The songs of the birds greeted the morning sun as it rose in the east over the hills that surrounded Hyrule Castle and separated it from the sprawling buildings of the city. She was awake before sunrise, standing on the balcony that overlooked the vast gardens. For Princess Zelda, this was almost a daily ritual, morning was really the only time of day when she was alone. She stood in her nightgown that was much lighter and more comfortable than the royal garments she would be adorned with. Zelda took a few more moments to breathe and enjoy the new morning, because any minute now when her lady-in-waiting would come, and begin the daily ritual. Almost on cue, her lady-in-waiting Malinia announced her arrival with a gentle knock on the large double doors; her privacy for the day had now ended.
“Come in, Malinia.” Zelda said, grabbing a robe next to her canopy bed. The doors opened and a cheery looking woman with a bright white bonnet covering her the top of her head. She was a few years older than Zelda and walked in, carrying fresh linens.
“Highness, I bid you good morning.” Malinia said, bowing. Zelda nodded her head in acknowledgment.
“Good morning, Malinia.” The two shared a quick embrace.
“It is a rather beautiful morning, Highness, the spring has come early.” Malinia replied, quickly going about her chores. The morning was warm with a gentle breeze and had been that way for the last several days.
“Yes, it has.” Zelda agreed, looking at herself in the mirror, she wore no make-up and her near waist-length blond hair was messy from the night’s slumber. “Any word from our couriers?” She asked, the hint of anticipation in her voice.
“I’ve not heard your highness, but Her Majesty would like you to join her for breakfast in the garden.” The latter statement surprised Zelda, as she sat in the chair so Malinia could fix her hair and apply her makeup.
“Mother wishes to see me this early? That is strange.” She said shrugging. “She is normally asleep till near midday.” She added as Malinia started at her hair. “I wonder what she wishes to see me about?” Zelda thought aloud.
“I can’t say, Highness.” Malinia said, hands now skillfully working Zelda’s hair. “I’m as surprised as you are.” Zelda nodded in agreement.
“It proves to be an interesting day, and the sun has barely broken the horizon.”
After she had finished being dressed and ready, Zelda wished Malinia good day, and made her way though the many spacious polished corridors of Hyrule Castle to the east gardens. Her mother was seated in a large stone gazebo near a small stream that ran through the palace gardens surrounded by servants. Zelda’s mother, Queen Rimeena stood and the servants bowed and curtsied as her daughter entered the gazebo. “Good morning, mother.” Zelda said pleasantly as approaching the queen, and her mother smiled, seeing her. She had never seen much resemblance between her mother and herself, the king had always told her that she had the beauty and strength of her grandmother.
“Good morning, Zelda.” The queen returned, and the two kissed each other on the cheek, before sitting down at the large intricately caved wooden table.
After Zelda and her mother were seated, the queen clapped her hands and the servants immediately went to work placing silver trays of fruit and fresh bread on the table. There was silence between Zelda and her mother for some minutes as the servants worked, and after one servant placed a small plate with thee hard-boiled eggs in front of Zelda, she choose to break the now awkward silence.
“You wanted to see me, mother?” She asked, and the Queen stirred in her chair a moment before speaking.
“Yes, my daughter. Pardon me it’s very early.” She answered with a yawn. This gave the princess an awkward feeling, especially around the servants; it was a daily ritual for Zelda to be up before sunrise but the servants had been up hours before sunrise, preparing the meal that was before them and would be up some hours after it set with cleaning up and doing their normal chores. “Zelda…” Her mother started breaking her trance.
“Yes, mother?” She asked. The queen put on a weak smile.
“Zelda, about the Council of Lords, you’ll be eighteen soon. You’re not old enough to sit on the council. And….” The queen paused.
“And what mother?” Zelda asked.
“You’re a princess, Zelda, it’s not your place.” She finished, and then began eating some grapes.
“But I’m old enough for you to be looking for my future husband.” Zelda said starting on her eggs as well.
“The future king, Zelda.” Rimeena corrected, a hardened tone in her voice. “I don’t know how you convinced your father to give you that seat on the council. You know how I feel about it.”
The statement angered Zelda. “I didn’t convince Father, he understands the necessity behind my appointment, and I won’t be the first woman on the council. Lady Nianel was on the council seventy years ago.” She was trying not to argue with her mother, but the queen was not to be denied her say.
“Your father may understand, Zelda, but I don’t. You are wise beyond your years, child. I will admit that, but how will you stand with the lords?” Her voice broke as she wiped a tear away. Zelda knew that her mother was sadder about her leaving to live in the city of Nautalin than being appointed to the Council.
“I’ll manage, Mother. Please don’t worry.” Zelda now felt sorry for her mother.
“You are your grandmother so much, child.” Rimeena added, and the guilt Zelda felt mounted on her heart increased. If the queen continued, she would bring Zelda to tears as well. Thinking fast, she decided to bring up something that would lifther mother’s spirits.
“So, how are the celebration plans going, Mother? I trust we’ve heard some replies.” The assumption had been correct, and Rimeena brightened up, the depressing mood dissipated along with the morning mist. “Oh yes, several couriers returned just the other day with hundreds of RSVP’s.” The queen smiled, continuing to eat. Zelda wasn’t surprised by the numbers because being invited to a royal banquet especially one celebrating the birthday of a royal family member was not an event an ambitious noble would miss. There was only one RSVP she worried about and Zelda couldn’t help but feel anticipation despite the cool morning breeze. She started to sweat in her hands, and even felt it down in her feet.
“Mother, did…?” She started to ask, but her mother already knew the question.
“No, Zelda. Impa hasn’t returned yet.” Embarrassment surged through Zelda and the even her make-up couldn’t hide her blushing; the queen knew her better then she let on. “Though I don’t see why you concern yourself.”
“It’s been years, Mother. I miss him.” She uttered, shrugging her shoulders, and pushing the half-eaten eggs away, her appetite gone.
“Do you think he’ll even come, Zelda dear?” Rimeena asked before sipping her tea.
“I hope.” Zelda answered in a hushed tone; she’d worked some hours writing the invitation herself even by candlelight after the sun went down.
“He left so suddenly, Zelda, with hardly a word to anyone. All he left was an unmade bed and undone chores.” The queen had crossed a line and Zelda let her know it with the dark look she shot at her mother. The princess knew why Link had left.
“I gave him leave to go, Mother. You know this. Besides, he was not a servant. Can we speak alone?” She asked with a subtle gesture to the servants.
“Leave us.” Rimeena said nonchalantly, and the gathered maids curtsied and left quickly. Watching as the maids filed out of the gazebo she traded a smile with a few that she knew well and waited a moment until they had all left, and only when they had returned inside the palace did Zelda continue.
“He’s done more than you can possibly imagine, suffered hardships you’d die before enduring, and he lived through it. He left to find the friend that shared those hardships with him.” The princess said, the sternness in her conveying the frustration she felt towards her mother. “I owe him more than I could possibly repay.” She had finished her speech, slouching in the chair.
“Zelda!? I really don’t understand this.” Her mother exclaimed, showing her own frustration.
“I know, Mother.” Zelda said, standing up. “It no longer matters if you do.”
A look of total surprise came across Queen Rimeena’s face. “Zelda!” She uttered in shock.
“I bid you good day, Mother.” Zelda said with a bow before walking away, knowing she had upset her mother and she would probably hear more from the queen later that day, and this upset the princess. She wanted to be on better terms with her mother, but as Zelda matured into a young woman, her interest turned away from the tea parties and gossip that ruled her mother’s life. Her tendency to speak her mind had driven a wedge between them that often left Zelda with a heavy heart, and near to tears; she loved her mother dearly, but she had to move on, even if it meant leaving her mother behind.