The wind gently rustled through the trees, the stream gurgled as it parted around smooth waterworn stones, crickets played in short bursts of sound in regular intervals, and frogs croaked continuously in the damp riverbanks. Together it made an odd music, a lullaby that rocked him to sleep as he stared up at the multitude of stars sprinkled thickly in the indigo sky, drawn like a curtain over the edge of the world. He began counting them, but gave up when dizziness overtook him and his head spun. The endless grass, swaying in a slight breeze, was wet and dewy, but inside his sleeping bag he was cozy and warm.

Natural music. It was the last thing he thought before nature did its work and blackness engulfed him. Suddenly, though, a dream pierced through the easy sleep. Now a scene flashed before his eyes and the wind became cold and biting, swirling around him until it lifted him off of the ground.

He was standing in the golden plain. The castle was burning, the flames dancing before his eyes, flickering orange-red across the twirling spires. Its roar filled his ears and hot wind swept toward him. Embers floated on the breeze. Terrified screams streamed from Castle Town, people running desperately out of the open gate before it burned as well. I didn't make it in time! he thought, horror-stricken as his eyes roved across the scene. This is my fault! Suddenly the wind came again, whisking him away and through the sky until he landed in another time, another place, and another nightmare.

He was in a rushing stream, wading through the water as the current sucked hungrily at his pants, threatening to throw him beneath and squeeze the life out of him. An arrow whistled through the air, nicking his hat, just a few notches above his ear. Then a sword met with his in a clang that sent reverberations up his arm. He was surrounded by an angry mob. A spear whistled through the air. He saw it much too late, it was about to pierce his chest - but the wind rescued him, sweeping him off his feet and making him shiver from head to toe. He was soaked from the river, but the moisture peeled away as if it had never been and he landed once again.

He was somewhere dark, somewhere dark and cold and damp. A cave, he thought, his heart sinking as he wondered what horror he would face here. The air was still, but drops of cave-water dripped from what must have been stalactites on the ceiling, echoes rippling through the underground passageways as they hit the cave floor. Suddenly, a sinister, mocking voice whispered around him. Hyrule will fall because of you. It was a voice he knew. A voice he feared - a voice everyone feared publicly, but that he must fear secretly, not even allowing it to flicker fleetingly across his eyes. Time is running out, and I will make my move before you know it. He could almost imagine the voice's owner, smirking. "No," he said quietly, his heart speeding up rapidly. It was too early. He couldn't face that nightmare of a tyrant, not yet. He wasn't ready. You'll never make it! the voice taunted. The haunting whisper echoed in the cave, puncturing faraway caverns.

"No!" he said, more loudly, the word bouncing around the walls. They'll hate you for it. He began to run, trying to run away from the voice, away from the dream, away from everything. His footfalls sounded loudly in the cave. You will die either way. He clamped his hands over his ears, squeezing his eyes shut, not that it made a difference in the total, complete darkness that the cave housed. But still, the voice followed him, always coming from nearby, and then it sounded right beside his ear, making it tingle. You never touched a sword before you started on your little journey, did you, O hero? It snarled the last word, and then faded, its laughter booming into nothingness.

His stomach lurched as the ground was suddenly pulled out from beneath his feet, and he tumbled over the edge of some underground cliff, hearing gravel knocking against the sides of the never-ending pit. "NO!" he cried as he tumbled through the blackness to certain death, the air billowing out his clothing, whistling all around him. A single shaft of sunlight pierced the darkness, from a crack in the ceiling perhaps or somewhere else in the depths of the nightmare, illuminating the the wickedly sharp stone spires coming ever closer. A sickening feeling of dread overshadowed his fear, and right as impact was nigh, right as he could feel them poking him, about to tear him apart, he jolted into a sitting position, suddenly wide awake.

He was sweating all over, and his breathing came in ragged, terrified gasps. His heart beat madly as he tried to steady himself. The dream had revealed his secret fears, and he was shaken. "Only... a dream," he whispered. The unfairness of it all fluttered through him. He wasn't allowed to be afraid. He was a hero, and no one would believe in him, no one would hope, if they knew he was afraid. He settled slowly onto his back, the sky spread out before him. It was streaked gold, purple, red, orange - an explosion of colors, the sun slowly sliding above the horizon. "...Only a dream," he repeated softly after taking a long, calming swig from his water canteen.

I will not fail. I cannot. The whole of Hyrule depends on it. He tried to chase away the last remnants of his dream and gathered his belongings, narrowing his eyes as he surveyed the golden plain, gauging the distance he had to travel that day. The mark of the Triforce glowed softly beneath his gauntlet, and he pressed on. He was the chosen hero. He was Link, and he had to save Hyrule. He had to. He couldn't think about what would happen if he couldn't do it.

Failure was not an option.