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.
Juliet A. Singleton (Scullys@bigfoot.com) & Kirsty Singleton (Indigo_Spacen@mail.com)
There it was. Rising high upon the crest of a hill, stood Catalia Castle. Its strong grey walls made an impenetrable barrier, topped with red slated roofs. The Catalian flag fluttered in the soft summer breeze, atop the highest tower. North Castle, it wasn't, but a sturdy stronghold nonetheless. Strong enough to withhold any attacks from the Tanolian menace that plagued it often.
"We're finally here," Zelda said, sounding somewhat relieved. It was almost nightfall.
"Let's hope that they let us in," Link said, looking upwards towards the castle.
"They will, I'm sure of it," Zelda remarked confidently. She quickly spurred her horse on, up the incline that led to Queen Seline's home.
"We must have missed Aden and Derin," Fayzie said, relief also evident in her own voice.
"Thank goodness," Aaron said, glancing around a little.
"They wouldn't dare come near the castle," Fayzie replied. They continued to the top, eventually reaching the entrance. It was moated, and the drawbridge pulled up, but a light burned in the nearby guard tower. Zelda dismounted, and walked over to it, knocking on the barred window. A slat slid back, revealing a small hole.
"Identify yourself," said a gruff sounding voice.
"Princess Zelda of Hyrule, I order that you get Seline here at once," Zelda said, in her most regal tone.
"Prove it," the guard said. Zelda slipped off her kingdom ring, and put it through the hole.
"Is this enough? Seline shall surely recognise me, but if you want I can..." Zelda started. She was handed back her ring.
"Wait," the man interrupted. A few minutes later, the drawbridge was lowered, and several guards trooped over to the small group.
"We will escort you inside," they said, surrounding them. "Hand over your weapons," they ordered. Zelda dropped her bow, while Aaron and Link discarded their swords, daggers and bows. They were all checked over for concealed weaponry, and eventually satisfied, the guards hurried them over the drawbridge, and into the well lit castle courtyard.
Seline was waiting for them there. Zelda looked at her in interest; her golden hair was fading, braided now, her once lithe figure a little plumper, but her blue eyes as bright as ever. She did not give Zelda the welcome she was exactly expecting.
"Well, what do I owe this pleasure, my dear?" she asked, though her voice was cool, rather than warm. Zelda had stepped forward, about to hug her, but decided against it.
"Seline... it's been so long..." she began.
"It has," Seline agreed.
"We're in trouble, we need refuge for the night... and a boat," the Princess said, the words coming out in a nervous rush. Seline eyed her coldly.
"I see. Well, it can all be arranged," she stated.
"Thanks. I'm ever so..." Zelda started. Seline ignored her, turning to the nearby guards.
"Please, attend to these people, give them each a room and some food," she said. Then she turned back to Zelda. "Except for you, young lady. It's time we had a little... discussion," she said. Zelda swallowed nervously.
"But..." she tried.
"Come on, back inside, I'd like a proper look at you," Seline interrupted, taking the young Princess by the arm, and leading her towards a large, open doorway, behind the others, who had already walked inside.
A few minutes later, they were in Seline's private drawing room. It was much smaller than North Castle's, but equally as sumptuous and comfortable. They sat down on two chairs, facing each other.
"So, er, what are we.... discussing?" Zelda asked, puzzled.
"Hyrule's biggest tearaway has finally settled down and become a beautiful, young, married woman, and she may even make a fine queen someday. Yet she comes running in here, in trouble, once more?" Seline mused. Zelda looked down at the carpet, uncomfortable.
"I suppose so," she agreed.
"So, tell me more, then, Princess," Seline ordered. Zelda looked up, brushing a stray strand of golden hair away from her eyes.
"My husband Link, came to Catalia a few weeks back... to visit the grave of his brother, in Gardarika. Upon arriving, he was immediately ambushed by the town for no reason, and two of his own tribe took him down to a cellar, where they beat him and left him to die. I knew something was wrong, so I took my father's boat, along with one of our finest soldiers, Aaron Westley, to find him. We were attacked also, I was taken to the cellar, while Aaron managed to escape, and ultimately rescue us. We've been fleeing from the pair, after we returned to the port, to find my ship in pieces. Fayzie, and her child, one of the men's wives, is with us also," Zelda explained.
"I see," Seline said shortly.
"Seline, justice must be brought upon these men!" Zelda exclaimed.
"And it will be," the queen promised.
"After all Link had to endure, and for the trouble it's caused... and Hyrule is in trouble too, I sense it, yet I could not do anything about it," Zelda said, tears springing to her eyes.
"Well, you shall have your boat, and a room for the night as requested. But you do know, that this is all your own fault? You're as selfish as your father, Zelda," Seline replied. Zelda stared at her in surprise.
"My fault? I don't understand... and you shouldn't say such things about my father. He's the least selfish person I know!" she exclaimed.
"If you had let Link go, as fate had originally ordained, this wouldn't have happened," Seline pointed out.
"I loved Link! I wasn't about to let him go, fate, or no fate!" Zelda shot back.
"Sometimes, you have to," Seline said.
"Well, selfish of me, maybe it was. But you can't say that he didn't feel exactly the same way. You can never imagine the love we shared, how special it is," Zelda said angrily.
"I think I can Zelda. You're not the only one to fall in love, you know," Seline replied.
"You never married," Zelda pointed out.
"It doesn't mean that I didn't once love someone, though," Seline answered, suddenly looking sad.
"My father," Zelda guessed. Seline looked away.
"Little girls such as you, know nothing," she said. Zelda frowned, offended.
"I'm hardly that!" she snapped.
"Your father, like you, is a very selfish man. Hyrule is a powerful country, protected by magic, and yet she cannot spare the men to help her sister country in its time of need. We share an alliance, yet not once have you sent your armies to rid us of our oppressors," Seline said angrily. Zelda bit her lip.
"Those decisions are not mine," she said.
"No, because Hyrule's beloved Princess is too busy running around having adventures with her hero, to even bother about her kingdom," Seline said in a harsh tone.
"It's not like that," Zelda said quietly.
"Goodness knows who you got it from. But such a trial for your father, although he loves you dearly. You were always the most important thing to him, you know," Seline said thoughtfully.
"Well, have you finished with your little... lecture? Because I really think..." Zelda started. At that moment, a nearby door clicked open, and both the princess and queen turned to see who it was. A dark haired, handsome young man, with piercing eyes, which were an unusual shade of green, almost blue, had entered the room. He stared at Zelda for a second, obviously wondering who she was, then resumed his attention to Seline.
"Your Highness... I heard we had... unexpected... guests," he remarked, rather languidly, in Zelda's opinion. Seline smiled softly at him.
"Why yes, Robert," she replied. Zelda looked from one to the other, raising an eyebrow slightly, when she noticed how familiar they seemed with each other. Maybe Seline wasn't talking about my father after all! But... but... oh, he's even younger than me! she thought, looking over at the young man again. Seline had to be at least 50, after all. "Dear, may I introduce you to the daughter of an old friend... this is Zelda, Hyrule's princess," Seline introduced.
"Oh, what a pleasure. And as beautiful as the rumours say," Robert said, walking over, and taking her hand, to kiss it politely.
"Um, nice to meet you... Robert," Zelda replied, quickly pulling her hand away. Seline walked over to Robert, still smiling.
"Zelda, this is Robert... my heir," she stated. Zelda was even more surprised.
"Oh... I never..." she started.
"Robert is my adopted son. I never married... and Robert has proved himself so loyal to the kingdom... it made perfect sense," Seline explained.
"Oh... I see," Zelda said, not really knowing what else to say.
"Well, we must keep Catalia under a monarchy after all," Robert remarked. It seemed to Zelda that he was eyeing her rather coldly, but maybe she was imagining it. "Here with your... husband?" he then questioned.
"Link? Well, of course," Zelda replied, stepping back nervously. She turned to Seline. "Seline, if you really wouldn't mind... I'm so tired, and I have to get back to Hyrule tomorrow morning, before it's too late... could I just clean myself up, and go to bed? Nice talking as it has been..."
"I suppose you must. Robert, escort the Princess to the best guest chamber. Link should already be there. Check that they have as they need, with hot water, clean robes and of course, food," Seline said.
"Of course," he nodded. Seline turned to Zelda, and kissed her on the forehead.
"Maybe one day, you'll become the girl your father wishes. Give him my love, of course," she said.
"I will," Zelda promised. Seline nodded, then walked off, through a side door, leaving her alone with Robert.
"Come on," he said, taking her by the hand. Zelda didn't bother protesting, she was so tired... and confused...
Catalia's future heir remained silent the entire way to Zelda's quarters for the night. He tapped on the door before entering, and turned to Zelda.
"I trust you will enjoy your stay," he said politely. Zelda nodded and smiled gratefully.
"You will tell Seline we send our thanks," she said. Robert nodded. At that moment, Link entered the room from another door, which presumably led to the bathroom. He looked relieved to see his wife, but slightly surprised to see Robert. "Goodnight," said Zelda, before quickly taking a night dress handed to her by Link and walking into the bathroom.
"Er, hi," murmured Link, a little uncomfortable at this stranger's presence.
"Greetings Link, I am Robert," introduced the man, whose gaze penetrated Link's like no other. His eyes were intensely bright and that bluish green shade seemed almost unnatural. Link stepped forward, shaking the man's hand. His grip was tight, and all the time his gaze was on Link, like he was reading his thoughts...or something. Link finally broke the gaze, looking away. "I wondered if I might have a word," continued Robert, dropping Link's hand. Link shrugged, stifling a yawn.
"Er sure, yeah, go ahead," invited Link. He dared another glance back to Robert, the man was still watching him. He had dark hair, black, but his features were well defined, and he displayed many traits that were strictly Hylian.
"You obviously don't recognise me," began Robert. He folded his arms, watching Link with obvious interest for his reaction. Link frowned.
"No...should I?" he asked. Robert broke out into a smile, displaying perfectly formed white teeth. There was an air of arrogance about him, something that Link didn't like.
"No...I didn't expect you to. But I certainly remember you, did I fail to mention my surname?" asked Robert.
"You didn't mention it," confirmed Link.
"It's not a surname really...I guess our ancestors weren't all that imaginative," murmured Robert. Link suddenly realised, and he felt his heart go. There had been one last child of the tribe, named Bobby, but his proper name had been... "You've remembered then?" questioned Robert.
"Oh Robert, I," began Link, shaking his head. He had never even known that the small child that Robert had been had survived. He was a few years younger than Link, four or five at least.
"So sorry?" guessed Robert, the smile vanishing, replaced by a blank expression that told nothing.
"I never meant for Kylara to..." began Link again.
"None of us did Link. But then none of us tried to avoid Fate either," said Robert. He was frowning now.
"I don't see you married to a Kokiri," muttered Link.
"No you don't Link. I did marry into the tribe, remember Fayzie's sister? Nicola? We were married, briefly, before she was taken, like so many others of our tribe," murmured Robert. Sadness never crossed his expression, but Link sensed that there was a little there somewhere.
"I never loved Kylara," stated Link. He had just escaped the rest of the tribe with their tortures, was he to endure it here as well?
"Did any of us love those we married? No, not at first, but we married in respect of tradition, and Fate. You do realise Link that little Aden, he is the last Kokiri? Miya and Derin could never have children, there was only me and Nicola, you and Kylara left to carry on the line. But Nicola died in childbirth, along with our daughter, if you and Kylara had married, there would have still been a chance left for the Kokiri," reprimanded Robert.
"I'm sorry to hear about your wife and child, but what difference would it have made if I had married Kylara? We could have had many chilren, sure, but only one of them could have married Aden. The line would've ended a generation later, and you know it," retorted Link.
"The child you and Kylara would have had would've saved this country, your tribe, this world! And you threw it all away without a second thought," accused Robert, his tone growing cold.
"I loved Zelda, and how can you know that? About the child we could have had? Why mine and Kylara's child? Why no-one elses?" demanded Link.
"You will come to regret your decision in time Link, but then it will be too late," said Robert, shaking his head. Link stepped forward, coming face to face with his kin.
"You're as sick as Kylara was," he muttered. Robert looked surprised, and hurt by this comment, but he took no time in reacting to it. His hand shot forward, ready to meet Link in the face, but Link evaded just in time.
"Kylara, I recall, was sick with worry about what would happen if you did not marry her! She told you all she did so that you could see, and make the right decision!" exclaimed Robert.
"No! You are all bitter because I didn't carry on the tradition, because I found success elsewhere! You were the ones making the wrong choices, marrying people you didn't love for the sake of an out dated tradition! Look at Fayzie! She married Aden, she had no choice. He beat her, her caused her terrible pain, but you don't frown upon that do you? No, because Aden did the 'right' thing by marrying another Kokiri!" said Link, trying not to raise his voice. Robert looked a little surprised by Link's words, but took it right into his stride.
"Link if only you could see what damage you have caused," he murmured.
"If only you could leave me alone," replied Link, he was seething now, trying to control himself.
"You defied Fate Link on a selfish whim, you will realise your mistake eventually, when you watch that corrupt son of yours take the throne." Link bolted forward, unable to restrain himself, and he tried to punch Robert in the face. Robert was surprisinlg quick off the mark, and he grabbed Link's fist, forcing it back down to his side.
"My son is not corrupt!" glowered Link angrily.
"Not yet maybe, but in time," began Robert.
"Just go! I don't expect Seline would be happy to know that one of her guard's has been harassing the Royal guests," said Link. Robert smiled.
"Guard? Of course, I failed to mention didn't I? I'm Catalia's next heir, Link, and Seline knows all about your decisions Link, and the impact they will have on not only this country, but the rest of the Demiari. She is as impressed as I about the whole situation," informed Robert.
"Get out!" ordered Link. Robert bowed.
"I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening," he wished, before leaving the room.
Link exhaled loudly then walked over to the plush looking bed, seating himself down on it, holding his head in his hands. He had never regretted his decision to marry Zelda over Kylara, never. Not even when Zelda had acted so spitefully towards Leigh. He had never for a moment stopped loving Zelda since that day so many years ago when she had first confessed her love to him. He shook his head. Was it all lies? Had Kylara and the rest of her friends cooked up these so called prophecies just to make Link return to the tribe? Or was there truth in the words. He lay back, hoping, and praying that not one word of their claims were true.
Ewan didn't know how long he had been sleeping for, but he still felt tired when he awoke. The room was once again in darkness, nothing but silence and pure black accompanied him. He was scared, he knew that. Not terrified as he had been months earlier when he had fought to evade the clutches of Ganondorf Dragmire, but scared nonetheless. Suddenly the room was bathed in a sickly lantern light, and Ewan turned to see Mara. She reached out to take his hand, but he held back. Mara looked a little frustrated by this hesitance, and she quickly smiled reassuringly to the boy.
"Come now Ewan, I need to take you somewhere," explained Mara carefully.
"Why?" asked Ewan.
"Because it isn't so safe here anymore," said Mara. Another fleeting smile crossed her lips. Ewan gazed at her a little unsure, but eventually, he reached forward and took her hand. She smiled, then led him from the room, down a small rocky passage, which eventually opened out into a huge stone cavern. Ewan shivered, a cold breeze rushing through the cavern, and he looked around warily.
"Where are we?" he questioned.
"Somewhere where no-one can harm you," promised Mara.
"Won't my mother and father be worried?" questioned Ewan. Mara looked down at the young boy, sympathy painted across her features.
"Ewan, they were more worried about people you don't even know in another country. That's why your dad left you, and your mother followed him didn't she? She didn't care, all she did was leave that nasty Mr. Lainge to look after you," said Mara. Ewan frowned.
"But he was nice," protested the boy.
"On the outside maybe, but he's evil really Ewan. You can't trust people like that, it was lucky I was around to protect you from him," said Mara softly.
"I suppose so," agreed Ewan, still not sure. Mara glanced around the cavern, then led Ewan over to a stone altar. On it was a ceremonial knife, and a small black dish. Mara lifted the boy onto the altar and smiled at him. He swallowed and managed a weak smile back. Mara picked up the knife, it's bright blade shining in the darkness. "What's that for?" he questioned. Mara smiled again.
"Close your eyes Ewan, this might hurt a little, but you've got to be a brave boy, or the dangerous people might find us," murmured Mara, taking Ewan's hand, and turning it over, to view the palm. Ewan looked at her, then squeezed his eyes shut. Mara took hold of Ewan's tiny wrist with one hand, then with the other, she used the knife to make a cut right across Ewan's palm. Ewan gritted his teeth, his eyes keeping shut the whole time, but he didn't utter a sound. Mara smiled, and placed the knife back on the altar, and grabbed the small bowl, holding it under Ewan's hand. "Close your hand Ewan, squeeze it tight," she instructed. Ewan did as she said, and he winced as his fingers dug into the wounded flesh, blood spurting from it, and running from his palm to the back of his hand, where it dripped into the dish. "You're a brave boy Ewan, you have no idea how brave," said Mara, her tone almost affectionate. She leaned forward and kissed the boy on the forehead, before placing the dish back on the altar and prising open Ewan's bloodied fist. She took a length of bandage from her clothes, then wrapped it round his palm tightly, to cease the bleeding. Ewan opened his eyes, feeling faint again as he saw the blood staining the bandage around his palm.
"Why are you doing this?" he whispered.
"To make the world a better place," replied the healer, helping him down. "Come now, you need some more sleep," chided Mara, leading him from the cavern and back to the other room, where she made sure he got into the bed before leaving him alone in the cool darkness once more.
The King had paced all day and very near the whole night when Drake and his party finally returned. The King watched Drake expectantly as the knight entered his chamber, bowing low before beginning to proceed.
"Well?" demanded the King.
"Nothing sir. But it is looking very likely now that the person who has done this is that healer, Ms. Hespara. She has been missing since the child disappeared, and the majority of her belongings are missing from her chamber. Me and my party have searched both Mido and Rarau todays, with other parties searching Ruto, Julis and Saria. I've sent two more parties over to West Hyrule, where they will continue the search of towns. I've sent out further parties to explore any abanoned houses or buildings, and others to search the mountain areas of Ruto and Mido mountain ranges. Not every party has returned yet, but when they do I'll be able to give you a better picture of what is going on," informed Drake. The King bowed his head.
"Thank you sir," he murmured.
"I'm sure the boy will be found sir, I've made sure that no ships can leave Hyrule, except ones ordered by yourself. I've also sent several small boats to any countries that may be recieving ships from our country, that may have left earlier this morning. I've sent a party to Kuria island as well, to search the old communion retreat and its underground chambers," added Drake.
"My poor grandson," said the King, talking to himself, rather than Drake.
"Tomorrow I will take a party to search Death Mountain range and the immediate area around there. Hyrule is not a large country, whoever has him will not be able to hide for long," promised Drake. The King looked up.
"Yes Drake, that will be all. Perhaps you should go and check in the infirmary, see if Mr. Lainge has made any improvements from this morning," suggested the King.
"Yes sir, I'll do that," replied the knight, before respectfully bowing, then leaving. The King shook his head, before sinking down into his study chair, unable to do anything else.
Zelda felt a little better, after her bath, changed into fresh clothes. Her hair was still soaking wet, but she'd have to sleep with it that way, there was no time to dry it, besides it was far too warm for a fire. Her 'feeling' had seemed to pass, and her anxiety had lessened somewhat. Perhaps she'd imagined it after all. Maybe the churning in her stomach had been more guilt than anything else, and she'd pinned it as a warning to avoid the real issue at hand. Staring in the mirror, she felt her cheeks grow warm, and she quickly turned away from it. No, she couldn't just dismiss it. When she had a feeling like that, it was usually a warning that pertained to danger. She took a deep breath, still thinking. Whatever it was, the Triforce was still safe, she was sure of that. In fact, she knew. Maybe for one night, they could relax. She paused at the doorway, though. Now they really would be alone, no hiding, no lying. Maybe he wouldn't ask. Maybe he still didn't suspect. She put one hand on the door handle, turning it slowly. She then stepped into the room, seeing Link lying on his side, on top of the bed. The princess made her way over, seating herself on the other side. He sat up on noticing her, though he seemed half asleep.
"Hey Zel," he murmured sleepily, giving her a small smile. She smiled back faintly.
"Tired?" she asked.
"Just feels nice to have a real bed, after all this time," Link replied, sliding over so that he was next to her.
"I suppose," she agreed, running a hand through her half dry hair. It wouldn't have been so bad, only it was so long and thick... sometimes she wanted to cut it all off, to have it as short as Sprite's, but she knew Link would never let her do that. He loved her long, golden hair, after all. He gently slipped an arm around her shoulders, cuddling up close.
"I love you," he said quietly, his warm blue eyes meeting with hers for a moment. They both smiled at each other.
"Me too," Zelda agreed.
"I don't care what everyone else thinks about us, that we made a mistake... even if it was, you're my favourite mistake, you know that, right?" he said, looking at her earnestly.
"You know I'd have given everything up, everything, so I could be with you always," Zelda replied truthfully. "There's no mistake..." she continued, her tone becoming more upset. She thought of Seline for a moment. Did anyone in Catalia actually approve of the love she and Link shared? They all think he should have married Kylara, she thought, somewhat bitterly. A tear began to roll down her cheek.
"Zel?" Link questioned, reaching a hand up to brush it away. He let his touch linger for a moment, before moving away again.
"No mistake, it was never a mistake, it's the way it was always meant to be, you and I, just you and me, together forever," Zelda whispered.
"Why are you so sad? Are you worried about Hyrule still?" Link asked.
"I'm sad for all the people who'll never believe we did the right thing that day," Zelda replied, wiping away another tear that threatened to fall.
"When we got married? But we had to. For Hyrule..." Link stated.
"We weren't really married... we could have gone our seperate ways... our destined ways," Zelda pointed out, her voice slightly choked at this.
"I hardly think so! I'd say we consummated our 'marriage' that very night, there was no backing out after we..." Link started.
"Well, so many people seem against it all of a sudden, that it really makes you think!" Zelda snapped.
"Only in Catalia," Link pointed out.
"Hyrule's sister country doesn't approve of Hyrule's princess and her choice of husband. Even Seline, who I once loved like a mother, seems to hate me for it," Zelda said.
"Seline's heir is one of my kind," Link said softly. Zelda stared at him.
"What?" she asked.
"I don't want to discuss it," Link replied.
"But..." Zelda started. Link silenced her with a gentle kiss.
"Maybe I'm stupid for defying fate, but right now, I couldn't care or less. I only want to love you, and you alone," he whispered. Zelda leaned forward to kiss him.
"Go on, then," she murmured back.
It was going to be another sleepless night, Link mused to himself, sometime later. Zelda for once, was quiet, dozing quite happily, her head on his chest, and arms around him. But unlike her, he was unable to relax. His encounter with Robert previously still troubled him somewhat, he hated having old wounds opened as it was. He ran a hand through Zelda's almost dry hair, and then pushed the covers away slightly. Even in this draughty old castle, it was warm. I knew what I was doing, when I got involved in all this. I knew it'd be tough. But never this hard... he thought to himself. I was selfish, I didn't heed my calling. But am I really to blame for all this? Even if I had married Kylara, we'd never have retained our line. It's an impossibility, he continued thinking, still stroking Zelda's hair. Evidently, even Zelda had met with some sort of hostility over the matter as well, something she shouldn't have had to gone through. He was the one who'd persued Zelda, made her love him. He'd worked so hard to win her over, that he could never stand back and let her marry someone else. How could you marry someone that you didn't even love? It would have happened to Zelda, and it would have happened to him, if they'd given in to their destined fates. Or whatever it was. But it didn't matter, because it was only one place, a small, insignificant land, that frowned upon their union. Hyrule had never wanted anything else but them to rule the country, their beloved princess, and beloved hero. But it just hurt so much, because Catalia was his home land, his birthplace. Even though he assumed the nationality of a Hyrulian, in his heart, he'd always be a Catalian. Link tried closing his eyes, trying to forget. But the guilt was still there, refusing to go away. For years, back in Hyrule, it had never mattered to him. Never mattered that he'd chosen Zelda over Kylara. But now back in his homeland, there were constant, sharp little reminders, ensuring that he was indeed, suffering the consequences of his choice.
"But I love you Zel. No matter what they say about us," he whispered to his wife. "No-one will ever stop me from loving you," he continued. Besides, she wasn't just his wife. She was his best friend, the mother of his two children, his beautiful lover. Kylara would never have been any of those things, not even in time. Maybe a mother, but that would have been it. And not willingly, on his part. Zelda suddenly stirred a little, waking, blinking. Link smiled down at her.
"Is it morning?" she asked. He shook his head.
"Go back to sleep, Zel. Rest while you can," he said, caressing her shoulder lightly. She moved away from him a little, and rolled onto her side, so that they were facing each other.
"Why are you still awake?" she asked, a little concerned.
"Just thinking," he replied, reaching over run a hand across her cheek fondly. She smiled.
"Don't think too much, else you'll never get any rest."
"You know me, never stop thinking about you," he joked. She laughed quietly.
"Well, it's true," he replied, smiling back at her.
"Come on. We ought to sleep. By tomorrow night, we might still be on a boat, after all, it's a longer distance up the coast," Zelda said.
"Good idea," Link agreed. They cuddled up close in the darkness, each both hoping the ordeal would soon be over.
Mara glanced around the cavern, taking a deep breath. This was were it was all about to begin again, and she was to be the initiator. She smiled to herself, taking the potion from her pockets and uncapping it, inhaling its colourless aroma. She had built up to this for the past few years of her life, if not her whole life. It was what she had been born to do, it was the path chosen her by Fate himself, there was not another mortal on this Demiari who could perform the task she was about to do. She closed the vial again with its cork, then set it on the altar, picking up the bowl of blood that she had collected from the boy. She had set three stones in a triangle, and upon each stone, she sprinkled an amount of blood on the grey stones, staining them red. The bowl was now empty, so she cast it aside, and retrieved the potion back from the altar. Her heart was beating faster now in apprehension, the moment was so close. She removed the cork from the potion and began to chant the words that she had learnt so long ago, sent to her in a vision, a dream.
"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Razne Vloi'd'eth wgah'nagl fhtagn! Efn'guhd nai! Efn'guhd nai!" she murmured, the words starting off low but slowly becoming louder and louder, into a scream. As she chanted she sprinkled the potion over the bloodied rocks, and it hissed, tendrils of white mist smoking up from it. It was working. "Gluhd fger nh'ethe, in'ci guhd nai!" Smoke hissed from the second stone, and Mara approached the third. "Et'her n'ver kndu eshk'ay!" she screamed, throwing the vial against the last stone, glass flying everywhere. The white smoke that emitted from the mix of blood and liquid began to snake upwards, the tendrils from each stone linking together in union. Mara, her whole body shivering, stepped back, and watched in awe at the unfolding events.
As the fingers of smoke met at the top of the cavern, there was a blinding flash of light as a dark portal formed under the arch of smoke. Mara watched unblinking, then quickly continued the chant, in an attempt to entice the entity from the portal.
"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Razne Vloi'd'eth wgah'nagl fhtagn!" she shouted clearly, and there was a strange shift in the whole cavern, as if something in the actual ether of the world had changed. There was an explosion as the smoke ripped apart, and the portal became wider, a dark and menacing form emerging through. Mara almost laughed in glee, unable to believe that it had actually worked. There was another flash, and the portal had gone, the smoke dispelled. In its place remained a huge form, majestic in Mara's eyes. That of a great griffin. It turned to her, yellow eyes gleaming in the darkness, and a smile seemed to take form.
"Oh master Razne!" exclaimed Mara, falling to her knees.
"Back from the dead I am," he murmured. He was indeed an awesome sight to behold, perhaps due to the fact that griffins now were so rare. He had the head, beak, and wings of a golden eagle, with immaculate feathers and yellow eyes that were alien to the eyes of a normal eagle. His body and legs were that of a lion, the feathers tapered out around his back, replaced by smooth, golden fur, and from his back emerged a serpent's tail, which looked strong yet lithe.
"Yes, indeed, you have me to thank for that, Razne," murmured Mara standing up. The griffin tipped his head to one side, studying her intently.
"That name is so out of date my dear. I changed it aeons ago, to Enzar I believe," he commented, not seeming impressed by Mara in the slightest. Mara frowned a little.
"What's in a name? I think a little gratitude is in order," she murmured. Their first meeting had not been as she had imagined. Enzar gave a startled laugh, and shook his head.
"Gratitude? To a mere mortal? I don't think so my dear," grinned Enzar. He began to stride about the cavern, looking unimpressed. Mara turned, watching him, placing her hands on her hips.
"I was the only mortal on this Demiari to have the power to bring you back. I also have the power to destroy you," stated Mara. Enzar laughed, amused by her threats.
"Why did you bring me back?" he asked, turning to look at her. Mara smiled. Now he was asking the right questions.
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