The Will of the Sword

Author's Note: Sorry I haven't uploaded for awhile. Having some trouble chasing the muse lately. I'll try to get some solid writing in over the next couple days to make up for it.

Disclaimer: Legend of Zelda is property of the Nintendo Corporation,, this is a fan based work.

Chapter 3; Epona

The last stains of twilight were beginning to draw from the world when Link finally came in sight of the woodsman's camp. Link felt waves of relief wash over him as those first mournful howls of the Wolves came to greet the night. Men were dealing with the final odds and ends, The last of the Wild Hogs were being driven to the garage, and Mr. Aero was hastily packing away his mess of papers; a light stain of brown on the table and a shattered mug in the tiny trash can next to it told that his morning coffee had not survived.

"He's back sir!" someone called as he stumbled into the camp. Link grimaced at his aborted hopes of going unnoticed, and his legs all but gave out at the sight of an entire camp of bulking sweaty lumberjacks rushing towards him. None were faster than Mr. Aero however, who's rage drove his 50 year old legs faster than a sports sprinter.

"God damn it boy, you know wiser than to be outside the perimeter at this time!" his fancy fountain pen snapped within his grip, splattering black ink all over his jacket. "Where have you been?" saliva frothed to bubbly white was slathered to the corners of his lips.

Link put up his hands defensively. "I was captured by some of the Hope's Guard." he said, projecting his voice over the chaos of the camp. There was a collective gasp, and all fell silent. Mr. Aero's lips hung frozen in the midst of his curse, his legendary fury was stopped cold. All attention was on Link. "I was marking some trees a bit deeper in when I found…" he paused. "When I found a dismembered gear from one of the wild hogs. As I was investigating it, one of them knocked me over the head." He said, turning around to display the evidence and also to hide his lying face. That girl, Zel, had very likely saved his life. He would keep his silence concerning the great tree, Link felt he owed her that much.

"You mean they actually attacked you?" Mr. Aero asked, his voice little more than a whisper. It was quite a strange sound coming from the foreman. "Physically?"

Link nodded slowly. "Well yes, but I don't think they plan to make a habit of it. I think they've been nervous because of our progress. I must have just surprised them. They did let me go after all." he offered.

Mr. Aero rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Regardless, there has actually been an incidence of violence on their part. The congress has really been dragging its feet concerning these tree loving fairy chasers, perhaps it'll take them more seriously when I make my report. Perhaps they'll finally send some soldiers to clear the lot of them out." for a second, his eyes were somewhere else, calculating odds and ends, cost/benefit analysis.

"What are the lot of you staring at?" Mr. Aero finally snapped out of his strange introversion, turning to his workers with a sneer. "Finish packing up so we can call it a night already." The crowding of woodsmen dispersed on his command like it was the crack of his whip, none so much as casting a glance back to the strange scene that most obviously dominated their minds.

"Not so fast boy." Mr. Aero said as Link went to join his fellow woodsmen. "Go upstairs and pack your things, as of this moment, you're on mandatory leave." he decreed.

"You're kicking me out?" Link sputtered, ignoring the tiny wisdom in his mind that said Mr. Aero was not to be argued with.

"You act like I'm firing you. This is quite a gift." Mr. Aero said, pulling a kerchief from his pocket and dabbing up the ink from his hand. "A paying vacation! And even I know that you need it kid. An encounter with those nut jobs out there won't have done anything to ease your sleeping problems I assume."

"What do you expect me to do?" Link asked. Life with the company was all he knew.

"I don't know, but I want you gone until you're nightmare free." Mr. Aero said. "This is your one chance to get rid of them. If you come back and you're still showing up consistently late, I'll have no choice but to fire you." he said, walking off to finish packing up his papers. He turned his head back momentarily, chasing away any sympathy that might be foolish to seek refuge on his stern face. "Don't worry, we and this forest won't be going anywhere, not for awhile anyway." Link scowled after him, his lips quivering with unexpressed sentiment. Finally, he stormed up the stairs of the dormitory tower to gather his things.

He silently went through his tiny apartment, stuffing supplies into his pack. His only three sets of casual clothing, his wallet-card, and a toothbrush were all he gathered from his room. Without really thinking about it, he stuffed Zel's floppy green hat on top of the rest before zipping shut. He secured the pack to his back and stepped out of his home. He took one last look back at the cramped little apartment, the square box mattress, the tiny little stove for heating tea, before shutting it away behind the cold aluminum door. He ignored the fire and the trailing looks cast by the woodsmen sitting around with their plastic trays of chalky potatoes and the poor cut brisket. He headed directly for the garage where the Wild Hogs were stored.

"Oh, hey Link." Linus, a mechanic with a potbelly was just on his way out from securing the last of the long line of Wild Hogs. "Can I get you anything."

"Epona." was all the newly made outcast said.

"Right." he replied. Linus walked over to the big cork board hanging near the door and grabbed a shiny little key from amongst the hundreds and tossed it towards him. Link snatched it from the air with his left hand, gave a thank you farewell nod to Linus, and strode down through the long line of gaping headlight and open maws with teeth made to shred trees.

Epona was in the second to last stall, resting gracefully on her kickstand. Link mounted her with the ease of repetition, allowing himself one moment to be absorbed in the comforting familiarity of the old beast. He wafted the gentle mix of diesel fuel, beat up leather seats, and the tinge of burnt rubber from her wheels. He let his hands fall gently around her neck, brake and throttle were firm and steady in his hands.

He turned the key, and with a snort the rust red motorcycle roared to life. He tapped the switch, and the small garage door opened before them to the world outside. Link gently accelerated, making sure to get out of the way before the timed garage door closed shut. In the distance was the glow of the campfire and the looming shadow of the dormitory tower, but that was of no concern to Link. All that mattered now was the lonely two way road that ran through the various acres of wood that had already been cleared, out to the civilized world.

A cool wind blew up from the south just before Link began his ride, stealing all the pockets of warmth nestled between his messy brown hair. Link shivered, and with some reluctance, pulled out the green hat from his backpack and slipped it onto his head. The thing may have looked stupid, but it was a comfortably snug fit and surprisingly warm. Link thought for a moment, then unwrapped the cord to the tiny headphones from their container on the dash and stuck them into his ears. Finally, he punched the accelerator and blazed off down the barren road into the streetlamp lit night. When he was a few miles down the road, the camp well behind him, he gently turned on the radio.

"Welcome to the Hyrule Classical Radio, I'm your host Heidegger Snouts." The smooth bass voice whispered into his ear. "It's 7:03, and we're going to be kicking off the night with some selected works by the composer brothers. First off, Opus 133, also known as "Goodbye Sun."

"Goodbye Sun." Link repeated as the first chord began to resonate in his ear. "Goodbye."