"Great men are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame."
My reward for my life of hate, pain, evil and death was an eternity of destruction. A burning island of souls I could rule and dominate. I became king of the dead and the lost, answering only to Mehrunes Dagon, Daedric Prince of Destruction, with the Dremora as my servants. My legion followed me and my island is inhabited by Stalfos, Dinofols, Moblins, Bokoblins, and Poes. Some have gone feral and mad from the realm. Others thrive.
I assisted Dagon with his plans, invading what used to be Hyrule's realm time and time again. We never visited Hyrule. Only its ruins. Was Dagon afraid of the World-Eater? Was Hyrule erased from time itself? Our nearest triumph was to scour the world with the Oblivion Gates. I led armies through the Summerset Isles and Vvardenfell, destroying their cities and slaughtering their people. I demanded to see what Hyrule had become, and Dagon obliged, commanding me to scour the land of Skyrim, the kingdom that grew from Hyrule's ashes.
Hyrule was gone. I found no trace of it in Skyrim. Rage overtook me, for the World-Eater took Hyrule from me and left nothing, and Mehrunes Dagon tricked me, placing me in Hyrule's ashes thousands of years after it had fallen and nothing remained. Dagon used me for his own goals. He knew I would be enraged, and he wanted destruction, death, and more souls for his Deadlands. I could not stop. My armies slaughtered millions of people, and I alone slaughtered thousands.
I felt nothing.
"Ganon. Can you hear me? Follow me."
I never rested: there was no need for sleep in the Deadlands. My life was monotonony: dealing pain, harvesting souls, and roaming on razor-sharp castles, ruling all but myself. An uprising among the Dremora would occur, and I would have them executed. My Darknuts were eternally faithful. I could trust them. I could not trust the daedra. There was no challenge, no change: only destruction.
But I heard Her voice. I have never heard Her voice. No one ever heard Her voice. I ignored it at first. The Deadlands are loud with the screaming of the damned and the hissing of lava and Clannfear.
"Ganon. Can you hear me?"
She spoke to no one. She was unreachable and removed from the cares of mortals. She was uncaring. No matter how I crushed Hyrule, no matter how many people I killed, Her sisters and She never intervened. They trusted the Hero with doing Their work, even when he failed to appear.
I followed Her voice to the top of my tower. I ordered my Darknuts to leave me alone and guard the door. If anyone, including them, were to disturb me, they would be killed.
"Ganon. Can you hear me?" She said.
"I can hear you," I replied.
"You are not alone."
"I am alone. My guards cannot hear us."
"You misunderstand me."
"That is not new. I have never understood you. Why me? Why speak to me here? Now? I have taken billions of lives: snuffed out billions of flames. I have been punished and imprisoned by your followers, to protect your sigil, despite my destiny to bear it. Why have you and your sisters subjected me to this cycle? Surely it was within your power to protect the Triforce yourself. Why subject the Hero, the princess and I to this divine prank?"
"My sisters and I created Hyrule, but left its fate in the hands of mortals. The Triforce was a beacon of hope."
"It was a beacon of hate. Wars were fought over it, and blood was spilled for it. You are a goddess. How did you not anticipate this? Mortals are persistent, and when you promise eternal power, they will stop at nothing to obtain or protect it, depending on their motivations."
"You are wise, Ganon."
"Is that was this was? A test? All of this? You wanted to test me to see if I was worthy of entering your realm by invitation rather than as a prisoner? You sicken me. Din the Liar! Din the Deceiver! Goddess of Manipulation and Oppression!"
She was silent.
"Silence. That is a familiar response," I said. "For an eternity you have been silent. Silent as your people died and the land you created turned to dust and ice. Silent as your champion failed and the World-Eater destroyed what was once beautiful, thriving, and full of life."
"Do you miss Hyrule, then?"
"The Gerudo Desert was my home. I coveted Hyrule. I envied its citizens. All of that is gone now. All I have left is smoke." "Do you feel pain?" "I stopped feeling pain when Dagon captured my soul."
"I feel pain," She said. "I feel the pain of every life you took prematurely, every flame you extinguished. I ache from Hyrule's loss like a phantom limb. If Hylia had not shattered the Triforce as she did, you would have succeeded, and Hyrule would be yours."
"Better with me than the World-Eater."
"No, Ganon. Do you see what is around you? Do you smell the ashes, the smoke? Do you hear the screams of souls who deserved a better fate? This is Hyrule if you took it."
"You let Hyrule die!"
"I am weary, Ganon. You do not yet understand. Zelda is with Nayru now, and Farore is searching for Link. After thousands of years, I have found you, and I want you by my side. But you are not ready, and perhaps mine was an empty hope that you would be. I will use my waning power to send to you a Moon Pearl. Use it to build a gate from Oblivion, and when you step through, you will no longer be alone."
"Why are you doing this?" No answer. "Din! Goddess of Power! Answer me!"
I left the roof of my tower. A Dremora approached me. "My lord," he said, "One of the new souls was carrying a sigil stone. He must have stolen it from another tower in the Deadlands. He has been destroyed."
"Show me this stone," I said. The Dremora and I ventured to the forge under the tower, where equipment from unfortunate souls was collected. Another Dremora was holding the stone and held it out to me.
"My lord," he said. I took the stone. It looked ordinary. Dark clouds swirling over a red sphere, clearing at times to show the spinning, suspended core. Black lines, pits and valleys.
The Triforce, engraved on the surface of the stone's core quickly passed under the dark clouds in a moment's eternity. Two blackened triangles, and one outlined. One at the top of the three: the Triforce of Power.
"This..." I began to say, but remembered my audience. "This will be useful. Carry on." The Dremora nodded and returned to their work. As I passed into the hallway to store the Moon Pearl somewhere safe, I noticed gems resting on a table: red, yellow, orange, black. Rupees. Blue tear-shaped gems rested nearby as well. Moon's Tears. Relics of Hyrule. I took some of the rupees and tears, knowing none of my minions would object. These were fragments of my world and had to be protected.
I cradled the Moon Pearl and set to work in my tower, learning its nature and its mystic frequencies. I knew the task would be difficult, but the gate made by this Pearl would finally give me peace.
Ganon's Epitaph proves Zelda's words regarding the Goddess Din in Wisdom, Power, and Emotion to be true.
The book explains the nature of the Feral Moblins.
The book expands on Ganon's Fate and develops Ganon's role in Oblivion and his manipulation at the hands of Mehrunes Dagon. As a connection between The Legend of Zelda and Elder Scrolls lore, the book states that Ganon was present during the Oblivion Crisis. In The Elder Scrolls IV - Oblivion, Skyrim is mentioned to have suffered greatly during the Oblivion Crisis. Ganon's Epitaph provides an explanation for this based in Relics of Hyrule lore.
The book also explains the striking similarity of the Moon Pearl to a sigil stone, as well as its deviation from Zelda canon in terms of function.
Ganon's Epitaph is the only instance in Relics of Hyrule of a Golden Goddess directly interacting with a mortal, in this case Din. Din also explains Zelda's fate, the planned fate of Link, and alludes to possible reasons behind the Goddesses' absence during the Last Great War of Hyrule.
The title "Ganon's Epitaph" is arguably a misnomer, but the possibility exists that Ganon deliberately mis-titled the book and hid it in his coffin to avoid its discovery by the daedra. Its binding in a conjuration book also indicates that it was meant to be unassuming and easily overlooked.
Background and Inspiration Edit
Ganon's Epitaph was included in version 6.2 of Relics of Hyrule to provide an epilogue for Ganon's portion of the lore, as well as context for Ganon's Tower.
The opening quote comes from the Doctor Who episode "The Day of the Doctor." In the context of Ganon's Epitaph, the quote takes on a new meaning, implying that Ganon thinks of himself as superior to Mehrunes Dagon, or that his own minions or victims have served to strengthen him.
The phrase "You Are Not Alone" is an echo of Zelda's Wish, and is another reference to Doctor Who, specifically to the story arc of "Gridlock" and "Utopia."
The phrase "divine prank" comes from Twilight Princess.
The phrase "roaming on razor-sharp castles, ruling all but myself" comes from the Nightwish song "Crownless," while "mine was an empty hope" is a paraphrase of "yours is an empty hope," from the song of the same name by Nightwish.
Ganon's Epitaph is one of JKalenad's favorite lore books.