The creation legend of Hyrule maintains that three golden goddesses created the world of Hyrule: Din, the Goddess of Power; Nayru, the Goddess of Wisdom; and Farore, the Goddess of Courage. At the point where the Goddesses left the world, they left behind the Triforce, a symbol of their power that was imbued with power, wisdom, and courage. This land flourished and came to be called the Sacred Realm or the Golden Land. This gift from the goddesses became the source of Hyrule's providence, and beckoned to the outside world in the hope that somebody worthy of its power would claim it.
Over time, the Hylia, the chosen people of the goddesses, spread throughout the world, settling in many different lands. They spread their wisdom and magical lore to many people. During this time, the kingdom of Hyrule was founded in the small land south of Death Mountain, and was ruled by a line of Hylian kings. It is said that certain buildings built during this time housed the Triforce.
A great king used the Triforce to keep the peace and unite Hyrule. When the king died, his son should have inherited everything, but he could inherit the Triforce only in part. He searched for the missing parts but couldn't find them. Then, a wizard close to the king told the prince that before he died, the king had told the prince's younger sister Zelda something about the Triforce. The prince immediately questioned her about it, but she wouldn't talk. Then the wizard threatened to put Zelda under a sleeping spell, but still she said nothing. When the angry wizard began to cast the spell, the surprised prince tried to stop him, but the wizard fought him off and continued casting the spell. When Zelda had been put under the spell, the wizard fell down and breathed his last. In his grief, the prince placed Zelda in a safe place, hoping she would come back to life someday, and decreed that all female children born into the royal family be given the name of Zelda. This legend was passed down as the "legend of Zelda" by the descendants of Impa, the Sheikah attendant of the Hylian princesses.
Realizing the peril posed by the obtainability of the Triforce, wise Sages, including Rauru, hid the Triforce in the Temple of Light in the Golden Land. They built the Temple of Time in Hyrule, and forged the Master Sword, to hide the entrance into the Sacred Realm. Only one pure of heart and strong of body could wield the Master Sword, and only one who held the three Spiritual Stones and the Ocarina of Time could open the Door of Time to take the Master Sword out of the Pedestal of Time.
Around this time, the Hylian Book of Mudora was compiled to record all the legends, prophecies, and knowledge the Hylians had acquired over the centuries. Oral legends and prophecies were recorded in the two main languages of Hyrule, an ancient script used by Hylian sages and the contemporary language of the people.
Ocarina of Time
As the Hylia moved into different parts of the world, their knowledge became diluted until not even the Sages were sure of where the Triforce was hidden. A quote from the Book of Mudora made the races of Hyrule greedy for the Golden Triangle. Soon, Hyrule was engulfed with war as armies fought each other in search for the power of gold. To escape from the fires of this war, a Hylian mother entered the Lost Woods, where she entrusted her young son Link to the Deku Tree.
Several years later the King of Hyrule tried to end the wars and unite Hyrule. At this time, however, Ganondorf, king of the Gerudo thieves, schemed secretly to enter the Sacred Realm and steal the Triforce. He planned to take the three spiritual stones, and his coming audience with the king gave him the perfect opportunity to infiltrate Hyrule Castle and steal the Ocarina of Time from its owner.
Link, now a grown boy living with the Kokiri deep within the protected Kokiri Forest, was woken up from a prophetic nightmare one day by the fairy Navi to go see the Deku Tree. Ganondorf had cursed the Deku Tree for refusing to give him the Spiritual Stone of Forest, and the Deku Tree, guardian of the Kokiri, asked Link to enter within and break the curse. Link did so, but it was already too late. Before he died, the Deku Tree gave the Kokiri's Emerald to Link and told him to see Princess Zelda.
Princess Zelda mistrusted Ganondorf, and had had a prophetic dream about Link. When Link found Zelda in the castle courtyard, they planned to foil Ganondorf's plans. Link would get the other two stones, take the Master Sword, and get the Triforce before Ganondorf did. Link got the Goron's Ruby by saving the Gorons from starvation, and secretly got the Zora's Sapphire by saving the Zora's Princess Ruto from the belly of Jabu-Jabu, their guardian deity.
Arriving back at the entrance to Hyrule Castle Town, Link watched as Impa rode out on her horse with Zelda. Zelda threw the Ocarina of Time into the moat, and Link turned around to find Ganondorf racing after them with his black stallion. Link's nightmare had thus come true, and Ganondorf revealed his power and his intentions to Link, and rode on in pursuit of Zelda. Link used the Ocarina and the Spiritual Stones to open the Door of Time and take the Master Sword, but he was too young to wield the powerful sword.
Link's spirit was sealed in the Chamber of Sages in the Sacred Realm for seven years, and Ganondorf entered the Golden Land with his army. Ganondorf slayed every last one of his followers and took the Triforce. Because his heart was not in balance, Ganondorf got only the Triforce that he most wanted, the Triforce of Power. The other two pieces were hidden within two others chosen by destiny, Zelda and Link. Many evil men swarmed to the Evil Realm to join Ganondorf, and were turned into monsters. Because Ganon wished it, the Golden Land was turned into the Dark World, a twisted reflection of Hyrule. Disasters beset Hyrule, as evil streamed from the Dark World, Zora's Domain froze over, and the Gorons were imprisoned within Death Mountain. Finally, Ganondorf's armies ravaged Hyrule Castle Town, defeating the Knights of Hyrule and destroying Hyrule Castle. Ganondorf set up his own tower in its place, and Princess Zelda disguised herself as a Sheikah to avoid the Evil King.
At last Link woke up within the Chamber of Sages to find Rauru, the Sage of Light, facing him. Link, the Hero of Time, had to awaken five other sages because their imprisonment within their temples kept them from hearing the awakening voice from the Sacred Realm. Link saved his childhood friend Saria from the Forest Temple, and she added her power to his. He rescued the Gorons from the dragon Volvagia, awakening Darunia, their leader, as the Sage of Fire. Link entered the Water Temple in Lake Hylia to end the curse on Zora's Domain, awakening Ruto as the Sage of Water. In the Shadow Temple Link defeated the evil spirit Bongo Bongo to awaken Impa as the Sage of Shadow. Finally, Link time-traveled to meet Nabooru, a Gerudo in opposition to Ganondorf, and in the future saved her from the witch sisters Twinrova to awaken her as the Sage of Spirit.
Link met Zelda in the Temple of Time, where she took off her disguise and gave him the Light Arrows. But Ganondorf sensed her and used his magic to kidnap her from within his tower, and Link went into Ganon's Tower after her. The Sages helped Link to break the binding force in the tower, and Link faced Ganondorf at the top. Link was armed with the Triforce of Courage and the Master Sword, so he was able to defeat Ganondorf. Zelda and Link escaped from the tower as it crumbled to the ground, but suddenly Ganondorf leapt out of the rubble. He had used the Triforce of Power to give him one more chance after death, and turned himself into a form that reflected his heart: Ganon, King of Evil. Link and Zelda were able to stun Ganon, and the six sages in the Chamber of the Sages, as well as Zelda, the seventh sage, sealed Ganon in the Sacred Realm. As Hyrule celebrated the victory, Link gave the Ocarina of Time back to Zelda, and she sent him back in time so he could live out his life in full and close the road between the past and future forever.
Link woke up in the Temple of Time, at the time in the past when Ganondorf was still in the Sacred Realm building up his power. Link sensed that Zelda had returned to the castle, and went to warn her about Ganondorf and tell her about the alternate future he had experienced. Link gave the Triforce of Courage to the Royal Family for safekeeping. Zelda entrusted Link with the Ocarina of Time, and Link departed for adventures unknown.
A few months after his first great adventure, Link was riding his horse Epona through the woods. Suddenly, Epona reared up at the sight of two fairies, and Link was thrown to the ground. Skull Kid, wearing Majora's Mask, stole Epona and the Ocarina of Time. Link chased after him, and fell into a deep pit inside a tree trunk. He emerged in the alternate world of Termina, a mirror of Hyrule. Termina was doomed to be destroyed in three days because a large moon was bearing down on the world. Skull Kid turned Link into a Deku Scrub, and Link was able to retrieve the Ocarina and travel back in time three days before the moon destroyed Termina.
The Happy Mask Salesman taught Link the Song of Healing, which turned Link back into a Hylian and gave him the Deku Mask. Link's quest was to retrieve Majora's Mask and, ultimately, awaken Four Giants to stop the moon from falling. By using the Ocarina of Time to travel back in time over and over, Link was able to complete this quest. He saved a Deku princess and unfortunate monkey by using his Deku Scrub form. He ended the overlong winter in Snowhead by borrowing the form of Darmani, leader of the Gorons. He reunited a Zora band and cleared murky seas by using the form of Mikau, a Zoran guitarist. Further adventures led him to Ikana Valley, where he ended a wicked curse on the dead.
Finally, after defeating four guardians and freeing the Four Giants, Link once again faced Skull Kid in Clock Town on the final night. Link called to the Four Giants, and they held the moon so it would not crash into Termina. But Majora's Mask abandoned Skull Kid, and fled to the moon. Link followed in its wake, and drove the evil from the mask. Termina was saved, and Link returned to the world of Hyrule, to continue his lonely journey.
While Link was busy in Termina, disasters beset Hyrule, and the King of Hyrule ordered the seven sages to seal Ganondorf in the Golden Land. Ganondorf's army attacked the castle, and the Knights of Hyrule defended the Sages from the attacks of evil monsters. The Knights' bravery paid off, for unlike the alternate future Link had slept through, Ganondorf's armies did not win. Many brave souls lost their lives in the so-called Imprisoning War that day, but Ganon was sealed away in the tainted Golden Land. Hyrule healed its wounds and peace seemed to have returned...
The Legend of Zelda
Although imprisoned, Ganon was still a threat to Hyrule, and still craved to plunge the world into fear and darkness under his rule. Furthermore, he still held the Triforce of Power. Using the Triforce's power, Ganon transformed the Golden Land into the Dark World. After many centuries, Ganon found a way to escape from the Dark World, and hid his minions in the Underworld, the dark underbelly of Hyrule. Hyrule was thrown into an Age of Chaos, as Ganon's army invaded Hyrule. Fearing Ganon's wicked rule, Princess Zelda split the Triforce of Wisdom into eight fragments and hid them in Underworld labyrinths. She then commanded her most trustworthy nursemaid, Impa, to secretly escape into the land and go find a man with enough courage to destroy the evil Ganon. Upon hearing this, Ganon kidnapped Zelda by drawing her into the Underworld, and sent out a party in search of Impa.
Braving forests and mountains, Impa fled for her life from her pursuers. As she reached the very limit of her energy she found herself surrounded by Ganon's evil henchmen. But, fortunately, a young lad named Link appeared, and skillfully drove off Ganon's henchmen, saving Impa. Impa told Link about Zelda and Ganon, and gave him the layout of the eight labyrinths where the Triforce fragments were hidden. Burning with a sense of justice, Link resolved to save Zelda and defeat Ganon by bringing the scattered fragments of the Triforce of Wisdom back together.
Link traveled throughout Hyrule, fighting Ganon's powerful army, and retrieving the Triforce of Wisdom bit by bit from the Eagle, Moon, Manji, Snake, Lizard, Dragon, Demon, and Lion labyrinths. Using an entrance on Death Mountain, Link reached Ganon's hideout in the Underworld. Here Link found the Silver Arrows, and with a Magical Sword he had found earlier, confronted Ganon in the depths of his hideout. Ganon was indeed powerful, and could disappear and reappear at will, but the valiant Link destroyed Ganon, reuniting the Triforce of Wisdom and Power and saving Princess Zelda. But Ganon was not completely destroyed, for his ashes and the dark Underworld remained.
The Adventure of Link
After Ganon was reduced to ashes, Link remained in Hyrule and lent his hand to its restoration. But Hyrule was on the road to ruin, for the power left behind by Ganon's vile heart was causing chaos and disorder. What's more, Ganon's underlings remained, waiting for Ganon's return. Ganon could be revived by sacrificing Link and sprinkling his blood on Ganon's ashes. As Link approached his 16th birthday, the Triforce symbol appeared on the back of his hand. The worried Link went to see Impa, who, after recovering from her shock, took Link to the North Castle.
Impa used Link's hand to open a sealed door in the North Castle, and inside, laying on an altar in the middle of the room, lay the ancient Zelda, predecessor of all Zeldas. Impa told Link the "legend of Zelda," of how Zelda had been put under a sleeping spell centuries ago by an evil wizard. Impa gave Link six crystals and a scroll written in a mysterious script, telling him that these things had been handed down for generations. Impa couldn't read the script, but Link was able to read it as though it were talking to him.
The scroll told Link that the Triforce of Courage was hidden in the Great Palace in the Valley of Death on the largest island in Hyrule. However, to enter there he had to first fight the guardians in six palaces and undo the "binding force." When he had defeated the guardians, which were made to prevent enemies from invading the six palaces in Hyrule, he was to set a crystal in the forehead of each statue he found. Impa implored Link to unite the Triforce and use it to save the princess and bring back peace to Hyrule. Link nodded silently in approval, and left after a long glance at the altar.
Link traveled through Hyrule, helping people and gaining experience. He defeated the guardians in Parapa Palace, the Marsh Palace, the Island Palace, the Maze Palace, the Ocean Palace, and the Deserted Palace, setting a crystal into the forehead of the statue in each one. With the binding force dispelled, Link braved the Valley of Death and reached the Great Palace, where he fought the Thunderbird, the final guardian. But then, Link fought something much more powerful: his own Shadow.
Fighting himself was the greatest challenge Link had faced yet, but he was able to defeat the dark guardian. In the final room of the palace he discovered that the Triforce of Courage was within his heart, and he reunited the Triforce of Courage with the other two pieces of the Triforce. The united Triforce brought the sleeping Princess Zelda back to waking life, and peace back to Hyrule. Using the Triforce, Link completely destroyed Ganon, sending his spirit to the darkness beyond.
After Link reunited the Triforce and brought Hyrule to a new golden age, Ganon's spirit was banished to the darkness of death. As centuries went by, the Master Sword was moved to the Lost Woods, and Hyrule Castle and Kakariko Village were moved to more accessible positions in the middle of Hyrule. But a few of Ganon's loyal servants were left behind, plotting Ganon's revival even after his ashes were destroyed. Centuries after the Evil King's destruction, Twinrova, twin witches and surrogate mothers of Ganondorf, masterminded a plot to revive Ganon. To bring Ganon's spirit back from the afterlife, they would need to light the three Flames of Destruction, Sorrow, and Despair. They would need to use the body of somebody pure of heart, to reincarnate Ganon.
One day in Hyrule, generations after Ganon's demise, a young boy named Link could feel a strange force attracting him. Riding to Hyrule Castle, Link found the united Triforce deep inside. The Triforce sent him on a quest to the land of Holodrum. There, Link witnessed Onox, General of Darkness, kidnapping Din, the Oracle of Seasons. By kidnapping Din and sinking the Temple of Seasons, Onox plans to throw the seasons of Holodrum into chaos, depriving the land of nature's bountiful gifts. By sapping the land's strength, Onox did the bidding of his master Twinrova, who would use this strength to light the Flame of Destruction. Link gathered together eight Essences of Nature to strengthen the Maku Tree, the guardian of Holodrum. His strength restored, the Maku Tree gave Link the Maku Seed, with which Link broke the dark barrier protecting Onox's Castle. Though Link defeated Onox and Onox's true from, the Dark Dragon, Twinrova was still able to light the Flame of Destruction.
Link returned to Hyrule, but he could hear the Triforce calling him on another quest. This time, Link was sent to Labrynna, where he witnessed Veran, Sorceress of Shadows, taking control of the body of Nayru, Oracle of Ages. Veran planned to use the Oracle of Ages' body to travel back in time, using the extra three centuries to begin her age of shadows. In this way, the Flame of Sorrow would be lit. Through Nayru's body, Veran began to influence Ambi, the queen of Lynna Village in the past. She stopped time to create a day without end, so that Ambi could build a great tower. When this Dark Tower was complete, the Flame of Sorrow would light. As Link went on a quest to retrieve eight Essences of Time, to strengthen the Maku Tree of Labrynna, he was able to infiltrate Ambi's castle and drive Veran from Nayru's body, saving her. Though Nayru was saved, Veran took control of Ambi's body. Work on the Dark Tower continued, and Link continued to search for the Essences. At last he found them all, but it was too late; the Dark Tower was complete, and the Flame of Sorrow was lit. Link got a Maku Seed from the Maku Seed, and used it to break a magical lock in the Dark Tower. Confronting Veran at the top of the tower, Link drove her from Ambi's body. As Ambi escaped, Link was forced to fight Veran herself. Veran took many vile forms, but Link defeated her.
But Twinrova's plan was almost complete. Princess Zelda had come to Labrynna alone from Hyrule. She had almost immediately gotten into trouble, but Link had saved her. Now, Link was busy fighting Veran, and Twinrova took the opportunity to kidnap Zelda, the hope of the people. With Zelda gone, despair overwhelmed the people of Labrynna, and the Flame of Despair was lit. All was now in readiness, and Twinrova began the wicked rites. But just in the nick of time, Link invaded Twinrova's lair and stopped the ceremony. He fought Twinrova, preventing the witches from sacrificing Zelda. Link defeated Twinrova, but she would not let the long-awaited ceremony come to an end. Instead of sacrificing Zelda, Twinrova sacrificed herself, bringing Ganon's spirit into her own body. However, Twinrova's body was not pure like Zelda's, and Ganon returned a mindless and raging monster. Ganon was still powerful, though. Fortunately, Link had the Master Sword of legend, and Ganon fell after a long battle.
Although Link fulfilled the prophecy of the Legendary Hero and destroyed Ganon, the people of Hyrule feared what dangers might arise from Ganon's ashes. Link decided to go on a journey of enlightenment to better withstand the next threat to his homeland. After months of difficult but fruitful travel, Link was finally returning to Hyrule on his ship. However, a squall struck the seas and Link's boat was reduced to splinters by a bolt of lightning. Link drifted with the wreckage of his ship to the island of Koholint, a mysterious land distinguished by the large egg on its central mountain.
A woman named Marin found Link on the seashore and took him to her father, Tarin. When Link woke up, he went to the beach in search of flotsam that might have washed up, and as he retrieved his sword from the surf a mysterious owl landed nearby. The owl told Link that the only way to leave Koholint was by waking the Wind Fish, and directed him to the forest. The owl appeared to him many times during his adventure, and he learned that Nightmares were trying to take over Koholint by keeping the Wind Fish asleep forever, for Koholint Island and all its inhabitants were merely a dream of the Wind Fish. Link could wake the Wind Fish by getting the eight Instruments of the Sirens and playing them in front of the egg.
Link retrieved the eight Instruments and battled monsters and Nightmares. Along the way he picked up an Ocarina and learned the "Ballad of the Wind Fish," a song of awakening, from Marin. Playing the song of awakening on his Ocarina in front of the egg, the other instruments accompanied him and a hole burst in the side of the egg.
Inside, Link did battle with the final Nightmare, who took on different forms. The Nightmare fought Link as a Giant Gel, as Agahnim's Shadow, as a Shadow Moldorm, and as Ganon's Shadow. At last it changed into its most fearsome form, a one-eyed monster named Dethyl. Link avoided its swing arms and shot arrows into its eye until it was defeated. Link discovered that the owl who had been helping him along the way was part of the Wind Fish's spirit, and he talked to the Wind Fish himself. Link played the song of awakening again, and both of them woke up. When Link opened his eyes, he was in the ocean, hanging onto a piece of driftwood, and Koholint Island was gone. He saw the Wind Fish and Marin flying over him, so he knew that Koholint would always exist in their memories.
A Link to the Past
Though defeated, Ganon was not completely destroyed. In stories untold, Ganon came back to life, and stole the Triforce. But the Sages once again sealed him in the Dark World. There, brooding in his prison, Ganon plotted his escape.
Many centuries passed, and much of the earlier history was forgotten. The people of Hyrule believed that Ganon had been safely imprisoned during the original Imprisoning War. No stories told of Ganon's death and revival, or of his second imprisonment. Many went in search of the Golden Power, not realizing that Ganon controlled it, and upon entering the Dark World were changed into forms that reflected their hearts.
The people of Hyrule knew little of these things, and when disaster struck Hyrule they were thoroughly unprepared. The King ordered the Sages to inspect the Imprisoned Dark World, but the seal was apparently intact. In response to the king's offers of a reward, a stranger named Agahnim quelled the disasters with an unknown form of magic. As a reward, the king gave him the position of chief advisor and heir to the Seven Wise Men. Agahnim was Ganon's pawn, however, and he secretly eliminated the king and took his place. He kidnapped the descendants of the Sages in order to use their power to break the seal. One by one he sent them into the Dark World, until only Princess Zelda was left.
Link and his uncle, the last in the line of Hylian Knights, awoke to Zelda's telepathic pleas for help. Link's uncle, grabbing his sword and shield, told Link to wait at home, and headed out into the stormy night. Link slipped out after him and, listening to Zelda's instructions on how to get into the castle, found his uncle injured, unable to go on. Link's uncle gave him his sword and shield, and taught him the whirling blade technique. Link infiltrated the castle, rescued Princess Zelda, and brought her through a secret passage in the sewers to the Sanctuary.
Link learned that he must find the Master Sword to defeat Agahnim. Sahasrahla, a sage hiding out in the East Palace, told Link to recover the Pendant of Courage, and when he did Sahasrahla knew that this boy was the Legendary Hero, the last in the line of Knights. He instructed Link to get the other two Pendants of Virtue, which Link did. Along the way he met several sages who were also in hiding from Agahnim, and got the Moon Pearl, an artifact that would allow him to keep his own shape in the Dark World.
Link retrieved the Master Sword from the Lost Woods, but as he headed back to the Sanctuary, Zelda contacted him, telling him that the soldiers were breaking in to kidnap her. Link found Zelda gone and the loyal sage of the Sanctuary injured, so he went to the castle to defeat Agahnim and rescue Zelda. Climbing up into Agahnim's lair at the top of the castle, Link got there just in time to witness Agahnim sending Zelda into the Dark World. Link defeated Agahnim by reflecting his magic spells back at him with the Master Sword, but before Agahnim would admit defeat he escaped into the Dark World, drawing Link in with him.
Link found himself on top of the Pyramid of Power in the middle of the Dark World, and Sahasrahla contacted him telepathically, telling him to rescue the seven kidnapped maidens from Dark World dungeons. Link rescued the descendants of the wise men from the Dark Palace, the Swamp Palace, Skull Woods, underneath the Village of Outcasts, the Ice Palace, and from Misery Mire, encountering many friends and enemies along the way. Finally, he rescued Zelda from Turtle Rock on top of Dark Mountain, and the seven maidens used their power to break the seal protecting Ganon's Tower. At the top of Ganon's Tower Link found Agahnim, who he defeated a second time.
As Agahnim collapsed in a heap, he was revealed to be Ganon's alter ego, as Ganon's spirit rose from Agahnim's body and turned into a bat. Link used a friendly bird to chase after Ganon, and followed it into the Pyramid of Power. Inside the Pyramid Link and Ganon faced each other, and Ganon vowed to defeat Link and make his wish to conquer both Light and Dark Worlds come true without delay. After a long, hard battle, Link pierced Ganon's black heart with the Silver Arrows and Golden Sword, and climbed a staircase to enter into the presence of the Triforce. The Essence of the Triforce told him that Ganon was now destroyed, and his Dark World would disappear. It told him to touch the Triforce with a wish in his heart. As long as Link lived, the Triforce granted his good wishes, and Link put the Master Sword to rest in the Lost Woods, forever.