A Wolf in the Fall of Dusk

Mournful howls rang out over Ordon, as they had been ever since Link had disappeared. Ilia looked at the goats in the ranch, Epona by her side, seeing the mournful and nervous expressions on their faces. She patted the horse's neck as it looked up.

"What is it girl?" She asked the horse as if it could answer her. Epona had been on edge since Link vanished and the howls started. She wished she could find out what bothered Epona so much about them, the entire town seemed nervous about them as well, most likely because of the reactions of the animals in town.

Ilia mounted Epona and started slowly back towards town. She only just started riding Epona after Link's disappearance, when Epona started getting bored. She started riding Epona, which instantly lifted the horse's spirits. She stopped in front of her house and dismounted, giving the horse one last pat before opening the door and going inside.

Her father, Bo instantly greeted her; she just nodded in reply, not really listening to what he said.

"You're worried about him. He hasn't been seen since the howls started." Bo commented as she walked over to her bed and sat down. She simply nodded. She never said much at home, only really talking to Epona. "I see…" Bo didn't press the subject any further.

Ilia looked out the window beside her bed, listening to the howls as dusk swept over the land, remembering the day she last saw Link.

"When do you think you'll be back, Link?" Ilia asked Link as he went through various weapons and items in his house.

"I'll return in a month at the latest, if you hear howls, answer however you can." He replied, looking over at Ilia. She nodded sadly.

"Alright Link." Ilia gave him a sorry smile. He smiled back with a nod as he grabbed a bag and tied it onto his belt.

"See you soon."

That was two months ago, the howls started a week after Link left, when he was supposed to have been in Kakariko stocking up on supplies. He left without Epona for some strange reason. When he was asked why he replied saying he was going somewhere that horses couldn't get to. He was supposed to go to Kakariko, and from there to Castle Town. From there he would take some guards in training to some place and train them for two weeks. It would take him a few days to get to Kakariko, if he ran into trouble about a week; he only packed food for the trip to Kakariko.

Ilia had no way to reply to the howls, which worried her. Answer however you can. She was expected to answer, but how? The sun set below the horizon, and the stars dotted the sky. The howls stopped, and Ilia started drifting off to sleep.

Link looked up, his howls remained unanswered. He used the black stone that transformed him into a wolf to speed up his journey to Kakariko. He encountered some monsters along the way, and in the fight it was stolen. He never made it to Kakariko at all. After the fight, he headed back towards Ordon, howling each night at dusk and hunting for food. He looked at the night sky, and darted through the field towards the entrance to the Faron Woods.

So close! I'll enter Ordon in the morning and make a bit of a disturbance to get Ilia to see me. I'll somehow get her to follow me, and take her to the spring, where I'll somehow convince her of who I am. He planned it all out mentally. Yes it was risky, but it was the only way. He entered Faron woods, and grimaced at the pot of soup, remembering last time he tried some. He doubted any sane person would eat it, unless Coro was considered sane… although Link had seen him dumping out some soup before he left, so maybe the lantern oil seller was just a very bad cook. Link decided in the end that this place was better then some of the other places, and walked over to the scarecrow, curling up behind it and slowly drifting off to sleep.

Ilia woke up the next morning, staring up at the ceiling. She got up out of bed and went outside, noticing the fact that her father was nowhere to be seen. She shrugged it off and left the house, hearing a nearby commotion.

"MONSTER!" She heard Fado shouting, and he ran past towards the ranch. She looked to where she left Epona, and the horse was… gone. Fado noticed her and ran over to her. "Ilia! There's a monster in town, and what's worse is that Epona's protecting it. Rusl's gone to take care of it, you should stay in town."

"Epona will only listen to me or Link!" Ilia exclaimed and ran off into town. She spotted Epona kicking at anyone who got near her, standing over a black maned wolf, which lie weakly on its side. She rolled her eyes. So much for monster. She thought as she approached the horse, which instantly stopped kicking.

"Ilia wait!" Bo shouted to her. She ignored him and patted Epona's head, and the horse backed up. Ilia kneeled in front of the wolf, who was panting heavily with a large gash on its side, one on its neck and one on its face, each bleeding badly. The wolf raised its head weakly, and looked her in the eyes. She gasped, putting a hand over her mouth.

"L-Link?" She asked quietly, so only the wolf could hear. He weakly nodded, before his head dropped to the ground. Ilia looked up. "The wolf means us no harm. It's no monster, but a creature which lived in the nearby woods." She told the villagers, who all let out that breath they were holding. She got up and walked over to her father. "Father, can we please nurse it back to health? I don't want to be the reason an innocent life was lost in the village just because I didn't care to heal it."

"But Ilia!"

"No buts father!" Ilia snapped. "You should take responsibility for the village's mistakes!" Link used his improved hearing to listen in. He would've smiled. She hadn't changed in the two months he was gone.

"You've made up your mind, there's no changing it. Fine, we'll take care of it until it's back to full health." Bo sighed. "But it'll be your responsibility to take care of it."

"Thank you father!" Ilia replied, and then rushed back over to Link, attempting to pick him up. "Can someone help me get him to my house?" She asked, and Rusl walked over to her, picking Link up and carrying him into Ilia's house.

"Anything else you need Ilia?" Rusl asked as she sat on her bed. He laid Link on a pile of blankets Ilia had made.

"It's fine. Thank you Rusl." Ilia replied. Rusl nodded then left.

"Why does she care about the wolf?" Rusl muttered as he left.

Ilia rushed over to the cupboards, grabbing some bandages and then rushing over to Link before starting to bandages the three gashes on him. When she finished his stomach was wrapped up, he had bandages around his neck, and some across his face, covering one eye.

"How's that?" Ilia asked him after she finished. He nodded weakly and she smiled. She was about to say something when Bo walked in.

"Ilia, Rusl was wondering why you care about the wolf so much." He said to her. She cringed. She couldn't tell him that the wolf was Link, plus, no one would believe her. She stood up and faced him, putting on an angry face.

"He's an innocent animal who entered the village and was attacked because everyone thought he was a monster! What's not to understand?!" She snapped. Bo backed off, knowing better then to push her. Ilia kneeled back down in front of Link. "What happened?" She whispered. Link gave her that 'how do you expect me to do that' look. She sighed. "I forgot… you can't speak." She muttered and he nodded with the 'duh' look on his face. He laid his head back on the blankets and stared off into space. Ilia got up and went outside to get something for him to eat. How did he become a wolf… and how do I turn him back?

If only Midna was here… Link thought. Too bad she broke the mirror… He added to himself. He heard Bo going through some stuff.

"Where is it?" Bo muttered. Link gulped. "Here it is!" Bo exclaimed, and pulled out a sword. Link's eyes widened. He's going to kill me!?