The Hero's Many Faces


Epilogue: Into Dreams


... He walked across the open green plain, broken by a single tree. The wind blew softly through his long platinum hair, flicking it into his eyes. This was all too familiar, somehow - but - how?
Suddenly, he remembered.
...It's where it all began. Twelve years ago...
...Where I first faced an enemy I had never imagined... myself...
...What am I doing here?...

It was no surprise to see a child waiting under the tree's tall boughs. But not the Majora-child who had wanted to play so cruelly. It was ...himself as a boy of ten or so. But, at the same time, not himself. This was no young Link - but, if it was possible, a young Oni.

As if he had not realised until that moment, he looked at himself in shock.

"Why so surprised?" the child asks, smiling. "You're only seeing yourself, you know..."
"No!" he yells, turning away. "This isn't the way it's supposed to be!"
"Who's to say how it is..." the reply comes. "You can't try to say you're not who you are..."
"I know who I am!" But even as he speaks, he is no longer so sure.
"Do you?..."


Shuddering and aching, Link awoke. It was nearly midday, and the sun streamed in through his window. He tried to roll over and out of bed, but his wounded muscles resisted angrily. Though Alena had retrieved a bottle of blue potion from the cellar on their arrival at her home, it was not doing too much good. Groaning, he finally reached out for his tunic, which lay over the side of a chair.
He stopped as he saw the bloodstains, rips and energy burn marks that his battle had left there. Just like his mind, the green cloth was tattered.
I can't pretend... nothing happened there.
I saw it. I know who I am.
Who I was - no, I'm not, not any longer.

Changing his mind, he pulled a different set of clothes out of the cupboard. As he did so, shuddering inside, he saw the mask almost carelessly cast aside on the floor. Silent, he reached down to pick it up.

Looks so innocent, doesn't it... but it's cost me so much. Cost me a life.
(And cost so many others theirs.)

There's no way I can - ha - mask what I've done.
Link paused.
I couldn't? No! I can't...
...Go on. Scared of a piece of wood?...
...You won't remember anything. You're not worried for the sakes of those who know you. It's your own conscience, and that won't trouble you any longer...
No! That's wrong!
I could never...
...I could...

Not believeing what he was doing, Link slowly began to raise the mask to his face. Its pull was almost magnetic.
Do this, there's no going back...
...Going back to what? Why would I want to...

It was only inches away. He could almost feel the transformation pains ready to strike his body. He braced, and closed his eyes.
...It's coming. Your destiny...

Suddenly, an unseen force snatched the mask from his hands. Link looked up in confusion.
"Alena? Why... what?..."
"What did you think you were doing, Link?!"
He paused. It had seemed so... so clear. But now, his motives had faded. "I don't... I don't know... I just felt that it was the only way."
"Only way to do what?" He had no reply. "You said... I heard what you said to me. If that's true, how could you want to... go back to what you said was a nightmare?"
Silently, Link shook his head. "It wasn't a nightmare then. Only in my memory. It's like... oh, I can't even say what it was like. Let's talk about it downstairs, okay?"
She nodded back. "Okay. But I'll keep this for the moment." Together, they walked away.


Seated by the fire, Alena and Link talked quietly. "I can't pretend I understand what you went through," she coaxed in a soft voice. "But going back to it would be no sort of an answer."
"I know that now - it's just... it was a part of me for so long. I guess... there's some bit of me that won't accept it isn't any more. I can't believe what I tried to do either. But... I just want to see the last of those days..." He got up. "I'm going for a walk. Think some fresh air'll help get me feeling straight."
"Never alone." Laughing, they walked away.

Watched by a mask's silent and empty eyes.


A/N: Wha'... I only wrote an epilogue now, half a year after I finished uploading the story? Eh, well. It's only one revision out of many, in one story out of a series. Please. Read on.
Thanks to anyone who's reviewed any of my stories. It means a lot.