The following is a work of fan-fiction. Though it goes without saying, “The Legend of Zelda” video game franchise as well as its characters are owned by Nintendo. This work is not for sale. The author reserves all applicable rights and will not stand for any attempts at monetary gain via this work. The following would not be possible without the creativity and vision of the well-known individuals responsible for the source material. Please continue to support the official releases this work merely attempts to pay homage to. Thank you, and enjoy.
This story follows the “child timeline” of the games. It is not meant to be canon content.
I say again. It is NOT meant to be canon content.
Still, without an intimate knowledge of Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, and Twilight Princess in particular, some parts of the plot may not make sense. Obviously you should expect spoilers if you’ve yet to play these games.
The Legend of Zelda:
By: N Felts
Copyright N Felts 2012
The lingering sun of late afternoon cooks the flat stone walkways of Hyrule Castle Town. A visible wave of heat waves lazily, streaming up and out of the worn grooves of a thousand horse-drawn carriages. The town itself appears critically ill. Symptoms of a deteriorating civilization are everywhere. Overgrown grass consumes vacant alleyways. Fallen leaves crowd the south side of every building, the consistent breeze from Lake Hylia ending here after its long journey north across Hyrule Field. The lively music and bustling crowds are a distant memory. Now the shop keepers rest lazily in their stalls, praying tomorrow brings more sales. Brings any sales at all. The days of townspeople fighting over the latest trend, the rupees flowing like Zora's River, are long gone. Children used to fill their pockets with sweets from spare change accidentally dropped into pots or thrown into the fountain at the heart of the market, but now they scamper through shadows, stealing when they've grown hungry enough. The town has known neither order nor wealth for as long as most can remember. The single remaining haven of hope is the church on the east side of town. Stained glass shimmering above the massive, wooden double doors depicts mighty Hylia with her goddess sword in hand. Inside the pews are rarely empty. Even at this odd hour, several of the townspeople remain seated, their hands clasped in hope of their savior delivering them from this depression. There is no dark force to be slain this time around. No reemergence of evil to be suppressed. A blade, no matter how divine, cannot pull crops from their parched seeds, nor rain from the cloudless sky. The people give offering, and they pray, but for months their prayers have gone unanswered.
Resting in a dark corner behind the organ, a young boy named Rift spins a small, wooden box between his thumb and index finger. Watching the shanty piece of craftsmanship slowly turn in his grasp, his mind remains blank, simply waiting for yet another day to pass. His emotionless face is shrouded beneath an old, damaged cowl. Hanging from his shoulders is a black cloak donning the royal crest on both the front and back in faded gold stitching. Resting lightly on his chest and back, it ends in a short, triangular point in his lap. Given to him by the priest, the cloak is really only worn to conceal the gaping holes and deteriorating cloth in his cheap outfit of faded cotton. Taken in as a toddler, Rift remembers little of his parents. The priest has told the story many times, casualties of the plague of darkness brought about by the dark lord Ganondorf years ago. Now his time is spent waiting. Not waiting for anything in particular, just endlessly waiting for the night to fall, and the dawn to break. A general uneasiness sounds from the pews as a group of children enter the building.
“Rift, you in here?” The leader of the gang calls out, glancing around the massive room. Making no effort to conceal or reveal him, the tired old priest simply stares at the troublemakers dumbly. The boy’s words echo in the profoundly silent room, disturbing the peaceful ambiance.
“Don’t cause trouble,” a gruff voice sounds from beside the doors. One of the few town guards have been posted at the church to keep the peace. Scowling lazily from beneath his traditional helm, he briefly stamps his spear on the wooden floor before cocking his head toward the door. “Go on,” he commands, not especially eager to incite a confrontation.
“We’re gonna find you!” A young girl in the group calls as they collectively march out of the structure with an air of superiority. Hobbling over to Rift’s hiding place, the priest simply isn’t spirited enough to protect the boy any longer. Years of fear and hiding have made the church a target of vandalism, the children practically running the town with no one particularly willing to discipline them.
“Rift,” the chubby old man sighs, palming the dusty organ for balance. “You know you’re like a son to me, but this can’t go on any longer. I won’t always be here to protect you. Please,” he continues, coughing briefly. “You’ve got to stand up for yourself. Look to the sky, and she will protect you.” Watching the old man with sad eyes, Rift climbs to his feet and pockets his treasured box. The wooden boards beneath the decorative rug creak with every step as he slowly exits the church. Peeking through the single opened door, a rapid series of anxious breaths are halted when the sentry breaks the silence.
“They headed north toward the castle,” the guard points out, caring little for the boy’s fate, but offering the information all the same.
“Thanks,” Rift smirks, aiming to sound genuine, but coming off as abrasively sarcastic. Without another word he quickly trots through the lifeless, stone streets toward the massive drawbridge at the southern gate. He has decided he will spend the brief portion of the day remaining outside the confines of town. In the distance, the gang of children passes from alley to alley near the twisting path leading up to the castle. The mighty, stone citadel dwarfs even the large town at its base, visible from nearly every corner of the kingdom, it stands a testament to Hylian ingenuity. Once a symbol of hope and unity, its many spires seem to hang their heads in shame at the current state of the kingdom.
Pacing near the balcony of his room, King Harkinian has never looked less healthy. A thick, white beard hangs heavily from his wrinkled face. Once the visage of a hardened warrior, time has done what it does to men of any status. The darkest of days has come and gone. The king of thieves made attempt on his very throne, but just as the prophecy foretold, the hero of time thwarted his treacherous schemes. He had seen the tinge of deceit in the Gerudo’s eyes so long ago, but never expected such an uprising in his own kingdom. Between the civil war and Ganondorf's treachery, Hyrule has enjoyed very little peace during his time on the throne. Now, the distant land of Arcadia would dare move to threaten Gamelon, assuming Hyrule in a state of weakness. Duke Onkled received the might of Hyrule's army without question, but the cost has proven far greater than assumed. The time of darkness was averted, but the drought continues. The able bodied men march to war, and now the land is trapped in a veil of decay. The people of Castle Town remain disparaged, and the further one travels from the castle gate, the more uneasy the inhabitants of the kingdom become. A period of prosperity is long overdue to them, but with the hand the king has been dealt, it is simply not in the cards. His lovely princess has shied away from a life of politics, and he has never needed her beauty and natural charm more than now. The people need a symbol of hope more than ever, and his tired old face is far from reassuring these days. The light continues to fade, the beams piercing through the tall windows lining the hallways growing longer by the minute. Another thick bead of sweat crawls from beneath his crown as his perpetual angst refuses to relent.
A raven soars past the balco