Darkness Falls Chapter 15

By Gemini83

Aeris’ screams tore through the air as she cradled the dead Kaede in her arms.

“What the hell did he just do?” demanded Barret.

“A foolish gesture!” said Xizor.

“He just killed himself!” shouted Tifa, “killed himself to save her from you.”

Xizor simply laughed, “You think that will save you? Now my task is made easy, you will all perish!”

Cloud raised his sword.

“Listen to my words monster!” yelled Cloud fiercely, “You will die today!”

“Nothing but empty threats,” taunted Xizor, “he may have saved her, but you will all die anyway! Sleepers attack!”

Horde upon horde of Sleeper forces fell upon Avalanche and the Turks. The small group surrounded the still forms of Kaede and Aeris.

Tifa went to Kaede, to see if she could help, but it was already too late. She tried to comfort Aeris, putting her hand on the Cetra’s shoulder, but Aeris could not feel anything at all.

“Dammit!” said Cid, fighting off several Sleepers, “we can’t hold them off forever!”

“Tifa!” shouted Cloud, “is he...?”

Tifa nodded, “he’s gone.”

“Planet save us...” muttered Vincent.

Cloud and the others tried to hold the hordes at bay, but it was only a matter of time before they were overrun, there were just too many Sleepers. The mass of dark bodies was slowly engulfing them. It looked like it was too late for them all...

Aeris ignored all of it, simply looking into the staring eyes of Kaede Knight. She cried unashamedly. He was dead, no longer would he be there to protect them. No more music, no more hope, no more...

And now, now that she had finally realized what he had felt for her, he was dead. Dead...because it was the only way to save her.

“Kaede...Kaede...,“ she whispered, “I love you too, BUT WHY DO YOU HAVE TO DIE!!!!!!!”

Aeris screamed in agony, letting her powers, her very emotions, run wild, sending energy shooting through the air.

Xizor sneered at Aeris, “what will you do, foolish girl?”

Aeris tenderly lowered Kaede’s head to the ground, closing his eyes. She stood up, gathering her will. It was almost without thought that she did so, as if she was acting out of pure reaction.

Xizor mocked Aeris, “what can you do, worthless insect? You will all fall, just as he did!”

Aeris’s eyes glowed with raging green energy, the air crackled as lighting and thunder raged through the air.

“Monster,” said Aeris in a chilling voice, “your terror ends now!”

A strange energy passed through the air, as if it would rip through the very atmosphere. The Sleepers fell back at the sight of the enraged Cetra.

“Minions!” yelled Xizor, “What are you waiting for? Attack!”

The hordes fell back further as a maelstrom of energy and light danced around Aeris and her friends. The Sleepers cowered at the sight of the enraged Cetra, as tendrils of green energy shot from her hands into the ground.

“Heartless butchers!” cried Aeris, “You are not fit to live!”

Cloud and the others looked at Aeris in awe and wonder. Never had they seen her like this. She emanated pure energy, the tempestuous fury of the planet itself.

Xizor felt a twinge of fear as he looked into her blazing eyes, eyes that signaled his doom...

‘Great Planet, pleaded Aeris, ‘by all that is holy, please help us now, our need is at hand...’

The planet answered, and giant cracks formed along the ground, as raw mako came spurting up from the depths of the planet, swallowing many of the Sleepers. The hordes retreated, returning to higher ground.

Aeris slumped, exhausted, as the last bits of glowing energy faded from her body. Tifa held her as she collapsed to the ground. The surge of mako began to fade into the forest.

The others looked around in awe, amazed at the power they had just witnessed.

“A-Aeris?” stammered Cloud.

Aeris couldn’t reply, breathing hard, a grimace of weariness on her face.

Xizor cried out, “impressive witch! But you still cannot defeat us-”

That was when a great howl cut through the air, like a knife. The sound reverberated all throughout the valley. Millions of cries could be heard, and they did not belong to the Sleepers.

Elena cried out as the ground shook all around, “Aeris! What did you do?!”

Vincent tried to gain his footing, “She must have released something when the called to the planet!”

“Then what the hell is going on?” demanded Barret.

Red shivered as he felt a great mass of pure energy being summoned, he had never felt such pure, unadulterated power before, “whatever she did, it is causing major shifts within the Lifestream!”

The sleepers were shaken from their position in the hills, as powerful tremors shook the ground. Light could be seen emanating from the Ancient Forest.

Figures began to emerge from the trees, hundreds upon hundreds of them.

“Oh great!” said Reno, “what now?”

Red, having sharper vision than the rest of them, could just barely make out the shapes. When he finally saw what they were, he felt his stomach lurch.

Yuffie saw the look in her companion’s face, “Red? Red!”

Red remained silent, muttering something under his breath.

“Nanaki!” shouted Vincent, “What is it?”

Cloud could barely make out the words ‘they are here’ escape the Cian’s lips.

Cloud was still trying to decipher Red’s words when Tifa called out.

“Cloud! Look!”

Cloud turned to the direction Tifa was pointing in. He immediately lost all ability to reason. What he saw was unbelievable.

Cid managed to spit out, “What in the planet’s name....?”

The small group of warriors glared at the spectacle, unable to believe what they saw. For there, emerging from the depths of the Ancient Forest, came hundreds upon hundreds of crimson Cian warriors.

“R-Red?” stammered Elena, “weren’t you the last of your kind?”

Aeris managed to get up, shakily leaning on Tifa for support.

“I asked the planet for help,” said Aeris, “it seems like this is its answer. Nanaki...you aren’t the last of your kind...not anymore...”

“What the hell?” demanded Reno.

“Remember the scrolls?” asked Vincent, “they said that ‘the ancient warriors shall rise again...’”

Red couldn’t answer, merely staring in awe, as multitudes of his race began to pour forth onto the land. The ancient race of warriors was back, Nanaki was no longer alone...

The hordes of red beings fell upon the Sleepers, tearing them to pieces. The air was heavy with the reek of burned flesh and blood, as each Sleeper disintegrated as it expired. It seemed like a war of ghosts, raging crimson demons annihilating the black hordes.

Xizor stood aghast, not believing his eyes. How could his victory have been taken from him? He had won, the Planeswalker had died, with barely any losses to his forces. How in the Emperor’s name had he lost?

Xizor glared at the trembling form of Aeris, he wasn’t done yet.

“Cetra!” he cursed, “You will pay for what you have done!”

Xizor loosed a powerful bolt of energy towards Aeris. Cloud leapt in front of her, deflecting the blast with his sword. Xizor shot another blast, only to have it punched away by Tifa. Before the monster could attack again, Elena threw a grenade at his feet. The explosion sent him flying through the air.

‘The curs will pay for this, the game is not over yet,’ thought Xizor.

As Xizor shakily got back to his feet, he noticed something from the corner of his eye. The monster barely had time to turn before a red cat-like figure silenced him...

Cloud and the others stood their ground, simply looking at the dead Xizor, a red figure hovering above the monster.

“Dammit,” said Barret, “I wanted to kill that bastard!”

The Cian warrior turned around, and looked at the group of warriors. One of his kind was among them, but there was more to him. He noticed something vaguely familiar about the Cian among them.

Red ran up to the figure, struggling to find his voice, “Seto...F...Father...?”

Seto looked at the figure before him, and noticed a familiar pin in the young cub’s mane. It had belonged to him. But that meant...

“Son?” asked Seto.

“FATHER!” yelled Red, embracing Seto.

For the first time in his life, Red cried, cried into his father’s mane as he tried to forget the pain of having been the last of his kind, of having grown up without his parents.

“Nanaki,” whispered Seto, “worry not, I am here.”

“And so am I,” said another voice.

Red turned around, not daring to believe, “mother...”

But the joys of Red’s reunion with his family were lost on Aeris. She held Kaede close to her, crying her heart out. Her tears mixed with the blood on her face.

Cloud looked at the fallen warrior, feeling anguish and regret.

Tifa turned, “Cloud?”

Cloud simply stared at Kaede’s body in shock, “He gave his life Tifa, he gave it to save Aeris, to save us all. And the last thing I said to him...was that I would kill him...for hurting Aeris.”

Cloud’s body shuddered, and Tifa hugged him, giving Cloud her support.

“We’ve all made sacrifices,” said Vincent, “I only wish there was another way...”

Seto and Red came to the fallen warrior’s side.

“This is him?” asked the older Cian.

“Yes father,” Red answered, “this is the Planeswalker, Kaede Knight.”

Seto examined him, gazing at the man’s features, “I am sorry my son, it is beyond my ability to heal him.”

Elena looked at the large Warrior, “What is your name?”

“You may call me Seto,” answered he.

“And where did you come from?” asked Rude, “Your kind have been dead for years, other than Red here.”

Seto blinked at the others, “No, we weren’t dead...”

“What?” asked Barret, “Come on man, no one has seen you guys for a long time.”

“That may be,” said Seto, “but we weren’t dead.”

Red turned to his father, “Then...where were you...all this time?”

Seto took a deep breathe before beginning, “It was prophesied by the Ancients, that a great calamity would plague our planet.”

Red nodded, remembering the scrolls.

“However,” continued Seto, “it was also said that a great darkness would befall us, just after the defeat of this danger.”

“That was written in the scrolls also,” said Vincent, “what of it?”

“Well,” said Seto, “it is said that great war and bloodshed would follow. You may not know this, but the Ancients formed a deep bond with our race.”

“We have heard of it,” said Cloud.

Seto nodded, “And years before Meteor struck, we knew it was time to take precautions against the coming turmoil. It was clear that the world was searching for our kind, and the Cetra.”

“Unfortunately,” said Reeve, “the Shinra stopped at no lengths to achieve power.”

“Just so,” agreed Seto, “as such, it was necessary for us to disappear, so that we might be alive to protect the planet when the need arose. Thus, we went into hiding, not letting even our most trusted friends know where we went. We locked ourselves away, deep into the Ancient Forest, there to be dead to the world, dream the Deep Sleep, until such time as we would be needed yet again.”

“You say ‘the Deep Sleep,’ what do you mean?” asked Reno.

“Our bodies were held in stasis,” replied Seto, “until such time that the Guardians of the Planet would need us yet again.”

“Why,” asked Red, “was I left behind?”

Seto smiled at his son, “I am sorry Nanaki, it couldn’t have been easy for you, but one of our kind had to be left behind, to watch over the planet and protect against Meteor. It was your destined role, although you had no inkling of it.”

Red simply nodded, remembering how Avalanche had relied on each other to achieve final victory against Meteor. They had needed all the help they could get, and he played no small role in Sephiroth’s fall.

But now, Sephiroth was back, and their planet would still be destroyed, unless they could do something.

And their only hope of beating the Drahk had died with Kaede...


Author’s Note: (Cue Twilight Zone music) I’m back!!! I’ve been out of town for a while, so pardon the really late update. Anyway, I’ve finished the story, more or less, and now it’s mainly a question of revising and posting. Thanks to everyone for sticking with this, and Happy New Year!!!

You know, I always wondered about the last scene in FF7. I mean, if Red is the last of his kind, then how can he have little kids of his race running with him? If he wasn’t the last of his kind, then why was there no other that looked like him? A friend gave me some strange explanations for this...some of which still send shivers up my spine sometimes... thanks a lot Arachnia! Anyway, I decided to resolve it like this. Please keep reading and write back.


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