On my journey towards the Rito, I gradually filled in more of the story, via more Tears. It seemed that there might be two Princess Zeldas at work. One was giving out evil masks and up to who knew what else, and one… well, there was that cryptic reference to becoming an immortal dragon. Additionally, one Tear revealed a memory of the original Queen of Hyrule, and an attempt by a doppelgänger of Zelda to kill her. The true Zelda and the Queen were aware of this puppet of Ganondorf (his name had been mentioned, though I remained convinced his true self, his form as Demise, was back), and put a swift stop to this plan, only for Ganon himself to appear, and kill the Queen.
There were many more memories for me to find, so what this meant, I had no idea. A lot of context remained out of my reach, as did the Sky Towers. Annoyingly, most required some form of hoop to jump through in order to activate them, so I was, for the most part, blind. I had to rely on my memories of Breath of the Wild to guide me across this map. Still, I reached the Rito village, and discovered it was draped in snow and ice. I also ended up being recruited as a journalist for a Hylian newspaper, and if I did enough sleuthing on their behalf, I’d be rewarded with anti-slip climbing armour.
A silly little mechanism also greeted me. Icy puddles littered the landscape, and if you jumped on them, you could break the ice. Little did I know how useful this would be…
I met with the Rito leader, whose headstrong son wanted to go and fight monsters, and end the blizzard threatening their town. After a bit of chit-chat, and a journey up a mountain, came the revelation of a ship caught within the fierce polar vortex above the village, and so began a loooooooong ascent. Ships functioned as trampolines (their sails basically performed that function), and a few sentinel constructs sought to bar our path, but eventually, we reached the ship, or ark, as the Rito called it. Thus began the second temple/dungeon.
By the way, the young Rito accompanying Link on this perilous venture could create a gust of wind in a horizontal direction. Personally, Revali’s Gale from the first game was more useful, but beggars could not be choosers.
As with the Fire Temple, there were five locks to undo, and they took the form of wind-activated funnels.
I had to keep Link warm, and keep him warm I did, via a ruby-enhanced weapon, of all things, so I was free to explore the Stormwind Ark. This was, I dare say, a bit easier than the Fire Temple, once I got used to it. A few of the ‘keys’ required me to fly outside the ship, and dodge some large (yet inaccurate) cannons, but I got through this in fairly short order, and opened up the large chamber in the middle of the ship. In doing so, I unleashed something rather unpleasant. I left the temple for a bit to power up, encountering even more unpleasantness as I did.
Colgera floated around the Ark, and created funnels of wind, which was a bit of a hindrance towards my goal of smashing through the icy patches on his back. He possessed three such patches, though they only revealed themselves after he had shot icy missiles at you. You had a finite amount of time to hit each patch before the icicles regenerated, so timing a dive was crucial. The first three times his resistance was easily dealt with, but as is customary with boss fights, his methods evolved when I got his health down by half.
His second form of attack was the same as the first, with the addition of tornadoes that sent Link flying, and did damage. I died on my first attempt, as I was trying to figure out how to use Tulin’s gust power to my advantage. Once again, I lamented the absence of Revali’s Gale!
On my second effort, despite taking some further damage, I was able to overcome this beast, and restore the skies above the Rito village to their sunny disposition. The sunlight melted the snow, and the Rito were no longer gripped by the cold. I was treated to another memory, once again relating to the futile efforts of the sages to destroy the Demon King, and I received the gust power.
So, two of the temples were completed, and I had began to piece together the story a bit more. Ironically, all of this expended effort to save the Rito had started out as a task to reach the Gerudo. Would I pursue them next?
No, or at least, not immediately. I wanted to do more exploring, complete more shrines, and see more of this new Hyrule. An encounter with Impa put on a path to the Forgotten Temple.
This place had been filled to the brim with decayed guardians in Breath of the Wild. They were blessedly absent, and the only enemies of note were a few bokoblins. I met Impa within the temple, and together, we learned the locations of every geo-glyph, and thus, every tear and memory connected to them.
Where to next? I wasn’t sure. I felt like I had entered a spell of randomly poking around, but sometimes, in a Zelda game, that’s the best way…