Dead Letters - Epilogue
Something was calling me from the depths of sleep. It was a familiar sensation, one that had plagued the nights of the assumed repose one was meant to experience. Feeling a warm hand on my own I dragged my mind from the dreamland I was so pleasantly enjoying. It seemed the shrieking cries had awoken Zelda too.
"Isn't it your turn?" I groaned as I opened my eyes.
"She's your child too," she said grinning.
I rolled out of bed silently mourning the three years of silence that had been banished by the birth of our daughter. The chill of the darkness bit at my bare skin but I crossed our chamber to the small cot in which the darling angel was meant to be slumbering. My hands scooped her up from the cradle and I immediately returned to the warmth of my own sleeping place. Zelda rose too, crawling behind me and peering over my shoulder.
"She's so beautiful," my wife mused, taking the child from my hands as she calmed slightly.
"You're just a grumpy old man," Zelda argued. Our daughter laughed. "See? You're outnumbered on that one, Link."
"Maybe so." I reached for my ocarina that lay silently on the counter. It had been a gift that someone had given me when I was a child. I couldn't remember who had given it to me, but somewhere I knew and felt that it was from a dear friend, who had since become nothing more than an image to me. I looked up from the instrument across to my family. Zelda's eyes drooped heavily as the small girl in her arms now insisted on playing instead of going back to sleep.
"Tomorrow," I heard her mumble as she got up and placed her back in her cradle, much to her dislike.
Almost at once the cries recommenced and Zelda rubbed her forehead in fatigue. The touch of her mother seemed to eradicate the noise, and normally Zelda would have only been too happy to rise early to start the day, but the first light was far from rising over the horizon. It wasn't often that I found my wife dozing in her study, usually over a pile of papers that urgently required her signature. But that wasn't to say I had been caught taking a nap, more than once, in the middle of the afternoon sometimes.
I put the ocarina to my lips and began to play the famed lullaby that floated softly through the room. Long ago I would have hoped that my ocarina would have remained secret. There had been many times during the evening when I would just sit and play in my chambers, letting time fly away into the night. Eventually I was caught, but it was a fond memory to recall. I had been in one of the many courtyards at the time, thinking pleasantly that no one would hear or come and find me. I had been so wrapped up in my playing that I had failed to notice the light footsteps enter the vicinity until the intruder snapped a twig underneath their feet. That had been the day when Zelda had taught me her lullaby.
Upon hearing the low, mellow sound, my wife now came back to me and sat by my side. Our little girl slouched in her mother's arms, rubbing her tired eyes with her chubby fist.
"Thank you," Zelda whispered softly as she too drifted off to the dream world with her daughter, leaning against my shoulder. Even now as a woman of twenty-eight, the lullaby of her childhood still sent her into a sound sleep.
I kept playing, even when it was long since both of them had closed their eyes. The melody seemed to have the opposite affect on me, for I remained awake right through till dawn. Instead, it made me remember things, sometimes of long ago, sometimes of things I thought I had forgotten about. Maybe because it was because I was already awake, and in the company of Zelda, that I often thought about her now. Her serene face was enough to make me want to spend the rest of my days watching her in peaceful tranquillity. Her beauty seemed to grow more and more each day, and sometimes I could hardly believe if such perfection were possible. But she wasn't only beautiful to look upon; her character spoke more words than mere image. I loved her more each day and it never has once ceased. I owe her so much gratitude, so much thanks, that she so frequently dismisses, saying with a flattered smile that it is quite unnecessary, I have habitually felt obliged to take her in my arms and just tell her how much I love her.
I still remembered that day when I had awoken from a dream that I couldn't recall. That had been ten years ago now, and still to this day I couldn't remember anything that had happened. The only things that had carried through into the land of the living were the feelings I knew I had felt. It was odd, and I had pondered over it far more than I should have done but still came to no conclusion. Eventually I let it pass into memory, but I could never answer the question to why that strange surreal material was wrapped around my waist or where it came from. I still had it, locked away in a drawer somewhere.
But my thoughts went elsewhere, for I had decided that I would never find an answer, so why should I look for one? Our daughter was now nearly a year old. There were far more important things to look forward to.
I remembered our wedding day. It had been a beautiful summer's day with a cool breeze flowing across the plains. The sun was shining high in the sky, almost at midday when the procession led out of the Temple of Time. Being a royal wedding, everyone in the land had been invited to share in the joyous communion and coronation of the new monarch. I would never rise as far as King, the rise to Prince had been exalting enough, for I was not of royal blood. Zelda therefore rose to become the Queen of Hyrule after her father's decease.
It had been a week of mixed feelings, for both Zelda and I were mourning the King's death yet filled with anticipation, as it would mean our marriage. It had been a happy day though. There wasn't a single shred of sorrow in anyone's person, and no one could escape the infectious smile that spread throughout the kingdom. I remembered as we stepped out, hand in hand, that I hardly recognised it as being summer on first sight. A flurry of white petals and blossom from the late blooming trees filled the air, resembling a winter blizzard. There wasn't a cloud in the sky that day; the rain waited until the evening.
Zelda's head slipped against my shoulder. I set the ocarina aside and gently laid her down against the soft pillows while I extracted the small bundle from her, gently stroking my daughter's blonde hair. It was getting long now like her mothers, although it was slightly darker. But she had her mother's eyes; there was no mistake there. Blues of the clearest skies couldn't match the charm that shone so brightly in her face. I kissed her forehead and returned her to her cot. I couldn't wait to see how beautiful she would grow up to be, whether she would resemble her mother or myself, or what traits she would grow to possess.
'When she does grow up, maybe her mother and I can stop being nocturnal,' I thought.
It seemed as though Zelda never aged, for there was always another walking and growing to be the exact replica of her. Oftentimes I mistook our daughter for my wife when I saw her, and she would often scold me for not recognising her. It really was only by the shade of her hair that I could tell the difference between the two. In many years past it had been the same colour as mine, a warmer gold than Zelda's. But times had changed and grey streaks now littered my hair, and you could hardly tell what colour it had been.
Our son was easier to recognise for I wasn't seeing a double image around our home. He would be the one to inherit the throne as he was the eldest son. I thought it was a stupid law that women should be discriminated from ruling, as Zelda had done more than a fine job, but it was the long-held tradition. It had been a taxing trial to get the two to understand why and there had been much bickering and arguing between them, but eventually they sorted their differences. She now had her own family to worry about, and was quite uninterested about ruling. She was married now and even had a child of her own. That was quite enough for her, she had often said.
Presently I was walking with Zelda in the gardens, as we would do every afternoon. She gazed lovingly up at me, her smile never leaving her face. Birds were singing in the trees, minding their own business, when a squealing cry made flight immediate and the flutter of wings drowned out the pattering footsteps of our first granddaughter as she tore around the corner of the hedges.
"Tetra! You'll be far too easy to find now you've made that amount of racket!" Her uncle said as he came strolling along the same path that his niece had taken just mere seconds ago.
His words were followed in quick succession by his brother-in-law's. "Ready or not, here I come, Tetra!"
Our son smiled at us, as we stood aside amused by the innocent game. As a child he had been quite a troublesome rascal, this present activity being one of his favourite past times. Quite a few memories stirred in my mind; he had sent nearly the entire castle up in a panic, as the young master could not be found in time for dinner. His sister had often been an accomplice in his mischievous deeds, and the family trait had obviously been passed on.
Tetra could been seen grinning insanely through the bushes, her hands covering her mouth to stop herself from giggling. Her father played the childish game well, making sure that his daughter could see him search high and low for her before pouncing on her from above and lifting her up onto his shoulders. She was a nimble and athletic creature, blessed with a healthy tanned skin from her father and our second family trait of beautiful blonde tresses.
Tetra giggled happily as her father swung her down to the ground. "Good afternoon your grace, your highness," he said with a bow. "Pardon me for not saying so earlier."
"How many times have we told you that there is no need for such formalities. We're family, so there's no need to feel as though you are under inspection. Please, carry on," Zelda said. "It seems to be getting quite late dear," she said turning to me, "Do you think it is time yet to go in?"
"Would you like me to escort you?" our son asked, extending his hand like a proper gentleman.
"That would be most kind," she answered, taking his hand as we walked back together under the setting sun.
Zelda sighed silently. Upon becoming a mother she had vowed to raise her children herself, never letting the housemaids or servants anywhere near them. She didn't want them to end up like her and her father, distant and detached. But in spite of that, the warmth and kindness her children showed her brought unpleasant memories back, and Zelda had once told me that she wished her relationship could have been stronger with her father. I squeezed her hand, dispersing her sadness as a more cheerful occupation proceeded.
"Please tell me a story, grandmother!" Tetra pleaded as she followed us inside to the warm fireplace of the living room.
"Yes, I think a story would be a good idea," I said as Tetra scrambled up onto my lap giggling, eager to hear a new fantasy world spring from my wife's lips.
"Which one would you like to hear?" she asked.
"May I make a suggestion?" The door opened and Tetra's mother stepped into the ring of family members. "How about the old story of legend?"
"An excellent choice," her husband replied. Tetra agreed with an expecting stare.
For a moment, Zelda's eyes froze as if something had greatly disturbed her. I touched her hand and she blinked, coming out of her trance. She looked at me and as if answering the question I hadn't yet asked, she said in a low whisper,
"I'm all right. I just thought of something, but it went away again. Well then," she said with a brilliant smile, turning back to her waiting crowd as they seated themselves around her, "long ago, there existed a kingdom where a golden power lay hidden. It was the most brilliant power anyone could imagine. It shone with a golden light too bright to see and too magnificent for mere human eyes to gaze upon. But no one could ever find it; not the Gorons that lived high in the mountains nor the Zoras that lived in the deepest lakes. Even the tribe of thieves, the Gerudo, couldn't find it in the hot desert.
"But one day, a man of great evil found this power and he took it for himself, and with it at his command, he spread darkness across the kingdom. But then…just as all hope had died, a young boy clothed in green appeared as if from nowhere. The boy, wielding a blade that repelled evil, sealed the dark one away and gave the land light. This boy, who travelled through time to save the land, was known as the Hero of Time."
Wahh! It's finished! ;; Now review! :D
serenitythefaierikin: Heh. I can't write a sad ending, I hate them. Sorry for worrying you in taking so long to update. I've been getting lazy XD
Sage of Hyrule: Yay! It's done. I'm glad you think so, because it took me quite a lot of time to piece this thing together before I started to write this. Now my brain can have a sleep for a while :D. But unfortunately it can't be for long. I've got another LxZ story to do
Hououza: Yeah, the whole turning into stone thing, although I didn't include that bit XD, felt like the best ending. Also, everything seemed to lead up to that moment too and WW is meant to be the latest in the timeline, and I couldn't just leave that one out :D.
Lady Kumiko: Thank you! Trust me, there were times when my head was spinning trying to come up with a story that actually made sense, or at least seemed to, and that there weren't any slip ups ; There were also times I never thought I would finish this. The end seemed so far away, and now here it is ;;
AN: Okay, I want to say a BIG THANK YOU! to everyone who has reviewed this. Your words mean everything to me, no matter how short. I've never gotten so many reviews before, and a big hug goes out to you all :D Thank you again, and maybe I'll see some of you over on my other LxZ story I'm writing at the moment (Fairytale Negative). Oh, and one more thing:
THANK YOU! :D Perfect Soldier 01