((A/N: So, to clear this up beforehand… I started this the day I returned to school from Christmas holidays, feeling the urge to write an LoZ fanfic, something I haven't done before. This will be the first of what I hope will be a series of fanfics in the "Guardian Saga" as I call it. While it does start a bit before the events of Twilight Princess and focuses on my characters during the events of the game, this isn't an exact novelization of the game. I cut down the size I write on paper from six pages per chapter to four in an effort to make it smaller and more readable for people who don't want to sit through very long chapters. Comments and critiques are needed greatly on here, so I would appreciate anything.))

Chapter 1: The Children of a Royal Knight

The sun shined down warmly overhead on the courtyard of Hyrule Castle, a gentle breeze flowing through the towering spires on the beautiful spring day. The clashing of metal against metal filled the air, the source being two young men sparring against each other. Off to the side stood another young man with a girl in her early teens, the two watching the fighters. All of them were Hylians, their ears pointed and elven-like, and them men were clad in the armor of Hylian knights without the helmets. Each of them carried their own, unique weapon compared to the typical lances used by most of the knights. The eldest brother carried a long, two-handed sword with silver edges while the flat of the blade was dark grey on both sides. Embedded in the hilt was a clear crystal that sparkled in the sunlight. The young man himself was tall and handsome, his brown-hair messy and unkempt, clear blue eyes carrying a focused look while he wore a smirk on his face. He was Cale, firstborn son of the commander of the Royal Knights and an accomplished swordsman.

The one he sparred against was heavier built and muscular, the strongest of the three sons. He had short black hair somewhat slicked back, his green eyes sparkling with humor even as he struggled to land a blow on the quick-footed Cale. The warrior was swinging an ornate gold-and-silver colored axe with a crystal embedded below the axe head with ease, despite the fact it was of considerable size. Rurik, the second oldest, was known for his considerable strength but rather short temper, as was evident by the fact he was starting to get just a little annoyed at his brother's speed.

Of the two spectators, the youth with the somewhat long black hair was the older one, the third son of the commander. He observed the match intently with narrowed green eyes, leaning somewhat on his silver-colored lance, a crystal just below the spearhead. He was well known as a strategist in the kingdom, having developed battle strategies in war games beginning at the young age of fifteen. Each of the three brothers was a year apart in age, the oldest being twenty-three, and they were infamous throughout the kingdom as soon-to-be royal knights and incredible fighters.

The youngest there was a girl of fourteen, sitting cross-legged in the grass, bright-eyed and excited as she watched the two spar. A plain iron sword rested in her lap, the girl wearing a simple long-sleeved white shirt and brown cloth pants. Her beautiful sapphire eyes were filled with wonder and admiration for her brothers, brown hair with a few blonde streaks tied back behind her head. Despite her tomboyish appearance, Danielle was actually a noble and the youngest child of Commander Greil. The only problem was that she always skipped out on her nobility lessons, much to the ire of both her father and her teacher. She had a fascination with swords and battle and detested the proper manners and etiquette of the stiff upper class. Due to that, her reputation among the nobility had taken a major decline, most of them viewing her as a rebellious child. So, Danielle had no friends among the noble children, prompting her to spend even more time with her brothers.

Above them, on a balcony overlooking the courtyard, stood the twenty-four-year-old ruler of Hyrule herself, Princess Zelda. Sapphire blue eyes gazed down at the sparring Hylians, her long brown hair streaked heavily with blond, an ornate golden headdress on her forehead with a single blue crystal set in the middle. Gold, ornately-designed shoulder guards were connected across her chest by a golden "necklace" of sorts with a single red gem in the middle with three blue crystals on either side. The top part of her dress was amethyst in color, with the bottom part of it white and bearing the crest of the royal family on the front with intricate designs in light grey around the bottom. White gloves covered both hands completely all the way up to the shoulder guards, her hands gently gripping the banister. A faint smile was on her face even as she heard the slight clanking of armor behind her. "Milady," a deep voice rumbling softly.

"Please rise, Commander," she spoke, not even glancing back at him. He rose and joined her at the banister, leaning on it slightly as he stared down at his sons. Commander Greil was much taller than her at six feet, his bulky and powerful frame made even larger by his heavy navy blue and gold trimmer armor. His tan hair was cut somewhat close to his head, emerald eyes hardened from countless battles and the war ten years previously he had fought in. "I see your sons are as skilled as ever," she commented.

"Yes… although my daughter is shirking her studies," Greil murmured dryly, his eyes flickering down to the young girl. "She's more interested in sword fighting than her duties as a noble."

Zelda's faint smile grew ever so slightly. Contrary to her protector, she enjoyed seeing the child pursuing something that truly interested her, although she did somewhat agree that Danielle shouldn't completely avoid her lessons. "I understand your desire to protect your daughter from harm, Commander Greil, but you can't always force your daughter to do what you wish for her to do. Even I am not fond of acting noble-like all the time."

Greil's eyes flickered somewhat, a frown appearing on his face. "I am aware of that, milady… but I do not want my only daughter placing herself in harm's way."

Closing her eyes, Zelda let out a soft sigh. "If she wishes to choose the path of a fighter, then she is undoubtedly aware of the dangers before her. That is what fighters are trained for. If you continue to try and force her away from that path, then you will do nothing more than push your own daughter away from you. Encourage her and guide her gently before it's too late and you lose your daughter."

Greil didn't reply for several seconds, and the princess opened her eyes to see him shocked but contemplative of her words. Finally, his shoulders slumped. "I believe I understand… Thank you, Princess." He placed his right fist on his heart, arm horizontal across his chest as he stepped back and bowed to her. "I must return to my duties. Farewell, milady." He turned away, striding off without another word.

Zelda smiled faintly once more, continuing to observe the siblings with renewed interest. Cale had won his match against Rurik, leaving the axe wielder to take on Blaine. Her gaze drifted to Cale himself, the young Hylian leaning over his younger sister, placing her hands around the hilt to teach her different ways of holding the blade.

Following in the footsteps of her brothers… She will one day make a great swordswoman… but she will have to wade through a river of mud to get there.

The princess's smile slowly faded now, her blue eyes locking onto Danielle. Looking at that young, smiling girl, she saw flickering images in her mind, snatches of the hardships she would endure that would strip her of her innocence. She frowned, closing her eyes as she pushed the premonitions to the back of her mind and turned away. She had her own duties to attend to, so she couldn't continue to watch Greil's children today. Zelda opened her eyes and looked back one last time, her expression one of sadness and concern. Sighing softly, the princess walked off, leaving to return to her duties.

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Danielle held the iron sword in two hands, standing in front of Cale in the defensive stance he had taught her, the sword right in front of her and held diagonally from her body. Even though her sword was smaller than those that the soldiers used, it was still heavy for someone of her small stature. Cale stood a few feet from her, the longsword Durandal gripped tightly in both hands. She nodded to her brother, who grinned and sprinted forward. As his blade came down vertically, Danielle brought the flat of her sword up to block. The clang of metal striking metal filled the courtyard, the jolt of the blow rattling the very bones in her arm.

"Bad move!" Cale shouted, stepping back and kicking up at the sword. Still hurting from the jolt, Danielle couldn't even hold onto her blade, which flew high into the air before landing with a soft thud on the grass. In an instant, Durandal was placed to her neck, the steel cold against her warm flesh. Danielle stared down at the blade with wide eyes. In two strikes he had managed to disarm her. "You're not all that strong and you tried to block my hit? With your small size, you need to focus more on dodging hits than blocking them." He lowered his sword, Danielle relaxing somewhat now while panting for air, a light sheen of sweat on her face. "If you face an opponent larger than you, don't try to risk everything by on attempting to block him."

Danielle sighed softly, managing to catch her breath now as she nodded up at him, the cold steel against her neck vanishing as Cale pulled his blade away and sheathed it. "Okay, I'll remember that next time." She crouched down to pick up her sword, arms still feeling sore from exertion. While wiping the sweat from her forehead, she looked towards the setting sun that cast an orange hue on everything. It was getting late now, approaching time for dinner. "When I get older, I'm going to be better than even you, Cale!" Danielle spoke with a grin, turning her eyes towards her eldest brother.

He laughed heartily, blue eyes glinting with humor. "Is that so? Well, I'm looking forward to facing you on that day, then!"

Danielle smiled brightly at him as Rurik and Blaine joined them, Rurik patting his younger brother on the back with a slight grin on his face. Rurik had barely won his bout with Blaine, and he was definitely going to be bragging about his victory. All four of them headed for the wooden doors to the castle, Cale's hand on his little sister's head as they walked, the young man ruffling his sister's hair a bit. "So, see you at dinner?" Danielle questioned, looking up at her brothers with that smile on her face even though it was an unnecessary question to ask. Of course she would see her brothers at dinner. They always sat together.

"Of course. See you in a bit!" Danielle nodded to her brothers, watching them as they headed down the hall to their quarters before proceeding in the opposite direction to her own chamber. Since her mother had died not long after she was born, she didn't share a room with anyone once she had turned twelve. She used to sleep in her father's room, but Danielle had grown tired of him constantly nagging her to take her nobility lessons seriously.

Pushing open the door to her room, her blue eyes flickered about it as she placed her sword point-down and leaning against her dresser. Her gaze now fell upon the portrait in the room as it often did, the young girl stepping towards it a bit to look up at it. Her father told her that it was a painting of the former queen of Hyrule, who had passed away due to the same sickness that had taken the lives of her mother and several others within the castle and market.

She was beautiful… Danielle thought, examining the features of the woman with long, brown hair streaked blond with gentle blue eyes. I can only imagine what she was like in real life… Father said she was such a kind and caring person, that everyone in the kingdom had loved her dearly and was shocked when she passed away so suddenly… The king died not long afterwards of a broken heart, and Princess Zelda took the throne at a young age…

Danielle sighed now, turning her gaze away as she focused now on changing for dinner. She cleaned her face with a damp rag, wiping most of the grime and sweat from her face and around her neck. As tomboyish as ever, she merely changed into a cleaner and not-so-tattered white shirt, despite the fact it would probably raise her father's ire to see the young girl dressed so informally at dinner. In all honesty she despised wearing dresses, preferring something more comfortable.

She headed towards the door to her room, stopping to glance once more at the portrait of the queen hanging on her wall. Her gaze lingered on the queen's face before she finally turned away, walking out of her room and heading for the dining hall.