Hyrule’s Forest, Present Day…
In the seven years that passed since Ganondorf poisoned the Great Deku Tree, its protective magic waned, and weakened allowing for more Moblins, and other dark creatures to make their way into the deeper areas of the forest threatening the Kokiri’s way of life.
Link would routinely patrol the outskirts of the forest killing foes in an effort to protect his home, and the other children. While The Tree’s magic had remained strong for a few years following its demise, after Link’s return from Termina winters got colder, more sections of the forest lost their leaves during Fall seasons, and monsters crept closer to Kokiri Forest.
Link’s duty had been to protect the Kokiri boundaries long enough for the Deku Sprout to mature in order to renew the magical barrier at full strength. The sprout which talked and had recovered most of its former self’s memories had enough power to protect Kokiri Village but not Lost Woods. And so in this latest patrol he ventured to the far northern boundaries of Hyrule’s forest. The freezing temperatures and the chilly snow charged winds had dulled his sense of smell as he battled a runny nose, and a growingly numb face.
Through it all he could still perceive a faint smell of smoke in the winds. Smoke could only mean a pack of Moblins, specially that far north in the woods.
“We should turn back, it’s getting heavier by the hour.” A tiny female voice behind his left shoulder advised.
“No. We are close Aryl. I can smell the smoke.” Link replied.
Though he had to admit that Saria’s fairy had a point. They had ventured far north from Lost Woods, and the inches of freshly fallen snow kept piling up on the ground. Link wasn’t as cold as he should have been as he wore a Zora tunic underneath his winter thick woolen Kokiri one. His fingers and face however were exposed to the cold and felt very numb for it. Visibility was being impaired too. The trees on the area looked dead and leafless, but there were plenty of them at every turn making the place darker than it should have been. Perhaps that far out from Lost Woods under those conditions didn’t really help Kokiri Village either way whether he killed a Moblin or not.
“Aryl, the wind has slowed a bit for the moment. Fly up and look for fires.” Link commanded, and the Fairy flew up in a burst of light looking like a tiny moving star maneuvering through the falling snow flakes.
As Link looked up tracking Aryl, he couldn’t help but miss Navi. Aryl was a capable Fairy, and their friendship had grown over the past few years, but she was still Saria’s Fairy, Navi had been his. Link didn’t have enough time to sulk on his thoughts however as Aryl quickly flew back down to his shoulder, once the Fairy was safely tucked between his back and his shield she confirmed Link’s suspicions,
“You are right, north west, about 10 minutes at our current pace. A bone fire, three shapes around it.”
“Most likely, big shapes.” Aryl affirmed.
“Okay then. You know the drill.” Link said as he resumed his march.
The drill was simple. Aryl would stay hidden, other wise they could risk getting spotted from a considerable distance by the enemies. Fairies were brighter than torches, they were hard to miss. Finally Link would try to stealthily approach and kill the enemies with carefully shot arrows. It is a formula that had always worked for the most part. The times it didn’t? Link had to get his hands, and sword dirty.
In what seemed and felt like the longest ten minute walk he had ever taken, Link finally caught a glimpse of the fire, and the party of three Moblins. Aryl had been right, the Moblins were good sized. More interestingly they were well armored. Their pig looking heads were exposed though, and because of the wind they had picked a clearing at the bottom of a small hill to get their fire going.
“Well we have the upper ground, I should be able to hit them before they even know what’s going on. Either way, be ready.” Link whispered, Aryl’s silent reply meant she was on board.
Link drew his bow, with his left hand placed an arrow, pulled the string, and took aim. His aim was directed at what seemed to be the leader of the Moblin trio. The biggest, most muscular Moblin would be the first one to die.
It was a 30 yard shot, a shot Link could nail under normal circumstances while blindfolded. But the wind, snow, and numb fingers added a degree of difficulty. That said, he made the shot without any
major inconveniences, the arrow struck right through the forehead of the Moblin, immediately causing a commotion with the two remaining foes. Before the first arrow had hit its intended target Link had already reached for a second one, so the Moblin directly to the dead one’s right fell from an arrow that struck his neck.
So far so good. And yet the third one sprinted to Link’s right, disappearing from view.
“Aryl! Fly!” Link shouted prompting the Fairy to fly away from Link while maintaining a low altitude. The idea was that Aryl’s otherworldly brightness would attract the attention of the remaining Moblin giving Link ample time and space to spot, and kill him.
The tactic had worked flawlessly before, so it came as a shock when Link heard a war cry, and thudding steps right behind him. Instinctively Link dived and rolled out of his stationary position, and good thing he did considering a massive club smashed the area where he had just been kneeling in.
Link dropped his Fairy bow, and drew his sword and shield. Moblins were dumb brutes, the one currently threatening Link’s life was an exception to the rule it seemed, but the fact remained that at the close distance at which they were about to clash Moblins were dangerous, and deadly.
Link was 17 winters old, though his time traveling adventures made him feel twice that age at times. His body however was that of a scrawny 15 year old kid, the time he had spent in Termina had frozen his aging process for two full winters. The disparity in size didn’t escape this smartest of Moblins, as he bum rushed Link, grabbed a hold of his shield, and tossed him like a rag doll against a nearby tree trunk.
Link felt the wind knocked out of him, and almost didn’t roll his head in time to survive a massive fist to the face from the Moblin. The punch still devastated Link as it caught him on the left cheek bone sending him on a what seemed like a fateful tumble down the bottom of the hill where the Moblin’s bone fire still burned in the middle of the two fresh pig men corpses.
‘Killed by a Moblin’ Link lamented as he came to a crashing halt at the bottom. For a moment the memories of Malon’s bright smile, and Zelda’s always worrisome expression flashed before his eyes. Zelda seldom smiled he thought. ‘Zelda…It was always Zelda.’ The realization of those thoughts flashed out like life long revelation.
‘You shouldn’t have sent me back’ A sadness suddenly overtook him. Link wasn’t afraid, he was too stunned to feel fear. He wasn’t even angry at his killer to be. He was however full of regrets. Regrets which he secretly carried, some which he had denied to admit even to himself and now flowed as freely as the blood from his wounds in his last agonizing moments. He regretted not opening himself up to Zelda, not giving Malon a chance, not staying at the Ranch, and even not being properly grateful to poor Saria. Most of all he regretted the fact that he would be forgotten, even possibly by the former two women. Saria wouldn’t forget him, ‘She never would’ he took some comfort in that.
The Moblin was upon him now, with his massive club in hand, burning red eyes and a blood thirsty grin as he showed him his fangs. He couldn’t move out of the way, he was too bloody and broken for that. He could taste his own blood with each swallow. His left eye has closed and his cheekbone felt broken. As the Moblin raised his Club for a final strike, a most unexpected thing happened. Aryl
launched herself at the Moblin’s face disrupting his motion for a second. A second long enough for Link to stand and thrust his blade under the Moblin’s pig like Jaw.
Link’s hand had never released its grip on the blade even as he fell tumbling down the hill. Old habits die hard, and that habit of clutching his blade no matter what turmoil befell him had saved his life this time. He did forgo his habit after stabbing the Moblin though, as he didn’t have the strength to pull the blade back out. As it turned out he didn’t even have the strength to remain up right as he fell to the side with a thud.
He survived the Moblin, but his world was quickly turning black all the same. The last his eyes saw was the dimming silhouette of Aryl…or was it Navi?