New Fan Works
Old Fan Works
"The Power of Memory" Part 1, Chapters 1-4
The Power of Memory
Part One: The Girl in the Pit
A little girl sat quietly on the tiled castle floor, spinning a small top. "You can't do this," her mother pleaded above her. "Haven't I given you all you ever wanted? Haven't I even given you this child? Oh please, don't make me leave. I won't be able to survive, Ganondorf."
The tall, striking man in black armor was paying no mind to the beautiful woman pleading in front of him. He was putting on a helmet and was distant, preoccupied. This woman wasn't his chief concern right now. "Natefeema," he said briskly, "You failed to produce a male son, which is all that I am concerned with. Daughters are useless. Therefore take the child and leave me be. I care not for you, nor for.for her." He nodded towards the little girl, playing on the floor.
The little girl looked up for a moment. She had her father's eyes. Yellow with a poisonous glare. But the little girl knew of no reason to glare at anyone. She looked for a moment longer, then turned, and she looked up at her mother. To the child, it was amazing how a single face could show so much detail. Her eyes had a graceful curvature to them, and they blinked underneath long-lashed curtains. Her lips were large and ready. But though beautiful, she was also relatively simple-minded. Ganondorf had simply hand-picked Natefeema from his brothel of Gerudos on basis of who looked most.shall we say, capable. Natefeema had done what she had been brought to him to do. But instead of a son, she had a daughter. Ganondorf had allowed them to live in the Valley for three years. Fickle as always, he had suddenly demanded that Natefeema and the little girl leave. Natefeema knew that she could not survive on her own.
Natefeema decided on a change in tactics and fingered the gold Triforce necklace she had pilfered from one of her servant's rooms. "Ganondorf," she said in a soft voice, "By the power of the Triforce, the sacred Triforce itself, I beseech you to let me stay."
"Go!" Ganondorf said sharply, with danger lacing his voice. He finished with the helmet and was fully equipped.
"Oh please let me stay, please King Ganondorf," Natefeema cried desperately, throwing caution to the winds, "I tried very hard-I'll try again-Oh Ganondorf, anything! O my King, don't you remember how close you came to being killed, if only because of your gender?!"
"That's it," Ganondorf muttered. He said something under his breath and then sent a jet of black light Natefeema's way. Natefeema gasped with pain and collapsed.
"That was a death blow," Ganondorf said calmly. "I told you to leave. I told you once. I told you twice. Well, there is no third time. Now leave while you have breath in your body, which you won't for very long, and take your wretched daughter with you. Guards!" he barked, and two malicious-looking Gerudos immediately strode in.
Ganondorf picked the little girl up roughly from where she was playing on the floor. She peered into his face curiously. "Eunh?" she inquired.
He shook her, just to spite Natefeema, make her feel more hurt. Then he set her down and laughed, pleased that she had not cried out. "Whatever she may be, at least she is not a weakling," he said, with a hint of certain pride creeping into his voice. Then he looked to his guards and down to the gasping woman on the floor. He looked on her as calmly and dispassionately as if he had been surveying a dying roach. "Escort her somewhere into Hyrule. Her and her offspring. And leave them there. Let them die."
The burly Gerudos nodded and wrenched the woman up. Her little girl, now recovered, picked up her spinning top and doddered after the guards who were carrying her mother away. The Gerudo guards dropped them as quickly as possible in an unknown pit in Hyrule Field. "Do you think we should do anything?" one of the guards asked the other, looking pityingly at the dying mother and the little child.
The other guard hit her. "Go on, get King Ganondorf on your bad side," she egged on. "I'm sure you'd like a nice jet-blast too. Maybe-" here she clapped her hands in mock delight - "I can even drag you to this very same pit and you'll have company!"
"Sorry," the first guard muttered. She let her passive expression replace the worried look that had been on her face and kicked Natefeema in. They didn't have to do anything about the child, who simply followed Natefeema right in. The guards exchanged looks.
"That girl isn't very bright, is she?" the second guard asked the first.
The first guard shrugged. "Let's just get out of here," she suggested.
"That would be a very good idea," the second guard approved, and they sped back to Gerudo Valley. It was bad to be seen outside of the Valley, seeing as the Gerudos were wanted in all seven areas of Hyrule. But inside the musty old pit, Natefeema thought of none of these things. The pain was blocking much thought on her part. She leaned over on her side and stopped, her chest heaving with effort. The gold Triforce necklace rose and fell haphazardly.
"Child." she called. The little girl crawled towards Natefeema and sat up, regarding her mother with those yellow eyes that matched Ganondorf's. Natefeema looked away. "I didn't even name you," she whispered sadly to the wall. "3 years old, and I never thought to name you.I just didn't know." Her breathing was coming slower now. Natefeema was fighting as hard to stay alive, to hush her body telling her to let go. She had to think of a name! It was the worst possible luck she could give her little girl, to leave her alone in the world without a name. A name would make sure her baby had a place in the world. Wasn't that what names were for? Or was there some other reason.Natefeema couldn't think straight.Her head dropped back. She breathed in deeply. A rattling, labored breath. Then she exhaled. Her body relaxed and her eyes closed. She was dead.
The little girl
crawled forward and touched her. Seeing that her mother didn't respond,
she tried again. Her round, innocent baby's eyes filled with tears. "Mama,"
she whispered softly. With all the gentlest care in the world, she removed
the Triforce symbol around the corpse's neck. The bewildered tears finally
falling, she held the shining symbol in her small hand. But not even that,
she realized, could bring her mother back.
She didn't know what her name was. For as long as she could remember, she had lived here. Underground, in this dark, dank pit. She didn't know what she looked like. Who she was. She had no reason to ever want to know. She ventured out of her pit only for the rare visit to Hyrule Market. She didn't like it, anyway. The Outside was too bright for her delicate eyes. That large, bright orb hanging in Hyrule Field's sky seemed useless. After all, she could see perfectly well in her pit. Her pit. No one else's pit. No one ever ventured there. No one knew of it. Everyone believed that only four pits existed in all of Hyrule Field. But she knew they were wrong.
Whenever she needed to restock on food, or just wanted to play, she would visit lively Hyrule Market. People from all over Hyrule visited it, so there were always plenty of people with bulging purse-bags. She would quickly, blithely swipe a few Rupees. No one ever noticed - until it came time to pay for their purchases. But by then, she was gone, and they cursed empty air. The girl couldn't help but chuckle as she crept away quietly. Sometimes she would play a little game, trying to see how close she could get to the person she had stolen from. She wanted to see if they would recognize her. They never did.
Sometimes she would wonder where she came from, or why she remembered nothing except what happened yesterday. She would sit in her pit and suppose that she was the daughter of the King of Hyrule, that she was of royal blood, and that one day he himself would come to rescue her. But she just knew she was faking it. I was probably some peasant's child, dropped in here because my mother couldn't afford me, she'd think with a sigh. She had seen enough of that type in Hyrule Market to last a lifetime.
It was surprising
that she had ever even learned language. But she was lucky, in that sense.
She did not inherit her mother's intelligence (or lack thereof). She inherited
her father's intelligence. And that was really quite a formidable thing
to inherit. Her stomach snarled, and she winced. She was running out of
food. She would have to go out to Hyrule Market again. She never felt the
slightest bit guilty about robbing people to get her food. And she was
naturally gifted at stealth. She was, after all, Gerudo, though she didn't
know it. And the Gerudos are the most gifted thieves in any world. She
stepped on the curious pad that would immediately waft her out of the pit
and stepped into the light.
That bright Orb was out again, and it was very strong today. She let out a small involuntary whimper and threw her arm across her eyes. That would help her bear it until her eyes got used to it. The dry, raspy grass should have hurt her feet. But a little thing like dry grass couldn't affect her. She walked to the Market as calmly as if she was walking on tiled palace floors. Occasionally she looked around, squinting under the brightness of the Orb. The land was beautiful, she acknowledged. The Orb had a strange habit of illuminating the tiniest details in the fields. A brisk wind swirled around her, blowing back her long, dark red hair.
After a small time of walking around, she had been out long enough for her eyes to adjust to the Orb's light. She cautiously removed her arm from her eyes. As she walked in the door, she noticed that the guard gave her a strange look. "What?" she asked, coming up to him.
"You look weird," he said bluntly.
She silently debated whether she should incapacitate him now or later and decided he was just an ignorant fool. "How is this weird?"
"Look at your clothes." He snorted. "What, do you live in a pit or something?"
"Yes," she said. "But that is not your problem. I don't need to care about how I look."
"Um, yeah. Sure." The guard squinted. "Where are you from anyway? Kokiri? I've heard tales, but this is ridiculous."
"I am no Kokiri. I leave you now. You're not worth my time." She turned haughtily and strode into the Market, holding her head high. She couldn't see the spots of red on her cheek, but she could definently feel their heat.
The Market was full of noise and chatter. There was a beggar clapping his hands on his knees. He turned to her as soon as she walked in. "With C, sell me something.With C," he begged her. She glared and looked away, searching for someone with a full purse. Aha, she thought. There we go. She saw a young elfin boy venturing into the Shooting Gallery. But she didn't care about that. Her eyes zoomed in on the bulging bag of Rupees. He had to have at least 500 in there! A little kid like that couldn't possibly need all that money. She briefly wondered about his clothing. It had a style she couldn't identify. It certainly did not look Hylian. And what was that little blue ball that stuck close to him?
Do you ever hear yourself talk? You sound foolish. Grab the bag, buy what you need and leave! her common sense told her. She followed him into the Gallery.
"This is a store for grown-ups, the famous shooting gallery of Hyrule Market Town!" the fat man behind the counter boomed. For a moment, she looked up. She had never quite seen anyone so ugly. She was fascinated. The fat man patiently explained the rules, until the boy nodded. "And what's your name, sonny?" the fat man asked.
"Link. Can I please have the slingshot?" the boy asked.
"Of course, little boy!" he laughed merrily. The boy ground his teeth a little, but smiled half-heartedly in an attempt to be nice. "And you?" The fat bearded man turned to her.
"Me? What? I apologize," she said hurriedly. "I'm not here for the game. I came to, um, see."
"Alright, honey!" He reached over with one huge, pudgy hand to ruffle her head and came away with a muddy hand filled with leaves and sticks.
"Sweetheart, your hair is filthy! Now that I think of it, your clothes are ripped and old, too! Whatever happened to you?" the man asked, not unkindly. "Where's your mother?"
"No mother," she said. She looked down. "I don't have a father, either. I don't need one. I'm fine alone."
"Poor baby," the man clucked. "C'mere." He beckoned behind the counter.
She eyed him suspiciously. "Why?"
"I'm not going to bite you, sweetie! The good King himself knows I wouldn't do nothing to hurt a sweet thing like you!" he cried out indignantly.
"I come, don't make such a big fuss," she said disdainfully, and crept behind the counter. She came so quietly that when she popped out again, the fat man was flustered.
"Well, fancy that!" he said, beaming all over his great red honest face. "The little missy done come up behind me and I don't even notice! You must have some right fine thievin' skills, young lady! I hope you don't use them, now!" He gestured behind him, where some swishing beads were supposed to indicate a curtain. "Why don't you step back here now, and I'll call me wife over to give you a good cleaning? I'll even give you some nice clothes, such as them little Hylian lassies wear. What do you say?"
Her answer was typical of her. "How much does it cost?"
"Aw, I'll give it to ya for free. Ya look like ya need it."
"No thank you," she said stiffly. "I've done fine without anything like that for a long time."
"Are you sure, now?" the fat man asked. "It's free."
"I'll leave it, thank you."
RING RING RING RING! The fat man turned towards the boy, who had finished his game and was waiting with the slingshot in hand. "Well now, ain't you a good shot? You done knocked 'em all down!" He looked closely at the boy as if trying to remember something. "Now here, weren't you that kid that come here few months ago and won the bomb bag from me?"
For the first time, the boy smiled proudly. "Yes."
"Ho ho ho!" the man boomed. "And now yer back! Tell ya what, son-how about this here nice purple rupee for yeh, since yeh've already won me bomb bag?"
"That would be very nice," the boy agreed. He took the Rupee and put it away. "Thank you!" he chirped, his eye as bright as a robin's. She eyed the Rupee hungrily. She needed that money. And this boy had so much, and he was using it for mere playing! The boy, Link, walked out of the Gallery and stood, wide-eyed, in the middle of the square. It was obvious he had never been here before. He probably didn't know yet to watch for thieves. Now was her chance.
She silently glided up. He didn't notice anything. He was still looking around, taking in the Market's sights. Then she grabbed the bag, as softly and smoothly as you please. He had felt nothing, such was the skill of her fingers. She smiled, a small, reflexive smile. But still, she felt guilty. That boy was the kind of person it was difficult to lie to and difficult to do wrong to. He had a face that was the very picture of innocence. For a moment, she felt a wistful, painful hunger unrelated to food tear at her heart. Then she pushed it aside.
She would go into the Potions shop first, just to purchase some remedies. It wasn't that she had many chances for injury, living in a pit. But a lot of times, she had fallen into the pit, not remembering that you had to step calmly into it. And she had received her fair share of bruises. The man in the Potions shop was very nice-if you had money. She was almost drowned in his sugary sweet voice when she walked in. "Young lady! Why, what pleases you here?" He took no notice of her clothes. He was eyeing the plump bag of Rupees in her hand.
"Give me a roll of bandages, an Herbs Assorted pot, and blue fire salve," she rattled off. "Now. I'm in a hurry." She rather liked the imperious feeling that came from holding a bursting purse-bag in her hand.
"Certainly, ma'am," he said, with a gracious bow that had more elegance than the situation required. He quickly put the items together and placed them in a bag. "Anything else?" His white teeth gleamed.
"If I want something else, I'll ask," she said sharply. "Thanks anyway. Give me my bag."
"Dear, that will be two hundred and fifty Rupees. Plus sales tax, the total amounts to two hundred and seventy five Rupees. And that's on a discount!" He chortled at his own joke, but the chortle faded to a nervous titter when she glared at him. She was not the type of girl that liked encouraging much friendliness. At least not in that kind of person. She kept her face hard as she counted out the Rupees and put them in the man's greasy palm. Before he could try to beguile her into anything else, she was out.
wondered, shading her delicate eyes with her hand. It was the peak of
day. I have 275 Rupees left. I think I'll buy some non-perishables now,
then head back home. At the end of the day, she still had fifty Rupees
left. She was thrifty, and she had a way of staring that made people back
down and bend to her will. If she had ever seen herself in a mirror, she
would have understood. But she took it for granted that her eyes' cold
stare would make people feel faint. After a long, tiring day, she returned
to her home. She returned to her haven. To her pit.
It had been a long time since her outing to Hyrule Market, and she had been busy. She had organized her pit a little better. In the northwest corner were all of her healing materials. She didn't quite know why, but in the Market, she had had an urge to buy them. Looking back now, she shook her head, wondering why she wasted the money. She was never ill.
On the wall of the northwest corner lived her pit's newest resident, a Gold Skulltulla named Herrez. He was the true last Skulltulla-number 101. He was a pleasant Skulltulla most of the time, and nice to be around. He had gone into hiding in order to avoid his slaughter-he had heard that his brothers had cast an evil spell on a family, and he knew that they would get their own back someday.
"Herrez," she asked, "Would you like to hear about the Outside?" She loved telling the impressionable Herrez her stories. He was full of praise for her and she loved him for it.
In his raspy voice, he replied, "Yes, dearest, if you don't mind."
She smiled. Herrez's presence always brought out that soft side of her. "When I last went to Market, the Orb was out. It was so bright, it hurt my eyes! But after a while I got used to it."
Herrez clicked his mouth parts, frowning. No one would be able to tell his frown apart from his smile, or his smile apart from his regular expression. But she had been living with Herrez for a while. She knew. "Haven't I ever told you what the Orb was called?" he asked.
"No. I usually call it the Orb," she explained.
"Well, it's called the sun," Herrez told her. "It always shines brightly. But some days, its power is cloaked by clouds."
"Those are the white, misshapen forms in the sky, right?" she asked. "I've heard some Hylians refer to them as clouds."
"Yes, they are," Herrez replied. "Continue with your story?"
"Of course. Well, I walked to the Market, and I see this guard, who calls me weird." She pouted a little bit. "I am not weird."
"I know," Herrez said kindly. "But you do have to think. None of the Outsiders have very open minds. They would just as soon slash me as see me. And to see you.my child, you have never seen yourself. That is why you don't understand. Why don't you look in the puddle, over there?" He gestured to a small muddy pool with one of his legs.
She rolled her eyes fondly. "Herrez, your eyesight is going. You know I can't see anything in that pool."
"Oh," Herrez said, sounding chagrined. "Well, perhaps one day when you stay in the Outside, you will find a mirror. Then you can look. And understand," he finished cryptically. But she could forgive him that. It was just his way.
"I don't like the Outside," she sighed. "The Orb-I say, the sun-it's excessively bright. The people there are mostly horrible, greasy merchants that only look at your purse bag. You rarely see anyone that's any good there."
Herrez smiled his gentle smile. "When you live there, you learn to take the bad with the good," he said longingly. "You could never know how much I miss the Outside. You won't be able to, either, until you've lived out there and seen the sun and seen the great oceans and the moon, until you've felt wind on your face, until you've walked on the shores with no care for the world." A little quieter, he continued. "Sweet, I know that you have been to the Outside. But you don't care for it, because you haven't lived it. You haven't learned to treasure it the way I have. There's a reason poetry exists, and it's because of the Outside."
She looked down. She felt badly for Herrez, although she knew that she could never feel much emotion towards the Outside. At least.not during the day. "It is beautiful," she offered. She knew Herrez well enough to know that he had just talked himself into one of his moods.
"Yes," Herrez sighed wistfully. "I don't think I can hear any more of the Outside. I need to sleep now."
"Don't feel very bad," she pleaded. "It'll be okay. When the curse on the family is broken, you'll be able to reach the Outside." But she heard the familiar clicking snores of Herrez, and knew that he had already fallen asleep. Dreaming of his beloved Outside.
She closed her
eyes also, and for the millionth time, her mind went back, trying to remember
her life. Her life before encountering the pit, and even for a long time
after, was one long, interminable blank. This frustrated and occasionally
angered her. She could remember one occasion, the day after she stole Rupees
from the elfin boy in the Market. Seeing him had revived one of her greatest
desires, to know the secrets her mind kept from her. She had thought and
thought until her head was throbbing from the effort. "Tell me who I am!"
she had shrieked at the empty walls. "Tell me who I am! Give me a name,
give me a home, a place - tell me who I am!" she had keened, until her
energy was spent. And finally, for the first time in so many years, she
had wept with bitter sadness. "Why have I been cursed like this?" she muttered,
returned to the present, her chin on her drawn-in knees. "What did I do?"
She could still feel the dry tear-streaks. That night, she still felt the
She walked beneath the full moon, breathing the cold night air. She loved the night so much. At times like these-when she was fearful, hurt, unsure of her mind's tricks-she loved the moon's sweet quiet light. The sun was so much more vain, so much more bright and sassy. The moon was more modest in displaying its stately beauty.
She had all the time in the world to walk. And that was what she did. She could understand what Herrez meant about the Outside, even if he was a tad bit more obsessive over it than she was. A rogue tear slid down her face, and there she let it dry. She liked the cool night wind. It was the kind of brisk wind that, if you let it, could wipe all your doubts away. She wanted nothing more than that. As her eyes moved to capture the picture-perfect details, she saw a lump illuminated by the moonlight. Curious by nature, she approached it carefully. Her callused feet made no noise. Then she stopped, shocked. It was a boy! The same elfin child she had stolen from in the Market. But what had happened to him?
She bent down low to examine him. In the Market, he had looked so.childlike. Any painter's dream. Now he looked different. Maturity, purchased at a cost, and blended with a child who didn't want to let go and who wouldn't. She touched the limp body, prodding it. Are you alive? she asked him silently. He didn't look it. He was pale, his face covered in dark bruises and scratches. His clothing was in shambles, and she could see his bones, jutting out from him. He looked more Stalchild than human. She gave him one more prod, her eyes tearing up helplessly again. She angrily wiped them away. The boy wasn't lost yet, though why she cared, she didn't know.
The boy's body stirred, and his eyes struggled open partway, revealing tired blue. He moaned in pain and his eyes fluttered shut again. She could hear his breathing now, ragged and irregular. Wait! her mind cried. Hadn't she known someone-once upon a time-hadn't she seen someone just like him? Someone, maybe, close to her? Breathing like this? She had had a toy, a spinning toy.and then the breather's head dropped back, and the eyes went blank.She gasped. That person had died.
And then she felt a surge of joy. She had remembered! She had remembered something, one small detail in her past. Perhaps, over time, she would learn more and more things. She looked down at the young face. She couldn't allow he who triggered such a memory die. And his sight seemed to thaw the ice she built around her heart, to melt it so that she didn't need it to protect her. Gingerly, she shifted him into her arms. He was much smaller and lighter than she was, so it wasn't that much of a challenge. But she didn't want to hurt him. He was already at death's threshold. But this time as she picked him up, he didn't stir. Running as fast as she dared, she darted back into the pit.
She looked around wildly for a suitable place to put him. She slept on a bed of moss - that had to be good enough for anyone. She lowered him gently onto the damp green, and fetched the blue fire salve she had gotten at the Market. I should have gotten a fairy, she chided herself. She applied the salve over his eyes, then watched, occasionally wiping her forehead.
For a long time, the eyes didn't open. When they finally staggered open, the boy had strength only for one word: "Ganondorf." It seemed like all the terror and hatred, all the resentment and courage of a lifetime had been poured into the one weakly whispered word.
"No, no," she
said. "I don't know who Ganondorf is. I found you," she explained, her
voice shaking, "and I brought you here to heal you." His forehead furrowed
as he tried to understand. She put her hand to his forehead. It felt like
putting her hand in a live fire. He shivered violently. "Hush," she soothed.
"I'm not going to hurt you." Then she noticed a little blue ball darting
protectively around him. "What's this?" she asked. The boy shifted slightly
in response. She hadn't noticed. He was already sleeping, sleep brought
on by his dangerously high fever. "Poor boy," she said softly. She applied
some of the salve to his forehead. She didn't know much, but at least she
knew how to keep down a fever. She drew her tattered, ragged blanket up
to his chin. Don't die, she pleaded silently.
"Herrez," she whispered. "Herrez, wake up!"
"What is it, dear?" he mumbled sleepily. Then his eyes focused on Link's sleeping, shivering figure and he was instantly awake. "My child, what have you done?!" he cried.
"Herrez, keep it down, please," she warned immediately. "I found this boy in the Outside, just like he is now, and I brought him in here."
"Why?" Herrez demanded sharply, all gentleness gone from his voice.
She looked down, and she could see that sole memory of hers being replayed again and again. "He reminded me of somebody. Oh Herrez, you wouldn't be able to understand.I've lived here all my life and I never remembered anything-but I saw this boy so close to death.He reminded me of someone I had seen when I was very, very young. Someone with a beautiful face who breathed just as he breathed now." She was silent for a moment, for Herrez to hear his laboring gasps. More quietly now, she continued. "Herrez, I don't know who that person was. But she-or he, though it must have been a she-died. In this pit."
She dug in the pocket of the worn outfit she wore and brought out something dangling on a chain. In the darkness of the pit, the Triforce symbol shone ever the more brightly. She brought it close to Herrez, right up to his face. "Herrez!" she cried softly, letting the necklace speak for itself, "I remember! Can't you understand how much I've needed at least one memory, Herrez? I may not remember much, just how one dying person breathed, I don't even know who that person was or what the person was doing here, but praise the Goddesses, I know a person was here!"
Herrez clicked anxiously. "But don't you remember about the Outsiders?" he burst out. "None of them would take any time to learn about me as you did, dear heart-they kill my brothers upon sight! That boy isn't any different from the rest, he'll whip out that blade by his side-did you notice that blade?" he asked in wild panic. "He'll take it and slice me in half, two slices and I'm done for!" He wailed, "I sacrificed the Outside for my safety and now I'm ruined!"
"Shut up!" she hissed, her yellow eyes brightening angrily. "The boy is in no condition right now to kill anything and he needs my help! Herrez, do you have a heart at all or are you merciless and cruel? Do you think I can just let him die? After what he's done for me, it doesn't matter if he did nothing intentionally, in memory of the person that died here, he'll live!" she cried fiercely. Herrez looked hurt, but now she was mad, madder than she had ever been. "Herrez, you call me dear, you call me sweet. If you care for me at all, if you love me like a parent to a child as you've told me so many times, than you should be happy! Happy that I've finally found a part of my memory, a precious memory! If you think that a boy near death is going to attack you with mythical strength, then you're the stupidest creature I've ever encountered! Go on, whine and sulk! But I'm not letting you change my mind, because right now this boy is everything to me, my link to my past! And if you don't like it, I don't care what happens, leave!" She pointed, her finger trembling, to the exit pad. "Go to your beloved Outside!" she jabbed harshly.
A long moment
passed before Herrez slowly and silently descended the wall. The silence
was so thick that had she not been so furious, she would have reached out
to try and grab a bit of it. He scuttled, awkward on the ground and with
a slight sideways tilt. And with not so much as a single backward glance,
he climbed on to the exit pad. She would never see him again.
Time had passed, like time tends to do. A lot of times, she missed Herrez. His easy praise. His poetic ways. But the memory of why he walked out would suffice to make her eyes blaze. And she felt she was better off without him. She didn't need him and never had. In his own way, he was a true Gold Skulltulla -a vicious cheat.
For the first few days and nights, she stayed by the boy's side, keeping watch constantly. She would dip her hands into a puddle and pour it on his face, open his mouth and put food inside, hoping that he would somehow automatically chew and swallow. A lot of times, he did. But he stayed in his sleep. Because she feared moving him, she wouldn't apply bandages, and applied blue fire salve only to those places she could reach without moving him. To make the time pass quickly, she talked aimlessly. She knew that he couldn't hear her. She also knew that he probably was going to die, and sometimes wondered why she had taken on this hopeless charge. But then she remembered that one, treasured memory, and then she knew.
Then, one day, he spoke. It was in little more than a whisper-but he hadn't spoken since that first night she had brought him into her pit. "Who are you?" he croaked hoarsely, not opening his eyes.
"If only I knew," she replied, and was quiet.
"Please keep talking," he requested, and opened his eyes.
"Why?" she asked in astonishment.
His eyes blinked. "Your voice.when I was sleeping. Kept finding me. Gave me something to hold on to-aah!" he cried. He had tried to sit up.
"What is it?" she asked quickly, bandages and blue fire salve at the ready.
"My ribs-I moved, and my ribs," he moaned, pain cutting every syllable short. But it seemed like the sharp pain had wakened him. His wits were back.
Without wasting any more time, she lifted up his tattered green tunic. His skin underneath was torn, scabbed, bruised and swollen. She could tell that at least one rib was broken. "Oh, Farore, Nayru, Din," she whispered uncomfortably, "help me." It would take a miracle to heal him. The condition his leg alone was in required a Potions master, the type found roaming Hyrule Market. But inexplicably, she felt warmth and peace rush through her. It was like the first time she had seen the moon. And she knew she could heal him. She knew she would do it.
"Listen, Link," she said. "I'll try my best to heal you, okay?"
Link nodded. And even if his blue eyes faded in and out of focus, they still had a spark in there, shining. "Alright. First, I'm going to bind up your leg. It might hurt, but only for a little bit. I need it to heal straight."
"So do I," Link quipped, lying back down again. She smiled, then looked around for two sticks she could use. "What do you need?" Link asked.
"Two sticks," she replied, her voice muffled by searching under a sickly bush.
"You can look in my pack," he told her. "I think I still have some Deku Sticks, I didn't use them much in Jabu-I mean," he stuttered, "I think I have Deku Sticks."
She blinked, his slip gone unnoticed by her. "That would mean sticks. Like wood from trees, right? I've never heard of Deku."
"Yep." Link wrinkled his nose. "Let's hope I still have some left, after my little adventure."
She gently removed his pack and rummaged through it. "What do you mean, your adventure?"
Link hesitated visibly. "You wouldn't tell? Oh, that's right-"
"Who do I have to tell?" she finished, laughing. "The walls? Oh, here they are," she said, referring to two straight Deku Sticks she clutched. "A little wet, but let's hope they're okay." She concentrated on removing her belt. "What were you saying?"
Link wasn't listening. He was watching. "What are you doing?" he asked, his face taking on a look of wary fascination.
"Huh?" She looked up, then back down at her belt. "I have to make you a splint, at least, and I need something to tie it with." She sighed. "I wish I had something a little stronger, but as you can probably tell, I don't accumulate many quality things in here, unless-" She stopped suddenly. She was about to say, unless I steal it from some wealthy merchant, but felt suddenly filthy for being such a thief. She was certain Link had never stolen a thing in his life. She swallowed. "I mean, brace yourself." She put the sticks around his leg, one under, one over, and wrapped the belt-or rather, the rotting piece of cloth- loosely around his leg. "I'm going to count to five. Then I'm going to yank the belt tight."
Link bit his lip and shut his eyes tightly. "One.um, seven.fourteen.twenty-one." Link opened an eye curiously. "Five." She yanked.
"Owwww!" Link howled in pain. "Why didn't you count in order? Is it that you don't know your numbers?"
"Of course I know my numbers, I just wanted to catch you while you were relaxed," she bluffed. She sat back and wiped her forehead. "That was agonizing," she commented.
"You don't know the half of it," Link retorted, sitting up again. Then he winced, trying to hide it. But her eagle eyes caught the movement.
"I almost forgot! Your ribs!" she cried.
"Take pity," Link groaned, hiding a smile. "I'm just a poor little kid. Don't hurt me." He held his hands up.
"You have a sword and shield on your person, my dear boy," she said bluntly. "Don't come on to me with that. I'm guessing you didn't get your wounds pleading with your attackers not to hurt you."
Link had a strange look on his face-like a child who pledged to keep a secret, and desperately wants to break that pledge. "Why do you guess that?" he asked carefully.
"Sit up," she
muttered. Link wobbled, wanting to lie back down, but obliged. "I'm guessing
that," she continued, "because you just don't look like the kind of person
who would back into a corner and beg for your life. You look like the kind
of person who would be forced into a corner and fight your way right out."
Link smiled, despite the hurt that was plaguing him and the hurt he feared
to come. Because she wasn't wrong.
It had been such a very long time-she didn't know how long. But her life was happier than it had ever been. The gloomy pit's walls echoed with laughter and jokes the two exchanged. Link had been almost completely healed. Though she had to reduce her dress to nearly embarrassing proportions in order to bind the Deku Sticks Link needed for a crutch, she had done so gladly. Besides, she was a stranger to modesty and all its strange rules. The bandages on his ribs were now there for support. Not knowing and not wanting to test Link's health, she had insisted that they stay, even when Link insisted they weren't needed anymore.
"Where did you find me?" Link asked one day, out of the blue. It was his usual and preferred way of asking questions. He loved startling her. And her typical response never failed.
"No, I'm serious. For once. My memory of you starts with that infernal leg-binding procedure. Where did you find me? I can't have just-appeared."
"I wouldn't put you past it," she said with a grin. Her yellow eyes glinted in the darkness.
He groaned good-naturedly. "Could you just answer the question?"
"I was out for a walk in the moonlight. I felt bad, and moonlight is usually a good way for me to feel better. Not that my life is full of dramatic ups and downs. But I felt miserable," she said, her voice taking on that protective edge it sometimes took.
"Not to interrupt," Link interrupted. "But it's kind of weird that moonlight makes you feel better. For a lot of people, it's sunlight. At least it is for me," he said with a shrug. "Though I can't be the most extremely normal of people." He looked a little unhappy.
"Well, I'm not most people," she replied shortly. "The sunlight's too bright. It hurts my eyes."
"That's another thing," Link continued, changing subjects rapidly. It was a habit that consistently put her off, but that he didn't bother correcting. "Your eyes. They look a lot like.well, Ganondorf's eyes. Their color and all. Not many people have yellow eyes."
"Oh, so that's their color. Neat. You said that, once," she recalled. "When I first brought you in here? The first word you said-and it took you a while to say it, too-was 'Ganondorf'. I told you I didn't know who Ganondorf is, but I guess it escaped you. You were so sick," she said, her mind's eye painting the picture that had given her that memory back.
"Well, you do look a lot like him, just not with the brutish ugliness factor. You have more detail in your face," Link said matter-of-factly. She noticed, however, that he carefully averted his eyes when he said this.
"Who is Ganondorf?" She repeated the eternal question. "Whenever I ask, you change the subject."
"The reason I'm here," he muttered.
"Oh, then he must be reasonably good," she joked lightly. But Link took her seriously.
"No, no no!" His round blue eyes, for once, were in earnest. "Ganondorf is the most evil of all evils. He killed the Great Deku Tree, he plotted against the King of Hyrule, and he starved the Gorons!" He dug in his pack and with a flash, three small stones lay in his hand. "For these!"
"Wow," she murmured. She leaned closer. The stones were things of beauty, made with loving care, many-faceted and gleaming. One was green, and inside, it spoke of the wonder of nature and all its swirls of life. One was red, and spoke with pride of a legacy of Earth and its servants. And one was calm blue, and the light rippled inside it, speaking of another world contained in water. "They're so beautiful." Because Link's attention was focused on the Stones, she stole the moment for a quick gaze at his face.
"They're called Spiritual Stones." Link spoke almost angrily now. "There are only three and inside they hold all the power of Earth, Forest and Fire-and the key to opening the Door of Time, which leads to the Sacred Realm containing the Triforce. And the Triforce is the most sacred thing of all, three golden triangles left by Hyrule's goddesses at the end of the world's creation, at the point where they left for the heavens. They represent courage, wisdom and power-and Ganondorf wants them to take over Hyrule." He stared at the beautiful stones in his hand, turning them over, touching them, then quickly put them back in his pack. "But I'm not letting him do it."
That last part, Link's whisper, almost to himself, caught her attention, though she hadn't understood half the tale. Still, she could catch the gist of it. "How can you stop him?" she asked solemnly.
A proud smile slipped across his face. "Because I have these Spiritual Stones. They're what Ganondorf needs to get into the Sacred Realm. Now all I have to do is head back to see Zelda one more time."
"Oh. Zelda," she said uncertainly. "Zelda is Hyrule's princess, right?"
"Yup," Link answered. "I met her. She's really nice. She told me about her prophetic dream, and inside the dream was a figure holding up a green stone, with a fairy trailing after it." He shrugged modestly. "I guess the person from her dream was me. Though why I'd be stuck somewhere in her dreams, I don't know."
"That's amazing," she remarked. "So how did you get these stones of yours?"
"I fought for them," he said simply. Then he looked stricken. "Oh Goddesses, I should have met Zelda a while ago! She'll be wondering what's keeping me!" He got up from the bed of moss. She had been helping him relearn skills like sword fighting and walking.
"No! Wait!" she cried out. Link was unraveling the bandages underneath his tunic.
"I owe you big time," he said, sounding as if he was fighting to control his voice. "I can't say much, but I hope that just by saying 'thank you' you'll know what I mean." Finished with the bandages, he removed his splint. His leg had healed perfectly.
"Don't leave me.
Please," she begged, forgetting all of her pride. She didn't want to be
all alone again. She didn't think she could stand it, not after having
a taste of human companionship. And she.to her, Link was almost more than
a friend. Link had been about to step on the exit pad. But he turned around
and ran suddenly to her. She had been sitting on the ground, watching him,
and the cry for him to stay had accidentally left her lips. He knelt, and
he put his arms around her and hugged her tightly. And when he pulled away,
she could see there were tears in his eyes. "Let me come with you," she
said. Almost immediately she bit her tongue, wondering just how beggar-like
that sounded. Link nodded, and there was a strange look on his face as
he watched her get up to go.
It was day, bright shining day, when they exited the pit. Immediately she ducked her head. "I hate the sun," she muttered, and shaded her eyes with her hand.
"Don't say that," Link said distractedly. His voice was oddly distant. "If you'll look up, the sun.it's disappearing."
"What?" She looked up and found, to her immense surprise, that her hand didn't need to shade her eyes anymore. Dark, ominous clouds were covering the sun's brightness. "Wait.this isn't good."
"I know," Link said, his voice again with that strange ring to it. "The Hylian sky is always, always blue."
She was silent. It had started raining heavily. The raindrops were almost hailstones, and within minutes, she and Link were soaked. The sky was as dark as night now. Then, the Hyrule Market drawbridge creaked open in a hurry. Two riders on a beautiful white horse were galloping away as quickly as possible. The smaller passenger's bright blue eyes were large and frightened, and the larger rider was holding on to her protectively. The horse already seemed to know where to go and was running to that unknown destination as quickly as possible.
The girl with the frightened blue eyes looked at Link, who stepped forward slightly. He must have known he couldn't catch up to the racing horse. She threw something as hard as her small arm would allow her to. A blue object arced through the air, and landed with a plop in the castle moat. Then the horse and its passengers were out of sight. "Listen," Link whispered. "You need to run. Now. I think I know who's coming-now hide! You don't want to see him!"
She had never seen anything like it. Not the heavy rainfall, now punctuated by bursts of lighting and thunder, nor the escaping passengers on the pure white horse. Unconsciously, she reached in her pocket and fingered the gold Triforce necklace, whose origin she did not know. Then she ran as quickly as she could, to a huge boulder a-ways behind her. Still, though, she peeked from the side of the boulder. She couldn't help it, curiosity being an indelible part of her personality.
The other horse's hoof beats were heavy, clunking against the dull wood of the drawbridge and later against the damp earth. The horse was black, as black as night, as black as a thousand horrible deaths. It was beautiful, if you went for that kind of thing. But it was the rider that was the true horror. There could be no doubt that the rider was the Ganondorf Link had told her about. He certainly was ugly, and it wasn't just the evil that emanated from him. He had dark skin with a tint of green to it. His nose was large and straight and gave him an eagle profile. He had bright, flaming red hair that trickled across his face to form his eyebrows. But underneath the eyebrows, cruel yellow eyes glinted. His head seemed too small for his enormous towering body. For a mere moment, the eyes flashed towards her and they connected. She shuddered, but the mean, striking rider wasn't interested in her. His black horse reared and shrieked a neigh. Lightning crackled across the sky and ripped it into dark pieces.
Ganondorf-for that was who he was-turned towards Link. "Hey, kid," he yelled. "Did you see a white horse go past?" Link's eyes were on the rider. Then without warning, he whipped out his sword and crouched, ready for a fight. Ganondorf laughed, a deep, terrifying chuckle. "I like your attitude, kid!" He smiled a smile without mirth, but plentiful in disdain.
Link, you moron, she thought desperately. You can't fight this man, just look at him! Still, she had to admire his courage. Then the man, still smirking, brought up his hand. Black light fled to it as if his hand was a magnet. The light collected, and in a millisecond jetted out at Link and hit him square in the chest. Link yelled and flew backwards, knocked by the impact. Ganondorf ran off in hot pursuit of the white horse, leaving Link on the ground.
With Ganondorf gone, the sky began to return to its normal state. The dark rain clouds dissipated slowly, letting the trapped blue free. But the clouds lurked still on the horizon, ready to swallow the blue again at an unknown signal. Link stayed down, shocked. She ran out and up to Link and immediately let loose a torrent. "Link, are you insane?" she shrieked. "How could you do that?! Didn't you see how powerful that man is? Didn't you?! If he's done all the evil things you told me, then how in Hyrule did you expect to defeat him with a little dagger?!?!"
For an answer, Link dove into the moat. "Now what are you doing? Do you know how scared I was? You could have been killed! In fact, if I had been that man I probably would have finished you off just as easy prey!" she spat. She looked down into the moat and saw Link diving, grabbing at something with his hands. He went up for air for a second and gave her a quick thumbs-up, then went back down. She rolled her eyes. He's not listening. That Link has a real mind of his own sometimes. And by the Goddesses, what a mind!
Her teasingly derisive thoughts were interrupted by Link's triumphant cry. "Hah!" he yelled. "Ha hah!" He had surfaced with a loud splashing noise and climbed up out of the boat. "Look at this!"
"What?" she asked. She dismissed it. "It's a blue spheroid with holes in it."
"No." Link shook his blond head, and water splattered from his drenched locks. "It's the Ocarina of Time." His face was shining. "Don't you remember the legend I told you once?" he asked gently. "I told you about the three stones.in the Temple of Time, there's an altar, with three empty spaces. Navi pointed out an inscription to me. It said, 'Ye who stand here with three spiritual stones/the Ocarina of Time/and the Song of Time.' Then it mysteriously ended. All I need is the Song of -" Suddenly, Link's face went blank. His eyes were far away, as if watching something else only he could see. She glanced in the direction he was watching but saw nothing, just a Peahat whirring about in the blue horizon.
"Link? Link?" The look in his eyes was almost eerie. It was transformational. He was nodding slightly. Then it was over, and he was back to normal-almost. His eyes were-different, as if he was looking through and over and around things. "Link," she said in a low voice, "what happened?"
Link looked down at the blue Ocarina in his hand. He looked haunted, scared. "It's really happened," he whispered in awe. His happy, almost cocky attitude had disappeared. "I have the Song of Time.the Ocarina of Time.and the three Spiritual Stones."
"Link! Will you tell me what happened?!" she yelled. She was not angry-she was frightened for him, frightened for his future.
"I have everything I need!" he yelled back. "All of it! I can open the Door of Time! Do you know how many people have tried to do that? Do you know? Of course you don't because you've been living in a pit! But now I have what's needed. Don't you understand?" He was subdued now, his anger spent. "I'm going to be history. I'm going to be legend." He trailed off and looked down again at the innocent-appearing Ocarina. Still looking down at it, he said, "Maybe you can't understand. Zelda-Princess Zelda, she just spoke to me. She told me to go to the Temple and play the song.that by the time I received this Ocarina, she'd be gone. I don't know what's behind that door in the Temple, and for all its goodness, I don't want to see the Sacred Realm. I want to stay here, in Hyrule, in Kokiri. But I can't keep pretending that Kokiri's my home. I know it's not. And I have to go to the Temple." For a fleeting moment, Link looked as miserable as she had the night she walked under the moon. Then he shook it off and looked up at her, straight in her face, right in her yellow eyes. "I'll miss you," Link said, all humor gone from his face. She ached for that easygoing expression to return. "I'll never forget what you did for me. No matter how old I grow. Do you.understand what I'm trying to say?"
"Yeah," she whispered. "I understand." Instinctively, she reached out for him and caught him in a hug. Before she knew it, she was crying softly into his shoulder. With a shock, she realized he was doing the same. For a moment, they stood comforting each other without words. Then Link pulled away and wiped his face. The echo of his smile returned for a moment. "Go on, Link. Be a hero."
The sun began
to dip below the horizon, throwing red and orange and evening purple into
the sky. Illuminated by the day's last glow of light, Link ran into Hyrule
Market. Running, frightened she knew, but still running towards his destiny.
What courage. The drawbridge creaked up after him, closing the town up
for the night. "Goodbye," she said to the bridge.