The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Oneshot Fanfiction)
Rated T. Contains general and vague references to injury, combat, death, warfare, abandonment, feral children, and… cannibalism. Also mild swearing, just “damn” a lot.
Technically written before Twilight Successors. This fanfiction centers on King Bulblin and is basically him doing a personal retrospective of his life, with a lot of creative liberties taken. Though I do feel it ties in pretty nicely with the canon plot, and most who’ve read it agree. The comments I’ve gotten for this fic have been the best praise I’ve ever gotten. It’s a favorite of mine, and it’s definitely better than Twilight Successors, although some might like that better due to themes. This fic needs more love though; it’s better than Twilight Successors. :<
“I follow the strongest side. That is all I have ever known.”
The beautiful serene blue sky gradually shifted into the mystical, fiery red of the twilight as the sounds of panic and screaming townsfolk faded behind. Twilight, a prelude to something darker, but also to a new light. The peaceful daytime faded away as it became dominated by the ferocity of the night. Blackness painted with blood.
In this twilight, as the sky transitioned from life to death, so too did he who limped through the red light. The massive figure, even on the verge of death, projected an intimidating image of power. The fact that his trail was dirtied by his own blood only stood as a testament to his strength and endurance. A being so badly injured could still walk? To most it would be unthinkable. But it was not unfamiliar to him. Strength enough to push forward had always been his way of life. The mighty King Bulblin. Always a beast of actions, never a man of words. Or at least he was, until not long ago. As he was now, he felt conflicted. As rarely as it had happened in his past, now he had second thoughts. He had real regrets.
Damn it, damn it all! It was always like this. Why do I doubt myself now?
Out of frustration, out of fear of being weak, a creature of power raged against his own lamentation.
I serve power! I serve the strongest! Whether it lie with me or someone else, I serve only strength! Why is it I die now as I find a new master to serve?
He still did not understand why it bothered him. Why it infuriated him to his very core. Power was the only thing he cared for, and he served it without question, but he never cared for the strongest. He cared for no one. Death was the life he had chosen, the life of a beast. Concerns for life were for those who cared for things “deeper” than power. Concerns of the civilized folks and their “peaceful” ways.
Damn them all.
His thoughts rang out when his mind ventured onto the subject. There was a painful, bloodstained memory. Many memories, stretching back to the very day of King Bulblin’s birth. In a frantic search for a reason for the only sorrow he had ever felt, he began to reflect on his life.
King Bulbin had never thought about it, but back in his youngest days his life was pitiful to him. A useless existance. A weak, puny newborn crying for someone to take care of him. The first thoughts of a baby, a cry for family, for companionship and protection. These are things the once young bulblin never had. Most would consider it unthinkable for a baby to have not been cared for, ever, not at any time in it’s life, and still grow to be an adult. It was not a foreign concept to King Bulblin, for that is how he lived.
A child born into death. Abandoned in the night, in the cold and rain. Left in a world with nothing but rival tribes, wild beasts, and other “superior” races who held nothing for you but contempt. This was not a cause for sorrow for him. Not now and not then. Power, anger, and death. These are all King Bulblin has ever known.
The child lived that pathetic life for only a short time before he learned what he had to do. Attacked by animals, he survived. Shunned by his own people and forced to live in the wild, he survived. Attacked and hated by the rest, he survived. Again and again. He survived every painful blow and fostered nothing but anger and hatred. Hatred at everything. And out of that hatred, he resolved to be the strongest, to punish those who would dare denounce his existence.
Days passed. Weeks, months, and years. It all passed by. The young King Bulblin grew larger at a pace faster than any other bulblins did. He lived with no tribe, but they all knew his name. The Savage they would call him, that was his only name back then. His race, considered savages themselves, now felt the same of him. He was truly a beast among beasts. He lived out his days in a fight for survival, swiftly and brutally ending any encounter he ever faced.
That faded old knight.
King Bulblin remembered those words. He hadn’t thought them in a long time. The old knight, deep into his life. Wearing ancient, worthless armor and green underneath. Grayed hair and a scarred face. He had only met this man once in his entire life, and a lifetime ago at that. And yet his image was burned into King Bulblin’s mind for all eternity.
Such a savage creature as he was, King Bulblin was not well liked. Lending nothing to the world but death and destruction, the “civilized” races hated his existence. Seen as a threat, he was condemned. They sent warriors. Heroes, mercenaries and knights. They all came to end his life. But he was the strongest. Every time he encountered one of these would-be heroes, he killed them without hesitation. They were nothing but an obstacle to him.
But the faded knight was different. He was clad in armor, but he was probably not a knight in the official sense. He bore no crest, and seemed to serve no noble or lord. In fact, it seemed as though the man had no interest in King Bulblin at all. But the man did not hesitate to face the savage in battle when he threatened the lives of others.
And so they engaged in battle, but it did not last long. For the first time in his life, King Bulblin lost. The man fought with incredible skill and strength, wielding techniques that King Bulblin could not match. Angry, he expected his existence of death to end, but it did not. The man had spared him, and let him escape. Eager to go on, King Bulblin fled, but for the next few days he greatly regretted doing so.
Damn it damn it damn it! How could I be beaten? I only live to be the strongest!
These were his thought at the time, and they dominated his mind. He could think of nothing else but his rage at the knight and his lust for strength. For a while, he lived a truly pitiful existence, living in anger and doing nothing with his time but seeking out that knight obsessively, desperate to find him and kill him. He needed to prove his strength, but there was no way for him to do so.
He was still young and foolish. Living without true intellect, just a meaningless affair with power. This was the bitter truth, as well as King Bulblin’s present thoughts on the matter. Power was still his life, but back then his understanding of it was so narrow. King Bulblin’s defeat was very sobering. After wandering in his pitiful existence for a time, he began to truly think for the first time in his life.
And it was then that he realized what a life of power and strength truly meant, and from there he shaped his way of life. His code, which he then followed forever, now to his very grave. Power was to be the commanding force. He would pursue strength and dominance however possible, and those he defeated would serve him. But those rare beings – whether they be man or beast – that he himself could not defeat no matter how he tried, he had to serve. He would try to defeat them, oh yes, but he would follow them until he could prove himself stronger. And so his existence truly became one of power, instead of the half existence he had lived before, caught between a life of power and of death. Death alone would no longer play a dominant role, for those he killed could not be forced under his philosophy, could not become his own servants.
And so he set out with new purpose. He sought out his own kind. This terrified them at first. The terrible and powerful Savage had for the first time sought them out. He engaged them in battle and defeated them. Tribe after tribe fell. Slowly, he united them all under his command. One race, one tribe. And they were his. He felt a new fondness for his race, one that came along with him denying death. That was when he became King Bulblin, for he never had a name. His existence was his name, and his existence was as master of the bulblins.
The bulblins. A race of savages. Ostracized by the myriad of Hyrule’s other races, cast into their infinite hatred for unknown reasons. They were alone. The bulblins were not literate. They did not know their own history, if they even had one. But they never thought of such things. Their lives were brutal fights for survival much like King Bulblin’s was, merely to a lesser degree. King Bulblin was stronger than any one member of one of these so-called superior races, but the bulblins were not stronger than them all. Seeking a life away from that oppression, King Bulblin led his people away into the desolate lands of the Gerudo Desert. A land so embraced by death that it no longer provided a home to the people who gave it it’s name.
In the present, King Bulblin was pulled out of his thoughts by a sharp pain in his side. His wounds were opening more deeply. Not that they needed to in order to kill him, no, not in the slightest. His death was certain and he knew it.
King Bulblin, who had been looking down at the ground during his reflection, then heard the thunder of hooves. He looked up and saw several of his bulblins, mounted on their bullbos, riding up to him. By the speed they were going, he could see that they were going to ride right up to him. They were coming to help. At some point, somehow, despite his virtual conquering of them, the bulblins came to look up to him as a great leader. King Bulblin himself never understood this, nor did he care.
He had no need of help. He was dead now. He reached down for his massive axe with both hands, which he had previously been dragging with only one. He took one mighty swing at his people before they got close enough to be struck. The wide arc of his swing was enough in both scope and strength that if they had been close enough it would have killed them all. They all quickly turned their mounts and stopped a short distance away, looking back at their leader in confusion.
King Bulblin swung his arm at them, showing them that he wanted them all to leave him. They could see he was going to die. They hesitated, but then he reached for his axe with his second arm again. Realizing he was serious, they rode off, each of them looking back at him repeatedly. All but one. A bullbo without a rider. The largest and strongest: Lord Bullbo. King Bulblin’s own mount.
“I am already dead, damn pig!” yelled King Bulblin. “Leave!”
The bullbo began moving toward his rider. Bulbin reached for his axe, but rather than waiting to give his mount a chance to reconsider, he immediately swung. This bullbo was his only equal; he had no concern for hurting him. The vertical swing was interupted as Lord Bullbo absorbed the impact with his tusks. He brought his massive head down with the blow, and only a moment passed before he swung it back up with all the force he had, ripping the axe out of King Bulblin’s hands and sending it spinning off behind him. When the colossal metal weapon landed, it gutted the ground beneath it. A testament to the titanic strength of both of those creatures.
Lord Bullbo charged the King, stopping just short enough to avoid impaling him on his tusks. They both stood absolutely still. Then Lord Bullbo moved forward, twisting his head so his tusks missed his rider, and shoved him. King Bulblin did not lose his balance, but he moved backwards several steps from the force. Lord Bullbo snorted pointedly and moved over to King Bulblin, standing at his right side. King Bulblin was silent at first, gripping one of his injuries due to the pain it had been giving him because of all the activity.
“So that’s how it is, huh?” King Bulblin grunted. “Damn pig.”
King Bulblin had only one equal in the world. He had many who were weaker, and a few who were stronger. But he had only one equal. That equal was Lord Bullbo. As far as they were concerned, they were both beasts, creatures born into the wild to a life of violence, power and death. Yes, they considered themselves beasts… and brothers. King Bulblin’s mind was then brought to his next memory, that of their meeting.
Under their new king’s rule, the one united tribe of the bulblins moved to the Gerudo Desert to make a new home. One that was all their own. This land of death was harsh beyond compare, there was no doubt of that in anyone’s mind. But that was why it was perfect for them. The civilized races had no love for that land, on which they could produce no crops and in which there was no prosperity. In that land there was only sand and rock, beasts, and perserverance. A fitting home for the bulblins both practically and metaphorically.
A long time ago the desert had been inhabited by another race, which the land itself had been named after. They were said to have been a race of women – warriors and thieves – who were rumored to have been as tough and hardy as the bulblins were. But long ago something happened, and the gerudos disappeared. Whether they were killed or just left, King Bulblin didn’t know, but he had no interest in history.
The bulblins made their new home there. The open desert was deadly. The scorching sun and freezing gusts made life impossible. The only living creatures in that open stretch of death were beings who lived under the sand, away from all of the elements except one. Ironically, these creatures were another reason the bulblins had difficulty living in that desert. Easily disturbed, and extremely irritable, they had a tendency to make their homes beneath the least convenient places and attack whenever they grew tired of the bulblins’ presence.
So King Bulblin led his people out of that open desert into the valleys and mountains that both ringed and dotted it. Several smaller camps and outposts were made somewhat close together, but the majority of the bulblins lived in one large camp in the valley. There in the heart of the valley was a large ruin. Judging from the fact that it bore marks and crests familiar to King Bulblin as belonging to the lore of the civilized races, he knew it was theirs. Eager to defile the only remains of his enemies in his new land, he instructed his people to explore and take up residence there. But that dark prison known as Arbiter’s Grounds was cursed from some evil power, and those who ventured deep inside disappeared. No longer seeing it practical as a place to live within, King Bulblin ordered that a camp – their new home – be built around it. His reasoning for this was simply because it, like the canyon walls, would provide shelter, and also that if they ever decided to or were forced to make war with another faction, they would assume this prison to be the base of the bulblins, making them a much more intimidating force. And that was what King Bulblin specialized in. Intimidation.
And so the bulblins lived in those valleys, canyons and mountains. But it wasn’t long before they ran into trouble with some of the desert’s current inhabitants. The bullbos – large and endurable boars – had lived there for a long time before the bulblins moved in. Their level of intelligence wasn’t entirely clear, but they were certainly capable of some level of thought. Maybe it was the new hunters taking their food, or maybe they were territorial, or maybe they just didn’t like other creatures. For whatever reason, the bullbos didn’t take kindly to the bulblins intruding onto their land and they began to attack them often and savagely.
And so began a string of battles that wouldn’t be inappropriate to call a minor war. The bullbos, despite being beasts, seemed to be capable of intelligent tactics in combat. After brutal attacks on bulblin outposts, they soon found and targeted the bulblins’ main camp by Arbiter’s Grounds. Maybe it was all instinct.
The battle that ensued was nothing less than a bloodbath. Two races of savages clashed, with no remorse and no concern for being humane. That battle at the heart of the bulblins’ home was the biggest and bloodiest of them all. It was also the last.
For the entire battle, King Bulblin was in the heart of the fray. He struck down bullbo after bullbo, roaring in such a way as to frighten even those beasts. A single mighty swing from his axe and an enemy was dead. Even the charges of the bullbos could be stopped by King Bulblin’s great strength. None could compare. But as the battle began to tip in the bulblins’ favor, something changed. If King Bulblin was the bulblins’ leader and champion, then Lord Bullbo was theirs.
Slaughtering bulblin after bulblin as though it were nothing, Lord Bullbo ripped through the opposing force, spearheading a charge into the heart of the camp. He was angry. Furiously excited. He wanted to face the strongest bulblin, the one who kept killing many of his clan. His life was not much different from King Bulblin’s, in more ways than one. It did not take long for beast to meet beast, and when they did they terrified everyone nearby. The fighting practically stopped as both the bulblins and the bullbos kept their distance in order to survive as the two came to blows. And the fight was incredible, without any words that could describe the scale and the degree of it’s ferocity.
Both beings who lived by power, King Bulblin and Lord Bullbo, without realizing it, became like brothers in the heat of battle. The fight dragged on into the night as they fought continuously, with all the strength they hand. They fought until their endurance and stamina had completely run out. And without one overpowering the other, or inflicting any fatal injuries, they both fell to the ground, too exhausted to move. They could not speak to each other; they shared no common language and never would. But they were newfound brothers, and they understood each other.
And the brotherhood was not only that of the two leaders, it was of their entire races. The bulblins and the bullbos became brother races. Inseperable allies and partners in battle. The bulblins would make partnerships with the bullbos and use them as mounts. Mounts was too soft of a term, however, for the beasts were warriors in their own right and would trample and gore their enemies while the bulblins attacked from their backs. In times where food was short, they would even eat each other. Bullbos who were agitated or angered by the bulblins attacked without hesitation and would often eat their bodies. The bullbos would even eat each other if the need struck them. It is probably because of this cannibalism that they did not mind when, occasionally, when it became necessary, weaker bullbos who lost battles were killed and cooked for food. It was a savage life, but that was how they all lived, and they harbored no ill will for the code which took their life. For them it was survival of the fittest.
“Damn pig,” said King Bulblin again, back in the present. He looked down at Lord Bullbo who he was now slightly leaning on and they slowly walked. Lord Bullbo’s eyes looked back at him, and he snorted.
The bulblins and the bullbos lived together in the desert for quite a long time, and they prospered as much as one could in a land such as that. But eventually life became more difficult as food became scarce. They could have began eating each other, but that quickly would have lead to an end to their races, so the idea wasn’t pursued very far. Eventually King Bulblin realized that, at least for the bulk of their tribe, the desert could no longer provide an adequate home for them. Their only choice was to move back to Hyrule, the land they had forsaken. At first this infuriated King Bulblin, that he would be forced to go back and essentially return to the races who he’d damned long ago, and in that rage he refused to carry out this plan and instead rathered they die off. But it didn’t take him long to change his mind, and they did return. At the very least he could consider it an invasion of his enemies’ land.
But if they were going to live in Hyrule, they could no longer live in the wilderness, in forests or between towns. Nowhere out in the open. So King Bulblin and Lord Bullbo first went to Hyrule with a small group of other bulblins and bullbos as scouts, to find a place secluded enough where they could survive. It took them much searching. Many months. They had to cross to Hyrule’s other side, far, far away from the Gerudo Desert. Somewhere deep in the Eldin Province they ventured into a canyon. And deep within there they found their new home. A village, already constructed and established, but without any inhabitants save for one. An old woman without any contact to the world outside those canyon walls. This hidden village would serve as their new home. The old woman would be forced to abide their company or else she would be killed. They simply could not have her leaving and informing the rest of Hyrule of their presence.
And so the leaders of their tribe headed back to begin the move to their new home. It took them just as long to move their tribe as it had to find the village, the time balanced out by the fact that they knew their destination this time but also by the sheer size of the tribe which had to be moved. They moved like a haphazard caravan, secretly traveling through the wilderness. King Bulbin and Lord Bullbo, and their scouts, patrolled the perimeter around the tribe, killing when necessary to keep the other races unaware of their presence. And so, although it took time, they slipped into the hidden village in the canyon unnoticed.
As for the old woman, King Bulblin was remorselessly prepared to carry out his original plan. They would not disrupt her stay there intentionally, but if she did not tolerate their presence, he would kill her. Strangely enough, however, she did not mind them at all. Despite how she occasionally cringed at their savage ways, she actually seemed happy to have company. King Bulblin wondered how long she had lived there alone. Despite this, they mostly avoided each other. The old woman kept to her house. Sometimes she would come outside for a short while to forage for food, but she never tried to interact with the bulblins, and they made no such effort themselves.
King Bulblin pretended not to care, but he did. It bothered him. Why was it that all of a sudden someone of one of the other races did not treat them with contempt?
So one day King Bulblin, atop his brother, rode up to her house. Dismounting as he arrived, he did not knock, but simply waited for her to come outside as she often did at least once a day. It was a long wait, but eventually she did come out. She looked surprised to see him standing there nearby her door, but she was not unfriendly to him.
“Goodness! This is a first,” the old woman exclaimed in a friendly manner after a few moments. “None of you have tried to speak to me before.”
Lord Bullbo snorted, as if he were answering. King Bulblin turned to him briefly as though in acknowledgement.
“Is there something wrong?” asked the old woman, who seemed to be growing concerned.
King Bulblin shook his head. “Nothing is wrong. I only want to speak.”
“About what?” she asked.
King Bulblin was silent for a moment before he spoke. “I want to know why it is you do not fear or hate us.”
“Excuse me?” asked the old woman, surprised.
“All of the other races in Hyrule treat us with contempt,” said King Bulblin. “Why is it that you do not? I have never encountered this before, and it baffles me.”
The old woman thought for a moment, as though she never considered why. “I have never set foot outside this village. What the others in Hyrule do has never concerned me. You and your tribe settling here is a first for me. Besides, why should I hate you? You’ve done nothing wrong that I can see.”
King Bulblin considered this for a moment. It was certainly unfamiliar to him, but the reasoning was sound. He began to walk away without a word, with Lord Bullbo staying at his side.
“Wait!” called the old woman.
King Bulblin turned but said nothing.
“My name is Impaz,” she said. “What is yours?”
King Bulblin paused. He never had a name in the normal sense, so him having his name asked was another thing that was unfamiliar to him. But after a moment, he replied. “I am King Bulblin.”
Impaz looked bewildered at his name, judging from the look on her face. King Bulblin turned and continued walking away.
After that encounter, they did not speak for a very long time. Inevitably, King Bulblin’s curiosity drew him back, and another awkward conversation occurred. This continued, until the conversations got more comfortable, and a wide variety of topics were discussed. For the first time, King Bulblin had found an intellectual partner. He began to learn. He had never been a stupid creature. Forced to survive on his own as a newborn, he had to be smart to pull through. But for the first time, he began to learn outside of basic logic and problem solving. And although he would never admit it, he began to greatly enjoy his regular conversations, which became so frequent as to occur on a daily basis.
But then something changed. He appeared. King Bulblin had only known one better in combat. This man changed that. He strode through the canyon calmly, inexplicable untouchable by bulblins’ arrows. Without effort, he incapacitated those who engaged him in combat. He continued unopposed until he reached the village, and he confronted King Bulbin. Bulblin recognized the ceremonial nature of the clothes he dressed in. He wore a bizzare, tall mask, which King Bulblin suspected was intended to intimidate his enemies. Something King Bulblin could appreciate. He prepared to fight this strange man, but he came at King Bulblin without any warning and defeated him with an unexplainably bizzare fighting style, the likes of which King Bulblin had never seen before. His defeat was effortless, as it had been with his men.
King Bulblin lay on the ground, too injured to stand. The strange man stood over him, his face unseen as he gazed down at him.
“You are King Bulblin, ruler of the bulblin race,” said the man. It wasn’t an inquiry. “Your people in the desert told me of you after I defeated them. You follow those who defeat you, do you not?”
King Bulblin hesitated before nodding.
“Then you will follow my god, the mighty Ganondorf,” said the man. “For he is your god too.”
“What… the hell…” King Bulblin grunted between breaths. “Do you mean?”
“You pitiful, stupid creature,” spoke the man. “Haven’t you ever wondered why all others hate the bulblins so? It’s because they remember. They remember what you were. What you were made to be.”
“I was made to follow the strongest, or to be the strongest,” insisted King Bulblin.
“You’re half right, you fool,” said the man, shaking his head. “You were made to follow THE strongest. The single strongest being. Your god, and mine. He created you.”
The strange man thrust his sleeve-covered hands into the air and looked to the sky. “The mighty god Ganondorf created the ancestors of your pitiful race, the moblins! His powerful warriors, made in his image, who would carry out his will!”
He lowered his arms and once again looked down at the King. “But in his absence your race has declined. Now you are the bulblins, and you are pitiful. You must follow our god, and if you do you can once again be great.”
King Bulblin lay there in silence for a long time. He did not listen to the man as he would periodically attempt to convince him once more with his irritating voice. In the end, King Bulblin stood, in spite of his injuries, and walked towards Lord Bullbo who had been watching intently from the sidelines.
“Fine,” said King Bulblin.
The man chuckled. “Very good, Ganondorf will be pleased.”
“I’m not doing this for your damn god. You defeated me, so I must follow you.”
The strange man uttered a disapproving growl, but turned away and left King Bulblin alone. Despite how firmly he had spoken, that was not the truth. Somehow, King Bulblin was eager for a purpose. A history and a role.
In the following days of preperation, the strange man orchestrated their plans with King Bulblin, how they would spread the strange power of the twilight over Hyrule and take control. King Bulblin ignored the cries and pleas of his former friend Impaz as she tried desperately to persuade him to stop. He would not be deterred.
And so their conquest began. Over Hyrule the twilight spread. King Bulblin and his tribe were it’s carriers, and following their new ruler they gained more and more power until they were absolute.
In the present, finally crippled by his wounds, King Bulblin collapsed, unable to walk. Lord Bullbo sat on the ground beside him respectfully, aware his brother was about to die.
How was he able to defeat me. The boy clad in green. That unremarkable village boy.
King Bulblin remembered the hero, Link, who had defeated him time and time again, despite their first encounter in which he was easily incapacitated. That first encounter was not worth noting, there was nothing to say about the boy. The next time he appeared they fought atop mounts, and he was strong enough to overcome King Bulblin in battle. And something was different. Something was familiar, if only vaguely. Later, they fought on foot for the first time, and the familiarity had become striking. Something about the boy, his new skill and his new techniques, was close to King Bulblin. It resonated with him, but he could not place why.
Now he realized, after his final defeat at Link’s hands.
That DAMN knight. Those incredible techniques he possessed. The boy has become exactly like him, in appearance and in form.
King Bulblin could not explain why that was, or more so why it pleased him. But it put him at peace. He had been defeated by the one thing he could call his parent… his father. That knight, everything about him, had somehow been passed to this boy. He had finally had his rematch.
King Bulbin also realized, although he never admitted it to himself, that at least subconciously he always hoped for peace. Now in the relief he felt, he had it.
And so, for the first and only time, the mighty King willingly closed his eyes in rest… his final rest…
But he did not sleep. Somehow his great pain faded into nothing, as he felt a soft hand at his injury. He opened his eyes and saw the boy, smiling and extending to him a hand to help him up.
He looked to his side and saw the girl whom had ruled the civilized Hylians before the reign of Ganondorf, which he himself had brought on. She had healed his wounds, somehow. Magic. Perhaps the one thing King Bulblin knew nothing about.
King Bulblin finally took Link’s hand, baffled by this act of mercy.
The mighty King expected to die, although relieved to find peace in death. But he was given an opportunity which never before now would he have ever taken. He, him and his people, were allowed to live in peace.
This is the history of the Bulblins. This is the history of their King.