Legend of Zelda: An RPG to the Past
Age of Demons
Warning: Contains spoilers for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
Not all spirits of the world possessed good intention and noble purpose. Some entities existed that carried hatred, greed and a lust for power in their souls, and the most depraved of these beings were the demons. While their origins remain shrouded in enigma, their goals were clear: to extinguish life and to obtain power. For countless eons they had tried, in vain, to corrupt and ruin mortal life, but were beaten back by the Goddess Hylia and her entourage or by their own infighting; prior to this age, demons were danger but never a major threat.
This changed when a demon rose to prominence among his fellows. This demon, known as Demise, was gifted with power and intelligence keener than any demon before, and through guile and fear began uniting the scattered demonic forces under his leadership. Now dubbed the Demon King, Demise and his forces cut a bloody swath across the land, destroying spirit and mortal alike as he sought the divine power of the Goddesses, the Triforce.
Though many fought bravely to quell the uprising, the demons were unmatched in their ferocity, and soon the civilizations of the world began to collapse into anarchy as the war dragged on and Demise drew nearer his goal. The gods that had once walked with the mortals soon fled or went into hiding, never again to be among them as they had before. The people turned to the Goddess Hylia for aid, and she answered their prayers as best she could, for even Hylia was surprised at the power Demise wielded.
According to ancient legend, a Hero arose during this time to face the forces of darkness. Having been wrongfully incarcerated for a crime he did not commit, this brave human was set free when it became apparent that the land of Hylia needed his aid. Though reluctant at first, and filled with a sense of anger and distrust at his own people, he saw the threat of utter annihilation and set aside his grievances, taking up arms against the invading hordes. It was his courage that drew that attention of Hylia herself, and brought the Goddess to make this Hero her champion. She bestowed upon him a blade of her own creation, the Goddess Sword, a weapon that could only be wielded by the divine; with the aid of Goron smiths and the Ancient Sages, the sword was reforged to be held by the Hero, and brought to bear against the forces of the Demon King.
For seven days and seven nights the war raged, but even as the fiends victory drew nigh and the land of Hylia was laid to waste, the Hero fought on. When at last the Hero confronted Demise himself, his body was already wounded and weary, but his spirit would not relent. As these fought, the Goddess Hylia gathered the surviving humans and wrenched huge chunks of land from the earth, sending her people into the sky atop these floating islands, so that they might be spared from Demise’s further carnage. The Triforce was likewise cast to the heavens, hidden safely above while the war raged below.
With her people safe, Hylia returned to the war, only to find her champion had been mortally wounded by Demise, his quest having ended in failure. She wept for his dying soul, her grief turned to rage as she united with the remaining five races of the surface and fought Demise, the showdown taking place on the site where the Triforce had once rested. Though Demise fell, Hylia could do nothing to destroy his essence; his power was too great, and she had suffered grave injury during the fight. While the armies of the five races quelled the remaining monsters, Hylia sealed Demise’s spirit, binding him to the land with powerful magic.
Alas, Hylia knew the seal would not hold forever, and that Demise would eventually return in some form. Wounded as she was, and knowing her time was nigh, she set a plan in motion that would eventually put an end to the Demon King and to protect the Trifoce: first, she gave a sacred blessing to the Hero that had fought so hard for her and lost his life, so that his soul might one day be reborn to protect the land he loved from evil. His holy sword was sent to the heavens to be retrieved by a hero strong enough to best Demise. The Goddess left instructions for the chosen being to follow, to do the tasks she could not. Doing all this in her injured state required all of her divine essence, and with the last of her strength she relinquished her divinity, ensuring that someday she would be reborn as a mortal, and to stand as an equal with her beloved Hero.
In the sky, the people gradually acclimatized to their new lives, forming bonds with a species of large bird known as loftwings, which allowed them to travel freely about the floating landmasses. A millenia passed, and the people of the sky gradually forgot the world below, the stories of the surface fading to mere legend, though they did not forget the Goddess and continued to show fealty to her.
On the island of Skyloft, where the missing part of Hylia’s Temple had risen into the sky eons before, a young man named Link was at last finishing his training to become a Skyloft Knight, one of the bird-riding keepers of the peace in the sky. Zelda, the daughter of the academy’s headmaster and Link’s oldest friend, played the role of the Goddess in the annual Wing Ceremony. Link ultimately won the competition and partook in the ceremony with Zelda. All seemed well until, while flying across the sky together, Link and Zelda were separated by a strange tornado that swept in from nowhere, and the young woman vanished.
Various circumstances lead Link to the resting place of the Goddess Sword, where the spirit Fi told Link that Zelda was alive but needed his aid on the surface. Entrusted with the blade of the Goddess, the young knight found a way to pierce the barrier of clouds separating the sky from the surface, and set off in pursuit of Zelda. His journey lead him to cross paths the nefarious Ghirahim, an evil man calling himself the Demon Lord, and learned that it was he that had tried to apprehend Zelda with the tornado, but was foiled by a Sheikahn woman called Impa. Ghiarhim sought Zelda in a bid to revive his master for reasons then unknown. While Link tangled with Ghirahim and his forces throughout his journey, he was always one step behind Zelda, whose destiny was slowly revealed to her each time she prayed at one of three sacred springs: that she was the Goddess reborn.
Link at last caught up with Zelda and her guardian at the Temple of Time in the Lanayru Desert, only to hold off Ghirahim as Impa and Zelda traveled through the Gate of Time, destroying it behind them. No longer able to follow, Link learned of a second gate at the site of Demise’s defeat, now known as the Sealed Grounds. Once there, Link was forced to do battle with a weakened bestial form of Demise that broke through the seal, reimprisoning the demon. An old Sheikah woman then told Link he would have to prove his worth as the chosen hero by gathering the three Sacred Flames left behind by the Goddesses of old, making his sword a conduit of divine power that would open the remaining gate.
During the long and dangerous quest to obtain the three flames, both Link and the Goddess Sword grew in power, the blade taking the essence of the flames and eventually becoming the awesome Master Sword, a mythic blade that would repel evil. His labors completed, Link returned to the Sealed Ground and again did battle with the Imprisoned as it broke through the seal once more. Link then stepped through the gate and, traveling a thousand years into the past, was at last reunited with Zelda, who told him the full truth. The Demon King could not be held forever, as Link had just witnessed, and the only way to put an end to Demise was to use the Triforce’s power, which only mortals could wield. Tasked with finding the Triforce, Link returned to the present, while Zelda remained behind in an enchanted sleep to maintain Demise’s seal.
After a difficult quest, Link at last discovered the Triforce hidden in the depths of Sky Keep, a temple hidden in Skyloft. With his elements in balance due to the trials of the Goddesses, Link wished for Demise’s destruction, and the raised section of Hylia’s temple fell to the surface, snuffing out Demise as it reconnected with the Sealed Grounds. Zelda was reawakened from her long stasis, and she and Link were brought together at last. However, Ghirahim suddenly appeared and, apprehending Zelda, fled through the Gate of time into the past; for though Demise had been eradicated, he still existed in the Sealed Ground a thousand year prior. Once there, Ghirahim – now revealed to be the spirit of Demise’s own dark sword – enacted a ritual to allow Demise to absorb Zelda’s divine spirit, and though Link fought bravely, the Demon King was restored.
A thunderous clash between the Demise and the chosen Hero took place, a duel to decide the fate of the world. Demise possessed dark power unimaginable, but Link brought his courage to bear, and after a mighty struggle, struck down the Demon King with the Master Sword. With his dying breath, Demise spat a curse at Link, promising that though his life would end, his hatred would go on undying and someday be reborn as a being that would rule the world, along with those with the blood of the Goddess and spirit of the hero, doing battle in a cycle without end.
Link and Zelda, their duty resolved, returned to the present triumphant, and the old Sheikah woman, revealed to be Impa, destroyed the Gate of time to prevent further misuse. The Master Sword was put to rest in a pedastel, to remain untouched until a day it would need to be used by a chosen hero once more. Rather than return to the sky, the young warrior and the maiden with a goddess’ blood remained on the surface, content to protect the Triforce from those that would abuse its power.
Image © Nintendo and Kii-Sakurada