Chapter One: Nightmares

The corridor was long and dimly lit. The proud, strong royal elite guards that would never move from their post, even if the castle were falling down around them, were surprisingly absent. It almost seemed as if there was but one solitary candle lit in the whole castle, and it was at the end of the hall; in Zelda's room. The absence of guards made Link feel uneasy and he reached for his sword but to his shock, it was gone. He couldn't understand how he could just forget it like that. But as he walked on, he realized that he didn't even remember how he got there in the first place. The hall seemed longer than usual, but as he got closer to the light, he heard a familiar sound that made him feel much safer. It tugged at his heartstrings and put butterflies in his stomach. It was the soft sound of Zelda humming her lullaby, the royal trademark of her family.

Link's heart beat faster, as he took each step toward the warm glow. The lullaby brought back a flood of memories that erupted unbidden from his memory; memories of his youth when Zelda first asked him to save her kingdom, memories of his conquests with the master sword, memories of his only ally, who quickly became his close friend, and when that ally, Sheik, revealed herself to be the very woman he was fighting to protect. He remembered his horrible battle with the King of Evil himself, Ganon. He remembered his feelings in that battle, feelings of fear, not for himself, but for Zelda whom Ganon snatched from his grasp to use as bait to lure him into a battle for the triforce. He remembered how deep in his heart, at that moment, he didn't care whether or not Ganon claimed the triforce, enslaved the world, or even killed him; all he cared about was Zelda's life. And he fought more furiously for that than anything else during his quest.

Finally, Link was upon his destination, Zelda's bedroom. One of the large double doors to her room was open, and therein dwelt the source of light and comfort. Zelda was standing at her window, three lone candles burned brightly above her bed, which bathed her bedchamber in a deep orange glow, just as if it was coming from a roaring fireplace. Zelda faced the vast Hyrule field that was blanketed in white, cool moonlight; her back was to Link.

"Link. I thought you would never make it down that hallway." Her voice was soft and friendly, as usual. "Please come in." Link moved timidly from the doorway to the middle of the room.

"You...asked to see me?" said Link, ever nervous before the beautiful princess, and still not sure why he was there.

"Yes, I asked to see you." she paused for a long time and then said in a much deeper, almost dark, tone of voice "I need you." Link forced down a hard gulp. "Do you know why I desire you?" asked Zelda. Link, who began to tremble ever so slightly, simply shook his head. Yet it puzzled him as to how she knew of his answer with her back still to him. "POWER." hissed the princess. Link was taken aback.

"What does she mean 'power'?" he pondered.

"You have much power Link," though it was still her voice, it didn't sound like Zelda talking anymore. Never would the princess say his name in such a curt tone. "And I want it."

"W-what do you mean? Princess? What's wrong?" Link, ever quiet and bashful could not understand why she was behaving this way.

"You feel it too boy. You've felt it for quite some time now haven't you? The need to join with me."


"You want me, stop lying to yourself! Stop resisting me! Together, we would be unconquerable and you know it!!" Zelda cut Link off with her insane ranting. Link at this point, feeling in some way defiled and betrayed, begged to Zelda with reason.

"Princess please! Stop it! Why are you saying these things?"

"Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Because they're true! That's why!!" Zelda began to turn around and as she did, lightning bolted across the window and thunder roared, so loud that it shook the castle and a storm began to rage from what was moments ago, a serene atmosphere. The three candles were snuffed by the raging wind; they're once mighty glow paled in comparison to the unholy lightning.

Zelda turned to finally face Link, and what he saw terrified him. Zelda wore upon her face, the fierce deity mask. The eyes that were once so wide and blue, calm oceans that he would drift on while daydreaming, were now glowing a dangerous red, a red as rich as blood. "I am what you crave boy. I know not why you insist on shunning me."

"N-no! No!" Link wanted to scream but could only manage a choked whisper.

"You have felt my power once before. Do you not remember the rush? The thrill of such unrestrained power? You were but a whelp then but even then our power was so great, that that fool Majora could not stand against us." Zelda shook her fist and smiled at the thought as the fierce deity mask spoke through Zelda's mouth and controlled her movements. She then reached out her hand to Link in an inviting gesture. "Come now, do you not want to experience the power again?"

"No! Stay away!" Link clutched his head as he could hear its voice in his head simultaneously with Zelda's. "Get out of my head!"

"Take me Link, take me now." it said using Zelda's voice to try and seduce him. Link fell to his knees and his head throbbed as her voice ricocheted off the walls of his skull.

"Take me."

"Wear me"

"So strong"

"Put me on"

"The power"

"Know you want it" Link looked to the sky and screamed at the top of his lungs as his mind began to collapse.

"Noooooooooooooooooo!" Link found himself sitting up in his bed, in a cold sweat, huffing and puffing; his heart felt like it was trying to escape from his chest. Link was bewildered and it took him a few minutes to get a grasp of his surroundings. It was dawn, stray beams of sunlight were beginning to break through the thick shroud of trees that surrounded his little cottage; nestled away in the outskirts of the lost woods, not truly part of the kokiri people, and not with the Hylians either. Ever since that fateful day Navi woke him from a nightmare so many years ago, he no longer had a place anywhere. Link finally came to grips with himself and calmed down; he rubbed his wet face and moaned over another restless night. "Another nightmare." he thought to himself. "The same one at that. This hasn't happened to me since I was a kid."

He reached behind himself as he fumbled for his cap that hung on the bedpost. He secured his hat on his head, got up and fastened his tunic around himself. He pondered the meaning of his dream as he went about his daily morning routine. He was more occupied with the dream on this particular morning more so than others. Every thing he did seemed to be on autopilot.

"The last time I had a recurring nightmare like this I ended up on a quest to stop Ganon. This must be my gift. I get to know about catastrophes beforehand. But, it can't be me this time, its that mask..." he thought to himself as he carried a hefty sack of oats into the small stable next to his house to feed Epona. "It's like the mask is controlling my dreams, it's alive somehow. But how can that be? It may have the power of a deceased deity, but the power lies dormant unless someone is wearing it." Link pondered furiously as he waited for Epona to finish her breakfast, not realizing that he forgot to put oats in her feedbag. "Whoops. Sorry girl, guess I'm not exactly with it this morning. Let me see if I have a carrot for ya." Link tried to check his pockets for a tasty treat for his trusted friend but his pockets were curiously absent. Upon further investigation of his person, he came to the conclusion that his tunic was on backwards.

Link could not stop thinking about what his dream meant. As he rode to Lon Lon Ranch (a mere twenty minutes or so from his house) to buy some milk for his breakfast, Link worried himself over Princess Zelda and what she had to do with his dream. He had always felt strongly about the Princess. He seemed to measure time by his meetings with Zelda. After the imprisonment war, Link sought to return home to the Kokiri forest to find his friend Saria. After his brief quest in Termina, he returned home to find that Saria was not there to greet him, as she was now an awakened sage. Navi also left Link, as her mission given by the great Deku tree was complete. Link received a lukewarm homecoming from the kokiri children. They knew of his true heritage, that of Hylian ancestry, and it showed; Link had become bigger than the kokiri children and would continue to grow. He was casually shunned by everyone until Mido finally convinced the people that Link had to go. Having no family, Link could not venture to live in Kakariko village, or the Hyrule court.

So he sought out Princess Zelda. Zelda was always kind to him and it could be said that she had feelings for Link, but she could never devote time to Link. She was the royal Princess of Hyrule, and a sage. She had many royal duties to attend to and the constant pressure to be proper and well mannered at all times, so taking a walk with a young man in rugged forest child clothing was simply out of the question. Though it pained her to do so, she could not tend to Link and tailor his needs. Link had favor with the royal family however, as the hero of time Link was allowed to live in the castle and was granted all the privileges of the royal court. But Link, having grown up in the forest, had little need for such things and did not care for the cold comforts of royal life. All he wanted was to be with Princess Zelda, and that could not happen. Shunned once again, Link sought solitude in the forest. He built a home for himself and grew up there.

Link spent his days exploring Hyrule and chasing the moon across Hyrule field on Epona. He spent time visiting acquaintances made during the imprisonment war and making new friends. Several times the royal family called on his courage to handle a few skirmishes with minor threats now and again, but nothing he ever broke a sweat over. Though he relished in the excuse to spend time with Zelda, as did she. He told her of her adventures during the imprisonment war and of his journey through Termina to stop the moon from destroying the planet. Despite all of Links great courage, he never told Zelda of his true feelings for her, though at times it was embarrassingly obvious. Zelda, was always much more reserved around Link and if she did love Link it didn't show. But he didn't care, as long as she was happy and safe, Link was content. And he would make sure it stayed that way, no matter the cost.

He could not figure out why Zelda was in his dream, and he was more worried about the mask than Zelda's participation in the dream. If his theory was correct, the fierce deity mask was alive and that worried him more than anything. He had seen the effects first hand of a mask possessed by vast evil power, he was able to thwart that mask and save a foreign land, but the mask he kept as a trophy of that victory made the original mask look like the bunny hood. Link wore the fierce deity mask only once, to defeat the mask of Majora. The mask of Majora was crushed before the might of the fierce deity. Link struggled against the mask of Majora by himself, his other enchanted masks were of little to no use in the battle; he was hesitant to use a mask that was as evil as Majora to defeat Majora. He had never been more wrong. The evil in the mask of Majora was nothing compared to the fierce deity mask. And the power was even greater. Once Link was finally out of options, he donned the fierce deity's mask. After that, he barely had to try. He knew the mask was dangerous, and wouldn't use it again for fear of being consumed by the immense evil within, so he decided to keep the mask as a sort of trophy, to ensure that it would never fall into the wrong hands.

The dreams persisted however and started to wear on Link's psyche. He began to think he was hallucinating at times, but what's worse, he couldn't tell if the visions were results of his lack of rest, or products of the fierce deity mask's mental tampering. Link would spend nights without sleeping at all. He would sit up in his bed, and stare at the mask all night, for fear it may try something while he was asleep. There were nights he would take the mask out to the stable and bury it under the hay and when he awoke the following morning, the mask was in his room again.

Link decided to seek help and sought out Rauru the trusted sage of light. Getting clearance into the castle wasn't a problem. Link thought about taking a detour to see the princess, but thought it best not to disturb her, seeing as her royal life was a twenty-four/seven profession. Link knew the mask was the prime concern. He made his way to Rauru's chambers in the top of one of the castle turrets, much like Princess Zelda's chambers. Rauru's study reminded him of the old astronomer's observatory near Clock town in Termina field. The ceiling was very high and the walls seemed to be built out of books, for there were few places on the wall that were bare with brick. Rauru had several tables spread out across the large floor, each of which, had stacks of books, strange gadgets, and bubbling flasks. Rauru was a sage, but he was also an intellectual, and tutor to the Princess. The entire circular floor of the vast room was painted to be a star chart, and Rauru stood over a section of the floor scrutinizing in deep thought.

"...Has been there for eons, and now it that trajectory....."

"R-Rauru?" asked Link timidly.

"Oh! Link! What a surprise! Forgive me for not seeing you; I shouldn't be so concerned with stars. What brings you to my study lad?"

"I...I thought it wise to seek your wisdom."

"Oh? Regarding what?"

"Well..." Link wasn't sure where to begin. So much had been bothering him lately: the dreams, the mask, and a small part of him just wanted to ask if Zelda had said anything about him lately. "Have you ever heard of a place called Termina?" Rauru's eyes slowly shifted in thought away from Link.

"Yes...I recall the name yes." Link proceeded to tell the tale of his journey through the land of Termina, about the happy mask salesman, the strange children and their love of masks, his battle with Majora's mask, and finally the fierce deity mask. "'Happy mask salesman', was that really his name?" Link shrugged.

"Hm. I dunno, it must be. He didn't really tell me his name."

"Odd. Now this mask you speak of, the 'fierce deity mask'; you claim it is possessed of evil power like the mask you defeated?"

" see, this mask is far more evil and its power is greater still."

"And you think it's causing your bad dreams?" Link nodded. "I would like to see this mask myself."

"Well I brought it with me."

"Wonderful. Smart lad, you think ahead." Link pulled the mask out of a small sack he had tied around his belt. Rauru held the mask out and examined its face. "Hmm. Interesting war paint, it looks almost tribal. I think I may have seen this before, or something like it; but I will need time to research it. Do you mind if I keep the mask for a while?"

"Please, keep it as long as you want it." said Link with angst as he scowled at the mask. Rauru smiled.

"Ah yes, the dreams. They do more than just keep you awake at night don't they?" Link responded with a gloomy nod. "It's an interesting dream in deed. The way you described it..." Rauru became lost in thought once again as he stared at the mask.

"Um, I know this is kinda' straight forward and all, but, what does it mean?" Link hesitated to ask the question since Rauru had no time to contemplate it, but Link's heart was troubled and he sorely needed answers. Rauru looked up from the mask at Link and paused, then put the mask on the table.

"Well, you mentioned three candles, that were giving off much more light and comfort than they should have. That is no doubt symbolic of power, a triforce of power if you will."

"The triforce?!"

"Possibly. Or it could be foreshadowing a triangle of people who have tremendous power together. There were only three people present in your dream if I recall. The guards were gone."

"Well there was only two, Zelda and myself."

"But she was wearing the mask, and the mask was controlling her, I'd say that counts as a third entity."

"So why did the candles blow out?"

"Well the candles blew out as Zelda faced you correct?" Link nodded. "And as Zelda faced you, you finally became aware of her union with the mask's power. It may be a warning that there will be a union between two of the three powers of the triangle; and that union will be far more powerful than the original triforce itself."

"You mean, Zelda's going to wear the mask?"

"Link, I do not know. I do not even know if the three of you are the triforce that is symbolized in the dream."

"Well, why is...Zelda..." Link felt very uncomfortable asking the question. But Rauru knew of Link's deep feelings for the princess and was able to guess what Link was after.

"Why is she the focus of the dream? I cannot say. Perhaps, if what you say about this mask is true, it is the mask using your...desires to try and advertise itself to you." It didn't exactly make Link feel great, but at least he had some sort of insight on what it all meant. He still had so much he needed answered, but didn't know where to begin, or even know what needed answered. All he could do was look at the floor. Rauru looked up from the book he was flipping through, and felt compassion on the young adventurer. Link had been through so much during his life, and he rarely asked for anything and the one time he needed help, Rauru was unable to deliver, and that burdened Rauru's heart, and it filled him with determination to solve Link's problem; though it would take time. "Link..." said Rauru as he looked up from the book. "Why don't you go visit the princess for a few hours? The flowers on the trees in the royal courtyard have blossomed and she has said that they made her think of you." Link looked up with surprise, his face was beaming with glee. "I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you took a stroll through the courtyard with her." Rauru smiled as he watched Link jog out the door.