As Anna plunged down into the total darkness, she could still feel Istas's hand gripping hers. The glowing of torches gave the entire place an eerie appearance, and as Anna and Istas started following Link, the light threw their malformed shadows across the floor. Water dripped from the ceiling, and the chamber's grey stone walls were moldy.
As they caught up to Link, Anna could feel her apprehension mounting. It was obvious that the place they were exploring had not been explored by anyone for many years, perhaps even centuries. Link had drawn the Master Sword and was standing at a ready, tense position. Istas had drawn the sword Link had given him. Anna, who stood close to him, could sense his tenseness. Suddenly, Link saw a crumbled stairway that led up to a doorway. The door had long since eroded away, leaving its remains scattered around the doorway. He led Anna and Istas toward it. Going up to the doorway, Link studied the hallway beyond. It was darker than the room they stood in, as it was not lit by torches. As Anna and Istas stood at the doorway studying the darkness, Link opened his latern and lit it with one of the torches nearby. He walked back over to where Anna and Istas still stood. He led the way into the inky blackness, holding the lantern before him. Anna and Istas stayed close to him, fearful of losing their way. They turned corners a few times. The tunnel began to slope downwards toward another chamber, and Anna could see torches lit by the doorway.
"That's odd," she commented, her voice echoing in the hallway and making them all, including herself, jump.
"What's odd?" Istas aked her.
"These torches. It seems as if no one has been down here for years, and yet they are lit," she answered him. For a moment, no one said anything. They began to decend toward the chamber. Anna's heart rose into her throat. She was getting a bad feeling, sensing there was something evil beyond where they stood. Suddenly, a bright glow filled the hallway and the chamber beyond. Link and Istas turned. Anna stared down in amazement at her pendant. It had taken on a glow brighter than the lantern Link was holding. Anna took it of and held in her hand. Slowly, it began to levitate in her hand. All three of them stared at it in amazement.
Slowly, Anna made her way past Link and Istas and walked into the chamber beyond. She could feel her feeling of foreboding grow slightly more intense with each step until it was almost a physical pain. Also, with each step she took, the bright light that radiated from the pendant grew stronger as well. She did not understand what was going on. Link and Istas were already at her back, swords drawn. Anna could see there was a large chest in the room. She began towards it. The pendant's light grew so strong it was almost blinding. Link and Istas stood together in the middle of the room. Istas could sense something was not right, but what was it?
Link, however, already knew exactly what was wrong. He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that one of Ganon's minions was lurking close by. Exactly where, however, had yet to be revealed. He watched as Anna made her way toward the chest, her body illuminated by the pendant's light.
Anna held her breath as she set her hands on the chest's lid. A feeling of excitement ran through her body as she slowly began to open the chest. However, as she began to open it to reveal what treasure lay inside, there was a loud crash. The room shook, and a startled cry rose from all three of the adventurers. Link peered into the dim room beyond where they all stood. There was a low, harsh growl from the next room. A dark figure was moving rapidly toward them. Istas, in the meantime, was close to being terrified. No training he'd ever recieved in his village had prepared him for an actual adventure, an actual battle. He readied his sword, noting that Link was all ready for whatever challenge lay ahead. Another low growl issued from the throat of the creature that moved toward them. A pair of glowing eyes regarded them with anger. It was not just an ordinary anger; it was the anger born of evil intent.
Anna, sensing the danger, had readied her bow with an arrow. The creature's figure moved into the room, its eyes fixed on Link and Istas. Perhaps it had not noticed her. This would give her time to send an arrow into the creature's side, perhaps killing it before it had a chance to attack anyone.
As the creature stepped into the light, Link could see that it was Hyrule's equivalency to a wolf, the wolfos. It was a breed that was to have been long extinct in Hyrule, yet it was said that it could still be seen in certain parts of the land. Ribbons of glistening drool slid down on either side of the creature's mouth as it advanced on Link and Istas. Anna knew she had to act quickly. The bowstring hummed as she sent an arrow flying toward the creature. The huge wolfos howled in pain as the arrow hit its target. The wolfos stumbled back from Link and Istas, not knowing where this sudden pain had come from. It suddenly saw Anna. Eyes narrowed, the creature emitted another grating snarl. It began to run towards her. Anna retrieved another arrow from the quiver at her back and prepared to fire. However, something unexpected happened. Instead of charging straight at her, as Anna had anticipated, it leaped through the air, landing only inches from her. She, startled, let out a cry of fright. The wolfos, excited by the smell of her fear, swung at her with its sharp claws. She did not have time to react. Within moments, the wolfos had slashed her arm. Grimacing in pain, Anna could hear the tearing of shirt material, could feel the sharp claws dig in under her skin. Blood began to run down the injured arm. The cut was deep, she could see, and she could not equip her bow properly without the use of both arms. Link and Istas, seeing she was hurt, ran towards her. The wolfos was getting ready to slash at her again. Anger, like a scorching fire, was starting to build up inside of her. Her pendant, which she had put around her neck beforehand, began to glow again. The light grew stronger. Suddenly, the wolfos howled in pain as a beam of light hit it. It fell to the ground, destroyed. It disappeared, a green light surrounding it.
"Anna, are you all right?" Istas asked her. He could see the blood running down her arm from underneath the hand she held over the wound.
" I-I think so," she said, but he could tell she was trying to sound brave.
"That wound looks pretty deep," Link commented, removing some strips of cloth from his bag and handing them to Istas, who proceded to wrap the wound. Anna drew in a sharp breath each time a new layer of cloth was laid over the wound.
" Makes me wish there was a faerie pond nearby," Anna commented as they turned toward the chest. The pendant began to shine again, brighter than ever. With her good arm, Anna slowly opened the chest. A shard of golden triangle shone from inside of it.
"Well," Anna said, tired but happy, "we have the next piece." She lifted out the golden shard. Taking her quiver off of her back, she removed the other piece Istas had given her. A bright light filled the room as the pieces joined to form one, making it into a bigger piece of the Tetraforce.
"I hope that there aren't too many more pieces," Istas said as they started out.
" I hope we can figure out where the next piece of the blasted thing is," Link said, putting his sword back in its sheath.
For the next few hours, the trio searched for any clues to where the next piece was. However, there were absolutely no clues.
"This is getting old," Anna complained a few hours later. It was beginning to get dark, the pinks and deep purple colors of sunset making the sky a myriad of colors. Finally, they settled in the Lost Woods. While Anna and Istas gathered wood for the fire, Link went hunting for their next meal.
A short time later, by the heat and light of the newly built fire, they ate and thought about the day's events. Link was trying to find the chapter in the Book of Mudora about the Tetraforce, hoping that it would give them some clues. However, once he finally found the chapter, it did not tell him much of anything. It simply stated that there were quite a few pieces, and if one looked hard enough, they would all be discovered. He gave a frusterated sigh, shutting the book and putting it back in the pouch on his belt.
Anna stared deep into the fire, not even blinking despite the heat. Many questions ran through her mind at once. Istas sat, watching her. Something was nagging him, deep down inside. It was an uncomfortable feeling that had pestered him all day, no matter what he thought about or did. Suddenly, it occured to him. He was worried about the punishment he would recieve from the Elder. Never before had someone in his village so flagerently disregarded the Elder's wishes and the code of conduct his people had drawn up so long ago. It was an unwritten rule that one did not defy the Elder, and it was unwritten that one did not go against the code of conduct. He had defied both to help the girl that was more than just a friend. Now, an unspeakable punishment loomed over him, much like a heavy club waiting to be brought crashing down upon him. He feared what it might be deep down, feared it more than anything he had faced on this adventure.
Anna, in the meantime, had dimly remembered something that had happened to her in her childhood. She was focusing on the thought, trying to bring it into existance, much like one would squint at a blurry picture to bring it into focus. She was a small child again, living in her aunt's house. She was going to her aunt's room, looking into the small, ornate chest that sat on her aunt's dresser. The small chest she was never permitted to touch. The lid had been so easy to raise, and the inside of the chest had been like velvet, red in color.
With tentative fingers, Anna had lifted it out of the chest, held it close to her face. It was golden, it was....the Tetraforce piece! She had held it for a few moments more until her aunt had caught her. She was scolded rather severely, and the piece of gold she had held was put back in the box from whence it came.
Then, another memory made its way into her mind. The memory of the time she had last seen her aunt. This had not been so long ago, so it was not hard to recall the conversation she, Link, and their aunt had. Anna remembered that her aunt had said she hadn't seen Link since he was four, and yet Link had been two the night he and Anna had been given to their other realitives to be raised. There had been a misunderstanding somewhere, obviously. Unless....
Anna then saw her aunt standing before one of the cottage windows, looking out into the forest that surrounded it. Anna had been only about two at the time, and, like all two year olds, had a natural sense of curiosity. One afternoon, her aunt had been standing before the window, looking out again, as she did every so often. Anna had pestered her aunt to be able to look out the window as well. Her aunt had refused, however. It had never made sense to her before, but now that she thought about it, her mind cleared. Of course! she thought. Her aunt had told her from the time she was very young that she had a brother somewhere out in the world, but her aunt had never told her where exactly. She had had to find Link herself, and she had, that day late last summer. A year had nearly passed since then. Her aunt had been watching Link! But why?
"Link," she started. Her brother looked at her from across the fire.
"Yeah?" he asked.
"When you were younger....did you play around in the Lost Woods sometimes?"
" Yes, it was the only thing to do when I was little. Why?"
" I remembered my aunt looking outside all the time. She was watching you!"
" Really?" Link answered, surprised.
"Yes," Anna replied, "but I guess we have to ask her why."
Link nodded. He knew their next destination for the next day.
It grew black as pitch again. The stars twinkled down on the trio that lay around the campfire. However, out of the three people around the dying flame, only one slept. This one was Link. Although Anna and Istas were laying down, not far from one another, they did not sleep. Anna was still trying to conjure up thoughts from the past, and Istas was still worried. He sensed that the punishment that awaited him would soon come, and he wondered what exactly it would be. Never before had such a thing occured before, and the punishment it heralded was severe, he could wager.
"Anna," he whispered. He could see her laying deep in thought across the fire from him. The fire continued to sputter and crack on occasion, sending bright bursts of flame into the cooling night air.
" Yes?" she answered, coming out of the trance she had been in, so deep were her thoughts.
" I....wanted to talk to you," he answered, a bit nervous. Would she understand his problem?
He looked across the fire at her. She was eying him intently. "Yes?" she asked him again, softly. Her voice was so soft, it reminded him of the wind itself whispering among the tree leaves above. His heart skipped a beat. This was a girl like none other. He thought for a moment, then decided it was safe to tell her.
"I'm kind of wondering what everyone in the village will say when they find out about all this. I never heard of anything like this happening in my village before. I know I'm going to be punished in the worst way possible for running away like I did."
" Oh, so that's what's been bothering you all day," Anna said softly. She rose up and walked to where he sat. Reaching down, she extended her hand to him.
"Come with me," she said, and her voice grew even softer, "we can talk about it as we walk."
Taking her hand, Istas stood up. Together, they began walking through the forest. There was no need to fear theives; they had all gone into their hiding places by now. The moonlight shone down on them as they walked. To Anna, this was one of the best things she had ever done. A strange feeling filled her. It was stronger than just a liking for the boy that walked beside her; yet it wasn't quite as strong as love. It was a new feeling to her, and she could not discern it from the jumble of other feeling that ran through her like wildfire ripping through a prairie.
Istas glanced at Anna. Gently, he placed a hand on Anna's shoulder. A light wind ran through the trees, making the leaves tremble. Anna's hair, soft as silk, lit on his hand.
For a time, they walked, talking softly. Finally, they settled on a rock large enough for both of them. Finally, all discussion stopped about their problems. Anna and Istas looked at each other. For a moment, they did not say or do anything. Anna leaned her head against Istas's shoulder. Istas ran his hand through her soft golden hair. He tipped her chin up gently with his finger. She looked into his eyes for a moment. Then, he leaned down, preparing to kiss her....
Suddenly, the bushes rustled, making them both jump. A dark figure was walking toward them.....
Back to Story Menu