Legend of Zelda: An RPG to the Past
Warning: Contains spoilers for Twilight Princess.
Alas, there is little to tell of the Hero’s fate, as history shrouds what exactly became of his quest. Whether he succeeded or not is not clear, though he did return to Hyrule eventually. He became a knight, a protector of the Royal Family and close confidant of Zelda throughout the remainder of her life. It is believed that the two might have shared deeper feelings for one another, but it is unknown if romance ever blossomed between them. Similarly, the fate of the Fierce Deity’s Mask is also unclear, and it is possible the mask is now lost to the ages, though some scholars wonder if Hyrules future hardships were the result of the mask’s power beings abused.
Regardless, the Hero left behind a legacy of service, and his deeds were noted in the annals of history, though he was never recognized as the Hero of Time. Hyrule remained a country of fortune, even as dramatic changes took course over the sweep of centuries: of significant note is the dramatic and violent eruption of Death Mountain, an event that sent massive tremors across the land and clouds of smoke and ash miles into the sky. Great fissures split the earth, forming canyons and ridges that would crisscross the Eldin Province, and Kakariko Village was all but destroyed by waves of flowing magma. Other parts of Hyrule would feel the effects, and the landscape was altered nearly everywhere.
As Hyrule rebuilt and adapted, peace returned. However, beyond sight of the people of Hyrule, things were stirring in the mysterious world of the Twilight. Those descended from the interlopers that had been banished there, the Twili, had long ago formed their own kingdom in the alien realm, and had since become its own strong monarchy with its own royal family, perhaps as a refelction of the World of Light’s most well-known land. For millenia the Twili kept to their own affairs, turning the Twilight into a world they could live and even thrive in.
Upheavel came with the passing of the old King of Twilight. The succession right should have passed on to his trusted sage and advisor, Zant, but instead the king gave his blessing to his daughter, Midna, who was still considered too young to assume the throne. Embittered by this, Zant grew reclusive, feeling betrayed by all that he had once served, and grew even more distressed as he saw the loyalty of the people turned Midna, while he himself was forgotten. The stress took a toll on his mind and furthered his instability, and it was in this state that he met a god.
This being, who was in fact Ganondorf reduced to a swirling cloud of darkness and hatred by the transformative influence of the Twilight, promised Zant the power he needed to usurp the throne and rule the Twilight if he would aid his return to the World of Light. Zant joined forces with his “god” without a second thought, and used his newfound power – the power of Ganondrof and the Triforce he wielded – to stage a coup against Midna. He transformed many of the Twili into hideous shadow beasts and used them to assault the Palace of Twilight. Midna was swiftly defeated, and Zant placed a curse on her that stunted her power and robbed her of her beauty and grace, making her into an imp. Midna was left to suffer in her newfound state as a bid of cruel revenge, and Zant upheld his end of the bargain by using his sorcerous powers to open the way to the World of Light and let his armies of shadow through.
The invasion of Hyrule was sudden and unstoppable, the forces cutting a swath across Hyrule and besieged Hyrule Castle from out of nowhere. Shadowy beasts charged in unawares and in great numbers, quickly overwhelming the knights defending the castle. Zelda, the current ruler of Hyrule, had not choice but to surrender to Zant as he promised to slay the people of Hyrule if she did not. With that done, Zant began making his move against the Light Spirits that had banished his ancestors to the Twilight Realm so long ago, his shadow beasts robbing them of their protective light and allowing Zant to bath parts of Hyrule in twilight. Those people who exist in the World of Light cannot maintain their true forms in the twilight, and would become insubstantial spirits, no more tangible than shadows and unaware of what was really happening to the world around them.
As this took place, a young man from the Ordon province at Hyrule’s border was thrust into his role of the Hero’, a descendant of the Hero of Time. When monsters abducted his friends, Link ventured into the veil of Twilight and was transformed by its influence – not into a spirit, but into a wolf, thanks to the power of the Triforce of Courage he unknowingly carried with him. Taken to Hyrule Castle by the shadow beasts, he was rescued by Midna in her imp-like state. Midna had acquired a fragment of the Fused Shadow, the legendary artifact used by the Interlopers eons past, and agreed to help Link in exchange for tracking down the remaining pieces of the relic – their only hope, she claimed, of defeating Zant.
Together, Link and Midna freed the Light Spirits and cleansed the provinces of the Twilight veil, in time finding the Fused Shadow fragments. But Zant soon caught up with the duo, and cursed Link so that he was permanently trapped in the body of a wolf. He likewise attempted to execute Midna by bathing her, a being of Twilight, in the unfiltered light of the spirit Lanayru, and stole the Fused Shadow fragments. Barely clinging to life, Midna was taken by Link to Hyrule Castle under cover of darkness, where they met with Zelda. The princess told Link to seek out the Master Sword, which currently lay in the Sacred Grove (the ruins of the old Temple of time), saying that its ability to dispel evil would be able to free Link from his curse. She then sacrificed her magical power in order to save Midna’s life, losing any protection she had against the forces of Twilight. And as soon as Link and Midna cleared the castle, a barrier of dark magic appeared around it, preventing reentry.
Link and Midna made their way to the Sacred Grove and found the legendary sword, which indeed restored Link to his true form. Midna then directed them to the Gerudo Desert and the fabled Arbiter’s Grounds, where the Mirror of Twilight would provide their only means of reaching the Twilight and recovering the pieces of the Fused Shadow from Zant. Alas, but after a grueling struggle in the haunted desert gaol, they found that mirror had been shattered, sabotaged by Zant to prevent access to his home realm.
The journey to find the Twilight-infused pieces of the mirror took Link and Midna to many strange and dangerous locations across Hyrule and even into the sky, where the mysterious Oocca dwelled. The fragments recovered, Link and Midna entered the Twilight Realm and confronted Zant, who revealed his role in Ganondorf’s larger plan. After a battle of illusions and madess, Zant was slain by the Hero and the true Twilight Princess, but not before claiming that Ganondorf, his “god,” would revive him.
Now with the Fused Shadow intact, Link and Midna assaulted Hyrule Castle with aid from a Hylian Resistance movement. There, Ganondorf awaited them on Hyrule’s throne, Princess Zelda’s inert body – and the Triforce of Wisdom – held in his sway. The battle against him was pitched and lengthy, as the Demon King not only took possession of Zelda at one stage of the conflict, but likewise unleashed his dark, bestial form of Mandrag Ganon for the first time. Much of Hyrule Castle was destroyed as Midna tried to use the Fused Shadow to destroy the vile sorcerer, leading to a final legendary showdown on the fields of Hyrule: Link with his Master Sword, and Ganondorf with the very blade of light that the Ancient Sages had tried to execute him with so long ago.
But Link’s courage and Zelda’s wisdom proved more than Ganondorf’s might. Though it seemed that Ganondorf had survived a killing blow from the Master Sword, the Demon King suddenly lost the power of his Triforce. Some speculate that Zant, somehow connected to Ganondorf yet from beyond the grave, pulled one last vengeful trick on the Gerudo sorcerer and robbed him of the golden crest; regardless, Ganondrof Dragmire at last died a true death, and his reign of terror was ended.
In the aftermath, Midna’s curse was lifted, and she was restored to her true self. Thankful to Link and Zelda for saving her people, she took the Fused Shadow and returned to the Twilight, destroyed the Mirror behind her. She feared that the two worlds would only come into conflict again, and that severing the connection between the worlds was best. But before departing, she reminded her allies from the World of Light to not forget the other world in the shadows, one that would not forget the bond they had shared.
With Hyrule returned to a state of calm, Zelda assumed the throne properly, taking the Hero as her primary knight and protector. The Master Sword, its work completed once again, was returned to its resting place in the Sacred Grove, and there it would stay until needed again to thwart the forces of darkness again.