Chapter 2: Revenant
The little buckboard crashed through the forest in the dead of night. Small and lightly built, its driver had only a little trouble navigating it between the trees. The black horse drawing it was light and swift. The driver stopped in a clearing. Several cloaked figures stood there, lightly illuminated by torches lit with pale fire. The torches were unnatural. The ground was laid bare in a circle, etched in deep lines depicting symbols of arcane magic. The entire scene was unnatural. Any normal person, upon walking into that clearing, would have felt malevolence on the air. The figures gathered around the circle all wore wooden masks, their eyes hidden behind the darkness of the hollows. The masks and cloaks gave their wearers the semblance of desiccated corpses, or of demons of a solemn nature.
A figure approached the driver, who was similarly cloaked. “Did you secure the sacrifice, Givanna?” it asked.
“Yes,” Givanna replied. “I would have shamed our people if I had not. We are, after all, the greatest thieves in the world.”
The cloaked figure followed Givanna to the back of the buckboard to help her with the wrapped cargo. A part of the blanket fell away.
“A handsome thing,” the figure said, “Almost a shame that he made himself our enemy.”
“One wonders if it is truly a sacrifice if we are not giving up something precious to us. Of course he cannot give himself up, being already dead.”
“It matters not. He is the key to bringing our father back, so our ancient writings say.”
“Yes, lay him down here, and strip the blanket from him.” Thera then looked at the other figures, gathered in the clearing. “Take your places,” she said, “it shall begin shortly.”
Givanna took up her mask and put it on, taking her place at the edge of the circle. It was etched in many runes, symbols and characters. Her horse whickered gently somewhere behind her, tethered to a sturdy tree. She looked down at the body laid out in the circle’s center. She’d gone through much trouble to get it. She’d surely have been executed if she had been caught, especially if it was found out what she had in mind for it.
Gathered around the transference circle were the eldest members of the Children of Guinan. This they were literally, for “Guinan” was merely a variant upon a much more well-known name. Every person here, save for the corpse on the ground, was a young, strong Gerudo woman. All of them were among the most rare and most proud of their people, “pureblood” Gerudo, the daughters of Ganondorf.
Most Gerudo were born from the union of a Gerudo mother and a Hylian or human father – generally the products of short-term dalliances, for that is how the Gerudo survived. Every female born was invariably a Gerudo, every male a Hylian or human, until every century or so, the Gerudo male of prophecy was born. His birthright was to become the king of their people, and with it came the privilege of having any female of the Gerudo nation he desired as wife, concubine or dalliance. Products of this were considered very special, the “purebloods” of the people, “genetically pure” Gerudo.
Ganondorf had been a virile man and had sired many daughters. He had not bothered to learn all of their names, for it was custom for the women to take care of their children alone, and to leave their king to his important political business. He was also seen very much like a brood-stallion - there to revitalize the Gerudo blood, but it not being necessary for him to take part in raising of offspring. In fact, “The Stallion” was often the nickname for the king. Givanna remembered her mother crying when she talked about her time with him, but she was proud to have given birth to her. She was “pride that had been worth the pain.”
Now, the Daughters of Ganon, or the “Children of Guinan,” were not looked upon with pride anymore. The Hylians and humans held nothing but suspicion and contempt for them. Even their own people had largely rejected them. Some of Ganondorf’s daughters were content to put up with the prejudice, insistent that they could make peace with their own people and with others. The “Children of Guinan” who’d formed this “cult” in Hyrule were not content with a life in the shadows. They’d decided that the Gerudo were in a poor state without a strong king, and that, despite his abundance of zealotry and some poor decisions in the past, that Ganondorf could have made an excellent king. If he caused the other races to suffer, it was simply justice for how their kings had long treated the Gerudo.
Ganon was gone – if not completely dead, then sealed away, but now, a link in the chains that bound him was broken. The Hero of Time was dead, and that was the key that could bring him back.
Thera began a chant and everyone repeated after her. Givanna felt the low thrumming in her chest and throat. She could even feel the magic gathering around her, flowing through her body, through her feet, and into the ground.
“The King of our people, Hyrule, the Hero of their people… bound with chains stronger than iron, stronger than blood, stronger than Time…”
Heartbeat. Weak and slow. A languid struggle in his chest. Thrum. Thrum. A pulse. It almost sounded like beeping, a sharp noise and feeling, telling him that he was close to death, but that he was alive. His arms and legs felt stiff, and especially his back. Somehow, he could feel blood drawing up from his limbs, rear and back and he felt a dull, deep ache, like bruising. What was this pain in his middle? Dull cuts in his chest…
He drew in breath and felt his lungs filling painfully. In. Out. In. Out. His skin tingled and felt cold, and then he felt a warm sensation all over. He tried out his muscles. They moved sluggishly, protesting against his bones. His eyelids were heavy and he rose to his feet before opening his eyes.
Who was he again? Ga- Ganon, Ganondorf. Yes, yes… That blinding flash, familiar voices, then that feeling of cold flesh and a struggling heart.
“I live,” he said simply. His eyes were still tightly shut. Why were his eyelids so very heavy?
He felt a hand on his shoulder, a calloused, Gerudo hand. “Our father, our king, you have returned to us.”
Ganondorf opened his eyes and looked around himself. The world was blurry and he blinked several times to make it clear. Cloaked figures stood in pale firelight and each of them took off their masks. He recognized these women as ones he’d seen at one time or another. Thera he’d known well. She had been the first child born to him, when he had been a young man, an adolescent, in fact. She had studied under Kotake and Koume and was a sorceress nearly as formidable as they had been. Ganondorf felt a smile come to his lips. Thera had found a way to bring him back. He would not have to wait centuries to have his revenge.
He held up his fist. Wait, something wasn’t right. His fist wasn’t the familiar strong, dark-skinned hand he was used to. It was strong, but it was small and pale. The skin was light colored and soft, younger than his own. Ganondorf looked down at himself. What he saw was the nude body of a fair young man. A strand of hair fell into his eyes. In the torchlight, Ganondorf saw that it was blond. He patted himself down. There were wounds with stitches on his chest and in his stomach. Though this body was clearly not his own, something about it was familiar, like he had seen it before, though not in this state of undress – Ganondorf was one who liked intimate companionship of women only and he was not a physician. Still, he could not shake the thought that he had seen this body, that it had belonged to someone he had known.
“What have you done to me?” Ganondorf demanded.
Thera approached him and bowed before him. “My lord,” she began, “We have brought you back. Regrettably, we were unable to bring you back as quite yourself, but I am sure you will find this vessel more than sufficient.”
She signaled to another cloaked Gerudo, who approached Ganondorf holding a small mirror. She held it up in the light before him.
Ganondorf studied his face. The reflected face of the person he most hated stared back at him. He gently stroked the long ears and the blond bangs. He looked down at his hands. These were the hands that had destroyed him, that had sealed him. He flexed the fingers. He threw his head back in a laugh. He noticed, then, that the voice he was laughing with and the voice he’d been speaking with was not his own. He continued to laugh.
How victorious he felt!
Givanna spoke up. “We are happy to see you pleased, my king, my father.”
“This is, indeed, the perfect vessel for revenge,” Ganondorf replied. “However, I must ask… why am I in Link’s body?”
“He died from battle wounds,” Givanna answered. “We apologize if your transference was met with any difficulty. He is nearly three days dead. I was unable to procure him any sooner. According to our research, your best chance of coming back was through the flesh and blood of one who defeated you, through one of those to whom you are bound to through the Chains of Time.”
“The Chains of Time…hmmm.” Ganondorf said, twisting around to get a good look at his new torso and backside. “I did curse Link and his descendants as I fell behind the Sages’ Seal. Who killed him?”
Thera approached him and nodded. “A wizard named Agunim was the one responsible for Link’s death.”
“Agunim,” Ganondorf said with a broadening grin. “I shall have to remember that name.”
Blake paced about his quarters in the royal barracks.
was done for now, but he was restless. Twilight settled outside of his windows. They were open to let in the gentle spring night breezes. Torches and lanterns were being lit outside. Battle
The young soldier paused to look up at the main palace. It was so beautiful at night. He almost regretted that this would be the last night he would see it. His sense of justice would not allow it. What kind of man was he? A very weak man to have let himself be overcome so. If he had only fought harder against the dark magic, he wouldn’t be seeing the queen’s shadow pacing back and forth by the windows of the North Hall. He had killed the Hero of Time. This meant that his life was worthless now.
Prince Link had given him a full pardon. He had not blamed him for what had happened, but Blake could not accept that he was blameless. He’d plunged his sword into the Hero with his own hand. The man hadn’t even died easily – Blake had caused him to suffer, to linger for days before death took him.
Blake took his favored weapon off the wall. He kissed the leather-wrapped hilt. “Well, old friend, you shall take me, too. It is time.”
Blake was out of his armor, clad only pants and a loose white tunic. This would be quick and clean. He took a deep breath as he placed the tip of his sword just beneath his breastbone. He held the hilt in both hands. Now, all he had to do was to fall, to fall and to thrust, and justice would be done. He breathed heavy and closed his eyes.
He felt a sting in his wrists and heard a clatter of metal upon the stone floor. “Wha?” he exclaimed.
“What do you think you’re doing?” General Kenyon roared. He’d come in through the open door, his own sword in his hand. The general quickly sheathed his weapon and picked up Blake’s.
“I…General Kenyon….I….” Blake panted.
“You were about to deprive Hyrule of one of its best soldiers, that’s what.”
Blake gave him a haunted look. “Kenyon, I killed him. I killed Link. How am I supposed to live with that? I deserve to be executed.”
“Blake…” Kenyon began, “You and I both know very well that it wasn’t you. That was Agunim. His magic was controlling you. It may have been your body, but it was not your mind, your soul. If you had any say in the matter, any at all, we both know that Prince Link would be alive right now.”
“If it weren’t for me… he’d be alive right now…”
Kenyon smacked him across the face. “Stop it,” he said. “He could have killed you easily, and in the state you were in, he would have been well within the bounds of honor. He chose not to. Link spared you. He gave you your life, and you’re ready to throw it away! If you want to honor him, live.”
Blake hung his head. “I am deeply sorry, sir.”
“I am taking your sword. I want you out of my army until you can pull yourself together. Go home to your parents. Spend some time with your family. Seek out the mind-healers.”
A figure rode through the yard outside the windows. Both Blake and Kenyon turned to look at it. It was a cloaked person riding a black horse.
“How did he get past the guards?” Kenyon asked himself before bolting out to halt the shadow.
Zelda paced a lonely hallway, carpeted in red, hung with tapestries. Every once in a while, she’d pause to look outside a window, sighing. The sunset was so beautiful; it made her sniff back tears. She and Link had shared many sunsets together, just like this, yet different. Every sunset was different – the nuances of color, the light-tinged clouds against the sky, none of them ever remained the same. Zelda preferred the sunrise, because it was the beginning of a day. Twilight always felt sad to her, because it was an ending. Link preferred sunsets. For him, it was a simple matter: He didn’t like getting out of bed early enough to see sunrises, if he could help it.
He’d said he’d seen his fill of them when he was in Termina – and the same set of three, over and over again. He’d also said it always rained on the second day. Zelda wondered if Link was watching the sunset now – if he could from the land of the dead. She told herself that the Goddesses were taking care of him now, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right. Perhaps she was being selfish for feeling that this happened too soon. She didn’t want the Goddesses to take care of him: she wanted to take care of him.
It was said that, in the hour of twilight, that the world of those that had passed on and the world of living intersected. Zelda imagined, briefly, that Link was here, beside her. After all, it was said that when Hyrule was in greatest danger, that the Hero of Time would appear. Already, talk abounded that Link would come back someday, when the kingdom had need of him. Zelda looked at a pair of tapestries bordering one of the windows. On the right was a graceful unicorn against a field of grass and flowers. On the left, against a similar field, was a rampant gryphon. The unicorn was a symbol of innocence and grace. The gryphon was an animal symbolic of protection. Zelda wondered if she should have the gryphon taken down.
She turned around and gasped sharply. A figure stood at the end of the hallway. Her hand subconsciously went to the small dagger that she kept on her belt for personal protection. She did not draw it, but she prepared to. “Are you lost, sir?” she asked. “I normally receive guests and pleas in the Throne Room, and not right now. I am still in mourning. Minister Ayato will be happy to see you.”
The black-cloaked figure stepped closer to her. “I am here only to see you,” it said softly. It was a man’s voice, quiet and familiar. He stepped closer, into the hallway’s lamplight. He gently pulled the hood back from his head. Zelda’s heart nearly stopped. He smiled sweetly and his blue eyes shined with life.
“L-Link?” Zelda asked cautiously, stepping toward him.
She tentatively touched his face. “But… you’re dead. You died next to me. I woke up next to you and you were dead!”
He hugged her and let her cry into his shoulder. “It was fate that I come back to you,” Ganondorf said with Link’s soft voice. “It was fate that things be set right.”
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