Shadowed Fate

By Farore769

Chapter 12: Encounters


The library rose above the pearlescent streets, resembling a small palace with its columns carved to grant the illusion that flowered vines were growing upon them and its balconies with railings wrought to resemble a forest with a stream rippling through it. The front doors stood open, and steady light came out through the portal, revealing an arched hallway just inside, its tiled floors polished till they reflected the gilded ceiling.

            Staring up at the grand building, Link drew a deep breath. Despite the confusing streets, Noah’s directions had proved relatively easy to follow, leading him to the library within ten minutes. He paused before the broad steps leading up to the entry, eyeing the man and woman flanking the doors, each clad in a short yellow coat and pale brown breeches with short daggers hanging from their belts. The people gazed at those who approached the doors, noting them carefully. Inside, the visitors would be required to record their names and their desired subject of research, but the Guard-Librarians--as Noah had named them--would note every person who entered.

            Straightening his cerulean coat--he still wore the ridiculous thing, and the green breeches, too--Link strode forward. If a Partisan waited in the crowd filling the street, a single glimpse of him would not bring to mind the green-clad Hero they hunted, not with his coat and breeches covered in embroidery, not lacking any sort of weapon, not with his head uncovered and his hair tied back in a very short queue. His companions had said he looked a Karradaini, and that was all that mattered.

            The Guard-Librarians eyed him up and down, but no longer than they examined anyone else. Once through the tall doors, Link approached one of a number of heavy books with pens and ink to the side. The page bore the names of the people who had arrived earlier that day, and he loaded the pen and began to write.

            Dreth, New Crescent, old prophecies.

            Once finished, he cleaned the nib off and set the pen carefully to the side. He turned to leave, but stopped as a name further up the page caught his eye. Bending over the volume, he clutched at the table to support himself.

            Lonnu the Swift, Hyrule Castle Town, prophecies dealing with shadow.

            He’s searching, too, Link thought, feeling as though someone had struck him in the stomach.

            “Hello,” a cheerful voice said from his right.

            He jumped and spun to face a smiling woman clad similarly to the Guard-Librarians, though she lacked a weapon. Calming himself, Link returned her smile awkwardly. “Hello.”

            Glancing at the book, the librarian nodded thoughtfully. “Old prophecies. A fascinating topic, prophecies, even those that clearly go against Mother Tala. If you will come with me, I can get you started in your research.”

            “Thank you,” he said, then followed as she led the way into a massive room. Fully three stories high, shelves of books rose from the floor to the distant ceiling, with walks ringing the upper floors and leading out over the middle of the room. Yellow-coated men and women scurried among the shelves, arms laden with stacks of books. Staring at those countless shelves, Link shook his head in disbelief; he had never thought that many books existed in the world.

            The librarian turned to the right and led him to a narrow hall lined with polished doors. “You will be granted a private room for your studies,” she explained, walking briskly. “Only librarians are allowed to remove or replace books on shelves, but I will bring you what I can find. If you wish, I can bring you refreshments during the course of your stay, and I will keep your room furnished with the materials of your study for as long as you wish, up to a week of inactivity.”

            “Thank you,” Link said again. He wondered if the Hyrulian library was this regulated.

            Opening a door on the left side of the hall, the librarian ushered him into a room of middling size, a cushioned chair before a polished table in the middle and lamps holding those luminescent crystals in the corners. Loose paper rested beside a folder and a writing case atop the table, with numerous page markers stacked neatly within easy reach.

            “I will return in a few minutes,” the librarian promised, then gestured to a small table set against the wall that he had not noticed before. “Help yourself to some wine and bread.” With that, she retreated from the room, closing the door softly.

            Approaching the indicated table, Link lifted the silver pitcher and poured himself a cup of wine. He sipped it slowly, then took a slice of bread and bit into it. His gaze roamed around the bare room, and he stared at the cornice, painted sky blue to contrast the bare white walls and with holes in it, as part of the design of delicate leaves. It ran around the entire room, save the wall that held the door, and allowed glimpses of rooms identical to his, at least what those bare peeks allowed.

            He finished his slice of bread and cut himself another from the dark loaf, washing it down with sips of his wine. Walking to the large table, he settled himself in the chair, surprised to find it rather comfortable, and continued to drink the rich liquor.

            The librarian was as good as her word, returning within just a few minutes with three heavy books in her arms. Setting them on the table, she smiled at him and said, “I will bring more, but here are some to begin with. I will check in every quarter hour, to see if you need anything.” Tugging her coat straight, she left the room.

            Grabbing the first book, entitled Prophecies of Deities, Link opened it, searching for the printing location. There, at the bottom of the ornate title page, was inked, Viltinia, Karradai.

            I highly doubt I’ll find anything in a Karradaini book, he thought, setting it aside. Drawing Fate and Legend close, he again searched for the printing location. Hyrule Castle City, Hyrule.

            Bending over the age-worn pages, Link smiled at the script he was accustomed to, even though the book had to be at least two decades old. Flipping through the pages, hoping to come across anything that would possibly connect with the prophecy, he passed over old myths of the water demons of the eastern sea and strange translations of Sheikah lore. Taking a drink from his cup, he turned the page and froze as he read the first few lines, carefully setting his wine aside.

The Prophecies of Feraladrask

Translated from the Ancient Tongue

            Kyrani mentioned this Feraladrask, he thought, curiosity aroused. Brushing his bangs out of his eyes, he started to read.

                        War has come and war has gone,

                        The Creator of All, the Mother of All, the Lover of All led the charge.

                        An explosion of purest power, translated to spirit,

                        Shall take up residence within the body.

                        Keep vigil, keep vigil, for Feraladrask comes.

            Though interested, Link stopped reading and leafed through the pages. The prophecies of Feraladrask continued for another ten pages, and what he glimpsed made little sense. One of two takes up the banner? Two of two takes up the horn? It made less sense than the much shorter prophecy he sought to understand.

            At some point, the librarian returned with another armload of books, but he paid her no mind. Finding nothing in Fate and Legends, Link moved on to another volume, setting three aside that were printed in Karradai. Yet nowhere did he find reference to anything in his prophecy.

            In one of the rooms next to his, a door closed. “Find anything yet?”

            Link’s head jerked up at the sound of that familiar voice. Hynor? Twisting in his chair, he stared up at the cornice.

            “Nothing,” the lilted voice of Lonnu replied, followed by the thud of a tome landing on wood. “Goddesses, I thought for sure Dragonslayer would come here, but I’ve checked the log and questioned the Guard-Librarians, and they haven’t seen anyone matching his description.”

            “Maybe we should stop this method and actually hunt him out.”

            Carefully dragging his chair near the wall, wincing whenever it scraped audibly, Link stood on it and rose to his full height. He was just tall enough to peer into the room, and he stared at Hynor standing over Lonnu, both with their backs to him, thankfully. Lonnu sat at a table covered in stacks of precariously balanced books, and his usually pristine mahogany hair looked as though he had run his hands through it multiple times in frustration.

            “Maybe,” Lonnu said reluctantly. “Though I’d prefer to be hunting with Asner rather than you. No offense, but he’s an assassin, skilled in creeping about and making as little bother as possible. You just worship a demon.”

            Hynor tossed his head. “And you are a faithless cur. Why don’t you hunt with Kal?”

            The human laughed nervously. “The Ghost? That girl scares me. Better her than one of the reptiles, though. Or Shinabi. Or Okbrand. In fact, I would hunt with her over almost anyone else.”

            Turning away, Hynor balled his hands into fists. “Listen, Avra will have our hides if we don’t achieve something soon.”

            Lonnu leaned back in his chair and draped an arm over its back, fixing a steady gaze on his companion. “So what do you propose we do?”

            The door to Link’s room opened, and the librarian strode in. “Is there anyth--What are you doing? Spying?”

            Link slipped and fell, but not before he glimpsed Lonnu and Hynor both turning toward his wall. Landing heavily, he forced himself up and darted past the startled woman, who demanded to know what was going on. Ignoring her, he flung himself at the door and sped down the hall, away from the door leading to Lonnu’s study room.

            Another door banged open, and then Hynor shouted, “Majora blast it, it’s him!”

            Doors opened all along the narrow hallway, and people stuck their heads out, demanding to know what the din was about. Link ignored them and dashed over the tiles, his long legs flashing as they ate up the distance. Behind him, he heard two sets of boots racing after, and he sprinted on.

            Without warning, something struck the side of his head. Stumbling, he felt some liquid trickling down the side of his face, and he reached up and brushed his fingers across it without slowing. At the same time he glanced to his right and stared at the angry scholar hefting a pen as though about to throw it. A glance at his fingers proved the liquid to be black ink, and he felt in his hair and found pieces of glass stuck to the strands. Concentrating on his flight, he soon forgot the ink in his hair for the boots thudding after him.

            Whipping around a corner, Link entered a wider room filled with bookcases reaching nearly to the ceiling, though it was no taller than the narrow hall with the rooms for studying. He darted to the side and ran past seven rows before slipping behind the eighth, heart hammering loudly in his breast. After a moment, it quieted enough for him to discern voices further away.

            “Why did you try to make him follow?” Lonnu demanded. “You’re an idiot! He’s probably back to the streets by now.”

            “No,” Hynor replied. “He’ll wait in here for us. Fortunately, I can kill or maim without weapons.”

            “So can I,” the human snapped tersely, his voice drawing nearer. “Well, if he is lying in wait.... Hero!” he called loudly, voice ringing throughout the room. “Dragonslayer! If you are in here, answer me! What is Shadowed Fate? Where is the Ocarina of Time?”

            I won’t tell them anything, Link thought defiantly, crouching. The bookcases were solid, denying him a glimpse of anything but what lay between the eighth and ninth rows. But he listened, hearing their footfalls draw closer.

            “He won’t answer,” Hynor growled, and Link realized they were weaving their way between the rows. They could be no more than two away. “He’s too damn defiant.”

            “I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m impressed by that man,” Lonnu said conversationally. “To manage everything that he has while staying sane....”

            They padded in silence for awhile. Link, straining to hear everything, nearly jumped when Hynor’s voice came from the other side of the bookcase he hid behind. “He’s got to be around here somewhere....”

            Setting his shoulder against the tall piece of furniture, Link heaved with all his might. Slowly, it leaned, and then it fell inexorably, volumes slipping audibly from its shelves. It crashed into the next bookcase, and then that one started to tip. Hynor and Lonnu cursed audibly, but Link was already dashing away, ignoring the bookcases as they continued to topple into each other and knock the next one down.

            Something struck his back, and Link landed on his front. He pushed himself upright and twisted, watching as Hynor, blood trickling down the side of his face, scooped up another heavy book and threw it. Link barely avoided it as he scrambled upright and raced for the door at the far end of the room.

            “Surprise,” Lonnu whispered in his ear before smashing a jar of ink on the other side of his head.

            Link spun instinctively, his left hand shooting out to grasp the human’s throat. But Lonnu bent away and seized his wrist, a smile on his face. “With black hair, you remind me of someone.”

            Snarling, Link grasped the man’s shirt collar with his right hand and heaved him overhead. Lonnu’s grasp slipped, and he flew through the air before landing on his front. He staggered upright, but Link was already running for the door.

            He crashed into it and shoved his way into a narrow corridor with a low ceiling. Dashing forward, Link glanced back and saw Lonnu and Hynor running after him. Ink trickled down toward his eye, and he hastily wiped it away. Up ahead, the hallway turned sharply, and he careened around the corner and collided with a librarian.

            “What are you doing back here?” the stout man demanded angrily, blocking the way forward. “Only librarians are allowed in this hall!”

            “They’ll kill me!” Link shouted, trying desperately to shove a way past the man.

            A hand seized his left shoulder and yanked him back. Instead of fighting the rough treatment, Link used the movement to his advantage, spinning around and slamming his right fist into Hynor’s jaw. The man gasped and released him, and the Hyrulian managed to get past the stunned librarian. Up ahead, a small door hung open, revealing a glimpse of the cavern wall. The way out!

            With a grunt, someone tackled him and bore him to the ground. Twisting around and kicking wildly at his attacker, Link grabbed Lonnu’s forearm and halted a blow aimed at his temple. The Partisan bared his teeth in a rictus snarl, straining against the Hylian’s grip, and then Link glimpsed Hynor running toward them.

            “Stop!” the librarian shouted fearfully, sounding winded. “Please, stop!”

            Link watched Hynor pause long enough to smash a fist into the man’s throat. The yellow-coated man crumpled instantly.

            With a desperate kick that shoved Lonnu away, Link scrambled to his feet and raced for the door. The two Partisans chased him, but he dashed through the exit ahead of them and slammed it shut in their faces. Noticing a heavy iron bar lying propped nearby and a pair of hooks on either side of the door, Link grabbed the metal and heaved it into place with strength born of desperation. The iron bar settled across the wood not a moment too soon, for the door opened a fraction of an inch and struck the obstruction.

            Heart racing, Link stared at the door for a moment, trying to slow his rapid breathing. The door shook, and the two Partisans swore loudly, but the iron bar locked them inside. Satisfied that the pair of men would not be able to follow him for the moment, Link backed away and stared down at his ink-spattered coat, the dark liquid slowly seeping into the fabric. Removing the cerulean garment, he turned it inside out and donned it again, for the ink had not soaked all the way through it yet.

            A small pool of water waited nearby, and Link walked to it slowly, staring down at his reflection with something close to shock. The two ink jars thrown at his head had dyed all of his hair ebon black save for a few streaks of blond, and the ink had trickled down his face, smeared where he had tried to wipe it away. Tugging a spare bit of fabric from his pocket, he attempted to mop the mess off his face, but he only spread it further. Eventually, his whole face was darker, almost approaching the swarthy hue of Gerudo skin. Realizing that he would only worsen it if he persisted in trying to clean the ink away, Link dropped the cloth and made his way cautiously to the street.

            Slipping between buildings, he eventually returned to the bustle of Crystal City, a few streets away from the library. A few people eyed him strangely, but the only person who actually spoke to him, a middling man with a small tattoo beneath his right eye, merely expressed surprise at seeing him without a sword and with shards of glass in his hair. He strode off before Link could question him further.

            And now I’m lost, he thought sourly, glancing around. There was no way he could make his way back to Evren’s Star from his current location, and the only place he could find at the moment, the palace, was a place he wished to avoid at all costs.

            Link wandered through the streets, turning at random and finding monuments and fountains that he had never seen before. Growing increasingly frustrated, he sat outside a cutler’s shop and glowered at anyone who so much as glanced at him.

            In the colorful crowd of people, the tall figure swathed in a dark cloak caught his eye immediately. For one second, Link thought it was Ria, but then he noticed the odd way the person stood, as though disfigured. And yet the figure still towered over its Hylian companion, a man in silken garments that fit him extremely well, with polished black boots tooled with silver and decorated with crimson tassels. A man with flyaway ash-blond hair styled in a rogue manner.

            Asner! Link started to draw away as the two people moved toward him, but stopped his movement as the Partisan did not even spare him a glance. The man’s gaze simply flicked to him before moving on. Instead, he turned to his cloaked companion and and whispered, “Now, you be sure someone glimpses you in the act.”

            A loud snort came from the shadows beneath the hood, and then a rough voice said, “Of course. But I thought Senna would be the one to bring me to the palace.”

            “She will meet you at the side gate,” Asner explained. “Your presence cannot be connected to her save as a chance encounter. Not that any of these fools know what they’re looking at.”

            A rough laugh, closer to a guttural hiss, and then the cloaked figure lowered its head enough for a scaly snout to peek out for a moment, too blunt for a Lizalfos.

            Ra’noyl. Rising to his feet, Link pretended to study the knives on display in the window as the two Partisans passed him, the Dinolfos brushing him lightly on her way. What are they up to?

            Once he was sure the pair was gone, Link turned down a different street, trying to understand the sudden activity of the Partisans. He glanced briefly at the houses lining the street, and then stared in surprise at the silver bluebirds taking flight on every door. I’ve made it to Winging Bluebird Street, somehow. He strolled down the street, studying each door as he went. Suddenly, he saw the green and red dragon on the door of the red-roofed home, and he approached and knocked.

            After a moment, the front door opened to show Aphelandra in her usual dark green robes, a hairbrush clutched in one hand and most of her hair looking distinctly disheveled. “Can I help you?”

            “Aphelandra, it’s me,” he said, one hand clutching the pouch with the ocarina and cloak pin hanging at his belt, to assure himself he still possessed it. “Link. Can I come in?”

            “Link!” she exclaimed, eyes widening in surprise. She moved aside, and as he entered, she fingered some of his hair. “You look good with dark hair.”

            Unable to think of any response, he merely smiled at her and removed his ruined coat. “I had a little trouble at the library, and now I can’t find my way back to Evren’s Star.”

            “Oh, I can show you,” she said brightly.

            “No!” Flushing slightly, he explained, “I just want to send a message to my companions, if that is possible. I figure I can just stay here and accompany you tomorrow to the temple of Din.”

            “Oh, that is an excellent idea!” the priestess said, smiling. “And as for trouble in the library, it is very easy to get in trouble there. Do not feel bad. My father and I are permanently banned.”

            Brushing at his hair--the ink was congealing and clumping the strands together--Link dislodged a shower of glass fragments. “Did you ever have ink jars thrown at you?”

            “Yes,” Aphelandra replied, heading for a different door than the one he had passed through what seemed months ago. “And worse. Crystals from the lamps hurt. Oh, and ink may not come out of clothes, but it does come out of hair eventually.”

            He fingered his locks. Eventually.

            “Father!” Aphelandra called, entering a dining room furnished with a long oaken table and matching chairs. “Link has returned!”

            “So soon?” Tirgan responded, leaning out of a door that Link guessed led to the kitchen. “Welcome back! Your hair is different. It looks good, especially with your darker complexion.”

            Gritting his teeth, Link turned to the slender priestess and inquired, “Where may I bathe?”


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