Disclaimer and Notes: The Legend of Zelda and related characters belong to Nintendo
Disclaimer and Notes: The Legend of Zelda and related characters belong to Nintendo. I seek to make no money from this, as it is just a product of my demented imagination. Nothing much of spoilers, I hope – this story takes place during the point where you must escort the wagon over the field and defend it from monsters. The story has a few details that are just a hair more gruesome than what's in the game and is my personal take on what might be happening between "Game Over" and "Try Again." The title is taken from an episode of Trigun, for no reason other than I needed a cool title and it sounded right.
I have yet to play every Zelda game in existence, including some of the "important" ones, so if I'm messing up the mythology, gentle criticism/correction is welcomed.
BETWEEN THE WASTELAND AND THE SKY
A Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess fanfiction
The young man rode hard, struggling to keep sight of the wagon with his blurring vision. His horse was at a full gallop and every jounce in the saddle sent stabbing pain through his entire body, but especially his chest. Link was hit, and hit bad. He couldn't stop coughing. There was an arrow in his chest and he was pretty sure his left lung was filling up with blood. Oh, and his pants were on fire, too.
None of that mattered right now. Telma, Ilia and the little Zora boy were counting on him for their protection, he had to keep up. He did not care how badly he got hurt, though his efforts would go for naught if he died in the saddle. Link couldn't feel his fingers anymore. Great, just great. Epona jumped over a rise and landed hard. Link bit back pain and tried to ignore the distinct flavor of blood in his mouth. He swung his sword at the dark rider thundering alongside him. He slumped forward in the saddle, involuntarily. No! No!
Everything felt heavy, his arms, his legs, and the sword in his hand. It dropped from his fingers and clattered on the ground. He could see the wagon in the distance.
He didn't care how badly he got hurt, as long as they were safe…
Link awakened in darkness and alarm immediately shot through him. This place looked a lot like the Twilight realm, but what was he doing here? More importantly, were the kids and Telma alright? The young man looked about madly. He stood upon what appeared to be a plain of subtly lit stone, surrounded by misty darkness.
"You are wondering where you are…"
Who said that? Where was that voice coming from? Link looked around, trying to find the source. All he saw was darkness and misty obscurity.
"Oh," the voice spoke again, "There is no need to look around like a lost cuccoo, and put away your sword. Pointing it about like that here is rather rude."
Link put away his sword and called out into the darkness. "Who are you?" he demanded. "Show yourself!"
He was surprised at the strength of his own voice. He did not use it often, being one of few words. A glowing, whitish figure stepped out of the darkness. Link stepped backwards. Save for a few differences, it was like looking into a mirror. The ghostly image smiled at him bemusedly.
"Who are you?" Link repeated.
The figure seemed to ponder something for a moment, before replying, "Well, you could say that you've been wearing my old clothes. I am dreadfully sorry we must meet like this, but it's happened before. You really need to get better at defending yourself."
"Don't worry, this is nothing of importance… you've just been killed."
"Been… killed…" Link said slowly, letting this strange information soak in. "Ilia! Telma! The prince! I left them! The goddesses, the kingdom… I failed!"
Link hung his head, too ashamed to look up at the Hero of the Past.
"Don't be that way," the ghost said. "This happens all the time. The goddesses will resurrect you shortly, and they will reset time by a little. You shall have another chance to save your friends; in fact, you will have as many chances as you need. The gods and spirits of Hyrule cannot have their chosen hero really dying before his quest is done, now can they?"
Link looked up. "So," he said, confusion permeating his voice, "You are saying that I'm dead, but that it's temporary?"
"That is it exactly. Once the Player decides to try again, you shall be transported back to your friends and back to the field where you died."
"Player…" Link said hesitantly.
The spirit gave him a smile most strange… and unnerving. "The Player is like the director of a play," he explained, "Except that the Player is directing a good portion of your life. The Player is a mysterious entity. I know a little about it, but not everything. Some of us spirits think that the Player may be greater than the goddesses, themselves. The Player is always with you, sharing in your adventures and in your struggles. Hmm. They're taking a long time, too… must have gone to the bathroom."
Link sat down and scratched his head. "Did you say I've been … here… wherever this is… before?"
"Yes, many times," said the Hero of the Past. "Your Player is very determined, but, unfortunately, they've led you straight to death many times. Let's see… You've been stabbed, shot with flaming arrows, drowned… you've fallen off bridges, you've careened into pits of boiling lava…"
"Lava?" Link exclaimed. He felt a wave of intense heat wash over him, as well as the unique, agonizing sensation that comes with burns. His nostrils were filled with the stench of burning hair and the perverse aroma of… cooking meat.
He shook his head and recovered himself. "I don't remember any of it," he said. "I'd think I would. Death is a pretty important event in someone's life."
"You will never remember it," the spirit said. "The Player will, but you will not. The goddesses do not wish you to remember."
"Why?" Link protested, "If I knew I was functionally immortal, I might fight with greater courage. I'd have nothing to lose!"
"That is precisely why you must not remember," the Hero of the Past replied. "If you are aware that you have nothing to lose, you will never gain courage."
Link nodded. There was much wisdom in that. There was one thing still bothering him, though.
"So, all this means is that I'm fated to die in many horrible, painful ways… to suffer that over and over again…? That doesn't seem very nice."
The Hero of the Past shrugged. "You're the chosen hero. Them's the breaks."
Link felt a pleasant, warm sensation. He looked at his hands and arms as they glowed with a mysterious golden light.
"Well," said the spirit, "It looks like the Player hasn't forgotten you. You get to try again. Hopefully, we will not meet again, as it's getting rather depressing. Be brave."