Garo

<strong>!</strong> This entry is technically a Work In Progress, as the personal and collaborative information gathered is incomplete and likely needs some work.

The Garo only appear in the Legend of Zelda:// Majora's Mask// as undead monsters with valuable information, in the Ikana Canyon province of Termina. However, the Zelda OC Club has expanded on this race, creating a "fanon" culture and history for them. All information here is speculation/theory, and considered canon only within the club itself.

The Garo are an ancient race of people living in the Stone Tower of Ikana Canyon in Termina. They are typically very secretive and reclusive, preferring the company of their own kind to that of outsiders. They remain close to the Canyon and their home, the Stone Tower, to protect it and all of its secrets. They are generally a stern people, stoic, quiet, and mysterious. All true blood Garo are undead, any living are descendants with mixed blood. Most Garo seem to have a problem with swimming.

Physical Traits

Garo are typically shorter than your average adult Human/Hylian. The tallest of the men are usually about 5'10", 5'11", and the men are typically taller than the women.

They normally wear many layers of clothing, both to conceal their identity and to protect from the sun and heat in their canyon made mostly of sand and stone. Depending on their occupation and preference, the style and coloring of the clothing varies.

Under all that clothing, most Garo have the same physical attributes that set them apart from most other races. The most common ones are; Pale skin, dark hair, rounded ears, and red eyes. The undead Garo all have white glowing eyes as opposed to red, though many Garo descendants bear this attribute. They are physically healthy and fit, though the general level of fitness again relies on occupation.

Origins and History

The Garo are said to have been one of the first races that were greeted by the goddesses, though were not the goddesses' "chosen" people because of their transgressions against them. No one knows what the real truth is, but their people and customs are very ancient. It is also said that they once lived and interacted very closely with the Sheikah, but none will say if this is true or not.

Aeons before the tale of the Hero of Time, the land that would be eastern Termina was inhabited two native peoples who later became known as the Garo and the Ikana Empire. The Garo resided near the source of a large river for centuries, living off of the rich lands and forests that surrounded the area. Over the centuries, as the earth began to erode and the river receded, the Garo learned to adapt to their changing environment using both magic and technical skills, instead of moving away. Eventually, due to the disappearing forest and lack of or change in the natural ingredients around them, they turned to trying to alter their magical skills in many different ways.

The Garo were generally pacifistic and didn't provoke many, but the Ikana people who shared the land were constantly debating on who's land was who's. The two clans were very similar, both believed in the same gods and generally the same laws, but the Ikana people believed they were first in the land and as such had more power from the gods than the Garo people. The two clans did little more than throw insults at each other, the Garo thinking that the Ikana people were full of themselves and that one clan had no more power from the gods as the other. These small arguments grew into small fights, and when the decidedly smaller Garo clan needed to defend itself, they turned some of their more dangerous magics on the Ikana people. Not wanting to provoke this "ungodly" power, the Ikana backed off for a time, and the Garo became reclusive.

As time passed, new peoples from distant lands began appearing in the Termina area. One of these peoples were the Sheikah. The Garo were skeptical of the new people in general, but in an attempt to gather information about them, decided to be kind and hospitable. They traded regularly in order to learn about the outsiders' culture, and the relationship between th etwo peoples blossomed for a time. Eventually, the Garo became comfortable with them, and began to share their own culture, history, and skills with the Sheikah. The Sheikah, however, did not take well to some of the Garo practices such as necromancy and hex magics. They tried to stop the Garo from using such "unnatural" things and the Garo in turn retaliated by casting the Sheikah out of their land.

After twice being hurt by outsiders, the Garo decided they would keep to themselves. They figured that if their gifts were so unnatural and ungodly, then where did they come from? They began to believe that perhaps it wasn't the gods that gave them these abilities, but rather that they were greater than the gods. After all, why should they decided what is to be accepted and what isn't? They expanded their knowledge and skill, and over time began to build a tower tall enough to reach the heavens. It took many decades to build and several generations, but the Stone Tower was their path to heaven and their path to godhood.

By the time the river had fully become a canyon and the tower had reached nearly to the clouds, the Garo people were nearing their "ascension" into heaven. It was at this time that the Ikana people returned once more, larger in numbers from conquering the outsiders and peoples that migrated into the Termina area. They declared the Garo to be blasphemers for trying to overpower their gods and declared war against them. The war continued for many years, and though the Ikana people were greater in numbers, the Garo people were far more skilled.

As the Garo prepared for their final ascension, they sent about a third of their people to fight off the invading Ikana army. Their best warriors, shamans, and priests were sent to the battlefield to hold off the army while the rest of the clan prepared to leave their mortal plane and become gods. The ascension, however, failed. The stone tower was struck by the gods themselves, destroying anyone within its walls.

The remaining Garo were devastated. Their numbers were quickly dropping and the Ikana army was still far too large to fight off on their own. Their dead could only do but so much as reanimated corpse puppets and the Ikana army was pressing forward. Even the Garo guardians, Twinmold, were nearly slain at the hands of so many. The Garo came up with a plan. They gathered all their necromancers and shamans to cast a final hex that would turn their enemies into their allies. They would cast a powerful necromantic hex that would both kill and control their foes in one fell swoop, creating useful, undamaged bodies to turn themselves on each other. When they prepared to cast the spell, the gods intervened one last time. The spell half worked, but backfired at the Garo themselves. All undead were reanimated, and all living were turned into walking corpses, including the Garo. They retained their minds on both sides, but now that everyone was a member of the immortal dead, there could be no defeating one side or the other. Eventually the name of the canyon fell to Ikana's claim when the Garo retreated into their tower and refused to come back out.

Current Time

The Garo are more or less still just as reclusive, though individual members of the estimated 300 clan members left may or may not be more lax and less restricted to the canyon. Some still hold true to the old ways, while others are more up to date on the times. The Garo and Ikana people still have their squabbles, but it's more or less an eternal insult battle.

As a small side effect to their undead curse, the Garo can't swim. It's not much of a hindrance for a people who never leave their sandy home, but is still a problem when one happens to fall or be dropped into water and sinks straight to the bottom. They also cannot walk on consecrated ground (IE sacred ground. Graveyards, temples to the gods, etc.) and as dead things, cannot reproduce.

As a more detrimental effect of the curse, they are eternally bound to their land by their hatred of their enemy. The Garo and Ikana empire are compelled to always fight each other as their war is considered to be "unfinished business." All of Eastern Termina is drenched in blood and war until the two sides can let go of their own pride and end it. Being the prideful and elitist people that they are, however, the Garo aren't going to do that any time soon. They are forever bound to the war of the past.

Culture

The Garo are first an foremost very efficient people. Everything that they do, they do to the best of their abilities, sparing no time or detail to reach perfection. Their clothing and hair were symbols of rank and honor, and the hair was never cut other than to shame someone for a crime. They test their people at a very young age to see what occupation they would be best suited for.

Roles

It's unclear what kind of society and positions they had in life but as far as the remaining undead go, there are three Garo classes left over from the war; Priest, Shaman, and Soldier.

Priest

The priest class is considered the highest class, the leaders of the Garo people. It's said that in life, it was the priests that led the march into godhood . They have the ability to heal using their magical skill and are typically born leaders. Often outspoken and mentally very strong, the priesthood was second only to the Gavaruda, the Garo equivalent of a king or queen. Priests are keepers of the law as well. They remind those around them what is and is not allowed amongst the people. They wear the most extravagant clothing of the three classes, mostly as a symbol of their rank as spiritual leaders. There are only about 50 priests left post-war.

Shaman

Shamans are magic users much like priests, only their magics can go to a decidedly darker area of the magical spectrum. Between hexing, arcane magics, and necromancy, the shamans by far have the greatest magical range in the clan. Shamans naturally have a knack for at least one type of magic, usually related to an element; Fire, water, earth, air, light, or dark, or any combination of the six. Light magic users usually become priests, but if their talents are better suited for a shaman or they have more than one arcane connection, then they are placed as shamans. Between light and dark magic, spirit and shadow magic may surface from time to time. It's rare and normally doesn't show up until one has a firm grasp on their light or dark magic. Spirit magic users usually become spirit healers, sometimes being reassessed at priests. Shadow magic remain as shamans and normally are places as necromancers or hex masters, as the addition of being able to use and control shadow energy and in some rare cases, shadow beings, comes in handy. Shamans typically are fond of colors in their clothing. Individualism is important. There are roughly about 80 shamans left post-war.

Soldier

The soldier is the grunt of the three classes, though they aren't looked down upon. They are just as necessary as any other, and their purpose is to enforce law and protect the clan. Soldiers are often much more gruff, stoic, and/or aggressive than the other two classes. They typically live much simpler lives as they don't feel the need to indulge in extravagance, individualism, or symbolism. They work as a whole to keep the clan safe in all aspects. They typically wear clothing that conceals them within their environment, though these days some are feeling the need to be seen more as an individual and less as part of a collective. There are about 170 soldiers left in post-war Ikana Canyon.

Each occupation was chosen for the member and they were sent off to a master of the trade until they mastered the practice themselves, much like schools. Each master could have anywhere from one to twenty students at once. Basic skills that all Garo know would also be taught by each master.

Other occupations

  • Blacksmith: Now many soldiers have this as a secondary job when weapons break.
  • Breeder: Those who would stay away from dangerous situations because of their ability to successfully replenish the population.
  • Scout: Intel collectors who would set out to nearby areas to get a leg up on their opponents. Rarely would they be front line fighters.
  • Carpenter: Most Garo homes are made of stone, and the carpenters would gather, cut, and place stone for said homes.
  • Hunter: They would catch and kill what they could find for food. Most times this went alongside soldier.

All small tasks, such as cooking one's food, washing one's clothes, etc, were up to each individual. Sometimes, however, if a noble had done well enough for their people to warrant special treatment, they were given servants and/or slaves to take care of the mundane tasks. Servants were often from the outer clans come in hopes of gaining status amongst the people, where as slaves were outsiders who were seen as more useful alive than dead.

Breeding

The Garo of the Stone Tower of Termina were considered the "high class" people of their nation. The valley, canyons, and towers (more than one) reach well into Eastern Termina and were once filled with what were the "peasants" of the clan. Many times these "outer tribes" were far less strict in their laws against outsiders, and because there was often a need to grow the people's numbers, would more often than not find mates in other races.

Of those half-Garo or part-Garo offspring, if they showed exceptional skill in the arts of their people and at least one of their parents was full Garo, they were often "promoted" to noble status and moved to the main Stone Tower in the Ikana Canyon area (what is shown in-game). The rest of the people, not being of pure blood, were often left to their own devices so long as they obeyed the laws of their leaders.

Eventually during the war, most of the outer tribes retreated form the war, leaving only the noble class and the Ikana Empire to fight. Anyone not wishing to stay part of the war would escape to the outer tribes, and though some may have been caught and executed for deserting, some lived on to form future generations of Garo, Ikanan, and any other race that lived in the area by mixed together.

Crime and Punishment

The Garo ran on a strict honor and secrecy code, and the consequences for breaking such a code could often be deadly. The basic laws of the people prevented them from harming each other without cause, equally sharing one's goods and talents with the clan to prevent poverty and fill all needs, and live in a brotherly manner. If any of these laws were broken, the offender would be punished. Often times for fear of losing their already small numbers, they used methods such as short term imprisonment, physical labor, public challenges or beatings as opposed to killing. For small crimes like stealing or slander, the cutting of one's hair was a suitable punishment and placed shame on the offender until they could redeem themselves.

If the offender was convicted of treason, there were two routes to be taken. In the case of something on the lines of fraternizing with the enemy but not giving away information, one would be banished after having their hair cut off in shame and their tongue cut out to never tell any secrets to the world. If the offender sold information or any sort of secrets to outsiders, the penalty was death.

Outsiders weren't part of the collective, therefore were not to be treated with the same respect as the clan. Depending on whether the outsider was a common traveller, a spy, or an assassin, they were dealt with accordingly by warning, torture, and often death.

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