Hello to my readers. I know it has been far to long since my last posting and I am not proud of it. After so long of working really hard I've started to get much more free time. I am still working on the story I know how it's going to end I just need to put it on paper. 2011 will be a year of great progress with this story I promise. Happy Holidays and thanks for reading enjoy.
A Taste for Olives
A long day it was for Link. So much had happened today that after a short tour of the mansion, the Princess retired to her room to rest for the festivities that this fishing village would put on for the Solstice. The day was also full of surprises; the first being his friend Degornic Dirtil being released from his guardianship of Lord Harrensole, second and the least surprising to Link was the engagement of Renell and Malon. He smiled as a wave of feelings washed over him, happiness, jealously, loss, and finally relief. He'd long feared that his past with Malon had scarred their friendship to an extent that she would never find love, but her engagement to Renell proved his fears wrong. Now if only he could win the forgiveness of Talon. Link shook his head. That would be far harder and he wasn't even certain if he would forgive if their roles reversed.
The mansion of the Honored Knight who served as the governor of Rutone was large, but did not have the grandeur of many of the nobles' palaces. What set this mansion apart was its proximity to the citizens of the town, those who called Rutone home took great pride in their restored mansion from the times of the old kingdom. Link had walked many of its corridors, skylights let in the sun and several windows allowed cool breezes to waft through, and a great benefit it was in places that had mild winters. He had moved through the main foyer passed the kitchens, guest quarters, and the study. What Link found most interesting indeed was a room right off of the study. It was small, and the sun shined down from a skylight and with the exception of a framed portrait on the far wall unadorned. What was strange was in the center of the room growing out of patch of deep black soil was a tall olive tree. Rooms with skylights were often used as shrines to Farore, and fragrant plants would be used to attract fairies for luck. This was the first such shrine that Link had ever seen to use an olive tree and have no decorations on the walls. Another surprise and probably the most confusing was the portrait that was on the far wall. It was not a likeness of the goddess. The portrait was of a young woman in a dress of dark forest green with long blond hair sitting on a stone bench with several olive trees in the background. She was a pretty girl no older than eighteen, and the artist had been talented capturing the youthful fire in her blue eyes. Her smile seemed comforting to Link, as though the troubles of his past were of no consequence.
"Before you ask..." Link turned quickly and looked behind him passed the olive tree to see Honored Knight Dalenon standing by the entrance. "It's not a shrine to Farore." Out of instinct Link's hand was on Aria's hilt.
"You surprised me." Link uttered in embarrassment. For years he had been able to feel the heartbeats of every living thing near him, but he'd been so drawn to the portrait of the young woman in the green dress that he'd not noticed Sir Dalenon approach. "I apologize." He added as he removed his hand from the sword's hilt.
"I take no offence." The old knight said walking in his direction.
"This portrait…" Link said and Sir Dalenon nodded.
"She was my wife." He answered his eyes looking to it with longing.
"She's very beautiful." Link said looking at the painting once again. The painting captured more then just her likeness; it was as though a part of her spirit was preserved on the vellum.
"Beauty was but one of many blessing the goddesses bestowed upon her." Sir Dalenon said walking around the tree to come face to face with Link. "She was the only daughter of an olive farmer who lived some hours south of Parthasol keep, where I was a young officer at the time." After gazing at the painting for some seconds Sir Dalenon managed a rather wide smile. "Would you join me, Sir Link?" He asked.
"Of course." Both of them left the shrine and made their way down the corridor.
A few minutes later Link and the Honored Knight were in a sitting room near the kitchens. Bread and cheeses had been set out as well as a large jug of wine with two pewter goblets.
"That is quite a blade at your side." Sir Dalenon said, pointing to Aria at Link's side. "I first saw it when the Lady Princess gave it to you, even from a distance I could see its fine quality." Link removed Aria from its scabbard with a very melodious ring. With a quick motion Links spun Aria around the back of his hand and offered the hilt to the Honored Knight. The old Knight took the hilt and Link could feel a connection, as though the blade was a channel into the man's tortured soul. Grief and guilt was this man's constant tormentor and though it was evident that much of the grief was focused towards the woman in the painting there was another unseen whom he harbored much guilt for. Link felt the pain in his soul, the Triforce mourned. The feelings lingered for several seconds as Link let go of the Aria's blade.
The Honored Knight handled Aria like a master and his movements made Aria sing like a muse spinning an exciting epic.
"The balance is perfect, and the grip is firm. This blade is from a Goron forge." He said and Link nodded.
"Biggoron himself." Link added.
"Truly." Sir Dalenon looked genuinely impressed. "This sword will serve you well." Faster than Link had thought the old night capable, he performed several quick hand movements making Aria sing loudly and furiously, before stopping abruptly and offering the hilt back to Link. He took it from the Honored Knight and returned Aria to its scabbard.
"May I ask a question of you, Sir Link?" The Honored Knight said now starting to fill the goblets.
"Please." Link answered taking one of the full goblets. Sir Dalenon sipped his before speaking.
"Where are you from?" He asked Link sipped his own goblet before trying to answer. "Gossip at the Princess's gathering was that you were an orphan taken in by the royal family." The Honored Knight added.
"Yes, I had snuck passed the palace guards when I was young and managed to find my way to the gardens, and it was there I first met the Princess." Link explained, leaving out Navi as well as why he was sneaking into the palace. "She has been my dear friend since." The last words hurt to say… Friend.
"Before that?" Sir Dalenon inquired politely.
"I was raised by Kokiri in the Lost Woods. I don't remember anything before that." The Honored Knight nodded.
"Parthasol Keep was some miles north of the Lost Woods." The old knight said, and Link remembered passing weathered ruins on his way to Hyrule city that first time. In truth they were barely more then outlines of building foundations. Had that been the Partasol Keep Sir Dalenon was referring to. If so then there was hardly any evidence left that anything had been built there.
"Tell me young Sir… Do you like olives?" The Honored Knight asked. The question surprised Link; he was still remembering the first day hed stepped onto Hyrule field and his journey that passed the destroyed keep when Dalenon asked this question out of nowhere. "I'm not referring to a recipe that my have olives in it or olive oil, I speak of the fruit itself." He explained and Link thought. There was a time a year or two before when he had passed by an olive grove and sampled some from the tree.
"No…" He answered with a shake of his head remembering the taste.
"Ghastly things." Sir Dalenon added, mimicking the look on Link's face. "A chef can take olives and make art for the pallet just as sure as a painter can take pigments and make art for the eyes, but olives by themselves are horrid." Link was still confused about why he had been asked this question. "When you find that which is most important to you, you will endure any hardship."
"Olives…?" Link said as he took another sip of his wine. It was a strong vintage.
"When I was young and an officer at Parthasol Keep, I was in charge of a patrol that whos duty was keeping several farming villages safe." The Honored Knight sipped from his wine goblet as he remembered. "Many of the landowners were quite gracious and often gave us some of their crop; not much really just an apple a tomato something for us to add to the stew at camp that night." This was a happy memory for the wizened knight because of the vibrancy telling it brought to his eyes. "On a rather hot afternoon just before Solstice Eve near twenty years ago, the patrol passed by a small grove of olive trees, and we'd decided to rest, water the horses and use the shade to cool off. One of my men was passing around the water bottle, it was luck that I managed to empty it. At that moment I saw a flickering in the trees among the olive branches." He described setting down his wine goblet to free his hands up.
"A fairy..." Link said and a wide smile passed the Knight's face.
"Precisely!" He boomed. "And an empty bottle in my hand, my young friend, I have no qualms in telling you that I was determined to catch it. That little thing would have cured the worst case of saddle sore, a gift of mercy from the Goddesses." It was clear to Link that Sir Dalenon liked telling this story.
"A Fairy..." Link repeated. "…In an olive tree." It made very little sense; fairies liked sweet things such as cherries, strawberries, and other fruit.
"I didn't care, a fairy and an empty bottle meant relief from a long day that was far from over. I followed the fairy through the trees; I would have to climb up a branch or two in order to get closer." Another sip of wine interrupted the story. "I climbed trees all my life, but never while armored. The branch broke, I fall, the bottle shatters and there's a giggling little fairy floating over me." Link tried not to laugh but failed as he sipped his wine goblet. "As I got to my feet, I face to face with the grove owner's daughter."
"The girl in the painting." Link said and the Knight nodded.
"She was approaching our patrol with a basket full of olives." Sir Dalenon said nodding. "They were black, fresh from the tree, large and plump, but I never would have noticed at the time. " Link could see the smile forming behind the old knight's gray beard the memories were special to him and the heart in his chest quickened. "My young friend, in my time as as an officer I had seen the finest ladies in the richest courts in the entire kingdom, but none had left me as captivated as the daughter of an olive farmer."
"What was her name?" Link asked without thinking.
"Olia Grovewood, daughter of Olida Grovewood, a stubborn old coot who had ambitions of his daughter and her future husband taking over his farm." This sparked memories in Link's mind some happy others not.
"That sounds familiar." Link added, thinking of Talon Lon Lon and how he had been like a jolly old uncle to him, as well as the portly rancher's bitterness toward him since that day many years ago when he'd left on his search for Navi.
"I could say nothing… I'd never been speechless before, not even in the presence of the late queen, and her's was a radiant beauty even in her later years. Olia was a commoner; until that moment I felt that my destiny was to rise from Parthasol to a position on the royal guard and I was well on my way." The Knight's hard stare softened there was guilt and regret in there with his happy memories. "Years spent perusing my destiny and for the first instant in my life, I had reservations about it…" He paused taking a long pull nearly draining the goblet. "She offered me one of the olives; of course I had never eaten just an olive. I've had them in stews and soups, but never by themselves."
"You ate one." Link said anticipating.
"Without even thinking and I stood there with a woman whose graceful eyes penetrated my armor and caressed my soul, feeling like I would vomit on her shoes." Both Sir Dalenon and Link laughed.
"I hope you hid it well." Link said when he was able.
"Try I did, she saw through it. After that day I found whatever reason I could to be there by those trees, I'd even develop a taste for olives." He finished with a slight shiver.
"You courted her?" Link asked and the Knight nodded.
"Not openly at first, but I was young and did not yet know the meaning of subtlety. Her father was also an obstacle I had to deal with, he had his plans for Olia that did not involve a brash officer no matter how much weight he carried in the in the region." Goblets were refilled as Link listened to more of the story, as the Knight had his full attention. "After some months one night in the spring in a wooded glade near Parthasol we pledged our love." Link couldn't help but smile, he and Zelda had spent many a warm spring day in the shade of trees talking about anything on their minds but he'd always want to say more. "It would of course be some weeks before we could work up the courage to tell her father of our intent." Both of them sipped from their goblets as the memories flowed. "Despite our love I feared that she would not marry me without her father's blessing, she cherished him since her mother had died when she was young." The Honored Knight then placed his hands inside his tunic. "Solstice that year was fast approaching and soon we would no longer be able to hide our intentions any longer." He explained and then in pulled his had out from his tunic. Inside the Honored Knight's had was a small metal crest a shield within a circle with grapvines surrounding it. "Mine is a family of soldiers and guardians." Pendants like the one the old knight was holding had a special purpose. A Hylian maiden would bind the hair over her left ear into a courtship braid and the crest of the family she intended to marry into would be used to hold the braid tight. "I gave this to her but she would not braid her hair until her father blessed gave permission." Link imagined Malon's red hair braided with the hammer and anvil of Renell's family crest.
"What did you do?" Link asked him. "How did you convince him?"
"I thought hard on the matter, and worried. We had until Solstice if did not secure her hand by then... Surely her father would arrange a marriage for her." Sir Dalenon placed the pendant back underneath his tunic. "We were apart for some weeks while I returned to my duties at Parthasol. I felt despair. I knew that our love true, and had I asked she'd probably run away to be with me." Sir Dalenon signed looking into his goblet. "I could not ask her to do that. I wanted to be with her without any regrets." Feeling heaviness in his chest Link nodded. He knew how the old man felt. "At the time his Majesty was but a Prince we'd not yet met and there was word that he would marry the highborn Lady Rimeena. The Queen Zelda was taking her future daughter-in-law on a grand tour of the realm. A Tradition." Link nodded though he had trouble picturing the timid queen on a journey longer than a few miles. "They'd taken rest at Parthasol and the normally quiet keep had a full royal entourage, my men and I were busy. The last morning the Queen and Lady were at the Keep they were to take a carriage ride around the fields to be seen and speak with the farmers, only the Queen went the young Lady took ill and stayed in her chambers." This sounded much more like Zelda's mother and Link tried to hide his snicker. "The Queen requested that Keep guard escort her, she even asked me to ride in the carrage with her... for company." The memory still surprised the wizened knight.
"With the Queen... What did you talk about?" Link asked him and Sir Dalenon smiled.
"Most I do not remember. Her late highness spoke to me as though I was a dear friend not one of her loyal subjects." Sir Dalenon explained. "She asked if I was married, I told her everything my dreams and my fears."
"You told the late Queen the whole story." Link said trying to imagine Sir Dalenon as a younger mas sitting in a royal carriage with the beloved Queen Zelda. It was much easier for Link to picture the Queen from the portraits all around the palace Link's old and dear friend looked so much like her grandmother.
"She took my hand..." Sir Dalenon said holding up his right hand. "The Queen took my hand and offered as a engagement gift a portrait by the royal artist to give to Olia's father." Link looked back in the direction where the shrine with the olive tree.
"The portrait." Link said and the Knight nodded.
"A gift to an Olive Farmer from the Queen herself." He explained holding his goblet up in tribute. "How could he say no to my proposal when I had the blessing of the Queen. To her spirit."
"To her sprit." Link echoed and they both drank.
"After we spoke our oath we moved to chambers inside Parthasol Keep. Though Olia would return to the olive groves often." As slight sparkle came to the Honored Knight's eye. "Even when she was with child." Sir Dalenon's hand shook slightly as he refilled the goblet making a loud noise as he banged the pewter. "That is another story, and how I got my title." Link suddenly felt the need to hear more, he could not tell if his curiosity or the will of the Triforce.
"If you do not mind honorable sir." Link said sounding mournful. "How did you get it, your title?" He'd heard the story from others; Paldnor's tale had been a tragic story of vengeance and glory. He half expected the old knight's composure to collapse, but Link could feel his heart stay calm.
"My title" He exhaled. "Is a result of rage, more than anything... Rage or cowardice." This confused Link.
"Cowardice?" He uttered as the Honored Knight Drank from his goblet.
"I don't need to tell you what happened I can see it in your eyes that you have heard a version of the story." Link could not hide from the Knight's gaze. "From what I've been told by the Princess young Sir you've seen and been through much and you'd have very little trouble imagining the horrors of what I could describe." Sir Dalenon shook his head. "I will not allow my nightmares to haunt your sleep." He took several deep breaths before continuing. "My men were more than eager hunt down the hoard the had sacked our homes and slaughtered our families." His look became distant. "For many of my men their rage was all they had, the only strength left keeping their grief at bay. None of them showed any fear or hesitation before the battle." Link listened as he spoke. "Stories say that magical creatures show no fear and that Moblin's are never startled." From his own experience Link knew this wasn't true but remained silent. "I don't remember much of the battle that took place only that night if one could call it that. The goddesses truly blessed our blades and I saw fear in the eyes of the Moblin that lead that hoard as I took head from his shoulders in a single swipe." Pain as well as rage began to show on the Knight's face. "When it was over we stood over a field of victory, but there was no one to return to nor any home to attend to."
"What happened then?" Link asked somewhat afraid of the answer.
"Most attended to what little remained of their lives. Many fell on their swords or threw themselves off of cliffs into the sea, not one fell to a Moblin's blade." He took several more sips from his goblet before continuing. "I do not know what kept me from following my men to be with our loved ones in the warming light of the goddesses. Probably because I owed a debt to that stubborn old olive farmer who let his daughter marry me." Link felt a deep mournful pain in his heart as Sir Dalenon told his story, he knew the pain was not totally his own. As keeper of the Triforce of Courage Link had a connection to the Goddess Nayru who is often attributed to love and family, he could feel the pain for the Honored Knight's slain family.
"You told your father-in-law about it." Link uttered and at that moment a housemaid entered the room and placed a small bowl on the table.
"Thank you Lyna." Sir Dalenon said smiling at the maid who curtsied with a wide smile before leaving. "I did." He continued. "In my filthy blood soaked armor. I wanted to tell him that I had avenged not only her death but that of our child, but when I found him tending his olive trees I stood before him in my tattered armor I fell to my knees and wept." Link could see how painful the memories were and was about to tell Sir Dalenon to stop but did not. "I confessed that I was unable to protect her as I had promised, and that I was no husband to allow what happened. Olida kept a hooked knife on him when he tended his land perfect for cutting vines and roots. I would have held no ill towards the man had he used it to slit my throat." Link gasped surprised by this statement. "Clearly he didn't" The Knight added.
"Indeed." Link agreed.
"He was far more forgiving than I'd ever thought and certainly more than I was to myself." Link listened had he known the pain and memories that he would have the Honored Knight relive he'd never had asked to hear the tale but something inside stopped Link from ending the tale, he had to hear it.
"What did you do then Sir?" Link asked.
"He went with me to find her and bring her home and give her a proper burial, we found her. Before we could both properly mourn her word spread of what had happened to Parthasol Keep and the deeds of my men and I." Sir Dalenon scratched his beard much of his composure now back. "The tale of the avenging knights of Parthasol Keep vanquishing the Moblin hoards that had terrorized the countryside for months had made its way to the hearth fires in every tavern in the Northern lands. By then it was seasoned to be more epic, much like the tales of Master Paldnor." Link nodded, in the few months that he'd known Paldnor Gorley it was clear he favored tales of heroism of which a great evil was conquered. It was at this time that Link was reminded of Paldnor's desire to tell his tale.
"Indeed." Link uttered in agreement.
"I once again saw the Queen and told her the unhindered truth. Queen Zelda was a gift from the goddesses Sir Link. She bequeathed me the title of Honored Knight and made me steward of this village." Sir Dalenon made a sweeping motion with his hand. "Olida and I brought Olia with us to Rutone and the people built her a tomb." Since beginning his tale the old knight showed the first sign of happiness. "I convinced the stubborn old farmer to come with me. Happily he was able to find some degree of peace, but his daughter was his heart. He passed two years after and every person in this village attended his funeral, we laid him next to her." A small smile came to his face. Link followed the old knight's eyes to the bowl that the maid had brought earlier. Inside the bowl were two large black olives. The people of this village have become as a family to me. Their joys and sorrows are mine and I share their dreams for the future. They have helped me attain a little peace." Sir Dalenon took one of the olives from the bowl. "For a time all was as I wished it to be and the taste of these ghastly things bring back the good memories." Link nodded and reached into the bowl for the other olive.
"To your memories good sir." Link said biting into the foul tasting fruit.
"To good memories" The Honored Knight said as he did the same.