I've decided to make the dive into writing fanfiction. For my first effort is an outside-canon fan-fic about the Legend of Zelda. It started life as a "Zelda game designed by me" thought experiment, now being converted into written format to get around the issue that I'm unlikely to be hired by Nintendo any time soon. The purpose of the fanfic is to both critically examine the common tropes and story elements of the game series while incorporating elements that are more often found in crack-fic. It's ambitious, and like most internet projects, could end in failure. But once I get an idea, it's hard to get it out of my head without committing it to some form of medium.
Here's the setup: the continent of Marran, once the home of the ancient kingdom of Hyrule and it's neighbors, has fallen into a dark age. Magic, once common, has nearly disappeared entirely. The last vestiges of common civilization are a dedicated population of storytellers-bards, skalds, and the like-who are dedicated to the preservation of the stories and poems written by civilizations long past. Aiding them in this effort is a Monastery run by a collection of nuns named the Order of Vision that houses the largest surviving library on the continent. There are countless stories told and retold across the land. The most experienced skalds, as well as senior nuns of the order have noted elements of many of these stories that show up time and again - a Mono Myth. The details may differ, sometimes drastically, but they are all fundamentally the same story - the tale of a Hero, a Princess, and a Dark Lord, and how the three interact with each other. No one knows where this story of stories originated, but it has had a profound effect on the culture and history of the land.
But there is more to this land than just tales of heroism that make it stand out. Beyond the physical world is a place where dreams are said to take place. Each night, a person's consciousness is transported to this realm, where there dreams play out. Normally, these dreams are isolated from each other. In fact, most are unaware that there even is a Dreamrealm. But the Order of Vision practices one of the last remaining forms of genuine magic in the land - Dream Manipulation. Practitioners are able to connect with anyone asleep, allowing them to participate in their dreams and even alter them. More importantly, these rituals can permit the dreamer to escape the usual boundaries of dreams and explore the Dreamrealm freely, opening up the possibility of influencing the dreams - and thus the thoughts - of everyone. The Order of Vision realizes the danger such rituals hold, and practice them only for the most important events. But the Dreamrealm is unpredictable and can even be prophetic, and even the most skilled practitioner can set in motion events she had no intention of setting off.
One night on close to Midsummer, a student of the Vision of Order prepares a right called Nayru's Reach as part of her initiation as a full member of the order. On the other side of the continent, a young goat herder returns to his family's house after a long day in the field. Hilarity-as well as Serious Business-is about to ensue...
Mahoshonen Presents: The Legend of Zelda: the Dream of Journeys.
p.s. I'm having trouble setting up an account on fanfiction.net. I get through signing up, but then no confirmation email appears.
tl;dr Dual-world Zelda where one world is Zelda meets Inception meets TV Tropes
, and the other is Zelda meets Lord of the Rings and populated by literature wonks that gush over Legend of Zelda fanfics. Yeah...
edited 24th Mar '11 1:13:19 AM by Mahoshonen
The Legend of Zelda: Dream of Journeys
High in the White Storm Mountains, far from civilization, was a great monastery, one of the last centers of learning in the land that was once Hyrule. This was the Monastery of the Ibis, home to the Order of Vision. Every year, the nuns of this order descended from these peaks and traveled across the continent of Marran, seeking out suitable candidates to join their ranks. Parents saw it as an honor for their daughter to be chosen, but the nuns are very choosy; on average, just one girl, no older than five years of age, returns with the nuns at the end of their journey. At the monastery, they are taught the knowledge necessary to maintain the sciences, magic tomes, and literature of the lost kingdom of Hyrule for the day that the people once again place value in the written word.
There is one other skill the young girls learn. One that the Order of Vision does not share with outsiders, and in fact hardly uses at all. Yet it is a skill that the elders feel all its members must be able to demonstrate before they are considered full members of the Order.
It had been 11 years since Chelsy had been brought to the Monastery. She hardly remembered life outside the high walls. Her mother’s face, a stream she played in as a child, and that was it. All the other memories she had as a child were at the monastery. And tomorrow morning, she would no longer be a child even. She would be a full acolyte, responsible for maintaining and preserving the vast storehouse of knowledge within the library. All that was left was one ritual-Nayru’s Reach. In a few minutes, Chelsy would drift off into sleep, and her subconscious would join with another in the realm of dreams. She had practiced this much with her teachers and her peers, but tonight she was taking it one step further. She would call on the ability of Naryu’s Reach to bridge the divide between the Realm of Dreams and the Real World-the actions in one realm could influence the thoughts of others. The change was usually small, though of course legend speaks of this connection bringing monumental changes. But then, that’s how things always were in legend-always bigger, louder and more dramatic.
To add a further wrinkle to the ritual, Chelsy was not reaching out to anyone in particular with this ritual; it was a “free reach, ” so to speak. Theoretically, she could bestow the blessing of Naryu’s Blessing on anyone in the continent - whether they wanted it or not. That’s what seemed to be bugging her more than the fact that she’d never done this before.
Chelsy was dressed in a ceremonial night gown. It had gold trimmings on its sleeves and was embodied with the holy symbols of the order, but was otherwise no different from the plain white night gown she wore to bed every other night. She sat at the edge of a bed in a chamber specially set aside for this ritual. She was alone save for the Abbottess Herna. Chelsy watched silently as Herna prepared the draught that would quickly put her to sleep. The silence in the room was unnerving.
Herna finally broke the tension. “Nervous, little Chelsy?”
Chelsy hardly missed a beat. “Not at all, Mother Herna.” Despite being shorter than most of the adults at the monastery, the elderly Abbottess prefixed ‘little’ before everyone’s name. Chelsy supposed that once you reached a certain age, you had the right to call people whatever you wanted to.
Herna chuckled, “I thought you knew better than to lie to the elders, Chelsy.” She turned from the table and brought a chalice filled part-way with a slightly sweet-smelly liquid. Chelsy responded with a wry smile that probably betrayed more jitters than she hoped, and she took the chalice from Herna and started the incantation. “Ah, ah, Chelsy! Aren’t I allowed to give you some sage advice before you begin your test?” Herna interrupted.
Chelsy stopped. “Of course not, Mother Herna. What advise do you have?”
The smile on Herna’s wizened face faded a bit, and her voice took on a serious edge. “Remember, Chelsy, that this ritual you are about to perform is not only about you passing an initiation. Releasing the full potential of Naryu’s Reach can be a blessing upon whoever it touches, but it can also be a curse. The Reach can have profound effects on the communities that receive them. Bear this in mind when you meet your beneficiary.”
Chelsy frowned. “If that is the case, then why do the elders make the use of their most potent ritual part of the rite of initiation when they dare not invoke it themselves? I know I’ve asked that question before, but I don’t feel I’ve gotten a satisfactory answer.”
Herna nodded. “Yes, I know Chelsy. And your teachers have indeed been evasive about the reasoning behind this. That is because they concluded revealing the purpose would spoil the rite. That’s all I’m allowed to say on the matter.” Chelsy nodded her head. The smile returned to the Abbottess’ face. “Good luck, little Chelsy. May the Three bless your dreams.”
Chelsy began the incantation again. She felt the energy build inside her-a strange but comforting feeling-as the spell took shape. Finally, she completed the incantation, capping the magic into a complete form. She then downed the contents of the chalice. It was mostly wine, but she could detect the slightest hint of medicine present. She pulled the sheets of the bed aside and laid down in them. Herna exited the room. It wasn’t long before the potion took hold, and Chelsy began to dream…
I am in a city.
How I know this I’m not sure, since I’ve never been to a city, or even traveled any further than the next costal village. I’ve heard the merchants who stop by in Ravencliff every three months describe cities, but never in this detail. Despite the lack of any frame of reference, I knew that what I was seeing and hearing – the paved streets, the tall buildings, the excited merchants, and crowds of people – these are things that characterized a city.
I know I’m dreaming because everything is so vibrant and brightly colored. People and objects have a single bright color instead of shades of muted colors. It’s closest resemblance is to the pictures of a book I read parts of before the merchant shooed me away. Even the dark-brown shirt and green pants I’m wearing appear vivid. And the eyes of the “people” in dreams – the spirit healer says they are in fact spirits - are always big, taking up a quarter of the total space on their face. Perhaps because I’ve always seen my dreams in this manner that it’s never bothered me – I might even go so far to admit the big eyes are cute.
Judging from the size of the people passing me, the city is either populated by highly cultivated half-ogres, or I’m 8 years old. The same year Mom died, a thought drifting through my mind says. Over the crowd, I hear her laughter. I walk through the crowd towards her laughter. My only concern is to see her again, no matter how painful that might prove.
“Excuse me?” I hear a young girl ask, and my trance is broken. And “hear” is only in the most general sense of the word. Instead of hearing words, I hear a few empathic mumblings, and I see the words appear as images in my head. I stop and turn around and instantly see who was talking to me. She is young, probably my age (in the dream, that is), and has long blond hair. Judging from her appearance, she is a member of a noble family, probably royalty. She wears a jeweled tiara on top (seriously, how do I know what a tiara is supposed to look like?) and an elegant pink-and-red dress. Hanging from a gold belt is a strip of cloth decorated with heraldry, the stacked golden triangles standing out the most. A fur cape, died purple, hangs off her shoulders.
I approach with caution. She appears to be alone, although a bright smile on her face shows that she’s not scared the least. I point to myself – I am almost totally unable to speak “verbally” while dreaming and so I must use gestures to communicate. “Uh-huh. C’mon, don’t be embarrassed. I promise not to take too much of your time.” I get closer. I’m usually not this nervous, but this morning, Malon and I played a prank my younger brother Zed involving a fancy dress that we had found in an old chest in the attic of my house. The dress fit Malon almost perfectly, and she was able to convince Zed that she was a princess from a faraway land in search of a brave adventurer to save her kingdom. Zed leapt at the chance to prove himself to the “princess”, which involved showing her that he could ride Old Benny. After the third attempt, Malon and I were on the ground laughing. Zed had had too much fun to be mad, and father was more upset that we took the dress than whatever damage we inflicted on Zed. Now, however, I’m worried that my sub-conscience is going to see to it that I get my just desserts.
“I’m wondering if you could give me a hand. I’m supposed to be home in an hour, but I’ve inexplicably gotten lost. Could you help me get home?” As she spoke, I noticed something…odd about this girl. Well, more odd then other people I encountered in my dreams. There’s this intensity in the way she looked at me, and there is something odd about the way she talks, but I can’t put my finger on it. On the other hand, helping her seems to be a much better alternative to what I’d been about to do, so I nod my in agreement.
“Great! I live in that castle up there. You can’t miss it!” She points upward to something behind me. I turn around and look to where she’s pointing, and my jaw drops. The “city” is actually a series of wide intersecting rings that form the shape of a sphere. At evenly spaced points perpendicular to each other, a column rises out from one of the intersection points. These columns met in the center at what appears to be a clump of bricks. Between the gaps in the rings, stars shimmered brightly against a shifting background of nocturnal lights.
If Lemm the village drunk could see this, he’d probably say that this is where my dream has officially gone “off its tits”
I offer the girl my hand and together we walk through the city’s winding streets. We finally reach the pillar connecting the ring to where the girl indicated she lives. “Thank you, I can take it from here, ” she tells me, though I am at a lost as to how she intends to climb a perfectly smooth pillar that looks to be as thick as a large oak. “My name is Zelda, by the way. What’s yours?, ” she asks. Huh. It’s been a year since Okks the story-teller sang one of his Zelda sagas, and I can’t remember the last time I had a dream about any of his songs. I try to tell her my name, but something entirely different comes out. Sadly, it’s not a name I haven’t been associated with.
Zelda frowns and cocks an eye-brow. “Goat…boy?” she asks, wondering if she heard me right. I can feel my cheeks reddening. ‘Goatboy’ is a nickname one of the herders gave me when I first began to learn how to manage the flocks. I wave my hands furiously to indicate that that’s NOT my name. This somehow works, and the name, ‘Link’ is given to her despite my inability to speak. Perhaps seeing my embarrassment about the whole thing, Zelda reverts to smiling and changes the subject. “Anyway, I wanted you to have something as a token of gratitude.” She produces a small chest and holds it in front of me. I open the small chest, which somehow contains a sword and a shield.
I’m still examining the two items when there is a cold, stiff breeze. The city begins to darken, although how it was lit in the first place is another mystery. All around, people have stopped and are now looking around nervously. When I turn around, Zelda is gone. It doesn’t take me long to see where she went-she’s running straight up the pillar towards the structure in the center. I feel the sudden urge to follow her, though I have no idea how. Then I remember this is a dream, and I place my right foot on the pillar, then the left. If the things in my dreams are going to ignore reality, I thought, then I might as well too.
I run after Zelda. I’m too far away to get her attention without the aid of sound. It appears that I’m slowly gaining on her and-
Explosion. I’m thrown a several feet forward. I push myself up. Zelda stops and looks back. “Behind you, Link!” she yells. I look back and see a monstrous, black-metal crow circling back. six eyes the color of blood adorn its terrible visage. The city streets have descended into bedlam as invaders clamor over the sides and run rampage. The crow-thing opens its beak and fires a ball of black fire, but this time I roll out of the way. I turn around quickly to motion to Zelda to keep running. When I turn back, the crow is now close-too close to draw my sword and use it effectively. So I wait to the last second to make a vertical leap, grabbing a-hold of a wing. It’s then that I notice the rider on the crow’s back. He thrusts his spear down, but I grab it and use it to pull the rider off his mount. I take the reins, but the monster proves uncooperative. It moves erratically, flying close to the now burning buildings on the city street.
I can feel adrenaline rushing through me, if that’s even possible during a dream. I pull up, forcing the crow back towards the building at the center of the sphere. The city has been overrun by now, and soldiers are now advancing towards the central building. As we get close, the building resolves into a castle, or at least a castle that was built not from a foundation, but radiates outward from a single point in space. Already, it is being bombarded by both mundane and magical artillery. I try to maneuver the beast to land on one of the turrets, but the thing seems determined to dash itself across the castle’s stone walls. At the last minute, I make out a large colored panel on the wall of the main keep. While I’ve never seen glass in real life, I somehow know that the crow can fly into it and not kill the two of us. I steer the creature into the stained glass window, resulting in a thunderous crash. I leap off the back of the crow and go into a rolling tumble as the creature slams into the wall at the opposite end of the hall.
I push myself to my feet when I hear a familiar voice. “Overhear, Link!” I wish she’d stop calling me that. Zelda is standing in a doorway, waving me towards her. I run over. I briefly notice a pile of charred bodies armed with daggers that are now lying motionless. I assume that was Zelda’s handiwork, but I don’t inquire. Together, we race up a stairwell and into another large room-a treasury or armory, I would guess from all the fancy weapons and armor that occupy it. The castle shudders more as bombardment intensifies. “Help me block the door, ” Zelda says. The two of us push an armoire across the entryway. Zelda then grabs my wrist and pulls me to an armor display at the center of the room. “There’s one more thing I need to give you.”
I look at the armor display, and what’s occupying it can’t really be described as armor. It displays a bright green long undershirt and matching pants, a dark-green tunic, and a matching dark-green elongated cap. Zelda swiftly pulls these items off the display and stuffs them into my arms. “Put these on, ” she orders. My face somehow manages to convey exactly what’s on my mind, judging by what she says next. “Yes, I know what I’m telling you to do is utterly ridiculous and makes no sense given our predicament, ” she says bringing her hand up to her face and pinching her temples slightly. Behind her, there is a banging on the door behind the armoire. “But you have to trust me on this. All I can say is that there’s a lot more going on here than even I understand. That tunic, the sword-it’s all symbolic, reflections of-oh goddesses, I’m sounding like I’m giving a lecture. Does anything I just said make sense?” Of course, now I had even less of a clue what was going on, but hearing that she’s basically in the same boat as I am helps to make it easier to go with the flow. I look at the suit she gave me, and I begin to change cloths.
(no, she wasn’t looking while I changed, thank you for asking)
As I finished my ensemble, the wall explodes. I shield Zelda as a shower of masonry scatters across the room. Standing where the wall used to be is a great orange-red bird of prey. It almost looks as though flames flicker across its feathers. The bird lowers itself to the ground. I know instantly the bird is here to provide our escape, and I grab Zelda by the wrist and run towards it. We climb onto its back just as the armoire disintegrates into a cloud of splinters. By the time the first warriors enter the room, covered head to toe in black armor adorned with blades, we are long gone.
The city shrinks behind us as the fire bird soars into open space. I cling tightly to the feathers on the bird’s back, while Zelda wraps her arms around my waist. All around us are bright points of light that flash by us, and the nocturnal lights I saw before are even more amazing to see in full view. My wide-eyed wonderment is interrupted when a ball of black fire flies inches away from my face. Behind me, Zelda gives a surprised yelp. I look behind me and see the monster crow. I can see that part of its beak is now deformed. It screeches in anger. The fire bird dives downward, and begins turning furiously. Every time I look back, though, the crow is still behind us, sending out blasts of black fire to remind us of it’s presence.
We race towards a point of light. The point begins to take shape into a free-floating landmass. As we get closer, I recognize it as Norvenphot Fjord, where Ravencliff is located. It has to be: the tower at the mouth of the fjord, with the fan-like blades extending out from its walls, is unmistakable. As we pass over the abandoned tower, a fireball hits our bird in the belly. The violent shaking throws Zelda off the mount. I can only watch as she falls, too shocked to even scream, right on top the abandoned tower. The fire bird tries to keep ahead of its hunter, but it is too wounded. The crow collides with the fire bird just above my village, and I am knocked loose. My arms pinwheel helplessly as I plummet downward. The ground reaches up to me, and my dream is cut off.
AUTHORS NOTES: This fanfic began life in my head as an idea for a Zelda game with a “dual-world” gimmick. Link would go on adventures in the real world and in some form of dreamscape. Each world would in fact have their own separate art design. The Dream World would have the same art style as Wind Waker and Spirit Tracks, while the Real World would shoot past Twilight Princess on the photorealism scale and land somewhere between Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and Assassin’s Creed. In terms of gameplay, the Dream World plays like the usual classic Zelda game, albeit a Zelda game that’s been consuming lots of weed and LSD and is randomly flipping through TV Tropes
at five minute intervals. You travel across an overworld (In this case on the back of a phoenix), visit towns and engage in tomfoolery, and explore dungeons to kill bosses for their plot MacGuffin
. Though in the Dream World, instead of a “Water Dungeon” you have a “Luchador Wrestling Dungeon.” Now that I’m making this a fanfic instead of imagining it as a game that needs to be playable, you can expect even more weirdness. In the Real World, it’s not a typical Zelda game, though what it is instead I never really decided on. My vision of the Real World game vacillates somewhere between a Prince of Persia/Assassin’s Creed Platformer and a God of War hack-and-slash. It definitely has a low-magic medieval tone.
Likewise, storytelling conventions that are common in all the Lo Z
games are followed to a “T” in the Dream World but deconstructed if not tossed out the window in the Real World. I try to maintain this convention in making this a fanfic. Thus, in the Dream World, Link is a Silent Protagonist™ and no one is actually “talking” – it’s all text boxes while characters just make emotive grunts. This last point I probably won’t put much effort into sustaining in writing, as it seems to take more work than its worth.
I’m not sure why I decided to write the introduction to the Dreamworld first-person from Link’s perspective. I just started writing that way and stuck with it. Not sure if I will use it in future installments – it serves its purpose in this chapter to convey just how weird the Dream World is to our protagonist. In my initial draft, I was going to make 'Goatboy' Link's name in the Dream World as a spoof on the option to rename him in Zelda games. Then I realized that I would be calling him 'Goatboy' for the entire story after it turned after the first time I said it.
And yes, Link did in fact just fight a Deepcrow. That’s the kind of tone I’m going for in the Dream World.