Skyward


Link sat on the edge of the cliff with his feet dangling over the edge. He gazed down, straining to see past the clouds, and wondered—not for the first time—what could be beyond them. A soft sigh escaped his lips, and he grabbed a small stone by his side. He rubbed it between his fingers a moment before throwing it away, as far as he could.

The rock sailed through the open air, going up, up, up… then it reached the peak of its arc and started to descend. Link's eyes never left the gray stone as it plummeted through the clouds, disappearing into whatever lies below. For just a moment he wondered what it would be like to follow the stone down and find out what lay below the constant cover of clouds.

He knew it wasn't a normal thing to wonder about.

Everyone in Skyloft was so content. Link supposed it made sense for them to be happy, after all, there was only constant peace and fulfillment. Everyone worked together in peace and harmony; no one ever felt disappointment or… lack of purpose. So why did he? Don't get him wrong; he loved it here just as much as anyone else. He had friends and a family, anything and everything he wanted.

But…

He always felt, on some days more than others, like there was more to everything… like there should be more. Deep down, in the darkest, truest part of his heart, he knew there was more to his life than sitting on a cliff, gazing at clouds. There had to be.

Some days he could happily get along with everyone in Skyloft, sincerely thankful for all he was blessed and born with. Other days he simply could not stand to be around those very things that he was so thankful for.

Lately the distinction between those days had become sharper, more acute, and more troubling. So he had come here to think things over, and maybe today he would get some answers. Or maybe tomorrow he would wake up feeling just like everyone else.

Well, not everyone.

He had confided in two of his closest, dearest friends some of his odd feelings, and they had been very supportive. They even admitted to sharing some of his same doubts about Skyloft and their way of living. Although it was only two people, it was two more than he had thought existed.

He stretched out and reclined, resting on the dusty, rocky surface.

Zelda had said that she, too, wondered what lay below the clouds. She wondered if there were people who thrived below the clouds, and if they had ever wanted to come up here as badly as she wanted to go down there.

Ganondorf had no doubts that there was more below the clouds. More land and maybe more people. He mostly wondered why we, as a people, never went down there and expanded our population. He was kind of funny like that; he worried at times that we didn't have enough of different things, such as food or space. Of course, he and Zelda always teased him, saying he was simply being paranoid.

He usually huffed and shrugged it off.

Link stood up and brushed off, turning to face the glorious city of Skyloft. The buildings rose high into the empty air, pristine monuments of modern civilization. He walked slowly along the beaten path that led to, literally, the end of his world.

One could walk all the way around Skyloft, on the outermost edge, but it would take two and a half years of constant walking. He was fortunate in that he lived close to the boundary, where he could travel to one of these scenic edges—this cliff—and think, without interruption.

Usually.

He started walking home, but was about half way down the path when Zelda approached him. She smiled brilliantly and greeted him with a quick hug, which he returned in a friendly manner.

"Hello there Link, how have you been?" she asked, smiling politely.

"I've been well, just thinking," he replied honestly. Zelda was, after all, one of his two best friends. They were really the only people he felt like he simply couldn't live without. Suddenly a strange feeling hit him, almost like intuition or instinct, and he sent up a quick prayer.

I hope Zelda, Ganondorf, and I will always be together.

"Thinking about what?" she questioned, breaking him from his eerie thoughts.

Link sighed and crossed his arms. "The usual stuff." He paused and shuffled his feet a bit. "I want to know what's down there." She gave him a sympathetic nod.

"I wish to know as well," she murmured. They both fell silent, lost in their own haunting thoughts for a time.

What could be below the ever-white cover of clouds? Why had no one left here to travel there? Could one of them be the first? There were so many questions, so many concerns, surrounding what lie below that it felt as if it would take a lifetime to answer them all, maybe more.

Finally Link glanced around and said, "Come on, it's getting late." Zelda nodded in agreement.

"Yes, we should go to Ganondorf's house for a while. Maybe we could all talk for a bit and sleep a little easier tonight," she suggested, following him on down the dusty path.

Another strange sensation struck him, and although he would normally decline, tonight suddenly seemed like the right night for them to all gather and discuss this strange matter.

"Yeah. We should."

And so, at the crossroads where he would normally turn off, he instead continued walking, headed towards his good friend's house with an increasingly ominous feeling. Time seemed muddled, yet everything appeared more crisp and clear than Link could ever remember.

He wondered briefly if he was coming down with something, but that seemed nearly impossible. Everyone here was so healthy. By time they reached Ganondorf's house he felt almost as if he was watching events unfold from outside of his body.

They stomped up the steps, Zelda knocked on the door, and Ganondorf answered, just like always. He invited them inside, just like always, and they of course nodded their thanks and entered. They sat in their usual places around the main room and chatted casually for a time, just like always. After a while Ganondorf poured them some drinks, just like always, but then Link encroached on a topic he usually avoided.

"What do you think is below the clouds?" he questioned, staring seriously at his drink.

Zelda exchanged looks with Ganondorf; both were worried about their best friend. More and more frequently and more and more seriously he seemed obsessed with the idea of what lay below. Not that they weren't curious themselves, but the way Link spoke sometimes made it sound as if he believed that whatever rested below the clouds was the key to his life. Ganondorf spoke first, hoping to change the subject quickly.

"Something of value, maybe, or maybe nothing but more clouds," he answered. Pausing, he took a sip of his drink. "'Maybe' is all we really have though, even if the possibilities are interesting."

Zelda quickly added, "Yes and we can talk about those possibilities as much and for as long as you'd like." Link looked up and caught the glare Ganondorf tossed at Zelda. He shuddered as another deeply buried instinct rippled through him. What was going on?

"Come now," Ganondorf declared, voice booming. "We don't want to linger on what cannot be. What if there are only clouds? It would be a waste of time and life to test anything out."

"But what if there's not?" Link demanded, his tone surprising both of his friends. "What if there is a place down there unlike any we've ever seen? What adventures could be down there; what places to explore?"

Ganondorf opened his mouth to reply, but Zelda cut him off. "Link, it is a possibility, but Ganondorf is right as well. It would be impossible to safely test any theories."

"Why is everyone here such a coward?" Link demanded, suddenly standing up. "What is everyone so afraid of? The possibilities?" He glared down at the floor and cried out, "I need to be down there!"

Ganondorf's temper rose with Link's and he stood up shouting, "You need to be down there? What do you think is down there exactly?"

"A life worth living!"

A long moment of silence passed between the friends before Zelda whispered, "Isn't what you have enough?" There was a deep and profound hurt in her eyes as she met Link's even gaze. "Don't you love what you have right here?"

Link felt dizzy and the same feeling of premonition came over him once more when he answered, "No, it's not enough." He felt his chest rise and fall with a deep breath. "I need purpose."

Purpose. A place, a way to be, a goal to chase and never meet.

Ganondorf collapsed back into his chair. "You do have a purpose. Your purpose is to live and be happy and stop thinking about all of this nonsense."

"Nonsense, huh?" Link nodded once, slowly, walking towards the door. He reached for the handle and paused. "Maybe to you."

With that, he left.

When he arrived at his own home he immediately went to bed, hoping that whatever kept tugging him towards the edge didn't pull him right off.

The next day he awoke early and made his way, without ever really deciding to make his way, to the cliff once more. The closer he walked, the closer he felt to aligning that instinct deep within him. He sat on the edge, and once again, his thoughts drifted towards what lay below. As he sat there, a gentle wind teased his golden hair, and it felt like it was tugging him off the cliff. He gripped the rocky edge and shook his head. This had to stop.

They're in pain, a voice on the wind whispered. They need help. The people in the land below suffer. They need a hero.

A chill went down his spine and Link shook violently. His heart started beating rapidly.

You are blessed with this courage.

Courage?

"Link!" Zelda called, breaking him from his trance and downing out the sound of the wind. She was rushing towards him. "What are you doing?" she demanded. Link looked around and noticed how he had stood up and leaned precariously over the edge. He couldn't even remember getting up in the first place.

"I don't really know," he answered honestly.

Zelda licked her lips nervously. "Come on; let's walk down the path a little ways. I'm getting such an eerie feeling here." Link blinked once and nodded, feeling his conscious floating once again to a more outwardly position.

"Yes," he murmured.

Just a short ways away from the cliff they stopped, and Zelda turned to confront her friend once more.

"What were you thinking about doing back there?"

"Nothing, nothing," Link defended honestly. "I was just sitting there, and then there was…" He hesitated, unsure how to explain what had happened. Even to his best friend. "This wind. There was this wind, that's all." Zelda placed her hands on her hips and shook her head.

"Link, please, this has to stop. We've discussed this. There is nothing worth your life down there."

"Who says it'll cost me my life to find out?" he demanded, a bit more harshly than he had intended. Just as she was about to respond, he shouted a greeting to someone behind her. She turned around to see Ganondorf making his way down the path.

"Hey I thought I might find you two down here. Hope I'm not interrupting?" he asked warily.

"Not at all," Link answered quickly, shaking hands with his good friend. "I do apologize, though, for last night." Ganondorf grinned good-naturedly.

"Don't worry. Sometimes we all have our odd moments."

For just a brief moment, everything around Link felt perfect. His life here in Skyloft, his friendships, everything. Then that passed and suddenly a new feeling overcame him. Nothing would ever be perfect again.

They need you.

Then he really did feel like he was viewing all of the events unfold from outside of his body, totally disconnected from controlling his actions as he turned and ran towards the cliff. Ganondorf shouted and took off after him, while Zelda screamed his name as he approached the edge of the cliff.

The edge of the world.

The edge of this life.

He stopped suddenly, turned, and smiled. Ganondorf skidded to a halt and Zelda caught up.

"I need them."

With that he faced the edge of the cliff once more and leapt, falling through the soft, white clouds. He didn't even register any sounds his best friends made, if they made any at all. All he could hear now was the wind whipping past his sensitive ears.

Save them.