Link drove the final nail into his boat, pounded it twice, and then stepped back to inspect his work. It was a small boat, only about ten feet long from bow to stern, but as it only needed to carry him it would do. He picked up his tunic from the ground to wipe the sweat from his forehead and then sat down to rest a bit.
"So is it done?" asked an all too familiar voice behind him. Link didnít bother to see who it wasóhe knew. Daisy, a local girl of sixteen, has been his constant shadow since heíd washed up from a shipwreck three days ago. Despite his attempts to discourage her, she was utterly fascinated by him and would not leave him alone. He tried to ignore her, hoping against hope that she might finally take the hint.
She didnít. "So is it?" she asked again. "It looks done, but I donít really know anything about boats..." she giggled flirtatiously and tossed her blonde hair. She was fairly pretty with light blue eyes and a sweet smile, but Link had never been fond of girls who acted dumb. And in any case, he had no intention of staying there. He had to get home.
It seemed like years since heíd left his homeland Hyrule to go exploring. Something in his blood kept him restless and he had thought an adventure at sea might calm his need for excitement. But an unexpected storm had caught him by surprise and destroyed his little ship. He must have been knocked pretty hard on the head, considering the dream heíd had. Koholint, Windfish, Marin... what strange things a mind could come up with when a person was delirious. It had seemed so real, too.
After Farore knew how many weeks of drifting, only half conscious, heíd washed up on the shore of a land called Calatia. It was a nice enough place, he supposed, but not to a man who was trapped there.
Daisyís father had found him lying on the beach and taken him in. Looking back, Link supposed he had been a bit rude to his hosts. They had been very kind to look after him, and once he could walk he had rushed out the door hardly mumbling Ďthanks.í But he knew he wouldnít be staying long anyway, so there was no point getting attached.
"Go away, daisy," he grumbled for what felt like the millionth time.
She took no notice. "You seem to know everything about boats!" she went on, "but then youíre so smart itís no surprise. Are you really going to sail in this thing?"
"Yes, Daisy," he said, annoyed, "I am. And Iím not coming back, so you may as well go find a more permanent resident to bother."
"Oh, then Iíd better get to know you as well as I can now!" she giggled again. "How old are you?"
"Iím sixteen," he said as he got up. He started to walk away but she followed.
"Where are you going?" she asked sweetly.
"To town," he said.
"Why?" she asked.
"To get supplies for the trip," he told her.
"What kind of supplies?" she continued.
He looked at the sky as if to ask Ďwhy me?í "Food, a blanket, things Iíll need."
"Can I come?" she asked.
She followed anyway.
"Donít you need money to buy things like that?" she went on, trying to make conversation.
"I have money," he said.
"Really? Whereíd you get it?"
"I earned it at home."
"Two hundred rupees."
"Wow!" she exclaimed, "youíre rich!"
"Not when you consider that itís all Iíve got," he pointed out.
"You mean, in the whole world?" she asked, sounding shocked.
"Donít you have any money at home, or land or something?" she asked.
"Wow!" she exclaimed, "youíre poor! Whatís youíre job at home?" she asked.
"I donít really have one," he said.
"Well," she said triumphantly, "thatís why youíre poor!"
"Are you going to talk the whole way?" he asked with irritation.
She ignored him. "If you got a job then youíd have more money!"
"Well thank you," he grumbled, "youíve just solved my problem."
"Youíre welcome!" she said cheerfully.
When they got to town, Link bought his supplies and an apple for Daisy, in hopes that a full mouth might make her shut up. It didnít.
"Gee, thatís so nice of you to get me something!" she said, spraying him with apple bits as they walked back to his boat. "You didnít have to get me anything! I guess you really like me!"
Link rolled his eyes and shifted the load in his arms to wipe the sray from his face. "Whatever. Why donít you go home?"
"Itís such a pretty day," she said, ignoring his question, "we should go for a picnic! All the other girls go for picnics with their boyfriends."
"Iím not your boyfriend," Link said. "Iím not even going to be here tomorrow."
She didnít seem to hear him, as usual. "Are there nice days like this where you come from?"
"I expect that they have nice days everywhere," Link said grumpily.
"Where are you from again?" she asked, "Ryhool or something like that?"
"Hyrule," he corrected.
"Whatís it like there?" she asked.
"Itís like anywhere. Sky, ground, water, people. itís a place," he said.
"Oh, it sounds nice," she said.
When they reached his boat, Link loaded the supplies onto it and then looked at the sky. Clouds had begun to form while they were in town and a few drops of rain hit his face now.
He sighed. "Looks like a storm is coming, I guess I should wait until it blows over before I set out."
Daisy looked up too. "Ooh, itís getting cold. Iím going home, okay? Iíll see you tomorrow."
Link shook his head and sighed. "Fine. If Iím still here, I suppose I canít stop you."
"Okay, bye," she said, then hurried back towards her home.
Link sat next to his boat so that it shielded him from the wind and rain. Heíd been in worse storms before, he didnít mind being out in this.
He watched the sky as it grew darker and darker. He shivered. It was just like the storm that had wrecked his boat. The wind, the rain...
Thunder boomed in the distance and Link felt himself jump. He scolded himself immediately after, he wasnít a little child afraid of thunder.
He stood up and walked around his boat and looked out over the ocean ahead. It was wild and black in the storm; tides crashed and beat against the shore. The wind grew stronger and howled in his ears. The rain came down harder and stung his cheeks. Lightning flashed and thunder followed it closely.
Link felt his boat crack and shatter beneath his feet, felt the freezing waters engulf him. The mad tides swept him under and held him there until he thought surely his lungs would burst, until he couldnít tell which way was up...
Link opened his eyes and gasped, stumbling back against the side of his boat. The sand was solid beneath him. He was perfectly safe.
Link took several deep breathes, then looked back at the sea. It loomed dark and ominous. The waves hurled themselves at the beach, as if trying to reach at him. He took a step back from it. He shut his eyes for a moment, to calm himself. Then his eyes shot open and he looked at the sea, searchingóheíd have sworn he heard laughing.
He searched the shore for the source, but saw no one. No one but the sea. The waved crashed and the wind howled. It was the sea itself laughing at him.
"Some hero!" it laughed, "the great, legendary hero! Couldnít even save the girl he loved!"
He stared out in disbelief. What was this? The ocean was just water, it couldnít laugh at him!
"Yes, the mighty Link, defeated monsters and wizards and shadows and nightmares and even the great Ganon himself, but you couldnít defeat me! I took your love from you and you shall never have her back!"
Link fell to his knees. "No," he said under his breath, "that was all just a dream."
"You wish, hero!í the sea mocked, "but it was real, she was real. And you failed her! You couldnít win against me, for I am more powerful that monsters and wizards, more powerful that shadows and nightmares, more powerful than Ganon! I am the sea, and I cannot be beaten. I cannot be controlled or subdued, not even by you!"
"Youíre just water!" he yelled back, "youíre just water! You arenít anything, Iím not afraid of you!"
"You should be!" the sea shouted, "for I can destroy you with a single wave, drown you in my great, bottomless depths. You are the nothing, I am everything. It was my will that let you live to wash ashore on this miserable land, and if I wished I could have drowned you like I did her!"
Link shook violently. "She wasnít real, and neither are you!" he yelled. He got to his feet and ran to the waterís edge. He stomped in the water and it splashed up. "Just water, nothing else!"
"Then why do you fear me?" the sea cried, "if that is all I am? Why do you tremble now? It is because you know that I am more powerful!"
Then, as if to prove its point, a massive waved came down upon Link and he fell to the ground.
"You see?" the sea laughed, "I bring you to your knees with so little effort, for you are nothing before my tremendous might!"
"No," Link sputtered from beneath the surface.
"Yes!" the sea cried, pulling him in with another wave. "You are mine and I shall destroy you like the insect you are!"
Link took a final breath and was then pulled under.
He awoke the next morning to Daisyís worried voice from over him.
"Link!" she cried, "Link, are you okay? Wake up!"
He coughed up what seemed like gallons of seawater, then sat up. "Iím fine," he said once he was able.
"What happened?í Daisy asked, looking genuinely concerned. "Why did you go so close to the water during a storm? Itís dangerous!"
Link shrugged her off. "I know that," he said, "and nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. Iím fine."
He stood and looked at the ocean. It was calm now with the storm past. The blue sky overhead reflected off the sparkling waves innocently. But beneath the serene surface, Link could feel a demon lurking, some deep evil within the waters.
He shook his head and walked over to the shore. It seemed so safe now though, perhaps if he hurried and got out before another storm.
Link ran to his boat and began dragging it out to the water. He heaved and pulled until it was deep enough to float, then climbed inside.
"Link, what are you doing?" Daisy asked, still with an edge or worry in her voice.
"Iím going!" he shouted. He prepared to pull the sail down, but as he looked out at the sea he felt his legs turn to jelly. The demon was out there, waiting for him. As soon as he got too far from the shore, it would take him just as it has threatened to do. Out where no one could hear him yell, down deeper than light reached.
Link tried again to open the sail, but his hands froze. The tiny waves splashed menacingly at the sides of the boat, and with each small movement Link felt as if he would fall.
"Whatís the matter?" Daisy asked him after a moment. "Why are you just standing there?"
"I... I canít..." he shook his head, the jumped over the side and pulled the boat back up onto land.
"Well?" Daisy asked him, "whatís wrong?"
Link looked at the water. "Iím... Iím not ready."
"What do you mean Ďnot ready?í" she asked, "you were all excited about going yesterday! Did you forget something?"
Link ran a hand through his hair. "Yeah, I forgot something," he said absently.
"What?" she asked.
"What?" he asked, snapping back to the present.
"What did you forget?" she repeated.
"Nothing," he said.
She put her hands on her hips and looked annoyed. "Well then, why did you say you forgot something? Whatís wrong with you today?"
"Nothingís wrong," he said, turning from her. "I just... need to get ready first. Then Iíll go."
She sighed. "Okay, whatever."
He sat down on a log nearby and rested his forehead on folded hands.
"I thought you had to get ready," Daisy said.
"I am getting ready," he told her.
"...oh," she said, sounding confused. She shrugged and sat down next to him. "Well, if you say so."
That night, Link prepared to sail again. Daisy stayed to watch, even though another storm seemed to be coming.
Link shoved to little boat out into the water once more and climbed in. He went to open the sail, but as his eyes caught the waves he froze up again. He could feel the boat breaking away again, the water sucking him in, the deafening waves beating on him mercilessly. He shook himself back to reality.
"Now what?" Daisy yelled, "do you need to prepare some more?"
Link was quiet. He could hear the laughing again. Softly, in the distance. But it was still there.
He climbed out and went back to the shore, not bothering to bring his boat with him this time. He drew his sword.
"Alright," he yelled, "whateverís out there show yourself! Iíll fight you like I fought Ganon, Iím not afraid!"
"Who are you talking to?" Daisy asked him.
"Come out and fight me!" he yelled, ignoring her.
He dashed out into the water again and swung his sword at a large wave. "Iím not afraid of you!" he yelled, "Iím not!" he slashed at another wave.
"Link!" Daisy shouted, "youíre acting crazy! What are you doing?!"
He couldnít hear her. "I know youíre out there, mocking me! Tormenting me over her! Well if youíre so strong then come and fight me!" He hit one more wave and then the water flung him back onto the sand.
"Is that the best you can do?" he roared, running back in and slicing another wave.
Daisy was near hysterical. "Link! Stop it! What are you doing?!"
"Iíll beat you yet!" he cried as he slashed at more waves, "Iím not afraid of you!"
Another wave sent him flying and he landed near Daisyís feet. She grabbed him by the shoulders to restrain him.
"Link stop! What are you doing? Thereís nothing out there!"
"Thereís a demon!" Link cried, trying to escape her grasp. He was stronger than her, but she had him at a disadvantage. "In the water, canít you hear it? Itís taunting me!"
"Link," Daisy said desperately, "thereís nothing there but water!"
"No!" he shouted, "thereís a demon there, I can feel it!"
"Link," she said, "if there is a demon itís in you, not the ocean! Stop this!"
He tried to struggle away but she held fast. "I donít know what you went through, but I know a lot of shipwrecked sailors become afraid of the sea. But thereís no demon!"
"Iím not afraid!" he yelled, "I fought the Great Ganon, why would I be afraid of the sea!?"
She pulled him to face her. "Because you defeated Ganon, but the sea defeated you!"
His struggling became more erratic and inefficient. "Thereís something out there, I know it! It took Marin away and now it wants me!"
"I donít know who Marin is, but I know that whatever happened was an accident! The sea isnít alive. It kills, but thereís no creature behind it!"
"Then why am I afraid of it?!"
"Because it almost took your life! Iíd be afraid too if I were you, I expect."
"But what will I do? I canít go home if I canít sail, and I canít sail when Iím afraid of the sea."
"Youíll stay here and live out a long life," she said. "Itís the only thing you can do. Calatia is a nice country, youíll be happy here."
"Will go on without you," she said.
"Itís my home!"
"Calatia can be your home, if you make it."
He said nothing.
"Come home with me," she offered. "You can stay with us and work on our farm."
He said nothing.
She stood up and pulled him to his feet. "Come on, come home. Forget Hyrule and Marin. Put them behind you and focus on the future."
He was silent still, but he let her pull him away. She was right, he knew. He had no choice but to stay. He sighed as the walked away from the beach. A farmer, it seemed like some cruel joke when he though of his adventures before. His yearning for excitement would never be fulfilled now.
"Goodbye Hyrule," he thought wistfully, "goodbye Marin..."
He took one last look at the ocean and shuddered, then turned his back on it forever.
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