Chapter 4: Searching for the Break
Link fought to stay on his feet. The wind sweeping him violently, as though a bull was ramming into him. Still, he thought little of fighting the winds and more of what the Goddesses had said.
Shock and panic coursed through his blood as the words echoed continuously through his mind. He had done something horrible, he had hindered the marriage of Prince Edward and Princess Zelda, and with it, the unification of two kingdoms into a single mighty force.
He could be hung for treason against the crown of Hyrule, banned, tortured until death, or burned alive at the stake. The Terminians would not take lightly to such interference as well. They might turn on the thousand year old treaty forged between them and lash out against Hyrule. And with Hyrule in such a critical state of war, they would not be able to defend themselves against Vandellus and Termina, leaving them to either surrender or be slaughtered mercilessly by the two Kingdoms.
Unless there was some way to break the vow, then Hyrule itself was doomed.
"Goddesses of Hyrule, hear my final plea!" Link shouted once again, his voice beginning to fade beneath the onslaught of wind. "Is there a way to break the vow spoken between Zelda and myself?" How ironic that the fate of Hyrule lay in the hands of a simple vow being broken?
The voice came again, as gentle and firm as before. "We, the Goddesses, cannot break your vow. The magic that binds thou to Zelda is stronger than the powers of the cosmos. Find the vow thou hast spoken, and see if there is a way to reverse its powerful magicks."
Link felt as though he had been thoroughly punched in the stomach. If this vow was made eleven years ago, he and Zelda were merely children. No doubt the two of them had played a game when the vow had come into play… but after seven years, the memory had faded into nothingness. The two hadn't even remembered 'pledging their love' unto one another. How were they supposed to find and translate the words spoken so many years ago?
As if feeling his distress, the Goddesses spoke out again, in an even softer tone than before.
"Do not be discouraged, Link. Thou shalt find the vow that has been lost by the very sands of time," the voice said gently, "We the Goddesses leave thou with blessings as we depart."
Upon speaking the last word, the voice echoed through the stone walls of the Temple. The violent squall faded into a low whisper, and then all was silent.
Link turned his gaze upon the Royal couple to find them in a state of shock.
Edward's mud brown eyes had gone narrow with anger, his face turning the deepest color of crimson. The little bit of handsomeness he had was long gone, replaced with a mask of utmost rage. The boy's fists were tightly clenched as he fought to keep his anger under control.
Zelda was a whole different scenario.
Her violet eyes were round with disbelief, the wisdom gone from them and replaced with shock, and if you looked closely, relief. Zelda's skin had gone deathly white, and her beautiful face had astonishment chiseled into every feature.
Rauru was the only one who seemed perfectly sane, his hands tucked into his sleeves, staring down with warm eyes at the three younger people. The Light Sage acted as though he'd seen the Goddesses deny marriage because of vows everyday. His eyes were sparkling with light and somewhat amusement as he waited for the silence to be lifted by one of the three.
"What will be done about this, Sir Link?" Edward said, his voice leaking with uncontrolled rage.
Link simply stared at the boy prince, his pale blue eyes piercing into the Prince's angry browns. Edward appeared to have a terrible temper, especially when he didn't get things that he wanted. Usually he appeared as a kind and well mannered boy. It appeared that Edward really was every bit a spoiled, boastful, selfish boy as Link had first guessed. Was such a spoiled, selfish young boy really going to be the grand King of the united Kingdoms?
Link looked to Zelda for some sign that she would assist him, but the Princess's eyes were looking down at the ground, still unable to register what she had just heard.
After searching for his voice and composing himself, Link looked coolly into the boy prince's eyes.
"My Lord, I can assure you that breaking this vow will be my first priority," Link said, voice stiff and unsure, "It will be reversed, and you will be able to marry Her Highness when it is all over."
Edward's face grew even redder and he lashed out at the far older man. "By the Goddesses, Sir Link! I want this done now! Our wedding is less than two months away, and you expect me to wait for you to find the secret? What if you are scheming to keep this vow intact so that Zelda might be yours?"
Upon hearing the unjust accusations pitted against him, Link simply stood still, trying to calm the boy down.
"Please, My Lord, the temple of the Goddesses is holy ground, you mustn-," Link began.
"Who are you to tell me what I can and cannot do, you parentless clod of dirt!" Edward raged, face growing redder by the minute. "You are under my service, and my command. I could have you beheaded, or tortured for this!"
Link could not hold his anger in any longer. Who was this spoiled brat to be talking to him in such a respect? True, he was a Prince, but Link would not stand there and let himself be disgraced by a fool.
"Silence, boy!" Link barked, eyes narrowing coldly. "You will not speak to me in such a manner! Though you may have power, riches, and other things, you do not have authority over me! I pledged my services to Princess Zelda and to King Harkinian, never to you! If I wanted to, I could crush you with one hand, but so as to not disrespect my Father or the Royal Family, I will not waste my time with bugs like you."
Edward's eyes drew wide as he pointed a finger accusingly toward Link, face growing even redder. "I will not be spoken to in such a way, Sir Link! As soon as we return to the palace you shall-."
"Silence, stop it, both of you," a sudden voice said.
Zelda had regained her senses, glaring angrily at the two men for fighting so rashly. She crossed her arms and stared hard into each of the men's eyes, an intimidating sight.
"Edward," Zelda began, glaring daggers at the young boy as though she was his mother and not his fiancée. "You will not press any judgment against Sir Link. He is my subject, and as such, you have no right in disrespecting him or dealing justice to him. If you lay a single finger upon him, our engagement will be broken."
Zelda walked angrily over to Link, her heels clacking against the marble floor of the Temple.
Taking his arm, she looked him into the eyes, staring him down.
"Come, Sir Link," Zelda hissed, "We must go into the library and begin our studies."
Without even bothering to look back at Edward, Zelda dragged Link from the Temple. Unbeknownst to her as they walked through the large temple doors, behind them Rauru was chuckling fondly and staring at the strangely marked marble slab behind him, conversing with someone in his mind.
Upon returning to the Castle, Zelda had dragged Link through several wings, doors, and stairs before she finally reach the large, oaken doors of the main library.
With surprising strength she wrenched the door open, shoved Link within, and slammed it behind her.
The dim afternoon light illuminated Zelda's furious features as she stomped past a large number of the large bookshelves before turning the corner and disappearing.
Link hesitantly followed after her, watching as she climbed up several rungs on the brass ladder and grabbed a large book from the shelf.
"H-highness," Link stuttered, utterly afraid of what Zelda would do when she was in such a fowl mood. Never before had he seen her so upset, and frankly, it scared him to death.
"Catch," Zelda said, throwing the book down.
In an impressive display of self defense, Link snatched the large book clean out of the air and examined its tattered cover.
The book had a blue leather cover, the pages stained and frayed beyond imagination. Turning the book over on its front cover, he read the fancy gold lettering. 'Vows and oaths spoken throughout the Ages.' How convenient.
"What are we doing?" Link asked curiously, looking up as Zelda descended the stairs with a large stack of books, all of them different lengths and colors.
"Sir Link, I hope you are quite ready to stay up the whole night," Zelda said, pressing the stack into his arms and making him stagger under the intense weight. "Because we will not sleep until we find which vow we took."
Link furrowed his brow in confusion, staring at Zelda from behind the pile of books in his arms. "My Lady, how can you even remember the vow that we made?"
Zelda sighed as she climbed the ladder, pulling out various books from places on the shelf. "If I were to see the vow and read it again, I know that I would be able to recall it. It must be somewhere in this library, since this is where I would spend afternoons as a child."
Link lifted and eyebrow, then placed the stack of books in his arms down on the large oaken table, causing a loud 'thunk' to emphasize the heaviness. Crossing his arms, he stared into Zelda's eyes.
"And why do you need my help? I don't think I'd be able to recall the vow. I don't even remember us making a vow," Link said, motioning toward the large stack of books.
Zelda sighed, placing her own stack on the table. "You'll remember it, Sir Link. All you need to do is stare at each vow for a long while… trust me."
For a moment, Link stood and pondered all that Zelda was saying. If they were to find the vow, then they might be able to break it. Afterwards, Zelda would be free to marry Edward, and Link would be able to escape painful punishment.
Sighing deeply, Link sat in a chair and chose the thickest book in his stack and began reading each torn and tattered page.
Smiling, Zelda sat down in the chair next to him and joined her former friend in the search.
For hours they read through books, going so late they had to start lighting candles. In the dim glow they looked through page after page of vows, desperately searching for the one that had bound them together for life.
Book after book was littered to the ground in frustration, and soon all that remained of their candles were pools of hot wax with a barely flickering flame.
Link's silver armor was beginning to grow extremely uncomfortable, the chain mail cutting through the thin undergarment he wore and rubbing his skin into an angry pink. His gaunleted fists were heavy as he turned each page, and his neck ached and screamed for him to lay his head down.
Still he steeled on, finishing book after book without making a single sound of complaint.
Link's eyes had begun to shut lightly, and the world had started to fade black when he heard Zelda's triumphant cry next to him.
Shaking himself awake, Link stared over at Zelda.
Her eyes were alight with joy as she jabbed a finger down at paragraphs of words. She grabbed ahold of Link's arm, smiling.
"Here it is, the vow of eternal love," she said, smiling, "Written in Ancient Hylian, it binds the two participants together for eternity." Zelda squinted at the page and sighed in disappointment. "I wish my knowledge of Ancient Hylian was a bit better so that the translation wouldn't take so long…"
Link blinked and looked down at the page, reading the vow quickly before switching his gaze back upon the beautiful woman beside him. "I studied Ancient Hylian, Highness, perhaps I can translate?"
Zelda looked at Link in surprise. She had not expected him to know so much, and here he was, saying that he could actually read Ancient Hylian. It was then that she realized how much he had truly altered since he was a little boy.
Link cleared his throat and looked down at the strange language, then began reading it, his voice carrying through the silent room like thunder resonating through the sky. "'Oh Holy Goddesses, hear our prayer on this day most sacred to us. For on this moment, we hold our hands together, willing to be bound forever. And so, bless us and bind our love together. May it transcend the barriers of time, space, and may it never die. Our love is stronger than any power that any could offer, and our devotion stronger than any amount of time. We will stay faithful to one another as long as we both shall live, and beyond the darkness of death. We declare our love stronger than any, and so let us make these vows and offer them, never to be broken by any person or force.'"
Link himself was astonished at the depth of the vow. Love that would transcend the barriers of time and space… Whoever had written a vow with such powerful magicks in it must have been incredibly devoted to the one they had wrote it for.
Zelda herself was speechless, and so the two of them stared blankly at the page, pondering the meaning of each sentence and grasping their minds around the vow that they had made so long ago.
"All that remains is to find a way to break the vow," Zelda said softly, still looking at the page. "But for now, I think it would be best if we both went and got some sleep. If you are as exhausted as I am, then you must be ready to collapse, Sir Link."
Without another word, the two of them took the book up from the table, then turned to face each other, studying the faces bathed in candle light.
"Excuse me, Highness," Link said quickly. Bowing to Zelda, he turned and rammed against the large doors, blowing them open easily with his strength.
He couldn't bear to be in the same room as her, especially when he had strange thoughts and emotions coursing through his mind. Did the vow effect more than just the Royal Engagement, but also the alien emotions that Link felt flowing in his veins?
Whatever these emotions were, they made him burn with something close to fever whenever Zelda looked upon him. They made him study her every movement and memorize every single detail of her beautiful face. Most of all, they made him want to touch his lips to hers in a passionate gesture of affection. An affection called love.
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