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Frozen Tears

By Ice Sage

 

All was quiet inside the Water Temple. Yet it contained an uneasy atmosphere. The waters of the main chamber were as smooth as glass. They had never before been more tranquil.

The waters told a terrible lie.

On the top floor of the Temple, there was a door. Strange carvings marked it as an exit. But the door led to a hole filled with water. A tunnel was in the water, which led to the outside world of Hyrule.

A figure, clearly humanoid but definitely not human, stood in the tunnel. Princess Ruto of the Zoras walked in the water and lifted herself to the door with the strange marks. Her fins fluttered in the air to dry herself.

Brrrrrrr. The water is freezing here. Almost like.....like...

And then Ruto couldn't bear it anymore. She raised her iridescent hands to her eyes and wept. Tears streamed down her face and became lost as they rippled the Water Temple's many pools.

How am I ever going to find my way around this place? she thought.

Hmmmm......what would Link do?

Seven years had passed since she became engaged to a young, forest boy named Link, who had saved her from being digested in the belly of Lord Jabu-Jabu. She still remembered his blonde hair, his impressive sword skills, and his fierce, determined, eyes.

Oh how I miss those eyes.

But now Link was gone and she had to fight this creature alone. The being living in the Temple who was responsible for the tense uneasiness that she felt who destroyed her home, the only family she ever knew, and her father.

No!

They are not dead! I won't let them die!

Ruto scanned what was in front of her. The main chamber of the Temple was huge! It had three floors, each with doors leading in all directions. Her violet eyes turned her face towards the door she had just entered. She could see Lake Hylia on the other side.

Or at least what was left of Lake Hylia.

Ruto almost cried again, but her hatred for this thing kept the tears from bursting forth. A small bit of her tomboyish, independent nature still remained from her childhood. This boosted her confidence that she would succeed.....with or without Link or Sheik or anyone else.

I will fight that creature or die trying! she vowed.

Ruto looked down. The water level was only up to the second floor. The fall wouldn't kill me. That is for sure. She took a few steps back, did a running leap off the ledge.........

* * * * * * * * * *

.........and did a perfect swan dive into the crystal clear waters of Zora's Domain. It gave her a certain thrill to play her favorite game since childhood, "Diving for Rupees". One by one she napped the colored stones. Her slender body cut through the water, giving her great control and speed.

Finally, she grabbed the last gem and burst through the surface of the water. She arched her back into a midair dolphin jump to show off for the owner of the game, who was watching the entire show with great admiration for the princess.

"I'm done!" Ruto called out to the top of the waterfall as she climbed out of the water.

The other Zora laughed. "Congrats, Ruto. I think that was a new personal best for time."

Wow! She's got everything. She's got get swimming skills, she's royalty, she's very beautiful and has a great personality that has matured a lot since her childhood.

I wonder why she has never found a boyfriend?

Ruto smiled at her triumph. "Hey, Ceran!" she challenged the Zora on the waterfall. " I bet you can't do any better!"

Ceran laughed at her challenge. "Ha! Just watch me!"

Ruto waved her hand and scattered the rupees she had just caught over the water for Ceran to capture. Each one fell with a delicate splash and sank to the bottom of the pond.

"All set, Ceran?"

The other Zora answered with a loud "Yee-Hah!" and jumped off the falls. Ceran performed his trademark "cannon ball", turning his body into a rolled-up position. He slid cleanly into the water and reached a depth lower than the distance Ruto's dive took her. From the ledge, Ruto saw him stay curled in a ball at the bottom of the pool.

Wait. Why isn't he moving to catch the rupees?

"Ceran?" she called out. "Ceran?" she said again, this time a little louder.

Why isn't he moving?!

"Ceran? Ceran!" she cried out. "He's not moving!"

Ruto's first thought was that he had hit his head on a rock. She rushed into the water to try and save him. As soon as her foot touched the surface of the pool, a sharp spasm of pain shot through her entire body. She gave a shout that held more surprise than pain. The water was so cold! Ceran had jumped into a pool that was almost frozen! He was in shock from the sudden chill and couldn't move. Ruto, still shivering, quickly ran out of the water. What am I gonna do?

Fortunately, several Zoras had heard her shouting for Ceran and rushed over to help. One of them was smart enough to bring a net used to catch fish at the bottom of deep pools. They dropped the net in the water and tried to catch the motionless Ceran. After a few tries, the Zoras managed to snag his leg. Slowly they pulled the net to the surface.

Suddenly, the net refused to budge. The Zoras grunted and pulled but nothing seemed to work. The pool was freezing before their very eyes and both the net and Ceran were frozen in the ice. Ruto jumped onto the water and ran across to the net. Her weight almost caused the forming ice to break under her feet for it cracked wherever she stepped. She ran to the frozen ropes, pounded a fist into the ice. It cracked but not by much. She pounded and stomped again and again until the ropes of the net came loose. Then she joined the other Zoras in pulling Ceran, and the block of ice he was encased in, to land.

"You guys try and get him out of that ice. I'm going to tell my father," she told the Zoras who helped her. Again she stepped out onto the ice. This time it was thicker and didn't crack under her weight. The air is colder, Ruto realized. She climbed up the ladder on the opposite side and ran up the stair to King Zora's chamber.

The water is frozen here too!

Then she looked up at her father's throne.........

* * * * * * * * * *

………and screamed as a tektite jumped down from the room above her. The creature was one of the ugliest things she had ever seen. Its four powerful spider legs propelled it across the room and it's single red eye glared angrily at her. But Ruto held her ground. If she couldn't fight a tektite how would she manage to destroy the source of the evil in the Temple?

Ruto took up a defensive position and bared her teeth at the thing. She aimed a swipe at the blue spider but it leaped out of the way. She aimed another swipe. This one grazed the tough armor if the spider. It skittered backwards for a few seconds, then threw itself at her full force. Ruto's leg shot out in true Zoran martial arts fashion. Her blow connected with the tektite in mid-air and hit the red eye. The creature let out a deep whine and fell apart in a cloud of blue smoke.

The victor smirked and walked over to examine the pots the tektite was guarding. She broke one against the wall. A few bombs fell out of the rubble and rolled out on the floor. Leaving the pieces in the floor, Ruto picked up the bombs for later use. With that, she went back the way she had came.......

* * * * * * * * * *

........and returned down the stairs, still shaken by what she saw. When she reached the main pool of Zora's Domain, she covered her mouth in a gasp as her eyes met another awful sight.

The Domain was now completely frozen over. The waterfall she had dived off of moments before was now a large ice pillar. Icicles hung all over from the ceiling. But the worst part was that all the Zoras had disappeared. Ruto scanned the main pool. Maybe they were buried underneath. For a long time, she could only stand there in shock. She didn't even notice the shadow approach her.

"They are not here, Ruto," said a calm voice behind her.

Ruto whirled around and came face to face with a young man. He wore a blue bodysuit with frayed white cloth around his neck that also covered his stomach. On the white was an odd symbol that resembled an eye. His face was also wrapped in tattered, white clothes. The only parts of his face Ruto could see where his blonde hair and eyes.

Blonde hair!

Ruto almost had her hopes too high for her to handle when she realized that the eyes were not the same. This man had red eyes while Link's where more of a royal purple. Plus these eyes lacked the fierce look that she loved. These were calm and contained more wisdom than the determined courage of Link's.

Something about them still seemed familiar to her though.....

"Where are they?" said Ruto, trying to hide her surprise. "Who are you and how do you know me?"

The man nodded with understanding for her concern. "My name is Sheik. I am one of the few Sheikahs left.....besides one other."

The Sheikahs! Ruto knew that the Sheikahs were protectors of Hyrule's Royal Family. She had visited Hyrule Castle on an ambassadorial trip with her father years before the Gerudo King, Ganondorf, attacked the castle. She also knew that they held mysterious power in their blood.

That would explain why he knows my name, reasoned Ruto, who also had some small skill in mind reading.

"Now I suppose you are wondering where your fellow Zoras have gone to?" asked Sheik. "I've taken them to a place where they will be safe."

"Safe?" questioned Ruto. "Safe from what?" She was definitely becoming more and more confused with these strange events. The main pool freezing, the disappearance of the Zoras and her father.......

"Come with me first," replied Sheik. "You must go to your people before I tell you what has happened."

"Show me the way."

Sheik quickly walked up the stairs and back into King Zora's chamber. He stopped in front of the throne.

"Awful, isn't it," said Ruto from behind him. Together they looked on the king. He was encased in some kind of red shell.

"Red ice," muttered Sheik. "Very powerful stuff. At least he's not dead. I find some hope in that."

Ruto ran up the stairs to her father's throne. He's not dead. That takes a load off of my mind. Red ice? Never heard of it. She extended a hand to examine it.

"Stop, Ruto! Don't touch the ice."

Too late.

Ruto gasped as she quickly drew her hand away. That burns!

Sheik sighed and shook his head. "Red ice is not natural. It is actually solid fire. It doesn't freeze, it burns."

"And my father is burning inside of it?" exclaimed Ruto in fear.

"Not exactly," said Sheik. "If you look closely you can see that he's breathing. See? He is imprisoned in it as if he were in a cage."

"How do you melt this....this stuff? If it is actually fire, than it can't melt."

"Magic ice can only be melted with magic fire," answered Sheik. "We can get cold fire at the same place where the Zoras are located. Let's go."

Sheik ran past the King and out onto Zora's Fountain. Ruto quickly followed him into the moonlight. This place hasn't frozen yet. True, the fountain was still water, but a heavy snow fell on the two travelers. Together they went past the platform where Jabu-Jabu once sat.

"Jabu-Jabu? He's gone too?"

Sheik led Ruto to the top of the platform, which was now covered with ice. He pointed down into the water. "Look down there."

Ruto peered down into the water. Because of the night, she thought she could only see rocks at the bottom. One very large set of rocks jutted out of the other formations in an unusual way. Ruto looked harder at the strange rocks. They seemed to be more like dark crystals than rock.

Something is inside that crystal. Something big! Oh no!

She turned to Sheik in disbelief. Sheik could only nod solemnly. "Come, Ruto." He jumped into the water and swam to an iceberg. Ruto followed and climbed onto the iceberg as well.

"See that cave over there?" asked Sheik pointing to the western portion of the fountain where the entrance to a cave gaped open like a mouth.

"Yes?" Ruto replied.

"Jump across the icebergs and enter the cave. The Zoras are inside. Go find them and I'll catch up to you.

Ruto nodded. She drew in a deep breath..........

* * * * * * * * * *

.......and jumped onto the small pillar of water. To her surprise, it held her weight. Ruto took out one her bombs from the battle with the tektite, lit it and threw it at the crystal switch at the opposite end of the room. The bomb exploded, activating the crystal. The pillar she was standing on began to rise up like an elevator to the floor above her. Ruto quickly jumped off the pillar before it sank back to the bottom. The only thing in this room was a door. So Ruto opened it.

I'm back in the main chamber again. Ruto was now in some kind of alcove overlooking the central chamber of the Water Temple. On the wall was carved a picture of the Triforce. Beneath the picture, a passage was carved. Ruto read it aloud.

"Those who wish to open the gate on the far heights, play the song passed down by the Royal Family."

Ruto knew that song well. It was a necessity to enter Zora's Domain. But she had no instrument to play it on. Maybe if I sing it, thought Ruto. She hummed a chorus to the song. All it took were six notes. The Triforce symbol began to glow as the water began to rise up to the top floor.

That’s it! There must be three of these signs, one for each of the three floors. Since the highest level is found at the top floor, the lowest must be at the bottom.

Ruto dived back into the water and made her way to the lowest levels of the Water Temple. She planted her feet on the sandy Temple floor and ran around the center pillar, looking for a good route to take. Four doors lead in four different directions.

I’ll try the door with the torches.

So she passed through the……

* * * * * * * * * *

………door and walked in, armed with a bottle of blue fire in her hand.

I found them!

To her surprise the room contained a small, square, but very deep pool. Swimming inside the pool was a large amount of Zoras.

"Hey, Ruto!"

"Ceran! You’re ok," said Ruto happily. "How did you all get here?"

Another Zora spoke up. "A strange man appeared in the Domain while you were with you father. He waved his hands in the air, and blinded us with a strange light. When we could see again, we found ourselves is this room. It’s a little small but at least it’s warmer in here than out there."

Good job Sheik!

The Zora was right though. Ruto had noticed some ice as she first started to explore the cave. But as she went deeper in, the ice began to show up less and less. This room didn’t have any ice in it at all. It didn’t even feel cold. Ruto happily jumped in with water with other Zoras.

It is small in here. But it’s also very deep. I wonder how deep this pool is?

Ruto dove down into the water. She swam deeper and deeper. Suddenly another Zora zipped past her, sending her spinning out of control in the water.

"Hey, Ruto! I’ll race you to the bottom!" called Ceran.

Ruto laughed. "You’re on!"

The others thought this was a cool idea so the followed the duo from behind to watch the race. The two Zoras sped down to the floor of the pool with the others trailing behind. They raced past other Zoras, rocks, and crystals.

Crystals!

Ruto came to a dead halt and swam to a cluster of crystals growing on the wall. The others continued to follow Ceran to the bottom while she examined them. She touched one, dropped her bottle and screamed.

Those aren’t crystals! It’s ice!

"The pool is freezing!" she cried out in desperation to the Zoras at the bottom. Already some of them were motionless at the floor. The rest were trying to swim frantically to the surface. One by one they stopped moving and sank to the bottom. Suddenly, Ruto was attacked with another spasm of pain as the water chilled around her. She summoned all her strength to swim to the surface.

Got to keep moving! Don’t stop or you’ll die!

The water completely froze around her just as her right hand burst out of the water.

NOOOOooooooo… Ruto tried to scream but frozen ice filled her mouth. She couldn’t breathe. Her pain was so great that she felt relieved as the darkness came to consume her.

She felt a warm touch on her hand and a brilliant flash that dispelled the darkness. Immediately she collapsed on the floor.

"Thank heavens I got there in time! You were almost dead!"

I’m laying on a floor? That voice!

Ruto opened her eyes to see Sheik kneeling at her side.

"Why…..?" asked Ruto, too weak to finish her question.

"Shhhh. Don’t talk now. I’m doing all I can to restore you to good health. If you want to know where you are, you are in the Temple of Time."

Ruto looked around the large, gray room. One the opposite side was a large stone. Hovering above it were three gems. She recognized one of them to be her mother’s stone, Zora’s Sapphire.

The Spiritual Stone I gave to Link.

The room beyond it was empty. Nothing and no one could be found in it.

"Now you can try to stand if you want," said Sheik.

Ruto stood up and looked at Sheik in the eyes. He could see the anger that was brewing in them.

"Sheik, no more waiting. What has caused this curse to fall upon me and my people?"

Sheik sighed. How was he going to tell this? "Your Domain is closely linked to Lake Hylia and therefore you share the same Temple with it, the Water Temple. The state of the Domain reflects the state of the Temple. If the Temple is troubled, then so will be the Domain."

"But the Domain is completely frozen over! When has that ever happened!?"

"This means that there is a presence in the Temple. Something very evil is lurking there, a monster from the looks of it. This creature is the source of the evil in the Temple."

Well that leaves me no choice. "Take me to the Temple."

"Ruto, I don’t think you should…"

"Go to the Temple?" said Ruto angrily. After seeing all that has happened to me he is telling me to do nothing? "How dare you try to tell me not to return it to normal and save my home. My people. My father."

"Okay, You’ve made a point," said Sheik before Ruto got even angrier. "But be careful."

"I will. I’ve gotten this far haven’t I?"

"Not without help."

Those words took a moment to sink in.

"And I think you will still need help defeating this monster." said Sheik firmly. "But if it is your wish, I will send you."

He took a small, golden harp from behind his back and began to play. Blue spots of light poured out the harp and surrounded the princess. When the light swirled out of the window, Ruto was nowhere to be seen.

All was quiet inside the Water Temple. Yet it contained an uneasy atmosphere. The waters of the main chamber were as smooth as glass. They had never before been more tranquil.

The waters told a terrible lie.

On the top floor of the Temple, there was a door. Strange carvings marked it as an exit. But the door led to a hole filled with water. A tunnel was in the water, which led to the outside world of Hyrule.

A figure, clearly humanoid but definitely not human, stood in the tunnel. Princess Ruto of the Zoras walked in the water and lifted herself to the door with the strange marks. Her fins fluttered in the air to dry herself.

Brrrrrrr. The water is freezing here. Almost like.....like...

And then Ruto couldn't bear it anymore……………

* * * * * * * * * *

A small tear formed and became lost in the water surrounding her. Sheik was right. She needed help. Badly needed help. She was so upset she didn’t hear the thud and the steady pounding of steps get closer and closer to her.

Probably another spike trap.

Ruto slowly turned around, preparing herself for battle. In the doorway stood, not a spike trap, but a man. He wore a blue tunic on his body.

Link wears green.

Iron boots on his feet.

Those aren’t Kokiri boots.

Then Ruto saw his face. The man had blonde hair…..

So did Sheik.

….and fierce, focused, determined eyes.

Suddenly Ruto was filled with relief. A small smile slowly developed on her face as the tears began to disappear. Everything is going to be all right.

"Link, is that you?"

"Oh! You are Link aren’t you?"

"You’ve been very bad to keep me waiting these seven years."

 

The Beginning……

 

* * * * * * * * * *

 

 

**Well, what did you think? Feel free to send me an e-mail with your comments. I would**

**love to hear what you thought about this one.**

Ice Sage