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.
Triad of Evil
Juliet A. Singleton (Scullys@bigfoot.com) & Kirsty Singleton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Zelda was well enough to attend the Royal Council held the following morning. It was indeed a sombre state of affairs. At this very council the fate of Catalia as an independent country would be decided. With no monarch and no heir, yet no ultimate conqueror it was now classed as a free state. But with that status, Catalia would be surely be attacked and taken by neighbouring lands, Tanol in particular. Zelda knew that her father would never let that happen. All the familiar faces of the council were seated in the chamber, along with various members of Seline's council. Robert had been Chief Advisor as well the Army General and Seline's heir. His wounds too grave, he had been dead by the time Link had returned to the tower with help for Zelda. As the Princess glanced over at the members of Catalia's council, she could see relief in some of those faces. Perhaps they realised that Catalia was best off in Hyrule's care. Her father stood at the head of the table, speaking clearly.
"The recent tragedies of the loss of your Queen, and now her heir leaves Catalia in a very vulnerable position. Tanol will be posed for attack, as will possibly, other regions. We must prevent such an usurpation within your country by assigning another form of control as soon as possible," he said.
"But Sire, there is no other heir! No worthy claimant to the throne exists!" a member of the Catalian council interjected.
"Catalia is lost!" another said. The King shook his head.
"I shall not see Hyrule's sister country falling to the hands of the savages. We have two options and two options only," he said.
"Hyrule has rarely aided us in the past, tis true!" one of the older men exclaimed in a bitter tone. Zelda frowned and rose up next to her father.
"You have heard the evidence for the treason of your heir! Robert, had he been alive, would have been charged for warmongering and murder. Hyrule had every right to turn her back on Catalia. But we are not that harsh. Hyrule offers you aid and you are in no place to reject it," she spoke up. There was a few disgruntled murmurings within the room but nobody dared to object to Zelda's words. Then one man spoke up.
"You have no solid proof of our General's treachery! Surely this is a convenient way for Hyrule to deny they played no part in the tragedy of Seline's death and also Robert's?"
"How dare..." Zelda began angrily, when she felt the restraining hand of her father on her arm.
"Zelda! Please, be seated!" he ordered. She flushed, but hurriedly did as she was told. Harkinian looked round again. "The first choice is not one I offer gladly, but it may be the best solution. For centuries, Catalia has always been regarded as a sister country and ally to Hyrule. Now maybe it is time we took your country into our protective custody, making it part of Hyrule..." At the King's words there was a small outcry from the Catalians.
"Catalia is not yours to take!" exclaimed one.
"You have no choice in the matter. Your heir invaded us on intention of capturing our country. That battle you have lost, and by that default, Catalia is Hyrule's. However I have little intention of acquiring more land or indeed, taking away a country's independence. That is why I have a second proposal in mind," Harkinian said calmly. He looked down the row of expectant faces. "Yes, the easiest solution is to take these lands as our own. But there is already discontent spread in your land for Hyrule. Discontent breeds rebellion and rebellion can become the downfall of any kingdom. That is why I will give you the choice, give your country a choice, to vote in a Lord Protector who will act as the governor for your country. It will be your election and this man, along with a council, shall govern Catalia. Brynnel works on a similar principle, and I do not doubt that it would be successful in your current situation; should you choose wisely, of course." Zelda stared in her father in dismay whilst a murmur went along the table.
"But Father! Catalia invaded us and lost! By all rights, Catalia is now Hyrule's!" she pointed out in a quiet voice.
"By rights, yes. But Catalia would never have invaded if it hadn't been for Robert's orders," Link interrupted.
"Quite right my boy," the King agreed, nodding over at his son-in-law.
"You can't just let them walk away from this!" Zelda fumed.
"Zel I..." Link began. He paused, noticing how all eyes were now upon their whispered conversation. Zelda didn't care. She stood again, eyeing the council, and her father and Link in particular, defiantly.
"As heir to this Kingdom, my power is only second to my father's. I will not stand back and agree to any of this council's plans!" she exclaimed.
"Your Highness, please! Your Father has already spoken!" Impa said.
"No! Catalia has brought me nothing but pain these last few months and they shall not walk away without compensation! I say we take these lands as part of Hyrule!" Zelda said angrily.
"Your Highness, we have to object!" said one of the Catalians.
"Your objection won't be necessary," Harkinian said. "My word is final is on this." He turned to his seething daughter. "Zelda, you cannot change my mind on this. Please, do not attempt to overrule me in this way."
"I am sure there are others at this council who agree with me!" she said abruptly. But as she glanced around the room, not one person raised their hand in support. Drake shot her a sympathetic glance but she knew it was hopeless. Even Link was siding with her father. Shaking with humiliation, Zelda raised her heavy skirts slightly and dashed across the room to the door, trying not to cry. The whole room was quiet as they witnessed the Princess's departure. Harkinian finally spoke a few moments later.
"Please excuse my daughter's behaviour. She wasn't really fit to attend this council; she has been through a lot of stress in the last few days," he apologised. Link rose up from his seat and looked over at the King.
"Your Majesty, please excuse me for a few moments," he said politely, before exiting the chamber also.
He found Zelda outside in the passage, sobbing her heart out. She barely looked up as he came out of the Council room.
"Zel! Zel, don't cry!" he said, rushing across to her. They met in a warm embrace.
"Oh but Link! It's so wrong!! If only you'd never gone back to Catalia, none of this might ever have happened!" Zelda wept.
"But I had to Zel. I had to go," Link said, stroking her hair comfortingly. "I wish none of this had ever happened either. But we can't change the past." Zelda took a breath and wiped away a few of her tears.
"You didn't have to go!" she repeated.
"No I didn't. I went through hell there Zelda and you know it. But I was born in Catalia. My family lived and perished there. If there's one thing I can do for them, it's pay my respects. You visit your mother's grave every year. I have to do the same, can't you understand?" Link asked, looking up at his wife imploringly.
"But if you hadn't gone, you would never have suffered at the hands of Aden and Derin, or met Robert... or... or..." Zelda stammered, trembling slightly. "Or that... that... Fayzie," she managed to stay, still shaking. Link stiffened slightly at the mention of Fayzie's name, a guilty blush spreading across his face.
"Zel I'm so, so sorry," he gasped, pulling her closer to him. "I never meant... I never..."
"I just want justice brought upon Catalia for all that has happened!" Zelda exclaimed, leaning back in his arms to look up at him. "Yet my father seems quite happy to let them get on with things!"
"Zel, your father is right! Catalia resents Hyrule and our interference will only make matters worse. We have to forget about them, and move on. I'm sorry that it had to happen this way but no matter what we do, things won't ever change. Please don't insist on opposing your father," Link begged. "I know you're upset, hell, so am I, by everything. It's going to be hard to get through this. But if we stick together... we can get through anything. I know we can. I love you so much Zel and I hate myself for what I've done to you. But I want us to forget it all and just start again. Please?"
"I do too, it's just..." Zelda started.
"It doesn't matter Zel. Please just listen to me. We don't mention Catalia or anything regarding it anymore. This afternoon we're going to take the kids out and have a picnic down in the Great Ruto Forest and then tonight, I promise to love you like I never have before," Link said, bringing up her dainty hand to his lips.
"Sounds wonderful," Zelda murmured softly, meeting his gaze with a smile. He smiled back at her.
"It will be. Now come on, we better go and rejoin the council," he suggested. Zelda shook her head.
"No... I'd rather not. You can, but I think I'll go and get the children ready for this picnic," she said. Link stuck his hands in his pockets.
"Suit yourself. I'll come and join you after your father has finished up with the council," he said.
"Okay," Zelda agreed. On impulse she leaned forward and kissed him on the forehead. "I love you Link. Don't ever forget that," she said. He smiled and then left her to return to the council chamber.
The King's final words did not last too long. It was decided that Catalia would elect their own leader, under supervision and the jurisdiction of Hyrule. Documents were signed, treaties renewed and peace was made between the two countries. Link left the room feeling relieved at the outcome. Harkinian was right. Catalia was it's own country and it still deserved that status. It was through Robert's blind ambition that they had attacked their sister country. But Robert was gone now. A lump in Link's throat formed as he considered his kinsman for a moment. Images of the young boy flashed before his eyes. Who could one once so innocent, have become so bitter and twisted? He had never wished Robert to die. But it was too late now. Whether he liked it or not, he had contributed to his tribesman's untimely death and that would weigh down on his heart, just like Kylara had, and his family had. His head hanging, he walked out of the council chamber and into the back passage. He hadn't walked very far down it when somebody stopped him.
"Link... Link, wait." He turned to see Damon stood behind him, the rugged ranger looking concerned.
"Hey," Link greeted, attempting a smile for his friend. Damon's face remained solemn. He put a hand on the hero's shoulder.
"I've got a message for you. From Fayzie..." he began. Link bit his lip, flushing.
"Oh?" he asked, surprised.
"She says she forgives you," Damon said softly. "That's all," he added finally. Link looked down at the floor again.
"She's a good woman," he mumbled.
"A very good woman. But Zelda..." Damon started.
"I love Zelda. I... I was a fool. An inconsiderate fool. I have no idea what came over me," Link said glumly. "It was like I was another person." Damon patted him on the shoulder.
"Fayzie understands. And I know you love the princess. We all do. It's going to be okay Link," the ranger reassured his friend.
"I just wish it hadn't happened," Link replied. "Look, promise me something Damon."
"Yes?" he asked.
"Look after her for me. You're a good man... Better than I'll ever be. You make sure no-one bothers her for me, will you?" Link answered. Damon nodded.
"Of course. I suppose you can't really speak to her with all that's happened," he remarked.
"I wish I could but not right now. But I brought her over here, and I want to ensure she'll be alright," Link replied.
"You have my word, friend," Damon said stalwartly. They shook hands and then bade each other farewell.
Later that evening Link met Zelda at the nursery to say goodnight to his two children. Ewan still seemed a little clingy; but Link supposed he didn't blame his son after everything that had happened. They had spent the better part of the afternoon going for a long walk in the Ruto Forest and stopping for a picnic in a pleasant clearing. Then later they had seen off Nick and Selina and their two children off on Nick's ship back to Dalsona. They were already eager to show off their beautiful babies to their country after all. After the evening meal Zelda had gone off somewhere with her father but she'd promised to meet him later here. She smiled at his approach, getting up from the floor where she'd been sat reading a book with Ewan, dusting down her dress. Ewan leapt up too, rushing across to Link and hugging his leg.
"Dad!" he exclaimed. Link grinned down at Ewan and ruffled his son's reddish-brown hair.
"Hi Ewan, did you enjoy the story you were reading?" he questioned. Ewan smiled.
"Yes. You and mother always pick the best stories!" he said. He turned back to Zelda. "Mother, can I stay up and read a little longer by myself?" he asked hopefully. Zelda smiled down at him.
"Well... so long as you don't stay up too late..." she relented. The young boy looked at both his parents a hopeful expression on his face.
"I know! I'll come and read it to you in your room!" he suggested.
"Er..." Zelda began.
"Why don't you read to us tomorrow? Your mother needs to get some rest you know," Link quickly interjected. Ewan frowned, looking a little sulky.
"I don't like sleeping in here anymore with all these babies," he complained.
"In a few years, you'll be able to have your own room sweetie," Zelda said, looking a little worried. Ewan brightened considerably.
"Near yours?" he asked.
"Umm.... maybe," Zelda said. "Now why don't you run along now, read another chapter and then get some sleep, else you'll be very tired tomorrow!"
"Oh, okay," Ewan relented. Zelda knelt down to kiss him, as did Link and they both walked back into the passage.
"Do you think he'll be okay?" Zelda asked anxiously, glancing back over her shoulder.
"I sure hope so. You know Zel, I feel really bad. Brianna's too young to understand but you know Ewan; he's always been smart for his age, I just hope this hasn't affected him too much. And the whole thing with the Triforce..." Link trailed off there, looking pensive. Zelda slipped her hand into this as they headed towards the Northeast tower.
"I know..." she said quietly, her expression thoughtful also. "It's amazing... Ewan... he has powers with the Triforce that no-one else has."
"The power of three," Link said quietly. He looked over at Zelda.
"I'm not sure if it's a blessing, or a curse," she murmured.
"A blessing when it comes to you, that's for sure," Link replied. She gave him a small smile, but still looked unsure. They started up the steps to the tower. "Come on, if we hurry up we might get a kiss or two in if we're lucky," he grinned.
"Oh Link! Honestly!" Zelda exclaimed, pretending to look angry. Her expression melted into a smile as she started to giggle. Link smiled back at his wife. Maybe things were going to get back to normal again after all.
Fayette slipped into the nursery after seeing Link and Zelda depart. She felt a stab of jealousy at seeing them back together; it didn't seem fair. First she'd lost Raymundo, and now Kendar. Yet Zelda, after everything that had happened, still had someone there who loved her. Unlike Fayette. She hadn't even been able to bear to look at Nick and Selina's two downy-haired babies, instead she had simply given them a wide berth, hiding up in her room for most of the while. As she walked into the dimly lit room, she smiled at Ewan who was still up reading. He smiled back at her.
"Hello Auntie Faye, are you okay?" he questioned. Fayette nodded.
"Of course dear," she smiled. She might hate Zelda, but she couldn't hate her children. Ewan was about the only member of Zelda's little world who didn't hate her. Leaning down she tucked in Roderick, who was already soundly asleep.
"Goodnight Rosella," she said to her eldest daughter, who was playing by herself in a corner with a few dolls.
"Goodnight mother," Rosella piped up, kissing Fayette on the cheek. The twins were fast asleep also, she pulled their blankets straight then walked over to Raymundo's crib. The toddler was awake and he gurgled in glee to see Fayette. Smiling she reached down to pick him up for a moment. At least she had her children. They were the only thing that kept her going.
I suppose I deserve it, she thought glumly. She thought back to all the times that she had been deceitful and cruel and wished that none of them had ever happened. But in some ways she wondered how Zelda got away with her own bad behaviour. Her step-sister was no angel either, after all. Raymundo chuckled gleefully, interrupting her train of thought for the moment. She smiled down at her youngest son happily.
"At least I still have you," she said truthfully. Raymundo laughed again, then made an indiscernible noise, kicking his little legs energetically. "My, you're excitable tonight," Fayette laughed, kissing him lightly on the forehead. "Only a week until your first birthday darling, we'll make that a very special day," she promised. Stroking him on the head to calm him down, she then gently replaced him into the crib. She had lost Kendar, but at least she hadn't lost her children. She looked over at Ewan who was still reading. There was one thing she'd always have over Zelda at least. She was a far better mother. She walked across to the little boy and kissed him on the forehead also. "Goodnight Ewan, don't stay up too late now," she said. Ewan shook his head.
"I won't, I already promised mother and dad too," he said sincerely.
"Good boy," Fayette smiled. She turned and walked out of the nursery, smiling at Impa who was just walking in as she left. "They're nearly all asleep, just Ewan and Rosella are still up," she said.
"I'll make sure they don't stay up too late, My Lady," Impa said politely.
"Goodnight," Fayette bade the nursemaid, before walking off gracefully along the gallery in a swish of heavy purple silk.
Link smiled over at Zelda in the dim candlelight of their room. He stood by the door, holding the key.
"Shall I lock the door this time?" he suggested playfully.
"Ah... well... of course if someone were to need us..." Zelda began, grinning slightly.
"Yeah but I want you all to myself. No interruptions," Link replied. "Call me selfish but..." Zelda smiled and walked up to him, taking hold of the small key and placing it in the lock.
"Okay, you won me over," she murmured, pulling him close for an impassioned kiss. Moving away again she said, "I'm glad everything is all over." She walked over to her dressing table, starting to remove all her jewellery.
"Me too," Link agreed, following her queue to start to get ready to settle down for the night. He put his boots neatly to one side and hung his tunic, belt and scabbard over a nearby chair. "One thing though," he said.
"What?" Zelda asked, turning to look over at him.
"I wonder what happened to Mara," he mused, his face suddenly a bit anxious.
"With any luck, she won't be coming back here, ever. It's too bad Enzar didn't finish her before he was destroyed," Zelda replied. She walked back over to where Link was stood. "But anyway I don't want to talk about her, like I say, it's all finished with and we should have nothing more to worry about," she smiled as she gently unbuttoned his white undershirt.
"I know it's just... well Zel, I can't help feeling..." he started.
"Oh Link..." Zelda sighed. "All that matters is Hyrule is safe once more, and you're back where you belong... right?" she asked hopefully.
"Right," Link agreed, clasping her hand with his. "I never meant to hurt you, you know," he said sincerely.
"I... I deserved it," Zelda said, blushing a little. Link pulled her close for a hug.
"I love you Zel, okay, don't ever forget that. But I wouldn't blame you if you hated me," he said.
"I could never hate you, Link. I've done nothing but love you since the day we met," Zelda replied.
"Too bad you took long enough to admit it!" Link said, suddenly laughing a little. Zelda gave him a wry smile.
"I didn't have to admit it; you already knew!" she said, laughing too. "Besides," she added, "aren't we getting off the real subject here?"
"Real subject?" Link asked, a little dumbly.
"Maybe actions can speak louder than words," Zelda replied, proceeding to remove his shirt.
"Yeah, you're right Zel, I think we've done enough talking for one day," Link grinned. Zelda noted a few of his battlefield injuries, looking upset.
"Oh Link, you know, with all that happened at the tower, I almost forgot that you'd been out on the field during the siege," she sighed.
"Oh, they're nothing, honestly. Not as bad as yours," Link replied, gently brushing a hand across her cheek.
"It's nothing," Zelda murmured, leaning in for another kiss.
"Hey! You can do that later!" came a high pitched voice. A blast of faerie magic narrowly missed the pair. Both Link and Zelda let out a groan.
"You forgot the windows!" Zelda exclaimed.
"Hey, how was I meant to know she'd come up here?" Link said, holding up his hands.
"I arrived just at the right moment, I'd say!" said Sprite, flying towards them, her hands on her hips.
"Yeah, right," Link grumbled. "What do you want, anyway?" he added.
"Ooh, well if that's how you're going to act..." Sprite said, looking offended.
"I'll leave you two to catch up, I'm going to take a bath," Zelda decided, picking up her night-clothes from off the bed and disappearing into the small adjoining bathroom.
"Give me a minute Zel, I'll join you," Link called after her.
"Hey, not so fast!" Sprite scolding, shooting some more magic at him.
"Hey, stop that!" Link said, rubbing his shoulder. "It hurts," he added.
"No it doesn't. Anyway, you ought to be thanking me!" Sprite remarked.
"Thanking you?! Last night it was Ewan, and now tonight it's..." Link started.
"Oh, there is that as well," Sprite giggled. She flew up closer. "No, what I meant was, you Hylians really have a lot to thank us faeries for."
"Oh yeah... well tell the council we send our deepest thanks," Link replied. "See Navi isn't so bad after all," he added on afterthought. Sprite folded her arms.
"Well, er... you know... people change," she remarked. "Anyway Navi doesn't want thanks, she's just going to go back to her little forest commune place to 'be at one' with nature or something."
"Oh Sprite, give her a break!" Link replied, shaking his head.
"I am! Just no need to give her a swelled head; she might get that insane idea back in her head that she ought to be your faerie guardian again!" Sprite said, looking horrified at the mere thought.
"That might be a good idea, at least she wouldn't just interrupt me and Zel just when we're getting to the good stuff," Link remarked. Sprite raised an eyebrow.
"Oh yeah? Do you two have no shame, why can't you just go to sleep instead like any other normal person," she retorted.
"Maybe I'm not tired!" the hero replied.
"That's evident," Sprite smirked. "Of course, I am rather enjoying the sight of you without your shirt on..."
"Sprite!!" Link grabbed his shirt in an attempt to cover himself up whilst his faerie guardian simply giggled with glee.
"Oh Link, you're spoiling my fun!" she complained.
"No more like you spoilt my fun!" Link retorted.
"Calm down. Besides I just stopped you from making a big mistake," Sprite pointed out.
"Mistake? How? I fail to see how a guy like myself who is simply enjoying the pleasures of married life..." Link began
"Ooh, spare me the details!" Sprite interrupted. "Anyway, it's not just Navi and the council that you need to thank," she continued.
"Yeah?" Link asked, sitting down in a nearby armchair. Sprite flew over and alighted on the armrest.
"Did Zelda ever tell you what happened at Death Mountain?" the faerie queried.
"Well, no, not really. I don't think she wants to talk about it, to be honest," Link answered.
"Oh well, maybe you should ask her about it sometime. Then you'll maybe want to thank yours truly for keeping an eye on Her Royal Perfectness, and maybe thank Sal as well," Sprite smiled. Before he could answer she flew up and kissed on the tip of his nose, then giggling again, threw a handful of faerie dust at him. "Remember Link, you can lock every door in the castle and I'll still find a way in! See you soon, my handsome hero!" Then she flew off in a cloud of sparkles, her laughter still echoing in her wake. Link smiled to himself before standing up and wandering in the direction of the bathroom. Faerie guardians, you couldn't live with them, but you couldn't live without them, he mused.
Some hours later, Link still lay awake in bed. He couldn't stop thinking about all the things that had happened, his conscience pricking painfully whenever he thought of the things he had done. Zelda lay beside him, sleeping peacefully. He leaned over to run a hand through her silky blonde hair, before resting it on her cheek. She shifted slightly in her sleep at his touch but didn't wake. He gazed down at her for a while, just relieved that she was alive and beside him once more. All thanks to their son. He thought of Ewan and smiled, then his thoughts shifted to Fayzie and her young son Aden. He only wished that he could have prevented the things that had passed between them, but it was too late now. Zelda had never mentioned it once, but the more he thought about it, she had barely spoken of the past few weeks events at all. It was so unlike her, and yet, in some ways, Link felt relieved. And Fayzie had been forgiving. He knew that she understood. He just hoped that they would still be friends after all this. And that Zelda would let them be friends. He knew it was a lot to ask, but he had to make amends with Fayzie somehow. He had taken her away from her home and left her with nothing at all. But she still forgave him for that.
The King had made it quite clear that if he were to hurt Zelda again, there wouldn't be a second chance. Link was surprised that he'd even been given a first. However he knew that King Harkinian doted on his daughter, and if Zelda wanted to still be with Link, if that made her happy, then he also was happy.
"I love you dearly boy, like a son. But there is no excuse for what you did to my daughter. If in her heart she has forgiven you, then so have I. I welcome you back to this family with open arms gladly. But should it happen again... I am not sure I could be quite so forgiving," the King had said to him earlier that day. "You are a brave and noble young man who has done too much for Hyrule to ever be completely rewarded. I don't wish any ill-feelings between us Link." Link could only nod numbly because he didn't know what else to say. Then Harkinian had embraced him and given him back his Kingdom ring, which Link had discarded when he had told Zelda that things were over between them. Slipping it back on his finger, he knew that it belonged there, never to be removed again, like his wedding ring.
Aaron had said very little, only assuring Link that they would be friends no matter what. Drake had been a little more gruff though.
"This could have worked out very differently, lad," he'd said. "You've been very lucky." Link didn't doubt that. He didn't even bother arguing with the knight. Drake was protective of Zelda after all. But whatever his friends might think of him, so long as he was back with his family, Link didn't care anymore. This thought in mind, he soon found himself drifting off into the best sleep he'd had in weeks.
Meanwhile, many hundreds of miles away, Mara Hespara stood above a high Molderian hilltop, her strawberry blonde curls blowing in the icy wind that cut across the plain. She had lost this time, Hyrule had been lucky. She cursed the name of Enzar; he had been integral to her plan and it had all gone horribly wrong. And those stupid faeries, combating her black magic. It was all too much. However, there was one good thing. She had escaped. Unlike the father of her future child, that coward Robert Kokiri. Smiling, Mara ran a hand across her belly.
"Maybe you have won this time Link and Zelda, but I will avenge you in the future. My son or daughter will personally see to that!" she sneered into the night. Then she was gone.
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