Snowfall descended silently in the stillness of the early morning. Despite the current hour, a newly formed and untouched blanket covering Hateno village filtered unnatural brightness through Link’s window. With a small shiver, he pulled the blanket over his chill nipped shoulder and sighed at the warm relief. Suddenly, all of his joints felt cramped. A rather satisfying stretch exposed his scarred flesh to biting cold air before the hero jerked his arms and legs back beneath his perfectly tempered comforter. The body heat trapped within every inch of stitching was almost enough to lure him back to sleep, but the shocking chill had already stirred both brain and bladder. When he could no longer ignore the pressure growing in his lower abdomen, he relented with an airless sigh and threw his blanket off in one swift motion.
Bitter air lapped greedily at his exposed hide, bringing about an annoyed grunt as the blonde huffed out of bed and towards the restroom. At least he could make something hot to drink on his way back, because he was definitely going back to bed. He set a water filled kettle atop the cast iron stove and hummed at the wavering warmth it gave off. Obviously he hadn’t fed it enough last night. A few more split logs were tucked into its ember smoldered belly before the hero’s bladder protested any further delays.
His latest dream made no sense and found its pieced, foggy plot slipping further from consciousness the longer he stayed awake. Nothing notable nor exciting must have happened, so the hero gave up trying to understand what the Goron was doing with so many horses. Although, Goron’s couldn’t ride horses, why did he need so very many? Did he know how to properly care for and feed them? They would not be able to survive on death mountain, so would he relocate for them?
Link groggily emerged from the restroom, his extremities stinging in the cold and obstructing his thoughts. A hot cup in his hands and comforter wrapped back around him couldn’t happen soon enough. Glancing down at his pinkening digits, he briefly thought he should attempt to sleep in more than just his shorts. This was a thought only momentarily entertained, as he was going to continue sleeping in shorts alone. He once attempted sleeping with his hair down too, but he knew well enough that his hair was, at this very moment, barely held in a hazardous mess of a ponytail. Some things were not going to change.
It was so early in the morning, why was he in the kitchen again?
The kettle atop his now sated and confidently heated stove found the courage to sing, it’s voice reminding Link how wonderful something hot to drink would be right about now. An absent minded chuckle escaped him, hoarse and ragged. He removed the kettle and poured steaming water over an herb stuffed sift resting over the eager mouth of a mug. Once he spooned a questionable amount of honey into his drink he made his way back up to bed. Cinnamon thick scent trailed behind him and filled the house. Each lazy step he took coaxed a creak from the wooden boards beneath, the sound seeming so much louder on this still morning. What a joy it was, to be able to spend a morning so lazily. There was no rush, no pressing matters that needed attending, no urgency to anything other than making it to the bathroom and back to bed. How much of a vacation, an absolute respite, these last eight years had been. The serenity brought about from his initial amnesic induced bumbling turned heroism was worth the distress. One year. One year (which, admittedly, felt like an eternity at the time) of his life sacrificed for the rest of his days to live in delicious leisureliness was worth it. Perhaps at the time, during each haggard escape and through every sadistic trial, he would not have admitted to this. But now that Link had lived several years of unadulterated and much needed seclusion; he could admit the effort to pay off ratio was just.
His heart suddenly ached for a moment, a beat or two. A slow, constricting sadness enveloped his organ and ebbed into a somber longing; the way one would remember an old cherished friend who moved too far for visits. The hero thought of his fellow champions, individually and as a whole. He had carried out the task they requested of him and finished what they started one hundred and eight years ago. It was a bittersweet relief, granting their spirits their well deserved peace. That didn’t mean he didn’t miss them. Terribly. Wished they were still alive. Wished they could have faced Gannon together, alongside one another as comrades. Celebrate. Visit with them from time to time. Was that selfish? Perhaps. But he did miss them. He would always, always miss them. The Hylian champion would forever keep each brilliant being in his heart. Yes, even Revali. Unfortunate as they were the sacrifices made were, beyond a shadow of a doubt, worth the end result. This once dying land so many called home was rid of its terminal illness.
Link mused to himself that he could have disregarded all his previous quests, the journey, the princess’ hundred year suffering. But if he was being completely honest with himself? No. He could not have done that. He was asked to help. Even with fragmented memories and existing as a shell of his former self, he felt to help was the right thing to do. Link was one to go with his gut, to trust his intuition. When he steadily regained his memories, his determination was only further fueled. A small flame grew to a raging wildfire within him till he was all but consumed, unleashing its fury against The Calamity. For the briefest of moments, the hero craved to feel that battle fire once again.
Maybe the years of ease were getting to him.
Presently his instincts suggested wrapping his comforter round like a cloak and resting his back against the wall. The heat produced from his steaming mug was pleasant, bringing life back to his rosey fingertips. As it settled, the comforter caught onto notoriously long Hylian ears but the toasty cotton material was welcomed there for sure. Satisfied with his position, the hero sipped his drink and relished in the sensation of warmth traveling down his throat and resting within his core. It began to spread throughout the rest of his body, his mind on a tangent as it thought less of sleep and more on reflection. So far, mornings awake when the world still slumbered in snow muffled darkness felt right for reflection.
Eight entire years of doing whatever his heart desired.
What did he have to show for it? With a scraggy sigh and gentle rub at the dark circles beneath his eyes, Link looked around his loft. Small mountains of books were strewn about the floor, successfully barricading the two exposed sides of his mattress. Some were in desperate need of new binding. Where one would normally have a living room downstairs, he had chests full of various armor and walls filled to the brim with weapons from all across Hyrule. Then there was the kitchen, existing within its own realm of clutter. Yes, it seemed neat and fairly clean, but there was no way to open the cabinets and drawers without various ingredients for food or potion spilling out. A combination writing desk/workbench for leather working and binding had several tools strewn about while piles of parchment and materials blocked the way to it. He still needed to purchase more ink. The lazy imp took a moment to consider his hoarding problem with a devilish grin before sinking deeper into his blanket and taking a long sip of his steaming drink.
There was not nearly enough honey in it, but at this point, it would be too much of a bother to make his way down to the kitchen for more. No, he was comfortable and there was nothing pressing that he needed to do. How pleasant that thought was, and how pleasant it was he could afford to have it. Link idly fingered a deep scar upon his chest. Really, how had he survived? His resilience was on par with his stubborn perseverance.
To just about anyone, defeating the incarnation of evil was a daunting task. If one were to view the situation as saving the entirety of Hyrule, well, that was quite the hefty responsibility. But breaking it up into small, achievable victories? That’s what made the whole scenario a bit easier to swallow. Wake up, find clothes, find food? Easy. Accomplished. Things were off to a good start. Go inside a shrine? Okay. Simple puzzle. Next shrine, different puzzle. Rewards to aid him and therefore make future tasks easier? Each small victory paved the way for making each bigger accomplishment seem much more achievable. It was strange that things seemed to work out but he found that if he just had the courage to try, everything worked out in the end. Even when things went south, a new solution was attainable. He had to admit, some of the tighter spots he found himself in yielded the most outrageous and entertaining results. Depending on the situation, Hylia must have favored or despised him with a cruel sense of humor. A faint smile made itself at home upon the Hylian’s face.
The last living champion. Every choice he made was based on his instincts. He was a diligently trained knight who carried out his duties with honor. Each night he fell asleep knowing that he did everything within his power. Each morning he woke ravenous and the drive to be better. For eight years he relaxed, reflected, traveled, hoarded, took up a hobby, dreamed vividly and was overall satisfied with life. The half person he had woken up as in the chamber of resurrection had successfully melded with the boy he was one hundred years prior. Today he was a young man living each day in leisure.
Link looked out his window, catching the sun beginning to peek over the horizon. A portion of him wanted to attempt sleep again before a familiar longing bloomed in his chest, it’s intensity rising with the sun. Somewhere, the winds of sunbathed grasslands whispered his name in a charming fashion, painting mental pictures of undiscovered climbs, wild horse hooves thundering across the plain and starry skies to sleep beneath. This was the resounding call he could never ignore.
While the waking world was bathed in cold morning hues, Hylia’s chosen knight mounted a fat pack upon his beloved giant steed and rode towards the horizon. Adorned in a familiar blue tunic, Hylian cloak and ruby headdress for warmth, the retired hero set out to answer the sweet sonnet of warmer lands. There was a tale at the tip of his tongue. Adventure beckoned.