A note from the Hime no Argh herself...

Here it is, my next ongoing project. Oh, the things that come out of the mind of me...

Anyway, this is quite a bit darker than I usually write. It's rated R just for the general darkness of it all, as well as for a particularly bloody chapter that comes later. This is not a happy story, so don't read it now and carp at me later for making it so dark, please.

If you do read, please review. Constructive criticism is always welcome, and this time it might actually influence the story since I'm still in the process of writing it.

And away we go...

* * *

A Tale of Seven Years

* * *


I've tried to convince myself many times that this isn't a story worth telling, with little success. Because, as Nayru has constantly reminded me, it is a story worth telling. My future descendants want to have something, Nayru tells me, some record of the greatest queen Hyrule will ever have. I think that last part is stretching it a bit.

In any case, Nayru's right about this story, about it making a good record of me. That's because it's mine, and no one else's. It's not Link's, although he's in it. It's not the sage's, nor the goddess's, nor Ganondorf's. It's a story about me- about my growing, and maturing, in a world where I had to go so far as to become another person simply to keep myself alive.

My name is Zelda. Zelda Harkinian, present queen of Hyrule. My father, goddesses bless his passing, will forever be remembered as the king who let Ganondorf destroy Hyrule, while I will forever be remembered as the young princess who guided the Hero of Time in his quest to rid the land of the Black King's evil. If only they knew whose fault Ganondorf's rise to power really was.

I'm not a young princess anymore. I've been queen of Hyrule for over a decade, since my father passed away, and I suppose I'm getting to that age when great leaders sit down to write about what they did for the world. This is not one of those stories. It's not a memoir. I'm not here to tell you about my life.

I'm just here to tell a story. A story that spans seven years, that tells of a part of my life I'd rather forget.

* * *

Since before I could remember, my nursemaid was a Sheikah named Impa. Everyone in the kingdom always wondered why my father had placed me in Impa's care. The days when Hyrule belonged to the Sheikah were long gone; Impa was the last of her race. It was true that Sheikah had always guarded the Royal Family of Hyrule, but they were warriors. Warriors, seers, and worshippers of shadow. Terribly clever, crafty people, but not nursemaids.

Impa certainly didn't look like a nursemaid. Tall and heavily muscled, with silver hair always pulled into a no-nonsense bun and shocking red eyes, she looked like she belonged in a castle stockade with a spear in hand, or perhaps a war-axe. In truth, I was frightened of her as a very young girl, until she invented a lullaby whose sweet, longing strains lulled me to sleep every night. I never knew my mother, but in Impa, I found a mother figure.

The castle gossips talked her up and down, to no end. She was a Sheikah, after all- those strange, shadowy people who moved like ghosts and read your mind and walked through walls and all sorts of crazy things. I asked Impa once if it upset her, everyone always talking about her and insulting her people.

"They're ignorant," Impa replied in her short, abrupt way. "They know nothing; therefore, their words are meaningless as the gabble of geese. You'd do well to remember that, princess."

It became apparent that I was more upset by the gossip than Impa herself. I was more emotional than my nursemaid, and I thought it wrong for people to talk about her, even if they were ignorant. I began ordering them not to. When they listened, I realized that being a princess meant something. I had power.

"You cannot change the world," Impa told me, when she discovered what I was doing. "Bets are ten to one that they still talk me over the moon when you're not around to hear them. Some things you can never change."

Stubbornly, I clung to the belief that she was wrong- that I could change things, because I was a princess, after all. When the nightmares began, I saw it as my chance to prove myself.

* * *

Continued in the next chapter: Shadow