A/N: Wow. It's been a long time since I've updated THIS! I was looking at my stories and couldn't remember what it was...and the moment I looked at it, I remembered exactly why I loved it so much. I knew I had the second chapter hiding somewhere-and, lucky me, I found it! Dunno if anyone even remembers this one, but I hope you enjoy it!

Hey, ho, lilly-lally-lou,

cook me a pot of mulligan stew

and serve me up a pint or two

hey, ho, lilly-lally-lou.

~Old tavern song and sea chantey

What's that? A drink? No, nothing, not for me. I don't—well, if it's only water...but then I'll have to pay you. How much is it? Twenty rupees? Oh, no, that's very kind of you, but—oh, very well.

Ah, that's better. My voice was a bit tired, I suppose.

Now where was I? Oh, that's right.

For years, the people had been growing uneasy. "The Queen," they said, "used to be a good queen. Wise, brave, compassionate...now she may be wise, perhaps even brave, but she's as cold and hard as marble and doesn't even notice what's going on under her own nose." "She used to be a wonderful queen," they said. "She's changed."

I traveled back then as much as I do now, and I remember from my visits to Castle Town that things were hard there. People were starving—the crops were suffering because the city was so full of trash, they had to dump it outside, too.

There was disease coursing through the streets, ha, what a surprise, everyone was afraid to leave their house—those who had one, anyways. Prices were terribly high, higher and higher to support the way the King and Queen were living, and when houses fell into disrepair, most people couldn't afford to fix them. There were no proper burials, even burnings, for the dead—by the Goddesses, sweet Nayru bless us, there were dead bodies left in the gutters to rot.

The worst of it is that King Link tried to help, he really did, you have no idea. He did his best, Farore protect him, but it just wasn't enough. You see, a few years after she had her first daughter—second, you see, but that's not what people thought, or, rather, not what they knew as fact at the time—Queen Zelda became quite ill.

Since I found out more about it, I've come to the conclusion that she never really was ill—just confused, and guilty, and maybe a touch crazy, though not incurably. But she demanded so much time and attention—to make her eat, to make her come back to the real world even for a second—that Link didn't have much energy to spare.

And then there were the attacks. All over Hyrule, villages were ransacked, pillaged, burned and destroyed. Refugees fled to the other villages, but the situation was no better outside the walls of Castle Town than inside. Link tried to balance his duties, I know it, but in the end he had to put one thing before the others, and that ended up being protecting the villages.

A good thing, too, or he'd have ended up with a regular catastrophe on his hands. They'd have all fled to Castle Town eventually, where the walls would shelter them from any enemy—any, of course, except the ones that were already inside. Then he would've had the threats of sickness and hunger to save his people from, the ones no number of soldiers could hold at bay.

And throughout all of it, the Queen didn't care. She wasn't cruel—I stand firm in the belief that you have to mean it to me cruel. She didn't mean to hurt anybody. She just didn't know. She was too wrapped up in her little world, her bubble, her shell, to come out for a second and look at her own kingdom.

But she had her excuses. She had scars—both inside and out—that haunted her for a long, long time. After it all, I don't think anyone, even Link, resented the way she became a statue for more than sixteen years.

True, while no one hated nor even disliked her for it, there were many who would say it would have been better had it never happened.

I am not one of them. I am the storyteller.

This is the story.

So, rebellion was stirring, and so were...whispers.

First came the whispers about the attacks. People said the mysterious enemy were thieves, from the desert—you must have heard of the Gerudo? They couldn't be confirmed—the reports were always garbled, to say the least—but lots of people believed it. Well, except for their king a good thirty years before this, you'll have heard legends about him, Din curse him, of course, the Gerudo were a peaceful people—thieves, yes, but not killers, not murderers.

So, of course, people had to wonder why they were attacking the villages. For a while, there were a bunch of silly rumors going around about royal treasures—things hidden in old houses some member of royalty had once stayed in, buried treasure.

And then someone, some crazy old gossiper out on the streets or some little kid looking to make trouble, or a revolutionary looking to rile up the public, get the Queen's head on a silver platter, came up with something about the princess.

I don't know which rumor came first, but soon there were dozens. She'd been kidnapped, she'd simply vanished without a trace, the Queen had been blackmailed into giving her up...and even a few that maintained, like the Queen said, that the poor Nameless Princess, Goddesses rest her soul, was dead, but not of natural causes—because the Queen had killed the girl herself!

That was treason, of course, anyone can see that. But in those days, with all the tension and bloodshed, who wasn't thinking of treason? The kingdom was in shambles. The people needed something to believe in, something they could have faith in, could trust, because they prayed to the Goddesses every day and night, and they didn't see any results. The revolutionaries needed a scapegoat to get the kingdom to rally around their banner. They found the Queen.

That's where our story begins, in these dark days, as blood and sickness plagued Hyrule, and discontent stirred in the hearts of every citizen. It begins, my friend on a stormy night, not unlike that night sixteen years ago when everything started to change. As far as I have been able to tell, the story begins in Castle Town, with a sorcerer's apprentice and a servant girl, both of whom had, until that night, lived blissfully unaware of the things the Goddesses had in store for them.

Now, if you have the time for a poor minstrel girl, the tale can begin.

A/N 2: And now, finally, the real story can begin! Huzzahhh! :D
Until next time!