Chapter 1: Adventure
A/N: If I was going to write a Zelda fic, it had to be based (loosely) on the Ocarina of Time chapter of the series! I hope you all enjoy it.
Ash filled the air in a small forest clearing. The sky was dark, covered by ominous black clouds that heralded the coming of a fierce storm and were accented by acrid smoke that made the eyes sting. The wind rushed through the trees, making them whisper to one another as their leader, the largest and most ancient of them all, opened his eyes and cast a worried glance up at the sky. Moments later, rustling and hurried footsteps announced the arrival of a boy with a haughty air but an equally worried expression. His short hair was auburn, and his eyes were dark. He wore a green tunic, hat, and boots. A white ball of light accented with a pair of wings danced around his head.
"Great Deku Tree. You summoned me?" The boy cried, sounding much more dignified than he looked, trembling all over and glancing around the clearing as though expecting an attack. When the tree did not answer, the boy's facade disappeared altogether. "Great one, do you know what has happened? The forest children are terrified. It is all I can do to calm them. I cannot even guarantee their safety. Please tell me what has happened!"
"Evil, Mido." The tree breathed, finally. His voice was deep and had an airy quality to it, as though it was provided by the wind. "Great Evil."
The boy called Mido's eyes widened, and he stepped back in shock. "E-evil, great one?" He stuttered, his voice sounding more child-like than ever. He looked up at the darkening sky and then hurried on, as though trying to relieve himself of something before he lost his nerve. "There is ash falling from the sky. Something truly terrible must have happened. One can taste it in the air. Surely you know something? Surely you can tell us if… if we are in danger?"
The Great Deku Tree had closed his eyes once more, his bark-like eyebrows furrowed in concentration, his brittle mustache stirring as great gusts of air, escaping from the tree's slit-like nostrils, pushed against it. "Worry not, Mido. There is a ray of hope."
Suddenly, an infant's cry broke the stillness of the clearing, and Mido gasped in surprise, choking on the ashy air afterwards. He stepped forward to find the source of the cry and his foot brushed against something solid. He looked down and then jumped back in shock. A young woman's corpse lay at his feet, the pallor of her skin enhancing her beauty despite the fact that it marked her as being no longer in the world. Her delicate blond hair was splayed behind her, and as the wind flowed through it, one could almost imagine her in life, the wind tossing her hair as she walked. Mido stooped and, with trembling fingers, touched her cheek. Its iciness ran up Mido's fingers and sent a chill down his spine. The boy looked up at the Great Deku Tree, fear and pain in his eyes.
"We are the children of the forest." Mido said, quietly. "Age will never mark us. Death will never touch us." For the first time, he looked like the ancient leader that he was. The fear in his eyes was not that of a frightened child, but one of a general who saw the shadow of the enemy on the horizon and knew that he would be leading his troops to their deaths. "What curse has brought this evil to our sacred clearing?"
"The curse," breathed the tree, "will soon consume all of Hyrule."
Mido looked slightly relieved. His haughty air returned. "Then we have nothing to fear. I would not force the fate of this poor woman on anyone, but I cannot say that this surprises me. Those Hyrulians… we Kokiri know better. We are the children of the forest, forever remaining young and innocent. We will never consume ourselves with greed hatred the way the others do."
"We are all of us hyrulians, from the Kokiri in our forest, to the Gorons in their mountains, to the Hylians in Hyrule Town, and to the Zoras in their domain." Called a girl's voice, suddenly. "The Great Deku Tree spoke not just of the other races, but of all of us, entwined together in a single fate."
The girl emerged from the trees behind Mido, and as he turned to stare, transfixed at her, she came into view. Her hair was short as well, coming down below her ears in a sort of bob. It was green in color as were her eyes. She wore a green tunic similar to Mido, but no cap. Instead, a darker green headband that matched her long-sleeved undershirt and boots smoothed back her hair. The Great Deku Tree opened its weary eyes to peer at her.
"Saria…" It breathed.
"Where is the child?" Saria asked.
"It is here, resting among my roots. His poor mother died shortly after giving birth to him." The tree replied.
Saria stepped forward and found the infant. Ignoring Mido's gasp of horror, she lifted the child into her arms.
"Raise him as a Kokiri. He must be hidden from the rest of the world until he is ready…" The tree continued.
Mido stepped forward angrily. "Raise him as a Kokiri?! Impossible! He is one of them, one of those destructive fools from the outside world! We should get one of the owls to carry him off and leave him by the town. His kind have no place here."
Saria ignored him. "We can only hide him for so long. He will begin to notice that he ages while we do not. Besides, we can offer him little protection. The Kokiri are not warriors. I could take him away. I could smuggle him to the Gerudo fortress or…"
"If a Kokiri were to leave this forest, he or she will DIE!" Mido cried out suddenly. "You know that as well as I do! It is the forest that protects us and gives us our life force."
"Mido is right, Saria. It is not your place to take him away. The boy will be safe here. The Kokiri are legendary among the other races. Many believe you to be nothing more than creatures from fairy tales. No one will seek him among you. You do not even exist in their world. It is the perfect place to hide him."
Mido cast a jealous eye towards Saria as she took a small tunic from one of her pockets and wrapped the child in it protectively. "Why?" He asked, defiant. "Why must we hide him? What purpose will he serve?"
"He is the hero of legend… protect him, Mido. Keep him safe until he is ready…"
The peculiar thing about infants is that they retain very little of their memory banks, and yet the things they learn and the experiences they have are the most important in the shaping of their adult lives. Most people have no knowledge of their infancy and those few individuals that are lucky enough to remember anything at all see it in flashes as they toss and turn at night, as the unfortunate boy known as Link did on this particular morning – the one in which his adventure would begin. These flashes often leave imprints on the mind, and so it was with poor Link as the galloping hooves, the woman's screams, and a shrouded figure on a horse made him shudder in his sleep. The thing that left the biggest mark, however, was the crackling sound and the flashes of red as fire seemed to envelop everything around him. The fire was burning him, but it was a peculiar feeling, as though it was burning him from the inside out.
He could see the fire sparkling before his eyes, and then, with a jolt, he jumped up in bed. The sparkling had not come from a fire, but from a dancing white ball of light that Link recognized as a fairy – the trademark companion of the Kokiri. Link was the only child in the forest that did not have a fairy, a fact that Mido, the belligerent leader of the Kokiri, was happy to point out whenever he had the chance. Now, as Link stared up at the dancing ball of light, he wondered where it had come from and whether or not he was still dreaming. The fairy shouted at him as if in reply.
"Hey! Hey! Get up you lazy boy!" She cried in a voice that was a little too irritating for Link's tastes.
Link obeyed and got out of his bed, shaking the remnants of his latest dream from his memory.
"Are you Link?" She asked. Link nodded. "The Great Deku Tree sent me to fetch you. You are to go and see him right away, understand?" Link nodded once more.
Link got out of bed and began rummaging around the one-room tree-house that was his home in search of some form of breakfast. He had heard that outside children drank milk for breakfast and wondered what it would taste like. Being a Kokiri child, he knew that he would die if he ever left the forest, and so he had never been able to taste milk for himself. Milk came from cows, and he had never even seen one, though he sometimes wished that one would wander into the forest. Link sat back down on his bed and wondered what it would be like to have a cow of his very own. That would certainly save him the trouble of having to rummage around for breakfast every morning. He was certainly grateful for what he had, however. His life was peaceful and happy in the forest, and he was able to learn a great deal from the wise owls who came to visit the forest children and bring them news of the outside world. That was how he even knew of cows and milk in the first place. Of course, the owls had stopped coming recently. Over time, their numbers seemed to have dwindled. Link wondered if they had tired of coming to visit or if…
"Hey! Listen!" Cried the fairy suddenly. Link looked up at her. "Didn't you hear me? What a stupid boy! And to think that I, the most talented of the fairy children, the one who was always praised as being destined to do great things… I was so honored when the Great Deku Tree summoned me, I thought 'here was my chance at last!' And now look at me… saddled with some, some mentally challenged child, slow, stupid, and apparently mute!"
"I'm not mute…" Link said, suddenly.
"The chosen one speaks! Or should I say the challenged one? Well, challenged one, how about the fact that the GREAT DEKU TREE has just summoned you and you are sitting around daydreaming? Do you think you could break your vow of silence long enough to speak with him?" Link nodded, and the ball of light gave a nervous shudder as the fairy suppressed her irritability – slightly. "The strong silent type, eh? Or is it just too difficult for you to summon the brain power to string two words together? Very well, challenged one. Shall we go? Or would you like to examine the opposite wall for more interesting spots?"
Link exited the tree-house and climbed down the ladder leading to the forest floor. He glanced around at the Kokiri forest, a small village of tree houses that belonged to the Kokiri children and that was hidden deep within the lost woods of Hyrule. The fairy bobbed above his head impatiently and gave an audible sigh of frustration when a Kokiri girl came running over at the sight of them. Link looked up at the sound of her laughter and realized that it was Saria. He smiled.
"Link! You've got a fairy!" She laughed.
At this, the fairy bounced up and down in anger. "I? I belong to this… this…" She gave another bounce of anger. "I'll have you know, that I was merely sent by the Great Deku Tree to summon the boy!"
Some of the merriment in Saria's eyes faded. "The Great Deku Tree? This… this is a great honor Link! I'm so proud of you!"
Her words seemed to have caught the attention of another boy who marched up to them. Behind him four boys, known as the "know-it-all brothers," also joined the crowd.
"What's this? Talking to the reject again, Saria?" The lead boy asked.
"He's not a reject, Mido, and you know it!" Saria replied, angrily.
"Ha! Look at him! Doesn't even have a fairy!" He looked smugly at the know-it-all brothers. "Saria, I've been telling you all along, you're much too good for the likes of him! Why do you hang around with him so much? I'd like to be your best friend. I'd be much better company than him!"
"He's not a reject, Mido. You know it as well as I do." Saria said with a meaningful look that made Mido loose some of his smugness. He regained it almost instantly, turning to the boys behind him.
"Well, boys? Why don't you explain the secret of the Kokiri children to Miss Saria so that she can see sense?" Mido said casually.
"The owls bring the infants here, tiny spirits, no larger than a fairy and similar in appearance." The oldest brother recited.
"The Great Deku Tree grants them life and infuses them with the spirit of the forest!" The second oldest chimed in.
"A fairy is summoned as the child's protector and guardian and will stay as his or her companion forever." Cried the third oldest.
"Where the spirits come from is a mystery, but we do know that once here, age will never mark them, death will never touch them, and they can never leave the forest, for their life force is tied within it." The youngest brother finished.
"There, you see? And speaking of the owls, did anyone else notice how their numbers dwindled after this reject came around? They probably couldn't stand the sight of him. And when he came to us, he was much larger than the typical Kokiri child. He didn't even have a fairy! Obviously, none would have him as a companion. Stupid, blundering, fool of a boy without a fairy…"
"He does have a fairy!" Saria cried fiercely.
"I WAS ONLY SENT BY THE GREAT DEKU TREE TO SUMMON THE BOY!" The fairy screeched.
Mido stared at the fairy in alarm. "H-him? Summoned by the Great Deku Tree? Why did he summon him? Why not me? I'm the leader here!"
"More in name than in deed." Saria muttered.
Mido looked as though she had just slapped him. He turned on Link Savagely. "You! Idiot boy! No one can venture to the Great Deku Tree without protection. It's too dangerous for a useless fool like you. If you want to go and see him, you must find a sword and shield to protect yourself. I'll not have blood in this sacred realm, even if it is the blood of a worthless wart like you!" And with that, Mido turned and stalked off to go and guard the entrance to the Deku Tree's clearing. The know-it-all brothers headed off towards their home.
"He's just testing you, Link. He knows we don't have weapons here. If the Great Deku Tree has summoned you than you are to go to him, and Mido can't stop you." Saria said, gently.
"The treasure." Link replied.
Saria's eyes widened in shock but only for an instant. "You know that's only a myth…" She said, but it was not very convincing, and Link had already run off towards the edge of the village. Saria looked up at her fairy sadly. "I guess it really is time…"
Link ran until he came to a large wall of rock that blocked off the village from the rest of the Lost Woods. Thick vines grew on the stone, and he was able to grab onto them and climb until he emerged on a narrow ledge which led to a small cliff. A small tunnel, just large enough for Link to crawl through, was visible in the stone. According to the "myth" that Saria had mentioned, treasure was on the other side of that tunnel. No one entered it, however, because it was also said that the treasure was guarded by a dangerous trap that would lead to the death of anyone who approached it. While the Kokiri were ageless, they could still be mortally wounded, which was why they stayed hidden deep within the forest and under its protection. Link put his ear to the tunnel and thought he heard a faint rumbling. Steeling his nerves, he got down on all fours and began to crawl through it.
He emerged on a straight path that was bordered by tall hedges. Straight ahead he could see a perpendicular path that also seemed to be bordered by hedges. Link marched forward to the intersection and was just about to step forward onto the perpendicular path when gigantic boulder crashed around a corner and nearly ran him over. Link fell back in surprise. It was lucky for him that he was able to see the boulder at this point in his adventure. Had he encountered it while walking along the perpendicular path, he would have had nowhere to hide.
Link sat there and waited for the boulder to arrive once more. When it did, he began to count. It turned out that the boulder passed by every fifteen seconds. He waited for the boulder to come around one last time and then ran after it. The boulder was too fast for him, and it soon disappeared from view around a bend. He continued to run, counting all the while. He knew that when fifteen seconds had elapsed, the boulder would be upon him once more, this time chasing him down. He rounded the bend. He rounded a second bend. Still, he saw nothing. When he had reached ten seconds, he heard rumbling and chanced a glance over his shoulder. The boulder was bearing down on him. Link ran as hard as he could, but knew that any second, the boulder would flatten him. Just as he rounded a third bend and thought he was a goner, Link saw an alcove carved into one of the hedges. He dived into it just in the nick of time, and then ran out again right away, following the boulder, which disappeared once more.
Link ran as hard as he could, and just when he thought he heard the boulder approaching once more, he saw an opening in the hedge and ran into it. The boulder zoomed by a few seconds later, but Link was too focused on the chest in front of him to care. He ran forward and opened the chest with trembling fingers. A gleaming sword met his eyes, resting on a leather scabbard. He slung the scabbard across his back and then carefully placed the sword in it. Link had his sword. Now all he needed was a shield.