In the land of Hyrule, there echoes a legend…

A legend held dearly by the Royal Family that tells of a man…

A man who, after battling evil and saving Hyrule, became a hero of the people…

Though now far from the country home he once knew, his heart lay in the deep forests he grew up in.

But time took its toll on the man and he returned home hoping to return to the family he knew…

But what he found was not what he expected…

It was late in the evening and the sole sound that echoed throughout the grassy field was the hoof beats of a brown mare and its green-clothed rider. Garbed in a white bodysuit, chain mail armor, gauntlets, green tunic and floppy hat, the rider's blond hair blew in the wind as his blue eyes continually gazed around the field for anything strange. A leather belt laden down with dozens of pouches wrapped around his waist and a worn iron sword in a scabbard was tied to his back. Covering it was a blue shield with a symbol of a wolf howling on a moonlit background.

"So close… Hang on everyone! I'm coming home!" The man smiled. Crossing a wooden bridge, he rounded a corner and his jubilation was turned to horror. Acrid black smoke filled the air in the distance. Reining in his horse, Link frowned at the sight before him.

"That smoke is coming from the forest! Let's go Epona!" Snapping the reins, he took his horse to the entrance of the forest and dismounted. Covering his mouth with a handkerchief, the man plunged into the forest. As he ran through the woods, he noticed that despite the smoke, the plants were not burning. Confused, he stopped and listened to the sounds around him. Over the crackling of flames in the distance, he heard laughter and screams of terror.

"The village!" Following the sound of the screams, the swordsman crossed a bridge over a large canyon and into chaos. The village, whose buildings were built into trees, was on fire. The man gasped in horror as he eyed the bodies of his dead friends lying in the street.

"No! This can't be!" He gasped, falling to his knees, "Why?" As he fell, the cloth covering his face fell away, exposing him to the acrid fumes. He began to cough as he took in all the destruction that lay before him. Another scream brought him out of his reverie and he dashed towards the source. Near the edge of the village, men in dark cloaks stood overlooking the village. In the hands of one of them was a blond-haired girl. Clad in only a camisole, her green eyes were laced with fright. Link recognized her instantly.

"Hey, take it easy. You're going to like it where you're going," One of the men chuckled.

"No stop! Let me go! Someone help!" The girl screamed.

"Hey! Let Ilia go!" The swordsman demanded, drawing his sword and shield.

"Link!" The girl gasped.

"How about I let you have this instead?" One of the men frowned. Drawing back his hand, a sphere of darkness formed. He immediately thrust it towards his foe. Sidestepping the blast, Link drew back his arm to swing when the other assassins stepped in with their own swords. Link promptly shattered their blades with his own before ending their lives. However, the last assassin had readied another magic attack.

"Link! Look out!" Ilia cried. Link turned to the captor in time for his world to go black.

LINK13PGF PROUDLY PRESENTS:

THE LEGEND OF LINK: THE BURNING BLADE

BOOK ONE: THE HYLIAN HERO LINK

PROLOGUE: MEETING OF FATE

"Ilia!" Link screamed. The swordsman looked around in panic and realized he wasn't in the forest anymore. He was lying on a cot inside a tent. The floor had been covered by a deep layer of green carpet and various swords hung on a rack near the tent's entrance along with at least half a dozen blue robes and a mirror. Lying on top of a crate in one corner of the room was his chain mail and equipment pouches.

"Where am I?" Link wondered, "How did I get here?"

"I found you unconscious on the plains," A female voice replied. Glancing at the source, Link saw a young girl of about fifteen years standing at the entrance of the tent. Garbed in blue robes, leather boots and a rope belt, she had forest green hair tied up in a ponytail and enchanting emerald eyes.

"I am Lyn, of the Lorca tribe. You're safe now. Who are you? Can you remember your name?" The girl asked.

"My name? It's Link."

"Your name is Link? What an odd sounding name... I see by your attire that you are a traveler. What brings you to the Sacae Plains?" Confused by the girl's blunt manner, Link frowned.

"It's a long story…" But before he could begin, peals of laughter filled the air outside the tent.

"Hm? What was that noise? I'll go see what's happening. Link, wait here for me," Lyn said. He watched as the girl grabbed a sword off the rack and stepped out of the tent.

The Sacae Plains… Have I come that far out of Hyrule? Link wondered, sitting up and immediately winced, "Darn it… So tired…" Before he could do anything else, Lyn bolted back into the tent. Seeing the frightened look on the girl's face, Link immediately grew worried.

"What's going on?" Link asked.

"Bandits have come down from the Bern Mountains! They must be planning on raiding the local villages. I... I have to stop them! If that's all of them, I think I can handle them on my own. You'll be safe in here, Link!"

"Wait! I want to help…"

"Can you use a weapon?" Lyn asked. Link nodded but immediately winced.

"Yes, I can…" Link groaned, another spasm of pain ripping through him.

"Your injuries haven't healed yet," Lyn noticed, "Then it's up to me."

"Wait!" But Lyn ignored his pleas and ran out of the tent. Outside, three shirtless men with messy hair and large iron axes were walking through the plains. Seeing the lone girl, the three men charged. Drawing her blade, Lyn ducked under one of their attacks and beheaded one of the bandits. Seeing their friend go down, the second bandit swung again. Lyn rolled under the attack but winced as the axe's blade nicked her leg, drawing blood.

"Blast it! How could Bin lose to a girl?" The second bandit swore, swinging his axe again. Lyn rolled away and reached into the confines of her robe, extracted a small vial of a yellow liquid. Pulling the cork out with her teeth, she dumped the vial's contents on her injury and watched as it was sealed up, leaving fresh skin in its wake. The two bandits saw this and growled in anger.

"Cursed vulneraries… Guess we got no choice… Either you go with us as our prisoner, or we'll… Gah!" The bandit never got to finish his threat as an arrow embedded itself in his throat. The surviving bandit and Lyn turned to see Link standing near Lyn's tent, a bow in hand and a brown traveler's cape covering his green tunic.

"Or you'll what? End up like your compatriot?" Link asked, nocking another arrow. The bandit growled as he charged the archer. Link merely smirked as he slid his bow back under his cape and drew an iron sword. The bandit raised his axe for an overhead attack but Link sidestepped out of the way and planted his foot in the man's stomach. The bandit flew backwards and landed on his back. Seizing the opportunity, Link leapt up and planted his sword in the man's chest, ending his life. Lyn watched the whole exchange in awe.

"Thank you, Link! But your injuries…" Lyn asked worryingly.

"I tried to tell you. I had medicine in my possession," Link replied, reaching into a pouch on his belt. From it, he extracted a glass bottle half full with a red potion.

"This stuff works miracles on injuries," Link explained, "I was going to tell you to give it to me but you ran out."

"I'm sorry."

"Don't be. Besides, we're not done yet." Gesturing with his sword, Lyn and Link saw another tent set up on the edge of the plains.

"That wasn't there before," Lyn noticed.

"I figure it has to be the bandit's camp," Link guessed as a man walked out of it, "And I'll bet he's the creep behind this group."

"Then let's go get that brigand!" Lyn urged. Link nodded and the two made their way to the tent. Standing outside of it was a brute of a man wearing worn leather armor. A green headband kept his blond hair out of his face, which was marred with scars. His weapon of choice was an axe made of blue steel.

"Who do you think you are? You think you can stand up to Batta the Beast?" The man growled.

"Beast is right. It looks like he got clawed by one," Link snickered. Lyn grinned.

"You! Show some respect!" Batta commanded. The smiles of the two warriors were quickly replaced with frowns.

"I think not. Bandits like you have no place here in the Sacaean plains!" Lyn declared.

"Oh yeah? And just what are you going to do about it whelp? Do you not see how big I am? I'll crush you!"

"Only if you can hit me!" With that, Lyn leapt in, her blade flashing. Sparks flew as the axe and sword collided. Sensing that her foe was stronger than herself, Lyn leapt back to gain some distance.

"Lyn! He's right! He's stronger than you are," Link noticed, stepping in front of her.

"No! I can beat him. I know I can," Lyn argued, "Let me settle this alone Link." Seeing the determined look in her eyes, he stood aside.

"Be careful," He warned. She nodded and leapt in again.

"Little girls like you don't belong on the battlefield," Batta taunted. Lyn frowned as she swung again. Batta blocked the attack with the flat side of his axe but Lyn used the momentum of her swing to land a quick swipe on the bandit's axe arm. Growling in anger, Batta launched into a flurry of wild swings. Lyn nimbly dodged as best as she could but in the end, she was struck in the arm. The blow was harsh but Lyn managed to keep a grip on her sword.

Whew! He's tough... It all comes down to this next blow! Lyn realized.

"Foolish girl! You're finished!" Batta roared, launching towards her one more time. Letting go of her injured arm, Lyn gripped her sword with two hands. Link watched in amazement as Lyn began to glow with a soft blue light. The girl drew her blade back, bent her knees and pointed the tip towards her foe.

"Father Sky… Mother Earth… Give me strength," Lyn whispered. With that, Lyn vanished and reappeared behind Batta. The bandit leader turned to see Lyn's angry face and an iron blade flying towards him.

"What? How… How did you…?" Batta gasped but it was too late. His life slipped from his body and he fell to the ground lifeless as Lyn's sword ripped into his throat.

"Whew... That was close. I sorely underestimated him," Lyn gasped, turning to Link. The swordsman was in awe at his companion's show of power. Despite the nasty gash in her arm, the girl smiled.

"Sorry if I worried you," Lyn said, sheathing her sword.

"You could've told me you knew Wind Dance," Link pointed out. Disappointment crossed Lyn's face as she used another vulnerary to heal her arm.

"Don't be fooled. I haven't fully mastered Wind Dance. That was a weaker version we Sacaens use in training," Lyn explained.

"Even so. That was pretty good…" Unfortunately, Link didn't finish his sentence as he grabbed his stomach and groaned.

"Are you OK?" Lyn asked.

"Remember that potion I told you about? Well, let's just say its effects are short-lived," Link groaned.

"Let's go back to my tent. I can treat you there."

"Thanks." With Lyn's help, Link made it back to the cot. Shedding his equipment, he prepared to lay back down when his stomach rumbled. The swordsman blushed in embarrassment as he pulled out the remains of the red potion.

"Heh, I just remembered something. I haven't eaten in days," Link winced, drinking the medicine.

"Really? Well, I'll have to fix that won't I?" Lyn smiled. Walking over to a nearby crate, she pulled out some dried meat and a canteen. Nodding his thanks to Lyn, Link dug in hungrily. The girl watched in amazement as he quickly downed his food.

"Wow, you must've been really hungry," She noticed. Link nodded.

"I would've packed more food for the trip, but I was forced to leave in a hurry," Link explained.

"Trip? Are you on some kind of a journey?"

"Yeah I was. Until I landed up here that is."

"Can you tell me about it?" Link frowned as he took another sip of water.

"…There's not much to tell. I came all the way out here from the nation of Hyrule to find some friends of mine."

"Hyrule? You came all the way here from Hyrule? With no food, water, or supplies?"

"I had supplies but my horse was carrying them all when it got stolen. I pursued the thieves and before I knew it, I was lying in your tent."

"And your friends?" Link shook his head.

"I still haven't found them. I know they left Hyrule and the only land path out of the Ordona Province led here to Sacae. Even after all my searching, but I still haven't found them. As soon as I get my strength back, I'm going to get back on the hunt for them."

"I see… Well, you're free to stay here as long as you need to," Lyn offered.

"Thanks. I'm kind of tired. Do you mind if I…?" Link asked.

"Oh, of course not. I'll just get another cot," Lyn grinned. Link smiled as he watched the girl root through a crate for a spare bed.

She reminds me of Ilia… He reflected, his smile turning to a frown, I just wish I knew where you are right now. Removing his chain mail armor and tunic, Link lay back and fell into a deep sleep.

--

"How could you do this me?" Link asked, staring up at a throne hidden in shadow, "You knew the Ordona Province's defenses were weak! You said you were going to build a fortress and reinforce it with troops!"

"We have no enemies in the south."

"Yet that didn't stop the bandits from stealing our crops and livestock! You said you were going to do something about it!"

"The Ordona Province isn't going to collapse because some bandits decide to make a few supply runs."

"The Ordona Province is why the people haven't starved to death yet! We supply a great deal of food and goods to the people in Hyrule Town. When bad weather hits and your crops die early, we Ordonians bail you guys out!"

"And we're thankful for that but my resources are tied in reinforcing Hyrule's other borders. We're trying to get ourselves back to the way we were before Ganondorf attacked us."

"This restoration project of yours started two years ago. While you were busy rebuilding Hyrule, I've been rebuilding your army from the ground up. Your army's just as big as it was before the Ganondorf incident began. Recruitment rates have gone up by twenty percent and morale is as high as ever. Yet you fail to meet my request." Out of the shadows, an elderly voice echoed from behind the throne.

"That's quite enough squabbling Marquess Ordona. This matter has been decided. Now, unless you have some other business to discuss with us, we have a new mission for you."

"Another one? Where to this time?" The person sitting in the throne stood up, revealing herself to be a woman with fiery red hair that reached past her waist. Garbed in an elaborately decorated pink dress with white sleeves, she wore a gold tiara with a blue jewel that matched her blue eyes.

"We need you to escort a supply caravan bound upriver. It's full of supplies that the Zoras requested," The woman explained.

"What? With all due respect Your Majesty, send a cadre of soldiers. Escort duty is a waste of my skills," Link argued.

"How dare you speak like that to Queen Zelda!" The male voice shouted.

"Sir Link, do not forget that you have made a vow to help me," Zelda warned. Link frowned.

I know that all too well. Link thought, "Alright, I'll take the mission…"

--

The next thing Link knew, he was back in the cot inside Lyn's tent. Sitting up, he rubbed his face.

Not that memory again… When is my past going to stop coming back and haunting me? Link wondered. Looking over at Lyn's cot, he saw it to be empty. Sunlight peeked in through the main cloth doorway as Lyn walked in, carrying a basket loaded down with red apples.

"Good morning, Link!" Lyn greeted, "Sleep well?"

"I guess," He replied, swinging his legs over the side of his bed.

"How are your injuries?" He tested each of his limbs and bent over and back and was greeted with no pain.

"It seems they've healed," Link said, reaching over to grab his chain mail and tunic, "Guess I just needed a little rest." His stomach rumbled, much to his embarrassment.

"And food," Lyn giggled, tossing him an apple.

"And food," Link grinned, taking a big bite. Lyn pulled another out of her basket and gazed at Link.

"Say, Link... I want to talk to you about something," Lyn said.

"OK. What do you want to talk about?"

"Well you see… That is… Uh… Would you allow me to travel with you?" Lyn asked. Link coughed as the apple went down his throat. Taking a swig of water from a canteen, he stopped himself and swallowed the apple.

"Say what?" Link stuttered.

"I admired the way you fought yesterday. You were so calm, so confident. I want to be like that too. It's obvious to me you have some experience in the ways of war," Lyn said, "I just get the feeling that if I learned from you, I could become much stronger."

"Really? Why?"

"What?"

"Why do you want to become stronger?" Tears began to form in the corners of Lyn's eyes.

"My mother and my father... died six months ago. My people the Lorca they don't... I'm the last of my tribe. Bandits attacked, and... They killed so many people. The tribe was scattered. My father was our chieftain, and I wanted to protect our people. I am so young, and my people are old fashioned. They wouldn't follow a woman. No one would follow me… Sniff... I'm sorry. I've been alone for so long... No. No more. I will shed no more tears," Lyn said, composing herself.

She's just like me, Link realized, "Lyn…"

"Link, I want to become stronger… I must become stronger, so that I may avenge my father's death! Yesterday's battle taught me something. I won't become stronger by sitting here alone. Link, tell me you'll train me, that you'll let me travel with you!"

"I'm searching for friends who are lost. My path could take us anywhere," Link warned, "Even into dangerous territory."

"That doesn't matter to me. If I remain here, I'm just going to keep getting attacked until someone finally defeats me. If I'm going to become more powerful, I must learn from a master. So please…" Link sighed and looked the girl in the eye.

"If you help me with my search, you're more than welcome to follow me."

"Really? Oh thank you! You'll be my master, and I'll be your peerless student! We can do it! Right?" Lyn asked. Link nodded and his new student responded by hugging him.

"Sure. Sure we can," Link trailed, wrapping his arms around Lyn, Why is it that I can never turn down a pretty face?