So, I recently replayed several titles in the Zelda series, and one of the best is Link to the Past, the Super Nintendo version of the classic game. This game is beautifully set up – colourful, vibrant, and with intense and exciting gameplay. Replaying it was like opening a window to my childhood and stepping through it; like few things really can, the sounds and sights that dominated my Christmas and after back in 1989 really took me back.
So I was thinking about it, and imagining one of the more climactic scenes, when Link enters the Lost Woods to reclaim the Master Sword, and what that might have been like “rein-acted” using the new information about the series. Also, I was bored at work. Story below the jump.
The woods, this deep, were more like a jungle, forgotten in time. Here and there lay the signs of old civilization; a crumbled wall, a statue overgrown with and defaced by moss. Even in this ancient ruins, the sun occasionally peeked through the thick canopy overhead, casting a murky beam of light over what might have once been a great city, ruined by the millennia since the civilization it represented was great. Danger lurked in the forest, still, and his route to the ruins had been treacherous – though now that he was here, it seemed that the strange forest denizens, the creatures and monsters and moblins that ruled the wooded tracts, were warded away by some form of magic – or perhaps some form of primal memory.
The trees grew close in a particular area, and there was a heavy log that had fallen and blocked his path. The young man reached for it, grasping with the emerald-studded gloves he’d found in the desert. The green gemstones sparkled as the pads on his fingertips gripped down, and with a mighty pull he dislodged the tree trunk, setting it aside. There was a path that wend forward, deeper into the ruins and the trees, and he followed it.
Silence ruled in here, and he swiftly unslung the bow from his shoulders, stringing it in a smooth motion. Blue eyes watched the canopy like a hawk, but no keese swooped in from above to strike. He exhaled, fingers sliding away from the quiver over his back. It wasn’t long since he found the bow in the old castle ruins, but he’d developed a keen knack for placing an arrow just in the right spot. He’d had to develop it quickly, when Armos Knights, reanimated by some ancient magic, came charging down on him deeper in those same ruins.
The stillness remained and he followed the winding path down deeper. His uncle’s sword tapped, in its scabbard, on his hip, a comforting reminder as to what lay ahead. Left handed, he let that hand remain free, ready to reach for the carefully bound grip on his sword’s hilt. The right one slipped into a belt pouch, finding a heavy weight there – a magical pearl that he found on Death Mountain, designed to protect him from the strange emanations of the mirror world that he feared he’d again traverse some day. Rather than being forced into a strange, harmless rabbit form, the pearl let him retain his natural shape, and since then, he’d considered it a good luck charm. Given where he was, he hoped that he wouldn’t need it.
Turning once more, he found what he was looking for. A clearing up ahead, with the sun drawing down on a raised platform, as if a temple’s floor had survived where none of this ancient ruin did. He moved forward, step by careful step, expecting a trap as the vines receded from the smooth stone floor on the clearing. Even the animals seemed to be respectful of this area, this zone of strange quiet, as he found none within; though he could almost sense the animals watching as he approached his goal.
In the centre of the smooth stone-floored clearing was a pedestal with ancient Hylian script etched deep within. There were three grooves carved into the old stone, each equally sized, prepared to receive one of the three keys to this ancient puzzle. And within the rock, the blue crosshilt and pommel standing arrow-straight above, lay the Sword of Evil’s Bane. Its origins had long been lost to time, and even the Book of Mudora, an ancient tome used to translate the ruins about Hyrule, had no notes on where it came from. Indeed, it seemed to Link that the blade may have predated Hyrule itself.
Regardless, he inhaled as he watched the blade for a moment, the bit of edge exposed from the rock glinting invitingly in the sun. He wondered how many had grasped that pommel and held it aloft before; he wondered if he was worthy in their line, despite passing the tests given to him by Sahasrahla. He wondered if anyone who lived could be worthy; if the sword itself could refuse even those with the three Pendants of Virtue. Each of them lay heavy on his neck.
He moved up to the pedestal and took a moment to steady himself before his left hand reached out. His heart beat so heavily he felt it outside of his chest – no, he felt the three pendants beating in rhythm with his pulse, as magical energy concentrated. He flexed his fingers, curling them, opening them, and then he grasped the pommel of the Master Sword, that blade of legend.
A wave of energy surrounded him, swirling about the pedestal and encircling him, focused on the three pendants as the abjurations protecting the Master Sword were undone, releasing the sword from the protective rock. Memories flooded him; a boy on a sailboat, riding the waves, sword in his hand as he searched; a wolf leaping across a deadly chasm before turning to a man with a familiar blade at his back; a bird diving with a rider holding forth the glinting magical steel; and a child grasping a sword too big from him in a tall, solemn temple, twisting the Master Sword from its perch. Just as swiftly, the memories were gone, and then he was rising up the blade to meet a bolt of lightning from the heavens.
Link had not learned more in the past moments, but he felt his knowledge of swordplay increase as the Master Sword transferred the experience of his forebears into his being. He felt more resolute. More resilient. He felt prepared for the task at hand. Agahnim had kidnapped Princess Zelda, and Link would cut down the wizard with his ancient blade. Leaving behind his uncle’s sword, he slid the Master Sword into the scabbard. After a moment’s thought – or a memory out of time – he slung the sheath over his shoulder like knights that hadn’t lived for centuries.
He turned to leave the forest. Hyrule Castle and its challenges awaited the hero. As told in tales ancient and not yet renewed, the Master Sword had returned, borne by a hero, to save the kingdom yet again.