TO THE ANCIENT LAND
A Legend of Zelda x Shadow of the Colossus Crossover Fan Fiction by Shadsie
Chapter One: The Village of Horned Men
“So, wanderer, what brought you to this place?”
Link sat on a hewn log, eating a round loaf of honey-sweetened bread delicately. “Just travel,” he replied. “Exploration. I have been seeking a friend I lost many years ago, though by this time, I do not expect to actually find her.”
“I see,” the horned man said, stroking his beard. “It is not good to have a forlorn heart. My people prize the ability to let go. We have very good reason for that.”
Link was awestruck upon finding this little village out in the wilderness. There was nothing around the gathering of huts and squat buildings nestled among broken, ancient ruins from some forgotten time – just plains, a dark forest and the general wild. Almost all of the males here wore what Link had thought at first were headdresses. The Village Elder – the man he was talking to – insisted that his horns were natural.
Link watched the women of the settlement fuss over a teenaged boy with a bandaged broken horn reclining by one of the huts. Earlier today, the lad had been climbing a cliff in pursuit of berries and had fallen. The lost horn was the sole major injury, the rest of what he’d suffered were scratches and bruises. His face betrayed great pain. The horn’s exposed interior bled slightly through the bandaging. Link had tried to help the boy by offering a potion, but was shooed away by a fussy mother and gray-haired ladies clucking in a language he did not understand. The Elder was the only person here who could speak Hylian with Link – and he spoke it rather well.
“Do not stare too long at our features, wanderer,” the Elder added. “Your features… those pointed ears of yours… They are the only reason we trusted you enough to feed and shelter you.”
“You’ve had Hylians here before,” Link observed.
“Yes, long ago. We traded some with them and they were sensible. Had you lacked your long ears our suspicion and our swords would have been immediate, with you coming to our area unexpected and uninvited.”
“How come?” Link asked innocently, “I’ve met all kinds of people. It’s strange that I’ve never heard tales in Hyrule of your kind, but I have friends who are rock-folk, fish-folk, desert-warriors… all kinds of people. I find most people to be pretty decent, beneath their rough spots and their suspicions.”
“We are a cursed folk,” the Elder intoned.
“The horns…” the old man began, “The horns are a mark of a cursed fate. Long ago, our people used to be the subjects of sacrifice. Boys the age of that poor lad you met with the headache used to serve the sole life-purpose of appeasing hungry spirits and a malevolent power. It is said that one of my ancestors was a final formal sacrifice and that he put a stop to the great power, earning himself and those that came after freedom...”
“You are free now, right?”
“It is not that simple, wanderer,” the man said, holding up a hand. “Among the distant people we originally sprang from… people lacking horns and with round ears… some are still born that grow the horns. We find lads left in the forest to die, as well as the occasional baby. Our kind is not wanted, because of the curse-mark.”
“How awful….” Link said, looking to the ground. “It’s awful that people would do that just because of one unusual feature…”
“It is one way in which our village grows.”
“I grew up as something of an outcast among my people,” Link sighed. “But no one in my forest tried to kill me over it.”
“You look quite standard for a Hylian.”
“I wasn’t raised by Hylians.”
“I find the horns quite handsome,” Link said with a smile. “They make you look powerful.”
“They are the legacy of an even earlier ancestor than the one who freed us. That one cursed his descendants… because he could not let go.”
“Hmmm, interesting,” Link said with another bite of his bread. “I do wonder just how people would gain horns.”
“It is a long tale, but we are before a campfire and the night is young. Twilight has just begun to fall and you have your dinner. From what I know of Hylians, your people are lovers of legends.”
The Elder began a story about a land that lay just beyond the mountains to the west of the wasteland. Link paid attention to the vague directions. It was no place he’d ever been. The indicated mountains were said to be impassible.
“The Wanderer brought he body there because that land held the power to resurrect the dead…”
“Hold on a moment,” Link interrupted. “Did he know about fairies?”
“Fairies? Of what do you speak, young man?”
“Fairies. In Hyrule, there are tiny magical creatures with the power to give life in certain circumstances.”
The Elder’s eyes widened. “Are your people immortal?” he asked.
“No,” Link said, shaking his blond head. “They only work under certain conditions and can only bring someone back from death if they’ve just taken a fatal blow. It feels weird to be revived by one, trust me.”
“The ancestor’s beloved took a terrible wound,” the Elder continued, “and she was dead for many hours before her lover was able to take action.”
“It would be in the hands of the deities and the great powers then,” Link admitted. “Go on.”
The Elder described an ancient being that oversaw the passage of souls from life to death. He spoke of a land of giants, a place filled with beings that were as mountains that guarded the secret to bringing a soul back.
By the end of the legend, Link was weeping. He wiped his face on a sleeve and tried to hide his sniffling. “Is all of this really true?” he asked.
“We call it a legend, but the evidence is in our horns. It is said that the entities of shadow scattered and became one with their accursed land again, leaving only the horns and our bad fortune upon the mortal world.”
“I have an unbelievable tale, too,” Link offered. “You’ve told me a wonderful story. Now, I owe you one.”
“We have not yet worn the night down,” the Elder answered. “Oh, my…”
Around both the Elder and Link were gathered other villagers, including the boy with the broken horn – recovered enough to sit up and listen to stories.
“It looks like I shall have to do some translating,” the old man said, smiling warmly.
“I can speak pretty well with my hands,” Link said, gesticulating. He made his audience laugh as he stood and swung a harmless air-sword.
“My tale definitely really happened,” the Hylian began. “I know because I lived it. You will find very little evidence for it if you go to Hyrule, though. Part of it takes place in another land that is very difficult to get to. All of it involves time-travel… lots and lots of time-travel…”
Link took his leave in the morning, having rested little and reeking of campfire-smoke. He was expected back at HyruleCastle shortly. He couldn’t take too much time off from his position as captain of the Hylian Knights, even in peacetime.
Although he would make good on his promise to keep the location of the village a secret, he could not wait to tell his Lady Zelda about the Bull-Men of the Wildwaste.
The wanderer rides on…