War of the Seal

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Warning: Contains spoilers for A Link to the Past.

Link, the Hero of Time, had fought bravely to reach his final battle. But even the power of the Sages and the holy might of the Master Sword could not match the newly-freed monstrosity that was Mandrag Ganon. Though a valiant effort, Link was overcome by the Demon King, and fell before he could slay Ganon.

His death relinquished the Triforce of Courage, and with the power of two Triforce pieces Ganon wrenched the third from the horror-stricken Zelda, at last forming the omnipotent relic of gold, the complete Triforce. Yet Ganon was now little more than a beast, mad with power and bloodlust, and could not take full advantage of the Triforce before Zelda enacted a quick plan. The seven Sages swiftly opened a doorway to the Dark World and cast Ganon through it, sealing the entrance. It was not the most ideal solution, but desperation made it necessary.

The kingdom, for a time, was safe, but at the cost of the life of the Hero. Zelda took command and led the people of Hyrule in the recovery effort, and soon some semblance of peace was restored. This tenuous quiet lasted for many generations, though some foolhardy people still sought the power of gold that lay beyond the seal of the Sages. Those who managed this – for, mysteriously, small entrances had slowly begun to appear at random in various corners of Hyrule – would find themselves in the Dark World, and there they would corrupted and transformed into monsters.

Indeed, within the Dark World Ganon was not idle. His imprisonment had only given him time to gather his senses, though the man known as Ganondorf was now only a memory. Ganon, still driven by want of power, began to use the Triforce to hammer away at the Sages seal, slowly but surely chipping away at what should have been impenetrable. As the seal weakened, new gaps between the two world began to appear, Ganon being unable to pass through them but allowing foolish men to come to him. Soon, Ganon was dispatching minions through to Hyrule, attempting to weaken the magical seal from the other side. Meanwhile, his dark magic soon corrupted even the Temple of Light, and Rauru could do nothing but accept his fate as the ancient sage was finally destroyed.

Soon it became apparant that the seal was failing, as horrors and nightmarish beasts began to appear in greater and greater numbers across Hyrule. The Royal Bloodline was thinning, and the power in Hylia’s descendants was diminishing. The King of the time, fearing for his people, gathered together the seven sages and tasked them with reestablishing the seal. It was to be a difficult task, but if they succeeded they could make a much stronger seal than the hurried one first used to imprison Ganon.

The sages gathered to perform the complicated ritual that would strengthen the seal, and were protected by the Knights of Hyrule. No sooner had they begun than hordes of creatures beset them, attempting to ruin the ritual and free their master. The knights fought valiantly to keep the monsters at bay, though nearly all of their number fell defending the sages. Thankfully, their sacrifice was not in vain; the ritual was completed, and the seal restored to even greater effect. The sages had succeeded, and Hyrule breathed a sigh of relief. Ganon would not return.

At least, not then.

LINK TO THE PAST

Centuries after the sages restored the seal and stopped Hyrule from being plunged into chaos, a series of misfortunes befell the kingdom in quick succession. Natural disasters, famine, and plagues struck one after the other inexplicably. The King offered grand rewards for anyone that could halt these ills, but the most powerful magicians and oracles in the land could do nothing to dispel Hyrule’s troubles.

A gifted wizard soon made himself known when the kingdom could seemingly take no more. Known as Agahnim, he came to Hyrule from points unknown bearing mysterious and ancient magics. Some believed him a Sheikah, the last of his line fulfilling his ancient duty to serve the Hylian bloodline, while others thought him a Gerudo sorcerer from the desert, the king of a now-scattered race. He answered Hyrule’s call, and with astonishing swiftness seemed to cure the kingdom of its troubles. Crops flourished, diseases vanished, and ruined towns began to recover. In thanks for him services, and recognizing a magician gifted with divine power, the king made Agahnim his chief adviser and gave him access to the Royal Family’s archives of knowledge. Thus, Agahnim was instated to do good for the kingdom.

Years passed, and things in Hyrule remained peaceful, protected by their king and the wizard Agahnim. Yet whispers spread among the people that the king’s new adviser was not all he appeared, rumors of black magic and odd experiments conducted in Agahnim’s secluded tower late at night. A series of disappearances across the kingdom added to the doubt; six young maidens with seemingly no connection had gone without a trace. Many brows furrowed and many theories muttered, but none dared truly suspect that the man who had brought so much good to Hyrule could be responsible.

Then, one stormy night, a young man was awakened from a fitful sleep by a cry for help. The voice in his mind pleaded to him, saying that she had been locked in the castle dungeons by Agahnim, and that something terrible was going to occur. He awoke to find his uncle, a former knight, gearing up for battle. Against his uncle’s wishes to remain behind, the young man waited until his uncle had left and stepped out himself into the rainy night, armed only with a lantern and, unknowingly, the spirit of the Hero: this man was Link.

Avoiding the castle solders in the rain-slick darkness, Link was guided by the maiden’s voice in his mind to a secret entrance tunnel. There, he found his uncle badly wounded, struck down by the palace guard. He gave Link his sword, reminding the lad that both of them were descended from the Knights that had helped save Hyrule so long ago, and breathed his last. Stricken with sorrow but driven by anger, Link made his way into the castle, past armed soldiers and into the dungeon, where he found that the woman who had contacted him was none other than Princess Zelda.

Zelda revealed that Agahnim had brainwashed the castle guard into doing his bidding, and had killed the king not long ago. There had been other women locked in the dungeon with Zelda, but one by one they had been taken away, their fates unknown. Making Zelda’s safety his main priority, Link helped the princess sneak out of the castle by way of a hidden escape route, taking her to a sanctuary dedicated to the Goddesses. The priest who oversaw the sanctuary told Link that he would protect Zelda, and that if he hoped to best Agahnim’s dark magic, only a sword that could repel evil could fell the wizard – the legendary Master Sword.

Seeking the mythic blade, Link sought out a mystic named Sahasralah, a descendent of the sages. The wise elder recognized Link as part of the Knights’ bloodline, but knew that Link would need certain relics in order to find the sword, three Pendants of Virtue that had been, once in the ancient past, the Spiritual Stones. Link’s quest for the pendants took him through trials and tribulations, facing mighty foes and solving perplexing and deadly puzzles, and once he had recovered them all, was directed to go seeking the Master Sword in the depths of the Lost Woods.

In a hidden grove, Link found the pedestal where the sword rested. The power of the pendants and the Hero’s spirit resonated with the sword, and he withdrew the blade, imbuing it with the power to repel evil. Yet no sooner had Link exited the grove when he felt Zelda’s presence in his mind, crying out in alarm that soldiers had come to the sanctuary. Link ran with all due haste, but it was too late: the sanctuary was ransacked, the priest dead, and Zelda gone, taken by Agahnim’s men.

Without a second thought, Link fought his way through Hyrule Castle and used the Master Sword to remove the barrier to Agahnim’s tower. There he witnessed Agahnim casting a spell on Zelda, causing her to vanish in a flash of light. The wizard cackled, claiming his task was complete, that the descendents of the seven sages of old had been dealt with, and soon the barrier between worlds would be breached. Using the Master Sword’s power to repel evil, Link reflected Agahnim’s dark magic back at him, and in desperation the wizard unleashed his most powerful sorcery, transporting both he and Link to the Dark World.

What had once been the Sacred Realm was now a bleak and unsettling landscape to Link’s eyes, a country that seemed like a nightmarish version of Hyrule. Thanks to the power of the Magic Mirror, a relic Link had acquired on his quest, he was able to maintain his true shape, and no sooner had he arrived than Link heard a familiar voice in his mind – Zelda was alive, trapped in the Dark World along with the six maidens Agahnim had abducted before. Zelda revealed that Ganon was using their power to weaken the seal, and that if he was not stopped he would soon escape to the World of Light, where nothing could stop the omnipotence of the Triforce.

His task laid before him, Link traversed the gloomy swamps, ruined villages, haunted forests and jagged storm-cloaked mountains of the Dark World, finding each of the prisons of the maidens and slaying the horrid entities guarding them. The Master Sword held true, and cut through Ganon’s many monsters and traps. At last, in the caverns of Turtle Rock, Link reunited with Zelda. Though weakened by her incarceration, Zelda was able to use her magic, along with the other maidens’ power, to breach the barrier around Ganon’s Tower. She revealed that even though Link had managed to free the maidens, the process of breaking the sage’s seal was already near completion, and Link had only delayed the sorcerous effect. If Ganon was not stopped, he would escape into the World of Light once more.

Link survived the dangers of Ganon’s tower and faced Agahnim once again. This time, the wizard could not escape Link, and was slain after a terrible battle. As Agahnim’s corpse settled to the floor, a hideous shadow emerged from the body – Ganon. The King of Evil revealed to Link that Agahnim had merely been a vessel under Ganon’s control, that allowed Ganon to escape the Sacred Realm bound to the wizard in order to set the stage for his real return. Now that he was free, and the barrier was weakened, Ganon vowed he would be free to rule the world with the might of the Triforce.

The Hero and the Demon Thief clashed, and both were matched in prowess – Link with his courage and the keen edge of the Master Sword, Ganon with the Triforce and his wicked sorcery. Only one would stand triumphant, and though at many points his doom seemed nigh, Link ultimately struck Ganon a blow that would pierce the monster to his very soul, quenching the darkness. Ganon was vanquished at last.

The Triforce, without a master, fell into Link’s hands, and because his will was in balance, he was able to use its amazing power to restore the world. The Dark World faded away, its vile energy converted an shifted as Link brought the Triforce back to the World of Light. The King of Hyrule was returned from the dead, and Zelda reunited with her father. Link’s uncle was too restored.

When he had finished his good deeds. Link bestowed the Triforce on Zelda and the Royal Family, returned the Master Sword to its rest in the forest, and became a knight of Hyrule.

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War of the Seal

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