((yo I just finished Breath of the Wild and it was mindblowingly good... akin to what I did with Skyward Sword, I'm really interested in sort of re-writing the entire game, beginning at the 100 years prior and going through all the events of the game to the defeat of Calamity Ganon, and possibly post-game after that. I should really apologize to everyone who got invested in my Skyward Sword fanfic, I'm disappointed in myself for getting that far into it and abandoning it, but there was a lot going on in my life around the same time - whereas now, I'm unemployed! (But it's a good thing.) I can only reassure you that the chances of me stopping halfway through this are very slim.
Hope you enjoy this.))
The knighting ceremony was held on a sunny morning. The newest graduates of the military camp were to be given their proper title, along with all the pomp and tradition that came with being called a Knight. There was more excitement in the air during this one, more stifled whispers and knowing grins as the lucky (hardworking) few made their way to the stone circle where King Rhoam was waiting. However, it was different today. There was someone everyone had come to see. Or, something.
Link hadn't always been the strong silent type. In fact, since becoming the chosen Hero of the Master Sword, his friends noticed him changing. He was more of a jokester before, outgoing, friendly and perpetually cheerful, but with the sword on his back he didn't feel much like Link. He had a duty. And him having the sword now, after ten thousand years had past since it was last needed, was not a good omen. Knight training was no longer for grandeur or petty criminals. He would have to use this sword, and not just for himself, for everyone - if the prophecy was true. There was skepticism in the rumor mill whether the legend was true, but the red flags were popping up more and more.
Link hadn't paid much attention before. Now, his attention piqued at any mention of Guardians, the excavated shrines, or Ganon. He had a bigger part to play, and the burden weighed down on his shoulders, a heavy responsibility, knowing eyes were on him today and the shiny blue sword on his back.
Thankfully, through all the words and rituals, a breeze kept the Sacred Grounds from being unbearably warm on such a clear sunny day. As Link and two of his colleagues knelt, he kept his eyes focused on the stone ahead, but listened intently to every word the King recited. He had a hunch that over time, he would have a closer relationship with the King than he probably wanted. Well… now that he was officially a Knight, and not just a trainee that happened to have the Master Sword. He had met the Champions already, mostly just a quick civility, though Mipha - the Zora champion - had become a particular fan of his. Even so, how was he supposed to live up to that title? He was just a kid still, freshly seventeen - even young man felt like a stretch. The other Champions were already so accomplished, incredibly respected by their people. He couldn't help feeling like he had a long ways to go, and if Calamity Ganon was returning, he might not be waiting around for Link to become fully prepared.
Princess Zelda had come to this ceremony, Link noticed, which was out of the norm. Tearing his blue gaze away from the stones for just a moment, he could make out the bottom of her dress, a little ways behind King Rhoam, hands clasped politely in front of her. He had met her before, briefly, just in a professional setting, a civility she showed to the Knight trainees. But since receiving the sword, he had noticed her gaze more and more. What feeling was behind it, he was unsure, but surely it was just curiosity at his new Champion title. She was well-acquainted with the others, after all, more than he was.
When the ceremony was over, the three stood up. Link could feel Polly casting him a glance next to him, and he glanced back for a brief moment to see her wink at him. He barely managed a smile before looking forwards again, his eyes meeting King Rhoam's at apparently the right moment.
"Furthermore," the king continued his previous speech, before the crowd was able to disperse - "I am happy to announce that our new graduate and Champion, Link, will be my daughter, Princess Zelda's, appointed knight."
Only clever onlookers could have seen the identical reactions of both Link and Zelda. Completely taken aback, but only for the briefest moment, before manners kicked back in. Link lifted his chin a little, taking in a breath and hoping that this, paired with the sword, would finally appease his father's wishes. He stole a glance towards the Princess, who was staring coolly at him, pursed her lips all the slightly, and then returned a softer gaze towards her father.
What was that? Was she embarrassed to have it announced in front of everyone? To be honest, Link wasn't even sure what it would entail, but was sure he'd hear more about his expectations from King Rhoam. In the moment, he figured it was more for show, but it wouldn't be long before he'd learn how wrong he was. When the crowd had finally petered out, Link waited behind. He noticed Zelda beginning to leave before the King urged her to hang back.
"Link," Rhoam finally addressed him, and instinctively the boy knelt, elbow resting on his knee and eyes to the ground. The King laughed heartily in response.
"As you were, boy," he assured him, and Link stood up after a moment's hesitation.
"Thank you, sir," he replied politely, doing everything in his power to not look over the man's shoulders at the Princess, who he could feel staring at him. Rhoam stepped sideways, to better address both Link and Zelda at the same time.
"Now, I want to lay down some expectations, so everyone understands this arrangement. It has been ten thousand years since Calamity Ganon last arose, and attempted to destroy Hyrule - my kingdom," he began, and both Link and Zelda were a quiet audience, listening intently to a legacy they had heard several times before. "In case the Master Sword revealing itself to you is not just chance - in case these omens are… legitimate," Rhoam continued, looking thoughtfully towards the castle before returning his intent look at the two of them, "I demand that the Princess have protection. Zelda, it is no secret to me that you enjoy wandering outside the Castle Town, and it may be necessary for your prayer. Now, it is also necessary for you to have appropriate protection, should the worst come to fruition during our time."
"Ten thousand years ago, the Princess and her appointed Knight were responsible for Calamity Ganon's downfall," Rhoam interrupted Zelda, and she immediately dipped her head. "The importance of this arrangement may go over your heads now. But I expect nothing less than obedience from an appointed Knight of Hyrule - and my daughter, even moreso," the King added, finally stopping for a bigger breath, "That is all. Link, please keep an eye on Zelda while she is out of the Castle. Zelda, you are allowed your privacy within these walls, as always - so long as you are dedicated to your task."
And that was it. As the King left, Zelda looked expectantly at Link for a moment, but he could not think of anything to say. If her eyes were kinder, if she was smiling, if she was - well, if he knew her at all or better, he would probably have some reassuring words, but at the moment he drew a blank. This didn't seem to help, since after a moment of silence, the girl simply let out a quiet - and worse, disappointed sounding scoff, before following along behind her father.
Clouds passed between the sun and the earth. Link waited a few peaceful moments before heading back towards the Castle, a safe distance behind Zelda. Great start.
The first order of official business came only days later. The Goron Champion, Daruk, had suggested an official ceremony for Link to be named Appointed Knight. Even though Zelda had seemed less than inclined - even Link wasn't fond of the idea, but he didn't let this show - the Princess finally gave in to the Goron's enthusiasm. They found themselves back at the Sacred Grounds, in the evening this time, but Link spent some time alongside Mipha beforehand.
"You will do great things," she reassured him, as the two of them sat near a pond not far from the grounds.
"I'm - I just graduated from Knight training. This is… normally it would be an experienced Knight, not a kid."
"You're not a kid," Mipha protested, her bright hazel eyes wide. Link looked back at her with skepticism, and then had to struggle for a moment to not let his lingering crush get in the way. He could get lost in her eyes far too fast. She was breathtakingly pretty, and not at all subtle about how much she liked him. He felt like she was one he could really open up to. At least for now.
"That means a lot, coming from a Zora," Link replied with a small grin, and Mipha looked at him in confusion for a moment before laughing. She trailed off after a moment, blinking softly at him and placing one webbed hand over his.
"I don't know a soul in Hyrule who doesn't believe in the legendary Hero," she said thoughtfully, and as Link stared back into her eyes, for a moment he believed her. "You and Zelda - this is destiny," she added, though there was a sadder tinge to her voice, but she quickly digressed. "Now come on, Hero. The Princess has agreed to officially appointing you as her Knight. That is a start," the Champion added with a suspicious smile. So even Mipha knew that the two of them weren't well acquainted yet. That was embarrassing.
Zelda was wearing the same outfit she wore the day of the Knighting Ceremony. Now, as Link knelt before her alone, with the four other Champions as his audience, he felt more nervous than ever. But he kept composure, helpless under the Princess' steeled gaze as she recited - in all her uninterest - the words that made him her official Appointed Knight. It was easy to tell that she wasn't pleased. Link could hear vague whispers from the other Champions, but he kept his eyes shut, not wanting to display any sort of emotion; he was one of them. He had to be professional. Right?
Revali was the least interested of the few. Although Daruk had at least tried to be hushed in his concerns, Revali wasn't, but Zelda also seemed unconcerned that Link could hear the Rito literally shit-talking him from four feet away. It wasn't like him to start conflict, however, and he pretended not to hear. And in a way, he agreed with the bird. What good did this do, if Zelda herself didn't want to do it? Her words, rather than inspiring hope in Link, were stewing his fear of failure. He blocked out the voices. It's a good thing he did, as Urbosa was re-iterating a common theme - that Link himself was simply a living reminder of Zelda's own shortcomings. That when she looked at him, she felt disappointment in herself; that his achievement with the Master Sword meant she was behind as a Champion herself, a failure to the royal family, a Princess to nothing if Hyrule could not be saved by her family's sealing powers.
But the Knight, for all his perception, had yet to realise this. He simply felt disliked. A burden on the Princess, yet all he could do was devote his life to her, train to protect her, follow her to the ends of Hyrule in search of her power. Despite her resentment at requiring a chaperone, despite her stinging tone of voice during the ceremony, all Link could do was admire her ethic. She worked desperately hard. She cared for Hyrule so genuinely, that even with the rumors about her sleeping power and throne, no one in the land spoke poorly of her. She was a truly kind soul. Link's duty was a privilege. His silence was respect. But he had no clue how to reassure her, or help her, in the way that he felt she really needed. Not without coming off as condescending or out of place. Better... to just say nothing.
Zelda, meanwhile, had finished the ceremony - and true to what Urbosa had said, found it difficult to look at the Knight with respect. She had seen him before, training as a Knight, clearly excelling in his class, laughing at the good times and serious when needed, but he had been nothing but silent after finding the Master Sword and becoming her Knight. Was it her? Was she the reason for his silence? Did he just… not want to do this? Oh, she wished she could just shut off her responsibility, just forget that she could be responsible for the well-being of the entire Kingdom, her father's legacy, and living up to the destiny her mother and grandmother had left her. The burden she bared was nothing compared to that toy on his back, revealed to him with no trial or test. And even now, he could do nothing but stare under long eyelashes at the stone beneath his feet, rather than meet her gaze. Truly, the girl was frustrated at herself, and any little thing Link did wrong was enough to test her patience.
Link heard the princess sigh and turn, walking towards the castle. She was done. He waited a short moment before getting slowly to his feet. The winds picked up, and a familiar gust whacked the back of his head before Revali had taken off for home, but he didn't take it personally. The Rito had never liked him, and now that they were supposedly equals, it had properly ruffled his feathers. Mipha laid a hand on his shoulder, Urbosa gave him a curt nod, and Daruk scratched the back of his head nervously. Link gave him a slightly bored look.
"This was your fault."
"I KNOW. I'm sorry, little guy. I thought it would be - er - an icebreaker, for you two," the Goron explained helpfully, and Link sighed and stifled a smile.
"It's okay. I appreciate the thought, Daruk," Link said simply, casting a small smile at the remaining three Champions.
"We'll see you soon, Link," Urbosa said abruptly. "Zelda wants you to acquaint yourself with the Divine Beasts. I think she said Medoh was first," the Gerudo mused, then shrugged. Link's shoulders dropped. Of course Rito Village was first.
"Whatever it may be. Call on us if you need."
Link nodded simply in response, casting Urbosa a relieved smile before the Gerudo, Goron, and Zora left to their respective homes. The Knight looked towards his home - caught a glimpse of Zelda's hair in the sunlight, still on her way back, and broke into a jog to follow her until the castle walls.