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The day was a cold one. The sun above Hyrule Field shone, but provided no warmth for the land. Snow from the storm the night before covered the ground as a heavy white blanket. From a birds' eye, if in fact, there were any birds, one would have seen a lone figure emerge from a cave. If this hypothetical bird were to dismount from its perch and swoop in for a closer look, it would find, upon closer inspection, that this figure was a older male. Dressed in thick leggings, a turtleneck sweater, red scarf and a green tunic and hat, he hugged himself and shivered his way into Kakariko Village. His footsteps were the only blemishes in the smooth whiteness around him. A fierce wind blew and swept-up snow stung his face. The scarf blew straight back, almost choking him. Winter in Hyrule had never been so harsh. Usually bathed in the warmth of the sun all year round, the denizens of the tiny kingdom now huddled together for warmth, confused as to what was going on in their homeland.

He trudged through the snow and the stinging cold air and entered a tiny shack in the middle of the village, hugging himself tightly, eyes to the floor, bouncing a little with every step. Once he shut the door behind him, and the biting winds ceased, he looked up.

"Where is she?" he asked frantically, the glow of the fire in the hearth tenderly lighting his panicked face. The firelight caught his blue eyes and restored the spark that was ever-present in his youth, which had faded with age.

***


She lay still inside the castle. Though the room was brought some warmth from the torchlight, she was, quite literally, frozen stiff. She was dying. Her eyes were growing heavier by the second, one slender gloved arm across her chest, the other at her side. Her lips turned blue from cold and her long, icy blonde hair spread about her like a flaxen cloak. She was simply beautiful, but still dying, and because she was so, the day turned colder than any thermometer may have indicated.

The room began to spin, slowly at first, then quicker and quicker. She was powerless to stop it. One thing blended into the next, all the colors mixed together, and at the end of it all, a bright white light suddenly shone from overhead. It was nothing more than a point at first, but it soon grew and engulfed the entire room. She let out a small puff of air, struggling to breathe.

***


He interrupted her daily tea. The owner of the shack, a much older woman, though young of face, sat at the wooden table in the center of her home, wrapped up in a blanket with mug in hand, and studied the man's face. His freshly washed brown hair, showing hints of gray, hung frozen stiffly around his face, framing it gently, but rather harshly at the same time.

"Link, she's..." her soft voice trailed off. Her shoulders fell, her sharp red eyes found the floor, and she turned a tanned cheek towards Link. She couldn't bear to look at him now. The steam that rose from the tea collected on her face... dotting it with moisture... or was that a tear?

"Dammit, Impa!" Link cried. "I need to know! Tell me where she is!"

"You're too late, there's no getting to her now..."

"Please..." his voice softened to one of pleading and his eyes showed the same expression. He knelt beside Impa, with his hands on her knee. His ears had fallen slightly, and his melting hair dripped on her blanket.

"She's in the castle, Link."

Link stood up without a word and turned around to head back out into the wintry afternoon. In time, Impa stood up and slowly shuffled to the door to call after him.

"You won't make it in time, boy! Come back! You can't save her now!"

Link was either out of earshot or he simply chose not to heed Impa's words. She watched him leave, become a smaller and smaller green dot off on the horizon and eventually fade away. Impa stood in her doorway, quilt draped over her shoulders, and slowly fell to the floor. Another tear dared to roll down her face, but she wiped it up before it could have a chance to freeze.

"Goddesses be with you, warrior," Impa said softly to the doorframe. She stood up slowly and shuffled back inside her cozy little house, sipping her tea and trailing a bit of snow on the floor. It melted quickly.

***


In a high turret of the castle, the queen lay. Her eyes opened fully once more, taking in the brightness that bathed her entire body. Her struggle with life and death was ending, and she knew it. The brightness was calming. Another white puff of warm air escaped her lips as she exhaled. It was cold, too cold. She pulled herself away from the light and looked to her right, mustering up enough energy to turn her head. The door at the other end of the circular room didn't open as she hoped it would. It was time to stop hoping, dreaming, wishing. She turned her head back center with drooping eyelids and forfeited to the brightness. The Queen of Hyrule breathed her last and closed her eyes. Her heart stopped. Zelda was dead. Not more than a minute later, Link came rushing through the door of the turret only to find his leader fallen, cold as stone on which she lay. He took a few steps in and sat cross-legged on the floor next to her, gently stroking her cheek. He was surprised it had gotten so cold so fast. He picked up her head and cradled it in his lap as he wept bitterly. This wasn't how it was supposed to end.


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