Chapter 20: A Break in Artemis' Memories
Darkness engulfed Link and Zelda as Artemis' memories once again took them through time. For a moment they could only feel the hold of one another's skin rubbing against each other, and for once Link was wholly and truly relieved for Zelda's presence next to him. If he was lost in this silent and dark abyss alone, he would have lost his mind…
There was a dropping sensation filling his limbs, his golden hair began to whip wildly about him and he wrapped his strong arms about Zelda as she clung to him desperately. What was happening, what was wrong with Artemis' magic? Surely the Sage of Cosmos had cast the proper spell upon them, so why would this be happening?
Almost as soon as it had started the rushing feeling ended, and he felt a soft and cool breeze whip against his cheek. The gentle chirrup of crickets filled his ears like gentle music, prompting him to let go of Zelda slowly and hesitantly as he opened his eyes.
Before him Artemis was crouched in her beautiful blue robes, dark hair spilling from underneath the hood and her eyes already filled with the inhuman wisdom and sadness that would later haunt her eyes. In the Sage's gentle arms lay a pile of bottle green cloth.
The inky darkness of night had already overcome Hyrule Field, the coolness of the night sneaking through Link's blood crusted tunic. The grass was wet with dew and something else that Link could not quite make out.
He bent, pulling away from Zelda's strong grasp to observe the dark pool upon the ground…
A putrid and iron stench met his nose and sent waves of nausea pounding throughout his body. Blood… and fresh blood too.
As his eyes adjusted to the scarce light, Link made out the gristly scene before him: A wolfos lay cleaved in half, its yellow eyes empty and its maw leaking blood. Artemis had taken no mercy upon the creature, but why…?
His question was answered almost immediately when he saw the mangled figure of a Hylian lying on the grass before him. For some strange reason this person seemed so… familiar to him… Link took a few shaky steps to stand next to the Sage of Cosmos and almost immediately he fell to his knees beside Artemis in grief and shock.
A young girl, no older than thirteen lay before him, a dark pool of red blood growing about her delicate form. Her clothing had been shredded from her figure in a violent manner, and in their place large gashes oozed blood and pus. Burns were etched into the teenager's pale skin, along with cuts that Link could see had been made by the unsharpened edge of a blade. Violent tears made from the claws of beasts adorned her body like tattoos, her arm was bent at an odd angle and her right leg was nothing but a lame pile of distorted flesh.
The young girl's face must have been the only thing that was the least marred. Her hair was chocolate brown and cut jaggedly as though with a dull stone. Skin as pale as alabaster shone from beneath a dirt covered face as a jagged seven shaped cut oozed blood. Crimson liquid came forth from parted lips and lids were tightly closed over eyes that were no doubt shocking.
Link's stomach almost wanted to purge itself at the sight of the young girl. Never before had he seen such a badly wounded person before; not even himself after fighting against Ragnarok… No doubt before being attacked this young girl was a stunning beauty.
Suddenly her lids opened slightly and revealed feral blue eyes. Link's eyes.
Link watched as the girl fought to keep herself from dying as she struggled to speak with what must have been the last of her energy.
"Please… please save him… save my little brother…" the girl's voice broke the night darkness, soft and pleading through the blood that stifled her speech. She was begging… this girl was only worried about her brother while she was dying… How unselfish…
Artemis seemed slightly startled that the girl had spoken to her. With such wounds, she had thought the girl dead. Still, she said nothing as the young girl upon the ground continued to speak.
"I don't care about myself… just save him…" A violent convulsion caught the young one and blood spewed forth with a gruesome sounding choke. This girl was drowning to death in her own blood.
Artemis opened her mouth slightly, almost as though to stop the girl from wasting further energy, but still the girl continued on, gasping heavily, her blue eyes boring into Artemis' grays with great determination.
"Please… please… I-I'm begging you…"
"I shall find him a place to stay… he will be well loved where I send him…" The Sage of Cosmos' voice was filled with strange tenderness as she looked down at the bundle of cloths in her arms. "I'll see to your body after you pass… what is your name, young one?"
The young girl swallowed back a mouthful of blood before speaking again. "Amelia…"
"And your brother… what is his name?"
The young girl's eyes focused for a moment; Link could see that she was teetering at the border of death… "Link… his name is Link…"
The girl reached out a torn hand toward the bundle, and for the first time Link could see a tiny baby wrapped within the many cloths. His eyes were closed and his finger stuck firmly in his mouth while tiny wisps of dirty blonde hair shone in the dim moonlight. …Link saw himself as a baby sleeping while his sister died…
Link's shock was replaced with numbness as soon as he saw a faint smile cross his sister's pale lips. His own hand reached out and placed itself within Amelia's touch… He was surprised to see that he could feel its soft, warm, and rough surface… hands that he now remembered all to well along with the soft smile that she wore on her face.
For a moment it seemed the barrier of time had been broken as Link looked into Amelia's eyes and saw such admiration and pride in them… almost as though she could see the man that her little baby brother hand become. A faint tear trickled from the young girl's wild blues as she parted her lips for what would no doubt be her last words.
"Link… I'm so sorry…" Link watched as his sister's hand slowly fell from his grasp and onto the cold ground. Her head fell back and she gave a violent shudder as blood was forced from her mouth. Her breathing began to still as her eyes closed on those feral eyes of hers. A few moments later her life finally left her and all that remained was her tortured corpse.
Link's eyes closed in pain and he gave an anguished shout to the heavens. Never before had he felt such grief, even when Leto had died. He crumpled onto his sister's body, feeling its warmth despite the fact that it was a memory. She had given up everything just to save him and now he had no one left in the world…. It wasn't fair!
Zelda grew frightened and worried as she saw Link's evident pain. Slowly she stumbled to where Link was, ignoring the words that Artemis whispered to baby Link as he slept on unaware of his sister's demise. She took Link in his arms, holding him firmly in a motherly embrace despite his violent thrashings.
"Link, calm down…" she whispered to him as she rubbed circles around his back. "I know it hurts… Please stop crying, it's only a memory… She's where she cannot feel anymore hurt…"
"It's not fair!" Link shouted, sobs choking his voice. "It's not fair! Why did she have to die…? It's not fair!"
It hurt and scared Zelda to see her friend in such emotional distress. Never before had the usually composed Link acted so hysterically… It was as though he had been reduced to nothing but a baby. Is this what Artemis had meant when she said the images would break them mentally?
Within a few moments Link had calmed quite a bit and he lay in Zelda's grasp, his muscular frame shaking violently as he mourned the loss of his sister.
Zelda opened her violet eyes long enough to make out a shape in the never ending darkness of night before the abyss swallowed her again.
Shining on Amelia's right hand was a symbol so familiar it sent chills down her very being… It was a symbol so powerful and legendary she had thought it hadn't existed…
Shining on the dead girl's cold hand was the legendary Triforce.
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