Link grimaced and held his sword upright, despite his growing fatigue. The monsters just kept coming and coming, no matter what he tried, not even if he used his magic or his various weapons. The ice encrusted the entire field, making it slippery for him but not for the assorted monsters and creatures that had been sent to kill him. Of course he could never have it easy. That was proven.
With a yell, Link preformed a spin attack, slicing the Moblins to bits and nearly choking on the black dust that exploded from them as they died. The black dirt got into his eyes and made them water, so he could not see the Darknut that had crept up from behind him. Link felt an exploding pain along his back and was thrown forward from the force of the blow straight onto a patch of rough ice. He groaned and looked up tiredly, glaring at the eight-foot-tall thing clad in black armor. It was laughing at him. Laughing.
With a savage growl, Link launched himself at the thing, sticking his sword through a chink in the thing's armor and driving it through its chest, to have the silvery point sticking out on the other side. The monster grunted in shock, deepening to a yell of pain as Link ripped his sword free via the thing's helm, effectively slicing its head in two. Link had no mercy when it came to these wretched things; they had angered him for the last time.
His breath fogged in front of his numb and blue lips, his fingers were long past frozen and just barely managed to grip his sword and shield, and his entire being was just about to get ready to lie down and die on the cold ice. A horn blasted through the frigid air, making Link foul the air with curses. He wearily picked himself up once again to face the onslaught of monsters, readying himself to a long night.
Link lasted about until about the fifth Darknut, but even he had to give out. He dropped to his knees, looking up at the tall being with a small half smirk on his face. Sleep deprivation could make anything funny, even his own death. With a small chuckle, Link dug his fingers into his pouch at his waist and dug out a small deep blue crystal the color of glacial ice. He pressed it into the ground, into the ice and watched.
Every single one of the monsters had literally frozen, stopped in their tracks by the ice creeping up their legs to reach out and snare them in a cold coffin. They screamed and screeched, trying to break the ice with their weapons, but it did them no good. The ice kept on covering them and creeping up until it entirely covered them, trapping them. Link was not called the Hero of Ice for nothing.
Watching them all freeze, Link smiled and promptly passed out.
The princess sighed with relief as her guards brought the Hero in. He was bedraggled and dirty, not to mention bruised and bloodied, but he was alive. Zelda quickly made a bed for him to lie on, getting her medicines and healing supplies ready. The guards laid Link down on the bed, putting his equipment on the table. A blue diamond-gem spun softly on the polished wood, leaving a thin coat of ice on the tabletop.
Zelda resisted glaring at it and began to take off Link's various outer layers. Off came his heavy fur lined coat, his leg and arm warmers, his fur lined conical hat, and his chainmail. Underneath his regular clothes his skin was a pale and blotched color, and had a faintly blue hue, a sign that he was far too cold for his own good.
"Get a fire going," Zelda commanded, not taking her eyes off her patient.
"But lady, we're already low on wood! We can't risk a fire," a maid said, hurrying about in her thick woolen dress.
"I know the problem," Zelda said, her voice cold. "We have to, so do it now. If Link dies, then we'll be trapped in the ice forever. He lives, and we have a chance to get out of this."
The maid reluctantly nodded and put three logs on the hearth, lighting them so they would catch fire. The flames greedily licked at the wood, producing light and heat that blanketed the room quickly. Zelda resisted sighing in pleasure at the warmth and grudgingly got back to her duty. She took off her fur lined gloves and checked Link's pulse, making sure that he was still living. His breathing was shallow and his eyelids flickered occasionally, while his breath fogged slightly above his mouth. He had cuts and large purple splotches littering his skin, as well as bright purple blood on his skin from the monsters that he had taken down just outside of the city.
Zelda sighed heavily and placed her palms on his heart and head, closing her eyes and drawing on her magic. It tingled along her fingers playfully before going into Link's veins and body, repairing the major damage and making sure that he had no frostbite or hypothermia. Her magic swiftly worked its way through, leaving his body before it tried to repair all the damage and draining her. Link silently drifted deeper into sleep, not moving an inch as Zelda took her hands away from him. He was healing softly now, his life no longer in immediate danger.
She turned away from the Hero of Ice to face the fire, enjoying the warmth that was so very rare. With the near ice age that had covered Hyrule nearly two years ago, wood was scarce, only used for cook fires and to heat the healing halls. People had even had to dismantle old homes for the wood, and even that was running out. Food was nearly gone, the stores that had protected them nearly dried up since nothing grew in the ice and snow encrusted fields. Nearly all the animals had deserted, and tried to live elsewhere, so hunting was almost impossible. The people had tried to move on, to go to a different country, but the mountains that surrounded Hyrule were impassible from the snow blockage.
It had started the winter before last, with the regular storms that blew in, covering everything. The winter had been harsher than usual, but the promise of spring kept the people going. Except spring never came. The snow and ice did not melt; the plants and trees did not return to their normal selves, few animals came out of hibernation. The season never changed.
Zelda's father, the King of Hyrule, had started to ask their allies for help, for food and supplies in hopes of that spring had just come unusually late. But by the summer months, with the cold not coming to an end, it was clear that something was not right. It was only Hyrule that was experiencing the endless winter, while her neighboring countries had just had a particularly cold summer.
That was when Zelda had found Link. He had come into Castle Town, an ice-forest boy from the north. He was just a gawky teenager who liked—actually liked—the cold and found it very exciting. He had met the Princess in the market, striking up a conversation with her about the weather and how wonderful it was. She had just looked at him with astonishment. Zelda could still remember her surprised reply…
"I beg your pardon, wonderful?" she asked, her eyes wide.
"Yeah!" he smiled with enthusiasm, catching a snowflake on his tongue. "It's so nice and cold, it reminds me of back home. I can't really stand the warm weather, it gives me a headache. Kinda like how old people's bones creak when there's a storm comin'."
Zelda just stared at the boy, watching blankly as he nearly danced around trying to catch individual snowflakes before they melted in his bare hands. Finally she managed to say, "But that's wrong. This is wrong. It is supposed to be summer here, not winter."
The boy in the brown coat stopped and stared at her curiously. "Summer?" he repeated. "Is that why the mage cursed your country?" his tone was innocent, only mere interest in his voice.
"Mage?" it was Zelda's turn to ask a question.
He nodded. "Yeah. Dunno where he's from, 'cept that it's hot there. He really doesn't like you guys. Do you know why?"
Zelda shook her head. "What is your name?"
He stuck out his hand proudly. "Link. My parents named me after the Hylian hero, even though I'm not from here."
"You're not a Hylian then?" Zelda asked curiously, looking at his dirty hand with slight disdain.
"No, I am. My parents just moved up north of Snowpeak before I was born." His smile faltered a little and he looked down at the snowflakes that melted in his hand. Frowning he looked up at the sky and said, "Um, you might want to get inside pretty soon. A big blizzard's coming in about an hour or so."
Zelda looked up at the ever-present shield of gray. It looked exactly the same as it did that morning. "How do you know?" she asked him, glancing at his worried expression.
"Trust me, when you grow up with snow all your life, you learn pretty quickly. C'mon, you need to get inside. This one's gonna be bad." Even as he spoke, the fall of snow thickened, coming down faster.
Zelda nodded and smiled in thanks. "Thank you, Link. Do you have a place to stay?" Link shook his head and shrugged. He didn't look that concerned, and he even smiled up at the falling snow. Zelda frowned, "Well, then you'd better come with me."
Link shrugged agreeably. "Alright. What's your name?"
"Princess Zelda," she smiled.
Zelda shook her head to clear it of the memories and looked back over to the teen that lay on the bed. He was just about to turn seventeen now, and his pale blonde hair hung boyishly in his eyes. He wore a fur-lined head band to try and keep it back, but there was always a few strands that managed to get into his eyes. A green, fur-lined tunic and coat was his normal garb, as well as a thick pair of leggings tucked into more fur-lined boots. Blue irises the color of his gem were hidden by bruised eyelids, and an aura of exhaustion hung around the boy, from all his fighting. He was a true hero, and the emblem of the Triforce of Courage rested upon his left hand.
If there was anyone who could save the frozen country, it was him.
"Thanks, Zelda," Link said again, hugging his best friend one last time. "I probably would've died…again."
Zelda laughed and kissed his cheek, hugging him as well before letting him go. "Please don't get into any trouble. I won't always be there to save you," she said, smiling mischievously.
Link glared at her playfully and mounted his horse, checking to make sure his gear was all in place. He waved at her one last time and trotted out of the castle's gates. The princess watched him go, praying silently that he would be safe.