The Legend of Zelda: The Aegis of Time

The Legend of Zelda

The Aegis of Time

The fletching of the arrow brushed against the man’s beard as he held his breath. He had one shot, and couldn’t miss it. He felt the rough and hardened feathers tear a few strands of his beard away. The arrow whistled through the air, piercing through the morning haze as quickly as it pierced the heart of his target. The animal bellowed as her last seconds of life were stolen from her. The man let out a sigh he had been holding in. He leapt down from the ledge he had been crouching upon and rushed down to begin skinning his kill. He gripped the dear and pulled out his hunting knife. Just as the tip of the blade entered the hide, something caught his eye. A small fractured piece of ceramic, painted blue and reflecting the thin slits of sunrise, dancing through the needles. He set down his knife and picked it up, turning it over in front of his eyes. Then he saw it, attached to the ceramic was a small piece of metal, and carved upon it, three small golden triangles. A memory suddenly gripped his mind. It was like he was back, so many years ago. He could almost feel the warm sun against his face. He could see her, standing there in her white dress, before the fountain. A small smile crept its way across his cheeks. Suddenly, she began to turn her head to look at him. No! The thought roared inside his head. His mind was torn away from his memory. He had spent years suppressing those memories. Nothing good came from remembering. He stuffed the piece of ceramic into his bag and returned his knife to its sheath. He hated to have to drag his kill back home, but he didn’t want to do it here, not now at least.

As the man walked back through the woods, his kill slung over his shoulder. Even for a man of his slender build, he had no trouble carrying the doe. His feet made little sound, thanks to the layer of pine needles beneath him. The sounds of birds waking from their nightly slumber filled his ears, and the scent of the morning due mixed with fresh blood. Suddenly, the snapping of a twig forced him to attention, His left hand twitched to his scabbard as his right loosened its grip on the legs of the deer. He turned, knowing full well the kind of creatures that lived in these woods. To his surprise, it was not a Wolfos or a Moblin, but instead, a Stalfos. His grip on the doe lessened as the walking skeleton clad in armor approached him, apparently tuned in to the other person standing in the forrest. The Hunter gripped his sword as the Stalfos became visibly agitated. With a sudden growl of rage the undead beast lunged, and with a speed the hunter thought had left him, his sword flew from its sheath to collide with the jagged blade of the shambling corpse. The clang of metal on metal shattered the peaceful silence of the wood. The hunter pulled the wooden shield from his back and gripped it with his right hand. If this creature was to fight him, it would be in for quite the fight. As the hunter fought the undead bag of armor and bones, he realized how much his body missed a true challenge. It had been to long since he had faced an enemy with any kind of skill. Then, with a twist of his blade, the hunter jammed his sword between the shiny white ribs and snapped the creature in half. With a screech the monster shattered into a pile of bones. The hunter gripped his sword for a few moments, whishing the moment hadn’t ended. He had felt so alive. He returned his sword to its sheath and looked around, just making sure he hadn’t spooked any other creatures. As he tied his shield back to his pack and walked over to retrieve his doe. Suddenly, his nose twitched, what was that smell? Smoke… “What in Hylia’s name?” Wondered the hunter. Nobody would dare light a fire in the Lost Woods. Unless… He began to run, dropping the deer and rushing in the direction he had come. The smell of smoke had begun to grow more intense, and the hunter tried to push the idea out of his head. He had hidden for so many years, he couldn’t have been found now. As he reached the edge of the tree line surrounding his house, he was met with exactly what he was horrified he would see. Before him, his home, a small hut that he had built himself, had transformed into a scorching inferno. He rushed over to the well he had dug to find it collapsed and covered with the wall-stones. He tore them away with his unnatural strength and plunged his hand into the empty hole. Grabbing the bucket’s rope, he ripped up the pail and tore the rope from the handle. Filling it with water, he turned to his house and doused it with the cold liquid. He repeated this action over and over, praying that he hadn’t come to late. After hours of dumping the house with water, his stamina exhausted itself. He fell to his knees. There was nothing else he could do. It was over. Once he regained his strength he stood and stagger-ran his way into the smoking frame of his home. He franticly brushed his hands through the wet soot. Hoping for something, anything. He found only a few pieces of metal, indistinguishable from what they once were. While running his hands through the black layer of filth, his finger suddenly rubbed against something sharp. He placed his entire fist around it and pulled it up. A small piece of ceramic, painted blue, with a few small holes carved into it. He rubbed the soot off it and then plunged his hand into his hunting bag. His dirty black finger rubbed against a piece of ceramic, the one he had found in the woods. He pulled it out, and then heard a faint humming. He put the two pieces of ceramic closer to each other. The humming grew, and when they met, there was a small flash of blue light, and the two pieces fused together. The hunter turned it over, and then he heard a voice, in the back of his mind, a vaguely familiar voice, saying, “Link…"

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That’s a weird way to spell Kratos


Is this similar to the new God of War? I haven’t played it so I wouldn’t know.

A warrior with a terrible past living in a wood cabin in the forest? Yes, that’s basically the beginning of God of War. :laughing:

Don’t worry, I believe you, that’s just a really weird coincidence.

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Well, at least he doesn’t have a dead wife and a son to train. That’s God of war, right?

Oh, by the way, @Ghidora131 and @PakariNation99, thanks for reading through the whole thing, even if God of War was the only thing it made you think of.

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Link walked up to the courtyard as other soldiers trained and sparred with each other. He knew each of them and knew each of their weaknesses. His own prowess with a sword, or any other weapon for that matter, made him at equal skill with the captain, even if he was aging. Sword fighting had always come easy to him. He quickly made his way across the field and began to walk up the steps to the main hall of the palace. The halls were decorated with paintings of the royal family and other important figures from Hylian history. As he walked towards the throne-room, his eyes lingered on a single painting. The disgraced hero, his name forgotten to time, and his face painted over. Though there had been many heroes in the history of his nation, this one was hated. He had failed. When all the fate of Hyrule rested on his shoulders, he failed. Ganon, the Demon King, killed him, and the war that followed nearly destroyed the kingdom he had sworn to protect. He promised himself that he would not fail like the Forgotten Hero, he couldn’t. Just then, he entered the throne room to see the king, the queen, their two daughters, and his friend, Girad. What could the entire royal family want with two of the finest warriors in Hyrule?
“Ah, Link, you’re here.” Said the King. “Now, to the matter at hand.” The king stood and reached the front steppes of his throne.
“Zelda, Phelia, I have seen our world get more dangerous. With the Moblins becoming more confident in their attacks, and the rumors of cultists going around, I no longer feel safe with you two leaving the castle alone. Phelia, I entrust you into the protection of Girad. And Zelda, I trust that Link will keep you safe.” The king looked at Link when he said this. Princess Zelda’s mouth hung open slightly before she shut it. She was the younger of the two, and it showed. Her sister kept her composure, not giving Girad any hint as to what she thought of this. The king then turned to his daughters and said,
“If you ever wish to leave Castle Town, you will be accompanied by your protectors.” Before returning to his throne and waving his hand in dismissance.

Link’s memory faded as he held the pieces of ceramic. A tear rolled down his face, the memory had been clear as day. He had spent so long trying to forget. Why now? Why did he have to remember? He stood up in his home, the scent of smoke still burning in his nose. He looked around, only the burned and blackened walls surrounded him. Nothing else could be salvaged, nothing could be saved. He put the pieces of ceramic into his satchel and walked out the doorframe. He bent down and inspected a few of the tracks in the mud, small, two toed tracks. “Bokoblins…” And beside them, the thin, boney tracks of a Stalfos. He knew who did this. How they had found his home was beyond him. He had been hidden for so many years, but that was beside the point. They had found him, they had tried to kill him, and will try again. There was no point in staying. He took one more sweep of the place before leaving grabbing his pack and turning back to the home one last time. He sighed and turned away, back to the forest. The mist blowing and swirling, no longer beautiful like it had been that morning. Now it only reminded him of his grief. He stepped into the thin fog, not looking back, and forsook him home of fifteen years.

Zelda huffed and turned away from Link.
“What, are you not even going to say anything?” She asked throwing her head back. Link just set his jaw and glared back at her. He, he couldn’t. He hadn’t for so many years. He had tried, yet whenever he had opened his mouth, nothing came out. The princess had tried to leave Castletown for the first time, and he followed her.
“I’m leaving, and you may not come with me.” She began to walk back towards her hours. Link put a look of determination on his face and followed her. She turned around shouted at Link.
“Stop it!” He walked up and put a hand on her arm. She tried to tear away, she turned around and looked at him. Keeping eye contact, Link grabbed the reigns of his horse. The king had commanded him to be with her, and he would not fail the king.

Link’s memory faded back in as he strode through the woods. He wanted to try to forget, but what why should he try? Those pieces of ceramic wouldn’t let him forget. And now, he had no home, nowhere to stay, and little food. While walking through the woods, Link began to wonder how much the world must have changed while he was gone. A lot could change over fifteen years. The woods were so empty, after the fall that is. There was no need for the Skullkids, Stalchildren, or Stalfos to stay. To be honest, while they had provided a deterrent for any intruders and a welcome challenge every now and then, he preferred the quiet peace of the forest. The sounds of chirping nearly made him forget about his grief, a side effect of the forest, helping you to forget, lose yourself inside the endless canopy of trees. He knew the forest like no one else, probably because he had been living there for so long. Then again, how long had he been living there? As he had said, the forest had a way of making you forget. Yet while he could walk around the wood for hours with no thought of getting lost, outside, he had no idea what he would find. Within the hour, he could see trees, not unusual, yet beyond them, clear, blue sky, patched with small white clouds. This was it, the fringe of the forest. He stared out from the edge of the tree-line, looking over the field, splotched with pines and scrub oak. Just one more step… He took it, and walked out into the morning light, lifting is hand to shield his eyes. He was at the top of a hill, surrounded by the pine-trees and small bushes. Before him, the field, its openness only being cut by the occasional river or large stone. It was, different. Even through his muddied memory, he could tell something had changed. Link then realized, it was the ruined towers off in the distance. When he had entered the woods, those towers were still intact. Now they lay crumbled on the ground. He started walking, out into the field, moving towards the river. A cold breeze blew in his face, telling him it must have been sometime in mid-autumn. He shifted his pack on his shoulders as he strode through the lightly wooded plane. As he neared the river, his nostrils were greeted with the familiar smell of running water. In the Lost Woods, there were plenty of puddles and ponds, but streams were infrequent. He missed it. She, she had enjoyed it. He began to follow it. He knew that if he tracked the river downstream for long enough, he’d eventually find somebody. Hopefully he would find someone that could give him some food and point him in a sparsely populated direction, perhaps with some abandoned buildings. Then again, if the rest of Hyrule was in the same state, he wouldn’t have any trouble finding a vacant residence. His train of thought broke away as his muddied mind drifted back into memory.

Link charged down the hill. The princess had snuck out of his sight for only a moment, and he was horrified what could have happened to her. Then, as he crested a hill, he saw her. Zelda ran, the strands of hair loosed from her braids flying behind her. A hooded figure chased after her, his jagged and rough-hewn blade brandished and ready to cut down the princess. Link wasn’t about let the kingdom down. He ran down and began to lay chase. The figure turned and Zelda turned to look at the new pair of footsteps in the chase, causing Zelda to lose her footing and collapse. The figure was almost upon her, but so was Link. His broadsword flew from his scabbard and into the pursuant. The figure collapsed and tumbled to the ground after his stride had been halted by Link. The life ebbed from the figure, now laying on his back. Link could see it was just a young Hylian. He leaned down the young man hissed a gasp of air and spoke up.
“The dark will rise again…” The man stuttered and rolled over, breathing his last. Link walked over to Zelda and offered her his hand. She looked up into his eyes and took his hand.
“I’m sorry, I just wanted to get away for a moment, but that man, he rushed me.” She looked down and link followed her gaze. A cut through her ■■■■■, above her corset and below her arm, seeped red into her undershirt. It wasn’t deep, but it was still a wound. Zelda put her hand on the wound and grimaced.
“Thankyou, for stepping in.” She said. A compassionate smile pushed its way across Link’s face. He was just happy he had made it in time.

Link’s mind faded back in as he gazed up at the sun, and saw it was reaching mid day. He could just see the edge of the Lost Woods behind him. The foliage around him didn’t change, even in the hours he had been walking. He passed the same pines and scrub oaks, with the occasional maple tree showing the surrounding ground with red leaves. He had almost missed the sight of the warm fiery colors of the other trees that grew outside the woods. She had enjoyed this time of year. The warm food, the long nights by the fire… He shook his head. Just being out of the forrest had already begun to clear his mind. The old, aching longing had begun to scratch at his mind. He contemplated going back, back to the forest. Yet if the Stalfos felt brave enough to return to the forest, then he couldn’t. He would most likely fall asleep one night, and wake up to find a jagged stal-blade sticking out of his chest. The forest faded from view behind him as he walked, and he saw the sun reaching the edge of the mountains to the west. The day was coming to its conclusion, and he knew he had better get to a fire. Night was no time for a traveler. As the sun began to set, and the light faded from Hyrule, Link realized he had no time to find some other traveler’s fire and settled on making his own out of deadwood. As the last shards of light fell away from the sky, Link set down a bundle of dry wood and drew his knife and flint. With a few strikes against his tinder consisting of dried pine needles and dead Hylian long-grass, a small flicker of flame sprung up. Link then began to set the branches in a tent shape around the small flicker of flame, trying to build up the flame. As the fire picked up and began to crackle as the small pockets of pine sap popped. The smell of the burning pine wood started to make his head swirl as a memory crept up into his mind.

A feminine shout shook Link awake as he shot up to grab his sword. His head whipped around, looking for who the attacker might be. Their horses snorted, and after realizing that no one was there, he turned to see the princess, breathing heavy and sweating. She turned to him.
“Oh, did I wake you?” She asked. Link began to shake his head, but she immediately followed with. “I’m sorry, I had a nightmare.” Link gave a slight sympathetic smile. He knew how those could be. He shifted in under his blanket, sitting up. He knew she needed would need to tell him about it. He always had. She sighed, seaming to think the same thing. They had a rough start, she didn’t exactly like having him around. She seamed upset that her father didn’t believe her to be mature enough to ride out alone. Then again, she was much more interested in exploring the kingdom, whereas her sister seamed much more content with staying in the castle. But, over the past month, she had grown more accustomed to his presence, he would even call her a friend. She sat up and sighed.
“In my dream, I was standing in the field outside the castle. I was alone, and then, a man approached me. His skin was a dark grey color, and his clothing was black. The thing that scared me most was his piercing red eyes. He approached me, not talking, and I tried to run, but he chased he. I fell, and then I felt a sword go through me, that-that’s when I screamed.” She quivered. Link put a hand on her shoulder. He’d had similar dreams when he was a child, mostly brought about by his fear of Redeads. She him gave a small smile and lied back down. Link still sat, keeping watch, making sure the fire wasn’t burning out. He promised himself he wouldn’t fail, he wouldn’t let anyone hurt Hyrule, or, the princess.

Link’s eyes snapped open to a loud splash of water. His head whipped around to see a large scaled humanoid figure standing in the water. A pair of fins protruded from the sides of the creature’s face, a face accentuated by a large circular mouth full of teeth. Link drew his sword and shield and stared into the River-Zora’s eyes. The creature wielded a bow and wore a few small pieces of roughhewn metal strapped to its body. Link knew how these creatures fought, he had faced many of them in his past. The beast suddenly convulsed its neck and launched a large wad of saliva at his opponent. Link smacked it away with his shield and the ran up and swung his sword at the creature. His opponent raised its bow and locked into the metal bracing in the bow. Link then slammed his shield into the creature’s face. The creature shook its head and gave Link an opening to pierce its heart. The beast’s eyes snapped open with shock and within seconds dilated and faded out. It slid off his blade and fell back into the water. He began to give a sigh of relief before he heard two more splashes. He swung out his sword and held it to the neck of his assailant.
“Wait!” They shouted. “We’re friends!” He lowered his sword and got a good look at the speaker. He was a Zora, with dark blue and muddied scales clad in several pieces of silver armor standing with another similarly colored Zora at the edge of the water.
“Did you kill that River-Zora?” Said the first Zora, pointing his spear at the body floating down the river. Link nodded. The Zora turned to his companion before looking back to Link.
“Please, come with us.” He said before diving into the water. Link began to jog after them, as they were obviously not swimming at full speed. He knew he could easily defeat the two of them, even if they attacked him at once, but if they weren’t going to attack him, there was no reason to start a fight. After a short while the two Zora stopped at a crumbling tower with the river running into it. They swam under and Link walked up to the tower. A weathered wooden door opened and one of the Zora waved his arm for Link to enter. Link stepped inside and saw it was just the two Zora standing in water that varied in depth between two inches to four feet. Books laid in the water, apparently sitting there for years. This must have been an abandoned watch tower, from a time before the fall, now captured and used by the Zora.
“Well, I’m sure you’re wondering why I asked you to follow me.” Said the first Zora. “I am Ikam, and this is Joras. We had been tracking that River-Zora for the past several days, and to be honest, you impressed us with how easily you killed it.” The other Zora grunted at him. “And well, I’ll just get to it. The daughter of our queen has been kidnapped by a nearby tribe of River-Zora, and we can’t storm their camp. They can smell us you see, in the water.” Link nodded, he knew, he knew how the River-Zora had some unnatural ability to track down any Zora in the water.
“And I’m sure you know, Zora fight best in the water. We have made several attempts, only to have them come back bloodied and, bruised if they returned at all. But, if you, Hylian, could help us, then we could get in to their camp without swimming, and with your skill with a blade, we could bring her home.” Link looked at the two. So, they wanted them to help them save a princess. Nothing he hadn’t done before. He contemplated their request, he had no desire to be flung back into a battle, but if he didn’t, the death of a princess would be on his hands. Soon, the second Zora, Joras, spoke up and said.
“Come on man, we don’t have all day.”
“Well, will you help us?” Asked Ikam. Link sighed and nodded.
“Excellent, we’ll prepare for the journey and leave at noon.”

Link stood and adjusted his sword on his back. The clock on the wall, still working after so many years of disuse, marked the twelfth hour of the day. He turned, and the two Zora also stood, finishing up preparing their weapons and armor for the infiltration.
“Well, let’s get moving.” Ikam said, shifting his spear and armor. Joras nodded, and Link followed. Ikam opened the door and the three men walked out. A chilled breeze blew through the trees beside them. While they walked through the field, following the river, Ikam spoke up.
“You know, it means a lot to me, that your trying to help. The princess is my cousin you see, and it was driving me crazy, thinking that she was up there all alone, and that I could do nothing to help her.” Link nodded, he understood.
“You sure are a man of few words, aren’t you.” Ikam said. Link shrugged, he supposed he had become quiet, living in the woods with no one to talk to but himself.
“Shh…” Hushed Joras. “Do you want to alert the entire River-Zora tribe?”
“My apologies.” Whispered Ikam. Joras hushed him again and whispered.
“We’re almost there.” Within the minutes they crested a ridge and could see the River-Zora camp.
“Alright Hylian, it’s your move now.” Remarked Ikam. Link drew the bow he had slung on his back and nocked an arrow to the string. He raised his hand, motioning for the two Zora to stay behind. He slid down the ridge and hid behind a box. The camp was full of the slimy scaled creatures, walking around on guard duty or munching on fish. He spied the main building, that must have been where they were keeping the girl. He started to crawl around in the boxes, trying to get a better vantage point. He gripped his bow tighter and dodged over to another outcropping. He looked down to see if any of the River-Zora had seen him. They just continued to go about their business. Link breathed a sigh of relief and looked at the boxes that surrounded him. Most of them were just wooden crates, but then, Link noticed one of the boxes bore the emblem of the Hylian Royal Family painted onto the box. Trying to be as quiet as possible, he cracked the top off. His eyes widened as he saw the contents. A professionally made Hylian Hookshot. It was at that moment that Link began to think of a plan. He slung his bow back upon his back and drew out the hookshot, holding it in one hand while grabbing his sword in the other. Then, with a jump atop one of the boxes Link fired the hookshot at a nearby branch. The River-Zora erupted into a flurry of cries and shouts as Link flew through the air and landed on one of the guards. His sword passed cleanly through the Zora and into the dirt beneath him. What was left of the creature fell to the ground as he rushed towards the main building. Several more River-Zora fell to his blade as he pressed into the building. His blade pierced the scaly hide of one of the last Zora he saw in the hallway before slamming a large wooden door behind him. He could hear their screeches and scratching as they tried to enter. After making sure the door would not open, he turned around. He was in a long dark hallway, flanked on both sides by small torches, bond to the wall by straps of leather. He snuck through the halls, trying to make the least noise. He shifted the hook-shot to his back and drew out his shield. Along the way, he encountered a few River-Zora guards, walking around in the randomly spaced tunnels. They had no sense of architecture or building design. After a couple more River-Zora guards fell to his blade he came to a large circular door. After managing to get it open, he was in a large, dimly lit, circular room. Rooms whose entryways were covered with bars lined the walls. His attention was captured by a small sniffle. His head whipped around to see, beside several Zora skeletons, was just a little girl, baring the classic physical attributes of a Zora. Was this the princess? She was so young… He knocked on the bars. She gasped and turned.
“Who-who are you?” She said. Link leaned in the light emanating from the bars. “Wait, you’re, you’re not a River-Zora, are you here to save me?” Link nodded.
“Quick, help me out of here, before it comes back.” She whispered. “It?” He wondered, what did she mean by it? Suddenly, a large crash behind him drew his attention. A hulking River-Zora with bits of jagged metal strapped to him randomly, as if attempting to appear as armor. And then Link saw it, a ring of keys tied to its belt. So, this was the Dungeon-Guard, this shouldn’t be to- Link train of thought was shattered by the creatures flying fist hurling him into the wall. Alright. It wouldn’t be as easy as he thought. He pulled his shield from his back and prepared for the coming fight. The creature leapt out at Link and forced link to block instead of attack. His wooden shield creaked under the weight of the absurdly oversized River-Zora. How had any creature gotten this big? The monster continued to smash down on Link’s shield, trying to snap the wood in two. With the repetitive motion of the creature, trying to smash his shield to pieces, Link had an idea. At the last time the creature tried to break his shield, Link instead thrust with his sword, piercing through the monster’s hand. The beast wailed, and Link then used his advantage to swing up onto the beast’s arm. Climbing up the River-Zora, he made his way to the head, almost getting thrown off, and stabbed the beast right down through the its head. It toppled to the ground and Link slid down to the ground beside it. With more effort than he should have needed, he pulled the sword from the enemy’s head. He stood there for a moment, savoring the vigor of battle before moving over to the beast’s belt and ripped the keys off. Turning over to the cell that held the princess, he walked up and inserted the key into the lock. The Zora princess stood up and moved to the door.
“Is it safe?” She asked. Link nodded in response. Just as he turned the lock, he heard the door behind him open. He turned and held the cell-door shut behind him.
“What are you-?” The princess began before link shushed her. A crack of light shone through as the door opened, and the two heard the shout.
“Noruta!” Ikam rushed in quickly followed by Joras. Link gave a sigh of relief. Ikam rushed over and was embraced by his cousin. Joras looked at Link’s puzzled expression and said.
“When you distracted the River-Zora, we were able to pick them off one by one with our bows from the ridge.” Link gave a nod. They must have been fine archers to do so. Joras looked over at what was left of the hulking River-Zora.
“You do this?” He asked, looking at Link. Again, Link nodded. “Well done. I’ve never seen them get that big.” Noruta was talking quickly to Ikam, and Link could just make out their conversation.
“Why did it take you so long to find me. I’ve been waiting in here for ages. They didn’t feed me and when they did it was rotten. But, oh, I’m so glad you came.” She hugged him again at that point. Joras and Link walked over to one of the other cells. Not one used for containing prisoners, but instead holding riches they had with them before they were imprisoned. Joras began to sift through the bags, apparently seeing if he could find anything to link the items to their previous owners.
“Take anything you like, the previous owners won’t need them, and we have no way of repaying you for what you did.” Joras said, lifting a piece of armor. Link began to poke around for something he could use. A piece of armor here, a long spear there. Nothing he really needed. But then, he found a small bag with the Zora sigil emblazoned on it. He held it up to the bag and showed it to Joras.
“Princess!” He called. He tossed the bag over to Ikam who gave it to the princess. Noruta took it and opened it. Link realized that there was nothing here he needed. He walked back to Ikam and the Princess.
“Will you be making your leave?” Asked Ikam. Link nodded, he had done his part, and it was high time he was on his way. Princess Noruta stuffed her hands into her bags and pulled something out. Link could hear a faint humming coming from his own satchel. He looked down at the young Zora. In her hands, she held a small piece of blue ceramic. He knew where it must have come from.
“It’s, it’s not much, but I found it in the river. I really liked it, but since you saved me, I want you to have it.” Link’s eyes welled with tears. She would never know how much it really meant to him. He took it from her hands and began to walk away.
“Hylian, we thank you, more than you could ever know.” Ikam said. “And you will always be welcome in the land of the Zora.” Link gave a grateful smile back and walked out the door.

Link sat out at the foot of a tree with the last edges of the mountains and the River-Zora camp. He pulled the piece of ceramic from his bag, and then the pieces he already had. The humming grew louder as he stared at the pieces. He held them close, and a small flash of light emanated from the pieces and they meshed together seamlessly. He ran his fingers over the pieces. They had sealed together as if it had never cracked. His fingers tingled as they ran against the ceramic, and his mind began to swim.

“You know, I think my father worries to much.” Princess Zelda said, looking over at Link from atop her horse. Link’s eyebrow rose.
“Sometimes, I feel like I should be aloud to go out on my own, at least around the surrounding towns.” Link frowned.
“Oh, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t dare go very far on my own, and it’s not that I don’t enjoy your company, but sometimes, I feel like I need some time to myself.” Link gave a face showing how much he understood. He too occasionally needed some time to himself. He couldn’t imagine what it must be like for her, always having some handmaiden attending her or being forced to attend dinner with some other royal family. It would’ve driven him crazy. Zelda turned back and sighed.
“I, I know he just wants to keep me safe, but sometimes…” She trailed off. “Well, we better get moving. We don’t want to keep my father waiting.” She said as she kicked her horse into a trot.

Link’s vision slowly faded back in. He wondered, were these invasive memories a side effect of living in the Lost Woods for so long? Or did they have something to do with his gift? Perhaps it was a combination of both. He put his hand beneath him and pushed himself up and sighed. Perhaps he could return to the Zora, try and make a life for himself. The Zora had always been kind to him, and they surely would be even more welcome now, after he had saved their princess. But no, he couldn’t. He didn’t want to remember, and if the Stalfos and Bokoblins had found him the first time, then they would surely find him again. They found him in the lost woods for goddess’s sake. If they could find him there, then they could find him anywhere. He looked out over the beautiful landscape. He really did miss being out here. The colors seamed much more vibrant outside of the forrest. He then shifted the weight of his backpack and set out on his way. Following about an hour of his trek, he could see a wisp of smoke rising on the horizon. His mind flashed back to just a day before, and he started running without any idea of what he was running into. As he approached, he was ready to begin dousing the house with the nearest bucket, when to is relief, he realized it was just the smoke rising from the chimney of a small home. He stood there, at the edge of the property, slightly taken aback by his own reaction to the smoke. He had overreacted. But, if the owners were in trouble, then his reaction would have been an act of heroism. Yet, with nothing wrong, to any passersby he would just be a crazy winded hunter standing outside some farmer’s house. He walked past the house, not wanting to disturb the owners, when he heard a voice.
“Hey you!” Link turned. A man in a farmer’s tunic with a small sword swung on his waist. “Where are you off to?” He questioned. Link turned and shrugged, hardly motioning his arm to gesture across the horizon.
“Ah, just a wanderer, can I interest you in a meal, or simply some supplies for your journey?” Link approached, slowly, slightly cautious of the man. His large mustache and sagging cheeks matching the rotund belly and stained white ■■■■■. Link walked towards the fence. The man approached, his hand on his sword. Link looked down at the blade, a relatively cheap sword. The man followed his gaze and remarked.
“You can never truly be too careful.” He leaned against the fence, shifting his weight to get comfortable. “Well, what can I do for you? We grow carrots, pumpkins, and radishes. And if you are interested, I’m sure my daughter could get a stew going.” Link thought for a moment. He hadn’t eaten anything save for some deer jerky he had in his pack over the past two days. A warm stew sounded quite good. He nodded. The man paused for a second, thinking through what yes meant to his list of questions, and then said.
“Maylin, get some stew heated up.” Link smiled and nodded his thanks. While they waited, the farmer walked him over to a tree stump. He gestured for Link to sit down so he could wait.
“Sorry that I’m not inviting you in. But you’ve got to understand that I’m not going to just trust anyone I meet off the road, but a man has to make a living.” After a few minutes a tall Hylian girl in what looked like her early twenties with striking red hair walk out with a steaming wooden bowl. Link’s eyes widened, partly for the smell coming from the bowl, and partly for something else.
“Thankyou Maylin.” Said the man before taking the bowl. She smiled at her father, and then hardly let her eyes linger on Link before walking back into the house. “That’s my daughter, Maylin. She’s quite a beauty isn’t she.” Link tired not to make any sort expression. He didn’t want to upset the man. Them man handed Link his bowl and said.
“I’m sure your wondering why a man and his daughter are living out here alone without any real protection. Well, we sell our produce to some of the Zora, and in return, they keep a watch on us.” Link sipped his stew, apparently made of carrots with pieces of radish giving it a kick. He gave a small nod.
“We ran from our home in Hyrule field when she was only a small girl, during the fall.” The man leaned in closely and whispered.
“If I’m going to be honest with you, I found the house after the previous owners were killed by some Momblins.” Link tipped the bowl up and sipped directly from wooden dish to finish his meal.
“You enjoy it?” Asked the Man. Link nodded and stood. “I’ll make sure to tell my daughter. Oh, and that will be ten rupees.” Link plunged a hand into his wallet. After fishing through several green and red rupees before finding two blue rupees and handing them to the man. The farmer shook held out his hand and said.
“By the way, the names Tarin.” Link grabbed Tarin’s hand and shook it. He turned to leave before Tarin shouted out.
“And friend, if you ever need a warm meal, just come calling.”

The last licks of sunlight fell behind the western mountains as Link followed the path. He knew that, again, he’d have to sleep outside, and the rainclouds building on the horizon only enforced the how much he dreaded it. As he walked, the first drops of rain fell through the sky and only his face, neck, and down his ■■■■■. They started as simple dewdrops of moisture, yet slowly built into large exploding droplets. His eyes twitched as the water stung into them. He didn’t like rain, neither had she. They used to always try and take shelter, regardless of where. He didn’t think anyone in Hyrule enjoyed the rain, save for the Zora. It made the roads and hills slick and overall made Hyrule harder to traverse. Link began to look for cover. He soon decided on a large sprawling pine for his shelter. He sat down beneath the tree, shivering in the cold. He dared not start a fire beneath the tree, not with all the dried and dead needles lying around. You’d need to be a Goron to survive the ensuing inferno. He could feel the moisture soaking its way through his clothes. Suddenly, Link winced, he looked down to see a bleeding gash in his side. It was relatively small and insignificant, he mustn’t have noticed it earlier. He must have gotten it while fighting the River-Zora. Perhaps he should get some form of protection. He always used to wear a mail ■■■■■ when he protected the princess. He wondered where he could find a chainmail ■■■■■. He had shed his old mail ■■■■■ when he ran out of oil to prevent it from rusting. He set down his pack and opened it, beginning to fish for anything he could bind his injury with. He pulled out a large tattered piece of fabric. Holding it up, Link began to inspect it. He hadn’t seen this in years… His mind began to swim, and he could hear the humming return.

Link held up his ■■■■■ in front of him after attempting to scrub the blood from the shoulder, his chainmail ■■■■■ and brown tunic sitting beside him on the grass next to the river. He had let his guard down for a brief second when he and Zelda had been jumped by several Lizalfos while riding down the river. He couldn’t let that happen again. After turning the stain into a merely a hint of pink on the ■■■■■, he stood up getting ready to put his ■■■■■ back on, when he heard a small gasp. He turned around to hear, the owner of it say.
“I’m sorry, I thought you were finished.” Link quickly slipped into his undershirt and turned around to see the princess, now facing away from him. He walked over to the rest of his cloths and shook the chainmail on. Hearing this, Zelda turned back to him as he slipped his tunic back over the mail.
“Are we ready to head out?” She asked. Link nodded as he strapped his sword back onto his back. He then slung his Hylian Shield across the scabbard. It was one of his proudest achievements, getting that shield. Few knights at his age grew to the prowess with a sword and shield to be given such a master crafted tool of protection. Link walked over to Zelda and they continued on their way.

Link’s eyes opened. He was back on the side of the road. The rain had let up. He still held the scrap that was once his ■■■■■. He tore a piece off and wrapped it around his chest, that should help it until he could find something to stop it from getting infected. Link stood and looked down the road. He had better get moving, perhaps if he found a town he could see if anyone was willing to sell him some protection. He set off and began to walk down the road. The sweet damp smell of rain permeated the entire landscape, filling his nostrils and reminding him of how much he disliked the rain. The ground squelched beneath his feet as he walked, the light mist swirling around ground, clinging as dew to the grass and small shrubs. As he walked, his sword, pack, and shield began to feel heavier. The stew he had eaten several hours ago finally beginning wear down without eating anything else since. Not stopping his stride, he swung his pack round in front of him. He managed to fish out his small leather bag he kept his dried deer meet. He pulled out a long strip and began to chew on it. He had no clue how long it had been in there, but so long as it wasn’t rotting, he could eat it. He had learned to eat whatever came his way, with how few animals lived in the Lost Woods. As he ate the tough piece of salty dry meat, occasionally sipping from his water skin to counteract the effects of the meat, he realized how much he missed real food, eating only old, stale, dried meat for fifteen years. After satiating himself on the brown strips of meat, that were practically leather by now, he swung his pack back around behind him and continued to walk down the road.

Link continued to follow the road. The skies cleared as the sun followed its path down the sky. The road stretched on, and Link was reminded of how enormous his home was. The endless stretches of Hyrule seamed to go on for eternity, and he began to feel the weariness of the past days. The sun slowly moved towards mountains in the west and the whole of Hyrule began to fade into darkness. Link looked up as he walked, taking a moment to gaze at the stars. The treetops in the lost woods had obscured them for so long. The constellations stared down at him, Din, Farore, and Nayru, their stars arranged to form the shape of the Triforce, the governing power of Hyrule, the thing that started the sealing war. He had mixed feeling about the Triforce, it was such a powerful symbol of Hylia, of the origins of the royal family, yet it had also caused so much pain and suffering in Hyrule. He rounded a corner, his eyes beginning to flutter open and closed, when he saw a large stone structure, surrounded by, headstones. He beside a cemetery. Small stones built in both curved and crossed styles littered the field. Then, a small hunched over frame caught his eye. He crouched and began to move over. Within minutes he was right behind the figure, who he guessed to be a girl. He reached out and put a hand on her shoulder. She gave a tiny scream and fell around. Laying partially on her back and gripping a crossbow. She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw who it was that had snuck up on her.
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you.” She said. Link gave her a puzzled look.
“Ah, I’m sure your wondering what a little girl doing out here.” She said as she pulled up the hood of her poncho.
“My name’s Linette. All the people in my village think I’m crazy, but I want to be a hero, like the one in the stories, so I got myself some green clothing and put myself up for hire. I, I thought you were one of the boys from the village coming to scare me. They set me up, they said they’d pay me a hundred rupees if I retrieved a vase from the ancestor’s tomb, but they know I’m afraid of ghosts. I’m just trying to get up the courage to go in there.” She peaked back over at the engraven tomb. This girl was too keen on speaking to a complete stranger, but he understood. When he was a very young boy, he and Girad had played in the graveyard when they were children, even if their parents had told them not to. He had gone into a crypt on a dare, caught a glimpse of what they called a Redead from behind a corner, and was paralyzed in fear. Once he was able to free himself from its gaze, he ran out of there as fast as he could. Linette looked at the sword and bow slung on Link’s back and said.
“Could you, would you mind joining me, I’ll pay you from my reward. I just don’t want to go down there alone.” Link contemplated it for a moment, he could use some more rupees, and she did appear to desperately need some help. He nodded, and the young lady gave a sigh of relief.
“Thanks, there was no way I was going back without, whatever the boys are paying me for. But, I’m not sure I would have gone in there alone.” Link nodded and stood. Linette stood and gave a puff, apparently trying to toughen up, or appear that way.
“Alright, lets do this.” She prepared her crossbow. “You can go first, if you want.” Link smirked and walked forwards. They reached the entrance of the crypt and Link put a hand on the large stone barrier. After pushing it in the Link walked in, Linette following, sticking close behind Link. They walked down the dark cramped hallways, the smell of death permeating the air. Linette wrinkled her nose. She really hadn’t prepared for this. Suddenly, Link caught a glimpse of something moving in the corner of his eye. He put a hand on his sword and Linette spoke up.
“What, what is it?” Link honestly didn’t know. He had thought it would be a quick walk through a tomb, but now he wasn’t so sure. He rounded a corner, and immediately felt a rush of wind and heard an all to familiar laugh.
“What was that?” Linette said, frantically turning her head around looking for the noise. Link’s head tossed from right to left, looking for the owner of the voice. He heard the rush of wind and pulled his sword out of his scabbard. The disembodied spirit rushed him, and Link’s sword flew towards the lantern in its hand. The glass shattered and the flame blew out, splintered glass sliding across the floor. Linette gave a tiny yelp and then said.
“Was that a Poe?” She asked. Link nodded. “So, we just hit the lantern?” Link gave another nod. Linette readied her crossbow and nodded back. They continued to walk down the hallways, ready for anything. Link felt another rush of wind behind him and heard a crossbow fire. He turned to see Linette with a fired crossbow in her hands and shattered glass surrounding her. They encountered a few more Poe on the way, and Link began to wonder if Linette even knew where this, vase, were. Eventually, Linette spoke up.
“Hey, I think the vase should be in there.” She said, pointing at a large arched stone door. Link walked up and pushed the door open, leaning into the stone. The sound of stone grinding against stone filled the silent chamber. Once there was enough space for the two of them to get inside, Link walked in followed by Linette. It was pitch black inside. Most of the other tunnels had some for of light, either from the outside, or from small torches that somehow remained lit. But this room, this was as dark as anything Link had seen.
“I can’t see a thing in there.” Linette said. Link turned around and started looking around on the floor for anything he could use to light the way. He spied a Poe lantern lying on its side. They must have scared off a Poe without smashing its lantern. He picked it up and opened the small door. Even if the lantern was made through some otherworldly alchemy, it still ran off Hylian logic. He grabbed some scraps of fabric from the floor and stuffed them in the lantern, then grabbed his flint and scraped it against the edge of the lantern. A small flick of flame ignited in the lantern. Link held it high and waved it around the dark room. The dim light hardly lit much of the room. He waved his hand, motioning for Linette to follow. They walked inside, now lead by Link’s lantern. The sounds of their shuffling feet echoed through the long-sealed crypt, the smell of death even stronger now they were inside. Link and Linette continued to walk through to the end of the tight but long room when Link heard something. The shuffle of dry flesh and the quiet click of bones. Link set the lantern down and began to swing his head around, looking for the owner of those decaying feet.
“What is it?” Linette whispered. Link turned in the dim light and put a finger to his lips. Suddenly, he felt a pair of dry fleshy arms wrap around his back.
“Redead!” Linette screamed as Link wrestled around with whatever had grabbed him. He could feel it clawing at his face and neck, trying to blind him or choke him. Link then heard the twang of a bowstring and a screech of the creature. Link used this to his advantage and fell backwards. He heard a loud squelch and crunch of bones, and then the creature let go. Link leapt to his feet and spun around. He drew his sword and shoved it down at the creature. It quivered a bit and then stopped moving. Link sighed and put his sword back in its scabbard. Linette’s breathing could be heard over most of the other sounds in the crypt. Link lifted the lantern off the floor and held it up. He could see a vase sitting on top of a tomb. Linette sighed, walked up and inspected it.
“Alright, I think this is the one.” She said, picking it up and carrying it back to the exit. Link’s eyes were drawn to a small piece of ceramic sitting on the casket. He grabbed it and took one last look at the Triforce carved into the onto the casket and followed her out.

Link stood back as Linette knocked on the door to what Link assumed to be her home. The door flew open and a Hylian woman with blond hair, much akin to Linette’s, who shouted.
“Good Hylia! Where were you? Your father and I have been worried sick! Why didn’t you tell us where you were going?”
“I’m sorry, I just didn’t think you’d let me go out if I told you.”
“You’re right, I wouldn’t.”
“But, here, look.” Linette held up the vase.
“What in Godess’ name is that?”
“The Narun family had me go into their tomb and retrieve a family vase for a hundred rupees, and I did it.”
“You went into the village tomb?” A look of pure shock grew across the mother’s face.
“Well, not alone.” Linette moved aside from the door frame and allowed her mother, as Link had guessed, to see him.
“Oh, please, come in, both of you.” She stood aside and allowed them to pass through. After Linette had passed through the door her mother shouted.
“Now, you say goodnight to your father and go to bed.” Linette appeared slightly annoyed, but to tired to disobey. The mother turned to Link and grabbed his arm.
“What in Hyrule was she thinking? Everyone in the village knew that crypt was dangerous.” Said the woman.
“I’m sorry, I haven’t introduced myself, my name is Eshian, and you are?” Link was perplexed by this, he tried to speak up, but only a few grunts escaped his mouth. He tapped his neck, trying to show the woman how difficult it was for him to speak. The woman nodded in understanding and said.
“Well, we can talk with my daughter in the morning, you may sleep in the barn if you wish, we don’t have any extra rooms.” Link nodded his thanks and walked out. After entering the barn and being greeted by the sounds of some waking cows and cuccos, Link ascending the ladder up to the loft. He arranged the bedroll from his pack and laid down. He pulled the piece of ceramic from his bag and held it up beside the other pieces. The usual humming ensued, but this time, it didn’t sound like just senseless noise, instead, it sounded more akin to a musical note. It was melodic, beautiful. He held the pieces close as the note grew louder before the two shards sealed together. His mind began to swim, and he lost himself into another memory.

“My liege, may I ask you a question?” A nobleman said while Link discretely fit a whole roasted potato into his mouth.
“Of course, anything?” The king responded, barely peering at Link out of the corner of his eye.
“May I ask why your firstborn is named Phelia?” Inquired the nobleman. Zelda shifted uncomfortably in her seat.
“Ah.” The King straightened and rearranged himself in his chair. “You see, I don’t believe in the importance of traditions, so when my first daughter was born, I elected to give her my mother’s middle name.” Responded the king. The nobleman nodded in understanding, but then said.
“Well then, what of your secondborn?” Zelda appeared even more uncomfortable at this question. The king nodded and wiped off his mouth.
“My wife, on the other hand, does believe in the traditions, and when she gave me a second daughter,” He looked at Zelda when he said this. “she convinced me to name our second child Zelda.” He put his hand on the queen’s. The nobleman nodded and continued eating his meal. The woman sitting beside the nobleman, who Link assumed to be his wife, spoke up. She looked right at Link and said.
“So, who is our other guest? He hasn’t spoken a word all throughout dinner.” Link froze but was saved by his friend.
“His name is Link, he, can’t really speak.” Girad said from across the table. Then it was the kings turn to butt in.
“He’s one of my finest knights, and the man I assigned to protect my daughter Zelda. As for his muteness, he hasn’t spoken since his parents died.” The noblewoman put a dainty hand to her mouth.
“I’m so sorry, I didn’t know.” She began.
“No need to apologize, it’s been several years.” The king interjected. Zelda gave Link a sympathetic look as the memory left him.

Link’s eyes slowly cracked open as his ears tuned in to his surroundings, to find a cucco sitting on his chest, clucking in his face. He brushed off the bird and the bunch of feathers, much to the distasteful clucking of the cucco. He rose from his bedroll and wiped his long, tangled hair from his face, pulling a few pieces of straw from his beard. He climbed down the ladder and walked from the barn to the house. He tapped on the door and saw it opened by a relatively beefy man with a receding hairline in a stained apron.
“Oh, you must be our guest, please, come in.” He waved Link inside. Link entered the home to find the man standing at stone oven with a metal pan filled with cucco eggs. Link looked over to see Linette and her mother sitting at a table. The mother waved him over to sit with her and her daughter. Link slid his pack down and sat with them at the table.
“So, mister…” The mother began. Link sat there, trying to come up with a way to explain his name. He put his fingers together, making a chain link with his fingers. The mother was confused with the game of charades and said.
“Connection?” Link shook his head. Linette swallowed a bite of her omelet and said.
“He’s making a chain Link.” Link nodded his head.
“Is that it, Link?” Asked the mother. Link nodded. “That’s a funny name.” She mumbled.
“Mom, that’s rude.” Linette whispered.
“Well mister, Link, can you please tell me why you, after finding my daughter in a graveyard in the middle of the night, instead of telling my daughter to go home, you instead decided to follow her into a crypt and assist her in her hairbrained scheme?”
“Mom, he didn’t do anything wrong.” Linette said. The mother held up a hand, but Linette continued. “I was going into the tomb with or without him. And plus, he really helped.” Her mother looked at her, and then back at Link.
“Well, at least, thank you for keeping my daughter safe.” She said, giving a slight smile. Link had a hard time discerning the honesty behind he smile. The father walked over and set a plate and half the omelet in front of Link.
“Really, thankyou for helping her.” Link picked up the small wooden fork and began to slide pieces of fried cucco egg into his mouth.
“Well, mister Link, thankyou again for assisting our daughter. How long should we expect you to stay?” Link finished the last piece of his meal and stood up. He should really be going, he had no clue how safe this town was, but he didn’t want to endanger it any more than he already had. Linette stood up and walked over next to Link.
“I was going to split the reward with Link.” She said.
“Alright, you just come back as soon as your finished.” Her mother said. Linette walked over to the coat hangers and slid her hooded poncho on over her white undershirt. Link followed her out.

The two of them walked down the street to the other side of town, and Linette spoke up.
“My mom is really overprotective.” Link gave a small nod. That woman had good reason to be, the wilds beyond the village walls were more dangerous than this young lady should ever know. Then two young Hylian boys, both younger than Linette walked up to her.
“You’re back.” Said the first.
“Did you get the vase?” Said the other. Linette held up the small ceramic vase.
“No way.” Said the first.
“How did you?-” The other began.
“I want double.” Linette cut in.
“You what?” Said the first.
“I almost got killed by a Redead and at least fifteen Poes. I think I deserve it.” Linette finished.
“Well, who’s the big guy?” Said the other boy.
“He’s the guy that helped me get you this vase.”
“Well, the deal was that you would get the vase. We didn’t say anything about a man.”
“My friend was almost killed by a Redead. Hand over the payment.” She walked up and thrust the vase at them. One of the boys turned around and walked into a house.
“To be honest, I didn’t think you’d make it back.” Said the remaining one. Linette gave a slightly annoyed smile as the first boy walked down with a silver rupee and two purple rupees.
“Here.” He tossed them at Linette. And with that, the two boys walked off. Linette picked up the silver one and handed it to Link.
“Here, you deserve it.” Link smiled and thanked her. “Well, I had better get back home before my mother loses it.” She waved and ran off. Link turned back to the street, and remembered, he needed to buy some chainmail.

Link entered the doorframe of what he guessed to be the blacksmith’s shop. A sweaty man in a blackened apron looked over from his forge.
“Welcome, what can I do for you?” He inquired, not ceasing to hammer the metal plate in front of him. Link walked over and began to look at the items on sale. A sword here, a couple knives there, and then he spied it. I long chainmail ■■■■■. He walked over and picked it up.
“Ah, so you’re looking for some protection. That ■■■■■ there is seventy-five rupees, although, if you can find yourself some Goron forged mail, I’d recommend that, it’s at least three times as expensive, but there next to no blade that can punch through it.” The blacksmith said. Link pulled the silver rupee out of his bag. The blacksmith fished into his own bag and pulled out a red and a blue rupee.
“The chainmail’s yours. Wear it well.” Link nodded his thanks and walked out with the mail.

After fitting the chainmail underneath the scraps of his green tunic, Link continued his march into Hyrule. He could hardly remember how long it had been since he had left the lost woods. The lands of Hyrule felt much more enormous and expansive than they had in his past, perhaps it was because he had a horse in the past. He missed that horse. They had practically grown up together. He sighed and shook his head. There was no bringing her back, she was as gone as… Link shifted the weight of his pack and continued walking. He suddenly felt a sharp pain in his shoulder. He dropped off the road and rolled behind a pine tree. He held his shoulder and looked to see a jagged arrow sitting between the rings of the chainmail. He pulled the arrow out and thanked Hylia for the chainmail, it would have plunged much deeper without it. He peered from behind the tree ad spied his assailant. A pair of Bulblins rode by on a large boar. Link pulled his bow from his back and nocked an arrow. He jumped up and ran up the road, firing an arrow at the Bulbins. He missed, and it only garnered the attention of the creatures. They turned to run straight at him. He nocked another arrow that flew straight between the eyes of the leading beast. It screamed and rolled off the boar. The other Bulblin started to shout as it dropped its bow and tried to control the boar. Link drew another arrow and launched it into the second Bulbin. It slumped and rolled of the boar and tumbled along the ground. The beast the creatures had been riding gave a roar and ran off into the woods. Link gave a pant and walked over to the body of one of the dead Bulblins. After taking whatever he thought he might need, he stood up and walked away from the corpse. He held his hand over and gripped his shoulder. “Seventy-five rupees well spent.” He thought.

Link looked up at the smoking hulk of a mountain before him. It was closer than it had appeared when he had left the forrest, and definitely closer than it was when he was assisting the Zora. The mountain belched out an incessant pillar of thick smoke, and Link was reminded that not everything had changed during his hiatus. Death Mountain was still bellowing out it’s black cloud of smog, and if all went as it was now, it would continue too till the end of time. He remembered what the blacksmith had mentioned about the Gorons, about how much better their chainmail was. Just as he thought of this, he felt the wound in his arm pull and he winced. Perhapse he should take a visit, he still had a few rupees left in his pouch. He set off for the mountain.

Link felt like he’d been walking for hours, which happened to be the case, yet Death Mountain didn’t seem to get any closer. Death Mountain would live up to its name from a distance if he didn’t take a moment to rest. He walked to the edge of the road a slumped down beside a tree. Full meals for a few days had made his stale deer meat seem even more stale. He really had to find some different nonperishable food. He yanked on the small piece of meat with his teeth, attempting to rip a piece off and eat it. The sun crawled towards the western mountain range, and Link head began to throb. He had begun to get used to it, with it happening almost every other day. His mind swam, and Link let his mind fade away.

Link walked up, his cloudy blue tunic flapping lightly in the breeze. He walked up to Zelda while she stood in the courtyard before of the fountain. The bright moonlight made her hair shimmer, now loosed from their tight braids, showering down her shoulders in a golden cascade. Her dress, colored similar to his tunic, swaying slowly in the wind and catching the moonlight. She turned to Link, slowly and gracefully, the she would only do so on the castle grounds.
“Oh, I thought I was alone.” She said. “It was getting a little to hot in there.” Link knew what she really meant.
“My father really shouldn’t have been so blunt.” Link nodded. He sometimes wondered if the king really cared for him, or for his second born. He walked up next to her, placing his hands on the stone. They stood there for a moment, looking up at the stars and the moon, and Link began to feel something for the princess. More than just the feeling a knight would feel protecting his ward, even beyond what a friend would feel, but instead, something different.

A loud bang shook Link out of his flashback. His head snapped to Death Mountain, now with massive black shapes showering down from the mountain. Death mountain hadn’t erupted in his entire knowledge of history. Then he saw it. An enormous black shape, rising against the sunrise. It was at least as large as the peak of the mountain. Link began to jog towards the mountain. If he intended on getting his hands on any Goron forged gear, he had better get there quickly.

After a good long while running towards the mountain, Link saw a shape come into view. Whatever it was, it was running in the opposite direction he was. He stopped and panted for a bit as the figure approached. He looked up and saw it was a Goron, with dark orange skin and a thick wiry beard. He jogged up to Link and Link held up his hand.
“What?” The Goron grumbled. Link waved his arm in the direction the Goron was running.
“Are you wondering what a Goron is doing running down through the mountains? Haven’t you heard? Death Mountain is lost.” The Goron tried to continue walking away. Link walked up and put a hand on the Goron. He tried to shake it off, but Link held strong.
“Quite the grip you have there little guy.” Link looked the Goron in the eye. “An enormous stone talus has decided to hibernate smack dab on top of my home.” A talus? Was that the shape Link saw moving on top of the mountain? How enormous was that thing?
“Now, will you let me on my way?” Link held firm, grabbed and shook his chainmail, and then pointed at the Goron’s bag. “Ha, I was just a miner. If you’re looking for armor, our blacksmith is putting together a band of Hylians and Gorons to take on the beast, I hear he’s handing out Goron forged armor as payment for anyone who joins with him. Now, if you excuse me, I have to find a place where I can ply my trade.” And with that the Goron shook Link off and walked away. Well, Link guessed if he wanted to get himself some Goron mail, he’d have to join in with Blacksmith.

Link huffed as he crested another hill. He felt like he had emptied the last of his stamina reserves making it over all the previous knolls. He stood at the top of the mound, breathing in and out, trying to calm his burning legs. Then, he noticed a pillar of smoke, rising from behind a hill. Not the usual black and cloudy smoke coming from the now very close Death Mountain, but warm, grey, manmade smoke. Link began to trudge down the hill. He had expected the earlier rain to make his travel more difficult, but he surmised being so close to Death Mountain had dried up most of the rain. The dried grass crackled with every step as he descended the slope. After reaching the second hill, and Link managed to bring himself over the crest of the hill, he spied the source of the smoke. A moderately sized gathering of tents and several campfires with a few Gorons and several Hylians walking around. Link began to try and descend from his vantage point but lost his footing on a loose rock and began to slide. Bits and pieces of stone and dirt clouded around Link as he slid down the hill. He tumbled down to a stop as he reached the bottom of the steep slope. As he dusted himself off and propped himself up, a glint of light against metal flashed in his eyes.
“What is your business here?” Came the guttural voice of a Goron. Link managed to stand up and then drew his sword, holding it out to the Goron by the blade.
“Here to help?” Inquired the Goron. Link nodded. The Goron lowered his spear and said,
“Follow me.” He waved his arm and Link followed. He was led to the largest tent in the camp. The Goron opened a flap in the thick fabric of the tent and pushed Link inside while shouting.
“Darukin! We have another Hylian recruit!” Link stumbled in and then straightened. A large Goron in an armored apron walked up and slapped a hand down on Link shoulder, causing him to wince.
“Haha, the more the better!” Continuing to grip Link’s shoulder he pulled him over. “Well, little man, I’m sure that if you bothered coming here, you know you won’t be able to go anywhere near Death Mountian without a good suit of Goron forged armor.” He walked over to a table and began to sort out pieces of armor, turning around and holding them up to Link, and apparently trying to see which would fit.
“Are you any good with a blade?” Asked the Goron, who Link had guessed was the Blacksmith. Link nodded.
“What kind of a blade do you have there?” The Blacksmith inquired. Link drew his sword and held it out to the Blacksmith. The Goron chuckled.
“You won’t be able to do much with that little twig. What’s your experience with a Claymore?” Link waved his hand from side to side. The Goron responded by gripping an enormous sword and throwing it at Link. Link caught it and held it out. It was a real Goron Claymore. It had quite the heft to it.
“Now, there’s a real weapon. And here.” The Goron followed it with a toss of bundle of armor.
“Now, get suited up, and wait for my call, and we’ll march on the Talus.”

Link walked into the camp, now clad in Goron armor. The helmet nearly covered his entire face and every other inch of his body was coated with either chainmail or plates of armor, yet, Link felt cool. It was a comfortable, almost chilled feeling. It was nice, being so close to Death Mountain. The claymore swung on his back with each step, clanking against the plate. He had managed to buy time with a chest to keep his valuables in until the battle was over. He walked up to the central fire, obviously not that hard to start, where a Goron and several Hylians sitting around it.
“I had no clue that the Goron armor would help so much.” Said one man, who was practically sitting in the fire.
“We were literally going to march in an active volcano, it had better protect us.” Said another. Link walked up and swung down on one of the stones.
“Well, somebody is opting to die for a suit of armor.” Said the Hylian. Link raised his eyebrow. “Eh, you know why you’re here, I’m just stating the obvious.” Link shrugged and turned back to the fire. The Hylian sitting near the fire then stuffed his hand into the fire and pulled out a handful of coals.
“Wow, I don’t feel a thing.” He exclaimed. The Goron sitting at the chuckled and said.
“Now you know how we Gorons feel brother.” He took his own handful and crushed them between his fingers. Link was tempted to do the same but decided against it. He had never been to death mountain, or worn Goron armor. He and, his ward, had only met Gorons a few times. Suddenly, another massive rumble, larger than the before due to the distance between him and the mountain previously. The Hylian near the fire tumbled into the small ring of stones and the fire as the others including Link stood up, staring at the mountain. The black shape, that Link now understood to be a Talus, had shifted again, sending chunks of flaming stone around the camp. Link ducked while the Gorons just stood around occasionally moving out of the way if a stone got too close. The blacksmith exited his tent, now fully clad in a fine suit of Goron armor. He stepped up, a hammer twice the size of Link’s, swung across his back. He pointed at the mountain.
“That, is what we will be fighting!” He cried, pointing at the shape as it settled. “That thing has destroyed our home! It his high time we end this creature.” The Gorons cheered, as did the Hylian sitting in the fire. The Hylian beside Link gave a mocking cheer and rose his hands before mumbling.
“Let’s just get this over with.”

Link and the other soldiers stood at the edge of the volcano. The hot air flew up, causing any unsecured items to flap around violently. Link thanked the Goron armor for protecting him as ashes flew up before his face. The armor gave him an amazing amount of protection from the heat, making him wonder what the armor was made of. He stood beside the Gorons, the Hylians hanging behind him. At that moment, the Blacksmith drew his hammer and charged. Link followed, belting out one of the few noises he could make, a battle cry. The other Gorons and the Hylians charged with them, down the wall of the crater and onto a massive slab of flaming stone. Link had wondered where the Talus had gone off too, if it had anywhere to go. As they ran, Link realized massive cuts and valleys in the stone. As the warband approached, Pebblits, all engulfed in flame, rose from their apparent slumber to attack the warriors. The Blacksmith slammed his hammer down on one, causing it to explode in a shower of flaming rock. Link followed suit, swinging his claymore, shattering one of the small stone creatures. The other soldiers joined in, smashing and slashing at the Pebblits. The more they destroyed, Link realized something, they were supposed to be in an exploding volcano. Where was the magma? Just as he wondered this, the floor beneath him shifted. All the soldiers slid, around, some falling over, and Link realized. They were standing on the Talus! The beast, apparently upset that the intruders were killing his children, shook and rolled around, trying to dislodge the attackers. One of the Gorons slid to the edge and fell off, out of Link’s sight. Link and the other Gorons struggled to keep their footing and slid towards the crags. Link was spilt up from the Gorons and only managed to stick with the two Hylians he had been sitting near. Behind him, the exit sealed itself with a shower of stone. As their massacre of the Pebblits subsided, the Talus calmed. Link regained his footing just as the other Hylians managed to stand up.
“Well, that was unexpected.” Said the pessimistic Hylian, straightening up his armor as if he wanted to keep it clean. Their armor was already coated in soot. The cave should have been pitch black, yet it was illuminated by a dim red glow, like the color of embers after a fire has burned down. Link began to walk down the cragway, waving for the men to follow him.
“Who made you the commander?” Asked the Hylian.
“He did more up there than either of us, I’ll follow him.” Said the other. The grumpy Hylian huffed and followed them. They walked through the body of the Talus, searching for anything to escape, or to kill the thing. As they crept through the tunnels, the three were jumped by a Pebblit walking down the tunnel. Trying not to kill the creature and wake the Talus, Link grabbed the creature and managed to flip it over, leaving it squirming around on the ground. They continued down the dark stony hallway, gripping their swords as if they were their only chance of life, which could possibly be the case. They continued, occasionally flipping a Pebblit here and there. They crept through the tunnels for what felt like an eternity. Suddenly, Link realized something, they were unimaginably deep within the creature. Link wondered if, perhaps, this creature had once been a normal Talus, small and insignificant, and if that was the case, the it should have a week spot. Link took a few turns, deeper into the creature. Just when he thought he might have been mistaken, he spied it. A large black crystal, just shorter than Link, and the one weakness of a Talus. Link pointed at it to his partners and rose his claymore, but just as he did, an explosion rocked the three men. A creature broke up through the stone, engulfed in magma, twice as tall as Link. It was tall, lacking legs, and enormous arms, slamming down on the stone in front of it. One of the Hylians gave out a cry, of fear or anger Link couldn’t tell. Link wasn’t fazed, he’d fought bigger. He charged up and slammed the creature with the claymore. The weapon shook, the force of the blow causing a ringing to echo through the small room. The other Hylians began to catch on to what Link was doing and charge dup to help wail on the creature. Their attack gave Link a chance to figure out how he might kill this creature. Then, as it slammed it’s arms down to try and crush one of Links fellow soldiers, he saw it, a similar crystal sat on the back of the beast’s head. Link gripped his claymore tightly and leapt from the ledge he had climbed onto. The blade smashed through the crystal, killing the creature instantly. It fell to the ground, crumbling into a pile of rubies and stone. It took much to long to kill the thing, and Link immediately began to smash at the crystal. The other Hylians joined in and began to shatter the crystal. The whole Talus shook and swayed as the three men destroyed the crystal. When there was naught but a small hunk of shiny black stone clinging to the stone at their feet. Link gripped his claymore with one hand and shoved his gauntleted hand into the stone, ripping up the crystal. The Talus they were inside gave a massive shudder before heaving to a stop. Link gave a sigh of relief and was joined by the optimistic Hylian. Just when he thought it was over, a crack appeared between Link’s feet. His eyes widened behind the chainmail sheet protecting his face.
“Run!” Shouted the unhappy Hylian. Link had the same idea and the three of them began to run through the caverns. Jumping over the forming cracks and trying not to fall through. It was at that moment Link realized the negatives of wearing armor. He was so much slower wearing a full suit of metal. He lugged the suit with him and tried not to slide down the crack. The sound was deafening, his ears ringing as he ran. Link guessed they should have been nearly at the surface by now, when just beneath him, the floor snapped in half, revealing a massive pool of flaming stone and magma. Link nearly fell, and the optimistic Hylian did. He slid and was almost launched into the hellish inferno yet Link managed to hurl his arm down and grip him on the forearm. With one arm he hauled him and managed to get him away from the edge. He continued gripping the man’s arm and motioned for the other to do the same. With both men holding onto Link’s arm, he ran up to the edge of the collapsing creature and fired the Hookshot. The chain flew out and launched into the rock side of the volcano. The ground left them, and Link felt an extreme amount of strain on his arms. The Talus sank into the crater, crumbling to pieces. Link and the two other men just dangled there, hanging off the wall.
“Well, this is unfortunate.” Shouted the Hylian gripping Link’s arm. Link stared up at how far he had to go until they’d make it to freedom. He swung the Hylains around to his belt, trying to gesture for them to grip it. Eventually they caught and grabbed it. Link then commenced to pull out his small sword, choosing that over his claymore, and jabbed it into a crag in the rocks. Then, he disengaged the Hookshot and fired again. Slowly, he managed to make it over the edge. Now safe, the three of them just laid down on the stone, panting. The sounds of stomping feet startled Link up. He peered over to see the Blacksmith and fewer Gorons than they had left with running towards them. Link was about to get the other Hylians’ attention when the Blacksmith embraced him. Link heard several bones in his back crack as the Goron shouted.
“Haha! You did it little man!” He dropped Link down and Link almost fell over. “We all tried to get out of there once some of our men got lost off the side. A few of us tried to charge inside, but, they never came back.” The other Hylians were now standing, receiving their own handshakes and back-pats from the elated Gorons. The Blacksmith grabbed Link’s arm and brought him to the edge of the crater.
“Do you see that?” Asked the Blacksmith, pointing at a pile of rubble near the crater. “That is our home, and now, thanks to you, we can rebuild.” Link tried to smile at the optimism in the Goron’s voice, but he knew how hopeless it would be.

Link sat beside the open chest. He held up his hold ■■■■■ of snapped mail, and after realizing he had a new suit of mail, discarded it. He realized he wouldn’t ever be able to carry his entire suit of armor and stuffed a few pieces in his pack before laying the rest inside the tent. Now back in his tattered old tunic and ragged pants, he stood, preparing to be on his way. As he exited the tent, the optimistic Hylian walked up to him.
“Hey, mister, I wanted to thank you for saving my hide back there.” He said, pulling out a small bag.
“Take anything you like; my family will understand. They’ll just be happy I came home in one piece.” Like peered and, and then, in the bottom of the bag beside several rupees, a small blue piece of ceramic. His fingers tingled as he pulled it out.
“Seriously? You want that? My daughter found that in the forests just outside of our home in Kakariko.” The man seamed to hold back the bag before saying. “You know what, take it.” Link grabbed the ceramic and put it into one of his pockets.
“Say, where are you headed?” Asked the Hylain. Link shrugged. “Well, you should stop by Kakariko. It’s one of the few safe places in Hyrule these days.” Link thought it wasn’t a half bad idea. He nodded to the man, and he smiled.
“Well, I have to be off, feel free to join me.” Link shifted his pack and followed the man off.

Link and his new friend walked could see the gate of Kakariko as they approached.
“You know, with how little you took, the least I can do is offer you a bed.” He said. Link nodded his thanks. “The name’s Gyde, by the way.” Link nodded again. The sun had set by the time they reached the gate, and the large metal grate looked imposing, much different to it way they had been fifteen years ago. Gyde produced a small metal key form his bag and unlocked it.
“I’m a guard here.” He whispered. Link nodded for a third time as they walked in. They silently moved through the dark town, trying not to wake anyone. Link was led to a house, sitting around the center of the town. Gyde opened the door and crept inside. He pointed to a small room set aside from the living room. Link understood and walked inside. He was so exhausted, as soon as he hit the soft down bed, he nearly fell asleep. Just as his eyes were about to close, he remembered something. He pulled out the small piece of ceramic and then drew out the nearly complete relic he had been building over the past month. He slowly put the pieces together, almost completing the item. His mind went fuzzy and slipped away.

Girad’s red eyes glinted in the rising sunlight.
“You know, Phelia and I should come with you.” He told Link as he helped him saddle his horse. Link smiled and shrugged. He knew Phelia had a class on how to interact with foreign dignitaries that day.
“My Grandma would enjoy seeing me again.” Girad said, brushing back his locks of light brown hair. “Well, you and Zelda should get going if you want to make it to Kakariko by midday.” Link smiled at his friend, thanking him for his help. He leapt up onto his horse and road over to Zelda as she waited at the gate. The two of them set off.

“You know, I hear Kakariko used to be a very important to Hyrule.” Zelda said as, by Link’s approximation, they neared the town. Link nodded, enjoying the trivia and the peaceful ride through the field. Within the hour Link and Zelda reached Kakariko. They road up to the gate and were met by a guard. He took one look at the crest on Zelda’s bridle and let them pass. They walked inside and made a direct line to the central house. The matriarch of the village would want to know that a member of the royal family had come into her town. As they entered the home, a woman sitting in a chair perked up.
“Link, is that you?” Came the frail voice of the woman. Link was aghast, as was Zelda. How had this woman known his name?
“Link, can’t you remember me? Or, are you, different, again?” She asked.
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Impa, but how do you know Link?” Asked Zelda, walking up.
“Who’s there?” Asked Impa. She turned in the dim light, a lantern flashing against the woman’s white and blind eyes.
“It is I ma’am, Princess Zelda.” She said, walking up.
“Ah, the Princess. It has been long since I have seen the two of you together.” Impa said, turning back to Link. “You are different, like you have been before. I suppose I had hoped in vain.”
“Please, Mrs. Impa, I feel you are mistaken, we just arrived.” Zelda said.
“Link, come closer.” Impa said. Link walked up, slowly, not wanting to upset the old woman. “I am one of the last people to remember, but I would recognize the sound of the Hero’s footsteps anywhere.” The Hero? But, that was impossible, Link couldn’t be the Hero. He took a step back, surprised.
“No, please, don’t leave, I can explain everything. Come, sit with me.” She motioned to a pair of Shiekah decorated pillows. Link looked to Zelda, and she shrugged. Link sat down on the pillow, not sure what he was about to get himself into. Impa leaned back in her chair, sighing, before beginning a story.
“When I was just a little girl, during the Sealing War, my mother and I met a young man. Similar to you, Link, as he shared the same name, yet, his hair was brown, a dark brown, like the color of deep wood. I still remember him like I was there, he wasn’t much older than me at the time. He was looking for his family, but my mother knew there was something special about him. She gave him the tunic, the one of his ancestors, and his ancestors’ sword. I waited for him to return, and eventually, he did. After he had completed his quest, he returned the sword. He told my mother he no longer needed it, and that he was going to try and go back to his old life. I never saw him again. I waited, years upon years, for another Hero to come as my mother had told me. Eventually, my mother met with one who claimed to be the Hero. She was so old at the time, she didn’t know better. She gave him the Hero’s tunic, but withheld the sword. She didn’t believe he was worthy or had done anything to prove his worth. It was a feeling she had. The self-proclaimed Hero never did anything of worth in all his days. He claimed to have defeated Ganon, but I know in my heart, he was lying. Eventually, his time had come to an end, and I waited again. Many years, and eventually, another Hero appeared. He looked much like the first Hero I had met, with similar hair and other features, yet, I felt something was, off with this one. I gave him the tunic of the Hero before him, but, I didn’t give him the sword. I didn’t trust him, and…” The old woman trailed off. “That is of no importance. But now, you have arrived.” The woman creaked over and drew a small bundle from beneath her chair. She held it up to Link.
“I’m just happy that in my final years, I have been blessed with the presence of a Hero, possibly the last I will see.” She held it out to Link. He took the bundle and unwrapped it. He held up the green tunic, the fringes edged with yellow fabric, a hat, long and pointy, and wrapped inside the two items, a sword. A beautiful, gilded sword. It was at least three and a half feet long from hilt to blade with a bluish purple crossguard and pommel. The grip was wrapped in a piece of thick leather. He pulled the sword from the scabbard, holding it out in front of him. The blade was engraved with the Triforce on the bottom. His reflection flashed back at him, his own blue eyes piercing his gaze. He looked at the old woman, Impa, smiling at him.
“I know that you can feel the connection, I have waited nearly four hundred years to feel it from you.” She said. He could feel it. The blade was better balanced than any he had ever held, and, there was something else. A pulsing feeling in his veins, like he was meant to hold the sword. He returned the sword to the scabbard and thrust it back to the old woman. He couldn’t take it, he couldn’t shoulder the responsibility. He was to guard the princess, no more, no less.
“No, please, take it as a gift.” She said, pushing it back. Link looked at Zelda, and she gave him a look communicating that it was up to him. Reluctantly, he took the sword. If the old woman believed he was some fantastical Hero, then he’d at least honor her wishes while he was here. Now that he had accepted the sword, the elderly Impa relaxed and turned to Zelda, and Zelda was finally able to finish what she had tried to say earlier.

Link awoke in a soft down bed, still wearing his chainmail, his pack sitting beside the bed. The nearly completed instrument still sat in his hand. He stuffed it in his bag and rose from the bed. He exited the room and was greeted by seeing Gyde, a Shiekah woman, and three small Shiekah children, all sitting at a table.
“Ah, you’ve finally woken up.” Said Gyde.
“If the story you told me was true, I wouldn’t blame him.” Said the woman.
“Pardon me, this is my wife, Lyda, and my three children, Celieh, Ila, and Dok. He said, pointing to each of the children. The two youngest smiled while the eldest girl just waved. Gyde pointed at a chair and Link sat down while Lyda made some sort of breakfast.
“And what might your name be?” Inquired Lyda.
“Link?” Came a frail voice from another room. Everyone froze. Gyde walked into another room and said.
“Grandma, what are you doing out of bed?” Before an ancient and decrepit woman came out of the room.
“I thought you were dead.” Using an engraved wooden cane, the woman walked over to Link. By the Godess, it was Impa! Link stood up is surprise, sliding his chair back with an irritating screech.
“Grandma, you know this man?” Gyde asked. Impa looked like she was about to say something before she collapsed. Gyde grabbed her before she hit the floor and Link rushed over to help him. Together they helped the unconscious woman into her bedroom.
“What in Hyrule is going on here?” Gyde said standing beside the bed. Link wanted to explain, but he didn’t know how. He himself had thought Impa was dead. Link looked up at his host, and then back down to the old woman. Just as Gyde opened his mouth Impa stirred. She turned over and looked at Link.
“Link, it’s so good to see you again.” She said, short of breath. She moved a hand to grab his.
“Did you do it? Did you use the sword well?” Link’s other hand clenched. He didn’t want to remember what happened.
“Here.” She said, withdrawing her hand, but leaving something inside of Link’s. “She told me to save this for you… So, that, you can heal…” She sighed and passed onto the bed. Gyde put a hand to her wrist and said.
“She’s gone.” Link opened his hand to see a small, almost insignificant piece of blue ceramic. His fist closed back in on itself and shuddered. He put his other hand on Impa’s arm and sighed. “Goodbye friend.” Link stayed inside, clutching the dead woman’s arm. It had been a long time since he had seen a friend, die… He walked out of the room and was met with Gyde’s wife and eldest child weeping quietly. He walked into the room he was lent but and grabbed his pack, yet was stopped on the way back.
“You’re leaving already?” Gyde said, stepping between Link and the door. Link gave an apologetic nod.
“Alright, but, just, tell me, who are you?” Link looked over to Impa’s room, and Gyde turned to it as well. “Link?” Link nodded, walked past the man and left the home.

Link held his new sword in his hands, inspecting the magnificent work of the scabbard, as he and Zelda rode their horses down the path.
“Well, our stay in Kakariko was nice.” Zelda said. Link nodded and smiled at her. They continued to ride along for a short while before Link spied something. A streak of blood, running from the road off beyond a hill. Link slowed his horse and Zelda spoke up.
“What is it?” Link held up his hand, motioning for her to stay back. He drew his new sword, now would be as good a time as any to try it out. As he slowly made his way down the path, now clad in his new tunic and hat. He followed the path of sticky brown liquid he was now unsure was blood. It reeked and he dared not touch it. He came to the opening of a cave, apparently once hidden somehow, as he saw a crumble of rocks sitting on the ground in front of the opening. He entered the cave. It was almost pitch black. As he walked through the wall, he noticed several of the bodies lying on the ground, each slashed by a sword. He gripped his sword tighter. This was not normal. Link soon came upon a large open room with a casket sitting in the center. Link approached it and was met with that same horrendous smell. He placed and hand to his mouth and nose and left the center. As he walked away, he was met with and almost tripped over one of the corpses. It moaned, and his hands fled down to turn it over. A man, wearing clothes like those of the other people lying around the cave. The man hissed and chuckled.
“I told him you’d come, but he didn’t believe me.” Link’s eyebrow rose and he frowned. What was this man getting at? Light footsteps clopped behind him and Link turned around to see Zelda rushing up to him.
“Link, what’s taking you so-, oh goddesses.” She said as she assuredly approached the entrance. She walked up and the man hissed again.
“He’s there, in the temple of time, waiting for you…” He turned his head to the side and breathed a long scratching sigh. “The dark has risen.” His last breath flowed out as he breathed no more. Zelda was wide eyed, and so was Link. He had just found an obscure cave filled with bodies, been given a cryptic message, and been left with a dead body in his hands. Who wouldn’t be shaken? He looked up at Zelda, and she gave him a worried look before saying.
“I suppose we should visit the temple of time.”

Link’s eyes opened back up and was left sitting in the middle of the road with his hand in his bag. He put his hands to his face, wiped away some tears he didn’t know he’d cried and stood up. He pulled his hands out of his bag, and in them, realized he was holding his nearly completed instrument. He stood up and held it close to his face. It was now only missing a small piece. As he inspected it closely, he began to hear a light humming. Like a light note, similar to that of when he pushed the pieces close together. He turned, still holding it in his hand, and the noise faded out. He turned back, and the sound resumed. Odd. Link walked closer in the direction of the noise, and it grew slightly. He began to follow the sound. It continued to hum as he walked through the woods, dodging trees and stones as he moved through the forrest. Within an indiscriminate amount of time, he began to recognize his surroundings. His mind screamed in protest, but he refused to turn away. Now was not the time to let his fear and regret take over. He walked up the stone steps, gingerly avoiding the cracked pieces of rubble. As he crossed the threshold, he felt his mind slip again.

Zelda walked up and put a hand on the stone pillars of the crumbling monument.
“You know, there’s something strangely familiar about this place.” Link felt the same way. The whole place felt very, different, unlike anything he’d ever seen. Zelda turned around, walked over and gripped Link’s hand.
“You know, we’ve been spending a lot of time together.” She said. Link began to feel slightly uneasy.
“I, I just wanted, incase anything ever happened, to give you this.” She held out a small blue egg-shaped thing.
“This is something that’s been passed down in my family, the ocarina of time, or something like that. My mother gave it to me, and, I’d like you to have it.” She pressed it into his hands, and he took it. Grabbing her arm and clutching it to convey his thanks. Then, she pulled it out of his and said.
“Here, I’ll show you how to play song. My mother used to play it for me before bead.” A flow of beautiful notes flowed from the instrument. After finishing the song, she said.
“Here, let me show you how to play.”

Link continued inside the building, the instrument still glowing and humming. He walked past the rows of pews set before the massive slab of stone. As he moved forward, he placed his hand on the slab of stone, and felt his mind slip away again.

“Link, over here.” Came Zelda’s voice. Link strode over, keeping a hand on his sword. “This looks like some sort of music.” She said, pointing to the row of notes and bars. “Let’s see if you can play it.” Link tried for a short while, and then managed to hit every note. To his surprise, he was right back to the moment when Zelda had called him over, except this time, he was extremely disoriented.
“Let’s see if you can play it.” She repeated. Link shook his head while putting his hands on his face.
“Oh, alright.” Zelda said, slightly confused, before walking through into another room.

The sound of the instrument was deafening. Link now passed the strange rock, still carved with the same notes. He now stood in the enormous open room he was all to familiar with.

Link followed Zelda into the room. It was dark and musty. The whole place smelled like death, causing Link to grip his sword tighter. Suddenly, he felt an enormous force beat him in the back. His sword skittered along the floor. He fell to his knees, gasping for air. Zelda turned and looked at him.
“What, Link, what happened?” She was now in the center of the room. And Link opened his mouth to scream. A sword, his sword, pierced through Zelda’s chest. Her gasp of pain laid over a thick and dark chuckle. She fell to her knees, giving Link a heart-wrenching look, before sliding off the blade. Link’s mind screamed out in pain and horror. Behind Zelda, a horrific sight appeared. A dark form, bearing the semblance of a corpse, bent over with the weight of the sword, clouded in an otherworldly shadow with piercing red eyes. A hissing voice emanated forth from the creature.
“One down…” Link ripped the Ocarina from his belt, placing it to his lips. He remembered the song he had played just moments before. He quickly tired to play a few notes, all the wrong ones, his mind racing and his heart panicking. The creature walked over and batted the instrument out of Link’s hands.
“Now, we can’t have that.” Hissed the beast. Link looked at the hand that it gripped his sword with. The licks of shadow tore and flew around the decaying hand, as if they were violently trying to get hold of the blade. The creature stagger walked over to the pedestal in the middle of the room, and upon reaching it, rose the sword above his head, and slammed it down into the slit on top of the stone relic. A flash of light flew down from Hylia knows where and enveloped the beast. Link shielded his eyes for a few moments before the light cut out, and everything became very dark. Everything, except the man’s eyes. A less raspy voice came from the direction of the, thing.
“You know, I should thank you.” The thing twirled Link’s sword. “If you hadn’t brought the sword, I would have never been able to access the aegis.” Link just lay there on the ground, the hopelessness finally sinking into him.
“Now, if you excuse me, I have more work to do.” Said the man before leaving the temple, sword in hand. Link was now just laying on his stomach alone, in the dark. Tears now forcing their way down his face, he crawled over to Zelda’s body, and just held his friend close to his chest while sitting in the dark.

Tears rolled down Link’s face as he knelt on the cracked and overgrown floor of the temple sword room. He was clutching the instrument so hard he felt he’d break it again. He’d spent so long burying it, so long trying to keep the memories from coming back. He failed. He had failed Zelda, he had failed Hyrule, he had failed everyone. He was sorry, he was so sorry. Then, in front of him, he saw a small piece of blue ceramic. He stretched his hand down and grabbed it, leaning back and holding it close to the instrument. The humming and light grew greater than they had before, and with a flash, it was complete. Link sat there, on his knees, holding the Ocarina of Time in his hands. He slowly put it to his lips. His mind flew back to the first song he had ever learned. The notes flowed out, one by one, forming the lullaby Zelda had taught him. On the final note, his mind went fuzzy, a flash of images flew into his mind, of a house out in the wilds, and then, a voice, a familiar voice, calling out.