SoT AU: "Shadow of Courage" Ch. 17

SoT AU: "Shadow of Courage" Ch. 17

Sep 16, 2021

Ganondorf’s first thought was that the strange shade hadn’t been defeated. There had been no blood, no death cry. It had faded back into the walls to haunt him here, mock his pride.

It took far too long for the pale figure in front of him to coalesce into his Link, and even then, his mind struggled to grasp the scene. Link’s face was too pale, expressionless, the shadows in his lovely blue eyes a strange match to the shade. Sweat darkened his hair, offered a strange, sickly gleam to his skin. The shade Ganondorf had slain had truly been his Link’s echo.

And now his Link held that sword -- that damned sword -- in his hands again, aiming it at him, looking at him like he was a stranger when Ganondorf knew the taste of his mouth, the feel of his skin. This wasn’t his Link. This being who pointed that accursed shining sword at him was a warrior of the Goddesses, sent to stop him from achieving his destiny.

Ganondorf stared at the warrior with the familiar face and familiar eyes and familiar mouth and knew what he needed to do. He had been wrong. He had one challenge left.

His sword remained limp at his side. “Can you do it then?” he asked quietly. He barely recognized his own voice. Power surged inside him, raging and ready for his call. His skin felt cold, untouched by the heat of his magic. “Can you kill me, my love?”

The damned sword pulsed, its white glow matching the shield blazing just beyond Link’s window. When had it moved so close? It didn’t matter. Ganondorf couldn’t sense it before, but he could feel it now: it felt like Link’s heart beat outside of his chest, all of the power Ganondorf loved in Link blazing beyond him, around them.

It didn’t feel like there was any left in Link at all.

Link licked white lips. “Yes,” he rasped. 

Ganondorf’s path was clear: kill this tool of the Goddesses. The power inside of him surged at the thought, hungry and ready. The fool had already used most of his power to keep Ganondorf contained. Now, at the height of his power, this Hylian was at his weakest.

The building trembled around them, and Ganondorf looked away from that pale face to look outside. The white light was coming closer. The fierce power he sensed there was equally as hungry for blood as the power burning in his blood. It would kill them both to keep Ganondorf from achieving his destiny.

Link would kill them both before allowing Ganondorf to leave here alive.

Ganondorf’s path was clear, yet his blade remained down and still. He thought of the slender figure collapsed outside of the Fortress and how the back of his hand glowed. He thought of wary, Nayru-blue eyes. He thought of the golden wolf he sought to tame, its teeth bared but Ganondorf confident that Link would never bite him.

He thought of the dark spirit with Link’s face, now nothing but a memory. Something with Link’s shape which he had so willingly struck down.

He thought of the spirit with Link’s face in the tunnel, with the bandage covering one eye, clearly dead. “You’re almost done,” the spirit had said. Ganondorf had forgotten that.

Link. Older. Scarred. Dead.

“I wondered,” Ganondorf said quietly, and the fire inside him felt like it would burn him alive, “for so long what made you wary of my touch. You never flinched from my warriors, only me.” 

Link stared silently back at him, and by now, Ganondorf recognized the stillness of his body: readiness to drive that damned sword through Ganondorf’s throat at the slightest provocation. It had been there from the start, he realized. From the beginning, Link had readied to kill him. Ganondorf had been too blind to see…

“I thought it was some man in your past,” Ganondorf continued, voice still soft, “and it was. It was me. Tell me, sa’ven: how many times have we fought?”

There. Something in Link’s beautiful eyes. Grief. “Once.”

Ganondorf nodded slowly. He made no move to raise his sword. “And you won.”

“You lost before we fought,” Link corrected, and there was such grief in his voice that it made Ganondorf’s hands flex. “You fell to Demise.”

Demise… Demise was defeated. They defeated Demise, and Ganondorf destroyed his shadow beasts. 

“I destroyed him,” Ganondorf said, and his voice didn’t sound like his own. Link staring at him like this, Link’s blade between them… He had dreamed this. Different Links with different faces, always holding that damned sword.

Link didn’t bother speaking. He just shook his head. The damned, glowing sword never wavered.

Ganondorf wanted to reach out to him, but he didn’t know if that would be all the push Link needed to strike. A part of him didn’t care, only wanted to smack that sword aside and yank Link into his arms. Another part wanted to push, wanted to see what the warrior of the Goddesses was made of, wanted to compare his power to Link’s.

He didn’t dare move. Inside him, the power roiled and rumbled. He felt too hot.

Link wasn’t attacking yet. There was still hope. “We can still go home,” Ganondorf coaxed. 

Solemn blue eyes, dark and damp, stared back at him. “My home is dead,” Link said.

Link’s sword sparked, white flaring furiously. It burned Ganondorf’s eyes, but he didn’t dare move to step back. The building around them began to shake. A single stone fell by the window, thunking onto the floor.

The slightest of movement. The shift of Link’s back foot, the hardening of Link’s jaw. Ganondorf was out of time.

Ganonodorf knew what he needed to do. The fire in him called for blood. A final sacrifice before the feet of Destiny before he could claim what was his. Link was tired, worn, even with the power of the Goddesses shining around them. A mortal vessel, ready to lie down for the final time.

He knew what he needed to do.

Ganondorf exhaled, tasting smoke, and he could see his future so clearly, as if someone had painted it before him. Charging into battle, his Gerudo behind him, a swarm of monsters around them, tearing into the arrogant Hylian soldiers. The Hylian King broken at his feet, Ganondorf on his throne. The Zora and Gorons submitting to his authority. The land of the Goddesses, at last his.

His gaze fell to the pendant on Link’s chest. A small thing, a hopeful present. It seemed to radiate its own light in the glow of Link’s sword.

Make your choice. Hadn’t Link been telling him that for months? With fear and hope and pain in his eyes? 

Hadn’t he already made his choice?

With a soft sigh, Ganonodorf released his sword. It clanged on the floor and Link jumped, eyes wide. “Sa’ven,” Ganondorf whispered, extending his empty hand. “Come here.”

Link hesitated. He didn’t lower his sword but he didn’t attack, either.

“Link,” Ganondorf began, and something cracked loudly above them.

With a low groan, the room began to crumble.


“Kali, stay back!” Nabooru screamed. Around her, Hylians and Gerudo alike began to shout but she didn’t care. She didn’t care, she didn’t care.

Because the white light began to press down on a section of the Temple, and the stone gave under its fury. Most of the Temple appeared untouched, but the rest shuddered and surrendered under the dome’s power.

Kali leaped back, barely dodging a falling rock, but otherwise refused to move away. “Ganondorf and Link are in there!” she shouted back. 

The dome gave one final shudder, one final blaze of light, before fading from existence. The damage was done. Stone continued to crumble and fall.


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