Chapter 17: One Hundred Years Ago
The Temple of Cosmos pierced the night skies, fog around its pointed spires, its polished blue surface seemingly glittering in the bright moonlight. It was a breathtaking sight, its majesty not even rivaled by Hyrule Castle's majestic towers.
Within its strong and cold walls lurked the essence of the Sage of Cosmos and the two childhood friends, Princess Zelda, the light of Hyrule, and Link Greene, reincarnation of the legendary Hero of Time, brought back to life through the power of a hundred year old vow of love.
The night's inky blackness was still nothing compared to the dark nature of the secrets about to be revealed to the two young ones...
Link's eyes widened in surprise as he took his breathtaking surroundings, his breathing growing slightly shallow.
Artemis had led them through the various dark passages of the Temple of Cosmos, navigating them with practiced skill.
'Stay close to me, friends,' she had said, looking into their eyes with her steely grays, 'There are beasts and illusions within this temple… beasts that will rip you apart without a single thought and illusions that will leave mentally broken forevermore…' The Sage of Cosmos had easily described the horrors of the Temple with a straight, blank face.
Now that they had made it through the narrow and frighteningly cold passages, they stood in the midst of a cozy study.
The room was large, about the size of Hyrule's Grand Library. Tall bookshelves made of warm, brown wood lay leaning against the walls, their shelves filled to the very brim with books of various sizes and colors. The blue stone walls were lit with the warm glow from the large fireplace. One large table filled the room, made of the same brown wood as the bookshelves, its surface rough and bumpy with scars, chairs gathered around the edges, waiting for someone to sit on their surfaces.
A long spiral staircase made of pure silver wound their way around the small study, leading into unknown rooms. This, without a doubt, was the place in which the Sage of Cosmos resided… A strangely warm and simple place, so completely different from the majestic outside walls and the rich clothes that the Sage wore about her body.
Artemis' gray eyes flickered in the warm fire as she stepped forward, removing the long blue cloak from about her shoulders. Her blue robes shimmered as she took a seat at the long table, making herself comfortable and grabbing a random book off its surface.
Ragnarok, who had followed them, took his side by his master, lying down and placing his large silver head in between his massive paws, golden eyes sparkling. The savage, ferocious wolf looked like a puppy, his eyes closed contentedly as Artemis reached a hand down and rubbed his head, causing the familiar to release a contended growl.
Artemis looked up at Link and Zelda, who stood, looking at the Sage with blank looks on their faces. Their appearance was dirt smudged and shabby, and, in Link's case, war torn and bloody.
"What are you doing, have a seat," Artemis said, motion to the two chairs on either side of her.
Clumsily, Link and Zelda made their way to opposite sides of the table, sitting down and staring down at the table with awkward silence. A few moments passed without any words until Artemis finally spoke up.
"Children, I thought that you might have questions for me, why do you not speak what is bearing down upon your minds?" Artemis asked, smiling serenely at the two young people, folding her hands on the table.
Link gathered his courage, swallowing the sweet taste of blood in his mouth. He'd been biting the inside of his mouth, trying to contain the questions that were burning in his mind. For the first time in a while, he opened his mouth to speak.
"Will you be able to break our vow?" Link asked, his blue eyes shining with hope and something else. That was the question that needed the most addressing, the fate of Hyrule depended upon the Sage's answer.
"I will have to study the magick for a while, but I most likely I will be able to find the solution," Artemis replied. "If I were to try to break it immediately, then there might be some damage. It's best for me to study it, to avoid making any costly mistakes…"
Artemis withdrew her hand from her familiar's head, crossing her arms and looking deeply into Link's blue orbs, her gray eyes dancing with fire.
"Link… you must have a question about your past… your life before this one," Artemis whispered, averting her gaze toward the licking flames.
"Why did the Hero leave this land, Master Artemis? Why did you kill him?"
"…Link the first was a dear, dear friend to me… But I, being Princess Zelda's closest advisor and friend, as well as Sage, had to act upon my duties…" Artemis' eyes took on a melancholy expression, her beautiful, wise eyes gazing painfully into space, looking into the past.
"Artemis…?" Zelda asked softly, placing a gentle hand upon Artemis' stiff shoulder.
The Sage bit her lip for a moment, contemplating something silently. Looking at her familiar, the wolf seemed to nod in agreement, and then the two of them looked back at Link.
"It's easier if I were to show you…" Artemis said softly, "I can use my magick to send you back in time, so to speak. You'll view my memories… However, you might be shocked by the images and you may be put into shock."
Link thought about what the Sage's offer quite a while. He could risk loosing his sanity from this experience, or he could never take the risk and have the questions burning in his mind for the rest of his life, never knowing what the strange dreams meant. For a few moments, he remained silent before raising his head, his face set in a determined expression.
"Send me back, I must know," Link replied.
"You do know what you are risking, Link, don't you?" Artemis warned, "You could never wake up again, you could have nightmares every night and end up miserable for the rest of your days."
"I know what I'm risking," Link replied adamantly, "I'll risk it all to get these questions off my mind."
"I'm coming with you," Zelda said suddenly.
Link's eyes lit with surprise as he saw the determined expression etched onto his childhood friend's beautiful features.
"Zelda-," Link began, intending to stop her from making a brash decision.
"No Link," Zelda interrupted, determination increasing, "You've been trying to pull from me, I feel it. But this is something that you're not doing alone. I'm not helpless, Link. I have a right to make my own decisions."
"…Very well," Link said hesitantly after looking deeply into Zelda's eyes to read her emotions.
"Prepare yourselves…" Artemis said, closing her gray eyes and putting her hands together in a praying fashion.
Soft, crooning language floated into the air… the language that lately seemed so familiar…
Link's eyes slowly became heavy, the words leaving the Sage's mouth lulling him into the sweet, gentle embrace of sleep.
He couldn't fight it… the image of the study flickered before his eyes, and finally, his vision faded into darkness.
"Lady Sage, wait for a moment, my Lady!" someone shouted from a distance.
Link opened his eyes, sunlight blinding his vision, the smell of flowers clouding his nostrils… a familiar and comforting scent.
As he got to his feet, groaning, his eyes adjusted to the burning light, and slowly he began to realize where he was.
He was in the long, sloping corridor of Hyrule Castle's many vast ways. The white marble, the familiar scent of flowers… this was the Noble's Quarters, he remembered the smell from the times in his childhood when he and Zelda would run through these halls, knocking over guards and maids as they scampered off in fun.
Zelda had stirred herself, her violet eyes wide with surprise as she saw that she was home.
"Lady Sage!" Someone shouted again.
A guard, dressed in the usual ornate Royal Soldier garb came running toward them, his mail and armor clinking together as he fought to keep up with someone that had stopped not far from them.
Link braced himself for impact, ready for the young guard to crash directly into him, however it never came. Rather, the young man ran straight through him, the only sensation of the touch was a chilling sensation that made his hair stand on end.
Link took a moment to calculate what had just happened. The guard had gone straight through him… by why? Oh yes… it was because this was merely Artemis' memory, and if they were here, that must have meant Artemis was around here somewhere…
Raising his head, Link saw the person he had sought out, but to his surprise, she looked very different.
Young Artemis stood before Link and Zelda, wearing a fine golden shirt with silver clasps, her legs clothed with fine black pants and shiny black boots clothed her feet.
Her face was younger, more innocent than her current state, her gray eyes sparkling mischievously, lacking the sadness and wisdom that her present self did. She looked like a normal teenager, not like the wise and powerful Sage that she truly was.
"What is it, Soldier?" Artemis asked, smiling at the panting guard.
"Her Highness, Lord Link, and the Sages ask for your presence in the Throne Room," the guard answered.
"Thank you," Artemis said softly, placing a hand of gentle thanks on the shoulder before heading in the opposite direction.
Link and Zelda's eyes widened as they looked at each other, following the younger Sage down the halls. They were one hundred years in the past, living a legend almost dead to their world.
It seemed quite a while before Artemis came upon the familiar doors of the Throne Room.
The young Sage easily pushed with one hand against the large doors, gently opening them without any effort.
A large, round table made of stained wood stood boldly in the middle of the large throne room. Large windows let light filter into the room, illuminating the royal red carpet that covered the cold marble floor. At the head of the room, on raised stairs, stood two thrones, wrought of pure gold and worked masterfully into a single, flowing design.
Eight people sat at the table, all looking toward Artemis with great respect and awe.
A Zora, Goron, Sheikah, Gerudo, a young girl, and three Hylians sat seated, each of them emanating the elements of Hyrule. Still, their presence was nothing compared to that of Artemis, who's presence overpowered all seven's and filled the room to the brim with righteous power.
"Ruto, Darunia, Nabooru, Impa, Rauru, Saria, Lady Zelda, and Link," Artemis murmured, inclining her head respectfully. She strode forward confidently, taking her place at the empty seat and sitting among her comrades.
Link's eyes widened as his eyes looked upon two people at the table.
One was a young man, garbed in a fine bottle green tunic and white tights, brown boots with a sword and shield firmly strapped to his back. On his shabby locks, the man wore a bottle green cap, like those that the 'Kokiri,' fabled children of Legend.
Although the clothing was different, the man was one and the same with Link. From the blue eyes, to every single feature in his face, this man was identical to Link, meaning only one thing. He was Link the first, the Hero of Time and savior of Hyrule, and also Link's previous incarnation.
A young woman sat to Link the first's right, garbed in a Royal Purple and White dress, the symbol of the Triforce etched upon its front, along with the Royal Hylian Phoenix.
This woman… she was virtually identical to Zelda, as alike as though the two of them were twins. The only difference was their eyes, Link's Zelda had beautiful violets, whereas this Zelda had gorgeous blues overflowing with wisdom.
If these were both the first Zelda and Link, then that must mean that the people at this table… they were the Sages of Hyrule!
Link and Zelda were in the presence of the greatest people of Legends… Now more questions were beginning to surface in his mind… ones that would only be answered in this dream.
Little did they know that these memories were more of a nightmare than they could ever imagine.
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