Chapter 4: Hero of Winds
“Rinku! Come on! Let’s go get fairies!”
Aryll tugged Link by the hand, eager to have him follow her up the trail. They both wore belts laden with empty bottles that clinked and clattered as they ran.
“We’re going to go see the Great Fairy!” she said excitedly, “We’ll get lots of fairies before the ship arrives!”
There was a reason Aryll wanted to go out to collect healing fairies. The last time her Big Brother had come home for a visit, he and his pirate friends were horribly sick. They had eaten some bad food a couple of days before their arrival. They’d taken away several tins of a spiced chopped ham and pork shoulder mixture, a special recipe created by Rose. The pirates reportedly loved the stuff (all save Captain Tetra), but decided that eating that one slightly bulging can was a mistake they’d never repeat. Even countering it with potions had not cured them (although it may have saved their lives).
When they’d landed, every one of them was throwing up everywhere and looked like death warmed over. Young Link couldn’t even keep his grandmother’s soup down until the islanders had gathered fairies to heal everyone. Aryll doubted that they’d be in the same state now, but with her Big Brother, she wasn’t going to take chances.
Aryll had spotted the ship yesterday and by early this morning, it was close enough in that docking was expected this afternoon. The islanders had made many preparations, but no grand celebration feast like they would have loved to start arranging, just because of the nature of the last visit. Abe had dug a pig-roasting pit. He and his wife had butchering knives and mops and buckets for the pirate ship’s deck in equal states of readiness, depending upon what was most needed.
The Hero of Time, meanwhile, was dressed the part. Link had donned the clothing he’d arrived to Outset in, freshly cleaned and lovingly mended by Aryll’s grandmother. According to what Sturgeon had told him, it would be the best outfit for him to meet their Hero of Winds in. Link had been told the boy’s story in as much detail as Sturgeon was able to give. He’d wished Aryll could speak Ancient Hylian. He was sure that her version of events would have been more entertaining to listen to than the stodgy old scholar’s. He was teaching her slowly, though, just as she was teaching him. They each had a few common words between them now, “Pig,” “Seagull,” “Grandparent,” “Ship,” “Sea,” “Sword,” “Shield,” “Big Brother,” “Little Sister” and “Love.”
They’d always had “Fairy.” It was one of the few words that Link found had not changed in this strange future-time. Familiar feelings swept over Link when he entered the Great Fairy’s cavern. There were little fairies everywhere, sparkling and white. They were a little larger than the fairies Link knew back home, with their features readily visible rather than hidden beneath intense balls of light. Aryll swept them into her bottles with complete disregard for the sadness on their tiny faces. Link had always felt rotten when he’d captured healing fairies. Even when he could not see their features clearly, he was certain that they did not enjoy the experience. What’s worse is that the people he was raised with partnered with fairies. A guardian fairy to a Kokiri child was like a parent – some might say one-part parent and one-part lover, without the sexual connotations of the latter, but with all the passionate love. The Hero of Time had occasionally wondered if his own guardian fairy, Navi, had harbored a crush on him, as she acted the part. She assured him that her healing fairy relatives did not mind being bottled nearly as much as they looked it sometimes. In any case, it had been necessary for survival. The healers were always freed after healing or reviving him.
His ears twitched as he felt a magical wind about him. Aryll stopped what she was doing and gasped. “Rinku!” she said. “Look! It’s the Great Fairy!”
Link was taken aback. He heard tinkling laughter, like bells. He had not heard the loud, horrific cackling like he’d come to expect from the Great Fairies. The creature floating in the center of the cave, above the waters, was an elegant entity. She appeared as a dark woman with light clothing and had four arms – one pair of which might have served as wings if she’d wished to appear that way. The bottom part of her body curled like a dancing ribbon. The Hero of Time felt soothed by her form. Back in his time, the Great Fairies he’d met with were dangerous, wild fey who wore naught but trailing vines, combat boots and too much make-up. As brave as he was, he’d always feared that they might kill him, or exact a price for their magical favors through the use of his supple young body. He wondered if perhaps approaching them during the first part of his first quest was what had qualified him in the beholding of the Triforce to be the bearer of the Triforce of Courage. He was always grateful to wander out of a Great Fairy cave un-molested. He had no such fears with this Great Fairy.
The Fairy spoke, her voice deep, even and ageless. “Little Aryll of my island,” she said affectionately, “and the Hero of Time. What an honor.”
“Forgive our intrusion, Miss,” Aryll replied, “Rinku and I just came here to collect fairies ‘cause Big Brother Link is coming home and we were worried he and the pirates might be sick again like last time. You know the Outset motto: Be Prepared!”
The Great Fairy laughed.
Link turned to Aryll and pointed at her. “I…. I understood you! I understood everything you said, clear!”
“Rinku? You can speak to me?”
“It is a function of my magic,” the Great Fairy explained. “I am afraid it is only temporary while you remain at my spring, but the two of you should have no language-barrier here, or at the springs belonging to my sisters.”
“Oh, I wish it were permanent! There’s so much I wished I could hear from you and not through that older fellow. He’s not just shaky with my language, but a little dry.”
“You have such a beautiful voice, Rinku!” Aryll chimed. “I mean, you always have, but hearing it in way I can understand is really cool!”
“Link. My name is Link, actually, but you may call me Rinku… my accent made you hear it that way, I suppose.”
“I can’t call you Link. That’s Big Brother’s name and you’re Big-Big Brother.”
“You are far from home,” the Great Fairy intoned.
“Yes,” Link answered with a sigh. “From what I’ve been able to gather, I am not in my own time. This is the future, if I’m not mistaken.”
“Hmm,” the Fairy pondered, sending a wave of magical energy over him to return to her. “It’s been nearly two-hundred years since your time. You are also displaced in place. You are currently in one ‘what if’ while you belong to another ‘what if.”
“I’m not sure I understand your meaning, M’lady,” Link answered. “The older gentleman… Sturgeon if I’m getting his name correct… was trying to explain it all to me. We both seem to think that a split timeline was created at the end of my first great quest.”
“That is correct,” the Great Fairy replied. “What has existed must always exist – including the things of Time. You did not re-create your world when you were sent back to live again as a child, you merely created a new world. Even that world did not escape the touch of Ganondorf, despite your valiant efforts.”
Link’s face had gone chalky. Aryll gently held his hand. “What do you mean? Zelda and I convinced the king to deal with him. He was imprisoned!”
“I am one of they that live outside of Time,” the Great Fairy said. “I can see the many fragmented narratives. You shall, too, should you discover the Nexus. I must not reveal too much to you, Hero, but know this. Your actions saved many lives and the people of the generation after yours in both timelines knew only a life of peace. In your world, when the balance became tipped by Evil, a descendant of yours was chosen by the gods to put it down again. He saved Hyrule from darkness – quite literally, in fact.”
She continued. “In this timeline, a suitable Hero could not be found, so the gods flooded the
to keep it from falling to Evil. The people climbed the high mountains and created the islands. It is a new culture, although it carries the ghost of Hyrule. The monsters and all evil creatures were drowned so that the peoples could live in peace. When Evil rose up on the Beautiful Land itself, the goddesses had found a suitable Hero – an energetic young boy with a great, courageous heart.” Great Sea
“My Big Brother!” Aryll piped, beaming with pride.
The Great Fairy laughed her tinkling laugh. “Yes, child, and he continues to seek peace and a better life for you all.”
“Wait a minute!” Link said, “You said that in my own timeline, I have a descendant? I have not become a father yet… though, if I had my wish, I’d love to have a daughter like Aryll. If I have a descendant… that means I must find my way back home!”
“Precisely,” the Fairy giggled. “You shall, in good time.”
“But,” Link ventured, “I lost the Ocarina of Time. I have been searching for it earnestly. I was beginning to accept my life here….though I miss Lady Zelda every day.”
“Like all lost artifacts belonging to Time, it has gravitated toward the Nexus.”
“Where is that? Where do I find this Nexus?”
The Great Fairy spread her arms in four different directions. “You must speak with beings that represent Time,” she said. “You must converse with the Guardian of the Future, the Guardian of the Past, and the Guardian of the Present. Then, you must go to the Tower of the Gods and the Gate shall be opened unto thee.”
Link sighed and slumped his shoulders. “I guess that means I’m ready for another quest. I suppose I’ll have to search to find these Guardians. Why doesn’t anybody ever give me anything more than cryptic clues on these things?”
“The Guardians are they that held the Goddesses’ Pearls,” the Fairy chuckled. “This is not a cryptic quest, Hero. You need to go home and all the good spirits of this world will help you in any way they can.”
“But it’s still cryptic! Who held the Goddesses’ Pearls? I don’t even know what that means!”
“Silly Big-Big Brother!” Aryll giggled. “My Big Brother Link sought the Goddesses’ Pearls on his quest! He told me all about it! They were held by the dragon Valoo, who watches over the Rito people on
, the Great Deku Tree, who watches over the Koroks at the Forest Haven, and a big ol’ whale-fish named Jabun! Jabun was hanging out in a cave on our island, but he swam back to his home around Greatfish Isle when it got better. The islands are easy to find, all we gotta do is sail!” Dragon Roost Island
Link looked lost in thought for a moment, staring at his boots. He knotted his brow and closed his eyes. “The Great Deku Tree… he’s here? He’s alive?”
“Yeah!” Aryll said, “Big Brother said he was really nice and really old. I haven’t met him yet, but I met his Korok friend Makar! Makar was so funny and he’s great at playing the violin! He said the Great Deku Tree is father to all Koroks. Rinku! We get to sail and meet them!”
“Sail…” Link said, getting a faraway look in his eyes. “I’ve never sailed in my life. In fact, I’m pretty sure the first time I’d ever seen an ocean was when I was in Termina and even there it didn’t seem as vast as the one I’ve been waking up to every morning.”
“I know how to sail!” Aryll chimed. “I can teach you, and, yeah, if Big Brother is coming home, he might want to do this quest, too, since he’s done it before! Maybe Tetra will even take us aboard her big ship! Nico even has a rope-swinging game if you get bored.”
“Isn’t it dangerous for a little girl to go sailing around a big sea?” Link asked.
“No more dangerous than it was for her brother,” the Great Fairy remarked. “And we all know you’ve been wandering wild lands and swinging a sword from a young age, Hero. Farewell and good luck.”
The Great Fairy spun and vanished leaving Link and Aryll to take their catch of fairies to the outside world.
“I hear laughter and cheering,” Link announced, his ears twitching.
“Aw, I can’t understand you anymore,” Aryll pouted. She brought out her telescope and looked down the length of the island. “The ship’s docked! Hurry! Hurry!”
Aryll’s feet clattered over the recently-repaired rope-bridge and Link followed. They ran pell-mell down the trail Link had cut-clear earlier for them. Some might say that this reception for pirates was a strange thing, but the people of Outset thought of Tetra’s crew as the Pirates Who Didn’t Do Anything – at least that was the embarrassing pet-name some of the islanders had for their friendly outlaws. Tetra and her crew had taken on something of a “noble piracy.” They only raided monsters and the occasional other pirate vessel to appropriate already stolen treasure. The fact that Tetra and her men only returned a portion of the booty to the original owners (if they could be tracked down) on the grounds of taking a “finder’s fee” was enough grounds for some to still call them true pirates. Otherwise, they usually kept their spoils because the sad fact of treasure taken by monsters and pirates more vicious than themselves was that the owners usually had been slain in the robbery.
Still, Tetra and her crew of late could probably more rightly be called explorers or salvagers. They hunted the treasures of the world beneath out of the sea and they sought new islands and a new land.
Aryll ran to a small figure clad in green and threw her arms around him. “Big Brother!” she cried happily. “You’re home and you’re not sick and you’ve gotten taller!”
The boy laughed. “You’ve gotten bigger, too!”
“Did you bring me a present, huh, huh?”
She was echoed by two small boys – Rose and Abe’s sons.
“We’ve got some treasure to spend,” Link of Outset admitted, “but we’ve got something even better. We have to discuss it with everyone.”
Tetra walked up behind him, blowing a stray hair out of her face. “Who’s that guy?” she asked, pointing to “Rinku.” “I don’t remember seeing him around this island before.”
“Rinku! Come on!” Aryll said, skipping to him and grabbing his hand to lead him onto the beach where Tetra, her brother, Sturgeon and others were gathered.
“He’s dressed like me,” Link of Outset observed. “Looks a little old for the getup.”
“You’re too old for the getup,” Tetra snarked. “I thought you Outset kids were only supposed to wear that for a year at the most. You’ve been wearing yours for almost two.”
Aryll nodded to her brother and Tetra, then to her Big-Big Brother. “Link, Miss Tetra, this is Rinku. He’s a castaway. I found him washed up on the beach a little ways from here. I thought he was dead, so I poked him with a stick, but he woke up. We’ve been taking care of him.”
Rinku looked at the kid who looked almost like he did when he was younger. “It is an honor to meet the Hero of this era,” he said before dropping to one knee and dipping his head in a deep bow.
“What did he just say?” the younger Link asked in confusion. “He sounds like Lord Valoo or the Great Deku Tree… and why is he bowing? I….people do that to me sometimes, it’s embarrassing! Please, guy, get up!”
“Up, Link,” Sturgeon said. Rinku obeyed and shot the Hero of Winds an awkward smile.
“Rinku doesn’t speak our language,” Sturgeon explained. “He’s been learning some of it, but his native tongue is the ancient speech. Our guest, as it turns out, is the Hero of Time.”
“No way!” Link protested. “Are you sure he’s not just some guy who hit his head or something?”
“The Hero of Time left us generations ago and should be dead by now,” Tetra added.
“That is what we thought at first, as well,” Sturgeon muttered. “Then my hooligan brother challenged him to a swordfight and discovered something very interesting. Link, hold out your left hand, please.”
“Um…. Okay.” The boy held his hand out and yelped when he saw the mark of the Triforce of Courage resonating with a glow that pulsed in time with his blood.
Tetra looked down her shirt at the necklace she wore. “It’s throbbing, too,” she said.
“Hold out hand, Hero,” Sturgeon instructed to the elder Link. Rinku held his hand out and allowed Sturgeon to remove his gauntlet. The Triforce brand on his hand glowed with a golden light. It pulsed in the same manner as the mark the Hero of Winds bore.
“But…. But how?” Link said, staggering back, his face pale and his already large, expressive eyes wide.
“He is the Hero of Time,” Sturgeon humphed. “From what he has told me he was warped here through an unfortunate accident.”
“Mr. Sturgeon! Mr. Sturgeon!” Aryll spoke up, “I’ve got something important to tell you! The Great Fairy-”
The Hero of Winds suddenly withdrew his sword, struck it into the ground, and bowed with it toward Rinku. “The great Hero of Time,” he said slowly, “It is my honor to meet you. I am not great, I’m just an awkward kid, but I hope that you will accept my attempts to carry on your legacy…”
It was Rinku’s turn to be embarrassed. He yelped and sweat and gesticulated with his hands. “No! No! No! Get up! Please, don’t bow to me! There’s no need!”
Sturgeon and Aryll both laughed. Tetra rolled her eyes.
“It seems that they are both most humble,” Sturgeon commented.
Rinku watched Link get up. The kid refused to meet his gaze, his eyes to the ground.
“How about a handshake?” The Hero of Time offered, holding his hand out.
Link took it shyly. One left palm met another left palm. Suddenly, arcs of light formed around them, traveling up their respective arms. Light as from an exploding firework jumped out from the backs of their hands. Both young men screamed in surprise and apparent pain. They were thrown back several feet. They landed unconscious and smoking.
Tetra ran to Link and looked him over. In an uncharacteristic show of tenderness, she held his head in her hands and knelt to lift him up into her lap. Sturgeon immediately saw to Rinku. Aryll was torn between them both and just looked on. Everyone else mumbled and muttered in confusion, awe and concern.
“He is breathing,” Sturgeon announced from Rinku’s side.
“Link’s okay,” Tetra sighed as the young man she held groaned. “What was that all about?”
Sturgeon stroked his chin. “Well, they both possess the Triforce of Courage – something there is only supposed to be one of in the world. Link’s is of the present, while Rinku brought his with him from the past. There is definitely something of a temporal nature going on here… perhaps it is unnatural for a time-displaced fragment of the holy relic to touch itself?”
“If that’s the case,” Tetra said, shaking her head, “I guess my idiot is lucky he didn’t get zapped to oblivion.”
A fairy spun around Rinku, spurring him to awaken. He sat up and held his head.
“Nudge’s nasty cooking,” Link muttered as he began to stir.
“Mr. Sturgeon! Mr. Sturgeon!” Aryll insisted.
“What is it, child?” the old man asked.
“We saw the Great Fairy,” she explained, running her words together, “Rinku and I saw the Great Fairy and she made it so he and I could understand each other – but only when we were in the fairy grotto – and, and! She said there’s a way for Rinku to go home, but we gotta go on an adventure and-”
“Slow down, child. What now?”
“There’s a way to send the Hero of Time home!”
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