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.
Shadows of the Past
Juliet A. Singleton (Scullys@bigfoot.com) & Kirsty Singleton (Indigo_Spacen@mail.com)
Kaibre tapped on the door to Zelda's room quietly.
"Who is it?" called a muffled voice.
"Kaibre, your highness," he responded. There was a moments silence.
"Come in," she finally called. Kaibre pushed open the door, stepped inside, and closed the door behind him. Zelda was sitting on her bed, looking down at the floor. He walked tentatively across to her, crouching down beside her. Zelda looked down at him. He cheeks were stained with tears.
"What's up?" asked Kaibre.
"Oh nothing," said Zelda, wiping her eyes.
"Nothing? Or you just don't want to talk about it?" asked Kaibre kindly. Zelda sniffed a little.
"It's not anything important, nothing you should be worrying about," said Zelda. Kaibre stood up.
"Well if you're sure, Zel," he sighed. Zelda looked up at Kaibre.
"What did you just call me?" she asked. Kaibre blinked.
"Uh..." he began, feeling flustered, and stupid. Perhaps he had drunk a little too much ale. "It's just, that's what Link calls me," said Zelda, looking back down to the floor. Kaibre sat beside her.
"It's about him. That's why you're so upset, isn't it?" he asked. Zelda looked at him.
"How'd you guess?" she asked.
"Was it something your sister said?" asked Kaibre.
"She isn't my sister," said Zelda.
"Step-sister?" corrected Kaibre softly.
"Yes, her and her stupid friends, mocking me and Link, just because he wasn't born into nobility," said Zelda angrily.
"You shouldn't let people like that get to you, half the time they don't know what they're talking about anyway," said Kaibre.
"I miss him so much, I just wish I could do something, anything, just to know that he's okay," said Zelda.
"Perhaps you should go to Catalia, or send someone over there. To check, I mean. The storms have passed now, it wouldn't be a problem," suggested Kaibre. Zelda looked to Kaibre.
"I could do that couldn't I?" she asked. Kaibre nodded.
"Sure, accompanied of course," he said. Zelda placed one hand over Kaibre's and looked deep into his eyes.
"You've never really spoken about yourself Kaibre, and you've heard so many of my problems I'm sure," said Zelda quietly. She looked down at his hands, noticing a solid band of silver around his little finger. She brushed against it with her fingers. "That ring, for instance," she began. Kaibre looked down at the ring. "My wedding ring," he said, sadly. "But it's," began Zelda. "Wrong place? It was Jennifer's, she died a while ago," said Kaibre, not looking up. "Your wife, I'm so sorry," apologised Zelda. Kaibre looked up and smiled a little. "You don't need to be, it's not often someone cares to ask," said Kaibre, biting his lip.
"Drake mentioned you had a son," asked Zelda, a little warily.
"Benjamin. He's...he's with his mother," confided Kaibre, sounding ashamed, choked even.
"Oh Kaibre, that must be awful for you," said Zelda, sounding shocked.
"It was when I was working for Queen Seline. Those Tanolian bastards, please excuse my language, they couldn't touch her while I was there, so they..." began Kaibre, but he couldn't bring himself to continue on. He looked to Zelda, his eyes glistening. "I'll never forgive myself for letting it happen," he admitted.
"I, I don't know what to say..." said Zelda. Kaibre turned to Zelda again.
"You don't have to say anything," he said, gazing at her intently. Before Zelda realised what he was doing, before he even knew what he was doing, he leaned forward and kissed her. For a moment, she resisted, placing her hands on his chest as if to push him away, but he was so warm, so gentle. When they finally parted, Kaibre sat, looking as shocked as Zelda. He stood up. "I'm sorry. I, I don't know what came over me," he quickly apologised. It was true. What had he been doing? First calling her 'Zel', then telling her about his wife and child and their fate - something he had never told anyone before, and then this. He backed away feeling slightly dizzy. Zelda sat, slightly dazed. She hardly knew what had happened herself, it had come from no-where, but what worried her was that she hadn't wanted him to stop. She stood up. "I think you should leave," she said coolly.
"But, I can't," protested Kaibre.
"Why not?" asked Zelda.
"I have a duty to perform," replied Kaibre, still trying to fathom out what had happened. He had kissed Zelda, while they were on the subject of his dead wife and child. He would never have done that, never. In fact, he had never thought himself capable of touching another woman again, it would have felt like to betrayal to him, it had. He looked at Zelda in the eye. "I don't know what came over me," he said honestly, and confused. "But I'm sorry, it was incredibly stupid, you don't know how sorry I am," said Kaibre solemnly.
"I have to go and see my children," said Zelda, walking towards the door.
"Then I have to come with you," said Kaibre. Zelda turned and looked at Kaibre, he looked extremely sorry. She softened a little.
"Fine, but, let's not talk about this again," said Zelda, feeling guilty herself. Kaibre nodded, and followed her outside.
Link forced open his eyes uneasily. His head was thumping, every limb in his body screaming in pain.
"Sprite?" he managed to whisper, although his throat was dry. There was no reply. Link shut his eyes for a moment, then opened them, easing himself up on his elbows. Every nerve in his back felt like it was going to snap in half, but Link refused to be beaten, until he had reached a sitting position. He closed his eyes again, taking a few seconds to regain his much wittled strength. He licked his lips, trying to regain a little moisture. "Sprite?" he called out again, a little louder than before. He looked around, he was still in his cell. He began to pull himself across the floor, to the door, where he stared out of, trying to see Sprite's cage. It was day, light poured in through every crevice in the place. He saw Sprite's cage, and saw that the drape had been removed, and unless Sprite was lying at the bottom of it, she was no longer in it. Link let out a small moan, leaning against the wall in defeat. Where had they taken Sprite? He closed his eyes, trying to concentrate as hard as he could, on establishing a telepathic link with his wife.
"Please Zel, please hear me, I don't think I can survive another day down here, please Zel, I need you...." He opened his eyes, waiting. Waiting. He looked down at his bloodied hands, he didn't know whether it was his own, or Derin's. One hand, his left was bandaged in a strip of blood soaked green cloth. His hand was pulsing in agony. He used his other hand to untie the bandage, gingerly pulling it away from his hand, wincing as the cloth clung to his skin, patched with blood, refusing to move. He gave it a sharp yank then tossed the cloth aside, looking at his hand. It was covered in blood, a crude gash searing through his palm. He regarded the wound gingerly, cursing his ruthlessness the night before, or when he had last been awake anyway. He should have bided his time, reserved his strength, used his head for once, instead of his gut instinct. "Sprite!" he called out for one last time. Still no reply. He heard a click, as the bolts on the door above slid back, and Link grimaced, hoping that Derin and Aden were not back for more. He closed his eyes, listening intently. He heard footsteps, but not the heavy, clomping of Derin or Aden, but rather the light featherweight steps of surely a woman. A woman. Link opened his eyes. Perhaps it was Fayzie. He prayed it was, for he knew she was the only one who could help him now. He waited, and watched as a slim female figure descended down the steps. He saw her long flowing black hair, recognising her immediately. "Fayzie!" he called, thanking the goddesses. The woman turned and walked over to the cell, crouching down, coming face to face with Link. He was shocked to see her normally clear complexion bruised and cut.
"Link," she whispered softly, slipping her hands through the bar, touching his own.
"Fay, what happened to you?" asked Link, but as soon as the question left his lips, he knew what had happened. Aden. Fayzie looked a little surprised, and she touched her face self-consciously.
"Nothing, it matters not, not now anyway. Link, I cannot help you, for I don't have the key, Aden knew I would come down here. He has taken your faerie friend away, hoping to sell her at the market. I thought I would bring you some food, and bandages. Aden and Derin boasted of how they beat you, I had to help, even in a small way..." said Fayzie, her tone sad. She quickly reached under her robes and pulled out a small tightly wrapped package, and slipped it through the bars of the cell. Link took it and looked down at it.
"It has a bit of food, and bandages as I said, and also a small knife, it was all I could lay my hands on, if you ever need to defend yourself..." said Fayzie, her voice trailing off again. She was betraying her husband again, for the second time since Link had arrived. She stood. "I must go," she said, turning to leave. "Fay, wait. You didn't have to do this, you shouldn't have, not if you knew what Aden would do," said Link, he managed to stand up, and looked at Fayzie sincerely. "How could I stand by and watch them do this to you Link? You may have done things the tribe disagrees with, but you had something I never have had, and that was the courage to marry the one you truly loved," said Fayzie.
"What you are doing now is courageous, Fayzie, when I escape, why don't you come back to Hyrule with me?" said Link. Fayzie shook her head.
"My son needs a father, even if it is Aden," she said.
"But how can you stay with him, after what he has done to you? Do you want your son to grow thinking Aden's behaviour is acceptable?" asked Link.
"What would a Kokiri and her son do in Hyrule, except suffer just as much?" asked Fayzie.
"But you wouldn't, you would have a fellow Kokiri with you, me. I would make sure you would be fine, happy even," promised Link. Fayzie looked away, and up fearfully at the steps.
"I have to go, Aden could return home any time now," she said, before quickly rushing up the stairs.
"Fay, wait!" called Link, but the brave woman had already departed. Link slid down, next to the parcel Fayzie had given him. He picked it up and unwrapped it, discovering an apple, and a hunk of dry bread. He devoured the apple, ignoring the sour taste it held for him, then wolfed down the bread. He didn't know how long ago he had last eaten, but right now, the food he had just eaten had been the finest meal ever to him, despite the spitefully sour taste of the apple, and the blunt staleness of the bread. He looked in the package and found a clean length of bandage, and a small flask of water. He took a sip from the flask then sprinkled a little over his wound in an effort to clean it. He then tightly wrapped the bandage across his hand, feeling slightly better, though all the time he could not stop thinking of what Fayzie would have to endure from Aden once she got home. More guilt. He looked in the scraps of the package, spotting the knife Fayzie had informed him about. He picked it up and examined it. It was blunt, but still a knife, and still an implement that could cause enough damage to make sure those bastards never laid another finger on Fayzie, or anyone else again. He slipped the knife up his sleeve, and grabbed the remnants of the package, scrunching it into a tight ball and throwing it a corner of the cell. He then leaned against the wall, and shut his eyes, he would need his strength for when his fellow tribesmen returned.
"Her voice, is almost, enchanting," remarked Dion as he listened to Mara sing.
"I could agree with you on that too," said Drake, leaning over the bar with his ale.
"She's not bad on the harp either," complimented Aaron. When Mara had finally finished, she walked over to the bar, amid applause, and smiled.
"So, I was okay?" she asked shyly.
"You were fantastic," said Drake, grinning.
"Oh, I don't know about that," began Mara bashfully.
"No, he's right, you were great," said Dion. Mara smiled, glad she was appreciated.
"That song was an old one, I've been working on some new ones recently, but I'm still not sure," said Mara.
"So you write as well as sing and play, are there no bounds to your talents?" asked Drake, flirtingly.
"I don't know, perhaps you will have to get to know me a little better, Sir Drake," said Mara, smiling at Drake.
"Perhaps I will," replied Drake.
"Dad..." Zelda complained, folding her arms and pouting.
"Zelda, you're not going anywhere. Not after what's been happening recently," the King stated sternly. Zelda paced up and down the study impatiently.
"But...." she began.
"Look, if you're so bothered about Link, then I'll send some men over to Catalia," the King said.
"No! I want to go!" Zelda insisted, her tone sounding rather childish.
"Zelda! You'll stop this talk at once! You are not going to Catalia, and that is final," the King said, glaring at his daughter. She glared back. "Besides, you have important duties here, like looking after that daughter of yours, or had you forgotten?" he added. Zelda sulked, and didn't look him in the eye.
"No, of course not," she said quietly.
"Well then. Besides, it isn't safe for you to be out alone..." the King began.
"Well, I'd take someone with me! Drake, for instance!" Zelda cut in.
"You're not going, dear," the King replied.
"Oh, stop me!" Zelda said angrily, finally looking at her father.
"Won't you ever learn?" the King sighed. He put his quill down, and looked at Zelda with a tired expression.
"Very soon, my child, you'll have to take on responsibility for this kingdom. When that happens, you'll not be able to going running about in the manner that you do," he said solemnly. Zelda didn't answer. "Isn't it about time you grew up and started acting like a queen, rather than a silly, young princess?" the King asked. Zelda looked furious by this.
"Oh, so now you think I'm immature?!" she asked, her tone seething.
"Your attitude leaves a lot to be desired, I must say," the King answered.
"My attitude?!" Zelda questioned angrily.
"If you don't act like a child, I shan't treat you like one. It's as simple as that, Zelda," the King said.
"Excuse me, but I'm a fully grown woman!" Zelda protested, looking offended.
"Well start acting like one, then!" the King replied, starting to sound angry himself.
"Dad... let me do this one thing. Let me go to Catalia, please..." Zelda begged.
"No. I'll send some men over instead," the King replied.
"I.... I have to go!" Zelda said.
"Why?" the King asked.
"Link needs me! I think he's in trouble!" Zelda finally replied. The King looked at her for a few moments. Finally, he spoke.
"I never understood this bond you and Link appear to share, but... okay, you can go. But on one condition," he said.
"Anything," Zelda said, her tone growing excited.
"That you are accompanied by Kaibre Lainge," her father replied. Zelda blanched at his comment, remembering the incident from the night before.
"No!" she said, before realising how harsh it had sounded.
"You're not going alone," the King said.
"Let me go with Drake," Zelda suggested.
"But Kaibre is being paid to be your personal guard. It only makes sense. Besides, Drake has important duties here," the King replied. Zelda sighed, beginning to feel sick. Her father was right. If she argued against him, he'd want to know why. And she couldn't possibly confess about the kiss. Kaibre would be dismissed in disgrace, and as for her... well, she couldn't imagine what her father would say. Whether she liked it or not, she'd kissed Kaibre back. She'd almost committed adultery, of sorts. How could she have even done that to Link? She swallowed nervously, then suddenly she got an idea. She gazed at her father as sincerely as she could. "I'd willingly go with Kaibre, but..." she began.
"But what?" her father asked.
"But... well... Catalia... it holds bad memories for Kaibre. His... his wife was murdered there," she said softly.
"Oh..." the King said, looking uncomfortable.
"Taking him there, it might dredge up old memories," Zelda continued.
"Yes... yes..." the King agreed. "So...." Zelda started.
"Aaron will have to accompany you, then," the King finished.
"But, the Triforce..." Zelda said, looking unsure.
"I'm sure his apprentice, Sparks, can take good care of it," the King said. Zelda stood there quietly for a moment, thinking. Finally, she nodded.
"Yes, okay. I'll go with Aaron." The King smiled at her, then stood up.
"Be careful, my dear," he said softly.
"Oh dad..." Zelda replied. She rushed up to him and gave him a grateful hug. "I love you," she whispered.
"I love you too. Just take care, and don't stay away too long," the king replied. Zelda stepped back, and nodded. "Give my regards to Seline, if you see her, okay?" he added.
"I will," Zelda said. She smiled at her father, then looked outside. "Well, guess I better get going now. Luckily, I already packed," she said. The King let out a low chuckle.
"You get your own way far too much," he commented. Zelda smiled even more, and then walked outside, feeling a little happier that she was finally going to help Link.
"So your father is letting you go?" asked Kaibre as Zelda stepped outside. He looked down at the ground as he spoke, not wanting to meet her eyes. Zelda nodded and began to walk along the passage. Kaibre walked along beside her.
"Yes, I'm leaving tomorrow," she answered.
"Who will accompany you?" he asked. Zelda paused for a moment.
"Aaron I think, I'll have to see him about it first," replied Zelda. She noticed Kaibre stop, and he turned, facing her. She looked up at him.
"I guess this means I'll be out of a job then," he asked. Zelda shrugged.
"No, my father wanted to keep you on, for now anyway," said Zelda.
"So, you didn't tell him why I wasn't going to accompany you?" assumed Kaibre. They began walking again.
"No, but I should've," replied Zelda quietly. Kaibre continued to walk, not saying a word. "Perhaps you should. What I did, it was unacceptable," said Kaibre. Zelda gave Kaibre a side glance, noticing his eyes were firmly on the floor, the expression on his face was that of sincerity, and perhaps of shame. It was Zelda's turn to be silent. "I'm sorry," said Kaibre, breaking the silence.
"We all make mistakes," conceded Zelda. Kaibre let out a sigh. They continued to walk on. "You know, that's the first time I've looked, touched another woman since my wife died. Trust me to make a mess of things," said Kaibre quietly.
"I didn't think you would want to go to Catalia anyway, after what happened there," said Zelda, ignoring Kaibre's words.
"No...you are right. But, if you're going over there, then I really see no point in me staying on here, especially after...well, you know," said Kaibre. Zelda turned to Kaibre.
"No. I want you to stay, I need someone to keep an eye on Ewan," said Zelda, quickly.
"Well I..." began Kaibre.
"Please. I think whoever had it in for me, well they've had their fun for now, but I only think it was because of you they have kept away. I want to know that Ewan has the same kind of security," explained Zelda. Kaibre scratched the back of his head.
"Well if that's what you want," he agreed.
"Thank you, it means a lot to me," said Zelda sincerely.
"Well, here we are," said Zelda, reining her horse back, halting. She and Aaron looked up at the hill in front of them, where a small town was nestled on top, and around the edges.
"I hope Link's up there," Aaron commented, shading his eyes, and looking forward.
"He's got to be there," Zelda said, frowning slightly. The day was already drawing to a close. "Well, we searched around the coastline pretty throroughly and found no sign of him camping there," Aaron said. Zelda nodded.
"He must be staying with someone in town. It's just I..." she trailed off there, looking suddenly worried.
"Princess, what's the matter?" Aaron asked, looking concerned.
"Nothing," Zelda answered quickly. She urged her horse forward to a trot. "Come on, we'd better hurry up, else they might close the gates," she said, riding off up the road.
"They'd open them for you, Princess," Aaron assured her, following close behind.
"Link says that they blame us both for Kylara's death. They might not let me in," Zelda said, as they trotted up the hillside.
"Don't be silly. They have to pay their respects to you; Hyrule is Catalia's greatest ally, they shan't risk angering you," Aaron said sensibly.
"I guess you have a point. But still.... I'm just worried about Link, what if they've done something awful to him?" Zelda asked, still clearly upset.
"Well, that's almost as bad as angering you," Aaron said. "Don't worry, Princess, I'm sure he's fine. He'll have just have got delayed," the young warrior added. A few minutes later, they had reached the town gate. It was still open. There was no guard house next to it, so they rode straight through into the town.
Although it was beginning to grow dark, Zelda and Aaron could still make out their surroundings. Most of the buildings were small, one storey wooden houses. There were a few bigger ones, made from grey stone. In all, it did not look very different from say, Ruto back in Hyrule. Towards the centre of the town was a large open square of stone, where a market was probably set up during the day. Little streets ran off everywhere in all directions. "He could be staying anywhere!" Zelda wailed.
"Well, the obvious thing to do is look for an Inn, first. There must be one down this main street," Aaron said.
"Or, he might be staying with the Elder. I wonder if that's his house over there," Zelda said, pointing to the stone building that was atop some steps on the western side of the market square.
"We'll try both," Aaron said.
"I think he'd prefer to stay at a tavern," Zelda mused, looking about the street.
"Look, over there. The Blue Fox," Aaron stated, pointing over at a tall, timberframed building with a painted sign swinging outside on a wooden pole. As they began to ride towards it, two figures suddenly emerged from the shadows.
"Halt!" one stated, brandishing a blade menacingly. Aaron withdrew his own sword, moving closer to Zelda protectively.
"What do you want?" Zelda questioned.
"We want you both to come with us, Princess," the other man sneered.
"I don't think so!" Zelda retorted, backing her horse away. One made a grab for the mare's bridle.
"You will come with us," he stated flatly.
"How dare you do this! This is Princess Zelda of Hyrule you're talking to!" Aaron said angrily, dismounting and walking over to the two strangers.
"You'll stand aside son, if you know what's good for you," the other man said in a slimy tone "Don't count on it!" Aaron retorted, sweeping his blade out, nicking the man's hand. He cried out in pain, letting go of Zelda's horse's bridle.
"You'll regret that!" he said, lunging towards Aaron with his own sword. As the two fought, the other man whipped Zelda's horse from behind, and the grey mare reared up, causing Zelda to fall off. As she hit the ground, she was immediately dragged up off the road roughly.
"Get off me!" she shrieked angrily, trying to kick her captor. She missed. He sniggered.
"Don't count on it," he sneered, echoing Aaron's earlier words.
"This is a felony! You can't kidnap me!" Zelda continued.
"I'm not," the man said, still dragging her down a back street. Zelda let out a scream, but he hastily shoved his blade to her throat.
"Be quiet!" he hissed.
"You let me go at once! Just wait until my father finds out about this!" the princess ranted.
"I know something about your husband," the man said. Zelda stopped struggling.
"What?" she said. "Just come this way, and I'll explain everything," the man replied. Zelda glared at him suspiciously.
"Well, looks like I don't have a choice anyway, does it?" she said bitingly. The man laughed. "No, you don't," he said, pushing her through a doorway.
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