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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) & Kirsty Singleton (email@example.com)
Damon finished up on eating the delicious breakfast that Fayzie had prepared him that morning and smiled over at the pretty Catalian.
"I'm certainly going to miss all this when you move out," he exclaimed, having fully enjoyed the succulent bacon and creamy scrambled eggs that she had rustled up. She smiled shyly at him before returning to washing the pans in the sink. Damon stood up and walked over to the sink. "Here, let me do that, you cooked after all," he said.
"Oh... it's really okay, I don't mind," Fayzie said hurriedly, blushing as he stood close to her.
"It's the least I can do, you work too hard, do you know that?" he asked. He felt sorry for the woman, feeling sad that she felt she worth little but housework. So many women he knew, did their own thing, whether it be healing and barwork like Selina Rowen had once done, or the beautiful work of Aimée Westley's embroidery. Fayzie didn't seem to have any kind of hobbies, perhaps aside from cooking. Her husband, Damon thought angrily, had probably never permitted her to do anything else. Her attitude seemed old-fashioned and out of place in Hyrule now. He thought of Ashleigh Caffrey, Aaron's sister. She was a house-wife, but she was always doing other things, rushing about here and there, talking to people and bringing many a ray of sunshine about the village. She had befriended Fayzie and he was glad. He just felt guilty sometimes because of all the work she did. He almost felt he might indeed miss her, when she did go. The old cottage had not felt a woman's touch for many years. As he looked at her she simply blushed even more and then continued washing the pans.
"It is all I know," she said softly. "To work in the house, to look after my child."
"Leave these dishes, for they can surely wait. Perhaps we can take a trip together today, bring little Aden along for I shall be taking the cart. I have business in Nabrooru Town, in fact I am meeting my good friend Dion. Why don't you come along? It will take most of the day to get there so we'll stay at an Inn, but it will be wonderful trip, I promise. Nabrooru is the biggest town in East Hyrule and many interesting folk live there. Say yes, won't you?" Damon asked hopefully. Fayzie looked away shyly.
"Oh... well I do not wish to intrude on you and your friend," she said.
"You shall not, in fact I am sure Dion will be delighted to make your acquaintance. You may have heard of him, for he is a famed architect and also the captain for the Hyrulian Army's archers," Damon explained. Fayzie shook her head.
"I'm afraid not," she said apologetically. Damon laughed.
"Ah well, once you have met him my dear, you shall certainly never forget him!" She gave him a small smile. "So what say you?" he asked.
"Well, if it is what you want me to do..." she started. Damon placed a hand on her arm.
"Fayzie, only if you want to. If not, you are welcome to stay here, I just thought you might enjoy a change of scenery, that's all," he said. She flinched a little at his touch, flushing, and he withdrew, looking at her questioningly. "Sorry," he said, confused at her reaction. Then he remembered Aden. "I did not meant to bother you," he apologised. Fayzie shook her head, looking embarrassed.
"You weren't... I'd... I'd love to come," she said quickly.
"Okay good, well go and get the little one ready, and I shall put Jasper to the cart," Damon suggested. She quickly smiled and dashed into one of the backrooms. The ranger watched after her thoughtfully for a moment, before going outside to tack up Jasper ready for their oncoming journey. He only hoped that Fayzie was going to be happy with her new life here in Hyrule.
Zelda woke early the following morning, the cacophony of birds singing noisily outside. Link lay still in deep sleep and she left him, rising up from the bed, walking across to the full length mirror that stood nearby. Looking into the glass, a beautiful, young, blonde-haired woman stared back at her, not a thing wrong with her appearance. Mentally she compared herself to the lowly peasant girl Fayzie, remembering the small woman with her thick, dark locks, warm brown eyes and comely figure. She was certainly pretty but certainly almost unnoticeable; she was someone Zelda would never have imagined Link might fall for. In all the time she had known Link, she had always worried he would love someone else, but in her angst she had always imagined those rivals to be stunningly beautiful, just like Leigh had been, or Selina. Not someone as normal as Fayzie. But deep down in her heart, she knew that looks had nothing to do with Link's affection. It ran far deeper than that and from the moment they had met, although he had admitted to believing she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, once they had got to know each other he had loved her for who she was. It had had nothing to do with the way she looked, or her royal status. But what had he seen in her? She knew she was stubborn and selfish, jealous and sometimes even petty. They were things she hated herself for and strove so hard to control. All too often Link had been at the receiving end of those things and for years he had tolerated them, his good nature and kind heart making allowances for her. She had never deserved him. No wonder he had turned to Fayzie. Zelda barely knew the woman, but she knew that she was sweet and kind and gentle. When Link had wanted support and comfort, Fayzie had been around. She, Zelda, had not. She had just assumed Link could cope. He'd always been so good at coping with whatever life had thrown at him. Obviously not.
A solitary tear fell from her emerald green eyes, splashing off her cheek. She looked down at the floor, bringing a hand to softly part the robe she was wearing, revealing the ugly red scar across her stomach. That scar would always be a harsh reminder of how close she had come to failing Hyrule. Failing her people. Failing her family. Mara had almost killed her and had it not been for Sprite and Felicity, she would have bled to death deep within Death Mountain; something Ganon would have taken great pleasure in seeing. Then she thought of Ewan, and her son's brave act at saving her. He had united the Triforce to wish to the Goddesses to spare her life. Long after the Fey's spells had worn off, lying in bed at North Castle, Zelda had known she wasn't going to live. There had been nothing the healer could do to save her from her fate. And then the miracle had happened. Zelda couldn't even remember it, her memory of the time growing more hazy with each day. She glanced back at Link, her thoughts on him once more. All her had ever done was love her, and she had only given him doubt in return. More tears rolled down her cheeks as she contemplated this but she quickly wiped them away and walked back over to the bed. Gently, she tugged on the bedclothes in an effort to wake her husband.
"Link... Link, it's time for you to get up," she said. He opened his eyes, looking a little bleary and let out an audible sigh.
"Is it that time already?"
"Father wants to leave early so you can arrive in Catalia in good time," she explained. Link immediately sat up, running a hand through his thick, dark hair which was in a wild disarray.
"I suppose I better get ready then," he said. Looking over at her he added, "Zel, are you okay?" She quickly nodded.
"I'm fine," she answered, turning away and walking across to her wardrobe. Link pushed back the covers and got out of the bed and followed her, pulling open the doors of his own cupboard. Automatically he reached in to pick out one of his favourite green tunics but as he took one off the hanger he paused, wondering if he should wear something smarter. He glanced over at Zelda, who had selected a deep red v-necked gown to wear, although she was stood with it in her hands, looking a little troubled.
"You don't want me to go, do you?" he said quietly, watching her face for her reaction.
"It isn't that," she answered, closing the wardrobe door and turning away from him, clutching the dress tightly. He sighed, replacing the tunic and walking across to her. He placed a hand on her shoulder, making her face him.
"So what is it? I thought we'd promised to talk to each other more now?" he said earnestly. "We used to talk to each other about everything," he added. She gave him an uneasy smile.
"It's nothing, nothing about you, I mean," she replied. Quickly, she pulled him close for a hug, dropping the dress to the floor as she did so. "It's nothing," she repeated, leaning in to kiss him gently on the lips. "I am going to miss you though," she admitted a few moments later.
"Me too, but it won't be for too long, besides, we've been apart for longer times," Link replied, running a hand through her hair affectionately.
"I know, it's just I wanted to spend more time alone with you," she murmured.
"We've plenty of time to do that, we have the rest of our whole lives together after all," Link stated, smiling at her as he did. "Anyway, speaking of time, don't you think I'd best hurry up and get ready for this trip?" he asked. Zelda nodded, quickly bending down to retrieve the dress.
"Yes, yes, quickly, before father sends somebody up for you!"
He turned back to the wardrobe scrutinising the vast array of tunics on offer. He hated most of the finer ones, the ones that he always had to wear on special occasions. Even after all these years he still felt uncomfortable, preferring his plain tunics, shirts and trousers. He didn't really want to even go to Catalia; how could he possibly expect a warm welcome in a place that blamed him for so many things? Not least of all the bad memories that resurfaced every time he set foot upon the damned country's shores. But, he supposed it was his duty. His misgivings with Zelda from the pervious day had eased somewhat although in same ways he just wished that she would completely lose her temper with him like she usually did; he was confused by her calmness because it was so unlike her. Then again, perhaps they had both changed over the passing weeks and he knew that he had got off lightly, considering. The gossip rife in the castle about their tattered marriage had been quickly silenced by their united front, although Fayette still couldn't help herself in making snide comments every now and again. He glanced over at his wife again, noting how pretty she looked in the deep red velvet dress, the rich fabric making her lustrous hair seem even more golden. However her expression was far from happy, and it bothered him greatly.
"Zel... help me pick something," he said, looking over at her hopefully. She came across and peered into the wardrobe thoughtfully.
"You ought to wear something smart," she remarked, riffling through the tunics with an ordered air of efficiency.
"I'm just not sure on what," he answered truthfully. "I mean if I'm going with your father... I want to try and make an effort and everything."
"Drake will probably wear his state tunic How about you do the same?" Zelda suggested. Drake always wore his state tunic on special days, Link's wasn't too dissimilar to the Knight's. It was made from a deep purple silk with the Hyrulian crest embroidered on it.
"That's probably a good idea," he agreed, pulling out a clean white shirt and trousers to go underneath.
"Don't forget a nice cloak," Zelda reminded, before walking away into the small adjoining bathroom. He finished off his attire with his shiny black leather boots, matching belt and blue hat. Looking in the mirror he still felt wrong somehow, like he really shouldn't be dressed in such fine regalia. Shaking his head to himself, he quickly followed Zelda to the bathroom to wash.
A short while later he had finished filling up his pack with the various essentials he was going to need for the trip with Zelda's help. He looked down at his pocket watch noting that it was almost 7am, though it was still fairly dark outside.
"I guess it's time to go," he sighed.
"No.. wait..." Zelda said, catching hold of his hand.
"I don't want to be..." he began.
"You won't be," she interrupted, leaning in close to kiss him. He closed his eyes, melting into her embrace with rapt passion. Small stabs of pain passed through his heart as he recalled his betrayal of the woman he loved more than life itself but he tried to push them aside, deepening their kiss. A loud knocking at the door interrupted them however and as they jumped apart the door burst open, revealing Drake stood behind it. Zelda folded her arms and regarded him in a displeased manner at his rude entrance but the knight barely seemed to notice.
"What are you doing dawdling about up here, it's time to go!" he said gruffly.
"Jeez Drake, I was just about to come downstairs," Link replied, quickly picking up his pack and hoisting it onto his back.
"You could have at least waited till we told you to enter," Zelda remarked curtly, still frowning.
"Now you're starting to sound like Fayette!" Drake interjected, giving her an exasperated look. Link bit his lip, shooting a warning glance at his friend. Zelda however, now looked furious by his comment and stalked out of the tower, pushing past him with the force of Farore's wind.
"Now you've done it," Link muttered, shaking his head.
"It's not my bloody problem she's always so damn tetchy," Drake retorted, his bad mood from the previous day obviously having not dissipated.
"Well she was right, I mean... this is our private room and we might have..." Link started.
"I don't bloody care what you might have been doing, the King's ready to go and I for one shall not want to keep him waiting," the knight interrupted.
"Well I'm ready okay, so does it really matter?" the hero questioned, looking over at his friend in surprise. Drake really didn't appear to be himself at all. He would never normally be so disrespectful to Zelda or quite so snappy. Drake just muttered something incoherent in reply and stormed out of the room. Sighing, Link picked up his sword, slipping it into the scabbard hanging from his belt, and walked out of the tower also.
It took the better part of the day to reach Nabrooru Town, which was visible from most places upon the vast, open grassy plains of East Hyrule. Fayzie had seen the great walls of the town rising up like a fortress in the middle of the golden fields. Damon commanded Jasper at a leisurely place along the paved road that wound through the rolling plains and the weather remained pleasant throughout the course of their journey.
"So Dion... he is a good friend of yours?" she asked as they approached the gates of the town. Damon nodded.
"My greatest and oldest friend. He's the captain of the Hyrulian Archers," he replied.
"He must be important," Fayzie commented.
"Well, yes, and his family is very well respected in Hyrule. They come from Dubatio but they live down in Old Kasuto Town, which is many miles south," Damon explained.
"Hyrule seems so big compared to Catalia. I never really realised... you know I never thought..." she trailed off, looking faintly embarrassed. "I've never been anywhere else but Catalia," she admitted. Damon laughed a little.
"Hyrule is a small country compared to some. Once you've been everywhere, you won't think it's quite so big anymore." The cart passed through the gates with a friendly nod from the guard.
"Good day to you Mister Owen," he greeted.
"And to you," Damon smiled. The guard tipped his hat to Fayzie and she blushed, looking away shyly. "We'll go to the Lucky Dragon, they put on a wonderful supper and I know the barkeeper, Wilfred Rowen very well indeed," Damon said, as he turned the cart down a cobbled street. "He's Selina Rowen's uncle," he added informatively. Fayzie had briefly met the pretty healer and wife of King Nicolas during her stay at Valour Hold and North Castle.
"Oh yes, I remember that tavern, we stayed there when I..." Fayzie trailed off there, looking a little upset. "When I came over here with Link and everyone," she finished quickly. Damon gave her an understanding smile. A few minutes later he came to a halt outside a large, timbered building. The iron sign swung lightly in the breeze, a picture of a fire-breathing dragon painted upon it. "Here we are," he announced smiling. "Let's go inside and find that scoundrel friend of mine."
The tavern was dark and cosy with whitewashed walls finished with heavy wood panelling at the bottom, and a huge inglenook fireplace dominated most of the main room. The bar spanned the length of the opposite wall, with barrels stacked behind and crates and crates of wine and ale. A large oil painting of a ferocious-looking dragon hung above the fireplace. Fayzie recalled her previous visit, remembering being awed by it all. Of course, Gardarika had had a small tavern but she had not been permitted to ever visit it. Like the last time, the tavern was busy and full of all kinds of people. She held onto Aden's hand tightly, not wanting him to get lost amongst the rabble of patrons. Damon smiled at them and led them towards the actual bar.
"Dion should be here already," he said, as he wove his way through the various tables and chairs in the room, making sure Fayzie was following close behind.
"There's so many people here, how ever will you manage to find him?" she questioned, glancing around with curiosity and interest. Damon gave a small laugh.
"Believe me, Dion was never one to blend in with the crowd!" he exclaimed, still searching for his flamboyant friend. "Although," he admitted, "we shall probably hear him before we see him!" They finally reached the bar, where a tall, burly man with reddish hair was stood polishing glasses. He gave a friendly nod to Damon and then smiled at Fayzie. Damon leaned casually on the bar, still looking around for Dion. "Hey Wilfred, has Dion been here lately?" he questioned the barkeeper. The man nodded.
"Mr Insequi is definitely around somewhere... Cassie just served him not so long ago," he replied, pointing over to a pretty barmaid with long, curly dark hair who was currently attending to a group of soldiers further along the counter.
"Well, while we're waiting I'll order supper for all of us," Damon said, gesturing over at Fayzie who was hanging back shyly. "Including the little one," the ranger continued, pointing down at Aden who was looking around the tavern excitedly.
"No problem, I'll let my good wife know," Wilfred said with a wink.
"And until then, a pint of you finest ale please," Damon ordered. He turned to look at Fayzie. "What would you like?" he asked.
"Oh... I... I'm not really sure... I..." Fayzie stammered, blushing slightly. "Uh... last time Link bought me... it wasn't a real wine..." she said in a faltering tone. Damon snapped his fingers.
"A glass of elderberry wine for the good lady here," he gestured, "and some fruit juice in a cup for little Aden please."
"Coming right up," Wilfred promised.
Not long later Fayzie stood at the bar, still feeling nervous, sipping her drink timidly and watching the scene around her with mingled curiosity and nerves. She had let Aden rush off towards the fireplace, where several other children were busy playing with a large, scruffy golden dog. As she took another draught of the sweet golden liquid in her glass, she noticed a dark skinned man with floppy dark hair, a neatly trimmed beard and impeccable clothes striding over to the bar. As he approached them he gave out a pearly white grin and waved.
"Ahhh Damon my amigo, finally you arrive!" he exclaimed.
"I have been here a while friend, it is you we have been waiting for," Damon replied. Dion noticed Fayzie, who was doing her best to look as inconspicuous as possible. She blushed as he looked at her with interest and smiled charmingly.
"I am worth the wait," he said with a wink. "But tell me, who is your pretty friend here? I do not believe I have had the pleasure of her acquaintance yet!" Fayzie's blush deepened even more and she gazed down at the floor, feeling flustered.
"This is Fayzie... a friend of Link's from Catalia. She lost her husband in the recent war so I have promised to look after her for Link," Damon explained, giving his friend a meaningful look as if to tell him not to pry further. Dion gave her a small, exaggerated bow.
"So happy to have met you Fayzie, I am Dion Insequi, famed architect, artist, sculptor and of course, archer!" he grinned.
"Oh... Damon has told me how talented you are," Fayzie said still looking away shyly.
"Has he really?" Dion questioned, raising his eyebrows theatrically.
"Every last detail," Damon remarked in a mock bored tone. Dion ignored his long-time friend and turned back to Fayzie.
"I am sorry for your loss, but I hope you shall enjoy your stay in Hyrule," he said kindly.
"Oh, Damon is building me a house in Tarn," she replied in a soft tone, taking another sip of her drink. Dion turned to look at Damon.
"You are building her a house without consulting me first amigo?" he demanded, laughing.
"It is just but a simple two room cottage, beside my friend, your fees are simply extortionate!" Damon replied with a grin. Dion gave him a hurt look.
"But I am the best and besides, such a pretty lady here deserves a pretty house!" he said, causing Fayzie to look embarrassed.
"I have simple tastes," she admitted.
"I should make you an abode fit for a princess!" Dion promised. Fayzie tried to smile but his innocent words were a sharp reminder of her lowly status. While the two men bantered, her own thoughts returned to Link, wondering what he was doing and if he was okay.
“She is a fine creature, that is for sure,” remarked Dion, his tone for once quiet and discreet. All around them, the tavern buzzed with quiet conversation, occasionally broken by raucous laughs and cheers, particularly from the card players.
“She is a fine woman indeed, she has been through a lot...more than any lady should,” agreed Damon, sipping from his tankard of ale, his eyes wandering amongst the crowd and finally back to his friend.
“I heard a rumour...you know, on the grape vine,” began Dion, his dark eyes full of question and curiosity. Damon looked at his friend and shook his head gravely.
“Don’t. As I said, she has been through enough,” warned the ranger softly. Dion shrugged, losing interest in the discussion.
“As you wish,” he retorted amiably, his eyes flicking back to Fayzie, who seemed lost in thought. “So, my fair lady, it would greatly pleasure me if you would join us tomorrow for a good old rove!” he began, flashing his trademark grin at the pretty Catalian. Fayzie looked at Dion almost blankly, smiling a little unsurely.
“A rove?” she questioned, one eyebrow almost raised. Dion nodded vigorously.
“But of course. Damon and I go roving whenever we are afforded the chance – and it would delight me if you and your son joined us,” said the archer, pulling a little at the short hairs on his chin. A loud cry went up in the corner of the tavern, one unhappy patron throwing his cards aside.
“I...I am afraid that I can’t quite say that I know about roving,” admitted Fayzie, flushing faintly at her admission, slightly distracted by the fuss by the card tables.
“There is nothing Damon or I could not teach you. We two are the best archers in the kingdom, after all,” enthused Dion optimistically. At this point, Damon intervened, sensing that perhaps Fazyie was unfamiliar with the concept of roving.
“Roving is quite like hunting, except without live game...we go into the woods and shoot at targets, it’s just for practice, you see.” Fayzie smiled, suddenly understanding as Damon spoke. It gladdened Damon to see Fayzie’s face light up in such a manner, he thought her smile was simply beautiful.
“Oh, of course. But I would like that very much, a walk in the woods, as would Aden I am sure."” Dion smiled widely as Fayzie accepted his invitation, and raised his glass, a rich red wine swirling within.
“That is excellent news. I propose a toast...to friends, and to archery,” proclaimed the Dubation, holding his glass high. Damon raised his tankard, Fayzie her glass.
“To friends, and to archery,” they all echoed, clinking their cups together.
“Let us get a table,” suggested Damon after they had toasted.
“A fine idea my friend,” exclaimed Dion. Damon motioned to Wilfred that the three were to find a table, which the friendly barkeep duly noted The three of them wove through the numerous bodies of people until they found a table situated close to the roaring fire. Aden caught sight of the three of them and waved, before going back to his chatter with the other children as they fussed over the great golden hound that lay by the fireside.
As they took their seats, Dion cast his gaze over to the fireplace with some interest.
“That is your son?” he asked curiously. Fayzie nodded.
“Yes, it is,” she admitted proudly.
“He looks like he will make a fine archer one day!” he complemented with another broad smile.
“As long as he is happy, I care not what he does,” admitted Fayzie, her eyes lovingly on her son.
“A fine sentiment, I am sure. But everyone knows, archery is surely the greatest profession. Followed closely by architecture,” remarked Dion with a wink.
“And what about rangers?” asked Damon as incredulously as he could muster. Dion shrugged, flashing a cheeky grin.
“Ah, it is not a bad profession I suppose...if you like that kind of thing,” he conceded half-heartedly. Damon smiled.
“More worthwhile than architecture, that’s for sure.” Dion looked immediately offended by his friend’s remark.
“Ah, you woodsmen are so...backwards looking. Without men like me, all the buildings in the world would be constructed from wood and without imagination. Where is the grandeur in that, I ask you?! Where is the...panache, the zest? If I had my way every building in Hyrule would be a master piece, something to be looked upon and admired...not something to be passed by without comment!” Damon and Fayzie glanced at one another as Dion ranted, his hands in constant motion to illustrate his points, conspiratorial smiles touching both their lips. Hearing the silence, Dion glanced at the two and shook his head, “You may mock me now, but in a thousand years, men will look back and they will say Dion Insequi was right!” Damon let out a small chuckle as Dion finished, patting his friend on the shoulder.
“I don’t doubt it my friend, I do not doubt it,” he said good-humouredly. Dion looked somewhat appeased, straightening his shoulders and brushing some imaginary lint from them. The conversation continued, Dion mainly speaking of his upcoming visit to Western Hyrule and his current plans on building the Great Library at Mido. Despite his frenetic energy, however, Fayzie found that she preferred to watch Damon, even as Dion spoke. Seeing the ranger look so relaxed, so happy made the recent widow feel somehow content.
As the three waited for their supper to arrive, there appeared to be a disturbance at the bar as a man entered the tavern, several woman turning and gazing at him with open admiration. He was a fine specimen of a man, with good height and an enviable build. Sandy blonde hair adorned his head, but it was not at all fussy and was currently damp with perspiration. His clean shaven face and bright blue eyes told of a man not past his twentieth winter, and as he walked in, he exuded confidence and determination – the kind of man who did not take no for an answer.
Dion turned to look at the young man as he entered, noting the amount of female attention he had garnered.
“Who is that?” he enquired, sounding for once, a little envious. Damon gave another chuckle as he noticed his friend’s interest and he too turned to watch the man make his way to the bar, greeting almost every person he met on his way.
“He is Griffin someone or other...he’s in here quite a lot. He’s the apprentice trainer here...the man has quite a string of admirers. I’ve only spoken to him once or twice, in passing...he seems a genuine type of fellow. To the point and no nonsense, or so I’ve heard. He was in my regiment at the plain...he’s an excellent swordsman, brave to boot.”
“Even I did not turn the heads like that when I arrived. It is clear that some people have no taste,” joked Dion, rolling his eyes in a mocking fashion. Fayzie smiled at Dion’s joke, but as he and Damon resumed their conversation, quite forgetting the enigmatic man’s entrance, Fayzie could not help but sneak the occasional look at the trainer. He certainly was handsome, she thought, but as she watched him lean back against the bar with a drink in his hand she could not help but think he seemed a little sad. Many walked by him with a greeting, to which he cordially responded with a quick smile and a nod, but Fayzie thought she saw something in his eyes that belied his cheery demeanour. As she watched him, he suddenly caught sight of her, and for a moment their gazes met. Fayzie hastily looked away, embarrassed to be caught looking on like a flighty girl half her age.
“Perhaps finally this will get me a knighthood,” she heard Dion saying cheerfully. Damon shrugged, finishing his drink and setting the empty tankard down on the table.
“For building a library?” he queried, with a note of strained incredulity in his voice.
“I do not build, brother, I create!” corrected Dion with a flamboyant gesture of the hands. Damon smiled.
“Of course, how could I forget?” he gently mocked.
“Because you are naught but a simple man of the woods who knows nothing of creativity!” replied Dion, his eyes twinkling.
“I can be creative,” argued Damon, still smiling.
“Oh yes? Yes, can you? You, Damon, ranger man? I think not,” contradicted Dion energetically. Damon shook his head and looked at Fayzie with an exasperated smile.
“He gets like this,” he murmured apologetically. Fayzie let out a light, unexpected giggle as she saw Dion’s infuriated expression, and she quickly covered her mouth with her hand, blushing visibly.
“What exactly, amigo, are you implying?” challenged Dion, leaning forward to confront Damon. The ranger barely had time to reply, when they were interrupted.
“Excuse me, Damon is it?” Dion, Damon and Fayzie all turned as they heard the voice of a stranger, and all eyes fell on Griffin. Damon smiled, extending a hand and grasping Griffin’s own.
“Yes, Damon Owen. Griffin isn’t it?” greeted the ranger. Griffin nodded, shaking Damon’s hand.
“Yes it is, sir. Griffin Bladelaw. I prefer just Griff. Sorry for interrupting, but I had to say hello. I fought by your side in the battle on the plain, you led by example sir, it was a fine thing to have fought with you.” he admitted. Damon smiled and shrugged, slightly flattered.
“Aye, well it is good to see that you lived to fight another day. Hyrule needs men like you in times such as these,” replied Damon seriously. Griffin nodded and turned to Dion, saluting him.
“And you of course are Dion Insequi...it is a privilege to finally meet you sir. I am a great admirer of your work,” began the trainer’s apprentice, his manner surprisingly humble. Dion nodded, standing to take Griffin’s outstretched hand.
“Ah, that is of course always an excellent thing to hear. I shall never tire of it,” assured Dion, before resuming his seat. And then Griffin turned to Fayzie, who watched him a little warily.
“But you...you I do not know. You cannot be from around here, for if you had been, I would have been sure to have seen you. But I have not, so I must conclude that you are a stranger to these parts,” began the trainer, kneeling gallantly before the Catalian and grasping her hand in a chivalrous kiss. Fayzie suddenly felt very conscious of several envious gazes directed at her from all around the tavern, and she pulled her hand away as politely as she could manage.
“You are correct, sir,” she began, “I am from Catalia and only just recently came to these parts,” she verified, her voice tinged with nerves. Griffin smiled.
“It is a small world indeed...I myself was born in Catalia, and spent much of my young life there. Might I enquire as to where you hail from?” Fayzie folded her hands together, shaking her head with a short, nervous laugh.
“Oh I came from a tiny village on the coast...I doubt you would have heard of it,” she murmured. Griffin smiled.
“Try me,” he challenged.
“Gardarika? It was a very small place...not many people lived there,” answered Fayzie, daring to meet Griffin’s eyes with her own. The trainer nodded.
“Alas, you were right,” admitted Griffin with a sigh, “Although in my defence, I left those shores with my mother when I was still a young boy. My grasp of geography has never been one of my strong points.” Fayzie smiled as Griffin spoke, glad of his honesty.
“But please, excuse my manners, might I ask your name?” he suddenly asked.
“Fayzie,” murmured the Catalian, blushing slightly at Griffin’s attention. The trainer turned and glanced at both Damon and Dion.
“Well you are accompanied by two fine men, I can assure you. I hope you intend to stay in Hyrule for a while longer,” he began.
“Well, yes...Damon is kindly building me and my son a home in Tarn to live,” said Fayzie. Griffin smiled.
“You have a son?” he asked. Fayzie nodded, pointing over to the fireplace.
“Yes, indeed. His name is Aden,” she answered proudly.
“He looks to be a fine boy,” complimented Griffin truthfully as his eyes fell on the youngster.
“He is,” said Fayzie quietly, blushing once more. Griffin turned to the three of them.
“Are you three intending to stay in Nabrooru Town for long?”
“Only a day or so,” replied Damon, surprised at his own reaction to Griffin’s attentions on Fayzie. Just watching the two of them talk, their eyes only on one another...he hated to admit it but he felt jealous. Griffin nodded.
“Well I shall hope to see you again before you all leave...a pleasant evening to you all,” bid the young man before turning on his heel and leaving as swiftly as he had come. Dion looked at Damon and then to Fayzie.
“Methinks the pretty lady doth have an admirer!” he teased. Fayzie shook her head, unable to hide her blushes.
“Don’t be silly!” she remarked, “He came to see the two of you...to pay his regards.” Fayzie looked at Damon as she spoke, noting that he was quiet. Griffin was certainly handsome, she thought, but there was something about Damon...she snapped out of her reverie - Dion was once again animatedly speaking of something else. She smiled, and then to her surprise, felt herself wanting to take Damon’s hand...to let him know that she was thinking of him. But she could not, her shyness duly preventing her.
Dinner at North Castle that evening was certainly a staid affair to say the least. Besides the children, who sat at another table, there was only Zelda, Fayette and Fenella in attendance. Milona had prepared as usual, a delicious looking meal of roasted cucco slices coated with fresh herbs and served with some creamy potatoes and broccoli florets. Without Drake's jovial nature present, and Link's easy-going conversation, along with the King's benevolent eloquence the long table seemed somehow, very empty. As the meal was set down before them by the serving maids, Fenella spoke.
"Well, this is very nice, us ladies all sharing a meal together," she commented.
"Yes, the men can be really rather rowdy at times," Fayette added loudly as she delicately sliced up her cucco into tiny pieces. Zelda fought the urge to roll her eyes and instead attempted to concentrate upon eating.
"I suppose they shall be halfway to Catalia now," Fenella remarked, taking a lady-like sip of her wine.
"Hmm I've really no idea why anyone would want to go to such an insignificant place like that," Fayette said. Zelda put her knife down and shot her step-sister an annoyed look.
"My father was a dear friend of Queen Seline," she said coolly.
"If you ask me, nothing good ever came out of that place, I mean..." Fayette started, her tone taking a malicious bent.
"Faye dear, you really ought not to say such things. Of course Catalia is not as important as Hyrule or Sosaria but it still has affairs that need to be sorted out you know," Fenella interrupted.
"Well obviously, of course," Fayette hurriedly agreed. "But no-one good has ever come out of there and their recent silly attempt at invasion has proved it. If it hadn't been for that awful war..." she paused, suddenly looking upset, obviously thinking of Kendar.
"I think you're forgetting something," Zelda said to her step-sister quietly, looking furious. Fayette simply raised an eyebrow.
"I don't know why you bother being on his side," she retorted snidely.
"Girls, whatever is the problem?" Fenella interrupted, looking annoyed by their childish bickering.
"Oh nothing mother," Fayette answered in a sing-song voice. "Nothing at all," she added, with a pointed look at Zelda. The Princess sighed, running a hand through her golden hair and attempted to eat her meal in peace once more. However Fenella had other ideas.
"Zelda dear, how is your preparation for the memorial coming along? Your father told me he'd left it in your hands while he was away," she commented brightly.
"It's fine," Zelda answered, not really bothering to explain further.
"Let's hope it's better than your speech at last year's summer festival!" Fayette put in snidely.
"Like you could do any better Faye!" Zelda couldn't help retorting, before wishing that she hadn't. The cold stares she got from both mother and daughter were enough to freeze the fires of Death Mountain. As she glanced away from both of them, her face reddened by anger, she fervently wished not for the first time that they had never been added to her family tree.
After dinner Zelda proceeded to ignore Fenella's wishes that she come and sit in the Drawing Room and do some tapestry work, and went straight upstairs to her room. It was a little untidier than usual and Link's absence would be a perfect opportunity to get things straight she decided. And it might take her mind off things, she thought to herself. She glanced around the tower room, wondering where to even begin. There were books stacked up on both hers and Link's bedside tables, her writing desk was full of papers, many of Link's clothes were cascading out of the wardrobe and onto the floor, some more were piled up on the chaise lounge next to the fireplace. She put a hand to her forehead in despair, wondering how it could have gotten quite so messy.
"Oh what is wrong me with lately?" she sighed to herself, going over to sit upon the four poster bed. Before she'd married Link, this room, her room since she had been a teenager, had always been immaculate. She had hated to have anything out of place and had always been incredibly neat. Link, on the other hand was extremely messy and at times had no sense of order. She had found herself tidying up after him quite often in their first few months of marriage but eventually they had slipped into a comfortable sense of sharing. But lately, she supposed they'd been so stressed about things that tidying up after themselves had been the last thing on their minds. She picked up a few of the novels and placed them back upon the bookshelf and then walked across to Link's wardrobe. Upon fully opening the door, several things came tumbling out and she frowned in annoyance wondering why he never hung anything up. Some of the tunics were badly creased by being scrunched up and stuffed into the bottom on top of his assorted pairs of boots. The princess shook her head to herself and smoothed the garments out, before proceeding to hang what she could, and folding the rest onto the shelves inside the cupboard. She made a mental note to scold him about it later.
With the wardrobe out of the way, she proceeded to pick up the scrumpled up clothes on the chair and put them in the laundry basket by the door and then walked over to tackle her desk. There was mountains of paper and documents all over its surface, many referring to the work on the new Mido Library and of course, the oncoming memorial. She had brought it all up from the library, preferring to work in the sanctuary of her own room when alone. Carefully she moved it aside, trying to make the piles a little neater and more orderly. Tomorrow she would definitely have to get started on it all. As she moved another pile she knocked some other documents off onto the floor and cursed as she did so, bending down to retrieve them. One had landed near the back of the desk and when she picked it up she noticed another piece of paper wedged behind the furniture. It was crumpled and yellowed and the princess unfolded it carefully, her eyes suddenly watering as she realised what it was. Link's familiar untidy scrawl dominated the aged scrap of vellum; it was one of the many letters he had written to her over the years professing his love for her. Zelda walked back over to the bed and sat on it, reading through the heartfelt lines, blushing with pleasure as she did so.
Did I ever tell you you're the most beautiful girl in Hyrule? No, actually, the entire Demiari. You really are. Every morning when I see you stood out on your balcony and your hair shines like spun gold in the sun, you look so pretty, like one of the goddesses. Except prettier. And your eyes, they're just like emeralds I think. Or the sea. Your smile is so lovely too. I always want to smile too when I see that you're happy. I've never met any girl as beautiful as you are.
But you know I don't just love you for the way you look. I know you think I'm shallow but I'm not really, I love you cause you're one of the kindest, most caring people I know. You've been my friend when I had no-one else and you've always believed in me. If it hadn't been for you, I'd have never stayed in Hyrule. You helped me find a purpose to my life and I'll never leave your side, ever. I promise to protect you from Ganon until the day I die. I guess you'll probably laugh at this but I really mean it. I wish that you'd believe me. Maybe one day you will.
All my love forever
As she finished the letter her door suddenly burst open for the second time that day, only this time Fayette was behind it, rather than Drake.
"What in Hyrule do you want?" she questioned, regarding her stepsister with annoyance.
"Oh nothing much, but quite frankly, mother was being rather annoying so I thought I'd come and spend some quality time with you," Fayette replied silkily, closing the door behind her.
"What joy. Go away Faye," Zelda said, feeling exasperated. "You don't normally bother to say two words to me so what's changed?"
"Well since that peasant husband of yours isn't hanging around I figured it would be a good time for us to have a little... discussion," the Sosarian answered, smirking.
"Fayette, didn't you pull Link down enough at dinner? How can you, when he isn't even here to defend himself?" Zelda demanded, quickly folding up the letter and putting it on the bedside table. Fayette noticed and snatched the letter up.
"Oh, what have we here?" she remarked gleefully, unfolding it with interest. Zelda jumped up off the bed and grabbed Fayette by the arm, trying to pull the letter away.
"Do you mind? That's private!" she snapped angrily, finally losing her temper. Fayette just laughed and pushed Zelda away, holding the precious piece of paper away at arm's length.
"Missing him so much you have to sit reading his sappy love letters?" she crowed. "Although," she added, "I'm surprised he can actually write!"
"He isn't illiterate!" Zelda retorted furiously. "Now give me that back."
"Hah, no way. This is laughable!" Fayette exclaimed gleefully. "You look so pretty. Like one of the goddesses. Oh please!" Zelda blushed a little, but it was more from Fayette's mockery than what Link had actually written.
"He was only sixteen or seventeen when he sent me that, give him a break Faye! And stop reading it!" she cried.
"What kind of sap is this, surely he's got to be kidding? You're kind? Caring? Yeah, right, of course you are!" Fayette continued cruelly. Zelda let out a cry of frustration and made another grab at the letter but Fayette held it just out of reach. "If he really loved you so much, he wouldn't be going off with other girls all the time. But of course, you know, he can't help it. The combination of being a peasant and being married to you is such an unpractical one." Zelda frowned and folded her arms, giving up on reclaiming Link's love letter.
"You're just despicable Faye, do you know that?" she muttered, her green eyes flashing with hatred. "How anyone could have married you is really beyond me!" Fayette scowled at this comment and scrumpled the letter up, tossing it carelessly aside.
"Because I have plenty of redeeming features, unlike you! At least my husband was never an adulterer!" she said in a snide tone. Two spots of colour appeared in Zelda's cheeks and she turned away in fury.
"It was just a mistake!" she snapped. "I love Link, and I forgive him!"
"The question you have to ask yourself dear sister, is does he forgive you?" Fayette answered cuttingly. Zelda whirled back around to face her step-sister, looking surprised.
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"You and Kaibre of course," the Sosarian stated smugly. Zelda flushed even more at this and she shook her head.
"That was nothing! It meant nothing, it was nothing. Stop bringing it up Faye!"
"Why? Because you're as guilty as him? Although admittedly he acted much worse, you know Zelda you want to hope that that little peasant girl of his isn't with child, else you'd be really in trouble. I wouldn't put it past..."
"Don't be so ridiculous!" Zelda cut in, starting to shake with anger at Fayette's current insinuations. "Link would never betray me that way, never!"
"Well, you two didn't exactly wait until your wedding night, did you? I really wouldn't have put it past him, I mean he just can't..." Fayette began again.
"Believe what you want Faye, but it really is none of your business! And for your information, before you go running to your dear mother about how unrefined I am, we did wait! We were married, maybe not conventionally, but we were all the same! So don't preach to me about that, because I really couldn't care or less what you think!" Zelda exclaimed.
"I'm just trying to prepare you for the worst. He really doesn't deserve another chance you know. And once a cheater, always a cheater. That's a well known fact. He already did it once with that other peasant girl but you didn't listen to my advice. And then there was Leigh. Goodness knows who else. I just wouldn't have put up with it myself," Fayette remarked airily. Zelda just glared at her with evident loathing.
"They were all machinations on your part, Faye! Particularly Leigh! You've always been so jealous of Link and I, you'll not rest till we're apart! Well I won't let you drive a wedge between us ever again!" she cried. Fayette was not deterred.
"You have to wonder Zelda. What is he up to in Catalia? How many other girls does he have?" she mocked. Zelda, having had enough marched over to the door and flung it open.
"Get out Faye! Get out before I do something I regret!"
"Oh what are you going to do? Use your Triforce powers on me or something?" Fayette jeered.
"Just get out!" Zelda ordered, pushing her towards the door. Fayette stepped outside but she stuck her foot in the way before Zelda could slam the door shut in her face.
"It'll all end in tears. I know how badly Link wanted more children... he's mentioned it often enough. I'd not be surprised if he had the urge to indulge... elsewhere." With a furious effort, Zelda slammed the door against Fayette, who yelped as it caught her foot. The Princess could hear her stepsister cursing outside but she barely listened as she instead leaned against the door, sinking to the ground as she did, tears streaming down her face.
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