All of the Sheikah had been killed or lost, except two, the Mentor Impa and the novice named Sheik who became a master in her own right.
Impa spoke an ancient language, the tongue of the Shadows of Hylians, it was a comforting sound, as they stood on a small island in the middle of the lake, connected only by a wooden bridge.
"Nothing is true, everything is permitted." the apprentice replied.
Impa nodded and pulled some tongs from the fire, "You're sure you want to do the whole thing? Most of us died fighting for the Royal Family, the rest scattered to the four winds, we're a dead people, you don't need to suffer any...unnecessary traditions."
"There is no choice, I am committed to this cause, I'm not going halfway to my goal...I will meet it with open arms." the glove was roughly removed and all the fingers but the ring finger were drawn towards the palm, the ring finger remained firm, "Where others blindly follow the 'truth', we see what lies hidden, where others conform to 'laws' we follow our judgment, we are the Sheikah. We work in the shadows to serve the light, no one said it was painless."
Sheik took three measured steps, finger extended towards the fire, "One for Din, guardian of power, one for Nayru, keeper of wisdom, one for Farore, giver of life; and one for me, protector of humanity." upon ending, she moved her finger so that the space between the first two knuckles of the finger aligned with where the tongs would come down, "And one step for my people, I'll never forget what they died for."
Impa winced and granted Sheik's request. This was unexpected, Impa believed so much that her ward would be unharmed, and now it'd come to this, finding a Sheikah in the one she tried to keep from so much as a scrape. As far as she knew, Sheik was unharmed, her eyes were wide open, and a sharp breath confirmed her suspicions.
The new Sheikah threw her glove into the water, and climbed the tree in the middle of the island in the middle of this vast lake, and walked to the edge of a limb, Impa close behind, then turned to see the Mentor before diving into the lake.
Linkle emerged and shook her blonde hair, then grabbed the well's wall and pulled herself out. The guards got pretty close to catching her this time. She didn't know why Iron Knuckles were around to begin with, Hyrule wasn't Gerudo territory so them taking things for free annoyed her, but the way they shoved people around enraged her, so donning her cloak she went out to cleverly aid the citizens of Kakariko Village.
She spread her cuccos out over a small area where one Iron Knuckle and three Gerudo foot soldiers would march, then ran at the leader, knocking her over and pulling the keys off, then quickly ran through the crowd of cuccos, who were alarmed by the shouting guards.
Now she ran to the building that the Gerudo used for barracks and hefted a jar above her head, kicked the door twice, and waited for the door to open, in a blind spot, and then waited until it started to close and kicked the door, sending the scimitar wielding Gerudo.
Linkle threw the jar, the smash stunning three Gerudo as she ran in and slid strongbox off the table and turned to find the Gerudo approaching slowly with their blades poised at her. She turned around, running to get a pitchfork, dropping the box in favor of holding the pitchfork like a weapon, stepped back, and found the bars drop around her.
She didn't know why this building, said to have been home to the great Impa long ago, had a gate like this, but then, maybe it was new when she was young, a cow used to be here, but back then, there was a roof to this cage, and it wasn't raised or lowered, and if she was right, there also used to be a a hole in the wall. She kicked the back of the wall, lowering her head, as one of the women laughed, "Why, hello, little rat, didn't your folks teach you not to enter peoples houses without permission?"
"Well, hello, ladies, glad to drop by...but this isn't your house, either." Linkle retorted, "Now, why don't you leave before I add insult to injury?"
"Ha, you're the one trapped behind bars." one said.
"That's a good way to look at it...but in a couple of seconds, you'll be wishing you were safe behind bars too."
Suddenly the door flew open and guards running from an angry flock of cuccos entered the building.
"Hey, idiots, there's a window right there, cuccos will float down, but if you fall fast enough, you can get a head start!" Linkle advised, as the women crowded the window. When the last fell outside, Linkle took stock of her situation.
The was no lock on the gate, but she could simply climb the bars, but then she'd have to leave the box behind, unless the bars could be raised, but she'd have to be fast. Linkle opened the box and found her quarry, a purple Rupee the guards had stolen.
She set the bow down and shut the lid, pressing down with one foot before trusting it with her full weight, then set one foot on the lower bar and grabbed the middle bar with her hands, then leapt up, one hand pushing on the bar as she threw her other hand against the top of the gate, and grabbed it with her other hand, and pulled herself up, using the middle bar as soon as her feet met it, then dropped down on the other side, removed her cloak, then took the rupee, dropping it into her pocket and opened the door, leaving the place and finding a group of Gerudo down stairs.
"What were you doing up there?" one asked.
"How do you mean?" Linkle asked, scrunching her eyebrows.
"That's our place, this village is ours, and don't forget it!"
"But no one's in there, and the glass is broken."
"What?!" the guards ran to the building, leaving her behind.
She followed them slowly and watched them keenly, "May I be of further assistance?"
"What, no thanks, go away!" the guard ordered and she nodded, leaving casually.
"I need to get that cloak back." she thought of how she'd get in now, but nothing came to mind.
Three guards, heavy armor, all carrying an ax, she considered the opposition and decided she could get in and out unnoticed, but she'd need help...not cuccos this time. She searched the village and noticed the Gerudo from earlier, they had scratches all over them and bruises from where they were pecked.
"What are you looking at?" one of the annoyed women inquired.
"Nothing, nothing." she said lowering her head.
"Aren't you the cucco shepherd?"
"Y-yes, ma'am, why do you ask?"
"You're birds attacked us, we'll be compensated for that."
"Meet us in our post, we'll discuss payment in Rupees...per scratch."
"But, I don't have that kind of money!"
"Too bad, your birds have to die, then."
"F-fine, I'll visit you later."
"Good, you're not so stupid after all! Tonight, then, after we've counted the claw marks."
Linkle watched as they left and sighed, "I really need to get that cloak back!"
Linkle stepped into the building later that night and found the guards from earlier still her...and the ones she was supposed to meet behind bars, "Um, what's going on?" she asked, trying not to seem to brave or curious, just meekly purposeful.
"These four are to be hang tomorrow for abandoning their post, meanwhile, take this to the trash heap." the guard tossed her green cloak at her and she nodded.
"I was supposed to meet them, should I disregard their orders, or do they still stand?"
"Disregard these traitors and go, before you join them!" the guard shoved her and she stepped back and landed roughly against the wall, "Are you stupid, what kind of question is that? They're traitors, not Gerudo! Now go, before I decide to throw you into the cage with them."
"R-right away!" she turned and briskly left the room, she ran down stairs and walked to the graveyard, falling against the well on the way and letting the cloak soak as she looked at her knee.
"What are you doing there, taking a nap? Hurry to the graveyard and let them see that cloak burn, before we add you to the trash heap as well!" the guard saw her through the window and she picked up the cloak.
"Oh, it's drenched!" she cried, holding it up at arm's length.
"I don't care if it it's on fire, take it to the trash heap!"
"A-alright, it's going to be heavy, it won't be a problem!" Linkle said, and carried the cloak to the graveyard, thinking of some way to save the cloak, if she had to burn it, she'd throw in the towel, there was no way she could get a new one, and putting it on in the graveyard wouldn't work out, she just needed a way to make them think it was burned. The water wouldn't save it for long...unless it killed the fire. She smiled to herself.
"You what's that cloak?" a Gerudo asked as she approached the fire.
"This is something the guards ordered be burned." Linkle noted that this was the only person here, if she smothered the fire she could save the cloak and continue helping people if her mother's old cloak wouldn't be destroyed. Her mother was a cryptic woman, and so was her grandmother, her father, a Hylian Knight was the most normal person in the family, but he was often away, at sea.
Linkle offered the cloak to the Gerudo, then shrieked when the woman turned her back and fell into her, "Look!" she screamed, jumping away from the woman and tossing a rock at her when her back was turned, "Behind you!" she screamed, but the rock hit the woman just as her gaze fell upon the rock. Linkle took the cloak and smothered the torches around them, then dropped the cloak casually on the fire, and again and again until it landed on all the fire, then ran to the guard house and shouted at the window.
"Man down over here!" she shouted, after donning the scorched cloak and leaping onto the beam across the well, then slipping forward and dropping into the well. She waited for the guards to run towards the graveyard before getting out of the well again and running to a nearby building.
She knocked on the door and set the Rupee on the ground then hid where the door would open, "I believe what lies at your feet to be yours." she hissed in a gravely voice that irritated her throat.
"A-ah! Thank you, whatever kind spirit is out there, thank you!" Linkle smiled at herself, hearing the gratitude of a citizen who needed help always left a smile on her face, even when some Gerudo led by an Iron Knuckle approached her. She hadn't noticed them until they were upon her.
"Good eve, ladies, how may I help thee?" she asked in a darker, more mysterious voice that she had fun with.
"What are you doing here? Do I know you?" the Iron Knuckle asked, pushing her against the wall.
"Surely I would remember you if we were friends." Linkle replied, bowing, "Is that all?"
"I don't believe so, pull down your hood!"
"With pleasure!" she yelled, she threw her weight behind her leg as she kicked towards the guard, knocking her down, then jumped on her and bounced back off, turned and slapped the Gerudo to her right with her wet sleeve, then tossed her towards some other Gerudo, the momentum sending them all back, and she ran towards the entrance of the village., "Good eve, miladies, surely we may meet again, ha, ha, ha!"
She climbed up a tree and waited until she saw figure run pass her before she jumped onto the ledge that emerged from a nearby hill. Wet clothes and a happy villager, it's not like she needed anything else, she was a cucco shepherd by day, and a redistributing masquerader, also by day, but she dismissed that point, all that mattered was that she would be there whenever she had to be.
Linkle reappeared in the village, having left the cloak she loved so much out in Hyrule Field somewhere, hid among the grass, where the guards would never tread.
Linkle found the village quieting down and ran towards her home as quickly as she could, and to her credit, no one saw her. No one she took into account, though an owl watching from a tree branch.
She leaned against the door and let out a deep breath, being a hero was hard work, more prominently, it was hungry work.
Linkle searched her cabinets for food, after using most of the food for a stew, she searched again to make sure she was really out, the got ready to go shopping.
She wasn't out for long before a guard pushed her to a wall, "Did you see anything? We'll catch the one responsible for this!"
"I didn't see anything, I just need to go restock my supplies, if I may." Linkle learned that the Gerudo suspected everyone, as long as she had something she needed to do, she could deliver the urgency required, and once the Gerudo found her worthless, she was let go.
"Fine, but if you see a green cloak running around out there...you find us." the Gerudo added a shove against the wall to get her point across, but the spoken and unspoken point.
As much as it stung her and her pride, she knew that if she endured like everyone else, she would be seen as anyone else, no tricks, no hitting, no dodging, no running away; honestly, it was harder to run than to fight back, but she knew how it worked, be a good little powerless Hylian, and live to redistribute wealth another day.
Sometimes, on evenings like this, as she crossed the bridge leading across to Castle Town, she wondered if there was more. Linkle felt like there was far more out there for her, but she wondered to herself, what is her life, to be stuck in a village when her potential was clear? Was it wasted talent, or perhaps she was dreaming bigger than she could manage? These questions and more bounded through her mind, she wished something would happen.
There was no one in sight, just Linkle and a fountain of the Triforce, something drew her to it. She leaned over the edge, took a breath, cleared her mind, released the breath, and with eyes closed, she envisioned her destiny, and touched the Triforce. She didn't know what destinies looked like, but she imagined hers looked like light streaming down a hill, the sun rising to turn thick thunderclouds into dark purple clouds that eventually faded.
She sighed and backed away. What fun was being the Hero if she had to bottle it in? What good was it to be a hero if she couldn't inspire courage in others? She decided then and there, she wasn't the sun.
As she walked, browsed the market, she gazed up at the heavens and smiled. She was no sun, she was a star, she liked to think the stars were always there, they just showed up better in the dark.
Four watchers in the dark observed the unfolding of future days.
"The future is darkening. Nayru, what do you think?"
"Well, Farore, we've seen the...projected results...there's a high chance no one will succeed, but with that one, there is a...certain quality."
A new voice joined the discussion, "I like her, she's got flare!"
"You're so biased, Din," Nayru chuckled, "you like fire in general."
"True, but you see it too, right?" Din dared her to say she didn't.
"I admit, I like her for the role." Nayru leaned back and sighed, "She's a fast learner, and knows how to get things done effectively."
"I like her spirit," Farore pipped, "she'd be willing to risk all, if it was worth it in the end!"
"My only complaint is that she doesn't have time to learn dancing along the way." Din smirked, crossing her arms, "But I suppose we can't see everything in her future...though it did seem like that was a gala at the castle!"
"And I," the last spoke with pained breaths and heavy pants, "will believe in her, regardless of odds, she is the only chance our creation has of surviving."
The three turned to see their leader's shadow near a wall. A chamber opened and steam rose from it. They jumped as the sound of doors being kicked down echoed throughout the halls, it grew louder. They huddled together and waited for it to be their door they could hear the chaos, and they knew it would their turn soon, more death and destruction for the temple to hold in it's past.
A warm fire, peaceful nights. Her family was asleep, she watched them carefully, knowing that when she opened her eyes, it'd be to the same fire she saw when she opened her eyes, she would wake up to a nightmare, and never wake from it.
Linkle studied her parents as the blankets on them rose and fell.
She often got so caught up, she accepted this reality, and then she was stuck what happened next. She never knew how it started, but she imagined fire exploding the walls behind her, she pulled her knees up, a helpless observer. Part of her wanted to take her hand from her mouth and let them hear her, and let them destroy her future, too, the other side knew of her knew what they'd do, and wasn't wrong at all.
They walked in, paid her no mind as a sob that should have given her away escaped her mouth, and her eyes followed them as they pulled out their arrows, and pulled them back.
Linkle could always clearly see them die, while she was always frozen in fear.
Linkle didn't wake with a start, it was always in a semiconscious state she found herself, the past and present held together firmly, drifting apart until she was fully awake. At least that dream wasn't every night, if that was any consolation, she leaned on it, if not, she leaned on it and didn't fall over the illusion.
She sat up, took a deep breath, and collected her thoughts. It was morning, and that meant she had cuccos to tend, but that led her back to yesterday, it was strange, more and more Gerudo were executed for leaving their posts, but they were usually chasing her or something, then again, that gave them reason to suspect their own people.
Eventually that would only make things harder for those she fought for, as the entirety of the original company sent to watch Kakariko Village would be replaced, and the people would be the only suspects for the thief who was returning money to the villagers, on that note, she'd be more suspicious because of her age, she had to practice running slow and pretending to tire out, but still be just a little faster than everyone else.
What she needed was a final run, something spectacular, and then vanish with her flock.
"To me, birdies!" Linkle called out, a sack of crumbs in her arms, "Eat up, I was able to restock yesterday!"
Linkle was giving herself too much credit, the Gerudo "donated" to her efforts, not much, a little here and there, enough that they probably wouldn't notice, and she ate in town when she restocked, so she never had more than her actual pay. She hated to admit it, but she was a great thief, but betting on her skills with a bow was an even better way to make money, though the owner of the Shooting Gallery wouldn't let her back in if she was too good, she just got that kind of feeling, so she missed sometimes, believably, though, she always made it look like she was only pretty good.
She once shot between two moving targets just for fun, but never did it again, just in case that suggested more skill than luck.
Linkle turned and saw a couple of guards below, so she walked around the cuccos' fence and focused on the Gerudo and not the cuccos' clucking. She caught a few words, like "the green ghost" and "grass phantom", she also heard about a forest imp, and liked that they took her actions as ghostly and otherworldly, and hoped it stayed that way, it was easier this way. Then a new idea was brought up, "The captain thinks it could be a Sheikah."
Linkle held her breath, that word meant something to her, she could feel it.
Sheik wandered the village graveyard, hiding behind the stones of Sheikah's passed. Knives flew out and struck the Gerudo guarding the trash heap, which, rumor had it, was put out last night, and the assailant knocked out a guard without killing her, as though a ghost had chosen to humiliate the Gerudo by outwitting her.
That would be a Sheikah trying to spare lives to show resourcefulness, rumors would be spread to the contrary, all while those who knew the truth would hunt down the Sheikah responsible.
Sheik was here for information, she gazed into the eye of a Sheikah Stone and unspoken words rang clearly in her ears, "There's a green ghost running around, one who is gifted."
The Gift, of course. The natural, ability that Sheikah were known for, those born in Kakariko Village were gifted, and they knew the gift was from the shadows, and as a rite of passage, they went into the Shadow Temple, after rigorous training they emerged, the ceremony was usually held there, but the other day that tradition broke, Impa found the coffin that the Sheikah would lie in, and took it to Lake Hylia, it was unlikely that that would've worked, but it did, Sheik felt her body teleport to the training grounds that all Sheikah faced, and awoke as a Sheikah.
Someone here had the Gift, and was using it without another Sheikah present, and all active Sheikah here had been slain, which meant that this person discovered their Gift alone. Sheik was saddened by the thought, no one deserved that, every Sheikah had a Mentor, and before Sheik, every Sheikah went with peers to hone their skills before putting them to use in the Animus Antechamber, only then were they alone, and only after were they permitted to assess whether or not they needed help, though many Sheikah died that way, so it was often not taken unless there was some sort of orchestration.
Using Hawkeye, Sheik found a yellow trail leading into the village, "Well, time to throw away any notion of sneaking into the village." she mused.
Author's Notes: Bet no one else saw this coming...unless you're mysteriousguy898, or you read that one mini fic in the second chapter of Legend of Linkle: Chibi Great Adventure, "In Which Linkle Is The Assassin", or just thought this should be a thing so looked for it. Hawkeye is something mysteriousguy898 brought up as Zelda's Eagle Eyes, I found it to be very cool!ns220.127.116.11da2