The Legend of Zelda: Hero of Time
Prologue – The Call
A cold wind from the north swept across the open plains, searching every nook and cranny of the ancient land. It carried with it an essence of sorts, frantically weaving around every small blade of grass, whispering into every animal's ear. It spoke of things to come, events that the world had born witness to not long ago, horrors that the world was to see again. The wind trailed behind the outstretched arms of a great and gentle spirit, a presence older than the grasses and the soil.
The loving specter cried out, afraid for the world it loved, and afraid for the living beings it had grown to love. But all this time, since before it could remember, something had been not *right* with the world. It was like something was not happening which should have been, something it knew had to happen.
It swept over an earthy wall, rattling the windows of the buildings contained within. A huge shadow, barley visible, followed it over the cropped grass, lightly stirring the dust on the path around a fenced enclosure in the middle of the walls.
It danced around the corral in the exact centre of the world, swirling the air into a circular spiral that ruffled the hair of two Hylians sitting on proud horses, all four of them tensed, as if waiting for something. The spirit ran its wispy fingers through the jaw – length blonde hair of the male, sighing inaudible warnings into his long ears.
Suddenly, an old memory reared up inside the mind of the presence. Anger flowed through it, and it screamed, turning on them both. It flew between them, making their hair fly back and skin prickle with the coldness. The spirit soared off into the sky, its cloak of wind flowing behind it. The sky darkened with coming rain, and the spirit settled on a cloud, its anger gone, content to cry until it was too late.
It knew as well as anyone that the only person with the freedom to change time was the Hero of Time himself. It couldn't help but forgive him for all he had done. After all, it knew him too well to believe he could do anything like he had done to it with bad intentions.
It screamed one last time and wilted into nothing, its purpose finally complete.
Link sat, still as a stone, on Epona's back. Malon was poised just as quietly on Ebb, the dark brown stallion, waiting until the time was just right. She threw a nervous glance to the sky, knowing that the cold wind that had just about knocked them over a few moments ago was bringing an awesome storm in its wake. Her gaze turned to the handsome young man beside her, the man she had thought she loved once, long, long ago. She knew, though, that he was the wrong type for her. He was too dedicated to the people – she knew that, if she asked him to run away with her, he would most definitely refuse. His heart was tied to the world of Hyrule. Besides, he wasn't very good company. He never wanted to *talk* about stuff – he always wanted to be on his feet, doing something. Oh well.
She grinned, hoping to catch him off guard, and shouted, "GO!" Link made a sound of protest, but she was already off. He dug his heels into Epona's sides and the pair shot off, quickly gaining on the slower Ebb. Link laughed as his hat flew off his head, freeing more tangled hair.
Seven years ago, Link had been treated to a rude awakening in his bed after one of his old nightmares. He could just barely remember the first grumpy look he ever gave Navi the faerie, soon to be followed by many others. However, when he woke up after sleeping for seven years in the Chamber of the Sages, things had changed in both of their minds. Navi saw him as an adult, although a fairly stupid one, no longer to be reprimanded for every small mistake. Link viewed his Guardian as a source of much needed advice, which often led him in the right direction. In fact, it was partly due to Navi that they both made it through to the very end, barely alive and – in Link's part – bleeding all over the place. They had defeated Ganon's true form together, but Link had a feeling deep within that his true test was yet to come.
*She* had restored him to his childhood, to a time shortly after Navi woke him up from that nightmare, so that all the bonds he had tied in the future would still hold fast. He still resented her for that, though. She had forced him to forfeit everyone he had grown close to during that year or so he was in the alternate timeline, including… well, now was no time to brood over that which would never happen. He shook his head, trying to clear it, but thoughts kept flooding in. To keep his mind off of *that*, he thought of the present, and not that future.
Link had volunteered to be a part of the Royal Guard long ago, when he was nothing more than a child, and still able to pass the difficult tests the would-be Elites needed to survive to become an Elite Guard. But the King had refused, and Link often suspected that this was because the King didn't want his daughter near him. Then, he and the King had come to blows…so now, as much as the King knew or cared, Link was dead, nothing to be worried about. Link liked it better that way; there was no price on his head, no bounty hunters attempting to trail him around wherever he went. He had kept a low profile, and gone out of existence in the King's eyes.
So instead, Link was an unofficial peacekeeper slash teacher, roaming the world and doing his best to destroy the old racial differences that still ran strong through the minds of the elders. He taught young children and teenagers that, although the Zora and Gorons, Gerudo and Hylians might come from different places, they really weren't that different. He also taught history, teaching all those who wished to learn about the wars – why they happened, important things that happened during the wars, tactical errors that were made, and how the wars were ended. However, he only taught them about the now-extinct Sheikah during his history lessons, and he never breathed a word about the Kokiri. It would not do for misguided people to go looking for the people only spoken of in legend. Some of them had begun to believe he was a Kokiri, since he came from the forest and dressed in green, so he had needed to come up with a believable story to thwart their probing questions. He told anyone who asked that, yes, he was from the forest, but he had never laid eyes on any other humanoids during his childhood. He said that he had been abandoned by his parents and left to die, but somehow he had survived, and he had found a way out of the forest when he was about ten years old. Most of them believed him, but he was unable to sway skeptics, who still believed he was a Kokiri, no matter how much he denied it. And some parts were reality, only slightly twisted. It *was* true that he was not Kokiri, for he had not died after leaving the forest, and he had been left in the forest by his mother.
Sometimes he wished he had known his mother. When he asked the other Kokiri what their mothers were like, they had all told him they had no memory of their mothers. Some had even asked him what a mother was! He had asked the Deku Tree one day when he was able to sneak past Mido, but the Tree had remained silent, no matter how much Link begged and pleaded for answers. He had begun to wonder if the Deku Tree actually could speak, when it told him that all would be revealed when the time was right. He hated being kept in the dark, but there was nothing he could do about it.
In the past year or so, though, he had carefully hidden a strong feeling that something was coming. He trusted his feelings above all else, and this one was rooted in a deep part of him, a part of him that he barely knew.
He looked to the sky, and a raindrop landed in his eye. He shook it out and looked up again, letting his mouth fall open. Soon, he tasted rain. Unfortunately, he wouldn't be tasting victory any time soon. Malon had crossed the finish line for the second time, and was now steering Ebb towards him, with a grin that could outshine the sun. She laughed out loud and tugged on the reins, coming to a stop next to him. Malon took in the sheepish expression on his face and laughed again.
"Well, I finally beat you! What's wrong with you today?"
He answered slowly, picking out his words.
"Oh, nothing. I was just…thinking, I guess."
She tittered when she saw the red blush creeping up his neck.
"Thinking about a certain *someone*, maybe?"
His reply was cut short by a loud call in his mind. It wasn't through the link he shared with *her*; it was more like a general cry for help. However, he could taste and smell and see and hear and touch the certain signature her mental messages always carried in their wake, and knew it was her.
*Help! Can anyone hear me? *
He tried to tell her that he could, but the shock had frozen him. She kept screaming anyway, and he heard every word like she was yelling in his ear.
*Whoever can hear me, you have to help me! There's an intruder in Hyrule Castle – it got past the guards somehow! I'm in the library! Please -*
Her voice was suddenly cut off, and although Link called out for her, she didn't answer. He could still hear her screaming, though it sounded as though she was yelling from the bottom of a well, and the sound was too echoed and faint to decipher. Link hurriedly jumped off of Epona's back to grab his hat, and then scrambled back on, all in the space of a few seconds. He set his jaw and heeled Epona, making a beeline for the large boundary all around the ranch. Link turned back for a split second to wave goodbye to Malon, then jumped Epona over the earth wall, immensely enjoying the feeling of flying through the air. It reminded him of freedom, something he had been granted for a few short minutes after he and Navi had defeated Ganon. But he had given up on ever finding that again, and settled down to life as a teacher and diplomat, though most had never seen a mediator with a sword before.
Malon called after him, too late, "What, you too cuckoo to go again?"
She would never get a chance to take back that one last jibe, as Link was destined to never return.
The tears of the Goddesses began to fall as Malon led Ebb back into the stables, totally unaware of all that was to happen.
Author's Note to Readers: This chapter – or prologue, w/e – has been revised from its original version. It has been formatted to fit your monitor. J