Author's Notes: This is a fic idea that I've been musing over for a while now and decided to go for it. It takes place after the events of the Oracle games (centering around Ages) and immediately after Link's Awakening, i.e., just after the end credits. Veran is one of my favorite characters in the series, and so I wanted to have a fic featuring her vengeful spirit. There is a character from another fandom playing a minor role, but prior knowledge of his fandom is not required. As always, the characters aren't mine, and the story is.
The young Hylian held on to the sides of the large piece of driftwood—all that remained of his boat.
Had it really all been a dream…? One moment, he had bidden farewell to Nayru in Labrynna, and the next moment, had been caught in a storm. And the dream… the dream had been so real… Koholint Island… the Wind Fish… And yet he had seen the giant whale when he had come to in the middle of the wreckage.
He looked around. There was no island in sight. How far was he from land? He hadn't sailed too far from Labrynna when the storm struck, but there was no way of knowing if and how far he had drifted while unconscious. And there was no trace of Koholint Island—though he had been told by the Wind Fish not to expect any.
I must get back to Hyrule… he decided. But he knew that would be nearly impossible when he didn't have the slightest clue as to where he was.
"You will never see your home again, little fool," a voice hissed to him from the wind.
Link froze; he recognized the voice. But it couldn't be her… He had just defeated her!
"Veran…?" he asked, drawing his sword.
She could not have come back again…! When she had been defeated, there had been no trace left of her, save for an odd amethyst that had glittered in the place where she had last stood. The stone was now with his other equipment—a token of the battle he had triumphed in.
"I see that you have survived the storm…" she noted. "And somehow freed the Wind Fish from his slumber…."
"How do you know all of this?" Link demanded.
"For a 'Hero,' you are terribly naïve…" she mused. "Did you think I would let you get away with the pain and humiliation you dealt me? No… The storm is just one of the fates that I have in store for you!"
"And the Nightmares, trying to take over the Wind Fish's dream world--"
"They are of Shadow, as was I," she sneered. "I sensed you entering the dream world, and I put them up to getting rid of you." She sniffed in disapproval. "And yet you seemed to make short work of them…"
"Just as I will do to you—again!" said Link, brandishing the sword at the formless voice. "I will not let your evil prevail!"
"Is that a challenge?"
The sea winds seemed to be intensifying. How… How was she doing this if she was supposed to be defeated? If she had this much power as a spirit, what else was the witch capable of!?
Clouds were swirling in over head, determined to block out the sun. Another storm… she was going to summon another storm! And Link wasn't so sure he would be able to hold out with only a piece of driftwood.
But something on the horizon caught his eye—sails. It was a ship! Link glanced at his sword. How fortuitous… The sunlight must've reflected off of the blade when he had drawn it, acting as a signal…
There was only a little bit of sunlight left, and so Link continued to reflect the light off of the blade, hoping that he could broadcast his location long enough before Veran completely covered the sky with the shadowy storm clouds again.
His expression changed to one of joy as he realized that his plan was working; the ship was coming closer! He could discern the flag on the ship, though he could not recognize it—three horizontal bars of blue, white, and red.
Hoping that whoever was approaching was not an enemy of Hyrule, Link waved to them as the ship approached. Veran was furious, drawing in the storm clouds as quickly as she could, but the ship knew exactly where he was—he could see people looking over the bow.
The ship turned, dropping a ladder for Link to climb. Grabbing his sword and other possessions—which weren't much, thanks to the storm: just his wallet, shield, boomerang, and his bow and quiver of arrows—he climbed up the ladder, collapsing with relief upon reaching the deck.
"Lower the sails!" a voice ordered. "We'll have to ride the storm out; I'm not going to risk trying to go against the wind."
Link looked up, surprised to see that the young man giving the orders was barely older than he was—sixteen, perhaps, judging by the look of him, with hair in nearly the same shade as Link's. And yet the crew was obeying this teenager without a second thought.
"What of the castaway, Vicomte?" one of the men asked.
"Have him tended to," the teen ordered. "Give him a cabin and food; I will talk to him after he has recovered."
"But Vicomte…" said one of the others. "I don't know if we should welcome the boy so easily. Your brother wouldn't approve of strangers on one of his ships, let alone one that resembles an elf."
Link frowned; he was no elf! These people must be humans, no doubt, but humans who had obviously never seen a Hylian before, but he was pleased when the teen in charge glared at the one who had spoke.
"Then if you wish to tell my brother that I've granted passage on one of his ships to an 'elf,' go right ahead. He shall think you're mad."
Link smirked as the teen then spoke to one of the deckhands in a different language that he did not understand, and the young Hylian gathered his effects and followed another deckhand to a cabin. Well, this ship looked sturdy enough to handle one of Veran's storms.
Link sat down on the cot, his head in his hands. He would have to go back to Labrynna. Nayru had to be warned about Veran's spirit running loose. Even if Nayru was no longer in danger, the Maku Tree would hopefully know what to do about Veran's spirit.
Unfortunately, he wasn't sure whether these men would be willing to take him to a land they would never have heard of, for if they did not know a thing about Hylians, they would not know about Labrynna, he assumed.
He would have to worry about that later, he decided. The storm would undoubtedly be the top priority for everyone, and Veran would definitely try to strike Link down, ship or no ship. She would not care about innocents in her way—that had been all too clear in the number of people she had encased in stone during her takeover of Labrynna.
With a sigh, he began to eat the food that had been prepared for him. There was a large bowl of cotriade stew and bread, and a sweet cake that Link found to be most intriguing.
"How is the food?" the teen asked.
"Very nice," Link said. "Particularly the cake…"
"Kouign amann," the teen informed him. "It's a butter cake. It was a favorite of my sisters, and it grew on me."
"I can see why," the Hylian replied, in approval, as he cut himself another piece.
"You can take the rest of it with you when we reach land," the teen said.
"That reminds me…" said Link. "If… If it isn't too much trouble, I need to be dropped off somewhere… if it isn't too much out of your way. Where are you headed?"
"You didn't recognize the drapeau français? We are returning to France."
Link shook his head. He wasn't sure where that was, but sure that it was not near Labrynna.
"I'm afraid not," he said. "But I fear that you must let me go in a longboat once the storm passes. My journey takes me to somewhere that is surely out of your way."
The French teen glanced at him, and then at the sword and bow Link had placed on the cot.
"I am not an elf," Link said.
"I know you aren't," the teen replied. "As odd as it sounds, I know from my younger days about how elves are supposed to look and act. Aside from the ears, you don't fit the description." Link smirked at this, amused. "Where are you headed?"
"I have never heard of such a place."
"Nor have I heard of such a place as 'France.'"
"A point well spoken," the teen said. "But perhaps if you can direct my navigators towards this Labrynna, this ship can get you there."
"I am not so sure myself…" said Link. "I had been sailing from there towards home when a sorceress summoned a storm to strike my boat down—that's how you found me. And now she has summoned a second storm. However, if I were to guess, I would say that the storm would be coming in from the direction of Labrynna, since that is where the sorceress's spirit is most likely to be."
"I see," said the young Frenchman. "Then perhaps, after the storm passes… which, I assume, should happen once your sorceress realizes that this ship is more than strong enough to withstand her little tempest, we can head in that direction."
"But... weren't you returning home?" asked Link.
The Frenchman smirked.
"My brother shall just have to endure my absence, if that is the case. He shall not be pleased. But I fear your chances of getting where you want to go will be much slimmer should you come to France with us, or if you try to fight this tempest in just a longboat."
"I don't think it'd be too difficult to find my way from France to Labrynna, once I get my bearings," said Link.
The young Frenchman glanced at Link's attire, and then at his ears.
"If you would be able to leave," he said. "I don't know if you have had much contact with the world outside the lands you know so well, but the world will be quick to brand you as an elf. And Heaven only knows what would become of you then. In fact, I am doubtful that there aren't some among my crew who would not be willing to let you leave so easily."
"Then why are you so willing to help?" asked Link. He edged towards the cot, in case he would have to grab his items in a pinch.
The Frenchman was no fool; he knew that this odd-eared youth was wary, but with obviously good reason.
"You have no need to fear me; if you wish, you can be present when I tell my navigator to change course," he said. "Or you can try using a longboat, if you think you can outwit your sorceress long enough to make it to your destination."
"I shall choose to watch while you tell the navigator to change course," decided Link. "And I must request that I am allowed to have my equipment with me at all times."
"Granted," said the Frenchman. "You might need to defend yourself, and not just from this enchantress."
"You were quick to believe my story," said Link.
"I have seen myths come to life in my childhood. Perhaps that is also how I know you are no elf," said the young Frenchman. "If you do not think me presumptuous for asking… Who are you, and where are you from?"
"I am Link, a Hylian of Hyrule, descendent of the Hylian Knights and in the service of the Princess Zelda." He saw no reason to list his titles of Hero, as he had been called by the people of Hyrule, Holodrum, and now Labrynna. He was humble by nature, and proud to serve his Princess.
"And I am Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny," said the teen.
"Fools…" Veran hissed from outside.
"Is that the sorceress?" Raoul asked, in a slightly deadpan expression.
"Do not think your alliance will be able to stop me," Veran promised. "There are no numbers of mortals who will be capable of defeating me—there, Link, was the flaw in your plan. I am the Sorceress of Shadows, and I am therefore of Shadow. And Shadow can never be killed completely."
"She is right about one thing," said Link. "I cannot put you in danger, as well. You will have to take your leave once I return to Labrynna."
Raoul did not say anything to this; he was clearly mulling things over in his mind.
"Somehow, I doubt she will give up on this storm," he said. "But I am confident that this ship can endure it."
"You're going to go against the gales…?" asked Link, stunned.
The viscount gauged the storm outside.
"Yes," he concluded. "It will be what she least expects. Prepare your equipment—you might need to make a quick escape should the need arise."
Link nodded as the viscount left the cabin and began to gather his things.
He had almost let Veran's treachery go too far last time—she had tricked him into letting her through the barrier, allowing her to possess Nayru and then Queen Ambi. And although Link had eventually righted the wrongs, he still couldn't help but feel that the whole fiasco could have been prevented if he had just sensed something wrong from the beginning when she had possessed Impa…
But those days were over. No longer would he allow Veran to get away with what she wanted. He would not fall to her tricks again. Her words were not to be trusted, and they were almost always her first weapon of choice. And Link would have to make sure that no other innocents would fall prey to her trickery as well.
And then there was Zelda… If she sensed something wrong, as she usually would, there was every chance that she would return to Labrynna, too. Veran would undoubtedly relish the thought of possessing Zelda—it would be the ultimate revenge for her. And Link knew that it was all too possible, for if Veran could possess people in life, it would be all too easy for her to do so as a spirit.
Surely Link's return to Labrynna would bring torrential storms upon the land. He would have to stop her quickly, or else people would get hurt, and it would be his fault again.
He would have to fight the second battle for Labrynna alone.