Chapter 10: Falling from Grace
It had been dark for a while now, but I still couldn't sleep. The storm outside was keeping me awake, the lightening flashing so frequently I had stopped bothering to count how many seconds away the thunder was as it rumbled incessantly outside my window. The rain was pattering on my window as if stones were being continually thrown down from the heavens. But then again it had been like this for years now, the skies never rising from their sleep and letting the sun shine of the fields of Hyrule.
No one knew where he had come from or why he was here, but a one-man army had overthrown our kingdom, the royal family annihilated in his path. There was no monarchy here now, and he had even torn down the very walls that surrounded the market place, the northlands of Hyrule lying desolate and barren.
Luckily we had been spared, my father, Ingo and I, for Gannondorf had taken an interest in our horses, but I had overheard my father talking with Ingo about how some of the other races had suffered under the rule of Gannondorf. Under strict orders we bred and raised his army of brutal and menacing stallions. But I was far too afraid to go down to the stables anymore. The mean, terrifying glare in each beast's eyes was enough to make me back away, and I resorted to leaving Epona, a mere foal compared to some of the monstrous horses, out in the paddock at night, sometimes leaving her in the tower with the cows if it was cold.
My father and Ingo always slept downstairs amongst the chickens, while I had the room upstairs all to myself. I snuck out of bed, completely unnoticed, and peered out of the window. Standing on tiptoe I craned my small neck upwards, trying to see something amidst the black night. I had always been short, and I hated it. It made me feel small and inadequate and vulnerable when I was attending to the horses with my father.
I squinted through the murky darkness, and I thought I saw a red haired man standing in front of the old drawbridge ruins. As I recognised who it really was, fear struck each nerve in my tiny body, and I gasped, holding my breath. I froze, not moving for several minutes as the King of Evil stared straight at me, and I suddenly realised the horror that the late princess Zelda must have felt as she looked in Gannondorf's eyes the moment before she died. She had only been about the same age as myself…
I saw him cackle, and even heard him faintly through the glass. I could feel tears of terror spring to my eyes, as I stood paralysed at the window. I wanted my father, but I was too scared to move…
"So, we meet again boy," his voice boomed across through the darkness. What? "I hope you liked that small parting gift I gave you. It was so touching to see Princess Zelda die in your arms."
I didn't understand what he was talking about, but as my gaze shifted downward near the entrance to our ranch, I could swear my heart skipped a beat. It was him, it was really him…the fairy boy! It was Link! A smile rose to my face as relief washed over me. But despite looking as hard as I could I saw no bouncing ball of penetrating light follow the fairy boy as he advanced forward. Maybe it wasn't him after all, but his clothes were exactly the same. I had only known one boy like that…but this person was much taller, stronger…and older.
"Silence you pig!" Link shouted. "You have no right to talk about Zelda like that! You shall pay for what you did to her!" he bellowed above the thunder.
"Very well boy, but let me tell you one thing before you join her in the afterlife. As you may know, you sealed one half of me previously seven years in the future, but now the time has come for me to show you what power the two of us have together. You see, all that time you left me in the Scared Realm helped to increase my power. Unknown to your little sages, every passing second I drained their energy and power in the Sacred Realm, increasing my own. I'm twice the man you faced before, and this time you will be the one trapped in that god-forsaken realm, along with your precious princess, and I will remain ruler of Hyrule!" he yelled throwing his arms up into the air.
The fairy boy drew a shining sword from his back, and I could just make out its blue hilt. Was he finally going to put a stop to Gannondorf's tyranny? Would he be the one to save us from this living hell? I sure hoped so…
"Be quiet! And show your true form Ganon!" Link shouted again. "Let's see what this power is…"
But before he could move, Gannondorf shouted to the heavens and lightening struck down on either side of him, throwing up flames all around him. He cried madly as his body rose up in the air. His eyes began to block out, glowing a frightening shade of yellow that pierced through the darkness. His limbs grew in size and he expanded in shape, soon revealing himself to be a huge, snorting monster with one long shining blade in tact, with razor sharp edges on either side of his huge hand.
The colossal beast shrieked, slashing its double-edged sword in every direction before stampeding toward the fairy boy. The monster or Ganon as Link called him swung his long blade horizontally and Link jumped out of the way, barely dodging the sharp edges. But as Link gathered his footing, a large round black orb of static electricity struck him down again. He was motionless for a fleeting moment, but then his hands dug into the dirt, and Link pushed himself up determined to remain in the fight. But his movements were not steady, and he wavered from side to side as he stood.
"You disappoint me boy. I thought this would last a little longer. But I guess there's no harm in finishing you sooner!" Ganon said grinning evilly, saliva foaming at his mouth. He roared, the walls of my room around me shaking in terror, and readied his blade to strike Link once more. As Ganon reared up, ready to thrust his blade downward, Link readied a bow in break-neck speed, and a shining arrow flew through the darkness, hitting Ganon square in the face.
His blade clattered to the floor as Ganon's large clawed hands rushed to his face. Then charging toward the stunned monster, Link screamed wearily, his sword high above his head. Link drove the blade into Ganon's stomach and the lumbering beast groaned in pain.
I almost felt excited underneath all the terrified emotions that were holding my body in place, forcing me to watch this epic battle.
But that thrill soon died as Link was thrown aside by a huge swiping hand as Ganon stood up once more, regaining his fallen blade stuck in the broken land. Link jumped up, deflected a black ball of energy just in time with his sword, sending it back toward Ganon, who in turn bounced it back to Link, its speed and size increasing as it flew through the air.
I thought I saw the frightened expression on Link's face, as it came hurtling toward him, but the darkness obscured my vision, making it impossible to determine anything except shapes and voices. I let out the breath I had been holding as I saw the black orb change direction, but I saw Link stumble in the process. The power was beginning to become too much…
Ganon laughed as he hit the speeding black energy with ease, and his laughter grew into a shriek of victory as Link was overpowered. I heard his cry, and I gasped as I felt tears fall from my eyes. The impact caused the dust from the ground to fly into the air, so I couldn't see anything.
"Come on Link," I mumbled anxiously. "Come on…"
"Don't fear child," I spun around, shocked by the sound of someone else's voice. It wasn't even my fathers, for it was female.
"Who are you?" I questioned, knowing she could see the fear in my eyes. But she only smiled.
"That I can't tell you." She said, stepping over to me. The woman was dressed in odd blue clothes and a white ruff was bundled up around her neck, and her long hair flowed elegantly down her back. Somehow feeling I could trust her, I let her take a place beside me watching the battle. "He will win." She said confidently, but all the time I watched her eyes, and I saw the disbelief and worry inside them. The she turned to look at me. "Don't worry, your father and his assistant are safe. And you shall soon be too." She said.
I didn't understand why they needed to be safe, for we were safe in our ranch, but I nodded innocently. I turned my head back toward the battle and the excitement and hope I had felt earlier rushed back as a blaring light shoot through the darkness, singing a sad whistle as it flew. And once again it struck Ganon and through the smoke and through the dust I saw Link charge forward and deliver his sword through the thick hide of Ganon.
But before he could do so, Ganon grabbed the running warrior in his hand, Link's sword falling to the ground. His arms were trapped, his head limp on his shoulders, and he was completely defenceless. All hope sank uncomfortably into my stomach, and I felt the tears of defeat fall down my cheeks. The woman beside me tensed and her hands shook in denial.
Then something came over me, and I shouted through the darkness.
"LINK! Wake up!" I screamed out of my window, but I clamped my hands over my mouth as soon as the words had left my lips, suddenly regretting ever opening my mouth. At once Ganon turned his large head toward me, his large, glaring eyes staring straight at me, and my breath caught in my throat.
"Well boy, it seems we have a spectator. And she seem to be a fan of yours." he said slapping Link across the face. He began to move again as Ganon stomped toward my bedroom window.
The woman kneeling to my right then suddenly grabbed me from behind, her arms snaking around my stomach tightly, and she jumped up out of the window onto the roof as Ganon struck my room with a ball of black energy.
"Watch her die boy!" he shouted as I flew through the air in the woman's arms. I saw the wood explode beneath the flames that began to kindle at the burning hole in the ranch. But the dancing flames soon dwindled as the torrents of rain silenced the raging tongues of fire.
"Run across the roof and climb down. Run to the tower. Your father is waiting there for you." The woman whispered to me. I nodded and fled, not wanting to watch the battle any longer, but as I looked back, the woman was gone.
*** Link's POV
As consciousness came back to me, I felt like I was being squeezed and I almost couldn't breathe. As I woke I realised I was in Ganon's palm and I saw a frightened young girl standing at the ranch window.
"Watch her die boy!" a loud voice bellowed above me.
"Malon!" I shouted out, realising she must have been the one Ganon meant. I cursed myself as I watched helplessly as Ganon's attack exploded on contact with the ranch window.
Not only had I lost Zelda but now I had lost Malon, an innocent young girl.
But as I blinked, I could sworn I saw something, or rather someone jump up onto the roof with such agility, I doubted what my eyes had seen. I had only seen one other person with such grace and movement…
Ganon chuckled and he returned his focus to me. His hand gripped my tired and powerless body tighter, strangling my breathing.
"Well boy," he said, his hot, stinking breath suffocating me even more so. "It looks like I am the victor," he said grinning menacingly. "But I really did expect more from you, Hero of Time."
His grip was crushing my bones, and I winced as I felt my body begin to crack in half.
"If you were the victor Ganon, you would have factored in all possible successes and all possible upsets." A stern voice called through the darkness.
"What?" Ganon said angrily. He looked around above me, his grip loosening a little. "Show yourself!" he commanded.
"I'm right here." She said, her voice sounding so familiar. I forced myself to look up, determined to find the source of the speaker. Ganon too shifted and turned around looking frantically in all directions for this intruder.
"YOU!" he shouted. I heard his breathing falter slightly, and I felt my body slid from his hand as he freed me from his grasp. "How did you…? I've already killed you!" he shouted utterly confused. "How can you still be alive!?"
Regaining my lost strength, I stood and looked up to the top of the piled rubble. There stood my saviour, my lover and my princess.
"Zelda," I whispered. She stood proudly atop the fallen white boulders, her long blonde hair blowing in the raging winds behind her, and the shorter strands blowing to the left, shadowing one of her glaring and piercing blue eyes. Her hands were hidden behind her back, and as I looked closer, the former bloodied clothes were now a fresh, shade of midnight blue, just like they were before, the Sheikah markings blaring defiantly in the darkness. A true warrior stood inside her…
"You should be able to figure that one out, for you yourself used that technique to join yourself together." She said confidently, looking down over us.
"CURSE YOU ZELDA!" he yelled as he lunged for his blade, completely forgetting about me beside him as he advanced forward.
As if knowing exactly what he would do, Zelda leaped up into the air as Ganon swung his blade; her dark blue clothing masking her movements against the midnight sky. I took my chance and shot another light arrow from my quiver, and immediately ran for my sword. I looked up, and Zelda had appeared on the back of his head, a cold, unmerciful look on her face. She revealed a long dagger from inside her bandaged sleeves and drove it into his skull as I shot another light arrow. Zelda disappeared and materialised by my side, running alongside me.
"Malon's safe." She said smiling, and at once I felt the courage and relief flow through my veins. I hadn't lost either of them, and both Zelda and Malon were here, fighting with me in my heart. I thanked Zelda silently and felt a new wave of energy and passion awaken as I ran faster toward the fallen beast, while my readied, hungry sword waited at my side, eagerly awaiting the moment it could plunge into Ganon.
Together we slashed and sliced through the King of Evil, crying out as we both slaughtered the monster in front of us, dark green blood staining us both. Zelda then drew back and throwing her arms up to the dark skies, she shouted to the sages of the heavens to seal away for good this oppressor of corruption.
I delivered the final blow, striking him directly in his bloody mouth just as I had done the first time I killed him, in time to see the five familiar brightly coloured lights descend from the black clouds.
I backed away, taking Zelda's hand in mine, allowing the sages do their work.
"CURSE YOU LINK! CURSE YOU ZELDA! CURSE YOU DAMN SAGES!" Ganon shouted as the sages sealed him away, this time for good, for they too had grown in power over time, just as we all had done. Executing the same threats and damnation as before, we watched happily as Ganon was reduced to the pitiful man he was before, and finally to nothing at all as the sages disappeared in a large flash of light along with the struggling and wailing 'King' of Evil.
The heavens were torn apart by the shining sun and the warmth of its light as her fingers stretched right across the plains and territories of Hyrule, signifying a new era of light. The rains ceased and the thunder dimmed, becoming the sweet song of the birds awakening from their slumber, for a new day had dawned on Hyrule.
I stood before the castle ruins with Zelda by my side, our hands intertwined. The sun dried our damp and blood stained clothes as the light smiled down on us. I turned to face Zelda, my hands now taking her shoulders as I faced her. They travelled up her neck and over her face as I made sure that I really wasn't dreaming.
She was really here, standing beside me, risen from the land of the dead.
"How?" I uttered, barely more than a whisper. I pulled her close, feeling her comforting warmth engulf me instead of the icy touch of the dead. "How did you…? You're alive…" I felt tears of joy and happiness spring to my eyes and as I pulled her back to look at her beautiful, living face, she wiped away the unshed tears with her thumb.
"Link," she said softly. "I'd never leave you, you know that." She embraced me as she continued. "And I certainly wouldn't you take all the glory again." I felt her smile against my chest.
"Link," she said much more seriously. "Before we faced Gannondorf, Impa told me something very important. She told me that if necessary, she and the other sages would seal away my spirit in the Sacred Realm, and before I died, I did just that. My physical body had been severely damaged, and I knew I wouldn't live much longer. So I called upon the sages and had my mind transferred into the safe haven of the Sacred Realm."
She looked up at me, her hand stroking my cheek. "It wasn't your fault Link." I blinked, not realising I had shown so much guilt. "Don't blame yourself for anything. I know you didn't mean to. I was…a distraction…and a nuisance to you." Her voice grew quieter and quieter as she went on.
"Zelda, don't ever think that I didn't want you there." I said. "I would never have been able to do this without you." She smiled sadly up at me. "You've been there more times than you think helping me. When you told me you loved me, that single sentence gave me the strength to go on. And just now, you saved my life. You've done so many things for me Zelda."
"Link…" she whispered. I leaned down and kissed her gently, placing my hands on her shoulders. Through that kiss, I apologised for everything I had made her suffer, and I thanked her for everything she had done in helping me complete my tasks, for without her, I would never have accomplished anything. She kissed me back, and I understood the gratitude and forgiveness that she told me through her kisses.
"It seems," she said pulling away. "Your princess has fallen from the grace she once had." She said smiling. "I've killed, worthy of treason against the nation, and destroyed the future monarchy of seven years away. I hope you'll stay by my side Link."
"Of course." I said caressing her blood-splattered cheek with the back of my hand. "But we've killed for the last time, and fought the last battle. We'll build a new kingdom together, you and me."
"Yes, together." Zelda said smiling as she took my hand in hers, and hand in hand we walked across the fallen draw bridge into the deserted wasteland that was Hyrule market place, ready to face any challenge that stood in our way.
And we would face them together, as two people who had fallen from the divine state of grace that the three goddesses bestowed on us at birth.
The fallen would rise and restore this world of darkness for the last time.