Chapter 2: Big-Big Brother
Link (or “Rinku” as the islanders knew him) sat in a stone basin carved into the ground, soaking in hot water. The bath house was fed by a natural spring and was surrounded by a simple structure with a tile roof. That little Aryll-girl had led him here and had taken his clothing (presumably to be washed and mended) and had left him here alone. Link had left his shield behind at the house but his sheathed sword lay next to him on the outside of the basin. He never parted with it, even when he bathed.
The Hero of Time tried to figure out how he had gotten to this strange place. It certainly felt like it was more than a dream. He had been in the royal
Castle playing music. He’d held the Ocarina of Time; an object possessed of great magic and was experimenting with it. As there were several songs with the power to alter nature that could be played upon the thing by him and other special persons, there were a number of songs he’d found to have no magical effects. It had been his instrument of choice ever since Zelda had given it to him – even after the nightmarish events he’d experienced in the gardenof Hyrule . landof Termina
He’d wanted to create a new song for Princess Zelda. He’d been courting her for some time, with full permission of the Royal Family and court. He was a Hero, after all, and an investigation of history evidenced that he had come from a noble bloodline. His exploits in one timeline were remembered only by certain people, but he’d made a name for himself by becoming a protector of his land in the timeline he’d returned to live in.
Link had let his fingers fly over the sacred Ocarina, twitching his ears, inventing a new melody, becoming one with the music that he’d played. He’d purposefully avoided incorporating any parts of the known magical songs into his playing, which is why what had happened confused him now. He’d invented many of his own songs that did nothing special whatsoever. Apparently, he’d discovered or invented some kind of new warp song and was now in a distant country where his spoken common Hylian was unknown.
The Ocarina of Time was gone. He had a vague memory of seeing it float away from him while he was being tossed in the ocean. He had to get it back… but he did not know how. He’d walk along the beach around this island to see if it had washed up as soon as he could. As it was, despite the magical properties of the old woman’s soup, he was a bit sore. He also wanted to make an effort to find out exactly where he was.
“Rinku?” a small voice called.
Aryll cautiously entered the bath house, staying to the shadows. She held out a stack of folded clothes. Link stayed in the basin, the steaming, murky waters covering his lower half.
“We asked around and borrowed these,” Aryll said. “They used to belong to Mr. Orca’s son. We don’t know if they’ll fit you, but we thought they’d be the closest thing we’ve got.”
She set them down next to the bath and paused. Aryll let out a little gasp and then quickly averted her gaze. “I’m sorry!”
Link was confused. The hot spring waters had a fair amount of silt and mineral content, so things that little girls shouldn’t see weren’t showing. Then he noticed one of his arms and looked down at himself. The marks were pale and they were not many, but he had that fierce-looking one down the upper portion of his left arm, that long one across his chest and the remains of a pair of round puncture wounds over his stomach... and that one lava-burn…
Yeah, he thought. The scars. She’s probably not used to seeing something like that.
“Sssh,” he soothed. “It’s okay. They don’t hurt anymore.”
Aryll turned. “I guess they aren’t so bad… I’ve seen traders and shipwreck survivors with worse. You must really be an adventurer, huh? Big Brother showed me a few scars he got from monsters. At least they aren’t on your face or somethin’. Anyway, you should try on the clothes. I’ll wait for you outside.”
Link got out of the bath and donned the offered clothing – a pair of faded orange pants and a cream-colored shirt with brown triangle designs stitched into the collar and sleeves. Everything was a bit loose on him, but fit well enough. He tied up his damp hair – his hair was nearly shoulder-length when it was down and he usually kept it tucked into his hat – and he met Aryll outside.
“You look good,” she said, “It’s a little baggy, but it looks good on you. Come on, Rinku. People are waiting for you at home.”
Aryll skipped down the trail and Link followed, holding his sword and scabbard by the strap.
“You know,” she said turning to him, “you do look so much like my Big Brother; maybe I should call you Big-Big Brother.”
Link shrugged as they entered Aryll’s home.
“You said that his sword was coated in gold?” a voice inside asked someone. This voice was deep and tough.
“Yes, gold designs.” – The voice of Grandma.
“It might be a very old sword, then,” another male voice said. “Gold is usually quite a soft metal and nothing one would want to temper a weapon with, but legend has it that there is a special kind of gold that knights of old used to have added to their swords that actually improved the blade. This shield of his is definitely one of the Old Hylian models.”
“It is a bit unlike the family shield,” Grandma said.
“Quite,” the older-sounding male voice replied, “Yours is a Knights-Line shield, this one is one of the more common varieties. I could compare it if I can find a reputable antiques dealer on Windfall. It’s got some scratches – as if it’s actually been used for battle, actually. Otherwise, it seems to be in excellent condition. It seems new – it is likely a replica.”
Aryll and her new Big-Big Brother walked through the door. “Mr. Orca! Mr. Sturgeon!” she called. “He’s here! This is him! This is the guy I found on the beach this morning!”
Two old men peered at Link. The bare-chested, sinewy one gave him special scrutiny. His eyes darted immediately to the sheathed sword.
“My, he does look like our little Link, doesn’t he?” Orca said, “And he has a rather fit build.”
“He’s got scars, too!” Aryll blurted out.
“Aryll!” her grandmother scolded.
“I saw them… in the bath. Oh, don’t worry; he was in the water so I didn’t see anything else!” She traced over her heart, “He’s got this long one over his chest… and this weird burny-looking one..!”
“They’re really cool! Don’t worry, Grandma, you know he doesn’t understand what I’m saying.”
“You are still being rude, my dear.” She looked to the young man. “Are you all cleaned up now, Rinku? I bet that bath made you feel better. These men are Orca and Sturgeon. Orrr-ca. Stur-geon. They think they can help you.”
“Rrrinku,” Link said, taking each of their hands in greeting.
“Link,” Sturgeon said simply.
“Hmm?” Grandma and Sturgeon inquired at the same time.
“That is his name – Link,” Sturgeon explained. “That is an old pronunciation.”
“Really?” Aryll asked, bouncing, “So Big-Big Brother really is like Big Brother!”
“Big-Big Brother?” her grandmother asked.
“Yeah!” the child answered, “I want to call him that because he looks so much like Big Brother and he seems so nice, he’s bigger, though, so I have to call him something else.”
“I know you miss Link, honey, I do, too, but I’m not sure adopting a stranger is right. We’re going to find out where he’s from so we can get him home right away.”
“We’ll call him Rinku for now. It’s easier.”
Sturgeon adjusted his glasses. He scrutinized “Rinku” uncomfortably close. “I do not know of any islands off-hand that would still speak the old language. Attendants of the Great Valoo on Dragoon Roost are required to learn it in order to communicate with the dragon, but one must be a Rito for that job. Perhaps we can ask our postman about it. He flies far and wide.”
“Can you talk to him, Mr. Sturgeon?” Aryll asked. “He sounds like you when you’re reading old books and trying old spells.”
Sturgeon muttered, and then looked up to Link. “You…understand what I say? Old language.”
Link’s ears perked and his face took on the look of a child getting a new present. The old man was speaking broken words and his grammar was terrible, but he knew Hylian!
“Yes! Yes!” Link said excitedly, his hands gesticulating, “Finally! Someone who speaks Hylian! Where is this place?”
“You be at this place on
.” Outset Island
“Outset? I’ve never heard of it. My warp-song must have brought me far. Do you know where Hyrule is from here? Has anyone on this island seen my ocarina wash up on the beach? It’s a little blue-ceramic flute, in the shape of a gourd. I know ocarinas aren’t very common… This one’s special. It’s the Ocarina of Time and it belongs to the Royal Family…”
“Hold on, son. Going fast. Hyrule is legend. Place of stories. Gone place. Our Hero searches for New Hyrule.”
Link scratched his head. “I don’t understand.”
“You can’t be of Hyrule. Hyrule non-existent now.”
Link’s face took on a look of pure distress. Aryll hugged his middle. “What’s going on, Rinku?” she asked.
“That can’t be right. I was in the garden, playing music. I can’t have traveled through time again, could I? I suppose that could have happened, me being the Hero of Time and all…But why would I come to this place? Did the goddesses and the Ocarina send me here because you are in danger like Termina?”
“The Hero of Time?”
“Yes. That is my formal title, given to me by the Sages and the
Royal Court. You probably haven’t heard of me here, though, if this place is far from Hyrule. I am only known in Hyrule and in Termina…maybe Holdrum, Labrynna and Calatia, but I would not be considered a person of rank there, like at home.”
“What’s wrong, Sturgeon?” Aryll’s grandmother asked.
Sturgeon sighed heavily. “This man is insane,” he concluded. “I don’t know whether he lost his mind before or after his episode with the ocean… he may have suffered brain damage in the waves, but considering the clothing he arrived in, I’d say he was long gone before he needed our help.”
“Whatever do you mean?” Grandma asked. Aryll hugged her Big-Big-Brother tighter.
“He thinks he’s the Hero of Time,” the old scholar said, earning an incredulous grunt from his brother.
“Are you serious?” Orca asked.
“He certainly seems to be,” Sturgeon answered. “Maybe he was a scholar, studying the Hero’s life and that is why his poor brain has kicked into speaking a form of the ancient language. It doesn’t matter. This young man is very ill. I am going to compose a letter to some of my contacts on Windfall. They may know a good hospital for those infirm in mind.”
“No!” Aryll protested, “We can take care of him!”
“I’m not sure that’s a good idea,” Orca said, “He carries a sword. He may be dangerous.”
“We should at least take care of him until we find out where he’s from,” Grandma said. “I don’t think he’s dangerous at all. We did spook him, earlier, but he only reacted the way you would if we tried to take one of your spears from you and he apologized for it. This old woman may not have understood a word he said, but I know by his face he was sorry.”
“Perhaps I should ask him to surrender his weapon,” Sturgeon asked.
“No!” Orca said forcefully. “That is one thing you must never ask a warrior. He really will think we are a threat and may lash out.”
“He’s peaceful!” Aryll contended. “If he wanted to hurt any of us, he would have done it by now!”
The two old men and the old woman stood around and muttered. Link sat down, not sure of what was going on.
At long last, Sturgeon addressed Link. “We people of Outset – people of peace. Let my brother take care of your sword, please. For a while. You stranger – fear you a little.”
“Why would you fear me?” Link asked. “I’ve carried my sword all this time and have harmed no one. No one has given me a reason to hurt them. This blade is for monsters and demons. If I ever deliberately took the life of an innocent person, I’d have to, by my honor, take my own.”
“Well,” Sturgeon muttered, “I am sure he’s lost his mind, but he’s certainly got the honor part of the Hero of Time act right.” He turned to Link again, “Please… for us, until we know you better. Orca takes care of swords here. We go to him if need weapons for fighting.”
“Okay,” Link answered, reluctantly handing over his sheathed sword. He did not know the reasons for the distressed look upon the old man and his brother or the weirdly compassionate look he was getting from Aryll’s grandmother, but he figured that this place must truly be a peaceful haven. He decided to go by the old saying; “When in King Zora’s Domain, do as the Zora do.” He wondered if these people had any idea the great amount of trust he was placing in them by letting go of his weapon.
Link watched quizzically as the two men exited Aryll’s home. He was surprised when Grandma hugged him. She had such a pitying look on her face.
“You poor, poor boy. We’ll take good care of you. I promise.”
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