Chapter 4: A Final Glance, Then The Sun
There is no such thing as ‘fate’ - that inexorable weight upon one’s shoulders that prevents him from making a decision contrary to the rigid plan laid out for him - but we can make a choice that determines our destiny. Ashley chose her destiny. Aaron has chosen his. Zelda has chosen hers. And I have chosen mine.
Link had invited Aaron to stay in his treehouse until further notice, so Aaron was doing just that and was resting on Link’s bed as well. After the revelations given him by the Deku Sprout, he was very tired - but he couldn’t go to sleep. This is really sad ... I bet they all think I’m dead. If Aaron hadn’t had the encounter with the specter of Ganon, he would have cried, but he was a changed boy. No, I’m afraid I’m my own man now. I’ve got to fend for myself now that Lannod, Jardi, and everyone else have died. I’ll have to carry on their memory, Jardi especially - he always was kind to me. I did like Jardi’s sense of humor ... maybe I should try to cultivate mine. He made everyone on board the ship laugh. Aaron had been thinking in this vein for a while when he heard a voice.
“Mind if I join you?” said Link from the doorway. His shadow playfully danced on the wall, a reflection of its owner’s good mood.
“No, that’s fine,” said Aaron politely. He sat up. “I’m sorry I was using your bed. I didn’t ask.”
Link grinned. “I’m more concerned for your sake than mine. I sweat a lot, you know!” That earned an appreciative laugh from Aaron, and Link sat down on the bed by his new acquaintance. “I really don’t mind.”
There was an awkward silence, broken by Aaron. “Uh, about today ...”
“It was no problem. I don’t know what happened, really,” said Link. “All I know is that we seem to be destined to be companions, at least for the time being.”
“Why’s that?” asked Aaron, his curiosity rising.
“One thing that the Deku Tree didn’t tell you was that when a person passes through their test, they see their destiny - at least, I think, what their destiny will be based on the choices they make at the moment. It’s confusing. But I’ve talked to people who’ve seen their destinies; most of the time they’re just visions of green trees, flowers, and lots of big green Kokiri hearts,” chuckled Link.
“Have you seen your destiny?” asked Aaron. Link grew suddenly sober.
“What was it, Link?”
A pause. “I’ll tell you tomorrow.”
Aaron raised his eyebrows. “All right. But what does this have to do with me being your companion?”
“If you were destined to simply be a good man here in Hyrule and never do anything interesting or heroic, you would not have seen Ganon in your vision. You would have perhaps seen a woman and children, or a warm house.
“But you saw him, Aaron. What is more, he did not hit you with his claws, weapons, or magic. If he had - and if I were you - I would probably begin writing my bequeathment. However, he did not. This proves that he will not kill you without a fight. But he was trying to kill you in your vision, even though it was just that - a vision; because of that, he could not. But why would he try to kill you? You must be someone important to Hyrule. Why would you have fallen from the sky in the first place?”
Fallen from the sky? This boy needs some education in aerodynamics, said Aaron to himself. “That’s an awful lot of conclusions, Link. How does any of that make me important to you?”
“Because,” said Link, “Ganon didn’t hit me either.”
Aaron remembered what Link had said earlier in the Deku Sprout’s clearing.
He charged me with the task of destroying Ganondorf.
Aaron’s throat grew quite dry.
“Yes, I see your point. What does this mean for me, anyway?” he asked.
“I’m going to leave tomorrow for Hyrule Castle,” replied Link, standing up. “And I want you to come with me, because of our linked destinies - and because I like you.”
“What’s Hyrule?” said Aaron.
“The country that we live in.”
“Oh ... right,” muttered Aaron, feeling rather sheepish for forgetting. “And this Hyrule Castle ... it’s where all the troops are at, right? It’s your big fortress?”
“That, and the royal court lives there,” said Link.
“The royal - court?!” gaped Aaron, astonished. Shoulda seen that one coming. But ... heck, a real monarchy! That’s amazing! Kings and queens and - maybe there’ll be a princess there. Hey, maybe I can catch a date!
Link grinned. “You know, Aaron, there’s a princess there. She’s blond and her ears are really pointed. So are mine, you know - I think she likes that.”
“How do you know all this?” said Aaron questioningly.
“Because I met her on my quest,” said Link, not without a touch of bravado. He grinned so cheesily that both of them chuckled. “Well, Aaron, will you come with me?”
Aaron wasn’t hesitant at all. “Of course I’ll go with you. After all - someone has to liven up the party!”
Link nodded. “Thank you. I’m sure it will be an adventure; trips with me always are!”
He and Aaron talked for a little while longer, then decided to go to bed. Aaron assured Link he would be fine on the floor, but Link furnished him with a grass mat and pillow so he’d be more comfortable. As Aaron lay down and began drifting off to sleep, he thought, lucky sap - he’s a hero off meeting princesses and kings and beautiful ladies. I’ll probably get stuck holding his bags for him with my luck.
Then again, I may be a hero too.
The next morning, after Link had bid a farewell to all of his friends, he joined Aaron at the village exit. “Let’s go,” he said.
Aaron nodded. “This forest is killing me off with its stuffy greenness!”
Link raised an eyebrow. Aaron closed his mouth, regretting a misplaced joke.
They began walking across the bridge. For a moment Aaron thought he could feel sand crunching underneath his boots, but it was only an illusion. Instead he heard the solid thunk of his feet on the wooden plank bridge and the cheerful whistling of the birds among the trees. As he and Link passed over the bridge, Aaron could smell the flowers that were in bloom. It was spring here in the forest.
Link was thinking of the same thing, and also something the Deku Tree Sprout had taught him. The Tree had said, Spring is the traditional season of all that is good in the world. When you see the new flowers and the buds on the trees, remember, my son, that the Light will triumph in the end. Link’s face tightened as he remembered again the responsibilities on his shoulders.
I know what I have to do. I am the first of the three Protectors of the Triforce. Zelda is the second.
Could Aaron be the third? That possibility is why he is traveling with me now.
But if my theory is correct - I am the only destined bearer of the Triforce of Courage. Zelda is the only destined bearer of the Triforce of Wisdom. I know Ganon cannot be a Protector of the Triforce; he is our mortal enemy and seeks to destroy Hyrule. That being said - if my theory is correct and Aaron is the third Protector of the Triforce - he must inevitably come into the possession of the Triforce of Power.
And if we can gain control of the Triforce then, Ganon will be sealed away for all time. Then the final victory of the Light will take place, and Hyrule will become heaven through the power of the Triforce.
And - may the Goddesses protect Aaron’s soul, for he just might be the man who will save my life someday.
The journey across Hyrule took the better part of a day. Aaron and Link talked about Hyrule in general; they talked about the people of Hyrule; they talked about the landscape; they talked about everything. But every time Link tried to ask about Aaron’s friends or family, Aaron changed the subject. Link didn’t like that; he’d seen too many people who did that when they had something nasty to hide. But if he didn’t focus on Aaron’s being secretive, Aaron seemed like an excellent person - and Link was really trying to give Aaron all the benefit of the doubt that he could. It was paying off. Aaron was being quite warm with him, smiling and laughing, even at Link’s dumbest and worst jokes.
After a while Aaron pointed at a building on the horizon. It was at the crest of a hill. “What’s that, Link?”
Link raised his hand to his eyebrows, trying to block out the glare of the mid-day sun. “Since there’s only one building out here in Hyrule Field, I’d guess that’s Lon Lon Ranch.”
“A ranch? With horses and cows and chickens?” said Aaron.
“Chicken? Who’d want to eat chicken?” chuckled Link in astonishment. “Nasty, meatless things - cuccos are twice as good as the fattest chicken.”
Aaron was confused. “Cuccos?”
“Yep. Cuccos are larger versions of chickens, and much tastier and more filling.”
“Wow, that’s pretty cool!” said Aaron, who’d loved chicken when his mother fixed it for him and his family.
The two walked on in silence until they were merely a half hour from their destination. At that moment they saw a horse-drawn cart coming in the opposite direction. As they passed, Link and Aaron looked over and saw a red-headed girl about their age with the reins in her hands. She turned her head to look at them. Abruptly a huge smile broke out on her face as she recognized who Link was. “Hi, Link!” she yelled, waving with one hand and giggling.
Link enthusiastically waved back as he too realized who the girl was. “Let’s get together some time!” he shouted back. Aaron raised his eyebrows as Link looked at him, a silly grin on his face.
“Who was that?” asked Aaron.
“An old friend,” said Link. “Her name’s Malon. She lives at the ranch.” Saying this, he sighed very romantically.
“You get around, don’t you?” chuckled Aaron as he too began to grin. Malon - what a pretty name ...
A half hour later they were at the gate leading into Hyrule Castle Town; it was about five o’clock. “Here we are, Aaron,” said Link.
“So we camp out here and wait for the adventure to come to us?” wisecracked Aaron.
Link rolled his eyes. “No.”
“Then let’s go in! The day is old and the night is a baby!”
“Capital idea,” muttered Link. Unfortunately he was beginning to regret his decision to tell Aaron stupid jokes; it seemed Aaron was responding in kind.
“Ahoy there!” cried Aaron to one of the castle guards standing on top of the gate. “What time is it?”
“We don’t keep sundials or clocks up ‘ere, lad,” cried the guard peevedly. He paused, then continued in a more light-hearted tone. “Be ye one of them Kakarikans that fraternizes with Gorons?”
Link had seen these guards before, seven years ago on his first quest. “Lay off the kid, you guys! He is from Kakariko, after all.” He said this in the same joking manner - it was an ill-kept secret that people from Kakariko were slightly strange.
“A’right, a’right,” shouted the other gate guard, “go through or we’ll beat ye to a fine pulp.”
Link chuckled and he, followed by Aaron, tromped more cheerfully across the threshold of the gate. As they arrived in the city, Link pointed to two jugglers dancing around madly, like clowns. “Hey, it’s Ziff and James, the two acrobats! They’re really great!” he said excitedly.
Aaron watched with Link for a moment, but quickly grew bored. “Eh, I’ve seen better,” he said nonchalantly.
Link was astounded. “But they’re the best acrobats in the world, Aaron! What could be better than them?” he exclaimed.
Aaron smirked. “I’d be violating the Prime Directive if I told you. Actually, I take that back; I’m already violating it.” At this he rose his voice to a feverish pitch. “Ladies and gentlemen - I am a violation!”
Several people turned to Aaron and stared at him, longer than would be considered normal. Link glared at him. “Don’t be so loud! We can’t draw attention to ourselves!”
“Why not?” said Aaron. “It’s only a market, Link.”
“Just don’t say anything for a while!” hissed Link under his breath. Aaron shrugged and the two of them marched into the bustling, organized chaos that was Hyrule Market.
Aaron, although he’d seen much better acrobats in his time, really was impressed. This was one of the largest markets he’d ever seen on any planet. At home, his mother had the groceries delivered by the replicator service. On board the Rowery, their advanced replicators - even more complex and efficient than the planetary ones - had created meals that were almost exactly like the real thing.
But this was far more exciting.
Link pointed out the Bazaar and Potion Shop, which seemed to be two of the most frequented stores. Aaron, drinking all of the atmosphere in, noticed many strange and wonderful people, all of them with variously pointed ears. Most had brown hair, with blond- and red-haired people in varying numbers. Aaron barely saw anyone with black hair, which he thought was strange. But no matter what their hair color, the people in the Market were either selling or buying - and almost all of them had cheerful looks on their faces. Then Aaron saw something that amazed him; it was a young man and a young woman, locked in an embrace, eerily rotating around and around as if they were on a spinning platform. Aaron gaped at this bizarre sight. Looks like they’re just ... floating! That’s really weird. He gazed at them for a few more moments, then heard Link tell him something. “ - what, sorry? Didn’t hear you,” Aaron said, embarrassed.
“I said, that’s the castle up ahead!” exclaimed Link. He pointed and Aaron looked ahead to see his first glimpse of Hyrule Castle.
It was gorgeous. The sun reflected off the polished white limestone of the towering castle walls. The battlements stood high in the air like stone sentinels; flags rose atop their heads. The green roof looked like it was armored, to protect against attack. The entire castle was about a hundred feet tall. Aaron gazed at its majesty in wonder.
“Now are you impressed?” said Link.
Aaron grinned and nodded. “Ho yeah! That’s not your mama’s castle!” he said rather loudly, before wincing as he remembered Link’s admonition.
Link shrugged. “It’s no big deal. Now come on - it’s just a little ways to the inner courtyard.”
Aaron’s eyes bugged. Inner courtyard? You mean - aw, man, I shoulda seen this one coming too. I really oughta think these things through.
Cheerful manner notwithstanding, Aaron was nervous as Link led him to the well-worn road that would lead to the castle ...
Soon they stopped at a patch of vines growing up from the ground and onto a ledge. “Aaron, we’ll use these to climb up onto the edge up there,” said Link. “And don’t make much noise when we get up there. The guards aren’t elite, but they’re very well-trained nonetheless. If we make too much noise they’ll hear us.” He and Aaron proceeded to scuttle up the plant life, neither having any trouble.
“Convenient,” muttered Aaron as he and Link reached the top.
Link nodded. “Yeah, I’ve never understood why they keep these here. Anyway, we need to keep moving. Just follow my lead!” He dropped to the ground and began to crawl across the top of the gate to the large field in front of the castle entrance. Aaron followed.
The two of them got across the field without much difficulty. Link was mystified by this, because the first time he’d done it, he’d nearly been caught several times. It had been a close shave - but this was a swing and a miss on the part of the guards, who were, in Link’s opinion, rather dim-witted.
As they reached the castle entrance, Link heard a pop! behind them. He turned just in time to see a flash of light disappear. Shrugging it off as some trick of the light, he tapped Aaron on the shoulder and pointed to a small storage area on the side of the castle. “Aaron, see those boxes piled up by the castle there? That’s where we get into the castle.”
Aaron refrained from asking questions and followed Link over there, where they immediately pushed the boxes away to reveal a small tunnel through the wall and into the castle itself. “Why’d they put a tunnel into the side of the castle?” he asked.
Link paused, then smiled. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” he said. Then he crawled into the tunnel. Aaron followed him.
Link stealthily exited the tunnel to see - nothing. Aaron crawled out as well and stood up. “What’s going on? What do we do now?” he hissed.
Link was confused. Where were the guards? He thought. Then the answer came into his mind: Have faith, Hero of Time. You are safe here. This is your home.
“We can talk as loud as we want,” said Link, raising his voice back to normal levels. Then - quite unexpectedly - he began to sing.
Home for the first time, next time, now
Sing it to the Goddesses, sing it to the men
Home again, home again, forever now and then
In th’ abode of Light, sailing on time’s prow
Home to meet my friends again, friends who once were lost
Sing it to the deserts and sing it to the trees
Home again, home again, to feel the warm west breeze
Hoping to return to them, whatever be the cost
Home again, home again, though I have gone far
I still have the Way to tread; I must pass its test
The monsters and the evil and the King on his great nest
Shall I go alone? Nay, I shall not fear
For I go with my friends to the castle of true rest
Link stopped. Aaron was staring at him in amazement. “Where did you learn that?” he gaped.
Link shook his head. “I’ll tell you tomorrow.” Then he smiled, just a bit. “Saria helped me some with my singing. Anyway, there are no guards here. We are free to go on.” They continued through winding halls and beautiful trellises and wide gardens. Still they did not see a single soul.
Finally they came to a wide, grey-stoned hall that turned left. “Stay here, Aaron,” said Link. “I must go alone.” Aaron obeyed and Link continued on. He paused before the turn and sighed.
I can turn around now and flee. I can kill myself and never have to worry about any of this again. I could even join Ganon.
But those things would break her heart. I can’t do it; I can’t do anything that would betray the princess or cause her grief.
Will she remember me?
Link turned the corner and stopped in mid-stride, going slack with relief.
A girl was standing there in front of a large window, staring at him expectantly. She wore a purple-and-white dress with a headpiece.
Link smiled as he saw the one he had been hoping to see.