So, I love this story, I've worked hard on this story, please be nice to this story. Everytime there is a line, the point of view changes from Aydin to Link and back again. It's not hard to figure out whose point of view it is.
The reviewer Midna Hytwilian (thank you! forgot!) mentioned this (and since I totally spaced about it, I'm adding it after the fact), yes, the idea for her shop if from the market at the beginning of Stardust, with them selling weird things like that. Once again, no copyright infringement intended, I give full credit where credit is due, etc. etc.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but Aydin.
You can buy anything… if you're willing to pay the price.
I can sell you the color blue. But only if you sell me your ability to hum.
I can sell you the breath of a three-month-old. But only if you're willing to sell me your sense of smell.
I can sell you the soul of a rose. But only if you sell me every third beat of your heart.
I can sell you the liver of an elm tree. But only if you sell me your unborn child. For the liver of an elm, though, I would also consider taking your womb if you sweetened the deal with all of your hair.
I can sell you hope. I can sell you despair. I can sell you dreams. I can sell you nightmares. This is the shop of hope and despair.
But love. Love. Love is an old wives tale. Not a fairy tale. Fairies are somber creatures, and not the kind to tell ridiculous tales like love. Where are you from, anyway?
You're asking me for bottled love? Love doesn't exist. Not even parents love their own children. From the moment they know that they are having a child, they think only how they may profit from it. This world is cruel, and cold. Love is fake, a myth. Oh, there are charms and spells and such to imitate love. Why don't you get one of those?
… Oh, you want real love. I told you, it doesn't exist! Leave my shop, this instant! Where are you from? You don't look like you're from around here. You're a foreigner, aren't you? An outsider! Who are you? Who sent you? How dare you try to interfere with our country? How dare you try to interfere with our town? With my shop? Get out!
I waved my hand at the tall blonde man. My shop was dark, so it was hard to see him anyway. But he had left the door open, and cold, bright sunlight streamed in, leaving him cloaked in shadows. His tunic was green, and his breeches were a soft, light brown. His boots were of a darker brown, and made of sturdy leather. He wasn't dressed like me. His tunic was of a different cut than mine, if you could even call mine a tunic. His blonde hair, although it was of a moderate length, and nothing unusual, was blonde, the color of sunlight. Natives don't have blonde hair. And his hair contained no braids. Everyone's hair had at least one. Mine contained dozens, all over the place, some with beads that clinked together, some with tiny bells that rang.
I looked closer. He had no bells. Everyone had bells. The ringing kept spirits away. Even foreigners knew about the braids and the bells. He clearly knew nothing of our customs. This made him as dangerous as a foreigner, but in a different way. A possessed man may do immeasurable damage. Anyone can be possessed without bells. And ignorance is almost as dangerous as a killer hired to massacre a town. He had a sword strapped to his waist- unfamiliar hilt, and not curved in the slightest- and a bow strapped to his back- also unfamiliar. It was too small to be a long bow, too large to be a short bow. The man looked at me sadly, and then sighed.
"Are you sure you can't help me? Are you sure you can't sell me love?" I glared at him coldly.
"Get out, outsider. I can't sell you love. No one can. It doesn't exist." He looked at me, blue eyes heartbreakingly sad.
"It does. I know it does." He turned and walked out of my shop. The door swung shut, leaving me momentarily blinded. I strode to the door, flinging it open. The darkness had blinded me, but the sun blinded me as well. I shielded my eyes and looked out at the crowded street. I couldn't catch sight of him. I craned my neck, and I caught a flash of his blonde hair, shining from underneath a green pointed hat. Also strange. We don't have hats like that. I have never seen a hat like that. Or maybe I have… the memory tried to force its way to the surface, shining brightly like the sun, but I forced it down. There's a reason I lost that memory, and there's a reason I don't want it back.
I locked my shop in the usual way: by slicing a knife across the scarred palm of my right hand and letting it flow onto the doorstep. This seals the building. Blood is always the most powerful charm. My palm sealed up immediately, and I set off at a run. Dodging people, the beads in my hair clinked together cheerfully as the bells tinkled.
"Hey, you!" I shouted. He turned, and I skidded to a stop. I hadn't realized how gloriously beautiful he was when I couldn't see his face. His skin was smooth, and a bit paler than usual for someone who clearly spent most of his time in the sun. His hands were rough and calloused, so he was either a farmer or a warrior. A bow is natural: any good farmer knows how to use a bow. But he had his hand resting easily on his sword. So he could use it, or at least he thought he could. I filed that away for future reference. Panting, I bent over, hands on my knees. He quirked an eyebrow at me.
"Why do you think love is real?" He looked at me curiously as I looked up at him. I could see him appraising me with his eyes. Since he was a foreigner, I doubt that he had ever seen anyone like me. Foreigners always hit on me. To them I look like an exotic beauty. But here I'm quite plain, one of the ugly ones. But I can sell you anything. And that makes me well known… and dangerous.
"Because I've seen it," he said simply, turning to walk on.
"Wait!" I cried, grabbing his arm. We both flinched. Touching foreigners is strongly discouraged. I hadn't realized what I was doing. I held up my hands: I mean no harm. "Did you see it here?" I asked. He shook his head.
"No… not here. Not in this cold country. In my own country." For the first time, I noticed his voice tinged with an unfamiliar accent.
"If you have it in your own country, why do you need to buy love here?" Pain flashed across his face.
"It burned," he said hoarsely, eyes faraway and haunted, filled with the flames that burned in his memories. "And I need it."
"Why?" He shook his head.
"It's not any of your concern." I grit my teeth.
"Fine. But I can tell you right now that you will have no luck here. There is no such thing as love."
"What happened to it?" he asked. I shrugged.
"I don't know. It's gone now." He nodded somberly, as if this made perfect sense. I wanted to press him about love, but the look in his eyes made me stop.
How do you burn love- I cut that thought off before I could even try and formulate an answer. You couldn't answer that question, because love didn't exist. He looked so sad… I made a split decision then, one I knew I would come to regret.
"You look like you need a drink," I said off-handedly, surreptitiously glancing around. If anyone saw me with this bell-less, braid-less foreigner… His eyes widened, haunted fire disappearing behind the intense blue.
The girl from the shop ran up to me, after yelling "Hey, you!" I raised an eyebrow at her as she stopped in front of me, panting. I examined her as she straightened up. She was gorgeous of course, like all the girls in this country. She was rather… endowed on top, and slim everywhere else. But I could see through the strips of cloth that made up her sleeves that she was also muscular. She seemed like a dancer, but I knew it had to be more than that. The large crowd of people had been going every which way, and bumping into me even though they were clearly trying to avoid me. But the crowd seemed to flow around this mysterious woman like water, none of them touching her. I knew there had to be something about her.
"Yeah?" I asked.
"Why do you think love is real?" she asked me, straightening up. The bells in her hair tinkled, and I was taken aback. She had been stunning in the shop, in the dark and gloom, but out here, in the sun, she was… indescribable. Oh, yes, there were other, prettier girls. But there was something about this one… something that made her even more attractive. Perhaps it was her long, smooth, black, shiny hair that shone blue in the sunlight. Although almost all the other girls had black hair. There were no blondes in this country. Or perhaps it was the air of danger and mystery that surrounded her. Perhaps it was the mysterious intrigue that covered her like a cloak.
The woman from the shop had her long dark hair loose, with braids randomly dispersed throughout. Some of the braids had beads at the end, and a few had bells. The tinkling of bells could be heard even over the din of the street. Her clothes were of black and dark blue, some cotton but most of them silk. The day was hot, but the clothes were clearly made for this warm weather. They shed heat like a cloak sheds water.
"Because I've seen it," I said, turning to leave. She was too distracting to be able to have a rational conversation with.
"Wait!" she yelled, and grabbed my arm. I jerked away sharply, and she released me immediately. I knew that she had just done something she wasn't supposed to, and regretted. She held up her hands in a classic 'I mean you no harm' sign. But I knew from experience that just because someone had their hands raised did not mean that they meant you no harm. If the sorcerer was powerful enough, they didn't need to bother hiding their hand symbols for the element of surprise. I noticed the scars on her right palm, and nearly shuddered. Everyone in this disgusting country used blood in their magic. She clearly cut her own hand for the blood. It was revolting, but I suppose it was better than killing someone else for their blood. "Did you see it here?" she asked, almost… eagerly.
I shook my head. Love? In this cold, cruel place? "No… not here. Not in this cold country. In my own country." Her voice had an unfamiliar accent, but in all my travels I had met so many people, and heard so many different accents that I barely noticed anymore. But this girl's accent was almost like a song.
"If you have it in your own country, why do you need to buy love here?" she asked, and I could hear the hope behind her words, even if she didn't know it was there.
I knew that she could see the pain on my face. I just hoped she couldn't see all of the terrible, aching, burning agony inside of me.
"It burned," I said quietly. "And I need it." I wasn't about to tell her why.
"Why?" she asked. I knew she wasn't trying to hurt me. She was just curious.
"It's not any of your concern." She glared at me.
"Fine. But I can tell you right now that you will have no luck here. There is no such thing as love."
I couldn't stop myself. "What happened to it?" I asked. He couldn't have burned it everywhere. It just wasn't possible. She shrugged.
"I don't know. It's gone now." I nodded. If it had been gone for so long that she didn't know what had happened to it, then he couldn't have destroyed it. And if he hadn't burned it, then it still had to exist. It just had to. "You look like you need a drink."
His eyes widened. "A… a drink?"
"Yes. A drink." I raised an eyebrow. "Do you want to?" He seemed to be in shock.
"Uh, yeah, sure." I held up my hand.
"But first, something else." I reached up and deftly braided a long strand of his blonde hair. I unbraided on of my braids, and pulled the bell out of it. With a deft, practiced twist of my hand, I tied the bell to the end of the braid. Now he wouldn't stand out so much. "Okay, come on." I led the way into the smoky, dimly lit tavern. The barkeep looked up at me, immediately noticing me and ready to satisfy my every need. I held up two of my fingers and he nodded. The blonde man beside me looked around.
"There are no tables." I almost laughed, and led him deeper into the tavern. I stopped by a table at the back, hidden in a dark corner. The two men eating there looked up, and visibly paled. They grabbed their food and drinks and immediately left the table. We sat down, the man looking at me curiously. I just shrugged as the barkeep came up with our ale. We accepted them, the man with murmured thanks, and the barkeep stepped back. He stood there, awkwardly, for several long seconds. I looked at him and nodded.
"Yes, this will go on your tab." He smiled gratefully and nodded.
"Thank you. So much. I'll go get your food now." I nodded and he hurried off.
"Tab?" The man asked, drinking deeply.
I shrugged. "He sold his daughter in an arranged marriage to get enough money to rebuild the tavern after it burned down. She sold her soul to me in exchange for getting out of the marriage, and for killing her abusive fiancé. Every time I eat or drink here, he covers the cost, and eventually he will have paid off her soul."
"What about her body?"
"It's in my shop, in the very back."
"Isn't she dead?" I shook my head.
"No, the room back there is very cold. The bodies are preserved, and I keep the soul's in special jars."
"Will you sell the soul?"
"Usually I do. But I really like the food here, so I told him I wouldn't sell his daughters soul."
"But he must love her right? To pay to get her soul back." I shook my head.
"With her gone and the fiancé dead, the money to pay for the repairs have been cut off. If he had her back he could arrange a marriage to someone else. And he had to hire help. The daughter worked for free." I sighed. "Oh Lillia."
"But won't she just give up her soul again?"
"I never take the same price twice. And killings are very expensive. I won't take her soul again. I would kill another fiancé, if she had something valuable enough to give me." The man was silent as our food arrived. I inhaled deeply, and then began to eat. I had been working all day, and hadn't had any food yet. Thick, juicy venison, potatoes, several slices of cheese, and a hot piece of fresh bread. The perfect meal.
"So… you have killed." I looked at him curiously.
"Yes. You have as well." He looked at me sharply. I shrugged. "You know how to use the sword. Or at least you think you do. You've clearly had to have killed, especially in this day and age." He looked down and began to eat. "Does it bother you that I've killed?" The man shrugged, still not looking at me. "It does? Why? You don't even know me!"
"It bothers me… when people die. I don't like to see people die."
"But you have killed."
"Yes. It was necessary."
"Was it?" He finally looked at me, eyes burning again.
"I don't know. I thought so… at the time. At the time it was justified… but then… then I thought… were these people really evil? They were just trying to get what they wanted… isn't that what I was trying to do?" He ran a shaking hand through his blonde hair. "I just don't know." I looked at him curiously. He was slumped over, and clearly in terrible pain. So much pain.
"Ayden?" I asked, putting an accent on the 'e' at the end. The tavern was a bit loud, and I wasn't sure how she had said it.
"No, Aydin," she said, a bit impatiently, stressing the 'i' at the end, so I would be sure to get it right.. I'd never heard that name before.
"Don't worry about it," I said. "Most people mispronounce it the first time." I didn't tell him that only foreigners who had just arrived in the city ever mispronounced it. And I definitely didn't tell him why no one ever pronounced it wrong twice. "What's your name?"
"Like on a chain?" He nodded, and I shrugged. I'd never heard that name before, but it seemed to fit him.
"Can you give me any ideas on where to start looking for love?" he asked suddenly, looking at me intently. I looked away: those blue eyes were unnerving.
"I told you, it doesn't exist." He took a deep, shuddering breath and let it out slowly. Was he fed up with me? I bared my teeth slightly. Here I was, treating him to dinner out of the goodness of my heart- okay, he was really cute- and he was getting tired of me. If he stayed here for long he would soon learn. People may get exasperated with me, irritated, even angry. But they would never get tired of me. I was too crucial to their existence.
"Let's just operate under the assumption that it does exist."
"So, pretend that the nonexistent exists? That the impossible is possible?" He nodded.
"Yes." I sighed. All of his silly talk about love was getting tiring.
"Alright. Okay, fine, I'll play along. Love is real, everyone loves everyone, happy day. Now what?"
"Where would be the best place to find it?"
"Start looking for it?"
"Haven't the faintest idea." He gave me a look. I sighed, running a hand through my hair. The movement set the bells jingling a merry tune, a stark contrast to the mood I was in.
"Alright, fine. You might try the Gerudo thieves. They live in the desert and-"
"I've already been there."
"Okay," I said, stretching the word out. He sighed, resting his chin on his hand, elbow propped on the table.
"I don't think it's love. It's more like… loyalty. Very intense loyalty."
"What about the Mashiki?"
"The Mashiki?" he asked, leaning forward. I leaned back, distancing myself.
"Yes. They're a desert people, like the Gerudo. They used to be gypsies, but now they refuse to be associated with other gypsies. They are an uneducated people, and only their high priests can use magic." He was leaning forward, eyes alight with interest and curiosity… and hope. I pitied him for that. Hope brought nothing but despair. It was better to not hope for anything.
"Where are they? Are they hard to find?" I shook my head, finishing my last bite of bread.
"They live only a few miles from here. I can take you there." He cocked his head to the side.
"Why?" I stared at him, contemplating my answer. Why did I want to take him there?
"So that I can watch your hope die." He stood abruptly.
"Thank you for the meal. I can find my own way from now on." I spoke quietly as he began to walk away.
"It will sell for a lot." I sipped my drink as he turned, furious. He slammed his hands on the table.
"You want to make a profit from this?" he shouted. I sipped my drink again, still staring straight ahead, not looking at him.
"I make a profit from everything." I looked at him, and I knew my eyes were blazing. I knew they were unnerving. He took a step back as I stared at him. When I have strong emotions, my pupils disappear. The gold of my irises takes over my entire eye, blotting out the pupils and staining the white a deep, deep gold. "And you owe me. I could have been doing business, but instead I was with you."
"So what's my price?" he asked bitterly, straightening up and standing firm. "My hair? My teeth? My voice? My soul?" His voice grew progressively louder. I glared at him. What should his price be?
"Your amusement?" he asked in surprise.
"Yes. My amusement. Lately my work has been getting a bit tedious, even in these dangerous times. So your price is to amuse me."
"How?" he asked sharply. "How do you want me to amuse you?" Even as a foreigner he already knew that trying to get out of paying me my price was a bad idea. I could see his mind working, formulating ways to amuse me that I hadn't meant.
"I don't want you for sex, if that's what your implying," I said coldly. "Believe me, you're not my type." Oh, he was definitely my type."
"Then how am I going to amuse you?" he asked, much quieter now.
"I want to come with you." He was visibly surprised. That was nice, thank you.
"I told you. My work has become tedious. It gets depressing doing this day in and day out."
"Then why don't you stop?"
"I… don't know." Memories tried to rise up but I dug my nails into my arm and they died down again. "I have to. I can't quit. Not now. Not yet." He looked at me with an unreadable expression for several long moments. And then he nodded.
"Alright. You can come. You may be useful." He held up a finger threateningly. "But the minute you stop being useful-" I stood and with a flick of my fingers his mouth snapped shut.
"I will stay with you," I hissed, walking forward till my finger was inches from his nose- okay, he was a lot taller, and yes, I had to reach quite a bit- "Until I am amused and your debt has been paid off. No sooner. Is that clear?" He nodded, and I flicked my fingers again. His mouth unglued itself and he glared at me.
"No more magic on me." I shook my head.
"No deal." He threw up his hands in disgust.
"Fine. All right. Come on, I want to get moving."
"I need to stop by my shop first." He rolled his eyes and I raised an eyebrow. "I'm assuming that you are going to be taking your things with you as we visit these people. I would in case I could not return to the city to claim it. I also need things to travel." He sighed, but followed me silently back to my shop. I stopped abruptly outside of it. He almost ran into me. With the difference in size, he would have knocked me over.
"Someone has been here," I said, examining the door.
"How do you know?" I pointed to the faint splatter of blood on the stone doorstep. It sparkled gold.
"My blood does this when someone has broken in. Other people have different ways to alert them." I slowly swung the door open. The light did not penetrate into the dark shop. I started forward.
"Wait!" he called, reaching out but not touching me. I ignored him, heading into the shop.
"Wait here if you don't want to come in." He hesitated outside of the door. I walked into the darkness, and was immediately grabbed by the three men I knew were in there.
"Tie the witches hands!"
"Gag her so she can't speak!" I was prepared for this. No problem. But then they did something that I did not expect.
"Break her fingers!" My fingers? How did they know? I tensed myself for the pain. The man took a hammer to my fingers, breaking each of them, one at a time. I bit my tongue to keep from making a sound, and blacked out.
So, there you go. My first chapter for this story. I was going to post it a couple of days ago, but then I couldn't come up with a title. I had to have one of my friend's help me ^_^". She also helped me with the spelling of Aydin's name after I changed it from Kali (pronounced k-aw-lee). So, thank you! Review, please! Tell me what you think!