Throughout the ages, my people have reigned in the waters of the Lanayru Province in Hyrule. My family has reigned since those early days, and we have evolved with the land. I grew up hearing stories of the Zora women of legend — the Sage of Water, the Queen Who Lost Her life To The Twilight, and others. The monarchy of the Zora continues to thrive to this day, and shall continue to do so until the end of time. The Royal Family protects their people, works with them, and are leaders of our race. We are diplomatic and kind, we are artisans and craftsmen, we are dutiful and prideful of our rich history. We are the Zora.
As princess, it is my duty to uphold the values of my people, to protect them and our home, and to reign with grace like those who came before me. Many of the leaders before me were blessed by the Goddess with a gift, and Hylia has blessed me greatly with the gift of healing. I have dedicated my life in support of my people, to be their princess until the day I take my father’s place on the throne.
My mind had drifted to the thoughts of those before me, as I hiked up the hilly path leading to Veiled Falls with my company. The path was smooth, but winding. The trees swayed with the breeze, and all sorts of wildlife peeked out to see us pass by. Our hike was filled mostly with silence, and a few small comments here and there. They were mostly about the weather or how beautiful the landscape was. The Hylian princess’s small accompaniment of guards walked a few paces behind, watching closely for any danger that might befall us. I could hear the rushing water before I caught sight of the edge of the falls and I gave the guards a small smile, assuring them that we were safe here.
The air smelled fresh and pure, and I took a moment to take it all in. The clear, cloudless, blue sky reflected against the waters of Zora’s Domain and a gentle breeze rustled the trees, fluttering through Princess Zelda’s long, flowing, hair. She brushed her golden locks away from her face, and gazed out over the Domain. She took a deep breath, as if she was trying to build the confidence to speak.
“I thank you for taking time out of your duties to see me today,” she said, with a slight bow, and all the formality you would expect of a Hylian princess.
I had only come in contact with Hylians a few times, and this was my first meeting with their princess. She was young, but rather mature for her age. I have always found it odd at how much faster the Hylians aged. My people aged so much slower, and yet Zelda and I were placed in the same age range.
“No need, Princess,” I replied airily, as I gazed down the waterfall in front of us. “We are both royalty, we can skip the formalities.”
I could see movement in the water below. Sidon, the Zora prince, and my little brother, swam swiftly through the water. He glanced up casually, but dared not get too close to the rushing waters. I smiled, thinking that maybe I would teach him how to swim up the falls today.
“I have a request…” Zelda clutched her hands together, and gazed downward. “With the threat of Calamity Ganon’s return upon us, I have been seeking champions to pilot the Divine Beasts. I have commissioned Champions from the other races across Hyrule, and all that is left is the Champion of the Zora….” She gazed at me, her look almost pleading, before she continued what I believe to be a well rehearsed request, “Will you accept the task of piloting Vah Ruta, and be the Zora Champion? I know it is much to think about and I do not need your answer immediately.”
The rest of her words came out so frantically, and she looked near to tears. “Your people, and others far and wide have talked greatly about the Zora princess with the ability to heal other’s wounds. The people of the Zora revere you greatly, Mipha,” Her eyes fell once more and the question was left out in the open.
Over the years I had healed the wounds of many, and yet I never knew how much I had touched the lives of others; I was only the Zora princess.
I gazed down at Sidon once more, then out to Zora’s Domain, and turned to the princess. I smiled sincerely, “It would be my honor.”
The rest of the day was spent teaching Sidon to swim up Veiled Falls, and teaching him about our beloved Zora’s Domain. Zelda even joined in on some of the fun, and I think Sidon enjoyed the princess’s company. It had been a good day, although the princess of Hyrule’s request swirled around in my head like a whirlpool. I had found a new friend in Zelda, and yet my heart was sad. A traveling bard once sang a song to my family of the knight and the goddess-blooded princess, who helped to seal Ganon away. The bard sung of the Champions of old and the Divine Beasts that were once lost to us. All of this had been a thing of legend until today.
I sighed as I contemplated the princess’s request. Vah Ruta…I remembered the day the members of the ancient Shiekah uncovered it. I marveled at its long nose, and how cute it was. It was a day full of wonder and questions. My people had never seen anything quite like it!
So long ago I had wondered who would receive the honor of piloting the Divine Beast, and now that honor had fallen to me. The princess need only ask once; in my heart I knew that I needed to protect Hyrule. To protect Hyrule meant protecting my home. Zora’s Domain meant everything to me. I was determined that Calamity Ganon must not be resurrected. If he was…I shook at such a thought.
The princess had told me so much of the other champions; all of them. Revali of the Rito, Urbosa of the Gerudo, Daruk of the Gorons…they all sounded wonderful. Zelda spoke very highly of them, and I was anxious to meet them. We were all chosen by the princess to help protect Hyrule and lead the charge against Ganon whenever he returned. I had asked the princess if she knew when that would happen, but even she was unaware. Ganon’s return could be tomorrow, or years from now; regardless we needed to be prepared.
I looked out over the cascading waterfalls surrounding the Domain, where the sun painted the sky the most beautiful colors: orange, pink and lavender. It was as if the whole sky had exploded in a sea of color. It was like a work of art, and I could only wish that I was sharing it with him…
“Link is the Hylian Champion…” The words came out as a whisper, and I had been trying to come to terms with the news that my dearest friend had been chosen by the ‘sword that seals the darkness’. He was the Chosen Hero, and the Champions were chosen to pilot the Divine Beasts that would aid him. I felt that my role paled in comparison to Link’s, but at least I would be helping him. I would be there to protect him.
The sun was setting rapidly, and I did not want to linger at the falls any longer than I had to. Despite being so close to home, monsters still lurked at night. I still needed to discuss the day’s events with Father. I feared that he would not let me step up to such a great task, but I had already given Zelda my word. I could not turn my back on her now.
I stood up from where I sat along the top of the falls, and clutched the Lightscale Trident in both hands. I’d had this beautiful weapon since the day of my birth. It was crafted gracefully, and given to me with the hope that I would continue to lead the Zora as my Father did now. Wielding this trident has been a great honor and I had trained to use it well, but in my heart I knew that I was born to help others.
I looked down the falls and into the clear waters below. I had dove from this great height so many times before, but today I was diving into something foreign, and new. The falls looked taller, the water looked darker, and raged faster, but I was not afraid. I was no longer Princess Mipha of Zora’s Domain. For now and evermore, I would be Mipha: Champion of the Zora.
Days had passed since my fateful meeting with Zelda. I had delivered the news to my father, King Dorephan, and he requested to be given time to think more about the princess’s offer.
In Zora’s Domain we have no homes to sleep, but communal pools; while the Royal Family has its own private pool for us to rest. I had spent my morning in relaxation and thought; swimming around my pool. The edges were crafted in silver and sapphires, and pure water flowed into the basin constantly. My mind was restless; I did not want to be a princess today. Despite my lack of conviction, I left my pool and prepared for the busy day ahead. I placed my glittering tiara on my head, along with my royal blue sash around my body. My silver accessories had grown with me since birth, I admired their shine and brilliance against the water before leaving the royal chambers.
“Princess Mipha, you have a visitor,” Muzu, a Zora elder, and my former teacher said, as I passed by him in the halls leading out into the Domain. “It’s that Hylian boy.”
Link! My heart soared! I rushed eagerly past Muzu, and he shouted that I should have more poise for a princess, but I didn’t care. It had been ages since I had seen my dear friend. I hurried out into the Domain and saw him standing there. Was he taller? The last time I saw him, he wore the uniform of a Hylian Knight, but today he was wearing the most beautiful color of blue. It was the color of the sky on a cloudless day, with white stitching that covered the neck and sleeves, creating a familiar pattern. My eyes glanced at the sword on his back and suddenly, everything made sense now. The Master Sword. The blue color of the hilt was what captivated me so; it was the very same blue as his eyes.
“It is so good to see you!” I said, greeting him cheerfully.
He returned my greeting with a smile, although ever since he had pulled the sword, he rarely spoke. I was okay with that, but I often wondered if there was more to his silence. I wondered where I should start, and decided to tell him about the lynel that was taking it’s temper out on the my people.
“Link, have you ever heard about the lynel on Ploymus Mountain?”
He shook his head, his face expressionless, and I continued on, “Well it has been terrorizing us for ages. It holds a bow and often shoots arrows of lightning down into the Domain. As you know we are extremely sensitive to –”
I was unable to continue, before the words had left my mouth, Link had marched off in the direction of the mountain. I followed him blindly towards the top of the mountain and before I knew it, we were in the sights of the lynel.
“Mipha go back,” Link urged, speaking at last. His voice was cool and calm, “I’ll be fine on my own.”
I stood my ground. “I have my trident,” I said said with determination. “I can help!”
Link suddenly pushed me to the ground and stood boldly in front of me — the lynel had attacked from behind!
This is the end, I thought with a strange acceptance, but as I looked up there was a gleam in Link’s blue eyes. He unsheathed the darkness sealing sword and charged forward. He parried the lynel’s large blade and dodged it’s fury of attacks. Link’s swordsmanship was unparalleled, his movements swift and graceful. He swung his sword with the might of a champion, and every move he made was beautiful and almost poetic.
I stood idly by a large boulder. I should have been trembling with fear, but in the presence of my friend, I felt calm. I knew I was safe with Link. I watched as he stopped in place and swung his sword in a spinning motion. The movement was so fluid and quick, that I almost missed it. The lynel fell before us, and Link was victorious!
Sheathing his sword, Link started walking purposefully towards me again. Crimson blood was trickling from his arm, and when our eyes met again, my heart skipped a beat. He was always so determined to help those in need. He was kind and strong, and so skillful. The way he wielded a sword, the way he charged into danger, and the way he wanted to protect me; all of this made my mind race. The closer he came to me, the more my heart raced.
I felt drawn to him and in that moment, I realized that I was doomed.