Author: ZeldaQueen (zelda_queen)
Fandom: The Legend of Zelda
Warnings: Several injuries, though nothing very graphic
Prompt: Risk-taking, trust, and serendipity are key ingredients of joy. Without risk, nothing new ever happens. Without trust, fear creeps in. Without serendipity, there are no surprises. -- Rita Golden Gelman (born July 2, 1937), American editor and writer of children's books.
Summary: There once was a prosperous kingdom, as there often are in these sorts of tales, and it was known by the name of Hyrule. Blessed were the king and queen with two beautiful daughters who, while they loved one another dearly, were as different as the sun and the moon. All was well, until a stranger visited the castle.
Author's Notes: While this story was written for my love of The Legend of Zelda, it was also written for my love of fairy tales, particularly lesser-known fairy tales that feature strong, cunning women as protagonists. Specific tales I drew inspiration from are Tatterhood, Kate Cracknuts, The Prince and the Three Fates, and the title of course is from East of the Sun, West of the Moon.
On one final note, many many thanks to parrinoyd, for being such a wonderful beta!
Zelda of the Sun, Zelda of the Moon
Once Upon a Time
There once was a kingdom, as there so often is in these sorts of tales, and where there is a kingdom there is also a king and queen. And so it was the case with this land, which was known to all as the Kingdom of Hyrule. The rulers were all that was expected of royalty: brave, powerful, and so kind that it was a small wonder that they were loved by all of the people of the land.
Unfortunately, in spite of all of their goodness and love, the king and queen were not particularly wise. Intelligence and knowledge they had in abundance but true wisdom evaded them entirely. And while they did their very best to care for their subjects despite this deficiency, there inevitably would come times when their lack of wisdom caused problems.
All was not lost however, for the king and queen had a daughter. Princess Zelda - for that was her name - was as pale and serene and beautiful as the moon, with warm, brown eyes and rich, dark hair. As kindhearted as her parents, Zelda also possessed great wisdom, and even when she was a child, it was not uncommon to see her discussing matters of the kingdom with the royal advisor. In short, the king and queen quickly grew to rely on the wisdom of their daughter.
Time passed on in this way and all was well in Hyrule. And then came a day of great rejoicing, for it was announced that the queen was with child. And when several months had passed, word spread that there was another little princess and she too was named Zelda. If the older Zelda was the moon, the younger Zelda was the sun. Bright and vivacious, with blonde hair and blue eyes, the younger Zelda brought such feelings of joy and courage that the world had never before beheld. Because of these differences, the people of the town, the King and Queen, and eventually the princesses themselves took to calling the older sister Zelda of the Moon and the younger sister Zelda of the Sun.
As they had with their older daughter, the king and queen held a christening ceremony for their second child. It was a lavish affair, with all the kingdom gathered to behold their new princess.
The king and queen and all the guests knew that there were three fairies who were at the christening in secret, for that is the standard arrangement for such things. As a result, they were not surprised in the least when three peasant women approached the baby and threw off their rags to reveal three beautiful ladies with hair of red, green, and blue, servants of the goddesses.
“We bring greetings to you and your family, your majesties,” said the red-haired woman.
“We bring blessings for your child,” said the green-haired woman.
“We are the Great Fairies of Power, Courage, and Wisdom,” finished the blue-haired woman, “and as our christening gift, we shall each foresee a potential future for your daughter.”
And so the fairies looked upon the baby. And the king and queen trembled, for when the fairies turned back to them, their faces were grave.
“In one possible future,” said the Great Fairy of Power, “Your daughter shall be married to a serpent.”
“In one possible future,” said the Great Fairy of Wisdom, “Your daughter shall cause her sister to be married to a boar.”
“And in one possible future,” said the Great Fairy of Courage, “Your daughter shall follow a wolf into a storm and never be heard from again.”
The king and queen sobbed at this and begged for better news, but the fairies refused to tell any more. They bestowed the usual gifts of beauty, love, power, wisdom, and courage that they bestowed upon the older Zelda, as was appropriate for such occasions. That task completed, the Great Fairies of Power and Wisdom spun once and disappeared. The Great Fairy of Courage remained however, and turned to the royal couple.
“Your majesties must not despair,” she said. “It is a thin line that separates tragedy from fortune.”
“True,” said the King, bitterly. “But that is hardly a comfort for fates such as those you spoke of. Perhaps I had best search the land for a hero."
"There has not been a hero in Hyrule for generations!" wept the queen.
"It matters not," said the Great Fairy of Courage. "The fates are those of the princesses alone." And with that, she twirled on her heel and vanished.
The years passed and both of the princesses grew to be lovely young women. Despite their differences in personality and appearance, they were devoted to one another. Rarely did the younger Zelda make a decision without first consulting with her elder sister, and countless times the older Zelda was prompted to act on her wisdom by her little sister. When both were of age, they received countless marriage proposals. The king and queen, however, were quite determined to keep their daughters within their sight in order to spare them from the terrible fates foreseen for them.
While neither princess was particularly interested in wedding, they were still frustrated at their parents’ refusal to allow them to leave the castle walls. In order to satisfy their curiosity and see something of their kingdom, the girls would take disguises and wander the market. No one ever noticed that the filthy pirate known as Tetra had the same golden hair as the younger princess, just as it escaped everyone’s notice that the palace guard known as Sheik had the same striking, brown eyes as the elder princess. In this way, the girls would pass the time and were able to learn much about the plights and hopes of the townsfolk.
And so things passed in this way and that, and one day the king and queen received a visitor. Dressed in oddly-patterned robes and refusing to remove his helmet, the man claimed to be a powerful magician from a far-off land. He was welcomed into the castle and honored with a banquet, as was the custom for Hyrule Castle. The stranger continued to hide his face, but ate enough for seven men and drank enough ale to make any drunkard jealous. When the night was over, he thanked the king and queen for their hospitality and promptly vanished before their eyes.
While the two were startled by this, they reasoned that a magician would certainly come and go in such a way and instead of worrying about such things, they ought to continue on with their lives. This philosophy lasted until the next evening, when the magician appeared once again at the castle doors. The king and queen were vexed, for they were sure they would never see him again. Still, they remembered their manners and held another banquet in his honor. Again the man ate and drank his fill, before thanking the king and queen and disappearing. The next evening however, he appeared again. In this way, the stranger dined every night with the king and queen. When a week’s time had passed, he entered the throne room and asked for but one gift from His Majesty - the hand of the golden-haired Princess Zelda.
The king frowned at this request. "Most honored guest," he said, "know that I will gladly offer you any other possession in my castle. But my daughter -"
"Is the only thing of yours that I desire," said the visitor. "She is beautiful and is blessed by the goddesses, both being traits I desire in a wife."
"Sir," said the king, growing angrier, "You will not speak of her as if she is a prize horse. My daughters are not sacks of meal and they will not be treated as such."
"You are her father," argued the guest. "Surely if it is your will, she will consent?"
"What does my will have to do with the matter?" asked the king. "I am not the one who will be marrying you. What says she of the matter? As for Princess Zelda of the Sun's consent yourself."
The princess's heart went cold when she learned of the guest's desires, for there was something of the visitor that did not sit well with her. Her father had her summoned to the throne room and, while she could not see the magician's face, there was something of the way he held himself that was frightening.
"My father wishes to speak to me?" she asked.
"Come now, my dear. Don't be so nervous," said the king. Easier said than done, the princess noted. Her father's fingers curled on his lap and his face, usually quite merry, was somber. "There is a matter which we -"
"Most beautiful princess," said the magician, "Marry me."
Zelda of the Sun blinked. "I beg your pardon?"
"My dear, you are young and beautiful and I could never hope to find your equal, not if I searched for ten lifetimes. There is little point in us tarrying, when you are so perfect. If you marry me, I shall see to it that you want for nothing!"
Zelda of the Sun was quiet speechless, for it took all of her concentration to keep her jaw from dropping at this stranger's audacity. "S-sir!" she choked.
"Ah! Then you agree!"
Any hope there was of Zelda of the Sun swallowing her fury died. "Agreed? I certainly have not!" she snapped. "And small wonder sir, seeing that you never gave me a choice at all! No, you called me in and ordered me to marry you, without once considering my wishes. If I wished to marry any, my good sir, it certainly would not be to you. I wish you the best of luck searching for my equal in those ten lifetimes!"
The stranger snarled and, for one frightening moment, Zelda of the Sun feared that he would attack her. Instead, he ripped his helmet off of his head and tossed it aside. Beneath the metal, he was hideous. His skin was grey and scaled. His eyes were the color of blood. His pupils were slitted.
"You have made a great enemy today," he hissed. "You shall rue this day, for no one refuses anything of Zant, the King of the Twilight!"
The king's eyes widened in terror, for he knew of Zant's name and recognized him as the youngest of three magician brothers who were as powerful as they were wicked. He did his best to mollify the magician-king, promising him great riches, however Zant shook his head.
"The princess is all I want, and I shall have her," he said stubbornly. "You shall have a day and a night to say your goodbyes, and I shall take her away at this time tomorrow!"
"Seize him!" cried the king and the guards in the room all raised their weapons. It was too late, though. With a cackle, Zant threw his helmet back on his head and disappeared.
The king and queen shook in terror at this turn of events, for they remembered the prophecized fates of their daughters and were sure that the first one was coming true in some way. Zelda of the Sun, for her part, declared that Zant could just try to claim her as his bride. She surely would have set off to fight the magician at once, however her parents ordered the guards to keep her from leaving the castle, for fear of Zant catching her alone and outside of what protection they could offer.
Zelda of the Moon saw the entire scene as well, having stood unnoticed as merely another guard in the crowd. She said not a word of this and instead feigned ignorance when her parents told her of the fate looming over her sister's head. Immediately after they spoke with her, she once more donned her Sheik apparal. Using this identity, she gained access to Zelda of the Sun's room and found the princess in great distress. She comforted her younger sister as best she could, and promised she would do all in her power to keep Zelda of the Sun protected. When her sister was as calm as present circumstances allowed her to be, Zelda of the Moon crept from the castle. She had not visited the taverns and inns of the castle town for many evenings, and she hoped that the visitors from far-off lands might know more of the King of Twilight and how best to stop him.
She entered the first tavern and saw a wandering bard, singing songs of far-off places. When he paused, she approached him.
"Well sung, good bard," she said.
"I thank you, brave soldier," the bard replied.
"You have seen much on your travels, have you not?"
"There is little that I have not seen and do not know."
"Then tell me, for I am quite curious on the matter, how would one stop Zant the Twilight King from taking that which he desires?"
The bard's face lost all color. "Stand between Zant and that which he desires? Impossible! The Twilight King does not barter or bargain, nor does he give up. I have seen countless villages torn to the ground because of his fury!"
Zelda of the Moon saw several customers glancing at them strangely. The bard's voice was rising to a scream and drawing more attention than she desired. "Thank you," she said, pressing a coin upon him and standing up. "May your tongue find the best words. We never spoke of this."
It was the same with everyone else - the barman at the next tavern, the innkeeper, the shoe shiner, the man begging for coins on the street, and many, many others. The ones that did know who Zant was (and oh, how Zelda of the Moon was growing weary of blank looks when she would ask "Do you know of Zant the Twilight King?") gave the same responses. She was an idiot. She was insane. She had a death wish. She had best not try a silly plan like that if Zant did come for something of hers, because it would be impossible. Zelda of the Moon continued to question people, determined to leave no stone unturned. She knew that it could be the most unlikely person who had the answer to her dilemma. But the night was passing quickly and she knew she was attracting too much attention. She had to leave before word spread too far about the strange guard who asked so many questions about Zant.
All throughout the night Zelda of the Moon listened and questioned, however not one word was spoken which could spare her sister of her fate. Her heart heavy, the princess set off on her way to the castle.
As she passed an alley, she heard a voice call out "Well met!"
She looked down the alley, but all she saw was a wolf. He sat on his haunches, with a pleasant expression on his face. Under other circumstances, Zelda of the Moon would have sworn that he was smiling. At that moment though, she was more startled by the fact that the wolf could only be the one who spoke to her!
"Well met!" said the wolf again. "Did you not hear me?"
Zelda of the Moon blinked. "I'm terribly sorry," she said. "Well met! I did hear you speak, although I expected a human."
"No matter," said the wolf. "I quite understand. It's a strange thing to meet a wolf who speaks the tongue of man. It is almost as strange as meeting a princess in the guise of a soldier!"
At this Zelda of the Moon started, however the wolf laughed. "I will not harm you, princess. In fact, quite the opposite. I am here to beg you for asylum."
"Asylum from what?"
"From the enemy soldiers who will be turning down this way very soon," said the wolf. "They dress in a soldier's guise, but are no more in the service of the king than Zant is. They wish to skin me alive and hang me on the wall of their masters. Drive them away and I swear I will do you and your sister a good service later."
"I understand," said Zelda of the Moon. "Now quickly, run as far down the alley as you can and stay in the shadows. Make no sound and leave the rest to me."
The wolf did exactly as she said and not a second too early, for no sooner was his tail disappearing into the shadows, than Zelda of the Moon heard the sounds of weapons clinking and creatures snorting and arguing.
A few minutes later, the wolf's pursuers came around the corner. Though dressed in the garb of the Royal Family soldiers, Zelda of the Moon could see that their armor squeezed their arms and legs and that they hunched slightly, as if walking upright was unnatural for them. They were much taller than the princess, but she did not let that bother her. Instead, she leaned against the wall to the alley and forced a yawn.
"You there!" growled one of the false guards. "Have you seen a wolf about?"
"A wolf?" asked Zelda of the Moon, deepening her voice as much as she was able. "Don't be stupid. Why would a wolf be in here?"
Even under all of that armor, Zelda of the Moon could see his face flush. "Don't mock me!" he snarled. "One got in not so long ago. Did you see it?"
"You are daft, aren't you?," asked Zelda of the Moon. "If I saw a wolf, do you think I would be here with no weapons? I can assure you, no wolf has gone past me tonight."
The false soldier turned to his companions. "Right men," he said. "It must have gotten past us in the dark. We will stand guard by the gate!" And with that, they left.
"Well done," said the wolf, when he saw it was safe to come out. "My neck has been spared for another night. I can not thank you enough, my good princess-soldier."
"I need no thanks," said Zelda of the Moon. "It is the duty of both princesses and soldiers to see their people kept safe."
"I suppose so," said the wolf, giving her an apraising look. "If you don't mind my asking, what brings a soldier such as yourself out so late at night? I noticed you speaking to many people before we met."
"The wind carried poor fortune to my house," said Zelda of the Moon. "It seems there are none who know how to prevent it."
The wolf snorted. "It is daft to try to prevent the coming of the wind. Such a task is impossible. Still, to move the wind can take the most trivial of tasks."
"I am sure it will take no trivial task to dispel this wind."
"Perhaps, and perhaps not." The wolf looked Zelda of the Moon in the eye. "I know a little of the matters of the wind. Tell me of your trouble. If it is within my power to assist you, I shall do so."
Zelda of the Moon smiled. "It well might be, if you were willing to loan your teeth to my cause. The evil magician Zant has proclaimed that Princess Zelda of the Sun will be his bride. If there is any way within mortal power to stop this, I shall try it."
"I do know of Zant," said the wolf. "It is my deepest regret to say that it is not within my power to turn tooth or claw against him or any of his kin."
"I thought as much," said Zelda of the Moon with a sigh. "I suppose it would not be within anyone's power to defeat the King of Twilight."
"You are looking at it from the wrong way," said the wolf. "Zant is many things. A king is just one of them. The King of Twilight is a powerful opponent, but surely he is also something that is much easier to defeat?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well," said the wolf. "I would think - that that I would know of such things, mind you - but surely Zant has the features of something much lower to the earth?"
Zelda of the Moon gasped, for her sister's words returned to her. Zant had scales. Zant had fangs. Zant had slitted pupils, like a cat, like a -
"A snake!" cried Zelda of the Moon. "He is a snake!"
The wolf raised his eyebrows. "He is, isn't he? Snakes aren't so difficult to kill, are they?"
"Of course not," said Zelda of the Moon. "Everyone knows that you must -"
"You do not need to tell me," said the wolf. "You know what to do. You only need do it."
"Indeed," said the princess. "Thank you. Will you be safe for the rest of the evening?"
"Certainly," said the wolf. "I need not go by the gates at all." Before Zelda of the Moon's eyes, he made a fantastic leap from the entrance of the alley, to the top of a nearby roof.
He turned to be on his way, but Zelda of the Moon called to him. "Before you go, one last question please! Those guards...where will they go?"
The wolf chuckled. "Do not fear those things, my dear. They will harm no one in this town. They only want me, after all. They will be gone by morning."
And then he turned and trotted off, down the other side of the roof and into the darkness.
The next morning, Zelda of the Moon begged her father to arrange for a feast to be held in Zant's honor.
"What good will it do to make him feel welcome?" the king asked.
"After all father," said the princess, "he is still our guest, as well as a man of nobility. There is no harm in it. And perhaps paying tribute to him will stir some kindness in his heart and help him reconsider what he asks."
The king knew there was no chance of that happening, but gave orders for a feast to be held regardless. He had long since learned that Zelda of the Moon had reasons for all of her requests, no matter how strange they might be. He only hoped the ones this time would be helpful.
Every chef cooked their finest dishes. The most lucious fruits and vegetables were picked from the royal gardens and orchards. Ducks were roasted and suckling pigs were cooked on spits until their meat was delicious and tender. Rich desserts were baked and, to top it all off, the finest wines were opened.
The guests at the feast were fearful and silent, however if Zant noticed, he certainly didn't mind. He steadily ate his way through every course and had his goblet refilled again and again and again.
When the last course had been served, Zant stood up and looked blearily around the room. His eyes were unfocused and he swayed slightly. If he had not proven himself able to handle twice as much wine as he drank at the feast, the guests would have assumed him to be drunk. He grinned and, without any warning, fell backwards into his chair and began to gently snore.
"Well!" said the king.
"Father," said Zelda of the Moon, "perhaps we may all leave the banquet hall and let King Zant rest in peace? He is sleeping so soundly that attempting to wake him will surely do nothing but put him in an ill temper."
"Perhaps you are right," said the king, furrowing his brow. He and the queen left the room, with their daughters and all of the guests still awake following suite. Zelda of the Moon, however, fell to the back and was able to remain in the banquet hall without notice. Now it was only she and the slumbering Zant. He showed no signs of waking, and Zelda of the Moon knew what she must do.
It was most fortunate that the banquet hall was decorated with many suits of armor, Zelda of the Moon reflected as she reached behind one and retrieved the dagger she had smuggled there. Her body shook as she approached the sleeping magician, but her heart and her dagger held steady. She would let no one threaten her family. Zant thought he could bully and frighten her sister, but she was going to put a stop to that. He was just a snake, and Zelda of the Moon had proved it. She smiled faintly at the memory of sneaking the bottle into the kitchen and emptying it all into the pitcher of wine. There was no danger to anyone else, of course. None of the other guests noticed a difference, save for the wine being a bit creamier than usual.
Except for Zant of course, thought Zelda of the Moon. She was right next to him now, and raising the dagger. After all, everyone knows that nothing makes a snake full and sleepy like milk.
Before she could talk herself out of it, Zelda of the Moon plunged the dagger into Zant's throat. She breathed deeply as he shook and wailed. She withdrew the weapon and watched as the corpse of the magician gave one final jerk and went still. A second later, it dissolved into a puddle of black slime, clothes and all, which turned to steam before her eyes.
The minstrel's song was cut short and the guests screamed as an inhuman cry echoed through the castle. There was talk of ghosts and thieves, but Zelda of the Sun remembered her sister's promise and knew what had happened. She ran for the banquet hall, with her parents following at her heels.
There was no broken furniture in the hall, nor were there any blood stains splattered on the walls. There would have been no signs of any sort of battle, save for two things.
The first was a smear of something black on the back of one of the chairs.
The second was Zelda of the Moon. She was sitting serenely on the floor, a dagger in her hand. She was busily cleaning the blade, but seemed to be nearly done. Zelda of the Sun could only see traces of a black substance left on it.
"My dear!" gasped the queen. "What happened?"
"Don't mind me a bit," said Zelda of the Moon. She looked at her family, her eyes quite calm. "I was just making sure that King Zant would rest in peace."
One day passed and then another and then another, and no sign of retribution came. The king proclaimed the affair over and done, and urged his family to put the dreadful event to the back of their minds. Still, the princesses remained mindful of the wolf's warning.
It was midnight when the castle shook and an evil laugh rang through the halls. The Royal Family awoke quickly and ran for each other in confusion until, most likely by coincidence, they all found themselves in the throne room. No sooner had they huddled in the center of the room, than one of the castle guards came to them.
"Your majesty!" cried the guard. "A man comes to the gate! He demands an audience with you, and is most persistent!"
"What is the meaning of this?" roared the king. "Send him away at once!"
The guard gave no response, for he had fallen to the floor. Ignoring her family's protests, Zelda of the Sun ran to him; he was quite dead.
"Blame not the guard for negligence," came a deep voice. From the shadows, a tall man strode forward. His hair, red as the lava that burst from the western mountains, fell down past his shoulders. His black armor was bulky and the trident he carried was as thick as an oak, yet he took no more notice of them than if they were a silk robe and a walking stick. Most striking of all, his skin was green. This was not a sickly pallor. Instead, it gave him a powerful, otherworldly look. He was not a man to be trifled with or crossed, as the corpse on the ground proved.
"Good sir," said the king, drawing himself to full height. "Who are you that feels justified in breaking into my home and threatening my family with evil intentions?"
"King of Hyrule," said the man. "I am the magician Ganondorf, Lord of Darkness. Perhaps you might be so good as to tell me what became of my brother, Zant."
The queen gasped and the king paled, for the second of the magician brothers had come.
"I take it by your silence that my brother is no longer among the living," said Ganondorf. "More's the pity. There were several favors he owed me which I shall never be able to collect on now." He turned to the king with narrowed eyes and a wicked smile. "You and your family are not so fortunate. I will have vegence for Zant's death!"
The king pleaded and apologized and offered Ganondorf countless treasures as payment. When he could speak no more, the magician shook his head and laughed. "You think it will be so simple?" he asked. "I have heard on the wind's tongue that it was the meddling of your elder daughter that brought about my brother's death. For that, she shall be your atonement!"
The king and queen stood up at this and both declared loudly that they would never give either of their children to the likes of him. Ganondorf smiled however, and told them that they had a day and a night to prepare the princess. Whether or not they were ready, he would force his way into the castle at that time and carry her off.
The king and queen broke down sobbing at this, as did all of their advisors and servants and guards. Zelda of the Moon held back her own tears, but she was quite worried for the safety of herself and that of the kingdom. She knew that Ganondorf would level the land of Hyrule if he was not given what he wanted.
Zelda of the Sun, on the other hand, shed no tears and gave in to no fear. When she learned of her sister's fate, she put on her pirate garb, took up a bow and quiver of arrows, and set off to kill Ganondorf.
It took the better part of the day for her to sneak out of the castle, but she finally made it past the gates and to the fields beyond the castle walls. Her first thought was to travel to the west and search the mountains there, as it seemed the most likely place Ganondorf would wait out the day and the night. She had only just set off however, when she came across a large wolf, with grey fur and blue eyes.
Zelda of the Sun was startled, for she had never been so close to an animal like that before. Before she could aim at it with her bow though, the wolf looked her in the eye and said "Greetings, noble princess."
Zelda of the Sun was shocked to hear a wolf speak, but she had been raised to be polite and automatically replied with "Greetings, dear wolf."
"If I might be so bold," said the wolf, "might I ask what a princess in a pirate's garb is doing on the road to the mountains?"
"You may," said the princess, "if you do not consider it so bold of me to ask what a talking wolf is doing questioning travelers on the road to mountains."
The wolf laughed, his long, red tongue showing behind his teeth. "Well said, little princess! But please, tell me of your quest. If I can be of any assistance to you, I certainly shall do my best."
"If those teeth of yours are as sharp as they appear, perhaps you can," said Zelda of the Sun. "I am searching for Ganondorf, Lord of Darkness and brother of the Twilight King Zant. He has come to claim my sister as payment for the death of his brother, and I shall see his throat slit before I allow that."
"And you believe he dwells within the mountains?" asked the wolf. "You would be right, brave princess. But there is something you must know before you make hasty decisions on throat-slitting. Come, climb on my back. I shall carry you to the mountains in a trice."
No sooner said than done. With Zelda of the Sun on his back, the wolf flew across the fields as if he were the wind itself. The rocky ground of the mountains did not slow him in the least, and before the princess knew it, they were standing on cliff overlooking a cave.
"Dismount and listen carefully," said the wolf. "Lean over the cliff and watch the entrance of the cave. But be as quiet as you possibly can, or I can not guarantee that you will live."
Zelda of the Sun did all that he said, and presently she heard the sound of something large exiting the cave. She covered her mouth to keep herself from screaming. The creature stumbled on four legs, hooved like a boar. A large tusk curled from under the upper lip. Saliva ran from the mouth and down the bristled chin. The eyes were bloodshot and full of malice.
"That is Ganondorf, at least as he is during the day," said the wolf, when Zelda of the Sun backed a safe distance from the edge of the cliff. "He appeared to you in his natural form because he chose to visit at night. When the sun is in the sky however, he has no choice but to take that hideous form. It is a closely-guarded secret of his as he is ashamed to be seen in a form that can work no magic, and he would surely kill you without a second thought if he knew you had seen him like that. He has no choice in the matter though. It is one of two conditions he must fulfill to keep his magic and his life."
"If he can not work magic while in that form, then I shall kill him right now," asked Zelda of the Sun. She made to go to the cave, but the wolf stopped her.
"Take care," he warned. "Ganondorf is still a formidable enemy while in that form. He can not work magic, but his strength is twice that of a mortal man. Would you run to death so quickly?"
"What choice do I have?" asked Zelda of the Sun angrily. "If you know of a better way to kill this monster, tell me! If not, let me go and save my sister from an undeserved fate!"
"Gently," said the wolf. "Do not think I am heartless. I owe your sister much to be here. There is a way to kill Ganondorf. While it is by no means a safe task, I have no doubt that a brave one such as you can manage it."
"Tell me of this task."
"In the desert to the west, there is a place no one can see. In it, Ganondorf keeps that which no one knows of. Destroy this thing, and all of your troubles concerning this fate will be over and done with." The wolf looked her in the eye. "Be wary though, princess. The desert has been enchanted by Ganondorf. The winds are merciless and there is a never-ending sandstorm that leads those who venture in astray."
"I do not care. I shall manage."
"Very good. Climb on my back, brave princess. I can take you to the edge of the desert, but no farther."
No sooner said than done.
The sand stung her eyes. The wind deafened her. The desert loamed ahead of her, vast and merciless, and she was without friend or guide now that the wolf had gone.
Zelda of the Sun did not care. All she needed to do was find the place no one could see and destroy that which no one knows of. Zelda of the Moon killed a serpent for her. Zelda of the Sun could certainly find and break an item for her.
"Poor little girl, so sad, so sad!"
Zelda of the Sun squinted and looked about. It was difficult to hear anything over the howl of the wind, but she was certain that someone spoke.
"In front of you, look ahead my dear!"
There, floating before the princess, was a shimmering sprite-like being. Zelda of the Sun gasped for she knew it was a Poe, a mischievous spirit who delighted in leading travelers astray. Zelda of the Moon had often warned of Poes though, and Zelda of the Sun knew from her that one should never tell a Poe what it was, for fear of it casting a curse. Instead, she bowed politely. "Well met good traveler," she said. "I am the pirate Tetra."
The Poe giggled. "A pirate? In the desert? You have no sense of direction, my dear. What is your real name?"
Zelda of the Sun did not answer, for she also had been told by her sister that to give a Poe your real name meant that it would follow and haunt you to the end of your days. Instead, she bowed again. "Good traveler," she said, "What you say is true. Pirate though I am, I know not where I am headed."
"Oh ho!" said the Poe. "Perhaps I could be of assistance? I know this place very well, yes I do!"
Now this was what Zelda of the Sun had hoped, but she remembered all she had been told of Poes, and knew that following this one as things were would end with her being led astray in the endless sands. Instead, she rubbed her chin. "I'm not so certain, good traveler," she said. "The desert is vast and my location remote. I am not so sure I could ask that of you. I do not wish to lead anyone to their deaths."
"None of that! None of that!" said the Poe. "I can find anything in this desert, of course I can!"
"I am a Poe, that I am! There is nothing I cannot do!"
"A Poe!" said Zelda of the Sun, feigning surprise. "I can not believe that!"
"Believe it!" the spirit cried.
"No, you certainly can not be."
"That I am!"
"You can not be."
The Poe shook in fury. "I shall prove it to you, that I shall!"
"How could you possibly prove it to me?" asked Zelda of the Sun. "With all of the things I've seen while sailing the seas, there is little that can impress me."
"I shall show you a wonder that you have never seen before!" said the Poe. "I shall...I shall eat an entire boulder!"
Zelda of the Sun laughed. "That? That is no wonder! Not a year and a day ago, my ship docked at an island that held a fanstastic mountain. On that mountain lived a race of rock-people who consumed boulders all day long."
"Then I shall spend a week underwater, with no air at all!"
"No, no, I am sorry." Zelda of the Sun shook her head. "The fish-people of the ocean are the most common thing in the world to us sailors. They have built entire cities and temples underwater, and even sewn clothing that lets us air breathers live beneath the waves with them."
"Well, what have you never seen before?" asked the Poe.
Zelda of the Sun pretended to consider. "In all my days," she said, "I have never met a person who could fit himself in a bottle."
"Is that all?" asked the Poe, scornfully. "Not even a miracle worth doing, in my opinion! Even so, uncork the bottle you wear at your waist. I shall prove to you quickly enough that I am a Poe!"
No sooner said than done. Zelda of the Sun opened the bottle hanging from the belt on her waist, and the Poe squeezed inside in a second. As soon as the spirit was inside, the princess stuffed the cork back in the opening.
"Very good," she said. "I believe you are a Poe now. That being the case, please forgive me for not trusting you to guide me the entire way to my destination without this precaution."
"What's this? Let me out!" The Poe hissed and pounded on the glass, but the bottle held.
"There's no good in that," said Zelda of the Sun. "The bottle is a treasure of the royal family, once owned by the last hero of the land. Not even dark magic can break it. Now, if you lead me to the place no one can see, where the Lord of Darkness keeps that which no one knows of, and do me no harm after, I swear on all my ancestors to release you."
The Poe swore and made threats, but in the end saw that it was useless. He did as the princess asked and vowed to lead her to the place no one can see, where the Lord of Darkness kept that which no one knew of, and to do her no harm after.
And thus, Zelda of the Sun set off into the Gerudo Desert. The wind blew and the sand stung her eyes, but she followed the Poe's instructions exactly and just as night was about to fall, she came across a small pile of rocks.
"This is the place no one can see," said the Poe. "On the other side, you shall find a hole. Squeeze through it and crawl down the tunnel until you reach the bottom."
Zelda of the Sun thanked the Poe and released it as promised. Just as the spirit said, there was a hole on the other side of the pile of rocks. With some difficulty, the princess crawled through and made it to the end of the tunnel. There, she beheld a beautiful chamber, filled with piles of gold and jewels and silks and other treasures of great worth and magnificence. There was no time to marvel at the room however, for Zelda of the Sun knew that it was now night and Ganondorf would soon arrive to hide that which no one knew of.
She ducked behind the nearest pile of gold and stayed as still and quiet as she possibly could. It was not a moment too soon, for she had just settled into her hiding place when shadows took form on the ground and melted together to become Ganondorf.
He was monstrous, as he always was during the day. He roared and Zelda of the Sun grit her teeth, praying to the Goddesses that she would not be found. As she watched, the beast clutched its chest, digging its claws in deeply, piercing its own flesh. Before her eyes, he tore the animal skin of of him like a cloak and cast it to the ground. Now in human form, he glared at the mound of skin and fur before striking the floor and vanishing in a cloud of smoke.
The moment Ganondorf had left, Zelda of the Sun came out from her hiding place and seized the boar skin. Running her fingers along it, she could feel the stitches that held it together. They were strong, and she knew there was no way to pick them apart with her own hands. Instead, she took an arrow from her quiver and sawed the threads with the metal head. One stitch and then another and then another. Soon, Zelda of the Sun was surrounded by a pile of severed stitches and torn boar's skin. Her heart pounded. The wind outside screeched and wailed. As piece after piece came apart, the princess swore she could hear the grunts and hot breathing of some sort of animal.
As the last few stitches came apart, the final piece of boar skin fell to bits. As it fluttered to the ground, a gleam of something caught Zelda of the Sun's eye. She reached out her hand and something polished and heavy hit her palm. It was a boar's tusk. Without a second thought, she wedged it between two large rocks and snapped it into two pieces.
In the castle of Hyrule, all of the people bore witness to a terrifying and beautiful sight. No weapon could harm him, no soldier could halt him, but as he stormed the palace to take Zelda of the Moon, the magician Ganondorf screamed and fell to his knees. His joints cracked and his limbs twisted grotesquely. Seconds later, he fell to the ground, dead. Every bone in his body was split cleanly in half, the price he paid for betting his life and his power on a trifle that surely no one knew of.
In the place no one could see, Zelda of the Sun knew nothing of this. As she climbed out of the tunnel though, she saw that the winds were still and the air was clear. The magician's curse to protect that which no one knew of was broken. The second of the magician brothers was no more.
The Storm and the Wolf
One day passed and another and another, but the princesses were not fooled. They knew that there was one last magician brother remaining, and he would come for them. Every day, the sisters watched for unknown people within the castle and took to hiding weapons any places where they might be caught unaware. And while the king and queen held a weak hope that the entire ordeal was over, they still begged their daughters to not leave the castle for the time being.
In the end, it did little good. No one saw him arrive. No one heard his footsteps in the hall. No one felt his presence, beyond the slightest twinge of foreboding.
Zelda of the Moon was in her bedroom when he stepped out of the shadows, dark in appearance and presence. Even if she had not seen his fiery eyes or his pallid, purple skin, she knew who he was. As she opened her mouth to call for the guards however, she found she could make no sound. She gasped and sputtered, but no screams would pass her lips.
"Princess of the moon," said the man, "I am Vaati, Emperor of the Winds and the eldest of the magician brothers. You have killed Zant. Your sister has killed Ganondorf. You both will pay for those offenses."
Zelda of the Moon could not draw in enough breath. Her head grew light, and she fell to her knees alongside her bed. Vaati stood over her and smirked. "The winds all serve me," he said. "Now, I command them to abandon your lungs. Take what little you can. You may stay conscious while I take reparation. You may be certain I will not give you a day and a night to prepare."
She knew there was little time. Her vision was blurring. Something pushed on her shoulders sending her flying backwards, and she could see Vaati's face swimming over her. Something soft supported her body, and a distant part of her brain knew she had been pushed onto her bed. She struggled to roll on her side and omething tickled her cheek. Cloth! Her pillow! She thrust her hand underneath, not caring if Vaati saw. He was snarling something and trying to pull her away, but she had a little strength left and resisted for one moment. It was long enough. Her fingers closed around metal as she found the dagger she had hidden. She dared not pause, but instead twisted herself to Vaati's direction and stabbed in one fluid motion.
There was a scream and Zelda of the Moon's lungs filled with air again. The black spots forming before her eyes vanished. She sat up, keeping her eyes and dagger on the vile sorcerer.
Vaati was cradling his right arm, cursing and snarling. Something black oozed through the sleeve over his forearm, and she saw that the cloth was slashed. He turned his eyes to her. "You -"
And then she stabbed again. She aimed for where his heart ought to be, but she was still battling dizziness and instead hit him on the left side of his chest. He screeched, but she held the dagger in him, steadying it with both hands.
Sounds came from his mouth not as words, but as hisses and sputtering. His eyes widened in fury and shock as he grabbed Zelda of the Moon's wrists. His grip was weak however, and she pulled out the dagger and thrust it foreward again, this time into the magician's throat.
Vaati fell backwards to the ground. He thrashed and twitched as black blood poured from the wounds Zelda of the Moon had inflicted. Yet the princess knew it would not end so easily, and stood with her weapon at the ready.
"Sister?" Zelda of the Sun stood in the doorway. "I heard -"
"Bring the guards!" cried Zelda of the Moon.
Zelda of the Sun, however, pointed to the floor. "Look out!" she screamed.
Zelda of the Moon had only turned her attention from Vaati for a moment, however it was a moment too long. His skin was darkening and his hair was pulling back into his skull. His eyes were merging together into one grotesque orb. Zelda of the Moon quickly stepped out of his reach. A second later, she flew across the room and violently struck the wall. She shook her head to clear her vision and saw, to her horror, that Vaati's arms were turning into lethal, whip-like appendages. Bat-like wings ripped through his back and, after an experimental flapping with them, the evil magician was in the air. He leered at Zelda of the Moon as she struggled to clear her head. She braced herself, certain that she would be struck again.
The blow never came. There was a terrifying roar, and the monster turned. Zelda of the Moon saw an arrow lodged between his wings, a trickle of black blood oozing from the wound.
From her side of the room, Zelda of the Sun had already fitted another arrow in her bow. She had been warned that her sister was in danger, but this was more horrifying than anything she'd expected. Now that her weapon was at the ready though, she could attack as quickly as she liked.
The monster glared at her and it was all she could do to keep her hands steady. The creature's single eye blinked. She slowly raised her bow, aiming for that tempting target. One good shot and she could blind the thing, if not kill it outright. She only had to focus, ignoring how frightened she was or how the wind kept blowing her hair into her face.
The wind! What was it doing in the castle?! Zelda of the Sun had only a second to wonder at this, before the creature raised its arms towards the ceiling and gave a bat-like screech.
Somewhere on the other side of the room, the younger princess heard Zelda of the Moon cry out. Zelda of the Sun squinted and tried to catch a glimpse of her. A moment later, she was sprawled on the floor with her left shoulder and arm throbbing. There was a crash somewhere near her head, and she looked up.
A powerful whirlwind surrounded Vaati. The air was thick with chunks of stone and pieces of furniture, obscuring him from view. One of those objects must have struck Zelda of the Sun. She cursed. She would have to be as quick as she could now. She stared at the winds rushing around Vaati, looking desperately for some sort of opening. Suddenly, she felt something grip her skirt and yank her backwards, just as a battered chair flew dangerously close by. She turned and saw the blue-eyed wolf dropping the mouthful of skirt he had taken.
"I woke you just in time it appears," the wolf said.
"It may still be too late!" cried Zelda of the Sun. "How am I to fire any arrows through such powerful wind?"
"It is calm in the eye of the storm," replied the wolf.
"That does little good! We're still out here!"
"I can get you through," said the wolf. "Climb on my back! As long as you are seated on me, Vaati's winds will not be able to move you!"
Zelda of the Sun did not need to be told twice. It took but a second for her to climb onto the wolf, and he soon was carrying her through the powerful winds. Zelda of the Sun kept a tight grip on her bow and arrows, but the wolf had spoken the truth. The cyclone was no more threatening than a summer breeze.
"Ready your bow," the wolf warned. "We are nearly there!"
Zelda of the Sun set an arrow in her bow and drew back on the string. A moment later, the air was still and had no furniture flying through it. They had reached the center of the storm and found Vaati. Zelda of the Sun aimed for the eye and was quick about it.
The evil magician was more quick, however. Before Zelda of the Sun could release the arrow, he whipped one of his appendages around. The wolf made a valiant attempt to leap over it, but he was a second too slow. It struck him in the side and suddenly the world was turning over for Zelda of the Sun and she could think of nothing but rightening herself and making certain that her bow and arrows were in one piece.
She got to her feet just in time to hear a desperate howl: the appendage had caught the wolf and knocked him into the devastating winds. There was a whistling sound to Zelda of the Sun's left and in the corner of her eye, she saw something thin and black heading towards her, but she paid it no heed. If she had, she would have seen that Vaati meant to send her flying after the wolf into the whirlwind. All she thought and all she did was take aim with her bow and fire.
The arrow was fast and sharp and within seconds had pierced Vaati's hideous eye. The monster crashed to the ground, wailing in pain. The winds died almost immediately after and, before the young princess's eyes, the creature that was Vaati burst into a small cloud of smoke.
Zelda of the Sun stared, her bow sitting in her numb hands. Her heart raced and she tried to focus on slowing her breathing to a normal rate. People would be here. Her mother and father. The guards. Her sister -
"Zelda" she cried, looking around the room for her older sister. A figure was hunched in a corner, and Zelda of the Sun ran to it.
Zelda of the Moon knelt by a pile of splintered wood, perhaps the remains of a chest of drawers. On top of that pile lay the wolf. He did not move, save for the slow rise and fall of his chest. His right side was scraped and bloody.
"He flew from the cyclone and hit the wall," said Zelda of the Moon, her voice hoarse. "He hasn't gotten up since."
"Wolf?" whispered Zelda of the Sun. She knelt beside him and gently stroked his powerful neck. "Wolf, it's over." She looked over at Zelda of the Moon. "He brought me here, you know. He was sitting at the foot of my bed, and just told me 'Go see your sister'."
"It was the least I can do," the wolf murmured. "She did, after all, save my life in the marketplace."
"Wolf!" cried Zelda of the Sun. "It's alright now! Vaati's dead and we'll have you better in no time!"
"Is that true?" asked the wolf. "Vaati is really dead?"
"He burst into smoke," said Zelda of the Sun.
"Well," said the wolf, "I suppose things really are over."
Zelda of the Sun opened her mouth to ask what he was talking about, but all words failed her a moment later. Steam rose from the wolf's body, matting his fur into one solid, black mass. It twisted together and then stretched out, only to completely evaporate and reveal a young man wearing a green tunic. He sat up and smiled at the princesses, his blue eyes sparkling.
"You once knew me by the name of Wolf," he said. "Now, you may know me by my true name. I am Link, and it was many years ago that I set out to slay the evil magician brothers and free the land from them. Their curse kept me unrecognized and unable to harm them, however as long as it was within my power to protect and aid others, I did so. Now, with the magicians dead, the curse is broken."
"Then it their minions that chased you through Hyrule Marketplace that evening," said Zelda of the Moon.
"Indeed it was," said Link. "Had you not thrown them off of my trail, Zelda of the Moon, I would have been caught and made into a cape. The three brothers did not want to risk any chance of their being defeated, so they wanted very much to kill me, the one believed to be the only man destined to destroy them.
"But I suppose in the end, destinies don't matter nearly as much as we think they do," commented Zelda of the Sun.
"Very true. Enough of such grave matters though," said Link. "The land is free and curses have been broken."
"And destinies have been defied," said Zelda of the Moon.
"And Mother and Father will be here soon for a full explanation," said Zelda of the Sun. "Who shall tell them?"
"We all can," said Zelda of the Moon. "After all, between the three of us we know the whole story."
They All Lived Happily Ever After
Time passed in one way and another, and all that could be repaired was.
The king and queen reigned in peace for several more years, before deciding to pass the crown on to Zelda of the Moon. Her coronation was attended by all in the land and ensured the continuation of the era of peace and prosperity within Hyrule.
Zelda of the Sun, far too restless for court life, set out to seek any dangers remaining in the land. Minstrels sang of her deeds, of the monsters she slew and the battles she won. In many of those songs, it was said that she was joined on her quests by a swordsman, clad in green and with the most astonishing blue eyes.
In this way the years went by and if the princesses are not yet slumbering in the tomb of their ancestors, they are protecting their land still. And so it is sung by the minstrels, and so it has been.
And thus, my tale is at an end. Whosoever does not believe this, must pay five rupees.