Chapter XVI - Resolve
I had become used to forgetting.
The first year, I did nothing to ease the pain; I reveled in it, for I feared forgetting precious memories, clinging to the painful joy they wrought within me. I succumbed to the darkness; to nightmares that plagued me… I became hollow.
Wishing for nothing, needing nothing… and believing in nothing.
The pleas of the healers, my father and Impa could not sway me to turn from the past, to move forward; my mind was prisoner to my heart.
Then, in the solitude of my chamber, on the blackest of nights, voices—beautifully haunting—stirred me.
"My child, despair no longer."
"Thou art not alone; thy lamentings do not go unheard."
"Thou must live. For it is only through thee that others shall be granted life."
Whether I imagined the voices or if they were the Goddesses themselves… it was then I realized, my life was not only meant for myself… I was needed; I could not live selfishly any longer. I was the Princess of Hyrule and if I was to endure, to live for the sake of others, I must rely on my own strength. I would rid myself of all deplorable mannerisms, of all binding and weakening feelings for one reason.
To move on.
The second year, I delved into the forbidden magics, and learned how to defend my mind against my heart. I suffered greatly in my practices, the outcomes many times having the reverse effect. One wrong word, one mispronounced character, and my memories came to life…
Thus, I relived them.
Nevertheless, I summoned all my strength to overcome myself, overcome the shadows within me, and during the third year, my talent of memory suppression became nigh perfect…
And I became dependent on its use. It was a secret none suspected… save but one.
Alas, ever since I had become betrothed to Ganondorf… I could feel the strength of my spells waning. Ever since the night of Autumn Leaf… more and more memories slipped through the cracks, painting themselves with perfect clarity from the recesses of my heart.
I did not understand what caused this weakness or why my hidden recollections appeared so frequently and at such strange times. Had my resolve to forget lessened since the day I began practice?
I had yet to find a light to cast away the remaining clouds of darkness.
Two days before we were to leave for Haladin, I awoke in the middle of the night, breathing heavily, my nightgown soaked with a thin layer of sweat.
I had dreamt of a fogged landscape, bleak and dull in color, filled with terrifying creatures screaming ominously and tearing into everything…and everyone. I heard chilling cries of pain echo from all around and found metal and blood riddled across the land.
As I lay there muddling through my thoughts, I calmed myself and swept the visions of horror away and waited for sleep to come; it did not for some time.
It was late morning when the haze of sleep subsided. I called for my handmaids to prepare a warm bath for me, and they thoughtfully poured in lavender oil to scent the water. All the tension I had been feeling since the night before melted away as I slipped into the water, and I closed my eyes, drifting into a peaceful state. I tried to think of positive things that would come from the journey to the Haladin, but nothing came to mind. It would be dull, filled with many tiring introductions and false flatteries. I doubted the change of scenery would prove better than Hyrule for Haladin lie to the north and in the Autumn season, it would be even colder than it was in Hyrule. It would take three days to reach the border, and another two to reach the capital, Angola. The idea of traveling for so long in the confines of a carriage had me cursing Ganondorf even more.l
I had only agreed to go in order to appease my father, not wanting to cause him shame, yet how could I tell him I did not trust the man to be my husband? The man who would someday govern Hyrule and Haladin? I hoped this journey would reveal more of his devious nature to expose him…
"Be wary of ones you call friends, be wary of ones you deem enemies…"
I slipped my head under the water, trying to deafen the voice. Would there be no rest from this?
"Ignorance will not bring relief… insolent girl."
I was caught of guard and accidentally inhaled the water as my eyes flew open. I sat up, coughing and gasping as I rubbed the stinging water from my eyes.
…The voice, like the rasping of the dead… had belonged to the old crone in the mirror.
I shivered despite the warm water, and quickly rose from the bath to dry myself off; I had to stop these whisperings; I felt I was going mad. I could not help but recall what happened the day before or my dreams; it had been nearly four and a half years since I felt that peculiar sensation on my hand and dreamt such terrible things.
So strange were the events of late, I reluctantly put aside my indifference and my desire to ignore these matters. If I listened… would they cease to plague me?
I then decided to begin my search for an answer anew, hoping I would not regret it. I dressed as I thought on where I would begin; how I wished Impa had not gone; her words had always been a sort of comfort.
I sent my handmaids to inquire of any news of Impa, but they returned with none. I was dismayed by her sudden disappearance and concerned that I had yet to hear any word from her. As my caretaker, she usually told me of her exact whereabouts, whatever the errand. I thanked my handmaids and began to gather my things for the journey. I carefully chose more elaborate dresses, made of the finest quality. Though I was not so concerned with appearances, I had a title to uphold; it was my duty.
Impa was usually the one to help me with such trivial things as dressing myself, but the handmaids insisted on helping me choose headpieces and jewelry to take. They then neatly packed my belongings into a traveling trunk. However, the latch would not lock and they apologized, offering to find another. I declined their offer and thought of trying magic to get it to lock in their absence.
The excitement of realization coursed through me and I quickly excused myself from my handmaids whilst they began cleaning my chambers and left to find the one who taught me forbidden magics.
The wise mage, Sahasrahla; surely he would have answers to the mark upon my hand!
I hurried to the northwest end of the castle, avoiding the main hallways so I would not be found. I came upon a narrow stairwell and descended into the lower level of a smaller turret. I knocked on the door of Sahasrahla's study and heard an impatient grunt.
Opening the heavy door, I found Sahasrahla sitting in his chair, staring out the stained glass window behind him. He almost looked to be a part of the chair, his dull, yellow overcoat draping over the armrests, his head resting against its back, breathing slowly and deeply.
"Good afternoon, Professor Sahasrahla."
He stiffened in surprise, and turned around slowly, a white brow raised. "Goddesses… Princess Zelda…?"
"How do you fare?" I asked, inclining my head.
He feebly stood from his chair and respectfully took his small yellow cap off with a bow. "Decent, I suppose," he answered with hesitance, placing the cap back on his head. He stared at me for a moment before continuing. "It's been ages, my dear. Can my favorite learner not manage a visit from time to time? It is so mind-numbing to teach those children of the court… so dull and ungrateful," he grumbled.
I smiled guiltily. "Lady Impa did forbid me from meeting with you again… besides I have been occupied…."
Sahasrahla grunted. "Yes, with that foreigner prince, I am aware of that… but then why are you here, risking further provocation to Lady Impa?"
"…She has gone to Kakariko."
He sighed. "Shame she accused me of 'corruption'; there was much more I wished to teach you, more to challenge you with, such as telepathy." He then paused. "Not that I should blame Lady Impa; there are many who would treat you with hostility should they learn of your superior magic skills; such a pity magic isn't widely practiced anymore," he lamented. "The nobles' children complain of its difficulty. Hylians can be such cowards… can you believe many think magic evil? They fear their heritage rather than embrace it!"
I fought back a grin; Sahasrahla's rants knew no bounds. He was a famed scholar whose ancestors had served the royal family for centuries. He was fortunate his reputation—and age—saved him from Impa; she had threatened to expose his learning of ancient magics if he did not cease my private lessons. Though he was a blunt, impatient, and irritable instructor, I was fond of him nevertheless. He had taught me magics that he had mastered and even challenged me to spells he dared not try. I mastered many of them, but there was still much to learn. I was disappointed my lessons had to cease; Sahasrahla never questioned the reason behind my wanting to learn forbidden magics… nor did he ever question my sanity.
"Twas' my fault we were discovered, Professor; I never was talented in the art of deception," I said with a laugh.
Sahasrahla frowned, his wrinkles deepening. "… Is honesty such an awful thing?"
"A circumstantial matter indeed," I replied indifferently.
"Never desire such a repulsive trait," he said in a low voice. "It does not befit a queen."
I bowed my head. "Forgive me."
He merely nodded. "Now then, to what do I owe this blessed, rare visit?"
"There is something I wish to show you," I said, suddenly a little apprehensive. I thought highly of my instructor; I did not want him to scoff at my childish fears. Sahasrahla simply waited for me to continue. I unhooked the sleeve clasp from my finger and took a step forward. "What think you of this?" I asked quietly as I showed him the back of my hand.
Sahasrahla's bushy white brows furrowed, hooding eyes. "Hm… very interesting; you would have gone to the imbecile Eurick had this been caused from injury…"
I bit my lip to hide my amusement. "I did, years go, but his answer… was..."
"Inadequate, yes, as expected." Sahasrahla coughed as he laughed. "So many wasted months tutoring him on ancient medicinal potions," he added with disapproval. "Sit! Sit down, my dear, while I think." I took a seat on a stool across from his desk and folded my arms in my lap. Sahasrahla reached for a worn book beneath a pile of parchment and began flipping through it, all the while stroking his long white beard.
"Interesting… very interesting," he said some minutes later.
"What is it?"
He glanced at me and then to my hand. "That shape upon your hand calls to mind our symbol of worship…"
A peculiar feeling of warmth flooded through me, and I thought I heard a whisper in my ear, begging me to listen.
"Upon first glance, I thought it the Triforce."
Mouth slightly agape, I shook my head, ignoring the whisper, and furrowed my brows. "That… that cannot be. How can these markings form the Triforce?" I could not hide the surprise in my voice.
Sahasrahla frowned and cleared his throat. "I pride myself on knowing the history of Hyrule, and there are many legends of the Triforce that could explain that mark upon your hand."
"Is the Triforce not a mere origin story…lore made up to explain creation?" I asked with more composure.
Sahasrahla shook his head. "That is a matter of belief. I have never seen evidence of its existence, but… there were four wars that began because of the Triforce: the Interloper War, the Hyrulean Civil War, the Seven Year War, and the War of Shadows."
"... So many... was the Triforce their true cause? I was taught-"
"It's been over five-hundred years since the last great war; much has been lost or forgotten... distorted by the views of man."
"…Do you believe in it?" I asked hesitantly.
He stood from his chair and began to pace along his bookshelves. "My predecessors have served the Harkinian family since the first king of Hyrule. I find history, lore, and religion fascinating but I only believe in what the senses feel." Finally he stopped at a bottom shelf and pulled out an enormous book. I rushed over to help him bring it to the table and he nodded in thanks. "Here, perhaps this will shed some light upon this mystery…" He carefully turned to the end of the book and revealed a worn picture. I suddenly remembered the large painting in the north wing that led to the private courtyard I had noticed all those years ago.
Triforce at their hands.
"We worship the Goddesses, Din, Farore, and Nayru, yes?" Sahasrahla asked, his voice shaking the memory from my mind. I focused on the picture before me and saw the Triforce illustrated in the middle of the page, faded, with bloodied hands reaching for it from every direction. My own hand suddenly pulsed and for a moment, the two marks that angled one another, seemed to grow another between them. I clenched my hand, waiting for the pulsation to stop when suddenly, a complete shape appeared.
I stared at it, bewildered. What is happening to me? Then I blinked… and the shape of the Triforce disappeared.
"—Right?" Sahasrahla prompted.
"Ah," I took a shaky breath, remembering where I was. "Y-yes."
"Well supposedly, the Triforce was an ancient power left behind by the Goddesses. Their essences make up these three triangles." He then pointed to the top triangle. "This one, power, represents Din," His bony finger moved down to the left triangle. "This one, wisdom, represents Nayru, and this one," he said moving to the right, "is courage, Farore's essence."
I weakly nodded my head; I had learned about this in childhood.
"We revere this sacred relic as a symbol for our worship, but many have begun to treat it as a mere cultural emblem. Take for example, the royal family crest; there are few who know the true meaning." Though I did not believe in the Triforce, and did not think others did, was there perhaps more to it? Was the Triforce not just a symbol to represent the Goddesses?
"I understand its representation, however… why it is so revered?"
Sahasrahla's eyes seemed to twinkle. "It is because of the fabled wish. It is said a wish is granted from the heavens themselves if one obtains the Triforce. The Triforce reads the innermost desires… so one could theorize—"
"—The Triforce is a reflection of one's heart."
Sahasrahla smiled knowingly. "Exactly."
"But there is no evidence of its actual existence… how could one find it, let alone obtain it?
"Priest Rauru has allowed me to read some of the manuscripts in the temple, and from what I gather, the Triforce is said to be hidden in the sacred realm."
I wanted to laugh. "Of course the answer is an impossible one." The sacred realm was the place where the Goddesses left this world after they created it. It was said that if you entered the sacred realm, you could speak with the Goddesses themselves on their thrones in the world beyond. However, the entrance was sealed and hidden.
"On the contrary," Sahasrahla began. "There is a legend recorded that a thief from the desert found a way to the sacred realm and forced his way in."
"…I have not heard of this. Is it true?"
He frowned and gave a small shrug. "I am inclined to believe so, for the entrance is rumored to be the Temple of Time. The key is a sacred instrument called the Ocarina of Time—"
"—O-ocarina?" I blurted. Dread washed through me, my heart thumping in anticipation.
"Yes, it had the power to manipulate time, something I find hard to believe, yet..."
"…And... and its whereabouts?"
"Its been lost for centuries… probably destroyed." My heart sunk. Was that ocarina the same I had possessed? I had a terrible suspicion it was. My mother had played it for me when I was a child, telling me it possessed unusual powers and when she died, I took it from her belongings. I had treated such an ancient relic so thoughtlessly. Now it was gone forever…
Swallowing the tension in my throat, I sat back down and kneaded my forehead with my fingers. "This is all very complex. What you have revealed is more than I was taught in childhood." As I muddled through what Sahasrahla had said, I suddenly made a connection; if others believed in such power just as the thief did… their desire would drive them to the ends of the earth in search for it. Did the surrounding countries know of our legends? Of our history just as we knew part of there's? I inquired as much.
"I should think not," Sahasrahla answered. "Albeit, if they did have knowledge of it, their foundation would be simple rumors… changed and lost over the centuries."
I sighed in relief, but was not fully convinced by his ambiguous answer. "…I see. And what became of the thief and the sacred realm?"
"It is written, when the thief laid his hands upon the Triforce, the evil in his heart corrupted the sacred realm. The Triforce split, throwing Hyrule into a period of darkness, what we call the Seven Year War."
His words echoed hollowly. "Split? The Triforce was broken?"
"So the legend says."
"…How did it break?" I pressed, not understanding this intense craving for knowledge of a forgotten past that suddenly took hold of me.
"That I do not know, but the elements that make it one were broken, and the thief was left only with Din's essence of power. The remaining two were hidden, marking their vessels. Nayru's essence of wisdom within the Princess of Destiny and Farore's essence of courage— "
My breath hitched at that familiar title. "The Princess of Density…? The Hero of Time's love?"
Sahasrahla laughed again. "Ah, you've been reading fairytales. A romantic at heart are you?" He teased, patting my hand. "I do not know if they were lovers, but she fought alongside the Hero of Time against the evil thief. It was only by their Triforce pieces they were able to defeat such corruption."
"But with the Triforce broken—"
"—Only with the strength of the other could there have been victory over evil… a bond if you will. While courage and wisdom are admirable gifts, they cannot overcome absolute power on their own…see look," he said as he gestured back to the picture. "Wisdom and courage carry power upon them together; power merely sits… alone."
"Together… yet their essences were still separate…" I mumbled, mostly to myself. "The Triforce was never made whole?"
He shook his head. "Nothing is written as such for in the twilight age, the princess was rumored to possess a mark of the Triforce, as did the Hero of Twilight, and with their divine power, they too overcame a great evil, the very same that caused the War of Shadows..."
"How was it was passed on?" I asked.
"Hm," Sahasrahla grunted. "I just remembered… there was a book I came across in the library a few months ago, give me a moment." He rummaged about his room, papers flying about and dust riddling the air. I stifled a cough and then heard him mumble in triumph. He made his way back over to the desk and set the book next to the picture of the Triforce. He flipped through it carefully and silently, all the while I could not take my eyes off the book…
For it was the same I had found so long ago after I recovered from the wolfo's poison.
"Here, my dear, listen to this:
1127 year of the Civil Age, day of winter's eve:
I, Sage Aginah, keeper of the Temple of the Gods, hath been warned by their holiness, the Goddesses themselves.
Alas, my words, none wilt believe, yet I am pressed to convince Hylia's descendants.
The sacred power will be cast into fragments.
A great evil, hidden in a crown of deception, shall be granted power.
A pure beauty, born of royal blood shall be granted wisdom.
A child, hidden by roots of solitude, given courage.
Yea, by their marks shall we know them.
By divine gifts, they shall be feared and revered,
Alas, their deeds time shall forget.
For the river of time holds history in its flow.
The words felt hopeless, the writer clearly lamenting that his words would fall on deaf ears. A feeling of heaviness descended upon me; I found myself wanting to believe him.
"Do you see, here it speaks of a mark."
"…Yet nothing of inheritance," I pointed out, wavering between trying to dissuade myself from believing and feeling disappointed from the vague answer.
Sahasrahla ignored me. "Yes, but is says 'granted,' otherwise, they were chosen by the Goddesses to wield their power. I theorize of course, but… no matter how far-reaching a story is… there is always a source of truth, and I strive to find it."
I sighed. "I suppose there must be, yet... prophecies... legends... histories... they are woven together like thread; it is hard to believe there is truth to any of it."
Sahasrahla suddenly leaned closer to me with a hint of a smile on his face. "Do you wish to know a secret? I trust you will reveal it to no one." I nodded my head quickly, and his smile appeared fully. "I suspect our history is flawed," he began. "This prophecy hints to reveal as much.
"The legend of the Ocarina of Time is only written in ancient Hylian but I have studied it over many times throughout the years and there is something I noticed that scholars before me misunderstood."
I held my breath. "And that is?"
"The first lines were interpreted as 'this time, future will forget,' but I have read it as 'the future time forgot.'" The confusion on my face prompted a further explanation from him. "Things written in the legend may never have happened; the Seven Year War would have never occurred, and the tales of the Hero of Time would be false. A work of fiction may have been mistaken for historical fact."
"...That," I began with a shake of my head, "that cannot be. I read-"
"We may never know the intent of the one who wrote it... but consider the title...Ocarina of Time... that future could have been erased..."
...Alas, their deeds time shall forget. For the river of time holds history in its flow.
The words kept repeating in my mind. "No, there is nothing so powerful that could alter time... it's impossible." Had there been, I would have sought such power long ago...
"Improbable maybe, but not impossible. I've tried many time to dissuade myself from believing... but that prophecy has only aroused my suspicions."
A dull ache began to form in the back of my head. "This is too much to consider," I said quietly; I did not want to hear anymore about prophecies... foresight was a gift only granted in ancient times to prevent the times of war and chaos. Yet despite the prophecies... there was still war... still bloodshed over the Triforce. I glanced the picture of the greedy hands desperately reaching for Triforce; our history, the legends… they told only of war, tales of struggle and cruel destinies. "If the Triforce is the true essence of the Goddesses," I nearly whispered, choking back the tension in my throat, "representing goodness, then why does strife alone surround it?" I pressed a hand against the picture and it looked as if I were reaching for it. Why did I care so much about a mythical power I had simply regarded as a symbol my entire life? Why did I wish to know every detail concerning it?
Sahasrahla nodded his head gravely. "Our world is one of balance: love, hatred, joy, sadness… light and shadow; one cannot exist without the other. If the Triforce does exist, the true embodiment of good, there will always be evil to fight against it."
I took an unsteady breath. Peace will never exist?
As long as the Triforce remains broken...
I felt the whisper on the tips of my ears and a chill ran through me, my heart constricting as the weight of the words set upon me. Before I could inquire further of the Triforce, Sahasrahla continued on with his findings.
"Now listen to this passage," he said as he skipped back some pages in the book. "This does not concern the Triforce, but given our history, I believe it to be true…"
Through the river of time, one truth yet remains; righteous ruling brings the sun's light whilst the wicked brings the moon's darkness—
"'All shall be warned from this day hence, if such an evil befalls the land of the Goddesses, creatures of the night will bring to pass its ruin,'" I finished.
Sahasrahla smiled. "It appears that fool Professor Yeagar was able to teach you some matters of importance. Like I said when you were my learner, you have a talent for remembrance."
I shook my head, suddenly feeling terribly faint, finding the air stifling. "I discovered that passage on my own." I paused as I felt the markings upon my hand tingle. "Why do you believe this?" I asked barely above a whisper, covering the markings with my other hand.
Sahasrahla's eyes hardened. "Many have called me a mad man, but you must believe me when I say that history repeats itself." His voice fell to a hush. "I feel it in the parchment… the ink. A malevolence draws near… like the dark clouds of a storm, it threatens to cover the land in darkness." He then blinked furiously and inhaled deeply. "Ah, my apologies… I've run away with my thoughts once again."
He waved weakly to stop me. "I'm suddenly quite weary, my dear, let my mind settle." I bit my lip. I wanted, and did not want, to press him on the matter. His unexpected, foreboding words left me feeling anxious, for I felt the same as he did, though I did not wish to admit it. "I thank you for visiting, perhaps we can meet in the rectory next time. Lady Impa cannot object if we meet in worship," he suggested. His wrinkled face and heavy eyes forced me to withdraw my desire to question him further.
"…Please, let it be here."
"It will be hard for you to come back. The rectory does not suit you?"
"…I feel ill at ease in its halls…"
Sahasrahla stared at me silently for a moment. "I know your true reason. Your reaction gives away your disbelief. Such lack of faith is disappointing." His words stung, but I quickly brushed off the offense; yet I still could not answer. Sahasrahla sighed. "You must find it, and yourself for that matter." He then gently took my hand into his gnarled ones and patted the back of my hand. "These marks upon your hand are from no mere injury."
"…I…I do not understand this mystery." My eyes looked to the floor "...I do not believe I ever will…"
"None ever know the full truth," he admitted with a frown. "I can only speculate, and I've told you my end. Worry not any further, Princess Zelda. You will know truth by your own senses… trust what you feel… inside and out." His words gave me comfort, and I fought back the tears that prickled within my eyes. Nodding my head, I mumbled a 'thank you.' What Sahasrahla suspected was true; I had lost my faith… in everything. I could not believe in the mercy of the Goddesses; they cared not for the fate of those they created. We had to rely upon our own strengths to save us and care for the ones we loved. I could only do what I had been taught since birth: to serve Hyrule.
"I shan't tell anyone of our visit, nor of the matters discussed," Sahasrahla added with a wrinkled smile. Then his face shaded and he cleared his throat. "Now, off you go! I must finish a summary for Minister Shad." And I was shooed out of his study; Sahasrahla was not the type of man to show emotion.
I stood at the door, staring at the woods grains, his words repeating in forefront of my mind. The mystery that surrounded this mark began to consume me once again as it did four and a half years ago. I didn't know where to place my faith… what to believe. The things I regarded to be lore, nay fairytales, in fact real? Was I marked as a 'chosen vessel' to wield a Goddess's supposed essence?
"It is said a wish is granted from the heavens themselves if one wishes upon the Triforce itself…"
A shadow of a thought… an idea… tempted me from afar…
It was such a preposterous, impossible inkling, I quickly suppressed it before it could take root within me. How was I to regain the faith I once had when all I felt was despair? I felt empty… lost. To find myself would be impossible; half of me was already dead.
And the dead could not be given life again.
I had become an unbeliever… I would not let religion sway the harsh lessons reality had taught me. Sighing unevenly, I let the familiar numbness of memory suppression course through me, and left.
**Sahasrahla's name is easy to mistype, haha, I hope I spelled his name correct every time. Please feel free to send me your thoughts, questions, comments or critiques :) And Please continue to be patient with poor Zelda's wavering; it will not stay that way for much longer. Next chapter action happens, I promise. Thanks very much!
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