Dark by S. Park
Part twenty One Hundred Years of Songs
It was a bright, sunny day.
I had the urge to get out my ocarina, that had been his once, and play the Song of Storms. It seemed wrong that the sun should shine so brightly on a day like this. It should be raining. The sky should be mourning with me. Everyone should be mourning with me. But there were only a handful of us there to watch the Hero of Time laid in his final resting place.
They had built him a mausoleum worthy of a king. Even if most didn't remember, those of us who did had insisted on it. It stood next to the smaller one where Zelda lay. They had been close, though in a different way than he and I. It was fitting that they lie together.
And I should have been there too. I didn't know why I wasn't. That a shadow could outlive the one who cast it seemed both impossible and cruel, but I was here all the same, standing next to those few of his friends who remained.
Though now the ceremony was over, and they too were turning to leave. I couldn't. I could only stand numbly, staring at the Triforce they'd carved on the mausoleum, with his name beneath it.
"Dark? Are you going to be all right?"
I looked down at Saria. She looked the same as always, like a child of no more than twelve, though she was far, far older than that. I was older than I looked as well...
"I don't know. I thought... I mean... I knew something strange was going on when I didn't age like he did, Saria. But I always thought that when he died I'd go with him. I'm his shadow. I've always been his shadow. How can a shadow exist with nothing to cast it?"
She reached up and took my hand. "You're yourself, Dark. You were his shadow, but you've become much more."
"I still shouldn't be here. I should be in there, with him."
"Maybe you're still here for a reason."
"What reason could there possibly be for me to live on, alone?" I felt tears gathering in my eyes. I wasn't sure I could face a life without him. And how long of a life would it be? I still looked seventeen, just as I had on the day I was created. How much longer would I live? How could the Goddesses allow me to live for an eternity, alone?
"Dark..." Saria was silent for a long time, then she finally said, "He wasn't the first, you know."
I looked down at her with blank incomprehension. "What are you talking about?"
"Link. He wasn't the first legendary hero to use the Master Sword. There have been others. There will be others in the future. Hyrule's history repeats itself in an endless cycle. You know that Hyrule's princesses are often named Zelda. But there's a deeper truth than that. Those princesses sometimes are Zelda. The same soul, born again when Hyrule needs her strength. And not just Zelda. The Hero is always the same Hero. Just as Ganondorf still lives, sealed away, in a way they both still live too. They'll return when their kingdom needs them. And so..."
"I see." I considered this. I had known there had been past heroes. Had they all really been Link, my Link? The last wielder of the Master Sword had been so long ago that history didn't record his name. Which brought another thought to my mind. "How long then? How long will it be until Ganondorf awakes, and Link and Zelda are born again?"
Saria shook her head. "I don't know. Not soon, the seals that hold him are strong."
I sighed. "So I can hope, perhaps, to see Link again, but not for centuries, is that it?"
She squeezed my hand gently. "The fates are not so cruel as that, Dark. Yes it will be centuries, but you don't need to live them out alone. You too can sleep. In the sacred realm, sealed away to sleep until Link is reborn. We are all your friends, we sages. We can do that much for you. "
Some of the despair that had gripped me at the thought of hundreds of years alone eased. "Thank you," I said.
"Understand, Dark, that when he's born again Link won't remember you. He'll be the same soul, but a different person. He won't love you right away. He may never love you."
"But I can be there for him, to help him. If he's reborn when Ganondorf is freed he'll need that."
"Then that will be enough."
The green-clad young man takes a deep breath as he faces the portal. He doesn't know where it will lead, but he hopes it will aid him in his quest. He is afraid, but his courage is strong enough to overcome fear. So he steps through.
On the other side the world is both like and unlike that which he just left. He is still high atop a mountain's slopes. The land around him is still stony and barren. But the color of the earth is subtly different. It's somehow sickly, as though the ground itself were poisoned. And the sky above looks sick as well, hazy and brown rather than clear and blue. There are a few strange plants, unnatural purple rather than healthy green.
With a yelp the youth realizes that he too has been altered. His hands are no longer hands but paws, unsuited to using the sword he has come to depend on. They're covered in pink fur. He has a moment of panic, but he calms himself. Looking around he can see no enemies. He is in no danger for now.
The youth jumps and spins around. Standing where a moment ago he knows there was nothing is a man. He is young too, though he seems to be a few years older and some inches taller than the youth who faces him. His hair is jet black, his eyes are red. He is dressed in a black tunic, and carries a sword and shield slung over his back.
"Who are you?"
He smiles. "My name is Dark. And you are Link."
"Yes," says the youth suspiciously. Unspoken is the question, how does this stranger know who he is?
"I've been waiting for you for a long time."
"Yes. I'm a friend, Link. I've watched you as you've grown, though I could never come to your world. The seal that separates light and dark keeps me here. But that seal may soon be broken."
"Aghanim." The boy speaks the name darkly.
The stranger nods. "He is my enemy as much as he is yours. I'll help you in your quest any way that I can. Though while the seal stands my help is limited. For now I can tell you that you'll need to obtain the moon pearl, so you can remain yourself and able to fight."
The boy looks the stranger up and down. "You seem to have one. Can you give it to me?"
"I have none to give. I remain myself because the dark world is my home. But the castle you seek contains one. Return to the light world, continue with your quest. When next you visit the dark world I'll be there to aid you."
"How do I get back?"
"The mirror you carry will take you back."
The boy nods, and pulls out the magical item. Then he pauses. He looks at the stranger, who is somehow familiar, despite the fact that the boy knows they have never met. He starts to say something, pauses, and then finally says, "Thank you."
And then the mirror's magic takes him away, and the stranger is left standing alone.
"Good luck Link," he says softly. He wipes a hint of moisture from his eyes, but he is smiling. The hero has returned, and once again, soon, his shadow will fight by his side.
Author's note: It's done. Thank you all VERY much for reading this far! I appreciate all my readers, and every review I get. (Especially the ones that like it. :D )
There will *maybe* be a sequel. It kind of depends. I'm actually back to working on some ponyfic right now, and there's a few other things on the table before I get back to this, but I have some ideas. (I might have to play through Link to the Past first as well, if you can't tell that's when I'm thinking of putting the next tale.)
Anyway, it's been fun.