|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...|
|Game(s)||Ocarina of Time|
Oracle of Seasons
Oracle of Ages
A Link Between Worlds
|Special Characteristic(s)||Pointed Ears|
The Sheikah (Pronounced /ˈʃiː.kɑː/, SHEE-kah), also known as the Shadow Folk, are a mysterious and secretive tribe with pointed ears, red eyes and shadowy magic abilities. They are the chosen guardians of the goddess Hylia and later the protectors of the descendants of her mortal incarnation, the Royal Family of Hyrule. They are also the founders of Kakariko Village, which would become one of the main settlements of Hyrule.
Their most prominent roles have been in the events of Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, with the only seen members of the tribe being the various women named Impa, Impaz, Fanadi and Princess Zelda's alter ego, Sheik. While much about the tribe and their history is shrouded in mystery, one recurring reminder of their connections to various dark times, places and objects is their symbol, an eye with three pointed lashes atop, two curling on each side and a tear drop, found on the Gossip Stones, the Howling Stones, the Mask of Truth, the Lens of Truth, the wooden statue, at the entrance to the Shadow Temple and in the Forsaken Fortress.
With history splitting and taking three different paths after the events of Ocarina of Time, the history of the Sheikah will also split and take three different paths of its own.
One member of the Sheikah tribe, Impa, appears in Skyward Sword as both a young and old woman. She serves as a guardian to the reborn goddess and protects sacred relics at her bidding, aiding Zelda in her quest to defeat Demise. The familiar 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 demonstrates powerful magical abilities while protecting Zelda from Ghirahim, an intimate knowledge of the goddess's design, and was associated with the goddess before she relinquished her immortal form. She also demonstrates the Sheikah's ability to live for impressive lengths of time, having lived herself during the time of Hylia and surviving until the events of Skyward Sword.
Ocarina of Time
Ocarina of Time implies that the Sheikah were nearly wiped out defending the Royal Family of Hyrule during the Hyrulean Civil War. The primary member of the tribe featured in the game is Impa, the tall, athletic female attendant and guardian of Princess Zelda. Impa is awakened as the game's Sage of Shadow, after Link defeats Bongo Bongo in the Shadow Temple late into his adult quest. Likewise, a Sheikah named Sheik is also featured, and assists the Hero of Time in locating each of the five temples located throughout Hyrule.
Kakariko Village was once a Sheikah settlement before Impa, who was born and raised there, opened it to "the poor folk" of Hyrule. The Graveyard behind the village is the final resting place of the Sheikah and the location of the Shadow Temple.
As the game progresses, Link is given the opportunity to acquire a Sheikah relic, the Mask of Truth, a creation of the tribe that allows communication with Gossip Stones scattered about Hyrule. Each of these stones bears the Sheikah symbol and can whisper secrets to one possessing this mask. Another artifact, the Lens of Truth, is implied to be Sheikah in origin as well, as it is found deep in the Bottom of the Well that Impa sealed before the events of Ocarina of Time. To further establish Sheikah origin, the tool is shaped like the Sheikah Eye.
Sheik, the only other Sheikah character in Ocarina of Time, plays a highly significant role as Link's guide during the entirety of his adult quest. Sheik tracks Link as he travels from dungeon to dungeon, teaching him warp songs on a lyre and pauses infrequently to inform Link of the magnitude of his trials ahead. Shiek is also well-versed in Hyrule lore. Sheik, though revealed to be Princess Zelda in disguise at the finale of Ocarina of Time, displays the traditional Sheikah red eyes and an androgynous appearance, the latter of which is much unlike that of Impa.
The Wind Waker
In The Wind Waker, a modified version of their symbol makes a small appearance near the top of the Forsaken Fortress, where it can be seen hanging next to the door leading to Ganondorf's chamber. The symbol also appears as a feature of the Hero's Charm, a golden mask whose eyes both resemble the Sheikah Eye. An advanced version of the Gossip Stone is also seen in the game, the Pirate's Charm, which is said to have been made by King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule.
In a direct reference to the Sheikah however, an image of Impa, the Sage of Shadow from Ocarina of Time, appears in one of the stained-glass windows of the chamber that is home to the Master Sword in the basement of Hyrule Castle. The orb above her image marks yet another appearance of the Eye of the Sheikah.
Twilight Princess depicts a new member of the Sheikah tribe: Impaz. Impaz is an old woman who resides in the forgotten Hidden Village and professes that her name is a homage to the town's founder. Madame Fanadi, a magical fortune-teller who bears the Sheikah Eye on her forehead along with the classical Sheikah facial features, is only implied to be part of the tribe.
Several signs of Sheikah civilization appear in Twilight Princess, including the Wooden Statue bearing the Eye of the Sheikah as well as the many Howling Stones scattered about Hyrule. A sign over the entrance to the Hidden Village, when translated from Hylian, reads "Welcome to Old Kakariko", implying that the Hidden Village may have been the Kakariko Village featured in Ocarina of Time. This is supported by a statement made by Impaz, saying that the village was once home to the proud tribe that protected Hylian royalty. The Sheikah are implied to have been well-known amongst the Gorons of Death Mountain, who state that the tribe dwindled in the prolonged wars, as well as the Oocca.
Curiously, the Sheikah symbol makes an appearance on the back of the robes worn by the imprisoned Princess Zelda at the game's beginning. In addition, when she is seen in her royal garb later in the game, her shoulder pads also bear the Sheikah symbol, with blue gems serving as the eyes. It has also been noted that Luda, the daughter of Renado, bears a similar symbol on the back of her clothing.
In a timeline in which the Hero of Time is killed in his final battle with Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time, Hyrule eventually goes into a period of decline and starts to diminish over time.
Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons
The Oracle series depicts Impa in a traditional, pet portly appearance, keeping the red eyes and pointed ears common to a Sheikah, though adding superhuman strength unlike any previous incarnation. Apart from Impa's presence, no other indicators of the Sheikah appear to be present in either of the games apart from a similar eye symbol that appears on the gown of Veran, the primary villain of Oracle of Ages.
A Link Between Worlds
Characteristics and Culture
The Sheikah are a humanoid race, bearing great resemblance to the Hylian race in both appearance and magical capacity. Sheikah are known for their distinctive red eyes and pointed ears, though they share the latter with the Hylians. Despite physical similarities, the true relationship between the Sheikah and Hylian race is unknown. For example, the alter ego of Princess Zelda is a Sheikah named Sheik, who possesses both the red eyes and pointed ears that are exclusive to the Sheikah race. On the other hand, Zelda does wear a robe displaying the Sheikah Eye Symbol in Twilight Princess and even possesses the mark on her shoulder of her gowns as well.
Various incarnations of Princess Zelda are often protected by different Sheikah women who share the name of Impa. Several examples of this behaviour include Impa's steadfast shielding and protection of Hylia, reborn as the mortal Zelda in Skyward Sword, persuading the princess to return to Hyrule Castle for her own safety in either Oracles of Seasons or Oracles of Ages, and protecting her from the clutches of Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time.
The Sheikah Eye Symbol
- Main article: Eye Symbol
The Eye of the Sheikah, more commonly known as the Eye Symbol, is the insignia of the Sheikah tribe and has reappeared constantly throughout the series (though in several variations), even in games that do not feature the Sheikah themselves. The official Sheikah Eye made its first true appearance in Ocarina of Time, where it was prominently displayed as the representative symbol of the Sheikah, as worn by Impa and Sheik. The symbol is also featured on the front door of the Shadow Temple, which in conjunction with Impa's status as the Sage of Shadow, hints at the Sheikah's connection to the House of the Dead.
The symbol appears in both Majora's Mask and The Wind Waker, and in the latter, first appearing near Ganondorf's chamber in the Forsaken Fortress and later in the basement chamber of Hyrule Castle where the Master Sword is kept. It reappears in Twilight Princess in various places, such as on the Howling Stones, and the back of Zelda's robes. Phantom Hourglass breathes new life into the symbol, showcasing it on its new version of Gossip Stones littered about the World of the Ocean King. It has been noted that the Eye Symbol bears a resemblance to a similar symbol used to represent villains Agahnim, Veran, and Vaati.
- Main article: Sheikah/Artifacts
The Sheikah were noted to have been very capable craftsmen and magical inventors. They had an affinity for powers related to the element of shadows (hence their tribe's nickname) and thus showed an aptitude for developing tools that could help the wielder see through illusions or learn secrets that may not seem apparent to the user. The Sheikah also had the ability to use magic to improve their stealth skills, such as their ability to vanish in a bright flash of light without a trace.
- Main article: Sheikah/Sheikah Legends
In more than one instance throughout the series, there have been legends passed down by the Sheikah tribe that have been discussed in different games ranging from Ocarina of Time to Twilight Princess. Two of these three legends are featured in Ocarina of Time, one featuring the prophecy of the Hero of Time and his quest to find the Sages that dwell in the five temples scattered across Hyrule, and the other being a previously unknown legend of the Triforce and the Sacred Realm that explained what became of both after Ganondorf penetrated the Sacred Realm's defenses. The third legend of the Sheikah tribe is featured in Twilight Princess, speaking of a race of Sky Beings known as the Oocca and telling of their civilization and the role they play in Hyrule's history.
- In the non-canonical Ocarina of Time manga, it is explained that the Eye Symbol was once represented as a single eye without a tear, similar to the symbol seen in A Link to the Past. This changed when, long ago, an act of betrayal on the part of the Royal Family of Hyrule occurred, resulting in the banishment of the Sheikah tribe from the kingdom of Hyrule for a long time. To commemorate this event, the tear was added to symbolize the great sorrow felt by the tribe, which was sworn to protect the Royal Family; The manga also states that pierced ears were a traditional Sheikah rite of passage for young males. However, as the tear was included as a design on Impa's cheek and clothing in Skyward Sword, set prior to the creation of the Royal Family, this explanation cannot be canon within the game series.
- Some game files seem to indicate that Sheikah is a mistranslation of "Seeker". For example, the Sheikah Stone is called SeekerStone internally in Skyward Sword. "Sheikah" may have been chosen to reflect the Japanese pronunciation of the word.
- Main article: Sheikah/Theories
There are several theories surrounding the Sheikah and their clouded history ranging from such topics as their possible role in the early games, a possible connection to the Dark Interlopers or the Twili, their relationship to Bongo Bongo, their true purpose for the Shadow Temple, and a possible connection between a series of their relics.
- "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..." — Old Man (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)
- "We Sheikah have served the royalty of Hyrule from generation to generation as attendants." — Impa (Ocarina of Time)
- "R.I.P. Here lie the souls of those who swore fealty to the Royal Family of Hyrule: The Sheikah, guardians of the Royal Family and founders of Kakariko, watch over these spirits in their eternal slumber." — Grave (Ocarina of Time)
- "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)
- "Its power is too great to leave in the grasp of man. Dependence on its might is an invitation to disaster. When it has served its purpose, it must be secreted away to lay dormant once again...the knowledge of its existence hidden from mortal history. These are the words the goddess spoke to me long ago. I remember them well. As do you, I'm sure. Do not despair, Zelda. You and I will surely meet again someday." — Impa (Skyward Sword)
- "They say that Princess Zelda's nanny is actually one of the Sheikah, who many thought had died out." — Gossip Stone (Ocarina of Time)
- "I am Sheik. Survivor of the Sheikahs..." — Sheik (Ocarina of Time)
- "At the foot of Death Mountain you will find my village, Kakariko. That is where I was born and raised." — Impa (Ocarina of Time)
- "Hi, boy! Is this the first time you've visited this village? A great woman, Impa, opened up this village to us poor folk." — Man (Ocarina of Time)
- "This is the Mask of Truth. It is a mysterious mask passed down by the Sheikah." — Happy Mask Salesman (Ocarina of Time)
- "Impa, the leader of Kakariko Village, had sealed the evil shadow spirit in the bottom of the well...." — Sheik (Ocarina of Time)
- "If you would seek the sacred triangle, listen well...The resting place of the sacred triangle, the Sacred Realm, is a mirror that reflects what is in the heart...the heart of one who enters it...If an evil heart, the Realm will become full of evil; if pure, the Realm will become a paradise. The Triforce...the sacred triangle...it is a balance that weighs the three forces: Power, Wisdom and Courage. If the heart of the one who holds the sacred triangle has all three forces in balance, that one will gain the True Force to govern all. But, if that one's heart is not in balance, the Triforce will separate into three parts: Power, Wisdom and Courage. Only one part will remain for the one who touched the Triforce...the part representing the force that one most believes in. If that one seeks the True Force, that one must acquire the two lost parts. Those two parts will be held within others chosen by destiny, who will bear the Triforce mark on the backs of their hands." — Sheik (Ocarina of Time)
- "I apologize for meeting you in disguise, but it was necessary to hide from the King of Evil. Please forgive me..." — Princess Zelda (Ocarina of Time)
- "That stone is an enhanced version of the Gossip Stones long spoken of in the legends of the Hyrulian Royal Family. I am the one who made it." — Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule (The Wind Waker)
- "My name is Impaz. I'm the last resident of this poor village. My name comes from the great one who built this village so long ago..." — Impaz (Twilight Princess)
- "What...is this?! I... I remember something... I was confined somewhere... Yes, and I was saved by whoever was confined with me... And when that person set me free, they gave me this statue... Yes, yes, I remember that much! But that means...that person is still in trouble!" — Ilia (Twilight Princess)
- "Welcome to Old Kakarico [sic]" — Sign written in Hylian (Twilight Princess)
- "This village was once the secret home of a proud tribe who served the royal family...But it fell into decline, and became infested with dangerous beasts. It's become an awful place..." — Impaz (Twilight Princess)
- "I REMEMBER! I thought I had seen that before somewhere...That belonged to the tribe that protected the Hylian royal family long ago. They worked in secret, so they lived in a lonely, forgotten place. But I heard that tribe dwindled in the prolonged wars..." — Gor Coron (Twilight Princess)
- "From generation to generation, my ancestors have guarded the book that, by royal decree, was to be given to the messenger to the heavens." — Impaz (Twilight Princess)
- "I am Impa, nurse to Hyrule's Princess Zelda." — Impa (Oracle of Ages)
- "When I returned to Hyrule, Zelda told me that in addition to Nayru, Din, the Oracle of Seasons, was also in danger. So, as she requested... We've posed as a traveling troupe so we can sneak Din into Hyrule." — Impa (Oracle of Seasons)
- "Zelda asked me to find a singer named Nayru. Will you help me look, Link?" — Impa (Oracle of Ages)
- "Thank you, Link! You allowed me to pass through the sacred barrier! I've been waiting for this moment! I am Veran, Sorceress of Shadows! Nayru! Oracle of Ages! I shall make your body my own!" — Veran (Oracle of Ages)
- "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..." — Impa (Ocarina of Time)
- "Sheik: Originally it was just an eye. The Sheikah tribe served the Hylian Royal Family since the dawn of time, acting as its protective shadow. But a long time ago the family betrayed us...and we added a single teardrop to the symbol." (Ocarina of Time manga: Vol 2 (Viz Media), pg. 35)
- "Impa: You're not a Sheikah...But this is a coming-of-age ritual among Sheikah men." (Ocarina of Time manga: Vol 1 (Viz Media), pg. 190)
|Names in Other Regions|
|Spanish||Sheikah (OoT3D, SS)|
|French||Sheikah (OoT3D, SS)|
|The Races of the Zelda Universe|
|Ancient Robot · Ancient Tribe · Anouki · Cobble · Dark Interlopers · Dark Tribe · Demon · Deity · Deku Scrub · Fairy · Garo · Gerudo · Goron · Ho Ho Tribe · Human · Hylian · Keaton · Kikwi · Kokiri · Korok · Lokomo · Minish · Mogma · Oocca · Parella · Rito · Salona · Sheikah · Skull Kid · Subrosian · Tokay · Twili · Watarara · Wind Tribe · Yamatami Tribe · Yeti · Yook · Zora · Zuna|