Hello there, long time no see! Thanks for coming, and I hope you enjoy the show as I worked very hard for this fic, lol. You do not know how many times I went through wikipedia for the fairytales to base this story and the characters' stories on. Yeesh.
Anyway, I just wanted you to know that the chapters will be named after fairytales, which inspired said chapter. If it isn't I'll tell you. Yes, there is a fairy tale called the wonderful magician, at least acording to the Grimm's Brothers. They are so awesome.
Enough of my babbling! have fun reading!
Fairytales—Meeting the Wonderful Musician
Once upon a time there was a Queen whose vanity surpassed that of a hundred queens, for she was devastatingly beautiful. Many a Prince threw their lives away (or wives, if they were Kings) and fought over her hand. Once the final, bloody victory was won, and the Queen was wedded to the triumphant Lord, she poisoned him after Six weeks of marriage, bored of his woos and supposed love.
She left the ruling of her now vast and war-ravaged empire to her deceased Husband's ministers, while her world narrowed down to her reflection.
That is, until an invitation to a chancellor's newborn's celebration was cordially handed to the Queen. For the sake of relieving her boredom and curiosity, for she found that she was with child too, graced the halls of her inferiors with her presence.
When the Vain Queen arrived, she was horrified to see the mother to be a woman of extraordinary beauty, and the baby-girl a mortal cherub, with eyes the exact shade of the divine heavens, hair as luscious as spun gold, her cheeks rosy as dawn.
So mortified was she that the Vain Queen cut her finger on her ebony mourning brooch, splattering blood over her fine white lace.
There was a silence more powerful than death, for the Vain Queen was known for her temper. But the Queen smiled, raised her injured hand and announced to the whole hall:
"Hear me, my servants, for the Goddesses have sent me a vision! I am with Child, and mine Heir will be as white and delicate as this lace, red and divine as my blood, and black and beautiful as my ebony jewel."
The Queen was showered with applause, and she relished in her triumph. She was sure in her heart that the child in her womb would, no, must surpass the chancellor's girl, and his beauty would win him the world thrice over.
But this, as they say, is another story…
"Link," he muttered to himself, "You're an idiot."
He was lost. He was completely and utterly lost in this stupid forest, and only because he'd been chased. By a dog, a snake, and a lizard.
In his defence, they'd been huge.
And they'd attacked him without provocation! Really, all he'd been doing was minding his business, hunting for a deer at best, a rabbit at worst, because Zelda had become so lean and baggy-eyed from overworking herself at Ordon's parish while their father did nothing but sit about and complain that they weren't royalty anymore.
Which was a lie. They'd never been royalty. Sure, they'd lived at the Castle, but they'd never been royalty. Link would've remembered that.
Anyway, he'd been minding his own business. True, this part of the woods he'd never ventured into before, but that couldn't be helped. A new road was being built in his old hunting grounds, so game there was scarce. They'd be completely gone by a few months; Link needed meat now.
He'd caught sight of a fawn. The animal was still fairly young, and the man had teetered between hunting it, or letting it live to hunt down later. But if he could just reach for an arrow, slowly, as long as it didn't know what he was doing even if it was watching - Damn!
He'd bounded after the animal, teeth barred, growling obscenities at himself. Curse the thing and its speed; it was leaping and bounding away unhindered and unaware of the branches and roots and leaves and thorns that ensnared the boy each step.
Of course the creature escaped.
Link, defeated, had stumbled a few more paces before collapsing against a tree, linen undershirt drenched in sweat, green hooded tunic smeared with sap, hunting trousers ruined and his boots in worse shape. He would have to fix them again before Zelda insisted on doing it herself.
He closed his eyes as he collapsed against a tree. A quick swallow from his flask, and he'll carry on, get the meat, take it home, gut it and then let Zelda cook that broth she was so good at making, and hope to the Goddesses that father would finally shut up.
Alright, so, maybe the last part wasn't so realistic…
He opened his eyes once more. The sunlight streamed through the green canopy above like angels' staircases, lightly casting the murky surroundings in hues of earth-crusted jade, coating the clouds of insects with gold, repressing the curling canopy floor to the shadows. It was a strange effect of light and dark, a grotesque yet charming twilight. He decided to pull his ocarina out and play for a while. The music was soothing. One bar of Zelda's lullaby, and then he'll get back to work.
He looked down. Green. Spiky. Huge Lizard.
The hunter yelped. Blink, went the creature. Blink-blink. Freaked out, the hunter abruptly scrubbed at his eyes, and when he looked again, the lizard was nowhere in sight.
"All… right," he muttered to himself nervously before carrying on. Hallucinations. Must be the hunger, but he was sure he ate breakfast that morning, meagre though it was…
There was a rustle in the ferns yonder, but he continued playing, pretending not to notice, and a snake that was thick as his forearm slithered from its roots, patterned like festive rope, glistening as if freshly dipped in poisonous syrup.
The hunter abruptly stopped. In his opinion, a good snake was a dead snake. And he didn't have the right equipment to kill it. Cursing himself and his idleness the young man stood to leave, but when he turned the other way, there was a young tawny shepherd's dog blocking the way, teeth bared. Right in front of him was the giant lizard from before.
Quick as a flash he retrieved his bow and arrow and readied the weapon, trying to aim at all of them at once. The snake he really wanted to get rid of but it was a small target, the lizard seemed harmless enough, though it looked too intelligent to be safe, and the dog, well, the teeth was beyond worrying.
"Great," he muttered, "Great."
Of course he'd run away; what else was he supposed to do, get eaten?
He leapt over a bramble and staggered onward, propelled by aggressive barking. He looked behind and saw the dog. He looked to the side and thought he heard the vegetation crashing around, so guessed it was the lizard (how did that massive thing move so fast? Hell, it was as long as his arm!) and the snake was nowhere in sight, which worried him.
He saw a tree that branched in two, and he leapt over it. There was a yelp and a pained howl and the boy looked back long enough to see the dog was stuck in its cleft, legs dangling at each end.
The hunter used his painfully acquired hunting skills to check the vegetation and seeing something he recognised swerved to the left going for the trees he knew the roots were deep and thin and parasitic in nature. He dashed through branches of trees and bushes that steadily grew wispy and the ground squelched beneath him and just in time he caught sight of the bog and he leapt again and he heard a mighty splash behind him and he saw the lizard plummet into the murky water like a stone.
The snake slithered over the surface like oil. The hunter shuddered and leapt away.
What now, what now? How do you trap a snake? He half-scrambled up a tree to have a quick look at where he was going in the tinted half-light of these cursed woods and upon noticing an army of wild ferns he sprinted for them, the snake intently pursuing.
The ferns were knee-height to the Hylian. It must be a forest to the snake, surely? He crashed round a bit, then jumped and grabbed a sturdy tree branch overhead and hauled himself up, hoping the snake didn't notice. It seemed it didn't as it continued to blindly slide through the thin trunks of the ferns, and sighing in relief, the boy scrambled on the branch, leapt out of the tree, and promptly jogged away the way he had come.
Or… the way he thought he'd come.
Two hours and he realised he had no idea where he was, except that he was nowhere near his home. He was sweating, tired, had some dried plums, and a few slices of bread crusts. Hardly enough for a midday meal, much less supper for the night as well.
Huffing against his knees, his pointed ears twitched at another noise. Link peered into the distance exasperatedly, thinking, what now, and saw burgundy fluttering unnaturally between the trees, and after a moment of confusion he realised it was clothing. A cape. Or a cloak.
"Hey," he called out, waving limply. The red cape paused and turned towards him. It approached cautiously, and Link saw that the hood dipped low over the wearer's eyes, and a cowl was pulled all the way up to the nose. He held a staff with a bandaged hand. He wore haggard riding trousers and boots.
"Good evening." Red-hood's voice was husky and inquisitive, young. It was impossible to tell the gender though he thought it likely red-hood was male.
"And to you," Link huffed a tad sarcastically, wiping sweat off his brow, "I'm sorry to bother you, but where's the border to Ordon?"
Oh no. Please, Nayru, don't let the one person he needed be a wandering dullard. "Uh… the nearest village? A cluster of cottages and huts, a river goes through it, known for its goats…?"
"Ah." Red-hood nodded. Link sighed in relief as the newcomer pointed its walking stick straight to the left behind him. "An hour's walk in that direction."
Link choked. "An hour?"
Link swayed. He was sure as him having two feet that he would be lost again within ten minutes. "Do you think you could lead the way? I'm lost."
Red-hood snorted and shrugged. "It is not my business. Unless you believe I have an obligation to lend you this favour?"
Link hesitated. Red-hood had a point, despite the unkind nature of his words.
Red-hood shrugged again at his silence. "Then I'll take my leave."
Link opened his mouth to say something but there was a bark and hiss and scraggle and the Dog and Snake and Lizard was facing him again, looking livid with splinters in fur, mud in creases and twigs in scales. The hunter growled with savage irritation at these animals.
But then they noticed Red-hood. Shockingly enough, they quailed at his presence. Then Red-hood made a violent sound at the back of his throat and the animals ran away with metaphorical tails between their equally metaphorical legs.
The boy blinked. "Uh… wow."
"Enchanted Animals," Red-hood spoke with too much certainty to be comfortable, as he gestured again in the general direction of Ordon, "You shouldn't rove here. Leave."
"No wait!" Red-hood turned back, the stance clearly showing impatience, "How… how about a trade? A favour for a favour. If you do this for me, I'll have to do something for you in return, right? Let me do something for you. Within reason."
"Hmm…" he cocked his head to the side, and his hum was contemplative as his rigid stance relaxed. "Something troubled me earlier… it's not far; in fact on the way to your Ordon. If you would help me, I would lead you there. Does that seem a good trade?"
Link nodded vigorously; it was the best chance home he had.
"Come then," Red-hood prompted with a twitch of his staff, and the Hunter boy gladly followed; there was silence for a while, except for the rustling of fallen leaves under his boots, the occasional cry of a bird or animal. The shadows were becoming deeper, and he couldn't tell whether it was because they were going further into the wild trees or because night was approaching. He tried to cover his unease by starting conversation, but when he offered his name a grunt was all he got.
He tried again. "Um… what's your name?"
And that was the end.
It was a quick walk to the destination, which happened to be a well that was nestled comfortably in a sunlit grove, trees keeping a respectable distance away from the stone structure. There was a fairly new tripod as tall as two men next to it, which seemed to have been knocked to the side into said trees. It held something at its apex, though Link wasn't quite sure what.
"I need this upright," Sheik told him, for the first time displaying an emotion that wasn't impatience or indifference. He sounded worried. "I… I believe I may not be strong enough to do it on my own. I would be grateful if you could help me fix it."
"Sure," Link said, unhitching his equipment from his shoulder, "Let's do this."
The sigh Sheik let escape was relieved. Link couldn't help a small, self-satisfied smile.
They tugged, but it wouldn't budge. They heaved, and it shifted a little but didn't do much else. Sheik noticed, cursing, that some branches had been caught in the structure, so climbed himself up while instructing Link to push the tripod come which way, and finally the thing stood on its three legs.
After depositing whatever rested at its peak into the well a pace away.
"No!" was Sheik's strangled cry as it clattered into the abyss, "No, no, no, no…"
Link's eyes widened with alarm when Sheik began scrambling down the tree, threatening a fatal fall. The corner of his red hood caught in a twig, and one of Sheik's hands jerked across a broken branch and bloomed blood. Link thought he saw a flash of reflected light from his hidden eyes and he shivered instinctively. "Wow, easy! I'll get it, whatever it is, just calm down, alright?"
Sheik froze, and Link used the opportunity of hesitation/calm to carefully step over the rim of the well and inched down the jutted stone steps that spiralled into the darkness.
It was a fairly shallow well, considering the fact that it was a well. And it was dry, too, so in surprisingly no time (or was the darkness tricking him?) he reached its bottom, and found the thing. It was pretty easy, considering it was glowing with blue light.
Immediately, Link didn't want to touch it.
From the blue glow it emitted Link could tell that it was a flute, and it was broken into three pieces. He hoped, as the light died, that he would not be blamed for its damage.
"…!" Sheik's muffled voice came down twisted and warped by the wall and distance, making comprehension impossible.
"I'm coming!" Link bellowed in reply, clapping his hands to his ears when the echoes reverberated tenfold in the confined space. He pulled a piece of cloth from a pouch attached to his belt to gather the pieces of the flute before climbing up, keeping the package as far away from himself as he could. His legs were aching by the time he dragged himself over the lip of the well.
"So?" Sheik muttered anxiously, "Where is it?"
He handed him the bundle of cloth, hastily. "It… it broke from the fall. Sorry."
The hand that held the flute pieces shook. There was a slow, painful gasp from beneath the red hood, and the muffled voice admitted, reluctantly, "It's… not your fault. We best leave for your village; we've loitered here too long. Come."
With that, he led the way without saying another word. Link was glad of that.
The journey was, again, surprisingly quick. He even recognised the tree he leaned against to play his ocarina. The sunlight broke through the leaves with more strength with each step, and soon they were at the tree-line to Ordon Ranch. It was an easy walk home from here. Link considered offering Sheik some hospitality; a cup of tea with maybe some dried apricots, but when he turned back there was no sign of red, and it was with an annoyed huff that Link trudged home.
Of course he got a massive hiding from his sister. "Zel, I'm sorry!"
The poor girl was teary eyed and her face was smeared with sorrow and her fists hurt from clenching in fear for so long. "Just, just don't do that again I nearly died of fright!"
"Same here," Link muttered beneath his breath before speaking to her properly, "Look, I'll make it up to you, Zel, just calm down and… where's dad?"
Zelda sniffed and wiped at her eyes, taking a long, steadying breath, "Post Office."
"…Why?" the mail never meant good news. Sometimes edicts to kick them out. Sometimes complaints. News reporting a decline of supplies. Most of the time from friends who used to be aristocrats moaning about life which, in turn, caused their father to moan and rave against his children.
"I…" Zelda sniffed and admitted as if to a petty crime, "I'm going to Nayru's Shrine."
Link's jaw dropped. Nayru's Shrine. A Temple with a strict order of decorum, worship, of study and law dedicated to Wisdom, which supposedly let in only the most devout of the Goddess' followers. It had been Zelda's dream to enter since she was ten.
"But I only got in because Father begged them to!"
"Who cares?" Link crowed in delight, grabbing his little sister's waist and lifting her up and twirling her like the princess she was. No, priestess now! "Just prove you're good!"
Needless to say, there was a party that night, and their father, without a doubt used up all coinage they had left and the grain in the basement too. But that was quickly forgotten when the villagers brought some of their own goods like cheese and fruit and wine.
The next morning, with many headaches all round, the villagers helped to pack so Zelda could leave immediately. Link found no surprise in noting his father going with her, considering the rash usage of supplies the previous night. Not to mention as father of the newly initiated, he would have a nice luxurious flat waiting for him in Kakariko.
Link waved them away with a big, wide grin, conflicting between happy-for-his-sister and that-jack-ass-SOB-of-a-father-better-not-come-back-any-time-soon. And the pathetic calls that 'aid will be coming soon!' was quickly discarded as bullshit.
The villagers left. He was alone. He found that, when everything had settled down, the largish house was… quiet. He finished up last-night's dinner, and told himself he really should get some meat. He'll hunt again tomorrow.
He sighed. He tried reading, but was bored with Zelda's remaining philosophy. He remembered the book their nurse had given them and searched through the whole house, and eventually found it under a pile of out-dated maps. He flicked through it, smiling at his favourite stories and grimacing at the ones with grisly ends that Fanadi had kindly censored.
It didn't get dark fast enough. He decided to sleep early to stave off the boredom. So, with the rays of twilight fighting against the curtains to bother him, Link burrowed into his bed and willed himself to sleep.
He struggled against dreams. Dreams of dark figures cackling at the sky, of children screaming, forests burning, a figure struck down and falling lifeless against his chest and his inability to move the corpse off of him, the pain at his chest tore him asunder-
Link jumped awake. But then decided he must still be dreaming, for there was a mighty beast leaning on his chest, growling into his face with a row of a thousand teeth. Its body was molten gold and fire, laced with a thousand black stains of death, eyes as red as a sunset on a battle field, and a mane as white as a valley full of bleached bones.
"Where is the Spirit?" the thing growled a thousand different threats in each word.
Link was blearily puzzled. That voice sounded familiar…
"WHERE," the creature roared, opening a mouth as black as a void, "IS NAVI!?"
He tried to move the massive paw that constricted his breathing. The creature's molten, gold and orange body flickered with darkness, like a devouring flame. "Tell me where the fay is before I tear you apart, MORTAL!"
The inhuman roar woke him like a shot of lightning. His heart raced in his ribs and he gasped at the sudden pain in his chest as claws gouged into his skin. "I don't know!"
The screaming shriek tore across the house like a storm, rattling books in their shelves and tables on the floor, a sick meld of frustration and fury and desperate fear, a chaos of sound that knifed the heavens and woke every single villager of Ordon.
Link clenched his eyes shut, sure he would be eaten, but the thing leapt away and twisted in midair, landing at the foot of his bed as Sheik Red-hood, completely faceless with the layers of cloth. "Fine," he hissed, "If you wish to play it that way, fine. Don't say I didn't warn you, SLAVE!"
A hand shot out of the folds of red and Link's scream pierced the room as his legs snapped cleanly in two and his spine twisted and jerked. His strangled cry was renewed as his shoulder-blades jutted out the wrong way, and his fingers curled and shrunk like diseased flesh and his body rippled and burst with flames of agony and his scream turned into a howl, his skull melted and reshaped and blurred his sight, he fell on his fours and couldn't get up, and when everything, everything stopped, he could hear only his laboured breathing, the creaking pains of his muscles, the frantic beating of his heart.
His nose hurt. His room stank. His eyes hurt. When he opened them everything seemed darker, yet lighter at the same time, everything in front of him was in stark detail yet a few paces forward it was vague. He could see paws. He tried moving his hands, and the paws moved. He opened his mouth and a growl rolled out of his throat, and on every inch of his skin he could feel fur.
"Huh, a wolf," Sheik muttered contemptuously, and with a click of his fingers there was a metal lead in his hand, connected to a thick black-stone manacle on Link's paw, "Wild you may be, but you'll learn obedience quickly for this."
Link was forcefully dragged outside, his barks and howls reaching blindly for the moon.
Who saw that coming? Seriously, who saw that coming?
Aw, wait, I didn't mention that this was based on Twilight Princess, did I? Curses...
SPEAKING OF!! Who else is f---ing annoyed that when you think of said game above, the Twilight book/movie series impede your thoughts? OH MY GOD I want to burn those books now because it's so annoying. No offence. Just, gah.
It's just not fair that Bella Swann gets more attenion than Midna or Zelda. OUR princesses are way cooler. and prettier. Not mention less whiney.
Soo... despite the fact that I just offended like, the majority of you... review?