A/N: Welcome to my second multi-chapter Zelda fanfic. ...Yeah, so, I know how terrible it is to work on two stories at once. But don't worry - I'm still working on Shards of Time. I do apologize to any of my other story's fans, but I just HAD to write this!
Anyway... this is a Skyward Sword story. Generally, it will follow the plot of the game, but from Zelda's point of view. I've had this idea since before I even beat Skyward Sword - as soon as I learned her true identity, I was dying to write this. I mean, the characterization possibilities to play with are endless! If you haven't completed SS yet, you'll be happy to know that this will only spoil the intro. There is some foreshadowing and HINTING at what will happen, but nothing major. You'd better hurry and beat it though. First of all, the ending is incredibly epic, and second, eventually, I'll have to get into the later stages of the game and there WILL be spoilers. ;)
Last thing: this story will be slightly more serious than anything I've wrote previously (ESPECIALLY compared to SoT). The rating might even go up, though knowing me, that probably won't happen. Shards of Time taught me that I fail at humor. So let's work on my seriousness.
Who are you?
I… I am… I don't know.
You don't know, the voice repeated, its tone dubious and slightly mocking. You, currently the most powerful mortal alive, do not know who you are.
I'm not mortal.
The voice laughed. Of course you are. Those old days are over. You're just as human and susceptible to harm as those you used to protect.
Shall I ask you again, little mortal? it said, its voice laced with amusement. Who are you?
My name is… Zelda…
Are you sure of that? You sound uncertain.
My name is Zelda… but it's also… I'm also…
I sat up with a gasp. "Link!"
My fists clenched and eyes wide, I gazed around the room in a panic. Slowly I realized that I recognized this room – this was my dorm in the Knight Academy. It wasn't some endless dark void – just my room. I was safe.
I frowned, the dream that had been so vivid a few moments ago already fading. I'd been alone… very alone… but I had been talking to someone. Was I arguing with myself? How is that even possible?
I guess it doesn't have to be possible. It was a dream after all…
But did I really believe that? This wasn't the first dream in the past week that I'd woken up from like that, completely disoriented and crying out my best friend's name. That was odd too… what did he have to do with my nightmares?
Sighing and shaking these confusing thoughts out of my head, I looked down, realizing where exactly I was. It definitely wasn't my bed, of that I was certain. I frowned. How exactly did I get here…?
My gaze dropped to the desk in front of me, locking onto the notebook. Oh, right! I'd been writing that journal entry last night… I must have fallen asleep in the chair…
Slightly embarrassed, I stretched out and frowned, noting how tired I still felt. I suppose I had stayed up pretty late last night, mainly because I was finishing that sailcloth–
That's when the memories came flooding back, and I remembered what today was.
The Wing Ceremony!
Equal parts excitement and anxiety coursed through my body. It's funny, I mused. I wasn't even going to be flying in the ceremony, yet I was probably just as apprehensive as any of the contestants today.
After all, it wasn't everyday that you had to dress up as the Goddess of Skyloft and perform a sacred ritual.
And on top of it all, I was really concerned about who the victor might be.
This day would determine the future for the four fliers today. The winner would graduate to the senior class early, while the other three participants would be held back and would have to go through all the tests and exams before they could move on. It was an incredible honor if you were accepted by the ceremony – after all, you only had once in your life to try. Usually it was only the students that won the Wing Ceremony who were promoted to full knighthood, which was the highest position that one could have in Skyloft.
I was nervous about Link, though. This was his chance… and it frustrated me how carefree he was acting about it. He'd hardly practiced at all, and the few times he did were only at my insistence. I mean, he probably wouldn't even wake up this morning if I didn't send my Loftwing.
I sighed. Yeah… I probably should start writing the letter that would wake him up. I'd already decided last night what I would say, so it couldn't be too hard to put on paper.
It felt like I'd only just started to write when a knock sounded on my door. It was gentle enough, but I was so startled that I nearly fell out of the chair.
"Zelda?" a familiar voice called softly. "Are you awake, my dear?"
Relief washed through me. It was just my father. I'd feared it was one of the boys from the academy, and I really didn't care much for letting them see me in my nightgown (which I'd managed to put on last night just before writing the journal, apparently).
"Yes, father. Hang on…" After repositioning myself in the chair and hurriedly scribbling my signature onto the note, I rushed to the door, unlocking it to allow him inside.
Gaepora, headmaster of Skyloft's Knight Academy but more commonly known to me as "father", entered with a bundle of clothes in his arms. "And how are you, my beautiful daughter? Did you sleep well?"
I hesitated for only a brief moment. Should I tell him about the dream…?
"I'm… great, father," I responded as brightly as I could. "I slept very well."
He frowned and I held my breath. Could he tell…?
"All right…" he said slowly. "Are you sure there's nothing you need to tell me?"
"Nothing at all," I chirped, keeping my smile firmly in place. "So, what about the Wing Ceremony today? I can't believe it's finally here!" My attempt to change the subject was sad at best.
"Yes… it is indeed odd, isn't it? After all that waiting for the day, and all the training the competitors have done…"
"Or lack of training in Link's case," I sighed.
"Oh, don't worry, my princess," he replied fondly, using the nickname I'd had as a child. "You know that no amount of training could ever come close to matching the bond that boy has with his Loftwing. They will win."
"We don't know that for sure," I murmured. "Anything could happen. Groose and those other boys have put a lot of work into preparing for this…"
The two of us sat in silence. My father wasn't entirely sure what to tell me. He couldn't deny that Link's failure was a possibility.
"Well…" He held out the garments he held. "You left these in my room. I'm afraid you'll have to wear them for the remainder of the day."
I took them from him and unfolded them, letting them fall down to the floor. I smiled at my handiwork. Like the sailcloth, I'd had to make this myself, spending long hours sewing together pieces of cloth and fretting over every stitch. It was a relatively simple dress, pink in color, falling just below my knees. It had long sleeves and a piece of blue cloth embroidered with the symbol of the Goddess hanging on the left side. A long gold chain had also been halfheartedly attached to the side, just as a final representation of the Goddess's holiness and purity.
"It's beautiful," my father said appreciatively. "You did a fine job."
"Thank you," I answered, also quite proud of my work. It was probably the most complicated piece of clothing I'd ever worn, and I'd made it all on my own, without any help. It was quite an accomplishment for me.
"I'll leave you now so that you can prepare for the ceremony. You remember what to do, right?"
"Of course," I scoffed. I'd gone over the ceremony so many times in the past few days that it was forever seared into my mind. I'd probably remember the ancient words of the Goddess for the rest of my life. And that song… oh my Goddess, I'd played it so many times, for hours upon hours until my fingers felt like they were tearing open with each pluck. There were many times when, no matter how sacred the Goddess's Harp was, I wanted to throw it at a wall in frustration.
My father left the room after that, instructing me to meet him at the Statue of the Goddess later, and I immediately grabbed the clothes and started changing.
Though the Wing Ceremony itself was only twenty-five years old, most of the practices in it came from a much older week-long festival, created by the first inhabitants of Skyloft to honor the Goddess. Due to its heavy cost on our resources, the festivities were cut short and transformed into a smaller – but still just as important – ceremony related to the Knight Academy. Many of the traditions from the original festival were still practiced today, including having a young maiden dress as the Goddess and perform the rituals in her stead. All of these thoughts ran through my mind as I fit the dress over top of me, letting it fall over my body. Smoothing out the skirt, I stared at my reflection in the mirror and smiled. I kind of did look like a goddess…
I leaned closer to do up my hair into its usual style. When I was satisfied, I turned and began to leave… but halted when my hand touched the knob.
What about the sailcloth?
I looked at the cloth object that I'd worked so hard on. I didn't really want to carry it around. That would spoil the surprise anyway. However, I wasn't certain I'd be coming back to my room later today to fetch it.
As I slung it over my shoulder, planning to store it somewhere near the statue, a burst of inspiration struck me. Swiftly draping the sailcloth over both my shoulders, I grabbed both corners and pulled them under my arms, finally typing it into a knot behind my back. It fit surprisingly well around me. I smiled at my reflection.
Now I was ready.
Five minutes later I arrived at the Goddess Statue. Pausing to drop off Mia, my father's and my pet Remlit, with Instructor Horwell, had taken some time, but now I was here.
"Zelda!" I turned at the sound of my name to find my beaming father approaching. In his hand was the sacred instrument I'd be using today – the Goddess's Harp.
"You look like a goddess," he complimented warmly, and I shyly returned the smile. "Here you are, my princess. Be careful with it. The ceremony begins in two hours. If you're planning on practicing at all, you should start now."
I nodded, reverently taking the instrument and cradling it in my arms.
"I need to go and take care of some last minute arrangements, so I'll just leave you to your duties." I watched as he turned and headed away from the statue, leaving me all alone.
The air was quiet, the only sound being the wind rustling the tree branches. It really was a beautiful day – not too warm, nor too cold, and with a slight but not obnoxious breeze that made my hair and skirt sway.
I took in a deep breath, enjoying this brief moment that I had to myself. Finally, the promise I'd made in my journal last night came back to me. I didn't want Link to lose… so I'd just wake him up early to make sure he'd practice.
But… I really should work on my song. What if I messed it up? It was such a sacred ritual – the Goddess might get angry!
Deciding that just a few times couldn't hurt, I repositioned the harp on my shoulder and experimentally strummed a chord. The soft, clear sound reverberated around me, temporarily soothing my worries. Eagerly, I began to play the sacred song. It wasn't long before I was lost in the music, the mellifluous notes ringing through the area. Almost subconsciously I started singing the words – something I wouldn't do in the ceremony, but purely for my own enjoyment. My mother used to sing this song to me when I was little; the lyrics were permanently stored into memory.
A flutter of wings jolted me back to the present, causing the song to die off and the harp's notes to fade. I grinned lightly, already knowing who it was without needing to turn around. A Loftwing and its owner had a strong, unbreakable bond; I could easily sense the familiar presence of my bird.
"Hello, friend," I murmured, turning to stroke his feathers. He screeched happily. I withdrew the letter I'd wrote for Link and held it up. He seemed to sigh playfully, eyeing me wearily as if to say, Do I have to?
"Come on," I coaxed. "It's not that hard! Just one letter. That's it."
Huffing indignantly, he took the letter in his mouth. Through our bond I could sense his affection. Giving him a loving pat on the back, I mentally urged him to deliver the letter, and he gladly obliged, eager to take to the skies once more. I watched him flap his wings and lift off the ground, soaring into the sky with speed and grace no human could ever hope to match. After circling twice, he sped off back toward the Academy.
Link would probably be arriving soon, and once he did, I'd make sure he practiced… which meant I wouldn't have much more time to practice my own duties. With a small huff of air, I started playing again.
I was so lost in the song that I didn't even notice his entry at first. Only after I trailed off into silence again did I realize someone was behind me. I glanced over my shoulder and my face instantly brightened.
"Link! Good morning!"
"Hey, Zelda," he called cheerfully, crossing the area to stand in front of me.
"What took you so long?" I teased. "Decided to sleep in a little longer? Or could my Loftwing not wake you up again?"
"No… your Loftwing did his job very well, thank you very much. You know, there's nothing like waking up to having a letter thrown into your face. Goddess, the amount of paper cuts I've gotten on my face is ridiculous. No one should get paper cuts on their face." I laughed, and he scowled at me. "It's not funny, Zel. Besides, I probably would have gotten up on my own soon enough. I wouldn't have been able to fall asleep again after…" His voice trailed off.
Concerned, I prompted, "After what?"
He hesitated for a second longer before shaking his head. "Oh, nothing. Just a dream. So… what are you doing?"
His attempt to change the subject did not go unnoticed, but I let it slide. He'd probably tell me later if it was important. The only thing that unnerved me was how similar this was to earlier this morning, when I'd avoided telling my father about my own dream. I wonder… did he have creepy voices asking who he truly was in his dreams? Maybe I wasn't alone… but what kind of coincidence was that?
Suddenly realizing that I still hadn't answered his question, I replied, "I was working on my song for the Wing Ceremony. I can't afford any mistakes. I'm the Goddess, after all!" I paused. "Oh, that reminds me. What do you think of this outfit? I made it myself to resemble the Goddess!"
"You look beautiful, Zelda," he said with absolute sincerity. I felt a surge of warmth toward him. For some reason, when other people said that I was pretty, it just felt empty. Only Link really made me feel beautiful with his words.
"Thank you," I managed to say, before a deeper voice sounded from behind my friend.
"Ah, good to see you up and about, Link!" We both looked over his shoulder to see my father striding toward us.
Link nodded respectfully. "Good morning, Headmaster Gaepora."
"And Zelda," he said, directing his gaze at me, "how are you doing with the ceremony preparations?"
"Trust me, Father, I've got this song totally memorized," I assured him, readjusting the harp in my arms.
"Good." He looked to Link. "Can I assume the same for you, Link? You're ready for the competition?"
It was easy to hear the amusement in my father's voice – everyone knew that, gifted as he was, Link had a tendency to not be the hardest worker, and he'd hardly practiced at all. Avoiding my accusingly expectant gaze, Link replied, "Um… maybe?"
As my father sighed and shook his head, I finally decided to inform him of the real reason I'd woken him up. "Link! You're not ready and you know it!" He grimaced at my words, and I felt a bit bad for behind so harsh, but I wouldn't stop now. Maybe I'd finally get through to him. "Look, you need to go practice. Right now. If you don't win… we won't be able to do the ceremony together! I'd hate to do it with any of those other boys…" I scowled in disdain at the thought of performing the ritual with someone like Groose. Everyone knew that he'd had a major crush on me since we were children, but he was such a jerk… I didn't like him in the least, romantically or otherwise. Struggling to get my thoughts back on track, I declared, "So… let's go practice. Now."
Link's eyes widened. "Now? But–"
"You want to win, don't you?"
"Then come on!" I grabbed his wrist and pulled him toward the diving platform.
"Zelda," my father said, a bit hesitant since he knew how obstinate I could be when I was determined. "You really should calm down. You know that Link and his Loftwing have an unnaturally strong bond – he's not an amateur."
It was true. I recalled the day that we received our Loftwings. Despite his nervousness, a very special bird appeared before Link: a Crimson Loftwing, a breed so rare we'd thought them extinct. Then he climbed on and effortlessly flew away. I'd been overcome with envy that day… as pretty much everyone was. That's when the bullying had started…
But… even though there was no denying Link's skill, everyone needed to practice.
So, ignoring my father, I dragged a very unenthusiastic Link to the platform and pulled him forward.
"All right, Link. Jump off and call your bird."
"N-no, Zelda, wait…"
"Come on!" I pushed him farther so he was balancing precariously on the edge. "What's the problem? Gods, Link, I know you don't want to practice but is it really this important? Did you forget how to call your Loftwing or something stupid like that?"
I looked into his eyes and I was surprised to find fear there. "Zel… I can't sense my Loftwing…"
I paused for a second, examining his terrified expression. Then I scoffed, "Oh, I get it. You're trying to get out of this, aren't you? Nice try, but excuses aren't going to work this time."
"I'm being serious!"
I was beyond listening. Without further words I gave him a shove and he lost his balance and fell off the cliff, tumbling into the sky.
I watched his form slowly make its way toward the cloud cover. Why was he waiting so long to call his bird? "Now, Link! Call your Loftwing!"
At last he did. His whistle sounded loudly, and he looked around for his Loftwing.
But it didn't come.
Anxiously, I scanned the skies, searching for any sign of the bright red streak commonly associated with his bird. I mean, it couldn't be hard to miss right?
There was nothing.
"Something is wrong…" My father voiced my concerns, coming to stand behind me. "It never takes a bird this long to arrive…"
An overwhelming sense of urgency washed through me, and all of a sudden I knew what to do.
Without consulting my father, I took three big steps backward and then sprinted forward and dove off the cliff. I heard my father yell something in surprise, but the rushing wind drowned him out. I quickly whistled and immediately my Loftwing was beneath me, and we were diving toward Link.
Though it only last seconds, it felt like forever before my Loftwing grasped Link in his talons and slowed his fall. He struggled to carry Link's extra weight – a struggle that I, too, experienced through our mental connection. After an agonizing period of time, we finally landed on Skyloft in a less than graceful manner, sliding to a stop. I fell off my bird due to the impact, and both Link and I rolled onto the ground.
A moment of silence followed, and in that brief time I could only hear the blood rushing through my ears and my own heartbeat.
Remembering the strain my Loftwing had gone through and sensing his pain, I swiftly crawled to his side. I tenderly stroked his feathers as he caught his breath. I took a glance at Link, who, similar to my bird, was panting heavily.
A pang of guilt coursed through me. This was all my fault…
"This is very foreboding indeed," my father said, sadly observing us as we recovered. "For a Loftwing to ignore the call of its master… it's unheard of!"
"Something might have happened…" I murmured uneasily. I shook my head, gazing guiltily at Link. "Link, I… I know you told me you couldn't sense your bird and… I should have believed you. I'm sorry. Please, forgive me…"
He sent me a small smile. "It's alright. It did sound like an excuse I'd use…" His expression darkened. "I'm more worried about what happened to my Loftwing…"
A sudden thought struck me. "Link! If you don't find your Loftwing, how will you compete today?"
His eyes widened. "You're right! I have to–"
He was interrupted by the sound of a bell ringing. We exchanged panicked looks.
"That was the bell signaling to meet in the plaza! The ceremony's going to start! How can we–"
"Calm down, Zelda," my father rumbled. We both looked at him in surprise, having forgotten he was there. "Link can go tell Instructor Horwell about his situation, and perhaps he can postpone the ceremony."
I snorted. "Father, you're the headmaster. Won't the instructor just come and talk to you?"
He smiled. "Ah, I suppose you're right." He gave Link a stern look. "Go on up ahead and tell the instructor what happened anyway. I'll talk to him in a moment. First…" His gaze dropped to my Loftwing, who was still breathing hard. My heart broke just staring at the hurt creature.
"I understand." Link nodded solemnly before swiftly running in the direction of the Academy.
Once he was out of sight, my father murmured, "Is your Loftwing injured?"
I shook my head. "I don't think so. I sense pain from him, but it's nothing serious."
"I suggest you fetch some Mushroom Spores anyway. It will give him his strength back, and it would be good to have some eyes in the sky as we search."
I sighed. "Right…" I looked up at him. "Father… what could have happened? Where could a bird that big have disappeared to?"
A hint of worry crept into his expression, something I rarely saw from him. It only added to my own building sense of dread.
"I honestly don't know, Zelda. I just don't know…"
A/N: So there you have it. First chapter. Yay.
Um, I guess I'll mention that I noticed there was already a story similar to this: SS from Zelda's PoV. I was really disappointed when I found that. Luckily, from what I read (I didn't read it all for fear of subconsciously copying) mine's a bit different. I'm rewriting most of the cutscenes and changing things. I also added a bit of background to the ceremony (which I hope didn't seem out of place; it fit well into my original version of this, but once I started editing, I had to take one part out, but I still wanted that background in... so yeah...).
Hope you enjoyed it! I'm sorry that there wasn't much in this chapter - I'm afraid that my Zelda might not make it to the surface until chapter four. I hope that doesn't scare you away. Besides that, did you like it? Leave a review and let me know!
Now I've got to start working on Shards of Time again... or even TTosW...