The Lingering Shadow

By Wm. Jay Carter III (Hero of Geeks)

Chapter VII ~ The Stained Hall

“…and then he ran off and we couldn’t figure out where he went,” concluded Link. Rauru stood in the window of his loft, high in the Temple of Time, the light outside silhouetting the sage with a mid-day halo. Tobias, the assistant priest, was stitching up a set of robes at his desk in the corner.

“The ranch-hand said he was going to sell the shield, but I suspect he had different intentions.” Afton leaned back in the wooden chair by the door.

Rauru brought his hand down from his chin and spoke to Link. “This was the same shield you had with you when you came to the council yesterday?”

“Right. I got it from a castle in Termina,” Link replied, remembering that he still hadn’t told Afton the full truth about where he was for three days.

“Do you think the shield was of particular importance, Rauru?” asked Afton. Tobias set his sewing down to listen.

Rauru inhaled and sighed heavily. “Unfortunately, I have few facts to offer you.” He came away from the window and the halo disappeared. “In the way of lore, however, there is a legend that speaks of a tribe a long time ago that built an ancient pyramid in the desert. According to the legend their people were filled with hate and malice. Their chief warrior bore a shield that could split a person in two; one good half, one evil. The shield’s magic would only work, however, if its bearer also possessed the Trident of Power; an evil instrument that enslaved its wielder to hatred, but also granted him magic powers and transformed his body to reflect the state of his heart.

“And you think this is that shield…” said Link, sitting on Rauru’s bed.

“Well, the trident was known to have been entombed with the warrior in the pyramid,” said Rauru. “But the shield was lost. It could have ended up anywhere. It follows, however, that the face of agony on your shield symbolized the agony of a torn soul.” Link assimilated this, somehow feeling the weight of the shield on his shoulders again.

“How did the warrior perish?” asked Afton, leaning forward again.

“He became too arrogant. He slaughtered any who challenged his rise to power until he was killed; arrow through the heart.”

“What kind of arrow could kill a man like that?” asked Tobias, incredulous. He realized after he spoke that he should have been sewing, and busied himself with ‘fixing’ one of the stitches he had just made. To his surprise, however, Rauru answered his question:

“An arrow of light, Tobias. In the times of the Ancient Kings, tradition says, the Goddesses had gifted the three races of Hyrule with three weapons forged with the express purpose of keeping the races in balance. One was a sword that none but the noble could wield. The second was the Trident of Power, and the third was an Arrow of Light.”

“That makes sense, now…” Link said, staring out the window. When he realized three pairs of eyes were on him, he explained. “In the future, the one I came from, Zelda gave me an Arrow of Light that could stun Ganon. I wouldn’t have been able to stop him unless I had it. It would flash and then the light would hold him there for a few seconds. They had something like it out in Termina,” he added, glancing at Afton.

Rauru had listened intently to all of this. “…blind even the darkness,” he muttered. “And you say the princess gave you this arrow…where did she get it?”

“I guess it sort of came out of her…” Link said realizing that this explanation didn’t make sense. “She sort of held up her hands and then there was a ball of light with arrow inside…I’m sure that sounds crazy…” But with all that he had seen, Link thought anything might be possible anymore.

“On the contrary, Master Hero,” said Rauru. “It all sounds very familiar. I believe there is something you need to see, Master Hero and Master Knight. Tobias, would you be so kind as to show the Masters to the Stained Hall?”

Tobias beamed, setting aside his sewing. “Really?”

“Yes, Tobias. But in just a moment.” Tobias looked like he had been handed the crown of Hyrule. “Masters, Tobias will show you the way. But I would ask you, Master Hero, to join me when you are done so I may learn that Song of Healing you told me about.”

“Sure,” said Link. “Aren’t you coming?”

“No, presently I have a meeting with a very old friend. You may take the Book, Tobias. Three knocks on the back, then a full turn contra-wise, I think. Page eighty-seven-and-a-half, if I remember.”

“Thank you, Father, thank you!” Tobias balled up his sewing, rose from his chair and took a green leather volume gingerly from the shelf. “This way, Masters…” said Tobias, leading them from the loft and descending the stairs.

Rauru followed them to the door. Just as Tobias and Afton had gone, Rauru spoke. “And Link?” Link stopped, startled by the sage’s use of his actual name. He turned just in time to see a huge owl fly past the open window. “Be careful of that shield. I fear it may be…difficult…for you to destroy. Return to me soon.” And Rauru closed the door.

* * *

Tobias led them through the halls and passages of the Temple of Time until they came to a long hallway. At the end of the hall was a large wooden door that looked like it had rarely, if ever, been opened. Carved into the peak of the doorframe’s arch was the symbol of the Triforce. When they reached it Tobias pulled a small wooden whistle from within one of his sleeves and blew a tune familiar to Link: the Song of Time. Link had learned it from Princess Zelda so he could open the Door of Time in the nave of the Temple all those years ago in his past. In his time the Door stayed open and Ganon ruled all of Hyrule. In this time, however, the Sages had thwarted him and the Door was closed again. Presently, there was a loud click and Tobias turned the handle of the large wooden door, admitting them into an enormous rectangular room.

“This,” said Tobias with a flourish of one hand “is the Stained Hall.” The room was as tall as the nave of the temple, half as wide, and impossibly long. Light filtered into the room from all sides, illuminating the colored glass of countless windows of every conceivable shape. “These windows depict ancient wars, significant figures in Hylian history and stories of the events that have and will shape the land of Hyrule,” said Tobias. Link noticed they were grouped by related theme, but no chronology existed between the groups—it was like being able to see all of time all at once.

“This can’t be,” said Afton, marveling. “All of this couldn’t possibly fit inside the Temple.”

“The Temple of Time is a magical edifice, Master Knight,” said Tobias. “There are rooms upon rooms that should not fit inside the Temple. In fact,” he said, closing the door behind them, “strictly speaking, this is not the only Temple of Time.”

Both Afton and Link turned away from the windows to look at Tobias. “You mean there’s another…?” asked Link, incredulous.

“In a way,” Tobias nodded. “Tell me, Link; you grew up near the Lost Woods, did you not?”

“Yeah,” said Link, not understanding what this had to do with a second temple.

“Have you ever considered why they call it the ‘Lost Woods’?”

Link shook his head. “Not really,” he said honestly.

“What happens to those who enter the wood?”

“They get lost…they never get out again,” Link said, being more specific.


“Or they end up somewhere outside the wood.”

“Perhaps you should consider that phenomenon further,” Tobias said cryptically. “But that is not why we are here. We are here to see these,” he gestured to the stained-glass windows set into the walls. “Of particular interest are The Creation of Hyrule”—Tobias indicated a large, round window with three shining golden women surrounding a forming planet—“The Day of Cataclysm”—he gestured to a tall rectangular window depicting an exploding volcano and tumbling buildings—“and The Golden Land”—a triptych of windows with peaked arches; the Triforce was in the center window with floating islands of rock surrounding it.

Afton and Link browsed the hall. Above a set of small portraits they saw four semicircular windows. The first of these showed a pig-like monster chasing a group of villagers. The next window showed a young man with long yellow hair and a green tunic holding up a shining sword. Above the young man was a golden triangle. Afton and Link stared at the young man in wonder. He looked remarkably like Link.

Then Tobias held out the green leather book, knocked on the back three times and turned it around once. He opened the cover, leafed through several pages and found what he was looking for. Pulling back the extended flap of one page he said: “Our present interest, however, is in this series here.” He indicated a row of peaked windows and began reading from the book. Afton and Link watched as the story was told within the luminous pictures, each window adding meaning to the passages Tobias read.

“The Legendary Hero: In the days when Hyrule is ruled as one land, a Great Evil shall come seeking the Power of Gold. Then there shall come a child to oppose the Evil; a Hero that will travel through time, awakening the six sages of Hyrule and drawing their power together to banish the Great Evil from the land. To the seventh sage shall be given the Arrow of Light which can blind even the darkness to aid the Hero of Time.”

When Tobias mentioned the Arrow of Light, Link was surprised to see a woman with her arms outstretched bearing a striking resemblance to Zelda. Above her head was a globe of light with an arrow in the center—just as Link had described to Rauru.

Tobias scanned the next phrase, mumbling something to himself.

“What is it?” asked Afton.

“Ancient Hylian…it can be difficult to translate sometimes…” With his index finger on the page he was reading, Tobias flipped to the front of the book and scanned until he found what he was looking for. “Nadjet fa kalhouf, of course…” He continued: “And then that Hero will take his journey to other lands and his courage shall be broken in pieces, scattered to the winds and the seas. But the Hero shall return, and at his back” he said, emphasizing the words, “shall come the Image of Evil, and then shall the Great Evil return to Hyrule.”

The next window showed the same green-clad, yellow haired young man, but surrounding him were eight small golden triangles. Above him was a tusked face that resembled a pig. Link and Afton stared at each other in astonishment as Tobias continued reading.

“And the Evil shall have power to divide the nation asunder, and even the Hero shall be divided, and shall be as many. Then an Ancient Traitor shall be released from bondage, but if the many are one the Traitor shall be vanquished and Great Evil shall fade, and Evil and its servants shall be caught and imprisoned in Shadow, never to return to the light except by the will of the Goddesses. I am Mudora, Sage of Shadow and keeper of these secrets.”

Link turned to Tobias when he had finished reading. “Does it say anything about the shield?” Afton continued to browse the windows.

Tobias turned to the next page, scanning what was written there. “Hmm, no; Mudora doesn’t mention a shield.”

“Good,” said Link, relieved. Link pondered the green book in Tobias’ hands. “Hey, Tobias, can I ask a question?”

“Certainly, Master Hero.”

“Who is Mudora? I heard Rauru and Impa mention him in the council yesterday, but I still don’t know who he is.”

Tobias pondered this question. Then he closed the book and carefully handed it to Link. “Open it,” he said. “But be very careful.”

Link took the book from Tobias with a puzzled face. He gingerly opened the green leather cover and flipped through the first few pages. They bore a primer for the Hylian language written by an accomplished hand in blue, black and red inks. There were pronunciation guides, a Hylian alphabet and a glossary, but after this was nothing. He couldn’t find where Tobias had been reading. “The rest is blank,” said Link. “What page were you on?”

Tobias took the book back with a wry smile, knocked on it three times, turned it around once and opened it to the very page he had been reading from. He showed it to Link just long enough for him to see it was genuine. Then Tobias flipped through the remaining pages. Link caught sight of diagrams, drawings and bestiaries; article after article after article.

“Much like the Temple of Time,” said Tobias, “the Book of Mudora holds more than what it seems to.” When he had flipped through all the pages, Link saw a bookplate affixed to the inside of the back cover. It read:
Mudora: Sage of Shadow, Secret Keeper
Master of Kakariko Villiage
Begun 1336 HR

“So Mudora was in charge of Kakariko?”

“Yes. Mudora was an ancient sage that documented the history of Hyrule and its legends and prophecies, Nayru keep him,” said Tobias. “His book contains information regarding the Temple of Time, the location and nature of many magical artifacts hidden throughout the land, and detailed descriptions of the enchantments that keep these things hidden. This book was his life’s work…and in the end he gave his life for it.” Link listened intently. “Ten years ago, during the Fierce War, a Gerudo assassin was sent to steal the book. The assassin entered Mudora’s study by stealth, surprised him, and took it. When he resisted, the assassin fought Mudora with sorcery. Mudora was wise and capable in the magic arts, but his age was also his enemy that day. The assassin murdered Mudora, stole his book and fled.

“Fortunately,” Tobias continued, “Gor Darmon, the Goron Sage, had been visiting and was awoken by the commotion. He fought the assassin and subdued her. One of Mudora’s servants emerged from the shadows and recovered the book, but soon after he disappeared and was never seen again. Rauru recovered the book days later when it was left in the nave of the Temple, before the Door of Time. Since then the Book of Mudora has remained in Rauru’s care.”

Link felt overwhelmed. All of the things he had been through, all of the enemies he had faced, the dungeons he had traversed seemed like nothing. Here were the real heroes, he thought; Mudora gave his life to keep Ganondorf from getting into the Golden Land, and had it not been for Rauru’s wisdom Ganon might have gotten into the Golden Land years ago. He suddenly felt a kind of brotherhood with Mudora, as if across time they were united in the same cause.

Link reached out for the book again. Tobias delivered it into his hands respectfully. Link looked at the bookplate, studying Mudora’s name. Link decided that he would always tell people about the sacrifices that Mudora had made.

“What does ‘HR’ mean?” asked Link, handing the book back to Tobias.

“‘Hyrulean Reckoning.’ It’s the way historians keep track of the passing years. The Book of Mudora was begun one thousand three hundred and thirty-six years after the creation of Hyrule.”

Link was shocked. “That much time!?” Tobias nodded. Link supposed he had never thought about how much time had come before him. Now he began to consider how much time might follow. “What year is it now?” asked Link.

“This is the year 1384,” said Tobias, amused. “Do you even know how old you are?”

Link honestly considered the question, though he couldn’t come up with an answer. “Out in the forest we watch the seasons go by, but Koroki are always children so I guess we don’t age…or I guess they don’t age. I never had to think about how old I was.”

Afton came over from the other side of the hall. “Actually, Link,” he said, “you’re almost eleven years old.”

Link gaped at his uncle, dumbstruck. “How do you know that…?”

“I was there when you were born,” he said simply. Then he tousled Link’s hair with one hand. “And now that I think of it, your birthday is coming up. Next week, I believe.”

“I have a birthday…!?” The more Link thought of it, he had to admit it made sense. He was just like any other Hylian, birthday and all. A smile crept across his face as this realization sank in and he threw his arms around Afton’s middle, careful not to squeeze him too hard.

“Okay, okay,” Afton said, groaning. “But let’s start the celebration after the tournament.”

“Oh, right, the tournament…” said Link forlornly. Then he remembered why he was there. “The shield…the Arrow!” Link pointed to the stained glass of the woman holding up the Arrow of Light. “This is Zelda!” he said.

Afton tilted his head to one side. “It’s interesting you say that; I thought it looked like Zethra, Nayru keep her.”

“No, I’m sure of it,” said Link. “This is what happened in the future, just like I said.”

Tobias and Afton looked at one another. Tobias smiled. “You know, Master Hero,” he said turning to Link, “you must come back sometime and tell me your story. I would be proud to document it and keep it as one of the Legends of Hyrule.”

“Really?” said Link, visibly touched. “I would…yeah, thanks.” Then he seemed to remember something very important. He gasped. “I have to go!” he said, rushing to the door. “I still have to teach Rauru the song—he said I should come soon.”

Afton and Tobias followed. “Would you permit me to come here again, Tobias?” asked Afton. “I have seen some wondrous things in my life, but none so beautiful as this place.”

“I would love to, Master Knight; if Father Rauru permits it, of course,” Tobias said, bowing.

Afton held the door for the assistant priest. “Thank you. And please, call me Afton.”

* * *

Tobias led them back the way they had come. When they reached the loft again, the door was still closed.

Tobias knocked. “Father Rauru?” Rauru opened the door just wide enough for them to see his face.

“Yes, thank you for escorting the Masters, Tobias. Did all go well?”

“Thank you, yes, Father. Master Link says you wished him to return quickly.”

“Very prompt, Tobias, thank you. Will you take Master Afton here and find him some refreshment? I should like to speak to Master Link alone.”

“Of course, Father.” Tobias delivered the Book of Mudora to Rauru. “This way, please, Afton.”

Quickly, Link turned to Afton and made the sign for ‘rendezvous.’ Afton smiled. “I suppose I’ll have to teach you those moves another time. Find me tomorrow, though. We should prepare for the tournament.”

Link sighed. “Alright.”

“Master Sage,” said Afton, bowing to Rauru. The sage returned the gesture and Afton followed Tobias back down the stairs.

When he was sure they were gone, Rauru opened the door further. “Please come in, Link.” Almost immediately Link saw the familiar figure of a huge owl perched on the balcony outside Rauru’s loft. The owl’s head and body were covered with brown feathers while cream-colored feathers covered his face. Below his beak large tufts of feathers protruded, looked remarkably like a beard. Long feathers extended from above the owl’s eyes giving him a distinguished yet somewhat grumpy appearance. “Kaepora Gaebora,” said Rauru addressing the owl, “I believe you have met our friend Link, the Hero of Time.”

“Yes,” said the owl in a resonant baritone voice. “Salutations, Hero of Time.” The owl trilled his ‘r’s theatrically.

“Hi,” said Link cordially. Link had first met Kaepora when he had guided Link along his quest through time. Link also remembered an owl that followed him around in Termina doing the same. “I guess I never asked, but are you…have you ever been to Termina?”

The owl looked at Rauru and then back to Link. Kaepora Gaebora turned his head up-side-down. “I have been many places, Hero, but they are all one place. There are many times, but they are all one time.”

Link decided he wasn’t going to get any clearer an answer from the owl than that. It seemed he was always as mysterious as he wished to be.

“Kaepora is my very good friend, Link,” said Rauru, “and a very wise counselor.”

“Yes, I’ve met him before…” said Link puzzled. “You said so yourself. I thought you wanted me to teach you that song…”

“True, true,” Rauru interrupted, glancing at Kaepora. “But I wish you to know who he really is. Kaepora is no ordinary owl, as I’m sure you have guessed. He is the reincarnation of Mudora, ancient Sage of Shadow.”

“You…you’re Mudora?” said Link reverently. Suddenly Link guessed why Rauru had sent him to see the Stained Hall. More than to see what he had already told Rauru about, Rauru must have known he would ask about the book and learn who Mudora was.

“I am his reincarnation,” said the owl. “My spirit is that of the Ancient Sage, but I am now a new creature, just as you one day shall be.”

Link’s mind reeled with questions. “What…When did you…How do you know that…I’m sorry, I just…Mudora…I had no idea…”

“Perhaps it would help if I explained,” said Kaepora Gaebora, clicking his beak. “Rauru, you might wish to have him sit.” Rauru brought over the wooden chair from his desk in the corner and Link sat, his mind still buzzing with thoughts. Kaepora Gaebora continued “Many years ago, before I had the form you see before you, I was cursed by a Gerudo witch by the name of Itzah. She was the Sage of Spirit and one of my associates in council but her allegiance was always to her Lord, the man Ganondorf, and she was sent to take my secrets from me that they might serve Ganondorf’s ends. When I resisted her she cursed me and I was left a torn spirit. Part of me wished to move on into that world that awaits us all while part of me wished to stay and protect my brethren in the struggle I knew was to come. Since then I have been trapped as a half-creature, being neither completely Mudora, nor completely Kaepora—neither sage nor owl. It is this half-existence that causes my soul to be in agony, and I have pleaded with the Goddesses these many years to grant me a release. In their service I have aided you to protect this, the people of Hyrule, from destruction. In return, I believe, they have granted me this boon, if Master Rauru is correct—that you, Link, might release the other half of my soul from its bondage and let me be one being. If you can do this for me, Link, I pray you to bring it to pass. Answer a weary old man’s prayers.”

Now Rauru stepped forward. “Link, when you spoke of this Song of Healing it fell on my ears as an answer to the condition of this, my good friend. I know that you have already done much to aid us, but I would ask this favor on behalf of my friend.”

Link was overwhelmed by all of this. It was one thing to have been guided and lead along all the time, but here he was being asked to do something very certain with uncertain magic. He didn’t know if the masks worked the same way in this world, and how was he to know what the song might do? “I…” he began. The faces of the sage and the owl looked imploringly on him. “I just found out who you are, Kaepora—who you really are—and Tobias told me about what you did to keep Ganondorf out of the Golden Land and I just…I mean yes, I’ll try. I just don’t know what will happen, but…I’ll try.”

“Thank you, Link, Hero of Time,” said Kaepora Gaebora. “Thank you. I knew you were sent of the Goddesses…”

“I have an idea, if you will permit me,” said Rauru. “Given recent events it may be that you can answer another need as well, Master Hero…”

Link felt as ready as he would ever be. “What kind of idea?”

“First, we will need to call for the other sages…”

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