Disclaimer and Notes: Nintendo owns the toys
Disclaimer and Notes: Nintendo owns the toys. I’m just borrowing them and will put them back in the toy chest when I’m done. I promise.
After a nerve-racking forced move, my man and I were able to find a place to live. It’s across the street from a cemetery. It inspired me to write this.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
had always given her a sense of sorrow whenever she visited it. That was the same now as always, although the circumstances of her visit this time were far from usual. Kakariko Village
A scream sounded from downstairs. It was the sound of a brave young man getting an arrowhead taken out of his thigh. Rutella spared a thought for the power of pain to melt pride. The boy had limped into this inn, doing his best to stand up tall and straight and to hide how much he was hurting. He’d snapped off the arrow’s shaft himself before he’d even gotten off his horse – and that without a word or even a grunt to show his discomfort. His concern had been for others and the ex-Zora queen thought that it just must be his character. At the moment she was jealous of him – strangely. She definitely was lingering in this world too long if she was actually becoming jealous of pain.
“Sit still, will ya? You think we wouldn’t notice with you bleeding all down your leg, honey?” – the voice of the large woman, the tavern keeper. “You’re going to damage yourself more. Alright, that’s good. Good boy.”
For a time she’d forgotten pain – it seemed like it had been forever, she had felt nothing. There was no pleasure, no suffering - no sensation to tell her that she existed, for she had no body with which to feel such things. The only thing that told her that she was “real” in any sense of the concept were her memories. Even they might fade in time if she tarried in a place she no longer belonged to. She did not feel pain, but she remembered it, with the vaguest impression. She knew that it was nothing to envy, but could not help but do so just because it was something, it was life.
“Fine,” – the young man’s voice this time. “I’ll go easy on it, okay? What about Ilia? That’s her name, Ilia. Don’t you remember me? Please?”
Memories… Rutella carried the impression… yes, the impression of her death. A thick, black hand pressing in on her windpipe, the breath from her lungs escaping, cut-off with sudden force…Her gills flailing in the sharp, cold air, her secondary respiratory system useless… A sharp pop in the back of her neck, the vertebrae separating… She could not remember all of it, but she had the distinct feeling that was what happened, like a bad dream as sharp as swords.
Only she’d awakened to see the black beasts eating her. She could will herself to move above them. Shock and morbid fascination had kept her vision focused upon the scene, even as she’d tried to will herself to look away. They were like wolves at the carcass of a deer, and as dainty as a deer she looked against the beasts’ tall and hulking frames. Zora flesh is a rich, red meat, much like well-bred beef or good tuna (something the citizens of the Domain sometimes enjoyed raw with imported rice that was grown in some parts of Hyrule). No one would ever tell you if Zora tasted anything like either kind of animal, for it was said that anyone that ate the flesh of a Zora fell under a curse. The shadow beasts had cared not, for they were already cursed.
Queen Rutella had seen her people – oh Din! Her people! They were gathered at a distance, watching – the young and the old. Oh, thank Nayru Ralis wasn’t there. As soon as ice had begun appearing in the Domain and the snow flurries had begun falling out-of-season, she had sent her son to Hyrule to speak with Lady Zelda. She’d known back then that something was wrong, but she had no way of knowing how horribly events would progress. Her people watched helplessly as the shadow creatures cleaned her bones, as did she.
Mikau! No, Mikau! – Her most loyal guardsman… he’d taken up a fallen spear and charged the creature responsible for all of this – the dark man in the strange helmet that had been ordering the shadow creatures. Japas, his brother, had tried to stop him. The dark man then shot a ball of strange, dark magic at him. Mikau’s body fell into the water at the foot of throne. Rutella had seen his spirit briefly as it rose from the corpse. The soul mouthed “My queen? I am sorry…I failed to protect you,” before vanishing as Nayru took him home. He had been a young man, a strong, young man... about to ask his girlfriend to marry him…
Rutella could not go home. Not yet. Although she had no body to rest here, she knew that here was the place she was to depart this world, here she was to take her rest – in Kakariko where her husband’s remains had been interred. She could not leave yet… no rest… her son was keeping her here. Between his longing for her and his ignorance, he kept her here. Most of all, the queen had to make sure that he did not join her yet. Now was not his time. Their people needed a ruler. If he joined her in death, they would have none. They could not, right now, bear up under that drastic a change. They needed a king, a king with a good heart. They needed Ralis.
He was lying in a bed on this second floor of Kakariko’s in. He had just awakened, but not entirely. He was aware that there were people around him – the shaman’s daughter and that freckle-faced girl. The healer’s child fed the Zora prince clean spring water by the spoonful and kept his skin wet with a soft, soaked cloth. For what it was worth, Rutella hovered by him, placing a ghostly hand over his heart. The humans were not aware of her presence, though Ralis seemed to calm when she touched him. He was not fully aware of her presence, however. Rutella knew that he did not see or hear her. She wished to cry, but she had no longer had physical eyes with which to shed tears. Her little boy was calling for her, calling “Mother… Mother…” He did not hear her when she told him that she was right there.
His aura was stronger now than it had been when he’d first arrived, and much stronger than it had been in the tavern in
. She had traced the movements of the young man who wore green there. Ralis’ aura – his life energy signature, was a very pretty cyan-blue to her senses and that color was growing brighter and deeper. The auras of all the Zoras were that color, except for those who’d died, apparently. Rutella was painfully aware of how red she was. Had she been red like this in life? She could not remember. Castle Town
The aura of the healer’s daughter was soft and kind. The other girl’s was bright and energetic – quite yellow, in fact. There was a girl downstairs with the shaman who had a jumbled aura, confused – the “Ilia” that had been spoken of. Her aura was a mess of colors, chaotic and blending into gray. Rutella had seen the aura on the brave young man dip and fade when he’d been shot by one of the monsters he was protecting her son and the girl from, but his signature had remained strong. The aura present in his shadow had been gyrating, as if frustrated or irritated. It was colored purple and had a similar characteristic to man who’d set his beasts upon her.
As she recalled…wait… those beasts… yes, they were cursed beings, weren’t they? They were not their normal selves. Rutella had seen their signatures… they were trapped, imprisoned. Those bodies were not their own, not natural… twisted. The spirits had no will. They were waiting for death to free them. Maybe that’s why she wasn’t angry over her death – she pitied the ones that killed her. A chill ran through her soul at the thought that she might have become one of those…things. She knew that she would find her rest soon, but not them – not as long as they were bound to basic physical life.
Yes, she’d seen the shadow’s true form when she and the young man had come to the Domain. His body had been that of a wolf and the shadow-girl had a physical form of an imp. Rutella had perceived, from the aura, the true shape of the imp to be that of a proud, exiled royal and the true shape of the wolf to be a strong young man – and one that definitely belonged to Farore. His color was green and ageless – cursed and blessed at the same time and so very unaware of the power he held.
In other words, his was a Hero’s aura. She’d revealed himself to him only after he and the imp had freed the remainder of her people from the ice-locked prison the masked shadow-man had put them in as retaliation for refusing to bow to him. Rutella’s very gruesome and very public execution had not been enough. When she’d heard the stirring and coughing of her people, Rutella’s spirit had awakened from the torpor-state she’d been in. She’d been focused upon the energy signature of her son, whose presence had been growing steadily fainter to her. She knew that he had to be sick or hurt and in need of help.
Then the Hero had come, none too gallant, but she’d known that the wolf was something special as soon as she’d seen the outline of his true spirit and the outline of the true spirit of the one that accompanied him. When her people moved and breathed again, she’d recalled the story of the Ancient Hero – he, too, had freed the Zora people from a tomb of ice by breaking a curse, or so the old tale went.
The queen’s poor husband had been convinced for many years that the “return of the Hero” was imminent. He had been prone to prophetic dreams every now and again and had a few regarding the old Hero legend. There was a story spread that whenever Hyrule was close to its greatest peril, that the sainted Hero would be reborn and would set the land into balance again. Whether this “rebirth” was merely a matter of a person with the right kind of traits being born or whether it was the literal reincarnation of an old soul was anyone’s guess. Rutella had humored the king when he’d decided to create special armor that would fit a Hylian and allow him to breathe underwater, but had been convinced that Hyrule was at such peace that such a thing would not be needed for many generations.
King Zora had been careful to piece together the mail from his own shed scales. The armor was based upon a very old design for a magical tunic that was supposedly worn by the Ancient Hero – the Hero of Time. Convinced that the new Hero would need an improved design, he’d worked upon the armor for close to half his reign. When the suit had been completed, he’d sent for a pair of Hylian men from the capitol guard to test it. They’d been able to breathe well in deep water, but the armor had been a poor fit on either of them – as it truly had been made for just one person, tailored to the man in the king’s dreams. That was many years ago. The king had caught ill, and despite the best efforts of the Domain’s physicians, he knew when he was fading. He’d made the request to have the armor placed within his tomb in a special compartment and to be interred at a sacred place for the Zoras – the cemetery at Kakariko. It was said that even the great Queen Ruto of ancient times rested there.
And in Kakariko Rutella now was, in need of rest, but unable to take it. The young man downstairs – a man now, not a wolf, had proven himself. He’d found her son and had protected him as he was brought to the healer that resided here. Her husband had been right about the coming of peril and the return of the Hero. She owed the boy the armor. She knew that she could reveal herself only to him – he and the imp had an unnatural level of perception. Rutella wondered if the pair saw Poes on a regular basis.
The Zora queen could already feel herself fading. She needed to aid the Hero soon, or else she would be taken to the other side before she could – and her son… Ralis was still moaning and being shushed by the healer’s girl. He still gave no indication that he knew of her presence – or even her fate. He would have to be told. Poor child… she believed in him, but she knew that he did not yet believe in himself. She’d hoped that he would gain more confidence over the years, but he had the throne trust upon him now. She would do her best to appear in his dreams from the other side. Perhaps Nayru would grant her the favor.
She sensed the young man’s spirit on the move. She looked sadly back at her son as she drifted away. The knowledge of her death was going to be very painful for him. Another child ascended the stairs as she was leaving the room. By the fade in his aura, he was on the mend from his own hurts. He was strong, however – bearing an aura similar to that of the Hero, yet this strength felt fresh. Rutella drifted past all the living until she was outside. She watched the young man in green talk with the proprietor of the tavern in
, the lady who’d driven the wagon carrying her ailing son and the girl with the aura of confusion. Castle Town
“Link.” That was the young man’s name? Rutella felt badly – for she had not caught his name. As he spoke, she memorized every detail of him. If she could appear in some way to her son, she wished to relay this young man’s image to him, to tell him that this was a person he could trust and to do whatever he asks. The ex-Zora queen wished, somehow, that some of this boy’s courage could be imparted to Ralis.
She felt that fading feeling again, Nayru’s hand pulling her. Din was the goddess most associated with death, for death was powerful, but for the Zora, Nayru handled every aspect of their existence – for they were of Nayru’s waters. It was said that the royalty in Hyrule were similarly governed by Nayru, that is, at least, if they were wise people. Farore was said to have domain over the people who took to the outer forests and to be the patron of soldiers and farmers. Rutella had taken Ralis to a small shrine to Farore recently, because she felt that he should start asking the goddess for her courage, since it was something he would need as a future king. Rutella wondered, for a moment, if the goddess had arranged for him to meet Link. She had a good feeling that he’d take care of her son.
The tavern keeper had wandered off to have words with the shaman. Rutella chose to reveal her presence – Link sensed it immediately. She floated before him and he followed, limping slightly, as if he was trying to ignore a great deal of pain – annoyed at his body. His shadow flickered the entire way. She stopped at the grave of her husband – his place to rest and the place where she decided she, too, would rest. She summoned her will to move the tombstone to reveal the clothing her husband had begun designing for the Hero before he was even born. He gathered it into his arms with a thankful bow.
She asked him to tell her son of her fate, and that she loves him very much.
“Of course,” he answered humbly. There was an incredible sadness in his eyes as he said this, as if he knew exactly how Ralis would feel.
“Tell him…tell him…” she had more to say, but she felt herself drifting away, being pulled from the mortal world. She left her thoughts unfinished once she’d found her place to rest, once she knew that her child was in good hands.