Part 3 of 'The Hero's Many Faces'

(Disclaimer: Do I have to say it? (sigh) I don't own Zelda, Link, anyone, anything... well, except a couple of characters, you'll see who. Alright, onto the tale...)


Prologue: Reflections


They call me the Fierce Deity. Link, to my friends. Oni, to my enemies.

Where did it all start?
At the beginning of time, when four gods and goddesses created the worlds and everything in them?
Thousands of years ago, when Din, Farore and Nayru exiled... their brother... for daring to love a human?

For me... I'd say it all started twenty-four years ago. Why? Easy. I was born. Although... I don't yet know if that is the right word... I still haven't found my real family - if they even survive, if they even exist. One day, I can only hope that...
(Malon... Alena... )
My first eleven years? I think you know. The story's got around. I think Termina and Hyrule - my Termina, my Hyrule, anyway - will be passing around the tale of a child warrior as long as I'm around to hear it. You've heard of the Hero of Time? Yes? That's me. In a way, anyway. I know that sounds strange. It even confuses me sometimes. But the other tales I hear about myself... I'm going off the track. I'll come back to that topic.

Still... when I was eleven, my world was turned upside down.
If you were in Termina about twelve, thirteen years ago - by my timescale, anyway - you'd have seen the moon hanging in the sky as if it was going to fall out of the heavens. It's my intervention that stopped it. In the process, I found an immensely powerful artifact - left to me and me alone, it seems - known as the Fierce Deity's Mask. (See?) I first used its powers - my powers, as they are now - to defeat the demon that was pulling the moon towards this catastrophe. I survived that encounter easily enough.
It was the next that caused the problem. My first enemy - the Evil King, Ganon - had been set free of his prison in the Dark World. I guess now that it was the fault of the... of my... of the three goddesses - they'd released him to force me to use the powers they had left me once more to defeat him. That time - I couldn't release myself from what had taken me over. The Seven Sages - my Hyrule's seven protectors - had to step in. They freed my spirit from my body, leaving my memories behind in the form I had inhabited - but with my soul now residing in another.
I was now two people. On one hand, part of me was (physically) much as I am now - 'Lord Oni'kara', a creature of darkness and rage, who took control of Hyrule just to satisfy his/my cravings for battle and revenge. On the other - my spirit had been reborn on Lon Lon Ranch, living a second childhood by the name of 'Kaelon'. Ironic, really... considering...
It was ten years, nearly to the day after that had happened, that I - or Kae, at least - realised the truth. I/he managed to get into the Gerudo Fortress, and encounter my/his other half. When they/I locked swords - I was reunited. At last, my body and mind were one and the same again - but I still had the memories of the atrocities I had committed. They torture my mind to this day - and possibly to the end of time. How could I...
I tell myself, there's no right, no wrong, only what will and will not happen. But it doesn't really work.

On that note, I fled Hyrule for Termina, unable to live with what I had done. I thought I would never be able to settle my mind again...
On my first night there, I'd decided to visit the Milk Bar. I don't think that it's possible to get drunk on Chateau Romani, but I had half a mind to try... But, before I could even begin... I found her.
The first thing I noticed was the fact that she's the counterpart of Hyrule's Zelda - another ironic detail. Or is it that Zelda is her counterpart? I don't know and I don't care... And the next was her personality. I don't know whether it was love at first sight - but it was friendship, there and then. We spent the entire night talking, and before I knew it we'd arranged to meet up again. And again. Eventually, a few weeks after we'd first met, she revealed that her father had space for a lodger. I gladly accepted, and taking various jobs around town - none of which really suited - I moved in. Now we saw each other even more - we realised that our feelings were even stronger. But it wasn't until two years after we'd first met that I finally told her the magic words. And I don't know that I would have, if I hadn't... run into myself.
Myself, as I am now.
The first indications I had that I was still in some way the Fierce Deity came while we were walking on the beach at Great Bay. A monster attacked us - fortunately, I was carrying my sword, and was able to drive it away. But - afterwards, Alena told me that I'd changed my appearance as I fought - my eyes had become how they are and were, whereas she'd known them as being blue... I had no choice but to tell her what I had been. Lucky I told her and not her father... (I'm sorry, Darris... for what I did...)
It was at carnival night that the truth came out even further. I'd taken Alena up to the top of the Clock Tower - but while we were there, disaster struck. I know why it was, now. My spirit was still unstable, and my subconscious created the illusion of my darker side to fight so I could rebalance myself. Which wasn't much good then - when I saw the Fierce Deity smash a blast of lightning into Alena... I fought with the illusion, the ghost of what I had been - and eventually won. And thanks to that, I was finally able to free myself from the mask I had been wearing for twelve years.

Perhaps that wasn't a good thing. I was careless enough to leave it where old Darris could find it. And he was - quite justifiably, I suppose, especially when I consider the influence he was under... - angry. Angry enough to force me out. I had nowhere to go - except back to Hyrule. When I decided to do so... Alena chose to come with me. She had more reasons than simply our feelings... Her father was just as angry at her for keeping secrets - and for him, the secret that I was who I am was big enough to drive a rift between them.
It was on our way to Hyrule that Destiny began to show up again. For some reason, I was... jumping between worlds, between different timelines, between different things that could and have happened. I had no control over where I would jump to next - I was seeing things that I thought could only be impossible. But, I guess, impossible is what you make of it. And I don't really see much as impossible any more. I can't afford to.
I struggled to find out the truth about what was happening to me. I even went so far as disguising myself - ha! - as the Fierce Deity I had been to infiltrate Hyrule Castle and search out the facts in its library. While I was there, I was thrown into a world where I was remembered as the Hero of Time, not a destroyer... and encountering my old ally Sheik, or at least Princess Zelda in that guise, I was told that I was more than a hero. For the first time, I was told that I was to be 'the Guardian of Time', but the words meant nothing to me.

At least, they didn't then...
Months wore on before I got any further towards encountering the truth. I was visited by... Farore herself. (I don't know why I still sound so overawed at that. Especially considering who I am.) She chose to speak to me by taking over Alena's body. She must have had reasons for not wanting to appear in a human form herself - and I'm beginning to guess what they were...
After what happened to the last of the gods who chose to do so...
Myself. Or - at least - my previous life. The original Fierce Deity.
You see... as I said, two thousand years ago, the fourth of Hyrule's creators, who gave time to the worlds, chose to see what they were like from a mortal perspective - and fell in love. (I wonder if the object of his affections was anything like mine...) But his sisters weren't happy, and exiled him to live like a human. But he was still practically immortal, and outliving his love left him empty inside. He must have taken consolation on the battlefield, until it became a part of who he was.
And now who I am. Somehow - he was killed, whether at someone else's hand... or his own. But, as an immortal and a god, he couldn't really die. Only be... set free of his physical form. That spirit released found a new home in a newborn child. Me.
That was when I found out who I really am.
More than human, more than a hero... but maybe, not quite a god. For all I know these powers are my birthright... I have no idea what they are and what they do. Why can't I...

Barely a day later, I was forced to confront my own power once again - to fight the enemy I had when I first saw them from inside. And that time - there was no going back. I finally accepted myself for what I am that day - and I can never return to the existence I left.
(I miss you so much, 'Lena...)