Zelda clung to me and I clung to Saria as without further ado we were made to march off blind through the chilly air. Zelda kept calm but I could hear her heartbeat, as well, and it told me how traumatic it was for her to be wearing a blindfold again so soon after it had been around her eyes as an instrument of torture. In truth, if she felt vulnerable and afraid, I felt so a thousandfold. I was gnawed by guilt and uncertainty. What disturbed me almost as much as Navi's disappearance was the fact that I almost didn't notice it at all. Having a fairy had been so second-nature to me that I thought I would immediately notice if she was gone. But in truth her presence had become easy for me to marginalize and ignore. There was always more going on that she was not part of, things that she did not know. Navi's guidance had been indispensable in my first quest, but now it seemed as though others had supplanted her in that role. I worried that she had abandoned me out of resentment or because she felt useless or burdensome.
That seemed unlikely, though. Although Navi's memory of our first adventure together had not been preserved, her personality was the same. She may have been overbearing at times, but Navi was persistent and loyal. And in any case, for a fairy to sever her tie to a Kokiri is unheard-of, unthinkable. But then again, of course, I am no Kokiri. I am just a foster child of that place, and perhaps, as the adventure wore on, Navi realized this and rejected me. I had no clues and nothing but conjecture.
I tried to focus my attention on the coming trial, but my mind kept sweeping me back to my missing fairy. I somehow just knew that it was my fault, that I had been somehow negligent. And compounding my misery was the fact that I knew there would be no easy answers forthcoming. The Kokiri I would soon be speaking to would have no interest in answering any of my questions; the interrogation would be all theirs. I had to forget my loss, for my sake and Zelda's, because we were about to fight for our lives.
In the darkness I listened to the rhythmic crunch of our footfalls in snow, the rhythm of panted breaths. I felt my pulse beating in my ears. Saria's hand in mine was growing colder and colder, our flesh unable to stay warm in the chill. Sometimes there was snow underfoot, other times it felt as though we had gone indoors. Eventually I felt gentle pressure from Saria's hand dragging back on me, signaling a stop. Then her hand vanished, the tactile presence withdrawn. I heard her voice.
"Don't be afraid." That was all.
There was a great grinding and rumbling sound and Zelda, still clinging tenaciously to me with her head pressed against my back, squeaked. I felt the ground beneath my feet shift or fall away, and for a moment I felt a vague vertigo and struggled for balance before my body steadied itself. It felt as though we were descending on a platform. In the darkness, a vision of the past came to me again effortlessly. I remembered, in the central chamber of the Forest Temple, a mechanism that bore passengers up and down on a platform much like this one. In my mind's eye, I was descending just as I had been when I first raided the depths of this place as a young man.
The descent ceased, and I felt hands pushing me and Zelda along again. As we went, an unfamiliar voice said to me, "Take off the blindfolds. Slowly."
I felt Zelda's arms around me relax. I gradually slid the blindfold off, my vision blurred, seeing mostly darkness. Zelda did the same, keeping one hand clasped on my shoulder.
Even as my eyes adjusted there was very little light, but we were approaching a source of illumination at the end of a long corridor. As we neared it the shapes of Kokiri warriors beside me became clear, escorting us towards our fate. They pressed in a phalanx behind us, leaving no chance of turning back. We strode forth into the light.
We found ourselves in a huge vault, the walls of which were hung with blank rectangular frames. The bare gray stone of the walls stared, naked, from where great paintings once hung. As clearly as though it were before my eyes, in a kind of double vision I saw the place as it once was, a place I could now identify.
Here, long ago, I faced the malevolent force that had corrupted Kokiri Forest, the shapeless and intangible entity that preyed on my deepest fears and took the form of the man I feared most. A phantom Ganon, a shocking reminder of the day as I child that I stood against him and tasted his dark magic, and a dire forewarning of the final, epic battle that I would wage against that demented madman. The blank gallery before me had then been filled with murals of sinister woods and haunted moors, shades and brushstrokes filled with menace, and these were the phantom's home. From those sinister paintings it flitted, incorporeal yet deadly, never still and always relentlessly approaching from directions unknown. Terrifying, unpredictable and drawn directly from my most traumatic memories, that phantom of Ganon had tested me like nothing had before. With bow and blade I laid it low, hoping that I had vanquished whatever malevolent force had taken on the form of the great butcher and mimicked his cruelty.
Now I was here again, the vast chamber now filled with rows of Kokiri, in dizzying variety, all assembled and forming orderly rings around us as we were brought to the center of the room, the locus of the gaze of the empty frames. Zelda, at my side, shivered in spite of the warmth. She had never before set foot in this overwhelming place.
"Sit," called out a voice. The Kokiri crowd began to sit en masse. Not thinking the words were meant for us, I remained on my feet and so did the Princess. But then, once the Kokiri were seated cross-legged on the floor, the same voice rang out. "I suggest you sit, Link. You will find it tiring to remain standing."
I looked to search for the source of the voice, which was not familiar to me. It took another sentence for me to establish the direction of the voice and pinpoint it visually. "I am Val Thesseley, matriarch of Thesseley Clique." The voice belonged to a older Kokiri woman with long and very straight steel-gray hair and large dark green eyes. She sat, serene-looking, cross-legged near the front of the crowd, with a few retainers seated between her and I. They kept their weapons in their laps, loaded.
"I, Caelb of the Orenfell Clan of the north, also sit in judgment." His smoothly confident, almost arrogant voice set me on edge immediately, and I turned to face the sound of his voice off to the left. I caught a glimpse of him, then turned back to Thesseley.
Then, reassuringly, I heard someone familiar. "And I, White of the Knives, complete the trifecta." I turned to my right to see Saria, unmistakable to me in the crowd now that I knew where to look, although I was still not totally accustomed to her white hair. I would imagine my missing eye still provoked a similar response from her. She was looking at us both calmly, and continued, "We three, being fairly chosen by our respective factions to speak on behalf of that constituency, call this moot to order. If there be any Kokiri present who object to this triumvirate and the commencement of the investigation, let them be heard."
A slow silence dragged by. With the lack of objection clear, Saria reiterated, "Sit." I did so.
I felt Zelda's hand on my shoulder remain where it was; she didn't sit yet. Then, slowly, I felt her back press against mine and slide down. She and I sat with legs crossed and shoulders aligned. Once again our hearts were close to one another, the sensation of our breathing shared. Together we showed no Kokiri our back, vigilant.
Even braced against one another like this, the weight of the countless eyes, and behind them the empty frames that stared like countless more, pressed in tremendously. I awaited the next phase of the proceedings with growing apprehension.
"The purpose of this moot is to determine the fate of these prisoners, who were captured by the agents of White's Knives at the southern entrance to the Temple," said Thesseley in clear, even tones. "Because of that fact they are considered to be in the custody of White. However—"
Thesseley looked in Caelb's direction, and he took the cue to speak. "—As the first motion of the moot, I demand that White be stripped of her stewardship over these prisoners."
Saria immediately cried out. "What?! Why was I not informed of this proposal prior to this moment? That grievance," she said bitingly, glaring at Caelb, "is not the purpose of this moot."
"You were not informed because we have reason to believe that your integrity as a member of this triumvirate is...compromised," Thesseley responded, still without strongly emoting. She had the cool and reasoned tone of a long-practiced ambassador.
Caelb however bore his hostile intentions blatantly. "You have a preexisting relationship with at least one of the prisoners, your objectivity in their proper prosecution is now suspect. You quite simply have a conflict of interest."
Saria didn't respond, although her silence may have been deliberate. This left Val Thesseley to continue. "Caelb, describe the circumstances that justify your accusation." She looked from him back at Saria. "Unless you would rather explain yourself personally, White."
Saria sighed, Caelb sneered. I could read Saria's thought process—there was no point in allowing Caelb to describe our first encounter, it would only empower him. He would likely twist the truth as well. She composed her dignity and answered, "Caelb and his subordinates witnessed me with my prisoner, unguarded, speaking familiarly, in the orchard. This I do not deny. I ask again, however, that you re-evaluate the relevance it has to these proceedings."
"What you just described," Thesseley droned, "could well be indicative of a threat to the Kokiri far graver than two possible failed spies. It could indicate that you have grown too sloppy for your duties, or indeed that you are treacherous."
"Caelb is making these accusations, not you," snapped Saria. "Come on, Thesseley. You know me, you rely on my effectiveness and my discretion. Let Caelb speak for himself if he wishes to attack my credibility..."
"Then I shall!" cried Caelb. "Let us get straight to the point: I accuse you of betraying the sacred trust of the Kokiri race and the strategic safety of our people by guiding these two to the stronghold and sheltering them—"
"We were TORTURED!" The words burst frantically from Zelda's lips.
A second passed. "Shut up," Caelb finally growled, "Speak only when spoken to."
"White. Is this true?" asked Thesseley. A hint of interest seemed to be rising in her nearly monotone voice.
"...Yes." Saria hesitated only very slightly, almost imperceptibly. Only Zelda and I, knowing the full implications of what she was saying, could have detected by that small hint the full range of her emotions. "As you said, they were recovered by my agents. They were my prisoners and I did the responsible thing. I tried to find out what they knew."
Thesseley shifted her gaze to Caelb. "Why was this detail omitted from your account of White's apparent conflict of interest, Caelb?"
"I..." Caelb seemed shocked at the direction of the conversation. "How could I have known how White treated them prior to witnessing what I did in the orchard?"
"Perhaps because Rynoff, the one who tortured the woman, told you all about it?" said Saria smoothly. "You see, Rynoff worked for me as of yesterday, but now he's gone silent on me. Seems eager not to be found. And within hours of his disappearance, you seemed to know exactly where to find me and obtain your so-called evidence of treachery."
"That's..." Caelb just trailed off and scowled.
"If you want to claim ignorance, bring Rynoff here, we'll hear him testify."
"I have no contact with that man," claimed Caelb. "I can no more summon him than you can. Moreover, the sources of my information and the activities of your unreliable lackeys are 'not the purpose of this moot.' You have not answered for your conduct with the male prisoner."
"You accused me of a conflict of interest," Saria said acrimoniously, "but the conflict is yours, Caelb. Yours is the ulterior motive. You want to exploit their arrival to discredit me and strip me of my authority. I'm only here to see that these prisoners get the fate they deserve."
I truly wasn't sure what to make of that. Neither it seemed was Thesseley. Her brow knitted in thought. "Caleb's motives are transparent. It is obvious to me that he omitted details to better craft a misleading narrative." Thesseley's dismissal of his argument had Caelb looking chagrined, as she went on, "Rest assured, this moot will not allow him to ruin you undeservedly. The question is whether you are deserving."
Saria ground her teeth. Caelb added, "If there's no duplicity on your part, then can you explain why you tortured a man only to take him on a tour of our critically-important greenhouse facility? It doesn't make sense, even for you, White."
"I—" Saria began
"—No," Thesseley interrupted. "I think it best now to hear an account from the prisoners themselves."
"Preposterous," Caelb snorted. "White must account for herself, at once."
"The captives have no motive to defend their captor. As outsiders, they have no stake in our factional politics. From them, we are more likely to derive an unbiased report on exactly what happened. Therefore I wish to hear from them a strictly experiential account of the events, divorced from whatever emotional contexts they had at the time." She spoke to me, making eye contact. "Are you able to do so? You may choose noncompliance but it will be seen as admission of guilt."
"I am able to follow your instructions," I told her.
"Good. I will begin. I will question you and periodically we will call for a recess to discuss what you have said and how we feel about it. We three, gathering the thoughts and feelings of those whose trust is placed in us, will speak on behalf of our whole group in their best interest when deciding your fate. Is that acceptable to you?"
It seemed like a strange thing to ask a captive. But I nodded.
She nodded back. "I'll ask you to speak first, then I'll hear from the woman. State your name."
"You know my name." She'd said it before.
"I'd like to hear it from you," Thesseley responded.
"Link," I acquiesced. "No surname. No title."
"Why is that?" the Kokiri woman asked.
"I have no family from which to derive a surname or a title," I explained. "I'm an orphan."
"I see. Describe your arrival at this place."
"I came here in search of—" I began, but Thesseley cut me off.
"Your motives and methods for reaching this place aren't what we're investigating right now," she said coldly. "Refrain from trying to explain more than what I have asked you."
"My apologies," I answered. "Then I can simply tell you that we entered Kokiri Forest two days ago and were unprepared for the savagery of the cold, and in the Lost Woods we were attacked by Wolfos. We arrived here frostbitten and nearly dead. A number of guards in white furs were watching the entrance, and they brought us in despite their suspicions. Once within the safety of the Temple, though, my strength ran out and I collapsed."
Thesseley nodded. "What happened when next you awoke?"
"I believe I stirred briefly while in convalescence from my wounds and chill, but I saw little and was flitting in and out of consciousness. By the time I was fully awake and recovered I was in a torture chamber."
A murmur spread through the crowd. Thesseley touched her hand to her chin. "So, you confirm that you were tortured?"
"How so?" The calmness in her voice was unnerving as she asked such a ghoulish thing.
"I was tied to a pillar, blindfolded, and beaten as White questioned me."
"Is that all she did?" Thesseley asked.
"Nothing further was necessary."
The matronly Kokiri put one finger in front of her eye. "So your missing eye, that was not her doing?"
"No," I said with a brief chuckle. "War wound."
"What about the wound on your leg?" she queried. "It looks fresh."
I froze up for a moment, considering my answer. "There was a small...misunderstanding as Caelb and White were escorting us to this place. A slip of a finger on the trigger."
"You were shot?"
"An accident. Nothing to do with the torture. It's not important."
Thesseley's gaze swept from me to Saria to Caelb. "Very well. That incident can be investigated later." She turned her attention back to me. "When White was torturing you, what were her questions?"
"She began with the assumption that I was a Gerudo spy," I said. "She wanted to know how I managed to make it here, and what my objective was."
"Did you resist?" asked Thesseley.
"I had nothing to hide from her," I said. "I told her the truth."
"In doing so, did you betray the trust of your former employer?" Thesseley wanted to know.
"I had no former employer. I came here on no one's orders, with no objectives but my own."
Thesseley seemed nonplussed. "Well...regardless, how did the torture end?"
"She realized who I was and set me free."
I expected a follow-up question on the subject, but Thesseley was interested only in events, not explanations. "She freed you and you accompanied her?"
"Yes," I answered. "Together we went to free my wife."
Saria's mistake was as good an alibi as any, I reckoned. I felt Zelda's heartbeat quicken against my back. I glanced at Saria, to make sure she understood my deception. She didn't meet my gaze, but I wasn't concerned.
There was a pause as Thesseley considered this. "In what state did you find her?" she asked.
"She was being held separately, being tortured by a male Kokiri, who was referred to later as Rynoff. White took me to her and ordered Rynoff to cease, then White summoned doctors to tend to us."
"Doctors?" Thesseley said, somewhat surprised. "Were you wounded badly?"
"I was beaten, but it was not serious. My wife was beaten as well, and was cut, on the lip. You can see the bandage."
"Yes, I do," said Thesseley. "Then?"
The plodding, methodical questioning was wearing on me, but I pressed onward. "Once we were patched up, White took us to her chambers, where my wife rested for a while. So as not to disturb her, White and I went to your greenhouse to talk."
I could see Caelb in the crowd, seething, desperately wishing he could demand the whys and wherefores of Saria's actions. But it was not his turn to speak. Thesseley's steely gaze did not betray any emotion.
"And that is where Caelb confronted you?" she asked.
"Yes." I continued, guessing it was what Thesseley would have prompted me to do: "He came with a couple of his subordinates—clearly he didn't simply stumble upon me; he'd come prepared. He had words with White, told her I ought to be executed. It was he who proposed this moot. He and his cronies left, White took me back to her quarters, we slept, and the next morning, Caelb and his men came to escort us here. That brings us to the present."
The gray-haired Kokiri matron nodded slowly. "I see. Good. I would like to question the woman, now. Can she please face me?"
Zelda hesitated a moment, but then she turned in Thesseley's direction. She cast me a quick, nervous glance. As she sat beside me I placed a reassuring hand on her thigh for a moment.
"I am Zelda," she said.
Thesseley arched her hands and fingers. I was worried she would make the connection between the name and missing Princess of Hyrule, but if she did, she did not bring it up. "The wife of Link?"
"Your husband," Thesseley said, "has already related some of the details of your experience here." The matron's eyes flashed a rare glimpse of compassion. "I understand this has been, and is, a traumatic experience. You may be brief. Simply fill in the details that he omitted."
"As he said, we arrived here direly wounded. I was dying of hypothermia and he was badly mauled." Zelda's voice remained steady. "I, too, was not fully awake and aware until I was being tortured. I was...I was blindfolded and restrained, and given some kind of drug...a sedative. I don't know why he used it…"
"I was questioned by a male voice," Zelda clarified. "Later I learned...that is, White referred to the man as Rynoff, and commanded him as his superior." Another murmur spread through the crowd. Personally I was convinced that Rynoff was responsible for Caelb ambushing us in the orchard, although I could understand why he had betrayed Saria and gone over to Caelb's faction—Saria, his boss, had shown preference to me over him, and I had hurt him badly.
"What did he demand of you?"
"Who I was, why I had come, how I found this place, who I worked for and with. What you would expect," answered Zelda.
Thesseley nodded. "Did you answer him?"
"No," Zelda said. "Throughout the entire length of time that I was tortured I did not speak." A few scattered, indistinct comments were heard from the assembled multitude.
Thesseley gave only the slightest hint of surprise by her facial gesture, but when compared to her icy-cool demeanor it seemed as though she was veritably shocked. "I must say that your resilience is surprising, assuming of course that the proper techniques were applied."
Zelda shuddered, no doubt recalling those "proper techniques." "I was...I was stripped, blindfolded and half-naked in a cold stone room. He...whipped me, all over and…" I could hear Zelda's voice cracking and the stress and fear eroding her composure. Knowing Zelda's tremendous bravery and stoicism, as I did, it was all the more horrible to think that what had been done to her had affected her so.
To my relief, Thesseley signaled to Zelda that she did not have to elaborate further. "The torturer, Rynoff, was then ordered to stop by White?"
"Correct. After that point, I have nothing further to add to the rest of my husband's testimony."
"Very good," Thesseley commented. "I am satisfied that we now know of the particulars of your time here. I cede the floor to Caelb." She looked in his direction.
I cast a glance towards Saria, but she was not looking my way. Rather, she was speaking quietly with one of her confidants. Caelb arose and, unlike Thesseley, approached where we sat in the middle of the room and paced about in front of us.
"I will begin," he said with an air of confidence, looking me in the eye, "with the question that I am sure is foremost in all of our minds. Why did you come here?"
"To help the Kokiri," I said, without a moment's hesitation.
Caelb tossed his head to the side with an incredulous mein. "How could you expect us to believe that?"
"Is it so unbelievable?" I asked. "As you can see by our clothing, we were members of the Sylvan Liberators, a group dedicated to helping the Kokiri."
"Your choice of fashion does not at all prove your loyalties," Caelb said derisively. "If you intend to help us, why have you refused to relinquish your blade?"
I fingered the Master Sword, sitting on my lap and bound in its scabbard. "I am a swordsman," I responded. "How am I to help you without my sword?"
"Don't you toy with me," he snapped. "If you truly were on our side, you would have trusted us to take your sword, faithful that it would be returned to you."
"I have the utmost faith in the Kokiri. I wouldn't have come here if I did not."
Caelb switched tactics. "You came here armed with a great many strange things, things that would well suit a spy or saboteur. Can you explain..." He gestured, and one of his subordinates brought forth the bundle of my possessions. He reached in, and withdrew a fist-sized, eight-sided gem whose heart pulsed with orange heat. "...this?"
Zelda's eyes narrowed to see Din's Fire in Caelb's hand. "Be careful with that," she warned. Caelb merely scowled at her.
"It's a magic talisman," I tried to explain. "It allows one unskilled in spellcasting to replicate the effects of magic."
"Magic?" Caelb gawped. "Of what sort?"
"Fire," I answered.
This prompted a surge of excited commentary from the crowd. Caelb let them chatter for a while before gesturing for quiet. "You came here to help us, bearing a magical talisman that produces fire? That anyone can use?"
"It's just one of my tools," I argued.
"Fire is the tool of the Gerudo," Caelb said bitterly. "Who but their mage-priests could produce such a thing? How could you be anything other than one of their agents?"
"If you recall," I answered a bit snidely, "they tried fire, and it failed. The forest froze and repulsed their attempts. Would they really try the same thing again, only on a much smaller scale?"
Caelb's visage still bore unmistakable suspicion and hostility, but I could tell that Din's Fire intrigued him. "How am I to know the extent to which this talisman operates? Show me, and prove your claims."
I looked around at the dense crowd. "I cannot do that here and now. People would die."
"Ha! So it is a death-dealing magic that you have brought among us," Caelb crowed. "What true ally of the Kokiri would bring such a thing into our midst?"
"As I said, it is only a tool," I insisted. "Obviously I would use it only against your enemies, as indeed I already have."
"Conjecture!" Caelb cried. "And empty promises. Enough: Tell me now how you were able to navigate the Lost Woods, when so many before you have tried and failed."
I closed my eye for a brief moment, then opened it and looked straight at him. "I followed my instincts."
"What in the Gods' name is that supposed to mean?" Caelb said angrily as he stomped about in front of me.
"I think you know," I said in steely tones.
"Are you saying that you simply intuited your way through mile after mile of indistinguishable frozen woods?" he sneered. "That you, like us, can simply feel what path is correct?"
"Impossible," Caelb spat bitterly. "No outsider could possibly feel the heartbeat of the forest, in its frozen torpidity. You must have been guided here...guided here by one of us."
"I am one of you."
Reflexive fury seized Caelb's features. "You Liberators make me SICK! Claiming that you are one of us, that you can empathize with our suffering, that your skills are equal to our own…"
"I am not a Sylvan Liberator. I could navigate the Lost Woods because I am a Kokiri."
There followed a dead silence across the crowd for a pregnant moment before Caelb reacted. "Preposterous! Your clothes—"
"A convenient disguise," said Zelda.
I nodded. "I said before that I was an orphan. Without parents, I was raised here, in Kokiri, by the Great Deku Tree himself. I traversed the Lost Woods many times, before the snows came. It was harder this time, but I managed."
The crowd looked on in stunned silence so deep that I could hear Zelda breathing beside me. Caelb stared dumbly at me, lips parted, brows knitted. "You...you were raised here? Before the Gerudo came?"
"That's right," I replied.
"How did you survive the invasion? Where were you when your home burned?"
"I had left, before Verletz even came to power. To seek my fortune. I felt it was my destiny." Although it was not the full truth, it was not a lie.
"Convenient!" Caelb snapped. "You lived among us long enough to learn our secrets, and left in time to escape our holocaust. Who...who will vouch for your outrageous claims?" asked Caelb.
All eyes turned as one toward Saria. "I knew Link before the fall of Kokiri Forest. He was raised in my village." She spoke without emotion, but with firmness.
Thesseley was so moved as to speak out of turn. "Are you sure?"
"I remember clearly the day that he left. It was, as he said, just before the wars began. On that day I gave him an Ocarina," Saria spoke. "He has it with him still."
Caelb glared at me, furious that the assembled throng seemed to be accepting the corroboration of my claims. But as I watched, a devious expression crawled across his face. "Then..." he said with deliberateness, "You knew White well?"
"The village was small. I knew everyone," I said, carefully neutral to his question.
"You confirm that you had a preexisting relationship with White prior to your arrival here, prior to this trial?"
"We knew each other. We had no contact for seven years…"
"Prove it," Caelb demanded.
"How can anyone prove a lack of contact?!" Saria shouted. "We had none! I thought he was dead!"
Caelb closed his eyes and drew a deep breath through his nose as he gathered himself. In a restrained tone he asked, "Is it or is it not true that White is the reason that you decided to come here?"
I paused for a moment. "I told you. I came to help the Kokiri."
"ANSWER ME!" screamed Caelb. "Is it or is it not true?!"
I stared hard at him. "I came here to help White, and to help all the Kokiri. I am here as much on her behalf as I am on behalf of you, and Thesseley and everyone in this room."
Caelb turned away from me and addressed the crowd. "Fellow Kokiri, I put it to you that the veracity of his...outlandish backstory is irrelevant. He and White have confessed to an established relationship. No further evidence or testimony is needed: White has a conflict of interest. The prisoners must be removed from her control and furthermore, she must forfeit her position as a speaker at this moot."
"White didn't guide me here!" I tried to argue, as murmurs of conversation intensified around the room. "I didn't come at her request, she isn't guilty of anything!" Saria was saying something, but I could not make out what.
"This trial is supposed to be about our intentions!" Zelda cried out. "Not your petty rivalry!"
"ORDER!" shouted Thesseley with surprising volume. "These are extenuating circumstances. I ask that the prisoners be removed from the hall for a period of time while we determine a course of action."
Kokiri guards approached us and goaded us to our feet. As we were lead out, back the way we had come in, I took a last backward glance in Saria's direction. I saw her face, but she was unreadable, and then she was gone from my view.