Silent Courage

Epilogue: Final Words

Epilogue: Final Words

“...he is going to be waking soon. It's a good thing, too. Link needs to take some more Potion to help that scar.” A distant, female voice says. I recognize it as one of the Castle's healers. We're back home?

“I'll make sure. I think it's best if you check on Adam and Maria.”

“Of course,” I hear shoes walking and scrunch my face a little. My hand aches, my side is hurting, and my muscles are sore, but I'm alive, so there's that to be happy about.

“Link, you really pushed yourself, didn't you?” that's Sheik.

'Majora's dead in the end, that counts for something, doesn't it?' I laugh weakly, opening my eyes to see Sheik. I notice a bandage is wrapped around his head, covering his left eye, and his hair is in front of it, shielding it mostly.

He smiles, running a hand over my forehead. “Welcome back. After Zelda teleported us back to Hyrule Castle, you and her slept for four days.”

'Whoa, really?' I ask, sitting up with his help. 'Thanks. But we were in the Demon World, how did Zelda send us back?'

“With the last of her magical strain,” he sighs. “She's still asleep now. I doubt she'll be waking up anytime soon.”

'She deserves a long rest,' I smile fondly. 'At least she's alright,' my head snaps up. 'The siege ended! It ended when Majora was killed and Ghirahim disappeared!'

“I know, I've been helping heal wounds and help some people...cope,” he looks away. I frown.

'Sheik? Who...who died?'

He closes his eye, letting out a shaky breath. “...Master Hitoshi,” I grip his hand.

'Oh Sheik, I'm so sorry.'

“He wouldn't want me to mourn for him forever, but I'll sure miss him. I couldn't have asked for a better Master,” I see a tear run down his face and wipe it away with my thumb. “Link, I think I should tell you who the last solder to die was.”

I feel dread fill me. It's someone I know, I can feel it. My eyes sting and I nod, bracing myself. “...Alexander.”

I close my eyes, letting the tears fall. No, why him? I...I was just starting to feel like we were friends, and now he's gone? The last solder to die because of a stupid war? “A Demon had gotten into the Castle, he shielded Maria from an arrow, and it went through his heart.”

I shake, my eyes tightly shut, and Sheik climbs onto the bed, hugging me. 'He...he was the one who made me realize my feelings about you. Yeah, he was a bit of a jerk, but he was a lovable one. He didn't deserve to die.'

“I know, I know,” Sheik whispers, rocking me. “But he didn't want his wife and future child to die, so he took the hit.”

'And to think, he was terrified of fighting anything,' I think fondly. 'I'll miss Alex a lot. I hope Maria and Adam can recover.'

“They're doing alright.”

“Ah, good, you're awake, Lady Link.” My head snaps up and I stare at the healer, who gives me a warm smile. “I brought you some potion and water. Drink all the potion and I will check over you in a minute,” she sets it down and I continue to stare gobsmacked after her.

'D-did she just call me...Lady Link?'

Sheik chuckles and I look at him, face still wet. “She was stripping your shirt when you came back. No one was around, and she discovered a certain secret of yours. She swore to me that she would keep it secret, so naturally, now all of Hyrule knows that you're the Heroine of Hyrule,” he smiles.

I run my hands through my hair, trying to process this. No more hiding as a guy, no more having to act awkward when I'm being a girl. Oh thank the Goddesses, no more women looking at me.

My mind falls back to Alex and I look over to my right out of impulse. Maria's in the bed, pale and eyes closed. Her curly, bright blonde hair falls down to her chest and she has a hand on her stomach. Slowly, I move my legs over the side of the bed, pushing up and leaning on Sheik for support. At least he knows what I wanna do.

Leaning off him, I stagger a bit and lean on the wall, tapping Maria's shoulder lightly. She looks at me, her bright green eyes filled with tears, and I give her a small, sad smile. Despite her pain, she smiles back. “I should thank you for saving Hyrule,” she says, her voice weak, but still audible. “And for helping Alex when he went with you.”

'You don't need to thank me,' I think to myself, giving out my hand. She shakes it and we smile at each other. 'You should thank Alex. He saved your life, and your baby's.'

“Maria, are you feeling any better?” Sheik asks.

“After coming out of shock, I feel heartbroken, but I'm sure that will mend,” she rubs her belly. “I still have a life to live, and a smaller one to guide.”

“We hope your baby will be proud of their father,” he says for both of us.

“Thank you,” she says quietly, falling asleep.

Reluctantly, I take the potion and down the water, sitting in the bed once more, and wait for the healer to come back. Sheik goes off to get some food when she comes back. She tests my scars, my nose and hand. She tuts, holding my hand. “We had to cauterize the wound. You won't be able to use your right hand for several more days, but at least it isn't your left hand,” she smiles kindly. “If you wish, I could get you some dresses.”

I shake my head, a bit too quickly, and she laughs. “I see. I must check on the Princess. You're to stay on bed rest for three more days.”

With a sigh, I nod. When she leaves, Charlie comes in. I smile, straightening up as he sits on the edge of the bed. He puts a hand on my leg and ruffles my hair. “You did good, Little Beast. You saved Hyrule twice now, and you stopped the killing of more lives. One moment, everyone was fighting, than the Smog disappeared and all the Demons stopped. Some died, others snapped out of it and killed, but most retreated. And all the Mythical Monsters were transported back to where they came from. We no longer have to fear them.”

I nod, inwardly thanking all those who helped us get this far.

“Josh and Amy would be very proud,” he says. My eyes sting again. “I know I am. I bet they couldn't have asked for a better child.”

A thought crosses my mind and I look at Charlie. He reads my yes and chuckles. “I'm guessing you want to know why your parents named you Link?” I nod. “Josh and I were trying to come up with names, and Amy said that she could feel a light inside her whenever you kicked or when she was worried. As if you were trying to make her feel happy,” he smiles at the memories. I blush lightly. “We thought you were a boy through it all, so we were ready to call you Link anyway. When you were born, we where trying to come up with a girl's name, when Amy saw your hand,” he takes my left hand, running a thumb over my Triforce mark. “She looked at us and smiled. Saying, 'I think Link is a perfect name for her.' She knew what the mark meant, we all did, so we agreed. You became our Link, my Little Beast, and you had everybody who met you wrapped around your finger,” he suddenly frowns. “But you were born premature.” I raise an eyebrow. “Born premature means that you're born earlier than you should be. You were born only at seven months, you were so small, but you weren't sickly or anything. I always thought it was your Triforce or the Goddesses looking out for you, but Amy thought it was just a sign that you would grow to be stubborn.”

So, really I was supposed to be born around the same time as Ilia? Two months early seems like it would be dangerous for a baby.

“But that's enough of that for now,” he says, ruffling my hair again. “Once you wake up, I suggest going to visit Rusl. He's at the Castle and he wanted to give you something, as a thanks for saving the land again and for a birthday/midwinter present as well. He's been working on it since you came to live here, actually.”

Before I can really wonder what it is, I fall back asleep.

When I wake up, it's night and the moon shines through the window, casting a silver glow through the room. I swing my legs over the bed, holding my stinging hand into my stomach, and walk to the window. Staring out of it, I notice that there are a lot of clouds and snow is falling. How I'm able to see the moon, I have no idea.

It's very quiet. It's weird after so much noise. But I smile slightly. This is just what I need, some time to think about everything. The lives lost, the hearts broken, the wounds healing. I run over my battle with Majora, touching my nose. It didn't seem that long, but it really did take a long time to defeat her. And I never would have been able to do it without Oni's help.

At least he's free of his bindings, now he can go and do whatever it is he does.

I stay awake for the rest of the night, all fatigue and exhaustion dissolved. My hand aches dully, and my side is a little stiff and sore, but I find my thoughts drifting away. What now? Will I finally get to rest and just live a somewhat-normal life now that my newest adventure is over? Will I be forced into some other adventure any time soon? I sure hope not, I think I've gone through enough for several life times.

So, why do I have a strange feeling in my gut? Why do I feel that, even though it's clearly over, there's more to be done, more to finish? Why do I have this sense of foreboding? And what in Hyrule does it mean?

“Link?” I jump a little and turn my head, seeing Ilia standing there. “What are you doing up?” she asks, sitting beside me on the window. I shrug and look back outside, watching the snow fall. “Hyrule's going to change a lot from this.” I nod slowly. “I'm sorry that I caused you to worry. I felt like I had to repay you for, well, everything.”

We stay silent for a few minutes, just enjoying each other's company, when Ilia speaks up again. “I'll be going back to Ordon in a few days. Do you want to come and visit?” Smiling, I nod. My plans to bring Zelda there after finding the Sage of Spirit died, so I'll take her this time. “I'll tell the Village to expect you.”

For the next few hours, we simply 'talk'. I can't help but feel happy, knowing that I can still be with Ilia like old times, despite all the hardships and trials we've both faced. And she can still understand what I'm trying to 'say'. The best part about us.

When the sun rises behind the smoky clouds, Ilia leaves for a walk, while I'm forced to take some more potion by the healer lady. Once I wash the bitter taste away, I go for a walk myself, limping slightly. The scar on my side is hurting, but I'm sure that will pass, just like the scar on my back did. I actually forget about it most of the time.

I lift my hand to my face, finding that, in my sleep, the bandage was changed and reapplied. There's no red markings on the bandage, but I don't want to see my half-eaten hand. It might be a bit much on my currently weak stomach. Can't even eat an apple without feeling sick yet.

In my distraction, I bump into somebody and look up, managing to stay on my feet, to see Midna around. She grins, and I'm happy to see no scars on her face. “Hey, Link. It's good to see you up and moving. I was just coming back from visiting Noir. He got some pretty bad burns from the siege.”

'How are you? You're not too hurt, right?' I ask.

She rolls her eyes. “Do you ever think about yourself? Yes, I'm fine. Only a couple of broken bones. They healed fast and only ache slightly. How about you? Coping with your missing fingers yet?”

'Haven't even gotten the bandage off,' I show her. 'It'll be weird getting used to this.'

“Well, you and Sheik can help each other. His left eye is too damaged to be fixed and he'll have to wear a patch or something for the rest of his life. He seems not too upset about it, I think he's more worried about you at this point.”

'How's Zelda? Have you seen her?'

“She's still sleeping. She used so much magic to teleport you and Sheik here, when physically she shouldn't have been able to do. Guess it just shows how powerful she really is.”

'Huh, powerful. Oh yeah! I met Nayru and Din however-many-days-ago. They were able to heal some of our wounds when we passed out.'

“So that's what happened,” she says thoughtfully. “You're full of surprises, you know that?”

'Hey, why aren't you hiding out?' I tilt my head, normally she would be in my shadow at this hour.

“The chancellor said that he allowed us to stay here until our magic replenishes. We used so much to get here, that even the most powerful Twili Mage had trouble. It's much easier using the Mirror of Twilight, I'll tell you, but it was for the best.”

'Well that's nice of him. Wonder how he's dealing with losing his son-in-law,' I think, looking down sadly.

“He quit being the Captain of the Guard. Or, he wants to. He took the news hard and swore never to pick up a weapon again. Hopefully the next Captain can teach the guards something,” she rolls her eyes. I laugh and nod, agreeing completely. “It's good to see you're okay. I was actually starting to worry.”

'Aww, you do care,' I tease, grinning.

“Of course I care about you, moron,” she hits me over the head gently. “You are my friend, you know.”

'Yep, it's just good to hear it,' I hug her. 'Thanks for helping me out.'

“Call it repayment for when you helped me,” she says, refusing to return the hug.

'Aw c'mon, push that pride of yours aside and hug me. We might not see each other for a while,' I tell her.

With a sigh, she hugs me back, before hitting the back of my neck. I huff as I look up. 'What was that for?'

She grins, bending down and giggling. “Just thought I'd have some fun with you before I go back to the Twilight Realm again. I need to attend to my Twili,” she stands and smiles. “Bye, Link.” And she vanishes in a mass of Twilight Particles.

'And you couldn't change me back, could you?' I think, huffing.

“Eek!” I jump at the scream and look around to see a maid standing behind me. I lie down and put my paws in front of me, trying to show her I won't attack, but she grabs a pot and throws it at me. I yelp and run off through the castle, passing many other maids and servants.

'Help help help help help help help,' I chant in my head. I see an open door and sneak in, closing it behind me and hiding in the corner next to it. Once the commotion dies down, I let out a sigh. I look down at my foot, finding it throbbing, and wince when I remember my hand. It's gotta look bad like this, too.

I manage to hit my neck on the doorknob and exit the room, staring at my right hand again. I make sure to look ahead of me this time. Dropping my hand, I look around a corner and see Rusl. With a large smile, I run out and hug him, making him stiffen at first. “Ah, Link,” he chuckles, wrapping me in a hug. “So you're up and moving. I'm very proud of you, as others have probably told you,” he holds me at arm's length. “You really do look like a warrior.”

He reaches behind his back and takes off a shield I hadn't noticed beforehand. With a small smile, he holds it out to me. “I made this for you soon after you left for Hyrule Castle. I thought it suited you well.” It's a black and silver wolf, standing on its hind paws with its front 'holding' it up as if it was pushing on a wall. The field behind the wolf is a green colour just like my tunic, and above the wolf is the Triforce, all pieces shining gold. I look at Rusl in awe, he simply smiles. “It's your own shield. Every knight needs a shield, and I thought yours should be as unique as you are.”

He hands me the shield and I run my hand over the face, smiling. The wolf looks like me, and if I look closely, I can see it has my eyes. “I am so sorry,” I look up at Rusl. “About all those months ago, when I attacked you.” My eyes widen, he knows I'm the wolf? “I saw you turn into a wolf when you were in Hyrule Castle, going to save Zelda. It broke my heart when I realized I had harmed you. But I was hurt and determined to find the children, I even shook my head at the thought of your eyes being familiar.”

Before he can keep regretting his actions, I put the shield down and hug him. I bury my face into his shirt. He sighs and holds my head, rubbing circles on my back. “Thank you.” He doesn't need to say for what, I already know. “Wear that shield of yours proudly, Link,” he tells me, ruffling my hair. Goddess Dammit, as if it needs to be more messy. “I need to tell Ordon that everyone's fine, they'll be worried.”

I nod, seems like everybody still has some final things to do.

-One week later-

I sit on the windowsill, staring out at the sea of white and grey. Since the snowfall a few days ago, the clouds haven't left once and have kept it cold and snowy. All the fires in the Castle are on and all the beds have several blankets, but sometimes it still gets very cold. Over the last week, a few things have happened.

Zelda finally woke up two days after I did. She hasn't fully recovered, and the healers have kept her in bed most of the time, but she'll be fine in at least a month's time. That's way to long for me, but I'm sure Zelly has the patience.

Maria had her baby a day ago. A little girl with brown eyes and black stubble for hair. She looks exactly like Alex in every way, right down to the face. Maria and Adam cried at the sight, and decided to go with the name Adam joked about only a few weeks ago, Alexandria, Aly for short. She's a cute little bundle of joy, very quiet and giggly, behaving for her mother and uncle. Adam and Nura were also named the Godparents of little Aly, which thrilled them to no end. But there's one thing that has everyone worried. Sheik said that she was born blind. I just hope Maria won't act overprotective.

Everyone who died during the siege were buried in the Castle Graveyard. Mages used their magic to warm the ground so they could bury them. It was sad seeing so many new tombstones sitting in that Graveyard. So many stones of people I knew.

After the burial, Sonja and the Sheikah left, as did the Wind Tribe and other races of Hyrule. They all had their dead to bury, and they had to leave before the snow got too deep to travel. Rusl sent a letter from Ordon saying that everyone was fine and well, and that they look forward to my visit. Ilia had left with him, and apparently got a long scolding from Bo. Good, I still feel guilty that I'm the reason she decided to fight at all.

Navi returned to the forest, saying that, like a thousand years ago, her place is with the Kokiri, and helping them. I understand completely, she can't live in Hyrule. If she's still alive by my next Incarnation, I hope they're able to meet.

And Midwinter's Eve is tomorrow. Even with the siege laying heavy scars on everyone, both emotionally and physically, Hyrule is still going through with the annual tradition. I think it's a good thing, it will remind everyone that there will be good times ahead, despite all the loses we have faced.

I look down at my right hand. The bandages were taken off the day Zelda woke up, and the sight of my hand still sends my stomach into knots. I can see the bite marks Majora made on my hands, and the ripped skin from her thrashing. My last three fingers are at least unscathed, but I'm going to have trouble getting accustomed to this. And Sheik has to get used to seeing through one eye, his left being damaged beyond repair, just like Din said.

Speaking of Sheik, a few days after I was able to walk, he brought me to that cave in the Lost Woods, where we were separated while looking for Din's Fire. He lead me to the room where the old text was and grinned at me before putting a hand on it. With a flash of light, all the text was back and I was able to read it.

After many hardships, it’s over. No one knows of this cave, so I believe it is safe to put this here. Great Hylia do I hope so. Demise, the Demon King, is defeated. But what does he mean by cursing his and my descendents to fight for eternity? Reincarnations? Reborn again? I just don’t get it. He put a curse on me, my friend and himself, apparently, and now what? What dose this have to do with anything? I’m not going to live again, I know that, but I feel so strange now, like, even after I die, not everything will just be the same as usual. Must just be me being my weird self, as always. But, if you're reading this, I guess you found this cave, huh? My friend told me that it’s possible for the Demon King to reborn again, and she’s the one who told me to write this down, so why not? Not like I’m going to pick a fight with her, she can get rather…scary when she’s angry. Anyway, besides that, I guess I should get to the point. If this is a reincarnation of mine, although I highly doubt it, keep a look out for Demise and his crony. Even if they are defeated, they might not be dead. And if this isn’t my reincarnation, go tell my incarnation about this. If they’re real that is.

Finally, it all makes sense.

Once everything's over! This could have been a little more useful if I had been able to read it from the get-go.

And it sounds like Sky was very sceptical of the 'Reborn' thing, just like he told me. I also have a feeling I know what he helped me with. Probably my feelings for Sheik.

Then Zelda had to go show me a piece ot text Sheik had seen in the Palace of Wind.

History repeats, the next generation starts, and the cycle is eternal. From the beginning, one rises to darkness, shrouding the land and wanting to take, one guards the same item with their life, making risks to stop the plotting, and one comes out from nowhere, no idea what is in store, not clue what is to come, and they brave and continue scarred with the times they fought.

As this cycle continues, every thousand years they come, never remembering their past, but always meant to take care of the future. I know this will happen again, and he isn't destroyed, he did not get what he wanted, and he is not going to quit. I pray that they, the ones reborn from me and the Chosen Hero, can stop him once again, before he revives his master.

The one I know is reading this, please warn them of Demon Lord Ghirahim, he is going to bring Demise back again, despite Demise only using him. He will erase the mind of the Demon King, and make the world a wasteland where only Demons can live. If this is mine or my friend’s descendants, listen well, these words must be built into your minds, be prepared for when he returns. If this is not mine or my friend’s descendants, then warn them as soon as you can. Please, warn them…

That could have been useful to know too. Oh well, what's done is done, and now we know the messages from the first Link and Zelda.

The door creaks open, bringing me out of my thoughts, and I smile at the reflection of Sheik through the window. He's wearing a black patch over his eye, attached to his head by a black, leather string. His scar pokes out from behind the patch diagonally from both sides, from his nose to his cheek. And despite that, he smiles and comes over, sitting down on the windowsill in front of me. 'Hey, Sheik. Couldn't sleep?' I ask, hearing the Castle bell ring twelve times.

“No, not really. I could feel you not able to sleep, either, so I came to see you,” he says, running a hand over my head. “How's your hand?”

I turn it over to look at it. 'It's getting better. Still a little sore and stiff, but still better than it was. How's your eye?'

“I'll get used to it,” he grins, reaching behind his back. “You know, it's Midwinter's Eve now. And of course I got you something.”

'I got you something, too,' I say, reaching behind my own back. 'I get to give it to you first.'

He chuckles, nodding. I pull it out and hand it to him. He unwraps the paper I put around it and his eyes open in surprise. He pulls out the small photograph with a shaky hand, staring in disbelief. “Link, h-how did you-?”

'I got Charlie to find them for me,' I smile. 'I figured you would want something of your family, so I got a picture.' The picture is of him, Sonja and his father, Kazuhiro. Sheik and Sonja were standing in front of Kazuhiro. There's also another picture of Sheik, Sonja and Hitoshi, and a picture of two-year-old Sheik holding baby-me.

“These are amazing,” he gives me a hug, putting the box aside. I hug him back before he leans out of my arms, a playful smirk on his face. “Alright, now it's my turn. Close your eyes.”

Without question, I close them. A moment later, he talks again. “Now open your eyes and look up,” I do so and gasp lightly. A small, green pant with a white bow is above our heads, being held by Sheik. I look at him and he puts his forehead on mine. “You know what mistletoe means, don't you?”

With a smile, I fling my arms around his neck and kiss him, sinking into his embrace.

If this is the end to my adventures, I gladly accept it.

Not everybody knows what courage means. Many think it means to be brave, to have no fear, to strike down enemies without an inkling of fright. But they are wrong. Courage is the will to fight even in the times you fear the most. When faced with a fear, you still fight, even though you want to run. It's the courage that drives us to do the unthinkable challenges of facing your fears head-on, and proving that they will not stop you.

And there are many different types of courage. Proud courage, smart courage, moronic courage, boastful courage. More than people think. Courage is unique to every person, and they are all slightly different, as people are. But there's one courage that many don't seem to realize. A kind of courage that is not always shown, but is always present. A courage that rises when the occasion calls it, but rests when it is not needed. A courage that many would call foolish, but what I call my own unique trait.

A silent courage.

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