Impa artwork from A Link Between Worlds
|Title(s)|| Sage of Shadow|
Servant of the Goddess
Agent of the Goddess
|Game(s)|| The Legend of Zelda|
The Adventure of Link
Ocarina of Time
Oracle of Ages
Oracle of Seasons
A Link Between Worlds
|Non-canon Appearances|| The Legend of Zelda comic|
The Shadow Prince
Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon
Oracle of Ages manga
Hyrule Warriors Legends
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U
|Era|| Sky Era|
Era of the Hero of Time
Era of Light and Dark
Era of Decline
|Family||Impaz (implied relation)|
|Voice Actor(s)||Eve Karpf|
Impa (pronounced /ˈɪmpə/ IM-pə) is the family name of several female members of the Sheikah, a mysterious tribe that has served and protected the Royal Family of Hyrule for many generations. Every member of the Sheikah tribe so far has been associated with and taken on the role of taking care of an incarnation of Zelda, being a nanny and a bodyguard of sorts in some games. As well as this, every Impa has given extensive information and guidance to the various incarnations of Link they encounter in their time.
- 1 Unified Timeline
- 2 Fallen Hero Timeline
- 3 Non-Canon Appearances
- 4 Etymology
- 5 Trivia
- 6 Gallery
- 7 References
The earliest known Impa in the chronology of the Zelda series is the Impa in Skyward Sword. As a member of the Sheikah tribe, the chosen guardians of the goddess Hylia, she is a loyal and dedicated guardian and servant to Her Grace in the Era of the Goddess Hylia.
In the final days of her life following a fierce battle with the Demon King Demise, the goddess ordered Impa to go through a Gate of Time to the far future to protect her eventual mortal incarnation and to help her future incarnation remember her former life. When Hylia is reborn on the floating island of Skyloft as Zelda, she falls to the the Surface. Impa then meets with the former goddess while saving her from a group of Bokoblins near the Earth Temple, later protecting her from Ghirahim's grasp as he is chasing after the young girl. Shortly afterwards, she voices concerns during her first encounter with Link at the fiery temple, believing that he is unworthy of being Hylia's chosen hero, as she was forced to intervene to protect the goddess incarnate during the young hero's absence. Later, at the Temple of Time in Lanayru Desert, she faces Ghirahim in short battle while Zelda escapes through a Gate of Time at the temple. She is saved by Link when her magical defenses are overwhelmed by her opponent's powers. She is thus able to proceed through the Gate of Time with Zelda and tells Link to tell "the old woman" in the Sealed Grounds the recent events so that Link may know where to go. Impa then escapes into the past, destroying the gate as it closes behind them to prevent Ghirahim from pursuing them.
Link follows Impa's advice and returns to the old woman, who explains that Link will need to strengthen the Goddess Sword with the power of the three Sacred Flames in order to awaken the Gate of Time in the Sealed Temple. She also teaches the young hero how to play the Goddess's Harp as well as the "Ballad of the Goddess" to help him on his quest.
The young Impa remains in the distant past, her own time period, with Zelda and watches over her as she enters a deep slumber in the Temple of Hylia to keep the seal on Demise, who had only recently been sealed by her goddess incarnation, strong in that period of time. After the eradication of Demise outside of the temple in present, a very aged Impa witnesses Zelda finally awaken from her ancient slumber and briefly reunite with Link. The short-lived reunion is interrupted by an aggravated Ghirahim, who then kidnaps the newly awakened Zelda and proceeds through the second Gate of Time that is located in center of the temple, going to the temple's distant past. There, young Impa, still guarding the sleeping Zelda from earlier in their timelines, is attacked and wounded by the demon lord. Once Demise is successfully revived and sealed once more by Link, the young Impa congratulates him on his world-saving accomplishment. Much to the present Zelda's tearful wishes, Impa explains that she is a being of that age and must stay behind to take care of the Gate of Time and the Master Sword. She tells Zelda not to despair and promises that they will surely meet again one day, to which Zelda gives Impa one of her bracelets as a token of their friendship and the time they spent together before returning the present.
Once again in the present, an aged Impa awaits the return of the young heroes. As they step out of the Gate of Time, it closes behind them and disappears, revealing her to be behind it. As the heroes approach her, the bracelet given to her by Zelda many years earlier is visible to them, revealing she is indeed the same young, tanned and slender woman they had left behind in the past. She smiles at Zelda, telling her that they indeed did meet again. She then falls silent, steps backwards slightly and fades away into light, passing away. The bracelet given to her by Zelda falls to the floor and Zelda mourns her passing, thanking her for everything she did to help them.
Appearance and Characteristics
As a young woman, Impa appears tall and lithe. She has straight light blonde hair, very tanned skin and the standard red eyes of the Sheikah tribe. The Sheikah Eye Symbol is tattooed in red on her forehead, and her left eye is tattooed with the three white marks above and a white teardrop below in the form of the same symbol. She also dresses in blueish purple clothing marked with yellow lines, an orange belt around her waist, and briefly wears a black cloak also marked with yellow lines. She lives to be very ancient for a mortal being, hailing from the Era of the Goddess Hylia and living for thousands of years through to the Era of the Sky. Whether this is a natural Sheikah ability or the work of divine interference is unknown, as she disintegrates into particles of light and fades away when her mission in life is done.
As an old woman, her hair is greyish blonde and has become very long, now braided and wrapped around her eyes and forehead; it hangs down on one side for use as a pendulum. The white teardrop is still visible, but elongated on her wrinkled cheek. She stands quite short and wears a pointed red hood and cape with a variation of the Sheikah eye symbol on the back.
Ocarina of Time
In Ocarina of Time, Impa was born and raised in Kakariko Village, the village of the Sheikah. She was selected as Princess Zelda's attendant and likely left her village around that time, giving it to the people of other races. Though Hyrule Castle became her new home, she still kept a watching eye over Kakariko though, but most of her attention went to the young princess. Until Link came along, Impa was the only one who believed her visions.
Link met Impa for the first time in Hyrule Castle, where she taught him "Zelda's Lullaby". She then helped him leave the castle. Outside, she advised Link to head to Death Mountain to find the next Spiritual Stone and returned to the princess. However, while Link was searching for the remaining Spiritual Stones, Ganondorf attacked Hyrule Castle, forcing Impa to flee with Princess Zelda. She barely managed to escape Ganondorf and stayed in hiding with the princess for seven years. It is likely that she was the one who raised Zelda during those years and taught her what she had to know to pass off as a Sheikah. Impa also kept protecting Kakariko Village to her best effort.
When Zelda was old enough to take care of herself, Impa started focusing on her old village again. An old evil that had plagued Kakariko Village in the past and that was locked up by Impa, had returned. Impa went to the Shadow Temple in order to imprison the creature again. When Link went to Kakariko Village after his seven year slumber, Sheik greeted him and told him about Impa. Link followed Impa into the Shadow Temple and was able to kill the creature, awakening Impa as the Sage of Shadows. As her new duty as a Sage prevented her from being at Princess Zelda's side, her final words to Link were a request to protect the princess on her behalf. Before leaving, Link received the Shadow Medallion from her.
When Link defeated Ganon, Impa and the other Sages bundled their powers to seal away Ganon. During the ending, she could be seen overlooking a celebrating Hyrule on Death Mountain with the other Sages.
Fallen Hero Timeline
Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages
Impa is the trusted nursemaid of Princess Zelda in Oracle of Ages. Impa, sent by Zelda to bring Nayru back to Hyrule for protection, meets Link when she finds she cannot move a large rock with the Mark of the Hero upon it: Link moves this with ease. However, Veran, Sorceress of Shadow, had possessed Impa. Veran transfers herself into Nayru, leaving Impa's body. After Nayru is kidnapped, she puts all her trust in Link to save Labrynna.
Impa is the trusted nursemaid of Princess Zelda in Oracle of Seasons, and she has been sent to bring the Oracle of Seasons away from the dangers that threaten her in Holodrum, and take her back to Hyrule. After Din is captured by Onox, she puts all her trust into Link, as he bears the mark of a Hylian hero. Impa poses as the cook for the Troupe of Performers accompanied by Din at the beginning of the game in a bid to stay close to Din.
A Link Between Worlds
An aged Impa is once again Zelda's nursemaid and one of the descendants of the Seven Sages. Impa goes missing some time after Link clears the Eastern Palace, having been kidnapped by Yuga and turned into a Painting. Yuga eventually uses Impa and the rest of the Sages' power to release Ganon from his seal, in order to merge with the Demon King. Yuga then hides Impa's Painting within Turtle Rock, a magma-filled prison located in the middle of Lorule's Lake Hylia.
After Link rescues Impa from Turtle Rock, she acknowledges him as the hero of this era. Once each of the Seven Sages are rescued, they use their power to summon the Triforce of Courage; Impa then exhorts Link to return to Lorule Castle and use the Triforce to defeat Yuga Ganon.
The Legend of Zelda
In both The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link, Impa only appears in the game manuals. When Hyrule was under attack by Ganon's forces in The Legend of Zelda, Princess Zelda ordered her old nursemaid Impa to secretly flee and find the one who could save them. Ganon soon found out and sent his men after Impa. Though she managed to stay out of their reach for a long time, she was eventually captured. However, she was saved by a strange boy who managed to chase away Ganon's henchmen. Knowing that this was the one she had been looking for, Impa told him the whole story and asked him to go save Princess Zelda.
The Adventure of Link
In The Adventure of Link, several seasons passed since Ganon was defeated by Link in The Legend of Zelda and Impa had resumed her normal duties. One day, Link came to her because he worries about a strange mark that had appeared on his hand. When Impa saw the mark, she was initially startled, but quickly regained her composure. She then took Link to a door in North Castle that only the members of her family knew how to open. In the room behind the door lay a princess of Hyrule from ancient times and before Link could ask any questions, Impa told the princess' story. When she was done telling, she picked up six Crystals and a scroll lying on a stand next to the altar and gave them to Link. She explained that these items were handed down in her family for generations while waiting for the one who was chosen by destiny to save the princess. She implored Link to follow his destiny and save the princess, to which he agreed.
- In The Wind Waker, one of the stained glass windows in Hyrule Castle's basement depicts Impa along with the other Sages from Ocarina of Time.
- Hyrule Historia retcons the original Impa's lack of red eyes from the first two games as an error, confirming that she is indeed a Sheikah.
- Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon predates Ocarina of Time as the first game where Impa makes an in-game appearance. Previously, Impa was only mentioned and depicted in game manuals.
- "It turns out that Impa is the Sage of Shadow." (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D: Prima Official Game Guide (Prima Games), pg. 110 (eGuide))
- "By all rights the girl should have fallen into our hands already. She was nearly ours when that loathsome servant of the goddess snatched her away." — Ghirahim (Skyward Sword)
- "Each statue stirred up memories within me. After I visited them all, Impa, an agent of the goddess, led me here...to the past." — Zelda (Skyward Sword)
- "If General Impa had to retreat, what hope do the rest of us have?" — Hylian Captain (Hyrule Warriors)
- "In addition to many Hyrulean soldiers, other characters, like Zelda, and Impa, will fight alongside you on the same field." — Hyrule Warriors Direct, YouTube, published August 4, 2014.
- "They say that Princess Zelda's nanny is actually one of the Sheikah, who many thought had died out." — Gossip Stone (Ocarina of Time)
- "Someone must stay behind to watch over this blade. His spirit must not reawaken. He must never be allowed to threaten the world again. This is the nature of the task given to my tribe. As a member of the Sheikah, the goddess's chosen guardians, I gladly welcome this duty. Zelda, I shall watch over the Triforce." — Impa (Skyward Sword)
- "Zelda, at the command of the goddess, I passed through the Gate of Time. I did so to protect you and aid the fight to prevent the world's destruction." — Impa (Skyward Sword)
- "It took you far too long to get here. Looking at you, I fear the goddess is mistaken in her choice of agents. If this failure is any indication, you have no hope of defending Her Grace from those who seek to assail her." — Impa (Skyward Sword)
- "I will. You have my thanks, [Link]." — Impa (Skyward Sword)
- "[Link]! You must go now. Return to the old woman at the Sealed Grounds. Tell her what happened here. She will know where you must go!" — Impa (Skyward Sword)
- "Your Grace! Quickly, to the gate!" — Impa (Skyward Sword)
- "Ah, sorry to disappoint you, boy, but for now your sword lacks the power necessary to awaken the gate. Faron Woods...Eldin Volcano...and Lanayru Desert... A sacred flame is hidden somewhere in each of these lands. Seek them out, and purify your sword in their heat. Only after your blade has been tempered by these three fires will it be fully imbued with the great power for which you search." — Impa (Skyward Sword)
- "Focus and play in time with the pulsing of the circle of light. When your timing is right, I shall join my voice to your harp. Listen well, for the song I sing will be of great help to you in your journey." — Impa (Skyward Sword)
- "It's Ghirahim... He appeared out of thin air and got the drop on me. Don't worry about me... You must chase after him! He ran through the great doors at the front of the temple. You may yet catch him before it's too late. Hurry!" — Impa (Skyward Sword)
- "Zelda, Your Grace, you possess the memories of the goddess. You must understand why that is not possible. I am a being of this age. My place is here. You must return to your own time. I will take care of the gate once you have passed through. [...] The last remnants of Demise are decaying slowly within the sword. Someone must stay behind to watch over this blade." — Impa (Skyward Sword)
- "Do not despair, Zelda. You and I will surely meet again someday." — Impa (Skyward Sword)
- "...See? I told you we'd meet again." — Impa (Skyward Sword)
- "Impa... Thank you. Thank you for everything." — Zelda (Skyward Sword)
- "You brave lad... We must protect this beautiful land of Hyrule! Take a good look at that mountain. That is Death Mountain, home of the Gorons. They hold the Spiritual Stone of Fire. At the foot of Death Mountain you will find my village, Kakariko. That is where I was born and raised. You should talk to some of the villagers there before you go up Death Mountain. The song I just taught you has some mysterious power. Only Royal Family members are allowed to learn this song. Remember, it will help to prove your connection with the Royal Family. The Princess is waiting for you to return to the castle with the stones. All right. We're counting on you!" — Impa (Ocarina of Time)
- "This used to be the great Impa's house, but she doesn't live here any longer. It is now open to all villagers. You are free to go on in. This village used to be a Sheikah village, but the great Impa opened it to everyone." — Soldier (Ocarina of Time)
- "Hello there, son. Zelda's attendant, the great Impa, opened this village to the common people. We have only a small population now, but someday this place will be as lively as Hyrule Castle Town! Oh, yes! It will! Climb up the stairs at the north end of the village to find the trail that leads up Death Mountain. But you need the King's permission to actually go up the mountain." — Soldier (Ocarina of Time)
- "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. But with the long peace, no one has seen a Sheikah around here for a long time. However... I heard there is one Sheikah woman living in the castle..." — Man in Hyrule Castle Town (Ocarina of Time)
- "I am the boss of the Carpenters that Impa hired to improve this village and make it into a true city! But young men these days don't have any ambition... Do you know what I mean, kid? My workers are just running aimlessly around the village, and they're not making any progress at all... Even my own son doesn't have a job, and he just wanders around all day! They're all worthless, I tell you!!" — Mutoh (Ocarina of Time)
- "I am Impa of the Sheikahs. I am responsible for protecting Princess Zelda. Everything is exactly as the Princess foretold. You are a courageous boy... You are heading out on a big, new adventure, aren't you? My role in the Princess's dream was to teach a melody to the one from the forest. This is an ancient melody passed down by the Royal Family. I have played this song for Princess Zelda as a lullaby ever since she was a baby... There is mysterious power in these notes. Now listen carefully... Memorize this song..." — Impa (Ocarina of Time)
- "If the castle soldiers find you, there will be trouble. Let me lead you out of the castle." — Impa (Ocarina of Time)
- "The one riding on the white horse holding the little girl... Wasn't that a legendary Sheikah?" — Man in Hyrule Castle Town (Ocarina of Time).
- "This is the great Impa's house! The great Impa has gone to the graveyard to seal up the humongous creature there. Since Ganondorf appeared, many monsters have been sighted around here. Only the great Impa has kept peace in our village. You have to remember that, young man! Oh well. Speaking of the great Impa, she hasn't come back yet. I wonder what happened to her?" — Man in Kakariko Village (Ocarina of Time)
- "Looks like you're coming around... Link... A terrible thing has happened! The evil shadow spirit has been released! Impa, the leader of Kakariko Village, had sealed the evil shadow spirit in the bottom of the well.... But the force of the evil spirit got so strong, the seal of the well broke, and it escaped into the world!! I believe Impa has gone to the Shadow Temple to seal it up again, but...she will be in danger without any help! Link! Impa is one of the six Sages. Destroy the evil shadow spirit and save Impa! There is an entrance to the Shadow Temple beneath the graveyard behind this village. The only thing I can do for you is teach you the melody that will lead you to the Shadow Temple... This is the melody that will draw you into the infinite darkness that absorbs even time... Listen to this, the Nocturne of Shadow!! Let me take care of the village! I'm counting on you, Link!" — Sheik (Ocarina of Time)
- "The boy with the noble Zelda's Ocarina... As I expected, you have come. I am Impa, one of the Sheikah. I am Princess Zelda's caretaker, and I am also the Sage who guards the Shadow Temple. We Sheikah have served the royalty of Hyrule from generation to generation as attendants. However... On that day seven years ago, Ganondorf suddenly attacked... and Hyrule Castle surrendered after a short time. Ganondorf's target was one of the keys to the Sacred Realm...the hidden treasure of the Royal Family... The Ocarina of Time! My duty bound me to take Zelda out of Ganondorf's reach. When last I saw you, as we made our escape from the castle, you were just a lad... Now I see that you have become a fine hero... There's nothing to worry about... The Princess is safe now. Soon, you'll meet Princess Zelda face-to-face, and she will explain everything... That is when we, the six Wise Ones, will seal up the Evil King and return peace to Hyrule. I have to stay here... You go to Princess Zelda's side and protect her on my behalf. Now I put my power, which should be helpful to you, into this Medallion!" — Impa (Ocarina of Time)
- "You received the Shadow Medallion! Impa awakens as a Sage and adds her power to yours!" — N/A (Ocarina of Time)
- "I am Impa, the troupe's cook. And you are?" — Impa (Oracle of Seasons)
- "Yet as Hyrule is facing the same threat as in the legend of old, you have so much more to endure." — Impa (A Link Between Worlds)
- "You have claimed the power of the gods Link. With it you can stop the return of the Demon King-and thwart his evil ambitions. Now hero, you must take your battle to Lorule Castle, there awaits the Demon King." — Impa (A Link Between Worlds)
- The Legend of Zelda Manual; Page 3-4
- The Adventure of Link Manual; Page 3-4
- The Adventure of Link Manual; Page 5-6
- The Adventure of Link Manual; Page 7-8
- The Adventure of Link Manual; Page 9-10
- The Adventure of Link Manual; Page 11-12
- "Zelda sent her loyal nursemaid Impa to find this hero..." (The Legend of Zelda (Valiant Comics), pg. Prologue [Issue 1])
- "Hyrule's North Palace destroyed. Ganon triumphant. Link doomed. Zelda's people enslaved. All these things will come to pass...if Link leaves the North Palace today. [...] Yes, Zelda! There can be no mistake. The Triforce of Wisdom predicted it to me this morning. Link, you must not leave the palace!" (The Legend of Zelda (Valiant Comics), pg. 1 [He Also Serves])
- "No! The Triforce of Wisdom is not a weapon. But it can grant you the wisdom that will help you use the weapons of truth and light! Find a Silver Arrow. If your heart is true, the Triforce will help you use it to destroy Ganon." (The Legend of Zelda (Valiant Comics), pg. 4 [Choices])
- "Impa! The Triforce of Wisdom--! It's GONE!" (The Legend of Zelda (Valiant Comics), pg. 1)
- "Yes, Zelda! The day has come... Once each day, princess, all three Triforces--Wisdom, Power, and Courage--disappear from Hyrule for one day, from dawn to dusk!" (The Legend of Zelda (Valiant Comics), pg. 1)
- "'Link,' she says. 'Use this.' She shoves a green arrow into his hand. 'Why?' Link asks. Impa pinches Link's cheek. 'Magic,' she says and disappears back into the crowd." (The Shadow Prince (Mammoth), pg. 83)
- "Link feels his heart drop. He looks at Impa. 'What happened?' The old woman shakes her head. 'That arrow I gave you was magic. Some powerful force must have thrown it off.' 'Hmm,' Link says grimly. He stares at Charles. 'The more I see of Sir Charles, the more I wonder what he's really up to.'" (The Shadow Prince (Mammoth), pg. 75)
- "'There's only one thing to do. You must hold Charles up to the Mirror of Truth. Then we'll see his true self.'" (The Shadow Prince (Mammoth), pg. 88)
- "'Well, thing do get lost.' Impa sounds a little touchy. 'I hear it was last seen in Saria Town. You might start looking there.'" (The Shadow Prince (Mammoth), pg. 88)
- "The old female storyteller who feeds information to Zelda is named Impa; her name comes from the word impart." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 2-3)
|Names in Other Regions|
|Spanish||Impa (OoT3D, OoX, SS, ALBW), Sabia de las sombras (OoT3D)||Impa, Sage of Shadows|
|French||Impa (OoT3D, SS, ALBW), Sage de l'ombre (OoT3D)||Impa, Shadow Sage|