The Legend of the Triforce
"How did you get past the guards?" The girl's eyes were wide with fright as they passed over Link's shoulder toward the archway.
Link could see why she would be afraid. Looking down at himself, he realized his tunic was covered in dirt and torn in many places. If that wasn't enough, he wore a number of strange and dangerous-looking equipment. He could have been an assassin for all she knew.
Navi darted forward, holding her hands out reassuringly. "Please, don't be afraid. We mean you no harm. We were sent to you by the Great Deku Tree."
"Oh!" The girl's fright instantly transformed into curiosity. "Why that's… that's a fairy, isn't it?" She pointed to Navi, her expression bright with excitement.
Link nodded. "Yes. Her name's Navi. She's my guide."
"Then that must mean…" she hesitated, "you're the boy… from the forest!"
Link was surprised. Did that mean she knew him? He answered hesitantly, "Yes…"
The girl now looked as though she was forcing herself to control her excitement. She leaned forward with her hands clasped together. "Which means… you have a Spiritual Stone… the Forest Emerald… right?"
"You mean this?" Link dug into his pack and pulled out the emerald that the Great Deku Tree had given to him. He held it up so that the sun glittered through it and dazzled the walls with green.
The girl laughed and clapped her hands. "Just as I thought!"
"But how did you know?" Link dropped his arm and stared at her.
Her smile faded and she turned her head away. "Well, you see… I had a dream… a terrible vision of dark things to come. Clouds of darkness spreading all across Hyrule…and there was this terrible feeling that came with it. Like all hope was lost…"
Then she turned back to him, her face alight with hope. "…until a boy with a fairy appeared, in a beam of shining light, holding a green stone."
"And it was me?"
She nodded. "This was no ordinary dream. I am certain it was a prophecy, warning us about what's going to happen, and showing us how it can be stopped. That boy I saw. I has to be you! You're the one that's going to stop it, I know it!"
"Prophecy?" Navi interrupted. "Then, perhaps, you are the Princess of Destiny?"
The girl gasped and clapped her hands to her mouth. Then she exclaimed, "Yes, of course, where are my manners?" With an embarrassed giggle, she answered, "Yes. I am Zelda, Princess of Hyrule." She rubbed the back of her head as she asked, "What is your name?"
Zelda's expression instantly became thoughtful. "Link…" she said slowly as though trying out the name. "Strange… your name, it's… familiar." Then she shook her head and brightened. "Very well then, Link! There is something I'm going to tell you. It's about the Sacred Realm. I'm not supposed to tell anyone outside the Royal Family about this, but I feel I can trust you. You won't tell anyone else, right?" She gave him a hard look.
"Cross my heart," Link responded a little nervously. Navi chimed in, "You have our word. We are honored that you would entrust a family secret to us."
The Princess smiled and relaxed. Then she drew herself up importantly. "All right, so this is the legend…
"Somewhere in Hyrule, the Golden Power of the goddesses was hidden to keep it safe from evil. It's a powerful relic that can grant the wish of any who touch it, to bless the land bountiful or curse it desolate, depending upon the desires of the heart. This is why the seven Sages of long ago built the Temple of Time to secure it."
"The Temple of Time?" The name gave Link goose-bumps. It sounded mysterious and important.
Princess Zelda smiled. "That's right. This mysterious temple acts as the gateway between our world and the Sacred Realm. But to open the gateway, you will need special keys: the Spiritual Stones."
"You mean stones like this one? Link held up the emerald again.
She nodded. "There is another special key that you need… a key that the Royal Family has kept secret for centuries. The Ocarina of Time!" From her pocket, she drew out an ivory instrument and held it up for Link to see. He stared in awe at its gleaming surface. And behind them, just out of sight in the window, a shadowy figure drew in a sharp breath. Neither Link nor Princess Zelda heard him, but Navi turned and looked for the source of the sound.
The princess allowed Link to admire the instrument for a minute longer then she placed it back in her pocket. Afterwards she brought her hands to her face. "Everything I just told you is important, Link. I'm counting on you to keep it a secret from everyone!" She crouched closer to Link and spoke in a lowered voice, "Especially Ganondorf."
Link crouched with her and whispered, "Who's Ganondorf?" He glanced around the garden, feeling as though he was being watched.
"He's in there." She pointed above them. "Look through the window. You'll know him when you see him."
So Link peeked into the window, standing on his toes. What he saw drained his face of all color.
He recognized instantly the man striding up the carpet past a row of guards and towards a short, old man with a gray beard sitting on a throne. He wore black armor on his body and a shock of red hair flared from his head. The man paused at the feet of the king and lowered himself to his knees as he bowed low. There had been a humble expression on his face as he had faced the king, but once his face was hidden, it turned up into an ugly sneer and his yellow eyes glittered malevolently.
Zelda spoke in a low voice next to Link, "Did you see Ganondorf? The man with the evil eyes? He's the King of the Gerudos who live in the desert far to the west. He bows before my father, claiming he wants to unite our kingdoms together, but I don't trust him. I am almost certain he is the dark clouds I saw in my dream."
Link didn't doubt it. Evil radiated from the man, and it was like invisible hands closing around Link's throat. Chills ran down his back and his hands trembled on the windowsill. This was the same man he had seen in his dream and the one who had cursed the Great Deku Tree. There was no doubt in Link's mind.
Then the man turned his head to him as though he had felt Link watching him. Their eyes locked on to each other. Link stopped breathing and his heart began beating loudly. He watched the man's mouth, which slowly changed from a sneer into a derisive smile.
Link gasped and ducked out of the window.
Princess Zelda gasped with him and then exclaimed, "He spotted you?"
Link nodded. His teeth chattered, rendering him speechless.
"Don't worry," she said consolingly. "He'll think we're just a couple of kids playing in the garden. He can't know that we're going to stop him."
This didn't reassure Link. When they had locked eyes, Link was sure the man could read his mind. He must have sensed his fear. And even if this wasn't true, Link had the feeling that the evil man would have no trouble making sure they wouldn't get in his way.
Zelda continued, "I tried to tell Father not to trust him. I told him about my dream, but he wouldn't listen. He told me we couldn't just turn away potential allies just because of some nightmare." She clenched her fists. "But I know I'm right! He's not here to swear allegiance to us! He's here to take control of Hyrule! He's looking for the Triforce!"
She raised trembling hands to her face. "I want to stop him! But I don't know what to do! I don't know who else to turn to. I'm… I'm so afraid…" She turned to him and clasped her hands to her chest again, her face wrought with distress. "Link, you are the only one I can depend on now. I need you to help me do whatever it takes to stop Ganondorf. I beg you, please!"
It had been exactly the look Navi had given him when he learned he would have to lift the curse from the Great Deku Tree. It had been the exact same plea that the Great Deku Tree had given him. And look what had happened… he had let the Great Deku Tree down… he had failed him. He had let him die. And now here they were again, this time with the Princess of Destiny. How could they expect him to face against such evils? He could she and the Great Deku Tree expect him to succeed? Queen Gohma had been a monster, but this man-this… Ganondorf… was pure evil! How was he supposed to defeat him? He was just a kid! He wasn't ready! He wasn't old enough or strong enough to stand against this man! How could he?
And yet, he couldn't say no. Not to the Princess, who looked so frightened, so alone. Not to Navi who had promised to remain by his side throughout his journey. Not to the Great Deku Tree whose last words had been, "Link is Hyrule's final hope."
So, straightening himself to his tallest, he said with all the courage he could muster, "I'll try my best, Princess Zelda."
A look of immense relief washed over her face. "Oh, thank you, Link! You don't know how much this means to me to hear you say that. I feel… that you will be the one to save us all. I have faith in you."
Link swallowed hard. He could feel a great weight settling on his shoulders. His greatest fear was that he was going to let the Princess down… the way he had let the Great Deku Tree down.
The Princess clenched her fist in determination. "You and I… together we will find a way to stop him! He will not get that Triforce! So long as I hold the Ocarina, he will not have it! This I swear!"
Link's heart nearly burst with pride at her courage; comparing his own to it, he felt ashamed.
The Princess turned to him. "Link, if you find the other two Spiritual Stones then we can use them and the Ocarina to get to the Triforce. Then we can use it against him!"
The Triforce? Use the Triforce against Ganondorf? Everyone had been telling him how powerful it was. Maybe that was how he was supposed to defeat him! If he reached the Triforce first, then maybe he would have a chance! At last he began to feel hopeful.
"Oh, I almost forgot! You might encounter some friends of the Royal Family on the way. This letter might prove useful…" She pulled out a paper and quill and scribbled. Then she folded the letter and passed it to Link. "Here. This should prove you're a friend of the Royal Family."
"Thank you," Link said. "I'll try to find those Spiritual Stones."
"I'm counting on you!"
Link nodded to her and then turned. He glanced up to talk to his fairy, only to find she wasn't there.
"Navi!" he called. "Navi? Where are you?"
"Over here!" she called, popping up suddenly from behind a cluster of flowers. "I've found the baby Cuccoo wandering around the garden." She ducked back into the flowers.
Link joined her next to the flowers, where he found the little chick snapping playfully at Navi as she dodged it. He scooped the chick into his hands. "Well, while you've been playing hide-and-seek with this little guy, the Princess told me we need to find two more Spiritual Stones so that we can get the Triforce to defeat Ganondorf with."
"I was not playing hide-and-seek with Nibbles," Navi said a little crossly. "I was actually investigating a suspicious noise when I found him…"
Link interrupted, "Wait, you named this little guy 'Nibbles'?"
"I… thought he needed a name," said Navi, trying to keep the blush from her face. "It was the best I could come up with."
They approached the archway leading back through the garden. Link started, "Well what about…" and then he skidded to a halt with a strangled gasp. His fairy let out a squeak of fright.
A tall woman stepped out of the shadows. Link's first impression was of a bird of prey, for her facial features were very sharp, giving her a stern expression. She even had red eyes that studied him intently, darting up and down his body as though sizing him up for a meal. She wore a suit of armor, over which her arms were folded. Link backed away nervously.
Then she spoke. Link was surprised, for her voice was gentle, "Do not be afraid. I am Impa of the Shiekahs. I am Princess Zelda's attendant and bodygaurd." She paused a moment and allowed her eyes to travel over Link's body, pausing on his cap, tunic, sword, shield, and, last of all, his fairy.
"So it is as the Princess foretold. A youth garbed in green with a fairy companion by his side. She has told you everything?"
"I… guess," Link said uncertainly. "She told me I need to collect two more Spiritual Stones."
"Yes," Impa nodded, "I can see it in you. You have suffered much and yet you continue on your path. You have much courage…"
Link wasn't quite sure what to say.
"I also swore to aid her against the impending darkness in her dreams," Impa continued. "It seems that to do that, I must teach you a special melody." She pulled a small set of whistles from her belt and put it up to her lips. "It is an ancient one with special properties, and it has been taught to each child of the Royal Family. Perhaps now it will reveal its true purpose with you.
"Now follow these notes carefully. It is vital that you remember them." She closed her eyes and began blowing through the pipes. High notes fluttered out in a slow, soothing lullaby. Link could feel the melody washing away his worries to be replaced with peace, and he closed his eyes.
Impa finished playing. Link opened his eyes to find her looking down expectantly at him.
"Link," Navi prompted him, "your ocarina."
"Oh." Link pulled out the wooden ocarina that Saria had given him and put the knob to his mouth. He blew into it and a low note rushed out.
"Oh, wait, uh…" Link tried again, shifting his fingers over the holes. A higher note flew out but it was too high.
"Wait, let me try…"
He experimented with the ocarina while Impa patiently coached him, playing the notes for him to match. After many tries, Link was finally able to play the lullaby. When he finished, he was surprised to see that sparks of light were drifting out of the instrument. He held it out and studied it in fascination.
Impa studied the ocarina as well. She said seriously, "That instrument of yours must be very special."
"My friend gave it to me," Link answered. The sparks eventually dissipated and Link tucked it back into his pack.
Impa straightened and turned. She looked back at Link and said to him, "It would not be wise to allow the guards to see you leaving the castle. I will show you a secret way. Please follow me." She strode through the arch and toward the castle wall.
Link ran up to catch up with her, with his fairy floating behind him. He skidded to a stop behind her as she faced the wall. "Couldn't you just tell them that I'm a friend? To let me pass if I want to come back here again?"
Impa didn't answer him. Her finger traced over the stones in the wall. Then she pressed her palm into it. The stone block sank into the wall. Then there was a scraping sound and part of the wall fell. Link's mouth dropped.
"Come along." Impa stepped through. Link jumped in with her. The stone wall slid back up, concealing the secret passage they were now in. Impa grabbed a torch that burned in a sconce next to the secret door and motioned Link forward.
They started down the narrow corridor. There were fallen pieces of masonry on the ground and Link tripped several times, almost dropping the chick in his hand until he transferred it to his pack.
"Couldn't you just tell the guards that I'm a friend?" Link asked again.
Impa's reply came after a few seconds, "The guards are loyal to the King. He has instructed them to keep all strangers out of the castle. I cannot overrule the King's command to his soldiers."
"But they let Ganondorf through," Link protested. He stumbled over another fallen block and nearly fell down the path which had suddenly become a steep slope. When he recovered, he also noticed that the stone blocks were gradually replaced by dirt from which thick, gnarly roots stretched down like slimy snakes.
"He has sworn allegiance to the king," Impa replied. "The king believes that he is gaining a powerful ally."
"If he lets an evil man through, why won't they let in a harmless kid?" Link whined.
Navi frowned down at him. "Enough, Link, it's no use griping about it."
However, Impa answered, "The King loves his daughter. He fears constantly for her safety and is very protective of her. That is why he does not allow anyone to see the Princess. He wants no harm to befall her."
They arrived at the end of the passage. A ladder led up to a trapdoor. Impa reached up, twisted the ring embedded in the door and grunted as she heaved it open. She climbed up and then stood by the hole with her arms crossed as Link climbed up.
"Where are we?" Link asked, looking around the room. Navi provided soft blue light, which lit up the room to reveal boxes and various odds and ends cluttering the space.
"It's an abandoned house. The pathway leads here into Hyrule Castle Town." Impa swung the trapdoor back into the floor and twisted the ring. It sealed with a clonk. She then straightened and strode to the door. Link hurried after her, careful not to bump his elbows on the boxes. After he joined her side, Impa turned to the door and opened it, which creaked as it swung. They stepped out into the bright sun, which caused Link to blink and shield his eyes. When they adjusted, he saw that the Shiekah was already disappearing around a corner. He hurried after her through the alley, catching up to her as they entered the square.
She led them across and into the gatehouse. As she passed the guard standing at the drawbridge, he drew himself up respectfully and nodded to her. "Good day, ma'am."
Impa nodded to him. The soldier turned his attention to Link, who recognized him as Aben. Aben smiled and nodded. Link waved at him.
Impa strode over the bridge with Link and Navi behind her. She finally stopped at the end of it, and she crossed her arms and turned to Link, who skidded to a stop.
"Young one of the forest," she said, "Hyrule depends on you to protect it from evil." She paused and then spoke again, "Turn your gaze to those mountains there." She pointed to a volcano behind the castle. Link could see a ring of clouds around the top of the volcano.
"The Gorons make their home there on Death Mountain," she continued.
Death Mountain? Link didn't like the name, but it seemed to be a pretty good one for it. And who were the Gorons? Enemies that he needed to avoid?
As if reading his mind, Impa said, "They protect the Spiritual Stone of Fire."
Link swallowed with difficulty. Sounds like he would have to face them anyways.
The Shiekah then redirected her finger. "There is a village at the foot of the mountain, my home, Kakariko. The people there may have some advice for you if you ask them. You may not see it from here, but there is a path that leads to Kakariko. Just keep your eyes sharp and you will find it."
Link nodded nervously. "All right. Thanks."
Impa smiled. "Remember that song that I have taught you. Friends of the Royal Family will recognize it and aid you."
"We are honored," Navi told her with a small bow.
The Shiekah nodded. She focused on Link with her solemn red eyes. "Very good. Well then, young hero. I shall leave you to it. Good luck."
She backed away. Link turned to watch her leave. He was surprised when she raised her arm high and then brought it down with a grunt. Then he was stunned by a bright flash, white spots dancing in front of his eyes. By the time they cleared, Impa was gone.
Navi commented, "Typical of the Shiekahs: mysterious agents that move as silently as shadows. But she is right. You truly are embarking on a big, new adventure. Removed from the comforting confines of your home to brave the dangers of this great, big world. If your friends could see you now. What would they say? What would your friend, Saria, say?"
"I… I don't know," Link answered. He looked toward the mountain and noticed just how big it was. He suddenly felt so small looking to it.
"I miss Saria," he said quietly.
His fairy studied him for a moment. Then she suggested, "Why don't you visit her? You did promise you'd go back."
"You mean back over the field?" Link exclaimed, pointing. "That's going to take forever! It took me a whole day to get here!"
"Very well then, we can forget it and just get the Spiritual Stones," Navi said with a wave of her hand. "I just thought you'd like to see your friends again before going on your next adventure."
Link sighed. Then he said, "Fine, let's go back and see Saria. But first, let's see if we can find a horse!"
Ganondorf leisurely paced down the corridors, glancing around at all the decor and inspecting every nook and cranny with a critical eye. Each doorway he passed gave him the opportunity to study the room beyond and file the knowledge away in his devious mind. The King had bid him welcome to a tour of the palace and the Gerudo intended to make good on his offer. It was important that he familiarized himself with the castle's labyrinthine hallways and discover its secrets. It was important to his ultimate goal.
He heard footsteps behind him. He straightened and turned to face the intruder but relaxed when he saw it was only his right-hand man, Balthagar.
"My lord," Balthagar said, stopping in front of him and bowing.
"What is it?"
"I bring you news, my liege."
"Is it important?"
"It is…" Balthagar hesitated, "interesting. I beg your forgiveness, but I overheard some interesting talk. It concerns the Triforce."
Ganondorf's mouth turned up in a small smile. "And what have you learned?"
His minion bowed again. "I have learned this: the Triforce is contained within what is known as the Temple of Time."
"Did you learn of its location?" Ganondorf narrowed his yellow eyes at his servant.
The servant lowered his head. "I did not, my lord. However, I did learn there are certain items that you must acquire before you can enter: three Spiritual Stones."
"Ah." Ganondorf nodded. "The scrolls did mention the Spiritual Stones. I have already set out to liberate them, but the fools who guard them refused to reveal their locations." Then he smiled wickedly. "But I have laid curses on them. They should be ready to tell me very soon."
"I've learned something else too," Balthagar continued. "It seems that someone else is seeking the Stones. In fact, it seems he has already acquired one."
Ganondorf raised his eyebrows. "Oh? And who is it that has accomplished what I could not?"
Once again, his servant hesitated. When he answered, it was most reluctantly, "A boy."
Ganondorf did not believe his ears. A boy? Could it be the same one whom I spotted looking through the window at me? Then he laughed.
Balthagar waited until his master's laughter subsided before he asked, "Would you like me to dispose of him and seize the Stone he has managed to procure?"
Ganondorf didn't reply. He cast his eyes through a window and into the garden where he could see a host of soldiers patrolling. He frowned thoughtfully as he studied the patrols. Then slowly a wicked smile spread across his face.
"No," he finally answered. "Let him be. Let him go on his quest for those Spiritual Stones."
Balthagar bowed his head in meekness. "I mean no disrespect, my lord, but don't you think that if he has managed to get one of the Stones, it is possible he may be able to retrieve all of them?"
"That is precisely why we shall let him," Ganondorf answered, baring his teeth in a predatory grin. "Then, when he has them all, that is when we shall strike." He clenched his fist.
Balthagar blinked in surprise. Then he bowed and murmured, "A most cunning plan, my liege. Truly your mind is the cleverest and most devious of any I have ever encountered."
"You must not have encountered many if you attempt to flatter me," said Ganondorf harshly, flashing his servant a glare.
His servant retreated a few steps and said meekly, "Forgive me, my lord. I meant nothing by it."
"Hmph," Ganondorf replied. He turned back to the window. Eventually, the wicked smile returned.
"I suppose I shouldn't blame you. The simplicity of it is ingenious. All I have to do is wait for that kid to find all the Spiritual Stones and then I shall finally be able to lay my hands on that Triforce."
"Ah, but there is one other thing that I forgot to mention," Balthagar interrupted. "There is something else that must be acquired before you can get past the barrier, which is known as the Door of Time."
Ganondorf turned to him and raised an eyebrow. "And that is?"
"You will need an ancient heirloom that the Royal Family holds: the Ocarina of Time."
Ganondorf frowned. Balthagar hurriedly explained, "But, of course, that is easily acquired. I happen to know that Princess Zelda in particular protects it."
"Ah, you had me worried." The Gerudo King smiled. "When the time is right, we shall have everything we need to get the Triforce. Then this world shall be mine to rule!"
He swept his cloak around and began down the corridor again.
Balthagar stopped him, "My lord?"
"Is there anything else that you request from me?"
His yellow eyes glittered. His reply was, "Yes, you have done well to find me this information. Now put your useful talent to work again. Keep an eye on the Princess. And if you happen to find that Ocarina…" His smile widened.
Balthagar bowed. "Of course, my liege."