EDIT: This is a double chapter update (24 and 25). Be sure to read chapter 24 first before reading this one ;)
This is it guys, the last chapter. Well, I guess it's more like "what was supposed to be a chapter." Hear me out, because this isn't just any final chapter to any story: it's going to be THE final chapter for a long while. Yes, After seven years of writing Zelda fanfics, I'm taking a break from fanfiction (but more on that later).
Warning: lots of wild musings and cheesy thoughts ahead-
I learned A LOT of things while writing all of these stories, and one of the biggest lessons I learned is that no story truly ever ends. Even with happy endings, there's always going to be conflict and butting heads later on in life. Happiness isn't a constant, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's all the bad things in between that makes all of the happy moments worth it, and life without conflict isn't... life at all. So, no. Stories don't end. They only truly end when you die, and only if you don't believe in reincarnation and the next world or... something.
I think that's what I tried to accomplish when I wrote "Recollections" back in the day. I wanted the never-ending stories to stop, Beyond Centuries was driving me nuts (as much as I loved it), and I wanted some kind of definitive closure. Of course I went about it the wrong way (SPOILERS: everyone dies, no lie) and don't consider that story "fleets canon" anymore, but I was young and needed to learn that stories that don't end are fine the way they are. Also, why is it that all my stories are somewhat connected in some way? It's because for me, Beyond Centuries, my very first fanfic, never truly ended.
"Okay fleets, you're boring me. Where's this last chapter you promised and why are you wasting my time with this cheesy ramble? I only came here for the VaaZel."
I was going to write it. Heck, I was a third into writing it, and then decided to stop because this story ended exactly one chapter ago on a perfectly happy conclusion. The chapter I started writing brought this story back into more conflict, needing another complete arc to give it the closure it deserved. It was no longer a part of "Forget-me-nots," and a start of something new. IT HAD TO STOP. I knew that it would never stop unless I forced it to stop right here.
I will tell you what it was about, though. It was about Vaati wondering what would happen if he outlived Zelda, since the Minish tended to live much longer than Hylians. He then realizes that no, Zelda was going to outlive him, in the form of reincarnations. Being the selfish idiot that he is, Vaati decides that he must have every single reincarnation of Zelda, or no one else can. Thus begins his quest to find a way to successfully reincarnate himself. Does this sound familiar to anyone who's read my other stories? Because I just told you the prologue of "Avilux Ignis," my other Vaati sort-of modern AU :P Of course this ends up being a stupid thing to do, which is the entire premise of the Avilux series. Had I known I would be so into VaaZel when writing AI/OA, I would have given a better shoutout to it. Alas, I never knew I would be writing a fullblown VaaZel when I was writing AI/OA, so there's that. That's one thing I'd tell my past self if I had a time machine: to include some kind of nod to VaaZel.
The chapter itself becomes pretty dark, then, with Zelda telling him it was a stupid thing to do and he should stop messing with reincarnation, and him not listening to her, stubborn butthead that he is (of course).
"But fleets, doesn't that mean Vaati's going to go after Zelda's descendants sooooo that's like... incest? Gross." Yeah, I was going to address that too.
In the FaV world, Vaati and Zelda never end up having kids. Biology works against them, and it turns out that Minish-demon-whatever-the-hell-Vaati-is-anymore can't make babies with Hylians. Of course, being royalty, this presents a problem since Zelda needs an heir. Although rare, it has happened in the past where the royals weren't able to bear children, and what happened in these cases was to adopt. The public never knew about this, and it was a secret kept only by the Sheikah and the royal family (they tried to find cousins if they could, but that wasn't always an option). In terms of the Triforce, it always managed to find its way to the royal princess somewhere along the new bloodline, just like how not all of the heroes are related to each other (okay, sorry if this goes against your own Triforce theories because we're starting to enter the fleets' BS zone. I'm just running with the BS now).
Vaati does not like the idea of adoption. He's warmed up to the idea after numerous conversations with Zelda, but he is super insecure about it since it reminds him too much of what he went through with Ezlo (in "Tainted Heart," he's adopted). He hates the idea that no matter what he does, Ezlo's life just seems to follow him around everywhere. He knows everything will turn out fine, but the possibility of him repeating Ezlo's mistakes makes him endlessly queasy about the whole idea.
I was also going to include a joke in the conversation between Zelda and Vaati where Zelda asks what Vaati would have named a baby girl if they could have a child (in another world *whistles innocently*) and, lazy and annoyed, he snaps back irritably "Hilda? I don't know it's not like it'll ever happen." :P
Um, so yeah, that's another conversation that's not entirely happy, and wasn't going to be resolved with a single chapter. I also have this... tragic headcanon... that the female royals in Hyrule never live to old age because we never see them old in the games. Seriously where is Zelda's mom in any of the games?! WE NEVER SEE HER. I think having the Triforce of Wisdom screws up your lifespan or something, because we never see the queen and we always see a very young princess running (or trying to run) her kingdom. So if Zelda dies young(ish), then where does that leave Vaati? My guess is he'll figure out his reincarnation spell, and then kill himself early because he's an idiot and thinks he'll just start life all over again with the next-to-be incarnation of Zelda (I repeat, he's an idiot). And of course this leaves the poor adopted baby to rule Hyrule all on their own with the help of an aging Impa. Which throws Hyrule back into chaos, just in time for the conflicts preceding Rend. Or some such. Good job Vaati. Good job.
Well, now you know what I had planned and why I decided to stop FaV with the happy wedding chapter. Stories... they don't end.
For the record, even though Vaati and Zelda may have had numerous conflicts in their life together, I'd like to think that they were both happy at the end, whenever that may be (like... Vaati's story isn't technically over yet since we don't know what happens after OA, but I'd say he's happy. Oh, he also eventually gets back together with Zelda even though it's a long, complicated journey like it was in WIR and FaV, heh. Some things don't change, yeah?).
That's all I had to say regarding this "chapter" I suppose.
I can't describe enough how thankful I am to each and every one of you who have read my stories. I still vaguely remember when I first started writing Beyond Centuries. I was super nervous about posting something online, wondering what people would think of it, and if I was the only one enjoying Link and Vaati's adventure. Although I do write for myself and would have stopped a long time ago if I found no enjoyment in writing, I'd be lying if I said that your support didn't keep me going for this long. My first fanfic published was in August 2008... almost exactly seven years. I learned a lot about myself during this time, and also got to explore ideas that makes humans well, human. Writing these stories helped me think about things like insecurities, fears, conflict, and how we deal with them. It helped me think about how my own actions influence others around me, and where ideals even come from. I've made mistakes, too, and each story is like a permanent record of all of the naive things I used to think.
FOR EXAMPLE: there is something I am endlessly ashamed of now that I never mentioned. I just want to say I was an even bigger idiot back when I first started writing than I am now. I disliked female characters and was very anti-girl based on my own experiences in middle school. My own experience was that the majority of girls in my class were catty, nosey, and two-faced, and I saw friends betraying each other while pretending to be besties. For instance, I remember one of my so called "best friends" telling my other friend "let's not hang out with (fleets) please" right in front of me because they thought I couldn't understand English (I'd just moved to America at the time, and was in the middle of learning English). And this was after she insisted we trade friendship bracelets and made plans for the weekend. These sorts of things happened not only to myself, but I observed them happening to other friends, too. All my girl friends holding sleepover parties, and then talking shit about them when one of them left the room. Some days it was so bad that I hid in the bathroom to cry.
This negative experience seriously affected my writing, and I avoided including female characters in my earlier works. My bias increased when my male friends weren't as awful as my female classmates. Maybe it helped that they didn't really invite me to pajama parties to two-face shittalk about each other, heh :P
College changed everything. I left my tiny community and came to a new one with hundreds of different opinions and values, and learned how stupid I was for holding this bias. I'm not going to explain my life story here, but know that I now enjoy writing characters of all types. I'm less sensitive to "oh! I'm writing a male character now. And oh here's a female character," as in I'm not so focused on the male/female distinction, but more on whether they're good fits to what I'm writing.
Another regret was making Vaati/Gale's homophobia too... I don't know... I'm looking back and now I think it wasn't necessary to any of my stories at all even though I characterized him as such for (reasons I've already explained in relevant stories). I sometimes like to throw small bits here and there that showcase a characterization I have for a character, and I think that was one of those things that could have just stayed in my head. Put a filter over your mouth, fleets, no one wants your verbal vomit. Or, you know, if I DID include it, then I could have had Dark (who I see as promiscuous bi) to lay on a big smackdown on Vaati/Gale's behavior and we could have had an interesting discussion there. ANYWAYS I had to get that off my chest because it had been bugging me. I think I picked up a few important life lessons over the last seven years. Hopefully it didn't make me MORE of an asshole (please let me know if I'm a bigger idiot than I started).
I wouldn't have been able to have as fulfilling a journey without your continued support, and for this I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
With each story, I also became more confident about writing original characters. Back when I first started, I didn't want to write about ANY OCs because I was so insecure about sharing them with people (and when I did create them, it was only because they were necessary for the plot, resulting in a more one dimensional character than they could have been). You readers (and reviewers!) gave this insecure author the confidence to share more of themselves through OCs, so thank you for that, as well.
Speaking of OCs, I don't plan on stopping writing, even though I do plan on taking a break from fanfiction for a while. There are two reasons why I plan to stop writing fanfics. The first is that I feel old, and not in the literal age sense. I no longer have that same, drunken, enthusiastic energy for writing about the Legend of Zelda that I used to have. I think part of it is that I've exhausted all Vaati-related stories that I've ever wanted to write. I DID have an idea about a person-gets-sucked-into-Zelda-world-through-Dethl-nightmare story, but I've only had small bursts of enthusiasm for it and after a few days it will dwindle into a "meh." I actually think it will be a pretty good story since I love its tragic theme (e.g. What is freedom worth? Is it worth the death of an entire world? Is it worth the death of your friends? If your friends want to support your quest to freedom even if it means their deaths, would you still go through with pursuing it?), but... there's a laziness that plagues my brain.
The second reason, related to the first I think, is that I'd rather write original stories now. This is especially true since most of my new story ideas involve a heavy cast of OCs with a few dabbles of canon characters (I mean, even OA had THREE "canon-not-really" characters and at least six major OCs), and when I plan new stories now I can't help but think, "Why not write an original story instead?" I would LOVE to write a fantasy adventure story, and it'll probably be based on some themes I tossed around in my fanfics so far. I'm using Avilux as a base point to start branching out into original story worldbuilding, so we'll see how that goes :)
This... doesn't mean I'll disappear completely. I still welcome PMs and love reading them (and I'll try to answer them as quick as possible), either on this website or deviantart. I've also had a secret-not-so-secret tumblr account where I post things from time to time, and am welcome to comments :) I'm under the name thewishingcap at the moment. I also have a separate blog for an original story but please PM me if you would like the link for it. FYI I am a terrible blogger/respondent and if I take forever replying, it's 99.999 percent that I'm not intentionally ignoring you and most likely I got distracted. I'll also pop by every so often on my deviantart account, fleetfleets. I will most likely post ramblings/sketches of any new story concepts on tumblr rather than deviantart since I don't have the energy to make polished deviations, so you'll still (hopefully) hear from me from time to time!
There's always adventure. There's always magic! As long as you're living you'll have a story all your own, and an amazing one at that :)
Thank you for the last seven years. It has been an honor.