Author's Notes: The First Part of the Open Seas saga. Zelda and Link find romance and Zelda remember her training as a Sheikah Warrior.
Chapter IV: Open Seas
The ocean lapping the porthole of my shared miniscule cabin was the first thing that woke me. That and the sound of Link retching in a nearby bucket.There was something funny about the whole situation.I giggled.
Link wiped his mouth and looked at me sourly.“Oh sure,” he half-mocked, “Make fun of the poor sick hero-person.”
I chuckled. “So have you been to Calatia?”I reached for my robe while trying to keep my body covered.
“Everywhere, but Calatia,” he said, dumping the bucket out the porthole, “And that includes going through time and saving any kingdoms that need my help… sorry about the whole thing with Agahnim and your father.”
“Don’t be,” I said, trying to keep my blanket on me.“Ganondorf cut my father up so badly with his sword that he was confined to bed.Agahnim just finished what his master started.”I shifted lightly, the blanket shifting slightly. Crossing the Eastern Hylia Sea meant crossing an area so steamy that it was sauna like.In preparation of that I had worn my skimpiest backless nightgown. “Just let me get dressed.”
Link had the eyes of a desert hawk.With a speed that only I in Sheik form could match, his hands were brushing the tattoo on my back. “Cool tattoo… did it hurt much?”
“To be honest,” I said as his fingers traced at the red and gold feathers that covered the phoenix tattoo, “It hurt like liquid hell.”
“Did it?” he asked as his fingers lightly traced the design on my back.
“Careful,” I giggled slightly, “Link, I’m ticklish.”Something struck my mind.“Wait,” I said as he tugged at the straps of my nightgown, “Isn’t there Malon?”
“Malon and I are just friends, silly,” Link said cheerfully, bopping the end of my nose lightly, “Besides I’m not in the mood for breakfast.”
“How about I get…”
He cut me off with a kiss and suddenly lunch sounded better.Maybe dinner.
Picture five Sheikah holding a screaming girl of thirteen down, as the Artisan carved her spirit creature with ink.That, by the way, wasn’t me.The me that was the thirteen year old me, stood in the same training clothes I had worn for the past three years watching.
Mother, my Sheikah Seer mother, would have approved of this.She would have approved of my being a little tomboy.My father on the other hand wanted me to be a proper little Princess and wear the gaudiest of fabrics.Impa, being my mother’s personal bodyguard back in the hidden village of Kasuto, approved of any visions my mother had.
Because, all of my mother’s predictions have proved to be true.
“It looks like it hurts,” I said to Impa, my eyes wide as the girl tilted back her head and let out a long rattling scream as the Artisan finished the last outline on the Gleeok on her back.
“It does,” Impa says, “After the outline we give her a bitter drink to calm her when the detailing is done.”She waved a hand in the direction of the girl and her bloody back, “This outline is just for show.”
The tattoo covered her whole back with the tail crossing one of her butt cheeks and looping around a leg until it reached her knee.The Gleeok itself had nine heads.“How long does it take to ink?”
Impa pursed her lips, as if she was thinking up a time.“About a month… sometimes two.The tattoos are so elaborate that when a famous warrior dies we preserved the skin on their back and hang it.”
All I got from my Guardian was a smirk.She unfolded her arms and bent down to look me in the eye.“You don’t have to do it, my princess,” she said quietly, though her voice carried to me better than the sounds of the screaming.“It is a ceremony for pure Sheikah.”
“Am I not pure enough?” I argued loudly.Impa tried to ssshhh me, but I continued, “My mother’s blood runs through me!”
Several heads snapped my way for a second before going back to the ceremony.They were now pouring strong alcohol on her back.The ceremony was over.They wrapped her back in linen and rinsed her violet blood off the table. Suddenly the attention was on me.
“Sheik!” the Artesian exclaimed in her loud voice.It seemed that she practically screamed every word.“Do you wish to become a true Sheikah Warrior?!”
I looked at Impa. This was all happening too fast.She gave me a look that said, “You know that by mentioned this you got into something you would have gotten out by simply not mentioning it.”
Forgive me Impa, for I am a blathermouth.“Of course,” I said, trying to seem impressive to the Artesian who was even larger and more imposing than Impa.
The Artesian had long hair with several tiny beads and braids in it.She was and still is impressive woman for who could but she could who her hands steady on a struggling girl who bucked mom than a horse being tamed.“Then you must have your vision quest!” she boomed and turned to the rest of the crowd.“This girl Sheik has chosen to become one of us!”
They heartily applauded.Even the tiny girl who had been pinned down, quietly clapped, before someone handed her a faintly steaming mug.Her name was also Sheik. We all were Sheik.When you became a warrior, you wrote your childhood name down on a sheet of paper and burned it, for when you became a warrior you needed your childhood name no longer.The only reason I am still Zelda is because Hylian Politics does not recognize my training. But since this account shall remained sealed until my death, I can tell you my secret name.It’s Athena.But since that name has little to do with the story, I shall continue.
“Best of luck!”
“Father, I want to become a Sheikah Warrior.”
“Only women can and you’re only five.”
I am glad that not many people know that Sheikah Warriors are all women.While our male population is not as pitiful as the Gerudo, our ratio is one male for every ten females.That is why we are bound by that tradition.
I smiled, suddenly the center of attention.The Artisan bent down to look at me and for once whispered.“Little blue eyes,” she said, “It will be the most painful part of your life. I hate to do be blunt, but these are things you need to know.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” I croaked, my throat suddenly dry.I needed to listen… I had to listen… I was doing this for Link... for the Kingdom of Hyrule… for the World Hyrule.“I know.”
She shook her head slowly, “You will have to learn the harp until your fingers bleed.You will probably never feel anything again. There is the tattooing… you’ve seen that.But they will pierce you in a most private region and that will make you scream.And as a final test, you will have to dance on razor blades.Is that what you want?”
I licked my lips slowly, “It is for Hyrule.”
The Artisan smiled and finally whispered, “Then you are a far braver woman than I, Princess Zelda.”
…to be continued.
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