I do not own Legend of Zelda. Small note, this is my thirtieth fic published here on FF.N. Thank you all for reading my fictions. I am sorry that I have so many that are unfinished. I am working on them, have no fear! I have not abandoned any fictions save for my House fictions. Everything else, though, will be continuing. Do not lose hope! Your favorite stories will come to a close sometime soon! Thank you all for reading, reviewing, and sticking with me through thirty fictions. I am sorry that my fandoms vary so widely. I do hope that you have enjoyed what I have written here, and enjoy what is to come in the future. Happy 2012.
Rusl knew Uli would kill him. Supplies were low, the snow was coming down blizzard after blizzard, and they had just had their first child. Oooooh, Uli was going to murder him the second he stepped foot in the door. The last thing they could do was afford to feed another mouth. But Rusl was a good man. He couldn't just leave the child there. He looked to be about eight, ten if he was on the short side (Rusl settled on a nice medium of nine.) The poor boy was so bad off that if it hadn't been for the slender fingers poking out from under the snow bank Rusl would have missed him until the spring thaw; an eternity too late by then.
Rusl had been sent to Castle Town, to the market, in search of any food that could be bought for the village of Ordon. After a peaceful summer, and a warm autumn, the winter had been unexpectedly harsh. Crops that were plated late in hopes of a long season were thrashed, the springs and water ways that were the lifeblood of the simple goat people had frozen so thick that Rusl's sword and Bo's strength were unable to pierce through to the slowly flowing liquid beneath. Every house had a cauldron full of ice, slowly melting over fires that barely kept their houses warm enough to bring comfort. What they had set to dry from their harvests had started to go foul; the snows had arrived entirely too soon and nothing had finished the process of preservation.
With a wagon empty, Rusl crossed the frozen earth of Hyrule Field on foot, hoping that he'd come home to find everyone still alive. The trek had been long, cold, and hopeless. But once the cart was full of cheese, meat, breads of all kinds, and even a few trinkets for the few children that were in town, Rusl was able to see the light of spring at the end of winter's tunnel.
He had just crossed the bridge, on his way to the spring when he saw them. Four long fingers peeking out from under a mound of snow. Fingers… Rusl ditched his cart, digging frantically to find the owner of said fingers. In his mind all he could see was Uli under the snow, waiting for him to return. As the arm appeared, far too short to be his wife's, Rusl felt a wave of relief wash over him. Uli was safe. Colin was safe. They were in the village, not buried under the unforgiving snow. And then guilt sat in the pit of his gut. He was celebrating that his loved ones were alright while the child still lay under the frozen blanket. Grateful for the short respite in snowfall, Rusl continued to dig until the boy was uncovered.
A child, a boy, was what he found. Eight, maybe nine, years of age. He was filthy, covered in grime ranging from dirt to blood. He was badly beaten, Rusl didn't think there was an inch of skin that wasn't bruised a horrendous shade of purple-black. What was untouched was pale, splashed with a hint of blue from the frozen coffin he had just been dug out of. Thin as a rail, the boy clearly hadn't seen a decent meal in months. And he was bare of any clothing. Why, how, WHO would let a child be in a blizzard without any clothing? How had he become so badly injured? Rusl was in shock, questions pounding through his mind as he sat for some time trying to decide what to do with his discovery. He couldn't leave the boy in the shape he was. But he couldn't take him home either; Uli and he just had a child. Colin was only a few months old, and they both had their hands full trying to raise him on so little food and warmth.
In the end, Rusl's kind heart won over his wife's predicted anger. Touching the boy's wrist, Rusl found what he expected; not an ounce of warmth was to be found, and no pulse to tell if he were alive or dead. So he laid his head on the child's back, listening hard. There was a heartbeat, but it was faint and dwindling quickly.
Scooping the frozen body from the remaining snow, Rusl dug out a blanket from his purchases from the city, wrapping the child tightly. And just in time. The blizzards that had been plaguing their quiet lives was rearing its head again, sending the first flakes to the ground once more.
"Uli, darling." Rusl poked his head through the door of his house, catching sight of his young wife. They were a new couple, just barely a year and a half after they had been married. Rusl had quit his adventuring to settle down with the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and start a family. Ordon needed him after all. "I need you to see something." Uli, exhausted from days of little sleep caring for her son, sighed heavily before returning Colin to his crib. If Rusl wasted their money on a necklace for her instead of food for their family there would be hell to pay. Drawing a thick jacket around her shoulders, she exited quickly in an attempt to keep what little warmth the house had inside.
"What is it Rusl. There had better be food in that cart of yours."
"Uli, dearest. Please do not be angry with me." Oh those were words of warning, already bells were going off in her ears. "I know we don't have much food, or room. But I couldn't just leave him there!"
Him? Confused, and slightly curious, Uli stepped away from her door, into the falling snow, and closer to the cart that Rusl had pulled a bundle of blankets out of. He knelt before her, unwrapping one end. Her soft gasp was all he needed to hear. She wouldn't be angry with him any longer. Uli was too kind for her own good sometimes too.
"What happened to him?"
"I don't know for sure. But he's frozen, and needs our help."
"Inside." That was all the prompting he needed. Rusl held the door for his wife before following her, setting the child beside the fire.
"I have to get the cart to Bo. And we'll need him. Stay here, I'll return." Uli nodded at her husband's words, unwrapping the child and setting to work gathering dry blankets and towels with which to dry and warm him. She didn't even notice the chill as the door opened and closed behind Rusl. It was going to be a long night, but she could feel in her heart the reward would outweigh the temporary discomfort that came from a night of no sleep.