Welcome to the Waypoint's Pantheon of Games, a celebration of our favorite games, a re-imagining of the year's best characters, and an exploration of the 2017's most significant trends.
It certainly didn’t look like much.
He’d nearly fallen off a gigantic lizard into boiling hot lava. He’d nearly been drowned by a huge, lake-bound elephant. He’d nearly been stomped on by a 40-foot camel. And he still had nightmares about the laser-bird. He wasn’t about to let a comparatively normal, completely static castle scare him.
But there was something about it, nonetheless, as if it represented something he wasn’t ready to confront. His failures. His past. His memories. “Link.”
Ever since he woke up in that weird blue goo, he felt like he’d been saddled with baggage he didn’t ask for. “Link.” Baggage he wasn’t entirely sure he could carry. “Hey, listen!”
Something about those words jolted him out of his existential funk, and he looked away from the swirling pink doom in front of him to his companion. “…Do you want a drag?”
Chloe held out a lit joint, her mouth cracked into a lopsided smile, eyes red and cheeks flushed. Link paused. Link nodded. God, fuck being the Hero of Time… or was he the Hylian Champion this time?
“Courage need not be remembered, for it is never forgotten." Link sat up with a bolt. The sky was dark, the moon was bright, and the long snake of Farosh’s light curled around a distant tower. Chloe was sitting next to a small campfire, tearing pieces of roasted meat off a skewer with her teeth.
“Mfff hey Linkff ish there like a *munch munch munch* ramen reshturant around here?” she asked, spitting chunks of what looked like Bokoblin onto the grass. “Ish just, I’m getting a bit bored of, y’know, mushrooms and bad guy meat. Hella boring.”
Link shook his head, and Chloe sighed. “‘K.”
She went back to her Boko-kebab, and Link took out the Master Sword and began to methodically hone its edge with a rock.
Was that Zelda’s voice he had heard? Sometimes he thought he heard her voice on the wind, like a desperate plea; other times it was like a command in his head, voiced out of frustration and disappointment. He couldn’t tell if it was his own subconscious, manifesting in imagined voices, or if she was actually able to talk to him—and if she was, what was she?
Was she the princess from his memories, afraid and unsure, or was she his own personal Fury, his infernal goddess, driving him to destruction? What awaited for him at the top of that castle? Was she even alive? He felt… nothing. He could still save her, though.
Not like Mipha. He couldn’t save Mipha. She had given him everything: her love, her life, her heart. She had made him special armour, though she didn’t know if he would ever see it. Even now, her gift to him was the gift of life, saving him time and time again after being felled by Hinoxes, falling from cliffs, freezing in snows.
He didn’t remember her beyond the vignettes of memory afforded to him, and yet he clung to each of those like a love letter from someone long-lost.
God, fuck being the Hero of Time…
But Zelda… Zelda had been cruel to him in several memories. Dismissive. Distrustful. She treated him like a servant, not like an equal—not like a friend. If his memories of Mipha were love letters, hers were lectures.
And now, she called out to him, not to encourage but to chide.
“Why aren’t you here already, Link.”
“What are you wasting your time on, Link.”
“When. When. WHEN.”
“Oh fuck, Link, you’re bleeding!”
He looked down and saw that his angry, mindless sword-sharpening had resulted in a long, dark cut down his thumb.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” Chloe yelled, running over to him. “Sorry. Uh. Shhhh. Quiet. Don’t want to wake up the, uh, Lions? No, that’s not right. You know, the angry sexy zebra boys.”
She tore a strip off her flannel shirt and wrapped it haphazardly around Link’s hand as if she’d taken a First Aid course three years ago and promptly forgotten nearly everything. “Are you ok, man? You look hella pale.”
Chloe rummaged for a second in her jeans pocket before pulling out a black Sharpie. “You know what I do when I’m stressed?”
She popped the top off the pen, and Link could smell the fumes.
“I re-claim what’s mine.”
She leaned over to the rock that Link was leaning on and started scrawling. When she stepped back, Link could read the words:
WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT BULLSHIT
Chloe clicked the top back on the Sharpie with triumph. “I saw that on a Hot Topic t-shirt once.”
“Aw, fuckin’ sweet! That’s a blood moon? It’s fuckin’ rad!”
Chloe was bouncing around like a one-woman mosh pit, her blue hair turning purple under the red light of the moon.
Link wished he could be quite as excited about the natural phenomenon, but the damn thing had lost its sheen after what felt like the ten thousandth time Zelda had used it as an opportunity to lecture him. At first, it seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime event—now, it seemed like a reminder of the ever-ticking clock that he was trying his hardest to ignore.
Chloe was lighting another joint off a nearby torch.
“That’s the bidness, brah.” Chloe took a long, deep drag and collapsed on the dewy grass, one arm behind her head. “I’m feeling, like, 100 emoji right now.”
Link lay down beside her to look up at the moon, for once not feeling like he had to go somewhere, do something, kill someone.
A moment of beautiful silence passed. “D’y ever feel, like, fuck it all?” Link looked over quizzically at Chloe.
“Y’know, like, all that shit you’re supposed to do, that fuckin’ grown-up kinda person you’re supposed to be, two-point five kids and a dog and a fuckin’ tie, white picket fence, blah blah blah, just… fuck that whole pile of bullshit?” Link raised an eyebrow. He didn’t really know what a white picket fence was, but he did like dogs.
“Like… ok, like my mom wants me to study hard. My step-douche wants me to stay out of trouble. My school just wants me to get a job in, I don’t know, the local bank or whatever. Why doesn’t anybody ever ask what I want?”
Link took the joint from between Chloe’s pinched fingers and inhaled deep into his lungs. Chloe, meanwhile, was gesturing wildly into the sky to punctuate her point.
“Maybe I just wanna wake and bake every morning. Maybe I wanna run away with the circus and be a fuckin’ clown. Maybe I wanna be one of those sexy bitches on game shows. Y’know, the ones with the tight red dresses that hold up signs and whatever? Do I even have the ass for that?” Link shrugged. He had never seen a game show. “Fuck, I’m hungry. Do you have any Cheetos? I’m a Flamin’ Hot gal, but honestly, I’ll take anything right now.”
Link rummaged in his pockets and pulled out ten roasted bird legs. “Uh…Sure. Whatever. Stoners can’t be choosers.”
They chowed down on bird legs under the light of the rising moon, and for once, Link wasn’t dreading Zelda’s voice in his head.
He might have to be the Hero of Time, but time could wait for him.