Crowns of Deception

By Forlorn Rain

Chapter XXVIII - Union

Darmani carried me to Kakariko Village, following after Igos and Shikashi. As we walked, Igos divulged his tale of vengeance and how he had come to be involved with me and Zelda.

"Had I known Sakon intended to kill her and turn our fate for the worse, I would not have agreed to his plan," Igos said lowly.

"You doubt your heart; had another taken your role, they would not have possessed mercy such as you do," Shikashi answered. "Perhaps it was destiny."


"Your compassion—and the Goron's I suspect—spared time for the princess, thus preventing her demise. Your penitence is admirable."

"No, I… we—"

"Wait here, the gate is just ahead, I must speak to the guard." Shikashi's footsteps shuffled away and Igos sighed,

"The old man is kind enough, but does he truly know someone who can help us?"

"We don't have any choice but to trust him," Darmani answered. "And I feel no danger… unlike…"

"Yes, neither do I."

"Come, this way!" Shikashi called in a hushed voice. The creaking metal of the gate grew louder as we approached, the guard rolling it back to let us pass. Entering Kakariko, I heard the familiar groan of the windmill and the clucking of cuccos. Darmani's footsteps seemed to shake the cobblestone road but none of the townsfolk were disturbed.

"Lady Impa's house is just ahead," Shikashi whispered. Soon enough, we came to a stop and he jiggled the door handle. "She has not yet arrived." He then muttered something under his breath and the door lock clicked open.

"Y-you… you know magic?" Igos asked warily.

Shikashi scoffed. "I am more than a mere healer, Ikanan, fear not; magic is in my blood. Now quickly, inside; I shall wait for Lady Impa out here." We entered the house and Darmani lay me down upon a table.

"Igos, what will we do when this Impa arrives? What if she cannot help him?"

Igos sighed and knocked upon the table in contemplation. "I don't know. He is the only one who can lead me to Agahnim… and grant me atonement."

"It is an odd feeling…" Darmani mused.

"What is?"

"Being on this side… the side of…good."

Igos chuckled. "Darmani, you've always been a decent fellow, but you are simple. Do not take the sins of Sakon and me upon yourself."

They said nothing more and waited in the darkness with me. Could I speak, I would have forgiven Igos and Darmani for their involvement for Shikashi spoke the truth: their compassion had helped to spare Zelda, and now they helped me. It was some time before we heard the low murmur of voices from outside the door. Two sets of footsteps entered the house and then there was a moment of silence.

"…What have they done to him?" Impa spoke in a somber voice. "He is dead, yet…"

"It is dark magic from the olden days; I was hardly able to detect it myself."

She then walked over to the table I lay upon and placed a hand upon my chest, taking my marked hand. "Could you not have at least cleaned this blood from him?"

"There was no time."

Impa exhaled slowly, trying to disguise her uneven breath; my battered body must have been a disturbing sight indeed. "His mark… it is visible now, just as the princess's was." Gently, she released me. "His lifeforce has been stripped away, shrouding him in darkness, but I sense something within him."

"It can only be the Trifor—"

Impa silenced Shikashi but he dismissed her reprimand. "These two knew of the Triforce, Lady Impa, they witnessed his torture."

Igos cleared his throat uncomfortably. "My companion and I were taken prisoner by Agahnim and Ganonorf alongside Link."

There was a paused before Impa acknowledged him. "And who are you?" I could picture her raising a white brow and narrowing her red eyes.

"Igos Du Ikana and Darmani of Snowhead, we hail from Termina. We owe Link our lives; we want nothing more than to help your cause."

"They can be trusted, Lady Impa," Shikashi added. "Their vendetta against Agahnim and the prince should prove useful."

Impa sighed through her nose. "Very well," she granted reluctantly. "You, goron, bring Link and follow me."

"Where are you taking him?" Shikashi questioned.

"Blue potion will not suffice, Shikashi; we must seek the water of life."

"But Lady Impa, none have visited the fairy fountain for decades; it may no longer exist."

"Without his lifeforce, the water is the only way the revival spell may work."

"…I see," said Shikashi. "Then we must hurry to the graveyard, sunrise is upon us." And with that, Darmani picked me up followed them outside. They hurried through the winding streets of Kakariko, hoping none of the townsfolk would be about and find them carrying my dead body out in the open. I questioned Impa's plan however; her talk of a mysterious fairy fountain and the water of life were puzzling for I had only heard of fairies in storybooks. Of course, once supposed mythical beasts now roamed the land, perhaps I would be proven wrong.

Light rain began to fall, muffling the creaking gears of the windmill and minutes later, we came to a halt.

"Do you remember where the trigger is?" Shikashi asked to Impa.

"Hmm, vaguely," she answered, pacing in the grass.

Igos let out a shudder. "This graveyard reminds me of ours in Ikana."

"It chills me to the bone," Darmani said quietly.

Shikashi laughed through his nose. "There is nothing to fear of the dead."

"Have you forgotten the guardians of the royal crypts, Shikashi?" Impa scoffed. "Ah, here it is."

Stones moved against one another, and I assumed she opened a tomb.

"We must climb down there?" Igos asked hesitantly.

"The drop is not so deep; come," Impa said before jumping down.

None moved.

"Go on now, follow Lady Impa," Shikashi encouraged. "I shall be behind you."

"I'll go first," Darmani offered, patting Igos on the back. He plunged into the grave opening, and Igos followed down after us. Darmani landed with ease; Igos fell clumsily. I heard not Shikashi enter, but old age hardly hindered his Sheikah stealth. They walked towards the sound of Impa's footsteps ahead, and the damp earth soon turned into stone.

A gasp suddenly slipped from Igos. "Darmani… do you see that?"

"A hallucination?"

"This is a sacred fountain. Few remain who have knowledge of these places, therefore you are obligated to keep your silence of it," Impa chastised. "You will wait here; Shikashi and I must summon the waters." Darmani handed my body to Impa and she carried me away and lay me down upon a hollow surface.

"Hearken to me, Sir Link. In order for this spell to work, muster all of your will and hold to it. You are marked as a bearer of the Triforce, you have been chosen for a reason." She stood and inhaled deeply, moving away from me as she began to chant in ancient Hylian. I could only understand a small portion of her words but the meaning was clear.

"Hear this plea, awake from slumber beneath the sacred waters. Weary of battle, bless this body, broken and shattered, renew the spirit whole. Vanquish the darkness and bestow thy healing power."

There was an eerie silence before the ground beneath me began to tremble. The quiet trickle of water sounded from all around the chamber and the gathering waters gushed forth, pooling around me. Then, I heard voices like the wind and the tinkling of bells.

Two gasps and a sigh of relief slipped from Darmani, Igos, and Impa.

"They are real!?"

"…I never…"

Impa silenced them and the soft bells grew louder, sounding as if music drifted in the air. Though I had no true feeling from the first time I awoke as a near corpse, I could feel now. Feather light touches swept across my body and for a moment, I felt a strange warmth encompass me entirely. The warmth then moved to my feet and began to travel up my body ever so slowly.

Shikashi cleared his throat. "Perhaps my intuition was wrong…"

"No, it will work," Impa said firmly as she waded back to me through the shallow water. "It must." She knelt at my side and placed a hand over my heart as she whispered a prayer to the Goddesses in ancient Hylian before lifting my head and pouring water into my mouth.

They waited in silence for a time, and all I could hear was their breathing.

"How much longer must we wait?" Darmani asked quietly.

"He should wake within the hour," Impa answered, removing her hand from my chest. "If not…"

That was the last I heard of her words for just then, the warmth reached my heart and the darkness vanished.

"Arise, Wielder of Courage."

I opened my eyes, only to shut them fiercely to evade the blinding light around me. Blinking furiously, I peered beneath my lids and found myself in never-ending whiteness. I was able to sit up, and as I did, a pair of feet appeared at my side. Looking up, an ethereal woman draped in white, with emerald eyes, smiled down upon me.


The moment she called my name, I knew who she was.

"Fa…Farore."I stood in awe. A circlet of emerald jewels sat about her white hair, but her face was that of a young woman.

"Ah, thou dost yet believe."

I averted my eyes and said nothing.

"I have beheld all that hast befallen thee with a heavy heart."

"And done nothing." I mumbled.

She lifted a hand to my face. "We created the world and its laws, but we interfere not with the choices of men."

I understood her words but I could not accept them. "Do you not see the evil that threatens Hyrule? Do you not see the men who have died needlessly because of it?"

"Hast thou no respect?" inquired a deeper voice.

I turned to find another ethereal woman, with sharp ruby eyes, floating towards me: Din.

"Thou presumest we care not for the affairs of men. We acknowledge there is great need to intercede, however…"

"The fate of Hyrule must rest upon thy shoulders, Link," a soft voice spoke. Nayru manifested beside Farore, her sapphire eyes sweeping over me.

"I-I am just one man," I said, shaking my head. "I wish to save Zelda… but all of Hyrule?" Already I felt the heavy burden of their words.

"Thou hast power yet to be discovered," Nayru answered. "Ganondorf stole the lifeforce of thy body, yet thy resilience and the Triforce of Courage preserveth thy spirit."

"I do not understand. Why do I possess a part of the Triforce? Hyrule hangs by a thread because of it; can you not take it and end this strife?"

"The Triforce shall not be used for the will of the gods. It was created as a hope for men… and to keep the world in balance," Din replied.

I nearly scoffed aloud. "Is this not a divine prank? Why has a wicked man been blessed with a part of the Triforce?"

The Goddesses looked to one another knowingly.

"The Triforce doth not distinguish good from evil, only the balance of our essences: power, wisdom, and courage," Nayru began. "In the beginning, the Triforce was whole. After the creation of the world, we christened, Hylia the Goddess of Time, keeper of the Triforce. However, after our departure to the heavens, demons and beasts arose from the depths of darkness in their quest for the Triforce,"

"The Goddess Hylia forsook her divinity to seal away the ancient evil, the Demon King, and infused her power into the holy Master Sword, wielded by her hero to act as a key," Din continued. "Alas, all things grow weak in the river of time."

My mind was wheeling, but I was familiar with the legends of the Master Sword.

"A mindless remnant of the Demon King's evil spirit arose once more," Farore then spoke. "We suffered Goddess Hylia to be reborn as a mortal spirit maiden and to guide a hero through time to the Triforce. His heart in balance, he used the Triforce to eradicate the Demon King."

"Yet with his last breath, the Demon King cursed the descendents of Hylia and those who would possess the Spirit of the Hero to forever wage war with incarnations of his hatred," Nayru said.

"The Demon King's essence hath endured through history," Din explained. "Evil seeketh evil, therefore the covetous disposition of Ganondorf's heart was subject to this hatred. However, this curse is a blessing in disguise."

I looked at her confused, waiting for her to finish, but she turned to Farore.

"In the Era of the Hero of Time, an incarnation of the Demon King managed to lay his hands upon the Triforce. His unbalanced heart caused the Triforce to split and he remained only with the essence he sought most: power. The Princess of Destiny and the Hero of Time used the Triforce of Wisdom and Courage to seal him away, fulfilling the curse." Farore then smiled. "And the blessing is that good shall always rise against evil's reign."

I closed my eyes, doing my best to comprehend all that had been said. My entire life I had believed these things to be merely legends, but now… I was beginning to understand. Was my life truly not my own? Was I merely another pawn in this war of good and evil? Could I not forge my own destiny?

"We see thy heart, Link. Fear not," Nayru encouraged. "But I ask thee, what dost thou live for?"

I met her gaze, knowing my answer immediately. "I live for Zelda."

The Goddesses smiled and said in unison, "Thou livest for love, the highest form of godliness. Thou standest before us because of thy choices out of love. Thy destiny is a righteous one, for we foresee all."

I knew not what to say. Somehow, those kind words comforted me, and I wanted to believe myself capable of such feats, but my heart and mind were still overwhelmed. Did I truly possess the Spirit of the Hero and the Triforce of Courage? Was I even worthy to?

"Each Triforce part splits when its bearer passes away," Farore spoke, addressing my thoughts. "Ganondorf's greed led him to the pieces of the Triforce of Power, suffering him to take them by force. As his evil power grew, the Triforce of Wisdom and Courage manifested in thee and Zelda for ye were the most worthy to keep the Triforce of Power in balance."

"But how am I to stop this?" I asked sincerely. "How do I restore balance with Zelda at his mercy?"

"This incarnation of hatred has grown strong from the Triforce of Power; thou must wield the Master Sword, the blade of evil's bane." Din explained. "It is the only element that can pierce this heart of evil."

I furrowed my brows. "Where can I find it?"

"The sword shall reveal itself in due time."


"Time is pressed, Wielder of Courage. Inquire the Sheikah of thy trivial concerns. We shall return thee to thy body. Take up arms and fulfill thy destiny," Din said as she disappeared.

Nayru touched my head. "Rescue the Daughter of Wisdom and defeat the ancient evil."

Farore smiled again at me and said, "thou must believe in thyself."

"Can I truly stand against him?" I asked lowly.

The white chamber then faded away.


My heart jumped within my chest, the pounding painful as blood filled my veins and air filled my lungs. My body jolted involuntarily, and I inhaled soundly. My eyes shot open, seeing small blurry lights floating above me. I lay there in shock, trying to steady my breath as life flowed within me once again. The air was that of a Spring morning, and a calming, peculiar scent filled the air, helping to steady the sharp gasps.

"I guess not very long," Darmani chuckled.

My vision focused and I could see wings attached to the lights.


I looked to my side and found Impa smiling down upon me.

"Sir Link, how glad I am you were not lost."

I smiled in gratitude and tried to move my hand, but it would do nothing.

The others made their way towards me, and I looked upon the unfamiliar face of Shikashi. He was a short man, the small hunch he carried making him appear even smaller. He was dressed in a dark blue robe with a peculiar cap covering long white hair that was smoothed neatly across his shoulders. His aged crimson eyes stared at me beneath busy white brows with his hands behind his back.

"Where is Zelda?" I asked Impa, recalling Nayru's words.

She pursed her lips and sighed. "She remains at the castle; I had no choice but to leave her."

My eyes widened. "You left her in the hands of that beast!?" Visions of my tortured dreams flashed before my eyes and I lost my temper. "She cannot face him alone, he will kill her—dammit why can't I move!?"

"Calm yourself, Sir Link. It will take some time to regain your full strength. Lady Zelda was beyond my help before I could escape with her."

"You should not have left her side for mine! Your duty—"

"Did you not do the same?" Impa interrupted harshly. "You left her, again, at Sunset Bay. Do not be so quick to accuse me of disloyalty."

Her words stung and I fell silent. I shuddered with anger, knowing she was right. "I am sorry," I apologized through gritted teeth.

"I understand your anger, but now is not the time for accusation. Ganondorf has cast a dark spell upon her; it appears he now controls her body… possibly her mind. It would be wiser to plan the next course of action, but you must know, Ganondorf has moved the wedding to tonight. He spins lies, claiming it would be better to join Hyule and Haladin sooner because of Calatia's threat."

I cursed, wanting to lash out in violence at the nearest object, but all I could do was curl my fingers. "I have no time to wait for recovery; we must rescue her now. The Goddesses have spoken to me." I would do as they asked… but my confidence still lacked.

Impa looked at me curiously. "Oh?"

"I must find the Master Sword."

Her eyes widened slightly and Shikashi scoffed, "the Master Sword, you say? Surely you jest?"

I ignored him. "Do you know where it is?"

Impa shot Shikashi a warning glance and sighed. "It was once in the Temple of Time, then moved to the Sacred Grove in the Lost Woods… but…"

"An attempt to destroy it was made centuries ago by a wicked clan," Shikashi interjected. "As servants of the Royal Family, the Sheikah were charged to hide it, and they did damn well: its resting place was only passed on orally. Unfortunately, memory fades with time."

My heart sank. Why did the Goddesses tell me to find a lost sword, perhaps one that ceased to exist?

"I am sorry," Impa said. "Perhaps… you misinterpreted—"

"No… I am sure."

Impa paused. "They will show us another way… there must be an answer to this riddle. The Goddesses would not lead you astray, Sir Link."

"So I'd like to believe," I replied under my breath. Frustrated, I said nothing more about it. "Let us move swiftly; we shall devise a plan whilst we travel."

Darmani picked me up from the water and followed Impa back the way we came.

"I am intrigued by this blade," Igos said quietly. "Master Sword, eh?"

"Take care, Ikanan, it is a sacred blade. Not all that is lost to history remains so forever." Shikashi mused.

Shikashi secured two horses and food for our journey to the castle just before midday. His kindness even extended into finding me and Igos a clean change of clothing. We gave him thanks and bid farewell, promising if we survived we would seek him out again. I still could not fully move my body, and was forced to ride upon a mare with Impa. Igos rode behind us, with Darmani rolling behind him, the usual goron method of travel.

My impatience was nigh unbearable for if Ganondorf had truly moved the wedding to tonight, there was little chance we would be able to stop it in time. As we rode, my mind often drifted to the vision I beheld in death. It was not a dream, I knew for a surety, but the words of the Goddesses wracked within me, causing me waver in doubt and fear.

However, if I wished to save Zelda, I must lay aside my anger and resentment towards the Goddesses and trust their words. And trust myself.

It took us nearly the entirety of the day to reach Castleton, and the sun was already sinking behind the mountains. As we came upon the drawbridge, we found it to be pulled up with double the amount of guards pacing about the curtain wall.

"Who goes there?" a guard shouted from the left turret.

"Haladian scum," Igos muttered. "Look closely at the colors he wears."

"Impa of Kakariko," she answered back.

The Haladian guard paused. "We have been ordered to let none pass."

"It is imperative we see the princess. Let down the bridge, gatekeeper."

"Turn around and be on your way!"

Impa hissed a curse. "I am Princess Zelda's confidante. I order you to open this gate!"

"The prince gave orders, old woman—"

"Lady Impa?" said another voice. A Hylian guard appeared from the right turret.

"Let us pass, soldier; the princess's life is in danger."

"She is an imposter, a Calatian spy Prince Ganondorf warned about! Do not listen!" The Haladian guard argued.

"Foolishness," The Hylian guard scoffed. We then heard the moaning of the gate as it began to open.

"Stop this, we have orders!"

"I don't take orders from your prince." Suddenly we heard a loud scuffle and the ringing of metal echoing from behind the wall. More guards, Haladian and Hylian, looked on in confusion before joining in the fight.

The gate had lowered just enough for Impa to jump from her horse onto the chains that held it, running up them with ease and disappearing behind. Darmani and Igos let out words of amazement as they moved forward to help steady me upon the saddle. Moments later, the gate lowered fully to the ground.

"Hurry, inside," I urged them. Igos took the reins from Impa's horse and spurred her forward. We passed the curtain wall and found Impa staying the hands of the Hylian guards; their pent up frustration with the Haladians was apparent on their faces.

"Keep the Haladians in the guard tower for the time being. Now tell me, what has happened?"

The Hylian guards glanced to Igos, Darmani, and I warily before answering. "Some of us were called to the wall, others to the Temple of Time. Prince Ganondorf told us Calatians were planning to attack and that they wanted to sabotage the wedding and murder them—"

Impa interrupted him with a curse. "How long ago?"

"Naught an hour. Only the nobles were allowed inside."

Impa's face paled and she looked to me. "We must make haste!" Turning back to the guard, she ordered him to bring her a sword and to send any spare soldiers to the Temple of Time. She swung herself onto our horse, and the guard returned with a belt and sheathed sword.

"This will be yours," Impa said to me, fastening it to my waist. "I pray your strength returns quickly." We then rushed off to the temple, pushing the horses past their exhaustion. Darkness fell quickly—unusually so—and even the torch lamps seemed faint. We reached the stairs leading to the temple, however a multitude of people were blocking the rest of the way. I cursed and Impa clicked her tongue impatiently.

"We'll enter from the gamekeeper's door on the northeast side." She turned the horse around and navigated her way through the twisting alleys. Coming to an abrupt halt at a mass of wall vines, she dismounted and moved them aside, revealing a withered door built within the stone wall. "Through here."

Darmani pulled me from the horse and dragged me through the door, he just barely fitting himself. We emerged into the gardens of the Temple of Time and quickly made our way to the gamekeeper's door. I looked to the sky as Darmani broke the lock with his bare hand and Impa ushered us inside.

The stars were veiled and pitch black clouds were stirring in the sky.

Impa led us through the halls and as Darmani carried me, I could sense my legs and arms twitching when I tried to move them. How could I do anything to aid Zelda if half of my strength had yet to return?

The muffled voice of Priest Rauru then sounded down the hall and we came upon the chapel. My heart was pounding despite my unmoving body and Impa looked to me and nodded before opening the door. We appeared behind the rostrum and as we rounded the corner, Priest Rauru said monotonously,

"As a Servant of the Goddesses, I christen thy union and pronounce thee future King Ganondorf and Queen Zelda of Hyrule, wedded in the bounds of time."

His words were like a thousand daggers to my heart. They echoed hauntingly, lacing every part of me with utter despair.

"No!" I stared at them with disbelief, wanting myself to wake in death than behold the sight of them together.

Ganondorf held Zelda, ready to seal their union with a kiss, but our commotion stopped him. They both turned to us and that is when I saw her face.

Yet it was not her.

Her eyes were blank, appearing gold beneath the candlelight. Faint, strange patterns were etched upon her skin, nearly hidden beneath the white gown and train.


Ganondorf smirked and forced his lips upon hers.

I wanted to rend myself to pieces yet I could not tear my eyes away.

The guests arose from the pews, staring at us with confused wide eyes as they muttered disapproving words. Priest Rauru stepped down and backed away towards the pews, he too staring in shock as he recognized me.

"Let her go," I said brokenly. Agahnim then stepped out from behind a pillar beside the altar, dressed as a proper count rather than the dark sorcerer he was. But his face… it was gaunt and sickly, as if he had been seriously injured.

"I am astounded you live, knight," Ganondorf finally spoke. "But the time of opposition is over; Princess Zelda is my queen." As those words fell from his tongue, Zelda swayed and she shook her head. Blinking furiously, her eyes met mine, and for a moment, she seemed to be herself again.

Just then, the ground began to quake, causing rubble to fall from the ceiling and the pews to creak and crack.

"…Should a righteous heart and an evil heart join under the crown, chaos will reign across the lands…"

I have failed.

The guests panicked, but the disturbance ended just as quickly as it had begun. Igos and Darmani moved from behind the rostrum, pausing behind me and Impa. Their sudden appearance further frightened the guests, and I heard the unsheathing of Igos' sword, knowing he had spotted the count. The guests began rushing out of the doors, calling for the guards outside the temple. The count's eyes darted after them and back to Igos and Darmani.

With a glance to Igos, Impa nodded and he and Darmani gave chase to the count as he rushed out with the guests, leaving the four of us alone in the chapel.

"Release her," Impa threatened to Ganondorf. "And surrender; the Hylian militia has captured your worthless men and march here as we speak."

Ganondorf laughed outright. "I am King of Haladin and Hyrule, you have no power anymore, nursemaid." He held up his hand and an intense energy pulsated from his palm, turning a sickly yellow color. It released from his hand and Impa summoned an opaque blue shield in front of us to block it. The dark magic forced us back and our feet slid back across on the stones. Impa's shield wavered before giving way and she was blasted into the wall. I fell to my knees, unable to hold myself up, and looked back to find her unconscious upon the floor, rubble surrounding her.

"Pathetic, you thought you and those mongrels could stop me? Now that the princess is under my control, there is nothing you can do."


"And now, I will watch you die… by her hand."

He released Zelda and she simply stood there lifelessly, like a puppet.

"Kill him," Ganondorf commanded.

She took an unsteady step, then another before halting.

"Zelda," I called to her. "Hearken to me."

She slowly lifted a shaking hand, palm splayed towards me.

"You should have kept away." Her voice was not her own… yet..

"Do not let him control you!"

"Silence!" A violet light formed in the center of her palm, and I could nearly taste the darkness emanating from it.

"Please, stop this!"

The light from her hand began to waver. She blinked furiously, her breath becoming labored.


She faltered and the light died. She grabbed her head and cried out in pain, falling to her knees. She looked up at me, the gold fading from her eyes, and mouthed my name.

"Still you defy me," Ganondorf growled. He grabbed her roughly and she resisted, trying to tear herself away.


Again I tried to stand but to no avail.

"It appears I shall have to strip you of your Triforce before all else." Ganondorf then turned to me, impatient amusement in his smile. "I shall rip your heart out myself."

He snapped his fingers and my body lifted from the ground. I felt a sharp sting within my chest, as if something was trying to burrow inside. It ceased my breath, my weak muscles begging for air, but I used this moment to focus. The stinging inched to my heart and I realized… this pain was nothing to what I experience in the cavern.

The words of the Goddesses deafened Ganondorf's laughter. "Wielder of Courage."

Zelda believed I would come for her, she believed I bore an essence of the Triforce, in the strength I possessed. Just as the Goddesses did.

And our lives had been shattered because of the greed of this mad man for it.

I wouldn't let him have it.

Nor Zelda. Nor Hyrue.

The burrowing vanished, the dark magic slithering back to the hand from whence it came, releasing me to the ground.

Ganondorf was taken aback, gritting his teeth as he attempted to subdue me again. "I possess your Triforce, why won't you die?"

I grew stronger, pushing back the bite of his retaliation as I managed to stand before him. Holding up my marked hand, I declared, "because I still wield it."

Ganondorf's eyes widened, a faint sense of fear flickering in his eyes.

The power within me continued to grow rapidly and soon the intensity was too much for me to bear. My body grew hot and I shuddered, no longer able to contain it. A searing flame filled my veins, escaping from the back of my left hand. I heard myself let out a bellow and a bright green light erupted in the chapel. I was knocked back into the rubble and my breath stole away. Head ringing, I glanced to where Ganondorf once stood, my eyes still somewhat blinded… only to find nothing.

He had escaped with Zelda.

I clenched my fist and shook my head. He had defiled her through a kiss, sealing their union as King and Queen.

And I did not stop it.

"Sir Link!? Link, are you alright?"

I could not answer Impa but she found me nonetheless.

"Are you injured? Can you stand?"

I nodded. "They are wedded Impa… I have failed her… you… Hyrule… the Goddesses…" I tried to sit up, but that burst of strange power from the Triforce had left me.

"…Link…" She helped me up and I hung my head in shame.

"I see now, what a fool I've been. Had I listened to Zelda, the promptings of my heart… Hyrule would not be condemned to ruin… and Zelda…"

I hid my eyes beneath my hair, swallowing the tension in my throat. After a moment of silence, I regained my composure. "Forgive me, Impa. Are you alright?"

"Worry not, I have strength yet to fight. Do not lose hope, Link. Though I know your trials have been grave indeed, I must ask you to endure… until all is set right."

"Impa, I—"

"You cannot blame yourself for the choices of others, but you must take charge of what you decide, to follow the courage in your heart, or the fear in your mind?"

"Even if I were forced to marry… I shall never be another's. My heart has yearned for you, nay, belonged to you without my knowing. You are my Guardian, and your life is mine… as mine is yours."

"Death cannot keep me from you… I swore I would return."

"There is a way to end this darkness."

"The path before us will not be easy, but I did not cross the world to lose you now, Zelda. I am your Guardian still; trust me."

"Our world is one of balance. Just as there is light to drive away darkness, so, too, is there benevolence to banish evil."

"What dost thou live for… thou must believest in thyself."

"Because I love you, amidst the darkness, I was able to endure because of you!"

I could not give up. I could not allow the sacrifices to be for naught. I would gladly give my life for hers and so be it if I must die to save her.

"I'm sorry, I had forgotten myself… but no more. I am still a knight; until my last breath, I shall defend Hyrule… and its people."

Impa took me by the shoulders and nodded. "Let us hurry to the castle." Helping me walk, Impa and I made our way out of the Temple of Time and found Darmani just outside the doors.

He turned to us with a deep frown and worry in his dark eyes. "He told me not to interfere…"

The sound of lightning caught our attention and we followed Darmani's eyes to the scene before us. Igos had engaged Agahnim, pacing around him like prey as he twirled his sword. Agahnim showered black lightening towards him from his fingers, but Igos's sword absorbed the dark energy. Agahnim's face was that of rage for before, Igos had been nothing to him.

Igos moved closer. "I am Igos Du Ikana. I come for my father's blood; prepare to die."

"For the last time, stop saying that!" Agahnim screeched. He reached his arms to the sky, and summoned a large cluster of red and black swirling smoke. Agahnim then split himself into multiple shadows, the same that Zelda and I had seen in Calatia. The shadows cast balls of smoke at Igos, hurling towards him like a passing comet. He dodged the magic, some landing in the ground and leaving small craters while others crashed into the nearby statues, sending pieces scattered about. Igos was able to deflect some of the smoke with his sword, throwing them back to the shadows and ripping them apart with a piercing scream. Igos soon closed in on Agahnim, and cut through the magic smoke as Agahnim attempted to cloak himself. The smoke faded, and I could see their silhouettes within it. Agahnim was on his knees, Igos's sword at his throat.

"Long have I waited for this day," Igos grinned.

"And you will wait an eternity more." Agahnim suddenly reached in his boot and flung a dagger into Igos's middle. My mouth fell open and Darmani cried out. Igos staggered back, falling against the nearby statue of the Hero of Time. Blood began to run over his lips as he gasped for air. Darmani started towards him, but Igos glanced to him wordlessly.

Darmani stopped in his tracks. "Igos…"

Igos's face paled and his knees shook, yet he did not let go of his sword.

"Father," he whispered, "forgive me."

Agahnim stood and cackled in triumph. "Ah, now I remember that face. Yes, it is the same face your father made when I killed him," Agahnim taunted. "To spend your whole life searching for me, only to fail… how marvelous."

Igos glared at Agahnim and yanked the dagger from his body. He slid down against the statue in pain, yet continued to point his sword towards Agahnim.

"You cannot win, Ikanan, your vengeance is nothing to my power." He held out a hand, forming a twisted claw, and suddenly Igos's sword soared into his hand. "You have lived by this steel… and shall therefore die by it."

At those words, Igos seemed to snap. He grabbed the broken off stone carved sword of the statue that lay on the ground beside him before standing fully, holding his gushing wound with his other hand. Agahnim smirked before attacking with Igos's own sword. Igos barely managed to parry, both his shoulders getting nicked in the process. "Greetings," Igos began, his voice raw. "I am Igos Du Ikana, I come for my father's blood; prepare to die." He stumbled and Agahnim swung at him again, but Igos moved the stone sword above his head, swiping Agahnim's sword away.

"I am Igos Du Ikana. I come for my father's blood; prepare to die!" He then went on the offensive, catching Agahnim off guard, causing him to lose his ground. Igos repeated those words again and again, drawing strength from his father's memory.

"Enough!" screamed Agahnim. "Enough!" He tried to summon magic with his swordless hand, but Igos's furious stabs and arcs forced Agahnim to hold his sword with both hands in defense. He continued to lose ground, being driven towards the stone wall.

"I am Igos Du Ikana. I come for my father's blood; prepare to die!" And Igos sliced Agahnim's hand, exposing the bones and tendons. Agahnim hissed as he dropped Igos's sword, clutching his hand as he backed into the wall.

"That was for the princess," Igos spat.

Agahnim tried to run, but Igos picked up his fallen sword and flung it into Agahnim's shoulder. He stumbled and fell back against the wall again.

"That was for me," Igos yelled before grabbing Agahnim's neck. "And this…" He looked into Agahnim's eyes and let out a war cry before plunging the stone sword into Agahnim's chest. "This is for my father, you son of a bitch."

Agahnim collapsed to the ground, writhing in pain. "I cannot die," he gurgled, blood pooling beneath him. "Lord Ganondorf will resurrect me… and your corpses will be fed to the beasts!"

Igos left the stone sword within Agahnim but yanked his own out as he stepped back. He fell to his knees, breathing heavily. As we started towards him, a sudden ray of light shone down from the heavens and fell upon Agahnim, encircling him entirely. His victorious laugh rang from within the light.

…Was he truly to be resurrected just as I was?

But his laughs suddenly turned to screams of torment. His body rose from the ground and the stone sword seemed to shudder within him. We looked up in wonder, not knowing what manner of magic this was. The white light overtook him, blinding us from his form yet his cries of sheer agony continued. The sound of thunder ruptured from the light and a strange ringing followed after. Circles of red, blue, and green burst forth, surrounding us with warmth. The light then faded and the stone sword fell upright into the grass.

With nothing left of Agahnim in sight.

We stared at the stone sword in awe, astonished by its unexpected power.

Darmani was the first to get a hold of himself and rushed to Igos's side. "Igos! Igos are you alright?"

"…Not this time, Darmani."

Darmani hung his head and closed his eyes, great tears falling from his face.

Impa put my arm around her and helped me to Igos's side.

"Well done, Igos," I said sincerely. "You kept your promise."

He smiled and let out a chuckle before coughing up more blood. "Not quite. I swore to help you and the princess… and now—"

"You have already done enough."

He shook his head. "Take Darmani with you, and finish this, Link."

"I can't leave you!" Darmani said thickly.

Impa put a hand on Igos's shoulder. "We cannot ask him to come. You have both done more for us than I could have hoped. I admire your bravery."

Igos sighed haggardly. "T-then you must take my sword… and the other; use it against Ganondorf. If it can destroy Agahnim, then—" A violent cough stopped his words. "Hurry now, save the princess." He held his sword to me and I clasped his hand weakly.

"Thank you. I am honored; perhaps we shall meet again."

"Under better circumstances," Igos winked. "None of this war and revenge business."

"Take care of him, Darmani," I said as Impa helped me stand, taking Igos's sword as well. Darmani simply nodded and watched us make our way to the stone sword.

"Do you think he will survive?" I asked her quietly.

She paused before answering. "There may be a chance." We stopped a mere foot from the stone sword and she released me without warning. I fell to my knees and looked up at her with a near glare.

"I sense… you must pick it up alone."

I opened my mouth to argue but she simply folded her arms and stepped back, I bit my teeth and turned back to the sword, willing my body forward. I collapsed upon the hilt and pulled myself up, my legs shaking violently beneath me. I tried to pull the sword from the ground, but it did not yield. Thrice I tried to no avail. Head pounding, I knew I only had moments before I collapsed to the ground. I pursed my lips; there was no time for pride. Taking a deep breath, I said under my breath,

"Give me power to wield, wisdom to see… and courage to endure." Grabbing the hilt with both hands, I forced the air from my lungs and lifted the sword from the ground.

And suddenly, my body began to heal, the weakness dissipating from my limbs.

Life flowed from the sword into my body, as if forging its own power with mine.

"Take up arms and fulfill thy destiny."

The sword then transformed before my eyes; the hilt crumbled in my hand, falling away like dust in the wind, exposing a grooved hilt of deep sapphire. I grasped the polished hilt and the rest of the stone fell away, revealing an elegant, unblemished blade with a small Triforce etched upon it.

My emotions overwhelmed me.

For in my hand, the Master Sword shone like the noon day sun.

I turned to Impa in disbelief, her eyes filled with reverence.

"All this time… hidden in plain sight," she said quietly, admiring the sword. "The Goddesses are with us."

I had no words and could only smile in return.

"Only the worthy hero can wield this holy blade; its hidden form must have allowed Igos to wield it," Impa surmised aloud. "But the purity within penetrates all evil, which is why Agahnim could not withstand it."

Bowing my head in gratitude, I gripped the sword tightly, feeling hope return.

The Goddesses did not lead me astray. I would save Zelda.

The ground suddenly began to quake once again, reminding me of the urgency of the time. Impa and I nodded to one another knowingly and raced from the temple grounds to the castle.

"Good luck!" Darmani shouted to us in the distance.

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