Sin of Sheikari: Chapter 15

Sheikah and the Storm

Zelda could recall her frequent visits to the Temple of Time as a child with the king and queen. Its halls were always peaceful, the chanting of the spirits bringing her solace.

Rauru, the Sage of Light and the only Sage who remained awake, built the Temple of Time to serve as the only way to enter the Sacred Realm if one wasn’t a Sage. In an alternate timeline, Ganondorf had managed to sneak behind Link when he opened the Door of Time and lifted the Master Sword from its pedestal.

As a child, Zelda had always wondered what most of the other temples scattered across Hyrule were like on the inside. She knew she’d never have the chance to see them in person, especially Rauru’s domain: the Temple of Light. That temple, unlike the other sanctuaries, was in the center of the Sacred Realm, far beyond the reach of anyone who wasn’t a Sage.

However, there was one temple she’d vowed to never visit.

Zelda collapsed to the ground, gasping for air as the fuchsia-colored tendrils of light evaporated around her. The image of the shadow leering over Nabooru made her stomach turn. Tears streamed down her face as she remembered the Gerudo chief’s last words.

“She knew…She always knew he was nothing but a wicked soul…and I believed her…”

Zelda cried out in agony just as a great thunderclap ripped through her senses. Rumbling black clouds swirled above her, threatening all who lived below them. The withered trees thrashed about as the wind whipped through them, and Zelda covered her ears to drown at the howling of the storm.

She struggled to stand up, her limbs feeling as heavy as lead. She lowered her hands onto the dried, brittle grass and tried to push herself up before plunging face-first into the dirt. The ground smelled of clay and ashes, while the air was thick with the stench of blood and death.

Zelda wanted to stay there, lost in that ever-growing maelstrom of death and despair, but she knew she had to keep moving. When she finally managed to get to her feet, she took in her surroundings and was immediately filled with dread at the sight of numerous tombstones.

Kakariko Graveyard.

She looked ahead, through the rows of graves, and saw a familiar figure in the distance. Long, silver hair framed a strong face that was set in a serious expression.

“Impa…” Zelda whispered.

Impa was leaning back against a tombstone, patiently waiting for her. Zelda took a step forward, but her feet felt like they were weighed down by invisible chains. Impa rose when she saw Zelda struggling to walk towards her, quickly crossing the distance between them. Her expression softened when she saw the tears in Zelda’s eyes.

“I warned you,” she said gently, “that you weren’t ready for this yet.”

Zelda clenched her fists and looked away as more tears fell. “She’s gone…the woman I met in the Spirit Temple. Nabooru…she hated Ganondorf just as much as I did, and…she knew my mother.”

Impa’s face softened even more at the mention of the late queen. “I have heard of Nabooru, one of the chiefs of the Gerudo.”

Zelda wiped away her tears and looked up at the Sheikah before falling to her knees. Impa moved to help her stand again, but Zelda stopped her with her hand and shook her head.

“Impa…” her voice was shaking. “Something’s been following me. Each time I awakened a Sage, I saw a shadow. It knew I wasn’t part of the Sheikah clan, and it called me a spawn of Hylia. None of the Sages would tell me what it was. And it…”

Zelda’s voice caught in her throat as the image of Nabooru screaming out in pain flashed in her mind once again. Impa sighed as she realized what Zelda was trying to say.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “You were never meant to see that shadow.”

Zelda’s eyes widened as a chill ran down her spine. She slowly looked up at Impa, her heart pounding in her chest. “You…you know what it is?”

Impa nodded, and Zelda could see the fear in her guardian’s eyes. “You must tell me! Please! The Sage of Spirit was afraid to say!”

Impa closed her eyes and sighed, her shoulders slumping in defeat. “Listen to me carefully, Zelda. That phantom you’ve been seeing was supposed to remain sealed with the Ancient Sages. By awakening them, you broke that seal. Still, it should have been nothing more than an illusion.”

Zelda shook her head. “This shadow is much stronger than an illusion. It took on the appearance of the Hero of Time, as if to mock him. It even speaks to me.”

Impa’s eyes widened. “What did it say?”

Zelda’s mind raced as she began reciting the shadow’s words. “‘I am not a creation, spawn of Hylia. I am more ancient than your kingdom and your heroes. Cast aside. Abandoned. Only a shadow, softer than any phantom.'”

Impa’s face was pale, and she turned away from Zelda, looking towards the back of the graveyard. “I take it you only have one Sage left to awaken.”

“Yes.”

Impa turned around, her expression serious. “Then you must hurry and face Ganondorf once you are finished here. We no longer have time to waste. As soon as you can, you must allow the Sages to return to their eternal slumber once more.”

Impa started off without Zelda, clutching her sword as if they’d be ambushed at any moment. Zelda raced after her, her heart pounding in her chest. She looked up just as another thunderclap sounded, and she thought the dark clouds seemed to be twisting and whirling into each other much more aggressively than before.

She was about to return her attention to Impa when her gaze fell upon a large brown owl perched high above her in a gnarled tree. It studied Zelda closely, its calmness being unsettling, even for an owl. Surely it wanted to get out of this storm.

“Zelda, keep up. We must open it.”

She tore her gaze away from the owl and rushed after Impa, who leaped over a wooden fence. Zelda quickly followed, finding herself standing in front of a large cave opening. She continued forward until she reached what looked like an altar surrounded by several torches. Beyond the altar rested a massive door with what appeared to be the Sheikah emblem carved into its surface with the Triforce symbol above it. Though, as Zelda studied it, it looked much different from the emblems she’d seen, almost as if this symbol was an earlier design.

“Stand upon the altar and pray to the goddesses,” Impa instructed.

Zelda did as she was told and clasped her hands in front of her, bowing her head. She felt a sudden surge of energy course through her body and looked around as every torch lit up all at once. The massive door slowly slid upwards, revealing a long and dark tunnel.

“This is it,” Impa said. “The entrance to the Shadow Temple.”

“Wait!” Zelda called out as Impa started to walk inside. “The Sages…why do they need to go back to sleep?”

Impa turned around and looked at Zelda for a moment before she finally spoke.

“Because you have awakened the Sheikah’s greatest sin.”