- "Have you heard the legend of the "Shadow Folk"? They are the Sheikah...the shadows of the Hylians. They say they swore allegiance to the King of Hyrule and guarded the Royal Family..."
- — Shikashi
The Sheikah (シーカー族 Shīkā zoku?, ), also known as the Shadow Folk, are a recurring race in the Legend of Zelda series. The Sheikah are an ancient clan of ninja-like warriors sworn to protect the Royal Family of Hyrule, even after death; as such they came to be known as "the Shadows of the Hylians". They were skilled in magical and combative art. It is assumed that many died during the Hyrulean Civil War and are considered almost extinct by the events of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. They do however, still exist in the Fallen Hero Timeline.
Prior to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, members of the race made few appearances. The mystery of the race was maintained but their legacy remains within the series, as their emblem is scattered throughout many locations within the games.
The plural for Sheikah is debated—early in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Sheik and Impa both refer to themselves as being of the Sheikahs. However, the grave in Kakariko Village states that the plural of Sheikah is simply Sheikah. It is not known if this is a translation error, or if there are different Sheikah tribes or ranks. Sheikah has largely become the officially accepted plural of the race.
The physical appearance of the Sheikah is similar to that of the Hylians, only being distinguished by their tan skin, red-colored eyes and extended life spans.
It can be presumed that the Sheikah are related to Hylian race, due to their distinctive pointed ears and their ability to use magic; in fact, Princess Zelda, a native Hylian, has a Sheikah alter ego. It is unknown whether she simply wore a disguise or used magic to transform her shape, but Zelda, when disguised as Sheik, has the red eye color inherent of the Sheikah race.
Despite this, in Breath of the Wild, most known Sheikah appear to have hereditary white hair and do not posses exclusively red eyes, though it is implied by Paya that the current Sheikah may not be pure Sheikah as she mentions that only those with Sheikah eye tattooed on their forehead have long Sheikah lineage as the eye is meant to honor their ancestry, which implies the possibility of Sheikah producing offspring with other humanoid races such as Humans and Hylians in the past which presumably has caused the Sheikah bloodline to thin causing traits like red eyes to be less common even among Sheikah with long lineages (as Paya and Impa have brown eyes despite have a long lineage of Sheikah ancestry, with Impa's sister Purah being the only member of their family known to have inherited Sheikah's traditional red eye color). Little was known about other details about their lives until Breath of the Wild, where their culture during the events of the game is shown as being similar to that of traditional Japanese culture, while the Ancient Sheikah culture was much more advanced.
The Sheikah were originally servants of the goddess Hylia prior to her sealing Demise and discarding her divine status to keep him trapped. Assigned the task to protect her reincarnation, Zelda, the Sheikah became protectors of her descendants who would become the Royal Family of Hyrule. The Sheikah maintain and pass on history and legends to their descendants, even prophecies such as the coming of the Hero of Time.
According to the non-canonical The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time manga the young Sheikah males pierce their ears as a traditional rite of passage and adulthood. Also, Sheik explains to Ganondorf that the tribe cannot live without "substance", which is why Sheik accepted Ganondorf as his master; however, the soundness of this is uncertain, as Sheik was only acting in order to be accepted as a minion of Ganondorf.
Until the release of Breath of the Wild, no confirmed Sheikah males had appeared within the canon series beyond mentions, as it is unconfirmed if the Fabulously Rich Family or Man Who Could See the Truth are indeed Sheikah. The absence of Sheikah males could simply be attributed to them dying in service to either Hylia (in Skyward Sword) or the royal family of Hyrule, leaving behind only female survivors; however, in Breath of the Wild, many male Sheikah Monks appear, along with the Sheikah researcher Robbie as well as his son Granté whom he fathered with his Sheikah wife Jerrin, and several male Sheikah live at Kakariko Village. Additionally Master Kohga of the Yiga Clan is also male and most of his followers are implied to be male as well.
The Sheikah language's alphabet is introduced in Breath of the Wild. It is featured in many structures of Sheikah design.
Ancient Sheikah technology
In Breath of the Wild, it is revealed that the Ancient Sheikah once lived in an advanced civilization that existed in Hyrule in the past. The Ancient Sheikah culture has a central place in Breath of the Wild, through the visited Shrines and Sheikah Towers, as well as the Ancient Sheikah technology used by Link such as the Sheikah Slate and the "Ancient" equipment sets.
The Ancient Sheikah technology was used to develop the Divine Beasts and Guardians, to aid the incarnations of the Hero and the Goddess-blood Princess of Hyrule in confronting the evil threat posed by Calamity Ganon ten thousands years prior to the game's events. Eventually, however, people began to fear Sheikah technology being misused, causing the Sheikah to either become outcasts, or follow the Royal Family's warnings by burying their technology and living much simpler lives. Despite this, some of the Sheikah felt betrayed and broke away from those loyal to Hyrule to form the Yiga Clan, pledging themselves to serving Calamity Ganon.
Years later, Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule and his daughter Princess Zelda realized the seal on Calamity Ganon was weakening and decided to search for the Divine Beasts and Guardians to excavate them. Zelda and her father chose four Champions to pilot each of the Divine Beasts with Zelda and her appointed Knight, Link, leading them. However, the old misgivings of Sheikah technology being misused where proven to be valid when Calamity Ganon used his power to corrupt the Divine Beasts and Guardians. The Champions were killed, Link was injured, and Zelda was forced to seal herself and Calamity Ganon in Hyrule Castle. Their technology would later prove invaluable to Link, who was saved and placed inside the Shrine of Resurrection to heal, and he would use the Sheikah Slate one hundred years later during his quest to defeat Calamity Ganon. Various Sheikah aid Link throughout his quest. While most of the Sheikah, like Impa, live in primitive conditions, others like Purah and Robbie continue to research, showing that they have not abandoned their technology completely.
Weaponry, items and artifacts
|The Mask of Truth (left) and the Lens of Truth (right), two mysterious and powerful artifacts of the Sheikah|
In Ocarina of Time, Sheik has a harp that he uses to teach teleport songs to Link. Another item that both Sheik and Impa use are Deku Nuts, which are frequently used by the two to "disappear" out of Link's sight.
The strange stones known as Gossip Stones are engraved with the Sheikah emblem. When spoken to while wearing the Mask of Truth these mysterious stones can give Link advice and background information on many things. It is possible that they were created by the Royal Family in order for the two parties to communicate with each other, as explained by Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. On the official web site of The Legend of Zelda, Gossip Stones are referred to as "Sheikah Stones" that work as eyes and ears of Hyrule and Termina.
The Mask of Truth is a mysterious mask shaped like the Sheikah symbol. This mask has long been spoken of by the Sheikah, and it is possible that it was created by the mysterious race. When worn, Link can communicate with Gossip Stones and gain their knowledge.
At one point, Link must also retrieve an object known as the Lens of Truth, which allows him to see through various illusions. The Lens of Truth has a Sheikah-like symbol in the middle and three prongs at the top, indicating that this may be an artifact of the Sheikah race.
In Breath of the Wild, several Sheikah related items, weapons, and armor appear. There are the Ancient weapons and armor crafted by the Ancient Sheikah, as well as weapons such as the more contemporary Edge of Duality, Eightfold Blade, Shield of the Mind's Eye, and Stealth Mask. Furthermore, the Yiga Clan wield weapons such as the Demon Carver, Duplex Bow, Vicious Sickle, and Windcleaver. It is also revealed that the clothing worn by the Sheikah from Kakariko Village is designed to repel water, allowing them to work in the rain unhindered. Members of the Yiga Clan wear masks similar to the Mask of Truth, which feature the Yiga Clan's upside down Sheikah Emblem.
The Sheikah Slate is an ancient tablet-like device that Link uses throughout his quest. It allows him to use Runes and to access Ancient Sheikah technological buildings such as Shrines and Sheikah Towers.
In the Ocarina of Time manga, Impa has a kodachi (a mid-length katana), that she uses while fighting some Stalfos and when she is training Link. Later in the story, Sheik draws another Japanese dagger-like sword to defend Link from Twinrova. This could have been influenced by the fact that Impa can be seen wearing a scabbard throughout Ocarina of Time, as well, there is an official artwork where Sheik is seen holding a blade to fight some of Ganon's minions along with Link. The sword sheath was later added to Sheik in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Additionally, the Mask of Truth makes an appearance in the manga; when child Link and Princess Zelda are playing in Hyrule Castle Town, the princess is seen wearing this mask. In the extra chapters of the manga, a Gossip Stone appears in Lost Woods. This time, Link doesn't use the Mask of Truth to communicate with it - he simply smashes a rock against it, which makes the stone reveal something about Saria who was kidnapped by the Skull Kid.
Sheik also mentions in the manga that the Sheikah Emblem was originally only an eye, but after the Royal Family of Hyrule betrayed them, they added a single teardrop to the eye.
Sheik was introduced to the Nintendo fighting series in Super Smash Bros. Melee as a playable character. Sheik can use needles and a whip as Special Moves, probably based in ninja weaponry. Later in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Sheik can grab the Smash Ball and use the Light Arrows as Final Smash Attack, just like Princess Zelda. In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, Sheik is a separate character from Zelda.
In the Hyrule Warriors series, Sheik wields Kunai that incorporate the Sheikah emblem into its design. All of Impa's Naginatas are described as having been pasted down within the Sheikah tribe. The Mirror of Truth (known as the Lens of Truth in english localizations) is also a Sheikah artifact. The Mask of Truth also appears as a Mask for Impa. Impa's Sheik Face Paint from both Ocarina of Time & Hyrule Warriors appear as Fairy Clothing decoration options for Companion Fairies in Hyrule Warriors Legends.
The Sheikah Emblem
The emblem of the Sheikah resembles a human eye, with three triangles above it (as if to imitate eyelashes or symbolize the pieces of the Triforce) and a large tear drop running down from the eye. The red tint in which the symbol can be found symbolizes the Sheikah's eye color. After Ocarina of Time, this eye design has made a few appearances throughout the later installments.
In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, there are several other items with the Sheikah emblem: The Howling Stones, the Wooden Statue, Zant's throne, the Scimitar of Twilight, Zelda's robe, and the Fused Shadow. Also, although difficult to see, a Sheikah emblem can be seen engraved on Midna's helmet under her hair. The places where Link enters into the Twilight that covers Hyrule, as well as numerous places in the Palace of Twilight dungeon also bear this symbol, which hints that the Sheikah are connected with the Twili somehow. Noticeably, the version of the eye symbol seen in the Twilight is missing the three-triangled eyelash. There is also a Sheikah eye symbol intially covering the hole on the Owl Statue in the Sanctuary's basement (and preventing Link from using the Dominion Rod on it without the Ancient Sky Book) and an eye which looks like the one in the symbol on the doors in the City in the Sky.
- "Wh-wh-what?! There's something on my face? What are you speaking of... Oh! Are you perhaps referring to this crest? This symbol is a sort of talisman for the Sheikah. It wards off evil. It is customary for those with a long Sheikah lineage to have this crest inked onto their skin to honor their past."
- — Paya explaining the emblem tattooed on her forehead
In Breath of the Wild, the Sheikah Emblem is still used by the Sheikah who remain loyal to the Royal Family. The emblem can be viewed everywhere in the Kakariko Village, as well as some Sheikah equipment, including the Shield of the Mind's Eye and Stealth Chest Guard. One is etched into the blade of the Eightfold Blade similar to how the Triforce mark is etched into the blade of the Master Sword. The Edge of Duality has the emblem incorporated into where its hilt connects to the blade and its design in such a way that the eyelashes on the weapon are designed to be seen when it is sheathed so that they appears to be part of the design of its sheath's emblem when the blade is sheathed.
The doors of Kakariko Village feature a alternate more angular design of the emblem and frog-like guardian deity statues in Kakariko Village have a smaller emblem with a more simplified design. The emblem is also incorporated into Ancient Sheikah technology such as the Sheikah Slate, Shrines and Towers. When uploading map data to the Sheikah Slate, a eye above the tower's Guidance Stone produces a teardrop that represents the data being uploaded to the slate, which is a reference to the tear of Sheikah Emblem. However, the traitorous Yiga Clan use an upside-down version of the emblem, which they wear prominently on their signature masks. However interestingly, the normal Sheikah Emblem appears on the sheath of the Vicious Sickle despite it being a Yiga Clan weapon.
Sheikah Monks wear it as tattoos or on their clothing such as hats and masks. Paya has the Sheikah emblem tattooed on her forehead and Link can ask her about it in her room at night. Paya reveals that the Sheikah Emblem is considered a talisman of sorts by the Sheikah that wards off evil. She also explains it is customary for people with long Sheikah lineage such as herself to have the emblem inked onto their skin to honor their ancestors. Paya is the first Sheikah to explain the Sheikah emblem's significance in-game. Impa has a blue Sheikah emblem tattooed on her forehead and on her hat. Interestingly, Purah is the only member of her family not to have the tattoo on her forehead, yet maintains a facsimile of the design through her glasses. Presumably the upside-down emblem used by the Yiga does not ward off evil and likely serves to indicate their alignment with the evil Ganon similar to inverted Triforce on Demise's Sword in Skyward Sword and may serve to represent their opposition to the loyal Sheikah that oppose Ganon (which would be similar to the real world Upside-down cross which is sometimes used as an anti-Christian symbol).
The Sheikah are first introduced in Ocarina of Time. The race are considered outcasts (especially to the Hylians) in the land of Hyrule, and the other races feared them and still do, perhaps for this very reason. The few people who know of the race reveal little information about them.
The Sheikah eventually came to swear loyalty to the Royal Family of Hyrule and became their protectors. For generations, the Sheikah protected the Royal Family until most of them were killed off during the Hyrulean Civil War. In memory of their heroic deeds, a gravestone dedicated to the Sheikah was raised in Kakariko Graveyard.
After leaving Kokiri Forest, Link travels to Hyrule Castle and meets Princess Zelda. After being asked to gather the Spiritual Stones in order to save Hyrule from an impending evil, Link is introduced to Impa, Zelda's nursemaid and last of the Sheikah. Impa teaches Link "Zelda's Lullaby", a tune known only to close allies of the Hyrulean Royal Family. She also recognizes the potential in Link to be the Hero of Time spoken of by her people. The last time that she appears when Link is a child is during Ganondorf's attack on Hyrule Castle; she is seen riding together with Princess Zelda on a white horse while covering her mouth with a bandanna. The two manage to escape the pursuing Ganondorf.
Impa was born and raised in Kakariko Village, which was a Sheikah village long before the events of Ocarina of Time. According to the local townsfolk, Impa opened the town to anyone who wanted to enter it and help the small town to grow. Her house stands there and is free for anyone to enter.
Upon Link's awakening after having been sealed within the Temple of Light for seven years after opening the door to the Sacred Realm, Link is introduced to another Sheikah; Sheik, who is, unknown to Link, Princess Zelda's alter ego. Sheik helps Link in his quest for the Six Medallions needed to create a pathway to Ganon's Castle. Sheik teaches Link songs that allow him to teleport to the Temples and tells him where to go next. While it is not known how Zelda changed her shape, it could be that after Zelda was taken away from the castle by Impa, she learned from her maid the knowledge and techniques of the Sheikah.
Link eventually defeats Bongo Bongo, the boss of the Shadow Temple (which is believed to be the temple of the Sheikah) and awakens Impa as the Sage of Shadow. She adds her power to Link's by giving him the Shadow Medallion. Impa and Princess Zelda aid Link in his final battle, sealing away Ganon to the Sacred Realm.
Strangely enough, the adult Princess Zelda official artwork and her depiction in the manga, show a Sheikah emblem just between the eagle and the Triforce mark on her dress, possibly as a clue to her alter-ego, Sheik.
In The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time manga, the Sheikah have been banished from Hyrule. Sheik is first depicted as a minion of Ganon. Later, when Link is in the Gerudo's Fortress, Sheik tells Link that Princess Zelda wanted to help him in the final confrontation with Ganondorf, and thus asked Impa to transform her into a Sheikah boy in order to infiltrate Ganondorf's army and become his follower to later betray him. He also says that when the "time comes", Zelda will regain her true form.
No actual Sheikah appear in Majora's Mask, but they are mentioned by name in the in-game description that appears when Link obtains the Mask of Truth. The Gossip Stones, Mask of Truth and Lens of Truth also appear in the game. In this game, the Mask of Truth can also be used to read the minds of animals.
There is also the All-Night Mask whose design features distinct red eyes and pointed ears. This mask has the power to keep the one who wears it awake at all times.
In Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons, a character called Impa appears. She helps Link in both games and is the nursemaid of Princess Zelda. There is no statement that this Impa is a Sheikah, but the games' official artwork shows that she has red eyes and pointed ears.
The Sheikah are presumed to be extinct in The Wind Waker, but the Sheikah emblem makes a small appearance in the Forsaken Fortress, where it can be seen hanging next to the door of the last room at the top of the fortress where Ganondorf dwells. This symbol has various features that are different from those of the traditional Sheikah symbol, however; the "eye" is smaller and the eyelashes and tear drop are larger. Additionally, the human mailman Baito has the Sheikah emblem tattooed on his back. Another appearance of the symbol is the Hero's Charm, a golden mask with two eyes resembling the Shadow Folk emblem. It gives the beholder the ability to look into the life forces of his enemies.
A stained glass window with Impa and the Sheikah symbol also makes a small appearance in the basement of Hyrule Castle, along with the other Sages. Also, the Pirate's Charm is an enhanced version of the Gossip Stones.
Given the revelation that Sheikah emblem is meant to ward off evil, its placement in the Forsaken Fortress is somewhat ironic as it serves as Ganondorf's headquarters on the Great Sea.
In Twilight Princess, various appearances of the Sheikah and their symbol occur. However, the word "Sheikah" is never mentioned in the game. At one point, Link is required to find the Wooden Statue that once belonged to Ilia in order to restore her lost memory. This Wooden Statue is very similar to the symbol of the Sheikah race. When Gor Coron examines the mystical statue, he points out that it belonged to an old tribe, that, in secret, protected the Royal Family of Hyrule. Link travels to the area north of the Bridge of Eldin and discovers a cave. With the help of Darbus, he breaks the rocks blocking the entrance to the cave and inside, he finds the Hidden Village. This village has two Hylian Language signs that translated say Old Kakarico. It is entirely possible that the ruined village is in truth the original Kakariko Village from Ocarina of Time. The different spelling may indicate an error in the localization process.
In the village, he finds an old lady named Impaz, who has pointed ears, red eyes, and white hair (though this may be a sign of her age). She explains that her name came from the founder of the Hidden Village, possibly a reference to Impa from Ocarina of Time. She also explains that she is the last member of her tribe. Link shows her the Dominion Rod and she tells him that her tribe had for ages passed down the legend of the "Messenger of the Heavens", the Oocca race and the Dominion Rod. She trusts the young hero with the Ancient Sky Book and tells him that she will pass down her knowledge.
Based on several comments made by Gor Coron and Impaz, the tribe has declined by several wars and monster invasion. It is very likely that the race is the Sheikah, although this is never confirmed as such in the game.
Many other references to the Sheikah appear in the game. For instance, when Link first meets Princess Zelda, she is clothed in robes bearing the Sheikah emblem. When she appears again in her formal wear, the shoulder pads of her attire carry the Sheikah symbol, with blue gems representing the eyes. Fanadi also has the Sheikah symbol on her forehead - additionally, she has red eyes and pointed ears, so it is possible that she is in fact, a Sheikah. The eye symbol also appears on the back of Midna's helmet, above Zant's Throne and on the pommel of the Scimitar of Twilight. The Howling Stones found in the game closely resemble Gossip Stones, however, their function is different. Renado has been also theorized to be a Sheikah, but there are many facts that are not consistent with the typical definition of a Sheikah, but his daughter, Luda, has a symbol similar to the Sheikah symbol on the back of her clothes.
It has been stated that Sheik was originally slated to appear in Twilight Princess; however, this idea was eventually dropped. Masashiro Sakurai stated that Sheik, in what was supposed to be the Twilight Princess design, appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
The Gossip Stones make another appearance in Phantom Hourglass. Link can communicate with these stones without the Mask of Truth. Gossip Stones unlock certain challenges or reveal where treasure can be found in specific dungeons. The design of Gossip Stones in this game is slightly different from the ones that appear in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask; the "eye" is circular and features something similar to the mustache of Wario, another Nintendo character. It is possible that these stones have changed due the disappearance of the Sheikah during the Great Flood or because they never existed in World of the Ocean King.
Gossip Stones appear again in New Hyrule, although they have a different appearance and may not be related to the Sheikah. Link can communicate with these statues using the Song of Awakening. They give hints or reveal where treasures can be found. Eyes similar to the Sheikah symbol also appear on the locks blocking boss rooms and on the Stamp for the Sand Temple. Golden Eye Switches also resemble the Sheikah symbol.
The Sheikah are the chosen guardians of the goddess Hylia. Throughout the game, Impa, a Sheikah, protects Zelda, an incarnation of Hylia. Gossip Stones and two Sheikah Stones also appear in Skyward Sword as well.
Breath of the Wild marks the first occurrence in which the Sheikah are displayed as a large and active tribe with multiple members still alive, including the first canon appearances of male and child Sheikah within the series. The Sheikah mostly live in Kakariko Village led by Impa. There are two Sheikah who live in Hateno Village at the Hateno Ancient Tech Lab, Purah and Symin, as well as Robbie, who lives at the Akkala Ancient Tech Lab.
The Sheikah Monks appear serving the goddess Hylia. Each one dwells in a Shrine that bears their names, and guards a Spirit Orb. The Old Man refers to the Sheikah as "an advanced civilization" that saved Hyrule many times but disappeared long ago.
The Sheikah were widely known for their accomplishments in creating amazing technology which led Hyrule into a time of historical peace ten thousand years prior to the events of the game. However the Royal Family and much of Hyrule grew to greatly fear the ramifications of such technology being misused. Consequently, the kingdom's fear led them either to outcast the once-proud tribe or to decide to heed the Royal Family's concerns, burying their technology within the land should Ganon ever return again, and settled down within the land under much more primitive conditions.
Some loyal Sheikah regained their former status sometime before the Great Calamity. Impa was a trusted royal advisor, while her sister Purah and Robbie were charged with researching ancient technology in preparation for Ganon's imminent return and received funding from the Royal Family leading to the construction of both the Royal Ancient Tech Lab and Hateno Ancient Tech Lab. The royal family had an unnamed Sheikah as their court poet who accompanied Princess Zelda on a survey of ancient Sheikah Shrines and would later mentor the Rito musician Kass who learned many legends from him. Both Princess Zelda and King Rhoam trusted their Sheikah allies as their predecessors once had and continued to act with them.
These events also caused much bitterness and eventually led to a schism within the tribe, as many members believed that the Royal Family mistreated them and defected to form the Yiga Clan, which swore loyalty to Calamity Ganon, whom they believed would have much more respect for their abilities and technology. Members of the Yiga Clan appear as enemies and are led by Kohga, who appears as a boss known as Master Kohga. Despite the often erratic and odd behavior of Kohga and his followers, they are a frightening and sinister force not to be taken lightly, as many Sheikah were slain over the years by the Yiga Clan, whose activities became more prevalent as Ganon built up his power and was on the verge of returning to Hyrule, as was the case around the time Link awakened from the Shrine of Resurrection, a medical facility constructed by the Sheikah as a means of sustaining their best warriors during the first war against Calamity Ganon ten millennia prior.
Impa and Sheik appear as playable characters. Impa is revealed to be the leader of a Sheikah tribe. Sheik claims to be part of them. The in-game description of Impa's Naginata (Guardian Naginata, Scorching Naginata, and Sheikah Naginata) describes them as enchanted weapons past down in the Sheikah tribe, indicating that Naginata are a traditional weapon used among the Sheikah. The ninja-like aspect of the Sheikah is reinforced by Sheik's use of kunai, a traditional ninja weapon.
The Sheikah Naginata and Impa's Breastplate feature the Sheikah Emblem incorporated into their design. The Lens of Truth appears in the main story and Mask of Truth appear as a DLC Mask costume for Impa. As part of her Naginata moveset, Impa creates a fiery Sheikah Emblem during her Naginata's Special Attack. In Hyrule Warriors Legends, Impa's Sheikah Face-paint from Ocarina of Time and Hyrule Warriors appear as Fairy Clothing options for Companion Fairies.
The Legends of the Shadow Folk
The Sheikah are well known for their tradition of passing down heirlooms and stories to their descendants. The Shadow Folk speak of a few legends of Hyrule—these tales can have two characteristics; retelling of historical events or events that are yet to come. In the Legend of Zelda series only three Sheikah legends are known; two told by Sheik in Ocarina of Time and the third attributed to the Shadow Folk, likely because Impaz is the storyteller. It has not been confirmed if legends like the ones in the Book of Mudora, the prologue of The Wind Waker and other stories are of Sheikah origin.
The Legend of the Temples
This legend is related to the player as an introduction and guide for the players to know what they will have to do next. The tale foretells the major events of the Imprisoning War during the Adult Link timeline.
Sheik tells this story to Link after he awakens from his sleep. The legend says that when evil rules, an awakening voice from the Sacred Realm will call those destined to be Sages, dwellers of five temples: one in a forest, one on a mountain, one under a lake, one within the house of dead and one inside a Goddess of the sand. The Sages, along with the Hero of Time, will bind evil and return peace to the world.
The legend was ultimately fulfilled when the evil Ganondorf governed over all Hyrule and Rauru of the Sacred Realm, sent a call to awaken five of the Seven Sages in each temple: Saria in the Forest Temple in the deep forest of Lost Woods, Darunia in the Fire Temple on Death Mountain, Princess Ruto in the Water Temple beneath the vast Lake Hylia, Impa in the Shadow Temple behind Kakariko Graveyard and Nabooru in the Spirit Temple inside the Desert Colossus. But due to the evil power they couldn't heed the call, so Link, the Hero of Time, went on a journey to awaken each Sage, and when all were freed, they sealed Ganondorf away and returned peace to Hyrule.
The Legend of the Triforce
This legend is also told to Link by Sheik in the Temple of Time after he has freed every Sage. Sheik refers to this tale as "another unknown legend of the Triforce" passed down by the Shadow Folk. This tale explains the rest of the story of the Triforce and what happened after Ganondorf touched it.
According to the legend, the sacred triangle rests in the Sacred Realm, a place that mirrors the heart of the person who enters; if touched by one with a pure heart it will become a paradise, but if one with evil intent touches the sacred triangle the world will be filled with destruction and evil. The golden relic is a "scale" of sorts that weighs the level of power, wisdom and courage inherent in the person who touches it. If there is complete balance between power, wisdom and courage in the one who touches it, that person will be granted the True Force the Triforce holds. However, if this is not the case, the Triforce will split into three pieces; one to be given to the one who entered the Realm, that being the Triforce of whatever value that individual holds most dear to his heart. The other two pieces are given to two other individuals who treasure the two other virtues. The unbalanced can obtain the two other pieces to obtain the True Force, however. Also, the holders of the pieces will bear a Triforce crest in the back of their hands.
This legend came true when Ganondorf laid his hands upon the Triforce after Link had opened the Door of Time. Due to his obvious lack of balance of the three virtues, it was split into three pieces; the Triforce of Power was given to Ganondorf and the Pieces of Wisdom and Courage to Princess Zelda and Link, respectively. Ganondorf tried to bring the Triforce together, but ultimately failed. When the holders are close to each other or realize a great magic, the crests on the backs of their hands (seemingly their dominant hands, as Link's is on his left and those of Zelda and Ganondorf are on their right) glow, brightest in the part of the Triforce that they possess.
This event is known as the Great Cataclysm.
Legend of the Dominion Rod
Impaz relates the third known legend to Link when he brings her the non-functioning Dominion Rod. It is one of the few stories among the legends of her clan from the time when the Royal Family still maintained contact with the Oocca. The tale explains that there once existed a rod called the Dominion Rod. This artifact was handed down by the people of the sky and was to be carried by the messenger of the heavens in order to communicate with the Oocca. The Ancient Sky Book was also guarded by generation by Royal decree, to be handed to the messenger of the heavens.
In Twilight Princess, Link becomes the new holder of the Dominion Rod and the Sky Book and as such becomes the new messenger of the heavens, allowing the tradition to be upheld. Link obtains both in order to contact the Oocca in the City in the Sky.
Sheikah in other languages
The word "Sheikah" is different in the original Japanese language: シーカー族, in rōmaji: "SHĪKĀ ZOKU", which means "Sheikah Tribe". Strangely enough the rōmaji SHIKA can be translated in a lots of words such as "deer" or "poetry", probably this word was used because one the meanings is "historian", due to the fact that the Sheikah pass down Hyrulean history through generations.
In the German localization, it was changed to "Shiekah" due to pronunciation matters. This also happened with Sheik, who was changed to "Shiek". However, in the German version of Majora's Mask, the dialogue box says "Sheikah" when Link obtains the Mask of Truth.
In the Spanish localization of Majora's Mask, the dialogue box says the following the Link obtains the Mask of Truth; "¡Es la misma máscara de la que hablaba Sheikah!". This can be translated into "It's the same mask Sheikah spoke of!". This suggests "Sheikah" as a person and not as a race, however, this could be an error by the localization team.
Sheikah in the Hylian Language
The only time that the word "Sheikah" can be seen written in the Hylian language in all the The Legend of Zelda series is in Ocarina of Time. It can be seen on the gravestone dedicated to the Sheikah in the Kakariko Graveyard. This word is in Old Hylian syllabary: , meaning "SHI-KA" - two Japanese syllables which when translated to English becomes "Sheikah".
In modern Hylian language the word "Sheikah" is never seen. The word "Sheikah" in this language will would look like this: , meaning, as same as the Old syllabary, SHIKA in Japanese syllables, translated as "Sheikah".
Also, in the Hylian alphabet, this word has never appeared. Due to the characteristics of this alphabet, there is no need of transforming it to Japanese syllables -- if converted directly from English, Sheikah would be: . In the Wii version of Twilight Princess, this language, as well as the game, is mirrored and the syllable would look like this (read from right to left): .
The theories below are about characters, items, songs, races and places from The Legend of Zelda series, that can be associated or directly related to the Sheikah. These theories include suggestions such as possible Sheikah in games before Ocarina of Time, evolution of the Shadow Folk in later installments (like The Wind Waker & Twilight Princess), and also speculates on some elements of the game itself.
The Sheikah are first introduced in Ocarina of Time, but in The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, there is a character called Impa, who is the attendant of Princess Zelda. There are no indications that this Impa is of the Sheikah race, owing to the fact that she does not have red eyes in the game's official artwork. This could be a case of retcon by Nintendo, as there are certain similarities between Impa from Ocarina of Time and the one appearing in The Legend of Zelda and Adventure of Link. They both have considerable knowledge of Hyrule, Ganon and the Royal Family.
In A Link to the Past, there is a wizard of unknown origin that comes to Hyrule to free it from the misfortunes; this dark magic practitioner is known as Agahnim. He is represented with an eye symbol on his robes, in the official game artwork; this emblem can also be seen in the floor just before Links breaks the energy barrier with the Master Sword in Hyrule Castle and in the final room just before meeting Agahnim in Ganon's Tower. The possibility also comes up because Agahnim was really close to the Royal Family. On a side-note, Agahnim shares some features associated with the Zuna tribe, a race which boasts several parallels to the Sheikah.
Though Impa in the early games lacks the red eyes, the Hyrule Historia retcons the original Impa's lack of red eyes from the first two games as an error (as the concept of the Sheikah hadn't been developed at that point), indicating that she is retroactively considered a Sheikah. Such retcons have been seen in the series before, as Ganondorf/Ganon is retroactively considered a Gerudo in early games after it was revealed in Ocarina of Time (as Ganondorf's race was not specified in the original games).
It is possible that the Twili from Twilight Princess are connected to the Sheikah, as both are practitioners of dark magic and the tribal symbol of both races are similar. Some even go as far to say that the Sheikah are the Interlopers from whom the Twili are descended, as, being so close to the Royal Family, they would know much of the Triforce. Both the Interlopers and the Twili have red eyes as the Shadow Folk. The Sheikah symbol found on the Fused Shadow and the one in Zant's Throne, is regarded as a clue of this supposed relation.
It is also notable to consider the possibility that a faction of the Sheikah tribe broke away and became the Interlopers while a faithful few (Impa amongst them) remained loyal to the Royal Family of Hyrule. This is supported by the manga of Ocarina of Time, when Sheik explains the story of the Sheikah emblem, stating that there was one instance of betrayal from the Royal Family toward the Sheikah, and they were banished out of Hyrule, so the tear was added on the Shadow Folk emblem to commemorate this event. Making an even stronger case for this theory, the symbols on the Fused Shadow (an item used during the Hyrulean Civil War by the Interlopers) and on Zant's Throne (the seat of the ruler of the Twilight Realm) are similar to the Sheikah emblem but lacking of the characteristic tear. Even more feasible the Fused Shadow was created during or prior to the Hyrulean Civil War, before the addition of the emblematic tear. All of this strongly maintains the theory that the Interlopers, or the Twili are the Sheikah that were banished to the Twilight Realm.
Also, in the game, the Twili are often referred to as "shadow" creatures, similar to "Shadow Folk". Almost everything in the series with the word "shadow" in the name is attributed or theorized to be related to the Twili or the Sheikah, so logically, there may be a connection between the two races.
The Yiga Clan in Breath of the Wild have broke away from their fellow Sheikah and it is possible that an earlier incarnation of the Yiga Clan or some other tribe who did the same during the Hyrulean Civil War. This was possibly over how to deal with the conflict over people fighting for the Triforce or a group of Sheikah chose to break away and form the Interlopers. Most of the Sheikah loyal to the royal family may have died during the war while those that broke away and became the Interlopers were imprisoned in the Twilight Realm and their descendants became the Twili.
In Breath of the Wild, Paya reveals that it is customary for those with strong Sheikah lineage to have the Sheikah eye chest tattooed to their foreheads. This suggests the possibility that most of the Sheikah encountered in Breath of the Wild are actually descendants of Sheikah and other humanoid races (most likely Humans or Hylians, as reproducing with a Gerudo would likely result in the offspring being a Gerudo) which may explain why some Sheikah`s do not have their signature red eye color.
Another possibility is the Sheikah here forced to marry and produce offspring with Hylians (or Humans) due to the schism that lead to the Yiga Clan to break away from the Sheikah who remained loyal to Hyrule after their people had been exiled due to the growing fear of their technology being misused, which ironically caused the Yiga Clan to swear allegiance to Ganon due to their anger over their race's mistreatment (as the Sheikah had created the Divine Beasts and Guardians to protect Hyrule by aiding the Hero and Princess defeat Ganon). The schism would have reduced the number of available Sheikah mates for both the loyal Sheikah and Yiga Clan possibly forcing them seek out mates among other races in order to produce new generations of Sheikah.
It should be noted that as some of the Yiga are fanatical to the point of insanity, it is possible that their mental state is the result of inbreeding among the Yiga Clan (as Kohga implies his mother was a Yiga indicating that there where indeed female Yiga) as inbreeding can lead to congenital and developmental disorders either of which could effect their offspring's mental state. Inbreeding is more likely among the Yiga given they would likely avoid relations with Hylians given their anger over the mistreatment of the Sheikah in the past and may have been an attempt by the Yiga to keep their Sheikah bloodline pure.
Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask people and places
This section is about the villagers and places from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, that are implied to be Sheikah or have a connection with the tribe.
Man Who Could See the Truth / Bongo Bongo
Bongo Bongo, the boss in the Shadow Temple is theorized to be (or have been) a Sheikah. From Shikashi (whose name bears a striking resemblance to the word Sheikah) in Kakariko Village, Link learns the story of the Man Who Could See the Truth with his one and only eye. This man once lived where Kakariko Well stands in Link's present time.
It is possible that Bongo Bongo, the one-eyed boss of the Shadow Temple is a shapeshifter and the one-eyed man is in truth Bongo Bongo. The Lens of Truth (used against the shadow boss) and Mask of Truth are closely related to this mysterious man. The boss description seen before Bongo Bongo attacks Link refers to Bongo Bongo as a "Phantom Shadow Beast" - "Phantom" indicates the ghost of a deceased person and "Shadow" could be associated with the Shadow Folk. This man was supposedly an Interloper during the Hyrulean Civil War who was executed for his alignment in the conflict.
Another supposed theory is that he was a Twili that was not imprisoned in the Twilight Realm. Instead, he was sealed away in the Bottom of the Well by Impa. It is also possible that before they knew about the Mirror of Twilight they bound certain Interlopers in distinct places.
Bongo Bongo is not the only one theorized as the "one eyed man who sees the truth"; there is also the cloaked Ghost Hunter from the Ghost Shop, who claims to read people's minds (which is also ability of the Mask of Truth). The one part of his face seen is a bright red dot, possibly an eye.
The place where Bongo Bongo resides when Link is an adult is the "Shadow" Temple (as "Shadow" Folk), also known as the House of the Dead. This dungeon has been theorized to be another Sheikah location. The door to the temple bears something similar to the ever-present Sheikah symbol, perhaps indicating that the temple was once a haven for the outcast race or something in that direction.
Sharp, one of the Composer Brothers found in Kakariko Graveyard, states that he and his brother were originally from Kakariko Village, and all inhabitants from the village had to serve the Royal Family, and were assigned to study the mystic power of the family. The Brothers (as well as the early villagers) were possibly members of the Sheikah tribe because they are the only race known to have served the Royal Family. The "Sun's Song" is also questioned to be a Sheikah song (along with the "Nocturne of Shadow"), because it was composed by the brothers.
Fabulously Rich Family
The Fabulously Rich Family consists of five teenagers and their father who are victims of the Gold Skulltula curse. They live in Kakariko Village in the House of Skulltula, a house with spider webs and eroded bricks, reputedly one of the oldest houses in the village. According to a villager they were a rich family who were cursed because of their greed. When Link finds the 100 Gold Skulltula Tokens, the family who were once spider-like beings are transformed back to their human forms, and they all share the same characteristics: long pointed ears and red hair. However, their eyes are closed, so it is not possible to determine whether they have the red eyes of the Sheikah. It should be noted that before the Fabulously Rich Family is transformed back, they have blue eyes. It is unknown if this is simply from the curse, or if they indeed have blue eyes.
Happy Mask Salesman
The Happy Mask Salesman who appears in both Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask is one of the characters most frequently associated with the race and is a likely descendant of the Sheikah. Whenever the Salesman is angered, his eyes can be clearly seen to be blood red, however, this may be due to the fact that his eyes are bloodshot due to the anger and frustration. The Salesman can also appear and disappear without notice. Other possible connections with the Sheikah are his possession of the Mask of Truth, a mask passed down by the Shadow Folk, and his physical similarities with the Fabulously Rich Family.
Kafei and Madame Aroma
Kafei, from Majora's Mask has red eyes and pointed ears, although this could only be a temporary transformation by Majora, he also could have got the pigmentation by heredity. His father, Mayor Dotour, has the particular purple hair but black eyes; this characteristic probably came from his mother, Madame Aroma, who is red-haired, has long and pointed ears and eyes too closed to see their color, making another possible connection to the Fabulously Rich Family and the Sheikah tribe.
The sorcerer Vaati is a recurring villain of the Four Swords subseries. This character, although he is of the Minish race, has the red eyes and pointed ears of the Sheikah. Also, in most of his "monster" forms he assumes the appearance of an enormous eye. In the The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, his penultimate transformation (Vaati Transfigured) has the eye and the three triangles/eyelashes, resembling the Sheikah symbol.
Under the assumption that the Four Swords subseries is set after Ocarina of Time in the official The Legend of Zelda chronology, it is possible that when Vaati wished to be "the most powerful sorcerer in the world" he adopted the form of a great Sheikah (possibly Bongo Bongo), explaining the "Vaati posters" in Kakariko's Shooting Gallery in Ocarina of Time. The lack of credibility of the theory comes from the fact Vaati has red eyes in his Minish form. There is a possibility that the Wind Mage could be the reincarnation of an ancient Sheikah, due the fact that no other known Minish have red eyes. In the theories that place Four Swords subseries as the earliest games in the chronology, it is possible that Vaati could be the Man Who Could See the Truth or the proverbial Adam of the Sheikah tribe.
Another possibility is that Vaati may have simply transformed himself into a Sheikah form, similar to Zelda's transformation into Sheik as a way to disguise himself or possibly out of even admiration for their abilities.
For all quotes related to the Shadow Folk, see Sheikah/Quotes.