A fanfic made specifically for Fearless! Merry Christmas! I got the first two chapters done and I'll be sure to post the rest periodically as I go along! Spoiler: Chapter One Chapter 1 The Shadow The man cursed inwardly as the floor creaked. The only light in the room came from the window above the bed, where the moon was casting its light on the sleeping boy. Shadows lay steadily on the floor. The man shifted his footing and stepped forward again, completely silent this time. The knife came to his hand easily, familiarly. One more step would bring him directly beside the head of the bed. The man looked down at the child’s sleeping face. He couldn’t have been more than ten. No possible threat to his employers. Yet. But if the witch twins were correct… No job had ever been this easy for the man, he reflected as he positioned his knife over the boy’s throat. The boy was an orphan and the village he lived in was quiet enough that he felt safe leaving the door unlocked. His sleep was as deep as a babe’s and except for one creaking floor board, the man had had zero problems entering. He sighed. Easy or not, child or not, a job was a job. The shadows on the floor shifted. Knife in his right hand, left hand hovering over the boy’s mouth in case he woke up and shouted, the man moved. His knife parted the flesh over the throat like a pen knife through paper. Sudden pain. Faster than the man believed possible, something dark grabbed his knife arm and twisted it, plunging the knife into the man’s own chest. The boy’s eyes, suddenly awake but alive. A smile of blood lay on his throat, not even close to fatal. The man’s last thought was of failure. The shadow released the man’s arm. It had sprang up from the soft, undefined patch of darkness on the floor, but was hard, solid. It even had a few features on the face. Turning towards the boy, it reached out towards him. The boy flinched back, eyes full of fear. The shadow nodded and kneeled on the floor, at a respectful distance from the frightened child. “I will not hurt you child.” The voice was childish, but definitely female. “I was born of your shadow, to help you when you need it. I am sorry you had to see such violence when you first woke up; that must have been a shock.” The voice was soft, reassuring. Slowly, the boy calmed down. “Dear child, if I may nurse you? While the assassin didn’t hit any large blood vessels, you could still die if we do not properly treat your wound.” The boy lifted his hand to his neck, still bleeding profusely and opened his mouth. No sound came out, despite his obvious attempts at speech. The shadow jumped immediately, lighting a lamp to get a better look at the wound. Its flat black eyes softened. “The vile creature cut your vocal cords young one. I am sorry. You will never speak again.” It grabbed a discarded shirt on the ground and quickly reduced it to strips. It poured water on the wound and began dressing it. The wound washed and bound, the boy and the shadow sat on the bed. Now that he had a moment for noticing, the boy saw that the shadow was his exact size and shape. Even though the moonlight still poured into the room, he cast nothing on the floor. It was as though his shadow simply gave itself life and pulled itself off of the ground. The boy turned his gaze to the man on the floor. An indescript man with indescript clothing, he could have been any person on a crowded street, if not for the massive knife sticking out of his chest. He hopped up and, carefully skirting the dead man on his bedroom floor, moved to a cupboard on the other side of the room. Grabbing a pencil and paper, he moved back to sit next to his shadow. He scribbled something quickly the turned the page so the shadow could see. What is your name? The shadow raised its eyebrows. This was not the response it expected from a boy who had just lost his voice. Then again, it had been alive for all of fifteen minutes. What did it know of Hylians and their reactions to things? “I do not have a name. I am new.” The boy looked disheartened, so the shadow smiled and poked him. “Name me?” The boy nodded enthusiastically and scribbled on the paper. After a few minutes thought and many more crossings-out, the boy turned the paper. Semira The shadow looked at the name, studied it. “Does this mean I’m a girl?” You have a girl’s voice. She smiled. “Semira. I like that. Very well then, I’m Semira from now on.” She paused to be simply happy at having a name. “What’s your name?” The boy looked briefly shocked that she didn’t know, her being his shadow and all, but shrugged it off. A quick slash across the page with his pencil and he turned the page for her to see. My name’s Link! “Nice to meet you Link!” They shook hands and then sat silently for a while, gazing at the floor. Then Link poked Semira and showed her his page. What are we going to do with the body? Spoiler: Chapter Two Chapter 2 A Gift “Hu failed us sister.” “We should have sent Flint on both missions. He would have slain the boy.” “We couldn’t. Flint cannot slay, only banish. The girl’s soul is in the ether even now.” “I suppose it was fated. The boy had to be defeated bravely. Killing an unarmed child in his slumber is not courage.” “We shall have to try harder. The boy cannot be allowed to survive to manhood.” “We shall succeed sister.” “We shall.” *** “Link! Wake up!” Semira popped out of the floor and shook the sleeping figure on the bed. No longer a boy, Link had grown well in the past eight years. As had Semira. Despite being Link’s shadow, her voice seemed to affect her appearance. Her waist curved very slightly as did her chest. But only when she took form. On the ground, she was Link’s silhouette. Link had thrown himself into sword training with the village smith, Ralph. Already talented, his skills quickly overshot his teacher’s. His daily practice included fending off the numerous monsters and assassins who appeared in the village. However, he still slept like a child and was almost impossible to wake up in the mornings. Semira sighed. Flattening herself onto the bed, she shifted until she was beneath and on the other side of Link. Then she popped back into form. The youth was catapulted out of the bed. His eyes flew open. “Morning Sunshine.” Semira said from the bed. She smirked. “What’s wrong? Floor not comfy?” Link glared, then levered himself into sitting position. Yawning, he stretched, making small sounds as he did so. Once his wound had healed, he started to be able to vocalize, but his vocal cords were too damaged for actual speech. Semira leaped down off of the bed and pulled him up. “Come on. You know what day tomorrow is.” A sleepy questioning look was passed over. “The Day of the Princess…? Oh, just come on. Artie needs us to deliver our contribution to the capital.” She grabbed his hand and Link grabbed a few clothes. Then she shoved him into the bathroom. “Get dressed. We have to be there in under an hour.” She closed the door and started packing bags. When Link eventually emerged from the bathroom, Semira almost fainted. “Don’t you have anything nicer?” He was sporting the brown shirt he used for training and smith-work. “First off,” she said as she pulled off the offending shirt, “We have to travel through the mountain pass to get there. And that means chain mail.” She threw a clean white shirt over his head, followed by a chain mail shirt. “I don’t care how tough you think you are, the monsters will have the territory advantage up there.” She pulled open his clothes chest. “Don’t you have anything that isn’t white or brown? Wait, here we go! The tunic Kyoko made for your birthday last year. Don’t give me that face, I’m sure you’ll look stunning in green.” *** Just under an hour later, Link and Semira arrived, slightly out of breath, at the village square. The entirety of the village was there waiting. Most of the villagers smiled at their lateness, which was just the latest in a long line of mishaps surrounding the duo. Some of the older or more conservative members frowned at Semira. When she had shown up eight years ago, many people thought she and Link should be thrown out, fearing she was a monster. It had been decided they should stay and the villagers now enjoyed her company, but some still disapproved. Alfie, the village chief, smiled as he strode over to Link. “About time Link! We were just about to send Marcus in your place. Tough time getting him up Semira?” She smiled at the jovial tone in the Chief’s voice. “Always. It’d be easier waking up a log.” The Chief laughed. “And twice as rewarding, eh, Link?” Link rolled his eyes at the jokes. Even though they were made at his expense, he knew Alfie and Semira made them in good fun. He poked Semira and gave her a questioning look. “Yes, right!” Semira and Link had been together so long, she could usually tell what he was trying to say without him actually saying it. “Chief, if we want to get there before dark, we should probably get going.” Alfie smiled again. He gestured to his daughter Kyoko. “Here you go. The highest quality shield Ralph could cook up. That should help protect the Searcher. We even got the Royal Family’s crest on it.” Link nodded and grabbed the cloth wrapped package. Semira helped him sling it on his back , over his scabbard. A sniffle from the side caused Alfie to turn. “What’re you crying for?” Ralph swiped a finger under his eye. “He looks so grown up.” Ralph, and many of the adults in the village had pretty much raised Link since he had been found in the river bend at the base of the mountain. Semira smiled. Seeing him now, fully grown and going to castle town for the first time, must make them proud. There were few dry eyes in the crowd. Link blushed at the attention. He nudged his shadow and pointed. “Link’s right. We should get going. Don’t want to be late and all that.” Despite the threat of lateness, it still took another hour to get out of the village. Nearly everyone felt the need to offer a hug or a clap on the shoulder, wish him luck or say “see you in a few days”. Amy, the doctor’s wife, went back for three hugs, as did Sophie and Sakura, the village shopkeepers. Finally, sun high in the sky, Link and Semira stood at the mountain pass. They gave a quick wave to the crowd, still massed at the village gate, and set off. *** Outset Village sat on the western edge of Hyrule, overlooking the badlands. The western side of the mountain held the village proper as well as numerous plateaus used for farming, grazing, and play. The eastern half was swarming with goblins and carnivorous birds. The villagers often sent out hunting parties when the beasts became too bold, but mostly the two halves kept to themselves. The badlands, according to legend, used to be a great desert, with rolling dunes and endless chasms, as well as a sacred ruin. But fire swept the place many years ago turning the desert into the solid glass badlands of today. Outset is actually named such because of the sunsets, which reflect off of the glass and turn the desert to flames once more. Of course, the flames couldn’t fly over the mountain range, so the rest of Hyrule was safe, except for the monsters which were driven from the desert and took residence on the mountains. One such monster, a Stalfos, happened to be wandering the eastern side of the mountain when a creature crossed its path. Stalfos’s, by nature, tend to kill everything they lay eyes on. The goblins usually follow them at a safe distance to pick up the scraps the undead Stalfos didn’t need to eat. This creature was similar in color to the bush it was standing next to and it had a bar strapped to its’ back. The Stalfos, young and foolish as it was, attacked. “Hyaaaah!” Link’s sword cleared its’ sheathe and sliced through the Stalfos faster than a hot knife through butter. Semira poked her head up from the ground to see what the fuss was. “Oh, just a Stalfos. Wake me when it gets a bit darker please? That’s when all the monsters wake up.” Link nodded, not begrudging her the nap. Bright sunlight wore his shadow out. Besides, when Semira was up and about in sunlight, Link always felt a bit disoriented, like something very important was missing. He stretched and smiled. Even with the monsters jumping him every few minutes, he couldn’t be happier. He’d been down the mountain before, but never further than the Zora Trading Outpost at Lake Hylia. On this big of a journey with his best friend was the greatest thing he could have hoped for. After a while, the sun dropped over the mountain range and Semira popped back up. Quickly snatching the shield off of Link’s back, she laughed at his expression. “Nice try, but it’s my turn. You’ve been carrying it all day.” Link rolled his eyes, then adjusted his shoulder, glad to be rid of the weight. A few hours of slowly dimming light later, it was too dark to continue. They lit a fire, then flopped onto the ground. Link reached into his bag to get some pumpkin tarts and dried fish for supper. His fingers brushed against something unfamiliar and he pulled it out. “Like it?” Semira sat beside him as he infolded the cone of green cloth. “It’s a hat. I made it, to celebrate my eighth birthday!” Link gave her a look. “I know it’s supposed to be the other way around, but if you wear it, I get one too. Shadow, remember?” Link put his hand into the opening to fluff it up, surprised when it swallowed his arm up to the shoulder. “Remember that doctor that came through the village a while back? I had him perform some magic on it, so it’s… ‘bigger on the inside’ is how I think he phrased it.” She reached in and pulled out a fishing rod. “We can hold pretty much everything in here, as long as it fit’s through the opening, and it doesn’t get any heavier.” The fishing rod went back into the hat. Pulling the hat onto his head, Link smiled at the fit. “Suits you. I hope you like it.” Semira’s form rippled and when she stabilized, she was wearing an identical hat in black. Link put his arm around her in thanks. “Well, we should probably eat before dawn. How many tarts do we have?” Spoiler: Chapter Three Chapter 3 Celebration Late the next afternoon, a man was waiting for Link at the gate to Castle Town. “Welcome, you must be from Outset! Good! That’s everyone!” He jotted off a quick note and handed it to the animal sitting on his shoulder. “Pabu, take this to the chancellor, ok?” Pabu chittered and scampered off. “My name is Bolin! I’m in charge of keeping the Envoys entertained while they’re here. There’s food, games, a massive celebration at sunset, followed by the more somber Ceremony of Presenting, which is what you’re… here for… but you know that.” Bolin’s enthusiasm waned a bit. “Well, anyways,” Bolin recovered quickly, “I haven’t even asked you your name yet!” Link held out a piece of paper with his name on it. Semira wasn’t out as the presence of a living shadow might cause a bit of panic in the city. Bolin looked down at the paper. “Link…? But why didn’t you just tell me?” In answer, Link pulled down his collar, revealing the scar across his vocal cords. “Gah! Oh, I am so sorry, I didn’t…!” Link grinned and waved his hand to calm him down. He was used to this kind of reaction to his muteness. “Umm, well… I’ll show you to the inn you’re staying at! Yeah! Let’s go!” They walked through Castle Town, Bolin pointing out the various attractions (“This place has the best noodles!” “Bath house! Only go to this one, the other’s don’t have as much steam.” “That potion lady gives me the creeps…”). Pabu showed up again, only to be sent off with another message. Finally they arrived at massive dome-like building. “And here we are! The Inn Saint North! The proprietor, Nick, is pretty much the chilliest guy you could meet. And yet, the warmest… Anyways, he knows to expect you. I’d see you in, but… I like my ribs…” Bolin shifted nervously a moment. “Bye!” Raising an eyebrow, Link opened the door, only to run into what seemed to be a massive wall of fur. “Welcome, welcome!” Caught up in a massive bear hug, Link thought he heard his ribs creak. “You are Link, yes? Bolin sent Pabu with a message telling of your situation. Very sad.” Suddenly, the man-mountain dropped Link. He fell to the floor, trying to get his breath back. “I am Nicholas! And a young man such as yourself has no business being inside on a day as fine as this! Go, I will put your things into your room.” Link’s bag was pulled off his back, but he clutched desperately to the shield. That was the entire reason he was here… Nick tossed the bag to a rather short man near the reception desk. “Dingle! Take this to the Velvet Room,” a confused look from Dingle, “The one with all the soft fuzzy furniture!” a smile and nod. Grabbing a plate of cookies off of the table, Nick poured them into a bag and shoved it at Link. “A snack! Now go!” Relieved of his bag and shoved out the door, the youth was suddenly faced with more time than he had expected. He didn’t need to deliver the shield until the Ceremony of Presenting, which was at least two hours away. He eventually decided to walk around Castle Town. Explore. “Hey Link,” Semira voice floated up from his shadow, “I’m hungry. Any way you could toss me one of those cookies?” Looking left and right to make sure Nick wasn’t watching (he would probably be hurt if he saw his guest throwing his food on the ground), he pulled a cookie out of the sack and pretended to take an absent minded bite before “dropping” it and feigning sadness. It melted into his shadow. “Yum~!” Chewing noises and sounds of pleasure, “He really knows his stuff, these are delicious!” Link pulled one out for himself and took a real bite this time. Mmmmm. He definitely agreed. He walked past people decrying games of skill and luck, food stalls wafting gloriously mouthwatering smells down the street, and bands of musicians, one in every square. Gorons and Zoras walked through the streets, ore than had ever come to outset`s market days. “It’s a bit much, don’t you think?” Link hated to admit it, but she was right. There were too many things happening, more than Outset Village had had on its’ most boisterous market day. He had seen the city: it was time to find somewhere quiet. The general flow of the crowd eventually led Link to the edge of the city, just under the shadow of the wall. Making a quick decision, Link slipped up the staircase. The top of the wall was beautifully quiet. The nearest guardsman was a good stone’s throw away and after shouting a warning to Link to behave, he left him alone. Link settled himself in a crenelation, gazing out onto Hyrule Field. Semira materialized next to him, blurring her edges until she was almost invisible. The sun was low in the sky, close to setting. Link gave his shadow a look and waved his hand over the field. “You’re right, it does remind me of home.” The sun slowly sank, and when it hit the horizon, the castle bells started tolling, summoning the Envoys to the castle for the celebration. Semira melted back into the ground and Link set off for the castle courtyard. The rowdiness of the market was nothing compared to the celebration. All of the people who had been dispersed throughout the city during the day had all been packed into the castle courtyard. There were fifteen tables filled to brimming with food, each as big as Link’s bedroom, and were constantly replenished as the platters emptied. Alcohol was the only thing in short supply as everyone was expected to be mostly sober for the Ceremony of Presenting. Despite the enormity of the courtyard, with the entire city and a good portion of the rest of Hyrule stuffed in it, things were a bit crowded. Link mostly lingered at the food tables, letting his shadow fall on the table. With the speed that things were being grabbed and eaten, no one noticed when a tart or a bit of cheese were grabbed by his shadow and vanished. The celebration was a sort of farewell party for the Searcher, who would leave after the Ceremony. After the Ceremony, most inns, taverns and households held open house parties, where anyone could attend. These lasted until dawn, and the day after was generally seen as a day of rest, mostly due the hangover epidemic that plagued people city-wide. Link’s thought’s were interrupted when a girl with long blonde hair braided with flowers grabbed his hand and pulled him into the dance. It was one of the dances where the dancers go from partner to partner, and when the music stops, whoever they end up with is the partner for the next dance. The following dance was another quick paced dance. Link ended up with a girl with wild red curls. Suddenly, the music changed to a lively forest tune. Many of the dancers, all those who had been at the celebration before, left the dance area, almost running. A moment later, all Gorons in the courtyard swarmed the dance area, pushing the stragglers out of the way. Link happily got out of the way, but in the push, he lost track of his dance partner. The tune, though simple, seemed to push the Gorons into a frenzy, with all of them dancing wildly, looks of pure joy on their faces. Just as the tune was wrapping up, a gap opened up in the dancers and Link saw past them, tp the empty entrance of the castle, the castle which should have been guarded – – a large explosion rocked the castle, raining debris down on the crowd.