The Great Desert

By Shadsie & Sailor Lilith-chan

Chapter 11:  Home




The last dying embers of sunset rested over the desert.  Small, deft feet raced across the sand, followed by the iron-shod feet of a horse.  Link had been through his transformation and back several times by now.  He was beginning to become used to his animal form.  He was even starting to enjoy this body.  Rhiannon knew and trusted him, though his shape was different than the one she was used to.  She told him that she did not like his coyote-reek and had a hard time smelling the “Link” beneath it.  Link could understand her language when he was a beast and she, in turn, could better understand him.  Midna seemed to understand his yipping just a little, but not much.  Link had learned some surprising things about his horse.  Rhiannon did not see him entirely as a “master” or even a partner.  Link supposed it was because he’d cared for her from the time she was a foal:  She had revealed to him that she thought of him as a father. 


Midna wore a black hat, not much unlike Link’s.  To her displeasure, Navi liked to hide herself under it, complaining that staying close to Link’s fur was too much for her. Coyotes were fairly musky animals and Link was no exception. 


Link’s feet hit familiar ground and he stopped.  Midna halted Rhiannon sharply.  “Link?” she asked, “What’s wrong?” 


She looked around for danger before dismounting.  Link nodded and yipped, his signal that he wanted to be returned to his natural form.  Midna restored him. 


“Alright, bug,” she said to Navi, “You can get out of lovely Midna’s beautiful hair now.  He’s back to his old self.” 


“What a relief!” Navi said, hovering out from under the Twili’s hat.  “Your hair was getting sweaty!”


Midna glared at her before turning her attention to Link.  “Why are we stopped?” she asked.  “Lanayru said to come this way.” 


“I know,” Link said.  “This is close to my home.  I want to scout about, make sure there are no soldiers or bounty hunters about.  If we’re so close to the ranch…I’d like to see my people again.”


“Do not forget that we are on a mission,” Midna said. 


“I don’t know how they’ll react to you.  They ain’t seen anybody like you before.  You will behave yourself, right?”


“What, Hero, don’t you trust me?” 


“I saw what you did to that cow.”  


“It was necessary and you eat beef, don’t you?” 


Before going to Lanayru’s hidden spring, the group had headed to the Gerudo Fortress to barter for a cow or horse.  Midna had claimed that creating an exit warp-point of twilit magic sufficient enough to transport any beings larger than a cat required the sacrifice of a large, living creature.  There was nothing religious whatsoever in this kind of sacrifice; it was merely a scientific matter, the physics of a twilit warp portal – organic material was required for the transmutation spell.   


They weren’t about to sacrifice Rhiannon.  Even though they were not aware of what Link was planning, the Gerudo would not part with one of their prized horses.  He managed to talk them into giving him a milk cow, with sufficient rupees out of his wallet, of course.  He and Midna had led the poor, oblivious beast to the spring where Midna unbound her hair, formed it into a massive glowing hand, used its strength to levitate the animal into the air above the dry spring bed and shot it with a bolt of twilit magic.  With a great moo, the poor bovine exploded into hundreds of little black blotches in the sky, which gathered and formed a large black hole that remained static, in place, awaiting its purpose. 


Midna tried to assure Link, despite the dramatic nature of the portal’s creation, that the cow had felt no pain.  She also informed him that it was the only sacrifice they needed.  She was certain she could warp objects and living beings of any size and composition straight to that exit-hole.  She also spoke of the time when these portals littered Hyrule, back when she and Link’s former incarnation had to fight a war against her own hopelessly-transformed people.  “A cow is a very small sacrifice,” she’d said. 


After observing the ranch from the desert hills, the little group stole into Ordona Ranch quietly.  The lights at the Ordona family ranch house were on.  After quietly stabling Rhiannon, Link and Midna quietly stepped up onto the porch.  Link gave the front door a few soft raps.


“Who could it be?” Malon asked, rising from her seat.  “If it’s another one of those soldiers….”


She opened the door to Link’s gently smiling face, the tall Twili queen behind him, and the gentle glow of his companion fairy.  


“Link?  Oh, Link…”  Malon draped her arms around him in a strong hug.  “You’re alright.  We’ve all been so worried… What are you doing here?”


“I’m here on a mission,” Link said gently, stepping through the door, Malon still hugging him.  “The ranch was near… didn’t see any of the Royal Guard goons around, thought I’d pay a visit.”


“Is this one of your girlfriends, Link?”  Midna asked slyly. 


Link separated himself from the young woman’s arms.  “No, no, cousin, actually, but more like a big sister.  This is Malon.  Malon, this gorgeous creature before you is none other than Queen Midna of the Twilight Realm.”


Malon stepped back, taking her in.  “A queen… really… Link you’ve…”


“I’ve gotten into some things that are over my head, yes.  But it will all work out.  I’m doing some things that, if I play it right, will help us all and restore the land to the way it’s supposed to be.  The little lady sitting on the brim of my hat is Navi.” 


Navi floated before Malon’s nose.  Malon held her hands out, astonished.  “I…I…I” she stuttered, “I can’t believe this, Link!  You… you found a fairy?”


“Yep!” Navi piped cheerfully. 


“All this time,” Malon laughed, “I can’t believe that all this time they were real, after all.” 


Everyone sat down at the kitchen table.  “Link, this is just incredible… all of this,” Malon said, regarding him from across its surface.    


Link removed his hat. He let his ears droop slightly.  “I am sorry if I have caused all of you undue stress.  I’m sure there’s been extra work for you since I haven’t been around and I know that people have been all over this place, asking about me.  I’ve seen a little of the news.”


Malon reached out and touched his hand.  She tried to blink back the tears in her eyes.  “Link… forgive us.  When those investigators came….we just didn’t know what to do. They wouldn’t take the truth and we were worried the palace soldiers would send us to the dungeons and burn this place to the ground if we did not tell them what they wanted to hear.  We said some terrible things about you.”


Link squeezed her hand gently.  “That’s okay,” he said hoarsely.  “You did exactly what I’d hoped you would do.  I wanted you to protect yourselves.  I want you to continue to do so.  I don’t care about my good name, as long as all of you are safe.  I’ve been taking care of myself out there.  You don’t need to worry.” 


“Where is Zelda?”


“She is in a safe place.”


“Queen Cecelia and Presi---King Ganondorf are calling for your execution.  We’ve been doing what we can to throw her people off the trail. You can’t stay here, Link.  They’ll be back.”


“We’re not going to stay long – a day at the most. I also…want to see…Uncle.”


“Of course,” Malon said, squeezing his hand.  “What happened to your sword? That’s not your father’s sword.”


“I left Dad’s sword with a friend – a weapons expert, a real tough lady.  She’ll take good care of it.  The sword I have now is… its special.  Have you been taking care of the gun I gave you?”


“Yes.  And I haven’t had to use it once.”


Link smiled broadly.  “Very good.  I hope things stay that way.” 


“Are all y’all hungry?  I’ll make you whatever you want… maybe some steak and eggs for Link but I have no idea what fairies or Twili eat…”


“A guardian fairy eats whatever her charge eats,” Navi said.  “I share off Link’s plate.” 


“Cat,” Midna said, or “or a good civet or fox.”


“Oh, good Din!” Malon said, putting a hand to her lips.    


Midna smiled wickedly, and then waved her hand.  “Beef and cuckoo ovum will be fine.”   


“You don’t have to…” Link said, grabbing her arm gently from where he sat. “I can cook us something.”


“You look tired,” Malon said, “and a bit malnourished.”  Quite suddenly, she hugged him and began crying again.  “With the way things have gone… I didn’t know that I would see you alive ever again.” 



For the first time in what felt like forever, Link slept in his own bed.  It had never felt softer or more relaxing.  Malon had put Midna up in her father’s old room with its big bed and tried her best to make her accommodations as “royal” as possible.  Midna assured her that she was used to much worse – naps in the wilderness against smelly dog fur.  Malon did not know what she was talking about, but was glad that the Twili wasn’t particularly demanding.  She’s offered the dollhouse she’d played with as a girl to Navi, but the fairy opted to sleep where she always did – in the warmth of Link’s hair. 


The next day found Link standing before a grave.  After he’d greeted everyone in town – and gotten squeezed nearly to death by Fado, he’d taken the quiet path to the edge of town to the place where his uncle had been buried.  He struck the tip of the Master Sword into the ground and knelt before the stone monument that had been placed there.  The headstone had been carved quite recently.  It was a twin-memorial, honoring Russell while also replacing his Aunt Darla’s small headstone. 


“You’ve gained the Master Sword, I see,” a wizened voice said behind him.  Link stood up and sheathed the blade.  Lady Gwen hobbled over to him.  “Do not be surprised, boy – I’d know that blade anywhere.  It only confirms what I have known about you for a long time.”


“I’m sorry,” Link said, “that I never really believed in all that destiny stuff.”


“Not to worry,” Gwen replied.  “Destiny is like love – it catches you when you least expect it.  Your eyes – your gaze is more powerful than it was before.  I am afraid that there is less innocence in them but I see more of the other qualities… Time, nature, honor… they are all swirling together within your eyes.  They are wild, cunning…noble.” 


“The ranch seems to be a bit… greener now.  I mean, there’s still desert all around this place, but it seems like there’s more grass and bushes here now.”


“It has grown just a little bit since you’ve been gone.  Some of the spread has begun recently…within the last few days.” The old woman held up her hand. “Ah, ah, ah! You don’t have to tell me what happened - I know that you’re involved somehow.  Still, all of the new growth as well as the old will wither under the blistering sands unless this cursed world is brought back into balance.” 


“The monument is very nice,” Link said suddenly, “Who made it?” 


“Oh,” Lady Gwen said with a wave of her hand, “It was carved by the hermit who lives up on Ferrin Hill.  He was well-acquainted with your uncle, though your uncle never spoke of him much.  His name is Blake Bladebringer, I believe.  Russ would go up to visit him sometimes; while on his camping trips… you remember those, don’t you? You and Malon would come stay with me when you both were small.”


“And you’d tell us to stay out of your special tea. I remember.  Malon got into it once and saw colors.”


“Blake used to work in the Royal Guard before he took to the ‘simple life.’  He came down off the hill not long after you left… waited ‘till the guardsmen and investigators left, of course.  We told him all of what happened.  He started ranting about ‘wicked Princess Cecelia,’ and so forth.  Said he knew that power she had, the ice-power…something about a crystal kept in the royal treasury, how she must have gotten to it and taken it into herself.” 


Link’s eyes were wide and his jaw was nearly on the ground.  “Where is he, Gwen?  Do you know?  I have to talk with him!” 


“He’s up on Ferrin Hill, some cabin on the eastern ridge, I believe.” 


Link bent down level with the hunched old woman, took her face in his hands and kissed her full on the lips. “Thank you, Gwen; you don’t know how much you’ve just helped me!” 


With that, Link grabbed a tiny object from one of his vest pockets, tapped it to enact the spell that had been placed upon it to spring it back to its normal size, and put it on his left hand.  He aimed the clawshot at a tree growing up on the rocky base of a hill next to the graveyard and rocketed up.  He hopped from one scraggly tree or sturdy rock to the next for about an hour until he found an old game-trail to follow.  He did not bother to wait for Midna or even for Navi – both were by one of the livestock paddocks entertaining the villagers with tales of their adventures with Link and with their general existence. 


It was not long before Link found a small house – or, more precisely, a dilapidated shack.  Its roof was made of corrugated metal that was rusting.  Link shivered involuntarily when he saw the coyote hides tacked to the weathered wood of its west side.  The young man did the only thing he could do – he boldly walked up to the door and knocked on it. 


“ACK! Who’s there?” screeched a decidedly startled voice from inside. 


“Ah-hem!” Link said, clearing his throat, “I’m here to see a Mr. Blake Bladebringer. I believe he knew my uncle?”


The door opened with a prolonged creak.  A thin man stared back at Link, his eyes wide and sunken, his hair greasy.  He looked to Link like a man haunted by the ghosts of war.  He did not look at all sane.    


“You…” the man said slowly, “You are Link Ordona Jr., correct?”


“Uh, yeah, but how did you know my name?” 


“I have been waiting for you a long time,” Blake answered. He suddenly went down on both knees in front of Link and bowed his head low.  “I see you’ve brought a sword and a gun – pick either one.  Just make it quick.” 


“Make what quick?”


“Aren’t you here to have your revenge? To kill me?”




“I am, in part, responsible for the deaths of your parents.  Russell never told you?”


Link shook his head.  “N-no,” he said.  “Get up, please.  I came here because I wanted to speak with you about Princess Cecelia… and my uncle… and… now you have something else to tell me.  I’m not going to kill you.” 


“You may wish to after I have told you the story,” Blake said, rising to his feet.


“Why don’t you tell me the story first?” 



Blake took Link inside his humble home.  They spent many hours in conversation.  Link watched the sun set outside the shack’s windows and he watched the stars appear. 


“I did a little investigation on my own,” Blake said, “I still had friends at the palace.  Russ and I were pretty sure that, even at that young age, Cecelia was behind the king’s murder.  Such a lust for power… such coldness… that young.  We said nothing, sure that we would be dismissed outright or executed.  Besides, Russell wanted you and his daughter to have a good, peaceful life away from politics and intrigues.”


“The crystal you spoke of..?”


“The sacred Crystal of Ice… a powerful spell also known as Nayru’s Love - its full potential unleashed.  In the past, it was used as a simple protection spell – but it is said that a person with enough power could unleash the very waters of Nayru herself contained within it.  Cecelia has apparently unleashed the ice, though it does not seem as though she has yet tapped into the waters.  She had to have taken it into herself somehow… It is very dangerous. It can easily be set off-balance.”


“If it is inside her, where would it be inside her?”


“Why would you want to know?” 


Link put forth his right hand and produced a jet of flame from his palm, which he quickly extinguished.  He put forth his left hand and produced a tiny whirlwind with sparks of green energy that resembled tiny leaves.  Blake stared, astonished. 


“I need the third Crystal,” Link said frankly.  “I cannot bring the world back into balance without it.” 


Blake nodded stupidly.  “It would most likely be in one of her arms, to filter her own powers through it.  You saw her in action yourself, which arm did she cast with?”


“Her right,” Link answered. 


“Defeat her, kid,” Blake admonished.  “Her and that demon she raised.”


Link looked up suddenly.  “You mean Ganondorf.”


“Yes.” Blake said.  “He is the ancient evil, the one that has plagued Hyrule since time immemorial – rising up to be defeated by the Hero, in short, the Demon King in all those stories  that Lady Gwen down in the village told you as a kid. He’s always been the same person, the same Ganondorf…sometimes going by the name Ganon.  When Queen Daphne disappeared and he began appearing in the newspapers, I just knew in my gut that Cecelia had sacrificed her to bring him back.”


“Sacrifice?  I thought Ganondorf had been elected…”


“If the people knew who he was, that election would have never taken place – though what did take place was crooked… fixed.  And, yes.  Having been chosen by Power, the Demon King can never truly be killed – only sealed away in a void, a limbo between the Sacred Realms and oblivion, between life and death… or at least, that is what I’ve read.  You may want to ask Lady Gwen about this stuff if you want to know more.  He can be brought back through a sacrifice of blood from someone of either the Royal Line or the Hero’s Line.  It all has something to do with the Triforce or something… again, Gwen knows more about this stuff than I do.  The Demon first is awakened by the smell of the blood as the gateway to the void is opened.  Upon emerging, he drinks it.... eats the victim’s raw liver to regain his strength…the heart to restart his own… What happens after that is disturbing.”


Link was making a face.  “I think that was more than I needed to know.” 




“Thank you so much, sir.”


Blake gave Link a very strange look.  “Don’t thank me.  You do remember what I told you, right?  I helped lead my captain right to your parents and he killed them.” 


“But you also told me of how you stopped him from killing me.  You saved my life, sir. You didn’t know what was going to happen.  It was good to talk to you… to… to know, to know what really happened.”


Link rose and left the shack silently.  Blake watched him descend the trail in silence.   


When he reached the village, Midna ran to him and Navi flitted to him.  “Where have you been?” Midna groused, “Everyone was worried about you.  I thought that maybe you’d just ditched us in this nothing little town.” 


Link dropped to his knees on the ground.  He’d shown little emotion to Blake as the man had told him of the past.  The things he’d said were hitting him now, all of a sudden, dropped upon his heart by a mysterious gravity.  He pulled his hands away from his face and saw the tears.  They had been his parents, but why was he crying for people he didn’t even know? 


Navi alighted on his shoulder and began singing.  Link began to grow calmer.  It wasn’t anything that he remembered, but a gentle fairy song was what she’d used to calm him down and soothe his grief during his life as the Hero of Time.  It was not anything recorded in any of books that had been written about him.


“Link?” Midna asked.


Navi shushed her.  “Sometimes the strongest warrior is still a child inside,” she said, then resumed her singing. 


Midna knelt down to him and put a hand on his shoulder.  “Come on.  Whatever happened, you should come inside, okay?” He accepted her help and she brought him to his feet. 


“We’re going to find Ordona’s spring spirit,” he said, “The rest can wait just a little while longer.  I’m going after Cecelia.”


“Link!” Midna exclaimed, “I do not think your power is sufficient yet.  Striding into Castle Town right now is suicide.”


“I can’t wait anymore.” Link said forlornly.   




The golden man wore a headdress that resembled the circular, joined horns of a blue goat.  He wore draping clothing that looked like shaggy hides.  He was a very strong-looking man and Link was surprised that the spirit was so masculine in appearance.  One of the stories Lady Gwen had told him had the spirit Ordona being a female.  One of the stories he’d read had the spirit as animal in form.  Ordona simply replied something about spirits and androgyny and choosing how he wanted to present himself at any given time.   His spring was a shallow, muddy pond and the area was alive with the chirping and squeaking of frogs and toads, there to breed. The slime and remnants of their fornications lined the spring’s edges.  


Before Midna made ready to transport him to the spring of Lanayru, he addressed Link and told him of a local feature that he should see.  


“It is on the flat edge near the top of Apex Mountain,” he said, pointing across the desert.  You should go there, Hero.  It is about time you meet Them and this may be your only chance to, for they move in most mysterious ways.  Surely, they will give you the power you need.” 


“Why? What is up there?” Link asked. 


Ordona nodded sagely.  “That mountain holds the very earthly abode of the Goddesses themselves.” 


“What?” Link squawked.  “The Three?”


“Yes,” Ordona stated.  “Do you not believe this old spirit, Hero?  Whether you believe or not, test my words.  Surely thou art curious.  You have nothing to lose and much to gain.”


“Are you ready, old man?” Midna asked.


Ordona nodded and she sent him skyward.  He dissipated into black fragments and was gone. 




Link used a combination of the clawshot and Farore’s Wind to get Midna, Navi and himself up the craggy and thorny slope of Apex Mountain.  They landed upon a natural shelf and beheld something nestled between rocks.  It looked like the entrance to a canyon, but they were already high upon a mountain.  There were statues in rosy-colored stone and in white marble.  They depicted women, spirits and great fairies.  There were three figures in white marble that, to Link, resembled chess pieces for some odd reason – a young man with a sword, a maiden wearing a crown and a large, armored man that bore an uncanny resemblance to Hyrule’s current president, except that his face had some pig-like features. 


Beyond this still garden, bordered by rosy-stone columns, was an immense structure that appeared to be made of some form of metal. 


“Another Steel Temple?” Navi asked. 


“It looks like it, doesn’t it?” Link replied, “Except it is much, much larger.” 


Link strode boldly.  Midna stayed but a few steps behind him, cursing her choice of boots.  A voice issued from the structure, or more precisely, three voices. 


“What? He’s here?”


“It looks like he brought friends.” 


“One of our experiments actually found us?”


“Pipe down!”


“Too late, you’ve already been heard.”


“Let’s send him away.  None of the mortals can handle the truth.”


“He’s my boy, I have faith in his courage and he came all this way.  It’s about time I meet him in life.”


“Have it your way, but if he has an aneurism or heart attack, don’t blame me.  I’ll put the equipment on standby.” 


Suddenly, there was a crackling sound before one of the voices spoke in earnest.  “Welcome, Hero,” it said, “Welcome to the corporeal home of the Goddesses.  Please step forward.”  


Link took a few steps toward the structure before striking his sword into the ground and falling to his knees.  He made the Sign of the Triangle over his heart and closed his eyes.  Navi floated close to him.  Midna took several steps back.  “I shouldn’t be here,” she said, sorrow and fear evident in her voice.  “I am one of the Cursed People.” 


The voice crackled to life again.  “Fear not, Queen Midna,” it said gently.  “Thou art welcome here as well.  Everyone come inside.”


A door slowly came open, lowered upon invisible chains like a drawbridge.  Link arose.  A figure stepped out of the vast darkness toward him.  It was wearing green clothing and gained in definition as it drew closer… closer…


Link figured that it must be one of the Goddesses’ handmaidens or a priestess – except that she was dressed very casually – in jeans, boots and a green shirt.  This woman looked downright ordinary.  She had dark brown hair and the rounded ears of a normal human.  She wore thin-framed eyeglasses.  She was a head shorter than he was and looked utterly unremarkable.    


The back of his left hand was tingling. 


The ordinary woman looked straight at him and gave him a polite curtsey.  “I am glad to see you, Link,” she said, “I am Farore.”


“Uh?” Link began.  “You mean you’re an attendant of Farore, right?”


“No,” the woman replied.  “I am her.”


“… You’re….you’re…. short,” the young Hero said incredulously.   


“Is that all you have to say to me?” the woman asked.  She giggled.  “I know you were expecting someone more imposing.  This will take some getting used to for you.”  She shouted into the doorway.  “Din, Nayru, come out and greet our guests!”


Two other women came down the ramp.  One was a blonde in a dark blue dress.  She was taller than Farore and looked rather regal.  The other was a very tall, muscular, dark-skinned woman with short hair, dressed casually in red.   They looked like nice enough women, but there was nothing particularly special or divine-looking about them.  Their ears were round.  If they had great cosmic powers, they were not making a show of them at the moment.  “Welcome” the woman in the dress said with a bow.  The muscular woman greeted them with a simple “Yo.” 


“Am I…in the right place?” Link asked. 


Farore giggled again.  She sure liked to laugh.  Link, Midna and Navi walked up the ramp. “Of course you’re in the right place.  You of all people should know by now that appearances can be deceiving and that the greatest of powers can come in the smallest and most mundane-looking of packages.”


“I’ve seen statues and drawings of the Goddesses… they never looked like you.  You look like mortals.” 


“And that we once were,” the lady in blue, whom Farore identified as Nayru, said.  “It is what we once were but are no longer and haven’t been in ages upon ages. Our blood is kept fresh.  We do not age.  Who is to say whether it is a blessing or a curse?”


Link almost went into cardiac arrest when a small, strange creature scurried by his feet.  It looked like a cuckoo with a bald, human head. 


“Oh, don’t mind her,” Farore told him with a pat on his back.  “That’s just one of our Oocca.” 


“Ah… the race closest to you? Mysterious sky beings?” Link said.  “I read about them, never thought I’d see one. I’d never believed they were real.”




Midna seemed intensely interested in the bird.  She glared at it.  “Not anybody we knew,” she said cryptically.  “Never figured the things lived too long…” 


“About the span of an average mortal,” Farore said as they walked down a hallway lined in metal and gleaming with electric lights.  “Not nearly as long as a Twili.  I used to do work on improving their life spans, but there came a point where we did not need them anymore.  Besides, they seem happy enough.  After their work for us was done, we gave them a floating city.  It drifts.  The last time we kept track of it, it had drifted into Termina.  Only a few Oocca remain here with us, by the choice of their ancestors.” 


Link looked around in wonderment.  “I’ve been through a place sort of like this, not long ago – in the remains of old Lake Hylia.  The computer there told me that it was a ‘star-sailer.” 


“Exactly what this is,” said Din, who was up ahead of everyone. “Pain in the butt to keep the basic systems maintained, too. Wreck won’t fly anymore.” 


“We came long ago from a distant nebula,” Nayru said, “That is what your stories tell you.  That is what we have allowed the peoples to know, for it is the simplest explanation.”


“You are brave enough to know this, Link,” Farore sighed.  “You’ve always been my courageous child.  The Three of us came here on a mission to create a new world for our people, long, long ago.  We underestimated many things and it has since become an eternity.  Welcome to the abode of the Goddesses, Link.  Welcome to our ship.” 



End Chapter 11.


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