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

Shadows of the Past

Juliet A. Singleton (Scullys@bigfoot.com) & Kirsty Singleton (Indigo_Spacen@mail.com)

Chapter 3

   Link woke up the next morning, feeling groggy. He rolled over in his bed, expecting to meet with the warm form of his wife, but to his surprise, he realised he wasn't in his huge four poster at North castle, but a rather small and narrow bed at the Red Swan inn. At least he had been. His roll had resulted in him falling from his bed, to the floor, with a thump. He let out a small moan, and sat up, rubbing the small of his back. He grimaced and then rubbed his eyes sleepily, wondering what time it was. He stood up and walked to the window, pulling back the slatted shutters, only to be met with the grey drizzle of rain. He let out a small yawn, and hoped Zelda wouldn't be worrying. He hoped she wouldn't mind the fact he'd stayed away overnight, but he'd really had no choice. He glanced out of the window again. It looked like he still had no choice to return to the castle, and he knew Zelda wouldn't like it. He walked over to a chair in the corner of the room, where his partially dry tunic was and shirt. He quickly pulled them on, and hauled on his boots too. He walked across to the dressing table, which had a jug of fresh water atop it, along with a basin, and quickly washed. He didn't know what time he had retired the night before, they had all been kept up long into the night with memories of Leigh. Even after they had all went their separate ways. Link himself had not been able to sleep. This time of year was painful for him, his brother had died around this time, and now, so had Leigh. Old memories had been resurfaced, and musings of what could have been. Had he done the right thing in choosing his wife's life over his brother's? He knew himself that the answer was unobtainable. He loved Zelda so very dearly, more than anything or anyone in the Demiari, but his brother had been the last of his family. Link quickly shook his head, trying to shake away the memories, the thoughts. He let out a deep sigh as he gazed at his reflection. He turned and walked towards the door, knowing the only way he could temporarily forget about such memories, was to be in the company of friends.

   "So, you understand? You are to watch my daughter very carefully, and make sure no harm comes to her. You shall protect her with your life," instructed the King sternly to an experienced guard of the castle, Martyn Sullivan. Martyn nodded, scratching one of his thick, blonde eyebrows.

"Certainly sir, I vow, she shall be protected with mine own life," promised the guard. The King nodded.

"Then it is agreed. Do not let her know of your, intentions. She hates a fuss to be made, but if what she says about the other night is true... It is to terrible to contemplate. Keep an eye on they boy too, young Ewan. The first born are always at much risk from such things," said the King, his voice low. Martyn nodded.

"I understand completely sire, she will not even know I am there," said Martyn. The King smiled.

"If anyone can protect my daughter, 'tis you Martyn," said the King gratefully. Martyn nodded.

"I shall try my utmost best. Better than that. You have my word, under my eye, your daughter shall come to no harm, nor shall your grandson," said Martyn sincerely. The King clasped Martyn's gloved hand in his own, meeting him eye to eye.

"Make sure you carry out that promise sir," he said gravely. Martyn nodded, waited for the King to release his hand, kneeled then stood, turning and leaving the King's chambers.

   Sparks sat in front of the stone obelisk, his chin rested on his knees, as the rain poured down upon him. He looked at the memorial, the flowers that surrounded it were now damp and sodden, spoilt, but then to Sparks, most things these days were. Ever since his beloved Leigh had died, he'd felt old feelings creep back, those he had felt during the first days after his own father's brutal, ritualistic murder. Leigh had arrived, and taken revenge upon his father's slayers, and made things just that little bit better, just that little bit more livable. But now, she was gone, and she'd never be back, just to make things a little bit better. His blonde hair clung to his face and neck, and a shiver coursed through him. He was soaked to the skin. Then, he heard someone call out his name, and turned.

"Sparks!" called Sentri, who had spotted the young lad only as he drew nearer to the memorial. The rain was heavy, and there was mist, visibility was poor. Sentri jogged over, crouching down next to his young friend. "What are you doing out here?" asked Sentri, although he knew the answer. He was here for the same reason. To say a proper goodbye.

"The weather was like this when she died," commented Sparks.

"Yes, it was about this time last year when Sosaria began to change, to darker ways. It's as if...the world feels her loss too," said Sentri, slowly, rain sliding from his helmet down his neck. He looked down at his feet, that were half submerged in a mass of mud.

"You never even got the chance to say good bye did you?" asked Sparks, looking up at the Sosarian trained. Sentri's lips turned down a little, and he shook his head.

"No. She was there one day, gone the next, as were you and Katrina. I never even thanked her for everything she did," said Sentri sadly.

"Neither did I really. But Sentri, she was a different person when I saw her again, like something had happened to her. The way she was treated, she was put on trial for crimes she simply did not commit. It was all down to the Princess, she hated Leigh," said Sparks bitterly. Sentri looked down at the lad.

"Yes, Link mentioned something about that, or was it Drake? I did not find it tactful to question them about it," said Sentri, nodding his head.

"It was awful. She fought so hard, but the whole thing was fixed. She was thrown in the dungeons. Leigh! The Avatar, behind bars. She saved Zelda's life, stopped her from having her head lopped off, but still, no forgiveness, not an apology," said Sparks, sounding madder and madder.

"Forgiveness of what exactly?" asked Sentri. Sparks paused.

"She liked Link, a lot. Zelda was jealous, they were friends, she thought they were having an affair or something, but it was never even like that. And then she had to die, saving a country that had never shown any gratitude towards her. She managed to help imprison that daemon, whatever he was called. She was barely thanked for that," said Sparks. Sentri squeezed Sparks' shoulder again.

"Do not fret Sparks. There are people who obviously care, so what if there were one or two who didn't? Come on, you know fine well if Leigh had been here, she would have told you to stop sulking and sitting in the rain, find some shelter, that's what she'd say," said Sentri, smiling kindly.

"She never did care for the rain," said Sparks smiling slightly. The young man stood up.

"You go on ahead, there's something here I want to do," said Sentri. Sparks nodded, and walked away, leaving Sentri alone. Sentri took off his helmet in respect and walked across to the obelisk, kneeling at its base.

"I don't know if you can hear me saying this, but I'm sorry I wasn't there for you when you needed me, like you were for all those times when my country needed you. If there's any justice in this world and beyond, you'll be in a better world now, reaping the rewards of just what you sowed." Sentri smiled sadly then stood up, and replaced his helmet, before trudging back onto the path, that led back to Mido town centre.

   Zelda glared at the clock angrily, then glanced across at the window, which was covered in streaming water. She knew it was bad weather, but Link could have at least made the effort to be home now, when she needed him the most... She tucked her hair behind her ears and walked over to her desk, and snapped open her journal. She had not much else to do, Impa and Fayette were looking after the children, Ewan was amicably playing away with his cousins, but at this moment in time, Zelda really couldn't stand to be in the same room with her step-sister and her smug grins and sly stares. Zelda picked up a quill pen, and dipped it into its inkwell and glanced down the page of her journal. It had been a while since she had written in her journal, so now was the perfect time for a little update.

   Link, Selina, Nick, Drake, and Sparks have all gone off to pay some stupid tribute to that witch Leigh. I can't believe a year on they're still mourning her. Link has been so distant recently, and now he wants to go prancing of to Catalia, to visit his brother's grave. Hayden's grave. My stomach turns just thinking about it. If only I knew half the things Link was thinking. He probably wishes he had saved Hayden's life instead of mine, then he could have had his beloved Leigh with no problems whatsoever. No...wait, I'm being irrational. Link loves me, I know he does, and what's more, I love him too. It's just Fayette, the way she been talking about Link and Leigh, it just brings it all back. Nothing ever happened between them, just a kiss, nothing more. Nothing less either, it still hurts. I know part of Link felt a great deal for Leigh, and I know it wasn't just physical. She was perfect, and I'm...well I'm not. The way I acted to him, the way I'm acting to him now. I wouldn't have blamed him if he had succumbed to Leigh, the way I treated him. I never gave him a chance to explain, just presumed, and listened to Fayette. I wish she would go back to Brynnel or something, she's such a bitch. Suggesting that Link and Leigh had shared a bed, on the anniversary of her death, how tasteless. As if they had. But where was he that night...no I won't even go there. I trust Link, I know him. He wouldn't have the badness in his heart to do such a thing. I wish I could get rid of all these doubts, and trust Link implicitly, but a part of me just can't. I don't know why, but I just wish it would. I need to show Link that I really do love him, prove it somehow, and make him forgive me. He acts as if everything's back to normal, but he still remembers the way I treated Leigh. I shouldn't have done that, but I can barely admit that to myself, never mind Link. One day perhaps...one day I will be able to swallow my pride, and accept what Leigh meant to everyone around here. I wish Link was here now, he makes me feel safe, ever since last night, I've not been able to shake off that feeling of being watched...

   Zelda looked up warily, setting down her pen. She had heard a noise in the corridor. It would just be a guard, she told herself. Zelda glanced down at the page she had just written, and carefully blew over the page to dry the ink, before carefully closing the journal. She locked it, then opened the desk drawer, slipping the journal into it. Then she slowly stood up, and glanced around. There it was again, footsteps on the thick pile carpet outside. Her eyes came to rest on a letter knife, she grabbed it, then slowly walked to the door, resting her free hand on the handle. She felt her breathing become lighter, then she yanked down on the handle, and stepped outside, the knife held up, prepared to attack. She was met by a tall, rugged man, with thick, blonde wavy hair, who stepped back, hands held up in defence.

"Uh, your majesty, I'm so sorry to have disturbed you," he stammered nervously. Zelda eyed him carefully, distrustful, his face was familiar, yet she could not place it. "Martyn Sullivan. I am a guard of the castle," he assured her. Zelda frowned.

"What were you doing up here?" she asked, lowering the knife. Martyn looked around.

"I though I had heard a noise, I came to make sure everything was okay," said Martyn. Zelda looked a little stricken.

"Then why were you skulking about? I could hear your boots in the carpet," said Zelda, narrowing her eyes. She felt what the guard was telling her was genuine, and it still worried her. She really hoped there wasn't an intruder about.

"I was checking to see if anyone was hiding anywhere first," said Martyn.

"I could've been dead, dying in here whilst you checked for intruders," said Zelda accusingly. Martyn looked down.

"That is true, but.." he began.

"There is no-one up here. Be gone, before I call for Krin to have you dismissed," said Zelda sharply. Martyn nodded, then Zelda retreated back into her room, engaging the locks as she closed the door. Then suddenly, she felt a chill creep over her, and she turned to see the curtains around the balcony window flapping in the wind. The French doors were open. She looked desperately around the room, and noticed the desk drawer, which she had definitely left open was now closed. She ran to the French doors and closed them, locking them also. She slowly turned around, her pulse slowly returning to normal, leaning against the doors. Then she saw, on the pillow which she slept, a pumpkin, with a knife protruding from it in a grotesque fashion. She covered her mouth to prevent herself from screaming, when she saw a note, held to the pumpkin by the knife. It wasn't thee sight of the pumpkin, no, it was the fact that so easily could have been her own head. Her heart racing she walked slowly over and tore the note from its holding and read the words, which were written in red ink, or something else. The note read two crudely composed words 'NEXT TIME...' Zelda let the note flutter to the ground, tears springing to her eyes. She looked back to the pumpkin, and grabbed the knife from it, gasping in shock when she realised it was covered in the same substance with which her letter had been written, clearly now, it was some kind of blood. Her hands began to tremble, and she dropped that to the floor, then ran to her door, and tried to open it. She realised it was locked, and quickly slammed back the locks, before yanking open the door and running all of the way to the bottom of the tower, to were she believed was safe.

   "Looks like it's finally easing up," said Drake, slamming back the rest of his pint.

"It is?" asked Link, standing up and glancing out of the window. Drake's words were true, the rain was beginning to thin out, and the mist was beginning to dissipate. "I vote we head back to North Castle now, while it's easing off, who knows which way the weather could turn next," said Link. Everyone nodded in agreement. Then Selina caught sight of Sparks and Sentri walking back into the inn.

"Where have you been?" asked Drake.

"To the graveyard," answered Sparks, pulling up a chair by the roaring fire. Sentri removed his helmet, running a hand through his short, black hair. He quickly wiped his muddy boots on the mat provided, and joined Sparks by the fire.

"We were talking about returning to the castle, you may accompany us if you wish Sentri," offered Link. Sentri smiled, but shook his head.

"No, thank you, but no. I will remain here for a while, then try and return back to my homeland," said Sentri politely.

"Your homeland? Sosaria? But why, if it's as bad as you say over there..." asked Drake in surprise.

"The good people of Sosaria must be informed that the Avatar is no more. The true reason I came in search, was to plead for her help, but now that is not available, a new hero must be found. Sosaria cannot continue relying upon the return of one who is long dead," said Sentri gravely.

"But you can't go back, what about me?" asked Sparks suddenly, he had been listening quietly until now. Sentri glanced at his young friend.

"I have to return to Sosaria, you, you should remain here, it is unsafe to return after such a long absence. With any luck, British will not even notice I have gone," said Sentri firmly.

"But, why can't you just stay here?" pleaded Sparks.

"If British sees that I am missing, he will know where I am, I cannot risk creating an even larger rift between the countries," said Sentri.

"But, are you so sure this will happen?" asked Nick, speaking up for the first time. Sentri snapped his gaze to the King of Dalsona.

"I could not say for sure, but as long as there is a risk...I really must return," insisted Sentri.

"Very well friend, I can tell that your mind is made, but whatever happens, you will always be welcome at North Castle," promised Link. Sentri nodded.

"I appreciate your kindness very much, from all of you, and I'm sure Leigh did too," said the Sosarian. Link and the rest all stood up.

"We should get going, before the weather turns again," said Drake quietly. Sentri stood also. He turned to Sparks and gave him a fierce hug, before turning to the rest of the group, giving them all a firm shake of the hand, aside from Selina, with whom he took her hand and kissed her Kingdom ring as a sign of respect, before watching as the group slowly trailed from the tavern, leaving him with the company of the bartender and a bar maid or two. He settled down in front of the fire again, and ordered a drink, trying to dry himself out. He could never open a portal in the outside in this weather via the orb of the moons, he would just have to wait a while, until the weather calmed down.

   "Impa!" called Zelda as she rushed into her old nursemaid's quarters. When there was no reply, and she saw that the room was empty, she suddenly realised that the nursemaid was in the nursery with Faye, attending to the children. At least Brianna and Ewan were safe she thought.

"Hello?" called a voice. Zelda turned around, to be faced with the red-haired healer, new to the castle. Zelda realised that her quarters would be next to Impa's, as Selina's chambers had been when she had just been a healer.

"Mara?" asked Zelda, vaguely recalling the woman's name from when they had been introduced the day before. Mara seemed to look pleased that Zelda had remembered her name.

"You are looking for Impa?" asked Mara. Zelda sighed and nodded.

"Yes, but she isn't here, I just remembered," said Zelda. Mara frowned.

"Is there something wrong your highness, you seem very pale," questioned Mara, who looked genuinely concerned.

"It's nothing, really. It's just..." began Zelda, cutting off very suddenly. She couldn't tell the healer about what had just happened, she barely knew the girl.

"Please, tell me. I may be able to help," pushed Mara.

"Someone was in my room, they left a note, and a knife. I think it was covered in blood," confided Zelda, unable to prevent the words from rushing out. Mara's eyes widened.

"Really? Show me," she said.

"Oh, I don't know if it safe to go up there, I ran as soon as I saw the blood," said Zelda shakily.

"Please, show me. I am part psychic, I may be able to pick up certain things from the items left in your room, determine who they were left by," Mara told Zelda.

"Really? Well I...it would help to know who was doing this, then I could have them safely put away at least," mused Zelda.

"Please, take me to your room, show me these objects," asked Mara for one last time. Zelda nodded.

"You're right, you could help. Come on," said Zelda, leaving Impa's quarters and gingerly walking back to her own, with Mara following closely behind.

   Zelda led the way into her room, looking warily around. "They were on the bed," she said, turning round to Mara. Mara stepped inside the room and looked around, her eyes falling on the bed.

"They were on the bed?" she repeated. Zelda nodded, her eyes still on Mara. Then when she saw the confused expression on the healer's face, she followed her expression to the bed. The pumpkin was gone, and the bed now looked slightly ruffled, as if it had been recently slept in. She looked to the side of the bed, where she had dropped the knife, and the note. They were not there either. She ran over to the bed and crouched down, looking under it. Nothing there but dust. She stood up and looked towards the French doors, they were still closed, just as she had left them. The only way someone could have got into her room was through the door, but why would they have taken the objects? She turned to look at Mara, who was staring at her sympathetically. "Are you sure you didn't just have a bad dream?" asked Mara. Zelda shook her head, confused.

"No...It was real, I know it was," said Zelda, although she herself didn't sound too sure.

"But your bed, it has not been made. Are you sure it wasn't a bad dream?" repeated Mara. Zelda placed a hand on her forehead, trying to think. A moment or two ago, it had all been so clear. The incident outside her room with Martyn, her returning, the doors being open, the drawer being closed, the knife, the pumpkin and the note on her bed. Zelda looked across at the desk. The top drawer, it was still closed. She pointed to it.

"The drawer, I was talking to Martyn outside my room and when I came back in, it was closed. I know it was open, I never closed it," said Zelda walking over to the desk and yanking open the drawer. All was left as it had been, her journal, and some stationery all neatly organised in the drawer.

"Martyn, is he a guard?" asked Mara. Zelda nodded.

"Martyn Sullivan I think he's called, he was outside my room, her said he'd heard a noise and come to investigate," explained Zelda. Mara nodded.

"If we can find this Martyn, then he can back up your story, you weren't really dreaming. Then you could inform your father, have the grounds searched. But, you would not want to raise a false alarm would you?" asked Mara. Zelda shook her head, a little annoyed by Mara's theorisation. But she knew Mara was entirely correct. It could have been a dream, the details were beginning to blur so much now, as in a dream. Martyn could back her up, then she would have real reason to call for alarm. But not until she was entirely sure.

   "Finally," exclaimed Link as he and his friends settled down in the Great hall, in front of a roaring fire.

"That was some trip," said Nick, running a hand over his soaking wet hair.

"Look, don't complain. That'll take a few minutes to dry out, this, this'll take hours!" moaned Selina , holding up her hair, which really was soaking wet.

"Look, we should probably all get to our rooms, dry off and that lot, a meal will be prepared shortly," said Link, standing up and calling over a guard.

"He seems to be taking it pretty well," said Nick, leaning over to Selina, referring to the way Link was coping the anniversary of Leigh's death.

"His brother died around this time as well, I hope it doesn't get to much for him," said Selina.

"He can cope with it, he's grown used to it," said Drake solemnly. Nick stood up.

"Come, we should go to our room, get ready for this evening. I expect our trunk of belongings arrived yesterday from the ship," said the King to his wife. Selina nodded, standing also. Link returned.

"The meal should be ready in an hour or so, the gong will be sounded when it is ready," said Link, nodding to them all. Drake and Sparks stood also.

"I'm going to get out of these wet things," said Drake.

"Yeah I should too, hopefully Zel will be in our room," said Link.

   They all walked up the main staircase together, before going their separate ways to their different rooms. Link walked off towards the tower where his bedroom was situated and began the climb of the many steps. As he walked, he noticed a faint feeling in the air, that all was not as it should be. He quickly shook it off and opened the door to his room, and saw Zelda, lying on the bed. When she heard the door open, she sat up straight away, almost ready to scream. When she saw it was Link, she relaxed a little. Link smiled over at her, not noticing her jumpiness. He walked over to the wardrobe and took out a dry tunic, shirt and set of pants. He tossed them onto a chair and tore off his wet clothes, placing them in the laundry basket. As he turned, he came face to face, or rather face to top of head with Zelda, who placed her hands on his bare chest and leaned up, kissing him softly on the lips. Link smiled to himself and wrapped his arms around her waist, allowing all of the memories that had reappeared in the last day or so to fade away with the kiss. When they finally parted, Zelda placed one hand on Link's cheek, caressing it gently. Link brought his hand up to hers, clasping it and bringing the palm to his lips. "How've you been?" he asked.

"I've missed you," admitted Zelda. Link smiled.

"I missed you too, princess," said Link, adopting her old nickname. Zelda smiled up at her husband, just his presence made her almost forget the incident earlier today, and that of the day before. As they gazed into each other's eyes, Zelda began to speak, but Link interrupted. He stopped, as did she. She had been about to tell him about the knife and the message, and the figure outside of her window. "Sorry, you go first," said Link. Zelda shook her head.

"No, it's okay, you go," said Zelda. Link half smiled, his eyes clouding over a little.

"I've decided to go to Catalia, and alone. I'll miss you and Ewan, and Brianna like anything, but I have to do this alone. You understand, don't you?" said Link, looking imploringly into Zelda's eyes. Zelda bit her lip, wishing she had taken Link's offer to speak first, because now there was no way she could tell him about everything that had happened, because she knew it would stop him from leaving her side. And she couldn't do that to him. This thing with his brother, it had to be done, like he had said. She paused then looked at the expectant Link.

"I love you," she whispered. Link smiled and kissed her.

"What a coincidence, I love me too," he joked. Zelda gave him a playful slap on the arm, still smiling despite what he had said. "Okay, okay, I give up. I love you too Zel, more than anyone, or anything in the world," said Link solemnly. He could've sworn he saw tears brimming in Zelda's eyes, but then before he could say anything, she gave him a fierce hug.

"Don't spend to much time in Catalia Link, I need you more than you could know, and so do your children," she breathed.

"Don't worry Zel, I'll spend only the time I need to visit Hayden's grave, and put some old spirits to rest," promised Link quietly, somewhat surprised by Zelda's small outburst. Zelda hastily backed away, pushing his dry tunic into his arms.

"Now come on, you'd better get dressed, before dinner," she advised, quietly admiring his physique. Link grinned, then quickly put on the dry shirt and pulled his tunic over his head.

"I don't suppose there's any chance of you getting undressed before dinner is there?" asked Link cheekily.

"Link!" cried out Zelda, sounding slightly embarrassed. She grabbed a small cushion from the end of the bed and threw it at him.

"Oh I get it, you want to save that 'til later," said Link, catching the cushion.

"You should be so lucky," laughed Zelda, feeling better already with Link around. She just hoped he kept his promise not to stay away from Hyrule for too long...

   Mara watched the couple from the balcony as they threw pillows at each, laughing happily. She frowned. How had the princess forgotten about the previous events of the day so easily? She put her hand to her chin thoughtfully, tilting her head to one side. Link was a very handsome man. Perhaps it was just as well Zelda hadn't confided in her husband about the recent goings on at North Castle. That would mean he could go to Catalia without any worries at all, and leave poor, poor Zelda all defenceless. Suddenly, she felt a firm hand on her shoulder, and she was forced to turn around.

"What are you doing here?" demanded a man's voice, his face partially blocked covered by the shadows.

"I might ask the same question," commented Mara snidely.

"I've been assigned to watch the princess, Martyn Sullivan's the name. Perhaps it looks as though I've located the little wretch who's been doing such things," said Martyn. Mara smiled. "Perhaps you have Martyn. How did you get up here?" she asked politely.

"Those vines over there, no doubt the same way as you did," said Martyn. Mara reached into her pocket, and quickly took out a sharpened knife, and plunged it into the hapless guards stomach. Martyn's eyes widened, his skin went pale, blood trickled from the corner of his half open mouth. His eyes focused onto Mara, who smiled evilly at him, then pushed him backwards, off the balcony, and into the courtyard below. There was a sickening thud, then Mara quickly wiped the knife and put it back into her cloak pocket. She then stood up on the balcony and jumped down, using her magic to almost float down. When she landed on the ground, she warily looked around, glad to see no-one had seen. She then grabbed Martyn by the collar and began to haul him away, to a place where she knew he would be concealed for a suitable amount of time. "Poor princess, it looks as though Mr. Sullivan won't be around to confirm whether it was a dream or not after all," she whispered gleefully to the dead man as she dragged him away.


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