An unending stream of darkness swept over her, striking at her defenses, destroying her body in a torrent of unyielding, rapacious evil. It was choking her even as she fought it with all of her power, its dark intentions barely slowed by her will.

Yet she continued to fight it, calling for aid as she stood in the midst of that land which she loved the most and before those people that she protected. She evoked her full strength, calling upon all the arts and wisdom she held, calling upon the gods themselves to protect her, and let her drive back this unyielding enemy.

It laughed at her efforts.

She reached out to the land itself, calling upon the spirits to aid her, but they remained silent. The shadow reached out over each corner of the world, stilling those that would aid her. She was beaten back, the furious clouds of evil pressing in, driving her down under its endless might.

The edge of the cloud then reached over one last, unblemished corner of the world, the forest on the edge of her lands and her sight, to consume this portion of the world that had eluded its hunger. The darkness began to drop into the woods, and the ground shook. For an instant she believed that it had ended, and that the encompassing darkness had finished its attack and enveloped the entire world.

Silver light erupted from the forest, driving the shadow before it in a blinding torrent. The darkness recoiled, pulling away from her and turning on the light. Its efforts shifted wholly toward this force of righteous power, as if it had sensed a true threat to its intentions.

From the illumination burst strands of color, reaching across the world, and she could hear the resounding cries of the spirits, answering the calls of the righteous force battling the darkness. Green burst from the forest, red from the eastern barrens, blue from the rivers and oceans, glowing gold from the farthest deserts, and dark purple from the shadows in between all. White light descended from above, and joined with the pure silver in a shimmering storm of defiance against the evil clouds.

It gathered against the combined storm of spiritual energy, and the two collided, crashing against one another. An eternity passed, with shadow and light driving one another back. Darkness was swept away and rallied, and light was battered down and shone ever brighter as it surged anew. Amidst the chaos, she could hear the ringing tones of a song, a melody of defiance and war and ferocity and courage. The shining illumination suddenly vanished, and she feared that it had suddenly been destroyed, and called out, adding her voice to the song, putting her will behind the light.

The ground shook once again, and in a thunderclap of violence, the shadow vanished, and light - pure, unfiltered brilliance - filled the world. The multicolored strands whirled and danced in the air, spreading their power across the battered world, and the silver column descended, crashing down before her. It gathered, intensifying until it almost blinded her, and then resolved into the shape of a person, striding forward, a blade of silver in one hand. In the other was a gleaming green object, a shining emerald stone that overflowed with the vibrant life of the forest the light had burst from.

Above the person was another dancing light, almost lost amidst its brilliance - the blue glow and gossamer wings of a fairy . . . .

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

A Novelization

"To thou . . . I shalt not surrender, dark one."

"You have no choice, you decrepit spirit! Sacrifice the Spiritual Stone, or I will burn this forest to the ground!"

"Whilst I yet live, thou cannot do that."

" . . . . heh, if that's how you want it."

"Thou cannot harm me in this forest, Gerudo. Thine power is useless against me here."

"You overestimate yourself, you sack of kindling. Behold my power: the power of the Gerudo's greatest King!"

"I shalt not yield."

"You don't have a choice. Don't you feel it? Its already in there, deep inside, tearing at your core, ripping at your heart. That is my power, my curse upon you. You can still give up the stone, and I can spare you."

" Thou art a fool to think thine threats will sway me."

"Have it your way. Once you die and your spirit fades, there will be nothing to stop me from coming into this forest and burning it down, and taking the Stone for myself. All this defiance, all this fighting, will be wasted. Know this, and despair!"

Prologue: Premonition

"Hold it, half-man!"

A hand jabbed into the boy's chest, and he clenched his teeth as the muscular arm of Mido held him back.

"Let me through, Mido!" the blond boy growled, and slapped the bullying leader's hand away. Mido grinned beneath his messy mop of orange hair, and crossed his arms.

"Mmmm . . . nah," the burly boy answered, shaking his head. "I don't think I will. I'm the boss, and I don't listen to half-people."

At this, the blond boy took a step back, and then suddenly sprang forward, smashing into the grinning Mido with his shoulder leading. The shocked tribe leader was bowled over, and both boys rolled along the ground in a wild mix of flailing arms, limbs, boots, and green clothing.

"I'll show you half-person!" shouted the blond boy as he rolled over on top of Mido and pinned him to the grassy dirt. "I've always been stronger than you, so-"

A shimmering pink ball of light flew out of nowhere and crashed into the blond boy's forehead, rocking his head backward, and Mido surged forward, slamming both hands into the blond's chest. He was launched up and backward, and the tribe leader wasted no time taking advantage of the situation, leaping on his opponent and pinning him in turn.

"And that's why you're a half-man!" he shouted triumphantly, putting a foot on the blond's chest and leering down at him.

"Coward," growled the other boy, glaring up at the tribe leader. "Using your fairy when-"

"You don't have one, so you don't understand!" Mido shot back. Above him, the shining pink orb of light peeked around his pointed green cap, a set of gossamer wings rising out of one end, the only visible sign as to what direction the fairy was facing.

"A fairy is as much a part of a real Kokiri as an arm or a leg," Mido continued, speaking slowly, as if to a small child. The condescending tone and repeated mantra only served to further enrage the blond beneath the bullying leader. "Since you don't have a fairy, that makes you not a real Kokiri. You're half a person."

With that, Mido stepped off the blond and laughed, before turning and walking back across the meadow toward his treehouse.

"Fairyless!" he called over his shoulder as he strode off, laughing all the while. The blond boy glared at his back as he disappeared, and started to push himself up off the ground when another figure stepped over him. Unlike Mido, however, the smile on her face was friendly and genuine, and she extended a hand toward him.

"Mido being a big Stalfos-butt again, Link?" she asked him, and he grunted, taking her offered hand. As the boy stood, he brushed himself off.

"Thanks, Saria," he offered, and she nodded, her shoulder-length green hair bouncing. Like the other forest children, she was the same height as Link and Mido, and clad in loose green clothes and boots, matching the vibrant colors of the Kokiri Forest. Unlike Link, however, she was followed by a glittering orb with light, pale wings, her own guardian fairy, Eitel.

Link glanced back at the departing Mido, and with a tight smile, he reached for one of the pouches on his belt. From it he drew something he'd just recently crafted from a sturdy oak tree and some dried, elastic sap: a slingshot. He raised the fork-shaped stick to his eyes and set a rock into the band, taking aim at Mido's head.

"Hey!" Saria objected, reaching across and slapping his left hand down. He frowned at her, and she put her hands on her hips. "If you whack Mido in the head like that, it'll only make things worse between you two!" Link hesitated before lowering his slingshot, unhappy at his inability to get some revenge on the bullying Kokiri boss.

"Saria, you don't get it," Link grunted, walking toward a nearby tree stump at the edge of the forest meadow. The green-haired Kokiri followed her friend and sat down beside him on the stump. Above them, the shimmering pink globe of Eitel followed, and as Link stttled down, he looked directly up at her.

"You have a fairy, just like Mido and just like everyone else," he explained. "Except for me. No one picks on you just because you don't have a guardian. Mido . . . He just makes me so angry at how petty he is! He thinks that since I don't have a fairy that I'm somehow not a person . . . ." Link leaned back and peered up at the darkening evening sky overhead, and Saria did the same.

"You know," she said after a few moments. "Mido is just a stupid bully. You really should forget about him. I mean, you've still got plenty of friends, and I know that I don't care if you have a fairy or not, and neither do the rest of the Kokiri. Fairy or not, you're one of us."

Link was silent for a a short while, and then looked to Saria, her green eyes curious and waiting for a response. After a moment, he chuckled and a smile returned to his face.

"Thanks, Saria," he said once more, and she nodded, glad to have made her friend feel better. They both continued peering at the darkening sky above, and after a few minutes, Saria reached into one of her woven belt pouches and pulled out an oblong object, carved from smooth, polished wood. A series of carefully placed holes lined the top of the musical instrument, and Saria raised the object's mouthpiece to her lips and quietly began to play the flute-like device.

The light tones and notes that emerged from Saria's ocarina drifted through the air, and Link closed his eyes, letting the sounds flow through his pointed ears. His fingers began to quietly drum against the tree stump as she played, in time with the melody she evoked, a quick, light-hearted song that told of the dance and play of the forest, of the carefree lifestyle of the Kokiri people who dwelled in the forest of the same name.

She had always been their best musician, and her songs seemed to embody the very spirit of the woods and the Kokiri people themselves, and to listen to her play was to listen to the forest itself sing. The melody she was playing now was one that could be endlessly looped over and over, a simple but flowing stream of soft notes that weaved through the air like the clouds of fireflies and forest spirits that were playing and dancing amidst the trees. There was a certain inflection to the song that only she seemed to understand, and she was very protective of the secret.

A few minutes later, Saria began to slow her song, before finally ending it. Link let out a small, almost disappointed sigh, and opened his eyes, looking back up to the sky. The sun had finally fallen, and the black night stretched above the forest, dotted with the vast, endless array of stars.

As he peered up at the twilight sky, Link's thoughts began to wander. He had lived in the forest for as long as he could remember, going from day to day with his friends, living for each day without worry or care beyond Mido's incessant teasing and bullying. In the Kokiri Forest, the passage of time was almost meaningless. But every time he turned his eyes toward the sky, he felt something else, a longing sensation in his spirit, as if an invisible hand was quietly but insistently drawing him up and away, to look further and explore farther.

"Saria," he asked in the silence after her song had ended, "what's beyond the forest?" She was silent for a moment, considering his words, and what they meant.

"I don't know," she replied after a while, sharing the vista above with her friend. "I know the Great Deku Tree has told me about this place called Hyrule, and stories about things called 'cities' and 'castles', but I have no idea what those are."

"I'd like to see them sometime," Link whispered, softly. He raised a hand up toward the sky, and the stars. "Maybe go and see what's outside the woods."

"Kokiri can't leave the forest, Link," Saria reminded him. If a Kokiri set foot outside the forest, they would wither and die.

"Yeah, but . . . ." Link lowered his hand and leaned back with his head, looking toward the tree boughs directly above them. His voice seemed quietly defiant, as if he knew something that simple wouldn't stop him. "I'd still like to see it all, someday."

Saria remained silent, instead simply looking to her friend and smiling all the while. Link was different from other Kokiri, and not just in that he didn't have a fairy. He'd always felt a cooped up even inside the expansive woods, always exploring and searching, looking in every nook and cranny and poking his head in every cave or under every root. He was never satisfied with just what he saw, and unlike the other Kokiri, he had always wondered what lay outside the edge of the forest, beyond the Deku Tree's realm.

She wondered if he would ever actually follow up on what he had just said. Leave the Kokiri, the forest, to explore the outside world, where Kokiri were forbidden to go?

Leave her?

Author's Notes: I was digging through my stack of old N64 games and came across Ocarina of Time. Memories of things like the battle with Ganon, the Temple of Time, dancing around Stalfos on a three-hearts-and-no-shield run, dodging Gerudo senties, hunting down every last Piece of Heart and Gold Skulltula, and popping Big Poes on Epona's back with mad ride-by skillz . . . .

Well, Ocarina was one of those games, if you know what I mean. It had an epic story, one of adventure and heroism, of swords and sorcery, of shields and flashing steel and horses and elves and magic and everything an epic story needs. And as I thought about it more and more, there came that nagging feeling in the back of my mind, the nagging feeling that drove me to write Gunblade years ago: the feeling that this game deserved to be told in a greater scope than a mere game, to be put into words. So, I hammered out a couple of chapters, and realized that this thing in my head wasn't going away; I really was getting that same feeling I got when I wrote Gunblade. That feeling of "Hey, this thing? Yeah, you need to write it. And you're not going to stop thinking about writing it until you get done."

For the uninitiated, this story is a somewhat different take on the original game. I will be using most of the material from the game itself, though I am not going to be strictly adhering to the structures of the dungeons and the precise plot progression that was int he game - mostly because the game's structure works fine as a game,

If you're a new arrival to this story, you may have noted it hasn't been updated recently. That's my own fault, mind you, and one I am intending to rectify. I am currently (as of January 1st, 2011) going back through the story and doing some clean-up and editing of what I've written. One always has room to improve.

Until first chapter . . . .