The Color of Blood Prologue
By Brady Bryner, Bill Shofstall, & Anthony McKinley
Shinra Building, Reeve's Office 5:34 PM Dec. 29
A hardly merry season for Reeve, or anyone else. War trouble was rearing its head as Rufus had taken Corel, and then the Gold Saucer. A giant city of soldiers and people who believed Rufus would win the battle and take back the world filled his cities. Costa Del Sol, Amorhel, Corel, and the Golden City were all large cities, but were not plated, and attracted Rufus's wealthy investors. The poor people were forced to move to Asgar, Cork, or Benan. All were plated, and looked much like Midgar, with mako reactors. Rufus had also taken back Junon, and built a new mako cannon. His spread of power also had taken Fort Condor, despite many, many attempts to fight them off. Rufus stopped spreading out his power after that. Without his board of officials to run things for him, he had a hard time handling all the problems himself. But Reeve's government was in the clear. Palmer still worked for him, and the Turks. He had appointed Cid Highwind as head of the Technological Development Department, and gave him and Palmer extra funding. Angus, a man he trusted to be in his place in his absence, was officially his vice president. Tseng was head of the Department for Civilian Peace Conservation, a powerful group of police to keep the cities in order.
Reeve was not without corruption though. The annexing of Bone Village was made difficult due to Rufus's occupation of the town. Reeve drove Shinra out of the village, slowly. The first assualt required a beach front assualt, were the first several waves of soldiers were easily killed by machine gunners in concrete bunkers. After taking the beach, they worked through the forest, and finally the town itself, where half the villagers were wounded or killed in cross fire. Then, Shinra took it back, and began building a city from the North Cave and spreading it over the island. At the North Cave, Valhalla was built, a city like Midgar as well, but it also delved all the way into the core of the Planet, slowly sucking mako energy out, powering the whole city. The Forgotten Capital was destroyed. The Chocobo Sage was dead. As if his pathetic blubbering ever did anyone without patience any good anyway. Reeve knew he had to first take back the cities of the world, and then head for Valhalla. With Valhalla, Rufus would be choked out of existence. Reeve looked hard at a map, wondering where to attack. Tseng walked behind him. "Sir, maybe we should get Fort Condor first, and launch an assualt to Junon from there. And perhaps increase defenses in Kalm and here in Midgar."
"Good idea, Tseng. Send a two squads of soldiers to Kalm, and send a group to Rocket Town, we have to help them get back on their feet."
"And set up that old launch pad, too. We're going to use Alexander's original attack plan for the war against Wutai. We'll load up ships with lasers and fire upon major MILITARY cities. Any cities with civilians must only be attacked upon ground assualts. Keep that in mind."
"Call me Reeve. Please."
"Sure, Reeve." Tseng wrote on a pad of paper and walked out of the office.
Cosmo Canyon, Training Area 6:03 PM Dec. 30
"Remember, in combat, always use the code of honor." Nanaki walked back and forth in front of lines of his species and humans. His job was to train them on battle philosophy. "Thats it... You are dismissed." He went to his room and sat on his bed, repeating phrases, learning magic. He waved his right paw in a pattern, his room lighting up in a flash, almost like a lamp hung in the room. Nanaki laid down as Kianki walked into his room.
"Hello Nanaki." Nanaki smiled.
"Hey Kianki. What do you need?" He looked at her.
"I'm looking for that headdress I got off of your father. I think it can help me a little."
"Oh, sure." Nanaki hopped down and rumaged through a pile of various objects. He held a clip with a long string of silver feathers.
"Thanks." She plucked it from him and took it away.
"Welcome, Kianki." He went back to his bed, laying down on the pillow. "I think..." He stopped all movement. "What was I thinking? Is my memory starting to go? I'm too young for that. I just had a little lapse. Thats it. Oh god... I'm having a mid-life crisis! I'm only sixteen! No!" Kianki ran back in.
"Are you gonna be okay?"
"Huh? Oh... Yeah... Sure." Nanaki remembered. "Thats it! I need to get something out of the clip on the headdress, please."
"Sure..." She dropped it in front of him. He yanked a red orb out of the clip.
"What is that?"
"An old summon materia of father's."
"What is it?"
"Never mind. Go do what you can." She left. "Seto... What kinda materia did you carry?" He looked at the rune at the back of the materia and thought hard, translating. "Mars... Hmm... It'll be useful... I guess." He pondered what this summon was capable of. He clipped it into the last empty slot of the Limited Moon.
"NANAKI!" Kianki screamed as high as her lungs could go. Nanaki ran out of his room as quickly as possible, until he found her, outside the canyon. Anthony was sitting in front of a corpse, ripped apart. His face was smeared with blood. He had obviously eaten the person.
"A... Anthony? What are you doing?"
"Oh..." He was smiling. "This? He started it."
"Yeah... He attacked me, I ripped him apart. Fair is fair."
"But why... Why... Why did you eat him?" Nanaki inspected the body. The chest cavity was ripped open, the rib cage crushed. The organs inside were torn apart.
Anthony furrowed his brow in thought. "I don't know."
"What?" Nanaki just stared at him.
"It was the strangest thing. He had stabbed me through my side, and in a last chance to survive, I ate him."
"Anthony... Your side ain't bleeding, or have a hole."
"Yes..." His smile turned cold. "You see... By becoming a dark mage, I have instituted the age old art of regeneration by blood and flesh."
"How do you know this?"
"My secrets Nanaki. I've been practicing hard with my magic skills." He vanished and reappeared next to Nanaki. "I seek to be the greatest..." He walked casually back to the body. "I'm not evil... I'm just...taking my full advantage of my rights."
"But...you can't just eat people!"
"We're were born to protect them!"
"Oh, I agree. I won't just maul and devour anyone, only anyone who tries to kill me." Nanaki sighed and shook his head.
"We gotta think of a good lie..." Kianki squeezed her eyes shut. "You're so sick... Why do I have to like you?"
"Cause I'm the best... Anyway, a griffon ripped him up first. He stabbed me, I almost died."
"Come on. We gotta get that blood cleaned off." Anthony walked after the two, slightly too happy.
Cetralin, Rame 9:23 PM Dec. 30
Vincent and Elena walked around the city. It was warm, almost like what the city of Costa Del Sol had been like before Rufus made it into a manufacturing center. "Excuse me!" Rameus ran up to Elena. "Ma'am... You were sent by the president of the Shinra Corporation, right?"
"Yeah." Elena started chewing a stick of gum.
"Good, we need you to show us how to operate something."
She was pulled away as Rameus pulled her by the back of her coat. "Watch the fabric! This thing is expensi..." Elena passed out under a tranquilizer. She awoke almost two hours later, several miles away. Elena saw what he was talking about. A mako cannon. "How the..." She hurried up the stairs to the large bleeping control panel. She started to look around the controls, Rameus hopping up right behind her. "How'd you turn it on?"
"We didn't. We just found it here. We sent some soldiers out here but they never came back."
"We gotta get out of here!"
"Why the hell you think? RUN!" Elena jumped over the railing, poorly calculating the deck to the ground. Her ankle broke under the wieght, her femur in her right leg poking out of her leg as well. She held her breath as she cast a cure spell on her leg, watching the bones go back together like clay. It still stung, but she could run. She was up quickly, and ran into the jungle, forgetting about Rameus. She must have run three miles before realizing she was lost. She twisted around frantically, looking for where she had come from. She collapsed as a sharp pain shot through her leg. She cursed in her best Wutai dialect. She then pulled her self up and walked through the woods as rain began to fall. The jungle soon teemed with water snakes as the ground burst open with water shooting out in ice cold geysers. Elena drank heavily of the water and continued through the swamp that the flood had formed.
She pulled herself into a tree and cast cure on her leg again, the sting finally leaving. She breathed a heavy sigh of relief and filled her canteen with water from the flood. She filled a second with more and lit a cigarette that the rain doused out quickly. She took a deep breath and dove into the water, swimming hard against the hard pull of the water. As she reached for a large rock, the zolom like creature shot out of the water, shrieking.
Elena pulled her gun from a bag and cocked it, firing. She removed an uzi as well, firing in a mad horror. It spit acid at her, burning a hole through her suit and burning her skin. She threw a grenade, doing little damage. She removed a rosary she kept in her coat and threw it hard at the creature, running out of any method of attacks. Suprisingly, a thick plate on the monster fell off. Elena scrambled for bullets, finding one for her pistol. She said a silent prayer and fired, piercing the creatures flesh, acidic blood gushing out. One more would do it. She pulled her very last bullet out, and prepared her uzi's last clip, but the creature knocked the guns from her hands.
They sank into the water, but Elena didn't stop. A red light flashed around her as she leapt at the being a ripped its serpent flesh off, ignoring the burn. She fell back, casting cure on herself, and then removed a knife. She had forgotten about it in her fit of horror. She whipped the blade, piercing the air, and the serpent's tender, thin heart. It exploded, but Elena dove into the water as acid filled the air. She dove so deep she hit the ground. A greenish light flowed out of the ground, wrapping around her. She was surprised to find herself breathing normally. "Where am I?" She shot up over the water, the green light pulling her up. She hovered over the water safely, looking at the little orbs of light in the stream of twisting green lines around her. She heard children's laughter all around her, making her giggle as well.
As soon as it had come, it stopped. She was alone on the rock, but with a far greater knowledge. She knew the way back to Rame. Vincent would be waiting. He would take her to a medic to see if she was okay, and then back to work. She smiled, the sun showing through clouds. Dawn had come. She didn't know how long she had fought the creature, or how long she had been in the light. It didn't matter. She was fine, the rain was gone, and she would be able to make it back to the city soon. She felt in her coat for her PHS. She contacted a relieved Vincent, and sat on the rock, waiting.
Niblehiem, Shinra Mansion 7:02 AM Dec. 31
Tim, Matt, and Joe stood in the mansion's entrance, noticing a hole punched through the door. "It has to be old. Scott did it." Matt chewed a piece of candy. He shoved the door down. "It was a long time ago. Tim, you're the youngest so you have to feed the chocobos."
"I'm almost the same age as you!"
"You were born a year later."
"But..." Matt punched him in the arm and shoved him outside. Tim took greens to their black chocobos, and opened his saddle bag on his personal chocobo, Bly. "Hey Bly." He stroked the birds feathers and removed a materia he found while at the North Cave. It was like a black rock, shining. He looked hard into the inscription, trying to see the name. He knew most of the letters of the ancient dialect. "Meteor?" A pair of glowing green eyes appeared looking back from the orb. He gasped and dropped the orb. "What the fuck was that?" He whispered several curses, bent down, and picked the orb up again. It was larger then most other materia he had found. It fit well in the palm of his hand, big as a baseball. He removed the axe he had found from the bag and buckled it onto his belt, shaking his head. He placed several materia orbs into the slots, all about a cubic inch. Much smaller then the black orb. He walked back inside.
"Jenova..." Joe removed a vial of the Jenova strands he had picked up. "How them fuck is this stuff getting around so much?" The strands moved violently in the vial, but futilely. Too small to break the vial.
"What are you boys doing here?" The three turned around and saw a woman with brown hair and eyes. Joe quickly pocketed the vial.
"Umm... We were... Uh..."
"It's dangerous here, it'd be best if you boys weren't in here."
"Ye... Yes ma'am." Joe recognized her. "I've seen you somewhere before... Yes."
"I know you from somewhere too, can't remember. Anyway, go on. Out." She was very impolite in her manner of shoving them out the door. Tifa herself walked out, seeing the ruins of the town. Tifa walked into the mountains, finding Cloud's well hidden grave.
"Today, we mourn the loss of a hero..."
"My hero..." She kneeled down on the grave.
"More then a man."
"The greatest legend our time may ever know."
Tifa collapsed on the grave crying. "I miss you Cloud..." Two hands shot through the dirt.
Tifa screamed. A day dream. The grave was still there, peaceful. "What do I do, Cloud? What CAN I do?" Some one walked up behind her. She turned, seeing Anthony. "Hi Anthony."
"I'm sorry, didn't know you were here."
"It's okay. Really. In fact, come here, sit down." He walked over and sat down, staring off the mountain. "Anthony? Is that what everyone had always called you?"
"Not really. When Kianki's relaxed, she calls me Tone or Tony sometimes. And Reeve keeps calling me horn dog." He smiled slighty. "God I hate that man."
"No you don't."
"I know. I love him like a brother some how. One of the only humans I know that cares about life and nature. You're another."
"Thank you." She stroked the fur on top of his head slowly. "Whats your story?"
"Me? Geez... I never really think of my past. I can't remember much. I was an experiment since I was two, escaped at eleven, and lived in a waterfall cave. That, and I don't remember when I was thirty to thirty-four. I have flashbacks, two kinds."
"I got all day, Tony." Anthony's ears perked up with his smile.
"Well, I have dreams that fill in what I don't remember, and I have these horrible hallucinations from a drug they used to sedate me."
"Thats horrible." She hugged him around the neck. "I've never really talked to you, have I?"
"Not really. Whats your story then?"
"I used to live in Niblehiem, before it burned down. Then, Shinra rebuilt it as a conspiracy, filled it with actors, and it was like normal. When I was a kid, I moved to Midgar, opened a bar, and joined a group called Avalanch." She then told him the whole story of Avalanch to the destruction of Sephiroth, and what happened up to the death of Yuffie. He listened intently, and by the time she was done, he was laying down, almost asleep. "Sorry... Did I bore you?"
"No ma'am. A good story, but I'm just tired." He nuzzled Tifa's leg, and stood. "I got to get home."
"You won't make it before morning." The sky was darkening. "Will you please spend it with me. I get so bored, I'm always alone now."
"Okay. I'll stay." Anthony smiled. "But not here, can we leave the grave site. It scares me." Tifa thought for a second.
"Sure." She stood and scratched his head, and they walked away, down to the burnt town, spending the night in the mansion. As soon as they had gone, a little cat jumped from behind the grave. Lord Cait Sith. He sighed, rubbing his temples.
"I don't want to do this, got no choice." He sat down and cried, hating his new profession. "I used to be great... Now look at me. Where are those other espers now?"
A huge platinum dragon hovered over him. Bahamut. "Etigin. I know about Ra, but he doesn't know that. He has amde a treaty with Chaos. Spy on these people, but falsify your reports to Ra. Tell us what they're really doing. If they all die, the Planet will fall."
Lord Cait smiled. "I can do it. Nice to be back in business." Lord Cait saluted Bahamut, and snapped his fingers. A sword appeared from nowhere; he buckled it onto his belt. He straightened his cape, and ran away.
Bahamut sighed. "Some day Etigin... Some day I'm going to regret this..."
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