Posted on July 27 2018 by Adam Barham
Chapter 16: Reminders
So this is the fabled Bank of Wishes.. Right now, I wish something would actually bite.
Link sat down, cross-legged and tired as he held his fishing rod out over the river. The area was damp from a recent rainstorm, but the princess still insisted that he find food while she conversed with the Zoras. And she left to go see them without her appointed knight as chosen by her…
His line tugged. Anxious that he finally caught something, Link realized that it was just a small rock that had caught his hook in just the right way. He reeled in the line, sighing to himself. There was a lot on his mind today. He took a deep breath, cast the line into the river again, and listened to the ambience. The sound of water rushing by, the crickets that could just barely be heard among the rocks behind him, it all reminded him of home.
At least, it reminded him of what was left of it. Of all the days that he remembered, there was one day that sat on his mind. He remembered the crickets, the leaves cackling in the wind, the sounds of fish biting a line, and the sound of a boy learning how to fire a bow for the first time…
Kaden threw down his bow in frustration. “I can’t hit the target, Link!”
Link was fishing in a nearby pond. It was one of his free days from working as a town guard of Ordon and he had grown a habit of fishing. He had set up a simple wooden target tied to a tree for Kaden to practice with while he did so. It was a few days after his tenth birthday and Link had given him a wood-carved bow that had taken a full week to make.
“Need some help, Kaden?” Link turned to face him, having just caught a Greengil. He set it into a bucket and waited for Kaden’s response.
“No…” A few silent seconds passed by as Link remained motionless, still looking at Kaden. It wasn’t long before Kaden silently admitted defeat. “Yes…”
Link chuckled and set down his fishing rod as Kaden picked up his bow and a few arrows that were scattered about on the grass. Link sat down on a nearby stump, placing his arms on his knees and leaned forward as he watched. “Fire one more shot. Then I’ll help you, alright?”
Kaden reluctantly nodded and notched another arrow. His form was sloppy and his hands shook. The bow was barely strung and although he appeared to be focused, his aim said otherwise. He took a deep breath before firing. The arrow missed the target, landing short by a foot. His frustration built up again and it showed. His face was fuming before it subsided with a disappointed sigh.
“I’ll never be able to fire a bow at this rate…”
Link stepped forward, kneeling down in front of him. “You’re doing decently well so far. I’m impressed. Just let me give you a few pointers.” He adjusted Kaden’s stance so that his legs were shoulder-width apart and he was facing at a right angle. “First, having the proper stance would do wonders to improving your aim. Given that you’re right handed like I am, you want your left side to face the target, alright?”
Partially understanding why he would have to do this and trusting his older brother to know the rest, Kaden nodded. “Ok. Is that all I need?”
Link shook his head. “That’s just step one. Now, let’s go to your grip.” He looked over at Kaden’s left hand, noticing that it wasn’t relaxed in the slightest. “You’ll want to relax your grip, like so.” He adjusted the bow such that the grip would be more relaxed. “This, along with the stance, will give you better aim. Does that all make sense?”
Kaden nodded. “I think I can get the rest from here.” He notched another arrow, getting ready to fire. Link noticed that despite the stance change, his aim would still be off. Kaden held the bow by his chest.
“Wait, wait, wait, wait.”
Kaden paused, looking at Link. “Am I doing something wrong?” He still held the notched bow and arrow, having been stopped before he could fire.
“You don’t want to hold the bow by your chest.” He adjusted Kaden’s arms such that the back end of the arrow was by his cheek, aligning his eyes with the arrow’s shaft. “See how you can see where the arrow would go?”
Kaden noticed the difference: as he looked down the shaft, Link could see him draw an imaginary line to where it would hit. He smiled. “I think so.”
Link backed away, sitting back down on the stump to see what would happen. Kaden looked excited, his fingers still shaking. He let go of the string, watching as the arrow flew through the air into the side of the target. A few moments passed by.
“I did it!”
Link smiled and clapped. He was happy to see Kaden improve already. “That was great! Just keep practicing and you’ll be a master with the bow in no time.” Kaden turned to him, beaming with excitement.
“Thank you!” Kaden ran up to him and gave him a hug. “You’re the best brother I could ever have!”
Link took a second to think before hugging him back. “You’re welcome, little brother. If you need help like this again, just let me know.”
“You say that every time.”
“You know what I mean.” He let go of him, standing up. “Want to keep practicing with the bow or help me gather some fish for dinner?”
“I’ll keep practicing, but can you teach me how to fish?”
I wonder how Kaden’s holding up, Link thought, pulling a tangled mass of some odd water plant from his line and recasting. It’s only been about a week since we’ve left Lon Lon Ranch. And while I haven’t heard anything bad happening recently, I can’t help but worry. First the town, then the strange wolf I encountered. Something just isn’t right.
As Link looked back out over the river, he saw a few fish swim right by his line, silently grumbling at them. Then, he noticed that the river’s pace had picked up – perhaps more rain was on its way. Regardless, there would be no way for him to catch any fish like this. He pulled his line back in, grumpy in his lack of success.
Suddenly, an idea struck. Hmm… It was an easy way to catch fish, and quickly, provided his aim was true. And he refused to come all this way down from Zora’s Domain to not get at least one fish; the thought of the teasing look on the princess’s face if he came back empty handed was enough to deter that possibility.
He snagged an arrow from his quiver on the grass next to him and proceeded, after a few moments’ difficulty, to tie it securely to the line on his fishing rod. After testing the knot a couple times, retying it once, and finally finding it satisfactory, he balanced the rod between his knees and the ground, grabbed his newly assigned Royal Guard’s bow, and knocked the arrow in place.
And now, to wait.
OK, did the Zoras really catch all the fish? Where are you? His hands adjusted on the bow’s grip, still getting used to its unfamiliar, thinner feel. Far more elegant and smooth than the rugged wooden bows he used back in Ordon, and even more tightly strung, he still didn’t quite feel comfortable with it. But, he had taken several shots back at the castle upon its assignment, and all but two had hit bulls-eye. Even Lady Impa had nodded her approval, something she seemed rarely capable of doing.
That woman frightens me sometimes.
“She always has been a frightening person, yes.”
Link jumped, nearly dropping the arrow into the water. He looked around wildly, swinging his aim as he did so.
A glare of light off the water momentarily blinded him, and he slammed his eyes shut. “That won’t do much to me, Link, put it down.”
“Who are you?!” he demanded, more affronted by the harsh intrusion than threatened. The voice chuckled as his vision slowly returned, spotted at first, then focused. “No…seriously, who are you?”
A few seconds of dead silence passed by as he cautiously glanced around. “I have heard your voice before. I would really like to know a name right about now.”
As if on cue, the voice responded. “That is a long answer that you would not like to know right now.”
So you’re not going to answer my question then. Alright. So you’re a voice that just seems to be in the middle of nowhere. No body though. Perhaps he’s like…
“A spirit?” the voice mirthfully said.
“You’re finishing my thoughts,” Link shook his head hard, trying to clear his vision again. “Am I still sleeping in the castle after Ordon, or have I just lost my mind?”
“Ah, you’re fine. Also, you’re about to miss that fish.”
“You’re about to miss a fish. Get it.”
Link looked back into the waters. Sure enough, a Hylian Bass swam by, oblivious of the world above the waterline. Link aimed and fired; the fish never saw it coming. He reeled the line in.
“Good shot,” Link could almost hear the smile in the voice. “Couldn’t have done better myself.”
Link pulled the arrow out, tossed the dead fish in a pail of water, and reknocked the arrow. But he didn’t have any intention of catching anymore. There were other more pressing matters. “So, provided I haven’t lost my mind -”
“- and I don’t have some long lost brother that my parents just forgot to mention -”
“You don’t. Not to my knowledge, anyway.”
“- then I am really going to need an explanation.”
“Do you, though?” Link gaped. Though he couldn’t see where the voice was coming from, he swore he could feel whatever eyes this voice had roll. “No one ever remembers me right away. It’s always Hylia. I suppose she was a goddess. And much prettier. Much prettier.”
Link’s face became further confused by what he just heard. Does this guy know Hylia? Is he some sort of messenger for her or something?
“Well, I suppose you could say that. Look, remember that dream you had just before you woke up in the castle?”
Link stared: he hadn’t told anyone about that. Not even Kaden. His mind attempted desperately to form words, but he seemed to have forgotten every single word in the Hylian language, his mother tongue that he had been speaking his entire life.
“Well, that was me.”
Link stood speechless, almost hearing the voice chuckle at him. “You… pick the oddest times to talk to me, you know.”
“Yes, because I should be talking to you when you’re alone and not when you’re in the middle of doing something important, like fighting for your life or sitting on the roof with the princess.”
“Touché.” He lowered his bow, not sensing any form of hostility from the voice. “So, Mr Postman, what letter does Hylia send me today then?”
“Events are starting to unfold that you’re going to be a major part of. You remember that wolf well, don’t you?”
How couldn’t I? The wolf was mutated, larger, with muscles on its torso, sharp claws, and luckily a weak back shown when Epona kicked it.
The voice grew serious, even more so than before. “That is what you call a Wolfos. And when those are out and about running around Hyrule, there’s a problem.”
“Then what am I supposed to do? I don’t think the princess would believe me if I told her.”
“I think she will. But there’s one more person you should find. And…” The voice hesitated before rambling. “I actually have to say it… I never thought I would. You actually have the find that guy…”
Link slumped a little in annoyance at the voice’s blatant distraction. He felt nervous, waiting for something, literally anything, that would make sense in this strange conversation. “I take it he’s someone important?”
“Then tell me who he is so I can tell the princess.”
“It’s the man who saved you and the princess at Ordon. The one with the odd cloak and the odd bow.”
“Ok. We are trying, but it might help to know his name.”
Featured image by MaskedGolem.