Chapter 21: Artemis' Anger
The melancholy scene of bloodshed and slaughter faded into the black portal. Amelia's cold and stiff body disappeared from Link's firm and demanding grasp as though it were a dream. Still, Zelda could feel the young man's trembling against her small form as she held him.
However, Zelda's mind had long left her and wandered through the recesses of her own memory.
The young Princess was positive that before the darkness engulfed her she had seen the power of the Triforce glowing upon the corpse's mutilated body. It was impossible for anything except for the Holy Triangle to give off such a pure light.
A month ago Zelda would not have even believed that the Sage of Cosmos, let alone the Triforce had ever existed. Yes, divine powers such as magick had existed but the powers at work around her and her childhood friend were greater than any that they would encounter in their lives… Still, Ganondorf had been defeated and sealed away, meaning that his Triforce piece must have been removed upon his entrance into the evil realm. Zelda bore the Triforce of Wisdom, supposedly; however, she had no mark to prove it as such… That left only one piece, the Triforce of Courage.
No… the Triforce of Courage had been lost to mankind long ago through the hands of the Hero. However, Zelda thought, it might just be possible that Link, her Link, possessed the wonderful and fantastic powers of the Goddess Farore. She could think of no other soul brave enough to obtain the mystic power, this along with the fact that he was the Hero's incarnate drew Zelda to this theory.
The Triforce of Power… where had it gone after Amelia's (if she possessed it) death? Would a person not become corrupted by wielding something so terrible, just as Ganon had so many years ago? It could also be possible that Amelia was the wielder of the Triforce of Courage…
Zelda bit her lip in frustration as she closed her pretty violet eyes to the world outside. She lowered her face slowly into Link's shoulder and breathed in his fresh forest scent to calm herself a bit.
So many questions, when would they all be answered? These memories… Yes, they would answer these haunting remarks…
It was not long before another scene materialized before them. Once again they stood in the Throne Room, and again the Sage's sat in their respective places. The only difference Zelda had noticed was that the sun was not blaring through the window. Rather, it was dark, dim torchlight illuminating the walls instead of the gentle and warm rays.
Artemis sat with her arms crossed and expression fierce, beside her sitting the ever-stoic Kaoru. The Sage was glaring directly at the Princess of Destiny, who, at the time, was staring into the Hero of Time's deep blues… Zelda I had not done as Artemis had so warned her to, and now it appeared that the Sage was bracing herself for the repercussions of the Princess' selfish decision.
Zelda felt Link tremble slightly as he looked up for the first time.
His face was tearstained and raw, eyes swollen and red from his fierce bawling. Link's whole form was trembling violently as the young soldier took deep and shuddering breaths to regain his stoic nature. For once in his life he looked as though he was nothing more than a helpless child awaiting the call of his mother.
"Late this night we were informed that our neighbor and dear ally Emmaus has armored their troops and declared war upon this land of Hyrule," Zelda I said, shuddering slightly. The young monarch appeared to be struggling internally. Only when Link I gave her shoulders a gentle squeeze did she continue on, this time with much greater confidence. "They demand that I marry the heir to their throne, and in exchange they will stop their march forward."
For a moment everyone at the table seemed breathless, still, Artemis only looked grimly at the table with the same expression of inner sadness and anger. The Sage of Cosmos had foreseen this event and now that it was finally happening she was cursing over Link I's very existence in their realm.
"What shall we do?" said Impa, the Princess's white haired nursemaid. Her painted eyes narrowed as she crossed her arms, shaking her head in disappointment. "Hyrule has just begun recovering from Ganon's tyrannical reign. Many of the men who defended our proud state lay cold within their graves or missing limbs."
"The Zoras cannot escape from the ice," Ruto, the Zora woman said, her fins tensing. "I have tried, but I cannot manipulate sheets of ice thicker than steel. By the time they unthaw, Hyrule shall be taken."
"We of the Goron tribe are short of staff," Darunia said, frowning in sadness. "Our men lie, as Impa said, dead, and those that are men are not even out of their cradles."
"We of the Kokiri cannot leave the forest and we dislike war," the green haired girl that Zelda had seen Link I call Saria. The Kokiri girl's emerald eyes faded slightly as she continued. "I cannot aid you, even with all my power."
"The Gerudo are the same as you Hylians," Nabooru sighed, "We cannot assist you. Ganon was perhaps worse on us than on you. He killed the male child that was born by the power of Din. Right now we are leaderless and weak."
Everyone turned their gaze upon the Sage of Cosmos and her pupil; their eyes expectant and pleading. Artemis merely continued to wallow in thoughts; idly chewing her tongue, her gray eyes closed.
"You are the most powerful of the eight sages," Link I said softly as his feral sapphire gaze looked upon the impassive Sage, a somewhat fearful and reluctant air about him. "Surely there might be something you can do, Lady Artemis."
"I cannot and will not be part of these petty wars." The phrase was a simple one, but it caused the whole of the assembly to instantly turn against the Sage of Cosmos and look at her as though she were some traitor.
Link I was the first to react; his eyes no longer gentle and respectful as he addressed a Sage that was more powerful and wise than him in more ways than one. "Lady Artemis, are you not loyal to Hyrule and Her Royal Family? Surely there is something you can do. If you do not act, than you are truly no citizen of Hyrule."
Instantly Artemis was standing, glaring at the young warrior with narrow and cold eyes. A dull blue aura flickered in her right hand; magick waiting to be released with one simple and quick gesture. "Do not speak to me of loyalties, little boy. I have lived longer than ten years of my life and even when I was ten I was wiser than you shall ever be. Curb your tongue and learn your place: when someone is more powerful you submit to them."
"I have lost more than you shall ever. And it was because of Hyrule's actions that I lost those dearest to me. I obey the Holy Trio and them alone, I do not answer to the Royal Family or to you, you supposed Hero of Time. You're nothing than a mere child stuck in an adult's body."
The Sage's cool words had sent Link I into a great rage. The knowledge that she was more than right and had said it with so little emotion had increased his fury even more.
The blonde Hero drew the Master Sword from its sheath, ignoring the protests of the young Princess Zelda as he jumped atop the surface of the long table and rushed out toward Artemis.
Kaoru began to rise from her chair, hands glowing with dull green magick as she readied herself to defend her teacher. However, one simple hand motion from Artemis and Kaoru hesitantly stood and watched.
Link I came upon Artemis in moments, his sword held high in the air and ready to cleave the young Sage's flesh. The silver steel glinted as it came down in a slow arc.
Almost instantly Link I froze in place, his eyes wide with bewilderment as he felt the magick of the spell course through his veins. Link and Zelda stared on with much surprise and alarm as Artemis simply glared into the Hero of Time's eyes with something close to pity.
"Fool." Artemis nodded to Kaoru, prompting the young student to get up and move toward the large oaken doors as if waiting for something. The Sage flicked her wrist lazily; a simple gesture that would change everything.
At the motion Link I was sent flying backward, taken off his feet by some unknown force. As he hit the ground, a dull crunch echoed as bones broke on impact. A hoarse cry left parted lips and blood spewed onto the marble floor.
The Sage's gave an alarmed cry, and even more devastating was Zelda I's own reaction.
She rushed over to the Hero's side and grabbed him into her arms, body shaking as she fought to choke back tears. Link sighed… Just like his Zelda when Artemis had attacked Leto…
His gaze averted to Artemis, who simply gazed down at the Hero's crumpled form. She turned on a booted heel, motioning for her impassive student to follow her.
Link I's green tunic was turning dark brown from blood, and he loosed horrible cries whenever his companions tried to move him. However, his expression, though beaten, was haunted and scared… Almost as though the Sage's words had slashed him… Was this an awakening?
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