Seven years later…

Sumara raised his hand to his eyes, his face burned and swollen from the harsh sun in the rocky badlands. Though he and his small troop had been traveling for hours with what was left of their pack mules, the mountains ahead of them didn't seem much closer. He didn't look forward to finding a pass through those mountains. But once he did, his people's tortured journey would finally come to an end.

Olina, his second-in-command, called the team to a halt as they reached the rocky foot of the mountains. "I know it's only late afternoon," she said as she wiped sweat from her face with her frayed sleeve, "but I don't think we can tackle those today. We need rest, and food."

He sighed, and sat down next to her with a scowl. "Good luck finding food. We'd waste more energy searching for it. We'll be driven to eating those big hairy spiders if this continues."

"If it's food you want, we've got plenty," a little voice piped up from somewhere above their heads. Startled, the entire group drew their cutlasses with a resounding ring of steel. "Who's there?" Sumara demanded to the open sky. "Show yourself! We are no defenseless travelers. We are former pirates, and we know how to fight!"

"Whoa! No need for that!" To the entire group's great surprise, a rock stood up from a cliff some distance above them and came hopping down. "You just seemed hungry is all."

Sumara and Olina stared at the owner of the voice, some sort of two-legged creature with no clothes and looking like nothing so much as the mountains around him. "We are, kid," Olina said finally, "and we'd greatly appreciate it if you could give us a bite to eat."

"Maybe you can give us directions, too," Sumara added, sheathing his weapon. "We have been traveling for weeks, looking for a country called Hyrule."

The creature's broad mouth spread even wider. "Well, this is sort of the edge of it I guess. This is the Gorons' province. Over the mountains you can see the castle, where Queen Tetra lives. They say she used to be a pirate herself."

The rest of the group chattered excitedly as Olina kneeled down to look the child in the face. "Can you help us get there? It's very important."

"Of course! Just follow me. Oh, and by the way, my name's Naru." He cheerfully waved the group toward a path, very narrow but still wide enough for the pack mules to pass. He led the group through a series of brightly lit, clean tunnels, and though Sumara began to feel claustrophobic in the narrow space he did not sense any evil intent from the little rock-creature.

Naru led them into an enormous pantry, and began pulling jars off shelves. Hearing the commotion, the biggest person Sumara had ever seen stomped into the room with a suspicious glance at the travelers. "Little one, what are you doing?" he demanded.

Focusing all his attention on the jars, Naru replied with an air of high importance, "I found some traveling pirates, looking for Hylian food. They wanna see Queen Tetra."

It didn't take an experienced fighter to see that the huge rock-man could easily tear them all limb from limb if he wanted to. Both Sumara and Olina bowed before him. "I apologize if we are trespassing. We are on an urgent mission to speak with the ruler of the land called Hyrule."

The rock-man scrutinized them with deep black eyes, an unexpected expression on his face. It wasn't suspicion; in fact, it seemed almost like recognition. "Well, we've got no place for thieves of any kind in Hyrule, but the Queen has a soft spot for pirates. If you're seeking asylum from someplace, I'm sure she'll be more than accommodating."

"Thank you, sir," Sumara replied, his limbs shaking from exhaustion as well as relief that his task was nearly over.

The Goron waved a huge hand. "No need for such formality. My name's Darunia, after the ancient Sage. You'll want to ask about the Sages when you get there, find out something you didn't know before." And with that mysterious message, he left.

After a refreshing meal, Darunia invited them to stay the night. All the beds were made out of stone, but it was still more comfortable than sleeping out on the badlands. The next day, Naru led them through the heart of the mountains, until finally emerging on the other side in the late morning.

It was more beautiful than Sumara had ever dared to dream. White mare's tails floated by in the deep blue sky, the golden field rippling in waves before them. On one side they could see a deep forest, emerald green and echoing with the cries of many birds. A deep lake reflected the sky above. On the side opposite the forest, a large castle loomed above all, solid as the stone where he stood, projecting a magnificent presence over the land around it.

It took them a long time to get to the castle, for every few minutes one of the group would find something incredible – a bright blue butterfly, a wild bush of blood-red roses, an entire wagon of plump watermelons. Sumara prayed to the gods that the vision he had received as a boy was correct, and that they would be allowed to stay in this beautiful place. His people had been a countryless nation for hundreds of years, wandering from place to place, tolerated like unwanted guests or thrown out like so much garbage. His little troop was all that remained of what had only been a few to begin with.

When he arrived at the town within the castle walls, he didn't even want to step on the clean flagstones of the enormous, prosperous place. Children ran by and waved, apparently not caring that an entire troop of ragtag pirates walked in their town. Women in simple but beautifully woven dresses haggled over bread and apples; another Goron invited the travelers to refresh themselves with spring water. Sumara's people had no money for such things, and drank from the fountain in the town square. They got a few odd looks but no one bothered them.

Once they started for the castle, though, the guards began asking questions. "Might I ask what business you have at Hyrule Castle?" the guard at the first checkpoint asked, politely enough but with an obvious glance at their pitted cutlasses.

"We are travelers from a far country," Sumara replied. "We have no country of our own, and have come to request asylum from Queen Tetra."

The guard gazed out over the little group, obviously not terribly threatened by the ragged transients. "All right, then, go on ahead. You'll have to leave your weapons at the main castle gate, though."

After a few more checkpoints and the main gate, they walked through the castle itself toward the throne room. They could not conceal their amazement at the golden chandeliers, the marble walls, the intricate tapestries. Suddenly Sumara stopped short, and gestured toward their escort, then pointed to a set of stained-glass windows. "Excuse me, but…who are they?"

"Those are the Six Sages and the Three Keepers of the Goddesses' Power," the escort replied with obvious pride. "They are the most important people in Hyrule's history. If I could, I would tell you the tale in its entirety, but it would take days and Her Highness is waiting." He walked on, and after a moment Sumara snapped out of his trance and followed.

Sumara and his group approached the throne with some trepidation, not sure what to expect. As he kneeled in front of the King and Queen, he stole a quick glance at both of them. Neither one seemed much older than he was. The Queen wore garments of obviously exquisite make, but they did not seem like a typical ruler's wear; in fact, they reflected those of a wealthy pirate more than anything. The King wore odd clothes as well, forest green and a little too casual for this environment. The King, their escort had told them, had earned his position as a famous warrior.

When he raised his head, he noticed with a start that both King and Queen stared at him openly, the same strange recognition in their eyes. Finally, Queen Tetra sat back in her throne and asked, "Travelers, what brings you to the Kingdom of Hyrule?"

"Your Highness, we have come to seek our home in your lands," he replied.

"How did you hear about Hyrule? We were told you traveled from very far away," the King asked, his tone friendly.

"It is a long but vital story, your Highnesses. Though it may sound strange, I beg that you hear me out." They both nodded.

The oldest legends of our people tell of a great flood that drove us from our home. Our leader perished, but his second-in-command somehow managed to find a bit of wood to cling on with a handful of her people. They were carried far, far away, adrift for several days, and feared that they would either drown or die of exposure. But just when all seemed lost, they sighted land. The second-in-command, whose name was Nabooru, helped the remainder of her people build a small settlement on the coastline.

Unfortunately, our ancestors did not get along with the other inhabitants of that country. They did not wish to absorb themselves into the rest of the people, but since they had no men of their own, they were forced to strike alliances with them anyway.

For hundreds of years, my people always met with the same problem. Some refused to speak with us at all, for apparently our ancestors' ancestors had a fearsome reputation. We took to the pirate's ways, unable to find any other method of supporting ourselves. Over the years our numbers rose and fell, until finally we were all but wiped out in a series of pirate wars.

One night, when I was ten years old, a man appeared to me in a dream. I had never seen him before, but he looked so much like one of us that I felt I must know him. "Go seek the land of Hyrule, once our home," he instructed me. "Follow the brightest star in the Great Sickle, until you reach the high mountains. Once over the mountains, go to the castle and speak with their leader, a woman named Tetra. A warrior named Link may be with her as well. Explain who you are, and request her permission to live there. She will likely grant it without any hesitation; but if not, remind her of the sacrifice I made."

I begged him to explain what he meant, or at least give me his name; but he refused, stating that saying his name in that land would only bring trouble. I couldn't be sure anything he said was true, or would help us in any way, but we had nothing left to hope for. So once we had sold all our possessions, including our ship, we began our journey. I'm sorry I cannot offer you any more than that; the only thing I can add is that a Goron we met on our journey said we should ask about the Sages, and as we walked through the castle, I saw portraits of them in the windows. One of them looked exactly like our ancestor who survived the flood, and another – one of the Three Keepers – was the man in my dream.

Tetra sat open-mouthed, staring at the young man who watched her with beseeching eyes. Turning to Link, she asked him, "Do you think it's possible?"

He nodded gravely. "At this point in my life, I'd believe anything is possible. But it must be true. How would they know the Spirit Sage's name? How would he know what the old portrait of Ganondorf looks like? Besides, it doesn't take a scholar to see they're all Gerudo."

She nodded. "Amazing…do you think his ashes somehow found their way to his lost descendants?"

"I do," Link replied gravely. "No doubt they called to him, and he could do no less than bring them home."

Rising to her feet, she announced in a voice that filled the throne room, "Let it hereby be known that the Gerudo, the descendants of Spirit Sage Nabooru and the Keeper of Power, shall be welcome in Hyrule; not just in the desert, but within all four corners of the country!"

The travelers whooped in ecstasy, and Sumara wiped the tears from his eyes. At last, at last…stranger, I don't know who you were, but rest in peace knowing that your people have finally returned home.

The End