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The Helmaroc King was a giant, monstrous bird created by Ganondorf to serve him as one of his major henchmen. His primary task was to capture girls with long ears to help Ganondorf find Zelda's heir. The Helmaroc King also served as a guard for the Forsaken Fortress, bringing any intruders to Ganondorf who, then, decided their fate. This happens to Link on his first visit to the fortress, with the Helmaroc King throwing him into the sea after catching him trying to save his sister Aryll.
When Link revisits the fortress halfway through the game, Tetra and her gang of pirates fend off the Helmaroc King while Link sneaks over to the main tower. When he reaches it, Tetra and two of her men take Aryll and the other girls to safety. The Helmaroc King arrives and chases Link up the tower as it fills with water. When they reach the top, he is fought as the level's boss character. Upon defeat, the Helmaroc King flies up into the air and, as all of the fortress' searchlights shine on him, lets out one last shriek before exploding in a cloud of feathers. The player is then rewarded with the usual Heart Container and access to the fortress' observation deck, where Ganondorf awaits.