The Silent Spring
The sun was setting over the quiet Ordon woods as Ilia strode barefoot into the ankle deep waters of Ordon Spring. This time of day used to be so special to Link but now he tried to not notice the sheer beauty of the sky. Link hadn't really been the same since he had gone on that adventure and saved the world, sure he had come back to Ordon but he wasn't the same person. He used to be happy all the time even when he fell off Epona because of a particularly stubborn goat he would just get up laughing as he brushed himself off but not anymore.
Link was more serious now; he had been through so much on his adventure. Now he was always on alert for any sign of danger. At sunset each day his eyes glazed over and an expression of loss covered his face. Something had happened on his journey that caused him pain every day at twilight. It has been four months since he came back to Ordon and we still didn't know why he was so unhappy at twilight.
Ilia laws in love with Link, she had been since before he left. In the days before Link left Ordon Ilia was starting to think that there was a chance that she and Link could be together but then she had been kidnapped and when she had met him again she had no memory. Ilia knew that Link didn't love her the way she loved him. She had always and will always be his best friend.
Hoof beats interrupted Ilia's musings. Ilia knew those hoof beats anywhere and the pattern they were in told her Epona was at full gallop. Link was returning as fast as he could. Ilia allowed herself a small smile that he was coming home. Her smile quickly faded away when she remembered that he did not feel the same way about her. She sighed and waited for him to arrive at the spring.
The hoof beats slowed down and stopped as Link arrived at the spring. I knew he was there without turning around.
"Ilia can I talk to you?" Link asked without dismounting. Ilia could tell he was uncertain of what her answer would be. It would take an idiot to not notice just how happy she was when he got back from one of his small adventures and then how sad she got when he told her he was leaving once again he just couldn't stay in the village for too long anymore.
"Not now Link maybe tomorrow." Ilia didn't even turn around and yet she could feel Link's disappointment from halfway across the spring.
"Come on girl" for some reason Link did seem very unhappy as Epona left at a gentle walk. Ilia was curious now he had wanted to talk to her badly enough to be unhappy when she has said no. What had happened on his last adventure? Had he met a girl and needed her advice on what to do? Could Ilia even handle helping Link with his love life when she was in love with him? If he was already "getting friendly" with this girl could she handle that news? Ilia stood there in the ankle deep water of the spring for hours just thinking about any reason that Link would want to talk to her after rising in with Epona at full gallop.
Ilia headed for the edge of the spring where she had left her lantern so she could get back in the dark. When she went to the spring and started thinking about Link she would lose track of time and most often have to find her way back into the dark if she didn't pack her lantern.
Ilia was standing outside Link's house ten minutes later staring up at the windows. Link was inside and by the lack of lights on inside Ilia guessed that he had already gone to bed. This was confirmed when she heard the faint sound of Link snoring and the occasional mumbled word. Ilia turned to leave when she heard Link clearly shout as though in anger "ZANT!" Ilia hesitated when she heard this slice into Link's mysterious adventure the one where he had saved the world from evil. Ilia was more curious than ever about what he had saved her from. Link then yelled "MIDNA" but this time his voice was full of worry. Could this Midna person be someone that had been very important to Link? Ilia turned off for home wondering just what was on Link's mind.
The Creek of Ordon
Ilia was sitting on the wharf behind the house with the water wheel waiting for Link to come and find her. She knew Link would find her eventually because he had wanted to talk so badly yesterday evening. She took her shoes off and dangled her feet into the water as she heard footsteps over the creaking of the nearby water wheel. Link walked up and sat beside Ilia. They sat together in silence for a while. Ilia was trying not to look at Link. It wouldn't be a good idea to be caught staring at him especially if it was about this Midna that he had heard him call out for in his sleep.
"Ilia what's wrong? Every time I leave you seem so unhappy, hell you don't even come to say goodbye when I'm about to leave. I just wanted to know why." Link did sound genuinely concerned about what was making her so unhappy. What should she tell him? Should she tell him how she felt? Should she try and avoid the question? Ilia wasn't sure she was ready to deal with the pain of Link's rejection just yet. Tears started to form in her eyes as she thought of these questions. Ilia blinked and two tears fell into the creek below around her feet.
"Link I miss you when you leave and I'm just so happy when you return even though your mind is off elsewhere and already planning your next adventure I enjoy the time I spend with you so much and then you leave again within weeks of you getting back. Why can't you stay Link? Why can't you stay for more than a couple of weeks? WHY LINK? WHY?" AS Ilia finished screaming at Link she broke down into tears. Her tears poured down her face into the creek splashing into the water above her feet. Without giving him a chance to respond Ilia stood up and dove straight into the water and swum downstream to the small island hidden by the cliffs.
Ilia pulled herself out of the water onto the island and just cried. Why did Link have to make her feel this way? The conversation had barely lasted twenty minutes and Ilia had been shouting most of the time. Ilia grabbed her toes and pulled her feet closer to her as she shook from crying so much. There was a slight disturbance in the water next to her and she look up to see Link wearing some strange blue clothes bring his head above water.
"I can't talk to you right now Link go away." Link once again looked disappointed when he wasn't able to say what he needed to say.
"Ok Ilia. Can you come find me when you are ready to talk? Please?" Link said and he turned and swum back to the village. Ilia was once again left alone to think over her feelings and actions around Link. Ilia was surprised that Link still wanted to talk to her it must be something he doesn't trust to anyone else. Ilia sighed and stood up noticing that her clothes were still wet from her swim earlier. The sun was still high in the sky and Ilia had no intentions of returning to the village and possibly running into Link again when she still wasn't ready to face him. She sighed and dove into the deep pool.
Ilia kept swimming until the sun was just starting to set. The time known as twilight. The time when Link was the most upset. Ilia realised she wasn't angry with Link anymore, her swim had been helpful for that. Pulling herself out of the deep water she looked up to see link sitting high in the tree looking towards the setting sun. Ilia walked over to the tree and stood underneath the branch that Link was sitting on. AS Ilia looked up at Link she noticed just how upset he looked and drops of water fell onto Ilia's face. Link was crying staring at the sunset.
Moonlight, Tears and Hawkgrass
The moonlight was streaming through the window leaving a bright square on Ilia's bed. Ilia was holding a piece of whistle grass shaped liked a bird's feather known by everyone in Ordon as Hawkgrass because if one played the correct tune it would summon a hawk. Link was a master at summoning hawks. Ilia looked down at the patch of moonlight on her bed, the way she was sitting it only shone upon her toes. It felt strange to only have the moon shining on her toes because she wouldn't have to worry about them burning unlike when she sat like this during the day. The last time that had happened was before Link had left on his adventure Ilia was excited to see him as usual when she arrived Link looked at her from top to bottom like he used to and when he reached her sun burnt toes he burst out laughing. Typical he had laughed at her for getting sun burnt on her toes and nowhere else. Seeing the moonlight brought back the memories of that day. That had been five months ago and now Ilia knew that things were not going to be the same between them. Tears were once again springing to her eyes when she thought of her unrequited love for Link.
Ilia heard her father climbing heavily up the steps. There wasn't anyone in Ordon that made the same sound he did climbing stairs it was just one heavy thump after another. He knocked before he entered well aware of Ilia's temper and the fact that it seemed a little short since Link returned from his last adventure.
"Ilia I saw and heard what happened today at wharf. Do you want to talk about it?" Her father was truly concerned. He knew that Ilia was in Love with Link but there hadn't been much he could do about it until now.
"I don't know what to say dad. I hate it when he leaves, I love it when he comes back to the village but I hate him while he is here and planning his next adventure. He still has dreams about the one where he saved us all. "Her father wrapped his arms around her and noticed the piece of hawk grass she was holding.
"Tryin' to summon a hawk are we?" He asked gently "Link never did summon a hawk at night you might be the first person to ever do it. Look I know things are hard at the moment for you with Link and I'm not saying you are doing the right thing shouting at him like that but I'm not saying you're doing the wrong thing either because you had to get that off your chest."
"Link is hiding things from us. Big things because I didn't recognize the name he called out. He called out for someone named Midna and he sounded really worried. I think he may be in love with this Midna person. I can't tell him I know he worries about someone named Midna but I want to know who they are." Tears flowed down Ilia's face as she finished her last sentence. She was tearing herself up over a name Link had cried in his sleep after crying out the name of one of his greatest opponents Zant in the space of a few minutes. He had dreamed about Zant hurting Midna Ilia realized. Link's hate for Zant ran deeper than the Hero trying to save his world from evil. It was personal.
" Ilia I never told you that Link returned to the Village once on his great adventure. He needed to learn the secret to wrestling Gorons from me the only human ever to overpower a Goron. This was after the twilight over Eldin province was lifted and he had found all the kids except you. He came back he told me how all the kids were safe except you and you should have seen the pain in his eyes. It was hurting him to not know whether or not you were safe. You had always been his best friend and now in your time of need even with him being a hero he hadn't found you and it was eating away at him inside. There is one other thing. There is a woman that runs a bar in Castle Town known as Telma. You were living with her after you had lost your memory and Link found you. I've spoken to Telma on this topic and she knew straight away that you meant something special to link as soon as he saw your face. She said it went from a look of mild satisfaction to completely happy but as soon as he realized you didn't remember him he looked hurt. He cares for you I don't know how much but there is something there."
"Dad how do you know about all this?" Ilia said through the tears. Link had never told her that part of the story he seemed to skip over the details between battling dangerous monsters and surviving deadly traps.
"Well remember a while back when I went on a trip? Well on that trip I went to visit the gorons and as I am their sworn brother they could fill me in on a few details of Link's adventure. Link rescued their patriarch Darbus and he had been staying with the village shaman Renado. I spoke to Renado because we are old friends about Link's quest because I knew he was leaving out details. He directed me to Telma who is a very charming woman let it be known and she filled me in."
"Dad why did you do all that?" Ilia had stopped crying at last and now listened as her father described what he had done to find out about the more personal side of Link's adventure. He had been forced to grow up quickly so he would be ready to achieve his destiny.
"Because Link was so restless and different I needed to know what he had been through I have a feeling that there is even more to the story involving this Midna character. I had a feeling this talk would be coming as well I saw you so happy when he came back and when he left you… well I had never seen you so sad it tore me up. It happened again and again as he left and returned from each small adventure I knew you wouldn't be able to hold it in forever so I went to get information to help you. Now goodnight Ilia talk to Link when you are ready not sooner don't try to force things." He got up and left Ilia alone in her room holding a piece of Hawkgrass with her toes in a square of moonlight on her bed and tears rolling down her face.
Echoes on the Stairwell
The sun had barely risen when Ilia woke up the next morning. It had taken her so long to go to sleep that the square of moonlight on her bed had moved to the floor. She got up and got dressed catching a glimpse of herself in her mirror. She looked a mess her hair was sticking out all over the places and there were large bags under her eyes revealing just how tired she was. She walked barefoot out of her bedroom but voices from the kitchen made her stop not sure if she wanted to interrupt. Link was downstairs in her kitchen talking to her father about Ilia. What would make Link come to talk to her father this early in the morning?
Ilia had to stifle a gasp of shock when she heard that Link was unhappy that talking to Ilia was so difficult.
"She cares for you a lot you know" her father said. Ilia had only told him last night and he was already spilling her secrets to him? What had possessed the fool? Ilia started pacing about angrily. Unlike her father who was so heavy on the stairs Ilia was very light and her bare feet didn't make any echoes reach the kitchen so they wouldn't know she was there listening to their conversation. She was so angry that she almost missed Link's reply.
"I know she does. Everyone says so but even so she's never unleashed her temper on me like that before. I picked something up for her on my last trip." Ilia heard the sound of something metal being placed on the table." Give her this and that when she is ready. Thank you for seeing me even if it was so early in the morning." Ilia heard the sound of the door squeaking as it was opened. There was a moment of hesitation before Ilia hear the door close. She raced back up to her window to see Link walking away from the house. She hesitated wondering whether or not she should go down to the kitchen it might make her father suspicious of whether or not she had heard their conversation. She only knew Link wanted her father to give her something made of metal and something else when she was ready whatever that meant.
With a sigh Ilia turned to go downstairs in her natural quiet way. She thought it was just as well she was quiet on the stairs her father made enough noise for the both of them. She entered the kitchen to see her father sitting at the table laying into an omelet made with cheese from the lovely goats just up the road.
"Mornin' Ilia" her father greeted her surprising her at just how articulate he was with a mouth full of eggs, milk and cheese. It had always been this way as soon as her father saw her in the morning no matter what he was doing he would always greet her. Ilia remembered several times her father was having a discussion with someone in the kitchen and broke off mid sentence to bid her good morning.
"Morning dad" she replied sleepily. She helped herself to breakfast and waited for her dad to finish before she asked him "Why are you up so early dad?"
"Well you see Ilia link came round this morning well actually he seemed to be havin' trouble sleepin' and so he went for a walk around the village and those bloody cuckoos of yours woke me up next thing I knew I saw Link getting attacked by four of them. It was quite a site to be honest with ya."
Ilia took comfort in the fact that he had only arrived early in the morning and did not hear her conversation with her father. Ilia knew that things were changing she knew more about what happened on Link's adventure now but it still did not solve the mystery of Midna. It seemed that nobody knew who this Midna person was. Ilia got up and left the house. It was still early morning and at this time of year the creek of Ordon gave off a thin mist this early in the morning. Ilia saw the hazy ground and gave a small smile. The village looked peaceful with the mist. Completely forgetting her shoes Ilia took off at a run not really caring where she ended up.
Ilia's run had brought her to Faron spring. Ilia walked out ankle deep into the water bare foot. The water felt pleasantly cool on her feet. There was a sound that Ilia had never heard before. It was a solid bang followed by a clinking chain and it was getting closer. Ilia wasn't worried and with good reason as she saw link drop out of the nearest trees with two strange silver devices one on each hand.
"Clawshots" Link said in reply to Ilia's stare.
"Where did you get them?" Ilia asked completely losing herself in her desire to find out more about the strange objects.
"Well I got this one in the temple at the bottom of Lake Hylia and I got this one in the City in the Sky where the Oocoa live. Ilia are you ready to talk yet?" Ilia knew he didn't want her to start shouting again but whatever it was that he wanted to talk to her about was eating away at him inside. She could see it his demeanor was the same as ever alert for any sign on trouble always keeping a lookout but his eyes were filled with torment.
"No Link I'm not ready yet. I don't really know when I'll be ready to talk I'm sorry." Ilia turned and left the spring and started her long walk barefoot back to the village. She had had the perfect chance to talk to him but she had stopped herself. Why had she stopped herself like that? Fear was nothing new to Ilia she knew plenty of it in the small part she played in Link's adventure when she had lost her memory but this fear was different. This fear came from the feelings she had for Link and as difficult as being in love with him was she didn't want to lose him even if they would only ever be friends.
Link was still standing in the spring he hadn't move since Ilia had finished talking to him and left.
When she is Ready
One week had passed since Link had stumbled upon…okay flown in on Ilia while she was in Faron spring. Link had been busy building a new fence to keep the goats in. They were far crazier than normal and Ilia had spent most of her time sitting on her bed her toes out of the square of sunlight she didn't need Link to laugh at her again for having sun burnt toes. Heavens knew he had laughed at her for that too many times although she was tempted to let them burn to see if she could bring back his less serious side find a way to be friends with him again.
Link had given her dad something to give to her when she was ready. Ready for what? How would her father know if she was ready? Why would Link be giving her dad something to pass on when she was ready? And more importantly what was it? Ilia was gathering up the courage t tell Link how she really felt. This wasn't going to be easy. She decided that she would make herself look as beautiful as she could. It might not help much but it couldn't hurt could it? She was filled with doubt that she was going to do the right thing. She had to let him know but did she have to listen to his response? Of course she did but that was the thing that scared her the most.
Down in the kitchen Mayor Bo had noticed that Ilia was doing a lot more thinking lately. She and Link were giving each other the space they needed to figure things out. He knew that Ilia was finally nearly ready to talk but would the note and Link's present help her or hinder her progress? He hadn't even paused to think why Link would be giving her a ring. It wasn't a wedding ring of that he was sure it was small and silver and there were carvings on the inside and outside but he just thought they were decorative so he hadn't looked too closely. Then there was the note. What did it say and why did he have to give Ilia the note when she was ready to talk to Link again? He didn't want to Ilia to get hurt more than necessary but he hadn't asked Link why it was important because he suspected Ilia would be up early and she was so quiet on the stairs he wouldn't hear her coming and she could hear all sorts of things she wasn't ready for.
Link was hard as work putting up the new fence he has the sun beaming down on his back with sheen of sweat over it. This was hard work. Physically hard unlike his adventure which had been emotionally and mentally draining in addition to his psychical exertions. He had gained some friends that would last a lifetime except one Midna. She had destroyed the Mirror of Twilight and in doing so she had destroyed the bridge between the world of light and the twilight realm. It felt strange not having her tiny imp form floating about being sarcastic and sending the occasional mock insult his way sure they hadn't gotten along all the time but they made a good team. Good enough in fact to save two worlds. With a sigh he returned to work wondering when Ilia would come and talk to him they had never had a problem like this before it was starting to affect him.
In bed that night Ilia was struggling with her mind. Why would he get you something if he doesn't feel the same way you feel about him? What could he give u that's made of metal? Why would his gift need a note to go with it? Ilia soon fell into an uncomfortable sleep where she woke often in the night. Whatever Link had given her it had better be worth the lack of sleep it was causing.
Farewell at the Spring
Today was the day that Link was heading out on another adventure but this time he hadn't said when he was coming back. Ilia wasn't sure he was coming back from this one at all. He had stayed in the village far longer than he normally did. He had been in Ordon for a full month waiting for Ilia to be able to talk to him. But Ilia hadn't managed to say what she truly wanted to say or hear what Link seemed so desperate to say. She knew Link was getting ready to leave and he would make his final preparations at Ordon spring. Ilia went downstairs to get some breakfast. She walked into the kitchen and her father like always turned to her and said "Mornin' Ilia" She sat down and started eating her omelets that her father had made for her.
"So Ilia what's the plan for today?" Her father asked innocently.
"Well Link's leaving so I'm gonna go and spend some time with him before he goes." Her father looked up and brightly smiled she was ready.
"Ilia a while back Link came over and we had a nice chat before you woke up and he gave me something to give to you when you were ready to talk to him." He got up and walked into his bedroom he came out with a note and a small silver wring covered in strange markings. He placed them on the table Ilia reached for the ring and tried to put it on her fingers. It didn't feel comfortable on any of her fingers so she just left it on the table and picked up the note.
By now you have probably noticed that the ring I gave you doesn't fit very well on your fingers well it's because it's one of the newer fashions in Hyrule to wear rings on your toes I believe they call them toe rings. I am glad you are ready to hear what I have to say because I can't hold it in for much longer. Thank you for agreeing to talk to me.
"Well what did it say?" Her father asked when Ilia had finished reading.
"He told me about the ring and thanked me for wanting to talk to him. I'm just gonna go and get ready." She grabbed the ring and ran up the stairs a little louder than usual in her excitement. She wrenched open her drawers to look for her nicest shirt and pants. She found them sitting right on top as if in anticipation of this moment. She puller them on and brushed her hair to just the way both Link and Ilia liked it. She looked over at her desk and saw her favourite colour of nail polish sitting in plain view she decided it couldn't hurt so she reached for it.
Ten minutes later Ilia descended the stairs looking very fine. Her hair was brushed out so that it just touched the collar of the pale blue shirt she was wearing over her deep green pants that stopped halfway down her calves. Her fingernails and toe nails were all of the same pale orange colour and she was wearing Link's ring on her toe on her right foot. She gave her father a quick smile as she opened the door to begin her search for Link.
Ilia had a quick look around the Village of Ordon but Link was nowhere to be seen. He wasn't up at the ranch helping look after the goats and he wasn't home when Ilia arrived there although Epona was gone he couldn't have left yet there was always a big scene where he said goodbye to everyone even though Ilia hadn't shown up to any of them since the first one. Ilia soon found herself walking down the path to Ordon Spring. She turned the corner and saw Link standing there washing Epona in the spring.
This was the moment that Ilia had been waiting for "Link there's something I need to tell you. You planning to leave and you have no idea when you will be back because you would have told us if you knew when you would likely be back. I need you to know before you leave." Ilia said completely catching Link the guy who never dropped his guard drop the brush in surprise.
"Ilia if there's something you want to tell me bad enough to skip the usual pleasant welcome go right ahead." Link said as he turned around and started looking her top to bottom noticing all the effort Ilia had put into her appearance today. Wondering why that was he was about to ask when he saw Ilia open her mouth to say something and thought better of interrupting.
"Link" Ilia took a deep breath "I love you. I have loved you for a very long time and I needed you to know that even if you don't love me I still want you to come back from this adventure please Link. Please just come back when you've done what you need to do." Tears started forming at the corners of Ilia's eyes.
"Ilia look at the inside of your toe ring please" So Ilia bent down and took of the shiny silver ring and looked at the engraving inside. I will come back Ilia I will always come back. Ilia gave a sigh that relieved all the tension she had from worrying whether or not Link would come back to Ordon. He worries returned almost immediately when she realized that Link had not said how he felt about her she could see his carefully worded response forming in his mind as though this was the moment he had been waiting for these past few weeks.
"Ilia I truly don't know how I feel. I made a very close friend on my adventure her name was Midna." Ilia couldn't stop the thought rushing through her head "Her name was Midna?" but Link continued talking. "She was the princess of the twilight realm even though I didn't know it until the very end of my journey. She was always there watching my back, noticing things I didn't, using her powers to warp me and various objects across Hyrule and she allowed me to get into Hyrule castle to save Princess Zelda and ultimately defeat Ganondorf. She became a very dear friend to me but after our victory she returned to her world and broke the only known gateway to her world. She didn't even say goodbye properly. That's what I've been doing on all these short adventures I've been travelling Hyrule trying to find another way into the Twilight Realm so I can see my old friend. I don't know how I feel about you but I can't do anything until I find a way to contact my old friend, the person who made me who I am today. This time I'm not going to come back without trying my utmost to find a way to see her again." He turned and leapt up onto Epona all the stuff he was using to clean her lay forgotten in the spring. He asked Ilia to pass him his sword and shield which she promptly did. He sung them across his back and looked at Ilia with his blazing determination. He started to ride off but when he reached the gate to the spring he stopped and turned his body around so he was facing Ilia but Epona was ready to gallop off when he gave the word.
"This isn't goodbye Ilia we will see each other again be sure of that." He set off at a full gallop leaving Ilia to have tears run down her face to know that Link would return but he didn't know when. He was going to find a friend and he wasn't going to stop anymore.
Ilia stood there in the spring for hours on the fact that Link cared this deeply for a friend he had only know for a month and they hadn't even said goodbye. Midna had hurt him when she had done that and now Ilia was hurting because of Link had been hurt.
Ilia still loved him and waited for Link to return.
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