Title: Path of Sins

Author: Alex Foster

Category: Drama

Rating: PG-13

Summary: When Link's old friend steals an object of long forgotten magic, a race against time begins to preserve history itself. Soon Link sets off on a quest to find his friend before those who would use the power for evil means, while Zelda learns about the magic and the event that happen four decades ago that inspired the theft. As Link and Zelda's paths draw closer together, a startling truth is revealed...the evil Link seeks to stop from obtaining the magic may already have it in the form of his friend.

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by Nintendo. No money is being made and no infringement is intended.

Author's Notes: I have had so much fun writing this story it is ridiculous. It not only allowed me to explore a great and wondrous world only glimpsed in the games, but it also gave me a chance to get in touch with my inner Zelda since she has a much more prominent role than in my other stories. I can only hope that the readers are as captivated by this story and these characters as I am. Thank you very much for reading.

Map: I fashioned a small map of the area beyond Hyrule dealt with in this story. Just type this address into your browser Be sure to add an 'm' after the .co; I had to remove it for the address to show up.

In chapters five and above, it might be handy to have this map open in a second window so you can read and reference the map at the same time.

Mine has been a path of sins, and I acknowledge that most of the blame for this distinction is mine alone. However, my daughter is an agent of prophecy, trained in the ways of the Sheikah. She is free and I know she will destroy you. I go to my death with pity in my heart for you.

King Harkinian's final words as spoken to Ganon

Men are punished by their sins, not for them.

Elbert Hubbard (1856 - 1915)


Forty years before....

An army stood waiting for Duncan Azar.

The young, dark skinned Hylian peered over the edge of the rampart that had shielded him from view for most of the day, and saw a battalion of men, easily two hundred strong, waiting for him. The soldiers, all clad in King Hinart of Calatia red coat of arms, lined the grounds of the ancient monastery Duncan and his three friends had sought refuge in.

The building and its walls were decrepit and chipped from age and from weather. Duncan knew that when the attack came, this monastery would do little to slow the army.

Beyond the army, the barren land of northern Calatia stretched to the horizon. Boulders studded the landscape of reddish clay like unsightly boils. Here the mountainous terrain of southern Calatia flattened and opened to the desolate plains of the Wasteland of Canor. The sky was clear and rich blue and the air held a sweet scent that hinted that cooler weather was not long in coming. All of that seemed odd to Duncan; it was somehow wrong to have sunny, pleasant weather on the day people might die. It was as though nature itself had abandoned the condemned to their fate and refused to even allow a cloud to commemorate the lives that would be extinguished like a useless candle.

When Duncan's flight from the law began months earlier, he had wanted to travel south to the Gerudo Valley but his fellow thieves out voted him. Now, looking at the massive collection of men below, he had to wonder if waiting for death in a long abandoned house of worship was truly preferable to the possibility of capture by the Gerudo and being condemned to a life of slavery.

Duncan swallowed hard. He knew that Hinart's men were waiting for the arrival of wizards before they attacked. The army of Calatia had scrounged the countryside for Duncan and his friends over the past several months, but they were patient enough to wait for spell casters to ensure a quick victory.

The army had numbers, superior weaponry, and better supplies on their side, but Duncan and his comrades were trained in magic by the best wizards in Calatia. Although the four had not yet taken the oath of responsibility, the training of the Tower of Magic was very thorough and the field commanders out there had no wish to fight magic with just steel.

A squad would soon arrive from the Tower, and then the attack would commence. The wizards would cut through the monastery without leniency and easily put down any traps Duncan's companions had lain. There was little doubt in his mind that the Tower would send only the most powerful of spell casters to deal with this menace. Already this affair had embarrassed the Tower, and no one on the Ruling Council wanted to fumble the retrieval of Duncan and his comrades.

For what felt like the hundredth time that day, Duncan wiped perspiration from his brow. Nearly a year ago when he and his cohorts had stolen a book of magic from the necromancers' enclave, it had never occurred to him that that one action would cost him his life. But death, he now knew, was the demanded price for his crime.

He did not fear an archer's arrow or a soldier's blade, but what the wizards would do to him to reclaim what he had taken from them. Knowledge, information, and power were what he had pilfered, and the penalty would be high; wizards guarded such things closer than a lioness protected her cubs. When the representatives from the Tower finally did kill him, it would be an act of mercy. It did not take a gift for magic or prophecy to foresee much pain and suffering in Duncan's future.

"Duncan," a voice whispered from the archway leading down into the monastery. "Any change?"

It was his friend and fellow thief, Givoi. Duncan shook his head and replied, "No, the soldiers are still there."

Givoi gave a short bark of a laugh, as though everything was going just as he'd planned. "We might just have time to finish the spell," he said with another laugh, then vanished back into the old monastery.

Duncan waited until he heard the sounds of Givoi's footfalls fade. "No, my friend," he said, watching the army settle in far below him. "This is not meant to be." Duncan once believed in greatness for his friends and for the world, but not anymore. A year of living on the run, sleeping on the hard ground and waking up with the taste of dirt in his mouth every morning had crushed that faith in him.

He wished that he could go back a year in time and stop his foolish younger self from making such big mistakes. But that was not possible, he knew. Time was time; it laughed like a sadist every time a man or a woman wished to go back and make changes. "Didn't you know mine was a one-way trip?" it would whisper in the ear of the forsaken.

Long ago a sorcerer had had the same wish, Duncan knew, and made it his life's work to bring reality to that desire. To be able to relive just one lost second, to reach backward and correct a wrong, to stop pain by preventing the wound. It had been music to Duncan's naive soul. He had tried following that sorcerer's teachings while at the Tower—even convincing several other students to join him—but failed in the end...just as the Sorcerer Thanos had.

Duncan leaned back against the cold stone rampart. Below he could hear the voices of soldiers as they readied themselves for battle. "None of this was ever meant to be..."