Author: evanesced04 PM
“I broke into a vigorous run, my heels striking the ground with such force and bracing rhythm that I imagined myself sprinting upon the sands of the oasis, or bounding along the limestone rooftops of the fortress.” Civil War/early OoT era Ganondorf's POVRated: Fiction T - English - Ganondorf - Words: 2,382 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 2 - Published: 12-13-08 - id: 4714354
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A/N: A re-written prologue that still seems as obscure and over-indulgent as ever, but really, an update from me is long overdue, and I apologize—I really do! Using the computer for anything other than schoolwork for the past few weeks has been ridiculously difficult. It's somehow both comforting and a little disturbing that, regardless of however turbulent things became outside of my writing, this story has always been sitting in the back of my mind. For months I've made promises that this would be updated, and now I finally have something, and it's little more than an expanded prologue—you all deserve much better than that for your support, so thank you, thank you, thank you (I hope that this piece will develop into something you might truly enjoy)! And special thanks to Morna, Selah-ex-animo, and Seldavia for the inspiration their works (both fan-fiction and original fiction) have given me. I am so grateful for their companionship and insight, because improving one's writing can be quite a journey, and a difficult one to make alone.
I admit that this prologue is a bit melodramatic in certain aspects, and rather dull and confusing and fragmented, overall, but I've read this over so many times that I'm looking for new minds to digest it, now, and to provide some critique (whatever you would like to say I would truly appreciate, since, as I mentioned earlier, improving one's writing can be quite a journey) J. The next chapter will definitely be more informative—and not to mention at least a little more eventful, too.
This prologue has been re-written in Ganondorf's POV, to coincide a little better with the rest of the story.
"No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which might be the true,"
Prologue: To Remember
It is true that desert nights were never dark—that the light from the moon had always been Din's only demonstration of compassion toward her desert children; a testimony to the notion that she had not forgotten them, and that she never wanted for them to suffer the darkness despite their hardships.
Yet they still knew darkness. It was found in the lightless chambers of the Spirit Temple, and the airless depths of tombs where their dead lay down in restless silence. It was darkness that tinted their skin, and darkness that they drank as tea, even in the sweltering heat. It was the shadow of their temple over the oasis, the color of the spices in their meals, the shade of their jerky, and the magic of their ancestors.
In the desert, darkness was seldom ever associated with wickedness, for none there suffered or feared the darkness as a Hylian would. Darkness came naturally when it did, and existed unobtrusively where it settled, like a wispy veil gathered and dropped inconspicuously to the ground—a pooling of thin fabric.
Perhaps that was why they had never left the desert, since fear of something as ordinary as darkness was worse to them than famine, decay, or dry winds. It was here that their ancestors settled in exile and a strange sense of liberation, and it was here that they would remain, their lives lived upon the red earth like an arrow off a bow, or a knife thrown from a skilled hand—swift and smarting, yet ultimately free.
There were two tribes in the desert—the Gerudo and the Zahyeri. The Gerudo were strong and adaptive to their environment, they were resourceful, they were resolute and they were women. Theirs was a culture of extremes; for instance, if one's hair were to be cropped, it was cropped severely, just below her blunt ears, and if one's hair were to be kept long, it fell in lavish maroon waves to the small of her back. Sternness, poise, and determination were essential. The Gerudo lived by their faith in strength, spirituality, and honor—their lives were given definition, in this way, and they did not mind that they were perceived as willful or obstinate, for to subsist in the wastes of the desert summoned a resilience of character that only they had.
Yet a fraction of the Gerudo was less interested in structure and hierarchy than their sisters were. These Gerudo retreated farther west and deeper into the desert, to live like their ancestors with their male companions, the Zahyeri, who were raven-haired and rugged, and were a people who existed in the oasis under the shadow of the Spirit Temple.
This mingling of cultures was never disliked by the fortress Gerudo, only forgotten in political affairs, and it was due to this forsakenness that the oasis people had lived by the laws of no monarch, but simply by those of the Goddesses, themselves.
My people were these people of the desert—who embraced their freedom and accepted the darkness as complaisantly as they accepted that night must always, inevitably come. While in the fortress we lead a regimented life, in the oasis we lived off the land in peace and in tents, relatively untouched by time or civilization. We clung to ancient stories and ancient traditions, and thrived upon the vitality of our history and all that we could remember of our mothers before us.
What I have always remembered distinctly about my own mother was that she was always reading. She said that it was what gave her spirit freedom, regardless of however her body might have been tethered to the earth. So it is no surprise then, that I should feel her greatest gift was teaching me to read. Our tent was cluttered with scrolls. It made such an impression on my memory that I have always remembered it vividly, even to this day.
While my mother read, she drank tea—black, fragrant teas that inhered in the red carpets and boar-hide walls so that even when she was not brewing them or drinking them, one could still smell them. When I was a boy, I only liked tea when I drank it with my mother, which was only twice a day compared to the four times a day that she had it alone. And Din, what a thing to remember—how comfortably intransient life was, then.
In sunlight, her teas refracted a maroon hue; I could watch the dark remnants of the leaves rise and sink as they saturated the warm water with their bitterness. When we had no water, we used warm goat milk and solvated the leaves in that. My mother always dropped a tiny lump of crystallized palm sugar into my drinking bowl, though we had very little and she never took any for herself—I must have been no more than six years old, which I feel should have been the age for a little boy to realize what gratitude he owed his mother.
"Jo-nam," she would call me, "please bring some water." And I would be handed an earthen bowl with which I traversed the hot sand to a community well. Upon returning, I usually watched my mother pour a significant amount of the bowl's content into a large clay pot, and the rest upon the dry sand around a pile of kindling at the center of our tent. This pile of kindling was what she would crouch over to light with two rough stones—I have never remembered it being a different process. With my back to her work I could still hear it and know—the scraping of flint, the rustling of dried bark, the sound of combustion like the wafting sound of a bird in flight—and when I would turn my head to look, the flame would be there, and I could turn away and know that the next time I turned around it would be blazing and popping and spitting out embers around the kindling.
Our tent must have been a tall one, for I remember a square of dyed-red animal hide at the very center of the ceiling—just above where the fire would be lit—that my mother always had to stretch her arms upward to untie, and pin somehow to the side, after she lit the fire. It revealed the open air when she did this, and the thick smoke was allowed to climb and curl its way out. At night she often left this opening untied, even after the fire had been doused with sand. Whatever smoke remained from the day escaped at this time as I lay on my back to wait for the moon to pass over our home. It was always bright enough for me to see my hands, black and silhouetted as they were, and to cast shadows over the floor of the tent with them.
I remember that my mother had the most inadequate tools for the most urgent uses. For instance, she once yanked one of my loose teeth with a metal hook she had found in the Spirit Temple. As she pulled in one direction, I pulled in the other—wincing in pain—and when the tooth went flying out into her hands, I tumbled backward, bleeding from my mouth and whining at the inconvenience of the whole thing; she then promptly silenced me with a story about a boy who had no teeth, at all.
"It was just as well that he had no tongue," she told me, "he spoke so crudely and ate with such difficulty."
I was dumbfounded.
"So don't complain to me about how much pain I've caused your mouth, you spoiled prince," she added after a moment of assessing the effect her tale had on me, waving the salvaged metal hook as she spoke.
"But mama, I'm not a prince," I said, for I felt the need to say something in order to become her docile son, again. I did not understand the irony of my words, at the time, or why my mother then regarded me for a moment with a somber, dissatisfied look before holding my head to her chest and crooning,
"That's right, Jo-nam, you're my son, my life, and you will stay close to me, won't you?"
I hid the discomfort I felt in my back whenever she held me in this awkward position; she would continue to hold me if I remained perfectly still and did not squirm, and she would not put me off her lap, feeling ashamed and slightly careless, to smooth my hair and send me off.
In a way she was a perplexity, my mother. At the time, I never understood why she was never lonely without my father, or why, when the Zahyeri men visited her, she sent them just as soon on their way still looking expectant and unfulfilled, while she herself smiled wryly afterward, rustling my hair and unfurling another scroll before us. It seemed as though she had a secret past and a secret life, and it seemed as though she had treasured up stories all throughout her secret days, from her scrolls, from her imagination, from her dark subconscious. At night she often cried out in her sleep—hard, breathy sobs from hidden terrors that she had been plagued with her entire life, and I would go to lay beside her on the carpet—still fragrant with the smell of her black teas—and she would fall silent again.
She is associated with no one in my memory. Like resolution at the far end of a distance too great to close, she was, in a sense, difficult to reach, and even more difficult to understand from such great lengths. What I mean to say is that she was independent in life, and so it seems that she must remain an independent entity in my thoughts. But whether she fabricated her own existence so estranged and solitary intentionally, or because no one could help but wish to marvel at her from a distance, I could never tell or know. As her son I am wont to know the true implications of her stories, and the truth behind her secret life—and from her own lips—however, I am denied this, as there is a steep chasm now whose breadth distends between us; I was only a boy when she died, and I was already a man when I finally learned of it.
There is a longing that I feel for my mother, now, just as there is a terrible pull that I feel from the absence of my father. Yet, so very unlike the cryptic pull of my father, this continual longing that I have for my mother is love, even after so many painful years, for there is compassion to longing, just as there is callousness to envy or tenderness to concern, and I sometimes feel that we love like the hungry, for to love is to crave and still be denied absolute nourishment. In love we are given little to begin with, and are thus driven to salvaging and hording by the very pains of our starvation. I have hungered my entire life, it seems.
Yet although we must sometimes sleep without dreaming of them, our lost are always returned to us by our hunger.
That is how memories work. Memories console us without thrusting false comfort into our laps, and are almost fleshed into reality by the very will of our own longing, though we are only offered glimpses suspended in time, or a fleeting visit that leaves even greater bereavement in its wake.
So allow me the benefit of imparting to you my memory, reader, for I feel that there is so much to revisit, and so few who would come with me. I will be honest with you and I will navigate for you if you would be my crutch to hurt legs. I think that you will come to understand, that sometimes it is necessary to retrace one's steps, no matter how raw and untended-to the wounds still remain, or how comforting it becomes to forget.