Zelda does not belong to me, or I wouldn't be on this site, writing these things.
This was just an idea I had, and I decided I was finally going to write that Zelda story set in the present that I've been wanting to write forever. Now I need you to tell me if it's any good.
This is for my kinda Beta reader Link Fangirl01. You rock.
"Pay attention, class, we're nearly there." The teacher, a tall, spindly woman who was around a thousand years old, glanced back down the straggling line of teenagers. Her greatest concern, though she would admit it to no one, were the three boys trailing at the very end. The one, son of the town's mayor, and the other two, twins, born to the quiet woman living on the edge of town, spent much of their time in an attempt to give the elderly woman a heart attack. They were apt to wander off on an "adventure," or after something that had flashed briefly in the shadows. In fact, the dark-haired twin had stopped and was staring off toward the east wall of the valley. "Boys, keep up."
The three boys in question jumped, hurrying guiltily to catch up with the end of the line. They were a strange match, the two good-looking twins and their chubby, picked-on friend. The twins, who looked identical in face, were complete opposites in behavior. Link, the older brother by moments, was light haired, blue-eyed and liked by everyone in the small town. His brother, Raven, was dark-haired and –eyed, and spoke as rarely as he could get away with. Both were smart and athletic, Link a star in the school and his brother an even, though uncelebrated, match. While they were polar opposites of each other, their friend Poul was different in the other direction. Easily frightened, often teased, and acutely uncomfortable around people in any situation, Poul was short and chubby with a curly head of blond hair. He was also, much to his dismay, often roped into the escapades of his two friends.
The class had stopped at the top of the long, ancient bridge which led to the massive tree that had grown up out of the dark recesses of the valley for as long as anyone could remember. The bridge had been carved out of a root that had grown out from the tree to the solid ground, some hundred feet away. At the top of the branch, where the class now stood, the top of the root had worn to a large knothole. The hole was not deep, just large enough to fit the class standing together, and a second, smaller hole led away into the actual tree. It was in front of this cobweb-covered hole that the teacher, Mrs. Wood, stood. She waited until her class had gathered, and then began to speak.
"I know you've all heard this story a hundred times, but you will be silent and respectful while I talk about this. Are we understood?" She cast a stern glance across the crowd, and there were mumbles of agreement. "Very well. You all know, according to legend, the Great Hero came here first on his journey. The Dark Imp led him here to battle her enemies, which were poisoning the forest with their evil. Now, according to that legend, a great temple reaches all the way through this tree, and is full of treasures and terrible monsters. The truth to these claims cannot be assessed for sure, because of the age of the tree. Likely it is full of rot and would collapse on any travelers attempting to penetrate it. A team did go in, once, many years ago…" Here she paused to look across the faces of the students, "They never returned."
"The monsters got them!" A boy in the front shouted, bringing snorts of laughter from the others.
"After the event of this terrible tragedy," She frowned at the boy who had spoken, and he hunched his shoulders guiltily, "travel into the Temple has been strictly forbidden. Even for historians and those who know what they're doing."
Silence stretched across the group for a moment while several of the students tried to peer through the thick layers of cobweb. After the moment had passed, Mrs. Wood cleared her throat and motioned to the east.
"If you'll all step over here and take a look down toward the wall." The class shuffled to comply, leaning on the edge of the bark to stare into the foggy, immeasurable depths. "Do you all see the small outcropping of rock there? Just above the mist? The legend also speaks of a secret hidden here in the forest. The historians believe it to be down there, though all expeditions to that cave have found only several small clearings connected to each other in a circle…"
"So," Raven edged closer to Link, "what kind of treasures do you think are hidden in there?"
"No." Poul had overheard and was shaking his head, "I know how this is going to go. It always starts out the same! I'm not going to be any part of it this time."
"C'mon, Poul," Link smiled. "What if the Hero left something? Maybe they hid one of his relics here."
Poul looked at the hole in interest despite himself. "Maybe…No! No, they have all his weapons and armor in Castle Town. The only thing they couldn't find was his sword, because everyone knows it was hidden back where he found it."
"And where is that, Historian?" Raven frowned and Poul squirmed.
"No one knows! That's the point. It's a secret…"
"Maybe that's the secret that's here." Link laughed and glanced to where Mrs. Wood was still talking about the clearings. He turned back to his brother, "Are we going in during lunch?"
"We're going to get caught…" Poul glanced nervously once more at the hole, but the brothers simply ignored him. Mrs. Wood continued, oblivious to the scheming.
"Alright, so now that we've finished here, we're going to have lunch." There were cheers from the class, "After that, you may explore the area a bit. And there's a gift shop over there that you may visit. Come back here when you hear the whistle."
The class scattered, splitting immediately into its regular pods. Link and Raven ambled casually toward the entrance to the Temple. Mrs. Wood watched them go suspiciously, and they made a show of setting out their lunches and chatting with each other. Finally, she looked away at a squeal from a girl on the far side of the clearing.
"Let's go!" Raven leapt to his feet and led the way to the cobwebs. Poul kept watch for Mrs. Wood while the other two tore at the bottom edge of the web. After several tense minutes they managed to lift up enough that they could crawl through on their stomachs.
"What if Mrs. Wood was right and the inside collapses?" Poul followed on Link's heels, crawling slowly as they peeled back more layers of webs.
"Look, if she's right, then we'll see the hole where the last group fell through. And then we'll…maybe go back." Raven glanced quickly back, and then pushed on. Several more layers on, he growled in frustration. "You know what I think? The whole tree is just filled with these webs. My arm's stuck…"
Link reached around to help him pull his arm free, and after several minutes of struggling, managed to release him. As soon as the dark-haired boy pulled his hand back, a small breath of air blew past them. The boys whooped quietly and Raven squirmed eagerly into the fresh air. The other followed quickly, standing in the dim room beyond.
The room was long and narrow, several holes high in the walls let light down into the room so that the boys could see. Very old, yellow vines wandered up the walls to their left and right. Across the floor of the area, tall grasses and weeds had sprouted up and were as high as Link's waist. Two pillars stood at the far end, and the remains of three more were on the end by them. Something large and indistinct was on the extreme other end, hidden by the shadows.
"Guys, this is…" Poul trailed off in awe and the twins nodded.
"I want to see what that is." Link started forward, followed closely by Raven. Poul trailed behind, staring about them. They reached the wall, and all three of them looked up at the plants. "Maybe we can climb them."
The blond reached the wall with the vines, and he reached up to tug experimentally on the vines, and they fell immediately to the ground. Raven snorted, "Guess not. Let's go see what's at the other end."
The boys waded into the grass, calling back and forth to each other when they came across something. They found only a few old Rupees – a couple green and a blue – and a few Deku seeds. It wasn't until they had reached the last pillar that something unexpected happened.
Link was bent over; parting the grass to see what might be lying on the ground, when something ahead of him stirred with a quiet rustle. He paused, his eyes locked on the lazily-moving grass. To his left, Raven was squatting in the weeds, poking through the roots, and Poul was several feet behind him, staring up at the top of the wall. So it wasn't something they were doing…He straightened, calling to his brother as he did so, and chaos broke out. A great, ugly green…thing burst from the weeds with a loud snapping, lashing around as it did so. It looked like one of the Deku nuts his mother collected, only several times larger and broken open, large teeth lining the inside. A great, crimson tongue flapped around and the head swiveled, finally turning toward where Link had fallen. He yelled in horror and scrambled backward, the large teeth grazing his leg and ripping the jean.
"Link!" Raven leapt forward and helped Link scramble out of reach as the thing continued to snap. Poul remained behind them, trembling while the other two boys stared at the thing. "What is it?"
"I don't know! What do we do now?" Link glanced around for something to fight with, but found nothing.
"We leave! This is what happened to the last group!" Poul voice was very quiet and strained. "Guys, let's go!"
"Wait! The seeds!" Raven dug the seed out of his pocket and passed several to Link. Each boy rolled one seed into the bend of his forefinger and took aim. The thing turned its sightless face toward the boys and straightened, its mouth gaping wide. They waited. It lunged, and they launched the seeds with their thumbs.
The plant-creature straightened up with a shriek that made the boys wince. It was hurt, but not dead. Raven glanced over at Link, "Now what?"
"I've got a plan." He didn't wait for his brother, but sprinted forward. The plant had straightened to its full and frightening height when hit, and Link aimed for the base of the stem. He hit it with his shoulder, and nearly landed on his back when the stem didn't give. The plant shuddered, and he scrambled up, planted his feet, and pushed against the stem. It shuddered once more, and then, quite abruptly, uprooted.
"Link!" Raven was at his side as soon as the plant landed, writhing and shrieking once again. The blond let his brother pull him to his feet and they stood watching the monster die. When it finally stopped moving, Link glanced over at Raven.
"So…go on? Or go back?"
"Back." Poul had finally joined them. "This was a bad idea, I told you!"
"Poul, go wait by the entrance then," Raven snapped. "I'm going on."
The chubby boy watched as his two friends continued past the quickly-drying remains of the slain monster. They reached the base of the small ledge that stuck out of the back wall, a curtain of vines hanging down. Link reached up to tug on the vines, and they held. It took only a minute for the two to scramble to the top, and they darted across the soft wood to the large, circular door. Carved on the thick wood was a strange, curled symbol unlike any either boy had ever seen.
It took several minutes for them to figure out how to open the door. Once Link had braced himself against the door and pushed, it rolled aside and they could enter.
Inside the main room a worn, over-grown path led to a wide set of stairs up to a large wooden platform. The only excitement came when Raven's foot fell through a rotted board on one of the steps, though he managed to jump to the next before he went all the way through. From the platform – after a short debate – they went straight across, up more wooden steps to another door. Through that door, and then they stopped.
"Woah…" Raven's voice was torn away almost immediately by a blast of wind. A long rope bridge stretched across a great chasm to what looked like another tree trunk. There were more bridges to either side, though neither was accessible from their current perch. Link started forward, grabbing hold of the old ropes before slowly placing a foot on the board. He glanced back at Raven with a grin, and began to work his way across.
"You know, I hate to sound like Poul, but this is a really dumb idea." They were halfway across before Raven spoke. Link only laughed and took another step, easing his weight slowly onto it. Another blast of wind hit them suddenly, making the bridge bob and sway, and both boys crouch. They didn't move again until it had passed.
As soon as Link reached the other side, he collapsed on his back on the ground. Raven fell next to him, and they lay, breathing heavily for a few minutes. Finally, Link glanced over at his brother, and the dark-haired boy began to laugh.
"Wouldn't that have been a disappointing death?" Link finally pushed himself up, pulling Raven after him. "I mean, we took down that plant…thing at the front, and then have an old bridge take us out?"
"I dunno. We could have made it sound better than that." Raven braced against the door and pushed it open, letting a slow breath of musty air drift out. The room inside was round with only the one doorway. A ring of pillars stood around a single one in the center of the room, and it looked as though there had once been a hole in the middle of the ceiling. Something had fallen and blocked off most of the hole, letting in only the very faintest light.
"Stay out of the grass." Raven glanced over at Link's words, and then started toward the center pillar. They passed into the circle, which had once been paved with large stones, and squinted up at the top of the pillar. It was large enough to easily fit one of the boys on top, and the sides were carved with intricate designs.
"Too bad the historian stayed back. Bet he'd know what this says." Raven ran a hand over the carvings. "I wonder if they all have these."
Link watched as Raven ambled over to the nearest pillar and stood peering at the markings. After a second, Link moved to join him. The markings on this new pillar were much less intricate than the center one, and there were more pictures.
"Well…this is all this temple has?" Raven stepped back and glanced around in disappointment. "Too bad. C'mon, Link, we better head back. They'll blow the whistle soon."
"Su-wait." Link stopped. He was sure he had heard a noise in the room. "What was that?"
"I didn't hear-" This time the noise was loud enough that both heard it quite clearly. Someone was crying. Raven turned slowly, "Where did it come from?"
"It sounds like it's back there…" Link hurried across the ring of pillars, and back into the grass. The old blades crackled under his feet, and then the dirt crunched. Hunched over in the back corner was something large and lumpy. As he got closer, he could tell it looked like a person crouched over, with its face pressed to its knees. "Hello? Are you okay?"
The figure sobbed once in reply, and Link edged still closer, trying to see who it was. "What are you doing here?" By then Link could tell that it was a little girl, bent so that her dark hair covered her face. He reached to touch her arm, speaking loud enough that she had to hear, "Are you okay?"
His fingers brushed her arm and he registered that the cloth was smooth and silky, before the girl had leapt to her feet. In fact, she leapt so far up that she was hovering several feet above the ground. Long, dark hair stood about her head like strange tentacles, and shining, violet eyes locked on Link's face.
"What a brave hero. Come to rescue the damsel." Her voice was sharp and soft at the same time, so cold it sent a shiver crawling up Link's spine. The girl began to float slowly up, and then back down, so that she was making lazy circles. "Alas for you, you will never live to reach your potential."
"Link! Run!" Raven grabbed his brother's arm and hauled, dragging him away from the girl who was slowly raising her arms. "RUN!"
The bridge was bobbing and swaying when they made it through the door, but they didn't stop in their wild sprint. And the wood held true. The door on the other side was still slightly open when they reached it, and Raven turned as soon as they were through to thrust it shut. The floating girl was just behind them. As soon as she saw what Raven was doing, her eyes flashed, and something very bright flew from her hands.
"No!" Link shoved Raven aside, causing the light to hit his left hand as he snatched it back. Pain seared across the skin, turning it a bright, shiny red. He cursed in pain and cradled his hand to his chest as Raven closed the door the rest of the way.
They made it out of the Temple without any other serious excitement. Poul threw a fit when he saw Link's hand, but he was too relieved to be leaving to chew them out properly. They made it outside just as the whistle blew.
"Keep your hands in your pockets, Link." Raven moved in front of his brother as they approached the teacher. "Mom'll know what to do to fix it."
Link agreed and slid his hands into the large front pocket of his hoody. The coarse cloth made the pain worse, but he made himself act as if nothing were wrong as they joined the rest of the class. One girl, a nosey blonde, asked them loudly where they had been, but the rest were too used to it to ask. Mrs. Wood counted heads quickly, and then got the class started walking back toward Ordon.
"Oh, Link!" Link and Raven's mother, Marin, was a pretty, tired blonde. She was also, currently, bandaging Link's hand at the kitchen table. "I've told you boys a thousand times to be careful!"
"That's all you tell us," Raven's mumble went ignored by their mother.
"I know you like exploring, but really…you have to be careful. Both of you. You're lucky something really bad didn't happen."
They had told their mother most of what had happened. Though they left out the part about the floating girl. And the monster at the entrance. Link's hand had looked enough like a burn that he had told her he fell and caught his hand on a torch.
"It's okay, Mom. You said the burn wasn't even that bad." Marin released his hand as he spoke.
"I know, Dear. It's just…after your father."
"What happened to him, Mom? Really?" Raven slid into a chair beside Link, his dark eyes fixed on Marin.
"You know the story. I've told you before." Both boys remained silently waiting, and she sighed. "He went up Death Mountain on an expedition looking for proof of the Great Hero's legend. A landslide killed him and two of the men with him. He was buried in the Old Cemetery in Kakariko."
"Why Kakariko?" Link leaned on the table, and Marin shrugged.
"He said that's where he wanted to be buried." She gave him a strained smile, "That's where you better plant me when I die, too." Neither boy laughed, and sighed heavily. "Well, it's late. Why don't you boys go to bed?"
The two boys mumbled in agreement and shuffled up the stairs to their rooms. The house was old-fashioned, with wood walls and an old, wood roof. The house had once been much smaller, but had been added on to through the generations. It had once, the story said, been carved out of a tree trunk. To keep with the tradition, Link's and Raven's rooms had been placed above the second floor and reached by a pair of ladders.
"I wish she'd really get mad, sometimes." Raven muttered, moving lightly up his ladder. Link nodded and scrambled up his own and through the trapdoor. It took longer than normal to get ready, since he had only limited use of his main hand. Once he was finished, he fell into bed and listened to Raven moving around in his room.
A piercing, terror-filled scream rent the night air in the house, jerking Link from his sleep. He sat dumbly for a moment while his brain slowly woke and processed the sound. Finally, he realized what – and who – it had been. "Mom!"
He dove out of his bed and down the trapdoor, meeting Raven at the base. They both sprinted down the hall toward their parents' bedroom. The old, wooden door slammed against the far wall with a bang, and they stared horrified across the room.
"Mom!" Marin had been hauled out her bed, dressed only in her nightgown, by a tall, dark man. The hood of a long coat was pulled over his head, and Link thought he saw a flash of metal on the man's chest. The man was holding their mother against him, with a knife across her throat.
"Boys, run!" The man tightened his grip, making Marin wince. The twins watched as he backed toward the window. They took a step after, and froze when their mother hissed in pain. The man had reached the window, and Marin focused wide, blue eyes on her sons. Her voice came out quick and panicked, "Boys, I lied about your father!"
And then she was gone.
Okay, so that's the end of chapter 1. Just for the record, Raven is so named because in the "Oracle of Ages manga, that's the name of Link's ancestor. Their mother is named Marin because I found a Zelda name generator on google and that was the name that came up when I typed in Marie. Which I picked at random. So...there you go. Hope this chapter goes well.