Posted on April 20 2018 by Jarrod Raine
Chapter Two: A Voice in the Dark
“Link… Link, wake up”
Who… Who’s there? Link shifted, reacting and recognizing the voice. Kaden?
“Link, wake up! There’s something out there and I’m scared..”
He woke up, squinting his eyes as he did, to see Kaden. “What’s wrong…?” At that moment, his eyes widened, seeing Kaden filled with fear, clutching the pendent around his neck.
“I think I heard your friends yelling.”
Kaden glanced fearfully out the window. “There’s an attack. Something about the princess…!”
Link’s thoughts froze for a single moment, a sense of worry and urgency overcoming him. Without a moment’s hesitation, he jumped out of bed and quickly grabbed his sword and shoes. Stumbling as he put them on, he hurried to the door and yelled out “It’ll be alright, Kaden! Stay here!”
“But..” He clutched his pendent harder.
Link paused, turned to Kaden for a brief moment, and smiled. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.” His tone, as opposed to being urgent, was soft. He bolted out the door, taking note of the smoke rising past the gate and thought to himself, Everything better be alright until I get there.
When Zelda was jolted awake by her shoulder crashing hard into the door of the carriage, she knew something was terribly wrong. Her eyes burned and flickered, trying desperately to focus, but all she saw was flame; all she heard were screams and high squeals. Nothing made sense. Up had suddenly become down, sane to insanity, and the world around beat down upon her as vertigo set in and she was falling, falling…
Next thing she knew, she was being pulled out of the wreckage. Her palms and shoulder stung, and warmth rolled down her face like drops of water. The screams continued, and she tried to focus on them, eyes screwed tight, knees in the dirt. The scents of blood, sulfur, smoke mixed together to create a foul odor that wafted throughout Ordon.
“Someone watch her!”
Looking back, it amazed her how little she actually remembered, how disjointed everything seemed, when in the moment, she went with the flow, followed her blind instinct, and took off into the darkness. The darkness was not fire. The darkness was safe.
Her feet pounded hard against cobblestone, and she hurtled herself through a maze of shadows leading away.
The voices grew clear as the screaming in her ears settled, but the words no longer made sense. Everything in her body told her to run, to keep going, to fly. Her chest, racked for breath, raged like the blaze in her eyes. For a moment, she thought of her boots, her favorite boots, the last decision she made as she left home that afternoon. Her father had begged her to wear the proper boots. She had left with them and changed in the carriage. She hated her proper boots like she hated her cursed dress.
And in a world suddenly thrown into chaos, the mind acted in strange ways. It sought clarity. Focus. Something true. Something real. Her boots carried her away from danger, and she blessed them with all the grace of Hylia her blood held.
Her elbow hit something with a sharp slap, and it curled around her, yanking her back. She screamed to be let go, but it held fast, and she was once more jerked to the ground.
“Stay down,” a voice whispered, calm and assuring, “you’re safe.”
She buried her face against the dirt and waited, hardly breathing, for the end of her life to come.
“You are safe…”
That voice rang once more within her, mind and heart. She had never heard it before, yet from her very core, she felt the warmth of the Goddess watching over her. She could trust. What was more, something made sense in the din, and she could grasp onto it and gather her senses. She was safe. She was alive.
“Where did it come from?”
“I cannot see them, Rusl!”
“They’re gone, my Lady.”
“Send scouts into the trees to track them down. I want to know who they were and where they are.”
“Yes, my Lady.”
“Impa!” she cried, recognizing one of the voices. She sat up and blinked around for her advisor. Ahead of her, what remained of her carriage lay on the ground, burning against the night sky. The horses, those beautiful white stallions, were nowhere to be seen, their severed ropes in flames, and the world crashed in as she finally understood what had happened.
Her carriage had been attacked.
But it was someone else who reached her first. Blond mane disheveled, no armor, no shield, but a gleaming sword at his back. He had to be her age, roughly. He knelt before her and reached out to take her shoulders.
“Your Highness,” he said, and she immediately knew his was the voice of reassurance. “Are you ok?”
“I’m fine! I…” and she froze. Glimmering bright in the light of her ruined transport, his sapphire eyes sparked in her mind a nightmare, a horror, and the refuge within. Hylia stood behind her, a presence of comfort, and she knew, in an instant of eye contact, why she had come to Ordon. It was you… He stared back, wide-eyed and jaw-slacked, and for a moment, time halted in its tracks as they took each other in.
“You are safe, my child,” Hylia’s voice echoed once more.
He broke first, shaking his head vigorously. “Forgive me, Your Highness,” he said as he remembered who she was and lowered his head and hands.
“Where is Marianna, my handmaiden?” she choked out, feeling cold reality once again.
“She is wounded, but we will take her to the town doctor.”
He shook his head in confusion.
“My advisor! The…the Sheikah I was with! Is she hurt?”
The boy shook his head again. “She is unharmed. We are lucky she was with you. I do not believe this would have ended well if she was not.”
Zelda barked a laugh, appalled. “Exactly what part of this has ended well?!”
“I meant no offense, Your Highness. I simply meant that you are alive because of her.”
Zelda raged. Grace of Hylia be damned, how dare he?! She wanted Impa. She needed her advisor, to see she was unharmed, and he had the audacity to be flippant?! She stood and barged past him.
Her knees nearly immediately buckled, chest protesting. The corset had to go. She swore loudly, a very un-Princess-like thing to do, and clawed at the spot the laces were tied. And the boy was there again, at her back, arm nervously held over her to wait and see if she would run again.
“Highness, please, you, too, are wounded!”
“I said I am fine!” she shrieked, but everything around her seemed helpless. She was sinking back into a place where nothing made sense. Her hands stung as her fingers curled into the dirt. She knew they were torn up and bleeding. “Just take me to her!”
He lay his arm across her back, and a golden glow seemed to come from the contact. Hylia had returned. “Trust him.”
“Please…” she whispered, feeling utterly defeated. No other words would come. “Please…”
“You are safe,” he whispered.
She cried. She cried like she had never cried before. She cried for the confusion, for her handmaiden, for the missing horses and her proper boots that she hated so much, now lost to the wreckage. She cried for the fire and the fear. And he waited at her side, until she could cry no more.
And when her tears ran dry and she felt she would collapse into a puddle on the ground, he was there. She sat back and looked into those sapphire eyes once more. He shrugged.
“Welcome to Ordon, I guess…”
And then…somehow…she laughed. “Tell me you will be at the ceremony tomorrow, soldier?”
He grinned awkwardly and shrugged again.
Featured image by MaskedGolem