Chapter 24 - A Prophecy Foretold
Link’s eyes flickered open to the dull sense of being touched, he couldn’t quite place where he had felt the warmth of sensation. A tender squeeze of his hand finally woke him out of his lethargy. He groaned as the aching in his head beat something fierce inside his brain. Saria was standing next to him looking on with worry as he lay on the bed recessed into the wall. Sora buzzed in from atop her hair and landed directly onto his chest. With arms crossed, she leaned over to scold him.
“You scared all of us half to death fainting like that! If I was any bigger, I’d spank you like the bad child you are!” Sora scolded with an agitated flash of her wings.
Link smirked, “You weren’t even there you little brat!” Sora gasped with indignation as Link continued before she could interrupt, “And it is a good thing I’m bigger than you, your swats hurt enough as it is!”
“Link!” Saria exclaimed.
“It’s okay Saria, stand back. If he wants to be knocked out again, I can make that happen!” Sora started to roll up the leaves adorning her arms as she marched across his chest to pop him in the nose.
With a quick flip off the table, Link landed on his feet just as Saria hopped away from his sudden movement. Sora flew off to avoid being flung through the air with the force of his body. She was zooming back in for another pass when Saria stopped her, with a vexed huff Sora flew to Saria’s shoulder and landed gently. Leaning against her ear, Sora shot a glare at Link.
Saria merely shook her head as she grinned, “Why must you always tease her like that Link? You two have been at each other’s throats since you could talk!”
“Because she’s just so funny to tease!” Link sat back onto the slab laughing.
“Humph! I’ve always persisted that Navi take another Kokiri rather than some Hylian. But would she listen?” Sora snorted, flicking her nose up in the air.
Pierced by the weight of her words, Link looked down at his feet in misery at the memories of Navi flooding back. When Navi first came to him that one morning, he had never been so excited in his entire life, finally a fairy of his own! He was to be a real Kokiri! Things never did seem to turn out the way one imagined them. He couldn’t understand why she left him so abruptly without even saying a word. Their job done, he had expected they would go off to live the rest of their lives together, two souls bound as one.
“That was a bit much Sora!” Saria chastised the sprite.
Sora’s wings drooped, “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize what I had said! I didn’t mean it.”
Without even looking up, Link sighed, “Yes, you did Sora. You said what you felt.”
Sora hovered over to Link and softly flicked off the tear trailing down his cheek before nuzzling in the warmth of his neck. “I apologize from the depths of my little heart! So…do you forgive me?”
Link merely shifted his gaze to see the imploring look in Sora’s eyes, he sat there in silence. After a moment she flew further into his view before asking again, “Do you forgive me?” Link still held his tongue and simply stared at the fairy who was trying her very best to look innocent. With a frenzy of wings, she buzzed closer to his face, “Do you? Do you? Do you? Do you?”
With each question Sora shifted her position and poked a finger into Link’s cheeks. After the fourth time he couldn’t stand it anymore. He broke out laughing as he swung his arms wildly through the air to defend himself against the rogue fairy that refused to leave him alone until he accepted her heartfelt apology. He buckled over onto the slab as the fairy assaulted his body, tickling him from top to bottom continually asking him, “Do you?”
“Saria, help! Call off your fairy, please!” Link howled with suffering.
“Nuh-uh!” Saria shook her head and folded her arms, “You teased her first and started this mess; you accept her apology first!”
“Saria! No…help!” Link’s body went spastic as Sora dove into his sleeve and went for the armpit.
The chamber door slammed open abruptly emitting a shriek from Saria at the sudden explosion of sound. Talon trampled into the room looking for the unknown threat to Link’s safety. Eyes swelling at the image of Link writhing across the adobe slab in abject agony, he rumbled over to assist in any way possible.
“Link! Tell me where it hurts! How can I help?” Talon exclaimed nervously.
Sora shot out of Link’s tunic and down into Talon’s with a yell, “No one is safe from my wrath!” She cackled maniacally.
“What the? Agh…No!” Talon yelled realizing what was really going on before dancing around the room trying to get the rabid fairy out of his clothes. Link heaved as he recovered from the intense tickling, laughing continually at Talon’s plight.
Although Saria enjoyed the exciting show, she knew it was time to stop, “Sora. Get back here.”
Sora emerged meekly from under Talon’s collar and flew over to her companion. She exhaled, her hands cringing in mock villainy, “You’re no fun! I almost had them at my mercy!”
“I know you did.” Saria laughed as she held her hand out for Sora to land on.
Link turned to Talon after the merriment in the room subsided, “So what happened? Where have you been?”
Talon, trying to catch his breath still, “Phew…well ya collapsed on us Link. We thought ya had some fever or somethin’. Ya were taken here ta rest. You’ve been out fer an entire day m’boy!”
Link marveled at the news. It had only been early morning yesterday when he spoke with Ganondorf, “I’ve been out that long?” Talon and Saria nodded, he turned to her, “When did you get better?”
“Just this morning, I’ve been awake for a few hours.” Saria explained, “I heard about what happened to you so I decided to stay by your side.”
Link beamed affectionately, best friend indeed. With much appreciation, “Thanks Saria, that means a lot to me.” He looked back at Talon, “So where are the others? What happened while I was out?”
Talon clapped his thigh, “Well wouldn’t ya believe it! The Gerudo started being nice ta us; they gave Malon and me a funct’nal room with two beds,” he paused briefly to indicate the alcove Link was sitting in, “well, as much as ya could consider those beds. And…erm…they put you and Zelda together as well.” Talon looked slightly disapproving of the notion.
Saria interposed, “It is Zander now.”
Talon grumbled at the correction, “Yes. Impa came ta me last night ta assist in keeping up the ruse. They all still think Zelda is a boy. We are ta call her Zander whenever we are in the presence of the other Gerudo. Malon is still restin’ in our room, but Zelda might be off wandering the grounds.”
Link’s eyes widened at this news, “We are free to move about the fortress?”
Talon nodded, “Indeed, it is the darndest thing. Whatever it is ya said in there with Ganondorf must have changed their minds! Sure, the women still give me stares but they don’t bother me none!” He seemed visibly relieved at this. “We can’t leave the fortress though. Malon already tried that and was denied.”
A rustle at the door focused all eyes onto Nabooru who filled the doorframe with her voluptuous body. Talon’s face went red but hid it well with his gruff demeanor. The woman gazed in at the occupants before her eyes settled specifically on Link.
“Good to see you awake my young man.” She grinned as she crooked a finger to signal him to follow.
“Wait a minute! Where ya taking him?” Talon was instantly suspicious.
Nabooru shot him a look before explaining, “You two may follow if you wish. There is nothing I’m going to show him that I wouldn’t show the others. There are no secrets here.”
“Humph!” Talon puffed as he stomped out of the room after them.
Nabooru weaved the group through the hallways of the fortress, slowly progressing deeper into the rock from which the fortress was carved. The frequency of guards became apparent the further they went. They saluted their leader as she swept past and nodded briefly at her guests. Some of the more stringent Gerudo felt violated at the intrusion of males in the fortress and gave glares at Talon. Link looked back awkwardly but Talon merely groused his disdain for them. Saria tugged on his shirt sleeve to snag his attention, it was given to her almost immediately.
“Yes, what is it Saria?” Talon questioned.
Saria looked up at him with penetrating eyes as she tried to catch up to his longer gait, “Why did you decide to follow us and see what Nabooru has to show us? Why are you angry all of a sudden?”
Knowing that she was still a young girl, he tried to control his fury. He breathed in deep and continued walking after the group for a while before turning to Saria again. “It’s a long story, one I’m not rather keen on tellin’ right now. Sorry for being gruff. But its adult business; nothing fer ya to be concerned about.”
Saria, having living in a forest with other kids her age, had no concept of social etiquette. Having never backed down from a question once she asked it, she persisted in her best child-like voice, “Why did you decide to follow us and see what Nabooru has to show us? Why are you angry all of a sudden?”
Talon stopped in mid-stride clenching his fists, he was on the edge of his nerves. He must have patience with this little one, he reminded himself. “Never ya mind Saria.” He growled and continued on. She had no need to know his private affairs and what the Gerudo did to him. He kept his eyes forward on Nabooru as she guided Link onward through the passage.
Saria was more curious than ever. Completely missing the cues that Talon did not want to talk about the issue, she caught up with him and tugged once more on his sleeve, “Why did you decide to follow us and see what Nabooru has-”
Saria squealed as Talon roughly swooped her up by the shoulders and brought her level to his eyes. She winced at his strong grip and shied away from his intense brown eyes which seemed to be staring into her very soul. Sora flapped quickly into his face to ward off his fury.
“You put her down this instant, you big brute!” Sora demanded, her light flashing dangerously.
Talon’s eyes glazed as he realized what he was doing, shaking his head as if to brush off whatever had come over him, he gently put her down. Mumbling a quick apology, he resumed walking faster so he could keep pace with Nabooru and Link who were slowly gaining distance on them. After a time, following the twists and turns of the fortress, Talon replied without looking at Saria, knowing full well that she was listening to his every word.
“If ya want ta know, I plan ta have a chat with Nabooru tonight outside her room. If ya want ta sneak by and eavesdrop our conversation, that’s fine by me.” He spun around to face her before whispering, “Just do not tell a soul! Understand?”
Saria nodded energetically as she finally got an acceptable answer to her question. They resumed walking towards the end of the corridor where Nabooru and Link were waiting somewhat impatiently for them. As they arrived, Nabooru drew out a key from the folds of her inner leggings right in front of Link, which made him blush. Talon caught this and knew she did this on purpose, like everything else she does. She gave Talon a wicked smile before turning to the door to unlock it. She pushed it open to reveal darkness inside.
She ignited the torch hanging on the wall just outside the doorframe and went inside first. She gestured to Link and the others to come in as she strapped the torch into a wall receptacle to keep it secure. It was a simple white-wash room of hardened clay quite unlike the rest of the Gerudo fortress. The space was small enough so that the lone torch illuminated the entire chamber. Adjacent to the torch was a wall mural which appeared to be the subject of Nabooru’s attention.
“I brought you here to see this.” Nabooru pointed at the mural. “This was discovered not more than a month ago; however with recent events with Ganondorf, Naar and other things…” She paused.
Talon interrupted before she could continue, “So what’s the big deal? It’s just a painting your people made at some point in time.”
She threw a dirty look his way before promptly ignoring the comment, “This was not made by us, or rather by anyone alive in our domain today. We found this single room while we were expanding the fortress; our builders stumbled across it. It is as if someone or something built this room by itself in the solid rock, closed it up and left it here with this mural on the wall.” She stopped to marvel at the thought as it sank into the minds of the others, “Some of my fellow elders believe this is a holy place and that this mural is some kind of prophecy. What is most striking about this is that it is written in no language I have ever seen.”
Link asked the obvious question, “Why show us this? Isn’t it a bad thing to show outsiders what you think is a holy place?”
All eyes swiveled to Nabooru. She regarded Link with an acute eye before speaking deliberately, “We Gerudo are only versed in a very limited range of languages. I was hoping one of you might have some clue as to what it all means.”
Talon purported firmly, “So you’re showing this ta us without Ganondorf knowin’?”
Nabooru curtly nodded, “I do things my own way. Although,” she cogitated with a smile, “it does get me in trouble at times.”
Saria had been quiet this entire time but she was the first to approach the mural, her mouth moving in unseen words as she placed a hand upon the wall. Nabooru’s eyes cautiously followed the Kokiri’s movements as the girl traced her hand across the mural. Link was clueless as to what was going on, he wasn’t sure what Saria was seeing or understanding.
“Do you know what it says?” Nabooru inquired.
Her eyes fixed on the painting, Saria intoned in a voice that was deeper than her own yet still retained a quality of child-like innocence, “The one who stands outside of time shall claim the Triforce of Power as his own.” Her hand touched the figure floating high above the plains in the sky. The most striking feature of the man was the bloodshot eyes. Saria’s hand shifted over to the other figure in the sky opposing the first, “A demon of the old world shall claim the world’s hope and wage war amongst the living.”
Link shivered as he looked on the second figure, the only thing that was evident was the expansive set of black wings jutting from its back. The others started to notice Sora flittering about Saria’s head, getting more and more agitated.
“Make her stop! Please make her stop!” Sora squeaked.
Link made a move to pull Saria out of the dream-like trance she was in but Nabooru stopped him, she wanted to hear this. Talon frowned at her but she paid him no mind.
Saria droned onward unaware of the dispute in the room, “Wyrms from the deep shall rise again to rain fire and brimstone onto the land, guided by their masters.” Her hands trailed the lengths of the drawn bodies resembling serpents spewing flames onto the people below. “Two armies shall come together in a bloody tide that will shape the world for the Twili to rise again.”
“The Twili?” Link had never heard the term. Nabooru merely shrugged.
With the prophecy complete, Saria collapsed to the floor in a heap. Link surged ahead to catch her fall as Sora was near hysteria at what had transpired. Nabooru stepped past them as she examined the mural once more. With this new information it started to make some sense. Talon looked down at Saria in obvious concern.
“I think I’m going ta take Saria back ta her room” Talon murmured. With a pregnant pause in which he stared at Nabooru, Talon lifted the unconscious Kokiri smoothly into his arms and carried her out of the chamber.
Nabooru and Link continued to stare at the mural. He gingerly placed a hand on the wall next to the flying man with dark wings. Almost expecting it to bite him, he was relieved to discover that nothing happened as his hands pressed against the cold wall. It was merely a painting on the chill, alabaster wall. His eyes were drawn inexorably to the man with the bloodshot eyes. He couldn’t quite place where he recognized that defining feature.
Almost mesmerized by the painting, Nabooru disrupted his reverie, “This is clearly the Nevachrean army.” She pointed at the army on the right, raging across the plains. “They are all similar in nature and some of them don’t have arms or heads. That might allude to how they can’t die.” She looked over to the army on the left but was confused, “This army is made up of a variety of men, none of them the same. I do not know what country this army represents.”
Link pointed to the wyrms flying through the air, “What about these?”
Nabooru placed a hand to her chin as she considered, “I don’t think it’s possible. I believe those may be dragons, but they all died out at the hands of the Gorons centuries ago.” She gestured to the two combatants in the air, “I haven’t a clue who these represent.” She turned to Link, “Did you know Saria could read this script?”
Link shook his head, “I had no idea.” He truly didn’t. Saria had shocked them all with her perfect understanding of the mural.
Nabooru turned back to the painting, “I’m glad I know what it says, but none of it seems to be anything positive.”
Link chuckled nervously, “You can say that again.”
She smiled at his mirth even during this time of uncertainty. Suddenly a guard was heard running down the hall before barging into the room. Nabooru glared at the intrusion only to see a necklace of pure obsidian around the guard’s neck. Necklaces were meant to convey immediate meanings based on the seriousness of the message. All Gerudo messengers wore a necklace pertaining to the information they were carrying, with white being the least important while red was the highest priority reserved only for threats to the very core of their society. Obsidian was just beneath red. Nabooru rushed up to the messenger.
“Lady Nabooru! A young girl is being held at the front gates by an envoy from the army.” The guard reported.
Nabooru grimaced at the news, “I thought it was important, why did you come to bother me about some envoy and his petty hostage? Just fill them with arrows and send them on their way.” Link smoldered at Nabooru, she simply ignored it.
The guard stammered, “The envoy says it is a Kokiri girl he wishes to deliver to us in good faith.”
Link’s jaw dropped, another Kokiri was still alive! He dashed out of the room before Nabooru could stop him. Both Nabooru and the messenger chased after Link as he made his way to the front gates. In their rush to meet this unknown threat, none were aware of Saria’s fairy still lying on the ground. Her light was dimly glowing in the waning radiance of the torch. Sora’s breaths were heavy and slow as she was rooted to the floor in terror as she gazed up at the one thing no one else saw. High up in the corner of the mural just outside the range of the flickering flames was a huge circle with a grinning mouth.