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October 0
Prologue

    The vivid lights from the bonfires and the sounds of the dancing and partying still swimming in her mind, Zelda entered her dark bedroom. Setting down her lit oil lamp on her desk, she closed the door behind her, leaning against it wearily. Turning away towards her open window on the other side of the room, she walked over to shut it. She reached out to do so, but paused, gazing below. Beneath her were the castle grounds, lit up by seven bonfires, the traditional number for Spirit Night. Around the flames were the dark figures of party-goers, casting long shadows as they danced, drank and chatted around the flames. For a moment she longed to join them, but then remembered her duties the next morning and sighed. Looking out one last time at the fires and then at the brilliantly shining Castle City beyond the grounds, she shut her window firmly.

    There was nothing left for her to do but try to get to sleep as quickly as possible. She closed the shades over the window, leaving just the light from the oil lamp to illuminate the room. Sitting down, the silence enforced by the thick glass of the window and the stone engulfed the room. Longing for some companionship, yet at the same time glad for a moment of solitude to reflect, she turned her gaze upon the largest tapestry on the bedroom walls. Upon it was stitched an intricate image of herself as a child with her mother, who had been dead for ten years now. Having already offered sacrifices and prayers for her mother for Spirit Night to ease her spirit, Zelda wondered what else there was to say at this point. Her mind ran through many different discussions she had longed to have with her mother, but reluctantly shook them away. Wiping her eyes, she forced herself to look back at the tapestry, smiling.

    Her voice only quavered slightly as she whispered, "Happy new year." She gulped. "Please, watch over me, mother."

    She stood up to get ready for bed, this time just ignoring the stinging in her eyes. As any Hylian knew, the sorrow of remembrance that Spirit Night brought would always be washed away by the sleep that night. Myth said it was blessed to ease the sorrows of all who had lost loved ones. Zelda supposed it just felt refreshing because everyone was so exhausted from partying, but she was certain there was something special about this night.

     Mumbling a quick prayer to Farore to watch over her dreams, she settled down to sleep.

     A dark cloud on the distant horizon threatened to block out the sun as she gazed upon the vast sky. The dark, sodden ground rose up to meet the sky, followed by the sound of a stormy sea. Water began to envelop everything, and she feared she would be swept away from where she stood. But she could not move. The sun did not die, even as the rains began to fall, but there was never a rainbow.
    Nothing touched her; not the wind or rain. Calming herself by rubbing her arms and taking slow breaths, she realized with absolute certainty that she was completely safe. Zelda smiled for a moment, but she felt a terrible wrenching in her chest. Her heart was being twisted inside of her. Crying out, she collapsed, the darkness engulfing her.




     Only one fire was lit in the celebration of the riverside villages. All of the villages gathered together for three days at the largest river settlement, the only one that was large enough to be called a town. Oerbel was its name, and tonight was the last night of the celebrations it hosted. Spirit Night was the climax of everything, the beginning of the New Year.

    Even before the moon had risen to the position that told midnight, some of the celebrators had already gone to bed. While the rest crowded around the bonfire in Oerbel's plaza, dancing and telling stories, some had hunkered away into their homes or wherever they had managed to acquire lodging for the three days.

     Up in the loft of an old, yet stable barn that smelled like salt and fish bones was sleeping a young Hylian, Link. He was the only one sleeping in the barn, as it had been offered to him free of charge, and he had directed all of his severely limited funds towards getting his younger sister a more hospitable, less rancid lodging.

    Link rolled over uneasily, murmuring in his sleep. Underneath his lids his eyes had begun to dart around rapidly. He went rigid as he began to dream.

    Link leaned back in the small boat he used for fishing. He was floating idly down the river, moving both quickly and smoothly. The smoothness struck him as just slightly unnatural, but he decided to accept it. It was so terribly nice and warm. The sun shone down on him, and its light encompassed all around him, so all he could see was the boat and the river around it.

    The sunlight began to fade, and mists rolled in. They felt like warm summer showers, so Link did not move, and let them slowly soak him. The light faded even more, and the mists grew steadier. He jerked his head up as the boat slowly rolled to a slow stop.

    Careful not to upset the boat, Link sat up straight, looking around. The mists had changed into a soft rainfall, and the sunlight that shone off the droplets dazed him. He shut his eyes and rubbed them.

     Softly out of the haze came a sound of chiming bells. Link looked up and around carefully, shielding his eyes. The sound came again and he looked behind him, frowning. The sound was undoubtedly a bell, but it also reminded him of the sing-song voices of the little girls who had told riddles after the Spirit Night prayers.

    Desperate to find a source, Link rose up, keeping the boat steady with practiced ease. He looked down at the water, which was entirely black except for a faint light emanating from far below. The chiming sound came again, calling out to him softly.


    Link's eyes only flew open for a second before he shut them again. He rolled over in the blankets, letting his mind and body fall back into the sweet weightlessness of unconsciousness. As it enveloped him, he was vaguely aware that the ruckus of the partiers had vanished. Spirit Night had come to an end.
So this is basically the (now second) draft of the Prologue to my three-year Zelda fanfiction, Deluge. I knew it would start with dreams, like many of the games do.
Although the majority of the fanfic will be in Link's POV, I wanted to establish a sense of a distinct style between Zelda and Link's respective POVs. Not sure if that worked, but it certainly helped me.
Zelda's retrospection about her mother stemmed from watching Brave yesterday. Lovely, lovely movie. Plus, since Spirit Night is essentially their All Soul's Night, it works.

There will be a diverse number of celebrations within Hyrule. Because, let's face it, when you have a life that is actually hard, involving lots of...well, hard labor and actually worrying about things like food and clothes, then you're going to want days to celebrate and be reminded of all that's good and beautiful amidst hard times.

So the festivals, leaving out ones that are exceptional to certain towns (like, day-of-founding festivals or day-of-patron-guardian festivals):

Spirit Night (New Year's Night): It is primarily the time to reflect upon and honor the dead, as well as mourn for them and accept their passing. There are specific rituals (prayers and sacrifices) and the lighting of bonfires and candles outside of every home to guide the way of the dead, but the rest is typically left up to each village/town/city. This also is a day for the elderly, and expressing the wisdom of old age (the elderly traditionally tell stories in most areas on this day). This makes it a feast for Naryu, though it's primarily a Farore-centered feast, as she's the guardian of spirits, ghosts and the afterlife. This is the most "popular" and public feast.

Yule/Eventide: The name varies depending upon location. This is celebrated on the Winter solstice, and is surrounded by the forced idleness of winter. Bonfires are also lit, but number, size and location is less strict in most places. The feast is known for it's hunting parties, decorating and familial celebration, holly wreaths, a vast variety of winter-related games, including telling ghost stories. The feast's origins are only the single day of the solstice, but in many towns the feast is extended for two weeks, containing different stages and specific days for specific tasks and rituals. It's essentially a celebration for Din, a reflection on the power of the sun, darkness, life and winter.

Day of Light: The first of February, this is a very flexible holiday as far as rituals and traditions go. Long long ago it marked the day when Hylia gave her people the gift of fire. Now that Hylia is forgotten, it's a day given to Farore instead. It is a day centered around candle-making, baking, planting and poetry.

Springtide: The first day of Spring. It's a day for Farore, spring and children and also for Naryu, as it's also for reflection upon the order of the world within the cycle of the seasons and rebirth. It is for marking what is believed to be the day that the world was created, marking it also as a day for all the Golden Goddesses. The payers said on this day are strict, but the specifics of the rest of the rituals and the duration of the celebration are flexible. It's primarily a day for play and living in the moment more than reflection. Due to the significance of the day, many couples choose to be wed during the festivities.

May Day: The first day of May; this is a day that captures the utter lack of a contraceptive mentality in Hyrule. There are many different dances that are parts of rituals, as well as other ritually-connected celebrations, all aimed at increasing fertility. It's less popular in areas where hunting is more important than farming, but it still has significance; children are not seen as side-effects of sex, but as the primary purpose and end of it. This generates a respect for fertility, a respect for children as a gift and a respect for women. (This is, as far as I'm aware, historically correct: in societies where ALL children, not just boys, are seen as gifts from the gods, women had the most equality. Ancient Egypt is an example.) This day is a favorite for newlywed couples, as part of the celebration centers on collecting flowers and buds and making wreaths for their homes. In many towns there is a wreath-making contest. This is a day for all the Golden Goddesses, as Din is the patron of female fertility, Naryu the patron of families, and Farore the patron of male fertility.

Sun Day/Midsummer: The longest day of the year. This is a day for the sun and Din, and there is really no great sacred significance. Fires are burnt to chase away summer ghosts, and ghost stories are also told, though far more flippantly than in Yuletide. There are races with old wheels, which along with other old and unneeded material is burnt in the bonfires. On Lake Hylia and other areas with relatively still water, old boats are used to host the bonfires and become part of them themselves. In the areas of Hyrule that experience a rainy season in late spring, this day usually marks the end of that season.

Lammas: The first of August. This is a day dedicated to Naryu, believed to be the day when she gifted men with literacy. Plays are preformed and epics are told on this day, followed by a feast of the harvest of the time at twilight. This is also a sacred day for married couples, and it's traditional in most areas in Hyrule for a man to propose on this day.

Harvest Home: The first day of autumn. It's a day of brief respite from the ongoing harvest. Centered on Din and Naryu, this isn't a very festive day, and is primarily focused on the woods, home and hearth. No rituals are preformed, but the spiritual leaders are expected to give often personalized speeches upon balance. In the plains, families will often go out during the day to scatter small offerings amongst their fields, around where their animals graze, and around their home. (This is also Epona's birthday).

These are very important, as they will be significant for Link and Zelda in different ways throughout the story. They'll experienced different festivals in different places. And frankly, I love festivals, so I'll have a blast including them.
Though I'll resist pandering to them much.

Note that throughout the years as I'm writing this, it'll be influenced by other creative input I'm getting. This will undoubtedly include Merlin this fall, which I consider a very good thing.

That aside, I'll confess that I'm using this fan fic to vent my inner craving for "superstitious" stuff and pagan and paganist revival stuff. Oh, but I won't stick in any of the new fabricated stuff. I'm sensing a pretty nice Celtic connection between Hyrule, and I want to be more historical about that. Which means I'll probably have to take a course on it over the next two years (or at least research it more fully.)
But seriously, I'm a huge sucker for these kinds of things. I know I need to get it out in a constructive way, otherwise it might drive me batty.

Legend of Zelda copyright Nintendo
Writing copyright Mahira-chan
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:iconthesilentlamb:
TheSilentLamb Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2012
Great start. I'm interested to read the rest of this. I thought you did a nice job with the descriptions and senses.
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:iconmahira-chan:
Mahira-chan Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2012   General Artist
Thank you! The rest won't be coming out until November. I just wanted to put this up as a sneak peak kind of thing :D
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:iconsuperherogeek13:
SuperheroGeek13 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
The dreams are both very well written. Surreal, but not so abstract that you can't understand them.
I really like this parallel of seeing what both Link and Zelda are doing during the end of the festival. Two separate stories that still fit together. :nod:

Hyrule does seem like a kingdom that's always ready to put together a good festival, so all the different ones you listed make sense. I have to wonder if any of these would be retained after the flood. The celebrations in times of adversity would probably really be needed then.
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:iconmahira-chan:
Mahira-chan Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012   General Artist
Thank you! I was a little worried they were a little too vague. But as long as they're clear enough :nod:
Thanks!

Great! Good point. I don't go into that, but it's worth thinking about :nod:
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