Clay Leach: Virtual Reality
A place memorable to me is one that doesn’t exist in reality. Instead, a world inside of a virtual reality, through ideas and previous experiences that I’m able to bring to life. The land of Hyrule is a perfect world, and I will now force you to sit through my boring yet intricate entrails of why that is so.
Hyrule can be divided into about 7 or 8 different parts. Let’s start from the top and work down. In the northwest, lies the Hebra region. A world of mountains and snow, with a crisp, cool air, and a constant tingling feeling on your nose. The slopes are great for surfing, which I find to be incredibly enjoyable, considering shield surfing spots aren’t easy to find. In the more southern part of the area, you can find a small shack with a bed and a warm stove, said to be an old Rito cottage. If you look hard enough into the mountains, a great leviathan skeleton can be seen hidden within an icy cavern. Shortly south of the mountains, the Rito Village is in the region, which is most easily described as a rocky area surrounded by a large moat of water. Within the village, much like many other of the villages, is a general store, an inn, and a clothing shop, mainly for the cold weather in the mountains. The Champion Revali is said to have hailed from here. His skills with a bow were said to be unrivaled…much like his ego. After learning how to master the winds, he would fly far beyond any normal person’s reach. The Rito people tend to enjoy music, and aviation, as shown by their demeanor. Some say that hidden in the region exists a Great Fairy as well, said to heal your wounds, and cure even death.
Next would be the Eldin region. Within the Eldin lies the tyrannous Death Mountain, which can be seen from almost anywhere in Hyrule. Apart from old mine shafts and many lava moats exists the Goron race. They are a sturdy, strong race of miners and weightlifters. On the side of the mountains is carved their greatest chieftains, including the Champion Daruk. He carried the strength of a mountain, and the heart of one too. He learned how to negate any and all damage for a short period of time, allowing him to claim the title of the Goron leader. They tend to enjoy the heat, and enjoy going to the hot springs down the mountain. Their main delicacy would be Goron spice, which I believe to contain red peppers, ghost
peppers, and the closest thing to Carolina reapers, and somehow within this incredible spice is a sincere sweetness. To the far left of the Eldin exists the Lost Woods. Many say that the forest children live there, and love to play pranks. Most who have gone into these woods have yet to come out, as rumor has it that they were lost within the dense foggy forest. The first time I tried to traverse it, I was wandering around for an hour before I found the secret to the pathways. Most travelers venture in to see the incredible cherry blossom tree in the center, alongside to see the myths of a legendary sword, able to seal darkness away until a future generation. Within this region is also the flame dragon, Dinraal. This dragon flies above the ancient ruins, and down the Tabantha Ridge. It emits a raging flame essence, so don’t get too close! Trust me, you wont forget if you do.
The third and final part of the upper region of Hyrule is the Akkala region. This region is a far off region, holding 6 important landmarks. The first is the Spring of Power. They say that an old Gerudo chieftain prayed there, and received so much immense power, that it corrupted him. The second landmark is the Akkala citadel, and Akkala Town. Both of these were destroyed within the terrible tragedy of the Calamity’s awakening. The third and fourth landmarks are Tarrey Town and one of the Great Fairy fountains. Tarrey Town was built by a man from the soon to be described Hateno Region named Hudson. The fun part about this town however, is that you helped to build it from scratch! It is a safe haven for all races, and as an added bonus, it’s conveniently located next to a Great Fairy. The fifth landmark is Zora’s Domain. This is a bright water filled town, with glowing lights and a constant sound of steady waterfalls with many lively and peace-going people. Ploymus Mountain is the dominant playing grounds for the children there as they dive from Shatterback Peak (after you defeat the miniboss that is). I fell for almost a whole minute once in the past! The Champion Mipha was said to have resided in the domain until called upon by the Princess. Mipha’s skills with a spear were extraordinary, but underneath the tough skin existed a kind heart. She was rumored to be the best medic in all of Hyrule. The 6th landmark is Skull Lake. This lake is rumored to be the origins of a man by Kilton. He is said to craft odd weapons and disguises for the hero to use on his journey. The final landmark of the Akkala is the Akkala Ancient Tech Lab. This is a laboratory run by on of the last 3 remaining Sheikah that survived the Calamity, Robbie. Here, the hero can obtain ancient weapons lost to time itself. A salty ocean breeze can be smelled from anywhere in this region
Now onto the 2 midsections of Hyrule. Central Hyrule has 2 great landmarks, the first being Hyrule field. This is a large field, surrounded by many rivers, and withholding many hills. The induction of the 5 champions were said to be taken on the very hills themselves. Beware of the guardians though. I’ve died many times here in my early days of Hyrule. The dominant landmark for all of Hyrule however, is Hyrule Castle. This was once a very lively and densely populated part of Hyrule, run by King Rhoam and his daughter, the Princess Zelda. However, both Castle Town and the Castle itself were overrun by the Calamity, destroying most of the castle’s insides, and all of castle town. The calamity would spread through what was supposed to protect the lands, Guardians. Within the current Hyrule Castle exist many enemies, rare weapons from the Royal Guards, and the ruins of the Great Hall. Calamity Ganon is said to reside here, with the princess using her divine powers to contain it inside of the castle grounds. Within the remains of the town, a feeling of dread, hope, and courage rises through you, alongside of the smell and texture of burnt wood and ashes beneath your feet. One of the features of this version of Hyrule is that the hero doesn’t speak. If you look hard enough in the castle, you can find Zelda’s study and bedroom, each of which has its own journal. The study explains the guardians, and Princess Zelda’s trials in learning about these mechanical beasts. In her bedroom however, is Zelda’s diary, which lists the journey she and the hero would traverse before the calamity. In this diary, it is stated why the hero is primarily silent. In his words, “With so much at stake, and so many eyes upon me, I find it necessary to strongly and silently bare any burden.” With the pressure of the entire world resting on the 6 heroes, it is understandable why the lead hero would feel the most weight, seeing as only he could beat the Calamity, and seal the darkness.
The next part of Hyrule would be the Kakariko/Hateno Regions. Within these regions exists many old ruins, but two of the oldest (yet liveliest!) towns in Hyrule. The first is Kakariko village, the hidden home of the Sheikah tribe. The Sheikah were said to be the oldest race in Hyrule, and also the protectors of the hero of time. Within this village, you can find the village chieftess, Impa, and her daughter Paya. Impa is one of the 3 remaining Sheikah, and has knowledge of the events of the calamity, and the whereabouts of many useful items for the hero. This village guards a Great Fairy Fountain hidden within the hillside. They also say a shrine is located near here, yet only 2 have discovered it. Next is the Hateno region, where resides Hateno Village. It’s another peaceful village, which also withholds the Hero’s old home. In this village, you can smell many flowers, see the kids running around, and if you look up the hillside, you can see the Hateno Ancient Laboratory. The final remaining Sheikah member resides here, who’s name is Purah. However, due to an reverse aging experiment, instead of seeming to be an old woman, she takes on the vocal pitch and looks of a young child. They also say that the Granter of Boons exists hidden within the village, who trades in hearts and stamina. Slightly north of here is Mount Lanayru, which holds the next
sacred spring, the Spring of Wisdom. The princess and her knight went up this mountain on her 17th birthday to pray to the Goddess Hylia. Without luck, they came down the mountain, and to everyone’s surprise, the calamity awoke, beginning the reign of terror. Now however, it is said to contain a legendary dragon named Naydra, and it is rumored to be seen every morning going down Dragon’s Pass. In a side mission, you even get to fight off the malice that corrupts the entire dragon! It’s a memorable moment, so make the best use of it.
The 3 southern parts of Hyrule are the most dormant areas. The southeast contains the Gerudo region, which is a large desert with a single town in the middle and mountains to the north. The Champion Urbosa lived here, and was said to be fierce, yet kind. Wielding a shield and sword, she was deadly. Only the hero himself was able to defeat her in a sparring match. The Gerudo have their own special language, consisting of “vais and voes” (girls and boys), “sav’saaba” (which is a good morning, or hello), “sar’soq” (which is used say farewell) and “sav’votta” (which means goodnight, or good evening). Gerudo Town is a special town in the case that only women may enter. However, it is said that once every 1,000 years, a male Gerudo is born in this town, and is a powerful chieftain. The town is built of a solid rock wall, and outside of the town, vision is limited, due to constant sandstorms surrounding it. The specialties of this town are the jewelry crafter, and the noble pursuit. The jewelry crafter allows the hero (hidden in a disguise of course) to create jewelry that can enhance certain properties, such as heat resistance, or being able to swim faster. The noble pursuit is the signature drink of the Gerudo peoples, and oddly enough, is the only remaining alcoholic drink in Hyrule. While I couldn’t guess what it tastes like, I could only assume it to be like a piña colada, considering the looks of it. The odd thing about this town is the very strange waterline system. A tall island exists connected above the town with a small pond, yet it has fueled the Gerudo generations for many millenniums. The final Great Fairy is hidden within the sands of this region, alongside of the 7 Heroine Statues, the protectors of the Gerudo from days of old. Beware the great sand beasts, the molduga, deep within the sands though. You might be in for a nasty surprise if you run into one. I got launched into the air countless times within the first 2 minutes of my fight with one, so hope for a soft landing. They also say that the dreaded Yiga Clan resides nearby the mountains, a large clan consisting of previous sheikah members, corrupted by the calamity, with the sole purpose to annihilate the hero.
The mid region is the Great Plateau. This is a small area containing the most important parts of this timeline’s Hyrule. The 6 key parts are the 4 Hero’s shrines, the Temple of Time, and the Shrine of Resurrection. The hero was cut down by the
calamity and was mortally injured. Two Sheikah men would rush the hero to the sacred shrine, and there, the hero would heal for 100 years before awakening with amnesia to a new world. The temple of time is another sacred place, in which the original hero, and many other future heroes, would visit, meeting their own Princess Zeldas, and saving them before the world collapsed. Finally, the 4 sacred shrines are what would help the hero throughout his journey. He would endure these shrines to unlock 5 runes on his dominant device of old, the Sheikah Slate. The bomb runes, the stasis rune, the magnesis rune, and the cryonis rune would all be unlocked, allowing the hero to control some of the environment around him. This was the true beginning of his adventure. From the tallest mountain on this hill, you can see every part of Hyrule, including the magnificent Lake Hylia. From everywhere on this plain, you can smell a fresh air, piercing through your nose, and a cool breeze on your back. Within the tall gates of this small region exists the truly perfect beginning to a new world. Even though I rarely return to the Plateau, I still remember my first awakening in the world, and many of the trials I faced. I died on the mountains so many times that I almost just ran back down and gave up!
Finally, the last region, the Faron region and the Lurelin tribe. The Faron region is a rainforest type region, with 3 sacred elements dwelling within. The first is the final spring, the Spring of Courage. It is said that the hero who found this spring prayed to forever protect the princess, no matter how many times over again his generation would pass. The final dragon resides here too, slowly sweeping in and out of the rainforest’s rivers. The lightning dragon, Farosh is said to appear late at night, and fly from lake to lake. A humid feeling is always surrounding you in this region, alongside of a stuffy nose. For some reason, there’s a door in a pond in the mountain here, which I’ve still yet to discover its uses. It is said a spirit who can revive any horse resides near here as well, yet few have located the whereabouts. The Lurelin are the last tribe, who live in a small fishing town. Many old cultures are seen here, such as the era from the hero of twilight, and the era from the hero of the winds. A small, yet prosperous village, the Lurelin are always welcoming to anyone who approaches them. A calming sea breeze is felt from the village, alongside the smell of many various fish. Occasionally, some of the residents will go to the peak of a cliff, and stare off at the mysterious Eventide Island, said to be a challenge for the Champion hero. No one has been brave enough in all of Hyrule to traverse the deadly waters to reach the island.
If you survived this far down my little humble home, congratulations first off, and second off, I tried to keep it as brief as I could. I might’ve gone on about this for hours if I wanted to. In conclusion, however, this entire false reality is my happy place, even if it isn’t my own, nor am I the one who resides inside of it. No, other incredibly made place exists quite like this one. Many sights, possibilities, and ideas are gathered in this one mindscape of a beautiful land, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I really do applaud you for making it this far, so I’ll go ahead and wrap it up. Though my reality is all but a fiction, a nonexistent replacement for this world, this wondrous land of Hyrule is the most calming place for me, maybe not physically, but in mind and spirit. They say Heaven is a place where one can be eternally happy, and if that’s so, I hope mine exists there.