Link stood before the frame of the Mirror of Twilight feeling all the feelings he had felt on that day one year ago when Midna had shattered the Mirror. It was supposed to be the best thing for both worlds but it had destroyed their friendship. The friendship that Link had come to rely upon on his adventure to save Hyrule from the Twilight and then later on Gannondorf himself. The Mirror had shattered into thousands of pieces which had fallen into the sand to be lost, hopefully forever.
Link had spent the six months since he had left Ordon province looking for some way to rebuild the mirror but he hadn't found any. The light spirits didn't know, there were no legends about repairing the mirror, not even Zelda had any idea on how to fix it. Now being here in this chamber brought back all the pain and hurt he had felt that day and almost every day since then at Twilight. This was his last hope. If the sages didn't know a way to rebuild the mirror all hope would be lost and Link would never see his irreplaceable friend again.
The five sages slowly arrived in the chamber as they had done when Link and Midna had first seen the shard of the mirror that was still in the frame. Link knew they were there without even turning away from the frame of the Mirror. "Is there any possible way to repair it?" Sadness threatened to overcome him; this was it the moment of truth is there any chance of seeing Midna again?
"There is no way to return the mirror to what it once was." The lead sage maybe the sage of light (it was hard to tell they all looked the same, well except for the sage of water because that one had died when Gannondorf had been "executed") intoned gravely. There was no stopping the sadness from overcoming Link now he just dropped to his knees as tears rolled down is face , maybe it was hopeless after all. This journey had been to try and find a way to see Midna again but he had found nothing even the shard of twilight magic he had kept from his adventure with Midna was of no use in this situation. Link just kneeled there crying for the friendship that was forever gone.
Ilia was sitting on her bed with her toes in the square of light created by the moon coming in the window. She sighed. It had been a night very much like tonight six months ago when her father had walked in and they had had a touching conversation about Link and the way Ilia felt about him. Ilia couldn't stop her mind wandering to Link as it did so often these days wondering what he was doing and how he was feeling. Would Link ever come back? Did he truly care about this village? Had what he said just been a lie? Was it all an excuse to let him get away without being questioned? Would he ever come back to her? Ilia glanced down at her toes to see the toe ring Link had given her before he left last time. She reached down and took it off to read the inscription on the inside I will come back Ilia. I will always come back. This cheered her up enough for Ilia to remember that Link was a man of his word and he had said he would come back.
Ilia remembered the day he left very clearly. She had confessed her love to him in Ordon spring. Link had them left on the adventure he was currently on and when nobody saw Link that day and they checked his house to find a good portion of his stuff was gone. Te whole village had gotten together to question his motives as to why he would leave without telling them. Ilia had told them that Link was leaving to find something he had lost on his adventure and that he would return when he was ready to. She didn't tell them that she was hurt more than anyone by Links departure but she knew the reason why her father would question her about it soon enough. The six months since then had gone by in a more subdued way there was always one member of the village watching the path into Ordon so that they could tell the whole village that Link had returned.
Ilia was still hurting because she didn't know how he felt about her. She was here all alone in Ordon while he was on some great long adventure. Ilia wanted to go and find him. This would be difficult Hyrule was a big place and Link was searching for a way into the Twilight Realm. Ilia had no idea where Link would have to go to do something like that. Hyrule Market would be the best place to start trying to gather information she decided. Ilia started carefully packing her things wanting to get out of the village without a fuss. Her horse Barquados was waiting for her near Link's house so she could make a quick trip across the field and not seem too out of place being seen walking into castle town.
Ilia padded down the stair barefoot. Even her naturally quiet way of going downstairs couldn't mask the sound of shoes on the stairs and she wanted a quiet getaway more than anything. She stopped at the door and only heard the near deafening sound of her father snoring. She opened the door and stole off into the moonlight Ordon village. She raced across the village without hesitation if she got seen now there would be no chance of a quiet getaway. There was a light mist rising from the creek which would make it harder for people to see her. She raced across the village barefoot and reached Link's house without being spotted. She stopped to put on her boots. AS she pulled the second boot on she heard a rustling behind her coming from the path that lead away from the village. She turned around and saw a bokoblin standing there watching her. It was only about four feet high and holding a stick in one hand but there was no doubt of its dangerous intent. Its stance was almost exactly the same as Link's whenever he suspected trouble. Ilia had been prepared for trouble on this journey so she had packed Link's old wooden sword. She had packed it so she could draw it from the saddle bags whenever she needed it. She had no skill with the sword but she drew it anyway holding it awkwardly.
Ilia stared down the little bokoblin and saw that it was not going to back down so she swung the sword at it. The bokoblin's reactions were fast enough to block her clumsy swing. It ducked under her sword and swung its own weapon at her side. Ilia managed to get her own sword in the way of its strike . She back peddled to give herself a bit more room to work with and she came to the conclusion that this thing knew what it was doing whereas she had no idea. The bokoblin obviously sensing hesitation lunged at her and Ilia had a brainwave on how to win this fight. She used her far longer legs to run around behing the creature and slammed the sword down onto its head. It reeled in pain as her second strike hit it on the side of its face from behind. The bokoblin toppled to the ground dead. Ilia realized that she had just killed a creature. It was harder on her emotionally than Link had said or even hinted at but then again he was the hero and he had to save the land from darkness but still how could he take the lives of creatures even monstrous ones like the recently deceased bokoblin without caring? She would have to ask him that when she found him. With that thought she returned the wooden sword to its slot in her pack leapt onto Barquados, turned home towards the path to Faron province and road off into the night.
Torment of the Mind
Link's cries echoed around the mirror chamber. He had asked everyone that had a connection to the mirror and there was no way it could be repaired. Midna was gone forever. He would never have that friendship the constant reassurance that someone was watching his back and a companion who grew to care not just for him but for this world. It was gone forever now.
Ilia rode out into Hyrule field as the sun was coming up. There was a light mist covering the ground of the field. Ilia slowed Barquados to a trot and viewed the spectacle that was Hyrule field. This was the furthest she had been away from Ordon since Link saved the world and now she was looking for Link. To find him and bring him home but before that she had to help him find Midna a truly irreplaceable friend.
Ilia spurred Barquados on. The field raced away beneath his hooves as the day wore on. Ilia just enjoyed the movement as the time passed with nothing of interest happening. By noon she could see the Hyrule Castle and the town surrounding it and smiled. She rode to the south gate where there was a stable that would take care of her horse for the duration of her stay in town.
Ilia arrived at the stable. The man who owned it stunk of horse manure and he seemed to think Ilia found him attractive because he would not stop asking if she wanted to spend some quality time with him. The mere thought of the two of them in a room made Ilia's stomach turn. Ilia saw a young girl looking out from behind the stable owner. Ilia smiled at the girl who quickly ducked her head back behind her father's legs. Ilia paid the man walked off towards Telma's bar chuckling slightly. The little girl had been so cute and briefly Ilia wondered whether she would have one of her own some day. Then she remembered that link had not said whether or not he was in love with her. Her good mood instantly vanished. Ilia thought she was ok with not knowing and giving Link time and space to work these things out but now she wondered whether he truly meant what he had said that day. She walked towards Telma's Bar where she had been promised a place to stay if she ever needed one.
Ilia walked into the rowdy barroom. She walked across to the bar itself to speak with Telma. Telma greeted Ilia warmly but quickly dropped her smile when she saw the dark look on Ilia's face. Throughout the whole time she had known Ilia she had only seen her about twice since she got her memories back and never had she seen her looking so upset. It was a quick matter of calling "Last Drinks" and surviving the somewhat sober angry storm that approached her but within twenty minutes the bar was empty. Telma took Ilia into the small room behind a thick wall that served to muffle any sound from the bar in case Ilia wanted to sleep before the bar closed of an evening. Ilia sat down on the bed that was hers for the duration of her stay in Hyrule Town and the tears started to flow. Telma sat there and let Ilia compose herself enough to tell her what had brought on this visit and the tears. Ilia finally started to talk.
"Well you see six months ago I told Link I was in love with him and he didn't know how he felt about me and then he left to go on this journey to find a way to see his friend Midna one more time. He has been gone since then and it hurts I don't know how he feels about me and I don't even know if he's coming back. I miss him so much so I decided to start travelling Hyrule to look for him. But just before I left ordon village there was this Bokoblin that attacked me and I… I killed it Telma. I killed a creature and it made me think that Link had killed so many and he doesn't get affected like I have so maybe he's not the guy that I thought he was." Ilia burst into tears again when she finished telling Telma everything that had happened to bring her here the way she was.
Telma wrapped the still sobbing Ilia up in her arms. "Link does care Ilia when he first saw you in my bar his eyes lit up and he looked so sad when you had lost your memory. You are very important to him whether he knows it or not. About the feeling you get when you kill something. Link gets it too, sure he is the Hero of Twilight and he had to cut down hundreds of creatures to save Hyrule and he felt the same as you after every single one. He had to push that feeling aside when in the middle of his quest but he acknowledges it he doesn't ignore it, the second you ignore that feeling is the moment that you become the very thing Link was fighting against."
Ilia managed to stem the flow of tears and thanked Telma for what she said. Telma left the room and Ilia laid down to sleep. That night Ilia's dreams were filled with troubling images of Link and her on the battlefield: Ilia wasn't doing any of the fighting Link was doing it all. A creature came up to Ilia and attacked her. She screamed. Link dashed over and killed the enemy that was about to take Ilia out of his life. In the process he left himself open and another enemy took advantage of his opening and cut him down. Ilia woke up screaming. For some inexplicable reason she reached over her shoulder for a sword and scanned the room for any threat. It was strange though she had no idea how to use a sword and as such never worn one across her shoulder. Putting her perplexing feelings aside Ilia lay back down to try and get back to sleep but it would not come for the remainder of the night.
Link's dreams were plagued by images of Midna smashing the mirror over and over. Some images showed Midna laughing evilly as it cracked, some showed Midna smiling as it broke and some even saw Midna smash the mirror and watch Link fall apart then vanish in a shower of Twilight shards. Link tossed and turned all night tormented by his own mind.
The sun rose over the Mirror Chamber. Link rose more tired than when he had finally fallen asleep from the tears last night. The truth that he would never see Midna again had cut him worse than the first time. He looked around. Just being in the chamber where the Mirror of Twilight had once stood hurt him now. Damn Midna. How could she hurt me like this? Did she know how this would affect me? Is she hurting this badly as well? Link rose and left the chamber before the sun had totally risen. He had no idea where he would go but he knew he could not stay in the chamber any longer. There was only one thought left in his head as dawn broke. Get out of the desert.
Ilia stood outside the sword school in castle town wondering whether or wooden sword would be accepted inside. The whole time she was plagued by her dreams last night about Link ending yup dead. In her dream it had been Ilia's lack of skill with a sword that had brought about his end and she would not want him to do because she cannot handle a sword. She took a deep breath and stepped into the sword school.
The sword master was a tall, muscular and bald man. He had a very stern look on his face and he made Ilia think that she might have walked into the wrong building. The man smiled when he saw a look of nervousness cross Ilia's face. "Do not worry young one. You need not look so worried this is a place where we study the artistry that is sword fighting. You will be respected here. Although you do need to get a sword made of metal that sword would not stand up to the rigors of training here." Ilia's face dropped" Ha do not worry for I have a large collection of swords in this school and I shall even let you have one for free if the sword suits you." He led Ilia into the back room of the school where there were dozens of swords in scabbards on racks. "A sword should feel like a natural extension of your body." He examined Ilia closely, studying her height length of the arms and her muscles. He then gave a small smile and said "I have just the sword for you."
The sword he handed to Ilia greatly resembled the Ordon sword. It was plain and simple yet it was highly efficient. Ilia grasped the hilt and it felt so natural, like it was made just for her. She gave the sword an experimental swing and watched as the sword carved a graceful and deadly arc through the air in front of her. Learning to use this would be interesting.
Torment of the Heart
Midna sat in her throne in the Palace of Twilight wondering the exact same thoughts she had had every day for the past year. Why had she shattered the mirror like that? Why couldn't she have just broken it like Zant had and give Link a piece to keep so he could contact her? Did she even need to break the mirror at all? Her logical side tried to take over and explain that if the Mirror had a hope of being repaired then no one in either realm would be safe. Link was the Hero of Twilight what wouldn't be safe with him around? Midna had had these thoughts so often that she just pulled out her handheld mirror.
Her handheld mirror had the power to see into the realm of light and she focused it once again on Link. She wondered why he hadn't been back to Ordon for six months he usually went back there at least once a month. But a few days ago she had finally realized that Link had been searching for a way to repair the Mirror and now he had run out of ideas. Link was positively crushed by his recent failure. Midna did not know how to help him. He would probably be so mad at her that using her fused shadows and her handheld mirror to enter the light realm to see him would probably make things far worse. Midna had made a terrible mistake that day and only now was she seeing the full effect her actions were having on Link.
Link sat astride Epona at the edge of the desert. He knew he would not return to the desert for a long time if at all but he was not sure where in Hyrule he was going to go now. He couldn't go back to Ordon not yet anyway. There wasn't a place in Hyrule that he had not visited with Midna so there was no where that he would not be reminded of their adventures together. He wasn't going back the field south of town where she had transformed into the person that had destroyed a friendship. The town would not be a good place to be. Too many people who knew nothing about him yet they pretended that he was the greatest person in the market. All the calls of Hero of twilight made him feel as though he was losing his identity as Link. The gorons and zoras treated him with respect as a hero and as a person but still he would not feel comfortable spending a long length of time with them after his failure. There was only one place that he could go to and fell comfortable, Snowpeak.
No sooner had he had this idea than he remembered what he and Midna had been through up there. That had been a brutal quest for the mirror piece but that quest unlike his last one had been a success and it was too deeply connected to the Mirror of Twilight so he couldn't go there. With no destination in mind he nudged Epona gently in her flanks and she walked back into Hyrule.
Ilia lay panting and drenched in sweat on the floor of the sword school. The sword master who went by the name of Dart stood above her breathing hard as well. "Very…very good Ilia. You have a natural talent for handling a sword. Was this the first time you have used a metal sword?
"Yes it was. I'd only used that wooden sword once before I arrived at this school." Dart gave a mild look of surprise at this revelation.
"Is there any reason you are still hanging onto that old wooden sword? I have known several people to come here with a wooden sword and all but you have discarded it as soon as you have taken up the metal blade."
"This sword used to belong to the man I love before he went on a quest to save Hyrule. He came back but he's not the same person he used to be he lost something on that quest and now he's trying to find it but I'm not sure when he will be back so I'm going to look for him." Ilia realized that she had been truly scared of the possibility that Link had lied to her and had left Ordon and planned on never returning and he had given her a false hope just so she wouldn't break down immediately. Link had been gone so long that it hurt. He had never given her a yes or no answer so she needed to find him to find out if he loved her.
Dart listened intently and started thinking over what was truly bothering Ilia. This man who had saved Hyrule could only be Link. Link himself had visited Dart a few months ago and he truly was missing something from his life. Ilia obviously knew what it was Link would have trusted her with that information but it would be rude to ask. Ilia wanted to learn how to wield a sword so she could hunt Link and get some answers from him.
"Ilia this may not be the best time to teach you this but the style of sword fighting I teach relies on a balanced mind you can't be overcome by anger or these negative emotions. You may learn this the hard way but I hope that never happens." Ilia stood up, said goodbye to Dart and left the school to go back to Telma's bar.
Link sat underneath a tree looking at the stars thinking of all the nights he had spent with Midna just like this. He also was thinking about Ilia and his promise to her. He had promised he would return but he had failed in his quest. Am I wonder if I'm hurting by being away for so long? She really cares about me and she missed me so much when I was only gone a few weeks but it's been six months would she be happy to see me? What would she do to me if she wasn't happy? How could Midna do this to me?
Midna had lost track of time while looking into the realm of Light. She saw Link settling under a tree and look at the stars. He was lost in troubled thoughts. Midna had not seen him so torn up and unhappy even though she had looked through her mirror everyday to see how he was doing she couldn't help it. The moonlight glinted of the tears that rolled down his face and Midna felt herself crying for causing him so much pain and from all the hurt it had caused her as well.
Ilia lay down on her bed looking up at the dark ceiling. Ilia's desire to find Link as quickly as possible was conflicting with her need for sword training. It would be useless to travel Hyrule carrying a sword with no idea how to use it in an actual battle. Ilia spent a restless night thinking conflicting thoughts.
Torment at the Gorge
This was it. Midna had made up her mind. She was going back to the Light World. There was no point in torturing herself by staying here and watching Link fall apart. She gathered the Fused Shadows and her handheld mirror. Midna focused her power on the mirror. A portal opened up to the Light World. It appeared to be somewhere in Hyrule Field. Storing the mirror and the fused shadows safely she walked through the portal.
Ilia had been training for hours on end day after day at the sword school in hopes to be good enough to protect herself with a sword while she travelled the wilds of Hyrule. Now Ilia, dressed in leather pants, shirt and boots was riding Barquados around Hyrule field looking for any sign of Link.
There was a great flash of purple and yellow light near the edge of Kakariko Gorge. Ilia rode towards it. From the centre of the light a tall flame haired woman appeared. This woman had blue skin and a dress that allowed the markings on her body to shine through. She matched the description Link had given her of the true form of the person who had watched his back for so long and then deserted him. Ilia was starting to wonder why Link had been so torn up over her disappearance. He couldn't possibly be in love with her could he? She wasn't even human. If they were just friends why had Link become so depressed after she left?
Ilia approached Midna, angry that she had caused Link so much pain and now had the audacity to return to this world a year after she had broken Link.
"Midna" Ilia started yelling when she got close enough to be heard. Even though Midna didn't move she had heard her cry and knew exactly who was so angry at her."Why did you do that to Link? Why did you just toss him aside after all you went through together? And for the love of Din, Nayru and Farore why did you come back?"
Midna didn't answer as she stared into Kakariko Gorge. The river running along the bottom had several large rocks in it and Link had found a way to maneuver himself to one at the bottom. His green tunic standing out against the dull red of the rocks.
"It was hurting me far more than I imagined and eventually the pain became too much I couldn't stop watching the events of the Light World, Link in particular. I gave up and returned. He needs me as much as I need him so I won't stay away any more." Midna finally looked up from the gorge and asked "Do you want to speak to Link?"
"How can I? I don't even know where he is." Ilia asked as Midna once again turned her gaze to the bottom of the gorge.
"He's at the bottom of the Gorge. I can levitate both of us down there to talk to him."
"Ok I'll do it." Ilia gave a small nod of affirmation.
Midna gathered her magic and created a bubble around her and Ilia and they slowly descended into the gorge.
Link was sitting on a rock staring into the water that was slowly flowing by. His life had been great until the day that the Twilight invaded, and then everything changed. Link had to become a hero, he met Midna almost lost her so many times, nearly lost his life every other day and then he almost lost Ilia once as well. Being the hero was dangerous not only to himself (and that in itself was bad enough) but it put his friends in danger which made it even harder to be the hero. Link looked at his reflection in the water between his feet. It showed the effect his quest had had on him. The goofy little grin that had always been on his face was gone placed by a serious expression. There were a few small scars on his face most remnants of a bad encounter with a bomb skit in the Forest Temple. There were other far more serious scars from other enemies all over his body.
At that moment Ilia and Midna landed on the rock. Ilia was flung to the ground with the unexpected jolt. Midna took one step towards Link who reacted with reflexes born of his adventure Link sprung up and had his sword drawn and pointed at Midna in an instant. Even when Link realized who it was he did not lower the sword even slightly. Had Midna come back to hurt him again? Or make the hurt even worse? If she could come back at any time why hadn't she come back sooner? Why was Ilia with her?
"Why are you two here?" There was an edge to Link's voice he had been through so much emotional pain during the past year and now the person at the very centre of it was here again, Link still did not lower the sword.
Midna raised her hands to show that she meant no harm." We are here to talk to you Link. We know you have been through so much. I know how much hurt you have been in. I know what kind of pain" Midna hesitated before finishing her sentence "I caused." She admitted that she was the cause of his pain; he couldn't bring himself to hate her. Link lowered the sword and looked towards Ilia.
Ilia had a mix of fear and hope in her eyes. No need to think too hard to figure out exactly what she was feeling. She was scared that he was a different person now and hopeful that he would answer her yes. He didn't love her he realized it now. He didn't love either of them. Link was too caught up with the burden of being the Hero of Twilight to have actually fallen in love with any of the women he met along his journey. He was lonely in more ways than one.
"Why did you come here Ilia? Trying to get an answer? Well my answer is no. Why do you have a sword? Planning on striking me down if I refused? I thought you were a gentle person Ilia."
"I came to get my answer, I was never going to hurt you I trained with a sword to protect myself on this journey. Although I would like to test my skill against you." Ilia drew her blade and held it at the ready taking her stance while Midna backed away to the edge of the rock to watch in safety.
Link was ready without hesitation, He attacked without warning, Ilia managed to block Link's strike but was forced to back pedal to give herself some room. Ilia tried to go on the offensive but Link easily blocked all of her blows and managed to counter attack with a punch to her arm.
Ilia tried a different approach; she feinted to Link's left and struck at his right side. Link read each one of her moves and blocked and counterattacked with ease. With a particularly quick hit on her sword close to the wrist link disarmed Ilia and flicked his sword up to her chin.
"Dead" he said" But you have displayed enough skill to make me feel confident enough to pass the title of hero on to you." Link wasn't joking he really wanted to be rid of his title.
"But I wasn't chosen by the goddesses. You are the hero because they chose you. I can't do it" Ilia said in disbelief.
"I don't care if you were chosen or not. I didn't get any say in this matter. My days as the Hero of Twilight are over from now on I'm just Link." Link started putting on his Zora Armour as he said this.
"Link you can't turn your back on the goddesses." Ilia cried trying to convince Link not to do it.
"I already have." He said as he showed them the back of his hand where the Triforce of Courage usually showed up as a pale yellow triangle but it was no longer there. "I hid the piece in the Temple of Time. It will be safe there." He said turning to face the water.
"But Link the temple of time was destroyed centuries ago." Ilia said not quite understanding.
"I know but there remains one gate to return to the temple in its former glory. And the key is on my back at this moment. I'm done with being the hero. I leave the master sword to you Ilia." Link jumped into the river and swam away." Ilia broke down into tears as he left her possibly forever, breaking his promise.
Midna then spoke up. "Link is a different person than he used to be as much as it hurts me I must let him go." There were tears in her eyes. "Come on Ilia I will take you to the top of this gorge and then I'll return to the Twilight Realm." Midna levitated the two of them to the top of the gorge, pulled the mirror from her pocket and opened a gateway home, leaving Ilia alone with the master sword and being told to become the next Hero of Hyrule.
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