Well anyways, I’ve never had a proper Legend of Zelda AU before, just vague spinoffs based on aesthetics I love (like the Twilight Realm)
but I thought Balthazar would look amazing as the Rito Champion, striding along atop Vah Medoh.
Like Revali, he would’ve learned to control it quite quickly. He bonded with it, to a certain extent. Vah Medoh is named after Lady Medli, an ancient Rito Sage for whom they all have great respect. Some even credit Balthazar’s phenomenal aerial skills and uniquely powerful updrafts to his possibly being her descendant.
So when Ganon appears, challenging Balthazar with his own specialities, throwing him around and cutting off his escape with tornadoes, shooting him down over and over with ranged attacks–
…Balthazar understands.No one waits 10,000 years for revenge only to end up second best. Balthazar - and the other Champions, he’s sure - is being beaten at his own game. That humiliation is the whole point.
Badly wounded in mere minutes, he manages to take cover, but there’s no way out. He’s trapped inside Vah Medoh - his Divine Beast - with that monster
and so Balthazar understands, too, that he is going to die.
He’s terrified. It was never supposed to end like this.
And what about the others?
What about Cass, the Hylian Champion? He’s the one who would’ve faced the Calamity itself inside Hyrule Castle, but only once the other Champions had made their assault.
Since they never made it - and never will - then…
…could Cass have escaped?
…Will he come back for the others?
No, there’s no question. Balthazar knows Cass will come, but…not in time to save his life. There isn’t any left.
Balthazar remembers that the Sages were said to give up their physical lives so that their spirits could aid the Hero, and that they could remain for a hundred years or more to pass on their role to the next.
He isn’t sure he has that kind of patience, and he doesn’t want to die, he doesn’t, but– he has no other options left. Balthazar clasps his hands to stop them shaking, and prays to Lady Medli one last time for aid.
Then he pushes himself to his feet and spreads his arms wide, looking the Windblight in the eye.
“Go ahead,” he says.
You can kill me, but you can’t destroy me.
As it aims at him, Balthazar smirks.
“I hope you like good company.”
So he ties his spirit to the Divine Beast itself, able to study his enemy now that he’s already dead, waiting to help whoever arrives to take back Vah Medoh and set him free.
The more time passes, the less likely it seems that person will be Cass, and the more Balthazar mourns him, too.
But a hundred years later, who is it that shows up after all?
Cass looks unspeakably happy to hear Balthazar’s voice. A hundred years earlier, he was told, Vah Medoh simply vanished, with Balthazar inside it. The Rito don’t live that long, so he was assumed dead, but Cass knows there are other…places, other planes of existence.
If Vah Medoh was waiting there until it reappeared, then he knew Balthazar could still be
“Don’t get too excited, darling. I am dead.”
Cass looks absolutely crushed.
But Balthazar is…here, somewhere. As Cass makes his way through Vah Medoh to each of the terminals, Balthazar tells him everything about the day the Calamity returned. By the time they reach the control panel, ready to confront Windblight Ganon - as Balthazar has named it - Cass doesn’t understand how Balthazar thinks he can win.
“I’m not half the archer you ever were, and I can’t fly.”
“Of course, you’re not me,” Balthazar explains, “and that’s exactly our advantage.”
“That thing was only ever meant to fight me. You may not have my strengths, but you don’t have my weaknesses either. And I’ll help you compensate for the strengths.”
Because Balthazar has been preparing his revenge a hundred years. And if it’s Cass he’s supporting, like he was always meant to, he knows they can win.
Afterwards, together, they lead Vah Medoh to take aim at Hyrule Castle. Balthazar is a part of the Divine Beast now; he can control it like it’s a part of him. He’s ready, at last, for the final assault.
But there are still three Divine Beasts, and three Champions, left to free.
And so…it’s time to say goodbye.
“Do you remember when I thought I had the safer job?” Balthazar smiles, now that he can take physical form again.
He regrets saying it immediately, the heartbroken way Cass looks at him.
“I thought I’d died that day,” Cass says, not looking up when Balthazar touches his cheek. “When I came to, you weren’t there, so that meant…you were still alive.”
“…this is so much worse,” he adds quietly, after a moment.
“No, it isn’t-” Balthazar insists. “Cass, please…”
He waits until Cass looks up at him. “Don’t feel guilty, my love. You deserve to live. We’re both free now.”
“Do you know what it’s like out there?” Cass asks, pained. “Everything’s in ruins, no one knows me, no one even believes I could be who I say I am– There are no more Champions, or even knights, and Castle Town is just– gone…”
Cass will never know what happened to his father, or his friends in the Royal Guard. He knows he helped many of them escape, but…that was a hundred years ago. All trace of them has been scorched off the earth, the remains polluted with Ganon’s blight.
His shoulders shake as Balthazar hugs him gently. Cass wraps his arms around Balthazar’s waist and leans heavily against him.
“The world is so empty now,” he murmurs. “I can’t stand it. It’s not– freedom, all by myself. I can’t-…”
“Cassie…” Balthazar straightens up again to see Cass’ face. “We will be together again one day, but please– don’t rush it. Until then-”
“That’s too long–”
“–no, I didn’t mean…”
He did, but Cass’ face, Cass’ grip on his waist, says that’s unacceptable. Balthazar takes Cass’ hands in his and holds them tight.
“I can’t leave here now,” he says softly. “You know why. But…afterwards…”
“…you can stay?” It sounds too good to be true.
“I’m not sure,” Balthazar admits, “but better I find a way to live with you than you die with me. It’s even emptier on this side.”
Cass’ jaw tightens. “Just– promise me you won’t disappear. Not until I see you again.”
“I promise,” Balthazar smiles, and kisses his cheek warmly. “Vah Medoh and I are inseparable now. As long as she’s here, I’ll be waiting for you. So, please, until then…”
Balthazar pauses as he realizes…
Until then, he can give Cass his wind. A small part of his soul to go with him now, to lift his wings of wood and cloth so they can fly together again.
“Only in one direction,” Cass had joked about his paraglider when they first met.
But Balthazar, with his wind, could keep him soaring. Now, he can gift it to Cass, so he can fly himself.
“‘Til next time,” says Balthazar, as Cass sails away.