In Your Shadow

By Shadsie

Disclaimer: The Legend of Zelda is the property of Nintendo and Shigeru Miyamoto. This is merely a fan fiction and I am making no money from this.


Notes: This is a post-Twilight Princess story. Though I’ve been playing Ocarina of Time lately, I decided that this plot was best done in the TP universe, as OoT Link, has, essentially, the soul of a boy in a man’s body, and placing him in an adult relationship just felt weird for me in a way that it doesn’t for my perception of TP Link. Also, I really liked some of TP’s side characters. This story begins as Link x Zelda, but I have no particular shipping preference. I principally consider myself a “gen fan,” so I am not planting any flags in any one “camp.” I hate shipwars, am neutral, and merely obeyed the plot that came to my mind. Please take it as a stand-alone.


This was inspired by some fan fiction I’ve read and ideas floating out there (not just in this fandom, either). I wanted to do something a little different with the love and tragedy theme. I hope this is enjoyed. Though I am typing and posting this tale chapter-by-chapter, I have the entire story hand-written and I know where I am going with it.








Chapter 1: The Borderlands



Golden Hands embraced him and he did not hurt anymore. The weight on his chest, the searing pain in his side and the pounding in his head were gone now. The lady looked down on him with kind eyes and a gentle smile. Her skin was golden and radiant, like a newly-minted coin. A green glow surrounded her, evocative of light-dappled leaves in a forest.


“Welcome home, my noble child,” she said, her voice like the morning calls of every songbird in the world. Of course, she would be the Goddess to greet him. Link knew that this was Farore. He also knew that this meant that he was dead. He did not fight her embrace or her leading. He’d see the other Goddesses soon enough, Queen Rutela, poor old Auru, others he’d met and lost along his journey, and the parents he’d never known. He was leaving behind friends – in a dangerous situation, no less. He was leaving behind his Queen and his son.. He was leaving behind his kingdom…


Funny… it didn’t seem to worry him at all. How unlike himself this was.


Dying has a way of changing one’s perspective.



Rusl rode hard through the wind while dirt, grit and grains of sand tink-tinkered off his helmet and armor. He’d hoped the enemy would retreat before the oncoming storm, but bulbins weren’t as cowardly as most people thought they were. Apparently, Link had been right. They’d have to fight this band in the gale and the rain.


Colin rode at his father’s side. A strong lad of fifteen, he’d insisted on coming. Rusl would rather he’d stayed home, but with his age and brave spirit, Rusl knew he would have come anyway, even if he had to sneak out from under his mother’s nose and ride up behind. Rusl spared a thought for how timid his son used to be as a youngster. Now, he was a young lion.


Hyrule was mostly at peace these days and had enjoyed it for nearly six years and counting. Since the last great threat to be destroyed had been Ganondorf himself, the people expected at least a century of peace. There were, however, small threats that had to be taken care of now and again – this time, an organized gang of rouge bulbins that had been waylaying travelers in Hyrule’s northern borderlands. Most said they were only after treasure, but some rumors claimed that they sought to resurrect Ganondorf. While King Bulbin fought for Hyrule now, there’d been a split in his ranks. This faction had gotten out of his control.


In any case, many people had been robbed and hurt, and some even killed. The Resistance took it upon themselves to take care of the problem. They had always been a small group, but they’d added more to their numbers recently, including Colin. Riding ahead of them, always ahead and never behind, was the king of Hyrule himself. No one called him “your majesty,” or “your highness,” because he would not stand for it, and it embarrassed him so. He was now and always, simply Link.


He’d said he’d never felt like royalty. He’d said he’d never felt like a hero, either, but he was both. It had been some months after the dispelling of the Twilight and the defeat of the King of Evil that Princess – now Queen Zelda took Link to be her groom. No one thought ill of the choice because he was of the common class. He was the Hero, and it seemed perfectly natural. She bore him a son, whom they’d named “Midnight,” in honor of a mutual friend, who had returned to her own country.


The Resistance had been traveling for days and it was quite clear to everyone that Link was eager to get home. When they’d encountered enemies, he’d fought with a ferocity that seemed uncommon even for him. He was just sick of these petty skirmishes, these little irritations that took them all away from home and family – as were they all.


The wind picked up and the arrows came. Rusl was quick to raise his shield. How did they keep those things lit in this weather? Heat swept past the top of his head and he smelled the strong scent of oil amid smoke. He caught a glimpse of Colin out of the corner of his eye, aiming his small bow. The air was filled with the noise of panicked horses, whinnies and the thump and tear of hooves in moist earth. Grit pinged and clanged off his armor and arrows off his shield. He heard Link shouting orders in his strong and seldom-used voice. Rusl couldn’t make out what he was saying over the other noises and the wind. He looked about, desperate to find a clean shot, or to even discern the direction the enemy arrows were coming from.


He saw Shad, dismounted, thrusting and slicing at something with a short sword. Shad was not good at this sort of work, he was a scholar, not a fighter, but bless him, he tried. Rusl jumped out of the saddle, letting his steed run. He got to his friend just in time to see him dispatch his wicked assailant.


“They’re using Death Mountain lava-tar,” Shad said between coughs, “They could burn the bottom of Lake Hylia if they’d wanted to.”


“Got an estimate on their number?”


“About twenty, I think. They’re firing from up on those rocks. Ashei, Kip and Xin have got the west. Sara, Zyll and Marl have got the south, we’re here, and Link’s out ahead.”


Rusl contemplated the rock formations on either side of them. “That’s why their trail was so straight,” he growled. “They’ve lead us into an ambush.”


Just then, Rusl heard a scream. Through the windblown grit he saw Link fall from his horse. Colin aimed his bow and fired out ahead, his face twisted in a cold and fierce expression. A bulbin fell from the northern rocks. At once, Rusl and Shad ran toward where their king had fallen. They were surprise to find him on his feet, firing his bow rapidly, with an arrow sticking out of his right side. Its fire had been snuffed in the dark blood that was now running down Link’s tunic and pants. Rusl reached out, ready to grab the young man and pull him back when a volley of flaming arrows rained down.


Shouting, heat, an explosion, random noise – these were the things that Rusl heard. He also heard the terrible, yet delightful death-cries of bulbins. The wind was subsiding.


It took several moments for Rusl to register that the arrows had stopped coming. Several littered the ground, impaled into the earth and still burning. His comrades staggered out from behind the rocks, weary, bruised, but otherwise none the worse for wear.




He was hurt, and badly. Rusl scrambled over stones. What he first caught sight of was Epona, nuzzling something on the ground.


“Link!” Rusl called. He could hear the breath and footsteps of Colin and Shad behind him. Epona was nuzzling the young king’s hair, as if begging him to get up. “My boy…” Rusl said in a half-choked whisper. Link’s eyes were half-lidded and his expression was utterly blank. Rusl desperately checked for breath, and for a pulse, knowing that it was hopeless. Link’s body had second arrow in it, in the chest – and by Rusl’s trained eye, it was right in his heart. It was a precise shot.


He stood and bowed his head before the gathered members of the Resistance. He sighed deeply and tried not to show his tears. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “our Hero is dead.”



“Queen Zelda, the Resistance has returned from the borderlands.”


“Thank you, Martin,” the queen said, nodding to her messenger. Her son was seated on the floor. Perhaps it wasn’t fit for a throne room to have a four-year old child playing with his toys in the middle of it, but Zelda never was conventional royalty. The young prince knew to clean up his play sets when important company was visiting. Midnight gathered up the little model wagon and the little wooden goats his father had carved for him and placed them in the clever little toy box hidden beneath the cushion of his tiny throne.


“Does this mean Daddy’s home?” Midnight asked.


“Yes it does, sweetheart,” Zelda said, a gentle smile on her lips.


She stood to greet the single figure that respectfully entered the throne room. Zelda inwardly groaned. Shad. He was so long-winded. Why was it customary to send in one member to give her a status report before she was allowed to see everyone? This, unfortunately, was a custom even she could not change.


Wait, something was different about Shad. He didn’t carry himself in his usual way. His eyes looked tired. Had he been weeping? He read off a brief account of the group’s journey, detailing enemy movement on the northern border and the various small skirmishes they’d fought.


“And the desert-edge stronghold was wiped out, my queen. Also, regrettably, there was one casualty.”


Shad knelt before Zelda. Zelda felt sorrow whenever any of her fighting men or women fell. So many had sacrificed so much for the kingdom, and it weighed heavily on her heart. She’d memorized the faces of everyone in her personal guard and the castle army, as well as everyone in Link’s band of friends. She dreaded what was to come next – Shad giving her the name. She wondered whose face she would never see again.


She was surprised when Shad did not give her a name. She sighed. “Bear him home to his family,” she stated.


“We are doing so,” Shad said slowly.


Several people entered the throne room, bearing a large litter. Upon it hung green flags bearing the royal Triforce crest in gold. Resting on it was a figure wrapped head-to-toe in a black cloak. Upon the figure rested an un-sheathed sword, a common, but sufficient blade. A tremor rose in Queen Zelda’s heart. She knew that sword. It couldn’t be, could it? Was this some kind of cruel trick? The pallbearers set the litter down. At once, everyone bowed to Zelda and Midnight, hands clasped over their hearts.


“We are… deeply sorry my queen… my prince,: Rusl said. “He fought bravely, as always.”


Zelda approached the litter, slowly and cautiously. She could hear her son’s footsteps behind her. “Someone went to the Sacred Realm again, Mommy?” Midnight asked.


Zelda pulled back the part of the shroud covering the deceased’s face. She shook with disbelief, sorrow and maybe even a touch of rage. His eyes were closed tightly, as if in sleep, and he looked peaceful, perhaps even perversely so. He was pale, so pale – she had never seen his skin that pale. She cautiously touched his cheek. It felt like ice.


“L-Link?” she whispered.


“Daddy’s just sick, right?” Midnight asked, tugging on his mother’s dress. “He just needs rest and potion and he’ll get better.”


Zelda broke down in sobs. The desperate scream that came a few moments later could be heard throughout Castle Town.







Notes: And now, here is the second half of the story. I hope the fact that I created original characters will be forgiven / tolerated. It is what the plot demanded and I approached it in the same way as I approach the creation of characters for my novels. I am trying to become a published author, and since I refuse to use a vanity press and I don’t know “people in high places” – it’s harder than television sitcoms would have you believe. Who knows if my work’s really up to snuff, anyway? I’m cultivating small ideas and waiting for my next big one, so I’m writing fan fiction in the meantime. Writing is just addictive and fun, so I’m in it for the fun.


I own the made-up kingdom of Arriz. It is loosely based on the place where I grew up / used to live, though it didn’t have a monarchy. A “thank you” goes out to Sailor Lilith - chan, with whom I hashed out ideas. She gave me the courage to write and post this. She is also a brilliant author, who writes for many fandoms, (including Zelda). Check out her work.






Chapter 2: The Foreigner




He’d have to come on a national holiday. The streets were crowded. Prince Patrick of Arriz could hardly see past his nose. There was pleasant music and children were playing in the streets. There were vendors selling trinkets and delicious hot foodstuffs. Patrick caught the scent of spiced pumpkin bread and roasting meat with rosemary. All of the regular shops, however, were closed and he spared a grumble when he looked down at his boots. They’d taken some damage on his journey and he’d hoped to purchase new ones in his size before meeting the Queen.


Oh, the Queen would surely have more than her share of business today. Why couldn’t he have arrived just one day sooner? She was expecting his arrival within the week – that is, if she’d received his letter.


He’d heard of this particular Hylian holiday. It was a fairly recent one, not even a decade old yet, and he used to wonder why the people of Hyrule celebrated a common, short-tailed wildcat until he’d been corrected that it was not “Lynx Day,” but “Link’s Day.” He’d learned the details of it from Queen Zelda when she had visited his country. The holiday was not as big as the winter “Day of Giving Gifts,” which both Hyrule and Arriz celebrated, but it was still fairly important. He thought it would be a solemn occasion. On the contrary, a festival-atmosphere pervaded. Obviously, it was not a day of mourning, but a celebration of a life.


Patrick sweated in the afternoon heat of early summer. He looked up at the bronze statue at the center of the fountain in Castle Town’s grand plaza. It was a horse and rider, with the horse rearing – the traditional symbol for a soldier who’d died in battle. The bronze rider was the image of the person the people were honoring today, his birthday as Zelda had told Patrick – her once husband and the Hero who’d saved their land, Link. He would have been thirty today if he were alive.


Patrick had heard some of the stories, but he took it upon himself to read more before his visit. The tale was amazing, and it was clear that Zelda had loved him very much. He’d died much too young, killed by a weak enemy that had caught him off-guard. That was the kind of thing that ended most people, Patrick mused – some completely stupid thing. History was filled with stories of strong people dying in accidents and of armies felled by pestilence and pneumonia before tasting battle. Prince Patrick figured that, in the end, something completely unexpected and stupid would get him, too.


He presented a piece of parchment with ornate writing and gold leaf decorations to a pair of guards at the entrance to the palace grounds. They opened the gates and let him inside. Two young people were dancing about the grass just to the side of a monument in the shape of a double helix. They were mock-fighting with wooden swords and both displayed great skill. One was a blond man in his early twenties and the other was a child of about eleven or twelve. The man instructed the boy, but found himself dodging blows.


Patrick was impressed. “Very good, Midnight,” he said, clapping his hands.


“Pat!” the boy exclaimed, setting down his sword. Midnight ran to him and the elder prince scooped him up in a hug. “You came to see Hyrule, just as you promised! I’m gonna show you everything!”


Patrick laughed. “I look forward to it. And you are?”


The blond young man approached Patrick and offered out his right hand. “Colin of Ordon,” son of Rusl, Soldier of the Royal Guard.”


“Pleased to meet you, Colin,” Patrick replied, shaking the proffered hand, I am Prince Patrick, the youngest brother of King Pythagoras of Arriz.”


“Should I go get Mom?” Midnight said excitedly, but there was no need. Patrick stood straight as Queen Zelda stepped through the open doors of the principal palace and down the steps into the courtyard. She was as radiant as ever.


Their eyes met, just as they had when she had come to negotiate trading and a treaty with his eldest brother. He was in her land now, so Patrick went to one knee and lowered his head.


“Oh, get up,” Zelda ordered, her voice mirthful. “I didn’t bow to you in Arriz Palace.”


Patrick rose, “But that was because I was not King,” he replied. “I am dreadfully sorry to have arrived on this day. I was hoping to avoid it, but my carriage cracked a wheel just before the border and we lost a day’s travel to make repairs. You must be dreadfully busy today…”


“You don’t have to be so polite,” Zelda remarked, “and actually, I’m not. I used to give a speech to the people on this day, but now… everyone knows what this day is about. There is nothing more that needs to be said.”


Patrick noted the sadness in the queen’s eyes. His first instinct told him that he wanted to take that sadness away, but he knew he never could, completely. She’d had that haunted look when he’d first met her, but he’d quickly learned that she was capable of smiling when he’d told her a joke. The young Prince Midnight had told him that his mother used to almost never smile.



The castle servants prepared for Patrick to have a very long stay. He had the freedom to stay for as long as he wanted to. He was only a minor prince, the youngest of four brothers, and he did not have much say in policy in his own country. What say he did have, he went about in a unique way.


Zelda had been most impressed to learn that he had once taken a leave of absence from the palace grounds for three years to live as a peasant. He’d told her that he’d wanted to experience first-hand how the common people of Arriz lived so that he might make suggestions to his brothers and to other officers in the Arriz government as to how to make their lives better. Patrick had said that he’d had trouble in finding work under his assumed identity and that he’d gone into debt for a while. He was no farmer or artisan and took a while to learn some very common skills, but he’d met many very talented people who likewise had trouble surviving. His advice had prompted King Pythagoras to create assistance programs for the country’s poorer citizens.


Zelda was impressed with this man’s compassion. Patrick carried a certain wisdom about him that made her regret that he’d been the lastborn of his family. He was two years past thirty, not too young to run a country. Zelda felt that he could do very well as the king of Arriz if fate had allowed him the title.


She found herself fascinated by the man. His eyes were dark and rich and his hair was black – it almost shined. He kept it well trimmed, but there was something of a wildness about him, despite his grooming. His face was one of someone who loved laughter and the gleam in his gaze belonged to someone who was free. In a way, Patrick reminded her of him…


She’d stayed three months in Arriz, and it was Patrick who showed her the land. Arriz was a strange area in that it was divided almost evenly between desert and forested country. The forest part was located in rugged mountains and consisted mainly of conifers. Arriz Palace was located in the desert part of the nation, among strangely well-watered farmland, made that way through an ingenious irrigation system.


Prince Patrick showed her that the desert could be lush. He took her and Midnight for horseback rides through the open lands and pointed out the odd plants and animals that were adapted to live there. The Arriz Desert wasn’t quite the same as the Gerudo Desert, though when Zelda had described it to him, Patrick said that he was sure life could find a way there, too.


There was something intensely beautiful about this man, Zelda had decided. Perhaps it was that he’d had the lightest taste of power, but had no particular desire for more. Patrick was an uncomplicated soul who just happened to be a prince.



Patrick stared up at the stained glass windows in the east wing of Hyrule Castle, watching the morning light filter through the multicolored images. The windows were enormous and formed a series, telling a story from right to left. The prince felt like he was in a temple. He was in a palace, but it wasn’t the same thing. The reverence with which these windows had been crafted made this space feel holy. His long ears pricked up as he heard soft footsteps behind him.


“You are up early,” Zelda stated. “Did you sleep well?”


“Yes,” Patrick replied. “I was just… uh, looking at the windows. They are very beautiful, obviously crafted with great love. The artisans of Hyrule never cease to impress me.”


“You do not need to flatter so.”


Patrick pointed to a figure on the last window. “I think I can pick out the players in this great drama, but who is that lady in the black, white and ruby glass?”


“That is Midna,” Zelda replied, “the ruler of the kingdom of Twilight, in her true form. Prince Midnight is named after her.”


“Ah,” Patrick said, “I’d thought you’d simply named him for that special time of night when the stars shine brightest.”


“No, it was for her. She was a great friend and she’d guided Link on his journey. When she’d… gone back to her kingdom, it had taken him a while to cope. He did… have some feelings for her.”


“Then he fell in love with you.”


Zelda gave him a slight and very wise nod. “All of life’s journeys come with meetings and partings, and they all leave their scars.”


Patrick pondered the glass again for a moment. “He looks a lot like Midnight – or rather, Midnight seems to take after him.”


“He likes you,” Zelda said, “Midnight, I mean. He really wants to show you around and tell you about our land’s animals. His passion is animals… that and he wants to become just like his father. I suppose all the little boys in my kingdom do.”


“I wish I could have met him.”



Patrick spent the summer under the hospitality of the royalty of Hyrule. He rode about the countryside with Queen Zelda and Prince Midnight, and with various friends of theirs. He went fishing in Lake Hylia – Midnight showing him how because he’d never fished before, he watched Goron Sumo wresting matches and took a tour of temple ruins in the Faron Forest. Midnight eagerly showed him how to catch fairies and they all told stories around campfires of the legends of their respective lands. Patrick felt that he could stay in Hyrule forever. Zelda seemed like she was always smiling, or laughing.


Summer faded into autumn and Patrick wondered if he ought to go home. He wandered through the Castle Town plaza late one crisp night. He’d put on worn breeches and come out here, wondering if the Malo Mart might be open so he could get something to quiet his upset stomach. He looked up to the statue of Link on Epona, bathed in the light of the full moon. The moonlight glinted off the drawn sword in such a way that it looked like it was shining. It was just too perfect.


“I can’t do it,” he said to himself, shaking his head, “How am I supposed to replace that?


He walked away, his medicine purchase un-made, back towards the palace grounds. The only sound to break the silence was the gentle running of water in the fountain.


“She deserves better,” Patrick muttered, “She had better. I’m no savior. I’m barely even a prince!”


Patrick found himself in the royal graveyard. He approached an immaculately kept grave with a large tombstone. Embedded in a little pedestal atop it was a beautiful replica of the legendary Master Sword. The real one was back in its sacred resting place, returned there by the Hero himself when he no longer had need of it. Patrick wondered briefly what would happen if he found and dared to touch the real blade. Would it cut him in some incurable way? Would it, because it was not his, slice a tiny bit of skin from his finger, but leave a wound that would continue to bleed no matter what, until he was bled dry?


The prince shook such morbid musings from his mind. He stood before the tombstone. “Well, old chap,” he said, “I’m afraid I just can’t do it. I can’t be good enough. I’m sure I would have liked you had I met you in better times.”


“I like you.”


Patrick turned around, seeking the source of the voice. He looked back to the grave and startled. “Startled” truly is not the appropriate description – it was more like he’d almost had a heart attack.


“Uh…uh…” Patrick stuttered.


There was a person sitting, quite casually, upon the gravestone. He was translucent and whitish, with some color, most notably green on the spectral clothing that he wore.


“I said that I like you,” the ghost said. Patrick said not a word. “Oh, don’t worry, I’m not a Poe or anything like that. The Goddesses have granted me permission to come here for a short while.”


“Link?” the prince asked.


“What tipped you off?” Link replied. “The clothes, the hat, or the fact that I’m sitting above the old piece of meat I used to call my body? Oh… don’t…” Link laughed.


Patrick relaxed just a little bit. “Well, I did want to meet you,” he said, “but why don’t you see your wife and son? I never even knew you. They’re the ones who miss you.”


The specter gave him a rather serious look. “And tear open old scars and salt the wounds? No, I would never hurt them like that. I’ve moved on, they’ve moved on, and that’s the way it needs to be.”


Patrick decided to be blunt. “I am in love with Zelda,” he said. “I think… I think she likes me, too… but I can’t live up to you! You’re almost a deity to your people! I cannot be what she needs – what they need!”


Link gave the man a knowing smile. It was a kind smile, but one that gave Patrick a tinge of fear, and not just because it was the smile of a ghost.


Hyrule doesn’t need dead heroes,” Link said, “only legends. My son needs a father who’s more than just a name. I’ve heard Zelda’s laughter – all the way in the Sacred Realm. She needs to keep laughing.”


“My jokes aren’t that great.”


“You don’t have to try to live up to me. If I were still alive, I wouldn’t want to force myself to live up to you.”


Link began fading.




“Please… just make her happy.”


And he was gone.


Patrick looked up at the stars in the sky, fading with the first glow of dawn. He would make her happy. For as long as he was able, he would make her happy.








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