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blood royals

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Who knows what the Three Goddesses may have intended when they created the office of kingship? Hyrule has been subject to deified scholars and child rulers and warmongering tyrants. It has been drawn and quartered by multiple claims to a single throne, it has suffered and it has flourished as its lands are passed endlessly from hand to hand between father and son. The Hylians assume a king's birthright is his sacred calling, but besides this it is also a tether to the old ways, the judgements of the departed gods, and it serves as a clever trap for fools who would lay tribute on the wrong altars.

Either way, the Gerudo worship only sand and fire and the dying warrior’s smile because Hyrule’s three goddesses abandoned them in the desert long ago. As a token of defiance, they do not keep kings. That may be the word for them, the title by which the century’s fertile male is still addressed, but they are above all else the father and the favoured son, together at once, beloved. They are rare and precious, the oasis embodied. A king is a vessel for all the authority needed to control the matriarchal tribes that once dreamed of burning down the world. And even so it is not his successor that he needs to fear when that younger, more deeply favoured son finally comes of age.

Ganondorf is at peace with his inheritance. Infants are born bloody and the act of living is a small, personal war against inevitability. He knows that his people love and fear him and he knows that they will regard him a valuable tool only so long as he ensures their survival. His power here is absolute, but fleeting. When the time comes, his warriors will give him back to the glory of the first bloodline. They will lay his body out with gold and silver and glass, with wooden rings and iron talismans, with weapons and scented grasses and vials of water and pages inscribed with his favourite stories. They will place the heart of his black charger in his own chest. They will raid the nomad tribes and the traders who dare the valley at the desert’s lip for most of these offerings. This is as they must do. This is as they have always done. Ganondorf does not in fact wish this for his horse — a good and loyal animal — or, indeed, for the others who will be sacrificed to satisfy his funerary needs, but he condones it because tradition is greater than any lone man. Furthermore, the time has not yet come; and time, oh, time is a thing he understands very well.

He is, himself, timeless. A creature unknown to previous generations and one who is welcomed by the restless, shifting future. He is the closest thing to a usurper that the Gerudo have ever fostered, the son who killed his father. He is a sorcerer uninterested in the ancient secrets lost within his own lands; he is destined to venture outward. Drawn to the wet valley, the green hills. Raised by witches in the Desert Colossus. There were many unknowable things revealed to him through his childhood in the dark core of the dunes and he has been content not to speak of them since.

Ignorance is a lock on this corner of the world, my prince.
(On your people under you, on yourself in the wasteland.)
Your father is ignorant, as with all fathers before him.
(Will your son be so, my prince? Will you?)

As the stories go, Ganondorf emerged from a sandstorm three phases of the moon before his succession. He was leading two shadows. Koume and Kotake laughed when he slew the ruling king, limning his silhouette in fire and ice. The Gerudo still speak of that day in voices rich with outrage and deep approval. They say the true king was born from a different kind of blood. He came from the temple unarmed and his golden eyes were untroubled. He smiled, and it was absent and careless. A smile that knew the pain of hunger intimately, despite its shapely satisfaction. A smile that touched his face sincerely but could never truly please him.