Posted on October 26 2018 by Sean Gadus
Warning this story contains mature content. Continue at your own peril…
Meg stared warily at the massive mansion looming ahead of her. The Forest Temple was an enormous stone building, larger than anything she had ever set her eyes on. Part shrine, part house, the temple was an imposing and grand structure; a building destined to be her new home. The temple was constructed from thick, impenetrable gray stone. Even from this distance, Meg could see the razor straight lines and harsh angles where the heavy stones had been intricately laid. In the moonlight, the enormous structure glowed silver. The mammoth structure loomed over their tiny covered wagon as they neared the entrance.
Meg turned her attention back to her family. Her tiny sister Amy was across from her. The girl looked like a permanently wilting flower, almost always on the edge of falling to pieces. Amy had thin green ribbon tied delicately in her hair, the only adornment the young girl cared for. Amy sat rigidly, her delicate hands holding her scrawny knees. Meg could see the dried tears flecked on the girl’s round cheeks.
The twin older sisters Beth and Joelle, Meg’s other two sisters, sat with them in the wagon. These older sisters had identical shoulder length, straight black hair. The twins were seated across from each other, one sat next to Meg, the other sat next to Amy. Meg and Amy had problems telling the twins apart so often that Mama had bought the twins each a special pair of shoes. The shoes were identical, just as the girls were, save for the color. Jo’s shoes were a fiery red while Beth’s were a deep blue color.
Meg surveyed her sisters intently. This was her family: Amy, Meg, Joelle, Beth and Papa. Their family had shrunk since Mama had died, smaller and from Meg’s perspective, much lonelier.
“We have to live in that!?” Meg cried aloud in dismay. She reached put her hand, stretching sleeves of the purple dress she wore. She tugged at her Beth’s long brown sleeves.
“It’s so big…” Meg said, speaking to Beth again, her voice timid.
Beth smiled at Meg, who had a tendency toward over reaction and worry. Even the slightest change in routine could throw Meg off. The journey had been a fit of constant anxiety and ever growing stress, only made worse by their father’s verbal tongue lashings.
Beth reached out a slender hand, and put it on Meg’s knife-thin shoulders. “Yes. Papa has a very important job here.”
Meg nodded glumly. She glanced at Amy, who avoided all of their eyes. Meg watched Beth frown. Ever since Mama had left, Amy had disappeared into herself. Meg had watched Amy day after day disappear from the dinner table conversation, disappear from their mad dashes across the section of Hyrule Field that bordered their town. Amy had disappear from everything that was around her; everything that Meg, Joelle, and Beth had lived for. No matter how much Meg and her sisters had tried; they couldn’t reach their youngest sister. She would not leave her exile, regardless of how much Meg begged her; tears and threats were equally ineffective to the distant Amy. Meg wondered if this new place, papa’s new life for them, would bring sweet Amy back to them all.
The wagon eased to a stop. Through the tattered front cover of the wagon, Meg could see the stairs of the mansion looming ahead of them, like a set of white stone jaws, waiting hungrily for a meal. Their father, a tall man wearing a pristine brown robe and a white collar stuck his balding head into the wagon.
“Time to go girls.” Meg watched as Papa’s face bloomed into a large smile.
Meg watched Jo nodded firmly. As the oldest twin (by one minute) Jo had always taken the role of “the most adventurous sister” as her goddess given birthright. She led, and the rest would fall in line behind her boldness. Jo tapped her flaming red shoes together on the rough wood and grabbed Amy’s hand. Meg sat shivering as Jo half pulled, half guided her youngest sibling out of the covered wagon. For a moment, Meg and Beth were alone in the huddled darkness of the covered wagon. Meg fixed her nervous, wandering eyes on the large stairwell looming on her horizon, welcoming them to her new home.
“I don’t like this place Bethy.” Meg said, her voice so soft that Beth had to lean in to hear her.
Papa had criticized Meg for being afraid before. It hadn’t taken Meg long to learn how to conceal her fears and anxieties behind the expressionless face that Papa seemed to like so much more. It was better to be a bit afraid then to have Papa thundering on and on about what a cucco she was being.
“It’s too big for all of us, even if Mama was here. This place isn’t for us.”
“Meg.” Beth said, just as quietly. Meg loved Beth. She was a good sister, she kept the secret worries that always seemed to cling to Meg’s young mind. Father use to say that Joelle could speak but Beth could listen. And for the most part, Papa had been right. Beth had always valued the quiet comradery of listening over speaking. Meg always came to her sister with her fears, and Beth eased them with soft words and gentle smiles. She had a touch about her that Meg gravitated towards, like a magnet seeking the north pole.
“It’s okay.” Beth said in a cooing voice, assuaging Meg’s fears. “You are here with me, and Jo, and Amy, and Papa. We’re all together. Nothing can hurt you.”
Beth smiled, tapping her blue shoes together. Click. Click. “Promise.” She motioned to Meg. “Come now.”
Beth and Meg quietly exited the wagon, where father was tapping his foot. Beth grabbed her sister and gently guided the girl to the soft green moss underneath their feet.
“What’s taking you so long!” Papa said, waving his arms at the sisters. He acted as if Beth and Meg had spent hours talking in the wagon instead of seconds. “Let’s go inside.” He said mumbling under his breath. She motioned towards them with an impatient flick of his hand, leading them to their new home.
Slowly, the family ascended the thick gray steps that lead to the Forest Temple. Beth could hear the wagon as it rolled away from the sacred forest meadow. Each step leading to the mansion was massive, even for father. Poor Amy, the littlest of them all, was nearly climbing the steps as a man would scale a mountain peak, struggling with every step.
Papa opened the door to the interior courtyard and ushered them inside. The girls gasped. Two enormous trees stood inside the cavernous interior courtyard, which was lit by torches that lined the walls. The trees were massive and spindly, with large branches that snaked across the high room.
“Amazing” Papa said, his eyes wide. “When Rauru told me about this assignment, he didn’t mention this.” Papa smiled, pulling young Amy along, who stumbled as their father increased his speed.
“Papa.” Beth said quietly, the sound of her voice sounding muffled in the titanic chamber. “What happened to the last caretaker?”
“It’s amazing, I can’t believe it. These trees are surviving with minimal sunlight. I wonder how much they have to water them each week. Must not be-”
“-Father.” Joelle said, more firmly than her twin sister. “Beth is speaking to you.”
“What?” He snapped, angry to removed from his racing thoughts. He turned back to Beth, scratching his neck with his free hand. “What is it child?”
“What happened to the last caretakers.” Beth repeated, her voice louder this time. “Where are they?”
Papa waved his hand, “Oh they had to leave. Someone got sick and they moved back to the village to be closer to the doctor.” He strode forward, pulling Amy with him with one strong arm. The poor silent girl stumbled behind her father like a enormous doll.
Joelle smiled at her twin sister. She tapped her red shoes together. Click. Click.
Beth returned the smile and sent twin the customary reply on her blue shoes. Click. Click Meg giggled, putting her hand in front of her thin face to muffled the sound. It was game they played often. An inside joke that only the sisters knew. Their father hated the sound the shoes made, but his remarks never stopped them from keeping the custom alive. With Mama gone, it was a form of solidarity they needed more than ever.
Jo reached her arms out to her sisters. She took each of their hands, lightly maneuvering them towards the open door in front of them. “Let’s go find Papa before he gets lost. Goddesses know he would get lost in his first night here.”
Arms locked together in a chain, the four sisters passed through an unremarkable corridor, lined with thin white candles. Then they entered the central chamber. It was spacious room with four sets of stairs arranged in a cross, each one leading to a different part of mansion. Like the other parts of the mansion, it was carved from a thick gray stone, polished to perfection. Meg could hardly imagine it as her house; it was far too much of a shrine and a church to be her house. Too much stone and ornaments to be a warm and comfortable home.
In the center of the room, four beautiful flames stood on tall pillars, arranged in a perfect square. Each flame was an icy blue color. They bathed the room in a low and eerie light. In between the torches, a large brown shape loomed. To Meg’s eyes, it looked like a large brown bird cage or a misshapen hourglass.
“What is that?” Joelle asked quietly.
“It’s called an El-e-va-tor.” Papa said, scratching his chin. He viewed the object with a hungry interest. “It’s a new machine that was designed by the royal family and their wizards.”
“What does it do?” Meg asked, craning her neck to get a better view of the machine.
“It goes up and down.” Papa replied excitedly, joy evident in his voice. “’No one will ever have to use steps again.”
“That sounds wonderful.”A hoarse voice said from behind them.
The whole family jumped. It was the first words that Amy had said in several weeks. Papa stared down at his youngest daughter and smiled. He picked her up in his arms. With an gentility that he often lacked, the robed man caressed his child gently, swaying her back and forth like a new born babe.
“Yes.” Papa said soothingly. Brushing Amy’s hair with his free hand. “Unfortunately, Master Rauru told me that no is to use the elevator. Do you understand girls?” Papa repeated firmly. He pointed one long finger at the brown machine. “No one is to use the elevator. EVER.”
“Now come, let’s show you your new home….”
“I’m bored.” Meg wailed, stretching the word out into a painful drawl. She shook Joelle’s strong shoulders. “I’m bored!”
Joelle pushed her whining sister away, barely looking up from her sewing needle. “Stop!” She replied firmly. In addition to being the boldness, Joelle also had learned to be the disciplinarian as well.
“Go bother Beth, I’m knitting a sweater for Amy, you know how cold she gets in here.”
Meg ran down hall to Beth’s room. It had been three weeks since Papa had brought them to the Forest Temple. It had not taken long for trouble to start for the family. First, Amy had been sick for the past two weeks, coughing at every hour of the day. It had been impossible for Meg to get any sleep. She could always hear Amy’s tepid coughing, no matter where she went to go in the house, it followed her like the plague. Meg was happy that her sweet little sister had stopped coughing yesterday. Meg knew that the silence meant that Amy was resting; she was getting better. Soon, Amy would be back at dinner meals and laughing with her again; just like it had all been before mama went away.
Next, Papa received a letter, requesting “his most honorable presence” to attend a spiritual ceremony honoring the Goddesses at The Temple of Time. Papa had rushed off with half a coat on, Joelle and Beth had to race after him to remind him to take spare clothes and food for the journey. Beth had forced father to promise to return as soon as he could after the ceremony. Beth told Meg that she expected him back in two days time.
The last trouble for Meg had been the temple itself. The size and scale of the mansion still intimidated her. Her early predictions about the cold house had come true; it was more cold and lonely, more shrine than home for her. The temple was enormous, but the emptiness unnerved Meg. The high ceilings and long hallways made her feel as if they might swallow her up whole, like lion devouring a mouse. If she ran too quickly through the temple, the doors and corridors began to blend together into a single confusing mess. There had been one night, where Meg had been lost and she had imagined that the rooms was spinning and twisting; dark brown bricks bending and contorting in front of her eyes. Fortunately, Papa and Jo had found her soon, saving her from her macabre nightmare. After that night, Beth sat down and drawn out a map of the temple so Beth could learn it better.
Meg pushed away her errant thoughts as she approached Beth’s door. Impatiently, Meg knocked on the thick oak door.
“Come In.” Meg could barely hear Beth’s quiet voice through the thick oak door. Meg turned the yellow gold knob and rushed inside, speaking before Beth could even manage a hello.
“Play with me! Jo won’t even talk to me and Amy’s resting.” Meg pleaded, grabbing her sister’s hand fiercely.
Beth closed her book in concern. “Still?” The older sister took off her feet off of her bed and stood up. “I’ll have to go check on her.”
“No!” Meg wailed again, grabbing at Beth’s dress, but still holding onto her sister for dear life. “Play with me. Amy will be sleeping all day, I want to play now.”
Beth put a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “Meg, I’ll come and find you in the main room after I look after Amy. It will only take ten minutes. Please wait for me there.”
Meg left despondently, slamming the door with a bang behind her. She slowly skulked towards the main chamber. She hated how much attention Amy got when she wasn’t even doing anything; she was just resting. Regardless, Meg didn’t dare disobey Beth’s request. Beth always kept her word to Meg. If she said she would play with Meg, she would do it. It just might take a while. Meg knew that Beth’s good intentions sometimes got the best of her. This often resulted in Beth extending herself unnecessarily so that others would be happy. With that thought in mind, Meg hunkered down to wait in the enormous central room.
After an hour of waiting, Meg had lost some her faith in Beth’s promise. But it didn’t matter to Meg, she had found something new to distract her from her sisters. Meg stared at the large brown shape that dominated the center of the room. The elevator was ever present in colossal room, casting a long shadow on the floor where Meg crouched.
Sometimes Meg tried to imagine where it led. May it lead to a treasure vault? With jewels and riches?! Meg glanced around the spacious room. It was empty. Beth was a good sister. But she always spent more time worrying about Amy, it was a waste. Meg took a three hundred and sixty degree spin around the room, just in case Beth or Joelle were hiding somewhere around the room. Meg giggled, her mirth echoing through the chamber. Who would be there to stop her from doing what she wanted? Jo was busy knitting, father was out on business. Amy was in bed. Beth was watching over her. There was no one to stop her. No one to get her in trouble. Just her. All alone.
Meg stepped onto the elevator. The machine rumbled to life as if commanded by an unseen force. Slowly, the elevator descended, sending the young girl into darkness. She heard a boom as the elevator hit the ground.
She had never seen this part of the mansion before. It was beautiful like the rest, yet different. Cold and dark, like the interior of a cave she had once found while exploring with Beth. They had spent hours lying in the cave, with her sister telling her stories about Mama and Papa to pass the time. Beth always remembered Mama better than Meg did. There were fewer torches down here; Meg had to squint to see farther than a few feet in front of her.
Meg followed the deep red carpet, letting it guide her. She trailed the carpet obediently, it had to lead somewhere. She paid no attention to the walls around her, or the open gateway she walked through. She just followed the blood red carpet into a circular room. Blinking, Meg found herself in an art gallery. A group of picture hung high on the ceiling around her, in a perfect circle. They had thick wooden frames with ornate carving at the edges. Meg scratched her head, frowning slightly. There was something strange about these pictures. Meg could not put her finger on it and it frustrated her. She knew it was odd but could not identify why!
Then it hit her. They were all the same picture. The same dark road, thorny limbed trees, and an ominous mountain looming black in the distance, like a colossal shadow.
Why were they all the same?
Meg turned towards to leave the room. Then she stopped. She turned back to the pictures. Her eyes swept across the portraits again. In her head, she studied them again. She made a little poem of it. She recited it in her head:
Mountain, trees, road.
Mountain, trees, road.
Mountain, trees, road.
Mountain, trees, lady.
Mountain, trees, road.
Lady? Meg shook her head. There was no lady. The young girl scratched her head, trying to clear her thoughts. There was a lonely gray road, spidery trees without leaves, and a dark mountain. She glanced back at the portrait. She breathed again, letting the tension fall from her knife-thin shoulders.
“See.” Meg said aloud to herself, her voice sounded so hallow and lonely in the large room. “No lady.”
“See.” Said a voice from behind her, soft like a whisper on the wind. “No. lady”
Meg spun around. Nothing. Just picture in a frame. Mountain, trees, road. Meg could feel sweat growing on her forehead. No one was here, Meg told herself. Papa was away. Amy was in bed. Beth was by her side. Jo was sewing. Meg was alone.
“Meggie.” The soft voice whispered behind her right ear.
Meg closed her eyes. She put her hands on her ears. There wasn’t anyone there. She was alone. Papa was away. Amy was in bed. Beth was by her side. Jo was sewing. Meg was alone. Meg shook like a leaf dangling in duress, closing to falling from the safety of the tree. Once Meg fell, she feared she’d never get back to the tree.
No one was here. No one was here. No one was-
“Meggie!” This time it was a command. The voice was no longer soft; it was strong and harsh. Meg shook her head, her eyes screw up tightly like locked doors. Why could she still hear the voice?! Tears slithered out of her closed eyes, leaking out of the little space her eyes were involuntary allowing, despite her best efforts to contain the salty tears.
Meg couldn’t bear it any longer, her mind she screamed at her, commanding her to do as it told her to. Meg opened her eyes, red from the tears. Her eyes grew wide, the last remnants of her salty tears dripping off her cheek onto the cold stone floors with a gentle thump. For a moment, she stared at the image, her eyes twitching involuntarily.
Then a smile touched her thin lips. “Mama?” She asked, her voice full of joy that had been dormant for months within her closed off heart.
Meg raced a few small steps to the portrait ahead of her. A tall, thin figure stood on the dusty gray road above Meg’s head. She had Beth’s dark hair and Amy’s slight build. She waved at Meg from the stormy image.
Meg smiled grew wider and wider grew, spreading from ear to ear. “Oh Mama.”
Then her smile fell from her face. A look of absolute terror replacing it. She had to get out NOW! She screamed in terror. Her voice echoed through the high vaulted ceilings of the gallery, growing with every moment that past. Then, out of breath, Meg’s scream died, as if her voice had been crushed out of her.
Upstairs, Beth jumped at the sound. What in the Goddess’ name could this be? She had just put Papa’s medical bag back when the sound started. A sound born from nightmares, like a wounded animal.
Jo stepped into the room, gently closing the door behind her. “Did you hear that?”
Beth nodded, “Can you go looking for Meg?”
“Did you think that was Meg?” Jo’s eyes widened slightly, shuffling her her feet nervously.
“Didn’t you?” Beth called back curtly, her voice harsher than she intended it. Everything with Amy was beginning to tear at the corners of her gentle heart.
“No.” Her twin sister replied quietly. “Sounded like Mama to me.”
“Mama’s gone.” Beth replied, her voice small in the room.
Beth lowered her head.
Jo tapped her hands on the hard stone wall. Reluctantly, she brought herself closer to her unconscious sister, who sat in the bed. Jo stared down at her sister, her eyes pained. She reached down a hand and gently stroked Amy’s pale cheek. So frail, so beautiful, so sick.
“How long does she have?” Jo said the words with reluctance, but it was clear from the firmness of her voice that she had come to see Beth for this very question, a question of life and death.
“I don’t know.” Beth replied, wiping a tear from her eye. She turned back to her sister. “Meg doesn’t know yet. Please don’t tell her.”
“Goddesses only know what will happen when she finds out…”
Visit The Site Next Friday for Part 2 of 4 of Poe Sister – One Happy Family
Sean Gadus is an Associate Editor at Zelda Dungeon. He loves playing video games, reading books, watching movies and geeking out about all things Star Wars, Batman, and Harry Potter. His first Zelda game was Ocarina of Time. He is an amateur writer and a professional Zelda fan.