A/N: It is that time again, my fellows! WAR is returning in an all-new adventure epic. This may surprise you, and it may not. But I am hoping for over 200+ reviews or Favorites. Personally, I don't care which. I just hope you have the guts to review a story such as this AGAIN. ;D
For those of you joining us, this is a rewrite of my infamous story, WAR. Although WAR has built up a few reviews, I am expecting much more on behalf of this story. By the end of spring semester, I am supposed to have written a novel from something dear to my heart. I have chosen Legend of Zelda.
I would like to thank everybody who reviewed the first, inexperienced story now: TheFireSage, Mikure, Seldavia, army of perverts, The Final Countdown, Shadow Archer, Flygx, mysterygal3189, abyssdoor, la generala, AquaFlameElementalist, Principessa Dell'Opera, and angel1680.
In the End
Today I found my father's journal. It was hidden in the cellar under a chest of a thousand rupees, a few parchments, and a birth record of somebody named, "Colin". Although the small notebook appears rather worn, matted, and run-down (like my father), I hope it may bring news of his buried past. I am too afraid and shy to ask him how he felt about protecting my mother, or evading the many soldiers it took to find them.
When I begged him of bedtimes stories like those that my relatives told, he would smile at me, kneel by my bed, and stroke my hair. He always told me his story was that: a story. He said it was to be trusted, and kept safe. "When you are older," he always said, "Perhaps you can find the truth for yourself." He never mentioned any glory, only the pain of finding his rule undermined and destroyed by his most trusted friend.
Many times as I begged, he spoke of Link, Ganondorf, and Zelda, the three infamous Wielders of the Triforce and how they helped him defeat the Evil King Ganon. It was always a variation of the story: the young boy saved the world in Hyrule, no Termina, no Twilight, and became a man. He sometimes kissed the beautiful Princess Zelda. Oftentimes, he didn't stay with her, but saved other lands instead. In fact, there wasn't one story I could think of where Link and Zelda actually married. Sometimes he was off adventuring with his best friend Tetra, or his sister Aryll. Once, he even fought a goblin! Who would have thought?
Still, finding such a treasure to my father was unheard of. He said he had burned all the things from the time of war, and had instead wanted to raise me in the beautiful time of peace. Why wouldn't he let me know? I was eleven after all!
I wonder if I was meant to find this.
I wonder if perhaps my father wanted me to know something.
I wonder if maybe I can find out who my father really-
Yesterday I thought I found a journal. Indeed, it seemed a true likeness of one. There were no dates, records, or pictographs, only a small portrait too dusty to manage out. I flipped through it curiously, determined to find out exactly what had happened, but Koume and Kotake arrived and wrangled me into bed. I had to hide the journal under my mattress, so neither of my nursemaids would find it.
But upon closer inspection this morning, I found it was a story, written by a neat hand. On the very first page, it read of a small village in the southern province of Ordona...
There was no doubt on that day under the cloudless, icy sky of fall.
Winter had already began to move in; the friendly goats were growing thick hair that could be laced into braids, the crops had started to wither into shriveling shrubs, and even the chickens had slacked in their laying of warm eggs. There had been several freezes where the world had been iced in frost, finally giving the Ordonian villagers time to prepare for the coming of the snow. A few crops hadn't been gathered yet.
But at the end of that day, nobody cared about the goats, chickens, or even the crops.
They only knew that the war had finally come home.
Colin was lounging on the sturdy bridge by the river in his tattered working clothes, deliberately keeping his slender fingers deep in the swirling, tugging water. It had frozen his knuckles over with a thin sheet of ice. Although the water could practically freeze his blood, he enjoyed the numbness. Sighing at the odd pleasure, he retracted the appendices and flexed.
Twisting his fingers, he imagined them holding a sword.
If there was anything he wanted, any dream in this whole world, it was to become a Knight. Only once had he managed to go to the famed capital, and it was to help his father deliver a present to King Ganon. He still remembered that fated journey; his father had taken him as a man instead of a boy. It had only been to alleviate taxes on Ordon Village, but even as he traveled with his father hand in hand, he knew something was happening. Walking down the fairway, they managed to find a place just as the Annual Parade of Knights began.
Those Knights had held aloft bright swords, had been proudly gazing to the mountains, reveling in the cheering crowds around them. All he remembered was gaping, his mouth wide with excitement. His father had been chuckling at his face, and even as he set him down, Colin had not been able to stand still. Immediately, he had picked up a stick, and began swinging it like a sword. What would it be like, to combine with something that had no thought?
It intrigued him. He wanted it terribly.
But that dream was very far away. Becoming a Knight took years of training, and the younger you started training, the better off you were. You got more riches. You got more awards. You got more horses and weapons. It was a reward of a lifetime. Colin had decided long ago that he could live without all of the fancies attached to Knighthood, as long as he got a shot at being even a page.
He had prayed to the goddesses for so long; ever since that first visit to the capital. All he wanted was a sword in one hand, and an oath to protect in the other.
Back at the present, he sighed, rubbing his calloused fingers. His blue eyes drew up into the nippy air, watching fondly at the village he called home. Even at age fifteen, this was his true, and only home. The lush grass was about ready to curl and die in the fall air, and the wooden underneath him was creaking, as it had since he was a child. Everything here was predictable, and he liked it that way.
However, last night, he had snuck out for a change. It hadn't been really hard; both his mother and father were asleep in the next room. Snorting at the oddity of it, he thought quietly, it wasn't my fault I couldn't sleep. My father could wake the dead with his obnoxious snoring…
Pretending to be a respected warrior with a stick in one hand and his cloak in the other, he made rounds to each of the quiet, sober houses. It was easy to fantasize about protecting the entire village from angry wolves, especially on this silver, full moon bursting with light. Heading down the dirt-laden path, nearly slipping into the water wheel, his ears caught something disturbing.
"They wouldn't. We are in peace, father."
He froze. Ilia and Bo usually stayed up late; even Beth the Delusional knew that. Curiously, he lifted himself to the windowsill. He had been listening to their midnight conversations for ages. It wasn't all that difficult to understand; he had grown up listening to facts of soldiers and monsters. Adults knew things.
His blue eyes had taken in the scene that spread before him. In their comfortable wicker chairs, Bo and his daughter Ilia were grumpily debating over their bowls of pumpkin soup and savory bread. A single lamp was positioned in front of them, warm and inviting. Their shadows were thrown upon the curving walls like silent guards, trying to stop intruders and friends alike. Colin still listened stubbornly.
Pretty Ilia playfully smacked her father's broad shoulder, earning a glare from under bushy eyebrows. Bo's huge mustache twitched and his voice grew harsh.
"Ilia, I am not a fool. I have been a representative of this village from before you were born. You know, Ganon is strategic. He knows what to plan, especially since his rise to power. You shouldn't underestimate his greed."
Like a beacon of light, Ilia was sharply saying, "Father, he's so far off his rocker! Advancing his private, elite, personal troops around the base of Snowpeak is preposterous! You can't even make it up to Zora's Domain without permission! And Gerudo Desert? Nothing lives there except ghosts, sand, and hot sun!"
Colin jumped as her slim fist beat down on the wood; her eyes were angrily piercing her father. Like coals, they glared at each other. Bo, suddenly slumped in his chair, hand coming to his forehead. Wearily, he peered at Ilia.
"Don't. Don't curse our children!"
Smiling as his mother passed him, with another comment about his shaggy blonde hair, Colin merely shrugged it off. His eyes returned to the frigid waters, watching his changing, unfocused reflection. He was still troubled.
What had the mayor and his daughter been talking about? From what he had overheard last night, King Ganon was campaigning. For either war or exploration Colin was unsure. Who would take soldiers up to a place that had winter all year round? And a desert that had once been a prison? There was no hope there either. Those were forsaken, forbidden places. The sages had long ago decreed that those places were sacred.
Shivering, he pulled his jacket further around his chest, glowering at the last of the pumpkins still waiting innocently to be plucked from the ground. He had promised Talo, his utter friend, that he would help him out today, just to finish the boring, mind-numbing labor. Tomorrow, Talo had decided, was designated Goat Jousting Day.
Nothing could describe Talo. Sure, he had cropped chocolate hair, and a toothy, wicked grin, but underneath the bravado, he was one of a kind. He had been a truly great friend over these years, even if overly excited, and plain rude most of the time. The two boys were the same age, and had been childhood friends since they had been born. Colin didn't doubt that when he became a Knight, Talo would be there, wickedly spouting off again. There was no question. Wherever one went, the other was sure to follow, just for kicks.
That still didn't solve the picking problem though. Daydreaming wasn't going to solve it either, he realized. Glowering at the sky in silent question, Colin groaned before lifting himself rapidly to his feet, nodding as he heated his frozen hand under his warming armpit.
"Hey!" he called to Talo, jogging down the shaded hill to his best friend who was bent double, struggling with the pumpkin vines, "What are you doing, flower picking? Tug harder!"
Talo, his chocolate hair a mess, laughed outright at that, scowling up at him. "Oh certainly, milord, I'm just sure you could do it better," he rolled his eyes, showing his grimy hands, "Come on then, have at it." Digging in his trousers with a grimace pasted on, the tall boy of fifteen pulled free a set of brand new gloves. Reluctantly, he tossed them to Colin.
"Now listen. They're my dad's, you know he'll kill me if-"
Both Talo and Colin froze, stiffer than statues, the sound reverberating in their ears. Colin could feel the shuddering bass lower all the way to the base of his sternum, shaking his bones. Certainty hit him like a ton of bricks, erasing all of the laughter, all of the memories. All he could do was stare towards the repetitive thundering followed by another huge boom.
Horses. War drums.
Colin's heart began to pound. When was the last time drums had gone off? Years ago, when Twilight was attacking?
There was no bravado. Talo gulped, clenching the vines of the fruit, glancing up the slanted hill towards the pass where the road to the outside world lay. A concerned, frightened gaze was spread across his handsome face.
The village burst with movement, from doors slamming open to people stiffening, interrupted in mid-sentence, and whipping around to listen. Murmuring was a buzzing hum in the background, even as footsteps began to run. Colin barely caught sight of his father, Rusl, pounding on Bo's door before he physically pulled the mayor out with a firm hand.
But his attention was ripped back as reality came charging from around the bend.
Seated on strong, lithe horses were ten fine soldiers decorated with silken amethyst cloaks, vicious scarlet hair, and shining swords. As they pierced the villagers into motionless, their eyes were sharp, shimmering with an unearthly empty gaze. The manes of the horses were flying in colorful arcs as they seemed to float directly into the clearing, drawing every gaze. Rearing as one, they pounded into nature's very flesh.
A quiet descended, stronger than anything Colin had ever felt, worse than any discipline offered by his father. Vaguely, he was aware of Talo sidling closer to him, clearly uneasy. They were the closest to the homely road and commanding group of elite soldiers.
And like a shadow living of its own, a black steed screamed from the narrow canyon, bursting through whatever peace might have been there. On its back was a slender-shouldered, ebony-haired man. Panic set course through Colin's veins as the pale-skinned, black-armored man rose to his full height.
Brown eyes that were nearly red, sharper than steel, cut the breath from Talo beside him. Colin could only stare.
It was the Dark Knight, the most respected soldier in Ganon's elite force, second only to the High Prince Ganondorf.
It was Cero.
The Dark Knight's horse shifted under him, whinnying a piercing call that sent shivers down Colin's back. Even the air seemed to quake under the proud beast. The phantom horse was prancing, head bucking, but with a touch from its rider, it was rock solid, more a statue than a living animal.
But the Dark Knight's eyes never budged from Colin's side. Peering at Talo, Colin saw his friend's mouth spread into a grim line, staring at the black-clothed man in the same trance. Forgotten, the village dried up, vanished under his fear and awe.
There was a low sneer, almost unintelligible.
The dark eyes widened, pupils dilating.
The voice whispered out, commanding.
"Citizens of Ordon Village! By the order of his Majesty Ganon IV, descendant of the vanquisher of evil Ganondorf, the rightful Hylian and true King, I hereby declare all men between the ages of fourteen and twenty-five to accompany the Seventh Crimson Squad to the capital of Hyrule to take up arms against the disloyal citizens of the empire-"
"And what will they do there? Be taught to murder innocent lives…!?"
Colin's mind wavered as the familiar voice echoed in his darkest desires. He would give anything to simply stay away from these men, to stay and continue his peaceful life, but if he could even hold a sword in his fingers, his own sword…
At his side, Talo took an involuntary step towards his dreams, eyes feverish. Emotions swirled like a malevolent thunderstorm, barely the tip of the avalanche of want and need. Colin understood the beating in Talo's chest.
Because he felt it too.
In that moment, as he matched Talo's hurried footsteps towards the huge horses, as he saw the Dark Knight's eyes triumphantly glare down the elders, as he saw Beth and Ilia speechless, tears pouring down their faces, he knew.
He was going to become a Knight.