North Castle: Impa's Tale

By Juliet A. Singleton


 

 

†† I remember I was but a girl of six when I first began to look longingly upon those strong, tall white turrets. The castle was a symbol of everything my country stood for; beauty, strength, nobility and power. There was no other castle in Demiari that could rival it, built long ago by noble Hylians who had settled in this fair land after the country of my ancestors had sunk beneath the waves. I did not know back then that I would spend my dying days within its elegant chambers.

 

That day was a particularly special day. There was much rejoicing, for my mother told me, a baby boy had been born to the Royal Family. His name was Harkinian, an old Hylian name. I was sitting on the hill outside the village of Rauru where I had been born, along with my older twin brother and sister.

ďOne day, Iím going to live there,Ē I announced to them.

ďIíll live there first! Mother says in a few years, I can go and be a maid there!Ē my ten year old sister Lera replied smugly.

ďMaybe Iíll be a guard and help the new King,Ē my brother Ira mused. I looked back at the castle.

ďIt must be so big inside!Ē

ďI bet it would take a lot of cleaning actually,Ē Lera said, wrinkling her tiny nose slightly.

ďThatís why girls are born Ė so they can clean the houses for their brave warrior husbands!Ē Ira grinned. Lera made an offended noise and immediately proceeded to start battering my brother. I ignored them, they were always fighting after all.†† Yes, one day I knew Iíd reside at that beautiful castle with its white bricks and gleaming blue turrets. North Castle would be my homeÖ

 

***

 

†† Iíve been ill for a while now. I know that my time is almost up but Iím not afraid or upset about it. Iíve had such a wonderful life, full of joy and wonderment, so many things have happened these long years and I was glad I was there to experience them. My name is Impa. I know my name is very old, during my studies Iíve found that many an Impa has worked at North Castle. I am a Hylian but my name is actually Sheikan. The Sheikah are an old, diminished race; you rarely see them these days. A few still linger here and there, their white hair and red eyes giving away their lineage. I used to have long, thick fair hair but over the years it has turned pure white. My old eyes are still as bright and blue as they ever were though, and my sharp ears have never let me down, even in my old age. I have lived a long and generous life indeed.††

 

†† Little princess Aramia is so worried for me. She often comes to visit with little gifts of fruit and flowers. Sheís such a sweet girl. She looks so much like her mother. Sometimes when Iíve been feeling out of sorts, Iíve confused her for her mother, even though Brianna is long dead. She often confides in me, I suppose because she does not always get along with her own grandmother, Zelda. I know Zelda means well in that she wants Aramia to be all ladylike, but she was never at all ladylike herself at that age! Of course I taught her the etiquette a young lady should know, but Zelda was easily bored with such frivolities and much preferred to be out causing trouble somewhere. Of course, that was why the kingdom loved her so much. Just like they love Aramia.

 

***

 

†† The Hyrulian Royal Family have never been out of favour with their subjects for almost as long as I can remember. When I was born, it was during a time of peace. King Dauphnes VII ruled with a generous and lenient hand and there was rarely any trouble in the land. My father was a farmer and he kept a prospering orchard in Rauru and my mother worked as a seamstress. She often did work up at the castle and would tell me stories of how radiant the Queen was and what a delightful little boy her son was.

 

I was only fourteen when I was sent to work at the castle as a maid, joining my sister Lera. We rarely saw the Royal Family because it is a maidís job to be as inconspicuous as possible. The future king to be was much younger than I, a bonny young lad with blond hair and piercing green eyes.Sometimes Iíd see him playing out in the verdant castle grounds but most of the time he was in the castle nursery which was not part of my cleaning routine.

 

Although I was only young I was happy in my simple job and I was allowed to share quarters with Lera and several other maids all around the same age as myself.They were in the lower part of the castle and quite drab compared to the part were the Royal Family lived. I made my part of the room as nice as possible with a hand-woven bedspread in bright colours made by my mother and a pretty picture of the Hyrulian landscape that I purchased from the market in Mido. I recall those early years fondly, all us girls having crushes on the castle guards and taking trips out to Ruto and Mido on our days off work.At night I liked to study, even though my sister and friends laughed at me for it. The King generously allowed me to borrow books from the vast, but dusty library and it was here I spent many an hour alone, reading up on the old Hylian history. I even taught myself the much forgotten language of the Hylians, allowing me to decipher some of the ancient texts that had been left to get musty on the less frequented shelves. Hyrule has always fascinated me. It has such a rich and interesting history and the Hylian language is beautiful. If I hadnít come to North Castle, I would never had had access to its treasure trove of knowledge. Those books are more valuable to me than any of the beautiful paintings or bejewelled trinkets adorning its lavish rooms. Only the legendary Triforce would be the only thing to surpass this within North Castleís mighty halls. But that, is of course, another tale altogether.

 

***

 

The years passed and I got married. He was a castle guard and we were very happy together. We had two children and I took to motherhood easily. In time, the young King Harkinian got married too. His young bride was so beautiful. The wedding was the biggest event in Hyrule, and I was there watching from the sidelines as Harkinian paraded through Mido with Lady Alina. She was from a noble Hylian family who resided in the nearby country of Sosaria and had all the trademark features of the perfect Hylian. Her hair was long and blonde, some of it braided a little like I did mine. Her skin was pale and flawless like ivory and she had the brightest blue eyes Iíve ever seen. She and the handsome Harkinian seemed to be a perfect match in every way.There had been whispers that the King would for certain marry his childhood friend, Princess Seline of Catalia. But when Harkinian and Alina wed, the heir of Hyruleís sister country was not present, and no more was she seen within North Castleís marble halls.

 

There were even more celebrations when the Queen then bore a baby daughter not long later. Her name was Zelda, and she was one of the most special Princesses to be born into the Royal household. I was made her nursemaid. In addition to caring for her when Alina and Harkinian were busy, I was also asked to tutor her. The King was impressed with my vast knowledge of history and scripture; he was a fellow scholar like me and I was in awe when sometimes he sat with me in the library, discussing times of old before we were born. I was given my own special quarters attached to the nursery on one of the higher floors of the castle. The cosy room had a large window that faced to the south with a view of the castle courtyard and the Midoro mountains beyond. The young princess was as quick a learner as she was unruly. She looked the mirror of her mother but her eyes were as green as her fatherís.It certainly came as a shock when Alina died suddenly when Zelda was aged only six summers. From thereon, I suppose I took on the role of her mother as well as her teacher. All was peaceful in Hyrule. Then Ganon came.

 

***

 

†† With possession taken of the Triforce of Power, Ganon let his power grow stronger over the years. Only the stronghold of the castle and the extra vigilant guard now placed upon the Triforce of Wisdom kept the evil wizard fully at bay. Monsters were freely roaming the land in remote places, often ambushing lonely travellers late at night. Many a time did brave Harkiniantravel with the bravest of soldiers to Death Mountain to attempt to regain the stolen Triforce of Power but it was to little avail with many dying or getting lost in the vast underworld labyrinths. Ganon had bode his time well and his stronghold was almost impenetrable. When he finally ambushed North Castle a second time seven years later, no-one was prepared for the sheer ferocity or the height to which his evil power had grown. That fateful night, unable to find the Triforce of Wisdom which Zelda had shattered into pieces and scattered across the land, in a fit of menace he stole away the Princess herself. I did only as she told me. Run, and find me a hero.

 

I did not know where I was going or who I was looking for. In the pounding rain I dashed away from the castle, running towards the Ruto Forest. The cover of the trees would surely be safe from the numerous monsters prowling around the castle grounds in the aftermath of the attack.I must have ran for miles for soon the soon was up and I was blindly wandering the Hyrulian countryside looking for someone, anyone.

 

I was within sight of the River Town of Saria when I ran into trouble. Two ugly moblins, obviously straying from their patrol within the dark forests jumped out onto the road and grabbed hold of me, leering evilly. I could feel their hot, foetid breath on my face and with nothing to defend myself, I suddenly felt scared.

 

When I felt all was about to be lost and Iíd failed my Princess, Hyruleís future destiny showed himself. With a quick flash of his sword, a few leaps and bounds, the slobbering moblins were sent retreating to the woods, tails between their scrawny legs.

 

He didnít look like a typical hero. His green tunic and brown pants were a little rough and scraggy, and his simple sword and shield were made of wood. His brown hair was unruly and wavy, some of it stuffed under a long green cap. He looked barely of age to be honest. But hisazure eyes were warm and friendly and he held himself well. When he looked at me and said directly in a brave voice, ďIíll be your hero. Iíll save the Princess,Ē I was convinced. There was something special about this young lad. He was the one Zelda had seen in her premonition only days earlier. I had done my Princessí bidding. I had found the one to save Hyrule.

 

 

***

 

I was so happy when that young lad and his beloved princess finally wed. Iíd felt like bashing their stubborn heads together for years! You could see that they truly loved each other and I was glad Zelda had someone like Link to take care of her. Heíd never, ever leave her side. And it wasnít long before they had their own little babe, so that once again, I was back to my favoured role of nursemaid. I enjoyed being on the Royal Council and in my years off from tutoring Zelda Iíd been able to take in even more knowledge. But I loved caring for those royal children. I even cared for the next generation, until I became too frail. But by then,I suppose they wanted to care for me instead.

 

The years that went by during that time were mainly peaceful, although they werenít without tragedy. Link and Zeldaís daughter passed away at an early age, her own daughter left to be brought up by her uncle. Nonetheless she has turned out a fine child. Iím sure she will be fit to take up the throne and keep Hyruleís noblest family proud. When she has her own children, I hope my successor will aid them as loyally as I have done. Peace is in Hyrule now. Ganon is but a distant figure in peopleís minds now. The other evils have been and gone, concord ruling our beautiful land instead.

 

***

 

The memories are fading now, becoming more fuzzy. Iím glad that this castle is my final place of respite. Although the life is seeping from me, Iím comfortable and safe. There is no other place in Hyrule that Iíll ever remember more fondly. Perhaps my recollections are distant but in my field of vision I can still see those grandly panelled walls, the elaborate paintings, the vaulted ceilings. In my mind I see the castle shining on top of a hill Ė a white fortress gleaming in the middle of verdant green fields. Polished, blue slate turrets topping the tall towers.The purple and gold flags flying proudly in the breeze. The sun glinting off the cerulean moat. That is my last memory as I drift away to finally join the goddesses in the fabled Golden Land. North Castle. My home. My life. My endÖ

 



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