The Legend of Zelda: The Last Light
Chapter 1: The Dawn of Masks (Day 1)
The Mask Festival is one of the most popular festivals in Totem Village. With a village size large enough to be described as a small town, the masks decorate and shine the streets and homes with parades, night stands and rituals. The festival was a popular inter-village segment event that connected with the rest of the Hyrule Kingdom for many centuries following the Hero Ceremonies. With each New Year, a new Mask is created to be worn and burned in order to relieve a person of their previous year’s guilt and sins.
Due to its popularity, the festival draws large crowds of people into Totem Village, who range from nearby Hylian villagers to the Gorons, Zoras and Dekus who live around Hyrule. Thus, it is the dawn of a new day, now filled with a hearty festival full of celebrations.
“I’ll like to have some medical potions, old Chap!”
The chubby customer announced his order, as the noisy line behind him rambled on. Edging toward the counter, Chaplin Menire came with a stock full of deep red liquid and poured some into the customer’s potion bottle. The stores aligned itself with shelves behind the counter with many varieties of potions, ranging from Healing potions to Magic potions and other specialties from other villages. Stepping aside, a female customer came forward and ordered her potions.
“So how’s it going Chaplin? Is your son around, or is he also away preparing for the festival?” she remarked.
“I sent him on an errand. He should be back by now.” Shrugged Chaplin, while he tended to the other customers.
Meanwhile, his wife was in the backroom separating the herbs that Link had picked the night before and mixing them before they were crushed into a fine powder. One of the priciest potions were the Blue potions, due to their abilities to replenish both health and magic, as the Red and Green potions only compensated for one.
“Lisa! Can you help me with the customers? The festival’s tonight and I don’t have enough hands!” Chaplin yelled from the counter.
After organizing and filling up the potion stocks, Lisa Menire went to help her husband at the crowded potion shop.
Across the potion shop, a large crowd of children stayed in line for the pastries that were given out. Auntie Mira proudly passed her famous pumpkin cakes to the many youthful drooling faces in front of her counter. As the line grew shorter, she noticed a blonde ponytailed boy coming towards her. When she asked him how much he wanted, he put up two fingers.
“Two? Do you have someone you like Link?”
Link blushed but held it off.
“No…” He reaffirmed himself and muttered.
“I’m only teasing! I assume you’re probably bringing home a gift for your parents, or few of your friends. Such a sweet child. Here are your cakes! Whatever you do with them is up to you!”
Link quickly took the cakes and stuffed them into one of the brown bags he carried, which normally held herbs and other spices. He took off his red scarf and rolled them with the bag so that the treats won’t get cold by the time he made his way to the forest. He exited the bakery and turned around towards the crowded streets of Totem, which were full of incoming tourists and villagers. They wore decorative outfits, with colorful bird feathers that were sprawled around their heads. Others wore more traditional clothes from other villages, such as pastel colored robes and ribbons around their hair and waist. Link gazed at the sight but reminded himself that he had to finish his errands.
And off he went towards the path of the Lost Woods.
“…Please don’t wear the old witch costume again, Saria…!”
“But I don’t want to draw attention to myself...”
“I don’t want everyone to think I’m cursed again!”
Link bickered at Saria, who was deciding how she would disguise herself. Saria could only go outside the Lost Woods during certain times of the year, such as the Mask Festival. The crowds around her hid her well, but she felt afraid among them. Her past disguise as a witch hag has caused a village panic towards the Lost Woods, which already had infamy as the forest of no return. Despite being reaffirmed by Link, she still clung on to her paranoia. Nikki spun around her with the other fairies, who themselves were wearing small leaf masks on their faces.
“H-how about a mask?! I’ll get you a mask for tonight, that should suit you just fine! Please, Saria, PLEASE don’t scare anyone this time!” begged Link.
“….Very well, but be sure to come back with everything tonight.”
Link picked up his bags and left the Lost Woods. The surroundings near him were trickled with tiny cake crumbs from the pumpkin cakes that he shared with Saria and the fairies in the forest.
Evening was approaching, with the faint glow of the sun in the sky. As Link ran back towards the potion shop, he suddenly remembered his errand of picking herbs in the forest. But the sun had already begun to set, with large crowds of tourists filling the streets of Totem. Link quietly opened the backdoor and went inside the house.
“Where have you been all day?” Chaplin snapped at Link, who flinched in retaliation.
“I-I was just in the forest collecting herbs, and...”
“Then why are your bags empty?”
The Father glared at Link while he sat on a high end chair near the counter. Link had forgotten to collect the herbs.
“F-father, I-it’s the festival night and…and I got carried away…” Link cried out.
“Carried away? You got “carried away” during one of the most important days for all of us…? “Carried away” while I counted on you the most today? I gave you an errand, Link. An URGENT errand. An errand that would have ensured us all that we would have enough supplies to last for the entire day. But, do you know what happened, Link? We quickly sold out. We lost our profits today. On the day that MATTERED!”
Link and his father sat in silence.
A couple minutes later, Lisa Menire came in with some treats. She saw Link and Chaplin staring at each other and chose to break the silence.
“Don’t be so hard on Link, dear. He works hard as is, he deserves to have his fun, much like the rest of the villagers. Besides, it’s been a long day for all of us, and we did manage to satisfy a lot of customers,” she said.
Link cried out a sigh of relief.
“Thanks Mother. I just came here to put the bags away and go get something before I leave.”
“What makes you think you’re allowed to back out, after today?!” the Father bluntly remarked.
Mother hushed him and told Link to go right on ahead before more people flood into the streets. Link silently thanked her and quickly changed into his village’s traditional attire, with a short end peach-colored robe that proudly displayed the red bird symbol on his chest. He let loose his hair and tied his hairbands towards the side of his bangs. He heaved himself towards the backdoor and went towards the flooded streets of Totem, now filled with decorative lights and vendor stands on every corner.
“Saria’s mask…! I need to get Saria her mask!”
Link looked at every corner for any night stands selling masks. A few appeared near him but there were too many villagers and tourists crowding around every stand. Link’s urgency to find the perfect mask for Saria clawed deeper inside of him, as he traveled further down the streets of Totem. Running around, he kept searching for different vendors that were open and willing to sell any popular mask, but every corner was filled to the brim with villagers and tourists alike. After half an hour of tireless searching, he finally found a mask vendor stand with barely any customers.
“Do…do you have any…any masks left…sir?” Link heavily breathed out.
The mask vendor happily nodded and showed him a worn out mask.
“Do…do you have anything else that’s…better?”
The mask vendor shook his head and handed Link the last remaining mask out of the bag. It was the most eccentric mask that Link had ever seen. It flaked like charcoal, and smiled with a monstrous grin. The face mask had an ogre appearance, but it was so poorly done that it had more resemblance to a witch. The mask was flaking, which soiled Link’s hands with dirt and charcoal. Despite its appearance, he complied and bought the mask, having no more energy to search any further.
Link ran towards the Lost Woods and into the surrounding path with decayed temples and buildings. He saw Saria and the fairies sparkling themselves in fairy dust and perfumes. Link quickly took out the ruffled mask out of his bag while Saria was focused on the fairies.
“Here, I found you a mask,” he breathed.
“Took you long enough,” giggled Saria.
The mask grinned at Saria, which still flaked as Link pulled it out. The features had become even more disturbing. The charcoal pieces around the mask created a gruesome monster, which were separated by mosaic pieces pasted all over it. Link quickly wiped the mask with a worn cloth he had. Saria looked at the grim faced mask and put it on.
“How do I look?” asked Saria.
Link blushed and looked at the ground, embarrassed for his failure on retrieving a fitting mask for her.
“This would fit perfectly with my witch costume!”
“The rotting, decaying features, sullen face, and ashen colors complement the rest of my witch disguise! I thought you didn’t want me to wear it for this year?”
Link gritted his teeth and face palmed himself.
“I don’t. I tried looking for a mask, and that was the only one that they had.”
“I figured. Fortunately, while you were away, as well as my patience thinning, the fairies suggested that we make masks of our own, in case you weren’t able to find one on time. Here, take a look at what we’ve come up with!”
He sighed and went towards Saria and the fairies. On her hands held two leaf masks, which had holes and were decorated with flowers and scented herbs. The fairies flew around Link and chuckled.
“You made one for me?”
“Well, in case you weren’t able to get one of your own,” said Saria as she took Link’s mask off and wore a leaf mask.
Link shrugged and asked, “So, which mask do you want to wear?”
Saria looked at both the store-bought and handmade masks and thought for a moment. Each of the masks contrasted differently from each other. From there, she thought of a better idea.
“Why don’t you wear the mask Link?”
“Why do you want me to wear that?”
“You took the trouble to buy the mask for me, yet you don’t want me to wear it and go to waste at the same time. I’m only thinking what’s best for us.”
“…Do you have any other ideas?”
“We can both wear our leaf masks and I’ll bring yours just in case you change your mind.”
“I’d rather not be mistaken for a monster,” said Link as he grinned nervously.
“Don’t worry, I won’t have anyone think you’re one,” chuckled Saria. The fairies circled around them.
As she held his arm, they both walked toward the Mask Festival, now brightly lit with glowing lanterns and decorative totem poles, which were draped in cloth patterned in many dazzling shapes and colors. The crowded streets of Totem were loud and noisy, with every race and age happily watching large street performances and various dances from many villages displayed near the Town Square. The Town Square was a major meeting place, which also holds space for live performances and speeches all over Hyrule. Many vendors yelled out their delicious fares while others proudly displayed Mask souvenirs with flickering candle lights and small fireworks.
“Do you want anything Saria?” Link asked as he gazed towards the vendors, whom were selling small sweets and goods such as pumpkin cakes and butter noodles. Near the corner, Auntie Mira’s famous pastries held a long line, covered in many tourists and children licking cake crumbs from their attire with cheap paper handkerchiefs.
Saria peered at Link through the holes on her leaf mask. The scenery gleamed with brilliant glows and lanterns streamed all over the village. Saria looked towards the food stalls and saw many delicacies, some of which were imported goods from other villages. Deku nut stalls filled a street, sold cheaply by the dozen. Link rushed towards a less crowded stall and ordered two small batches.
“You’re getting deku nuts again?!”
“What’s wrong with getting them? They’re my favorite snack!” replied Link as he crunched on a deku nut, which was hot from the mixture of oils with Goron rock salts sprinkled all over the treat.
Saria, in her leaf mask, went to a nearby stall selling many varieties of soups. Many stalls sold Yeto’s soup, a popular soup from the snowier regions of Hyrule. Totem’s variation of the soup consisted of potatoes, pumpkins, deku nuts and goat milk. A Hylian woman graciously gave her a small batch of soup, as the line behind Saria had increased again. The festival has started to become more crowded than before.
Meanwhile, behind the food stands, a couple of villagers were chatting about the local Hyrulean news and how tiresome it was to come into Totem for the festival.
“Why was I brought here again!? These annoying festivals have absolutely no checks on whoever crowds these streets! There could be thieves and murderers prowling alongside these people as we speak! And yet my children insist that I come here... Have they even heard about what’s been going on around Hyrule for the past few months!? And yet, they still don’t listen…” complained a grouchy old woman as she munched on a fresh apple tart.
“Rest assured, madam! We’re expecting a small militia of soldiers from the Hyrule Army to come down tonight and monitor the town, so only focus on enjoying the festival. No harm will come to anyone.” replied a friendly guard, as he sat near the small circle of villagers crowded around an apple stand selling many fresh apple pastries.
“Will we have protection, even after the festival and ceremony pass? I don’t want any harm to come to my grandkids while they have fun in the festival, and I want to see what will happen in this year’s ceremony without any fear of rogues straddling about,” asked a worried old man, who was holding his two grandsons by their hands. Each child was eating a small batch of pumpkin cakes, received not far from Auntie Mira’s stand.
The guard went towards the old man and his grandsons and answered, “Rest assured, everything will be fine. As I said, none of you have anything to worry about.”
“Ceremony? The Hero Ceremony is taking place here!? It’s a wonder the crowds are so large! This village is just asking for danger!” panicked the old woman, dropping her apple tart, “I’m astonished by how all of you are oblivious to the lengths that rebellion will go!”
She left in a fury as she walked away from the guard.
Link turned towards the crowd of villagers.
“What are they talking about? Is the rebellion against Hyrule really getting out of hand?” Link said to Saria.
“I’m not sure. You said it yourself before that it may be just rumors or exaggeration, so I’m going to take your word for that,” replied Saria as she finished her toasted loaf of honey bread.
“We still should keep an eye out and watch ourselves! Better to be safe than sorry!” said Nikki as she fluttered at Link and twirled her lights all around his face. The other fairies followed suit.
“Settle down, Nikki. Hyrule is protected by the Hyrule Army, plus they have a special unit dedicated to protecting the royal family,” sighed Link, “For all we know, these rebels could be no different from common criminals, and using simple scare tactics to inflate their notoriety and attempt to seem credible to everyone else.”
“I know enough about how Hyrule works from the books I borrowed,” Link muttered as he eyed Nikki through his mask, “Remember our big reading sessions in the Lost Woods?”
“But…but, books don’t tell everything about Hyrule!”
“It’s all we have for now. I don’t know whether or not personal experience would make a difference, but I’m sticking to the facts.”
“Nikki has a point, Link…” said Saria as she took Link’s hand. Her own lack of experience of the world outside of the Lost Woods related to Link’s idealized vision of Hyrule outside his village.
As Link and Saria walked into the flood of the crowds, a swift muscular man ran through and knocked Saria to the ground.
“Out of the way!”
The man hesitated for a bit and dashed away from the crowds, holding a couple bags and money from the other tourists. To the crowd’s horror, Saria’s leaf mask fell off, revealing the gruesome face of a witch. Link hastily grabbed Saria by the arm and sprinted towards a nearby alley away from the crowds.
“I can’t believe you were hiding that face the whole time! I thought we made a promise!” Link yelled as he shook Saria on to her shoulders.
“You’re not going to ask me if I’m okay?” chirped Saria, sounding somewhat offended.
“I can’t believe you put on that ugly face and drag me under hot water once more instead of looking normal and blending in like everyone else! Thanks, Saria,” Link replied sarcastically.
“I’m sorry, Link, I thought it was a good idea, just please calm down! If it will make you feel better, I’ll make sure to keep my leaf mask on my face, and… oh no, I think I left my mask out in the crowd…” Saria said as she looked around.
Saria then remembered that she was carrying Link’s ragged mask. She pulled it out of the bag, showing its saggy features once more.
“You’re going to wear that now?!” Link said nervously, “Great, and I thought we might have a year where things wouldn’t come like this again…”
“It’s not like I have much of a choice at this point. Though, I don’t mind. You bought this mask for me after all, so I may as well pay my respects and wear it around.” said Saria as she put on the mask.
“Fair point… I’m just hoping they won’t stare at us again.”
“Link, they’ve been staring at us the whole time, Nikki and the others give off a very noticeable glow, and I’ve seen people eyeing us from that.” replied Saria.
“…Why didn’t you tell me that sooner!?” said Link with a worried expression.
“I’m sorry. You all were having a lot of fun, and I didn’t want to take away from that,” Saria said as she re-adjusted her face and dusting off the dirt from her dark green dress. Her robes were illuminated by the fairies’ light.
“Wonderful. No normal person deserves to sneak through regular crowds like I do… On a related note, what was the matter with that man that bumped into Saria? Very rude of him to shove us out of the way and blow our cover,” Link muttered as he carefully led Saria back into the crowds again.
“Maybe he didn’t like the noise and wanted to get out of there?” Nikki quickly uttered back.
“Probably. Then again, his hands were full of a lot of bags and such. You don’t think… oh, hold on! The mayor’s speech is about to start very soon! Come on, let’s head over there, I don’t want to miss it.”
Despite many stares and whispers nearby, both of them slowly blended into the crowd of tourists and locals heading toward the Town Square. With talk of a local thief running around, the crowds were preoccupied by rumors and speculation. However, a decrepit mask resembling an ogre caught the eyes of many and drew more attention towards Link and Saria.
“Oh no, is it that boy and witch again…?” whimpered a tourist, who was holding her children by the arms.
“The rumors were true! The witch is real! Why does she show herself here in this village?” a thin frail woman whimpered.
“The witch again!? What is it about these festivals that draw her here to haunt us!? And that boy with her, too! Is it all an act from the festival that we don’t know about!?” said a rough grocer as he yelled at them.
Link felt embarrassed and covered his face with his hand.
“Not again…” he muttered. The thoughts of rumors of him cursed from the Lost Woods stung his mind once more. Saria smiled nervously through the grim rusty mask as they strolled through the crowds. The noise level was deafening, with screaming babies and children running around. The Gorons and Zoras stood out the most, while the Dekus were hard to notice due to their short stature.
They walked to a corner store near the Town Square, which had many workers setting up chairs near the front for important political and military figures. A grand stage was decorated with badges and armored knight statues all around. Link dragged Saria to a less filled alley with a vendor selling popped pumpkin seeds close to the stage.
“I have an idea, let’s exchange our masks.” Link grunted as he pulled off his leaf mask, now sweaty from the heat and crowds.
“Are you sure about that? I don’t know about wearing that, since it’s been stuck on your face for a while. It probably smells, too…” replied Saria and she took off her mask and rubbed off some dirt.
“Saria, please, work with me!” Link begged, “Everybody’s already looking at all of us with you wearing that mask and having that face under it! Let me wear that mask, so I can at least show my normal looking face under it, if anyone asks.”
He edged his hand holding his leaf mask. Saria sighed and took it. Putting on the black ogre mask, Link sighed and helped her re-adjust her leaf mask.
"I don't know if this is going to work at this point,” mumbled Saria.
Link tilted his head on a wall and didn’t know what to say. He had always wished for a regular, enjoyable time every year at the Mask Festival with Saria while keeping a low profile. However, things seem to take a wrong turn for him through those years instead, each new experience escalating past the last. More crowds were entering the Town Square, so Link and Saria went towards a nearby stand that was almost full.
“Oh no, those two again… I was right! I had the right idea on staying back home! That witch and her minion over there will cause another disaster, and I know who to blame for it all!” screamed the paranoid old lady holding on to her children, who were young adults.
“Settle down, Mother, they’re only tourists wearing masks. It’s the Mask Festival, remember?” the woman next to her said as she gently held her trembling hands.
“Mask Festival!? What kind of nonsense is this!? That’s only promoting anonymity, this is insane!” panicked the old woman.
“Excuse me, but can you please take of your mask and show your face to my wife’s mother? She panics easily, and showing your face under should ease some of her worries.” whispered the young man sitting between Link and the old woman.
Link complied and took off his mask to show his face.
“Oh, you see? It’s only a young man!” piped the young woman, “The ‘witch’ next to her is a young girl, a friend of his! Nobody suspicious!”
“Oh, just his girlfriend? Very well... Even then, I’m keeping an eye out for both of you.” the old woman mumbled to Link.
Link awkwardly smiled and quickly put on the mask again.
The mayor’s speech was about to start. A loud trumpet blasted throughout the Town Square as soldiers marched towards the crowd. They walked around the Town Square, wearing their helmets and carrying their swords and shields behind their backs. Many military and political figures stood behind the stand on the Town Square grand stage. A gruff Hylian quickly stood up as he walked towards the center of the stage. He held his breath as he waved towards the crowds.
“Welcome my fellow civilians! Thank you for all coming out to the Mask Festival today! I’m sure many of you are tired from your trip, but rest assured, your time here will be worth the distance traveled!” he barked.
Link sighed and covered his face with his knees. Saria took out Link’s red scarf from his bag, and draped it over his knees as something to use as a blanket.
“You all will be happy to know that we have the finest soldiers come to protect this town. We’re all aware of news and fears of a rebellion surging in Hyrule as of recent, but rest assured that nobody will have to worry about it today! So focus on having fun and enjoying your time in Totem Village, my fellow villagers and travelers!” boasted the Mayor to cheering crowds of people.
“Moving onto the next order of business is the Hero Ceremony! At last, the centennial Hero Ceremony commences once more, and my fellow citizens are honored to sponsor it in this village! All sixteen year olds are required to participate in the Ceremony! That includes the soldiers who have come in and the ones already residing in our village! No exceptions! As you all are most likely aware, the ceremony is mandatory so we can find who the new Hero is!” announces the mayor as he held his hands up, holding several sheets of paper.
The crowds stood in awe and cheered. Saria nudged Link a little on the head.
“What do you want?” Link said grudgingly, “Let me sleep…”
“You’re sixteen, Link! The mayor was talking about the Hero Ceremony, and how sixteen year olds have to enter. Probably means you’ll have to be in there.” Saria said happily.
“Oh, that…they’ve been telling us about that over and over since last year…” Link grunted again as he covered his head again.
“…Oh! Your brother! What about your brother? You told me he’d be coming here this year! You don’t think he’s around here?” Saria said as she pointed towards the soldiers standing near the stage, sweating from their helmets in the heat.
“My brother! I almost completely forgot…” Link said as he used his scarf to wipe off the sweat off of his face.
“As you all know, it is tradition for the Hero Ceremony to only allow young men of age to participate! As history dictates, the Heroes from many centuries past were boys that have become men!” said the Mayor, “Wish for another year of prosperity and happiness for all of Hyrule! For whatever dark times we will have, there will be a golden light that shines at the end!”
Link looked around at the crowd. The Mayor’s speech droned on and on and the noise escalated with every cheer and ambition he called out of his mouth. The soldiers were clearly uncomfortable, their decorative suit of armor unsuitable for the heat. One soldier was nearly dehydrated and was struggling not to faint. Link eyed a little closer at the soldiers, but wasn’t able to recall who was who. Every soldier was wearing a decorative helmet covering their faces, looking like common sheep in the same suit of armor.
“As we have heard, there has been a local thief running amok here has there? Do not worry, the soldiers of Hyrule will protect all of you from any more danger. We will capture that thief and make him pay!” cried the Mayor, “As you can see, the soldiers that have come tonight will be from this village and be participating in the Hero Ceremony.”
He walked away from the stands as a military general walked to the front of the stage.
“Hello my fellow civilians, as the mayor already stated several times, we are here to monitor the festival, but we are also here to give some honorable mentions to a few soldiers who have excelled in their duties as of late,” he commenced.
Presentation after presentation, the military general persisted, giving each soldier an honorary badge. As the lines lessened, many soldiers had already took off their helmets, already sweaty from the heat. Link eyed the soldiers, looking for any distinct features of his brother, but to no avail, they were being crowded by others all around them.
“… up next is Raven Menire!” the military general announced proudly.
Link quickly turned towards the stage. In the center of the stage stood Link’s older twin brother, with similar features as Link, but with much shorter hair and rougher edges, no doubt from hardened experiences of being in the army. He turned towards the crowd, and bowed as he received his badge. The crowds cheered and he moved towards the back again to let another soldier come into the stage again.
Thus, ends the First Day.