Chapter 1: What I Once Was


Darkness is everywhere here. Darkness is all that is here. The darkness that infests this place is tangible. It's almost as if there are places where the darkness should not be, where the light of the moon or the light of the torches should pierce its vile power, but it does not. It bubbles and oozes and fumigates from the dark corners of the world, black and stealthy, like clouds of billowing smoke rising from the burning hamlet below this place, like smoke that rises from a burning body of an innocent, blackened and scorched by power too great and terrible to imagine. The things in the well will stop the boy. They can't be defeated. They were already defeated once, and now they stand eternal at the gates of that grisly tomb to destroy those who dare plumb its unnamable horrors.

They are like me. I was like him, once. I was like him.

My name is Charles Svenson. I was mind has been going. I believe it was 280...or perhaps 270...well, a great many years ago. I lived in Kakariko. I was a farmer. I tended flocks of sheep, I dug roots and milled bread, I lived at peace with the land.

Damn my human ambition! Curses on the demonic whim, the sardonic pull that brought me to that graveyard that one night so many many years ago! What perverse sentiments could have swirled in my blasted brain that would damn me to wander here in these lightless catacombs where evil roils in the dark chasms?

It must have been some devilish imp of fate that had put that glimmering coin at the top of the hill. No one had dared enter that cave, where it was whispered the unholy monstrosities lurk eternal, feasting on those foolish or brave enough to venture forth into the unlighted citadel of darkness beyond time's end. That blasted coin!

I console myself by thinking that no malign force put that glimmering treasure there. I delude myself into believing that that coin was there because of the rain, the pounding, fiendish rain that maddened my dripping form and sent feverish thoughts through my head. I think, I cling to the faint hope, that the water of the driving rain had eroded the soil and left an ancient trinket, perhaps dropped in Hyrule's infancy when the black temple that lay beneath it was still used for rituals I cannot even now bear to think about.

For whatever reason fair or foul, I saw that damnable treasure lurking mockingly atop that cliff. I scrambled up, heedless of the mud and rain and small, pleading voice of reason and sanity that told me to return to my cottage. What demoniacal force could have overridden my basest human emotion? Fear, fear of the unknown, it loomed tangibly before me, as the blackness belched forth from that mouth of Hell. But I ignored it. As mankind struggled from its chrysalis of infancy on some barren mountaintop, living in caves and hunting, fear was all that saved them. Through fear, and our mighty brains, mankind was able to identify threats and deal with them accordingly. Whatever proto-monsters lurked, we could know when to fight, and when to flee.

But I am certain that the great asset of fear is undone by the only asset equal it malignancy to fear's benefit. Surely some prehistoric hunter, spear in hand, saw some bauble, some flower or berry or dead rabbit to stew, and proceeded, greed clouding his mind, visions of satisfaction dancing in his ancient head, only to be destroyed for his lack of foresight? I am surely not alone in my foolishness.

Into that accursed maw of damnation I wandered, seeking further treasures. How could I have been so blindly foolish? I could not have been me alone. It must have been the voices, the unhallowed things whispering to me from beyond where sanity gives way to swirling madness. It must have been the ghosts of the damned souls like me, calling, moaning from the bottoms of those chasms that no light can ever seem to penetrate. The hand-sized spiders that gnaw and grow fat on the flesh of those who like me are blinded by their foolish greed.

Shadow Temple...where Hyrule's bloody secrets lie...unplumbed...waxing strong and malevolent after untold eons...then they reached out to my brain and beckoned me further into the dark recesses of unnamable horrors...

With every step away from that cave entrance and the wholesome, sane world above I took, I sealed my fate. It seemed that the blackness was encircling me, that the light from the outside world should have illuminated, even slightly, my path, but it did not. The tunnel entrance soon seemed unreasonably far away. It seemed that to turn back would be to let the unknowable things beyond me come from behind, and rend my flesh from my bones.

I walked farther and farther into that ungodly pit of black desolation. I dared not look back, because I was sure that something would be behind me ready to strike. And perhaps it was...

Soon I was too far gone to return to the world of the sane, where light yet shines on those whose souls have not been twisted, mauled, recombined into blasted and unhallowed forms to serve the purposes of whatever mad blind nameless hate and fear that thrives unopposed in the dark and unlightable abysses beyond sanity's end.

The world of the living...

I am Charles Svenson. But I am not he. I am something less, or perhaps something more. Yes. Something more than he could ever have been. It was not a demonic imp of the occult that led me into this place. It was destiny.

Charles Svenson is dead. He is gone forever in the black and limitless subterranean depths of Hyrule's nethermost caverns. He has been reborn...reformed by black forces and unholy blight into something...more.

Now I know that the light of the normal world is not for me to savor, except the light of the moon that shines nebulously down upon my form as I stand in the chambers of this heathen grotto. Darkness embraces me and fills me with its emptiness.

He will come soon enough. He will come and find what I found so long ago. He will plunge into the darkness with only faith as his guide, and we will destroy him. I will destroy him. I will stop his life with my hands, my sword.

He will strike at me, but he will find his blade passes through my skeletal form. He will shatter me to pieces, but I will rise anew. The darkness is my spine, my flesh, my form and my mind and my ego, my soul. It has pithed the vestiges of sanity and goodness from my spirit forever. Now I bask in its illimitable energy and unholy power. I feel no pain, no fear. I know these caverns. They are my home. My lair. My life.

I no longer have any doubts. I once wanted to fight my urges. I wanted to keep the tiny sliver of hope and small, glowing node of light that still burned within my soul alive. I wanted to keep the onrushing tides of darkness from engulfing me completely. I wanted no others to share my fate. But now...

Now the tiny globe of light has been submerged in a black onyx river that runs oily and putrid to an unlighted and timeless sea below the land. It is gone forever, and in its place is the darkness that bubbles from the nethermost places of the land. He will die, and his bones will rise as another in our circle. Another drop of dark ichor added to the rushing tide that sweeps away all that enter it. He will never be seen again in the world of the living, and I will see to it.

He is as I one was...