Another from Patreon, being moved over. Enjoy!

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Zelda dreamed. She knew it was a dream. She recognized it in how she stood on the castle wall yet couldn’t feel the stone, couldn’t feel the breeze which moved her hair. She knew from how she could impossibly see the forest from her perch, brilliant green with Farore’s grace.

Zelda knew she dreamed but for all her power, for all her strength and wisdom and knowledge, she couldn’t force her body to move. She couldn’t turn her head. She couldn’t run. For all of Zelda’s great abilities, she stood frozen as a light shone from the forest. It glowed like a firefly, its source hidden in the trees, before shooting upward: a blinding beacon. Zelda watched, heart clenching in her chest, as it glowed golden and glorious, before it exploded outward. It flowed in golden waves all through the Kingdom of Hyrule: over its fields, stretching to the far corners to reach areas which should be beyond Zelda’s sight. It blazed through Death Mountain, through Zora’s Domain, through the desert, to the far edges of the forest.

Then the light faded, and the forest was dark. A hush swept over Hyrule. The winds slowed and stopped. The grasses and trees and leaves seemed to dull.

The hush followed Zelda into waking. Zelda sat up in her bed and stared forward, unseeing but sensitive to the weight of her blankets, the soft bed under her, the burn on the back of her hand, and the dampness on her cheeks. Zelda raised her hand to touch her face and saw the Triforce of Wisdom glow like a brand before fading. She sucked in a breath and felt it catch, soggy and thick, in her throat.

Whatever dream the Goddesses sent her, it seemed like a positive enough omen. So why did she feel so hollow?

With Impa handling business in Kakariko and Link traveling, Zelda kept to her own counsel. She asked her spymaster Leta but there were no updates. The spring rain seemed to keep everyone quiet and still. She sent letters, benign and curious, and felt like she sent a piece of her heart with each one.

For days, Zelda waited, tense and still. No dreams followed. A message from Impa reported no problems from Kakariko or its temple. Her messengers had not returned from the other regions. 

On the third day, Malon, the redheaded farmgirl from Lon Lon Ranch whom Link liked so much, approached the throne for a requested audience. Malon knelt before the throne, and the hush from Zelda’s dream returned, settling heavy over her bones. The goddesses seemed to whisper as Malon arose. The woman’s eyes and nose were red.

No, Zelda thought, even as she smiled at Malon. The last time she saw Malon was in Link’s company, Malon laughing and tugging at Link’s arm before she realized she stood before her queen. The woman had gasped and curtseyed while Link only smiled at her. He was still smiling when Malon scolded him for not warning her. It was only the second time they had met, with the first being when they were still children.

This was the third time. Zelda clenched her hands in her lap, hidden by her skirt.

“Greetings, Malon,” she said, and her voice even sounded warm. “Please, speak. What brings you to Hyrule Castle this day?”

Link smiled at both of them but his eyes were distant, his heart already gone. 

“Your Majesty.” Malon swallowed, and Zelda saw the truth in her eyes. Zelda kept herself still. She met Malon’s gaze and watched the woman straighten, shoulders back and mouth hardening. When she spoke, her voice remained steady, if damp. “Link’s horse Epona returned to my farm several days ago. There has been no sign of Link.” Malon paused and sucked in a deep breath. “My queen… Link would never abandon Epona. And Epona… she would never abandon Link. Not if there was a chance of…” Malon bit her bottom lip. “Not if there was a chance,” she finished.

Link. The light in the forest. For just a moment, Zelda allowed herself to close her eyes. He wasn’t dead. She would have known if her Hero had died. The Goddesses had a mission for him, something important if her dream was any indication.

Whatever the mission was, it took him beyond Zelda’s reach.

Her chest ached, but Zelda still forced a small smile when she looked at Malon again. “Do not grieve,” she said, even as she recognized the hypocrisy in her words. “He lives, if beyond my sight.” Her smile grew a touch more genuine as Malon began to tremble, tears shining in her eyes. “I’ve also been told he survives through the next generation.”

After a moment, Malon returned her smile, shaky and wet. “Galon, my queen.”

“Galon,” Zelda repeated. A good name, a strong name for Link’s lineage. “Please, consider bringing him to the castle during the next visit. Blessings are in order.”

Soon after Malon left, Zelda dismissed her court for the day and returned to her rooms. She sat at her desk and pulled out papers and her quill. She had letters to write.

She sat and stared at the blank papers and saw Link, wide-eyed and solemn and young, staring at her in her courtyard. She knew him as soon as she laid eyes on him and thought, This is the light from the forest. 

She thought, Our destinies are intertwined. We’ll be together forever.

Zelda put down her quill and listened, but the Goddesses were quiet. Her room remained dark and still.

Malon was right. Link would never voluntarily leave Epona. More telling, he would never leave on any grand quest without at least sending her a letter, a few words of warning. Her Link, as sparse in letters as he was in speech.

Zelda thought of Link when he left that last time, wide-eyed and solemn and sad. Her bottom lip trembled, and she bit down on it to still it.

Her light was gone.