It was nearly a month since he awoke to an alien world, a world filled with danger, a world where nature reclaimed the ruins of another age.
The young man started to look out for the shrines dotted around the old kingdom, using the spirit orbs to bolster his health at the first chance he got. He found out that it helped when he didn’t have to shove gobs and gobs of food down his gullet while taking out some more difficult foes.
The nights he spent at campsites and stables were some of the times he dreaded. Terrible nightmares that he couldn’t explain plagued his mind as he tried to rest and recover. Most times he went without a wink for days on end before exhaustion caught up with him and he passed out, only for those nightmares to creep in his realm of sleep. Nothing helped him, sleeping drafts only prolonged how long he stayed locked into it, and mental exercises did nothing to ease his mind. The bags under his eyes became more and more pronounced as he pressed onwards with his mission.
He heard whispers from passersby of a forest in the northern province that was terribly impossible to navigate and blanketed with a cloud of thick fog. Intrigued, he meandered to the outskirts of the north woods, making sure to stock up on anything he might need on his trek.
Once he started on the path towards the fearsome woods, he came across a tower that was surrounded by a bog and a variety of decaying structures, crawling with foes that took residency there. A few hours later and he cleared the area and worked his way up to the top, setting the slate in the pedestal on the platform to update his map with the local area.
He opened up the slate to study the terrain ahead of him, “The Lost Woods, huh? And it looks to be surrounded by a moat of water… So the only way is through the entrance. There’s gotta be a trick to it,” The young man mused as he mulled over the new piece of his map.
He glided off the tower and landed at the entrance where a sole fire was lit, and behind him sat a torchlight. Waving it over the flame he watched the embers moved. It was strange. There was no sign of a breeze in the fog.
“Bingo.” He grinned as it dawned on him. “Follow the embers.”
So as the embers changed directions, so did he, twisting and turning as he followed the foxes and deer, almost as if they also knew where the path laid.
He found a cliff side and hugged it close as it lead to a clearing, and the slate noted the location on his map-The Korok Forest.
These strange creatures were forest fae, and the young man already encountered a fair amount of them on his travels. Slightly mischievous, but never meaning any harm. He could hear them whisper “Mister Hero has returned!” as he approached the stone platform in the center of the clearing.
An ornate blade was stuck into the chock in the exact center, and something felt familiar about it. He took a moment to take in the details on the hilt and pommel before he decided to start pulling the sword out. The moment he laid his hands on the hilt, several memories flowed into his mind and flashed before his eyes.
He gasped and let go of the hilt, falling onto his bottom as the giant tree before him woke, much to the young man’s surprise. It spent a fair amount of time lecturing the youth on taking his sweet time to return to claim his blade, irking the boy a little bit.
Once the tree was done speaking, he gathered up his courage and started to pull on the hilt once again.
The blade slowly started to leech his life energy from him, whittling away slowly at first till it picked up the pace as he inched the metal out bit by bit, making him feel hopeful. The blade he owned previously a century ago, and countless lifetimes before that, was returning to its rightful owner at last.
And then it loosened up and he gave one last heave to lift it out of the pedestal.
He couldn’t believe it. He actually did it! The legendary blade was his. He was the chosen hero.
The king wasn’t telling fables to him during that first few days he spent on the plateau.
He pressed the sacred metal to his forehead, giving thanks to the goddess, and holding the blade skyward.
Watching the sunlight glimmer over the holy blade triggered a memory inside of him, something new and unfamiliar.
He saw Zelda bringing the sword to the grove, both looking worse for wear. She gave a brief prayer to it before the tree spoke to her as well, asking what her intentions were now. Zelda explained her role was yet unfinished, then thrusted the blade into the chock and left it in the care of the fae as it recovered, laying silent until his return.
The young man came out of his trance, still staring at the shining blade. He brought the sword down to eye level, and proceeded to swing it to test out the weight and balance, re-familiarizing himself with the weapon he’d held so long ago.
He finished, doing a little flair of the blade before slipping it into the scabbard that appeared on his back. A few parting words from the tree and he was off, only to rest at the stables where he began.
Exhaustion creeped in and forced sleep on him without the young man realizing it. Once again the nightmares began to encroach on what seemed to be an uneventful dream.
That is till the blade on his back flashed briefly, sending images of his past lives to drown out the plague.
The time he was soaring through the skies atop a mighty bird on a mission to craft the blade in his possession now.
The time he travelled through two points in time and later saved another land from disaster.
The time he was transformed into a beast as the kingdom was burning in twilight.
The time he navigated the seas on a sentient boat with a pirate crew.
The time he found the blade in the sacred woods and saved the mirror world.
But nothing as far as his past life a century ago. The blade still deemed him too unstable to learn of his past at that point in time. Nonetheless, the memories helped him get the rest he desired the most, allowing him to wake alert and refreshed for once in the morning.
“Young man,” The innkeeper spoke to him as he checked out, “I never asked you your name.”
He smiled and looked up at the towering man, “It’s Link.”