Zelda Has A Breath

By Post

Chapter 2

            “Cowards…..Cowards come in many forms.  More often than not, they are people who think they are gifted with a great power of intelligence, authority, and even resiliency.  But you can tell a coward just by hearing his words, reading his writings, or being the recipient of all expressions he chooses to give.  You see, most people think that cowardice is shown through action or motive.  But I believe they’re sorely mistaken.  A person is truly gutless when he tries to compensate for his hollow nature by painting his outside all pretty.  I’ve seen many pretty people in my days, and each and everyone of them……they’re all fakes.

            “Gentlemen, hear me out.  Zelda, the beloved Princess of here and everywhere, was a coward.  She lived and slept in luxury, while we the commoners fought for warmth in the slums.  She ate royal feasts with clean meat and palace-grown vegetable, while those under her feet had to dig lunch out of a gutter.

            “Was her life something she earned?  Was her heavenly bliss a payment for a job well done?  Hardly, gentlemen; it was an inheritance.  It was something she found one day hanging on her brow and thought, ‘I shine beautifully on my own free will, I am better than all my subjects’.  It is a pity that people in our world take advantage of the unfair energies given to them.  Zelda…was one such pitiful example…

            “I know exactly what you’re wondering.  How did this make the late child of the King a coward?  It’s quite simple, really.  Zelda was aware of the shallowness of her own life.  She knew that the power she possessed was not that of her own, and it hardly deserved to be wielded by her immature hand.  And yet…even when she knew that she was not a superior enough being to do so, she continued to harness that power which was unfairly given to her.  She continued to bask in the glow of our beloved Goddesses.  And Zelda tried all she could to deceive herself and those under her, as if she truly had the talent to make decisions about the fate of our kingdom.

            “For the last ten and a half years of my life, I watched the Princess grow up.  I watched her as she inherited the Triforce of Wisdom.  I watched as all of Hyrule continued to praise her…continued to exalt her…continued to support her like slaves on a giant, social ant pile.  It horrified me that our fellow countrymen could be so swayed by her influence.  Then again, we live in a new age, gentlemen.  Hyrulians are young, so I guess they don’t know what good leadership is yet.  We all know that the little kiddies of this land have long praised her ‘bountiful intelligence’, but that’s just because they didn’t--and still don’t--know any better.

            “You may laugh at such a situation now, but at that time it was a danger far too malignant for me to ignore.  I sent messengers, royal letters, and countless words of warning to the Royal Palace; telling them that the Triforce of Wisdom was in the hands of a child; a very immature child.  My criticisms were harsh, but honest….and certainly helpful in the end.  But sure enough, Zelda and her subjects wouldn’t accept honesty.  She felt too good for bad evaluations, as if she was above that.  It was such a gross revelation of her character, for she actually removed my letters from the public record.  On more than one occasion she disregarded my honesty as trash and erased them from existence.  And then when a curious few got involved and suspected that she was deleting negative voices from her own court, she let my latest criticisms stand where they were for those to see and exclaim, ‘If Zelda dismisses public outcry, then why leave that one for examination?’…

            “Zelda was an awful ruler.  Two words I had often used to describe her words in my letters were ‘purfled promises’.  If Zelda was truly intelligent enough to know what those words meant when used together, she would have realized that her legacy was chock full of it.  The Princess made many speeches in her days; filled with promises of prosperity and freedom from some sort of warmongering evil.  But she was always purfling her statements; decorating them and bordering them with multiple babblings of poetry and emotion, just to blind most people.  Yes, there was a truth in her words; and that truth was that she had no conceivable idea what she was to do with her kingdom or her strength.  But she twisted her speech to confuse her audience into believing some grand thing or another.  Instead of making actions to support her kingdom, our beloved princess was merely talking out of her rear…and she knew it.

            “Gentlemen, when powerful fools turn to cowards, it is a dangerous thing.  Nothing can be worse than a trusted monarch turning fool and then coward in one lifetime.  Zelda was a fool to think she could wield the power of the Triforce of Wisdom.  And Zelda became a fool when she ignored all warnings—especially those of my own—in favor of living off the high that her powers gave her.

            “And that is why I made the choice that I did.  And that is why I recruited you to assist me in my cause.  Though Zelda’s pathetic reign has been put to an end, there are still more blemishes in the land to wipe clean.  There are more cowards to confront.  More fools to fix.

            “Cowards come in many forms.  Some try to paint themselves to look intelligent….others try to paint themselves to look authoritative….and others grab ahold of their shells in a desperate plead to be immortal and resilient in the face of their inevitable unveiling.  I intend—with whatever power is given to me—to strip down these imbeciles once and for all.  And to place the Triforce into the hands of those qualified, intelligent, and elected to rule the kingdom as a whole.

            “Some might call me a coward….an assassin in hiding.  But gentlemen, if it takes the tools of contempt or the mask of anonymity to show the world who is truly superior in our ever-crumbling domain, then I must do what it takes.  And I do this not as a coward, but as a renegade for the cause.

            “You don’t have to like or agree with my opinions.  This is still a world full of open fields and freedom, and I’ve not let pressures keep me from voicing my honesty.  But hear me this; some opinions *do* mean more than others.  For instance, a strong leader’s or an experienced veteran’s opinion on the fate of our kingdom does mean more than those of some dramatic vigilante.  Follow my lead, and together we’ll erase the last ignoramus from all existence; and the Triforce of Courage will complete the first step of our revolution….”




            A dim light entered the tomb from above.  But for the land of the dead, even the smallest glow could be as blinding as the sun.  Suddenly, catacombs and granite coffins were ablaze with a pale blue fury.  And as soon as they caught fire, they were extinguished.

            Someone had slid the entrance to the tomb open…and closed it again.

            Again, it was dark.  But it wouldn’t be so for long.  A pair of quiet footsteps echoed down the cold, stone steps that lead into the main promenade of graves.  Dancing amber light crept up and over hundreds of engravings in the wall.  Some of the engravings were larger than others.  But they all had one thing in common.  In some fashion or another, they all bore the crest of the Royal Family.

            For this was, after all, the Royal Family’s Tomb.

            With a torch in hand, Link wandered slowly down the path made by two lines of age-old caskets.  Some of the things that laid to rest in that tomb were so ancient that he didn’t even have to worry about confronting a stench.

            His movements were slow…lifeless…as if he had come down there to give the dead company.  But the one thing that showed he was still a living, breathing being was his eyes.  They were glazed open….wet….moist….struggling against the heat of the torch held a mere few inches away.

            But his eyes were struggling against something else.  Their sapphire seemed a little paler, as if they symbolized a terrible loss; the butchering of a creature that died so quickly, her blood didn’t have a chance to switch from blue to red.

            Link’s feet stopped.  The torch flickered to life for one second, then grew dimmer.

            The boy took a deep breath.  For he had reached his destination.  The end of the path.

            He paced over and set the torch upon a hook in the wall.

            Then, without even a sound, he crept towards Zelda’s casket, knelt before the wreath of flowers and gold…and waited….





            “To Autumn!!  May we have a great harvest and plenty of the long-awaited cool air!!”

            “To Autumn!!”

            “To Autumn!!!”

            “Hahaha….To Autumn!!”

            Mugs clanked together in mid-air as the men cheered.  The grinned their troubles up, and then drank them down.  And in one accord, everyone took a post-guzzle breath of air.

            A normal evening inside East Clock Town’s Milk Bar….

            “I tell you what,” spoke Ichiro the carpenter as he leaned against the bar.  “Before that blasted Moon scared the crap out of all of us two years ago, summer was my favorite time of year.”

            “Heck yeah….that’s when the Carnival happens!” exclaimed the red-headed Kirk.  He worked evening shifts at the equipment shop in West Clock Town.  “Whenever I hear ‘Carnival of Time’ these days, I think ‘do they mean time to celebrate or time to panic’?”

            “Ugh….you’re a bunch of sods!!” shouted Mutoh from the corner.  He was in charge of the festival’s constructions each year.  Basically, when Mutoh spoke, everybody listened.  He propped his large self up straight on the stool and cackled:  “You’re yellow and pathetic if you let a big, freaky moon scare you out of your life’s routine!”

            “Ha ha ha ha!!” Lead, a guard under the command of Captain Viscen pointed at Mutoh and laughed.  “What do you know?  You let your wife scare you out of routine!!”

            A round of chuckles were aimed at the large man in the corner.  He growled and did all but throw his mug at Lead.

            “I always liked it when the weather cooled down,” said Adasmith calmly.  The young, lanky banker from West Clock Town took a sip of Chateau Romani before adding:  “I think Termina’s far too warm throughout the year.  We could use all the nippiness we can get.”



            “I’ll drink to that.”

            “You already are, Lead.”

            “Shut up, Kirk.”

            The barkeeper looked up from where he was polishing a glass and smirked at his occupants.

            Graned, the owner of the Bomb Shop in West Clock Town, finished his own drink and spoke:  “Well…Autumn means one major thing here.  More business.  If you ask me,” he ran a hand over his bald head and sighed:  “There’re two hectic times for Clock Town.  Most people would call them ‘productive’ or ‘popular’.  I call ‘em hectic.  Cuz in the summer, people crowd here for the big Festival.  And in the winter, this place is swarming with old folks and harebrained foreigners trying to escape the heat.  I’m barely recovering from the expenses of the summer’s fireworks show by the time these fall and winter tourists come, begging for eye candy.”

            “Be careful who you call harebrained foreingers, Graned,” said the barkeeper wearily.

            “Yeah,” Kirk smirked and pointed in the direction of the end of the bar.  “We’ve got ourselves a couple of harebrains tonight.”

            The collective group looked over to see Therald and Mordun enjoying two half-filled cups of C.R.  Mordun finished a sip and looked up at attention.

            “Finally we’re noticed.  Quite frankly, I was tired of braining my hares on our own.”

            “Where do you hail from, strangers?” asked Ichiro.

            Mordun smiled and glanced at Therald.  His skinny companion realized he was being asked to answer and stuttered forth:  “Errr….j-just now, we’ve come f-from Feordia….above the Northern M-Mountains.”

            “But if you want to get into native blood,” Mordun smirked.  “We’re both Xonans.  Born and raised.”  He smirked.  “And if you really want to know, this place is hotter than either of us can stand.”

            A round of laughter from the company testified that the two had definitely been inducted into the evening.  Mordun took another sip of C.R. and Therald smiled awkwardly.

            “Xona….,” Lead thought aloud.  “They have a great militia there.”

            “One of the finest,” Mordun smiled.  “We’re proof of that.”  Therald glanced at him suddenly.

            “Oh really?” Lead brightened.  “Who did you serve under?”

            Mordun didn’t have a direct response to that.  But he did smile, and he did say, “Things are getting very tense in the homeland these days.  It’s best not convey too much information without risking the security of our kingdom.”

            “Ohhhhhh,” Kirk chanted.  “I think you’re overstepping your bounds, Lead.”

            “Forgive me for being social,” the young soldier rolled his eyes and took a sip of his drink.

            Graned folded his arms and glanced at the newcomers from an angle.  “I think I saw you arrive in town yesterday.”

            “Oh you did, did you?”

            “Yes.  I was in East Clock Town on an appointment to discuss blowing away some land down south for a landfill.  When I saw you and your thin friend arrive, I’m certain I saw you in the company of two ladies.”

            “That’s correct,” Mordun nodded.

            Graned went on, “Two ladies wearing dark robes….”

            “Whoah whoah whoah,” Ichiro butted in and pointed at the newcomers.  “Are you two bodyguards for a couple of female zealots?”

            “Uhm….,” Therald began.

            Mordun leaned forward, “As a matter of fact, we are.  And I’m interested as to why you’re so curious about it.”

            “Yes, gentlemen…,” the barkeeper drifted over and glared at Graned and Ichiro.  “Why??”

            Graned hid a grin.  “Just wondering.  Cuz if I’m not mistaken, Xonan militias aren’t specialized in training personal protectors.  The land itself is so rural, there’s nobody on the hierarchy greater than a town constable who is worth risking one’s neck for.  And religion?  What religion?  The people there are too busy trying to grow crops out of lousy bedrock to possibly pay anymore heed to the Gods than a simple prayer at morning and dusk.”

            Mordun simply stared at the Bomb Shop Owner.  There was a calm grin on his face when he asked;  “Just what are you getting at, sir?”

            “What he’s getting at…,” Mutoh barked from his corner, “….is that outsiders who want to do anything besides check out the festivities of our city are mighty suspicious!  And you two twerps are fitting that bill quite well!”

            This time, the barkeeper’s glare was resting on Mordun and Therald.

            The big guy sat as calmly and resolutely as ever.  Therald was sweating so hard, it looked like he could collapse at any second.  Altogether, neither one of them had a response.

            “Turn the Music Machine off there, Mutoh…,” said a voice from the back of the bar.

            Everyone looked over to see Kafei place an empty glass down on the table.  He raised his eyes towards those staring at him and smiled:  “It’s his time….”

            Therald blinked.

            Quietly…awkwardly….Mutoh reached over and lowered a lever on a mechanical device that resembled a giant music box.  The room loss its ambient back music, and the faint noises of the outside world drifted in through the raised entrance behind everyone’s back.

            And then the faintest noise came….but so familiar, that it echoed in everyone’s ear.  The boy in green was playing his ocarina to announce the setting of the sun.  The tranquility of Clock Town was assured again.

            “It’s the fairy boy,” Adasmith smiled.  “Looks like he’s at it again.  On top the roof, no doubt.”

            “Wonderful tunes he makes,” Lead said aloud.  “You should hear it out in the open….like on one of my guard beats.”

            “Don’t you see?” Kafei exclaimed.

            Again, everyone looked at him.

            The blue-haired fellow smiled.  “Two years ago, Link came here for many reasons.  But none of them were simply about ‘checking out the festivities’.  Link came to bless others with his kindness, to make everyone he meets happy, and to improve the likes of our world the only way a little boy can.  Maybe none of you have been as blessed as Anju and I, but please remember this.  Don’t be so quick to judge motives of outsiders.  For some of them…..well….some of them may simply be angels in disguise.”

            “……..,” the occupants of the bar stared at him in silence.

            “Yeah…well,” Kafei chuckled and stood up.  “I’m done for the night.”  He tossed a couple rupees on the counter.  “Keep the change.”

            “Uh….s-sure thing,” the barkeeper nodded.

            Kafei made his way up the stairs.

            Mordun and Therald exchanged glances.  They quickly placed down their rupees and walked—not ran—up the stairs to follow their kindly innkeeper.

            The door shut behind all three of them.  And the rest were submerged in the melody of a stranger.

            “Well…,” Adasmith shrugged and went back to his drink.  “I still like Autumn….”



            “That night, we brought him home from the sewers.  The week following, Link was ill.  Yet it wasn’t the flu or pneumonia or some sort of recognizable sickness.  He seemed…down spiritually.  Like the immune system of his heart had recently been defeated; if you really want to get down and metaphoric.  But after that week, he was back to the Link that Anju and I knew…on those three days when he showed us how to find each other again and made sure our marriage was sound and secure.  Heck, if he was older, I’d ask him to be the best man at our wedding.  But he disappeared shortly after the evil moon disappeared.  And it wasn’t until a week later when we found him in the sewers.  And a week after that, we offered him to live with us.  He insisted that he earn his stay.  And, quite frankly, we felt it was perfect.”

            Kafei walked leisurely across North Clock Town.  Mordun and Therald were on either side of him.  They had been listening intently.

            “For the last two years, Link hasn’t done anything outrageous enough for me and Anju to take back our respect of him,” continued the young man.  The night air licked at their hair with a brief gust of cool wind.  “I don’t know if anyone could ever ask for a more perfect employee.  Heh…heheh….’employee’ sounds too belittling for Link.”

            Mordun smiled.  “He’s like a son to you and Anju, isn’t he?”

            Kafei glanced at him wyrd.  “That’s a frightening thought.  Do you have any idea how young Anju and I are?”

            “Well….I don’t mean to pry…er…”

            “Twenty-one, each of us,” Kafei stated firmly.  “Yes, we married young.  Lovebirds out of the nest.  Heheheheh….best thing I ever did,” Kafei smiled.

            “I can only imagine.”

            “So she and I are hardly ready for parenting any children,” the blue-haired man explained.  “At least, that’s what we both decided.  It’s always important to wait, even if the need to appears as flimsy as ever.  We don’t want to risk bringing up a little boy or girl in a potentially tense, financial environment.”

            “I thought you told us that the Stock Pot Inn w-was doing fairly well lately,” remarked Therald.

            “Tourism is a risky business,” said Kafei.  “It depends so much on people’s whim.  It comes just short of circuses.  I’ve always felt wary of Clock Town in that regard.”  The man cleared his throat.  “Sorry for that tangent.  Just believe me when I tell you, Anju and I are hardly the parental type.”

            “Then if Link is more than an employee…”

            “He’s a friend,” Kafei emphasized.  He stopped dead in his tracks and stared at the two men.  “You both have been here for only a day, and suddenly you’re very curious about the one of the greatest joys in me and my wife’s life.  That also makes me curious.”

            Mordun returned Kafei’s glare with a smile.  “We’re only thankful for what you did for us in the bar.  You and your wife have proven to us that you’re remarkably nice and considerate people.  We sometimes wish we could know more.”

            Kafei’s eyes trailed off of them and he looked towards the starry sky.  “Yeah…well….it’s just that…..”

            “Just what?” Therald asked.

            Kafei chuckled.  “You’ll find this silly.”

            “Try us, sir.”

            “Anju and I are always on the lookout for….ya know…,” Kafei shrugged, “….for somebody looking for a lost baby brother….or a missing son….”

            “Ahhh…,” Mordun nodded.  “I’m sorry to disappoint you, but we’re not searching for any relatives.”

            Kafei sighed and smiled wearily.  “Yeah….I thought as much.  But Anju and I tell each other not to give up hope.  Somebody’s out there looking for Link.  It’s only a matter of time before he’s found.”

            “Do you know…wh-where he’s from?” Therald asked.

            Kafei groaned.   “That’s gotta be the greatest mystery of our day and age.  Two years have passed, and there’s no telling where Link came from.”

            “Have you tried asking him?”


            “Did he respond?”

            Kafei shrugged.  “He has his ways of beating around the subject.  Sometimes he half-answers, and I think it’s because…………,” his voice trailed off.

            “Because of what?” Mordun leaned in, curious.

            The blue-haired man swallowed.  “….he doesn’t want to go back to his past.”  A beat.  “And that’s one of two reasons Anju and I are a bit hesitant of the people he belongs to finding him.”

            Therald blinked.  “Wh-What’s the other reason?”

            Kafei looked down and kicked at a few blades of grass.

            “He’s become a part of us….”



            With one final note, Link’s song was over.  He sat down on the edge of the Milk Bar’s roof, placed his Ocarina into a pocket, and stared up at the starry sky.

            The freshness of the cool night air and the fire dance of the stars made something inside of Link smile.

            And it was a very strong smile; for it broke through the wall of regret.


            Another night of asking the prayer…

            And another night with it unanswered.

            Link glanced to his immediate right; at the Stock Pot Inn with its friendly, ornamental bell on the ceiling.

            And once again, after a million times, Link thought that the odds weren’t all that bad.

            And just like that, the smile became stronger.





            “Link, may I ask you a question?”

            The boy’s gaze drifted from the night’s sky above the courtyard and over to the princess sitting next to his left.

            Zelda smiled softly.  She asked, “I know the scars from your seven years in the future are gone…..but….d-do they ever hurt still?”

            Link’s eyes trailed off into nothingness.  He seemed to be considering the answer to that question.

            “I mean….you went through so many battles…..so much pain….jumping back in time may have cleaned your wounds.  But I wish you’d tell us…..I wish you’d tell us if they still hurt….”

            Link took a breath.  He half-shrugged, then produced a few hand signs.

            Zelda read him.  She lowered her eyes.  “I wasn’t so sure….b-but I was kinda afraid of that.”

            Link cocked his head as he looked at her.  He smiled and rose a hand as if to lift her chin—but in mid act he stopped, as if the thought of defiling a princess’ face with his fingers horrified him.  And yet, though he stopped his hand, he let it stay there…hovering between him and her like it had a mind of its own.

            Zelda’s eyes opened, and she saw his hand.

            He blushed and brought it to his side right before quickly redirecting his gaze to the stars.

            The princess smiled.  “Link?” she purred.  “Was there something you wanted to share with me?”

            Link kept looking away.  His cheeks were getting redder.

            Of course Zelda saw it.  She giggled lightly and leaned in:  “Because there’s something I always wanted to share…”

            Link felt a strange sensation on his left wrist.  Soft and porcelain.  He realized then and there that the Princess was holding his hand.  He didn’t dare look.

            “You have the cleanest, cutest hands in all Hyrule….”

            This time….Link did look.  Mostly because that statement surprised the humble boy greatly.

            Zelda was lifting his hand back up into the position it was before he started blushing.  But this time, it was nestled snugly between her gentle fingers.

            “If you don’t believe me…,” she went on, “…well, then I’d feel bad for you.  They’re truly cute hands, Link.  I know cuz….I watch them all the time.  They’re like a second face when you ‘speak’.  All your secrets and all your feelings come out through them.  And, oppositely, they show all your fears and all your masks.  And now that I can read what you say, Link, it’s like…..it’s like I want to know more and more about you than ever before…”

            The boy stared at her.  And she could see it in his eyes; there was so much he wanted to tell her and explain to her right then.

            But the thing Zelda didn’t know was…Link wouldn’t dare start ‘speaking’.  Because in order to form all the precious words from his heart, he’d have to use both hands.  And he was not about to let go of the princess’ contact.

            So slowly….cautiously….Link did something that he always wanted to do.  Only now had he broken through enough of the shy barriers to do so.

            He lifted Zelda’s hand, wrapped with his fingers, up to the side of his face.

            The princess’ lips parted ever so slightly.  The skin of his cheek felt so warm.  So happy.

            The fact was, she didn’t flinch or jerk her hand back.  Link breathed against her palm, and closed his eyes.  And before the moment was over, a tear slid down and kissed her fingers…in thankfulness.




            Link’s eyes were open…unblinking.

            He sat cross-legged before Zelda’s casket at the end of the Royal Tomb.

            The torch above him flickered, and his eyes shook to the ground.  A latent beat of his heart must have echoed against the walls of the chamber, for he heard a sound that distinctly reminded him of Zelda’s words all those months ago…

“Do they ever hurt still?”

Link closed his eyes.  His lungs shuddered.

“I wish you’d tell us if they still hurt…..”

The boy went into a meditative state.  Across the frozen space before him, he did a one-handed sign.

“Yes, Zelda……it hurts……





            “Get up, you wimp!!” frowned Mido.

            Young Link winced as he tried to get up off the forest floor.  It was his third time in a row being pushed down, and his six year old legs were starting to shake.

            “I said get up!!” Mido barked again.  In the middle of the Kokiri village, he confronted Link.  A few other boys snickered and watched from the sidelines.

            Finally, after what looked like an intense struggle, Link got to his feet.  But that didn’t stop him from shrinking away from the towering Mido.

            “Now hit me!” the big Boss of the Kokiri frowned.  “You think you’re one of us!  You want to prove something to us all!  Well, hit me, bigshot!!”

            Link swallowed.  He shook his head and covered his mouth.

            “Awwww….what’s wrong?!  Can’t speak??  Can’t say a word to keep me away?!” Mido said with each step he took towards the blonde boy.  “Maybe because the Deku Tree CONDEMNS it!!”

            Link shook.

            “Maybe because you can’t take responsibility for your own WORDS!!”

            Link teared.

            “Maybe because the last time you ever talked, our best friend Saria ended up nearly drowning in a river!!”

            Link’s wet eyes clenched shut.  His hands held themselves ever tighter around his mouth.

            “But now you’re hiding behind your own punishment!!” Mido cackled, practically in little Link’s face.  “Now you think just because you can’t talk, everyone around you will treat you nice!  But when you can’t use your mouth, why don’t you use your hands?!”

            Mido grabbed Link’s hands.  Despite the little boy’s struggling, the Kokiri yanked them out in front of him.

            “Come on, outsider!!” Mido said, red in the face.  “Hit me!!  Show your evil self!!  The evil that you brought into the forest ever since you came and introduced your worthless self to our lives!!”

            Link again shook his head furiously.  He bit his lip, hid his tears, and wrapped his hands together behind his back.

            “So that’s what you are then…,” Mido fumed, his fists clenched.  “A little freak who hides behind his quietness.  You won’t take me on??  You won’t face that which is coming to you?  Well you’re nothing but a coward!”

            Link’s eyes went wide.

            “That’s right!  You heard me!  A gutless coward!!!”

            Link’s lips quivered.

            “And you’ll always be a coward…and you’ll always be yellow-bellied….as long as you don’t take on what’s against you!!”

            The little boy’s jaw went tight.  He took one bold step forward.

            “Oooooooh!” chanted the boys around the ‘struggle’.

            That was all Link’s pointy ears needed to hear.  He was thrown back into himself, and realized the nakedness of aggressive action.

            So he took a step back.

            Everyone chuckled.

            But Mido frowned.  He hit his fist into his palm and practically snarled, “Have it your way!”

            Link gulped.

            Mido let out a yell and swung his knuckles at full speed at the little boy’s face.


            A palm blocked it.

            “H-Huh?” Mido glanced a little to the right.

            SMACK!!!  Saria’s fist flew across his cheek in a green blur.  Mido practically spun upon impact before toppling to the ground.

            “Will….you…lay…off…him…you bum?!?!?” the emerald girl growled.  “Link’s gone through enough torture with you blaming things on him and trying to manipulate his poor little conscience!!”

            Almost immediately, the onlooking boys laughed all around the girl and the little blonde.  They repeated ‘Lay off him, you bum!’ and ‘His poor little conscience!’ in mock, girlish tones.

            Saria spun about and shot them daggers with her eyes.  “And you all need to grow up!!  I’m ashamed of you!!  As a village, we’re supposed to support each other!!  Whatever happened to decency?!  To respect?!  To politeness?!”

            But they never stopped laughing.  Link closed his eyes and tilted his face towards the ground; where tearstains had already formed on the grass.

            Saria pouted.  She looked ready to explode and take the whole world out with her.  Instead, she firmly grabbed ahold of Link’s six-year-old wrist and all but dragged him back to their house.  “Come on, Link.  Let’s leave these wolfos….”

            Mido sat up on the ground, rubbing his face.  “Yeah…go along, coward!!”

            Link’s free hand covered his mouth.

            “Let Lady Saria protect you!!  You’ll never grow out of yourself!  You hear me?!  Never!!”






            “AAAAAAAAAAAAUGHHHH!!!!” Link screamed.


            Sparks flew as his sword met the big, hulking steel of the Dinolfos’ blade.  The giant, armored reptile sauntered back on both legs.  The approach of this little warrior was too fast!!


            CLANK!!  CLANK!!  CLANK!! CLANK!!  Link attacked with an aggression that could be called just short of blind fury.  Sweat ran down his face and limbs as he took on the first of his opponents.  And yes, it was merely his first.  For lurking in the corners of the subterranean hideout were two more pirate Dinolfos just itching to take on the little punk.

            Tatl had long hidden herself beneath Link’s cap.  Once or twice, she’d peak her head out from under the green material and shriek when a clash of blades shot sparks at Link’s cranium.

            “Link!!  LINK!!” she squeaked.  “What are you doing?!  Take it slow!!  These bandits aren’t worth it!!  Take it slow!!”

            Link shouted and struck a blow so hard against the Dinolfos’ armor, it flew back and slammed into a pillar with a shout.

            “Take it slow!!!” Tatl shrieked.

            “AAAAAUGH!!” Link dove forwards, Guilded Sword first.

            The Dinolfos chirped and deflected the boy’s aim upwards.  It then lifted its scaly head and brought it back down; jaws opened wide.  An orange glow sparked within the recesses of its flow for a split second.

            Tatl yelped and duck under Link’s cap again.

            Link held his breath, ducked, and rolled out of the way just in time to avoid a gust of flaming breath.’


            The Dinolfos was too busy letting loose his burning breath.  So it didn’t spot Link as he jumped up from the roll, lifted the Guilded Sword, and swung at the beast’s unguarded blade-arm.


            “RAAZZZARAAAA!!” the Dinalfos screamed, burning his own lips.  Its arm had been cleaved in two.  Its huge blade fell and stuck in the ground, only to be showered with the monster’s spewing, purple blood.

            The scaly bandit’s partners howled and hissed from the side.  The wounded monster itself leaned back.  The sound of speeding footsteps caught its dwindling senses.

            It looked up just in time to see a screaming Link falling down over his head from a leap.  This time, the sword was aimed at his heart.


            The mortal wound leveled the beast without a last breath.  The two leftover bandits hopped and roared at the sight of their fallen comrade.  But it wasn’t until Link glared at them with blue fire in his eyes that they were truly thrown over the edge of madness.  Hissing and shooting firing breath, they charged the little hero.




            Link jerked into a sitting position.  He almost fell asleep…..literally fell.  Maybe the night had been too serene.  A slight smile came to his lips as he surveyed East Clock Town from on top the Milk Bar.

            And yet, something got his attention.  Something new.  Something bright.

            Link’s tired eyes blinked towards the center of the courtyard.  A small but noticeable crowd had gathered around a blazing scene.  Illuminated by their handiwork, the two mysterious women from Feordia threw dust onto a magical flame; causing it to dance and change colors as they summoned forth the lost traces of gold from the sky.  Their limbs rose and fell with murmurs of incantations.  Their cloaks stayed on the whole time, preserving their obscurity.  Their darkness.  Their features.

            Link yawned.  As much as he’d love to stay and watch this religious event along with the other Terminians, he had seen his fair share of fascinations while living just two years in Clock Town.  A new landed awaited the little boy.  The land of slumber.

            He swiveled his feet over the edge of the roof, and dropped swiftly to the ground.

            But on his way to the Stock Pot Inn, Link had to take a double glance through the corners of his eyes.

            He could have sworn….if even for a second…..both dancing priestesses were staring at him….




            “How long have they been at it out there?” remarked Hester.

            Anju looked up from where she was dusting off the counter in the lobby.  “Ohhh….an hour and a half, I think.  Kafei said he’d walk Mordun and Therald home.”

Hester looked at her daughter and smirked.  “I meant our two tenants.”

“Oh…..hehe….them,” Anju blushed.

“They keep getting more and more eccentric these days,” Hester sighed.  “Lord knows I’ve seen it all in my day.”

“The world’s not going to end because it looks wyrd to you, Mom,” Anju smirked.  “Not this time, at least.”

Hester walked across the lobby and stared at her daughter’s handiwork.  “You’ve faired so well in the last two years, Anju.”

The fair young innkeeper hid a blush as she continued dusting.

“You’ve made me proud…..more than proud.  You’ll give this business a fine future.”

“I couldn’t have gone anywhere without Kafei,” Anju sighed….a happy sigh.  “If only you knew how happy I was to see him again.  I didn’t care what circumstances he was in.  As long as we were together….”

Just then, the door opened.  Young Link walked in, catching the attention of both mother and daughter.  He smiled sheepishly and waved.

Anju giggled.  “What’re you so sheepish about, Link?”

The boy shrugged and let loose a barrage of signs.

“Oh, they’ll be alright.  With Mordun and Therald about, they won’t go far or anything.  And they’ll be back in the Eight Room before it gets too dark.  They told me.”

Link nodded, as if relieved.

“Where did Kafei run off to?” Hester asked.

Link looked at Anju’s mother and gestured.

Anju interpreted aloud:  “He says he went walking out of the Milk Bar, in conversation with the two men.  They’re keeping an eye out on the priestesses.”

“Good,” Hester moaned.  “I swear….men and drinking.”

“Mom….hehe….it’s just milk.”

“You ever taste that stuff?  See the way it’s colored?!  Good gods!  It’s the devil’s milk!”

Anju rolled her eyes then faced Link.  “Heading off to bed?”

He nodded then gave Anju a humble look as if to ask:  ‘Is that okay?’

“Of course, Link!  Now go!” Anju smiled.  But when he fumbled, she said:  “I’ll say good night to you in a little.”

He smiled warmly and bounded up the stairs.

Hester again regarded her daughter.  “I don’t know what you have to worry about with your age and all, Anju.”

“I beg your pardon, Mom?”

“You’ll make a great parent.”

Anju sighed.  “Relax, Mom.  You’ll be a grandmother before you pass away.”

“It’s not that, Anju.  Don’t be so defensive.”

“I’m sorry, Mother.  I just….I-I just don’t think I’m ready…..or qualified…..yet.”

“’Yet’ is a word you’re exaggerating.  You’re a far greater person than you give yourself credit for, darling.  The way you treat Link….I see it….I see a great mother blooming in you.”

“The respect I have for Link is different than that of a mother’s, I truly believe,” Anju said.  Her eyes trailed as she added:  “But Link is a child.  And…..I do think….he’s missed out on the mothering he’s always needed.  So, yes, maybe I do treat him accordingly.  But it’s only to help him.”

Hester smiled.  “Easier to understand now that you’re older, isn’t it?”

Anju glanced at her mother.  After a while, she retreated:  “If you’ll excuse me, Mom.  I’ve got someone to wish a good night to.”

Anju put her dusting cloth away, straightened up the counter, and walked towards the stairs.




            Upstairs, Link knelt at the end of the hallway.  Since the corridor extended beyond the door to the last room, the Eight Room, there was adequate space for Anju and Kafei to help build him a dwelling of sorts.  It was rather simple.  Just a cot with a few boxes and a dark black blanket hung across from wall to wall with a rod.

            The blanket—Link’s ‘door’—was opened at the moment.  Anyone could clearly see the boy, resting on his knees with his back to the rest of the hallway.  It almost looked like he was meditating in front of his cot.  Along the walls, Link’s sword, shield, and other equipment hung.  It looked more like an armory than a boy’s bedroom.

            After a while, his eyes opened.  There was something very lonely…very melancholy in them.

            With a gentle hand, Link reached under his cot.  He pulled out a rectangular box; a wooden container that the former Kokiri boy assembled himself.  With quiet reflection, he popped open the lid and stared at the contents within.

            Four masks.

            Striking and unique, each of them.

            A Goron Face, a Zora Face, a Deku Face.

            But Link’s eyes trailed over the most striking of all.  And it almost glowed, as if spurred on by its own devastating power.  A face…with blazing white eyes….

            And an uncanny resemblance….to the least likely face to ever grace Link in his life…

            Still, it haunted him.  The ever-nagging pull.  Should I do it?  Should I perform junction?  But why?

            A soft voice spoke from behind.  “Link??”





            Link gasped.  He glanced up over the casket.

            The sound….the voice…..

            It came from beyond the grave….

            He stood up on shivering legs and paced over past Zelda’s body.  He found himself looking into an abyss, as black and as empty as nightmares themselves.

            And yet…he was drawn directly to it.  Because….

            “Could it be…?





            With a jump, Link slapped the lid to the box closed and spun around.

            Anju smiled sheepishly at his ‘doorway’.  “Link?  Just thought I’d drop on by.  If you’re busy, I’ll let you go for the evening.”

            Link swallowed and empathetically gestured for her to stay; ending with an assuring smile.

            “The same routine?” she asked gently.

            He nodded.

            That was all that Anju needed to see.  Quietly she grabbed each side of the blanket ‘door’ and drew it across the hallway.  At the same time, Link slid the rectangular wooden box back under his cot and withdrew into the shadowed corner.  He hid behind a crate that—combined with the sheer thickness of the blankets—covered the entire niche as well as his figure in utter blackness.

            Anju too was suspended into this blind world.  She stretched her left arm out, found the familiar touch of Link’s stool, and sat down with her back to the curtains.

            There, with her hands in her lap and her feet to the floor….the lady waited…and waited….for a young soul’s Eclipse to break for a split second.

            In the form of a very wounded…very sweet sound….it did:

            “……………H-How was your d-day, Anju?”

            Anju smiled into the void.  With a calm grace, she answered the bodiless sound.  “I had a wonderful day, Link.  The weather was perfect.  The customers paid on time.  Kafei and I got to talk for a long time instead of being busy.  I enjoyed my day.  What about you, Link?”

            Silence…….and then….

            “………………I enjoyed it………t-too, Anju………”

            The lady took a breath.  She leaned forward and said softly yet firmly:  “You seem to be thinking about a lot lately, Link.  Do you want to share what’s on your mind?”


            Anju sat back.  Her silence emphasized her patience.

            “……………th-there’s been………a lot on my mind………”





            Link stood before the cavern of the dead.  The torch flickered madly behind him.  The princess’ casket glowed under the amber dance, but for once Link wasn’t paralyzed by it.  He was paralyzed by something else.

            The cold.

            The nakedness.

            The infinite chaos of death.

            And yet….there was a warmth….a sound…..a breath….and it reached out to him from the ebony abyss.

            Link found his arms reaching out, beyond the edge.  His eyes squinted and his lip quivered.  Tiny fingers sought for an answer in the grand void.

            And slowly….methodically….the boy’s body started to lean forwards….





            “I wish you’d tell us what’s on your mind, Link,” Anju said.  She gave a smile that she hoped the little boy could see in the dark.  “Kafei and I……we wish we could understand you more.  And we know you’re willing to tell us….perhaps even willing to talk….”

            Silence.  The darkness seemed to crawl with its own anxiety.

            Anju swallowed and tried to reach for Link across space.  “You have….such a beautiful voice, Link.  I wish to the gods we could find a way to tear down the walls that bind it.  You’ve done so much to bless the lives of Kafei and I.  We want to help you…to help you live more…”

            The promptness of the voice’s response nearly startled the woman…






"You're not guilty. You are innocent, Link.  Don't feel ashamed for being silent all these years. Under the heat of hatred and false-blame, it was the only thing you could do to feel sane. I'd do the same thing in your position, Link. You know why? Because we're both alike, Link. We're both afraid of that which we don't know. Me? I was afraid of never being able to know the hearts of you or my kingdom. And you, Link, I sense that you're afraid to live in a world that was stolen from you by angry words. That world where people share stories and quirks and love by mouth. Link, not only can that be your world, it is your world. And you have every right to embrace it. And believe me, having read into your past, I know that you want it....you want to be in that world. And quite frankly, Link, I want that for you too."  





            Link’s eyes closed.

            Strands of golden hair flailed above his forehead.

            With arms outstretched, he greeted the Land of the Dead as it flew up towards him.





            “Who, Link?” Anju asked.  “Who’s this person who tried to help you?”



            “………………m-my second f-failure……





His desperate lungs heaved.  His heart balanced between beating and breaking.  Through his bobbing vision, Link saw a huddled mass of soldiers and servants in the center of Hyrule Market.  Commoners and city dwellers had formed an outer ring around them; and they were already sobbing.

            That was the sight Link needed to open his mouth.  And in spite of all the pain leaping forth from his throat—even then, no words came out.

            Out of the crowd, a haggard Impa saw him.  She caught Link’s body before it could fly into the huddle.





            The boy gasped.  His eyes popped open.  He was staring into a giant ravine that separated the Royal Family Tomb and the House of the Dead.

            Impa had entered the tomb and had caught Link by the waist in mid-fall.

            Lost in the memory of her…..he had nearly plunged into the blackness….

            “Link…what in Din’s name are you doing down here?!” Impa demanded with a touch of panic.  “You could have fallen right in!  It’s a good thing I decided to pay my respects this hour!  What’s gotten into you?!”

            Link was still in Impa’s arms….still staring at the blackness before him.  He shivered, he shook, and he opened his mouth:

            “……………one sentence, Impa………

            The Sheikah gasped.  She lifted Link and set him on the ground besides the casket.  She regarded the boy with a gaping mouth of shock.

Those were the first words she had ever heard him say…

            Link stared at the ground; as if glacing over a few feet at the casket would burn his eyes in.  “…………I spoke to Zelda………once I did………it was one sentence………




            Zelda quietly kissed Link’s forehead as he lay on the sofa, a blanket draped across his slumbering figure.

            “Sleep quietly, my hero…”

            She stroked his golden bangs once, and then shuffled across the moonlit library.

            The doors opened and closed; announcing her exit.

            And once she was gone, Link opened his eyes.  He shot a lonely glance towards where she had left; the princess who had just blessed his life all over in a day and a night.  Just as quickly they had glanced, Link’s eyes slowly shut.  There were infant tears hugging the sides of them.

            Link’s forbidden lips opened, and let loose three soft words….




            “I loved her…………,” Link stared at the floor.  He looked up, eyes glistening.  “I loved her, Impa…………she never heard me………I l-loved her and she never………  He finally looked at the casket.  He bit his lip.  This was the land of the dead.  This was the finishing line to all streams of guilt and remorse.  He could speak freely here.  “………she’s gone now………I failed her………

            “No, Link,” Impa said, this time firmly.  She clenched her fists and averted her eyes from his gaze.  “I was with her on that day.  I was the one given the lifelong charge of protecting the Princess.  It was I who failed Zelda on that day, not you.  You are as humble in voice as you are in action.  Listen to me, Link.  Do not accept the blame for what has happened….”

            Link was hauntingly still, his head tilted again to the floor.  He voiced:  “But it is my fault………don’t you see, Impa?

            Impa cocked her head.  She took a step towards Link. Something on him was glowing………

            ………I failed her………

            Link looked up.  Wet trails slid down his face, but otherwise he was perfectly stoic.  Slowly, he raised his left hand up for Impa to see.  It startled her, for the Triforce of Courage was pulsing with golden fury from his skin.

            “…………*it* knows of my failure…………*it* knows that I let the Sage of Wisdom fall………

            Impa swallowed.  Her own eyes started to water.  For once, the strong Sheikah had no answer.

            But Link did.  He looked to the casket. The Triforce’s power lit his sad face.

            …………*it* knows……that I loved her……and it knows that she never heard me………




            “So that’s what you are then…,” Mido fumed, his fists clenched.  “A little freak who hides behind his quietness.  You won’t take me on??  You won’t face that which is coming to you?  Well you’re nothing but a coward!”

            Link’s eyes went wide.

            “That’s right!  You heard me!  A gutless coward!!!”





            “HIYAAAUGH!!!  HAAUGH!!! AAUGH!!! HUURAAUGH!!!” Link shouted with each swing of the Guilded Sword.

            CLANK!!!  CLANK!!!  TING!!!

            With the speed of a demon, Link took on both remaining Dinolfos.  They drew up on either side of them, wielding their five-foot blades.  But the little warrior was matching their every move, their every swing.

Blades met blades met blades met sparks.

“HIRAAAUGH!!” and Link would spin a 360, slashing his sword in all directions and forcing the two scaly bandits apart; then the scuffle would start all over again.

Tatl trembled on her perch atop Link’s head.  She never felt this fury seep out of him before.  It was like a dark side had been released.  Amidst the heat and adrenaline of battle, she searched for what summoned his berserker strength.  Raising her azure eyes, she saw it.

Dangling at random points on the ceiling of the dank cavern were skulls.  Hylian skulls.  Bony remains of travelers; slain senselessly by these reptilian bandits.

The slaughter of innocence…..

Link practically burned with hate.

Tatl gasped as Link suddenly rolled out of the way of an oncoming blade.

“RAAZZARA!!!” the Dinolfos shrieked, its frustration reaching a boiling point.  The monster heaved its gigantic blade up in the air and brought it down towards the blonde hero with such monumental force that the temperature in the air rose a few degrees.

And Link leapt to the side.


The sword stuck to the ground.  For a second or two, the Dinolfos struggled to yank the blade out from the rock.

But that was a second or two too much.  Faster than can be comprehended, Link ran up the blade, used its metallic body as a ramp, and leapt past the monster’s neck.  In mid leap, Link spun with his sword outstretched.


“!!!!!” the Dinalfos head jerked up.  It tried to scream, only to find its throat was missing.  The eyes rolled back in its head as it careened loudly to the floor besides Link, holding a bloodied sword.

Tatl shivered.

Link heaved with bloodlust.

The last Dinalfos gawked at its fallen comrade.  Eventually, it let out a soul-shaking shriek and charged the hero with its blade raised.

Link was more than ready….






            In the tomb, Impa frantically spoke:

            “Link….we both did what we could.  We both poured our heart and souls into protecting Zelda.  And we failed.  But we can still avenge her!  We can still set things right, Link!  Please….please listen to me.  I’ve made progress in the King’s request for a royal investigation!  Just before the day Zelda died, a tax collection was being made.  As a rule, the names of everyone inside Hyrule Town were taken.  The day following Zelda’s death, another count was taken for security reasons.  We all thought that the people who had been in Hyrule Town the day of the princess’ death would have stayed to pay respects.  But now that the count is in, we realize that we were wrong!  And get this, Link.  There were five men…five…who were gone on the day after Zelda’s death.  You want to hear their names?  Here, I’ll tell you their names.  The men who were missing were Jayner, Jilscythe, Dumakyd, Ninero, and Fiven.  None of them are residents of Hyrule City.  You hear that, Link?  Five strangers.  Only, not all of them were strangers.  Dumakyd was known to have written suspicious letters to the Royal Palace over the years, negatively criticizing the rulings of Princess Zelda.  And after I questioned people in the Western Desert region, I hear that he may have been traveling abroad…gathering people for some sort of dangerous cause.  Don’t you see, Link?  We’re dealing with a conspiracy…with a dark hand at work that’s directly responsible for Zelda’s assas—Link, are you listening to me??……….Link??”

            Link rested with his hands against the white casket.  He stared into its surface as if it was oblivion.

            Impa swallowed and walked up behind his back.  “Link…..what are you thinking about?  If you’re still talking….tell me…..”

            Link stared.  His voice was softest as ever when he uttered:  “…………I must leave, Impa………

            “L-Leave, Link?” Impa asked incredulously.  “But why?”

            Link closed his eyes.  “……………because failures don’t belong………

            “But what about this update?  What about these suspects?!  This will lead us to the answer, Link!  This will lead us to vengeance!”

            “I will leave you………Impa………,” Link removed his hands from the casket and spun around, “………to the redemption……that you deserve……

            The Sheikah guardian took a deep breath and closed her eyes.  “Not just me, Link…..but you as well…..you must believe that…..”

            “………Zelda was my faith………and I fell from it…… the day she left us.  N-Now I……must leave too……

            “Link?” Impa’s eyes opened.

            He had the Ocarina of Time to his lips.

            “No!  Link!” she reached out.  “Wait!!”

            But in a flash of golden light, he was gone….





            Link warped into the Temple of Time.  As soon as he was on firm ground, he looked around for any sign of the shrine’s inhabitants.  But the chamber was empty at the moment.

            He bit his lip, put away the Ocarina, and ran out of the building’s entrance.

            Dark clouds had formed over Hyrule Town.  It wasn’t long before Link found himself running through currents of rain.  People avoided him as they ran off here and there to find dry shelter.  Soon Link had only the puddles and cobblestones to keep him company.

            Link knew he was wanting to head to the stables.  There he’d find Epona.  There he’d mount her and ride off to the Forest down south.  But somewhere between the torrents of rain and the smiling face of Zelda, his vision grew blurry and he started running down chaotic twists and turns and into rain-soaked alleys and all other streets that formed the labyrinth that was suddenly Hyrule Town.

            As fate would have it, he slipped in a deep puddle and landed hard in a niche formed by a building side and the rock-hard street.  The pain of impact stung through Link’s body, till it shivered up his face and broke the vials of his eyes.

            Link wept, like a wounded animal left in the rain.

            She was beauty in breathing, smiling form…

            He sat up and slumped his back against the brick siding.  He hiccupped between sobs.

            She tried to redeem the cursed voice inside of me……

            Link brought his hands to his face.  Warm tears converged with cold rain.

            I loved her………but she never heard me………

            Link brought his hands down.  Sniffing, he looked up at the sky.  The overcast, gray sky of an ancient, emotionless Hyrule.  Raindrops fell down and bombed his face like icicles.

            I have to get out of here……

            Link took a deep, shuddering breath.

            Far away from this land……

            He shut his eyes and breathed in longer this time.

            Because I failed……

            The triangle on his left hand started to glow angrily.  Nervously, he tried in vain to cover it with his right.

            Because I loved her……and she never heard me……

            Slowly, Link got to his feet.  Sniffing and covering his left hand, the boy hobbled slowly towards the destination of the stable.

            I won’t be a failure……if I start over again……

            To start over again……




            His desperate lungs heaved.  His heart balanced between beating and breaking.  Through his bobbing vision, Link saw a huddled mass of soldiers and servants in the center of Hyrule Market.  Commoners and city dwellers had formed an outer ring around them; and they were already sobbing.

            That was the sight Link needed to open his mouth.  And in spite of all the pain leaping forth from his throat—even then, no words came out.

            Out of the crowd, a haggard Impa saw him.  She caught Link’s body before it could fly into the huddle.

            “Don’t look, Link,” she breathed.  He struggled in her strong arms, and she tried to wrestle him down.  “She’s gone….don’t look, please….”

            Link’s whole body spun in her grasp.  His damp eyes clenched shut, and he dashed the last two or three steps needed to pierce the wall of bodies and see that which was in the center….

            And Link saw her…

            And his face died for the first time…

            But not the last time…

            He slumped to his knees beside the Princess’ body.

            A bleeding hole had been gored into the center of her throat.  A thin, red cut wrapped up from the underside of her fair chin.  Her neck leaked forth onto her silken dress; staining it forever red.

            But what was worse….what was the last straw….was when Link’s eyes drifted down her body…down her arms….and to her wrists.

            Her left hand was there, but her right hand was gone.

            Her right hand…

            Sliced off….hacked off….leaving only a bloody stub…

            The defiled…naked blood of the princess pooled around it…

            Ripped off and stolen…

            Link lowered his head and wept.  He never stopped.  And on days to follow when his face would be dry, he’d actually be sobbing inside.







            The powder keg went off in a huge fireball.  It more than obliterated the boulder blocking the path of Milk Road to Romani Ranch.

            Link got up from where he hid behind a protective rock crag and ran straight down the road.  A laborer from Clock Town who had cowered from the explosion tried to say something to him, but Link wasn’t listening.

            “Um….L-Link??” Tatl asked as she hovered above his head.  “What are you doing??  We took care of the problems of Romani Ranch before we took on the Great Bay, remember?”

            But Link didn’t respond.  He didn’t gesture forth an answer.  He marched firmly, quickly towards the center of the ranch.

            A red-headed girl ran around with a bow in her grasp.  She took a glance at Link and smiled wide:  “Hehehehe!  And who might you be, stranger?”

            Link stopped in his tracks, pulled out a deku nut, and threw it on the ground before her.

            “!!!” the girl leaned back, gasping.  The smoke and powder released from the deku nut’s impact found its way into her nostrils.  Her eyes rolled back, and she fell softly to the ground, unconscious.

            “Link!!!” Tatl shrieked.  “What on earth did you do that for?!?!”

            Link marched over to the pen where Epona was tied.  He loosened her reins from a nearby pole, mounted her, and rode briskly back in the direction of Milk Road.  Tatl grabbed ahold of his cap and was along for the ride.

            “Tell me what you’re up to this minute!!” she tried to say sternly.  But he rode on, as resolute as ever.

            Suddenly, an older redheaded woman could be seen running towards the horse.

            “What are you doing?!” Cremia cried excitedly.  “What did you do to Romani?!”

            Link whipped out another Deku Nut, and Tatl saw it.  Before she could do or say anything, he threw it at the woman’s feet…causing her to pass out as well.  In such fashion, he raced out of Romani Ranch and down Milk Road on top of Epona.

            Soon, Tatl had grown less frustrated; making room instead for a sudden wave of fear and uncertainty.  Her companion, Link, road due south.  But instead of stopping at Woodfall or the Southern Swamp, he urged Epona into scaling the highlands, penetrating forests, and crossing expansive plateaus.

            By sunset of the First Day, Tatl realized…..he was leaving.  Link was leaving the blast radius of the moon’s impact……

            “Link?!” she murmured on the first night as they went through a humid forest.  “You’re leaving Termina, aren’t you?”

            “…………,” the boy was silent.  He pressed Epona on.  He wasn’t going to stop until either he or the horse collapsed.

            “Please tell me you’re not….,” the pixie pleaded and hovered just before his face.  “Please….Link…..don’t do this….”

            He stared straight through her.  Tatl was ever so slightly pleased to find a deadpan expression on his face, as opposed to anger or aggression.  Still, she wished so much that she could break through his exterior….that she could know his mind.  That she could know that Link had a voice and that he would share it.

            Because she was becoming….oh so scared….

            Link trudged on…




            Saria stepped into Link’s treehouse.  Her clothes were damp with rainwater, and outside she could hear the storm rage on and echo into the hollow dwelling place.  Her eyes drifted over Link’s bed, and thought of his nightmares in the middle of the night.  She glanced at his eating table, and thought of his strength and cunning as a hunter.  Then her eyes saw her own reflection in a crude mirror and she thought….she thought that the past was a much happier thing than the present.

            Or if not happier….maybe more innocent….




            “Link?  Just calm down, okay?” Saria said once she brought the six-year-old into her house.  “Please….don’t be upset.  Listen to me.  You are no coward.  Mido’s a big bully, and he’ll say things that aren’t true just to see people like you cry.  But you’re not bad…..you’ve got nothing to be ashamed of, Link.  Please….please understand….Mido was being mean.  You’re a good person, Link.  A good person…”

            Link tried to listen, but all he could do was shake and sob.  He turned his little face away from the emerald girl and let the tears hit the ground.

            “Link….,” Saria bit her lip.  She knelt down and placed both hands on his shoulders.  “You’re so sweet…..so kind….how could anything that Mido have said been true?  You hear me?  I’ve always been your friend.  You know why?  Because you’re lovely to be around, Link.  People are drawn to you and your politeness.  You’re such a good boy.  A *good* boy…”

            But little Link shook his head.  And when Saria tilted his face up, she found his hands clamped shut over his mouth.  He squinted at her with moist eyes crowning his sealed voice; his worst tool…

            And that was all it took…to drag the girl over the edge with him.

            “Oh Link…,” she hugged him deeply.  A helpless tear rolled out of her sapphire eye and stained his shoulder.  “If only I could help you……if only I could free your voice…..if only……….”




            Saria sniffed.  She ran a finger under her left eye and took a painful breath.


            The girl gasped and spun around.

            From the outside rain, Link had entered his treehouse.  He was thoroughly soaked from his travels.  His eleven-year-old limbs were covered in rain droplets.  But the expressions he bore were hardly like the tortured, guilty child that Saria solaced five years ago.  He seemed like a carving out of stone; fixed and resolute.


            “Link….,” Saria breathed.  “What are you doing back here so soon?”

            “…………,” he looked at her.  Slowly, he took wet steps over to the walls of his house and started collecting things.

            “Zelda’s funeral was just yesterday,” the emerald girl continued.  “I sorta expected you to be in Hyrule Town until……..”  She stopped in mid-sentence, her eyes following Link’s every move.  She saw the things he gathered and the way he was packing….  “You’re leaving Hyrule, aren’t you?”

            Link’s hand stopped in mid-reach of another item.  Slowly, he turned around and gave Saria a look….a wounded look.

            She swallowed, for again she saw the six year old…..





            “Link?!  Why are you leaving Termina?!” Tatl asked for the millionth time.  Three days of anguished traveling had passed, and now Link was leading Epona—on foot—up a rocky hillside.  They had made a lot of tracks, but if they so chose to stop and looked due north—they could still see the looming moon.  Only, it wasn’t looming anymore.  It was practically nose to nose with the distant speck of Termina.

            The Impact was near….

            “You’ve not tried to ‘say’ a single thing to me in three days!  It’s about time you explained yourself!!” the white pixie exclaimed.

            But Link was as silent and as stubborn as ever.  He paused only to help Epona get better footing on an incline in the hill, and then he was pressing on again.

            Tatl started panting.  Some sort of awkward emotion was raging through her.  But it was an emotion with fervor that she never quite felt before.  At least towards Link.  And yet, it suddenly made sense.  Has everyone felt angry towards this kid at one time or another?

            Link was climbing upwards with Epona, when he noticed that a familiar white light was no longer keeping up with him.  He paused, moreover overcome by the awkwardness of the light’s absence, than surprised by Tatl’s disappearance.  He turned around and looked behind him.

            Tatl was still there…..thirty feet away ‘still there’.  She sat on a boulder, her arms crossed, her face in a pout.

            Link looked at her funny.

            “That’s right!” Tatl frowned.  “I’m not going anymore!”

            The boy’s eyes widened.  He would have gestured something, but his hands were entangled with Epona’s reins.

            “You can go as far as you like!” the pixie exclaimed.  “Just don’t expect me to be joining you on ditching Termina!”

            Link did something then.  He rolled his eyes, and went back to climbing with Epona.

            Tatl gasped.  She stood up, shook with faerie fury, and spout out:  “Fine!!  You try and be a big man!!  But you’ll never grow out of this!!  Because today and forevermore, you’ll be nothing more than a lousy coward!!”

            Link stopped dead in his tracks.  His jaw dropped.  His eyes hollowed themselves out in a fraction of a second.

            Tatl could see the word shatter through his body from where she stood.  And suddenly she was very afraid…..very afraid that she had set off the wrong explosive in his heart.

            Slowly, the boy turned around.  There was no longer anger or arrogance in his eyes.  Nothing but pure vulnerability.

            Tatl sunk…but she stood her ground…




            Link’s eyes were drying out…becoming progressively soulless while Saria went on speaking.

            “Everyone still wants you here, Link.  I for one do.  Many more *need* you.  What’s Impa gonna do without the Hero of Time around?  Those fresh new guards can’t train themselves to protect Hyrule, ya know!  And the people….there’re problems and dangers threatening them everyday!  They’d need a courageous person such as yourself—“

            At the word ‘courageous’, Link visibly cringed.

            Of course, Saria saw it.  “Oh no……Link…..you…..you don’t still believe what Mido said to you long ago?” she brought a hand over her heart.  “Link…..don’t tell me you think you’re….”



“A little freak who hides behind his quietness.  You won’t take me on??  You won’t face that which is coming to you?  Well you’re nothing but a coward!”

            Link’s eyes went wide.





            “You heard me!!” Tatl found the strength to again cry forth.  “A coward!!”

            Link slowly crept towards her; more awkwardly than menacingly.

            “I once thought you were someone I could believe in,” she shook.  “I actually had the guts to apologize to you for what Skull Kid, Tael, and I did to your horse!!  But I wasn’t apologizing to a new friend!  I wasn’t apologizing to anyone remotely worthwhile!  I should have known that you would turn your back on necessity at the last minute!!  So you can’t take the stress of being a hero?!  You can’t save a pathetic world from its own moon??  You just like running away, don’t you?!  Huh?!  You just like running away from saving the helpless!!  You can’t take that responsibility!!  You can’t save anything worth looking at!!”

            Link’s face suddenly brightened…but not in joy.  Not in revelation.  But in pain.  Beads of sweat formed over his brow.  Tatl gasped as he stepped back, stumbled, and fell to the ground with his back against a boulder.

            “L-Link??” she panted.

            The boy held his left hand with trembling right fingers.  His whole face clenched in agony.  And suddenly….brightly….a triangle glowed from the left hand.

            The pixie shaded her eyes from the glare.  But it wasn’t light she was feeling as much as a sudden, surging emotion.







            Link dropped his sack of items unnecessarily hard onto his bed.

            Saria jumped.

            As the boy tied his belongings up so that they were secured, the emerald girl walked tentatively behind him.

            “Link……why…….why are you leaving Hyrule?”

            The boy let out a sigh.  He gestured something quick and careless.

            Saria stamped her foot down.  “No, this is not about Navi anymore!!  And you know it!!  It’s about Zelda, isn’t it?!  You think you failed her!!  You think there’s nothing that can be done of this!!”

            Link continued tying up his things.

            Saria was reaching a fever pitch.  “For the love of Din, Link!!  It wasn’t your fault!!  None of this was your fault!!  Impa’s told me all about it!!  There’s a conspiracy going on through Hyrule!!  Those five guys….Dumakyd….Jillsomething….the other strangers…..they’re the prime suspects!!  Link, all this can be worked out!  But not by running away!!  Come on….you can stay here!!  There are people….p-people who love you here!!”

            Link continued assembling his stuff, ignoring her.

            “Curse it all, Link!!” Saria started sobbing, tears running free.  “Mido was wrong!!  All the bullies were wrong!!  All your enemies were wrong!!  You’re no coward!!  You’re no coward, Link!!  For Nayru’s sake, I wish you’d stop clamming yourself up!!  I wish you’d stop punishing yourself and talk to me!!!

            This time, Link did stop.  He looked at Saria….staring at her teary red face.

She hiccupped and sniffed, awaiting an answer.

His lips parted.

She gasped.

His lips closed, and he gazed with melancholy to the floor.

Saria closed her eyes and let out another sob.  “I wish….Link…..I wish there was something we could do to heal your soul….”

Link hoisted his things over his back and gestured something painful and simple before the girl’s eyes.

            “For some people………





            …………it is too late.

            Link managed, then dropped his exhausted hands to the ground.  The left one glowed with a little less fury, as if his ‘words’ exhausted the fury of the triangle.

            Tatl lowered her gaze.  A very sore sensation spread through her tiny throat, and she fought back honest faerie tears.  All the scribblings on deku paper….the mouthing and mourning in his sleep…..things were beginning to make sense.

            “It is never too late, Link.  I don’t know what terrible thing or happening made you think that.  But you must not believe it!  We can save Termina!  We can!  We just got to keep trying…..we got to keep believing.  You won’t be a failure……you won’t be a failure….”

            Those words, more than any, brought Link’s exhausted gaze up to his companion’s.

            She smiled as best as she could and mouthed: ”Please…..”





            Link headed out the door.

            Saria touched his shoulder at the last second.  This time, she didn’t have a voice in her to reach out to him.  Only a teary face.

            He looked at her, placed his stuff down, and gave the emerald-girl one long-lasting hug.  When it was over, he stepped back and gestured:

            “If I start over……I won’t be a failure……

            Saria watched as he picked up his stuff, gave her and the treehouse one last look, then stepped out of her life.





            Link slowly got up.  The ground was beginning to shake and quake on an increasing scale.  Tatl floated up beside him, and together they could see the red-hot friction being made between the moon colliding with the face of Termina.

            “N-Now, Link….,” the faerie almost whispered.  “Please…..I-I believe in you…”

            Link nodded.  Slowly, he brought out the Treasure of the Royal Family.  With a gentle breath and six short notes….he played the song of time…..

            And started over….





            Link trotted slowly through the Lost Woods on top Epona.

            It was a cool, somber evening.  The words of Saria still rang in his head.  The earnesty of Impa ran through his limbs.  The blood of Zelda…..fermented in his heart.

            If it took one sign….one tiny streak of light to announce that Navi had reentered his life….

            Well, then the boy might feel like things had started over from the first day of discovering himself.

            Two streaks of light did appear.  But Link wasn’t aware of them.

            Epona was.  And when they suddenly shot up before her eyes, the horse let out a wild neigh and reared its front legs.

            The sudden movement sent Link flying through the air and landing hard on the ground.

            And everything went dark….






            CLANK!!!  CLINK!!!

            Link blocked as each blow of the Dinolfos’ sword came down to meet with his.

            SWOOOSH!!  CLANK!!!  CONG!!!  CLANG!!!

            The Dinolfos was letting out all of its rage for its fallen partners in crime.  Its strikes were full of impatience, fury, and madness.  Link knew that it would only be a matter of time before his last opponent gave up the strength and—in turn—gave up the ghost.

            CLANK!!  SWISSH-CONG!!

            Link held his ground, sword and shield raised for defense.  Waiting…..

            Meanwhile, Tatl trembled underneath his cap.  “Get it over with, Link!!  Get it over with!!”  She peaked out once, took a glance at the hanging skulls, and hid under his cap again.

            “RAZAAR!!” the Dinolfos struck blinding.  CLANK!!  Its blade stuck into the ground.

            Link found this a sudden opportunity.  “HIYAUGH!!” he struck with full force at the blade.


            Half of the Dinolfos’ weapon broke off lengthwise.  The monster backed up and started fighting Link with what now resembled a scimitar more than a sword.

            In fact, it kept and kept backing up.  For Link was trying to throw the beast off with it’s partially demolished weapon.

            “HAAUGH!!  RAAAUGH!!  HIYAAAH!!”

            CLANK!!  WANG!!  SMACK!!

            Sparks bathed the ground.  Link practically marched with his advance.  The Dinolfos panicked and suddenly tripped backwards on one of its fallen companions.

            Link knew this was time for a death strike.  He lost a bit of his reasoning, and rose his blade high over his head.

            The Dinolfos’ blinked, shrieked, and stabbed his blade upward.


            “!!!!!”  Link’s eyes went wide.  His fingers loosened around the hilt, and his blade fell to the ground.


            “???” Tatl peaked out from under the boy’s cap again.  What she saw made her gasp in horror.

            Link has been skewered straight through.

            “Rrrrrrrrrrr,” the Dinolfos purred, his scaly lips forming into a sly grin.  He jerked the blade forward a bit more.

            Its length ate through Link’s left chest.  The boy’s mouth gaped open and he fell back, pinned to the ground by the sword thrown through him.

            Link’s cap fell off and littered the ground.  It landed in a puddle, and when Tatl stepped out…she felt she was disembarking a green boat in the middle of a red sea.  She flew up besides Link’s head, staring at his shocked face….then up at the Dinolfos.

            The huge lizard snickered.  Its forked tongue came out and ran deliciously over its razor teeth.

            Link’s eyes were beginning to thin.  Tiny drops of pain squeezed out from the corners.  His mouth staid open…voiceless….

            “…..,” Tatl shivered in mid air.  “L-Link….,” she whispered desperately.

            Link’s eyes opened a bit wider.

            The Dinolfos’ heart stopped.

            In a blur, Link’s left hand grabbed ahold of the blade that was skewering him.  The triangle glowed bright, causing the Dinolfos to look away.

            But Link was looking directly at his foe.  And his eyes were blazing with a life he never before had.  The boy grit his teeth and transformed momentarily into an emerald monster.  Snarling, he tugged at the blade with his hand….pulling himself up on the skewered metal….towards the Dinolfos.

            The lizard beast trembled.  This growling demon of a boy was pulling himself towards him!  Through his own blade!

            Blood ran out of Link’s chest, Link’s back, Link’s hand, Link’s lips.  “RrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrAUUUGHH!!!”  He jerked his right hand to life, grabbed the Gilded Sword off the ground, and thrust it straight forwards.

            “!!!!!” the Dinolfos eyes went wide; before turning blood red….along with the rest of his face, now cleaved in two by Link’s blade.  With a gurgle of a sound, the split-headed beast let go of its broken sword and fell back.  The floor behind him turned orange with its leaking brain matter.

            “…………..,” Link panted heavily.

Tatl watched in shock….numb to all senses but sight.

The boy dropped his sword back to the ground.  He stared off into space, breathing with what he had left of his torn lungs.  His left hand glowed brighter against the broken metal.  He bit his lip and brought his right hand to the sword.  Then, in the most anguishing movement, he slowly….painfully…..slid the giant blade out of him.


            CLANK!!!!  The red-stained sword littered the floor.

            WHUMP!!  Link fell back, staring up at the dangling skulls on the ceiling.  His sight grew dizzy.  The skulls started to cry.  He had destroyed their creator; but he had joined them all the same.

            He was only faintly aware of a bright white pixie floating beside his face.  “Link…..oh gods, you shouldn’t have done that!  Now you’re bleeding like crazy!!  Oh gods, Link!  Don’t move!  I-I-I’ll think of something!!”

            Link’s eyelids were getting heavier and heavier.  Breathing seemed like a very pointless, tiresome thing…

            “Link!!  Stay awake!  Keep those eyes open!!  Oh gods….oh gods oh gods oh gods!!  What’ll we do?!  W-What’ll we do?!?!”

            Something pushed Link’s head aside.  He winced from the sudden movement….most likely the last touch of pain he’ll ever feel.  The ground started rising and falling with the tide.  The skulls built into floating towers and spewed lightning before giggling into darkness.  Soon all Link could see was an elliptical halo sleeping a few feet away from him.  He panted harder and harder.  The halo was made out of golden flowers….slowly turning into lilies.  A white wreath, and in the center was a form.  The prettiest form there ever was.  She had honey-gold hair and porcelain skin.  Her hands were folded over her chest, holding a bouquet of her life’s wisdom….her life’s legacy….

            The only love……the only one……

            Slowly, gracefully, Zelda’s head tilted sideways till she faced Link.  Her blue eyes fluttered open, and at first sight of his bloody, shredded body….she smiled.  There was thankfulness in her eyes….there was beckoning….there was union between them for one first and last time…

            “Link……,” she sang with sweet lips.  “Play the song of healing……Play the song of healing for me……”

            His eyes squinted.  In frail desperation, his lips opened to say that which she never heard.

            But again she sang, “Play the song of healing, Link……please……

            He smiled.  He was swimming in her.


            He was breathing in her.


            Link winced.  A pixie was standing above the gash in his chest.  She was pushing a strange blue ocarina up to his face.

            “Play the song of healing, Link!” Tatl cried, her face tearing and desperate.  “P-Please……for me, if not for yourself…..i-it’s the only way….”

            Link blinked.  His eyes darted over.  The halo was gone.  So was Zelda.

            “Please…..Link….j-just play it…..everything will be allright…”

            Link sensed something glowing.  He brought his left hand up to his chest, but accidentally knocked the ocarina to the ground.

            “Link!” Tatl shrieked.

            Link wanted to tell her it was okay, but for some silly reason he didn’t have a voice.  He turned his whole body over—revealing a whole new wave of pain.  He managed to pick up the ocarina.  On weak knees, he propped himself up.  He was still leaning precariously towards the floor.  The world was doing flips inside his head.  He lifted the ocarina in shaking hands and brought it to his lips.  He tried to remember the tune.  He tried to remember the way his fingers should go.  One note.  The pixie was cheering him on.  Zelda was smiling.  The Dinolfos was dead.  The moon was falling.  Two notes.  Mido was taunting him.  Saria was holding him.  Ganondorf was killing him.  Three notes.  The skulls came back, screaming in his ear.  The world shook for a second, then went back to numb.  Zelda’s eyes closed again.  Four notes.  She was glowing.  He was glowing.  Two out of three triangles were glowing.  Five notes.  Link choked.  In mid tune, blood was making its way up his throat and seeping out his lips.  A pool of red dripped into the mouthpiece and poured out of each hole while his fingers brushed over them.  Six notes…….





            “Link??” Zelda smiled.

            Link’s eyes opened.  He was out in the courtyard with Zelda.  The stars were in the sky.  He had been holding her hand to his cheek for….quite some time.  His cheeks blushed, and the sudden warmth transferred from his skin to hers made her giggle.

            “You seem happy,” the princess grinned.

            He nervously smiled and let her hand return to her lap before looking away into the garden.  Why was he shaking?

            “Link?” she continued asking, humored.  “Is there something you wanted to tell me?”

            Then his throat went sore.  He looked at her…saw wisdom and love seeping out of every pore….and all he could do was raise his hands and gesture….

            “Just be here……

            “I am here, Link,” she leaned into him and closed her eyes with satisfaction.  “And I’ll always be….”






            Link landed hard on the ground.  His whole body winced.  He clutched the ground with childish fingers, as if it was a body to hold onto.

            His chest shook and morphed.

            His fingernails raked the earth.

            His blood burned and evaporated into silly trails in the air.

            Slowly….torturously….the hole made through him by the Dinolfos’ blade sealed itself away into nonexistence.

            And as soon as it was over, came the greatest feeling of rest and relief that the Hero of Time had ever experienced in his life.

            “!!!!!!” he arched upwards to take one, lasting breath, before once again falling to the earth….panting and exhausted with having himself back.

            The Song of Healing had worked….

            “L-Link….,” Tatl landed on the floor and stared directly into his face.  She wiped a few tears away before cackling:  “Do not EVER do something as reckless as that again!!  Do you hear me?!  You died….you practically died!!  I….I-I-I almost lost you!!”

            He blinked warily at her.  He had no strength to pass any emotion through his eyes.

            She sniffed, walked over, and hugged his face with her tiny limbs.  “I…..I-I’m sorry, Link…….I-I’m sorry I ever called you a coward…..”

            He breathed out.  His eyebrows lifted slightly over his thin eyes.

            “Y-You remember….,” she looked at him, then looked down in shame.  “Th-That one time…..y-you tried to leave Termina…..because you h-had lost all f-faith…..you were never a coward, Link.  You were just…just searching.  Well I’ve done a lot of searching myself, Link…..I’ve always wanted to find a hero….a selfless soul to call as a friend…..and it’s y-you, Link!  And I don’t ever want to see my friend die to p-prove himself!  You’re not a coward, Link.  You’re such a good…..good hero….don’t do anything like that again…”

            She wept quietly and leaned against his face.

            He closed his eyes and brought his hand up to ‘hold’ her against him.  He had eternity to pay respect back to her.

            But right now….all he could do was rest….and dream of Zelda….

            Rest and dream……






            “???” Anju leaned forward into the darkness.  “Link??  Link???”

            There was absolute silence from the corner.  It had been that way for the last few minutes.

            Anju wasn’t worried.  But she was curious.  And if she was right…..

            The lady stood up and—with a gentle hand—slowly parted the curtains at the end of the hallway.  A little moonlight crept in from the windows down the way, faintly illuminating Link’s ‘bedroom’.  She shuffled over towards the other side of the wooden crate, stood on her toes, and smiled.

            Link slept, his knees curled up to his chest and wrapped in his arms.  His head was to the back of the wall, his mouth ever so slightly open.  His torso rose and fell slightly.  His hair was golden and perfect.

            Gently, Anju knelt down and scooped him up in her arms.  She carried his small frame over to his cot and laid him down.  Remaining absolutely quiet, she drew a blanket over his form.  Unconsciously, he clutched ahold of it upon contact and turned over to slumber away on his bed.

            “Good night….little stranger,” the lady mused.  She stepped back, drew the curtains closed, and left the boy to his dreams.




            “Man, you should have seen those two priestesses,” Kafei said as he slipped on his sleeping shirt.  “They kept that fire going on most of the evening!!  I hope Feordia’s got a lot of wood cuz….heh….that’s a lot of ashes for the street cleaners to take care of in the morning!”

            Anju was in bed, the covers up.  She had her nose in a book.  “I hear Feordia just borders the forests of Jeslem.  I wouldn’t doubt they have enough fuel for their native ceremonies.”

            “I wonder if it’s against their religion to show their faces,” Kafei said, washing his hands in a basin and using a towel on a table.  “Cuz I’ve not seen one pair of eyes out from under their hoods since they got here.  Pretty spooky, don’t’ you think?”

            Anju smirked.  “In this land, anything’s acceptable.”

            “Heheh….good point,” Kafei climbed in bed beside her and gave her a quick peck on the cheek.

            She smiled.

            He fluffed his pillow.  “Uhhhh……Mordun and Therald are really the inquisitive types.”

            “So I’ve gathered.”

            “I don’t know how long they plan to be here,” Kafei laid back and sighed.  “…But they’re getting mixed opinions from the citizens.”

            “I can only imagine.”


            The young man stared up at the ceiling, swallowed, and said:  “Some things they said made me worry….”

            Anju looked over at her husband.  “About what, Kafei?”

            He turned over and looked at her.  “…..when will we ever learn about Link’s home?  Where it is?  Why he left it to come here?”

            Anju was silent.  She glanced in the general direction of where she last left Link to sleep.  Then she smiled warmly at her husband.

            “I think he’s found his home already, honey….”




            Lying in bed….under the darkness of night and the curtains….Link’s eyes fluttered open.

            Slowly, he glanced at his left hand.  It was glowing softly….alive….ever present.

            The boy swallowed.  His eyes grew misty.  Nevertheless, he turned over in bed and ‘hugged’ his left hand closer to his chest.

            And it warmed him….



            The Nether World.

            The bowels of many worlds and many lands.

            Constructed by mysterious forces countless of ages ago, as a bridge between realms.  Alternate existences.  Different orders.

            This was where the wind howls the loudest and the cold air is the coldest.

            And this was the cavern where five Hylian figures climbed up onto a ledge before a tunnel’s gaping mouth.

            “Whoah….come take a look at this!” exclaimed the first fellow.

            Another ran to his side.  “What is it?”

            “Looks like….jeez, looks like a deku scrub!”

            “Look, you fool, it’s got roots!  This is plainly a tree!”

            Another stepped up.  “But what kind of tree?  Dead or alive?”

            “Heh….dead, hopefully,” he glanced up as the tallest of the five walked towards him.  “Dumakyd, sir….isn’t this a bad omen?  Just what are we expecting to find at the other end of this tunnel?”

            The man adjusted his cloak….which was more hanging off of him than actually being warn.  With his stiff mannerisms and slow gait, it was obvious he wanted the article to dangle that way.

            Dumakyd took a long look at his men; Jayner, Jilscythe, Ninero, and Fiven.  He spoke:  “On the other end of this tunnel, gentlemen…..we’re going to find disorder….and then turn it into order.”

            “You’re sure that punk with the Triforce of Courage is there?” asked one of them.

            “Hardly,” Dumakyd smiled wide.  “For right now, the relic we seek is being employed as the Triforce of Cowardice.  But do not be surprised.  We will restore the golden Piece to its original purpose, once it’s severed from the putrid body of this elusive waif.  Now, stick close to me as we travel forwards.  There will be much searching to do.  For cowards hide more than any other living thing….if you can even call it living.  Come along.”

            The five men entered the tunnel….and entered Termina.


To be continued………

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