In the farthest reaches of southern Hyrule, deep in the wilds of the forests which I call home, I have extended my protection, deterring that which might disturb the peace here. I am known as the Great Deku Tree. It is my duty to protect the life of every creature that dwells within my domain, including the forest folk who call themselves the Kokiri.
The Kokiri. They appear as children, living a carefree and fun-loving life within the bounds of my protection. But as powerful as I am, I cannot ensure their safety and happiness alone. Thus each Kokiri has his or her own guardian fairy-a companion who shares their joys as well as their sorrows, ensures their needs are met, and, above all, maintains their safety. And in this, the fairies carry out their duties admirably.
Yet, there is one boy who fares each day without such a companion. And because of this, he is subject to much cruelty. Little does he realize, however, the great fate he carries upon his shoulders… this boy without a fairy…
Chapter 1: Rising Evil
Golden bands of sunlight streamed through the leaves of the great forest. Birds trilled softly within the green folds. A stream burbled its way around the massive trunks. And the leaves rustled in the breeze as though shaking off the sleep of the early morning.
As the morning slowly grew brighter, the forest began coming to life. Little spots of colored lights appeared as they drifted out of the boughs of the trees. Little fish poked the surface of the stream with puckered mouths as though tasting the morning air. Birds leaped from limb to limb, calling out with their musical chirps as though singing to the forest, "Wake up! Wake up! It's time to wake up!" This cheerful refrain carried through the forest into a little grove where the Kokiri lived.
They were a happy-go-lucky folk who lived in trees and wore green tunics and floppy green caps. They lived to play and the moment they awoke they were at a game. When they were not playing, they were making up a game to play-very much like children, for that was exactly what the Kokiri were.
Barry was the first of the Kokiri to emerge from his home-a stout tree stump with a sapling sprouting from its top. He brushed his sunny yellow hair from his bright blue eyes and then rubbed his eyes. Then he stretched his arms over his head and let out a noisy yawn. After that, he looked up into the air and called out, "Moni! Moni, where are you?"
"Right here, Barry." A fairy with a sunny glow swooped in and hovered in front of his nose.
He laughed, "There you are! Wanna play Stalfos again?"
"How about we play a new game?" Moni suggested. "Maybe 'Heroes'?"
"How do we play that?" Barry asked.
Moni narrated in a low voice, "You are on a quest to save a beautiful princess who has been captured by an evil monster. And you must slay the monster with your heroic sword!"
"Can my sword be the Lost Sword of Kokiri?" Barry asked, already liking the game.
"But of course!" Moni cried as though the idea would be ridiculous any other way. "A great hero must have a great sword!"
"Yay!" Barry yelled happily. He chased after his fairy, laughing and yelling, "Here comes the hero with the Lost Sword of Kokiri!" He ran past another Kokiri who had just woken, blinking the gum from her eyes. All around her, the other Kokiri followed this same morning routine as they emerged from their homes, followed shortly by their fairies.
No Kokiri was without one. A fairy had been by each one's side since the beginning and rarely were they ever apart. And not only were they useful for stuff like telling exciting stories and delivering messages, but they were the best kind of friend a Kokiri could ever have. Many a bad day was made better after the Kokiri talked with their fairy companions and there never was a dull day with them around. It was unimaginable to think of a Kokiri without a fairy…
Except for perhaps one…
He lived in a tree with a short little ladder leading up to his darkened doorway. Normally a boy would have it filled with the soft glow of a fairy. But he was no normal boy. This was because this boy had no fairy. No constant companion with a comforting light to chase away the shadows that lurked within his home. No reassuring voice to soothe his troubled sleep that caused him to toss and turn feverishly in his bed. No tiny, gentle hands to pull the covers over him to ward off the chills that wracked his entire body.
And no one to save him from the terrors of his dreams…
A bolt of lightning lit up the dark sky. Large drops of rain pelted against an enormous castle, making the torches sputter. The water in the moat clamored against the stones as though desperate to reach safety, but the drawbridge was shut tight, preventing anything or anyone from getting inside. All those trapped outside were at the mercy of the storm… and worse. An ominous boom of thunder shook the earth.
Suddenly, there was a creak and a clanking as the drawbridge began to open. The rain assaulted the dry side of the bridge until it glistened and a torrent of water ran down the bridge into the castle. When the bridge landed with a dull thud, the water poured off its sides into the swollen moat below. Beyond the bridge, the arch was dark and silent.
Then something white came into focus. It approached with a clatter of hooves. Then a terrified whinny burst from it as it flashed into the torchlight. It was a white horse galloping at frightening speed. It nearly trampled the boy before he could dive to the side. He scrambled to his feet and turned toward the horse.
Its rider was a grim figure-a woman in armor with a fierce profile: gray hair pulled into a tight bun, a sharp nose, glittering solemn red eyes, and a mouth pressed thin. She looked stolidly ahead as though she saw her destination and would stop at nothing to get there. She had a young girl sitting in front of her, who wore a dress that was rumpled and dirt-stained and a dirty cap on her head that hid most of her blond hair. But what he noticed most was her face-not the startling blue eyes, nor her petite nose, nor her small and delicate mouth, but her expression: one of pure terror.
He saw her yell out to him and raise her arm as though reaching for him, but the woman quickly brought the arm down and spurred the horse faster, carrying them both further and further away.
He wished there was something he could do… something to stop this nightmare from happening. He wanted to help the girl-she desperately needed his help-but what could he do?
Then, as he watched the horse fade into the distance, he felt it. The back of his neck crawled. An icy fist clenched around his heart. And a horrible choking sensation crept up behind him.
Slowly he turned. Something forced him to turn, urging him, insisting he turned. He was terrified at what he would see behind him. But he did turn.
He gave a silent cry. A man, dark as a shadow, sat atop an armored horse as black as the surrounding night. Through its visor, red eyes blazed, and it reared and shrieked angrily. Its rider didn't seem perturbed by it; instead, he calmly swept his eyes back and forth as though searching for something. Then his gaze fell down upon the boy. The boy found himself staring back, unable to divert his eyes.
The man stared down at him with hungry, yellow eyes. Then his thin mouth curled into a smile.
Do something! A voice inside the boy called. Do something! Before…
The man's laugh came out in deliberate intervals as though to drive the point that these thoughts were useless. He raised his palm toward the boy. In his palm, a spark of light flashed into being. Little motes of light appeared and bobbed towards the spark, causing it to grow. The spark gradually grew larger as the spell built up power.
Don't just stand there! Bellowed the voice inside him. Move! Do something! Anything!
But he couldn't move. He was helpless. He could only watch the spell gradually build up in the man's palm until it as bright as a sun.
Then it jumped and roared its way toward him-a bright ball of energy growing brighter and hotter as it approached.
Move! Do something! Anything!
The spell hit him, obscuring his vision in a world of white hot fire.
Many of the trees in the forest were unfathomably old, having stood proudly for many centuries. They had seen many things in the world: the rise of empires and their falls, great wars and long peace, and the growth of many generations. They had weathered many storms and sheltered many creatures. And yet, they were all but saplings compared to the Great Deku Tree.
He had watched over the forest since the beginning-a task set to him by the ancient goddesses. With his great power and wisdom, he had protected the forest from the threat of evil and for a long time no harm had come to any of his children-not a single sapling, not a single chick, not a single blade of grass had ever known of the dark malevolence that lurked outside the boundaries. He loved his children dearly and did all that he could to shield them from any that would try to harm them: preventing any of them from wandering too far from his forest, kept them within the shelter of his trees where it was safe and peaceful-where evil could not penetrate… where it did not penetrate… until…
The Great Deku Tree groaned wearily, his entire being shaking from the force of it, which sent tumbling from his leaves thousands of fairies shrieking gleefully, thinking he was playing his usual morning game of shaking them awake. But he had not the spirit to play with the mischievous imps as they darted in and out of his boughs. They were oblivious to the dread weighing heavily upon his heart. They were oblivious to the evil rising against them…
Oh, what has happened to my peaceful forest? What is to happen to my children? If they are to be spared, something must be done! It seems that the time has come for the boy to fulfill his destiny…
But why must he start so soon? He is not yet an adult! I cannot bear to call on him, for he is still so young!
The Great Deku Tree heaved a rattling sigh, causing the fairies to shriek with glee around him. And yet, if I do not call upon him, then all is lost. I must make haste for it is time…
"Navi…" his voice came out as a dry croak."Navi, where art thou? I bid thee to come to me… Navi…?"
Fairies bobbed all around him, trying to get him to play with them, but none of them were his favorite fairy. Then he saw a fairy with long, yellow hair drifting along with a dreamy look on her face.
"Linda, knowest thou where Navi is? I have need of her."
"Oh, Navi?" Linda shook herself out of her daydream and focused on the Great Deku Tree's face, which was creased with worry.
"Yes, where is she?"
"Oh yes," Linda answered. "I think she's teaching the young sprites how to care for their Kokiri."
"Ah yes, that is my Navi," murmured the Great Deku Tree fondly, momentarily forgetting the task at hand. "Wilt thou fetch Navi to me? It is urgent that I speak to her."
"Right away, Great Deku Tree," Linda answered, clasping both hands to her heart and bowing. Then she zipped off to find Navi.
The Great Deku Tree gave another rattling sigh. What a burden he would put upon his favorite fairy's shoulders. But far greater was the burden that would fall upon the shoulders of the boy without a fairy. It pained him to do it, but he knew there was no other choice. The hero must rise if the land was to be saved.
Hurry, Navi! He pleaded silently.
"Now, as fairies, you will someday be assigned a Kokiri child. And when that happens it is your responsibility to watch over that Kokiri," Navi lectured to her class. "You must be sure to protect that child, keep him safe, and guide him so that he may never wander astray from the protection of the forest."
The group nodded but without conviction. Navi was always lecturing them about protecting their assigned Kokiri-always lecturing about being his conscience-always lecturing about keeping him inside the forest where it was safe. She never spent time teaching them the useful stuff.
"Oh Navi!" one young fairy complained. "You're so boring! Why don't you teach us a game that we can play with our Kokiri? You know! Like treasure hunting, or Stalfo fighting, or maybe hide-and-seek!"
Another fairy answered the first, "Navi doesn't play games! Do you ever see her play games?"
Navi cringed at the thought. She wasn't the kind of fairy who played games. She thought them silly and unnecessary. What really mattered to her was teaching the Kokiri children what was right and what was wrong; not to be selfish, but to share; not to tease, but to find the good qualities in others; not to hurt, but to help. And it was also important that the fairies teach the children why they should never ever leave the safety of the Great Deku Tree's forest.
The fairy continued, "She just hangs around with the Great Deku Tree and talks to him! She doesn't even play hide-and-seek with him! Just sits there and talks!"
"And what is wrong with that?" Navi demanded with hands on her hips.
"You're just no fun!" the first fairy exclaimed. "All you ever think about is rules, rules, rules… don't let them hit each other, don't let them eat the Deku nuts… and never ever…" she raised her arms and conducted the group as they chanted together, "…let them leave the safety of the forest."
"Rules are important!" Navi snapped. "They keep us safe!"
"Rules schmules," said another fairy. "No wonder you don't have a Kokiri child!"
"The Great Deku Tree has entrusted me to make sure you young sprites are taught how to take care of your assigned Kokiri," Navi said sternly. She held her face in a stiff frown, trying to hide the fact that the comment stung her.
"I think it was just because he knew you'd bore your Kokiri to death with lectures," a short-haired brunette replied and the rest of the fairies tittered in agreement. Navi bit her lip as she tried to think of a good answer to that. Before she could open her mouth, Linda zoomed up to her and panted, "Navi… you're wanted by the Great Deku Tree… he wants to see you."
Navi glanced at her in puzzlement. "Now?"
"Yes. He told me to come get you… he says it's urgent."
"All right, I'm coming," she replied and immediately flew off. She wondered what the Great Deku Tree wanted her for as she flew. It wasn't that she didn't see him often. In fact, she met him almost every night, discussing with the Great Deku Tree. After a long day of teasing, she found solace in unburdening herself to him - telling him how the other fairies would not take her seriously and how they would pull pranks on her. The Great Deku Tree would listen and sometimes chuckle at the mischief of the young fairies yet never at Navi's expense. He would listen patiently while Navi vented her frustration about the other fairies' cavalier attitude and how alone she felt, being the only serious-minded fairy among all the giggling, playful, happy-go-lucky fairies.
"I mean, they don't seem to care how serious getting lost in the forest can be!" she had cried during one such meeting. "Their Kokiri could just wander off and get lost and eventually turn into Stalfos and they wouldn't know how to prevent that because they won't listen to me!"
"Do they not?" the great tree had asked gently in a deep voice that rumbled deep within him. It was comforting like an enormous fireplace keeping at bay a wintry chill.
"No," Navi had answered bitterly. "They all think I'm a boring, stuffy, old fairy who doesn't know how to have fun."
"Now wherefore they wouldst think that?"
"I don't know…" Navi had answered, her voice getting soft. "…maybe it's because… they're right…"
"Dost thou believe this?"
Navi had sniffed and shrugged miserably. "I don't know… I think I must be… I mean, they all like to play games and tell stories and laugh and have fun, and I… I just don't do any of that… and if they say I'm boring, then… well… I must be."
The Great Deku Tree had then fallen silent for a brief moment while Navi sniffed and wiped tears from her eyes. Then he had said, "Listen, Navi. It is the nature of fairies to seek fun. It is simply the way they were created. It is not in their nature to stop and think seriously."
"Then I am boring," Navi said miserably.
"Thou art different, Navi…" the Great Deku Tree corrected sternly, "special… many of the fairies act on their whims; thou hast the special gift to think things through… to see the outcome of the decisions thou makes. It is because of this that thou art special."
"But what is the point?" Navi protested. "If I have a special gift, what do I do with it? It doesn't seem to have a use for me among the others…"
"Destiny is a strange and mysterious force," answered the great tree solemnly. "It is this that decides why thou hast thy gift. Destiny must have a purpose for thee, Navi. Someday, thou wilt see the purpose of thy gift."
And since then she was filled with hope. If she ever felt discouraged, she would remember those words. Destiny had a purpose for her. She was different because she had a purpose. Why should she worry anymore about what the other fairies thought of her? The Great Deku Tree thought she was special! And she would show him that she was. She would make him proud.
That's what she had thought then. But now as she flew to the Great Deku Tree, doubts began to surface. Was she truly making him proud? Why was he calling her? Had she disappointed him somehow? She hadn't spoken with him in a few days. Perhaps he just wanted to talk?
She arrived at the clearing where the Great Deku Tree was rooted. She approached him nervously, taking note of the pained expression on his face. Wrinkles surrounded his eyes and mouth, making him look terribly old. As she drew closer, she could hear a raspy sound, which she eventually discovered was coming from the Great Deku Tree!
She froze in place, her heart stricken with fear. What has happened to him?
As she hovered uncertainly, not daring to go any further, she heard his voice, "Navi… Navi, is that thee who approaches?"
She was shocked to hear the Great Deku Tree's voice so weak and raspy-as though he was struggling for air.
He's sick! She realized. He's sick and I haven't been there for him! Too busy trying to prove myself to those fairies when I should have been here…
Feeling immensely guilty, she darted forward to where the Great Deku Tree could see her.
"I'm here, Great Deku Tree," she called, her voice shaking.
"Navi…" he whispered, sounding close to death, "Oh, Navi the fairy… I need thee to listen… for I have a dire portent to share with thee…"
"I'm listening," Navi answered, fearful that the Deku tree wouldn't live long enough to tell her his message.
He drew in a shuddering breath before speaking in a weak voice, "There is a dark presence that is poisoning the land… a great evil that threatens the peace of all who love what is good… it bears much malice… and will soon destroy all…"
"But we're safe, aren't we?" Navi protested. "You are the guardian of the forest! You protect us!" She hesitated. "You… can protect us… can't you?"
The Great Deku Tree sighed heavily. "I have served as a mighty sentinel since time immemorial, barring all wickendness from this sacred place and abetting those who sought enlightment. Many had tried and failed to breach the barrier, so how could I forsee the day in which evil would insinuate itself here? And yet this day it has."
Navi gasped. "You can't mean that! You are the greatest power in this forest! Nothing can stand up to your power!"
"I am afraid, Navi," the Great Deku Tree responded, "that is no longer true… I have been overcome… by a greater, terrible power…"
"Is that why you're sick?" Navi cried. "Are you going to die and leave us defenseless? What would we do without you?" She added softly to herself, "What would I do?"
As weak and sick as he was, the Great Deku Tree's next words held great authority in them, "Fear not, for destiny has provided us with a means to fight it. A youth predestined to overcome this wicked influence. One of our own."
Navi shook her head in confusion. "One of our own? You mean the Kokiri?" The Kokiri children? Children who were even more childlike than their fairies-who knew nothing of responsibility?
"Yes. I must ask thee to find him and bring him to me. His time of destiny has come."
The fairy stammered, reluctant to accept what she was hearing, "Wh-where do I find him? How will I know who he is?"
"Thou wilt recognize him, for he is the only child who has no companion. He is a boy without a fairy.
A boy without a fairy? This was their final hope?
As though he sensed her hesitation, the Great Deku Tree mustered his strength and commanded her, "Navi! This is the task I have given thee. It is not one I give lightly, and thou knowest this."
Still Navi hesitated. "But…"
"Nay, Navi!" the Deku tree boomed, leaving her no room for argument. "It is not just our forest that is threatened! I implore thee, find the boy without a fairy, or the world will surely perish!"
And so Navi flew. Never before had she seen him give this show of force, so it must have been truly important. She knew not how and knew not why, but she at least understood that this was a task that was critical for her to fulfill. The Great Deku Tree had commanded it and so she would do it.
She had to find the boy without a fairy.