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A LEGEND OF ZELDA ROLEPLAY
Welcome to ZRP! We are an non-canon RP site with an original tale taking place within the
lore of the Zelda Franchise. While the events of this site are entirely non-canon, we take advantage of the canons of other
games to explain its story fully. As such, we are located within the CANON TIMELINE. Do you like what you see? If so, feel free
to register and join our story! If you have any questions, you can join our discord, located in our important links!
Ariadne had been holding her breath. In retrospect, it was a silly decision; if she had honestly believed that this was a world so dangerous or alien that the air itself would conspire to end her life upon arrival, she obviously wouldn’t have sought the trip out. But it was still a scary thing, to leave behind everything you’d ever known or been comfortable with, all of the people and the places and the animals you’d been attached to, and knowing that there was a very good chance you’d never see them again. She’d stepped away from those memories by choice, and had needed a little extra courage in the moment, and so as she’d passed from the world she’d always known and into this strange new one, Ariadne had been holding her breath.
Of course, now that she was here, she was in quite a predicament. Not only had she held her breath while passing through, but she’d also closed her eyes, and now she was too afraid to open them. After all, what if it was poisonous after all? That’d be just swell, coming all this way just to asphyxiate immediately. Or what if she’d arrived in the middle of a pack of wolves? Or a person’s home? What if, after all the shame through which she had already put them, the ancestors were looking down on Ariadne now, and she was in someone’s occupied privy? Were that true, she hoped the air truly were poisoned, so she could expediently flee her final and crowning failure. The quickly-spiralling thoughts caused her heart to beat faster and louder in her chest, almost loud enough to drown out the chirrup of nearby… crickets? And… was that a cicada somewhere behind her?
Ariadne had seen plenty of bugs when she was in Termina, particularly during her time in the Southern Swamp, taking notes on and gathering local plants. She’d found them to be quite interesting, and usually not scary, just occasionally hostile if they were specifically wasps and she was specifically trying not to anger them. There was a slight chill to the air, more of a twilight’s breath than a winter’s bite. Okay, so things weren’t as bad as she had feared! The Gerudo slowly released her breath- a relief, as she couldn’t hold it long under ideal circumstances- and inhaled. The air was fresh. Quite fresh, in fact! It smelled like nature, the kind found in small groves of trees surrounding Clock Town, or the park in the northern section of the city, a park where she’d spent hours reading and studying. There were elements of rich earth mixed with old leaves, a combination she found immediately relaxing, almost refreshing in a way. As she exhaled one more time, the Gerudo opened her eyes, finding herself in the middle of a dense forest - in the twilight hour, no less.
The sight was breath-taking; the trees of the Southern Swamp were thin and usually stumpy, while these were thicker than she could wrap her arms around and taller than she could have ever imagined trees being. Instead of canals and soggy peat, a fine layer of moss covered the ground all around her, interspersed occasionally with dark green ferns. Tiny green lights pulsed around everything she could see, peacefully floating along to the insect orchestra. She was overtaken with awe; if this was what she had been missing in Termina, she was more than happy to explore! She opened up an empty pouch at her belt and began picking the various plants. As often happened when she was by herself, Ariadne began to talk to the samples she was gathering, becoming entirely unaware of the world outside of her immediate interests. ”My word, you’re pretty. Heart-shaped leaves, about… foooooour? centimetres each? I’m sorry for snipping you away like this, my love, but my sketchbook is too deep to get out of this bag before nightfall. I hope you understand.”
A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds.’
A lilting melody travelled upon the chill air, the feminine voice easy on the ear, ‘And when the weeds begin to grow, it's like a garden full of snow. And when the snow begins to fall it's like a bird upon the wall.'
The gentle pitter-pattering of feet upon the soft earth disturbed the blackbirds gathered around, ‘And when the bird away does fly, it's like an eagle in the sky. And when the sky begins to roar, it's like a lion at the door.'
A cold mist followed the child-like rhyme, which held the morose tones of someone familiar with the adult world of tragedy, ‘And when the door begins to crack, It's like a stick across your back. And when your back begins to smart, it's like a penknife in your heart.’
The blonde-haired Sappho ceased her song as the foliage thinned out into a small clearing. The mist around her swirled dense and thick as she drifted silently across the forest floor towards where she could make out an odd woman chattering to herself a short distance away. Conjuring a wooden chair for herself to sit upon and a porcelain teapot to drink from, she dispelled the mist with a neat flick of her wrist and continued her previous song,
‘And when your heart begins to bleed, you're dead and dead and dead indeed. My girl, take care in unknown lands - it’s hard to skirt from evil hands.’
Ariadne might as well have died and entered paradise, with so many plants and bugs she had never seen, smelt, nor heard before. It was all so overwhelming to her senses that she had become entirely oblivious to anything outside of that, even the approach of another person in the middle of a forest. In fact, it wasn’t until she was in the process of tucking a small flower into her belt pouch that the words began to cut through to her consciousness.
-your heart begins to bleed, you're dead and dead and dead indeed. My girl, take care in unknown lands - it’s hard to skirt from evil hands.’
The Gerudo rocked back on the heels of her boots, attempting to figure out what had spoken to her and from where, before scanning the area around her and settling on the girl seated just across the clearing. Ariadne was immediately taken aback; in the presence of such a stark beauty she found her heart skipped a beat… maybe more than one. She looked around for anyone else before taking a few steps forward. “Hello,” she began, proud of herself for nailing the introduction. “I’m Ariadne. I hadn’t noticed any… evil hands so far, but uh, I suppose these lands are pretty unknown to me.”
She felt her cheeks begin to flush, and decided maybe it would be best to stop talking before she got to the "embarrassed ranting" portion of how she inevitably talked. “Am I that obvious?”
The pungent aroma of the turmeric infusion wafted about the fog-ridden clearing, melding with the hazy vapour and spreading around the night air. Sappho thought it such a delightful tea, with a curious flavour unlike any other she had tried, perhaps she enjoyed it so much because it was so similar to herself - nothing like one would expect. She contentedly sipped her tea, a warm smile upon her crimson lips as the foreign woman introduced herself. Deciding it best to do the same, she conjured a wooden stump to place her make-shift tea party upon and arose from her seat,
‘Ah, you must be from elsewhere, to not be so wary ‘round these Woods. There is evil lurking all about, even where you least expect. I could be such an evil myself, had you not considered that? Oh, but I should introduce who I am before you start wondering about whether I am evil or not.’
Lowering herself gracefully in a delicate curtsy, she announced, ‘I am Sappho. I am, how should I phrase this… the Witch of these Woods. I thought it strange that you were so relaxed about these parts; there are many well-known tales of the evil Witch who lives here. Neither native citizen nor traveller of the road would dare come this deep into the Woods, for fear of crossing paths; any person unfortunate enough to stumble across me would be quick to run away.’
Placing a porcelain finger upon her chin inquisitively, she pondered, ‘Since you did not copy their example, I must assume you are from elsewhere, and your peculiar garb furthers this. Indeed, I am quite curious, where do you come from?’
As both her back and attention had been turned away when Sappho had originally conjured her small array of furniture, this was Ariadne’s first experience of her summoning abilities, and the delight was clear in her eyes. During her residency in Clock Town, the Gerudo had been part of a small group of like-minded, would-be healers learning from the same older masters. While a few of them had been more magically inclined than she, their interests and specialisations had never been that of creating or summoning objects, merely doctoring. Since magic had never come easily to her, or perhaps in spite of that fact, she was fascinated by it. While most of her class barely touched on magical theory, merely the specific spells and weaves required to heal, she had gone beyond that and spent much of her time in the personal library of one of her teachers, reading up on the mechanics and theory behind spellcraft.
Sappho’s introduction was certainly something. She was laid-back and composed, so sure of her own delicate grace. She reminded Ariadne of some of the more wealthy types in Clock Town, those who lived on the upper end of the East Side, near the government section. They had never liked her, save those who were introduced to her through the programme. She suddenly became self-conscious; would this be another high-class type who saw her as nothing more than a coastal pirate, pretending to be civilised until the moment she could steal a purse or watch? Was that even a stereotype here? Were there other Gerudo here or did she come across as just a red-headed Hylian of questionable (though, judging by this conversation, not altogether that questionable) gender?
She did her best to keep the anxiety from her voice. “I’m happy to meet you, Sappho. You seem perfectly welcoming, so I see no reason to run away -I actually met a witch once, when I studied out in the swamp! But yes, you’re right, I’m from elsewhere. I don’t actually know if- it’s hard to explain but- hm.” The back of her neck was hot from shame; she had always had a problem with stumbling over three different thoughts when she got anxious. She forced herself to take a deep breath, then let it out again. “I’m from Termina. I was told I could come to a new world and start over, but I might never be able to go back, and already this seems nicer than where I came from.”
A smile gracing her delicate features, Sappho listened intently to this woman’s thoughts and continued sipping her aromatic tea. Her air of grace allayed however upon hearing three words, ‘Pardon me, madam, but I fear I must have misheard you. Did you perchance call this place ‘a new world?’
Painted nails tapping against her teapot, Sappho pondered anew upon this unusual woman, her thoughts voiced out loud, ‘Mayhaps you meant but ‘a new place’... Nay, your garb supports that you hail from nowhere upon the Isle. But I have not heard of anyone bypassing those wretched barriers separating us from the mainland, well, not since that fool who loosed the lunatic gods upon the earth.’
A brief silence permeated the fog-ridden clearing before Sappho spoke once more, no longer laidback in leisure but now focused intently upon Ariadne’s every word, ‘That would mean you spoke the unvarnished truth and this truly is ‘a new world’ to you. I have heard tales of the golden country and the twilight realm, resting between worlds… But, again, I doubt that you hail from those lands. Oh, tell me please, madam Ariadne, about this world which you hail from! What sort of a land is it and how does it differ from ours, though you may have seen little of this place.’
For all her social awkwardness and general anxieties, one of Ariadne’s biggest strengths was picking up on how others were feeling. And while she couldn’t see -consciously, at least- any change in Sappho, she felt something change, almost like a cold finger running down her spine. As she listened to the self-titled witch think aloud, her suspicions were proven correct.
The central point, as far as she could gather, was that she had stumbled into an awkward moment where something she had assumed something was common knowledge, wasn’t. And despite knowing little about the woman with whom she was speaking, some things were easily inferred from her demeanour. Sappho was clearly intelligent, working through information and collating what she received audibly with what she could perceive visually to produce a larger picture. If someone educated was unaware of Termina, then the lay person could be assumed to be equally ignorant.
Ariadne was relieved to find herself able to work her way through these situations. Taking a breath and giving herself a moment had done wonders for her composure, and she was becoming less anxious as the twilight transitioned to night. There was a chill to the air now, and she wasn’t dressed for cold. Seeing an opportunity for a change in scenery, she smiled and adjusted the large pack on her back. “Usually people buy me a drink before they ask me to divulge all my secrets. I’d be happy to tell you all you need to know, perhaps while we travel toward somewhere warm? I surely wouldn’t complain for food.”
The golden-haired witch twirled her parasol in her free hand, ever faster as her mind raced with ideas of this new world. Her twirling however slowed when such ideas were hindered, that foreign woman withholding more information for the moment. Eager for some knowledge, Sappho happily agreed to the woman’s small request.
‘My dear, do you know how, a long time ago, two poor little children - whose names I don't know - were stolen away on a fine summer's day, and left in a wood, as I've heard people say.’
A haunting song left those cherry lips, stirring the shades of lost men and women who had wondered about these dreaded woods. Unearthly cries echoed about the fog’s murky depths as dark silhouettes appeared beneath its hazy waves.
‘And when it was night, so sad was their plight, the sun it went down, and the moon gave no light! They sobb'd and they sigh'd, and they bitterly cried, but the poor little things, they lay down and died.’
Dead leaves crunched beneath heavy footsteps, both their own and others elsewhere. Louder now and closer still, those footsteps trampled upon the undergrowth again.
‘And when they were dead, the Witchkin so dread brought strawberry leaves and over them spread. Then all the day long, she sung them this song, "Poor babes in the wood! Poor babes in the wood! Oh, don't you remember those babes in the wood?"’
Then they fled. The footsteps were heard retreating with muffled dismay. Those ghostly figures disappeared with the vaguest of grimaces. The fog itself dissipated, recoiling from a pinprick of gold as light of day’s embrace drew the full glory of Hyrule’s fields into view.
‘I suppose you are pondering what those Woods were. Well, ponder no longer, for not even I know - they are just one of Hyrule’s wonders. Instead, I hope, madam Ariadne, that you will tell me all about your world’s wonders. I am curious if it matches this one’s.’
Though she had been hopeful of it, Ariadne was relieved to find Sappho a pleasant travelling companion. Even if her stories could fall a bit into the macabre -Ari was a fan of happy stories herself- it was nice to have something to listen to as they hiked out of the forest. If nothing else, Sappho was certainly adding to the aesthetic experience of being in some creepy old forest after sunset.
While she was regaled with a tragic tale of child death and bitter tears, Ariadne grew conscious of an approaching… something, first as the hairs on her arms stood up and then as the footsteps echoed. But as suddenly as they had approached, all of the foreign sounds were gone; the witch had guided her successfully to the edge of the forest. Once the last notes of Sappho’s speech settled into the unsettling quiet of a post-dusk world, Ariadne turned back to her. It was much easier to see now; she hadn’t actually realised the lack of easy moonlight in the forest until they’d left it.
“Termina is… well, frankly I’m surprised you ain’t heard of it, to be honest.” The doctor adjusted her bag once more and used the opportunity to rotate her left shoulder; it was beginning to get a bit sore from the strain. She looked out across the empty plain, glowing in the soft white light of the moon. “The biggest city is called Clock Town. It circles around, as you mighta guessed, a big clock. Uh, every year there’s a festival celebrating the season of harmony beginning, basically an alignment of the sun and moon. Lotsa musicians, artists, dancers all over. They come in from the outer-lying provinces, Snowhead, Ikana, the Southern Swamp, and Great Bay.
“Snowhead is where the Gorons live, they’re, uh, big rock people. Friendly as can be, but very tall. You got them here? Anyway, Snowhead is a mountain and incredibly cold. Like freeze you to the bones if you’re not careful cold. Ikana used to be a big kingdom, but it’s filled with spooky skeletons and ghost people now. Some people still live there, but it’s not somethin’ widely, um, recommended. The swamp is full of Deku Scrubs, cute lil’ plant people who can bounce on the water and have a dashing princess. It’s a nice place, kinda similar to this forest but with a lot more water and heat. Great Bay’s where I’m originally from, it’s a rocky series of cliffs that centre around a long beach. At the north end of the beach is the Gerudo encampment. They- um… we, I guess- they aren’t the best. In the south are the Zora, who- oh, they’re quite pretty- they’re sea-faring types, but like under the water. Anyway, they have a beautiful city o’ shells and the like.”
She blinked for a moment, as if slightly confused, then shook her head and shrugged. “It didn’t ever strike me until now, actually, but everyone’s all spread out real even-like. Even Clock Town is spread into districts- not equally sized, but kinda mirroring the rest of Termina I guess- and is still mostly Terminian, with only a couple people from outside the city interminglin’. Huh.
“Do you have anything particular you’re wantin to know? I know as much as anyone knows about a place they spent their whole life, but it’s hard to just come out with it, y’know? You clearly know about magic here, I know a little bit about healing magic, but mostly I do it the old-fashioned way, with needles and herbs and potions and the like. Each settlement kinda has its own government, but it’s, uh, they’re mostly insular, kinda community-organised, sorta, um… like usually a system with an informal leader. I think we -Clock Town, I mean to say- might have the strictest leadership, but even then that’s just a mayor and some soldiers.”