You Wish! Productions presents...
The Mirror Tells All
A Legend of Zelda Fan Fiction
By: Blue Taboo
Proud member of Darkscribes.org
As the ripples in the water began to fade out and away into the silvery surface of the forest pond, the eerie reflection came back to haunt the young man it belonged to once again. He couldn't help but notice that he had truly grown into the image of himself he had been able to glimpse for a short, but arduous pack of days, that were a future never to be. Some things were different, yes, with this the natural passage of years, but seven years would not lie, and the last time Link had gotten water from that calm little speck of water in this slightly familiar forest, the reflection had been the one he thought he would always have. It was not to be, though. His image had changed at the hands of time and was mercy to it, as it was with most other children.
The horse upon which he rode away from that pond had changed as well, from barely more than a foal to a proud, tall, rusty-coated mare that was one of the fastest he had ever encountered in all the lands she had borne him to. It had been a long journey, but one Link had put upon himself.
That day, when she had put the Ocarina back into his once small hands, he thought that all he had gone through, the trials, the hardships, and the grief over lost friends, was a vicious cycle, doomed to repeat with only his memory of it remaining. Thankfully, that wasn't so. She remember too, and her reason for giving him the instrument once again was that she believed he would do greater good with it, that is, until he returned it. She never said when, or how he should go about giving it back to her, only that he should take it for the time being, and help others as he had helped her, and all the people of their kingdom.
Link had obeyed with a simple passion. He bought the horse he had once, but would never steal, and rode out to stranger lands, away from Hyrule. His journey lasted for the time that he had once slept away in the Sacred Realm, but never did. He crossed plains, mountains, and even oceans, only stopping when he met that final ocean that would just take him back to Hyrule yet again. Rather than crossing it, he took the long way back, still obeying, and over the course of those seven years, he saved all manner of things from the evil he was sure that his own home was now safe from. Whether it was a god, a kingdom, a person, or even a bird, he had tried to do all that he could to help it. He had succeeded, for the most part, and one day, when he saw his reflection on a pond not unlike this forest pond, he knew, suddenly, that it was time to go home.
"It's just through those trees," he said quietly to Epona, out of an almost incumbent respect for the great forest that encased them. "We'll reach Hyrule before the sun sets and then we'll ride to the castle."
Link, despite all the people he had befriended along the way, and all those who admired him for what he'd done, had only one companion in all his travels. Epona never talked back to him, but she did listen. She listened and carried him willingly, along with all that he had accumulated over the years. Masks, instruments, and all sorts of others eclectic items lined his saddle bags, but she didn't mind the weight, nor the fact that her rider never seemed to stop growing. He was leveling off, though, now at the fringe of adulthood. It had been a wonder before to have clothes that actually fit, but he had several sets now that suit him well. In fact, he was wearing his newest, made especially for his homecoming.
He had showed the seamstress the tattered remains of the little green tunic and hat, then explained the rest of the outfit from forgotten future he required. All and all, in combination with the shoemaker and armorer, he looked nearly just like his memory of himself. His shield was old and worn, with a few slightly obvious repairs, and his sword was not indeed the Master Sword, but rather a gilded broadsword that came from a favor he called upon. His tunic was green as was his hat, and he planned to keep the look on her face in his mind forever when he met her again.
Throughout it all, that was his plan, to see Zelda again.
He couldn't help but wonder, if she would do the same as he did, and grown into his vision of the dead end future that she claimed to share. She had been very beautiful, as well as a powerful sage, but she was a only princess now, or at least he hoped. No, no, it had to be so, because he would've known if something had gone wrong. Nonetheless, he wanted to see that all was as peaceful as he left it in Hyrule, the only change being the marring, or possibly beautifying effect of age.
And that was why he ran Epona down that last bit of trail, out into the field, towards the setting sun. The forest was aglow with orange light as he raced towards its end, no longer able to contain his want for home. It had been so long and it was time enough. He wanted to go back, and to stay there forever. He had to. That was why it was called home in the first place.
In that instant when he emerged from the trees, the ruddy light nearly blinded him, only to pass and reveal the serene hilly field that was the center of his kingdom. It was quiet, as most places are near dusk, and peaceful. Link felt a burden lifted from his shoulders. All seemed well enough, in fact, it was slightly changed, but for the better. The once fading dirt roads were now all connected and full of wagon ruts. People were moving around and trading, so there couldn't be anything wrong. The Lon Lon ranch lay shillouetted against the nearly crimson sky, its windows already lit with a warm, welcoming glow and far to the north, the battlements of the castle town could just be seen over the rolling countryside. To the east, more trees encroached upon the land as the forest belonging to the Kokiri children staked its eternal claim.
"We're home," Link assured his mount as she took in the scenery. "We're home."
As much as he was reveling in the peace of his homeland, another urgency began to stir in Link's mind as he realized that the drawbridge to the castle town would be closing soon, and he'd have to wait out another night before he could truly be finished with his journey and see Zelda again. As soon as the fact dawned on him, he set his heels to Epona and they dove towards the gate. He wanted to see her so badly...to tell her all that he had done in her name...and to see her smile again...or just merely to see her and prove once and for all that his troubles and toils were not all for nothing.
He was galloping is horse so fast, that they nearly ran over the three strange guards who stood watch over the drawbridge, which was still down, and as he remembered it, usually unmanned. Epona reared as he leaned back on the reigns, but he was used to such sudden stopping, and took it in stride, more vexed over the guards than the idea of falling off his horse.
"Whoa there!" the left one shouted out towards him as Epona came back to steady ground, "I know you must be in a hurry, but be a little bit more careful there, lad."
"He nearly ran us down," another guard, who stood on the right of the three, commented as Link slowly approached.
"State your business, and it better be good," the guard in the middle prompted, "Seeing as you almost broke all of our necks."
Link thought it better not to ask the guards why they were there and simply used the excuse he had always used in Hyrule, "I'm a messenger of the Royal Family."
To his surprise, and dismay, the guards started laughing, nearly falling over each other in their revelry at his statement.
"Ho," the middle one began, "I'm afraid you're a little late, if that's the case, eh boys?"
They laughed again and the middle one continued, "So what's your real business."
"What do you mean late?" Link asked, trying to hide the desperate nature of his question. Had something happened? To the Royal Family? To Zelda?
"Hey, I think this guy's no joker," the left one offered to the middle guard, who seemed to be in charge of the three man operation.
"Maybe he mean's that he's a messenger for his Imperial Highness," the right one added.
"Imperial who?" Link asked again.
The guards then proceeded to stare at him blankly.
"Boy," the middle one said, looking right at Link and breaking the silence, "Please tell me that you are either joking and are an actor of sorts to boot, or that you have been away from quite some time."
"I have been on a very long journey, yes," he answered, feeling his urgency take over his calm exterior once again. "Just what has happened here?"
"...Ho boy," the boss sighed, "This is a story you're not bound to like much at all, unless you get the full explanation, so you best be letting your horse rest and getting out of the saddle for a while."
Link obeyed thoughtfully, though very slowly and asked again, "What happened? What of the princ--I mean the Royal Family."
"Well, you see--" the left guard began, but was cut off the a simple wave of his superior's spear.
"I'll tell the boy," he affirmed, then looked at Link, taking in the young swordsman with eyes that showed more compassion than they probably should have. "As I'm sure you know, even if you left here as a babe, our King was a very elderly man. Though he was in good health for his old age, time simply could not ignore him any longer. He passed away just about two years ago, leaving only his daughter, Princess Zelda, to the throne."
Link nodded. Though he barely knew the old King, only having seen him through a window a handful of times, or hearing about him from Zelda, he had figured that the old man would have passed on soon enough. He knew that he had no Queen, but not why that was so, and that Zelda was an only child. This was something Link had expected, and therefore, he was not shocked to hear it.
"But you see," the gruff guard continued, "Hyrule has always been a land of Kings. You know this boy, don't you? So when little Zelda was the sole heir to the throne, and unmarried, people started getting upset. They wanted to keep Hyrule a kingdom, not a queendom, mind you. So at first, they tried to get her to marry any noble they could find, even if she was a little young for it."
Somehow, that thought horrified Link. At that point, he knew there was something worse coming...something he did not want to hear, though he didn't know why...
"But she refused, over and over again. She wouldn't let herself be dumped off on any old rich man, even for the sake of her people. It ain't my place to say this, but you know, I think it might've been better if she did."
Link could hear the echo of a name that was slander in itself in his head. He did not want to think of such things, of Ganondorf even being able to take such an opportunity.
"The people just wouldn't have it. All different factions formed together and started fighting. Some of them wanted her to be Queen, others wanted her dead, and some even wanted to simply instate a new Royal Family, while yet even more impressed the idea of changing the entire way this land is run. It was a bad time, but it didn't last more than a few months..."
Link prayed this was the only "bad time". The story, while ominous enough, gave him hope that Zelda was still alive.
"Then his Imperial Highness came, with his army, and put a stop to all the nonsense and fighting with his soldiers. I don't know if your travels have ever taken you far enough from here to reach it, by his Imperial Highness is the Emperor of a the great Empire of Wrineria, which is so large, that sun supposedly never sets on it. I don't believe that myself, but I will tell you, his troops managed to get this place back in line very quickly. That was just about a year ago, right boys?"
The other two nodded at him, seemingly just as transfixed as Link.
"By the by, he annexed Hyrule, claiming it was only temporary, and saying that he would leave as soon as we could find a solution to the problem at hand. I don't believe that either, and neither to any of the boys here, or back in the barracks. I tell you, he's gonna stay here until he convinces us all to just be another part of his big bad Empire and then move on to do the same to another kingdom...not that it's my place to say...but still."
"But what about the Princess," Link found himself blurting out.
"Oh she's still up in the castle. I think the Emperor himself's got his eye on her, even if he's twice her age. Marrying her would be the quickest way to get Hyrule anyway, and that's what all the folk who work up in the castle say he's trying to do." The guard paused, thinking for a moment, then said, "You know, if you really do have a message to deliver, I guess you can deliver it to her. I can't see the harm in that, how about you boys?"
The other two guards shook their heads, indicating that there was no harm to be done.
"I know it's a lot to get used to, and I feel sorry for you, being gone all this time, so I'll let you in," the boss guard proposed, "but you're gonna have to leave the horse out here. You need special permission to bring a horse into town, since everything's gotta be regulated by the Empire nowadays."
Link stood silently for a moment taking all in, then let out a "Thank you sir, I appreciate all you've done," before sighing heavily.
"It'll be all right, lad," the right guard assured him. "After all, things do change, you know, and I'm sure everything will turn out well for you in the end, if nothing else."
"We can watch the mare for you too, if you like," the left guard offered.
Link ambled over to Epona, suddenly feeling weary under the weight of what had happened to Hyrule. It was no deed of evil, but a deed of another power he had never brought himself to understand. The only diplomacy Link knew was at the hands of a sword. It didn't quite make sense to him why his people would let this happen, but it had happened, and though he had once changed time itself, Link no longer had the ability to change the past...
But as he reached into the saddlebag, fumbling for that old familiar cool oblong shape amidst the clutter, he thought, that just maybe, he hadn't really lost it at all.
He still had the Ocarina, and that he was assured of as he pulled it out, the last of the sun's rays offering to shine on its pale blue surface...but could he still use it like that?
He would ask Zelda. She would know. He could still see her again...so all was not lost.
Another urgency rose in his veins, this one greater than all the rest.
"She can fend for herself fine, and I can call her if I need her," he told the guards, "But thank you once again. I will not forget your kindness, and I promise, that if I see you again, I'll at least give you the whole story, straight from the Princess' lips, since you were kind enough to tell it to me."
"Then I look forward to the day we meet again," the boss guard stated. "Now off you go, the town's gonna be locked up for the night soon enough, and no matter how much I like you, I can't hold down the bridge for you to cross it."
Link gripped the Ocarina of Time firmly in his gauntleted hand and ran off on to the bridge. "Until we meet again!" he cried after the guards as he reached the stone-paved streets of the castle town.
"'Shield-eaters and world leaders have many likes alike!'" one of the men quoted in a roar, much to the amusement of his fellow guards, just as the bridge started clanking up.
Link knew the old adage well, and couldn't help but smile at the irony.
/_\ /_\ Blue Taboo /_\ /_\