After The Twilight
Part Two - The Gathering Storm

By Holly Janda


Chapter Five: the Wolf’s out of the Bag



            “HOW DOES THIS DRESS LOOK ON ME, FATHER?” Ilia asked as she straightened the hem on the best dress she owned, a modest emerald green one embroidered with a pattern of running horses.

            “Well, I never thought I’d hear you say that,” he chuckled. “I think you look lovely, my dear. You remind me so much of your mother. What’s the occasion?”

            “Nothing all that special, it’s just dinner with a friend. I wonder where he’s going to take me….” She said thoughtfully, clasping on a horseshoe shaped pendant.

            “He who?” asked Bo with suspicion. Ilia laughed.

            “Papa! You’ve got absolutely nothing to worry about, it’s only Link,” she said reassuringly.



            Wolf Link shook his furry head. How was he going to do it? Epona had asked him to facilitate a meeting for her with Zelda’s white mare, Snowflake.

            “I don’t see how that’s going to work. For starters, I don’t have any reason to go to the castle, and I’m quite sure that the knights aren’t going to be comfortable with a big black wolf running round the grounds, least of all in the stables,” he said. “Besides, why would you want to talk to that stuffy old nag anyway? You’ve got a whole forest full of animals, a herd of goats, and a scary-looking wolf here! What more could you ask for?” He flashed the horse a fang filled grin.

            “Is it too much to ask that I have friends of my own that aren’t goats, monkeys or shape changers?” she snorted.

            “Not at all—” Wolf Link was cut off by the sound of crunching snow that neither of them had made. Those footsteps are too heavy to be any forest creature. Someone’s coming! He thought.

            “Quiet!” he hissed. He backed up toward the gate to try and see who was coming. It’s always better if you see your enemy before they see you, he remembered Rusl telling him in one of their sparring sessions. He perked his ears and snuffed in alarm when someone stepped out of the shadow of a large tree.

            It was Colin.

            Wolf Link immediately flattened his ears, raised his tail, backed up a few yards more and growled menacingly in high hopes that Colin would believe he was a real wolf.

            “Nice try, Link. Wow…you’re more remarkable than I thought! How come you hadn’t told me about this sooner? This could have really helped me when Dad sent me hunting last week,” said the boy in an awestruck tone. Link reassumed his human form.

            “I really didn’t want to tell anybody, Colin, no one at all. If I had it my way, I wouldn’t even know about it,” he replied.

            “Oh yeah, I understand completely. I’m pretty sure that they’d be shocked, especially Fado. You know how much he hates wolves, but he’s a goat brain, anyway. I guess you want me to keep this a secret, then?” Colin asked as he patted Epona on the head.

            “You guessed right, Colin. If it proves to be too much trouble for you later on, let me know, alright?”

            “Don’t worry about it anymore. So, what other magic can you do, Link?” he said. The elder boy grinned.

            “Come over some time and I’ll show you. It’ll have to wait a while ‘cause I’m going away tomorrow to the River of Realms1…wherever that is. Believe me, some of my abilities I just found out about pretty recently,” Link said as he climbed the ladder up to his house and bid Colin a good evening. Once inside, he discovered a letter on the table upon which he mended saddles. It read:


          If you are a corporeal form whilst reading this, I wish you to reply to this letter as soon as possible. It is in my concern to know how well you fare after the attack. Do not forget that the River of Realms awaits you tomorrow.

     If you are a spirit reading this, I bid you a peaceful rest in the Sacred Realm. You may communicate with me occasionally when I do my prayers during the full moon. In any case,




            “So there’s a fifty percent chance she thinks I’m dead too, eh? Better correct her way of thinking,” Link said to himself. He got out a quill, a bottle of ink and parchment and then wrote:


          I’m not dead, but very much alive, actually. Reply to me with the time you left Ordon and enclose where you are currently staying so that I can communicate with you anytime.

     When I get back from the River of Realms, I’ll have to check out what’s causing the Bublin Rider infestation in Hyrule Field (Kakariko Gorge area). You may want to send some knights out there, or, then again, maybe not2.

                                           Many happy returns,



            Link called down a hawk, attached the letter to its leg and said, “Go to princess Zelda. Have a safe and swift flight!” he watched it fly out of sight, then proceeded to iron his best tunic, a red one embroidered with the Hylian Eagle in gold across the chest. It had been a gift from the king when he had unofficially knighted Link. When he finished, he gingerly pulled it over his head and laced up the tie.

            “Eh, it still fits! You’ve got to brush that mane of yours, Link. Maybe get a trim…,” he said to himself, checking his reflection in a cleaver. He couldn’t find an actual brush (due to the fact that he didn’t own one), so instead he used a horse brush. Deciding he was somewhat presentable, Link belted on SunFire and went outside.

            Link walked over to Epona and gave her an apple. The horse snorted her thanks as he grabbed the reins and led her to Mayor Bo’s house. As soon as he could read “Mayor Bo’s house” on the sign out front, Link’s heart began its way into his throat.

            “Eh, maybe I should come another time,” he whispered nervously to himself. “But no! Come on, if you can stare down a thousand pound dragon3, then you should be able to do this in your sleep!” He mustered up all the courage he possessed, which was a great deal, and attempted to mount the porch steps.  When his toe rested on the wood, he lost his nerve. He groaned and turned around, burying his face in Epona’s mane.  The horse promptly snorted and stomped as a signal for him to keep going.     

            “Right, right, keep your horseshoes on,” he growled. Get a move on, you goat brain! Is your best friend really scarier than Dark Lord Ganondorf? Link silently scolded himself. Get a move on!  He grasped the gilt steel door knocker in the shape of a goat’s head and thudded it against the door. He heard a scraping sound from on the other side as someone slid the bolt and opened up the entrance. Link stepped past the threshold into the main part of the two story house, where he found the mayor standing tall and crossing his arms while peering at him with a scrutinizing gaze.                      

            “Well, aren’t we looking smart this evening? I think you need to fire your groomer, though. It looks like they mistook you for Epona!”  Bo said, nodding at Link’s feeble attempt to manage his unruly hair.

            “Ha ha,” Link said with a sarcastic laugh. “Very funny, but good eye, though. I actually did use a horse brush, since I don’t have a human brush.”

            “Hm! So, where are you going looking like that? I don’t think that a fancy getup is quite practical for adventuring,” said the mayor as he began pacing in front of the flustered Hylian shepherd. Link frowned at him and mimicked his posture.

            “We aren’t going anywhere important or dangerous for that matter, just to Castle Town. Why do you ask me of this?” he asked.

            “Well, you have your sword on, for one thing. Do you expect danger of any kind? Will you be prepared for an ambush, in case there is one?” the mayor answered. Link could tell that he was still quite upset about the other day’s fight, and was worried that it would happen again. He sighed.

            “Mayor Bo, in these times you always have to expect danger, you know that. Don’t have worry, because you’ll be sure that I can and will protect Ilia with my life. I’d take a sword thrust through my heart for her,” Link said, putting his right hand over his heart to swear his pledge. As Bo nodded his compliance, Ilia came downstairs.

            “What’s going on down here? I hope you two aren’t arguing, because I’m not going to clean up your blood, father, if the two of you come to blows and Link decides to bring out his sword. But if that will happen, I’ll surely destroy you, Link,” she said.

            Link turned round and faced her. She, in his opinion, looked stunning and he said so.

            “Why thank you,” she said bashfully. “Are you ready to go, or do you want to punch my father first?” Link snorted, and so did the mayor.

                        “Yeah, keep teasing,” he warned, “and maybe it’s you that’ll be having a knuckle sandwich for supper.”

            “Perhaps two,” Mayor Bo added. Ilia rolled her eyes and waved her hand in a dismissive gesture at the both of them. She put on her goatskin coat lined with wolf fur (Link would scowl disgustedly whenever he saw her wearing it) and followed Link out the door. Outside, he helped Ilia into the double saddle resting on Epona’s back. The saddle shifted dangerously when she tried to settle herself, and as such, she almost fell off of the fourteen hand high horse.

            “Link! A little help, please?” Ilia shrieked as she grabbed hold of the reins and pulled herself back up. Link crouched under the horse and tightened the strap. He moved out from under Epona and pulled on the stirrup to check the tightness of the saddle and found it was just right.

            “That’s better,” he said, satisfied. “Alright, let’s go.” He swung in the saddle and nudged Epona’s sided with his heels. The horse gave a quiet neigh and started out of the village. They rode past Link’s house and into Ordon woods, from there, across the Great Bridge4. They made their way through Faron Woods and into South Hyrule Field.

            The ride was quiet and undisturbed until the sky opened up and released a torrent of thick snow and ice pellets. Link yanked the reins to the left and directed Epona under a copse of trees with thickly knitted branches. He figured that the horse would be bruised from the falling tiny missiles of ice.

            “Good gods!” he cried. “Why now?” Those simple phrases were the beginning of his tirade of complaining and insults to the sky. Still seething, Link grabbed Ilia’s hand and led her into a small cave that was situated in the rock wall of Kakariko Gorge. He exhaled loudly and ran his fingers through his wet hair. Shaking the droplets of melting ice from his head and shoulders, he brought out his lantern and lit it. Instantly, the crudely carved out shelter was bathed in a soothingly warm orange glow. However, the Hylian hero’s anger was not abated by it. Frustrated, he picked up a small stone and hurled it out into the sleet. Ilia’s words from earlier that day rang in his mind.

Maybe this is as far as we get, you know, just saying ‘hi’ if our paths happen to cross. Do you think that it is fated that we remain at arm’s length?

“Link, relax,” she told him gently. “It’s only a little snow and rain, what harm could it do?” He shrugged and then sighed.

“No arm, I suppose. It’s just that….”

“Just what? You can tell me anything, Link. You can trust me.” He turned his back to her and stared out into the storm’s growing ferocity.

“Whoa!” It’s getting worse, we’ll never get there now, unless…. Ilia, what I’m about to tell you, it has to be kept a secret, can you promise me this?” said Link, his heart suddenly racing like a champion racehorse.

“I promise,” she replied solemnly. Link faced his friend to see her staring at him with a look of complete sincerity. He took a deep breath to steady himself, then pictured a large black and white wolf, threw back his head and howled. When he opened his eyes, he heard Ilia gasp audibly. Fearing the worst yet again, Wolf Link turned his eyes on her, and she staring at him with a horrified look on her face. With wilted ears and a drooping tail, Wolf Link thought, well, I tried. I guess I’d better get used to being looked at like a freak by my best friend, someone who has known me for my entire life. I think I expect too much of my friends.

“What…what sorcery is this? I guessed many things had changed about you, Link, but changed is an understatement! For you to be practising black magic…have the evils you sought to destroy possessed you? Telma was right…you are a beast!” said Ilia, her voice full of sadness…and betrayal. Link became himself.

            “Ilia…you have to listen to me. I…” Link trailed off, feeling defeated. How could he make her understand? For sure he’d have to rely on his incredible luck. “Ilia, I think it’s time I told you the whole story.”

            “That would be nice.”

            “Ha ha…. As you know, my adventures started on the day when I was originally supposed to leave for Hyrule Castle…. Well, after you and Colin got carted off by those monsters, and after I came to from getting whacked in the head, I ran after you all and met a black wall that blocked off Faron Woods. Well, I ran right up to it and a big black arm grabbed me—” Link made the motion— “and pulled me through. That’s when I felt such a blinding pain, so I passed out again.

            “When I woke up, I was a wolf and in the dungeon of Hyrule Castle. That’s when I met Midna, an imp from the Twilight Realm. She helped me escape the dungeon and took me to meet princess Zelda, who told us about what happened to Hyrule. So, we began to assemble the Fused Shadows that had been broken up and hidden in the Forest Temple, Goron Mines, and the Lakebed Temple at the bottom of Lake Hylia.

“However, Zant appeared and caused all kinds of damage. He took the Fused Shadows, and embedded a black crystal in my forehead, and exposed Midna to the light of Spirit Lanayru, critically injuring her. I rushed Midna to Princess Zelda, who revealed that the only way I could return to my normal form was to find the Master Sword. Zelda combined her heart with Midna’s to heal her, allowing her to exist outside of the Twilight. After we reached the Master Sword, Zant’s black crystal was forced out of me.

“We traveled through Gerudo Desert and conquered the Arbiter’s Grounds dungeon to reach the Mirror of Twilight—the only way to enter the Twilight Realm and stop Zant—only to discover that Zant had broken it.

“The ancient sages who guard the mirror revealed that they banished Ganondorf, an evil thief Lord to the Twilight Realm using the Mirror, and that he may have been the source of Zant’s frightening, newfound powers.

“They also stated that Zant attempted to destroy the Mirror completely, but could not do so, because only the true ruler of the Twili had the power to do so, and Zant's powers were false. He could only break it into four fragments, and three were missing.

“After journeying through the Snowpeak Ruins, the Temple of Time, and the City in the Sky, we obtained the missing Mirror shards. After we restored the Mirror, the sages reveal that Midna is the true ruler of the Twili, the Twilight Princess, and that Zant’s curse turned her into an imp, just as I had been turned into a wolf.

“When we confronted Zant in the Twilight Realm, he explained that he encountered Ganondorf while in a rage about being passed over as the king of the Twili. Ganondorf offered to make Zant’s wishes come true, and made Zant a vessel for his power. Midna got back the Fused Shadows, and used it to kill Zant, though he returned to life afterwards due to Ganondorf’s power.

“We then traveled back to Hyrule Castle and brought the fight to Ganondorf. Of course, he was defeated and then the curse on Midna broke. She went back to the Twilight Realm, and then Zelda and I returned to our respective homes. And, well, here we are. I’m not a sorcerer, Ilia,” Link finished, taking a long drink of water from his canteen. Ilia stood silent with her eyes closed, and when she opened them, her eyes were full of tears.

“Take me home, Link,” she said quietly.


“I wish to go back to Ordon. Please take me there.”

“Ah…how come? What’s wrong? Hm—” Link paused, then shook his head. “Wait, I know exactly what. I knew this would happen! I told myself you’d take this badly, and I was right! Why don’t I ever listen to my inner voice? Why don’t you trust me, Ilia?” His friend looked scandalized.

“Why do you think I don’t trust you?” she asked. Link snorted indignantly.

“Well for starters, you freaked out when I told-showed-you my wolf form,” he replied.

“What did you expect? How was I supposed to react, Link? I’m from a small village that’s practically cut off from the rest of the world. I’m not as well traveled as you, and when I find out that a person I’ve known for me whole life can change his shape, of course I’m going to freak out!” she replied crossly.

“Ah, well. The snow stopped, so let’s get you home. Only the gods know your father won’t want you hanging around with a werewolf. I’ve got to get home to pack anyway. I’ve been set to go on a mission that could take months, years! I’ve got to establish alliances with—” Link’s words were cut off by Ilia rushing forward and throwing her arms around him.

“Be quiet, you fool,” she said as she nestled her head into his chest. “You really do talk too much.”

“Yeah, sure,” Link replied, his smile creeping into his voice. When she released him, she said,

“Link, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to make you feel that badly. I was afraid, that’s all.” Link frowned confusedly.

“Scared of what? When you’re with me, you’ve got nothing to fear. Didn’t you hear my Scout’s oath that I gave your dad? I’ll do anything and everything in my power to protect you,” he said soothingly.

“I know. I was just afraid that you would move on and forget about me, about Ordon. I don’t want to lose you, Link. You’re my heart’s hope.” At this, Link was rendered completely speechless. His mouth formed words, but no sound came out. When he found his voice, he said,

“Ilia, I’m not going to let your heart down.” Ilia smiled.

“Alright, my hero, I believe you. Shall we?” and with that, Link and Ilia retrieved Epona from her woodland shelter and finished their travels.


Chapter Six: The Ranger




EVEN UNTO THE NEXT MORNING, LINK FELT THE MIRTH STILL living inside of him. He was having severe trouble grasping the fact that his irrational fears of Ilia’s reaction to his wolf form were no more. Further more, was that they were closer friends than ever…maybe more. Still, evil waited for no man. Link finished packing his bags and said his farewells to everyone in Ordon village and departed for the River of Realms with Epona in tow.



            “Ilia! Come downstairs, I’ve got a question for you,” her father called, his weary voice giving way to a cough. Especially in the past few moons, Ilia felt that her father’s health had been deteriorating far too rapidly. He was not very old, since his age had not yet exceeded sixty years

            “Coming, Father!” she shouted back, rushing downstairs. Though it had indeed been a subtle change, when Ilia looked at a portrait of her father when he was her age and then compared it to him in the present time, there was a startling difference. The aging mayor stood from his cushioned chair, and even that simple movement worried her about whether or not his back was going to go out.

            “Dearest…as I am clearly in no fit position to do so, and as Rusl has taken Abbigail to her first day of school, will you venture to Kakariko village to retrieve my medication from Renado?” he asked.

            “I will, papa.”

            “Thank you. Take Thunderpaw with you. He’ll keep you safe,” said the mayor. Thunderpaw was Ordon’s sheepdog, and, Ilia felt, a weak replacement for Link and Epona. Ilia fetched the dog from Fado’s house and began her foot march to the village.

            Awhile later, she arrived at the bridge that spanned Kakariko Gorge. She was about to cross it when five Bublin Riders charged toward her. The Bublin infestation in Hyrule Field had become steadily worse over the past half decade. In response to the coming threat, Thunderpaw retreated behind her with his tail between his legs.

            “You coward! You’re supposed to protect me!” Ilia cried as she tried to climb a nearby tree. Her feet couldn’t seem to grip the rough bark at all. She scrabbled up the tree, trying to grab onto its leafless branches, but failed and slipped down into the snow. This is it, she thought. I’m going to die…who will take care of my father?

            Just as the Riders were bearing down on her, a figure in a dark green and brown mottled cloak riding a roan horse galloped toward her. Drawing two swords, they rode right into the Bublins’ midst, slashing all the while. Once the monsters had been defeated and the Bulbo had darted madly away, the rider stopped and regarded her through a metal mask that was forged to the likeness of an eagle’s visage.

            “Thank—” Ilia began, but the rider made his/her horse rear and gallop back in the direction from which they came. She scowled, thinking how rude! Though it took her well into the night, she delivered to her father is medication.


            “Lady Zelda?” said a voice from behind her. It was the knight she had summoned.

            “Approach. What news have you for me?”

            “I have received reports from sentries stationed in all parts of Hyrule that a mysterious cloaked figure known only as ‘The Ranger’ has been carrying out all kind of reckless attacks on the monsters, my Lady. The other knights are worrying that…well; they think he’s making them look bad,” said the knight as he inspected his boots through squinted eyes.

            “I see. What harm is this ‘Ranger’ actually doing, sergeant?” Zelda turned around to face the knight. “Is he endangering the lives of the people of Hyrule? I think not. I wish to hear no more complaints about him, am I understood?”

            “But, Lady Zelda—”

            No more complaints! Do I make myself clear?”

            “Yes, my lady.”

            “You are dismissed.” After the knight had taken his leave, Zelda sighed and rubbed her eyes. If some vigilante wanted to help out Hyrule then he was, in her opinion, entitled. For many moons this Ranger had been sighted slicing through massive groups of monsters like a hot knife through ice. People had many theories about who this masked stranger could be. She herself had multiple speculations, and all of them seemed to be centred on a certain Hylian hero….


            Rusl and Colin were hiking up to the Goron Mines for a job interview.

            “Now Colin, as you know, the Goron are an extremely proud people,” Rusl explained. “Try not to say anything that might insult one; it just may be the last thing you ever do.” Colin nodded. He’d been dealing with the tough mountain people for the better part of five years and knew how to speak to them. He may have only been sixteen years old, but he was certainly not stupid, nor was he going to deliberately insult a giant five hundred pound—plus—rock man!

            They were nearly halfway up the mountain trail when a huge mountain lion pounced onto the path in front of them, its face set in a feral snarl. It was the very face of danger, the cat’s black lips drawn back to reveal three inch long canine fangs, and its yellow eyes narrowed fiercely. Rusl drew his sword inlaid with Ordon goat horns and pushed his unarmed son behind him.

            “Colin, watch out! Go back to Kakariko and warn everyone! If I don’t reappear, assume the beast’s still alive. Go now!” Rusl said quietly so as not to provoke the lion further. Colin ran back down the mountain trail as fast as his legs could carry him. He didn’t get far when he saw a dark green and brown mottled cloaked figure leaping amongst the rocks above him. He/she drew an arrow from the quiver strung across his/her back, nocked it and fired, all within one fluid movement. From further up the trail, Colin heard an angry roar and hid behind a large boulder as the cat came leaping into sight, spitting and growling.

            It leapt at the strange man/woman with its lethal claws extended, ready to sink them into his/her flesh. The mysterious person drew a gleaming golden bladed sword and met the cat’s charge by skewering it. He/she withdrew the blade from the dead beast and wiped its blood off on the tawny fur, saluted Colin and then ran off. Rusl came running up to him, slightly out of breath.

            “Colin…what happened?” he panted as he inspected his son for wounds.

            “I’m fine, dad, but that lion’s not,” Colin replied.

            “Did you see who killed it?”

            “I did, but I don’t know exactly who it was but I have an idea,” the boy said shakily.

            “Who was it, son?”

            “It was the Ranger.”


            “Alright, Louise, whose invoice do we have to bully about this time?” said Telma to her fluffy white Persian cat. Lately, her bar’s patrons’ tabs kept climbing in number and as a result, she’d had had to close down in order to make collections herself. She and Louise were standing in Castle Town central square, and Telma was digging through a box of invoices when suddenly, a gang of ruffian boys overran her and kicked Louise. Through the scuffle, they had managed to steal her purse.

            “Hey!” she yelled angrily, shaking a fist. “Get back here, you bunch of hooligans! I’d call the Town Watch on y’all if they weren’t so damn useless. What are we going to do now? Where’s that Ranger when you truly need him?” From behind her, someone cleared his throat.

            “Why call on someone who is no better than those punks? That so called vigilante doesn’t deal with petty crimes: that’s what your good neighbourhood Town Watch is for!” Telma turned on her heel to face one of the guards.

            “Uh-huh. Yeah, like I’m going to believe that,” she snorted. “I’d rather wait for someone efficient than rely on some useless layabouts!”

            As if on cue, the notorious Ranger appeared next to them, holding her purse in one gauntleted hand and the thief’s collar in the other.

            “Excuse me, Lady Telma, I believe this is yours,” he handed her the purse, “and I believe this is yours.” He finished, throwing the bound thief at the guard’s feet. “Adieu.” With a swirl of his cloak, he ran off into the crowds.

            “My, my Louise. Isn’t he something? I’ll tell you what, though, I believe I know who he is!”


            After nearly four moons of living in Hyrule’s wilds, the Ranger finally made his way into Faron Province. He was going to meet with the mayor of the lonely little village that was situated in Ordon woods. He had already met with the leaders of the other settlements in Hyrule.

            Although the winter’s frosty breath had removed the forest’s foliage, the Ranger’s cloak still allowed him to move unseen through the trees. It also helped his cover that the treads on his boots were shaped like the paw prints of a wolf, and that the toes were studded with short metal spikes to present the illusion of claws.

            Just like the creature from which he’d borrowed signature footprints, the Ranger stalked silently through the forest, and then swiftly climbed a tree when he heard a voice.

            “Are you going to protect me this time, Thunderpaw?” the young woman’s voice said to a response of a happy sounding bark which then turned into a menacing growl. “What’s wrong, boy? What do you see?” there was a pause pregnant with tension. “…wolf tracks! Any they’re fresh, too…but that’s strange. There’s only one set…a scout perhaps?”

            However, the Ranger had a knack for determining an animal’s emotions through the sounds it made, and the Border collie wasn’t worried about a wolf, or even wolves for that matter. There was something else lurking through the forest….

            Using the binocular function on his mask, the Ranger scanned the clearing from the tree in which he sat. It wasn’t until he moved his hawkeyed gaze to the edge of the small clearing that he saw the danger.

            There was a massive earth coloured grizzly bear heading straight for the woman and her dog.


            When Thunderpaw began growling fiercely, Ilia frantically looked for the threat. She began to think the dog was being paranoid until out of the corner of her eye she saw the seven foot tall bear lumbering toward her.

            “B-b-bear!” she gasped. Thunderpaw barked at it, snapping his jaws. “No, you stupid dog!” she yelled. That wasn’t a very bright move, however, because the collie’s threatening body language and her angry shout provoked the bear. It reared on its hind paws, roaring and brandishing its knifelike claws. It took a step closer to her with its lips peeled back that revealed fangs as long as her middle finger. Its fishy smelling breath plumed in the cold air. In her fear, Ilia could feel those fangs tearing at her soft flesh and imagined the searing pain.

            Her father had always told her to play dead in the presence of a bear, but what could she do if it already knew she was alive?

            Back away slowly, but don’t let it corner you, she remembered him advising her. If it’s a female with cubs, you’re as good as dead, though. It’s best to avoid them altogether. Well, it was a little too late for that.

            The bear took a swipe at Thunderpaw with one of its massive paws, catching it full on the side flank. With a terrified yelp of pain, the dog slammed against a mighty oak and fell, leaving a smear of dark blood on the bark.  He was dead before he hit the ground. Now Ilia was utterly defenceless. Suddenly, an arrow zipped past the bear, lightly grazing its muzzle.

            “Come now, Bruno! For shame on you to be attacking innocent people!” said a voice vindictively from above. A figure clad in a dark green and brown mottled cloak leapt from the trees and landed nimbly between her and the bear. The famed Ranger had come to her rescue yet again.

            The enigmatic young man stood on his toes and fanned out the hems of his cloak like a dragon spreading its mighty wings, trying to appear bigger than the bear. It roared at him, and he roared back at it, lunging forward. To Ilia’s surprise, the bear moaned and plodded away.

            “Are you okay? I hope old Bruno the bear didn’t scare you too much. The strange thing is, though, he should be hibernating,” said the Ranger to a petrified Ilia.

            “I’m fine, thank you.”

            “Alright then, adieu!” he said with a sweeping bow, and then motioned to leave.

            “No, wait!” Ilia exclaimed. The Ranger turned back.

            “What do you need? The bear is gone, and you are safe,” he replied confusedly.

            “Tell me who you are.”

            The Ranger visibly bristled. “I’m sorry, I can’t do that. I wish to remain, how you say, incognito. Besides, if I did tell you, how do I know you will not betray me?”

            “There’s nothing I can do to assure you that you can trust me, but know this: I will continue to purposefully throw myself in danger until you tell me,” Ilia responded curtly, her words no idle threat. The Ranger stood pensive for a moment, and then he laughed.

            “A sure thing it is! Well, if you can promise me on your life and perhaps mine, I will tell you.”

            “I promise…on your life and my own.”

            He nodded and then removed his cowl. This motion exposed a head of shaggy golden blond hair and long, pointed ears pierced twice. He then removed his mask, showing her sapphire blue eyes and a thin neatly cut beard that looked as if someone had implanted short strands of golden thread into his jaw and chin.

            “Do I really need to tell you my name, Ilia?” he asked. Ilia shook her head because she now knew exactly who the ranger was.

            He was Link.










Chapter Seven: Traitors and Tidings of Evil



“LINK! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT! IS IT REALLY YOU? Where have you been for the past five years? You have no idea how much I— everyone—have missed you!” Ilia exclaimed, throwing herself at her very best friend. Even though her nearly hysterical joy, a dark thought crossed her mind: if he had changed so much within the mere months during his fight against Zant and Ganondorf, how altered was he after five years? She was almost afraid to find out.


When Ilia had tackled him to the ground, Link’s breath whooshed out of him, leaving him winded.

“Aargh! I missed you too,” he wheezed, and then helped her up. “You know, the snow is far too cold to be wrestling in, and I think that kind of thing is for little kids, anyway.” He laughed and shook his head. Despite his apparent mirth; the knife of his worry twisted in his gut. Ever since he’d initially returned to Hyrule, Link’s thoughts had been dominated by how he would possibly confront Ilia after being apart for five years. Now he was desperately trying to think of a way to tell her exactly why he had returned and he assumed she wouldn’t take his news well. Most people would generally feel agitated at the news of impending danger.

“I should have known that you were the Ranger, Link, I mean, I even saw Epona that day. I guess I didn’t put two and two together,” Ilia told him as they walked through the forest.

“Well, I did, you know,” Link replied. “Guess what they make?”



“Ha, ha, very funny. Oh, this is so great!” Ilia exclaimed as she grabbed his hands and faced him. “Everyone is going to be so happy once they know you’re back! I’ll keep my promise to you, though. No one will ever know that you’re the Ranger.” Link nodded solemnly, and then turned away.

“Listen, Ilia…about that I’m back, they won’t know. In fact, I shouldn’t even have told you,” he said.

“Oh and why did you return? Kindly tell me,” Ilia replied, her voice quavering a little. If she was going to start crying, he wouldn’t be able to tell her.

“Ilia, my mission isn’t over yet. Now, it’s important that you don’t interrupt me, okay? Do you understand?”

“Okay, go on.”

Link sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. “When I left for the River of Realms…five years ago…I was told by Princess Zelda—”

“How did I know she would come up in this?” Ilia interrupted.

“Why must you assume—”

“—assume that you’ll come back for her—”

“—but that’s not why—”

“—always jumping up for her, only the gods know what your reason is—”

“Ilia, LISTEN TO ME!” Link finally shouted when his temper reached the breaking point. He grabbed hold of his friend’s shoulders and stared deep into her sea-green eyes, searching for the part of her that thought rationally. What was her issue with Zelda anyway?

“Link, you’re hurting me,” she told him icily. Link released her at once and then backed away.

“I’m sorry, but you’ve got to understand what I’m trying to tell you. Just…hear me out, okay? Zelda told me to come back prematurely if—”

“—if she missed you?”

“ILIA! No, if there was any imminent or occurring danger! I came back because some evil son of a Moblin1 is trying to take over Hyrule again! What do you think I’ve been doing for the past four moons? Where do you think I’ve been?”

“I don’t even want to know.”

“Okay, enough of this! If you’re not going to let me give you a fair warning about the peril we’re all in, than I’ll just leave!” Link said as he threw up his arms and started to walk away.

“That’s right, turn your back on me and run to your precious Zelda’s loving arms!” Ilia yelled angrily back at him.

“Whatever you say!” Link called, raising an arm as he kept walking.


Mayor Bo was startled into waking from his afternoon nap when he heard the loud bang of a door slamming. He sat up in his bed, swung his legs over the side with great difficulty and then hobbled over to his daughter, who stormed angrily into the room.

“Ilia, what happened? You weren’t gone for long, not that I’m complaining. Is everything alright?” he asked his fuming child.

“I can’t believe him!” she raged, then seemed to cool down. “Oh, father, I’m sorry. It’s just…you’ll never guess who came back finally.”  Somehow, Mayor Bo knew exactly whom she was referring to.

“It wasn’t Link, was it? Ah, it was, I can tell. No one vexes you quite like he does, even when you two were children it’s been that way. What went wrong between you two? I assumed you’d be overjoyed at his return,” the aging mayor said calmly to his daughter. Ilia sighed.

“You’re right, papa, it was Link…but he’s changed a lot since I last saw him. He even looks different. Anyway, after he saved me from the bear—”

“—there was a bear?!”

“There was. After it attacked and killed Thunderpaw, I was happy he had come back, but when he tried to tell me why, I assumed and said so, that it was only because Zelda asked him to, and he got extremely angry and , oh, father!” Ilia cried out in despair and hugged him. Mayor Bo cradled his sobbing daughter.

“Don’t worry, sweetheart. It’ll be alright, because he does know that you only have his best interests at heart. The boy is like a brother to you, after all, but if you’re correct in your thinking, that’s his choice and you can’t interfere,” he said soothingly.

“I know, but…no good can come of that…. What if I chased him away for good? He is the closest thing I actually have to another family member…what if we never see him again?”

“Dearest, I do know this id a bad time, but did you tell him about Conrad?” asked the mayor.


“Then, don’t concern yourself with whom he chooses to keep company. He wouldn’t judge you for that.”


            Link walked up the long, red carpet that led to the throne of Hyrule’s Royal family in the newly completed throne room.

            “You called for me, Princess?” he said as he bowed to the replacement ruler, since the King of Hyrule was on leave. His fight with Ilia ran over and over through his mind. He would try not to let it interfere with his tone of voice. He could not afford to offend his employer.

            “Indeed, Hero of Light,” Zelda responded, indicating that he rise to face her. “I have important news for you. It seems that the source of the growing population of monsters has been found, and who has been sending them.”

            “Important is an understatement, my Lady. However, it is to my understanding that this is not all you have to tell me,” Link replied.

            “Correct again. The monsters have been coming from the Desert Province, and now you have to find a way to stem their tides. It seems as though Ganondorf had a Hylian follower,” Zelda explained. Link was taken aback. How could this be? I thought that the Twilight turned every light dweller into a spirit. Well maybe by worshipping the evil master, he or she could have been spared the horrible fate by his magic, or something…or maybe they liked the effect the Twilight had on everyone…anyway, they’re pretty sick for looking up to that fiend. Link thought disgustedly. The appearance of a possible sorcerer was a decent explanation for the appearance of more monsters, but Link felt there was a problem with this logic.

            Wasn’t the source of the monsters originally Ganondorf’s dark magic that was granted to him by the goddesses? How could anyone gain access to that type of power? Link gritted teeth in frustration at his failure to come up with a solution.

            “Who would be such a traitor? Better question is, though, how could someone have the ability to create monsters freely?” he growled.

            “The only thing I know, and this was found out through many moons of reconnaissance, is that the villain’s name is Emperor DarkKnight. In order to silence the monsters’ cries forever, you must infiltrate his lair and defeat him once and for all,” Zelda replied sternly.

            “Then I shall, and I will return here as soon as I can, bearing his head,” Link said, saluting her. He made to leave, but turned back as a dread thought crossed his mind. “Suppose I fail. What will happen then?”

            “If you fail this mission, or die, then Hyrule is doomed.”


            Link spent the next few days gathering essential supplies and amassing allies. Although he was confident in his abilities,—sometimes overly so—he was sure that this would be one mission he couldn’t complete on his own. As he didn’t trust any of Hyrule’s knights, Link turned to his faithful friends that called themselves “the Group.”

            He walked the streets of Castle Town feeling weary and alone. He felt that there was not a single person in the vast land that would feel as he did—as if the whole world rested upon his shoulders. He observed the people that pushed by him on their daily routines, and those who chatted loudly and happily with the people they were with. It seemed as if he were the lone wolf of Hyrule. Link smirked at the thought, thinking to himself of how literal that observation actually was.

            However lonely feeling he was, some people that passed him would seize his hand and shake it vigorously as they said ‘swordsman, you’re back!’ Link would only reply with a curt nod and a ghost of a smile. He shared none of their mirth.

            When he reached the small alley in which the Group’s meeting place was, the sign that read “Telma’s Bar” had a board nailed on it that said ‘CLOSED’ in bright red letters. Regardless of the notice, Link knocked on the door three times.

            “We’re closed!” came the muffled reply. Link knocked again, louder this time.

            “Get lost, can’t you read?” the voice from inside shouted angrily. Link knocked one more time, thumping on the wooden door so hard that the hinges rattled. He raised his fist to beat his fist on the entrance again, but stopped himself as the door swung inward and revealed Telma bearing a heavy iron skillet and a look that could make a dragon’s blood curdle. She looked ready to take his head off with it.

            “Whoa, I come in peace!” Link cried, holding his hands up in a gesture of surrender. Telma threw the skillet on a table behind her and then ushered him inside

            “Well, well, well. Look who decided to turn up after five years. Did you take time out of your busy schedule just to come visit me, or are you here for someone else?” she said. “Well, in any case, what can I do for you?”  Link looked around the small bar. It looked as though there hadn’t been a patron here for quite some time. Chairs were missing from their usual places, all glasses were vacated from the shelf behind the counter, and table tops were laden with a thick layer of dust.

            “Been busy lately? I guess not. Listen; are Shad and the others here?” Link asked, wiping one of his fingers on a dusty table.      

            “Yes, they are, what do you need them for?” she replied, gesturing to the back room.

            “I need their help. Apparently there’s a fortress in the desert that is currently housing the monster army’s leader. If we don’t act soon, there’s going to be a war.”

            “I see…hey!” she suddenly shouted, making him jump. “Y’all better get out here! There’s someone here to see you!” the curtain separating the back room from the main floor pulled back to reveal Auru, Shad, Ashei, and Rusl.

            “Good gods, Link is that you?” Rusl yelled, running forward and putting Link in a bone-crushing hug.

            “Sure thing! How have you been, Rusl?” Link asked the man who was like an older brother to him.

            “I’ve been good. Did you know that Abbigail has started school?” Rusl replied. Link was shocked. He didn’t know, but truly, there was a lot he was unaware of these days. So much has changed…so much more is going to change if we can’t get this job done in good time. He thought as he shook his head sadly.

            “I didn’t know that, Rusl. What else should I know about?” Link asked. Rusl’s happy grin quickly faded as the last syllables left Link’s lips.

            “Too much, it’s true, maybe you should sit down,” Rusl began. Link took a seat on a dusty barstool. “Where do I start? Well, on a pleasant note, King Ralis of the Zora people is getting married soon, and to think about it, his coronation is on the same day. The kids back home have been invited, and Colin is going to be best man. Malo mart has expanded outside of Hyrule, and it’s merged with Sera’s Sundries, so that corporate empire is brining quite the large sum of Rupees into Ordon. I can’t believe what an entrepreneur Malo has turned out to be! Speaking of Hanch’s family, Beth has finally up and moved to the city. Actually, Sera sent me to check on her, and that’s why I’m here right now.

             “Now, for the…bad news. Mayor Bo is really not well off, his health is getting worse. He’s on all sorts of pain killers because his back’s got arthritis, and so have his feet. I guess that’s from wrestling Gorons for all those years. Ah…what else…? Right, Colin’s joining the Hylian Knighthood,” Rusl paused. Link took advantage of his break to say,

            “And how, exactly, is that a bad thing?”

            “Come on, man! You know that nearly everyone in Hyrule hates those god-forsaken knights! Ah, well. Ever since he…well, he doesn’t want to work with the Gorons making weapons like I did when I was his age. Anyhow…Luda, do you remember her? Renado’s daughter? She’s taken over for him because, well, he’s ah, dead.”

            What?! How?” Link exclaimed.

            “He was hiking up the mountain trail awhile back and was killed by a rockslide. That’s the worst of it, except…do you want to know what else?” Rusl asked tentatively. The tone of the blacksmith’s voice suggested to Link that he felt that he had no authority to tell him what else he had to say. Despite this, the young Hylian said,

             “Go on, Rusl.” Rusl took a deep breath and continued.

            “Ah…how do I put this? Well, Link, Ilia’s engaged.”

            “Uh-huh. Right,” Link said quietly. His eyes rolled back in his head and he fell to the floor in a dead faint.


            Meanwhile, a small group of Hylian soldiers was patrolling the desert sands in single file. Among this company and at the back of the line was Colin; it was his first mission outside Lanayru Province.

            “Company, halt!” barked the commander, Conrad Jackson. He was about twenty three years of age, almost a head taller than Colin, and Ilia’s fiancé. Colin was serving as Jackson’s squire.

            “You, Smithson, up here now,” he called to Colin from the front of the line. Grumbling, the sixteen year old followed the order.

            “Yes, Sir Jackson?”

            “Tell me what you see on the horizon,” the senior knight asked him, pointing in the direction of an ancient sand coloured building that looked very much like the Coliseum with seven pillars, each topped with a statue of the Hylian Eagle.

            “Ah, that would be the Arbiter’s Grounds, Sir?”

            “Yes indeed. You’re a bright one. Do you see any strange goings-on, Smithson?”

            “…No, Sir.”

            “Alright, well would you agree that we’ve followed Princess Zelda’s instructions? Remember that she said for us to return if we saw anything strange?”

            “Well, sir, I—”

            “Do you agree?”

            “I—yes, I guess, but—”

            “Right, men! Move out, we’re done here,” shouted Jackson. One by one, the knights used the Warp Stone to leave the Gerudo Desert. However, their quick departure caused them to miss one crucial event. A giant Twilit-style warp portal opened up over Arbiter’s Grounds. From the portal erupted a thin beam of light which shot across the sands to a part of the desert that was partitioned by a yawning chasm. From the rip in the land, a giant pillar of fire and lava shot out like dragon fire, and a volcano was born. A figure in dark armour watched all of these events from the mouth of the Cave of Ordeals.

            “You shall be resurrected soon, my Lord,” he cackled evilly.











Chapter Eight: Visions of Dragons


            “PARDON ME, MILORD, BUT WE HAVE A PROBLEM,” said one of the Zora’s Domain sentries. King Ralis regarded him with solemn eyes that were full of intelligence which was strange for his tender age of seventeen.

            “Continue,” Ralis addressed the sentry, who shuffled his fins on the steps that faced the throne. And please, tell me what else is new these days, he thought. The sentry sucked in his breath and began to talk.

            “For starters, Snowpeak is experiencing a thaw uncharacteristic for this time of year,” he said. Ralis’s brow furrowed.

            “How bad is it?” asked the king.

            “Well, the frozen lake is completely devoid of ice, grass is growing in the foothills, and even the peak is beginning to melt. It’s getting so bad that the Wolfos1 population is nearly zero! Though, I must admit that tourists aren’t complaining,” the sentry finished.

            “We do indeed have a problem,” Ralis said, standing up. “We must find the source of the unnatural heat. Gather your men and carry a missive to Princess Zelda and Darbus of the Gorons. I suspect evil is at work here.”


            Zora’s Domain and Snowpeak were not the only areas of Hyrule that were experiencing heat waves. The grass growing on the grounds of the Castle had shrivelled up and turned brown, for it had not rained in nearly three weeks; the creek in Ordon had dried up completely; each of the Spirits’ springs and the level of Lake Hylia were considerably low as well.

            The heat wave had killed so much foliage that Zelda was becoming increasingly worried. Earlier that week, an envoy from Zora’s Domain had informed her that Snowpeak, the coldest place in Hyrule (its temperature was nearly always below zero) was beginning to melt.

            As she read a letter from Darbus, patriarch of the Gorons in her father’s study, the knight that guarded the door stuck his head in.

            “Lady Zelda, you have a visitor,” he said. Zelda removed her reading glasses and placed the letter on the desk.

            “Alright, send them in,” she said quietly. The door opened wider and a man of about twenty three years stepped in. “Aah, Link, what brings you here? Have you news of the events in the Gerudo Desert?” Shaking his head, Link walked over to the desk and stopped.

            “Not yet. I was informed by a certain Sir Jackson,” he paused and scowled, “that there was nothing happening there. Of course, I argued with him. As such, he made it an order for Fyer not to grant me access to the desert. Apparently, it’s been closed off to the ‘general public,’ and I need specific written permission from you to enter.” Link scowled again. Zelda sighed and rubbed her temples. This is getting out of hand. I need to give the knights who actually do their jobs less authority, she thought exasperatedly.

            “Aah…I am sorry for your inconvenience. Just so you don’t have to keep coming to see me, not that I mind, wear this and you’ll not be questioned again,” she said, handing the hero a simple gold ring embossed with the Hylian Eagle. Link put it on as he thanked her and then left without another word.

            When the door closed behind him, Zelda began to writ Conrad Jackson’s Notice of Suspension.


            In Eldin Province, things were really heating up. Many buildings in Kakariko village had burst into a raging inferno after they had been hit with large lava rocks that had been ejected out of Death Mountain’s cone. As such, Luda, who had succeeded her father as the guardian of the village, ordered an immediate evacuation.

             “This is going to be very bad for business,” thirteen year old Malo complained to his brother, who frowned at him in response.

            “Aww, come on, Malo. You know our only real business was the Group anyhow,” said Talo. “You’ve still got the Castle Town branch.”

            The residents of Kakariko were camped out in the fighting room in the Goron Mines, even though it was, in Talo’s opinion, like a furnace.

            “What difference will it make? Sales have been cut by half there! If this continues, Malo Mart will go bankrupt!” Malo growled angrily.

            “Ya, whatever. Quit being such a hothead, kid,” Talo said back, grinning nastily. Just as Malo was about to dive at his brother, a Goron came bursting out of the mines’ entrance.

            “Little Brothers!” he said in a panicked tone. “You’ve got to clear out, quick! The volcano’s about to explode!” Talo and Malo regarded him with bemused expressions.

            “So? It’s been exploding for the past moon,” Malo said. The Goron waved his arms and jumped, sending a tiny shock wave toward the boys.

            “Brothers, the lava is going to come out of the mine’s entrance! You’ve got to get out or you’ll be fried!” he cried in despair. Talo and Malo looked at each other, and then ran out screaming. They jumped down the mountain path, dodging falling lava rocks, and ran for their lives. While running, Talo looked over his shoulder to see the pyroclastic flow gaining on him.

            “Malo, we’ll never make it in time! What are we gonnna do?” he screamed in terror.

            “Just keep running!” Malo shouted back. Suddenly, Talo fell. He scrabbled across the rocks frantically.

            “Talo!” Malo yelled. The lava had just touched the toe of Talo’s sandal and burnt it almost instantaneously.

            “Yow!” Talo yelped as he kicked it off. The lava was about to consume him when Darbus, the Gorons’ patriarch scooped him and his brother up and thundered down the mountain; through Hyrule Field; across the Bridge of Eldin; and into the Hidden Village2.

            “Stay here, Little Brothers. Impaz will take care of you for now. Don’t leave until someone from your village comes to get you. I’ve got to take care of that lava!” and with that, the massive Goron rolled away.

            “You…okay…Talo?” Malo panted.

            “Ya, but my foot is burnt to a crisp,” seventeen year old Talo moaned in pain as he showed his brother the blackened foot.


            “Well, well, well, if it isn’t my friend the Traveler in Green! What’ll it be today?” the jovial cannon builder Fyer asked as Link stepped onto the raft upon which the cannon hut was settled.

            “The Oasis flight, if you please,” Link replied. Without speaking or looking at him, Fyer handed Link a piece of parchment. “What’s this? A notice of restricted persons!? Who authorized this? Was it Jackson again?”

            “Can’t tell you that, no sir. I also can’t let you pass, see, you’re the first person on that list. Personally, after all you’ve done, I can’t understand why. If anyone’s right for the job, it’d be you, I’d say,” Fyer chuckled and shoo his head. “Yep, desert’s off limits to anyone without specific permission form the Crown. Sorry, Traveler, the wagon stops here.”

            Link smiled and laughed softly, raising his left hand to shoe Fyer the embossed gold band that was glittering on his finger in the fading light.

            “Is this permission enough?”

            “Where’d you get that?” Fyer asked incredulously.

            “From the Crown’s jewel. Now, are you going to let me pass or what? I don’t have a Warp Stone…but wait!” Link paused as realization entered his mind. If I don’t have a Warp Stone, how am I going to get home again? It’s not like Midna’s here to help me, and I can’t fly…, he thought. “Aah, never mind, Fyer. There’s no way—” Link was cut off by a tumultuous roar from above. “What in the….”

            Suddenly, a giant black and silver dragon dove toward them and raked its claws across the roof of Fyer’s hut, tearing it cleanly off.

            Aar, you filthy beast! Come back and get what’s coming to you!” Fyer bellowed. To Link’s surprise, the dragon seemed to obey him, as it wheeled back around and came at the again. “Eek! I wasn’t serious!”

            On instinct, Link drew his sword and took out one of his Clawshots. Taking precise aim, he launched the Clawshot’s chain and caught hold of the dragon’s tail and vaulted onto its back.

            “Whoa! Easy does it, big fella. Hold on, what’s this…?” Link said as he struggled to stay atop the dragon’s shoulders. The Triforce mark on his left hand began to glow intensely. It became steadily brighter as he passed his hand over a purple collar that was around the base of the dragon’s long neck. He grabbed hold of the collar, and when he did, a Twilit-style pattern appeared on it, but instead of being blood red or aqua green, it was golden. The pattern spread from the collar to all over the dragon’s body.

            The winged beast began to shriek in pain. It thrashed about in the air wildly, throwing Link into the water, through the blurred surface of Lake Hylia, he saw the dragon shudder abruptly and then the collar exploded into a cascade of dark shards. He surfaced just in time as the dragon plummeted into the lake, sending a huge wave crashing down on top of him. Link swam to where Fyer’s hut had been relocated by the wave.

            “Fyer? Where are you? Not underwater, I hope,” he called out as he walked around the hut. E found the diminutive thirty year old cowering in the lifeboat that was suspended from the broken roof.

            “Is—is it gone?” Fyer snivelled.

            “Nope. You just stay there, ok? I’m going to check this out further. Don’t move a muscle, got it?” Link replied. In response, Fyer threw the cover over the boat.

            Link put his Zora armour3 and dove into the lake. He could see the dragon’s body slowly sinking, drifting down to the sandy bottom. He swam faster and deeper until he was underneath the dragon. Using his superior buoyancy, he pushed the dragon up to the surface and spread out its wings, enabling it to float. Link climbed onto the bank of the lake and pulled the dragon onto it by its tail. Cautiously, he walked around it until he was beside its head, and then he opened the jaws and listened for any signs of breathing. Dragons are endangered in Hyrule…I really hope that I didn’t kill it, he thought.

            Suddenly, the dragon’s black scales lightened until they were a burnished gold; the silver markings morphing into a deep green. Only after this transition occurred did the dragon stir. Link jumped back and pulled out his shield, ready to defend himself should the dragon decide to roast him. The dragon sat up and coughed out a dark cloud of smoke that smelled like brimstone. Had the dragon not previously been underwater, that smoke would have been flame, Link was sure.           

            The dragon got shakily to its feet, and stumbled around for awhile until its equilibrium restored itself. As he watched it shake its wings out to dry them, an image of a newborn bird crossed Link’s mind. The Hylian hero replaced his shield, and the quiet shk sound of the shield against the scabbard of his sword caused the dragon to look at him.

            “Um…I come in peace?” Link said, holding his arms out wide in a non-violent gesture. The dragon continued to stare at him with fathomless green eyes. It stepped closer to him with its head cocked as an eagle does on a branch as it watches its prey on the ground. It opened its damp wings a bit wider and thrust its long neck out so that its great crested head was inches from him. The dragon’s nostrils flared and Link’s tunic was sucked slightly toward them as it took in his scent.

            I can see that. Why did you save me? I tried to kill you and that strange man over there, a deep voice reverberated in Link’s head. He looked around to see if anyone had spoken to him.

            “Wait, did that come from you?” he asked the dragon.

              Obviously, it replied.

            “Just because you tried to kill me doesn’t mean you deserve to die,” he told it simply. “If you don’t mind me asking, do you have a name?”

            You wouldn’t be able to pronounce it, but in your language, it’s Deku. Deku looked back to where the pillars of Arbiter’s Grounds protruded over the horizon. I am indebted to you, stranger. Might I ask in turn what you are called by?

            “My name is Link, and you owe me nothing, unless you want to help me get to and from the desert,” he replied with a flourishing bow. Deku’s head snapped back to him, his eyes wide and filled with fear. Bad sign, Link thought.

            DO NOT go to the western desert. I had just come from there. A great evil is at work; where do you think I was transformed into a Twilit beast? I flew down from the City in the Sky to investigate a fresh volcanic chasm that opened up there, and then I was ensnared and taken captive. Many knights have been killed there, mercilessly disembowelled and then had their limbs strewn across the hot sand for the vultures to feed on….

            “How do you know this in such great detail?” Deku shuddered at Link’s question.

            I killed them.

            Link gasped, fearing that such a benevolent dragon may have been forced to kill Colin. His mind reeled, rendering him dizzy. Though his vision swam, Link could see Deku looking at him with concern. He put a hand over his eyes and another out behind him ad he fell in a dead faint.


            When Link came to, he found himself staring up at a high vaulted ceiling. Where am I? He thought as he slowly sat up. Where’s Deku? He was sitting on a cot in a large room with other cots in it, an infirmary.

            “Hello? Is anyone out there…? In here…?” Link called out. He swung his legs over the side of the fold up bed and walked over to an open window that let the soft summer breeze in. Looking out, he could see all of Castle Town around him and a vast expanse of Hyrule Field beyond it. What a view! I guess I’m back at Hyrule Castle…. I’ll never get to find out what evils are lurking in the desert at this rate…although I’m sure Deku could tell me.

            Link turned around when he heard the sharp clacking of high heeled shoes and claws behind him. Walking into the infirmary were Deku and Zelda along with a nurse. The strange thing was, though, was that the golden dragon was about a tenth of the size he was when Link met him. He had gone from a colossus to a large eagle.

            Look who is finally awake, the dragon said, flying toward him and then settling on Link’s shoulder. How long have I been out? Link thought as he absent mindedly stroked the dragon’s feathery green crest.

            Almost a whole day, Deku replied to his thought.

            “He can hear my thoughts?” Link asked incredulously.

            “Indeed, he can. I believe it is because he shares some kind of magical kinship with you, Link. It may have been fated that the two of you meet. How are you feeling?” said Zelda as she pressed a cool, uncalloused hand to his forehead.

            “Just fine, thank you for asking. Listen, thanks for the hospitality, but I’ve got to go back to Ordon, double quick. The desert…,” he trailed off.

            “The desert can wait, Link. Let me share a vision with you. A lot has happened since you have been…incapacitated. Clear your mind and breathe deeply,” the princess instructed. She took both of Link’s rough hands in her own and began to chant in Ancient Hylian, and soon Link chanted along with her, though he couldn’t understand how he knew the words. The infirmary soon disappeared into a swirl of black mist and was replaced by the scene of Lake Hylia on the day Deku had appeared.

            Link saw himself faint, and as he did so, a huge magical barrier materialized around the desert’s border, enclosing it and making it unreachable.

            The vision changed.

            Death Mountain exploding was shown to him next, lava flowing like a molten river down the mountain path and then building up behind a barrier the Gorons had erected to halt its flow. A green Snowpeak was shown next, and finally farmers’ fields yielding no crops and many bushels of hay in the fields spontaneously combusting.

            When Link came out of the trance, he said, “good gods in the Sacred Realm! How…and why is this all happening? Does it have something to do with the events in the desert? I know that sounds far-fetched, but come on! A heat wave that has lasted for the past moon and a half! That’s not right, princess. I mean, first, my new powers, then—”

            “—Your new powers? What is the meaning of this? What can you do?” interrupted Zelda as she fixed him with an intense stare and tightening her grip on his hands.

            “What? Oh, well, I can still transform into the wolf for one thing. Sometimes, if I focus my energy, I can make the wolf bigger than a draft horse and have golden fur. Also, I somehow, someway found that I can tap into my Triforce’s magic, and sometimes it does it on its own, like when the magic broke the curse on Deku,” Link replied. Suddenly, Zelda seized his hands and pulled him out of the infirmary down a long, winding staircase and into a huge room lined with full book cases.

            “Where are we, a library? What are you doing, Zelda?” Link asked when the princess pushed into a chair. As she rifled through many of the shelves, she replied:

            “We have to find out why your magic is getting stronger.” She stopped and turned to look at him. “I have spoken with the Sages recently. They seem to think that someone or something is drawing on this Realm’s magic-force, and draining away energy, causing the recent natural disasters.”

            “Wait a sec; are you implying that I’m doing this?” Link said, standing up.

            “I’m not,” she replied, sighing. “This is a very grave situation, Link. It’s not only your magic that has become stronger, but mine as well. If our magic’s strength has increased, then—”

            “—because we both have a piece of the Triforce—”

            “—the Triforce of Power will get stronger as well—”

            “—and Ganondorf will be able to come back!” Link finished.





Back to Story Menu