The Gold Wolf

by Kurai Hitokiri

Disclaimer: I do not own the Legend of Zelda, Nintendo, or any of these characters.

A woman brushed a lock of golden hair gently aside, tightening her grip on the leather reins that rested in weary hands. Blue eyes darted about vivid shades of green, looking for some hidden message.

The moon was high this night, the stars shining brightly in the inky darkness. The crisp, chilly air cut through the stranger's thick black coat as a single eye dripping crimson tears shone out in the silvery lighting. The trees rustled and whispered their secrets, laughing at the intruder below.

The woman pulled once on the reins, her milk white steed neighing in protest. It knew wiser than to stop in woods like these... this haunted place of his death.

As she stepped down from her saddle on onto the fertile ground the chill intensified; the woman knew she was close.

She pulled her cloak tighter about her as she took a few stiff steps into the thick brush. Branches clawed at delicate fabric, one finally coming to rest on the delicate skin of her arm and ripping open the pale surface.

Crimson liquid wept from the jagged edges and fell in a dark trail upon the shrubbery, but the woman pressed on, seemingly unaware of the injury nature had wrought upon her as a silent warning.

A distant, haunted howl sounded through the air; the woman's breath hitched as a wave of alien emotions washed over her. Her knees buckled under her light weight. Closer and closer he was to her... she was now aware of the iron stench emitting from the dark laceration in her arm. He would smell her from a mile away with senses such as his, and perhaps it was a good thing that she had not bothered to tend to the wound. It would draw his attention to her and he would come looking for the intruder... he'd never smelled her sweet blood before.

It seemed hours as she struggled through the thick foliage before she came upon a small clearing large enough for two people to comfortably seat themselves. She cursed in her melodic voice with the musical accent unique to her people. What was she thinking by leaving her rapier with her horse? The brush would stand no chance against its polished edge. She might have cut an easy path through and avoided her fatigue.

There was a crack of branches that drew her attention and fear. She looked wildly about with a panicked expression, her right hand glowing with golden light as she waited for the offender.

Her eyes widened as mist seemed to envelope the area in thick shrouds. Before her a mighty castle came into existence, tall towers piercing the endless white and shining in ghostly glory.

Sitting on his haunches, a single blood red eye shining through the thick fog, was a wolf. The beast was not of natural color: it was a bright and glaring gold that rivaled the shine of the sun.

It glared wisely at her with its single eye, analyzing her appearance as every lean muscle tensed at her soft blue orbs. A connection was erected between the two of them as they challenged each other, human and animal.

The beast lifted its maw to the heavens and rent them apart with a chilling howl of despair. The ghostly setting flashed with light and blinded the woman, forcing her to break her connection with the wolf and cover her aching eyes.

A new sound filled her ears and tortured her to no end. A fierce and unsteady breath shook her being; it sounded as though someone was being strangled to death, struggling to breathe as life was taken every sweet inch at a time.

A cold, bony hand grasped her forearm as the horrible breathing grew in volume. An unearthly chill wracked her body; colder than ice... it was death personified.

Her courage grew slightly as she forced her eyes open to meet the single red that burned into her own. A terrified gasp was stifled in her throat as she stared with terror upon that which held her in its terrible grip.

She stared in the face of a skeleton, its milky white bones marred with numerous wheals of battle. It stood on booted feet, clad in wondrous golden armor that had obtained as many slights as its master. Thick plants coated some surfaces of its magnificent armor, its horrid bone hand grasping her with inhuman strength.

"Zelda..." a rasping and struggling voice met her ears as the skeleton moved its jaw loosely. "Zel...da."

Her eyes widened in response, unable to register her shock as she looked upon the ghost that held her. The woman named Zelda hurried to find her voice to reply to the dead warrior's call.

"Who are you...?" her voice came out as a slight gasp, for the fear she felt was more than she could imagine.

The being parted its dead mouth again, once again speaking in the same pleading voice. "Zelda...!"

Then realization hit her as she looked into the seemingly regretful red eye. It was so gentle... so promising... just like his. Zelda's blue eyes widened as she spoke in a voice nearly a whisper.


"...No... living... in... regret..." the skeleton gasped out to her in its horrible voice. It made no indication to answer her fearful voice as it continued to speak. " no looking back..."

Zelda grasped the Phantom's chilly armor and looked at him with tears shining in her wise eyes. The three triangles on the back of her hand glinted brightly in the magnificence of the metal. "You're dead, and it was my fault... You were my knight and I sent you off to die."

"Not fault... please... Zelda..." the voice begged her, and for a moment Zelda could see his light blue eyes, his golden hair, and his smile instead of the skeleton that held her captive in his demanding grip. "Please..."

He was begging her to move on, to let her know that beyond death he forgave her for every wrong she thought she had committed toward him. For a moment she was hesitant, staring into that blood red eye with nothing but regret. But soon she saw how desperate he was... He needed to know that she would be alright without him in her life.

A smile coated her lips for the first time in months as she looked at him with crystal tears rolling down the crevices of her gentle face.

"I'll be alright... Thank you, Link."

The skeleton warrior drew back its bony hand and shrugged away from Zelda's gentle touch. At once the golden armor melted away into a light green tunic, leggings, and heavy boots. Flesh deprived bones became riddled with tan flesh as a mop of golden hair grew and covered a single lovely blue eye.

A young man, no older than her, smiled and embraced her one final time. The world about them began to shatter into the forest and dissolve into darkness.

His touch became a whisper upon her skin as he looked at her one final time before he dissolved into a golden shower of beautiful sparks.

"I love you..."

Note: Don't forget to read and review more of Kurai Hitokiri's excellent writing and artwork over at Fanfiction.Net.

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