Title: The Links that Bind
Premise, or Lack Thereof: Yet another set of Link, Zelda, and Ganon try to figure a way out of the seemingly endless cycle of death.
Reason for Banishment: Lost steam
The Links that Bind (tentative title)
a Legend of Zelda ‘fic by Dot
Disclaimer: The Legend of Zelda series and related characters are the property of Nintendo.
When did this begin?
What set these events into motion?
Was it when the Goddesses breathed life onto the land, leaving behind the golden Triforce as a blessing—and a curse?
Was it when a Gerudo thief began his plot to seize the throne of Hyrule?
Was it when a Princess was born with the gift of second sight?
Was it when a young boy wearing clothes as green as the woods he had been raised in took on the mantle of Hero?
Time moves ever forward, and yet the history of mankind seems to do nothing more than circle upon itself, end over end. Even when attempts are made to break the chain, the same mistakes just keep on perpetrating, bringing the same old tragedy to each new generation.
She had no real name, but since everybody called her Kid and she couldn’t think of anything better, that’s what she calls herself, too.
She was an orphan living at the fringes of the village with the other ofphans. Between the kindness of their neighbors and the rich forest beyond, they didn’t starve often. Although she had her share of what she could call friends, she preferred the company of nature; she didn’t quite understand it yet, but what glimpses she’s had of humanity’s dark underside have been enough to put her off most people.
It was a rather solitary life. Sometimes, when it became too much for her, she would climb a tall tree and take in the sights. Up there, she could see so many more things: the horizon, the sun rising and setting in the mountains, the stars, the distant cities whose lights sometimes seemed to shine even brighter.
On this day, though, she was crawling through the underbrush, trying to find her way through the worst fog she can remember; it had started up without any warning, and the next thing she knew she had lost her bearings. The air was so thick with mist that little droplets of water had started to collect on her, dripping into her eyes.
She paused near a cave to rest. She shivered as she looked for materials to start a fire—she knew there would be plenty of leaves and small branches under the first layer of dew-drenched ground, but to get a good blaze going she was going to need something much more substantial.
She was in luck. Lightning struck a young tree some time ago, and a fraction of the burnt corpse had remained standing. As she was too poor to afford even the smallest of knives, it still took her considerable effort to gather enough wood, but she was determined. By the time she had everything ready, her work had generated a sensation of false warmth that was enough to keep her hands steady as she struck her flint, her most valuable possession. She fed the infant flame using the driest sticks first, and then the larger pieces as it grew. Her efforts rewarded at last, she placed some soggy wood between herself and the fire—to prepare more fuel and to prevent any accidental sparks from landing on her—and curled up against entrance of the cave.
Everyone had called her Princess for so long that she sometimes wondered if that was her name. Her Shiekah bodyguard sometimes addressed her by her full moniker—Bridgit Zelda Hylius—but not until her transgressions became too innumerable to bear, so of course she strove to have that happen as often as possible without causing a scandal. The Queen Mother, also a Zelda (the name had been in the family so long that they hadn’t bothered to attach numerals for generations), called her Dearest; yet the Princess did not feel treasured at all.
Indeed, these days the Princess finds it harder and harder to fight the suspicion that she was a mere accessory at the Palace. The Queen Mother had ruled the land for over a century; a miracle, they said, a veritable blessing of the Goddesses that the reign of a Zelda had lasted uninterrupted this long, the first Golden Age in recorded history. The Princess, on the other hand, had always been relegated to some side room somewhere taking the same endless dull lessons on History, Geology, Politics, Mathematics, Astronomy, Manners, and whatever else the Queen Mother had deemed necessary for her to learn. The sole bright spot in the day was learning how to shoot, fence, or ride, but even that was done within the confines of the castle’s thick, high walls.
“I wish I could be allowed in the Throne room,” the Princess had remarked to her Shiekah once. “It would be lovely to watch Her at hold Court.”
“You are still young,” was the reply. “The Queen Mother does not wish for the burden of the Crown to fall on you yet. She Herself was but a child when she took the throne.”
The Princess still found it hard to imagine the Queen Mother as a little girl. As far back as she could remember, the Matriarch of Hyrule had always looked ancient in the glimpses she saw behind the glimmering veil. And yet the Queen Mother reigned on and on with no signs of even slowing down.
The Princess gazed at the world she was forbidden to enter and wonders just what use she was to anyone.
Ganondorf hadn’t planned to become the king of anything, not at first, anyway. As the youngest son of the chief’s most junior wife, he was quite removed from the line to inherit, and his fairer features and unusual eye colors—his irises were an odd mix of pale blue and golden yellow such that they shifted hue along with his moods—were a source of persistent rumors that he was illegitimate. With the chief (and just about all the able-bodied men) away at war and his mother refusing to comment on his lineage, Ganondorf was left to fend for himself.
By the time he was a teenager and into his second growth spurt, he didn’t have to put up with much more than the occasional rock thrown his way. The gang of like-minded outcasts he collected by then helped. As the war raged on and the blockades tightened whom he put to work burglarizing other towns, furthering his reputation.
Then reinforcements from Queen Zelda killed or expelled those of Gerudo descent from Hyrule, and marched on into the desert, razing the village in a surprise attack. Ganondorf organized a last-minute defense, directing the refugees towards his desert hideout. Before long he had amassed a small army’s worth of men, women, and children who needed to be fed and clothed and given orders.
So he fed them with the food he raided from the Hylian fields and clothed them with the finery he stripped from Hylian backs and gave them orders to fight with the weapons he stole from Hylian storehouses. And as he led them into battle, his reputation grew, and soon the desert teemed with not just displaced Gerudo but disgruntled peoples of all ethnicities and walks of life.
And so Ganondorf crowned himself King of Thieves, a name the Hylians gave to mock him, but one that he seized upon as a badge of glory. It would just be a matter of time before he could march into Hylia Castle itself and sit upon that golden throne and—
—and then what?
Well, Ganondorf hadn’t quite thought that far yet, but he was sure he could come up with something.
Kid woke up with no recollection of having fallen asleep. This was alarming to her, as she had trained herself to wake and doze at will. She shifted to her feet, grabbing a nearby branch.
The world outside remained a wall of white. Inside, the cave walls shifted along with the shadows cast by the dancing flames. And by the fire, next to the wood she had gathered, sat a small lantern—
—NEXT TO THE WOOD SHE HAD GATHERED EARLIER SAT A SMALL LANTERN!
Kid’s mind remained calm, but her body, pressed against the solid rock behind her, was a mass of nerves. She knew the kind of people that made refuge in caves; heck, at the moment, she was one of them.
She scanned her surroundings, starting from the dark interior as far as the illumination could reach. Every detail, down to the smallest pebble, was inspected and re-inspected for any signs of the lantern’s owner. Try as she might, she could not imagine who would leave such a thing here, nor what that implied.
She stood like this—staring, shivering, speculating—for a long, long time. And then, by some inexplicable impulse of courage—or curiosity, or stupidity, or perhaps even insanity—she founder herself taking up the lantern and, after lighting it with shaking fingers, descending into the darkness beyond.
“Bridgit Zelda Hylius.”
The Princess remained on the window ledge, clutching the makeshift rope she had made out of the bedsheets. “Don’t take another step, Shiekah, or I’ll jump.”
“Do not threaten death if you do not have the determination to carry it out.” The dagger signifying the Shiekah’s status as a royal bodyguard was drawn out of it’s elaborate sheath. “Allowing you to leave the safety of the palace without the Queen’s permission would condemn me to a traitor’s death. If you yearn to be free that much, then first grant me a merciful end at my own hand.”
The Princess hesitated. Then she smiled, tilting her head at her bodyguard. “But Shiekah, if you commit suicide now, then who will protect me from the outside world?” Holding onto the rope, she dropped down into the unknown.