This is a fanfic based on The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, but it's a little more complicated than that. See, it's based on the A Link to the Past comics that appeared in Nintendo Power from 1992 to 1993. The fanfic takes place after the established events of the comics, and I've also taken the creative liberty of added the Koholint episode into the comic's timeline. Basically it means that, for the sake of this fanfic, the comic version of Link also experienced adventures on Koholint just like the videogame version.
You still with me? I hope so, because this one should be a lot of fun.
Bridge Across the Sea
By Reid M. Haynes
Disclaimer: “The Legend of Zelda” was created by Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo. The "A Link to the Past" comics were written and illustrated by Shotaro Ishinomori. I am writing this without permission, and I am making no money.
( ) Denotes thoughts
“You seem so distant, guarding the Triforce. I am alone.”
The cold night washed over the land like a blanket of ice, enveloping all that dwelled in a slumber-inducing chill. Crickets chirped, but that was all that could be heard, if there was anyone awake to hear it. Only the wind seemed to be alive in the moonlight, rustling through the groves on a meandering path into nowhere. It carried a deposit of seeds and did with as as it wished, whether it be dropping them gently in the soft earth or throwing them carelessly into the rivers where they would never grow.
In the castle Hyrule, high in the tallest tower, there was at least one soul still awake to the world. Her straight back and perfectly combed hair spoke of her high lineage, but her eyes spoke of a gentle heart anyone could relate to. She was dressed in the finest royal gowns, which swelled and turned with the high winds surrounding her form. Yet she herself remained perfectly still throughout all this, only interested in the forests and rivers far below.
Queen Zelda maintained her vigil steadily over her land, watching how the rivers flowed and the trees swayed all to the beat of a mysterious, unheard drum. This was perhaps the best view in Hyrule, and it was as if she could see the entire world from this very spot. She had once been held against her will in this very tower, locked in enchanted slumber while an evil wizard worked his twisted designs on her stagnant form. Strange that now she should find the place her only solace in the castle, even though it was hers by royal right.
"Your highness," a raspy voice suddenly sounded out from behind, startling the girl momentarily. "It's time for your evening tea."
Zelda turned to the woman behind her, a small smile coming to her face. "You're not in the castle anymore, auntie," she said, regarding her old handmaiden with longtime love. "Please call me Zelda."
Impa nodded brief, assuring the younger woman that nothing else needed to be said. Hobbling slowly over to her side, the old woman leaned on her walking staff and looked over Zelda with a maternal eye. "Are you troubled, dear?" she asked softly, looking up at her with concern.
Zelda shook her head, a little too late to be convincing. "No, it's nothing," she said, slowly turning away to stare back out at the sea once more. A sweet little lie, and Impa knew it too.
"Is it that young man that went out to sea all those months ago?" she asked slowly, looking perceptively at the young queen.
Zelda sighed into the breeze, lowering her head so Impa could not see her expression. "He is just one of the knights now, auntie," she said, trying to keep her voice level and cool. "There is nothing else between us."
"If I may be so bold, Zelda, there is something between you two," the other
spoke quite confidently, raising her head from her cane. "Something very strong indeed."
Zelda turned slowly to stare at Impa, with something akin to shock on her face. Impa stared right back, as if daring the girl to try and deny her statement.
They kept up their mock staring contest a moment more, before Impa broke off her gaze and started back towards the door leading downstairs. "Well, I'm going to take my leave now," she said briefly. "Much to do in the house of the new Queen." She stopped for a moment to give an encouraging smile to her former ward. "He'll return to you, trust me." Then, she was hobbling back towards the door, mumbling about all the work that had to be done.
Zelda watched the old lady enter the castle, most likely off to the bedroom to begin tidying up again. Then, she turned back towards the horizon, where she could just see the edge of the ocean peeking out from the distance. A cold wind blew across the tower, running through her hair and sending it flying out behind her like a sailing ship. She put a hand to her hair to prevent any of the stray strands from stinging her eyes as she attempted to make out distance shapes on the surface of the sea.
A hundred leagues away from Hyrule, a lone raft coasted over the vast ocean, just a spot along a seamingly endless horizon. Merely a colaboration of scrounged up driftwood and debris, this meager vessel seemed no more worthy of the Great Sea than it was of winning a boat show at the annual Lake Hylia Seaman's Day. Yet, sail the waves it did, losing not a scrap to the ravages of the rolling ocean. No small part to its young, yet plucky captain, who had labored a fortnight fashioning the sturdy, stout ship.
Link took in a breath of the salty, yet fresh sea breeze, letting its raspy sting awaken him to the onslaught of another day on the open sea. His tattered tunic and jerkin fluctuated in the wind, torn from many nights with the merciless elements. His floppy hat made a interesting counterpoint against the noontime sky, almost like a second sail to go with the one he had created from the scraps. Yet most interesting about the young Hyrulean boy were his eyes, those enthralling blue eyes that spoke of worlds not his own.
The boy exhaled a weary sigh into the air, slouching forward and grabbing the mast of his sail for support. He had been living on waterlogged rations and supplies for going on a week now, and it was beginning to create a very soggy spot in the pit of his stomach. The indefinite ocean seemed to be just that: indefinite, and it gave no indication that there was land anywhere close by. The only solace he had were his dreams, and with the late nights he spent trying to keep from going under, they seemed to be too far and few in between for his tastes.
Link looked behind him towards the distant horizon, and his eyes grew misty eyes and filled with the memories of dreams gone by. It was becoming harder to believe that he had spent so long in the dream island of Koholint, meeting people that never existed, doing things that had no permanence. He had held each Instrument in his hand, had plucked the strings of the Full Moon Cello himself, and still they were but figments of his imagination. Indeed, it took the Wind Fish's cry itself to wake him up to reality, though he had found out the isle was a fantasy much earlier.
One thing that would stay forever with him was the song of the beautiful island maiden, Marin. An unwitting siren of the dream world, she had sung her sung her song in hopes of escape, and had all but kept him from leaving Koholint himself. His solace was in knowing that he had not killed her, but merely set her free from what was the Nightmare's endless reign of terror. He still hoped that somewhere out there, there was a seagull singing its song for the many people of the world, bound by no rules other than the ones set against silver wings.
His mind then flashed back to his brief meeting with the gargantuan beast on top of the tower in the creature's egg. There were many questions that the Wind Fish did not answer, about where the curious inhabitants of the island came from. Marin, Moblins, the Moldorm, all of them spoke of things he had encountered in many a past journey. Were they of the Wind Fish's fancy, or his own?
Zelda. That was who Marin had reminded him of, ever since he had arisen from the bed in Mabe Village and taken a good look at her eyes. Marin is who Zelda would be had she not been bound by the laws of the Hyrulean Princess. Had she not been made Queen, over her country and over her own heart.
A sharp, raw pain sprung loose in his heart, a crack in his soul he hadn't known was there. He growled silently to himself, turning away from the ocean to stare at his shoulder. "Stop thinking, Link," he chided, rapping himself lightly on the temple with his fingers. "Stop thinking about her."
Because there was nothing to gain by sifting through the ruins of the past. Zelda's last words to him had made it clear where things stood now; a comfortable distance, her with the kingdom, him with the Triforce. That's why he had turned his pursuits toward other things. That's why he had…
A spark of bright light shone far in the distance, distracting the boy from his somewhat brooding thoughts. Blinking away the last of his memories, he straightened and took to the horizon, trying to make out whatever shining structure had awakened from the sleepy sea. Hidden behind sea mists, he could make out scant more than its shape for the moment, tall and monolith-like against the white clouds. Then, it cleared up and fleshed out into a towering spire, a porcelain looking structure with a round window cut into its side and a shining beacon that shone even in the daytime.
"Land!" Link shouted out, though none could hear him. Moving like wild fire, he quickly set the sail so it would better absorb the sporadic winds. He was atop pins and needles, awaiting the next breeze as if it would never come. But sure enough, the wind picked up again, and he was carried off towards the watchtower and whatever lie beyond it; his first true salvation among a host of empty dreams.
The island was coming into view now, and Link could make out its mountainous shape poking out from beneath the waters. The place appeared to be little more than a small, dormant volcano, with all the tropical lush that went along it. Yet there were people living here, that much he knew. What were the indigenous folk that could survive on such remote and craggy terrain?
Ocean waves carried the boy quickly towards the island, the raft rocking more and more as it got closer to the shoreline. As Link kept the craft steady, he kept an eye out to the forefront of the mountain, where many a Bomb Flowers sat waiting to be picked. An ensemble of three men were coming out one of the many small caves that peckled the isle. It took about a half minute more of drifting before he could make out their shapes, and then he was surprised to find they were a bit different from average Hyrulean folk.
The men were of some sort of avian race, with arms that were capable of sprouting into wings. They dressed mainly in baggy, free flowing garments, like some sort of sky dancers from the old legends. Most telling about these bird folk were the great beaks they had in place of noses, adding a unique flavor to an otherwise human face. It was almost as if they were regular humans dressed up for some tribal communion, but they were the real thing.
As Link's raft skidded to a halt in the shallow shores, the first of the bird men walked over to the young man and extended a feathered arm to him. Link regarded the unusual appendage for a moment before taking the hand. Swiftly, the boy was pulled onto the coast. "Welcome to Dragon Roost Island," the bird man said, bowing politely to the scraggily dressed youth. "May your stay here be an invigorating one."
The interior of the island was a unique site, to say the least. Made up of a combination of natural and man-made caves, the tunnels formed a sort of hive system where all of the inhabitants worked and lived. Yet unlike the hive, there was a sense of individuality and honest family within the hallowed halls, rather than a bunch of mindless drones. It was sort of society people were always trying to create, but which rarely ever happened in real life.
Deep inside the caves of Dragon Roost Island, Link followed his welcoming party on through the caves, trying to keep up with their brisk pace. All around him, he could see snippets of the fast-paced lifestyle that
dominated the volcanic isle; a flapping wing here, a cart of letters there. They seemed to be very big on letter-writing, he noticed, as a good third of the people he saw were wearing some sort of postman uniform. Yet they were always very calm about their ordeals, no sign at all of malcontent and stress in their everyday demeanor.
The bird men (Rito, they called themselves) had been very hospitable to him. As soon as he was clean and dry, they got him into some fresh clothes; a brand new tunic in the same style as his old ragged one, along with a pair of white tights. Apparently, this had not been the first time they had had visitors from off the island. He had to admit, though, that the tights rather suited him, and were far warmer than going on barelegged.
"I am Katair," the first of the Rito was saying to him, waving a hand/wing off to the side. "We hope you will find it enjoyable here."
"Thanks for your help," Link said, remembering that he had forgotten to thank them. "I'd be much worse off if it weren't for you."
The Rito nodded, though he didn't exactly turn around. "We used to be a very social race," Katair explained to him, turning a corner into one of the side halls. "Ever since the Great Sea fell back and the floods subsided, there has been less need for our services. We always consider it a rare treat for one of you make your way over here to share your knowledge of the outside world."
Link followed him around the corner, noting the increasing amount of light filling the tunnels. "I guess I'm not the first visitor to arrive on Dragon Roost," he said, shielding his eyes from the bright sun blaring in.
"You are perceptive," Katair noted, peeking at Link from the corner of his eagle eyes. "It has not been too long since we met our first visitor, a young knight with the crest of the Royal Family on his jerkin."
"Then he's from Hyrule, too?" the boy exclaimed, a wave of excitement rushing through his heart.
"I would assume so," he said, proceeding out of the tunnel system and onto a rocky ledge. "We never asked about his past; he didn't tell. We got little more than his name out of him before he started requesting for work on the island. A very curious sort, he was."
The Rito waved an arm towards the other side of Dragon Roost Island, where a candle flickered in a small window. "He settled down with a girl a couple of months ago," he continued. "He makes a living here doing portraits of the sites and people around Dragon Roost. We have come to refer to him as 'The Artist.'"
Link nodded slightly, almost to himself, as he stared off towards the distant dwelling of the aforementioned artisan. (The Artist…) he thought silently, a curious expression washing over his face. (What kind of man is he?)
Katair took another look at the early-afternoon sun, than span of his heel back towards the boy. "The sun slowly falls, and I must leave for my rounds," he said outloud, straightened up from the climb. Walking past Link, he hurried down back into the endless system of caves for another job. "Come to me around nightfall for arrangements about a ship back to the kingdom Hyrule. Until then I bid you farewell."
"I will...and thanks again," Link said to the young Rito.
Katair stopped briefly in his retreat and turned back toward the boy for a moment. Then, he nodded briefly, and continued down into the depths of the Dragon Roost caves.
Link breathed deeply into the musty air of the outer caves, wiping off the sweat of the day's long walk. The Rito were tough folk, but he had been lucky to land in such hospitable company. If any of his earlier luck had been rubbing off, he'd have landed in a nest of Moblins. He had heard of such an island filled with such worshipers of Ganon, and that was a place he'd just as soon not visit.
Gathering his weary bones up, he proceeded down in the wake of Katair for the island caves once more. The light of the sun disappeared behind him, and Link was again in the midst of the cave system, ready for exploration. He had found it advantageous to scout out an area upon arrival, whether on a hard adventure into the unknown or simply out fishing. It was an old adventurer's rule that he had yet to glean out his system, and he saw no reason to start now.
Link walked on back into the mail hall, and let himself get carried off in a current of traveling Rito carrying out their daily tasks. Walking along with them, he took the time to pick out the various instances of culture in the large cavern. He noted that there was few Rito openly gawking at him, save for the very small children. Either they were too busy or too polite to poke their birdlike-noses in his business; he had reason to believe both could be true.
All around him, there were various cultural oddities poking out within the tunnel, each competing for his attention. Golden feathers lined the halls, alongside a portrait of a very dashing young Rito. Various indigenous pottery and sculptures aligned themselves along the entrances of homes and hostels, bringing a homey touch to the earthy caves. And a post office the likes of which he had never seen made its place in a small enclave in the wall, apparently the busiest place of all.
Link did his best to avoid getting bogged down by the various Rito paraphenellia he came across, keeping his mind on the overall picture of the tunnels. He kept up the pace, quickly making his way through Dragon Roost caves without spending too much time in one place. The crowd was lessening now, and it was easier to make out the general shape of the caverns. A curve here, a rest stop there, it was all starting to form into a map into his mind, and he felt fairly confident that he would be able to navigate the area successfully within the day.
And then he came across something very interesting indeed. Link stopped abruptly in front of a small stall on the side of the cave, letting the Rito folk wash around him like so much river water around a rock. There was a collection of paintings standing upright around the stall, spaced apart for the best possible viewing. A small cash register stood in the corner, ready to tally the correct amount for the merchant’s wares.
"This must be where the Artist sells his work," he pondered to himself, picking up a small hand-crafted vase from the ground. The fellow seemed to be quite the multi-talented individual, doing pottery as well as painting. Many sculptures and pots made up this man's repertoire, each one a unique and well-done work of art. Most impressive however, were the images of the various sites around the island, each one as vibrant and bold as life itself.
It was then that Link saw something that made him gasp out loud. The largest painting was a little different than the rest of them, for it showed a sight not of Dragon Roost Island. The sky in the picture was a friendly blue, an obvious trademark of the artist's lighter side. But other than that, it was a perfect recreation of the great Pyramid he had found himself on when he first defeated Agahaim, almost half a year ago.
(He's been to the Dark World?) Link gasped, his eyes dilating with the shock. (But how can that be?)
"You're going to have to pay for that vase, if you want it," a rough, gritty voice called out from behind him. Link span quickly around to catch sight of the man...and nearly dropped the vase upon finding who it was. He was sitting in a wheelchair, and had seemed to have lost much of his fighter's edge. But the long slash of hair and the thick, sword-like nose left no question in the boy's mind on who it was.
More Coming Up...!