Hylians do not understand the nature of immortality, or even the nature of those granted unnaturally long lives. I see it in their stories, their legends, their folklore. They believe that time is a petty thing to us, that decades pass in minutes and years in seconds.
Time does not pass us by as they would like to believe. We cannot close our eyes and allow ourselves to slip into the next century. To us-to me, time crawls. Our days mean just as much. We watch with learned eyes, waiting for signs of the familiar. Life drags itself across the ground in front of us, a slow, painful death.
Each decade means something. Each year means something. Each day means something. I can-I appreciate the small happinesses life has granted me. Friendship. Love. Even as it all inevitably fades, I've come to revel in the brief moments of glory handed to me in between the long days of sadness.
My bishop moves diagonally from the center of the board "Check."
The walls of Hyrule Castle stand high around me. The throne room remains glorious, even in the blanket of Twilight. Ganondorf lifts a hand to scratch thoughtfully at a beard that's grown tainted with hints of gray. His king retreats behind what remain of his pawns. "You've improved."
"You're letting me win."
"I never allow anyone to win. That's just how it always ends." He shifts in his chair, resting his chin on the opposite hand. "Now, what of the Master Sword? Was this gamble of yours worth it? Were you able to draw it?"
"Did you expect to?"
"I don't know."
There is a moment of silence.
"What of the boy?"
Link. "The cycle proceeds just as it has before. His existence will continue this charade of a conflict between you."
Ganondorf laughs and leans back in his chair, forgoing our game. I hate his laugh. It reminds me too much of what villain the heroes have always believed themselves to be fighting. "I speak of the boy, Lora, not the hero. The boy is what distinguishes one incarnation from another."
I bend my head forward, looking down at my lap. Strands of Ashei's black hair fall in front of my eyes. Her armor is still alien, her weapons, her personality. No matter how long I spend as her, I will never truly accept her. "…he's a sweet boy, but… the third step of the cycle has already presented itself."
Regret shows on his face. "Midna?"
I stand and turn away from my opponent. I cannot face Ganondorf like this, not with grief, with the overwhelming sadness that threatens to consume me. "Twice. It's already happened twice. There was a reunion the first time, but only after toil and bloodshed. The second-"
My hands curl into fists.
I rip Ashei's sword and its sheathe from my waist and hurl it across the room.
It clatters for a moment before falling silent.
Ganondorf removes himself from his throne to stand beside me. His age shows. To those who exist within the cycle, it does not show, but to me, he is an elderly man calmly awaiting death. "I have not forgotten about the last hero."
"There has to be a way to end it!" My composure slips. I… the subject is… disconcerting. "This can't happen again! Not a third time! Not death, or heartbreak, or separation; nothing!"
Ganondorf places a hand on my shoulder. "You still remember Elena?"
"It plagues me every night." I shrug away from his hand, doing my best to calm my nerves. "He was going to marry her, Ganon. I was going to attend the wedding. She was-" Tears fall from my eyes. Too much sadness. Too much death. "-they were going to be happy."
Ganondorf bows his head.
There is a moment of silence for the hero and his love, a pair that history has forgotten. So few know of the one who came after my father, of the second boy to take on the burden of the Master Sword. They forget the sacrifice he made. They forget that he ended his own life out of misery.
The cycle of the hero.
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