Webmistress' Note: This wonderful fanfic written by my good friend Megan is told from Kylara's PoV; a character from mine and Kirsty's Zelda fanfiction series :) It sheds some light on the poor girl's feelings and why she reacted how she did to Link's rejection back in Amulet of Nagul.
There was something about the darkness that evening, something pure and in itself almost like magic. She had escaped the dancing, carousing, merrymaking, all in his pursuit. She was a stranger in the grand halls of the ornate castle to all but he, and someplace in her wistful heart there stirred a vague hope as delicate as a faerie's wing. Perhaps, after all these unrewarding and lonesome years, they would realize that they loved and were intended for one another, as fate had long since declared.
Hers was a shape slightly darker in color than the shadows themselves as she slipped away from the towering structure of North Castle and into the gloom. Autumn had come with unusual fervor that year, and Hyrule was best known for its frosty weather after the dying of the sun; her reception into the outside world was an icy one. She shivered slightly, wishing she had not left her cloak in the sumptuous guest bedroom, and wrapped her arms about her thin torso. He had come this way, she was quite certain, and if she was fast, she would be able to intercept him before he could slip back to his birthday party.
It's been years, love. So many years without you, her meditations whispered as the lush, dew-beaded grass whispered under each of her hurried steps. Her breath was as the mist itself, the fog that shrouded her bared, creamy ankles as she pressed on, determination set in her jewel-hued eyes. She no longer felt the cool night air, for her blood was warm with thoughts of deep affection for the young hero. To know somewhere in the back of her mind that he lay in the arms of another sickened and disgusted Kylara; did he not know what destiny asked of them, desired?
Her gait then grew rapid, and her lungs and throat simmered from taking in such shallow huffs of the intemperate air. How could you, Link? Fancy someone like Zelda over me, the one that you're supposed to be with
In the dreariness, her fingernails bit into her soft palms, and the fine bones in her jaw tightened as her cerulean irises sparked with ire. I won't let this be! Our land won't be cheated of a savior!
She would make him love her. There was no other way.
A fair gaze glanced away from the mirror and to the damp world outside; the rain had been falling steadily for the past several hours now. A rose that had been but barely touched with the blossom of womanhood, she sat in front of the cracked and slightly warped looking glass, trying to determine how best to control the beast of her wayward, chocolate locks.
Surely, the inclement conditions would spoil any ideas of making the party an outdoor celebration. Impatient digits sought a stray vine of chestnut that had departed from the bun she was piling on her crown and wove it back in, her free hand seeking the flower she had taken from the saturated garden sometime that dreary morning. Verdant as the summer leaves, the gown she had chosen for herself to wear that day caught the sickly light and shone like a polished emerald. Perhaps maybe today he'll notice me…
At last, she discovered the wildflower in the corner of the nicked and scarred table that sat before her makeshift vanity; the weals and gouges grinned with a skull's insistence as she looked down at them, gently running a finger over the deeper ones. There was hardly anything nice to be had in her home, for her family could hardly afford to keep food on the table sometimes and more than once had the nagging snarl of hunger arrested her from a sound slumber.
Her vision wandered the walls, the multitude of cracks that traversed them, and as she shifted on her seat, the weak wooden floorboards beneath her sang of negligence. Her fingers gently cupped the flower, and she held it up, scrutinizing the scarlet petals, the carmine of fresh blood. Soft as velvet, fragile as glass. She reached up once more, her insides tingling with excited anticipation.
Even if the weather is crummy, I get to see him again! The mere thought of him was her joy, and on the moonless nights when her misery was at its finest, the thought of him was her sustaining grace. As the wildflower was worked into her tresses, Kylara reached an absent hand down to where she had laid his gift under her chair. It had taken many hours and many small stab wounds from the needle she had to carefully wield in the poor illumination of a stubby candle, but she had finally completed her hard work. The fabric was soft between her fingers as she rubbed a section of cloth between a thumb and forefinger; she had purchased with her own rupees the material from the cloth merchant that passed through every so often. Her sewing left much to be desired; loose threads and places where the threads had not been properly joined riddled the piece, but she had labored each night until her eyes had stung, filled with tears of sheer exhaustion.
"Kylara! Come to the kitchen, someone wishes to speak to you!" The shout from the other chamber surprised the young woman so that the present slipped from her grasp and down to the dust-mantled floorboards, and in her haste, she nearly tripped over the hemline of her garb.
"Coming, Mother!" She hastily folded what she had taken up, then fairly stumbled from her room into the kitchen, alive with the sounds of flame popping in the family's meager hearth.
Mother must have been having one of her more lucid moments… The ill light showed the grime that had plastered itself to walls once the color of an eggshell and the stench of herbs always set her nose into a wrinkle.
At the sound of her daughter's footfall, an emaciated body straightened up from the glow of the fireplace, the shadowed hollows in the thin visage sparkling with a fervor that bordered on true and complete madness. The shine played across her mother's haggard features like demon children at play, showing the youth just how much the illness had drained from her formerly sprightly form. Turning away with a stab of frozen fear running across her breast, Kylara turned her attentions to the visitor, stooped and clothed in a tattered traveling cloak that appeared soaked with the day's precipitation, a tenebrous walking stick clutched in hands as knobby as ancient tree roots, and likely just as aged.
"Good afternoon, Kylara," a wizened tone broke the silence, and the young woman's lips became a grin of pure joy. Had it not appeared as though an embrace might topple the elderly man to the ground, she most certainly might have given him one, such was her enlivened humor that day.
"Arcesius!" Kylara's sapphire-eyed greeting was alive with excitement; it was not often that the village elder paid the likes of her small family a call. The old man actually lived several miles away in a different town, and so the walk for him had to have been quite the trek. However, he gladly served as elder to both villages, having been born in her own, then having grown up in the one he resided in.
"What brings you here? Is there something I can get for you, anything to eat or drink?" She made the offer knowing that their larder was more likely to be the dwelling place for spiders and cobwebs now, not a storage area for foodstuff.
The old man shook his head slightly, his hold growing firmer upon his walking stick. "No, child, I didn't come here to impose. I have some news to share with you, and it has been a long time since I have come to see to the welfare of you and your mother." So saying, the elder's twisted fingers raised to brush away the cloak's hood from his face, and his white beard caught the flame's copper highlights. The sky-hued eyes were bright as a youth's, and sparkled with alertness.
Placing a hand that shivered with age on the young creature's arm, the village wise-man pulled her close, lowering his timbre in confidence. "How fares your mother, girl? Do her fits grow worse, or has she said anything anymore unsettling than the norm? And your father, how are his travels to find a healer that can help your mother?"
Kylara's gaze sought a dark knot in the floorboard under her sturdy boots, and she sensed a flush of shame creep like a vile infection into her cheeks. The elder noticed this, and murmured softly, "It's nothing to be ashamed of, Kylara. Your mother's fever was the cause. Don't fret, the village healers find stronger remedies every day that may sometime help her condition."
"I-I know, but no, she hasn't said anything alarming lately, nothing at all. I haven't seen Father in a few months, although we just got a letter from him saying he's coming home soon," insisted the disturbed young woman, feeling the first of her tears well in her pale eyes. She had sobbed many an unpleasant evening into the muffling comfort of her pillow, wishing to the goddesses that the rest of her family remained on in the village to aid her with her mother's infirmary.
Arcesius wordlessly watched the glimmer in her eyelids begin to grow, and was fast to change the subject to something along more palatable lines; there was no sense in reminding the youngling of her hardships.
"Are you prepared for Link's party today then, child? I hear he's to be having it inside because of this dratted rain. Don't forget a cloak, the air is getting to be nippy indeed." Kylara sniffed back what water that threatened to spill down her wan cheeks like waterfalls and managed a weak smile.
"I suppose so, elder. I made him something this year, and I stayed up for two weeks all night to make it. Oh, I hope he likes it," she commenced to fret, and the aged man gave her skeletal shoulder a grandfatherly squeeze.
"I'm quite sure he will. Link isn't the sort that takes hard work for granted," the beard parted slightly to reveal the grin it concealed, and Kylara's own smile waxed to show her improving humor.
"But before you go off and have your fun at the party, there's something I should share with you, Kylara. Something very important that has regards to your future as a young lady. Now that you're no longer a little girl, it's time I shared this information with you." A note of serious weight had asserted itself to supplant the merriment in Arcesius's words, and Kylara's smile faded into an expression of inquisitive puzzlement.
"What is it? Is there something wrong?" she started worriedly, and the old man's wheezing laughter broke above the snapping of the fire. "Heavens, no, child," he coughed harshly, and waited a moment to gather a breath in.
"As a matter of fact, why don't you gather young Link's gift so we can walk to his home? I have to greet his mother and father and give them my regards. Other children will be there as well, so you shouldn't be wanting for company. Haylee's eager to see you, she told me all about the fun she has planned for the pair of you." Haylee, Link's sibling, was a dear friend of Kylara's, and was aware of her childish liking of her brother, which she often teased Kylara over when he was out of earshot. It was true that she had a deep liking for the boy; he was always so kind and generous to those around him.
"All right, I'll be right back!" Arcesius looked after the girl's disappearing, nimble form with a smirk on his weathered countenance. The boundless energy of youth, he pondered wryly, and seconds later Kylara returned, carrying what appeared to be a bundle of crudely stitched cloth in her arms, her powder-blue traveling cloak thrown carelessly over her shoulders.
Opening the door to the hovel where mother and child lived, Arcesius prepared to step out when he felt a slight tug at one of his sleeves. Glancing back, he saw that Kylara had paused, her brows crocheted into a portrait of concern.
"What about Mother? I can't leave her all alone; last time she nearly set our home on fire when she tried to make dinner," muttered the worried child, and Arcesius could feel admiration for the girl's sense of responsibility bubble within him. So young, and with an adult's heartache and conscientiousness to contend with.
"I'll ask your neighbor Lara to come and keep her company until you come back," the village elder assured, and again there was a radiant smile on Kylara's visage, as though the sun had broken through the clouds of misery that had before obscured it. The two walked out together then, into the rain, and as Kylara turned to shut the front door after their departure, she felt her core sink as her mother's loud, unchecked laughter burst wildly forth from her addled mind. Again, the beauteous optimism was gone from the youthful features, and a stone settled to fill the pit of her stomach, taking the place of what should have been her first meal of a new day.
"You'll never amount to anything, you stupid girl!" came the insane scream, and her small heart turned into a block of ice. Cries like that from her mother were sadly not uncommon.
Never could she have a minute without the terrible reminder of her burdens.
Do you remember that party, Link? How happy we all were? We can be happy like that again if only you would give our destiny a chance…
She was down the shadowed path now, moonlight and black playing games as she came, and ahead she caught faintly the sigh of disturbed leaves and broken branches. He couldn't be too far off now, and her center's pulse grew rapid and shallow, making her feel slightly light-headed. A soft wind started to blow, murmuring of an ominous fate in the treetops above, kissing her dark hair and blowing the vines of it haphazardly about an appearance clouded in determination. There was no room for failure; the option could not haze her mind or cause her to doubt. She was in a near-run now, and the cold air caused her throat to ache and her vision to flicker like a guttering candle. There was no stopping now, no hesitation. This had to be carried out, and destiny needed to have its say.
Just give fate, give me, a chance, it's all I ask!
"What do you need to tell me about being a young lady, Arcesius?" The oppressive, cool raindrops spattered their cloaks as they walked, side by side, to the tiny house where Link's family lived, and the old man smiled faintly, so much so that the girl at his side could hardly discern it from the hair of his hoary facial hair.
"It's about marriage, Kylara. You know well the history of the Kokiri people, don't you?" Shoving tangled strings of hair from her eyes, the youth nodded; she recalled well the tales her mother had told her about their proud heritage before illness had wiped her recollection free of any of sanity's traces.
"Well, my girl, the time has come to tell you who your husband is to be the day the two of you come of age. It's very important that you understand exactly what I'm trying to tell you; this is a tradition that must not, under any circumstances, be broken. Do you understand? The bloodline must continue purely. Your child will be the one to save what's left of your tribe."
The pair paused momentarily as the wetness fell about them, dripping from cloak hoods, past eyes, to the puddles that rippled beneath still feet. The elder's hands went about the girl's shoulders, pressing through fabric into soft, yielding flesh. There was an intensity to his gaze that made Kylara's skin crawl as though with tiny insects, and she shuddered.
"Yes, I understand. Who is to be my husband, then?" The hands loosened their grip, and the hunched form started off, splashing through the rainwater that had collected in the dirt path, turning it to mud under their boots. Kylara rushed after him, feeling a stinging sense of impatience; why was he withholding information from her?
"Arcesius, please tell me! It's important that I know!" Again, he halted, so quickly that Kylara nearly bumped into him and fell back onto the wet earth behind her.
"Your husband, dear girl, is to be the most important of all. It's none other than Link himself." These words were spoken softly, but with enough gravity to send the young girl's head spinning with the vertigo of elation.
"I'm…I'm to be Link's wife?" Her voice was captured in the net of the statement, and Arcesius faced her, a stern warning shimmering in his look.
"Yes, Kylara. But, you aren't to be running about shouting the news from the rooftops; I have yet to tell Link and his family the news. They have other concerns to think about at the moment. There's news that the raiders are poised to make another strike at the villages nearby, including this one, and Arn is to go with the local forces into battle should such a thing happen. It has Medilla quite worried, and she has enough to do with looking after her children. So it's imperative you wait until they hear of the news."
"All right, I won't say anything," promised a now pouting Kylara, tucking her cloak more firmly about herself so that Link's gift did not get soaked.
They were approaching Link's home now, and Kylara took a deep breath in, feeling the nervous butterflies brush her stomach with feathery wingtips. Arcesius brushed in front of her unsettled figure, coming forth to tap at the front door with his cane, and a there were children's shouts from inside, as well as a pair of hurried steps. Link's mother, Medilla, brushed aside her younger children as she opened the door a crack and peered out with the eyes that her eldest son had inherited.
"Arcesius, what a surprise! You came all this way for Link's birthday, have you? How's your wife doing?" Her attentions turned to the figure slightly hidden by the elderly wise-man, and a slight smile displayed itself on her full, pink lips.
"Kylara. How nice, you came too. Link's inside with some of the other children, if you have something for him, you'll find him with Haylee and Hayden in the other room. Well," Medilla laughed in her soft, mellifluous tone, "what am I doing, keeping you both out here in this? Come in, come in!" She moved aside, allowing the two in, and in their passing took their dripping cloaks and hung them with the other guests' by the front door. Warmth enveloped the grateful girl chasing away her chill, and she looked about, trying to see where Link could have gone off to.
She turned back briefly to admire Medilla's tall figure as she walked inside. She seemed the perfect wife and mother to her brood, her locks such a dark brown they were hard to separate from the tint of a raven's wing. Her expressions were all good humor and laughter, no signs of the middle age she had to be. All the village women aspired to be more like her, and the village men were heard to curse Arn for his fortunate wedding to such a wonderful woman. Arn himself was a worker unmatched, providing all for his family, and as Kylara looked about she realized he was nowhere to be seen, probably off again, hard in his labors.
A screech of effervescent welcome jarred the girl from her thoughts as she was nearly barreled over by her best friend, the sandy-haired Haylee, who acted as though she had not seen Kylara for years.
"Kylara! Oh, I have a lot to tell you. See, Link got the bow for his birthday that he's been wanting all year, Papa made it for him and he's disappointed because he can't use it today, but he said he's going to tomorrow and…What's that?" Haylee interrupted her own chatter mid-stream to pick at a corner of the bundle Kylara had in tow. Hot blood rushed up into her features the second time that afternoon, and she stammered out, "It's, um, it's for Link, Haylee. I wanted to, uh, make him something for his birthday."
Link's younger sibling arched a brow, picking at a thread that had worked itself loose. "You made this?" she asked, and Kylara could barely nod her affirmation.
"That's so cute!" came the squeal, and Kylara winced, wishing to draw attention away from her present.
"It's nothing important, Haylee. Just, I just wanted to give it to him, and then we can go talk to the other girls. Okay?" Haylee, her eyes bright with pleasure, nodded.
"Okay, I'll go give it to him!" Before Kylara could protest, she had been relieved of her bundle, and she followed her energetic friend into a back room, where a cluster of the village boys had gathered. At the arrival of the girls, though, all conversation came to a cease, and pairs of suspicious eyes looked over the newcomers.
"Oh, it's just Haylee, and…Kylara," someone close to them murmured in slight disgust, and a new note of dislike flavored her name, making her grow warm with shame. She knew that some of the adults in the village wanted their children to avoid her at all costs because of her mother's condition. Because of this, some of the village children had taken to calling her ugly names and treating her as though she too was mad, as though the sickness was communicable.
"Link!" Haylee's light and chipper cry broke over the discontent mumblings the other boys had set up, "Kylara brought you a present!" There were low whistles and some teasing aimed toward the birthday boy for this, and a blushing Link picked his way from the front of the room toward the back where the girls awaited.
"Um, thanks, Kylara." He accepted the cloth bundle from his sister, and with a slight frown twisting his mouth, allowed the material to unfurl.
"I, I hope you like it," a furiously red Kylara managed to squeak, hardly above a whisper. " I made it. It's, it's supposed to be a cloak."
"It's…very nice. Thanks," Link turned back to the other boys, folding the cloak she had made him as he went. Disappointment was a visible weight on Kylara's shoulders as Haylee tugged her off into her room, chattering about inane things all the while that her best friend paid scarce heed to.
Why didn't he say he loved it? I worked so hard! How am I ever to make a good wife someday if I just disappoint him?
Her visage molded in shock, Kylara looked up to where Haylee was peering with some fretting into her friend's shaded eyes. "Are you okay, Kylara?"
"Yes, I'm fine, it's okay." In reality she could hardly keep at bay the frustrated and disappointed tears that wanted to have sway in her mood, and she rubbed at her eyelids with her knuckles.
"Did you hear what I said about Bobby?" Haylee's tone was mildly impatient, and Kylara shook her head in response, chocolate hair swinging. Robert, or Bobby as he was better known among the village, was an ambitious boy that one day hoped to be a soldier with the Catalian army. He was a kind soul, but did not have the sense of humor that the object of Kylara's affections did, and so she hardly gave him the time of day.
"Bobby says he wants to walk you home after the party's over. I think he really wants to be your friend, Kylara. Kylara?"
The dark haired child nodded, looking to where she had folded her hands in her lap, her knuckles turning slightly white around the edges.
I tried so hard. How could he treat me as though I am nothing? Ferocity came into the blue stare, and the fingers tightened their grip on her green skirts. She remembered her mother's shout as she left the house, and her blood seethed.
I am something! I'll marry Link and become something, I must!
The afternoon dragged on, and Kylara's thoughts continued to churn at a fever pitch. The sun set, and as the rain abated and the clouds continued on in their quest, the first stars shimmered coolly down on the land of Catalia. The party too, wore on, and cake was served, gifts presented. After a time Medilla asked Link to bid farewell to his guests, and as they made their way out the door with final birthday wishes, Kylara situated herself near the back, so that she and Link could be relatively alone when she said her good-bye.
Finally, the time came, and Link stood by the door, a pleasant weariness in his face; the day had been a hectic but nice one for him. Shyly, Kylara approached, trying to push aside in her thoughts the incident of earlier.
"Good-bye, Link. I hope you had a good birthday," she raised her head from her toes to look directly into his eyes, her heart beating like a kettle-drum and her mouth as dry as a desert.
"Bye, Kylara. Thanks for coming. I liked your, um, cloak," came the reply, and toward the end of it, his voice took on an odd note, as though he did not know what to say. For a second, there was an uncomfortable stretch of unspoken tension between the two, and then, her daring making her cheeks all the more crimson, Kylara reached forward, and wrapped her arms about him in a tight hug.
"Hey, what…?" Link began in surprise, and stiffened, taken aback. From behind the two there was a harmonized giggle, and Link glowered over Kylara's shoulder to see that Haylee and Hayden were peering from the doorway to the other room, features painted in mocking glee.
"Link's got germs, he hugged a GIRL!" wailed Hayden, and Haylee's lips split in an almost lurid grin.
"Um, okay Kylara, hope to see you again soon," Link carefully disengaged himself from the hug as politely as possible, and showed her the door. Arcesius was waiting in the dim night for her, and took her hand as Kylara came out. Silently, old man and young girl walked toward home, and her pondering was preoccupied. Gradually, as they went, a short spurt of rain started to fall again, and in each drop, she swore she could see his face.
Even back when I was a little girl Link, with a childish crush on you, you treated me as though I was unimportant, an irate Kylara rubbed her arms vigorously to ward away the insistent chill, her eyes swallowed by shadow as she peered into the ebony, trying to view which way he had gone. He had vanished from her sight several minutes before, and she was beginning to lose her patience. The evening was too inclement to remain out for long, and with a sigh, she turned back toward the looming figure of the castle, feeling pity for herself as well as for the entire Kokiri tribe. Now they would never have the savior that was promised them, and Catalia itself was destined to fall.
She thought, as she hurried through the darkness, that she saw a small well, and feeling a slight thirst, decided it would be best to wait there for him. In the shelter of the castle, the wind would not be so harsh, and maybe she could rest a little. Shuddering, she came upon the well and seated herself at its edge, feeling her pulse quicken.
Tonight was surely the proper night.
That embrace was to be their last. Time passed, and her mother's condition grew only worse, something that even the return of Kylara's father could not abate. News of a raid grew all the more intense, until one evening about a year later, the attack occurred. Kylara recalled it with a quiver each time she was alone, the burning homes, the slaughtered and bloody bodies of her kin and friends. She and her family had managed to escape to the caves and hideaways in the more rocky regions, as did many of those that made it past the bloodshed; she did not see Link again and feared him dead.
For years, many dared not leave the safety and security of their hiding places, and it was there in illness and strife that her parents perished, her father holding her raving mother to the last. She wandered, heartbroken and solitary, until she happened across the ruins of her former town, and it was there to her astonished joy that she again met Arcesius, someone else she had originally supposed deceased. He led her to his town, and it was there that she set up a home of her own, and at once felt somewhat welcomed.
When Link was brought to the elder's home, Kylara remembered the years-old promise, and in the darkness of her soul, there was at last a flickering light of hope.
Destiny, it seemed, had proven kind.
Warm, so warm, and his clothing, for some odd reason, was damp. Again, she was faintly reminded of that night when they had been children, and her liking of him had only increased since then. His lips, so soft, seemed made for hers, and she was disappointed when his voice broke out, sharp, panicked, worried.
"Don't!" She drew back, looking to him with melancholy in her azure stare.
How could you deny me for someone so superficial as a princess? I'm the woman that the goddesses have promised to you…
Sharp anger, the same that had filled her that evening so long ago, asserted itself, and she flashed out at him with it, intent on getting her point across.
"…You're too blinded by your beautiful princess to ever look at a lowly village girl like myself. I thought they were wrong, that you were still like the boy I used to know. Obviously not." She sensed a faint streak of emotional pain lance across his handsome features at this, and felt a strange sense of victory. In her hand was his dagger, a beautiful object that was crafted too finely to have been made by human hands, its jewels sparkling in the moonlight. She could hardly hear his reply, but knew its tone to be unkind. She had no place in Hyrule? It made her want to laugh, the same sharp and glee- less shriek that her mother had in her childhood.
If only you knew what a spiteful, selfish creature your darling princess is under the beautiful and royal façade! He didn't want to believe, didn't want her, not their fate, nothing. There was but one option left to her. She could see by the expression of shock on his face that he knew she had his dagger, and she showed it to him, daring him to snatch it back from her.
"This is all your fault!" Her enraged cry caught on the softly whispering wind, and somehow, her senses grew sharper. Rain was coming, she could smell it. Beautiful, cleansing rain. Like tears shed by the gods, weeping for a loss.
"Kylara, no!" It entered, piercing and red-hot, into her breast, and the world about her seemed to shift and blur. There was nothing now but the two of them, and she no longer felt the chill that had previously tormented her. She was a little girl again, red petals in her hair from the wildflower, scarlet in the blackness, and she was falling, tumbling, into his arms, even as the petals blurred and ran, bloodlike, down her chest.
Her mind was dimming, but in her last, he was there, holding her. She could feel his horrification, and a faint smile graced her as death consumed her, pulled her, invited her to be its forever paramour.
Good-bye, Link. I hope you had a good birthday…
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