"Our village holds dear a legend of a man: one who had the power to call upon the skies. With his ocarina, he played a magical song, summoning storms of great ferocity or of gentle reprieve. This song has been passed down through my family and today we honor that man… and his song of storms."
Shaman Renado of Kakariko Village motioned to the crowd below him with a bow, his long fringed sleeves sweeping the plinth he stood upon. He called for his daughter, Luda, to come forward.
A raven-haired girl no older than thirteen positioned a flute to her lips and began to play. Two low, hollow notes pierced the air, suddenly ascending to a high note, repeating before leading to a trill of two high notes.
Renando joined with a low hum, complimenting the melody of the flute. He closed his eyes, swaying ever so slightly.
Gor-Coron, an elder of the Gorons, started to play a small drum, the tempo speeding to his eager beats.
Prince Ralis of the Zoras then stepped forward beside Luda, shaking a tambourine with gentle flickering.
"It is your turn next, Illia," Link whispered into his friend's ear.
Illia glanced to him nervously, taking a deep breath. "Ordona grant me strength." She stepped forward, her face paling slightly as she ascended the steps up the plinth. She faced the reverent crowd, clasped her hands together and closed her eyes… and began to sing beautiful verses.
The crowd murmured excitedly and one brave pair began to dance. Their movements flowed, like the water of a river, yet they were sudden, like lightning flashing across the sky. Others joined the pair, some giggling as they tried to mimic one another.
Link smiled, slowly backing into the shadows lest he be caught in the merriment. He found refuge in the shade of a wayward booth and observed the many peoples that had come from all parts of Hyrule: the Zora of Lanaryu, the Gorons from the mines, Castleton folk, and even the villagers from Ordon.
Link sighed inwardly, gladdened that those he cared for, those he had set out to save from the twilight, were merry and jovial amidst the rebuilding of the kingdom. However, Link was only in attendance at the Rain Festival at the request of Renado as a precaution, for he did not wish for unnecessary disturbances. Though the War of Twilight had been over for nearly four years, beasts still roamed the fields in the dark of night. Dusk was quickly approaching, clouds of violet and gold rolling towards Kakariko in the distance.
"Perhaps the Song of Storms holds power still," Link thought offhandedly, but Kakariko was no longer in dire need of rain; now that the forces of darkness were banished, the fields and gardens grew once more.
Not long after Ganondorf and Zant were defeated, Link was knighted the Hero of Twilight by Queen Zelda herself. He wondered how she fared for it had been nearly four moons since his last meeting with her…something that bothered him a great deal. As a knight of Hyrule, he reported to a minister of some sort and Zelda had been too occupied to grant him an audience with her… according to the minister of some sort.
Sudden guilt seized him.
Queen Zelda was more than likely trapped in the confines of the newly constructed castle, toiling away with the duties of ruling a kingdom and here he was enjoying himself at the Rain Festival.
Link recalled when he first met her—as a wolf, no less—how much suffering he saw in her eyes… and how it stirred his heart. Often times when he thought upon Zelda, Midna would enter his mind. Inhaling deeply, Link closed his eyes, feeling the coolness of the evening in the late summer season descending around him… the feeling of twilight.
"Are you daydreaming again? Come on, get going wolfy! Ugh don't you know how to do anything?"
The ghost of Midna's voice still echoed strongly in Link's mind, but no longer did he feel sorrow at her remembrance for his days of lamentation were past. A dear friend she had become, and would always remain a fond memory… but Zelda…
Just then, his ear twitched, sensing someone approaching him. Though he had not used it for some time, his hand itched for his sword.
"May I join you Sir Link?" A beautiful, melodic voice inquired.
There was no mistaking such propriety.
Link turned, the sight of a woman cloaked in black meeting his eyes. He bowed clumsily and murmured, "Your Majesty."
The grey blue eyes beneath the black hood curved with a slight smile. "Hyrule's hero need not address me so formally."
Link glanced to the Queen of Hyrule, feeling his face shade. "Yes… My Queen."
Zelda simpered, politely gesturing for him to stand. "How do you fare?"
"Well, thank you, though I hope you did not come alone…" Link said with concern; the thought of her riding into the dangers of Hyrule field caused him great discomfort.
Zelda shook her head. "My guardians wait outside the gates. I have little time to spare, but I have yearned to see this festival since I was child. I am fortunate a chance to escape the castle had come this time." She lifted the hood from her head, revealing her dark golden hair adorned with a glimmering, jeweled circlet.
The unease Link felt for Zelda's safety was then replaced by unease he felt as he admired her. "A-allow me to accompany you," he offered.
Zelda nodded. "My thanks."
Suddenly a roar of laughter erupted from the dancing crowd. Link glanced to Zelda, seeing a smile growing upon her face.
"I am pleased to see there is life in Hyrule once again," she said softly, attempting to disguise the emotion in her voice.
"Indeed," Link agreed. "I am glad you smile." The words simply fell from his tongue without thought and his face shaded. "That is, I am relieved to see you are well… it has been some time since we last spoke."
Zelda looked to him, a small frown gracing her lips. "I must apologize for such discourtesy; I knew not you were ordered away at each reporting; Forgive Minister Nihelm, he does not understand my regard for you."
Their hearts quickened at her words.
Zelda's eyes widened ever so slightly and she blushed "I-I simply meant… despite his orders, as my hero, I wished to see you—" Her blush deepened and she looked away. "Ah, forgive me, my words are running away this evening."
Never had Link seen Zelda so flustered as her demeanor was usually so reserved and considerate. "An apology is unnecessary, My Queen."
They fell silent for a time, simply watching the festivities. The music had become more lively, the timidity gone from the dancers. Telma, the bar keeper, managed to steal a turn with Renado, while Illia and Luda giggled behind them. Beth, Colin, Malo, and Talo played with snapping fire, a strange invention from the Gorons, while their parents watched from the liquor booths.
A look of longing flashed across Zelda's face. "How lovely…"
"Do you wish to join them?" Link asked.
. "…I think it is best if I enjoy from afar. Please do not feel obliged to remain with me," she smiled, not wishing to keep him from his friends.
Link moved closer to her, his hand brushing against hers for but a moment. "It is not an obligation."
Beneath the fabric of her gloves, Zelda felt her skin heat from his feather touch, but she quickly pushed the silly stirrings of her heart. She glanced up to the sky as twilight stretched over them, nostalgia overcoming her. "I do believe," she began in a near whisper. "Lady Midna would find this festival amusing."
Link looked to her, seeing forlornness in her grey blue eyes. "I believe so," he replied.
"Many times… I feel her heart, as if it were my own."
"I remember you spoke such words to her... that time…"
"I suppose our connection from the power of the Goddesses was never severed… a blessing and a curse."
Link said nothing in return for a moment. "Do you believe we shall ever meet her again?"
Tears suddenly welled within Zelda's eyes without provocation, yet they did not fall. "Nay, Sir Link."
"…I expected as much."
Hesitantly, she reached for his hand, wishing she had the words to assuage him. "…I am sorry," she whispered with sincerity. Even now, Zelda could recall the deep fondness Midna held for Link. In the princesses' time together, the thoughts and desires of Midna's heart had etched themselves onto Zelda's own heart. And each time Link and Zelda met… her affection for him grew stronger.
Link stilled at her touch with fleeting surprise. "Do not apologize for your honesty," he said shyly, slowly closing his hand around hers. "I am grateful for it."
Zelda studied him curiously, desiring to stand closer…wanting to place her hand upon his face. Blushing heavily, she shook her head and removed her hand from his.
"I am happy to have seen the Rain Festival with you, Sir Link. I thank you for your company, but I must take my leave."
Link stepped toward her. "You must go now?"
She readied to replace her hood, avoiding his eyes. "I fear my guardians will become impatient."
The music began to change to a slower tempo, a melody-filled heaviness much like looming thunderclouds.
Link moved closer still. "You've only just arrived..."
Zelda smiled sorrowfully. "Alas my fate as a Queen; it is enough to have enjoyed this short time with you."
Link shook his head. "Then… then before you depart, will you not dance with me?" He knew not what to do to convince her to stay; all he knew is that he did not wish her to go… it had been far too long.
Zelda's eyes fell from his. "I-I am afraid I know not the customs of Kakariko—"
"Nor do I." Link offered a nervous hand to her and bowed.
Zelda stared his hand, wavering with uncertainty. She wished to stay, yet her absence at the castle would not go unnoticed for much longer.
…Surely one dance would do no harm? Was she was not allowed one indulgence?
He then glanced at her from beneath his hair. His sharp blue eyes pierced her, just as they had at their first meeting in his beast form, and her breath caught.
He was the true reason she wished to escape from those walls of stone.
She reached for his hand and Link gently pulled her closer, placing his other hand about her waist. Zelda's cheeks flushed; the heat of his hands was a welcome warmth and inwardly she reprimanded herself for such thoughts.
Link's face shaded in turn and Zelda sighed unevenly, placing her hand upon his shoulder as they began to move to the music. Every so often, he would glance to the other couples trying to imitate their movements.
Despite their dancing in a shadowy corner, the Ordon children noticed them, pointing and giggling behind their hands at Link. Zelda smiled in amusement; she cared not if they indeed appeared foolish. She was with the man who had rescued her, her kingdom and its entire people; he who so selflessly served her and treated her with kindness… not simply as a queen.
As they continued to dance, a grin grew upon Link's face and he suddenly lifted Zelda into the air, just as the others did. She let out a clear laugh and for a moment, did not feel like Hyrule's queen.
Slowly he lowered her, their faces nearing one another, their breath stilled.
Link then addressed her without title, hardly audible to Zelda herself, and just as she nearly forgot herself…#
It began to rain.
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