CHAPTER SIX - SEEKING THE ELDER





This time the sun was not as bright to Link's tired eyes as he set out down the Western path towards the village. He could see dark clouds forming over the great mountain in the North. He knew from his travels around the land of Hyrule that these were called the Death Mountains; a place spoken about only in whispers and only if completely necessary. Link heard about them from his uncle. He hoped to the Gods he wouldn't have to journey there.



Link carried on down the path heading toward the forest that formed the northeastern borders of the land. Link had also heard many stories about this place, although they were not as ominous. It was a place of great mystery, as Death Mountain was a place of great fear and danger. Even being so, Link had never dared enter there either. People said that if you ventured into the trees, you would never come back. Link did not want to take that chance.



From time to time Link caught sight of a soldier marching in the distance. Even though they killed his uncle. He still pitied them. It was not their fault. Agahnim was to blame. He was the murderer.



He was still weary of coming near to the soldiers, so he found an alternate way around them whenever necessary. He had to cause a distraction by setting loose some chickens from a cottage's pen on the way. Once the guard had hurried away to investigate, Link dashed down the path.



It was mid-afternoon when Link came to the hut that he knew lied just outside of the village. He knew it was a fortuneteller, but had never had the money to actually go inside and get a reading. His curiosity got the better of him and he ducked through the opening.



It was dimly lit and stuffy inside the tented-room. The air hung heavy with the scent of incense and oils. Link stood at the opening for a moment to let his eyes adjust.



"Come, my child and be seated. You wish for me to tell you of you future."



Link heard the voice come from deeper inside the tent. He walked forward slowly and sat down at the small table that was there. He could barely see the teller. Her face was shrouded in darkness.



Link felt odd in this place. The surroundings were dark and somewhat menacing, but oddly enough, he felt completely at ease and without fear. A feeling of safety overcame him as he sat.



"Do not be afraid here, young one. My business deals in mystery, but you need not think of it in such a dark light. I am here to help you."



She paused a moment and looked at Link, although he could not see her eyes.



"You wish me to tell you of your travels to come."



"I do," he said.



"Your quest, Link, is just at its beginning. The road will be long; the tasks hard. You will face great dangers along the way, some so great that many a good and brave man have perished facing them. The path will be full of unseen dangers and mystery. You will see things no mortal man is meant to see. You will do things not mortal man is meant to do. But this is your road. You are the journey, Link, in every sense. You will learn more of what I speak of in time. In due time, Link, all will be clear."



Link sat silently listening to the teller speak of his future. Her words instilled great fear somewhere deep in his stomach, yet even as he heard of it, he was still somehow not afraid.



"For now Link, you need to visit the Village Kakariko that lies just a few strides outside of my door. Seek of whom you have heard. Let no mouth go unused. Let no stone go unturned. There you will learn more of the puzzle that is placed before you. There, Link, your journey begins. Go now and fare well on your task! Come see me again whenever your heart is in doubt."



Link got up, paid and walked blindly out of the tent. He did not know of what to think about everything he just heard. He was fearful, yet uplifted at the same time. He sat on a low stump outside for sometime, just thinking. Finally he came out of his mind and stood up to finish the walk to the village. He could see the gates just ahead.



He was not ten strides down the path when he stopped. There he saw a newly posted sign on the side of the dirt.



WANTED! This is the criminal who kidnapped Zelda. Call a soldier if you see him!



Beneath the sign was a picture of him.



'Zelda was right,' he thought. He would have to be extra careful wherever he went now.



A moment later he came to the archway that marked the entrance to the village. He walked down the stone path, looking here and there. Link had been in this village hundreds of times before, but it never felt more uninviting than it did at the moment. He spied a lone guard patrolling the cobbled walks and barely anyone was walking the streets. He spied an old lady sweeping in front of her home. She had been a good friend of his uncle's. He decided she would be his first stop.



She greeted him with a mournful smile as he approached. She gave him a quick motherly hug and ushered him inside silently.



"How are you doing Link?" she asked.



"I'm ok."



"Of course you're not. Let me get you some tea."



She hurried off to the kitchen and busied herself with the drinks while Link sat at the table by himself. He was really appreciative of her kindness, but would have rather just talked and left. Lingering made him think about his uncle. Keeping himself on task got his mind off of those things. She returned momentarily with a pot and a plate of small cakes.



"What are all those signs about Link?" she asked. "You didn't really kidnap the Princess did you?"



"No, no. Of course not. It's a long and strange story, I'm afraid. There really is not time for it."



"I understand that, Link. Strange times are upon us I'm afraid."



"I'm afraid so too. But as long as you stay inside and don't bother anyone it will be ok."



"Oh that's my philosophy, Link! Mind your tongue and don't let you eyes wander where they aren't welcome! That's how I've always lived.



Where are you headed, Link?"



"That's what I came her for actually. I was hoping you could tell me something about the village elder."



"The Elder? Why Link, I haven't seen him for good while now. I did not realize it until now. Must have been around the time when things started to go strange that I missed him."



"I would have figured as much. Do you know anything about the Master Sword then?"



"The Master Sword? Why do you ask about that, Link?"



"I'm looking for it. I was told the Elder knows of its location."



"Now Link, I don't want to tell you what to do and I know that if you want the sword you must have a good reason, but the things I have heard about that sword are enough to make me weary of your desire to have it."



"Don't worry. I have kind eyes looking out for me."



"Well just do be careful," she said with concern in her eyes.



"You have nothing to worry about," Link reapplied with a look of assurance.



"Ok then. The Master Sword. Well I don't remember the details exactly, but here goes.



Long ago, a prosperous people known as the Hylia inhabited this land. Legends tell of the many treasures they left behind hidden. The Master Sword, a mighty blade forged against those with evil hearts, is said to be one of them. People say that now it is sleeping deep within the forest.



That's really all of the legend I know, Link."



"That helps. It definitely helps."



"I would suggest finding someone who knows where the Elder is. He would know more than anybody else in this land. There must be someone in the village who knows where he is."



"I'll do that then."



"Take head, Link. The soldiers are looking for you. I may not think you to be a villain, but others might. Tread softly."



"That I will. Thank you for everything."



She smiled back at him lovingly and escorted him to the door.



Back outside, Link made his way to the pub. He heard nothing there however, save a strange tale about the loss of a man's son.



Everywhere he went there was either nobody willing to talk to him or nobody that knew of the Elder.



Finally, he found what he was looking for. It came in the form of a small boy tending to some chickens towards the Southern part of the village.



"Elder? Are you talking about Grandpa? Don't tell any of the bad people about this, but he's hiding in the palace pas the castle. I'll mark the spot on the map. Here you are," he said, drawing the "X."



"Thanks!" Link replied.



"Say 'hello' to Grandpa for me!" the boy said as Link dashed away.



Spurred on by this new information, Link made his way to the southern exit of the village with great haste. Leaping own stairs and over rocks he went and emerged minutes later outside of the town near what he knew to be a clearing surrounded by many trees.



He stopped short and sat, listening attentively. He could have sworn he heard the playing of a flute. He heard it again and walked through the nearby trees in the direction it was coming from. As he emerged from the canopy he saw a peculiar sight.



A young boy, no older than himself, was standing on a low tree trunk, playing a flute. He was surrounded by many creatures of the forest as if they were listening to him. He was almost playing to them.



Link squinted his eyes to look harder at the boy. He did not recognize him, although he could barely make him out. It seemed that he was there, but he wasn't. He appeared almost transparent, as if his body was made out of the mist of the forest.



It was then that Link remembered the old man's story in the pub. He told Link of his son who had disappeared one day while out walking. The old man spoke of his son's love of a flute, of which he played whenever he could with great skill.



Link emerged slowly from the trees and crept closer to the boy. He did not get far before he kneeled on a twig and broke his silence. At once the creatures fled and before he could say anything, the boy vanished.



Mystified by this experience, Link continued on with the thought of what other strange things he might happen upon.



It wasn't long before he came upon more palace guards. They were walking up and down the path in front of his house like mindless zombies. No doubt they were waiting to see if he would return. Link decided to see if he could sneak past the guards rather than risk another mêlée of weapons.



He waited hidden behind a tree for them to walk around the corner where they would not see him. Once they did, he dashed up onto the hill where his house sat. There he was too high up to be noticed by them.



Again he waited for them to come back around and he quickly jumped down from the hill and ran down the path out of sight.



He continued this way on down the path for a good while, ever while avoiding the soldiers in this fashion. Soon he came upon the bridge that crossed the river that flowed into Lake Hyrule. He did not spot any guards so he crossed the stone bridge and quickly turned to the east.



Link remembered traveling here with his uncle when he was a small boy. He could just picture a small cottage with a thatched roof. He knew that must be where the Elder was.



Link passed by the steep walls of a plateau and turned north again. There he passed under several stone archways and made his way up a narrow flight of stairs. The land in this area was highly unpredictable. There would be a terrace in one area where stairs would be needed and then in another spot there would be a hole in the ground, big enough to fit a home. Soon enough he came to where he knew the dwelling was. In a small hollow in the land sat the house.