Appendix C: Chapter Author Notes
For the Prologue, I knew that I wanted Majora's Mask in the story for specific events in the final chapters, but I wanted to introduce it here to place its presence in the minds of the readers even if it didn't appear for a long while. As for setting up the primary villains of this piece, I aimed to make it formidable. The only piece of information I wanted to give away at this juncture was simply its size; the other properties would come later.
Chapter 1: The Choice
It was really hard to come up with a decent way of introducing Link and inviting readers back into the world Ocarina of Time had created. I felt it best to jump right into his new role within the Hylian Royal Family and his personal thoughts about it as well as his interactions with Zelda. At the time of writing, I had originally wanted a love triangle between Zelda, Malon and Link however as time wore on, I felt this wasn't exactly the best way to go about their relationships. So her attraction and protectiveness over him stems from another reason altogether that is later revealed in Act 3. Despite this, I still used their strained relationship to push Link out the door and southwards towards the start of his journey.
Chapter 2: A Moment of Respite
A bit of foreshadowing occurs with regards to the items Link purchases on his way out the door to Lon Lon Ranch; I wanted to be realistic about what Link would have on his person by detailing when he got them. I had originally written the first 27 chapters long before I restarted the story from scratch in Feb 2014. The interaction between Link and Malon was embellished little and remained almost exactly as it was when it was first written; it felt sweet yet rambunctious, a telling sign of their future relationship. The introduction of Harden was significant because of the horse's role to play as Malon's personal steed and best animal friend. It was something both Link and Malon could share since they were there at its birth.
Chapter 3: The Messenger
The first half of the chapter was actually part of the previous chapter in an earlier rewrite; however I felt it needed more embellishment to more firmly establish the character of Talon and all their relationships together. So I expanded the scene with Link, Talon and Malon to help readers identify with this family since it would be the primary one going forward for the remainder of the story. Like the strained discussion between Zelda and Link in chapter 1 to get him out the door; I needed another event that would push Link towards the enemy. The Sheikah messenger provided that effortlessly; possibly a scout coming back from the border of the Lost Woods and alerting them on the way back; the threat to the Kokiri would naturally cause Link to make this rash decision. The second half is brand new as of the new rewriting; I realized there was no section detailing when and how Zelda prepared for her journey to leave the castle, she just showed up at Kakariko with no explanation. So this section was written to help transition her move from the castle; furthermore, I had the brilliant idea of including an old foe in a subsequent chapter as a result!
Chapter 4: Fall of the Kokiri
This was the first taste of what Link and co. are up against. I wanted it to be shocking and dramatic; I wanted to surprise readers with the pure brutality of the new threat. I wanted readers to immediately empathize with the Kokiri and absolutely hate the villains; by utilizing the Kokiri as those first, primary innocent victims, it helped place Naar and his commanders over the moral event horizon and become true monsters straight out of the gate. I also introduce a new ability that they have but I didn't truly show my hand with the true threat they posed until the very end, which is the first true cliffhanger of the story. I hoped readers would want to keep reading after seeing how hopeless a situation Link was left in; by injuring one of them, it created the needed tension and suspense the next chapter would provide.
Chapter 5: Smoke and Mirrors
This chapter served three purposes; it initially wasn't part of the initial 27 chapter writing and I actually found out I needed a full chapter revealing Zelda's escape and why Impa showed up in the subsequent chapter. The second purpose was to take a small break away from the action of Link and keep readers in suspense over what happened to him. Finally we introduce Ganondorf and get a taste of his character and tease at the fact he probably knows more about this threat than Zelda does. This will all come into play, of course, in Act 3. We then go into a typical flight scene where both Zelda and Impa get a taste of the villains and how dangerous they are; we also get to see Impa's fighting prowess which becomes a rather important plot point once the children have grown.
Chapter 6: The Rescue
The full extent to how the villains can be dangerous is revealed here in shocking detail; this hopefully sets the stage for the reader in wanting to know more about these characters and how they came about their powers and if Link and co. will ever find a way to defeat them. I didn't want Impa and Zelda coming in to ruin Link's moment of glory here; he had to combat these foes by himself with minimal help along with his skills and wits. Once that was complete and I established his dominance in the combat arena, I allowed Impa to come rescue him and gather at what would be the 'temporary HQ' for the heroes for the next few chapters.
Chapter 7: Princess in Name Only
I absolutely loved writing for Ruto and find her to be a delightful character. Her relationship with Link is quite the one-sided attraction and her infatuation becomes her primary modus operand for the remainder of the story; the rest of her actions will make far more sense when given this context. In the initial 27 chapter hack of the story, she actually died in the later chapters and was not present for the remaining acts; however upon rewriting the story from scratch, I decided it to be a far more interesting take on her character to place her on a wildly unique path from everyone else. Even here, in this introduction to her character, she is already at odds with those within her own family and this will ultimately shape who she will become.
Chapter 8: Test of Loyalty
Writing these types of torture chapters is never fun or easy; since our only interaction with Naar was a brief interlude in chapter 4, I felt we needed some more fleshing out with how capable a villain he is and how far gone he's crossed the moral event horizon. There is no need to know his backstory as for why he is the way he is right at this present moment; rather, I decided to have him focus on discovering the hidden aspects of the Kokiri and their connection with their fairies. This plot point becomes quite pivotal later in the story and I wanted to introduce it early here; having it be hinted at with the primary villain seemed a great twist on its exposition. These experiments will carry on to form a more influential role in the final events of the story.
Chapter 9: The Calm
These lulls in the story are quite crucial, in my opinion, for the pacing of the fanfic. These types of character development chapters don't happen often, but when they do, they are sorely needed. This was the first time I could have the majority of the protagonist cast together in one place and interact with each other. I wanted to flesh out their relationships and how they'd influence each other for future events; I love writing these chapters and whenever I come up against one, I plan out well in advance what I'd like to have happen with each interaction. There are some future plot points hinted at here in this chapter, but nothing critical; this is purely for the sake of getting to know Link and co. a bit better.
Chapter 10: Close Encounters
I got a lot of flak for this type of prepubescent romping, however I wrote it with the intention of it being pure innocence on their parts; they should have no solid idea of what would come next, they just know they like each other a lot. This scene was inspired by the stables scene in The Mask of Zorro; I felt the setting lent itself well to building a more solid romantic relationship between Link and Malon. It also enabled me to write in a few fun moments that would later lead into some important interactions in later acts. My goal was ultimately to display to the reader how much their relationship had blossomed since the end of Ocarina of Time and allude to where it could be going. Impa's interruption served dual purposes: It stopped me from writing it any further past my own comfort zone and it also propelled Link into the next stage of his quest.
Chapter 11: Preparations
This was quite the awkward chapter to write. This wasn't exactly like chapter 9 where it focused solely on the interactions between characters, yet it still relied on them to get more central plot points of the primary story to the reader. So as a result, I had a difficult time writing it. I wanted to relay to the reader what exactly Link did do inbetween Ocarina of Time/Majora's Mask and the start of this story; so that yes, he did indeed undo all the damage Ganondorf had done. I also establish why Saria is sick and what needs to be done to make her better which becomes a quest in and of itself in a few chapters. Furthermore, building the rapport between Impa and Link was important due to events that occurred in her past that will be important in later acts.
Chapter 12: The King’s Folly
It was a joy to finally come back to Ruto and build the critical transition point for her character. It was enormously fun to write the interaction between Link and Ruto which should further cement to the reader just how deep she has fallen in love with him. This chapter changed little from the initial 27 chapter draft I created in a previous year; however I did add a new character, Veraca, to the story that I decided would have a much larger role to play once I decided to take Ruto on a different path. For the crafty eye, I included a shout out to Lord of the Rings in this chapter; it wasn't the first shout out to occur in this fanfic but it definitely wouldn't be the last. Ever since this chapter, I made it a point to make as many shout outs to other movies, comics, books and games as I could while having it still fit realistically into the story. Enjoy finding each one!
Chapter 13: Setting the Stage
This chapter didn't actually exist in the initial 27 chapter draft. I realized I needed an illuminating chapter which detailed Ganondorf's release from prison and to introduce two wildly popular and interesting characters. Their roles were not fully realized in my mind when I first wrote them into this chapter. They actually grew into those roles as I continued writing through the fanfic and found better uses for them. The first part of the chapter was actually part of a much later chapter when the Gerudo were introduced proper, but it felt supremely out of place there and disjointed the entire chapter. It felt far smoother to place it here just prior to Ganondorf's escape, detailing their entire culture up front so that there wouldn't be any exposition later which would only halt the forward momentum of the story.
Chapter 14: Switching Gears
We needed Link to surface at a nearby waterway from Zora's Domain here and hint at a possible friend; furthermore, placing this waterway here accessible by Zoras plays a pretty integral role at the far tail end of act 3, best to plant the seed of these things in the reader's mind now. I wanted to lull the reader into a false sense of security with Impa regaling the defenses of the town before swiping the rug out. My singular goal here was to press Link to his next quest which would elaborate further on the Goron’s status and split the heroes in ways that hadn't been done yet. My goal with Malon was to put her in a position to be with Link for the next 2 acts so they could further grow their budding relationship.
Chapter 15: Captured
This was a very important chapter to me; it brought Link and Malon together for the next couple dozen or so chapters and it introduced the third commander to the reader. My goal was to make him far different from the other two and establish something odd about him that the reader would not pick up on until act 3. Talamir and Timner may be an equal match for Link, but I wanted to put Thanan at a severe advantage in comparison to make him a more viable threat come act 3. Given the dynamic battle in the forest with Epona in the middle, I decided I would have unique situations for each major battle that would spice up the action. In this instance, we have Malon working for the first time with Link to bring down a foe; we also have a 'present' left by the Gorons which helps liven up the battle as well. In the end, I wanted to leave the reader wanting to know more...thus the cliffhanger.
Chapter 16: Through the Heart of Hell
Another tough chapter to write; I knew I wanted to push the boundaries a bit here with the villains' treatment of Link, but I also didn't want to make it completely emasculating. I don't like to write torture just for torture's sake, I decided to utilize Naar as the exposition lead for explaining a bit further about the Kokiri bond and hint a few more tidbits on Thanan's overall character. Most readers might not pick up on the small pieces of information I let slip here, but they become important later on. I made sure that Link was set in an impossible situation with the only solution being a dues ex machina; however that, in itself, is explained in a later chapter as to why it occurred so it ultimately is justified. Either way, readers should leave the chapter feeling both relieved and in awe of Link's powerful companions.
Chapter 17: Revelations of Birth
This chapter was fun to write and expand on Link's origin story by linking him to an unlikely source. His heritage would become a very pivotal plot point and the source of a very important quest in acts 2 and 3. Knowing well the full story of his origin, I had to be careful how much I revealed here through Impa. I wanted to ensure the readers only got what they needed to know at this juncture and no more. The rest would come as it became important to the story; so I also had to come up with a valid reason in a later chapter why Impa would reveal only this much to Link. This was just the start of the great diversions from canon in the Zelda universe but one, I feel, still fits into the mythos and could very well fit into it nicely.
Chapter 18: A Place of Refuge
I wanted a change of plans to become evident here. Impa was left behind in the previous chapter to take care of Epona and her sister Sheikah was sent to waylay any soldiers on their tail. So that put Link and Malon in a position to follow Zelda wherever she told them to go. Something should seem a bit off about this plan that Impa had Zelda propose; it would make more sense to retreat into the mountains and take refuge with the Gorons. This becomes a very powerful plot point in act 3 and it puts Link and co. on a collision path with Ganondorf, for better or for worse. Keeping in vein with my previous action sequences, I wanted a third element to enter the fray; I was rewarded when I came up with the idea of including peahats as part of the battle.
Chapter 19: Enter the Gerudo
The shout out title is an easy one to spot. I wanted the Gerudo entrance into the story proper to be a strong one. They were to immediately clash against two commanders of Naar's army and almost fail if it weren't for an intervention. This sets up the stage for the induction of Link's group into their abode and a fast way out of harm's way from the Nevachreans. I always had this plan straight from the start of writing; with the Gerudo at their side and their access to magical assets, they were in a better position to form a plan and strike out in the future against Naar. Following previous action sequences, the suspension bridge was the additional element to the battle.
Chapter 20: Practical Medicine
With only a brief glimpse of Nabooru in an earlier chapter, I wanted to quickly establish what type of person she was and how she would treat and interact with Link and co. In what I hoped would be a surprising turn of events, the Gerudo would allow them to live under their protection. A minor plot point, but still important, I wanted to establish the false identity of Zelda as a boy so that it would make more sense why she could stay there by Link's side. Knowing full well their culture, Impa was wise to keep Zelda close to Link by pulling off the ruse lest she become indoctrinated into their culture like Malon would be. I also wanted to finally put Saria's endangerment story to rest here; it was originally going to be Malon who took the arrow for Link but seeing how later events would play out similarly, I felt it more poignant for Saria to do it and display her concern and emotions for Link.
Chapter 21: Sacking of the Castle
I knew that the heroes would have little interaction with the primary villain for quite a long time to come; so I didn't want him to be completely forgotten about or decrease in lethal intensity over the course of the story. So I made a deliberate point to keep cutting back to what he was doing and what his plans were; and in the process reveal a bit more about his backstory to reveal why he is the way he is. This particular chapter I wanted to elaborate a bit more on his ulterior motives for claiming Hyrule as his own; he is seeking more knowledge with regards to the Triforce which puts him in the running with one other particular antagonist!
Chapter 22: Interrogation
This chapter was solely based around one huge reveal; so I made damn sure that I built up to that reveal by prolonging the interaction between these two characters until it was finally discovered. I may have hinted at it several times over the course of the story, but here is where it is outright said, the blunt truth. This becomes a factor in future relationships in the coming acts, specifically act 3. I also wanted to keep the player guessing as to what I was doing with Ganondorf; he is a crafty tactician and not one for making decisions rashly or without prior research. Like chapter 9 before it, this is mainly a character piece, but a lot of exposition is revealed here.
Chapter 23: Truth or Dare
This was a very fun chapter to write. I wanted to ensure readers that Impa was with them and Epona was safe; this would set up character developments starting at the beginning of act 2. The overall scene with Ganondorf and his elders was a way to fully flesh out not just their culture but Ganondorf himself. He will have acquired a very valuable piece of information that will help shape and change his motives and ambitions that won't be fully revealed until late in act 3. Also I subtly expanded on the various relationships between specific Gerudo elders as well. Finally I hinted at specific capabilities of the rubies that the Gerudo have embedded in their foreheads; the ramifications of which won't be fully realized until much later.
Chapter 24: A Prophecy Foretold
Every good epic needs to have some sort of prophecy thrown in there, right? Well, this was my version of one! The first half was mainly character development and interaction; after a lot of fast paced story plot, we needed to cool our jets a bit and focus on specific character groupings that had been ignored for awhile. That and these groupings would be gathered in such a way that Nabooru would need to show specifically those characters the prophecy. As for the prophecy itself, it was me basically detailing to myself how I wanted the final events of the story to go, yet reveal very little to the reader at this stage of the fanfic. Finally, we find more surprising elements of being a Kokiri and their connection to possibly a higher power.
Chapter 25: The Message
This was one chapter I had at the tail end of my first initial 27 chapter draft of the story. I knew an agent of Naar would deliver an offering of negotiation but I wasn't exactly sure what or who it would be and how it would be delivered. It wasn't until the rewrite that I finally settled on a more sinister aspect to Naar's offering. I also utilized this opportunity to expand upon Nabooru and Ganondorf's character and develop them in ways readers may not expect given their past histories. Finally, I wanted to separate the various heroes in different sections of the Gerudo Fortress so various events could happen to each character; this offering helped enable that.
Chapter 26: Visitors in the Night
This is quite the complex chapter. The first brief portion is basically to set the reader up for something awful, nothing more. The second part is critical to how Link gets an important item. Even more pivotal is his meeting with this smiling character; he may seem to be a very minor, inconsequential character, but he plays a far bigger role behind the scenes than it first appears. I rewrote this section 3-4 times trying to get his interactions just right with Link; it was tough to have him feel a bit...off and yet remain true to his character depicted in the games. Finally, the third part of the chapter was my attempt at foreshadowing a major event in act 3 and my attempt at horror writing. I felt I did an admirable job in creating a sense of fear, dread and unease so that readers were right there alongside Saria during her panic.
Chapter 27: Shutting Out the World
Forging onward with the horror aspect of writing, I wanted this transformation to be as horrifying as possible and make the characters helpless in its wake. This was to set up a later skirmish in act 3 of a similar nature and establish a specific type of weapon that could potential destroy these villains. The source of this weapon's power will be later introduced in act 2 and will be quite critical to the heroes’ success; I felt introducing it here in act 1 in this fashion put the seed in the reader's mind that there is hope here. Finally, Saria and her new condition; this was all part of one big elaborate setup based on a dare from someone that won't be fully realized until act 3. The pay off for this miracle will result in quite a few successful story arcs.
Chapter 28: Transitions
Since we basically are leaping forward seven years into the future since the previous chapter, there was a lot of information I had to get across to the reader to ensure everything was understood as to where our heroes stood with regards to the Gerudo. I had to update their social status within their tribe and culture and how much Malon, Link and Saria have progressed as characters. I wanted to do it in a way that wouldn't be just one massive exposition bomb but rather be revealed over the course of several character interactions; so the idea of transitioning from a training environment to one of going to take a bath provided the perfect opportunity to have Link meet the essential characters he needed to so that pertinent information could be revealed.
Chapter 29: Separating the Two
This chapter served dual purposes. The first half provided the impetus for Ganondorf to send Link onto the next stage of his journey and the logic and reasoning behind that decision. We also get to see Terrance creating weapons for the Gerudo which will play a larger part in the final battles; but also to hint at future events in the subsequent chapters regarding where the poison for these weapons was acquired. The second half is primarily a character interaction piece to display how far Zelda and Link's relationship has gone since living together all these years. Even displaying a budding attraction there on Zelda's part which will be explained in a bit more detail as to why this is during Act 3.
Chapter 30: Setting Forth
Impa makes a rather fateful decision here in not accompanying the kids on their journey. This will come into play later when other lives are saved as a result of her actions. Beyond that, this is firstly a transition chapter, setting up each character's path for the remainder of act 2 and further developing where each character's relationship had progressed over these past seven years. Finally, due to the incident at the end of the chapter, we also get to see that Ganondorf still has his fangs as a villain and has not lost them over time. He may be merciful at this present juncture, but one should not try his patience.
Chapter 31: Loss of Innocence
For this chapter, the reveal was everything. I waited for the last possible minute, giving clues and hints along the way as to who the second person could be with Naar until the final name drop, which I hoped would surprise a lot of people. Furthermore, this is also the first sex chapter; instead of going the predictable route by having the first true sex scene of the book be between Link and another female, I decided to give that honor to Naar. This relationship he has established with her will set the tone for the remainder of her actions and provide the backdrop for her mental psyche. Despite the gratuitous romping, a lot of information is given out between the two that will become important later on in primarily act 2 and part of act 3. I've always preferred giving out exposition through action rather than someone simply spelling it all out for the reader.
Chapter 32: A Night Under the Stars
It was at this point that I was still trying to create some sort of love trio between Link, Malon and Zelda. I hadn't fully realized yet that this could pose some problems from a writing standpoint; I had set up Link in such a way that it would be rather hard to create a situation in which he would completely give himself over to another woman he hadn't fallen in love with fully. Despite this, I was still trying to make it work by establishing the three of them as the best of friends; bolstered by living together for over seven years amongst the Gerudo. Sometimes being the outcasts together can make you closer as a result. This chapter was also a lull in the action and helped service the reader's understanding of who the other four Gerudo characters were and gauge which ones would be ultimately friendly to our heroes or not.
Chapter 33: Contemplations on Existence
There are a lot of calm, non-action oriented chapters here at the start of act 2; I needed a lot of chapters to help work into what I was trying to set up for act 2 which would ultimately carry over into act 3. There was a lot to get across to the reader and because of this, I devoted quite a few chapters up front to establish a lot of characters, their motives, their positions with regards to the overall plot and more. In this chapter, I wanted to cut back from Link a second time to simulate the passage of time during their travels and focus on two characters we've barely gotten to know over the course of this story. They barely played a huge role in act 1 and I wanted to have them share a personal moment together and expand upon Saria's feelings and flesh out her overall character arc that she will go through over the course of the story.
Chapter 34: Enter the Cyn’Taak
I was very excited for this chapter to come; I was going to introduce a brand new species to the Zelda universe and I wanted it to be as unique as possible. I tossed out tons of ideas until I settled on something that was similar in nature to a manticore but was more reptilian in nature. My goal was to make them so lethal and dangerous, with inherent properties that wouldn't even be revealed until much later, that Link and co. wouldn't dare face them head on. The goal of this chapter was to make the entire group and the reader completely unnerved and grossed out upon seeing these creatures in action that they would literally fear for the character's lives if they ever countered one officially. Which, of course, makes later scenes with one particular Cyn'Taak all the more impactful. (yes I just made up that word)
Chapter 35: Lover’s Quarrel
This was part of that dare from a friend to have Link mate with every female from OOT. I knew it couldn't be done in the normal fashion nor would it be your typical sex scene either. Because of the path I led this character on, so vastly different from our heroes, I couldn't write their time together in any other way. It could only happen this way between them, and that is what's sad and makes her a tragic character in the end. I deliberated long and hard how the events should flow so that when the cliffhanger came, the reader would be completely engrossed in the action and want to know how the hell they were going to get out of it! My goal with Malon was to split her from the group to help introduce another character and set up a moral dilemma a few chapters on, this chapter helped achieve those ends.
Chapter 36: Flight From the Dark
Ruto had served her purpose at this specific juncture in the story; to set her up for later events in act 3, I needed to get her apart from Link and co. or her story arc would never progress past this point. I took this opportunity to reintroduce a character we had only seen briefly in act 1 that most readers probably already forgot about, but who becomes a major player in act 3. I also utilized this opportunity to thin out the herd of Gerudo tagging along with Link so I could better manage the amount of characters since I would be soon adding a crapton more in just a few chapters.
Chapter 37: The Southern Raiders
After many chapters of inactivity, we get three chapters back to back with nonstop action! Keeping with the theme from act 1 of having battles revolve around unique circumstances, I decided to move the combat onto horseback and engage two other factions into the mix just to stir up the crazy in the story. I kept adding more things on until I felt it had just the right amount of chaos to be utterly ridiculous yet still believable. My singular goal with this chapter however, was to set up the introduction of a rather surprising group of characters that I hoped no reader ever saw coming. I wanted to display their prowess in battle by the stunts and amazing feats they pull off during the battle; to better establish their lethality so the reader can take that into account for later chapters.
Chapter 38: Conspirators in Crime
This chapter is a doozy! The first third deals with the witches and my intention of establishing them as characters who wouldn't hesitate to backstab their own kin for the sake of their ambitions. They help kickstart the next few events with Ganondorf via their discussion here. The second third deals with Malon, just so we can get a realistic picture of who these people are within the village of Yolland; and to ease the reader's mind as to Malon's fate. The final third helps bring in a character, like the previous chapter, that I hoped no reader saw coming. And since it was Malon, I felt it was apt that she be the first one to be introduced to him. Knowing full well that I just dropped two cliffhangers both on Link's end and Malon's, it seemed like a good time to break away here and discover what some of the other characters were up to.
Chapter 39: Little Listener
I had a hard time writing this chapter until I realized I needed a single character to provide a through line for the chapter. Saria became that one character who logically had access to all the characters I needed to hit so that later events as a result of this chapter could occur. I aimed to illuminate the status on Talon and Nabooru since their recent maltreatment by either Ganondorf or the Gerudo, so utilizing Saria as the vessel for the reader, I helped weave through those story points. With the help of Impa, Saria becomes a key cornerstone in their future plans; I am slowly building up to the eventual movement of a bunch of characters!
Chapter 40: The Bomber Gang
This was a hard chapter to write. I had a lot of information to get out and I had to tread carefully around each of the characters so every one got their due. My biggest challenge was embellishing on Kafei's character; what little I knew of him from Majora's Mask had to be applied here and then expanded upon. Since this 'IS' this world's version of Kafei and not Termina's, he still could be different. I saw that Kafei was kind, caring, compassionate and very chivalrous in Majora's Mask, so I took all those attributes and applied them here. However, in a small scene with the thief, Sakon, I saw that he can be hot-headed and rash in his decisions. This unique angle helped me identify exactly where I was going to go with him. Finally, the rest of the Bomber Gang was very much a clean slate and could be developed in any way I saw fit. So I made each boy unique in personality and temperament.
Chapter 41: Lingering Doubt
Sensing that I needed to flesh out Kafei's character further in a short amount of time before specific events went down, I took the liberty with this chapter to take a break from moving the plot forward and focus specifically on Kafei and his gang of kids. I wanted the reader to get a feel for him and how they've been living and why. This chapter naturally flowed as I wrote it and it was quite easy to complete in a single night. I wanted to have the humanity of these kids shine through despite all the horrid things they have had to do and learn. I put a lot of effort into this group to differentiate between their personalities and set up one of them to become a major player later on. I also wanted to plant the seed of doubt in the reader's mind as to what the whole situation truly was.
Chapter 42: The Nature of Ingo
After the shock of two major characters being introduced from left field, I took the previous chapter and this one to help establish their characters to the reader. Using Ingo's nature and what we know of him from Ocarina of Time, I decided to expand on his disagreeable traits but also take it in a different direction via his commitment to his family. He would be an integral character for the rest of act 2 and I wanted to make sure people at least identified him through his family and how much he had changed because of them. I also wanted Malon to build some semblance of a rapport with him so later chapters wouldn't be so awkward between the two of them. Finally I turned chapter 37's title upside down on its head; basically tricking the reader this whole time as to the real threat.
Chapter 43: The Crossroads
This was quite the pivotal chapter, it helped establish to the reader that not all inhabitants of Nevachrea were evil and that there was some humanity worth saving in that country. This provided the perfect moral backdrop for the ultimate clash between Link and the primary villain of this chapter. Two warring ideologies were fighting for dominance and I wanted to utilize this opportunity to press home the grave error on Link's part in fully trusting someone he did not know and as a result, there is much death and loss because of this mistake. It'll change the way Link thinks, makes decisions and how he treats his enemies for the remainder of the fanfic.
Chapter 44: We Are the Monsters
After the disastrous events of the previous chapter, I knew that I had to have Link and co. decimate the villains in question. However, I didn't want to completely waste a good set of characters like that. So I chose one of them to survive the ordeal to later become crucial to their victory later on in act 3 and help develop the arc of another character in the company which would have stagnated otherwise. Finally, I made this chapter quite brutal for a specific reason; I wanted to illuminate to the reader on just how deranged and deadly Apolloni could be as well as set up Link to question himself if what they did was even in the best interest of everyone involved. This is a defining moment for him and I wanted to get that 'just' right.
Chapter 45: Breaking the Barrier
I wanted to finally start moving the Gerudo to a position where they could reasonably strike out from in act 3 as well as finally move Impa and co. to where Link was. So I needed a reason to actually force them to finally move away from the fortress. Just when it seems the entire situation at the Gerudo is starting to fall apart, we are delivered into a sequence where our heroes team up with the villain over a common interest which will help catapult Ganondorf into areas of his character I was excited about exploring in future chapters! I also took the time to cut away from the frenetic action with Link and co. to come back here and put Impa and co. on their journey to meet up with him. If I had done this any later or sooner, than the timelines between them leaving and when they meet Link would not have matched up well.
Chapter 46: Turning the Wheels
Another multi-layered chapter. The first third demonstrates that after seven years, not all is well in Naar's camp and he must resort to other means in securing victory and pacifying his troops, part of which will play a part in act 3! We also get to see the beginnings of a vile plan that won't come to fruition until late in act 3. The second third returned us to Ruto and how she is faring. It had been quite a few chapters and I didn't want the readers to not hear about her struggles until the start of act 3. So I made sure she was taken care of here before the final events of act 2 just to keep her situation at the forefront of the reader's mind. The final third sets up to what I hope is going to be a grand reveal at the end of act 2 and hints at a few plot points regarding the Gerudo that won't be further fleshed out until later in acts 2 and 3. I give out a lot of tidbits of info in this chapter that I really don't expand upon until much later; a chapter of foreshadowing indeed!
Chapter 47: The High Priest
A rather short chapter, but it sets up a critical plot point with regards to how the Nevachreans are achieving their immortality. I also take the opportunity to introduce a new villain that has been previously hinted at. My goal with his character was to make him altogether disagreeable and set up an aura of unnatural evil around him. I wanted to make his dealings in the arcane so profane and the temple he helped build so grotesque that it stood in stark contrast to everything else thus far in the fanfic. I wanted to plant the seed in the reader's mind that there just might be forces at work far beyond what has been revealed in the story and there might be far bigger players here. We also briefly see a new character who isn't exactly named here but will be important later in act 2; most readers may not give him much attention at first until a second reading.
Chapter 48: The Long Journey South
This chapter is a great break in the plot and its sole focus is not to advance anything at all, but to elaborate on the various character interactions within. I wanted to set up conversation match ups here that would help progress character arcs forward and help set up great payoffs in either the end of act 2 or in act 3. Since we hadn't really delved much lately into the world of Zelda and its various denizens of animals and monsters, I felt the Wolfos was a great beast to bring into the chapter for no other reason than for backdrop. I felt it helps keep the story grounded in this universe, I thought that if I continued to introduce too many new things/creatures without bringing in old, known ones that it would start feeling less like Zelda. Finally, since Majora's Mask doesn't really have a true role to play until act 3, I had to keep figuring out ways to remind readers where exactly it was in the story.
Chapter 49: Princess of Twilight
A reader asked if I was going to include Midna into the story; little did he know that I was going to! Just not in the way people might expect. In reality, she doesn't have a huge role to play in this story, yet the results of her actions have a profound effect on the entire story and the fate of hundreds of characters! Her small cameo here is so subtle that you may not realize the true ramifications of what transpired here until you finish the fanfic. Although a minor character in the grand plot of the story, she is a major player in the destiny of Hyrule! As for portraying her within my story, I had a hard time finding just the right amount of snark, seriousness, empathy and menace for her. We all know by now she isn't a true villain but we also know she can be quite selfish for her own ends. So it took several days to finally come upon a dialogue between her and the witches that nailed down who she is as a character. Hopefully people enjoy her as a one scene wonder.
Chapter 50: Gaining Entrance
A transition chapter for lack of a better description. They needed a way to get into Glaun'rung and the concept of the Gorman brothers from Majora's Mask played heavily into my decision to have Ingo from Ocarina of Time have brothers as well. By establishing him and his brothers as Nevachrean born, I could set up the scene where it would make sense of there being a mole on the inside of the capital with which they could utilize to gain entrance. Since Francis is so similar to Ingo, I found it tough to differentiate their personalities, but once I landed on the fact that Francis is more fastidious and a perfectionist where his brother is more slovenly, it helped me cement who he was and how he'd act in future chapters. Finally, I bring up the budding romance between Malon and Link in preparation for an event that I bet a lot of readers have been waiting for.
Chapter 51: Reunion at the Gates
The primary goal of this chapter was to get the two groups of heroes together in one place for the finale of act 2. However, before that we needed to set up some background history revolving around the reason why this war even started and the main heroes connection to those fateful events that were the cause of this war. We also get a look at the defenses and how Glaun'rung is set up regarding the differences between social classes and how they live their lives. I bring in Talamir and Timner for the sole reason to keep them relevant to the overall story by their presence; there is always a lingering threat that they could be discovered at any time by Naar's commanders.
Chapter 52: Reawakening the Past
We establish how the heroes have been living for the past few days, building reconnaissance and information about how best to infiltrate the enemy's temple. I set up a basic plan where readers can expect what is coming next even if it doesn't exactly happen how the heroes want it to! I take the time to flesh out character relationships here and give a reason for Impa and Zelda to depart from their company. Giving the events of Skyward Sword, the final events of act 2 and basically all of act 3 wouldn't exist if the backstory to that game hadn't existed. Giving the background of Skyward Sword, I decided to take the story on a more grandiose path and make it far more epic than it was originally planned to be; the first dream Zelda has here merely expands on that concept. I also had fun re-envisioning the events from the Zelda Manga and how Zelda goes back to relive her past.
Chapter 53: Intimate Encounters
I know a lot of readers were waiting a long time for this chapter. I knew I had to approach it with a delicate hand; many fanfic sex scenes involve a lot of unrealistic displays of sexual actions and how the characters act. I knew I wanted to steer as far away from that stereotype as possible. So my initial goal was to make a sexual encounter between Link and Malon true to their characters; it would be something that wasn't crass or gratuitous, there is PLENTY of that already in the fanfic. I wanted to make their mating something heartfelt, sweet and overall passionate even if a bit humorous. They were two virgins copulating for the first time, I wanted to write them that way - no one is a Casanova from the beginning! The scene with Epona was just icing on the cake and a great way to add more ridiculous humor to the piece. Finally, I remind readers of Saria's wishes and wants at the end to continue expanding upon a future plot point in act 3.
Chapter 54: Under the Cover of Black
Like any good classic drama, action, adventure, the heroes execute the plan flawlessly without a hitch. However, something always goes awry and I decided to play it out to the max extent possible by putting our heroes in one of the worst situations possible. We reveal the true reason for Nevachrean immortality and get hints at Barrachas' master plan which gets amazingly simplified in this very chapter. I flesh out the full reasons why this war was even enabled by Barrachas and his ilk a bit later, but readers can get a feel for the ambitious scope of their plan here. We finally place two villains in a position where they can go out in a blaze of glory and boy, do they ever!
Chapter 55: The Evil Revealed
I had the concept for this demonic creature for quite a while and I was supremely excited to finally get to use it in one of my works. I wanted it to be such an insurmountable abomination that Link and co. literally had to band together with a few former villains to even defeat it. With the reveal of this new, more powerful force in the fanfic, I had to make things seem impossible and place the heroes in a situation where they are wildly out of their league. Only by uniting can they even be remotely successful. The final sequence of this chapter sets up one of the biggest twists in the story in the next chapter and of course establishes a crucial plot point that'll be pivotal in the final chapters of act 3! The Hunger was based on The Elder Scrolls enemy, but I wanted to expand on his design in such a way that it would be miles beyond anything anyone expected it could be. The death of a character here should come as a shock and provide the impetus for the reader to immediately progress to the next chapter.
Chapter 56: A Piece of the Goddess
Readers may have already guessed long ago the big reveal at the start of the chapter here, but I tried my best to keep it hidden for as long as I could until this very chapter. We basically set up the biggest twist of the story which puts a fourth type of bloodline within Link that couldn't have been possible any other way, that and it sets up a coupling later in act 3! After being completely powerless to do much against these new types of villains (thanks to Skyward Sword for actually opening up the possibility of demons!), this sudden shift in Link's power was an amazing thing to write for. I knew that once I gave him these traits, that I would be really putting myself into a corner with how I'd treat them and the part they'd play in act 3; so I made sure I knew full well the end result of this development before I took the plunge and gave him his newfound abilities. Finally, I wanted to end act 2 on a rather somber, bittersweet note and I couldn't find any better way to do that than end it with Link and Malon.
Chapter 57: Fate of Their Friends
I knew I wanted a long chapter involving Link and co. to start off act 3, however something didn't feel quite right and there was no real 'opening' in the story to fit in a chapter like this to elaborate on both the Zoras and Gorons if I started with Link first. So I decided to place this chapter at the start of act 3 to ease the player into (what would be) the longest act of the fanfic by focusing on characters other than Link and co. After so many chapters being away from these characters, it felt good to come back and explore how they progressed and developed since we last saw them. Furthermore, with Darunia, I finally had a chance to establish his character, since we had yet to actually meet him officially in the story. So he was a joy to write. Since later events required a new character to make them work, I felt it prudent to introduce her here first so players aren't blindsided with her later.
Chapter 58: Hard Work
Unlike the previous chapter which launched act 3, this one did not give any major hints or foreshadowing of future plot events at all; instead it was another character piece where my sole focus was building reader's love for these characters. By establishing the rapport that grew amongst them over the course of a month, I felt it was the perfect way to reintroduce them all for the final act and show how much things had changed as a result of their actions since the end of act 2. Now to completely quell all confusion as to what Link could or could not do with his wings, I wrote this chapter specifically to demonstrate both their advantages and disadvantages. He was not going to be all powerful because of this piece of the Goddess inside him; I wanted the readers to understand that. Finally, we reveal that Malon and Link's relationship has not gone unnoticed amongst the crew and something amazing has been produced as a result of it; that and I couldn't resist adding some nice humor at the end because of it!
Chapter 59: By Dawn’s Early Light
Holy foreshadowing Batman, this chapter is full of it! Even though I briefly touched upon final events of this fanfic in act 1, I barely mentioned them at all in act 2. Now at the start of act 3, I bring back the masked salesman to deliver some much needed set up for act 3's finale. I also needed to provide the impetus to completely split up the group of heroes over the majority of act 3. They are strong when they are united, so the best way to deal with that situation was to come up with a logical reason/plan for why they should separate and thus become weaker as a result. The final twist reveal at the end puts our villain back in the spotlight as someone you can't ignore or discount as a major player in the events to come!
Chapter 60: Abandoned
My goal with pairing certain characters up that hadn't been together or developed relationships much previously was to help spruce up their story arcs; I tried to figure out interesting pairings during the major character split at the start of act 3 so each 'storyline' could have unique interactions and potential for certain events to occur. This chapter follows Malon in the aftermath of Link's departure and her interaction with each major character who was left behind; some conspiracy theory is introduced into the story and the villain backstabbing doesn't stop here! The previous chapter should have felt a bit 'off' until the end; that was the intention. Overall goal of the chapter? Cement new character dynamics that will be played out over the course of the next dozen or so chapters and move the plot along a tiny bit.
Chapter 61: Campfire Memories
Act 3 starts off a bit slow compared to the previous, but I wanted to continue fleshing out these new dynamics between the characters. I felt these particular character combinations hadn't been explored with in the story thus far and I took the opportunity to do nothing but develop their relationships with each other. I also hint at a specific location from Twilight Princess here which makes another appearance in the epilogue of this story. Finally we see the blooming relationship between Zelda and Link here and how they interact and become closer to one another; at the time of writing this chapter, I 'was' still intent on having them be sexual at some point. So I made sure their friendship went to a different level with this chapter since they really hadn't had a real chance to be together away from Malon since the Gerudo Fortress
Chapter 62: Flight of the Children
The whole basis of the deep thundering and cracking of ice came from a scene in the Disney movie Frozen where a huge structure of ice made exactly those sounds. As for the actual chapter, since Ingo had more or less fulfilled his role in the fanfic, I needed to get him away from the three children of this story. The witches and the ongoing conspiracy theory proved an excellent tool to push Malon and co. out the door towards a third branching storyline. We got to see glimpses of how awesome Ashley was previously, but we really see him come into his own with this chapter. The introduction of the Zoras provided a good escape tool for the writing when it seemed I had backed my story up into a corner with no way out; good thing I set up that plot point in chapter 58! Since we only saw a brief moment of awesomeness with the witches at the end of act 2, I thought it would be cool to see their combined form again here in a rather frightening way.
Chapter 63: Changing the Pieces
Oh boy, this chapter is shocking in several ways! The first half was very rough to write, as I said earlier, I don't like writing torture for torture's sake; however this specific plot point needed to be expanded upon so it wasn't some crazy ass pull from left field at the end of act 3. I don't particularly enjoy writing these types of scenes, but I needed to stay true to the type of character Naar was; if I deviated from that, he instantly became unbelievable with what I already established. The second scene was where I was worried the most, however. This involves a rather serious decision on my part to advance the plot forward and narrow down who I had to keep track of. This splits the storyline branches into four now for act 3 and helps pave the way for some important story points to occur later. I figured if people could get on board for the ending of this chapter, then I would be okay with the final decisions I would have to make for this fanfic.
Chapter 64: Going in Circles
Major Lord of the Rings influence going on in this chapter! To keep this story grounded in the Zelda universe, I felt this was the perfect opportunity to introduce another familiar denizen of the Zelda universe: Skulltulas! The first half demonstrates the strain this journey has taken on the dynamics of the group, especially when compared to how they were treating each other in chapter 61! I wanted to convey to the reader how fruitless their search for the Gorons was when coming from this direction and how they would never find them. However, I used the Skulltulas as a means to an end; they would unwittingly be the link that connects Link and co. up with their ultimate destination. So the cliffhanger was written with purpose to push Link towards the goal, even if he or the reader don't realize it.
Chapter 65: Standing Watch
To take a small break in the action and to infuriate anxious readers, I decided to cut back to other characters. Since we left Impa in a rather tight spot, I wanted to fully realize her current situation and what she was to do next without totally revealing to the reader what it could be. The second half, I must apologize for the Frozen reference, but given I was propelling the finale to occur at the start of winter, I felt it was the perfect opportunity for this shout out. Like I mentioned before, my goal in act 3 was all about placing characters together that weren't normally found together in the two previous acts. So my setup for the cliffhanger here was planned well in advance of actually writing the chapter. My goal was to surprise and delight readers with the potential for something drastic to occur in the next chapter.
Chapter 66: Charlie Foxtrot
Charlie Foxtrot is a nice way of saying 'cluster fuck' which is exactly how I wanted this chapter to be. Taking cues from my previous chapter 37 - The Southern Raiders, I wanted events to continue to build on one another until it turned into something utterly ridiculous and cross the line into absurdity. This was one action sequence I carefully planned out so I knew exactly where all the 'triggers' were that would spawn the next event to occur and build on the chaos. We see just how formidable a fighter Ruto is and how outmatched Malon truly is against her. This engagement propels Malon forward to a path that will run her into a collision course with the Gerudo. For the next dramatic events to be feasible, the group needed to be split yet again as a result of this disastrous turn of events. I truly had fun writing this chapter, almost sadistically enjoying it.
Chapter 67: Caught in the Web
Taking major cues from The Hobbit, it formed the overall basis for the primary action set piece of this chapter. Since there are no trees to climb in this particular version of this action scene concept, I utilized the combined forces of Saria and Link to accomplish the same effect and provide extra suspense and dread for both characters. Since the Skulltulas were not slated to reappear again for the remainder of the fanfic, I made absolutely sure they made a great (read: terrible) impression on the reader. I took everything I hate about spiders and inserted them into this chapter and I hope it pays off. We finally see at the end of the chapter how Link finally meets up with his friends, but to flip the idea on its head he does not meet who he thinks he would meet. Instead, the result is less than ideal and we meet a new character that is only given a brief passing mention in this chapter but will become rather important real soon.
Chapter 68: Investigating the Truth
Since we are introduced to Cayla pretty abruptly in the story and so far into it, I decided to utilize this chapter after her first meeting with Link, to truly flesh out who she was and how she would act. Once I figured out her reasons for why she is the way she is, it became much easier to write for her character. Even though I didn't reveal to the reader just yet why Cayla is so jaded, I made sure hints of it were placed in this chapter to be expanded upon in later chapters. The overall point of the chapter is twofold, we get to know Cayla a bit so the reader will accept her as a major player for the rest of act 3 and we get to take a step back and really evaluate from an outsider's point of view Link and co. and their overall purpose of why they had come there.
Chapter 69: Spiritual Encounters
Since we hadn't explored how these thee new characters, Darunia, Cayla and Sasha, would interact with the existing crew, I took the time to develop the dynamics between them as they hovered around Link. Being by his bedside as he recovered provided the perfect conditions for interesting dialogues and developments between the characters. Furthermore, we outline the way ahead for the acquisition of the Goron Ruby; without this pertinent info up front here, it would be hard to later explain to the reader why the heroes were going to see the dragons at all. Finally, the Saria scene was a result of one huge dare by one of my fans to have Link mate with all major Ocarina of Time females. (Sorry Nabooru, you don't count) However, since I really wanted to stray away from pedophilia/lolita and other similar icky places to take this writing, I wanted to instead make the encounter very unique, very intimate and ultimately endearing and sweet between the two of them. It took 69 chapters to set up all the required conditions to make this happen realistically within the universe and not compromise my own morals in doing so, and I think I truly succeeded in creating a connection between the two that was wholly unique.
Chapter 70: Entrenched in the Desert
Since the deaths of Talamir and Timner and with Thanan currently MIA, the primary villain of this piece was mainly Naar. I needed a new villain lackey to be introduced into the fold at this juncture. Rereading back on my previous chapters, I noticed a description of a rather large man who kidnapped Malon; seeing as how I could make this character into something rather interesting and dangerous for our heroes, Argonim was born. He is similar in nature to Naar except he is a lot bigger, beefier and skilled in the art of warfare. The only thing he lacks in comparison to Naar is the ability to use magick. He will provide a good foil to several of our heroes. The second half of the chapter isn't anything specifically earth shattering, however we tease the reader a bit with Ruto and where her loyalties lie. Making her an enigma was a small bit of brilliance and keeps the reader guessing what she'll ultimately do.
Chapter 71: The Child is Gone
I debated long and hard about whether I should even include this chapter at all; but I knew I needed to expand on the witches' role that they play in the story as well as the entire Gerudo nation. To reveal to the reader just how far they'd go to maintain control of their people; this unfortunate scene had to occur and paint them perfectly as the monsters that they are. We also get to see the results of Midna's meddling with the witches via the magick they use to make the Gerudo into something altogether monstrous. This chapter is terrifying on several levels and I wanted to instill in the reader a feeling of loathing and hatred for the Gerudo and what they've become. The surprise twist at the end and its ultimate 'final' ending should shock readers that I'm willing to 'give up' on some characters for the sake of our heroes.
Chapter 72: The Siege is Broken
I must personally thank a close friend of mind for detailing in heart wrenching detail what it was like to lose a child. With her permission, I put those thoughts and feelings into Malon at the start of this chapter and it helped fuel the rage she would exert later on. Her character is forever changed from these events and she will never be the same. We make a few ties into Twilight Princess and the reasoning behind the destroyed colossus in that game; sad way to go however for our minor character, but he sure went out with a bang! If Malon and co. learned nothing from this long, terrible journey to the Gerudo, it was the newfound chimeric abilities of the Gerudo which they could go back and warn the others about. I also place a small detail at the end about a future demon that'll be introduced.
Chapter 73: Meeting of the Minds
Knowing that this would be the last and final time we'd see Naar before the endgame of act 3, I wanted to set up a specific interaction between him and another villain which would shape events in the final few chapters that would ultimately decide the fate of thousands. The heated discussion between them was carefully crafted to ensure that neither side had the advantage and each stood a chance at gaining from the deal. We also introduce a brand new demon in this chapter. Since I knew there would be multiple demons present in this story, I wanted to ensure that each one was unique and vastly different from the previous. This one was built with the face hugger Alien in mind, but done in a way that would put it separately as its own entity from the original concept. Hopefully its deliciously gross for readers who love a good demon villain in their stories!
Chapter 74: Sins of the Father
Harkinian was in the story for one sole purpose alone: to provide necessary backstory with which he had the primary authority to tell. No other character in this story would have the credibility to detail specifically the exact reasons for this war and the overall connections between Link, Zelda, Naar, Hyrule, Nevachrea and the Sheikah. I had to reference previous chapters extensively to ensure I did not contradict myself on anything when explaining the detailed backstory to the war. And even still, on this revision, I had to make subtle changes to keep the continuity correct throughout the fanfic. If readers don't exactly make all the connections here, I still reserve some more clarification for a later chapter. I hope that people appreciate the worthy attempt at trying to flesh out the Zelda world by providing a believable backdrop for the events that are transpiring around our heroes.
Chapter 75: Campfire Stories
Like Campfire Memories before it, this chapter is all about character arc development. The primary focus of this particular chapter was setting up a dialogue which would lead to a confrontation with Cayla and ultimately learning about her reasons for being offputting. This is the first turning point in her character development and I had to be careful how I implemented it within the chapter; especially given the amount of humor that was added both before and after the conflict. I also took the opportunity to embellish the relationship between Darunia and Link; given that Darunia is truly the only 'good' male figure in Link's life, there really was no other way to honestly write their scenes together - they screamed for humor! Knowing how I wanted to end the subsequent chapter, I set up a rather interesting dialogue with Nabooru which served several purposes, one was to ready the major punchline of the next chapter but the other was keeping the reader reminded of the horrible dreams various characters are having. These characters are not randomly chosen, they are deliberate.
Chapter 76: Revelations of the Goddess
This was to be one of the biggest plot twists of the fanfic: Zelda's second dream of her former life. This will shape the character she will become and give her abilities she once thought impossible. Skyward Sword is mostly to blame for this even being possible, but I took their idea and went with it! I tried to remain as faithful as I could to the Zelda Manga on the topic, however I wanted to add my own spin that would fit well alongside canon and change one seemingly minor character into something altogether amazing and important. Finally, the sex scene was originally intended to go 'all the way,' however after a review from a reader saying it'd be horribly out of character for Link, I took a serious look at what I was doing with Link and Zelda. After much deliberation, I realized she was right, I couldn't betray what I had done with these characters, so I honored them by taking the situation to the most likely conclusion. Finally, the punch line set up in the previous chapter is delivered in spades at the end of this one! I just love misunderstandings!
Chapter 77: Deep Breath Before the Plunge
Since a lot of questions went unanswered in the previous chapter, I took the chance with all the characters gathered around, to have Zelda and Cayla explain away the remaining questions that might be burning on reader's minds. The split up of characters here isn't exactly a major story point like it was previously, but rather a logical way of getting each grouping of characters across the mountainous ravine to the dragons' lair. The second part of the chapter revisits the dream certain characters are having; there is a connection between all of them even though I don't outright state to the reader what it could be. My goal is to keep the idea of a future danger at the forefront of the story, one that is far deadlier than anything thus far faced.
Chapter 78: The Gathering Gloom
This was a complex chapter which had to keep the reader updated as to the whereabouts of various characters and what they were doing next. Nothing monumental happens in each of the three storylines, but it moves ahead certain characters and puzzle pieces in just the right configurations so events in subsequent chapters can happen properly and without disbelief from the reader. The first revisits this recurring dream and explains the new plan Malon and co. are going to be pulling off next - the person who suggests it should be a nice tell for those paying attention. The second focuses on Impa and where she will be for the endgame finale chapters as well as explain away why Twilight Princess Kakariko is the way it is. Finally, we make a brief cut back to Naar; we don't learn anything drastically new here, but we are treated to a rather nasty surprise that should have some readers counting that character off as good as dead.
Chapter 79: The Order of Masks
Looking to not only extend the chapter length but also explore a friendship between Darunia and Xavier, I focused on the free fun nature of these two characters and how well they complement each other. In the process I display to the reader just how formidable Darunia truly is. The one scene wonder of the alpha male dragon was a tricky piece to write. I took cues from Smaug from The Hobbit in that the less the dragon said, the better it would read. The more left unsaid, the more the reader would read into what the dragon was intending. I utilized this ancient being to elaborate on some specific plot points that involve Majora and a potential falling out from Hylia. Although I never expand on that last point much in the fanfic, I leave it to readers to speculate when, where and how it could have happened. Sometimes not explaining everything to the reader is far more effective than laying it all out bare for them to read.
Chapter 80: The Enemy Within
Splitting Saria from the group seemed to me the most obvious choice with regards to dealing with the dragons. With the rest of the group regarding the party atmosphere, I wanted to display a small bit of Goron culture that was not all doom and gloom. Since the Zelda series hardly delves into what their culture revolves around, all I had to go off of was the small bits of information from various games. We do know they like great music, dancing and have a very playful nature. So taking cues from common dwarf tropes, they are also fond of strong drink. Making it strong drink made of rocks was even funnier. This presented a very unique opportunity where I could finally reveal my next villain (or rather an old one in a new disguise!) in a fashion that would put Link at the utter mercy of said villain. I knew that Link couldn't be surprised on his own unless he was incapacitated in some way, this party celebration provided just the excuse to make this turn of events work realistically. Also, the chapter title is a shout out to one of my gaming projects!
Chapter 81: Demons Among Us
Since each demon was completely unique from the previous, my goal was to make the Defiler as disgusting as possible. I wanted to push the boundaries of what could be possible in the Zelda universe. Given the nature of the demon horde from Skyward Sword, the possibilities are purely endless. This is also the turning point in the relationship between Cayla and Link; sometimes friendships are best forged in battle. Since the introduction of this demon had only been in single incidents, I wanted to elaborate on just how dangerous it truly was. The final group battle at the end demonstrated to the reader just how insanely deadly these demons truly are as well as display some awesome badassery from Link. The final confrontation at the end was designed to get readers pumped for the inevitable rematch to occur in the next chapter!
Chapter 82: The Way Ahead
My goal with the second Thanan battle was to make it utter crazy nonsense; even when its three against one, he still holds his own. Only by some divine deliverance could they succeed in killing him for good. We also get some great news at the same time from a returning character! The majority of the chapter, however, is focused on developing the new gameplan for the heroes. I had to plan this chapter out carefully, because I was figuring out ways how it could go astray and how the heroes would then have to regroup and adapt on the fly. If I didn't have them logically argue out this course of action and provide reasons why it could or couldn't work, it wouldn't have the credibility needed for the next few chapters when they do decide to change it up a bit, unbeknownst to some of our villains!
Chapter 83: Changing the Play
The bulk of this chapter continues the discussion of the heroes game plan for the finale of act 3. I wanted to make absolutely sure that all characters were on board with what was to come next. I also wanted to take a break from the gloom of the previous few chapters and insert a little humor in via Darunia. This is that lull in the action that is so necessary for character interaction and I wanted to expand on the heroes truly working together to come up with ways to thwart the villains of the story. Finally, this is where Link reveals the reasons he carries the masks to his friends. This becomes extremely important later on when their significance is suddenly brought to light when least expected. So I laid the seed down for that plot point here.
Chapter 84: It All Went Wrong
Like all good epics (eg. Star Wars), we need to bring the heroes to a very low point before they can pick themselves back up. Even the best laid plans can be ruined in a heartbeat. I had a clear vision what I wanted to do with this chapter. The inclusion of both Argonim and Ganondorf's undocumented ability with his elders just about upends everything the heroes worked so hard to account for. My goal with splitting the heroes up like I did was specific to Ganondorf's needs, which he explains in subsequent chapters. The final shocker of the chapter is sure to upset some and I bet some readers might cry foul; however I have a purpose for it and that character's payoff will be a great one, so it was not all in vain. That and given the upsetting twist at the end, it puts readers on edge for the rest of the fanfic since it could be considered open season on characters! Just what I wanted the reader to feel!
Chapter 85: The Looming Storm
Another confusing chapter to write. I wanted to show the reader how the heroes adapt to changing situations and the potential for the plan to still go as expected, even if they did suffer a loss. The second third was the most important in my opinion; this is the final evolution and endstate for Ganondorf's character arc. He is a far different man than he was at the start of the fanfic, which makes him all the more dangerous as a villain. I truly hope people appreciate where I'm going with his character and how I've fleshed him out as more than just a power hungry brute. Finally, we needed to see how Link and co. fare when in the direct hands of Naar yet again. This is the first time since act 1 that Link has been in Naar's presence and the situation has changed drastically. My goal with this dialogue was to demonstrate just how far gone Naar has become that in his passions and ambitions, he has lost sight of his priorities and makes a rather fatal decision with Link here.
Chapter 86: The Game of Death
To finally bring Ruto's character arc to its logical conclusion, I built the first scene specifically in mind to finally break her down completely. She needed to be at a point where she had nowhere else to go to finally realize the truth. She is truly a tragic character and I needed to follow through with how I wrote her and make her final actions of this chapter actually mean something with regards to her motives. The game of death was barely mentioned in passing during act 2, but makes a very triumphant comeback here in act 3! My goal with the entire game is to show how far Link has come with the usage of his wings; by single handily decimating a dozen lethal soldiers with the added advantages of his wings, we get to see just how deadly Link truly is. Which makes what happens next a huge shocker twist.
Chapter 87: The Fog of War
You want pandemonium? You got it! This chapter was all sorts of fun to write. First, however, I needed to cut back to Zelda to make it undoubtedly clear to the reader where specifically those masks were and who Link had given them to. As for the eruption of war all around, I utilized my method of piling stuff on and never letting up until the chapter ends. All the heroes from across all the branching storylines finally come together and gather around Link to propel him to his final destination of the story. With Ruto's character arc finally finished and her final role in the story complete, she needed to be set aside for the endgame, so I utilized a non major player of the finale to transport them out of harm's way: which of course provided an opportunity to deliver the next surprise for the reader.
Chapter 88: Race to the Temple
This is more or less an action set piece/transition chapter. Its basically to get our characters from one area to the next. However, it is a bit more involved than that. We have Link finally recovering but unable to contribute; I did this for several reasons, but the primary one was Rule of Drama. He is a veritable combat machine and he could very easily turn the tides of the next few action sequences. So as a result, the loss of his wings were a necessary evil to make him rely more on his friends for survival and give other characters their moments in the spotlight. I tried throughout this fanfic to give each individual hero their 15 minutes of fame. After a long time anticipating this moment, I was finally ready to introduce the last hurdle before the Temple of Time and I made sure it ended with a huge cliffhanger as a result!
Chapter 89: The Gambit
Since I needed Nabooru and Ashley for the final action sequences to give them their character spotlight, I had to figure out a way that they could logically show up when they were needed; so I devoted the first section of the chapter specifically to that. For the Kokiri battle in the air, my inspiration was from Matrix Revolutions with Neo and Agent Smith fighting in the air during a rainstorm; however here, its during a snowstorm! That and I had the added bonus of having a helpless bystander in the middle of the fight. This provided a lot of interesting opportunities for Saria to shine; that and the battle so clearly juxtaposed what a Kokiri was and what it could be turned in to. The Temple sequence was quite easy to write and it helped flesh out Ganondorf's claim on the Triforce and further embellish his character development. We also get the payoff for Impa's death here and it is a glorious one - score one for the heroes! The final scene at the end will help build ties to Link's appearance in Twilight Princess - and of course, I love placing all our heroes in the worst situations possible.
Chapter 90: Settling the Past
Oh, this was a brutally hard chapter to write; I knew that this would be the point where I would take Zelda canon and run away with it! I don't write anything absolutely conflicting with the Zelda universe, but I do add a lot of my own theories into it with this chapter. If I can get readers on board with what Rauru says to Link, then the rest of this story will be a lot more enjoyable and make more sense. The first half took the longest to write and my singular focus was to explain in minute detail what exactly transpired after Ocarina of Time and what will ultimately happen next with regards to the sages which becomes an important plot point in the epilogue. The second half deals with the final reveal of Link's connection with Nevachrea, even if it is only a ploy to stall for time - I had a hard time finally explaining it all away before this point, so I figured Ganondorf should be the one to do it. The final twist at the end was written long in advance in my mind; I knew this day would come ever since I started writing act 1. The toughest part was getting all the puzzle pieces to align to get to this single moment and hopefully stun readers in the process.
Chapter 91: Becoming a God
Writing for Majora was deceptively tricky; I knew I had to keep to the character established in Majora's Mask but expand upon it in a new and refreshing way. I looked to the Zelda Manga regarding its origin story about the eternal dragon beast and how it was tricked. I utilized this as the basis for its motives and its overall role it played in the grand mythos of the Zelda universe. As stated earlier, I didn't intend to write anything completely conflicting with canon but I did run away with a lot of points that were left unanswered from canon with my own theories. I decided to make Majora a major player in the events from ancient times and because of it being betrayed from its sacred duty, it has become jaded and bitter and now seeks to return everything to nonexistence since he sees this as the only viable alternative. (Thanks Kefka/Necron!) A lot of character removals had to occur here so we could focus on the primary fight in the next chapter - so I utilized a plot point from chapter 90 to provide that necessary deliverance for our heroes so they could focus on the bigger threat. I also gave some satisfying conclusions and payoffs for various character arcs as well. Finally, due to a suggestion from a friend, the final cliffhanger and resulting subsequent chapter was completely inspired; there originally wasn't even going to be something this epic happening and the story was initially going to end at act 2. So thanks to Sepulcher/Xenix for suggesting Fierce Deity to me, you helped change the overall direction of the fanfic and provided the framework for act 3!
Chapter 92: The End to All Things
I've read quite a few fanfics, but none that I've come across pull off the massive, divisive decision that I made here, which I'm sure will spark a lot of conflict and debate. My goal was not to make a happy ending, just a satisfying one for all the characters involved. Since I had been building up to this over the course of months, there really was only one way to logically end this so it could pass events and plot points on to connect up with Twilight Princess. The final battle in essence should have lasted longer, but I knew it would be taking away from the true purpose of the chapter and that is the ending with the gathering of characters. The final judgment has been hinted at throughout the entire fanfic and makes complete sense when you go back over and reread everything that was written - the logic behind why it had to occur is there and helps explain certain races disappearing. A few deaths are partially meant to shock readers but also to set up the epilogue which will wrap up all loose ends and have the story reasonably flow right into the next game on the timeline, Twilight Princess. I know that my decisions made in this chapter will upset some, but this is how I chose to end my story. At least I hope the fight between Majora and Link is epic and bad ass however!
Epilogue: New Beginnings
I didn't write the epilogue until literally a week after the final chapter had culminated. I couldn't come up with a through line where I could realistically hit all the necessary characters introduced within the story and wrap up all loose ends. Then it came to me when I was looking at the title of the entire fanfic: of course! Zelda had to be that through line in which the reader could follow her actions as she met with every single character left alive to wrap up final plot points. So I did a few time skips, jumps, and future vision dreams to help establish more firmly what had happened since the war and what will come to set up the primary villains of Twilight Princess. My endstate goal was the final conversation at the end with Zelda and Malon, all other interactions were just bonus; even if it was a casual mention of their fates, I ensured every character was accounted for in the epilogue to satisfy reader's curiosity. This is one of the longest chapters in hopes that it provides that necessary closure for the reader and they leave feeling good about the whole reading experience. Finally, I chose deliberately to end it the way I did so that I gave the power to the reader to decide what the unknown was to be.