Family Ties by VenusQueenOfFaeries
Summary: Sex: Male; Race: Sheikah; Age: Unknown; Problem: After his wife died in childbirth, he's always been kind of lonely; Solution: Read! This story is a peek into the lives of several Hyrulians over several generations. Alone, they make excellent shorts. Together, they're a family. Canon characters not mentioned or referenced to for ages, but it's OoT-era Hyrule, so it's still very much Zelda fiction. R rating for one particularly limey chapter. Updated in conjunction with Birdcage Evening Primrose, so keep an eye out (Google it) for that story, too.
Categories: Fan Fiction Characters: Zelda, Link (OoT & MM), Impa
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 4 Completed: No Word count: 7351 Read: 31268 Published: Apr 22, 2004 Updated: Apr 22, 2004

1. Chapter 1 - Razi by VenusQueenOfFaeries

2. Chapter 2 - Penelope Ridell by VenusQueenOfFaeries

3. Chapter 3 - Talasi Hallern by VenusQueenOfFaeries

4. Chapter 4 - Kerrith by VenusQueenOfFaeries

Chapter 1 - Razi by VenusQueenOfFaeries
Zillah died giving birth to her son.

Her husband, Razi, grieved, and had no idea what to do with a newborn. There were not many Sheikah families to turn to. After the Great Tribulation and the Transference so many years ago, the Sheikah were nearly wiped out by the Gerudo, Hyrule's new bullies. The Royal Family was looking for an attendant for the young Prince Harkinian, and Razi had eagerly sought it out in the hopes of the best security for his son, but was turned down in favor of another Sheikah woman by the name of Impa.

Fortunately, Razi had a blacksmith apprenticeship he was working on, and would soon be allowed to practice on his own. One afternoon on the job, several horses were brought in for shoes. Overwhelmed by such a large task, and given a very short time to complete the work, Razi stepped outside to see who'd demanded such an incredible task.

He stood outside a carriage, which was somehow parked in the middle of the village square, surveying the town with his nose turned in the air, his elbow resting in the window. He was an older Hylian lord, and one of the snooty ones Razi had heard about. Just his luck. Razi took a breath and walked to the lord, in an effort to introduce himself.

"Good afternoon," Razi said, calling attention to himself.

The Hylian whirled around, and at the sight of Razi, wrinkled his nose and took a step backwards. Razi figured it was due to the soot he was covered in.

"Yes," the Hylian said slowly. "Indeed. Is there a problem?"

"I was only wondering which horses needed shoes, sir."

"Sir? Ah, I see you are at least smart enough to know your place, even if you're not smart enough to tell that all of my horses need shoes. You call yourself a blacksmith."

Know my place?

"Taurean, may I step out now? It is a lovely day, and I would like to experience this town from without this stifling carriage," a voice came from inside the buggy. Razi jumped at the sound; he hadn't realized someone was inside.

"Oh fine," he replied irritably. "But make it quick!"

"Lord Taurean? Of Hyrule Castle Town? I'm honored to meet you, sir. I am Razi," Razi said politely.

A footman helped the owner of the voice out of the carriage. It was a very young Hylian woman, who must just have become of age. She had curly brown hair, and she stood behind Taurean, drinking in everything she saw, but still keeping an ear out for the conversation.

"You call that a proper introduction? What of your surname?"

"Sheikah do not have surnames, sir. Only given names, and mine is Razi."

His wife -- or mistress, whoever she was -- behind him snapped her head to the Sheikah's direction and devoted all of her attention to him. Birds and trees could wait, especially when someone dared to speak back to Lord Taurean.

"Well what sort of name is that? Does it even have a meaning?" He laughed heartily, as though he had just thought of the wittiest thing to say in the history of time.

"Lord Taurean, I assure you that among my people, my name is just fine."

"Too right, among your own people." He turned to the woman. "Dirty shadow folk, these Sheikah. Dangerous. You have to keep an eye out for them, or they'll quite literally stab you in the back." She only nodded.

Razi ignored him, and decided to approach the lady instead.

"And such a fine woman should not have to find herself in a place such as this," he said, bowing lowly before her. Taurean's eye twitched. This was the sort of respect he was supposed to be getting from a Sheikah, not some woman!

"Good sir, you flatter me," she said with a hint of a giggle. Razi noticed that her voice was light and melodious. Her curls seemed to dance as her small body shook and her eyes flashed with a light that seemed to have been in hiding for a long time. "I am La--"

"She is my wife," Taurean barked, "And you will not speak to her, understood? Now, I believe you have some horses to attend to. Come, Penelope." He turned right around and threw Penelope into the arms of the footman, who helped her back into the carriage. Almost too quickly, they were off. Penelope peeked through the curtains at quaint Kakariko, but just as quickly as the coach had driven away, Penelope's fingers and eyes disappeared from the blinds.

Penelope.

Razi let the name play on his lips and decided he liked it.

What am I doing? Zillah. My Zillah. And Kerrith, my son. They are more important than her. And, unfortunately, so are these horses.

He sighed and went to work, hoping that whichever horse Taurean decided to ride would throw a shoe, and Taurean himself in the process.

***


"Madam, there is a Sheikah here for Lord Taurean. Shall I send him away?"

"What does he want?"

"He has horses with him."

"Fool. Those are Taurean's horses, and that Sheikah is a blacksmith. I will see him myself."

"As you wish."

Penelope thought the work on the horses was done much quicker than expected, if he was, in fact finished. She went outside into the setting sun and saw him at the edge of the manor, three horses in tow. She looked surprised.

Razi was leaning on the fence and looking around, admiring the scenery of "the other side of the castle," where Hallern Manor was. It seemed different over here than in the rest of Hyrule, lighter, somehow. He was brought out of his reverie by someone's throat being cleared.

"Razi, was it?" Penelope asked, blinking.

"Lady Penelope," he answered, bowing lowly.

"I'd have thought the horses would take longer than a few days."

"Sheikah word hard. And I need to provide for my son."

"Oh," Penelope said, surprised. "You don't look old enough to be a father."

"With all due respect, you don't look old enough to be married." Penelope went pink and Razi continued. "Sheikah age better than Hylians do, and I am much older than I appear. But my son is just a baby, only a month old."

"Then what of your wife? Sheikah women work outside of the home as well, do they not?"

Razi tried to keep a straight face.

"I lost her when my son was born," he said solemnly.

"Oh," Penelope quieted. "I'm terribly sorry." She paused, bowed her head, then touched her forehead, each shoulder, and her forehead again. "I'd like to see him, if I could."

"What?" was the shocked response.

"Your son," came the awkward reply. "I'd like to visit."

And so, routine visits to Kakariko began. The first time Penelope saw Kerrith she fell in love with the boy. Sparkling red eyes, a small patch of white hair. Of course, she would never mention the real reasons for her frequent trips to the hamlet, but the more she went, the more she grew to like the Sheikahs, and wonder what in Hyrule her oh-so-darling husband was talking about. He was so wrong about them, and wrong about everything he said. Penelope was becoming more and more aware of this and started to hate him for hating everything.

Why did she have to be married off to such an arrogant bastard?

As the months passed, and turned to years, Razi was pleased to have Penelope's company more often, and hear her complain about Taurean almost every time. He also loved that she managed to get so close to Kerrith, who'd all but adopted her as his mother. And though she far outranked him, he couldn't remember being so comfortable with a woman in so long, save for Zillah. She was just as comfortable with him, not only complaining about every little thing Taurean did wrong, but also confiding in him about her hopes and fears.

It happened. They were no longer crutches for each other; they were friends. When they realized that, they also realized that they had slowly fallen for each other. Spending four years with a person should leave little doubt as to whether or not you love them. They were almost a family. Razi felt a little guilty; no one should have to replace Zillah, but he knew that he needed a mother for Kerrith and that he had a woman to protect when Penelope came to him one night after one of Taurean's usual drunken outbursts with a large bruise on her face.

"That bastard," he snarled, gingerly touching the mark. "He has no business hitting you. No man should lay a finger on his wife in such a way."

"Razi, it's all right. It doesn't hurt, and the swelling's gone down. Really. And he was drunk, besides. He didn't mean--"

"I don't care." He held her close and she could hear his heart pounding in his chest.

"I wish I could stay here," she whispered against him, starting to cry. "You always make me feel so good. Taurean's never done anything like this for me, ever. And you... care."

"I love you," he corrected.

Penelope turned to look at him, and blinked away a few tears. Razi looked serious.

"You're a mother to Kerry, and everything I could need. I mean it, Nell."

Silence.

"I want to stay here, Razi. I want to get away. I want it all to go away. I want... you."

This silence was much longer than the first.

"Then meet me here, tomorrow night," Razi urged. "We'll... spend some time together," he soothed, running a hand up into her hair.

Penelope, catching his meaning, purred at this and agreed.

"Tomorrow night."

"Don't be nervous."

"I won't if you're not." She smiled. Razi growled; he wasn't sure if he could wait. "Goodbye, Razi," she said.

He leaned in for a kiss. Penelope followed, but only briefly and broke it before he had even realized it started. She knew she'd slipped up again the moment she broke free.

"You can't do that anymore, Nell," Razi said. "From here on in, it's either all or nothing."

"I know," Penelope mumbled, her eyes finding the floor. "But you have my word that I will come through tomorrow."

"I would hope so," Razi answered.

"I am a Lady," Penelope declared, picking her head up. "And a Lady is always as good as her word."

Razi only smiled at the thought.

I really would hope so.
Chapter 2 - Penelope Ridell by VenusQueenOfFaeries
She was anxious -- very anxious -- and it was horribly evident in her body language. She took short, quick steps as she walked, wrung her hands together and kept looking back over her shoulder, like she was being followed. The only thing out there to bother her was the nagging voice in the back of her mind, saying that what she was doing was wrong.

You shouldn't be out here. Think of your husband, and of your reputations. You know what this will do, don't you? You're going to destroy everything!

"I don't care, I have to get out of here. I'm like an animal in a cage."

You'd better hope that you know what you're doing.

"Of course I do."

Second thoughts are a good thing.

"Shut up."

The moonless night was not enough to keep her out of sight; she wore a solid black cloak to help, because if anyone were to see what she was wearing, or worse, who she was, there would be too much trouble.

She started thinking of the Shadow People, and how much she wished to be like them right now. The ability to come and go at the snap of a Deku nut.... Why couldn't he do that for her? What did he have to lose? And here she was, running out in the open, able to trip over her long robes at any moment, risking her neck.... But she had to. Her deteriorating mental sanity forced her, as did her emotional well-being.

"By the Goddesses, I can't see a thing out here. I don't know when I can--oof!"

Looking over her shoulder once again out of her own paranoia, she'd run into a sign; a sign marking her destination.

"Oh. Well, that solves that problem," she breathed.

The sign was made of wood, and already looked very weather-beaten and old, though it had only been in place a few years. The two words the sign bore, carved into the wood, were starting to disappear. Without even stopping to look at the sign -- her surroundings gave away her location -- she ascended the white stone steps at the entrance of the town next to it. The sign read, "Kakariko Village."

Inside Kakariko was even darker than Hyrule Field, thanks to the ominous Death Mountain looming high on the north end of the town. Surprisingly, her feet managed to carry her, albeit slowly, to her final destination, without crashing into anything else. Her breathing and pulse quickened; she could hear her blood pounding in her ears, and the voice was back, screaming at her to go back home.

"I am home," she reasoned aloud, as she extended a shaky arm to knock on the door of one of the cottages.

"Come in," a man's voice said on the other side.

She reached with the same shaky arm, this time to the doorknob, turned and pushed, poking her head inside.

There was one room in the house; a fire on one side kept it lit. A Sheikah man sat at a wooden table in the middle of the room, and a boy slept in a bed in one of the corners. The rest of the house was quaintly decorated, in traditional Sheikah style.

"Razi?" she asked.

"Penelope?" came the answer.

She exhaled softly and entered the house, carefully shutting the door behind her.

"I thought I'd never make it," she admitted, pushing back the hood of her cloak. She was a Hylian woman, with dark brown eyes and bouncy, curly brown hair to her shoulders, resting on top of the cloak. She was fair skinned, with small ears and a tiny frame; the epitome of Hylian beauty. She took small, cautious steps through the room, but crossed it in only a few seconds.

"Traveling at night is far more difficult for one such as you once she becomes accustomed to the finer things in life, isn't it?" Razi asked, his tone venomous.

"If you can call that fine," Penelope replied bitterly, then paused as she removed her cloak entirely, placing it on the back of a chair. The style of her gown showed that this woman was of a higher class than a Sheikah could ever hope to be a part of. "Is Kerry asleep?"

"Of course he is, it's after midnight. You know how he tires himself out," Razi said, motioning to his son in his bed.

Penelope made her way over to the bed where the young Sheikah boy lay sleeping. She knelt beside him, watching him sleep, and a dreamy expression closely resembling motherly pride washed over her face.

"Dear child," she said softly. She brushed Kerrith's bangs out of his eyes, and stroked his cheek lightly, her gaze fixed.

"Taurean wants nothing more than for me to have a son. Would that I could have Kerrith."

Razi put a hand on Penelope's shoulder when she rose.

"We can talk about that in the morning," he said.

"You know perfectly well that I have to be back long before then," Penelope argued, a hint of irritation present in her voice.

"Then we have limited time, Nell," Razi pushed. "Come," he said, offering his hand. Penelope's eyes fell to the ground.

"What is it?"

"It's just that... I've never--I mean, he's still my husband and I still lo--"

"You're worthless in his eyes, Nell, quit lying to yourself."

"Razi...."

"It'll be okay, Nell," he soothed, stroking her hair, capturing her eyes with his deep red. "I promise. We both need this, you know...." His voice trailed off.

Penelope felt her heart flutter in her chest as Razi drew her closer and closed his eyes. She knew what was coming; she'd participated before. But this time, the forbidden kiss had a harder, lustier edge to it. She felt it more forcefully than she had in the past, too, and returned it just as eagerly. Her firelit shadow joined with his on the wall, a tangle of two heads and four arms, moving faster as the kiss went on. When they broke, panting heavily, a great heat was felt between the pair, and another flame burned in their eyes, much stronger than the one in the hearth.

"I'm ready, Razi," Penelope breathed. "Let's go."

*****


A creaking floorboard startled them.

"Daddy?" It was Kerrith.

Razi and Penelope hadn't been in bed very long, but their passion had gotten the best of them, and they were relaxing at the moment when the boy approached. Razi sucked his teeth and sighed, then gave Penelope a soft kiss, which she eagerly returned, far more at ease with him now.

Razi got up, threw on a nightshirt and made his way to the curtain that separated his sleeping area from the rest of the house. He took one last look over her shoulder and Penelope made herself look as though she was part of the pile of blankets on the bed. Once he was satisfied, Razi drew back the curtain.

"What?"

"I heard yelling." He rubbed his eyes. He must have been sleeping, poor tyke.

"You were probably dreaming," Razi comforted. "Come on, back to bed."

"Okay," Kerrith said, yawning. He got into bed under his father's hawkeye and fell asleep quickly. Razi went back to his "blanket."

"I think you should go," he said.

Penelope's now-messy brown curls and eyes peeked out of the covers. She blinked once, then spoke.

"I guess you're right. Are you sure he's asleep?" she asked, covering herself with the sheets.

Razi drew the curtain closed and nodded. Penelope looked through the window and tried to judge the time by the moon, forgetting it wasn't out tonight. It looked darker than she remembered though, which meant she didn't have much time. She got dressed in her cloak and tiptoed to the door of the cottage.

"Goodbye, fair Lady," Razi said, kissing her one last time.

"Don't worry, Razi," Penelope said. "I'll be back soon. I love you." She left his company just before sunrise.
Chapter 3 - Talasi Hallern by VenusQueenOfFaeries
"Did you hear? The Lady Penelope is with child!"

"Oh, glorious day! Lord Taurean may finally have his son!"

"Lady Penelope seems most upset, however."

The other servant women seemed perplexed.

"I don't know, but she has been quite unhappy as of late. And, well...."

"Well what?"

"She seems to be rather... large... for her time...."

Three months after her affair with the Sheikah man Razi, the news of Penelope's pregnancy had spread like wildfire among the servants in the manor, and it wasn't long before commoners knew and were openly discussing it.

But the older women, who had seen many a pregnancy in their lives, suggested the idea that perhaps the Lady of the manor was further along than she had suggested. Why she would hide it wasn't known, but the rumor was spreading as fast as the truth had, if not, faster. Penelope knew this as she looked out of her window and out onto the square. She put a hand on her stomach and sighed deeply. She knew the rumors were right, but the important thing was that Taurean didn't believe them. As long as they stayed rumors, she should be okay.

***


"Lady Penelope, push! Push!" the midwife cried urgently. "You're almost done, just one more!"

Penelope clamped her eyes shut, ground her teeth together and gave as much as she could. She was so tired from labor, and didn't know if she would be able to keep up much longer. The midwife's cheers had long since become noise in the background; the only thing that mattered was getting. This. Child. OUT. She kept pushing; would this never end? Could the Goddesses not have mercy?

A baby's cry broke through her muddied thoughts.

"It's a girl! A girl, a girl!" the midwife announced. "You can relax, Lady Penelope. You're going to be fine, and so is the little one."

Penelope let go of the breath she was holding and opened her eyes. Her jaw hurt from having been clenched for so long, and her head swam. Colors and shapes were swirling before her eyes. But wait, didn't she just have a daughter? Where was she? ... A daughter? Taurean would be displeased.

The midwife brought the cleaned baby back to its mother. Penelope stupidly looked over in their general direction. She was falling asleep, and fast, but determined to see her daughter, the one that Taurean would come to despise.

If he knew the truth, he'd hate her even more.

When Penelope saw her daughter, she was met with a comforting sight. The little girl, with her face still screwed up like she'd bitten into a lemon, had a patch of fuzzy blonde hair on her head, good enough to match her "father's." No one would know. Penelope smiled.

"Hello, sweetheart," she said softly. "Hello, Talasi."

As though she understood, Talasi decided to get a good view of her mother and open her eyes.

Her dark red eyes.

***


"Girl! Get over here!" Taurean barked.

"Yes, Father," she obediently replied.

It was very obvious that Talasi was not Taurean's daughter. It was horrible for the family, disgraced by such scandal. And then, of course, there was the mystery of the identity of the girl's father. He was very obviously a Sheikah, Talasi's eyes gave that away, and her features harkened back to Sheikah heritage even more so when the blonde fuzz she was born with turned into shimmering silver. There were, however, only a few Sheikah men left. All had families of their own, and none would confess. It was pointless anyway. Those Sheikah had a nasty habit of disappearing at will, so jailing them would not be effective. Killing all of them wouldn't work, either, as they were a force to be reckoned with when so strong in number. It was difficult enough to take down even one, and after seeing their population slashed to ribbons, it was essential for their survival that they stuck together.

Taurean, suffice it to say, was unhappy. The first thing he did was throw Penelope out of Court. If she could carry the burden of bearing another man's child, then she could surely carry the burden of lifelong embarrassment. She was not allowed to take her daughter with her, and kicked and screamed until she exhausted herself. She tried to reclaim the girl, but it was no use. The manor was under strict watch at all times. Penelope eventually gave up and seemed to melt away into the shadows. It was perfect, considering how she longed to be one of them, and would even give up her nobility -- although forcefully -- to be with them. It is not known amongst the Hylians what happened to her. Most believed she went mad and died soon thereafter.

Taurean also hated his "daughter." As punishment for a so-called crime in which she was helpless, she was worked almost as hard as the servant women. Taurean made her call him Father, forbade her to speak with anyone but him, and did not permit her to ask questions about her mother, or her family. He would often get drunk and then violent. Talasi almost always got in his way, no matter how well she tried to hide, and would have to suffer abuse until Taurean either passed out or kicked her away. Talasi became afraid of him, because he was so irrational, and it was on another drunken night many years later that he had called to her.

Determined to get some of his dignity back, Taurean thought up the brilliant idea of getting Talasi into the favor of young Prince Harkinian. It would be perfect; his daughter would be the wife of the future king, and would soon be Queen of Hyrule. You couldn't get more noble than that. And he, her father, would reap the benefits that came along with the deal. No more would he have to suffer embarrassment for his wife's past transgressions. His daughter, the one he loved so much, would be Queen.

"You will listen to me well," Taurean went on, and took a sip of ale from the tankard he clutched.

Talasi shrunk back against the nearest wall, looking scared. Her latest bruise had just healed and she didn't quite feel like getting a new one.

"Yes, sir," she said meekly.

"You and your kind know of the Hyrulian King, do you not?"

It was funny how Taurean treated Talasi. She knew she wasn't Hylian like her "father," and though she was supposed to be raised as one, she was never treated as an equal. Taurean often said "your kind" instead of "you" to the young girl, making sure she knew her place as different than he and less than human because she wasn't a pure Hylian.

"You even look just like those nasty Sheikah."

"Am I Sheikah?"

"Do not waste my time with such foolishness! Do not
mention them in this house, or I will see to it that you do not leave this house for a solid year, is that understood?"

Slap.

Tears.

"Yes, sir."

"Father!"

Slap.

More tears.

"You'll listen to me the way your filthy whore of a mother didn't, you hear?"

A raised arm twirled a belt in the air like a lasso.

Crack!

"Yes, F-father."


"Yes, Father. He rules the country most graciously."

"Well, at least I've done you some good. You weren't born to be noble, as I was, but at least you have the ability to learn our ways, even though you're no better than the rest of them."

"Yes, sir."

"I have been blessed by Nayru Herself with a beautiful idea. You are not a fine Hylian woman, but there is no reason that a slip of a girl such as yourself cannot attempt to imitate how one would act. Therefore, you will attend Prince Harkinian's ball next month, which I have been invited to. You will find yourself in his favor and restore some of my lost dignity by becoming his wife. Is that clear?"

"Yes, Father. I am honored to be entrusted with such a task."

"You should be more than honored, you little brat. You should be humbled, and feel lucky that I even consider taking such trash like you with me. You had better come through, or you will be in very deep trouble. Do not fail, you will be sorry."

"Yes, Father. I will succeed."

I hate him so much, Talasi thought.

***


The following month, Talasi found herself in the middle of a grand ballroom in the castle on her own. Taurean had taken her there, but abandoned her as soon as he caught sight of the bar, and was drunk before long. He was schmoozing it up with the rest of the nobles, laughing with the men and harassing the pretty women.

At least he's comfortable. I don't even know what this Prince Har-what's-his-name looks like. How in Hyrule am I supposed to get out of this one?

"You...." a voice said behind her. Talasi turned around and was greeted with the smiling face of a very well-dressed young man.

He saw it all in slow motion, the sheet of white-blonde hair that tumbled to her waist flung around like a curtain in a breeze as she turned to face him. He found her eyes, dark blood red, and his suspicions were confirmed. He grinned stupidly.

"You're Lady Penelope's daughter, are you not?"

Talasi gasped. She didn't know how to reply. She'd been taught, since she could remember, not to associate herself with her mother or any other Sheikah. They were evil, and so was she, even if she had Hylian blood in her. Worthless blood, but still Hylian.

"I am the daughter of Lord Taurean Hallern, sir. My name is Talasi."

"So it's true, then. Lady Penelope was your mother."

Talasi went red in the face and her eyes found the floor.

"Forgive me, I know not of whom you speak. My mother died shortly after I was born. I, I--"

"Nonsense," he laughed. "I was a child when it happened, but you expect me not to know of the betrayal of my best Lord?"

Talasi didn't appreciate being called a betrayal, and glanced at the bar, where a red-faced Taurean was still laughing merrily.

"By the Goddesses, I haven't introduced myself. I am Prince Harkinian Joseph Atarani the Third of Hyrule."

At this, Talasi curtsied as low as she could before him. How stupid she must have seemed to have not known her sovereign!

"Your Majesty, I am humbled befor--"

"That will not be necessary. You, Talasi Hallern, are the most exotic looking girl I have seen in my life, and I have traveled the world several times over. I care not how you came to be here, only that you are here, and I would be honored if you could give me the pleasure of this dance, fair maiden."

"Are you quite certain, Highness? Surely you must realize that I am the lowly--"

"None as beautiful as you should dare claim to be lower than the Golden Goddesses themselves."

"Then I dare not refuse my prince, especially when he is so persistent."

"You can relax, Talasi. It's much easier from here on in."

For the first time in the longest that she could remember, Talasi genuinely smiled.
Chapter 4 - Kerrith by VenusQueenOfFaeries
The hole in Penelope’s heart was enormous.

Separated from her little girl not two months after she was born, she became depressed and sick, confined to her bed in Razi’s house for weeks at a time. There was no potion, no magic, no act that could cure her, and it seemed as if she would waste away there in the Sheikah village. In fact, that’s what most believe happened.

Razi blamed himself. How could he have been so careless? And it was his daughter, too, his daughter that would never know her true father because she’d been passed off as someone she was not. She would have to pay for that mistake. He would pay. Penelope was paying. He couldn’t believe she still loved him, if she still felt anything, that is. It was hard to tell. Her graying face and lifeless eyes made Razi wonder if he’d done the right thing in taking her away from Taurean; she looked no better now than then. Were emotional bruises just as difficult to heal as physical ones?

The only one who kept any hope in the house was little Kerrith. Still too young to understand exactly what was going on, he brought his "mama" flowers every day without fail.

"Such a sweet child," Penelope commented on a day she had enough strength to speak. "He’s like his father."

Razi looked upset with himself and urged Penelope to rest.

"You were feeling horrible yesterday. Don’t strain yourself or cloud your mind with foolish notions."

"It’s far from foolish. It’s--" Her words were cut off by violent coughs.

"Lie down and rest. I’ll get you some water," Razi offered, and left the room. A minute later, there was a shadow on the curtain.

"Razi?"

"It’s me, Mama," a meek voice answered.

"Kerry, come," Penelope said, and he drew the curtain.

"I brought you some flowers," he said, offering a few daffodils.

"What beautiful daffodils, Kerrith! How did you know those were my favorites?"

"You told me, remember?" he said, grinning.

***


"What beautiful daffodils, Kerrith! How did you know those were my favorites?"

"You told me, remember?" he said, grinning.

Eighteen years after Kerrith lost his sister, he’d grown into a very handsome and charming young man. Unfortunately, he knew it, and his ego had grown just as much as he had to match, if not, then much more. He helped Penelope get better, with the help of more than flowers. Kerrith needed a mother, and Penelope needed a child. They were there for each other. Of course, once she was over her depression, Penelope noticed her son’s personality begin to change. He became proud, gratefully though, not as proud as the scum she’d left. She still didn’t like it.

As he became older, he attracted the attention of many Sheikah girls, who would all bat their eyes and giggle madly, among other things, when he passed by. Taking advantage of such attention, Kerrith seized his first possible opportunity to become a man when he was fifteen. Since then, he’d just about whored himself to the entire village. Still, the attention came, the girls still batted and giggled and came in droves to compete over him. He loved every minute of it. His parents did not. He defiantly continued in his ways.

"One of those girls is going to find out what you’re doing and hurt you badly," Penelope warned him. "When they find out a man is doing something they don’t like, they have a bad habit of reacting in less than pleasant ways."

"I know,
Mama," Kerrith replied, with a venomous undertone.

"I can’t believe you remembered that!"

"Anything for a special lady, and you are, Rhoana," he said.

"I hope so, because I’ve heard you been sniffing around Selia," Rhoana said.

"Whoever said it was lying," Kerrith answered, a little too quickly. Rhoana narrowed her eyes.

"Selia told me herself. My best friend, Kerrith! How could you?"

"Well it’s not like you told her," Kerrith argued, shrugging and looking off to the side. "If one of you had said something sooner, you wouldn’t have been in this mess, don’t you think?"

"Well, no... wait! That’s not the issue right now!" Rhoana cried. "The issue is you, being a pig!"

Kerrith simply chuckled.

"You knew that already. And both of you still came for me. Really, you’ve got no one to blame but yourselves, so don’t try to pin it all on me."

Rhoana was at a loss for words and instead ran off a string of curses at Kerrith, including one to hopefully, for her at least, shrink certain parts of his anatomy to such a size they were rendered useless. She also threw the daffodils back at him and stormed off, leaving him alone where he stood. She would later scold herself for throwing the flowers. Vessels of Sha’krah’s beauty did not need to be treated in such a manner.

Kerrith, meanwhile, simply sucked his teeth and headed for the pub in the Castle Town. He was always welcome there, by the other patrons, by the alcohol, by the women.

He’d had all of them at one time or another, of course. At first, the licentious Hylian women were a welcomed change to what had been his usual Sheikah stock, but now, even they were starting to bore him, and he found himself more interested in his drink than the four women draping themselves over him.

"Master Kerrith," one of them whispered into his ear, "please take me with you tonight. I’ll truly make it worth your while."

"Oh, she can’t be that good with her mouth if she lies so horribly. Choose me instead, Master Kerrith."

And so it went.

When he drained his mug completely and stared at the bottom for a few minutes, he stood up (as one of the women fell from his lap), paid his tab and simply, silently, walked out. The entire establishment was stunned.

The drawbridge into the Castle Town rose for the night behind him as he took a few steps out onto Hyrule Field at dusk. Kerrith’s eyes found the bit of light left in the sky, and followed it. He found himself staring west, at the cliff faces that marked the entrance to Gerudo Valley and beyond it, the Gerudo Fortress.

He knew, of course, that the West was the one place in Hyrule he, as a Sheikah, would never be welcome. His father had long ago told him about the great wars between the Sheikah and the Gerudo that resulted in a power shift and mutual resent between the two peoples.

But surely, he supposed, it couldn’t hurt to go over there and just see some things, like what that part of the country looked like? Just once? He’d seen Gerudo women before, as they were found in the Castle Town as often as he was, looking for the same thing he was looking for. Hate-filled glares were shot across the streets, but under King Harkinian’s orders, if there were ever a fight between Sheikah and Gerudo in the Town’s walls, the instigators would be hanged and both races exiled. It worked. King Harkinian was a very well respected man, and his toddling daughter would one day earn the same reputation.

It helped that the Gerudo lost last year's civil war. In an effort to gain more land for themselves, the Gerudo King pushed his people across Hyrule Field and into the Town. Unfortunately for them, the Knights of Hyrule were more than ready to stop them, one brave Hylian soldier in particular, taking most of the work upon himself. Though the Gerudo managed to kill him, he'd already taken too many of the invaders down, and they retreated back to the desert. They'd only started to come back to the Town, hanging their heads, in terribly small numbers, and quite infrequently.

That's not to say, however, that those living in the Town weren't terrorized. Parts of the Town were burned beyond recognition and many women and children, maybe more than the soldiers, perished in the chaos. Few escaped, fewer without injury. The ones left decided to form a very close and tight-knit community. The Sheikah, of course, were looking for any excuse to fight the Gerudo, which helped the rest of Hyrule in its victory. Like the Hylians of the Castle Town, many Sheikah lives were lost, however, and whole families like Kerrith's were now very rare indeed. More Hylians seemed to be moving into Kakariko with each day that passed, as well. Given all of this, it wasn't surprising that there weren't many Gerudo running around the Castle Town, and that they could only be found back home.


A light wind from the east blew at Kerrith’s back. He took it as a sign, and nodded. With a new sense of resolve, he snapped a Deku Nut in the direction of the desert.

***


If they care about this place so much, they should really keep a better eye out for intruders. It was too easy to get in here; any Sheikah could do it, Kerrith thought, as he looked around the room he was in. There didn’t even seem to be any guards, just a holding cell and a couple of crates in the corner. He leapt from his perch in the rafters and began to explore the room. A few tapestries on the walls. He chuckled. What, did they think they were civilized or something? Stone walls and floor, as he had expected, it was cooler that way. What he didn’t expect was to quickly find a blade at his throat.

Shit.

"I’ll give you to the count of five to tell me what the hell you think you’re doing here," a Gerudo guard threatened in very well spoken Hylian. After dealing with Hylian men for so long, she had to be able to speak it properly. And after all, her son’s father was a Hylian man.

"One... two... three..." she counted, pressing the blade a bit more into his neck with each passing second.

"Would you believe me if I said I were lost?" Kerrith asked, trying his hardest to grin without cutting himself. Surprisingly, the Gerudo let go.

"Turn around and face me, Sheikah, so you can die like a man. I don’t have time for games," she declared.

Kerrith did as he was told and was surprised with what he saw. Before him stood a very beautiful Gerudo woman, exactly what he’d pictured when he decided to visit this part of Hyrule. She was more beautiful than the other Gerudo he’d seen lurking around the alleyways in the Castle Town, even if she was considerably older than he was, and he could feel himself reacting.

She must have noticed it because she raised an eyebrow instead of slashing him to ribbons.

"How much ya got on you?"

Kerrith continued to stare.

"Money. Rupees. Shifna," she said, using the Sheikah word for cash.

"About fifty?" Kerrith replied, confused. She didn’t think she could rob him first and then kill him, did she?

"And is that all you think I’m worth?" she asked, taking a few steps towards him and lowering her voice to a sultry whisper. The confusion drained from Kerrith’s features, and he understood that she was talking about his favorite kind of business before she could bat an eye.

"I think I may have a hundred. More if you care to look," he answered, catching her game.

And she said she didn’t have time to play.

I’ve gotten more before, but that’s enough. I know he’s got more than a hundred stupid Rupees on him, and that ring is looking kind of nice, too....


"That’s just fine," she continued in her tease.

Idiot.

"Money first," she said, and Kerrith obediently fished a hundred Rupees out for her, which she quickly snatched and threw into a small pouch hidden in the folds of her pants.

"Come, this way, by the crates," she said, taking him roughly by the wrist. Kerrith smiled to himself, less-than-pure thoughts stampeding through his mind.

***


"You know, it’s funny," she commented afterwards while dressing herself. "You’re younger than he is."

"He?"

"My son," she stated simply, gathering her weapons.

"Son? But you--"

Those were the last words he would say, and the dusk that night was the last he’d see.

Slice.

The poor fool didn’t even have time to reflect before the blood from the gash across his throat stained the floor crimson.

Aya, you never cease to amaze me, the Gerudo thought to herself, as she picked him clean and admired her new ring.
This story archived at http://www.kasuto.net/efiction/viewstory.php?sid=254