Categories > Games > Zelda > Four by Four

Rusl: Nature of Courage part2

by Kasan_Soulblade 0 reviews

With both eyes open is the best way to see, but sometimes with one the sight is better

Category: Zelda - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama - Characters: Ganondorf - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2012-11-04 - Updated: 2012-11-04 - 2774 words

Four by four: Prologue:
Glimpses on the Edge of Sight
Rustl: Nature of Courage
Chapter 2

With both eyes...

A glint of gold caught the edge of the water. Some would have thought it the reflection of the sun on the water, after all the sun was shining above the pool. But she knew, as did all who lived here, that the gold came from the water itself. Allusive, evasive. It resented being caught in ladle and bucket and would skirt away without a ripple despite the most determined person's efforts to catch and cage it. Some said to catch it would be hold eternal youth, eternal good health, or perhaps fortune. Many youths, filled with those tales and the dreams that road upon them would linger at the edge trying to catch that light, and thought often seen it was never caught. Smiling at that glint of gold, a familiar greeting between the two of them, she wasted no time chasing gold out of the blue that day. Bending as much as her condition would permit, Uli scooped water from the forest pool with a long handled ladle. One scoop, two, three... Patiently she filled the bucket about halfway, then content with her catch, she began the long ponderous waddle back home.
And perhaps, perversely, because she wasn't trying to catch it that time, the sentience in the water allowed a glimmer of itself to be carried along in the bucket.

Not looking, Uli never noticed that she carried an edge of gold within the water.


"Link was here." Uli informed him. His eyes were open, weary, but open, and if not wide and fully coherent that was easily forgivable considering his trials. Patiently she labored, seeping his fresh bandages in ointment and the spring's water she drew out one saturated length of tan. Confident the medicines were setting she set it over the bucket's edge, allowing the excess to dribble off. "He was here, and well." She answered, meeting his gaze and sparing him the effort of asking the obvious. "He's gone looking for the children."

His eyes, darkened, with pain, regret, she didn't know -because he didn't say. Oddly he flinched at her words. Wincing, as if discovering some new wound, some new hurt, he closed his eyes, retreated into himself for a while. Quietly Uli worked, dipping each bandage, letting it drip into the bucket, then when the worst had run off setting it by the fire to warm a little. For a while she dithered, not wanting too, but knowing she must wake him. With a little sigh, she gave in to necessity, and bit her lip as well.


His eyes slipped open, curious despite the pain. Then, seeing the bandages, now somewhat dry and ready to be set in place, he nodded his understanding. With a whimper and croak he forced himself to sit up, gripping the wall behind him for support as he hesitantly rose. Still nipping her lips, refusing to give in to the burning behind her eyes, Uli picked up the first of the bandages and moved to winding it in place. He shuddered at her touched, coughed sharply once, when he changed the fabric that was wound about his ribs. All to keep from screaming, she was sure. So pale, her knight... Farore's knight they'd called him, for all of his adult life, was so pale and broken he might shatter at the barest

So she was gentle, gentle and quick, and she spoke to him of light matters to keep his mind from the pain. As quickly could be, they were done, she eased him low and held his relatively whole hand lightly.

No man should be expected to fight against monsters. No man should fight them, nor should he be expected to fight them alone.

"Illness of this caliber, pain of this kind, should never be bourn alone." Bo had murmured, staring down at rustle, aged face grave as he watched the others gingerly bring Rusl home. He was stretched upon a sheet, the tan fabric fast turning red despite the tenderness of its bearers.

"He won't be alone." Uli assured Bo. "I'll be here."

Simple words, an easy, heartfelt sentiment. But the truth -shameful as it was- was that it was hard, a hard and bitter work. Still holding his hand in hers she sighed, a sound he mimed as he slipped into slumber. Falling a bit as he'd reclined, he'd settled his head so that his blonde hair fell over her leg. She could move, wound need to eventually, but by setting himself so she'd wake him when she did. And, despite how insane it seemed, she suspected that his "accidental" placing of his head was quite intentional.

He was always trying to protect her, had always been trying since the first they'd met.

"You shouldn't be." She whispered, lifting his hand up so she could murmur her rebuke into it then gentle kiss his knuckles. "You don't need to protect me. You just need to get better, that's all."

To her words, or perhaps her tone, he half woke. He came to the world of the waking long enough to open his eyes half way and smile at her. Then, with a soft sigh, he slipped back into slumber.

To spite the pain his smile remained as he slept. For how long, she was unsure. The world seemed to have blurred between around the edges, and time was a lost thing unlikely, to be found by one woman no matter how determined. Nights were longer, the shadows cast by mere shade darker, more ominous, these days.

Cradling his hand, Uli cried.


Sitting up, attentive and restless, Rustl looked at Bo while Bo pointedly looked everywhere else. Everywhere that allowed him to remain but avoided meeting Rusl's un-bandaged eye. He was healing, blessedly fast thanks to the grace of the Goddesses it seemed, but as he healed his mind roved beyond the walls of his home seeking impossible things. He wanted answers, answers to questions they didn't know, that he didn't speak.
Patiently, quiet as always; Uli hovered about him, around him. Tending his needs and asking him to rest when he seemed to agitated. This time, her request went ignored, as Bo, sitting on the couple's sole chair squirmed a bit. Rusl's green eyes were intent, clear, and demanding.

"It's down?" the swordsman rasped, pale face pallid as that fact sunk in sure and quick.

"Yes, that... wall whatever you want to call it... it's gone now." Bo conceded.

"And you went outside, and looked beyond that wall." Rusl pressed, gently shooing off his wife's hand as she set it on his shoulder. She wanted him to rest, they all wanted him to rest. Unlike the other townsfolk who might be thinking "what if he isn't better when something else comes?" Uli's efforts were more humane. Her mute request was rooted in concern for him. Perhaps that was why he listened to her advice and no one else's.

More than aware of the subtle play between husband and wife, and more than a little concerned by the worn man's dogged indifference to his health, Bo wanted to press on but didn't quite dare. He wanted to get this over and done with so Uli could talk Rusl into getting some more sleep. The Mayor knew he was an agitation. A specter from the outside that had no place in here while Rusl so obviously craved to be out, to be looking, and was in such a state that he should do neither. Not that the stubborn young man wouldn't try.

He'd try and fail, and they'd find him again and bring him back again. It had happened once before. The night when the sword had gone missing, when some foul thief had slipped into the village and stolen the blade and shield meant for the royal family.

"What news?" Rusl hissed as he tried to sit up. Another shooing motion on his end made Uli stop trying to hold him back. With a resigned sigh she slipped a hand about him, and much to Bo's shock went about helping up! Opening his mouth, meaning to say something the two flat glares that went his way told him it was best to say nothing at all.

So, with the wisdom that had allowed him to ascend to Mayorship, Bo remained silent, at least on matters that he wanted to speak of.

"It's where the tracks of those... things went. Stopped right up against that bit of dark we couldn't cross. Now that the dark's gone and we can pass I went, me and Fado went to take a look, follow the tracks."

"And?" Rusl pressed, leaning forward and stifling a gasp of pain for the motion.

"Well... the tracks go a good ways ahead, there clear, hasn't been no rain or anything..." The village mayor hedged, clearly not wanting to give the last tidbit of information unless he had to.

Considering their circumstance... considering how the last "wall" an unassailable barrier of shade that had cut Ordon from the world had caused such a panic it didn't take Rustl much effort to figure why Bo was hesitating so. Swallowing, the swordsman tasted something bitter and thick, helplessness and fear, a fast becoming familiar elixir. More bitter than a red potion, and much more aplenty these days.

"There's... another..."

Bo nodded, wrinkled face solemn as he refrained from saying the obvious aloud. Best not to speak it. Like with monsters, magic had a way of becoming worse than it was if you talked about it.

Just like monsters...

He winced at the thought, winced and pointedly did not look at Rustl. Pulling at his gray mustache, the Mayor nodded to Uli.

"I... I've no more news...And what I've given is hardly good." Bo admitted with a sigh. "I'm sorry. I should be off."

Relief flooded the young woman's face, she managed something like a smile. Then, mouthing
the formality, as she would have when everything was all right, Uli offered a quiet. "Thank you for coming by." And though it wasn't, he met formality with the expected "A pleasure."

And there it hung, between the three of them. In that terse silence Bo stood, moved to leave.

"How far?"

Turning, almost to the door, Bo half turned, surprised that though the young man was little more than a bandage cloaked ruin, Rustl's voice could sound so... strong.

"You should rest-" Bo began.

"Dearest..." Uli whispered, a breath or rebuke to the sound.

"How far?" Rustl rasped, facade of strength folding as the pain came back.

"Not far enough to be useful." Bo muttered. "We can almost see Kakariko, can almost see Hyrule Town... But seeing isn't getting to."

"Have you even tried?" Rustl grunted.

Bitterness made the injured man's tone a whip, and the blow fell over an area run ragged with the omnipresent cycle of doubt and fear. Stiffening his back, as if he'd been struck, Bo turned fully then. Turned and glared, pale face made sullen and swollen looking as it darkened to a hot red.

"We've tried, as much we've dared. We've spent hours pounding away on it with what swords we've got! You think we've done nothing! That you're the only one..." Sputtering, swinging his arms about, Bo stormed to the door, pulled it open. On the threshold he stopped, though he shook with rage, he managed to stop. "Look here, young man! We've done what we can and if it's not good enough. Not good enough to bring back your young one or my Llia! You're not the only one who's missing the children, your child! Remember that!"

The door roared shut.

"Uli.." He closed his eyes on sudden tears. Uttering her name, Rustl turned to his wife, not needing to see, knowing that she was there. Her presence was a comfort, and he leaned against her wearily. Torn and worn, and utterly spent, but needing... "Please... you have to go after him... to ask..."

She held him, and hushed him, and said without saying that she'd do no such thing.

"I need to see." He whispered brokenly.

"You will in time." Leaning forward, holding him close, she kissed the top of his head, as if he were the youngest of children with a nightmare born scare. "It just needs to heal. You need to heal. And when you're better you'll see, with both eyes."

Reaching up, with questing fingers, he traced the bandage that covered almost half of his face. That covered the eye that had been slashed at by a monster wielding a bit of night like a normal man would hold a sword. For seeing they'd attempted to take his eyes, to prevent him from seeking.

For all the stories said that one who sees must seek, such is the way of the Goddesses.
A quick turn and twist as he fell had spared both his eyes from being slashed out, bad luck had made the blow follow him down, had stolen the sight from one eye...

"I hardly notice that these days..." He murmured.

"What was that?" Uli murmured, stroking his head.

"I..." A chuckle, choked and high pitched about the edges, but it was a passable sound of mirth. "I'd like to go out tomorrow." Feeling her tense, he forced a smile. "Just to the porch, if you're of mind." Rustl assured his Uli. "Just the two of us, to take a quick look at the world."

"It's hardly changed so much that you should rush." Uli scolding were as light as her touch, his smile firmed up a bit about the edges. Nestling close as his wounds and her condition would allow, he mulled over his options. Decision made, he acted oblivious to her rebuke. He hummed and hawed throughout the quiet, as if his next words would decide the whole fate of Hyrule or something. Finally, still smiling, he tried his luck.

"Maybe to the bank?"

She waited, patient and silent, knowing him far too well to fold so early in the game.

"Maybe, just maybe..." He hedged, sounding wistful. "All the way to the pier out front?"

By tone alone he made that short walk sound epic. Almost legendary. A short stroll became, by enunciation alone, akin to distance as one would expect a Hero to trod. Like the tale of a Hero who would stride from the peak of Death Mountain in the morning all so he could swim in the sacred waters of Zora's Domain that night.

"With fishing rod firmly in hand?" She asked mildly.


"Rusl!" Uli managed to put enough disappointment into her tone, somehow managing to fill those two syllables with that delicate blend of frustration, exasperation, and good humor, that he had to laugh.

Or rather he tried, and winced as his wounds hurt all over again.

Then, so quick he surprised himself, the words slipped out. "How I love you, my Uli."
And to that, she laughed and cried all at once, a delightful little sound. "I love you too."

"Will everything be alright again?" He sighed, holding her as tight as he could, as tenderly as he dared.

"Of course. The Goddesses will see us to the other side." Firm, unshakable, she assured him. "I've no doubts. And you, my husband, I won't see you lose faith any more than I can stand to see you in pain. We'll get this better, first you, than this wall business. One step at a time is all."

And I have plenty, doubts and fears... more than enough for us both and I dare not say a word.

"You haven't seen my fishing rod, have you?" He said instead.

"You said tomorrow." Uli reminded him, a small poke on his uninjured side was all the rebuke he needed.

"So I did."

"So you did."

And for them, the matter was closed, said, and done. Content with that for the time being, willing to need and see some other time, Rustle rested in his wife's arms. The held each other, for how long, he wasn't sure. For time was fickle these days, with the nights far too long and light far too scarce. Even though bed bound, he knew that much at least. Time had broken it's bounds, and the state of the sky was ever in flux. But, regardless of the sky, the sun, and stars, he held his wife, and long or short, whatever it might have been it was long enough.

And that's all that mattered.
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