Disclaimer: I dont want to get in whatever trouble people can get into when using other peoples 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Enzar prowled the corridors of Death Mountain silently. No-one, not even his resurrector, would stop him in his plan. Demiari would eventually quake in mercy at his power, including Mara Hespera. She might hold the key to his life but very soon, he would take that away from her. Mara after all, had underestimated him. He, Enzar, was one of the most powerful deities to exist on this astral plane, and now that he was once again, freed from the confines of a spirit prison in the Dark Realm, there was little or nothing he could not do. He did not fear the mortal witch, and he knew precisely what she wanted with him. She wouldn't send him back to the Dark Realm, whatever he did. She was too greedy for that. Of course, Hyrule was the key to ruling the Demiari. Hyrule was the home of the Triforce for a reason. At the centre of the world, Hyrule was focal point of all magic, of all the ether, of all power. Even Sosaria, which was full of powerful magicians, didn't hold the omnipotence that Hyrule did. As Kain, Enzar had carried out his systematic brainwashing of the populace in Hyrule for a reason. Hyrule was where his power was at its strongest. Only Link and Zelda had kept him at bay from taking the Triforce and using it to rule the entire world. Zelda was strong, although she didn't realise it. She didn't need to confine her magical skill to just the Triforce. She could match Enzar in a battle of wills. The magic protecting the Triforce in that tower, kept every evil entity at bay, including himself. And Zelda had banished him to the Dark Realm once before, she could do it again. And not to forgot Nicolas.... Enzar gave a sharp growl at the thought of that particular nemesis. He feared the Dalsonian King, in a way that he didn't understand. And then there was Link... Enzar would make sure that he eradicated all three.
Eventually, the griffin came upon a small chamber. There, shackled to the walls lay a man, in deep unconsciousness. In fact, he was almost dead. A prisoner of Mara's. Enzar had observed the female, seen her consorting with a man. This wasn't the one. Mara's consort was Hylian for a start. Let this man, Kaibre Lainge, undo their plans. Enzar knew exactly where to send the sell-sword. Back to his beloved Princess Zelda. Enzar did not want war, he wanted order. War would alert the rest of the Demiari to giving attention to Hyrule, and that simply would not do. Hyrule needed to become isolated. Hyrule needed to become like Sosaria... and Sosaria, Enzar would deal with later. It was indeed, a thorn in his side, but nothing the griffin couldn't deal with, once he had his hands on the Triforce. And that, in time, would become his. This time, he wouldn't make a mistake. Last time, he had underestimated Zelda. He had underestimated a lot of things. This time, he would do it differently. No sense in making an enemy of the Princess... Smirking to himself, Enzar zapped at the chains that bound the man, breaking them. He would free this pitiful fool, simply to spite Mara. Her anger at discovering her prisoner gone would be amusing. Enzar breathed, and suddenly, the man awoke. He blinked stupidly, as if he wasn't sure of his surroundings, confused.
"Arise, piteous mortal!" Enzar commanded. The man got shakily to his feet, coughing. Enzar blended into the darkness. He did not want his presence to be alerted by freeing this man. Although no doubt Zelda would begin to sense him, she would not know exactly what she was sensing, and thus, be confused. Enzar also enjoyed seeing that. "Be gone from this place, and do not come back! Else your fate shall be much worse!" the griffin ordered. The man coughed again, the hacking sounded almost painful. "The powers have ordained that you live this time, mortal. Next time, you may not be so lucky!" Enzar continued. Then, pointing one feathered finger, he shot a bolt of magic at the prisoner. The man disappeared on the spot. Enzar sneered in anticipation of Mara's fury, and then, continued stalking through Death Mountain. He had other business to attend to.
Zelda sighed slightly, and then yawned. The bright morning sunshine was filtering through the gap in the curtains, already meaning that it was quite late. "Oh jeez," she muttered to herself, trying to sit up. She didn't quite have the strength, immediately flopping back down, under the warm, comfortable sheets. Sleep threatened to overtake her again. Gradually though, she became aware of Link, who was playing lazily with strands of her hair; little, but insistent tugs. "Link..." she scolded lightly.
"Good morning, Zel," he replied, from somewhere nearby. Zelda let out another sigh. The whole previous evening was somewhat of a blur to her, probably because she had ended up staying up very late. After supper, she'd tried to seek out Selina to attempt a reconciliation of their friendship, but having proved unsuccessful, she'd then gone upstairs and played with Ewan for a while, and talked to Fayzie again, who had been spending time with her own son. Then she'd gone to bed, and stayed up talking to Link until the early hours. Nice it had been at the time, but she was certainly regretting it now.
"What time is it?" she finally asked, rubbing her eyes, and managing to sit up. Link was leaning against the pillows, a book in hand. He put it down on the blanket and looked over at her.
"We missed breakfast," he said, grinning slightly. "No doubt Fayette will consider it the ultimate disgrace!" Zelda had to smile.
"I'm hungry," she complained. "You look like you've been awake for ages," she added. Link shrugged.
"I did hear the bell... but I really couldn't be bothered, and as for you, you slept through it all, my sweet princess. I couldn't bear to wake you," he replied, smiling. Zelda collapsed down back upon the pillows. She suddenly wasn't feeling quite right... something was... wrong... somewhere. She could feel it, just ever so slightly. "Aha! She slips back under the deadly sleeping spell! This time, I get to kiss you awake!" Link proclaimed, before diving atop her.
"Oh Link... honestly," Zelda grumbled, trying to push him away. He sat back down on his side, looking a little hurt.
"Well ex..." he started.
"Don't even think about it," Zelda warned. She couldn't quite put her finger on it... it wasn't the Triforce...
"How comes I'm always cheerful on a morning, and you're always moody?" Link moaned, interrupting her train of thought.
"I'm not moody," she protested, raising an eyebrow and giving him a hurt look.
"You are, you never want to..." he started.
"I'm just tired, that's all," Zelda interrupted, still thinking to herself privately. Whatever it was, Link didn't seem to be picking up on it. Maybe she was imagining it. I can feel it, she thought. Something was close. Something... not good.
"Hey Zel, are you okay?" Link suddenly asked, looking over her with concern. He placed a hand on her forehead. "You look really pale," he added, his tone turning from playful, to more serious.
"I'm just tired," she insisted, not wanting to worry him.
"I'm not convinced. I hope you aren't coming down with something..." he remarked.
"Really Link, I'm fine," Zelda replied, giving him a weak smile. The hero pushed back the blankets on his side of the bed, and got up, walking round to the other side. He looked down at her, and tugged the blanket straight.
"You're staying in bed today, until you feel better. Strict orders," he said in a stern tone. Although she did feel terrible, and Link was probably right, Zelda immediately worried. She couldn't leave Link alone, what if he spoke to Fayette, or Selina, or Nick? The thought of this scenario made her feel even worse.
"Link..." she started, intent on convincing him that she would be fine.
"I insist!" he interrupted. She changed tactics. Lowering her tone, and smiling a little, she said,
"Well, fine. But you know, it would be a lot more fun if you joined me."
"Yeah, right! If you're sick, I don't want to catch anything from you. Cos then we'd both be sick, and that certainly would be no fun," Link pointed out, folding his arms.
"If I am sick, which I'm not, then you would get it sooner or later anyway," Zelda replied, pouting slightly.
"I'm not taking any chances," Link answered. He walked over to the window, pulling back the curtains. More sunshine flooded into the room, and he opened one of the glass panels, to let the fresh summer air in.
"Some husband you are," Zelda sulked.
"I'm only trying to do what's best for you," he replied, turning back to look at her.
"It's unlike you to turn down the opportunity of being alone with me..." she remarked, playing her last card. Link looked somewhat thoughtful at this. "I mean, just think, you and me, spending some nice time alone..." she continued. Link nodded.
"Alright, I can't say I wouldn't pass up the chance," he smiled. "But, I did promise to help some of the young lads stationed here with their sword skills today, and..."
"Oh fine, your loss. Don't moan when I can't be bothered with you tonight," Zelda retorted.
"Hey now, you're being unfair now Zel!" Link replied, pulling an outfit out from the nearby wardrobe and getting dressed.
"So are you," Zelda immediately spoke up. "I mean, you seem to think it's perfectly okay to spend time with a bunch of amateurs rather than your poor, sick wife."
"I'll not be long, I promise," he said. He walked over and leant down, giving her a small kiss. "I really do."
"Oh, okay," Zelda sighed, giving up. She felt like sleeping again, anyhow.
Link shook his head to himself, as he walked out of the room and down the main passage. He was a bit concerned about Zelda, she hadn't looked well at all, in his opinion. It was more, than just general exhaustion. Almost as if she was worried about something. He hated it when she worried, because he knew she had the capacity to worry herself sick. She had seemed fine the previous day though, he had no idea what she could possibly be upset about. Perhaps some quiet rest would help. Still smiling, he headed into the Great Hall, noticing several people all clustered together. It appeared that Kendar Hartrend had finally arrived. The foreigner was wearing his normal attire, the maroon shirt, and dark blue trousers. He smiled when he saw Link approaching.
"Greetings, your Highness," he said politely, still smiling. Link smiled back, a little surprised at the man's use of the title Link was still not quite accustomed to.
"Wonderful to have you here," Link replied, leaning over to shake the man's hand.
"Well, when I heard of this place, how could I possibly pass up a visit to such a fine establishment? It is renowned throughout the Demiari," Kendar proclaimed. Definitely a traveller, Link thought to himself. He smiled.
"Well, after the great deed you have done for my family, how can we not repay you by giving you a few hints and tips?" the hero joked.
"Ah, it would be an honour to spar with Hyrule's finest!" Kendar laughed. Link fingered the sword at his side.
"Well, why not?" he suggested. "It's bright sunshine outside, and I could do with properly waking up!"
"Then I shall accept your challenge, Your Highness," Kendar said graciously. Drake had wandered over by this time, looking interested.
"This ought to be worth seeing!" he remarked. Link unsheathed his sword as they all walked out into the courtyard, watching the blade twinkle in the light.
"Don't see why you're laughing, cos you'll be up next!" he grinned.
"I wouldn't get too cocky if I were you, laddo," Drake laughed.
"He's Hyrule's, if not Demiari's greatest hero, though, Sir Drake. Surely he is allowed some pride?" Kendar asked. Drake just chuckled, and went to stand by the sidelines.
"Ready?" Link questioned, pausing. Kendar nodded.
"Just allow me one moment. I need to give a favour to a lady... for luck," he said.
Fayette smiled to herself as she watched Kendar, along with Link and Drake wander outside. She was sitting in the sun, reading a romantic novel. Her children were playing nearby, enjoying the warm weather. He's so handsome... she thought to herself, admiring the man from a distance. Suddenly, he turned in her direction, and her heart leapt. He was heading her way! She remembered back to when he had left, his intrusion of her room... how romantic it had all been... she had been waiting for him to return for so long, or so it seemed. Within minutes, the handsome traveller was stood before her, smiling warmly.
"My lady..." he greeted.
"Kendar," Fayette smiled. He gently took her hand, and kissed it. Fayette almost swooned with joy. He reached into his pocket, and pulled out a small handkerchief. He gently folded it into her hand.
"I am about to commence a duel with his Royal Highness, Link, and I give you this token to keep, to hope you bring me luck," he smiled.
"Isn't it the lady who is supposed to give her lord a token?" Fayette asked.
"Yes, but it works both ways. Keep this for me, Faye," Kendar said, smiling softly at her.
"I will!" Fayette promised.
"I thank you," Kendar said sincerely. Then, he was gone again, back across the courtyard, to where Link was standing, swinging his sword about impatiently. Fayette clutched onto the handkerchief, as if it was the most precious possession she owned. Kendar had given it to her! She didn't care that it was only a bit of coloured silk, it was the significance of it that counted. I'm his lady... she thought, smiling.
"Looks like the hero of the moment has a bit of a soft spot for our Lady Fayette," commented Drake with a grin as he stood, arms folded, next to Link. Link made a face.
"Maybe one of us should warn him now," he murmured. Drake let out a laugh.
"Ah Link, how heartless are you? Fayette can be nice, when it suits her..." At that moment, Kendar walked up to the two, giving a polite nod.
"And now," he began, drawing his own weapon and bending one knee, "I am ready." Link smiled and held his weapon before him.
"On your marks..." began Drake mockingly. Link shot him a wry smile. Then he stepped forward, his attention returning to his opponent. As the two blades met, Link felt his smile broaden. It had seemed like a long time since he had met metal on even terms. Kendar was good, his movement was graceful and well practised, and to his surprise, Link found himself relying on all of his energies just to match him. As the session went on, a small group of men gathered around to watch, many of them students of the hold. Link's smile soon faded, and he found himself gritting his teeth in his concentration. Every blow he directed towards Kendar was neatly deflected, and Kendar would return with an attack of his own, equally as skilled, if not better. But Link had fought too many battles such as this to lose. He soon noticed Kendar had a fairly set pattern of attack, and as he learnt Kendar's faults, Kendar failed to read Link's. The crowd, which had been fairly noisy at the start, had suddenly grown silent, every man watching the moves of these men. Link suddenly noticed that Kendar had left himself open with a less than perfect parry, and he struck forward, surprising Kendar with not only his boldness, but his speed. He clipped the hilt of Kendar's sword and it flew from his hand, and clattered somewhat unceremoniously to the earth. Kendar put up his hands in defeat, and Link sheathed his won weapon with a smile. Kendar reached forward to shake his hand, smiling widely.
"Truly a master!" he commented sincerely. Link smiled.
"You had me worried though," admitted Link with a nod. Kendar just shrugged, still smiling, then went to retrieve his weapon. A sudden cheer went up from the small crowd, and Link turned, to see Drake wearing a grin as broad as he had ever seen. He took a quick bow, then motioned for Kendar to bow with him. "Thank you, thank you!" he said, grinning to Kendar who also seemed to be enjoying the admiration. He turned to Link and shook his hand again,
"Thank you for allowing me the honour of taking a sword against you sir," he said, his voice quiet. Link shrugged.
"Anything for the man who saved my son," said Link, in awe of this man's sheer humility. Kendar looked slightly embarrassed at this, and just shook his head.
"Any man, any woman, would have done the same," he insisted, releasing Link's hand. Link noticed Fayette standing a fair way away, behind Kendar. He nodded to her.
"I think someone wants to speak with you," he said. Perhaps Fayette wasn't all bad, he thought. Raymundo had obviously seen something in her. Kendar turned, and smiled to Fayette, before looking back at Link.
"Then I shall perhaps meet you later," he said. Link nodded.
"I'll look forward to it," he commented. Kendar bowed his head for a second, then nodded at Link, before turning to leave. Link watched him go, then turned back to the expectant crowd.
"Okay then!" he shouted. "Who's next?" He had managed to defeat Kendar, now it seemed he would be able to take out anyone. At that moment a dozen swords were lifted from their scabbards and raised in the air. Drake let out a loud laugh.
"Take 'em on all at once?" he challenged. Link laughed back.
"Ha! I don't quite think so!" he replied, scanning the volunteers. He picked one man, who looked in his early twenties. "You first," he motioned. The man nervously stepped forward, but Link felt at ease. It seemed he'd already got the hardest battle over already.
"Oh, I guess I didn't bring you any luck," sighed Fayette as Kendar walked over. He frowned at her.
"Quite the contrary," he insisted, taking her hand. "You gave me enough luck to last as long as I did!" Kendar exclaimed, his frown turning into a smile. Fayette smiled shyly, averting her eyes.
"Oh...really!" she began, faintly embarrassed.
"If it is not too bold, I was wondering that perhaps you could show me these wonderful grounds," inquired Kendar.
"Oh I..." Fayette paused. The truth was, she barely knew her way around the hold, never mind its grounds. But to pass on an opportunity to spend time with this man alone? She would be stupid to do that. She looked up at Kendar, his hand still on hers, his eyes focused on only her. "I would love to," she finished with a smile. These grounds weren't so big anyway, it would surely be impossible to get lost. Wouldn't it? Kendar broke out into a broad grin.
"Splendid," he enthused, with a clap of his hands. Fayette smiled at him prettily. "But first," he started, nodding over to the group of children nearby, "I believe I have yet to meet your children." Fayette didn't know whether her heart was to sink or soar. Her children had always been the most important people in her lives to her, but she ever mentioned them to men...well, it put them off. Who would want someone else's children after all? Especially when there was five of them. She managed a smile.
"Well, I have to warn you, they can be a little difficult at the best of times..." she said weakly. Kendar just shook his head and smiled.
"If they are anything like their mother, I am certain to adore them." This time, Fayette allowed her heart to go were it wished. It soared. Surely he was too perfect to be true? Well, she supposed there was one fault. He seemed to have no noble lineage whatsoever. But this time, that was something she knew she could do without.
"My youngest, Raymundo is still at the castle. Too young to travel, you see. But all of the others, Roderick, Rosella, Rosamund and Rosalind are all here." Fayette informed him. Kendar nodded, his smile a little on the sad side.
"Children so young should never have to know such tragedy," he murmured. He was referring to Raymundo's death of course, their father. Fayette had told him in one of their earlier conversations, and she was touched by his apparent concern. He looked at Fayette. "And someone such as you should not either." Fayette could have fainted on the spot. She wasn't even sure if this was real anymore. Never had she met someone so caring...and so incredibly handsome at the same time. Except Nick. And look how that had turned out. She smiled at him, and although a lump was fast forming in her throat, she managed to speak.
"Come on, I'll introduce them to you," she promised, gingerly taking his hand, afraid he might turn and run a mile. But instead, he wrapped his fingers firmly around hers then let her lead the way up to the children's nursery.
Skoll glanced across at Aspete, who was sat on a moss-covered log, hacking at the ground with a twig.
"Whatchu doin'?" he inquired. Aspete glanced up at him, squinting.
"I dunno." Skoll watched his companion as he returned to scratching patterns in the mud with the stick.
"I can't even remembah what we's is doing round here," whined the Stalfos. Aspete merely shrugged, drool beginning to stream down his face. "We should just go home," continued Skoll persistently. Aspete looked up at Skoll with bloodshot eyes.
"If we's go back without doin' as that fat griffin fing wants us to, den we'll be ded." Skoll let out a sigh and began to grind his teeth. "We's haf to ambush dat bloke person. Now what was ee's name?" Aspete appeared to think. Skoll waited, his teeth sliding over one another.
"Dat stoopid Link?" inquired Skoll. Aspete frowned, Skoll breaking his concentration.
"No! Dinnit be stoooooopid. We's already did dat remember? An' anyhow, that wasn't who's we was supposed to get." If Skoll could have frowned, he would have. Instead he just remained blank.
"Eh? Who den?" Aspete began to scratch the inside of his ear.
"I dunno. But dat Enzar one said ee'd be round 'ere somewhere. I dunno how he knows. D'you fink he's that wossname or summat?"
"Wossname. When you can, er...see fings before dey's happen?"
"Fizsik. Aye, dat's it. D'you fink ee is den?" Skoll paused before he answered.
"Aye, I suppose ee would be, really. I mean, he's magik inne?" Aspete nodded, apparently agreeing with his sidekick. He let out a loud belch.
"Maybe's den, he can see us right now. Like Ganon used to," thought the moblin aloud. They both fell silent.
"I knows who we is meant to ambush. But dem trees have ears ya know. And I don't want nobody knowing, y'see." Skoll grinned at this statement, feeling he had been extremely crafty.
"Yes, dat is what me was finkin' aswell." Aspete tapped his head, "Dat's because we both have der same brain between us, see?" Skoll nodded.
"Yes, we was very lucky dat der master was feelin' generous dat way. Givin' us a whole half brain each. If he hadn't, we'd have been as stoopid as de rest of dem monsters. Now imagine dat!" Aspete let out a snort.
"Hehe, dat's funny! Us? Stuupid? We's have more brains between us dan half dem idiotic humans people on dis island!" exclaimed the moblin proudly. He then began to pick at his teeth with the stick he had been holding, and Skoll resumed grinding his teeth, desperately trying to remember what exactly they were there for.
"I'm really very sorry about that," apologised Fayette for what seemed like the fortieth time. Kendar just smiled and waved his hand.
"As I have mentioned, you do not need to apologise. It is in the nature of children to be curious. If not, how should they find out about the world they live in?" Fayette returned his answer with an uneasy smile.
"Yes...but some of those questions were most inappropriate," she said, feeling the heat rise to her cheeks. Kendar let out a broad laugh, and stopped in the middle of the path, facing her and taking both hands.
"Please, I have had grown men ask me far worse!" he insisted, smiling at her. Fayette looked down at her hands in his, and smiled to herself. She took a deep breath and nodded.
"Well, if you're alright about it. I just don't know what came over them..." Kendar just nodded and returned to her side. As they continued to walk down what seemed to be a well-worn path, Fayette still blushed crimson when she recalled the many questions her children had launched upon the handsome man who strode beside her. They had questioned him things even she had yet to ask of, and he had answered all of them willingly, but then Rosella had grown more daring and had demanded why this man that accompanied her mother so had no title, nor a castle, or lands of his own. It pretty much confirmed many things for Faye, and in other circumstances she would not have associated herself with someone of such seemingly low status. But Kendar was no commoner. He was kind and gentle and handsome and everything she had ever dreamed of in a man. Except of course for the title and the fame, but Fayette was not stupid, and she was not naïve as she had been. She was the daughter of a woman who had married into nobility not once but twice...all the luck had been taken by her mother. Not that she would ever wish otherwise, if her mother had not married Harkinian, she would had never met Raymundo, and most certainly not Kendar. She let out an audible sigh, to which Kendar turned to her, a questioning look upon his handsome features.
"Is all well with you, dear lady?" Fayette smiled at his polite address. They had wandered further into the trees now, away from the path, and for all her thinking she had failed to notice.
"Yes...but I had not realised how far we had strayed from the path," she admitted.
"'Tis but a small island, one would assume it would be difficult to get hopelessly lost," remarked Kendar. Fayette nodded, again feeling at ease. She felt his grip tighten on her hand for a moment, as if he had sensed something. They came to a stop, and she noticed his hand reaching to his belt.
"Kendar?" His eyes met hers, yet he never turned his head, his fingers wrapping around the hilt of his sword. A sudden crack behind them, a snap of a twig, the rustle of leaves alerted Fayette that they were not alone, and Kendar dropped her hand, spinning around to face whoever was behind them.
"Who goes there?!" he challenged, drawing his sword. There was no reply. Kendar reached one hand behind him, searching for Fayette, and she stepped forward, taking it. "Do hostile creatures inhabit this island?" he asked her in a low voice. Fayette began to answer in the negative but suddenly remembered Aramis, that man of Selina's. Hadn't he been killed on this same island...by a Darknut?
"Not usually...but then, it isn't unheard of." Fayette's pulse began to quicken, would they face the same fate as Selina's lover? Before either of them could speak again, there was a crash to their right as a hungry moblin leapt from the undergrowth, catching Kendar across the shoulder with its spear. Kendar winced in pain as the rusted metal head tore through his sleeve and bit into his flesh, but despite it hitting his sword arm, he refused to drop his weapon. As the moblin prepared for another attack, to Fayette's left, an almighty Stalfos appeared, brandishing a mean looking blade. Kendar swung Fayette before him, letting go of her hand, then delivered a swift kick to the approaching moblin, hitting him where Fayette thought its kidneys should be, if it had a similar anatomy to that of a human. Winded, the dog-like beast let out a howl, staggering backwards, giving Kendar time to deal with the approaching Stalfos. He put up his sword just in time to deflect the reanimated beast's own weapon, then delivered his free fist right into the centre of its ribs. Fayette watched, her head turning wildly, when she saw the moblin crawling towards Kendar's feet. She rushed forward, hitched up her skirts and kicked it in the face with one of her delicately fitted shoes, causing it to howl in pain again, both of its paws reaching up to hold its snout. Kendar turned and thanked her, before slashing his sword across the Stalfos' neck, severing its head from its skinless, bloodless body. The Stalfos' body collapsed into a pile like a crumpled paper, its head rolling to one side, the light in its eyes still blazing. The moblin was still holding his face, whining in pain, and Kendar strode up to it, raising his sword with both hands and sinking it into the small of the animal's back, squeezing shut his eyes as he did so. With a final howl, the moblin slumped down, foam and blood trickling from its agape mouth before it began to slowly fade from view, along with its hunting partner. Kendar turned to Fayette, dropping his sword and taking her shivering hands.
"Are you okay?" It was the first question he asked, and it flattered Fayette to think that she was his sole concern.
"I'm fine...but what about you?" She reached forward and touched the wound on his arm, wincing as she realised how deep the spearhead had gone into his flesh. Kendar flinched as she touched him, but he let not a word out in pain. Instead he kept his gaze on her, his eyes looking straight into her own, as if he were searching for something.
"Are you sure? I cannot apologise enough...those two monsters must have followed us awhile yet never once did I realise of their presence..." Kendar trailed off as he looked behind his shoulder, as if he expected them to reappear.
"But you did! Had you not stopped, they may very well have attacked us from behind...and then our chances would have been much reduced!" Kendar opened his mouth, as if to argue, but he stopped, obviously deciding against it.
"Even so..." he managed to say, his eyes firmly on the ground. Fayette felt her heart twist at the sight of his ashamed expression, no man had ever been so concerned about her welfare since Raymundo...and even then, Raymundo had never been in the situation to save her life. She knew her late husband had been no fool with a sword, but his skill still hadn't rescued him from whatever attacked him that day he himself had been slain. She suddenly realised there was a dampness in her eyes, and Kendar glanced up, noticing her glistening expression. "I'm sorry," he murmured, gingerly reaching up a hand, and wiping away one of the tears that marked her cheek. Fayette almost stepped away at his touch, a sob escaping her lips. Kendar gave her a look of concern, but as he began to speak once more, Fayette stepped forward, and leaned against Kendar's chest.
"I'm sorry," she sobbed, surprised at her own sudden outburst. Kendar said nothing, but she felt him place his arms around her, holding her close to him. After a few moments, Faye managed to cease her tears, and she leaned away a little, looking at Kendar. He looked down at her, his brown eyes watching her with concern. "I..." she began but stopped, a lump in her throat forming.
"You don't have to explain," he assured her, taking her hand in his. He smiled at her. "Come, we should try and get back to the hold." Fayette managed a small nod, and they turned back they way they had come, walking in silence. Fayette risked a sideways glance at Kendar, wondering if he really knew the cause for her tears. Did he just think she was upset by the sudden attack that had fallen upon them? In part it was true, but thoughts of her dead husband, ones she had fought so hard to repress for so long - they were the real reason for her tears. He could not know. Why should he? "When we are faced with our own mortality, we tend to think of those we have lost, those we have loved." Fayette stopped, surprised by Kendar's words.
"How did you...?" she paused. Did he know? Kendar looked to her his mouth set in a straight line, his eyes piercing her own.
"You hide your strength well Lady Faye, but that does not mean it is not there. Others may not see it, but I do, and I admire it." Fayette did not know what to say. Her? Strength? She let out a short laugh despite her feelings.
"You must have mistaken me for another. I have been described as many things, but never as strong." She bowed her head, ashamed. It was true. Her attitude in general had been loathsome throughout her entire life. She was judgmental and shallow and greedy and a dozen other things, but not one of them could be considered a quality, a virtue. And the worst thing was, most of the time, she failed to notice when she was being any of the above. She had grown comfortable with her ways. She bit her lip, barely daring to meet Kendar in the eye now, knowing he would see her for whom she truly was. But instead she felt his finger brush under her jaw, lifting her chin and tilting her face upwards. And then he kissed her. Fayette felt she should have stopped him right there, but she couldn't, and nor did she wish to. Thoughts of her husband should have plagued her mind, but they didn't, yet she felt worse for it as she began to lose herself in this ardent kiss of an almost stranger. They both parted suddenly, breathless, and Kendar stared into Faye's eyes, then spoke.
"Marry me." Fayette let out a short gasp of surprise.
"W-what?!" she asked in disbelief, afraid her ears were deceiving her. Kendar grinned at her, shifting on his feet.
"Marry me," he repeated. He never took his eyes from him. Fayette laughed.
"You...I couldn't!" she whispered. Kendar kept smiling.
"I barely know you!" Kendar bowed his head for a second.
"Seems like I've known you a while," he said, meeting her gaze once more. He smiled again, showing those even, white teeth. Fayette felt her cheeks warming up once more and she looked away. It was strange, because the more she thought about it, the more his words seemed true. In the short time she had known him, she had had numerous conversations with him like she had with no man or woman. She talked about things she'd never mentioned to anyone else, and Kendar had listened, and talked with her rather than at her. She enjoyed his company, and he hers.
"But marriage? We've barely known each other more than a few days!"
"And look at how much ground we have covered in that time! Faye, when I say this to you, I mean it. I have never enjoyed being with anyone so much as I have you. And I have met many, many people." Fayette smiled a little shyly.
"Many boring people by the sounds of it then," she said coyly. Kendar grabbed her around the waist.
"No! Don't put yourself down like that. Not with me!" Fayette noticed that his arm was still bleeding.
"You're hurt," she murmured softly. Kendar glanced at his arm and shook his head.
"Just a scratch." His grin was infective, and Fayette found herself smiling back. She took his hand, suddenly feeling a little bolder.
"We should get back," she said, even though she would have loved nothing more than to stay. Kendar gave a reluctant nod.
"Just think about what I asked you." Fayette nodded, but didn't look at Kendar as they tried to make their way back to the path. Could she really marry a man she'd barely known more than three days? She had been engaged to Raymundo before even meeting him, but that had been different. She wished now that there was someone else she could talk to about this, but her mother was back in North Castle, and the only other women in the hold were Zelda, Selina, and that Kokiri girl. And not one was on the best of terms with her. Still, what did they matter now, she had Kendar. She hoped.
The two of them arrived at the supper table late. Fayette had insisted that Kendar see a healer, and he had eventually gone, but only for her, he was quick to add. By the time they arrived in the dining hall, everyone was eating, and many conversations were going on at the same time.
"Well look who it is," remarked Drake upon spotting Fayette. He failed to see Kendar, who entered behind the princess, and continued. "Really Faye, you like to lecture others about their punctuality yet you cannot even keep up to your own, so very high, standards." Fayette frowned.
"Well Sir, I have a reason for my lateness. You see, me and the good man Kendar here were set upon by two awful beasts whilst we walked about the grounds."
"What is this?" questioned Krin, suddenly alert to the situation.
"A horrible moblin and a great stalfos attacked us! If it had not been for Kendar, I could be dead!"
"If only," muttered Link darkly.
"Well then, my apologies to the two of you. And Kendar my good man, a hero once again eh? We really should see about securing this man's services for Hyrule!" piped up Drake. Kendar bowed his head.
"Really, it is not something I would like to dwell upon," said the stranger.
"The moblin caught Kendar with its spear, and although he insisted it was nothing but a scratch, I made sure he went to the healer. That is why we are late." Fayette folded her arms smugly, whilst Kendar looked a little uncomfortable by the attention that was focused on the couple. Drake pushed his seat back and stood.
"Perhaps we should make a toast - to the once again hero!" Many present agreed and raised their glasses.
"To Kendar!" the table echoed.
"I thank you all, but really, such a fuss is not needed," said Kendar humbly, taking his seat.
"Nonsense man. Enjoy it while you can!" barked Drake good-naturedly. Kendar simply smiled and quietly thanked the servant who fetched him his meal.
"Nick. We need to talk," murmured Selina quietly, catching up with her husband. The meal had long since finished, but the couple had not said a word to one another since the previous morning. Nick did not turn to his wife, but he did stop, waiting for her to catch up. When she was at his side, he risked a glance at her.
"To be sure. But not here." They walked back to their room in silence, the Dalsonian King opened the door and allowed Selina to go through, he followed, shutting the door behind him.
"I take it you didn't tell Link." These were the first words to leave Nick's lips as he turned to face his wife. She shook her head.
"No...I haven't had the chance...but,"
"But what? If you had had the chance you would have?"
"I don't know." Selina sat on the end of the bed, and looked at her hands.
Nick walked over to her, and knelt before her, grasping her hands in her own, and staring into her eyes.
"To tell him will gain nothing, Selina. Although I would never condone what Zelda did or didn't do, it would be senseless to tell Link because of your own guilt. If Link is to be told, then it must be by Zelda. And no one else."
"But what about Fayette? She knows Nick, she told me herself. I'd rather Link here it from a friend than from someone like Faye."
"Please, Selina. Listen to me. Zelda told you. She obviously felt guilty enough to tell someone, albeit not her husband. But she told you for a reason Selina, and I don't think it was because she wanted you to tell Link." Nick squeezed both of Selina's hands as he spoke, hoping she might listen.
"Then why did she tell me Nick? Why?"
"Because she needed some advice. Advice I know, in my heart of hearts, you can give her." With these words, Nick leaned forward, and kissed his wife, one of his hands falling to her waist, touching the bump in which their two children lay. As they parted, Selina looked to Nick and touched his face with one hand.
"I love you," she whispered.
"There is something else..." Selina frowned at Nick's words, wondering what he could be speaking of.
"I know it sounds ludicrous...but these past few days, it seems as though...as though there is something hanging over me."
"How do you mean?" questioned Selina, evidently concerned by her husband's words.
"It is not a new feeling Selina. I have felt it before. I have felt this way only once before...after I was released from the Dark Realm, after..." Nick paused, shutting his eyes for a second.
"After Leigh resurrected me. I felt like this." Selina paused, and kissed Nick on the forehead, thinking back to that time. Nick had been dragged into the Dark Realm a long time ago, and after being held captive there for seven years, Ganondorf escaped, using Nick's body as a host to his own spirit. When Ganondorf left Nick, he had effectively died, but Leigh managed to call up Nick's spirit and return it back to his body before it was too late.
"You...you never mentioned it," said Selina unsurely.
"No. But back then I knew what was causing it. Ganondorf's evil." Selina's eye's widened.
"You don't think...?"
"I was hoping the feeling would fade, but it hasn't. I wouldn't want to worry people unnecessarily, but..."
"But what? Nick, if there could be something wrong, then Link and Zelda have to know." Nick closed his eyes once more.
"Yes. And we shall tell them. Tomorrow." Selina nodded, and placed one hand on Nick's arm.
"You should have told me," she whispered. Nick nodded, his eyes still not meeting hers.
"I fear that it may be getting worse," he confessed, his voice low. As he spoke he turned his eyes to Selina's, and she saw that they were haunted by something terrible. She felt tears springing to her eyes as she realised how distant they had both become in so little time, and she met him in a comforting kiss. Nick stopped her though. She looked at him with questioning eyes, and waited for him to speak. "Those things I said to you the other day. I'm sorry," murmured Nick. Selina managed a small smile.
"I think you were right. Zelda needed someone to talk to, and I wasn't there for her."
"She is lucky to have a friend who cares so," retorted Nick, rising to his feet. Selina grasped his hand in hers, and he sat on the bed next to her, delivering a sweet and heart-felt kiss to her lips.
"I've missed you," whispered Selina, before resuming the kiss with her husband.
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