A/N: Before this starts, I just want to explain that although this does novelize Ocarina of Time, I am going to do my best to give the story and the game justice while making it my own. This is not going to be a glorified walkthrough or something like that. Also, there are, obviously, major changes to the original story. Saria has always been my favourite character in the game, so I hope that you will like my interpretation of her as the story goes on.
P.S. I do not own the Legend of Zelda franchise.
Chapter One: A Bad Feeling
"Link?" He was fast asleep, but tossing and turning. His young face was drenched in sweat, his blonde hair plastered by it to his forehead, and he was shivering under his inadequately thin blanket. Saria had been trying to wake him for a few minutes now, but the way he thrashed about it was as if he was more than dreaming- he was in another world in his sleep. Sighing, the small green-haired girl got up and exited his treehouse, climbing down the ladder and heading across the small village to her own house. Here, she took a dish and scooped up some of the soup she had left simmering on a low fire. Link was nearly always hungry. By the time she headed back there, he was finally awake, stood on the edge outside his home, looking out of sorts and tired despite his slumber.
"Saria?" He called her name when he saw her approach. His house was set a little apart from the others, and a few tall trees masked the one he occupied unless you directly faced it. She waved and he climbed down the ladder, approaching her where she waited.
"Hi, Link," She greeted him softly, "I brought you some soup."
"Thanks," He replied. They walked a short while through the village to the small stream that provided them with fresh water. Saria perched on a smooth fallen branch while Link splashed his face with the cool stream water. When he was done with his ministrations, he came and sat beside her, accepting the broth. It was still warm and tasted earthy, flavoured with deku nuts as well as some of the herbs that could be found around the woods.
"You were having nightmares again," Saria broached the subject eventually; Link wasn't much of a talker, after all, and she knew he'd never tell her about it unless she asked, "What was it this time?"
"Same thing as always," Link replied quietly, his blue eyes gazing out at the stream in a way that made it seem he wasn't really seeing it, "Rain. This bridge going down… and the man... always the same man, with dark skin and red hair." Everybody had nightmares from time to time, but there was something different about the dreams that Link had been having lately. Saria could tell. Link wasn't usually afraid of anything, but these dreams frightened him to the bone. It gave her a bad feeling in her stomach- a feeling which hadn't gone away this morning when the Great Deku Tree had summoned Link to see him, though she hadn't told him that yet.
"Link," She began, "I need to ask you something."
"What?" He asked, finishing off the last mouthful of soup and wiping his mouth.
"That no matter what happens…. No matter what happens, we'll still be friends." Link looked at her strangely then, questioning silently what brought her to say this. "Just promise me?"
"I promise," He answered, looking confused. Saria smiled, but it was a weak smile.
"Between us, I… I have a bad feeling too." As in most of the time, Link didn't say anything, he just raised a questioning eyebrow at her, asking her to elaborate, "I feel… I feel like something is about to happen. Like everything is about to change." It was there in the whisper of the leaves as breezes passed from branch to branch, tree to tree, like murmuring voices rather than the result of normal weather patterns. The forest was trying to tell her something. If only Saria knew what it was.
"Nothing's going to change, Saria," Link told her, "Nothing that really matters."
"The Great Deku Tree wants to see you, Link," She informed him finally, "He asked me to send you to him as soon as I could."
"What is it about?" He asked her, but Saria shrugged. She didn't know. "Do you think I might finally get a fairy?" This, she knew, was Link's deepest desire. A fairy was the symbol which would mean he was truly a Kokiri- and he'd be accepted by the other children in the forest. While most of the time they were nice to him, he'd always been an outsider, the only one without a fairy, and Mido did nothing to help matters by teasing him and rubbing salt in the wound.
"Maybe," Saria replied, forcing herself to smile. She knew that Link wasn't a true Kokiri- it was something else the forest had told her, a long time ago. Link was a Hylian, from the land beyond the trees which the Kokiri would never see. The Great Deku Tree had sworn her to secrecy, saying that they would tell him when he was ready and the time was right. So, she allowed him to have hope, against her better judgement. The Great Deku Tree knew better than she did when somebody was ready to hear the truth.
Unfortunately, Mido stopped Link from going to see the Great Deku Tree.
"Don't be so ridiculous, Mido. He was summoned!" Saria argued. Mido folded his arms obstinately.
"No way. He needs to be wearing a sword and shield before he can go," The self-proclaimed 'boss' of the Kokiri insisted.
"I have a Deku shield somewhere at home," Link huffed. He was clearly annoyed at yet again being pushed around by Mido.
"But not a sword," Saria pointed out, "There's only one sword in the whole forest, and that's the Kokiri Sword. We aren't supposed to use it unless there's an intruder."
"Well, that's quite a dilemma, isn't it?" Mido said smugly. Link tried to walk around Mido, circling around one of the trees which hugged the path to the Great Deku Tree's meadow, but Mido successfully blocked his way yet again. "I'm not letting you go through here unequipped. A wimp like you could easily be killed!"
"What's going to kill him in the meadow?" Saria heard her own voice snap.
"I don't make the rules," Mido said defensively, "The Deku Tree himself told me to stop anybody going through here without a sword and shield. Obviously he chose right to trust me to enforce the rules and not you two!"
"But I've been summoned!" Link protested.
"I doubt it. What would the Great Deku Tree want with you?" Link narrowed his eyes and took a step closer to Mido after that comment but Saria, tired of the warring boys, grabbed her friend's arm and led him out of earshot of Mido.
"You're going to have to get the Kokiri Sword. He won't be able to stop you if you do everything he says," She pointed out to Link.
"I don't want to do what he says," Link complained.
"It's quicker and easier than fighting him," Saria pointed out. Link sighed.
"Fine. But I don't know where the sword even is." She could tell he was surprised when a smile spread across her face.
"Luckily, I do."
Link shuffled through the narrow hole in the rock behind the Forest Training Centre. According to Saria, the Kokiri Sword was somewhere behind here. When he finally emerged, he stood up to find himself in a sort of stone maze. The walls of the maze were around twice his height, but beyond that he could see that the trees of the forest continued. On his right hand he could already see that it was a dead end, with nothing but a few weeds growing there, but ahead there was a pathway. As soon as he took a step out, a yelp escaped him as an enormous boulder rolled by, threatening to crush him. Breathing, he told himself to be careful before he set off through the maze.
He had to avoid the boulder one more time but the maze wasn't anywhere as near as big or as daunting as it had looked from the outset. He supposed that this was a disused part of the Training Centre, as Nayru knew he'd spent enough hours in this place, learning how to backflip, roll and block punches, not to mention swordfighting with deku sticks. Right at the back of the maze there was a small alcove. A few more weeds and plants grew wild here, but nestled in the middle of these was a large brown chest. Link flipped the clasps up on it before throwing back the heavy lid. The lining of the box was green silky material, and sitting in the very centre of it was a small sword, made to fit the hand of a child.
Link picked it up, examining it. Everybody had heard of the Kokiri Sword, but as they were forbidden to use it unless under very serious circumstances, nobody had ever actually seen it or wielded it. The hilt was set with a small, glinting red stone, almost like a red rupee, though the red was much deeper and richer. Grinning, Link indulged himself in a few swipes with the sword, cutting through some of the weeds and vines growing in the alcove. Satisfied at it's sharpness and pleased to find he could wield a real sword just as well as a deku stick, he set off back for the Forest Training Center. Saria was still waiting for him when he got back, talking to her fairy, Juno.
"Oh, good, you found it!" She smiled, and he saw excitement in her eyes as she was clearly bursting to tell him something, "And somebody else found me..." Link's eyes widened as, from behind Saria, a second fairy flew up. Her white light almost hurt the eyes if you stared too long, but the voice was sharp and clear as she called out:
"Hey! Link! I'm Navi the fairy. The Great Deku Tree has sent me to be your companion!"
"I can't believe this!" Needless to say, Mido was furious. Not only had Link had the gall to return with both a sword and a shield, but he also now had a fairy- robbing him of something which had given him years of fun teasing Link about. Mido began to pace backwards and forwards angrily. "First you get to be the favourite of Saria and now the Great Deku Tree too? Good grief!" Link decided to just let him rant to himself rather than try to respond or justify himself. Mido considered himself to be something like a leader for the Kokiri but he was little more than a childish bully, a kid who threw tantrums when he didn't get his own way.
"Fine," Mido finally snapped, "Even with a sword and shield a wimp is still a wimp, huh?" He stormed away into the trees, kicking every twig and rock as he went to create as much noise as possible. Link watched him go.
"What was that all about?" Navi chirped, making Link jump. He had forgotten she was there, given how long he'd been without her.
"Nothing," Link mumbled, "Let's go." He wound his way down the familiar path to the Great Deku Tree's meadow; it was only a short distance from the rest of the Kokiri village. On his way, the usual Deku Baba's reared their bulbous blue heads, snapping at him. He ignored the first few, as they were too slow to really catch him, but then he remembered something and pulled out the sword. He swung it at a Baba, slicing through it's stalk cleanly. Grinning in a satisfied way, Link snapped off the head, pulling it open to reveal the nuts inside of it. Pocketing a few Deku Nuts, he also snapped off the stalk from the base. He tucked the Deku Stick into his belt; you could never have too many of them.
The Great Deku Tree's enormous branches obscured most of the sunlight that flooded into his meadow, but the sun was bright enough to make out through the ancient branches and bark the face of the tree; the face of a very old, very wise man seemingly carved into the trunk.
Navi flew out to him immediately, zooming up so she was hovering at eye level to the tree.
"Great Deku Tree! I'm back!"
"Navi..." The tree's voice boomed. Link had always wondered whether the tree could actually speak, or whether he was hearing his voice inside his own head, seeing as the mouth of the tree never moved. "And Link. The boy without a fairy…"
"Great Deku Tree," Link bowed, "I was told you summoned me."
Link wasn't back, and that worried Saria. What was so important that the Great Deku Tree would keep him all day? She tried to wait patiently but eventually night began to fall in the Kokiri Forest and she gave up any pretence of this. She simply had to know what was going on.
During the daylight hours the forest was never cold. Regardless of whether the bits of sky between the trees was bright blue or grey, or whether sunlight filtered down through the leaves or whether raindrops did, the forest was always balmy and pleasantly warm, with the lightest of breezes. But at night, it often grew chilly. Saria had a cloak of some sort of animal hide dyed her customary green, which she fastened around her neck before heading out of the house.
Outside, another forest girl, Fado, was waiting.
"Did you hear the rumour? The Great Deku Tree is dying." Saria looked at Fado; she was a strange girl and always had been. She laughed at morbid things and fixated on anything even a little macabre. She would often follow travellers into the Lost Woods just to see what would happen to them as they got lost forever, their souls dying without the protection of a fairy. Saria had never really considered Fado a friend.
"Don't say things like that," Saria told her harshly.
"One of the Skull Kid's heard it. They heard him tell Link he's been cursed."
Suddenly Saria was running. Fado called after her but Saria ignored her, flying through the darkening village and through the tree's, ignoring the snatches of Baba's as she ran flat out ti the Great Deku Tree's meadow. There, out of breath and anxious, she looked up at the great tree.
"Ah, Saria," He said, recognising her, "And Juno the fairy. Thou hath heard the news."
A/N: So here we have it, chapter 1! I would love any feedback so please leave me a review!