“TO THE FINDER...THE ISLE OF KOHOLINT, IS BUT AN ILLUSION... HUMAN, MONSTER, SEA, SKY... A SCENE ON THE LID OF A SLEEPER'S EYE... AWAKE THE DREAMER, AND KOHOLINT WILL VANISH MUCH LIKE A BUBBLE ON A NEEDLE... CAST- AWAY, YOU SHOULD KNOW THE TRUTH! “
I recalled those words that had been on the relief in the darkened cave solemnly as I looked up at
, on which stood the monstrous speckled egg of the Wind Fish. Those words had haunted me since the moment I read them, for the meaning of them had staggered me. A light breeze caressed the back of my neck, and a shiver ran down my spine as I sat cross legged and regarded the eight instruments laid out before me. The Instruments of the Sirens. They had not been easy to attain, each of them had been watched over by an evil guardian that I had been forced to battle to grim conclusion after grim conclusion. As I gazed at each instrument, I recalled those encounters – with the great worm Moldorm in his dark cave domain, the evil and mischievous bottled Genie in his swamp grotto, the grotesque Slime Eyes in its key shaped lair, the monstrous Angler Fish in his unlit underwater cave, the huge and gruesome Slime Eel in its submerged and watery realm , the mocking Facade in his disconcerting Face Shrine, the Evil Eagle at the top of his tall, tall tower and finally the fiery Hot Head in the bowels of Turtle Rock – none had been easy, but all were now defeated, and before me lay the spoils of those victories...and yet...the words of another drifted into my mind, that of my mysterious guide throughout this quest, the Great Owl. Mount Tamaranch
“Hoot! I see you have read the relief... While it does say the island is but a dream of the Wind Fish, no one is really sure... Just as you cannot know if a chest holds treasure until you open it, so you cannot tell if this is a dream until you awaken... The only one who knows for sure is the Wind Fish... Trust your feelings...Someday you will know for sure...”
I looked back to the instruments before me, my mind torn. Won by blood and toil, these were the keys to my escape from this secluded isle. But, Koholint was a place that thrived with life. It was no prison. Although when I first arrived here, my first intention had been to find a way to return to Hyrule, the longer I had remained in Koholint, the more of it I had explored and discovered and...fallen in love with. Although it was undoubtedly true that I had met and battled many a foe here, I had also made friends...dear friends. And the island was truly beautiful, a paradise. Could it truly all be a dream? A dream that I had the power to destroy?
I rose to my feet, and at that moment, I heard the familiar flap of wings, and the Great Owl settled before me, his wise eyes keenly regarding me. I knew him well, and yet not at all, for he had guided me on my quest up until this point. However, he only ever instructed, and never answered my questions, much to my frequent frustration.
“Hoooot! The Wind Fish sleeps long and dreamily in the Egg above... When you play the eight Siren Instruments in front of the Egg he will awaken. This, my friend, is the only way for you to leave the island! Hoo!”
“So for me to leave, all of this must be destroyed?” I gestured with my hands to the island. He must have heard the conflict in my voice. He looked at me with lucid, intelligent eyes. He blinked slowly, and then spread his wings, intending to take flight.
“Trust your feelings, young lad...Hooo!”
I saw the breeze ruffle the owl’s feathers, and he rose from his perch, flying up into the azure sky.
“But wait!” I called. My voice was hoarse, strained. He either failed to hear me or did not listen, and continued to ascend. I stood and watched until he became a speck in the blue sky, until I could see him no more beyond the clouds and the fading light of the sun. I had never been more uncertain of my feelings until that moment, and there was now no one to guide me but myself. I smiled wryly to myself. I had never been much of a person to make decisions, rather, I had always tended to rely on the wisdom of others. It was easier that way, I had found. But now I only had myself to rely on.
“Trust your feelings…”
It may have been the most important decision of my short, if eventful, life. Perhaps it was only fitting that I reached my own conclusion.
I looked at the instruments again, my gaze drawn to them like a moth to a flame. I missed Hyrule, that much was true. I had friends there, and it was my home. But Koholint had won my heart over despite that. The people were as friendly and accommodating as any I had ever met. The isle itself, despite the monsters, seemed unspoiled somehow. I breathed deeply and I looked up at the giant, spotted egg once more. If I pressed on, this could all end. If it was a dream, would I even remember it when I awoke? I shook my head. So many questions, and no answers. The only answers lay within the egg, that much I knew, but where they the answers I wanted to hear? I could not say. And so I sat back down and lay back, looking to the sky, my arms crossed behind my head. I closed my eyes and willed sleep to come, hoping that the answers would come in my slumber.
I dreamt. Is it possible to dream within a dream? It was less like a dream, and more of a recollection of my days on Koholint, of the places I had seen, of the people I had spent time with.
Water, cold and dark, filling my lungs...struggling for breath, then, light headedness. I ceased to fight, and drifted into darkness, I know not how long for. And then light! Bright, cleansing, purging light – I awake, and see a face of a girl I thought I knew. She saved my life. How can I end hers?
Fade...The Owl, the Great Owl, seated before me. He speaks to me, his yellow eyes gleaming in the fading sun. “Now I understand why the monsters are starting to act so violently... A courageous lad has come to wake the Wind Fish...It is said that you cannot leave the island unless you wake the Wind Fish...” And I know. I cannot wake the Wind Fish without ending his dreams. And if I end his dreams…
Darkness. A strange clicking noise, my lantern is raised before me, blade in my other hand, quivering. And then I see it, a huge and fearsome creature. A worm, with huge and vicious looking mandibles, its red eyes glinting in the torch light. It speaks, directly to my mind.
“Bzzzzzz! Bzzzzzzz! Outzzzider!”
My heart leaps, I stumble backwards, then steel myself, calling upon my courage to face this monstrosity. I feel the fury, the hatred, emanating from this creature of nightmare and then...
A girl, a beautiful girl, her voice as pure and good and clear as her heart. The girl that saved me. Surrounded by...animals! There’s a bear, a rabbit, a walrus and they’re all as enchanted by her as I am. She sings a beautiful and haunting ballad, to the Wind Fish...I’ll never forget that song for as long as I live. I’ll never forget her.
She’s speaking to me, motioning to the Ocarina I hold in my hand.
“Will you accompany me as I sing?”
So I do. We play together, and it’s as fine a moment as I’ve ever known.
When I awoke, the sun was rising, the sky tinged with a brilliant pink. My body ached from sleeping on the rough ground, and I winced a little as I rose, yawning, stretching my cramped arms. My dreams had been in turn disconcerting, but also pleasant. I felt warm.
still stood before me, the instruments of the Sirens scattered around me. I looked at those instruments again. The keys to my freedom. The implements of this isle’s destruction. The Owl had told me to trust my feelings. I wasn’t sure I could find it in me to destroy something so beautiful. Even if it meant I could never leave... Mount Tamaranch
And at that moment, clarity. I knew I could not expect the others to pay the price for my freedom. The way I saw it, I had a choice. I could use the instruments and destroy Koholint. Or I could destroy the instruments, and lose my freedom. It was a sacrifice I knew I was prepared to make. It was a sacrifice I knew I had to make. The alternative…I could not have lived with myself.
I hunched down to my knees, and grasped the Full Moon Cello by its neck. It was finely crafted, a handsome instrument. I studied it for a moment with quiet admiration, and then I raised it above my head. I closed my eyes for a single moment, breathing deeply.
“So this is it. Once you begin, you can’t go back. This is your choice. Make it.”
I opened my eyes and brought the instrument crashing to the ground. The instrument called out a mournful howl as its wooden case splintered and shattered against the cold ground.
“This is for you, Koholint...”
The thought was grim in my mind as I discarded the smashed instrument, my eyes on the great Thunder Drum. I stalked over to it, and paused for a moment, thoughtful. I had made my choice now. There was no going back. I raised my boot and put it through the drum, the skin resisted at first, but my will was greater. A strange hiss, a rush of air escaped as I punctured the skin, and I gritted my teeth as I pulled my foot from the ruined instrument.
“Farewell Hyrule...I’ll never see your shores again...”
I had begun slowly, but with each instrument destroyed, I felt the rush of adrenaline surge within me. I wrecked the Conch Horn with a fierce blow, it split and scattered with surprising ease.
“Enjoy your slumber, Wind Fish. For I shall not be waking you.”
Next to go was the Surf Harp, I ran my blade across its strings, and it cried so sorrowfully at first, but soon fell silent.
“No more villains here, no more terror.”
I had seen to that, I knew. I knocked the Wind Marimba aside, and crushed it beneath my heels. Wooden slats broke beneath my feet and I knelt and grabbed the Coral Triangle roughly in my fists, and snapped it in two savagely before flinging it aside. My heart was beating madly in my chest, blood rushing to my face. I felt like a man possessed, and yet, the destruction was somehow liberating.
“Goodbye, heroic obligation!”
That was what had brought me here in the first place, a quest to better myself, to prepare myself for any potential threat to Hyrule...and now I could never return. It was a disconcerting feeling, but in truth, I had grown so tired of always wondering what new menace could arise in Hyrule, and if I would be up to the task. There had always been so much expectation, so much reliance on me, just a boy who had been blessed by the Goddesses. I had not asked for such a heavy burden, and yet I carried it as well as I could have done. I felt as though that burden had been carried for long enough.
I turned and rested my gaze upon the Sea Lily’s
. It shone brightly in the morning light, but I was not about to relent. I approached it and struck it once, twice, three times with my blade, putting all of my strength into each and every strike. It rang out a clear and glorious note on the first and second blow, but the third caused it to emit a curiously dull tone, and I spied a crack in the surface. Like its brothers and sisters, It too was rendered useless. Bell
Finally I turned my attentions to the Organ of Evening Calm. It was a beautiful piece of craftmanship, but a far sturdier prospect then any of the others had been. I reached into my pack and withdrew the Magic Rod, and pointed it at the Organ.
I was casting away my one chance to return to Hyrule, and I had never felt so free.
A bolt of bright red flame leapt from the tip of the wand and caught onto the Organ. The flames soon engulfed it, and I turned away from the scene of chaos I had orchestrated. I closed my eyes and drew a breath, and I felt as though a burden had been lifted from my shoulders. When I opened my eyes, I was surprised to see someone standing before me. Marin. She looked as shocked as I felt calm.
“You...you chose to stay?” The surprise and doubt in her voice was evident. Clearly, my actions where not what she had expected. I looked at her for what seemed like a long time, and then slowly nodded. In that moment, the lingering doubts that had clawed at my heart, even as I had wrought destruction those instruments, faded into insignificance. Finally, I smiled at her.
“Yes. I chose to stay.”
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