Hero of a new day, by your time the legends of our kingdom will have faded to mist and will be forgotten. Perhaps the legends that will live tell of a Hero who failed, letting the kingdom he so loved burn to ash, fertilizing the growth of your world.
But know that there is one legend that will surely fade quicker than all the rest:
The Legend of Zelda.
Zelda, Queen of Hyrule in the Hour of Twilight, was the person who protected her kingdom by shattering the Relic of Hyrule, the Triforce.
Ganon, king of evil, hate, and pain had succeeded in obtaining the Triforce, and with it he wished to bring an unending darkness to the world.
His reign lasted for so long that Hyrule began to die. It slipped to the plane of the space between worlds, merged there with Termina, and the two kingdoms began to bleed.
Zelda fled to Lorule, the shadow of Hyrule, and sought the guidance of Hilda, who ruled the shadows. Lorule, she found, was dying as well, and another in-between kingdom, The Realm of Twilight, had begun to bleed into Hilda's realm.
Zelda the Queen of Light, Hilda the Queen of Shadow, and Midna the Queen of Twilight cared to the needs of Lorule and the Twilight Realm.
But Lorule was dying quickly, just as a shadow begins to fade as the sky darkens at dusk.
Ganon had discovered Lorule, and with his army razed the kingdom to seize its Triforce.
Hilda begged Zelda to preserve artifacts from Lorule to keep its memory intact.
Zelda kept what she could, stored within the Twilight Realm.
As Lorule burned, Midna and Zelda made their final plans.
They returned to Hyrule and found that time was bleeding. Hyrule's past and futures rippled and curved on each other. Stories were heard of countless heroes faltering in the face of evil. Stories of thousands of potential victories crushed into dust.
Midna began to seek out, scatter, and seal remnants of the kingdom, its shadow, and its boundaries. The Phantom Hourglass in the Temple of Time, the Kokiri Sword deep within the Lost Woods, the Ocarina of Time in the foothills of Death Mountain.
Zelda gathered what remained of the Goddesses' love and light of Hyrule to form a shrine that would exist throughout time, protecting the final piece of the Lorulian Triforce.
But the Dark Lord learned of the shrine and traveled to destroy it and take the final piece.
He and Zelda fought a short battle, with Ganon as the victor. His pride overwhelmed him as he forced the piece from Zelda's hands. The two Triforces took physical form, with the Hylian Triforce above the Lorulian Triforce, shining brighter than the sun.
Ganon's pride was his undoing. He was overcome by his triumph, by the majesty of the twin sigils, that he failed to notice that Zelda had quickly, silently reached out and touched the Lorulian Triforce.
"Gods of the Triforce," she prayed, "Let Hyrule die. Shatter the Triforces once more, so that they may never be used to harm Hyrule ever again. Let us die, for a full life thoroughly finished is better than to be undead."
The Triforces exploded, and Hyrule burned around the scattered shards.
Zelda gave Hyrule a gift by letting it die. Your world grew from its ashes, but there are still burning coals yet to be collected.
The Triforce is waiting, Dragonborn.
Zelda's Epitaph summarizes the events of the Last Great War of Hyrule, with a focus on Zelda's efforts. The book discusses some of the same ideas and events as Wisdom, Power, and Emotion, Midna's Lament, Hero's Lament and Hilda's Proposition to an extent.
However, Zelda's Epitaph is contradicted in some places by these books. For instance, it mentions Ganon's reign, implying that he succeeded in conquering Hyrule, a development contradicted by Midna's Lament. Zelda's Epitaph also mentions that Ganon successfully obtained the Triforce, which is contradicted by Hilda's Proposition, and Wisdom, Power, and Emotion. In Zelda's Epitaph, the Lolian Triforce is referred to as the "Lorulian Triforce," whereas it is called the Lolian Triforce in Wisdom, Power, and Emotion and Midna's Lament, and even by the interaction text of the Triforce itself. Finally, the words Zelda says when she wishes to the Triforce differ in Zelda's Epitaph when compared to Wisdom, Power, and Emotion.
Zelda's Epitaph alludes to the Battle of a Thousand Heroes.
The book's origins are unknown. It may have been written by a Hylian Mage before the destruction of the Triforce, based on premonition. However, the book addresses the reader as "Dragonborn," so the author had to have knowledge of the future hero. This prediction would have required extreme skill in magic. The author may be a Daedra (such as Hermaeus Mora), the Hero's Shade, or some other ethereal being. The Hero's Shade is an unlikely candidate, as according to the Hero's Lament, he wanders everywhere but the shrine itself. It may be that he placed the book and Zelda's Sword on her coffin and never entered the room again. The inaccuracies of the epitaph align with the tendency of the Hero's Shade to make factual errors in his laments, and may be a result of his memories being clouded by pain and guilt. It is strange, however, that the subject of Zelda and the ultimate death of Hyrule would be so clouded in his mind. It is also odd that Zelda's Epitaph repeats ideas mentioned by the Hero's Lament. The author also paints the Last Great War of Hyrule in broad strokes, and deify Zelda. This, combined with the contradictions mentioned above, may mean that the author is unfamiliar with the reality of the war. The book's placement on Zelda's coffin with her sword indicate that it was placed in the Triforce Shrine after the Triforce was shattered. The epitaph may have been written long after the war by an unknown being who tended to the shrine, assembled Zelda's belonging and coffin, and wrote the epitaph, even though they were not entirely familiar with Hyrule and its downfall.
Background and Inspiration Edit
Zelda's Epitaph was included with the Triforce Shrine in version 6.0 of Relics of Hyrule. In version 6.4, the cover of the book was given a slightly different texture than other Hylian books to make it more curious.
It was added to explain the shattering of the Triforce and the fate of Zelda, Ganon, and Lorule. It was deliberately contradicted by later lore books, to establish the events of the war as legends, and to allow the player more freedom in their interpretation of the story's details.
The nature of the book's author will likely not be answered, and the mystery surrounding the book's origins will remain unsolved.
JKalenad plans to remove the acknowledgement of the Dragonborn from the book to make a potential author more plausible, and to accommodate players who are not using a Dragonborn character. The book will also be moved out of the shrine to keep the shrine clear of clutter and make the book's placement more plausible.