Sin of Sheikari: Chapter 18

Gather With Them

Zelda quickly covered her mouth as her stomach twisted and turned, barely managing to keep its contents down. She then returned her focus towards Odan, whose expression remained pitiful, as if his remorse would change anything.

“All of you…” Zelda pointed a trembling finger at him. “How can you sleep knowing what happened to them? To the people in that temple?”

Odan’s expression didn’t change. It remained the same as he silently called out for her forgiveness. Yet, Zelda wasn’t sure he or the other Sages could ever be forgiven, especially not by the Sheikari.

“The Shadow Temple…” Zelda clutched her stomach. “It’s nothing but a blight upon Hyrule! It is now a place to worship shame! To worship death! It should be destroyed!”

She could see Odan flinch back, but he didn’t argue. Zelda was about to say more when her stomach lurched again. It was all she could do to keep herself from vomiting.

“We have failed the people of Hyrule,” she finally managed to say. “I am tasked with saving this kingdom from a mad sorcerer and now from itself, without the Hero of Time.”

Odan finally spoke. “Everything you say is true, princess. We have no right to call ourselves Sages. We have ultimately failed in our duties, and we are not worthy of the people’s trust.”

Zelda wrapped her arms around herself once more, trying to will away yet another chill. She mentally reminded herself to keep taking deep breaths and using the sounds of falling water to remain calm. Despite what she’d just learned, she was still in the Chamber of Sages, the cornerstone of the Temple of Light. She had to believe in the goddesses, that there was still hope for Hyrule.

“I neglected one detail,” Odan broke the silence. “Perhaps because I wish to not recall anything else about that day. A great number of the Sheikah were also there on the day the Sheikari were to be banished from Hyrule. In a last attempt to save themselves, the Sheikari had forged an unholy relic and unleashed it upon us. The Sheikah and the knights of Hyrule fought valiantly, but all were defeated.”

As she listened to his tale, Zelda slowly found the strength to stand upright again. All this madness…it was because of the Sheikari. They believed none were worthy of approaching the Triforce, though the Golden Goddesses had left it behind for all to use. And so the goddesses had commanded them to be banished from the land. The thought of all those people, fighting and dying because of the Sheikari’s hubris, made Zelda’s blood boil.

“I will find a way to stop them,” she declared. “I will not allow them to destroy Hyrule, no matter what shame their demise has brought upon us.”

Odan nodded somberly. “The Hero of Time was to defeat the King of Evil, but I believe we must now entrust it all to you. Still, you must do one thing.”

“What is it?”

“Mind the shadows.”

The Chamber of Sages plunged into darkness as Zelda was thrust back into the Shadow Temple. She desperately felt around in the darkness, unable to see anything in front of her. Instinctively, she reached for her kodachi before remembering Impa had been guarding the door to the room she now stood in.

“Impa!” she cried out. “Impa, where are you?”

She began wandering in the darkness, her hands stretched out in front of her. She had to find Impa and escape from this din of wickedness. Suddenly, she felt something snake around her leg, tripping her. She yelped and fell to the ground, hitting her head on a hard surface. She was just about to push herself up when a voice whispered into her ear.

“Shadow Temple…here is gathered Hyrule’s bloody history of greed and hatred.”

Zelda sprang to her feet and drew her sword, slashing at the darkness, but her blade found nothing. A hand grabbed her wrist, and she yelped again, trying to pull away. She finally managed to break free, but another voice whispered into her ear, a hollow, empty sound.

“You would forge your clubs into swords. Your sticks into javelins. The weakest of you declare yourselves mighty.”

Zelda sheathed her kodachi and started to run, but the darkness seemed to be alive, wrapping around her and slowing her down. Soon there were multiple voices, joining together and becoming more insistent as they began chanting, “Yet it was we who tempered those blades, who breathed life into your resolve. And we were repudiated.”

They continued repeating the phrase over and over until Zelda felt like she was going to go mad. She wanted to cover her ears, to block out the voices, but she forced herself to keep going. She had to find Impa.

Yet the specters continued to taunt and pull at her as she crashed into a wall. They sounded like they were in pain, their agony growing with each passing second. Soon, they’d formed an infernal choir, their voices an ever-growing cacophony that was soon joined by wails and screams. Finally, the chanting stopped and was replaced by a single, unified phrase mixed with groans and howls.

“Hasten and storm, with all your surrounding kingdoms, and gather with us. Bring down the Sacred Realm, you and your mighty ones.”

Zelda, finally at her wit’s end, screamed and lashed out, swinging her sword around wildly. Still, her blade found nothing but air, and her screaming was soon drowned out by the chorus of shrieking and sobbing. She was surrounded by the darkness, the voices, the pain. Realizing she would soon reach her breaking point, she finally put her hands over her ears and tried to block out the voices, but they only grew louder and more tenacious.

“For we will be there to judge Hyrule…and all surrounding nations.”

“Help me,” Zelda whimpered. “Someone please…help me.”

Suddenly, she felt a hand on her shoulder, and she screamed as she turned to face a figure that was almost indistinguishable from the darkness itself.

“Do you see now what you’ve awakened?”

Zelda fell to her knees and felt water splash up against her. She looked down and saw a bright pool of water, its familiar surface rippling in the darkness. She glanced around, noticing the six symbols of the Ancient Sages nestled on the water’s surface.

“We were supposed to fade with them.”

Zelda jumped to her feet, her eyes darting around the Chamber of Sages as she searched for the source of the voice.

“Odan?” she called out. “Odan, is that you?”

“No,” an old man dressed in a brown robe rose from the symbol of Light. The top of his head was bald save for a tiny, silver ponytail, and his bushy white mustache circled his face until it blended into his sideburns. “I am Rauru, the Sage of Light.”

Zelda drew back, her eyes wide as she looked at Rauru, the only Sage who didn’t sleep. “This was the only way!”

Rauru shook his head slowly. “We once thought the same, we who were supposed to be the wisest of them all. Yet, we fell victim to our hubris, a trait we shared with the Sheikari.”

Zelda sighed as she looked down at the pool. “Hyrule will soon fall to more than just hubris.”

“And what can we do to stop it?” Rauru asked. “The Sheikari were the most powerful sorcerers in the land. Only with the Golden Goddesses’ help were we able to banish them, but even the shades they left behind were strong enough to destroy us all!”

“Even so,” Zelda said, her eyes hardening, “I will not give up. I will still find a way to save Hyrule.”

“And how will you do that?” Rauru asked. “You struggled in your fight against Ganondorf’s phantom, nearly perishing in that battle were it not for Impa and your luck with receiving Farore’s blessing. You have awakened the Sages, but this is a darkness far beyond our capabilities. Without the Hero of Time, we are hopeless.”

“No,” Zelda said, her voice firm. “I am not the Hero of Time, but I am the Princess of Destiny. And in an alternate timeline, I was the leader of the Sages and held the Triforce of Wisdom. Ganondorf does not yet have the power he seeks, and so he can still be destroyed…without the Hero of Time.”

Rauru stared at Zelda for a moment, processing her words. Finally, he nodded. “Very well, then. We Sages will do what we can to aid you, Princess Zelda, but I fear it may not be enough.”

“Yes, and I must go,” Zelda said, rising to her feet. “I must leave here and find Impa before the darkness claims her.”

Rauru grunted, his eyes shifting to the symbol of Shadow. “Perhaps you underestimate yourself far more than I do. You saved her long before I found you. Now go!”

Zelda was flung from the Chamber of Sages and back into the Shadow Temple. She got to her feet and looked around, trying to orient herself now that she was once again enveloped in the sounds of chanting and wailing. She felt a hand on her shoulder, and this time she grasped it, certain it was Impa.

“We must go now!” Impa shouted over the specters. “The temple will collapse soon!”

Zelda nodded, though she was certain Impa couldn’t see her in the darkness. She closed her eyes, willing her mind to touch as many hearts as she could. She imagined all of Hyrule’s people, from the Zora of Lake Hylia to the weary citizens of Hyrule Castle Town. She felt their hope and their fear, their love and their despair.

“Citizens of Hyrule!” she cried out. “I am Zelda, your princess! Warriors of every nation, hear my plea…the time is now! We must fight! The final battle is now! I am coming to stop Ganondorf and save Hyrule once and for all!”

She then found herself sailing upwards, through the darkness, and into the light once more.