Scraps of the Cutting Room Floor
So, like I stated before, I wanted to share a few bits and pieces of the writing that I did on the story that didn't quite make it in for one reason or another. I kept most anything significant that got cut in a separate document, which I titled Scraps. Somewhere along the way, it ended up being about fifty pages worth of stuff! Not all of it is very different than what ended up on the final page. In fact, there are some things in this document that did end up on the page, because I did occasionally move something over to scraps, try writing something else, and then decided to go back to the original.
I won't be putting all fifty pages into this post, but I did want to share some selections of what I've got here! Also, the nature of these scraps means that many of them will be incomplete scenes, and some may even reference other scenes that were altered or cut. Each one will include a brief blurb about where it took place and why it was cut to try to help that.
I'll start with two scenes that were meant to introduce moblins into my world. The first was right after Link paraglided off of the Great Plateau while the other takes place just outside of Hateno Village. Ultimately, each time I decided to cut these was for the sake of pacing. Adding a new monster type here just felt rushed to me, not to mention this was about the time that I realized that I didn't need to have a fight scene every chapter. Originally, I thought I would be having Link fight a lot more of the mundane monsters, but I quickly realized that the story would get boring and the pacing would be awful if I tried doing that every other chapter or so.
This first one was fun to write, though, as I felt it was a good introduction to the moblin—and its particular quirks as found in Breath of the Wild. Enjoy!
Link fights a Moblin/mounted Bokoblin
Unfortunately, all good things eventually come to an end, and Link's feeling of elation did so when he looked ahead on the road and saw a pair of creatures a little way further along it. One was a bokoblin, seated on top of a red mare. The other was taller than the horse and bokoblin still, with a long pig-like snout, hulking arms, and a single, sharp horn atop its head. It shared some of its features with the bokoblin beside it—its ears, coloring, and overall fashion sense consisting of nothing but a loincloth—but looked far more dangerous. The massive club that it held in one hand didn't help.
The pair of creatures, quite unfortunately, saw Link at roughly the same time he saw them. The bokoblin pulled up short, pointing and chattering something to the larger creature. The larger one seemed slower of movement and thought, and looked up at Link with a confused expression. That expression eventually became one of malice, however, and the creature grinned, showing a broken row of sharp teeth.
This was about the time that Link's feet touched down on the ground. He, personally, felt as though the glider could have timed things better. At the very least, he did not have to worry about fending off an opponent on horseback as, a moment later, the larger creature simply picked up the bokoblin with one meaty hand, ignoring its sharp screams of terror, and threw it at Link. Link dropped the glider and then leapt aside, barely avoiding the screaming bokoblin as it was flung to the ground behind it. It rolled some ways before coming to a stop and rising uneasily to its feet.
Well, Link thought. I suppose it was going to be too much to ask for that he would stay out of the fight. He unsheathed his sword, ignoring the shield for now. If he tried to block that club with his shield, he imagined that it would shatter his arm in the process. Best to just try not to get hit.
The large creature approached Link, lumbering forward on its two short legs, until it towered over Link. It was very tall. At least twice Link's size. Link took a step back, eyes widening some, and then sprinted to the side, just narrowly avoiding a downward swing of the club that hit the ground with enough force, at least to Link's imagination, to crack stone. He tried to swing his sword around in a heavy, two-handed grip, aiming to chop the creature's legs out from under him. The creature, though, slow-looking, was not unfamiliar with fighting things smaller than it, however, and took a step back, avoiding Link's blow.
The bokoblin rejoined the fight in that moment, swinging out at Link with a knife, which Link avoided with a quick sidestep. As he did so, he reached over with one hand, shoving the bokoblin around to place it between Link and the larger creature. This tactic worked rather well, as the larger creature swung horizontally at Link and caught the bokoblin instead. The club connected with a sickening crunch of bones breaking, and the bokoblin was flung lifelessly away into a ruined wall. This time, it did not rise again.
The larger creature was surprised by this, and it bellowed angrily at Link. Raising its club, it prepared to bring it down onto Link's head, but Link reacted quicker than it was expecting. He darted forward, plunging his sword into the gut of the larger creature. It grunted in surprise and pain, but did not immediately fall, so Link pulled his sword from its gut and swung, instead, at its leg. The sword cut deep and, this time, the creature fell to the side, holding its bleeding gut. The club fell to the ground some feet away, all but forgotten now. It groaned in pain and Link grimaced. The gut wound would be a slow death.
Link decided to hasten its demise, regardless of how it made him feel inside, and stabbed his sword into where he assumed the creature's heart would be. It would appear that he chose correctly, as the creature made one final rattling breath before the life left its eyes.
This next one takes place just outside of Hateno Village, and it is an alternate to the scene where Link saves Nat and Meghyn. Ultimately, I cut it for the same reason as above. I just felt the introduction disrupted the pacing. I believe that I eventually introduced the moblin as an enemy in the flashback with Daruk, instead.
Rescuing the Ladies Outside of Hateno/Moblin fight
The other two bokoblins were a little wiser than their fallen brethren and split to come around Link, attacking from either side. He waited, trying to keep each of the bokoblins in his peripheral. At the last second, he leapt back, dodging both the attempted stab with the pitchfork and overhead swing of a club. The club connected with the pitchfork, knocking it from the bokoblin holding it, and Link felt a rush of satisfaction. So easy.
Something hit him in the back hard enough to knock him off his feet and directly into the bokoblin holding the club. They went down in a tangle of arms and legs. Nearby, one of the women screamed again.
Link rolled off of the bokoblin and groaned. His vision was blurry and his whole body screamed with pain. Blinking blearily, he saw a large, dark shape step into view above him. Two massive arms, pig-like snout, single, long horn extending from its forehead. Moblin. And it was raising its huge club overhead, ready to bring it down on Link's prone form.
Link's mind snapped back into focus and he rolled to the side, narrowly avoiding the club as it smashed into the ground. He felt the ground tremble under him at the blow. Link pushed himself to his feet, his back angrily protesting this motion, and took several steps back to avoid any follow-up attacks.
The moblin stood tall, its head easily reaching some of the branches of the nearby trees. The two remaining bokoblins moved up to stand on either side of it, looking very pleased with themselves. How had Link missed running past that massive thing? He'd been so focused on protecting the women that he must have passed within a few feet of the moblin without noticing it. Sloppy.
Link gripped his sword more tightly—he had, somehow, managed to keep ahold of it when he had been hit. The moblin lumbered forward, gripping its club with two meaty fists. The bokoblins stayed back, likely not wanting to get in the larger creature's way.
This next bit was cut very late in the writing process—the day I posted the Chapter 11, which is the chapter that immediately follows the introduction of Kass on the way to Zora's Domain. When I was going through revisions for this chapter, this part bugged me for being too grim. I liked it, because it showed more of the dire nature of things, but it stood out as both too dark for this point in the story, as well as made it difficult to justify any trade going up and down the roads at all. So I ultimately cut it entirely and had this stretch of Link's travels be uneventful. However, you all likely remember that I eventually revisited troubles along this road with the unfortunate fall of the Wetlands Stable…
Traveling to Zora's Domain/Dead Travelers
As he rode, he spotted several bokoblin camps near the road, but was able to largely keep his distance from most of them. Bokoblins weren't especially fast on the best of days, and none of them could hope to outrun a horse. Thankfully, none of these ones had horses of their own.
It was late afternoon when he saw the four bokoblins crouched near a pair of dead horses and another two prone figures. The road had been blocked by the broken remains of an old cart, and the horses' bodies bristled with crude arrows. In his mind's eye, Link could see how the fight had gone. The two riders had likely been forced to slow because of the cart, which had been the opportunity for the bokoblins, standing atop one of the two hills on either side of the road, to launch volleys of arrows down on the hapless travelers. To Link's dismay, he also saw arrows sprouting from the two prone bodies.
He dismounted from Spirit, grabbing his weaponry. He began to walk up the road towards the distracted bokoblins—he couldn't quite see what they were doing to the Hylian bodies, but at least two of them appeared to be cutting meat off of the horses. He hoped they were just doing so to the horses. At some point, one of the bokoblins saw Link and sounded the alarm. This bokoblin died first, an arrow in its neck. The bokoblin next to it, busily trying to draw a bow with fumbling fingers, died next.
The next couple minutes passed by in a blur to Link. The two remaining bokoblins attempted to put up a fight, wielding a pair of weapons that Link thought they might have pulled off of the bodies—a spear and hand axe. Link spared them no mercy, cutting them down with brutal efficiency. At one point, two more bokoblins joined the fray—Link wasn't even sure where they came from—but Link fought them just as he fought the others.
Finally, as he loosed the arrow that caught the last remaining bokoblin in the back as it tried to flee, Link seemed to come back to his senses. He breathed heavily, sweat dripping down his nose and brow. His hair was plastered to his face. He grimaced as he looked around at the scene around him—six dead bokoblins, a man, a woman, and a pair of horses. A shocking amount of red and purple blood stained the dirt and grass. None of the blood had been his own.
He had no idea how to properly bury the Hylians. No concept of what their rituals or funeral rites looked like. Ultimately, he settled on a pyre. Feeling it was terribly inadequate, he laid each of the bodies to rest on the pyre, watching for a time as the acrid black smoke rose into the air. He left the bodies of the bokoblins and the horses where they lay—scavengers and wild animals would take care of those.
The sun was low in the sky when he finally started riding again, his expression grim. He made camp well into the evening after he had crossed a bridge over a river that appeared to form part of the moat that surrounded the distant Hyrule Castle. He settled down next to a smaller body of water, drained both physically and mentally. That night, however, he got very little sleep.
This next scene is an alternate ending to Divine Beast Vah Ruta and the final conversation with Mipha. I cut it, simply put, because I thought it wasn't very good! If you go back and read the chapter, you'll see that I expanded on the final conversation between Link and Mipha. In this, I felt Mipha was just too stiff and basically a cardboard cut-out. So, I started over with it, doing my best to make her feel more lifelike.
Alternate End to Chapter 15/Beginning of 16
Link's shoulder slumped. He breathed heavily, looking around with wide eyes. He was alone. The creature was gone, yes, but so was Mipha. He spun around, eyes searching the room.
"I'm here." Link whirled to face the sound and he was surprised to see the faint image of her standing over by the device in the center of the room. She placed her hands to the panel at its front and, suddenly, the device's lights shifted from orange to Sheikah blue. Somewhere deep in Vah Ruta, ancient gears and parts began to move again. She stepped back from it and looked back at Link, smiling.
Link stepped slowly across the room to stand beside her. "You healed me," he said, touching his chest where the spear had exited his body.
Mipha reached out, placing her translucent hand on the torn portion of the armor she made him. The silvery scale still remained, though it only seemed to hang by a few threads. "I did not even know that I still could." She gave him a faint smile.
Mipha laughed softly and shook her head. "You saved me; you saved Ruta."
"And you protected me, just like you promised you always would."
Mipha looked at him in surprise. It took her a moment of indecision before she spoke. "I always will." She clasped her hands over her chest, meeting his eyes. Her hands began to glow with her healing light again. After a moment, she reached out and placed her hands against his chest.
A feeling like that of cool water spread from the spot that she touched, flowing through him to the tips of his fingers and toes. He gasped softly at the sensation, which only lasted for a few seconds before fading, except for the palms of his hands. He lifted his hands, surprised to see the soft healing light emanating from them now.
"I've given you my healing power." Mipha's visage had grown noticeably more translucent. Her voice was softer as well. "I… do not believe I will be able to accompany you. My place will still be here, with Ruta."
Link's heart sank, and he lowered his hands, which had stopped glowing. "Are you sure?"
"I am. Now that you've freed her, I am in control again. Somehow, even as a spirit, I am still able to interface with her. I can help you in your fight against Ganon, Link. When you face it, I will bring the full force of Ruta's fury against it."
It sounded lonely to Link. She'd already spent so much time here, alone with that creature. She should be free to leave, to go somewhere else, or, perhaps, even to move on. She felt that she still had a duty to accomplish, however—a sentiment that he could understand well. It made him feel better to know that he would have her help against Ganon when he eventually faced it.
And he would eventually face it. Now that he knew Mipha again—now that he knew even a small portion of what had been taken from him… He would make sure of it. He would free the other Divine Beasts, hopefully freeing the spirits of the other Champions in the process, and then he would do everything he could to put an end to Hyrule's hundred-year nightmare.
(This next part was originally set in the same chapter, but I actually started Chapter 16 with it in the final product.)
The sun had begun to set when he finally stepped foot off of Vah Ruta again. Mipha had steered it to the East Reservoir Dam, lowering the platform until it lined up with the previously submerged walkway. The excess water had begun to drain out of the reservoir now that the rain had stopped, exposed the white stone.
As Link stepped off of the platform, he looked back and saw Mipha standing in the doorway. She raised a hand in farewell and then disappeared from his view. Vah Ruta began to move again, rising up on its powerful legs and wading across the water to the nearby edge of the reservoir, where it took up its place to watch the distant Hyrule Castle.
Link watched quietly as Mipha moved her Divine Beast into position. She would remain here and wait for Link's signal before making the journey to the castle. Finally, he sighed and looked at the silver trident that he held in his hand.
"Give this to Sidon," Mipha had told him after leading him through Vah Ruta to find the place her Lightscale Trident had ended up after death. Even after one hundred years, it looked pristine, without a spot of rust. The silvery weapon was tall with red accents and blue sapphires ornamented it in multiple places. "Tell him… Tell him that I'm proud of him."
This next scene is the original introduction to the town of Old Kasuto, the ruins outside of the Citadel. I didn't hate this, but after writing it, I realized some flaws with my vision of the town. I had the road through Akkala lead straight through the town, but then I realized that would make no sense, since I described the town as having a wall and gate. The road needed to be able to skirt around the old town as well, for those traveling deeper into the region. Also, by my scale, it would make the town a massive city, which isn't what I was going for! So, I changed it, made the town of Kasuto a place nestled just at the base of the Citadel, on the other side of the canyon, and off to the side of the road.
I also decided to rewrite Link's first introduction to the living Guardians here, as the original one just didn't sit right with me. I felt it was more effective to just have Link see a single Guardian, rather than a horde of them, and I wanted to impress upon my readers the fear he has for them.
Link travels through Old Kasuto
It took him more than hour before he reached the ruins of a town that had been built up near the old Citadel. Link leaned low over Spirit's neck, patting the horse, who he'd been pushing harder than usual in order to get here quickly. From what Link could see, it seemed to be deserted. Most buildings had long since crumbled, though there were still some standing structures that had seemingly avoided some of the destruction. A quick check on the pre-Calamity map on his Sheikah Slate told him that the town had once been called Kasuto.
There had, once, been a wall around Kasuto, with a central gate leading in and out. The Guardians, it seemed, had destroyed both, leaving the wall a crumbled mess while the wooden doors of the gate had been shattered. He slowed Spirit's pace as they slowly entered the old town, wary of any potential ambushes. No screeching bokoblins, hissing lizalfos, or roaring moblins jumped out at him, however, as he and his horse passed through the town. As he rode down the main thoroughfare, he became convinced that he and Spirit were the only living beings in this place. The silence was eerie.
He eventually reached a fork in the road and stopped. Down one avenue, he could see the exit to the town—an identical broken gate that had been pushed out, rather than in—while the other led towards the Citadel. From this vantage, Link could see the structure and the mountain it sat on much more clearly. What he saw filled him with dread.
The ancient Akkala Citadel, which still stood tall despite the destruction wrought on the land and the passage of time, had been infested by Guardians. Living, functioning Guardians.
With shaking hands, Link removed the Sheikah Slate from his belt, lifting it and activating its telescope mode. With it, he could see the Guardians much more clearly. He could pick out Guardians that walked on multiple spider-like legs, using their claws to grip stone, giving them the ability to scale the sheer walls of the fortress. He could also see a new type of Guardian that was able to fly through the air, lifted by a trio of rapidly spinning blades. Several of these flew in a circle around the glowing Sheikah tower. They all glowed with the same red-purple light that the Divine Beasts did. Ganon's influence still controlled these constructs.
Link felt a knot in the pit of his stomach. He could also see some of the liquid substance that had covered the floors and walls of Vah Ruta. Impa had called it Ganon's Malice. She told him that it formed in places where Ganon's power seemed to be concentrated. The Divine Beasts, Hyrule Castle, and a few other places throughout the land. The Malice here seemed to have spread throughout the old Citadel, covering the floors and oozing down sides of the mountain. Purple tendrils hung like banners in doorways and across walls.
This was originally how I planned to start the trek up Death Mountain, following the memory with Daruk. I didn't hate this scene, in particular, and this is one that I almost consider canon. But it just wasn't necessary. I was able to cover most of this in dialogue and narrative text, and I felt that this just didn't flow as well into their climb as I liked.
Link and Yunobo get ready to climb Death Mountain
"Boss, are you sure it shouldn't be you going up there?" Yunobo asked Bludo as Link walked up the path to Bludo's house the next day. Link wore his blue Champion's tunic, but no excess armor or shirt under the tunic. His armor had done little to protect him during his previous encounter in Vah Ruta, so it made little sense to worry about it now. He had donned a pair of gloves and tied his hair back with a bandana to better keep sweat from dripping into his eyes.
He carried his bow and arrows, including the Ancient arrows provided to him by Robbie. He had left his Zora sword at the inn, instead opting to just bring the Ancient sword at his waist. His Sheikah shield remained strapped to his back, however. He had a few waterskins and two jars of fireproof elixir in a pack that he had slung over his shoulder. He hoped that it would be enough.
"You'll be fine," Bludo said, fixing Yunobo with a one-eyed glare. "You're just as good with the cannons as I am. It'll be good for you. You just have to help him get aboard Rudania."
Yunobo nodded, though he looked anxious. "If you say so, Boss."
Bludo looked down at Link, taking in his appearance and the equipment brought. "You really think one of those things are in Rudania?" Link nodded, eyes turning up towards Death Mountain. He could see the Divine Beast now, climbing upon the north side of the volcano. "Well, good luck. Give 'im a good clobbering from all of us. If you manage to actually stop Rudania from making Death Mountain rage like it is, I'm going to make you an official Goron brother."
Link smiled faintly, meeting Bludo's eye. "Daruk already did that a hundred years ago."
Bludo didn't seem to quite know what to make of that, reaching up and stroking his beard. "So he did, then." He considered for another moment before reaching out and slapping Link on the back. Why did all Gorons have to do that? "Well, good luck then, brother."
Link nodded towards Bludo and then looked up at Yunobo, who was watching their exchange in fascination. "Are you ready, Yunobo?"
"O-oh!" Yunobo stood up straighter and then hurried over, picking up a large leather bag that appeared full of liquid, slinging it over his shoulder with ease. "Now I am. I've got extra water for you since it's going to keep getting hotter the further up we get."
Well, at least he wouldn't have to worry about not bringing enough water.
These are just literally a few quips that I wrote ahead of time for Revali to say. They all ended up in the novel in some fashion, though none were verbatim! But I had fun thinking up quips for him to tease Link about—and vice versa, eventually.
Quips for Revali
"What did you do to your hair? It looks as though someone just took a sword to cut it all off at once! Wait, don't tell me—is that what you did?"
"What is with the plumage around your face? Oh, skies above, are you trying to grow a beard? It doesn't suit you whatsoever. Looks more like you glued some horse hair to your face. In patches."
"Have you grown shorter?"
This is an alternate version of the scene following Teba and Harth's attack on Medoh. I liked this one a lot, but ultimately decided to cut it for a number of reasons, chief among them being the fact that I doubted Amali would let any of their daughters out of her sight with Medoh flying overhead and the recent fight. Still, I thought Link being described as Kass' "special friend" was kind of adorable. Really, anything with Kass and his daughters is adorable, as far as I'm concerned.
Kass and Link on the way up Rito Village
Before Kass could say anything else, a high-pitched voice pierced the air. "Poppy!"
Both Link and Kass looked around, finding a little, purple-feathered Rito child hurrying down the stairs. Kass bent down and swept her up in his arms, holding her close. They embraced for a time before Kass turned to Link.
"Link, this is my daughter, Kheel."
Kheel gasped sharply, eyes opening wide. "Poppy, is this your special friend?"
Kass chuckled slightly and reached up, smoothing down some of the feathers atop her head. "Yes, this is my friend, Link. He's the one I told you all about last night."
"He said that you almost died."
Kass looked taken aback, looking at her in surprise. "I did no such thing!"
"You implied it," Kheel said, sounding pleased with herself.
Link found himself smiling as Kass, normally so collected and unruffled, sputtered for a moment before frowning at his daughter. "Well, there's no need to discuss such things here. What would your mother say?"
"Well, I heard her telling you that—"
"All right." Kass placed a feathered finger against Kheel's beak. "No more. Where are the rest of your sisters?"
"I think they're all still at home. I came to look for you! Genli is still sleeping."
Kass glanced towards Link. "Would you like to meet the rest of my family before I take you to see the Elder? I imagine that he will be busy for a time addressing the situation with Medoh."
Link agreed, and they continued to climb higher into the city. As they walked, he began to notice several porches built between the other buildings. They had no railings and jutted out precariously over the water below. Link watched as a Rito stepped up to the edge of one and dove off, spreading her wings and gliding down to a lower level.
This is an alternate good-bye between Kass and Link, when he first leaves to go back to Kakariko Village prior to the Gerudo Desert. It wasn't bad, but I ultimately decided to go a slightly different route with it. But I liked his dialogue with Kass, regardless.
Link says good-bye to Kass
"Do you have everything ready to go?" Kass asked.
Link nodded. "Most everything is down at the stable already. I just wanted to come over and say good-bye."
Kass met his gaze, and Link saw the ever-present twinkle in his friend's eyes. They had already discussed Link's travel plans in depth. Kass had decided to remain in Rito Village with his family for a time, and Link agreed. Though he appreciated the companionship, now that Link knew Kass' family, he didn't think he would be able to justify putting Kass into further danger. The Yiga were still out there, likely anticipating his travels to the Gerudo Desert.
Kass, for his part, lamented that he would not be able to continue traveling with Link, but admitted that he had spent too much time away from home. After the events surrounding Medoh, he felt that he needed to be with his family for a time before continuing his travels to complete his teacher's song.
They sat in silence for a time before Kass sighed, his expression growing distant. "It does feel as though you are nearing the end."
Link nodded. He felt the same way. One Divine Beast remained, but Hyrule Castle loomed in his mind, as well as its army of Guardians. "Do you think I'm going to succeed?"
"If I said no, would that change your path?"
"Good," Kass said, smiling. "For what it's worth, I am confident in your success, but I do expect that your journey will likely only get harder from here. You will need to be cautious, but bold, all the same."
Just like a minstrel to tell me to be both cautious and bold, Link thought.
This is an alternate scene from Side Quests II, when I planned for Teba and Kass to be the ones to find Link's Sheikah Slate in the moat. I decided to cut it for the sake of giving each of the Champions one of the Side Quests, and because I thought it was a better fit for Sidon and his crew to come across it.
Kass and Teba Search for Link
"How do you even know he came here?" Teba asked as he glided closer.
"It's a hunch. I don't know for sure." Kass peered around as they flew high above the castle, out of the effective range of the Guardians below.
There was a great deal of movement below. The Guardians were more agitated than Kass had ever seen them, swarming over the castle's many towers and parapets. They were more destructive as well, attacking other structures and even animals that wandered too close to the castle—something that they did not usually do. As he watched, they concentrated fire on the only remaining tower that stood apart from the main structure, connected by a stone bridge. The tower fell quickly, its lower levels blasting apart, sending it crashing down, into the moat below.
Kass had expected Link to return within a few days of leaving Rito Village. After a week passed with no word, he began to worry. When one of the Sheikah arrived a few days later using a rudimentary Sheikah Slate, asking if Kass had seen Link, he knew that something had gone terribly wrong.
The extra Sheikah Slate hung from his hip, given to him by Purah for the sake of looking for Link. She installed a new rune that she thought might help locate Link—something that would alert him if he got within a certain range of Link's own Sheikah Slate. Kass recruited Teba, and together, they flew to the castle, making sure to pass over a few other key locations on the way that were other likely possibilities.
Kass found it difficult to put into words why he thought Link may have come to the castle. Link had begun to change during their recent journey across Hyrule Field. His memories were coming back in greater number, and they brought with them a new range of emotions that Link seemed unprepared to confront.
Originally, I did not plan for Link to have the memory of his conversation with Zelda about his own burdens while on the road to Tarrytown. When I wrote this, I was still figuring out the pacing for the remainder of the memories, as I had a lot I wanted to show and not much time! I decided to just add the memory here, instead, but I still think this was an interesting take on that scene. I enjoy anytime I got to write Link interacting with the Master Sword. Also take note of the vision he gets when he talks to her—you all know that comes back later, but in a different way…
Link in Akkala reading Zelda's Diary
"When I finally got around to asking why he's so quiet all the time, I could tell it was difficult for him to say. But he did. With so much at stake, and so many eyes upon him, he feels it necessary to stay strong and to silently bear any burden. A feeling I know all too well...
"For him, it has caused him to stop outwardly expressing his thoughts and feelings. I always believed him to be simply a gifted person who had never faced a day of hardship. How wrong I was... Everyone has struggles that go unseen by the world... I was so absorbed with my own problems, I failed to see his."
This was Link's foolish mistake. His refusal to share his own burdens with Zelda, despite knowing the strain she was under, was what led to so many of their difficulties early on. True, she had some incorrect assumptions, as well, but how much damage did his own silence do? By letting her assume that he was, as she put it, simply a gifted person without hardship, he isolated her.
That had changed eventually. That was what he wanted to remember so terribly, yet…
"I wish to talk with him more and to see what lies beneath those calm waters, to hear him speak freely and openly... And perhaps I, too, will be able to bare my soul to him and share the demons that have plagued me all these years."
Why couldn't he remember any of this? He was confident that this very thing had happened—his own memories in the Spring of Power confirmed that they eventually grew close enough to share their burdens readily. Yet, despite his attempts to remember, he could not remember anything beyond their conversation on the way to the bazaar.
What had it felt like for him, when Zelda opened up to him about her own struggles? What had he thought? How did he respond?
Link sighed heavily, lowering the diary to his lap and looking at the ocean. Why was this so important to him? It seemed like such a small thing to worry about, yet he couldn't get these simple words out of his mind. He got the distinct feeling that Zelda was not one to share her burdens very easily either, and her decision to do so with him must have been very difficult for her.
And he wanted to remember the moment. He wanted to remember her expression, her words, her…
Her. He wanted to remember her. It was important that he did, though he still didn't fully know why.
He groaned. He felt like a lovesick teenager. "Then again," he said out loud as he glanced back down at the diary. "How old, exactly, am I?" A couple years older than Zelda—he knew that for sure. She claimed to be seventeen in her last diary entry—did that make him nineteen? Twenty? Give or take one hundred years.
"What about you?" he suddenly asked, standing up and pulling the Master Sword out of its scabbard on Spirit's saddle. He sat back down on the ground, looking at the sword. "Can you tell me anything? You showed me her memories earlier—can you help me unlock anything else?"
For a time, he felt nothing, and then he received something of a reply from the spirit of the sword. She appeared… amused.
Link felt heat rising around his collar.
Familiar. A single word. He didn't hear it as much as felt it, and it was accompanied by something else. An image of a man and woman who looking vaguely familiar, each riding atop a great bird of a kind that Link was unfamiliar with. Their faces were unfamiliar to Link, yet he felt that he knew who they were.
"What, did they… care for each other?" he asked, feeling embarrassed to say it out loud.
And the Master Sword implanted another series of feelings in his head. It took him a moment to parse through the sword's strange way of communicating, but he got a sense of loyalty and dedication. Deep friendship and something more. A desperation to see the other safe and whole. To see her again.
Link was not alone in his current feelings, it would seem.
He exhaled slowly and sat there for a time longer before, finally, standing with a groan.
Link was idiotic for paragliding into Gerudo Town. Originally, I wrote him to be even more idiotic and he actually planned to glide onto the palace. But it didn't sit right with me (hence the title of this cut scene), so I changed it that he lost control and that led to his unfortunate landing.
Why in the world would Link think it's cool to just paraglide to Riju's room?
He sailed down through the air, approaching the palace's upper floors, where the walls opened up in large arches.
Overhead, Medoh turned and rose into the air, heading north. Link watched warily as he saw Gerudo gathering in the streets beneath him, pointing and yelling. Worryingly, he also saw a number of Gerudo gathering at the palace's front entrance. Each of them held a spear angled towards Link.
That's fine, he thought. I'm not going in that way. But he was increasingly concerned that this approach was, perhaps, a foolhardy one. He had hoped to see men in the crowd below, but all that he could see were tall, red-haired women. It would seem the rule barring men from the city still held fast, then.
Link passed over the guards below, who yelled angrily and rushed into the palace's entrance, likely to find the stairs leading up to the top floor. His feet touched down on the stone ground just outside of the arched entrance to the upper room. Inside, he could see a lavishly-decorated room. Colorful rugs covered much of the floor, and he saw similarly styled drapes on most of the walls. A large, plush bed stood in the room's center. Oddly, he also saw what appeared to be a plush sand seal doll sitting on the bed as well.
Hearing voices coming from the stairs on either side of the building's entrance, Link stepped into the room. It wasn't the audience hall that he'd hoped it was. In fact, it appeared to be a bedroom—likely the chieftain's own room, which was concerning. But he just needed to find the chieftain of the Gerudo. Explain his situation. Surely, he could—
He wasn't alone in the room. He hadn't even seen her at first, sitting cross-legged on a couch, a book open before her and a quill pen in hand. The woman was young—a young teenager by all appearances—with long red hair in a loose braid that stretched down her back. She wore golden ornamentation upon her head. A crown.
Oh, Hylia, Link thought, dread settling down into the pit of his stomach. This was a very bad plan.
She looked up when he entered, surprise registering on her face. "Who—"
And suddenly, the butt of a spear extended from beside the doorway, slamming into Link's temple and rendering him unconscious.
I really wanted to write the battle that takes place prior to the "A Premonition" memory. Link fighting an army of bokoblins and lynels single-handedly? Count me in! But I couldn't find a satisfactory place to put it that didn't throw the pacing off. Plus, I knew that the Battle of Hateno Village was coming up, and I felt that this had the potential to overshadow that as the Link-verses-an-army scene. So I decided to drop it and just reference it in other locations. I may revisit it one day, though—whether in the sequel somehow or just as a little one-shot that would be fun to write. In the meantime, this is how that memory would have started!
Link fights an army of lynels and bokoblins in a memory
"Princess, you need to flee!" Link yelled, catching the lynel's blade with his own, held in two hands. The great beast towered over him, but Link did not try to overpower it, instead redirecting its blow to send its sword to the ground. He brought his sword up and left a deep gash in its arm.
How had they gotten here? The day had been beautiful, Death Mountain's heat was not yet too oppressive, and Zelda had been excited to look at a mound of rock that she thought might have been a Sheikah Shrine. They'd left their horses behind at the trading outpost, and Link carried a heavy bladder of water on his back. It had been a difficult hike when they left the trail to Goron City, but it was also very satisfying to see Zelda in her element, excited about the prospect of discovering a new shrine.
Of course, the shrine had been a rock, and then they were attacked by a disturbingly large force of bokoblins and moblins. Where had they even been hiding?
And then it only got worse.
The lynel roared in fury, wrenching its sword from the ground and swinging it for Link's head. Link ducked under the swing and lunged forward, ramming the Master Sword forward, into the lynel's heart. The beast released a pained sound, but Link couldn't focus on it.
He pulled his sword free and whirled, hoping to see that Zelda had taken his suggestion and fled. But, no. She was still there, watching with wide eyes, as Link faced down not one, but three lynels.
To make matters worse, it wasn't as though Link had a chance to finish off all of the bokoblins before the lynels appeared, either. He saw one of them scrambling up onto a rock nearby with a bow. From there, it would have a clear shot at either Link or Zelda.
"Get down, damn it!"
He slammed his sword into its sheathe and sprinted forward, leaping at the rock and scrambling up it. He almost didn't even hear the hooves pounding the ground behind him when, all of a sudden, another of the lynels grabbed him and flung him through the air.
I had such a tough time writing the scene where Link went back to Gerudo Town after the Yiga Clan fight! What I put in the novel is actually the first attempt I had at writing it, which I then decided I didn't like. So, then I wrote this. And then I decided I preferred the first one better and stuck with that, though I did rewrite parts of it. But here is an alternate version of that sequence, which would have led into Buliara and Link's conversation in the throne room.
Link reenters Gerudo Town (2nd Edition)
The small procession of Gerudo that approached Gerudo Town was a victorious one. Link was, surprisingly, near its head. He felt strange riding alongside Liana, just behind Captain Teake. As far as he could tell, his position among them was… complicated. Liana and many others among the Gerudo ranks had praised him for his efforts to help the Gerudo—after he handed over the Thunder Helm, of course. On the other hand, Captain Teake, herself, as well as some in the force seemed a little perturbed with his being an outsider as well as a voe.
However, the fact that the Gerudo had always won a great victory over the forces of the Yiga did much to smooth relations over. Link's terrifying flight from the hideout had brought a great deal of Yiga out to pursue him, and his murder of Master Kohga had only encouraged them to commit more forces to the battle than was strategically sound. The Gerudo had slaughtered them, finally forcing the beleaguered Yiga into a retreat back into their tunnels.
There had been some discussion of pursuing the Yiga further, but it was finally agreed upon that the important thing would be to take the Thunder Helm back to their chief. They would attack the Yiga again another time, once Link and Barta's knowledge of the hideout and its secrets could be put to use.
Barta had been there as well, though still bruised and with one arm in a sling. She shoved the Sheikah Slate back into Link's chest and then awkwardly thanked him for his assistance. She, like the others, didn't seem to know what to do with the fact that Link was a voe. This was, apparently, a very unique situation for the Gerudo.
As they approached the city, the women around him began to ululate and raise fists in the air. This was repeated by other Gerudo warriors outside of the city and the watchers on the wall. It appeared that every guard and soldier left in the city came out to meet them as they approached, joined by Buliara and Lady Riju at their head.
"Come, voe!" Captain Teake called, looking back towards Link. She rode out ahead, and Link reluctantly followed. They halted before Riju and Buliara, each dismounting from their sleds, while the rest of the Gerudo force began to disperse, taking their sand seals to their place on the other side of the city.
"Lady Riju," Teake said, kneeling before Riju and offering her the Thunder Helm. Even kneeling, Teake was still taller than Riju. "The ancestors brought us a great victory on this day. Not only has this voe successfully recovered the Thunder Helm, we also dealt a decisive blow against the Yiga clan in battle."
Buliara shot Link a glare, and after a moment, he mimicked Captain Teake, kneeling on the sand. Riju smiled broadly, taking the Thunder Helm with reverent fingers. "Thank you, Captain Teake. And… thank you, Link." She looked at him, eyes twinkling with excitement. "It would seem you are every bit the hero that Lady Urbosa once claimed you were."
Teake looked confused by this statement, giving him a sidelong glance, which Link ignored. After a moment, she looked back at Riju. "Lady Riju, in speaking with this voe, he claims to have also killed the head of the Yiga clan. I believe they will be vulnerable to attack and would like to lead an assault on the hideout tomorrow, before they can properly regroup."
Riju glanced back at Teake, considering. And then she nodded. "Go ahead, Captain Teake. Inform Buliara about your plans."
With that, Teake was dismissed. She rose, fist to heart, and turned, retrieving her sand seal. Link stood as well. Only he, Riju, Buliara, and a handful of other guards remained. Most of the other soldiers had departed when the main body did so, and even the watchers on the wall appeared to have been shooed away.
"I can barely believe you actually did it," Riju said, running her fingers along the helmet's golden surface. "When it was stolen, I was worried…" She trailed off.
After a moment, Link cleared his throat. "Lady Riju, the Divine Beast—"
"It is still heading our way. My scouts think it will be upon the city by tomorrow night, at the latest. It will pass by the Kara Kara Bazaar by tomorrow afternoon."
"Then we don't have much time," Link said, grimacing. He was exhausted, but there was little time to waste.
"Hmm," Riju said, thoughtfully. Finally, she looked up at Buliara, nodding.
Buliara bent, picking up a bundle of cloth that had been on the ground. It was a thin cloak made with white fabric and gold trim. She held it out to Link. "Put this on." Link took the cloak, raising an eyebrow, but did as she suggested, wrapping it around his shoulders. "Hood up," the tall woman said.
He did so, and she then handed him a small veil. Link sighed. "Really? You can't just… make an exception?"
"This is the exception," Buliara said, her voice threatening.
Pursing his lips, Link took the veil from her and placed it over his nose and mouth. Riju grinned mischievously and turned, her long braid flopping behind her. She began to walk purposely towards the nearest entrance, followed by Buliara and Link. The guards at the door eyed Link—they certainly would have seen who he was, as had any other guards and soldiers watching—but they did not stop him from entering the city behind Riju.
They entered into what appeared to be a soldier's courtyard. Golden weapons lined the inner walls on racks, and there were several training dummies and archery targets in other places. Some of the younger-looking soldiers were already training.
Riju purposely led them towards a staircase on the other side of the courtyard, climbing the stairs and entering her palace through one of the side entrances. Link and Buliara followed in silence until they entered the throne room. Riju continued on towards a staircase that led outside to her room, but Buliara reached a hand out, stopping Link. She frowned towards Riju.
Riju paused, looking back at them. "I want to talk to Link privately, Buliara. I told you that."
"In your chambers?"
Buliara remained silent for several moments before nodding. "Yes, Lady Riju. If I may, however—I would like to have a word with him myself first."
Riju nodded, smiling, and continued up the stairs, past a guard, and outside. Buliara watched her quietly before grabbing Link and pulling him away from the stairs and the other guards in the room.
Want an alternate opening to the memory with Link, Zelda, and Aryll in the field? Here you go! Though I liked this opening, I decided to expand this memory more and show some other details of Link's personality—like his love of climbing, which hadn't gotten a lot of focus in the story before now.
Link, Zelda, and Aryll
He kept his eyes firmly closed.
"Oh, you can't honestly expect me to believe you fell asleep already."
"He's not sleeping!" Another voice joined the first—a younger female voice. He could practically hear Aryll's grin in her tone. "See, look? He's keeping his face too still. He doesn't look like that when he actually sleeps. He just likes to pretend he's sleeping sometimes."
"And why is that?" Zelda asked.
Link sighed, lifting his head and looking at the two women. "Because I'm actually trying to take a nap."
Aryll grinned broadly at him from her spot in the grass a couple meters away. Zelda sat beside her on a blanket that she spread out. Link, by contrast, lay on the grass under the shade of an oak tree.
"See?" she said, looking at Zelda with a self-satisfied smirk.
"And how do you know so well what I look like when I sleep?" Link said, grumbling, and laying his head back on the ground.
"A lady shall never reveal her secrets," his sister said. And the two of them began to snicker together.
Link opened his eyes, looking up at the dappled sunlight filtering down through the canopy of leaves overhead. Honestly, if he had known that the two of them would become some fast friends—and gleefully take to teasing him—then he might have rethought this whole idea.
"Oh, stop being such a grump," Zelda said. He felt something bounce off his chest.
He lifted his head again to look at her. "I'm not being a grump! I'm just… relaxing."
"Do you really want to sleep instead of spending time with two beautiful women?" Aryll asked, grinning broadly.
"That's not—" Link started, stumbling slightly. Finally, he snorted. "You're my sister—and twelve."
This was my first version of the Spring of Wisdom. It hurt me to write it, and I decided to write another version that ended a little differently (you'll see what I mean). And then I agonized for about two days over which version I would use. I ultimately went with version 2, but I wanted to share this one as an alternative. I almost wrote a "happy ending" version just for myself to make myself feel better, but... well, I didn't, so sorry! But, of the two, you all can tell me which one you preferred!
Spring of Wisdom Alternate Ending
Her breath caught, and she shifted, sitting up. She was still in his lap, and now her face was level with his. His hand still cupped her cheek. He should have moved it. He didn't. Instead, he gently stroked a tear away with his thumb.
"During our travels, I've often wondered what you were feeling," she said, staring into his eyes. "I asked myself… what you thought of me."
A lump formed in his throat, and he began to pull his hand away, but she caught his hand with her own, keeping it pressed to her cheek. She was getting closer to him now.
"I even asked you once, do you remember?"
"Yes," he said in a whisper.
"If I asked you again now, what would you say?"
Closer. She was so close now. He could feel her breath on his face. On his lips. He could feel the warmth of her body, pressed against his. He could feel his own heat rising, desire for her nearly overriding all other thought. Less than an inch separated them.
"Do you… love me?"
He could see the path before him in one brilliant moment of color, beauty, and pleasure. He did. Goddess in the heavens above, he did love her. And he could tell her. He could tell her right now, and then he could take her away from here. Away from their responsibilities. Their duties. Their burdens. They could board a ship and sail away, just like his sister always spoke about. They could leave everything behind.
He knew she would do it, if he asked. In that moment, with her as vulnerable as she was, he knew that she would. She would, because she would see no other choice. She cared for him, perhaps even loved him as he loved her. She would freely give herself to him.
And that was exactly the reason that he couldn't do any of those things. When he told her that he loved her, it would not be like this, when desperation and fear clouded their judgment. He wouldn't take advantage of her vulnerability like that.
Link closed his eyes and did the hardest thing he would ever do. "Zelda, I… I can't."
He felt her body stiffen against him. "What?"
He kept his eyes closed. He didn't dare look at her face, at the hurt that he knew she must have felt. He was a coward.
"It's not… right. You're a princess, and I—"
"No." Her tone grew angry. "No, you can't—hide behind that. Link, do you love me, or don't you?"
He couldn't answer. How could he? He couldn't tell her the truth, but to tell that lie? He would rather throw himself from the mountain.
"Look at me."
He forced his eyes open and found her still close to him, eyes searching his.
"Please…" she whispered. "Please just… tell me."
How he wished he could. "I… I'm sorry. It's not…" He looked away. "It's not appropriate."
She remained still for a long time. And then, slowly, she rose from his lap and walked to their tent, entering it, and closing the flap behind her.
"I love you," he said, staring into the fire. "I always loved you. I'm so—"
Everything broke in him. His emotions roiled within him, uncontrollable as they had been the day he went to the castle. At the center of them was Zelda, her face so hurt. She'd needed him then, and he'd refused to do the one thing that would have a difference. And for what? Propriety? Duty? What did either of those things even mean now, after what happened that very next day?
"Damn you!" He shoved himself to his feet and whirled on the statue of Hylia. "You did this! If you had woken her powers sooner, then none of this would have happened! She wouldn't have been trapped in that castle with that—that foul creature for the last one hundred years!"
This is an alternate opening to the first memory at Blatchery Plains. This wasn't bad, but it just didn't feel right to me. I decided to rewrite it, which then included the conversation between Link and the older commander of Fort Hateno.
Guardians Arrive at Blatchery Plains
Link swore and charged towards the wall, taking the hastily-made wooden steps three at a time to reach the top, where the soldiers stood, looking out at the field nervously. He knew what he would find, but he had to see it for himself. He had to know.
He nearly bowled over the commander of the wall—a young man, ill-prepared for command. But who of them that were left truly were prepared for this?
"Sir Link!" the man said. "Scout reports just came in—they are—"
He was silenced as another man further down the wall cried, "Guardians! They're coming!"
Link pushed aside the commander and rushed to the edge of the wall. Fort Hateno stood, as it had for centuries, if not millennia, and overlooked the Blatchery Plains. Here, soldiers lined up, waiting behind barricades. Prepared to die.
And, far away, like a swarm of insects pouring out of a hive, Guardians began to appear. They crawled out of the gap between the Dueling Peaks, some along the ground while others clung to the walls. They moved laboriously through the gap due to their size and number, but as soon as they were free, they began to spread out and move more quickly.
Each of them glowed with red light. The red light of doom.
Link closed his eyes, gripping the edge of the wall in calloused hands. There was no where left to run. The ships at Hateno Bay were all gone, according to the messenger that they encountered. They could keep running east, perhaps head south—perhaps Loshlo Harbor or Palmorae still had ships left, but he feared it would not be the case.
Friends, dead. Family, dead. Kingdom, dead. Zelda was all he had left, and she had been in a nearly catatonic state following their desperate flight across Hyrule Field. They could run. He might even be able to convince her to run. But that would mean leaving these soldiers to their fates. They would watch their knight—possibly the only knight left—flee. They would break, and then the Guardians would swarm over the fort and into the valley. Hateno Village would burn by day's end.
Maybe… Maybe he could convince her to run, though. He was the best warrior left, and he knew how to kill these damned things. He wouldn't survive, of course, but maybe… just maybe he could help slow them.
Link threw himself from the wall, hurrying down the stairs to where Zelda stood, still in her stained and ripped white dress. "Zelda!"
This is also the original conversation I wrote between Link and Zelda during the Blatchery Plains memory. Keep in mind that I originally planned for Link to refuse to admit his feelings upon Mount Lanayru (or, actually, it was more that I hadn't fully decided yet), so I went a slightly different route with their good-bye. It had to be changed when I opted to change my plans for the mountain, however!
Alternate Blatchery Plains
She held up a hand, silencing him as he reached the ground. "I know what you're going to say."
"There might be ships to the south. Maybe they haven't heard—"
"Link." She met his eyes and then shook her head.
Goddess, we were fools on the mountain. If we had known how little time we had left—if I had known—then I would have… I could have…
He closed his eyes, gripping his hand around the Master Swordly tight enough that his hand hurt. Why couldn't he protect her? Why couldn't he protect anyone?
Something soft wrapped around him, and his eyes opened in surprise. Zelda pressed close to him, wrapping her arms around him. She rested her head on his shoulder.
"I'm sorry," she whispered.
Link dropped the Master Sword in the mud. He wrapped his arms around Zelda and squeezed her tightly, pressing his face to into her neck.
They remained like that for what felt like a long time. Behind him, Link heard soldiers yelling. Booted feet pounded across the ground. Men prepared to die.
Link lifted his head and pressed his lips to the side of Zelda's head. And then he pulled away from her and bent down, picking up the sword. "Run, Zelda. Get to safety. I'll… I'll hold them back as long as I can."
"No, Link, don't—"
"I love you."
She stopped, staring at him with wide eyes. He gave her a pained smile. "I… just thought I should let you know." He turned, beginning towards the open gate, where soldiers poured out onto the field to meet the Guardians.
Closing his eyes, he broke into a run, joining the defenders.
Side Quest III wasn't originally a planned thing. It was originally just going to be a normal chapter showing the remaining time before the battle began, primarily or entirely from Link's perspective. However, I had some trouble figuring out how to write it, which ultimately led to it being transformed into what we have now. I'm happy with what we ended up with, but one casualty of that is actually a conversation I'd planned for Link to have with Telma in Hateno Village. Here's the beginning of that, before I decided to go a different route.
Link talks to Telma before the battle
He gave a start at the voice and turned to see Telma making her way towards him, a smile crinkling her eyes. He started to rise, but she waved him back down and walked over to sit beside him, groaning slightly as she sat in the grass.
"I didn't know you were in town," Link said, looking out towards the mountains to the west.
"I just arrived a short time ago. To say that I was surprised at the state of things would be an… understatement."
Link chuckled softly. "Yeah, Hateno Village has had an exciting couple of weeks."
"That's what it sounds like." Telma leaned back, looking up towards the stars. "And I hear that you were at the center of it."
Link didn't respond, eyes still on the distant mountains. Just past them was the Dueling Peaks and then Hyrule Field.
"Well, I should thank you."
Link glanced at Telma, confused.
"I have a lot of friends here in Hateno Village. Men and women that I've known all my life. You kept them alive."
He shook his head. "It was more than just me."
This is an alternative to the scene we got with Link, Zelda, and the Champions on Rudania, before the battle. Originally, Zelda was just going to speak to them in her disembodied voice, but I wasn't satisfied with that, ultimately. I wanted her to have an actual chance to say good-bye to them, as well, which led to her projecting her spirit to join them. You will probably recognize parts of the conversation, though it went through many revisions from this to the finished product. This is definitely the rough draft version of it!
Also, when I wrote this, I had forgotten that Zelda actually interrupted Ganon's regeneration into its physical form, so I had her unsure of what it was up to. I had to change that once I realized my mistake!
One Final Conversation with the Champions
"Are you ready for this, little guy?" Daruk asked, standing beside Link.
Link gazed out towards Hyrule Castle, shadowy in the setting sun, feeling the anticipation of the coming battle. The skirmishes with monsters in Hyrule Field had continued, but that wasn't surprising. Link's army had moved right into their territory, opting to keep a distance between them and the castle, lest the Guardians attack before they were ready.
Link slowly nodded, but he wasn't sure if he was truly ready for it or not. "I remember coming here last time. Seeing everything destroyed, realizing that we'd already failed…"
"It's incredible that either of you survived that first encounter," Urbosa said, crossing her arms. "You did well, considering what you were up against."
Link turned to look at the four spirits before them. This close to each other, they were able to leave their Divine Beasts and gather together on one—namely Rudania, for its easy access and view of the surrounding landscape. And so, the five Champions gathered together one final time.
"Ganon tried to break us," he said. "He's wilier than any of us gave him credit for."
"Hmph," Revali said, looking towards the castle. "Too bad he failed."
Mipha nodded, expression set in determination. "He even killed us, but here we still are."
Daruk laughed. "And we're about to unleash our full might on that monster."
Link smiled, but it was a sad smile. "I wish you all wouldn't have to leave when it's over, though. I'm sure… Zelda would like to see you all once more."
"I'm here," Zelda said, her voice suddenly in their midst. They all reacted, looking around in confusion. "I can't show myself. I don't… have the strength to do so right now. Ganon attacked me when I helped you at Hateno Village, Link. He nearly… But it doesn't matter any longer. I'm here, now."
Link felt his pulse quicken, hearing her voice once again. A lump formed in his throat, and for a moment, he was speechless. She was all right. She was still here.
"Princess!" Daruk said, grinning broadly. "How're you holding up in there?"
"I'm doing well, all things considered," she said. "The company could be nicer, though."
"You've done great, Little Bird," Urbosa said, her voice suddenly thick with emotion. "I always knew you'd be able to do it in the end."
Zelda was silent for a time. "I only wish that I'd understood what I needed sooner. We were all so wrong, and the cost was… far too high." Her voice, too, sounded heavy with repressed emotion.
"So, what did it?" Revali asked. "How did you finally get your power?"
Zelda stayed silent for a time, and Link had the strange feeling that she was looking at him. "It's… I always thought that the power would come through sacrifice and denying myself comforts to make myself more holy. I felt that by emptying myself, I would be able to be… filled, somehow."
Mipha gasped softly, eyes widening. "But the power was within you all along, wasn't it?"
"Yes. And there were things that I had to accept about myself before I could understand it." She paused. "I am truly sorry that it took such tragedy to help me to finally see it."
Urbosa scoffed. "That's hardly your fault. You did everything you could."
"I did… But I also can't forgive myself for coming so close and missing it. The entire kingdom paid the price because I could not interpret the signs I was being given."
Link felt his cheeks grow warm. "You can't blame yourself for that. I remember what your priests used to tell you."
"Perhaps. But they, too, were merely working with what limited knowledge they had. If we'd had more time, I am certain that… well, as I said, I was very close."
"Sometimes a cave has to collapse to reveal a new ore vein," Daruk said, rubbing the back of his neck. "Maybe this was the only way it was going to happen."
"And you just said it—you needed more time," Urbosa said, insistently. "This is all because Ganon chose to come back when it did. None of us had control over that. None of us could have prevented it."
Zelda remained quiet for a time. Finally, she said, "Thank you. I feared that… but, no. I should have known that none of you would carry such bitterness towards me."
"Of course not," Mipha said. "We all know what you went through and how hard you worked."
"That's right." Daruk nodded emphatically. "We knew what we signed up for."
"It'll all be worth it when we take out Ganon once and for all," Revali said, waving a wing dismissively.
Zelda's voice strengthened some. "Yes. And that brings me to the other reason I came to see you all. Link."
Link stood up straighter, looking in the direction that he heard the voice from—the direction of the castle.
"Ganon is getting something ready. I fear that the attack on Hateno Village was all a ploy to get me to overcommit and leave myself vulnerable. He did something while I was… unconscious. Blocked me even more than before. I can't see what he is up to or feel his mind at all any longer."
"So, I need to be ready for anything," Link said, grimacing slightly.
"Yes. He's clearly preparing for your arrival."
"Well… maybe we'll have a surprise for him, as well."
"Don't say it here," she said, quickly. "I don't know if he can see us right now or not."
Link nodded slowly. "Then… just be ready. Tomorrow will be it."
Originally, I planned for Impa to the be the one who got the last scene in the final battle against Ganon's forces. She would be the one to realize that Link made it into the castle, and it would be from her perspective that we saw the Divine Beasts form up. I wrote two versions of this scene before I decided to go a different route and give that scene to Revali. Impa, as you might remember, got to watch Ganon transform into its beast form, instead.
Impa post-battle scene
Something happened. Impa felt it in the earth, saw it in the air, though it was hard to say what it was. It felt as though something departed in that moment. That cold feeling in the air. The oily touch that made her skin crawl. That smell that she almost hadn't noticed, despite the way it made her stomach turn. It was suddenly gone.
She looked up towards Hyrule Castle, and its distant spires. "He made it," she whispered.
"What's that?" Robbie asked, standing next to her.
"Link made it to the castle." She could see other signs now. The Guardians had left the field en masse, all turning and racing towards the castle. The monsters, all of a sudden, seemed to be fighting with less ferocity, and she could see many groups of them racing away.
Link had Ganon's undivided attention now, and the battle outside no longer mattered.
She looked up towards the Divine Beasts. None of them were engaged in battle any longer, the Guardians having departed. They all turned towards the castle now. Even the flying Guardian—Medoh—swooped low and landed on the ground, wings outstretched and body upright. They formed a loose semi-circle and waited.
They all had no choice but to wait now.
Other Impa post-battle Scene
Stillness fell over the land. Impa felt it immediately. Something departed in that moment. The chill in the air. The rumble in the earth. The oily touch that made her skin crawl. The smell that turned her stomach. It was gone.
She looked up at Hyrule Castle, releasing a breath that she didn't know she'd been holding. "He made it," she whispered.
"What's that?" Robbie asked, stepping up beside her.
She looked at him. "He's in the castle. He is going to face Ganon."
She could see other signs now. The Guardians that remained left the field en masse, all turning and racing towards the castle. The monsters, all of a sudden, fought with less ferocity, and she could see many groups of them racing away, chased by Hyrulean forces.
Link had Ganon's undivided attention now. The battle outside no longer mattered.
Robbie's face paled some, but a moment later, his expression grew firm. He nodded and looked up towards the castle.
The Divine Beasts gathered again, now that the Guardians were gone. Each of them took up a position in a semi-circle out in front of Castle Town—even Medoh, which landed, upright and wings outstretched.
And they waited. Now they all waited.
For the end.
This is just a small alternative to Link and Zelda's scene sitting on the Great Plateau with the Sheikah Slate. I changed it because I felt that it just ended up being too somber. The final scene had a touch of somberness, true, but I still wanted it to feel victorious, at the same time.
Zelda and Link look at photos
"I'm glad to see these survived…" She gently brushed her finger across the screen, scrolling through the pictures. She paused at one and then enlarged it. It was the photograph of her, Robbie, and Purah standing together near Robbie's lighthouse. She lingered here for a time before moving on.
They sat in silence for a time as Zelda scrolled through photo after photo. She'd been the one to take the majority of them, though Link now recognized the occasional one that he'd taken. He almost made a comment about the number of photographs featuring him that were in the gallery, but refrained.
Finally, Zelda opened up the picture of them all. All six of Hyrule's Champions.
"I think they're gone now…" she said, voice barely more than a whisper. "Urbosa said they would leave after the battle."
"Zelda, I… I'm sorry, maybe I shouldn't have—"
"No. No, we said our farewells." She didn't move away from this photograph, however. "I've had one hundred years to accept their loss. Still, it was… nice to be able to see them all one more time."
He rested his cheek against the top of her head and sighed softly. "It was. And now they can be at peace."
Zelda said nothing. Eventually, she began to look at other photographs, and the two of them sat there for a long time. Together.
Well, this is an alternate to Zelda's reunion with the Sheikah, but from Link's perspective. At this point, I'll admit that I was a little tired of writing reunion scenes, so I originally planned for it to be from Link's perspective—so he could look away and I could skip some of it! But then I wasn't happy with the end result and found the mojo to rewrite it from Zelda's POV. The downside is that we missed out on Paya and Link's short conversation—and Impa's scolding Link for taking Zelda away!
Zelda's Reunion—Link's perspective
Link and Zelda appeared atop Purah's hill. He smiled as he looked out, seeing the village stretched below him. There were people that had gathered in the open area out in front of the in. There were tables being set up. Colorful streamers. It seemed that Hateno Village was preparing for another celebration.
He wondered if he and Zelda would actually stick around for it.
He looked glanced over at her to remark upon it, but before he could do so, the door to Purah's lab slammed open.
"Zelda!" Purah screamed, apparently bubbling over with excitement.
Zelda whirled, eyes widening, and a grin appeared on her face. "Purah!" Quicker than Link even expected, they crossed the short distance and embraced. There were no words spoken in the beginning. They simply embraced, rocking back and forth slightly. He heard at least one of them sniffling, but he couldn't tell who it was.
Others began to emerge. Paya, leading Impa by the arm, walked out. She met Link's eyes and beamed, but Impa only had eyes for the two women embracing. Robbie followed soon thereafter as well, both Jerrin and Granté following behind him. Even Symin walked out.
"Oh, Impa," Zelda said, finally parting from Purah. She had tears on her cheeks, and so did her Sheikah friend. "I'm so glad to see you. And Robbie!" She quickly wiped her eyes and then bent, embracing Impa.
"Princess, to see you again now…" Impa's voice was heavy with emotion. "It's been so long. But you did it. You did it! You both did. I'm so proud of you."
Robbie was wiping his eyes, too, Jerrin's hand on his shoulder. Now that Link had his memories back, it was strangely difficult to resolve his memories of the younger Impa and Robbie with these two aged Sheikah—especially with Purah looking the same as she did so long ago. But these three—Purah and Robbie, especially—had been her best friends, with the exception of Link.
The three Sheikah gathered around Zelda and, somehow, they all ended up in a heap, embracing each other and shedding more than a few tears. He was content to let them have their reunion.
Paya watched them for a moment and then made her way over to stand beside Link. "Grandmother was very angry with you."
"I figured she would be." Link smiled. "Hopefully, she isn't planning on slapping me this time, though."
"No, I don't think so." Paya's eyes fell on the four embracing friends. "She's talked about this moment for so long…" Her face took on a strained expression, as if she were trying to force down emotion. "And it's actually here. I'm so happy for her. And you, too, of course!"
"Thanks, Paya." He looked at her, taking note of the fact that she'd changed back into her more traditional Sheikah attire. "I'm glad to see you and Purah are all right. I caught sight of the tower after it fell."
She nodded quickly. "Aunt Purah waited far too long, but… we were just fine."
"It all worked out in the end. You kept the Guardians off me just long enough."
He heard the soft tapping of a cane and turned to see Impa walking towards him. There were tracks on her cheeks from tears, as well. She walked right up to him and stood up as straight as she could to look up into his eyes.
"You could have waited at least a few minutes before disappearing with her, you know," she said, lips pulled into a slight smile.
"Somehow, I doubt that I would have been able to get her alone if I had."
"Perhaps." Impa paused and then reached up with her cane, poking him in the chest. "And you ruined another of your tunics, I see."
"I blame Ganon for this one."
This is a variation on the conversation between Link and Impa shown above. An alternate to the alternate! But I ultimately decided to go a completely different route, putting it back in Zelda's POV—and including Link in the group hug.
Reunion with the Sheikah and Zelda
He opened his mouth to say something else, but then a sharp voice cut through the air. "Link!"
Link immediately stood up straighter, looking around and seeing Impa walking towards him.
"I can't believe you ran off with her," Impa said, shaking her head. She'd removed her pointed Sheikah hat, so he could clearly see her angry expression. "After all the time we'd been waiting, you disappeared."
"Well, it would have been very difficult to get her alone in the middle of Hyrule Field," he said, smiling broadly down at the aged woman. He heard Purah give something like a cackle.
The old Sheikah glared up at him, but then her face softened, lips splitting apart to form a toothy grin. "Good. You both deserve it." The two of them embraced tightly, but when they pulled apart, she cuffed him over the back of the head. "But you'd best not have won Purah another of her bets."
"And if you did, you'd better fess up!" Purah called. "Snap, I have a lot of rupees riding on this one!"
"Purah, what did you bet on us this time?" Zelda asked, looking wary. Purah waggled her eyebrows suggestively, and Zelda's face turned red. "You didn't." When Purah didn't deny it, Zelda sighed. "We… are going to discuss this behavior. You would think that, after one hundred years—"
Purah cut her off with her laughter again, and Zelda joined in.
Originally, I planned for all four of the new Champions to come to Hateno Village following the battle and join Link and Zelda for dinner. The problem was that I would be writing a last chapter and including a whole bunch of introductions and other stuff. It just didn't feel right. Then I planned for them to be present, but the introductions were going to happen off-page. But that didn't feel right either—it had only been a few hours, and seemed very unlikely that any of them would have been able to get away from the battleground to come to Hateno so soon. So I cut them out of Hateno Village entirely and wrote the four scenes in Side Quests IV with them as a kind of good-bye, instead. But here how that scene would have opened up.
Dinner at Link's with the New Champions
Link opened the door to his fireplace and peered in, smiling at the pair of cuccos roasting over the low flames. Immediately, their scent filled the house with a savory fragrance that made his own mouth water. He really hadn't eaten at all that day either. Had it really only been that morning when Purah woke him to help her activate the tower?
It… seemed like so long ago. Life could change so much in just a single day.
He closed the doors to the fireplace and turned, surveying his house. It was clean, if not a little barren, though he could still see the little touches left behind by the Sheikah and his other friends. He appreciated the table and the small kitchen, well-stocked with a variety of seasoning. He noticed that the house's small cellar had a number of vegetables and other foods, as well.
Paya probably did it all, he thought with a small smile. He could see her stocking him with these things while he was asleep after the battle for Hateno Village, or sometime in the two weeks that followed. Though it also could have been any number of the other grateful villagers.
Either way, it meant that he didn't have to go shopping for more than fresh meat and a few other minor ingredients that he suspected Zelda—and the others—would like.
Zelda had remained behind, wishing to spend a little more time with the Sheikah. Link suspected that she actually just didn't feel ready to face the curious looks from the gathered people yet, and he could understand. Already, the reaction he'd received had been… unnerving. Purah hadn't been wrong. Several people had spoken to him as if he were their leader.
There was a soft knock at the door, and he turned, assuming that it was one of the new Champions. He'd already seen Sidon, who greeted him joyously. Link asked him to round up the others and have them join him at his house for a meal.
Though he then suggested that Sidon make sure Yunobo brought some food for himself.
Before he reached the door, it opened. He froze.
Zelda stood in the doorway, but she no longer worse her white dress. Instead, she wore something far more familiar and comfortable. She had on the long-sleeved, white undershirt, blue blouse, and dark pants that she'd often chosen during their travels. Her hair now bore its customary braid, wrapped around her head like a crown, while the rest spilled down her back. The Sheikah Slate hung comfortably from her hip, just as it always had.
"Where did you get that?" Link asked, grinning broadly.
"Impa is very resourceful, it seems," Zelda said, placing a hand on her hip. "We left all of our excess gear and clothing with her when we left for the castle, and she had this made based off of what I used to wear."
"That explains a lot," Link said, thoughtfully. "No wonder she had my measurements down so well."
"Indeed." She met his eyes. "Do you like it?"
"It fits you."
"Thank you," she said, inclining her head and smiling. "Now, may I come in? I've never actually seen your house. At least, not from… this perspective."
His eyes widened, and he backed out of the doorway to allow her to enter. She did so and looked around, her expression curious.
"It's… not much," he admitted. "My mother always preferred living more simply. Couldn't stand having servants around."
Zelda slowly walked around the room, looking up towards the rafters and running her fingers along the wooden surface of the counter, where he'd been preparing some of the food. Her eyes traced the bare walls, lingering on the fireplace oven, and then traveling up to the loft, where his bed was just visible.
"I love it," she said, softly.
His heart beat more quickly in his chest. He… didn't know what would come next. Would she remain here with him? The thought that she wouldn't seemed absurd, yet could he truly assume this was what she wanted?
"Zelda, uh… You know, I've been thinking about what comes next, and—"
Another knock at the door cut him off. He looked towards it and then back at Zelda, who looked at him, cheeks slightly flushed. Damn. They couldn't have waited five more minutes?
He went to the door and opened it, stepping back when he saw the hulking form of Yunobo just outside.
Yunobo squeezed through the doorframe and threw his arms around Link in a tight embrace that drove the wind from his lungs. Others filed in after him. Teba, his wing still in a sling, Sidon, who had to duck his head to get in the door, and Riju, who glanced around curiously until her eyes alighted on Zelda and they widened. She quickly hurried over to her to introduce herself.
"I couldn't believe you were fighting that big monster," Yunobo said, finally putting Link back down on the ground. "At first, we thought you were dead, but then you just appeared and—oh… Is that your friend from before?"
Link glanced back to see Zelda and Riju already engaged in conversation. He caught her eye, however. "Yeah… Zelda, you already know this, but this is Sidon, Mipha's younger brother, Yunobo, Daruk's grandson, Teba, commander of the Rito warriors, and—well, you just met Riju." He glanced back at the others. "And this is Prin—" He stopped himself, smiling faintly. "Zelda."
Zelda found that she didn't truly say a lot during the meal they all shared that night. She didn't need to. The other five spoke, joked, laughed, and clearly enjoyed each other's presence. Link, especially, seemed like an almost different man from what he used to be. Even surrounded by the Champions, he hadn't been this free with his emotions. In fact, it was only around her that she thought she'd ever seen him so… relaxed.
But though she didn't really feel like she had a lot to add to the conversations—which were mostly about Link's adventurers in each of the others' lands—she felt welcomed. Riju, especially, was eager to get to know Zelda and told her about Urbosa's diary and the many entries within it pertaining to her. Sidon, too, was surprised to hear that Zelda remembered him from when he was just a child.
This is a short little alternate to Link and Zelda's final discussion. I originally had him being a little more assertive, but pulled back some and had him ask her what she wanted at first. Of course, she batted the question back at him, in the end.
Link and Zelda discuss what comes next
His heart beat more quickly in his chest. He… didn't know what would come next. Would she remain here with him? The thought that she wouldn't seemed absurd, in a way, yet could he truly assume this was what she wanted? She might not want all the attention.
"Zelda, uh… You know, we… haven't really discussed what will come next. For us."
She spun, meeting his eyes, cheeks slightly pink. "No, I suppose we haven't, have we?"
Link cleared his throat. Her expression was… expectant. He suspected that she knew what he was going to suggest. "We'll probably spend a lot of time on the road. At least, that's my assumption of what you want to do. But… I also know you like to have a place to sit and study."
"Well, I happen to have, uh… an extra room here that isn't really being used for anything at the moment."
As I was revising the final chapter, I debated switching the final scene's POV from Link to Zelda, and even decided to do so for a time before reverting back to my original scene. I liked having the final scene be from Link's POV, as I felt it ended the story better. Plus, I knew Zelda had a scene in Side Quests IV. But this expands a little on what Zelda was doing while Link went down to cook dinner, as well as her feelings on some other things, like the current state of Sheikah research and what she missed out on.
Also note that, when writing this, I briefly revived the idea of bringing the Champions to dinner, so some of the conversation reflects that.
Zelda and Link at his house (Zelda's POV)
Zelda appeared upon the shrine's glowing circle, sighing happily. The sensation of teleporting by Sheikah Slate was strange, to be sure. Her entire body still tingled as it had when the strange technology activated, bathing her in blue light. But to think that the Sheikah Slate had that ability all along! And the shrines…
She turned to look up at it, eyes fixating on the Sheikah Eye symbol upon its side. Deep inside, she felt a small pang of jealousy. She'd so wanted to be the one to discover the secrets to the Sheikah Shrines. But Link, ultimately, was the one to accomplish that, as she'd suspected he would be so many years ago. And, since then, both Purah and Jerrin had visited them and made extensive theories regarding their nature.
She had much to catch up on, it would seem.
But… for now, she supposed that she could be proud of how much she had, ultimately, gotten right about them. Jerrin's own research appeared to have sprung from Zelda's old theories, passed on by Purah. So, she had played a part in it all. And there was much left to discover. Link's words earlier about visiting that shrine near the ancient columns in the Tabantha Frontier sent a shiver of excitement down her spine.
Zelda turned away from the shrine and stepped down off the platform, onto the grass. As she made her way out from behind the large silo and into the heart of Hateno Village, she gazed around, smiling faintly at the bustle. No one knew her here, though she did catch a few curious glances. Some of them would guess who she was, but for now, she could enjoy the anonymity. It likely helped that she'd been able to get out of that dress.
Link was not by her side now. He'd wanted to gather some supplies and invite his friends to dine with them this evening, and Zelda decided to remain behind with the Sheikah. There had been so much that she'd wanted to talk to them about, yet the moment Link was gone, she'd regretted that decision. It was silly, she knew. But now that they'd been reunited, she found that she did not want to be apart from him any longer.
So, after a couple hours, she'd bade farewell to Impa, Purah, and Robbie and their families, and made her way to the village's shrine. She knew the way to Link's house, and she walked towards it now.
As she neared the outskirts of the village, she noticed a handful of people had gathered near those oddly-constructed houses. They appeared to be looking towards Link's house and speaking in awed tones. Zelda smiled faintly as she passed them by, thinking about how he would almost certainly hate to hear the things they were saying.
She tried not to notice how their conversation hushed as Zelda approached the bridge. She probably should have stopped to speak with them, to confirm what they already suspected. But… she didn't want to. Not now. Not yet. For now, she just made her way across the wooden bridge, eyes on the house before her. A thin line of smoke rose from the chimney, and she could already smell the savory scent of roasted cucco. It made her mouth water.
She reached the door and lifted a hand, knocking. When the door didn't immediately open, she reached down and twisted the knob, opening it herself. It swung open to reveal Link standing just inside, hand outstretched, as if to open it, himself. His eyes widened when he saw her.
"Where did you get that?" he asked, lips pulling into a grin.
She glanced down at herself, smiling wryly. Not only did Impa have clothing ready for her to wear, she had—somehow—managed to have clothing identical to Zelda's old traveling garb made. Zelda had chosen to wear that the moment her eyes fell on it. Wearing the blouse and pants—with proper boots—just felt right to her.
"Impa is very resourceful, it seems," she said, placing a hand on her hip, right above where the Sheikah Slate hung. "We left all of our excess gear and clothing with her when we left for the castle, and she had this made based off of what I used to wear."
"That explains a lot," he said, thoughtfully. "No wonder she had my measurements down so well."
"Indeed." She met his eyes. "Do you like it?"
"It suits you."
"Thank you." She smiled at him and then peered around him at the interior of his home. "May I… come in? I've never actually seen your house, you know. At least, not from this perspective."
His eyes widened, and he quickly backed out of the doorway. As she stepped inside, the scents of his cooking nearly overwhelmed her, and her stomach growled. Understandable, really, considering that she hadn't eaten in a hundred years. At least she'd gotten a bath at Purah's lab, though. That had been wonderful.
Link closed the door behind her, and she glanced over her shoulder at him. "It smells good. I don't know if I can adequately express how much I've missed your cooking."
His face flushed slightly, and he stood taller. "It still has a little to go before it will be ready. But did you—if you are hungry now, I can probably—"
She shook her head quickly. "No, no, it's all right! I can wait. Besides, the others will be joining us as well, won't they?" She glanced behind him, to where five chairs had been placed around a long table. One end had been left open.
"Yeah, they should be here soon. I thought you might have been them."
She began to walk slowly around the room, running her fingers along the rough wooden counter where he had clearly been preparing some food recently. Her eyes trailed up towards the wooden rafters overhead, where a few gas lanterns hung, casting their warm glow. The house was warm, thanks to the heat of the fireplace oven.
"It's… not much," Link said as she took stock of the house's interior. "My mother always preferred living more simply. Couldn't stand having servants around."
Her eyes studied the walls and floor, eventually finding the stairs that led up to the loft. From her vantage, she could see some of it, including what appeared to be a small desk and the bed.
"I love it," she said, softly. She did love it. As she gazed around at this small home, she found that she desperately wanted to make this her home. With him.
"Zelda, uh…" She turned to look at him and was surprised to see that he looked quite nervous. "You know, we… haven't really discussed what will come next. For us."
She felt her cheeks warm, and her heart beat rapidly. "No, I suppose we—" She stopped when she heard another knock at the door. Link glanced towards it and then back at her. She smiled faintly. "It's all right. We'll speak more on it later."
Link went quickly to the door and opened it. A moment later, he stepped back as a voice from outside cried, "Link!"
The tall form of Yunobo squeezed into the house and swept Link up in a tight embrace.
This is a branch in the previous scene. I debated having Zelda be stopped on her way to Link's house, but I just couldn't get the feel right. There's actually a little more to this scene that I wrote, but I deleted it, rather than saving it, it would seem! But it all felt too stiff and awkward, so I dropped the idea entirely.
Meghyn Stops Zelda
As she neared the outskirt of the village, she noticed a small group of people gathered, all looking towards the house. Men and women whispered amongst themselves, speaking in awed tones. She smiled faintly as she passed through their midst. Link would hate the things they were saying.
"Are… are you her?"
Zelda froze, releasing a soft sigh, and then turned. She met the eyes of a woman with short black hair. She vaguely recognized her, though couldn't remember her name. But Link had interacted with her several times on his journey.
For a moment, she considered pretending confusion. She honestly didn't want to do this now—not in the middle of this crowd that had already gathered to talk about Link. But that was silly. Her identity would get out soon enough, and she knew how to handle such things.
And so she forced herself to smile and inclined her head. "My name is Zelda."
Then again, how in the world did she introduce herself now?
The woman's eyes widened slightly. "The princess? So Link really did it?"
"I… yes. Yes, he did." Zelda sighed softly and then spoke in a somewhat louder tone.
Zelda's breakdown on the Great Plateau was a late addition to that chapter, written the day before I posted it! But when I was revising the last two chapters, I realized that was something that needed to happen. Both Link and Zelda needed a chance to offload some of their grief and emotions, and I debated two places to do it. Either on the Great Plateau, or when they were alone in his house. Ultimately, I decided to go with the Plateau, but I wrote some of the alternate to help me choose.
Zelda Breaks Down in the Kitchen
"That sounds wonderful." She backed away from the over. "You know, I'm not sure if I've ever actually seen you cook in a kitchen…"
"I didn't get many opportunities back then." He closed the over door again, so as not to let out too much of the heat.
"I… imagine that you'll be able to come up with… all sorts of new things for me to…" She trailed off.
His heart beat more quickly in his chest. He… didn't know what would come next. Would she remain here with him? Was that what she suggested? The thought that she wouldn't seemed absurd, in a way, yet could he truly assume this was what she wanted? She might not want all the attention.
"Zelda… you know, we haven't really—" He turned and stopped when he saw her. Her hands were clenched into fists, and her teeth were bared in an effort to keep her emotions from pouring over. He saw tears in her eyes. "What… what's wrong?"
She shook her head, still not speaking, but looked ready to break. She was trembling. He stepped forward, reaching out to her. When his fingers touched her shoulder, she looked up at him and opened her mouth to speak. Yet the only sound that came out was a soft sob.
And then suddenly, she was in his arms. He held her tightly, alarmed by the sudden shift. She clutched at his tunic, pressing her face to his shoulder, muffling her sobs. For the moment, he didn't know what to say. He didn't even know what was wrong.
The following scenes are some alternatives to the Yunobo and Sidon scenes that we got in Side Quests IV. These were all written late—within a day or two of posting the chapter online—and I had a great deal of trouble writing them! Both felt too morose, for one, but I also just couldn't figure out where to go with them.
Yunobo's felt too forced to me. I somehow wanted to take him from boarding the Divine Beast, being overwhelmed with emotions, and then have him stand back up. But it just felt like I was rushing it. Ultimately, rather than go through the entire rollercoaster of emotions, I decided to start him in the middle of his mourning, which allowed me to much more naturally lead into his rising and taking over Rudania.
Yunobo (Side Quest IV)
Yunobo stood quietly aboard the upper deck of Divine Beast Vah Rudania. He was alone.
He had known what to expect when he walked aboard the Divine Beast. Almost right after Link and that woman—the princess, he supposed—disappeared, the lights on all four Divine Beasts went out. They just… faded. Everything on the huge contraption had faded, in fact, except for one thing.
The control device at the center of the deck. It, rather than glowing blue as it had when Daruk controlled it, now shone orange. Yunobo didn't know what the significance of that color was, but he knew what it meant.
His grandfather was gone.
And he was now responsible for the Divine Beast.
"Listen, big guy. I don't want to scare you here, but when I'm gone… You're going to be Champion. A lot of folks are gonna be looking up to you."
He could remember everything Daruk had told him the day before. His last words. Yunobo thought that he was prepared to say good-bye.
He wasn't. He wasn't prepared. He wasn't ready. How was he supposed to be the Champion now? He knew how to control the Divine Beast, sure, but what about everything else Daruk had said?
"You're going to be guy they come to, to keep them safe."
He barely knew how to keep himself safe! He still wanted to curl up into a ball every time he saw a monster. When he saw that… that thing… He'd wanted to run. Yunobo had wanted to run. He wanted to roll away as fast as he could and not look back.
He almost had. If Link hadn't shown up when he did, he was sure that he would have.
"I know it's easy to get scared, son. But you're strong. And I'm proud of you."
Yunobo curled into a ball on the deck, closing his eyes tightly. He wasn't strong. He couldn't be like Link. He couldn't be like Daruk. He couldn't even be like Bludo!
"Bludo… that's who should be Champion now. He's… he's tough. He's strong! He doesn't run away when he sees a monster…"
But Bludo wasn't the Champion. Yunobo was. Daruk had given him the instructions on how to control Rudania. Could he teach Bludo how to do it? Or one of the other Gorons? Link said that princess knew all about them. She could teach someone else, couldn't she?
But he couldn't do that. Yunobo lifted his head, sniffling. After all, hadn't Link fought that monster and won? Link hadn't run. That monster had been so big, so strong, but he'd fought. And so had Daruk. And that little princess. And…
So had he. He'd fought. Against Rudania. And in Hateno Village. He'd fought.
This is another alternate opening, for Sidon, instead of Yunobo. Originally, I was going to have Sidon pulling "guard" duty for Bazz while he teetered between life and death, but the scene didn't feel right to me. So I ultimately decided to start with his discussing the plans to move back to Zora's Domain with Seggin, but still referenced his other guards keeping watch over Bazz.
Sidon (Side Quests IV)
Sidon stood outside of the small tent, the Lightscale Trident held stiffly in his hand, waiting. Gaddison remained nearby, as did Rivan, even though he should still be resting. What remained of his left arm was covered in a bandage.
It wasn't supposed to be like this. They'd beaten the Calamity, after all. They'd fought as a grand coalition, pushed back thousands of monsters and machines, and Link had been victorious over the greatest monster of them all. With today's actions, they had entered a new age of peace and, hopefully, prosperity for all their peoples.
And yet Sidon felt no peace.
It had been a day since the battle, and during that time, the three Zora had continued their quiet vigil outside of the triage tent. Waiting. A day of celebration and preparation to move back towards the river. To go home.
He should have been overjoyed, but now all Sidon could think about was that some of the awaiting families would never see their loved ones again. Husbands, wives, siblings, parents, and children that would never return home.
This is another alternative to that scene (this one gave me so many problems!), which actually featured Link and Zelda's triumphant reappearance on the battlefield. However, again, it just didn't flow the way I wanted it and I really didn't want to include Sidon's introduction to Zelda in one of the Side Quests. It felt like too much, so I scrapped this, too.
Sidon (Side Quests IV) Alternate
"We should be able to start our movement back to Zora's Domain tomorrow, Prince Sidon," Seggin said, hands clasped behind his bowed back.
Sidon nodded slowly. "That's good. I'm sure my father will be eager to hear about the outcome of the battle."
"Our messengers should be arriving soon, too." The old general paused. "But I am sure he will wish to hear it from you, as well."
And he will like to hear that his son survived the battle, Sidon thought, eyeing the other Zora.
Someone who had not spent the last century around Seggin likely would not have seen the tension in his posture, or the way his wrinkles appeared more pronounced. He did a marvelous job of hiding it. Better than Sidon, himself, had been doing. He wondered how Seggin was doing it.
"You've done enough for today. Why don't you go see him?"
Seggin hesitated, lips downturned in a frown, and then he nodded. Without saying another word, the old Zora turned and made his way down from the hill and towards the triage tents, where the Zora wounded remained.
Sidon watched him walk away, and then his eyes darted towards the tent. He could make out Gaddison standing just outside of the tent flap. Rivan would take her place soon, he imagined, even though the idiot should have still been resting, himself.
Normally, they would have been gathered around him. His personal honor guard. But Sidon had forbidden them from doing so, for the time being. The battle had been won, he was in no danger, and another of their number needed their presence far more.
Bazz. Memories flashed through Sidon's mind—memories of victory over the hinox, which became horror as he watched his oldest friend fall before the Guardian's blast. The frantic battle that followed as Sidon stood over his friend's body, suddenly alone and unprotected. And then the desperate retreat from the battlefield, Bazz in his arms, barely alive.
It had been two days since then, and Sidon still felt haunted by the events of that morning. He should have been celebrating with the rest of them, yet all he could think about was that he was responsible. If Bazz had died then it would be his fault. His foolish gambit and desire for glory would have gotten his friend killed.
A commotion among the Zora encampment drew his eye, and Sidon frowned, looking down towards them. There was a gathering near one end of the camp, and—
He gasped and then began making his way down the hill. Zora quickly parted for him as he approached until, finally, he reached the center of the crowd.
Where Link and that woman stood. The woman that Sidon could actually recognize, now that he saw her up close. He could remember her standing with Mipha atop a waterfall, discussing plans for the Divine Beast. Princess Zelda.
"Sidon!" Link looked up at him and smiled broadly, moving forward quickly and taking his hand.
He shook himself from the memories of that day and gazed down at his friend, gripping his hand tightly. "Well, now, you made it back! I was beginning to worry that you wouldn't before we started for home. Where in the currents did you go after the battle?"
Link looked suddenly embarrassed and glanced towards the princess, who blushed faintly. Ahh, Sidon thought. That's what he and Kass were discussing back in Hateno Village. Of course. How didn't I see that before?
"Sidon, this is—"
"Oh, I know who she is! I hope you don't mind my saying this princess, but you were considerably taller the last time I saw you." He bent, grasping her hand in both of his, and shook it enthusiastically.
Her eyes widened and lips parted in a smile. "Oh! It's nice to meet you again, Prince Sidon. Yes, you have… grown considerably since we last met."
"Please, just Sidon! I would never expect the heroes that saved Hyrule to stand on ceremony around me!"
"Then please, just call me Zelda."
"Of course!" He stood back up straight and clapped his hands together. "Now, come. Let's get away from the gawkers, shall we?"
He led them away from the crowd, motioning for them to disperse, which clearly left some of them disappointed. Still, when the prince wanted a private conference, he tended to get a private conference.
Once they were away from the camp and alone, Link stepped up beside him. "How is Bazz?"
Sidon froze, surprised by the sudden question. "Where… where did you hear about him?"
"Kodah found me just as we arrived. She told me that he'd been injured in the fight."
"Ahh." He stopped walking, eyes drawn in the direction of the triage. "He's getting better now, but…" He pursed his lips. "It was close."
And that's it! There are a handful of other scraps, but most of them are pretty minor differences, and some of them are actually just pre-revision versions of the same scenes that ended up in the novel with nothing really different about them. These are the ones that I felt best constituted the "deleted scenes" segment that we all love to watch in the special features of a movie!
I hope you all enjoyed reading them! They, along with my commentary, ended up being nearly 6,000 words longer than the Battle for Hateno Village chapter—just under 19,000 words. Pretty substantial! And, of course, this doesn't represent the insane volume of stuff that got changed, cut, or revised that never made it into my Scraps document.
I worked hard on making this novel right for me and you all, and I thank you one last time for all your support and ongoing comments throughout. They helped me make the novel better, for sure! And they, for sure, helped me decide to write the sequel.
Before I close this out, I will give you one last little factoid. I debated for a very long time about what I would write after Breath of the Wild. I definitely wanted to keep writing in this world, and it ended up coming down to one of two things. The sequel, which I ultimately chose, or a prequel, showing the pre-Calamity journey, but entirely from Zelda's perspective. I thought the prequel sounded like a lot of fun, and I still do. I will likely incorporate some of those prequel ideas into the sequel, though nothing is yet set in stone.
Either way, just know that I'm chipping away at it. My pace is definitely slower, and the writing isn't coming quite as easily as it did with much of Breath of the Wild. I've hit a few cases of writer's block, but I've got a clear-enough vision of the story I want to tell, and I'm excited to do it. If I was able to complete this monstrosity, I'm certain I can complete its (hopefully) smaller sequel! It's just going to take some time.
Thanks again for reading, enjoying, and commenting!
-Ben (The Zed of Ages)