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Chapter 3 - Tainted

A call from the abyss, the awakening of the forbidden… The chasm of darkness grows as he learns to love her, who is cursed by a demon… and the wings of shadow envelop him like a shroud. It is the beckoning of Winged Darknes… [LxZ] R&R! :D

Chapter 3 - Tainted

Chapter 3 - Tainted

The sun rose with a gentle and light warmth in the cold of the morning. The birds greeted the sun, chirping their songs as they bathed in the dew in the grass. Light clouds cast dim shadows over the meadows, moving gently along the wind. Rays of light shone through the glass, and brushed Link's face as he lay sleeping and his face glistened as if he were an angel. He tightened his eyes for a moment, flinching, and then relaxed his face before slowly opening his eyes. Link saw the ceiling above him and he sat up from his bed, now looking to the wall. He had blinked twice before raising his arms and stretching and yawning. He slowly swung his legs over the side of the bed and used his hands to push himself off so he would be standing up. There was a lot of work to do that day.

It had been several days since the festival ended and Link had been working less as of late. Today was the day he had to catch up on his work. Link realized that when he opened the door to his room that led out into the hallway, which split off to separate rooms for their own uses. He headed toward the kitchen, where he smelled the scent of porridge. When he walked in to meet his grandmother and sister he let out a heavy satisfied sigh.

"Good morning." He said sitting down at the table next to his sister.

"Good morning, Link. Did you sleep well?"

"Yes, very well, thank you."

"Ha, ha... someone is going to have a lot of work to do today..." Aryll said slouched over her bowl of porridge.

"Now, Aryll," her grandmother said, putting a bowl of porridge in front of Link, who had licked his lips and gathered up a spoon, "I expect you to help him as well, there is a lot of work to do."

"Oh, Grandma..." She started, "But I'm not old enough!"

"You were old enough to milk the cows." Her grandmother replied. She then turned toward the pot of porridge over the fire and realized she needed to get a bowl for herself. So she turned toward the cupboard and pulled a bowl out and went in front of the pot again.

"Psst... Aryll..." Link said whispering to her, as their grandmother was getting herself a spoon, "You can do the easy part and take care of the stalls okay? I'll take care of the horses, and when you're done I'll help you."

Aryll beamed and nodded, turning toward her bowl of porridge again. She had always loved Link, who she called her big brother even though he really wasn't. Her mother had died after giving birth to her and when she grew up, aside from her grandmother, all she had was Link. When she would cry, he would take her in his arms. When she would laugh, he would laugh along with her. Link always took a portion of her chores when he was done with his, and lighten her load. It was always wonderful having him around.

Shortly after, Link had finished his porridge and he stood up, "I'm finished with breakfast, Grandma, I'm going to take care of the horses now."

"All right," she started, "be sure you be careful. I don't want those horses kicking you in the chest again."

Link chuckled in embarrassment. That was his worst mistake he had ever made in his profession. He was bedridden for a month with a horrible pain in his chest. He had tried calming down a stallion who had been spooked by a snake that had slithered its way inside the corral. The horse moved around in circles, whinnying and grunting. Link had tried to reach its front so he would be able to hold it by the reins, but he had accidentally went behind the horse and it had bucked him. Luckily he wasn't close so the impact wasn't as great and it didn't turn out to be fatal, but it still broke a rib or two.

Link's duty in the small farming village was to train horses and distribute them to different families who used them for means of transportation. These horses were especially needed by those who traded, and needed two horses to pull one covered wagon. He was very good at his job, and he trained the most beautiful horses, and the most loyal as well. One horse he had tamed for himself, Epona, a mare with a chestnut coat and, what seemed to be, and ivory main and tail where the roots of the hairs were jet black. He had found her wondering around in the wild, abandoned from her herd and nearly starved as a young horse. It was the hardest one to tame and train. In the process he had grown a deep relationship with Epona, and it was the same the other way around. By the time he was finished, he did not have the heart to put her up for sale. Every time he went to train horses, he would greet Epona and let her nuzzle him. He would kiss her muzzle and run his fingers through her main before moving on.

So he did this when he moved into the corral. Epona whinnied with gladness and began to prance in the air. It had been a while since she had last seen him, and she grew very happy. Link, grinning, tried to calm her down and bring her to put all four of her legs on the grass, but his expertise didn't work. As if to get him to the working mood again, Epona began to trot to the end of the corral. When she found the fence in the way, she placed all her weight on her back legs and lifted her front, from there she leapt over and trotted off near the woods. All Link could do was mouth a "wow" and follow on the path she had taken. That silly horse, he would always think, but he loved her nonetheless. He had a much harder time climbing the fence then Epona did. First he had placed his feet in between boards, but didn't place his hands down in time for support and he fell backward. Embarrassed, he remained on the ground thinking that this much delay from his work caused him to loose a little bit of his common sense. Epona seemed to laugh with her whinny as Link stood up on his feet and brushed the grass from his rear.

"Hey, don't laugh at me!" Link began, "You started this!"

He once again attempted to climb the fence, this time placing his hands on the top and swinging his legs over. Link had made it outside the corral and from there he began to jog toward Epona up the hill. The smell of the grass and pines relaxed him. He loved this rural life and wanted to stay with it forever. This kind of life may have meant that you must work hard and provide for yourself, but it was worth it for the peace of the village. He finished his thoughts when he had reached Epona and rubbed her muzzle, feeling the smooth skin covered by short black hairs. She snorted with satisfaction and Link nudged her off toward the corral,

"You had better get back, I'll be there in a minute."

Just as Link was about to follow Epona, he heard an ominous whisper. He stopped cold in his tracks and whirled around, eyes searching for the source of the whisper. Link could have sworn he recognized the voice but as he drew closer, it grew less familiar. Terror struck him when he realized that this was the wrong forest... the forest he should never hunt in or trespass... it was the forest to the east, opposite of the one in the west. Just as Link was about to turn on his heel and run away, an overpowering force swept over him and he lost all control over his body. His spirit was pushed back to the corner of his mind, only to find that another force moved him toward the now raspy whispers, growing more and more desperate. It seemed that he was a puppet on strings as he walked toward the forest, growing more and more terrified. Suddenly pressure began to close in around him and the pounding of his heart echoed through his mind. Then the screeches came as he swayed side to side as the edges of the image his eyes showed him blurred. Suddenly he turned and noticed a glowing light.The whispers then continued to grow louder as Link approached the blurred light. Now he could hear what the voice was saying, in the midst of the terrible screams:

"Wi-ng-ed Dar-kne-ss..."

Link now knelt before the blurred light and when his knees reached the ground, his vision returned to normal and the sounds and voices faded, leaving a complete silence as his spirit was pushed forward again and he had control over his body. He looked down to find a glowing stone glistening brightly, bathed in dark light. Link would have stood up on his feet and fled, but something had prompted him to reach for the stone. His arms seemed to loose control when he reached for it, and it had glowed brighter. Sooner or later, he found himself bringing it between his palms. Link opened his hands and looked down upon the star, somewhat admiring its beauty. Suddenly its glow grew in intensity and it collided with Link's chest. Link had let out a quick gasp, but it had soon turned to screams when the star began to drive into him. Once again pressure began to close in around him as a stinging pain remained present. He had felt his skin close in around the stone when the ache had subsided somewhat and immediately, Link's hand went to his chest. The stone was gone... or perhaps... inside him.

Slowly he stood to his feet, but it wasn't long until he felt heavy and exhausted. Link then began to travel back downhill, to get as far away from the forest as he possibly could to return to his home which lay far below him. Link had almost reached the bottom of the hill when Aryll came out of the stable carrying a pail of milk. She looked toward the hill to see her brother staggering. Fear suddenly struck her when she saw Link's knees finally collapse and fall to the earth.

Everything was warm... but not the warmth of the sun on a spring morning, still overcoming winter's touch. It was an uncomfortable warmth where it felt humid and sweaty. Everything ached, especially the chest, burning with pain. Link suddenly twitched his hand and woke up, finding himself in his bed, but still accompanied by that uncomfortable warmth. It wasn't until when he woke up that he realized that he breathed heavily with his mouth open while he slept. Now Link's mouth was dry and had an unpleasant taste in the back of his throat. He immediately closed his mouth, but afterward he felt a sharp pain in his forehead and he proceeded to place a hand on it. Link knew it wouldn't do much good, though. Soon after, Link discovered his legs were very stiff, and he couldn't move very well. Finally he let out that groan of pain.

"Oh, thank goodness you're awake!" Link heard a familiar voice say.

He looked to the side, and was shocked to see that his vision was slightly blurry. But what he saw through his stinging, watery eyes, he saw his grandmother walking toward him. Link could barely make out the image of her walking toward him. He flinched, knowing that he was terribly sick. Link's grandmother set her wrinkled hand on his, and moved it back to his side and away from his forehead, and replacing it with her own. She brushed her thumb on his brow before getting a wet piece of cloth and placing it on his forehead.

"You haven't broken your fever, but thank goodness you've waken up. That shows some progress, now doesn't it?"

"W-what happened...?" Link said, his voice very hoarse.

"You suddenly collapsed outside. Now I don't know why you have a fever, but my guess is that you were out late last night in the cold on the last day of the festival. You and Vaati do such silly things sometimes... I wonder if he's sick too?"

Now everything came back to Link. He remembered then and there what had happened previously. There was a glowing light... and it had forced itself inside of him, but could that be true? He knew that the result of being sick did not come from last night. Link remembered he had felt strange, and not being able to control his body. He remembered how frightened, yet confused he was at that moment. Everything happened in a flash, and sooner or later, he was lying there on a soft bed feeling terrible.

Winged Darkness.

Those two words were the last words he heard before he had collapsed. Link didn't know what they had meant, or even what they were referring to. Could it be referring to the stone? Endless questions filled Link's mind, and he was soon overwhelmed. He could not bare all these thoughts with sickness filling him, and he found that his headache had grown. Link groaned again, and afterward felt his grandmother's touch on his cheek.

"You go back to sleep. I'll return with a cup of water later."

Link thought it best to take her advice. Nothing cured a sickness better than sleep, and at least he would have the pain off his mind for a short while. Link steadily closed his eyes, trying not to move any other part of his body. He found it easier to fall asleep due to drapes covering the light wanting to reach him through the window. But he didn't want to see the sun now... not just yet. Now what Link wanted more than anything was to drift into the shadow of sleep, and depart to the land of dreams where all pain fled, and the subconscious of your mind awakened... dreaming of the things you long for the most. But this dream was not what Link expected... It was only a flash, but it was a disturbing moment. What he saw from the void of darkness was a greenish skull, red orbs glowing where the eyes would be, and green mist leaking out of the cracks between its teeth and wherever there was an opening. A voice began to groan over a high screeching sound, and suddenly Link had awakened again.

This time his muscles were stiff and he could not feel anything. He could not even feel that sheets were placed over him, or the softness that engulfed his head. Link found himself breathing heavily when he woke up and immediately forced himself to slow down when he had opened his eyes. He had clenched his fist on the sheets at his side so tight, he had failed to notice it until he had managed to relax his muscles. Link looked to the window to find that no sunlight tried to leak through the drapes; it was now nightfall. It had only been a short moment, but time had flown when he had fallen asleep. Link was still pondering the thought when he heard the door to his room creak open.

He saw two figures enter the room now. He could make out that one of them was his grandmother, judging by how similar she looked before, but the other was much taller than her. Link, raised his voice suddenly, and as if he were blind he said, taking in heavy breaths,

"Who's there?"

"Vaati has come to visit," Link's grandmother said, "He's been concerned about you all day."

"I even finished my chores!"

A small smile crept across Link's face as he stirred a little bit to be more comfortable in his bed. He closed his eyes for a short moment to give them rest and when the two had come to his bedside, he opened them. Their faces were a little more distinct now that they were a little bit closer. The blurs had now become shapes he could make out easily.

"How are you feeling?" Vaati asked.

Link observed himself. The pain had lessened a little bit and he did not feel that same intense, uncomfortable warmth. Instead he felt chills here and there and he began to want some more covers for himself. His head still hurt a little bit though as well as his chest. Nevertheless, he still felt terrible.

"Not very good..." Link said in his hoarse voice, "Grandma, could you get me more blankets, please?"

"Of course." She said calmly and walked out of the room.

When her footsteps had faded into the hallway outside of the room. Vaati had raised his voice, "Oh, your grandmother left a cup of water. You should drink it."

Link didn't say anything when he tried to sit up, for he preferred not to speak at all. However, his torso ached so much he could not lift himself up. Vaati had to place a hand on his back to help Link sit up without falling back and down to the pillow again. When Link had succeeded in staying up, Vaati had carefully took the cup sitting on the dresser next to Link's bed where a candle was lit and held it in front of Link.

"Can you hold it?" He asked still keeping his hand on Link's back, knowing that he were to loose his balance if he had removed it.

Link gently placed both of his hands on the sides of the cup as Vaati released it from his own grasp. Link gently set it to his lips and tilted it. He now found a cool liquid running down his throat, refreshing his body. It hit him as if he were kicked in the stomach, since he had not had a drink of water since he had collapsed. He brought himself a little closer for fear of any water slipping out of the cup and not going into his mouth. When he had found that the flow of water had declined, and soon disappeared to a few drops, Link drew back as Vaati took the cup from his hands. Vaati then gently laid him down back on the pillow before setting the cup back beside the candle.

"I guess you celebrated a bit much last night, didn't you? Well you were more active than I... you were awfully hyper about those candies they sold in the booths on the streets."

Link could only smile recalling the night. He was very fond of sweet things such as chocolates, and pumpkin candies. However, Link knew that was not the reason why he was so sick. He had somehow figured it was the stone that was responsible, but he wasn't sure whether that was just a dream or even a daydream. The memory seemed so distant now.

"Is there anything else wrong?"


"Your expression is different, as if you've seen something terrible."

"It was just a nightmare... nothing more." Link said turning his head toward the side and gazing at the wall his bed was beside. The image of the frightening green skull came into mind. What could it have meant?

"I have the blankets." Link heard his grandmother say as she entered the room, her footsteps growing louder with each step drawing closer to him.

She laid two blankets over Link gently, spreading them out so wrinkles were smoothed. Link now felt somewhat of a comfortable warmth and a heaviness on his chest, except this heaviness gave him comfort and not strain. Link relaxed his muscles, trying to remain not as tense, and closed his eyes, sleep growing heavy over him.

"I'll get more water." Link's grandmother said.

"I'd better leave." Vaati said, "My home is unattended to." He said following the grandmother out the door. However, before he left Link, who lay close to sleep, but awake enough to know Vaati's words, he said, "I hope you get better soon..."


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