Note: This is it, the final chapter. I dedicate this story to Dark Raku, who has dutifully reviewed this story since the beginning. Please review, and enjoy the end of The Strength of One Will: Link's Origin.
Chapter Eleven: Nightmares and Heaven
"There is a glow about new mothers, isn't there?"
"When will my husband return home?"
"Your son will be a hero to his lands…"
"Do you believe in destiny?"
"He shall overthrow a great king and return peace to a land…"
"Even the bravest man in Hyrule…even the ones we love…they can die, can't they?"
"He shall give up everything in order to restore the world's balance…"
"Please, someone, help me! Give me sanctuary!"
"Wouldn't you do anything to protect your child? Anything…anything at all?"
"Even a guardian is no match for Destiny and Fate."
"There has to be an answer! There has to be hope!"
"You are seeking for answers that do not exist."
"Please, let my son live!"
It was over. It was all over.
Darkness. It surrounded Salydia everywhere she turned. She felt as if she were in a dream, and at the same time she knew she wasn't. It was a strange blend of reality and illusion. Salydia shivered at the cold touch of the stifling night.
"Link?" she cried out in alarm. The mother couldn't see her baby anywhere. "No…I'm alone again. I'm alone in the darkness," Salydia whispered fearfully. "I've lost the two most important people to me."
Don't be afraid.
Salydia looked about to see who had spoken. The voice was familiar, a man's voice. Yet there was no one there.
"Hello?" Salydia called to the darkness. "Please, answer me! I don't want to be alone! I don't want to be alone anymore!"
Don't be afraid. You are not alone.
That voice…! Salydia knew she had heard that voice so many times before, that she had treasured this voice above any other. It sounded melodically in her ears, and she savored every syllable it uttered.
"Please, don't stop talking," Salydia whispered. "I know you. I remember you…from somewhere long ago. I lost you. I couldn't save you."
Did you really lose me?
Salydia spun about to see the speaker and tears welled in her eyes.
There before her was a man she had thought she'd never see again. He was tall with a light yet muscular build. His dark eyes flashed with a fire of determination and his mouth curved upward in a proud smile. His blonde hair crowned his head like the rays crown the sun. A sword hung from his belt.
I promised I would see you again, didn't I?
"Kiru!" Salydia sobbed joyfully, running towards the image desperately. He welcomed her into his arms and held her tight, just as Salydia had done with Link so many times before.
You're safe now, Salydia. You've fought so hard to save our son. Now, it is he who shall save others.
"What do you mean?" Salydia gasped, taking her husband's hands in her own. "He is to become a traitor to the King of Hyrule!"
Our Link will be remembered for ages to come as the Hero of Time, the savior who rescued Hyrule for our King. He shall never become a traitor.
"But the oracle said…"
He shall overthrow a mighty king of Hyrule. That king is Ganondorf, a wicked man who becomes king of the Gerudo and a tyrant king of Hyrule. And our Link shall stop him.
Tears streamed down Salydia's cheeks.
"How is this possible?" she cried happily. "We were a cursed family! We were scorned by Fate! I gave up everything, my home, my friends—"
Kiru wiped away Salydia's tears.
Come with me. Where we are going, there are no more tears to be cried.
Salydia and Kiru turned to see a shining staircase of light appear before them. Upon the steps she could make out three figures, three women. On the bottom step stood a humble peasant woman, and Salydia gasped as she recognized the red-headed farmer's wife.
"Yalon…?" she breathed, looking up the staircase again. Higher up on the steps was a stranger, a beautiful Zora woman; she was elegantly glad in silver and purple and had an air of royalty about her. And at the top—Salydia began to cry.
"Zelda, my dear friend… You've come to an end, too?" she whispered. "I-I don't know whether to be happy or sad."
"Oh, don't cry, Salydia. Please," Zelda begged. "I chose my fate. At least we're together now. At least it's all over."
Kiru's hand pressed Salydia's gently.
Zelda's death is not your fault, Salydia. It was predestined, like our deaths. The same is true of Juro and Yalon. No one could prevent it.
"He's right," the Zora called from the steps. "I suggest you come with us, Salydia. It's about time you earned your final reward."
"Yes," Zelda agreed softly. "I don't want you to suffer anymore."
"None of us will suffer anymore," Salydia added, smiling weakly. "None of us."
And together, they left the darkness behind.
The Great Deku Tree listened to Salydia's ragged breathing until it stopped altogether. A strange smile lit up her face as she let out her last breath. The Great Deku Tree sighed. The human mother was dead.
He dug a grave using his branches as shovels into the fertile ground beside him. Once it was deep enough, he lowered her body into it carefully. The baby sat on his root, watching obliviously. He couldn't realize his mother had just died.
Once Salydia had been lowered in, the Great Deku Tree piled dirt upon her until the grave was filled. After that, he said a brief prayer over her burial place. Then he turned to the boy. The mother's words still spun through his head.
"Oh, heaven, why can't you help him? Please save him! Please, he's all I have left…He's all I have left…My little Link…Oh, my poor, little Link…Save him. Please, let my son live!"
Turning to the baby boy, he smiled. "Could I deny a mother her dying wish? I sense greatness in you, young one. Your mother named you Link. So you shall carry that name onward in your new home, the Kokiri Forest. And until you are ready to accept your destiny, you shall live as one of the Kokiri, free from the imperfections of man. Welcome to your new home, little one."
Link stared in disbelief at the Deku Sprout before him, the successor of the Great Deku Tree. He gripped the Master Sword nervously in his palm. Right after he had defeated Phantom Ganon and saved Saria, he had heard the mind-blowing news.
"So I am not a Kokiri?" he stated.
"You never were one. You're completely Hyrulian."
"And I had a mother…and a father…" he exclaimed, still recovering from the news.
"They both loved you immensely."
Link nodded, too strong to actually cry, but weeping on the inside.
"They loved me…All this time, I had a home. I was different from all the other Kokiri. I'd had a loving family and parents. You have no idea…you have no idea of how incredible this all feels," he admitted to the Deku Sprout.
"Of course I do. It's an incredible feeling to know you've been loved," the Deku Sprout smiled.
A grin stole itself across Link's lips.
"Yeah," he agreed simply, sheathing his sword. "Yeah, it is."
And somewhere in the heavens, a mother smiled.