A/N: I wrote this for a friend's birthday a while ago, wasn't going to put it up but here it is.
Disclaimer: I don't own Zelda.
Before the Legend
A heavy wind blew viciously through the trees of the mysterious Kokiri Forest. The peaceful inhabitants of the forest were unaware of the raging war taking place on the Hyrulean planes between the many different races of the land. Hylians, Gorons, Zoras, Gerudos, they all fought against the other to the death. The king was finding it more difficult each day trying to unite the races and now, with the birth of his first child and the sudden death of the queen things weren't looking too good.
In the back alleys of Hyrule Market, a young woman pulled a tattered red cloak tightly around herself. In her arms she held a small sleeping baby no older than three months wrapped in a simple white cloth. Feeling in her pocket, her hand brushed over the knife her husband had given her earlier on in case anyone should attack her.
"Use it to protect you and the baby," his words echoed through her mind just before he had gone to help in the never ending war. Unknown to the woman, those would be the last words she would ever hear him say. Brushing a loose strand of golden hair from her eyes, she hurriedly ran through the streets nearly falling over as another loud explosion rippled through the night air. The Gorons must have been using their special crop again. Taking a quick breath, she headed for the drawbridge which led directly into Hyrule Field or as it was now known: The Battle Zone.
Smoke filled the once clean air causing her to cough slightly, leaning forward to protect the baby from the polluted air, she ran along the body littered path keeping her eyes on the raging battle at all times. Tall muscular Zora warriors swung their blades at oncoming attackers expertly slicing their bodies to shreds. Large Gorons slammed their fists into the ground causing mighty earthquakes in the hope that they would knock a few of their enemies down.
In the centre of the field, Hylians and Geruods fought bravely for their lives. Blades clashed, shields shattered, bodies fell, this was Hyrule's darkest hour.
A Hylian soldier stood eyeing his opponent, one of the Gerudos' finest warriors.
"Give it up, you can't win!" the Gerudo woman hissed pointing her sword at his armoured chest threateningly.
"You think so do you?" he replied, his sky blue eyes sparkled beneath his soldier's helmet. Raising his own sword, he charged at her skilfully slashing the weapon with ease. Parrying out of reach, the woman slipped behind him stabbing the sword into his back piercing through the polished armour. Spinning around, he kicked her to the ground lunging on top of her pressing his blade closely to her throat. "Ganondorf will never rule this kingdom as long as I'm around," he spat in her face before driving the sword straight through her heart.
Sprinting along the path, the cloaked figure hoped to the Goddesses that she would make it to the Hyrulean borders into the neighbouring country. Suddenly, a Zora archer spotted her, he had been given orders to allow no survivors. Carefully aiming his fishbone bow, he fired getting a direct hit in the side of her chest.
She stumbled to the floor as blood began spurting out of the wound. Looking ahead, she saw the entrance to the forbidden forest, it was her son's final hope. Pushing herself up, she struggled to the large hollow log, her vision was becoming a little blurred but she knew she had to save him.
It had been another long day in Kokiri Forest, most of the forest children had now returned to their houses for the evening. However, there was one girl who had other plans. She had been exploring the Lost Woods for a little while each day, most of the children were afraid to even set foot in the creepy maze but she felt perfectly at home there. Setting the hair band in her trademark emerald coloured hair into place, she walked out onto the old rope bridge. Sliding down through the ropes, she landed neatly in between a cluster of tall trees. Before she had a chance to go any further, she heard dragged footsteps coming from the bridge. Silently climbing into one of the trees she peered out through the leaves.
"An outsider?" she gasped quietly wondering why someone from the outside would want to come to the forest. Not noticing that the woman was carrying a child, the girl moved further back into the branches not wanting to be seen. At one point, the woman stumbled again dropping her husband's knife over the edge of the bridge. Not having the time or the energy to find it she carried on moving.
Practically crawling along the grass covered ground, the woman made her way slowly to the Deku Tree's meadow. The giant tree had sensed her arrival.
"Great Deku Tree," she choked out, "I come to you in the hopes that you will be kind enough to look after my son. I have heard of you and the forest children only in legend but today I have seen with my own eyes that you really exist. I know my time has come but please, take care of him."
The tree remained silent for a moment pondering over the situation. The child was clearly the boy in the prophecy, the boy who would one day become a legend. Deciding to raise the child was the best option, the tree spoke gently. "I will do as thou ask, lay the child on the ground before me and I shall make sure he is taken care of."
Giving her son a final kiss goodbye, the mother placed him in front of the tree. Sending down a few long vines with a small group of fairies, they lifted the child up into the tree's leaves where the Kokiri were raised until they were old enough to look after themselves. Before she finally collapsed to the ground, the woman whispered one last thing.
"Link…" then it all went dark.
Running through the village, the young girl made her way to the Deku Tree's meadow to see what was going on. Peering around the corner, her blue eyes widened in shock as she saw the body of that same woman laying motionless on the ground.
"Great Deku Tree did something bad happen?" she asked stepping cautiously into the meadow keeping her distance from the lifeless body.
"Do not worry Saria my child, this woman was severely injured before she arrived here, death was unavoidable," if it had been any other Kokiri, the Deku Tree would have worried about the after effects of them seeing a corpse since they were rare in the forest, but Saria was different, the outside world didn't scare her, it intrigued her. "Now you should return to the village, after all it is quite late," the tree advised. Saria nodded turning to leave. "And Saria, please do not mention this to anyone else, I can trust thee to do that can't I?"
Nodding a second time, the Kokiri girl walked back to her tree shaped house for the night.
The next morning the king received a progress report, his lead soldier had been killed in battle. It was time to end this war once and for all.
Five years later
A strawberry-blond five year old Kokiri boy opened his sleepy blue eyes as the morning sun shone brightly through his tree house door. Stretching his arms, he swung off the wooden bed slipping into the standard brown Kokiri boots.
The night before, the Deku Tree had finally decided it was time for him to live with the others in the village. A couple of fairies had escorted him to his new home where he would live from now on.
"Knock knock," a female voice came from the entrance of the house. Turning around, he saw a girl a few inches taller than him with short emerald hair that framed her face nicely. She wore Kokiri clothing slightly different from the rest of the villagers with green lace up boots to match. She was a living image of the colour green, apart from the soft blue eyes that sparkled when she was happy. "Looks like we'll be neighbours. I'm Saria, if you ever need anything feel free to ask," she smiled.
Link returned the smile liking this girl already, she had a friendly aura about her. Taking something from behind her back, she handed it to him.
"Call it a welcome present although, it might be a little big for you."
Link gratefully took what seemed to be a large green cap, placing it on is head, the hat slipped down over his eyes.
"Oh well, you'll grow into soon enough. Come on, I'll give you a tour of the village," Saria took his hand.
As they slid down the ladder, a gang of Kokiri swarmed around them. The forest children lived a very long time so it was rare that a new Kokiri moved into the village.
"Hey Saria who's the squirt?" the leader of the group, a red-headed, freckle-faced boy asked folding his arms impatiently.
"I'm Link." Link chirped pushing his hat up from his eyes again.
"Link huh?" the boy smirked, "you're a bit small aren't you? And where's your fairy? Everyone knows a real Kokiri has a fairy."
"Hush up Mido," Saria growled pushing him out of the way. Turning around she took Link's hand again. "You were small once too you know? So be nice."
Mido huffed angrily as the others followed Saria wanting to meet the new kid. "Who does she think she is? The Forest Sage or someone? I'm meant to be the one in charge here!"
Link marvelled at the beauty of his new home, the trickling blue waterfall, the soft green grass where the Kokiri enjoyed sitting in the summer and the mysterious entrance to the Lost Woods. He was about to wander into it when Saria grabbed his tunic pulling him back.
"It's called the Lost Woods for a reason Link, you don't want to go in there unprepared."
"Yeah!" Fala, one of the twins piped up. "The Great Deku Tree said anyone who gets lost in there becomes a monster forever!"
"Of course, it's not hard to find your way if you know where you're going," Saria mumbled more to herself than anyone else. Unknown to the Kokiri, Hylians had excellent hearing.
"What do you mean?" Link asked her curiously. "Is there something interesting in there?"
"N-no, not that I know of," she stuttered not wanting to share her secret with anyone, especially someone she'd just met. Dragging Link away from the woods, they continued showing him around.
A year later and Link had settled in well. He got on with most of the Kokiri apart from Mido who always enjoyed picking on him whenever he got the chance. The times he did manage to were mainly when Saria wasn't around. Most of the children wondered why Link never received a fairy, Link himself had wondered this sometimes too but never let it show. Instead he would always say.
"I don't need a guardian fairy, I've got a guardian angel," this caused a burst of laughter from Mido.
"Oh really? Where is she then?" he asked trying to humour the poor kid.
"Right there," Link pointed to Saria who was walking over to them.
Mido narrowed his eyes, this little punk was moving in on his territory. It was true that over the last year Link and Saria had become good friends, too good in the Kokiri leader's opinion. Time after time Mido had tried to impress Saria with his multiple skills but that brat always beat him at everything.
One occasion was at the annual shooting competition. Every year, any Kokiri that wanted to could take part in this light hearted event, well it was meant to be light hearted but on this one occasion the rivalry was high.
A row of wooden target boards were set up with circles carved on them, the one who got most of their shots nearest the centre would be classed as the winner. To shoot, they used handmade slingshots along with deku seeds with sharp pieces of wood sticking out of them so they would stick in the target. The favourites to win were the same each year, Mido or Saria. Mido for the obvious fact that being the leader he was naturally good at everything but no one really knew how Saria had become so good with the weapon, some considered her the true figurehead of the community although it was rarely said. Nobody else came close to winning until now.
Link sat fiddling with some wooden sticks on his balcony, after hearing he needed to make his own slingshot, he had set about doing so but didn't seem to be having much luck.
"What are you doing Link?" Saria's head popped up at the top of his ladder.
"Trying to make a slingshot," he mumbled throwing the sticks down in annoyance. Sitting beside him Saria took out her own.
"We can share mine," she offered. "Then when it's over we'll come back and make you one, okay?"
Soon the competitors were ready to go, each of them would have three shots then the top three would go through to the final round.
"Right, since I'm the leader I'll go first," Mido said ignoring the subtle whispers from some of the group about how he always had to go first. Setting himself a few feet away from the target, he carefully aimed while pulling back the band. Smoothly letting go, he smirked as the seed hit the target dead centre, he did the same with the second target but missed the centre ring slightly on the third. "Beat that," he grinned at Saria who rolled her eyes.
Taking out her slingshot, she stood where Mido just had shoving a seed into it. Closing her eyes, she let the forest spirits guide her, Mido held back a laugh thinking there was no way someone could hit anything without looking.
The first seed landed exactly the same place as his and so did the second. Taking a breath, she moved onto the last closing her eyes again, some of the Kokiri had tried doing that themselves but always missed.
"Looks like I just did," Saria smiled as the third seed landed a little closer to the centre than Mido's had. A few more children tried their skill but none managed to do so well, then it was Link's turn.
Thankfully taking Saria's slingshot, he moved into position. Saria had taught him the basics of using it but he'd never had any target practice before. Picturing the target in his mind's eye, he closed one eye letting his hands guide him. Flying serenely through the air, the first seed landed neatly in the centre. Repeating what he had done again, he was rewarded with another centre hit. Wiping a drop of sweat from his forehead, Link aimed for his final shot which landed in the same place as Saria's.
"That was awesome!" Saria congratulated her friend. "I can see I taught you well."
Link beamed over at her trying to hide his red face.
"Yeah yeah whatever. Let's get on with the final," Mido muttered.
In the last round, each remaining competitor would only have one shot and all seeds would be left on the target. Taking his shot, Mido hit it right in the centre as he had expected.
Saria was next up but just as she was focused, Mido thought it would be convenient to scream about a tiny bug on his hat causing her to shoot the seed off into the woods. With Saria out of the competition he thought he was sure to win.
"Ha ha…oops," he grinned sheepishly as she gave him a dirty look handing the slingshot to Link.
Link took his place angry that Mido had messed up Saria's shot, he'd beat him for that. Rubbing his hands together, he picked up the slingshot placing a seed gently into it. He could feel that all eyes were on him now wondering if he would outdo Mido. Pulling the string back, he let it go watching the seed float to the target. The moment seemed to go on forever until…
The deku seed split right through the middle of Mido's knocking it clean off the board making Link the winner.
That day was the first time Link had properly used a weapon, what he didn't know was that there were many more to come.
Two years later
It was a warm summer's evening, an eight year old Link sat swinging his legs lazily over the edge of his balcony. That day he and Saria had spent a relaxing one down by the pond. It was clear to everyone now that he and Saria weren't just friends, they were best friends, they had shared so much over the last few years and usually where you found one, you would find the other. But there was still one thing itching in the back of Link's mind that he needed to know and this evening he was going to find out.
Hiding in the shadows, he watched Saria leaving her house just as she did every single day before the sun went down. Keeping his eyes on the girl, he watched as she headed into the Lost Woods, what in the name of the Deku Tree was she doing in that place?
Jumping from the balcony, Link slowly walked up to the Lost Woods entrance taking one last glance at the village before he entered the natural maze.
Entering the woods, all he could hear was silence, trees slightly rustled in the breeze but nothing else moved apart from the shadows dancing on the mossy ground. Thinking it was best to head back, he turned around but suddenly heard a faint tune coming from within the maze. Straining his ears, he began to follow the sound which seemed to be leading him towards it. As he got deeper, the song became louder ringing out into the souls of the forest spirits who floated energetically in the air spinning and diving to the happy notes.
Finally, after finding his way through the trees, he came to a large labyrinth. Bravely stepping into it, the boy ran along the paths dodging the odd deku scrubs that angrily shot at him. Leaping over a small body of water, he came across a set of stone steps which led to another set. Running up them, he stopped gasping at the sight before him.
A large building which must have been twice the size of the Great Deku Tree loomed before him. Long vines hung loosely along the stone walls, green moss clung to the stone as a tall tree arched itself over what looked to be an entrance to the building. Dropping his gaze to source of the sound, he saw its owner. Saria sat on a small tree stump playing her prized possession, her fairy ocarina. Silently sitting next to her, Link listened to the joyous melody, she was so in tune with the song that Saria didn't notice her friend until she stopped for a break.
"Link? How did you find me?" she asked partly shocked but partly grateful that he had come. She had assumed no one could hear her playing through the dense woods.
"I followed the song you were playing, which by the way sounds very nice, why didn't you tell me about this place before?" Link asked feeling a little upset that she had kept this hidden place from him. Saria could see the hurt in his eyes
"I'm sorry Link. This is a special place to me, I can come and play my music here without anyone telling me to be quiet or interrupting. Some of them already think I'm weird, if they knew I enjoyed coming up the Lost Woods they'd probably think I'd gone insane," she stared at the ground wiping away a tear.
"I don't think you're weird," Link smiled pulling her into a hug. "You're the best person I know and I won't tell anyone about this place. It can be our secret. Besides, I'm the weird one, I don't even have a fairy."
"It doesn't matter if you have a fairy or not, you'll always be special to me," Saria returned the hug wishing she'd told Link about the Sacred Meadow sooner.
From then on, they decided to make the Sacred Forest Meadow their own secret place where they could go to get away from the rest of the village, no one else was ever brave enough to find it.
A few more years passed, some Kokiri started to become more wary of Link as he had grown slightly taller than the rest of them. It was also clear that he was the strongest in the village, being able to move the largest rocks and planks of wood with ease. He still did become down now and again when Mido criticised him about not having a fairy, but Saria would counter it saying the Deku Tree was just taking his time selecting the perfect fairy for him.
One time when Mido was having his daily pick fest on Link, he ended up regretting it. He and some of the other Kokiri who weren't too sure of Link and just plain scared of Mido, were throwing rocks at Link who was sitting on the steppingstones over the pond. For awhile he just ignored them hoping they'd get bored, but the abuse soon became emotional.
"Look Mr No Fairy isn't just a weirdo, he's a weirdo and a wimp!" Mido sneered.
Link stood up holding back the growing anger inside.
"He's so wimpy I bet he couldn't last one night in the Lost Woods."
"Oh and I suppose you could?" Link smirked folding his arms.
"Yeah I could!" Mido yelled without thinking. "Tell you what? Let's have a camping trip, one night in the Lost Woods!"
Link thought about turning to leave but of course Mido had to continue, picking up another rock, he tossed it whacking Link right in the back of the head. Forgetting his patience, Link swung around slamming a fist into Mido's face sending him tumbling to the floor.
"I'll show you how brave I really am," Link growled accepting the challenge. "Bring whoever you want, we'll make a night of it." Brushing his hands off, he walked away leaving a speechless Mido laying on the floor.
Later that night, a group of Kokiri gathered near the entrance to the woods, this included Link, Saria who had insisted on coming with Link, Mido, and a few random children who Mido had bribed to be there.
Setting up a log fire in one of the clearings of the woods, they sat in silence watching the shadows playing on the walls. On the outside Mido looked as calm as ever but on the inside he wanted to scream.
Link was messing about with a deku shield he'd found earlier in the village. Snatching it, Mido threw the thing deep into the woods laughing lightly to hide his fear.
"What did you do that for you jerk?" Link snapped clenching his fists.
"You were annoying me. If you want it so much go get it," Mido huffed sitting back down.
"Fine I will," Link jumped up running in the direction his shield had gone.
"Link! Wait up, you can't go off alone!" Saria yelled following after him.
"Wha? Saria you can't go, it's dangerous!" Mido shrieked. "Saria!" But it was too late, both of them had disappeared into the darkness.
Link stomped through the trees pushing loose branches and bushes out of his face. Mumbling some dirty words about Mido, he stopped to catch his bearings causing Saria to bump into his back.
"What are you doing here? Link asked relieved it was only her and not a monster.
"I was worried, you can't wander around here alone….I don't want to lose you," She replied gently, feeling more and more uneasy in the darkness of the woods.
Taking her hand fondly so they wouldn't get separated, Link carried on pushing branches out of the way hoping to find the shield soon.
Hours passed but they had no luck. A heavy wind picked up rustling through the trees, voices seemed to whisper in the air as a lone wolfos howled at the moon. It was cold and dark, being lost in the woods was not helping.
"It's so cold," Saria shivered wrapping her arms around herself. Link mentally kicked himself for dragging her into this, squinting ahead he tried to see what awaited them but the darkness hid most things from sight.
"Maybe things will be easier to see in the morning," Link yawned slumping down against an old tree trunk. Saria sat next to him leaning her head against his shoulder.
"If the cold doesn't freeze us to death," it wasn't like Saria to be so negative but she made a good point.
"We'll have to keep each other warm then," Link pulled her closer to him wrapping both arms around his friend. Spending the night in the middle of nowhere wasn't how he had planned to spend that night at all.
Not long after, the morning sun streamed through the trees waking the pair from their sleep. Standing up, Link rubbed his legs complaining about sitting on something awkward, looking down behind him he spotted something shining in the light. Picking up the object, he gazed at what seemed to be a carving knife, where did a weapon like that come from? Slipping it into his belt, they continued their search further into the deep forest.
"Hey could that be it?" Saria asked pointing to something wooden sticking out of a large clump of bushes.
"Wait here, I'll go check," Link said walking over to the bushes. Just as he reached for the wooden item he heard a scream. Turning around he saw a terrified Saria surrounded by two wolfos, both had hungry glints in their eyes. One prepared to lunge. "Oh no you don't!" Link yelled pulling out the knife without hesitating, he leapt towards the animals. Letting the weapon sink deeply into the first enemy's flesh, Link gasped when a river of blood burst out from its veins. The other wolfos ran whining in fear when it saw the bloody mass that was its friend.
Link dropped the knife in terror horrified at what he'd just done. Saria stood off to the side, her face white as a sheet, she looked from Link to the corpse then back again. Inching towards the bloodied knife, she carefully picked it up, Link remained glued to the same spot not daring to move but then insisted he should be the one to carry the knife, not wanting to argue she handed it to him.
"Let's get this thing to the village," Saria said barely in a whisper.
Back in the village, Mido was keeping a close eye on the Lost Woods entrance. If anything happened to Saria it would be all his fault. Suddenly two tired figures emerged. A pile of Kokiri ran up to them wanting to know what had happened. Looking in Link's hand, Mido gasped at the blood stained knife.
"What did you do?" they all asked.
"We were attacked, I had no choice," Link replied looking at the floor.
"No choice to do what?" Mido asked leering at Link impatiently.
"He had no choice but to carry the knife back here since I was too shaken up after what I did," Saria interjected. "I guess I lost control, it was either us or the monster."
Everyone looked taken aback, Saria didn't seem like the fighting type but she had been acting differently lately. Pushing through them, she made her way to her house waiting by the entrance for Link to catch up with her.
Entering the house she fond a piece of cloth and began wiping the knife clean.
"Saria…" Link started but got interrupted.
"They already hold enough against you, if they knew you could single-handedly kill a wolfos they'd have you hung," she explained.
"But now they think you're a murderer!" he shouted.
"I don't care!" she spat back placing the weapon somewhere safe where no one would find it. "All I care about is you," there was a sudden long silence in the room, the tension could ironically by cut with a knife.
Sitting on the bed, Link rubbed his eyes, that image of blood spurting everywhere wasn't going to leave his mind anytime soon.
"I've always wondered what a dead thing looked like," he said taking his hat off.
"I've seen one before," Saria put her hand over her mouth realising what she'd just said.
"Really? When was that?" Link looked at her curiously.
"Uh never mind! It was a long time ago and isn't important. Come on let's go see the Deku Tree," she waited for Link to leave, her mind was working overtime. She had just worked out the truth, it was exactly ten years ago since that horrible event, Link was around that same age, Link would be leaving soon, leaving forever.
Not many weeks later, she found herself waiting on the bridge that connected to the outside world. That very morning Link had finally received his very own fairy, he looked so happy. He had been summoned to the Deku Tree a few hours ago, it wouldn't be long now.
Link walked through the village, Kokiri Sword and Deku Shield in his hands. Mido had just accused him of killing their guardian but that was the least of his worries now. Thoughts of what the tree had said flooded back to him, go to a castle, leave the forest. Was it even possible for a Kokiri to leave the forest? If the Deku Tree had told him to leave it must be.
Breathing deeply he stepped onto the rope bridge, this was the beginning of his adventure.
"So you're leaving then?" a familiar voice came from behind him, he didn't need to turn around to see who it was.
"Shh it's okay. I knew you'd be leaving someday, I always said you were special," she gave him a half smile. "I want you to have this," taking out a small ocarina, she placed it in his hands holding them for a second not wanting to let go.
"It's lovely," Link held up the instrument admiring the patterns engraved on it.
"Whenever you play it think of me and come back to visit okay?"
Link nodded mentally promising Saria and himself that he'd return as soon as he could. "I'll never forget you," he said aloud, taking one last look at his lifelong friend, he ran out of the hollow log afraid that if he'd taken his time he wouldn't be able to do it.
Saria stood there for a second staring at the spot Link had just been standing. Whispering something only a Hylian could hear, she turned back into the village.
"I'll wait for you Link, we'll always be best friends, forever."