant shouting, "C'mon Brother, they love wordplay!"
Crossing his arms, his brother frowned, "Some still live who remember the Calamity."
"All the more reason to come see the show!" Lagun reasoned, only forcing a bedraggled groan from the man beside him, raising his hands to his mouth once again, taking advantage of his talent of loud-mouthedness, "Ladies and gents! We have Goron Bowling! Performances by the renowned Zora Strikers! All the best-"
A grumpy accusation came from a villager, their face camouflaged by the number of people strolling around a packed-high cart of grains, "Renowned where exactly? Lomel Island?"
His pithy responses earned a few chuckles from the neighboring cart hands, leaving Lagun turning to his brother for an answer, though the man only replied with a complaining groan, "This is why you don't make stuff up."
"But they are renowned!"
"Yeah, to us," his brother bit back with an impatient temper, "Just 'cause we know 'em, don't expect anybody else to know 'em."
Scoffing with a heat to his breath, Lagun crossed his arms, twisting his lips as he retorted, "Well, so long as I'm aware of their greatness, that's good enough for me."
"And that, my brother, is your problem," the skeptical of the two, Norrall, complained lightly, almost with an instructive air, "Why did we become the pair of brothers amongst whom the younger of the two is the more sensible one?"
"I'm plenty sensible," Lagun reasoned merely, turning toward a passing band of children, skittering past the two as they stampeded their way out toward some unknown play area, leaving the Hylian to shout with a boisterous voice, "Children! You ever wanted to shoot a Rito out of the air?! The Airooma Circus is drawing up its canvas'd ends, and-!"
The children began to laugh as they skittered past, the most rude of the bunch spinning around as he continued his hasty stride, sneering, "Dude, you're, like, forty, and you're the one excited for a circus? Pff- Ha ha!"
Lagun clenched his teeth in time with his fist as he returned to his brother, knowing that chasing after the young would be a futile effort, leaving him only to complain, "What a little- gobule! I'm a Cryer; it's what I do!"
He slammed his open palms against his chest, "What I lack in, well, just about everything, I make up for in charisma!"
"There, now, brother," Norrall assured, albeit with an uncertainty that betrayed his calming demeanor, "At least you've grown willing to better yourself. I'd much rather have a man prepared to learn than to remain proud of their ignorance."
Lagun eyed him skeptically, "-and what exactly do you mean by that..?"
Shrugging, Narroll tugged at his collar, leaning away from his brother as they matched strides, "I was simply complimenting you on your ability to learn about the world. Before the Calamity, I mean- Things changed."
"Sure did," Lagun groaned, leaving Narroll to silently commend his ability to wield nostalgia in an aim to avert the subject, though this only led Lagun into eulogizing, "How I miss those days, brother… Tasting foods, feeling the sun against my skin- All my senses just seem so dull since then. Even looking upon a fine maiden- Is it just me, brother?! have the women of this world even lost their sparkle?!"
Narroll covered his mouth, massaging his face as his eyes trailed off, "That might only be you, brother… I highly doubt that- They sparkled?"
"Bwah ha! They sure did!" the elder of the two laughed, grappling his brother's shoulders and yanking him against his side, "Like how beams of light collect atop a rupee before being cast upon your eyes- so brilliant. Eyes, turning upward in amusement as smiles rest there upon their faces; so perfectly chiseled."
Lagun slapped his hand playfully against his brother's arm, "I suppose you were quite young at the time, though; I don't see how you might remember."
"All the best, I suppose," Narroll spoke with a crooked smile, "Without your magnificent recollections, I haven't a qualm when it comes to the finer things in l-"
As the two strode down the Hateno lane, within a small collection of people, a woman stepped in time behind the lot of the group, her head held low in a dignified expression, as if her innocence prevented her from showing much of any other portion of her personality. Her eyes peered up at the sensation of approaching bodies, leaving only a gentle smile on her face, only in the sense of politeness, at the sight of the two strangers.
Lagun quickly took hold of his hat, draping it atop his chest as he bowed with a powerful smile of his own, while Narroll could only retain his vision while resting his eyes upon the lovely young woman. He felt a cold sweat, in part due to his brother's, almost prophetic, words from a moment earlier, catching his breath in his throat as the two parties crossed paths, leaving the two men alone on the other side.
"W- Wow," Narroll spoke in a jittery voice.
Lagun returned his hat to his head, "Well, I suppose some semblance of beauty has remained since the Calamity."
"A semblance?!" Narroll blurted out, almost in offence on the woman's behalf, "A sculpture commissioned to do the Goddess' own work could not have crafted such a beauty!"
Shrugging, Lagun replied rather lazily, "Eh. Things have just changed since everything happened. I told you, even food doesn't taste as good."
"Gah; you stubborn-" Narroll sighed, running his hand across his face.
Lagun easily replied, "Perhaps if things change, you'll have more of a contrast! Until then- WA-HEY, SIR!"
He threw his arms out toward a passerby, nearly accosting him and forcing the pedestrian to recoil in terror before Lagun reigned himself in, "Come on down to the Airooma Circus! We're pitchin' the tent just down at the Ovli Plain, and we'd be pleased to have your patronage!"
Despite his eyes having read 'fight or flight' a second earlier, the man sudden spun his face with inquiry, wondering aloud, "A circus?"
"Yessir! and I know what you're gonna say- 'Oh, buddy, is it really the time for a fun, ol' circus'- Well, I'm here to say-!"
He turned to his brother, pulling him in.
"We're here to say, that makes it the perfect time for a circus!"
The man watched them with languid interest, leaving Lagun to throw his arms wide as he explained exuberantly, "Our most magnificent ring leader, Zel'Uvam, has seen the darkness that has been wrought upon this world by the Calamity. Hope as all but been wrung from Hyrule, but if for a single night, if we can all come together and remember, just for a moment, how things used to be- She figured that, perhaps, then, this enterprise might just be worth it."
With narrow, piercing eyes, the man watched Lagum's excitable appeal, curling his lips to the side as he shrugged, "I suppose I could give it a shot."
"Wah HA!" Lagun boisterously exclaimed, raising a fist into the air, "Then I do wish to see you there! Not a soul has left the Airooma unfulfilled, I assure you!"
The man nodded with wavering interest, muttering in reply as he stepped away, "Yeah, yeah- I got ya. See you there."
As he left their earshot, Lagum spun wildly back toward Narroll, exclaiming lowly, "See, brother?! My charisma saves the day again!"
Narroll rolled his eyes, "Then perhaps your brain could learn something from it. You forgot to give him the parchment so that he'll remembder."
"Blast it all to-!" Lagun roared in upset, slamming a hand into his forehead before yanking his body around and dashing back down the pathway, yelling out in between pants, "Sir! SIR!"
Narroll shook his head, rubbing two fingers across his eyes.
"Goddess help him," he mumbled in unwarranted prayer.
Beneath the wonderous, cascading falls of Nirvata Lake sat a series of rolling plains, snuggled between might mounds of rock formations, making the terrain unbearable for many to traverse. For Zel'Uvam, however, or as she was known prior to this latest enterprise, 'The One Who Thinks Little Before Acting', such a landscape was exactly what she strived to set up upon, or rather, conquer. The Gerudo often settled her tent, the masthead of Airooma Circus, atop these rugged plots of land simply to prove that she and her entourage could do so, if only for confirmation in her own mind- most patrons didn't bother beyond an initially annoyance when it came to traveling to the nebulous venue.
Zel'Uvam', or Zel, had a history about as ambiguous as whatever plot of land she hoped to settle next. Little was known about her before the Calamity; however, not long after, this enterprise seemed rather ideal for the entrepreneur of sorts. In terms of supply and demand, indeed, Hyrule was deficient when it came to fun, hope, and high spirits, and Zel set out to put on a production like none other.
Within a matter of weeks, she had assembled a crew of wily circus hands, none of whom were more loyal than Ruze, a Goron who Zel had met early on into the venture whose spirit and optimism Zel figured would be perfect to head up the circus at her side. While her crew spanned quite a number of stagehands, performers, and entertainers, Zel always trusted her Goron friend above all others, and Ruze offered her the same loyalty in kind.
With the Airooma set to hold its show the following evening, Ruze strolled along the grounds, watching the stagehands prepare for the night's festivities, his movement taking him close to the 'Master of Canvas', a Sheikan man by the name of Gille, whose title all but declared him to be the main man when it came to raising the massive symbol of Airooma Circus- the tent itself.
"No! No! Over there!" he barked in a shrieking voice as Ruze approached him, throwing his pointing hand to the left side of the tent that was being dragged along slanted beams, "Pull that side first!"
Ruze meandered over, watching the Sheikah work his magic, even if it was merely that kind of work made possible by delegating rather than doing. With the tent gradually finding its place atop the wooden frame that had already been erected, Ruze nodded to himself with a smile before stepping along, ensuring that everything was going according to plan.
His routine was buffeted, however, by the arrival of one of the stagehands, Nekia, whose wings carried her across the sky before stumbling to the ground at Ruze's side, sending a fright through the Goron's body.
"My dear!" he exclaimed, clutching his chest, "You must stop doing that!"
Nekia groaned, reaching down to examine her ankle, "I know; I just- It's just not healed, yet."
"Then why are you working it so?" Ruze questioned seriously, "You do understand how important you are to the show, correct?"
She nodded, "I do, but- Dorri told me it was urgent- The-"
Nekia turned her head over her shoulder, examining the landscape before leaning in closer to the headmaster.
Ruze's brow furrowed with curiosity, "Who's here?"
Her shoulders dropping defeatedly, sending her plumage aflutter, Nekia groaned, "You know! The accountant."
"Ah!" Ruze exclaimed happily, "Why didn't you say so?! I must meet him, then! but, eh- Why the whispers?"
As the Goron took off in a hasty walk, Nekia followed at his side, running her hand nervously down her arm, "Well, I mean- If word got out about- I didn't think-"
With a soft smile, that of a teacher working up an instructive tone toward a student, Ruze explained, "Nekia. Why are you here?"
"Why-" she paused, her throat seizing up from confusion, "I mean-"
Ruze finished for her, "-because you haven't anywhere else, correct?"
Her beak turning distastefully, Nekia dropped her head in a sorrowful surrender, "Yes. That's true."
"The same is true for most everybody here," Ruze assured, reaching over to pat the Rito's shoulders, "Let's assume our circus'- financial difficulties does get out and onto the rumor mill. Where would anybody go were they to find out?"
Nekia sighed, crossing her arms, "I suppose you're correct, but- I don't know. I guess I just felt it was in the best interest of the Circus Master."
"Eh, uh-" Ruze finally appeared shaken as he replied, "Well, now- By no means did I say to go spouting out that information to everybody! Under no circumstance would I want to start fires that the Circus Master has no interest in snuffing out, but-"
He took a readying gasp, nodding, "Just don't worry about that. Just worry about that ankle, alright? That means no more message deliveries, alright? She'd have my rocky neck if she found out I was party to you spraining it again."
"It wouldn't be that bad. As long as Tynoss and Skusli are parading their feathers around- Those two guys blow my performance out of the water just about every night," Nekia warned with a stiff smile.
Ruze shook his head, "Bah. Now, don't humble yourself too much, Nekia. Now look-"
He stopped in place, turning toward her in appraisal as he drew his fingers across his chin, forcing Nekia to blush as he did so.
"Those two are masters of aerial acrobatics, but that's precisely why the Circus Master didn't hire you," Ruze explained, shaking his head, "Those two fly, but you- You levitate, hover- What you do is art. Leave those two to the science of flight. Alright."
It was the same thing Ruze would often relay to Nekia whenever her ambition began to wane, leaving her to note, "You know that you've-"
"Hey, I'm a one trick pony," Ruze shrugged with a grin, turning to began walking back toward the grounds' entrance, "I do one thing, but goddess, I do it well, don't I?"
Nekia smirked humorously, dropping her head in exasperation before whipping it back toward him with a smile, "You do. Thanks."
"Anytime!" he exclaimed, "Now, go and rest that ankle and I'll go meet- Ah! That must be him!"
Peering around the circumference of the still-rising tent, Ruze caught sight of a scrawy-looking Hylian standing there, watching the activities speeding along around him with a vague interest, as if it were all brand new to him. A pack of Gorons carrying a massive crate of equipment forced him stumbling backwards and out of their way, his hand immediately swiping up into the air to shove his glasses back atop his nose.
Nekia frowned, "Sure he's the right guy for the job?"
She eyed the Goron skeptically, "Cleaning up this mess..?"
Ruze chuckled, "Let's ignore the number of people the Circus Master invited before coming across this one, shall we?"
The Rito shook her head, only to Ruze's dismay, "I'll let you in on a secret- I was the first one hired on to this circus, and to this day, guess how many of us were brought on as actual professionals?"
Thinking of her own unnotable history for a brief moment, Ruze took the silence to send him into finishing, "Exactly. Zero. I think we've all done just about our best work, regardless, wouldn't you say?"
Nekia rolled her eyes, though her distrust was betrayed by the knowing smile she had taken on, shaking her head as the split away from the Goron's path, leaving him with a quiet, "I hope the trend continued, Ruze."
"It will!" he assured with a heartwarming chuckle, patting his massive hands together as he approached the out-of-place, wayward Hylian.
Clutching at his robes to keep them from scraping the soil, the man scurried around, avoiding the still-oncoming traffic, looking up from his examination of his clothing to find Ruze, the Goron's pleasantly large smile catching his attention as someone arriving to greet him.
"Bah ha," Ruze chortled, "You know, they're purposefully taking that path just to see you react to skittishly."
The Hylian pursed his lips with a mixture of frustration and embarrassment, "Well, that is-! rather par for the course, actually…"
He shook his robes before releasing them back toward his feet, pulling the satchel slung over his shoulder to his front before burying his hands into it, muttering, "I'm, eh- I guess you don't really need- Ah, there's one."
The man slid a slip of paper free from the pack, handing it off to Ruze, who peered at it without taking it in his hand, the Hylian speaking astutely, "I was requested to come and see to your business' finances. I corresponded with a, uh- Zel?"
"The Circus Master, yes," Ruze nodded.
Eyes curling suspiciously, the man returned, "Anyway, my name is Talo. As you can see, here-"
He waved the parchment in his hand.
"-I graduated top of the middle of my class, and spent a few years as an apprentice at the Kingdom's treasury."
Ruze's eyes peered up toward the man, "…does Hyrule Kingdom still have a treasury?"
With a scrutinizing glare, Talo watched Ruze with slight contempt before muttering, "..yes."
Almost immediately letting out a shrug, Ruze simply replied, "Alright, sounds good! You, uh-"
"Are you the proprietor of this establishment?" Talo interrupted.
Ruze suddenly paused, having not considered that role before, answering, "I mean, I suppose so."
"Fantastic. I would love to meet this 'Zel' person and get to work right away, I-"
"The Circus Master, yes," Ruze repeated.
Another scrutinizing glance before Talo went on, slower, "…I see that you're all busy, but the sooner I get to work, the better. I wasn't brought in by the hour, you know."
"Ah, yes, I understand whole-heartedly!" Ruze declared, turning his head over his shoulder before waving the man along, "Well, uh, right this way! I can't guarantee you'll meet the Circus Master, but I'm about as good as meeting her, so I'll have you in good hands as far as access goes."
Talo's brow fell suspiciously, "I was under the impression that-"
"The Circus Master is quite busy preparing, you understand," Ruze laughed, "I can assure you further, though; she will be quite pleased to know you've arrive and are doing your work."
"Yes…" Talo murmured nervously, watching the ramshackle operation around him with worrisome eyes, "My work…"