Disclaimer and Notes: The Legend of Zelda belongs to Nintendo. A few of my own legends can be found at my blog and my Deviant Art space, not that many people care about them. This is a story set in the Ocarina of Time era / as a prequel to that era with heavy reference (and spoilers) for Skyward Sword. This is a take on how a certain incarnation of evil might have taken place. Again, however, I'm not Nintendo.
This story has been revised slightly from its original version.
DEATH NEVER DIES
"Aunt Kotake, why does the desert wind only bring death to our people?"
Kotake hated it when the boy said stuff like this. The ice-sorceress worried that he was too soft. Perhaps this innocence could be forgiven in a ten-year old, but she and her sister were trying to groom the young king of their people to be as unforgiving as the desert they lived in – with its cold winds by night and fiery winds by day. Ganondorf was a strong boy, but certain questions he asked betrayed too much caring in his heart for the liking of Kotake and her sister Koume.
This child had a destiny that required anything but compassion.
"You have ridden to Hyrule recently with the last raiding-party," the old woman said. "Tell me, what was the wind there like?"
"Cool," Ganondorf answered. "It was different. It smelled different, and there was fresh grass under my horse's hooves. The land was full of life. I should like to have it for our people someday."
"Death comes to the people of Hyrule, too," Kotake said. "It chills them to their souls. Death comes to them and to us alike. It is the one thing that never dies, but there are many kinds of death."
Young Ganondorf looked up at her curiously.
"There is the kind of death that brings balance to the world," his aunt explained, "and then there is the kind of death that swallows everything and brings true equality."
"Like when I burn up things using the spells Koume taught me…"
"You understand, child. In the end, all in the world belongs to darkness, all is destroyed. That is the true essence of nature."
"But… what if I don't want to destroy everything?" Ganondorf asked. "What if I want to save some things, to own them? I've been to Hyrule. I want to own it. I want to own its pretty horses, its fields and its wind."
"Its people shall have their backs broken before you own it, but all come to the same end. The reward for valor and vice is the same, young master. Remember that."
The lessons the desert taught were harsh as were the words of Koume and Kotake. The land was hard and only the hardest of things survived, things like him. Thorny things.
Ganondorf had never known his mother or his father, only his aunts and the various women of the Gerudo Tribe. His mother had died in childbirth (she was "too weak to bear his tremendous power" Aunt Koume had told him). His father, the last king of the Gerudo, had died in his advanced age shortly after siring him – during a time before anyone knew his mother was pregnant. The boy was known to belong to him, for his mother was one of the special concubines forbidden to go into Hyrule. Ganondorf was a "pureblood" Gerudo, unlike many of his tribal "sisters" who had been sired by Hylians.
It was said that their people originally were Hylians – descended from a great hero who had come down from the sky, a man with hair of flame and eyes of gold who was so great that sons were ashamed to come after him. Even the tribe's name was supposedly a derivative from this man's name – "Geru" or "Gar-use" or something of that nature. His identity had been lost to history and legend, but every time a king was born to them, the Gerudo held out hope that it was the reincarnation and return of the ancient king, "Gar-use."
It wasn't much unlike the legends in Hyrule about how the Royal Family was descended from an ancient goddess. This didn't much matter to Ganondorf, for those were just stories, the gossip of fairies. He studied and was becoming adept at real sorcery and he was going to be a real king someday.
The people of Hyrule had driven the Gerudo to the margins. Granted, the desert was their true home and sustenance could be wrested from it, but the population could not grow. Hyrule had farms and fields that supported many while the Gerudo population was constantly dying back to meet the harsh balance of the desert. The peoples were suspicious of one another – all of them, those of the rivers and the stone-people of the mountains had their contentions with the Hylians and with each other. The Gerudo were always driven back. One day, Ganondorf was going to change that. He would either bring peace with Hyrule for his women or he'd break their backs and make their green lands and beautiful winds his own, for his people.
They would ultimately be his own, so Koume and Kotake said. Already, members of his tribe bowed to him and got him whatever he needed. He was beginning to enjoy some of the duties of actual leadership, such as making decisions about the allocation of resources around the Fortress and to the other areas of the desert where tribe-members settled. He'd even had the power of life and death in his hands once and had chosen to spare that life. Not only did his decision keep for the tribe one its best horse-thieves, it gave him an immense feeling of strength.
It was even better than the feeling he'd gotten from the first time he'd hit a bullseye on an archery target from the back of a horse. It was better than the first time he'd wrestled a stronger opponent to the ground in a bare-handed combat-training exercise. Swords and sorcery gave Ganondorf these feelings, too. When he'd first been handed a scimitar to learn to wield it, he was told flat out that swords were not toys – they were the power of life and death in one's hands. They were to save one's life and the lives of one's comrades while dealing death to one's assailants and enemies. Certain spells, as Koume and Kotake had taught him, could steal a person's breath from them or short out their nerves by sending lightning through their bodies. He'd yet to use such spells on any living being save a few desert-monsters and was told that he'd know when the time came for them.
He'd already been entrusted with so much power from such an early age – because he was to be a king. He wondered if the children in Hyrule Castle enjoyed the same feelings of superiority.
"Come, young master, it is time," Koume coaxed as she lead young Ganondorf into a dark, winding corridor of the Spirit Temple.
"Time for what?" He asked as he followed her. "Are you going to teach me to mix bloods as you promised?"
The boy had been learning the finer points of conjuring and calling up monsters. Malevolent beings that had a character that separated them from normal animals were common in the land and had been growing in numbers of late in the desert. Last week, a raider named Neeru had been killed by leevers. It was said that regrets in the land of Hyrule during some civil uprising there had been creating poes. Ganondorf had been learning the proper spells to gain the control and allegiance of some of these creatures as well as spells to bring back the dead. The undeath spells were never true resurrection – even a budding young sorcerer with his precocious prowess could not bring back a soul that had fled, but that's never what he wanted, anyway. The best of servants were will-less. For some time, Ganondorf had wanted to learn how to mix the blood of certain monsters and even certain animals to create monsters. The blood of pigs and dogs were supposed to create an intriguing result if mixed with a certain night-magic.
"Even better," Koume said with a cackle. "We are going to show you the source of all monsters."
Kotake greeted him in a dimly-torchlit chamber. A tiny golden box sat upon a dais in the center of the room. All kinds of symbols that Ganondorf recognized as wards and seals were etched into the stone the box rested upon.
"Young master!" Kotake said with a rotten-toothed smile, you have come to your destiny at last!"
Ganondorf startled as he heard the doors of the chamber seal behind. Iron bars slid over the doors.
"What's going on?" the boy asked, his young muscles tensing.
"I'll let you explain it, Koume," Kotake said.
Koume placed her wrinkled hands over her nephew's shoulders. "Remember when Kotake spoke to you about death, about different kinds of death?"
"Yeah," young Ganondorf said nervously, "What about it? I'll kill you before you kill me if that's what you have in mind. You want my throne, don't you?"
"Stupid boy!" Koume roared, smacking the child full in the face. "That is not our place! Neither of us have the power to have your throne! It is your birthright! You are the chosen one!"
"Chosen one?" Ganondorf said, holding his slightly bloodied nose. He was used to such abuse from his aunts and did not shed a tear. "You old bags are talking like those meaningless legends the Hylians tell about their heroes."
"They're not meaningless!" Kotake spat. "In an ancient time-before-time there was an all-encompassing power, the source of true power that rivaled the gods themselves and will one day swallow them up. It is Death, a death that swallows up everything, as is meant to be. Destruction being the fate of all, the Hylians fight against it to delay the inevitable like the pathetic, fearful beings that they are. Koume and I have worshipped this true power all of our lives, in secret. We have been grooming you, young master, since the day of your birth. Only one with your energies can bring it back into the world."
"What are you talking about?"
"We have found a fragment of True Demise," Koume said. "Open the box and know true strength. Demise is the ancient adversary of the gods – Destruction itself. Oblivion, blackness, death that never dies! He has been fragmented, decayed away, but the presence of monsters in this world shows that he never faded completely. The hatred of the many peoples has kept him alive. We have found this fragment and it shall take a sacrifice. It your destiny to become that sacrifice, Ganondorf, and bring his ancient power back to its glory."
"What if I don't want to?" Ganondorf said, shaking his head. Fear edged his voice. "I want to wield power, not be consumed by it."
"Demise shall consume your young soul," Kotake said, "But a small boy is a small price." She flipped the lid of the little box open. Koume grabbed Ganondorf, who struggled, bit her arms and cast motes of dark magic all around the chamber, missing the old hag. Kotake grabbed his right hand and stretched it out for him, forcing him to touch the glowing purple-black energy that was rising from the box.
The boy screamed as he felt his soul being ripped apart within him.
Ganondorf found himself in a world of clouds. The ground was solid at his feet, but looked like a piece of the sky. It rippled like glass or like water. Patches of light flowed over him. He could not use his magic here. His inner power had fled him.
Standing with his back turned to him was an enormous man with skin that was dark gray and black like ashes and charcoal. His hair was like flames – not unlike young Ganondorf's own proud Gerudo hair.
"Where am I and who are you?" Ganondorf asked the huge beast of a man who turned and glared at him.
"A realm of spirit," the colossus answered. "I am Demise."
"Straightforward," the boy said. "Are you going to eat me up? My aunts sacrificed me to you, so I guess this is the part where you eat me. I fought them and lost. I won't cry. Crying is for the weak."
"Heh, heh," Demise laughed, slow and low, "I like you. You are not like other sniveling humans."
"I don't want to be eaten."
"What is it that you want?"
Visions flashed before Ganondorf. Everything fell before him like a play. There were two Hylians and a faithful servant. The servant fell and so did Demise, bested by the pair of Hylians – a woman and a man. The world snapped back to the present.
"I am without my sword," Demise said.
"I am good with a sword," Ganondorf said, "though I prefer magic."
"Do you hate the Hylians, little boy?" Demise asked.
"Yes." Ganondorf answered. "They take the fat of the land for themselves. They think of themselves highly. They're haughty. They're soft. So proud of their horse-ears that they think make them the children of the gods!"
"Then we have a similar goal," Demise replied, "I hate the Hylians. They are to be broken and crushed. I have a curse to fulfill."
"I will not have my soul consumed," Ganondorf said flatly. "I can tell that my aunts overestimated you. You really are just a fragment, aren't you? I can sense that most of your consciousness is gone." Ganondorf laughed. "You are but a ghost! I am not afraid of you!"
"If I become a part of you, you will know true sorcery and ultimate power."
Young Ganondorf smirked. "Let us walk together," he decided.
Koume let her nephew up. He staggered.
Kotake likewise stared at him. "Master Demise?" the ice-sorceress asked.
"Master Ganondorf," Ganondorf answered, opening his eyes that flashed with a new, sinister light, yet remained the same eyes they'd always been.
"But… the sacrifice!" Koume yelped.
"Demise is resurrected," Ganondorf said, "but I am in control. Our desires line up. We are…together... he is a part of me."
"But….how?" the both asked.
"Silence! You answer to me now."
"A new world is coming," Ganondorf laughed. "Death never dies and neither will I."