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Old 12-26-2011, 12:08 PM
Antigone Antigone is a female United States Antigone is offline
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Who By Fire [Skyward Sword AU]

A/N: This is an AU, exploring the idea of Zelda being captured in the Earth Temple by Ghirahim, instead of escaping with Impa. I wanted to see how different Skyward Sword would be, if it were to unfold this way, instead of the way we know. Enjoy.



Who By Fire - Chapter One (Prison)

______________________________________

"Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage." – Unknown
______________________________________

They sit upon one of the many islands surrounding Skyloft, in the middle of a breezy, warm afternoon. Zelda watches her Loftwing sway and dart across the sky, followed soon after by a streak of brilliant red, Link's bird trailing behind.

A crown of flowers rests atop her head, their color bringing warmth to her skin.

Link is too busy admiring her to observe the birds, nor pay heed to whatever she points to.

"Don't you think that one looks like a Rimlet, Link? See the ears, the fluffy tail?"

Link draws his eyes away long enough to observe it. He nods.

Zelda hits his arm, frowning. "You didn't even look at it! It was so cute, too."

The boy grins, as if being reprimanded by a withered old lady. Zelda turns away to gaze at the clouds once more, unsatisfied. Link stares at the color of her golden hair in the sunlight.

Their Loftwings call in the distance. The wind sings in his ears.

"Link?"

He looks to her, his longtime friend and confidant, sitting so near he can see every fleck of color in her rainwater eyes. They gaze at him in a solemn, serious way he's unused to.

"Zelda?" He says, quietly.

Her lips part to speak, forming words he cannot hear. The wind sweeps them away.


Link wakes up. He looks for Zelda, wanting to ask what she had said, but he's greeted by a silent night sky. He lies beneath a tree in the Deep Woods, a pile of long-cold ashes nearby. The foreign air burns his lungs with each breath.

He's not in Skyloft, surrounded by clouds and endless blue. Looming over him are old trees twisted with time. The soil beneath his hands feels solid, confined, caged to the big, wide earth called The Surface.

Link closes his eyes, lowering his sandy blond head.

She comes to him then, glowing with magic, a fey blue light. Fi hovers beside him, feet barely touching the grass, unmoving blue face near his own.

"Master Link," she says, her voice not quite there, "It will be dawn in approximately three hours and forty-five minutes. It's imperative you get a minimum of eight hours' rest . Zelda is counting on you, Master Link."

His entire body is heavy, but Link finds the strength to nod. He looks into her peerless eyes. Fi tilts her head.

"Will I have that dream again?"

She's silent. For all her kindness, Link knows Fi isn't human, but she's something, at least, to keep him company.

"I do not have adequate information to answer your question. My apologies, Master Link. However, I wish you….pleasant dreams, nonetheless. Please rest now. I'll be here when you wake."

She disappears back into the sword at his side.

He's alone, again.

______________________________________

There's a feeling that this isn't right, that things aren't happening like they should, but Zelda does not know why.

The memories are like butterfly-smoke, whispering against the back of her eyelids. They fade in and out of focus at random. She can see familiar faces, others she doesn't recognize. They smear together like a botched oil painting on the canvas of her mind.

Zelda thinks she's going insane.

I'm not supposed to be here, not now, she thinks, sitting on the floor of her bedroom, bare floor cold against her naked skin. She's wet and dripping from a bath, but has no desire to dress. Something tells her that she's meant to be somewhere, sometime different, but doesn't know why, or even how.

Does it matter?

She closes her eyes and breathes in. An image comes to life, a barren place of sand, and a great, looming sculpture of three triangles. These triangles have some important, mysterious meaning. She knows it, because it feels familiar, like she'd been there before in a past life.

If these aren't the images she sees, her dreams are full of nightmares.

Each night, she relives being captured, over and over again. She had been dragged deep within the dredges of the Earth Temple by monsters, and chained there, the smoke filling her lungs. The old woman had warned her of this, of a man named Ghirahim taking her away, but for what purpose she was unaware.

He took her away without warning or reprieve, placing her in his castle like a pretty, caged bird with clipped wings. Zelda counts the days in misery and anxiety; she's been here for two weeks.

She has to relive seeing his face again each night, and when she wakes, Zelda finds Ghirahim has followed her out of her nightmares.

Zelda folds herself into the smallest ball she can, teeth digging into the skin of her knees.

The sunlight shining through her window forms prison-bar shadows across her body.

Although Zelda is imprisoned, she's been given freedom to roam the halls of this giant, empty castle.

Not even his pig-like minions preside in this palace, full of rich fabrics and fine furniture. Each room she enters is lavish, fit for any king. Flames erupt in fireplaces without aid, nor wood to fuel them. Though it's the middle of summer, Zelda shivers in her gown, alone in these great, wide halls of stone.

"What's the purpose of such a huge castle, with no one to fill it?"

Her voice echoes.

Zelda stops before a window, sunlight a weak, gray streak across the floor. Spring clouds amass overhead, strange blues and purples stirring within their depths. The first droplets of rain pepper the glass before her. Her blue eyes follow one solitary drop as it descends down, farther still, before being swallowed up by more rain.

When she reaches out to touch her fingertips to the glass, it warps, bending around her hand, as if made from something flexible and soft. No matter how far she stretches her fingers, the glass does not break.

"No use in attempting an escape this way," she mutters, letting her hand drop.

She wraps her arms around herself, sinking to the floor, forehead resting against the stone wall. She thinks of her Loftwing, the smell of grass and spring air. Clouds. Her favorite book, the lullaby her father sang to her as an infant.

She thinks of these things to fill the void of this castle, without a single living thing inside it.

______________________________________

No matter how many times she asks, the old woman will not reveal her name.

Zelda sits in the grass, peering up through cracks in the sealing. This temple is old, withered like the woman who guards it, with a strange smile and frail little hands. She is nameless, so Zelda calls her grandmother.

The old woman stands before her, all but a few feet high. Her back is hunched, and what little of her face visible beneath her long, flowing hood is wrinkled with age.

"Zelda, I must tell you once more: Avoid capture at any and all costs. Everything, past and future, will be lost if you are."

Zelda nods, long golden hair falling over her shoulder. She pulls at the flowing sleeves of her gown, as if she's done it many times before, though she's never worn it until today. It's familiar in an old, mysterious way, the smell of it, the cut and color.

It feels like a mantle weighing her down.

She stands, breathing in the mossy air. Zelda makes her smile as cheery as she can, and follows the old woman to the great stone doors. They creak and rattle when pushed open, sunlight washing into the ruins of the old, withered temple.

Zelda has never seen grass so green, or flowers so fresh and colorful. Faron Woods looms up before her.

The old woman takes her hand, skinny fingers curling around the palm. Her voice is very, very soft.

"Don't be fooled, girl. This path is a dark and twisted one. Go to the temple to purify yourself. You have my prayers, and my thoughts. May the Goddess watch over you, Zelda . "


______________________________________

"Eat, girl. My patience for this ordeal is quickly fading."

Ghirahim sits, rather, drapes himself in the chair across from her, platters and bowls of food spread out in a dizzying arrangement before them. The table is at least three times her height, and wide enough, if she wished, to lay upon.

Though she's starved enough to eat every morsel, Zelda touches not a single thing.

His white lips curl into a snarl, a triangle of pointed teeth leering at her from beneath his lips. The color of his hair mimics the moon outside, one side cut in a harsh, blunt line across his jaw. The other side is cut shorter, fine strands pushed behind his one pointed ear. A blue earring dangles entrancingly from it. She dares not ask why his other ear doesn't match, hidden in his hair.

Ghirahim speaks to her as if addressing a very slow, dull-witted child.

"Starving yourself will not save him. As is, the boy is in no danger, at least not by my hands. It appears he's managed to kill my pet, Scaldera. What an annoying little rat he is."

Zelda smiles inside, where he can't see it.

Ghirahim drums his fingers against the table. She watches the movement as to avoid his eyes, night-dark orbs outlined in deep purple, like terrible holes in his head.

Then he's right behind her, faster than she can breathe, hands curling around her shoulders. His grip is like iron and just as cold. His breath stirs fine hairs against her nape.

"Eat. Now. Would you rather me tie you up and spoon feed you? I will, if it means you get something down that nasty, human mouth. I won't have you becoming sick, not at all. You're more useful to me healthy."

Zelda reaches up to shove his hands away, but he's back at the other end of the table before she can. He laughs, though there's no mirth in it.

"Why don't you eat, Ghirahim?"

He scowls at her as if she's insulted him. "I can, but I don't need to. What an unfortunate quality of you humans, to have to consume in order to live. It's a nasty habit, really. How dare you even ask."

Zelda breathes in the scent of cooked meats and fine pastries, foods she's never seen nor tasted, exotic and colorful. Her stomach clenches, growling. He looks at her expectantly, grinning wide. Her fingers shaking, Zelda plucks a slice of meat from a nearby platter, shoving it into her mouth and swallowing.

"Your manners are terrible, but given the circumstances, I suppose I can forgive them," Ghirahim says with disgust, eyeing her up and down.

Zelda pretends he isn't there, that she's here alone with this feast, piling more food onto her plate. Not wondering what it is, or how it will taste, because she's too hungry to care. He watches her finish plate after plate in silence.

When it feels as though she'll burst, Zelda pushes the last plate away with a sigh. Ghirahim practically bounces in his chair.

"That wasn't so hard, was it? I pity you, just a little, living in the sky with a select number of foods to eat. Here, you can have whatever you wish. You need simply ask, my darling little bird."

He tries to sound sincere, yet Zelda can hear the falseness in his voice. She glares.

Ghirahim smiles a wide, lazy grin, eyes crinkling up. She wonders briefly why his skin is so pale; it's the color of wet marble, and then she remembers he's not human, not human at all. Ghirahim is the direct foil of Link, in manner and appearance. This realization fills her with deep, empty longing.

Her eyes follow the movement of his hands as he folds them before his face. His eyes peer at her from the pointed tips his fingers make.

"You're thinking of him, hm? That soft little boy in green. You should feel very special, to be loved so much for someone as shy and incompetent as him to search for you. This is unfamiliar land to him, and every inch is covered in claws, ready to tear him to shreds. He will not find mercy here."

Zelda sets her jaw, makes herself as tall as possible in the chair.

"Why didn't you kill him when you first met? If he is so incompetent and soft, why let him live?"

His face falls.

The room darkens, shadows throwing themselves upon the walls, writhing. Zelda looks upon them in horror, because walls aren't supposed to move, not like that, but they do, here, in this place without law.

Sweat begins to gather on her upper lip. She licks the saltiness away, turning her eyes toward Ghirahim, now standing, tense and terrible, pale white mouth snarling. He disappears into nothingness, but his voice drags across the walls.

"You have quite the mouth, skychild. Be sure to keep it in check tomorrow evening, or I may decide not to feed you at all. You think of that soft little boy a while longer for me. He's all you have."

She's alone, again.
Last Edited by Antigone; 12-26-2011 at 06:48 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:48 PM
Antigone Antigone is a female United States Antigone is offline
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Re: Who By Fire [Skyward Sword AU]

Who By Fire - Chapter Two (Courage)

_____________________

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear." - Mark Twain
_____________________

She had tried to escape, once.

Three days after her capture, she waited until he was gone. She was weak and dizzy, but everything in her said move, run, escape, anywhere. This thought possessed every movement Zelda made. This was wrong, all of it, and it didn't matter why, it only mattered that she escape.

She soon discovered the impossibility of it.

The hallways would go on forever. The doors would open only to other rooms, endless rooms, so many she lost count. There were no stairwells. The windows would not break. No matter how far she ran, or how many doors she opened, she was only met with failure.

Now, Zelda looks out the window of her bedroom, the only place where she can escape anything in this castle without entry or exit. Her hands are shoved beneath her armpits, fingertips grazing the sharp edges of her shoulder blades.

She wishes she had wings, but doubts even flight will aid her.

_______________________

“You're certainly not what I anticipated.”

Zelda sits and trembles, despite the ungodly heat she's surrounded in.

She doesn't know what to call him, this man-hybrid kneeling before her, with skin like storm clouds and a smile full of fangs.

And, blankly, she wonders how he can stand this heat, swathed in a heavy crimson mantle.

He stares at her, as if expecting a rebuttal to his thinly-veiled insult.

Zelda has found her voice has fled.

He tips his head at a strange angle to better observe her. She wants to call what curls his sallow lips a grin, yet it isn't, not one she's ever seen. This man – this thing, she can't call him a man – kneels gracefully, balancing on his toes without effort, like a child studying an insect.

Her heart thunder-claps beneath her breastbone, so hard it clangs all through her body. She wants to fight, but knows the uselessness of it. He moves toward her, and she twists away, wincing as the chain around her ankle chafes against her skin.

His grin wavers. There is nothing in his eyes when he speaks. “Oh, my, it seems they injured you in bringing you here. How clumsy of them. I sometimes forget how easy you humans bleed, you must forgive me.”

He's reaching toward her, and every pale inch of her shudders in repulsion, as he swipes one gloved fingertip along her bloodied ankle. He smears it between his fingers, as if testing the texture of some fine drink against his tongue. What fills his long, colorless face has only been seen in her nightmares.

Zelda's eyes follow him as he stands, lifting one hand towards her, glowing with some unnameable power. She curls into herself and hopes whatever death he has planned will be quick.

The chains around her are shattered. She's free.

And in the same moment, a prisoner once more.

She wants to vomit as he grips her arm, pulling her up with him, legs barely able to carry her own weight. He leans his head close to her own, and Zelda realizes, with horror, that his breath is like hoarfrost, with less warmth than winter.

“This is how it's going to be,” he declares, “you will come with me, and you'll be a very good human for me, understand? No kicking or screaming. No begging, though I imagine you'd be so very pretty if you did. No resistance. No trouble. Am I clear?”

Her tongue cleaves to the roof of her mouth. She nods.

He doesn't smile, only lifts one hand to snap his fingers.

Then, she's standing in a blank white room, and he is gone.


_______________________

Link winces as his blade cleaves through the skull of a Bokoblin, a wide arc of blood spraying everywhere.

The pig-creature reels back, collapsing, before disappearing into a miasma of violet smoke. This strange act of dying (could it be called death, he wonders?) no longer surprises him as it did at the beginning, after the first one he'd killed did the same.

It doesn't surprise him that they all vanish into whatever plane they do after he kills them, because he's killed dozens of them by now.

It doesn't surprise him, because this place called The Surface is unlike anything he could have ever dreamed up, not even in a nightmare.

He wipes the blade on a cloth retrieved from the pouch at his waist, before sheathing his sword once more. He can feel Fi's aura beat reassuringly against the graze of his fingers as he lets go of the hilt.

He's too weary even to smile, lips peeled of their moisture, red and aching.

This place – what does Fi call it – this desert, this place full of sand and dry, brittle heat that sucks the air from his lungs is bigger than anything he's seen. Not as big as the sky, but very close. It seems for every two steps he takes, there are five more ahead of him.

There is sand in places of his body Link doesn't want to think about.

The sunlight is getting thinner, night will swoop down upon him soon, and what Link would give to be in his own bed, in his own home, with the comfort of knowing all is right in the world. What he would give to go back to the Link stuck in Skyloft, spending his days in laziness and reverie.

He knows he can't go back, wouldn't go back even if he could, because Zelda is in danger, and he would give anything, and even more, to keep her from it.

Her memory is the only thing that comforts him now, when he can't sleep because his dreams are full of slathering monsters or crazy, half-mad Demon Lords after his head.

Link squints into the distance, one hand pushed beneath his bangs to shade his eyes, gazing at the massive sculpture of some ancient relic from ages past. He knows that symbol, knows it like it's part of his being. It draws him in, with the copper-gold sunlight shining behind it, as if imbuing it with some ancient godly power.

The sun will be gone soon, Link knows, so he finds a secluded crag in a rocky wall to hide in, to hope that, tonight, he'll dream of her.
_______________________

How amusing this boy is.

Ghirahim watches from a high cliff overlooking the desert valley, too far for human eyes to see. He watches this boy, this child, even, brave the desert thousands of other humans had perished in long before the boy's time.

Ghirahim folds his arms across his chest, pushing his weight to one leg, unflinching as a mighty gust of gritty wind bellows against his back, sweeping his cloak with it. He takes his eyes away from the boy to glance at the temple many steps before him, impatience and longing burning up within him.

There's no point in going to the temple now, as The Gate of Time there isn't activated, not yet. As powerful as Ghirahim is, he knows only those blessed by the Goddess can activate the Gate.

His eyes turn back to Link, a tiny, infinitesimal spot on the ground, no bigger than a bug beneath his foot. The boy vanquishes another one of his monsters, blade flashing (that beautiful, beautiful blade, one he doesn't deserve to wield) as he rives it through the creature's head.

Ghirahim smiles.

“You're getting used to killing now, aren't you, Skychild?”

Closing his eyes, he brushes a few fingers against his pointed chin, contemplative, other arm tucked against his chest. He speaks to the boy, though he can't hear it down below.

“How amusing, to think that you are, unwittingly, aiding me in my own quest. How amusing indeed. If only you knew, boy, that I have what you're looking for. That would light a fire in you, I'm certain. Keep killing. That softness doesn't suit you.”

He stays a moment longer, then disappears.

_______________________

The smell is terrible.

Impa scrubs her fingernails into her arms, kneeling on the floor of the Sealed Grounds, having passed through the Gate of Time and into ages past.

The smell of Darkness lingers on her like some mephitic smoke, burning behind her eyeballs and stinging her throat. She's never known Darkness this thick, this tangible, not in all her years of guarding the Sealed Grounds, waiting for the Goddess' return.

That boy, and more importantly, herself, had been too slow to rescue Zelda after her capture in the Earth Temple.

Impa cracks her knuckles against the stones beneath her, ignoring the pain, even as she feels the fine bones in her hands splinter with the impact.

“Perhaps Her Grace was wrong in appointing me this task,” she says, seething with shame. Her long, lean body trembles with it, a self-loathing she's never felt, loathing she knows is deserved. Guiding the Goddess Reborn was her only task, and she has failed.

A Shiekah is not used to failure.

They – Her Grace, and the Demon Lord – had vanished only seconds before Impa's arrival, but those few seconds were time enough. She knew it was him from the smell, the inky miasma of Darkness he was so heavily lathed in, which clung to the air after his departure.

There was no using staying in the present, so she fled, so much like a coward, back to the Temple of Time and through the Gate, knowing the risks of activating it when he still had Her Grace. Even a mighty Shiekah knows when to retreat.

Impa lifts her golden head to the sunlight glistening in, warming her face and the bareness of her shoulders. Her thin, sculpted lips part to take in a long, shivery breath of that sunlight, the citrus-bubble of Holy Power.

“Oh, Goddess,” she pleads, “what will I tell the boy?”
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:17 PM
magicalbatarang magicalbatarang is offline
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Re: Who By Fire [Skyward Sword AU]

This was very good. I think the introspective tone was handled well and I like that it was not over-done. And the dinner scene with Ghirahim was a treat. A good read indeed.
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:28 PM
Antigone Antigone is a female United States Antigone is offline
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Re: Who By Fire [Skyward Sword AU]

Quote:
Originally Posted by magicalbatarang View Post
This was very good. I think the introspective tone was handled well and I like that it was not over-done. And the dinner scene with Ghirahim was a treat. A good read indeed.
Thank you!
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:57 PM
Antigone Antigone is a female United States Antigone is offline
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Re: Who By Fire [Skyward Sword AU]

Who By Fire - Chapter Three (Luck)
_____________________________________

“Good luck has its storms. “ - George Lucas.
_____________________________________

Groose is angry.

Rather, he doesn't know whether to be angry or worried, or if he's confusing anger with sadness. He knows he's never been good at telling one emotion from another, and it seems that recently, he's been feeling every emotion under the sky. They're so jumbled up in his brain that he can't think straight. His thoughts always seem to go back to two people: Link, and Zelda.

He knows, without a doubt, that it's anger he feels toward Link.

With a mighty grunt, Groose sends his fist into the punching bag, then again, and again, until his arms are burning and his head aches with exertion. He could punch holes through every wall in Skyloft and not be satiated.

Panting, he plops heavily onto his bed, glaring at the still swinging punching bag.

“I hate this,” he grouses, slamming his fists onto his thighs, “I can't stand the thought of poor Zelda, all alone down there, while we're up here relying on that wimp to save her.”

He props his chin up in one broad palm, mouth drawn in a tight line. He thinks of her pretty smile and long golden hair, the way she laughs in the sunlight. He doesn't understand what she sees in someone like Link, lazy, scrawny Link, when he, Groose, can do so much more for her.

Groose sighs dejectedly.

His eyes wander to the framed Loftwing feather hung on his wall, one Zelda's own bird had shed shortly before her disappearance. The blue reminds him of her eyes.

Groose stares at it, brows furrowing with concentration.

“That's it!” He bellows, springing to his feet. Smiling, he takes the frame down, gently prying the feather out to hold it before his face.

He tucks it into his tunic, and exits the room.

____________________________________

There it is again, that feeling like spiders squirming up her back.

The old woman shivers, hands clasped tightly in her lap, splintered with varicose veins and purple-brown liver spots. Her bones ache from sitting for so long, joints wanting to stretch, to move, do anything but lie still.

She purses her thin little mouth, deepening the wrinkles gouged into her skin from time.

Dark magic sizzles in the air, like a pot of oil on a fire, crackling in her eardrums. Although she rests in the Sealed Grounds, far away from where the boy is now, she can't mistake it, this aluminum twang of evil. It's been following him for a while now, stealing behind his footsteps.

She makes a noise of worry, gripping her hands so tightly the knotted knuckles turn pale.
There it is again, the feeling like spiders squirming up her back.

It's different. It's not the stink of darkness or the taste of evil, but something else, stuck somewhere between the lines. It's the feeling of wrongness, she decides, as if something that was supposed to happen didn't, and everything is out of focus now, time taking a wayward path.

With great difficulty, she rises from the stone floor, cold against her bare feet. Even the floor feels different to her, although she's memorized every crack, counted each stone in her many years guarding this place.

She stands before the main doors, both palms pressed flat against them, not to open, but to feel.

In her mind's eye, she reaches through the forests, the caves, the mountains, past rivers and ponds, swirling green and blue. She treks the entire desert without stepping a foot outside, over the swirling dunes, down through the ancient mines.

There he is, groping blindly through a tunnel, weary but well. The sword spirit slips along ahead of him, guiding him through the tunnel dug deep beneath the ground.

He looks up, like an animal caught in the bush, looking over one shoulder, as if sensing her watching him. The old woman grins a little, before traveling onward, past the boy, deeper still. She breathes in and hurdles her consciousness farther ahead, past the mines and to the Gate of Time just beyond.

Something horrible blooms in her heart. There's a high-pitched kneeing sound, like metal on a grist, vibrating into her skull. The spell is broken, and her mind slams back into its rightful place.

Her fingertips scrape against the stone as her hands fall.

She breathes in a long and shallow gasp.
_______________________________________

He's bleeding.

Link has been doing a lot of that lately; he's bled more in the past few weeks than any other time in his life. It sticks to his hair and tunic, dribbling down from a cut above his eye, a few wayward drops sprinkling his cheek.

He sits inside the mines, alone. He's defeated the great scorpion, but barely, just enough to escape still living. Link knows there's no time for rest, no matter how worn he is.

His whole body aches, an all over throb nesting in his joints, but Link thinks himself fortunate, more than fortunate, to have survived this long.

Is it luck, or is it skill?

Link considers this.

Neither?


He sighs.

The Goddess would surely laugh at his foolishness, if she weren't doing so already. Link doesn't doubt she is; he laughs with her.

“Who are you, mortal,” he imagines her saying, “to take on such a task?” And her laughter is like thunderclouds, horrible in its beauty.

Link shudders. For all her mercy in saving them, for all her holiness, Hylia was a Goddess, a deity not of their world, though she walked in it for a time. He thanks the stars that he was not alive when she existed on their earth.

Fi would scold him for such blasphemous thoughts.

He reaches up to graze his fingers against the hilt of his sword, and finds, with relief, that her spirit is still within.

“Fi?”

She appears, rather, leaps from the sword at his back to float before him. He's still not used to her, the way she springs from nothingness and exhales air from another world, glowing with magic. Magic so old he can smell it, feel it buzz along his skin, bleeding through the cracks of his eyelids.

Magic he wields, magic he commands. The thought disturbs him.

“You said the Temple of Time was just beyond here.”

She nods.

“Lead me to it.”

Her clothing ruffles, just a little, as if she's somehow offended by his lack of manners. If she is, she displays none of it.

“Yes, Master Link. Follow me.”

___________________________________________

Impa waits.

She sits, straight-backed and solid, with the Gate of Time whirling behind her. It osculates with every turn, nephrite runes glowing within it. Behind it, the sun hangs low, cautiously, burning yellow and orange. The desert beyond the Temple of Time is frightfully quiet.

She knows the risk of waiting here when that man roams free, yet it hardly matters, not as much as telling the boy of Zelda's fate.

Impa would rather face anything in the cosmos than this.

She cares not for the boy, her only mission in life to protect the Goddess Reborn. She fears how well he'll handle the news – he's the Hero chosen by Hylia herself, but he is still human, still a boy. A vulnerable boy, unbreakable though he is. A boy in love.

Impa huffs a little, more a grunt than a laugh.

As if the gods themselves were reading her thoughts, he appears beyond, standing across the fissure and gazing, startled and a little wary, over at her.

She's up and motioning him to come near, to her relief (and despair) he does so without thought.

How trustful this boy is
, she thinks in dismay, how soft. She should have chosen better.

Up close, he's at least two or three heads shorter than herself, but it's an unfair comparison, because he's yet fully grown and her people are unusually tall. Up close, his eyes are bluer than anything in the world, and fiercer than his appearance initially let on.

Up close, he reeks of holy magic, so green as to be flooded neon, and she can barely see him within it. A Shiekah's gift, the ability to see, taste and smell magic, has never been so damning as now.

He knows something is wrong.

She lifts one hand as if to place it upon his shoulder, hesitates, before letting it drop back down. He looks at her expectantly.

She closes her eyes so as not to look at him.

“Boy, we haven't much time to dawdle here, you most especially not – I won't spare pleasantries. Zelda is gone. I don't know where she is, and I have no other information for you, other than she's been taken by that man. There's no one else.”

Impa turns to regard the Gate of Time, glowing now that the sun is setting. She waits tensely for his response.

His voice is soft, and more melodious than any mortal voice has a right to be, when he says, “what can I do?”

She's unsurprised by this willingness of him, unable to decide if he's very stupid, or very selfless, so she settles on a little of both. She wants to laugh, but can't.

Impa gazes at him from over one shoulder, her eyes red like firewater.

“I wish to the gods that you didn't have to hear this, Link, not from me, nor from anyone, but as a servant, I must obey orders. My task was to guide Zelda throughout the realm to help complete her own destiny. I was, under oath, to never allow her to stray from it, or to allow her capture by those who seek to do her harm.”

Link nods, hands fisting at his sides.

Impa smirks, sadly. “You have a right to be angry with me. I would be worried if you weren't. I ask that you put it away for now, and use that anger to better aid her.”

He bows his head, looking less like a Hero and more like a boy, and Impa wishes he wouldn't, because that's not how a Hero should look.

“I have only one piece of assurance for you, Link.”

He looks up with so much hope he glows with it, and how much she wishes he didn't, because hope has never helped anyone.

Impa motions him closer to the Gate, she looking into it, he gazing at her, still and anxious. Then, she snaps her fingers, and with a zzt of magic, materializes a beautiful golden lyre – Zelda's lyre. Impa passes it to him with reverence.

Link cradles it in his palms, the metal still warm with magic, as if gripping to hard or too carelessly will sap its power. He cradles it because it was in Zelda's hands not so long ago.

“This is all I found of her at the Earth Temple. You probably assumed she was gone because someone rescued her, am I right?”

Link secures the harp in his belt. “Yes. I had no reason to believe otherwise. Not even Fi thought she'd been captured.”

Something passes over her face, a little like remorse. “There's no time for my apologies, Link. Listen to me. That lyre is the very same the Goddess herself held, and it's imbued with properties that will aid you in your quest. I imagine Zelda left it for you herself.”

Her voice grows weaker.

Link steps forward, golden brows lowering, eyes glowing fierce again. The softness in his words is gone. “And? What aren't you telling me?”

Impa raises her head to the darkening sky, a star-struck giant above them.

“The Demon Lord wants to sacrifice her. I have no time to explain the details. This is the piece of assurance I can give you – I botched his magic, just a little, just enough to hinder him. It won't buy you much time. I'd say three months, at the very best.”

She turns her fiery gaze back to him, expecting a downtrodden little boy. Instead, he stands straight, with a determination in his young face that startles even her.

His lips part to speak, but it's strangled by the loudest noise she's ever heard. For a moment, the world blooms golden-white, earth and sky slamming into one another above her head.

Impa spins down into darkness.



_______________________________

She doesn't have time to think about what happened or why, only act.

Impa lurches to the side, just as a dagger hiss-whistles by and imbeds itself in the stone where her head was. She jumps to her feet and swears.

And knows what had happened.

And wishes she didn't.

It feels like there's a cluster of storm clouds in her head, rumbling with every movement, lightning burning up in her limbs. She has to ignore it.

Because wishes and hopes don't get you very far, Shiekah.

Link and the Demon Lord himself are battling just steps away, on the bridge of stone across the fissure.

Impa breathes in all the way to her belly, arms held out, shimmering with blue electricity.

“Boy!”

He stops just long enough to look at her, then to wildly fling himself away as she hurls her magic forward, striking the demon square in the torso.

She doesn't have time to gloat.
_________________________________

Link winces as Ghirahim loosens a soul-churning scream of fury.

His clothing smokes thin little streams of black, a charred patch of cloth and skin still glowing with Impa's magic. He presses one hand to his wounded chest, the other gripping his blade so tightly Link can see it quiver.

His eyes are two blazing stars of melanoid madness in the dark.

Link braces his legs, standing between the demon and Impa, sword and shield out. The blade still glows with a Skyward Strike he'd charged moments before.

Then Ghirahim is right up against him, blades ringing, glowing embers flying with the impact. Link feels his arms give out under the pressure, knees buckling just slightly, but it's enough for Ghirahim to take the chance and kick him in the gut.

Link stumbles back before righting himself, just in time to leap away from a decapitating swing, the ebony blade grazing the top of Link's head.

Ghirahim cackles, thrusting forward, catching the edge of Link's shield. He bashes it into Ghirahim's blade, knocking him off balance. Link flings the edge of his sword down, aiming for Ghirahim's neck – only to pass through empty space.

He's seen this before – without thought, he twists around and swings as hard as he can, blade aglow, firing a Skyward Strike straight into Ghirahim just as he appears behind him.

Now, his instincts cry.

His blade nearly sings in elation as it slices Ghirahim's shoulder, all the way down to his hip, a chaotic arc of blood and rendered flesh.

But it's not enough, it's never enough, and Ghirahim smiles before cracking the butt of his sword into Link's face.

Stars blitz black and white and horrible red, a cacophony of color and confusion as Link stumbles back in pain. The taste of his own blood fills his mouth, choking him, spurting from his broken nose.

He can open his eyes just enough to see Ghirahim, still smiling, standing above him – when did I fall? Link wonders, vacantly.

He doesn't even have time to think of it, before Ghirahim lands a solid kick straight into his belly. All at once the air leaves him, and Link tries to gasp in pain, curling up on instinct. Another blow slams between his shoulders, then another, until Link can't think right beyond the pain.

Then, he hears another scream, but it isn't his own.

Link drags himself onto his hands and knees, spitting blood, craning his head just enough to look beyond him. Ghirahim lies quite a bit before him, still glowing with Shiekah magic.

“Link,” Impa says, helping him up, “no time, you must destroy the Gate, that's what he's after.”

He spits more blood, “you?”

Impa smiles sadly. “I'll have to return to the past. I'll go into the Gate, and you must destroy it the instant I do so, understand?”

Link groans, fumbling to retrieve his sword, before tipping his head in weak agreement.

Impa wastes no time, sprinting toward the Gate.

It takes everything, and a little more, for him to raise the Goddess Blade high above his head, willing holy magic into it. Impa looks at him for a single, still moment, before entering the Gate and disappearing, dropping a globe of electricity behind her.

Link fires a Skyward Strike, and The Gate of Time is destroyed utterly, with only rubble remaining.

He wobbles on weak legs, but finds enough strength to turn as he senses Ghirahim rise behind him.

The demon's face is so full of rage he bleeds it, pointed teeth rattling, nostrils flaring. He yells so loud Link can hear the thunder in his voice.

“I will make you regret that, child! I should have done away with you the moment I laid eyes on you – be careful where you tread now. I'm the one with your precious friend, and I hold all the pieces. Don't think this is your victory!”

He laughs, blood wetting his entire front. He raises the point of his sword toward Link.

“Pray to that filthy Goddess of yours that I still find use in her when that Shiekah's spell wears off. Count your blessings, boy. The next we meet, I'll be sure to make you wish you never breathed air!”

Link watches as Ghirahim circles himself with his own sword, and vanishes altogether.

He's alone, again.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:57 PM
Antigone Antigone is a female United States Antigone is offline
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Re: Who By Fire [Skyward Sword AU]

Who By Fire - Chapter Four (Envy)

________________________________________________

“Spite is never lonely; envy always tags along.” - Mignon MgLaughin

________________________________________________


There is blood on her dress.

It darkens the hem of it, staining the cloth a bright fuchsia-red. She stands before him cloaked in the blood of her own people, but she has never looked more radiant, nor more deadly. Her skin and hair glow with holy power, igniting the air between them. She is luminous, shining from within, the light punching through her eyes.

This comes as no surprise to him, this radiance of hers, because she is a Goddess, and he a Demon.

Her arms are tense, knuckles white where she grips the Master Sword. She stands before him, regal and tall and beautiful. The very breath she exhales lingers as fluorescent sparks before her lips. He watches them glitter, before being swept away by the wind.

They stand in a field littered with the dead, the land blackened and wasted. He belongs here. She does not.

He raises his blade toward her, and her eyes burn bloody-fierce before she hurls herself toward him.

They battle once more.


____________________________


What did he see in her?

The Goddess was beautiful and powerful, a brilliant light amongst the smoke-screen decay. Her voice shook the skies. She could bring legions of men to their knees, bend galaxies to her will. Shape them like playthings in her hands. Hylia was a Goddess straight from the empyrean cosmos itself.

She burned.

Ghirahim now stands outside the doors to Zelda's room, the human Hylia has reduced herself to. He doubts even she realizes it, not fully, that she was once the very Goddess that saved her people from destruction. She is a wilted flower with the will to grow. A faintly gleaming star in the night. But Zelda is no Goddess.

Ghirahim smirks, laughs to himself, an unhurried chuckle. She's a little girl, really, when all is said and done. He finds it so hard to believe that such a small, pretty thing could house the soul of a celestial being. He could vaporize her into smoke and dust with the snap of two fingers.

Then, a voice from the other side of the door; “I know you're out there.”

She opens the door for him, just enough to peer up at him. It creates a neat slat of light on her face, straight up her mouth and lighting up her eyes. Her gaze is lined with dark circles, and her cheeks have been bled of their color. It reminds him of the pale, thinned-out hue of a sunset in winter. Her golden hair rests limply along her shoulders.

Ghirahim smiles and jerks the door wider, forcing her deeper within the room. She backs away from him, rigid, defiant, but not frightened. A part of him detests it.

He regards her bedroom with the air of someone admiring their handiwork.

The room is spacious and filled with rich fabrics, fine furniture, bursts of red, gold and silver. Her bed, large enough to fit three people without trouble, is adorned with hanging veils of lace, the thick blankets neatly made.

Ghirahim stops before the bare window. “I see you took down the drapes.”

She presses herself to the wall farthest away from him. “I wanted to see the sky.”

Ghirahim shrugs. “As expected. Feeling homesick, then?” His voice drips inky venom.

She purses her lips. He watches her do it, the soft pink flesh pressing together, and how much he wants to see those lips splashed in blood. He imagines it for a moment, her pale cheek dyed red, mouth parted slightly, beseechingly, those blue eyes losing their brightness.

Yes, he affirms; how radiant she would look.

When he walks nearer, Ghirahim can feel her pulse quicken. It fills him with a shivery thrill. Though he comes near enough to bend his head and kiss her – more a kiss of death than anything else – he stands, still and waiting.

Her hands tremble as she clutches her gown. The very same she had worn in battle, all those eons ago, soaked in crimson.

Slowly, with the patience and grace of any lover, Ghirahim brings the tips of his fingers beneath her chin, tipping her face up toward his own. They stare at each other in the twilight, their breath stirring together.

He wonders, for a flash of an instant, so brief as to be nothing – how it would feel to kiss her, smear her own blood on her cheek.

Ghirahim smiles instead, snakelike, words shuddering ice-pale and long. “I saw him just a while ago.”

Her gasp lights flames on his skin. There's finally life in her, eyes candle-soft and shining. “Where? What-” She stops, drops her golden head, shoulders coiling up.

Ghirahim rolls his eyes, sneering. “I didn't kill him. The little slug managed to squirm away from me again. He actually wounded me. You may have a chance yet.” He cackles.

There's a sliver of the Goddess in her when she raises her head. It glimmers beneath the wind in her voice. “I have more of a chance than you imagine.”

His laughter is a shout. “Really? You have that much faith in him? He can barely hold that sword upright. Don't mistake the wound he gave me for skill. It was luck. See for yourself,” he steps away to gesture grandly down his front, grinning. “Not a mark lingers.”

She glares.

His grin vanishes. His hand is at her throat, thumb pressing flush against her pulse. Ghirahim leans his face so near their breath mingles, charged with equal parts fury and fear.

There's fury in the way his fingers clutch her throat, so softly as to be intimate, deadly enough to keep her eyes trained on his. Her reflection inside them is warped. Zelda breathes in, a fearful staccato of shivering air in her lungs. It feels like the whole world (or what she knows of it) is thrashing beneath her feet.

She's slammed against the wall, once, twice, each blow thumping hard and deep within her ribs.

His whisper is tightly-wound, ready to snap. “They destroyed the Gate of Time.”

Zelda's voice is blank. “I don't know what that is.”

The demon snarls, baring each pointed tooth, finally living flesh now that he's so close. “You lie.”

Her voice stumbles, “I'm not.”

Ghirahim's clutch intensifies, and ugly black dots whorl before her gaze, distorting his face before her. Zelda chokes, can't even yell or scream, because it seems the best thing to do despite its uselessness, even though he's the only one that will hear her do it.

Her attempts to claw his hand away seems to amuse him, and Ghirahim laughs as if he enjoys her weak attempts of escape.

His breath swarms against her cheeks like fire-ants borrowing beneath her skin. She squirms away from him and the leer he presses into her ear.

“What is it, girl?” His lips are close enough – but not quite close, not quite – that she could tilt her head and kiss him, run her mouth across those dry, pale lips, just to see how he tastes.

Zelda spits in his face instead.

Ghirahim screams like she's injured him, jerking away to angrily swipe the spittle away. He draws his hand back, slowly, fingertips glimmering, and he flings the mess away with a grunt. A few slips of silvery-white hair fall before the darkness of his eyes as he raises his head, looking to her.

Zelda pushes herself into the wall as hard as she can, arms drawn up, but her steady gaze is haughty, triumphant, the same way it was all those years ago when she was a Goddess. It's almost the same, just enough to remind him, just enough to capture him in it once more.

Ghirahim stills. A single beam of light twists its way through the clouds and into the room, illuminating her face and those horribly blue eyes, looking at him from inside the small girl trembling before him. It feels like he's gazing through time, stuck in that fire-wrought world of blood and war.

“I never understood what he saw in you,” he says, plainly, and Zelda can't name the emotion on his face, doesn't have time to. He turns, swiftly, before exiting the room and closing the door with a final, muted thud behind him.

Zelda sinks down to the floor, the sunlight diving her bedroom into two halves; she's cast in shadow.

Then, she looks up, able to name that one singular emotion, so foreign on a face built only for rage -

“Envy.”
____________________________

“What? I think it's a great name!”

Link feels a migraine beginning to form, just above the bridge of his nose. His head still aches from the fall, his landing less than comfortable with Groose clinging to him and screaming. He never thought someone so large could scream so shrilly.

He had returned to Skyloft for potions to heal his broken nose and blackened eyes, only to return to The Surface once more – but with an unwarranted and unwanted surprise.

If Groose was still amazed at The Surface before, he shows no tracery of it. He's as loud and obnoxious and Link remembers him being in Skyloft.

His eyes follow a small bluebird as it perches on Groose's shoulder, without care or concern. Groose yelps and swats it away, as if the tiny animal could somehow do him harm by sitting there. Link turns away to hide his satisfied grin.

Groose bellows after, “why aren't you listening, squirt? 'Grooseland' is a wonderful name for this place. Don't deny it!”

Link pointedly ignores him, hiking his tunic farther up in preparation for climbing, wrapping one hand and foot into the vines scaling the wall just outside the Sealed Grounds. The Surface is unchanged, the woods especially so, as if it doesn't care of his troubles or worries, or that everything has gone horribly wrong.

There is one thing, however. It's the air – Link breathes it in again – the air is different. It's almost noxious, and if darkness had a smell, this would be it. Piceous and heavy, the stink of hot oil about to boil over.

Link shudders, heaving himself up the wall, Groose following after.

Groose is unperturbed, and this calmness of his makes Link irritated, envious, even, that he can be so unworried, so confidant that all will be right in the world if only by Zelda's return.

Link no longer has the luxury of calm, the very notion of being unworried more foreign than anything in this place. Worry stoops on his shoulder, a constant and unwanted companion, curled lecherously around his throat.

He stops just before the doors to the Sealed Grounds, (even this feels different, he thinks, suddenly), stealing a moment before he must enter and tell the old woman of his failure. The word is an awful one, stinging deep within. He tips his head back and closes his eyes.

Link croaks, “you go ahead. I'll be there soon.”

Groose grins, thundering past him and into the Sealed Grounds.

Link stays behind.

____________________________

It doesn't particularly alarm him that she knows.

He had sensed her watching him, back in the dark, deep mines. Link had long since dismissed the feeling as superstition – foggy nightmares and little sleep will do that – but now, there is only relief, and a little awe.

The old woman chuckles, the sound of grating sand. Even her voice is old, older than, perhaps, the very place they preside in.

In his hands, Link holds the lyre, the magic of it still buzzing up his arms, clinging close to his skin and setting every fine hair on end. The Ballad still sings through him, past even his soul, buried someplace deeper than anything, fresh and waiting.

Behind them, the second Gate of Time looms, pulsating runics burning warm aquamarine.

“I don't know what to say,” Link confesses, demurely.

Her wrinkled lips press into a smile. “No need, child. Don't apologize. In all these years of guarding this place, I've come to learn that destiny has its turns. You are the Goddesses own Hero; she would not have set her faith in you without reason.”

The boy sets his jaw so hard the enamel of his teeth squeak. “But I lost her.”

She tilts her head then, vaguely reminding him of a child. “You may have lost her, but lost things can be found again. She has a role in all this, too, Link. You discredit her by putting too much blame on yourself.”

Link looks at the golden lyre clutched in his hands, strings glistening. He plucks one, absently, the chord humming straight past his flesh, a silvery-shiver.

“Do you know where she is?”

A pause.

“No,” she sighs, sadly. “I can see many things, Hero, but her whereabouts are shaded to me. Ghirahim is a demon as well as a sorcerer. His magic is different from my own.”

Some part of him wants to be disappointed, but he isn't, not the way he's supposed to be.

That smile of hers is back. “Don't look so troubled. The Gate behind you is the key to all this. It's the only thing you need – you need only awaken it. Doing so will be difficult, I won't lie, but you must. It is your fate as the chosen Hero.”

Link tries to reply, but the ground says otherwise, roiling beneath his feet, knocking him off balance.

The rumbling shakes through the very jelly of his eyeballs, a fierce and monstrous quake, and the stink like hot oil is suffocating now. Link turns to the old woman, and her wavering voice offers little reassurance.

She's up and beside him, gracefully although the world trembles beneath them. There's something familiar about this, something like a backlit memory in the pits of his mind as she looks up at him, eyes veiled.

“Link, there's no time to explain. You must hurry to the pit outside. The seal is broken.”
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Last Edited by Antigone; 02-17-2012 at 08:58 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 02-17-2012, 09:47 PM
Esalia Esalia is a female United States Esalia is offline
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Re: Who By Fire [Skyward Sword AU]

This is very enjoyable to read! I love it! You really flesh out the characters, and it's interesting to see what could happen if the bad guy "won". Write more! MORE!! \(^0^)/
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Old 02-18-2012, 12:46 PM
Antigone Antigone is a female United States Antigone is offline
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Re: Who By Fire [Skyward Sword AU]

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrustMe101 View Post
This is very enjoyable to read! I love it! You really flesh out the characters, and it's interesting to see what could happen if the bad guy "won". Write more! MORE!! \(^0^)/
I always find the "what if" stories interesting, so I'm glad you like mine thanks for the comment.
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Old 03-05-2012, 01:54 AM
Antigone Antigone is a female United States Antigone is offline
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Re: Who By Fire [Skyward Sword AU]

Who By Fire - Chapter Five (Trust)

_______________________________________

“Without trust, there is nothing.” - Unknown.
____________________________________

Fledge breathes in a deep lungful of fresh air, resting at the base of a tree beneath The Statue of Hylia, gazing with no particular intent at the sky.

Link has been gone for days, since Groose followed him to The Surface. As one of the few friends Fledge has at the Knight Academy, Link's company is missed more by Fledge than any other; a close second, he thinks, would be Pipit.

“You look awfully sad, sitting there by yourself.”

Fledge yelps, looking frantically for the voice who has interrupted his thoughts, finding Pipit himself grinning down before him. Fledge sighs, a hand on his chest. He returns the grin uneasily.

“Well, sometimes I think best by myself. This is my favorite spot, and now that Groose is gone, I can stay here as long as I want.”

Pipit chuckles, coming to rest beside him, legs splayed, arms folded across his yellow tunic. He raises one dark brow, that cordial smile forming dimples on his freckled cheeks.

“Thinking about Link, then?”

Color flushes Fledge's pointed ears. “You caught me. I'm not surprised, I'm awfully easy to read,” he sighs, looking to the sky again, “I wonder how he's doing, mostly. We haven't heard from him in a while.”

Pipit claps a hand to Fledge's shoulder, the weight of it reassuring and real, warmth spilling from it. Pipit points to the statue before them, all the way up to the gentle, smiling face, haloed by the blue-green sky.

“Have some faith in him, Fledge. With The Goddess keeping guard, I'm certain Link will pull through fine. He'll bring Zelda back, and everything will be back to normal. He's our friend – we have to trust him in this.”

Fledge nods, smiling broadly.

“You're right. As long as we trust in him, Link will pull through. Thank you, Pipit.”

_______________________________________

If he were any other man, Link knows he would have given up by now.

But Link is not any other man – because he knows this, quitting is not an option.

Sweat wets the entire front of his tunic, cleaving it to his skin, everything in himself burning up, using whatever force it can to keep running, no matter the effort. The Imprisoned charges ahead of him, wriggling on its great belly, much like a snake would. At last, it drags itself up again, the spike on its head twisting to its original position.

His blade is out and flashing before he thinks it, flying down to strike the last jiggling toe on the beast's foot, the cry it makes slamming into Link's eardrums.

With a tremendous crash, The Imprisoned falls onto its back, and Link loses no precious time to sprint full-throttle to its head, bashing the seal once, twice, three times -

Link screams as the seal sinks in as far as it will go, and he staggers back when The Imprisoned thrashes upward. Link watches as its entire body flashes silver, blinking black again, only to flash once more – then to explode into numberless fragments, before being sucked back into the seal. It floats back to the center of the pit, and Link leaps down to join it.

With sweat dripping into his eyes, lungs aching, he inscribes the runes into the air with his blade, and with a final grunt, thrusts the spike back into its rightful place.

Groose joins Link moments after, jaw agape, speechless.

Link grins at him from over one shoulder, attention drawn to the old woman as she hobbles over to them.

“Though The Imprisoned had only begun to awaken, I'm impressed that you have so successfully resealed it. Unfortunately, brave boy, you have only bought us a little more time with which to act. Join me at the Temple, and I will explain to you the questions you surely have.”

Still weary, Link nods, sheathing the blade and following her back up the pit, with Groose trailing behind them.

_______________________________________

The irony of the number three is not lost to Link.

The mysterious Gods of Old must have had a certain affinity to it, because the number three follows him where ever he goes: Three triangles, three flames, three trials. Link can't seem to escape it, but that's what fate is, isn't it? The inability of escape. Imprisonment.

Imprisonment he feels all too well.

Link shakes the thoughts away, leaning down to run his hands across the ruff of his loftwing, the feel soft crimson feathers soothing him. He flies as quickly as he can toward Skyloft, wind drying the sweat on his clothing, bangs whipping away from his forehead.

Leaning down, he takes in one final breath before flinging himself from the loftwing's back, gliding down toward Skyloft, unleashing the sailcloth moments before landing. Link's feet touch down on familiar grass, the air light and perfect here, everything familiar, just as he left it.

He stands outside the academy, taking a moment to appreciate his surroundings, Link enters, closing the heavy doors behind him.

The hall is empty. Not even the bubble of cooking food from the kitchen sounds, yet nothing else is amiss. Still trapped in the mindset of caution, Link slowly ascends the staircase to the second floor, hand leaping to his sword when -

“Link! Welcome back!”

Fledge hurtles forward, grabbing Link's hand to shake it violently, grinning so wide it rounds his cheeks.

Link stands, bewildered, taking a moment to absorb this, the hand clutching his sword lowering slowly down onto Fledge's own. He returns the boy's smile, eyes alight from within.

“Fledge! Thank you, I didn't expect – where is everyone? Are you alone?”

“No.”

Fledge drops his hand as they both turn to Pipit, striding easily to join them, each row of teeth revealed in a wide smile.

“I'm glad to see you back, Link. Fledge and I were just talking about you earlier today. You should return here more often, you know! People worry. It's not becoming of a Knight to make people worry.”

Link brushes his fingers against the back of his head, an old habit unable to leave, not even after all he's seen. His laughter is soft, but it's there, it's there. It feels eons since he's done it, this simple act of smiling and laughing, appreciated now more than ever before.

Pipit rests both hands on each boy's shoulder, shaking them with rough, boyish affection. He jerks his head toward the first floor.

“Hey, let's go have something to eat, the grannie made some really good soup today, there should be some left. While we do, you can tell us all about your adventures, Link. I'm sure they would make fine stories.”

The three of them walk together, side by side, laughter mingling.

_______________________________________

Two figures kneel before her, blurred like wet paint, soft sfumato edges and featureless faces.

When Zelda hears herself speak, the voice is and is not her own.

“You are my creations. Your duties are to aid me in guarding the Triforce, to smite whatever evil makes to steal it, and watch over the mortals created by The Three. You are holy entities. I grant you your existence, and for this I expect your loyalty. You--”

Zelda tosses upon her bed, the sheets pulling around her legs. This dream-memory is familiar and it is not, this person that is her and isn't her mixing up. She whimpers, curling up, hands tearing into her hair -

“I have given you flesh; I have given you the ability to touch, taste, feel and relish in all the things that mortals do, but you are not truly humans, my children. You are weapons. You have been created to balance one another.” Zelda raises her hand that is not really hers, pointing to the woman kneeling before her feet, blue like a summer day.

“You are Fi. You are to guard the Triforce of Wisdom, for you are a woman, and can see far beyond that of a man. You are the spirit of the Goddess Blade, and when I ask it, you will guide my chosen Hero to vanquish evil.”

Fi nods. “Yes, Your Grace.”

Her attention then rests on the other figure -


The memory stirs, blotting, and Zelda groans in her sleep -

“....You are to guard the Triforce of Power, for you are man, and have the ambition to take what woman cannot. You are the opposite of Fi – you are a weapon of destruction. You are to be the balance between she and I, as Nature demands.”

The unnamed image nods. “Yes, Your Grace.”


Zelda awakens, throwing herself upright, sweat gathering all over her skin, the hair on her arms and legs standing on end. The coldness of night seeps into her, cooling her feverish cheeks. Chest heaving, Zelda looks out her window, to the moon gleaming serenely in a dark, starless sky.

Dressed only in her blue gown, she shivers in her bed, afraid of falling back into that unfamiliar abyss, that half-world of dream and memories not her own.

_______________________________________

They stand across from one another, moonlight burning through the stained glass windows.

Her image is broken into kaleidoscope-patterns, red and gold and blue; Fi stands before him, and he knows this is the last he'll see her this way, so Ghirahim takes in everything he can. She has yet to be committed into the sacred sword, and bears a human appearance like himself.

Her hair and skin is the pale blue of the summer sky. She wears her usual dress and cape, the mantle ends brushing the stone floor. He can see the barest hint of skin where her stockings end, laced with green and blue.

He knows that, once she is committed to the Master Sword, this flesh of hers will vanish (those lovely lips and soft blue eyes) and she will be as unfeeling as ice; what use will emotion serve a weapon? Nothing and no one.

They stand across from one another in the moonlight, and, wordlessly, Ghrahim turns to leave.

Then, those lovely lips part to speak, voice ringing through the Temple of the Goddess.

“Do you fear for your soul, Ghirahim?”

His hand, raised toward the door, pauses in ascent. The moonlight fizzles in through the windows, and, when he turns toward her, his face is lit by an entirely different light. She watches as his lips, sharply carved and paler than the moon, part to reveal a sickle-toothed smile, and the evil within it finds its way through her.

Fi shudders.

He tosses his head, tipping his chin up in a royal fashion. Fi can swear she can see darkness mottling beneath his skin. He laughs at her.

“Neither of us have souls to be fearful for. Aren't you angry at her for that, Fi? That our Goddess could only grant us a form – and not the fire within one? We are a mockery of her, girl. We are tools.” He flings the last word from his lips and sneers.

Fi regards him cautiously. “There is no shame in aiding Her Grace. We were both made for a purpose greater than ourselves. You should be thankful she gave you life.”

Ghirahim throws his arms out and turns, head raised toward the heavens. His laughter crashes against the temple walls in strange, shrieking tangents.

“She gave us life so she could use us. We serve no other purpose than to aid her in guarding the Triforce, a relic we cannot even take for our own! She doesn't care for us, Fi, don't mistake her guardianship for kindness!”

He approaches her as if to embrace her; Fi raises her arm, one finger pointed straight at him, the ends of her cape falling from her shoulders to brush the stone floor. Moonlight sizzles through her eyes. Power glints from her like sunlight on the killing-edge of a blade.

“Enough of this. You will return with me and speak no more of these things. Our feelings are irrelevant; your fate is to guard the Triforce of Power. Mine is to guard the Triforce of Wisdom. I will hear no more of this blasphemy.”

He takes her hand, smile cutting right through her. There is coldness in everything he does; his rage is the violent tundra wind. He eases her closer, holding her hand in both his own, squeezing painfully.

“You could always join me, Fi. Demise has promised me more than our Goddess could ever hope to bring us.”

He moves as if to kiss her palm, but he presses it against his cheek instead, just to feel her shudder. Fi wrenches away, leaping backwards with more fluidity than water. They stand apart once more.

“Your attempts to sway me are in vain. My loyalty to Her Grace is insurmountable. She has given me – us – all that can be given. Your greed has shrouded your ability to see it.”

There is silence.

He glares. There is something like sadness in his face, but Fi knows it can't be so, because he was never meant to feel such things – they are the antithesis of one another, two shadows thrown on different walls; they are each the opposite scale, neither outweighing the other.

Balance.

Fi continues. “Demise has deceived you. The only usefulness he sees in you is to accomplish his own goals. He has no interest in your wants. You will be more of a tool to him than Hylia could ever make of you. He will cast you aside the moment your use has ceased.”

Ghirahim shakes his head, groaning wildly, breaking off into half-mad chuckles or yells. His voice shakes the very windows.

“That's where you're wrong! He and I share the same goals: to conquer! To change this world into something more than it is! Why don't you see it, Fi? This world was doomed from the very start!”

He's before her once more, clasping her shoulders and jerking her helplessly back and forth, the madness seeming to clot beneath his skin; she can smell it, now, stronger than ever, the chemical stink of darkness, and he is lathed in it. His voice is so loud it crashes into her skull.

“What's the use of guarding,” - Fi gasps in pain - “when we could take? Why should you and I subject ourselves to slavery,” - his hands find her neck and squeeze - “when we could be free?”

Fi grasps his arms, skin sizzling where it meets his own. Her jaw works wordlessly in an effort to speak, panic blooming hot and awful in her chest, a prelude to an attack, or death, she's too overwhelmed to tell – and when he leans in to snicker in her ear, the panic bursts into a golden light, burning out of her. Ghirahim is flung away from her to land painfully on the floor, screaming in agony.

Fi pants, her own magic wafting off her in thin blue streams. Ghirahim lies, panting but otherwise motionless, beneath the rays moonlight shining through the stained glass window above him. Fi raises her eyes toward that light, onto the smiling image of Hylia herself, carved into the glass.

Ghirahim stumbles upright, groaning and clutching his head. His hands fall to his sides, balling tight, the muscles of his shoulders and neck cording with the strain.

“I'll be stronger than ever,” he says with finality. He raises his head to glare at the image of Hylia above him, entire face pulled into a look of such rage and determination, Fi is certain it would light the world on fire if he gazed upon it.

That gaze drifts slowly toward her; Fi quivers before him as if preforming falsified worship, to this being no longer of the heavens like herself.

His voice borrows the darkness around them. “When your Goddess sentences you to that blade, and a life of servitude under her, I hope you think of me and the offer you so foolishly denied. I officially renounce my title as Sentinel of the Triforce of Power. Demise will make me a Lord,” he laughs, “I will be a Lord of Demons, Fi, and you will be the slave to a doomed world. I will be free.”

They stay apart a moment more, before his disappears into the darkness, yet his voice remains inside her long after.

Fi looks to the image of Hylia; in one hand she holds a blade, and in the other, a red apple.

Fi falls to her knees, awestruck. “You knew all along, “ she whispers tightly, “You knew, Your Grace. You knew.”
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  #10 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 03-17-2012, 10:40 AM
Antigone Antigone is a female United States Antigone is offline
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Re: Who By Fire [Skyward Sword AU]

Who By Fire - Chapter six (Chimera)

____________________________________________

“We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.” – Oscar Wilde

____________________________________________

He remembers warm days bathing in the springs, the scent of cut grass strong in the air -

Link breathes in, eyes blown open like windows in a thunderstorm, which so often shook the clouds below Skyloft -

He shakes his head, sweat running down his cheeks to dribble along his jaw, clinging precariously, before falling to the collar of his already damp tunic. Link has no time even to wipe his face, crouched low and terrified at the base of a tree in this spirit-world that isn't a world at all, not alike any he's ever known.

Time measures his fate, a brewing storm awaiting to be awakened, much like the Guardians of this realm.

He has thirty-five seconds to find the last tear before those same Guardians are revived again.

Link understands where Fi's magic originates, where that unearthly light she radiates makes its home. The Guardians and even the plants in this Silent Realm glow with that same magic. How different she is to the ones guarding this realm and the treasure within it.

With quivering legs, Link rises and bolts straight ahead, catapulting himself over a fallen log, lunging past trees and over rocks, faster than he's ever run in his life. A single green tear gleams before him, just up a hill -

Link trips, flying to the ground on his belly, smashing both hands and elbows to the earth. His jaw cracks on a rock, rendering him numb and sightless with pain, rolling to his back with a groan of anguish.

The sky above him pulses the brightest amber he's ever seen, alight from within, invisible bells clanging in the very air, counting down the time, time he doesn't have -

There is pain in every movement, but Link heaves himself up anyway, stumbling without grace up the hill, crawling on hands and knees, eyes only for the teardrop ahead. He's whimpering the names of everyone he knows, (very un-heroic behavior, some part of him sneers) though they're literally worlds away, unable to hear.

Three -

Two -

One -

He screams when the last bell toll bangs through the air, and all around him the Guardians awake from their slumber, clutching strange blades and cleavers larger than Link himself – every one of them made only to smite him.

Blood from his hands and mouth stains the grass Link crawls upon, but the tear is within his grasp -

He cannot see them, but he knows they're near, soundless footfalls all around, their clean-cut bodies afire with lucent light, a light that burns inside his nostrils -

Behind him, a Guardian raises its arm high, the blade it wields aglow for a strike -

Link's fingertips graze the teardrop, so softly as to barely make contact, and the realm goes silent once more, the Guardians back in their resting places.

Link smiles a bloody smile, clutching the last tear in both hands, warm with sacred power. It explodes into shimmering fragments before vanishing into his chest. There is no time for rest, and, wiping his brow, Link makes his way toward the circle of light far below, eager to return to his own realm.

____________________________________________

There is nothing more she wants than to know.

Had she a kingdom to surrender, Zelda would give it to have only knowledge, an answer to the questions which keep her awake at night, not from terror, but from the unknown.

Questions steal her footsteps, plaguing the thoughts not on escape. Why's and how's and when's. They sneak into her ears as an insect might, until their buzzing is all she can hear.

Zelda wanders through the hallways, the still whiteness of the walls rendering her mute. She despises the feeling of uselessness above all, nestled closely to loneliness. She is not a prisoner in these walls of stone and silence, but one of her own mind, because where can you hide from your own thoughts?

She has no answers.

There is no one in this entire palace of mute white walls, no sound other than herself, but the solitude is a blessing in its own deviant way; with only herself to hear, Zelda can say whatever she wishes.

She stops, turning toward a window larger than herself, which lets in the saturnine-gray sunlight, typical of the sky after a storm.

“I want answers.”

Zelda blinks at the sky above her. One hand comes to rest against her own throat, fingers spread against her collarbones, sharper now from fatigue. She hates that feeling, too, of weakness, the kind that can sink souls.

She draws in a breath. “I want to know why he keeps me here,” her voice gains volume, “I want to know what those dreams mean,” her whole body shakes, “I want to know! By any Goddess above or below, I only ask for answers!”

Zelda screams, a paroxysm of noise, smashing her fists into the enchanted glass, battering it with her palms and fingers and elbows, because screaming is the only thing she can do in this empty castle. She screams until everything aches.

She sinks to the floor, lower and lower, until she presses her cheek against its cold surface, sobbing silently, hands in her hair. She weeps not for herself, or her own circumstances, because she knows tears for oneself do nothing, so she cries for everything else, for the kingdom she cannot give.

____________________________________________

“I want to know, Fi.”

Link lounges, back against the wall of a ruin, legs out and crossed at the ankles. It is well past sunset, yet sleep evades him once more tonight.

He rests someplace in the woods, near enough to a waterfall that he can hear its quiet hiss through the gaps in trees, their sides covered in a mossy coat. Not even moonlight finds its way through the foliage above his head. He's shed his equipment, which lies by his side.

A potion has mended his injuries, and the Water Dragon's scale dangles from a string around his neck, flashing in the firelight. The scale is his only trophy from Farore's Trial.

Fi suspends herself before him, the firelight behind her like a blazing set of wings, glinting off the polished surface of her serene face.

“I will divulge whatever information you request, Master, if I should possess the answer.”

Link bites the inside of his cheek, averting his gaze to the sword she was birthed from.

“You said the Goddess Hylia guarded the Triforce. The Triforce was made by the three Goddesses Din, Nayru and Farore. I want to know more about them.”

She tilts her head in such a way that, had she flesh, Link knows she would be grinning. He doesn't know what sort of grin, but he imagines it would be soft, with the prettiness of gems.

“You will have to be more specific, Master Link. I know a great deal about The Three.”

Link huffs, lips flapping from exasperation. He fumbles, for a moment, unused to voicing his specific thoughts.

“That is, Fi, I want to know why they created the Triforce. I want to know why that, since they knew it held such great power, they trusted it in the hands of mortals. I want to know why they would be so cruel.”

He blushes, shamefully, the blasphemy of his own words growing cold against his lips.

Fi nods, a graceful sweep, unperturbed.

“I do not believe they did it as an act of cruelty, Master. Being Goddesses, they have no concept of right or wrong, none that we, as mortals, are able to understand. However, I cannot calculate the percentage of this statement. I can provide an estimate, if you wish.”

Link shakes his head.

“Very well. The Goddess has provided me with an innumerable database of information on The Three, should you have another inquiry, Master.”

Link nods toward the sword by his side. “You said that the Goddess created you to aid me, and that you're the spirit of the sword. Did she create any other weapons, besides you? Were you made alone?”

Fi is silent. There is no movement of her, not even the weightless ebb and flow of her azure sleeves.

She is silent for the longest time Link has ever known her to be.

“Fi?”

He reaches a hand out toward her, as if to place it on the wing of her arm, instinctively – Link lowers it moments later.

“I lack sufficient information to answer that specific inquiry. My most sincere apologies, Master Link. Is that all you need of me?”

His shoulders slump. “Yes,” he sighs, “that's all. Thank you, Fi.”

For the hundredth-millionth time he's seen her do it, Fi vanishes into the sword with the grace of anything he's ever seen.

Link watches the fire, swallowing the cinders he's fed it, wishing it could talk, wondering if anything in this world will provide the answers he seeks.

____________________________________________

The Goddess Din, patron of desire, strength and war, who wrought the earth with fire, favors those of ambition.

The Goddess Nayru, patron of thought, pride and water, who sown the seeds of law with magic, favors those of foresight.

The Goddess Farore, patron of spirit, bravery and nobility, who planted the teeth of dragons to cultivate life, favors those of conviction.

The Goddess Hylia, patron of time, death and birth, who guarded the Golden Power, favors those of mercy.

Zelda's lips still. In her lap rests an open book, a collection of scribbling glyphs, given to her by her father. It was the same day she was gifted a Loftwing, its blue feathers matching her eyes, the same day she joined the academy.

Although those days are dead, now, Zelda remembers them fondly.

(And sometimes wishes she can't).

She hates this, this sitting before windows and reading, waiting for something to happen, because she's never been good at waiting or making wishes. She is her father's daughter, she is a knight, and she is the creation of a Goddess herself. She is not one for weeping or rainfall.

She is unsure on whom to lay her hatred: Ghirahim, for capturing her, or herself, for making herself his prisoner.

Zelda knows the only one to blame for this is herself, but knows that, if she could only wait a while longer (for the dust to gather on her book, perhaps) she will take any chance presented to her.

Her book falls to the floor when she jumps, the suddenness of noise filling the palace.

She turns in the chair to gaze at Ghirahim, lazing against the window behind her. He rests on the sill of it, one leg tucked under him, the other braced against the floor. He sits there as if the window is his very own throne.

This is his kingdom, and he is its Lord, though he has no subjects to rule.

He tips his head like a curious child, though there is nothing childish about him. With the sunlight behind him, the clouds are pseudo-wings, spread out, gray-blue and roiling.

"I hope all that tiresome reading has given you an appetite today. I'll give you all the books in the universe if it means you actually eat,” he shudders, "though I will if need be, I have no desire to force-feed you as I've threatened in the past."

He looks at her for a moment, tapping his foot. She only lowers her brows.

Ghirahim actually giggles, clapping both hands together. "That was a joke, you stupid girl. It's getting terribly boring, watching you sulk like some whipped animal. The least you could do is entertain your Lord and ruler."

Zelda purses her lips, thumbs pressing hard into her palms where she fists her hands. "I am not your subject, and you are not my ruler."

He gives her an incredulous look, laughing oddly through his nose. “Think what you want, I suppose. It does not change your circumstances.”

Then, unintentionally: “Why do you keep me here?”

He makes a noise closer to a sigh than a laugh. "I keep you here because I can."

It's her turn to throw him an incredulous look. "I'm not afraid of you."

He shrugs, dark eyes widening as he smiles cruelly. He holds up one finger, pointing it straight at the ceiling. "That's rather fortuitous. I never wanted you to fear me, though do not misunderstand me, I do enjoy invoking terror - you should focus your fear on other people, I think."

Zelda eyes the book, fallen in such a way that it lies wide open, on the lullaby she had been reading moments prior. Lullabies have no place here. She stares at it with all the focus she can summon.

"The only thing I fear in this world is what should happen if I let you win, Ghirahim." She looks to him, accidentally.

He turns supplicate suddenly, the sweetness of burnt sugar. "I promise you, Zelda," her name is strange when he says it, "that I have no intention of ever harming you. You are far too useful to me for that. As much as I may want to, as I'm sure you have the loveliest of screams - you are in no danger so long as you stay with me."

There is a shudder deep within her, between the emptiness of her belly and chest. "You do want me for something, then. Why don't you just take it? Why keep me here if you need it so badly? You know Link is looking for me. You don't strike me as a stupid man, Ghirahim."

He tosses his head, hair flying. “You're very simple, you know. Of course I'm not going to tell you those things. It would ruin all of my plans.”

He rises to walk nearer, sighing. “This talk bores me. Come, now, you should eat – and I mean it this time – before the hour grows any later.”

Ghirahim takes her arm, snapping the fingers of his free hand, and once again, Zelda finds herself at the massive table laid out with another dizzying feast, Ghirahim taking the seat across her.

He sweeps one arm across the table in what she assumes is a welcoming gesture. Then, he plucks a single apple from a platter full of them, tossing it to her. Zelda captures it with ease, its skin free of any bruise or blemish, as if he had picked it fresh only moments ago.

Ghirahim smiles mysteriously. “Does that seem familiar to you?”

Zelda turns the apple in her hands. Her reflection upon its glossy surface is warped. “It's an apple. I don't understand what you mean by that.”

The demon clicks his tongue, shaking his head mournfully. “I thought you might say that. Enough of this, eat.”

She stares at the apple a few seconds more, blue eyes moving to look at him, trained there, before raising the apple to her lips, biting softly into its flesh with a crisp, watery crunch. She swallows cautiously.

Ghirahim explodes into laughter, so abruptly a few plates crash to the floor. He laughs so loud and hard Zelda is certain he will suffocate if it continues.

“What? You think I poisoned that apple? You think that it would put you in some eternal slumber with a single bite? You humans,” he knocks a great platter of fruit to the floor. “This is no fairytale, nor a fairy tail,” he chuckles, the fruit, rolling at his feet, now bruised.

These outbursts of his no longer daunt her. Zelda stares at him from across the plates of food, the setting sun burning everything orange-red. She takes another bite of the apple, ignoring the too-sweet taste, nibbling it all the way down to its naked core.

She finishes three plates of delicacies that have lost their taste, doing so only because he's demanded it of her – because she knows he is not one to keep promises.

His smile is nearly sincere, just a little. “Oh? No begging you to shove something down your gullet this time? Impressive.”

In her lap, Zelda clutches her book, pressing her fingernails so hard into its cover they split. She says nothing.

He scoffs, throwing both legs over the arm of his chair, one end of his cape falling across its back.

While he looks away, a single knife, resting precariously on the edge of her plate, catches the evening light.

There rests her chance.

Slowly, as steadily as she can, Zelda trails her fingertips up to its handle, easing it with a shaking grip down into her lap and between the pages of her book. Ghirahim looks back to her mere seconds after the blade is safe in her hands. She hopes he can't see the sweat glittering on her forehead.

He smiles sweetly. With a sweeping leap, he rises from the chair to flash-vanish to her side. He looms over her, significantly taller even when she stands, and Zelda gazes up at him, for the first time, with terror.

He leans in close, easing one of her slim hands away from her lap, grasping her wrist deftly in his own, before raising the upturned flesh of her hand to his lips.

Zelda stills a gasp of disgust between her tightly clenched jaw. She can't breathe. She can't think. She stares at him with the terror of a captured animal.

He mumbles softly against her skin, fangs leering against the fine bones of her hands, a dark omen.

This is no fairytale, child.

“Until tomorrow, then, my little nightingale.”

____________________________________________


He finds her sleeping in the antechamber of his castle, hours after.

Zelda lies on her side, one arm pillowing her head. Her golden hair falls over the edge of the settee, pale white gown tangled about her legs. Starlight shines through the window, making her gown almost, but not quite, transparent to his gaze. Beneath the cloth he can see the paleness of her flesh, the softness of her thighs, sinful teases.

How easy it would be, to slip his fingers around her neck, very softly so as not to wake her, and choke the air from her lungs.

She says something in her sleep, muffled words. Ghirahim feels them drip, drip, drip from her lips and onto his skin. It burns like no flame he’s ever felt, and it turns his insides white-hot, an emotion without name. His hands fist at his sides, curling into the red cloak draped around his shoulders. His white lips quiver with unspoken rage.

But this time of year is cold, and it would not do for her to become sick, not when her sacrifice is of such importance. Ghirahim knows she's of more use to him full of health than bedraggled with sickness. How weak, how human to be brought down by something like illness.

When he kneels to take her into his arms, Zelda remains asleep, her head against his shoulder, hair tangled in his hands. The softness of her fills him with revulsion; the way she feels, the way she breathes, the shadows her lashes make upon her cheek.

“Humans,” he mutters, scowling, though her eyes are closed, unable to see him and this hate of his unfold.

He takes her to her bedroom, wanting to laugh at the irony; men carry women to their beds to make love to them, an act he is incapable of, so he’ll make love to her in a different way, the best way he can.

Ghirahim lays her down against the sheets, dipping his head very near to her face, his wintry hair tickling her cheek. One of his gloved hands comes to rest very delicately against her throat. Her pulse beats beneath his fingertips.

“Dream while you can, skychild,” he whispers into her ear. “Dream whatever dreams you wish, however pleasant you make them to be. Dream well. They are all you have in the entire cosmos.”

He stays that way a moment more, before disappearing altogether.

Zelda dreams.
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  #11 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 03-30-2012, 02:35 PM
Antigone Antigone is a female United States Antigone is offline
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Re: Who By Fire [Skyward Sword AU]

Who By Fire - Chapter seven (Possession)

____________________________________________

“Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned.” - William Congreve
____________________________________________


Before him blazes a fire.

Ghirahim hovers, swinging lazily to and fro, in a dimension of darkness. The fire before him bleeds into the void, illuminating the paleness of his face and glittering upon the jewels on his cloak. This place is lonely and silent, a dimension amidst the one of Twilight and Nothingness.

He postures himself lazily, legs crossed at the knee, reclining as if bathing in sunlight. He gazes into the fire, born to life with magic, as if doing so will provide him the answers he seeks.

It spits and writhes angrily.

Holding out one palm, he twists his fingers, shaping the fire into monstrous figures, awful shapes of unearthly origin. They roar and growl, deformed mouths and arms and legs, curling into themselves.

His hand wrenches into a fist, and the fire extinguishes.

Ghirahim closes his eyes, breathing in.

He imagines her hands in his hair and on his face, so close the light of her permeates through his pores. She exhales the sweet efflux of a storm in springtime.

He reaches as if to rake his fingernails against her cheek -


Ghirahim lurches, eyes opening to the dimness. Breathing in, he brings the flames back to life, a slow-burning sunrise of copper and gold.

Within it emerges the figure of a woman; she pulses, breathes, as much a living thing as he can ever create. She twirls her make-believe skirts and beckons him forward, long hair storming around her figure. Her face, smiling bewitchingly, is both majestic and fierce.

This phoenix, this woman of flame and smoke, is the closest thing he will ever have of her, untouchable to him in mind and flesh. Should he reach for her, she will surely burn him to ash.

She is at once the seed of his every desire, and the origin of his every wrath.

Rising, Ghirahim inhales hard through his teeth, tensing, sinewy muscles coiling up beneath his pallid skin.

Within one hand he manifests a great ebony rapier. Ghirahim curls his other hand around its hilt, each finger coming slowly to rest, gripped so tightly the material of his gloves chafe against the metal. With the firelight gleaming off it, he raises it high above his head, stretching his body so tightly the hollow of his ribcage protrudes -

She screams as he cleaves her through, the remnants of her lingering as the flames on his sword, the closest thing she has to blood. She flickers, for a moment, before snuffing out altogether.

Darkness surrounds him once more.

____________________________________________

“Your Grace, there is no forgiving what I have let transpire. I give my most fervent apologies, and graciously accept any punishment.”

Fi kneels on both knees, palms pressed flat against the stone floor of the temple. Behind her, the awakening gold of dawn glimmers through the stained glass windows. They preside in the Temple of Hylia, the world outside fresh with life.

Hylia nods grimly. She lifts one hand to place it upon the crown of Fi's head, blue hair soft beneath her palm. Her voice has the warmth of sunlight.

“There is no need for punishment, Fi, for you have done no wrong. It is Ghirahim who has betrayed me, not you. Rise now, and speak no more of penance.”

The spirit does so, soft azure lips parted with wordless thanks, nodding. She falters, for a moment, averting her eyes before her Goddess, standing radiant so near to her. Fi's lips quiver very faintly, when she asks, finally:

“You knew he would betray us, didn't you? You knew Demise would tempt him to join his demonic hordes. You knew.”

Hylia looks to the ceiling, face aglow with light, golden hair falling away from her cheeks. One elegant hand comes to rest against her chest. When she lowers her head to cast her eyes upon Fi, she smiles, very faintly.

“You're as clever as your namesake, Fi, lover of wisdom. I knew you would discover it eventually. You are right in everything; I did indeed know that Ghirahim would turn his back on us, although I wish it did not have to be so. “

Fi looks toward the doors of the temple, where Ghirahim had been standing little hours before, the same doors he had shut between them. She shakes her head, sadly.

“I do not understand why he left. It is illogical. You gave him all that he could have ever desired, and is that not all one such as him could want? He viewed himself as your slave. My protests did nothing to deter him in joining Demise,” she sighs.

She dips her head, elegant blue profile struck against the golden sunlight. “Now that Demise has his power, our battle will be more daunting than ever. He is no longer a holy blade – if he was ever one to begin with. We will be forced to smite them both.”

Hylia is silent. Outside the temple walls, the sounds of nature flourish, uncaring of the two beings within.

She outstretches one hand, palm forward, and brings forth the very sunlight, condensing it into two solid figures, dazzling white. So bright are they that the walls are bleached yellow. One figure bears the appearance of Ghirahim himself, and the other, Fi.

Fi watches, quietly, mouth parted, watching as the two forms draw near; the mock-Ghirahim offers his hand to the mock-Fi, and they join together to dance.

Hylia continues. “When in harmony, the elements of light and dark can turn the world into a prosperous, golden land. The light and darkness have always co-existed.”

Hylia clenches her fist, and the shining figures part, Ghirahim turning a piceous, inky black. The form sneers at the real Fi, murky face full of lunatic fury. He offers his hand to her, body oozing onto the floor to pool at her feet.

Fi only tips her chin bravely.

Hylia grins. The light-beings evaporate, back into glimmering sunbeams.

“Ghirahim betrayed us because his own darkness clouded his vision, no matter how bright your shine. Those of Power are also those of ambition. He is the element to balance yours, Fi.”

She raises one arm to sweep it across the air before them, stars crackling to life, the temple now a glowing galaxy.

Fi stands in awe, so near to the stars that she could touch them, their light a phosphorescent silver-blaze. Around the stars is the blackest color she has ever laid eyes upon.

Hylia comes beside her, plucking a star from its refuge in the dark, holding it between them both. It flickers in her palm like a captured firefly.

“You are the light, Fi, the calm to his lust, and the reason to my courage. We three cannot exist without the other. Your role in vanquishing Demise is greater than you might think.”

Hylia coaxes the star back into place, gazing at its brightness. She turns back to Fi, and takes both blue hands into her own. Her voice grows somber.

“Oh, Fi. I only wish you could keep this form and all that comes with the pleasures of mortals. But your role is to guide my Hero, and mortals are impure – there must only be light within you as the spirit of the Master Sword.”

Fi's eyes flicker shut, everything within her washing out, a numb tingle filling her being. She nods, stiffly. Her chest heaves with each quivering breath.

Hylia lowers her head, and where their hands meet, begins a slow ribbon of light, creeping onto each of Fi's fingers. It crawls up her arms and shoulders, bleeding down her breasts and torso. The light hardens into a luminescent blue shell, turning her flesh into crystal.

She watches as Fi's flesh disappears beneath her new form, and all but her head remains, the shell twisting slowly up her neck.

Then, Fi's eyes open, shimmering with starlight. Her voice quakes.

“How will I know who the Hero is?”

Hylia smiles gently. “You will know, Fi.”

They gaze at one another, silently. Then, Fi nods, breathing in.

The last of her vanishes into her new crystalline form, silent and still. Hylia drags a few fingers down that cold, impassive face, free of the impurities of flesh and all the darkness of man.

“You are the light, Fi. Where there is darkness, the light must be present.”


____________________________________________



Before her blazes a fire.

Zelda sits, legs beneath her, atop her bed. Her hands rest easily against her knees, head bent just slightly, flaxen hair falling over one shoulder. Her windows have been covered, so that the only illumination comes from the fire. It saturates everything bright orange and the charred black of shadows.

In her lap, laid carefully across her thighs, the stolen knife flashes menacingly.

Cautiously, she brings it into one hand, the wooden handle smooth and finely grained against her skin. She presses the pad of one finger against its pointed blade, hesitating a moment, before dragging it across her flesh, opening a neat red slice.

She watches the blood drizzle down her palm, splashing her dress and staining it, though she hardly cares.

Zelda sticks her wounded finger into her mouth, laving her tongue against the sore, brows lowered. The blade is, at least, sharp enough to kerf human flesh – whether or not it will work on him is unknown to her.

She tears a strip of cloth from her gown, now worn and faded of its powder-blue color, to wrap the strip tightly around her wounded finger. The blood seeps quickly through it.

Most women would pale at the sight of blood, but Zelda is a knight in her heart, and blood is commonplace when training at the academy.

She chuckles, weakly. In her mind emerges memories of bandaging the wounded knees of her classmates, or cleaning the cuts and scrapes Link often acquired when handling a sword.

“Stop squirming,” she would demand, a hand pressed to his arm or his shoulder, “'You will just make it worse! A future knight must grow used to blood! Oh, Link,” and she would laugh at the blush of shame on his ears, “just think, what if I wasn't here to do this for you?”

Zelda winces, shaking the thoughts away. Back then, she never would have thought that her jokes would become ironic reality; here she sits, away from those she loves most, unable to attend to their wounds, no matter how fiercely she wishes to.

She inhales, jarringly.

“There's a chance I'll fail,” she says to herself. Zelda looks solemnly at the knife, her best chance of escaping this soulless castle and the demon which rules it.

She turns slightly to regard the fire twisting in the hearth, its heat harsh against her cheekbones. She moistens her lips, pressing them into a flat, determined line. She holds the knife in both fists, bringing it close to her face.

She compares the wicked gleam of it to his eyes, often looking upon her with such cruelty and malice; Ghirahim himself is like the blade she holds in her hands, a thing made only for destruction; harsh, sharp, unforgiving.

Zelda lets her mind recall the faces of her loved ones, bleary around the edges, but they bring strength to her, even now.

“There's also a chance I'll succeed.”

____________________________________________


Her mind is a torsion of color and shapes, rushing by faster than she can fathom.

Impa's dark, lean shoulders shudder as she inhales. Her young, noble face is relaxed, thin sable lips slightly parted. Her eyes move ceaselessly beneath her closed eyelids, pale lashes fluttering. She sits in a meditative style, elbows on her knees.

Through her mind's eye, she sails past mountains, rivers and forests, down into caves and beneath the earth itself. She searches the clouds, the volcano, the desert, the forest. She looks in every crag or hollow she can find, yet Zelda's whereabouts remain elusive.

Redwater eyes come slowly open. Struck against the starlight behind her, Impa's dark skin glows ashen, pale blonde hair shot through with white. She stares into the murk ahead of her, as much a home to her as the walls around her. For she is a Shiekah, a woman of shadow and secrets, most at ease with the warm, musky veil of darkness.

She has searched to the very ends of her known world, past and present, yet still there is no proof of Zelda ever being there.

Impa shifts, rolling her shoulders, cracking her elbows, stretching the tenseness away from her legs. The temple of Hylia is hushed, enclosed with night. She has been searching tirelessly for days, but knows no rest must be had, no matter how weary her mind is.

She stares into the darkness, frowning.

“Where is she?”

The shadows have no answer.

Impa sighs, shaking her head. Her gaze roams toward the window she sits beneath, Hylia's image pieced into the glass. It does her little justice, Impa thinks, her otherworldly radiance barely captured.

Impa startles, jaw falling open, eyes wide and glittering.

“I've only searched the world I know,” she whispers feverishly, “I never thought of looking for her in another one.”

Once again, her posture relaxes, eyes closing, mind falling back into her magic. She retreats far into herself, willing her consciousness up into the night sky, even beyond the clouds. She shakes with the effort, sweat pearling on her forehead.

No Shiekah has, in her time, ever surpassed another dimension with their ability of Sight.

There are stars and bodies of light she cannot name, comets thundering across the galaxy, great clusters of rock. Her stomach twists, whole body lit up, heartbeat clapping beneath her ribs, as Impa wills her mind past the fabric of space itself.

When it feels as though her mind will shatter, she finds herself beyond her own dimension, in a one of total and absolute darkness. She can sense the edges of Twilight brushing past its expanse, along with another realm of Nothingness.

Impa concentrates. There's something else, too, something she's felt before, a familiar pulse of energy. She ventures farther in, cautiously. Though her physical body remains in her world, the coldness of this realm shudders into her mind.

“I thought I was finally rid of you, Shiekah.”

His voice rumbles into her head, and Impa gasps in pain.

Ghirahim stands before her, arms crossed, in the dark dimension she resides in, the whiteness of his skin and hair creating a glaring contrast to it.

Impa never wavers. “Where have you taken Her Grace?”

Ghirahim growls, baring fangs. “I have to hand it to you, never have I seen a Shiekah so disgustingly persistent. You've even traveled between dimensions in search for your little Goddess!”

Though Impa's body shudders, her mind remains strong. “Nothing will deter me from finding Her Grace and keeping her safe. It is my duty as a Shiekah.”

Ghirahim flings himself into a rolling backflip, holding his sides and laughing. His laughter is so hysterical it quakes through her bones.

“Indeed!” He shrieks, coming to a stop, chuckling at intervals. “I must say, you have done an atrocious job of it, unless your idea of 'protection' is different from my own.”

Impa glares. “One such as you knows only hatred and rage. What you do is nothing like protection.”

Ghirahim grows very serious then, stilling completely. He tosses his head, silvery hair falling away from the black diamond cut into his cheek.

“Now, that was very rude. Not that I expected any better from you, but there is something you should know about me.”

A terrible grating feeling overcomes her then, like a blade shearing away at the fabric of her mind, past her magic and into her chest. Impa doubles over, arms clenched tightly around herself, crying out.

He's so close in her mind that she can see every pinpoint of gray in his eyes, and Impa realizes that they are not black, but the deep, burgundy color of coagulated blood. He reaches past her consciousness with his own, invading her being, splintering slowly through her body.

His grin has the feral edge of a cat toying with a mouse before he eats it.

“I hate people without manners,” Ghirahim continues, now a voice in her head rather than a physical being, “and you,” a raw, icy feeling creeps into Impa's chest - “are being,” Ghirahim's breathing grows labored - “intolerably rude.”

Impa is thrown from the dark dimension and back into her own, but the feeling of him lingers inside her. She pants shallowly, sweat pouring down her back and wetting her clothes, throat parched, cheeks alight.

Her teeth rattle as the demon speaks again, crowding every corner of her mind and washing away any other thought.

“She's changed, you know,” he says, very carefully, voice the slow run of oil.

Impa sobs in pain, forehead crushed against the stone floor, entire body wracked with shivers, though she manages to croak:

“What do you mean?”

Suddenly the coldness disappears, replaced by a sickly warm feeling, a greasy, slick flow pooling deep into her belly. Impa gags, vision swirling, pushing back against it with all her strength.

His voice becomes dementedly sweet, a mockery of reassuring. He laughs.

“You will know, Shiekah. You will know.”

Impa whimpers when, at last, Ghirahim's presence leaves her. Quaking, she breathes in great breaths of air, folded into herself, lean arms wrapped tightly around her stomach. She licks the sweat away from her lips, a few strands of pale hair clinging close to her mouth. With great effort, she sits upright, head bowed, eyes tightly shut.

“What did he mean,” she breathes hoarsely to the shadows, “oh, Goddess, what did he mean?”
Above her, the image of Hylia smiles serenely, as the first light of dawn chases away the shadows.
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Last Edited by Antigone; 04-01-2012 at 10:36 AM. Reason: Changed a few sentences Reply With Quote
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  #12 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 04-14-2012, 08:52 PM
Antigone Antigone is a female United States Antigone is offline
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Re: Who By Fire [Skyward Sword AU]

Who By Fire - Chapter eight (Omen)

____________________________________________

“As for omens, there is no such thing as an omen. Destiny does not send us heralds. She is too wise or too cruel for that.” – Oscar Wilde
____________________________________________

She sits, still and quiet as she has ever been.

Groose has been outside for hours, still moping, she presumes. The old woman stills a sigh of annoyance, gazing hard at the stone doors before her. She shifts only to pop her knuckles and knees.

Still, she only has so much patience, and sighing, she hefts herself up, walking slowly toward the doors, then finally outside. Midday sunlight burns her weary eyes, yet the grass and trees are green, alive with birds.

Groose sobs pitifully nearby.

The old woman lets go a shaky laugh. “Boy, what do you wish to accomplish standing out here and mourning for yourself? Come now, it does not suit you.”

Groose sniffles boorishly. “Go away.”

She shakes her head, shuffling nearer to lay one hand against his meaty arm. “I cannot do that. Thinking of you out here pitying yourself like a know-nothing child troubles me. Sit with me, Groose.”

He looks down to her, so bent with age she hardly reaches his waist. Sighing, Groose nods, wiping his nose on his sleeve. He follows her to the pit’s edge, sitting down beside her in the grass. Groose looks away from her, tearing grass away from the earth, dropping its twisted remains into a pile beside his knee.

She pats his arm, chuckling, rough but no less musical. Groose bites his cheek, turning toward her, one hand smoothing his hair. She cranes her neck to look at him from under her hood.

“What is it you called that again? Your pompadour?”

Groose grins, nodding proudly. “Yup! And there’s been no finer pompadour in history, Grannie. Girls are crazy for it me in Skyloft!”

The old woman snorts, rocking back slightly. “I’m sure. How did you come up with it, Groose?”

He flushes a florid shade of red. “Well! I just thought it would look nice, you know? No one else on Skyloft had tried it before – so I thought ‘why not?’ I even make the gel myself!”

She nods, one finger pointed to it. “It must have taken some creativity and ingenuity to come up with it.”

Groose rubs his neck, shrugs. “I suppose. A lot of good that ‘creativity’ and ‘ingenuity’ or whatever you call it is doing me now, though.”

A smile curls her thin, wrinkled lips. She slaps Groose lightly on his knee. “Ah, not that again. You cannot expect to be of use to anyone moping around and making wishes.”

He leans forward to rest his chin in one palm, fingers curled up against his lips.

“Yeah, but what can I do? You said it yourself, Stink – I mean, uh, Link is the big hero and everything. All I did was stand around like an idiot while he fought that thing.”

He gestures down to where The Imprisoned lies, sealed away.

The old woman shifts to pop her knuckles, Groose wincing as she does. She lays one hand against his own, her skin dry, fingers curled softly around his palm.

“Think of it this way: You can stand around like an idiot when it awakes again, or you can be useful and help. You want to bring Zelda back, do you not? Sulking will not help her. You have to use your skills to do that.”

Groose lowers his brow, raising his head. “I do want to help Zelda. I was never like this before. Link might have that fancy talking sword, but I have myself! Ain’t that good enough? I think it is!”

His amber eyes stray to the metal gate surrounding the pit’s cusp, before brightening with a smile.

“That’s it!”

Groose laughs, hurtling to his feet, smoothing his hair back. “I think I know what I can do now, Grannie! I guess I do have creativity and ingenuity like you said.”

The old woman smiles up at him. Groose offers one hand, helping her to stand, grinning down at her.
“Thanks, Grannie. I won’t do anybody good feeling sorry for myself. I’m going to make that thing stay down next time. I’m going to do my part and help Zelda. Link shouldn’t take all the credit!”

She makes an approving sound. “I’m glad, Groose. You can thank me by helping me back inside.”

Groose chuckles. “No problem, Grannie.”
____________________________________________

Far away, she can see a pure white lamb, drinking from a deep black pond. A tree hangs over it, rich with foliage. Above it, night sky is bereft of stars.

Zelda calls to it. The lamb continues to drink, and where its mouth meets the water the blackness ripples out. Coming closer, Zelda finds that her pale white dress has been replaced, by one of sheer fabric as black as the pond from which the lamb drinks. But all she can think of is the lamb itself, and feels that it should not be drinking from water so dark and foreboding -


Zelda groans in her sleep, head buried beneath her blanket, her dream growing more vivid.

Grass stains her bare feet as she runs, dress and hair surging behind her.

The lamb remains as it is, looking up only as Zelda wraps her arms around it, its coat impossibly soft, and takes it away from the water. She pants heavily, pressing a kiss to its forehead, running one hand down its back –


She kicks the blankets off and away, curled tightly into herself.

Zelda turns it in her arms, smiling as it cries out, quietly, looking to her with glossy eyes. She can feel its heartbeat faintly against her fingers, its breath soft against her cheek. Though the sky is dark, she can clearly see the lamb in her arms, its coat many shades paler than her own skin.

The lamb’s breathing grows shallow. Zelda frowns, holding its face, petting it gently, and the little lamb lays its head against her breast. She calls to it, blue eyes wide with fright, running her hands up and down its flank.

The lamb is still, dead in her arms.

Zelda's eyes flash open, lying with arms and legs spread, hands wringing into the sheets. The dream peels away any remaining dregs of sleep from her, the lamb's dying image still bright in memory.

She breathes in long and shivering gasps, a few strands of hair sticking close to her lips.

She rises, the blanket falling away from her to fall across the floor. Biting her fingernails, Zelda ventures out of her bedroom, into the corridor, to stand before a great bay window. The heavens are dark, with strange shots of purple and gray winding through the clouds. Though she looks as far as she can, not a single ray of moonlight shimmers within.

A coldness makes its home in her, crawling into her belly, its spindly arms reaching deep within. Zelda presses one hand into the glass, her breath leaving warm imprints upon its surface.

The dream means nothing, she tries to reason.

But -

“It's nothing,” she hisses, hand curling into a fist atop the glass. Her knuckles press hard against it, until her fingers ache from the pressure.

Zelda drags her hand down, hard enough that her skin makes shrill, halting squeaks against the glass.

But -

She sets her jaw, the fine muscles in her neck tensing, collarbones curved viciously out. Curiously, Zelda curls her lips away from her teeth, half expecting them to be pointed like his, yet finding them to be the same as ever.

She wonders if its possible to become a demon simply by being in the presence of one, or if he can, somehow, bleed his darkness into her in the form of nightmares.

“But,” Zelda sighs, “it was just a dream.”

She nods in affirmation, as if doing so will assure her doubts.

Zelda turns away from the window, her shadow branching across the wall before her, its edges barely visible against the nightshade, following her down the hallway as she enters her bedroom.

Sitting at the edge of her bed, she retrieves her book from between the mattress, turning to a random page. It is blotted with age, and she is only able to read the first few sentences.

Breathing in, she reads.

The Goddess Hylia created a holy blade to aid her Hero on his quest, and only he is able to wield the blade -


The lamb's dying face appears in her head, and Zelda gasps, so startled the book crashes to the floor. She presses both hands against her forehead, bending over. With time, the image fades again, and Zelda stares fiercely at the book. It has fallen on its front, spine sticking up, a few pages crumpled beneath it.

Gingerly, Zelda picks it up, doing her best to smooth its wrinkled pages. Sighing, she closes it, placing it between the mattress.

The knife, which has fallen to the floor, gleams by her toes. Zelda picks it up, gazing at it intently.

When? Where? How?

She bites the inside of her cheek. She knows her chances are slim – so small, it may as well not exist – that she will be able to injure him enough to escape, somehow. There has to be an exit. There has to be a way out. She holds onto this hope, because hope is the only real thing in this castle, this place that is and is not, all at once.

“.....this is no fairytale, child.”

Zelda grits her teeth in determination.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow.


The cold air bites down her throat as she inhales, deeply, eyes closed. She stares at the blade a moment more, before slipping it beneath the mattress.

She falls back against her bed, golden hair fanning out, eyes open and staring at the hanging veils above her.

It was just a dream, she reasons, before closing her eyes once more.

____________________________________________

There are endless calculations, numbers and facts and figures, streaming steadily through her.

Fi's world is a place full of light, empty spaces without corners nor walls. She floats, knees pulled to her chest, her billowing sleeves fluttering without a wind to move them. She can sense the world outside, and calculates that her Master has almost finished the Ancient Cistern's puzzles and traps.

He has not called her forth for some time.

There is an 86% chance that Master Link will encounter Ghirahim again.


Fi lifts her head, gazing with sightless eyes toward the sky of this place. There is something else amongst the calculations streaming into her consciousness, somewhere between the estimations and data. Fi concentrates on it, this thing without name, shorn at the edges of her memories.

It vanishes completely.

She lowers her head once again, goes back to calculating -

There is a 50% chance that Ghirahim will challenge Master Link to a fight.

"......And is that not what you want, Fi? To realize your true talents?"


Fi uncurls swiftly, searching for the voice which has disrupted her thoughts; she is alone. She searches the data in her mind, tomes and tomes of information, but no such question has ever been asked of her. Yet there is no mistaking it, her data is not incorrect: that voice was not imagined.

There is an odd sensation trickling up her jewel-slick skin, something which humans call déjà vu. It is not exact, as Fi is certain she is unable to experience such a feeling, being not-human, a thing made from magic –

“……Talent is irrelevant. Feelings are irrelevant. We are incapable of feeling.”

She curls up again, pushing the unwelcome incursion of these words that are not hers away, back into the recesses of her calculations.

____________________________________________

Link throws his head back, downing the last of his healing potion.

Wiping his mouth, he puts the bottle back into his pouch, inhaling deeply through his nose. He stands in the final chamber of the Ancient Cistern, having fought his way through its watery tunnels and hellish caverns.

Before him beckons a stairwell, to which surely leads another monster, another hellion of magic or malice, which he will have to vanquish, like so many before it.

Raising one hand to the hilt of his sword, Link feels Fi's aura warm his fingertips, and she floods him with invigoration.

Gritting his teeth, Link ventures up the staircase, each step leading him closer and deeper to the darkness, until at last he emerges into a room.

Taking his hand away from his sword was a stupid move, Link thinks in hindsight.

He misses a kick to his head by barely a second, so close he can feel the force of it rip through his hair.

Link hurls himself to the side, shoulder slamming painfully into a wall, stumbling back from another kick aimed at his gut. Twisting, Link backflips away, knowing at once who has made him their target; there is no mistaking the burn of that magic against his skin.

His sword is out and shining, though Link does not remember unsheathing it, and parries the swinging black blade, sparks erupting from where the metal meets.

Laughter fulls the dim chamber.

“Still a novice, I'm afraid! That sword of yours may be different, but your skill in wielding her is still rough, at best!”

Link glares as Ghirahim comes into being, a flurry of white and red diamonds, a substantial length away from him.

The Demon Lord makes a tsking sound with his tongue. “If only I were her Master, I could bring about her true capacity. In your hands, she is no more than a plaything. Oh, the things I would do if she were mine.”

Link bares his teeth. “She would never allow you to wield her.”

(He wants to run, run anywhere, because like the gods forsaken hell is he going to let that happen, because he's already lost someone else, but there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide).

Ghirahim rakes the end of his sword into the ground, one hand placed against his hip in an oddly brazen way. He tips his head up, smirking. “You think so? It seems she has been detaining information from you, Hero. Such a shame, when you cannot even rely on your companion to be truthful.”

Link lunges, driving his sword forward, meeting nothing, before being thrown forward as Ghirahim kicks him furiously across his back.

Link slams down hard on hands and knees, the skin of his knuckles peeling away, trousers ripping from knee to shin.

He stumbles up, whirling around to catch Ghirahim's sword, cross-guards locking. They're so close to one another that their reflections are thrown back into their respective swords, face to face.

Ghirahim licks the entire length of his tongue down the edge of his own sword, and Link shudders with disgust.

He takes that moment to sweep one leg beneath Link's feet, and the boy topples to the ground, elbows smashing into the stone. There is no time to think, before Ghirahim cracks a fist against his cheekbone, then again to the other, laughing the entire time, drawing his sword back -

Link thrusts forward, the killing-edge of his sword slicing into the Demon's hip, and he grunts in pain, stopping for just a moment.

Link wastes no chance to stumble upright, cheek throbbing painfully, blotched red and blue. His bottom lip is swollen, bleeding, from where he has accidentally bit into it.

The Demon Lord is entirely unfazed. “Oh,” he sighs mournfully, “I thought you could do better than that. Had you aimed just a little higher, you may have even impaled me!”

Link wipes his mouth with the back of one hand. “You can't be here just to challenge me again.”

“You have impeccable powers of deduction, little Hero. I have little time to fight you, but I can spare a few moments. Humor me, will you?”

And their blades crash together again, swinging, hissing, meeting with bone-shuddering violence.

Ghirahim draws himself close, cross-guards linked once more, blades shuddering. His smile is so wide and strange and wicked it sends icy dread up Link's arms.

“I'll tell you a secret, boy,” the demon breathes, each word a slow, precise growl.

Link's face drains of color, jaw slackening when the Demon leans in, so close he can feel his icy breath, so close, that when he speaks again, their breath mingles intimately.

“Zelda no longer thinks you can save her, Heerrrooo,” he hisses wickedly, serpent-smiling, “as you dawdle here playing catspaw to the Goddesses, she fades away each passing moment, and she'll be mine soon.”

And he laughs in Link's face, letting him wrench away, before they meet blades once more.

Link's entire body shudders, jaw clenched, blue eyes wide and flashing-fierce. “She wouldn't give up so easily. You're lying.”

That smile is back. “Oh? What makes you so certain?”

Link jabs, dodging a killing-swing, neither able to land a blow to the other. There, an opening in his guard, just between shoulder and chest -

Link takes the hilt of his sword in both fists, screaming as he swings his entire weight into a slice, but he's too slow, and Ghirahim disappears.

The Hero whirls around, looking up as Ghirahim re-materializes atop a metal figure in the center of the chamber, balanced on the ends of his toes. Ghirahim gives him a grand, sweeping bow, bent so low his head nearly brushes his feet.

“While it pains me to leave so suddenly, I am afraid I have no more time to toy with you. Thank you, Hero, for being so unfailingly entertaining. I must get back to my duties. Keep the spirit maiden in your thoughts, for she is certainly in mine.”

Link almost thinks his fight is over, but as Ghirahim disappears once more, the room alights, and the previously slumbering monster within it comes to life.

Link thinks of her, and it alone is enough. He fights again.
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  #13 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 05-09-2012, 06:50 PM
Esalia Esalia is a female United States Esalia is offline
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Re: Who By Fire [Skyward Sword AU]

Will you be writing again soon?
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  #14 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 05-19-2012, 01:22 AM
Antigone Antigone is a female United States Antigone is offline
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Re: Who By Fire [Skyward Sword AU]

Who By Fire - Chapter nine (Myth)

____________________________________________

“Where no hope is left, is left no fear.” – John Milton.
____________________________________________

Silently, she counts.

One, two, three.

One – she stands before the mirror.

Two – she reaches behind her neck.

Three – she lets the blade fall into her palm, glinting edge out.

Zelda sets her jaw, gazing at her reflection, a doppelganger from another world, unreal. In the mirror she envisions her plan coming to fruition, vanquishing this evil which steals her shadows. She imagines the sunlight on her face, grass beneath her feet, clouds – and not an endless white ceiling – thrown overhead.

She imagines driving the blade into him, his blood the blackest of inks bubbling up from the wound, falling to his knees before her – and how undignified death makes him – then, she is free.

But these are only fantasies.

Zelda tears a strip of her gown away, taking her hair and tying it back. Into this ribbon she secures the knife, its blade hidden against her nape, a frozen kiss of promise. If she were not under these circumstances, Zelda would think that she looks rather pretty, a few strands of hair framing her cheeks, loosened from their ribbon.

“. . . How will I know who the Hero is?”

She gasps. The voice seems to come from within the mirror itself, however impossible that is. Fearfully, Zelda presses a finger against the glass, finding it to be as solid as ever, and not echoing with phantom-voices she can swear she has heard, once. The face which stares back at her is her own.


“. . . You will know.”


The words feel like her own, though Zelda has never spoken them.

The reflection inside her mirror is warped. If she looks hard enough, Zelda can almost see him pressing through the glass, stark white face alight with bloodlust. He's everywhere to her now, beneath her eyelids and slithering against her skin, the silence of nightfall outside.

He is in everything. She is not certain how, but the Demon haunts her without being dead, as surely as any ghost.

“Ghosts can be killed again,” and she no longer knows whose voice speaks; the reflection, or herself.

____________________________________________

She does anything to occupy herself.

Wandering the halls have proven to be a useless endeavor. She has made and re-made her bed, tucking the wrinkles away, fluffing the pillows, though doing so provides no more comfort than if they had been flat. She places the candles on her vanity in different order. She would clean if dust accumulated, yet not a spot appears.

During the night, she counts the stars. During the day, she reads.

Zelda sits at the edge of her bed, bare feet to the floor, book spread in her lap. She has read this passage many times.

The Goddess Din, patron of desire, strength and war, who wrought the earth with fire, favors those of ambition.

The Goddess Nayru, patron of thought, pride and water, who sown the seeds of law with magic, favors those of foresight.

The Goddess Farore, patron of spirit, bravery and nobility, who planted the teeth of dragons to cultivate life, favors those of conviction.

The Goddess Hylia, patron of time, death and birth, who guarded the Golden Power, favors those of mercy.


The daylight through her window creates strips of darkness along the page, reminding her of the shadow a cage makes. Then, another shadow joins it, blurring the words. She looks up and sees -

A bouquet of eyes – no, not eyes – flowers, muted blue, dark veins running through the flesh, and a black center much like a pupil. She swears they dilate when the sunlight shines along them.

They are dropped unceremoniously into her lap.

“I thought they might give this room some brightness.”

Zelda does not touch the flowers, looking up to Ghirahim standing beside her, the red cloak gone, sun glinting from his jewelry. His skin is paler in the light, the cloak's absence draining of his face any color it has.

She bites the inside of her cheek. “I don't like flowers.

His brow rises. “Nonsense! All human women like flowers. How strange it is, to give them flowers, of all things – they will only wilt. In truth, I only brought these to you because they reminded me of your eyes.”

He changes, face taking on that stark bloodlust she imagined in her mirror -

“Though, I doubt yours would look so lovely if I plucked them out of your head.”

She tries not to shudder, fails, the bottom falling out of her stomach and somewhere near her toes. The flowers feel heavy in her lap. Zelda looks away to the blank wall, his shadow combining with her own.

“Oh, don't be like that,” he says, fingers petting beneath her chin, lighting her with webs of chill. “I meant it as a compliment.”

Those fingers jerk her head up, grasped painfully along her jaw, and his words are full of the worst kind of sweetness, each sliding sibilancy. “The least you could say is 'thank you, Lord Ghirahim.' I go out of my way to cheer you up, using this silly human tradition of giving flowers, when I needn't in the first place. Go on, then.”

Zelda's lips tremble.

Stop.

The grip he has on her jaw burns as if his very skin is on fire.

Stop.

Her throat dries. “Thank you, Lord Ghirahim.”

His hand falls away at last. Ghirahim nods approvingly, running the edge of his tongue along his bottom teeth. “There we are! For that, I'm going to tell you something that will surely put a smile on that lovely face!”

Zelda grasps both hands to keep herself from jumping up. “Link?”

“Mmm-hmm. How clever you are, sweet. You'll be happy to know that I left him alive – this time – and how entertaining he was! He has improved marginally. Who knows, he may even gain enough skill to scratch me one day.”

Zelda keeps her hopes reigned, flooding her mind of the image of Link – I have to concentrate – breathing in.

“You can't keep me here forever. He'll find where I am. It may not be soon, but he will,” she smirks now, “he's more resourceful than you give him credit for.”

Ghirahim curls his upper lip. “Hmph. His resourcefulness has no meaning if he dies while trying to find you. He will have to vanquish me first, and I am afraid, my dearest little Hylia, that such a task is impossible for him.”

He bends to retrieve a flower, and with all the grace of any sweetheart, tucks it behind her ear. Zelda remains still, daring not even to breathe and -

“Be careful in trust. You never know when someone may just pluck your eyes out for it. Trust blinds you, Skychild. It spills over those pretty blue eyes of yours.”

He does not touch her or breathe into her ear or even smile. He rises, and leaves her bedroom, door shutting behind him.

Only after he leaves does Zelda remember the knife, pressed to her nape, a cold promise she has broken.
____________________________________________

“Hold out your sword, Master Link.”

Link is blinded by the fire that burns across her; it speaks of magic and ruin, transforming her into a brilliant glow of emerald. He raises the sword with a quivering arm, heart leaping as Fi flies toward him, into the blade itself, afire with the same light that had been on her.

The magic surges into and through him, a magic so powerful he can feel it pouring into each follicle of his hair. Before his eyes, the blade morphs, growing in length, the guard flaring out like twin wings. Link gives it an experimental swing, before sheathing it once again.

Koloktos has been destroyed. Link can still feel the sting of its saber across his back where the monster had slashed, the blood caking his tunic. He remembers dodging, leaping, rolling and twisting away from its six arms, each coming closer to killing him. If Link had to compare the metal colossus to one thing, it would be a whirlwind, only this whirlwind had wielded blades and not air.

“Zelda no longer thinks you can save her, Heerrrooo –”

Link flings the thoughts away, gritting his teeth.

No, he will not allow himself to think of it, the possibility that that lie may be true –

If it is? Does it mean so much?

Link lingers on his own thoughts, breathing in the darkness around him.

Trust means everything.


Fi's voice echoes as she speaks to him from the blade.

“Master, Farore's flame has purified the blade, and thus, myself. You will now be able to do more damage to your enemies, and I can now communicate with you from within the sword.”

Link blinks. The sensation of her voice vibrating across his skull is a strange, but not unpleasant one. “I'll keep it in mind, Fi.”

The vibration grows softer. “Yes, Master Link. Do you require anything of me?”

Link stares at where the flame had once been, its heat lingering over the walls even now. Without it, the room he stands in is nearly the blackness of pitch. It muffles his words.

“Did it hurt, Fi? The fire, I mean. Can you even feel pain?”

He brushes his hand against the blade's hilt, foolish, though, what meaning would that have to a blade? And lowers his hand.

“No, Master. I am unable to feel pain. I lack the ability to feel any sensation at all. You need not worry yourself.”

Her words hurt him. He doesn't know why, only they do, they strike him with a sudden burst, straight in his chest.

“I'm sorry.”

Why apologize?

He begins to trek back through the darkness, when her voice rings in his head again, lulling as it has ever been.

“It is best this way, Master. I am only a sword. I advise that you think of me as a tool, for that is what I am.”

The pain, again. Link nods against it. He straightens, setting his jaw. “Of course. That's all I needed, Fi.”

She is silent through the rest of the trek back.

____________________________________________


She’s tumbling down, down a hill of grass which slips between her toes -

She’s running so quickly her hair flies behind her, a thick yellow streak, the grass slipping between her toes -

She’s free. She’s freefreefree, of all the darkness and featureless walls like nothing, free of the stale bitter air and most of all, she’s free of him –

Stop.

Zelda opens her eyes. Her vision slowly comes to focus, first blue edges with no shape, before the blue solidifies into the flowers, which she has left upon her bed. Already their petals have begun to shrivel, curling in on themselves like edges of burnt paper.

“They’re anemones,” she remembers because she had been taught about flora at the Knight Academy, when all she ever wanted to learn was about swords. They have some strange meaning, she knows, though the tale is beyond recollection.

He will be here at any moment, just like every night, so she can play obedient and eat, though she has no appetite. He’ll be here at any moment, just like every night, to stain her dreams with nightmares.

She hopes it will be the last.

“Surely I must not repeat myself. I said, ‘I’m waiting!’”

Zelda startles, knocking the vanity chair to one side. This voice was not imagined. She opens the heavy doors, beyond which Ghirahim stands beneath a beam of moonlight, arms crossed. The cloak remains gone, baring his shoulders and arms. She has never noticed how much taller he is until she joins his side; she would not be able to reach his neck even if she stood on tip-toe.

They begin to walk down the hall, lit only by the moon.

He makes no move toward her, not even looking down to her as he speaks. “I see you have removed the flower from your hair. How rude. I could have snapped your neck, but instead I had the graciousness to give you a flower, and you don’t even keep it.”

Zelda says nothing. She watches their joined shadows move across the wall.

The noise of dissatisfaction he makes echoes. “Not talking tonight? I expected you to say something. Where has that annoyingly sharp tongue gone to tonight, I wonder.” He chuckles. “I wonder indeed.”

Zelda imagines the moonlight as the warmth of sun, the white walls as clouds. Her heart hammers, pushing adrenaline into her veins, flushing her cheeks. One part of her says run, and the other says fight.

I can do this.


She imagines the man by her side is Link, who talks pleasantly and smiles without fangs, who does not carry a threat in every sweet word. She imagines sleeping in her own bed, waking to the blue sky.

I can do this.


She’s tumbling down, down a hill of grass which digs between her toes –

-and into Link’s embrace, his tunic stained with the black blood of a demon, alive and well –

I can do this.

Zelda stops walking, gazing at their joined shadows on the wall, his so much larger than her own.

“The flowers are anemones.”

The shadow-Ghirahim tilts his head. “What?”

One.

Zelda trembles. “The flowers you gave me are anemones. Do you know the meaning of them?”

His voice grows rough with irritation. “I was not aware they had one.”

She fights the blood rushing into her ears, thickening her tongue.

Two.

“Yes. Everything has meaning. Anemone was the name of a beautiful fairy who fell in love with the God of Wind. The God’s lover grew jealous of Anemone, and banished her. The God of Wind begged Nayru, the Goddess of Wisdom, to instead transform Anemone into a flower, and Nayru did so.”

Ghirahim is silent, then:

“That is absolute nonsense. Your human myths mean nothing to me. You –”

Three.

Zelda whirls, a circle of blue and gold, blade glaring moonlight from her hand, as she plunges it into his chest as far as it will go –

Blood the color of night bubbles from the wound, wetting his entire front, and his hands rise to his chest –

She stumbles back against the wall, his form blurred by silver moonlight, shadow falling across her face, pale with hope –

Ghirahim does not fall or tremble or gasp in pain.

He smiles -

-and she can't breathe, the walls choking inward -

He smiles, tearing the blade from his flesh, a raw gritty noise, turning its edge upon her -

Zelda screams and -
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  #15 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 06-16-2012, 08:59 PM
Antigone Antigone is a female United States Antigone is offline
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Re: Who By Fire [Skyward Sword AU]

Who By Fire - Chapter ten (Doppelganger)


"Every life is a march from innocence, through temptation, to virtue or vice."- Lyman Abbott

____________________________________________

He smiles -

-and she can't breathe, the walls choking inward -

He smiles, tearing the blade from his flesh, a raw gritty noise, turning its edge upon her -

Zelda screams and -


She wakes.

It feels as if someone has laid burning coals on her bed, her skin is so feverish. Zelda finds herself in her bedroom, the light of dawn pushing beneath her eyelids. Her hair falls in furious tangles down her back, a few strands sticking to her neck.

-his hair shines whiter than moonlight as she falls before him, helpless -

Zelda groans, holding her head. There is no longer blood upon her clothes, the copper-sour taste of fear gone from her lips. As if it was all a dream -

-she feels him take her in his arms, his face blurred with the dregs of unconsciousness. Where her head meets his chest, she can hear no heartbeat.

"Silly thing. I must applaud your bravery, however useless."


-she failed.

Her head feels like cottonfluff, arms and legs flooded with ice so cold it burns. She watches him through her eyelashes, the darkness deepening as he carries her farther down the hall.

He's taking her to her bedroom – her bedroom! Zelda struggles to regain control, but her body remains unresponsive to her fear.

She's laid against the bed, and – 'oh Goddess, what will he do'? Ghirahim leans forward to brush her bangs aside, her skin burning where he touches it.

His voice bleaches the walls of her mind.

"There is only one weapon in the whole universe than can harm me, sweet bluebird. You can no more destroy me than I can freeze time. Keep that in mind. I will not be so forgiving should you try again."

He vanishes into darkness.


Zelda bites the insides of her cheeks, bites until blood pours warm and bitter onto her tongue. She stumbles, stiff-legged, out of bed, into the washroom. The bathwater is perpetually warm, and never dirties no matter how many times she washes. It's only another trick, to fool her into believing this cage has no bars.

She plunges into the water, clothes and all, submerging her entire body beneath its surface.

She failed.

Zelda opens her eyes.

There is no distinguishable end to the ceiling, her breath escaping as useless bubbles in the water. Around her face swirls her own golden hair, glowing with sunlight. The water surges into her dress, suspending it up and away from her body.

Time freezes, just long enough for her to close her eyes.

She's tumbling down, down a hill of grass which slips between her toes -

-and into Link's embrace, his tunic stained with the black blood of a demon, alive and well –


Zelda emerges, choking, throwing both arms over one side of the tub. Water drips into her eyes and mouth, sopping locks of hair trailing to the floor. She breathes deeply, coughing at intervals, until the fog clears from her head.

Rising from the tub, she claws out of her dress, letting it fall with a wet squelch to the floor. Her footprints leave small puddles on her bedroom floor, as she stands before the vanity mirror, naked and dripping.

Again, someone speaks from within its depths.

". . .I do not know. If my plans fail, we leave our fate to greater hands. My power can only stretch so far."

Zelda shudders, gazing harder into her reflection. The voice which speaks now is different, familiar in a strange way.

". . .Understood, Your Grace. May the Goddesses strike me down should I fail you."

Something within her explodes, into a thousand brilliant pieces, thunderous pain shooting into her head. Zelda crashes to the floor, kneecaps slamming into the tile, bent over. There is too much pain for her to even breathe, she'll simply die if it continues -

The pain stops.

Zelda kneels on the floor, shaking and sobbing, raking her fingernails down her arms. She spits her hair from her lips, tearing her bangs away from her forehead with one hand. She remembers his gloved fingers brushing her hair away only hours ago, his skin no longer cold, but fiery hot like coals.

Or was it my own?

She shakes the thought away. Carefully, she stands again to face the mirror. It no longer echoes with voices, finding within it the same reflection, silent. Her skin is unmarked from his hands, no bruises or burns from where his body touched hers as he carried her. She had heard, once, that the touch of a demon will linger, for ages and ages.

Zelda places her palm against the mirror. Her doppelganger smiles back.

____________________________________________

Skyloft remains unchanged.

Link takes comfort in it, knowing he has at least one place to trust, where he can trust nothing else. The houses are the same, unchanged as the first day he was born. He wanders the familiar nooks, around beaten trails worn by many feet.

He remembers chasing Zelda along these same paths, two children playing games to pass the time. She had fallen and skinned her knees, once, neither crying nor complaining, so unlike himself. As a child, Link was the one who cried at such things, and it was Zelda who comforted him, more than anyone.

Link chuckles to himself. He stops before the training hall, filled with shouts and the clang of swords. He misses the sound of her voice in the din, cheering for him on the sidelines, sometimes sparring against him herself.

No matter ardently he tries to remember, he finds Zelda's image blotting away, as distant to him as the Sky.

Link looks to the dirt, frowning so deeply it creates winkles at the edges of his mouth.

"Enough of this."

Spinning on his heels, he trudges away from the Academy, past the houses and noise, to kneel at the bank of a pond at the edge of spring water tastes, feels and smells the same – it smells like the sky looks, and tastes even better. Link splashes it onto his face, the jolt of coldness clearing his mind.

Cupping the water in his hands, he stares into it, past his own reflection.

He's already forgetting her, and that fills him with more fright than anything he's seen or felt. It's a brumal frost stuck someplace between his heart and breastbone, hissing, this fear that he'll someday forget her.

Or, worse, lose her.

Another reflection joins his in the water. Turning back, Link cranes his neck as far as it will go, to gaze up at Gaepora, standing behind him. The old man grins.

"Glad to see you back, Link. I hope you don't mind my interruption."

The boy shakes water from his fingers, returning an uneasy smile. "No, of course not."

Gaepora laughs a belly-deep rumble, coming to sit beside him on the grass. "Wonderful. It's been a while since we last talked."

Link has to tilt his head upwards to gaze at the man's face, aged but not weary. There is less of a spark in his eyes since all this began, but Link finds reassurance in it nonetheless.

"Headmaster Gaepora, I -"

Gaepora jabs his elbow into Link's arm. "None of that. I didn't come here to hear your apologies, you have none to make. Do something else for me, will you?"

Link nods without hesitation.

Gaepora points one thick finger up. "Look to the sky for a moment."

Link raises his head toward the sunlight, the same sun that shone yesterday, the day before that, the moment he opened his eyes as a newborn. Constant, glowing with a light so saturated it burns everything yellow-orange.

"We should all be more like the sun, don't you think?"

Link cranes his head in question.

"Ah," Gaepora pats his gut, "I meant to say that we should all be as fearless as the sun. Think of it, Link; the sun has no hesitance about the day before it. It rises even if the events ahead of it seem daunting. What would we do without it, boy? No crops, no warmth."

Link blinks, nods, shuffles his feet in the dirt. He knows the allusion Gaepora makes. He looks to the side, out across the sky spanning its great arms all around them.

He breathes in, lips wanting to form words, terrible words of confession not even his mind will utter.

Gaepora thumps one large hand against Link's shoulder. The boy looks up, startled and a little guilty. His smile is only halfway-there.

"I won't ask what has happened, Link. You've enough on your mind as it is. This self-doubt of yours doesn't suit you."

Link swallows, licks his lips, dipping his head in slow agreement. The wind carries the laughter of someone from across the water.

A frown pulls at Link's lips. He's almost angry at them for it, their ability to laugh at such times, but he's thankful more than angry – that laughter can still exist, even if he doesn't feel it.

Groaning slightly, Gaepora stands, crimson robes waving in the breeze. He points one thick finger toward the sky, and Link follows the line up, up, past the clouds and the blue, then finally to the sun, radiant.

When he looks down again, Gaepora is gone. Link smiles.

". . .Take her if you wish, Skychild! But know that she will always belong to me. Did I not tell you she would change?"

Link leaps to his feet, ready to draw his sword at – nothing.

Cautiously, he looks around, but the voice has come from nowhere. His brow furrows. His hand comes to rest at his side once more.

". . . think that. She may have changed, but she will never be yours. I won't allow it. . ."

"No matter what," Link mumbles. He blinks, startled.

What in Hylia's name…?


He sits back down, holding his head in one hand. Closing his eyes, he breathes deep, letting the spring air cool his face.

"Master Link, are you well?"

The sensation of Fi's voice trickling into his skull makes him squirm, oddly ticklish.

His tongue is dry like sand, and moves thickly in his mouth. Link swallows with effort.

"I don't know, Fi. I guess I should lie down. I'm probably just tired. Thank – I, well. Yes, I'm probably just tired."

Her voice remains unchanged.

"Is there anything you need of me? I suggest you drink a health potion as soon as you acquire one."

Link opens his eyes to the burning sunlight, reflected off the water.

"No, that's all."

Above him, the sun shines, bright as ever.

____________________________________________

Ghirahim feels almost sorry for her.

Being what he is, however, such an emotion is impossible.

He presides, once again, in the void of darkness, alone. Through a rip in its fabric he watches her. The dress she wears is still damp, faded from lovely blue to dull white. Her head is bent over a book, the same one she has undoubtedly read cover to cover by now. He finds it pitiful, but he watches her nonetheless.

She is nothing like him. None of them are.

Casually, he examines one bare hand, the palm free of calluses, fingernails trimmed to just the right length. Ghirahim smiles to himself; perfect, as always. No flaws or blemishes, nothing to mark him as human.

He looks back to Zelda, small and frail and so very flawed. It would take him more effort to blink than to kill her; strangle her in her sleep, or to drown her in the bathtub.

But he needs her. She is too important to waste on a thrill, a passing moment of entertainment.

Ghirahim licks his lips in a contemplative way. He imagines her wreathed in a gown of midnight, her innocence gone, soul to do with as he pleased.

Nothing would satisfy him more, than to take this purity of hers and quash it, send her soul to the depths of hell, to burn this world to the ground.

Ghirahim clenches his jaw so hard it creaks, an electric rush of anger fizzling up his arms.

"Damn that Sheikah witch for botching my magic! The things I would be doing to you!"

Tossing his head, he laughs gleefully. "She will be so very disappointed when it comes back, and I take Zelda as my own to sacrifice. My Master need not wait much longer, nor myself."

Closing his eyes, Ghirahim pictures it in his mind; Zelda lifeless in his arms, her flaxen hair tangled in his fingers. By his feet Link lies sprawled, bloodied and broken, no longer a hindrance.

He breathes in the darkness, letting its murk wash into his lungs. Exhaling, Ghirahim opens his eyes, gazing down at Zelda once more.

"How wonderful it is, to have my plans fall into place. The brunt of my magic is slowly returning. As powerful as that Sheikah's spell was, mine is greater still."

Zelda looks up from the book just then, casting her gaze around the room, as if she has heard him speak. From this angle he can clearly see the slope of her nape, her hair pushed over one shoulder – and what a lovely neck she has, just the right size to wrap his hands around it – Ghirahim shudders.

Slowly, she goes back to reading, the afternoon light shining past her and onto the withered flowers on the vanity.

He watches her trace the page with a few fingers, before closing it once more. She looks somewhere beyond his field of vision, the sunlight illuminating her face, and she looks more a Goddess now than he has ever seen her.

"Soon enough," Ghirahim smiles.

He watches. He watches.

____________________________________________

Link screams in pain as a Bokoblin slices his shoulder with its blade, blood wetting the ground.

He ducks and rolls to the side, whirling upwards to rend his sword into the creature's belly. Its foul blood splashes his wrists and neck, turning the collar of his tunic a muddy green. Link twists to avoid another Bokoblin, parrying violently.

Dodge, counter, parry, stroke – he kills the other in one swift strike.

Link has found himself to be very good at killing things, now.

He hates it.

Eldin volcano looms up, an earthen giant bleeding lava. The heat of the air has caused Link to sweat through his tunic, dampening his hair. It does nothing to mask the smell of sacred magic on his clothing, hours after he has left the Silent Realm.

Wincing, Link retrieves a potion from the pouch at his waist, downing the concoction in one swallow. Pulling up the sleeve of his tunic, he watches his skin weft together again, the pain vanishing.

Casting one last glance to the dead Bokoblin's at his feet, Link proceeds up the trail, leading him deeper into the volcano.

Fi speaks to him from deep within the blade.

"Master Link, do not feel remorse for those creatures. Had you not killed them, they would have surely killed you. They are nothing but servants to Lord Ghirahim. There is a less than one-percent chance they would have spared you."

Link stops, staring blankly ahead.

"Is that how all monsters are, Fi? Merciless creatures?"

Fi emerges from the sword, somersaulting gracefully in midair. From her springs the smell of fresh water. Link breathes deeply of it, nodding for her to continue.

"I have no definite answer to your question. However, I can surmise that your evaluation of them is correct. Creatures like Bokoblins and Lord Ghirahim exist only to destroy, Master Link."

Link feels something boiling red surge within him – something like anger, something he is not used to feeling – his voice is heavy in his own ears.

"But why?"

Fi tilts her head.

"I cannot answer that question for you. I apologize. Master Link, I am not human, so I therefore am unable to…contemplate such matters. I am a weapon, nothing more."

Link grits his teeth, jerking his head away. "Right. That's all I wanted."

Wordlessly, she disappears into the sword again.

Alone, Link treks farther up the trail, feeling that he is somehow being pulled along by puppet strings, with each step he takes.

____________________________________________

Comments and likes are very much appreciated
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  #16 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 06-17-2012, 03:34 PM
Esalia Esalia is a female United States Esalia is offline
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Re: Who By Fire [Skyward Sword AU]

I love how you take Ghirahim's evilness to a new level! Instead of sexual thoughts, they're violent, and it's super creepy! Plus the hearing voices thing makes me curious... I just love all of it! <3
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  #17 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 06-17-2012, 06:38 PM
American Soldier United States American Soldier is offline
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Re: Who By Fire [Skyward Sword AU]

Ahoy.

Pinkie Pie is here for the first time, but she asks you leave some feedback on her own work, Drow, after she's finished leaving feedback on Who By Fire.

While your narrative is pretty snappy and at times compelling, your descriptions are lacking. In the the first paragraph of the story, you throw names at the reader without placing them in context. Who is Zelda? What does she look like? What of Link? What of Skyloft? Pinkie Pie has never played Skyward Sword, so she doesn't know what these things look like.

This is a problem that persists throughout the first chapter of your story. Things are introduced while assuming the reader is familiar with them. Fi seems an excellent example. What if Pinkie Pie came in with no knowledge of her? What is she to imagine when a name flashes on screen with nothing to associate it with?

Always write fanfiction as though you're writing it for someone unfamiliar with the series. That doesn't mean explaining backstories or expositing, but it does mean providing description for the more important things that aren't common enough for the reader to imagine them without aid. The best fanfiction can be understood by many, but appreciated by fans.

But, for all this talk of description, Pinkie Pie did enjoy the first chapter, the sections with Ghirahim more than anything else. Your narrative is catchy, you just need to supplement it with details.
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  #18 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 06-17-2012, 08:11 PM
Antigone Antigone is a female United States Antigone is offline
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Re: Who By Fire [Skyward Sword AU]

@Esalia: Thank you!

@Pinkie Pie: Thank you for your well-thought comment, I don't get those very often

That said, I have to disagree with writing fanfiction as if the reader is unfamiliar with the characters. By writing fanfiction, you must automatically assume that the reader is familiar with the characters...why would they be reading it otherwise? Why should I describe a character my reader has, most likely, already become familiar with? I don't need to know what a character looks like if I know that character. Offering description for an already existing character in an already existing series seems rather pointless to me, IMO.

Also, you seem to have only based your critique on the first chapter. May I suggest reading the whole story before offering critique? I admit that the first chapter is not the strongest, but if you'd have read the whole thing, you would have found that the chapters are (slowly) improving.

On descriptions: I Am Vague. Those familiar with my other stories know I don't focus on description, but on the emotion of the scene. To me, less is more. I dislike going into great detail about every little dewdrop on every little flower, when I could be using that space for more important content. I'm certainly not the author to go to if you're looking for description of every last detail. Description IS important, yes, I agree - I simply don't put as much of a focus on it.

These fics, for example, are written in a similar fashion, which is to say, my lack of great description is part of my writing style. I see no reason to change it. This is simply how I write. I'm not at all saying your suggestions are invalid or that you're wrong for suggesting an alternative way for me to write, however.

That said, I will try to put a little more imagery into the future chapters, it certainly wouldn't hurt, and I truly do appreciate your feedback. Again, thank you!
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Old 06-17-2012, 08:46 PM
American Soldier United States American Soldier is offline
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Re: Who By Fire [Skyward Sword AU]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antigone View Post
@Esalia: Thank you!

@Pinkie Pie: Thank you for your well-thought comment, I don't get those very often

That said, I have to disagree with writing fanfiction as if the reader is unfamiliar with the characters. By writing fanfiction, you must automatically assume that the reader is familiar with the characters...why would they be reading it otherwise? Why should I describe a character my reader has, most likely, already become familiar with? I don't need to know what a character looks like if I know that character. Offering description for an already existing character in an already existing series seems rather pointless to me, IMO.

Also, you seem to have only based your critique on the first chapter. May I suggest reading the whole story before offering critique? I admit that the first chapter is not the strongest, but if you'd have read the whole thing, you would have found that the chapters are (slowly) improving.

On descriptions: I Am Vague. Those familiar with my other stories know I don't focus on description, but on the emotion of the scene. To me, less is more. I dislike going into great detail about every little dewdrop on every little flower, when I could be using that space for more important content. I'm certainly not the author to go to if you're looking for description of every last detail. Description IS important, yes, I agree - I simply don't put as much of a focus on it.

These fics, for example, are written in a similar fashion, which is to say, my lack of great description is part of my writing style. I see no reason to change it. This is simply how I write. I'm not at all saying your suggestions are invalid or that you're wrong for suggesting an alternative way for me to write, however.

That said, I will try to put a little more imagery into the future chapters, it certainly wouldn't hurt, and I truly do appreciate your feedback. Again, thank you!
When JK Rowling wrote the sequels to the original Harry Potter novel, she could have assumed that all readers up till that point were familiar enough with her characters to imagine what they looked like without requiring further description. She did not. Each time a character is reintroduced in subsequent books, they are given description enough for new and old reads alike to imagine them.

What you must keep in mind when writing fanfiction is that your story doesn't take place in the established universe. It takes place in your version of that universe, that personalized version with extra blemishes and touches that weren't established in the source material. It's a strong writer that is able to convey fanfiction to both fans and non-fans alike. You do yourself no favors by skimping on the descriptions, since it detracts not only from the experience of non-fans, but from the experience of writers.

So, though you defend it as stylistic, it is simply laxing in description.
Last Edited by American Soldier; 06-19-2012 at 01:50 AM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 06-17-2012, 09:03 PM
Antigone Antigone is a female United States Antigone is offline
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Re: Who By Fire [Skyward Sword AU]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinkie Pie View Post
When JK Rowling wrote the sequels to the original Harry Potter novel, she could have assumed that all readers up till that point were familiar enough with her characters to imagine what they looked like without requiring further description. She did not. Each time a character is reintroduced in subsequent books, they are given description enough for new and old reads alike to imagine them.

What you must keep in mind when writing fanfiction is that your story doesn't take place in the established universe. It takes place in your version of that universe, that personalized version with extra blemishes and touches that weren't established in the source material. It's a strong writer that is able to convey fanfiction to both fans and non-fans alike. You do yourself no favors by skimping on the descriptions, since it detracts not only from the experience of non-fans, but from the experience of writers.

So, though you defend it as stylistic, it is simply more description.
But JK was writing an original story set in an original universe. I am not. I may be writing in a slightly different universe than what was established in SS, but the universe, as a whole, has remained the same.

Again, I must respectfully disagree. I don't believe I'm "skimping" on writing or doing my readers a disservice for writing the way I do. I'm not making excuses, and I certainly understand your reasoning, but by you telling me I'm doing a "disservice" to my readers simply because my writing is not up to your standards is rather offensive. Again, I'll clarify that your reasoning is completely understandable, and I am by no means denying that my descriptions, and the story as a whole, doesn't need improvement. I'm just saying "this is the way I write, what works for you doesn't work for me."

Can we just agree to disagree on this? I realize you're trying to help me, and it's greatly appreciated, and noted! I simply don't feel like debating this point any further.
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