Disclaimer and Notes: I do not own The Legend of Zelda and related characters. I am making no profit from this fan fiction. This story is based upon the very first Legend of Zelda game. Many “Classic Zelda” fics I've seen have drawn from the 80's cartoon series – this does not, so it comes with warning for those looking for that. This deals with the game premise/universe, with some minor reference to other Zelda series games. I wrote this as “mortar” - something to fill in a few (what I perceive to be) plotholes in the game, just for fun.
The chains clattered against the cold stone as she moved. The manacles around her wrists were heavy, but at least the chains that bound her to the floor were long, allowing her to stand and move. For the time being, she sat down, alone in dark chamber. Torches glowed along the walls, casting dim light and long shadows. All along the walls hung the skulls of various animals, some with sharp teeth, others with long, spiraling horns. There were a few human skulls in the chamber, as well. Whether they were trophies, or just there to add to the dungeon's fearful atmosphere, the girl did not know.
The chamber shook as her captor entered. A metal plate clattered to the floor before the girl. She took the food cautiously, examining the scrawny cooked fowl's leg and crust of bread before devouring them. She knew that she had to stay alive, even if the one who held her only valued her life temporarily. She knew that once he'd figured out a way to get what he wanted, he would most likely kill her and give her body to his beasts.
“You are more grateful now than you were in the first week,” he said, “or is it that you've learned to trust me?”
“I'm just hungry,” the girl spat back. “I've decided to live – to spite you.”
“I could have poisoned you at any time... or given you human flesh.”
“I know you wouldn't.”
“And how do you know, princess?”
“Because you want me to live. You need me to live.”
Ganon paced about the chamber, his long, bristly boar's hair appearing gray-blue in the dim light. Zelda, the once-princess of the kingdom of Hyrule, now his prisoner, watched him. He was a powerful wizard, and a king in his own right. The man was not entirely a man. He was a cross between a man and a beast, something unnatural. His face frightened Zelda very much, especially when he laughed, with those feral pig's teeth and tusks. She could have sworn that he also had fangs. Ganon's eyes gleamed with both a wild animal's greed and with human intelligence. The girl did not know what scared her more. There was a smell about him, too. It was not a fine strong swine-reek like she'd expected to smell when she'd first met him; no, it was something different – an odor like smoke, or old bones and night-magic, a stale death-scent.
“This would all go much easier if you had not divided it, princess,” Ganon said. Zelda wondered why he addressed her so politely. He'd been addressing her by her proper title ever since he'd captured her. He kept her chained in hard manacles that made her wrists ache, he fed her meager rations and left her to sleep on this cold stone floor. She had little privacy for other things, and merely a chamber pot for some of those things. She had not been allowed to bathe and had been in the same torn dress since he'd brought her here. She'd been laid lowlier than any servant, and all of Hyrule's servants had been treated better than this, yet Ganon always addressed her as “princess.”
“The Hero will come!” she shouted. “Just you see! He'll come and he'll save me and he'll kill you!”
Ganon laughed. “Such big words from such a little girl,” he said, then added, “Of course the Hero will come. He always does.”
Zelda was stunned.
Ganon turned to her, noting her look. “You seem surprised that I would know that. Rest assured, princess, I know of your kingdom's prophecy – I know it all too well. If the Hero makes it to here, he'll provide me a great convenience, but he will not kill me.... not this time.”
“What do you mean?” Princess Zelda demanded, “You're only keeping me here because I hid the Triforce of Wisdom and you don't know where the pieces are, only I do. You're hoping to get me to tell you and that won't happen because the Hero's going to come and save me.”
“Oh, princess.... for the one entrusted with the Triforce of Wisdom, you are not quite bright. You should have given me what is rightfully mine. Your father told me of the Guardians he set to the temples and the labyrinths – that is, before I cut his wrists and ankles and left him on the mountain trail to bleed, quiver and crawl to give sport to my beasts.”
Zelda struggled against her chains. She spat at Ganon's feet and grit her teeth.
“Oh, defiant child, not to worry,” he sneered, “There is a chance that he is still alive, out in the wilderness... a very small chance. He's stripped of his power, as are you – no longer a threat to me.”
“Power,...” the princess began, “Power and the Triforce of Power belong to the people of Hyrule!”
Ganon laughed again. “Silly girl,” he said, “It is mine. It has always been mine. The Triforce of Power chose me long ago and it is bound to me. I only reclaimed what is mine. It is also my destiny to obtain the whole Triforce – including the Triforce of Wisdom and the Triforce of Courage-”
“The Triforce of Courage has been lost for at least one hundred years!” Zelda exclaimed, “It is not even possible for you to get its location out of me! No one knows where it is!”
Ganon smiled. His smile shook her core – it was a humanoid hog's grin over tusks that gleamed with saliva. “That is why your people cower and run... while their beloved princess suffers in my keep. Hyrule is a land without courage. They are not wise, either.... anyone wishing to gain Wisdom has to brave the scattered and lost temples, and they will not without courage! This is amusing. Never has this world been in quite this state. It is beautiful to behold. Oh, princess, I know that you sent the pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom to the old temples.... just because I do not know where those temples are does not mean that I will not gain it. The Guardians are no match for my power. I have corrupted a few already. My servants, though they cannot touch the Triforce, even in fragments, will keep it safe for me until such time as I can crack you... or until your fabled Hero arrives.”
“He will arrive!” Zelda said.
“I'm counting on it,” Ganon replied. “Oh, don't look so surprised. This really is all a victorious situation for me. Should the Hero show up, and should he be brave enough, in this land without courage, to seek the Triforce of Wisdom – he'll gather it and bring it right to my doorstep. What amuses me is how he will be required to kill your Guardians to obtain it – even those I have not corrupted. How amusing that the royals of Hyrule would create magical creatures whose purpose, ultimately, is to die – perhaps as amusing as those foolish minor deities willing to give their lives to the Hero's sword! The Hero is destined to live a violent life, after all... It's amazing how people are so easy to use things, to sacrifice the lives of other beings for their own convenience.”
“You do the same, Ganon,” Princess Zelda countered.
“Yes,” Ganon agreed, stroking his chin, “but I am honest about it. When it comes down to it, people are the true monsters.”
“You're not a person!” Zelda spat, “You're a beast! An unnatural swine!”
Ganon leaned close to her. “Unnatural, yes,” he said, “but I will let you know something, princess. I was once a man. I am much, much older than you can even imagine, and I've held the Triforce of Power for far longer than your kingdom ever did. It is said that I became .... corrupted... but the truth is that it brought out what I truly was. I've taken this form because I am a hungry beast. Once I tasted power, I wanted more.... it was all that mattered to me. It is all that matters to me. Absolute power is my destiny. I have come close many times, but probably never as close as this.”
The porcine wizard sat down upon a stone rise in the center of the chamber. Even seated, he looked down upon the young princess. He would have been huge to a grown man, but was doubly so to a child.
“If the Hero arrives,” Ganon said, “I'll kill him. I am strong enough now. If he is killed by my creatures or one the Guardians along the way, well, then I will eventually get the locations of the Triforce fragments out of you – one way or another. How many more people have to die because you are stubborn, princess? Your people are dying. Just give me what is rightfully mine, and they can live on.”
“Liar! They'll die anyway! Or else live as slaves to you! That's worse than death!”
“Oh, little princess, you did not ask your people what they'd want, now did you? You just decide their fates for them, as your father did before you Perhaps they would rather serve me than suffer and die. Every one of them cowers before my might. Even your army could not save you. The Hylians are a weak, sniveling stock! This is a land without courage, after all, so why not bestow your people mercy and just cooperate with me? You do want to do what is best for your people, don't you?”
“What is best for my people.... is for you to die!” Zelda spat.
Ganon placed an elbow on one knee and his chin in his hand. Zelda had never seen a pig look bored before. It was a strange sight.
“Do you want to know something interesting, princess?” he said, “I am getting very tired of this.”
“Then forget about it and free me!” Zelda whined.
“Not that,” Ganon replied, “this... this whole cycle. I have already told you that I am older than you can possibly imagine. I can sense that you think that I'm just putting on airs. It is not that simple. You say you are waiting for the Hero to kill me. That has happened many times, though I am never rendered completely dead. I am always brought back – sometimes through a convenient gateway back to the land of the living, occasionally through the shedding of blood, but I always come back.”
Zelda backed away, letting the chain links slide and clatter on the floor.
“Yes,” Ganon elaborated, “I am that ancient evil – perhaps that nursemaid of yours read to you about it in storybooks? The shadow that blankets the land, only to be thwarted by a courageous hero and kept in check by the powers of the royal family? Yes, I am that shadow, though you really should have guessed that by now, what with the land as it is. Or perhaps you royals are the shadow and I am the courageous hero that comes to liberate the land?”
Ganon laughed heartily while young Zelda cringed.
“As I said earlier, I used to be a man. I was Ganondorf, born to a desert tribe that has not been seen in Hyrule since ancient times. The pig form you see before you used to simply be a magical form I took for battle, a blessing of the Triforce of Power, if you will. It had variants. It is now a permanent part of me, more or less, and why I chose to call myself only Ganon now... a new name for a new form. I have been, for centuries, an agent of chaos for this land. You see, Princess Zelda, a world that's been at peace for too long becomes complacent. Without chaos and even suffering itself, the land does not change and its people do not appreciate beauty. You are also an agent of chaos, bound to me. The Hero, likewise, suffers this fate. Every time I've risen, I've had to deal with some royal little whelp like you, always named Zelda.”
“And the Hero? He's always beaten you, hasn't he? I can sense fear when you speak of him!”
Ganon curled his fist. “Didn't your nanny teach you anything? Hyrule has had dark times in its history, long dark times – in which I reigned. Yes, the Heroes have defeated me many times, but there have been those that I've killed. Ah! The feel of my blade splitting a breastbone! The snap of a spine in my hands! The way a strong young man's body will dance to the pain of a magical bolt! He'll die with his eyes open almost every time – with such fear and surprise at knowing my power in his final moments!”
“But Heroes have killed you!” Zelda insisted.
“Yes, many times,” Ganon repeated, “but it is always a hollow victory, is it not? In a hundred years or so, I manage to come back.”
“And another Hero is there to stand up against you.”
“Another princess, as well. But if I take the entire Triforce – something I have never actually done - this endless, tiresome cycle will be over with for all of us. Think upon the give and take, princess. How much blood must flow for it all to be over?”
“A man is willing to die a thousand times for freedom.”
“Well met. I hear the chamber next door opening and I can feel... Well, princess, it seems as if the Hero made it here after all. Do you want to know something, princess? I have always been Ganon, my princess has always been Zelda... do you want to know what name every one of the true Heroes has borne?”
“I suppose so. You're about to die, anyway.”
“Confident. If he enters here and I do not, don't hesitate to ask him his name. This way, you will know that I've been speaking the truth this entire time. His name is Link. The Hero's name is always Link.”
Ganon left the room, leaving the young princess alone with her thoughts.
Zelda sat in fear and listened to the noises that were coming from the next chamber over. They were loud and the dungeon rumbled. There was inhuman roaring and the occasional shouting of a human voice. After a long time, everything drew silent. The princess wondered, with horror, if both parties had killed each other, leaving her to fade away in her chains.
Her ears perked at the sound of a stone door being slid open. She expected to see Ganon's hooves step through it. What she saw, to her astonishment, was a little boy. He had to be her age, or maybe even a couple of years younger. He was disheveled, the tunic and mail he wore were torn, the skin on his arms was scraped and bloody, and his face bore a large, nasty bruise. He carried a bow and approached her silently. He took a key out of one of the pockets on his tunic and unlocked her manacles, without saying a word.
“Th-thank you,” Zelda said hesitantly, “I am Princess Zelda. Are you a squire? Is your master in the other room?”
“Master?” the boy asked, looking up, “No, I came alone.” His voice was soft and quiet, as if he was unused to using it.
“You defeated Ganon yourself? You're... you're just a kid.”
The boy nodded.
Zelda sat, rubbing her wrists. She looked at this amazing boy. “You saved me.... you saved Hyrule,” she said, “May I ask your name?”
“Link,” the boy answered, “My name is Link.”
“Thank you, Link.”
The boy simply smiled.