by Wyna Hiros
Genre: Zelda 64. (Ocarina of Time)
Summary: Zelda 64 OoT There are those who do not look kindly upon the lusts of a corrupt Queen... (Post-OoT, some AU. Suggested Sheik + Zelda, Link/Sheik) (YAOI) Sheik-centric
Feedback: Yes please cheesy grin
Disclaimers and the ilk: I don't own Zelda 64 or the characters: no money is made off this. ; This story, and all original side-characters/monsters and locations, however, are my property and may not be used without my permission. If you'd like to archive it (or whatever), please see the contact information on my profile. I don't bite.
A few warnings. This is slash fanfic, as well as am AU. Alternate Universe (sort of). Here, Zelda and Sheik are two different people. In case I need to spell it out: in this fic, Zelda is a girl, Sheik is a guy. And yes, I've played the game. I prefer to write them as separate characters. Much of Hyrule's history has been made up to fill in gaps.
This is told from Sheik's point of view only.
So, enjoy(?) and please review...
It's been raining non-stop for the past two days. The first time in several months, actually.
/You're supposed to be looking over these records, not wasting time like this./
I grimaced at the thought from where I sat, at an old desk and surrounded by half-faded scrolls and tomes. This might as well be a second home to me: I was beginning to see less and less of outside world, when I was not out on the Queen's orders. Part of me minded. Part of me wanted to be out of the castle walls, even now, and just wander Hyrule, with no plan or destination in mind. However, I would never allow myself to just desert the Queen or my duty.
...Even if things had become different than they were, years ago.
/It's been three.../
/No. Four years./
I glanced up at the ceiling, feeling that age-old chill that always followed at such memories. Four years now, since Ganondorf, the Black King, had been defeated. Hard to imagine it was that long ago, actually.
Four years since Link had collapsed on the ruins of the castle...
The wind carried a foul stench with it, the kind that went past even my face cover and flooded the senses . Besides me, Impa frowned in concentration as we stopped momentarily to rest at the gates of the marketplace. She knelt for a moment, catching her breath - Sheikah or not, even she was beginning to feel the effects of age. I was impatient, knowing that there was just no time to be sitting around. However, I didn't say anything; the only sign of my restlessness was the slight shifting of my weight from foot to foot.
For a moment, there was silence.
Or what could've passed for a weak semblance of one: aside from Impa's muffled panting, the wind was beginning to moan, and if that was an indication... then it would get worse (hurricane level, possibly) as we drew closer to the Dark One's fortress. All around us, the marketplace was littered with the corpses of the undead, silenced by the power of the Master Sword. A loud humming noise, increasing in volume with every second, filled the courtyard.
I almost couldn't hear the sound of crows picking apart the rotting flesh strewn around us.
"M'lady, time is short..." I started.
No answer at first. A second passed, then another before she finally stood up. The Sage gave me a small frown of disapproval as she passed by to resume the lead once more.
We arrived too late. The tower was gone now, reduced to rubble and surrounded by walls of fire. I couldn'tsee much of anything through the flames, though every now and then, I would catch glimpses of a Kokori tunic, metal, something hulking that even from here radiated this sense of evil that made me feel sick to my stomach.
We hurried up the rocky slopes, though I now led the way, my heart in my throat - Link couldn't last long if something wasn't done about this, and soon.
We had to find the princess.
I was rapidly leaving Impa behind, but being courteous was the last thing on my mind. I was over the top of the ridge in less than a minute, and already half-sliding, half-racing down the steep slope, gravel flying, the wind whipping at me. It was then that I saw her near the bridge; a slim shape, dressed in the whites of her station, sprawled unmovingly on the ground.
I hoped to the high Triad that she wasn't dead.
She was alive when I reached her. Alive, but out-cold - my hand, touching her neck to feel for a pulse, came away bloody, from where she'd been hit by debris. I propped her up against a rock, ignoring the small groan of protest, just as Impa finally caught up to me.
...And abruptly stopped. I looked up.
She was standing there, staring into the fire, her eyes dilating and contracting, jaw clenched, fingers curling and uncurling in the face of something that was concealed by the flames.
No response. Another attempt, louder this time. "M'lady!"
Again, no reaction.
I tried one more time, already feeling harried. "IMPA!
She shook at the harsh snap, seeming to jerk out of her trance, and looked down at me.
"I need something to wake her up."
Impa swallowed hard and knelt by me, rummaging through her pouches. " I think I might-Ah." She came up with a tiny vial, filled halfway with a clear liquid, and handed it to me. I quickly opened it and waved it under the princess' nose, managing to keep my balance as the ground trembled beneath us.
I held my breath. If this didn't work...
My fears were dispelled almost immediately: the princess came to with a start, eyes snapping open and flitting around, dazed for a brief moment and coughing from the vial's scent.
"Wha-Impa? Sheik?" Then it registered, her memory reminding her where she was. "Link! Where is he?! Ganon-!"
I cut her off. "Can you stand?"
"I-I think so," the princess grabbed onto my arms for support, and unsteadily tried to get up. Somewhat unceremoniously, I pulled her up, though inside I felt a tiny flash of guilt for such treatment of royalty...but we didn't have all day to wait for her to gain her balance.
Behind me, I could practically feel Impa scowling at me for my rough handling of the princess.
"I have to get closer...I have to help him," I could barely hear her voice, as the air was split by an unearthly shriek of pain and rage.
With our help, she crossed the bridge, limping but bearing the pain silently, her jaw set.
The flames flickered as we neared, seeming to quake in her presence. I could hear the sound of something - Ganon - moving beyond the fire wall, each step rocking the ground beneath us, occasionally followed by the sound of metal striking scales and flesh.
"Release me," the princess ordered suddenly . The command was stern, the change in tone revealing a hidden strength that surprised me. I let go of her. She didn't look back at me, nor did she glance at Impa, who reluctantly released her arm - her gaze was set on the flames, and somehow I knew that she could see past them, that she was looking right at the monstrosity beyond.
"What would you have us to do, M'lady?" Impa asked.
The answer was immediate, "I need you two to channel the power of the Sages to me. I will focus it, but I need you two to anchor it."
I shot a swift sideways glance at Impa, silently questioning the order. Channeling was more than a little dangerous, and the possibilities for error were too great. We'd both seen the effects of such channeling gone wrong - the slightest change in variables, a weak mind, a weak body, a stray thought... the smallest thing, and you would have nothing left but an unrecognizable corpse that even the maggots wouldn't touch.
Impa slowly gave me a small nod: we had to try, regardless of the risks.
We both backed away several steps, Impa drawing the channeling patterns in the dirt quickly but carefully. Zelda had also bent, drawing the patterns for the foci in front of her with her fingers.
I stood there for a moment. Stood there and just... looked around. Seeing everything, but at the same time, not really understanding it. Fire. A shadow beyond. The ring of steel. Dark blurs, of the charred land around us...blood...dismembered bodies...mass graves...
A hand touched my shoulder. I started. It was Impa.
"We're ready," she said. I nodded and took my place within my set of patterns sketched into the ground, where I half-knelt, my head nearly touching the ground, Impa doing the same across from me.
She looked up at me, slightly. And for the first time in all the years that I'd known her, she actually gave me a small (though humorless) smile.
...And all hell broke loose.
Light flared up all around us from the patterns on the ground, and for a second, all I could see was white. There was a brief pause, and this sensation of weightlessness...
Followed by pure pain. It coursed through my veins, starting from my toes, going through my knees and up my spine, before it filled my head. It was as if I was being burned alive from the inside.
I think I might've screamed, but it was drowned out by the growing howl of the energy around us. I distantly felt myself start to fall and barely managed to catch myself in time before I could smear the patterns. Lightning flickered across my vision and all I saw was red as I forced myself to my feet. For a moment, I caught a glimpse of Impa rising, her body also wracked with pain, but still barely managing.
And then there were voices. Voices, disembodied, some male, some female, all differing in age and health - some melodious and some rattling, like dead leaves.
I was hearing all the Sages, every Sage that existed, in my head.
And I wanted them to stop. Some questioned me, others said nothing, but their silence was just as bad. More were yammering, confused, while others wailed of their unjust deaths to me. This horrible cacophony of sound, that resounded in my head without signs of stopping, only growing worse and worse.
/...I might just go mad before I die.../
Shakily, I bent and began to focus the agony that my mind and body were going under, to force it to become something useful, something to help me concentrate as I began to guide the energy through me and towards the connecting patterns between Impa and I.
It was building and building, and it was all I could do to stay conscious.
Impa raised her head, and her eyes - glowing a sickly yellow - met mine, just as the voices in my head suddenly shrieked, the energy suddenly reaching its peak-
-And then there was only silence, as the channeled power gathered, combined, mutated, and shot out towards the princess...
I had passed out for less than a minute: I came to, half sprawled on the ground and vaguely wondering why I was still alive. Immediately, I surged to my feet, my body feeling unresponsive and lethargic. Besides me, Impa was also wavering on her feet.
I glanced around. My vision was hazy but slowly returning to normal, despite the white-hot sparks that still swam in front of my eyes.
And that's when I saw it: the flames were gone. Link and the princess were standing before Ganon, the giant creature on its knees, dazed, Link's sword raised and glowing.
I took a step forward, then another...
The sword fell.
Unholy blood sprayed...
...Light shot out from the giant beast as a portal ripped out underneath its massive hooves, dragging it down...
Fire flared up from it, and the skies turned crimson, as the rift grew larger around Ganon...
...And closed after it, leaving only the splatters of blood on the ruins. The princess made a move towards Link, and called out his name hesitantly when he made no motion to even move...
That's when I began to run...
That moment, just as I saw the princess take a step towards Link, will always be the clearest.
There was a "clang" sound, as the Master Sword slipped from Link's suddenly nerveless fingers to clatter against the ruins of the castle, and he teetered on his feet for a few moments.
And then, as if the strings had been cut, his legs gave out, and he crumbled to the ground in a heap.
The princess screamed.
When we reached him, the princess was trying to shake him awake. Impa, with an apologetic look, had to pry her off so I could attend to Link. I looked him over, checking for a pulse and coming up with one, searching for wounds: light scratches, one or two gashes that wouldn't have caused him to pass out, much less be life-threatening.
But when I touched him, it was if I couldn't feel him there anymore.
An hour passed after that and he hadn't come to: we had tried various vials of Impa's medicines - even the Princess had tried to revive him with her magic. Nothing worked. But his heart continued to beat, strongly, and his pulse never wavered.
...I didn't understand it...
We'd waited anxiously weeks after that in Kakariko, as it was one of the few villages in main Hyrule that remained fairly intact. It was a mess, with wounded drifting in from all over. The princess attended to them, easing their pain as best she could, while Impa and I kept watch over Link's still form.
Weeks after, even when they started to rebuild Hyrule castle, he remained comatose. A few days before the princess' coronation, to take her place as Queen, the Kokiri came for Link and within a few hours, bore his body back to the forests. I had watched, even helped them lift him onto the bedding - I remember his body being warm still, flexible - obviously alive, for there were no signs of rigor mortis or even rotting.
I couldn't believe that I was doing this to someone I had talked with only months before, someone I had touched, someone I had wondered at the possibility being even more than a friendship between us...
Numbly, I'd watched the forest children leave, vanishing into the evening, bearing the former Hero of Time. Had stood there, even after they were long gone, and the moon had begun to rise...
I blinked, coming back into the present.
One of the servants was standing at my shoulder. She went on, seeing that she finally had my attention: "Her Highness wishes to have your company."
I glanced at the water clock, barely visible among stacks of scrolls. I hadn't noticed just how long I'd been brooding (and how much time had been lost - I was going to have to make this up later, a small part of me lamented); it was starting to grow late into the afternoon.
"Thank you," I said. The girl nodded, bowed low and left.
I stood up, closed the giant tome, staring at it for a moment.
A day hadn't gone by where what happened at the ruins of the castle hadn't gone through my mind...
/That day, when Link fell.../
/I felt like something inside me had just been lost.../
There were definitely more guards here than I remembered. I nodded to one of the soldiers as I passed, walking swiftly down the cavernous hall, towards the royal chambers.
But then again, this wasn't the only new thing in the past four years. Things had changed around Hyrule. People had changed. They were becoming unhappy; they were being asked for too much, and too soon, with too little sympathy. Her Highness was not the same person I remembered years ago.
/You really shouldn't be thinking of these things. Regardless, she is your Queen.../
Stopped before the heavy doors, and knocked. A pause, then a faint "come in."
/...And she'll always remain so./
The room was dark, almost musty with the smell and feel of lavender incense, burning from the custom-made Gerudo lamps set around the room. Off to the side weresome books, a desk, cushions, and through a smaller set of ivory doors that were wide open, the Queen's bedroom.
My vision took awhile to adjust, though I knew from memory just how the room was laid out - there was no danger of tripping and falling. I made my way to the Queen's chambers. I stopped and half-knelt, bowing low in a show of deference.
"Sheik?" I started, involuntarily. The slightly worn edge of her voice never ceased to surprise me, but I was careful to cover that up.
I glanced up out of the corner of my eye to see her rise from where she'd been sitting, brushing at her hair. Even in the privacy of her chambers, she still wore the opaque veil - it was eerie, looking at her and seeing nothing but a wall of cloth before her face and hearing a seemingly disembodied voice.
/She's definitely different, from that time./
I stifled that thought: for all I knew, she could read my thoughts. I lowered my eyes, feeling guilty. Several minutes passed and she moved around, getting ready - she wouldn't let anyone come closer to her anymore, not even Impa: I was one of the few that she trusted still. The fact that she was allowing me to be here was proof enough of that.
I waited patiently knowing that I was not forgotten.
"Did you find anything?" she finally broke the silence.
I kept my head down. "Not yet, Your Highness. I need more time to look through the records..."
She was looking at me from across the room. I hesitated, bit back a unbidden question -
"You may speak freely," her tone was flat, obviously seeing right through me.
"I beg your pardon, but perhaps the other Sages could be of assistance... perhaps one of them would know how-"
I was cut off with a humorless and almost cold laugh.
"The Sages? They're useless. They claim that they have nothing to say, no more to do with us," I could tell that she was growing angry, the disdain and frustration obvious in her tone. "They're nothing more than traitors, all of them. They will not help us!"
A pause. Her Majesty's barely contained fury seemed to fill the room. I could barely hide my own surprise, as this was news to me: the Sages...had they cast her out? But why?
This did not bode well. The fact that Her Highness had begun to search for ways to attain a higher power was not much of a secret anymore. Were the Sages rejecting her actions? And could the Sages take action against one of their own?
I turned my attention back to the Queen: she was speaking more to herself now, rather than to me.
"Is it so wrong to want to help this kingdom? Is it so wrong to want to live happily, to better ourselves so we may better serve our people? Why do they fight us?!" There was a growing, though almost hidden, tone of desperation in her voice.
I tried to reassure her. "Your Highness, you're doing all you can - you've already gotten further -"
Again, she interrupted me - I could feel her eyes burning at me through the veil from across the room. "That's not good enough," she said, her tone eerily quiet, the royal plurals forgotten in her agitation. "There are those who still challenge me. How dare they?! After all I've done for them! I-I can still sense something, something, a threat, in the distance, growing closer-"
I clamped my mouth shut, knowing that any more input from me would make this take a turn for the worst: she had become tormented, a year after ascending the throne. From the looks of it, she also hadn't been getting much rest within the past few months. I frowned at this, wanting more than ever to ease her suffering and silently vowed, once again, to do all I could to help.
Her tirade was cut short by the sound of a timid knock. I felt, rather than saw, Her Majesty start a little and recoil from the sound, her veiled face probably snapping away to stare at the door.
"Get that," she commanded, her voice sounding slightly shaky, though whether it was from her previous anger or from the interruption, I couldn't tell.
I stood and obliged her, exiting the room, and opening the door. One of the guards was standing there, a hand half-raised to knock again.
"The stewardess asked us to send word that the petitioners are here to seek audience with Her Highness."
Them again. I winced internally. These sessions rarely ever went well, with either Her Majesty or the petitioners...
"I'll tell her. Thank you."
He bowed and resumed his post. I closed the door, plunging the room once again in its almost sickening lavander-incensed darkness, one of the candles flickering out in the corner. I made a mental note to get a servant to replace it as I returned to the Queen's bed chambers. She was still standing where I'd left her.
"I-We heard...We'll...get ready," was all she said, though she sounded hollow, distracted.
"Are you sure you wouldn't rather have the handmaidens help you?"
"No. We don't want them in there."
Silence. She hadn't moved an inch, looking down at her hands nervously, toying with the hem of a sleeve. I hated seeing her like this, and I partially blamed myself for it: there had to be something I'd overlooked, something I hadn't done. I knew that the fact that only Impa and myself remained had hurt her- the other Sheikah, some who had served the family for several generations, had long gone, vanishing without a trace one early morning...
/Even Impa's visits've been growing less and less in number. The last I saw of her was months ago./
I crossed the room and knelt in front of the Queen, though I knew better than to touch her. I could feel her looking down at me.
"We will work this out. I promise you, Sages or not, " I paused, hesitated, knowing that this was already a breach in protocol. "And... regardless, whatever happens, I will always be by your side."
/No matter what you've become./
Ten minutes had passed since I'd left Her Majesty, and after going to lock up the records room, I made my way towards the main Hall. I took my place at the right hand side of the room, standing in the aisle, but still the closest to her throne. The crowd - petitioners- began to file in, and I instinctively sized up each and everyone of them. They all had that look about them, of mingled anger and fear, irritation, hunger.
The signs of weakening kingdom.
I looked at the empty dais, then back at the growing mass. There was a murmur, a rise in the droning of their muttering, as the Queen entered the room and took her seat.
It was going to be a long afternoon.
A "long afternoon" that unfortunately extended into the evening.
There were complaints, pleading, even one or two demands from the more hot-headed of the petitioners. It was the same thing: I'd heard it all before, though the fact that they were increasing was more than a little worrying. However, it was the last petitioner, the only one who didn't ask anything of the Queen, who was the worst - an older Hylian woman, in her late-fourties and carrying the scars from the Dark One's reign. There were burns all over her body, and bandages over where her eyes had been. Even from where I stood, I could see the tell-tale depressions in the gauze, and I knew that during those years, she'd suffered as a captive: her eyes had been gouged out of their sockets.
My stomach gave a little turn from just thinking of what it must look like behind those strips of cloth. The crowd parted before her, a guard stepping out to aid her towards the Queen's direction. The middle-aged woman pushed him away, roughly, beginning to speak, her voice croaking, her vocal cords apparently also having fallen victim to the previous dark years.
"I beg of you...I must speak with Her Highness...must see her, need to tell her, want to save her..."
It seemed to the non-sense ramblings of a crazed survivor...but I found myself stiffening, at what was already becoming dangerously close to treacherous words against my Queen.
The woman was milling this way and that, but despite her blindness, seemed to miraculously stay balanced.
"They're coming...darkness from the east. After the Royal Family falls, they will come, they told me in my sleep...no, not told, I listened, but they didn't know I could hear them. They were speaking amongst themselves, said that they were going to act, now that the time'd come and the Hidden Ones have chosen exile rather than serve the Royal Family..."
The room had gone quiet, all eyes turned towards the woman - even the guards were just standing there, staring. She continued her rambling unchecked.
"You have to listen to me!" she cried.
There were no motions to stop her as she took a step forward and all but sank down onto the floor.
"They said that when the Sages turned their backs... w-when the heat of the Gerudo Deserts swept across Hyrule, when the swamps began to creep over the and into the Lakes..." she was gasping for breath, almost seeming to struggle against some unseen force. "T-They said...that she had dared disrupt their designs, becoming too powerful... and that-that..." A strangled groan, followed by an all too-familiar splattering noise, of blood against the marble floor: she was beginning to bleed from the eye sockets, the bandages starting to blossom red, as she fought to go on. "It's coming for you...have to warn her, savior...shadow from the east, a harbringer...its coming for you...downfall."
Just then, the guards snapped out of their trance and surrounded her, dragging her off. I looked over at the Queen.
Her fingers were clenched around the armrest edges, nails digging into the wood, her knuckles whitening, and I knew that underneath that veil, her face had gone pale...
: To be continued...:
This chapter completed: 7/27/03
Anyways, this won't be like SS, where I had a writing spurt and updated every two days, practically. This is more like "I'll update whenever I feel like it".
Reviews, or feedback in general are very much appreciated. There'll be very few author notes for the rest of the fic.