Chronicles of a Champion
A Rewrite of 'The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time'
Disclaimer: I do not own LoZ. Period.
Prologue: Times Not Yet Gone By
Kokiri Forest was quiet at this time of the morning, the barely visible streaks of pastel pink and baby blues still thin and nondescript in the sky. The many trees were dark; their leaves clumped together by the night and drizzle into masses of shadows that slinked through the air like predators out on the hunt when the wind stirred them from their rest.
The atmosphere itself was still gloomy, thick with the silence of pre-dawn sleepiness that always pervaded the wood at this time of day. Flickering, dimly glowing swirls of light flowed through the substantial space between the low-rising, crudely sculpted timber abodes that made up the homes of the people of the forest: The Kokiri. Somewhere out in the deep grasses and murky foliage crickets chirped a steady, beating rhythm through the air like a heartbeat, slowly growing hushed as dawn approached at a leisurely rate.
A small boy, no older than ten, crept with a painfully cautious gait through the dense, rustling leaves of a good-sized smattering of underbrush. He lifted one slow, slightly shaking hand to his brow, wiping the nervous sweat and damp straw-blonde hair out of his face as he carefully let out the air he had been holding in his lungs in anticipation; he hadn't been caught yet.
Ever vigilant and alert to his environment, he stepped out from his hiding place with an insecure foot, tenderly lifting the bulky mass that had been resting on the earthy ground next to him, glancing furtively in every direction for any foes. He inched a bit further into the open area, nervousness obvious in his every movement, before warily walking, ever watching, towards a tall wooden tree house tucked into a corner of the vast clearing.
A glance up at the sky—now liberally swathed with pallid shades showing the impending sunrise—told him he didn't have much time left to spare. He increased his pace, the great cerulean eyes that peered out from his pale, thin face darting as frantically as ever around the wood. He was so close…!
He flinched as he heard a triumphant scream and tell-tale thump of heavy footsteps behind him and he broke out into a desperate run, all his focus narrowing in on his goal with desperation.
Have to make it…!
The boy felt something blunt and unmercifully hard slam into his back, causing him to lurch forward with momentum and sprawl face-first into the damp dirt, mud from last night's rain clinging to his green tunic and washing itself into his eyes and nose. He coughed, trying to clear his airway of the disgusting stuff. The boy felt something small and swift kick harshly into his side, knocking him over onto his back and winding him. He blinked as the sky spun above him until the weak morning sunlight was blacked out; someone was standing over him.
The other male put his pudgy hands on his hips, scowling down with predatory glee at the boy slumped in the sludge. The light hit his hair, lighting the fiery mass of red locks a vibrant crimson. Down in the dirt the lad winced, turning his head away to spare his eyes from the blinding vision. The red haired one's scowl turned disapproving, and he delivered another boot to his ribs. The boy gasped as a slight trickle of blood dribbling out of the corner of his mouth; he was sure that bone would be broken, if not splintered, now. The red head smirked in delight at his victim's obvious pain, and sneered.
"Thought you'd get away with taking from the forest, did you, you little punk? Well? Did you?" he gave his prey no time to respond, instead choosing to take the wooden club looped into his leather belt from its place and smashing it into the same spot his boot had been not a moment before, getting another yelp of distress from the blonde child lying at his feet. His cold blue eyes gleamed with a sick enjoyment, signaling to someone outside the blonde's range of vision to approach. He felt a nauseous sensation well up in his stomach and scorch the back of his throat, threatening to make him vomit, but he bit it back and moaned in agony; throwing up all over Mido's shoes would not make anything better. In fact, if he did do that he was certain he might not be able to get back up this time.
Two other children stepped into his view, one bulky in set and the other scrawnier, though no less intimidating. They came to stand next to their ringleader, and Mido's smirk grew wider as his vindictive gaze settled on the blonde kid.
"Well, Mr. No Fairy, you know what's going to happen to you for this crime, don't you? People like you are forbidden from even entering the Forbidden Woods, much less take anything from it!" Mido's fist found its way into the blonde's stomach with an unrelenting strength, and the boy doubled over even as he lay on the floor, hacking up blood from his injured ribs and urgently struggling for air. The red head turned his nose up at him, a sneer evident on his pointed, bullying face. "Not talkin', are you? Fine then. Boys?" The two stepped forward, cracking their knuckles as wickedly cruel grins spread across their features and the blonde looked away as he shut his eyes tightly, knowing he could do nothing to stop them.
The first blow came; what felt chillingly like the club Mido had used colliding with his bruised leg, ripping a scream from his mouth and already hoarse voice box as the bone in the leg shattered. The scrawny boy's turn came next, smacking his balled fist into the child's face at brutal speeds, causing his head to snap to the side; the blonde was sure his jaw was at least fractured. He curled up into a ball as the assaults hailed down upon his small, fragile body, a spatter of red liquid flying from his lips and a jerk of agony ripping through him with each one that landed true. He didn't know how long it went on; he couldn't even tell the passing of time by the light through his eyelids. All he saw were bright stars bursting into brilliant radiance.
At last it stopped. He didn't even hear them leave; the blood pounded loudly in his ears, and the world spun about him in the darkness of his gaze. He lay there for a few moments, before slowly and painstakingly trying to move. He knew that if he didn't they would be back for more, thinking that he hadn't had enough for the day. A moan of torment was all the reward he got for twitching his fingers, trying to get them to work, but he pushed on with as much will as he could gather; he wasn't ready to die now. He moved his bloody and broken left hand with an agonizing sluggishness beneath him, a scream choking back in his throat and hot, burning tears pricking at the corners of his eyes as he did so. He inhaled as deeply as his fractured ribs would allow him, stopping just short of painful and let it out in a shaky puff of mist as he hardened himself for what he knew was coming. He pushed off from the bloodstained and young grass beneath his numb and tingling fingers with as much force as he could. Pained tears coursed down his filthy, ragged face as he staggered to his knees, collapsing with his right hand outstretched and supporting him from falling to the ground again. His breath increased rapidly as the boiling blood pumped through his veins, sending white-hot tendrils of fiery torture through his whole quivering frame. He slowly and carefully levered himself to his feet in a steady position, ignoring the stares he knew he was receiving from the Kokiri who had finally come out of their homes. None of them came forward to aid him, and he didn't expect them to. After all, he was an outcast, a nobody; why would anyone care what happened to him?
He staggered towards the tree house he had been frantically sprinting towards not too long before, casting his bruised and beaten face to the sky, which was now pink and softly lit with the new morning light. His feet brushed the bundle he had dropped when he had been tripped, but he made no move to pick it up as he finally slumped against the thrown-together ladder that led to the home above the ground level. He bit back a groan of frustration and with one hand—his left still broken—gripped the rickety wooden frame with it, a hiss coming from him as he lifted his battered body off the floor. His crippled, sprained feet found the first step of the ladder, and he had to choke back a sob before reaching up again with his good hand and grasping the next rung, painstakingly lifting himself up the ladder with as much care as possible. It wasn't impossible; after all, how many times before had this happened? He honestly couldn't remember; he had lost count somewhere around two hundred and that was a long time ago.
When he finally reached the high platform that made up the porch of the home he collapsed upon it, his whole frame quaking violently as tears sprang to his eyes and a weak wail echoed soundlessly from his dry and cracked vocal cords. He reached forward blindly with his right hand and crawled brokenly to the doorway of the building before crossing the threshold at a pace that took forever before hoisting himself up onto his sagging bed, crumpling in a heap upon the blissfully soft and comforting sheets. Tears continue to move down his visage, clearing clean paths through the large smudges of dirt and mud that had clung to his face and begun to harden from too much exposure to the air. As the sobs slowly faded from him, he twitched his fingers again to make sure they were still there. When a slight tingling sensation crept up his arm he sighed in relief, stopping short with a sharp intake of breath as his injured ribcage once again poked him tantalizingly in the lungs. His breathing came in short, shallow gasps, marred with the occasional hiccup as hysteria left him. He closed his eyes, basking in the soothing crispness of his bed before losing himself in the numbness of his mind, happily leaving the realm of light and pain for the calming and trouble-free arms of the darkness, forgetting for a moment all of his problems.
He was jolted awake by the light and hesitant touch of flesh against his own, and his eyes snapped open with a wince as the bright glow of early morning daylight flashed into his optics. He closed them again with a hiss of pain before opening them more slowly, leaning his aching head to the side to see who it was that awoke him.
Beside him kneeled a young girl, apparently no older than he was, with forest green hair and brilliant dark blue eyes. She was decked out in a light green vest and a dark jade, long-sleeved tunic with matching shorts. Her young face was pinched in concentration as she fought slightly with the long roll of bandages tangled up in her hands, trying without success to unravel them so she could wrap them around his broken arm and splint it. He watched her in confusion for a moment, his cobalt gaze unfocused before awareness suddenly seized him. He bolted up in his bed as fast as his hurt body would allow him, staring at her wide-eyed in shock and amazement.
"Saria! What…What are you doing here?" he stuttered, not willing to believe that she was actually here—and helping him, no less! The girl, Saria, frowned at him and crossed her arms in a patronizing fashion, eying him with a critical look.
"Your ribs are broken, your left wrist and hand shattered, both legs fractured, two sprained ankles, and a heavily bruised face; I'm holding a roll of bandages. What do you think I'm doing?" he gaped at her before looking down at himself, noticing for the first time that the mud had been cleaned from his bared skin and face and the wraps around his jaw.
"But…but…I…but you…" he trailed off, his eyes dropping to his lap in consternation. "You don't have to…I mean…you have no reason to…" he turned away, ashamed of his state. The scolding look vanished instantly from her face and her arms fell limply to her sides, the crisp white bindings held loosely in her small hands. Her eyes found his turned head, sorrow filling them slightly.
"Why wouldn't I help you, Link?" she said softly, all thoughts of reprimanding him for his uncalled-for assumption whisked away from her. "You're my best friend, and have been since you came here. Why wouldn't I help you? You're hurt, and there's no one else who would even think about it." She lowered her gaze to the linen in her grasp, a miserable shadow growing in her dark sapphire eyes before she looked up again, a surprising determination replacing the gloomy shimmer. She stepped towards him, gently taking his left arm in her grasp and began to carefully wrap it. "So I'm going to do it, and nothing you say is going to stop me." Link whipped his head around to argue, but the words died in his throat at the look on her face. He gave in wearily, not protesting as she finished wrapping and splinting his arm, nor as she moved on to bind the rest of his injuries. He had never won an argument with her, and he knew he never would.
Saria stepped back with her fists back on her hips, surveying her work before nodding in approval. "I think that should do it. Don't exert yourself, and try to move as little as possible." She hesitated, boring her gaze deep into his eyes and looking for any resentment before spinning on her heel and walking slowly to the door, her emerald boots tapping quietly against the wooden floorboards. She paused in the doorway but didn't look back. "Your, ah, stuff is by your bed…I brought it in before Mido and his group could get a hold of it." And then she was out the door, the drape that closed off the room from the open air outside flaring wildly for a moment before settling stilly over the entrance.
He looked after her even when she was gone, his gaze unfocused again, before slowly standing from the feathered mattress and peering around the corner of the bed frame. Sure enough, the bulky bundle he had been so desperate to get back to his home was lying there, untouched except for a small amount of dried mud here or there. He sighed in relief when he saw it, reaching out a tentative hand and dragging it towards him as he sat back on his bed. He lifted the bundle up into his lap, carefully unwrapping it and hoping the contents hadn't been smashed when he had taken that fall.
Another sigh of relief brushed past his lips when he saw that the many fruits and nuts he had stealthily taken from the Forbidden Woods were unharmed. He picked up a pomegranate with his good hand, tossing it into the air before catching it and setting it aside again. After rummaging through the contents of the cloth bag for a few more moments, he extracted a shiny red apple. He grinned as he bit into it, the sweet juices gathering in his mouth and sliding smoothly down his parched throat. He chewed slowly, savoring the taste of it and victory, silently sending out his thanks to Saria for her thoughtfulness.
They may have gotten him, but they hadn't gotten his hard-earned food.
Navi the fairy watched the events of the morning unfold before her in distress, her glow flickering several times and her translucent wings drooping as she saw Link being picked on again—and rather savagely, but when had it ever not been? A diminutive sigh escaped the fairy and she turned around and drifted through the Forest aimlessly, sorrow filling her. She had been strictly forbidden from aiding him, and rage flowed through her veins as she thought of how much could have been avoided if she had just been given to him as a partner. Why all of this? Why did he have to go through all this torment, when it did not even have to be? A frustrated moan escaped from her. Why couldn't she help him? Why was it so prohibited? Why must he be the one singled out—one of the few decent Kokiri there were in this goddess-forsaken forest? She smacked a small hand—barely visible through the slightly azure glow that surrounded her—to her forehead in exasperation. She had asked these questions a thousand times before, or more: she had even taken the issue before the Great Deku Tree himself, demanding an answer to her seemingly unanswerable inquiries.
She landed softly on the branch of a high-up tree, sitting down and watching the sky begin to turn overcast in despair; it looked like it was going to rain again. This was confirmed as a single drop of liquid landed on her wings, and she fluttered them slightly to get the moisture off before standing again and heading to the clearing of the forest's guardian; even though he wouldn't give her the responses she sought, at least she could mollify her guilt over the situation somewhat if she continued to pester him with queries. Perhaps, just perhaps, he would grow tired of her today and plainly tell her what she wanted to know, merely to be rid of her. A miniature, sly smile slipped across her face as she entered the clearing, the thickly leaved branches of the Great Deku Tree blocking out the downpour. It was worth a shot, as she told herself every day of her existence when it came to the small blonde boy back in the forest. It was worth a shot.
A/N: I have been mulling over the idea for this for awhile and I've finally gotten around to actually trying my hand at writing it. It's basically a re-write of Ocarina of Time (whohoo, so original!) and I've yet to definitely set how I'm going to go about this, so it may be some time until the next update. As any of my normal readers know, I'm busy with "A Change in History" so will be slow on updating everything else, but I hope to get the next chapter up within a week. Savvy? Leave me any comments, and tell me if you think I should continue! I need to know if people are actually reading it; else I'll drop the idea and go back to ACiH; Au revoir.