Arbiter's Grounds (Twilight Princess)
The dungeon's entrance
|Other media||Link's Crossbow Training|
|Boss(es)||Twilit Fossil: Stallord|
|Quest Reward(s)||Access to the Mirror Chamber|
The Arbiter's Grounds is the fourth dungeon in Twilight Princess.
Entrance to the Grounds
The Arbiter's Grounds is located at the far end of the Gerudo Desert. Link reaches the dungeon after infiltrating the Bulblin Camp and battling King Bulblin. The entrance to the grounds itself is uninhabited, except for an Imp Poe that appears at night on one side of it.
The Arbiter's Grounds was a prison built to house Hyrule's most ruthless criminals while they awaited trial, execution, or exile to the Twilight Realm. It is connected to the Spirit Temple from Ocarina of Time, both containing a statue of a woman wrapped in a snake. The Mirror Chamber, home of an ancient relic known as the Mirror of Twilight, stands atop the ruins of the Arbiter's Grounds, where the sacred council of the Sages presides over the cursed grounds, conducting trials and executions of convicted criminals. Its appearance from afar resembles the Roman Colosseum, but inside it resembles an Egyptian tomb.
The dungeon contains four floors and two basements. The first section of the dungeon is very similar to the Forest Temple in Ocarina of Time, as it requires tracking down and destroying four unique Poes in order to light four torches and proceed into the inner sanctums of the prison. Link must transform into his wolf form to follow the Scent of the Poes' essence, which helps him seek them out. After destroying each Poe, one of the four torches in the main room will be lit; once all four torches are lit, a door leading deeper into the prison will open and Link will be able to advance to the second part of the dungeon, where new and different types of obstacles await him, including metallic rails that can give Link a ride once he obtains the ancient device known as the Spinner.
The Arbiter's Grounds teems with the undead. Its halls are haunted by vengeful wraiths, from Stalfos and Stalchild to Gibdos and Bubbles, and even the occasional pack of Ghoul Rats. Link also encounters swarms of Poison Mites, which threaten to slow him down and pull him under the pits of quicksand that cover the dungeon. The Spinner is protected by the dungeon's mini-boss, Death Sword, a vengeful spirit that haunts the sword it once wielded in life. In addition to riding rails to access otherwise inaccessible areas, the Spinner is also necessary to spin certain gears to open new pathways in the dungeon.
Deep within the Arbiter's Grounds lies the remains of a fierce beast, Stallord. Its skeleton is reanimated when Zant appears and stabs the Scimitar of Twilight through the creature's skull. Link is able to defeat it by using a combination of the Spinner and the Master Sword. After clearing the dungeon, Link will be able to progress to the Mirror Chamber outside, where the Mirror of Twilight is found.
Minor Enemies and Traps
Link's Crossbow Training
In Link's Crossbow Training, the Arbiter's Grounds set the stage for two of the game's stages. The first in Stage 1, which is played as a Ranger level. Link can freely roam the area to destroy the 25 Bulblins during the set time allotment. This task takes place outside of the dungeon in a network of fences, towers, gates, and ruined stone walls. The Bulblins wielding clubs will rush towards Link, although they are not much of a threat, as one shot eliminates them. Bulblin archers can be found mostly in higher vantage points along walls and in towers.
The second occurrence in Stage 7 is actually set inside a hallway of the dungeon. The targets rotate in and out of range from the ceiling in the first scene. The second moves targets along the Spinner rails towards Link. The final area normally encountered is immediately before a doorway and Gibdos constantly rise from the sand. An alternative end scene can be unlocked by shooting the Scarecrows eight times and bursting the head for 1000 points in the first two scenes. This ends the stage at the opposite end of the chamber's hall facing a wall. No Gibdos will appear, but several targets and bonus gold colored targets will fill the screen.
- The Hylian text on the Dungeon Map and the map of Hyrule gives the name of the dungeon as Arbiter's Keep.
- Gerudo Typography appears commonly on the markings on the walls of the dungeon, implying that the Gerudo were involved in the dungeon's construction. This typography also appears particularly prominent around the resting place of the Spinner and locations where it is designed to be used.
- Besides the Imp Poe in Jovani's House, the four Poes inside the grounds are the only ones that must be defeated in order to proceed in the game.
- Each Sage residing in the Mirror Chamber corresponds to a Sage from Ocarina of Time regarding their emblems, representing the six Medallions that need to be retrieved in that game, except for the Medallion of the Water Sage, whom Ganondorf had slain.
- Throughout the dungeon, images of the Triforce can be seen in places such as above the first locked door and above the great door closed by the four Poes. One room also contains three torches in a triangle shape.
- Four of the Medallions' symbols - Water, Spirit, Fire, and Light - are inscribed above the doorways in Arbiter's Grounds.
- A picture of Arbiter's Grounds can be found in the Snowpeak Ruins, in the room Yeta is sitting in.
- Arbiter's Grounds is the only dungeon in the game (aside from Hyrule Castle) where Midna does not create an exit portal after the boss is defeated.
The word "arbiter" is another word for a judge or a mediator, an authorized person who makes and passes judgment to settle conflicts.
|Names in Other Regions|
|Japanese||砂漠の処刑場 (Sabaku no Shokeijō)||Desert Execution Grounds|
|FrenchEU||Tour du Jugement||Tower of Jugement|
|Italian||Patibolo del Deserto||Scaffold of the Desert|
|SpanishEU||Patíbulo del Desierto||Gibbet of the Desert|
The Arbiter's Grounds from Gerudo Mesa at night
- "The Gerudo Desert once held a prison built to hold the worst criminals this land has ever known... The criminals who were sentenced to death were sent directly to the underworld by a cursed mirror that was kept in the prison...Now that prison is condemned, and even the road leading to the desert is impassable." — Auru (Twilight Princess)
- "The era of Twilight Princess, where the Gerudo have left the kingdom of Hyrule after losing their leader Ganondorf. Within the desert now stands an executions ground governed by the kingdom. Inside stands a statue wrapped in a snake as well as Gerudo writing. The grounds are connected to the Spirit Temple." (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 45)