Work Header

The Wretched Hero

Work Text:

Link was the Hero.

He was always the Hero. Always the holder of the Triforce of Courage. Always the good guy.

Even if history didn’t realise it—even if the people of Hyrule didn’t realise it—Link was always the Hero.  He could always be trusted. No one would need to fear if a man by the name of Link came to help.

His name was a safety blanket.

Every time the Hero destroyed the Villain, his name would spread through the world.

Hero Link! Link saved Hyrule! Link has saved us!

A new generation of children would be born named Link, in honour of the Hero. But as time passed, his name would be forgotten through the years. All the Links would disappear, leaving only the remnants of their titles.

The Hero of Hyrule saved Hyrule! Legendary Hero! Hero of the Essences! Hero of Twilight! Hero of Winds! Hero of Time! Hero of Light! Hero of the Skies! Chosen Hero has saved us!

He would no longer be a name, but a title.

He would no longer be a person, but a concept.

Once he saved Hyrule, he wasn’t free. He wasn’t Link. He was a responsibility, a concept of safety and heroism.

Once he saved Hyrule, he was no longer his own person. Rather, he was a tool for the kingdom.

How long could someone go before the loss of freedom tore at their soul?

Against what the myths told, not all Ganondorfs were evil.

The name Ganondorf was known throughout history as the Villain. The Gerudo King was always feared as the Villain, for he always was the Villain.

Even if history didn’t realise it—even if the people of Hyrule didn’t realise it—Ganon will always be the Villain. He would always be feared. Everyone would fear a man by the name of Ganon.

Holder of the Triforce of Power, yet remarked as the Villain.

Unlike when crowds would cheer for Link, people would run from him.

Run! The Demon King is coming! The Prince of Darkness! The King of Thieves! The Villain! The Terror! Run! Run away!

He would watch from the shadows how beloved Link was. How people would flock to him, and feel relief and safety in his presence.

This Ganondorf, though, had done nothing to earn their terror.

Many would think that he would loath Link for the love he gets from the people, many would think he envied him—but this Ganondorf did neither.

Every moment he saw people run from him, and hide behind Link, he made a resolve.

It wasn’t a resolve to take over the world, or even a resolve to destroy Link.

It was a resolve to better his relation with the people of Hyrule.

He had to make them see that they didn’t need to fear him.

This Ganondorf would not be the Villain, that he was sure of.

Unlike Link and Ganondorf, the name Zelda did not disappear throughout history.

She was the princess of Hyrule, the holder of the Triforce of Wisdom, bloodline of the Goddess.

Her name could never be forgotten.

She was saved by Link, fought beside Link, fought Ganon, and taught others. It was without a doubt that Zelda was Link’s closest companion.

And in some timelines, his lover.

In some timelines, his sister.

Or his friend.

She never had her freedom taken away from her, for she was primed as a princess since birth. She was not feared like Ganondorf, but loved by all. She was not worshipped like the Hero Link, but beloved by her subjects.

She was close to Link, and to Ganondorf.

They were her friends. All three made up the Triforce, so they would naturally resonate with each other.

Like an incomplete puzzle.

This is why whenever Ganon turned evil, it would sting at her heart. Betrayal, anger, melancholy, and torment would flood her soul—and the soul of Link.

The Triforce was never meant to be turned on each other.

So, in this timeline, Zelda vowed to help Ganondorf not turn evil. She wanted her friend to stay as her friend, and not her enemy.

There would be no Calamity Ganon in her timeline.

…Or so, she hoped.

How much pressure can a man’s soul take before it snaps?

How many restrictions can he take before he snaps?

Can someone live with a destiny predetermined—whether or not they lose in life? Can the victor celebrate as he slays his friend? Can the loser thrive in their defeat?

A soul was like a chain. Each linked together.

Without pressure it thrives, keeping the soul together. A little pressure didn’t hurt, the chain still functioned. More pressure, and the chain links could strain. Even more pressure could cause the chain links to fight to stay together.

Too much pressure caused this Link to snap.

In 10,000 years, information would be altered.

Legends and stories change through the years, each getting different the more it is spoken.

The Hero from the 10,000-year-old legend was one of these stories.

If you went back in time, you would be shocked at how different this story was.

Yet, marvel at how close it was.

Two of the Triforce holders battled against the third Triforce holder, sealing him away. The guardians and the Divine Beasts aided in the sealing.

It was a long battle, but not a glorious battle.

In the eyes of the civilians, it was glorious. The Princess and the Hero sealed away the Calamity—trapping it.


It wasn’t Ganondorf that was sealed away.

The title of the Calamity was nothing more than that—a title. It was not his name. His name would not be mentioned as the Villain, for he was never the Villain before.

The Villain became the Hero.

The Hero became the Villain.

Ganondorf was the one to slay him, Zelda aided him. Together, as tears brimmed their eyes, as how they apologised immensely…

Their friend, Link, was sealed away.

He was supposed to be the Hero. He was supposed to be the one to seal away Ganondorf. He wasn’t the one who was supposed to be corrupted and turned into a malice creature of hate.

Link hated a lot.

He hated how he was a tool. He hated how free Ganondorf was—though he was the Villain. He hated how he couldn’t get out in public without being known. He hated how he had no freedom.

He hated Ganondorf.

He hated him so much that his hatred over took his body and he became the Scourge of Hyrule Castle.

It wasn’t Ganondorf who was hatred and malice incarnate, it was Link.

It was Link. The Hero chosen by the Goddesses to defeat the Villain, only to become the one thing he was chosen to defeat.

This was the only timeline where Ganondorf defeating Link was for the betterment of Hyrule. No one else would be able to defeat him, and Hyrule would be destroyed. Link would have destroyed his home, and killed everyone in it.

Calamity Ganon never existed.

It was Calamity Link.

“Ganondorf. We must tell history about what happened. How Link…”

“He is the Hero. He was chosen to be the Hero.”

“I understand how you feel—I do. But… history needs to know the facts.”

“Your highness. History needs a Villain to blame. It will not like the Hero being the Villain. Link was never the Villain, I was.”


“I could not save him, but maybe I can save his legacy. It is Calamity Ganon that threatened Hyrule, not Calamity Link.”

“Do you really want history to hate you?”

“Zelda, Link is my friend. If I have to destroy my future for him, I will. He is the holder of the Triforce of Courage, he is the Goddess’ Hero. I am the Demon King, holder of the Triforce of Power—I am meant to turn evil. His courage was to be used for good, not for evil. Even if we told the right story, history will change the facts. It is better this way.”

“History needs to learn from our faults.”

“The future Hero cannot fight Link if they knew he was a Hero. They need to fight a Villain—and I am the Villain. You do not double guess if you can save a Villain, but you will a Hero.”

“The stories that come from this day will tell a different story. The news has spread across the kingdom. Different tales of this battle will surface.”

“Each tale will cover up the truth. No one would believe that I, Ganondorf, King of the Gerudo, sealed away Link, the Hero of the Goddesses.”

“…You will be hated by your own people.”

“I am aware… but, it is a sacrifice I must make in order for Hyrule to prosper in the future. Zelda… promise me. Promise me that the Hero will not have his name tarnished.”

“Ganondorf. I don’t think you understand. You are the Hero—maybe not the one chosen by the Goddesses, but you saved us.”

As he looked down at the shimmering Triforce on his hand, he sighed. “I know.”

Against what the myths told, not all Ganondorfs were evil.

The one Ganondorf that was good gave himself up to history for the sake of his friend. He tarnished his legacy, and his name, in order for his friend to thrive in history.

Link may have always been the Hero, but that doesn’t mean he was always good.

Being chosen by the Goddesses did not mean that one’s soul was pure, or that their morals were good, or that they didn’t feel the strangling grasp of darkness.

No matter what timeline she was in, Zelda always watched someone fall.

Whether it be the Demon King or the Chosen Hero, someone fell. You cannot win a war without a victor, without someone falling. Without someone dying.

This time, though, who fell was the least unlikely person to.

A mural depicted their battle.

Guardians surrounded three figures; the four Divine Beasts stood proudly in the corners. The three figures were known throughout the Sheikah—the Princess, the Hero, and the Calamity.

The Princess was beautiful. There was no doubt that she was the ancestor of the current Princess Zelda.

The Calamity was despicable. People would curse Ganon’s name as they saw the mural, cursed him for he destroyed their country.

The Hero was as tall as a Gerudo, with long ginger hair. He looked completely different than the other Heroes chosen by the Goddesses. To be honest, he didn’t even look Hylian.

Though some wondered, no one spoke about how the Hero seemed to be more Gerudo than Hylian, or how his hair was a bold ginger instead of a Hero’s blond.

No one spoke about how the Hero resembled the wretched King Ganondorf.