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Fanfic / In Sotto Voce

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In Sotto Voce is a The Legend of Zelda fanfic by The Wolfess.

After Princess Zelda sneaks off to the training brackets with her friend Princess Ruto, the two take note of a young trainee with impeccable skills. Zelda finds herself enamored with the woman, who she later learns is named Impa, though she does not understand her own feelings or why she's always thinking about her. At this same time, it's revealed to Zelda that her long-time guard Kishla is getting older and is developing arthritis. Luckily, Ruto knows just who to recommend as a replacement.

In Sotto Voce is a Zelda/Impa fanfic. It doesn't follow the plot of any of the games. It is inspired by Hyrule Warriors but does not limit itself to what is done in canon.

In Sotto Voce contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Modesty: Unlike in the games, Ruto wears gowns around Hylians. Hylians are more shy about nudity than zora, so Ruto wears dresses to accommodate.
  • Alternate Universe Fic: The fanfic is a heavily revised interpretation of Hyrule Warriors. It uses the HW characters as a basis but features a different story.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Zelda, Impa, and the previous Zelda all seem lesbian, not bisexual, but it's difficult to say due to their Single-Target Sexuality.
  • Arranged Marriage: Zelda's mother was forced into a marriage with Daphnes, who was a duke at the time. Zelda only had eyes for Tikala and her parents knew this. They arranged the marriage themselves specifically to keep Zelda and Tikala away from one another.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Unlike in the games, Bloodless Carnage is averted.
  • Bookworm:
    • Zelda loves to read (and it's apparently a family trait). The royal library has more than enough books for her to last a lifetime, so she's never left without new material.
    • Impa is fond of reading.
  • Celibate Hero: Prior to Zelda, Impa had focused her life on training, and as a result didn't have time for romance.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Due to her father's murder, Zelda is only sixteen when she becomes queen. While Wise Beyond Their Years, she's still woefully naive and emotionally unprepared for taking the role so prematurely. As a result, Zelda tries to act twice her age and begins covering up her emotions.
  • Child Soldiers: Link has been training to be a soldier since his early-to-mid teens. He's currently seventeen.
  • Dark Fic: It's much angstier and darker than any Zelda game, but this isn't apparent until several chapters in.
  • Dead Fic: The story hasn't been updated since August 2016.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Impa becoming Zelda's lifetime bodyguard is treated a lot like a marriage, with Zelda even quoting marriage vows.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: As a descendant of Hylia herself, Zelda has special powers. She has prophetic dreams (though in her case they're usually night terrors).
  • Driven to Suicide: The previous Zelda, the current Zelda's mother, killed herself because she couldn't be with her lover, Impa's mother Tikala. It was covered up and stated that she died due to illness.
  • Embarrassing Nickname:
    • Ruto likes calling Zelda "Zelly", but Zelda isn't fond of the nickname.
    • Impa hates it when Ruto calls her "Imp".
  • Everyone Can See It: Zelda is obviously infatuated with Impa from the get-go. The only reason people overlook it is because they're both women.
  • Exact Words: Ruto uses this excuse to get around promising not to tell Zelda some things. She doesn't tell Zelda—she gives her a book that will teach her.
  • Gayngst-Induced Suicide: Zelda's mother had a Single-Target Sexuality for Tikala. She ended up killing herself because they couldn't be together.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Zelda's sheikah disguise is named the gender-neutral "Sheik", just in case Zelda wants to pass as a boy instead of a girl.
  • Generation Xerox: Both invoked and used. Zelda and Tikala arranged for their daughters to be friends in a political alliance. Zelda and Impa also fell in love in a way that is very reminiscent of their mother's.
  • Heroic BSoD: Zelda goes into shock after seeing her father explode in front of her.
  • Honorary Uncle: Letaln is treated as Impa's uncle. He's Tikala's Childhood Friend
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Ruto quite enjoys going to the barracks to watch the trainees.
  • The Kingslayer: King Daphnes is murdered in chapter 9, making Zelda queen prematurely.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Used non-maliciously with Zelda's mother. She killed herself, but the official word is that she died of an unspecified illness.
  • Mentor in Queerness: Ruto, being bisexual and from a more queer-friendly culture, teaches the sheltered Zelda about sexuality.
  • Missing Mom: Zelda's mother died when she was very young.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Zelda is given the full name of "Zelda Nohansan Harkinian Hyrule XV".
  • Nephewism: It's implied that Link was raised by his currently deceased uncle.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Ruto gets caught attacking the king and as a result she's thrown in the dungeon. If that isn't damning enough, she just so happens to fit the "shade in royal skin" part of Zelda's prophecy. In reality, Ruto knew the king was possessed.
  • Oblivious to Love: Zelda is completely oblivious to her own very obvious feelings for Impa. Even when Ruto points it out she still doesn't understand. Hylians are very conservative about same-gender romances, so the idea never even popped into her head. In Zelda's case, there is a level of Selective Obliviousness in this as well.
  • One-Night-Stand Pregnancy: Impa was conceived from a rebound fling Tikala had after she had her heart broken by the previous Zelda.
  • Parental Abandonment: Link is an orphan.
  • Past-Life Memories: This occurs several times for Zelda, Impa, and Link. Downplayed, as most of the time it's vague deja vu more than anything.
  • Power Incontinence: Zelda is the most powerful Zelda on record. As a child she once tore a man's soul during a procedure intended to find out her Elemental Powers.
  • Prematurely Grey-Haired: Impa and her mother Tikala have silver hair that turned white early on.
  • Rebellious Princess: Princess Rutella, or "Ruto" as she prefers, is a free-spirited young woman. She acts as a foil to the more mild-mannered Zelda. Ruto was put under the care of the King of Hyrule specifically because her father hoped that some of Zelda would rub onto her (and likewise, Zelda's father hoped that Ruto would help his daughter become more social).
  • Reincarnation Romance:
    • Used and discussed. Impa's relationship to Zelda differs in each lifetime depending on what that Zelda needs, be it a friend, mother, mentor, lover, etc. In this lifetime, the two fell in love.
    • Subverted with Link and Zelda. They were lovers in previous lifetimes (with their Ocarina of Time incarnations being specifically referred to as lovers), but currently Zelda has no interest in Link.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Zelda, King Daphnes, and Ruto are all very proactive. Zelda's father also notes that being king means a lot of signing papers.
  • Slash Fic: It's an Impa/Zelda story. Impa becomes Zelda's bodyguard, despite their mutual attraction.
  • Smitten Teenage Girl:
    • Zelda is quite smitten by Impa, though she doesn't realize it at first.
    • Ruto has a huge crush on Link. He's not interested.
  • Tough Leader Façade: Upon becoming queen, Zelda grows cold and reserved. This is in result to both her father's death and her assumptions that her closest peers betrayed her.* Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 9. Volga attacks Hyrule with his army, King Daphnes is killed, and Zelda suddenly begins doubting that her feelings for Impa are real.
    • Chapter 12 reveals that Zelda and Impa's mothers had a Secret Relationship and Zelda and Impa were a Bureaucratically Arranged Friendship.