The Forever Night Part One
When Princess Zelda Lyris Hyrule was five, her mother vanished. One day, she was there, bright, beautiful, and blonde. The next day, she was no longer there. When the king was asked about the whereabouts of his wife, he shook his head sadly and said, “Where she wants to be.” And said no more on the subject.
There were many thing said about it. She had been assassinated. The king of Hyrule had killed her because she bore no sons and was buried in the basement of the castle. Finally there was everyone’s personal favorite… she had been killed by Impa, Zelda’s bodyguard and nanny who had showed up around the time the queen had vanished.
But whatever the reason, little Princess Zelda thrived and had become somewhat of a tomboy by her tenth year of life. Perhaps that was the reason that the warrior Impa was able to train her so well. But I being an old scholar digress.
It is impossible to know what happened in the time of the Imprisoning War. There have been many theories that have popped up to explain this. One is that there were many Zeldas and many Links. Another is that there are many realities and this one is the reality we live in. People tend to be vague on that account.
Which brings me to this following account. It is impossible to know if this tale is the one we are looking for. The culmination of tales. The true Legend of Zelda. It is impossible to tell whether the events are true or false. Some scholars of the period believe that the Legend of Zelda is an allegory, cleverly disguised as historical fact.
The container in which the follow story was found dropped onto the head of one of my colleagues. A portal measuring one meter by one meter dropped open and deposited it upon his head. Also falling out of the portal was a tray loaded with tea, lightly boiled eggs, toast, and a little pot of jam. Obviously, the story within was ancient, being written in the most ancient and sacred tongue of the Hyrule Empire. No record of this exists, but the theories contained within explain many of our own cultures and races. Indeed, this story might come from an Alternate Universe as proposed by several of our scientists.
-Otomayim Uregihs, Chief Scholar and Historian at Odnetnin University, Napaj, Hyrule
PS: The tea was excellent as were the eggs. The jam was a bit runny and the bread was slightly burnt.
Let me sleep. Zelda didn’t say it, just thought it in the back of her mind. Didn’t being a Princess mean you could sleep all the way through the night. Certainly because of her prophecy dreams, Zelda hadn’t been enjoying peaceful nights. So why after finally having a dreamless sleep, did she have to be woken up?
One of her maids was slapping her face. Reluctantly Zelda opened her eyes and wished she hadn’t. The maid’s face was dripping with blood from a gouge that had been carved in her cheek. And her ears. Goddess, her ears.
The ends were shredded and blood oozed from them. “Anne,” she said, her hands coming up to cover her own ears, “Your ears.” Years later, she would mentally slap herself for how immature she had sounded. Although she did have a right to it. She was only ten after all. “Your poor, poor ears.”
Anne pulled the young princess out of bed. “There’s no time for that now,” she said, hissing slightly at the pain. “Get dressed, your highness. As quickly as you can. Evil lurks in these walls.”
Zelda hopped out of bed as quickly as she could, pulling on the nearest dress and headdress she could find. There was no time to argue. “What is it?” she asked although she already knew. Had known for over two months. “Is someone attacking?”
Her maid opened her mouth as if to answer but blood bubbled out of her mouth. Shocked, Zelda followed Anne’s gaze down to the sharpened staff that pierced through the woman’s gut. And holding that staff was a Gerudo, lean, red-haired, and amber eyed. “Our esteemed lord Ganondorf holds the castle.”
Zelda could do nothing. She trembled, whimpered, backed away, and wet herself. The Gerudo woman laughed mockingly. “Surprised at all, little kitten?”
“Go away.” Zelda’s back hit the wall and she kept scrambling back until her back brushed the wall. Biting back a scream, she continued to press against it as if she could pass through it. “Go away. We’ve done nothing wrong to you.”
The Gerudo woman laughed harshly as any desert jackal or a giggling poe. “Done nothing,” she repeated, pulling her staff out of Anne with a horrible crunching and wet noise. Anne hit the floor twitching, bloody froth seeping out of her nostril. She twitched once, twice, and finally still. “My dear, you have done everything wrong.”
Please let me go through the wall, Zelda begged to the goddesses on high. Let me pass through and run away. There was the rising taste of vomit in her throat couple with a new taste… the acrid bitter taste only smoke could bring. The paintings and tapestries in the halls of Hyrule Castle were obviously on fire. Centuries of art and history were being destroyed in a matter of minutes. Coughing, Zelda edged her way along the wall, fingers searching for anything that resembled a secret passage. She found no button or hidden door; just plaster covering something that at one point might have been a door. Clearly, her father’s remodeling of the castle was going to be the death of her. “But I promise you that we have done nothing.”
The Gerudo’s eyes narrowed. If anything, Zelda would say that the thief had seen that as a challenge. “Then why do you hide the sacred triangles? Move your hands away from the wall, little princess who shall be nothing momentarily.”
The temperature in the room suddenly dropped several degrees. Zelda watched as gooseflesh formed on the Gerudo’s exposed arms and belly. Rolling black fog was moving along the floor. Impa was coming Zelda quickly realized and tried to hide a smirk.
It was immediately noticed. “What are you smiling about?” the Gerudo demanded, ripping off the veil covering her mouth and nose. “And answer me quickly.”
“I smile,” Zelda said, as the black fog behind the thief formed into a column. “Because…”
Impa’s fully formed arms shot out and twisted the Gerudo’s neck. There was a wet sounding pop and the life in the Gerudo’s eyes went out. “Because,” Zelda said, smiling broadly, “That’s why.”
Impa’s head and neck followed by the rest of her body condensed out of the fog. “This, your highness, is no time to be smiling.”
“I know that, Impa,” Zelda said, trying to not smile even though she could still feel one tugging at her lips and cheeks. “Where is Link?”
All she got from Impa was a slight pursing of lips. “Still at Zora’s Domain, I expect. The other Sheikah in the kingdom haven’t reported anything to me yet. Meaning…”
She let the last word hang in the air. Even if Impa didn’t answer right away, which she never did, there was a chance that her bodyguard was mulling it over. “Meaning for all I know, your hero could be on the way at the moment.”
Zelda nodded. “I understand that,” she said, straightening her headdress, “But I think that I’ve forgotten something.” She thought for a moment and squeaked, “The Ocarina!”
Zelda tore around the room, tearing through her various boxes. “I need to find it, I need to find it.”
Impa’s hand grabbed her and held her still, while the other hand produced the Ocarina of Time. Zelda sighed in relief and immediately found something else to protest about. “My mother’s music box! I won’t let that brute have it! The family’s crown jewels! He’d melt them down in an instant!”
“In any case,” Impa said, bending down and picking up Zelda before she could think up another worry, “This is where we leave.”
Suddenly, Impa’s feet turned smoky. Zelda watched at the smoke rolled up Impa’s legs. “What’s happening?” she asked.
There was a silence, save for the crackling of the fires in the castle and the whistling noise Impa’s transformation was making. “We must phase through the floor, Princess.”
The smoke rolled up Impa’s legs and up around Zelda. It was like being in an ice cube. The world whistled around her for a few brief moments and floating across from her was a mirror. Despite her great fear, Zelda looked into it.
A small Sheikah girl floated in the mirror, a twisted reflection of Zelda. She nearly screamed if her lungs still existed in Impa’s strange nothing form. The reflection’s skin was tan as any Gerudo warriors. The hair was pale blond with a silver tinge to it. And the eyes. They gleamed from the young female reflection’s eyes like little rubies.
She is me, Zelda realized. The mirror shattered and the world surged around her. Zelda saw bedrooms, bathrooms, stone walls, and stone floors alike. She saw Gerudo roaming the halls, from veiled priestesses to scantily clad warrior women. She nearly gasped, but held it back. Even within Impa’s mist form, she was unsure if the sound would be heard or not.
Seconds later, Impa’s feet reappeared at the bottom of the mist. Her legs reformed, silver sparks reforming her armor. Her torso shimmered into being with a silver and black poof. As soon as her arms solidified, she place Zelda down. Zelda stared up at the swirling mass of darkness with pinpricks of red that was her guardian’s head. “Uh,” she began. It was very disturbing to see Impa that way.
“We’re down behind the throne room,” Impa said, cloud pulsating as she spoke.
Zelda tugged at Impa’s hand. “Impa, your head…. your head is…”
If Impa had a face, it would be frowning. “I see,” she said and seconds later, Impa’s face and hair flowed into being. It was longer that her usual shoulder length style. “That will not do,” Impa said, as if sensing what Zelda was thinking.
Impa pulled her sword from her belt and grabbed her hair in one fist. With a simple pull of her sword, she had cut her back to its normal shoulder-length hairstyle. “So, it’s simple as that,” Impa said, taking Zelda’s hand. “Shall we go?”
“Impa, should we really being going through the throne room?” Zelda asked as Impa cracked open the door.
The door was ornate and painted heavy wood. Even with Impa’s strength, it took awhile to open the heavy door a tiny sliver of a ways open. “It’s the only we can go,” Impa said, “Going to mist form and back twice in a row took a lot out of me.”
“We’re taking a great risk here,” Zelda said as Impa peered around the door.
Impa frowned and leaned against the heavy door. “As the Sheikah say, ‘Any risk is one worth taking. To delay means making the wrong choice.’ This, it would seem, is one of these times,” she paused and braced her feet against the door. “And I do not see Ganondorf anywhere.”
Zelda smiled nervously. “Do you want me to help you? You seem tired.”
The only response she got was Impa shaking her head. Obviously, Impa thought she could do this even if she was tired. “Let me hold the Ocarina then,” she said, holding out her hands.
Impa nodded slightly, handing the blue clay instrument to her. Zelda cradled it in her arms. It was warm and smooth, pulsing as if it was alive. “I won’t let it out my sight.”
Her bodyguard nodded and with a final push, opened the door far enough that only one person could slip through. Eagerly, the young princess slipped through the door. She felt Impa grab for her, but all her guardian could snag of the princess was her headdress. Zelda continued past the statues and tapestries to the back of the thrones. She stopped as soon as she passed her father’s throne. It was eerily quiet and still.
Then from nowhere, a voice whispered…
“Zelda… my Zelda…”
To be continued….
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