As of 10.25.2010, I have updated this first chapter to better fit my expanded version of Hyrule.
This has been a massive undertaking, not quite finished, but almost there. For those who are new to this story, welcome.
Inspired by Ocarina of Time.
The Legend of Zelda: Child of the Sun
Chapter One: Of Origins
What? Another story, my pale child? So greedy!
Fine. I'll tell you of the Death of the Men.
And you're going to sleep when I am done! None of your pouting! The story begins.
Once we Gerudo ruled Lake Hylia, back when it was simply 'the gift of Din.' We were not always bandits and thieves, though the Hylians would deny this.
Five hundred years ago, we were once a proud race of hunter-farmers, and we would die for our land, for the priceless treasure of the lake. And die we did, when a madman of a Hylian king decided it was his holy duty to retake the lake, the lake that had never been his to begin with.
Our race simply does not produce males easily; it requires a large enough number of male Gerudo sires to birth enough sons. In those days, one of every ten Gerudos was male. The women of those days were not the warriors we are now, for peace was widespread then, and the men were all we needed to protect us.
The attack came with neither warning nor mercy. The men, used to peace, all fell beneath Hylian blade and arrowhead.
The Hylians set fire to our homes and crops, and we ran, saving as much of our lives as we could, taking harbor in the cliffs that had sheltered us from hail, storm, and fire.
At the end of the massacre, the murderers, their hands still red with the blood of our husbands, gave us the wasted land near the plains, and the desert beyond. The soldiers, their deed done, could not even leave us to our grief. They returned, again and again, to rape our women and steal our heirlooms.
Until at last, we took up our cooking knives and drove the elfin murderers who called themselves Hylians from our beds, led by a woman of grace, Nabooru, my namesake. We rebuilt in the canyon, river thundering ceaselessly below.
We carved our homes into the safety of the cliffs, and our arms grew strong. The sun shone bright and hard, and our skin became dark. The sand raged and our legs grew swift. The wind screamed, and our short, pointed ears rounded. We made walls of stone and mud, and our faces were weathered. Our crops failed again and again in the poor earth, and we learned to make the most of the smallest morsel.
The Hylian men returned for our favors in time, and we were ready for them. The earth drank deeply of the cold blood of the scum, and our hearts grew proud, warriors for the first time we women could remember in our history.
But it was too late for us to escape the sin of our rapists. Batu, who was but a child, grew heavy with a son, and it was he who became our next King…
This is the world you will live in, for better or worse. Make no mistake, for you are mine now.
…Silly child. You were asleep for half the tale, weren't you? Ugh. What an impossibly long day…
Sleep well, my son. My Link.
She'd found him not two days ago.
The raid had gone well, at first. After constant raiding, the western villages of the Royal Province of Lake Hylia had fortified themselves, leading the Gerudo raiders to travel further and further east in the Province. They did not raid dry and arid Drought Country – for the people who dwelled there lived on the same knife-thin edge of starvation that the Gerudo did.
The band had collected their due, of coins, grain and oil. Things they needed to survive in their barren domain. On her way out of a terrified farmer's land, Nabooru took a red apple from his trees. It was tart and juicy, just as the others had said. As she savored the fruit, shouts rang out across the lakeshore, accompanied by the clatter of armored soldiers.
Too late she heard the call to retreat, to return to the dangerous, impossible, precarious path in the cliffs. Once on the path, the others were safe from the ungainly soldiers, and the archers.
Running for the plains would leave her vulnerable to Hylian arrows. Vast expanses of treacherous swampland lay beyond Lake Hylia, too far to run to, too dangerous to hide in. Nabooru ran for the forest to the east, a vast and unconquered mass of trees, skirting the strip of land that rapidly narrowed between the lake and the hill which provided her cover from the Hylians.
It was the only path open to her, her sisters were already being hunted like desert hares. How could she bring Hyrule's attention to the same path that had sustained their lakeshore raids for a decade at least?
Without breaking stride, Nabooru gathered herself and leapt into the Fisher's Creek. She paddled across, abandoning her spoils but for the coins and one small sack of grain, her strong limbs moving easily across the current. She pulled herself out of the water, and took up the long, distance-eating gait her teachers had trained into her until it was second-nature to run that way. There – the edge of the forest. Nabooru gathered speed and ducked into the dark cover of the Lost Woods, avoiding low-hanging branches.
No point in covering her tracks in the soft, moist woodland ground, she was used to parched earth, hard rock and soft, dry sand. Instead, she set a hard pace and covered her face with her veil; letting distance and the airborne poisonous spores make her sanctuary.
Somewhere in the dark small masked figures laughed at her, chanting "Lost, Lost! New Stalchildren for the Woods!"
She paid them no mind. Gerudo could navigate the vast desert with only their ken to help them find safe paths, only their instinct to find their way.
No Gerudo would ever be truly lost, even in these Din-forsaken woods. It was another gift the Goddess Din had given to her daughters. Strange shuffling and clacking noises echoed after her as she ran.
Finally, she sat on a fallen log and panted wearily, setting her scimitar across her knees as a precaution.
She took a careful drink out of her canteen, licking her lips for the last precious drops. Sitting back, Nabooru recalled a legend she'd heard as a girl, of the ageless children that lived deep within the Lost Woods.
Children that never grew… never aged…
She herself could never have daughters, as she'd found years before that she was barren.
It was an ache in her heart, a void that desperately needed to be filled. She'd done her best to fill it with other things, things like her duties, training and her small rock garden in her home's courtyard.
And it was working, for the most part. Already she was becoming known for her skills as a top thief, and one of the best bloodless raiders.
If not for the Hylian soldiers, not a drop of blood would have been spilt that night, only the scratch of brush and unforgiving cliff rock against dark Gerudo skin.
Speaking of the soldiers, they should have finished their hunt by now… And left at sunrise, but… it was best to wait till the sunset, to be safe.
Nabooru spent a restless night high in a tree, falling into a light doze, always waking at the slightest noise. Needless to say, she didn't sleep very much.
She kept her veil tight over her face, for it was spelled to filter pure air from anything, be it sand, smoke, even poison gas. She ate a scarce meal of nuts and tubers at sunrise, and readied herself for the journey home.
Off to the side a scrub creature chattered angrily, silenced by the howls of Wolfos, and the scream of a woman. Nabooru leapt to her feet, tucking her sheathed scimitar into her sash and sprinting off once more.
She found the clearing the howls had come from, the Wolfos already gone. It was empty. No. There was a dark spot of color against the far tree. She approached carefully, hoping this was the sister, be it Gerudo or Hylian, and not some new monster.
"Who are you, are you wounded?" She spoke aloud, putting a hand to the bundle of dark cloth. The woman – the Hylian woman – struggled upright, pale eyes wide and frightened.
"Stay away, Gerudo! Don't kill me!" She rasped in terror, spittle orange with the forest's toxic spores.
"Sister, be calm." Nabooru said softly, eyes taking in the feverish glaze of the woman's eyes.
The woman was poisoned, and fatally, judging by the way her pupils darted in and out of dilation.
"You're going to kill me, you killed my husband and now you're going to kill me!" the woman sobbed, curling around her middle, protectively. "Don't kill my baby, please don't kill my baby!"
The bundle she held moved a little, but remained quiet.
"My sisters and I harm no woman, even Hylian ones, unless they give us reason to turn a blade against them." The Gerudo soothed, using the well-recited words of a Gerudo raider. "There were no Hylians killed tonight, only soldiers." And maybe some of my Gerudo sisters, Nabooru thought.
"I will take care of the child." She said, as the thought occurred to her. "I will not murder you, either. The forest has already done that. It's just a matter of time, now." She drew a well-used dagger, letting the woman see it. "I heard from my sisters that dying from the Woods' poison is a slow, cruel death. I can ease it for you, if you like."
"Liar," the woman gasped, wheezing, "You-" but she did not finish, cut off by a child's cry.
"HEY! BIG PERSON!" A troupe of green-clad children melted out of the forest to surround the two women, hollering.
"Leave that other big person alone!" A red-headed boy yelled imperiously, brandishing a slingshot, "Or I, the Great Mido, am gonna hurt you!"
"Yeah!" A small pigtailed girl squeaked, timidly carrying a sturdy stick before her, "We'll get you."
"So, so, just go away!" Another boy, buck-toothed, agreed, waving two sticks of his own.
"Please, just leave the big person and the little one alone," The last remark came from a wise-eyed girl with green hair. She held a long dagger like a sword, stepping before the other children.
"She is protected by the Great Deku Tree, and the small Kokiri is one of us!" The other children clamored in agreement, some boys hefting rocks threateningly.
Nabooru snorted. "I didn't do anything to her. Go away." The redhead yelled and shot a stone at her. The Gerudo caught it and hurled it back, striking the boy hard across the temple.
"Go play your games elsewhere, forest children!" She snarled, brandishing her dagger in threat.
The Kokiri children watched her with wide eyes, then retreated into the shadows of the forest. Only the green haired girl remained, watching from a high branch with her wise, jade eyes.
Confident that the girl would not stab her in the back, she turned back to the dying woman.
She leaned closer to the woman, who moaned weakly, flinching. "What is your name?"
"Myina…" The woman, really no more than a girl, choked.
"And why did you run to these woods instead of remaining home?" Nabooru demanded.
"My husband…" Myina smiled briefly, falling lax into a grimace, "We came here… recently. He said Gerudo burn…" she hacked on her own spittle for a long moment, and gasped the rest out "…houses to the ground. Kill everyone. I had to save my baby."
She looked upon the bundle with a mother's love, and turned pleading eyes upon the Gerudo raider. "Please… don't kill my son."
"I already said I wouldn't, didn't I?" Nabooru snapped impatiently, taking the child from his mother's arms and setting him aside, tired of the girl's melodramatics, dying or not.
"Yes…" Myina mumbled, mouth orange with foam, tremors running through her body, limbs starting to twitch, heralding the beginning of the painful end.
"Would you like me to make your death quick?"
"Yes." Myina cried, and Nabooru held her limbs down as she convulsed, and slid a merciful blade between her ribs. "Oh my beloved," the girl rasped, voice a faint whistle, "My Link…Dakor…"
The red stain on her bosom grew, and her eyes stopped rolling. Nabooru watched quietly, and then closed the dead Myina's staring eyes.
She picked up the boy, unwrapping the cloth, and found he was no infant, almost ready to walk. Bright blue eyes stared at her, and the child gave her a toothless smile, unaware of his mother's death. Sandy gold hair and long, pointed ears marked him as a Hylian. Nabooru sighed and hefted his weight closer to her shoulder.
"You were a fool." She addressed the dead girl, unfazed by the macabre sight. "Had you but listened to your neighbors, you wouldn't have run to this death trap. You were young, but still, a fool."
She fished two brass coins out of her pouch, and bending carefully, put them on the girl's eyes. "Thank you for the boy."
As she turned to go, the Kokiri girl dropped from the canopy.
"Please, let me have the child." The girl begged, green eyes pleading. "The Great Deku Tree already made him safe from the forest. He is Kokiri now, don't you see?"
"I have no child." Nabooru said simply, so the little girl would understand, "I can never have a baby. I have a child now, and I'm not letting him go."
"There is something special about him," The girl insisted, stamping her foot. "He belongs to the forest; the Great Deku Tree said it was his fate!"
"Kids can't raise babies." Nabooru said with a meaningful look, "Especially kids that never grow up. If it's his fate to come here, then he will. But not now."
The girl bit her lip, worrying it. A glowing ball of light flew out of her pocket, and whispered in her ear.
"Okay," the green-haired forest girls said hesitantly, "But take my ocarina." She took a green clay ocarina and held it far from her body, offering it to the Gerudo woman.
Nabooru took it, juggling the child and placing it in her pack, pulling a trinket from it as she did.
"Take this as my thanks." She tossed the necklace to the girl.
"Pretty…" The girl whispered reverently, fingering the green glass. "Thank you." She smiled a little, "The way back is that way." She pointed.
"I'll take care of the child," Nabooru thanked, and turning, she left.
She bound the boy to her bosom, and he began crying as soon as she began running. He sobbed the entire way back to open ground.
It was actually a relief that he was crying, as it let her know there wasn't anything wrong with him physically. Still, it got vexing after a while. Nabooru offered him a sip of water laced with the tiniest bit of a sedative. He looked at his new mother with distrustful eyes, and screwed up his face at her, before sucking the water up greedily.
"You'll come to like me, kiddo." Nabooru said with a rueful grin as he nodded off, "Just you wait."
She whispered the words to a concealment spell – she'd always excelled in magic studies, it just came naturally. When it was complete, she examined her new appearance.
Still the same height, with golden hair, blue eyes, and Hylian ears to match her new son. Her arms appeared far less muscular than before, and her skin had lost its harsh desert-sun tan. Then she noticed her clothing – far too Gerudo to pass as Hylian, what with the pantaloons and sari. She transformed the sturdy linen into a modest gown, of the style typical for a farmer's wife in this region.
With the coins she'd collected, she bought her way to the western side of the Province, riding comfortably on the back of a farmer's cart. When the baby woke up, she entertained him with fairy tales and stories of the Gerudo Fortress, his new home. Nabooru kept her voice quiet – the rumble of the cart drowned out her words – there was no way for the driver to overhear her.
With the Hylian guise, she traveled from town to town on the backs of wagons and carts, spending nights at cheap inns and one time, in a kindly miller's house. To prevent too much curiosity, she pretended to be stupid, and kept her false home history long and boring.
At last, after a week's travel, she was close enough to access the secret cliff paths that led to home.
She was pleased to find no trace of Hylian boots on the narrow path, and took extra care when she reached the most treacherous part, where gravel and sand made uncertain footing.
Nabooru was tired, hungry, and covered in dust by the time the path widened and opened to the pass that led to Hyrule's plains. At last. The bridge would be near, and it would be manned by a Gerudo. From the bridge, she could get a ride back to the Fortress. She smiled, and made her way to the river gorge, feeling the mist on her face, the thunder of the massive waterfall a familiar and welcome sound.
"Home," She breathed, feet moving of their own accord, and dropped the concealment charm.
"Hey, Nabooru!" The guard hollered from her post at the bridge as the raider approached, "Where were you? We thought you were dead!"
"I had to take the long way, Nooya!" Nabooru returned at her friend, grinning.
"It must've been a very long path, I think." Remarked Nooya, "Did you go around the Lake?"
"No, I spent that first night in the Lost Woods. And then hitchhiked my way back to the paths." Nabooru gave a sigh of relief as she undid the bindings that held her son in place. Nooya's eyes widened at the sight of the child in Nabooru's arms.
"You really are one of our best, Nabooru," She said in awe, "To steal a daughter from the forest…"
"A son. The child's a boy." Nooya's eyes grew even wider.
"A son!" She exclaimed gleefully, "Din knows we need more men! What's his name?"
Nabooru thought back to Myina's dying words: My Link… Dakor…
"Link." She said firmly, "His name is Link."
1. At the end of every chapter I will post notes that further explain the world in which this story takes place. Some information simply wouldn't fit in well with my projected narrative, so instead it will be placed in my notes.
2. So that's all for now. Just to clear everything up, the legend Nabooru told took place about four or five hundred years ago. So the son Batu had was not Ganondorf.
3. Another thing to clear up, Myina's husband is named Link, not Dakor. Dakor is Link's birth name, but since his mom was kind of out of it, it was an understandable mistake for Nabooru to make.
4. I got kinda tired of all the noble deaths everyone gives Link's mom, and makes Link's dad a brave soldier who dies heroically or is still alive. So I gave Myina a commoner's name, and she died a foolish, easily prevented death. Link's dad is a hired hand on a farm. He's okay at it, and is rather gullible. They're very young, and far too caught up in the romance and drama of their lives. I just want them to be regular people, not very important to the story except for this bit.
5. I've always adored the Gerudo, so that's where this story comes from. As soon as I took a peek into the canyon, and heard their theme song, I was captured. As always, I am fiercely protective of canon, but I also adore messing with it in AUs. Huh.
6. I plan to give each of the races a background history and culture, as well as their own mythos. I'm pretty big on background details, so if anyone wants to let me know what they think of my portrayals of the land and races of Hyrule, just give me a shout!