To my readers,
A little background is needed to understand this story in full, hence the long opening.
This piece is based off of Andrea Foxx's a Glass of Port, I got permission from Foxx on this one, so having her blessings I will post. This story was in response to one of the best "what if" scenarios written that deals with how Link was not cast into the great sea by Ganon. In the original tales conclusion Ganon and Link work something of a deal out. Link will serve Ganon and help him retrieve a "certain girl" for "magicianly purposes" -the quotes are from Link btw, not me- and as a benefit Link is given the Helmroc King as transportation in substitute of the King of Red Lions. Also, Ganon alters the gossip stone -it's alluded but not said that the King of Red Lions altered the stone when he saw how things were going to hide his and Tetra's presence from the Dark Lord- so that he can speak to Link and inform him on a need to know basis. As the Ms. Andrea Foxx confesses, I too love that bird, and after reading the original text -and fighting said bird- I came up with these series of story snippets.
Hope you enjoy.
A Glass of Port Spin off
The Stages of Flight.
Lift off had been simple, a breeze. Perched on the big birds head, hands gripped in the knotted leather straps that bound the steel mask to the avian head, the bird had hopped, hardly noticing it's passengers. Unfurling wings the size of a pirate ship's sails, sis's squeal of shock and his muffled scream had all been lost in the thunderous sweeps precluding lift off. Unlike jumping, where you go up only to go down, there was no down to this leap. Well, no final down. No descent that ended in your feet touching earth. They bobbed, nauseating motions that med Link think of fish lures on the great see. A few dips later and they were steadily going up, up and away, the grey of Forsaken falling back and fading.
"Look, look!" Looking both back and down Aryll freed up a hand from the bird's mask bindings to point.
Craning his neck, wanting to see too, Link saw his green hat fluttering away behind him.
To his call his hat, much like his sister, and just about everything else in his life, went on it's merry way.
"You get back here!" The Outsetter boy hollered.
A mocking wind blew causing the retreating cap to tumble end over end, almost as if it were waving.
The stone, safely tucked into his pant pocket, let out a discordant hiss and buzz. More than expecting it, Link sighed and plucked the discontent babble out. The air above the rock and his hand too shimmered in violet light, a light found in the suns dying descent. Too irritated to gawk, Link rolled the enchanted rock over his fingers.
He waited and it came, dimmed by distances unimaginable. His voice, deep and dark, a touch curt, cold, and very… irate.
"You, have been on Outset for two weeks." The stone, or rather the person making it speak paused. Maybe to wait for a scathing denial, a gasp of shame or surprise, or maybe he just wanted a response. Not in the mood to give anything, Link stayed quiet. After that accusation, and Links responding quiet, there came a soft hiss, like breath rushing through fangs. "There had better be a very good reason…"
And thus, started the rant. Rolling off the lectures with a shrug of his shoulders -it wasn't like he understood half of it- Link waited. Waited for another pause, and when that quiet came he jumped in, unable to hold back his piece anymore.
"Oh." Glad he was alone so no one could spy him talking to a glowing rock, Link snapped up the quiet and filled it with a tone of cheery sweetness guaranteed to irritate. "I don't know how this is my fault. I could blame you. I wanted a boat, and if I had one I'd have left a week ago. As a matter of fact if you'd given me a boat like I asked, I'd of been long gone."
To that a prickly calm descended, a tense quiet of right before a storm. Maybe he was taking a deep breath or something magicianly to calm down. Maybe he was rummaging through his magic no-where place that held everything for a glass of something stronger than port. All Link knew was he was gritting his teeth in frustration and despite his sweet innocent tone the grit of tooth on tooth had to be carrying over that stone.
Another deep breath from the rock sounded. Then, not the least bit repentant, clad in a tone that screamed false calm, Mr. Ganondorf snapped. "Explain yourself."
Trooping down the beach, that secluded rocky span only accessible at low tide, Link decided he'd do better than explain. He'd show. Above a goodly climb there was a creek of wood and rope as the bridge between Outset and it's forest swayed. Stripped by the bridges shad he approached a greater dark, the shadow that came from the tallest part of home. Weirdly, that tall part lead home, was part of home but lead home too. Guess that's what you got for living on an island that was actually two spires hooked together by a span of wood and rope.
"Boy, ignoring me…" He began, his threat dark and coiling…
"You can look, right?" Link snapped. He'd gotten close as he dared. Surf pounded against the shattered stones that served as Outset's most inhospitable beach. Above the bridge sang and swayed in the breeze, and the soft coos that had called him hear were picking up in volume.
"Yes, with effort." The person behind the stone grumbled.
"Then look." The boy suggested, standing on tip toe, glowing stone held high, he heard a low buzz and the stone hummed a note louder.
Lord Ganondorf's silence was deafening and ominous like the dark swell that preluded a storm.
Obvious to it all, on back, chicken legs spread (the left kicking at nothing rather fiercely) his beak faced opened so his tongue could loll, lay a Terror of the Sea. Feared child snatcher and devil bird, let out a low hiss-coo as a fearless blonde girl stood on her tip toes and scratched at the bird's grey crest. Rattling off baby talk and nonsense noises, Aryll continued her ministrations, shuffling about and getting everywhere her fingers could reach. Only a quick duck on the girls part spared her from being buffeted by a carelessly thrown wing.
Eyes scrunched up, in bliss, perhaps thinking this was heaven, the masked terror chirruped than threw his head to one side to better bask in Aryll's scratching. The scrunch fled, and the yellow eyes went wide. With one final kick the avian's leg went rock still. For a long long moment the bird's steel mask was painted in colors best found in sunsets.
Smiling wide, Aryll waved. "Hoy big brother!"
"Hoy." Link smiled, a stiff smile, his eyes only on the bird. Still smiling, sure he'd seen enough, Link pocketed the still quiet stone. "I want a boat." Link muttered, before sliding the glowing rock away.
"You say something, big brother?" Aryll chirped, perhaps realizing playtime was over she gave the Helmroc King a final pat.
"Gran'ma says it's time for lunch." The Outsetter amended. Then, looking to his sister than the bird, he added. "We're having chicken soup."
"Yeah! Soup!" Hopping away from the Helmroc King, Aryll skipped from rock to rock, the returning water licked at her toes. Seeing Link was falling behind, Aryll slowed. "Come on slow poke!"
"Coming." Link promised. Eyes locked on the big, cringing, bird. Then, on an impulse, Link pulled out the violet stone from his pocket, set it before the masked "terrors" beak. "I'll just let you two talk it out."
"Awk cree!" The Helmroc King screamed his protest.
Not even wanting to hear Mr. Ganondorf's response Link went on his way. Leaving stone and bird behind for a time.
Though pretty and bright, flying was so noisy. Clapping hands over his hears, cap held tightly in hand, they pulled up an away from their latest stop. A string of rocks, that from up high looked like a misplaced constellation. Kicking up foam and sheets of water, the rocks began to fall away and the ocean fell down as the sky opened up. Craning his head about, fish yellow eyes glinted, the bird studied it's cringing passenger.
Pulse pounding as loud as each wig sweep -and in perfect time besides- Link didn't notice right away. But the pounding slowed, and at long last died to a dull memory. Cracking one eye open, the other popped wide in wonder. Shifting about in his seat just ahead of the giant bird's wings, Link looked both left than right.
Both wings were stretched wide. The only sound as the muffled whistle of wind sliding about feather.
"Um…" For a long moment Link considered not saying it. Good upbringing though forced him to be honest. "Th… Thanks?"
"Kree…" Squawking at nothing in particular the bird went on it's way.
Fingers clenched tight, so tight they were white he looked at the world with tearing eyes. The subtle swells of white that had marked the waves below, the distant curls of grey that scored the horizon to the west. All were gone. Sky blue met blue seas and blurred for a while.
He screamed, despite himself. His last cry lost in the screech of the descending bird.
Descending to ascent, they plummeted a good long time, so quick and steep was there fall his hands hurt. Worse than that, his feet had pealed away from the mess of black feathers that was his ride, and the rest of him followed suit. Holding on tighter than right, all of him dangling a few good inches above the bird, only his death grip on those feathers kept them together.
Nearing the end of his drop, the top of the sea loomed before them, Loomed, than parted as the Helmroc King flared his winds and water was sliced down to tattered froth for miles. Foaming and roared in, spraying up spit that tasted like brine, for one second Link caught a sight of something both purple and grey amongst the bird born storm. Then, with a flash of steel on sun, the beak pecked and the sea rushed in fast turning red. The slam of the sudden stall numbed Link, the thunder of wild flapping stole his hearing, and he closed his eyes so better not to see that red seeped beak.
What do they eat anyways, these birds? Link had asked Mr. Ganondorf, utterly innocent, totally naïve.
Bereft of expression, for he spoke through the stone and old enough to inflect blandness in his tone that told nothing and did nothing to inspire curiosity, the old wizard had uttered one word. To that Link had laughed, amused. Offering no creepy laugh of his own, Mr. Ganondorf had said nothing. Soundlessly the light from the stone had dimmed, signaling the wizard was "off the line" or whatever that meant. Still giggling, pressing a fist against his lips to muffle the sound just in case Mr. Ganondorf was still listening, Link sniggered quietly for a long time before going to bed.
"Fish my hat." Link groused, eyes scrunched resolutely refusing to open them and wishing he dared slap his hands over his ears to block out the screeches. "It eats sharks!"
The severed, dying Gyot below nodded macabre long. Even as the avian's beak sawed through it's back bone. Snatching up it's catch in greedy gory talons the bird scanned the seas, only wanting to land. Holding his breath refusing to even breath, Link just held on and waited for it to be over.
"Shooo" With a flick of his fingers and wrist to indicate his "shoo" was serious, Link fluttered his hands at the massive, gloomy colored bird like it was some trouble some cucoo.
And it was
Oh, it had tamely sa and watched as he'd set up a tent bought at Windfall. When Link had ducked inside then out, it had watched each trip, yellow eyes bright and wide. One shuffle step and it slipped a little closer, closing the distance between canvas contraption and the mushy sanded beach that was there rest stop. Daring another step, this time throwing his head up to stare at the darkening, cloud churned, sky, the Helmroc King squawked. Reflected in steel on moment were coiled lightning tickled swells, the next the mask showed a triangular span of tent that had an islander shaped lump inside.
The first spittle from on high seemed to decide things. With a low "hiss-awk" and shudder the bird pokd his beak through the tent flap. Ignoring protest and one smack from a cap weilding hand the rest of the fae quickly followed after the beak. A loud crunch from a place a lot lower than heaven signaled the tent pole going.
"Bad… Bad bird…" Yellow eyes fixed on islander, still the boy continued. "Bad bird… monster.. Thingie!"
Still wielding his cap like it mattered, Link smacked lightly at the monster's beak, trying to enforce his "shoo" with his hat.
With a blistering scream of indignation the Helmroc King encouraged the boy out, thus Link was shooed out into the budding storm. A glance up high showed the nautically inclined youngster that I was likely to be a long night.
The roar of thunder and the downpour that followed heavens howl proved him right.
Come morning the sun rose with a cheer and welcome heat. Wringing damp clothes Link greeted the dawn with poor cheer and a keen appreciation for it's heat. He wasn't the only one. With a loud "Awk aw!" the oversized Kragaroc greeted the morn with a scream. On raising it's head it took the tent with it. Well, rather it took the tangles and tatters that had once been a tent on the edges of it's helmed head.
Seeing that Link was up and about, the bird's yellow eyes went so bright they all but glowed. The creature's mask -the bits not covered with canvas and dripping ropes- were painted the color of the budding morning, and so attired it waddled forward to it's rider. Not wanting a thing to do with the stupid bird, itchy from the salt that was fast drying to his clothes, and tired, and cold, Link hobbled back out of the monster's shadow. With a low clucking sound that sounded amused in a malicious sort of way, the bird hopped forward. To that, Link winced back. Thus they chased each other about the island. Star shaped and infernally small, they went round and around it's sandy points several times.
Patience all but spent, Link snapped… Well, he sort of snapped, around the edges anyways.
"Shoo. Yes, you! Get, skedaddle, go!" Waving his hands, all but flapping, he screamed up at the bird, just wanting it gone, really wanting a boat. A boat with a canon and bombs would have been nice right about then…. Regardless of what he wanted, he hopped and howled, flicking his hands and waving his arms, just telling the dumb thing to go.
Yellow eyes glimmering, the bird tilted his head one way, than another. Considering the fluttering like motions, the avian almost looked pityingly at the un winged thing before it. Clearly it was trying to flutter, perhaps fly, but without wings it wasn't getting very far.
Inspired the Helmroc king snapped open his wings, and at that Link howled.
And after a few tutorial flaps Link did indeed learn how to truly flutter, and also how to splash… and how to sputter.
A good ways out into the great sea when the mini gale was all over, Link snarled.
The steel spire had almost been the end of them. Only a sharp twist and dive had allowed them to peel away just in the nick of time. With canons splattering the water behind them with detonations, the tower fast became a memory.
Speaking of recollections, the avian turned his head about to regard it's passenger. Looking back, reflected in the mirror of polished steel was the a boy in heroic hues, flushed face, and no disturbing pallor or shake too him.
Considering that an improvement, the Helmroc King turned back to facing forward, putting more distance between the steel spire them.
The boy's holler made him stop, almost cased a stall. Missing a flap, the bird almost crashed into the sea, catching itself at the last moment it fluttered up and once at a secure height twisted about to stare at the green clad child.
"Do it again!" The Outsetter begged.
If a bird's cry could convey shock this one's did, that and a touch of horror.
When you dove then stopped before the dive ended in impact you were pulled up for a while. It was a gentle rise when compared to the frantic descent,. Better than gentle because there was no headache inspiring flapping to go along with it. Also, it wasn't boring, not in the slightest. You rushed forward as you rose, as the speed of the dive bled out into a thermal like climb without all that boring spinning.
One down side, steering wasn't good. Actually, you couldn't steer at all. At least not at first.
In a swoop, after chasing some seagulls that fluttered between here and where they needed to be, the Helmroc King swept into a boiling span of windy grey. Lost in that "no control" part of the swoop they went in, smearing clouds until…
A blur of maroon loomed before them, Whatever it was got a good buffeting by a wing as they passed, then it -or maybe it was they- was/were gone.
Face flaming -a good match to the whatever they had just passed- Link turned as best he could, cupping one hand about his mouth he hollered.
"Sorry, just passing through!"
Luckily for boy and bird the answering lightning bolt missed, by a lot.
Shame fading in irritation, the Outsetter shifted in his sear, facing forward once again.
"What a rude guy."
"Awk, awk!" The bird agreed.