The rain was coming down in torrents that night, the roads were streams; the streams, rivers; and there is no word to describe the viciousness of what the rivers became. A lone figure in a black robe trudged the water to the Hyrule Castle Portcullis. The gate had stood open since the defeat of Gannon, a free invitation to those voyagers who may need shelter for the night or who just desire to visit the town. Two guards stood watch, a ceremonial duty at this point. There hadn’t been an assault on the castle or its inhabitants in over three years. The guards never saw the robed figure pass right by them.
The figure moved to a vacant house where he could watch the castle, he wove a web of magic and sent it into the castle to monitor the royal family. He made sure the connection was strong and sat back to wait.
* * * * *
Link brought his sword down with a yell and delivered a strong blow to the kokiri who had challenged him. The kokiri dropped his wooden training sword and acknowledged his defeat. Link gave a grin and threw his training sword to one of the other students before addressing the class. “What did Koti do wrong?”
“He challenged you.” Came a mumble from the back of the class. A titter went through the students assembled and Link had to hold up his hand to call for order. “Close, but I’m looking for something else.” Link looked around waiting for an answer, finally he sighed and answered for them, “He dropped his shoulder before every swing, I could tell he was about to take a swipe at me and I had plenty of time to prepare.”
Link looked around the class again, and found only blank stares. He sighed again, he had gotten as far as he was going to get today. “Alright, I guess class is over, practice for tomorrow, I’ll see you all then.”
After the class had dispersed, Link turned to head for the resting place of the Great Deku Tree. He passed by Mido and kept going to the meadow where the Great Deku Tree’s remains were left.
Link spent the night at the base of the dead deku tree, the deku tree had died nearly ten years ago, the deku sprout had been killed by a chance lightning strike only a year ago, since then Link had been training the Kokiri to fight. Without the forest guardian to protect them the Kokiri stood little chance against the skull kids from the lost woods. Link still remembered his return to the forest.
Link stood at the edge of Lake Hylia and watched the sunrise, he was with a hunting party come to reclaim the lake and scourge the ocrorok and other creatures that had infested the lake since the corruption of the Water Temple. Link watched the sunrise over the lake he was usually up before his men these days.
“Something wrong sir?” asked Yezek, Link’s number two on this mission.
“No Yezek,” Link assured, “just another bad dream.”
“Sir, this is the twelfth night in a row that you have had a nightmare, this may be more than just a bad dinner or an uncomfortable night. There may be something you’re meant to do.”
“Well, maybe, the dreams have always been of Kokiri, they were in pain. They were calling my name as they were herded in line to be fed to Volvagia, only Volvagia had Gannandorf’s face and when I tried to draw the Master Sword to do anything, my hand turned to stone at the first touch. The stone spread and soon I could only stand and watch as not only the Kokiri, but the Gorons, the Zora, and Hylians were all lined up and consumed. Then the Gerudos come, but as they got closer to Volvagia, they turned into furies and they begin to chip and chisel at me. I always wake up before I die.”
Yezek sat back and stroked his peppered beard, “Now I don’t claim to be an expert, but it seems that every event in the dream is set into motion by the fact that you can’t help the Kokiri. They are the first to fall and if you can help them, maybe you can help the others.”
After that Link had decided to check and see how things in the Kokiri Forest were progressing. When he arrived, he found the Kokiri once again hiding in their homes from the creatures. The Deku Sprout had died in his absence and the creatures that lived at the forest’s boundaries had again invaded the once peaceful forest. It had taken work to banish the creatures once again, and it was taking even more work to train the Kokiri to fight.
As Link kneeled before the Deku Tree, he heard a rustle in the grasses behind him. He knew instinctively who it was.
“Hello Impa.” Link greeted.
“Hello Link, I guess I should have known better than to try to sneak up on you.”
“No, no, it was good for me, if I limit myself to training others, how will I keep my more advanced skills sharp. So, to what do I owe your visit?”
Impa grinned, “Always down to business with you, isn’t it. Well this time its nothing dangerous. I’m an emissary for a peaceful message.” Impa procured a slip of paper and handed it to Link, “You are cordially invited as guest of honor to a royal banquet.”
Link scratched the back of his head and looked down at his shuffling feet. He hated these fancy affairs, “What’s the occasion?”
Impa laughed loudly, “Well, I guess its too much to expect that you remember Imprisoning War Day. It will be three years to the day this Thursday since Incumbent Queen Zelda and yourself locked Gannon into the Sacred Realm.”
Link grinned, “Incumbent Queen Zelda? So she’s still unmarried?”
“It has not been for lack of offers, she waits for you.”
Link reached up to touch the long scar down one cheek, he had been in many battles, and he would have to be immortal to have come through them unscathed. “She is the most beautiful woman in the land, and she deserves better than a battle scarred sword-slinger.”
Impa replied, “I have told her as much myself, and of course she denies any feelings for you, but she never developed what anyone would consider a poker-face.”
Link’s mind raced, he needed some way out of this whole business. “I’m needed here, until the kokiri are properly trained, I can’t risk leaving them undefended.”
Impa grinned, “Zelda knew of your prior commitments and gave me permission to stay to protect and train on your behalf until you get back. Suck it up kid, she hasn’t left you any way out of this.”
Link shifted uneasily in his chair, he was wearing some kind of white, high collar uniform, with a seventeen letter name he couldn’t pronounce. There were some blue shoulder things on it with gold around the edges, the buttons on the uniform were gold as well and depicted scenes in excrutiating detail of different epics from Hyrule’s past. Link wore the Master Sword across his back, the scabbard polished to a high shine, and over that he bore the mirror shield shined to a magnificient luster. He also had some kind of a chain dangly thing on his head. Of course none of this was as bad as the tight black polished boots they had crammed onto his feet. It had taken several hours of negotiation from the royal dresser just to get Link out of his nice, comfy, worn in boots.
How ironic Link thought to himself I celebrate the defeat of Ganon in nothing even remotely battle-worthy. “Link!” came the call from across the room. Link turned to see Zelda coming down the grand staircase of Hyrule castle’s banquet hall. She was wearing her queenly robes and carrying a scepter depicting the triforce on the tip. Zelda ran down the steps two at a time, her courtiers and guards chasing after her yelling something about “unsafe” and Link was fairly sure he heard a “can’t protect” thrown in somewhere in there. Zelda, of course, ignored all of the shouts and ran to embrace Link.
Link choked and coughed, he had forgotten how strong Zelda was despite how she looked in her queenly robes. Zelda stepped back, “How have you been Link?”
“I-I’ve been okay,” he said, still trying to get his breath back. “You know, teaching Kokiri to fight and everything, but hey,” he said pointing at Zelda, “Look at you, ‘Incumbent queen Zelda’.”
“Yeah,” she said, “I’m still getting over that shock myself, tell me,” she said standing up straight and putting on a fake serious act, “Do I look like a queen.”
Link gave a thinking frown and said, “Hmmm, it doesn’t really look like you,” he reached over and pulled Zelda’s crown down to a severe angle, “There’s Zelda!” he laughed. She joined in and the guards walked up to a laughing party.
“Zelda!” one of the guards called sternly, “You know we can’t protect you when you take off like that.”
“Zelda laughed even harder and walked over to the guard, “Link,” she said, “This is Melth, and he has taken it upon himself to protect me from squirrels, rabbits and other would-be assassins.”
Melth straightened and calmly replied, “You were walking through the park and a bush moved next to you, I had no way of knowing it was a non-threat and I had to protect you.”
Zelda’s laughs lessened to a light giggle, “Yes, and we got some wonderful stews out of it,” Zelda turned back to Link, “The chef wishes that Melth protected me from more delicacies. He even went so far as to ask Melth if there was any caviar that posed a threat to me so that he could prepare a fuller meal at the banquet tonight.”
Link tilted his head back and gave a few bellowing guffaws.
“Now Zelda,” the chief courtier chided, “We need to be grateful to Melth’s whole-hearted efforts to protect you.”
Zelda’s giggles subsided, “It’s not as necessary as it might seem, especially while Link is here.”
Melth turned to face Link, “Ah yes, where are my manners. Ahem. Link, great Hero of Time, we of the royal guard would like to welcome you. That said, there is a large difference between war and defense, we are responsible for the defense of the queen. If we have need of a warrior we will let you know.” The rigid captain of the royal guard turned sharply and left to double check the archer positions and tighten the guard at the front door.
“You’ll have to forgive Melth,” the chief courtier apologized, “He is very defensive of the queen and doesn’t take well to any imagined challenges to his authority as chief defender of Zelda’s life.”
“Well,” Link said, shifting uneasily in the fancy clothes, “He won’t have to worry about me, I’m just here to eat a meal in uncomfortable clothes and wave to random people I’ve never met.”
Zelda patted Link on the back, “Welcome to my life.”