Darkness Falls Chapter 1

By Gemini83

The Highwind had picked up the seven warriors, the “Protectors of the Planet.” Cloud stood upon the grassy field south of the Bone Village, feeling a slight shiver once again, but not from the cold. A year ago, they had come here, and what they had found was pain and suffering...dearest Aeris. It still plagued him that he could not protect her from Sephiroth. Tifa came from the camp fire and hugged him from behind, and he once again had to remind himself to be happy. He was with his friends, after all.

“Tell me again Red,” asked Cloud, “why are we here?”

“Yeah,” said Yuffie, “is it a fight? ‘Cause if it is, I’m dying to get a real workout for a change.”

“Mature as ever kid,” said Cid, smoking on a cig, “but why don’t we let Red answer that question?”

“My friends,” continued Red, “I don’t know why we’re here.”

“What?” demanded Barret, “You mean to tell us you dragged us out here for nothin’? Not that I mind spending time with you guys, but I left Marlene waitin’ at Elmyra’s place.”

A figure came out of the darkness of the forest, clothed in red and black. “Sorry Barret, but this is important.”

Everyone turned to see the owner of the voice.

“Vincent!” shouted Yuffie, “How did you get here?”

“Hello friends,” replied Vincent, “I flew here in Chaos Beast form. The Planet has been crying out for months now. But recently, the cries became more...intense. I came here to investigate why.”

“Yes,” agreed Red, “Trouble is afoot. I was told to bring us all here.”

“By whom?” asked Reeve, “What possible reason can the planet be crying out for? We shut down all the mako reactors.”

Suddenly, flashes of light and sound exploded in the distance. They were far away, but the blasts came again. Whatever it was, it was coming closer.

Cid brought out his communicator, “Cid to Highwind, come in Shera.”

“Shera here, what are those explosions?” came an answer.

“Shera, take the Highwind and get into the air.”

“What is it captain?”

“No time to explain, just fly away and patrol the area.”

“But cap-”

“Don’t argue with me this time dear. Be ready to pick us up if I call. Just go, understood? Don’t come back unless I call.”

“...Very well, I trust you. Take care.”

“You too.” Cid threw away his smoke.

The others looked at Cid.

“Cid.” smiled Cloud, “What did you call just Shera?”

“Doesn’t a guy have the right to call his wife ‘dear’ anymore?” Cid asked.

Reeve shook his head in jest, “You’ve changed, my friend.”

Another explosion wracked the horizon.

“Come on guys,” said Tifa, “if Red says we were brought here for some reason, let’s at least check it out.”

“Weapons ready?” asked Cloud. The others nodded. “Yuffie, did you bring our materia?”

Before she could answer, Vincent warned her, “Remember, we only agreed to let you borrow them. If, for example, we come up to a WEAPON without our materia, we may just let you handle it by yourself.”

Yuffie glared at Vincent, then smiled, “You guys know me too well.”

“Of course,” returned Cloud, “we’ve had first hand experience with you.”

“Too much, I’d say,” laughed Tifa.

Yuffie laughed as she handed the materia to the others. Then she noticed that Reeve had no weapons, only strange white armor. “Reeve, don’t you have any protection?”

“Of course,” he said, gesturing to his armor. Pressing a concealed button, it expanded, with arm guards and wrist lasers. “As you know, I no longer have use for Cait Sith, so I used him to create this armor.”

“Cool,” said Yuffie, “can I have one too?”

Reeve smiled, “Sure Yuffie, later. Right now we have work to do.”

“Indeed we do,” said Red, “As I seem to remember, the Turks still work for you, do they not?”

The others looked at Reeve, remembering there on-again-off-again allies.

“Yes, but they’re on vacation, I thought we could handle this. I can give them a call if you want.”

“That won’t be necessary, yet. Let’s get going.”

With that, the group of eight marched towards the source of the explosions. Then they noticed a strange light, emanating from afar.

“Cloud,” said Tifa, “isn’t that light coming from...?”

“Yes,” answered Red, “the City of the Ancients.”

“Aeris...” said Cloud under his breath.

The group ran towards Bone Village, but more importantly, towards the City of the Ancients. Everyone had pointedly not said anything about the death of Aeris, some things were too painful to talk about; but it was still in all of their minds.

‘Aeris,’ thought Cloud, ‘What is going on?’

It was cold in the City of the Ancients. Darkness came from every corner, as if it were tangible. A silent figure knifed through the darkness as if it didn’t bother him.

“Good thing I can see in the dark,” said the wanderer to no one in particular, “It’s as dark as an abyss in here.”

As he came close to a spiral staircase, the traveler noticed a strange light coming from the water.

‘No doubt about it’ thought he, ‘Cetra technology, now let’s see if we can get some more light.’

The mysterious stranger went to the water’s edge. and began to concentrate. Energy flowed through the water, and into the structures around him. Slowly, darkness began to lift from the city. Power flowed into recessed lights all around the city. The Cetra had built their city well, for soon the lights illuminated the entire city, as if it were broad daylight, even though the sun had set only a few hours ago.

The figure stopped concentrating. “That’s better...”

A strange glimmering caught his eye. It was down deep beneath the water’s edge. He tapped a button on his helmet, and immediately holographic projections began feeding him information.

‘There seems to be a strange power source under there. Records say this is the last known whereabouts of the Cetra, Aeris. Might as well check it out.’

He immediately turned of the holographic readout and jumped into the lake. He noticed immediately how ethereal this water seemed to be. He had already swam a far way from the surface, yet the water retained a slight hue of light, as if he were only a few meters deep. He swam on, ignoring the cold water seeping in through his armor. His clothes were waterproof anyway.

The stranger was immediately jarred from his thoughts when he came upon the source of the glimmer. It was a girl, or rather, a strange white orb that she had near her. ‘This must be her...Aeris. Time to get you to the surface.’

He grabbed the white orb, attaching it to his belt, and picked up the woman in pink clothing. He also caught sight of a staff, and took it as well. Wasting no time, the traveler pushed off from the floor of the lake. When he reached the surface, the traveler noticed that despite her pallor, many could still consider her beautiful, with her golden brown hair...she reminded him of...

Then he saw where the girl had been stabbed, when her life snuffed out by a fanatic.

‘What a psychotic.’ he thought, remembering the archives he had read. A madman, named Sephiroth, had actually killed this Cetra, hoping to summon forth a destruction of the planet, thus granting him ultimate power.

What amazed him was that the girl had been able to summon the planet’s energies, even from “beyond the grave.” She had been able to stop this Sephiroth through pure force of will.

‘Fool, didn’t Sephiroth know that he could never control such power? Where would he have gone after Meteor anyway?’

He immediately snapped out of his reverie, thinking on the task at hand. First the body. He concentrated deeply, resting his hands over the months old wound. A light came from his hand, surging through the dead woman’s body, slowly sealing the wound.

‘It will leave a scar, no help for it. Now the spirit...’

Aeris had been floating in Lifestream for what had seemed like an eternity. Everyday was much like the other, floating in a sea of light, hearing voices of others long dead. It was peaceful, yet somehow, she couldn’t understand why she was still here. If she had died, why didn’t Lifestream simply absorb her life energies into itself? And so she continued to float through Lifestream, day by day, pondering her fate.

Except today, something was different. She had felt the planet crying for months now, yet something about today felt different. Then she felt it, someone had found the White Materia. Even in death, she had a strange affinity with what happened in the living world. She barely had time to think on this, when she was suddenly pulled from her slumber in Lifestream. Whatever was happening, it felt painful. What had the power to hurt a ghost? The pain grew worse, spreading through her body. Aeris began to panic, but became truly scared as images of death and suffering raged through her mind, images of blood and war. Then, when everything went dark, she felt a shiver run down her ‘body,’ a searing and indescribable agony, it was as if she were dying again. In all her time after Holy, Aeris had never been surrounded in total darkness. There was always some measure of light to comfort her. But now there was nothing. Aeris felt she could not move. She could not speak. She could hardly even think. The cold darkness closed in on her, consumed her, and she screamed...


Author’s Note: Great, now I’m really getting into this! Okay people, I am cranking out about two or three chapters a week, but it will take longer for me to finish them since I revise like mad once I’m done typing. If you want to see something (or don’t), drop me a line, I may put it in if the idea works.


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