To the Head Librarian of Hyrule Castle: A memoire of a long-passed Hero
-Master Rauru XVI, Sage and Minister of the Temple of Time
The old Legends speak of Heroes that rise tall in the face of adversity, that within their hearts lie something stronger and far more courageous―something more―than their brethren. Legends say that those Heroes were bound by fate, so tightly woven in the tapestry of time that with their rising and triumphant achievements came ages of progress and prosperity. They tell of Heroes whose spirits readied themselves for battle and pressed on even as the walls of their homelands came crashing down in bright blazing fires and their kin lay in heaps at their feet. Legends say that in those times of hardship and misfortune their courage remained ever unwavering, and their hearts too pure to be corrupted. They were the Captains and Commanders of their people. They were the Kings and Queens of their domains, the elders and leaders and the warriors sung in song and versed in poem for time immemorial, praised and loved by those who they led out of the chains of slavery and death. Some say those Legends are as numerous and everlasting as the stars, and I am inclined to believe it so.
However, there is one Legend that speaks of a Hero of unlikely circumstances. A Legend that tells of a silent Hero who―though was strong in heart―carried the weight of duty and responsibility on his shoulders like a beast of burden set to plow the fields alone till the setting of the sun. And upon his lips he wore seal of silence in hopes that none would know his true heart, his fears and great unrest. This Legend speaks of a Hero who toiled under the sun and lay awake under the moon, who in his direst hour of need fell to the clutches of Malice, haunted by the shortcomings of his days and cursed to a century of sleep, doomed to awake to a world he once knew and loved overrun by the wilds of the land. Hyrule was a dangerous place then, far more so than you or I could have ever imagined.
But not all was as calamitous as that. In visions that glimpsed through Time itself I have seen the turnings and workings of this tragic tale. For there was still hope. There had always been hope, like a singular light shining upon a dark and desolate world. This hope that was sown in the soils of his of past, where it lasted throughout the years. A courage that could never be forgotten, for it had need not be remembered.
Entailed in these writings are the countless stories that have been given to me by Hylia in revelation, so that they could be recorded and remembered for the ages to come. Please, Head of the Great Library, see that these writings are safeguarded and recorded, I find their lessons and messages are of utter importance and priceless significance to our heritage. I must warn you though, I have recorded these things as they were presented to me, not even I could always say what for certainty what lay in the heart and mind of the Hero of the Wild. Perhaps we will never know. I leave those opinions to you and to every man or woman who reads these words.
The Rise of an Unlikely Hero
A Little Village Called Hateno
It all began in a most unlikely little place. A long gone and forgotten village, if you will, somewhere on the eastern shore of Hyrule called Hateno. It was a pleasant place, in my memory of those visions, with wide lush and green farmlands where wheat grew in plentiful bushels and the cattle and sheep grazed to their hearts content. A river rushed through the town too, as clear as any spring fed river could be, cool and refreshing on the tongue even on the hottest days of summer. The lumber there was good too, though that is not important. It was a quaint little place in all regards, but still as busy and bustling with trade and activity as any other town across Hyrule; an utterly and rustically beautiful yet forgetful home to a young woman of fair blonde hair.
She was a kind woman of meager but precious countenance, with large and bright blue eyes that shone when she smiled sweetly, rosy cheeks and all. Helen was her only given name at birth, commoners did not have last names back then as I see it, but Helen was a fine name all the same. I could not mark her age precisely, but she was well into her womanhood for certain, not a girl. Many if not most remarked her as quite beautiful in an unassuming way and she worked hard and honestly. Every morning before she would go out into the fields and pastures to sow the soil or tend to the herd she would rise at the dawn and begin her task of stoking the fire and stirring the full hearth, helping her mother lay out the food for their breakfast before sitting down to eat. There always seemed to extra, however. It seemed to me that her mother never could get used to only preparing enough food for two instead of three. Old habits, I suppose. You see, her father had died when she was young, leaving her and her mother to carry the burdens of a small village farm on their own until she would be old enough one day to marry so that her husband could take on that mantle.
Sadly, that day never came, for it seemed Hylia had another fate for her. I cannot say that fate was bright or hopeful as some. It was during a long and bitter winter that her mother contracted a harsh infection in the lungs that left her entirely incapacitated. For nearly thirty nights Helen's mother fought and coughed and fevered in vain until death took her, leaving that poor young woman of fair blonde hair parentless and absolutely alone in the world. She had no relatives. My soul hurt for her circumstances.
Still, Helen persevered with a heart of courage. A sad and aching heart, but a courageous one all the same. When the spring came the following year, she set out to run the farm on her own, but quickly came to find the task far more daunting and impossibly demanding than she had thought before. From dawn till dusk she would labor and sweat in the fields and in the nights, she would set herself to the washing and sewing and embroidering till the tips of her fingers were red and raw from work, and yet for all her hard laboring and diligence, money was no object of great abundancy. Her parents' debts were large and many, and I daresay there are men no more dogged and persistent than the landlord owed his dues. Her hearth more often that not was as dry and empty as a desert dune, her stockings and coats were beaten thin and ragged and dusty, and to illumine her sewing at night was a singular and wilting candle that drooped and pooled in its own wax till it expired, bringing lightless and cold nights.
And like the candle, so did Helen's time in the home of her birth expire.
Before long she was destitute and thrust out onto the open streets of little Hateno, where her face grew dirty with homelessness and her body thin with hunger so that even when her age of marrying came to pass no man looked upon her and thought, 'this is a woman that would make a goodly wife, I must bring her into my home and care for her.' And so, in her desperation she turned to darker corners, where the work was unclean and immoral, where men drank till their heads swirled and their judgments were as loose as the drawstrings on their purses, their senses of propriety and purity even less so. These things that I saw disturb me even now, but they all played a part in the coming of this Legend.
Now, it was on a blustery autumn day of that year that a large frigate made port on the shore of Hateno, and onboard there was a Knight of Hyrule by the name of Sir Peter Hamish, who was remarked as an accomplished and highly regarded member of the King's council, King Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule at the time; a name I believe that has been long forgotten till now. Sir Hamish was a man of average stature, though he bore the air and countenance of someone much more intimidating. He was handsome in many ways though perhaps a little short of beautiful, but his shoulders were broad and his stance strong so that he commanded a presence in any room he stood in. Upon his brow there was single white scar that ran up to the hairline of his long chestnut tresses but no other distinguishable markings. If the rumors were to be believed, that was the only scar Sir Hamish ever received, as he was regarded as one of the finest swordsmen and commanders that had ever graced Hyrule since the last Hero of Legend. How he received that scar, I cannot say with certainty, for the stories were as numerous as grains in a sack.
Nonetheless, Sir Hamish was received well by the townsfolk of Hateno, they revered him as a war hero when battle came to their land from over the seas from Labrynna, though that war had been won and done with by nearly a quarter year by that time. Needless to say, Sir Hamish and his entourage of mighty men were overjoyed to be in their homeland after spending so many months away in strange lands, pushing their attackers back to where they came, conquering and pillaging. That called for celebration, and where there are celebrations there is bound to be heavy drinks. Now it so happened that Sir Hamish and his men were given rooms in the local inn to stay and rest from their long voyage before they returned to their loved ones at home, and there they continued to celebrate the end of the war with Labrynna and took to drinking till they stumbled on their own feet and giggled like children at play.
Fate had a heavy hand that day.
That was when Sir Hamish caught glimpse of the frail but still beautiful Helen of Hateno, and his heart surged with lust. With payment he took her to please himself in the night before he returned to his wife and children who awaited him. This in the eyes of the Law was an abomination, and when he awoke in the morning to behold what he had done in his drunkenness he was greatly ashamed and angry. He cast Helen away and in a furious stampede, he ordered his men to march home, hoping in his heart of hearts to never see that little shoreside village of Hateno ever again.
But the tale did not end there, for in their adultery, Helen came to bear a son of golden hair and bright blue eyes, with a smile sweeter than any she had seen. Her heart cried out dearly for the boy and regardless of the circumstances that had brought him to be she found the unequivocal love that any mother would find for her child and she raised him as best she could, naming him Link, for he was the greatest source of courage in her life. And from that love stemmed the desire for a better future for her only child, so she sent countless letter addressed to Sir Hamish, imploring him to have pity on the child and to take him and provide a better future for him, for his father was a man of great worth and standing. But imploring turned to pleading, and pleading turned to begging, yet still there never came an answer then. And so, through toil and trouble, Helen persevered for her child, and made do with what she had.
Young Link grew astonishingly quick, after all he certainly had the appetite of a glutton and the curiosity of a kitten, which in many more than one instance got him into peculiar―if not at times quite humorous―circumstances. He was a happy child then. Of course Helen kept the truth of her arrangements secret from him, but in his naivety and innocence he ran and played in the streams and fields and in the streets of Hateno, fought and roughhoused with the other children his age, laughed, cried, ate, woke and slept as any small-town boy should, an incessant smile upon his lips and a love for storytelling, adventuring, and bravery. When travelers and merchants from far away came to town he could be seen peeking his head into the carriages and carts to see all sorts of wonderous things to a boy of his age, a sparkle in his eyes― a sparkle which was almost always made by brighter in comparison to the boyish dirtiness of his cheeks. From dawn till dusk he would explore the vast world of his home town as fast as his little legs could carry him, swinging sticks like swords in play, and throwing rocks like slings. He was a sweet boy too, like his mother, quick to smile and embrace, or to offer a kind word or sentiment, even though he could not speak so well. I suppose that in all regards he was a most remarkable boy in a most unremarkable town.
But, as all things that are touched by the hands of fate, it would not always be so.
It had been just short of five years since his birth that a letter came to Helen from the north, a short note sealed in a wax crest depicting two swords crossed over a simple shield bearing the head of a crane, written by none other than Sir Peter Hamish of Hyrule, Knight and Commander of Fort Crenel, War Councilor to the King. The letter's contents, which were brief and detached, was a call to Helen to bring forth her child to him so that he could take the boy under his wing as his Ward, for the legitimacy of the boy's heritage had been discovered by his peers, causing him great shame among the ranks of Knights. This was the punishment by the Law of Adulterers. Sir Hamish was honor bound to provide for the child as recompence for his actions as a Knight of Hyrule, however the boy would receive no titles, and no inheritance. He would be little more than a servant in his father's house.
Worried for the continued safety and security of her child's future, Helen rose and took her son to the wet lands of western Lanayru, where her son was received by Sir Hamish's retainer. Though it tore a hole through her heart, the fair woman of Hateno swallowed back tears of anguish and put on a facade of gladness, promising her young son that his father would take good care of him, that he would teach him the ways of an honorable steward and wise councilor, and that one day he would grow up to be a great man, a mighty Captain of the Guard perhaps―as he insisted upon―and set him on his way with Hamish's retainer.
"'I'll be back, mama,'" the boy said in blissful ignorance as he wrapped arms around his mother's neck. "'I promise! Maybe I'll be a Knight like papa someday.'"
"'I hope you will be, my sweerheart,'" she answered, taking in the last moments of her son's fading embrace before turning aside to weep as if she were mourning his death…. I suppose in a way, this was as bad as death in her heart. Who are we to say where the depths of a mother's love end?
Such are the humble beginnings of this Legend. Who could have possibly known that one day he was to be chosen by the Sword, destined to fight, die, and rise again when the world needed him the most?