The shadows are numerous on this night.
They stream out from a barely perceptible gap in the wall, around the crumbling remnants of an ancient graveyard. Perhaps, once, it had been a grand temple - now, it is little more than a ruin, entrance obscured by rock slides, its interior blocked off from the eyes of the living.
They move with intent and purpose, flowing between the graves like a procession. A few around the edges separate and disappear as they progress, but the bulk are set in their aim - a ragged little house at the edge of a hidden village.
Impaz, the last of the Sheikah, is dead, and her people are coming to collect her.
One shadow is not a part of the procession. He stands alone on what was once a watchtower, unruly blonde hair obscuring one red eye, form wavering in the moonlight. He is young, had never reached his twentieth birthday when his mortal life had ended. That life has long been forgotten; the shadow does not even remember his own name.
He raises one tanned hand, brushing bandaged fingers across the emblem in red across his chest, an expression of wonder on his cowled face. It has been a long time since he has seen the moon, a long time since he has heard the wind. It has been a long life and death, called back to serve more times than he cares to recall. A body needed to fight a war, for blood to be spilled in offering, for his body to be used as a vessel for a growing princess. And every time, he would be returned to the embrace of death when his duty had been fulfilled.
As if in a trance, he leaps smoothly off the old tower, making his way through the village. It's changed since he last saw it - its greenery turned to dust, buildings torn down and replaced and rotted away from the inside. Even the well is gone.
But the shadow is still thick here, still flowing, rich with eddies and pools. Its strongest point is the temple he had just left, but other locations call to him, shadow like a song. And standing before what was once a Stone of Seeing, he hears its notes.
The gold lyre is in his hands without conscious thought, fingers picking at the notes experimentally. From somewhere on the wind, he catches a hint of a wolf's call - no, two, a melody howled in unison.
But the lyre he now plays with purpose is not accompanied by a wolf's howl. Instead, the sweet sound of an ocarina joins the lilting notes, and the world around him begins to change.
He has form here, warm and breathing in a realm that doesn't exist. And he isn't alone, either - from across stands a mighty warrior, a Shade made of a Hero, a long blade in his hand and a pronged helm obscuring a skeletal face.
The blade drops from the warrior's hand with a clang.
The shadow takes a step forward and speaks, his voice soft and melodic and rusty from disuse. "There are none left to bind me," he murmurs softly, "The last of the Sheikah are dead, and those bound by blood have been released."
Suddenly graceless, the warrior takes a stumbling step forward. Between one breath and the next, he changes - his imposing height reduced, the skeletal planes of his face replaced with smooth, pale skin. The shadow smiles at the sight.
"We never had the time," he sighs. "We had stolen moments in song, and there was no time thereafter. Now..."
The warrior laughs, and he sounds like a boy again. "The Hero of Time ran out of time. It doesn't seem fair." He takes a breath, reaching towards the shadow. "iSheik/i..."
Sheik smiles sadly, joyously, tentatively, and pulls down his mask. "I missed you," he admits softly, and pulls the warrior's helm off, releasing tousled blonde hair and soft blue eyes. "And I love you. I never got to tell you."
Link presses his mouth to Sheik's ear, whispers something back, and kisses him fiercely.
There's time enough, now.