An oracle once said, "Fate is not like the cut of a blade, young one, but rather like the myriad paths formed when a hammer cracks ice."
The Gorons were not the only tribe affected by the eruption of Death Mountain. The waters of Zora's Domain were tainted by the ash and acid that fell from the sky. A Zora's constitution is very delicate; the waters of the Domain are very clear. The impurities and toxins from the mountain made many Zoras lose their lives. They were strained already by the change in Hyrule's climate from one of warm summers to one of eternal winter: a great cooling as Hyrule died.
Zoras are not strangers to untimely death. A tradition in battle was for Zora Soldiers to wear masks crafted using the strength of water. These masks bore the face of their queen, who had perished shortly after giving birth to Ruto, the Zora Princess.
I recall Ruto's affection, and her insistence that I marry her even after I had vanished for seven years, and I recall my own doubts and fears. I was young, of course, too young to consider the idea, but in that alternate future I erased, I remember asking myself whether I could or should return her affection. I questioned if her affection had faded in those years. I was confused and afraid. There were others, certainly: Malon the ranch girl, and Princess Zelda herself. There was a time I questioned whether Nabooru the Sage of Spirit was willing to offer her affections. My life was a lonely one. Ruto's affections seemed to be the most plain, but I doubted myself. I doubted whether she was honest, whether I was interested in her affection, whether she was the right choice or if waiting would be a better option. I did not know Zora customs, I was afraid of the life I may have had to live had I returned her affection, of knowing an alternate future but ignoring it in favor of the present. I was afraid of the pain that would be caused if her affections were true, and mine were true, but her father disapproved. I was afraid that if were shared our lives, her mind would change like the tides and I would be left alone and in pain. The anticipation of pain can be painful in itself. I felt ashamed, confused. If I saw a beautiful woman, or worse, developed the beginnings of affection, I would sink into depression, skipping the joy and excitement of love and attraction, and dwelling in the anguish of rejection. I felt that was the only possible result. No Zora would truthfully love a Hylian, and nor could a Hylian return love to a Zora. I let it fade, and I tried to forget her.
Ruto never met me after I erased Ganon's pursuit of the Triforce from the timeline before falling into Termina. She only knew of my legend. She led the Zoras into battle with her father, but the dark army could not be defeated. The Zoras were slaughtered and the survivors took refuge in the Water Temple. Ruto's fate in unknown to me. I can only imagine that she died defending the tribe she loved.
Acid Lakes is the third of the Hero's Laments written from the perspective of the Hero of Time regarding the Last Great War of Hyrule. It addresses the suffering and fate of the Zoras of Zora's Domain and speculates as to the fate of Ruto, the Sage of Water. Nabooru, the Sage of Spirit, is also mentioned, as well as Malon. Acid Lakes is the only lore book that mentions Nabooru, and is the only lore book that mentions Malon by name. The First Journal in the Freezing Caves mentions Malon, but does not name her.
The book focuses on Ruto and the Hero's confused feelings toward her, and also addresses his state of mind after traveling through time to defeat Ganon.
The book mentions a shift in Hyrule's climate to an unseasonable winter. This is also mentioned in the Second Journal in the Freezing Caves. Acid Lakes links this change in climate to the death of Hyrule itself.
Acid Lakes states that Rutela died shortly after giving birth to Ruto. This is contradicted by the book The Last Great War of Hyrule, which indicates that Ruto was concerned for her mother's well-being. It is possible that Acid Lakes is inaccurate, given the detail with which Midna explains Rutela's death. The author of Acid Lakes may also be recalling an alternate timeline to the events described in The Last Great War of Hyrule, or has lost perspective of the flow of time.
Finally, Acid Lakes explains the Relics of Hyrule version of the Zora Mask.
Background and Inspiration Edit
The oracle referred to in the opening line is the oracle of King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow. The quote was included partially because of its mention of ice, but also to introduce the theme of the book.
Acid Lakes was originally going to focus solely on the suffering of the Zoras as their waters were polluted and frozen, but JKalenad found himself in a state of writer's block after writing the first paragraph. Going further would be redundant and monotonous. Instead, JKalenad decided to focus on Ruto, but was not sure how. He drew on his own experiences with failed romance and blended them with the confusion of time travel to produce the final version of the book.