Posted on June 18 2021 by Kat Vadam
Volume Four: Hunting Memories
I am impatient. Not exactly the best way to start a tale, I realize, but you must realize, I am also very old. Many revolutions around the sun have passed in my life, many seasons come and gone. I do not have much time left, and I am ready to go.
Truthfully, I believe I lost my sprouthood and became an adult the day the Calamity rose. I remember it very clearly, seeing that great mass of malice and evil explode from the center of the Hylian castle. I remember the feeling of fear that rustled through my leaf as I watched it rise higher and higher in the sky, and with a great roar, turn the clouds to black and the winds to wicked howls.
That day, I had hoped to venture to the red trees of Akkala to collect mushrooms for my family. Yet, I barely made it back into the shelter of the Lost Woods before the Calamity’s storm passed over me, and I remember feeling the cold of the rains splash against my feet as they washed over the grounds behind.
I remember the horrifying realization that everything was about to change. The Great Deku Tree had been right.
He always is.
Since then, I have watched the years pass as my people waited and waited for the return of the hero. Many left our forest, risking safety to explore the lands and wait to be found. Many more remained here, anticipating what we all hoped would come, sooner rather than later. I, myself, often found that the very whisper of change in the winds led me to hold my breath in hope. This reign of terror and blackened skies had to end soon, right?
Still, after a hundred years, I had begun to lose hope that I would live to see it.
But I did. I have lived long enough to see the beginning of the Calamity’s end. The hero is awake once more.
And now, the anticipation has taken an almost overwhelming form, and I find myself pacing and giddy as I once was in my youth. Ergo, I am impatient. I want to meet him. I want him to find me. And when he does, I know he can restore a little life into this old soul. Night will soon fall upon me, but before it does, I need the hero to bring me little memories. Treasures seemingly so mundane to many, yet I just want to see them each one last time.
First, I will ask for an apple, so bright and red and sweet. I have not eaten one in seasons, for they do not grow around here.
As a sprout, my friends and I would go into the world and see who could collect the most in a day and bring them back. I won this challenge only once, for I was quite a small korok at this time, and could never really get too far from the Lost Woods. But that didn’t stop me from trying my hardest to carry more than I was physically able, and I often left a small trail of juicy morsels behind me for the birds to nab before I could come back to pick them up again. Finally, finally, came the day I had the biggest pile at the edge of the woods.
I look back now and know that my friends all banded together that day to let me win. I know they each added to my pile, for there was no way I brought back as many as we counted, while they all brought back so few. But at the time, I didn’t care. I felt so big. I was proud.
I am the only one of my friends from then yet alive.
Yes, yes. The first of my requests will be an apple.
Then, I will ask for a fortified pumpkin. I have been to Kakariko once, but there is something so beautifully classic about the village. It speaks of an age long past, and a race of people older than me – older, I believe, than even the Great Deku Tree. Strong and brave, the Sheikah of Kakariko have been a staple in the Deku’s legends for as long as I can remember.
Seeing that village was like stepping back into an ancient eon. Tales that, to that point, had simply been words painting pictures, suddenly, those words were real. Seeing Kakariko even once was enough to solidify it as my favorite place in Hyrule, and though I know I will never see it again, perhaps holding the fruit of its people will fill my final days with wonderful dreams.
Then, I will ask for a sunshroom. If sunshrooms grow once more, then perhaps their heat can warm the rains that fell in the wake of the Calamity, the rains that still haunt my nightmares. A mushroom cannot turn back time, but a sunshroom can remind me of a time before that chilling day, when it was still safe to meander through Eldin to find Akkala.
As I think about holding a sunshroom in my hands, I can see the dusty trails and crimson rocks of the paths I used to carve on my old ventures. I can almost feel the rocks beneath my feet, instead of the cold, cold rain. It brings a smile to my face.
What shall come next?
Perhaps a fish? But what kind?
A voltfin trout. Yes! I have never seen one, so why shouldn’t I ask for one? A little creature with mean scales that zap and sting. I do not believe they are cruel intentionally; they are simply strange little lightning-creations of the Goddesses. Perhaps the Goddesses thought they would be a funny joke? If I see one, will it zap me, or will I be able to ask it my questions of the nature of its existence?
I doubt it will understand my words, for surely, no fish can speak with a spirit of the forest, but that will not stop me.
And one last thing. This one, most important of all. This one last thing, and I can meet my end in peace, knowing the hero is strong once more, and he will overcome the evil that threatens us all.
A hoof. The foot of a demon creature, tainted by the Calamity’s hate. I have seen but one, on my path through Eldin, and it nearly trampled me to death. It had arrows that it fired at me, a roar that deafened me, and an evil in its eye unparalleled by anything else I have ever seen. Encountering this creature made me turn around that day long ago, for I knew then the Calamity was coming, and the world was no longer safe.
If the hero can bring me a hoof, then I know he can conquer these hateful beasts, and soon, the Calamity will fall once more. And then, I will return to the ground with my apple, my pumpkin, my sunshroom, my trout, and nothing but the pleasant memories to carry me on into the next life.
So, please, hero, come find me. I eagerly await you.
Featured image: “Korok Forest – Legend of Zelda Tribute,” by Ori Rycus.
Kat Vadam is a Senior Editor for Zelda Dungeon. Writing this made her unexpectedly sad. Time to boot up Breath of the Wild and feel better. Follow Kat on Instagram!