SPLOOSH! He hit the water hard on his back, and blackness swam over his vision. He fought it away, struggling to stay afloat. He swam clumsily to shore, crawling out of the water. He coughed up a bunch of water, and almost vomited. He looked back, but the bird was far away by now.
“Damn, are you alright? You must have been at least fifty feet up there!” He heard Tetra yell. He looked up to see the two pirates running towards him, with little Link struggling to keep up.
Link nodded. He had a knack for surviving things that would kill most people. His back hurt, but nothing was broken. Good thing it had been out over the ocean.
“Who was that?” Link asked little Link.
“My sister. Aryll.” He said sadly.
“Sorry kid. Well, we got to get going. Gonzo, signal the ship.” Tetra said.
“I’m coming with you.” Little Link said firmly.
“I will too.” Big Link added, feeling like he had failed earlier.
“Are you kidding me?! Why would we take you? You’re not even in your teens yet, you’re unarmed, and NEITHER of you know ANYTHING about ships.” Tetra said.
“Excuse me.” A voice spoke from above. Everyone spun around, and saw a man with wings land. He looked like a heavily tanned person with eagle wings, and a beak for a nose. He had a fierce look to him, but his voice was soothing.
“Who do you think you are? Stay out of our conversation!” Gonzo said angrily.
The birdman ignored him. “My name is Quill. I am a member of the Rito tribe, although I suppose you know me better as the postman. I saw everything that happened on this island recently, and I feel you, the big important pirates, missed something. Have you not heard of the recent kidnappings? Young women with pointed ears are being taken from all over the great sea, and many report seeing that great bird.”
Tetra raised her hands to her ears. Big Link noticed them now, distinctly Hylian ears. Gonzo’s were rounded. Perhaps they were not all Hylians here.
“Do you know why Link’s sister was taken? She wasn’t the bird’s target. YOU were. The bird thought she was you. Her kidnapping is your fault. The decision is yours, of course. I will simply tell you that that bird makes its nest to the north, in the Forsaken Fortress.” Quill finished, taking flight.
Tetra looked down. “Alright fine. I’ll take you both. But only if you can get some weapons.” She said to little Link.
“I have something for him.” Big Link spoke up, reaching for the Kokiri sword. He had used it as a knife recently, but it was a good size for a kid.
He passed it to him, in its simple brown sheath. Little Link murmured his thanks. “I don’t have a shield for you, but you can go with just the sword if you want.” Big Link said. He felt somehow responsible for helping this kid get his sister back.
“Actually, I know where I can get one.” Little Link said, running off without another word.
Link watched him run off towards a house. He was inside for about ten minutes, and during that time Tetra questioned him about his past some more.
“Why are you both dressed like that?” She asked out of the blue.
Link shrugged. “It’s traditional where I was raised, and I stuck with it. It’s… roomy, flexible, and fairly tough.”
She looked at him with one eye closed. “Riiight. Were you raised where he was raised?”
Link shook his head.
“Why is he dressed like that then? No one else here is.” She asked.
Link shrugged. “Ask him.”
“His sister was just kidnapped, I don’t think I’ll question his taste in clothes.” She said wryly. “I still think you’re leaving something out. Your clothes look like something from a legend.”
Little Link came back out then, looking depressed. On his back, over the Kokiri sword, was an old brown shield depicting a Pegasus and the triforce.
Tetra looked like she was about to make a smart remark but thought better of it. “Fine. We have to get going; pirates won’t help your island’s reputation. But first, if we’re going to have the two of you with the same name, I need last names.”
“I don’t know mine.” Big Link said.
Tetra looked at him oddly but didn’t pursue it. “What about you little guy?”
“Don’t call me little. You’re barely older than me. But my last name is Naito.” Little Link responded.
“Link Naito?” Tetra asked. “No offence kid, but that’s the weirdest name I’ve ever heard, and I’ve been all over. But whatever. From now on, we’re calling you that. Now, does your family know you’re leaving?” Tetra asked.
Link nodded. They all piled into the rowboat, rowing out to the ship.
THE NEXT DAY:
“So, Naito, why are you dressed like that?” Link asked. After realizing they were both hopeless on the boat, Tetra stuck them both in the crow’s nest. They took turns looking, with the other resting. Link was now resting.
“Tradition on my island. I have to dress like the hero of the legends on my birthday. I would change out, but I have nothing else to wear.” Naito replied, looking through a telescope.
“What legends are these?” Link asked, genuinely curious.
“You don’t know them? I thought everyone did. Well, I’m not a good storyteller; let’s see if I can get this right. Supposedly, about a thousand years ago, there was a kingdom instead of this ocean. The people lived there happily for a long time, until an evil creature spread his influence across the land. He took control, and monsters ruled the land. Everyone gave up hope until a hero, wearing a green tunic like ours, traveled through time to save the world. Long story short, he killed the monster, everyone was happy. But very soon after, it came back. The hero did not appear as the people hoped, so the goddesses intervened, flooding the world.”
Link listened. To him, this all happened less than a week ago. Naito continued his job, and Link got some sleep.
They arrived that night. Link spotted the fortress by its searchlights, and warned Tetra to stop. Tetra joined them, snatching the telescope. “Hmm… A small time band of pirates used to live here. It was nothing then. Looks dangerous now. How are we going to get in? Our rowboat can’t get through that gate, and if we blow it open they’ll see us.”
Link stared out. “I might be able to swim in, and grapple the wall.” He suggested.
Naito shook his head. “I have to go, it’s my sister.”
Tetra smiled suddenly. “I can get you in…no swimming involved. Follow me.” She said slyly, sliding down the ladder. Link and Naito followed.
Tetra hauled a barrel up from inside the ship. “Uh… Naito, there’s only one way for you to go there. Get in the barrel.”
“Going to float me out there?” He asked, hopping into the barrel.
“Something like that.” Tetra said, snapping her fingers. Gonzo picked up the barrel, moving towards the front of the ship. It looked to Link like he was heading for the catapult…
“Oh my Go-” Tetra put a hand over his mouth. Naito had ducked inside the barrel, and couldn’t see where he was going. Gonzo put him on the catapult. He finally poked his head out.
“So, what do I-” He looked down suddenly, and saw where he was. “What the…”
“Only way in, I’m afraid. We’re pros though. We’re gonna launch you good! Take this for luck.” Tetra said, handing him a small blue stone on a string. He pocketed it without glancing at it.
“Look, there’s gotta be a better way!” He shouted,
“ONE!” Tetra yelled, ignoring him completely. Link just watched in silence.
“Maybe I can swim it!”
“The rowboat maybe?!”
Gonzo unleashed the catapult. Naito’s screams faded into the distance. Link stood there with his mouth open while the pirates laughed. Tetra was staring into a blue stone like the one she gave Naito, and Link looked over her shoulder.
He could see Naito in the stone. He was flying over the wall, towards the tower at high speed. He slammed into it, and his sword flew up and away. He plummeted back down, landing in the water below.
“Oh shit…” Tetra swore.
Luckily the stone showed him surface, amazingly alive. He scrambled onto the stone floor of the fortress. Tetra suddenly spoke into the stone, and it seemed like Naito could hear it.
“Shit, your sword is all the way up there? Sorry bud, we must have been off a bit. Just so you know, I can see and talk to you through the stone I gave you.” She said.
She turned around to say something to Link. But he was gone. He was at the side of the ship, poised over the ocean. He looked back. “I’m going after him.”
“Not a good idea. The water will probably kill you, and the fortress is no cakewalk either. Maybe he’ll be ok.” Tetra said as Link hurled himself off the edge in a graceful dive. “Ugh. Stubborn jackass.” Tetra finished, running to the edge. Link was fighting the rough water, slowly making his way towards the fortress.
“Orders, Miss Tetra?” Gonzo asked.
She sighed, and said, “Hold position. We give them until first light. If they’re not back by then, we’re out of here.”