Chapter 1

Picto-Box

Author's note: I published the intro somewhere else and.. I know I should have re-written it more but I didn't really want to so I swiped and edited it. After the intro though the story changes. The events in chapter one need to have a longer lead up to them as I felt the old version of "Everafter" went too fast paced and jumped around. So I fix it by slowing down and re-introducing everyone. In a reviews someone asked a question about the abstract text, my only response at the moment is what makes you think the "speaker" in that chapter was sane?

"Do you understand boy?" Came a familiar voice. The tone was as soft as wind kissing the desert sand, and as deep as the pit its owner now resided. "In the end it all comes down to passion. Passion drove me from my people and to this land; it drove me to claim Hyrule and the Triforce of power. Can you guess boy? Can you guess what happened?"

The sky was falling, the great net of light that kept the ocean at bay.. Soon the Golden Land would be gone. Water would fall like tears from the forgotten gods and wash it away.

"The Hero came, wielding the Triforce of Courage he and Zelda sent me to that which they called the Sacred Realm."

With the sound of glass shattering the net of light above there heads broke. Water fell between them, a curtain of sound and movement. The speaker was little more then a dark blur, his detailed robes a smear of red and black. Water swept across the dull gray stones, reached out with liquid hands to strangle the ancient land. The falling ocean lapped at Link's toes. It was cold, that water, bitterly cold.

Yet it was not the water that made him shiver.

In that blur of darkness, untouched by natural laws, were two bright orange eyes.

"I learned something there boy. Something so dire that Death itself bows before me."

The water was closing in; it sloshed along the sides of the tower. Hyrule, Land of Light, drowned. Soon nothing would be left but the top of the grim tower.

"Of the three virtues shall their come three ages. The last age which you live in now, there is a prophecy." Link found a sword in his hand, felt his feet move towards the speaker. No! His soul screamed. Not again! Desperately he tried to loose the grip on his sword. His knuckles turned white he could feel the hilt digging painfully into his palm. Suddenly he was less then an inch from the waterfall that separated them.

"When all the three virtues fall low shall the last be known. Of the darkness from the darkness shall the Golden Land rise. Its brilliance is faded and it's ways gone. Weep ye all with me for that which is lost shall never be reclaimed."

Tears blurred Link's vision, but if they came from the grim words or fighting the inevitable he could not tell. Evil's Bane throbbed in his hand, egger to taste its foes blood. As if cursed his feet went into a sprint, his hands shifted their grip on the Master Sword. For a second the waterfall from the sky pounded him. His tears were jerked from his eyes. He could see, and the forgotten gods forgive him, he did not wish to see! Just a glimpse of dark skin, fiery hair plastered to the skull by the sea's wraith. Those eyes the color of the setting sun met Link's ocean blue. There was no mad grin on that sun browned face, no slash of white teeth that put images of wolves in his head.

Using one of the statues to gain height which was a valuable asset considering that he was but a child and his enemy a grown man Link griped onto slick scales and icy stone until at last he stood framed by two monstrous wings. From his perch he turned with what felt to be surreal slowness.

Absently Link ducked the katana swipe that would have taken off his head, even as his hands scrambled for a firm grip on wet stone. A scream, she screamed, no doubt thinking him dead. Yet there was no fear in Link, no fear, and in Ganondorf's cold eyes only a clam understanding. With a light spring he leapt from statue to robed solder. Hands moved against his will, turned the Master Sword a half cycle. Even as his soul screamed against it his arms plunged down.

Ganon, the Dark King, sank to his knees. The Master Sword buried up to the hilt in his skull. Blood slid from an eye like a tear, dripped from his chin and made Link wonder if the tip was lost somewhere in Ganon's beard. Free at last, for History had played out yet again, Link allowed his legs to go out under him. Impossible as it was Ganon's mouth parted, half words half gurgle came from those lips.

"Not over.. only has begun... death opens the gate.."

"Forgive me," Link whispered, his mortal tears mixed with gods woes. "I never meant to cause such pain."

"Destiny.. no regrets.."

Something pierced the darkness that was festering inside of him. A spark of hope, a way to make amends. "The dark prophecy, how do I stop it?"

"When golden land rises..three must be..cause..arm same."

"Three? Ganon who are the three?"

Then came the king's voice, his aged voice was raised in a prayer to the ancient god's whose names Link could no longer remember.

Then down came the golden light, and the dark tower and ocean were washed away.

X

"'Hoy!"

Seeing the target of her yell roll out of his bed with a loud cry Aryll laughed.

"You are so lazy big brother! And let me guess? You forgot it again?"

"Ung..." Link opened his dark blue eyes, stared dumbly at the young woman before him, trying to put a voice to the strange face. She had a mop of sandy blonde hair and laughing black eyes, her nose while not grotesquely large could by no stretch of the imagination be called small. She patiently waited, then flashed him a wide white grin and his mind shook itself awake.

"You've been sleeping in, on my look out, and it's your birthday. If Grandma gives you another green tunic and hat I'm going to stay inside that way the bird wont get me."

Link laughed weakly, pushing aside the horrors of his dream he even managed a smile. It wasn't too surprising that he dreamt of the rains, after all it had only been three years since...

"'Morning Sis."

"Good afternoon big brother."

Link winced.

"You weren't always this nasty."

Aryll laughed, and this time someone else joined in. Link whirled and stared at other blonde haired woman. Her locks were a golden hue, and time had persuaded he to ware her hair down instead of curling it up into that upside down fish hook style she used to favor. The pirate grinned, ran a hand through her golden locks and then chuckled evilly.

"Well Hero, it's good to see you up and about. And I have to admit, Aryll is right, waking you up is funny to watch."

"Aryll have you been trotting out tale-"

"'Hoy shrimplet!"

Link whirled and there was a painful flash of light and a familiar mechanical whirl...

"Niko, give me back my Picto-Box!"

"I'm open!" Aryll squealed.

Blinking, trying to see again -and no longer wondering why the monsters he snapped shots of looked so dazed afterwards- he was aware of the short dark shape in front of him pulling back... Then something red and squarish whirled over his head.

"Got it!"

"Bowl him over sailor!" Tetra's voice was choked with laughter.

"Aye aye, Miss Tetra!"

Niko hit him in a flying tackle and Link fell over, the small pirate firmly wrapped around his legs and pinning him. Lazily Tetra strolled over, reached down and pulled the hat off of his head.

"So what's it going to be, Hero? Your dignity or your dignity? Aryll will probably show off that picture to everyone in Outset and I think I have a new flag for the ship on hand.

"Not if I catch you both first and make you give over the booty, you... pirates!"

"Takes one to know one!" Aryll teased, waving the Picto Box like a trophy.

"You know she has a point." Aryll grinned and Tetra's lips were twitching though she was fighting to keep a straight face while she talked. "Since you signed that contract you are technically a pirate..."

"Well... ummm..." Link frowned. "I'll think of something to say... just give me-"

"A year?" The small pale pirate smirked and Link glared at him.

"Quick, while he's throwing Niko overboard!" Aryll hissed to Tetra.

Both girls ran to the ladder and Link glared at the short pasty pirate.

"You can't... don't you dare I'm superior to you Swabbie, more seniority it nothing else, and..."

Niko managed a loud scream as he fell off the side of the tower and landed into the great sea with a spectacular splash.

Rolling their eyes, the fishermen who was returning with the afternoon's catch steered his vessel to pick up the floundering pirate.

Not that Link noticed he was going down the latter full speed, the question of who he was going to chase and catch first was running though his mind.

He decided when he saw Aryll standing only a few feet away from him, her sandals almost sunken into the soft sands of Outset beach. She waved the Picto-box and made a few comments about him being slow. That decided him, drawing out his steel sword in a show of mock ferocity he advanced on his sister. Aryll laughed, then bolted. Even as he chased his Sis up the winding path -up to the bridge that started it all- he failed to notice that on the pirate's vessel the traditional skull and cross bones picture was being lowered, and a small little green hat was being raised in it's place