Chapter 3: Decay
“Daddy, do that trick!”
“Yeah, Daddy, please?”
Ganondorf sat in a beautifully carved wooden chair, Link’s son and daughter seated on each of his knees. They were beautiful children, or well-bred at least, for the Hylian stock. They each had every feature that made for the “perfect Hylian,” – fair skin, fair hair, sparkling eyes, faces with soft skin and good symmetry, and those long mule-ears. Kafei and Zelda Anju’s ears were not especially lengthy yet, but the ears would grow as they did. Ganondorf guessed that they might even grow to be longer than their parents’ ears. The children had a perfectly balanced mixture of features from both their mother and father. If they had been Gerudian-horse foals, their breeder would have been proud.
“Trick?” Ganondorf asked. He didn’t think he’d ever get used to using Link’s voice. It was a voice that was both confident and quiet, a gentle kind of voice. It did not feel natural to the soul within the body. Ganondorf used these vocal cords, but they did not resonate the same way his own had. He missed having power and a sense of fierce authority in his speech.
“Yeah, Daddy!” Zelda Anju spoke up, “How you walk thorough walls!”
“Hmm?” Gannondorf asked, “Walk through walls?”
“You did it for us before…” Kafei said with a pout.
“Alright, let me up,” Ganondorf said. He walked up to the south wall of the children’s bedroom and walked into the wall, pressing his face against it. Kafei and Zelda Anju squealed in laughter.
“Daddy!” Anju scolded, “That’s not right!”
Impa entered the room. “Children, it is time for your lessons.”
“But we were playing with Daddy!”
“Your father has his own business to attend to. The lessons will not be long. Come on now.”
Ganondorf nodded and smiled to Impa as she took Link’s brats to their daily lessons. They were very well-bred, but in the end, Ganon hated those mule-ears. The people of this
were stupid. The ancestral Hylian features were held up as signs of great beauty and destiny. The long ears were especially prized. It wasn’t much unlike the treatment his own people gave the “purebloods” of the Gerudo - his own daughters. However, the idiots of this kingdom actually saw the Hylian breed as a superior race. Surely, not everyone did, but enough of the population treated the mule-eared people as though they were holy and could do no wrong to make him sick. They were called “The Benevolent Race,” blessed of and considered a blessing of the triune Goddesses. kingdomof Hyrule
“Benevolent,” indeed. It was this breed above all others that pushed the Gerudo into the deserts in ancient times and kept them there in modern times. Ganondorf remembered a time he’d been a boy of fifteen years and he’d been a part of a rescue party sent out to take back members of a raiding party that had been captured by Hyruelan soldiers. He remembered coming upon their camp at the desert’s edge. He remembered the rough Hylian soldier in heavy armor pushing around the disarmed and shackled women. The men in the camp had laughed - Hylians and humans - as they hit them and groped them. Ganondorf recalled that soldier most of all – tall, with long ears like blades.
Children cried in that camp. The raiding party had been in a training exercise – A few of the women had brought along their daughters. A little girl had cried loudly as the big Hylian beat her mother with a slat of flat iron. The man drew a small knife from his belt and slit the woman’s throat. He swiftly turned, grabbed the child and cut her throat, as well. The fury of the Gerudo came upon that camp that night. Ganondorf, himself, had wounded that Hylian soldier and had stood above him, watching the fear in his eyes just before he took the knife off his belt and cut his throat to mingle the man’s blood with that of his people.
Ganondorf had been biding his time with palace life. It was fully believed that the Hero of Time had come back to them, that he had risen from the dead, and that he had been given this blessing by the Goddesses. It gave Ganondorf, or “Link,” more precisely, an almost godlike status among the people of Hyrule. People bowed wherever he went. They fawned upon him. They asked him to favor their children with a touch. A few sick individuals asked him if he was capable of healing them. He wasn’t, but he’d send them off with a few vague words. Ganondorf put up with it all, for the time being.
He knew that he was yet unable to open the Gate of Time. The Triforce had left its three bearers once he’d been defeated and Link had traveled back to his own time. The bearers were still possessed of an “essence” of the piece of the Triforce they’d once held – or at least, Link and Zelda were. Ganondorf could feel the small sensation – the “impression” left by the Triforce of Courage within Link’s body. In any case, he knew that to have ultimate power, he needed to open the Gate of Time, and for that, he needed to take the Master Sword, which was resting in the
. He had Link’s body now, which he’d once thought was the key to that, but he found whenever he drew near to the Temple of Time, he grew very weary and dizzy, so much that he’d collapsed once, and so much that he could not approach the doors without feeling violently ill. Templeof Time
The fact that he’d coughed up a syrupy black ichor when he’d stepped upon the first entranceway step disturbed him the most. It was fortuitous that no one had seen that, for the palace physicians would have insisted upon examining him. As much as his spirit and taken over, there were aspects of his body that did not seem to be under his full control, particularly aspects that did not seem as fully “alive,” as they should be.
Ganondorf wandered down into the castle dungeon. No one was incarcerated here at the moment and, though lonely and dark, it did not hold the same aura as the old dungeon did. It had been rebuilt, just like the rest of the castle. The prison’s stone bricks were new and neatly cut. There was something sanitary about it, “virgin,” even. He caught sight of a shadowed figure waiting outside a cell – just the person he wanted to see.
“Did you have any trouble entering the palace grounds?”
“Not at all. You shall have to hire better guards once you take over.”
“There have been… complications.”
“I imagine. Thera is working tirelessly to find a way to perfect the bondspell.”
“Tell her to work harder! Quicker! I got a scratch on my arm today. It didn’t bleed red. It bled dark brown…. Ichor, rot-blood. I wake up to pale skin and must cake on make-up before that fool Hylian queen wakes up. She’s been asking why I’ve been merely picking at my food. I believe the digestive organs are already beginning to decay, and the sword-wounds are sealed but they never completely healed.”
Givanna sniffed the air. “There is no noticeable odor of death,” she stated.
“I can feel this body rotting all around me,” Ganondorf said. “It is work to will the blood to flow and to keep myself warm. I have to channel much of my will to keep from going stiff. He is quite dead, Givanna, and I will not be again!”
“You need nourishment,” Givana said. She brushed her right arm and wrist with her left hand, sending a glowing red aura into it. It was a share of magic she knew. She, as well as a few of the other Children of Guinan had, in turn, been meeting Ganondorf here in the royal dungeon every three or four days.
Givana took a dagger from her hip and slashed her right wrist twice. The magical aura joined with her flowing blood. Ganondorf took her wrist into his mouth and suckled the warm fluid. He began to feel stronger, warmer, and more limber.
“Blood for blood,” Givanna said, “Life for life. Unfortunately, Thera believes that the problem is with the ‘sacred flesh.”
“Sacred flesh?” Ganondorf inquired, looking up for a moment. He ran his tongue roughly across Givanna’s wounds.
Givanna winced. “Yes. ‘The sacred flesh rejects the wicked soul.’ Thera believes that Link’s body may actually be actively rejecting your spirit.”
“How can that be?” Ganondorf spat. Givanna took her wrist back and made quick work of bandaging it tightly. “I am not an infection – he is dead! A corpse doesn’t have a will of its own!”
“Bide your time, father,” Givanna answered. “Your rule is soon at hand.”
In the meantime, Ganondorf had his silent revenge. In the deep of the evening he held her close as they danced to the songs of the court musicians in the grand hall. She might have been the queen of Hyrule now, but to Ganondorf, she was still the foolish little princess. Why the Triforce of Wisdom had chosen her those many years ago was beyond him. She had no idea with whom she was truly dancing. A smile came to his lips as he thought about how truly vanquished Link was. Not only did he die, but his wife was in the arms of another man – a man she thought was him.
And he’d cut that pretty little throat of hers when the time was right for it. When it happened, she’d be looking up into his eyes – Link’s eyes. Such delicious betrayal. Would he tell her then who he truly was, or would she let the dying girl believe it was the man she loved killing her? First, he needed to secure his place in the royal household, see if he could get that “prince” business changed – his “resurrected hero” status would surely help with that. More importantly, he had to find a way to break the seal on the Gate of Time. Until he could figure it out, he needed to play the games and he needed his darling Thera to secure his hold on life. Then this country - nay, the entire world – would be his again. His people – those of his personal choosing – would inherit the land long denied to them and all who did not bow to him would have their wills broken. Hyrule would once again lay in beautiful devastation. Blood would be spilled for blood. Life would be given for life. Was it justice, or merely greed? Ganondorf did not care.
Zelda held “Link” close. It had been a month since he had come back to her? Yes, that long. The children insisted that he had never left – had never died. They claimed they’d seen him in the hallways and in their room during those few days he’d been laid out down in the palace funeral parlor. It was an easy thing to dismiss it as just childish imagination, but Zelda knew by experience that the words of children should be listened to the same as those of adults. It broke her heart when she heard her little son and daughter talk about that, but she had come to the thought that they must have inherited her talent for premonition. They had known that their father was coming back, so to them, he had never left.
She was careful in being close to him, for though he’d had his life given back to him, he still had deep wounds. He had pulled the stitches out himself – that was Link, reckless and unnecessarily brave, no doubt he’d insisted on doing it himself just to be “macho” – but the scars left behind on his torso were quite ugly. Zelda wanted him to be as close as he could be to her at any opportunity, but she did not wish to hurt him. The young queen wanted to cling to him, for a deep fear of losing him again. She savored the feel of his broad shoulders, the rise and fall of his chest as he drew breath, his scent…
His scent had been strange lately. Zelda could not place it – it was a strange, sweet scent, like flowers left in a vase for too long, or a summer garden where the tomato plants hadn’t been watered. It was light, but it teased her senses and she did not like it at all. Link always smelled of grass, of leaves, of steel, and oftentimes, a mild scent of horse mingled with male sweat. He didn’t “stink,” exactly, it was just a strange, mild, sweet odor that, for one reason or another, sent a stirring in her soul and disturbed her on a deep, subconscious level.
She felt something warm and hard against her thigh. She felt the blood rush up in her cheeks. “You’re… a bit excited,” she said to her partner.
“So I am,” Ganondorf said with the feigned cheerful embarrassment of a young man.
Zelda waved her hand to dismiss the minstrels. “Shall we go up to the bedroom?” she asked, looking into “Link’s” blue eyes, “Are you ready for us to… right now? With your wounds?”
“I am alright, my princess,” Ganondorf said with a kiss to her hand. “Shall we?”
“I haven’t been the princess for a while, you know.”
“You will always be my princess.”
They walked together up the winding stairway to the royal bedchamber. “Link” nodded to the guard to signal him to leave to give them their privacy before they entered and drew the door behind them. As Ganondorf delicately assisted Zelda in removing her clothing, he paused to admire her supple flesh. It was such a beautiful color, like sand, or rose petals, pale and pink. Her body wasn’t quite as robust as that of a Gerudo woman. He was sure he would kill her if he’d had his native body.
Her hands unlaced his tunic and trailed over his chest, careful of the wounds he would not say caused him no pain whatsoever. They were soft hands. The women he’d remembered being with all had hands that were rough and calloused. He lay over her on the spacious bed. He bent over her and began kissing her neck…. Yes… the soft skin of a kept, royal woman, scented with perfume that smelled like flowers – not like the spices the women of his people wore. He could feel her veins beating beneath her skin. He felt her hands on his back. One of them trailed to grab his right buttock. He trailed down with his kisses and let his tongue trail over her soft breast. He felt his need and could not hold back. He bit down.
“Link!” Zelda yelped. “That hurt!”
His lips found her neck again, her throat. So tempted he was to bite down and rip it out, but other regions of his borrowed body were enjoying her warmth and life. He felt a very strange presence in this room, like a lingering memory. Beyond the enlivening sensations of sex and conquest were sparks of emotion, thick and cold like fog. They were feelings of deep sorrow and loneliness, helplessness and deep, deep anger. Gannondorf dismissed them. He was not sure from where they were emanating, but he knew that, like this body he was using, they were not his.
“Link! Stop it! You don’t have to be so rough! You’re hurting me!”
Ganondorf paused in mid-thrust. He pinned the young queen’s hands firmly against the bed. “Is that any way to treat one who’s recently come back from the dead?” he asked.
“Are you okay, Link?” Zelda asked. Ganondorf felt her body shiver in fear beneath his. “This isn’t like you!” she exclaimed. “If you want to try something new, I’ll understand, but please, you really are hurting me.”
Ganondorf knew then that she must have seen the gleam in his eyes, the gleam of a conqueror, exulting in victory. He drew his mouth close to her ear. “I haven’t had this in a while,” he whispered, “You are my wife and you will humor me.”
He continued his onslaught and she yelped and cried. He saw something like a shadow in his peripheral vision. It was like a shadow, but it was made of pale light. He felt a wind slice through him, but nothing more. He turned his head and saw it more clearly. It was obvious that Zelda did not see the same thing that he was seeing, nor did she give any indication of hearing what he heard. The voice was the very same one he’d been using for the past month, only it spoke with a boldness he had not heard since the great battle in his old tower.
“Get. Off. Her. Leave. Her. Alone!”
Ganondorf laughed. The ghost was a sketchy figure, like a drawing in reversed white and black. It rather amused him that the shade was carrying a spectral version of the Master Sword. It obviously did not carry the true blade’s power, as the cuts Link made to him passed through him like mere cold breezes.
So this was the source of that anger he’d felt, and more so, that helplessness. “She doesn’t see you,” Ganondorf whispered. Another hard thrust. “Quite the stamina to this body…”
The ghost’s face twisted in an expression of pure, murderous rage. Link’s spirit swung at his body madly, as though he were trying to cut it to pieces, to no avail.
“Poor little fairyboy… Cannot save his princess. She doesn’t even hear our ‘conversation’ over her own screams, does she? Do not worry. I will not kill her. I would need my own body for that.”
The spectral Master Sword dove and dug into his chest and swung for his neck. Ganondorf thought he could see the ghost shedding sparkling tears. He wondered when Link would just fade off and leave him to his “romance,” but having him around made it much more fun and much more stimulating.
Zelda was firmly in a world of her own, a world of pain and shock. She’d asked him to stop, why hadn’t he? Link was always gentle with her, caring, more concerned with her pleasure than his own, even. What had gone wrong? Why was he doing this? Was this some kind of punishment for letting him die? Something wasn’t right.
Ganondorf separated from her and lay gasping beside her on the bed. He soon fell asleep. Zelda lay shivering, staring at the young Hylian beside her – the husband she did not know. She did not see nor sense the presence of the ghost that stood beside the bed, trying to hold her hand and stoke her cheek with his incorporeal fingers. She did not feel the tears shed upon her chest.
Later the following day, Zelda would come to attribute Link’s strange behavior to a fever – something he was surely suffering from because of his unhealed wounds - and would attend to his sickbed quietly.
But a large part of her knew that something wasn’t right.
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