Chapter Five: Marked for Death
"Link, where are we going?" Reena asked, trying to keep up with his frantic pace. "What's wrong?"
"I need to get to the castle," Link explained, his bow in his hand. "You've got to come with me."
"Why?" Reena asked.
"Ganondorf knows who you are. You won't be safe," Link answered. "You're better off with me."
"Whoa, wait a minute," Reena said, freezing. "How does he know who I am?"
"Your cloak," Link said, reluctantly stopping.
"He knows who I am…from a cloak?"
"Yes!" Link said aspirated. "We can't stop, Reena!"
"…I'm going to go back to Gerudo Fortress," Reena said, unsure about the whole ordeal.
"No, it's too dangerous for you to go by yourself," Link protested.
"I can take care of myself," Reena assured. "You go save the world and I'll run into you whenever I can."
"Reena!" Link cried angrily. "You don't understand! This isn't funny! If he wants you dead, he won't stop at trying!"
Reena was taken back by his concern. Her sarcasm bid farewell, replaced by sincerity.
"Ganondorf is insane!" Link continued. "I can't let you walk into a death trap!"
"Link," Reena said, putting a hand on his shoulder. "Breathe- you're hyperventilating. I promise, if something doesn't feel right, I'll leave. If there are any problems, I'll find you."
Link searched her eyes. Was she lying to him? He sighed. He wouldn't win this time. "Alright…take Epona."
Reena agreed, knowing it was the only way he would allow her to go. The mare came cantering towards them a moment later. Reena mounted and with a final goodbye they went their separate ways.
Reena gave Epona a final pat and headed towards the fortress. Inside she was greeted with her personal guards.
"Was your journey productive?" one asked, bowing.
"Very," Reena said. "Where's Nabooru?"
"In her quarters," another answered, also bowing. Reena nodded. She walked to Nabooru's room, her guards following. She knocked three times and entered, leaving her guards outside. With a brisk bow, she approached Nabooru.
"What took you?" Nabooru demanded, her back to Reena. Reena smirked. It was her way of showing concern.
"Er…," Reena answered, wondering if she should tell the truth. "Link needed my help with something."
"Like what?" Nabooru asked, turning around with interest.
Reena explained how Link had washed onto the shore. After explaining the entire adventure, she told about her cloak and Link having a fit.
"He barely agreed to let me come here! He thinks this Ganondorf is going to kill me!"
"I see," Nabooru said, a glint in her eyes.
"What?" Reena demanded.
"Nothing," Nabooru said. "So, enlighten me, how were you able to help him when the matter that you can't swim is a fatal one in a case such as that?"
"Details, details," Reena said, waving her hand. She saw Nabooru's look and smirked. "I found ways around it. Remember, I can do magic? I made it as if there was no water and that I was just walking on air."
"Nice, real nice," Nabooru muttered, shaking her head. She looked sternly at Reena. "What if that magic was too much for you? You could've drown, Reena."
"I had it under control," Reena assured, becoming slightly irritated. She could take care of herself.
"Link's more of a moron than I thought," Nabooru muttered, disappointed.
"Er…he didn't really…know," Reena said, rubbing the back of her neck.
"You didn't tell him?" Nabooru asked dangerously.
"No!" Reena exclaimed. "He wouldn't have let me go with! I needed to go because if I didn't he'd die! He was practically dead when I found him!"
Nabooru shook her head, "Has he made you gone daft?"
"Nabooru, just drop it!" Reena snapped, sitting down on the cushions. She could feel her cheeks become redder and redder. Nabooru sat down across from her.
"What were you able to get?" she asked with a smirk.
"A Zora necklace and as many coins as I could carry," Reena answered, handing the pieces to her.
"Link must've objected to your stealing," Nabooru said, examining them.
"It doesn't bother him," Reena said. "He's actually helped me."
"Sounds like you two see each other often," Nabooru said.
Reena nodded in agreement. She felt the red tinge worsen.
"Uh huh," Nabooru said. "Sounds like I might lose my best raider."
"No, it's not like that," Reena said quickly.
"Yeah, okay," Nabooru said. She laughed at Reena's venomous glare. "Settle, I'm only joking."
Reena was still glaring, "You and hating men."
"You and chasing them," Nabooru answered. "However, if I had known he would grow to what he is now…"
"Nabooru fancies Link!" Reena sang, standing. A pillow smashed into her head. Laughing, Reena ran, more pillows bombarding her.
"Everyone out! Get out!" Reena screamed. "Forget the loot! Run!"
The three Gerudo dropped the treasure and ran. Reena covered her face as flames lashed out at her. She called out again, straining to hear others. Suddenly, someone covered her mouth and dragged her out.
"Reena! Are you insane?" Nabooru snapped. "The fortress is about to collapse!"
Reena wrenched Nabooru's hand from her mouth, letting fresh air flow to her lungs. She grabbed her neck nervously, searching for the familiar chain. It wasn't there.
"My necklace!" Reena cried and she ran back into the fortress.
"Reena! No!" Nabooru screamed.
She didn't hear. The inferno engulfed Reena as she picked her way through the burning debris. She jumped out of the way of a falling timber and dove into her room. She threw flaming pillows aside, searching frantically. She smiled, finding her prized possession. She ran from her room and down the hall. An explosion went off and her way was blocked. A man of large stature blocked her way. Black armor glinted against the fire. She saw his eyes look through hers, terrifying every thought. Ganondorf.
Nabooru ran after Reena. She reached the doorway when it suddenly caved in. Two Gerudos grabbed her, pulling her away.
"No!" she screamed in distress.
All the Gerudo watched in paralyzing horror as their fortress collapsed. Fire spurted from every doorway. Burning chunks of rock flew in every direction. Nabooru just stood there, not wanting to believe the site. There was no way she could survive.
Link hurried to the castle. He had been delayed three days from the King and Queen's call. His past home had needed his help badly and he couldn't refuse.
He nearly ran across the castle drawbridge and skidded to a halt before reaching the grand staircase. He hurried down it, bowing before King Jerold and Queen Lenaya. Princess Lera was also in his presence.
"I'm sorry," Link said. "The Kokiri were under attack."
"Link…a message came for you," King Jerold said quietly.
Link was startled by the eerie silence in the air. He nodded slowly and waited for King Jerold to continue.
"I…I believe it's best if she tells you," he said. "A Gerudo waits in one of the rooms. I'll have Rolen bring you to her."
Reena, Link thought. Something must have happened. A moment later a guard appeared and Link followed him. He was brought to one of the guest rooms. The guard knocked on the door and with a bow, left. Link entered and a small smile came. Reena sat on a chair in the corner and a new cloak hid her identity.
"You got a new cloak," he said with a quiet laugh. "What happened, Reena? Is everything okay?"
"What happened…happened to Reena," a quiet voice answered. Link felt his blood run cold. The woman stood, lowering her hood. Nabooru stood in front of him. She didn't hide that she had been crying.
"Na…Nabooru?" Link stammered. What was she doing here? What had happened? "What do you mean?"
"Gerudo Fortress was attacked," Nabooru said, her voice shaking. "Reena was…killed…in the fire."
Link barely heard her. The world had gone silent. All he could hear was his harsh breathing.
"It was Ganondorf," Nabooru continued.
Link was thrown back into the present. Anger replaced every emotion in his body. This couldn't be happening. Ganondorf wouldn't dare. Moisture collected at the corners of his eyes as the reality of it all began to sink in. He quickly blinked it away.
Nabooru came over and put a hand on his shoulder. She looked at him for a moment and left. Link clenched his hands and felt them begin to shake. He whipped around and left the room, slamming the door behind him. He ran past Nabooru, barely noticing as he exited the castle. He called Epona and mounted her, setting her in the direction of Gerudo Valley. He looked behind him to see King Jerold and Queen Lenaya standing on the drawbridge. They watched as he cantered towards false hope.
The wind howled through the boulders that had once made Gerudo Fortress. Link felt lost. Why were the ones closest to him killed? Why couldn't he have what he wanted? Would he be cursed for life to remain alone?
He slowly stepped over the rubble. Smoke billowed into the sky, making his eyes burn. Grief took him as he stumbled upon the crushed training room. A painful smile came as he remembered the day he had surprised Reena. Link looked around, his heart sinking at the sight of the dead Gerudo who had not made it.
Link's heart went out to the Gerudo who had survived. It was their custom to leave their dead on the surface so that their spirits could escape this world. He went from one body to the next, having a glimmer of hope that some might have survived. He froze when he saw long, golden hairy fly gracefully in the wind.
Link swallowed hard and made his feet move towards her. He wanted to scream out in anguish and run. It wasn't fair. None of this was. Couldn't he be happy? Was he meant to suffer?
Reena's pale skin stood out against the sandy rock. Her beautiful features glowed against the ugly scene. Her hand was clenched around an object that hung on a gold chain. Link slowly crouched, bringing the back of his hand quickly across his eyes. He never thought he would be looking at his one greatest friend as she lay dead.
Despite the sorrow that tore at him, curiosity pricked him. He took her closed hand and jumped, dropping it. Her hand was warm. The others had been stone cold. Shaking, Link took her hand again, trying to open it and found he couldn't. Frantic hope filled Link. He felt for a pulse. It answered strong.
"She's alive," Link breathed.
Link took her in his arms and carried her away from the smoking wreckage. Shock flooded through him at how light she was. He put her on level ground, searching for injuries. Her clothes were burnt in various places, but not a single scorch mark or gash was visible on her body. Link was becoming more confused. How could she survive an inferno and have Gerudo Fortress collapse on her? She would have suffocated! On top of it all, she didn't have a scratch on her!
He pulled his ocarina out and called Epona. The instant she arrived, Link lifted Reena onto her. He jumped on behind Reena, putting an arm around her. Link clicked his tongue and headed back towards Hyrule Castle.
"Where am I?" Reena moaned. "What happened?"
"In Hyrule Castle," a familiar voice answered. "On September fourteenth if you really want to know."
"I'm alive?" Reena asked.
"Yes, and so help me you pull that stunt again, I will kill you," Link answered.
Reena opened her eyes. Her vision was blurred to the point of no recognition. She blinked it away and saw Link sitting cross-legged on a large chest of drawers. She was in a fairly large room that had a balcony to her right. The door was on the wall to her left on the opposite side of her. Next to Link's 'chair' was a sitting area and next to Reena's bed to the right was a desk. She lay in an elegant four poster bed of deep mahogany wood.
"What happened? How did you find me?" Reena asked. "The building fell on me."
"I know that much," Link answered quietly. "Nabooru came and told me what happened."
Link retold what Nabooru had told him and how he needed to see for himself. Reena listened intently, slowly picking herself up. Link's voice slowly grew quieter and quieter. When he finished, Reena observed that he was very pale.
"You were right," Reena admitted angrily. "He did come. And he killed…the Gerudo."
"Many made it out alive" Link assured.
"I should have listened," Reena said, drilling her knuckles into her forehead. She could hear the screams of her sisters run through her head. She blinked away anguished tears. The menacing laugh surrounded her. His eyes tore through her.
"Reena, it's alright," Link said quietly. He had left his seat and was now next to her. He put his arms around her, letting her shake. Her arms tightened around him.
"I'll kill him," Reena hissed. "He's going to pay for every life that he took away from me. I'll kill him. Even if it's the last thing I do."
"Reena, listen to me," Link said as they pulled away. "He's going to find out you're alive. You need to stay here. This is the only place that will give you the most protection."
"I'm not staying here!" Reena cried. "Not when that bastard is out there! Besides, this place makes me uneasy."
"The castle?" Link asked, shocked.
"No, this room," Reena said. "It's…as if I've been here before."
"You have stolen from here before," Link said in an obvious tone.
"Not form this room. I remember because I had to find a way up over the balcony. However, I couldn't find a way in quietly so I resided to a window. Also, the door is locked all the time."
"That's understandable," Link said. "This is Princess Zelda's room."
"It can't be because…," Reena trailed off.
"Because why?" Link asked.
"I remember…oh, never mind," Reena said, shaking her head.
An awkward silence passed between the two. A rare moment. Link decided to fill the silence by asking what he had been longing to ask.
"Reena… why did you run back in?" he asked.
"I left the one thing left of my past," Reena explained. "It's a necklace that was around my neck when Nabooru found me. My mother gave it to me."
"Do you remember her at all?" Link asked quietly.
Reena sifted through her memories. She had few of her past. So few that she didn't even remember where she had once lived.
"A little," Reena said. "She was very pretty. I can still remember her laugh. I remember…long corridors…I'd run down them as if I could never stop…"
Reena began to laugh. "Listen to me! Remembering a past that doesn't even belong to me anymore!"
Link had to force a small smile to satisfy her look. He wondered what it was like not able to remember. He remembered clearly when Ganondorf had attacked his home and killed his parents. He could still see his mother's face as she died in his arms. From that day on, his fate had been set.
"Link, are you okay?" Reena asked, putting a hand on his arm.
"Yes," Link answered. "I just…I…never mind."
Reena had enough to worry about. She didn't need to know how Ganondorf had been bent on killing him the moment he was born. She didn't need to know that he had the Triforce of Courage around his neck every waking moment or that he had witnessed his parents' death.
"Reena, it's not a good idea for you to come with me," Link said finally. "You'll be in more danger. Now that Ganondorf is a threat, I'm going to be traveling everywhere. When I started doing this…I made myself promise not to allow anyone to come with me."
"Well, screw that promise because you already broke it," Reena said. "I helped you with the Zora's."
"Because I was still delusional when I agreed," Link pointed out.
"Link, you may not allow me to come with you, but I will look for Ganondorf," Reena said. "Besides, you need someone to look out for you."
Link looked at her pleadingly. She just crossed her arms and stared defiantly at him. Link ran a hand down his face. This wasn't supposed to happen.
"Reena, please," Link said desperately. "Last time you ignored my judgment you nearly died!"
"And now I want to pay him back for what he's done to the Gerudo," Reena answered.
Link sighed. He couldn't win, not with her at least. It was best that she stuck with him if she was going to look for Ganondorf. He nodded slowly.
"I went back and got your swords," he said quietly.
Reena nodded in appreciation. Only then did she realize that a nightdress was on her, not her Gerudo grab. She looked around, not seeing them.
"Where are my clothes?" Reena asked, itching to get out of the dress.
Link hesitated before he stood and brought them over from the chest of drawers. He laid them gently in front of her. Reena looked at them and winced. The garb was burned horribly. She slowly picked her top up, her heart sinking. She remembered when she had been presented with these. She reached for her pants and cringed at all the holes.
"I'm sorry," Link said quietly. He knew the customs of the Gerudo. The garb she wore signified that she was under Nabooru. That she would be the leader if anything ever happened to Nabooru.
"I can fix it," Reena said finally. "No doubt I'm stuck here for some time. I can fix these during then."
Link stayed the week. He wanted to make sure Reena had completely recovered before they started out again. She talked with the royal seamstress and took from her the colors she needed. Link pointed out that she had indeed talked with the seamstress, but had been declined her request. She stole the colors that she needed after she and the seamstress had their dispute. Link informed Reena everyone had heard their 'dispute'.
"Who cares? I still go the colors I needed," Reena said defiantly.
Reena listened for anyone approaching before putting her needle down. She placed her hand on her Gerudo top and threads instantly began to appear and cross together. One hole became patched, and then another, and another, until all of them were healed. She smirked, glad for her advantage. Suddenly, a knock on her door made her grab her needle.
"Come in," she snapped. She slapped her mouth. She wasn't at Gerudo Fortress. She softened her voice. "Come in."
The door opened and a woman stepped in. She wore a dress and was laden down by jewels. On top of her head was a beautiful tiara. Reena knew it was the Queen at first sight. She wondered at what to do. The Queen laughed softly at her confusion.
"Don't worry about it," she assured. "I know you're not used to seeing the King and Queen."
"No, I'm not," Reena agreed. She scratched the back of her neck. "Er…thanks. I never thought I'd find myself in the castle…unless I was in the dungeons."
Queen Lenaya couldn't help but laugh. Though the Gerudo didn't say it, she knew who she was. She could only be Reena for she looked just as Link had described her. She had a feeling Reena had indeed been in the castle without anyone's consent.
"I guess I'm obliged not to steal from here anymore," Reena said, looking around the room.
"It would be a thoughtful gesture," Lenaya agreed. She looked at Reena's tattered clothes. "I'm glad only so many were lost in the fire."
Reena nodded. She wasn't sure if she wanted to go over recent events. She could talk to Link about them, but she barely knew the Queen.
"You, of course, must be Reena," Lenaya said.
"…Am I known or something?" Reena asked.
"No, I can tell by Link's description," she answered.
"Wow, so he did something right?" Reena asked, stunned. "That's a first. He messes everything up."
"As every man does," Lenaya agreed.
"Yes! What's with them? Do they change by chance?" Reena asked.
Lenaya shook her head sadly, "No, I'm afraid they stay the same. I would know."
"Hmm…," Reena said thoughtfully. "You can't inflict enough pain? I mean, that would have to do something!"
"I haven't tried that method yet," Lenaya admitted. "Have you tried it on Link?"
"Eh, unintentionally," Reena said, feeling a red tinge going to her cheeks. She saw the Queen's look and couldn't help but spill the details. "It wasn't that big of a deal…I just kinda punched him in the jaw. He woke me up… a fatal move."
"I'm sure Link doesn't do that anymore," Lenaya said, laughing.
"Oh, he does…he just uses his sword so that it's me that gets injured," Reena muttered. She felt stunned and uneasy. Queen Lenaya was…easy to talk to.
"I use the sword because that's the only thing you haven't broken yet!" Link answered, walking in. He bowed to Queen Lenaya.
"That's another thing," Lenaya said, looking at Reena. "They don't listen."
"Oh, don't get me started on her!" Link exclaimed, pointing a threatening finger at Reena.
"I don't want to hear it, alright?" Reena said, growing quiet.
"I didn't mean this time," Link said gently. He shifted nervously. "How are you feeling? I see you finished your top."
"Yeah," Reena answered. "So, as soon as I'm done, we can go."
"If you can walk," Link said.
"I can walk," Reena said irritated. "Here you go into your father mode."
"Be quiet!" Link exclaimed. "Sorry that I don't want you getting attacked out there!"
"You should be," Reena said. She looked at Queen Lenaya who seemed to enjoy the bickering. "He's also very hypocritical."
She got to her feet and walked to Link, poking him with a threatening finger.
"You, my friend, couldn't even speak when I found you," Reena said, narrowing her eyes. "And then you're saying you can go and fight even though you couldn't stand."
"Hey, we're not talking about me," he said, looking down at her, "shorty."
"Oh, that was mean!" Reena hissed, hitting him upside the head. "You will die for that. I'll send that fish after you!"
"Er, we killed that Reena," Link pointed out. He rapped his knuckles against her head. "Nope, empty. No wonder you didn't remember."
"I hate you," Reena said, turning around and sitting on the bed again. Link began to laugh. "Stalker."
"Thief," Link answered.
"You say you put up with him?" Reena asked, amazed.
"This is quite amusing," Queen Lenaya laughed.
"I'm sorry I ever brought her here, Queen Lenaya," Link said.
Lenaya? Reena thought. That's my middle name. Huh. I wonder if Nabooru knew that was the Queen's name. Eh…Probably not.
"How long have you two been traveling together?" Queen Lenaya asked. "It seems a long time."
"We've known each other for almost two years," Link said.
"Almost?" Reena asked, offended. "Er, try two years. I'm eighteen. We met on my sixteenth birthday."
"Really?" Link asked, surprised.
"Yes," Reena answered. "Wow…two years. That's scary."
"Yeah…," Link said, looking at her uncertain.
"Anyways, I need to go tend to Epona," he said. "Who knows how long it's been since I groomed her."
"Yeah, we all wonder when you last-"
"Quiet you," Link said, his voice echoing down the hall. Reena smirked and leaned against the headboard, her heart stopping.
Standing in her doorway was a woman. She was tall and strong, definitely a warrior. White hair was tied back, accenting the severe eyes that pierced through Reena. In the moment that their eyes met, Reena felt as if her whole life story had entered this person. For the first time in ages, Reena felt intimidated. However, she refused to back down and stared back, narrowing her eyes. Queen Lenaya looked at her, startled, and looked at the door.
"Impa, she's our guest," Lenaya said in a soft, but firm voice. She nodded, but didn't move.
"You're the Gerudo?" she asked.
"Yes," Reena answered, sizing this Impa up. Who was she?
"Were you the one that attacked Link?" Impa pursued.
Is that all he says about me? Reena wondered irritably. "Yes. I didn't know that was still an issue."
A half smile came to Impa's face, throwing Reena off. It was a Sheikah no doubt. Reena was sure of it because they did random acts that no one could understand. Impa relaxed, uncrossing her arms and stepping into the room.
"Sorry if I startled you," Impa answered. "It's my job, aside from Link's, to protect the Royal Family. I've learned you can't be too careful."
"Do you interrogate every person that crosses your path?" Reena muttered, eyeing Impa.
"Only those who have survived an attack from Ganondorf," Impa answered with a smirk.
"I'm not with him, if that's what you think," Reena said coldly.
Impa shook her head. "That I am aware of because you saved Link's life."
"How do you know I just don't plan to kill him later?" Reena demanded, turning the tables. A real smile crossed Impa's face.
"That I can't prove," she agreed. "And I don't think I have to."
"I hope you're right," Reena said, eyeing the Sheikah.
Impa let out a rough laugh and, with a quick bow to Queen Lenaya and a nod to Reena, left the room. The door closed and Reena leaned against the wall, reflecting on the conversation. She liked Impa.
"I'm quite sorry about Impa," Lenaya said gently. "But ever since-"
"She was alright," Reena said with a half smile. "I'd like to fight against her."
Lenaya looked at Reena, surprised. Most people felt uneasy around Impa. Reena saw the Queen's expression.
"No, I'm not going to kill Link," she said, waving her hand dismissively. "I just wanted to see if I could get her worked up. It didn't work."
"I had a feeling you weren't going to kill him," Lenaya admitted. "It's so…different. Seeing him like this."
"Er…like what?" Reena asked.
"Smiling," Lenaya answered. "He was actually smiling. Not something forced."
"…Did he not know how to?" Reena asked.
"One would have thought so," Lenaya said quietly. She shook her head. "It's not in my place to tell you."
Reena nodded, knowing she wouldn't get anything from pressing the matter. She sat back and grabbed her pants. She slid her hand over them and they began to mend. She felt the Queen put a hand on hers and Reena froze.
"You have powers?" Queen Lenaya asked quietly.
Reena bit her lip and slowly nodded. She looked around and leaned close to the Queen, "Don't tell anyone. I don't like people knowing. Not even Link knows."
Lenaya gave her a warm smile and nodded. Reena passed her hand over the enchanted stitches, stopping the progress. She picked up her needle and thread, doing it the old-fashioned way.
"I'm surprised," Lenaya admitted. "Gerudo despise men."
Reena knew she went red, "Yeah…well, he's not that bad. I've met much worse. And he's helped us out before. So, I have him credit for that."