A/N: My second Zelda fiction. This one is for a couple that, in my opinion, needs more love and recognition. Inspired by Kiba Wolf's 'Underdog'.
Of Time and Shadows
Departure and the Return
Impa of the Sheikahs stood in the castle shadows, watching the Hero, Link, and the Princess, Zelda, discuss Link's departure.
He was leaving Hyrule, and it had only been a week since he defeated Ganondorf and sealed away the Evil King. He was heart broken about his fairy friend and guardian, Navi leaving him after his victorious triumph.
The look on the poor boy's face just made the Sheikah want to hold him, but she refrained from doing so. She had to remain in control for the princess's sake. She couldn't let her feelings get the best of her now.
In truth, when the 17 year old Sheikah first met the Child of Destiny, it was as if love at first sight. She would not admit it, but she had a crush on the lad. It wasn't his cute attitude, handsome looks, or heroic deeds. No, it was his eyes. They held a certain warmth that made her feel safe, that assured her that the dark times ahead were not going to be the end. It was his eyes that she fell in-love with.
She remembered in the alternate time line, during the Imprisoning Wars when he saved her in the Shadow Temple. He braved an army of undead to save her, risking flesh, bone, and the future of Hyrule for her. She could not have been more happy than that. Though, she wasn't sure if he was interested in her, she knew she was in him.
Link turned on his heel after giving a bow to the Princess and made his way towards the exit, seemingly unaware of the hidden Sheikah. She grinned and followed silently after him.
Link reached Hyrule field where Epona was waiting. He stopped, taking in the scenery as Impa approached without sound.
"Hello, Impa…" Link said, his voice was like a melody in her ears, her heart skipped a beat, and she almost stumbled when he spoke, apparently aware of her presence.
"I knew you were there. Come to see me off?" He asked as he turned around to face her fully. He was tall for his age, maybe 4'2. Most ten year-old's don't make it past the 3 footer mark. She collected herself quickly and knelt before him, her usual stern face soft and gentle. Her red eyes held a hint of sadness in them, Link took notice of this and raised an inquisitive eyebrow.
"Yes, I did. Why are you leaving? Don't you want to rest up? You spent months trying to destroy Ganon's armies and conquer the temples!" She exclaimed softly. Concern flooded her face like much like the rooms flooded in the Water Temple. Link shuddered inwardly at the thought of the annoying place.
"I have to do this, Impa. Their calling me." He replied. She looked confused. Link sighed as he knew he would have to explain it to her like he did Zelda.
"I hear the cries for help in nearby kingdoms. Pain, anguish and fear is evident in them, I hear them in my dreams. I can't get a good nights rest without having them constantly reaching out to me." He explained and watched as this registered in her mind. She sighed in defeat and nodded.
During the Imprisoning Wars, he had to grow up fast. It was hard, but he had more knowledge than any other known warrior in the land. She knew that his judgment and opinion mattered maybe more than the King's.
"You don't understand…I…Link…I love you…" she explained, not meeting her gaze. Link's face softened into a sad smile.
"Impa…You will always be in my heart, and I shall always be with you…" Link spoke quietly.
Impa embraced him tightly and Link returned it.
"I shall return, Impa. That's my promise to you, I swear it." he said firmly, and with that, he jumped on Epona and rode off into the distance. Impa watched as he left, a breeze blew past, some leaves flowed in the gust, her short silver rustled and she shivered, it was quickly becoming fall season in Hyrule. She hoped he would be okay in the cold.
Impa walked back into the Castle with a heavy heart, she would miss his innocent face, and loving heart.
*1 Month and 3 Days later - Termina - Clock Tower - Dawn of the Fourth Day*
Link removed the Fierce Deity Mask and reverted to his ten year-old self. He sighed as the power of his Terminaian counter-part left him and retreated back into the mask. Catching himself, he placed it back into his pack.
He couldn't stop thinking about her. It was very painful to have to leave her, he kept wondering if she was alright. He had yet to find Navi nor a sign of her, and he still felt the presence of Evil in these foreign lands. He had to press on, he had to keep moving. Rest was a luxury that wasn't available to him.
Impa paced back and forth in her chambers at the Shadow Temple. She hadn't had a descent nights sleep since his departure, and she could not leave and search for him due to her duties as a sage and the princess' guardian. She just wanted to see him again, his warm gentle smile, those deep blue eyes filled with compassion.
She really wished he was here now.
*7 Years later*
Impa walked into the throne room of Queen Zelda Hyrule and stood before the throne. She was summoned here by the queen for some secret reason, she wasn't given details on the call, but she had a duty to do, and she had to stop thinking Link to be dead.
Zelda looked up at her mentor and smiled.
"Hello Impa, I have a task for you." She greeted and asked.
"What would you have me do, milady?" Impa responded curtly.
"Word has reached me that The Black Knight has been seen crossing the borders of Hyrule, the scouts described him as a 6 foot man adorned in black armor with silver trimming, armed with a large, black double-edged long sword on his back-left shoulder riding a black war stallion also adorned in armor and strangely the beasts eyes glow red. The soldiers said he was last spotted by Snowpeak, the southern side of the mountain." Zelda explained.
"If it's the Black Knight, then how can we deal with a warrior of his stature?" Impa asked skeptically.
She had heard of the stories, the Black Knight was as young as the Hero of Time but was more cold, and bitter. Some say he was a savior, a hero, a bringer of light and the soul of benevolence. Others claimed he was a demon who lived for battle and massacres, a dark and evil soul bent on apocalypses and destruction, a warrior who, unto the highest self, to utmost freedom, explored the unquenchable nature of his rage by killing any and everyone that crossed his path. Everywhere he walked, he left a path of destruction in his wake. Though both were mere rumors, most of the stories of the mysterious Knight had been revolved around him answering calls to aid and cries for help, mostly civilians.
He was seen as a spirit of Vengeance, fighting fire with fire. A hunter, a slayer and destroyer of Demons the world over. He was the predator, and dark beasts of evil were his prey, as mighty and fierce as the Dragon, and swift and deadly as the Wolf. That was how he was portrayed most often.
He who stood and died alone in the war zone.
The only thing that Impa did not like, was that Link had supposedly disappeared at the same time as The Black Knight rose to power. This either meant that Link simply disappeared, he moved further away from the lands surrounding Hyrule, or worse, was killed by the Black Knight.
"I was wondering that myself. If he is truly as the stories portray him, then it would be in our best interests to remain on his good side. I want you to greet him and offer him a place here at the castle if he intends on staying in Hyrule. And before you start to worry, I am well aware of the dangers, though I doubt that if he is as everyone says he is, then why would he waste his time on us? Or me, before you ask." Zelda explained. Impa sighed, there was no arguing her when she was this determined.
"Very well, milady, I shall depart at once." The 24 year-old Sheikah leader and Shadow Sage declared.
The only thing running through Impa's mind was that she hoped Zelda would not regret inviting the Black Knight into their home.
*Southern side of Snowpeak Mountain*
The feared black armored Black Knight sat by a burning fire, his cold sapphire blue eyes with the slightest hint of gray watched the cackling flames. He turned his attention to his black armored and silver mane and tail Mare, Sophie.
A hint of sadness crossed the Knight's face as he remembered how he lost his old horse to an avalanche in the northern mountains of Klaymore, a kingdom far to the north of Hyrule. She didn't suffer, but the Knight did.
Sophie was created by the Black Knight based on the chestnut mare's essence and spirit who stood by his side in the dangers of battle like a true friend. Although, she did not look like Epona once did, it was as if she was her descendant. She even acted like her too.
The Black Knight released a powerful exhale of frosty air, the snow on his embedded medallion that stuck on his upper breast plate blew off him, revealing the Dragon and Wolf with its glowing red eyes.
The charm was given to him by a woman who he saved from a rabble of moblins in the northern plains. She had witnessed his battle and based the charm off of his style, she presented it to him as a 'thank you' gift for saving her. It was enchanted to enhance his capacity to absorb damage, the glowing red eyes gave him added focus.
When she gave him that charm, she had a friend of hers build the Black Knight his armor and sword, the sword resembled his old Master Sword, the hilt was deep dark blue, but the blade was black and the sharpened edges were gray. The same design of the charm was embedded on the blade were the Triforce seal would be carved in at. The charm enchanted the sword to stay sharp, and strengthened the blades metal to an unbreakable level.
He gazed over the snows, at the castle that was his destination. He had returned to see her. He had come to fulfill his promise, to be at her side, and return his love for her. It had been so long since he had last seen her, now that he had slain most of the demons that were more openly brave, the rest cowered in fear at the mention of his title. Any opposing forces in the Blood Wars he raged against the forces of Evil had retreated back into the darkness.
He had won. Now he was coming to claim his prize. The love of his life.
He smiled lovingly at the thought of her beautiful face. He could not wait to see her again. For the first time in seven years, the Black Knight had felt happy. He slid down by Sophie, who gave a grunt as if to say 'goodnight' to her master, and pulled his cape around him as the embers of the fire died down, the Black Knight fell into a deep and blissful sleep.