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)
The next morning, Link rose early, packing a few things for his short trip to Catalia. After he had finished gathering up a few of his things, he walked over to Brianna's cradle and smiled down at the sleeping babe. "You're gonna be as beautiful as your mother," he promised in a whisper. He turned and saw that Zelda was still sleeping, so he leaned over her and gave her a small kiss on the tip of the nose. She stirred a little, Link watching her peaceful face with amusement. "Zel?" he whispered. Zelda shifted her position, turning slightly away from her husband. "Oh, you're gonna play it that way are you?" he asked, sitting down on the bed beside her. He reached over and tickled her on the cheek, causing her to lift a hand and swot him away. "Zelda..." he chided. She made a small murmur, one that Link couldn't make out. Link sighed and looked around the room thoughtfully. He took off his hat and ran his fingers through his thick wavy hair, thinking for a moment. He stood up and walked across the room to the French doors, pulling them open and stepping outside into the cool morning air. He took a deep breath, and looked around, finally exhaling after a moment or two. He leaned over the balcony and looked down to the courtyard, seeing nothing much interesting. He decided to go back inside, and wake Zelda up. She was still asleep, and as Link leaned over to give her a gentle shake, his small pack of belongings by the bed caught his eye. He knew what else he would take. Kneeling down by the bed, he looked under it, and found a small wooden box, tucked in the very corner next to the wall. He pulled it out and opened it. It was full of letters, and poems and verses. Something Zelda had given to him over a year before, when he'd left the safety of North castle and emerged onto the battlefield as Hyrule fought against Ganondorf's dark army. He never had properly looked through it all. On his trip to Catalia, he was sure to have plenty of lonely moments, these would surely comfort and remind him of what he had to come back to. He closed the box and picked it up, heaping it in his pack, and closing the pack. Then he turned to Zelda and grinned, picking up a pitcher of cool water on the bedside table and holding it slightly tipped over her head. "Oh Zelda..." he said teasingly. Zelda woke up, and quickly rolled to avoid a torrent of water that Link emptied from the pitcher. She looked up at Link, who grinned.
"Whatever you might say, that was NOT funny," said Zelda scoldingly, although she found it very hard to resist Link's cheeky grin.
"You're right, it would have been funnier if you didn't move," said Link solemnly. Zelda sat up.
"Link!" she said.
"What?!" asked Link, holding up his hands in defence.
"If I hadn't moved in time, I'd be soaking," said Zelda.
"Yeah, pity that..." said Link, still trying to keep his face straight. Zelda looked across at the wet patch beside her.
"You should be glad you won't be sleeping here tonight, because you'd be sleeping on the wet side," said Zelda.
"It'll be dry by then," said Link.
"Why don't you stick around and see then?" asked Zelda.
"Well if it was still wet, then we'd just have to both share one side," reasoned Link.
"No way, you'd end up pushing me out," said Zelda. She got out and flipped her hair over her shoulders.
"As if I would do such a thing," said Link, pretending to be insulted.
"Hmmm..." was all Zelda could say as she walked away from the bed and to the dressing table. Link followed her.
"You looked so peaceful, I couldn't resist," explained Link.
"Well it's a good thing someone round here has some restraint, or that pitcher would've been smashed over your head by now," said Zelda, looking into her reflection on the mirror.
"Well, perhaps I should test exactly just how restrained you really are," said Link, wrapping his arms around Zelda's thin waist.
"Link, I'm trying to get ready," insisted Zelda, attempting to wriggle out of Link's grasp.
"It can wait, there's plenty of time until breakfast," said Link, pushing away some of Zelda's, long blonde hair and kissing her on the shoulders. Zelda turned away, a faintly amused look on her face, although it was almost hidden by a look of annoyance.
"Link really, it's, what? Six in the morning, I'm too tired for this," said Zelda. She took hold of both of Link's hands and pushed them from her waist, before turning her attention back to getting ready for the day ahead. Link stepped away.
"Ah well, I can only but try," he said with a sigh. Zelda applied some of her lipstick.
"I hope you don't decide to adopt the phrase 'If fail, try, try again' " she commented.
"Not a bad idea," said Link, looking at her in the mirror. Zelda directed a stare at Link's reflection. "Okay, maybe not. Well, I'll leave you to put on your face, I'm going to go and see Ewan, see you in a bit," said Link, turning and walking from the room. Zelda smiled at herself in the mirror as she finished applying the lipstick. Perhaps that visit to Leigh's memorial site had helped clear some things up for Link, he had been especially attentive lately. She pushed her hair back behind her shoulders, from where Link had moved it. Of course, there was still one thing that bothered her. She still hadn't been able to locate Martyn Sullivan from the day before, and still had no way of confirming of whether the incident in her room had been a dream or not. She shook her head. Nothing unusual had occurred since Link had come back, but Zelda was worrying about when Link was not going to be around.
"I'm going to miss you," murmured Zelda to Link, holding him close.
"Me too, but I won't be long, I promise," said Link softly. It was still fairly early, but Link had to leave in order to catch the ship leaving from Saria town to Catalia. Ships between the country did not often happen, and if Link missed this one, he'd have to wait at least two weeks for the next one, or take the King's ship from Mido town but it would take a lot longer from Mido than it would from Saria.
"You promise?" asked Zelda. Link leaned back a little, to look Zelda in the eye.
"I promise," he said sincerely. Zelda gave Link a small kiss then stepped back, still holding one of his hands. Link smiled and leaned forward, to give her a longer, and more lingering kiss.
"Hey! Are you leaving yet?!" demanded a small, high-pitched voice. Link and Zelda both parted in surprise, they hadn't expected many people to be around.
"Sprite..." said Link.
"Good, I thought I might have missed you. Fortunately you were both still busy...ahem. Well anyway, I'm coming with you," said Sprite.
"Since when?" asked Link. Sprite glanced down at her nails.
"Since...well, right about now in fact. So, are we going yet?" asked Sprite impatiently. Link sighed and looked at Zelda, smiling slightly.
"Looks like we are now," he said. Zelda leaned forward and gave him a quick peck on the cheek.
"Take care Link," she said.
"He doesn't need to. I'll be there remember, it's my job to take care of him so come on," said Sprite. She grabbed Link's sleeve and began to tug him towards his horse.
"Bye Zel!" called Link over his shoulder as he mounted Carefree.
"Farewell Link!" called Zelda. Link waved at Zelda again, then waited as Sprite settled in his pocket, then clicked his tongue and spurred Carefree on, and out of the courtyard. Zelda watched him leave, somewhat sombrely, before turning and slowly walking back into the castle.
Mara wandered into the nursery, searching for the young boy who she believed held the power to uniting the Triforce properly. The one who had all three virtues inside him. Mara had none of these virtues, so she would need to use the boy as a conduit in order to get them herself. To her annoyance, the old Hylian nursemaid was already in the room, telling a story to the enthralled youngsters. Mara scowled, and stepped back through the doorway for a moment. From what she'd heard, Impa had been one of the longest serving, and most loyal servants of the present royal family. She had been Zelda's nursemaid, in fact, practically her mother, at times. Not to mention the woman was also on the Royal Council as one of the King's most trusted advisors. Still scowling, she glanced back through the door. The woman looked so old, and frail, and yet... yet, Mara sensed an obvious power about her. She knows magic, Mara thought. She'd have to be careful. This woman could ruin her plans. She also knew that Hylians had a longer life expectancy than most, and that this Impa could be around for quite a while yet. She had to go... But for now, Mara had no time to think up a plan. Brushing her hair back over her shoulder, she walked into the room, determined to meet Ewan. Impa looked up as she approached.
"Yes dear?" she questioned, closing the book and putting it to one side. She turned to the children. "That's all for now. I'll tell you the next story later tonight," she promised.
"Thanks Impa, you're the best!" Ewan said, hugging her knee, before running off the other end of the room with a bonnie little boy with dark hair, who looked around the same age as him. The three young girls also went off the play together, and only another young boy was left, a sulky looking one with dark hair.
"Go on Roderick, go and play," Impa said, pointing over to where Ewan and the other boy were. Roderick stuck his hands in his pockets, and walked off sulkily. Impa got up, and walked over to Mara, while still keeping an observant eye on the children.
"I'd rather like to meet the children, if you didn't mind," Mara remarked, looking at Impa shyly.
"Well, of course you can! Goodness, I don't think I've ever met someone quite so keen, as you," Impa said, smiling. Mara lowered her eyes.
"Well... actually, I always wanted to be a nursemaid, but my parents... well, they made me train as a healer. They said it was a better paid job," she said in a low tone. Impa nodded.
"Maybe so, but I would not know myself. The King pays me very generously... well, he always has done. But I was lucky; my family has served the Royal Family for a long time, after all," she said.
"I see," Mara said.
"Ah, I love these children so. It's hard work, but rewarding. As is healing, I might add. And you appear to be an excellent one so far," Impa praised. Mara blushed.
"I have always been told I have the gift," she admitted.
"Yes. It's lucky to be blessed with such a power. But, if you love the children... well, maybe, if you're not too busy, you can help out," Impa said. Mara's heart leapt. She fought the urge to smile smugly. Instead, she let her lips curve into a grateful smile.
"Oh... oh, that would be wonderful!" she said.
"Well, they can be a handful sometimes! I'll be grateful for some extra help now and then!" Impa laughed.
"Don't their mothers help?" Mara inquired.
"Oh, of course. But they too, both have young babies once more to look after, and lots of royal responsibilities," Impa replied.
They sat down on the wooden bench nearby. "Who's who?" Mara asked. She already knew who Ewan was. The lithe, athletic one, with reddish-brown hair, bright blue eyes and the cheerful smile. He looked very like his father, although Mara had not seen Link in great detail. He'd been and gone, before she could even meet him properly. However, she'd seen enough of him to immediately notice the close resemblance.
"Most of these children belong to the Lady Fayette, the Princess' step-sister. The three girls are hers, the one with red hair is Rosella, and the two dark-haired twins are called Rosalind, and Rosamund. They're pretty hard to tell apart, too," Impa smiled. Mara smiled back, looking over at the young girls. They were certainly very pretty.
"I don't mean to be rude, but is Lady Fayette's husband..." Mara let her words trail off there, looking slightly sad.
"Yes. Dear Raymundo, he passed away but a year ago, murdered," Impa said.
"Goodness! That's simply too terrible!" Mara exclaimed, putting her hand to her mouth.
"Yes... it was a very sad time for us all," Impa agreed. She pointed to the sulky looking boy. "That's her eldest son, Roderick. He really doesn't seem to get on with the rest of the children at all, although I've tried to get them to all play together," she said.
"Oh... he's a loner?" Mara asked.
"I suppose so. He probably misses his father a great deal. The others... they are too young to really understand," Impa replied.
"I see," Mara said.
"Lady Fayette has another child, a mere babe, she named him Raymundo after his father. He looks to be a delightful child," Impa added. Mara pointed over to the dark-haired boy playing with Ewan.
"Who's child is that? I thought the Princess had only one son," she said, confused.
"Oh, that is young Timothy Westley, son of one of Link and the Princess' greatest friends, Aaron Westley. He and Ewan are like brothers... and Zelda has given him the privilege of living in the royal nursery," Impa explained.
"Oh, how kind of her!" Mara exclaimed.
"Yes... Zelda has a good heart. She'll make a fine ruler someday," Impa smiled.
"It's already an honour to serve under her father. He seems so kind and benevolent," Mara said, looking down at her lightly tanned hands shyly.
"I am proud to serve this family myself," Impa agreed.
"That is Prince Ewan, I assume?" Mara questioned, nodding over at Ewan.
"Yes, yes. Such a fine young boy, but then, he does have Link and the Princess as his parents!" Impa replied, smiling again. How anyone could like that cold, pretentious bitch is beyond me, Mara thought to herself, bored of Impa's glowing praise for the woman.
"They have a daughter too, do they not?" she asked.
"Yes, Princess Brianna. Such a beautiful baby! One day, she will be no doubt as attractive as her mother. All the men in Demiari shall want to marry her, I'm sure!" Impa said.
"Oh, of course. Though, I have yet to see her," Mara smiled. "Then I shall show you both her and Ray when it is convenient," Impa offered.
"Thank you, it would be a pleasure. I simply adore young children," Mara said, standing up. "Going so soon?" Impa asked.
"Yes. I've got a few jobs to do," Mara lied. She turned to look over at Ewan. He didn't notice her presence. "I'll see you later," she smiled, before walking out of the nursery.
By nightfall, Link reached the Catalian shore. The meagre amount of passengers all disembarked, and disappeared off into the night. Link led Carefree off the small ship, and up the hill, away from the beach. Gardarika Town was situated only a few miles away, up in the rolling hills which lay to the west, but tonight, Link wasn't going to even bother riding there. He was afraid that the Gardarikans might turn him away in disgrace. He had come each year, and as he passed through on his way to the graveyard, he had received cold stares and remarks from the townsfolk. They blamed him for not only Kylara's death, but also Hayden's. They called him a traitor, and worse. Right now, Link didn't feel like that sort of reception. As he and his horse walked upon the crest of the hill, he spotted a grove of trees nearby, which would provide ample shelter for the night.
"You're camping out?" Sprite inquired. Link nodded.
"I couldn't bear to see, or hear their expressions and words," he said, referring to the people of Gardarika.
"Oh, they're so mean! Kylara killed herself, it wasn't your fault. They ought to accept it!" Sprite said, looking slightly flustered.
"I guess you can't always change how people feel," Link sighed. He removed Carefree's saddle, and then pulled a rug out of his large, heavy pack. He placed it on the horse's back, removed Carefree's bridle and hung it around his neck, trying a strap to a nearby tree. It wasn't really necessary, for he knew his mount rarely strayed, but it was just a safety precaution. The hero laid his bedroll out on the ground, and covered it with a warm blanket. He and Sprite went to search for some wood, and then made a small fire, so as to keep warm. Milona, North Castle's head cook, had provided him with provisions to last a few days. Link cooked some meat on the fire, and ate it with a small, crusty roll. Sprite sat on his shoulder, chatting animatedly. He didn't really hear what she was saying, just nodded, and ate. He was glad for the company, anyway. He was, after all, already missing Zelda. He hated to sleep without her, he had become so used to it. He wondered how Sprite felt, being alone once more. She seemed happy though. He supposed that she'd never really enjoyed her marriage, which had, after all, been arranged by her father. If I'd married Kylara, would we have separated too? he pondered.
"Hey, why so quiet?" Sprite suddenly asked.
"Oh... no reason," Link replied, eating the last slither of meat. It had tasted delicious. The faerie flew in front of him, hovering just before his face.
"You know Link," she remarked, smiling somewhat mischievously, "I like it when we're alone." "I'll say," Link replied, leaning back against a nearby tree. Sprite alighted on his knee, still looking up at him.
"It's really too bad that I'm a faerie," she added.
"Mmm... I suppose," Link said, beginning to feel a little sleepy. He looked up to the sky, and noticed the thin crescent moon, partially hidden behind some clouds.
"And, besides, you needed a rest from Zelda. I hardly ever get you all to myself these days. Especially at night," the faerie continued, grinning.
"Oh, Sprite. Really," Link sighed.
"Well, how d'you think I feel, huh? I have to keep a constant vigil on you, being your guardian faerie and all, and sometimes..." Sprite began. Link cut her off.
"Sprite, I appreciate it, but you know, you don't have to," he smiled.
"Hmph! Well, I'm only trying to do my job, you know!" Sprite announced in a haughty manner. Link smiled at her.
"And you do a great job. I'm safe, aren't I?" he questioned.
"Only thanks to me! I'm just saying, that like, when you and Zelda are alone, you can include me in your deep and meaningful conversations. I mean, I can talk about that sort of stuff, I'm not dumb!" Sprite said.
"I never said you were," Link replied.
"And, you can tone all your romantic moments down, too! It's not like... it's not like you just got married or something!" the faerie added.
"Umm... no thanks. Anyway, you shouldn't be hanging around my room so much if you don't like it," Link answered, wrapping his cloak around himself more closely. It was starting to get a little chilly.
"Ahem, but your room, is my room! Anyway, do you have to kiss her so much? I mean you kiss her when you go to bed, when you get up, whenever you..." Sprite started, ticking off on her fingers.
"Hey, she is my wife, you know! I have to show her a little affection, at least," Link protested.
"A little? You call all that, a little?!" Sprite muttered. She clicked her fingers, and immediately her outfit changed from his short pink dress to a long, warm-looking night-gown. "Well, I don't know about you, but I'm pretty tired," she announced. She flew over and gave him a tiny faerie kiss on the cheek. "Night," she whispered, before flying down onto the ground, where she'd laid her own small blanket. Link smiled to himself, and followed suit, lying down on his own bedroll and covering himself up with the blanket.
One of North castle's guards, Andrew Lawhead, slowly paced around the perimeter of the castle, stifling a yawn. Night watch was so boring, but Andrew preferred it that way. He looked casually into the moat as he walked, swinging his sword from one hand and then to the other. He began to hum a little tune to himself, when his eyes caught sight of something floating in the water. He quickened his pace until he came level with the shape bobbing in the water and leaned across, looking in the water. It was dark, and he couldn't see very clearly, so he stuck out his sword and attempted to hit the form in the water closer to him. It barely moved, just bobbed about a little more, but when Andrew held his sword up to his face, he saw it was covered in a dark, sticky liquid. He dropped his sword and pack, and dragged out his lantern, quickly lighting it. He held it toward the water, and saw that the form floating there was that of a human. Whoever it was had dark blonde hair, matted by the water, and they were face down. They were also wearing North Castle guard uniform. Andrew looked up, and saw a guard, far up perched on the battlements of the castle.
"Hey! Up there!" he called, putting his lantern down and using both hands to amplify his voice. The guard looked down.
"What's up?" he asked. Andrew looked to the floating form.
"There's something down here, in the moat," he began.
"Huh? What?" asked the other guard.
"Body. Human. In our uniform," replied Andrew slowly.
"You don't say? Look, stay there, is it dead?" asked the guard. Andrew grabbed his sword, fingering the blood stained blade with his gloved hand.
"Looks to be so," he shouted back up.
"I'll send someone out, help you get it out the moat an' that. I'll be two minutes," promised the guard, who promptly disappeared from Andrew's line of sight. Andrew looked at the sword curiously, then glanced around. Had it been an accident, he thought. Or had it been altogether something a little more...sinister?
"Sir!" barked the guard to Drake as he approached. Drake turned from his post.
"Uh-hmm?" asked Drake. He was tired. It was his third night this week on night duty, and he hadn't had enough sleep of late.
"Body found in the moat sir. I'm not sure, none of us are, but we reckon it could be Sullivan, Martyn. He's been missing since last night sir, I already told you that this afternoon. He's in uniform, and it was no accident. He has a knife wound right here, in the stomach, twisted right round, cut all of 'is insides up it will 'ave. Looks like the body's been dumped, there were bits'o rope tied to 'is wrists an' that. Like 'ee musta been tied to a rock or something, and snapped free or summit. It does not look good sir," explained the guard, whose name was Grey Fessional. He was Drake's second in command. Drake rubbed his eyes.
"So what you're saying to me is that one of our guards had been murdered, then dumped in the North Castle moat. This is bloody brilliant. You know Martyn? He has a bloody wife and two kids. Another one on the way," said Drake gruffly, scratching the side of his face for a moment. He shook his head.
"Sorry sir," apologised Grey, not really knowing what else to say.
"Where's the body now?" asked Drake.
"Still by the moatside sir, where we's pulled him out," answered Grey.
"Okay, I'll come and take a look, then I'll go and have a chat with the King. He's not going to be happy about this at all," said Drake, before following Grey to were the body lay.
"Martyn Sullivan?" asked the King. He was dressed in his pyjama's and night robe, his hair in a disarray. Drake lowered his eyes.
"Yes sir, Martyn Sullivan," confirmed Drake for the second time. The King shook his head. "This is not good Drake. I spoke with Sullivan not two days ago. My daughter, she felt someone was watching her, I assigned Martyn to watch my daughter, make sure no-one got to her," said the King, beginning to pace around his study.
"Someone watching Zelda?" asked Drake in surprise, it was the first he had heard.
"Yes. She was taking a bath when she claimed to see some figure in the window watching her. I just wanted to make sure she was safe. I knew Martyn had been a sell-sword before he settled here, not to mention he had looked after me on several trips abroad, I thought he would've been the most capable, besides yourself and Link of course," said the King, scratching his beard. "Sir, why didn't you inform me about this? I myself would have recommended Martyn, but sir, Link is in Catalia, if he had known about this then he surely would have stayed," said Drake.
"To be honest Drake, it was stormy the night she saw this figure, I thought it was a trick of the light. Do you think that this and Martyn's murder are connected?" asked the King. Drake shrugged.
"There's no way of telling, but if it is, we have to assign someone to Zelda's side immediately. In fact, we should have someone see she is okay," said Drake firmly. The King nodded, and turned to a guard who was standing alert in case the King wanted to pass on any messages. "You've heard the conversation, go and see she is okay, in fact, fetch her to me at once," ordered the King. The guard saluted and quickly left. "So who do I assign Drake? You, Aaron?" asked the King. Drake sighed, scratching his chin thoughtfully.
"You know...and old friend of mine, Kairbre Lainge is passing through Hyrule currently. You have heard his name surely?" started Drake. The King paused for a moment then nodded.
"Yes, isn't he a sell-sword? But there's something more...his name does seem very familiar," said the King.
"Yes, he is a sell-sword, he hails from Aidnaryk. But he used to be Queen Seline of Catalia's personal guard. You know how much Lord Canivaris of Tanol wanted her dead after she refused to give up Catalia. He has saved her life on more than one occasion," said Drake. The King looked at Drake.
"Of course, now I remember. Me and Seline go back a far way, I believe I may have even met him before," exclaimed the King.
"Not only that, but he managed to trace and dispose of her would-be assassins every time. He's an intelligent man, he may be just who Zelda needs, in the absence of Link. He may even find who is behind all of this," said Drake. The King nodded.
"Do you know where he is staying?" he asked. Drake nodded.
"He's staying in Saria town, in the Rusty Sword Inn," replied the knight.
"Then he must be sent for straight away," declared the King. Drake nodded.
"I'll get someone on it right now," he promised, before leaving the King's study.
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