Childhood Ignorance

By Kurai Hitokiri

Chapter 11: The Writing on the Wall

Underneath a gray sky on the outskirts of Hyrule a sad, gristly scene was beheld.

Within the small village of Iseed, a nightmare had become reality. A scene taken from a horror book and displayed in real life terms.

Bodies littered a cold, wet ground. Their bodies were cut to pieces, blood pooling about their tattered, torn bodies, blank looks of horror had been etched on their faces in their moment of death.

Houses were burnt to cinder, the only remains of their inhabitants bones, teeth, and pottery… Never had such destruction or cruelty been seen before, it was almost inhuman.

Among the quiet of the ghostlike village, quiet sobs emanated from the ruins of a building.

A young girl crouched amongst the debris, her face buried in her legs, her shoulders wracking with sobs. Her clothing was thin and torn, covered in the blood of her comrades… Her black hair was matted and crusty with blood, her odor was a pungent mix of sweat, blood, and ash.

The young girl looked up as someone stepped into the area, boots crunching on the charred remains of wood.

The young girl was quite pretty, but at the moment her eyes were swollen from crying, her delicate cheeks covered in ash and cuts. What stood out most prominently were her startling gray eyes, so guarded and vicious that even a grown man would stagger back in fright. They were eyes not meant to belong to a ten year old girl… they were the eyes of a killer.

A tall, broad figure dressed in a cloak stood before her, their face hidden by the hood of their cloak. Such power was displayed by the confident manner they stood, and such hatred displayed itself upon seeing the ruins of the village.

"Who are you?" the girl demanded. Her voice was cold and cutting, her gray eyes flashing in distrust. She had been too weak to defend her family and people, but she wouldn't die, not when her parents, older brother, and sister had risked their lives to save her own. Yes… she would live for them, even if she loathed her life so much now and felt as though she wanted to take a knife and slit her throat.

"Such a melancholy scene…" the cloaked figure said, their gaze flickering through the charred remains. Their voice was a dull monotone, so deceiving. "Termina has done such terrible things… but never have I seen something so cold a merciless before…"

"You have not answered my question!" the girl shouted at the figure, getting to her feet and clenching her fists in rage. "Who are you, and why are you here? As you can see, Iseed is destroyed, so go and let the dead rest in peace."

Upon hearing the young girl's brave voice, the figure turned their gaze upon her, taking in every feature before finally landing on her furious gray eyes.

"You…" they murmured. "Gray eyes… I thought as much…"

"The slaughter of my village has nothing to do with the color of my eyes!" the girl shouted furiously. "What is important is that my people are dead and must be laid to rest. Be gone from this place before I make you!"

The figure advanced a few steps toward the girl, every step causing the hatred in the girl's eyes to grow tenfold until they became smoldering and stifling. "Termina was after you, no doubt. And who wouldn't go after the one destined to become the Sage of Cosmos… the very protector of the Royal Family and the whole of Hyrule. Your death certainly would have allowed Termina to harm the infant Princess and seize control of Hyrule."

"I have no idea what you're talking about, rat!" the girl said. "Leave this place, I demand it of you!"

"Allow me to introduce myself," the person said. They took a gauntleted hand to their hood, lowering it and revealing their face.

Shaggy brown hair fell about a roughly scarred face. Piercing green eyes stood out from under thick brows… this man was the epitome of power… The girl's tanned skin whitened as she stared upon his face, but never did her piercing grays leave his eyes.

"I am Mathias of Hyrule… I am His Majesty's Royal Wizard and most trusted advisor," Mathias spoke. "I was sent here by the King to ensure that this village was safe, and though I went with the greatest speed, it appears I was still too late…"

"I'm well aware of who you are," the girl said, regaining her defiant composure. "And I know the things that you can do… You use your magic to break people mentally with torturous illusions… a cruel yet efficient way to get the information that you need."

Mathias chuckled, shaking his head. "I would expect no less from the Sage of Cosmos."

"I have no idea what you speak of," the girl said, glaring. "Why would a country seek to kill a young girl with no power?"

"It isn't what you are, it is what you will become that they fear," Mathias explained, "The Sage of Cosmos… the most powerful of the eight sages of Hyrule, created by the Goddesses for the sole purpose of protecting the Hylian Crown and the land itself."

"I have no such power!" the girl retorted.

"You deny that you have never heard voices in your sleep… strange dreams that came true? You've never wished something, and it came true?" Mathias replied, "Furthermore, your eyes are gray, the color of the stars, no other has eyes such as yours. If I am correct, on your right shoulder there is a tattoo of Yin and Yang, the delicate balances between the forces of good and evil... the mark of the Sage of Cosmos."

"…Yes, I have such a mark," the girl replied, grasping her arm.

"I am offering to take you under my wing," Mathias said, "I'll take you back to court, and there you will study as my apprentice… If I am correct about your talents, you will surpass me faster than any other. After your training is complete, you will take up residence in the Temple of Cosmos, located at the top of the Silver Mountains, and there you will keep watch over the land."

For a moment there was silence as the girl stared down at her bloodstained hands. If she took this opportunity, then perhaps when she was powerful enough, she might take revenge over Termina for the deaths of her comrades. Anger, hatred, and sorrow burned through her very veins…

"I'll go with you," the girl responded carefully. "But first I must give my people a proper burial…"

Mathias nodded, smiling for the first time. "I will help you… But I must ask, what is your name, young one?"

The girl started off in the direction of an open field, never gazing back upon Mathias. "My name is Artemis."

"We're almost there," Leto said, gazing at the ever growing figure of the Silver Mountains.

Hyrule field's familiar grassy plains were starting to give way to the rocky boulders and rugged grounds of mountains. As always, the sun was high in the sky, and there was not a single cloud in the sky. It was a bright and cheerful day in Hyrule.

Sadly, things were not that way with the trio of companions.

After the incident between the two of them, Link had remained isolated and cold toward his companions, especially toward poor Zelda. It was as though he had lost his heart completely. Even his stoic nature was better than dealing with this new introverted personality.

Zelda was not fairing well either. Unlike the days before, she did not speak to Leto as she usually did, instead she adopted the countenance she used as Princess: regal, composed, and formal. She had resigned herself to only speaking when asked a question, her blue eyes no longer held their defiance, instead they were hurt and sorrowful.

Leto hated seeing her friends in such a state. Though she had only known them for so short a time, and she was working with them for only until the job was done, she felt close to them. She had to end their suffering somehow… but how?

"How long will it take us to get up the mountain?" Zelda asked in a quiet tone. Her pretty face had no smile splayed across its features, and her voice held no life. She was plain and dull without them, a sad sight to behold.

"I believe it will take us quite a while," Leto said, looking up to the summit, hidden in fog. "It is better that we rest in the next town and then start our climb tomorrow morn. I'm sure that we will need plenty of strength."

"The nearest town is Iseed…" Link whispered, pulling on Epona's reigns slightly. "It lies at the foot of the Silver Mountains. We shall head there and stay the night at an inn, wake up at dawn, and begin our climb." Without another word, Link gently urged Epona into a gallop, taking off in the direction of the village.

Leto sighed heavily, leaning onto Guard's broad neck and furrowing her brow in frustration. 'This is an utter mess. If they weren't such blockheads then my job would be so much easier… Oh well, I'll keep trying…'

Iseed was a tiny town, nestled at the very foot of the looming form of Silver Mountain.

Its cobblestone streets were filled with various shops, houses, and merchants from all parts of Hyrule. Songs were sung merrily, joining in with the cool spring air and heard from miles around. Young children played in the streets with their toys and pets, laughing brightly and welcoming visitors. Nobles walked here and there, chatting and gossiping as they shopped for the latest fashions and tokens to add to their numerous wealth.

Yes, Iseed was a successful town indeed.

"It's so busy here…" Link murmured, pushing his way through the heavily populated street. Men, women and children pushed and shoved at him, not even aware of his presence.

"Iseed is a very successful trading place and tourist attraction," Leto responded, smiling as a tiny child waved at her. "It is said in Kokira that Artemis, the Sage of Cosmos, was born and raised for ten years of her life here. That is why the Temple of Cosmos is so close to here, it is because Artemis feels a longing to be close to home."

Zelda furrowed her brow in confusion. "I thought that Iseed was destroyed one hundred years ago, during Artemis' childhood. Artemis hasn't left the temple for over one hundred years, so why would she be aware of its presence?"

"Artemis has many powers. She has the power of seeing into the future, as well as locating any person she wishes," Leto responded. "Kokira has a good many documents that the Royal Family does not have. That is why I know so much… In fact Artemis' teacher, Mathias, was from my village, and so we have a large amount of sources."

Link, who had begun tapping his foot on the cobblestone street, shot an impatient glare at Leto. "Come now, we must be finding a place to stay. We must sleep if we want to have enough energy to climb tomorrow morning."

"Very well, Mr. Greene, though I do not know what you are so impatient about," Leto muttered, shrugging her shoulders. "Come, I have been here many a time before, I know the perfect inn for us to rest our weary heads in."

A figure dressed in blue robes stood in the heart of Iseed, hood lowered over their head.

Their face turned about the sleeping town, an almost nostalgic look appeared in sharp gray eyes as their gaze traveled slowly over every building.

"Time has been cruel to me…" a melodious voice whispered. "Iseed is no longer a tiny village… it enrages me that my people's memory has been defiled in such a way. Greed has turned my once humble village into a place for greedy souls to make Rupees…"

They slowly sauntered forward, their boots clacking on the cold street. The cover of night had certainly made Iseed appear more tranquil… quieter than it had ever been since the cold day one hundred years ago…

Their gaze came upon a small building, an inn by the look of it. A window, covered by a cheap curtain was their target. Luckily there was no soft glow of a candle, meaning the person within had already fallen asleep.

Soft words floated through the night air, sounding beautiful… like music without instruments.

The cloaked figure was lifted into the air toward the window, almost as though some invisible force was at work…

With a quiet hand, the window opened and the curtain slid back, allowing the soft glow of the moon to filter into the darkened room.

Two teenaged women were asleep in their beds. One with brown locks and the other soft blonde. Both women had wisdom etched into every feature and were beautiful beyond compare, however, the cloaked figure stared only at one.

"Princess Zelda…" the person said quietly, eyes looking at the young Princess' sleeping face. Sleep somehow released all worldly cares from Zelda's features… she looked like the adorable little girl she once was so many years ago.

"…Link…" the Princess' features became pained and a lone tear, as clear and sparkling as crystal, leaked down her pale features.

"Poor girl…" the person whispered, extending a delicate hand upon Zelda's face and gently pushing away a stray lock of soft gold. "To love someone and to have their feelings rejected… the feeling is overwhelming, isn't it? Just like your ancestor and her tragic love with him. Everyone is born into their own place, and sometimes those that we love the most are the ones that we must part with…"

The cloaked figure spoke a few words silently, their hand glowing a light blue for a split moment before returning to normal.

Withdrawing their hand, they gazed down sadly at Zelda, sighing slightly.

"Magic locks over your emotions… For one who has never used magic before, you have certainly have much power…" they whispered. "I see layers of magic upon you, all said in the old tongue, holding back your feelings for that boy. You must love him dearly to use such powerful magic to dull your pain, Princess."

As they reached a hand into the sleeve of their robe, they found a large blade, poised at the back of their neck.

Slowly turning their gaze, the person saw that the young Princess' companion had awakened.

The girl's blue eyes were feral and penetrating, every beautiful feature was creased with power and anger. The large sword was held in their right hand without much difficulty… This girl would kill without remorse or hesitation, it was in her terrifying gaze and cold aura.

"Stand away from her," the girl spoke in a cold tone, her eyes hardening further. "Stand away or else I shall kill you."

The person simply turned and glared back, a smile curling on their delicate lips. This girl would die to protect her friend…

"You would protect her with your own life?" the person asked, tone mocking, "How sweet and utterly sickening."

"Be silent, I am the one at the advantage here, Sage," the girl said.

The person appeared unmoving, but within there was nothing but shock.

"How do you know who I am?" the person whispered softly.

"Your eyes… I caught a glimpse of them as you came into the room. Only one person has gray eyes, and that is you, Artemis, Sage of Cosmos," the girl said. She gently took her blade and held it to the cloaked person's neck. "You are the Sage of Cosmos? What a joke, I would expect you to know I was behind you."

"Do not judge when the battle is finished until the victim falls," Artemis said coldly.

The girl's sword was thrown from her grasp suddenly, planting itself into the wall with a loud 'thud.'

Artemis rose a delicate hand out toward the girl, closing it in a clawlike motion.

The girl immediately collapsed to her knees, holding her throat and gasping for air. Something was suffocating her to death, an invisible force…

Artemis slowly walked over to the girl, staring into her stark blue eyes with indifference as she watched the young person breathe heavily for air. A sick, twisted smile appeared on her face as she delicately touched the girl's face.

"Do not bother trying to escape with a counter spell," Artemis said softly, laughing. "Now, tell me… Who is in control now, girl?"

"I… I will not give up…" the girl gasped. Her blue eyes stared directly into Artemis' grays, as cold and brave as they were at the beginning.

This girl didn't show any signs of fear of death or desertion toward her comrades. A very different, and interesting girl.

"What is your name, girl. Speak it, I will not forget it," Artemis demanded.

"Why should I tell my name to you," the girl spat, gasping as her throat was crushed further. "You've done nothing worth deserving to know my name or respect."

"Very brave of you to speak while you are being killed…" Artemis smiled. "I could crush your throat… snap your neck, send images of gore into your head, or slowly burn you to death, and yet you face me with courage. Your eyes remind me of mine… perhaps we are not so different."

"I defend my friends with my life," the girl replied with ease. "I allowed people precious to me to die, but no more. You may kill me, but I will take you with me, Sage of Cosmos, no matter how powerful you are!"

Artemis remained silent for a moment before raising her hand into the air. "I will teach you a lesson… you cannot protect everything without power. Not everyone can stop everything…"

"We can try as best we can!" the girl insisted.

"Hmph… say hello to Link for me, would you?" Artemis said, smiling coldly. She spoke a word quickly and quietly, words that made the girl's eyes light up with recognition and horror.

The girl went flying into the opposite wall, her form slamming against it, blood spewing forth from her mouth as she slumped there, unconscious as blood leaked from her head.

At the sound of the girl's pained cry, Zelda awoke. Upon seeing her comrade lying crumpled against the wall, she screamed. Rushing out of bed on naked feet, the Princess ran to her friend, taking her into her arms and cradling her.

"Leto… Leto, please wake up!" Zelda muttered into her friend's shoulder. Blood leaked onto her nightdress and smeared her face, but still she held the girl there, muttering things into her ear.

The Princess turned her furious violet eyes upon Artemis, glaring at the Sage with burning anger and hatred.

"Who are you!" she demanded, eyes piercing into Artemis'. "What do you want? Why did you hurt Leto?"

Artemis gazed into Zelda's eyes with an icy glare. Electricity flowed between the two, their eyes communicating and reading each other's.

With one last look at the unconscious and bleeding Leto, Artemis pointed to the far wall with a delicate hand as she turned and leapt through the window, ignoring Zelda's cries of fury and anger.

The young Princess turned her gaze upon the wall, her purple eyes widened in surprise…

There, written in Leto's fresh blood were words so ominous and eerie that it made Zelda's body spasm with violent shivers.

'Pursue me no more… Ragnarok is upon you.'

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