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"Sehnsucht", chapter 1


By: The Unnamed Author

Chapter One: Longing Is So Cruel

Rain fell from the sky as if it had no end, turning the grassy plain of Hyrule Field into a muddy, dreary landscape. The storm was unusually strong for this time of year, and most sensible folk were indoors. Link sat alone beneath a lone pine tree, his only shelter for the torrential downpour. The rain was bitterly cold, and Link's clothes were soaked to the flesh, but he didn't care. He didn't care about anything anymore.

He took a drink from his bottle of beer. Link was really too young to be drinking, but at the very least it numbed his mind to the pain and reality of his life. But tonight it didn't help. Nothing seemed to ease the pain anymore, or assuage his loneliness. It was painfully obvious to him how alone he was in the world. How many friends did he have, anyway? Maybe he saw people regularly in the towns he visited, people whom he talked with on occasion, people whom he knew details of their marriage and such, but no, he had no friends anymore. Making new friends was nigh impossible with his lifestyle; most people he encountered treated him like some sort of eccentric hobo.

It wasn't always like this. He still remembered when he had once been the "Hero of Time" and had slain the King of Evil, Ganondorf. But nobody remembered that, and it was so long ago. From that adventure he had gained the Triforce of Courage, little good it did him now. According to the legend of Triforce, those who hold it would have their life spans lengthened, and are granted lifetime youth and vitality. Most people would feverishly desire such things, but to Link it was a curse, a damned curse. All the Triforce had done was prolong his life of pain and misery. It had not brought him any happiness at all.

He looked up at the burnt-out ruins of the Lon Lon Ranch. Why did you have to die Malon? He thought to himself. Why did you have to die and leave me all alone? Link felt the tears well up in his eyes again. He still thought about her regularly, and missed her terribly. Link had first met the ranch girl as a child. She thought he was "cute" and invited him to the ranch. They were fast friends from that moment forth, with Link stopping by the ranch almost on a daily basis. Malon's father, Talon, had jokingly asked him if he wanted to marry Malon some day. He said he'd "consider it" and then shared a hearty laugh. As he had grown older into adolescence, he began to feel more strongly attracted to Malon, and saw her as more than a mere friend. They naturally grew closer as they spent more time together; Link would stop by to talk and help out on the ranch, and when the work was done he'd go horseback riding with Malon. They would travel the land, going wherever their hearts desired. Link had never been happier, and thought he had found his soulmate, although they had yet to acknowledge their feelings for each other.

But then one day, Malon and Talon had both perished in a tragic house fire. Gone, just like that. When he learned of the news, his mind would not accept it, although deep down he knew it was true. Malon was gone forever, and she would never know how he felt about her. The heartbreak and grief had been too much for his heart to bear, and he had entered a deep depression, hating himself for not telling her he loved her. She was gone, his one true love was gone, and slowly he began to accept his loss and tried to move on. But as much as he tried, he just couldn't feel attracted to women anymore. He wanted to love, and to be loved, but he just couldn't connect with anyone like he had with Malon. Nabooru and Princess Ruto, perhaps the only women he had ever felt anything for, were now both married. He lived a lonely, wandering life that many women simply weren't interested in. No, they had been raised by their families to believe that a women's place was in the home, and how could be with the woman he loved while still living for adventure? He wanted love, but it would mean an end to his adventures, or so he thought. It was a no-win scenario.

That left Zelda, the Princess of Hyrule. She too, held a piece of the sacred Triforce, and she shared a strong emotional bond with Link that seemed to have existed from their birth. Link vividly remembered their crusade against Ganondorf and how they had bravely fought together. But Link could never have had a relationship with her. Zelda lived in a castle, and to the Royal Family, he was lower than peasant on the social ladder was; they would never let him enter Hyrule Castle. He had tried once, asking to see the princess at the gates, but the guards had simply laughed at him and told him to get lost. His relationship with the princess had died right then and there.

The rain fell harder, and he shivered; perhaps it was finally getting to him. He was all alone now. He had no friends, no family, no money, nothing. He felt useless, like a hero whose time and glory had long since passed. There was nothing left; his life was but an empty, hollow shell of its former self. Nobody would notice or care if he were to die, and dying was all there was left in his life. He hadn't the will or desire to carry on in this world, and there was no point in living when to live was torment.

Link withdrew has dagger, its shiny blade glistening in the pale moonlight. He had considered suicide before, but could never bring himself to go through with it. But then he hadn't felt as bad as he did now. It would be quick, and relatively painless, he thought. They'd find his body by the side of the road in the morning, or it'd be devoured by wild wolfos. Not that it mattered anymore. He looked at his reflection in a small puddle forming before him. He saw a broken man, and man with nothing left to lose. He pictured himself growing up to be an eccentric old hermit, forgotten by all, dying alone in a cave somewhere. No, there had to be a more dignified way to leave this world. It was time.

I'm going to kill myself tonight, he thought.

Across Hyrule Field, a horse-drawn carriage rode its way through the muddy roads, the horses struggling to prevent themselves from being mired in the muck. Inside sat Princess Zelda, along with her attendant Impa and her father. They were returning from a weeklong trip to the Kingdom of Siluria, with whom Zelda's father had established diplomatic relations. He had brought Zelda with him, with the not-so-subtle hint that she might be interested in the Silurian king's son. Zelda ignored him, she had been introduced to men of royal blood countless times before, and she had hated them all. They were all so self-serving and arrogant, she thought, interested only in taking her to bed and then bragging they had sexual relations with the Princess of Hyrule. To them, she was another trophy to be won; a sexual object to be conquered. She was not obligated to marry; arranged marriages had been abolished over a century ago. But that hadn't stopped her father from pressuring her to find a man. If there was a noble, young man to be found, her father would instinctively tell him to "come and see his daughter." When she learned of this, she angrily told him that if she was interested in a man, she would approach him herself, but her father hadn't listened.

And now she was terribly depressed. She didn't know why, but she found herself increasingly detached from life. Zelda didn't enjoy the things that had once brought her happiness, things like a walk through the castle courtyard, or a guilty pleasure like chocolate cake. Those seven years on the run from Ganondorf had infused her with a desire for adventure and a longing for personal liberation that she couldn't find confined to the castle. She often thought of Link, wondering what he had done. Link hadn't so much as written her a letter after his adventures in Termina, and she was worried. She had the power to sense his emotions, a telepathic ability she had been born with, a gift from the Goddesses, or so they said. Zelda could sense Link was going through a period of anguish, why she did not know. She wanted to talk to him, to see what was wrong, but her father would have none of it. "Running off to see some peasant?" he had thundered at her, "I won't allow it!" But she knew he was in pain, and she was worried about him.

"Zelda, dear?" Impa asked. "Is something wrong? You haven't said anything since we left." She gently laid her hand on her shoulder, trying to comfort the young teenager.

Zelda moved away. "Don't touch me," she angrily replied. She just wanted to be left alone right now.

She looked out the window of the carriage. It was dark and stormy, but she could make out what was left on the Lon Lon Ranch. Nobody lived there anymore, not since the tragic fire that had claimed two lives. It was a terrible tragedy for all of Hyrule, Talon and his daughter were well known throughout the land and well liked.

Suddenly, Zelda felt bitterly cold. The knowledge of Link's unhappiness, which had stuck in her mind like a splinter all these years, suddenly came to the front of her mind. It was a premonition, a vision of the future, another one of her "gifts". Something terrible was going to happen, and only she knew about it. But what could she do? Shout, "stop the carriage! Something bad is going to happen?" Her father had never shown the slightest interest in her "visions", why would he now? Zelda just sat in silence as the carriage slowly made its way to Hyrule Castle.

Link held the steel dagger in his hand, sure that this was the last image he would see. He wondered what it would be like, on the "other side." People had wondered what happened to the soul after death, well, he was about to find out. Just as he raised the blade above his chest, prepared to plunge it into his flesh, he saw a light glint off in the distance. Link squinted, trying to make out its shape. He saw that it was a carriage, drawn by two pure, white stallions, with guards in front and behind. Link remembered that this was how the Royal Family traveled. He thought about approaching it, but decided not to. The guards would probably think him a drunken peasant threatening the Royal Family, and kill him on sight. That wasn't how he wanted to go.

He ignored the procession, concentrating again on the knife. No more stalling. No more pain. That was it, an end to pain and loneliness. Link was leaving this world for a better place. Closing his eyes, and forcing his muscles to move to his mind's wish against their will, he raised the blade above his body. He thrust the blade into his chest, feeling his warm blood spill out onto his hands. He collapsed to the muddy ground, and with his remaining strength he wrenched the blade out of his body and tossed it aside. With his life bleeding out of him and coughing up blood, he took one last look at the royal procession, before being enveloped by darkness.