The Fall

by Seldavia

"Take away my enemies' power!" the Bearer of Power shouted, his hand upon the Triforce.

All was silent for three heartbeats, and then the enormous golden triangle made up of three smaller triangles resonated with a loud, clear chime, a bright halo of light flashing out at the same time. The three triangles separated and flew upwards, quickly vanishing out of sight in the shadows gathered at the ceiling.

Ganondorf felt his power slipping away even as Arnak spoke his fateful wish, and he screamed in defiance, clutching his hand in a vain attempt to keep the power it contained from leaving him. The gray light of the Triforce of Shadow shrunk away, and a moment later, a small black triangle flew out of the Dark Lord's hand as if fired from a cannon and shattered into a thousand pieces on the floor of the throne room at the top of the Palace of Twilight.

His plans ruined, his power gone, Ganondorf turned in a fury, intent on venting his rage on those who had defeated him. He might not have won today, but he was going to make sure that wretched Hero and the Princess did not live to see the fruits of their victory.

As he turned, Ganondorf was met with a sword to the chest, the silver blade sparkling in the dim light as its wielder shoved it right through his armor to impale his chest.

Ganondorf looked up from the blade at its wielder, Midna, her ruby eyes narrowing as she met his gaze, and his eyes widened in surprise. He thought he'd left her dead in another part of the palace.

"That's the second time you've thought you've killed me and been wrong," Midna said, her expression fierce as she pushed her sword in deeper. "It'll be the last."

Yanking her sword free, the Twilight Princess threw her hand forward and planted it, fingers spread wide, on Ganondorf's chest, just above the wound. Their eyes met, and she held his gaze for a long heartbeat before she loosed an incredibly powerful stream of energy, blasting him backwards through the wall of the throne room.

The Dark Lord tumbled through the air, his teeth gritted in pain. He could feel his life slipping away as he fell, watching the Palace of Twilight draw rapidly away into the sky. Below him there was nothing, an eternal drop. He would know nothing but falling for what remained of his life, and as the wind roared in his ears, Ganondorf thought this somewhat fitting; he'd been falling for most of his life, anyway.

-&-

"All hail Ganondorf, your king!" the harsh voices of the Twin Elders, Koume and Kotake echoed over the walls of the Gerudo Fortress.

The young Gerudo king stepped out of the shadows and into the harsh light of the desert sun at his cue, proudly lifting the ornate jeweled scimitar of the Gerudo leader over his head in triumph.

The crowd gathered in the square beyond roared in thunderous cheers, clashing their scimitars together and whooping wildly. Ganondorf was sure the sound could be heard all the way in Hyrule.

He smiled, looking down at the hundreds of Gerudo warriors packed into the central square of the sprawling complex. The sun hung directly overhead, sending its burning rays down over the city, nestled beneath a mountain and surrounded by a high sandstone wall. Everywhere he looked, Ganondorf saw his sisters cheering for him, pumping their tanned arms in the air as the sun reflected off their fiery red hair.

Today was his twentieth birthday, the day of his coronation, and Ganondorf had never felt prouder in his life. Finally, the throne was his, and all these hundreds of women looked to him as their leader, the father and husband to the entire race. The sun sparkled off of his carefully polished armor, and though he was roasting under all that metal, Ganondorf knew he presented an impressive image.

He raised his hand for silence, and instantly the raucous crowd turned quiet. "Great Warriors of the Desert Sun!" he called out, his voice ringing over the throng, using the name his people attributed to themselves. "The past thirty years have been hard ones, and I have suffered along with you." Nobody disputed this. He had started off his two-thirds of the Great Famine by losing his mother in childbirth. "But as in every chapter of Gerudo history, the rise of a new King is an auspicious symbol. A symbol of change. A symbol of prosperity!"

Deafening cheers. Ganondorf waited for it to die down before continuing. "I have worked alongside you, fought alongside you, starved alongside you, buried loved ones alongside you. Even though I stand before you today as King, this does not change the fact that all I do, I do for you!"

More cheers. "I promise to use the wisdom of our elders and strength of our warriors to settled old grudges and form new alliances." He hefted the jeweled scimitar into the air. "The Great Warriors of the Desert Sun will rise again!"

He stood there for a few moments, reveling in the shouts and the clamor, then gave a short bow to his audience and walked back through the door, bursting with elation.

The first thing he did when he got out of sight was loosen the clasps on his armor. If he'd had to stand out there any longer he would have fainted from the heat, and that certainly wouldn't have presented a very good image.

"A beautiful speech, my King." Koume appeared at his side, eyes glittering within her lined face. "You've grown greatly from the scrawny child we knew."

"Indeed." Kotake grinned wide at his other side. "One of the best I've heard in my four hundred years."

"Four hundred and fifty," Koume corrected, but Kotake ignored her.

"Thanks," Ganondorf said as he pulled off his breastplate, fanning himself with a bit of parchment on his table.

The two Elders exchanged glances, and Kotake approached him slowly. "Of course, there's more to being a King than fine words."

He frowned at her. "You don't think I can fulfill them? I wasn't making idle talk. I intend to do everything I said I would."

"Ah, but we're not accusing you of idleness," Koume clarified. "Rather, we're asking you if you know how to fulfill those promises. We have no doubt you'll carry through your plan to the end…and what is that exactly…?" She smiled expectantly.

Ganondorf scowled. "My first day as King, and you expect me to have everything solved and ready to go?"

"Of course not! That's why we're here," Kotake admonished him. "We are the elders whose wisdom you mentioned, after all…aren't we?"

"Get to the point." Ganondorf folded his arms.

"The Gerudoes' greatest weakness," Koume said with a sly smile, "Is the fact that they must take outsiders as husbands when there is no King. If the King were to die without siring any children, our blood would run thin and our race could eventually die out."

Ganondorf snorted. "I know this already."

Kotake raised one long, gnarled finger. "Ah, but what you don't know is that this phenomenon is not natural. It is the result of a curse."

He paused in wiping off the sweat from his face. "What? A curse? Whose curse?"

"No one knows," Koume replied, spreading her hands. "Several Gerudo Kings have attempted to find the source and a way to break it."

"Then why tell me this? And why now? Why don't the others know?"

Kotake's eyes widened in false surprise. "Great Din above, your people have enough to deal with without worrying about a curse on the side. That's something for the King alone to handle."

"Besides, we think we may have some clues on its source and how to break it, based on trial and error of Kings past." Koume waited expectantly for him to take the bait.

"Well? What is it? Get on with it!" Ganondorf snapped.

"Peace, my King!" Kotake raised her hand. "You may be able to find further information in the Royal Archives of Hyrule Castle. The Hylians keep written records that go back much farther than our oral histories."

"And while you're there," Koume added, "You should find out all you can about the Hylians' secret power, from which they have acquired their prosperity and the blessings of the gods. You have seen the symbol of their power in the messages from their King; a three-triangle seal, which they call the Triforce. This is the only thing powerful enough to break the Blood Curse."

"Pffft." Ganondorf toweled his wet hair in frustration, until it stuck up at all angles. "The Hylians are part of the reason we're in this famine! They're not just going to let me wander around their libraries."

"Then perhaps you should make good on your promise to forge new alliances." Kotake lowered her voice into a conspiratorial tone. "Civil war is brewing in Hyrule, and the Royal Family does not have the resources to put down a full-blown rebellion. If you were to lend them some assistance…"

-&-

"Let me see if I understand this," the Hylian King said slowly, scratching his head. "You'll aid the Hylian Army in fighting the rebels, and all you want in return is permission to see the Royal Archives?"

"Yes, My Lord." Ganondorf felt strange bowing to this fool who could barely string two sentences together. He wondered if the kingdom would have collapsed already, if not for the Queen, a slight woman big with child. This was an anomaly, he had learned; female Hylians rarely conducted any kind of business while pregnant, except for the poorest peasants who had no choice. "Our own records are incomplete. It is best for a new King to know his full history, don't you think?"

"Well, I don't know…" the King scowled. "All we ever see of your people are your raiding parties, robbing our merchants…"

"The desert is a forbidding place, my Lord. My people take what they can out of hunger, not out of spite." Ganondorf didn't want to portray his people as a race of scavengers, but the King looked visibly afraid of him.

"I see no problem with giving you access to the Archives, Regent Ganondorf Dragmire," the Queen stated in a strong voice that belied her small figure. "If your people help us win this war, perhaps we can share our gratitude in other ways as well."

"If you think that's best, dear," the King dithered. Then to Ganondorf, "Very well. You may have access to the Archives, once you provide us with a troop of your finest warriors."

-&-

Ganondorf pored over the many scrolls of parchment, digging further and further back to find anything on the Blood Curse. He could not find any reference to it anywhere.

The Triforce, on the other hand, seemed to be mentioned at least twice on every scroll. Most of the writings consisted of tales of people trying to steal it…and failing. Ganondorf smirked at some of the attempts, by people who obviously did not understand the first thing about thievery.

He scowled at the records, real information buried under flowery prose. Ganondorf could not figure out if the thing existed in corporeal form at all. It had been hidden in a place called the 'Sacred Realm', which meant nothing to him. A Hylian Queen from many ages past had added security measures, though nothing too complicated for him. A representative of the Zoras, Gorons, and Kokiri had been given jewels that acted as a kind of key, and all had to be placed into settings at the Temple down in the town to open the door to this 'Sacred Realm'. In addition to that, someone had to play a tune on an 'ocarina', an instrument Ganondorf was not familiar with.

Strange, he thought. From the dates on these records, it doesn't look like there was any issue in particular between the Hylians and the Gerudo. So why didn't we get a stone? The Hylians have had disagreements with the Gorons and Zora in the past…though the Kokiri mostly keep to themselves…

He looked up the name of the Queen from that era, and asked for her memoirs, as politely as he could amid the disapproving scowls from the Hylian scribes. What's the matter, didn't think Gerudo could read Hylian? He wondered if they even knew the Gerudo had their own written language, though they reserved it for sacred places like the Spirit Temple.

He plowed through the memoir, trivial matters spelled out in excruciating detail. Then, just as he was about to shut the book in disgust, a short phrase caught his eye.

don't know for what reason, but if one of our people had cursed the Gerudo I have to believe that there must be some purpose. So I bade the metalworker only make three Spiritual Stones, and left the Gerudo out of it.

Ganondorf's blood ran cold. The one who cursed our people was Hylian?!

He read the passage over and over. A flash of anger crossed his features. This Queen didn't even question what one of her own subjects had done! It didn't even appear to be something sanctioned by the Crown! Did the Hylians just let it lie, for their own convenience?!

"Excuse me, but we're closing up shop for the night," one of the scribes said irritably, close to his side.

Ganondorf's head jerked up with a snarl of such pure malice that the scribe stepped back several feet. "Here is your book, you piece of filth," the Gerudo King snapped, then stalked off, to the consternation of everyone in the room.

-&-

"You knew?"

Koume and Kotake nodded, all innocence. "We figured you'd deduced that yourself, my King. Why would the Hylians keep records of other peoples' curses?"

Ganondorf slammed one fist on the table, uttering a Gerudo oath. "To the hells with the Hylians, then. Let them fight their own war with themselves."

The two witches exchanged glances. "Not so hasty, my King," Kotake said. "You want to break the Blood Curse, yes? To do that you need to know how the spell was cast. To do that, you have to get more information out of the Hylians' Archives. And to do that, you need to at least feign interest in helping the King win his war."

The Gerudo King ground his teeth. "To think…that our finest warriors are putting themselves in danger for the sake of that fat slob…"

Koume spread her hands. "Don't think of it that way. Every task has some sort of unpleasantness to it, yes? It is merely a means to an end. Your finest warriors are keeping the King of Hyrule busy as you loot his libraries for information…priceless information, which will enable you to end your peoples' suffering and give them their rightful place in this country!"

Ganondorf sighed. "I suppose I have no choice."

-&-

The Queen entered the archives, and all heads bowed save one; his head was already bowed over his book. She walked over to him with a stately waddle, her attendant clearly of the opinion that she should be in bed. "How goes the research, young Regent?"

Ganondorf looked up and smiled. The Queen had taken an interest in his studies, and he felt heartened upon knowing that there was at least one decent Hylian in the royal court. "I found something that may be useful…from the first documented meeting between the Hylians and the Gerudo." He pointed to the passage, trying to keep the resentment out of his voice. "It says here that our first King, Raneses the Great, had already conquered most of Lanayru Provence, up to Lake Hylia."

She nodded, noticing his expression but showing no sign of ill will. "Raneses was a highly intelligent and powerful individual, certainly the greatest of the Gerudo Kings." She laughed when he gave her a puzzled look. "I do know a little bit about the history of my own country, after all." The Queen nodded toward the book. "If I remember correctly, Raneses and King Alphus nearly went to war over the lake…but they negotiated a truce."

"How? I mean, under what circumstances?"

The Queen frowned. "That I don't remember. I'm sure it's in the book somewhere, though."

Ganondorf turned the page slowly, trying to decide if he should ask his burning question. "Your Highness…do you know anything about a 'blood curse'?"

She thought for a moment. "It sounds familiar, but then Hyrule has a darker history than one would assume from simply roaming about town." Her expression grew serious, and she leaned down toward his face. "There are things here that we have been chosen to protect by the Goddesses themselves, and there are those in our past who…well, who have used less than honorable measures to ensure they stay safe."

Ganondorf nodded gravely as she straightened. The little he knew about the Sheikah, the Royal Family's shadowy guardians, was enough to make the hair on the back of his neck rise. He had heard that there was an entire underground complex used for nothing other than torturing and imprisoning enemies of the Crown.

"I can look into it, for you," the Queen offered. Before Ganondorf could give his thanks, a strange expression crossed her face; one Ganondorf knew all too well. "Please excuse me," she said abruptly, and whispered something to her attendant as she left. Ganondorf saw the attendant's face turn white.

He knew that she had likely started going into labor. But childbirth was women's business, and he spent no more time thinking about it, delving further into his studies.

A few years into the truce, it seemed, a Hylian sorcerer approached Raneses with a plot to assassinate the King and take his place, and he promised Raneses the lake and any other territory he had in return for his help. Ganondorf frowned in puzzlement, unable to see why Raneses would refuse. He could have taken the lake and more…Lake Hylia alone would have given his people all the water they needed. Frustrated, he skimmed through the rest of the chapter, trying to find what was so important about this truce that a powerful Gerudo King would refuse to break it. To his disappointment, the book did not go into detail at all.

I'll have to ask the Queen about that, he thought to himself. Reading on, he discovered that the sorcerer decided to attempt a coup on his own. Ganondorf laughed to himself imagining such a foolish endeavor, but his laughter died as he read on, finding that this person had actually succeeded. Ganondorf wondered where the man got all this power. It didn't even mention anything about the Triforce; certainly the book would say if the sorcerer had gotten his hands on it.

After killing the King, the sorcerer put a puppet ruler on the throne for him. Ganondorf scratched his head in consternation. If he didn't sit on the throne himself, did that mean that he had another kingdom somewhere else that he controlled? What other countries were controlled by Hylians?

And then, the fatal passage in the story. The sorcerer, still angry with Raneses for refusing to help, cast the Blood Curse upon the Gerudo.

Ganondorf scowled in frustration. The book didn't even mention the sorcerer's name, much less how he had managed to mutilate the wombs of an entire race of people. Without more information on the curse itself, he had no way of making a plan to break it. Ganondorf felt as if he had been told a very long story, and then informed that the ending had not yet been written.

I'll write my own ending, he thought to himself, taking note of the scribe that had written this book. Tomorrow he would come in and read more.

As he left the Archives, he noticed a stream of people hurrying to the town square. Curious, he followed them. A huge crowd had already gathered there, deep tension hanging over it like a thundercloud. At intervals the people would glance up at the ramparts where royal announcements were made.

The crowd fell silent as one of the royal advisors stepped out, dressed entirely in black, something pink wrapped in his hands. The strange juxtaposition of color puzzled Ganondorf, and he noticed several of the people around him glancing around in confusion.

The advisor paused for a moment, then said in a voice that echoed off the stone walls, "The Queen is dead!" Before this information could sink in, he lifted the pink bundle over his head. "Long live Princess Zelda!"

The people cheered, their sorrow at the Queen's death muted by the arrival of a child, the continuation of the Royal Family, the country's stability more important than the individual who held it in place. Ganondorf bowed his head, a mix of emotions running through him, then shoved his way out of the crowd.

-&-

Ganondorf could tell that the Captain of the Guard did not trust him at all. He could see it in the man's eyes, the way they narrowed ever so slightly upon seeing anyone of Gerudo blood. But the Desert King had to give him some credit, for despite this, he followed the orders of his King to the letter, showing true military honor. For this, Ganondorf gave him some grudging respect.

"We have received intelligence that the rebels have established a base on the edge of the Lost Woods," the Captain said, pointing to the suspected area on a map of Hyrule. Scowling, he explained with embarrassed hesitation, "My men won't go there. They're afraid of old wives' tales that speak of men turning to Stalfos upon entering the forest eaves. I heard that you and your warriors do not fear the Strange Wood."

Ganondorf nodded. "My people fear nothing. There is indeed a strange enchantment in that place, but it's nothing we can't handle." He didn't tell the Captain about his forays into dark magic, preferring to keep that information to himself. Not to mention the fact that he'd learned one of the Spiritual Stones, key to the Triforce and his peoples' salvation, lay somewhere within those woods.

The Captain sighed in relief. "That'll help us immensely, then. I'm going to send a contingent of my men with you anyway, maybe they'll grow a spine when they notice nothing happens to you. Be careful, as the rebels are quite familiar with this area, most of them having grown up around the edges of the forest."

Ganondorf noticed the disdain in the man's eyes, the contempt that the city-dwellers had for the villagers and farmers. The Gerudo King did not understand this animosity. The city-dwellers relied on the farmers for food, and the farmers relied on the city-dwellers for resources. Why the two would fight and bring their country to the brink of ruin was beyond him.

-&-

Ganondorf and his small knot of Gerudo warriors left the Captain's troops at the edge of the forest, not interested in baby-sitting. Once free of the Hylian knights, the women relaxed visibly, no longer being simultaneously ogled and despised.

He hadn't gone far when the crackle of undergrowth met his ears, followed by the crash of some huge creature blundering through the forest. He and his warriors raised their weapons, and faced a troop of five Stalfos lumbering toward them with a jerking gait. The women pounced, making short work of the creatures.

"They weren't allowed here, you know," a high, childlike voice piped up from somewhere behind him. "Neither are you."

Ganondorf whirled round to see a very small person, about the size of a Hylian child, but with a distinctly older aura. She was dressed all in green, and a tiny fairy hovered around her head. "Everybody who comes in here with ill will becomes a Stalfos. Everybody." She made a small giggle, highly unnerving given the subject matter.

Recognizing the girl as a member of the Kokiri tribe, Ganondorf said, "We've been sent by the King to take the intruders back." He paused before speaking the next sentence, hoping his hunch was correct. "We've come to honor the agreement made between your people and the Crown…the deal cemented with the Kokiri Emerald."

She made an impatient little sigh. "Well, I'm glad somebody remembers!" she exclaimed. "The Great Deku Tree can't handle all the intruders by himself. I told him he should give the King his old stone back and not be bothered with outsiders, but he refused."

Ganondorf smiled inwardly. Now at least he knew the location of one of the Stones. "If you can tell us where the rest of the intruders are, we'll gladly take them off your hands."

She pointed off to her left. "Most of them have already transformed. But I saw a few who were still human go that way."

He thanked her and led his troop off in that direction. Within a few minutes they heard yelling, jeering, and strangely enough – a woman's cries for help.

They entered a clearing, where they saw five bedraggled farmers wearing the rebels' symbol – a red kerchief around one arm – surrounding a Hylian woman dressed in torn and blood-streaked silks, a small child yowling in her arms. They pushed her from one to the other, taunting her, at one point pretending to let her go and then pulling her back by the hair.

Ganondorf's blood boiled. He could feel his warriors, some with children themselves, tense in fury as their eyes darted toward him, asking for any excuse. He signaled to them to stand down – for the moment.

Striding into the circle, Ganondorf demanded, "Why are you assaulting a helpless woman, one of your own people?"

Their heads jerked up, startled, and one of them jeered, "What's it to you, desert rat? This one's not one of us. If you had half a brain you could see that!"

He had barely finished his sentence when a ball of flame engulfed him, thrown by the angry Gerudo sorcerer. As hair burned and skin crackled, the others turned to run, but the women pounced upon them and sliced them apart.

The woman carrying the child, panicked by this dubious rescue, turned on her heel and fled. "Should we go after her?" one of the Gerudo asked. "She's obviously injured."

Ganondorf shook his head in disgust. "She'll just run further. The Kokiri can't see her as a threat; maybe one of them will help her." He picked up a rusty old sword belonging to one of the dead rebels and tied one of the kerchiefs around it, to prove what they had found.

Back at the edge of the forest, the knights lounged around, standing only when Ganondorf appeared with the bloodstained trophy. "Found 'em?" their leader asked. Ganondorf nodded. "Well, good. No way we're going in there. I guess you people have a use after all."

Before he realized what was happening, Ganondorf had his own sword buried deep in the man's chest. The hapless knight's eyes rolled back in his head, and the other Hylians sprinted for their horses.

"After them! Not one of them must leave alive!" Ganondorf barked to the Gerudo. They fell upon the knights, snuffing each one of the potential witnesses.

"What was that about?" one of his warriors asked, puzzled.

He did not answer at first. It had felt much too good for him to vent his spleen on these cowardly fools. It doesn't matter…this is just a means to an end…once I find all those Stones…

I'll put this country in the hands of the people who deserve to rule it.

"Listen carefully, Nabooru," he said to the warrior. "There was a fight between the knights and rebels, with no survivors among the Hylians. Do you understand?"

"Yes, my Lord. But why…?"

"You've seen what these people are like. The fewer of them, the better." He mounted his horse and rode off for the castle, the rest of the Gerudo following behind him.

Years later, when he found out what happened to that child, Ganondorf wondered if he should have let the rebels kill him and his mother. But even years later, after two battles with the Hero that ripped his spirit loose from his body, he could not bring himself to wish he had acted differently. He still had that small scrap of honor.

-&-

"Well, I don't know." The Hylian King scratched his ear, the back of his hand, the back of his neck. "We're still short on a lot of things since the war ended, you know. But obviously your people deserve more payment for your help," he added hastily. "I mean, we couldn't have done this without you."

It took every inch of Ganondorf's willpower to keep from jumping up from a kneeling position and strangling the King himself. The last "payment" had been little more than a pittance, hardly enough to feed his people for a month. He desperately wanted to curse them all into oblivion…but he could not, not until he found out who kept the Ocarina of Time.

He had already stolen some books from the Archives. The fools who ran the place would never know they were gone. All of them had passages concerning the Blood Curse, and obviously this did not concern the Hylians at all.

Back at the fortress, he pored over his plans, eager to get started but unable to do so until he found the missing piece. He could only hold onto the Stones for so long before the King noticed they had been taken and traced them to him. Even that old fool had to notice when something that important went missing.

Nabooru entered his chamber, her face drawn. "You should rest," she pleaded more than said. "When was the last time you had a full night's sleep?"

"I was in bed all last night," he replied shortly, making small notes in the margin of his parchment.

She rolled her eyes. "Being in bed doesn't count if you're not sleeping," Nabooru admonished him. "You have to be careful…we need to be able to feed all these new children, or else it all comes to nothing.."

Ganondorf did not answer; as much as he wanted to tell his trusted second-in-command about the Blood Curse, he could not. He had found Gerudo genealogies in the Archives, and among them a key clue; only the descendants of the eldest daughter could sire the next male. No passages stated this explicitly, it was just the way the family trees branched out. He wasn't sure how this worked, if it were possible for another daughter to take on the role if the eldest died before reaching childbearing age.

"There must always be time for family," he said wearily, rolling up his parchment. "No children means no tribe. And if you rely on Hylian men too much, our blood will thin out and we will cease to exist as a race."

-&-

We will cease to exist as a race.

The words echoed in Ganondorf's mind when he returned to the world of the living after being banished to the Twilight, to find his people even worse off than before. Even though Nabooru had betrayed him and become one of their Sages, the Gerudo still lived on the fringes of Hyrule, eking out a living in the harsh desert.

He stomped up the stairway in Hyrule Castle to where the new Princess had been held, upon Zant's seizure of the Light World. I can't believe someone blessed with the Triforce of Wisdom would not seek to find out what caused all this trouble in the first place. I can't believe her descendant is so completely ignorant of her country's history. His ire grew as he climbed up the tower, finally reaching her room in a raging fury.

She whirled round, startled, as the door burst open and slammed against the wall. He saw first frightened puzzlement in her eyes, then a deepening dread combined with recognition. She looks just like the last one. How appropriate that they have the same name.

Standing just a few inches away, hands clenched to his sides, he demanded, "Do you know me?"

Zelda nodded. He had to give her credit for not backing away. "You are the Dark King, Ganondorf, whom the Hero of Time sealed away."

"Feh!" Ganondorf fought to keep his temper under control, even harder to do upon hearing the ludicrous title bestowed upon his adversary. "You speak in prose just like the silly legends of your people. Have you a single original thought in your head?"

Her brows knitted in puzzlement, and he conceded that he was probably being cryptic as well. He took a step back, sweeping one arm to the side in a fit of temper, his cape flowing behind him. "The motive, dear Princess. Every criminal," here he bit the word into separate syllables, "has some kind of motive. Desire, jealousy, fear, hatred, ambition, even love. A person will do all sorts of things while under the influence of any of these. What," he asked, whirling round to face her, "was my motive? What, do you think was so important that I would return from the dead?"

Zelda steeled herself, perhaps thinking this was a trick question. "Ambition, of course. You wished to obtain the Triforce for yourself, as you do now, and take revenge upon…"

Ganondorf's sudden laughter startled her, a seed of madness growing within. "You, that fool boy, your ancestor, and his descendant are not worthy of my return from the cold grasp of death." His hatred took a sadistic turn as he gave her an impossible question with an impossible answer, daring her to prove her ignorance. "Why. Did. I. Do. It. Tell me you know and I shall set you free." He spread his arms wide. "I will release all of Hyrule from the shadowy Twilight…if you can even prove that you have the slightest hint of the reason behind all the madness, why I cursed that blasted tree, why I spilled the King's blood over the castle floor, why I took the Goddesses' Treasure for my own, why I battled beyond the reaches of my own mortal body to defeat the Chosen Hero!"

He watched her expression, patiently waiting for an answer. "I'll even give you a hint," he said after five minutes ticked by. "It concerns a curse…a very old, very obvious curse. Tell me, in your studies, in your infinite Wisdom, have you ever come across anything like this?"

Finally, she lowered her eyes to the floor. "I cannot," she said, then met his gaze once more. "But if you would give up this mad quest, whatever has happened, I can assure you that I would…"

"No." Ganondorf spoke shortly, not loudly but yet his voice filled the entire room. His madness wrapped itself deep inside him, and he became cold and calculating once more. "You Hylians will promise anything, if your lives are in danger. And once it passes, so does all talk of any pacts."

"But at least tell me what this motive is!" Zelda pleaded. "How does keeping us ignorant help you?"

He gave her a long, almost pitying look. "If you really wanted to know," he said softly, "you would have already found out. But you did not. You did not bother to learn the mistakes of your ancestors, much less how to remedy them. And it is that, not me, which will destroy you in the end."

Without another word, he swept out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

-&-

The man was a fool.

Ganondorf cursed whatever foreign blood that had tainted this pathetic excuse for a descendant. Raneses, indeed! The boy's mother must have been delusional when she gave him that name. He did not deserve to call himself a Gerudo!

Especially after attempting to throw away his sisters, like so much chaff. Destroy the entire Gerudo tribe, just so he could play King of the World! Even Ganondorf himself did not attempt to chase such ridiculous dreams. Surely the Goddesses themselves would strike him down if he tried. But Ganondorf would not allow him to get that far.

Deep within the dungeons of the fortress his fool descendant had appropriated, Ganondorf stood facing his old enemy, who stepped protectively in front of his mother, his hand on his sword hilt, as if he thought he could actually kill a ghost. Pathetic, Ganondorf thought to himself. Even this one, the one whom I hate with all my being, is more of a man than that deformed seed.

I will not allow Raneses to triumph over him.

-&-

Still falling…

He had failed. He had failed at everything. There was nothing more he could do. He had lost the Triforce of Shadow, the last chance at accomplishing the goal he had died for. Twice.

And what would the Gerudo do now? The thought pained Ganondorf much more than Midna's sword. He had given all he could give. And it was still not enough. They would eventually die out, their voice, their history, their spirit.

Just before his life slipped away, he hit something, hard. His body was already numb by this point, but he could tell it was solid. He registered surprise that the endless expanse could have an end.

But then all things come to an end…even the Gerudo…even the Twilight…

Even me.

--


Editor's Note: Reviewers, remember to address your reviews to Seldavia, not me, for this. I'm working on a story of my own, and it will be up shortly. If you want to write your own story for this collection, just send me a PM and I'll give you whatever information you need. Thanks for reading!