The young girl clad in a black cloak with few strands of brown hair walked through the somewhat dark forest with lights shining through the treetops. The open part in the front of the dark cloak exposed hands holding a big book that looked fairly old.
Reasons why she read in the sanctity forests were the other children her age that were different from her. Or perhaps she was different than them. The ones that teased her and on some occasions had caused severe damage to her physical body never went into the forest. The rumors about it being cursed had kept even the bravest of the villagers of Toaru away.
But this girl was not afraid of it. And her interest in magic and other-worldly things made her enjoy the company of the dark trees even more.
The girl sat down on the roots of a huge tree that blocked all light to shine upon her. She opened the book to the page where she had last read. She focused on the words and read them over and over again until she was sure she got it right.
Looking at a few loose and fallen leaves on the ground, she decided to try what the book had taught her. It was a simple levitation spell that she wanted to learn. She focused on one of the leaves until it was encased in a black light. Slowly and quietly she muttered the words to lift the simple leaf until it was lifted off the ground.
But her concentration was soon broken when she heard something. She wasn’t sure what it was. A bang…….A rustling……A thump? Either way, she slammed the book shut and ran away from her resting spot. She feared it was one of the villagers. If they saw her practicing dark magic again, they’d throw her out of the village.
She ran away from the village and deeper into the forest. She look ahead of her, only behind to see if there was anyone who could’ve seen her. Her run was stopped abruptly when she ran into something.
The effects of the crash made her vision blur. She saw a small canyon that had no color of it’s own. And she saw a figure elegantly dressed in a black outfit. She couldn’t see her face. She wasn’t even sure if it was a girl or not. She saw that the being leaned closer to her, but before the girl could make out it’s face, all went black…….
“Andim?” called a voice out of the skies. “Andim?”
She shook her head and saw a village with people working, resting and such. “What’s the matter Andim? You seem…….preoccupied.”
“Nothing’s wrong, Link. Just thinking of old times,” she said to the man garbed in what seemed like pieces of different clothing amalgamated into one. His blonde hair flowed freely with no signs on tameness.
Andim was fourteen years old, just old enough to get a job. Ever since her parents died, the village of Toaru was the only place that she could call home. No one really treated her with respect when she moved there. She was different because she was interested in magic and not other things.
“You know, you can take off now,” said her best friend who was also working with her, Link.
“But don’t we have to finish feeding the cattle?” asked Andim.
“I’ll do that. You go rest, you’ve done a lot today.”
Andim smiled at her friend’s good gesture. “Thanks Link! I guess I’ll go get my dinner then.”
“See you tomorrow,” called Link as his friend walked away.
Andim’s relationship with her friends Link was like a brother and sister. After all, he did stand up for her more than a few times. As the thought crossed her mind, she began to think about another memory.
Andim was being encircled by all of the villager’s kids that got together to have a huge beat down. How Andim was the only one that didn’t know about it was still a mystery. They all, for no particular reason, were about to jump a defenseless nine year-old who had done nothing.
“Why don’t you just use your powers to save you?” mocked a little boy.
“Yeah, summon some demon for us?” a girl laughed.
All huddled together and jumped on the poor girl. Andim could feel her life slipping away at with each hard blow. Her eyes went dark as she accepted her fate.
“Hey!” called a voice. The great pressure of all the children was instantly lifted off of Andim. “You leave her alone! What has she ever done to you?” yelled a young man around the age of thirteen.
“Just look at her!” said a boy.
“Look at the way she dresses!” said a brown-headed girl, pointing to at Andim’s black cloak with the hood off.
“And look what she reads!” said a little boy as he literally ripped the book she was holding out of her hands.
“Give that back,” Andim said weakly.
“No!” the little boy teased.
“You heard her! Give it back!” Link demanded.
The little boy scoffed and threw the book down to Andim. “Now all of you go back home. I don’t ever want to see you harassing this girl again.”
All the children listened to him. He was like the big man on campus. He was kind and considerate, but stern when needed to be. He put his hand out to help Andim up. He smiled as she took his hand. Her cloak was tattered and torn and covered in dirt.
“Are you ok, your bleeding,” said Link, looking at her face.
“I’m ok. It’s just a few scratches. Nothing to worry about,” said Andim, wiping the blood from her mouth.
“Where are your parents?”
“I don’t have any. I came here just recently to find a home.”
“So that’s why I’ve never seen you here.” Link’s smile faded slightly. “I don’t have any parents either. I lost them in a fire. My boss, Mr. Shiro, was a friend of theirs and he took care of me.”
“I wish I had friends. Ones to take care of me and not think I’m weird.”
Link smiled again, “I’ll be your friend. I can help you build a house. I won’t be very good. But it’ll be a place where you can stay for now.”
“I can also get you a job. I’ll ask my boss if you can help me with the cattle. I know it doesn’t sound glamorous, but it pays well and you get lots of breaks and it’s fun.”
Andim smiled, “Thank you very much. No one’s ever helped me before.”
“Well I’m always here to help you now.”
Andim walked to her little house by the lake. She never really noticed that the kids had never bothered her again. Come to think of it, she never really noticed how well her house had become to live in.
Andim lay her head on her pillow, which was just a folded blanket, and snuggled under the blanket Link had given her for her birthday. The cloak was hanging on a the wall. She wondered why she had never really worn it since that day five years ago. She wondered why.
The next morning, Andim dressed in her usual outfit that was similar to Link’s, only it had a more flowing design. The articles did not clash with whatever it was near.
She met Link at the gate. “Good morning, Andim,” Link said upon seeing her.
“Morning Link,” Andim returned the greeting.
“Don’t forget, tonight’s the night we eat fish!”
“Fish is my favorite! I can’t believe I almost forgot. I feel so stupid.”
Link smiled and shook his head, “Don’t worry about it. We’ve all had a lot to do with the festival and all. It’s easy to forget things like this.”
“I heard the mayor wasn’t going to go this year.”
“Oh really? Why not?” Link was tying up some goats with a rope.
“I’m not sure. But if he doesn’t go, I wonder who will.”
“I’m sure the mayor will go. He always does.”
“Well, I also heard he’s looking around for the perfect one to send.”
Link had finished tying the goats together. “Well, I sure it’s not me. I like it here. I have no wishes to see Hyrule.”
Andim help Link move the cattle to another stable. They had to be tied up so they wouldn’t run away in different directions.
“Link,” called Link’s boss.
“Yes sir?” asked Link. They now noticed he was holding a horse by the reins. It had a pure white mane and beautiful red coat.
“We got a new horse in today. I want you to see if she’s in good shape.”
“How do you want me to do that?”
“Simple. Andim, untie those goats.”
Andim was surprised. “But then they’ll run wild.”
“Just do it.”
Andim reluctantly walked over to the cattle and untied the cattle. All at once the herd ran in different directions.
“There you go, son. Just herd those goats into the barn. That should show what this horse has.”
“Well, I’m sure we can just do it ourselves. And I can already tell she’s in good shape. Besides, herding goats is boring. They might get angry and we’d just end up hurting her.”
“Tell you what, I’ll make it worth your while. I’ll let you keep this horse if you can do it in under two minutes.”
“Let me keep her? As in…..all mine?”
“Do it Link!” urged Andim. “She’s a beautiful stallion.”
“Ok I’ll do it,” said Link excitedly.
“I’ll just go get a saddle,” said Link’s boss.
When he was gone for a moment, Andim asked Link, “Wow, your very own horse!”
“Calm down Andim, I haven’t gotten it yet,” Link said with grin.
“I know, but I’m sure you will. Herding goats won’t be so hard…..” Both looked at the wild goats rampaging in all directions. “……right?”
Link’s boss returned with a saddle. He and Link put it on the horse. Link mounted her with ease. Andim closed the gate so none could escape.
“Now remember, in under two minutes,” his boss reminded him.
“I know. I know,” said Link anxiously.
“Come on, Link!” cried Andim. “You can do it!”
“Count Andim. Ready…….set……GO!”
“Yahh!” Link yelled. The horse charged forward into the crowd of goats. Link ran around the field yelling, ‘Whoop!’.
The goats reacted to that and ran away from the horse. Andim was able to count twenty-three goats before Link began. Now he was down to twenty one goats.
Link was only able to get four goats in at once. And time was running out. Andim was counting by seconds and she was now up to forty-eight. Link had gotten almost all of them in except for three.
Link was growing nervous about the time and got anxious. He yelled “Whoop!” one too many times and made the goats very angry. So angry that they all got mad and knocked Link off of the horse, sapping precious time. Andim was now down to one hundred and four.
Link heard her yelling it and he knew he wouldn’t be able to make it. But fir some reason, the horse charged toward the angry goats on its own. She herded all three of them in with four seconds to spare.
Andim opened the gate and went to help Link up. “Who would’ve thought a horse was smart enough to do that?” asked Link’s boss in surprise. “Well, a deals a deal. The horse is yours now, Link. Just be sure to keep it around here for help around the farm.”
“I sure will sir,” said Link overjoyed.
“What are you going to name her?” asked Andim.
“I’m not sure. What would you suggest?”
“Hmm…..” Andim thought for a moment. “How about Epona?”
“Epona?” Link scratched his head.
“That’s the name of the horse the goddess Farore rode.”
“Epona…I like it. My horse, Epona.”
After work, Link went to the river to fish and Andim started a fire. Link soon returned with five fish for them to eat. Andim set them over the flames.
“What a day,” said Link sitting back and relaxing. “I finally have my very own horse.”
“She sure is beautiful,” said Andim. “You should take her to Ilia. She’s an expert on horses.”
“Not a bad idea.” The fish began to sizzle. Link and Andim both had two. Link offered her to have the last one, but she insisted he have it. He was older and needed it. Once it was time to go home and to bed, Andim put out the fire.
“You go home, Andim,” said Link. “I clean up here.”
Andim stood up. “Thank you,” she said. She began to walk back home but turned around to say, “You know…….for everything.”