Link is a young adventurer from Calatia, a neighbouring country of Hyrule found just over Death Mountain. During his ventures in the crumbling world of Hyrule, he is sought out by Impa, Princess Zelda’s maid, as she knows that Link is of the bloodline of the Hero of Time. Past generations of Heroes have carried the Triforce of Courage within them, and this has always sealed their destiny as savour of Hyrule.
Zelda is of the Royal bloodline that carries the Triforce of Wisdom. Because of this, the evil king Ganon has taken specific interest in her, kidnapping her from Hyrule Castle. Away from the King and her maid Impa, she is in grave danger.
Ganon, free from his prison in the Sacred Realm once more, still has a task to complete. All his life, he has tried to claim Hyrule for himself, and turn it into a twisted, blackened world of evil. To do this, he needs two pieces of the Triforce - Courage and Wisdom. Already holding the Triforce of Power, he takes the Princess Zelda thinking that she is in possession of the Triforce of Wisdom. However, she splits her Triforce piece up into 8 smaller pieces and hides them around Hyrule.
Impa, the Princess Zelda’s maid, had fled Hyrule Castle after the evil Ganon had kidnapped the vulnerable Princess Zelda. She knew the power he was after, as legend had recorded his tyranny in the past, so she went out in search for the one who would be carrying the Triforce of Courage. Upon finding him, she tells him about the scattered pieces of the Triforce and the Princess Zelda’s peril.
It is the Wise Old Man who sets Link off on his adventure, handing him a wooden sword. He is often first to aid Link with help along the journey. The question of why he hangs out in dank caves goes unmentioned.
The Merchant travels the world to trade wares and then brings them back to his store in south west Hyrule.