Link followed Saria through the Lost Woods. Occasionally they came upon a skullkid that was interested in causing mischief among them, or wolfos intent on making them into snacks. Once they came upon a clearing full of deku scrubs, and they left in a hail of nuts.
Saria knew where they were headed, but she was prone to getting caught up talking with Link as their journey through the forest continued.
She talked a lot about the Hero of Time. She had been one of his caretakers when he was first brought to the forest, in the arms of his dieing mother. She had made his tunic, she had taught him to speak, to fish, to do everything the Kokiri knew how to do. She had even told how he had been somewhat outcast since he did not have a fairy.
This intrigued Link. He had noticed that every once in a while a reddish light would appear out of the collar of the young girl's dress. He had heard stories about guardian fairies when he was a child, he had also heard of the healing fairies. They were usually preferred to potions, since you didn't ingest them and they didn't take like week old ashes.
She told a little about herself as well. She was one of the oldest of the Kokiri, and was thought of as the wisest. She knew the Lost Woods better than anyone else. She was also a very adept healer.
She also told him that she was the Sage of Forest.
This also intrigued Link. He had never heard of the Sages. Saria told him to sit down upon a stump and told him about them.
There were seven. Forest. Fire. Water. Shadow. Spirit. Light. They had all played a part in the defeat of Ganondorf the first time.
In order to penetrate the defenses of Ganon's fortress the Sages came together to form a bridge over the moat and gave the Hero of Time six medallions that brought down the shield around Ganon's inner sanctum. She then said that the Hero defeated Ganon and had freed Princess Zelda, the Sage of Wisdom.
She then took off again at a skip requiring Link to sprint to keep up with her and not get lost.
The Forest Temple was an old manor deep in the Lost Woods. It was built in a style that predated the Hero of Time by many years. The only way it could have gotten there was someone built it, it was abandon, then the Lost woods grew up around it.
The stairs to the front door had crumbled to a point that they were unusable. However Saria had an answer to that. She brought an antique hookshot out of a sturdy chest hidden back in some vines. Taking the tool from the small child he held her to him firmly, aimed the hook at a dead tree limb over the stoop, fired the mechanism, and went flying up to the entrance.
Steadying himself he looked towards the courtyard. Despite having been abandoned and neglected it was in quite a good state of being. The plants were well kept, the walls were not crumbling, and the door hung snugly in its hinges.
"I am also quite good with plants, I come here every few days and take care of the temple. It is the source of my power, I feel it should look good. Whatcha think," Saria asked without taking a breath.
Link looked at her kindly, "You do a very good job."
Though she was way older than he was she was still a child, and children soak up praise like nothing else. It made him feel good to see her beaming like she was then.
Turning his head towards the entrance he started forward, Saria stayed where she was standing. Link did not question her. This was his quest not hers.
The interior of the first room was huge. An elevator stood in the middle of the room. Four torches surrounding it. The room seemed to be unoccupied. Though something seemed off about the torches. Each one burned a different color. Orange, blue, green, and purple.
The purple torch shuddered briefly and the figure of a young woman in her early adulthood appeared, clothed in purple. A poe. A ghost of an evil person.
"Well, well. The hero returns to torture me in a new form. I am the only remaining sister so we can't have any fun. I do know that you have come for that accursed sapphire though," she said in a half acidic, half seductive voice.
"It is the pommel stone to the Master Sword. I come for it so that I can reassemble the weapon. Where is it," Link asked the apparition.
"You do not seek to call me evil, or to declare that you will destroy me, are you truly the Hero?"
Link looked at her peacefully, "You are a poe, that is a punishment of itself, one that I could not top by trying to destroy you. Though if I can free you from this fate I would do so without hesitation, as a sign of good will."
"You would," she said unbelieving.
A change started to come over her. The vicious way her clothing flapped around her settled, the blacking glow became white, and her expressions softened.
"Wha.. wha.. what? I am at peace, you settled me," she said in shock, "Others have come only seeking to destroy me and my sisters, none have ever offered us help. You have freed me, if only you had arrived before my sisters became enthralled to that stone."
Link stepped forward and caught her before she hit the ground, surprised at the warmth she gave off. As she cried he cradled her and comforted her. He stayed like that until she had calmed down.
"My name is Meg, I do not know yours though," she said pleasantly.
"I am Link, as the Heroes before me have been named. I understand why others have tried to destroy you. Fear, and not understanding what you truly were. Kindness can break any bonds that are made by malice. You said that your sisters were enthralled by the pommel stone?"
Meg nodded, a sudden wave of sobbing washing over her. Link hushed her and stayed holding her. He felt Persephone leave his shadow and passed the spirit over to her.
"Meg, where is the stone," Link asked her in a gentle voice.
She looked up at him with an expression of hope on her face, "It is in the gallery below us, though you must be wary. A monster guards it. My sisters can stare at the jewel without rousing its anger. But if you enter into the room it will attack you."
Link nodded then turned from the two ladies. He approached the elevator and stood withing it. He looked Persephone in the eyes and with a look told her to stay with the poe.
The elevator descended into the dark depths of the basement. He held his sword at his side ready for anything that could appear. His shield hung from his left arm, easy to bring up and intercept a blow or an arrow.
His eyes darted side to side, seeking any form in the almost nonexistent light. He pressed forward, his heart never quickening. He held no fear.
He passed through a door into a small art gallery. In the center a small pedestal rose from a platform, and upon it lay a flawless sapphire, the pommel stone to the Master Sword. Around it stood the other poe sisters. Blue, orange, and green. All stood with their eyes fixed upon the stone.
Looking around the room he noticed a bleach white skull With horns curling over its forehead. A tarnished trident lay several feet from the skull. Tattered paintings lined the walls.
He walked toward the cloistered sisters, waiting for the beast that was to protect the sacred jewel. None came.
He drew his father's sword from the bag. He reached the pedestal and reached out and grabbed the stone. The sisters did not react, they seemed frozen in place. Bringing the stone to the sword it fused and covered the brass counterweight.
A roar sounded from the corner of the room. Replacing the sword to his bag he drew forth his blade and prepared himself.
A shadow detached itself from the darkness and attached him. If not for his years of training he would have been downed by the first strike. They exchanged a brief flurry of blows then disengaged and stood apart from each other.
Link studied his opponent. It was only 5' 4", and had skin that was as dark as the shadows, and pale white hair. However it was a perfect match to the Hero of Time. This was a version of Dark Link. The Anti-Hero. The truest test of a Hero's skill. However this was not his shade.
The shadow attacked again, swinging his blade he attempted to disembowel Link, but the strike was effortlessly blocked and the Sword of the Stars slid down the dark blade and removed the things hand. A return strike removed its head.
As the shadow dissolved into darkness the three sisters woke from whatever force held them. They first noticed that their object of obsession was missing, they then noticed Link in the area, and then they became wrathful.
At some point between the poes throwing ghostly fireballs, and Link dodging ghostly fireballs, Meg had arrived in the gallery.
"Sisters, stop. He is not here to destroy us. He is here to help," She managed to yell over the din.
Not expecting to hear this it took the sisters a few seconds to comprehend what had been said and stop with confused looks on their faces.
"Are you sure. If not, we could still kill him," The youngest, Amy suggested.
"I am sure, my sister. He released me from the curse that we placed ourselves under with our selfishness. Only by offering his help. And only by understanding why."
A bright white light started to fill the gallery. Link could not see his surroundings, he could see nothing. As the light dissipated a small medallion rested where the sisters had been. He stood alone among the broken paintings.
Leaving the gallery he entered the elevator and traveled to the main floor of the temple. Persephone stood there with worry written on her face. Link met her eyes and managed to convey that things had worked out in the end.
Turning toward the entrance both started to exit the building. A blue swirl appeared on the floor before them. Stepping onto it he felt himself moving through space.
"THOU HAST PROVEN THY WORTH. YOU ARE TRULY THE REINCARNATION OF THE SON OF THE FOREST."
Link looked up at the tree, "I do not seek to claim his name. It is my own. I only come for that, that I was sent to find."
A shining shape fell in front of his feet. Picking it up he withdrew his fathers blade and held the first shard of the blade of the Master Sword and the two fused. The sword felt heavier, felt more powerful, felt more right.
"Thank you Deity of the Forest. Great Deku Tree."