Link strolled through the Kokiri forest, the morning dew clinging to his boots. Walking hand in hand with him was his Kokiri-ish friend, Saria.
He sighed. Everything was so wonderfully the same here. Even the Kokiri hadn’t changed; only he had. Oh well, it made no difference now. Link had a whole world to still explore, one where everything was always changing. He couldn’t care less if the others bugged him now, even though they never did anymore. They certainly were happy to see him come home again, especially once the Deku Sprout started growing that same day.
Something wet and sticky dropped from the trees and landed on his head. Reflexively, his hand flew up there to brush of the tree sap or what ever it was off his head. He glanced at it and suddenly knew something was wrong.
It was blood.
Another drop hit him. Then another. Torrents of this unholy rain began to fall down, transforming the forest’s beauty into something horrifying. Link, shaking with a look of horror on his face, looked up.
The trees were bleeding, all of them. And they began to sway, and give unearthly moans that crept into his soul and bit at it. A strangling scream dribbling from his mouth, he turned to Saria, only to find a Lizalfos holding a jagged sword instead. Link suddenly noticed that many more seemed to materialize out of the forest behind the first. Moving as one they all started towards him.
Link felt no fear, only a wretched sense of rage. His sword suddenly in his hand, he leapt at the nearest one swiftly decapitating it before it could move. His next blow was blocked by a sword, but then with a sudden charge of energy powered into his first like he had with his sword so many times, punched a hole right through the Lizalfos. It fell back with a keening scream, blood flowing from the hole onto the ground and some onto Link, though he didn’t waver. He turned to the next combatant.
Soon they were all slain, there remains strewn across the forest and covering Link, making him look like a ReDead Zombie, but the worst part was yet to come.
All the Kokiri were dead. He hadn’t killed deadly enemies, but his friends and neighbors. The landscape dripped with their blood, he saw a head slowly roll towards him…
Awaking suddenly sometime around midnight, Link rolled out of his bed, puking and hurling out all the food and guilt in his stomach. He gave a hysterical sob, crying out to the whole forest.
“I DIDN’T MEAN TO KILL THEM! I LOVED THEM! WHY! WHY MUST THEY SUFFER SO! AND WHY THEM! THEY WERE ALL INNOCENT! WHY!” He broke off, giving another wretch and was over come with sobbing.
Feet could be heard quickly clambering up his ladder. It was Saria. Her fairy was still slumped on her shoulder, her light a bit dim due to her fatigue, but still had no problem illuminating the surroundings in a comforting light.
“Link! Its okay! It was just a dream! You didn’t hurt anyone.” Saria said softly, embracing his huddled, sobbing form. “It was only a bad dream, don’t worry about it.” With some difficultly, she hefted him up into his bed and replaced his covers. His sobbing stopped, but his whole body continued to shake and convulse. He slowly moved his head to look at Saria, who had started to clean up the mess on the floor with some rags from his dresser.
“Sa-a-aria?” Link whispered, his voice stuttering from his shaking. His usually calm blue eyes were haunted with fear and despair. “You shou-ouldn’t be around me. No-oh bo-dy should. I-I’ll just hu-urt them.” Tears were welling up in his eyes.
Saria looked up from her work, compassionate pools of green stared back at him. She calmly lifted her hand and lightly brushed at his now sweaty locks.
The gentle light of her fairy illuminated the room as she spoke warmly and soothingly, “Don’t speak like that. I’ve known you longer then any one. You would never hurt any one you loved. Never. Including me.”
“I ki-illed ev-er-y-one. All th-the Kokiri, even you and Mido. And th-he trees, they were all dy-ying, bleed-ding to death. I des-destroyed everything.”
“Strange things happen in dreams, you know that. And I’m sure there’s more to it then you need to say. Dreams don’t mean anything.”
“Bu-ut what if it’s ana-another premonition? Tha-at one was re-real.”
Saria smiled softly. The first thing Link had told her when he got home yesterday was the rest of his travels seven years in the future. Many extraordinary things had happened, but she deemed them all plausible, but this she knew was impossible.
“Link; under the pain of death and eternal suffering, you would never, ever hurt someone you loved. I know this much is true.” She gave him another warm hug.
Link stopped shivering and gave his friend a weak smile amid his tears.
“Now you just try to get some sleep. Don’t worry, I’ll stay right here and keep you safe. Her fairy rested on her shoulder and gave a small nod of agreement.
Link finally closed his eyes and slumbered into a deeper, restful sleep.
Saria pulled up a chair. There were still quite a few hours left until morning, and in the state he was in right now, nothing could pull her away from completely fulfilling her promise. Not for the entire world.
An elderly man stumbled out of his house, surveying his beloved home village of Fisdanik during the evening twilight. He took in a deep breath of the brisk air, hoping that this short walk would help ease his tensions, hopefully helping him get some sleep. Though the world was a picture of serenity, he could not disregard the dark feeling that something bad was in the works. He looked up at the shimmering moon, dazzling the world in a tranquil light. Then . . . he heard something.
He cupped a hand to his ear, searching for the sound. He suddenly heard it again, and all his hopes of simply having hearing problems vanished like a bubble on a needle.
Hundreds of feet were rushing towards them, and he knew it wasn’t a traveling band. He hurried as quickly as his aged legs could carry him through the sleeping village, screaming hoarsely.
“Attack! We’re under attack! Awake! We are under attack.”
But it was already too late. It always had been.
The town guard hastily assembled outside the town centre, many still wearing their nightshirts and hooded eyes. Many looked warily at the gate, which was shaking and buckling under tremendous pressure. Captain Jensen Karthly barked out his orders.
“All right men, the enemy is breeching the gate. I want every one over there ready to charge when the gate falls.” He turned to eye a group of men staring mesmerized at the moon. Roughly, he addressed them. “Rank One! I’m issuing you the longbows. Set yourselves up on the roof and fire down on them. Don’t leave until you run out of arrows.
“Rank four! I want you to find any able-bodied citizens out there and bring them back here. Tell the others to hide. There’s only one way out of this village, and the enemy is in the way. The rest of you, follow me to the gate. Now move!”
The militia all moved, rushing to their tasks while drawing their swords, trying to brush away the feelings of fear and sorrow for their village. Many had heard word of the size of the reptilian enemy they were facing, and it was not at all promising.
The Captain regrouped his men at the gate and directed a practiced eye towards the shuttering doors. Another hard blow slammed into the doors, creating a hail of wood to fly off, down on all below. After a quick description from an archer on a vantage point, Jensen knew the type of battering ram it was, and guessed it would be another two hits before it collapsed. He raised his arm, readying his men. The doors shook again, the wearied hinges almost falling off. He gritted his teeth in nervous anticipation and tensed his body. This is it, he thought grimly. Oh Holy Mother Din, give us strength. He waited for the final blow.
It never happened.
Jensen suddenly heard streams of pain and terror from the other side of town. Horrified, the Captain realized that the ram party had been a diversion, while the rest of the force scaled the walls.
Screaming his war cry, he called out to his men. “Charge! To the west wall! Charge!”
The small brigade dutifully answered with a cry of his or her own. Running as one, they hurried to where the enemy was, redirecting and arming the new recruits along the way.
The Reptilians were ready. The front rank had all drawn longbows to their full extent, and with a sharp order from an officer, rained a devastating volley of death to the defenders. Many fell dead or wounded, cries of death mixing with the cries of sadistic pleasure from the reptilians.
The first rank dropped, and the second rank sent another volley of sleek headed arrows at the still coming defenders. The untrained and inexperienced militia began to fall back as their friends died before their eyes and their numbers dwindled more and more from the constant volleys of arrows.
The reptilian commander, sensing a weakness from the demoralized troops, ordered a sudden and ferocious charge. A few of the archers managed to pick off or wound a reptilian or two during the rush, and then they were upon them.
The two sides clashing with a burst of ferocity, Captain Karthly suddenly found himself dueling with three Lizalfos at once. Blocking the first attack, his sword delivered a two cut combo on the largest and finished off with a thrust to the neck. It was dead before it hit the ground, blood mixing with the blood of Captain’s dead comrades. The other two forced him back against an old building, their curved swords flicking at him as fast as their tongues.
Suddenly, fortunate to not be wearing armour, he made a quick dexterous roll out of harms way and grabbed a headless soldier’s lance. Readying himself with a practiced stance, he waited until one of his adversaries jumped into the air before stabbing its heart out. He let it go, leaving the dying Lizalfos propped up on the broken lance. The third let out a screech of vengeance and made as to jump at him, but instead quickly sidestepping, dodging the captain’s thrust. It swung back, narrowing missing the nimble Captain’s arm, throwing it off step.
The Captain felt no remorse as he acquired the initiative, taking time to unleash a slice that cleaved the reptile nearly in half. Its eyes fogging into death, Karthly wasted no time with respects as he ran over the dead body and beheading another about to skewer a wounded militia. He extended a grimy hand to the fallen soldier, but then to his shock realized that he had just died. He backed up into an alley to regain his positioning, also looking out for remnants of his army.
I am the only one left, he thought miserably after a fruitless search. Not willing to throw away his life too soon, he stayed in the shadows and watched as the Lizalfos army moved out to the rest of the village, cries of pain and despair following.
At last, the cries stopped and the army moved out to leave. He saw two particularly large ones in more intricate armour immerse themselves in reports.
“Allz dead, Drazus?” Asked the bigger one.
Yez, we sweptz though zee streets into everyz house. We have also pillaged everyzing of value, as you asked Commander. No one waz eaten.”
“And haz you replacez zee bodies?” Drazus nodded affirmatively. The Commander suddenly stiffened and crinkled his nostrils, as if catching whiff of a repugnant garbage pile. "But therze is one morezy leftes, I can smellz hime.”
Karthly shook with a sudden sense of surprise and fear.
“Move outz zee army. I vill dealz with him.”
The giant Lizalfos-no, Dinolfos, Karthly realized. The Dinolfos moved out towards Karthly’s hiding place as the rest retreated into the night. He watched fascinated as those large, pulsating nostrils led his enemy through the dark more skillfully then radar. He slowly stepped out of the shadows, sword in hand, calling to his enemy.
“I am Captain Jensen Karthly, and I fear no living thing! Come and fight me, you beast,” He snarled
Laughing in a chilling cackle, the Dinolfos moved towards him, slowly drawing a curved blade. “And Iz am Commander Skali of the West-Point Clan, you puny little human. Ssso come and meetz me. Come and meetz your death.”
Needing no more incentive to do so, he rushed towards his opponent, swinging madly. At the last second he switched into a forward stance, releasing a powerful swipe threatening to incise the reptile in half. But he was no longer there.
With a powerful bound of his back legs, Skali flipped over behind his adversary and bit deeply into his unarmored neck ripping off a large chunk of flesh and much of Karthly’s right shoulder.
Screaming in the sudden swell of pain, he dropped to the muddy ground, adding his blood to the filth. He looked up with tear filled eyes as the Dinolfos surveyed his work, chewing on his flesh hunk.
“Wellz, not afraidz of any livingz thing, eh? Wellz, I’ll gives youze an enemyz to fearz,” He gave a horrible smile, his maw ridden with blood and flesh from his last prey. “I givez you… Deathz!” With that said, he leapt on the valiant captain, biting into his abdomen.
Another scream followed as the Captain watched his body fluids drip out of his body. The world spinning black, the last thing Captain Jensen Karthly saw was the putrid reptilian mouth lunge for his face.
Skali wiped his bloodied mouth as he looked for any remains of the human. Disappointed, he contently listened to his stomach rumble as it digested Jensen and the bloodied nightshirt he had been wearing. Getting up and retrieving his fallen sword, he swept off to rejoin his army.
* "I know this much is true" is a novel title by Wally Lamb
* "like a bubble on a needle" is an exert from the Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening.