Four by four: Prologue:

Glimpses on the Edge of Sight

Shad: A flash of Gold

Chapter 1

Project intro/Authors' note: One thing rarely seen in a fandom is an emphasis on the ordinary. Normally –myself included!- writers use the main characters, the heros and villains that make Zelda a trademark. I wanted to try something a little different, a little ordinary, and see if I could make characters of the regular every day Hyrule into heros. Written to All American Reject's "Move Along".

"All it takes for evil to be victorious is that good men do nothing." Misc. saying, source: unknown.

It was a particularity of the glasses, that from time to time, with the lighting was just so the world would become a wash of light that seared into the eyes. It was a painful phenomenon, and frequent for a boy who would run here and there searching for legends under the bushes and rocks alongside Hyrule's capital. Still he searched, spending a life time's exuberance in the span of one childhood that was just growing a mite chill from the years that separated it from the present.

"Another sweetheart?"

Broad and buxom, she sidled up to him half leaning against her bar so she could better toss her trademark wink at him. Smiling wide, as she always smiled wide, he looked up at her and couldn't recall her name. With that recognition that he'd forgotten again he smiled weekly and nodded, waving his cup. Such gestures avoided conversation, and the crucial gap he couldn't fill. Oblivious to his thoughts she filled his cup to brimming, not with beer, or wine, but coffee, his favorite poison. Freckles ringed around her grin she leaned against the bench a little more forcefully, her hair –red it seemed in the murky light of the tavern, having never seen her out of it he wasn't too sure of the hue however-

Shivered all about her, a colored halo made mysterious in the gloom as she shook her head.

Considerate to the last she waited until after he took a long sip, smiled his thanks, before breaking the silence.

"Sad, isn't it?"

"Pardon?"

"That."

He turned to where she pointed. An expected play of gesture and reaction came and went, and he was unimpressed by it's conclusion. Pushing up on his glasses, to better ward against the flash of light on glass he dredged a smile that felt as sickly as the last. Some Hylain trooper, shorter than his peers, but beyond that sole feature he was anonymous by the insignia encrusted armor, chain mail, and feature obscuring helmet he wore. He was… "sleeping it off" as his worldlier father would have said. Had Shad bothered to construct the words to form a few cutting sentences he'd have said that the beardless young man was trying to make his chin into an impromptu mop. Cutting words did not seem the fare for today thought, so he just kept his sickly, starving, smile in place and nodded in agreement he didn't feel.

"Yes, it is sad."

Leaning close, green eyes a touch concerned, smile ever in place, she leaned forward to better peck him on the forehead.

"That's what I like about you, Shad. You've never given up on your dreams. Poor sod like him, he's given up so long ago he never realized it."

He waited, tensed for it, expected it…

And it came. Without fail and preamble. He would have cursed, but a gentleman, a scholar never cursed, so he did without profanity, as it wasn't the fare of the day.

"How goes your Oocca hunt?"

"Slowly."

He stirred his cup, smiled weakly into that fond, familiar, nameless, face.

"How's business?"

To that she waved a thick arm to encompass the tavern, it occupants, and herself.

"How does it look, Shad?"

He looked, saw the same old patrons in the same old places, his sick smile acquired an edge of bitter to it.

"Same old, same old."

To that she laughed, no maidenly titter, no juvenile giggle, but a throaty rich chuckling that took some of the sick out of his smile and made it genuine. Reaching across the bar she swatted him, the friendly gesture nearly making him smash into the bar. Still chuckling, she stood, picked up a pitcher of more potent brew and left him to his drink.

He sat alone, for none wanted to sit with him. Unknowing that as he nursed his bitter drink his expression almost as acidic as the brew he sipped. He never added sweetener to his drink, never partook cream, or milk, took pride in the fact that he drank his coffee straight up. Such a powerful drink had to be dolled out in small doses, grimaces were after all, ungentlemanly.

And he was at his core, a gentleman, and a scholar. Such words, such roles, were the foundations of his life.

Late became later, his drink dwindled down to nothing with only the ghost of steam and taste caressing his throat to tell him he'd even drunk anything at all. Ushering out the last swaying customer into the arms of his more sober friends she tidied up the room/ Still at his chair, by the bar, he watched, lingered, as always. When at last she was done, she looked to him, tired but smiling like and unlike before. No teeth were bared this time, just a quiet, grin that curled her lips and took the age from her eyes and made it wisdom of a homely stripe.

"Walk me home?"

She asked, still nameless, always friendly, and he had to wonder if there was a flaw in that. Was the flaw was in him, or her? Thinking of flaws, he lowered his head, contemplated the tankard. It was an odd cup for coffee to be served in, but it's all she had to offer. Quietly he tightened his grip on the handle of the mug, set the brown black skein around the lowest edges to sluggish motion.

"It's not far." She prompted, seeing his hesitance she strived to cross the bridge before indecision felled it. She must want something from him, and she'd use the "walk" to propose whatever she wanted from him. Just like every other "walk", he checked his first impulse which was to sigh.

He was a gentleman, and the she –the lady- had asked.

"Of course, all you have to do is ask."

Which, was, if nothing else, the truth.