Midna sat at a little table on the balcony of her castle, quietly sipping tea and looking out over the horizon. She hoped her friends were doing well in Reylisia. She doubted anything bad would happen to them, given how many lifetimes they had experienced.
Suddenly the air in front of her glowed blue, and to her surprise the Three Bearers stepped out of the portal onto the balcony. Midna stood up in alarm; she hadn't expected them back for quite a while longer.
"How did it go? Did you find what you were looking for?" Midna asked. Ganondorf, his face dark as a thundercloud, pushed past her and stalked off to his room in the palace.
"…No, huh?" Midna turned to Link and Zelda, who stood side by side with long faces.
"Well, we found the Gerudo, but…" Link's voice trailed off.
"Did you get killed or something? Maybe if you ask, the Goddesses will let you try again…"
Zelda shook her head. "We found the Gerudo, but it wasn't anything like what we expected. They resented Ganondorf for what he had done in Hyrule."
Midna scratched her head. "Well, that's to be expected, I suppose."
Link explained to her about Ridiyah and the warring clans. "In the end, it turned out that the Reylisian Gerudo were different from the Hylian Gerudo. And the Reylisians didn't really want Ganondorf around, even the Dragmire, so we came back."
"Wow. Well, them's the breaks, I guess." A little furrow formed on Midna's face. "Does that mean he's the last one of his kind?"
Zelda nodded sadly. "His people are gone. There was nothing we could do."
Midna sighed. "Jeez, I almost feel sorry for the guy. That's kind of what I was afraid of, when I got thrown into Hyrule." She nodded toward Link. "Stuck in the middle of nowhere, with a bunch of strangers, and no way to get back to the country I knew. It was pretty scary there for a while. I'm sure you remember my attitude back then."
Link chuckled. "I think you handled it pretty well."
Glancing back to the hallway where Ganondorf had been, Midna said, "It's probably best if we leave him alone for a while." She turned to the others. "Is there something wrong? I know you guys are used to winning, but you look pretty depressed."
Link scratched the back of his neck, unsure what to say. Zelda spoke for both of them. "He sacrificed his chance to stay with the Gerudo to get us out of a bad position. Even though they weren't the same Gerudo, they were still a lot closer to him than us. And we would have come back to Yomi anyway…"
"Which do you like better, sunrise or sunset?"
The young King glanced toward Maya, a close friend since early childhood. "I dunno, what do you think?"
She smiled up at the sky as both of them sat on the far cliffs overlooking the dying light upon the Great Wasteland. "Sunset, because sunrise comes too soon."
Ganondorf frowned. "I think I like sunrise better," he said slowly. "At sunrise, there's always the promise of another day, time to get things done, a chance for things to finally go right. But when the sun sets, all I can think about is what hasn't been accomplished, what's still lacking."
Maya put her hand on his shoulder. "I'm sorry. You must be awfully busy most of the time."
He shook his head. "No more than anybody else. Tending the herds…finding new water reservoirs…organizing raiding parties…there's nothing I do that only Kings do. Well, there'll be one thing, once I'm old enough…"
She laughed. "So you do have something to look forward to."
Shrugging, he replied, "Somebody has to keep the race going…" his expression darkened, his eyes flashing. "Especially with the Hylians killing every Gerudo they can find…"
Maya flinched, realizing she'd hit upon a sore topic. "I'm sorry, forget I mentioned it. Let's talk about something else…"
"They're just too powerful, Maya," Ganondorf groaned in agony. "It doesn't matter how well we fight. They've got more food, more weapons, more people, more everything." He scowled deeply, lines crisscrossing his young face. "Someday I'm going to figure out where they get it all. And then I'm going to use it against them. It'll be Hylians throwing their people in mass burials this time, Hylians starving in the droughts."
She tugged at his arm. "Look, it's getting dark. Let's go inside before it gets cold." As they walked back down toward the complex, she remarked, "You know, they say that during the twilight, our world is close to that of our ancestors…and they are watching over us…"
Ganondorf made a smirk of disgust. "Yes, to be so close to them all, my dead mother and everyone else, and yet not be able to speak to or touch them. I hate the twilight."
He stared out his window, his vision filled with the neverending Twilight that he so loathed. Even after he had gone to Yomi, he had never seen his mother or any of the other Gerudo again. And he never would.
He had lost everything.
That was why he had given up Reylisia for Link and Zelda, he told himself. They were enemies, but they were his enemies. They were all he had left.
He heard a knock at the door. "Come in," he muttered, not really caring who it was.
To his surprise, Zelda walked through the door, carrying a covered plate. "You didn't come to dinner, so I decided to bring you this."
Ganondorf turned away from her. "There really isn't a need to eat in the land of the dead, you know."
"Yes, but old habits die hard, no pun intended." She stood silently for a moment, then said tentatively, "I want to thank you for what you did back there…"
"Don't," he said shortly. "I merely wanted to deny Ridiyah the pleasure."
He felt her hand touch him lightly on the arm. "I know that's not true. You cannot hide from Wisdom."
Ganondorf shut his eyes, growing impatient. "I really don't want to…"
"You don't have to," Zelda cut in. "Your actions spoke loud enough." She turned to leave.
She turned back, and waited, even though he did not look at her. "What do you think…the Goddesses will do? There are no Gerudo left…will they make me Hylian?" His voice trembled slightly. "I don't want to lose…that which is me…so much has already been taken…"
Zelda stiffened in shock; Ganondorf's face remained as expressionless as stone, but a single tear ran down the side of his face. "Before we left, I still had some small trust…that they still existed somewhere…but now I have nothing, not even foolish hope. I have…nothing…"
His face drawn, he said to her, "My people are gone, and I have no one to blame but myself. If I had known this is the way things would end, I would have gladly given up any claim to the Triforce and faded into obscurity…"
Zelda stepped forward, but he leaned back and raised his hand to his face. "Please leave," he said in an unsteady voice, his tone urgent. "I know you want to be…I am grateful for your company. But please allow me a few minutes alone."
She nodded in understanding, and shut the door behind her. As she walked down the hallway, she could hear his voice faintly as he mourned his people.
Midna sifted through her records of the past week, which read like obituaries. There had been a plague of one kind or another, and she had been busier than usual.
She heard a knock at the door. "I'm kinda busy right now," she said irritably. "Can you come back later?"
"I only wish to ask you a question." She raised her head in surprise, hearing Ganondorf's voice.
Opening the door, she asked, "Well, what can I do for you?"
He paused, uncertain. "Have you heard any news from Reylisia?"
She frowned. "I have, but you're not going to like it…the country is in the middle of a civil war. From what I understand, Myrissa fixed it that way, but things are still a mess over there."
He nodded shortly, unable to conceal his disappointment. "Thank you," he said, and left, Midna watching him curiously.
Midna followed the sound of a fist on wood echoing through the corridors of her palace, and turned the hallway corner to see both Link and Zelda standing outside Ganondorf's room. "He's still in there?"
Link kicked the door. "He's locked it, and we can't find a way in."
Midna rolled her eyes. "He's certainly causing a lot of fuss. Din will be angry with me if I don't bring him to her." She raised her hand, and very simply made the door disappear. Striding through the doorway, with Link and Zelda following, she said with authority, "That's enough. The Goddesses sent me to bring you to your next reincarnation. If you have a problem with it, take it up with Din."
Ganondorf scowled at her, clearly wishing he could injure her in some way. "Why can't the other two go first for once?"
"Because you are the eldest, and always have been. It's your job to set the stage for the other two."
He shoved past them and marched to the Goddesses' chamber, paying no attention to the three trailing behind. Din, Farore, and Nayru watched impassively as he walked up to Din and folded his arms.
Din smiled slightly. "Ah, so good to see my stubborn child finally decided to come." The fury in his eyes matched readily with the bright red flame of her hair. "How much do you wish to remember, this time?"
"I wish to remember nothing," he stated firmly as Midna, Link, and Zelda entered the room.
"Are you sure?" Din asked with a teasing lilt in her voice. "This is the first time since the Awakening that you would enter the world of the living with no prior memories."
His hands balled into fists, and his voice trembled as he fought to keep his tone civil. "I already told you. I wish to remember nothing. There are no memories I want to bring with me into the next lifetime. I wish…to rest…"
"Sister…" Naryu addressed Din.
Din held up her hand. "Very well then." She motioned toward the wall, and the Door to Yomi opened. Ganondorf stalked through without a word.
As the bright light from the Door disappeared, Nayru sighed and Farore clucked in disapproval. "A final act of discipline, dear sister?" Farore asked.
Din smiled at the mortals' puzzled faces. "Yes and no. If my child has such a hard time coming to terms with doing something right, then he'll have to wait longer to reap the reward. He'll finally receive it when he returns, after all."
Asai wiped the sweat from her face as she sat down on the rocky ruins, catching her breath. A good third of the old fortress had been restored, but that alone had taken several months.
She stared out over the Great Wasteland, and asked herself why she and her small handful of followers had made the journey here. The answer was always the same. After King Ogadai's death in the civil war, she was the leader of the Dragmire. Not all of them wanted to leave Reylisia and its relative comforts. But many refused to remain in a country which still, after all this time, treated them like unwelcome guests rather than citizens.
She felt a twinge of regret upon thinking that Ogadai had not survived to see the vision he had proclaimed, the vision she had denied but now brought into fruition.
A cool breeze blew in from the mesa, which in turn came from the green fields of Hyrule. The country proved to be even more fantastic than the old stories, and what was more, the kingdom did not seem to mind a group of Gerudo squatters living on the fringes of the country. Hyrule's turbulent history had been relatively trouble-free in recent years.
Asai heard someone shout her name, and looked back to see Omali running toward her. This could mean only one thing. "Hurry, Asai!" Omali shouted. "Atrayu's going into labor!"
She rushed back to the compound on Omali's heels, several other women joining them as they heard Atrayu's cries in the stagnant air. This child would be the first born in the new land, and the last full-blooded Gerudo of Ogadai's seed.
Atrayu lay sprawled on her bed, the midwife Yuma attending her. With an agonized push, the wet, bloody head of a baby emerged from her body. Atrayu made a final effort, and Yuma caught the baby in her calloused hands. The child screamed in protest at being forced from its dark, safe home, and the women rejoiced in the loud, healthy power of its lungs.
Yuma cleaned off the afterbirth and cut the umbilical cord, gleefully raising the child for all to see, proudly displaying that the baby was a male. Asai took him and showed him to Atrayu, who gave her a tired smile. "What do you wish to name him?" Asai asked.
Atrayu shook her head. "Sister, you led us here successfully. You should have the honor. Give him a name worthy of his heritage and our struggles."
Asai frowned slightly. Naming a future King was a serious business, and often the elders would discuss it for many months before the child was born. They believed the child's name had a profound effect on who he would become as a person. There had not been enough time to dedicate toward the naming of a child.
She watched the tiny child wriggling in her arms, amber eyes half open, as if impatient to get on with life. She considered naming him Ogadai IV, after the King with whom she had grown up. But this was not the time or place for an Ogadai. Their country needed strength, and dedication, and the ability to cast one eye to the past on the mistakes and triumphs of its heritage.
"The child's name," she proclaimed, "is Ganondorf!"