We left early in the morning for Mount Lanayru. Zelda had changed into a pure white dress, adorned with golden jewels. The attire made her look much older and I realized that soon, my little bird would no longer be a child. As we neared the trail up the mountain, I wrapped my cloak around the princess so she would not catch cold.
“Not much longer now,” I said, mounting my horse again and riding next to her. “I shall escort you once we get closer to the spring.”
Zelda nodded and we continued on. As we traveled, a soft snow started to fall from the sky. It had been many years since I had seen snow. I had forgotten how beautiful it was. Our entourage stopped on the trail short of the spring and I escorted Zelda the rest of the way on foot. Her tiny body quivered from the cold. I hoped that the Goddess would bless her quickly.
The Spring of Wisdom was nestled at the peak of Mount Lanayru. Crystalline spires towered around the spring, concealing it from the eyes of those at the base of the mountain. This was a sacred place; a place for the Goddess. Zelda let go of my hand and shed the cloak. Snow fell on her pale skin and the dim light around the peak made her look like a tiny doll. She unlaced her sandals and adjusted the golden bracelets around her arms before stepping into the water. I wanted so much to pull her away due to the extreme cold, but my job here was to protect her, not to hinder her mission as a goddess reborn.
“Oh Hylia, Goddess of our land, protector of Hyrule, hear my prayer…” Zelda’s prayer had begun.
I listened intently as she prayed for hours on end. Many times her voice caught during her prayers because of the cold. Zelda clasped her hands to her chest tightly as she prayed. The sun was in the middle of the sky, but it’s rays did not reach the praying princess. I watched closely and saw her shivering.
“Zelda, don’t you think that’s enough?” I asked.
“No. I do not feel the Goddess’s power yet. Just a little while longer…” Zelda answered through chattering teeth.
“As you wish…” I replied, shifting the weight on my hip and listening as she began to pray again. My thoughts turned to Zelda’s mother — My dear friend, if you can hear me please ask the Goddess to bless your daughter. She is out here freezing to death all for some power. Please have Her grant it to Zelda.’
The sun began to fall from the sky and Zelda was still praying. I told her time and time again to get out of the icy water and come warm up, but she continued to pray. Her legs trembled and ripples were made in the spring from all of her shivering. I watched as the spring began to darken, the temperature had begun to drop even further, and I was done watching Zelda freeze.
“My little bird, I am sorry…” I apologized, stepping into the frigid water and pulled her arm. I immediately wrapped her cloak and mine around her and huddled close to warm her up.
My little bird looked at me through large green eyes. She looked more vulnerable than she had at her mother’s funeral, and it was breaking my heart. We sat like this for many moments, her body trembling in my arms. “Why am I unable to fulfill my duty?” Zelda squeaked in a tiny voice.
“I am sure you will with time my dear. You are still very young.” I assured her, rubbing her shoulders for warmth.
“This is my sacred duty. All my life I have been told of my duty! I don’t care how old I am…” She spoke as if she were many years older, but they were words of a worried child. “Father has put on so much pressure…”
Zelda continued to tell me about her father, the pressures of her sacred role, and how panicked she felt about not being able to complete her task. I listened closely and stroked her hair repeatedly. After a while she began to cry, “Why can I not do as the royal daughters of the past have done? What is wrong with me?!”
Her tears fell rapidly and she buried her head into my chest. I listen to her as she repeated that final question over and over. I assured her that she was perfect in my eyes. I prayed that my time with her would be enough to nurture her broken spirit.
Many years have passed since that fateful day at the Spring of Wisdom. My time spent with Zelda became seldom due to her training as she aged. We still correspond through letters and seeing her beautiful looping script brought me much joy.
A new letter had arrived and I recognized the script immediately.
I hope you are well. I hope you won’t mind my visiting in a few short weeks. Please send your response if you have any conflict with my arrival. As always, I look forward to seeing you.
I responded immediately and sent the letter with an aid to be delivered as soon as possible. I had not seen the young princess in a long while. I was sure she had aged gracefully, much like her mother. The sun was high in the sky and I wished that time would pass by quicker. It would mean that my little bird would arrive to me sooner.
After a few weeks of patient waiting, the emissaries from Hyrule arrived with Zelda in tow. Zelda was no longer the young girl I once knew. She had aged beautifully. Her long golden hair framed her soft face and her green eyes lit up her features. She had grown into an attractive young woman.
“Lady Urbosa, your visitors have arrived,” a guard informed me, allowing the Hylians to enter.
“Announcing Zelda, Princess of Hyrule and more visitors from Central Hyrule,” another Gerudo woman said, stamping her staff into the floor.
Zelda and the other young women accompanying her bowed. I imagined that the voe guards who traveled with them were waiting outside the city gates. Men have never been allowed to enter here. “Thank you for seeing us Lady Urbosa,” Zelda said, lifting her head.
“It is my pleasure, and it is so good to see you. You look just like your mother,” I welcomed her, stepping down from my throne to embrace her. She hugged me back tightly. It had been so long since I had seen her, she had become the spitting image of her mother. It made me miss my dear friend that much more. “Now, let’s get down to business! I do hope that the Yiga Clan gave you no trouble on your journey?”
Zelda shook her head, “No, but news of the growing threat has reached my ears. I have urged my people to be wary as they travel through the area.”
“Of course, everyone here has been on high alert themselves,” I replied.
“I do hope that you will be able to help Hyrule though… as a Champion. As you know, the threat of Calamity Ganon has been looming for many years, and the threat has since gotten worse. The Sheikah Tribe has unveiled large mechanical beasts, and one has been uncovered here. I was hoping that you would be willing to pilot this as the Champion of the Gerudo?” Zelda asked, hopefully. “I do not need your official answer today, but I will return soon to receive it.”
I wanted to answer her now, but I knew that as Chief that I would need to consult my people. I was taking much pleasure in being able to finally go up against Ganon. Calamity Ganon had long since been associated with my people. I deeply resented this association, and I hoped my people would understand that Calamity Ganon didn’t only threaten Hyrule, but the whole world.
“I would need to discuss this with my people. I would love to give you an answer now, but you are familiar with the duties of royalty.”
“Of course,” Zelda said, her smile fading. “I will be back to see you soon though.”
“And I will anxiously await for that day,” I replied with a smile. “Now, shall I show you around Gerudo Town? It has been a while since you have been here. There’s a fabulous jeweler that opened up and I think we might find something that will suit your beautiful blue gown.” Zelda’s smile had returned again. I was glad, I had hoped that an afternoon of culture and shopping would do her some good.
The Hylians left for the Southern Oasis as the sun started to set. The voe guards with Zelda’s party assured me that they were staying in the inn there, before returning back to Hyrule Castle. As a precaution I sent a few of my soldiers with them. As they left, I called upon my closest advisers and began to discuss Zelda’s offer to them.
“Princess Zelda has asked me to Champion the Divine Beast that has been found in Gerudo Desert. This will be to aid in the fight against Calamity Ganon. I would like very much to accept, but I know as Chief, I owe you all the right to voice your opinion on the matter.”
Many vai voices erupted as I finished speaking.
“Lady Urbosa, what if you were to perish? Who would protect us from the Yiga?” one vai questioned.
“Who would lead us?” another called.
“My time in Hyrule Castle and with the other Champions would be split. I do still have my duties here, and I do not plan on perishing to that false king!” I could feel the fury rising in my bones! I wanted so bad to charge forth and fight the beast.
“This is not fitting for a chief…” one of my armed guards said.
Was she right? Was my role too high and too noble? Would I be letting my people down? In a sense, I supposed that I would be abandoning them. I listened more to their fears and I understood them, but I still intended on accepting this task. I owed it to my people, and I owed it to my little bird to see this through.
I rose with the sun on the next day and looked out into the city. Zelda had changed and soon my life would change. My thoughts turned once again to Zelda’s mother — My dear friend, I hope that you are looking down on us with Hylia. Your daughter has grown so much, and she is so very strong. I can see your spirit dwelling within her. I pray that Hylia blesses her soon, much like you have blessed her with your grace, beauty, and strength.
Cover Artwork is created by Heather Beard