Link and Zelda's Origins Revealed
Are you too tired to move?
"Why, where are we going?" Link asked Zelda.
She looked at him in confusion. "What?"
"You asked if I was too tired to move; I asked you where are we going? How much energy I have for moving depends on where we're going."
"I didn't say anything to you," Zelda said, still feeling confused. Had that beating gone to his head and made him addled?
From behind them came a tinkling laugh—like little bits of ice raining down on glass.
Link and Zelda both turned to look behind them.
Just a few feet away from their heads was a fairy pool—covered in ice and surrounded by soft drifts of snow—and above it fluttered a fairy. She was plump and curvy with a sweet, round face and white hair that fell to her waist. Unlike the other fairies, she wore a little dress that looked as if it was made of soft white feathers, but upon closer inspection, the "feathers" were revealed to be thousands upon thousands of snowflakes.
Link and Zelda pushed themselves to their feet and faced the fairy.
"Ah, maybe you are not too tired to come to my pool after all," she said with a smile.
"I'm never too tired for that," Link said.
The fairy just giggled and gestured for them to come closer.
But they both hesitated on the edge of the pool; the sheet of ice over it looked thick, and Zelda, for one, didn't feel up to a plunge in icy waters; the cold wind had chilled her quite enough.
"Surely you don't lack courage now," the fairy teased.
"It has nothing to do with courage," Link replied. "How are we supposed to get in?"
"And will it be cold?" Zelda added.
The fairy giggled again. "Come and find out."
Zelda and Link glanced at once another. Zelda didn't much feel like playing games, but the promise of healing and rest was too strong an attraction.
She nodded to Link.
He took her hand in his and they carefully stepped across the boundary stones and onto the slippery ice. It was so thick that it held their weight without cracking.
They stood in the middle and waited a minute, but nothing happened.
"Now what?" Link asked, looking up at the fairy.
"Now what indeed," she replied enigmatically. Then she raised her hand and the ice broke beneath them. They both shouted in alarm as they plunged into the water.
The next thing Zelda knew, she was alone in that timeless place that was nowhere and everywhere all at once—a blackness that wasn't dark—a water that wasn't wet—a place that was neither hot nor cold, but comfortable.
And then memories began to flash around her, as if she was living them again: being kissed by Link for the first time—playing with him at her sixteenth birthday party—going for her first run as a horse—learning to swim at Lake Hylia in the company of Horace and her nanny, Vera.
The memories flashed by quickly, generating feelings of happiness, love, and a sense of accomplishment.
But they kept going farther and farther back into time, until she was seeing things she had forgotten: her father, in a rare moment of parental involvement, dangling her on his knee and bouncing her up and down while she screamed with laughter—learning to walk while gripping Vera's dependable hands—eating her first bite of solid food and feeling the sweet taste explode in her mouth like nothing she had ever experienced before.
Peaches. Her first bite of solid food had been pureed peaches.
And then she was back in the womb and she could hear the muted sounds of her mother humming. It was a soothing sound that made her feel peaceful and sleepy.
She had thought that she had never known her mother, but she had known her. She knew the sound of her voice and the fact that she liked to hum when she was alone. She knew the feeling of her joy and laughter.
She felt a flood of love wash through her, as if it was contained in her mother's blood and was flowing through her own veins.
Even before she had been born, her mother had loved her.
And she remembered how her mother would press her hand against her belly, creating a warm, gentle, reassuring pressure. And Zelda was reaching out with a tiny hand, wanting to touch her, too.
And then all of it was gone. The suddenness of the loss made Zelda start to cry.
Don't cry, the fairy said tenderly. You have lost nothing; every memory is still inside you. Look here… here is another thing you don't know that you know.
Zelda stopped crying and looked out into the blackness expectantly. But instead of the return of her mother, she saw a tiny thing slowly moving towards her. But despite the fact that it came closer, it didn't get any bigger. It appeared to be a pinprick of light, no bigger than a grain of sand. It didn't emit any light at all, and yet it appeared to be nothing but light. In the absolute darkness of that place, it was stunningly white. Zelda had never seen anything so bright and beautiful before.
Take it. It's yours, the fairy told her.
Zelda held her hand out and the little point of light came to rest in her hand. She felt as she did when she touched her quiver: this was something she knew; it did belong to her.
She marveled at the light, so tiny, and yet infinitely bright. It was as brilliant as a diamond, and yet more so, because it didn't merely reflect light, but generated its own.
Zelda knew it was the greatest jewel in the universe—a thing more valuable to her than anything that could be imagined.
And yet she didn't know what it was.
"What is it?" she asked the fairy.
Doesn't it feel familiar to you?
"Yes… but I don't know why."
It's Link's soul.
Zelda looked at the grain of light in confusion for a moment, then she inhaled sharply as a new flood of memories crashed down on her.
She was weak and trembling inside, and yet she was stronger than she ever had been before. She felt as if she was halfway between the mortal and immortal—as if she was straddling the line, trying to be both at once. She was Zelda, and yet she was not.
"I created him," Zelda said in awe.
Yes, you did….
"The three goddesses created the world and they gave it to me to protect," Zelda explained, as memories from a previous life continued to rush through her like a strong wind. She had to speak aloud to make sense of the jumble of images and sounds and words that were roiling and tangling up inside her mind.
"But no sooner had they created it," she continued, "then evil came into being and threatened to destroy it.
"I searched among all the races that the goddesses had put here, but I didn't find anyone who was capable of defeating the evil. Everyone had free will, and that made them susceptible to being wooed by the darkness.
"I needed someone who would be immune to it—who would never turn to darkness, no matter how desperate the situation.
"And so I created a hero."
You weren't supposed to….
"No, the power to create life was not supposed to be mine. I was merely put over this world as its guardian; only the older, more powerful gods were supposed to create life.
"But I didn't know what else to do. How could I let their beautiful creation be destroyed? What sort of guardian would I have been if I had let that happen? I would not have been worthy of my own existence.
"And, I thought, what would be the harm of creating only one life? It wasn't as if I was creating an entire race of people—just one—just a hero."
"I had watched the goddesses create the other races, so I made my hero the same way: I formed him from clay. But then I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what power they had used—what magical words they had spoken—to make their creations live. My hero was just an empty shell, devoid of life."
So you gave him a piece of yourself….
"Yes, I put this little grain of my being into the clay and it came to life! And I named him Link, because he was to be the link between me and the world—my representative on earth.
"He was utterly loyal to me because I made him, and my light within him kept him from being corrupted by the darkness. He was both of the earth, and not of it."
He did not have free will….
"He did," Zelda said, a bit defensively. "Although… not as much as other people," she admitted. "That was my fault; I didn't know how to make him completely independent, like the other people of the world.
"He was able to think and act for himself, but, in the end, he belonged to me. He didn't have a choice about that."
He saved the world for you….
"Yes, he did. I fashioned a sword from the light of the stars and gave it to him, and with it he drove back the darkness. But I saw that it would never truly be defeated; it was as much a part of the world as anything else; it was a natural offshoot of free will.
"Link could not be evil because his will was not wholly his own. But it made him like a child, in a way; he was never free to grow up and be his own person—to make decisions just for himself. Always, he thought about me—about what I would want. He made decisions that were best for me—even if it was not best for him. He was incapable of being selfish when it came to me."
And that made you love him….
Zelda felt tears welling up in her eyes. "I didn't mean to fall in love with him," she said, her voice pleading, as if she was begging a jury of the gods to understand why she had sinned.
But you were drawn to your creation, as he was drawn to his creator…. The fairy led her on, prompting her confession.
Zelda turned her face away, tears rolling down her cheeks.
And you took him as your lover—the mortal man who was not completely mortal—and you bore him children….
"They became Hylians—half mortal, half-god," Zelda admitted.
Without intending to, you created a new race—one which revered you above all the other gods….
"Even though I was the least among them," she whispered, her tears falling faster.
And the gods took control of Link from you. They decreed that he must be reborn anytime evil threatens to wipe out the world….
Zelda nodded, unable to speak.
He became their tool, not yours….
"Because they knew I would not send him into danger again," she whispered. "I couldn't bear the thought of losing him."
And they chose to allow his mortal elements to hold sway, so he began to age….
"One night," Zelda whispered, "he went to sleep, and… and he never woke up."
And you could not cope with your loss….
"It was more than the fact that he was my creation. If my sword was destroyed, I would have not mourned for it the way that I mourned for Link. I truly loved him. …I still love him."
And so you made a choice….
Zelda wiped tears away from her eyes as she looked at the little pinprick of light in her hand.
"I gave it up," she said in a thick voice. "I gave up my immortality. I preferred to be reborn with Link and live a normal, mortal life rather than be forever separated from him."
She sniffed. "Besides, I wasn't a very good goddess. I kept messing things up—doing things I shouldn't have done. I thought I would make a better mortal than immortal."
Anything, so long as you were with Link….
But the gods didn't fully honor your request, did they?
Zelda shook her head.
They made it so that you and Link reincarnated at the same time, but neither of you remembered your past. Your desire for each other in mortal form was mild—more like a partnership or friendship than a love affair. Link always fulfilled his role as Hero, but you never repeated your earlier actions—you never fell in love with him.
It wasn't an accident that you were always born into the nobility and he was always born common.
Zelda gasped a little. "We were kept apart on purpose?"
Not kept apart—nothing could have kept you apart if you were very determined—but… you were discouraged.
"Was that my punishment for going against the will of the gods?"
I think you were correct when you said that you would not have willingly sent Link into danger. As you deduced, the world needs him because there will always be evil that grows so strong, no one but him will be able to defeat it.
So, even though the gods did not intend for him to exist, they saw that you were right: he is needed. He is, in fact, the greatest gift that you ever gave to this world—the one thing you did that has safeguarded it more than anything.
But the gods cannot allow you to take him away from his mission. That is why you were put in situations where you were not likely to fall in love with him again. You carry your love for him in your soul—and his love for you is in his—but it has been so long since the two of you were joined, that love is very deeply buried—like your memories. You must be in contact with one another for some time before that love resurfaces.
"But… why is now different? Why are we together now?"
Because the Hylian race has been in decline for quite some time. Without intervention, it will be completely extinct in just a few more generations; even now, hardly any Hylian children are born.
That presents a serious problem. Despite the fact that you and Link have both been reincarnated as mortals, neither of your souls are the same as those of true mortals. You—and by extension, Link—have the soul of a god. Hylians, by virtue of being descended from both your immortal body and Link's mortal one, can contain your souls; the bodies of humans and other mortals cannot. Once the Hylian race disappears, neither of you will be able to reincarnate again.
The gods have been trying for some time to draw you and Link together again. They began to push you into danger in the hopes that you and Link would join forces and rekindle your passion for each other. They even made the Light Arrows for you, so that you would have a reason to fight alongside him.
But their original plan to keep the two of you apart had worked too well. Indifference towards one another had become ingrained in both of you.
So, you see, you are not the only one who falls victim to unintended consequences….
"So… what is it that we're supposed to do? What do the gods want?" Zelda asked.
You must save the world from evil—as you know—but you must also find a way to be with Link. You and he created the Hylian people; the two of you must renew it.
Zelda thought about that for a moment. "So… all I have to do, once we defeat all the demons and Nagadii, is marry Link and have children with him, then everything will be fixed?"
You make it sound easy.
"Well, it does sound easy."
Except that you will be queen of Hyrule, and he is a nobody.
"He isn't a nobody," Zelda said hotly. "He is the Chosen Hero. And, more importantly, he's my chosen."
But you must convince your nobles and your people that he's worthy of you.
"Well, it doesn't really matter what they think, does it? I mean, if they protest—if I must abdicate—then I can still be with Link, we can still have children, and the Hylian race can still be saved."
But it's also your destiny to be a good queen; you must not abdicate.
"The gods just want everything!" Zelda protested. "How many destinies can one person have?"
They don't want to merely reestablish the Hylian race; they want it brought back to all of its former glory. That means restoring your kingdom—and, eventually, your world—to a Golden Age. This near-extinction must never happen again because this world cannot exist without you and Link. And the best way to prevent that from happening—the best way to reestablish the Hylian race—is for you and Link to rule over Hyrule.
Zelda sighed. She now knew how Link felt when he said that he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Everything—everything—depended on them alone.
"The gods don't ask for much, do they?" she said.
You gave up your immortality; that does not free you from your obligation to be the guardian of this world. You must do what's in the best interest of the inhabitants of this world. That is the task you chose to accept, and that is the task that you passed on to Link when you created him.
And there's one other thing… the fairy warned.
Your memories of who you once were will be reburied once you step out of my pool; you will remember nothing of this.
"What! Why must I forget?"
Because you chose to be mortal. There is no going back from that decision.
"So… I can't know that I was once immortal?"
No. That would cause you great unhappiness, I think—especially now that you are in such a desperate struggle. Your mortal limitations—in light of the power you once wielded—might cause you undue grief. You need your mind clear to think of solutions—mortal solutions—to the problem—not dwell on how you would have dealt with it, if you had your immortal powers again.
"So why bother to tell me any of this at all? Why let me remember?"
Because so much rests on the outcome. The gods want to reawaken whatever it is in your soul that longs for Link; they want to undo the damage they caused by separating the two of you. Because, for better or worse, this world needs Link, Link needs the Hylian race, and the Hylian race needs you. Everything is intertwined in ways that could have never been imagined in the beginning. If you try to pull out just one thread, the entire tapestry unravels and falls apart.
That is the enigma of creating life: it also creates you in the process. The creator cannot be separated from his creation.
The fairy's voice began to fade. Carry his light inside you, she instructed. Let it be a beacon that guides you along your path.
But Zelda shook her head and lifted her hand, letting the spark of light float free again. It began to slowly return from whence it came. "No, give it back to Link," Zelda insisted.
But… without it, you might not make the correct choice.
"That's a risk I must take."
It won't harm him for you to keep it a little while; it will not change who he is. And when you have fulfilled your final task, the gods will return it to him.
But Zelda just shook her head again. "No."
Why not? the fairy asked, sounding curious.
"This soul is what makes him who he is, and to take that from him would be… like enslaving him."
Tears began to well up in her eyes again. "It's my fault that he isn't as free as he ought to be; it's my fault that he's unnaturally tied to me. I can't undo that. But I can refuse to own him. I can let him be his own person and make his own choices—as much as he is able to.
"I will not take control of his soul—not even for a little while—not even for a greater good. I must do what's right on my own; I will not compromise Link in the process."
Interesting, the fairy said.
Zelda felt herself being pushed up; she knew she was returning to the surface of the water.
She looked up and watched as the light above her grew larger and nearer.
Then, if you will take nothing to aid you, impress your love for him on your heart—so strongly, that you cannot live without him. That will be the only chance you have for making the right decision when the time comes, the fairy warned.
"I already have," Zelda replied. She smiled slightly and added, "You think that I should do this for the salvation of the world, but I have already done it for myself."
Zelda slowly opened her eyes and saw Link looking at her closely, his blue eyes concerned. It took her another moment to realize that she was lying in his arms.
He breathed a visible sigh of relief. "You're alright," he said, as much to himself as to her.
"Did you think I wouldn't be?"
He helped her sit up. "Well, I couldn't get you to wake up."
"What do you mean?"
"I woke up on the ground and found you beside me, but you were still asleep—or unconscious; I'm not sure which—and I couldn't get you to wake up. I've been calling you and trying to shake you awake for several minutes."
"Strange," Zelda said. "That's never happened before." She looked up at the fairy, but she was gone; there was nothing over the water but a faint swirl of colors.
"I know; that's why it worried me," Link said.
"Well, surely the fairy wouldn't let me drown in her pool."
"I wouldn't think so, but… it worried me nonetheless." He frowned.
Zelda smiled and put her hand against his cheek. "Sometimes I think you worry too much."
He took her hand in his and brought it to his lips, kissing her palm. A shudder ran through her body, giving her cold chills that snow and ice could never cause.
"Only when it comes to you," he admitted.
"Don't worry about me," she replied. "I'll be fine. And so will you."
She didn't know how she knew that, but she did. Maybe it was something in the fairy's water that gave her courage—like it so often gave her comfort. Whatever the source, she was confident—more confident than she had ever been—that everything was going to turn out for the best. For everyone.