The Legend of Zelda, and all related, uh, stuff, are property of Nintendo. However most of the characters in this, including Vaaltos, are mine.
It's always the same.
In every story there's always a monster ravaging the countryside, or an evil usurper who's taken over a kingdom, or something along those lines.
Then there's always a hero, often a prince, sometimes a deserving farmer's son or an orphan destined for greatness, who has to ride off the save the day... and the girl.
There's always a girl. Almost always a princess, sometimes in disguise or kicked out of her rightful place by and evil step-something, but occasionally it's an ordinary girl of extraordinary kindness and beauty. But there's always, always, a girl.
It's always the same.
But this time...
This time it's going to be different...
The Legend of Zeld: The Black Rose Blade
Chapter 1. The Prince and the Hero.
"Link!" a noble lady called out from atop the outer wall of her manor. "Link, where are you! Get back here!"
Link, riding across Hyrule Field, did not hear the woman's voice, but the horse did. It reared up and turned back, heading for the enormous manor where she and Link lived.
"Hey! Wait! Stop! Woah!" The horse ignored Link's frantic pleas and kept right on running for home.
Link sighed resignedly as the horse trotted into the massive stables of Link's family.
"Lady Link!" the groom greeted her. "Your mother has been calling you for some time."
"I figured as much," Link sighed again and slid out of her saddle. "17th here," she patted the horse's nose, "is surprisingly attuned to my mother's voice." She handed Epona XVII's reins to the groom and headed for the main house.
Lady Linkalla Vanguardian Lon Lon's parents had expected her to grow up to be a noble and beautiful young lady with a wide range of ladylike skills and perfect knowledge of protocol; and she had. She had taken after her father in coloring, blond hair, green eyes, and skin that tanned much easier than her mother would have liked, but she was very beautiful, could dance and move with effortless grace, and her sewing and singing were beyond compare. She had also learned to ride a horse better than any man, how to best most of the manor's guards in combat, how to live off the land, how to shoot a bow, and, most disturbingly in her parents' minds, how to cuss like a sailor. Luckily Linkalla was just as good at her ladylike pursuits as she was at the ones that were…less so, and her parents put up with the riding and the fighting as long as she kept up her lessons.
Today Link had "forgotten" to come home in time for her daily protocol lesson, and she knew she was in trouble. She also didn't particularly care.
Prince Zeld Delorean Hyrule sat in the receiving chamber, seeming to listen attentively to the missives of the Zora messenger. In reality, his mind was wandering freely, only occasionally stopping by to make sure the messenger was still reciting almost verbatim from the written marriage proposal Zeld had in front of him. He was.
Zeld knew the young princess of the Zoras fairly well. She was, after all, a frequent visitor to the palace. The girl simply did not have anything better to do, being the youngest offspring of the Zora king and in no way in line for the throne. She was also only seven years old, more than a decade younger then the prince. Add to this the fact that Zeld actually was in line for the throne, and therefore required to produce an heir of his own eventually, and the fact that Hylians and Zoras could not produce offspring, and the answer you got was that the Prince simply had to turn down this offer.
He wanted to say something like: "Are you crazy? No way!" but he couldn't. He had to say something more like: "As generous as your offer is, I am afraid I must decline, as my parents are approving a bride for me as we speak. However a union between our two houses would, I'm sure, be of great benefit to us both however, so I propose…" then he would have to dig out that old treaty-ish thing his aunt had written to turn down a Zora prince back in her day. His aunt was now happily married to a carpenter and very much enjoying her life of mediocrity, a life that Zeld envied to no end.
But even Zeld had to admit that he fit the prince mold fairly well. He was very handsome, very tall, and looked especially good in the ceremonial clothes he was often required to wear, today being no exception. He took after his mother in looks a bit more than he'd have liked though. He was blond, with blue eyes, and had a blond's complexion, meaning he blushed easily and always burned before he tanned. But even his normally fair skin fit the traditional image of a prince.
Zeld did not want to be a prince in real life, he wanted to be like the princes in the old stories. The ones who were constantly riding off and saving young damsels, who would then fall in love with the prince and give themselves up to him: mind, body, and soul. Especially body.
But being a real prince meant endless lessons, balls, and spending time with stuffy nobles. And all the young damsels he met were either already betrothed to someone else or incredibly stuck up. It was true that his parents had found someone they wanted him to marry, or at least meet, but he was sure she would be just like the others, and nothing like the ones he fantasized about, or the one that he often dreamed he was.
Those dreams were the bane of his existence. Sometimes they were helpful, by showing him people he had not yet met and letting him know, by way of symbolism, whether or not their intentions were good. But more often then not, Zeld's dreams were about himself, in the body of a princess, getting into some kind of trouble and being rescued by a young hero. The hero always looked different, but always had the same spirit, just as the princess looked different but was always him. Sometimes these dreams repeated, like the one where the hero was locked away for seven years and the princess learned to cross-dress while he was gone. Or the one where the hero split into four heroes thanks to a magic sword. Or the one where the hero had to wake the princess up from centuries of sleep. Or the one where the princess was kidnapped. Actually, the princess got kidnapped a lot.
Prince Zeld did not want to be the helpless princess of his dreams (though admittedly some of the princesses were more helpless than others, the cross-dressing one was fairly tough), he wanted to be the hero riding off to save her.
His dreams were very unkind.
And this Zora messenger was very boring.
"How would you address the King of Hyrule?"
"Your Majesty, My Liege, or Sire." Link recited dutifully.
"Correct," her governess approved. "And the Queen?"
"Your Royal Highness, or My Lady."
"Your Highness, or My Liege."
"The Zora King?"
"Your Royal Highness, My Lord, or Sire."
"The Goron leader?"
"A Gerudo Captain?"
"Captain or Ma'am."
"Very good." The governess closed the protocol book and smiled at Link. "You've got this stuff down pat."
"I have been drilled on it since I was three," Link sat up, she had been slumped in her chair. "Can I go to my room now?"
"Yes, but remember, your mother wants you to stay there until she has a chance to talk to you."
"I know, I know." When Link had arrived at the main house her mother had announced that she had very exciting news, but because Link had missed her lessons she would have to wait and make them up until she heard it. Link was sure the news was something that would make her life temporarily more miserable, like that she had been invited to a ball, or that they were hosting a ball. Basically anything that involved balls.
It wasn't until she was back in her room, working on a piece of embroidery that she wanted to finish by her birthday, that Link discovered the news was much worse. Her chambermaid, Maria, rushed into the room in an advanced state of excitement.
"Lady Linkalla! Lady Linkalla!"
"What is it Maria?" Link asked, bored.
"Oh I just heard the news! I can't believe it, you are so lucky! You'll keep me on after you're married won't you? I've always wanted to live in-"
"What did you say?" Link's head snapped up.
"Oh dear…" Maria's hands flew to her mouth. "You haven't heard yet?"
"Heard…what…?" Link said slowly.
Maria shook her head firmly. "I shouldn't tell you if you don't know. Please forget I said anything." With that she fled the room.
"So…" Link said flatly. "I'm betrothed."
Her next birthday was her eighteenth, which meant that, by noble terms, she was overdue for marriage. Her mother had talked about it, and Link had had many suitors, but it hadn't been a topic much lately and Link had been too happy with her good fortune to wonder why. It was entirely possible that Link's mother had not spoken to Link about marriage because she had found what she considered to be a "good match" and hadn't wanted Link to interfere with the negotiations.
That had to be it. It had to be. Link's mother had found her daughter a husband.
"Well," Link said aloud, "at least I was right about it involving balls."
Wincing at her own bad pun, Link put down the embroidery and stood up. This was bad. Very very bad. Her most recent suitor had been more than twice her age and extremely perverted. Link knew she was pretty, and she was proud of her curves, but she absolutely hated having them stared at by a man old enough to be her father.He was one of her father's friends actually, and her father apologized profusely afterward, but the age of that visitor, and the three before it, had proved that Link had already turned down all the young bachelors. And what better reason to hide marriage negotiations from the bride then to also hide the age of the potential groom?
She had to get out of this.
She had to run for it.
Prince Zeld, finally out of the meeting with the Zora messenger, sat up straight in his throne and smiled warmly at the guests. The warm smile was faked, as were most of his warm smiles, but the guests didn't know that and that was, after all, the point.
Luckily, Zeld didn't have to actually take part in this particular conversation. He wasn't even sure what it was about. A couple of Gerudos were talking to his parents, and he only had to sit there and look princely. Later that same day there would be more meetings, lessons, and preparations for a ball in his honor next week. The ball was supposed to be celebrating his birthday, which had been a month ago, but his parents would also be announcing his future bride, whose name he still didn't even know.
Still sitting, smiling, and looking attentive, Zeld decided to daydream about married life. She would be beautiful, she had to be or she wouldn't have been considered, and she would be from a good family, which probably meant she would be stuck up and obsessed with the latest fashions. Zeld didn't know anything about the latest fashions. Not a single thing. But at least that meant he wouldn't have to talk to her, just stand beside her and smile into her eyes while not feeling an ounce of affection. It could be worse. At least she would be beautiful.
Speaking of which, one of the Gerudo emissaries, the younger one, was eyeing him. She was cute for a Gerudo, if a bit skinny and very flat, and was looking at him curiously, almost nervously. He looked her directly in the eyes and allowed a smile, very different from the blank one he'd been wearing before, to play across his lips. The Gerudo looked back and returned the smile.
Then she turned back to the dealings between her captain and King and said something about trade. Zeld let his mind got back to its wanderings.
Getting a sword was easy enough. Link's paranoid mother employed a startling number of guards for the manor and they all were armed quite well. Link trained with them almost every day, and since they got to see her in tight trousers and a short tunic as she did so, they were more than willing to keep that fact from her mother. Link changed out of her "Noble Lady" dress and into a green tunic and tight tan trousers, the trousers lifted from one of the smaller guards since her parents would never let her have any. Then she pulled on a pair of boots, twisted her long blond hair up on top of her head and hid it under a hat, then climbed out her window and into the yard.
"Hello boys," she greeted the off-duty guards in their quarters. They quickly straightened themselves up, one even going so far as to stand at attention. He had to be new. "Just here for a sword," she said, cheerfully. "Nice one, preferably."
"Wait here," one said. "We just got a couple of new ones."
Link grinned. "Nice. Will they keep an edge?"
"Goron-made," the guard answered. "They'll do."
Link grinned again.
Ten minutes later Link was back in the house, fully armed and in need of provisions. She planned on staying away for as long as it took for them to give up on marrying her off, then returning and joining the guard. See how long it took her parents to realize that the young new guard was not only a woman, but also their daughter.
She need a sword because she also intended on doing some heroics while she was gone. In the stories it was always, save the damsel, save the princess, save the girl. Well this girl wanted to do her own saving, thank you very much. She often dreamt of being a hero and saving a princess of her own. She liked these dreams, even if she was always a guy in them.
Link packed enough food for a week, a couple of changes of clothes, the shield she kept under her bed, and her embroidery. She liked embroidery, though she would never admit it. It kept the hands busy and left the mind free to wander; a good pastime, even if it was ridiculously girly.
Once everything was packed, Link simply walked out the front door and to the stables. A few people had seen her while she was getting food and supplies, but no one paid any attention. Link was always going off for some reason or another, more often than not dressed as a peasant, since it was easier. And she nearly always took the horse she fondly referred to as 17th, even though the mare's name was Epona XVII, descendant of the first Epona, the finest horse raised by their family back when they were nothing more than poor ranchers.
The Lon Lon Ranch still existed, though it took up considerably more space than it had in the past, raised considerably more cows and horses, and brought the family considerably more money. Link had to avoid it though, because it would be the first place her parents would look. So, as she rode out the gates of her family's palatial home, she veered in the one direction she knew no one would expect her to go.
Towards Hyrule Castle Town.