The Legend of Zelda: The Fabric of Time
Part Three – A Link Through Time
A lone rider rode across the vast emptiness of the surrounding field. He had ridden this way before, but in a time that was much more prosperous and peaceful. Now, evil overran the entire countryside, leaving only a few safe places in all the land. This was not one of them. The open field was perhaps the most dangerous area to be in, aside from the Tower of Ganondorf. The evil tower could be seen in the distance, and he shuddered as he quickly glanced at it. Even though he was a good distance away from the tower, he was still far too close to it. He could feel the evil presence there, looking out over all the land, and if he didn’t hurry, he would surely meet his end.
Scaring himself with thoughts of the tower, John forced his horse to go faster. He wanted the tower to be out of sight, he wanted to be out of the darkness, and he wanted to be back at the refuge. As he rode faster away from the tower, he couldn’t help but think of the events of the last few months.
He had watched on, with a dying Jacob at his side, as the Evil King ran his sword through the Hero of Time. He went through several emotions all at once. Disappointment that Link failed, anger toward the man who had slain him and his friend, but mostly fear, for his own life and the life of all the people in Hyrule. He could hear Zelda screaming from the other side of the room, but it seemed strangely distant. Fully expecting to be killed very soon, he thought of Chris and the time they had together. He thought of his parents, his sister, his friends. Just as he accepted the fact that he would die, he felt the magical force on him dispel. Before he ran, he hesitated. Looking down on his friend’s body, John felt guilty of leaving it there. But he knew he could never carry Jacob’s dead body down the tower in time to escape alive. With one last look at his friend, he ran out of the tower with Zelda and Nick.
They reached Hyrule Castle as fast as they possibly could. They relayed the bad news to the Sages, although they already knew the fate of the mission. A heated debate rose over their next course of action. Zelda did not want to abandon her throne and her people, but the Sages felt that hiding was their best shot at survival and possibly victory. Reluctantly, Zelda agreed with the Sages and they searched for a place of hiding that would protect them from the evil that would soon spread. The Sages spoke to the Great Deku Tree, who permitted their passage into the forest. There, in the Lost Woods, Zelda, Nick, John, and the other survivors took refuge from the darkness, in hopes that one day, they would be able to defeat Ganondorf.
Although they were secluded in the Lost Woods, they still desired to see what was happening on the outside. Once every several days, a scout would be sent out to survey the surrounding areas. They kept a strict schedule over the past few months, and it was now John’s turn. In his short journey, he had seen things he never wanted to see. Scores of dead citizens lying unburied in heaps by the river, monsters roaming around, killing any Hylian, Zora, Goron, or Gerudo it came across. The lands were badly scarred. Seeing enough, John had turned around.
John came back to reality. And as he did, he felt the first drops of rain and looked up. The dark sky became even darker as the storm clouds moved in. John saw a flash of lightning strike a tree not too far from him. Without hesitation, he jerked his horse faster, toward the entrance to the Lost Woods. He could barely see it in the distance, but he knew that he wasn’t too far from it. He lowered his head and trudged along.
He rode as fast as he could, looking straight in front of him. It was because of this that he never saw the figure off to the right. The creature lurked in the shadows behind John, making sure to keep a safe distance from the rider. The figure followed him to the entrance of the Kokiri Forest. As John galloped in through the entrance, the creature, a Stalfos, was a little hesitant. But the realization of what Ganondorf would do to it if it failed its mission was enough to make it go on. Slowly, the creature walked through the entrance.
As John made his way into the Kokiri Forest, he heard faint sounds of footsteps on wood. He quickly turned to see if anything was following him, but saw nothing. He vowed to himself that he would be more aware of his surroundings as he couldn’t give up the location of their refuge. With one last look around, he kicked the horse into a trot.
The Stalfos had just gotten into the shadows when its victim turned around. Almost caught, it decided that it would remain a little bit further back from the boy, as he would be on his guard now. As the boy began to ride away again, the creature slowly stepped out from hiding and once again began the pursuit.
John approached the entrance into the Lost Woods and stopped just short of it. He didn’t hear anything this time, but rather felt it. The presence of something that was not akin to this wood. Still unsure of himself, John decided that the best course of action would be to go as fast as he could through the Lost Woods. That way, whatever was following him, if there was something following him, it would get lost in the maze of the Lost Woods and wander around it for all eternity. He brought the horse to a full sprint and entered the Lost Woods.
Unfortunately for John, this Stalfos was very fast itself when it needed to be. It was also an excellent tracker. The boy would not get away.
John raced through the woods, turning left, then right, then heading straight. He came upon a clearing like no other in the woods and slowed the horse until it stopped. Before he did anything else, John looked all around him, making sure that he had lost the creature that he felt following him earlier. Satisfied, he jumped off the horse, grabbed its reins, and walked over to a large boulder covered with vines. He raised his hand up and knocked three times.
As he waited for the passageway to be opened, his ears caught the sound of ruffling leaves. He looked behind him, searching for whatever made the noise. Silence followed, and the next sound was of the door beginning to open. As it opened, he not only heard a rustle, but had a feeling of being watched. He glanced behind him one more time, just as the Stalfos leapt out from behind a bush. The Stalfos charged straight at John, sword ready to strike. He barely had time to yell a warning.
“A Stalfos! We’ve been found!” he yelled as loud as he could. On the other side of the partially opened door, Nick heard John’s words and pushed even harder on the door, trying to get outside and destroy the Stalfos.
Just as he opened the door, he saw the Stalfos thrust with his sword and pierce John’s chest. The boy fell to the ground limply and face down. Nick unsheathed his sword and ran toward the Stalfos, but it wasn’t going to stay for a fight. It fled from the Lost Woods faster then Nick could ever hope to run. Realizing that it was useless to run after the Stalfos, Nick returned to where John lay on the ground. He sat next to the boy and turned him over, supporting his head with his arms.
“I’m… I’m sorry…” he tried to say, all the while coughing up blood, “I’m sorry, Nick… I was careless…”
“Don’t worry, John, it’s not your fault,” Nick tried to console him. “Try not to talk.”
“If you… see Chris,… tell her… that I love her… always have…”
“She knows, John. But you have my word that I will tell her once more for you. Now, be still.”
John coughed a few more times, his breathing becoming more rapid, but more faint at the same time. “Link… he will come back… and save us… I know it…” He let out one more breath, and then his heart stopped. Nick slowly began to cry, telling himself that it was not fair that John should die. He was much too young. He offered his own life for the boy’s, but his offer was not accepted. John’s blood mixed with the falling rain, forming a red stream that amassed in a puddle a few feet from his body.
* * * *
The forest grew thicker as they made their way deeper into its heart. The trees were so close together that they stopped almost all light from reaching the ground. Link glanced around nervously from side to side, expecting an attack from something at any moment. Although he had not seen any monsters as of yet, he wouldn’t let himself fall into a false sense of security.
“Hey, Ian! Are there any evil creatures in this forest?”
“Indeed there are,” the man replied without so much as a glance back at Link.
“But, isn’t this the Golden Land, the Sacred Realm? Shouldn’t it be peaceful here?”
Ian let out a small chuckle. “How easily you forget, Link. We are not actually in the Sacred Realm, for we are in Purgatory. Evil can live in this place just as much as we can. Even now, the Sacred Realm is overrun with monsters and evil beings since Ganondorf reigned there.”
“I see,” he replied as he let out a small sigh.
“What was that for?” Ian asked, actually turning around to face Link this time.
“Well, it’s just that there doesn’t seem to be any place safe anymore. Everywhere I go, I have to watch my back or else I’ll be killed. What kind of world is tha…” Link was cut off as his foot got caught underneath a raised root. Before he could react, he found himself lying face down in the dirt.
Ian laughed heartily. “Well! It does seem that there is no place safe for a boy like you! You can’t even walk! The Hero! Ha!” He reached down and grabbed Link’s arm and helped him up.
“Very funny,” Link said softly while brushing off his clothes.
“You should have seen your face! Ha ha! That alone was worth my time waiting for you!” Ian gave Link a big slap on the back. Not expecting it, Link fell forward, almost losing his balance and falling again. Ian laughed again.
“Ok, ok. The joke’s on me. Can we get back to the task at hand, please?”
Ian tried to stop laughing, but it came with great difficulty. After several minutes, he was able to stop and put on a straight face.
“Thank you,” Link sighed.
They continued their way through the forest again, moving ever deeper into the darkness. Link realized that he would have to rely more on his ears than his eyes for the time being. He listened intently to his surroundings, but heard nothing. Absolutely nothing. The eerie silence scared him more than he had ever been scared. He wanted so desperately to see what was around him. A faint rustle filled the air. Link’s ears heard it and he quickly faced what he thought to be the direction of the sound. There it was again, but this time, it seemed to be coming from behind him. He turned, only to hear the rustle again, this time off to the left. Then it was right behind him.
With a quick turn and slash, Link struck his unknown enemy. He heard the evil beast yelp as the Master Sword cut it open. With its last breath, the wolf-like creature howled as loud as it could. The howl was answered by numerous other howls, each coming from a separate direction. Without the ability to see well, Link knew he was in trouble. He looked all around him, but he couldn’t find Ian or the path that they had been traveling on. During his little confrontation with the creature, he had gotten all turned around and could no longer tell one way from another. He called out for Ian, only to be answered by the incoming beasts. With a quick, desperate decision, he took off running to what he could only hope was the right way.
* * * *
Ian continued walking down the barely visible path. If he hadn’t known the path, he was sure that he would never make it through the dense forest. But in the time before Link finally showed up in Purgatory, Ian was able to learn a great deal about the land and its inhabitants. Slowly, he went further down the path, feeling his way with his hands and legs as often as possible. Without turning around, he called out.
“Well, Link, it seems that you have been extremely quiet for the last twenty minutes or so. What’s the matter? Are you scared?”
Ian waited for a response, but got none.
“Link? Link, are you there?” He stopped in his tracks and looked behind him, although with the darkness it didn’t really do him any good.
“This isn’t funny, Link. We have very important matters to attend to. Link?”
As he waited for a response again, he heard the howls of wolves off in the distance.
“Oh no. Those damn wolves! I hate those things! I hope he’ll be alright,” Ian said aloud to no one. He knew the beasts that roamed this forest and he regretted not warning Link about them. The boy had asked if there were evil creatures in the woods, but Ian felt he would tell him when, and if, they were attacked by any. Apparently, the wolves had attacked Link, and that worried Ian. These wolves are very much similar to the Wolfos that Link battled many times, but they are ten times stronger, and ten times smarter.
“I hope he’ll be alright,” he repeated to himself. He stared into the darkness one last time before turning back around in his tracks.
“Might as well get to the first portal now. If he survives the attack, he’ll have to find his way there by himself.”
He once again walked down the beaten path toward his destination.
* * * *
Link finally stopped running after what seemed like an eternity. Breathing heavily, he leaned up against a tree to rest his body. It seemed that the beasts had decided not to chase him all over the woods, and for that he was thankful. He glanced around at his surroundings and could see almost nothing. He could make out the outlines of some trees, but that was about it. After taking a few minutes to catch his breath, he stood up and pondered what to do next.
“Ian!” he yelled as loud as he could. “Ian! Hey!” He got no response.
“Great, now what am I supposed to do?” His feet told him that he was at least on level ground. It seemed as though he had found a path, but how far ahead or back he was, there was no way of telling. He continued to stand there, totally lost on what to do.
“Give me a sign!” he yelled at the top of his lungs. His voice echoed throughout the woods until it faded away into the darkness, as if it were swallowed up by it. He stood in silence for a moment longer and was just about to give up when something caught his attention.
“Link… Link, help me… you must help me…”
“Zelda?” He looked all around him, puzzled by the sudden emergence of his loved one’s voice. “Zelda? Where are you? Zelda?”
“Link… over here… help me…”
Her voice seemed to be coming from behind him. He swirled around and almost screamed in terror at the sight that stood before him. Tied on a torture rack, bloodied and bruised, lay Zelda, the Princess of Hyrule. He stood there for a short time, and then began to walk to her side. She lay there, crying, bleeding, and having trouble breathing. Link couldn’t stand what he saw and his eyes began to tear up as a result of it. He reached his hand out to touch her face, but just as he was about to, another voice called him.
“Daddy! It hurts! Daddy! Make the bad man stop!”
Link froze in place. He knew the voice, and its owner, but he didn’t want to turn around. He didn’t want his worst fears to be a reality in front of him. Slowly, he turned around to see Evan chained to a wall, being lashed by a Stalfos. The boy was bleeding very badly, so much that his tears seemed to be blood themselves. Link’s eyes swelled up even more as tears began to make their way down his face. Instinctively, he jumped at the Stalfos, only to fall flat on his face as he went completely through the apparition. Blinded by rage and sadness, he swung wildly at the Stalfos, each time his fists simply passing through it. His actions were interrupted by an evil, maniacal laugh.
He quickly turned around to see Ganondorf standing there, taking pleasure in the torture of Zelda and Evan. Link unsheathed the Master Sword and ran at the Evil King. He lunged forward, only to pass through him as well. Link stayed on the ground facedown as the Evil King began to walk over to Evan. Link raised his head, but didn’t get up, as he realized that he was powerless to do anything. He was just a spectator to the events that were taking place in front of him. Without Ganondorf uttering a word, the Stalfos ceased to lash Evan and stood aside. He walked up beside the boy and smiled. The boy was shuddering in fear and pain. Ganondorf looked over at Zelda and laughed.
Link continued to watch on as the Evil King drew out a dagger and held it up to his son’s throat. After a brief hesitation, which felt like a lifetime to Link, he slit Evan’s throat. Blood poured out of the new wound causing Evan to choke as he tried to breathe. His mouth and eyes fluttered between open and closed as his life was taken from him. Finally, his struggling ended.
Link dug his head back into the ground, unable to keep himself from crying heavily. If it were up to him, he would keep his head buried there for all of eternity. But he was pulled out from his unbelievable grief by Zelda’s scream. Once again, he lifted his head, now covered with tears and dirt.
Ganondorf was now directly beside her, his bloodied dagger in his right hand. He brought the blade up and pressed the tip onto Zelda’s chest, directly over her heart. Slowly, he pushed the dagger into her, twisting it around to deliver even more pain. When he could not push it any deeper, he quickly removed it causing blood to spout from the gaping wound. Zelda struggled, but to no avail. Her body soon became as limp as Evan’s, and Link’s Hell was complete.
Link didn’t let his head fall to the ground this time. Instead, he just sat there, staring at the horrible beast that had murdered his family and vowed vengeance. Suddenly, the Evil King turned and faced Link. Not only faced him but stared directly at him! Can he see me? What the hell is going on? Before he could react, Ganondorf raced toward the Hero, sword drawn. He leapt into the air, and as he came down on Link, Link could do nothing but hide his face in the dirt once again. The Evil King’s yell became louder and louder and louder and…
Link removed his hands from the back of his head and looked around. He was still in the forest, exactly where he had been standing when he first heard Zelda’s voice. A look of confusion swept across his face.
“What the hell just happened? Was that a vision? A premonition?”
He stood there, thinking about all that he had just witness. Did it ever happen? Was he already too late to save them? He pondered these questions and feared the answers.
Then, a golden light made its way through the forest. It broke Link’s thoughts as it shown in his eyes. The bright light was very much like the one he had followed when he found Ian. Perhaps the Goddesses are helping me once again? Without another thought, he followed the golden light.
The light led him down a path. Whether it was the same path he and Ian had been following before or a different one altogether, he couldn’t tell. It was leading him in the right direction, that much he knew. The tree line was becoming thinner and more light from the twilight sky could reach the forest ground. He continued along the path mindlessly, his thoughts driven elsewhere by the recent events that had transpired before him. Images of Zelda and Ian chained up and tortured; the sight of Ganondorf taking each of their lives from them; his family’s dead bodies lying motionless. The scenes played through his mind continuously, as if they were on an endless loop of pain. Zelda’s screams echoed in his head, her cries for help going unanswered. He only prayed to the Goddesses that what he had seen had not yet happened. He would save them, he had no doubt. But if it was already too late, he would avenge the deaths of his family and the people of Hyrule once and for all. There was no stopping him.
He became so engrossed in his thoughts that he never noticed he had left the forest several minutes before. When he finally broke out of his thoughts, he stopped and noticed the golden sky around him. Off in the distance, he could see a village of some sort. He wasn’t sure if it were real or if it was part of his imagination. To the east of the village lay the path of the light. The light was more intense now that he had left the darkness of the woods, and he could sense that he was not far from his destination. He reached for his canteen and drank a mouthful of water. While he closed it, he surveyed the area briefly and didn’t see anything that would cause any trouble, but he still kept his guard up. With a deep breath, he continued his journey. His destination was just ahead.
* * * *
Ian took a big sip of his canteen when he finally reached the end of the wood. He looked back hoping that Link would be right behind him, but the boy was nowhere to be found. He took off his hat and wiped his brow with his handkerchief.
Now where is that boy? He thought to himself. Those wolves couldn’t have been that much trouble for him. Wherever you are, Link, I hope you find your way back. You’re our only hope.
Placing his hat back on, Ian turned his back on the forest and continued along the path that would lead him to the first gate. On his journey, his thoughts returned to the Hero.
The future is a much different place than the time that Link is from. The changes that have occurred over time will shock him, sadden him, and, possibly, anger him. Morals that he and the rest of the Hylians follow everyday without question are often ignored. It is crucial that he doesn’t act out too hastily. I must make him understand that the times have changed, but I doubt he’ll accept that. It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t accept the changes, but he must learn to live with them for the time being. Besides, we probably won’t be there for that long, and I’m sure he has the self-control to hold back for the time being. That is, if we ever get there.
Ian looked up at the sky once again, wondering where Link could possibly be. Scanning the horizon, he couldn’t find any signs of him, but he was approaching a small hill. Once on top of it, he could see more of the land, including his destination. He only hoped Link was close by.
In fifteen minutes, Ian was finally on top of the hill. He looked over all the plains and marveled at their beauty. He had been in this Purgatory for quite some time now, yet he could never get over how beautiful the land was. Placing a hand on his brow to block out the sunlight, Ian searched for any signs of Link.
And he found nothing. Not a sign of him. Discouraged, Ian looked in the direction of the first gate. Just as he was about to give up, he saw a small figure off in the distance, almost to the gate. Could it be that he has beaten me here? Ian thought to himself. It must be him! I knew he could do it!
Excited, Ian began to run down the path as fast as he could, laughing all the way. He made his way down the hill at a great speed and ran straight for the gate. He yelled out.
“Link! Link!” The figure ahead of him stopped in its tracks and turned in the direction of the voice. Ian continued to run as fast as he could and he would reach Link in a matter of minutes. His muscles ached, telling him to stop and walk, but he ignored them. He ran faster and faster and …
He tripped on a rock. Reacting quickly, Ian ducked his head under his arms and prepared to roll on the ground. He executed almost three somersaults before he was able to stop. After his little ordeal was over, Ian sat where he had landed to catch his breath. He looked up in front of him and could see the figure laughing. Could even hear it laughing. With only about two hundred yards to go, Ian pulled himself up off the ground and walked over to Link.
“Do you practice that move often?” Link said in between laughs. “Cause you sure did look good!”
Ian’s face turned red at Link’s ridiculing. He didn’t know what to say, but he finally came up with, “I meant to do that.”
This caused Link to laugh even harder. “Sure you did! You meant to do that! You wish!” The Hero couldn’t stop laughing.
“I seem to recall you falling before in the woods!” Ian shouted out. The comment made Link stop laughing on a dime. “Yeah, I thought so.”
They both stared at each other in complete silence, with only the noise of the wind. The silence continued, until both of them laughed together.
“That was funny, wasn’t it?” Ian commented.
“Yeah, it really was.”
They laughed for a couple more minutes and were finally able to keep control of themselves.
“So how did you get here?”
“I just followed the golden light,” Link replied. “It was pretty simple.”
“I thought I had lost you. I was really getting worried when you were no longer behind me.”
“As was I. But all that matters is that I made, you made it, and now we can go on.”
“Yes, we should be going through the gate.” Ian pointed toward the gate, which stood several hundred feet away from them. He motioned and the two of them began to walk toward it.
“Hey, Ian. I saw what looked like a village up further along this road. Was that real, or just my imagination?”
“Oh, it was real, alright. There are many villages spread throughout Purgatory.”
“But why? Shouldn’t those people have either done what they needed to do to get into the Heavens, or gone to the Demon World?”
“Well, everyone here is trying to make it into the Heavens, but their repentance all take different amounts of time. I myself have been here for quite some time. Almost two years as time flows here. Some of these people have been here for many more years than that.”
“Did those people do the worst things during their life?” Link inquired.
“No, not necessarily. Sometimes, someone’s repentance relies on an event or person that is in the living world. They must wait for this event to happen or this person, as I did you. Time here flows much differently, adding to the wait. A short time in the living world can be quite long here in Purgatory.”
“Ah, I see.”
“Good, I’m glad. Well, here we are.”
In front of the two travelers stood the gate. Just like everything else in this land, it seemed magical, and in this case, it was very magical. The gate was in the shape of an arch and consisted of some golden material that Link had never seen before. It reflected the light of day back at the travelers. Link stood there, astonished at the beauty and wonder of the gate. He never even moved as Ian walked within a few feet of the gate. The elder man looked up at the sky and lifted his arms into the air. He began chanting something that Link couldn’t understand, but he really didn’t care. Ian continued to chant as the archway began to light up even more than before. In front of him, Link could see a small glow coming from the center of the hemisphere enclosed by the archway. The vibrant glow grew bigger and bigger. The spot emanated a bluish light, much like the light that transported him back and forth through time on his first quest. The ground began to rumble as the opening grew bigger. Suddenly, there was a bright flash and Link had to shield his eyes from it. When he dared to open them once again, he found the gate completely opened before him. Ian stood off to the side, gazing at the gate like he had created the thing himself. Link remained standing there, unwilling to move. He stared into the portal for what seemed like an eternity until finally Ian brought him out of his little trance.
“Link! Let’s go. We have much to do,” Ian put his hand on the Hero’s shoulder. Still in awe of what he had just witnessed, Link could do nothing more than nod his head in agreement. Ian removed his hand from Link’s shoulder and walked toward the gate. Link looked on as he stepped through the opening and vanished into it.
He was still fixed in position and remained there for almost another minute before he forced himself to take a few steps forward. Finally, he was standing within a foot of the portal. He surveyed it by looking up and down, left and right, and all around it. Facing forward again, he took one last deep breath and stepped into the gate.
Chris ran through the refuge faster than she had ever run before. Tears rolled down her red face as she cried loudly through the passageways of the refuge. She was so blinded by grief that she never noticed the people that she was knocking over. Behind her, Liz was running slower than she, but still quite fast. Liz was crying as well, although not as much as Chris. The two teenaged girls continued through the refuge until they finally came to their destination. Chris stopped outside the doorway, not wanted to go in to the room, thereby making it all too real. It wasn’t until when Liz got to the door that Chris was able to raise up enough courage to open the door. She reached her hand out slowly and grabbed the knob.
As she walked into the room, she closed her eyes and made a promise to herself. She promised that she would be strong and would be able to go on, knowing that John died a hero and that he was in a better place now. She decided that she would abide by that promise for as long as she lived. Upon opening her eyes, the promise was instantly broken.
“John! No, John!” she cried as she ran over to the table where John’s body had been placed. She buried her face into his chest and wept her eyes out, only taking brief pauses in order to breathe.
Standing on the other side of the table was Nick, his head bowed. He gently put his hand onto Chris’s shoulder and tried to offer some sort of comfort.
“He was a very brave lad. You should be proud of him.” The words just seemed to echo off the walls as Chris continued to weep onto the one she loved. Nick realized that he was no good at this sort of thing, so he did not make another attempt at consoling her. He looked around the room and saw Aaron praying to himself in the corner and William sitting on a chair, deep in thought. Robert had left the room just a few minutes before. Nick’s eyes caught Liz’s as he scanned the room, and without saying a word, she knew what he wanted to say. She nodded her thanks and walked up beside Chris to console her.
Nick spoke up again. “Well, we’ll leave you alone. Besides, we’ve got some planning to do.” He gestured to the other Knights to get a move on, and they all complied. They walked out of the room without uttering a single word. Nick was the last to leave, and as he did, he took one last look back at the two mourning girls. Poor girls. Barely more than children and they’ve each lost all that was dear to them. With a deep feeling of sympathy, Nick left the room and closed the door.
As he walked down the passageway, Zelda, Celes, Adriana, Diana, and Sarah all ran up to him at once.
“Nick, tell me it isn’t true,” Zelda said to him.
“I’m sorry, Princess, but John was slain by a Stalfos.”
“No. No, that’s horrible. Oh Chris! She must be devastated,” Adriana said with choked back tears.
“Can we go see them?” Sarah asked.
Nick sighed deeply. “I don’t think you girls should go in there right now. We just left Liz and Chris in there. Maybe a little later.”
They all nodded their agreement.
“Anyway, Princess, we need to figure out what we are going to do. An attack on us is imminent. We must take action now.”
“Yes, yes of course,” Zelda responded. “Let’s go.”
“What is it, Celes?”
She ran up to him and embraced him as tight as she could. “I love you. No matter what happens.”
“I know, honey. I know.” She released her grip on him and allowed him to leave. Nick and Zelda left the other four women standing there, not knowing what was going to happen.
* * * *
It was like nothing else Link had ever felt. He seemed to be flying through some kind of vortex. He couldn’t see his body, but then again, he couldn’t even move his head to see if his body was there or not. His vision was fixated in front of him. In the distance, amid the vast array of colors, was a single white light, brighter than anything else around him. The light grew brighter and brighter, and closer and closer, until it was all around him. Then, as quickly as it had come, it disappeared. There was a split second of darkness followed by a blue sky, white clouds, and green trees.
Before he could utter a word, he felt two hands grab him and pull him up.
“Well, that was a rough landing,” Ian said jokingly, a smile across his face.
Link ignored the comment and gazed all around him. “Where are we?” he asked without turning to face Ian.
“Hyrule,” Ian said matter-of-factly.
“This isn’t Hyrule. I don’t recognize anything here.”
“That’s because we are many centuries in the future. Hyrule has changed due to famines, wars, and, of course, Ganon.”
Link continued to survey the landscape. As he looked around, he could only make out one thing that seemed to be the same as it was in his time. Death Mountain. It rose in the air just as it had done so many years ago. As he looked at it, Link wondered if the Gorons still lived there.
“Link, we need to get going,” Ian said as he broke Link’s concentration. “We have no time to waste. We must find your descendant as quickly as possible.”
Link nodded. “So where do we start?”
Ian raised his hand and pointed at a house close by. “That’s Link’s house on top of that small hill.”
“Ah, yes. He has the same name as you, as does the other descendant that we are looking for.”
“They have the same name?”
“Yes. Come to think of it, that will make it rather confusing around here. I can’t just say ‘Link’, now can I? I suppose… yes… since you’re the Hero of Time, I will refer to you as such when we are all together. Or perhaps Link I. And they could be Link II and III… hmmm…”
Link looked at Ian with a confused face.
Ian let out a small chuckle. “Or perhaps we’ll worry about that when the time comes. For now, you’re Link. So let’s go.”
The two travelers walked up the small hill toward Link’s house. It was a nice little house, fairly decorated, with a small garden in front of it. The humble home reminded Link of his childhood in the Kokiri Forest. Life seemed so much simpler then. They came to a stop by the front door. Ian raised his fist and gently knocked. They waited. No answer. Ian once more raised his fist, but this time, he pounded harder, hoping to get the attention of anyone inside. Still no response.
“Must not be home,” Link said.
“Guess not. It would seem as though finding your descendant will not be as easy as simply going to his house.”
“So what do we do now?” Link was irritated that his descendant wasn’t home. The longer he spent trying to find his descendants, the less time Zelda and the others had.
“We go to Kakariko Village. We should be able to find out his whereabouts there,” Ian stated. “Oh, and Link?”
“You need a different name.”
“A different name? Why?”
“The people here are very proud of Link, your descendant. They wouldn’t take too kindly to someone who says they have the same name and is a legendary hero. Remember, your deeds are not known in this time.”
“Fine. I will use a different name for now. What should it be?”
The two racked their brains for a good name to use. It had to be one that was strong, but also had a deeper meaning to it. After some thought, Link came up with a name that he couldn’t stop thinking about. He looked up at Ian.
Ian nodded as he remembered Link’s son jumping into his father’s arms and riding around on his shoulders. It was a memory that he could barely recall as it had come during a time that he would rather not remember. A time when he was evil.
“Very well. Evan it is.”
They stood there a moment longer before Ian turned in the direction of Kakariko Village. Link took one last look back at his descendants house before following the older man. So peaceful. I wonder if he was thrust into his journey as I had been into mine. His thoughts then turned again to Zelda, Evan, and the rest of his friends. He had a long journey in front of him.
* * * *
“So it’s decided. We will leave the refuge and attack the enemy first,” Nick said in front of a council of the best warriors and the Princess.
“But where should we attack them?” William asked.
Nick thought about it briefly before he came to his decision. “We must attack them outside of the forest. Some of the enemy are extraordinarily difficult to fight enclosed in trees. Plus, we must not let them get to the Great Deku Tree.”
“Are you sure that’s wise?” Aaron questioned from the back of the room.
“Wise? No, it may not be wise. But it’s our only choice.”
Soft murmurs filled the room as everyone realized that he was right. He continued on.
“We must first establish an exit for her Highness and her son.”
Zelda jumped up from her chair. “What do you mean, exit? I’m going to stay and fight for Hyrule!”
“No, you’re not. I’m sorry your Highness, but if we are victorious in this battle, we will still need a leader,” Nick reasoned.
“You can be that leader!” Zelda shouted back.
“I may be able to lead armies, Princess, but I cannot lead civilians. Only you can. The people love you.”
Just then, the door was slammed in as Celes, Adriana, Diana, and Sarah all came in. It was Celes that spoke up.
“We are going to fight alongside you men.”
Nick was startled. “No, honey, you are not going to fight!”
“And why not? We have a sense of duty too. Not to mention we want to protect the Princess as well,” Adriana said.
“In my country,” William started, “the women do not fight!”
“Nor in mine!” Aaron injected.
“And they have never fought in this one,” Nick said, “and why should it change now?”
Sarah was furious. “There’s not much of a country left, if you haven’t noticed! You need all the help you can get and here are four women who are willing to risk their lives for the future of the country. I’m sure there are plenty more who would do the same!”
The room fell silent after Sarah’s remarks. The disturbing silence was broken by a sweet, innocent voice that was shaky with grief.
“We would like to fight,” Liz said.
The room remained silent as the two teenagers entered the room. Both were grief-stricken with tear-filled eyes. No one wanted them to fight, and if it was up to the Knights, they wouldn’t. But everyone could tell that even if they were told not to fight, they still would.
Nick glanced around from one woman to the next and saw the deep desire they had. All they wanted to do was protect what they loved, just as he always does. He sighed deeply.
“Alright, you girls can fight. Anyone that wants to fight will be allowed.” The women were very pleased, but they would not show it. They knew that they could very well be sending themselves to an early grave.
“Then I will fight.”
“Except for you, Princess Zelda,” Nick reiterated.
Zelda was visibly upset, but she knew that there was no way any of them would let her fight. Instead of arguing, she was going to go against their wishes and fight anyway. She just had to figure out what to do with Evan.
“Alright, men… and ladies,” Nick corrected himself, “we have a lot of work to do. I suggest that all of you practice strategy and technique. Fellow Knights, we will teach these women how to fight.”
* * * *
They walked into Kakariko Village a little after dusk. The sun was down, but numerous torches lit the streets with their soothing light. No one was outside, save for the homeless. Link couldn’t believe that people didn’t have a place to live and no one came to their aid. He wondered how morals could become so easily avoidable.
Ian kept on walking, seeming to know exactly where he wanted to go. To Link, the town was very strange. It was nothing like the Kakariko he used to know. Not to mention the fact that the Kakariko from his time stood at the base of Death Mountain, while this one seemed to be in the middle of nowhere.
“Ian, do you know where you’re going?”
Ian chuckled. “Not a clue, Li… Evan.”
“Then where are you leading us?”
“In search of a tavern, my friend.”
Link was a little unsettled. “You mean you want to get a few drinks at a time like this? Ian, we have to hurry and find him!”
“Calm down. I’m not looking for some drinks. Taverns are a great place to get information on somebody’s whereabouts. All the gossip and stories always wind up there.” Up ahead, Ian spotted a sign that read Kakariko Tavern. “Found it.”
Link looked at the sign that Ian was pointing at. The writing on it wasn’t anything that he had seen before. “How do you know that’s the tavern? That writing isn’t in Hylian.”
“Oh, but it is. The language you know is only one language. There is another language now, although it sounds the same as the language you use. Which is good, because this would be much more difficult if we couldn’t understand each other’s language.”
“Then why is it written different?”
“Influences from other countries and peoples changed it ever so slightly over the years until it has become what it is today.”
“I don’t like this place.”
Ian laughed out loud. “So, the Hero of Time doesn’t like someplace because its different. Why, I would have thought you would’ve been used to things being different after all you’ve been through,” he said as he let out another laugh. When he was able to bring himself under control, he realized that they were right in front of the tavern. “Now remember, you’re name is Evan.”
“Why are we here?”
Ian was a little puzzled. “What do you mean, ‘Why are we here’? We need information on Link II.”
Link shook his head. “No, no, no. You misunderstand me. If someone asks us why we’re here, I would like to give them an answer that won’t get us into trouble.”
Ian’s eyes light up with understanding and a small smile appeared on his face. “I see what you mean. Very well, then. We are travelers from another country and are just on our way through. We are inquiring about legendary heroes from many different countries in order to make peace with them. Is that alright, o wise one?”
Link smiled. “That will do just fine.” And with that, Ian opened the tavern door and they walked in.
The tavern was quite big. There must have been between 20 and 30 tables scattered throughout the whole place, and the bar was long enough to hold an addition 20 people. The bar ran along the left side of the tavern, almost all the way from the front door to the back door. The tavern was fairly crowded, but there were still many tables to choose from and some stools left open at the bar.
Ian leaned over to Link. “Go sit at one of the tables. I’ll be there in a minute.”
Feeling uncomfortable in this new situation, Link was more than happy to just sit down and wait. He walked slowly toward the back of the tavern. All the way back, he thought that everyone was looking at him. In fact, he did catch the eyes of quite a few patrons, and he became even more uncomfortable. He finally chose a table to sit at. It was located in the back next to the stage. There were no performances that night, so the area wasn’t crowded at all.
He took off his sheath and shield, leaning them up against one of the other chairs at the table. As he sat down, he began to scan the room. A few tables to the left, a group of four men were playing cards. Link recognized that they were cards, although he had never seen any like those before in his life. He had been familiar with three suits, each of which represented one of the Goddesses. These men were playing with four suits: hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades, although Link didn’t know them. A few tables behind the card-players were two couples, sharing a drink together. Over to his right, Link saw a group of men and women sitting at several tables pushed together. All their eyes were on one man in particular who seemed to be telling a story. When they all erupted into laughter, Link realized he was telling jokes.
Up at the bar, Link caught sight of Ian. He was leaning next to a man and whispering something to him. Ian pointed in Link’s direction and the man turned around and nodded. Ian nodded his head too, as though they had reached an agreement of some sort. Then, Link noticed the bartender walk over to Ian and place two mugs onto the bar in front of him. He paid what he owed, grabbed the two mugs, and walked to where Link was sitting.
“Here you go, their best ale. Or so they say,” Ian said as he handed the mug of ale to Link. As Link took a drink, Ian could see the discomfort in his face. “What’s wrong?”
Link glanced around the room again. “It’s just… I don’t know… I feel so out of place here. This place doesn’t seem right.”
Ian laughed a little. “If I were you, I wouldn’t worry about it. This place is no different than any other one.”
“But some of the people here were staring at me,” Link said quietly, not wanting anyone to hear that they had gotten under his skin.
Ian looked him directly in his eyes. “Were they staring at you, or at your sword?” Link’s face turned to that of surprise as he realized what Ian was talking about. “If you hadn’t noticed already, nobody here is carrying a sword and shield with them.”
Link looked around the room a third time, but for the first time realized that no one, not a single person, was carrying a sword. “So I guess I’m just out of place, then.”
“Yes you are,” Ian said with a smile. “You’re definitely the one out of place here.”
Link smiled in return, realizing how childish he was being. “Well, live and learn, I suppose.” He raised his mug in the air. Ian raised his as well and the two of them tapped their mugs together and took a big drink. “Can I ask you a question, Ian? It’s kind of a tough one.”
“Sure thing. What’s on your mind?”
“Well, we’re in the future right?” Link asked. Ian nodded his head. “But the events in the past, such as my death at the hands of Ganondorf, still happened, right?”
“Yes. So what’s the question?”
“Shouldn’t the future have been changed because of those events? I mean, Ganondorf was able to get my piece of the Triforce, so he should’ve been almost unstoppable. How can this future exist?”
“I see what you mean. And, believe it or not, I can answer this. Well, I can give you an answer, if it’s the right one, I don’t know.” Ian reached into his pouch and pulled out a piece of paper. “Say that this piece of paper represents time and events,” Ian started. The paper was a standard size, longer than it was wide. He held the paper long ways with his hands at either end. “Now, this end over here,” he shook his right hand, which to Link was the left side of the paper, “represents the initial event. In this case, your death. The other end is the present. If I take this piece of paper and set it on fire,” he reached to the center of the table and grabbed the lit candle with his right hand, and lit the end of the paper corresponding to the initial event, “the fire consumes the paper and moves along from one side to the other.” The fire consumed the left side of the paper and progressed toward the middle, slowly making its way to the other side of the paper. “In this way, events that occur at the end create a ripple effect on the future. It takes time for this ripple in time to change the future. As you can see, the fire has not damaged the side of the paper representing the present yet. This is the same with us. We are here, but the ripple effect of your death is gaining on us. If we don’t find your descendant before the ripple hits this time period, all is lost, fore he will never have been born.”
Link sat silent, trying to understand what Ian had just said. “That was a mouthful,” he finally said. He was still trying to figure it out in his head. “So, you’re saying that my death will have an effect on the entire future, but it must move through time first?”
“Yes. The years directly after your death were changed instantly, but as you get farther and farther away from the event, it takes longer for changes to happen. Kind of hard to swallow, isn’t it?”
“Yes, but it’s starting to make sense. When did you come up with this?”
“Like I said before, I had a lot of time to myself while I waited for you to arrive in Purgatory,” Ian reminded Link with a smile.
“So sorry that I took so long to die. I’ll do better next time, I swear,” Link smiled back and let out a small laugh.
Just as he was taking another drink of his ale, the man that Ian had been talking to at the bar came over to their table. Link sat there, trying to figure out if the man was a friend or foe. He was dressed in black pants with brown boots, and a white shirt underneath a tan vest. His hands and face were dirty, masking his light complexion, suggesting that he did hard labor for a living. He smiled and Link noticed that he had several teeth missing, most likely from bar fights. The remaining teeth weren’t anything to be proud of, either.
“This is Marcus, and he’s known Link since he was a boy. Marcus, this is Evan.”
The two of them shook hands. “Hello, Evan. Ian here tells me that you guys are looking for the great Hero, Link.”
Link nodded, remembering to keep the charade going. “Yes, I’m very interested in meeting him. He seems like a fine warrior for the side of good, and we need more like him.”
Ian gave Link a small kick under the table. The Hero of Time glanced at him, and knew what Ian was trying to tell him. Don’t overdo it.
Ian went on. “So, Marcus, what can you tell us of his whereabouts?”
Marcus sat down between the two of them and began relaying the story. “Well, a few days ago, a giant beast appeared over by Lake Hylia. Now, this is nothing out of the ordinary for these parts, so Link’s uncle went out to see what was going on. Thing is, he hasn’t come back yet. Of course, this news would worry a great many people as Link’s uncle is one of the best warriors in all of Hyrule. So to keep it secret, Link himself went out to search for his uncle and stop whatever creature was causing all the trouble.”
Link sighed. “And what if Link is defeated by this creature? What then?”
Marcus turned his head quickly and looked directly at Link. “That would never happen! Link defeated the evil Ganon! There is no way he would lose to any lesser creature!” Marcus’ face was a bright red, visible even through all the dirt and soot on his face.
Ian gained control of the situation. “Now, now, Marcus. Evan here knows that. Don’t you, Evan?”
Link nodded. “I’m sure Link will defeat this creature.”
“Tell me, Marcus,” Ian said, “when did Link leave?”
“Just this morning. He should’ve arrived at the lake just this evening.”
Ian reached into his pocket and pulled out some rupees. “Thank you, Marcus. For your trouble,” he said as he handed the money to him.
Marcus looked at the amount that Ian had given him, and his face beamed with happiness. “No, thank you, Ian.” With that, Marcus walked back over to the bar and yelled to the bartender, “Drinks are on me!” The resulting cheer filled the tavern.
Link turned back to Ian. “So what do we do now?”
“We sleep and get ready to leave early in the morning tomorrow. We’re going to have a long journey ahead of us.” Chanting rose up from the crowd around the bar. Listening closely, Link could make out what they were saying: Three cheers for Marcus! Hip hip! Hooray! He smiled and went back to drinking his ale.
Aaron easily sidestepped out of the way of the sword from a thrusting Sarah. She recovered quickly and tried a horizontal slice on him, but he was much faster than she was and so easily knocked the blow away with his sword. The pair exchanged a few parries before Sarah made another attempt on the Knight. With a quick move, Aaron easily dodged her attack, disarmed her, and placed his sword across her neck while she was on her knees.
“Looks like I win again, Sarah,” he said.
Disappointed, Sarah let out an audible sigh and pushed Aaron’s blade away from her neck. “I will beat you. I swear… I will beat you.”
“I sense a little bit of a competitive spirit in you,” Aaron replied jokingly. “I’d hate to tell you, but it would take you many years to be even close to beating me. But if that little competitive drive of yours helps you learn and become a better swordsman, then keep it coming.” He walked over to where her sword had landed and retrieved it. Still on her knees, Sarah finally forced herself to stand up again, taking the sword from Aaron’s hand, and continued her training.
It was only a couple days before that Nick had agreed to let the women fight if they so desired, and already many of the women had taken up sword or bow. The desire to fight that lay so dormant in most women had been awakened with full force as they realized that the fate of their entire civilization was at stake. The remaining women that still wished to stay out of the fight were very busy as well. They were cooking meals, taking care of the soldiers, and even forging more weapons. Every single person in the entire refuge had something to do and it was quite hectic. There was never any down time from the noise and happenings. Instead, all the men and women took shifts to prepare for the battle. While some women slept, others were forging swords and arrows, while still others were cooking meals for the Knights and their new trainees. But no one complained. There was too much at stake to complain.
In the same large room, while Aaron and Sarah were dueling, Nick was teaching Celes how to shoot a bow and arrow. Although Nick preferred the sword to the bow, Celes wasn’t strong enough to handle any of the swords. Despite his preference for swords, Nick still knew how to use a bow. You could never be too prepared for anything, he always thought.
“Now,” Nick told Celes, “when firing a bow, make sure you stay perfectly still. Any sudden or slight movements can cause your shot to go completely off target. Take your bow,” Celes took her bow off the nearby table, “and aim for the bulls-eye.”
Celes nodded her understanding and grabbed an arrow from her quiver. She placed the arrow onto the bow’s string and slowly pulled back. With total concentration, she aimed directly at the bulls-eye, about fifty feet away. She let the arrow fly, and it seemed as though her shot would be right on target. When the arrow finally came to a rest in the target, Celes sighed with disappointment. The arrow was below the bulls-eye.
“You made one mistake. Can you tell me what it was?”
Celes tried to retrace the steps she had taken to fire the arrow. She felt that she had done nothing wrong, and couldn’t figure out why the arrow landed below the target. She looked at her husband and slowly shook her head.
“When you use a bow and arrow, you must take into account gravity. The further the target is from you, the higher above the actual bulls-eye you must aim,” Nick instructed her as he picked up his own bow. Pulling back on the arrow, he aimed slightly above the bulls-eye and released his arrow. It flew true, right into the center of the bulls-eye. A smile spread across his face as he turned to his wife.
“Show off,” she muttered under her breath.
“What was that?” Nick asked, not quite making out what she had said.
“Oh, nothing,” she responded with a smile. “Let’s just continue my training.”
He smiled at her. “Very well, Celes. Let’s continue.” Then a thought struck him. “Celes?”
“Hmmm?” she replied.
“Have you seen the Princess anywhere?”
She thought about it for a few seconds before responding, “No, I haven’t. In fact, I haven’t seen her since we began preparing for battle.”
Nick didn’t like the answer he was given. Where is she? He put the thought aside and returned to training Celes.
* * * *
Zelda was training alone in a secluded area of the refuge. Besides herself and Evan, no one else was even close to where she was.
If they won’t let me fight, and won’t train me, then I will have to do so myself. I’ll show them that I can protect myself. I’m sick of everyone protecting me. I want to protect them.
She raised her bow and aimed for the target. The arrow flew straight, but landed just to the right of the bulls-eye. Not bad. Especially without someone helping me. She grabbed another arrow from the quiver and fired a shot that landed to the left of the bulls-eye. I will get this. With the Goddesses as my witnesses, I will hit this bulls-eye. She fired arrow after arrow, hitting on all sides of the target, but never in the bulls-eye.
As she continued her attempts with the bow and arrow, Evan was playing by himself over in the corner of the room. He had with him a tiny sword. It was really more of a dagger than a sword, but for his size, it suited him just fine. Zelda didn’t worry about him hurting himself with his sword anymore. He had been playing with it for almost a year now, emulating his father every time. The boy would sidestep, jump, slash, thrust, and slice his way through imaginary monsters that came at him from all sides. He was content in his own little world. He didn’t know the severity of their current situation, and Zelda intended to keep it that way as long as possible.
Another arrow flew, and again it was wide of the bulls-eye. Zelda reached back into her quiver before realizing that she had spent all of her arrows. They all lay stuck in the target across the large room. Frustrated by her failure to hit a single bulls-eye, Zelda threw down the bow in a moment of anger. Evan stopped playing immediately and stared at his mother.
“Why did you do that, Mommy?” he asked innocently.
Zelda turned to look at her son. Her face was red with anger, but she kept herself calm in front of him. “Nothing, Evan. Mommy just needs to lie down for a little while.” She walked to the other side of the room where she had set up a makeshift sleeping area for herself and Evan.
“But I’m not tired, Mommy,” Evan whined.
Zelda laid herself down on the bed. “You can keep on playing, Evan. Mommy will watch you from over here for a while.”
Evan’s face lit up with joy instantly. He jumped back into his imaginary battle once more, slaying every monster that came his way. Zelda watched him dance around the room, pretending to be a legendary hero. So much of his father in him. And that’s what I’m afraid of. Oh, Link. Why did you have to leave me? Her eyes began to water as memories of Link flooded her mind. She closed her eyes and tried to deal with the pain of losing her husband, but it offered little help. As Evan continued to play, Zelda fell fast asleep with thoughts of Link on her mind.
* * * *
He was flying over the fields that he once knew. Still standing where it shouldn’t be, the tower loomed demonically in all directions. The land had become barren as the evil moved over it. His vision swooped down, as if doing a fly by of the tower. He passed the tower, making his way to the forest. He saw hordes of monsters preparing for a battle and, as he looked beyond the army of monsters, he could make out another army coming from the forest. The new army was aggressive, running as fast as they could through their opposition. His vision moved closer to the battle until he could see the faces of the new army. They were Hylians. The battle ensued, and he swore he could hear laughter coming from behind him. He turned to see who it was, even though he already knew. Standing there, floating in the air beside him, was Ganondorf. The Evil King stopped laughing, stared at his enemy, and charged with a menacing battle cry.
Link woke up with a start and in a cold sweat. Another dream, just like the ones he was getting right before his last battle with Ganondorf. Those dreams had unlocked the knowledge that he needed to try to stop him, but this dream didn’t tell him anything. It was like someone wanted him to know the inevitable; without Link, Hyrule was doomed.
On the bed next to him, Ian was still sound asleep. Light from the moon came through the window and rested on his face. The soft snoring coming from him eased Link a little, but the dream made him realize how much of an impact his life had on the future. His mind argued that he needed to leave now and find his descendants, but his body was telling him otherwise. The walk through Purgatory was finally taking its toll on him, and he needed as much rest as he could before they set out in the morning. He laid back down on the inn’s bed and tried to get some sleep.
* * * *
Ian woke up at the crack of dawn, but decided that Link could use a little more rest. Rather than waking him then, he would go out and get fresh supplies for their journey. He would wake Link when he returned. The middle-aged man got up out of bed and changed into his clothes. As he put them on, the stench that came from them burned his nose, although it really wasn’t a surprise. He had been wearing the same clothes for a long time now, but in Purgatory, your clothes don’t get dirty or stink. Back in the living world, however, things were different. He added clothes to the supplies list, clothes for himself and for Link.
He left the room quietly, paying close attention to any floorboards that creaked even the slightest bit. After everyone he accidentally stepped on, he would check to see if Link had woken. When he was finally in the inn hallway, he relaxed his body and made his way out of the inn.
The streets of Kakariko were bustling with people already. The cool, crisp morning air was a welcome thing around here. Ian stood in the doorway of the Old Towne Inn and watched the citizens of the town do their regular morning activities. Across the street, several people were out jogging and chatting about their lives. To his left, Ian could see a customer trying to get a merchant to lower his price on fresh fish. The smell of freshly made bread filled the air from the bakery down the street. And the sounds of small children, oddly up at this hour, could be heard around the corner.
Ian took a deep breath of the morning air and enjoyed it to its fullest before letting it out. He then took a step forward into the street.
“Move the hell outta my way, you old timer!” shouted a man running at full speed. Ian had no chance of getting out of the man’s way. The two collided and fell onto the gravel. Rupees spilled out onto the street from a wallet that the man was carrying. Frantically, he quickly picked up as many as he could and threw them back into the bag. Ian sat up on the ground and wondered what was going on. The unknown man jumped up off the street and began to run in the same direction he was headed before.
“Stop! Thief! Someone stop that man!”
Ian turned in the direction of the call and realized that the man he had bumped into was nothing more than a thief. Determined to stop the robbery, Ian leaped up from the ground and ran after him. In top physical shape due to his time in Purgatory, Ian was quickly gaining on the wallet thief.
“Hey you! Stop right there!” Ian yelled up to the man.
The thief turned around to see who was trying to stop him. To his surprise, the middle-aged man he had bumped into was now only fifteen feet behind him. He tried to run faster, but his legs wouldn’t obey him. Instead, he turned down the very next street. Unfortunately, the street was nothing more than a dead end alley. He stopped short of the wall that impeded his escape and turned around.
Ian was now at the end of the alley, facing the thief. Taking advantage of the situation, Ian called out to the man.
“That’s far enough! Hand the money over, you slime! There’s no escape for you!”
The thief looked around frantically for any way of escape, but found none except for the way he had come in. Ian called out again.
“There’s nowhere to go. Now hand over the money and maybe I won’t turn you in. What do you say? Do we have a deal?”
“No way in hell!” he cried back.
Ian was very disappointed. He always had faith that a person would do the right thing when it was necessary, but this man would not sway from his deed. Ian walked down the alley, toward the now quivering thief. Out of desperation, the man reached behind him and grabbed the small dagger that he had sheathed on the back of his belt.
“Don’t come any closer, old man!” the thief yelled, trying to act like a dangerous man.
Ian wasn’t buying it. Instead, he continued to move in on the thief, not knowing that the man was armed. Finally, the man pulled out his dagger and waved it threateningly at Ian, who froze where he was.
“Now, this is how it’s gonna work, Gramps. I’m gonna walk outta here and keep the money and there ain’t anythin’ you can do ‘bout it. Understand?” He began to walk toward Ian, dagger pointed straight at him. The thief stopped directly in front of Ian, dagger still pointed at him. “Sorry, old man. But you’re gonna die.” He drew back his dagger, ready to strike Ian down.
As he came forward with the fatal blow, Ian dropped to the ground, dodging the dagger effectively. He took the man’s legs out from under him and the man came crashing down. Unable to hold onto it anymore, the dagger flew from the man’s hand and hit the nearby wall. As Ian successfully subdued the thief, the merchant who was victimized came running down the alley.
“Thank you! Thank you! You saved my business!” the merchant exclaimed while shaking Ian’s hand.
“No need for thanks. I just do what I feel is right,” Ian responded. The village guards showed up and dragged the thief away.
“I would like to show you my gratitude! Is there anything I can sell you; at a far cheaper price, of course,” the man offered Ian. “I have clothing, arrows, bread, water skins, and much more.”
Ian could tell the man wanted to show how thankful he was. Plus, it would seem that the merchant had just what Ian needed, so he took him up on the offer. The two men walked back to the merchant’s shop.
* * * *
Link awoke to the sound of the door opening and closing. He sat up in his bed as Ian made his way in.
“Where were you?”
Ian placed several large pouches on his bed. “Oh, just went for a little morning shopping,” he said with a smile. He pulled out numerous items from each of the pouches. Among the items were quite a few bundles of arrows, two water skins, a few changes of clothing, and a couple loaves of bread.
“Seems that you did rather well. Where did you get all this?”
“Just from a merchant down the street. Now, get up and get ready. We need to get going.”
Link nodded and jumped out of bed. He took one of the new sets of clothes that Ian had bought and put it on. It fit perfectly, like one of his tunics from back home. He wore a gray tunic with white tights. He strapped on the belt and put on his boots, but there was one thing that was missing.
“What? No hat?”
Ian looked up at the Hero. “Sorry, I didn’t think of it. I’ll stop by again and get you a hat on our way out.” Link smiled.
The two men packed their bags and prepared themselves for another long trek. Once finished, they left the inn and began their journey to Lake Hylia. As they exited the town, Link looked up at the morning sun and judged that it was 8 o’clock.
“I hope we make it there by nightfall,” he said to Ian.
Ian looked up at the sun and replied, “So do I, Link. So do I.”
* * * *
She woke up abruptly, as if she had forgotten something important to do and slept right through it. After a quick glance around the room, she realized that she hadn’t missed anything. Beside her, Evan was fast asleep. She didn’t know when he finally wore himself out, but that really didn’t matter. He looked so peaceful. She reached out with her hand and rubbed her son’s head gently so as to not wake him. She sat there for several minutes, just thinking, thinking about Link and Evan.
“I see you’re finally awake.”
Zelda turned quickly to see who had found her little hideaway. Standing on the other side of the room near the only doorway was Nick. She didn’t say a word, just turned her attention back to Evan. Nick walked around the room, stopping at the arrow-filled target.
“So this is where you’ve been,” he ripped an arrow out of the target, “You know, I was starting to get worried. Thought maybe you decided to leave us and fight your own battle somewhere out there.” Zelda continued to remain silent, not even turning around to look Nick in the face as he spoke. He resumed his walk around the room, throwing the arrow on a nearby table. “What is this? The silent treatment? What have I done to deserve this?”
Zelda finally acknowledged that he was speaking to her. “You won’t let me fight.”
“Is that what this is all about?” She nodded and Nick sighed. “Well, since you’re the Princess, I can’t really stop you, can I?” Zelda’s eyes lit up and she faced Nick for the first time. “But, since you’ll be in my army, I can tell you where you will fight. Since you’ve been practicing with the bow, you’ll be placed in the archer line, which is thankfully in the back.”
Zelda jumped out of her makeshift bed, ran to him, and gave him a hug. “Thank you, Nick.”
“Sure thing, Princess. However, we still need to figure out what to do with Evan.”
“I’ll have one of the nursemaids look after him,” she said as she once again faced her only son.
“Princess, promise me one thing. If it turns for the worse out there, leave the field, grab Evan, and run.”
Zelda responded simply with a nod. Nick found some satisfaction in this. Although she was going to fight, he felt that he could still protect her by means of keeping her far from the actual battle. He turned and began walking out of the secluded room.
“Nick?” Zelda called from behind him. He stopped where he was and turned in his tracks. “Do you think… do you think that Link is watching us from above?”
“No,” Nick answered. Zelda was caught completely off guard and looked at Nick with a disgusted face. Nick continued, “If I know Link, he’s up there working on a plan that will save us all. Even in death he will find a way.” He and Zelda smiled at the thought of Link still protected them. Farfetched as it seemed to them, Link always found a way to save the land of Hyrule, and neither of them doubted that he could do it again. Nick turned around and left the room.
Zelda was ecstatic. She would actually be allowed to fight. Never before in her life had she been involved in any battle. Sure, she had taken part in Link’s fight against Ganondorf the first time around, but she had never partaken in a grand battle that would possibly determine the fate of the Hylians. With adrenaline pumping through her veins, she grabbed her bow and the arrow that Nick had placed on the table, and aimed at the target.
Ian pulled out his handkerchief and wiped the sweat off his brow. The sun was almost directly above them, indicating that it was nearly noon. The two of them had been walking for nearly four hours now. He reached for his water skin and took a quick, refreshing drink. Behind him, Link stopped to take a drink as well.
“How are you holding up back there, Link?”
“I’m doing fine. This heat is nothing compared to the heat in the desert. Try walking through that on a summer day,” Link paused for another mouthful of water. “And what happened to calling me Evan?”
Ian closed his water skin and put it back on his belt. “There’s nobody out here, so why bother? We just need to keep anonymity around the people of this land. Not many travel anymore, except for maybe to the castle. Even with their Link around, the roads and forests are still very dangerous to the common man.”
Link put his water skin away. “Where are we, anyway?”
“We’re just entering the Southern Swamps. We are nearing the halfway point of our journey,” Ian said as he looked up at the sun. “We shall walk a little further, then we will rest and eat.”
The elder man began walking once again. Link stood there for a moment longer, looking up into the sky. Don’t worry, Zelda. I’m coming to save you all again. Just hold on. He averted his eyes back to the man walking away from him, and began walking.
The sights and sounds around him were completely unfamiliar to the Hero of Time. There were no swamps in Hyrule in his time, and the creatures that lived there couldn’t be found anywhere else. In the distance, he could see tall structures on the horizon. Most of them seemed to be ordinary pillars, although they were placed in the middle of nowhere in his mind. But one structure was bigger than all the rest, and Link’s best guess was that it was a temple of some sort. He called up to Ian.
“Hey, Ian!” The older man stopped and turned. “Where did all this come from? And what temple is that in the distance?”
Ian looked up at the sun again and judged that they had traveled enough without food. “I will try to explain it to you while we are eating,” he responded. Ian looked around in their general area until he found a spot that would be suitable for eating and a little rest. “This way, Link.”
The two men came upon a dry spot with a stone pillar and took off all their equipment. Ian went through his rations pouch and pulled out some bread and some dried meat. Link had already taken a seat against the stone pillar. Ian walked over to him, gave him the food, and sat down beside him.
“I know it’s not the best food, but it’ll have to do,” he said.
“It’s alright,” Link responded with a piece of bread already in his mouth. “I’ve done this many times before.”
They sat in silence for the next few minutes as they ate their rations. When they were finally done eating, they decided that they should rest for a little while.
“So, are you going to answer my question?” Link asked.
“Ah, yes. Of course I will,” Ian responded. “This swamp, like so many other things in this world, was affected by war, famine, and civilization.”
“But this swamp didn’t exist.”
“That’s right, it was caused by the erosion of the rocks separating the desert from Lake Hylia. Of course, this erosion was aided by battles and civilization. At one point in history – I don’t know exactly when – they tried to make the desert suitable for life. During their attempts to irrigate the surrounding lands, war broke out in Hyrule. The destruction of the irrigation system and the dam that had been constructed caused the land to be flooded. The desert soaked up as much as it could, but there was just too much water. And so the swamps were formed.”
Link nodded. “That makes sense. But what about these pillars and the temple?”
Ian looked around at all the structures that could be seen throughout the swamp. “Those are all structures of worship. Although this time period is more advanced than your own, they still believed strongly in the Goddesses. However, no one has ventured to these ever since the swamp was formed.”
All his current questions answered, Link’s thoughts once again drifted to Zelda, Evan, Nick, and the others. He hoped that they were all safe. But most importantly, he hoped that he could still save them.
Ian remained silent, not thinking about anything in particular. It had been so long since he could appreciate the feeling of a beautiful, but hot, day. The shade of the pillar offered some relief from the heat, and Ian was thankful for that. Finally, after sitting there for almost half an hour, Ian decided that it was time to move on.
“Hey, Link,” he slapped the Hero on the shoulder, “we have to be moving along. Time is not on our side. The longer we wait, the closer the ripple from your death will get to us.”
Link woke up out of his daze. “Yeah… of course…,” he murmured. He didn’t want to get up now; he had just gotten comfortable. But he knew Ian was right, so he forced himself up off the ground and walked over to his equipment. “Oh, and Ian?”
The Hero slung the Master Sword and its sheath over his shoulders. “Are we going to face any creatures that might attack us? Because I don’t want to relive the time in the forest in Purgatory.”
Ian let out a small laugh. “Fair enough. Yes, there will be some enemies along our way, but none even close to as tough as those wolves you faced. I wouldn’t worry about it.”
“That’s good,” he said with a smile as he placed his shield on his back. They picked up all their pouches and walked on toward Lake Hylia.
* * * *
The string twanged as the arrow was released. It flew true, but she didn’t want to look. With her eyes closed, she heard the arrow hit the target. Slowly, she reopened her eyes, expecting to be off the mark yet again. Instead, to her delight, the arrow stuck directly into the bulls-eye.
“Yes!” Zelda cried out, finally achieving what she had spent so long attempting.
“Mommy, what happened?” Evan said sleepily with tired eyes.
In her excitement, Zelda had completely forgotten that Evan was still asleep. She looked at her son, a big smile across her face.
“I did it, Evan! I did it!” she said excitedly while pointing at the perfect bulls-eye. Evan looked in the direction she was pointing and saw what she was so happy about. And if his mother was happy, Evan was happy. The boy jumped up out of the bed and ran to Zelda. She knelt down and hugged Evan.
“Aw, how cute,” came a voice from behind Zelda. She stood up and turned, and standing in the doorway was Aaron.
Zelda smiled. “Oh, be quiet.”
“So this is the secluded area where you’ve been hiding the few days,” he said as he glanced around the room. “Not bad. Although I still prefer the comforts of the more furnished rooms.”
“Well, I couldn’t be picky with that, now could I? I’m just glad that there was a spot in this refuge that was seldom used. What did you come down here for anyway?”
“What? I can’t come down here and visit a friend?” Aaron asked in a mock tone, bringing another smile to Zelda’s face. “Dinner’s about to be served. And seeing as how you’ve been, shall we say, absent all day, we felt that you should come.” He looked down at Evan. “And I’m sure the little squirt would like some food. What do you say?”
Evan’s face lit up with anticipation. “Let’s go Mommy! Let’s go! Mommy!”
Zelda placed her hand on the boy’s head. “Alright, we’re going. Just calm down.”
Aaron smiled. “This way, milady,” he said as he bowed with his hands pointing in the direction of the dining hall.
“Oh, stop it,” she said as she and Evan walked past the bowing Aaron. Aaron stopped bowing and took one more look around the room.
He saw the arrow in the bulls-eye, nodded his head a few times, and his face expressed approval. “Not bad, Princess. Not bad at all.” He turned and walked out of the room.
* * * *
The dining hall was a very large room, much larger than the room in which Zelda had been practicing. There were perhaps ten tables placed throughout the room, each able to hold about ten people. Due to the fact that the room could only hold 100 people, everyone had to eat in shifts. There were meals throughout the day, and the room was never empty.
Zelda, Evan, and Aaron walked in and could instantly smell the food from the kitchen. It was a very pleasing, and appetizing, smell as the Hylian cooks were perhaps the best in the entire world. They passed several tables of soldiers, women, and children. Without so much as a word, Evan took off running toward a table that was full of all his friends from the refuge. Zelda and Aaron continued all the way to the back of the room, where the Knights always sat. Seated around the table were Nick, William, Robert, Celes, Sarah, Liz, Adriana, and Diana. Zelda took her seat at the head of the table, while Aaron took the last remaining seat.
“I’m glad you could join us, Princess,” Nick said.
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” she replied.
“Oh, is that true?” William asked. “Then why did you not join us for lunch, or dinner last night?” he asked in a joking tone with a smile.
“Yes, I’ve heard that you’ve been practicing the bow,” said Robert, “Really, Princess, I wish you wouldn’t fight with us.”
“And why not? Am I not a patriotic citizen of this country as well as being its leader?” A hint of anger was present in her voice.
“It’s not that, Your Highness. It’s just that…”
“She’s a woman, right?” Adriana interrupted.
“No! It is certainly not!” Robert shouted back.
“Women are capable of fighting too!” Diana added while rising from her seat and pounding the table with her fist. The entire room grew quiet and all heads turned to see what was going on at the most important table of them all.
Zelda broke the silence. “Everyone, please resume your meals. There is no need to worry about our conversation.” And with the Princess’ orders, the dining hall once again filled with conversation.
Aaron tried to resolve the argument. “What I think our good friend Robert was trying to say is that he fears for the life of the ruler of this land.”
“Exactly. Thank you, Aaron.” Aaron nodded his appreciation.
“I’ll be fine. You needn’t worry about me. You should worry about yourselves and the other men and women who will be fighting in the front lines. Nick has made it so I won’t be in the fray.”
Nick nodded. “That’s right. I have placed Princess Zelda in the back line of archers, far enough from the battle to avoid injury, but close enough to do some damage herself.”
“But what if the tide of the battle is against us?” William asked. “What if they break through our lines and attack the archers?”
“I have instructed the Princess to flee from the battlefield if it seems as though we are faltering. But we still need to determine a safe place for her and the children to escape to.”
“That’s it? That’s the plan?” Celes asked with doubt evident on her voice. “Attack them and hope we win, otherwise run for your lives?”
“That’s all we can do,” Nick replied.
Liz spoke up for the first time, “So when are we going to attack?”
“Two days from now. I will lead the attack at 0800 hours.”
“So,” she continued, “we have about a day to figure out a safe place for the Hylians who are not fighting to go.”
“That’s not a whole lot of time,” Aaron added.
“No, it’s not,” Diana said, “Especially since none of us know the woods that well.”
“Except for Link,” Zelda said quietly. Everyone stopped talking and thought about the difference Link could make in this battle. Surely, they would have a much higher chance of success.
They all ate the rest of their meals in silence, some trying to think of a new refuge for the remaining Hylians, while others were thinking about the battle. But all Zelda could think about was Link.
* * * *
The sun was now almost directly behind them. They had traveled through the Southern Swamp for nearly four hours, and they were finally just about to leave it behind. Their clothes were sweat stained, their boots wet and dirty. The temple that Link had seen so many hours ago came and went. From what he could see, he wasn’t that impressed with it. But then again, some of the temples from his time had unimpressive exteriors, but once inside, they were marvelous pieces of work.
During the journey across the Swamp, they encountered numerous creatures, but Ian was right. They were nothing to worry about. Link easily destroyed everything that dared to challenge them. Ian was right about another thing as well; Link didn’t recognize a single one. Although they had some of the same characteristics as creatures he once fought, none of them were an exact match.
They were now beside some large stones that could have been another structure at one time. Whatever they may have been, they were laid to waste since that time. Link reached back for his water skin, opened it, and placed the opening to his lips. He tilted his head all the way back as he finished off the last of his water. Disappointed, and still thirsty, Link closed the empty water skin.
“I’m out of water,” he called up to Ian. “Are we almost to Lake Hylia?”
Without turning around, Ian replied, “We’re getting close. Perhaps another hour. As for more water,” he reached for his water skin, “you can have the rest of mine. I won’t be needing it.” The elder man turned and tossed the water skin back to Link, who caught it with his free hand.
“Are you sure, Ian?” Link asked, even though he had already opened it and taken a mouthful.
“Yes, yes, I’m sure. Now let’s hurry along. We’ll have to keep moving if we want to get there by nightfall.”
Ian picked up the pace and Link followed suit. As they passed by the large stones, Link had a strange feeling that they were being watched. He stopped and surveyed the surroundings, but didn’t see anything other than a few birds perched up on the ruins and nearby rock ledges. Not wanting to fall too far behind, Link jogged back up to within a few feet of Ian, then slowed to Ian’s pace.
A short time later, they were completely out of the Southern Swamp, and for that, Link was grateful. Perhaps now his boots could dry. He was sick of his boots being soaked through. They were now standing on top of a cliff, which Link estimated to be about 40 feet high. Piece of cake, he thought to himself. He had climbed many things that were much higher than this was. However, Link realized that Ian might have trouble with it. He wasn’t sure what the man could do.
“Are you going to be able to climb down this?” he asked.
Ian stopped and turned to look down the cliff. “Sure, I could climb down that. But why would I?”
Link was a little confused. “You mean we aren’t going that way? But isn’t that Lake Hylia in the distance?”
“Yes, that is Lake Hylia, and yes, we are going that way. But why bother climbing down the cliff when we can just walk down that pathway up ahead?” He pointed in front of him.
Link looked ahead and saw what Ian was talking about. Just up ahead was a pathway that led from the top of the cliff all the way to the bottom. Link got the point. It would be much easier, and safer, to use the path than to try and climb down the cliff, no matter how easy it would be.
“Lead on,” Link told Ian.
They continued on their way to Lake Hylia. The path sloped gently downward and Link could barely feel the difference between the path and flat land. Once at the bottom, Link observed their new surroundings. They seemed to be in a small valley, trapped between cliffs that extended only 40 to 50 feet into the sky. In that respect, it was really more like a lowland than a valley. Link found it strange that there was very little grass and vegetation so close to a body of water. The whole area was dry and the little amount of shrubbery seemed on the verge of dying. As they moved on, Link didn’t even give it another thought. It wouldn’t be long now. They were almost there.
* * * *
As the sun was starting to set, the two weary travelers finally made it to Lake Hylia. The waters were calm due to the lack of wind and disturbance. The place seemed eerily peaceful, as if it wasn’t always this way. Link looked out over the water and could just make out an island in the middle.
“It seems as though this other Link defeated the monster after all,” Link said. “Too bad. I would’ve liked to have seen what was causing so much trouble.”
Ian didn’t respond. His eyes were fixed on a point in the distance; not in the water, however. His gaze was eastward, along the high cliffs that made up the borders of Lake Hylia. Link followed the elder man’s eyes, but still wasn’t sure what Ian was looking at.
“Ian? What are you looking at?”
Ian raised his hand and pointed with his finger. “There’s a vulture flying in a circle up ahead.”
“Big deal,” Link retorted, “Vultures aren’t anything exciting.”
“Except that they circle around injured creatures, waiting for them to die,” Ian said. He turned to Link, “I have a bad feeling about this.”
“Shall we go see what the vulture is eyeing up, then?”
Ian nodded and immediately began walking. His pace quickened tenfold, as if their lives depended on their speed. Link struggled to keep up with Ian, but he stayed right with him. The cliffs began to slope upwards, making the strenuous pace even harder to endure. The vulture continued to fly in circles around a creature, something that was hanging on to life by a thread. The two travelers kept the pace up, and soon they could see a figure lying on the ground. They were still too far away to tell, but Ian feared the worst. He began to run as fast as he could toward the limp body, Link not far behind. Link was growing more and more concerned. Ian made it to the body first. It was rolled on its side, so its back was facing Ian and Link. Ian reached out and grabbed a hold of the right shoulder and gently rolled the body onto its back. Ian gasped.
Link, the Hero of the Triforce, was lying there, motionless, unconscious, and on the brink of death.
“Quickly, we must set up a camp and make sure he doesn’t die!” Ian yelled to Link. “I’ll go get some water from the lake. You go find anything you can that will burn! We need a fire!”
Link nodded his understanding and took off running. He had remembered some dried shrubs along the way, and he was sure they would make a good fire. Carrying back as much as he could, Link ran back to the spot where they had found his descendant. Ian was already there, trying to get some water down the throat of the unconscious Link. He threw the firewood and dried shrubs into a pile and quickly started up a fire.
“How is he, Ian?”
Ian continued to try to get some water down his throat. “It’s too early to tell. He’s in very bad shape. It seems as though whatever this creature is, it must be strong. There are not many things that could defeat one of your line,” he said as he gently laid the unconscious Link’s body on the ground. He reached into one of his pouches and pulled out a small blanket. Placing it on the boy, Ian turned to the Hero of Time. “All we can do now is wait.”
Link didn’t take any comfort in that, but he also knew that Ian was right. Exhausted, he leaned back and gazed into the twilight sky. His thoughts once again drifted to Zelda.
* * * *
The moon was full, but its light did nothing against the darkness. The two travelers still sat and waited for the unconscious man to finally wake up. Little had been said between the two in the few hours that they had been in camp. It wasn’t an eerie silence, but a welcome one. Both men had a lot on their minds, and each needed time to think. The once hot day began to slowly melt into a cool, crisp night.
Finally able to stop thinking about the world he had left behind, Link sat up and took a look at his surroundings. Of course, it was much too dark for him to make out anything, but he looked around anyway. But then, he did see something. At a lower elevation and quite a distance away, Link caught sight of a small campfire. He tried to make out who or what was there, and how many were there. Not being able to see either, he gave up.
“Hmm,” he muttered under his breath.
Ian heard Link’s sound of interest, muttered as it was. “What is it, Link?”
The Hero of Time looked at the older man. “Seems as though we’ve been followed,” he said as he pointed to the campfire in the distance. “I had a feeling that we were.”
“Ah, yes,” Ian said as he saw the campfire, “I had that feeling too. It would seem that someone didn’t take too kindly to us asking around about their Link, the Hero of the Triforce.”
“Is that what they call him? Hero of the Triforce?”
“Yes. Unlike you, he never traveled through Time to complete his quest. His journey led him in and out of the Dark World, which if you remember, was the Sacred Realm before Ganondorf entered it,” Ian responded. “Now, Link, I think it would be best if you introduced yourself as Evan when your descendant wakes up.”
“Why?” Link asked. “Won’t we have to tell him who we really are, where we’re from, and what we’re trying to do?”
“Well, of course we are. But I don’t want to give him all the details the moment he wakes up. He’s going to be confused as it is. There’s no need for us to help him in that respect. Perhaps when he’s been up for awhile, we’ll tell him everything.”
Link nodded. “Alright. I just hope he comes to soon, because I’m getting tired of…”
Link was interrupted by sounds coming from the previously unconscious Hero of the Triforce. He moaned and groaned as he slowly pulled himself up off the ground into a sitting position. He placed his hand on his head as he slowly became less disoriented. Realizing that he was being watched, he reached for his sword, but it wasn’t there.
“Looking for this?” Ian asked as he held out the aged Master Sword.
The Hero of the Triforce was disgusted with himself. In his mind, he had been captured and the mystical sword had fallen into the wrong hands. “Who are you and what do you want with me? I will do no evil, no matter how much you torture me!”
“Hey, calm down,” Ian said. “We’re not going to hurt you or make you do “evil” things. In fact, we were looking for you and we found you unconscious.”
Link didn’t know why, but he trusted the two strangers, especially the quiet one. He somehow seemed familiar, but he had never seen him before. It was like there was some sort of connection between himself and the other one. “So, who are you? You seem to know who I am.”
“How impolite of me,” Ian apologized. “My name is Ian, and my companion over there is Evan. We’ve come all the way from Kakariko Village looking for you.”
Link looked at Evan, “And why were you looking for me?”
Evan grabbed a bowl and poured in some soup that had been cooking over the fire. “For now, eat this. We’ll tell you more when you have regained more of your strength and composure.”
Link reached over and took the bowl of soup from Evan’s hands. Although he would’ve liked to know what they wanted with him as soon as possible, he realized that eating was the most important thing at the moment. He ate greedily, not caring for manners at this point. It was becoming obvious to him that these two strangers had more than likely saved his life, and he was grateful. When he finished his soup, Ian took his bowl and filled it with more soup. Link was ecstatic. He quickly ate a second bowl of soup, then a third. His stomach full, he placed the bowl on the ground beside him.
“I now feel that you aren’t after me for any evil intentions. Why, then, have you come all this way just to find me?” Link asked the two strangers.
“It’s a long story,” Evan said, as if he didn’t feel like telling him the whole thing.
“That doesn’t matter. We have all the time in the world,” Link said. Once he said this, Ian and Evan each turned and looked at each other. Link caught the exchange and became worried. “Don’t we?”
Ian turned to Link. “No, we don’t have all the time in the world. In truth, Time itself is our enemy right now. The longer we wait, the more Time catches up with us, and if we don’t act quickly enough, the world will never be the same.”
“Right,” Link said confused.
“We came searching for you because you are needed in this battle against Time and Evil,” Evan added. “You are a piece of the puzzle.”
“What puzzle? What are you talking about?”
Evan turned to Ian. “This secrecy is not getting us anywhere. Can we just tell him the truth now?”
Link’s eyes lit up and he sat up straighter. “The truth? Who are you guys? Really.”
“Alright then,” Ian said, almost dejectedly. “Let’s tell him.”
“Good,” Evan said. He turned to face Link, the Hero of the Triforce. “My name is not Evan. It’s Link.”
“Your name is Link? What a coincidence,” the Hero of the Triforce said.
Ian picked up where Evan left off. “It’s not a coincidence, Link. The person that sits before you is your ancestor.”
“He’s my… ancestor?” he asked. “How is that possible?”
The Hero of Time said, “We traveled through Time.”
“You say that as if it were just you’re everyday task. I’m no scientist, but is that even possible?”
Ian continued. “It is only possible if the Goddesses demand it. Your ancestor,” he pointed to Link, “was the first to ever battle against Ganon, almost a thousand years ago. In his quest to defeat the King of Evil, Link needed to travel through time seven years. He was the destined Hero of Time that would put an end to the Evil King’s rule in Hyrule.”
Link turned to his ancestor. “You fought against Ganon?”
“Yes. I fought that demon after I had destroyed Ganondorf, the Gerudo that became Ganon.”
“But if you defeated him, how was it that I fought him as well?”
The Hero of Time responded, “We merely trapped him in the Sacred Realm. Since he held the Triforce of Power, I couldn’t kill him.”
Ian jumped in. “But the reason we’ve come looking for you is because Ganon is back in your ancestor’s world.”
“So why don’t you just go and beat him again?”
The Hero of Time sighed deeply and lowered his head. Ian sensed that he didn’t want to talk about it, so he took the liberty himself.
“He tried, but was killed in the battle. The Triforce of Courage, which had long been carried inside of Link, fell into Ganon’s hands.”
“Oh,” the Hero of the Triforce said, realizing the pain that his ancestor must have been feeling. “But how did he get out of his imprisonment?”
“That…,” Ian sighed, “That was my fault. He summoned me from the future… yes, I’m from the future… and tricked me into doing his evil deeds. When I released him, he killed me. I am to blame, but I will clear my soul by making sure he is sent back.”
“Wait a minute,” Link said, “If what you’re saying is true, then you’re both dead, right?”
Ian nodded. “Yes, I spent several years in Purgatory, awaiting your ancestor. The Goddesses had given me another chance. If I helped your ancestor find you and one other, then I would be allowed into the Heavens.”
“This is all very hard to believe.”
“You don’t have to believe right away,” Link told his descendant, “But we must leave tomorrow to search for the last piece of the puzzle.”
“Hold on,” the Hero of the Triforce said. “We’re not leaving here until that monster in Lake Hylia is dead.”
“Very well,” Ian conceded, “We will help you defeat the monster of the lake, and in return, you will come with us to save all of Hyrule once again.”
“Now what about this name thing?” the Hero of Time asked. “My name is Link, his name is Link, and my other descendants name is Link. It will get very confusing.”
“I see your point. We can refer to you as Evan, especially when we’re in a town. Now for you, Hero of the Triforce…,” Ian looked at Link.
“Sean,” he said. “If you must call me something else, then call me Sean.”
“So be it, Sean,” Ian said. “Tomorrow we will rise with the sun, defeat this monster, and continue our journey. But for now, we must rest.”
They all agreed silently, and each laid themselves down on the hard ground and tried to get some sleep, for the next day would be a busy one.
The room fell quiet as Nick and Zelda entered. Those present were the top Knights and archers, waiting for the battle plan. Everyone was anxious, yet also nervous. The battle was to be the next day, and all knew that it could his or her last day alive.
“Good evening to you all,” Zelda started, “No matter what happens tomorrow, you will all go down as heroes and heroines of Hyrule. The upcoming battle will be etched in the history books for all time.”
She stepped aside so that Nick could lay out the battle plan so that it would be properly executed. One of his subordinates accompanied him, carrying a map.
“As you all know, we strike at 0800 tomorrow morning. We have received word that ships from Dellenia will be docked on the eastern shore. One of our objectives will be to secure a safe passage for the women and children who are not fighting to the ships. To do this, we will be attacking from the entrance of the Kokiri Forest,” he pointed to the appropriate place on the map. “From there, we must clear a path so that the refugees can get to the new mountain pass by Zora’s River. Once they get to Zora’s River, the Zoras will lead them to the shore and the awaiting ships. We have also gotten word from the Gorons and the Gerudo that they will help us in our battle. They will be attacking from here and here,” he pointed to the foot of Death Mountain and the entrance to the Desert. “The Kokiri will attack any outsiders who make their way into the Forest, but they can do no more due to their confinement to these woods. Our primary goal is to defeat the evil army and destroy the Tower of Ganon, but if we should fail, we must at least secure the passage for the refugees.” Nick looked around the room at each individual person. “Even if we are victorious, many of us will not make it out alive. This will be the final battle for Hyrule. If we fail, the rest of the world won’t stand a chance. If we succeed, then we can secure an age of prosperity for all the nations of the world. May the Goddesses have mercy on all of us. Dismissed!”
The room erupted with sounds of battle cries and shouts of determination. They would no longer be thrown around like they had been the last few months. No, they would fight for their freedom and against the indescribable evil of the one known as Ganondorf. And they were all confident that they would overcome the incredible odds. For Hyrule.
As the room emptied out, only Nick, Aaron, William, Robert, and Zelda remained.
“Aaron, can we expect any help from Dellenia?” Nick asked.
Aaron raised his arms slightly and sighed. “I don’t know, Nick. We were hit pretty hard when Ganondorf came at us with two pieces of the Triforce. We had far too many casualties and almost all of the survivors are already here in this refuge, waiting for another chance.”
“We were all hit hard when that happened,” William added. “If we don’t succeed out there tomorrow, I don’t see the rest of the world being able to put up much of a fight.”
“If only Link were here,” Zelda said, almost inaudibly.
Robert walked up next to her and put a comforting arm around her.
“It’s like I said earlier, Princess,” Nick said. “He’s trying to figure out a way to save us all. Not even death will stop him.”
“If he is, then he better get a move on, otherwise there’ll be nothing left to save,” Robert uttered.
Robert’s comment silenced everyone and they all bowed their heads in despair – and hope.
* * * *
The sun peered over the horizon as Ian opened his eyes. Dawn had come without incident, and the fire had long since gone out. He sat up where he was and took a deep breath of the cool, crisp morning air. A few feet on either side of him, both Links were still sleeping. But unlike the morning before, he wasn’t going to let anyone sleep in. He smacked both of them on their shoulder.
“Hey, wake up you two.”
Slowly, they opened their eyes and sat up. Neither of them looked like they enjoyed waking up so early. Ian suspected that they were late risers, but he didn’t know why people would want to sleep so late. He thought it was a waste of time. There were so many other things one could get done instead of sleeping. Must run in the family, he thought.
Ian got up, grabbed a few water skins, and walked down to the lake. He filled each of the water skins to its fullest before he walked back up to the camp. When he got there, both Links were lying down again, falling back asleep.
“Oh no you don’t. You’re getting up now. We have a long day ahead of us,” he said as he kicked each of them firmly in the ribs.
He walked over to his rations pouch and grabbed a few chunks of bread. The two heroes were finally up and took the bread and water offered to them.
“So Link… I mean, Sean… what kind of creature are we fighting?” Ian asked.
“Well,” Link responded between mouthfuls, “It’s quite large and has many tentacles, each of which are very long. So far,” he paused to take a drink of water, “so far, I haven’t been able to find its weakness.”
“It’s probably the eye,” Evan said. “It’s always the eye.” He bit off a big piece of bread.
“I think it’s the stomach,” Sean shot back.
“Either way,” Ian interrupted before things started to heat up, “we need to get going soon.” He turned to face the Hero of Time. “Perhaps we’ll find out who was following us.”
Link just nodded, as he looked in the direction the other camp had been. “Maybe we will.”
* * * *
They made their way down to the lake where the Hero of the Triforce had last battled with the monster. The entire way down, the Hero of Time kept checking over his shoulder, waiting for their mysterious follower to show himself. As the three of them stood by the lake waiting for the creature to surface, Evan caught a glimpse of someone hiding in the bushes not too far from the group.
Slowly, he made his way around the bushes, making sure to be perfectly quiet. The only sounds were that of the hiding man, rustling in the bushes. He quietly stepped behind him, and drew his sword.
He heard the sword drawn and instantly froze in place. As he sat there, he felt the tip of the sword against his back.
“Who are you and why have you been following us?” the man behind him said. “Get up!”
He did as he was told and slowly stood up. His arms in the air, he turned to see who had caught him.
“Marcus!” Evan shouted. “What the hell are you doing?”
Marcus lowered his head in shame as he responded, “I was just curious, Master Evan, sir. I didn’t mean any harm. Usually when someone asks for Link, they want to duel with him. I thought that’s why you were looking for him.”
Evan sheathed his sword. “Not at all, Marcus. We need his help, but first we’re going to help him get rid of this creature that’s been plaguing this area. Come on,” he said as he motioned for Marcus to follow him, “you might as well come out and join us.”
The Hero of Time and Marcus walked back over to where Ian and the Hero of the Triforce were still waiting.
“Hi, Marcus,” the Hero of the Triforce said, “Checking up on me again?”
“Yes, sir,” Marcus responded, “I was the one who gave them information of your whereabouts.”
“That doesn’t matter. But it’s dangerous here. We could come under attack at any time…”
He was cut off by the sounds of something big emerging from the water. The beast’s cry was disturbing and loud. All four of them jumped back from the edge of the lake and looked upon the creature that stood before them. It was an enormous beast. Its tentacles were flailing around wildly, as if they had a mind of their own. The two Links each unsheathed their respective Master Swords.
“Let’s get him,” the Hero of Time said to his descendant. With a simple nod, they were off and running.
As they made their way to the lake, the creature was making its way toward the shore. A barrage of tentacles meet the two heroes, but it wasn’t anything they couldn’t handle. Evan slashed off one of the beast’s tentacles and was meet with another in his back, sending him flying back twenty feet.
“You won’t beat me that easily!” he yelled at the beast, as if it could understand him. He quickly regained his footing and rushed the beast once again.
Sean was able to take out two tentacles with one swing as the creature tried to get a hold of him. A third tentacle came crashing down into the water about five feet from him, sending a giant wave over the Hero of the Triforce. He yelled out as the water overcame him, sending him in a spin underneath the waves. As he picked himself up out of the water, he saw Evan leap from the shore into the midst of the beast’s tentacles.
“Now that’s more like it! It’s time to send this creature back to Hell!”
He followed his ancestor into the fray and together they attempted to hack off every last tentacle. Evan was able to cut off an additional three tentacles before once again getting hit from behind, leaving Sean vulnerable and alone. Horrified, he watched as Sean was grabbed by the beast and carried high into the air.
“No!” he yelled. “Put him down you vile, wretched beast!”
Determined not to let the beast have its way, he jumped at it, but before he could free Sean, he found himself in its grasp.
“Damn it! What the hell are we going to do now?” he yelled over to Sean, but Sean couldn’t hear anything over the sound of the beast.
The beast raised both heroes high into the air, as if showing the entire world the deed it had accomplished. It opened its enormous mouth, showing its razor sharp teeth. From what he could tell, Evan estimated that there were in the order of thirty teeth, all waiting to devour its prey. Sean was drawn closer to the mouth, and Evan was powerless to do anything about it. Sean looked into the beast’s mouth and saw nothing but darkness and death. He closed his eyes and waited for the pain.
But instead of pain, he felt himself falling. He opened his eyes to see the surface of the water rushing up to him. Instinctively, he placed his arms over his head, curled up, and waited for impact. The force with which he hit the water delivered excruciating pain, but it was much better than being eaten.
“What the hell happened?” he said to himself.
Just then, he saw an arrow fly from the shore and hit the tentacle that was holding Evan. The beast cried out in pain as it released its grip on the Hero of Time. Just as Sean had done, Evan went into a free fall, creating an enormous splash when he hit the water. Upon surfacing, he looked for Sean.
“Hey! Get to shore!” Evan tried to yell over the waves. He received no response from Sean, and knew that he couldn’t hear him. Instead, the Hero of Time pointed to shore and began to swim. Sean caught on and headed for shore.
Marcus and Ian helped the two heroes out of the water when they were close enough. Once they were safely on ground, Ian picked up his bow again and fired several arrows at the beast.
“So we have you to thank,” Evan said.
“Yeah. You’re little assault there didn’t seem to work,” Ian responded. “We have to come up with a plan.”
“Look out!” Marcus yelled as one of the beast’s tentacles was poised to strike the group. Ian and Evan jumped to the left, while Sean and Marcus jumped to the right, each just barely avoiding being crushed.
Sean jumped up and shouted, “We need to think fast! He’s awfully mad!”
“Go for the eyes!” the Hero of Time shouted back. “It’s always the eyes!”
A second tentacle came crashing down by Marcus and Sean, but both were able to dodge the attack. Suddenly, another tentacle swooped down, wrapped itself around Marcus and pulled him into the water.
Ian quickly aimed with his bow at the tentacle and let the arrow fly. It was a perfect shot, hitting the tentacle right below Marcus, but the beast didn’t drop him. He fired again, and once again the arrow flew true, but the beast held onto Marcus and wouldn’t let go.
“No! Marcus!” Sean yelled as he ran back into the water. Sword drawn, the Hero of the Triforce leaped into the air but was knocked away by another tentacle. He was thrown through the air and landed fifty feet away from the battle as Ian continued to fire arrows at the tentacle. The beast brought Marcus closer to its mouth and opened wide.
“No! I can’t die like this! I wasn’t supposed to be here! Link! Help me!” he yelled. As the beast released its hold on him, he screamed loudly. Marcus fell directly into the beast’s mouth, and experienced pain that he had never felt in his life. The stunned spectators still on shore could hear the crunching noise of his bones against the beast’s teeth.
Sean could feel the rage in his body as the creature devoured Marcus’ body. He once again ran at the beast, not caring about what would happen. Evan turned to Ian.
“Quick! Fire into its eyes!”
Ian raised his bow again and fired an arrow. It flew straight into the beast’s right eye, partially blinding it. Sean continued to run at the beast as it swung its tentacles violently, slashing a few more off as he made his way to the beast. Another arrow flew from Ian’s bow, this one hitting the beast directly in its left eye, completely blinding it. Unable to see, the beast swung its tentacles even more violently, but none of them connected with the Hero of the Triforce. Sean made his way deeper into the water until his was directly in front of the beast’s stomach.
“This is for Marcus, you monster! I’m sending you to hell!”
Sean brought the Master Sword down into the beast’s belly, slicing it nearly in half. The beast screamed with pain, as its vital organs were slashed into multiple pieces. It struggled to breath, its tentacles still flailing wildly. Sean put all his strength behind him and stabbed even deeper into the beast’s innards. Slowly, the creature’s life faded away, until the tentacles stopped altogether and the struggle ended.
Back on shore, Ian, bow still in hand, and the Hero of Time waited for the Hero of the Triforce. As he reached the shoreline, he called out to Evan.
“Told you it was the stomach!”
“Yeah,” Evan shouted back, “after we blinded him!”
Ian smiled. “Anyway, I’m glad that’s over with,” he said.
“As am I. Now we can get onto more pressing matters,” Evan said.
Sean made his way up the bank and collapsed on the ground from exhaustion. Breathing heavily, he looked out over the water. “I’m sorry, Marcus. I was too late. It’s all my fault.” He placed his right hand over his face.
Ian knelt down beside him. “It isn’t your fault, Sean. You gave it all you had, but it just wasn’t meant to be.” Then it hit Ian. Did that creature kill his uncle too? “Sean… your uncle… was he…?”
“No. Thankfully, I found him yesterday morning on the north side of the lake. He was badly hurt, but was in no danger of dying. I got him to safety right away.”
Ian patted the Hero of the Triforce on the stomach. “No sense wallowing in grief, Sean. We’ve still got a long day ahead of us.”
“But how are we going to find the next portal?” the Hero of Time asked. “Won’t we have to travel back to Kakariko?”
“I don’t know. I’m sure that the Goddesses will show us the way,” Ian answered. “Speak of the devil…,” he said as he pointed out over the lake.
A bright golden glow emanated from somewhere on the lake. The light intensified, causing all three to shield their eyes from it. As the light died down to a mere glow, it was quite obvious that the next portal was located on top of an island on the west side of the lake. They were delighted that their goal was so near.
“Good. Since its not far, I suggest we rest for a while. You two had a hell of a fight.”
Sean didn’t respond, but rather continued to lie where he was, unwilling to move. Ian and Evan each took a seat on the ground and waited for the Hero of the Triforce to recover.
It would soon be time to find the last piece of the puzzle.
* * * *
The morning sun reflected off the swords and shields of the Hylian army. They had not yet left the safety of the woods, but they would soon attack. There was no doubt in any of their minds that Ganondorf’s army would be awaiting them in the fields. They stood silently, waiting for the order to be given. Behind the front lines of soldiers were the archers, bows already in hand. Zelda was in the back row of archers. She looked in front of her and could see the hundreds upon hundreds of souls that were pledging their lives to the country and to her. At that moment, she was very proud, but the feeling gave way to deep sorrow as she realized that all these fighters should have been led by Link.
Her thoughts drifted to Evan and the rest of the refugees. She glanced behind her, back toward the refuge. Somewhere back there, all the refugees were waiting for the initial push by the Hylian army to make their escape. She couldn’t see him, but she could feel that Evan wasn’t scared. His lack of fear reassured her, and she felt that she and the rest of the Hylian army would be victorious in the oncoming battle. She faced front again and waited for the order.
Nick, Aaron, William, and Robert were all at the head of the army, facing each other.
“Any word from the Gerudo or Goron?” Nick asked in general.
“Not for some time now, Nick,” Aaron answered, “So we must assume that they will follow through with the plan.”
Nick sighed. “We’re relying on them completely. If they don’t attack Ganon’s army in time, we will never be able to secure a path for the refugees.”
“When are we supposed to attack?” William inquired.
Nick looked up at the sky, shielding his eyes from the bright light of the sun. “Well, the Gerudo and Goron are going to start their attack at 0800 hours. Hopefully, the initial shock of being attacked from behind will throw off the evil army just enough to create confusion among their ranks. We attack a few minutes after the first wave of the Gerudo and Goron,” he paused and looked out toward the fields of Hyrule. “Timing is everything.”
Just then, a scout rode up to the four military leaders. “Sir Nick, we have confirmation that the enemy is moving closer to the forest. Their numbers are far greater than our own.” The scout saluted Nick.
“Thank you, soldier,” he responded, returning the salute. The scout turned quickly and rode away.
“Perhaps we should prepare the army now, Nick,” Robert suggested. “We mustn’t be caught off-guard if the surprise attack doesn’t work.”
Nick looked toward the fields again, and then back at the army amassed behind him. “Agreed,” he said, “Prepare all the men now. We will march out into the field now and see if the Gerudo and Goron can pull off their part of the plan.”
Aaron, William, and Robert each rode to a different area of the army and gave out the orders. Nick remained in the front and waited for all the commotion to cease.
“Fellow Hylians and our allies,” he started, “the final battle of good versus evil lay in front of us. May we have the strength and courage to win this day and keep the world free from such evil as Ganon. The road to victory will be a daunting one, and many of us will end up having to sacrifice ourselves for the greater good. May the Goddesses bless each and every one of you in battle today. Now, we march!” he yelled as he raised his sword in the air. He turned his horse around and led the march into the fields.
Zelda’s heart was beating faster than it had ever done before. She had several feelings at once, fear and anxiety. As she marched with the rest of the army, she couldn’t help but feel some excitement. Even if this was to be a bloody and deadly battle, she was glad to be a part of it. For the first time in her life, she actually wanted to kill something. This new feeling of bloodlust frightened her and she was almost ashamed of herself, but she knew that the beasts out in the fields had to die. Her thoughts again drifted to Link, and she became lost in her own little world once again.
Before she even knew it, the Hylian army had stepped out of the forest into the clearing. In front of them stood the entire army of the Evil King Ganon. The evil army outnumbered the Hylian army almost three to one, but this didn’t deter the Hylians at all. They were determined.
Nick held up his hand, calling for the army to halt. Judging from the sun, he estimated that it was almost 0800 hours. It was now time to wait, and pray. Complete silence filled the air as the two armies stared each other down, trying to invoke fear into its enemies. Several minutes passed, yet there was still no signs of battle.
Aaron looked toward Nick. “Nick!” he called out just loud enough for Nick to hear him. “Why haven’t they attacked yet?”
Nick replied with a simple shrug of his shoulders. Indeed, the Gerudo and Goron should have attacked by now, yet there were no signs of them. Nick grew worried. With each passing moment, their chances of success were dwindling.
The stand still lasted for several minutes more, each army not committing to attack. The four leaders of the Hylian army grew increasingly worried.
“Nick!” Robert called. “We have to do something!”
“I know!” Nick responded, “But what?”
Their attention was drawn to a loud battle cry from Ganon’s army. Hordes of Moblins were making their way to the Hylian army, ready to kill all.
“Damn it!” Nick yelled. “Alright! We’re going to have to attack!” he informed the other Knights. He raised his sword in the air and paused for a moment. “Charge!” he finally yelled, at the same time pointing his sword toward the oncoming evil.
The two armies ran at each other with amazing speed, quickly closing the gap between them. The Hylian archers found higher ground and waited for the Moblins to move within firing range. The cavalry continued its pace toward Ganon’s army. Nick and the others prepared for the worst.
Out of nowhere, more battle cries could be heard from the North side of the fields. The battle cries were followed by screams of agony and defeat as the Gerudo and Goron killed numerous Moblins, Stalfos, and Deelers. The surprise attack worked perfectly, as even the Moblins that were charging the Hylians stopped in their tracks to see what was going on behind them.
A smile spread across Nick’s face as the front line of Ganon’s army turned their backs on the Hylians. With the advantage on their side, Nick ordered the cavalry to move faster.
The Hylians made their way to the front line with unbelievable speed. The confused Moblins still had their backs turned, giving the Hylians a free shot. Nick, Aaron, William, and Robert each raised their swords in the air and yelled out their country’s battle cries. Aaron was the first to cross enemy lines, and with a single swipe of his sword, he took out two unsuspecting Moblins.
Nick cried out as loud as he could as he brought his sword down and decapitated a Moblin.
The battle had begun.
The three travelers made their way across the deserted land, exhausted from the long walk and the hot sun. They had been walking for several hours now and they hadn’t seen a single piece of civilization. The Hero of the Triforce stopped in his tracks.
“Hold up, Ian,” he said while breathing heavily. “Are you sure that we’re going the right way?”
“Of course I’m sure,” he replied. “I used to live here you know.”
“Oh, yeah, of course. How could I forget?” he said sarcastically as he looked around at the surroundings yet again. “This doesn’t even look like Hyrule. How do you know we’re not in the wrong place?”
“Just take my word for it. Okay, Sean,” Ian responded with a hint of annoyance in his voice. “This is Old Hyrule. The land you know is no more.”
“So when…” Sean began to yell before the Hero of Time cut him off.
“What I think my descendant here wants to know is, when are we going to get to a town?”
Ian calmed down. “There isn’t a town left in Old Hyrule. We’re going to have to cross the sea to get to New Hyrule.”
“Oh, just great!” Sean yelled angrily. “So we really are on the wrong piece of land! I suppose that once we get to the sea, everything will be fine, huh? But how long will it take us to get there? A day, two days, a week?”
“Well I think its time that we took a rest for awhile. Don’t you agree, Ian?” Evan interjected.
“Yes, I agree. We shall rest for now. And not to worry, Sean, we’re almost to the sea.”
“Good,” Evan continued, “I’m going to try to find a stream or something so we can have more water. You two try to calm down.” He walked off in a random direction in search of water as the Hero of the Triforce and Ian sat down underneath a big oak tree to cool off.
The two sat there, not uttering a single word to each other. The shade was a much-welcomed relief from the overpowering sun and neither of them wanted to lose that cool feeling. They sat in silence the entire time that the Hero of Time was away fetching water.
Evan soon came back with each of their water skins filled. He handed them back to his two companions and took a drink from his own water skin. Without saying a word, he sat down beside them in the shade. There they remained for some time.
The Hero of Time became lost in thought once again. He felt his body drifting away into a state of total relaxation, whereupon nothing felt real. His vision slowly darkened, his consciousness engaged in a battle to stay awake. Finally, the battle was lost and he passed out.
He found himself floating over the same field that he had once known. Upon the field, a massive battle was raging between the last remnants of Hyrule and Ganondorf’s evil army. At the time, it seemed as if the Hylian Army had the advantage, but how they had gotten it was beyond him. The frontal assault was being led by Knights, while Archers rained arrows on the enemies in the distance. Suddenly, he was flying over to the Archers for no apparent reason. He got closer and closer until he could see an archer that he had long known and loved. In his vision stood Zelda, firing arrow after arrow. He had seen her use a bow and arrow before, but she had never been good enough to be an actual archer. Then from behind him he heard a mighty battle cry as the Dark Army turned the tide on the Hylians. He looked on in horror as Hylian after Hylian was struck down. He turned to face Zelda again and he could see the fear in her eyes. As the Dark Army drew closer and closer, she turned and fled with the other archers. The last thing he heard was a deep, hateful laugh.
“Evan! Wake up!” Ian shouted as he shook the Hero of Time. “Damn it! Wake up!”
He opened his eyes and let out a groan. “Where? What happened?”
“You passed out about five minutes ago,” the Hero of the Triforce informed him. “How are you feeling?”
“A little groggy,” he replied.
Ian let out an audible sigh. “Good. You really had us worried. What was that all about?”
“Dreams,” the Hero of Time started, “dreams about home. There was a terrible battle. I… I don’t think that we were winning either.”
“Don’t let it get to you, Evan,” Ian said. “They’re just dreams and you can’t do anything about them.”
“But it wasn’t just a dream! It felt so real! And I’ve had dreams like this before… premonitions…”
“I’ve had dreams like that, too,” Sean remarked. “At this point, it seems the only thing you can do is continue with the plan. If that can’t save them, nothing will.”
Evan nodded his agreement. “You’re right. Sitting here is not going to help us in any way,” he drank some water from his water skin. “Let’s get going!”
“Are you sure?” Ian asked. “Perhaps you should lie down for a little longer.”
“No. We don’t have any time to waste. Who knows how far the time rip has progressed? We must keep moving.”
“So be it. Let’s go,” Ian said and the three travelers picked up their belongings and continued on their journey.
* * * *
They made their way through more of the Hyrule wasteland. The sun beat hard on their backs, the wind blew directly in their faces. The land was no longer inhabitable for people, but there were still some vegetation and animals in the area.
From the best that he could tell, Evan figured that they had to be on the southern part of Old Hyrule. In the distance and to the right, he could see what seemed like an ancient forest, although most of the trees were either dead or dying. He thought back to his childhood in the Kokiri Forest and was greatly disappointed about the outcome of that peaceful place and its people. Off to the left, he saw a mountain range and assumed that the tallest one was Death Mountain. According to the stories that Ian told him, Death Mountain was where he lived in solitude. What a dreadful place to live in, he thought as he gazed around the wasteland once more. Growing more and more depressed of the scenery, he decided to just look ahead.
Sean had been examining the land as well, although a lot less changed since his time. Death Mountain was exactly as it had been, but the Lost Woods seemed to have grown and taken over a lot of land. The lands were no longer fit for agriculture or irrigation. He wondered how all this had come to be. Perhaps it was just as Ian had said. All due to Ganon, but Sean didn’t believe that Ganon was the only cause. He was quick to blame the inhabitants of the land for not looking after nature, destroying it as they saw fit. The thought of such carelessness angered and saddened him at the same time. He reached back for his water skin and took a drink. No sense worrying about it now, he thought. Just have to focus on the task at hand. He, too, decided to look straight ahead for the remainder of their journey.
They continued walking for what seemed like an eternity. Evan grabbed his water skin. It was very light, almost completely empty, but he needed the drink. He tilted his head back and drank the last of his water, hoping that they would soon reach their destination. Behind him, Sean had already finished his water and was beginning to feel the effects of dehydration, but he would be able to hold out for a while.
About an hour later, Ian stopped in his tracks turned to face the two Links. “We are just about there, perhaps another ten minutes or so.”
“It’s about time!” Sean yelled. He regretted that as he felt his head start to swoon and he felt very faint. His vision became very blurred and he found it increasingly difficult to stand. “Hey, guys…” he muttered before he fell over face first into the barren land.
“Sean!” Evan yelled as he ran to the aid of the Hero of the Triforce. “Sean! Come on, Sean!” he yelled as he began to slap his face.
Ian ran up to the unconscious boy and opened his water skin. “There’s not much left in here. We’re going to have to get more,” Ian told Evan as he poured the rest of the water into Sean’s mouth.
“Well where can we get more?”
“Best bet is by the sea. We have to get him there quickly!”
“I’ll carry him, Ian. You just lead the way.” The Hero of Time bent over and grabbed his descendant the best he could. With one quick and powerful heave, he was able to get the Hero of the Triforce over his shoulder. “Hurry up!”
“This way! And quickly!”
The two men raced toward the sea. Evan was amazed that he was still able to carry Sean walking in the hot sun all day, and he was glad. They came to the crest of a hill and they could see the sea sparkling in the hot sun, enticing them to move faster to it. Once over the hill, they quickened their pace. The sea was getting closer and closer and closer…
But now Evan was starting to feel the ill effects of dehydration. The intense pace that he had been running while carrying the Hero of the Triforce had been wearing down on him. His vision began to blur and he could do nothing to stop it. He could feel his head becoming heavy, his legs becoming very tired. All that was driving him now was his determination to get Sean to the water. He was almost there, about thirty yards to go. Ian had already reached the water and was eagerly waiting for Evan.
Come on Link! Evan thought to himself. You’re almost there! Just a few more steps…just a few more… almost… he thought as he collapsed to his knees. The two heroes fell limply on the sand, exhausted, beaten, and unconscious.
“Damn it!” Ian yelled as he rushed over to them. “Now I have to save both of them!” He grabbed the Hero of the Triforce and brought him over by the water. “I hope I can pull this off.”
* * * *
Evan woke up with a start. Across from where he lay was Ian and Sean. They both turned when they noticed that he had come to.
“Good. You’re awake,” Ian said.
“How long was I out?”
“Not too long. You two are a lot stronger than most people. They would have been under for a few hours, whereas you two took about an hour.”
Sean reached into Evan’s bag and pulled out some of his rations. “Here, eat some. Regain some strength.”
Evan reached out and grabbed the jerky, quickly eating it. As he was eating, he noticed that Ian and Sean were working on something. He saw piles of wood and some rope. “What are you doing?”
“Making a raft,” Ian responded. “We’re going to need it. You can’t very easily swim these waters.” Evan got up and walked over to the pile of wood. He grabbed a good piece and proceeded to help Ian and Sean.
“So, Ian,” Evan started, “Is there anything we should know about before going to New Hyrule?”
“I don’t know. Anything. Anything at all that you can think of.”
“Well,” Ian began to search his thoughts. “There are the humans.”
“Humans?” Sean asked. “What are they?”
“Humans are very much like elves, but also very different. They share many of the same physical characteristics, although humans are bigger and lack pointed ears.”
“Are you a human, Ian?” Evan asked.
“Yes I am. And it is for that reason that Ganondorf easily manipulated me. You see, humans are physically stronger, but are mentally inferior. Their minds are easily persuaded by greed, hatred, and destruction. For these reasons, they are very dangerous.”
“Then why didn’t the rest of the elves destroy the humans?”
“Because the humans are still very smart. Their greatest attribute is the art of invention. Without humans, civilization would not advance any further. They are also strong allies, though they cannot use magic.”
“They can’t use magic?” Evan asked as he tied together two pieces of wood.
“No. They don’t have the ability of magic, nor do they worship the Goddesses. The Triforce is nothing more than an ancient relic to them.” Ian could see the shock on both their faces. He couldn’t help but chuckle a little. “Don’t blame them. They believe in another God. And remember, to each his own. You mustn’t look down on them or degrade them. They are living creatures just like you.” Ian tied his piece of wood to the one that Evan had been holding.
Sean finished his part and handed it to Ian. “Will they help us?”
“I’m sure we will be able to find some who will help us,” Ian replied while taking Sean’s piece. “But we must be careful. There are those who wish harm on elves because of jealousy and hatred. Always be mindful of your surroundings.”
Evan and Sean glanced at each other. They had heard of evil creatures, and the occasional bad person, but they never had to worry about their safety among elves. They would have to keep a watchful eye out for any suspicious humans.
“There!” Ian said as he tied the last pieces of wood together. “Finished! This little raft should suffice us for our journey. We just need a sail of some sort.”
“Here, Ian,” Evan said as he reached into his bag. “You can use one of my extra tunics. We’ll just buy another one in town.” He handed the tunic to Ian’s outstretched hand.
Ian grabbed another piece of wood and tied the tunic to one end. He placed the other end in the middle of the raft and smiled. “Not bad if I say so myself.” He turned to the heroes. “Now let’s put this in the water and get going!”
All three of them got behind the raft and pushed with all their might. Slowly, they moved the raft through the sand. Once they hit the water, Ian jumped on.
“Come on! It’s sturdy!” he yelled as he jumped up and down to demonstrate.
Evan looked at Sean. “Go ahead. You go first.”
“No way. You go first.”
“I am your ancestor, and I say that you go first!” Evan shouted.
“No way, ‘Gramps,’” Sean retaliated. “This is your mission of glory, so you go first.”
Evan tried to think of another comeback, but couldn’t. “Damn! Fine, I’ll go on first!” Hesitantly, the Hero of Time placed his right foot on the raft. Before he could bring his left foot aboard, he felt a hard push from behind and fell face first onto the raft. He looked back and saw Sean holding his stomach and laughing. “Get on the damn raft already!”
Still laughing, Sean made his way onto the raft and the three travelers set sail for New Hyrule.
* * * *
They had traveled over the water for nearly an hour without incident. There was just enough room on the raft so that they were not all on top of each other. In the distance, the land of New Hyrule drew closer. None of them had uttered a word since they had gotten on the boat, each lost in his own thoughts. The heat of the sun had died down, and the cool ocean breeze made the environment even more comfortable as they made their way across.
Evan was sitting up on the front of the raft while the other two were lying on their backs on either side. During a journey, he never felt at ease. It was almost like he was paranoid. He sat there, taking in the scenery.
Sean lay there, gazing into the blue sky, wondering if they were going to be successful in their quest. He was so lost in his thoughts that he failed to notice that Evan had stood up in the raft, with sword and shield drawn. When he finally saw him, Sean bolted upright.
“What is it, Evan?”
“Something off in the distance.”
Sean looked out in the direction that the Hero of Time was facing. At this time, Ian sat up and was also looking out across the sea. Neither of them could see anything.
“Evan, are you sure you saw something?” Ian asked.
“Yes, I’m sure.”
“Hey, Ian,” Sean asked, “Do any dangerous creatures live in these waters?”
“I don’t know. I don’t remember crossing the sea, although I guess I had to at some point in my life.”
“Well, something’s coming,” Evan continued. “I suggest that you guys prepare yourself for anything.”
Sean drew his sword and shield while Ian readied his bow. The three of them stood there, silent, watching the water for any signs of trouble. A minute later, there was still no sign of danger, and Ian and Sean were beginning to doubt Evan’s warning. Another minute passed, still no signs and Ian and Sean relaxed. No sooner had they given up on the situation, than the water around them was disturbed.
The disturbance in the water grew larger, rocking the raft gently. Ian and Sean each picked up their weapons once again and prepared for the worst. Now, the water all around them was being disturbed. Each of the three faced a different direction, fully anticipating an attack from all sides. Finally, the danger that lay underneath surfaced all around them.
Each of them covered their faces from the splashing water and prepared to strike. They were completely surrounded by six octoroks. With a quick slash, Evan was able to take out the Octorok directly in front of him. Sean was forced to block a shot from the Octorok nearest him, while Ian’s arrow missed his target. The second wave caused Evan to shield several blows, but Sean was able to slice one in half. The Octoroks went back underwater and got ready to attack again. As they jumped out of the water, Evan easily killed the Octorok to his left, but he was completely unaware of the Octorok on the other side. Reacting quickly, Ian placed an arrow and let it fly. The arrow hit the Octorok directly in the head and its body lurched forward onto the raft, causing it to rock more violently.
“Hey, thanks Ian!” Evan yelled back to him as he realized that the Octorok had a good shot at him.
“No problem!” Ian replied as he placed another arrow on his bow. He aimed at an Octorok that was ambushing Sean and fired. The arrow struck the Octorok perfectly, giving Sean the opportunity to take out the last Octorok with a quick thrust of his sword.
All three collapsed slowly onto the raft, exhausted from the intense battle.
“Well,” Sean said between breathes, “I hope that’s the last adventure we have for a while.”
“I hope so too,” Evan agreed. “I’m looking forward to a nice cozy bed where I can rest for a while.”
“And some food,” Sean added. “Definitely need some real food.”
“Guys?” Ian interrupted. “I wouldn’t get your hopes up too soon.”
“Why not?” Sean asked. “We’ve been through a lot already.”
“Well, get ready to go through some more,” Ian said as he pointed north.
The two heroes looked north, and there they could see dark clouds forming in the sky, and the water underneath forming high waves. A fierce downpour covered the entire area, and it seemed that the storm was headed right for them.
“This is just great!” Sean yelled over the howling wind. “How are we going to make it through that?”
“I suggest that we all hold on very tight,” Ian responded with a forced smile. “Hopefully the brunt of the storm won’t hit us.”
“Just hold on?” Sean yelled back. “That’s the plan? Just hold on?” He sighed angrily as he and the others prepared themselves for the oncoming storm. Ian shrugged.
The storm moved quickly over the water, directly at them. It was almost as if someone was controlling it, trying its hardest to make sure that the three travelers failed. Evan could sense some form of evil in the air, but he couldn’t place it. Instead of worrying about it, he grabbed a firm hold of the raft.
“Here it comes!” Ian shouted. “Hold on!”
The first giant wave came crashing into the small raft, nearly capsizing it. Somehow, they were all able to stay on the raft with great effort. Angered by this, the storm brought more waves, faster and harder. The tiny raft was tossed all over the sea, but remained intact, the three travelers clinging to the raft for their lives.
The storm became worse, sending wave after wave at them. Another giant wave crashed into them, and Ian could feel his grip slipping. Before he could reposition himself on the raft, another wave struck the raft. He was thrown from the raft, waves crashing over him, trying to drown the life out of him. He tried to stay afloat as he was pummeled by the waves. Desperately, he called out for the Hero of Time.
The Hero of Time thought he could hear a voice.
“Evan!” Ian yelled again as he was pulled back under.
Evan turned around to see if anyone was calling him and was met by fear as he noticed that Ian was no longer on board. He searched the water for his friend, hoping that he would be able to spot him. Another wave crashed down on the raft again, nearly pulling Evan off with it. Regaining his balance, he scanned the water for any signs of Ian. Miraculously, he saw Ian as he bobbed up for more air, his arms flailing in the air.
“Ian! I’m coming!” he yelled back. He turned around and called to Sean, “Sean! Ian went overboard! We have to help him!”
Without responding, Sean slowly moved across the raft. The rain was pounding the raft much harder, and the waves seemed like they would never end. Lightning flashed in the sky, as if the storm was signifying victory.
“Ian!” Evan yelled to the elder man. “Try to get closer to the raft if you can!” Although this seemed impossible, Evan was hoping that Ian could get just a little closer so that the rescue attempt would be easier. Sean appeared alongside him, surveying the scene.
“One of us is going to have to go in there,” he said.
Evan looked at him. “So which one of us goes in?” They both stared at each other, having a silent conversation. They both knew who was going to go. “Ok,” Evan continued, “when we get close to the raft, you reach out and pull him in first. Then worry about me.” Sean nodded and Evan returned the nod. Without another word, he jumped into the stormy sea.
Ian could feel his body getting colder and his strength leaving him. The waves continued to pound him, forcing him to submit to the storm. His vision was becoming impaired, and his kicking was slowing. He caught a glimpse of someone jumping from the raft, but he couldn’t make out whom it was. He didn’t much care either. Just as long as someone comes out to help me.
Evan was swimming harder than he had ever swum before. The sea was trying to pull him under, the waves trying to drown him. He thanked the Goddesses that Ian wasn’t too far off from the raft; otherwise he wouldn’t be sure if he could make it to him. His adrenaline was pumping full blast and he had reached Ian remarkably fast. He grabbed Ian around his chest and began to swim back to the raft. The waves made the task that much more challenging, but Evan wasn’t going to die now. He kept kicking his legs, forcing his way back to the raft where Sean was already leaning over with his hand held out.
Sean grabbed Ian as best he could and pulled him aboard the raft. Ian was still alive and breathing, but he needed to get to a warm bed soon if he was going to survive. The extreme shock, which he had just gone through, would surely kill him if he weren’t cared to. Sean helped Evan back onto the raft.
“Good work, Evan,” Sean said.
“Don’t congratulate me yet, Sean. We still have to get him to a town.”
“Yeah, well, we’ll worry about that once this storm stops.”
Just then, as suddenly as it had begun, the storm ended. The sun began to shine through the clouds and the water settled down. The two heroes looked around in confusion, totally amazed at what they saw.
“Works for me,” Sean quirked.
Evan nodded. “Now, let’s get to New Hyrule,” he said. “Without further troubles.”
* * * *
Hordes of Moblins lay dead on Hyrule Field as the battle continued. The Hylian army continued its advance on the Dark Army.
“Hurry up! We must secure the passage!” Nick yelled to the Hylians in earshot. He ducked under the axe of a Moblin and ran it through with his sword. The creature squealed as it slowly died. Nick still hated that noise, although he was growing very accustomed to it.
Far from the battle lines, Zelda stood with the other archers, firing arrow after arrow into the unsuspecting enemy. The archers had slowly moved their position forward as the battle raged on, trying to get as many of the enemy in their firing range as possible. The bloodlust that Zelda had felt for the first time only a little while before was being quenched as she struck Moblin after Moblin. She stopped firing and turned around. She faced the direction in which the refugees would be headed, hoping that they could secure the passage soon. Off in the distance, she could see the first group of refugees making their way to Zora’s River. Confident that they would achieve their goals, Zelda turned back to face the battle and fired more arrows into the crowd.
Meanwhile, the four divisions of Knights began to converge on Ganon’s Tower. At the front of the divisions, Nick, Aaron, William, and Robert continued their onslaught of the Dark Army. Moblins and Stalfos continued to stand in the way of the Hylian army, and more and more were cut down. Aaron blocked a strike from a Stalfos, ducked out of the way of a Moblin’s axe, and rolled away from the Stalfos second strike. Finally behind it, he sliced the Stalfos in half and threw his dagger at the surprised Moblin. Without wasting any time, he led a few other Knights into another skirmish.
In the distance, the passage for the refugees had been secured. With freedom in their sights, the refugees moved as fast as they could to Zora’s River, thankful that the Hylian army had done what it needed to do, and apparently more. Zelda felt relief as more and more of the refugees made it through the passage. At least they’ll be saved, she thought.
William and Robert were fighting side by side, each watching the other’s back. Two Lizalfos suddenly surrounded William, but Robert jumped in and sliced them both in half before they even knew what was happening.
“No problem, William. Just remember, you owe me one.”
“Yeah, yeah,” William replied. “How about we go and kill more of these devilish creatures?”
“Count me in!” Robert yelled as he decapitated another Moblin. The two friends continued their attacks.
Soon, the Hylian army was within reach of Ganon’s Tower. Excitement filled Nick’s heart as their ultimate goal lie so close. The anticipation of taking back this once great land was a dream-come-true. Proudly, he raised his sword high in the air, and as loud as he possibly could he yelled, “For Hyrule!”
His cry was met by the cries of the entire Hylian army. Nick pointed his sword directly at the tower.
The Hylian army cried out in response and ran toward Ganon’s tower, victory in their sights. The archers stopped firing and watched on as the Knights charged the mighty tower. Zelda looked back to the refugees again and figured that about half of them had safely made the journey to Zora’s River. Content filled her heart as she realized that the remaining refugees wouldn’t have to flee because victory was theirs.
The Hylian army approached Ganon’s Tower and prepared to strike down the Evil King. Their cries were louder than ever and could be heard for a great distance. Nick, Aaron, William, and Robert charged the tower alongside each other and prepared for the greatest victory ever by the Hylian army.
Then, a new cry could be heard. It was not the battle cry of a Hylian, or any of its allies. Nor was it the battle cry of any of the devilish creatures that they had been fighting. The sudden emergence and loudness of this cry halted the advances of the Hylian army as they all pondered what it could possibly be.
“Nick!” Aaron yelled. “What the hell is that?”
Nick looked around. “I have no idea! I’ve never heard such a horrible cry before.”
“Where is it coming from?” William asked to no one in particular.
“Up there,” Robert responded matter-of-factly as he pointed to the top of the tower.
The four Knights looked skyward and were shocked at what they saw. On top of the tower, rather, floating above the tower, was Ganondorf. He was surrounded by a strange purple and black glow as he continued to yell at the top of his lungs. The glow became brighter as it grew. It soon became so intense that the entire Hylian army, even the refugees, were forced to cover their eyes and stand still.
With one final yell, Ganondorf let loose a powerful wave of magic that expanded from the tower into a giant sphere. The wave threw the Hylian army back, and the Knights were sent flying through the air, away from the tower. The blast itself killed more than half of the entire army.
The glow finally died down and Nick pulled himself up off the ground. He was badly wounded as he had landed on a spear. The spear was forced right though his left leg, and he had no choice but to break off the two ends. Not far from where he was, Aaron stood up with a bloodied right arm and numerous scrapes. William had a broken left arm and could barely pull himself up off the ground. Instead, Robert, who didn’t have any serious injuries, helped him to his feet.
“What the hell was that?” Robert asked.
“Some sort of magic attack,” Nick grimaced. He looked around. “Pretty devastating one too.”
“So now what do we do? We can’t very well try that again,” Aaron added.
With that, the air was filled once again with a battle cry, but this one was all too familiar to the Hylians. Unbelievably, armies of Moblins and Stalfos charged the remnants of the Hylians.
“Damn!” William yelled. “More of them?”
“You three lead the rest of the army,” Nick yelled as he ran away from the tower.
“Where are you going?” Aaron yelled after him.
“To protect the Princess!”
The three remaining friends looked at each other and steeled their resolve. Without another word, they each raised their swords in the air and faced the oncoming army.
“For Hyrule!” they yelled in unison as they charged along with the survivors of Ganondorf’s attack. It was their last desperate attempt.
Nick ran as fast as he could with his injured leg, pushing aside the intense pain. The archers were far off in the distance, but he was determined that he would get there long before any of Ganon’s minions did. He made his way through bodies of Hylians and demons alike, blood staining the fields. He did his best to try to avoid looking at the fallen Hylians, afraid that he would see someone he knew lying there dead. The pain in his leg was intensifying, and it become more and more difficult to run. His pace slowed to a walk until he finally fell over from the pain. This is it, he thought, I’m going to die here. He slowly moved his head to see what was around him, and his feeling of despair grew more intense after what he saw next to him. There, lying next to each other, were the dead bodies of Chris and Liz, the two teenage girls who had desperately wanted to fight to avenge the deaths of their loved ones. Tears swelled up in Nick’s eyes as he looked upon them. They were still only children. They didn’t deserve this. His sadness slowly gave way to anger, as his will to defeat the enemy rose once again. Pushing the pain out of his mind, he pulled himself up off the ground once more and continued to run toward the archers.
Zelda looked frantically around her. Confusion and chaos had come to the small army of archers. Some tried to hold their position and continued to fire at the now much larger enemy army. Others were trying to flee the battlefield and escape with the refugees. Zelda stood in place, neither firing nor fleeing. She had no idea where that enormous blast from the tower had come from, but by the number of bodies strewn across the field, she knew that they were in trouble. Not far in front of her, she could see Nick limping his way in her direction. Concerned, she began to walk toward him, but was held back by a bloody hand.
“Princess, please wait here,” Sarah informed her. “It’s too dangerous for you to go out there.”
“Sarah! You’re injured!”
Sarah held her right hand over her left side, trying to keep the blood loss at a minimum. “I’ll be alright.”
“But Nick looks hurt! We should go out there and help him!” Zelda continued.
“My husband is fully capable of getting back here on his own, Princess,” said a voice from behind her. Zelda turned to see Celes standing there. “Just stay here.”
Zelda took the advice of her two friends and remained where she was. Nick continued to limp his way toward them and would soon be there. He struggled to make it up the hill that they stood on, but eventually he was able to make it to the top.
“Princess, are you okay?” were the first words out of his mouth.
“I’m fine, Nick. But you’re badly injured!” she replied.
“It’s not that bad. I’ll live.”
Celes reached into her supply back and grabbed a length of bandage. She rushed over to her husband.
“Sit down, Nick.”
“No, I must protect the Princess!”
“Sit!” Celes yelled forcefully while pressing down on his shoulder. Nick gave in and took a seat on the ground as Celes began to wrap his wound.
“Nick, what was that blast before?” Zelda asked.
Nick grimaced in pain as Celes tightened the wrapping. “A magic blast from Ganondorf. It nearly killed us all. Where are Adriana and Diana?”
Sarah pointed to a line of archers still firing. “Over there. They’re not going to stop until you tell them to.”
“What about Aaron, William, and Robert?” Zelda asked. “They’re not dead, are they?”
“No,” Nick replied through clenched teeth as Celes finished dressing his wound. “They’re out there fighting back.”
Zelda looked out over the field and was horrified at what she saw. “Oh no! Look!”
They all turned to see the same horrifying image that she had seen. The Dark Army had made substantial advances on the remaining Hylians. At the forefront of the battle were Aaron, William, and Robert, trying to fend off numerous Moblins and Stalfos. The threesome was being driven back at an alarming rate. Suddenly, a group of Dinolfos moved around their right flank, while a group of Stalfos moved around the left flank. The three Knights were totally surrounded. The fighting ceased around them as the Dark Army moved in on their kill.
“This looks bad,” Aaron commented as they each stood back to back.
“Extremely,” added William. “I don’t see this turning out good at all.”
“Whatever happens,” Robert began, “we finish this battle fighting. We will never give up until the life is taken from our bodies.”
“I guess this will be our final fight,” William said.
“So we better make it a good one,” Aaron remarked with a small smile on his face.
Robert sighed. “I just want you guys to know that it was an honor fighting with you, and it’s an honor to die with you.”
Silence fell over the three friends as each pondered their fate and prayed for the safety of the others.
“Well,” Aaron said, breaking the silence, “let’s do this!”
“Right!” they both replied.
They each raised their swords in the air and charged the awaiting enemies with a fierce battle cry.
From their viewpoint on top of the hill, Zelda and the others witnessed the final act of three of their friends. None of them yelled out to the Knights. Instead, they all stood silent, praying for their friends, and praying that they would not die in vain. The circle of Moblins, Stalfos, and Dinolfos became tighter and tighter until they could not be any closer together. As the Dark Army ended their battle there, they continued to advance on the remaining Hylians.
And there, on the battlefield, lay the bodies of three Knights.
They washed up on a sandy beach only a couple of hours later. Ian was still unconscious, and the two heroes were growing more concerned as time passed. Using parts of the boat itself and the Hero of Time’s extra tunic, they made a rough stretcher that they could use to carry Ian. Slowly, they placed the unconscious man onto it and lifted him up.
“So,” Sean said, “where to?”
“I saw a town further on down this beach. I suggest we stop there and ask for help.”
Sean nodded. “Then let’s get going.”
They walked down the beach, the small town that Evan had seen in the distance. From what he could tell, it was only a few miles away. With the morning sun, he felt sure that they would easily make it to the town without any further trouble.
As they walked along the beach, Sean once again took in their surroundings. Across the water, he could see where they had come from. Death Mountain loomed high in the air even from such a great distance away. He turned his focus in front of them, toward the town. In the nearby water, he could see fisherman in several boats. His thoughts drifted back to what Ian had told them the day before. Always be mindful of your surroundings. Sean could only pray that if they did encounter any humans, they would be helpful ones.
The only thoughts on Evan’s mind were that of his time. His dreams were barely ever wrong, and it would seem that things were becoming worse for those he cared about. He wished that he had been able to destroy Ganondorf once and for all, but he knew that time would come.
“Hey! Can somebody help us?” Sean yelled as they neared the town. The sudden outburst from his descendant brought Evan back into reality. “Hey! Anybody!”
Up ahead, Evan saw a man stand up and gaze out over the beach. Not sure if the man saw them, he yelled as well.
“Hey, you up there! Can you give us a hand?”
The stranger turned around and waved his arm, signaling for others to come. Soon, there were three more men that joined the first. They made their way down the hill toward Evan, Sean, and Ian. As they drew closer, Evan could see that two of the men were much bigger than the other two. I guess those two are humans, he thought.
Too tired to carry Ian anymore, Sean gently put his end down on the beach. Evan followed suit as the strangers came up to them.
“We were caught in the storm,” Evan began to explain. “He needs immediate help.”
“And we would like someplace to rest up,” Sean added. “We’re exhausted.”
“Brian, Dave, carry this man to the inn,” one of the elves said. The two humans rushed over to Ian, picked him up, and began to walk back to town. “Joseph, go with them.” The other elf nodded and ran to catch up with the humans. “As for you two, you need food.”
“But what about our friend?” Sean asked.
“You needn’t worry about him,” the elf continued. “Your friend will be taken care of. Now we must take care of you. Come,” he said as he waved his hand in an inviting manner.
The two heroes stood still for a moment and looked at each other. Reaching a silent agreement, they followed the stranger.
“So,” the elf continued, “what were you guys doing out in the middle of that storm?”
“We were crossing the sea from Old Hyrule…” Sean began.
“What in heavens name were you doing in Old Hyrule?” the elf asked in complete shock. “That place is a wasteland!”
“Well, we landed there,” Evan answered. “Believe me, we didn’t want to be there any more than anyone else.”
“Hmm,” the elf muttered. “I see that you two are well equipped.”
“We are Knights,” Sean said.
“Oh, is that right? From where, may I ask?”
“Hy…” Sean began, but was quickly silenced by an elbow from Evan.
“Dellenia,” Evan said quickly.
“Dellenia?” the elf thought aloud. “Never heard of it.”
“It’s very far away. We were driven off course.”
“I see,” the elf said as he stopped walking. Behind him, both Evan and Sean stopped short, wondering why the elf had stopped. “I’m sorry, I’ve been asking you all these questions and we haven’t even introduced ourselves yet. I am Link.”
Their eyes widened and they once again turned to each other. The elf noticed this strange behavior.
“Um,” Evan started. “Uh… oh. It’s just that we’ve heard so much about you! My name is Evan.”
“And I’m Sean. We are you’re anc…” Sean received another elbow from Evan.
“Don’t mind him,” Evan said. “He’s feeling a little woozy after our long journey. Perhaps we should get some food and rest now.”
“Yes, yes of course,” Link said. “Just follow me.”
The three elves made their way into town. They passed a sign up, but Evan couldn’t understand what it said. Of course, he couldn’t understand anything from Sean’s time either. They walked down what seemed to them to be the main street of the small town. Merchants and stores lined both sides of the street.
“This is where they have taken your friend,” Link said as he opened the door on their right. “This inn will provide you with room and board. Make yourselves comfortable at one of the tables in the bar. I’m going to get the doctor.”
Evan and Sean walked into the inn and slowly walked over to a table. Behind them, Link turned and walked down the street to fetch the doctor for Ian. Choosing a table far from any other customers, the two heroes sat down. Before they had even gotten the chance to check out their surroundings, the waitress came up to them.
“And what can I get you gentlemen?” she asked politely.
“Uh, the finest drink that you have,” Evan replied. She smiled and went to get their drinks.
“Do you even know what they serve here?” Sean asked.
“Not a clue, but I figured this way, we wouldn’t seem so out of place. Oh, and another thing. We mustn’t tell him who we are or what we’re doing here. At least not until Ian wakes up. Understand?”
“Yeah, yeah. I understand.”
“Oh, and Sean? Can you understand their writing?”
Sean laughed. “I take it you can’t. But yes, I can read it. Why?”
“I was just wondering what town we were in,” Evan replied.
“Saria,” Sean said. “We are in the town of Saria.”
Saria? Evan thought to himself. She has a town named after her? He didn’t give it any more thought.
The waitress came back with their drinks and the two of them sat in silence for the next few minutes. They each took in their surroundings. The bar was on the side wall, about twenty feet from the entrance. It appeared that it could hold ten customers. There were only about five tables, each with four chairs, so Evan figured that this place wasn’t frequented much. Toward the back, which is where they were sitting, were the stairs that led up to the rooms.
The door to the inn swung open and Link and the doctor walked in. The doctor walked right past Evan and Sean and up the stairs. Link turned to them.
“You two go on up and see your friend. I’ll pay for the drinks.”
“Thank you,” Evan replied as the two of them got up and headed up the stairs.
They found the room where Ian had been placed. Inside stood the two humans and the elf that had brought him here. The doctor knelt over Ian and seemed to be checking for signs of life. He continued examining his patient as Link walked into the room.
“I also took the liberty of paying for your room, since I wasn’t sure if your money was good here.”
“That’s too much! You’ve done enough for us already!” Evan said.
“Shut up,” Sean said quietly under clenched teeth. Evan ignored him.
“It’s really no problem at all,” Link continued. “All I ask in return is that all of you get better.”
“Well, he’ll live,” the doctor proclaimed as he stood up. “But it could be some time before he wakes up. Just make sure that you keep him warm, and the second he comes to, I want you to come and get me.”
“Thank you, doctor,” Evan said as he left the room.
“You two get some rest. When you’re ready, go downstairs for some food,” Link said. “I will remain in this town for the next couple of days. If you need me at any time, feel free to ask anyone. Someone should know where I am.”
Evan and Sean both nodded. Link smiled, turned, he and his friends walked out of the room, closing the door behind them. The two heroes each walked to a bed, Evan on Ian’s left side, and Sean on Evan’s left side.
“I think I could sleep for days,” Evan said as he lay down on his bed.
“You’re telling me,” Sean yawned as they both settled into bed. “I’m exhausted.”
“I hope Ian will be okay,” Evan continued. “What luck, though. I can’t believe that we found our descendant so quickly! At this rate, we should be able to defeat Ganondorf in no time! Right?”
“Sean?” Evan rolled over so he could face Sean’s bed. He laughed as he realized that Sean was already fast asleep. “Damn, I guess you were really tired.” He rolled back over and went to sleep.
* * * *
The fields of Hyrule were covered with bodies. He was once again flying above them, forced to see the horror that had befallen his kingdom. The battle had long since been over, the Hylians lost. He found himself floating to the top of Ganon’s Tower. He passed trough the walls of the top floor like he was a ghost. Inside, he saw his wife and son, each chained to the wall and being tortured. Desperately, he tried to yell out, but he was unable to make any noise. He tried to look away from the pain, but found that he couldn’t do that either. Once again, he heard that evil laugh.
Evan woke up in a cold sweat again. These dreams were coming more and more frequently to him, and it didn’t please him at all. Sometime during his sleep, he had kicked the covers off of him onto the floor. He glanced over to see if Ian had woken up yet. The elder man remained unconscious and Evan began to worry more about him. Then a thought struck him. Can he die? Since he was already killed, does that mean he can’t die? Evan wondered this about himself too.
He turned in his bed to see if Sean was still asleep, but found that his bed was empty. It seemed as though Sean had been up for quite some time now. Evan got out of bed and stretched out. As he did, his stomach growled at him.
“Damn, I’m hungry,” he said out loud. He took one last look at Ian and headed out of the room.
Downstairs, he saw Sean sitting at one of the tables. In front of him were an empty plate and a full mug of ale. Evan walked over to the table and took a seat.
“About time you woke up.”
“How long have you been down here?” Evan asked.
“Oh, about an hour,” Sean replied. “Let’s get you some food. Ma’am?”
The waitress came over. Evan ordered himself a good amount of food and a mug of ale. The waitress smiled again and headed off to the kitchen. They both sat in silence, thinking about nothing. Evan gazed around the room and noticed a beautiful woman sitting at the bar. She turned her head and made eye contact with the Hero of Time, and smiled. Politely, he smiled back. He thought nothing of it.
The woman at the bar grabbed the waitress’ attention. “Oh, miss. I’d like to buy a drink for the man at that table,” she said as she pointed in Evan’s direction.
The waitress nodded and poured the drink for Evan. She started on her way over, but was stopped by the same woman.
“Please, allow me.” She grabbed the mug from the waitress and headed over to Evan. “Hi,” she said to him. “I bought you this.” She placed the mug in front of Evan and sat down next to him.
Evan and Sean both looked at her quizzically.
“Thank you, I guess,” Evan said as he reached out to grab the mug. Before he could do so, she reached out her hand and took a hold of his.
“My, you have strong hands. And it appears that you’ve used them extensively,” she said in a flirting tone.
Sean laughed. “Look at this! I never knew that you were a Lady Killer, Evan.” He laughed again.
“Evan is your name, huh? I like it. My name is Sheila. I’m honored to make your acquaintance.”
“As I am yours,” Evan said, blushing at the same time. He had no desire for this woman, but he felt that he should at least show some interest so as to not hurt her feelings.
“Well?” she said, almost impatiently. “Aren’t you going to drink that?”
“Of course,” Evan replied. “I couldn’t possibly pass up a free drink from a beautiful woman as yourself.”
He grabbed the mug and lifted it toward his mouth. As he did, Sean noticed an unusual expression on Sheila’s face. It was almost as if she couldn’t wait for Evan to drink the ale. Puzzled, he remained silent, not wanting to accuse this woman of some mischief without any evidence. He would look jealous, which he sort of was.
The door to the inn was pushed open and in walked Link. He saw the two strangers sitting at a table with a third person, a woman. He thought nothing of it until the woman turned around to see who had come in.
“Sheila!” Link yelled in alarm as his face showed surprise and terror at the same time. “Evan! Don’t drink that!” He unsheathed his sword and began to run toward the threesome.
Evan stopped drinking immediately when he heard Link, but he had already drank almost half of the mug. Sheila sat still with a smirk on her face as Evan put his drink down.
“What the hell is going on?” Sean was as puzzled now as he was before.
Link stopped short of the table and pointed his blade directly at Sheila’s throat.
“It’s too late, Link,” she said. “He’s already had enough to kill him. It’s just a matter of time now.”
Evan’s face turned completely white upon hearing what she had to say. He didn’t respond to anything, just sat there silent.
Sean jumped out of his chair. “What the hell did you do to my friend, you wench?”
Sheila just laughed.
“She poisoned him. Sheila is a wanted criminal for the deaths of over twenty men. Each time, she acts like she’s interested in them, lowering their defenses,” Link informed him. Link turned to the bartender. “Go and get the doctor!”
The bartender nodded and ran out the door. “Sean,” Link continued, “take Evan upstairs into your room and cover him up. As for you,” he turned to Sheila, “you’re under arrest and will be sentenced to death. Get up!”
Sheila got up willingly. “You’re always ruining my fun, Link.”
“Shut up and get moving,” he commanded her. He led her out the door with his sword always pointing at her.
Sean turned to Evan. “Come on, buddy. Let’s get you upstairs.”
* * * *
“He’s unconscious,” the doctor stated. Sean, Link, Brian, Dave, and Joseph stood around the poisoned Evan.
“Damn it! Now what am I supposed to do?” Sean asked desperately. “How the hell can we complete our mission if both of them are unconscious?”
“Mission?” Link asked, puzzled. “What mission? Just who are you anyway?”
Sean gasped as he realized his mistake. “It’s… it’s hard to explain.”
“Well maybe you should start explaining.”
“Now is not the time. You needn’t worry about that right now. You have nothing to fear from us. We’re on your side if you can believe that.”
Link wasn’t satisfied with Sean’s answer. “We’ll see about that. Tell me. Tell me who you are and what you are doing here!”
“Pardon me, gentlemen,” the doctor interrupted. “He still has a chance to survive this. He’s very strong and his body is fighting the poison quite effectively. However, he needs the antidote or else he’ll never win the battle.”
“So let’s get him the antidote!” Sean yelled.
“It’s not that easy,” Link replied.
Sean reached out and grabbed Link by the collar. “Sure it is! We just have to get the antidote!”
Without even flinching, Link responded, “The antidote is not very common. We’ll need to find it in nature.”
Sean released his grip on Link, as he understood the situation. “Well, then, where can we find it?”
“There is a cave just beyond the forest,” Joseph, the other elf, said. “There should be some Ivy Plants right before the cave. We need to get some in order to make the antidote.”
“I will help you,” Link started, “under one condition.”
“And that is?”
“You tell me all about you three and your mission.”
Sean hesitated. He looked at his two friends lying on their beds, unconscious. He needed to save the Hero of Time, and if this meant revealing their secrets to their descendant, he would do it.
“Agreed. But I will tell you and only you. I don’t want any of them to know just yet,” he said while directed his head in the direction of the others.
“Very well. We shall go alone,” Link conceded.
“Sir Link,” Brain said, “do you think that is a good idea? We don’t know who this guy really is.”
“I’m aware of that, Brian. But for some reason I trust him and I am certain that he will not be a threat to my life.”
“Shall we be on our way?” Sean asked.
“Yes,” he turned his attention to the others. “Doctor, we will bring the plants to you as soon as possible. And I want you three to look after these two around the clock. If there is any change in their condition, inform the doctor.”
“Yes, of course, Link,” Dave replied.
“Let’s go,” Link said.
* * * *
“Fall back!” Nick yelled.
The Dark Army continued their advance on the remnants of the Hylian army. Outnumbered, the Hylians were being driven back, and it appeared that the Dark Army wouldn’t stop until every last one of the Hylians was dead.
“We have to protect the Princess!” Celes exclaimed. “Adriana! Diana! Fall back and help us!”
The two women stopped firing on the advancing Moblins and turned to regroup with the others. Nick, Celes, Sarah, Adriana, and Diana formed a line in front of Zelda in order to ensure her safety.
“Princess, head for Zora’s River! You need to get out of here! We’ll cover you!” Nick yelled over the incessant noise of the oncoming enemy.
As the group fell back, any remaining soldiers and archers tried to hold off the enemy from getting to Zelda, each one sacrificing themselves for her safety. Zelda could see the entrance to Zora’s River not too far ahead. The remaining refugees were scurrying as fast as they could to the entrance, and Zelda hoped that Evan had already made it through.
“They’re flanking us!” Sarah yelled out. “They’re moving toward Zora’s River!”
“No!” Adriana cried. “The refugees will be slaughtered!”
“Stop here!” Nick ordered.
From where they were, they could see an entire group of Stalfos along with several groups of Lizalfos and Dinolfos heading for the entrance to Zora’s River. Unable to help at all, they were forced to see the defenseless refugees assaulted by an uncaring enemy. The Dark Army swarmed in on them, unforgiving in their quest for victory. The horrible reality sickened them all.
“Evan!” Zelda cried out, unsure of the whereabouts of her only son. Without warning, she took off running toward the fleeing refugees, hoping that her son wasn’t killed.
“Princess Zelda!” Nick called after her. “Damn it! Come on, let’s go after her!”
They all ran after her into the crowd of refugees.
“Evan!” she continued to cry out. “Evan! Evan!”
“Evan?” Zelda stopped in her tracks and looked around. “Evan?”
“Mommy!” she heard again. She looked in the direction of the voice and saw Evan running toward her. “Mommy!” he yelled again, tears streaming down his face.
Zelda picked up her son as the Dark Army moved in further, wiping out all the refugees. Finally, the others caught up to her and stood around her in a circle, enclosed by the Dark Army.
“That does it!” Diana yelled. “I’m not going to sit around and wait to die!” She picked up a nearby sword and charged a group of Moblins.
“Diana!” Adriana called after her. “Wait!” She, too, ran at the enemy, which now totally surrounded them.
“That looks like an honorable way to die,” Sarah added. “I pray for your safety, Princess.”
“Sarah, no!” Zelda cried out, but it was too late. Sarah was already engaged in battle.
“I’m sorry, Nick. But I must go and help my friends,” Celes said, a single tear running down her face. “Please stay here and protect the Princess.” She turned her back on him and ran into the battle.
“Celes! Damn it, Celes come back!”
He was forced to look on as his wife and unborn child were struck down with the rest of their friends. Tears came to his eyes, but he did all he could to suppress them. I won’t be long, my love. Wait for me.
Suddenly, the Dark Army stopped their attack. Confused, Nick and Zelda looked all around them. The fields were full of dead soldiers and archers. The pathway they had once secured now was strewn with dead civilians. Evan clung tightly to his mother.
“What’s going on, Nick?”
“I don’t know, Princess. But it’s probably not good.”
In a flash of light, Ganondorf appeared in front of them, laughing.
“Ah, Princess Zelda. You put up quite a fight.”
“Leave us alone!” she cried back.
Ganondorf laughed again. “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that. You’re too important. I have long awaited this day. Tell me, Princess, where is your beloved hero now?”
“You monster!” Nick yelled. “I’ll make you pay for everything that you’ve done!” Nick charged the Evil King with a loud yell.
He brought his sword up and attempted to slice the Evil King in two. With unbelievable speed, Ganondorf unsheathed his sword and knocked Nick’s blow away. The powerful hit caused the sword to fly from Nick’s hand, leaving him completely defenseless.
“I will not be taken prisoner by you!” he said.
“We are in agreement there!” Ganondorf yelled as he brought his sword down on Nick and decapitated him.
Zelda hid her eyes from the gruesome sight, holding Evan even tighter to her. “Just finish me! Kill me and leave my son alone!”
“I’m afraid that things won’t be so quick for you, Zelda,” Ganondorf replied. “Guards, take them to the throne room.”
Four Moblins with spears approached Zelda and Evan from different directions. With one quick hit with the butt end of a spear, Zelda was knocked unconscious.
They headed out from Saria with the rise of the sun. The night before, they had decided that heading out in the darkness would not be in their best interest. After a good night’s sleep, they were ready. They traveled light so they could move faster.
“Where is this cave?” Sean asked.
“North of here. We’ll need to cut through a forest to get to it, and the forests aren’t exactly the safest place to be.”
“How far away is it?”
Link thought for a moment. “I’d say it’s only about a few hour hike from here. Barring any serious trouble, we should easily be back in Saria by nightfall.”
They walked north along a path that seemed like it had been there for quite some time. Off to their left was a mountain range, although none of the mountains seemed as tall or deadly as Death Mountain. To their right were fields and random groups of trees. Sean enjoyed the scenery; it was so much different and a whole lot better than Old Hyrule which he had seen only days before. Above them, there was not a single cloud in the sky, allowing the sun to shine down on the land unobstructed.
They continued walking in silence for the next hour, Sean taking in the environment around him, while Link tried to figure out for himself if he was doing the right thing. After all, he had no idea who these people really were, or what they were doing here. Finally, he decided that he wanted answers. He grabbed his water skin and took a quick drink from it.
“So, Sean,” he started as he returned his water skin to its place. “If that is your real name…”
“No,” Sean answered. “It’s not my real name.”
“I figured as much. There’s a lot that I want to ask you. Why don’t you start with who you three really are?”
Sean sighed deeply. This was the moment of truth. He would’ve much preferred it if Ian and Evan were there with him to back up his story, but he would have to go it alone.
“Here we go,” he said under his breath. “What I’m about to tell you is going to sound strange and, well, it will sound crazy. But it’s the truth. Please don’t judge me by what I tell you.”
“It will sound a little crazy, huh?” Link repeated. “I figured you guys were off your rockers.”
“Just hear me through. If you want to confirm my story, you can ask Ian and Evan when we get back to Saria.”
“Fine, go ahead.”
Sean sighed deeply again. “My name isn’t Sean. It’s… it’s… well, my name is Link.”
Link stopped abruptly. “Yeah, right. You’re name is Link. That’s a bunch of bull,” Link stated not amused. “Let me guess. Evan’s name is really Link, too.”
“Well,” Sean said. “Yes. Evan’s name is really Link.”
Link began to laugh loudly. He began to talk with a sarcastic tone. “And I suppose that Ian’s real name is Link! You guys must be my past, present, and future! Of course! You’re here to warn me of some ancient evil that is going to attack Hyrule!”
“Knock it off!” Sean yelled. “If you’re not going to take me seriously, then I’m not going to tell you why we’re here!”
Link began to calm down. They began to walk again.
“And no, Ian’s name is not Link. It’s Ian. That’s his real name. Evan and I use these names because it would be confusing if we both were Link.”
Link didn’t seem satisfied with that answer, but he kept his mouth shut.
Sean continued, “And during your little ranting just now, you were partially correct. We are your past, and an ancient evil is attacking, but not in this time period.”
“What do you mean you’re my past?” Link was very confused.
“Evan and I are your ancestors. And Evan is my ancestor as well.”
“Go on,” Link was very curious now.
“Evan is Hyrule’s first hero. During his life in his time, the evil man Ganondorf rose to power. Evan fought his minions and battled his way to the Evil King himself. After Evan defeated him, Ganondorf used the Triforce of Power to transform himself into Ganon. However, Evan was victorious over the demon with the help of the six sages and Princess Zelda.”
“So if he defeated Ganon, how come I had to fight him?”
“Because he still held the Triforce of Power,” Sean explained. “Eventually, Ganon was able to escape from his prison in the Evil Realm and wreaked havoc on Hyrule in my time. Not knowing what I was getting myself into, I ventured to Hyrule Castle to save the Princess. Eventually, I faced off with Ganon and was victorious.”
“And then he came back again, and I took on the quest of defeating him,” Link stated. “So, then, why are you here?”
“The timeline between Evan’s time and my own has been tampered with. A man from this time period was summoned back by Ganondorf. Once in Evan’s time, this man released the seal and allowed Ganondorf to return to Hyrule,” Sean went on. “Evan once again fought against the Evil King, but this time, Evan was killed, allowing the Triforce of Courage to fall into Ganondorf’s hands.”
“That still doesn’t explain why you’re here,” Link said frustrated that the tale didn’t seem to lead anywhere.
“I’m getting there,” Sean replied, annoyed. “It wasn’t his time to die yet. When he reached Purgatory, he met up with Ian, who was the man that brought Ganondorf back into this world. They both were given a mission by the Goddesses – travel through time and find Evan’s two descendants so that Ganondorf could be defeated.”
“Wait,” Link interrupted. “Ian was the cause of all this?”
“Then why are you traveling with him?”
“Because he is trying to right his wrongs. If we are successful, the Goddesses will forgive him and allow him to enter the heavens. He has been a tremendous help.”
Link remained silent.
“So,” Sean said, “what do you think?”
“I think… I think that I’m going to have to play this over in my mind a few times.”
“Of course, take your time. In the meantime, let’s get this plant so we can save Evan.”
* * * *
Evan opened his eyes slowly and let out a small groan. His head was pounding and half of his body felt like it was burning up while the other half was freezing. He moved his hand to his forehead and felt a moist towel.
Evan turned his head to see Ian sitting up in his bed. Evan acknowledged him with another groan.
“Well, it’s good to see you too,” Ian quipped.
“What time is it, Ian?” Evan said painfully.
“I have no idea,” Ian replied. “But it seems like its still morning, although I’m not sure what day it is either.”
On the table next to him, Evan saw a full glass of water. He tried to reach over, but his muscles hurt like hell. He let out another groan as he gave up. Ian stood up from his bed and grabbed the glass of water.
Placing the glass next to Evan’s mouth, he asked, “What happened to you?”
Evan drank almost half the glass of water. “Some wench poisoned me. Sean and Link are searching for the antidote now.”
Ian’s eyes widened. “Link? Did you say Link?”
“Yeah, he helped us bring you here. He’s definitely my descendant.”
Ian nodded his understanding. “Speaking of which, where are we?”
“In the town of Saria,” Evan answered, twitching in pain.
Ian patted him on the chest. “You rest some more. I’m going to find out anything I can about our situation.”
Before Ian had even finished his sentence, Evan passed out.
* * * *
They reached the forest with no troubles at all. Sean was amazed at how small “the forest” really was. In his time, he had seen and traveled through forests much bigger than the one they were currently in. The trees blocked out most of the sun, but it was still very easy to see ahead of them.
“So how far are we from the cave?” Sean asked.
“Not much further,” Link answered.
“I thought you said that this forest could pose a problem.”
“Well, we got lucky. Since we got here during the day, most of the devilish creatures should be still asleep. But don’t let your guard down for any reason. Just in case.”
The two travelers continued through the somewhat dense forest. Sean looked around him and noticed that the trees seemed to be of the same kind that he grew up around. Perhaps these trees are very common he thought. Or maybe the first settlers planted them here. Whatever the reason, Sean felt an odd sense of home as he walked through the forest, almost as if he had belonged there his whole life.
The wind blew, rustling the leaves on the extended branches. The breeze felt strange to Sean. It seemed that the breeze was too cold for such a warm day. He looked up to Link, who seemed a little more on edge as well. Assuming danger loomed ahead of them, Sean drew his sword.
“Link, what is it?”
Link responded by placing one finger over his lips. He then held his hand out, signaling Sean to stop moving. They both stood there, searching the trees around them. They stood there for several minutes, finding nothing.
“Let’s keep going,” Link told Sean.
The two continued through the forest, and Sean could now see the edge of the forest in the distance. He judged that it wouldn’t take more than ten minutes until they were out, but he felt that it would be a long ten minutes. They moved along cautiously, keeping an eye out for any signs of danger. The cold breeze continued to blow. Sean felt an evil presence, and it was growing stronger as they moved closer to the edge of the forest.
Link could feel the evil as well. It feels so… familiar… he thought to himself. But I can’t place it. He finally drew his sword.
“Link, do you feel that?”
Link simply nodded his head.
“What the hell is it? I’ve never felt anything like this at all.”
“I’m not sure. Although,” he paused, “I’ve felt it before.”
They were now almost out of the forest. Their bodies tensed up as they moved toward the mysterious evil presence. Slowly, they exited the forest, into the waiting sunlight. Strangely, the sunlight wasn’t warm, even though Sean could swear that it was hot when they had entered the forest. They stopped quickly.
“You!” Link shouted as he prepared himself for battle.
The creature in front of them just hissed. Sean looked at it, puzzled. The creature seemed to be an elf, but it didn’t seem to have any real features. It was almost as if it were a shadow.
“What the hell is that?” Sean asked.
“That disgusting creature is an evil being, created from the depths of my own soul.”
“What? From your own soul?” Sean asked surprised. “Are you telling me that you made him?”
Link shook his head. “No, not at all. A wizard reached into my soul and ripped out the evil that would otherwise never have seen the light of day. He manifested this evil into the creature you see before you, and I was forced to do battle with my shadow, and I was victorious.”
“Well, what the hell is he doing here then?”
“Beats me. But it doesn’t matter. I will defeat him again!” Link yelled as he charged at his shadow.
Sean sheathed his sword and remained where he was, confident that Link could once again defeat his shadow. He watched on as their swords met with a clang, every move an exact mirror image of the other. From Sean’s point of view, it seemed that his opponent easily foresaw any move by each fighter. Link jumped up as Dark Link tried to take out his legs, and he immediately brought his sword down from high over his head, trying to cut through the demon in front of him. Dark Link easily blocked the blow and countered. The two continued their duel, matching each other’s moves.
Sean continued to look on, now growing a little concerned, as Link seemed to grow tired. As far as he could tell, Dark Link didn’t seem to be tiring at all. Link was no longer on the offensive at all, as he took a purely defensive stance, just trying to hold off his shadow. He dodged a thrust, and then blocked a slash, followed by another jump to save his legs. They exchanged parries once more.
Link continued to grow tired as he fended off another strike from Dark Link. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I need Sean’s help. He dodged another thrust from his opposition.
“Sean!” he yelled while knocking away a horizontal slice. “Sean!”
Sean unsheathed the Master Sword once again. He tried to figure out the best way to attack Link’s shadow. I have to make sure that he’s still focused on Link, he thought. Silently, he faded back into the trees, out of sight of the two fighters. He made his way through the shrubbery until his was directly behind the shadow. As silently as before, he emerged into the open.
Meanwhile, Link was still doing his best to avoid being killed by his own shadow. They parried once more, and then again. Sweat was pouring down Link’s face. He dodged two consecutive thrusts, then ducked down to the ground as Dark Link aimed for his head. Link attempted a quick up-slash, but Dark Link easily moved out of the way. A drop of sweat fell into Link’s right eye, stinging it badly. Unable to wipe his brow, Link was forced to do battle with one eye closed. Dark Link swung low, but Link was able to block the attack with his sword. He moved to the side as Dark Link swung down. As he saw Dark Link pull his arm back for another thrust, a second drop of sweat fell into his other eye. Now, completely blinded and acting only on instinct, Link tried to move aside from the oncoming attack. Unable to judge his distance, Link stopped and then felt pain as Dark Link’s sword just grazed his side.
Link cried out in pain as he felt the warm sensation of blood on his skin. Unable to do battle any longer, he dropped his sword and prepared for the final blow. He could hear the evil laugh of Dark Link. The creature was enjoying seeing his former dominant side beaten before him. He brought his sword back and prepared to decapitate the Hero of Hyrule.
Dark Link cried out his battle cry and brought his sword forward. Out of nowhere, Link heard a second battle cry and then the sound of two swords clashing together. Certain that it was Sean coming to his rescue, Link finally wiped his eyes and brow clear of sweat and could see that Sean had stepped between the two and stopped Dark Link’s sword.
“Move!” Sean yelled to him. “You’re in the way!”
Quickly, he rolled out of the way, allowing Sean ample space to fight Dark Link. He reached back and grabbed his water skin. Uncapping it, he took a few mouthfuls of water, savoring every drop. Exhausted, he held his side and stayed on the ground as Sean took his turn at his shadow.
The two were still locked in the same position when Sean had interfered. Dark Link tried to force his way through Sean’s sword, while Sean tried his hardest to push the demon back. With a fierce yell, Sean was able to overpower Dark Link and sent him flying back several feet. Dark Link landed on his back, completely surprised by the sudden change in the battle. He lifted his head up and saw Sean standing a couple yards from his feet. Sean stood with his legs apart and his arms at his side, the tip of the Master Sword rested on the ground beside him.
Dark Link pulled himself up off the ground, and the two squared off. Neither of them moved, each one waiting for the other to make the first move. Sean gripped the Master Sword tightly, and prepared himself. He ran forward, the Master Sword held out behind him as he rushed toward Dark Link. With one powerful swing, he attacked. Dark Link knocked the sword away from his body and countered with a thrust. Sean quickly dodged it and tried to anticipate the evil creature’s next move. They parried and each was pushed back slightly. Dark Link came at Sean with a powerful horizontal slash of his own, but Sean was ready for it.
Sean was getting no further than Link had. I’ve got to do something different, otherwise he’ll beat me too. He tried desperately to think of a way to defeat the demon. Dark Link swung again, and Sean deflected the blow away. Before Sean could do anything else, Dark Link brought his sword around for another attack. He reacts so quickly! I’ve got to do something to stun him.
Sean swung at Dark Link again, only to have his shot blocked. Dark Link countered with another thrust, then went for Sean’s head. Sean quickly dodged the thrust and ducked down to avoid being decapitated. Thinking quickly, he grabbed some dirt while he was still crouched. He threw the dirt directly into Dark Link’s face, causing the evil creature to stagger back. As the demon tried to wipe its face clean of the dirt, Sean charged up the Master Sword for his most powerful attack. He slowly moved closer to Dark Link until he was within striking distance.
Dark Link finally cleared the dirt from his eyes, but what he saw didn’t please him. The instant that Sean saw the demon’s eyes, he unleashed his swirl attack, cutting the defenseless creature into two pieces. The two halves of his body fell to the ground and disappeared in a puff of smoke. Sean caught his breath and sheathed the Master Sword.
He walked over to Link. “How bad is it?”
Link grimaced slightly. “Not too bad. I’ll live, but it’ll need to be looked at in town.”
“Can you walk?”
“Yeah, that’s no problem,” Link said. “Besides, we reached our destination. There are some Ivy Plants just over there.” He pointed in the direction of a large bush.
Sean walked to the bush and found numerous plants beside it. “Which one is it?”
“It has two leaves on its stem and three big, white petals.”
Sean looked over all the plants and found the one Link had described. “This is more like a flower than a plant.”
“So what?” Link asked rhetorically. “It’s the one we need.”
“If you say so,” Sean replied.
He bent down and helped the injured hero to his feet. “Are you sure you’re going to be able to make it back okay?” Sean asked.
“Yes. Don’t worry about me. The bleeding has slowed significantly.”
“Okay, but if you…”
A violent shaking of the ground cut off Sean. The entire ground seemed to be vibrating and the rumbling was intense. Both heroes fell onto the ground, unable to maintain balance from the severe shaking. The phenomena continued for ten more seconds before it stopped suddenly.
Sean pulled himself up. “What was that? An earthquake?”
“Earthquakes don’t occur anywhere near this area. It was something else, but I have no idea what.” Link replied.
Sean had an idea of what caused the strange occurrence, but he decided to keep it to himself for now. He wanted to talk to Ian and Evan about it first. He helped Link up once again.
“I think we better get back,” Sean said.
“Yeah. Let’s get going. We can still make it back by nightfall.”
The two adventurers headed back into the forest.
* * * *
Ian sat at the bar, swirling his drink. He had been down there for a few hours, talking to random people to find out anything that he could. It seemed that the town of Saria was mainly a fishing town, located just south of a rather large swamp. They didn’t get many tourists here, mostly only some military men who were either passing through or bringing news. Entire families lived and died there, never leaving the town.
Another customer came up to the bar next to Ian and threw some rupees down.
“Hey bartender, give me a nice cold ale.”
The bartender swept up the payment and went to fetch the ale. Ian continued to look straight ahead as the stranger turned to look at him.
“If I’m not mistaken, you’re name is Ian, right?”
Ian turned his head quickly to face the stranger. “How the hell do you know my name?”
“Easy now,” the stranger said. “I helped bring you in here yesterday. You should be thanking me.”
“I apologize,” Ian replied. “I haven’t been told too much about how I got here. Just that some men and elves brought me here.”
“Name’s Dave,” he said as the two men shook hands. “Those two over there helped you here as well.” He pointed to the only occupied table.
“I thank you,” Ian said to all of them. “I am in your debt.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Joseph said. “Just as long as you’re safe. By the way, the name’s Joseph. This here is Brian,” the other human raised his mug as acknowledgement.
“Come. Join us,” Dave offered as the bartender returned with his ale.
Ian walked over to their table with Dave. He sat down in the sole remaining chair and placed his drink in front of him.
“Sir Link had a lot of questions to ask the three of you,” Brian stated. “But seeing as how two of you were unconscious, he resorted to asking your friend Sean about you three and your business here.”
“My friend upstairs tells me that Link and Sean went out for an antidote,” Ian said. “What exactly happened?”
“Well,” Dave started, “he was poisoned by a notorious woman. She goes by the name of Sheila and she gets pleasure from seducing and poisoning men and elves. Your friend met her here tonight, but he is stronger than most men, otherwise he would be dead already.”
“The only way to save your friend is the antidote made from the Ivy Plant,” Joseph explained. “And if he doesn’t get it soon, he will not survive.”
Ian took a drink from his mug. “So I guess we just wait then.”
“That’s all we can do right now,” Dave agreed.
The four of them sat silent, all impatient, waiting for Link and Sean to return with the antidote. They sat there for nearly ten minutes before a messenger coming through the hotel door disturbed them.
“Jake!” Brian exclaimed. “Good to see you lad! Come! Sit!”
The messenger quickly walked to the table, but did not take a seat.
“Hello, Brian. I have no time to sit. I have come with urgent news,” Jake informed him.
“Urgent news?” Joseph repeated.
“Yes, sir. There seems to be some sort of disturbance to the west.”
“What kind of disturbance?” Dave asked curiously.
“Well, sir, it seems to be some sort of opening.”
“Opening?” Brian repeated.
“Yes, an opening,” Jake said.
“Excuse me,” Ian said, “but could you explain what this opening looks like?”
“It’s circular, contains blue and white swirls that meet at the middle, and is about seven feet high.”
Ian’s eyes widened as Jake’s description of this opening matched the description of the portals that they had been traveling through.
“Ian?” Joseph asked. “Do you know something about this disturbance?”
Ian thought for a moment. “I have a suspicion of what it is, but I can’t be sure until I actually see it with my own eyes. Can you take me there?”
Brian, Dave, and Joseph all looked at each other, trying to figure out if it was a good idea. None of them could think of a reason why they couldn’t bring him there, so they agreed.
“Yes, we can take you there,” Dave told him. “How soon do you want to go?”
“Immediately,” Ian responded as he finished the rest of his drink.
“Very well,” Dave continued. “Brian shall stay here and look after your friend upstairs. The rest of us will accompany you.”
“Thank you,” Ian said.
“It’s no problem,” Joseph said. “We’ll leave as soon as we finish our dri…”
He got cut off. The entire building began to shake violently causing all the bottles of liquor to crash onto the floor. The four of them hit the floor and tried to protect themselves from falling objects. Jake remained standing and tried to hold himself up with the wall.
“Is this an earthquake?” Ian yelled over the noise.
“No, not in this area!” Joseph yelled back.
“Then what the hell is…”
Suddenly, Jake began to yell out in extreme pain. Curiously, the other four looked in his direction while still watching out for danger. None of them could believe what they saw.
Jake continued to yell, his hands placed firmly on the top of his head. Out of nowhere, a white dot of light appeared at about his midsection. The light began to spread throughout his body, first covering his torso, and then moving to his appendages. The light then began to become brighter, and with that, Jake’s screams become more bloodcurdling and painful. Slowly, the light broke through Jake’s skin. The now exposed light was too much for the others and they were forced to hide their eyes. Jake’s screams grew louder, then began to fade away. Then silence.
The unexplained shaking had ceased. Brian was the first to get up and he began to frantically search for Jake.
“Jake? Jake? Where are you, buddy?”
The rest of them pulled themselves up and surveyed the scene. All the bottles of liquor were broken on the floor, chairs and tables were overturned, and wall ornaments lay in shatters. The chandelier also had fallen, spreading broken glass everywhere.
“What in the world was that?” Dave asked.
Joseph shook his head. “I don’t know. I’ve never been through anything like that before.”
“Jake? Jake!” Brian continued looking for his friend.
Ian whispered to himself, “Time.”
“You say something, Ian? Time?” Joseph inquired.
“You’re hiding something. What is it?” Dave jumped in.
“I can’t explain now,” Ian said. “But I think we need to go see that disturbance. Now.”
“Okay, okay,” Dave said. “Calm down. You act as if time is running out.”
Ian looked Dave directly in the eyes. “You don’t know how right you are.”
Sean and Link approached the town and immediately could see the damage that the unexplained earthquake had caused. Several of the poorly built buildings lay collapsed on the ground. Signs broke free from their places and merchant carts fell over on their sides.
The two stopped briefly at the top of a hill, Link still holding his side.
“I guess it didn’t just happen to us,” Sean said.
Link grimaced. “Apparently not. Let’s get down there and see how your friends are doing.”
They started down the hill, back into the damaged town. As they made their way down the main street, they passed by numerous groups of people, some being tended to for injuries, others trying to search for any more victims. Down the street, they could see that the inn was spared any significant damage. They continued on, Sean helping Link along. When they were only a couple of buildings away from the inn, the violent shaking returned.
Sean and Link quickly hit the ground and covered their heads as the rest of the citizens did the same. Women and children were screaming and crying as they fled from buildings into the middle of the streets. To Sean, the occurrence seemed more violent this time around, as if they were leading up to something massive. Link looked up ahead of him and saw a woman run out of one of the nearby buildings. She ran into the middle of the street where some unseen force stopped her abruptly. Link looked on as a small dot of white light emanated from her stomach. The light began to infest the rest of her body as her screams grew louder. Unable to speak, Link simply grabbed Sean’s head and pulled it up, facing him in the direction of the woman.
Sean immediately gasped at the sight as the light intensified. He continued looking on in disbelief as the woman begged for help. Suddenly, the light broke through her skin and her body seemed to melt away into nothingness. As soon as she completely disappeared, the shaking stopped once again.
“What the hell was that?” Sean yelled as he pulled himself up off the ground.
“Don’t look at me. You’re the one that’s traveled through time to get here.” Sean reached down and helped Link up once again.
“She’s gone! My wife’s gone!” a voice yelled from behind them. They both turned around to see a middle-aged man pawing at the ground.
Sean and Link looked at each other. “Another one?” Sean asked.
“It would seem so. Two women,” Link said. “I wonder if there were any more?”
“Sir Link!” Brian yelled as he ran out of the inn. “Sir Link! The bartender has disappeared!”
“What the hell is going on here?” Sean asked to no one in particular.
“Beats me,” Brian continued. “But during the first shaking, Jake disappeared in exactly the same way! And after that, Dave and Joseph went with Mr. Ian to a disturbance that Jake had told them about!”
“Whoa, whoa. Slow down, Brian,” Link said as he placed his hands on each of Brian’s shoulders. “Where did they go?”
Brian took a deep breath to calm himself. “A disturbance,” he pointed west. “About ten minutes west of here.”
“What about Evan? Is he still alive?” Sean asked.
“Yes. Did you get the Ivy Plant?” Sean held up the small bag. “Good! I will fetch the doctor!” Without hesitation, Brian grabbed the bag from Sean and ran in the direction of the doctor’s office.
“I suppose we should go up and visit Evan,” Link said, turning to Sean.
They entered the inn and were hit hard by the aromas of all the broken bottles of liquor. The meshed scent wasn’t pleasing to the nose, so they each pinched their nose shut and moved quickly to the stairs. The door to Evan’s room had been completely knocked off its hinges. They entered the room.
“He’s still resting,” Link said.
“No, I’m not,” Evan replied. “What took you guys so long?” he asked as his face contorted from pain.
Sean and Link smiled. “So I hear that you’re my ancestor,” Link said, trying to take Evan’s mind off the pain.
“So Sean told you, huh?”
“I made him tell me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t help him find the main ingredient for the antidote.”
“And I couldn’t let that happen, now could I?” Sean said sarcastically.
“He went off with Dave and Joseph to check out some disturbance just west of here,” Sean informed him.
“Disturbance?” Evan cringed in pain once again. “Does this have anything to do with these violent quakes?”
“I think so,” Sean answered. “But I want your opinion on my theory. I haven’t even told Link yet.”
Sean cleared his throat. “Well… remember the theory that Ian came up with? You know, the one with the piece of paper and the fire?”
“Yeah,” Evan said. “Time ripples.”
“Time ripples?” Link asked, completely confused.
“Basically, the effect of Evan’s death is causing the current time line to change gradually,” Sean explained. “Anyway, I think that these violent quakes are being caused by those time ripples.”
“You can’t just associate one with the other,” Evan objected. “No one has ever experienced such a thing. How could we possibly know what will happen when these time ripples hit?”
“Hold on, there’s more. During these violent quakes, several people have vanished into a giant white light that began as a spot in their midsection.”
“So you think they were being erased from existence?” Evan concluded.
“Exactly. I mean, what if some event in the past was already affected, and these people never came to be born?”
“You could have something there,” Evan agreed. “But what about this disturbance that Ian went to see?”
“It’s our portal,” Ian called from the door. The three relatives turned to face him.
“Really? You found it already?” Sean asked.
“Yes,” Ian answered. “And I heard your theory, Sean, and I believe that what you say is true. There can be no other explanation.”
“Ian?” Link jumped in. “Where are Dave and Joseph?”
“They stayed back to make sure that no one went through the portal.” Ian walked over to Evan’s side and placed his hand on his head. “How are you feeling?”
Evan coughed. “Like crap.”
Ian laughed a little and looked at Link and Sean. “Were you two successful in getting the Ivy Plant?”
“Yes. Brian brought the plant to the doctor. They should be back any minute now,” Link told him.
Sean stood up and walked over to the window. Outside, people were still lining the streets, preparing for another violent shake. Down the street a little, Sean could see two men running through the crowd of people.
“I think they’re here,” Sean told everyone.
Link and Ian joined Sean by the window and looked down the street.
“That’s them,” Link stated. The two men went out of view as they entered the inn. Their footsteps could be heard as they run up the stairs as fast as they possibly could. The doctor made his way directly to Evan.
Sean watched on as the doctor mixed some water with a powdery substance that he had brought with him. “Hey, Doc. How long will it be before this stuff takes effect?”
“Well,” he began as he placed the glass onto Evan’s lips. “This antidote is pretty much a hit or miss. If it works, we will be able to see results very quickly. And since he’s an extremely strong person, he should fully recover in a few hours.”
Evan drank down the antidote as fast as he could. He thought he could feel the liquid moving throughout his entire body, bringing relief wherever it went. Soon, the numbness that the rest of his body felt began to reach his head. Slowly, his vision faded out as he went unconscious.
“Oh, just great!” Sean exclaimed. “He’s unconscious again!”
“That’s just the antidote working. When he wakes up, he should be fine,” the doctor continued. “We must let him rest some more.”
“Let’s go downstairs,” Link suggested. “When he’s recovered, I’m sure he will come join us.”
The room cleared out with the exception of Ian. Link stopped at the door and turned around.
“Ian, are you coming?”
Ian turned to face Link. “No. I’m going to stay with him until he’s recovered. This is partially my fault.”
Link simply nodded and gave him a little smile. Patting his hand on the wall, he left the room and walked down the stairs.
Ian grabbed a chair and pulled it up beside the resting Hero of Time. Leaning forward with his hands clasped together in his lap, he sighed.
“Well, kid,” he said out loud. “We’ve really gotten ourselves into quite a mess. Don’t worry, though. We’re almost through.”
Another violent quake struck just then and Ian quickly sprawled his body on top of Evan’s, protecting him at all costs. From outside, Ian could hear hundreds of people screaming. In the midst of all the screams, he could hear one exceptionally loud, ear-piercing scream as the street filled up with a white light once again.
“May the Goddesses have mercy on their souls,” Ian prayed to the newest victims. The shaking stopped and Ian got up off of Evan. Sitting back down on his chair he said, “I hope you get better before it’s too late.”
* * * *
Zelda awoke and found herself strapped to the wall by cold, hard chains. From what she remembered, she figured that she was on the top floor of Ganon’s Tower. Across from here, chained to the opposite wall was Evan. He had been beaten and bruises and cuts lined his body. She screamed.
“Ah, you’re awake,” Ganondorf said. He moved directly in front of her, face to face with his prey.
“You bastard! Leave him alone! He has nothing to do with this!”
Ganondorf laughed. “You amuse me, Princess. You should know your pleas are no good here!”
“But he has nothing to do with this!” she cried again.
“He has everything to do with this!” he shouted back angrily. “For years, I have suffered in that rotten place, the Dark Realm. I have longed to break free and take what is rightfully mine! Now, with that goal in my grasp, I will make you suffer the way you made me suffer! Guards!”
Two Stalfos entered the room upon command from the Evil King. They stood at attention at the doorway.
Ganondorf turned to Zelda once again. “Now you will feel true pain,” he said calmly. Without taking his gaze off the princess, he pointed to her son. “Do as you wish,” he told the Stalfos.
“No!” Zelda cried out. Tears began to run down her face as she realized that she was powerless to do anything to stop them. Her magic was of no use in a place of pure evil. Besides, he had two pieces of the Triforce.
The Stalfos moved in on Evan, the boy too weak to even scream out in fear. The first Stalfos pulled out his sword and placed it on Evan’s throat. The boy’s head bobbed up and down and side to side. Finally, he could no longer hold his head up and it fell forward. The second Stalfos walked up to him and grabbed him by the hair. He pulled Evan’s head up so that the first Stalfos had a clear shot at the boy’s neck. The Stalfos pulled the sword back slowly.
“Stop!” Zelda screamed and sobbed at the same time. Tears covered her red face as she cried heavily. “Stop! I’ll do anything!”
The Stalfos brought the sword toward Evan’s neck.
“Stop there!” Ganondorf yelled. Instantly, the Stalfos stopped his swing and rested its sword on its side. Ganondorf walked back over to Zelda. “What could you possibly offer me to convince me to spare your son’s life?”
“The Triforce,” she started between sobs. “I’ll give you… the Triforce of Wisdom…”
Ganondorf laughed hysterically. “Offering me that won’t do you any good, Princess! No matter what happens here, I’m going to get the Triforce. I don’t need you to give it to me!”
“Then,” she sobbed again. “Then I’ll offer you my body…”
Ganondorf fell silent. “Your body, huh?” He eyed her up and down, a smirk across his face.
“As long as you leave him alone for as long as he lives,” Zelda continued.
Ganondorf rubbed the bottom half of his face. “Interesting proposition, Princess. Hmm.” The Evil King contemplated the idea. “No deal!”
Zelda slumped as best she could in her chains and cried out even more.
“This is much more fun!” Ganondorf exclaimed. “Continue!” he yelled to the Stalfos. He picked up Zelda’s head and forced her eyes open. “No, you don’t, Princess. I want you to watch this.”
The Stalfos placed his sword once again on Evan’s neck. With one swift, clean cut, the Stalfos cut the boy’s throat. Blood flowed from the open wound as Evan struggled to breathe. Zelda couldn’t handle what she saw in front of her and she tried to look away, but Ganondorf held her fast. Evan began to choke on his own blood and his eyes began to flutter between open and closed.
“Yes. Take a good look, Princess,” Ganondorf whispered to her. “A good long look. There is nothing more for you. Your child, your friends, your kingdom… and your precious hero lover are all gone. You are all that’s left. But, of course, that won’t be true for long.”
Zelda remained silent as she watched her son’s life drain from his body. His legs and arms began to spasm as they were deprived of oxygen. His struggle became less, until finally, his body lay limp from the chains.
Ganondorf finally released his grip on Zelda’s head. Her head dropped limply, her eyes completely filled with tears, her heart filled with pain, sorrow, and hatred. Depression set in as she thought about all that had died for her, for nothing. For the first time in her life, she felt like dying.
“And now,” Ganondorf said, “I shall take the final piece of the Triforce from you and rule over the world!” He reached for his dagger and placed the tip of it over her left breast. “Goodbye, Princess.”
She let out no sound as he punctured her chest, piercing her heart with his dagger. He twisted the dagger around to cause more pain, but she didn’t feel a thing. The only thing that she was aware of was a bright blue light that emanated from her body. The light intensified as the Triforce of Wisdom was pulled from her body. It floated into the air, hovering just in front of Ganondorf. The last image that she saw was that of the Evil King grasping the Triforce.
* * * *
Evan gasped for air as he awoke suddenly. His breathing was erratic and his body was covered in a cold sweat. Ian looked at him, concerned that the antidote didn’t work.
“Evan, what’s wrong?”
Evan’s face was pale. “They… they’re…,” he said between breaths, “they’re all dead…”
“Who? Who are all dead?”
“Zelda, Evan… my friends… all gone… because of me…”
Ian sighed. “None of that is your fault and you know it.”
“But if I had defeated Ganondorf in the first place, then they would still be alive.”
“That may be so, but you’re getting a second chance. You can still save all those that you care about,” Ian said, trying to comfort him.
Evan’s breathing returned to normal as the words sunk in. “You’re right, Ian,” his voice was much calmer now. “I will defeat him.”
“Good. Now, how are you feeling?” Ian asked as he placed his hand on Evan’s forehead.
“I feel great. The antidote is amazing.”
“Well, the fever is gone. Perhaps we are out of the clear,” Ian said as he stood up out of his chair. “Can you stand?”
Evan nodded and swung his legs to the side of the bed. Without any trouble, he stood up.
“Amazing,” Ian remarked. “Come on, Evan. Let’s go downstairs.”
The two friends walked out of the room and headed down the stairs. On the bottom floor, Sean, Link, and Brian were waiting.
“Evan! Glad you could join us!” Sean exclaimed from his seat.
Evan smiled. “Well, if it wasn’t for all of you, I wouldn’t be standing here. Thank you all.”
“No problem at all,” Brian returned.
Link stood up from his seat. “Now that you’re better, we can decide what our next move is.”
“Absolutely,” Ian agreed. “We must act soon, or else we may be destroyed by the time ripples.”
“How far apart are the quakes now?” Evan asked.
“About ten minutes now,” Sean answered. “I say that we just go to the portal now.”
Ian nodded. “That’s a very simple decision, and it’s the right one. We should go there now and go through before it’s too late.”
“If we move quickly, we could make it there in less than ten minutes,” Brian informed them all.
“Right,” Link said. “Then let’s get a move on!”
“Link, you do realize that we will need you to come with us,” Sean said.
Link stopped. “I figured as much. Although I hate to leave all of my friends here in danger, I can sense that this is something far more important.”
Evan put his hand on his descendant’s shoulder. “Thank you. We can’t do this without you.” Link nodded.
“Well, everyone,” Ian said. “It’s time to go.”
The five companions left the inn and headed for the portal. Walking through the town of Saria, they saw buildings completely destroyed and some lots even vacant from buildings that vanished. There were less and less people on the streets, some taking to the hills, others being swallowed up by time. To the west, the dark and cloudy sky was lit up by a strange glow that faded in and out, much like a bolt of lightning. It was there that they were headed.
They moved quickly, afraid that another quake would come and claim something important. About halfway out, Link stopped abruptly.
“Another quake should be coming soon!” he yelled to everyone over the high winds.
Sure enough, just as he completed his sentence, the earth began to shake violently. All five of them hit the deck, covering their heads at the same time. Several trees around them split and fell to the ground.
Sean heard that voice and looked up from the ground. Next to him, Brian had an expression of fear and sadness. Sean looked down to about where Brian’s waist was. Underneath him, and partially smothered by the ground, a white sparkle of light was visible. Sean’s heart sank as Brian jumped up from the ground.
“You want me? Come and get me, Death! I want to see your face before I die!”
The other four remained perfectly silent. Tears began to form in Link’s eyes as he witnessed the death of one of his long time friends. Brian punched at the air, and then held his arms up in a V-shape.
“You’re going to have to work to take me!” As the light consumed him, his cockiness turned into pain and loneliness. “It hurts. But I’m not afraid. Just remember that Link. I died honorably. Goodbye.”
With one final yell, Brian disappeared into a bright light. Soon after, the shaking stopped.
“We’ve no time to waste!” Ian yelled. “Let’s go!”
Evan, Sean, and Ian took off running toward the portal as Link stayed back for just a moment longer, gazing at the spot where his good friend just was.
“You shall not have died in vain, old friend. I will avenge you.” He then ran to catch up to the others.
Up ahead, they could see Dave and Joseph standing guard at the portal. The portal itself gave off light in sporadic intervals. Evan looked to his left and noticed another figure running toward the portal and he swore that he had seen that person somewhere before.
Then it hit him.
“Sheila!” he yelled to the others as he pointed in her direction.
“What the hell is she doing here?” Sean asked back, his voice rose so it could be heard over the wind.
“I don’t know,” Link called back. “But I’m sure it isn’t for a good reason!”
They tried to run faster, but there was no way that they could beat her to the portal. In desperation, Link tried to let Dave and Joseph know what was happening. The others joined in.
Next to the portal, the noise was much greater than out in the destroyed fields. All they knew was that Link and the others were yelling something at them, but what they were yelling was a mystery.
Evan looked on as Sheila snuck up on the unsuspecting guards. She pulled a dagger from her belt and stabbed Joseph directly in the heart, killing him instantly. In the distance, they could all see his body fall limply to the ground. Dave quickly unsheathed his sword, but the wily woman was too much for him. She quickly dodged one of his attacks. With amazing speed, she ran around him and stabbed him in the back of the neck.
They were now only about twenty yards from the portal, with Sheila facing the portal, mere inches from it.
“Stop there, Sheila!” Link yelled.
She turned around and smiled at them. “I don’t think so. I’m going to use this time portal of yours to live forever!”
“No!” Ian yelled. “You mustn’t go through there! Who knows what will happen if you do!”
“Too late, old man!” she yelled back. She turned and faced the portal again, and after a second’s pause, she jumped in.
As soon as she did, another quake started. This one was much more violent than any of the others had been, knocking every single one of them over. They found it difficult to get back up as entire pieces of land disappeared into nothingness around them. Evan was finally able to get up, and as he did, he looked back toward the town, except for the fact that the town was no longer there.
“She did something!” he yelled to the others. “Everything is going to hell! We have to get out of here now!”
The world around them was falling apart rapidly. Where there was once land, there was now nothing but emptiness; an emptiness that would swallow them whole if they didn’t move quickly. Evan helped Ian to his feet as Sean and Link finally stood up. They all hesitated for a moment as they looked around them. The emptiness was closing in on them.
“It looks like it’s saving us for last!” Link yelled.
Ian, now looking at the portal, said, “Or maybe the portal is the reason this spot is still here!”
“Who the hell cares!” Sean shouted. “Let’s just go!”
He took off running toward the portal, and the others followed suit. The emptiness closed in on them faster and faster, moving closer and closer. Sean jumped into the portal, followed by Ian, Link, and finally Evan. As the last of them made it through, the emptiness destroyed the last of the original future.
* * * *
They appeared on the other side of the portal. Evan and Ian knew exactly where they were; they had been there before. Sean and Link gazed around in wonder at the golden skies and the perfect landscape.
“Where are we?” Link finally asked.
“In Purgatory,” Evan answered matter-of-factly. “This is where my whole adventure started.”
“This isn’t the Heavens?” Sean asked dejectedly.
“No,” Ian informed him, “This is Purgatory. It is very much like the Heavens, but it also inhabits dangerous creatures that devour the souls of those trapped here. There are only two ways out; you either successfully repent and are admitted to the Heavens, or you are damned to Hell.”
The sudden realization of all that surrounded them made both Sean and Link silent.
“So what is it like here?” Link questioned.
“Never mind that now!” Evan shouted. “We have to find Sheila before she does any damage!”
Ian nodded. “Right. Well, how should we find her?”
“Well,” Sean started, “she couldn’t have gotten too far yet, so it shouldn’t be too tough to find her.”
Evan looked all around him. “Perhaps we should split up?”
Ian sighed. “I supposed that’s the best way. Although I don’t like the idea of any of us encountering her by themselves.”
“Relax, Ian,” Sean said. “We’re all legendary heroes. We’ll be fine.”
Ian let out a small chuckle. “I was worried about me.”
“Oh,” Sean said, realizing his mistake. “Right…”
Link surveyed the horizon and thought that he could see something just east of where they were standing. He didn’t say anything to the others because he didn’t want to look paranoid. Instead, as the others figured out what to do, he kept his concentration to the east.
“…and I’ll go south,” Evan said. “Link, you’re going west. Link!”
“Sh!” he whispered to them, his finger over his mouth.
Unsure what he was doing, they all just watched him. He slowly moved to his right, away from the rest of the group. Just as slowly, he reached back for his sword and unsheathed it. Holding it in front of him with two hands, he prepared himself as he once again saw movement on top of the adjacent hill.
“Link? What’s wrong?” Ian whispered over to him.
Link only responded by putting his finger over his mouth again. Gripping the Magical Sword in his left hand, he waited.
Suddenly and quickly, he moved. Bringing his sword back, he lunged forward with it, accompanied by a mighty yell. Ian could hear a whooshing sound, but it disappeared as Link brought his sword down.
Onto the ground, a few feet in front of them now lay an arrow, broken in two.
“What the…?” Sean said as another arrow came their way.
Once again, Link knocked the arrow out of the air, just before it got to the rest of them. Ian spotted the location where the arrow had come from and had quickly slotted an arrow on his bow. He pointed in the general direction of the firing point and waiting for signs of movement.
Then, next to one of the trees that lined the top of the hill, Ian spotted a person notching another arrow on their bow. He adjusted his shot and fired, quickly notching another arrow. The enemy had also gotten a shot off and Link failed to knock this one out of the air. It hit Ian squarely in the leg and he fell to his knees in pain. Biting back the pain, he forced himself to stand and readied his second shot. From the trees emerged Sheila, an arrow planted firmly in her chest. She stumbled forward, trying to notch yet another arrow. Unable to do so, she stopped where she was and tumbled down the hill.
“Nice shot, Ian!” Evan exclaimed as he and Link ran over to the body.
Sean came up behind him and patted him on the shoulder. “And you were worried about yourself.”
They both laughed and began walking toward the bottom of the hill. Evan and Link were already there, kneeling beside Sheila’s body.
“She’s dead,” Link said. “Shot right through the heart. Couldn’t have been placed any better. That was really a hell of a shot.”
Sean and Ian came up to Sheila’s dead body and looked down at it. Ian sighed.
“What?” Sean asked.
“She really was a beautiful woman,” he said, sighing again. “It’s too bad she was so evil.”
“Put it behind you, Ian. You did what you had to do,” Sean comforted him.
“Yeah, I suppose. I just hate hurting people. Although I hurt so many at one time,” Ian said through clenched teeth as he ripped the arrow out of his leg.
Evan stood up, walked over to him, and began to dress the wound. “But that’s why we’re here. To set right the things that you did wrong.”
“Speaking of which, what do we do now?” Link asked.
Suddenly, clouds began to form in the sky and everything grew dark. A lone bolt of lightning struck the ground about a hundred yards from their current spot. An object began to form at that point in the ground, starting out as a small bluish circle and expanding.
“I take it that’s our answer,” Link said, answering his own question.
“But where will it take us?” Sean asked. “Actually, when will it take us?”
“It will bring us back to the point in time when Evan was struck down by the Evil King. It will bring us to the exact room, except we should appear throughout the room,” Ian informed them as Evan finished with his wound.
“How can you be so sure?” Evan asked.
Ian looked at him calmly. “The Goddesses told me.”
Evan smiled. “Good enough for me!” And he ran straight at the portal as the rest stood still. When he reached it, he jumped head first into it, disappearing in an instant.
“He’s pretty eager,” Link joked.
“He just wants some revenge,” Sean answered, slightly smiling.
Ian ran delicately toward the portal. “And he’ll need help!” he yelled back to them. He followed Evan into the portal, headfirst.
“This must mean a lot to both of them,” Link pointed out.
“Yeah,” Sean sighed. “They’ve been on this adventure for a very long time. Much longer than you and I.”
They both sighed. “Shall we?” Link asked, his hand out in front of him.
Sean smiled and shook his descendant’s hand. “Let’s do it!”
They both began to run toward the portal, toward the battle that would finally decide the fate of the world. Oddly enough, they were both wearing big smiles as they jumped into the portal and into the toughest battle of their lives.
The portal closed behind them.
Jacob could handle no more. With an angry battle cry, he leaped forward, sword drawn and pointed at Ganondorf. The evil man looked at the boy and smiled. This gesture made Jacob’s blood boil even more, and he raced toward the Evil King, ready to strike him down. Link reached out and tried to grab him before it was too late.
“Jacob! No!” His fingertips brushed up against the back of Jacob’s clothes, but he couldn’t get a grip on the boy. Instead, he was forced to watch.
Jacob lunged forward with his sword, but Ganondorf easily moved out of the way. Jacob’s momentum caused him to run right past the Gerudo, his back to him. The Evil King raised his own sword and aimed for the defenseless boy. With one quick thrust, he put his sword through Jacob’s back and out his chest.
Jacob felt the warm feeling in his torso and placed his hand over his chest. Pulling it away again, he could see that it was covered in blood, his blood. Stunned at the turn of events, he dropped his sword from his right hand and staggered over to the closest wall. He leaned his back against it and slid down.
“Jacob!” John screamed. He and Charles ran over to the dying boy and tried to comfort him. Link, Zelda, and Nick stood with their eyes focused on Ganondorf.
“Worthless boy! He dared to challenge me and he got what he deserved!” Still Link, Zelda, and Nick remained where they were, intent on killing the Evil King. But Charles was infuriated and vowed to himself that he would kill Ganondorf himself.
“I’ll kill you, you monster!” he yelled as he brandished his sword and charged for the Evil King.
Before he could even reach him, Ganondorf sent a ball of energy at the charging Knight. Unable to avoid it, Charles ran head on into the oncoming ball. The power of the energy ball sent Charles back across the room. He lay motionless on the ground. Ganondorf turned to Link.
“Now before anyone else interferes…” He raised his hands in the air, and all but Link were thrown back against the walls, unable to move. “There, that’s much better, don’t you think?”
Link looked over at Zelda with a look of concern on his face. “Don’t worry about me, Link! Just beat him so all this can be over with!” With a slight nod, Link turned to face the Evil King.
“I will end this once and for all, Ganondorf. You will never again spread terror in the land of Hyrule.”
“Big words. Can you back it up?”
Link simply pulled out the Master Sword and braced himself for battle. Ganondorf made his blade reappear in his hand, and the two squared off. There was a momentary silence as the two warriors stared each other down, trying to intimidate the other. Then, with a quick move, Link jumped at Ganondorf. The Evil King easily defended himself against the attack and countered with a thrust. Link knocked it away and tried a horizontal swing. The two men fought, but neither was able to gain any ground on the other. Each move was met with a block, and each counterattack was turned away. Ganondorf came down with a vertical cut, but Link raised his shield to block it. With a counterattack, Link shoved Ganondorf’s sword out of the way, leaving the Evil King open to attack. He swung his sword horizontally, but the Evil King somehow managed to block the attack with his sword.
I can’t believe it! He’s so fast! I thought I had him there. This is going to be a much tougher battle than I’ve ever fought!
Ganondorf swung his sword, but Link ducked and rolled out of the way just before it would’ve taken his head off. Jumping up quickly, he tried an upswing on the Gerudo, but that too was blocked. They continued to fight, all the while no hits were scored. Link began to tire, but he was not going to give up. The Master Sword was becoming heavier in his hand as the battle wore on, causing his offensive moves to slow down. Unlike the Hero of Time, Ganondorf still seemed to be fresh. It appeared that he was fighting with the same energy as when they started.
How can this be? He doesn’t even seem to be tired! I must do something, otherwise he’ll just wear me down. But what?
Link blocked another blow from the Gerudo, the force traveling through his shield, causing immense pain in his arm. He tried to deliver a blow, but Ganondorf knocked his sword astray. After blocking another swing from Ganondorf, Link decided he had to do something now. Gathering up all the energy he could, he charged up the Master Sword. He waited for the Gerudo to attack again, while he uses the spin attack as a counter. Just as he planned, Ganondorf attacked and Link defended it with his shield. Letting out a loud cry, Link executed the spin attack, but Ganondorf reacted quickly and blocked it. The force of the spin attack collided with Ganondorf’s sword, causing the Master Sword to fly from Link’s hand. Link stood stunned.
How could he have possibly blocked that? His thoughts quickly turned to Zelda, Evan, and his friends as he realized the inevitable. He looked around the room at his fallen friends and the people that counted on him. To him, it all seemed to be passing by in slow motion. He saw Ganondorf bring his sword back, ready to deliver the final blow. Link’s eyes caught Zelda’s eyes, and there he stared as Ganondorf ran him through. With his eyes still on Zelda’s, he slowly fell to his knees, and then fell onto the ground.
“No!” Zelda screamed at the top of her lungs as Link’s lifeless body fell to the floor. She began to cry over the loss of her loved one, and Hyrule’s greatest hero. As she looked on from her confined area, Ganondorf grabbed Link by the collar and picked him up. “Don’t you touch him!”
Ganondorf just smiled at the Princess and turned his attention back to Link’s body. His body began to glow a bright green, filling the room. Zelda looked down at her hand and noticed the Triforce mark glowing. Realizing what Ganondorf was about to do, Zelda lost all hope. With two Triforce pieces, nothing would be able to stop him. It would only be a matter of time before he got her piece, and then he would rule the world. She closed her eyes and prepared for her death.
Suddenly, Link’s body began to glow an intense blue. Curious, Zelda opened her eyes and could see Link’s body surrounded by a strange blue aura, still in Ganondorf’s grasp. The Evil King held his other hand up in front of his eyes and turned his head.
“What’s going on?” he yelled angrily.
He could feel a warm sensation in his hand that was holding Link up. The sensation was getting warmer and warmer until it, and the strange glow, disappeared altogether, and Ganondorf found himself clutching to nothing. Where Link’s body had just been was now completely empty. Frantically, the Evil King took a look around the room, searching for the Hero of Time. Amidst his confusion, he released his magical grip on Zelda, Nick, and John. Nick and John ran over to Zelda.
“What the hell is going on?” John asked. “Where the hell did Link go?”
Nick shook his head slowly, confusion written all over his face. “I haven’t got a clue, John. Princess?”
Zelda didn’t respond. Instead, she just stared ahead at the puzzled Ganondorf. Out of nowhere, she began to feel a sensation in the air around her. It started out small, but with each passing second, it become more intense.
“Do you feel that, Nick?” John asked, feeling the sensation himself.
Nick raised his arms halfway up and gazed at his hands, as if they held the answer. Waving his hands around, he replied, “Yes. But what is it?”
The sensation was a familiar one to Ganondorf, who immediately stopped moving upon feeling it. When Link’s body disappeared, he had felt the same sensation in his hand. Only this one was bigger. Much bigger.
The room around them began to glow blue periodically. One second the light was there, the next it was gone. With each rise and fall of the strange light, the sensation rose and fell as well. They could hear wind thrashing and thunder crashing outside. The frequency of the light became faster and faster as bolts of electricity became visible among the bluish glow.
“Princess!” Nick yelled over the disturbance. “I think we should back away!”
Zelda nodded and the three of them ran to the closest wall.
“Whatever this is, it has to be something that Link is doing!” Zelda yelled when they had finally reached the wall. “I don’t know how, but it has to be him!”
The bolts of electricity became more and more frequent as did the light, and the sensation was now a constant feeling.
“Here it comes!” John yelled. “Whatever it is…”
The light turned into a flash, causing all within it to shield their eyes. When it finally diminished enough, they all opened their eyes again and were all shocked at what they saw.
Scattered throughout the room were four people that weren’t there the moment before. Closest to Zelda and the others was Ian, while the Hero of Time was on the far end of the room. On the left side stood Sean, while the final Link, the Hero of Hyrule, stood on the right side.
“Ian?” Nick asked the man standing closest to them.
Ian turned around at the sound of his name and smiled. “Hello, Nick,” he replied. “John. Pleased to see you again, Princess.”
“But… but how?” Zelda asked. “I… we… saw you die at the hands of Ganondorf.”
“It is a rather long tale, Princess. I don’t have the time to tell you of it now, for we have work to do.”
“Who are those other two men, Ian?” Nick asked. “I see Link over there, but who are they?”
“They are also Link. Don’t concern yourself now. Just stay back,” Ian instructed as he held his hand out, urging them to get back.
Ganondorf stood in the middle of the room, completely baffled by the turn of events. He looked each of the men over and growled under his breath.
“What’s the matter, Ganondorf,” the Hero of Time said. “Upset that you didn’t get my piece of the Triforce?”
“It is no matter, Link! Even though you brought along some friends to fight me, I will still win the day!”
“I highly doubt that, you disgusting creature,” Ian yelled at the Evil King.
“Ah, Ian,” he responded. “So good to see you again. Couldn’t handle the afterworld?”
“No. Just had some unfinished business to take care of,” Ian replied back.
“You can’t beat me!”
“But we can!” the Hero of Time shouted.
The three Links unsheathed their respective swords and brandished them toward the Evil King. Ganondorf took another long look at each of them and waited for their attack.
“What do you say, Evan?” Sean called over. “Shall we avenge him for the events that haven’t yet happened?”
Evan smiled. “Sounds good to me,” he responded without removing his vision from Ganondorf. “You guys ready?”
“Of course,” the Hero of Hyrule called back. “Let’s get this over with!”
“Okay,” Evan said. “For Hyrule and its future!”
The three Links charged the Evil King from opposite directions; their swords held behind them, ready to strike. Desperately, Ganondorf tried to evade all three blows at once. He successfully avoided two of the strikes by jumping, but the Hero of Time cut across the Evil King’s left wrist with the Master Sword, slicing the hand completely off. Ganondorf yelled in pain as he landed ten feet behind the three Links.
“You’re lucky, Ganondorf,” Evan said. “You only lost your hand, instead of your life.”
Ganondorf snickered to himself. “Tell me, Link. Who are those two?” he asked, referring to the two elves on either side of the Hero of Time.
“We’re your worst nightmare!” Sean yelled.
The Hero of Time smiled. “Ganondorf, I would like you to meet my descendants. Link and Link.”
“So,” Ganondorf continued, “they’re your descendants. Interesting that you should bring them here.”
“And why is that?”
“Because now I will destroy all of you at once. I will have the great pleasure of killing three Links,” Ganondorf smiled. “The very thought gives me a tingling sensation!”
“There is no way in hell you will beat all three of us!” Sean yelled.
The Hero of Hyrule brandished his sword again. “This is our time. We will end all the suffering that you will cause, here and now.”
Evan continued, “We each fight for our own time, which have all been affected by you. We will stop you here.”
“Then let us begin!” Ganondorf yelled as he hurled a ball of magic toward the three distant relatives. Sean and Evan jumped out of the way as Link continued to brandish his sword in front of him. As his two ancestors looked on, Link swung his Magical Sword at the ball of energy and deflected it to the wall.
“You’re going to have to do a lot better than that, Ganondorf!” he yelled back. Evan and Sean picked themselves up off the ground and faced the Evil King.
“They’re his descendants?” Nick repeated.
“Then how did they get here?” John added.
“I told you,” Ian said. “We will tell you all you need to know. But for now, just stay back and protect the Princess.”
They each turned to Zelda. Her eyes were fixed on the battle in front of them. The shock of losing her loved one, but then getting him back confused her. She waited for any signs of disaster, ready to jump to her husband’s, and his descendant’s, aid if things took a turn for the worse.
“Can’t we help?” Nick asked, itching to get at the Evil King.
“Absolutely not,” Ian said forcefully. “This is not our fight. The outcome of this battle is theirs to control. We cannot, and must not, interfere.”
The Hero of Time ran at the Evil King, sword ready. Ganondorf made a sword appear in his hand, waiting for the fight. Evan swung with all his might, but the Gerudo was able to block it successfully. The two engaged in a test of strength as they both pushed back with their swords. Equally matched, the duel was going nowhere. Quickly, Evan let up and dodged the oncoming swing of Ganondorf’s sword. He thrust his sword, but Ganondorf easily dodged it. The two exchanged parries and continued in their stalemate.
As they fought, Evan felt a sense of déjà vu. This is exactly how the last fight with him went, he thought. And I ended up losing. I guess that’s why they’re here.
He dodged another attack from Ganondorf, only to have his counterattack blocked. Ganondorf was extremely fast, and Evan was beginning to falter. He tried to slice at the Evil King, only to be thwarted again. Ganondorf swung his sword horizontally and Evan prepared to block it. However, the force behind Ganondorf’s strike was more powerful than Evan could withstand. His sword was thrown from his hand and he began to stagger backwards. Ganondorf advanced on him, pushing the Hero of Time back further. As he was backpedaling, Evan tripped over the body of Charles, landing directly on his back, knocking the wind out of him. Ganondorf raised his sword in the air.
A cry came from behind the Evil King. He turned around to see another Link charging at him at full speed. Sean jumped in the air, ready to strike down the Evil King then and there. Ganondorf moved quickly to block the oncoming attack.
As the two engaged in battle, Evan recovered and rose to his feet. He scanned the room and found the Master Sword. As he ran over to it, he caught sight of Zelda.
John was confused. “Why aren’t they attacking him all at once?”
“Pride,” Nick responded. “They each of a high sense of pride. They will fight alone until it is absolutely necessary that they fight together.”
“Isn’t it necessary now?”
“Yes,” Ian answered. “But in their minds, they have the ability to defeat him. None of them has any idea how much powerful he really is. With or without a hand.”
“Link!” Zelda finally spoke.
He ran over to his wife and hugged her. “Zelda, I’ve missed you.”
“Link, you need to work as a team,” she said. “Or else… or else… I couldn’t bear to see you killed again!”
“I know, and I won’t fail this time. I guarantee it.”
His attention was drawn back to the fighting as Sean was thrown across the room. Immediately, the Hero of Hyrule jumped in to do battle with the Evil King. Link sliced at Ganondorf, but the Gerudo knocked the blow away and countered with a thrust. Jumping to the side, Link dodged the attack. They parried several times before Link tried another attack. He lunged forward, but Ganondorf blocked his sword and tripped the Hero of Hyrule. Link lay on his back, Ganondorf in front of him. The Evil King brought his sword down, but Link rolled to the right to avoid the strike. Ganondorf tried again and this time Link rolled to the left. Link continued to roll out of the way of several more attacks. On his final roll, Link swept Ganondorf’s feet out from under him, causing the Gerudo to fall hard to the floor. Taking advantage, Link rose to his feet.
Sean had also gotten up and he set his sights on the fallen Gerudo. He brushed himself off and ran back toward the fight.
Still clutching Zelda, Evan watched as his two descendants faced off against Ganondorf. He turned to face Zelda again.
“It’s time that I finished what I started.”
She kissed him. “Be careful, Link.”
“You know me,” he said as he ran off to do battle.
“Exactly,” she said to herself.
Ganondorf had since gotten back up and was doing battle with Link. As they fought, Sean ran in and attacked Ganondorf from the side, causing the Gerudo to take a purely defensive stance against two foes. He moved unbelievably fast, successfully blocking and dodging every blow that was sent his way.
“You can’t fight like this forever!” Sean yelled as he lunged forward.
Ganondorf smiled as he redirected the blow. “That is where you are mistaken!”
The battle continued with Ganondorf continually defending himself successfully. It seemed that no matter what Sean and Link did, he was one step ahead of them. Desperate to land a blow, Link again lunged forward. Ganondorf easily sidestepped right to avoid the advancement and used the opportunity to score a blow on the Hero of Hyrule. As he fell past the Gerudo, Ganondorf cut his left arm, just below the shoulder. He would have enjoyed cutting his foe further, but Sean was all over him, forcing the Evil King to defend once again.
Evan was now within striking range of the Evil King. As he was being distracted by the all out attack from Sean, Evan ran up behind him without being noticed. He brought the Master Sword back and prepared for the final strike.
“For Hyrule!” he yelled as he ran the Master Sword through Ganondorf’s back, the blade coming out the other side.
Ganondorf ceased to defend himself from Sean’s attacks as the pain sunk in. He didn’t turn around to face the Hero of Time. Instead, he simply glanced down at the protruding blade in his chest.
“For Hyrule!” Sean cried out as he thrust his Master Sword through the Gerudo’s chest.
Link, bleeding badly from his wounded arm, clutched his Magical Sword tightly. He walked up to the fatally injured Gerudo and placed the tip of his sword on Ganondorf’s left side.
“For Hyrule,” he stated as he pushed his sword through.
They each pulled their swords out one by one and let the Evil King fall to the ground. They stood there, each of their swords dripping with Ganondorf’s blood. Encircling the fallen evil, their hearts were relieved. The evil man that had brought about the destruction of all that they believed in, lay in a pool of his own blood.
Evan turned back toward Zelda and the others and began to walk over to them. Sean and Link followed, leaving Ganondorf’s body where it was. The three Links made their way over, exhausted from the intense battle and journey.
Ian wasn’t as optimistic about their situation. Something didn’t seem right. Suddenly, he felt his heart sink. “Link! Look out!”
Ganondorf yelled at the top of his lungs, releasing a giant red wave of energy. Completely unprepared for it, the three Links were thrown into the air, across the room. The bodies of Charles and Jacob were thrown to the walls. Ian put up a magical barrier to protect him and the others from the energy wave. After what seemed like an eternity, the wave of energy ceased.
“Is everyone alright?” Ian asked.
Nick got up from the floor. “I’m fine. Thanks to you, I guess.”
John struggled to get up. “My leg is injured, but it’s nothing serious. I’ll be fine.”
“I’m okay, Ian,” she responded. “But what about them?” She pointed in the direction of the three Links.
Evan slowly got up, his entire body bruised and some open cuts on his arms and legs. Beside him, Sean and Link had already risen to their feet. As Evan looked at them, he noticed that they were each silent and staring in the same direction. Following their gaze, Evan understood why.
In the middle of the room stood Ganon.
They stood there, side by side staring at the Evil Incarnation. The hideous beast stared back, reveling in their plight. In this form, he was much more powerful than as Ganondorf, and the three of them were in a weakened, exhausted state.
“Now,” Ganon spoke in a demonic voice. “You will understand the meaning of true pain. Hyrule, no… the world will soon be mine!”
None of them responded. They continued to stand there, unsure of what to do. They had put so much energy into battled Ganondorf that none of them were sure if they could do the same against Ganon.
“This is where I come in,” Ian said quietly to Zelda, Nick, and John.
He reached back into his quiver and pulled out an arrow. It wasn’t just any arrow; it was a Light Arrow. The arrow glowed slightly as Ian placed it on the bow. He pulled the string back all the way and aimed directly for Ganon’s evil heart.
“Hey Ganon!” he yelled. The evil creature turned to face the nuisance. “Take this!”
Ian let the arrow fly. Still unsure of what was going on, Ganon didn’t even move. Before he realized what was going on, the Light Arrow had already pierced his flesh and went directly into his heart. Ganon flailed around wildly and let out an ear-piercing cry as the goodness of Light began ripping him apart from the inside. Everyone in the room stood there, watching the Evil Incarnation writhe around in pain. Light began to break through his flesh, sending rays of light across the room. Slowly, the amount of light became more and more as it worked its way through Ganon’s body. In his final moments, Ganon’s entire body radiated with light. His features were no longer visible, just the light could be seen. With one last cry, Ganon disappeared and the light faded.
Silence filled the room and no one moved. They stood there for several more minutes, each person lost in their own thoughts. Finally, Evan turned back around and looked Zelda in the eyes. Slowly, he walked across the room toward her. Sean and Link followed him again.
He stopped in front of her and looked deeply into her eyes. Weak, he fell into her arms and she embraced him.
“Don’t worry,” she whispered into his ear. “It’s over. It’s finally over.”
“Let’s get out of here,” Nick said. They all nodded in agreement. Nick walked over to Charles’ body and picked it up, placing it over his shoulder. John picked up Jacob’s body in the same fashion. One by one, they left the tower.
* * * *
They congregated about halfway between the Tower of Ganon and Hyrule Castle. There they met up with William, Aaron, and Robert. Before anyone could even say anything, the Tower began to glow and shake. They turned to see it begin to break apart. From the center of the Tower, a bright beam of light shot up into the sky, parting the clouds. As pieces of the Tower crumbled, they were drawn into the sky along the beam of light. Little by little, the Tower was being sucked up into the sky. All around watched its demise silently, thanking the Goddesses. Soon, the Tower was no more. All that stood in the middle of Hyrule Field was Lon Lon Ranch.
William turned to Aaron. “Who the heck are they?”
Aaron shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. Although I think that tall one is Ian. I have no clue about the other two though.”
“I guess we’ll find out soon enough,” William said.
“Well, Ian,” the Hero of Time started, “our adventure is finally over.”
“That it is, my friend,” Ian replied. “It was fun.”
Evan laughed. “Sure it was. It’s a shame that you’re going to have to leave us soon.”
“Yes. My time here when I was alive was not the way I would have liked it to be. I hope that I have been forgiven for my mistakes in the past.”
“Of course you have,” Zelda said. “We had forgiven you back then. What you have done now has just made us appreciate you that much more.”
“Gracious words from the Princess,” Ian said with a little laugh. “When did I become so important?”
Suddenly, another beam of light appeared, this one shining down from the Heavens. At the same time, a portal opened up near where they were standing. Ian looked up at the sky.
“Well, it looks like it’s time for us to go,” Ian said.
The three Links and Ian all walked up to each other.
“I guess this is goodbye,” Sean said with tears in his eyes. “Strange, I didn’t realize that I had become so attached to all of you.”
“It’s times like this that you never forget,” the Hero of Hyrule said. “With all the fighting and all the journeys, these are the moments that last forever in your mind.”
“Believe me,” Evan said, “I will never forget any of this.”
He extended his hand out toward Sean. They shook hands and Evan pulled his descendant in for a friend’s embrace, smacking him on the back. Sean returned the favor.
“Goodbye, my friend,” Evan said, his voice choked with emotion.
“Hey, don’t get all sentimental on me now,” Sean said, even though he still had tears in his eyes. “We’ve made the world a better place. Now we must part ways. Goodbye.”
They released each other and Sean walked over to Ian. “Well, Ian. You’re the only human I’ve ever known, and I must say, you’re worthy enough to be an elf,” he said, laughing a little.
Ian laughed as well. “I take that as the highest compliment. Goodbye, and may the rest of your days be peaceful.” He gave him a quick embrace.
“Well, Link,” Evan said. “You’ve been with us for the shortest amount of time, but you definitely made a big impact.”
“What can I say? I’m the descendant of the greatest hero ever,” Link said back as the two shook hands. “Goodbye, Evan.”
He walked over to Ian. “Goodbye, Ian. I’m glad that you’re getting into the Heavens now.”
They shook hands. “So am I, Link. Thanks to you and the other Links. I can finally be at peace.”
“Let’s go, Link,” Sean said. “We’ve got to be going now.”
The two descendants of the Hero of Time walked toward the open portal. They stopped just short of it, turned around and waved back. Turning to each other, they shook hands and smiled. They let go and Link walked through the portal. Sean stood there for a moment longer and looked back at his ancestor and his friends. With a feeling of pride, he turned and stepped through the portal.
“Now it’s my turn to leave,” Ian said.
“It’s been interesting, Ian,” Link said. “But I’m glad it’s finally over.”
“As am I, Link. You’ve saved me, and now I can enter the Heavens.”
“Take care of yourself.”
“Don’t worry about me, Link. I’ll be fine. You take care of yourself, and Zelda of course.”
She smiled. “I can take care of myself, thank you very much,” she said jokingly.
Ian laughed. “I’m sure of it, Princess. But now I must be going.”
“Goodbye, Ian,” Link said.
“Goodbye, Link, Zelda. I’ll be keeping an eye on you from the Heavens.” Ian turned to the beam of light and walked into it. As he was drawn upward, he looked at Link and smiled. He disappeared.
“So are you going to tell us what you went through?” Nick said to Link, snapping him out of his trance.
Link looked from person to person, happy that they were alive and didn’t go through the horrible fate that he foresaw.
“In time, Nick,” he replied. “In time. For now, I need to rest.”
Zelda smiled. “Yes you do. Come on, everybody. Let’s get back to the Castle.”
They all headed back for Hyrule Castle, carrying Charles and Jacob with them.
Several days later, they held a funeral for Charles and Jacob. In honor of his bravery and courage, they gave Jacob Knight status, allowing him to be buried in the Royal Cemetery. A very emotional Liz was comforted by each of the Knights, as well as Link and Zelda. The day was declared a holiday and all businesses were closed.
The group of friends and the Sages sat around as Link told them all that he had been through from the moment Ganondorf first killed him. Upon finishing the long story, Link and Zelda retreated to their room.
“I’m going to miss them all,” Link said as he fell into the bed.
“Well of course, you are. You went through so much with them.”
“I just hope that they’re all alright. They helped me so much, I wish there was something I could do to help them.”
“But you did help them, honey. If it weren’t for your journey, they would never have existed. You helped them out in more ways than you know.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” he said.
“Of course I am. I’m always right,” she said with a smirk, lying down in bed beside him.
“How could I forget?” he said with a laugh. He leaned over and placed his hand on her stomach. “I think I can feel him kicking.”
“I think it’s going to be a girl,” she said.
“Oh really? What makes you say that?”
“Because if I have another boy running around here like you and Evan, I think I’ll go crazy.”
Link laughed. “You love it and you know it,” he said, kissing her on the cheek.
She laughed. “You’re so full of yourself.”
He was already asleep. She looked over at him and smiled. The world was saved once again because of him. She wondered how many more times he could beat the odds. Pushing the thought to the back of her mind, she decided to get some sleep.
Hyrule was safe once again.