Disclaimer: The Legend of Zelda, its characters and worlds belong to Nintendo. I'm just borrowing them for my own amusement. I work at a barn – settlement payments from lawsuit will have to be made in manure or perhaps in consultation for a new Nintendo hit, "Epona's Stable Cleaning Fun!"
She was a guardian.
It was the reason she was given birth into this world. She did not think that she had been a very good guardian throughout most of her life, but nonetheless, it was her duty to try. She was the Queen of all Fairies now and it was the job granted to her by her predecessor to guard a convergence point of holy magic. Her residence used to be known as the Sacred Cavern. Presently, it was known as the Cave of Ordeals.
The Great Fairy's abilities to keep the darkness at bay had been waning of late, so she did what she could to organize the monsters that had invaded her home into a neat set. She was rather proud of her little gauntlet-run. She knew that, in this time of darkness, a new Hero would arise in the land and this was a perfect test of his mettle. Some would-be heroes had come and gone, having begged her screaming and covered in wounds to send them back to the surface after only a few floors of the Cave. A few men, sadly had actually died before she was able to warp them out.
There were many kinds of fairies in Hyrule. There were medical fairies – little fairies, typically pink in their auras, that healed mortals of sicknesses and wounds. There were guide-fairies and some fairies that had been created simply to frolic. Great Fairies were guardians and queens to them all. The Great Fairy of the Cave of Ordeals had not always had her position. All of the less powerful little fairies looked up to her, but she had once been one of them. Specifically, she had been a guide-fairy. She had not been called by her true name in at least an Age. Now she was the last Queen of her kind. Long ago, she'd simply been Navi.
She'd been a resident of Kokiri Forest and was birthed to be a guardian fairy to a Kokiri child. She had the fortunate misfortune to be given over to a late-bloomer, a child who looked like a Kokiri but did not feel like one. His energies were much stronger and this was because he was actually a Hylian that had been adopted into the forest. The fortunate part of this was that the child was the Hero of Time. The unfortunate part of it was that he, being a Hylian, was fated to grow up and was not of the species that was supposed to have fairy guardians. Navi obeyed an echoing voice she felt telling her to leave her child when his quest had been completed. He would "never grow up strong" like he ought to, it had said, unless she'd parted ways with him. Navi had told the Hero of Time that she'd adored him when she lilted off, leaving him alone in the ancient temple. She'd found herself unable to say anything else – the words that wanted to come out strangled her throat, for they were too painful.
She had listened to the winds for news of Hyrule as she did her business in her home-forest. There were tales of feats preformed by the great Hero of Time. The people had peace and prosperity for a long time. There were wars and rumors of wars. Eventually, she felt the calling of the Great Fairy of Courage and obeyed it.
When she'd arrived at the Great Fairy's spring, the Great Fairy of Courage was clearly fading. She looked worn and tired. She had been very close to a great deal of evil energy for a long time. Fairies were technically immortal. They were meant to remain for all of the Ages of the world - however, there were some things that could kill a fairy. Healing fairies sometimes expended too much of their energy to heal particularly bad wounds. An extinction-level-event that would destroy all life on the planet could theoretically kill them, as well as specially-formed weapons. Evil magic – not merely "dark" magic, but energies that were from truly evil sources could destroy them if they took too hard a hit from them or took too much of evil radiance into themselves.
Navi was now the last of the Great Fairies. The rest had gone into the realm of pure spirit, to be cared for by the Three Goddesses – or so they'd hoped. The truth was, no one knew what happened to an immortal being if they died.
"I have found you worthy," the Great Fairy of Courage had said to her back then. "Your aid to the Hero of Time proved your great courage and you are thus worthy to ascend and to take my place as I cannot be a guardian in this world much longer. Little Navi, please receive this."
"I shall," Navi said, almost reluctantly. She paused before hovering into the Great Fairy's Spring to receive her promotion and transformation.
"What troubles you, little one?" the then Great Fairy had asked. "Do not let your heart be troubled on account of me. I have served well, and though my time is almost at an end, I feel proud of what I could do. I am at peace."
"And I wish you your peace," Navi said slowly, "It's just…. I am not sure I can be a sufficient guardian for the entire kingdom. I'm just a Kokiri fairy and the one I was guardian to…"
"I see. Your memories of Link trouble you."
"No! They are quite precious, it's just…"
"You miss him."
"Terribly. I never stopped missing him."
"You shall see the Hero again. Take up the charge as a Great Fairy and you will see the Hero again."
"What?" Navi gasped, "Really? Oh, where is he now? What is he doing?"
At this, the Great Fairy of Courage became quite solemn. "There was a war between Hyrule and another nation. You were sheltered from it within your forest but surely you heard stories of it. That hostile nation set up a front for invasion in the great peaks. One of Hyrule's noble families betrayed the kingdom and allowed their home to be made into a fortress for the enemy. The invaders had an army made up of both men and monsters. They tried to subdue, break and outlaw our magic. The invasion was repelled by one last mighty push of Hyrule's army. And do you know who was at the head of the last charge?"
"The very same. He was the head of the Hylian Knights. He, along with his soldiers, ensured the freedom of all of Hyrule's mortal peoples. The battle raged for three days and Hyrule suffered many losses before the enemy retreated. Among the bodies of the brave was found the Hero of Time."
"Noooo," Navi moaned. "Link is dead?"
"Yes. He died fighting, though. He suffered many wounds and no one wound killed him. He just kept fighting until the loss of blood overtook him."
"I'm not sure he noticed it. You knew him well enough to know that he fought like a man Poe-sessed."
"You promised me that I would see him again. I cannot go to the Land of the Dead – especially if you are giving me a charge!"
"I did not say you had to die to see him."
"But how else - if he died?"
"You shall see in good time, Navi. Now receive your blessing."
That was an Age ago. Navi had gone from one spring to another, from one magical nexus to another. She ended up at a cave in the desert. It had been invaded by the monsters she had turned her power toward fencing-in and of late, it had been sealed by a large and mysterious object. Evil energies had been powerful in this desert since the passing of the last Age.
Soon after she had received her Great Fairy status and had learned the sad fate of her former charge, ghastly things had transpired in this desert. Hyrule's newly-ascended king had set his will toward the systematic extermination of the people who'd lived here, the Gerudo race. Some of the tribe had fled to parts unknown, but many were killed here. Navi could sense the laments of sad and angry ghosts upon the fiery winds that blew over the sands. The energies of murder were strong here, making it a natural haunt for evil entities and monsters, and weakening her power.
She sensed that the mysterious object blocking the entrance to her cavern had been lifted away. Someone was in her Cave, working through the upper floors. Another would-be-hero, she thought. She prepared a warp spell to evacuate his beaten, bloody self before he committed suicide. So many fools had come seeking the residue of her grief. She was surprised when the man made it to her highest resting place. She looked the gaping youth over before rising. This boy had a dark shadow. Navi knew that this shadow was not truly his own, for she sensed a dark magical presence in it, one of restrained and subdued power. The dark essence was not evil. It carried the magic of night and had a similar feel to the aura of Sage Impa, a friend from long ago.
Navi warned the young man of what he would need if he were to delve deeper into the test that was the Cave of Ordeals. He shook his head and she returned him to the surface. After this, she stood very still in the center of her sacred water and let a single tear roll down her cheek and into its center. Her predecessor's prophecy had come to pass. Navi knew she had just met the Hero.
It was definitely him. She could sense his soul within that new, young body. All fey, divinities and spirits could sense the true soul of any mortal being. Link had been reincarnated. Navi could sense that he had been in contact with something of a "second self," as well – memories locked away, manifesting themselves as a spirit to renew his combat-skills. He was a bit different now, and, besides the shade-memories, he had no memory of the past. He knew only this life and knew not her. A tear slid down her other cheek.
Kokiri guardian fairies developed a special bond with their charges. It was one part "parent" and one part "lover," although the "lover" part was never a physical thing. A fairy was as ardent in protecting their child as a person in love defends their lover, or a mother defends her son. She'd kissed Link on the lips once when he was sleeping, brushing his nose with her little wings – during the time-outside-of-time when he'd been an adult. She could not help herself, for he was as handsome as a young man as any male fey. She'd felt ashamed of herself ever after and had never told him of it.
Here he was again, finally meeting her anew after many long years and he did not and could not know her. She dared not reveal who she truly was, for he would not understand. It would likely distress him when he had much more important things to think about. All she could do was to guide him through her home, watching him clear it of evil, hoping that he'd prove as strong in this life as he'd been in the last. The universe was cruel.
The Hero returned after many weeks. He'd enthusiastically shown her new equipment he'd gained in quests above – all of the ancient artifacts needed to traverse her Cave. He'd decided that if he was going to take on the King of the Twilight, he needed to test himself, to make sure he was strong. He added that he also wanted to free her – as if the monsters truly were a bother to her. She let him pass and watched him silently and unseen the entire way.
Every hit he took squeezed a tear from her eye. She wanted so badly to tell him to watch himself, but she could not. His shadow was little help. The shadow was a creature, one with a deadpan manner and a somewhat morbid disposition. The being did advise him, but precious little and her attitude made Navi angry. The strange thing was that she knew the shadow-being cared for Link quite deeply, but had an unconventional way of showing it. Where Navi, in the past, had tried to soothe "her Link's" wounds, this being scolded him on stupidity for getting hurt. Link, for his part, didn't seem to mind. He'd just shrug and soldier-on.
When he had completed the great test, only then did the Great Fairy approach the bloody, battered, bruised boy. She laid a hand upon his cheek and gazed into his eyes. She could see that within them, his memory was blank – in his eyes, he'd truly never met her before he'd come to this Cave. She asked him for a bottle and gathered the tears that had fallen into her interconnected pools.
She would be there for him at the various sacred springs in Hyrule, always weeping for their lost friendship while remaining the Hero's guardian in her own new, somewhat detached way.
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