Author’s note: Okay guys, crunch time XD. I’ve decided to write a slightly longer one this time. I’m dedicating this to The Great Impa and my very first critic, Aranel. It’s not a funny story, because I don’t really think Impa is a funny person. I think she is more like the peach in a bowl of bananas (sweet, but goes sour if ignored too long). So this is the story of how Impa became Zelda’s attendant.
Impa sat at her dresser. She gazed absently into the mirror, then flipped her long hair over her shoulder and began to brush. One hundred strokes, just like her mother said.
One… Two… Three… Four………
Her family were in a state of uproar. Impa’s mother had thrown down her badge of office and left the Hylian Secret Police. It was a disgrace. Impa came from a long line of warriors. Her father had shaken his head.
Ish kerban dios elori kefal Impa… This is not good ……………
Impa herself was none too sure of her opinion. It was an honour to be picked, but she had an issue with the Royal family. It wasn’t that she didn’t like them, she did. She just didn’t like Queen Roa. The woman was an incompetent and in no fit state to raise a child let alone conceive one.
Thirty-six… Thirty-seven… Thirty-eight………
It wasn’t that the Queen was stupid, far from it. But too many years of abusing narcotics had left her in a state of almost constant deliria. It was a miracle that she wasn’t completely barren. Still, it had taken her until she was in her late thirties to conceive.
Fifty-nine… Sixty… Sixty-one………
There wasn’t any stable evidence that the child was actually the King’s. Roa was renowned for her fondness of other people’s bedchambers- men and women- that she was quite often surprised when she saw her husband. Impa wasn’t so sure she wanted to look after the child of a woman like this. What if the child turned out like it’s mother? Impa was afraid to admit it, but she was actually rather angry to have been chosen for this. She had planned to follow her mother to the Secret Police, or take over from her father as a military General. She was good at combat. But instead, she was to become an attendant to foolish Queen Roa, and a nanny to her child.
Ninety-eight… Ninety-nine… One hundred………
Impa put the brush back down on her dresser, then picked it up again and dropped it into the bag by her seat. This was her last night at home. There was a tentative knock at the door and Kroe entered. She walked across the room to stand behind Impa and put her hands on her daughters shoulders. Then she took Impa’s sheet of silvery blue hair and began to plait it.
“You don’t have to go,” she said it almost to herself. “They can’t force you to do anything.”
“I have to go.”
Impa’s mother gave her a desperate look in the mirror.
“Don’t go,” she pleaded. “Stay. Just, I don’t know, pretend to be ill. Just, wait a few more years.”
Kroe was silent. There were tears in her eyes, and suddenly she dropped the thick rope of pale hair. The plait unravelled and Impa’s face was slightly covered, her pointed ears breaking through like a pinnacle in the silvery sea.
“You just take care,” her mother whispered. “And if that vile hag tries it on, well……………” She left it hanging. Impa didn’t like that there wasn’t an end to the sentence. It was like her parents still had power over her as long as that sentence was left open. Impa loved them, but not enough to let them rule her life.
“I’ll slit her throat.”
“That’s my girl,” Kroe said, kissing the top of Impa’s head lightly. Then she suddenly did something she hadn’t done in a long time. She lapsed into Old Sheikah, the mother tongue from Sarath.
Ter vona mirish lo…… Don’t leave me.
“I have to,” Impa said. Then, without another word, she stood up and left the room, picking up her cloak and bag on the way out.
The Sheikah village of Sorel was a five day ride from the Hylian border, and Impa spent most of the ride brooding. On the fourth day, the heavens opened and a huge thunderstorm broke out. Impa simply rode on, her teeth gritted and head bowed against the rain.
It was still raining when she reached Hyrule castle. The guards admitted her without question. She was Sheikah. She obviously had a job to do. The King met her in the main lobby of the castle, and immediately began issuing her with instructions. Then he turned and walked away from her, up the sweeping staircase and away. Impa began muttering in Old Sheikah, and followed the servant down a side corridor to the Queens chamber. The servant let Impa in then left.
“You’re dripping all over my floor,” came an icy voice from behind. Impa whirled round to be faced by the Queen. She was swelled to enormity and waddled along like a duck.
“I was told to come and find you immediately, your Highness.” Impa winced. Her heavy accent seemed more prominent here, like a huge rotting lump of flesh on the side of a leper’s face. The Queen didn’t seem to notice, because she reeled off towards the bed and sat down with a heavy thud.
“Your room is over there,” she said, waving her hand toward an empty wall. “Of course, the door is somewhere else.” Then she shrieked with laughter and rolled onto her back shrieking and howling. Impa withdrew from the room and walked quietly down the hall until she found the room that the King had described to her. She closed the door behind her and took off her travellers cloak. Then she crumpled up behind the door and wept.
Impa set the tray down on the table in front of the Queen. It’d been five weeks since she’d arrived at the castle, and Impa was beginning to find her bearings. The rest of the castle staff largely ignored Impa, which upset her quite a bit, But she just kept her head down and got on with it.
“I said close the window.”
Impa was jerked out of her reverie and suddenly looked down at the Queen.
“You’re not here to daydream,” she spat through a mouthful of grapes.
“Sorry, your Majesty,” Impa said quietly.
“So you should be. Now open the bloody window!”
Impa turned and crossed the room and leaned across the little window seat. She undid the latch, then threw open the window. A sudden breeze lifted her air off her face, like a wave rippling over the ocean.
The Queen was glaring at her with a look of disgust, the juice from her grapes trickling down her chin.
“You can go now,” she said haughtily, waving her hand in an imperious gesture that set Impa’s teeth on edge.
“Thank you, your Highness,” she said through gritted teeth. The she turned on her heel and left the room. Out in the corridor, Impa pulled the door shut behind her. Then she turned and punched the wall.
“Honestly, I’ve seen some silly things in my time, but that was really very stupid.”
Impa winced as the old Sheikan man wrapped a bandage around the bloody mess of her knuckle. They sat in the King’s large airy study, where Varon worked. He spent half his life here, sorting the King’s accounts and hauling him out of financial crisis’s. It was amazing that Varon hadn’t killed himself by now.
“I know, but I can’t help it Varon. Every time I see her I just want to punch her. I’m not the right person for this. I should be out on the training field. I should be a soldier.”
“You can’t go round punching walls when things get bad, Impa,” Varon said.
“I know. But good gods, those walls are shoddy,” she grinned. “I took about a yard of it with one punch. Just imagine the damage you could do with a sledge hammer.”
“And imagine the Queen behind the wall,” Varon said with a perfectly straight face as he tied off the bandage. Impa burst out laughing and shook his hand.
“What a novel idea.”
Impa skipped off down the corridor humming to herself and imagining how the Queen would look in an alabaster coffin, when Roa suddenly stepped out from around the corner and grabbed Impa’s wrist. She gasped as the Queen’s fingers dug into her wounded knuckles, and tried to break free, but the Queen was surprisingly strong and she held fast. Roa pulled Impa around the corner and threw her to the floor. Impa hit the flags with a heavy thud.
“Come here dear,” Roa sneered, pulling a dagger out from the front of her dress and advancing on her. Impa jumped up and lunged at Roa, trying to knock the dagger out of her hand, but the Queen dodged her and grabbed her by the hair. She raised the knife above Impa’s head, the brought it down in a smooth stroke at Impa’s neck. Impa ducked her head and the blade ran straight through her long hair, severing the sheet of silver at Impa’s shoulders. Roa stumbled backwards as the tension on Impa’s hair was released, and Impa spun round and kicked the older woman’s legs from beneath her. Roa crashed to the floor and tried to scramble up, but suddenly, her face went white and she groaned. Impa fell to her knees beside the Queen.
“Get away,” Roa snapped, but suddenly, she clutched her stomach and shrieked. Impa ignored the command pulled up Roa’s dress. Her skirts were covered in blood. Roa shrieked in pain again and the door banged open. Varon stood in the doorway. His eyes went from the hair on the floor to the discarded dagger, then to the Queen. His face blanched.
“I think she’s going into labour!” Impa cried. Suddenly, she went into command mode. “Get the castle physicians. We’ll need towels and blankets and pillows for the Queen. And tell the King!”
Varon stood frozen on the spot.
“NOW!” Impa roared as the Queen gave a scream of pain.
Varon nodded and ran away down the corridor.
“Please,” Roa whispered, clutching Impa’s short leather skirt. “Hel-OWWWWWWWWWWWW!”
“It’s okay,” Impa said. “We’re going to deliver this baby, early or not.”
The door banged open and two Zoran physicians ran in, a young female, and an older male carrying a medicine case. They were followed by two maids laden with towels and blankets and pillows. Varon came in after them. Then the King burst in and dropped to his knees by his wife and hugged her.
“I’ve killed the baby!” Roa wept, burying her face in her husbands chest. “I’ve killed my precious baby!”
The young female Zora ripped away the Queens skirting and surveyed the bloody mess.
“This is happening far too quickly,” she said. “She isn’t even fully dilated.”
“Move, Amona,” the older Zora said. He put his long fingers into Roa’s cervix and began probing. There was suddenly a gush of blood as the muscles slackened and Roa’s cervix dilated.
“Towel, Amona!” Impa shouted. The young Zora threw one to Impa and she began cleaning up the blood as another wave spilled out all over her hands.
“The baby’s ready to come out,” the older Zora said.
“Your Highness,” Amona said. “The baby can’t do this by itself. You need to push.”
Impa took the Queen’s hand and squeezed.
“It’ll be okay,” she reassured her.
Roa grimaced, then her face contorted and she screamed as she began to push. Impa held Roa’s hand tight as she pushed a second time, her face twisted as she shrieked in pain. Then suddenly, her face went slack. Impa blanched and felt for a pulse.
“She’s stopped breathing!” Impa screamed. The older Zora’s eyes widened and he felt the Queen’s chest. He turned pale as he looked up at Impa.
“What’s happening?” the King cried. “What’s happening to my wife?”
“We haven’t brought the forceps,” the Zora said.
“Then we’ll just have to improvise won’t we Feng,” Amona replied.
She moved closer to Roa and put her fingers around the baby’s head, then she gently began to pull. Impa took up a fresh towel and watched as slowly but surely, the baby began to emerge.
Mori se teda…………… Please be alive…………………
“It’s out!” Amona shouted. Feng quickly snipped the umbilical cord as Amona took the baby out of the cervix and handed it to Impa. As the baby rolled onto the towel, Impa began to rub it dry and clean it up.
Mori ter vona potu, mori se teda……… Please don’t die, please be alive.
Impa was surprised to find that she was praying out loud. She never prayed so that anyone else could hear, but she didn’t care right now. All that mattered was that the baby lived.
Nayru, please, I beseech you, don’t let it die. If this child dies I’ll never forgive myself.
“It’s a girl,” Feng said as Impa rubbed the baby clean. Then, suddenly, she opened her eyes. There was a sharp intake of breath all around as the room went silent. Those eyes. Huge luminous sapphire coloured eyes, that shone like gemstones. They seemed so wise, so worldly, and even though she was only seconds old, the tiny child cradled in Impa’s arms seemed to know more than all of the people assembled in that dark, stuffy armoury. The little princess gazed around, her eyes fixing on everyone for just a moment as she took in this whole new world. Then she smiled. Impa gasped. Babies that young couldn’t smile.
Impa wrapped the Princess up in the soft towel and turned to the King. He was sobbing uncontrollably as he cradled his wife’s body in his arms, rocking slowly backwards and forwards, as if rocking a child to sleep. Impa’s eyes filled with tears as she looked at the Queen. Just at that last moment, the two had suddenly bonded. Impa had suddenly become spiritually linked to Roa.
I delivered her baby.
In that moment, they’d been almost one, working as one to give life to the tiny girl now snuggled contentedly to Impa’s armoured chest. Then the light had gone from the Queen’s eyes and Impa was very much alone, delivering the baby who’s fate had almost been sealed to her mother’s.
Thank the Gods. She’s alive. Alive and breathing and smiling.
“Would you like to hold her?” Impa asked gently.
The King nodded and allowed the two maids to take Roa’s body and lay it down on the floor, her head propped up on a pillow. The King reached out and took the baby from Impa, gingerly holding his daughter. A loud sob escaped his mouth and he began to cry uncontrollably. The princess’s pale eyebrows seemed to knit in confusion and she reached up and touched her father’s chin with one tiny hand. The King looked at her in wonder.
“Zelda,” he murmured. “Her name is Zelda.”
“Get that down, Varon,” Feng said. “We don’t want his Highness to forget it do we?”
Laughter rippled through the room and the King grinned. Then he passed her to one of the maids. The woman looked at him in surprise.
“Go on, introduce yourself.”
The maid smiled and took the Princess in her arms.
“’Ello, your ’ighness,” she said, putting on an outrageous brogue. “Oi’m Olla, an’ this ’ere es Niya.”
The other maid pulled a silly face and wiggled one finger at the Princess in a little wave. Zelda was passed all around the room for everyone to see her, then Varon suggested that the castle undertaker should be sent for. The King nodded and suddenly everyone said he should have a moment alone with his wife before she was taken down to the Royal Tomb in Kakakiriko Graveyard. As Impa got up to leave, the King put his hand on her arm.
“Stay?” He asked. Impa nodded and sat back down. The King took a deep breath and spoke again, this time to his daughter.
“Zelda, this is Queen Roa, your mother,” he choked as a fresh wave of tears consumed him and he shook his head. He handed Zelda back to Impa.
“I’m sorry, Zelda, but daddy needs to be alone right now. Impa will look after you when I can’t. She’s your attendant.”
The King turned and left the room, his sobs lingering in the corridor as he walked away. Impa gazed at the Princess, who was snuggled down in her arms. She blinked her big blue eyes at Impa, yawning slightly as her nurse maid began to sing an ancient lullaby to her, her voice soaring as she reached the higher notes, filling the room with a warmth and love and tenderness that lingered over them, encasing them in a balmy mist of familiarity and friendship and most importantly, a relationship that Zelda would have had with Roa. A mother daughter relationship. Bonds so tight that not even death could break them.
I love you.
Impa stroked the little girl’s hair, and Zelda reached her tiny left hand up to touch Impa’s. There was a strange mark in the back of the child’s hand. Impa looked closer. Emblazoned on the Princess’s hand, glowing bright gold, was the same Triforce symbol that Impa had seen so many times before. As she looked closer, Impa could just make out that the left segment of the Triforce was glowing solid gold- the Princess had the Triforce of Wisdom. As this new realisation dawned on Impa, she could have sworn that the Princess nodded.
“You are a very important person, Zelda. And I promise, no matter what happens, I will always be here for you.”