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Most people look for legends in the most expected places: in strong, powerful people with big weapons. However, most legends are built on the smallest people, those who seek peace, balance, freedom…not those who seek power. Legends are remembered by the hero, not their cause. That is why legends are forgotten, lost in an eternal shadow of rejection. People feel unwilling to tell it because of a loss, and slowly shift the story to a joyful one filled with victory.
But that is never how the true story goes.
Without the true facts, a legend is nothing but a fairy tale. A story made for young children to believe, and then throw away when they get bored of it.
But the story I'm about to tell you isn't a fairy tale. It has no strong hero, but a weak child itching for peace. The prize is not physical, it is for the soul. The villain doesn't always lose. The hero will fall many times before he even gets close to victory. And, when he finally completes his task, he will be filled with heartache.
Maybe this is why legends are rejected, because the outcome isn't always pretty. But then again, what history isn't?
Chapter 1 ~ The Beginning of the End
Fire...fire everywhere... How I remember that dreaded day, the day when my only home was attacked, and how the forest’s fate was sealed. When my world was turned upside down, when my journey began.
It was planned to be a celebration, the time when new fairy orbs would dance across the forest. All of the Kokiri would prepare anxiously for this celebration, carving masks from the Deku Tree’s bark, planning plays to act out and just having fun, laughing, playing. But, no, that isn’t where I was. I wasn’t one of the happy Kokiri children, nor a fairy, and not even one of the pitiful Lost Children. No, I was of my own kind, the lowly Deku.
My name is Io’tmia Frinerna, but my fellow Deku call me Io. I have lived in the Kokiri Forest my entire life, at least until that very day.
It is a hard life to be a Deku. Everyone hates you. The Kokiri Children would slay us for entertainment, and the Lost Children of the dark woods would push us around in hope of forcing us onto their side. Most people call the pair good and evil, but to us they’re just evil. Even their so called hero, Link (whom I have met before, I might add), is just a killer, a murderer of anything that doesn’t appeal to him. And the Deku Tree, that tree from hell. Even at his death we can’t be free! Those stupid Kokiri killed nearly all of us just because we made out homes in his trunk! And it’s all the same with the Bagu Tree. Ever since we refused to join his ‘side’, he’s been a threat to us all. We can’t enter the Lost Woods without getting severe wounds.
As you can see, we have no home. We can only hide within the forest in Deku Flowers, but there’s still no hope for us. They eventually find us, slaughter us.
I was in the outskirts of the forest, watching the emerald leaves of spring fall gently to the soft ground. The moonlight shimmered in a small pool of water, illuminating the forest. I sighed deeply through my hollow snout-like mouth, brushing a leaf-like hair out of my face. My pure ruby eyes reflected off the small puddle of water, my wooden skin smooth as glass. I wore a single brown boot that I stole from one of the Kokiri. I used to have the other, but it fell off once when I was running from a Wolfos, wolf monster. I wore a tattered green tunic (also stolen from the Kokiri), along with the Kokiri’s traditional hat, a long pointed green cap that matched their clothing. I’m not sure why I always wore those, but it made me feel good to wear the tunic, especially during that cold winter when the Deku Flowers closed up for hibernation and I was trapped outside until I had forced mine open.
I also had a wooden shield carved from the Deku Tree. No, this time it was a dare. One of my friends, Jura, had dared me to rip a piece off the Deku Tree and bring it back. I returned with a piece of his bark, but also a large scar along my side that lasted so very long. It hurt really badly, yet I felt that most of the pain was from stealing a piece of the fallen tree. I wasn’t sure why at that point, but I was connected to the Deku Tree.
I was behind the forest when the riders came. Hundreds of warriors on horses came galloping down to the forest. Their amour was as black as darkness, and their eyes were filled with the fire of the torches that lit their way. I leapt out of the way as they charged right past me, and watched curiously as they entered the forest.
I would have said they were huge, but it was I who was small. Being a Deku Scrub, I’m only about the height of a medium sized dog on all fours. Everything is big to me, all except the bugs.
Though I knew that no good could come from spying on these men, I stood outside the forest and watched. The Kokiri shyly exited their homes to meet the strange men. Mido, the Kokiri’s leader, stood in front of the leader of the riders.
The Kokiri look like normal children at first, but you could easily tell that they each had an orb-like fairy if you took a closer look. It was also a fact that they never age, which is funny if you think about it. All the Kokiri dressed the same, a green tunic with a long green hat and brown boots, but only the male Kokiri wore a hat.
“What do ya want?” Mido asked tiredly.
“We have orders from the king,” a dark rider began, “that the forest is to be burned, in order to destroy any threats to him.”
“T-the forest?! All of it?!” a Kokiri asked.
“I’m afraid so. I cannot do anything to change his orders.”
“But what about the Deku Tree, and all the animals?”
“They will-” he began, but faltered. It was obvious that he didn’t really want to burn the forest. “They will burn with it.”
There was much commotion as the Kokiri argued in a flurry of anger and confusion. I couldn’t make out anything from it, but their cries were useless. The rider raised his hand, and threw the torch into the forest.
All I remember is screaming. Screaming and the fire burning my only home. The flames danced across the grass, mocking me. I ran to the Deku Tree’s path, but the flames erupted before me. I leapt over the fire as if I needed to get to that tree more than anything in the world. Deku Babas lunged at me, but retreated when they saw the flames stalking me. I dashed to where the Deku Tree lay, and already the fire had blocked my exit. The giant that was the previous Deku Tree was rotting in the centre, and at its left was the Deku Sprout which would grow to be the new Deku Tree. A rider was in front of the Deku Sprout, torch ready to burn the helpless plant.
I’m not sure what happened after that, one second I’m at the rotting corpse of the dead tree, the next I’m grabbing the torch to save the Deku Sprout. The rider let out a heartless laugh, then grabbed me. He threw me to the ground, and then I saw the flash of a silver blade.
Was it over? Oh, no, it was just the beginning.
I woke up staring at the sky. The sound of a cart of a dirt path filled my ears, the hooves of a horse trotting across the well-used earth. The cart’s wheels creaked as they drove over the bumpy terrain, sounding as if they would fall off any minute. Trees hung over the path like a roof, but the sky was still quite visible.
I sat up groggily. Why was I here? Where was the forest?
The forest! What had happened to it? Was it still there? Where were my fellow Dekus? Were they still alive? Questions flooded my mind. Had the riders taken me here?
“Where am I?” I cried from the cart in anger. “What’s going on?”
“Ah, so you’re awake, brave warrior.”
The voice startled me. Although I had asked a question, I didn’t expect an answer.
Wait, had he called me a warrior?
“I’m no warrior,” I mumbled. Maybe they had mistaken me for someone else.
“Yes, you are indeed, young one.”
I turned to the owner of the voice, a tall man on a chestnut stallion that was trotting beside the cart that I was on.
He had a short grey beard with vibrant blue eyes. His hair was of a silvery colour, but must have been brown by how it was tainted. He had a bold face, and a scar across his right cheek proved that he had done battle with another. He wore a red cloak with a gold trim, and underneath it was a sword with a gold handle that stuck out. his cloak covered almost all of his body, so I could only see his face. His horse had a white muzzle and blue eyes, as well as a long white mane and tail.
“I am Sir Makur the second, one of Hyrule’s greatest knights, but you can call me Makur. I heard that the new ruler had ordered some of his men to attack Kokiri Forest, so I came to investigate. I found you beside the Deku Tree. Out cold and with quite a beating,” the man said.
“...What happened to the forest?” I asked.
“It’s fine, but most of the trees have been burned. You’re luckier than the forest was, that’s for sure.”
“What about the Deku Sprout?”
Makur grinned. “Thanks to you, that little sprout is in perfect condition.”
I sighed. As long as the Deku Sprout was safe, the forest would be okay.
“By what name do you go by, young Deku warrior?” he asked.
“I’m not a warrior!” I cried angrily. This man was obviously confusing me with another.
“Then why do you carry such a fine shield and protect the Kokiri from harm?”
I cringed. Why would I join forces with those killers?! They slew my entire family and nearly my entire race, and now this random Hylian says that because I defended their stupid tree god that I’m defending them!
“I see... I must have misunderstood the situation. You are not acquainted with the Kokiri?” he continued.
“Of course not!” I cried. “They kill my kind! Sometimes they even track us down just to see us die. Why would I even want to know them!?”
He scratched his beard and began staring into the distance. After one last glance, he trotted up ahead of the cart. I sighed, then fell back to the hard floor of the cart, and stared up at the clear sky.
What was I going to do? I was trapped on a cart and miles away from my home, only to find out that I was taken by mistake! It was all because of those horrid riders that attacked the forest. Even if it was filled with hate, it was the only home I had.
The sound of a gentle voice soothed me. It sounded like a bird’s soft song and a young maiden’s ballade. I closed my eyes and lost myself in the beautiful melody.
“So, you’re a Deku? You look funny!”
I jumped at the voice. A young bird-like creature stood before me. Never had I seen such a creature! It had a bird’s beak and brown feathers all over its body. Its legs were also like a bird, but in all other ways, it looked like a Hylian. I stared at the creature dumbly.
“What, never seen a Watarara before?” it said.
I couldn’t answer. My tongue was tied up in fear, but my mind was flowing with curiosity. All I could do was shake my head.
The creature sighed. “We’re the bird tribe from a far-off country. I was caught by a funny man on a horse and brought here.”
I continued to stare.
“What are you, mute? Can’t ya talk?”
I nodded my head.
“Then speak up you idiot! You should never keep a lady waiting.”
“Uh... Hello?” I answered. What was I supposed to say?
“Finally! Hi, I’m Aeri. What’ your name?” she said kindly.
“...I’m Io’tmia, but everyone calls me Io.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Io.” She smiled playfully.
At first Aeri seemed to be a strange person, but now she seemed friendlier. Who knew that there were races other than the Hylians, Kokiri, Lost Children, Deku and monsters? Well, technically Deku was a class of monster, but that was by Hylian terms, not the terms of the actual race.
Aeri flicked my snout and laughed. “You have a funny nose!” she cried.
“Well at least I don’t have a bird’s ugly face!” I said, offended.
“Well at least I have good comebacks!”
She laughed again, and I held back my anger. I would have attacked, but there were warriors everywhere and it was obvious that this Aeri girl was a friend of theirs. It’s best not to mess with people who’s friends have big swords and aren’t afraid to use them. I made a tight fist, and then calmed myself down. Why couldn’t I just leave?
“Oh, Makur’s calling me, so I have to go. See you later!” she cried.
In a moment, her feathery arms formed into large bronze-colored wings. She then flew through the air ahead of the cart, in the same direction of my captor.
On that day, I met two of the most important people that I would ever meet: Aeri and Sir Makur. There were two more people that I would meet, and then everything would be explained. If only I had known that at the start, then I wouldn’t have tried to escape.
To be continued...