"CHYVALRY" : PART ONE
"TWO IF BY SEA"
"Knigts ougt to take coursers to juste & to go to tornoyes / to holde open table / to hu(n)te at hertes / at bores & other wyld bestes / For in doynge these thynges the knygtes exercyse them to armes / for to mayntene thordre of knigthode Thene to mesprise & to leue (th)e custom of (th)t which (th)e knygt is most apparailled to vse his office is but despising of thordre / & thus as al these thynges afore said appertyne to a knygt as touching his body / in lyke wise justice / wysedom / charite (/) loyalte / verite / humylite / strength / hope swiftness & al other vertues se(m)blable appertyne to a knygt as touchyng his soule / & therfor the knygt that vseth the thynges (th)t apperteyne to thordre of chyualry as touchyng his body / & hath none of these vertues that apperteyne to chyualry touchyng his soule is not the frende of thordre of knygthode."
-From Raymon Lull’s 13th century work entitled "Libre del Orde de Cauayleria, The Book of the Order of Chivalry"
From the author, Happy Mask: This title came to me halfway through this story’s creation. I do not believe I could have found a more appropriate one for it, as you will discover while reading it. I have characterized Link and Zelda a bit differently in this one, and I took several liberties with the Marin storyline to create my own romantic vision. I revamped "Two if by sea" and made it the first part of this 7-part saga. This story chronicles Link’s adventures as an adult at Koholint, and in the Ocarina of Time, but in a different light. It is more dramatic than some of the other romances I’ve done, but it still has some splashes of humor here and there. Of course, its main theme is romance. And the undying spirit of Link, the knight in shining armor, if you will, as he discovers his true destiny. Please rate my story when finished. I so much enjoy reading the reviews!
Link found himself a bit farther away from Hyrule than he was comfortable with. This was only supposed to be a short fishing trip. Now it looked like he would be out here on this ocean’s waters for a lot longer than he’d anticipated. No matter how much he rowed, he felt a strong current pulling his tiny boat in the opposite direction. When he looked further out to sea, he could see dark clouds forming in the distance, hiding the sunset. He didn’t like the sight of that, and an eerie feeling came over him. He tied the thick ropes holding his sails tighter to the boat’s creaking frame, in preparation for what lay ahead.
Thunder rumbled in the distance, and small sparks of lightning trickled throughout the massive cumulonimbus monster that was closing in on him. The boat was being pulled closer and closer to the storm, and the winds started to pick up. How he'd get through this, he did not know. He would just have to have faith. The waves began tossing the tiny craft about, causing Link to fall down from improper balance. When he tried to stand up, the violent force of the raging winds held him down; rain stinging his face. A howling sound filled his ears. He felt them pop as the pressure increased. My god, what was this awful thing? Still unable to stand, he grabbed the ropes for security, bracing his feet against the pole, and when he looked up, a bright flash of lightning hit the boat, and he was knocked unconscious…
Young Marin, a beautiful maiden of nineteen, who lived on Koholint island, not far from where Link's boat had been struck by the lightning, saw the violent storm approaching. Her island had suffered many storms like this, so she and her father Tarin were always prepared. She was outside planting flowers in the flower garden when she felt the winds change direction suddenly. She was quite intuitive and could sense danger before others could. Placing her hand over her eyes to block out the last rays of the dying sunset, she saw the lightning.
"My goodness, looks like another round of spring storms is headed our way," she muttered to herself. Brushing the dirt off her dress, and gathering her small planter boxes and trowel, she went inside the tiny house she shared with her father. When she entered, he was seated at the table sorting through some papers.
"Father, we'd better get some of the plants indoors. Bad storm approaching." She placed her planter box and trowel on the chair next to him. "Uh huh," Tarin muttered, not looking up from his work. He sighed heavily. "Oh, these taxes, my dear. I'm afraid they've gone up again. I don’t know what we shall do." But Marin wasn't listening. Suddenly her attention was focused on the small strip of beach that she could see outside her kitchen window. There was a poor tiny boat that had crashed up on shore!
What if that person needed help? Throwing aside the rest of her gardening supplies, she dashed out of the house so quickly, it startled her father. "Marin, where are you going?" he demanded. But Marin was way out of earshot by now. She was a fast runner, and reached the beach in just under three minutes. When she reached the sandy strip, she stopped suddenly, and froze in her tracks. Link's broken, shattered, tiny boat had indeed crashed on Koholint's shores, and the scattered pieces of wreckage littered the beach. Marin cautiously approached the young man whose body appeared to be lifeless...
"Oh, you poor thing," she said to herself, rolling him over onto his back. She shrieked and held her hand over her mouth when she saw the handsome blond male unconscious in her arms. She’d never seen anyone like him before. His ears, coming to a fine point on either side of his head, mesmerized her. His lips, so masculine and defined, and his chiseled features nearly made her faint. She stroked away the blond locks covering his eyes, trying to see his whole face. If only he would open his eyes…
Marin and her father managed to get the stranger back to their home, where
Marin watched over him as he slept in her bed. She waited impatiently by his
side for him to wake up.
"Marin, you must not watch him so much. He’ll awake on his own time," Tarin muttered. "Come away from that bed now."
"I know, father, it’s just that…he’s so"…
"Handsome?" Tarin asked, raising an eyebrow. "He probably has holes in his body by now from the way you’ve been watchin’ him. Poor thing won’t be able to get back home"…
But Marin wasn’t planning on letting him leave. At least not right away. She helped her father dish up the beef stew they’d made for their supper, and sat down at their table to enjoy it, still watching Link out of the corner of her eye. She raised her spoon to her mouth, and began to eat. Suddenly she heard something, and she dropped her spoon, rushing to Link’s side, holding his hand, and caressing his forehead. "Wake up….wake up…please"….
Link couldn’t make out the female voice he was hearing. It was…somehow….singing to him…
He opened his eyes slowly, making out the tender frame of Marin. Her smile grew wider as she became captivated by Link’s deep blue eyes.
Link blinked quickly. "Who are you?" he whispered. Was he dreaming? This was probably the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen. She looked a bit like Zelda, but had red hair. She was gorgeous!
What a way for a man to wake up, Link thought.
"I’m….Marin," she said shyly. "What’s your name?"
Link tried to talk, but his voice was too hoarse. He could only manage a rough whisper. "I’m…Link"….
"Pleased to meet you, Link, would you like something to eat?"….
Marin told Link in detail of what apparently happened to his boat. He recalled the storm, and being knocked out by lightning, but nothing else. She told him he was lucky to be alive, and that it must be a twist of fate that brought him here to her island. When he was much better, she said, she would take him on a tour of the island, and show him all the pretty places to visit. She was indeed excited about this, because she’d never shown anybody, let alone a handsome young man like Link, around her island.
Link continued to rest at Marin’s house, and she made a complete fuss over him night and day. He did get better, and one day later Marin decided it was time to take him out for some fresh air. Link hadn’t asked yet about his sword and shield. He knew they were probably being stashed away at Marin’s house somewhere, but refrained from asking about them just yet. Marin took his arm in hers and began leading him up the little pathways all over the island, pointing out flowers, birds, and plants unlike Link had ever seen. He was truly captivated by the richness and laid back ease of this island paradise.
"So, tell me where you’re from?" Marin asked. "I’m just dying to know"…
"Well," Link began. "I’m from a great kingdom called Hyrule. It’s a very grand kingdom with a forest, a ranch, a big village, a lake, a valley, and a magnificent castle."
"Oh, so there must be a Princess!" Marin exclaimed.
"As a matter of fact, there is. Her name is Zelda. She’s about a year younger than I am. Her father is King Harkinian. They are a very powerful royal family, and sometimes I help Zelda out when she needs me."
"For what?" Marin asked.
"Well, for instance, we have these creatures, they’re called Moblins, and they’re really fierce. They carry spears on their backs. Sometimes if they get too close to the castle she and I have to take them out. I use my sword, and she uses her bow and arrow."
"Hmmm"…Marin muttered. "She must be quick on her feet and beautiful."
"Well, Zelda and I have been friends ever since we were children. She will soon marry a handsome Prince, although I’m not sure who that will be. Neither is she."
His eyes twinkled and he laughed with Marin. They stopped at a big tree, and the ocean breeze picked up around them. When Link curved his body around the tree, he saw the most breathtaking sight in the whole world. He and Marin had talked so much they had made it to the top of the island without realizing it, and the view was spectacular.
"Wow!" he exclaimed. "This is….unbelievable"…
"Do you like it?" Marin asked.
"Yes, very much so"…
He closed his eyes and took in a deep breath, wishing there were places in Hyrule like this…
Marin stood up on the rock next to him, so they could be at eye level with each other.
"This is one of my favorite spots to picnic," she said. Her hair began to sting Link’s face as it blew in the wind, and as he turned to face her, his lips brushed hers totally by accident. Without thinking, he responded, grasping her shoulders as he closed his eyes and gave her a deep, full kiss. Marin made a little noise against him, and her hands found his neck and wound themselves around it, feeling his soft hair. She could feel his grip on her tightening, and his lips moving faster, enrapturing her with their command…
This was the first kiss for Link, as well as Marin. Neither one could imagine a more romantic place for their first kiss. Link moved his hands to her face, where he caressed her like a beautiful china doll. She tilted her head so he could slant his lips even more over hers, and she felt the flicker of his tongue begging to let him in, and she opened her mouth sweetly…
The kiss deepened, and they were lost in one another for a time. No Hyrule, no awaiting chores, and no hurries. Just a first kiss, full and passionate. Link pulled away from her slowly, wanting to see her face. She was pleased. Very pleased. They smiled at one another and laced their fingers together.
"Wow," Marin whispered. "That was some kiss, Link."
"It was, wasn’t it?" he asked, a little sudden embarrassment coming over him.
The waves crashing against the seashore was the only sound they heard, as it covered up the sounds of their thumping hearts…
"We’d better get back," Marin finally said, blushing. "My father will be very worried about us and where we’ve gone to"…
Link dined with them again that night, and thanked them for their gracious hospitality. He’d been here only a week but felt like he could stay forever. Tarin insisted on letting him stay with them until they could get enough supplies together to make a new boat for Link to journey home. As he slept that night, Link began to have dreams, of messages being sent to him. They were brought to him by a wise old owl that explained his real purpose for being here. He must awaken the Windfish which lay inside an egg at the top of the mountain. To get there, his journey would be very treacherous. He would have to get eight Siren Instruments, an ocarina, and learn the secret of Marin’s mysterious song he’d heard in his dreams.
He awoke from his sleep, and looked around his bed for his sword. He’d seen it lying against the wall earlier with his shield, but now it was not there. Careful not to wake Marin and her father, Link searched every nook and cranny, digging frantically for it. He tiptoed over to Marin’s dresser, and watching her carefully, he firmly grasped the knobs and began to pull the drawer out, then poked his hand inside, feeling around…
But unfortunately for him, Marin was a very light sleeper. When she heard the wooden drawer scrape along its hinge, she woke up.
"Link! What are you"…
Link pulled his hand out immediately, and on the end of his finger was a pair of her delicate panties.
He quickly shoved them back into the drawer, his face crimson with embarrassment. Marin could see him blushing even in the dark. "Um…I was just looking for…my sword"….
"Oh, it’s right under my bed. I was sweeping earlier, and I guess I must have forgotten about it."
Lifting up her bedcovers, Link reached his hand underneath her bed and pulled out his sword.
"Thanks," he whispered. "Sorry about your panties, Marin, I"…
"It’s okay, Link. Really." She started to giggle but had to be careful not to wake her father up.
"Um," Link asked, "Do you think it would be okay if I lay down beside you? Just for a moment?"
Marin immediately held her covers back for him, and he slid in next to her, pulling her close.
"Your hair smells so good, Marin. I shall never forget this scent as long as I live."
Marin wrapped her arms around Link and sighed. "I’ll never forget your scent either, Link."
Link was falling in love with her, faster than he ever thought possible. His visions of Hyrule were beginning to fade with each passing day he spent on this beautiful island, in this exotic girl’s arms.
But he had a task to accomplish, to awaken this Windfish somehow, and who knows what would lie ahead at that point…
The two fell asleep for just a little while, knowing that the sun would be creeping over the ocean’s horizon very soon. Link was such a gentleman, Marin thought as she continued to cuddle close to him. There was something so noble about him. Even though he wasn’t born of nobility, Marin sensed he was a young man who probably held a great deal of weight back in Hyrule. She felt a little selfish, wanting to keep him here, knowing that he was needed back home, but she just couldn’t help it. She didn’t want his Princess to have him back. She needed him just as badly…
He had such beautiful blue eyes, and she could never tire of looking into them. Being bold, she reached up with her hand and moved some hair away from his face. She wondered how many women in Hyrule must throw themselves at his feet. He smiled in his sleep, and that’s then he whispered a name that made Marin’s blood run cold.
She jerked her hand away and shot up from the bed, clutching her linen nightgown. He awoke instantly.
"I see, I see where your loyalty lies!" she whispered loudly as she ran out the door, into the night, towards the beach. "Marin, wait!" cried Link in a whisper as he threw on his tunic, dashing out her door after her. "Wait! Please!"
"Go away, Link! Leave me alone!" She wouldn’t listen to him. She had to get as far away from him as possible. Just when she thought she could make that Hylian Princess vanish from his mind forever….
"Marin! Come on!" he shouted as he saw where she was headed. The full moon overhead was causing a high tide this evening, as the surf crashed against the shore. Suddenly she couldn’t hear Link’s voice behind her now. The roaring of the ocean had drowned him out completely. When she reached the boat dock, she stopped and removed her sandals. The wet sand squishing between her toes felt so comforting. The wind in her face seemed to make her feel protected somehow. At least nobody could ever take this away from her. This was where she always came for her inner strength, and for peace.
She looked out into the night, wishing she could take off from the water’s edge and fly like a seagull, far above the island, far away from….
"Marin," Link said, trying to catch his breath. "Come on now, turn around. Look at me." She realized she’d given the Hylian quite a good footrace out here. Good, she told herself. She closed her eyes as she fought back the salty tears beginning to stream down her cheeks. Link grabbed her shoulders and spun her around to face him. He wouldn’t let go.
"Why did you run away from me like that?" he asked in a soft tone, his face full of tender emotion. She lowered her head to the ground, and the tears could not be fought back any longer. "You’re….you’re in love with Zelda, aren’t you?" she sobbed. "Aren’t you?" Link looked at her, puzzled. "What? What makes you say that?" She raised her head and shouted at him. "Oh, don’t play games with me, Link! You said her name in your sleep! No man does that unless he’s in love! I may not know any place other than this island, but I wasn’t born yesterday!" He released his grip on her, lowering his gaze. "I…didn’t realize I"…
"Yes, well you did," she quipped, wiping her eyes. Link sat down on the rock just by the dock, and sighed, looking out at the black ocean. He picked up a pebble and mindlessly tossed it into the water. "Marin, I don’t know what to say. But I won’t lie to you. Zelda and I are very close. But we’re friends. Nothing more. I don’t know how I can make you understand that." She was shivering from her sudden emotional outburst. She rubbed her upper arms with her hands as she gazed out again into the night.
"I have to protect Zelda, just like I have to protect anybody else. It’s no different. Sure there are things that happen that mean we have to spend a lot of time together, but we’re not meant for each other. I could never be royalty. I’m a free spirit, destined to go my own way. Please, if I did something to hurt you, I promise it wasn’t intentional."
"You will have to go back to Hyrule soon, though, that can’t be changed," she said in a sarcastic tone.
"No…no...it can’t. But for now…I am here…here with you, and I’m not leaving until"--
"I’ve fallen in love with you,"…she whispered. "What?" Link asked, startled. "What did you say?" She shot him a cold glance. "It doesn’t matter." He stood up and walked toward her, and hesitating for a moment, slipped his arms around her waist. "It does matter, Marin, for I’ve fallen in love with you too," he whispered in her ear. So he had heard her. She froze. Had he just said what she thought he said? But he could be playing games with her. He could feel her body stiffen in his embrace. Well, he would have to remedy that. Moving his lips closer to her ear, he feathered it with his breath. "Marin"….he whispered in a romantic tone. "Marin"….
His whisper drifted away, as she felt his warm kiss against her neck. His arms tightened around her, making her feel safe. But why should she let him do this to her? Why did she have to love him so much, when he would have to leave her very soon and go back to Hyrule, and his Princess? Her hair blew in the strong wind, stinging her cheeks. Link moved it aside, and planted warm, soft kisses against the back of her neck. Her stomach whirled; she closed her eyes, as her reasoning and conviction were leaving her, and he was taking over, dominating her…
Suddenly she spun around in his arms, giving in to him, and curling her hands around his neck. "Link," she whispered as his lips found hers and they pressed together with hot urgency. They moaned against each other as the backdrop around them was pulling them away from everything else that held meaning. "Don’t leave me"…
Link swept her up in his arms and carried her to a secluded spot on the beach, away from any civilization, away from any intrusion…
He laid her down carefully on the white sand, then took her in his strong arms, holding her close. Marin’s heart beat wildly as she looked into his eyes. "Link, will you protect me, and love me?" she asked, fingering the collar of his tunic. "Forever?" He brought his hand over hers, and the blue in his eyes deepened as he penetrated her with his gaze. She almost fainted from the strength of it.
"You, I shall protect with my very life. Nothing shall ever harm you, Marin, I swear it. And yes, I will love you…forever"… They came together in a soft kiss, one that grew deeper and deeper as Marin’s fingers stroked the back of his neck, and his hand curled around her body…
He pulled loose the ties on her nightgown, slipping his warm fingers underneath it. She took in a deep breath and closed her eyes. His touch was so warm, so soft, and yet so commanding, and the moment his thumb grazed her aroused peak, she arched her head back, and pulled his lips down to her neck. He answered her with hungry kisses and deep breaths.
"Oh, do you like that?" he whispered teasingly into her ear. "Uh-huh," she answered, breathing heavily. Link was becoming quite aroused as he pulled his lips away from her neck and looked into her eyes. "May I kiss them?" he asked. "I promise I’ll be gentle"…
She nodded her head. "Please, Link." Smiling in anticipation, he unlaced the rest of her bodice, taking his time. When the full moon above shone on her voluptuousness, he clenched his teeth and let out a low growl. He pushed her back onto the sand, and lowered his lips onto her breasts. Almost immediately, she responded with soft moans. His hands cupped around them gently as he explored her. He tilted his head so she could watch his tongue dart over her aching peaks. As their eyes met, Marin knew that Link would love her forever, just as he said. "Oh, Link, yes"…
Something was happening between her legs. There was a moist heat there she’d never felt before. Link was doing things to her that no man had ever done. Life on this island had its pleasures, but certainly none like this. She felt his hand underneath her nightgown, inching up…up…
Then his hand stopped on her secret place. He pulled back suddenly and they looked at each other with wide eyes, startled at what they were both feeling. Link had never, ever done this with any girl. What lay underneath his fingers was exciting him in ways he never thought possible. He started to caress her there, a little awkwardly at first. A big smile spread across his face.
"Oh…wow"…he whispered. "I never knew"….
Marin gripped his shoulder when he’d found just the right rhythm. "Right there, Link," she whispered with hot desire.
"Right there?" "Like this?" he asked lovingly. She nodded her head. "Uh-huh"…
"Marin, my sweet Marin"…he whispered. His lips found her breast again, and the sensations were almost too much for her to handle. She was burning inside, and wanted so much more, but wanted to take it a little slower. She was afraid of losing control, before she even had a chance to let him satisfy her completely. It was almost as if Link knew what she was thinking, for he did stop, then raised above her, balancing himself on his hands. "Marin, my darling, if you want to stop, please tell me. I will do whatever you wish. I will respect you no matter what. I"…
She raised her skirt up around her waist. "Link, I want you inside me"…she whispered. "I want to know what a man’s love feels like, I want to know what your love feels like. Please, I’m begging you"…
Surprised and shocked by her answer, he quickly reached down and loosened his belt, freed himself from his clothing, then raised above her on his hands again. Since he had such massive upper body strength, he had no problem with this. Their eyes locked as he lowered his face to kiss her. She could feel him against her, wanting entry. "Are you sure?" he whispered. "Yes, Link"…she answered. Soft moans escaped his throat as he moved forward just a little, gliding past her virginity. The size of him startled Marin for an instant, but he’d done it so gently, there was hardly any pain. When he had broken her free, smiles covered both of their faces. "This…is nice"…he whispered. "You…feel…so good, Marin, I never thought it could be this wonderful"…
"Me neither," she whispered back. "I want…all of you, Link. I want all of you that you can give me." He kissed her again, this time more passionately, and his tongue probed into her mouth. She answered back, and he continued moving inside her, going very slow, letting her get accustomed to him. He’d taken his time with her, and prepared her most exquisitely for this. Marin let him be in control, because she wanted him to dominate her, and bring her to ecstasy on his terms. Link took great care not to give her any discomfort at all, but he had to really fight his male instinct to go deeper. He kept himself focused on her, and his desire to make her feel safe, warm and protected from everything. She let him know when she was ready for more. His body moved faster, and she answered him, their bodies establishing a comfortable rhythm. He did not move his mouth away from hers, only deepened his kisses. But he was breathing heavier now, and his moans were becoming a little louder.
"Marin…I’m so close"…he whispered. "Me too"…she answered. His body was touching her just right as he moved within her, and seconds later she felt a rocking bolt of electricity and clutched him by the backside. "Link, you’re so good, don’t stop"… Something wild rocked her to her very soul, the most exquisite sensations she’d ever known. Her body movements and the sound of her voice sent Link over the edge. Without knowing it, Marin had just spoken the most magical words he dreamed a woman would ever say to him. He suddenly thrust completely into her and threw his head back. "Yes, oh yes Marin"…
Something warm rushed inside her as the waves crashed against the shoreline at the same time, and she watched her lover’s facial expressions as he submitted himself to her completely. Their bodies became one, and then the intensity lessened…calmed…and a soft glow emanated from Link’s face as he looked down at her. "Oh, my love, my island queen," he purred. "Let me hold you." She snuggled up to him as he pulled her into his strong embrace. "Link, you make me feel so safe. I’m so glad you didn’t die that day when you were washed up on shore, or I would never have known such beautiful bliss." He kissed the top of her head and leaned his cheek against it. "Marin, you saved my life that day. And if you hadn’t, I would have never known such beautiful bliss either. Will you come back to Hyrule with me and be my wife?" She sat up quickly, startled. "Link, do you mean it? Do you really mean it?"
"Yes, Marin, I do. I want you to be my wife, and it’s not just because of what just happened, but because you calm me, you give me the peace I’ve always wanted. I feel like I can tell you anything. I love you."
She threw her arms around his neck. "Oh, Link, I love you too"…
She began to cry as she realized what this meant; that she would leave this island forever, and could never return.
Link stroked her hair and rocked her back and forth in his arms. "Soon we will go to Hyrule, where you will be greeted with open arms. I know everyone there is going to love you, just as much as I do."
He vowed that he would come for her and her father just after he awoke the Windfish and then they could sail back to Hyrule together on his raft. He walked her back to her house and gave her a passionate goodnight kiss. They did not see each other again until he did what he had promised. He did indeed find the Siren Instruments, the Ocarina, and learned the secret of the sad song of the Windfish. On the night of their departure, a fierce storm brewed out at sea, threatening the entire island. Link had to hurry. The storm was coming from the southwest, and it would move northeast, sweeping the entire island, and take them with it, unless they could get away and sail with the winds away from the storm….
Marin heard a knock at her door. She knew it was Link before she even opened it. He stood before her, with a worried look on his face. "I’m about to go to the mountain," he said. "You and your father must hurry to the northeast dock and wait for me there. Then…we will leave." His eyes held a tenderness in them that melted her very soul. Soon, they would finally be together, as husband and wife. He never broke his promises. Marin and Tarin left their house, never to return again. The weather outside was getting rougher as Link made his way to the top of the mountain. He had what he needed now to wake this Windfish, fulfilling his destiny so he could go back home. When he played the melancholy tune that awoke it….
The storm arrived with a violent force. Trees were sucked from their roots, houses were blown apart, the waves pounded against the shoreline with massive force. Link fought the stinging rain and winds after the worst of it had passed over. But he didn’t have much time left. He cut through the secret pathway leading to the northeast dock, where Marin and Tarin were waiting…
"It’s too rough!" Tarin shouted. "I’m not going out there in this! I’d rather die here than drown! I’m an old man, I can’t make this journey!"
"Trust me!" Link shouted back as the winds howled around them. "Hyrule is waiting for us…we must go now!" He held out his hand to him. Marin clutched Link’s body tighter. "Father, I have to go with Link! Please come with us!"
"No! Go! Leave me!"
The fierce winds wrenched the belltower that sat on top of the mountain right above them, threatening to come crashing down…
Link grabbed Marin and they moved out of the way before it could crush them. He then carried her to the raft. Tarin ran back inland. He was too afraid to leave his island. When Link turned to grab him, he was gone. "Damn!" he muttered.
"Where’s father?" Marin cried. "He ran back!" Link said. "I’m sorry! We have to go now!" When he looked to the northeast, he could see a rainbow and calm stillness. The same calm stillness that would lead them to Hyrule. He shoved the raft away from the shore and held Marin close to him as they watched the entire island of Koholint being swallowed up by mudslides and hurricane-force winds. Marin buried her face against Link and sobbed, so badly wanting her father to accompany them. The raft headed toward the rainbow, just as Link predicted….
Suddenly the raft was caught in a whirling vortex, and Link had to grab the pole in the middle of it to steady their balance. He looked down into the water, puzzled.
One end of the raft dove sharply, and Marin screamed, grabbing for Link, but as she tried to clutch the fabric of his tunic, she missed, and slid down into the water. "Marin!" Link screamed. "Hold on!" His eyes were wide with terror. He was not going to lose her. Not after they’d just pledged their love….
"Link! I can’t swim with the current! It’s too strong! Help me, please!"
Link dove into the water, trying to grab her, but it was as if the vortex was intentionally trying to keep them apart. Link fought hard with all his strength, but could not break through its fierce grip on Marin. She finally realized what was happening, as the vortex started to pull her under. No matter how hard she tried to fight it, the more it tightened around her. This was a losing battle. Their love was never meant to be. But she found the courage to meet his eyes one last time, before she was pulled under.
"Liiiink! I love you!"
"Maaaarin!" Link cried out. Then she disappeared, her hands being the last thing Link saw. The vortex was gone, and now Link could swim easily through the water. He couldn’t grasp what had just happened. "No! No!"" he screamed, diving down into the water to look for Marin. He swam frantically, dove back up for air, then dove down again. It was no use. After a while, he was so exhausted he didn’t care if he lived or died. She was gone from him, and his life forever…
He clutched the raft, and sobbed against it, drifting further and further away. "Marin," he sobbed. "Marin"…..
Then he fell asleep from pure exhaustion.
"Link…Link…wake up. Wake up."
It was a female voice. Link could hear it echoing from far away. It was the most beautiful sound in the whole world.
"Marin…Marin"…he whispered. "My love, where are you?"…
"Link, Link, it’s me. Wake up, please."
He felt his shoulders being shaken, then shaken some more.
He could see Marin standing before him. "Link….you must wake now, you’re home safe, my darling"…
He forced his eyes open, then turned to his left. There sat Zelda beside him.
"Welcome home, Link,"…she whispered, kissing his hand. "We were so afraid you weren’t going to pull through this. Impa found you at Lake Hylia last night, and you were almost dead. Oh, Link"…
She threw her arms around him and held him close to her. She shook from quiet sobs. "I don’t know what I would have done if I’d lost you"…
Link felt numb all over. There was only one thing he cared about right now.
"Is Marin here?" he asked.
"Marin? Who’s Marin?" Zelda asked. "You said her name just a minute ago."
Link collapsed back on the bed, from pure exhaustion. He suddenly realized he was in the castle, in a warm bed, surrounded by Zelda’s staff.
"You shall rest here until you’re better. I’ve arranged for some hot soup to be brought up for you. You can have a hot bath later, and my personal physician will take care of that nasty bump on your head." She started to get up from the bed, and felt Link’s hand grip hers. When she turned back to face him, he swore he could see Marin in her face. His eyes grew wide.
"Link, what happened out there?" Zelda asked in a heightened tone. "You’re beginning to scare me"…
Link sighed. "Someday, I shall tell you, Zelda. But right now I need to be alone."
"Okay," she said sweetly, patting his hand. She stood up, and leaned over to kiss his forehead. It felt like it was happening in slow motion, and it reminded him of something else…
"You sleep now."
Then she and her staff left the room. Link burst into tears, clutching the pillow. Some hero he was. Once he told Zelda of all this, she might think twice about letting him come to save her castle again. He felt so empty inside. His thoughts drifted to that night on the beach, Marin’s sweet kisses, the trust she had placed in him, and now she was gone. She’d saved his life, and he wasn’t able to save hers. He'd broken a promise, a promise that would haunt him forever. He was worthless, nothing….
Then he heard that song, the same one he played to awaken the Windfish.
He sat up in the bed and rubbed his swollen eyes. There sat Marin on the edge of his bed, smiling at him.
He reached out for her, but his hands went right through her. "You’re not real," he said, jerking his hand back. "Why are you here?" he asked. "Link, I know you tried to save me, because you love me. That’s all I ever wanted, was to feel a man’s love. And you gave me that, Link. That is the most treasured gift I could have ever received." His eyes started to tear up. "But we were going to get married"…
"I know, I know, but I was foolish to think I could ever leave Koholint. It was not meant to be, Link. But I will always, always love you from this side, and I will wait for you."
He couldn’t hold back his tears. "When will I ever see you again?"
She leaned forward, and when their lips touched, it was like she was really here with him. The realization made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. He closed his eyes, wanting to etch this in his mind forever. He whimpered a little against her. Her lips were so soft, so warm, just like that night on the beach. "Marin"…he murmured as he reached out for her. The kiss was long and deep, a final goodbye…
Her lips traveled to his forehead, where he’d suffered his injury. She kissed it, and the soreness left him. Then she pulled back and smiled, nuzzling his nose. "You need to live your life now, as the hero of Hyrule. Don’t be sad, Link. What happened was beyond your control. You will realize your destiny, and…it is very grand. Very grand indeed. You will be amazed when it happens. I have seen it, and I am so proud to say that I loved you before I was taken from your world. You will love another, Link. And she will love you."
"But I don’t want to love another, Marin," he whispered. "Please, isn’t there something I can do to bring you back to me?"
"I will always be with you, Link. Always." She stood up from the bed, and backed away, bright light surrounding her. The ocean wind blew around them again, and he could hear the faint sound of seagulls. Link swallowed hard, then did the only noble thing he knew to do. He grabbed his sword, and bowed down to her on his knees, grasping it at the hilt, tears running down his cheeks.
"I love you, Marin."
She blew him a kiss. "I love you, Link."
Then she was gone.
Several days passed before Link would wake from his long sleep. Zelda watched over him obsessively night and day, caring for his wounds and nursing him back to health. He was one of her truest friends, and since she had so few, she was determined not to let him leave this world. Not just yet, anyway. But whenever she sat by his side, on the bed, pressing a cool cloth to his forehead to calm him, she would inevitably hear the name of that mysterious woman escape his lips.
And she would hold his hand, knowing that something really awful must have happened on that journey to Koholint. One morning when she was at his side caring for him, one of her pages knocked against the open door to bring her the written news she had requested about the faraway island he had journeyed to.
He handed her a map, and a necklace made of seashells.
"Your majesty, this was all we were able to locate from Link’s boat."
Studying the necklace, and looking back at Link, she figured this must be the necklace belonging to that strange girl.
"Thank you, you may go now"…
"Your majesty"…the page said as he bowed, then backed out of the room.
Zelda fingered the beautiful shells of the necklace. She had never seen such exotic jewelry before. Its beauty captivated her. Even though she had an infinite amount of precious gems, gold and silver at her disposal, she knew that the value of this far surpassed any royal jewels she owned. She laid it on the dresser table next to Link, then unrolled the map lying on the bed.
She located the tiny island on it, then drew her finger slowly back to the other side, noting Hyrule’s location. It was several hundred miles away. How could that tiny boat have survived such a treacherous journey?
She wouldn’t know all of the answers of course until Link awoke from his sleep, a deep sleep that was turning into days, and even longer nights….
Taking his hand, she decided to sit with him a little longer, before she turned in herself…
The next afternoon, as she was sitting by his side, her eyes closed, drifting off to sleep, she thought she heard something.
Her eyes flew open and she saw Link trying to open his eyes.
She rushed to him, feeling his forehead and rubbing his hand.
"Link! It’s me! Wake up! Wake up!"
"Zelda…where am I?" he asked in a weak voice. "Where am I?"
"You’re here at Hyrule Castle, Link. You’re safe…now just open your eyes, please"…
Link blinked a little, then his eyelids began to open slowly, letting in tiny amounts of light.
He focused hard on the blurry image before him, then saw blond hair, blue eyes, and a pink dress…
"Zelda? Is that you?"
A big smile spread over her face.
"Yes! Yes, it’s me, Link!"
She clasped his hand tighter in hers, relief spreading throughout her body that he had finally woken up.
"Can you sit up?" she asked.
He nodded his head. "I think so"…
She arranged the pillows behind him so he could sit up comfortably.
"Wow," he said, "How long have I been asleep?"
"About four days, Link. You were in such a state I didn’t know if you would ever recover," she replied. "We were all very, very worried about you."
He looked around the room, trying to absorb exactly what had happened, and then his eyes drifted to the dresser table beside him. When he saw the necklace, he took a deep, deep breath and sighed, picking it up and running his fingers through it. He began to shake from the tears that were forming in his eyes. "It’s really true, she’s gone from my life forever"…
"Link?" Zelda asked, placing a careful hand on his shoulder. "Who’s….who’s Marin?"
He placed his hand over his eyes, as if trying to shield her from his tears. "She was the most wonderful woman in the world, and the one I asked to be my wife, Zelda. You would have liked her. She was sweet, kind, and the most adorable creature I’d ever laid my eyes upon. I was bringing her back to Hyrule with me, when"….
"When what?" Zelda asked.
"When that awful thing took her right out from underneath me. I tried to swim to save her, but…but it was too strong, and…I"…
"Shhh"….Zelda said, pulling him close and holding him next to her.
"Zelda, I failed"…
"No Link! You must never say that! You did not fail! I believe she must not have been destined to leave her island, no matter how much she wanted to, and no matter how strong your love for her was. There must have been some reason for this. I’m not sure what it is, and we may not know for a very long time to come, but"…
"Zelda," Link said suddenly, lifting his face to look her in the yes. His voice fell to a choked whisper. "We…made love on the beach. It was absolutely incredible…I cannot put it into words. I really did love her, and wanted to make her so happy."
Sobs overtook him, and she rocked him in her arms. Suddenly somebody knocked on her door, and she became angry.
"Go away! Leave us alone!" she yelled.
The knocking stopped.
"Thank you, Zelda. I know I can always trust you, and that you’ll never laugh at me, or think me ridiculous."
"No way," she said. "We’re truest friends forever, right?"
He nodded his head. "I suppose we are"…
He hugged her tighter, and Zelda continued to rock him, until he fell asleep again.
After several more days, Link finally regained his strength, and was able to walk about the castle. He would sit in the courtyard in the afternoons, with Marin’s necklace, and stare into the fountain.
On one such afternoon, Zelda caught a glimpse of him as she was preparing to go out riding. Impa was with her, and when she saw Zelda pause, she placed her hand on the young girl’s shoulder.
"Come on, Zelda, leave him be. He’ll be alright." Zelda jerked away from the older woman and entered the courtyard, no longer listening to her.
Link must have heard her, for he turned around, and a smile spread across his face, his eyes brightening.
"Zelda," he said happily. "Come sit with me."
"Are you sure it’s okay?" she asked, a little hesitant.
"Of course," he said, patting the seat beside him and scooting over. "I could use some company."
She gathered her skirts and sat down beside him, facing the opposite direction.
"I was just down here doing some thinking," he began, "some thinking about my life. You know, you were right, Zelda. I think there must have been some reason for all of this, and we may not know yet what it is, but I’ll just have to take each day as it comes, and hope that it will be revealed to me someday."
She clasped her hands in her lap, looking down at them, her face very long.
Link glanced over at her, and tilted her chin up to face him. "Hey, what’s the matter?" he asked.
No matter what life threw at Link, he always seemed to bounce right back, Zelda thought as she looked into the young man’s deep blue eyes. He was more noble than any prince she’d ever met. He never asked for anything, but she could see that the pain of losing this woman he loved was tearing him apart, even though he wasn’t showing it at the moment.
"Link, I am just so sorry this all happened," she said. "If I could turn back time for you somehow"…
"Zelda," he whispered, taking her hand and stroking it, "Just being here for me has comforted me more than you will ever know."
There was a long pause, and then he said something to her she would never forget.
"Zelda, you don’t think I’m bad, do you? For…you know…being with Marin?" he asked, almost shyly, lowering his eyes.
A very puzzled look came over her face. "Why no, Link, why would I? I think it must have been…quite romantic"….she whispered as her face drew away from his. "Of course, I wouldn’t know about such things"…
Her face turned a little red and so did his.
"I’m sorry," he said, cracking a smile. "I shouldn’t be talking to you about this"…
"No, it’s okay, Link. Really." Deep down, she wondered how he must have made Marin feel. Probably pretty wonderful, she figured. As charming as he was as her friend, she could only imagine how charming he would be as a girl’s lover. He rarely thought of himself first, and that’s what made him so irresistible. Zelda had to watch idly as many girls her age flocked to Link for attention. Yes, he did stir many a heart in the land of Hyrule. But he was her friend, and nothing more. They’d grown up together, for goodness sakes. They knew all of each other’s flaws, weaknesses, and troubles, not to mention the fact that they used to fight over weapons, mainly his Kokiri sword and shield, when they were much
younger. But Link was the one she wanted to always protect her. She yearned for the day when he could become a knight and serve under her father. Of course that would mean him going into battle, possibly becoming gravely injured, or worse. And he would have to stand in the Temple of Time, with his blade raised over her head as she married Prince whoever of whatever someday. But she didn’t want to think about that right now. "Would you like to go riding with me?" she blurted out suddenly, then realized what she’d done, a little embarrassed. "Or…maybe you’re not ready"…her eyes shied away from him.
"Sure, I would love to. I think I need some fresh air," he said, standing up, and holding his hand out to her. Smiling up at him, she took his offered hand and they walked to the stables, mounting their horses and riding across Hyrule Field, with not a care in the world.
But somebody mysterious was watching the pair with intent eyes as they rode with the wind, Zelda’s hair loose and flowing, Link following behind her; smiles on their faces.
He turned to the one standing next to him, and motioned for him to lean closer.
"I think it is time"…
When Link and Zelda reached the forest, they stopped their horses to give them a rest, laughing and catching their breaths.
"Wow, that was a pretty good run, Zelda! You beat me again!"
"Yes, and I will always beat you," she said, panting, and patting her horse.
"Ho ho ho," Link replied. "You’d better be prepared to eat those words, Zelda," he said, as he rolled off Epona’s saddle. "It will not likely happen again."
Zelda started to dismount her horse Eviana, and Link stopped her. "No, Zelda. You must allow me," he said as he grabbed Eviana’s reins. "A lady never dismounts alone in the presence of a man, especially if she is a Princess."
He held his arms out for her and she slid into them.
"Whew," she said, wiping her brow. "Guess I had a much harder run than I thought. Hey, Link," she began, her eyes looking at him strangely, "You don’t have to help me off my horse, you know, I can do it by myself."
"I know, I know, I just think it’s improper manners for a man not to help a lady, er, um, royalty," he emphasized, his face in a comical stance, "off of her horse. You would expect no less from one of your father’s knights, I should hope you would expect no less from me."
"Well…in that case…I thank you very, very much….Sir Link," she said.
He bowed to her in fun, then sighed, his broad shoulders expanding as he took in the forest air.
"Gosh, how I would love to be a knight someday," he said, his voice fading.
"I know, Link," Zelda replied. "You can certainly fight with a sword, and you have honor, of that I am certain."
Link sat upon a nearby rock, leaning over to pick at the blades of grass.
"And how well does my honor serve me now, Zelda? What am I to do with the rest of my life? I mean, you and I, we have our fun together, but soon your father will marry you off to some handsome Prince, and then I will have to find my place again in the forest, maybe overlooking the Kokiri, that wouldn’t be too bad"…
"Link," Zelda said, sitting down next to him, and curling her hand around his arm. "I won’t marry for quite some time. My father knows I haven’t found the right one yet. And you know how stubborn I can be."
Link nodded his head in agreement. "Yes, Zelda, you are definitely stubborn."
"Besides, there’s only one man who can win my heart"…
"Oh?" Link asked with interest. "Do tell"…
"Well, he has to be handsome, of course"…
"Of course"…Link agreed in fun. "Couldn’t have anything less"…
"And he has to be good with a sword," she looked up to the sky, "and lots of other weapons"...
"Uh-huh," Link said. "Go on"…
"But most importantly," she noted, holding her index finger up, "he has to be able to match me with a bow and arrow. "
Link leaned back and howled with laughter. "You’re kidding, right?"
"No, I’m not," she said matter-of-factly.
"You sure don’t ask for much," Link retorted. "There’s no way anybody could match you in archery, Zelda. No way"…
Suddenly she grabbed his sword from its sheath on his back and stood up, pointing Link’s blade at his throat, before he even knew what happened. His hand had reached behind him in an immediate reflex, but Zelda was too quick for him, like a cat.
"Oh, just like nobody can match you in swordfighting?" she teased, shaking her head. "Too slow"…
Link fingered the tip of his blade with his finger, his eyes twinkling at her.
"I now challenge you, Sir Link, to a duel." She smiled at him, ready….
"Oh, is this your idea of playtime?" he asked, running his finger along his blade to the point, then yanking his fingertip away. "Well, if it’s a duel you want, your Highness, it’s a duel you’ll get"…
He walked to her horse and pulled her sword from its sheath, wiped it with his tunic, then whirled around on his heel to face her, wearing a mock battle face.
"En guard," he commanded, raising his blade to her, the end of it quivering as he furled it out before him, watching her with mindful eyes.
"En…guard," she said, almost flirtatiously, raising her blade to meet his, holding her hand proudly behind her.
She crossed one foot over the other, eyeing Link as he circled her, their blades almost touching. She knew he was going to calculate her every move, and probably laugh at her later for this attempt at challenging him, but she was bound and determined to see him channel his energy into his talents, and not his sorrows.
"Well, are you just going to stand there, or are you going to attack me?" he asked. "I haven’t got all day…your Majesty"…
"In due time…Link…in due time"…she said in a low voice.
"I’m not going to wait all day," he teased, laying his hand on his hip, still watching her, "if you keep circling like this, I shall have to motion for the buzz"—
His mouth formed a perfect "o" as he caught her blade with his own, whistling forward, and swung it around, the sound of the scraping filling Zelda’s ears. She retreated back a little.
"That was very good," Link said, crouching down, readying his stance. "For a girl."
"Uh hu huuuhhh"…Zelda hissed. "You think so?"
He lunged forward at her, and she parried his swings expertly, dodging his blade as it swung over hers, doing a delicate dance with the hint of danger. These were real broadswords, and not the toys they’d been forced to use long ago. She loved to play-fight with him like this, it brought back so many memories.
"Tell me, Link," she said calmly, deftly dodging his swipes, "do you not remember the days when we did this as children?"
He continued parrying her moves, quite impressed with her abilities, but he was not about to admit it…
"I remember beating you several times, that’s what I remember," Link retorted, curving his arm over as he blocked her swings at him. Damn, he was good, Zelda thought to herself as she watched his agile form strike her blade with such arrogant confidence. He began to swing in a faster rhythm, forcing her back toward the thick trees.
"Every time you beat me, it only made me stronger," Zelda resounded, slicing the air in front of her. Link ducked his midsection back to avoid her swing.
"Ha ha," she taunted. "Now"…
"Shall finish you…Sir Link"…
She caught his blade in a downward curve as she felt herself being cornered against a tree, and when she tried to force it away from him, he counterattacked, pinning her even harder against the bark. His sword caught part of her dress, tearing it slightly at the thigh. She shrieked as she dropped her blade to the ground.
"Tsk tsk tsk, Zelda," Link teased, now holding the blade of her sword against her throat. "That was good…but you can do much better. Now you must surrender like a good girl"…
"Hmm," she muttered, holding the two torn pieces apart, examining his handiwork, then looked him in the eyes, "Not bad."
"No," Link replied, "Not…bad at all."
His face was very close to hers, causing him to pull away and clear his throat.
"Your sword…milady," he whispered, handing it to her by the hilt.
Shaking her hair behind her, she bent down and picked his blade up. She in turn handed it to him.
"That was quite a good match you gave me, Zelda," Link said, sheathing his sword on his back.
They began to walk toward their horses. "Next time, though," he snickered as his eyes wandered down to the tear in her dress, "that dress might not protect you. Maybe you should wear some armor."
"Ohhhh….I don’t think so," she said, grabbing Eviana’s reins. "I don’t need any protection from…you"…
He held his hand out for her to mount her horse. For a whisper of a moment she saw something there, something that left her…breathless…
He helped her up onto Eviana, and taking the reins, she smiled down at him.
"Race you back to the castle, Link."
"You’re on," he answered. Running to Epona, he jumped onto her back and squeezed her around the middle. "Let’s go!"
Racing out of the forest, Link stayed ahead of Zelda for a good portion of the race, and then she smacked Eviana’s rear with the back of her hand, urging her to go faster, passing Link…