“The Sheikah?” you ask. His expression is solemn when he nods, the crackling fire reflected in his eyes. You are familiar with the term, but only barely. The word is steeped in legend and ruin, but you know not of the people, only of the artifacts passed down through the years. Link himself possesses several of them—the two masks and the lens. You believe that they were responsible for the statues spread throughout the lands, their symbol of the weeping eye upon its face. “They are legend,” you say, shaking your head.
He frowns at you, chewing distractedly at his lip. He is not yet a man grown, but he is no longer the child he once was. He stands tall and fierce for his age, a sword in his hand, his eyes as old as they were when he was just a boy of ten, helping you recover that which was stolen from you. “They are a shadow people,” he tells you. “Sworn to protect the royal family.”
It is your turn to bite your lip, because his words make you recall the ruins of Ikana Canyon and the shadows that lurk their walls. “You speak of the Garo,” you tell him and his expression tightens. “They are long gone, but for the robes that retain their memories.”
You have hardly finished speaking before he is climbing to his feet in a flurry of movement. “Wait!” you shout. He pauses and you look into his eyes, hard with resolve. “You cannot mean to go to them.”
He scoffs at you, sheathing his sword. “I have dealt with them before,” he tells you.
Your eyes widen. You know of his story, this child of time, for he has told you. When his face was still that of a child, he’d whispered his story into your ear—the true story of the moon and Majora. He told you of three days that repeated, over and over again—of the people he’d saved, yourself included. You’d thought him mad, at first. A mad child with a mind for stories. But over time, you’d grown to know him—the tired, ancient look in his young eyes—the manner in which he held himself, even as a boy. Like a warrior who’d seen too much battle.
You believe him, but rarely have you thought on what all his adventure entailed.
“I’m coming with you,” you whisper, and he looks you up and down, a smirk lifting the corners of his lips. You are familiar with the look. It’s the look he’d worn when he was being too polite to tell you that you were too soft—that you would only slow him down. The same look he’d given you when you’d come to him days after Anju’s death, begging to be taken to bed, and again, when he had taken you.
It’s a look that tells you more than words that try as you might, you will never be his equal, because no one on this earth could.
“I’m coming with you,” you repeat, because you have not trained with him for these years for nothing. You are no longer the weak, spoilt son of the mayor, but nor are you the warrior that he needs with him on a quest such as this. You may not be what he needs, but you are strong in your own way. You will not burden him, and he knows this. The solitude of the hunt has crept into his head too much, and you wonder if he will ever ask you to accompany him. You think not.
He eyes you for a moment before the fight drains from him and he nods at you, shoulders slumped.
The dead own the canyon. They lurk the walls with such stealth that it’s only Link that keeps you from being killed time and time again. He gives you a look of annoyance each time, but he does not say anything, and for that you think that he may be happy to have you along with him, if just a little.
The Garo’s ghosts lead you to a crypt, and only there does he find what he is looking for.
For all that you know of his three day journey, there is not much you know about his past. You know little about why he’d held himself as a man when he was a child, just that it had been a long journey. He talks in his sleep though, on the nights that he stays with you after you’ve spent yourselves. He sleeps with you on sticky sheets and whispers names into your shoulder—nightmare words and the names of the people he’d cared for.
So when his eyes widen as he looks upon the creature, mouth falling open as he whispers a name into the dark, you know of whom he speaks.
The corpse of Link’s princess grins at him, and at her side, a man swathed in shadow stands at the ready. He has but one eye, the other a fetid, festering mess, and as you watch the eye drips crimson all over his robes.
You know in that moment that this is who Link has been looking for—a sheikah and a princess—one something that is not quite dead nor alive, the other cracked and brittle bones, forever grinning at the door to the crypt from her throne of bones.
“Sheik,” he whispers into the quiet dark, and you think that the man in shadow gives a faint twitch of recognition. The shadow man’s wrappings cover his face, so you cannot see whether his mouth twists into a snarl or a frown—have no warning when he lunges for you.
The cuts are shallow, for Link gets to you before the shadow man—Sheik—can slit your throat. You watch as Link clings to him rather than draw his sword, tossing the man’s knives to the ground and breathing, “please,” into the side of the man’s neck.
You watch as Link’s shoulders shudder, as he sobs, “Please, Sheik, wake up.”
You watch them and you wait.