Time's Castaway

By Shadsie


Chapter 5: Lost and Found



Aryll wore her adventure-dress.  Her Big Brother’s pirate friends had bought it for her a while ago – they had not pillaged it, they’d bought it free and clear because, according to Gonzo, a fine lady like her deserved honest goods.  Then again, they were the kind of pirates that hit coffee-bars as soon as they made landfall instead of bar-bars.  They sure could eat, though, at least when they were healthy.  The homecoming feast had lasted three days.  It had been such a big event, in part, because of the presence of the Hero of Time. 


The little girl was helping her Grandma pack some extra clothes for herself and for him.  Grandma fussed over new things she had made for her Big Brother Link, mostly muttering about adjustments that she’d had to make due to a change in his measurements. 


“You’re both growing up so fast,” she clicked.  “Pretty soon, you’ll both be taller than your old grandmother and skinny as string beans, just like your father.” 


“I don’t remember him,” Aryll said sadly.  “Link does, but…”


“He would have been very proud of you both,” Grandma said with a smile.  “Now, do you think that will be enough for Rinku?  We don’t know how long the journey will be.”


“I wouldn’t be surprised if he and Big Brother never changed clothes at all!” Aryll laughed, “The Hero of Time is always shown wearing the same thing in the old woodcuts and Big Brother wears those Hero’s Clothes ‘till they turn all ratty! He thinks they’re magic!”


“They may well be.  I’ve heard that clothing can pick up fairy energy if a set is worn around enough fairies.”


Aryll contemplated the shirt she’d just finished folding.  It was the shirt they’d given Rinku when he’d first arrived.  “Good thing Orca gave us these for Rinku. He said they were from his son, but doesn’t everyone call him a bachelor? If he’s a bachelor how can he...?”


At this, her grandmother’s face turned as red as a ripe tomato.  “Um… dear… um… Well, you see, just because a man’s not married doesn’t mean…”


“I thought you needed a man and a wife to make a kid…”


Grandma sighed.  “Orca may seem gruff and tough and only interested in combat, strength and honor… but he’s had lady-friends.  His son left on his own adventure years ago. He’s not on speaking terms with the mother anymore.  I think Rinku reminds Orca of young Bruce a little bit.”


“Orca’s very happy ‘cause he’s been getting to have sparring matches with the Hero of Time!”


Grandma laughed.  “Between him and Link, Orca’s been going toe-to-toe with two Chosen Heroes, at once, no less! He’s been breaking a lot of spears, but he can die a happy man.”


“I don’t want him to die…” 


The old woman slipped folded clothing into knapsacks.  “Come on, we must see if everyone’s ready.” 


The two Links, Sturgeon, Gonzo and Tetra were gathered at a large table that had been dragged outside to the dunes.  Spread out upon the table was a huge map, which Tetra was tracing with a pointer.  Link of Winds was seated in a chair, looking it over.  Link of Time was standing and had his hand on the boy’s shoulder.  With some experimentation, the two found out that they could touch each other, so long as their left hands did not make contact.  The beating they’d taken earlier was the result of the two Triforces of Courage touching and nothing more.


The Hero of Winds and the Hero of Time told each other of their respective adventures with the help of Sturgeon (and some help from Aryll, who was beginning to understand more of the ancient tongue all the time and was eager to chip in if she thought she could).  Link of Time found it interesting how Link of Winds’ story involved the reassembly of the Triforce in whole, yet here was the fragment of Courage present in his body and Tetra had her necklace.  He recounted how something similar had happened to him; he was certain that traveling the winds of time back into the world of his past would have negated his possession of the Triforce of Courage, since he’d gone back to a time in which the whole Triforce still rested in the Sacred Realm.  Yet, there was what he’d called the “Brand of Farore” on the back of his left hand.  He was certain that the Triforce’s power had helped him when he’d been in Termina – for he had needed much courage there.


It seemed that, in the end, eventually, the portions of the Triforce – or at least their essences – returned to their holders.  This made the Hero of Time concerned about this world belonging to the Hero of Winds.  If the new Hero had his portion of the Triforce back and the pirate-princess held Wisdom, where had the Triforce of Power gone?  The younger Link had assured him, through translation, that Ganondorf was an inert stone statue at the bottom of the sea, sealed and as dead as the old sorcerer could get.  The Hero of Time was not assured that he’d stay that way forever, especially if someone discovered the Master Sword and thought it a fine treasure to collect.  Both Heroes knew more than they ever cared to about seals and the breaking thereof.  While only a true Hero could draw the sword, there was the future to think of and both young men suspected the gods of being forgetful and scatterbrained from time to time – not that either of them would ever share such potentially dangerous thoughts with a Sage or a priest. 


“There is much rich land – this big… ‘mainland,” said Tetra.  “I’ve never seen an island so huge.” 


“That is because it is not an island,” Sturgeon said, adjusting his eyeglasses, “It is like the land of legends – land larger than many islands all put together.”


There’s already people there,” the Hero of Winds added, “but there’s so much land that people from here could settle on it, no problem.  The folk there have interesting magics. There are also really cool animals.” 


“Horses,” “Rinku” said, pointing to a portion of the map that had been drawn on.  They had been crudely drawn, by any professional artist’s standards, but he recognized easily the four-legged figures dancing across a corner of the parchment.  “I love horses.”


“They’re like the ponies out on a pair of islands in the far east,” Tetra said, noting where the young man was pointing.  “My crew and I tried to capture them to make money selling them once, but we couldn’t quite manage it.  Those shaggy little ponies have nothing on these mainland horses. They’re huge!” 


Rinku took up a spare pencil and a blank sheet of paper that was on the table for taking notes and quickly drew a skillful rendering of his dear Epona from memory. 


Tetra’s jaw dropped.  “Like that…” she said, “They look just like that.” 


Rinku pointed to the drawing and then to his heart and wore a look on his face that told everyone “She was mine and I miss her.” 


“Yeah, Rinku draws really good!” Aryll said as she and her grandmother came to the table.  “He plays music really pretty, too – Grandma let him borrow her old wooden flute since he doesn’t have his ocarina.  Maybe you should conduct him, Big Brother.” 


At this, Link of Winds became sheepish and rubbed the back of his neck.  “Well, I don’t know about that, with him bein’ the Hero of Time….”


“You’d do fine, dear,” his Grandmother said.  “I take it everything has been decided?” 


“Yeah,” Tetra spoke up, “My crew and I are going to have a furlough on Windfall. That lady at the coffee shop has had it too good for too long… And I’ve got to make sure the bomb merchant’s staying in line.  It’s not like we can have an easy passage to explore that ‘mainland’ without Link.  It’s a pretty far sea journey to it without using the cyclones – he’s the one who puts the wind in our sails.  I can’t believe the kid beat up that annoying frog-god…” 


Link laughed a small, humble laugh.  “It was kind of a fluke, actually.”


“He only listens to you.  You forgot to make him extend benefits to your friends.”


“Friends?  At the time, the last I’d seen you, you put me in a catapult!”


“Don’t forget I got you those bombs you needed, too! Or, more accurately, you stole them from me! You weren’t riding the cyclones yet then!”  


“Yeah, but… before that you put me in a catapult!”


“You wanted to save your sister, didn’t you?” at this, Tetra turned to Aryll, “The looks on his face were priceless!” 


Aryll was laughing.  So was Rinku.  He’d heard of how Tetra was actually the heir to Old Hyrule… his Hyrule, and of how she was of the royal line of “Zeldas,” but she was delightfully rough and rude – a true princess of pirates. While Rinku had not understood their conversation outright, he got the some of the feeling of it from observing the looks on Tetra and Link’s faces.  Tetra wasn’t even quite like his Sheik – his dear Lady Zelda’s alternate persona, taken to survive in dark times.  Sheik could fight, but Sheik had a calm manner, rational, philosophical. Tetra….almost reminded him of Tatl, the sarcastic little fairy he wound up partnering with when he was in Termina. 


“The boat we’ve got isn’t quite large enough to hold my skiff, I’m afraid,” Link said, referring to a large boat secured to the dock and to his little red one-man sailboat, respectively.  He knew that the King of Red Lions wouldn’t mind being left behind for this adventure because the boat did not have a soul anymore.  It was just a boat and had been since the end of the adventure that had made him a Hero. 


Link was attached to that boat, but he’d been using it less and less simply because he’d caught himself trying to talk to it many times only to remember that the spirit that had once been his companion had gone to the land of the dead.  He’d found himself saying “Oh…yeah…” too many times and a pang of grief would come back to him.   


In his time back home on Outset, he’d noticed the legendary Hero of Time getting a wistful look in his eyes whenever he looked at a fairy, like he’d felt the same thing directed at fairy-kind.  They’d released most of the ones that Rinku and Aryll had caught previously, only opting to keep the ones that expressed a desire to come with them.  Unfortunately, they still needed to be confined to bottles as healers had an overwhelming drive to return to their spring once released.  They were not like the companion-fairies of legend which could stay with a person at-will.  Fortunately, fairies had little need to eat or drink, no need to excrete and were immune to most temperature conditions, so they could be kept for years, if need be.  (But only very cruel people or the tragically forgetful ever kept a fairy bottled for more than few weeks).


According to Link, Grandma’s soup could keep indefinitely, too.  He and Aryll had been stocking the boat with that along with the fairies, tinned food, fishing equipment (after Ganondorf’s defeat, fish had returned to the seas, teeming), clothing, blankets, towels (because one should always know where one’s towel is), Link’s weapons and oil and polish to keep them clean and working well. 


Aryll, her Big Brother and her Big-Big Brother were going out on their own.  After Aryll explained the instructions given by the Great Fairy to everyone, it was decided that Rinku should retrace part of Link’s quest, with Link as a guide.  Aryll was coming along because she’d insisted upon it – also because Sturgeon was too old for the sea anymore and she’d been learning some of Rinku’s words.  She also had a way of keeping the young man calm and easy.    


As they were making final preparations, Tetra ran up to Rinku, holding something very strange in her hand.  She gave it to him.  The Hero of Time was puzzled.  There were three large, gold-plated forks tied together with golden wire and a white ribbon. 


“I thought you’d get a kick out of that.” Tetra said.  “I found it among some dead guy’s treasure-horde taken by bokoblins.  Maybe Aryll or the old codger could explain it to you. I couldn’t stop laughing when I found them… after Link and I’d had our run…”


“What are they?” Rinku asked.


“Those…. Are the Triumph-Forks.  Or so someone thought.  Some poor idiot thought he’d found ultimate power in some cheap, knock-off treasure someone cobbled together to make some rupees fooling idiots.”






Rinku looked at the forks, then at the back of his left hand.  “Triforce?”


“Yeah,” Tetra sighed.  “The people of this island kept the legend alive. You’ve seen their doors…. The triangles on their doors. But even they didn’t have the name for it, so Link tells me.  Funny how things get lost through history… and found again.  Keep them. Think of them as a false relic for a real, living relic.” 


“Triumph…. Forks.  Triforce.”  Rinku shook his head. 


“I heard that there were some folks out on the ocean who were looking for a sacred ‘bucket and hose,’ too. Still others seek a ‘Captain Threefoot.’ Imagine that… I wonder if Link and I and our adventures terrorizing the evils on the sea will become like you and your stories… just legend with fuzzy details.  My mother used to read me stories about you… you and your Triumph-Forks.” 


“Come on!” Link shouted from the dock.  Rinku bent down, took Tetra’s hand in his, gave it a gentle chaste and knightly kiss and then jogged to the waiting ship.


Everyone on Outset Island, Tetra and her crew included, waved and shouted as Link commanded a wind to set them off.  He waved with both hands to his grandmother, much like he did the first time he’d ever left home, only this time, he did not wave as long.  He had work to do and this goodbye was far less bitter.  He planned to return, as he had many times since then. 


Grandma always seemed to have a few more wrinkles and seemed to be slower in her steps each time, however, and Joel and Zill were always taller. 


Aryll was excited.  She’d been on the sea before, but this was her first real adventure.  Being kidnapped didn’t count because she had no say in that adventure.  This expedition was on her terms. 


Rinku looked back at the island with a melancholy expression.  He was shedding no tears and had stopped waving by the time the island had become a distant set of mounds in the mist, but Aryll noticed something off about him. 


She tugged on his tunic sleeve.  “Are you sad, Rinku?” 


He gave her a little grunt and nod and continued to look back.  He was thinking about how, once he found the Ocarina of Time and went back to his Hyrule, he’d never see this one – or its people – again. 


“Termina,” he whispered. 


Puzzled, Aryll just hugged him around the waist.  He smiled and put an arm around her.  “It’s okay,” he said.  “I was just thinking of something long ago and far away.”


For the Hero of Time, this was like leaving Termina all over again.  When he’d left that strange country, he’d promised to return to visit all the friends he’d made there.  He’d never found his way back.  The portal to it was lost somewhere in the ever-shifting Lost Woods.  He’d seen the Skull Kid a few times.  The Skull Kid could travel between the worlds, but by the time he’d seen him again after leaving Termina, the Hero had grown too tall and long-limbed for the creature to listen to him.  The Skull Kid – just like every member of his species, was suspicious of adults.  Not even his ocarina music could convince the Kid that he was an old friend.  And so, Romani and Cremia, Kafei and Anju, Lulu and everyone else in that land were lost to him for the rest of his life.


If the people of Outset Island were anything to judge by, his and Zelda’s accidental creation of this world wasn’t such a tragedy.  The people here were resilient and kind. Link of the ancient days could rest in that knowledge; even with the knowledge that this was a world that would be lost to him forever if all went according to plan.


The three spent time keeping the ship on course in shifts.  More accurately, Aryll and Link manned the ship, since Rinku did not know how to sail.  He almost ran them aground on a rocky islet when they let him try.  They learned that the Hero of Time, while legendary, was not good at every endeavor. 


He and Link spent a few hours sparring on the deck.  They were almost equally matched, but the Hero of Time had some age and experience on the younger Link.  Then there was that one move…. He’d demonstrated a move that left both the Hero of Winds and his sister gaping.  Rinku leapt straight up into the air and then came down in a nasty downward stab, lodging the tip of his pretty gilded sword right into the wood of the deck.  He wedged it loose, and then he nodded and gestured to Link like he wanted the boy to repeat what he had just done. 


“I don’t know if I can,” Link said. 


“Just try! You can do it, you’re Big Brother!” Aryll cheered. 


“That is one of my Hidden Skills,” Rinku said.  “They are special. I trained myself very diligently to master them.  I invented them by necessity to survive many adversaries.  I feel I can only pass them down to someone special – like another Hero.  Since I have no son right now and you are the Hero of this world, I figure you could use them.  I call that one the Ending Blow – you can end an enemy’s breath before he has the chance to get up and getcha’.”  


“What’s he sayin’?” Link asked.


“Something about skills…secret…” Aryll answered, “And you…Hero! Yes! I think he wants to teach you the stab move so you can kill bad stuff and not die and he likes you ‘cause you’re special.” 


A noise sounded on the wind.  Aryll and Link immediately stiffened.  Link readied his sword.  Rinku gave him a confused look, but also readied his sword.  He could sense the presence of evil on the air.  The noise sounded again, grating his sensitive Hylian ears. 


“What IS that?  It sounds like a dying goat!” 


“Kagoroks,” Link spit. 


Before anyone knew what was going on, something flapped against the sail and dark shapes blotted out the sun.  Link passed his sister his sword as he retrieved something from one of his pockets.  That something magically enlarged into a bow.  Rinku, for his part, sliced at talons and wings.  He felled one of the monsters, which landed in a heap upon the deck before vanishing into smoke.    


“Stay back you horrid things!”  Aryll shouted as she thrust and sliced.  A golden feather fell before her. 


“Link!” Rinku shouted as he jumped in the path of an enormous bird that had come up on the Hero of Winds as his back was turned. 


“Rinku?” the boy asked as he saw the young man drop his shield and look down.  Blood stained Rinku’s tunic and a single, thin, sharp claw protruded from his chest.  The kagorok pulled out and dropped him.  Link knocked an arrow and willed the magic of fire into it.  He let the missile fly.  The bird let loose one last sound of pure agony as it was engulfed.  It vanished in an explosive puff like magic-spawned monsters typically did when they died.   Aryll took care of the last of their attackers.


“Rinku! Rinku!” they both shouted. 


Rinku grunted and struggled, trying valiantly to pull himself up off the deck.  He let loose a final, strangled sigh as he fell face-down, titled his head to the side and closed his eyes. 


“Rinku! No! Don’t die!”  Aryll pleaded. 


Her brother knelt and put his hand on the entry wound in the elder Hero’s back and rubbed it gently.  He gave his sister a grim look.  “Aryll,” he instructed, “Calm down and listen to me. I am going to guard him in case any more big buzzards come back.  Go down to the hold and get one of the fairies. Bring it back up here, quickly!” 


Aryll went clattering down the stairs.


“A heart-wound or one close to it by the looks of it,” Link said nonchalantly.  The boy looked up.  “Yes, I know you’re still around, I see you. I’m sure seeing spirits is something only some people can do. I began when I took my first quest. I don’t think Aryll saw you at all.” 


The Hero of Winds saw a little green puff of flame floating over Rinku’s fresh corpse. It shifted into the late Hero’s form, silent, but with a confused look on his face. 


“Aryll needs to hurry,” Link said. “You’re still warm, but once you start to cool and your spirit shifts into blue-mode, it’ll be too late.  You’ve still got the green of Farore’s life on you.  Don’t look so confused.  I’m sure you’ve been through this before.” 


The translucent spirit of the Hero of Time nodded, as if he understood everything that had been said.


“You probably understand me right now.  You won’t when you get put back into your body.  Thank you for saving me.  I know what you feel right now.  I’ve been through this many times.  Don’t tell Aryll, though.  I’m sure you won’t be able to.  I never fully remember my near-death experiences.  Fairies give me a bit of amnesia.  I think it’s for the best.”


Rinku gave him a sympathetic look. 


“People think those Chosen by Destiny are so strong… invincible.  Around the islands, I’m known as ‘The Adventure Guy.’  They have no idea how weak we can be, how precarious the strength.  It can all change in an instant.  We get lucky most of the time, don’t we?”


Rinku nodded sadly. 


“The last time I was revived by a fairy… Tetra’s ship was boarded by a crew of bokoblins and moblins. They weren’t after treasure – they wanted to eat us. We all fought for our lives.  I got a scimitar-slice to my right thigh – not normally something one would think would be fatal, but a major artery was hit and I bled out in minutes. Tetra had a fairy and saved me.  She… actually had to tell me what happened, but I still have the scar to prove it.  Again, if you remember any of this, don’t tell my sister, okay?  She worried about me a lot.  I don’t want to make her afraid.” 


“I got them!” Aryll yelped breathlessly as she appeared with an armload of fairy-bottles.


“We only need one,” Link said, taking a bottle, un-corking it and placing it to Rinku’s back. 


“Oh, please don’t be too late!” Aryll sniffled. 


Link released the bottle and the fairy spun around Rinku.  His visible wound mended, as well as his tunic.  The blood dissipated.  The young man remained unmoving.


“No! No! No!” Aryll cried, “Come on, Rinku! You have to get up and be alive!  You have to go back home and be with your Zelda and have a happy life! Rinkuuuu, please!” 


His body rose and fell beneath her.  His eyes fluttered open.  He groaned and sat up before examining his front.  He let out a sigh of relief seeing his chest-wound gone. 


“Don’t scare us like that again!” Aryll scolded before throwing her arms around him. 


“You hug like a Goron!” The Hero of Time complained.  “My ribs! Ow!”






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