- "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 as Impa, Purah, and Robbie are known to live over a century in Breath of the Wild with Purah being the oldest having lived for 126 years and is even older than Impa due to being her elder sister, though her lifespan may have been extended by her anti-aging research causing her to regress to a six year old. Additionally even in old age, the Sheikah Robbie was able to father a son with his younger wife Jerrin who is a half-century younger than him.
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 like depictions of Impa's incarnations that predate the introduction of the Sheikah, despite have a long lineage of Sheikah ancestry, with Impa's elder 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. However the one feature that has remained consistent is the Sheikah's close association with the Royal Family of Hyrule whom they serve in the shadows in a manner akin to japanese ninja with most incarnations of Impa playing the role of bodyguard, nanny, and/or trusted adviser to the Princess Zelda's various incarnations.
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. The Sheikah tend to serve the Royal Family from the shadows and before Breath of the Wild very few confirmed Sheikah beyond incarnations of Impa appeared.
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.
In addition to worship of Hylia, Sheikah pray and give offerings to frog-like Guardian Deity statues which represent deities that act like signposts that guide Sheikah thoughout their lives. Additionally the Great Fairy Cotera has watched over the Sheikah of Kakariko Village whom apparently worship her as a guardian fairy of their village but since the area of her fountain became too dangerous, Sheikah stopped visiting her fountain leading her power to diminish until Link defeats the monsters near her fountain and restores her with an offering of rupees. However even after this Dorian tries to encourage his children to stay away from the area by telling them scary stories because of how dangerous the area had been.
Like the Gerudo and Zant who once worshipped Ganondorf, the Yiga Clan apparently worship Calamity Ganon. However interestingly Karusa Valley is filled with frog-like Guardian Deity statues featuring the Yiga Clan symbol and the Yiga Clan apparently give offerings of Mighty Bananas which they possess an unexplained fascination and obsession with. However its possible these statues represent demons, malevolent spirits, fallen deities, or monsters associated with Ganon whom is still considered the King of Evil as he had been since ancient times. However not all Yiga Clan members are apparently devoted to Ganon as least one member Dorian turned his back on the Yiga Clan after falling in love with and marrying one of the Sheikah of Kakariko Village and became trusted enough that he became one of the Village Elder Impa's bodyguards. However the Yiga Clan murdered his wife and threatened to kill his two daughter unless he provided information to the Yiga Clan. However Dorian eventually became strong enough to protect his daughters though the Yiga Clan switched tactics by threatening Impa and Paya unless he stole the Sheikah Heirloom though Link discovered the blackmail and protected Dorian from the Yiga Blademaster whom had been Dorian's handler. Afterwards Dorian returned to his duties freed from the mistakes of his past. However this shows how dangerous it is for Sheikah to abandon the fanatical Yiga Clan.
Though a faithful follower of Hylia, Monk Maz Koshia shares the Yiga Clan's strange fascination with Mighty Bananas indicating the fascination some Sheikah have with them predates the Yiga Clan whom may have inherited it from their ancestors.
Sheikah are commonly depicted as ninja-like tribe who generally serve the Royal Family of Hyrule in secret from the shadows thus implying they act as secret police, advisers, and personal bodyguards of the Royal Family. In Ocarina of Time there is evidence that they engaged in activates such as imprisonment and execution of enemies of the state as Bottom of the Well and Shadow Temple are prison-like dungeons much like confirmed prisons like the Arbiter's Grounds and Lockup. It is implied that some of the Sheikah's methods were unsavory or questionable as both structures contain undead restless souls and evidence of possible torture and executions. This may be tied with their association with the Shadow Temple as while they may utilize questionable methods against Hyrule's enemies they are implied to do so primarily out of duty to the Royal Family though it is implied both facilities were abandoned as prisons by Ocarina of Time and may have been relics of the Hyrulean Civil War which was a time of civil unrest and war which could explain the existence of said facilities. Alternatively like historical ninja they perform tasks unsuitable or unsavory to the Knights of Hyrule and Hyrulean Soldiers such as interrogation, espionage, spying on Hyrule's enemies both foreign and domestic, as well as keeping evil, restless, or undead souls contained given the Shadow Temple's theme of death and Bongo Bongo being sealed by Impa. However it is implied these clandestine activities, the tribe's inherently mysterious nature, and their closeness with the Royal Family of Hyrule may have led some to fear and/or discriminate against the Sheikah which may explain why they became outcasts over fears regarding Sheikah technology being used against the kingdom possibility by the Sheikah themselves despite them creating said technology for Hyrule's benefit which angered the Sheikah that eventually formed the Yiga Clan due to feeling their people were unfairly mistreated. However most Sheikah understood the people's fears and may have even saw that their technology created to be used against Ganon were unnecessary in peacetime. However the Yiga Clan's existence is implied to have forced the loyal Sheikah to relinquish their traditional role as royal bodyguards to the Royal Guard Knights of Hyrule though they continued to serve the royal court in secret as advisers, researchers, and even court poets. They also presumably kept ancient Sheikah technology from falling into the Yiga Clan's hands as no Yiga Clansmen wield such advanced technology as most of their weaponry is conventional weaponry created using slightly more advanced engineering techniques. Sheikah are known to be stealthy as various incarnations of Impa have shown and the Yiga Clan rely on esoteric arts that allow them to disguise and teleport. There ability to disguise themselves as Hylians of both genders also resembles Zelda's ability to transform into a male Sheikah alter-ego in Ocarina of Time implying it may be the same esoteric technique which Zelda presumably learned from Impa who is implied to have trained her in Sheikah arts and magic to make her disguise as Sheik as convincing as possible.
The Sheikah language's alphabet is introduced in Breath of the Wild. It is featured in many structures of Sheikah design. However unlike the Gerudo, no spoken language is implied or shown as all Sheikah speak using the common language used by most Hyrulean races capable of speech. However it is implied the names of the Divine Beasts are Sheikah in origin as three are confirmed to be named after past sages indicating Ruta, Rudania, and Naboris may be Sheikah for the names Ruto, Darunia, and Nabooru. However it is unclear what Vah would stand for within the Sheikah language. The Sheikah Slate utilizes Sheikah alphabet which is located under the location names on the map and under the name of Runes implying they are Sheikah translations. Sheikah alphabet also appears in the Hyrule Compendium. The pictures taken by Zelda a century prior have their location names in Sheikah indicating Zelda may have been fluent in reading Sheikah given her ownership of it and status as a researcher of Sheikah technology. Once Link uses the pictures to recall his memory related to said location the picture's location name is translated. The map's beacon like stamps are represented by Sheikah letters.
However interestingly the Camera Manual, Sheikah Sensor Notes, Sheikah Slate Manual, Journal of Various Worries, Paya's Diary, Purah's Diary, and Robbie's Memoirs are all written apparently in the conventional Hylian alphabet as Link has no trouble reading them as it is unlikely Link can read Sheikah alphabet. Additionally banners and certain signs in Kakariko Village are written in the Hylian alphabet. This implies the Sheikah alphabet was primarily used in ancient times or Sheikah utilize the Hylian alphabet for signs and books intended to be read by both Sheikah and non-Sheikah as the Hylian alphabet is the primary written language within Hyrule.
Sheikah researchers like Purah, Jerrin, and Robbie apparently can read Sheikah alphabet given its use by the ancient Sheikah though some ancient books are implied to be encrypted or have to be painstakingly translated and/or interpreted by modern readers as their messages may not be clear or their true meaning disguised. It is unclear if modern Sheikah who are not researchers can read or write in Sheikah.
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 at least ten thousand years before Breath of the Wild. 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, Runes, Guidance Stones, Travel Gates, the "Ancient", and "Guardian" series equipment, Travel Medallion, "Ancient" Bridle & Saddle, One-Hit Obliterator, and Master Cycle Zero. Additionally the civilization also had access to Ancient Materials such as Ancient Gears, Ancient Screws, Ancient Shafts, Ancient Springs, Ancient Cores, and Giant Ancient Cores, as well as Rubber used to create the "Rubber" armor set, though knowledge of how to create these materials has been lost in modern times. Despite this, Ancient Materials are still traded due to their value to researchers and collectors. Their technology was also used to develop an armor set designed specifically for climbing. Small Keys found in Shrines are also apparently of Sheikah design.
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 after Ganon was defeated and sealed people began to fear Sheikah technology being misused, causing the Sheikah to either become outcasts, or follow the people'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. However the Sheikah who remained loyal continued to serve the Royal Family in secret as court poets, researchers, and advisers though their traditional role of providing protection to the Royal Family was apparently taken over by select Knights of Hyrule whom formed the Royal Guard presumably due to the existence of the Yiga Clan Sheikah making the important task be deemed no longer suitable for the Sheikah.
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 Imperial Guard Knight Captain and current incarnation of the Hero Chosen by the Master Sword, Link leading them. The Sheikah also researched and tested the uncovered Sheikah technology with the assistance of Princess Zelda. The Royal Family's trusted adviser Impa was an important figure and close confidante of the Princess, while her elder sister Purah lead the research team which included her assistant the Guardian researcher Robbie. However an initial test of one of the Guardians almost ended in disaster when it went out of control at Hyrule Castle, though was defeated by Link's quick thinking which later lead to his promotion to Captain of Princess Zelda's guard detail and personal bodyguard by King Rhoam. However Zelda resented Link's talent as she struggled to awaken her sealing powers without the guidance of her late mother. However after Link foiled a assassination attempt on Zelda by Yiga Clan Footsoldiers near Kara Kara Bazaar, Zelda bonded with her appointed knight learning he too shouldered the burden of his destiny despite his talent. Gerudo Champion and Chieftain Urbosa also foiled another assassination attempt by Yiga disguised as travelers though spared their lives at Zelda's request. At least two Sheikah run Tech labs were built with funding from Hyrule Castle implied by Purah to be due to Impa's influence. These two labs include the Royal Ancient Tech Lab and Hateno Ancient Tech Lab. Zelda's Sheikah court poet also assisted the Princess in a survey of the Shrines located throughout Hyrule, though it is implied he did so primarily to be closer to the Princess whom he apparently had a crush on. Unfortunately save for the Shrine of Resurrection, Zelda and Purah never managed to access the other shrines which lacked power due to the Sheikah Towers being buried and were designed to open only by the Sheikah Slate when wielded by the Chosen Hero. Purah and Robbie trained the Champions to pilot the Divine Beast and eventually managed to successfully learn to control the Guardians leaving Princess Zelda and Purah confident they would be ready to confront Calamity Ganon, while King Rhoam insisted Princess Zelda focus all her efforts to awakening her powers even forbidding her from further research which he left to the Sheikah though later regretted the decision and planned to support Zelda's research efforts, though unfortunately Ganon returned before he could do so. 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 using the untested Slumber of Restoration, 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. Despite living simply, Impa and Paya guard a piece of technology Sheikah Heirloom as their ancestors had done for generations upon generations until the Heirloom's prophecized chosen hero would appear and use the heirloom to receive a blessing. Impa also took possession of Link's Champion's Tunic which she protected while he slept so she could one day return it to him. Cado and Dorian reveal the traditional rain resistant garbs Sheikah wear were constructed with Sheikah technology and are designed to function in a variety of conditions allowing Sheikah to work in the rain and can even ward off lightning. However Sheikah are forbidden to sell or lend traditional clothing to non-Sheikah though Cado and Dorian have no trouble revealing it is made via ancient technology to Link though this may be due to Link himself utilizing ancient Sheikah technology some of which was specifically designed to be used by the chosen hero including the Sheikah Slate, Sheikah Heirloom,and Runes. However Sheikah Stealth armor can be sold to non-Sheikah presumably due to said clothing resembling Sheik's clothing worn by the Princess of Hyrule who lead the Seven Sages as a disguise. Sheikah stealth armor was worn by Sheikah warriors a century prior as seen in Link's recovered memories and are apparently laced with sound supressing ancient Sheikah technology indicating Sheikah continue to utilize clothing created with ancient technology though albeit designed to appear conventional indicating while they live simply their people's ancient technology remains in use though while it is still advanced compared to conventional Hyrulean technology it is considerablely low-tech when compared to the Sheikah's most advanced Sheikah technology. The Sheikah Monks that serve Hylia and oversee Link's trials have been enshrined for untold millennia waiting to prepare and aid him in fulfilling his destiny. As a spirit King Rhoam realized the Shrines and Sheikah Slate's true purpose, causing him to lead Link into accessing the four Shrines located on the Great Plateau which contained Runes for the Sheikah Slate and Spirit Orbs acquired from completing the Monk's trials four of each Link could offer to Hylia's Goddess Statues throughout Hyrule to trade to the Goddess for Heart Containers or Stamina Vessels. Upon completing all 120 Shrine trials the Monks reward Link with the traditional green garb of the hero created by them especially for him, recognizing him for passing their trials and worthy of title of Hero. It is unclear if the monks are alive having been preserved by Sheikah technology or in stasis, as they appear mummified and may be spirits or holy undead. Upon acquiring their Spirit Orbs their bodies dissolve in ash like flames resembling spiritual ectoplasm produced by Rhoam and the Champions spirits implying they are spirits or undead though alternativelythe technology keeping them alive deactivates allowing the ancient monks to pass on once their task is complete with their ancient bodies rapidly decomposing while their spirits pass on. The monks are implied to be ancient Sheikah who fought against Ganon ten thousand years prior as figures resemble them appear on Impa's tapestry depicting the battle which implies they lead and controlled the Guardian army. Presumably like Link they trained and tested the ancient hero to confront Ganon while supplying Hyrule with ancient technology that ultimately played a key role in Ganon's defeat. Unlike other monks, Monk Maz Koshia guards the Master Cycle Zero as part of the Final Trial engaging Link in combat as a final test. Monk Maz Koshia demonstrates how ancient Sheikah fought and even wields Sheikah technology in battle. Once Link defeats him, Maz Koshia recognizes Link's strength by awarding him the Master Cycle Zero, a horse-like motorcycle Rune that utilizes materials as fuel.
The Hateno and Akkala Tech Labs are located near deposits of ancient energy which are collected and converted into Blue Flame by Ancient Furnaces that have been burning for ten thousand years or Blue Flame is unrefined ancient energy collected by the ancient furnaces. Purah and Robbie use the flame as a source of free and renewable energy source to light their lab's Furnaces to power their respective Guidance Stones and Travel Gates. However the smaller furnace's have to be lit whenever their flame burns out though they set up special lanterns to make carrying it from the Ancient Furnaces to their respective labs easier. Blue Flame resembles the energy emitted by ancient weaponry indicating this technology utilizes ancient energy or blue flames that have been refined into plasma-like ancient energy. Presumably ancient armaments break due to running out of energy. Ancient Cores and Giant Ancient Cores are energy crystals made using ancient technology which act as power sources for ancient machines like Guardian Stalkers, Skywatchers, and Turrets. Level III & IV Guardian Scouts use Ancient Cores as power sources. Robbie developed Ancient Soldier Gear that uses recycled Ancient Cores and Giant Ancient Cores as power sources. Purah also requires three Ancient Cores to upgrade the Stasis Rune. It is implied Purah gained an interest in Sheikah technology due to her family's possession of the Sheikah Heirloom which was strangely inherited by Impa despite Purah being first born though given Purah's impulsive personality when inspired it was presumably passed on to her more responsible younger sister who takes their family's duty in guarding it very seriously. Additionally presumably it could not be removed from Kakariko Village as the Shrine it is intended to activate is located nearby thus Purah may have been forbidden to remove it from Kakariko Village thus Impa who remained there became its guardian and eventually her granddaughter Paya who aid her grandmother in its protection and care until the prophecy relating to it was fulfilled. Paya herself did attempt to use it to activate the Shrine indicating other members of Impa's family such as Purah may have tried to fulfill the prophecy to free their family from their generations long duty and/or to receive the blessing spoken of by the prophecy while Purah would have presumably jusr wanting to uncover and study its intended purpose and possibly the Shrine itself as she may have figured out its true purpose in revealing a Shrine. Paya and Dorian correctly suspected Link was the hero mentioned by the prophecy while Impa herself remained steadfast in her duty even forbidding Link from touching it though she may have felt if he was destined to be chosen by it then it would be revealed in time as Impa is an extremely patient person.
Before and during the Great Calamity, Sheikah warriors wore "Stealth" Armor set resembling clothing worn by Sheik, though the face mask is a different style from Sheik's Mask, though shares it stealth boosting properties. Before the Great Calamity, this armor was worn by Sheikah warriors that assisted the researchers and provided them security as well as serving the Royal Family in secret. During the Great Calamity two of these male Sheikah warriors found Zelda and the badly injured Link after Zelda awakened her powers defending Link from the remaining Guardians after he collapsed from exhaustion and assisted Zelda in transporting Link to Purah whom Zelda entrusted with his care. A century later, this armor is sold at the Armor Shop Enchanted in Kakariko Village allowing Link to purchase it. The tights are even laced with Ancient Technology with noise suppression properties that reduce the noise produced by rustling clothing, while the chest guard, and mask are designed to maximize stealth.
- "Ha, so that's how it looks! Makes sense. Please allow me to explain. The Sheikah tribe was once quite technologically advanced. This outfit I wear is specially made using Sheikah technology. It keeps the rain off and also wards off lightning. I may look soaking wet, but I assure you, I'm actually quite comfortable."
- — Dorian
In addition to this armor, most Sheikah wear their clan's traditional rain resistant garbs and umbrella-hats which in accordance with Sheikah tradition cannot be sold to non-Sheikah. Dorian explains that this clothing is specially made using Sheikah technology and in addition to being rain resistant the garb also wards off lightning. Even though the wearer might look soaking wet Dorian reveals they are actually quite comfortable even when its pouring rain thus extremely useful for him and Cado while guarding the stairs leading to Impa's house as they can stand guard regardless of the local weather which also applies to other Sheikah who work outdoors and explains why Sheikah guards like Cado and Dorian do not wear Stealth armor as it is designed primarily for stealth and not protection from rain of lightning thus making the rain resistant garbs more practical for their given occupation. However Paya, Koko, and Cottla do not wear unbrella hats thus they take shelter indoors as their heads are exposed to the elements. Purah wears the same type of garb though her's has a unique skirt and mary jane like footwear. Both Purah and Robbie wear goggles with Lizalfos-like eyes which presumably gives them better eyesight in old age as Purah stops using them after regressing into a child wearing them on her head though she still wears glasses even as a child. Sheikah once had access to Rubber an ancient material that has become nearly impossible to find save for rare ancient armor made of the insulting substance which includes the Rubber Helm, Rubber Armor, and Rubber Tights. The set grants Shock Resistance and becomes Unshockable at Level 2 or higher though it offers not protection from Vah Naboris' artificial lightning as only the Thunder Helm is truly Lightning Proof. Sheikah also developed climbing gear in the form of the Climber's Bandanna, Climbing Gear, and Climbing Boots using their ancient technology though this set is also rare. Robbie and Jerrin's son Granté studies rare armor including that made by the ancient Sheikah and even manages to acquire several of these rare articles to the point he opens up the Rare Armor Shop in Tarrey Town. The Sheikah Monks have also left some of these rare ancient articles of clothing and others inside Shrines though some Hylians have acquired them as Link receives a Rubber helm from Cima. Modern Sheikah wield conventional single edge swords such as the Eightfold Blade and Eightfold Longblade, though they developed the Edge of Duality using ancient technology for Hyrulean knights unfamiliar with the Sheikah's single edge blades though this was apparently before the Sheikah became outcasts in Hyrulean society as they can be acquired in some ancient Shrines. The Shield of the Mind's Eye in a Sheikah shield featuring the Sheikah Emblem. The Phrenic Bow is a conventional long range wooden bow passed down through the Sheikah tribe and wielded by Sheikah archers such as Cado. Serpentine Spears are conventional spears with a unique crescent shaped spearhead used by Sheikah spear masters to snag opponents and deliver brutal cuts. Additionally before the Great Calamity, the Sheikah attempted to use their people's lost ancient technology to create conventional weaponry for the Royal Guard, resulting in the development of the "Royal Guard" series armaments to combat Ganon which were modelled after the existing "Royal" series armaments. Unlike the Edge of Duality and the "Royal" series, these new armaments while powerful suffered from low durability issues that made them unsuitable for combat and thus became little more than rare relics of the Great Calamity popular among collectors, treasure hunters, and some monsters living in Hyrule Castle. The Sheikah were unable to develop more advanced weaponry until after the Great Calamity when Robbie developed Ancient Soldier Gear using Ancient Materials and modified a Guidance Stone into the Ancient Oven Cherry to craft Ancient Soldier Gear. Monk Maz Koshia however wields a high tech Guardian Sword++ that were more commonly used by the Sheikah ten thousand years prior and guards an ancient vehicle called the Master Cycle Zero which he will award Link if he completes the Final Trial located inside a fifth unnamed Divine Beast. Guardian Scouts also wield Guardian Swords and other high tech weapons which can be picked up and equipped by Link once they are defeated. Despite their name, the Ancient Battle Axe and its stronger variants are considered "Guardian" series weapons as they are wielded by Guardian Scouts and Cherry cannot forge them. Ancient Arrows however existed before the Great Calamity as bundles of them can be found in chests within Hyrule Castle though their arrow tips were created from repurpose ancient high-tech daggers. Robbie apparently later discovered how to create them with Ancient Materials and conventional Arrows after the Great Calamity thus can be forged by Cherry though they are virtually identical to those created before the Calamity. Ancient Arrow are extremely powerful capable of obliterating most non-boss enemies though this also destroys any equipment or materials they normally drop. Guardians are more resilient though Ancient Arrows are extremely effective at penetrating their defenses though their Ancient Materials and "Guardian" series equipment are strong enough to survive if destroyed by Ancient Arrows. Sheikah Archers like Monk Maz Koshia and some Yiga Clan Footsoldiers also utilize conventional Arrows, Bomb Arrows, Fire Arrows, Ice Arrows, and Shock Arrows. The Curious Quiver Arrow Shop in Kakariko Village even sells Arrows and Fire Arrows to Sheikah and non-Sheikah. However these conventional arrow types are also used by Hyrule's various races and monsters. The Sheikah Monks are responsible for crafting a set of Hero's Clothes for Link which are given to him in recognition of completing all 120 Shrine Trials and proving himself worthy of the title of Hero.
The Yiga Clan wield their own weapons different from other Sheikah. Yiga Footsoldiers wield Vicious Sickles and Demon Carver blades both designed to terrorize their victims. During the assassination attempt on Zelda at Kara Kara Bazaar, three footsoldiers wield Vicious Sickles and one comes close to ending Zelda's life though Link uses the Master Sword to stop the blade knocking it from the Footsoldier's hand and scares off the other two. However it shows Vicious Sickles have been around and used by Yiga Footsoldiers for over at least a century. Footsoldiers also wield Duplex Bows engineered to fire two arrows at once while using only a single arrow as ammunition. The Windcleaver wielded by Yiga Blademasters is sharp enough to cleave the wind to created a vacuum. Master Kohga and Monk Maz Koshia also wield metal balls indicating this type of weaponry was inherited by the Yiga Clan along with his strange fascination with Mighty Bananas which they share with the monk, despite turning their back on the Kingdom of Hyrule unlike Maz Koshia who is a loyal servant to Hylia who challenges Link in combat only to test his skills. Ancient Sheikah also developed the Remote Bomb rune and several other runes for the chosen Hero. The Travel Medallion, Ancient Bridle, & Ancient Saddle are also lost Sheikah Technology hidden away long ago which Link can rediscover during his quest.
Sheikah Weaponry, Artifacts and Items
|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, Stealth Mask, and Stealth Chest Guard, while Stealth Tights are contemporary tights laced with Ancient technology. 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. Robbie used his expertise to craft high tech equipment from Ancient materials acquired from Guardians for Link to use to combat the Guardians and Calamity Ganon. Guardian Scouts, Calamity Ganon, and the Scourges of the Divine Beasts wield high tech weaponry developed by the Ancient Sheikah, though Monk Maz Koshia is the only Sheikah to actually wield said weaponry in present day Hyrule. Calamity Ganon and his Scourges apparently wield stolen ancient technology they managed to acquire presumably from Ganon's battle ten thousand years prior and/or during the Great Calamity though fortunately none of the other monsters or Yiga Clan wield such high tech weaponry. Sheik's Mask appears as obtainable armor through the using the Sheik amiibo with the Amiibo Rune and its description references Sheik as it is said to have been worn by a Sheikah who saved a time travelling hero presumably referring to Sheik's role in aiding the Hero of Time, though apparently Sheik's status as the Adult Zelda's alter-ego in the distant past was kept secret and Sheik became to be viewed by history as a true Sheikah presumably to allow future princesses of Hyrule to continue to use the Sheik identity as an alter-ego. In Impa's family the Sheikah Heirloom that reveals the hidden Lakna Rokee Shrine has been passed down through Impa's family for generations upon generations. Impa is so protective of it she even requires the Master Sword's chosen hero Link to respect her family's tradition and not touch it until it is stolen and Link is tasked with its recovery fulfilling the Heirloom's prophecy by using it to reveal the Shrine proving Link was the hero intended to use the Heirloom as her granddaughter Paya had suspected. It is also stated that many of the conventional armor and weapons wielded by Sheikah have been passed down through the tribe indicating much of it predates modern times which may explain why so few Sheikah actually wield them in present day Hyrule and why some of it can be found in shrines. Mysteriously an Eightfold Blade appears in a rock on a mountain west of Kakariko Village's Lantern Lake and is replaced every so often by another should Link remove and equip it though it is unclear if it is the local Sheikah or supernatural forces that are responsible. Like weapons wielded by other races, conventional Sheikah weapons and shields have even fallen in the hands of monsters such as Bokoblins, Moblins, and Lizalfos. Oddly even though the Yiga Clan serve Ganon, no Yiga Clan weapons are wielded by monsters indicating they are exclusively reserved for the Yiga Clan, save for weapons that have ended up being acquired by travelers including Link from defeated Yiga Clansmen. The young Hylian weapon enthusiast Nebb in Hateno Village even heard about the Duplex Bow and Windcleaver, which area among the various weapons he request Link acquire and show him.
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. The Slate was originally uncovered by Princess Zelda and Purah's research team with the Princess taking possession of it as it was believed to be the key to accessing the Shrines which was true though their lack of power and the Shrines being designed to be opened by the chosen hero confounded Zelda's efforts to access them as shown by her attempt to access the Tena Ko'sah Shrine in one of Link's recovered memories. At one point, Purah used its Camera Rune to take the Picture of the Champions which was somehow printed and the print ended up in the hands of Zelda's unnamed court poet whom eventually passed down to his Rito student Kass whom would later give it to Link after he assists Kass in completing his mentor's unfinished work, The Champions' Ballad. After the Great Calamity, Zelda and Purah realized the Slate was intended for the Hero all along and Zelda had Purah leave it behind to guide Link as it had been originally intended. Once Link used it to activate the Great Plateau Tower it and the other towers rose throughout Hyrule restoring power to the Shrines allowing Link to finally access them and their trials. The Sheikah Slate is designed to access Guidance Stone terminals and works in conjunction with Travel Gates and gates created by the Travel Medallion to warp Link around Hyrule once properly activated. The Sheikah Towers also provide the Sheikah Slate with a GPS like maps of various regions which gives Link a complete map of Hyrule once all Towers have been accessed. The Hyrule Compendium is a database which contains entries on certain creatures, enemies, and items Link photographs. The Guidance Stone in Purah's lab also contains picture data which Link can purchase to fill in the Compendium's missing entries.
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, though the Yiga Clan's inverted emblem appears etched into the Sickle's blade.
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 bandana. 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. Sheikah warriors wearing Stealth Armor assisted the researcher by providing security and presumably secretly assisted the Hyrulean army and Royal Family in keeping peace as a clandestine military force. Two unnamed warriors would even come to Zelda's aid after Link was injured, presumably protecting her in Link's steed after the battle of Fort Hateno showing that Sheikah still remain protective of the Royal Family during a crisis.
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.