Chapter I: Prologue to History
The shop was a dusty, cluttered affair; books and knick-knacks were piled and stuffed into every inch of space until there was hardly room for customers to move about.
A boy, perhaps thirteen years of age, sat behind the counter in a bored stupor. He was annoyed at having to watch the shop while the old man was out– it was especially sunny out today, and he wished with every fiber of his being that he could be out playing with his friends rather than be stuck in the dusty old junk shop.
He was startled from his doze by the front door opening- the cobwebbed bell above rang in a disused manner.
The old man was drawn and worn like the old leather on so many of his books, his back stooped but his step sure as he threaded through the maze of artifacts collected from all around the world.
"No one came in while I was out?" It was the question he always asked.
"No." It was the answer the boy always gave.
The old man went about straightening the new items upon the shelves – how he always found room was a source of great amazement for the boy. It was indeed a strange shop – it had no name, yet everyone seemed to know of it. The crowded shelves held a great deal of interesting items that on any other day might have held a great deal of fascination for the boy. When he had first begun working there had been but three rules to follow, which surprised him since he'd expected the cranky old man to be more stringent. The rules were; “One, 'no sleep'n on the job.' Two, 'nothin's free, and if there ain't a label on it, it ain't for sale.' And three, 'if you don't know what it is, don't touch it.”
They were simple enough to follow, all except the last one.
The shop supported some of the strangest things, some of which the boy was certain were centuries old. One shelf housed a bizarre mask of red, purple, and green. Yellow eyes gazed from the mask and more than once the boy had felt a cold prickling in his spine; he would turn to find that the only thing watching him were those two painted eyes.
Any number of jewels and trinkets were to be found. A magnifying glass with a ruby lens sat on the topmost shelf and the boy was strictly forbidden to touch it for any reason. Three medallions that had shocked him the first day of work when he had tried to pick them up sat in a satin-lined box on the front counter. The small rod that always had frost clouding its surface; those and a dozen other items lying about.
It was this assortment of the strange and mysterious that had drawn the apprentice shopkeeper in the first place, but they held no sway over him now, for all he wished for was the sun and daylight outside.
"Stop daydreaming and help me with this!"
The boy was yanked from his reverie by an impatient shout from the old man, who struggled with a pile of old books. After a few minutes of work the books were settled, and quiet once again descended on the shop.
The apprentice nearly jumped out of his skin when the bell dinged for the second time that day- Customers were rare during daylight hours. Though once he had worked late and a number of men in cloaks had entered. Soundlessly selected a few items. Then dropped a bag on the counter without saying a word. The old man had sent him home before he could see what was inside. Pasting a smile to his face the apprentice turned and started to greet whoever had entered- only to find one of the little street urchins that hung around the nearby alleys.
"Hey, you! What are you doing in here?"
The child looked up at him then called out in a surprisingly clear voice, "I wanted to hear a story."
"I'm through telling stories to those who won't stop their fidgeting to hear them!”, the old man called from the back room.
"I promise I'll sit still."
"Bah!" The old man emerged suddenly, closing the door carefully behind him. He peered over the counter at the urchin, who stared back stubbornly.
"Why should I?" the man asked. Privately the apprentice hoped he would; the stories were another reason he had gotten this apprenticeship. The urchin reached into his grimy little cloak and extended a small hand, a silver coin shining in his palm. The old man didn't even look at the coin- instead he studied the child's face intently for a long moment. "Oh, all right, all right!" the old man snapped, disappearing into the back of the shop. The two boys could hear him banging around, they could hear him through the door, searching and berating his weak will the entire time; "…care…'story'…like some kind of…no respect…waste my valuable time…" When he emerged he bore an enormous leather-bound tome as wide as his shoulders.
It was ancient- even the most untrained eye could see that. The cover was black leather, cracked and peeling with age, inlaid with gold and inscribed with words long since worn away. The pages, when he opened it, were of parchment, beautifully inscribed by a master scribe of some past time and in a language long forgotten. The old man touched it with reverence, turning each page with exquisite care.
A record and account of the Wars of Twilight and the final lifting of the darkness. It is told in our tradition of the Triforce, the Golden Power, a great relic created by the Goddesses, possessing the power to realize the deepest desires of anyone who touches it. Many wars were fought over who would possess this power unimaginable. In time it was lost to all but the few that guarded the memory, those chosen by the gods to bear the power. Legends also tell of the Twili, the tribe banished by the gods; they dwelled in a great prison of Twilight that sealed them away forever from the light of the world, forever punished.
All that changed with the coming of the great darkness. Shadow magic cast the land of Hyrule into perpetual night, a miserable dark that never ended. It seemed to some that none could oppose this terrible curse, and they despaired. Then a mighty warrior from the southern mountains came as if from nowhere; alone. He defied the dark and brought the Light back to the fair skies of Hyrule. He conquered the sorcerer of shadows, Zant, and then fought his master, the very God of Darkness, Ganondorf.
Tales and lays shall be written for generations of the battle! The clash of their swords could be heard for miles as they fought on the plains! But in the end the Hero was triumphant. Evil was vanquished and the lord of darkness fell!
Yet just as suddenly as he had appeared, the champion… vanished. Some say he returned to the southern mountains and green forests of his homeland. Perhaps after so much bloodshed he wished for peace.
Alas! His wish was not to be, for a year after the Great Hero left us, the Wolf-clans of the west and their mad chieftain invaded from beyond the boundaries of Hyrule, and with them came calamity like none other.
May the Goddesses look upon this account, and insure it in it’s correctness. So follows the account of how the seal of the Goddesses was broken, the world rent, and healed…
The village was asleep; asleep but for one pair of eyes.
Dawn's light barely blushed the horizon. A young man sat atop one of the simple cottages, his hair stirred quietly by the breeze, brown like ripened fields of wheat. Framing an earnest face and blue eyes, like a wolf's, wild and free.
His eyes were more than simply blue though; if one knew where to look, hardship and toil were plain. He had the markings of a seasoned warrior, though he looked only twenty, with a sturdy build and faint scars on his bared arms telling of many battles- and of loss.
Inside there was the sound of movement; with a sigh the young man stood and stepped through the window back inside. The furnishings of the cottage were simple and practical as a rule, yet possessed a rugged grace. The young man climbed down from the loft quietly so as to not wake the house's other occupant- but it was needless.
A woman, hardly older than a girl, greeted him at the base of the loft ladder. She was delicate, sharing the same nut-brown hair and blue eyes of most inhabitants of the Ordon Province. She walked carefully, and though the day had not yet started, she appeared tired.
"You shouldn't be up yet," the young man admonished her gently.
"Neither should you." She leaned on him and for a moment they just stood there, enjoying each other's company. "Is it the dreams?" the girl asked at length.
The man did not respond at once; instead he stroked her hair, breathing deeply.
"Yes, it is the dreams," he said quietly.
She pulled away so she could see into his eyes. "Link, will you go again?" Her own eyes were whirlpools of emotion.
He shook his head, "I don't know, Ilia…unless something happens, no. Not until after Fall Harvest, at least."
Ilia seemed reassured by that, but they stayed there, leaning against each other for another few minutes, regardless.
The village of Ordon had flourished in the year since Link had returned from the war. The goblin boar-tribes had not been seen, nor had the Moblins, hobgoblins or any of the usual monsters that typically plagued the forest. The pastures had been plentiful and the goat herds had yielded many kids.
Link sat on the crest of one of the low hills surrounding the pastures. Normally he would have appreciated the company of one of the children or even Fado, the bumbling ranch hand, but today he welcomed the quiet; he needed to think.
It was the dreams. They had begun about three weeks before, horrid nightmares that woke him in the middle of the night covered in cold sweat and left him gasping for breath. Yet when his senses returned he could remember nothing but a vague feeling of ill ease.
A weight settled at his back and a large, hairy lip began to chew his hair, he grinned and reached up, rubbing Epona's flank- the horse nickered and tugged harder.
"Ow, watch it girl!" he said playfully, "Ilia won't like it if I come home tonight bald."
The smile faded from Link's face. Slightly more than a year ago he had come back to this village nestled at the foot of the mountains. One year since the Mirror of Twilight had been shattered, sealing the Realm of Twilight away forever and ending the War.
Amber eyes, auburn hair, and laughter as musical as spring rain and as malicious as a knife… Link brushed the memories aside—The might-have-beens were as painful as the horrors of the nightmares.
One year had passed; why did thoughts of that fight return to him now? He chewed a blade of grass and watched the goats wander. This peace was all he'd ever wanted; would he be forced to give it up once more?
Link leaned back, looking up at the sky overhead. Celestial, tranquil blue. The day was warm, and the goats never did stray very far. Clouds passed by overhead and bees droned in the clover. His fears seemed inconsequential, foolish, in that comfortable setting. Without intending to, Link fell asleep.
The dream was different this time.
Fire danced across the plains, hungry and red. In the dancing shadows shapes moved, so swiftly it seemed as if ghosts flitted from one tree to another, and across the grass like a river. There were howls in the air, the howls of many wolves and the harsh laughter of goblins. Intermingled were screams and the cries of death.
Stars shone above, moving across the sky much too quickly, moving like currents of light towards a single point. The sun shone like fire, glittering with the radiance of new life.
No, there were three suns, each sinking towards their own horizon. Link picked one and began to run towards it. The journey was the destination, and the destination was the beginning. And the beginning was the end. Under his feet the plain burned.
Then a shadow seemed to eclipse the sky, yet the fires diminished in brilliance as well. All light seemed to move towards the shape, consumed and diminished as it grew. An all-too familiar figure rose towards him – Ganon's dark features twisted in a hungry grin.
Link woke with a start.
The noon was long gone, the day beginning to fade; already the light was yellowing. Link trudged home after gathering the herd for the night, weary and troubled.
His heart sorrowed for what he feared would come.
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