Sometimes you are grateful for the places that haven’t been touched by greed and power. Beautiful and serene in the reflecting blue of the cavern walls. But in beauty there is ignorance and pure denial in outside evils. It is that vanity and naivety that will one day destroy this place from the inside out. A cold, slow kind of death, but for now, you are just grateful for one moment of peace in the past days of chaos and violence. In the water, you don’t want to like the fighting and the bloodlust. In water, you find the whole ordeal exhausting and so submit yourself to your back in the cold waves, ignoring the way in which you become completely soaked because you don’t care. You feel weightless and at ease, exhausted to the point where sleep will come easy and last all night, and you will hope that in your dreams you will live in the life you wish you had: returning to the forest to lounge mindlessly under woodland trees, grass tickling the backs of your legs as the lost children of the wood sing to you and your green eyed friend, falling asleep together looking at the clouds in the sky. Other times, you wish your dreams would show you grown up, in love, having a family: daughters who look like their mother and sons with your jaw and reserve. You’ve thought about having these choices because what you felt for those haunted blue eyes feels like love, but it didn’t feel like a choice and maybe that’s what was haunting her eyes and your heart, that she too didn’t have a choice in who she fell in love with. And sometimes love does that, where you’ll see someone and know they’re whom you’re meant to love, but isn’t there supposed to be some mutual feeling that you want to fall in love with that person, not that you have to fall in love with that person? Is that what you did when you saw her, when she saw you, that you had to, not that you wanted to. And if neither of you wanted to, who would you then choose to fall for and fall hard and forever with? You float on your back, listening to the waterfall sloosh into the pool, a loud rush in your ears, and you ponder loving green eyes, ponder having daughters will red hair and sweet, taming voices, ponder having sons with your jaw and her haunting blue eyes.
(This section was previous published by Cartridge Lit. Magazine.)
- Silver Scale: What a graceful swan dive you have, jumping fearlessly from the top of waterfalls into cool blue pools below to go diving for gems below the water, and now you can dive deeper and the deeper you go, the more you find, and you think its funny that people lose the most valuable things over deep water. What doesn’t one just not go swimming with ones prized possessions and just keep them on shore where they will still be there when one is done swimming? That makes sense right? But regardless, finders keepers.
There is always a lake and there is something lurking in the deep depths. You can just feel the redundancy on the surface of the water that glistens above and below because not only is there a lurker there are always things waiting to be resurfaced and pocketed. You never have to worry about riches because riches always find you. You’re just lucky you guess, unimpressed by this conclusion and the ease of it all. And yet there’s something more about the lake that draws you to it and you wonder if you were meant more to be of water than earth or fire, that this is where you belong, or that it brings out the calm in you. Earth and trees are home, fire is power and blood, water clarity and the metal of your sword binds them together in your core, the extension of your body, strengthened by emotion and duty. This, you think, is where you would want to live, to die. Clarity and truth can heal even the most tumultuous soul. Plant a tree in earth, build a fire in a hearth, but live by the blue water, clear as the eyes of her, as that solid pounding in your heart. Perhaps, this is a choice you can make when this is all over.
- Bottle #3: How cliché, a message in a bottle. Somehow this strikes you as a childish way of getting attention, but who are you to judge the writer of the note? You don’t even know who wrote the note, but when you open it, inside another Princess commands you to rescue her, but not tell her father, but how can you not tell him, the king of the fish people, who guards the way to where she is a prisoner, so you have no choice but to tell him and hope that he lets you pass because he won’t talk about anything else except how worried he is for his daughter. And for the life of you, it takes every ounce of strength not to laugh as he scoots his very royal, and very large, posterior over three feet to let you through. When you are well out of ear shot, you bend over laughing with a might of happiness you haven’t felt in so long.
But even water turns wicked and deadly in the way it can tease you into sickness and hide unknown things with deadly intentions, but they are no match for your growing alertness to your surroundings. You’ve proven you’re tougher than creatures far larger than you, green around the gills, and Gods have a tendency to think themselves invulnerable, but that’s besides the point. There are two princesses in play now, two choices you are forced to make and you’ll feel like you’re drowning, everything not so clear any more. The water is murky and this new princess complicates things, her intentions fishy–no pun intended–when you ask for her help to complete the deed set by the first princess with blue eyes, in bringing the elements of the world and yourself together in search of peace, but you realize they both have blue eyes and this new princess has blue scales the shimmer when she swims and it’s captivating, and she can help but at a price: your heart, the part of you that feels like it can’t be given, but no choice, the predicament of this situation in fact does give you the choice of a different future and you won’t deny that you find her electric temper and steadfast stubbornness powerful, albeit annoying, and she’s got a nice smile. And, at least then, you could live by the water like you had imagined, and you’d still be the lucky hero who gets the princess in the end.
- Farore’s Wind: The lesson here is to take a break. To have the courage to stop and regroup, and this spell will allow you to return to wherever it is you want to stop and come back to in dungeons and puzzlingly large fish who have swallowed you on accident. But the point is, that right now, the world is at a stand still. You have two of the three stones the dark man from the desert with the red eyes and black heart needs, and it seems he is no closer to obtaining the last one any time soon, so what’s a few days to rest, to think and ponder about past, present, and future, to allow your body to heal, to maybe accomplish some small side quests, go exploring other regions you have yet to venture to, but take the break and accept that you are still human no matter what the title of “Hero” may insinuate, and even heroes need a day off.
- Boomerang: This is a good tool to use on those perverse looking tentacle tails that dangle from the ceilings and shrink the first time you hit them, only coming out again to hit you when you get close. Throw it and it comes back, throw it and it comes back, not like the fishy princess who, if you throw her, she gets upset and reprimands you for abusing her royal body.
- Spiritual Stone of Water: It is clear that the men, regardless of their title as King, do not rule this fishy race, simply for the fact that they do not ever get to possess the stone of water. It is the woman who commands and cares for the stone, along with the present and future wellbeing of her people, which makes this particular princess extremely influential, despite her eternal mood swings. One minute she is yelling at you about being late and taking too long to kill the jellyfish electrifying the large fishy guardian god that she was accidentally swallowed by herself and how useless you are. And the next, she’s very close, smiling, and giggling at you, calling you cool and she wants to reward your coolness with the stone because you asked for it, but instead of asking you twice if you’re sure you want it because of what it means, she simply says she must give it to the man she intends to marry and gives it to you because she’s a woman who knows what she wants (and doesn’t want) and its very clear that she wants you, but that wouldn’t be the first time and a part of you isn’t sure how to tell her.
- Giant’s Wallet: As if you needed a bigger pocket for the money you don’t really need since you are one of those people who likes to live off the earth and what it has to offer you, which is a lot considering how infrequently you venture into the market to purchase anything. But the man who will yell and scream and roll in the dirt for the bunny hood you happened to have for sale, completely disregarding the price, will fill the wallet to the brim for you, making your need for money completely unnecessary too. So long as the man is happy with his mask, you’ve done a job well done.
That funny feeling of deja vu, the one that slowly turns your stomach and where time becomes sluggish and there’s a dullness that falls over you heavily and you think you’re just consciously dreaming all of this again and that’s the worst kind of dreaming because you wake up feeling sick inside, but you try to wake up and it doesn’t happen and the color of dark clouds is real and they are looming over you with red eyes for miles and you’re suddenly aware of how cold you feel, how much this isn’t and was never child’s play. The threat was real and very much a matter of life and death and you kick yourself for not taking your quest more seriously because the idea of failure and defeat is a possibility and your dream was not just showing an evil to be stopped, but a preview to what was coming regardless of your actions, and that heavy feeling of helplessness stirs along with a small amount of strength and courage to keep on task, to try and change the present because the princess has fled the castle for her safety because she holds the key, but you know something that ever consuming, greedy man does not. The key was passed down and you have it, and he doesn’t, and there is hope, however small. Hope: the brightest color of all. And when you take the key, a feeling of newness and uncertainty as to how the remainder will unfold when you take it to the door of time and maybe that will be all you need to do to secure peace, but it may bring more doom and it scares you not knowing if fate has been sealed already, but it is also exciting because your start has a future and this time it won’t be black and you want to see what is in store for you as you open the door with the key melody and the elemental stones, but that’s when it all goes black and echoing with the laughter of consumption.
- Ocarina of Time: The key, you finally have the key, despite the unfortunate circumstance of the princess being chased out of her castle into the wild unknown by the man who wants nothing more than to control the power behind the door that the key unlocks. But you have it now and as you enter the temple that houses the door, you can hear her, see her, in your mind and somehow you know that this will be the last time you see her for a long time, though the thought, however true and accepting you are of it, saddens you deeply because you thought it would be over. Obtain the stones, bring them to her, keep them safe and away from him, and that would be that, but you were naïve and so was she and now you must carry on without her and a part of you hopes that you have the courage, the power, and the wisdom to finish the job without her.
- Master Sword: The sword rests in a pedestal and it’s almost as tall as you and it takes both your hands to lift it up and you’re not quite sure how you’ll wield it effectively to defeat this evil king, but before you can do anything, the light appears and you’re taken and all of a sudden you’re not quite sure what’s going to happen next so you’ll wait till the light dims away and try to figure out a way to handle this sword, clearly built more for a man than a boy.
And yet the blackness is not always so sudden and the laugh isn’t always there echoing in the background. Sometimes the black is blue. Sometimes it is slow to white. Sometimes it is weightless. But he always goes and sometimes there is a scream because someone who cares is watching and there’s nothing he can do because he’s weightless and the light has sucked him in, but always, when I imagine this moment in my head at night when I can’t sleep and the moment right after, because sometimes he does not reawake on water, and rather reawakes in heat and dust, sometimes in a dank, cold cell because he reappeared in enemy territory and has remained unconscious while they tortured his body to bloody ribbons, though in my head, bleeding isn’t a sign of weakness and when he falls or dodges, he gets bruises and bleeds and so does the person who watches him leave and they heal together and that is where their relationship blooms, but I am getting ahead of myself—but always, when the light has sucked him in, the one who screams and watches with care in her eyes, the color of fire, always the color of fire and heat, is a girl, and always in my head that girl is me. And always, he leaves at the lake by the dead tree above the underwater temple because he would have just saved her life because the tree had fallen, grabbed her and took her down, and he saves her, breathes life into her as he shifts and adjusts the tree off her, and when they make it to shore something between them has changed and the possibility of a different future is imminent and strong and exciting, but then he goes and that possibility goes with him and she is crushed and spends seven years looking for him because she’ll hold onto the hope, like all the others, that he’ll come back, that there are second chances, and that’s enough for her. That was enough for me too, when hope seemed lost and possibilities were endless and disorienting, and all I needed was one ounce of hope for a hero to come and rescue me because even though I rescued myself and grew stronger because of it, anyone in need of help wants to be rescued, but it was not my blue eyed man who rescued me from a life without hope, though he has rescued me from a life without my other half. My hero came in the form of two young boys who still do not know how their existence gave me hope to find myself and my purpose again. And the girl in my head who looks for the boy who was taken by light isn’t just looking for her other half, she is looking for herself and her place and that is why, when he goes, I imagine that there is someone who watches, and I imagine she is me because it helped me to visualize my own saving, my own coming into myself again. That’s what this is about. This isn’t about some big battle and saving the world and being a skilled swordsman (or woman). This is about changing the ending. This is about the “what ifs,” the loves loved and lost and maybe loved again in secret. This is about finding your place in the world, about not being afraid to ask questions or for help, about getting your hands a little dirty because sometimes you have to, and this is about hope and determination. This is also a little bit about how I think I found him in my blue eyed man, though it wouldn’t be till later that I would realize this.