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Inspired by Ganondorf's last words in The Wind Waker, this is a story of his past, and how he became the evil man he is.
The wind was blowing. It howled through gaps in the rocks and dashed itself against the desert cliffs, covering another noise that drifted through the city: the sound of an infant crying. A child had been born, a child destined to conquer and to kill. The one boy born every hundred years to the tribe of the Gerudo. So begins the tale...
“This is no good,” said Ganondorf despondently. His mother, Lucretia, looked at him in surprise.
“The training ground!” he burst out. “I can’t make it past the room with the lava.” He sat down, glumly.
“Look,” Lucretia said soothingly. “Gerudo usually don’t start training until they’ve come of age. You’re only ten, after all. Don’t worry about it.”
“But that’s it!” said the youth. “I have to, don’t you see? I have so much to learn, so I’ll be ready for the trip to Hyrule next week—”
“Do you expect to do much fighting, on the way to Hyrule?” Lucretia asked.
“You know what I mean!” said Ganondorf, irritably. “Say...is it really true what Madame Koume told me?”
“What did she tell you?” asked Lucretia, a little apprehensively.
“That when I grow up, I’ll get to be king!”
“Well...yes, actually. You will get to be the king of the Gerudo, someday.” Lucretia looked thoughtful.
“And this trip is to prepare me for being king?” Ganondorf asked.
“In a manner of speaking. You are going to be something called an ‘ambassador’. That means that you will be a messenger from us to the King of Hyrule. That’s very special!” Ganondorf thought a moment, and then gave his mother a hug.
“I’m going back to the training ground. Later on, Madame Koume promised to teach me some more history.” He started walking out the door, the hesitated. “I love you,” he said, and was gone.
Ganondorf was entrusted to the care of an elder named Jezebel for the journey. The two witches known as Twinrova used to go, but since Koume had burned down a homestead near the valley they had been exiled. Jezebel brought Ganondorf to the stables, where she helped him mount. They rode down the steps, past the guards, and out of the valley.
“Be careful on the bridge,” Jezebel warned. Ganondorf looked down. The first time he had seen the river, he had been struck mute: he had never seen so much water in his life. He remembered Gerudo legends about a huge lake called ‘the Sea’; full of monsters, and of treasure.
“You know, Jezebel,” he said cheerfully as they rode on past the bridge, “one day, I’m going to build myself a fortress in the middle of the Sea!”
“Keep dreaming,” said Jezebel absentmindedly. They rode on.
Ganondorf waited in the castle’s main hall. His head was spinning: he had just had the time of his life. He had never seen so much green. Trees, bushes, grass...! And the town! He never knew there were this many people in the world. Jezebel had let him run around town by himself for a while. She let him have fifteen rupees' spending money, and he had bought a mask with it.
He sat, nervously fingering the eyeholes of the mask while the King prepared to see him. The door opened. “Come in,” an attendant said. He did.
Ganondorf looked around. There were pictures on the walls, of men and women and beasts. The King rose and walked over to him, while the attendants shut the door.
“Greetings, child,” said the King.
“I...I...give you my good wishes,” Ganondorf stammered. The King smiled.
“Let us talk,” he said.
Ganondorf walked out of the room, and Jezebel jumped up. “How did it go?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” said Ganondorf. His tone of voice did not allow for any more questions, and they made the journey back to the desert in silence.
At the bridge, he stopped a moment, and looked back through the narrow way they had traversed. Jezebel peered at him curiously. His eyes were filled with emotion, and with longing. Without a word, he turned and spurred his horse across the bridge.
Ganondorf proved to be equally quiet at home. He brushed off Lucretia’s enquiries about the trip, and went to his room soon after arriving. After a few hours, she decided to check on him. She walked in, only to see the mask he had brought home dashed to pieces, and Ganondorf lying on his pallet with his face to the wall. She walked over to him.
“Ganondorf, are you alright?” she asked kindly. He didn’t respond. She sat down at the foot of his pallet. “What happened?”
Ganondorf turned a stony face towards her. It was unreadable, but she thought she saw a little redness around the eyes. “The King,” he began.
“He talked to me for a long time. He talked about how I was to be an ‘emissary’, whatever that is. He talked about different things. Then...then I asked him why I was chosen. He sort of glanced at me, and said, ‘Because you are the chosen one. Because you are a man.’ I asked him what he meant. He explained that everywhere else there are as many boys as there are girls. He told me that I was the only boy to be born to the Gerudo tribe for the last hundred years. Why?”
Lucretia looked very uncomfortable. “Er...long story, my boy. Not now. What else did he say?”
“He asked me if...if I knew my...father.” A tear glinted on his cheek.
Lucretia put her arms around her son. “Ganondorf,” she said, “there’s something I have to tell you. Something that you need to know. I...that is...come downstairs and we can talk about it.”
Over the following days, the Gerudo noticed a change in their future king. He was less jaunty and upbeat, and more melancholy. He began to practice harder than ever. His skill with the bow improved, he learned to mount and ride his horse well, and he soon made it far past the lava-room in the training facility.
Some of his friends caught up with him a few days after his return, and asked him about Hyrule. He always declined, but one of them, a young girl named Nabooru, wouldn’t let him alone. Finally, after several weeks of being followed, he consented to tell them about his adventure.
“What’s it like in Hyrule?” one of them asked, wide-eyed.
“It’s green,” he said. “There are plants everywhere; strong, healthy plants. And a river—a river is like a really big stream—running through the entire land. And the wind...!”
“What about the wind?” one of them asked. Ganondorf struggled for words.
“It’s...I don’t know....it’s fresh somehow. Like that feeling you get when you look at the stars, or that you get when you smell the dew in the morning. That feeling. The wind in Hyrule is beautiful.” He looked wistfully around. “Not like here.”
A few nights later, Ganondorf slipped out of the house and climbed up to his secret spot on the cliff. He had found it after years of exploring: a little alcove with a view of the city and of the sky beyond. Navigating the cliff was treacherous in the starlight, but he enjoyed a challenge. He made his quiet way to his own quiet corner, sat, and thought.
Suddenly, a scream rent the night. His eyes snapped down to the jumble of houses beneath him just in time to see a tongue of flame stretch towards the sky. He leaped up from his seat and began the descent down the cliff. He scratched his hands in his haste, leaving the stones stained with blood. His hands slipped, and he fell the last ten feet onto the stone floor beneath. He got up and ran toward the source of the shouts, ducked between two houses—and what he saw haunted him for as long as he lived.
His house was on fire. Through the window he saw the blazing silhouette of his mother, screaming in pain. Her clothing had caught fire, and she couldn’t put it out. The door to the house was blocked by beams and rubble fallen from the ceiling, and the window was too small for her to get through. Ganondorf charged towards the window. Someone grabbed him and he fell. He regained his feet and kept running.
“MOTHER!!!” he bellowed. She had stopped screaming—she was beyond pain now—and looked up. “MOTHER!!!” he shouted again. She stood, faced her son, and held her arms out to him in farewell.
“NO!!!” Ganondorf shouted as the roof fell in upon her.
“How did this happen?” asked Jezebel in anguish. “How could this have happened?”
“There was an unattended fire nearby,” began one of the guards. “The wind blew the flame in the direction of the house. Some of the clothing Lucretia had set out to dry caught fire, and it spread from there to the house. She was asleep, and by the time she awoke it was too late.”
“The wind...?” said Jezebel.
Ganondorf slipped from the corner where he had been sitting, and out into the night.
Kotake flew past the city, and toward the cave in the cliffs where she lived with her twin sister Koume. She dismounted from her broom, and hobbled to the back of the cave. “Koume!” she said irritably. “KOUME!”
“Kotake!” burst out Koume, who was sitting at a low table. “Kotake, something’s happened!”
Koume and Kotake split up to find the boy. After a long search, Kotake found him at the blackened ruins of the house. He turned his face towards her as she ambled up behind him.
“Where were you?” he asked. “Your magic...it might have...”
“I was on a journey,” she said. “I have only just heard. I’m sorry.”
“It was the wind,” he said. “It killed her. I could have saved her, but I wasn’t there. I took too long—it’s my fault. It’s my fault!” Kotake listened expressionlessly.
“No, Ganondorf. Think about it. Would she have died had we lived in Hyrule, and not here? Would she have died if the winds had been gentle to us? Would she have died if the King had not unlawfully sent us into exile? Blame not yourself, boy. It was not your fault. Should anyone bear blame, it is the King.”
Ganondorf faced the smoldering remains of his mother’s house and wept.
The next evening the Twinrova found Ganondorf out upon a ridge above the city, watching the stars rise.
“Have you made your choice yet, boy?” Koume asked. “Will you let your mother’s death go unavenged? Or will you honor her memory by reclaiming Hyrule?” Ganondorf hesitated, and then spoke, slowly.
“I...I will fight.” He turned again to face the night. The wind howled far below.
“Very well.” The two witches exchanged glances. “Meet us tomorrow at the entrance to the Haunted Wastes. We will have much work to do.” They stepped backwards, and then quietly walked along the ridge towards the city, fading into the shadows.
Ganondorf turned his face towards the sky again. Time passed. A voice spoke from behind him. It was Nabooru.
“Ganondorf? Are you alright?” she asked.
He turned to her. His eyes were full of tears—but there was something else there, too. Something that chilled Nabooru to the bone.
“The wind...” he said. “It is blowing..."
...Or Is It?