Sunset Isle

By Philip Bourque

The ship sailed on the waves; the mighty winds propelled it forward. It was an easily recognizable pirate ship, famous and infamous through out the seas. The captain was a young lady named Tetra and she brooked no insolence from her crew, though they truly dared not go against her; except for one, the new comer who had joined her crew six months ago. It was Link, the hero of the wind, who, along with Tetra had defeated the Dark Lord Ganon in the ruins of Hyrule castle. Desiring to see the world along with Tetra who desired to see the world's treasures, he departed along with the pirates, becoming part of Tetra's crew.

The sun shone through the sparse clouds ad the deck sloped back and forth with the rolling waves. Gonzo, a large pirate, was at the helm, Tetra at his side and all the others were in their places… mostly. A young boy in green, Link, swabbed the deck while Niko, a little dork of a pirate, watched over him.

"Ey swabbe! Ya missed a spot!" Niko pointed out.

"Where, Niko?" Link asked looking around.

"There." Niko pointed. "And that's Master Niko to you!"

"I'm not going to call you master." Link laughed.

"Quit it you two!" Tetra shouted at them. "Zuko, you see it yet?"

"Nothing yet miss Tetra!" Zuko, a pirate with large sideburns, the lookout in the crows nest, shouted down.

"Miss Tetra, are you sure there's an island this way?" Gonzo asked cautiously.

Tetra glared at him out of the corner of her eyes.

"Uhh… Miss Tetra?" Gonzo ventured.

"How many time do I gotta tell you knuckleheads, call me CAPTAIN!" She yelled at them. "Yes, I'm sure. The currents around these parts are too weird for there not to be anything out here. We'll see it soon and I want you guys to be ready; this could turn out to be a big haul."

"AYE CAP'N!" The others responded.

"MISS… err, I mean CAP'N, LAND HO!" Zuko shouted a moment later.

"WHERE AWAY?" Tetra shouted.

"FIVE POINTS TO STARBOARD, CAPN'N!" Zuko shouted back.

"You heard the man, Gonzo; turn this tub five points to starboard." Tetra ordered.

The ship groaned as it turned, the crew braced themselves, but Tetra stood perfectly still and did not fall. Niko lost his balance and teetered into Link and both crashed to the floor, the bucket of water that Link had been using overturned and spilled its soapy contents all over the deck. Mako, a short crewman, with glasses, a sextant in one hand and adjusting his glasses with the other was running up to Tetra.

"Captain!" He was out of breath from his mad dash from the bow of the ship. "According to my calculations… (huff, huff) even if the wind was in the right direction (huff, huff), which it is not, (huff, huff) it would take us until sunset to reach the island (huff, huff)."

"Winds not with us huh?" Tetra mused. "Hey, Link! Get up here!"

Link shoved Niko off him and scrambled to get up. Niko was far too dazed to protest or make comments about how Link hadn't finished swabbing the deck, as he was prone to when Tetra demanded Link's attention.

"Well, go on then, do your thing." Tetra waved lazily.

Link took out his Wind Waker baton; even now he still used it, after all it was a great power, to control the wind when you lived on a ship. The wind was always in their favor as Link conducted the wind. He raised his baton pointed up, right and then left and finally, in the direction he wanted the wind to go. The wind was slow at first, then there was a huge gust of wind that smashed against the sails; the ship lurched in the direction of the distant isle, which was but a mere speck on the horizon. The pirates reinforced the sails, secured the rigging and made sure everything was as it should be. As Link's job with the Wind Waker was done he could rest a bit, since Niko had yet to get him another bucket of water to swab the decks with.

At sunset, the ship was moored about a half mile beyond the shore of the island; any closer would have put the ship in danger of crashing upon a sandbar. The sky was perfectly clear, the stars shone brightly and the moon was a waxing crescent in the sky. The island seemed, somehow lonely and sorrowful to Link, who stood out on deck. He looked out onto that island and couldn't shake a feeling of familiarity. The trees, that deep thickness, the color of the vegetation, the smell of the moist undergrowth… It all evoked a vague sense of déjà vu for Link. He couldn't quite say why though. Senza, a large bearded pirate was on watch that night and walked up next to Link.

"What's the matter kid, can't sleep?" He asked gruffly.

"Wha? No, I'm fine." Link replied.

"You ain't thinking 'bout Miss Tetra, are ya?" He glared out of the corners of his eyes.

"No, no; nothing like that." Link laughed nervously. "How did Tetra find out about this island?"

"Eh? I think she nicked a sea chart offa this fairy wannabe… a real weirdo… Wha wuz 'is name? Tingle, I think. Anyways, Mako had a good long look at it an' even 'e couldn't read most o' it. Miss Tetra figured it probably lead to some big treasure or something. Now really, if'n ya ain't got nothing ta do an' there's nothing tha matter, ya best get ta bed, 'cause tomorrow's gonna be a busy day."

Senza gave Link a shove towards the door. Link figured he was tired anyways, so he may as well go to bed. Suddenly he paused for a second, closed his eyes and seemed to be listening to something intently. He turned and looked out towards the island.

"Do you hear that?" Link quietly asked Senza.

"Eh? I don' hear nothing, kid. You're tired. Go ta bed already." Senza dismissed him, irritated.

The next day, a boat was going to be lowered to get to the island. Link hadn't gotten up early enough and had to scramble out of bed to get ready.

"Ey, swabbe! Where do ya think ye're going?" Niko asked as Link just made it to the deck. "You've got worked ta do here, laundry ta wash!"

Link came to a dead halt; there the boat was just a short distance away with Zuko, Gonzo, Nudge, Mako and Tetra all getting ready to leave and Link was caught by Niko.

"Hey Link!" Tetra waved him over. "Get moving, we've got an island to explore and treasure to find!"

"See ya Niko, have fun with the laundry." Link said, giving an evil grin to Niko before dashing off.

"What? But… But…" Niko tried to protest.

"Don't you have laundry to do, Niko? Don't just stand there, get to it!" Tetra ordered.

"But… but… awwww man… I don't wanna clean Gonzo's underwear." Niko said dejectedly.

The boat was lowered and Nudge, a large pirate with a bandana on his head, took the oars and started rowing.

"Hey, Link… How's that sword? Better not lose it." Tetra asked.

Link turned his head to look at the blade he had strapped to his back. It was a single-edged sword with a curved tip, crafted from fine steel and small enough for Link to use without any problems, though it was still longer than a short sword.

"This'll be fine. Are you sure it's okay though? I mean this was part of your last treasure trove." Link said.

"Well it was either this or go to a blacksmith to have your old sword repaired and I'm not spending a single rupee of mine 'cause you were the one who got your sword broke in the first place." Tetra sniffed, annoyed.

Once they landed, the pirates stood on the beach before Tetra, who stood upon a large flat rock.

"All right, we're going to split into groups of two people and search for anything suspicious, weird looking places and unusual spots; anything that looks like a spot where treasure could be and make note of it. We'll meet back here at sunset. Nudge will go with Gonzo, Zuko, you're with Mako and Link'll be with me." She said.

"M-miss Tetra? This could be dangerous, perhaps you should wait here while we…" Gonzo began to protest.

"I am not staying behind when there could be valuable treasures here. I am not a child to be babysat. I've gotten you guys out of lots of trouble, so you can't say that it's too dangerous. I know what I'm getting into better than you do." Tetra retorted.

"But miss Tetra…" Gonzo protested.

"No buts, Gonzo. It'll be fine, Link's here after all." Tetra waved away his concerns. "Now I don't want to hear another word about it."

"Yes miss Tetra." Gonzo surrendered.

The pirates separated and went in separate directions, though Gonzo seemed rather distraught, looking back every so often in the direction Tetra and Link had left. Link and tetra ventured deep into the forest and that disturbing feeling of familiarity Link felt grew ever worse. An emerald light filtered through the thick canopy, birds chirped and insects buzzed around even the cries of monsters could be heard. Link looked all over the place, his mouth agape in amazement that such a thick jungle could have grown on such a small island. He wasn't really paying attention to what was in front of him, which was why when Tetra stopped suddenly, he didn't and bumped into her.

"Will you pay attention? This isn't a walk in the park! We still have to be careful or a monster will take your head 'cause you're not paying attention." Tetra remonstrated.

"Sorry… but, do you hear something?" Link asked, looking around.

"Sure, birds and bugs. Now come on, we've got treasure to find." Tetra yanked on his sleeve, but Link didn't budge.

"Can't you hear it? Listen."

Tetra stopped, closed her eyes and listened. She heard the birds chirping, the wind rustling through the leaves, the buzzing of insects and something else. It was a whirling noise, blades rotating quickly in the air. She opened her eyes and they widened further as she saw a flying peahat zipping towards Link. She was about to say something, when she saw that Link already had his hand on his sword. Just as the peahat was about to run into Link, he whirled around, drawing his sword, striking the creature. It flew back, undamaged, but still giving time for Link to reach into his bag to pull out his boomerang and fling it at the monster. It's whirling blades fell off as the boomerang stunned it and Tetra followed up with her own throwing daggers, killing the beast.

"There, now that that's taken care of, can we please explore the rest of the island?" Tetra asked Link as she retrieved her dagger.

"That wasn't the sound I heard." Link said as he caught his boomerang and put it away.

"Here's a thought: why don't we not go and investigate weird noises? You know what a siren is? They lure people away with their beautiful song and then eat them. If you can hear something I can't and you want to investigate, I think it's safe to say that it's something you shouldn't be looking into. Lets go check out that suspicious, moss-covered mound over there instead. We're here to look for treasure and that looks like there might be something… there…" Tetra turned, only to find Link was gone. "Link? LINK! Geez… fine, I'll go look a that mound myself."

Link had left Tetra to follow the sound he heard; it was the haunting melody of a woodwind instrument, like a flute or something similar. As he followed the sound, he could hear it better, the notes, how they sounded put him in mind of the Earth God's Lyric and yet also of the Wind God's Aria and yet it was something else altogether. It was such a mournful sound too. He came to a clearing and there was a person there, playing an ocarina, surrounded by peaceful creatures. It was a girl, who looked about the same age as Link, with shoulder-length green hair, pointy ears and soft green eyes. She wore a long dark green shirt and a light green sundress with a pocket in front; her legs were bare and she wore green boots. She sat on a stump in the middle of the clearing and it almost seemed like a shrine it was so solemn; the only sound that was heard in that clearing was her music. She was very deft at playing the ocarina as her fingers danced over the holes, producing a most melodious sound. Link and all the creatures around her were completely enraptured by the music. Link took a step into the clearing, wanting to get closer; he stepped on a branch, making a loud crack and the clearing became dead silent as the girl stopped playing the ocarina suddenly. The animals were spooked, perhaps more by the silence than by the noise Link had made, scattered through the forest. Link looked sheepishly, apologetically at the girl to find she was looking at him in turn. It seemed she was studying him intently, a gentle kindness in her eyes, like a mother who was about to welcome a long lost child home. And now Link truly saw her face for the first time and a strange sense of familiarity screamed at him, a similar familiarity as the forest and yet different.

"Hello." She greeted him with a cheerful warm smile.

"Um… hi." Link replied almost shyly.

"It has been a long time since anyone visited this island. I was worried that there were none who could hear my song anymore." Her smile was sorrowful and yet hopeful.

"Are you… are you here all alone? Where's your family?" Link asked approaching the girl.

"My family… is a long ways from here, but I am sure they are safe." She smiled gently.

Link just stood there; he wanted to say something, ask her something but his mind kept drawing a blank. He felt the wind blow and it caused a wooden wind chime to clack together overhead and the sound reminded of something, of someone and a thought occurred to him.

"Are you… you can't be… are you a Korok?" Link ventured.

"No…" The girl giggled cheerfully. "The Koroks are what my people became. I am a Kokiri Child."

"Like Fado!" Link concluded. "That's what this place reminds me of, Forest Haven!"

Fado, the sage who once presided in the Wind Temple, granting power unto the Sword of Evil's Bane, the Master Sword, was a Kokiri who then were changed into the Koroks at or near the time of the Great Flood.

"Why aren't you with the other Koroks?" He asked.

"Long ago, before the Great Flood there was a monster rampaging through Hyrule. This monster attacked many people, many villages and many people suffered. The King of Hyrule sent his soldiers to try and stop it, but to no avail… The Hero of Time was nowhere to be found and so the King implored the Goddesses for aid. The Seven Sages thought hard about what they could do about this menace and in the end they came to a decision that a sage would create a seal to put the monster to sleep. The Great Deku Tree chose a replacement sage and though he and all of the Kokiri were greatly saddened by it… I have been here to seal away that beast." The girl smiled sadly.

"So your ancestor was a sage? Wait… A monster… the stuff Mako couldn't read musta been warnings, telling people to stay away from this place. Man, I gotta warn Tetra." Link said concernedly

The girl grabbed his shoulder a look of fear and worry on her face.

"There are others here?" She asked, clearly worried. "You have to leave, if you stay any longer he'll wake up! Only those called by the song would be safe."

"I know, I'm going to find the before…" Link started.

A loud abominable roar sounded throughout the forest, stopping Link in his tracks as a fear-driven chill ran down his spine. It was a monstrous sound that evoked a sense of bone-chilling terror, of crushing despair and absolute feeling of helplessness that Link had only felt once when fighting Ganon for the last time.

'And that was just it's roar… How fearsome this thing must be face to face.' Link thought.

"Oh no…" The girl whispered fearfully. "Aquamentas… he's awake. You have to get out of here!"

Link turned, about to say something to the girl when an ear-piercing scream sounded from the forest. Link turned back to the forest, a look of shock on his face.

"Tetra… TETRA!" he screamed in desperate rage, unsheathing his sword. He charged into the forest.

"LINK! Don't go! You can't beat Aquamentas!" The girl called out desperately.

Link stopped for a brief second and turned to look at the girl, a confident smile on his face and then dashed off again.

It didn't take long for him to find the monster and Tetra. Aquamentas was a huge dragon and as it had awakened from it's slumber, it had cleared the forest around it, destroying trees, rocks and grass around it, reducing them to ash. The fell beast was a dark green, it's claws, horns and teeth a golden yellow and it had a fearsome gaping maw and malevolent eyes. It moved sluggishly, perhaps still somewhat tired, having just woken up. Little Tetra darted this way and that avoiding the beasts claw swipes, but she couldn't keep it up and the dragon effectively blocked all her attempts to escape. Since everything for a good few meters in diameter around Aquamentas had been reduced to ash, there was no where for Tetra to hide and the beast didn't even need to move, only corner her and eventually she would wear out. She jumped out of the way of the dragon's claws, but landed badly and tripped, falling to the ground. She looked up at Aquamentas, a look of bitter defiance on her face, though you could see the fear in her eyes. The beast seemed to grin with hateful glee at the fall of it's prey and opened it's great maw, sulfuric smoke streamed out as it prepared to roast Tetra as it had the forest around them.

It roared in agony as a boomerang came out of nowhere and struck it sharply in the eyeball. It shut its eye and searched around for the offender. It caught a glimpse of the boomerang as it returned to Link's hand and the monster turned its full attention to its new foe. This immense emerald beast dwarfed link, but many monsters had been immensely larger than him before and it had never stopped him from fighting. Unfortunately, those previous monsters had a weakness Link could exploit and he hadn't seen anything that would be a weakness before he had saved Tetra. He stood before the monster, his mirror shield up and ready, sword in hand awaiting the beast to move. It moved with great speed, much faster than it had against Tetra; was the beast waking up fully now? Link rolled to the side as Aquamentas struck, dodging its attack and then dashed towards the monster's unprotected underbelly. Link lunged at it, striking with as much force as he could muster, but his sword bounced off of its thick hide harmlessly. Aquamentas leapt into the air and dropped down on Link, trying to crush him, but Link ran, avoiding being squashed. As he was running, he got a good look at the monster's back and saw Tetra climbing up it. The dragon whirled around to face Link again, swiping at the young hero with its claws. Link couldn't avoid it, taking the brunt of the impact with his shield; he was tossed away, crashing into the unharmed undergrowth. Link, determined as ever removed his bow from his carry-all pouch, knocked back an arrow and fired. It bounced harmlessly off of Aquamentas' snout; Link was hoping to nail the beast in the eyes to blind it. Link knocked back another arrow, calling on the power of flame to alight his arrow and another one flew off. Again, it had no effect; Aquamentas' eyes were such a small target but they were the most vulnerable, had it been luck that he had struck one with his boomerang? He glimpsed at Tetra on top of the dragon's head and let an ice arrow fly. Once again it ricocheted off of the dragon's thick scaly hide and the beast smiled malevolently, right before it got an eyeful of Tetra as she stabbed it in its eye. The beast howled in agony, it clawed at its face, trying to remove the dagger; it knocked Tetra off of its head.

Time seemed to slow for Link as he watched Tetra fall. She wasn't conscious and the right side of her face, Link swore he saw blood spurting from her eye. She fell down in to the overgrowth. Time returned to normal for Link and he started to run towards her but the dragon blocked his path. It lowered its head down to Link's level and Link saw that Tetra's dagger was still firmly lodged in its eye. They both looked at each other and Link's expression turned to one of fury matching the beast's own. Link ran towards it fully intent on striking the beast down in his rage, his anger; Aquamentas opened its gaping maw and roared, the force of the pungent breath sent Link tumbling back. The ground rumbled as Aquamentas lurched towards Link. Link looked up, still dazed from the foul breath and saw the dragon looming over him, its mouth opened in a nasty smile.

A haunting melody filled the wasted area suddenly and both Link and Aquamentas turned to find the source. The girl from the clearing stood at the edge, beside Tetra; she was playing her ocarina. Link wanted to say something, tell her to flee, to escape, but couldn't find the words. The dragon lurched over to her but didn't get far as it lay down and fell into a deep slumber. Moss and grass crept from the undamaged undergrowth and began to spread over the burned out area and over Aquamentas. Small shrubs and small trees began to sprout, covering the dragon even further. Link finally go this bearings and dashed passed the girl over to Tetra. He held her in his arms; she was still unconscious and there were copious amounts of blood all over her face, issuing from a wound around her right eye. She was still breathing; she seemed only to have bruising besides the wound to her head. Link picked her up, he was on the verge of tears.

'Some hero.' He thought as he dashed, yelling for the other pirates all the while. 'You couldn't defeat Ganon, you almost lost Tetra and were almost killed. What made you think you could protect anything?'

The pirates, wounded Tetra in Link's arms, returned to the ship. Gonzo never left her side as Mako administered what aid he could. Link, seemingly in shock, sat on the deck looking out at the island. He looked out, but his eyes saw nothing; the pirates could neither do anything nor say anything to cheer Link up. Even Niko was smart enough to leave him alone. Suddenly Mako came out of the main cabin where Tetra slept and the others crowded around him.

"She's going to be fine. There was a lot of blood, but no real damage; it missed her eye. It will scar though… but she is going to be fine." Mako reassured them.

"Awww, if she had ta wear an eyepatch, she'd be more like a real pirate!" Niko piped in, which earned him a sound thwack upside the head from Senza.

The pirates heaved sighs of relief over the assurance of their captain's well being. Link too was relieved and yet, he didn't look very happy.

That evening Niko patrolled the deck; heard some rustling and thumping noises. He spied around the corner to see Link loading his things into his boat, King-of-Red-Lions.

"Hey, swabbe, what are ye doin'?" Niko said as he dashed towards Link.

"GAH! Don't sneak up on me Niko!" Link shouted at him in sort of hushed tones.

"What are ye doin'?" Niko repeated himself.

"I'm… leaving." Link said, dumping another crate into his boat.

"But… but why?"

"Look… I screwed up today… I couldn't protect Tetra… I couldn't even save myself…" Link said depressed.

"C'mon now, it all worked out."

"This time… but what about next time?"

"An' ye think leavin's gonna make it better? Who's gonna protect her if you're not around?"

"She's done fine without me up till now." Link said and he dug in his pockets and thrust a letter into Niko's hands. "Give her this for me, will you?"

Link jumped down into his boat, causing a slight splash from the water. He unfurled the boat's sail and it carried him northward, skirting the shore of the island. After he was sure Niko couldn't see him anymore, he moored his boat and disembarked, walking towards that clearing where he met the girl.

Once again he was lead by that song and once again he found that girl waiting for him.

"Hello again." She welcomed him with a warm smile.

"Hey…" He said.

He shifted uncomfortably, suddenly regretting his decision to come back here; he turned to leave.

"Do you want to talk about something?" She asked gently.

Link turned around, he was smiling, but tears flowed down his cheeks.

"I… must look very weak to you…" He said.

"You… remind me of someone I used to know… He was picked on a lot because he wasn't like us, but I always stuck by him and encouraged him. He never thought of himself as strong… he wanted to be accepted and liked very much. One day… he left us." She said with a wistful smile.

"Why did he go?" Link asked.

"He… didn't say at the time." She smiled. "He struggled through ordeal after ordeal and he persevered, defeating this calamity, and once his fight was over, he returned to us. He still didn't think he was strong, he still wanted to be accepted and liked; he didn't think he had changed. He told me he wanted to get stronger, that he wanted to protect those weaker than he was…" She spoke softly, with heavy melancholy and nostalgia.

"What did you tell him?" Link asked.

"The same thing I'm going to ask you: what do you want to do?" She smiled kindly.

Link smiled with sudden confidence; what he wanted to do was find what he could do to grow stronger and the only way he thought he could do that was to see the world on his own terms.

Tetra woke groggily; her room was in darkness with only a sliver of light coming from beneath the door. Something was wrong with her sight: on her right side there was naught but darkness. She reached a hand towards her eye and felt the bandages covering her eye. She got out of bed, moving slowly, her body felt heavy and tired. She moved with the gentle rocking of the deck, walking slowly towards her door. She put her weight on the door, as she didn't feel strong enough to open it up on her own. As she expected, Gonzo was waiting beyond the door on the verge of blubbering.

"M-miss Tetra, you're awake!" Gonzo nearly fell out of his chair. "Perhaps you should go back to bed, you look tired."

"I'm fine." She insisted. "What… what happened… the monster…"

"Well… I don't know the whole story… but it's no threat anymore." Gonzo tried futilely to usher Tetra back into her room.

"Where's Link?" Tetra demanded with as much force as she could muster in her weakened state. "Is he okay?"

"Link? Come to think of it I haven't seen 'im since Mako said you'd be all right…"

"Find him, I want to see he's okay." Tetra ordered.

Gonzo rounded up the other pirates to search the ship for Link. Tetra watched as Niko, of all the pirates was so half-hearted in his searching and finally approached him.

"You know something don't you?" Tetra cornered Niko.

"Ummm… Uh…" Niko stammered.

"Where is Link?"

"I-I dunno!" Niko protested.

"But you do know something, don't you?" Tetra insisted.

"H-he left you this." Niko said shoving the note into Tetra's hands.

It read:

"Tetra…. I'm sorry I wasn't strong enough.

When you see me again, I promise I'll be able

To protect you.

Link

P.S. IOU one sword."

Tetra crumpled the note in her hand and glared at Niko.

"What direction did he sail in?" She asked with deadly calm, her eyes seemed moist, as though she were on the verge of tears.

"N-notheast, miss Tetra." Niko replied.

"Get this wreck underway as soon as possible, set heading towards the northeast. I am not letting one of my crew jump ship!"

The pirates couldn't very well go against their captain, especially when her eyes were starting to tear up. Link sailed, once their ship was out of sight, towards the northwest, towards new adventures, sunsets and sunrises.

FIN?