Prologue: The Legend
There is a legend which the old ones know. A legend, passed down through the generations by the Royal Family of Hyrule, which speaks of a chalice. This chalice is a relic of exceptional worth. It is said to have belonged to the goddess Nayru in the times before time.
Nayru, whose love for the world and the life upon it was boundless, is said to have gifted its frail inhabitants with a fountain, set in a majestic grove, whose waters provided power to any who might drink them. Though the true effects of the Waters are disputed across legend, they are known to be marvelous. Claims have been made for physical or emotional strength, and even the key to eternal life. The secret of the fountain is not remembered. The one truth preserved is that the fountain was coveted by all races and peoples of the world.
The goddesses sadly misjudged the envious nature of mortal creatures. The gift, intended to bless the various races of Hyrule, instead became a curse. Wars were fought for control of it, unleashing bloodshed across the realm, turning its fertile plains red. The fountain, though not a vessel for the boundless power of the fabled golden Triforce, was a more tangible thing. One which could be kept and controlled. And so it became ever-more widely sought. And these conflicts for control became the first wars of Hyrule, for before this time the people did not know violence.
After decades of fighting, when it seemed no resolution could be found nor peace made, the end finally came. It came in the form of a boy: the legendary Hero, who emerged from nothingness for the first time (but of course, not the last). The Hero, garbed in the green of the forests and wielding a sword that shone brighter than the sun, sought and found the mythical entrance to the Sacred Realm, where the three goddesses left this world and where the golden triangles marked their departure. At the behest of the goddesses, the Hero claimed the Triforce with the promise that he would resolve their mistake, and use the power granted him on itself, to seal all so-called "gifts" left to Hyrule away where they could cause no more grief. And so, the Hero did.
The Hero used the power of the Triforce to expand the boundary of the Sacred Realm into Hyrule itself, sealing off the very place where the gateway lay, enclosing the golden triangles inside, unreachable, intangible, safe. This new boundary, as a part of its purpose, too enclosed the grove where the fountain lay, pulling it also from mortal reach and quenching the fuel for conflict from the land. The Hero had brought peace to Hyrule by removing the reasons for war, and after accomplishing this end, he, for the first time, vanished into anonymity.
But, it is said that the Hero did not go unrewarded. For he had given up the power he had sought so diligently, and done so willingly, and only for the good of others. They say that such an act of selflessness cannot be ignored. The goddess Nayru, before returning the Hero from the Sacred Realm, filled a single chalice with the Waters from the fountain of legend, and gifted it to him. The chalice, it was said, would grant the Hero the strength of Nayru's love, a strength that had been intended for all the peoples of the world, but now would be reserved for only him.
When the Hero finally vanished, so did the chalice. But, there are those who believe the Hero, by his very nature, could not have accepted his reward. That he left the chalice untouched. That he chose a mortal life for himself and therefore kept the chalice hidden away. If such is true, then its hiding place has never been found, and the chalice remains a mystery to this day, forever chased but never caught.
It has receded into myth.