Darkness Falls Chapter 43

By Gemini83

Cloud slowly walked up to one of the spires. It read “PLANET’S WEAPON.” Who would have known it would have an almost literal meaning?

Cloud laughed to himself, “are you sure this will work?”

“It has to,” answered Kaede.

He had walked up to the spire opposite Cloud, the one marked as “WALKER’S LEGACY.”

“Together now Cloud,” said Kaede.

Cloud nodded.


In unison, Kaede and Cloud thrust their swords into their spires. A low rumbling emanated from the walls.

Kaede nodded to Aeris and Tifa. The two women nodded back, and walked to their respective spires.

At the same time, the two women set the White and Black Materias atop their respective spires, leaving the orbs to hover in the air above the projections.

A light ran through the inscriptions in the floor, illuminating the alien script. Energy rose from the dais, causing an iridescent glow to tinge everything with color. The trembling grew more accented, and the floor began to shake, opening and closing at odd angles.

Cloud, Tifa, Aeris, and Kaede were engulfed in the light, feeling the energy of the Ancient technology flow into them, shooting raw power through their veins. They had to close their eyes against the brilliant luminescence. Into their minds came a phantasmagoria of images, showing them the battlefields across the world, connecting them with each event and life on the Planet. Then the images died down, and the light beyond their closed eyes dimmed.

When they opened their eyes once more, the scene had changed. Now they could see, that the floor beneath them had risen as well. The Drahk Emperor looked at them with astonishment. The four could see their tired friends as well.

The others looked upon the four standing in the dais with a sense of wonder. They didn’t look like mere mortals anymore. No, their eyes glowed with energy, their clothes shone with unrelenting light, tingeing them and everything around them. They no longer seemed bound by the laws of this world. They had moved beyond it, above it.

Kaede extended his will, reaching into their minds, ‘Now...attack him!’

Aeris shook her head, “What about you?”

Kaede spoke through their minds again, ‘I must maintain the powers of this Fortress, for the final attack. But I cannot summon them until you kill the Emperor.’

“We won’t leave you!” shouted Cloud.

‘You have no choice,’ replied Kaede, ‘please be quick, there is not much time...’

“I can help you!” pleaded Aeris, “let me-”

‘No Aeris,’ came the reply, ‘I must do this, and they will need your help. You must trust me...please...’

“Always,” answered the healer.

Tifa turned to Cloud, and smiled, “ready to do this?”

Cloud smiled back, “ladies first.”

“You are such a gentleman,” joked Tifa.

Aeris stepped in front of them, “please, allow me...”

Gathering the energies in her staff, Aeris extended her arms. The intense green light matched the color of her glowing eyes. Then she gestured to the Drahk Emperor with her staff. A great bolt of lightning came forth, engulfing the demon, striking him repeatedly. The beast cried out in pain, but was still standing. Soon, he shrugged off the attack, looking up to sneer at his attackers.

But Tifa was already upon him. Rushing at him at almost blinding speed, Tifa imbedded her elbow deep into the Drahk lord’s stomach. Raising the same arm, she brought her fist crashing up into the Emperor’s chin. Aeris continued her volley of spells, while Cloud rushed in, supporting Tifa with his sword. It was not his Ultimate Weapon, no...he had drawn his powers together, forming a sword of pure energy in his hands. And with it, he sought to finish the Emperor once and for all.

The rest of Avalanche looked on in awe as they saw the titans battle.

“Somebody tell me when in the Hell living gods came into existence on this mud-hole,” demanded Reno.

“They are not gods,” said Nanaki, “they are the acolytes of the Planet, empowered by it to carry out its will.”

But even they had their limits. Despite the power flowing through them, the Acolytes of the Planet could feel themselves changing, tiring. Their bodies were not meant to withstand such forces for so long. But they pushed on relentlessly, because the lives of so many depended on them...

...Because that’s what heroes did...

...Even the ones doomed to die...

...Especially them...

Aeris twirled her staff above her head, then brought it crashing down on the Emperor. Bringing her weapon back up, Aeris slammed her staff into the demon’s face. She swung around again, clipping the monster against his ear. She raised her staff again, but was caught off guard by the Drahk lord’s retaliation.

She was moving too fast to hit, so he attacked in all directions, sending forth a wave of energy to engulf everything around. Aeris was only stunned by the attack, but the demon took the opportunity to follow up with more. He viciously backhanded her, sending her reeling. Then he slammed his fist into her stomach, causing Aeris to keel over in pain. He grabbed her by the throat, and picked her up, choking her. The Cetra healer gagged and sputtered, uselessly hitting the Emperor’s outstretched arm.

Tifa came to her aid. Jumping high into the air, Tifa reached out her hand, blasting away at the demon. She landed, sidestepping his punch. Falling into a cartwheel, Tifa swept her feet along the ground, striking at the monster’s legs. As he was thrown off balance, Tifa jumped once more, bringing herself to face level with the demon, and initiated a roundhouse. The Drahk Emperor was blind with pain, and Aeris thrust her staff into his side, letting loose another spell.

He cried out as he let her go. Aeris fell back, barely conscious. Cloud followed up the attack on the Emperor, vaulting into the demon’s midsection. The Emperor staggered back, as Cloud landed on his feet. Running up to the beast, Cloud attacked with his sword, slashing at his enemy.

The Drahk lord managed to dodge the blows, then brought his fist forth, ramming it into Cloud’s face. The leader of Avalanche let out a bark of pain as he was thrown back. Tifa came to his rescue, once more striking at the demon’s legs as she cart-wheeled on her hands. Flipping behind the Emperor, she ran up to follow her attack. But the demon turned, raising his leg. Tifa was staggered as her enemy’s kick flew across her face. Then the Drahk lord punched Tifa in the stomach with his most powerful blow. His claws raked through his foe’s skin this time, and Tifa gasped in pain as she felt the attack tearing her apart. Beams of light shot from the Emperor’s eyes, throwing Tifa back. She fell to the ground, but forced herself to her feet, cradling her stomach. Blood leaked through her hands, and she tried in vain to ignore it. Tifa looked down and winced...it wasn’t good.

Cloud cried out in rage, shouting his denial. Then raw fury took over, as he rushed at the Drahk lord. The demon waited until the last second, then sidestepped Cloud’s attack, winding up behind him. Cloud barely had time to realize his mistake before he was pummeled from behind. Aeris ran to follow the attack in attempt to help him. She threw herself in between Cloud and the demon, and the blast from the Emperor’s hand quickly floored her, searing her clothes and knocking her unconscious.

Kaede’s mind was on fire. He didn’t know how long he could hold out. If his friends didn’t finish this soon...

Tifa glared at the Emperor past the red haze at the corner of her eyes. Blood was streaming from her mouth, which indicated internal wounds...damn. Making up her mind, Tifa leapt forward, forcing her screaming muscles to make one last attack. Yelling out in rage as she attacked her opponent, Tifa let loose an impossibly quick flurry of punches, staggering the Emperor. Kicking him in the stomach, Tifa leapt from her other foot, catching the demon with another kick as she jumped into the air. Landing on her feet, Tifa attacked with a low roundhouse, followed by a rising uppercut. Grabbing the Emperor, she rose into the air, feeling things break inside her as she carried the Emperor up with her into the air. Then she slammed him into the ground again, releasing tidal forces as the demon fell to the floor. Tifa landed on her feet again, and glared at the Emperor’s bloodshot eyes. Letting out a hoarse laugh, Tifa charged her final energies into her fist, and shot forth, driving her fist deep into the demon’s midsection. Atomic forces shattered his skin, flinging the Drahk lord back and forth like a rag doll, engulfing him in smoke...

Tifa was breathing heavily now, and as she felt her feet give out, Cloud came to her side, slowly easing her back down to the ground. She smiled up at him.

Cloud forced back his tears, rigidly making himself maintain his calm. Dear Planet, her blood, she had lost so much blood. Her teeth were colored with it, it had soaked into her clothes as well as his, but he didn’t care. And her wounds...

Cloud let the tears come, not caring who saw them. Tifa brought her hand to his face, clearing away his tears. He hugged her closer to him.

“Don’t leave me Tifa,” he cried.

“Never...,” she whispered, “we will always be together.”

She clutched him tighter, “I love you Cloud...now...finish this...”

Cloud raised his head, looking past Tifa’s shoulder, to see the Emperor emerging from the flames. He was tired and ragged, but still alive. The Emperor shook his head, then sneered at Cloud.

Then something in his mind snapped. Gently, Cloud laid Tifa down, and stepped forward. The Sword of energy rematerialized in his hands, and Cloud once more donned the mantle of the cold, calculating warrior deep inside himself. To him, the Emperor represented every terror that had ever hounded him. This scum was the reason for so much suffering...and it would end now...

Screaming out his rage, Cloud swept his sword along the floor, and great rifts of energy raged toward the demon, searing him as the bastard cried out in pain. The Emperor stepped forward, daring Cloud to attack with a stream of curses. Cloud ran forward, rushing past the Emperor’s defenses, and plunged his sword deep into the menace’s belly. Bracing himself, Cloud rose high into the air, leaving behind a stream of flying blood as he jumped. The Drahk lord screamed in pain and rage, but Cloud wasn’t done yet...

Summoning more energy, Cloud charged up his sword, unleashing volley after volley of energy at the Emperor. Meteors flew through the sky as well, racking the monster with pain. Cloud landed, then ran forth one final time. Striking out with his sword, Cloud assaulted the Emperor with pure rage. Cloud’s sword moved faster than thought, as blow after blow cut through the demon. He howled in pain as his body was torn apart piece by piece. Cloud leapt high into the air, gathering his energy into one last blow, and smote the Emperor with a downward slash. The Emperor’s screams tore through the sky, as his body fell apart and vaporized at the pure energy thrown at him. Then all was quiet, the Drahk Emperor was no more...

Author’s Note: Dang it, three more chapter, I mean it this time...

Chapter 43: Darkness Falls
by Gemini83
Disclaimer: I don’t own FF7, just this story.

The sword vanished from his hands, and Cloud ran to Tifa’s side once more. Cradling her in his arms, Cloud whispered assurances into her ear, as Tifa ran her hands through his hair.

The rest of Avalanche slowly approached Aeris, Tifa, and Cloud...merely mortals once more.

“Cloud,” whispered Tifa, “Aeris and Kaede...”

The swordsman nodded, “Vincent, how is Aeris?”

The ex-Turk slowly came up to the healer, lightly slapping her face. Aeris slowly opened her eyes.

“Hmm, wha-?”

She jerked up, looking back and forth, shouting out her friend’s names.

“Aeris, Aeris listen,” pleaded Vincent, “how do we help Kaede?”

Aeris stood up, and faced Kaede.

Slowly, she walked up to the dais, the rest of her friends close behind.

Kaede’s face was a mask of pain, as he endeavored to hold in the powers threatening to tear him apart.

“Kaede?” she asked, “it’s done...the Emperor is dead...”

The Planeswalker opened his eyes, and nodded, “now let us end this...”

Kaede lifted himself higher, looking towards the Heavens. Letting out a great cry of pure anguish, he struggled to release the forces of the Planet. A great pillar of energy formed around the Fortress of the Ancients, heading towards the skies.

But a dark shadow fell from the skies, surging forth against the pillar of light. Kaede yelled out in pain as he felt the warring forces. He pushed himself onward, trying to summon forth more energy, but the Planet had none left to give. Great wounds appeared on Kaede’s body, and blood flew from several wounds which cut their way along his body.

“There isn’t enough power to destroy the Drahk forces!” shouted Aeris, “whatever forces they summoned are still threatening to destroy the planet!”

And indeed, it was true, for the dark pillar warred with the column of light, surging back and forth. This was the legacy of the Emperor. His dark soul powered the hearts of the Drahk, and now it struck from beyond life, threatening to consume the Planet even now.

“Isn’t there anything we can do dammit!?” demanded Cid.

Aeris thought frantically, struggling for any idea that could help. Kaede was screaming constantly now, as his body was being torn apart. Great wells of blood pooled on the floor beneath him.

Then Aeris knew what she had to do, “I need you to help.”

“We have nothing left to give,” said Barret, “but what do you need?”

“I need you to join with me, to connect with my mind,” answered the healer.

“What?” asked Reno, “how will that help?”

“No, I understand,” answered Red, “together, our wills can force back the Emperor’s dark spirit.”

Aeris nodded, “we can destroy them once and for all if we join.”

Tifa raised her head, “do it...”

Cloud looked down, “Tifa, you are worn. You have nothing left to-”

“We have to...Cloud,” reasoned Tifa, “...no other way...everyone will...die otherwise...”

“I’m in,” said Yuffie.

“As am I,” offered Vincent.

The others followed suit.

Cloud nodded, “what do we do?”

“Open your minds,” replied Aeris, “just like Kaede taught us...”

The Cetra reached out to her friends’ minds, finding them ready and waiting for her to lead them. Together, they became a driving force, pure will and energy, a whole far greater than the sum of its parts. Together, they reached into the hearts and souls of each life on the Planet, forcing all who were protecting the Planet to take notice. This was no one person’s fight, it was everyone’s. The forces of the Planet heard the call to arms, and lent themselves to the greater forces, the raw will of the Planet.

And together, the elements of the world joined. Rivers of Lifestream flowed throughout the planet, surging forth into the Fortress of the Ancients. The great energies flowed into the dais, and Kaede yelled again as he felt the forces and wills of every living being on the planet emptying into him. But it still wasn’t enough...

Aeris strode forth into the circle, wrapping her arms around Kaede. She knew what was wrong. The Planeswalker had the strength, and the will, to carry out what needed to be done. But he could not forgive himself for what he had done, and it was eating at him, tearing apart the forces of the Planet.

“Aeris...I’m so tired,” sighed Kaede.

She held his face in her hands, “Kaede...Kaede I know you’re tired, but you have to do this...for us.”

“No use...failure,” whispered the Planeswalker.

“Kaede,” she whispered, “you must forget your past. You must forgive yourself.”

Kaede opened his eyes, softly looking at her past the blood on his face, “I am a monster Aeris. Look at me, look at my legacy of death. Do you see anything worth saving?”

Aeris looked into his eyes, “I see you, that’s all the justification I’ve ever needed.”

Kaede laughed harshly, “Aeris...I killed my own brother. My parents, my sensei, my friends, they all died, or came close to it, to save me. I have brought nothing but pain...and now I have brought doom upon this planet.”

Tears streamed down Aeris’ face, “Kaede, can’t you see the reason for it all? Can’t you see your worth?”

“The reason why my own people don’t trust me, shun me as a pariah?” demanded Kaede, “give me one good reason why my life is worth a damn.”

“Because Kaede,” whispered Aeris, “I love you...”

Those three words...words that he chased in all his dreams, that could send his soul flying, unfettered even now.

“I love you Kaede,” repeated Aeris, “that’s all that matters anymore. We are all ready to forgive you, now forgive yourself.”

Kaede looked up into her eyes, his own so full of uncertainty, “Aeris...?”

She brought her face close to his, and spoke once more, “I...love...you...”

Then her lips met his, and Kaede drowned himself in his emotions.

He opened up that long neglected part of him, forcing it to come out. He forced himself to feel normal again, to see past the dark warrior he had forced himself to be for so long. He looked past his weaknesses, past his illusions, and looked into why he fought and strived at all. He looked into the mirror reflection of his own soul...and saw a firm resolve glaring right back. He saw a will to shatter mountains upon, a love to drown all hatred. And he finally let go, he finally forgave himself.

The energy seethed upward from the Fortress, spreading throughout the entire Planet. All around the globe, Drahk forces fell back as a fire of pure will consumed them. Then the fire spread outward, reaching out into space. It swallowed the planet...swallowed the solar system...until it had engulfed the entirety of the Drahk forces. It swallowed the darkness whole...and the Drahk forces shattered against the stronger will of the Planet. For a brief moment, all those minds were invincible. Then the fire was gone, and all the minds on the Planet fell back into their respective bodies.

Author’s Note: We’re not done yet! Just because the bad guys are dead doesn’t mean it’s over. We still have the endings to go, and I swear, my heart bleeds every time I read it.


Chapter 44

Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic