As Link walked into his cottage to retrieve his bow and arrows, he noticed that Anna was sitting on her bed, chin in hands, staring down at the floor as if there were something there which only she could see. As he walked over to her, she glanced up at him miserably. "Is there anything wrong? Did something happen last night?" Link questioned her quietly. She shook her head, lowering her eyes to the cottage's wooden floor. He sighed and moved away from her to gather his quiver and bow up from the corner by his bed. Clearly, he wouldn't receive an answer from her. Heading for the door, he said to the hunched figure on the bed, "Make a fire; I'll be back in awhile." A quiet sigh escaped Anna's lips, and she nodded her head to assure him she'd heard. After the cottage door closed and Link had gone off in the direction of the Lost Woods, Anna slowly rose from her bed and went to the fireplace where the iron kettle, used for cooking, hung. Beneath it was the remains of the previous night's fire, cold blackened ash and the charred skeletons of the logs that had not completely succumbed to the flame.
Alongside the stone structure of the fireplace lay the logs that her brother and uncle had cut from the Lost Woods a few weeks previously. She picked up a few of these and threw them in on top of the ashes. The dead embers flew like small blackbirds in flight, scattering all over the hearth. Placing her hands into the hearth, she closed her eyes and began to concentrate. Warmth slowly began to build between her palms and the logs directly beneath them. Light formed and began to spread underneath the kindling, showing between the many apertures between the logs. A tongue of flame rose up slowly, crackling as it began to catch the wood aflame. Moving her hands from the blistering heat, Anna slowly bent down closer to the flame, blowing on it gently. The flame rose and burned brightly, popping as it began to spread and devour the wood.
As warm light began to emanate, Anna leaned back from the glowing fireplace and watched it glow with a gentle golden color. Gazing into the golden and crimson flame reminded her of the angry red smoke in her dream. It had been a strange dream indeed, not realistic enough to be a premonition, but frightening nonetheless.
Sighing, she continued to watch the flames burn, and absorbing their warmth, waited patiently for Link's return.
It was quiet and dark in Tempest's hideaway, no light to filter through the dimness. She had retreated downstairs to the second floor of her temporary home when it had become too light upstairs a few hours earlier; she couldn't risk being seen by anyone. It was a bit cooler down in this area of the dwelling, and she shivered slightly from the chill. Little stabs of pain, like minute daggers, were combined with her cold, but she thrust them away with all her will. The time to choose between the two young women in her sphere was close at hand. The pain had become almost constant now. Although it was only minor pain in comparison to what she had felt before, she knew it was only a matter of time before the small stings and occasional brief bursts of pain she experienced became unadulterated agony. Her spherule rested on the floor in front of her, and she picked it up. Murmuring a soft spell, she watched as once again it lit up. From its depths appeared the two images she had been looking at earlier. The energy of Hyrule's princess was certainly tempting, the strongest of all the women in Hyrule. Eyes narrowing in thoughtful meditation, Tempest stared at the illuminated object in her hand. If she were to obtain the energy of the princess, she would surely have enough energy to last quite a time, and strong energy at that. Yet, there would be the problem of finding and receiving that precious energy. The sorceress knew that the princess of a land like Hyrule would always be protected, if not within castle walls then at least by the Legendary Hero. It was said that he had saved her from Ganon's clutches before, and she saw that he had been at her side as she walked out of the village. It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to catch the princess alone and unguarded. If, by some miracle, she did manage to take the energy of the princess, she would need to escape from Hyrule. That would not be an easy task, either. People would be out looking for the one responsible for what had befallen the princess, and if she were caught...She broke off in her mulling and shuddered.
Tempest then turned her attention to the other girl in the glowing sphere, the one named Anna. She, too, had strong energy, although not as strong as that of the Princess Zelda. She was nothing more than a peasant wench. She would be alone more often, easier to catch alone, easier to take energy from....Tempest smiled, a quiet chuckle rising in her throat. This laughter was checked by a burst of pain. The image in the sphere dissapeared and the light dimmed. The dying light of the ball was replaced by the gentle orchid colored light of the prism as it began to shine. Her breathing labored, Tempest glanced down at it. It was the source of her woes, yet without it, she wouldn't be able to fulfill her ultimate dream of having the Triforce for her own.
Alone on her knees in the dark, Tempest began to think. She would have to keep careful watch on the one she had chosen. Once the energy was hers, she would have to escape from Hyrule, then make plans to get to the land where the Triforce rested.
Suddenly, she remembered something. Link, the Legendary Hero, was the holder of the Triforce! Even if she had all the energy necessary, she would not be able to get the Triforce, for the Triforce only obeyed its holder. Yet, if something unfortunate was to befall that holder....Tempest's hand moved to the dagger at her waist. Holding it up in front of her pale, drawn face, she tested its point with her finger, smiling as she did so. Already, a plan was forming in her head.
Tomorrow night, she thought. Tomorrow night, I will be one step closer to realizing my dream...
The sky was golden and scarlet with the colors of the setting sun. The forest was silent, save the occasional shrill call of a bird or chirp of a lone cricket. The hunt had yet to reward Link, and he was growing increasingly impatient. The bow in his hand hadn't been put to use once the entire time.
Moving off the winding dirt path and past the green wall of the tree leaves and shrubs, Link made his way into the deeper areas of the Lost Woods. Here, his gait became the silent, careful one of a hunter. His feet scarcely marked the soil beneath them, hardly disturbed the fallen leaves or the blades of grass. His eyes and ears became increasingly sharp, taking in all his surroundings.
His hand moved to the bow at his side. Slowly, his fingers came to rest on the bowstring, curling around it and starting to pull it back ever so painstakingly. He continued to move, the leaves brushing him and rustling softly as he went through the undergrowth. His eyes peered into the greeness ahead, watchful for any movement. His ears were keen for any sound. By now, the sun had abandoned him in his search for food, taking its much needed light with it. The sporadic chirp of a single cricket had become a chorus, and he shut his ears to it as he began to move again.
Suddenly, the rustling of leaves caught his attention. He turned to his right, the area the sound had originated from. He turned in that direction, moving silently and with much caution. In the dark of the night, made increasingly dark by the canopy of leaves over his head, he could make out the dim form of a wild hen. The bow that rested at his side was raised, and more pressure was put on the bowstring. The arrow was drawn back, and he held his breath. Aiming the arrow into the starkness before him, he released it. There was a faint squawk, and the crickets fell silent.
No longer moving with the caution of a hunter but with a speed fueled by triumph, Link moved quickly to where the hen had fallen. He could make out the shape of his arrow, cloaked in darkness, and he removed it from the inert body of the fowl. He picked up the feathery body from the ground, and carrying it by the neck, made his way out of the undergrowth and onto the path that lay beyond.
The night had brought with it the customary cold, making Link quicken his steps. He had been out later than he had intended to, but his patience had rewarded him well. Leaving the forest, he walked past Kakariko and took the path that would lead him home.
The fire had died almost completely now, casting only a dim glow in the cottage. Link, who had just finished cleaning the hen moments before, opened the door to the cottage. The cool wind blew past him from the outside, rushing through the warm room. The fire flared a bit at its cold touch, and he could see that Anna, who was supposed to be tending to the fire, had rather fallen asleep near it. He sighed as he made his way to the fireplace to throw another log onto the weak flames. As he did so, he glanced down at her. She had been asleep for quite some time, boredom and weariness finally giving way to the sleep she needed. Once again, he'd be dining alone. Placing the raw meat over the flames, he watched the fat drip down onto the charred logs, sizzling and making the flames flare up a bit each time it did.
Finally removing the meat from the fire with careful hands, Link picked it apart and sat at the table, eating. He thought of the day's events. Looking to where Anna still slept, he remembered suddenly what Zelda had told him. Perhaps there was something wrong? No, he thought. Evil had been banished from Hyrule for a long time to come, of that he was certain. The Triforce was in no jeopardy. Thinking of this made him restless. The days since Ganon's defeat had been long, dull, devoid of any action. The Master Sword lay in its stone once again, waiting for the time when it would be called to service him again. The three pendants needed to take the sword from the stone had been placed again in the hands of Princess Zelda for safekeeping in the castle museum.
He sighed, picking up a chicken bone from his plate and running his fingers over its greasy smoothness. He thought back to the days when he'd gone on his first adventure. That arduous time had tested him in every way possible, making him rely on his wits and skill at every moment. He had been completely alone that time, making the journey even more difficult. Princess Zelda and the six maidens had aided him whenever possible, and Sashrahala had helped him in the early parts of his quest. Wistfully, he wished for times of adventure and toil again. It seemed as if he couldn't live without some kind of adventure. He was, by nature, an active soul.
Finished with his food now, he cleared the table. The chicken he had not touched he set aside for Anna, who had not stirred the whole time he'd eaten. Walking to where she lay, he studied her quiet form for a moment. He knew not to wake her, seeing as she'd been tired earlier in the day. He still did not know what troubled her, but he was confident that it was something trivial, something that could be remedied within a short amount of time.
The fire had once again died, but he did not bother to refuel it. Yawning, he stooped to where Anna lay, carefully picking her up and walking to where her bed was. She did not stir in his arms, did not make a sound as he carefully carried her. Gently and carefully, so as not to wake her, he placed her in bed. For a brief moment, he felt rather like her father than her brother. Suddenly, a small pang of cold feeling ran through him, making him shudder. He couldn't quite put a finger on what the feeling was or why he was feeling it. Dismissing it, he turned from Anna's bed and made his way to his own. Laying upon it, he closed his eyes and tried to sleep. The feeling that had run through him previously wasn't to be forgotten, however. It lurked just beyond his conscious thought, but he was still aware of its prescence. He felt uneasy, but he didn't know why. It was as if something were going to happen soon, but that wasn't possible; all evil was gone from Hyrule. Managing to force the unnamable feeling aside, he turned his attention to the fireplace, where the fire was sputtering and crackling quietly, making a final show of light and warmth before it was completely gone. Gazing into its hypnotic light, he thought of Princess Zelda. From the moment they had met in that lonely, cold jail cell that rainy night, he knew that she was different, special somehow. It wasn't just because she was the princess of Hyrule, either. She had a quality about her that was hard to put a name to, a quality as baffling as any paradox. Even the other six maidens he had talked to briefly in their crystal prisions did not share her quality; she was in a class by herself.
He wasn't exactly sure how he felt about the princess. She was pretty, certainly; it did not take much to see that. Yet, beyond the surface, she was not the helpless princess that she was made out to be by the gossip of the villagers, nor was she aloof, another thing that the gossip had rendered her to be. Even before he'd met her, he'd heard such talk, and was at first persuaded to believe it. From the moment he met her, however, all that had changed.
Sleep was beginning to make itself apparent now; his thoughts became hazy and muddled, intertwined like the many colors of sunset. His eyes became heavier with each passing moment. All rational thought left him as sleep finally claimed him.
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