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Literature
A Master's Requiem: Chapter 15In the dark hallway outside Faheem’s secret home, he rematerialized from a particle warp, stumbling when his feet met the cold stone. From his sheer exhaustion, he failed to teleport directly inside, and instead ended up outside. He sighed with frustration and cursed under his breath. He then approached the hidden door and muttered the spell, causing the door to reveal itself. Then it rose upward and he moved forward. He stopped in the doorway however, when he thought he sensed a presence inside. Maybe…he was being paranoid? No one knew where his house was, so it should be safe still. He must be imagining things, he decided, and stepped inside. His bedroom door was on the opposite side of the main room, and he immediately went there first. Thankfully he always kept extra robes and mantles. When working with children, it was important to have extra clothing just in case. His thoughts drifted to the last time he had to return home to change in the middle of a school day. At the time he had walked in on a class doing art, and one of the six year old boys spilled paint all over Faheem’s robes. He smiled at the memory for a moment as he changed, though he moved albeit slowly. With his magic, he maneuvered the soiled robes to make sure he didn’t get any blood on himself, and then put his clean robes on. Viewing his closet, he realized all he had left was his formal attire. Perhaps he should bring them? He banished that final pair of robes into his shadow, just in case, and finished dressing himself. With the new mantle clasped into place, he looked over to the bedside table to see his journal there. How long had it been since he wrote in it? Then he thought—perhaps he should write. He should write out his feelings for Yldae. If anything, it would be an outlet so he could focus on the tasks ahead of them.He picked up the small book and exited his bedroom to sit at his desk just outside the door, dusting off the tabletop before picking up his quill. What to say…? Then, he decided instead to write Yldae a letter, and plucked a page from his journal to begin writing. ”Yldae, my Dae. I’m writing you, to say that I love you. No, more than that. With my heart and soul, I ache for you. Every time our eyes meet, my heart swells until I feel as though it will burst from my chest. My flesh is warm every time we touch. The touch of your hand in mine…your embrace. I’m nearly driven to the point of madness just thinking of you, holding myself back even though I am so tempted to taste your lips. The tantalizing thought of us together, with my body and yours forever entwined.My Dae, I have loved you my entire life. But my heart was locked and my eyes were blind. I saw only the everyday, living my life in utter silence. You are the key that unlocked my heart, and you opened my eyes. When I opened them, I saw you. Finally, I could recognize that my feelings for you were that of the deepest love I have ever felt for anyone. Instead of deafening silence, my soul could sing. And the winter that I was, melted into the spring that you are.In the coming days, we will speak to the council. I dread the thought that something will happen. But I could not bear the thought of not in the least writing this, my heartfelt words. In case I should meet my death at Tellah’s hands, I want you to know that I am truly, deeply sorry. If I am dead when you read this, I failed you. I failed Ylith. Please forgive me, if I was unable to save her from death. Forgive me, if you must learn of my love for you through these written words. If my soul is with the goddesses, listen to the wind and hear my breath. I will always be with you. I love you.With my love, your Faheem.”With that, he folded the parchment and wrote Yldae’s name on the front with the current date, and tucked the letter into the back of his journal. He knew that if something happened to him, Yldae would find that letter there. As he opened the drawer to his desk, he paused when he thought he heard someone sobbing.Faheem furrowed his brows and quickly placed his journal in the drawer and shut it, standing from his desk and carefully treading the stone so he wouldn’t be heard. He checked the dining area, looked underneath the table, and then moved to the balcony. For a moment he watched the sky, before shaking his head and returning to the kitchen.Hearing the sobbing again, his gaze turned toward the stairs, and he moved toward them and peered up the steps.Someone was up there, in his personal library, he realized.One step at a time, he moved up the stairs, muttering a spell of silence so not even his robes would make a sound. He couldn’t take any risks—who could possibly be in his house this late at night? At the top of the stairs, he turned his gaze toward the empty space on his right, which he normally kept open for training purposes. He learned in the past it was best not keeping any furniture in that area, in case he had a spell backfire on him. But no one was over there, so he turned the corner on his left to see the bookshelves lining the walls, and the figure curled up behind the chaise lounge.His eyes widened when he realized—Ylith was the one sobbing. He immediately rushed over to her, kneeling in front of her. He reached out to touch her shoulder. “…Ylith, are you alright? What happened?!” he exclaimed, though with a gentle voice. A scream escaped Ylith when she felt Faheem's touch and shuffled backwards in an effort to flee in her panic. Her bright eyes were wide with terror as she held her arms over head. She wanted to protect herself, but the images of her nightmare still flashed before her eyes, even as she stared into the void. The memories replayed in her mind over and over again-- her dream felt too real to forget. Her entire, curled up form was wracked by sobs when the nightmare began anew, when it had started so peacefully."I love you, my dear Ylith..." Otheno called with a warm smile as he held his lover gently, letting her run her fingers through his long, dark hair. Ylith returned his smile with one of her own, meeting his gaze. Finally, she could hold her beloved again-- her Otheno. Yet, their love was doomed when the father of her children fell silent, collapsing in her arms and to the ground. "Otheno...?" she called, her eyes wide with horror. The glint of metal she saw from the corner of her eye caused her to turn to look and see the blood on the blade, only to look up and meet the dark, bloodshot eyes of a tall figure with matted hair. His body was pitch black, but the wild eyes and the markings on his face that lay like blood against his skin left no room for doubt. This was him, the madman whom stole her lover's face and took him from her.She stared at the madman in fear, but jumped when he suddenly shook the blood from his knife and raised the bloody blade toward her. Ylith ran, the sheer terror visible in her wide eyes, and didn't dare look back in her fear. The madman's laughter rang in her ears as he chased the shorter woman, despite her efforts to shut the sound of his voice out with her hands. She wanted to flee, but with every stride, felt as though her curse crept further along her skin. She slowed down, and the madman caught up to her, grasping her hair and cutting her long locks in the middle when he tried to strike her. Then he grabbed her by her hair, pushing her to the ground and pinning her there, his large clawed hand holding her head down as he loomed over her. He raised the blade and laughed darkly at the horror in her eyes. Then he brought it down...and Ylith cried out.Faheem gently shook her shoulder when she screamed again, but furrowed his brows when she wouldn’t look at him. Instead, she seemed to look past him. Her eyes wouldn’t move when he waved his hand in front of her face, and he increasingly grew worried with every moment.“Ylith?” he called again, feeling the adrenaline beginning to pump through his own body. What happened to her? Had her curse taken away her sight? He then leaned toward her to hold his head by hers and look in the direction she was facing. She cried out again and pointed at something at a body’s length distance from them, and Faheem moved again to look at her neck. Slowly, the runes were spreading—cutting into her flesh and leaving new marks.“You are hallucinating, Ylith…” he frowned, then shook his head. Wracking his memories for ideas on what to do, he remembered a time as a teenager when Tellah taught him how to use a spell to give himself the sight of another person. At the time he was instructed to practice on someone Tellah had induced terrifying hallucinations, all so that Faheem could use this sight to see it himself. Faheem shook his head at the memory…he had nightmares and headaches for weeks following that day. But Ylith was important to him and Yldae both, so he was willing to suffer those potential side effects for her sake.His hand hovered over Ylith’s head, and he took a deep breath to calm his nerves. “Susiv tse muem ared sye…” he muttered, and his eyes inverted their color to a glowing blue. When he turned his gaze where Ylith was staring with horrified eyes, he gasped. A dark figure, black as pitch, with blood red eyes and marks from what should be the jaw, to the eye and through to its forehead. Faheem recognized that mark...it was Otheno. A shadow of him. But…was his own memory projecting itself into this vision, in order to make sense of the horror Ylith was seeing? He couldn’t be sure. “…Ylith, listen to me. I see this monster you see…”"N-No--!! I need to leave! He'll kill you-- He's going to find us...!!" Ylith cried and covered her ears, shaking her head when Faheem spoke again. While it sounded like it truly was his voice, she was unsure whether it was her mentor or an attempt to deceive her. Was it even a dream anymore, or was it real? Ylith couldn't shake the feeling that they were in danger despite the fact that no one knew where his house was. But if the shadows had already found and haunted her in her dreams, how could they be sure they wouldn't be found here now?Ylith's breathing grew heavier at the thought, she was beginning to hyperventilate in her fear that only grew at the sound of the black figure's voice. "My dear, sweet Ylith...Look at me." it called, and she looked up to meet its blood red eyes. She gasped and backed away when she saw the shadow moving closer and raising its bloodstained blade, but froze when her back met the stone wall. The sight of the maniac's lustful grin only fueled her panic."...get...get away from me..." she stuttered, then collapsed into Faheem for support, clinging to him as she held on to his robes tightly. "F-Faheem..!" she called, her wide eyes still set on the dark figure, but buried her face in Faheem's neck when the shadow could almost reach them, ready to strike. Her mentor had to support her when her strength was waning. "P-Please...! Faheem-- Help-- Help me...!"To Faheem, whatever it was Ylith was seeing, he knew she was terrified of. He felt his own fear creeping up from the pit of his stomach as the shadow moved closer. Using the spell of vision allowed him to see this hallucination--though it even made him feel uneasy. "...It will be alright, Ylith, trust me." Faheem said, trying to reassure her. When she screamed again as the figure drew closer to them, he raised his palm toward the shadow. Muttering a spell, he then waved his hand and the figure screeched as the hallucination was banished from Ylith's mind. Faheem blinked and shook his head as the spell of vision wore off. A headache pierced behind his eyes, making him groan and grip his head to rub his temples. Not surprising that the spell would give him a headache, as it did the same the last time he used it. He opened one eye to look at Ylith as she still held onto him, and he lowered his hand from his face to pat the top of her head."...the evil is gone..." he said to her, shushing as she continued to cry. "...Look up and see my face, Ylith." He coaxed, knowing that he still needed to rid her of these hallucinations. Since they were based in her curse, it wasn't something a healer could fix. He had to read the runes on her neck again to deactivate this part of her curse. Otherwise she could go mad or hurt herself trying to escape these terrifying visions.Ylith held on to her mentor for a few more moments, before looking up at the sound of his voice. She jumped a little, almost startled when he spoke, but finally dared to turn her head and look where the figure was before. It was gone. Ylith finally relaxed a little, and her breathing slowed. Faheem was right, she thought, and she could trust him. But she had to be sure.Ylith's grip on Faheem's robes loosened and she lifted her head, but the younger woman still seemed to look right through him. She slowly reached a shaky hand up until her fingers grazed his jawline. Her eyes widened slightly for a moment, both surprise and relief written on her features. "F-Faheem..." she called softly, and gently cupped the side of his face with her dainty hand. "...you're real..."Faheem nodded in response, and took Ylith's shaking hand in his, turning her palm upward to view the runes he placed there so many years ago. They still glowed from having been activated, but he frowned. Then the runes on her neck caught his eye, and he sighed. "...allow me to read the runes on your neck, Ylith." he said to her, and she tilted her head enough for him to look. There was a new rune there, that he didn't see when he visited her house recently. Her curse was certainly progressing, and faster than he expected. But this particular rune...it caused hallucinations and nightmares. He lightly pressed two fingers into her neck, over the rune, and muttered a spell. Because the rune was fresh, it deactivated without much trouble. Ylith then met his gaze, and her eyes softened. "...how do you feel?"Ylith shook her head without a word, still visibly shaken by her experience. Faheem stood up and offered his hand to her, which she took and was shaky on her feet. He guided her down the stairs carefully, led her to a seat at his table, and then prepared tea for them both. In his mind, he mulled over what happened in effort to make sense of it. He knew that the spell of vision was supposed to be accurate. So why then...would it have been Otheno in her nightmare? After the many minutes of silence, Faheem set two cups on the table and poured tea for them both, before sitting at the table opposite of her. She looked exhausted and overwhelmed, he noted, but frowned again."...what happened, Ylith? It has been some time since you've used that spell I placed in your hand...you are safe here, and here you are free to speak."Ylith turned her head away after looking around the room for a moment, her eyes scanning the area until she felt there was no danger lurking anymore. With her fingers, she traced a line down her neck to her shoulder and back, coming across the new rune there that Faheem had deactivated as she tried to form a clear thought."...I-I'm not sure..." she replied softly, blinking her eyes and frowned. She shook her head, and tried to remember what had driven her to her mentor's home, what had caused her panic. "A-A nightmare...? I don't know...What was I...?" she added, and her gaze finally settled on the cups on the table. She watched quietly as the swirls of steam slowly rose from the tea and thinned out until it disappeared into the air. Tea...a welcoming distraction. She was grateful that Faheem was willing to take the time to tend to her needs, even at this time of day-- the middle of the night.She slowly extended a shaky hand toward her cup, but her hand flinched and Ylith pulled back when the images of her nightmare flashed before her eyes. Her hands rose to hold her head, and she gritted her teeth at the painful memory. "I-I--" she gasped, and her hands moved from holding her head to grasping her shoulders as she shivered from the cold, "I remember...I woke from a nightmare, fled-- I saw...I saw how my-- my husband died in my arms, killed by a fiend...I-I...!"Ylith wanted to say more, but covered her mouth with her hands when tears stung in her eyes, in an effort to keep any sobs from slipping from her lips. Instead, the younger woman closed her tired eyes and cried quietly as the tears flowed down her dark skin.Faheem furrowed his brows a little at the word ‘husband’. Had Ylith ever spoke of her missing lover as a husband in the past? He didn’t remember a time that she did, though it had been a long day and he was tired as well. Instead of speaking, however, he lay the tips of two fingers on the rim of the teacup. He sighed as the liquid glowed, rising up and over the rim, taking shape into whatever he thought of in his mind.His memories drifted to a time Ylith excitedly explained to him what the flowers in the light world looked like, and the liquid rippled as it moved. “…Ylith.” Faheem called, and when she opened her eyes, they softened when she saw his tea shaped like two similar, but different flowers. “…you originate from the light realm, as I was born in the twilight realm. Both worlds are different, yet similar. The gerberas flower from twilight…much larger and more rigid petals than its light-world counterpart, the smaller daisy…and despite their differences, they are within the same family…” he trailed for a moment when Ethine crossed his mind. “…perhaps, it is the recent struggle within this family that spurred your nightmares—as though in your subconscious, you fear losing anyone else after your husband disappeared. I assume you have not seen him in many years. And…with Ethine’s recent outbursts following Othyl’s injury, I understand why you are worried.” He frowned. Though he knew the hallucinations were caused by her curse, he wasn’t so sure the initial nightmare was. Stress often leads to nightmares, which he knew so well for himself. Just the thought of Ethine forbidding him to return to their house made him sigh, but he knew she brought stress upon her mother, whether she realized it or not.The former healer wanted to muster a smile at the thought of the Light realm, her mother's world, but then another wave of tears washed over Ylith like the other realm's rain that she had always loved so much. Faheem spoke the truth, even if he wasn't aware of every little detail-- only Ylith was to blame for that, she felt, if only she'd dared, or found the strength to break a promise she'd once made to the man she loved. Faheem was right...She feared losing anyone else when she'd already lost her beloved, and she wasn't far from losing Ethine now. Her beloved, her husband-- she has seen his face, yet she hadn't seen her dear Otheno for so many years. A painful truth she was unable to share."I-I'm sorry, Faheem..." she managed with a shaky voice and wiped at her tears with both hands, hiding her face for a moment, ashamed that her mentor should see her like this. She rested a hand above her raging heart, then took a deep breath and reached for her cup, holding it between her hands and staring down at it. Faheem frowned for a moment, tilting his head a little at her apology. “…whatever are you sorry for, Ylith?” he asked. But as he was about to speak again, Ylith spoke up with a hasty explanation."I feel as though Ethine is slipping away from me...I'm so sorry...for the things she said...for everything." Ylith finally added through the silence as Faheem's gentle gaze lingered on her.“…I did not realize you heard her forbid me to visit again…” A single tear rolled down her cheek and fell, creating small ripples as it hit the tea's surface. "I-it’s not that exactly...I'm scared of losing her...of losing you. All of you. I'm not sure I'll survive losing anyone else...I can only beg for your forgiveness, Faheem...for her accusations, and her...hatred towards you and my sister. I heard them. I heard Yldae and Ethine as they fought, their words like daggers. I-I don’t know if I should tell you what they said to each other. I wish…I wish she could understand that you, more than anyone else...that I trust and care about you as much as I love her, her siblings and my sister...and know the bond between you...you, Faheem, and Yldae. I'm...so sorry...."Faheem’s gaze glowed warmly, although his expression held a look of sorrow. He didn’t know that Ethine started a fight with Yldae—but he knew they needed to talk about it. “…There is nothing to forgive you of, Ylith. Her words were her own—though I know it is easy to feel responsible for the wrongs of your own child. I have not fathered a child yet…however I have taught many children. Raised orphans to adulthood. Every so often there is a child that, despite the efforts of everyone around them, they struggle to feel the love in front of them. Zant is a notable example of this, and Ethine is as well. She has the love of yourself…her mother, Yldae, her siblings, as well as Miana and myself…and yet…there are thoughts in her mind that make her unable to see the good—only perceived hatred. Anxious thoughts, reading into the tiniest of details, and making them larger to her than the real expressions of love she is given.”Then as he remembered how many times Ethine stayed with her aunt, his thoughts turned to Yldae. His beloved Dae…Without realizing it, the tea took shape of the runes on Yldae’s back, the intricate circle with flower-like design in its center. Surrounding the circle, shapes of calla lilies sprouted from the tea, creating a beautiful image of the two things about Yldae he loved—her runes, and her love for their calla lilies. Ylith couldn’t help the small smile that graced her features when she saw the familiar pattern her mentor’s tea was now holding. She certainly wasn’t dreaming that day, when she was falling asleep in Faheem’s lap, and hearing him admit to her that he was in love with her sister. Then she looked past the tea from her mentor’s cup, and saw the gentle expression on his face as he also viewed the pattern. “You really do love her, don’t you? Why haven’t you told her yet?” she asked, which made Faheem blink and turn his attention to Ylith at the sudden change of subject. When he realized his feelings for Yldae slipped through and manifested into the shape of his tea, he sighed.“…while I am capable of speaking of a great and many different topics…I find myself unable to utter those words to her directly. Believe me, Ylith…I am desperate to tell her. But oftentimes, I feel great unease…as though I am being watched. And I cannot speak of my love for her, or else it would put her in danger.” He replied with furrowed brows again, and watched the tea ripple and change again. This time, it looked like a large figure looming over another, though with just water it was difficult to tell just whom these figures represented.“Ylith, it is time you know what is happening…there is great evil in the realm as we speak. My old master, Tellah, the previous master of magic, is still alive. He demands my presence, however, the longer I take to prepare, the more he threatens the people of the realm. Many people have been hurt recently, and somehow he shifts the blame onto me, shaking the trust of the people in me. Even Ethine has been impacted by his influence in this way…and the more time goes on, the more that our lives may be at stake.” he trailed, watching as the larger figure in the tea grew bigger, overshadowing the smaller one. His eyes grew wide—his fear of Tellah showing itself readily. “…I believe Tellah had influence over Otheno somehow—and that is the reason why he targeted the people I knew. It was to hurt me…and now, should I dare admit to Yldae of my love for her…I fear she will be targeted in the same way and worse. It is my fear of Tellah that steals my voice whenever I try to admit my feelings to her.”Ylith watched as Faheem's tea slumped back into his cup and he leaned back. She blinked her eyes for a moment, trying to comprehend his explanations. If he was telling the truth, then it wasn't her Otheno who attacked Faheem's school and students after all. She felt a moment of relief at his words, and it gave her hope, though a sadness tugged at her heart. As she looked at Faheem again, she noticed how fearful he seemed. Although she wasn't able to read his emotions nearly as well as her sister, she could see in his eyes that he was scared. If only Ethine took the time, she thought, then perhaps she might see it as well. It was almost as though all of this scared Faheem more than Otheno did. "Faheem..." she began, but paused when he looked at her, and Ylith turned her head away, unsure what to say. She feared she might only make it more difficult for her mentor. Nervous as she was, she barely realized she was tracing the new markings on her neck with her free hand, her fingers tracing a line down her shoulder to her upper arm. There, she stopped when beneath the fabric of her sleeve she felt the wedding band she wore, wrapping around her arm in a delicate swirl as it lay against her skin. That's right, she thought. She suddenly remembered Otheno's words, his clumsy but true attempts of a proposal to her-- his written words. Then the thought hit her. Perhaps a letter was what Faheem needed. A written testament of his love for Yldae, just like the letter her Otheno had written once, asking her to be his wife. "You know...what if...what if you wrote to her instead?" she asked curiously, and swore she noticed Faheem's eyes widen slightly in surprise and glow a little warmer.“…Curious that you should ask—actually, I already have. Shortly before finding you upstairs, I finished a letter to her.” He mused, moving quickly from the table to his desk in the adjacent room, and retrieving the letter from inside his journal. When he returned to the table, he sat and paused as he mulled over his thoughts. Then he offered the letter to Ylith, and she took it, though with a confused expression.“…what I have written here are my innermost expressions for Yldae—however, this letter is intended for her to read if something were to happen to me…if I do not survive my encounter with Tellah. Will you keep it on my behalf?”Ylith was speechless at first, but nodded. How could Faheem not survive? He’s the strongest twili she knew—and she couldn’t believe he could possibly lose, even if he was scared. Then she met his stern gaze and placed her hand over his.“Faheem, I’ll keep this for her, but…” she smiled a little, “will you write another one? If no one hears you speak, it’s still a secret, right? You could tell her in the morning, with written words. My husband…he did that for me.”The older twili felt a little warm in his cheeks at the thought of letting Yldae know his feelings, even if it’s written. And so soon? Perhaps…it wasn’t such a bad idea. He wanted to see the look in Yldae’s eyes, knowing he loved her. What would she say? What would she do if she read a letter from him? Would it be a distraction from their important tasks in the day ahead of them? Or would it strengthen them? With furrowed brows, he weighed his options in his mind, before letting out a deep sigh. “…I will do it then. However, in case something happens, please still keep that letter. Tellah is…unpredictable. There is no saying what will happen when Yldae and I attempt to inform the council of his living existence in the coming days.”Ylith smiled warmly as she looked down at the letter in her hand, and looked at Faheem for a moment, her bright eyes seeming to glow warmly. "I will keep it safe, I promise. And I will not speak of your secret to Yldae unless you allow it…" she trailed and reached for her cup. Taking a sip, she sighed contently as the tea warmed her body and she was even beginning to feel a little drowsy. Finally, after her nightmares and visions had robbed her of a good night's rest. She took another sip when she suddenly fell silent and frowned slightly, prompting her mentor to look up at the younger woman's sudden silence. She felt the color draining from her face and she stared into nowhere, still holding the cup, its edge still touching her lips. Tellah...the name echoed in her mind over and over. It seemed so familiar, she thought, and slowly set the cup back down on the table with a shaky hand before she dropped it."...Tellah, you say...?" Ylith asked in a whisper, then winced and held her head at the sudden flood of memories that flashed before her eyes. A tall, ancient man loomed over her in these visions, eyes glowing red like blood-- sheer malice flickering like embers. Suddenly, she felt like she was the small figure, threatened by the large Twili towering over her. "...Ylith? Are you alright?" Faheem asked calmly, worry etching a deep frown into his features. But Ylith didn't seem to be listening."...H-He's alive...?" she interrupted him and seemingly shrank in her seat, now holding her head with both hands in an effort to curb the pain these memories brought. She saw him clearly now-- he was no man, the previous Master, all she saw in him within her childhood dream was a monster. "The-the ancient one?? He, who supposedly killed mother--" Not a single sound slipped past her lips now. Corpses, she thought. Corpses. Corpses. Everywhere. Immediately, Ylith slapped her hand over her mouth. She felt sick. How she hoped she'd forgotten, this image that had been burned into her innocent mind on her fifth birthday. The sight of blood, and the lifeless, murdered bodies of her beloved father and mother. Oh, how she wished she'd forgotten.Faheem immediately stood from his seat, remembering the many times Ylith suffered episodes of panic—worst of all, shortly after her twins were born. He would never forget the look of terror she had when even her own sister did as much as glance in her direction. He stayed with her for an entire week, and after that he checked on her frequently. Sometimes she used the spell he gave her when she was frightened. The frequency of that lessened over the last several years, but for Faheem, it was just automatic for him to help.He stepped over to the archway leading to the other room, and with his magic, whipped a blanket from the lounge and brought it over to Ylith. The blanket wrapped itself around her, and Faheem moved a chair to her side, so he could sit and pull her into an embrace. For many long moments, the only sound heard was Ylith’s sharp breathing, which thankfully slowed down quickly.Faheem’s mind was now reeling however—he knew that Yldae suspected Tellah was responsible for the deaths of their father and Ylith’s mother…but Ylith seemed to actually remember Tellah. Another deep frown settled on his features. Despite how difficult it is, it would not surprise him in the least if Tellah was actually responsible after all. The man always chose death as a means to deal with people he didn’t like.“…shh…Ylith…I promise you this—no one else will fall to his hands. Especially not this family. Nor will I allow him to be my end. I grew up without family…and now I see you and Yldae as my family. Even the many orphans I brought to my school are my family. I am not willing to give that up.” He said to her, not for a moment moving his arm from around Ylith’s shoulders. She was always like a sister to him, and so it was his responsibility to save her and everyone else he cared about from this monster.Ylith's eyes widened and she blinked her eyes in slight surprise at the sound of Faheem's voice. His words helped her snap out of her terrifying memories caused by the mention of his former master's name, and her shoulders slumped with the tension leaving her smaller frame. Family...this wasn't the first time Faheem had called her and her own family that. On one side, she felt great joy that he saw her as his family, yet on the other, it saddened her. If only Faheem knew how close they actually were. But Ylith simply couldn't bring herself to breaking her vow to her lover. How would Faheem even react to the truth? How would he respond to her knowing the darkest secret between him and Otheno, and their blood relation? Would the man hate her for it?But Ylith couldn't think. Instead, she finally realized how Faheem held her close and her eyes softened until she closed them. She shifted slightly to free her arms and wrap them tightly around Faheem's chest. Burying her face in his neck, she held on to him for a while, the two sitting in silence and quietly providing comfort to each other.Faheem gently pat her on the back when he felt it was time to step back. At his gentle prodding, Ylith let go and turned her attention back to her teacup. By now the liquid was lukewarm, but she wrapped her small fingers around the cup anyway, barely noticing Faheem get up and leave her side. It was only for moments as he retrieved yet another parchment to write on, and he began writing as soon as he returned to the table. He still sat by Ylith, not realizing her presence would make it difficult for him to write this letter to Yldae.Yldae…’My Dae,From all the madness, you call to my soul…and offer a moment I’ve longed for. To tell you these words. I love you.’Faheem paused, lifting the quill and suddenly finding he couldn’t write as easily as he did before. From the corner of his eye he noticed finally that Ylith was watching out of curiosity, and he sighed. “…Ylith, I believe it is far beyond the midnight hour now…let us go see Miana. I feel it wise to have you checked upon before returning home for the night.” He said to her as he folded his letter. He then tucked it into his robes, finished the last sips of his lukewarm tea, and stood from the table again. Ylith yawned, but nodded, and took his hand he offered to her. Standing side by side, he teleported them both to the infirmary—thankfully reappearing right where he intended to this time, startling the short nurse who was already checking on Thyrn.When the older woman saw the worn out look in Ylith’s face, Miana frowned. “Back again, Faheem? What happened?” she exclaimed, though in hushed tone as Thyrn was sleeping and she didn’t want to wake the young man. She rushed over to the pair and took Ylith’s hands to look her over.Faheem cleared his throat. “…I found her at my house. In response to a nightmare, she used the spell I gave her and fled. It is fortunate I went home tonight to retrieve fresh clothing…otherwise she would have been alone.”"...I am fine, though...Don't worry, grandmother." Ylith trailed with a small, tired smile as Miana gently pulled the younger woman with her and helped her sit on one of the beds. Pushing Ylith long locks aside, Miana looked her over again, and Ylith’s eyes trailed the nurse's movements until Ylith looked up. Noticing Faheem was still there, she smiled warmly when their tired eyes met."Faheem..." she called, and Faheem responded by taking a step towards her. She saw his eyes widen slightly when his gaze rested on the letter she now held in her hands. She sighed, then closed her eyes before looking at her mentor again with a gentle expression. "...I will keep this safe...I promise. But go. I'm sure she's waiting for you. I'll be fine, Faheem...Go."Faheem’s expression turned more serious again as he nodded, and then gave Miana a curt nod. “…take care of Ylith on my behalf, Miana.” He said to her, pausing for a moment to look beyond her. Thyrn still lay asleep, and beyond him he noticed Darienne asleep with her baby boy and husband by her side. He sighed with relief, and then turned away. Bidding Miana and Ylith farewell, he teleported away with one thought on his mind—Yldae.Materializing inside Yldae’s house, he reappeared by the front door and groaned when he felt dizzy, gripping his forehead in efforts to maintain his balance. “…Dae?” he called, feeling tense. What an overwhelming day.Yldae jumped and turned her head sharply in Faheem's direction, her bright eyes wide. After pacing the rooms for what felt like an eternity to her, Faheem's sudden appearance startled the slender woman, however, the surprise only lasted for but the blink on an eye. "Faheem!" she immediately cried and rushed over to him, without another thought throwing her arms around him. Feeling dizzy and overwhelmed by it all as he was, Faheem took a step back when her body crashed into his, but failed to maintain his balance and the pair fell, Faheem on his back and Yldae on top of him. He grunted when his back hit the stone floor."Where were you?!" Yldae cried as she leaned over him, her hands planted on the ground by each side of Faheem's head. When he cracked an eye open, his hand on his forehead as he tried to curb the dizziness still, he met Yldae's wide eyes-- wide with anger, worry, and fear. Before he could speak or think of a way how to respond, Yldae interrupted him, though in a softer tone. Yet Faheem could only blink his eyes and frown, attempting to follow as she spoke, stammering until he thought her voice might fail her even. He closed his eyes in an effort to concentrate on her voice, but they immediately shot open when he felt cold drops of water fell on his hand and cheeks. Looking up, he found their source. The tears shimmered and sparkled as they fell from Yldae's eyes, and Faheem's own eyes widened."Where were you, Faheem? I've been looking for you everywhere...!" she pressed and swallowed hard, stuttering, as she only managed to continue with a shaky voice. The tears that stung in the corners of her eyes left unnoticed. "What happened?? I--–You were gone for so long––W-when you weren't back––you hadn't returned, I was worried something might have happened...! I-I went to look at the school, your home, but you weren't there! The halls, the garden, I––I came back, and still you weren't here...I couldn't sense your presence, find a clue––I paced this room back and forth, the goddesses know how many times, clawed at the furniture––If you hadn't returned, I don't know what I would've done...! A-after everything that happened earlier, I was worried something happened to you! Worried you were hurt, that someone attacked you––killed you...! Everything is going wrong...! I was scared––I'm scared that––!""...Dae."Yldae would have said so much more, emptying her mind of all the thoughts that churned in her mind, but she had no chance when Faheem interrupted her. She flinched and gasped when she suddenly felt his touch. Faheem gently cupped the side of her face in his large hand and his tired, yet warm gaze rested on her. "...you're crying." he added when he had her attention finally, and noticed how her eyes widened when she realized what was going on. Only now did Yldae notice the position they were in, Faheem laying on his back with her leaning over him. She quickly shifted to move, allowing Faheem to sit up when she was no longer atop him. "I––I-I'm sorry, I––"Without any words, Faheem sat up and pulled Yldae into a tight embrace. “…wash away this sadness, Dae…I am here.” He said to her, feeling relieved that they both were safe and unharmed. Even though he was overwhelmed by the number of people he had helped in recent days and offering comfort to others, he didn’t mind physical touch—if it was Yldae.When Yldae’s shoulders shook with her sobs, he kissed the top of her head. “…forgive me, my friend. I broke my promise to return quickly …I am sorry.” He whispered into her hair, and then breathed in deeply. This moment…she gave him this moment. Then he let her go and fumbled for the note he wrote earlier, and couldn’t find it in his robes. The parchment had fallen on the floor when Yldae knocked him over, and thankfully he spotted the folded note so he could hand it to her. With it now in her hands, he cleared his throat out of nervousness. “…I wrote this for you—“ he started, and covered the note in Yldae’s hands with his own, to stop her from opening it right away. “—read it later, at a time when I will not notice.”Then he stumbled to his feet, not having shaken off the dizziness quite yet, but Yldae jumped to hers to support him, and helped him to the lounge to rest. With a sigh, Faheem rubbed his temples and met Yldae’s gaze with his tired eyes.“…when I first left here, I ended up outside my house upon teleportation…”“Missed your target again, old friend?” Yldae teased, trying to ease her own embarrassment from the moments before. The note Faheem gave her was on the forefront of her mind—what is it that he had to say? But his mention of teleporting in the wrong place again brought back memories of when they were younger. Not even twenty years ago, when Faheem was teaching a class about teleportation. She stood by to assist, and Faheem ended up in the tree. Again. She chuckled at the memory, and Faheem raised a brow at her.“In my defense, I was exhausted and unfocused.” Yldae chuckled again. “I’m sure it was this time.” She smiled. Faheem couldn’t help but smile a little as well, before shaking his head. “…fine. Perhaps teleportation is not my best skill. However, let us not get so distracted by the past for now, when you should know what I am trying to explain. I found Ylith at my house, Dae.”Yldae smile faded at the mention of her younger sister's name and she put the folded note Faheem had given to her away, on the table by the couch, before gently taking Faheem's hand. He found Ylith at his house in the middle of the night? The younger woman didn't know where Faheem's home was located exactly, that Yldae was certain of, and she recalled the escape spell Faheem had given to Ylith all those years ago. But even if Ylith made use of it, what for, she wondered? And did Ethine know? Surely, Yldae's oldest niece would hold this event against Faheem, and she might only despise him more as a result. "...Ylith, at your house, you say?" she asked, worried something may have occurred, and slightly squeezed Faheem's hand. "What happened?"Faheem shook his head at first, still feeling the effects of the spell he used to see the hallucination Ylith had seen. “A nightmare. Horrifying enough that she used the escape spell I placed in her hand in panic. However, when I discovered her hiding in my personal library, she was suffering hallucinations. Her curse spread again…thankfully I caught that hallucination rune before it became permanent and deactivated it…though I did use the spell of vision…and I am troubled by the hallucination I saw.” He replied, frowning at the memory. The black, distorted figure of Otheno…what did it mean?“…I am uncertain if it was my own mind attempting to make sense of what I was seeing, or if it was purely her hallucination, but I saw Otheno. A figure, black as pitch, with red runes and markings. It was following her, and she felt like it was going to kill her as well as myself. The horror on her face…it was much worse than when her twins were born and she suffered psychosis. I banished the hallucination, and we went downstairs for tea. I sat with her for a while to calm her, and then I teleported us to the infirmary so Miana could take over her care. You must have arrived at my house moments after we left...” he sighed again, shutting his eyes tightly when the ache returned. Then he leaned back against the couch, feeling like he could just simply fall asleep right there. “…she did however briefly mention to me that you and Ethine exchanged angry words when you visited.”Yldae watched as Faheem spoke and finally leaned back, his words pulling her from her thoughts. She blinked her eyes with a frown. Ylith's curse had spread once again, and it was now affecting her mind as well. To know that her younger sister had suffered from hallucinations and the horror the younger Twili must have experienced brought Yldae a great sense of unease. Thankfully, Faheem had managed to deactivate the rune responsible for Ylith's visions, but Yldae feared Ylith might suffer again. And that Otheno...Yldae had never seen him herself, but from the things Faheem had told her, she knew the man was dangerous. But why would Ylith see him in her visions and nightmares?The tall woman shook her head at the mention of Ethine, frowning deeply as she recalled her words. "...thank you for helping Ylith...and for saving her. I am in your debt, dear friend." she said quietly and reached out to gently pat his shoulder. She mustered a small smile for a moment, only to allow the frown to return. “I...yes. The visit with my family did not go well. Faheem, we need to talk about this. Especially about your last visit with Ylith and her children. Ethine specifically.” She said then, and when she noticed how Faheem’s eyes widened slightly, added, “…you had a fight, didn’t you?”"Dae—I…" Faheem replied quickly, turning his head in shame to avoid the topic, but soon turned back to meet Yldae's stern yet worried gaze when she called his name. "Faheem..." she began, and took his hand, holding it between hers. "Please. I have seen the embers in her eyes, the sheer anger when we spoke of you during my visit. Ethine seemed beyond upset that you were staying with me. To be honest...I believe she has come to hate you for some reason—and by extent, Ethine now seems to despise me as well. We had an argument that resulted in my dear sister shedding tears once again, a sight that breaks my heart...I won't be able to forget Ethine's words and how she accused us, saying that you, despite all your sacrifices for my family, wouldn't care about us and blames you for the suffering Ylith experienced and endured. And above that, she even accused me of having slept with you...her words cut deep. I wish we could tell her the truth, but I fear that even if we did...she wouldn't believe a single word."“How…?” he started, shaking his head. Then he stood from his seat and pulled his hand from Yldae’s grasp, rubbing his temples as he stepped away from the lounge. “…did she really say those things?” he asked aloud, balling his hand into a fist when Yldae sighed and nodded her head. “Believe me, Faheem…I was in shock as well—““I cannot believe—after the sacrifices I made for her and her mother both, that she would revile me with such poisonous words!” he spoke over her, failing to reign in his own anger—making Yldae jump and hold her hand over her heart in startled surprise. Moments he spent with Ylith flashed in his memories—from more than twenty years ago when she came to him for advice, the hours and days he spent on finding a way to prevent her curse from afflicting her first child, staying with her in the infirmary without sleep when she suffered psychosis after the birth of her twins, giving her and the twins shelter—and so many more. He always thought of her as a sister—and in a way she would be, if he ever found the courage to admit to Yldae how he really felt. Immediately, Faheem regretted raising his voice when he saw the look on Yldae’s face. Then he returned to the lounge, only sitting on the far side away from her, shrinking into it with shame.Without looking at Yldae, he continued with his arm crossed over his chest, “And even if we had slept together, it does not justify her words spoken with such vitriol and filth...” he sighed, but then his eyes widened when he realized his mistake. Surely, the thought of them sleeping together intimately had crossed his mind more times than he would dare to admit. He couldn’t believe his mistake, and shook his head. Now a deep blush was creeping up to his cheeks, and he cleared his throat. “I-I…ahem. Well, that is…” he tried to explain with rushed words, “I suppose that is a natural assumption, given we are living together—being a man and a woman, such temptations might happen and the thought has crossed my mind—“ he slapped his hand over his mouth to shut himself up before saying anything more. What would Yldae think if she knew he thought about her that way? But the words slipped his mouth—he let his emotions get the better of him. He cursed behind his fingers and turned away, running his hand through his hair and taking a deep breath. Yldae sat in silence at first, still stunned at his momentary outburst. She looked across the lounge to see Faheem with his face in his hand, and then she herself moved that distance to sit next to him. Faheem looked at her then and took her hand with his trembling one, his eyes downcast once more. With the blush yet deep on his features, he looked up at Yldae again, with embarrassment, and even a longing in his eyes.“…I am sorry for my outburst, Dae...your guess was correct—Ethine and I had somewhat an argument, though it was one-sided. She heard me disclose to Ylith that her life is coming to an end. After sharing in a moment of tears with Ylith and her falling asleep on my lap, Ethine accused me of being the reason why Ylith was unable to heal Othyl. She said I brought ill luck to her family, and forbade me to return.” He frowned, “…that is why I hesitated to tell you. Her words, that I am ill luck, have rung in my thoughts ever since. It would seem other people are also beginning to think the same way.” Yldae sat in silence, almost staring through Faheem as he sat next to her and held her hand. She blinked her eyes, trying to follow and frowned. In all those years, she had never witnessed Faheem yelling like that. His voice echoed in her mind as she replayed them in her memory in an effort to understand. Yet, she empathized with him. Ethine's words cut deep, and Faheem had every right to be angered by them. But an outburst like that was strange—and Yldae knew she would be lying to herself if she uttered it didn't scare her.For a moment, her mind drifted back to Faheem's thoughts on Ethine's accusations. The thought crossed his mind? Was he actually referring to the thought of sleeping with her, like Ethine had accused her of? Yldae wondered, and when she met Faheem's gaze finally and noticed the deep blush on his features, felt some warmth creeping up to her cheeks as well. But then she shook her head to dismiss those thoughts. Now was the wrong time to be thinking about such things, she thought. Faheem needed her support at this very moment, and that she wanted to provide to the man she loved."...I...Do not worry Faheem. I'm thankful that you trust me enough to tell me now..." she trailed and gently returned his grasp on her hand. "Believe me, I feel your anger. Ethine's words cut like a sharp blade. If only she knew the truth, perhaps she would understand. However...Faheem. Do not forget that even then-- even if other people should share Ethine's thoughts and consider you ill luck...I will always be on your side, by your side, until the very end." Yldae added, but paused, a deep frown etched to her features. Faheem yelling brought back to her the memory of Tellah's bellowing voice before he struck her, and Yldae couldn't help but turn away, in shame for letting thoughts of the ancient sorcerer surface on her mind when. Catching a glimpse of Faheem’s remorseful expression increased the anger she felt over herself. Faheem would never be anything like the ancient man."...I promised."Faheem felt hollow in the pit of his stomach at the moment Yldae turned away from him—he could see his yelling had an impact on her—and for that he felt deep shame. Then he reached over to touch her cheek, and he felt even worse when she flinched a little at his touch. “…I’m sorry…I am…I am ashamed for my words—for yelling.” He whispered, swallowing hard when he felt his voice quiver. His thoughts drifted to Thyrn and Darienne again, and he shut his eyes tight to prevent any more tears from showing themselves.“I let Tellah push me to a boiling point—and there are no proper words to describe the shame I feel. Knowing him, I am certain that is what he wanted from me…to break me. Force me to endure more than a normal person would in a short amount of time…and after nearly losing both Thyrn and Darienne…and hearing of Ethine’s words? …it was the last straw for me.” He then dared open his eyes after rubbing his temples, but now had his eyes covered by his hand as he couldn’t look at Yldae. “I-I crossed a boundary I vowed never to cross. You should not ever see that sort of anger from me—especially not directed at someone we both care about, even if her words cut deeply.” he said, finally allowing his hand to drop from his face and meeting Yldae’s gaze with his own tired and somber eyes. Their glow turned dull from the stress—oh the stress of it all. It seemed as though nothing was going right. Their attempts to do anything, to help anyone, were thwarted or hindered by Tellah. Somehow, he had great power still despite how ancient he was. How did he seem to know everything? “Somehow…I feel as though I will lose you as well.” He whispered, and then stood and moved away from her. But she caught his hand before he could leave, and turned back only to find her throwing herself into him for a tight embrace. He sighed, wrapping his arm around her shoulders. “…Dae, my friend…please—do not lose faith in me…you are the only one I trust…”’The only one I love.’ he wanted to say—he was desperate to say it. "I will never lose faith in you." Yldae replied calmly and held Faheem a little tighter in response to him wrapping his arm around her shoulders, reaching one hand up to gently caress the back of his head. With a sigh, she closed her eyes and breathed slowly. She mulled over her thoughts in silence for a moment, angered by the seemingly immense power Tellah still possessed. It was enough to cause Faheem's outburst of rage, something she had never seen before. She cursed under her breath, assuming her reaction might have given Faheem the impression that she doubted him. How foolish she felt, unable to tell him what she truly felt. 'I love you.' she called out in her mind, but the words didn't slip from her mouth."...Faheem. You will never lose me, no matter what. You are my dearest friend-- part of my family. Never forget that. You will never be alone, dear friend, I made a promise in our youth...and I do not intend to break it." she explained quietly, then released Faheem to rest her hands on his chest and let him hold her for a moment. Looking up at him, she desperately wanted to kiss his fears and sorrow away. But she couldn’t—wouldn’t that seem like she was taking advantage of him during a weak moment? Then she pat him on the chest and let out a sigh.“Come, my friend. Let’s try and get some rest. I know Darienne and Thyrn will be waiting for us in the morning.” She said to him, attempting to lead him back to her room. But he didn’t move.“…are you sure, Dae? Perhaps it would be best if we sleep separately…” he replied quietly, fearing that she would agree with him. Truthfully he didn’t want her to leave his side, but with Ethine’s accusations at the forefront of his mind, he wasn’t sure if he’d dare take that risk and bring her accusations to life.Yldae smiled, “I’m worried about you, so yes I’m sure. We’ll sleep back to back, alright?” she replied, and Faheem finally let her pull him to her bedroom. It was just as she said, once they took turns climbing into the bed, they lay back to back with the covers pulled over them, and drifted off to sleep.
A Master's Requiem: Chapter 14(Intense medical moments in this chapter. Read with caution)The doors of the infirmary flew open upon Faheem’s command, ushering in the group of guards and bystanders carrying a wounded Thyrn. With Faheem’s mantle pressed into Thyrn’s abdomen to hold the blade in place, they set him on a bed as Miana came rushing in from her attached quarters. Immediately she watched bewildered as Yldae set down Darienne on the next bed over. The next moment Yldae teleported away in search of Darienne’s husband, Yurul, while unfortunately leaving the laboring young woman alone. Eletha and other healers came when they heard the commotion, working in tandem to collect bandages, cloth and water.Noticing the grave injury Thyrn presented first, Miana pushed past the men to assess the situation. “What happened to him??” Miana gasped, seeing the blood soaking the blue mantle Faheem usually wore. Faheem had thrown his staff aside and bent over the young man, holding his hand at first, then letting go to turn his face toward him. Thyrn…he had grown so much. Last he heard from the boy was that he was accepted into the royal guard—just as he always dreamed of. But how—why would he attack them? Thyrn’s eyes opened for a moment, breathing erratically from the pain and loss of blood.“M-Master…” he croaked, and then fell unconscious once more. “Thyrn!! Stay with us!!” Faheem cried, with tears now stinging the corners of his eyes. By now Solbahr had set his spear aside and gripped Faheem by the shoulder to try and pry him away so the healers could do their work. “Master Faheem! Please—we must get out of their way—“ “No, this was my fault! Thyrn, please…I cannot watch you die--” Faheem cried, trying to shrug Solbahr’s hand off his shoulder. Miana directed the other healers to form a circle around the bed, but Faheem wouldn’t budge.“Faheem, please!!” Miana shouted, motioning for the other men to help pull him back. First Solbahr tried pulling him back by the shoulder again, and then was joined by two other men. Together they gripped Faheem’s good arm and left shoulder, forcing him to step back from Thyrn. He struggled against them, his voice growing ever louder in protest.“No--!! Damn you—let me go!! Thyrn—you must live!!” he bellowed, but couldn’t escape the grip they had on him. Begrudgingly he watched with wide eyes and tear-stained cheeks, as the healers blocked his view with their bodies. “Healers, ready your power with mine…” Miana said over them, and they reached out in a circle with their hands on Thyrn. Miana activated her healer’s sight, allowing her to see where the blade touched the inside of Thyrn’s body, and carefully pulled the blade out. Then she directed the healers to begin their spells. The sight of many healers together was a powerful sight—the runes of their bodies all glowed as the magic flowed through them and into Thyrn. The magic worked as a needle, pulling the internal tissues together and fusing them until the bleeding stopped. Satisfied that Thyrn was now safe, Miana removed the cloth mantle to look at the wound where he fell on his own knife, and let out a relieved sigh. She would have to repair the external wounds and sew them shut, but with her preferred healing methods, was confident he would make a full recovery.Faheem continued to fight against the men holding him back—he couldn’t just stand aside! Then he looked past Thyrn’s bed and his eyes widened when he saw Darienne reaching for him. That’s right—his adopted daughter needed him too. He gritted his teeth and in a moment of rage, used his magic to shove the men off him. They stumbled back and Faheem marched away from them and around the healers, straight to Darienne’s side. Out of concern Solbahr followed him then, and Faheem immediately turned around with an accusing finger at the younger man. “Do <i>not</i> touch me again. I am fine.” He growled through his tears, only to notice finally that Solbahr had a bleeding wound on his head from when he hit the wall, and Faheem sighed in shame. Eletha stood by and Faheem turned to the young healer, motioning to Solbahr as he spoke with emotions still in his voice.“…Eletha, please—help captain Solbahr with his head. H-he was injured as well…” He frowned, barely paying any mind at that point that Eletha nodded and led Solbahr by the hand to another part of the room to help him. Finally Faheem turned back around to see Darienne reaching for him again, and then he dropped to his knees before the bed next to her and took her hand. He breathed heavily in an effort to calm himself, but to no avail. How could he be strong enough for both Darienne and Thyrn? Everyone counted on him, it seemed—but could he handle this?It was then that Faheem noticed how bad of shape Darienne was in. The cut on her shoulder, bruises and scrapes on her arms. And her belly was noticeably smaller—her water had broken. But she was bleeding, and Faheem panicked.“Miana—come quickly!!” he bellowed, and Miana, just having instructed another healer to stitch Thyrn’s wound, immediately shuffled over to Darienne’s bedside and wasted no time using her healer’s sight on the young woman, her hands hovering over her belly. Then she fully understood Faheem’s panic, and left to wash her arms of Thyrn’s blood. “Faheem,” Miana started while scrubbing her skin, “she fell, didn’t she?? It put her into labor and her body is ready to push right <i>now</i>. Where is her husband?? And for that matter, where is Yldae??” then she dried herself with a fresh towel and returned to the bed to help Darienne undress.Faheem turned his attention to Darienne, reading her panicked sign, “Father—where is Yurul? I need him! I need my mother—I need you! Please—please don’t leave me! The child—something is wrong!” Her hands moved erratically as she sobbed. The pain was unbearable as her belly hardened with contraction after contraction. “They’re on their way, I know it. Hang on, Darienne—no one will leave you.” Faheem replied, as calmly as possible. Why—why did this happen? Everyone Faheem cared about—everyone he came into contact lately—either got hurt or didn’t trust him. Was he truly ill luck to everyone? First Thyrn nearly died, and now Darienne is at risk. He wasn’t sure how much more he could bare.Darienne only shook her head. The pain was overwhelming, and she was terrified. Was her child even still alive? Or was it simply her own body trying to protect itself? The questions clouded her mind alongside the pain and the small woman was wailing by this point, though her cries were mute. Darienne begged to be heard. “Father––it hurts. It hurts!” she signed over and over again, her hands shivering like leaves in the wind as she cried.It felt like an eternity when finally the door to the infirmary flew open, revealing Yldae and Yurul by her side. After the slender woman left the infirmary to find Yurul, it took mere minutes to find the tall man within the palace. The color drained from the man's face when Yldae informed him of his wife's stay at the infirmary after an accident in front of the palace and he nearly rushed there without her, leaving everything else behind to find his wife. He feared for her life, knowing something must have happened to Darienne and the child. As Yldae rushed after him, the knowledge of having left Darienne alone when she was in labor ate away at her conscience, but she knew she had no choice. She was the only one who could easily find Yurul as she knew the man, and she wasn't sure he would have made it to the infirmary in time had someone else left to find him. She prayed in that moment that Darienne was able to forgive her someday.As they overlooked the crowd, Yurul needed but a second to find his beloved wife and called her name when he rushed to her side. “Darienne!!” he yelled as he ran over and knelt by the bed opposite of Faheem, his heart breaking at the sight. His wife had cuts and bruises everywhere, as well as a bloody injury on her shoulder and she was in labor. There was blood everywhere––what happened to her?? “Darienne, hold on!! Please!” he cried again and took her shaking hand in his, then lifted his head to meet Faheem's eyes. “What happened??”Faheem didn’t know where to start. He opened his mouth to speak, but no words came. Instead he shook his head, and Yldae touched his shoulder. He looked up at her for a moment, feeling a little more at ease just with her touch, and turned his gaze back to Yurul.“…I—we...Darienne and I ran into each other in the palace. All seemed normal at the time, until we sat on the palace steps to talk. And then…” he trailed, glancing behind him at the unconscious Thyrn, “…another of my old students, Thyrn—was taken control by an evil force. H-he attacked Darienne, I-I managed to catch his blade, but not before it hit her shoulder. Then…” he shut his eyes, the weight of the guilt heavy on his mind, “…I was shoved into her, and she fell down the steps. After that I managed to subdue Thyrn by throwing him down the steps as well. I-I did not know it was him. He didn’t move—so it was imperative that I check on him, and that is when I discovered he landed on his blade, and discovered his identity…Darienne’s water must have broken after the fall, and that is when Yldae arrived. With help we got both of them here.” He finished, dropping his head in shame, “forgive me, Yurul—I take the blame for this…I—“ “No, Faheem. I should be thanking you for saving my wife!” Yurul exclaimed, but then cried as he turned to Darienne. He only barely noticed that she had been fully undressed by now, and clearly in unbearable pain. “Miana, what’s going to happen to my wife?? And our child??”The old woman rose her hands to silence them. “Enough chatter—I must focus on delivering this baby!!” she then checked Darienne’s cervix, and thinking she felt the baby’s head there, pulled her hand back and then positioned Darienne’s legs for childbirth. “Okay honey, take a deep breath and try to push.” But the young woman only shook her head. Pulling both her hands from Faheem and Yurul, she frantically tried to explain, “I can’t push, something is wrong!!” and then gripped her belly as a contraction seared through her body. Miana looked to Yurul for translation, since she couldn’t read sign.“She says something is wrong and she can’t push. What’s happening??” Yurul panicked, and Miana frowned. Then she used her healer’s sight to view the baby inside, and shook her head. Now, things just got more complicated.“The baby turned—he’s not in the correct position to birth anymore. N-not only that, he’s fading fast.” Miana replied, and then she immediately called the other nurses over, giving commands to fetch knives, needles and blankets. Yurul’s eyes widened as he heard those words. Knives?? But before he could ask, Miana shook her head again.“Listen to me closely,” she started, her eyes darting from Yurul, to Faheem, Yldae and then Darienne. “Honey, Darienne—the only way we’re getting your baby out is if I cut you open. He’s too big, and he’s in distress. If I don’t get him out in the next thirty minutes we could lose both of you, do you understand?” she explained, her expression turned serious. She had only done this type of delivery a few times before, mostly on very small women, but it had been a while since she had to perform this kind of medical work. Darienne shook her head out of pure terror—cut her open?? Faheem felt the color drain from his face and Yldae covered her mouth in shock. The latter especially was worried, not just for Darienne, but for Faheem as well. She could clearly see he was in shock, but there was nothing she could do for him now. At the call of her name however, she looked to Miana and blinked several times.“Yldae, your job is to care for the baby when I get him out. I know you were there for your sister, so I trust you. The other healers will be administering a constant flow of healing spells to reduce the pain while I work.” Miana then turned to Faheem and Yurul with a deep frown in her features, “The two of you will have to help hold her down, understand?” Yurul looked to Faheem with panic in his eyes, and they both nodded. They would do whatever it takes to help Darienne—but they weren’t ready for what they’d witness.First the healers gathered around the bed, standing shoulder to shoulder as there wasn’t much room with the others there, and held down Darienne’s legs while beginning their healing spells. Darienne gripped Faheem and Yurul’s arms tightly when they held her down.“Starting now…” Miana said aloud, and began her first incision under Darienne’s belly. Immediately she tried to thrash from the pain of the knife cutting her skin, screaming gutturally yet with no sound. Yurul pushed his wife back down by the shoulders, and Faheem cupped his adoptive daughter’s cheek. “Look at me—don’t look anywhere else.” He said to her, his own tears now streaming as Darienne’s did. Her rose-colored eyes widened in utter terror and pain and she felt every cut going deeper into her abdomen. She tried to look down at her belly, but Faheem kept her head still. “y-you are strong, Darienne—you can do this.”It wasn’t long before Miana was able to reach the womb, making an incision there, before reaching in to find the baby. Grabbing him by the head, she pulled him out of the womb and sac. He wasn’t breathing at first, so she thrust the heel of her hand into his back to get him to take a breath. Finally, the baby’s cries pierced the air and Miana sighed with relief. Yldae stood by with an open blanket draped over her arms, and Miana placed the large infant in her care. Immediately Yldae went to work to keep the baby warm, and Miana turned back to Darienne to close every incision she made.“We’re almost there honey, almost there!!”Yurul was sobbing—he couldn’t bear to watch his wife endure such nightmarish pain. It barely registered to him that their son was alive and well. His first focus was his wife and making sure she lived through this ordeal. But soon the pain was too much for her, and she began drifting in and out of consciousness.“Darienne—stay with me—my love please stay with me!!” Yurul cried, letting go of her shoulders to cup both sides of her face. Then he touched his forehead against hers as the tears fell from his eyes. Faheem meanwhile took Darienne’s hand with his own, fumbling in his thoughts for spells he could possibly use. But it was all for naught—he was too distraught to think straight and he wasn’t a healer. What felt like an eternity later, Miana finished the last incision and then sealed it with her own healing powers. Combined with the other healers, they gave her every ounce of strength they had to keep her alive. Finally, Darienne gasped loudly and her eyes shot open. First she looked into Yurul’s eyes, touching his cheek with her free hand, and gave Faheem’s large hand a gentle squeeze.At last—it was done. Both Darienne and her baby were alive. She felt weak and in a trance, her body in shock from the trauma—but she managed a small smile when Yldae approached her with the bundle, wrapped up and crying. Yurul and Faheem helped her sit up a little with pillows behind her, albeit slowly as she grimaced with pain from her abdominal wound. And then her baby was placed in her arms—her very big baby boy. Faheem tried to stand up after having knelt on the floor for so long—in shock still from the day’s events. He could barely hear the excited and relieved chatter around him, as Yurul embraced his wife and son, as the healers assisted Miana in the cleanup…but he couldn’t find the strength to move. He was pale and couldn’t shake the fresh memory of the smell of blood, the sight of blood, the trauma and tears from him and the intense emotions in the room. “Yldae—“ Miana started, looking at Faheem with concern. He obviously did not look well and seemed like he might faint. “I need you to take Master Faheem home, honey. He doesn’t look well.” she voiced, while scrubbing her arms clean. She’d need to change her clothing immediately, she realized, looking down at her apron and dress as it was stained with blood. Yldae perked up when Miana called her name and looked at Faheem. The old nurse was right. Faheem looked like he was going to collapse any moment. He looked awfully pale and Yldae felt her heart sink at the sight of him. He must be overwhelmed by everything around him, and she realized her friend needed her support, and most importantly he needed rest more than anything else.Her gaze drifted to Darienne and her little family with tears still in her eyes as Yurul held his weakened wife and his newborn son, sobbing and apologizing. She was glad that both Darienne and her son lived, but it came at a high cost. They nearly lost both mother and child, as well as their former student Thyrn. Whatever caused the day's event she and Faheem would have to look into, however at a later time. Stepping around the healers, she moved to stand behind Faheem and rested her hands on his shoulders. Turning her head to face Miana, she nodded at the old woman. “I'll take care of him.” she replied calmly, then turned back to Faheem. She knelt by his side so she could look at his face and gently gripped his upper arms. “Come...let us go home, Faheem.” she coaxed, and slowly stood with the tall Twili when he eventually nodded. He was wobbly on his feet at first, so Yldae supported him and helped him stand straight. She looked back at Darienne and Thyrn, then led Faheem outside the infirmary to get some fresh air.Once the two friends stood outside and the door to the infirmary closed behind them, Yldae failed to support him when Faheem leaned against the wall and sank to the floor. She quickly knelt by his side as he sobbed, the tears streaming down his face, and reached her hand out to the back of his head. Gently pulling him close, she leaned in to touch her forehead to his and tried her best to breathe calmly. “Come. Let's not linger here...We should get some rest.” she spoke to him as she stroked the back of his head and reached across his body to hold his hand in hers. Giving his hand a gentle squeeze, she then teleported them both back to her house, rematerializing in the living room of her home.The moment Faheem and Yldae appeared in the living room, the sudden teleportation proved to be the last straw for Faheem. The induced dizziness made him feel sick to his stomach, and immediately he rushed to the kitchen, stumbling past furniture, and vomited in the sink. Yldae cried his name and rushed after him, stood by his side and rubbed his back while he shook his head. Then he dry-heaved again, and couldn’t stop himself from vomiting a second time all the while grunting with discomfort.He couldn’t take anymore. His body and mind had enough. How many times would something happen and they have to go to the infirmary? Next time, someone could actually die, and Faheem wouldn’t be able to stop it from happening. With the fresh memory of Darienne thrashing and blood spilling everywhere, he shook his head to try and clear his thoughts. “Faheem—are you alright?” Yldae asked him with concern deeply set in her features. She’d never seen Faheem like this. For him to vomit, he must have felt more ill than anyone realized. He didn’t respond to her question however, and so she pulled the faucet lever, pumping it until water flowed into the sink. Then she helped him splash water onto his face when he clumsily tried on his own. With water dripping from his face, he let out a deep breath, and then dried himself with a hand towel before taking the cup of water Yldae offered him. His thoughts turned to the moment he threw Thyrn down the steps, replaying that moment over and over again in his thoughts. He nearly killed his own student—how could he forgive himself? After drinking the water, he set the cup aside and let Yldae guide him to her bedroom. He wanted to object, but a great part of him was so numb he didn’t care. Why should he care? Before he knew it, he now sat on the edge of her bed and she stood before him, gripping his face and trying to look into his eyes. “…I-I…we…we almost lost them.” Faheem whispered, shutting his eyes. “…this is all my fault, Dae…”Yldae sighed sadly as she looked Faheem over, feeling her heart sink at his words. This day was simply too much for him to bear, and he didn't even bother to hide it. Just seeing him vomit earlier shook her to the core––in all the years she had known him, she had never witnessed him like this. Then she knelt down before him, still cupping his face with her slender hands. “Faheem, look at me...” she called quietly, hoping he would let her see his eyes. They remained like that for several long moments until Faheem finally opened his eyes enough that she could see the exhaustion in his golden eyes. She sighed once more, and gently stroked his cheeks with her thumbs. “It is not your fault...They live because you were there.” she whispered and leaned in to touch his forehead with her own for a moment. Faheem was right. They nearly lost their two students, Thyrn and Darienne, as well as the young woman's newborn child. The slender woman felt a sense of guilt, wondering if she could have helped more had she been there sooner. Perhaps if they had been together, no one would have been hurt, but Yldae knew that dwelling on it wouldn't help either of them. She had to be strong for Faheem now as he needed her support most when nearly everything had gone wrong within mere hours. Tellah was no doubt involved in the events, but why was he haunting Faheem like this? What was he trying to achieve?“Listen...” she began after a few moments, looking up at Faheem when he shut his eyes again. “You will sleep here in my bed tonight. I need to be able to keep an eye on you. I cannot let you stay alone, please understand. I'm just worried...I'll...I'll fetch your night robes, is that alright?”Faheem only nodded in response, feeling too tired to even try to object. He knew Yldae would stay with him, whether in her bed or where he normally slept on the lounge, so there wasn’t any point to argue. But he also didn’t want to be alone. His gaze followed Yldae as she left for the living room, and Faheem absentmindedly lay back on her bed onto his side. He tried to remain awake, but fell asleep in moments after his head hit the pillow.“Faheem, I found—“ she trailed, entering the room with his night robes draped over her arm. Then she sighed and set them on her dresser, before approaching the man on her bed. Already he breathed deeply in sleep, and she couldn’t help the relieved smile on her face. The poor man, she thought, oh how she loved him. If only…if only she insisted she go with him earlier in the day. Perhaps things would’ve turned out differently? But what happened has already come to pass, and there was no changing things now. All she could do was vow to never leave his side again, to keep him safe.She knelt by his side for a moment, looking him over as he slept. Even now, the exhaustion was written deep into his features. Yldae could only hope he might find rest now, though she wondered if she could sleep at all herself. She was glad neither of them was alone, but she was nervous, sleeping next to the man she loved.With a steady hand, she reached out to brush a strand of hair behind his ear. After all the worrying, she struggled to keep her emotions at bay, but Yldae couldn't suppress her aching heart. Although she hesitated, Yldae slowly leaned in until her lips hovered above his and gently kissed Faheem. She backed away immediately after, for a moment wondering if he was awake. He still slept...Yldae sighed in relief and stood.She pondered on her actions for a moment when she turned and stood by her dresser, only to turn back and climb into bed. In that moment, she didn't care that she still wore her dress from before. She moved slowly to make sure she wouldn't wake him until she lay behind Faheem. Then she carefully wrapped an arm around his torso to hold her beloved friend and snuggled close to him. Whatever Tellah was planning, she knew she would always stay by Faheem's side. She would protect him. Breathing in deeply, she then closed her eyes, hoping they would be able to find rest.Hours later, yet still in the middle of the night, Faheem was startled awake from a nightmare. He groaned when he realized it was not yet morning, but was relieved to not relive the fight against Thyrn in his dreams. When he tried to move however, he froze when he realized Yldae had her arm around him, with her body pressed against his back. When--? How? He didn’t remember her climbing into bed. But as he looked down on himself, he realized there were bloodstains in his robes. Whose blood was it? Thryn’s? Darienne’s? He felt ill in that moment and knew he needed fresh clothing as soon as possible. He pat Yldae’s arm on his torso gently at first, but she didn’t move. “…Dae?” he spoke quietly, patting her arm again.“Hm…?” Yldae yawned, but then she immediately sat up when she realized Faheem was awake. A blush settled on her face—though thankfully it was dark enough in the room that Faheem wouldn’t notice. “Is everything okay?” she asked him, breathing steadily to calm herself as she watched him sit up. Then he stood and turned around to face her.“…I need to return home to fetch new robes.” Faheem replied tugging at his robes a little. A few bloodstains were still slightly damp, and he felt sick at the thought of them.“I’ll go with you—““—I will be fine, Dae. It should take only minutes, not more.” He said over her. He was simply flustered and needed to calm himself. He felt sick to his stomach mostly, pausing to hold his forehead for a moment and shut his eyes, swallowing hard. “…if we are to visit our loved ones in the morning, I should be clean.” He added, dropping his hand to his side.Yldae sighed. He had a point—it’s not like he would go out in public in his night robes. She pinched the bridge of her nose for a moment, and then pointed her finger at him. “I’ll let you go on one condition. You come back here immediately. If you’re not back in thirty minutes, I will come looking for you. We can’t take any risks. Teleport there and back…I’m not comfortable with you walking after what happened during the last few days.” She frowned.Faheem nodded and then turned his back to her. “…I promise.” Faheem replied. With one longing look at his dear friend over his shoulder, he took a few steps away from her, and disappeared in a flurry of twilight particles.
A Master's Requiem: Chapter 13It had been at least an hour since Faheem parted ways with Yldae, and already he was exhausted. First Midna needed his advice, however that didn’t come without her chastising him for the library as he guessed she would, and then it seemed everyone else stopped him on his way out of the throne room to ask him questions. Most wanted to know the state of affairs at his school, whether or not it would ever reopen, or if he knew how long it would take to do repairs. He didn’t blame them for the questions, after all, he had been comatose for months prior to the recent weeks. After Midna chided him about the library, he decided to stop by and offer his assistance for the few minutes he had. By then, Yistah and Haenor had made considerable progress in restoring the library’s books on the shelves. A part of him wondered if he’d be able to find the old journal there. But there was no sign of it and Yistah would have returned it to him already if she found it. After spending a little time helping to organize the library better, the small librarian thanked him for the help, and he took his leave. Coming to the infirmary was necessary, but strolling the palace like this was certainly a mistake, Faheem decided. All he really wanted was to return to Yldae’s side—not just to be with her, but they had much to prepare for if they ever wanted to win a fight against Tellah. Then his thoughts turned to that journal that had gone missing, and he frowned. What was it that Tellah didn’t want him to see? Was it really Tellah who caused the journal to disappear? And if so…how? The man should’ve been dead. Maybe it was an elaborate prank of some sort? Then again, no one knew Tellah like Faheem did—no one would have been able to write that letter that started this whole thing and sound exactly like Tellah, or even match his handwriting. With every step and the following clink of his staff, he grew deeper and deeper in thought, to the point that he drowned out the noise in the palace hallways. His vision tunneled, and he didn’t register the faces that walked past him. With a frown deeply set in his features, he continued onward, passing by the infirmary, hardly noticing the small woman trying to get his attention.Darienne left the infirmary for the hallway with slow steps. Resting one hand on her round belly and pushing the other against her waist to support herself, the small woman let out a deep breath. It was a deep sigh, a mix of exhaustion and relief that came from her lungs. Earlier that day Yurul, her husband, had urged her to see the healers as she had not been well for the past days of her pregnancy and took her to the infirmary before leaving her for an important assignment with great unease. The man was worried and his fear was justified. His small wife was pregnant with their first child and her belly was quite large compared to her small frame and many people assumed she was carrying twins at least or long overdue. Learning that she was not feeling well worried him more than he was willing to admit openly as he feared the child might be too large for Darienne to birth naturally.Now as she left the infirmary for home, she was relieved that the child was well. The mute woman wasn't going to waste any time to arrive back home and rest like the healers had told her to, but she soon grew tired after only a few steps and had to stop in her tracks. If only Yurul was there––Darienne longed for rest.After a few moments of catching her breath, she breathed deeply, hoping her beloved would come to take her home soon. But as she regained her strength, Darienne lifted her head at the sound of metal tapping against stone and noticed a familiar form at a small distance. When she saw the man's staff, she was certain. Faheem––her beloved father. Though he wasn't her real father, she had always seen him as such––and his closest friend Yldae as her mother. Then she cocked her head to the side, realizing he hadn't noticed her yet and decided to follow him. She was slow with her large round belly, and sighed with relief when Faheem stopped in his tracks, lost in his thoughts. Eventually, she caught up to him, resting her hand on her round belly as she caught her breath. Knowing she would be unable to call him, the mute woman instead reached her free hand out to the much taller man. She carefully grabbed the hem of his empty left sleeve and with a gentle tug, hoped to gain his attention.Faheem only barely noticed the tug of his sleeve at first, the motion pulling him from his thoughts. Then he felt the tug again and blinked several times before looking around. He didn’t see anyone for a moment, until he felt that tug once more and then looked downward. When he noticed the small Darienne standing before him, he cleared his throat in surprise.“Ah, Darienne—pardon my not noticing you sooner…I was—“ he paused, taking notice of her extremely large pregnant belly. His brows raised high as his eyes flicked from her face, to her belly, and back to her face again. “—goddesses in the heavens, Darienne. I did not expect to see your pregnancy showing as profusely as it is before me!” he exclaimed, shaking his head. The much smaller woman giggled silently at Faheem’s exclamation, without ever letting go of his sleeve. Then Faheem’s eyes glowed warmly and he offered her a small smile behind his mustache.“…it has been some time—I trust you have been well?” Faheem asked her, and then took a knee and set aside his staff on the floor. Now that he met her gaze at eye-level, he reached out to pat her head. He had always been fond of her—she had been like a daughter to him ever since he found her—a lost little girl but only four years old then. And now she was to be a mother herself, he mused. She’d come a long way since that day.Darienne watched Faheem with wide eyes as he knelt down and pat her head, but smiled warmly at him. He hadn't caressed her like this in many years, she realized. She felt young again, remembering how he had always done the same when she was a little girl, a young student at his school. Then she nodded her head at his question and lifted her small hands to speak.“Thank you, yes. Yurul is always there to help me, especially now when the little one is on the way.” she signed, all the while smiling at Faheem. She chuckled silently when she noticed his gaze lingering on her pregnant belly for a moment, though she wasn't surprised. Most of the people she walked by nowadays tended to look her way, given her round belly was so prominent, especially when she was so small herself.Then the mute woman gasped, releasing Faheem's sleeve and pushing her hand against her waist to support herself. Noticing the worried expression in his features, she quickly lifted a hand to tell him that she was fine, and sighed with a smile. “...he is strong.” she began, and continued with a silent chuckle when she felt another kick, “And heavy.”Faheem sighed with relief. He was pleased to hear that Yurul had been taking such great care of her. To him, just seeing the lives of his students unfold before him brought him great joy—and it was an honor to be a part of it. Yurul had been one of the very first students Faheem had when the school first opened. And then Darienne came along later. While the two were ten years apart, they ended up finding love in each other shortly before Midna returned from the light world. But then Faheem was brought back from his thoughts when Darienne tapped him on the shoulder.“Let me see your hand!” Darienne signed enthusiastically. Faheem blinked in confusion at first, wondering if he was rusty in his sign language and misread her, but then was surprised when Darienne took his hand and pressed it on her belly. Only moments later Faheem felt a heavy kick under his hand, and he couldn’t help but smile.“…indeed, he is strong.” He mused. “You must be close to delivering, are you not?” he added, then pulling his hand back after Darienne let go. His only prior experience in witnessing late pregnancy and even childbirth was back when Ylith was first pregnant. He had escorted her to the infirmary to perform a spell, preventing her curse from transferring to Ethine. She asked him to stay during the birth, which he believed was valuable to him educationally. Though he wondered…wasn’t Darienne’s baby awfully large for her small frame? Not even Ylith carried that big, and she’s not much taller than Darienne. Suddenly he was concerned for her wellbeing and he felt a sense of dread in the pit of his stomach just thinking about it. Again, Darienne had to get his attention as his thoughts trailed away, and Faheem shook his head.“…my apologies, Darienne, I have been under stress as of late. Perhaps we should find a place to sit and talk?” he offered, taking up his staff from the floor and using it to stand. Darienne watched Faheem with worry in her eyes. She hadn't seen the man like this often, and she was worried for his wellbeing. He seemed so lost in his thoughts––was there something going on that she had no knowledge of? But then again she knew that if something was off, Faheem would most likely keep to himself. He always tried so hard to protect everyone, and the small woman wished she could help.Then she smiled at his offer and nodded. “Yes. Some fresh air might do us good? Let us go outside.” she replied in sign, and soon after the two made their way outside the palace. It wasn't a long walk there, but Faheem noticed Darienne was much slower than him, struggling to keep up with him with her large belly. Suddenly he felt reminded of the time he accompanied Ylith to the infirmary during her first pregnancy all those years ago. He slowed down until he came to a halt and as he waited for the small woman to catch up, he nodded to his staff and it floated by his side when he released it. Then he offered her his hand and when Darienne took it, they left the palace together.On the palace steps, the two Twili decided to sit on the steps when Darienne motioned to Faheem that she was growing tired. As she held onto his much larger hand with both her hands, Faheem helped the younger woman sit down slowly and took his seat to her right once she was settled. “Thank you, Faheem.” she signed with a tired smile and leaned back to sit a little more comfortably with her round belly. Gently patting her large round belly with her hand, she exhaled a deep breath. “What a heavy little one...” she signed with one hand.Faheem set his staff on the steps next to him, as Darienne sat to his left. At first he was quiet as he watched people pass by at the bottom of the steps. A part of him missed the original palace entrance, with its smooth slope. But after Zant’s reign, the entrance had been ruined by dark magic and needed to be rebuilt. Midna wanted a staircase to the palace, as it reminded her of the light world, he recalled. With more influence from the light world, much of the palace was changed to reflect that. Not that he knew what the light world was like, but he could imagine it based on what he’s learned about it.Then he turned his head a little toward Darienne, watching her with warm eyes as she silently rubbed her swollen belly. Moments later she looked up at him and smiled—a smile which reminded Faheem more from the past. He was waxing nostalgic it seems…but he could remember as though it were yesterday, the day he and Yldae found Darienne. A non-verbal little girl, her parents both dead, and she not knowing her own name. After they took her in, he gave her a name…“Darienne…?” Faheem started, and the young woman cocked her head quizzically to acknowledge him. “…I remember the day we found you. That was the day we marked as your birthday, since we did not know when you were born…you were this tiny girl, only about four years old, and both Yldae and I grew fond of you immediately. All those nights we took turns watching over you—it did not take long for us to realize you didn’t know what your name was.” He looked up at the sky for a moment and sighed, “…I never told you this before now, however I found it fitting to say, since you will soon name your own child—I gave you your name, Darienne. You took to it instantly, always turning your head whenever we called you.” He paused, scratching his bearded chin in thought, “When your child is born, you will know what his name is, just as we knew yours.”Darienne smiled as Faheem recounted their history, remembering how he and his friend Yldae had always been there. Although a sadness tugged at her heart when she recalled how children in her class had accused her of lying when she called Faheem her father and how the man had to explain to her that she was an orphan when she was still so young, she had always seen him as her father. Some memories of her early years at the school were filled with sadness, but she also held many of them close to her heart. She loved to think back, thinking of the time she ran away after Faheem told her the truth about her heritage and just to make her happy, he and Yldae stayed with her the night, laying together in bed with the little girl between them. It didn't matter to her that they weren't related by blood––Faheem and Yldae would always be her beloved father and mother. Nothing had changed in all those years, though she wondered if Faheem still remembered how she thought of him. Then, as Faheem told her that he was the one to choose her name when he and Yldae first found her, she gave him a knowing look and smiled when their eyes met. He was right when he said that she took to her name almost immediately––he called her by her name but once and back then, she knew it was her name without doubt. “I know you did. You are my father after all.” she signed calmly, all the while smiling as she continued, “...and what girl would not listen to her father calling her?” She rested her hands on her round belly then, pondering on her next words. She was nervous. How would Faheem react to her request? She took a deep breath, then moved her hands as they formed her words. “Faheem, I meant to ask you something. I wanted to speak with you for a long time, and I am glad I have the chance before the little one is born. But...I have another request first. Will you––will you speak with me like we used to? When I was little?”Faheem’s first reaction to her saying he was her father was surprise at first, but then his eyes glowed warmly. That night Darienne slept between him and Yldae in his house near eighteen years ago, he could never forget.<i>”…Dae?” he whispered, looking over the sleeping, tiny rose-haired girl at Yldae. When his friend met his gaze, he turned his eyes to Darienne. “…I know we are not her parents, however, I am not bothered if she chooses to consider us so. In the future, I will not correct her…it is up to her how she wants to move forward from here.”Yldae offered him a smile, and then gently brushed the hair off Darienne’s face. “I agree with you, my friend. I love this little girl…I love her very much.”</i>After pondering his memory for a moment, Faheem balled his fist and then stretched it open. “Yes, Darienne. Though I am much slower in sign than you are—in this case, the student became the master.” He replied in sign, his large hand moving slowly yet fluidly. Many of the words he had to spell out, as he had only the one hand to speak with, but nevertheless Darienne understood him, and her face lit up.“Well, you certainly sign as if you had never stopped.” she signed happily in return. Suddenly she felt like a little girl again, remembering all the times she was sad because she couldn't speak and Faheem took his time to speak her language with her. She was grateful for everything he taught her. “If you and Yldae had not taught me, I would not be here. There is so much I owe you both––I will forever be in your debt.” she added and sighed. Faheem focused on her now...Darienne knew this was her chance. “Alright, well––“ she began, her hands shivering as she tried to form a sentence. Perhaps it was a lot to ask for, but Faheem was family to her and she had to take this chance. “Faheem, you have always been like a father to me. Just as Yldae is my mother. I––I know we are not related by blood, but I see you as my family. I always have. I meant to ask––If––if you are willing to do the same...for my child. I would be honored if you were willing to be family to the little one just as you are to me, as the child's grandfather. I know it is a lot to ask of you, I am sorry––”Faheem blinked a few times, wondering if he read her correctly. “…a grandfather?” he signed to clarify, and Darienne nodded—a nervous expression clear on her face. Faheem paused to consider her words while scratching his bearded chin. He always viewed Darienne as a daughter, but it never once crossed his mind that his relationship to her children could be that of a grandfather. Technically he was old enough to <i>be</i> a grandfather, so it would not be awkward. How would the other orphans he raised, view him as they started their own families? The question was near mindboggling for him, but when he turned back to look at Darienne, her young and pure soul ever present within her eyes, he gave her a full and genuine smile. “Of course I am willing, Darienne…you are my daughter after all.” He replied in sign, and then chuckled when he saw the surprise in her face, before reaching out to pat her on the head again. Darienne met Faheem's gaze with her own wide eyes, and smiled as tears of joy formed in her eyes. Faheem had accepted her request and even called her his daughter. She was overjoyed. Seeing his smile, though she had never seen him smile like this, her own smile only grew wider. He would be her child's grandfather...how could she ever thank him?The mute woman sighed contently and, although she wished she could simply throw her arms around Faheem in an embrace, shifted to lean against him until her head rested on his shoulder when he pulled his hand back after gently stroking her head. “Thank you, Faheem––father!” she signed swiftly, and closed her eyes for a moment. When she opened them again, she shifted a little once again so her could read her signing and moved her hands hesitantly.“You know...I have never seen you smile like that, father. Something seems different about you. Will you tell me what it is?”Faheem sighed—Darienne had the right to know. “…can you keep a secret?” he signed in response, and then held his finger over his lips in a shushing motion. Darienne let out a silent giggle, and mimicked him, with her own finger over her lips, and nodded. She felt like a little girl in this moment—what was the secret??“It is because I love Yldae, your mother.” He replied with confidence. After all, he was not actually speaking those words aloud—just speaking with movements.“Really? Truly?” Darienne signed back with tears in her eyes. The one thing she always dreamed of—the two people she loved as her parents, loving each other. She always thought they should stay together forever. For a time when she was small, she believed they were already married because of how close they were. Just knowing it could become a reality? She was overjoyed!“Yes, truly. I always have, and I will never let her go…someday I will tell her when the time is right.” Faheem replied with a slow-moving hand. Then he let his hand fall to his lap, already feeling a slight ache from signing so much. He truly was out of practice. But now his daughter—no, <i>their</i> daughter, knew how he felt. Darienne leaned against her father again, sighing contently. First Faheem agreed to be her baby’s grandfather, and now she learned that he loved her mother, Yldae. Could this day get any better? Both Darienne and Faheem sat in silence for several minutes, watching the twilight particles in the sky before them. Faheem was about to speak, when suddenly he felt a chill run down his spine, as though they were being watched. Slowly, he moved his hand to his side and gripped his staff tightly. Darienne perked her head up a little when she felt him tense up. “Father? Is something wrong?” she signed, but the older man didn’t respond.Suddenly Faheem swung his staff across his body, over Darienne’s head, to catch the blade of a knife before it struck her in the back, making the younger woman scream in silence when she looked up to see a masked palace guard with his blade locked with Faheem’s staff—and blood running down her arm from the blade slicing her shoulder instead of her back.“Darienne!! Run!!” Faheem yelled, pushing his staff against the masked guard and getting to his feet. Darienne tried to move as fast as she could with her large and cumbersome belly, only managing a few steps. Faheem put himself between her and the guard, but he slipped on the step when the guard pushed back, and was shoved into Darienne. The tiny woman then fell.That moment seemed to slow as Darienne looked up, feeling herself falling backward with her hand outstretched. But Faheem couldn’t catch her. She hit her back on the steps first, and then rolled down several more, hitting her belly on the way down. She cried for her father in her mind, but he couldn’t hear her—her body tensed and pain seared through her body as she grew more terrified for her baby. Then she looked up the steps at Faheem, watching with tears streaming down her face, her father fight for his life.Faheem couldn’t shove past this guard—he was too powerful. Then Solbahr, the guard captain on duty rushed over to try and pull the guard back, only to be thrown back into the wall by what seemed to be an invisible force. Was this guard a magic user as well? Faheem gritted his teeth and shoved the guard off him in that moment of distraction, then struck him in the back when he tried to chase after Darienne, forcing the guard to turn back around. Faheem shuffled sideways when the guard attempted to stab him. Something wasn’t right about this—why attack Darienne?? The guard seemed off to Faheem, as though the movements weren’t his own.Darienne--! Faheem’s eyes scanned the area for her, and yelled her name when he saw she had fallen so far down. He knew she was in danger now—her baby was in danger. A fall like that could’ve killed the unborn child.Faheem sidestepped the guard again—thankful in that moment for the training Yldae put him through. But he had to stop this. No one else should get hurt. Suddenly the guard jumped through the air with his blade above him, intending to slash Faheem. But the older man caught the guard with the length of his staff, spun around and threw the guard down the steps. Breathing heavily for a moment, he watched the guard continue to fall, before rushing to Darienne’s side.“Darienne--! Are you alright??” he cried, attempting to look her over when she couldn’t respond. Instead, she pointed away from herself and Faheem looked past them, seeing the guard collapsed on the ground at the bottom of the staircase.He didn’t move.Without another word Faheem bounded down the steps and dropped to his knees at the guard’s side, throwing his staff aside, and turned him over. Faheem cursed and panicked when he saw the guard had fallen on his own blade, immediately removing the stone mask he wore.What he saw, shook him to his very core.“No—no no!!” Faheem yelled, cupping the young man’s face.“Thyrn!!” he bellowed—this couldn’t be happening. It was one of his old students, Thyrn, an orphan boy Faheem had brought in so many years ago. Thyrn coughed blood, opening his eyes for a moment to look at Faheem, his old master. The unnatural red glow disappeared, leaving behind Thyrn’s natural green eyes, before he passed out from blood loss.Darienne watched with tears in her eyes as Faheem rushed to the fallen guard. She was unable to move as the situation left her in shock. She knew the guard, recognizing him when Faheem removed his stone mask. She had seen him many times at her father's school, a fellow student she considered a friend. She hadn’t seen him since their school days, but still, why would Thyrn attack them? And the child––was her baby alright?? The small woman panicked, only to wince when a sudden jolt of pain rushed through her small frame and she tensed. Clutching her large belly, she cried out silently as the pain suddenly increased without warning and threw her head back. 'No! No no no!! Not now, please!!' she begged in her mind, but there was no doubt her water had broken and the stress of the situation had pushed her into labor. She looked down at the puddle beneath her with wide eyes. Blood––was her child already dead??Then her head snapped up when she heard a woman cry out for Faheem and tried her best to look in that direction. Through the pain and the panic, she felt a sense of relief when she recognized the tall, slender woman that rushed their way––Yldae. “Mother!” Darienne cried out to her in sign, praying to the goddesses that Yldae may know how to save them all. Yldae was left speechless at the sight she found before her. She had returned to the palace to find Faheem after she visited her family, returning with great unease, only to witness her dear friend fighting for his life. Her eyes flicked between the people and her eyes widened––all of them she knew. The slender woman first rushed to the small Darienne's side, seeing the panic in her rose eyes as the mute woman tried to wrap her arms around her terribly large belly. Yldae knew their former student awaited a child, but she feared the worst when she realized her water must have broken and there was blood in the water. Something was wrong and it meant danger for them both. Kneeling by her side, Yldae wrapped an arm around her shoulder and lightly rested a hand on Darienne's belly. The much shorter woman's round belly was hard and tense––she was no doubt in greater pain than she had ever endured. At the sight of the rose-haired woman’s silent cries, Yldae couldn't fight the fear rising to her throat. “Darienne!” she called, but the mute woman did not respond––she couldn't.Then Yldae's gaze settled Faheem who knelt by the fallen guard farther down the palace steps. “Faheem!!” she cried, hoping that her friend was able to tell her more. But her eyes widened when she saw the guard laying on the ground, impaled by his own blade. It was Thyrn, one of their former students. She remembered how the boy had always aspired to become a member of the royal guard, and while his dream had come true after many years of training, this couldn't be how it ended.It couldn't all end like this––they couldn't let it end like this. Looking around, trying to figure out a way to solve this before anyone died. Yldae panicked momentarily as Darienne cried in her arms, knowing they might lose their old students. Then her gaze settled on a small ground of bystanders. Knowing the men would be able to lift Thyrn and carry him to the infirmary, she called out to them.“You there!! Come here!!” she yelled, and the small group of men immediately rushed her way. As they ran over, a few guards came from the palace, along with Solbahr after regaining consciousness after hitting his head from being thrown back. “Get the fallen guard to the infirmary immediately or we will lose him! Make sure to stabilize that blade and whatever you do, do <i>not</i> remove it!! We must hurry!!” she added, and lowered her head to look at the small woman in her arms. Yldae's heart broke at the sight. Darienne was almost like a daughter to her and she remembered all the times she and Faheem took turns taking care of the girl. “Hold on, Darienne!” she called, and carefully yet swiftly lifted her from the ground with one arm around the mute woman's shoulders and the other slipped under her knees. She turned back to see Faheem removing his mantle and stabilizing the knife in Thyrn's abdomen with the blue fabric. Then she bound up the steps with Darienne in her arms, followed by Faheem and the men carrying Thyrn. The group made for the infirmary immediately, praying that there was hope for Darienne and Thyrn still.
Child of Destiny Chapter 29 years ago Meadow is sleeping through the calm sound of the leaves rustling and crickets chirping. But her sleep will be interrupted when her fairy came into her room. “Meadow! Wake up!” Meadow gets up and rubs her eyes a bit, seeing her fairy looking distress. “What’s the matter, Rosina?” She asked, kind of tired. “The Great Deku Tree wants to see you! And it seems important! And you wouldn’t believe what came to the Kokiri Forest!” Meadow raises her eyebrow on that part. But she gets out of her bed and left to go see the Great Deku Tree. Once she has arrived, she sees some kind of figure in a cloak as the fairies are flying around it. Meadow approaches to it and sees shock to see an adult on the ground. Not just any adult, but an adult who is dead due to this one’s eyes being all glazed. “Ah Meadow, thee has arrived at last.” The Great Deku Tree has spoken once he sees the young Kokiri. “Gr-Great Deku Tree,” Meadow finally found the spokes to say since seeing a dead adult body, “wh-why is there a dead body here? And more importantly, an adult?” “This young woman has travelled to the Kokiri Forest along with her child to escape the war that is happening right now.” “Child?” Meadow looks over the body and sees something wrapped in a blanket and her eyes widen of what she sees. “Oh, my Faron! That’s a baby! The adult traveled through the Kokiri Forest with a baby and then left this world leaving him here?” “Before she has left this world, she has asked me to watch over this child, and I accept.” Meadow picks up the baby and cradles him in her arms. “Why did you accept that? He’s not even a Kokiri, or a Korok, he’s a Hylian. He will grow up in the future.” “There is something special about this child.” Meadow raises an eyebrow when the Great Deku Tree said special. “A man with evil eyes will one day take over Hyrule.” Her eyes widen when the tree said that. “But the Child of Destiny will rise up and fight against the man with the evil eyes, alongside the Princess of Destiny.” Meadow looks down at the baby for a moment. “Are you saying this baby is the Child of Destiny?” “Yes. He will one day leave this forest in the future and fulfill his destiny.” “But he’s just a baby! How is he going to fight the man with the evil eyes if he is a baby?” “When the time comes, he will fulfill his destiny.” Meadow looks down at the baby for a moment and the baby just looks at her with his blue eyes. Meadow smiles at the baby for a bit. “He is kind of cute.” Meadow thought to herself. “What’s the baby’s name?” She asked. “In the woman’s final hour, she has called the child, Link.” “Link. It means courage, or from the old Hylian tongue, hero. That’s what you taught us Kokiri about outside of the forest, right?” “Yes. A courageous name for the Child of Destiny. May Goddess Hylia smile upon this young child.”Present Day It’s nighttime in the Kokiri Forest and all of the Kokiris and Koroks are asleep peacefully. In Meadow’s house, the young Kokiri is peacefully asleep, until Rosina heard footsteps outside of the village. Rosina obviously got scared and she flies over to Meadow to wake her up. “Meadow. Meadow, wake up!” Meadow wakes up due to Rosina nudging her. She rubs her eyes a bit since she is still tired. “Is there a reason why you woke me up, Rosina?” “I heard someone outside! Someone must be in the forest!” Rosina whispers, feeling a bit scared. “You mean, as in an adult? But they are not allow in the forest.” “Something’s not right here.” Meadow thought to herself. She gets out of bed and slips on her boots and her green robe. “Come on, Rosina, we’ll check it out.” Rosina hides in Meadow’s robe as Meadow gets out of her home. She looks both ways to see if she sees someone in the dark, only to meet someone close to her, which made her yelp in surprise and the figure yelped in fear. Meadow takes a closer look of the figure, despite being so dark, and recognizes who it is. “Mido?” Mido’s eyes widen when he heard Meadow’s voice and hid something behind his back. “Meadow! Hi! Funny seeing you out in the night.” “Why are you doing here at night?” Meadow asked, raising her eyebrow. “Uh… I was just… uh… taking a midnight scroll cause… I couldn’t sleep.” Meadow takes a peek at what Mido is holding behind his back and recognizes the item. “Then why are you holding the Kokiri Saw?” (Fun fact: Kokiri in Japanese means saw, so it’s kind of a bad pun, according to Akira Himekawa who did the Zelda manga) Mido takes the saw from behind his back. “Oh. This thing? Uh… In case bad adults sneak into the forest and I use this to cut them up!” “You own a Kokiri sword, Mido. Why not use that?” Mido made a stupid face when Meadow said those words, so he didn’t say anything at all. “You’re not going to use that saw just to get back at Link for throwing fertilizer at you, are you?” Meadow asked, giving him a stern look. “Uuuuuuuuuuhhhhhh….” Was all Mido could say right now. As Mido just stands there like an idiot, Meadow sees a figure heading towards where the Great Deku Tree is. It must be the adult that Rosina mentioned. “Mido, I’ll deal with you later. I gotta go check something out.” And with that Meadow heads over to the Great Deku Tree as she shout “Do not move a muscle!” Mido just smirk once Meadow is long gone. “Heh. Yeah right.” So Mido heads over to Link’s tree house to do something mean.Meadow stands besides where the Great Deku Tree is at, as he is talking to a man. Most likely an adult. “I won’t say this again, tree, hand me the Kokiri Emerald immedientlly!” Meadow heard the male adult command. “The Kokiri Emerald?” Meadow thought to herself. The Kokiri Emerald is a sacred item that has been under the protection of the Great Deku Tree for as long as she and other Kokiris and Koroks can remember. “Why would an adult want the Emerald for?” “No! Thee shall not have the Kokiri Emerald!” The Great Deku said with his voice booming so loud that Meadow had to cover her ears. “For an old tree like you, you sure are stubborn.” Meadow just can’t stand there and let this mean adult threaten the Great Deku Tree! She steps into the Great Deku Tree’s area and confronts the adult. “Hey! Leave the Great Deku Tree alone, adult! Who do you think you are anyway?” The adult turns around and faces Meadow. He has red hair and amber eyes and his skin is completely green. “Heh. A child defending this old tree. How cute.” The adult said with a smirk. “Neither the less, you won’t stop me from getting the Kokiri Emerald so I can rule over Hyrule.” Meadow’s eyes widen when the adult said that and realizes who this adult is. “The man with the evil eyes!” The young Kokiri tries to make a run for it, but two adult women, both had red hair, but with tan skin, grabbed her by the arms and let out a frightful yelp. “Meadow!” Rosina comes out of Meadow’s robe and tries to rescue her, but another adult woman grabs the fairy by the wings. “Let those two go!” The Great Deku Tree commanded the man with the evil eyes. “They have nothing to do with this!” “No. They don’t have anything to do with my plan to take over Hyrule,” the man with the evil eyes said, “just hand over the Kokiri Emerald to me, and I’ll let the girl and fairy go.” “I shall never hand over the Kokiri Emerald to you!” The Great Deku Tree told the man with the evil eyes. “Then you shall meet your doom.” The man with the evil eyes raises his hand and some dark energy comes out of it and it flies over to the Great Deku Tree. “UUGGGHH!!!!” The Great Deku Tree groaned in pain when he felt the dark energy go inside of him. “Great Deku Tree!” Meadow shouted in fear as she just watched. “This curse will spread all over and you will die,” the man with the evil eyes explained to the Great Deku Tree, “you really should have given me the Kokiri Emerald, old fool.” He then snaps his fingers and the three women lets go of Meadow and Rosina. “Let us leave this place.” The women nod to the man with the evil eyes as they all leave the Great Deku Tree to die. Meadow runs up to the Great Deku Tree, feeling scared inside as she doesn’t know what to do. “Oh no, oh no, oh no, this is bad, this is bad!” Rosina starts to panic. Soon all of the other fairies who has yet to be partnered with a Kokiri all gathered around the dying Deku Tree as they all seem to be worried about him. “Meadow… It is time… for Link… to fulfill… his… destiny…” The Great Deku Tree told the young Kokiri weakly. “What? Now? But it’s not soon. He’s too young to fulfill his destiny.” “There isn’t much of a choice…” As much as Meadow wants to argue with the Great Deku Tree, she has no choice but to agree with him. “Navi… Navi, where art thou? Come hither…” “Navi? As in Annoying Navi?” “Why would the Great Deku Tree want her?” “I think he’s becoming delirious.” “I hope she doesn’t get paired with someone who will annoy them for the rest of their lives.” As all of the fairies were questioning about why their great leader choice some annoying fairy, a blue fairy with light blue skin, a short blue hair, wears a blue dress, and is glowing a bright blue, comes forth to the Great Deku Tree. “Oh Navi the fairy… Listen to my words, the words of the Deku Tree…” The Great Deku Tree said, weakly. Navi listens very careful to the Great Deku Tree’s words. “Dost thou sense it? The climate of evil descending upon this realm…” Navi knotted her eyebrows in nervousness, but she gives out a nod. “Malevolent forces even now are mustering to attack our land of Hyrule… For so long, the Kokiri Forest, the source of life, has stood as a barrier, deterring outsiders and maintaining the order of the world… But… before this tremendous evil, even my power is as nothing… It seems the time has come for the boy without a fairy to begin his journey… The youth whose destiny it is to lead Hyrule to the path of justice and truth…” Meadow knew that the Great Deku Tree had a talk with Navi 9 years ago that Link is the Child of Destiny and that he will leave the forest in the future and that she will be the one who will guide Link on this destiny. She just wish it didn’t happen now with Link being just a child, and when the Great Deku Tree is cursed because of the man with the evil eyes. “Navi… go now! Find our young friend and guide him to me… I do not have much time left. Fly, Navi, fly! The fate of the forest, nay, the world, depends on thee!” Navi gives a quick nod. “I won’t fail you, Great Deku Tree!” And she flies off to Link.Mido has arrived at Link’s house and holds up the Kokiri saw. “With this, I’ll cut up a big hole right next to his door. And when he wakes up and gets out.” Mido imagines Link coming out of his house yawning and then… WHAM!!! Link falls from the hole Mido made. Mido snickers at how Link will fall into the hole without noticing like a big idiot. “I’m a genius!” Mido told himself. Soon he begins sawing the floor above him. Unknown to him, a fairy flew inside Link’s house.Once Navi is inside Link’s house, she can see that the young boy is still asleep. She doesn’t blame him, it is the middle of the night, but this is still urgent. “Hello, Link! Wake up! The Great Deku Tree wants to talk to you!” Link groans tiredly and he covers himself in the blanket. Navi flies over to his body and rubs it with her tiny hands trying to wake him up. “Link, get up!” “It’s like 2 in the morning,” Link mumbles in his sleep, “go back to bed…” Navi puffs her cheeks in anger and she flies over to Link’s head and starts hitting it with her tiny hands. “Hey! C’mon! Can Hyrule’s destiny really depend on such a lazy boy?” Link groans as he uncovers himself from the blanket and sits up on his knees on his bed and rubs his eyes with his arm. “Okay, okay… I’m up,” Link said, groggy, “you didn’t have to be so mean Saria…” “My name isn’t Saria.” When the tiredness left Link, his eyes widened when he didn’t recognized that and he knew it isn’t Saria. Saria wouldn’t be mean to her, not ever. He turned to face the blue fairy. “And I’m glad you’re awake now. I’m Navi the fairy. The Great Deku Tree asked me to be your partner for now on. Nice to meet you!” A fairy… Link finally got a fairy. He should celebrate and hug his new fairy, Navi, really tight knowing that he is now a true Kokiri and now Mido would stop calling “Mr. No Fairy” anymore now that he has a fairy, but he keeps his cool in meter, he didn’t want to scare the poor fairy. “Link?” Navi waves her hand at Link’s face to see if she can get his attention. “Wha? Oh. Sorry. It’s just… I’ve always a fairy, ever since I was a little, and now I finally got one. Did you see my poster?” Navi turns and sees the poster that Link made. “Awww… That is so cute.” Navi then shakes her head to snap out of it. “What am I doing?! I don’t have time for this! The Great Deku Tree summoned you immedientlly, so we need to go right now!” Soon Navi was out of Link’s house. Link knotted his eyebrows in confusion. The Great Deku Tree summoned him to see him? In the middle of the night? Something must be wrong. Link puts on his boots and his green hat, gets out of bed, and goes after Navi. “Wait! Navi! What’s wrong with the Great Deku Tree?!” Link asked as he gets out of his home, but he suddenly fell into a hole. “OOFF!!!” Link landed on top of something soft as it made a noise. He looks down and see who it is. “Mido? What are you doing here?” Mido tries get up, but with Link on top of him, it was no use. “Ugh… Night gazing…” He lied, with pain in his voice. Link and Mido both noticed some of the plants wilting all of the sudden. “The plants,” Link was the first to speak as he gets off of Mido, “they’re suddenly dying.” “Yeah, what’s the big deal?” Mido asked, all confused. “Is the Great Deku Tree sick or something?” “That’s why the Great Deku Tree summoned you, Link,” Navi said, “something terrible has happened to him!” Link’s eyes widened when Navi said that. Something terrible has happened to his father figure?Navi has lead Link and Mido to where The Great Deku Tree is. Meadow is there too, with a worried look on her face. “Great Deku Tree!” Link runs towards the Deku Tree and places his hands on him. “Link… Welcome…” The Great Deku Tree said, weakly. “What happened?! Who did this to you?!” Link is panicking. He doesn’t understand why someone would hurt the Great Deku Tree. He feels like he’s gonna cry, but he keeps hold of his tears. He didn’t want to break down in front of his father figure, Meadow, Navi, or even Mido. “He feels so cold,” Mido commented when he touched the Great Deku Tree, “as if he has already died.” The last word Mido said made Link flinch. “The man with the evil eyes did something to him…” Meadow said quietly. Link turned to face Meadow when she said that. “Huh? Who’s-“ Before Link could say it, all of the other Kokiris and the Koroks have come here to where the Great Deku Tree is at because the Kokiris’ fairies have sense their father is dying and the Koroks can sense it too. “What’s going on?” “Is the Great Deku Tree okay?” “My fairy woke me up because something is wrong with the Great Deku Tree?” “He’s not gonna die, is he?” As all of the Kokiris and Koroks ramble on what is happening to the Great Deku Tree, Daisy showed up as well because her fairy, Brucie, woke her and told her to go to the Great Deku Tree immedientlly. She sees Link, Meadow, and Mido there as well. She runs up to Link and hugs him tightly. “Link? What’s wrong with the Great Deku Tree?” “I… I don’t know… I don’t…” Link wants to know for himself, but he is too destress on his father figure somehow hurt or dying, mostly all of the Kokiris and Koroks are. “Link, listen carefully to what I, the Deku Tree, am about to tell thee…” Link turns to face the Great Deku Tree as he listens to what he is about to say. “Thy slumber these past moons must have been restless and full of nightmares…” Link looks down at the ground for a moment. So the Great Deku Tree knows about his bad dreams he’s been having a couple of nights ago. “As the servants of evil gain strength, a vile climate pervades the land and causes nightmares to sensitive to it… Verily, thou hast felt it… Link… The time has come to test thy courage… I have been cursed…” All of the Kokiris and Koroks, minus Meadow, gasped when the Great Deku Tree said that he had been cursed, which scares them. “Cursed?” “What curse is it?” “Nevermind what the curse is. Who cursed the Deku Tree?” “Why bring me into this, Great Deku Tree?” Link asked, feeling a bit scared right now. “I need thee to break the curse with thy wisdom and courage,” the Great Deku Tree said weakly, “dost thou have courage enough to undertake this task?” Link wants to say no, that he isn’t brave enough to fight this… curse that is inside the Great Deku Tree, but he took care of the young boy since he was just a small child after all. He cannot let his father figure die. “Don’t worry, Great Deku Tree, I’ll make sure you won’t die from this curse that’s cast upon you.” Link said with determination in his eyes. “Then enter, brave Link, and thou too, Navi…” The Great Deku Tree opens a door inside of him for Link and Navi to enter. “Wait… Me? Why me?” Navi asked, feeling kind fo scared. “Navi the fairy… Thou must aid Link…” The Great Deku Tree to the fairy. “Navi, it’s okay,” Link told the scared fairy calmly, “we’ll save the Great Deku Tree together.” Navi smiles a bit and nods her head. “Alright, let’s go!” Both Link and Navi head inside the Great Deku Tree. “Hey! Hold up! I am not letting Link go in there and be some kind of hero!” Mido runs after Link and Navi as he said that. “Mido, it’s too dangerous to face whatever is inside the Great Deku Tree,” Meadow said, seriously, “you’ll get killed!” “Don’t worry,” Mido pulls out a sword. It’s hilt is brown with a red gem on it. “With the Kokiri Sword on me, I can slice some monsters better than Link’s stupid slingshot thingy!” Soon Mido heads inside the Great Deku Tree.Link gots his slingshot ready for when he encounters whatever is making the Great Deku Tree ill. Mido is behind him. It was dark inside the Great Deku Tree, but Navi glowing like a light helps them see where they are going. “Whoever you are in there, come on out! Stop hurting the Great Deku Tree!” Link demanded. Silence was in the air as the thing that effect the Great Deku Tree didn’t reply. Soon, they enter the center of the inside of the Great Deku Tree, and nothing was there. Link keeps his eyes peel on the thing that effected his father figure. “Oh well, nobody’s here, let’s get out of here.” Mido commented with fear in his voice as he turns around and gets out of here, but Link grabs Mido by his collar stopping him. “I thought you wanted to help the Great Deku Tree.” “I do! And I also don’t want you to be some sort of hero!” “Then don’t be a coward!” Mido gulps a bit - he has never seen Link be this bossy before and he’s the one who always bullies him - and raises his sword ready to face whatever is in here, kind of scared. “Ah!” Link turns to Navi as she is pointing at something. “Look up there!” The boys look up at the ceiling and their eyes widen in shock of what they saw. A giant spider with one eyeball that can stare at you with fear was on the ceiling and what it’s doing made Link’s heart drop down to his stomach. “It’s… it’s eating the insides of the Great Deku Tree…” Soon Link clutches his slingshot tight as his blood boils with anger of that monster eating the Great Deku Tree. He then lifts his slingshot and aims it at the monster. “Hey ugly!” He then shoots a Deku Seed at the monster. The monster felt that and stops eating the insides of the Great Deku Tree and stares down at Link, Navi, and Mido. The stare scared Navi a bit, made Mido frozen in fear, and made Link glare at the thing. The monster drops down to the ground and attacks Link. “Link, look out!” Navi shouted as Link dodges the attack and starts shooting the monster with his slingshot. “That thing is a Gohma, a spider-like parasite that can hit anything!” Navi told Link as he keeps shooting it. “It must be the queen or something! You have to defeat it so the Great Deku Tree can be saved!” Link gives out a nod. Gohma climbs up to the ceiling and it shoots out larvas out of it. Link shoots each and every one of them for good and then shoots Gohma in the eye, causing it to fall to the ground. “Now to finish this thing, Mido, stab it through the eye!” Link told Mido, but Mido didn’t do anything. He is just frozen there, shaking like a leaf and clutching the Kokiri Sword. He is utterly scared. Gohma gets back up and it swings its claw at Mido. “Watch out!” Link runs towards Mido and pushes him out of the way. Gohma missed its pray, so it turns around and faces the two boys. Link grabs Mido’s Kokiri Sword as Gohma charges towards him and Mido. As soon as the monster raises its claw, Link thrusts the sword in the eye and screeches in pain when it was hit by the sword. Soon it turns black and sudden poofs black mist, meaning it is officially dead. Link sighs in relief and sits down on the ground, taking a breather. It is finally over. The Great Deku Tree is now saved.All of the Kokiris, Koroks, and fairies were all patiently standing in front of the Great Deku Tree very worried about Link, Mido, and Navi, but Meadow is the most likely one to worry about them, especially Link and Mido. She cares deeply to all of her Kokiri friends and the little Koroks as if they were all of her children. If either Link or Mido or both were killed by whatever the man with the evil eyes cast upon the Great Deku Tree, she would be completely and utterly heartbroken. Daisy is fiddling with her hands in nervousness as she is super worried about Link. She then sees something coming out of the Great Deku Tree. It was three figures. One of them she recognizes when they came out. “Link!” When Link came out of the Great Deku Tree, he has a few scrapes and bruises, but is still alive. Navi flies next to Link unharmed. Mido crawls out of Great Deku Tree, also covered in scrapes and bruises, but he is also still alive. Daisy runs towards Link and gives him a big hug. “You’re okay! You’re okay!” All of the other Kokiris and Koroks gathered around Link, all glad and relieved that he is safe and alive. The fairies did the same thing with Navi. “Uh, hello? What about me?” Mido asked as he got up and crosses his arms in annoyance that Link is getting all of the attention instead of him. Meadow places her hand on her chest and sighs in relief. She is glad that the boys are okay. “Well done, Link… Thou hast verily demonstrated thy courage…” The Great Deku Tree said as Navi gives a thumbs up to Link, Link did the same thing with Navi. Mido mumbles to himself that the Great Deku Tree is still appreciating Link more than him. It was his Kokiri Sword that Link used to kill that thing. “I was glad I manage to defeat that thing without Navi’s help, and Mido’s.” Mido’s eyes widen when Link said that. Link smiles a bit at Mido, but Mido turns his head with a hmph. “I knew that thou wouldst be able to carry out my wishes,” the Great Deku Tree said, “now I have yet more to tell, wouldst thou listen?” “Oh! Story time!” “I wanna hear it too!” “The Great Deku Tree’s stories are amazing!” All of the Kokiris sit down for the Great Deku Tree’s story and their fairies either sit on their shoulders or on their heads and some of the Koroks sit on ground or some of the Kokiris’ laps. “I call Link’s lap!” Daisy commented as she sat on Link’s lap after Link sat on the ground. Navi sat on top of Link’s head. “Listen carefully, a wicked man of the desert cast this dreadful curse upon me,” the Great Deku Tree began to explain to Link, “this man ceaselessly uses his vile, sorcerous powers in his search for the Sacred Realm within Hyrule for it is in that Sacred Realm that one will find a divine relic, the Triforce, which contains the essence of the Gods.” “I saw the man with the evil eyes myself,” Meadow commented with her eyes on the ground, “he was… really scary. Some grown-up women were with him as well, holding me and Rosina down as he cursed the Great Deku Tree. He said he wanted the Kokiri Emerald, but the Deku Tree refuse to give it to him. It’s a smart choice he made, but it also got him cursed in the first place.” Link sees the sadness and guilt in Meadow’s eyes. She feels pretty bad that she didn’t help. Rosina pats on Meadow’s shoulder in comfort. “I know it wasn’t your fault, Meadow.” The young Kokiri gives a small smile to her fairy. “Thou must never allow the desert man in black armor to lay his hands on the sacred Triforce,” the Great Deku Tree told the young boy, who listen to every word his father figure is saying as Navi gets off of Link’s head, listening as well, “thou must never let that man, with his evil heart, to enter the Sacred Realm. That evil man… who cast the death curse upon me and sapped my power…” The voice in the Great Deku Tree sounds so weak all of the sudden and the Kokiris, Koroks, and fairies all noticed it. “Link destroyed the curse for good and you’ll be back to normal, right?” Meadow asked, kind of nervous. “Though his valiant efforts to break my curse were successful, I was doomed before he started…” The words that the Deku Tree has said made everybody in shock. “What?!” “Is this some kind of cruel joke?!” “Please tell me this isn’t true!” “This can’t be happening!” Link gets up from the ground when he heard what the Great Deku Tree said and is in shock as well. “What do you mean you were doomed before I started?! I’ve made sure that monster was gone!” “Mr. No Fairy is right!” Mido said, panicking as well. “We saw it poof into that black mist after he stabbed it in the eye!” “Great Deku Tree, why would that curse the man with the evil eyes put upon you doomed you?” Meadow asked, her voice is very wobbly. “Because of that curse… My end is nigh…” Link stood there in shock because of what his father figure had just said. Mostly everybody is in shock of what the Great Deku Tree had said. Soon the sky turns all cloudy and the somber aura surrounds the area. Link looks down at the ground, trying to hide his tears with his bangs as he approaches to his father figure slowly. “I… I don’t want to believe what you said, Great Deku Tree…” His voice is cracked, he feels like crying right now, but is doing his best not to cry. “It is true… I will pass away soon…” the Great Deku Tree said, with a weak voice. Link didn’t say anything else. He still stares at the ground. “I… have been able… to tell you of these important… matters.” A mist surrounds the Great Deku Tree, a sign that he is about to pass away. “Please do not… grieve for me… You and Navi are Hyrule’s… final hope… Go to Hyrule Castle… There, thou will surely… meet the Princess… of Destiny…” Meadow eyes on the ground in sadness, then eyes on Link. She can feel that Link is breaking down inside. Seeing the Great Deku Tree dying, even when the curse is broken. All of the Kokiris, Koroks, and the fairies are in sadness as they are witnessing their guardian and their father dying. “Link… take this stone…” A green light surrounds Link and a green stone appears in his hands. It was the Kokiri Emerald. Link stares at it for a moment as he listens to what his father figure is saying. “The stone that man wanted so much… he casted the curse on me…” Link looks up to his father figure with tears still shone in his eyes. “The future depends upon thee, Link thou art courageous…” Some of the leaves on the Great Deku Tree began to fall down, another sign that he is dying. “Link, Child of Destiny, it has been an honor… to be able to call you family… and I am proud… to call you… my son…” That. That is what made the tears stream down Link’s face, but soon wipes his face with his arm to get rid of them. “Thank you… Father…” He finally said with a sob. “Navi the fairy,” Navi looks up to the Great Deku Tree with tears falling down her cheeks, “help Link carry out my will… Life is going to get tougher from now on… Be the change you want to see in this world…” Navi gives a nod as an understanding. “I will…” “Thank you… Go.. and do not falter… my children…” And with his last breath, the Great Deku Tree rots and turns grey. The Great Deku Tree, protector of the Kokiri and Korok, the great deity of the forest, is gone. “Goodbye… Great Deku Tree…” Meadow quietly said with tears slivering down her cheeks. “No way… The Great Deku Tree… actually died?” Mido said, quietly in shock. “No!!! Great Deku Tree! Please don’t leave us!” Daisy bawled, begging the late Deku Tree to wake up. Soon, all of the Kokiris, Koroks, and fairies started mourning for their father figure as he has passed. Link just stood there in silence for a moment, then he bows to his late father one final time. “I will not fail you, Father…”Soon after everybody is done grieving, Link uses Mido’s sword on a fallen log to carve something. He carved himself a shield and use some rotten red berries to paint the Kokiri symbol on the shield. He then puts the shield on his back. Link then approaches to Mido and holds up the Kokiri Sword in front of him. “You can have your sword back, Mido.” Mido stares at the Kokiri Sword for moment, then shoves it to Link hard. “Take the stupid sword!” He spatted in anger. “It’s all your fault that the Great Deku Tree died!” Link flinched when Mido said those words. “Get out of our forest and never come back here ever again!” “Mido!” Meadow shouted as Mido runs back home. She then turns to face Link for a moment, seeing him looking down at the ground in sadness. “Don’t listen to him, Link. It wasn’t your fault, it was the man with the evil eyes’ fault. He’s the one who killed the Deku Tree.” “I know.” Link said, with a flat tone in his voice. “You can always come back to the Kokiri Forest whenever you want.” “I know.” “Have a safe trip.” “I will.” Link kneels down at Daisy’s level for a bit. “Daisy, I’ll miss you a lot, but you can use my telescope for lookout if you like.” Daisy’s lips tremble a bit, and Link understands it. She saw the Great Deku Tree die right in front of her and now she is seeing him off into the unknown world that isn’t the forest. “Please don’t leave, Link…” “I don’t have much of a choice,” Link ruffles the little Kokiri’s hair a bit. “but I promise to come visit you, okay?” Daisy nodded a bit, still sad. “Come on, Link! Let’s go to Hyrule Castle!” Navi shouted. “Okay!” Link turns to face Meadow and Daisy one last time. “I guess, this is goodbye for now. Wish me luck!” Soon Link runs to the exit of the Kokiri Forest where the bridge is with Navi by his side. “Bye Link…” Daisy said, waving her hand. “Safe travels.” Meadow said, then she closes her eyes a bit as she thinks for herself. “I’m sorry you didn’t have a chance to meet your mother and that you’ve grown so much, but somewhere in the Spirit Realm, she might be watching you, and she is very proud of you.”Link and Navi are almost a few feet away to the exit. “Oh. You’re leaving…” Link stopped running by a familiar voice for a moment. “I knew you would leave someday…” Link turns to face a familiar face sitting on the bridge. “Saria?” What was Saria doing here all of the sudden? Now that he thinks about it, she didn’t show up when the Great Deku Tree was cursed and that he died. Saria pulls herself up from sitting on the bridge and turns to face Link. She looks very upset. Link then approaches to Saria. “Yeah. I was somehow destined to leave the forest because-“ “It’s because you’re different from me and my friends, right?” Link’s eyes widen when Saria said that. “No!” There’s a pause for a moment. “Maybe?” “I kind of thought so,” Saria said which made Link look down at the bridge board, “but that’s okay, because we’ll be friends forever, won’t we?” She then pulls something out of her pouch. It was her ocarina. Link stares at the ocarina for a moment, then looks up to face Saria. “Of course we’ll be friends forever, Saria. Thats never gonna change.” “That’s good,” she said as she hands Link her ocarina, “so I’m giving you my ocarina. Please take care of it.” “Saria…” Link looks down at Saria’s ocarina for a moment, then places his hand on it. “Don’t worry, I will.” Saria looks down at her ocarina with Link’s hand on it. “When you play it, I want you to remember us whenever you’re alone,” she then places her hand on Link, “remember the happy moments here. Home is never far away when you have happy memories, so come back to the forest when you can.” She lets go of Link’s hand as he gently cradles her ocarina carefully. Link gives out a smile. “Saria, it’s a promise.” Saria also smiles. Link then hugs Saria, in which Saria hugs back. “And I can always talk to you anytime I play your song.” “Hehe… I know.” Soon both Link and Saria broke from the hug, then Link takes a step back, then turns around and leaves the Kokiri Forest with Navi by his side. “See you soon, Link.”
Fan-characters, with or without canon characters
Blueprints by AniBegonia
Impa Siriak by AniBegonia
Newfound Zora Family by AniBegonia
Collab: Evening Robes by AniBegonia
Cosplay and Crafts
That's not a Lynel... by ThePrincessRobotRoom
Comics and Doujinshi
Zine: Sakurai's Super Smashing Scoops by NinGemTitan
3D, Pixel Art, Animations, Memes, Wallpapers, etc.
At the Castle by HeroofTime123

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Submission Rules

:bulletgreen: Gallery and Favourites submission limit: 3 deviations per day. Mature content is allowed if properly tagged. All works should have connections to LoZ as a whole. Works without obvious ties to LoZ will be declined.
:bulletblue: Members' journal entries: allowed as long as written in decent English and somewhat related to LoZ.
:bulletred: Submit WIPs/sketches/linearts/not properly cropped/photographed/scanned deviations only to the Favourites.
:bulletpurple: Any work that is traced over bases or screenshots of other media and paint-bucket colored is auto declined. Submit those only to the group favorites.
:bulletyellow: Blocking any group admin means all of your submissions are automatically declined.
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:iconashleygamer1995:
AshleyGamer1995 Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2022
Anyone know if there are third-party cheat codes for the DSiWare game Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition? And a possible TAS or flawless (no damage taken or death loss) playthrough video of the game to find and watch, especially when doing the Hero's Trial challenge?
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:iconashleygamer1995:
AshleyGamer1995 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2021
If someone likes to talk with me about Zelda, go ahead, I don't mind. :)
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:iconashleygamer1995:
AshleyGamer1995 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2021
Hi everyone! I'm AshleyGamer1995, and I love the Zelda series. I also like Midna too. My favourite games are A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. I tried Breath of the Wild for a little bit and thought it was OK. Never did some other Zelda titles yet though, like the Game Boy and DS ones.
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