Lost Woods Present…
Link could feel his head spinning. He had lost a lot of blood, and even under the guidance of Aryl the Lost Woods maze was quite frankly an annoying place to trek. The annoyance was amplified by Link’s moribund condition.
“How much further Aryl? I am starting to black out.” Link asked as he made his way through the maze.
“We are almost there!” Aryl replied.
“That’s what you said an hour ago!”
“I know, I know but this time I am telling the truth we are almost there.”
“ I won’t survive another hour like this Aryl.”
Silence was the only reply he got from the Fairy. In truth the warmer climate in the forest and his low levels of energy were tempting him to just lay down, give up, and fall asleep. Yet he resisted the urge knowing that a nap would turn into an eternal slumber from which he wouldn’t return.
“We are here!” Aryl exclaimed joyfully.
Link squinted with his one good eye he was able to make out the entrance of the cave that led to the fountain. He had been here before many times but the snow and his concussed state of being made the cave seem like a foreign place to him.
As soon as his boots stepped onto the elaborate white marble tiles, the temperature of the environment seemed to rise to that of a warm pleasant summer. He could see the bright healing fairies a few meters ahead of him, dancing on the round pool of pure crystalline water.
The water itself was only ankle deep, and warm to the touch. Link removed his shield, and equipment. Took off his Kokiri garb, and the Zora tunic he wore as an under shirt. Lastly he removed his boots before entering the pool.
The water felt as warm as a Goron hot spring. As he made his way towards the middle of the pool a sudden weariness took over him, before realizing it he was laying down staring at the ceiling. The warm water caressed the back of his head and body. His eyes closed as if under a spell and with a sudden blinding, yet warm glow he felt himself drifting into sleep.
The soft sound of rippling water woke him up, and as he opened his eyes he realized that he had indeed fallen asleep inside the fairy fountain. As he stood he also he realized that he felt completely fine, in fact better than he had in years.
He touched his face where the swelling and broken cheekbone had once been and he had nothing. He could trace a horizontal scar on top of his cheek bone, but other than that he was as good as new. The fairies had done their work, his breathing was back to normal as his rib cage had healed.
“Ahhh! And so Link the Hero of Sleep comes back to the real world!” Aryl’s tiny voice boomed across the fountain.
“Oh I have never slept so well in my life.”
“I believe it, you slept for more than half a day, it is midnight already.” Aryl replied.
“Yes, my Saria is probably worried to death at this point.”
“You are right let me dress up and we will get going.” Link replied.
After dressing up, they immediately left the cave and headed for Kokiri Village. It was snowing again but it was falling lightly this time. Also with Link completely healed the traversal felt like a pleasant stroll in comparison to their journey the night before.
As they approached Kokiri Village Link began to appreciate the niceties of the Deku Sprout’s growing power. It was snowing and the ground and the trees were covered in a blanket of pure white snow, and yet there was green grass and every tree was full of green leaves. It was a surreal scenery, the magic of winter and the liveliness of Summer and Spring all in one place. Even the fireflies were up to their usual mischief. The Deku Sprout’s magic kept everything in the Kokiri Forest alive and thriving.
‘Malon would love this’ Link thought, perhaps he would bring her to the Forest before the winter ends. She is of age now, so perhaps her father wouldn’t oppose for her to leave the Ranch for a field trip to the Forest.
Kokiri Village remained very much a safe heaven from most of Hyrule’s perils. Link could see the lit interiors of the tree houses, the children were probably all tucked in. As Link approached his tree house, he raised an eyebrow surprised at the fact that it was also lit. He figured as he climbed the ladder that lead to the Tree’s balcony that Saria would be waiting for him and her Fairy.
He was right upon sliding through the thick, heavy woolen curtains that covered his doorway Saria was sitting around a small warming fire.
Saria’s blue eyes glowed in relief at seeing him safe and sound.
“Thank the spirits, I was so worried.” Saria exclaimed.
Link smiled. Saria had the most beautiful face he had ever laid his eyes upon. Zelda was stunning but Saria had an other worldly face. The origin of the Kokiri wasn’t fully known, it was generally accepted that they were the children of the Great Deku Tree. None of the children ever questioned their origin, in fact when Link showed up as a baby nothing was ever questioned, he was treated like the odd duck simply because he didn’t have a fairy. Yet looking at Saria’s perfect facial features Link was convinced that magic was behind the creation of the Children.
Saria had no flaws, no skin blemishes however minor, her unique green hair was the color of evergreen Forest leaves. Saria perhaps was just special. In a way she embodied the spirit of the forest. Saria seemed to know things before or as they happened. While the Kokiri children all looked and acted like 10 year old runts, Saria was different.
Saria looked a little bit older, and she was as wise and perhaps even as sad as Zelda. Ever since Link first left the Forest seven years ago, her once carefree smile disappeared.
“And with good reason! Link almost got himself killed!” Aryl jumped into Saria’s shoulder.
She gave Link a distressed look, Link slumped his shoulders and sighed.
“I am sorry this was the last time. I promise.” Link said as he sat down on his bed.
Saria sat beside him and took his hand in between hers,
“Don’t make a promise you can’t keep.”
“ But I mean it, I am staying here for a while.”
“I…well I’ll tell you later, you should rest…we should all rest.” Saria said as pushed Link’s head back so he could rest on his pillow.
It took Link by surprise when she simply slid beside him and rested her head next to his.
“Link…at some point in your life you will have to let go of all of your regrets and the anger.” Saria’s words also caught him unawares.
‘How does she know? About my regrets and bitterness? Is it that easy to see?’ When his life had flashed before his eyes at the hands of that Moblin, he had realized that very same harsh truth, that his life had turned into a sad, unfulfilling mess. Then again Saria had a tendency of simply knowing things, which only increased Link’s admiration of her.
In the future time line she had gone into the Forest Temple knowing she was going to die, yet that didn’t stop her from trying to save the Forest and dying as a result. Link felt an urge to play with her hair but felt guilt about it. Saria just kept her gaze fixed on the ceiling. Link wondered if she also knew about his feelings.
“Why are you telling me this?”
“Because I raised you, because as you grew I learned everything about you, because you came back a changed boy from the Castle. Because you rarely smile.”
Saria was right. Link was always preoccupied with Zelda and Saria’s lack of smiles but he himself had turned into a bitter, and depressed lone wolf.
“I guess I miss the little boy I loved when he looked as old as me, the cursed boy with out a fairy, but to me the most special out of all the Kokiri Children.” There was a melancholic tone to her voice as she continued, “You were dear to me because I knew you would leave.”
“I am here now Saria.”
“Before this winter ends, you will leave the forest. You don’t belong here.” Saria said turning her sad gaze towards him.
“Did you see this in your visions?” Link asked knowing the answer to his question. Saria had a gift of catching glimpses of future events, and in truth Link didn’t belong with the Kokiri as much as it pained him to admit. He wasn’t immortal, and at times he had seen Saria distance herself from him in what were in all likelihood attempts at getting used to Link’s eventual absence.
Saria existed long before Link was born and she would remain long after he was gone from the living.
“A Shadow approaches Hyrule, and there will be need of your sword before it ends.” A tear ran down Saria’s cheek, “Dark days are upon us, and I fear for your spirit Link.”
“I am sorry Saria.” Link whispered gently wiping the tear of her cheek. He had no clear idea of why he felt sorry, but he just did. He didn’t know how to comfort her, he loved her but perhaps not like she deserved, not the way she loved him. ‘But how does she love me?’ Link wasn’t sure, ‘Like a mother? She raised me. Like a big sister? We played and grew together…or at least I did. Like a lover? I fell in love with her from the moment I knew I could fall in love, she is beautiful, but then I outgrew her and…and …I can’t love her like that anymore.’ Link’s thoughts were filled with a heavy sense of guilt, the last thing he wanted was to break her loving heart.
“Don’t be sorry. All you did was bring joy into my seemly eternal yet once empty life.” Saria said as she caressed Link’s face with her hand, “When the storm blows over, you should leave for the ranch…And we shall never meet again.”