Disclaimer: I don’t want to get in whatever trouble people can get into when using other people’s characters so - The Legend of Zelda, Link, Zelda, Ganon, Hyrule and other related characters and settings belong to to that wonderous console company, Nintendo. No infringement intended.

Paths of Deception

Juliet A. Singleton (Scullys@bigfoot.com) & Kirsty Singleton (arcadionseye@btopenworld.com)

Chapter 12


Felicity looked about herself warily as she awoke from her sleep. She hadn't realised it immediately, but one of the things that had roused her from her slumber was the cool air on her skin. She hadn't felt that for a while, which was hardly a surprise seeing as she had been held captive in the bowels of the earth, under Death Mountain for what seemed like an eternity. Felicity could not even remember falling asleep - or even trying to, but she guessed this was just an effect of Mara's spell. The faerie soon recognised where she now was - she was within a stone's throw of Valour Hold. Mara had been serious when she had outlined her plan to the faerie, and it now looked as if it was her job to carry out the witch's wishes.

If it had just been her own life in the balance, Felicity would have not felt so obliged to help Mara. But it wasn't just her life - it was Tiffany's too. Sweet, kind, Tiffany who would never entertain a bad thought in her head - who cared only about all things good in the world. Now, thanks to Felicity's idiocy, Tiffany was alone and flightless in the middle of nowhere, miles from the nearest town, days from any kind of aid. Felicity once again mentally cursed herself for being so fool hardy. She should have never even contemplated entering Death Mountain after feeling so uneasy - but she had gone ahead anyway, dragging the unwilling Tiffany along with her. And now, even though Felicity was somewhat wiser to the situation, she could not breathe a word of warning to anyone, for fear of putting Tiffany's life in danger. Mara had been right, she supposed, when she had expressed her thoughts on the subject of Felicity's fierce loyalty. While, at the moment, it was keeping Tiffany alive - in the long run Felicity's loyalty towards her friend would benefit no one but Mara.

Putting her thoughts to one side, Felicity decided that she had to do something, and something soon. She had no idea how she was going to carry out Mara's wishes, while at the same time trying to somehow warn her friends. Rising into the air, she was glad to see Mara had seen fit to give her the power of flight, and just hoped something would come to her regarding her current dilemma. As she surveyed her new surroundings, she guessed that it was mid morning. The sun was pale and yellow in the sky, masked by clouds, but shining nonetheless. Felicity had once entertained a theory that the weather cycles of the Demiari were somehow linked to the ether - and that when that ether was disturbed, so was the weather. Torrential storms and dark skies always seemed to be a precursor to imminent danger and dark times - but the sky as Felicity now saw it told no such tale. And Felicity knew that if there was such a link between the weather and the ether then the resurrection of such an entity as Enzar should have surely torn the sky asunder. But even as these thoughts ran through her mind, the sun still shined on - a reflection, she considered, of her own soon to be deception.

"The calm before the storm," murmured the faerie, before setting off towards the hold.

As Zelda rushed from the Council Hall, she ran straight into the arms of another.

"Zelda." Ashamed of the tears that stained her cheeks, Zelda refused to look to the man who had spoken her voice, and instead hung her head in shame.

"Nick," she murmured, recognising his voice.

"Please, Zelda, look at me." Nick had his hands clasped around her arms - he did not want her to leave. Biting her tongue, Zelda slowly looked up to the King of Dalsona, her eyes meeting his dark, compassionate ones. He gave her a brief hug, then took her by the hand. "Come with me."

He led her down one of the many passages of the hold, one which Zelda herself could not even recall. As they walked in silence, she took the time to remember their first meeting - it had been here, in the hold. Zelda had met Nick before that of course, but she had been a lot younger. He had been at the hold to learn from the best - although after enduring a seven year war, he had not been bad himself. He had been polite, but restrained...and at the time Zelda had had no idea he might ask for her hand in marriage. She could remember it more clearly now, the more she thought about it - her father had thought Nick would make an ideal husband, but she had wanted none of it. But that first meeting with Nick had proved more important than Zelda could have ever known - if not for Nick, Hyrule could now be under control of The Communion - and it's leader, Enzar.

"Here," murmured Nick, taking Zelda into a small side room.

It turned out to be a reading room. There were four wooden desks, surrounded by bookshelves packed with fighting manuals. It was empty, however, and ideal for their needs. Nick softly closed the door, then turned to a bewildered Zelda, motioning for her to sit.

"What...what do you want?" asked Zelda, her voice wavering as she took a seat. Nick smiled at Zelda kindly, and sat opposite her.

"To tell you, Zelda, that should you ever need anyone to talk to, I am here for you. As soon as we are done I will send a missive to my country and tell them to prepare an army. I do not know if we will need them - but like you and Link, I have felt there is something...amiss." Zelda lowered her eyes to the pages of a thick instruction manual that lay opened before her, taking a few moments to think before you spoke.

"Link was right. I have let down Hyrule. I knew something was amiss yet I pretended it was not happening. And now, because of my stupidity, Hyrule's future hangs in the balance." Nick placed one of his great, dark hands, over her own.

"Zelda - this country owes more to you than you know yourself. No one can go through life without making mistakes -" The princess interrupted him as he spoke.

"It seems like I have made more than my fair share..."

"Nonsense, Zelda. How many times has Hyrule faced such adversity? And how many times have you got Hyrule through?"

"It was always Link. Never me. I've done nothing for Hyrule, just as I've never done anything for Link." Nick leaned back in his chair for a moment, silent. He finally spoke.

"Selina told me, about you and Kaibre." Zelda met Nick's eyes for the first time since she had sat down, and he saw the shame in them. He leaned forward, taking her hand again.

"I know you Zelda. Others may not see it, but I do. Ever since we first met, I've seen the love that you have for Link." A wan smile flashed across the King's lips as he spoke, "I originally came to Hyrule on the instruction of my father. He wanted me to marry you. I knew as soon as I saw you and Link together that I stood no chance. It is not often in life that you see two people who are so obviously in love." Zelda looked down again, noting the illustrations on the page before her. A man using his sword to defend himself.

"I'll never love another man like I love him. He means everything to me. When he went to Catalia...and I thought he might be in trouble...I had nightmares that I would find him dead. My entire world would crumble without him. I don't know if I can do this...face this thing without him. He's my strength, my blood, my life." Nick nodded, stroking Zelda's hand comfortingly.

"I know. And he will realise this too, Zelda. Whatever the outcome, though, you will not be alone in this - regardless of what Link decides to do. Zelda met Nick's eyes again, and she smiled at him.

"Thank you Nick...you are not a good man, but a great one." Nick smiled as she spoke, but she noticed he looked distinctly bashful.

"But this evil that stalks the land - I feel it is close, Zelda. Closer than we would like to think." Zelda averted her gaze, to try and hide her expression as he spoke - for she, too, felt the same.

"I have not felt anything like this...since I left the Dark Realm. I could not pretend to know who or what Mara has raised but I fear its evil is a great as Ganondorf's. If not more so. If I am right - I suggest we prepare for the worst. War."

"Ah, you've arrived. The ceremony was about to begin. I was thinking we might have to begin without you." Sprite and Carrie exchanged annoyed glances as Navi greeted them as they arrived in the clearing that was now Navi's home. There was at least thirty other faeries in attendance, including Sprite's sister Fleur and a few other familiar faces. They were all in a circle, hands linked, determined expressions painted across their faces. Inside the circle, lain on a wooden pedestal, was the stone amulet Carrie had given to Navi.

"It's not even noon yet," muttered Sprite under her breath, but she kept a straight face. She wasn't going to let Navi's insufferable attitude get to her. At least not until she knew that Felicity and Tiffany were safe and well.

"Please, join the circle." Navi let go of the hand of another faerie and motioned for Carrie and Sprite to link hands with the circle. Carrie quickly grasped Navi's hand, then took Sprite's. Sprite took the hand of another, and the circle was complete. Navi began to speak - her voice loud and clear.

"Now, I want all of you to close your eyes and focus. Focus on the stone in the circle, and Princess Tamara and her friend Carrie - focus on their ties - and concentrate. It is essential that we get in contact with -"

"Sprite? Carrie? What's going on?" Sprite immediately broke from the circle, her eyes wide open as she heard the familiar voice of her friend, Felicity.

"Flic!" she cried joyously, turning on her heel and coming face to face with her life long friend. Felicity seemed a little taken back by the greeting, whilst the rest of the faeries present watched in amazement. Both Sprite and Carrie rushed forward, giving Felicity a hug, before stepping back - giving her room to see the circle formed by the rest of the faerie's.

"Oh Navi! It truly is a miracle! How did you do it? Why I'd barely even closed my eyes-" gushed one admiring faerie. Navi blushed and tried to shush her obvious fan, but it was no good.

"Oh Navi, you truly must be the most powerful faerie that ever lived! To conjure up the Princess' friend so quickly was amazing!" chipped in another admiring follower.

"What is going on?" asked Felicity quietly - directing her question to Sprite and Carrie.

"Oh - nothing much. Where have you been? We've been worried sick! And where's Tiffany?" Felicity paused for a moment, trying to gather her thoughts among the gathering crescendo of admiring compliments that were being directed at Navi.

"Tiffany is back in the Fey. I told her to get some rest - then I came here. I tried to get her as soon as I could." Felicity was well aware that her answer did not even cover half the question - but it was the best she could do. She noticed the wary glances that were exchanged by Carrie and Sprite - but chose to ignore them.

"What happened Flic?" Carrie asked the question softly, and Felicity felt her face burning with guilt as yet another lie left her lips.

"Nothing - well. Something. When we went into Death Mountain we were attacked- " before she could finish her sentence, a burning pain shot through Felicity's skull. She visibly winced, and Navi rushed forward as the faerie almost fell to her feet. By some small miracle, however, Felicity remained standing, and she continued.

"By monsters. By monsters. Moblins and Stalfos. They kept us captured, and I don't know, something made me weak. I couldn't cast any spells - we were helpless. But then...they got careless and we escaped. I never saw any sign of Mara...or anything else." As the words left her, Felicity was aware of how poor the story was. But she hoped desperately that Mara might not see it in this light - and spare both her life and Tiffany's.

"How did you escape?" It was Sprite's turn to ask, and the look of concern on her face said it all.

"They kept us in a cage - but then two of the moblin's got into a fight - and they knocked over the cage. That's how we escaped...stupid creatures." A sigh of relief escaped Felicity's lips as she finished, but Navi stepped forward.

"No so stupid if they managed to subdue a faerie of your powers." Felicity looked to Carrie and Sprite - noticing that Sprite, in particular, looked incensed at Navi's remark.

"I wasn't at my best to begin with. A few days ago...I tried to cast a spell that I wasn't ready for. It took half my strength in the process but I thought I'd recovered. It soon became very clear when we got ambushed that I was far from fully fit." Navi did not look convinced by Felicity's words, and she spoke.

"I see," she murmured.

"Look Navi, Felicity is tired so she doesn't need you hassling her," snapped Sprite abruptly. Navi gave Sprite a look of disdain, before replying.

"Some things never change do they?" she muttered darkly. Felicity decided to step in before the two came to blows.

"Leave it Sprite. If Navi finds something amiss about my words, then so be it. I just want to rest." As she spoke, she met Navi's gaze with a look as meaningful as she could manage. Sprite turned to Felicity and nodded.

"Yes, of course. We'll go back to the hold - you can rest there."

"Tomorrow morning, I think I'll head back to the Fey. I need some time to think." Sprite and Carrie exchanged worried glances as Felicity spoke.

"Well we can come back with you, this place is a bore anyway," said Sprite. Felicity shook her head.

"No...I appreciate it, but I need some time alone." As they left, Felicity turned and fixed her gaze on Navi once more - hoping the ancient faerie would notice that something was amiss.

"Zelda - I'm glad I found you!" Zelda turned as she heard her name and, to her surprise, she saw Sprite's friend, Felicity, hovering nearby.

"Felicity - weren't you at Death Mountain?" inquired the Princess, recalling something Sprite had mentioned about the faerie. Felicity hovered to Zelda's side, and they both continued down the passage as they talked.

"Yes. That's what I wanted to see you about." Zelda continued to walk down the corridor, but she waited for Felicity to go on.

"Before I entered Death Mountain - I sensed something. Something so powerful that it was causing a disturbance to the ether." Zelda stopped and turned to Felicity, her turn to speak.

"I know. I've felt it too."

"I don't know who or what it was - but I did not see it in Death Mountain. But I did see something - the remains of a resurrection ritual." Zelda looked uneasy as Felicity spoke, but the faerie continued. "There are only a few rituals that concern resurrection, and you've seen at least one in your lifetime. When Leigh resurrected Nick. That ritual, the Sosarian way, is the most renowned way. Reagents are needed, as is the body, and the correct incantation. This kind of resurrection isn't common outside Sosaria - because the ether is stronger there than anywhere else in the Demiari. I don't know how Leigh managed to help Nick, but perhaps with her being the Avatar she had some kind of connection with the ether - I don't know. There is another kind, when a person dies - a spirit may come to the aid and provide them a link back to the living world. And the final way is by an ancient ritual - devised back when the ether had not begun to weaken. This ritual is the most powerful - because a being could be resurrected even if their soul had gone into the void. But you did need the being's blood. But there was an alternative. Another's blood could be used. But only the blood of the one with the Power of Three."

"Why are you telling me this?" asked Zelda, thinking back to the cut on her son's wrist.

"Zelda - Mara knows this ritual. It was laid out exactly as I have read about it - and she kidnapped your son. This ritual must have succeeded - meaning Mara has raised some entity powerful enough to cause the ether to shift. I'm guessing she needed your son for his blood. He has the Power of Three."

"Is that even possible?" asked Zelda. Felicity shrugged.

"Apparently so. But there is something else I have to tell you. Before she passed, the Great Faerie, Imilda, told me something about the one who would have the power of three. Zelda...I don't know how to say this..." Zelda watched Felicity with a frown, but she said nothing. After a pause, Felicity finally spoke again. "A child will be born with the power of three, his conception frowned on by the fates that be, a great threat to Hyrule he shall be, this unintended child with the power of three."

"Unintended? What do you mean?" asked Zelda, looking visibly upset by Felicity's words.

"Zelda, your son is that child. No man or woman should ever have the power of all three Triforces, at least not without consequences. Think of the trouble Ganondorf has caused with just the Triforce of Power in his heart! And it has always taken both you and Link to destroy him. Imagine the power of one who has two pieces of the Triforce within them. Your son has three! When Ewan realises his power - his will shall become reality, and who could stop him?"

"Fayzie!" The young Kokiri woman turned as she heard her name being called, as did Aden, her young son.

"Link," she replied as she saw the hero approaching her. She noticed he looked a little upset, and she rose from her seat, walking over to him. "Link, what's wrong?" The hero looked at Fayzie, then bowed his head.

"I told her it was over." Fayzie stared at Link, taking a second to comprehend the meaning to his words.

"Link...no." She stepped back as she spoke, and Link looted to her, his eyes full of pain.

"I couldn't do it anymore, Fay, it was just too damn hard." Fayzie turned to Aden, who was watching the two earnestly, looking a little confused.

"Aden - go and play outside. There's no sense in you being cooped up on such a lovely day," she instructed softly. Aden nodded obediently.

"Okay," he said, his voice as soft as his mothers, before walking out of the room. Fayzie turned back to Link, who had taken a seat, one hand touching his forehead. She knelt before him, taking his other hand.

"What happened?" asked the Kokiri woman. Link met her gaze and swallowed uneasily, before averting his gaze once more.

"Hyrule is in trouble, Fay. And it's all because of me and her. If only I'd listened to Kylara..." Fayzie looked at Link, her heart breaking as she saw the sorrow in his eyes.

"Don't say that. You were in love - and we don't choose who we fall in love with." Link looked at Fayzie as she spoke, wondering if his friend had ever truly been in love. She had said herself, he recalled, that she had never loved Aden.

"Yes - but Kylara told me things. Things that should have changed my mind...things that should have made me realise!"

"Link, Kylara was a dreamer. There was many a time she predicted things that never happened! She said that me and Aden would have many beautiful children who would continue the Kokiri line - but I only ever carried little Aden full term. But I've been with child many, many times." Link's saddened expression grew sadder still as he heard Fayzie's words.

"You've miscarried?" Fayzie bowed her head as he spoke, and nodded.

"Yes. Aden was sympathetic at first, Link, but then...then he thought it was me. He thought I didn't want to have another child. He thought-" a sudden sob escaped Fayzie's lips, but she continued, "he thought I was killing our children. To spite him. I could have never done that. What's more, he let everyone else in the village know." A shaky sigh escaped Fayzie's lips, but she continued. "And who would take my word over Aden's?"

"I would." Link's voice was low as he spoke, and he tightened his grip on Fayzie's hand.

"What I'm trying to say Link, is that Kylara was wrong. She said many things...sometimes they happened. But most of them time they didn't. Whatever Kylara told you Link, you don't have to believe it."

"She told me that my son - mine and Zelda's son would do a great evil to this world. Me and Zelda were never meant to marry - and we were never meant to have children. And now someone has used my son's blood to resurrect something more evil than we could know - this could have all been prevented." Fayzie shook her head sadly.

"You don't know that. Who is to say that any son you had by Kylara would be better? Do you truly believe your son, who you have raised, is capable of doing such evil?"

"No - not now. Not ever. But he has immense power Fayzie. The Power of Three. Wisdom, Courage and Power all flow through his veins - the combined powers of the Triforce." Fayzie's eyes widened as Link spoke, and she stood, letting go of Link's hand.

"How long have you known?" she asked, her voice a whisper. Link shook his head.

"I don't know for sure. But I know. And when someone has power like that - no matter what you teach them, they'll go their own way in the end."

"Link, you can't talk like that. He's your son. And you can't change the past either. You and Zelda married one another - regardless of the consequences. After everything you've been through with her, are you just going to throw it away?!" Link stood as Fayzie finished, and he reached out to caress her cheek.

"I can't stay with a woman I don't love." Fayzie stepped away, almost flinching at his words.

"Don't say that Link. I may not have seen you in years - but I know you. You've given everything to Zelda - including your heart. Somewhere, you still love her."

"Then why is it, when my marriage is falling to pieces, when all I should be thinking of is my children and my wife, I can't stop thinking about you." Before Fayzie could respond, Link stepped forward and kissed her - something he had been longing to do since he had stepped in the room. He wrapped his arms around her, but just when it seemed that Fayzie could not resist - she pushed him away. His arms still around her waist, he looked down at Fayzie and spoke.

"You feel this too, Fay, why fight it?"

"Because I've already married one man who loved another." Confusion flashed across Link's face, but before he could even question her response, the door to the room opened.

"Link?" Fayzie pulled away from Link's embrace as hastily as she could, but not before Zelda had entered the room and seen them together. Time seemed to stand frozen for a moment, and then just as suddenly the spell was broken. Zelda stared at Link in shock but she said nothing. He stepped forward.

"Yes Zelda, this is EXACTLY how it looks," he said coldly. Fayzie blushed deeply as she looked at Zelda.

"Your Highness, I was just..." she started.

"Zelda, I think you should leave," Link interrupted. Zelda still said nothing, the hurt and shock in her face evident. She had paled at Link's words, her green eyes filling with tears. And with that, she turned, slamming the door behind her.

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