I have no copyright. I do not take credit for anyone else's. Zelda and all affiliates belong to some other people. They make money, I don't, end of story.
I want a hero: an uncommon want,
When every year and month sends forth a new one,
Till, after cloying the gazettes with cant,
The age discovers he is not the true one;
Link fixed the feedbag more comfortably around the horse's ears, and gave him an extra pat on the shoulder. The horse flicked an ear at him, and neighed shortly, before beginning to munch on the oats in the bag. Link smiled, and turned to pick up the other feeders which a cuckoo had been eyeing greedily. He shooed the feathery fiend away, and walked towards another side of corral, where a juvenile was watching him warily.
He sighed. This young horse had been giving him a lot of trouble. Ingo had picked him up from a nomad trader who had been traveling through Hyrule only two months ago, and it had been a struggle ever since.
Link took one of the smaller feedbags from the rest and shook it invitingly at the juvenile. It snorted back, and stomped a foot, before moving down the side of the fence in a trot. Laughter trickled on the breeze to Link, and he turned with a frown to see Malon, the Ranch Keeper's daughter, smiling innocently. He put a hand on his side.
"Really, its not so funny after the first few hundred times!"
Malon laughed again, but unhooked Epona from the rope she'd had her on, and came over. Link looked over to where the beautiful young horse was trotting away, determined not to be roped again. The colt was getting bigger, and would soon be one of the finest of Lon Lon Ranch.
He'd had his eye on the animal since he'd come to this ranch, five years ago, when he was a boy of eleven. Then, the colt would let no one but Malon touch her, until Malon showed Link how to play her song on his ocarina. Ever since, he'd secretly wanted the horse for his own.
Malon came over and took the feedbag from him, jolting him from his thoughts.
"Here, I'll do him, if you'll see if you can get Epona to hold still long enough for you!"
He smiled gratefully, and made his way along the fence, his eyes on Epona. The horse stopped, and looked back at him, tossing her head. He grinned back at her, and advanced. The young horse danced away from his approach playfully, and he gave chase. He was a strong lad, a born fighter. His muscles were hardened from working on the ranch, and he was quick on his feet. Quick, but not so quick as to be able to catch the fleet-footed Epona.
Finally, he came to a stop in the center of the corral, and put the remaining feedbags down. Epona watched him from the far corner of the fence, grazing nonchalantly, as if uninterested. He slowly put his hand down to his belt, and unhooked his ocarina. The instrument was odd for its type. It was not brightly colored, nor large in size. The hull was made of a light colored forest wood, smoothed of splinters and grooves. It was small in his larger hands, but he held it carefully, and with affection.
Now Epona was looking the other way, pretending she didn't see him. He brought the instrument up to his lips, and blew experimentally, producing a clear, high note, which caught the attention of all of the horses, causing many heads to turn to the young man with the ocarina. He fixed his fingers over the appropriate holes, and started to play. The tune was lazy, and warm, causing many ears to flicker around in enjoyment. Epona brought her head up, and turned to him. She gave a knicker of approval, and slowly trotted over to him as he play the song.
He grinned, but did not halt in playing until she was at his side. She nosed him in the ribs, and he brought out a hand to pat her nose.
"Here you are," He said, and brought a feedbag up to hook around her head. She took it easily, and then moved away to crunch contentedly on the oats.
He turned to see Malon coming up behind him, the headstrong young horse being led on a rope. She was aware of how fond Link was of Epona, and smiled as she watched the horse trot away.
"You've almost got her eating out of your hands, now!"
Link shrugged self-deprecatingly, and moved over to pat the juvenile's shoulder. The horse snorted at him, and moved away. Malon sighed.
"He's quite the stubborn one, and not coming around at all. What was Ingo thinking? He's a fine breed, but it doesn't make up for the fact that he won't cooperate!"
Link nodded and turned to look at the sun's position low in the sky.
"I suppose we can work with him tomorrow some before we go, its getting late now."
Malon shaded her eyes and peered over towards the stalls. Talon would be out soon, to take the horses in, and it would be Malon's job to cook dinner. She untied the young horse from the rope, and coiled it up. Both watched him trot away, tail raised in displeasure.
Link lay back on the cot, his arms folded behind his head, and thought about the day. The young horse was getting to be trouble. It was at what was usually called an unbreakable age in its life, but Malon was giving her best. Link had decided that it was far too much trouble for what it was worth, as had Talon, but Malon was stubborn, and would not give up.
He sighed, and stretched his body, feeling the vertebrae in his spine pop as they settled back into place. Ranch life meant a lot of work, but he'd fallen into the position nicely. Had it only been five years since he'd come here? An orphaned boy living in the forest among the Kokiri children, he'd left to find out who he was, if not Kokiri, and had stumbled upon this ranch while scrounging for work. Talon had offered him a position after he had helped the man deliver his famous Lon Lon milk around, and Link had jumped at the offer to work with the horses, and his new friend Malon.
Since then it had been day in and day out, working from dawn till dusk, and finding a home under the open sky.
He fiddled with the wooden ocarina, clasping it in his left hand and holding it up to the single candle's light. Still. He felt out of place, as if there was something more that he was missing. He studied the worn grooves around the holes on the instrument, caused from years of use. He'd always had this, since he could remember, and was not sure where he had received it from. It was Kokiri, that much the forest children had told him. A sacred instrument of the woodlands, which could play the mystical Song of the Forest, if ever one knew the song.
Link did not know the song, so he spent his time learning other songs. Songs of Hylians, which were given out to anyone who wanted to know them, and were not mystical, or sacred.