Chapter 3: Destiny, Manifest and Otherwise
“Our poor, dear Wolf…” the Gerudo king, Xanboru, said before the bonfire, “our other names for him are the Chase Hero and the Virgin.”
“Hey!” Link yelped. Ilia, seated beside him, stifled a snort. Colin, sitting nearby, blushed as a young Gerudo woman shot a smile in his direction.
“It is nothing to be ashamed of,” one of the Xanboru’s wives said as she moved closer to her husband, holding his toned, tan arm, “though there are many of us who would have Wolf, his dedication is admirable. We understand the Hylian beliefs about lifelong pledges and how some chose to save themselves. Our people simply lack that luxury. Most of us prefer the willing.”
“Prefer?” Colin inquired.
“A few of us can get a little overzealous when ‘in cycle.’ Lilan tried to ravage Wolf the last time he visited us. He fought and it took three of our warriors to pry her from him. It was fortunate that he wore thick pants that were not easy to tear.”
“If you’ll excuse me, this is embarrassing,” Link groused as he got up. “I’m going to patrol the edge of camp. I’ll be back when you’ve finished talking about my love life and lack thereof.”
“Wolf!” Ilia entreated as he quickly walked off.
“Don’t get up,” Xanboru ordered her. “Let him go. I can tell that you wish to comfort him, but it is futile.”
“Futile? You embarrassed him! You hurt him!”
“He is hurt,” Xanboru sighed, “but it is a pain that runs deep. ‘Virgin’ is quite an honorable title to us; it is something that bespeaks fortitude. I do not know why some of the Hylia race find it so troubling. You see, the Wolf is in mourning still. The wolves of the mountains around here mate for life and are not easy to recover if they lose a partner. The Wolf we know is not so different.”
“He… had someone?” Ilia asked.
“Yes,” Xanboru said with a nod of his handsome head. “He told me about her. She was someone he’d met during the Twilight War in your country. They saw each other through many battles.”
“I don’t remember him having a girlfriend,” Colin said, speaking up, “then again, with being kidnapped, and Ilia missing, and almost being killed and spending so much time in bed, I would have missed a lot. That time changed me – it changed all of us… I just don’t remember him mentioning anything to me about chasin’ girls.”
Ilia hung her head. “I didn’t remember much at all. The trauma caused a partial amnesia. L- Wolf… Wolf brought my memories back.”
“Esperanza,” Xanboru said to the woman at his side, “Bring some food.”
The woman got up. Xanboru leaned forward. “It would seem that his sorrow must run deep to not speak to his closest friends.”
“He left our village soon after the crisis was over,” Ilia explained, “I suppose it left scars on us all. Li-uh, Wolf… never was one to share his pain. He was always tough. Even as a little kid, whenever he got a scrape or something, he’d quietly take care of it rather than cry.”
“He weeps on the inside,” Xanboru said.
“Did she… die?” Ilia asked. “The person he told you he met?”
“No,” the Gerudo leader said. “He and she were of different worlds. She had to return to hers. He tried to find her for a while. That is how he first met the Tantari Tribe. He’d learned from a friend of his – a scholar - that our people and the people of the one he loved were, in a way, connected. He was hoping to find her again. It was impossible, but he became our friend, anyway. He has stood with us against Bulbin raiders and fought with us in our games. His prowess in battle is quite impressive. Your caravan should feel very safe with him in it.”
“Oh, we do,” Ilia said with a nod.
“Why is it that you call him the Wolf?” Colin asked innocently. “Ilia and I know him by another name, but we promised to use his nickname in mixed company.”
“Ah, yes,” Xanboru replied. “I know his true name – it is a famous name and that is why he does not wish to use it. He does not want the fame.”
“He’s got beast-eyes,” Neeru said. Neeru was the girl who’d been making dove-eyes at Colin and was Xanboru’s eldest daughter. She was not “in cycle,” however, and would have been forbidden to take him into her tent, anyway as her father felt her too young to breed as yet. “That man’s eyes are fierce like those of a wolf.”
“He speaks with them, as well,” Xanboru said. “He’ll howl to the mountains and get a whole pack replying. There’s another legend about him, but it is a silly story, for children. He likes to tell it to our children.”
“What’s that?” Colin asked.
“He says he can turn into a wolf,” Neeru laughed. “He likes to scare our little ones with werewolfos stories.”
“That man is the very same one I knew as a girl,” said someone who was approaching the bonfire. A very old woman shambled along in thick robes. She moaned as she sat down next to her king.
“Guinan,” the man said.
“Can’t an old woman rest her ancient bones beside the fire?” she asked.
Colin raised his head as he heard giggling behind him. A pair of people were dancing around in the dark, holding each other and spinning. It was one of the Gerudo tribeswomen and one of the caravan’s young men, Brandon. He was just a few years older than Colin and the pair had just come out of one of the tents.
’s clothes were wrinkled and loose, his shirt not tucked in. Brandon
“We’re leaving in the morning,” Colin said absentmindedly. “
talks about falling in love. I guess he got his wish.” Brandon
“Love, pah!” Guinan spat, “That boy cannot stay with us… his like would never survive. If he leaves in the morning, he won’t see her again – not unless the next year brings her a son. I hope he’s aware of that.”
“I don’t think he is…” Colin trailed off.
“Some folk think we’re just a stop-off for love,” Guinan said. “Victims of the biology Farore gave us, we are.”
“I think I could stand being a proper Hylian wife,” Neeru said, again looking at Colin, “Devoted to one…if he were the right person.”
“Bad image… part of why our people were almost wiped out,” Guinan said. She drew a small pendant from her robes and stroked it in an act almost like superstitious devotion. It was a clear glass oval in which was encased a braided lock of hair – gray with red streaks.
“That’s pretty,” Ilia said, “what is it?”
Guinan held it out for her to look, careful of the cord that bound it around her wrinkled neck. “It is a lock of hair from our ancient leader, Nabooru. She gave it to my mother before she died – right before she died.”
“I am over three centuries old, child,” Guinan began. “Not all of us live so long, but with the right health-spells and right eating, a Gerudo woman can live long, indeed. I am the eldest of the Tantari Tribe.”
“She is our medicine-woman,” Xanboru explained, “high in wisdom and revered.”
“Granny’s a survivor,” Neeru said in proud awe.
“Indeed, I am,” the old woman said. “I was one of those taken to the Arbiters’ Grounds.”
“B-But…” Ilia stuttered, “That place was for Hyrule’s worst criminals!”
“I was a young woman,” Guinan explained, “Just a young woman, with my mother and my aunts. The place was a defilement. The Grounds were once our ancient Spirit Temple where we gave devotion to the Goddess of the Sands – a manifestation of Din, but the Hylia didn’t understand that – called her an idol, a wicked goddess, somehow got it in their empty heads that we made human sacrifices to her. The first of us to be executed there was supposedly the ‘great’ Ganondorf, whom we had already rejected. You know all about him, I’m sure. Doesn’t seem the execution took, now did it? After that, our people had peace, for a time – for as long as the Hero of Time lived – not long, the poor boy - and for as long as Queen Zelda of Destiny survived.”
“Of Destiny…” Ilia mouthed. There had been a long tradition in the Hylian Royal Family of naming firstborn daughters – or granddaughters as the case may be, “Zelda.” None knew anymore how this tradition had started – supposedly from a single princess who’d been much loved and revered. Much like the Sacred Heroes, the monarchs had particular titles to distinguish them. So far, there had been a “Hero of Time” and at least one other before him, known, that some titled “Of the Sky” or “The Skyward Hero.” Link was being called – in Hyrule – the “Hero of Twilight,” though some referred to him as the “Hero of Light.” The current Queen Zelda had accepted, upon her coronation, the title “Zelda of Nocturne.”
“What happened after that…” Guinan said with a shudder, “Most of it I will not tell a young, pretty thing like you. I would not want to give you my nightmares. King Wexley Nohansen, the grandson of Zelda of Destiny, upon taking the throne knew only a little of the history of our people. He knew enough to know that Ganondorf was from us. He chose to purge us from the land – to destroy all of us, down to the very last, most innocent and harmless child.”
“Full-genocide,” Colin breathed.
“Yes,” Guinan answered. “Wexley was afraid. He feared another like Ganondorf would rise. He rounded up all of our tribes and brought us to the Arbiters’ Grounds for systematic execution. One could say it was because he feared our genes, but the truth is, he just hated us. He thought we were lesser beings, and a corrupting influence. Nabooru… gave this lock of hair to my mother right before being taken to her execution. She wanted us to remember her strength and thought that since she was a Sage for a while – at least in the time-outside-of-time she always talked about, that a piece of her might bring us good luck. She was killed by hanging. She enabled us to escape our prison, however. Nabooru had managed to smuggle some black powder into the cell my family was in and hid it beneath the floorboards. All it needed was a simple spark. She went to her execution easily because it served as distraction enough for us to use her little gift. We freed other families and fled west.”
“That’s so sad…” Ilia whispered.
“Xanboru is Nabooru’s descendant,” Guinan stated. “He is the first male to be born to us since Ganondorf. He carries Nabooru’s courage.”
“You do me too much compliment, old one,” Xanboru said.
Guinan looked off into the night, past the fire. “The coming of the settlers has been of help to us in this era, but I fear what it might bring. I fear with many coming from Hyrule, the past may repeat itself. Our people may fade away.”
“We… don’t want war at all,” Ilia said, “at least not our group. We’re just seeking a new life. Our Goron wants to stake out new mountains, for his people are increasing and crowding up the
area. The Zora couple we have with us… the people of Hyrule will not let them settle in waters outside the Zora’s Domain, so they seek freedom. We have a pair of ‘sisters’ with us – Sherry and Terri. They aren’t really sisters, if you know what I mean. They have trouble being themselves in Hyrule proper. I want to have my own land, something not owned by my father. Colin… just wants to see what he could see. Our wagon train doesn’t want strife with anyone we all want…” Death Mountain
“Is to be free,” Guinan finished for her, “Just like we do.”
She clasped her wrinkled hands over Ilia’s and looked to the edge of camp, where Link stood, looking up at the sickle-moon.
“I knew that boy in another life,” she said. “He is your Hero. The Hero’s soul does not rest like most normal souls do. I have lived long enough to see many lifetimes come and go. Known reincarnates are relatively rare. He does not know who he was, though. He probably sees images of past life in dreams, but he may never know the truth. I was a friend to his past self – when I was a child, before the purges. He would have never let them happened had he lived.”
“Had he lived..?”
“The Hero of Time died as one would expect of a Hero – he gave his life to protect another. I think that’s just the way of the Goddesses’ Heroes. They complete their Great Task and then the soul is called to rest early, so as to prepare it for the next Great Task. I’ve seen the way you look at our Wolf. Careful of that, child. He may not last very much longer.”
“He’s a survivor,” Ilia said. “He always has been.”
“With good people like him… like you… I’m not as worried about Hyrule’s future, or ours as I used to be. There was a time when our warriors would never have let your kind into our camp – at least not a wagon train with women and families. People like the Wolf, like you and your friends… you’re… you’re good people.”
With that, Guinan patted Ilia’s hands, then got up and shambled off. Ilia was left to watch her go and wonder at her words.
The trail winds ever onward…
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