"Sheik." She felt her voice crack on the word. He was nothing more than a ghost, an image of once was. She wanted to reach out, cup his face in her hand-but it was impossible, so she refrained.
"Impa. You survived." His voice was merely a fragment of what it once was. It held little strength of wisdom. He wasn't the same, not to her.
"I am the last. My survival means nothing. Not in comparison to the deaths of our people." He shook his head.
"You do not believe that. At least, the old you would not. Have you changed, Impa? Have you moved on from your adolescence? You were innocent once. I remember it well." She felt her forehead wrinkle.
"I can not remember it." Her voice was broken. Beside her, a young woman shivered. The air felt cold around the two Sheikah, like a frigid winter.
"That is sad for me to know. You were the brightest of the group. After all, you were the one who shoved that dagger into my heart when you were barely past childhood. Tell me-was my blood warm beneath your fingers? Did you feel the shadows wrap around you? Because I heard their voices. They were singing, Impa."
The girl next to her looked up, but she avoided her eyes. She couldn't bear it. The memories were locked away because she hated them, couldn't handle the pain or suffering they caused her heart. She looked at him, her lips twisted downward in a small frown.
"I was not the brightest. I was the quickest. There is a difference, Sheik." He laughed, the sound resembling wind chimes and grating metal. An odd combination, but it fit him well. She watched his eyes, so empty, relight with a fire she had seen only once before.
"Exactly. Modest, thoughtful, witty- you were the best of us, Impa. Always the first to start, always the first to finish. You trained when you were supposed to be bathing, you spoke when you were supposed to stay silent. Especially with me. You were revolted when you met me- do you remember? You objected to even consider taking me as your spouse."
The girl sucked in, watching the red eyed woman. She ignored the look. The blue eyes could pry truth from her very soul. Truths which she hated and loved and cherished and threw away.
"I did not come hereto reminisce, Sheik." He rolled his eyes.
"You always stored away the truth well. Sheikah values are based upon honesty, but you could lie easily. The words still flow off you tongue. You wanted to see me, after all these years. You want to hold me, and say you're sorry. We both know I was not the traitor, but you refused to acknowledge the fact when you took on that mission. You succeeded in ending my life. But did you succeed in ending my memory?"
She knew he was trying to get some real emotion out of her. She had tried to be polite, but he was twisting it, and her heart. Inside her lay a mangled mass that she wished would go away.
But he was always the type to poke and prod until someone broke his fingers and taped his mouth shut. Even then, he would not stay silent for long. She wanted, wanted to hate him, hate herself, hate everything. But the girl by her side kept her going.
Love kept her burning, an eternal flame.
"I came to see what you looked like. Memory is not the best thing to rely on in these matters. Her Grace will become you to serve her people and her Hero. A war is upon us, and now is the time to act."
He sighed, the sound barely registering in her ears. She could literally see through his ghostly form, but somehow she couldn't. She couldn't see what he was thinking.
"Of course, Impa. I suppose seeing you again in this forsaken world has sparked that firework within me again, yes? Hopefully she can play my role. The harp is buried beneath my grave, if you so desire it's use. You do not have to return it. Consider it a gift from a friend." She leaned down, brushing away the dirt from the tombstone. She wasn't going to dig it up just yet though.
"I am sorry. Terribly, dreadfully sorry that this happened." He waved a hand, smiling. She was confused inside, her mind and heart and soul no longer synchronized. But he knew it would be healed when the blood of war seeped into the dirt, creating red mud. She would be reborn with the battle cries and screams of agony.
She was a Sheikah.
Sheikah belong with the shadows, where the flourish in the midst of hate and pain and bloodlust. That is what had gotten him killed- revealing that. Because they were supposed to be protectors, not assassins and murders.
Only he and Impa knew better than to believe the traditions and lies that were spit from their Elders mouths.
"I know. You must hurry." He turned to the girl as Impa began to claw through the grave, searching for the musical instrument. Her long, flowing blonde hair was greasy, her eyes dull, around them red and puffy from crying. He grimaced.
"What is your name, child?" She looked fearful. Bu answered regardless.
"I am Zelda. Former Princess of Hyrule." She said her titles with bitterness. A fallen royal. Of course, Impa would fall for one for unattainable. He pointed at the turned Sheikah warrior, watching as Zelda's gaze followed his finger.
"Listen, Zelda. Soon, you will be known as me, Sheik, a man who's eyes are hard and heart is kind. You will feel blood on your hands, taste bile in your throat, and see death on your hands." She nodded, as if she understood. He knew she did not. "This will hurt Impa more than you will ever know. She is a rare find, a beautiful flower blooming only in the night. You do not comprehend this now, and you may never."
She opened her mouth to object, but her held up a hand. "Your Wisdom will only go so far. She knows this, more so than you, who holds it. Don't let her actions go to waste, lest I haunt you. Her love is rarely given. And if you destroy it, I will haunt you for eternity. That is the curse and blessing placed on you."
He watched her mind turning, but she would not figure it out. Impa stood, the golden harp held in her hand. He smiled one last time at her, bowing.
"This is a final goodbye then, Impa."
"Yes, Sheik. Thank you. Is there any thing else you would like to say?" She bit her lip, and he turned away, sulking back to his grave. As he exited her sight, he called back.
"Unrequited love is your specialty, Impa! She is just another example. You waste time."
Zelda watched her guardian stand, her face impassive. The girl tugged on her arm.
"What did he mean?" Impa shook her head, grabbing the girl's hand.
"It matters not."
But it did. He had told her what she had loathed all along. She was a failure, a contradiction in the flesh that refused to give up. She was jealous of him, having death as an escape. He knew her better than she knew herself.
However, that didn't stop her from walking away. He couldn't love her. Understand, maybe, but not offer his heart like she wanted. However, she knew the truth of it.
A dead man is not a suitable mate.
But neither was a dethroned Princess.