A/N: Yes, because it's REALLY such a good idea for me to start ANOTHER story right now. Please, if anyone's reading this (as well as Desert Flower and Downfall), tell me which one(s) I should keep updating. I'm sort of obsessed with all three now and I MIGHT be able to keep up with two, but I MIGHT not.
Oh, yeah, if you'd prefer one or both of my old stories, those work two because I still love them. xD
Anyways, I hope you'll stick with this through the weird history-ish part at the beginning (this chapter and next) because it gets a lot more interesting afterwards. :j Oh, and I made up all the song/poems at the beginnings of the chapters (unless otherwise noted).
My water I sip from the morning's dew,
my supper's oft nothing but Mulligan stew,
but if you will give me a rupee or two,
if you'd like I can dream up a tale for you.
I can't dress up fancy and water's my brew,
the stories I tell aren't all very new,
but sit down and listen a moment or two,
and let me remember a tale for you.
~Traditional minstrel's song
There's a fine story I remember quite clearly, though I haven't told it to any passing strange for many long years. The years pass differently in the eyes of us storytellers, that might be it, but I think it's a matter of the tales. The ones that mean something to you, the ones that matter, that reach into your heart, those are the ones you remember, forever, and there's no need to refresh yourself for a second.
Now, where was I?
Ah, yes. It began on a night in the summer, not so different from this one, many, many years ago...
There was a storm over Castle Town that night. Torrents of water raced along the gutters, sweeping along leaves and garbage. Don't get me wrong, Castle Town is a gorgeous city, but it has an underside, like so many others. Rivulets streaked the windows of every building, the raindrops ratting the panes and racing down the glass to the windowsills. It was a dismal night, some might say, but I suppose that depends on whether you like the rain.
Every few minutes, lightning split the dark sky, followed at once by thunder, and when the light died, you couldn't have seen your hand in front of your face without a lantern. The storm was right overhead. That it itself made the night unusual, but to be at the eye of a thunderstorm was by no means unheard of.
No, the far more interesting thing about that night, though few people knew of it until weeks later, was that the princess, the first daughter of the King and Queen, was born that night. In Hyrule, daughters were no less valuable than sons, not even then, and for months everyone across the kingdom had been hoping against all hope, praying to our beloved Goddesses and wishing on every star in the sky, that the child would be a girl.
But while the birth of the Princess was indeed more interesting, it was not, by a Longshot (a common phrase even then, though few people knew or know exactly how long a Longshot is), the most fascinating event of that rainy, dismal evening. That title, it can be sure, would be given to the most long-term effect of the strange and, in ways, terrible occurrences at the Castle on the princess's birthday.
For that, you see, was the night when everything in the Castle—in all of the city—even in all of Hyrule—changed completely, forever. And there are many, my friend, who would say it was for the worse.
But I think not.
Perhaps I'm a touch biased—I am, after all, a storyteller. And what, indeed, is a storyteller without any story to tell? What might have happened if that night had been different—a matter of hours, only hours, though there aren't many who know it—is for wiser minds than mine to ponder, but I do know this: the story would have a very different beginning if its roots—the prologue, you might say, if I was writing a book, which I'm not—weren't as they ended up being.
But if I were writing a book, which I'm not, I suppose I'd have to start at the beginning, wouldn't I? The prologue.
Bear with me, because I've only pieced this part together after the fact, and I'm not sure it makes sense even to me. But if you're willing to give it a try, I think you'll find it worth your while to listen, after I get to the rest of the story. And you can trust me, I'm the only storyteller you'll find who knows this tale.
Let me take you back to that stormy night, when everything changed—and, more importantly, where. That is to say, up in the castle...
Queen Zelda opened her eyes.
"Where is she?" she whispered. Her voice was hoarse, but there was (so I have been told) something urgent in her tone.
The nurse hurried forward to place the child in the young Queen's arms. "A girl, like we all hoped, Your Majesty."
Her Majesty examined the girl. Her face changed, gradually. "Fetch Impa," she said in a flat voice.
"Of course, Your Majesty."
The nurse scurried out, along the corridor and down into the kitchens, where Impa was lecturing several servants on what they'd done wrong while cooking the cuccoo the last time. "Milady! The Queen! She needs you!"
"Don't do it again," Impa said severely to the servants, before lifting her skirts and whisking out of the kitchen, up the stairs, and into the Queen's temporary chamber. "Your Majesty?" she said with a low curtsy.
"Spare me the formalities," said the Queen, with no trace of emotion. "I want you to take this girl away. I never want to see her again."
There was something frightening about the empty tone in Queen Zelda's voice. "Your Majesty! Are you alright?"
"I will be once you take the princess and go," said Her Majesty, still in that blank voice. "Please, Impa."
It would have been better to hear some hint of dislike or anger in the Queen's voice, but Impa asked no more questions. She took the baby Princess in her blue flannel blanket from her mother's arms and moved to leave the room.
"Wait," said the Queen, and though some of the strength was returning to her voice, the feeling and energy usually there were not. "Take this." She held out one hand, and something glittered darkly in her palm. "For her."
"Of course," said Impa, and left. Resolutely (I am sure), she marched down the hall to the infirmary.
There lay the one she was looking for, a servant the Queen, barely breathing. She was better off, however, than her own newborn child, who lay limp and bloody on the young woman's chest. Impa bowed her head, lifted the dead child from the blankets, and lay, in its place the princess. Then, she reached into a pocket, hidden in the folds of her skirts, and pulled out a crystal vial, containing a potion from her own village of Kakariko.
She pulled out the crystal stopper, poured three drops of the shining fluid onto the servant's tongue, and whispered the word, "Wake..."
She was gone before the woman opened her eyes.
Link, Hero and King of Hyrule, had by this time come down to see his Queen. "Where is our lovely...daughter?"
His mouth opened and his eyes widened. "Dead?"
Queen Zelda nodded and said nothing.
Link bowed his head in sorrow. "I give my thanks to the Goddesses that you're alive, at least, my love."
"Let me rest," she whispered, and he watched her as she fell asleep.
Impa returned some time later, and he turned to her. "So our princess is dead?"
She, like the Queen, only nodded.
"Dead," echoed Link, his own voice hollow. "I—I don't believe it—dead..."
I never did think to ask him, but I don't believe it was until years later that he knew this wasn't true.
For weeks, people believed the rumor—no doubt started by an overly-mouthy, poorly-informed, and quite possibly drunken castle guard—that the Queen was so heavily pregnant that she couldn't even move, and that was why she seemed to have vanished from Castle Town.
This whisper was silenced quite swiftly when, four weeks and three days after the princess's birth, the King and Queen appeared with their four-year-old son, Prince Temorey, but with no tiny baby princess, golden-haired and beautiful, cradles in Her Majesty's arms. The King looked weary and sorrowful; the Queen, worn and still drained. It was Link who explained that she was still quite ill after the Princess's birth, and, at the same moment, death, Goddesses rest her soul.
Everyone was very sorry, for the loss of the King and Queen and their own loss, of a fine future ruler, and most were very ashamed of believing that silly story. Then, they went about their business, all of them sure this was the last they would hear about it.
All of them, my friend, were wrong.
Sixteen years later (when the real story begins, as you'll soon see), rebellion was stirring in the hearts of Hyrule's people. A spark had begun somewhere, on the streets of Castle Town, and it was being fanned into flame by change and fighting.
Trouble was stirring in Hyrule.