Apparently I have some readers who are very angry with me for making a Midna villain. I just have to say, if you don't like it, just don't read it. Though I am thankful for your reviews nonetheless, but really, my goodness, people.
Now, to eat spaghetti and pretend that I have five feet of snow outside and an M&M stuck up my nose-green, of course.
Chapter 1: In Feathers and Dew
She came to him bathed in moonlight. Her hair and feathers glowed in the night like the white mane of Epona. Feathers. Even as he looked at her he couldn't tell why he saw feathers, for everything held a dream-like blur that fuzzed over his vision. Now and then he'd see splotches of clearness: a shifting branch; curved, petite lips, and once the familiar tinkling of spring water.
Her soft, ringing voice carried over to him in words he couldn't understand. They were ancient words. Nevertheless, their music vibrated something deep and wild within him.
"Who are you?"
The sound of his own voice startled him awake and he lay there blinking in confusion. The grey light of dawn filled his room. For a minute he didn't move and simply listened to the fire crackling in the corner as he gathered his thoughts. What a strange dream. Not that he wasn't use to strange dreams. Being the chosen hero warranted plenty of those.
Thus, he ignored it, and turned over to get some more sleep before-
"Rise and shine, Link! There's some goats that need'a milk'n! You know the drill!"
He groaned again, this time louder hoping his boss would hear. Sadly, he didn't, but kept shouting up at him.
"You're a grown man, kid! It's time to start acting like one, and that includes waking up on your own!"
Apparently, saving the world didn't count for 'acting like an adult.' He rubbed his palms hard over his eyes, feeling every bit of grit.
"I'm coming, I'm coming." he yelled out his window. Down below at the foot of his tree house stood a rustic, grizzled man wearing a matching frown.
"Good. I'll be back at the ranch. I better see you in ten minutes, got that?"
"What was that?!"
"I said I'll be there!"
Rolling out of bed (more like oozing like a chu-chu), Link, savior of Hyrule and chosen hero of the gods, flopped to the floor in his underwear. Still digging his palms into his eyes in attempts to rub the fuzz from them, he felt his way to the ladder and climbed down to the rest of the den. With a yawn he dropped his hands and begun searching for his clothes.
"I still don't get why the stupid goats can't wait," he grumbled, "I doubt they'd be against getting a few more hours of sleep themselves."
Not that he would know. Right? The thought made him chuckle and yet sad at the same time. Shaking off the memories of paws, fur, and the titter of animal voices, he tied on his girdle and begun the quest for his boots. It had been an entire year since he had last been a wolf as well as seen one of his strangest, yet best friends. He shook the thoughts from his head before they got any farther. It would be a shame to start an already groggy day with a depression.
Epona nickered at him when he dropped down from his house. A hunk of cheese stuck out of his mouth. Her attention, however, was to the apple in his hand.
"Here you go, buddy. Breakfast" he proffered the apple to her, which she munched up in one gulp. As he picked up his saddle and begun tightening it about her, his eyes spotted her white mane and tail. Briefly, he wondered to the moonlit creature of his dreams. He then wondered why, though his adventure had long ago ended, did he still feel uncompleted? Like…there was still something left for him to do. The itch made it difficult for him to find sleep at night, which was part of the reason waking up in the morning was such a chore now a days. It would eventually go away, he knew, for he had figured the affect of facing up against nightmarish creatures just lingered longer then he supposed.
Tugging the last strap, he pulled himself onto his horse.
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In the lingering moments of morning twilight, where the darkness meets the light, a white blur dashed through the forest. Needles and bark rained to the ground behind it just to be swept aside by black pursuers. A lone squirrel dropped its nut as the pursuit flashed by. It blinked. Then cursed in whatever language squirrels had and gave chase after the plump acorn.
No sooner had it touched ground when it felt the earth tremble beneath its paws. It squeaked, fur on end. Goodness, what was happening today? No sooner had it thought this then crashes and strange, unearthly screams shook the forest. Bushes shook, grasses waved, and trees shuddered. When a few sickly trees began to topple, the squirrel screamed and dashed up the tree. Forget the stupid acorn, it was getting out of here! A dozen or so other forest creatures followed suit, scurrying into holes and up their respective trees. Birds twittered in fright.
A deafening silence followed.
After who knows how long (for squirrels don't really have a need to keep track of time passing), the squirrel poked its head out from whatever nick in the tree it had found to hole up and sniffed the air. Yes. Something peculiar was floating on the breeze. A second later it's fluffed up fur quivered up, if possible, even farther as it recognized the smell: blood. The squirrel shivered before climbing higher up the tree. Better not get too close to the ground for today, it figured. It could only pray that its precious nut would still be there by the time everything settled down.
Little did it know that only yards away, surrounded by crushed black bodies, a slender figure with white feathers stumbled to her feet.
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Twilight. He hated this time of day. Everything glowed amber in the newly set sun and the air felt cool with oncoming night. Before him goats got in some last minute grazing. He sighed and turned his attention back to his sketchpad. For the past hour he hadn't been completely aware of what he had been drawing. When he saw the half-formed shape of a dusky woman his stomach twisted violently and he tore the page out. This was the only downside to his job: it gave him too much time to think about her. If she could see how he was now, whew, boy, wouldn't she laugh herself silly. He could almost hear her voice, which still held its impish quality.
'If I had known I had such an effect on you light dwellers, I would have sauntered my sexy self over years ago!'
Yeah yeah. Get over yourself. But of course, then she wouldn't be Midna, now, would she? A familiar ache filled him and he bent his head between his knees. There was still so much he didn't understand about her, even a year later. Like: why had she shattered the mirror of twilight? Even after Zelda gave her little speel about how both their worlds needed each other and all that? But whatever…thinking about it wasn't doing him any good.
Thankfully, Ilia ran up to him just then. He could recognize her footsteps anywhere and was grateful for the distraction from his moping. As he looked up he felt faintly alarmed at her breathlessness.
"Is something up? Why'd you run here?"
She shrugged. "Just felt like running. Father had me stuck in the house all day cleaning up after the Sorens. Din, I can't wait till they have their own stinking house!"
The Sorens were a family of refugees who had come last year to get away from the chaos that was Hyrule. When everything settled down, they had taken a liking to Ordon and had officially decided to settle in. Ilia and her father, having the largest house in the village, offered to house them until they could finish their own home. Annoyingly, though the couple and their four sons were very nice, they were also very…what was the right word?
"The stupid thing would be done by now if they would just get off their butts and get to it! I mean, you'd think with four mostly grown sons they'd have had it done in no time but noooo! Their so Din lazy!"
Ah, that was the word. He had been looking for something more powerful though.
"You did this to yourself, you know."
"Don't start on me, mister."
He smirked. "What was it again that made you so compassionate? Ah yes, 'those thighs'—"
Though he knew it was coming, it didn't make her punch to shoulder any less painful. He laughed anyways. The bright reddening of her face was so worth the pain.
"Shut up," she snapped, "I already told you I don't like Darren. He's a worthless, pathetic, unsanitary, lazy—"
"I said shut up!"
"Those thighs." He wriggled his eyebrows. He couldn't help it. The memory those words brought to him had to be the funniest thing he had ever heard; the uptight, strict, prissy Ilia drooling and praising a man's thighs of all things.
The second punch hurt too.
"For the love of Nayru, when are you going to grow up, Link?"
"Funny you should ask. It seems to be a theme for me today."
She gave a loud, exasperated sigh. "Do you want me to tell you what I came here to say or not?"
"Rusl wanted me to tell you that a message came for you earlier today. He intercepted them close to the edge of the woods and is holding it for you, so head down to his house when you're done for the day."
"Why didn't he just come tell me himself?"
But Ilia didn't answer. For an amusing and frightening moment, he thought she had spontaneously taken a liking to his thighs as well for her attention had gone to something in that area. Before he could properly quip something at her for this, she reached down a picked up a ball of paper.
All his innards froze.
"What's this?" she asked.
"Trash!" he said, a bit too forcefully, and launched for it. With agility he didn't know she possessed, she dodged him. A wicked smile spread across her face.
He tried to get it back, but again she evaded him. Horror came over him as she begun to unfold it.
"Please, Ilia, really, it's-"
"Wow, goodness," her eyes were sparkling. "Who's this babe? I didn't even think you liked women yet, Linky-poo."
He rolled his eyes. "I'm nineteen not ten, and how many times have I begged you not to call me that?"
"Zero. Ever since you brought up Darren's thigh crap."
"How can you expect me not to make fun of that? That was priceless!"
"It didn't happen, that's why."
Her cruel smile gave a twitch. Clearly withholding the urge to punch him again, she waved the picture of Midna from her fingers. Even from the short distance he could see the rolling curves he had drawn for her legs and blushed.
"Just…someone from my travels."
"Just someone from your travels? Really? Come on, she can't just be a random someone, I mean, look at her! Not even I would forget a face like that."
"I don't want to talk about it."
But this just made her more excited.
"Why? Did she dump you?"
"There wasn't anything to be dumped from in the first place. Will you just give me back the picture?"
But that seemed to be all she needed to hear, for she nodded sagely. "I get it. You liked her, didn't you? But she didn't like you."
Without warning he dove out, snapping the picture from her grasp. She may have caught him off guard one time, but he would always have the faster reflexes. She pouted as he stuffed the wad of paper into his shirt.
"Aren't you going to tell me anything?"
"No." he said shortly. In the distance he could see Fado coming over to help usher the goats in for the night. The sky had begun to purple.
Any trace of a smile melted away from Ilia's face. She considered him sadly and he grew uncomfortable. He knew that look. He tried to avoid looking at it by picking up his art supplies and stuffing them into his pack. As he did so, his fingers brushed against the sheath of his goat-horn sword he had brought out of paranoid habit. She also spotted this and her eyebrows furrowed higher.
"I'm worried about you. Ever since you came back you've been…different."
"How could I not be different, Ilia? Honestly, have you ever killed someone?"
She flinched horribly at this, and instantly he felt guilty. He hadn't meant to sound so harsh. He hadn't meant to say those words at all. It had just popped out of him without warning. What had brought that on anyways? When had this conversation turned out so bad?
He tried to give her his most apologetic expression. To this she blinked furiously and looked down.
"You just…you just never really talk to me anymore."
"What do you mean? Of course I do."
"Not like that," she said quickly, "it's just…I don't know what goes on inside your head. You're so closed off. It's like I almost…don't know you anymore. I thought we were best friends."
"Of course we are! Ah, Din, I'm so sorry for what I said. I don't know what came over me."
"It's all right." With a carefully concealed sniff she lifted her head to give him a reassuring smile. "Link, there was…there was something else I wanted to talk to you about."
"Well, we are getting older now. It's been a while since we could really be considered children. Today my father brought this up, and he…" suddenly she blushed, deeper and redder than he could remember. She was looking off to the side to avoid his gaze when she gasped, her eyes widening. At that same moment Fado gave a shout and came in their direction at a run.
Stomach leaping, he instinctively reached for his sword and spun around with a hiss of metal. Goats bleated nervously.
Where the forest met the cliff side hugged by the ranch, a white figure hobbled. For a second he couldn't process what it was he was seeing. He could make out a human-shape, but then what were those white lumps shrouding and morphing around it? Even as he watched the creature stumbled against a tree. He thought he could make out pale arms clinging to it.
"It's hurt!" cried Ilia. Before he had the chance to tell her to be cautious, she dashed forward, meeting up with Fado. Cursing, he ran after them, holding his sword out to the side. Goats fled from before them.
It didn't take him much longer to realize the thing wasn't an 'it', but a she, and found himself slowing down as a shocked twitter shook his frame. It was a young woman, trembling on fawn-like legs-and mostly naked.
Fado staggered to a halt on realizing this as well. But it wasn't the alarming amount of bare skin that had caught his attention.
"Wings." Link heard him breathe.
Sure enough, white wings draped down her back in great feathery cascades down to the forest floor. In the darkening dusk her whiteness seemed to glow. Something tickled in the back of his mind.
Ilia reached her first, but stood frozen to the spot, staring. Link did his best not to stare as well (for a whole other reason than Ilia, for sure), as he took in the damage. Blood trickled down her legs from the remains of a ragged skirt and he could see the gash at her side from whence it came. The fingers clutching the bark were also dyed red with blood. Scratches crisscrossed across her pale, milky skin, and he could already see the beginnings of nasty bruises peppering her arms and torso. As he approached she looked up through a long, messy mane of white hair. He got a glimpse of glassy blue eyes before they rolled to the back of her head and she collapsed to the forest floor in a heap of feathers and limbs. Ilia rushed forward to catch her.
"Don't just stand there gawking, perverts!" she shouted, "Get over here and help me!"
The men snapped back into focus and hesitantly approached the scowling mayor's daughter, with Link sheathing his sword. From behind them a few goats looked on curiously and Epona peered out from around the fence, sniffing the air. The mare shuffled nervously at the scent of blood. Somewhere a few trees a way, a squirrel watched, clutching a fat acorn to its chest. The end of its tail twitched.
Author's Note: for you that know me, I like to update at least once a week. You can expect the next chapter next week. At least, that is what I am going to try to do. Please, give me some reviews on what you think! It's good to know what people think at the beginning of a story. Good research, that is.