Chapter 10 – Wisdom’s Awakening
Far south of
Hyrule Castleand even farther than the lay the belt of Hyrule. A series of farms and pastures knit together by villas. The food pouring from the belt feeds over three quarters of Hyrule's burgeoning population, both new residents and old. Yet, with the flux of battles between royalists and cronies their shipments of food have been disrupted. As a price much of Hyrule has been rationing food for the past few weeks. Golden Castle
What shipments that have gone out have been struck by opportunistic bandits and hungry guards. To help to counter this many caravans laden down with food have been protected by the previously trained militiamen. Their addition this past week has helped to fill the many empty stomachs across the realm. One such wagon train was now trotting back towards the farms. Their wagons empty of food and instead filled with supplies. Some wrought iron tools. Bags of feed and other loose objects.
They were making their way parallel to the Lost Woods. A woods that no sane man would enter. To go into them more than a few hundred yards, they would find themselves instantly lost and never heard from again. The forest is said to stretch into the east without end. Some have even said it is where all the worlds of the vast providence collide. Some just think the woods are haunted. Most though agree to never cut wood from it and to never enter them.
Though the woods stretch forever into the eastern horizon, they do not extend as far to the south. To the south the woods end, revealing even more plains, plains that the farmers of Hyrule are now just cultivating. There lie a few towns that way, but not very many. There is even said to be ruins of some sort. Ruins that have been half swallowed by the woods. Old pillars and an ancient foundation. It was the rumor of these ruins that this particular wagon train was this close to the woods. Within another days trek they would swing to the east and follow the southern border of the woods hoping to spy the ruins. Two people among the farmers wished to have a permanent home with which to fight from.
Those very same people were now conversing. One, a young girl with mud-streaked blonde hair, kept mostly in a hat, was driving one of the small wagons. Her motions were not smooth but uneasy. She was still adjusting to driving a wagon on her own. The second carried himself with ease. One blade was strapped to his back, the style the other militia men were trained to do. As well to better blend in among them was a quiver of arrows at his hip and a recurved bow. Among the many leather straps of his horse was hidden another blade. A great sword for those foolish enough to get too close to his traveling companion.
"If this place exists we can build a center there. A place I can direct people from. The one problem would be keeping it secret. I believe that once we have settled on one area then we must begin to move swiftly. Muion must not be allowed to stay in power longer than necessary."
Link nodded as he knew he should. His mind was not on her musings. He knew she was only talking to clear her mind and shape the coming plan. A plan that has been dormant for four weeks. Four weeks of blending into the lifestyle of a simple farmer. One month of not knowing what exactly is going on, save what rumors Dashiva had heard among the farmers. He remembers the first night he had awoken and been beset by her in a strong embrace. He had said no words, unsure for once of what to say. She had cried on his shoulder most of the night. The only thing he could do was sit there and listen.
Looking back he knew why she had done it. She had been grieving for her father and her friends. She had let the horrible event finally affect her. Let it run its course through her mind. It was now that Link began to wonder how he should be grieving. Or even how one would grieve. He knew that many of the guards he had personally trained were now dead and that hundreds more across the realm were lost. Yet, he could not summon a single tear for them. Not even for the idea that his own friends, the two missing brothers, may possibly be dead.
"Link." At the sound of his name all thoughts instantly went to the Heir. "How long do you think till Cory comes back with news?"
He made no sound, mentally tallying the distance and possible locations if the brothers survived. "Two or three weeks, given where Shawn or Chan ended. Shawn would have two choices. Stay with Tiryn and his guard and try to rally the many royalists. Or return to his people who would have a better chance of finding you. I'd say he'd stay with Tiryn, assuming you would reach him through the sheikah when you needed him. Even believing Shawn survived.’
“As to Chan, if he found Sable alive he would get to your father. Yet, I believe if Quiri betrayed us then King Oberon is dead and Chan was either killed or captured. Knowing that the sheikah assaulted the castle and given that Muion still lives, then Quiri does as well. None us could have kept Muion alive this long. Which means Sable is dead. Making Chan's death or capture more likely."
"There still might be hope, you must think they all made it out."
Link made no comment, knowing she made the statement more for her benefit than his.
The rest of the day passed in silence as Link sent two riders to scout ahead for signs of trouble. They returned with seeing no one. At dusk they broke for camp. A haphazard affair for the eight people. One tent was struck for three men. Link and the princess slept under a wagon. Two under the other and they all took turns in the night with watching for possible attackers.
With the dawn they took-up their trek to the south, waiting for the forest to give way to plains. By mid-afternoon they swung east, the forests drive to the south finally ending. They took up a slower pace, their eyes searching both the horizon and the forests. By the end of that day they had set camp again without finding any ruins.
Another day came and went before the team of people happened upon the them. They were as moss covered as the Heir had expected. There were small shrubs and trees growing about the area with the occasional tree. Unlike much of the rest of the forest they could see a good ways between the trees. This gave her heart.
Link was the first to venture into the ruins, his sword drawn and at the ready. When he had not vanished the rest entered slowly. With much exploration they discovered a vast foundation and several archways in the process of withering away. One tall pillar stood above everyone in the center of the ruins, odd markings littering its surface. None present could translate them, though the princess made an odd statement.
"It seems like I should be able to read this." Her voice trailed at the end.
No one spoke as they explored and none ventured too far from the other. When Link reached the end of the forest-surrounded ruins he noticed a strange fog thickening among the trees. The fog began like a wall some twenty feet beyond the end of the ruins. Not even Link braved to go that far. Yet, to him he thought he saw a shadow amongst the fog. Something playing at his other senses, something beyond what his eyes could discern. He said as much to the Heir as they stared into the fog.
"Are you sure it isn't your imagination? The fog gives me the feeling like someone is watching us. But, I've had that feeling since we came near the forest."
Link waited a few more minutes, trying to sense something using a method he had never actively used before. It reminded of when he was fighting. Like he could almost sense where a person was. There! He knew for sure now. "Someone is watching from behind the fog."
Zelda looked to Link, a strange light in her eye. "How?"
"I don't know. I can just tell." Then warning bells went off in his mind. His body tensed and he acted. He swung his arms around the Heir, but he was too late. An arrow of light shot from the mist and struck the Heir in her chest just as Links’ arms went around her. He completed the motion by twirling her, ending with his back to the fog. The Heir, though, was completely limp in his arms.
There was a world of blackness and waiting. A waiting that saw feelings entering into the blackness. The feelings were pinpoints of light littering the great void of her mind. A mind that was now roving across a limitless universe, driven by a power hungry to devour all aspects of learning. It raged and boiled within her, coming from her very being. Tied to her through destiny's choice and the decisions of her ancestors. It had finally and completely stolen its way into her mind.
At first it had been a trickle. A babbling brook giving insights and flashes and hints. It had made its way through cracks that a maturing mind had made. For as a mind grows it wishes to learn about itself. In this quest it had found a locked thing. A thing it had tried to open ever so slowly. Now though, a key of light had pierced the Heir's heart and shattered the box holding the raging tempest at bay.
For stretched seconds the mind fought with the devil. A wriggling thing of light that the mind could not grasp for long. With each touch knowledge, pain, emotion, sensations a thousand times amplified filled the mind. It could not cope with this thing. Yet, this thing once realizing where it was began to diffuse its light into the mind and with each pinpoint of light the mind absorbed it, screaming at the intensity of knowing. For learning one thing a day was hard, one had to work to slowly engrave this learned thing into one's mind. But this wiggling thing of light carved the knowing instantly into the mind. There was no slow comfort of easing in. It was sharp, it was rough, and it was painful. Adding to that, there was a billion points of light.
Hell ended slowly. Zelda finally saw in her mind's eye the last pinpoint of light rape her mind and spill its contents there. She whimpered and cried aloud as the last vestiges of pain faded and the whipping cord of light was finally absorbed into her mind. Knowledge that had lain dormant was now with her. There for her to call upon. Yet, there was more. Something about having a sense of feeling the world. Like her mind now had its own hands with which to explore the world.
Her mind as well felt like it had an eye. An eye that saw lights and patterns in the very air. Saw people's voices in their minds. On top of that she had ears in her mind with which to hear. And a nose with which to smell. Smells of old things of old magics wafted into her thoughts. Her mind, now heavy and laden with learnings, told her what some of the smells meant.
All these revelations came to her in the span of a moment. She realized she could sense the world around her, even though, her physical eyes were shut. The realization coupled with the sensory input made her pass out. She drifted through the conscious fog of just being for some time. Her mind now slowly adjusting to the new things it could do. She found herself at times in odd places. Seeing odd things. Seeing peoples. Sometimes even seeing familiar faces. Shawn it seemed was with her once. At one time she even thought she saw Sable.
Then on one occasion she saw Link's face bright as day and clear as crystal. She blinked. This was not a memory or a vague impression. She was on her back and staring at her shadow. She blinked a few times and found her voice, though hoarse it was. "Link?" She rasped. He nodded before holding a jug of water above her lips. Her sparse throat welcomed the liquid heartily.
When she had drank her fill she sat up. Her vision and mind swam for a moment and for that moment she saw two things. A reality of lights and swirls and another of impressions and vague feelings. Then the two combined and corresponded back into one meshed vision. Her mind had adapted to her new senses she realized. What she saw with her eyes was being overlayed by what she saw with her mind. What she smelt in the world was also being combined with what her nose smelled.
She smelled magic. She saw emotion. She felt very confused. Then her eyes alighted to Link whose back was too her. He was preparing some food it looked like. Yet, she only saw a person with him. Only saw what her physical eyes showed her. Her mind's senses were blind when it came to him. Then a thought struck her. Is this how the sheikah saw the world? With their talk of sensing another's intents? Once she saw the brothers and Sable again she would ask. She would ask them much. Like did they know? Did they know that the Triforce of Wisdom had lain dormant inside her? Did they know that the Legend had come again?
She knew they had survived the attack on the castle. Her wonderings while she slept had shown her that. Shawn was alive. Sable was somewhere as well. Tiryn she was not sure. Nor, about Chan, yet it wasn't too farfetched to assume they had survived as well.
Link had now turned around, a plate of food in his hands. She ate the bread and dried meat quickly. She was very hungry and quickly asked him for another helping. He nodded before standing and leaving the tent to retrieve more. He returned with a loaf of bread and some raw vegetables. She ate them all.
"How long?" She asked
"We haven't left ruins, have we?"
He shook his head.
"Were you worried?"
He was silent. He did not look her in the eyes. That is when for once she felt something from him. A wisp of an emotion. Shame? She shook her head. It was not easy to place. It was a very complicated emotion.
"Yes." He said at last.
She decided not to press him further. "What happened to the presence in the forest? That is what struck me, right?"
He nodded. "It has been taunting us. Shrill laughs at night. Arrows barely missing. It has stayed in the fog."
"What did it say about me?"
"He said he had the key. Now you have the key. He said in time you might wake up."
There was that sliver of a wisp. Something of pain, maybe? No. Almost like worry mixed with relief. Yet, there was still that shame.
"What have you done while I was out?"
"Sent word for Cory or Shawn. Told the courier to tell no one of our location but Dashiva. We've been waiting since."
He was not saying everything. He had held something back. "What have you done about the presence?"
He did not look her in the eye. He was ashamed of it. But why? She held her head high and chose her tone of voice carefully. "Link, Captain of my Guard. You will answer your Queen."
He looked at her then. His eyes hardening. She held her pose, but almost felt like flinching. "In anger I chased the figure into the woods wanting revenge, thinking it had struck you dead. I became lost in the fog. It mocked and jeered me. I swung my swords on reflex and fought it. I struck blood and it fled laughing. I followed the blood trail. I fired arrows at it. It scolded me for missing. Saying ‘we’ could do better. Then I finally came face to face with it. Face to face with myself." The pause stretched.
"I-it pointed me towards a pond. He said gaze upon myself and look what has happened. I only saw a skeleton staring back at me with hollow eyes. The thing that was me shrieked then. Saying it would take my place in destiny if only I would stay a little longer. Then I fled. I felt my skin become dry and saw layers of it begin to peel away. I felt my body growing thinner and thinner. I lost touch with who I was. What my purpose was. Then a light was before me, a song coming from it. It beckoned me to follow. I did. Then I was out of the fog. My body and mind were my own again.”
Then she heard the final words of his last statement. The words not spoken yet still echoed in her mind. And you weren't dead. The relief she heard in those words brought water to her eyes. Did he love her after all, despite what Shawn had said? Did Shawn speak out of jealousy?
She shook her head forcing the thoughts from her mind. It did not matter. Not now anyway. Now she needed to understand exactly what the presence had done to her. He had unlocked the Triforce much earlier than necessary. The way he had done it was uncalled for. Yet, the results were something she could not complain about. She relaxed her mind and body and laid back down. For now she would have some more rest.
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