The Ancient Battle is one of the earliest battles in Hyrule's history, and was originally depicted in the introductory cutscene of Skyward Sword. The conflict erupted when the Demon King known as Demise broke out of the depths of the earth with his armies and attempted to steal the ultimate power from the goddess Hylia. The aftermath of the battle resulted in the creation of both Skyloft and the Sealed Grounds.
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Creation of the World
- Main article: Golden Goddesses
According to lore, the world was created by the three Golden Goddesses: Din, Nayru, and Farore. As they departed from their new creation, they left behind a symbol of their power in the form of the Triforce. Being an artefact of divine origin, the Triforce was unsurprisingly imbued with great power, specifically in the form of reality-shaping and wish-granting abilities. The Goddesses limited the use of the Triforce to mortals, supposedly as a means to inspire hope amongst them. They left the relic under the protection of the goddess Hylia, ordering her to safeguard it and granting her the authority to preside over the realm they had created.
Emergence of Demise
- Main article: Demise
For an unspecified period, Hylia ruled over the land that would come to be known as "the Surface," presiding over the various races that existed at that time. This era of peace ended when a fissure opened in the earth, from which came an army of demons led by their ruler, the Demon King Demise. Demise sought to obtain the Triforce from Hylia and use it conquer the world, and to this end he ordered his armies to destroy all in their path.
Creation of Skyloft
Hylia, fearing for her people, gathered all the surviving Hylians on an outcropping of rock she cut away from the land around her temple that contained the Statue of the Goddess. Using her power, Hylia raised the newly-formed Isle of the Goddess into the Sky, sending it beyond the clouds to keep her people out of Demise's reach. This floating island along with others became the new home of the Hylians, which came to be known as Skyloft during the Era of the Sky. She also created a cloud barrier to separate the realm of the Sky from the Surface and thus prevent Demise's armies from pursuing her people. In secret, Hylia also sent the Triforce into the heavens with the Hylians, concealing the portals to its three parts within the hidden Sky Keep that was located beneath the Statue of the Goddess. Through Hylia's design, the way into the Sky Keep, and thus the road to the Triforce, would open when her chosen hero would come in need of it. She also secretly enshrined her sword inside the Statue of the Goddess to await the coming of her chosen hero. Her personal harp was also sent away with Skyloft to be used again one day when the need would arise.
The Goddess vs. The Demon King
Once her people and the Triforce were safely beyond Demise's reach, the Goddess Hylia joined forces with the remaining races dwelling on the Surface and entered into a fierce battle with Demise and his army of demons. It was said that Hylia had a chosen hero during this time that served and protected her from harm, and that she gave him her personal Sailcloth as a sign of honor. Although only briefly mentioned in the game, Hylia's chosen hero plays a significant role in the Skyward Sword manga by Akira Himekawa. Though what truly happened to her chosen hero is unknown, his existence would continue to be known long after the end of his lifespan. After a long and bloody battle, Hylia succeeded in subduing Demise, driving him into a prison in the former location of the Statue of the Goddess from whence Skyloft was taken. She cast him into this prison and placed a great seal on it meant to keep him locked away where he could do no further harm to the Surface or its inhabitants. With Demise locked away, the battle for control of the Surface was seemingly won and what remained of his armies were left scattered and dispersed across the land. Stripped of his true physical form due to the seal that now bound him, Demise was forced into the form of an abomination capable of great destruction should he ever escape from his new prison beneath what came to be known as the Sealed Grounds.
Passing of Hylia
The Goddess Hylia had sustained grave injuries in her battle with Demise, and although he was now locked away beneath her realm, she knew the seal that bound him would not hold long against his great power. She knew that if Demise freed himself from his prison, there would be no stopping him again from destroying the world and taking it for his own. To prevent such a catastrophe from occurring, Hylia set two plans into motion. First, Hylia created a sword spirit named Fi to be bound to the Goddess Sword that was now enshrined within the Statue of the Goddess. The Goddess created Fi specifically to assist her chosen hero on his journey to defend her in the future. Second, Hylia decided to give up her immortal form and her divine powers so that her soul could be reborn as a mortal sometime in the distant future, thus allowing her to utilize the powers of the Triforce, which cannot be wielded by gods.
Before voluntarily passing from the world, Hylia appointed a guardian dragon to watch over each of the three provinces of the Surface: Faron, Eldin, and Lanayru. She also appointed the great sky spirit Levias as warden of the skies. The Goddess divided the song that would open the way to the Sky Keep (and thus the Triforce) into four sections, entrusting one of each to the dragons and Levias so that they, in turn, could pass on their individual parts of the song to her chosen hero one day. She also stored her memories of her life as a goddess within two separate statues kept within the Skyview Spring and Earth Spring on the Surface, so that her reborn form could regain these memories in the future. Finally, the Goddess also created two powerful artifacts called the Gates of Time, a pair of magical gates capable of opening a doorway to the time when she had just sealed Demise away. These two gates, located in the Temple of Time and the Temple of Hylia, would be instrumental to the Goddess's reborn form and her chosen hero in the plan to rid the world of Demise. With this, the Goddess Hylia took leave of the world which she had protected since its inception.
- Main article: Skyward Sword
Thousands of years after the end of Hylia's battle with Demise and the Goddess's passing from the world, the people of Skyloft continued to believe that Hylia watched over and protected them from afar, unaware that she had actually been reborn and was living amongst them. The Goddess was reborn as the first incarnation of Zelda, daughter of Gaepora and best childhood friend of Link, the reincarnation of her chosen hero from ancient times. She would also come into possession of Hylia's harp from her father. It was at this time that the sword spirit tied to Demise's Sword, Ghirahim, enacted a scheme to seize possession of Zelda and use her divine soul to break the seal placed on his master.
The Demon Lord created a tornado to throw Zelda from the Sky and down to the Surface, where he could seize her. Link, in turn, discovers the Goddess Sword inside the Statue of the Goddess and, together with Fi, pursues Zelda, who evaded Ghirahim's grasp with the help of Impa, a Sheikah servant of Hylia.
Link would pursue Zelda across the Surface as she set out to find the two statues left behind by her former self. Eventually, Link is briefly reunited with Zelda and a younger Impa at the first Gate of Time in the Lanayru Desert's Temple of Time. Zelda transferred the Goddess's Harp to Link and fled with Impa through the Gate of Time, which was destroyed upon their departure to prevent Ghirahim from following. Link learns of the existence of the second Gate of Time in the Sealed Temple and goes on to reforge the Goddess Sword into the Master Sword by means of the three Sacred Flames hidden across the land to reactivate the dormant Gate of Time. At various times, Link encounters Demise, in the form of The Imprisoned, in battle, and repeatedly forces it back into confinement.
Eventually, Link succeeds in reactivating the second Gate of Time and journeys to the past to meet with Zelda, who reveals her identity as the mortal incarnation of Hylia and gives a final blessing to the Master Sword, transforming it to the True Master Sword. She then enters an age-long sleep inside the Temple of Hylia to keep Demise's seal strong for as long as possible. In order for her to be able to wake up in their own time, Link is tasked with finding the Triforce and using its might to wish for the destruction of Demise, as he is one of the few who possesses an unbreakable spirit required to wield its full power. Link eventually succeeded in this endeavor, learning the four parts of the Song of the Hero from the dragons and Levias and opening the Sky Keep. Upon finding and wishing upon the Triforce for the destruction of the Demon King, the Isle of the Goddess broke away from the rest of Skyloft and returned to its original place in the Sealed Grounds, crushing The Imprisoned into oblivion.
Though Demise was vanquished in the present and Zelda awoke from her ancient slumber, an enraged Ghirahim seized her and took advantage of the Gate of Time to attempt to revive Demise in the past. Although Link succeeded in defeating Ghirahim and his hordes, the revival was complete as The Imprisoned swallowed Zelda's soul and returned to his original form as the Demon King Demise. Impressed by Link's bravery, Demise offered Link the chance to battle him for the fate of the world and Hylia's soul, only to be defeated by the Hero wielding the Master Sword. In his dying throes, the Demon King curses the goddess and her hero, stating that his hatred would be reborn as a being in the future, and would forever pursue the successors of Link and Zelda, so that they would never fully know peace. Upon laying the Master Sword to rest in the Temple of Hylia and returning to their original time, Link and Zelda greeted the citizens of Skyloft, who began to take their first steps onto the Surface. Many years later, the descendants of Zelda would found the kingdom of Hyrule and become Hyrule's royal family.
- Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 71
- "Before time began, before spirits and life existed... Three golden goddesses descended upon the chaos that was Hyrule... Din, the goddess of power... Nayru, the goddess of wisdom... Farore, the goddess of courage..." — Great Deku Tree (Ocarina of Time)
- "The three great goddesses, their labors completed, departed for the heavens. And golden sacred triangles remained at the point where the goddesses left the world. Since then, the sacred triangles have become the basis of our world's providence." — Great Deku Tree (Ocarina of Time)
- "The old gods created a supreme power that gave anyone who possessed it the ability to shape reality and fulfil any desire. They called it the Triforce." — Zelda (Skyward Sword)
- "The gods created the Triforce, yet they specifically designed it so that their own kind could never use its power. Somehow, I think that may have been their way of giving hope to all the mortal beings of the land." — Zelda (Skyward Sword)
- "Such was the might of the ultimate power that the old ones placed it in the care of the goddess." — N/A (Skyward Sword)
- "One dark, fateful day, the earth cracked wide and malevolent forces rushed forth from the fissure. They mounted a brutal assault upon the surface people, driving the land into deep despair... They burnt forests to ash, choked the land's sweet springs, and murdered without hesitation." — N/A (Skyward Sword)
- "In his thirst to make the world his own, Demise readied a massive army of monsters for war. He sought to take the Triforce for himself by force." — Zelda (Skyward Sword)
- "To prevent this great power from falling into the hands of the evil swarming the lands... the goddess gathered the surviving humans on an outcropping of earth. She sent it skyward, beyond the reach of the demonic hordes. Beyond the clouds." — N/A (Skyward Sword)
- "The goddess feared for her people. She used her power to send both them and the Triforce into the sky on a slice of earth she cut away from the land. This floating rock became the new home of our people. In time, it came to be known as Skyloft." — Zelda (Skyward Sword)
- Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 72
- "Until now, a cloud barrier created by the goddess has separated the world you know from the one below." — Fi (Skyward Sword)
- "With the humans safe, the goddess joined forces with the land dwellers and fought the evil forces, sealing them away." — N/A (Skyward Sword)
- "You know, they say that the goddess gave the Sailcloth to her chosen hero long ago." — Zelda (Skyward Sword)
- "After a long and fierce battle, the goddess, Hylia, succeeded in sealing away Demise." — Zelda (Skyward Sword)
- "Stripped of his true physical form by the seal that binds him, he takes the shape of an abomination. But even in his hideous state, he's more than capable of devouring this land if we allow him to do what he desires." — Zelda (Skyward Sword)
- "However, soon after the demon king was imprisoned, it became clear that the seal would not hold long against his fearsome power. Hylia had suffered grave injuries in her battle with the demon king." — Zelda (Skyward Sword)
- "She knew that if he broke free again, there would be no stopping him. And if the demon king were to free himself, it would mean the end of the world for all beings of this land." — Zelda (Skyward Sword)
- "In order to put an end to the demon king, Hylia devised two separate plans and set them both into motion." — Zelda (Skyward Sword)
- "First, she created Fi. She made the spirit that resides in your sword to serve a single purpose: to assist her chosen hero on his mission." — Zelda (Skyward Sword)
- "Her second plan...was to abandon her divine form and transfer her soul to the body of a mortal. ...She made this sacrifice, as you have likely guessed, so that the supreme power created by the old gods could one day be used. For while the supreme power of the Triforce was created by gods, all of its power can never be wielded by one. Knowing this power was her last and only hope, the goddess gave up her divine powers and her immortal form." — Zelda (Skyward Sword)
- "That is why I intend to remain here in this time and place... To sustain the seal as best as I can. As long as I continue this vigil, we may be able to prevent the demon king from fully reviving himself in our own time. I must maintain the seal that Hylia--rather, that I--created so long ago and keep it strong for as long as I am able." — Zelda (Skyward Sword)
- "Though this is not the end. My hate... never perishes. It is born anew in a cycle with no end! I will rise again. Those like you... Those who share the blood of the goddess and the spirit of the hero... They are eternally bound to this curse. An incarnation of my hatred shall ever follow your kind, dooming them to wander a blood-soaked sea of darkness for all time!" — Demise (Skyward Sword)
- Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 77