Disclaimer and Notes: The Legend of Zelda and related characters do not belong to me. This is done without profit. This is a different take on a character than what I’ve seen (and done) before. I pretty much wrote this in my head one day at work (mucking stables, as a stable hand). No relation to my other fan fictions. I also issue apologizes for any artistic inaccuracies. Although I do paint, I haven’t worked with oils in a long time and I didn’t figure that Hyrule would have acrylics (my main medium). I tried to remember everything I could about working with oils, though it has been years.
The late afternoon sunlight shone through the trees in shafts. The insects buzzed in a low thrum and the birds chirped sharply, caught up in petty arguments. Human feet clad in sandals scuffed through the woods’ fallen leaves. The howl of a wild canine echoed in the distance, catching the attention of the human.
“That was spooky,” Colin said to himself. He kept on walking. The sound had been distant and he carried protection on his back should he run into any unpleasant creatures. He’d learned how to wield a sword long ago, although he found little use for it. His country had been at peace for the greater part of his lifetime. There was a crisis when he was a child, but that was long ago. Most normal animals fled when they sighted or scented a human and monsters were very seldom encountered by anyone anymore.
Today, Colin was looking for birds of a particular species. He’d gotten a request from a friend of his in
for a painting of Ordon sparrows, so he sought the little creatures, ready to take a sketchbook and some colored chalks out of his knapsack to capture some rough drawings of them in a natural setting. If he could find some shed feathers, that would be wonderful, too. If he didn’t see any sparrows today, he’d come out here tomorrow. His friend hadn’t given him a deadline and this project was a gift rather than paid work, anyway. Castle Town
The man wondered what his life would have been had he made different choices. There was a time late in his childhood when his friends expected that he might become a warrior. His father had fancied the idea of him trying out for and joining the royal guard, but, in the end, art had appealed better to Colin’s sensibilities. His initial inspiration to train in the fighting arts had left the village long ago.
The Chosen Hero of Hyrule had been his close friend, even a big-brother figure to him during his childhood, but soon after saving the land from what was since termed the Twilight Crisis, that man had gone off to parts unknown and was never heard from in Ordon, or, indeed, the major parts of Hyrule ever again. There were rumors of him around the edges of the country, the far-flung reaches – tales of a mysterious figure who’d show up and help people in trouble, but there were also quite a lot of people who sought to emulate the Hero, too. Whether or not the real thing had even stayed within the nation was unknown.
Colin knew enough of fighting to protect himself and his family. The children were playing with their friends in the relative safety of the village. Linky knew well to watch out for his little sister and Talo, no doubt, was keeping a watch over them both – and his own sons – from one of the high points of the village. Colin had made good on promises made long ago. He’d named his firstborn son after his friend, the Hero, and tried his best to instill a sense of courage in him. His wife and his own little sister were probably home by now, done at the ranch. He’d done work there this morning while Elisha took care of the afternoon needs of the horses and goats.
The ranch had expanded a great deal from its humble beginnings, thanks to the work of Colin and his wife. They;d bought it long ago and expanded its operations. However, the keeping of and sale of horses for Hyrule hadn’t quite yet paid off the debt they’d acquired from it. Too bad sales of his art were few and far between. It wasn’t that he had not trained in the proper techniques (he’d met his wife at
while doing just that); it’s just that his experiments in color and brushwork had not become particularly popular among people who bought art. Colin painted with his own passion and that meant thick strokes and bright colors, resulting in paintings that were not realistic in every last detail, did not emulate pictographs, and were not always idealized. He had talent and training, but refused to paint in a way that did not appeal to his passion. He would do this painting for a friend with passion and he knew his friend would appreciate it. If only he could find a few sparrows to sketch for research first… Castle Town University
He stopped dead still; sure he’d heard a low moan. He continued walking; telling himself it was just the wind. He didn’t have Elisha’s pointed Hylian ears. If she were here, she’d be able to tell what it was. Even little Link would probably be able to say whether it was a monster or just the wind, having inherited his mother’s trait. Colin kept himself on high alert.
He saw a bundle up ahead, something propped up against a tree. It moved slightly. Colin approached it with caution, but kept his sword sheathed. It looked like a person, wrapped in a thick gray cloak. When he caught a good sight of the man, he dropped to his knees.
“Sir? Are you quite alright?” He knew that it was a stupid question. The man was in obvious distress. Colin touched his fingers to the person’s neck to find a pulse. The man’s scruffy head lolled and he groaned softly. The man hadn’t shaved in a while – he had not a full beard, but a salt-and-pepper scruff of the type that’s acquired over several days. When the cloak fell off the top of is head it revealed hair that was long, lank and dirty. The man’s ears were Hylian. He looked vaguely familiar, but Colin couldn’t place that familiarity. He might have been someone he’d met once in
, one of his fellow students from back when he was studying. Castle Town
The man’s skin was cold and Colin stifled a yelp when he caught a glimpse of his middle. The stranger’s clothing was soaked from the stomach down in a dark color that Colin seldom used among his paints. When called upon to render blood (he didn’t like blood), he usually made it bright. Dark meant that a wound was deep or that the blood was drying. The man’s clothing was rust-brown at the edges.
“Can you stand?” Colin asked gently, hefting his arms beneath the man’s shoulders. Oh! There was an odd shift in the left one! “My mother and my sister are healers. Home is not far from here, they can help you.”
With a painted grunt and grinding of his teeth, the stranger clung to Colin and hefted himself to his feet. In all of this, he never opened his eyes. The artist helped the stranger to limp all the way back to his own home at the edge of
. Ordon Village
“It’s an odd place,” Colin said. “It’s a tree – a hollowed out old tree. A friend of mine used to live there, but that was long ago. When I came of age and decided to stake my life with the village, it was decided that an abandoned place should not go to waste. We installed the earthen ramp when my wife was pregnant with our first kid. It’s an easy slope. We can take it.”
Colin knew only a little of the healing arts. It was his mother and Rosalee who had the greatest knowledge. The family was in debt for that, too… while Colin’s art training had cost money, Rosalee’s proper education in medicine had cost more. It had proven its worth it in the eyes of the village, however, as she’d healed many hurts and had saved the life of one of Talo’s children when he’d gotten very sick from eating poison berries out in the woods. Rosalee had supervised the birthing of all the village’s current children. Her education loan was under the charge of Malo, a wealthy merchant who, like the Hero, had left the village long ago and was also one of Colin’s childhood friends. The man had yet to try to collect his full due. They could trust Malo, right?
“It’s a big family I’ve got,” Colin said, trying to keep the wounded man conscious, in the present and distracted from pain, “There’s my wife. She’s a Hylian like you, she has the ears. There are our children – my son turned out Hylian, too, but my daughter’s got small ears like I do. My younger sister lives with me, too. She’s been of marrying age for a while but is unmarried. There’s also my mother. We take care of her.”
“Lotta people…” the stranger grunted, his voice dry and scratchy. The traveler was aware that he’d entered the cool of shadows. He heard two women’s voices and the excited cries of children.
“Link, Meeka, step aside,” Colin said. “Got a hurt man here, needs one of the beds.”
“I wanna help!” one child said. “Where’d he come from?” the other asked.
The traveler felt hands upon his face and neck. One of the adult female voices said something about fever. He opened his eyes just a crack but only saw a fog of blurred colors and movement. He closed them again, shut tight against light that was too painful for him even indoors. Why in world was the person leading him touching his ribs so much? He squeaked small sounds of pain past his chapped lips, but he could not manage the ripping screams he wanted to issue. It hurt him badly enough to breathe, why was he being made to walk and move? Help, yes… he was getting help, offered freely. Whoever was leading him had such a gentle voice, too – filled with concern.
Why did this voice sound so familiar? Another of the voices sounded familiar, too – one of the women. The man felt himself being sat down and laid out upon a bed. The mattress beneath him was soft – how long had it been since he’d laid down on something so soft? It was like cuddling against the warm belly of his horse – not the one he’d had in recent years, but the one that now lived only in his memories and wherever the Goddesses sent the souls of horses. The man felt his clothing being shifted. Was he being undressed by these strangers? He felt too sick to care. He just wanted the pain shooting through him whenever he breathed to end. Dreams clawed at the edges of his mind. He was sure he’d heard the voice of one of his ancestors… the one that was really good with a sword…
Scrape, scrape, scrape.
Such a strange noise… Where was it coming from? The gentle scraping continued as the man opened his eyes slowly. Dull pain began to register as his wakefulness increased. He looked at the ceiling and at the walls. They towered around him, rich and woody. There were paintings hung here and there, bright and beautiful. He twitched a little when he saw one. It was painted in a different style than the rest, but had a character that told him that it had been created by the same hand. It was an idealized piece, done in a realistic style and it depicted a young man dressed in green holding a shield and sword.
Scrape, scrape, scrape.
With heroic effort, the man sat up. A thin woolen blanket fell from him and he realized that he was without the gray tunic and cloak he’d been wearing. He felt the gauzy warmth of bandages around him, tight around his ribs and stomach. He rubbed his chin. The scruff on it remained though he noticed that his scalp was no longer gritty. His hair felt clean and his skin felt freshly washed.
Scrape, scrape, scrape.
The man turned toward the source of the odd, gentle sound. A man with light blond hair was hunched over a desk, intent upon some sort of task. “Ah, you’re awake,” he said from his desk, not looking up, having caught movement in his periphery. “To tell you the truth, we didn’t expect you to survive the night. I volunteered to stay and look after you this morning. Sent the kids off to play – didn’t want them to watch you expire, should that happen. The fever broke about an hour ago, but with that wound in your gut, it’s still pretty touch and go. I suppose you being up is a good sign, though. I should get you a glass of water-”
Colin looked up from his work and turned toward his guest. The man looked him straight in the eyes. The grinding stone slipped from the artist’s fingers and powder of lapis lazuli blue spilled over his leg. The traveler’s eyes, a dark blue in their own right, were sharp and held the spirit of a wild, noble, carnivorous animal. Colin had not recognized the face, so changed with age and wear, but those eyes… they brought back summer nights chasing fireflies and warm days swimming at the spring. They brought back walks in the woods and wild games, the echo of horse hooves on hard earth and the terrifying thunder of the feet of wild boars. Dust, steel, wounds, healing and the ache of loss… those eyes held it all and communicated that in memories once faded but newly vivid.
“L-Link? Is that you?”
“I suppose so,” the man answered, looking confused. “I guess someone would have to recognize me sooner or later.” He squint his wild eyes, trying to puzzle out whom he was talking to.
“Colin,” Colin answered for him.
Link’s eyes widened instantly. Then, he smiled. “You… you grew up!”
Colin began laughing, partly in joy, partly out of nervousness. He cleaned up the mess he’d made as best he could. “You’re in Ordon, Link,” he said. “You’re home. Quite literally, too. This is your old tree. It needed someone to live in, you know? It’s been years… close to twenty, right?...since you left? Where have you been?”
“I’ve been… around,” Link answered sheepishly. “I’ve been where I’ve been needed. I started out… searching for something and it kind of turned into something bigger.”
“Did you ever find it? What you were looking for?”
“That’s hard to say, really… when does one know when one’s found their soul?”
“You could have written to us, Link. Ilia’s convinced you died a long time ago. You could have visited now and again. The Twilight Crisis left scars on all of us, but we missed you. Ilia will sure be surprised to see you again.”
“What is she doing these days?” Link asked, wincing as he moved.
“Careful!” Colin commanded. “I don’t know what happened to you, but you took some pretty nasty damage. Your left shoulder’s all banged up, ribs on that side are cracked and you’ve got quite a neat little hole in your middle – infected, too, and we don’t know how deep.”
“The field outside Faron Woods,” Link answered. “Big…big bird. Rare to see them these days. Caught me off-guard, I guess. Stupid thing, but I came out of the fight the better.”
“Ilia’s the mayor.”
“Bo… is he?”
“Old Bo is still alive, believe it or not,” Colin answered. “He’s just retired. He spends his days teaching young Gorons who come into town how to Sumo wrestle. He just coaches them. He’s too feeble to participate himself, anymore.”
Link smiled gently. “Now that I’m here, I’d like to talk to your father, if I can.”
Colin kept silent, busying himself with the last of his cleanup.
The artist turned back to his houseguest. “Link, my father is dead.”
The two men stood before a richly-carved granite headstone just beyond the edge of town in Ordon’s little-known graveyard in the woods above the spirit’s spring. Colin had helped Link to dress and to walk there. Link went to his knees not so much in grief as in exhaustion. He ran his fingers over the graven name and words on the stone in the traditional old Hylian; “Rusl – Beloved Husband, Father and Valiant Patriot.”
“Two years ago,” Colin said.
Link lifted his sad eyes to him. “How?” he said softly.
“General Ashei of the Royal Army’s Fourth Regiment had asked for his assistance in dealing with some rising evils in the mountains of her home country – out on the borderlands. Dad fought well, but was overpowered by a white wolfos, got his throat. Ashei…she… sent him home for us at her own great personal expense. She joined us… laid his sword over him before we buried him. He always thought about you, you know… always worried. He knew you could handle yourself, but you knew him… he…”
Link nodded. He touched the grass of the grave. “Body to the earth, soul to the Goddesses,” he muttered.
“He was so proud of you… being the Hero and all. We all felt privileged to have known the man who’d saved the world. The fact that he trained you in swordplay made him even more proud. He took on many pupils, some of them the finest of the queen’s guards now. He trained me, too, once I took to it, but I can’t say I’ve kept up with it in this time of peace.”
“You don’t say…” Link began. “Did he ever tell you the story of how he saved my life during the time of the crisis?”
“N-no...” Colin said, surprised. “I thought you did the saving – saved us all from the beasts and darkness.”
Link wiped the tears that were forming at the edges of his eyes. “He saved me. I was… at the royal palace, up on the ramparts. Princess… Queen Zelda now… she was trapped inside by the Demon King… I’m sure you’ve heard that story… Anyway, I was beset by a horde of beasts – bulbins - and one of them had fired off an arrow. Normally, those things are so dumb they’d misfire their arrows and they’d break on my chain mail or I’d have the time to put my shield up… this time it was different. This arrow was coming right for my heart, too quick for me to react and what happens? This hawk comes out of nowhere and snatches the arrow up in his claws! I look down to see the bird heading back to Rusl – your dad… he’d called that hawk and sent it to save me! He was with his friends and mine – they took out the rest of the monsters for me. It was all pretty amazing. I’m surprised Ashei didn’t tell that story herself.”
“Wow…” Colin said slowly. “Why didn’t he ever tell me that story?”
“Maybe he just didn’t feel the need… felt too humble. Big heroes, they were…I would have been killed then if it weren’t for him and Ganondorf would have secured the throne. When you think about it, your father saved Hyrule from tyranny.”
“And so did you.”
“He was a good man,” Link said, standing up shakily. “A great and very brave man.”
“An artist, I never would have guessed,” Link said, back in bed and looking up at the walls of Colin’s home. “I mean, when you were a kid, you were good with the pencil and with crayons, but all little kids like to draw. These… really… they’re really amazing, Colin.”
“Thank you,” Colin said humbly. “I just took it up at some point and never looked back. I really like to draw and paint.” Then he laughed. “I don’t know what you ever expected of me, Link. I did eventually learn how to ride a horse. I learned how to swing a sword, too… to protect the ones I love, but, as I’ve said before, I’ve not kept up with it. It’s just… maybe it’s my sensitivity, I don’t know – this is just what I enjoy doing, where I felt called. You used to draw…”
“I still draw…sometimes,” Link confessed, “but not like this. You’ve gotten much better than I can ever hope to be. The paintings are so bright and strong. Your work must be in every rich man’s home in Hyrule.”
“Not… exactly, Link. I haven’t sold much work. I don’t quite conform to the set standard that the gentry like. I trained for it, but I find that kind of meticulousness a bit tedious. That painting right there is the most traditional-style of what I have up on the walls right now, and that only because it’s pretty sentimental to me, as you might guess.”
Link looked to the picture indicated – the young man with the sword and shield in a heroic pose. “That’s me,” he said, “but… it’s…”
“It was painted from memory,” Colin explained, “And a few pictographs. It does… look like you looked back then.”
“It’s too gallant,” Link said frankly.
Colin was taken aback. “That’s how a Hero’s portrait is supposed to be.”
“It doesn’t show the grit or the blemishes. It doesn’t show how tired fighting makes a man. It doesn’t show loss or survival. I like the other ones better… the birds, that view of Ordon, the stag and does over there, the dancers… And I really like that boar. That one is like a nightmare-image…”
“Also painted from memory,” Colin said, “though a memory of a different kind.”
“I can tell. You do remember you did a very brave thing back then, right?”
“Yes. But when Beth was about to get run over, I thought to what you would do, and since you weren’t there… I just got myself hurt, anyway. You saved me.”
“Hmm.” Link mumbled. “You saved Beth. I saved you. You found me in the woods yesterday and saved me. In the end, if all goes well with the world, we all save each other.”
“I don’t make a living at it,” Colin said, looking up and around at his paintings and to some of the unfinished ones in one corner, by his desk. “I get the materials…pigments, oils and the like when I can, but it’s more a pursuit of pleasure than anything that keeps the family well. We own Ordon Ranch – I’d be at work there today if I wasn’t keeping a watch on you. It’s hard, lowly work, but...” and at this Colin grinned strongly, “an old friend of mine once told me that such work is good for the soul.”
“Once I get shaved up,” Link began, “I think, if you have the materials for it… that I’d like you to do another portrait of me – one that I’ll pose for.”
“Let’s get you feeling better first.”
That moment, the door opened. Two chattering children burst through it, followed by three women.
“Hey! Hey you kids!” one of the adults scolded. “Inside voices! Inside voices! We have a guest, remember?”
A little boy came trotting up the bed Link lay in. Link was taken aback. Seeing this kid’s face was like looking back in time. He felt that he was seven years old again, looking into a mirror. The hair was lighter than his but this child was uncanny. Definitely sired by Colin, yet strangely like a regressed version of himself.
“Hi, mister!” he said, “Feeling better? I hope so. I hate being sick!”
“Hi there!” the little girl said. “I’m Meeka. What’s your name?”
“Link,” Link said groggily, sitting up higher.
“Ooh!” Meeka squealed, “That’s the same as big brother!”
Colin came up behind them and crouched down, putting his hands on their shoulders. “Linky, Meeka… This is my old friend. He’s the person I named you after, Link.”
“Yep, one and the same.”
In an instant, a gray-haired woman was upon the traveler. She touched her hand gently to his cheek and peered at him with wonder and confusion. “Link..?”
“Uli,” Link breathed. “It’s… been a while.”
“We never knew what happened to you. Where have you been all these years?”
“I’m not sure I’m at liberty to say…” Link answered, looking down at his blanket.
“You just…left… all those years ago without even saying goodbye.”
Link winced with shame. “I… I can’t explain,” he said hastily.
Uli sighed heavily. “If you were looking for your heart, you know we could have helped you. I suppose this… this is better than the alternative. You’re alive. We at least know you’re alive now.”
“Did you take good care of him today, Colin?” a young Hylian woman asked.
“Of course, Elisha. He’s my old best friend. I think introductions are in order all around.”
Illness returned to Link in the night. Colin held him down as his wife swabbed him with damp cloths and Rosalee checked his injuries. Uli took the children to the mayor’s house to keep them from having to witness the scene. Fear clenched Colin’s heart. He’d just found his old friend again and he did not want to lose him.
Link dreamed, half-awake and half-asleep, and he spoke his dreams. He spoke of beasts and of misty strange dimensions, cities in the sky and beyond the sunset. He also spoke of fishing and said something about how someone named Hena was going to kill him if he stayed away too long.
“There’s a clock tower in that city,” he gasped, “reaches the sky, they say my ancestor’s been there…”
“Sssh,” coaxed Rosalee. “I’m sure it’s very beautiful. I’m sure your eyes have seen many things. Try to relax, okay?”
“He’s squirming where you’re touching that wound, sis,” Colin said. “I would, too.”
“It needs cleaning… unfortunately. There’s no telling how long he was walking around with it. He should have gotten help right away. A rainy wood is not place to heal.”
To everyone’s utter surprise, Link barked. He growled like a wild creature when Rosalee’s fingers prodded his stomach-wound.
“You were a guardian beast, weren’t you Link?” Colin said softly. His sister and wife looked at him strangely. “I always knew, or at least suspected. Around here, around Kakariko… in the field. Wolves are not common…”
“What in the world are you talking about?” Rosalee asked.
Colin shook his head. “It was… before you were born, sis. Something between us – fanciful, but what does one do without an imagination?”
“You kids stank something fierce…”
“Sssh, Link. The fever is almost over, okay?”
“We said yesterday that he might not make it…” Elisha said dourly. “He was doing so well this afternoon, awake and aware. I suppose we’ll lay him next to Papa Rusl…”
“Don’t say that!” Colin shot back. “This is the Hero here! He’s strong. He’ll pull through. He can’t be stopped by a few cracked ribs and one little wound.”
Link’s eyes snapped open. To everyone’s surprise, he wriggled out from beneath their grasp and sat up.
“Oh, hi, Colin,” he said.
Link took his time recovering. He met and re-met everyone in the village – to mixed emotions all around. He regaled the children of Ordon with stories of adventure in Hyrule and beyond. He had every child in the village stopping short to look down at their shadows, ready for something to pop out of them. He laughed.
He watched Colin’s son play and train with a wooden sword. He watched him use inanimate targets and spar with Talo’s eldest. He’d smile watching that. The kid just wouldn’t give up – even when Jaakob gave him a fierce smacking. Little Link was quite tough… rather unlike his father at that age, Link noted, but Colin had grown into his own kind of courage. Courage didn’t always wield a sword. Sometimes, it wielded a paintbrush.
Clean-shaven and with his hair trimmed to an appropriate, but not stifling length, Link was ready to pose before Colin’s easel. They’d decided upon an outdoor location on a sunny day to capitalize upon the available light. During his entire time in the village, Colin had been making charcoal and pencil sketches of Link to work from as well.
“Why is this so important to you?” Colin asked. “I already have the one portrait… if you really want it, I’ll give it you… for free, even.”
“This is important to me because I want you to see me as I really am,” Link said. “Also, I want you to put your soul into it – like your other paintings. I want you to paint with your soul. Be unafraid. The old portrait’s an academic piece. There’s not much of you in it… or me for that matter.”
Colin smiled brightly. “Stop flapping your gums. Try to stay still for me. We’ll both take a break in an hour, okay?”
The work stretched out for several days. Fortunately, the weather that week was sunny and dry. Link learned amid cramps and kinks just how hard the simple act of remaining still was, and he’d thought he’d learned the art back in his adventuring days while hiding from enemies. He didn’t even hold a sword – though Colin had wanted him to. It was a simple portrait, Link as a man rather than as the Hero.
“Here it is,” Colin said sighing. “If it’s not to your liking, I’ll understand. I can’t look at it without seeing all the mistakes, myself. Don’t touch it. If you must carry it, do so by the edges or under the back lip. The paint is not dry. That oil paint will take at least a month to dry. If you keep it well - out of excess humidity or heat, it could last centuries.”
Link regarded the rectangle on the easel. It wasn’t an enormous canvas, just of the standard size people would put above their fireplaces – which, according to Colin, was the last place you’d want to put a painting you wanted to keep nice. The colors in the background were bright – the greens and yellows of the forest leaves, while the figure of Link in the painting had an earthier quality. The clothing he wore was gray with a little silver clasp in the shape of a leaf. His hair was brownish-blondish-grayish. Colin had captured the light scar on his right cheek and the little bump on his chin. His eyes were fierce and dark blue, but they held a certain tiredness to them. Link in the painting, though rendered in bold, loving brushstrokes, was faded while the background of nature was wild and vivid.
“It’s perfect,” Link said. “This is absolutely perfect.”
“Huh?” Colin asked, “Really? I mean, I tried, but… I made you fairly plain. Are you sure you don’t want to pose for another one, holding your sword out, wearing those special clothes in your knapsack and such?”
“No,” Link said hoarsely. “This is me. Thank you.”
“You should settle here in the village. You can even live with my family – right in your old house.
is quiet… you’ll be free from the pressures of fame here. We won’t tell anybody that you’re here, if that’s what you want.” Ordon Village
“You’re in debt, Colin. I don’t think you can handle an old adventurer bumming off you.”
“You’re almost healed up. The decision is yours, but the offer stands. You’ll always be a part of this village. You’re family to us.”
Colin and his family awoke to a shock. Half the walls of the tree were bare, nails and wall-hooks hanging empty.
“Daddy, your paintings!” Meeka exclaimed.
“Who did this?” Elisha asked. “Were we robbed? They didn’t seem to take anything else…”
A few paintings were left. Colin noted these as the ones he’d held some sentimental value for. He looked around the main living space, into the walled off add-on rooms and even up into the loft area. Curiosity even took him to the basement. “Gone,” he said, coming back up the ladder. “Just artwork… most of my work is gone. It’s just the stuff I’ve been trying to sell anyway, but…”
“Where’s Link?” Uli asked.
“I’m right here, Gramma.”
Uli smiled. “I mean Big Link, sweetheart. I thought I heard him get up early this morning to take one of his walks, but…”
“His knapsack’s gone and his bed’s made,” Colin noted. He reached for a piece of paper that was lying atop the blankets. The ink writing upon it was careful and elegant.
I have to be moving on again. I hate to disappoint everybody, but I have to go. I am needed elsewhere. I am sure I make a better memory, anyway.
I have taken several of your paintings – only the ones you told me you wished to sell. Castle Town might not be in much of a market for your style right now, but there is a city called Clock Town in the nation of Termina – a country I stumbled upon quite some time ago. Termina, in many ways, is “ahead” of Hyrule and you are definitely ahead of your time as an artist. I know people there who would appreciate and pay great prices for your work. I do not know if it will be enough to pay off your debts, but I will send you the money from every sale straightaway.
“What?” Colin exclaimed. “Sneaky devil…”
He gasped as he turned around to see the absence of a painting that had been constant upon one wall. The old gallant Hero’s portrait, done in the traditional idealized style was gone. The recent portrait he had painted for Link was there, in its place.
I also took the old portrait of myself, the letter asserted. I left behind something better. I believe that Queen Zelda will love the old painting of me. Again, I will send the money from the sale to you. I want you to keep the portrait I asked you for. Remember me as I really was. It is a much better piece.
Farewell, my friend. And remember, in the end, we all save each other.