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The Gerudo are a playable faction in Hyrule Conquest

Geography

Despite its centuries-long wane, the Empire of the Gerudo still stretches across the expanse of the Gerudo Desert. Its territory covers the majority of the Gerudo Desert proper, some 60 kilometers east to west and 50 kilometers north to south, bordered on the west by the Gerudo Cliffs, and largely encircled by the Moruge Mountains on its northern, eastern, and southern borders. To east and south, the desert opens to Hyrule Field and the Plains of Ordona through a number of mountain passes.

The Gerudo Desert is an arid and dry dustbowl created by the presence of jetstreams to the north and south depriving its basin of moisture, most rainfall diverted by the surrounding mountains into the Misery Mire and southwestern coast of Hyrule. Because of this, the land cannot support growing farms or feeding large populations. As a result, most of Gerudo civilization is clustered around the Zora River as it flows through the eastern canyons, or numerous Oases scattered across the desert. The Gerudo primarily live off of herds of desert pigs and small scale agriculture such as vegetables.

Capital and Settlements

The Gerudo capital is the city of Ashinon, home of the ancient Gerudo Emperors. Ashinon is located on a large Oasis nearly in the heart of the Gerudo Desert, and is connected to several other settlements by trade roads, including Aidaidorf, Ayloch, Paladorf, Hasanadorf, Wynaldorf, Avielod's Watch, and Zaldorf. Aidaidorf is a pilgrimage center built around the ancient Desert Colossus and the Spirit Temple located in the southern foothills of the Moruge Mountains. Ayloch is a fortified town located in the canyons along the River Zora as it flows southwest, home to the Gerudo's largest fortification and prison complex, as it is the primary settlement along the border with the Kingdom of Hyrule. Zaldorf is the only Gerudo por, and is famed for its axes and palm lumber industry.

Culture

The Gerudo are a humanoid race descended from the Akkalans, and share ethnic relation to the Sheikah, Ordonians, Calatians, Labrynnians, Horonians, and Arcadians, as well as the ancient Wind Tribe, Cobble, and Lokomo, all being members of the same race descended from the mythical Firstborn. Additionally, the Twili, Lanayru Zora Hybrids, and High Zoran all share heritage with this race. The Gerudo are much more similar to human beings than their Elfin cousins, notably boasting rounded ears, like the Ordonians. Much like their southeastern cousins, this is a topic of scorn and mockery by their pointy-eared kin, to the point many Hylians refuse to even acknowledge the Gerudo as of the same ancestry as themselves. Gerudo typically boast dark skin, golden or brown eyes, and almost universally red hair. Gerudo men are typically very large compared to women, standing 1.8 to 2.15 meters tall.

Molded by scarcity and warfare, the Gerudo are traditionally a harsh, cruel, and proud people, doing whatever is necessary to survive. While this has led to be seen as duplicitous and violent raiders, thieves, and slavers by their neighbors, they remain a resourceful, innovative, and endlessly hardy people. They are experts at utilizing and preserving the meager resources of their, typically living inefficient, compact settlements with intricate water systems and carefully cultivated gardens. These adobe settlements are built with defense in mind, boasting narrow streets and large flat rooftops to allow archers to harass invaders.

Gerudo culture experienced a radical cultural shift when Ganon's Curse struck them and their men began to dwindle in number. Traditionally, the Gerudo were a highly patriarchal society, with government and military roles delegated to powerful males. As Gerudo women were forced to adapt to these roles, they rapidly adopted a fierce and violent demeanor. The Gerudo have traditionally been as obsessed with purity of blood as their Hylian cousins, but a need for survival has led to Gerudo women often being forced to attract foreign men or take slave mates. Hylian and Ordonian men are frequently the target of slavery and forced labor, while the dwindling Gerudo nobility still view foreign relationships as polluting their bloodline. All Gerudo women are ceremonially married to Emperor Ganondorf, and Ganondorf has sired innumerous daughters to ensure the continuance of the bloodline.

The Gerudo traditionally have worshiped Kovaloo, First Sage of Spirits, as a patron deity, whom they know as the Sand Goddess. From her, they learned the secrets of Spirit Magic, practised by a powerful sect of Witches who served the Sand Goddess. The goddess Din was another source of reverence for the desert people, believed to have been adopted from Hylian culture. Over time, the other two goddesses of the Hylian pantheon were introduced, and Goddess worship soon surpassed reverence of the Goddess of Sands.

History

The origins of the Gerudo trace back to the Akkalan Civil War. In 2991 BG, King Rhoaban Gustaf I was assassinated by Baolin Nohansen I and Yom Daltus. His three children born of a secret affair with Siroc were smuggled out of Akkala to the remote mountain settlement of Calatia by Sir Bado "Groose" Harkinian, who then continued into the Gerudo Desert. Bado entered a relationship with an unknown desert woman, and his descendants would become the progenitors of the Gerudo, inheriting their father's characteristic red hair.

Desert-dwelling Hylian relatives calling themselves the Gerudo first appear in historical records from 2657 BG. The Hylians themselves were unsure of their kinship with these people, believing them to originate from the remote mountain Kingdom of Calatia. The Gerudo conquered much of the western and central Gerudo Desert, forming a powerful Empire that rivaled the Darknut Legion in the East, and constructed great cities and monuments, seeing themselves as a great garden in the desert. During this period the Gerudo expanded into the Plains of Ordona, taking the port city of Aslosus and establishing the colony of Faldoon along the southern Moruge Mountains. The ancient Gerudo were ruled by powerful patriarchal Emperor for over 1,000 years, but began to wane from over-exploitation of their desert home and wars with their neighbors. During this period Aslosus fell under the control of powerful Gerudo Pirates while Faldoon was abandoned due to the outbreak of a plague. Circa 1600 BG, a civil war led to the overthrow of imperial rule and the establishment of the Circle of Warlords, a de facto council of squabbling military leaders. Some 1400 years later, two sisters were born, becoming powerful Witches who virtually controlled the Gerudo from the shadows through puppet rulers.

By the time of Ganon, the once-mighty Gerudo had waned to a shadow of their former glory. In 1 BG, the Moblin King Ganon approached the Gerudo with offers of an Alliance, but as expected, was spurned by the haughty Circle of Warlords, and, with the aid of the Yiga mage Bongo, cursed the Gerudo's Oases so that the Gerudo would never again bear male children. As the curse spread throughout the Gerudo's empire, the Twinrova Sisters made their own move to steal the Triforce, marching to Hylia Marine with a rogue army, but were defeated by Hylian and Zora forces, and presented to the Circle of Warlords along with captured Yiga Clan Sheikah and criminal Fairies as a token of peace. The Circle would banish the most dangerous of the Gerudo and Yiga mages through the dreaded Mirror of Twilight, which they believed to be a gate to a void of no return.

Politics

In their Golden Age, the Gerudo were ruled by powerful male Emperors whose authority was absolute. The lost testaments to their power remain slowly sinking into the sands, great Statues and Tombs, in which the Kings were buried in their iron and bronze armor to eternally hold vigil over their people. Circa 1600 BG, a Civil War resulted in the overthrow of the Emperor and the Empire being carved up by powerful generals known as the Ring of Warlords. The Ring traditionally fluctuated in number, reaching as high as twenty members, and was subject to the petty disputes and conflicts of the rival Warlords. Over this period, the Gerudo Wind Witches became a de facto political within the Gerudo, holding both respect and fear to such a degree that even the Warlords dared not oppose them. Circa 250 BG, twin sisters were born among the Witches, Koume and Kotake, whomrose to turn the Ring of Warlords into the veritable puppets.T hrough Twinrova's influence, the Gerudo have reorganized under the rule of a single Emperor, the last male of their kind, Ganondorf. Seen as much as a savior figure as a King, he is in truth essentially a puppet to his mothers and their Witches. While the military and administrative structure of the Empire serves the Emperor, the Wind Witches rule absolute from the shadows.

The Gerudo maintain tenuous political ties with their neighbors, most notably the Darknut Legion and Zuna. While havign warred with one another for control of the desert since ancient times, the Gerudo and Darknuts hold amicable political and trade relations, with the Zuna often functioning as intermediaries. Gerudo relations with their cousins to the east and southeast have always been strained, particularly since the Rise of Ganon. Desperate for mates and resources, the Gerudo increasingly raided Hylian and Ordonian borders, earning them a reputation as barbaric and thieving raiders.

Clans

Much of the history of the ancient Emperors and familial lines of the Gerudo have been lost, as their people traditionally did not keep detailed historical records. As their population has dwindled and interbred with Hylians and Ordonians, only a scattered handful of families still claim pure Gerudo lineage. Only the Clans of Riju and Ganondorf are still known to survive.

House Seat Region Sigil Blazon Notes
Ganondorf's Clan Ashinon Gerudo Oasis Solar disk with a red gemstone in center
Riju Ashinon Gerudo Oasis Gerudvaloo encircled by Golden Ring

Trivia

  • All Gerudo unit's scimitars bear Gerudo typography that translates to "Wind of Death." This is a reference to Ganondorf's speech in The Legend of Zelda:The Wind Waker, in which he speaks of the harsh winds that plagued his desert homeland, and the death they carried.
  • The Gerudo faction symbol is that of the Gerudo's emblem, which first appeared in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
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