Darkness Falls Chapter 5
Knight began to hear voices. Where was he? Then he remembered. He had fallen unconscious after the battle with the shrouds. Memories flooded through his mind, older recollections of pain and suffering. He felt wracked with agony, as the memories of past injuries compounded the pain of the new. He opened his eyes, and saw he was on the bridge of a strange craft. Two members of Avalanche struggled to hold him down, a tall man clothed in red, and a slightly taller one, the one who had a gun for an arm.
The warrior was confused, and thrashed about. Aeris put her hand to his forehead, and talked to him, trying to calm him. He was clearly in pain, and Aeris cast a few spells of healing. It worked slightly, but then a halo of energy surrounded them both.
Pain flooded through Aeriss mind. She began to see memories, but they were not her own. She seemed to have formed some sort of link with the stranger, living his nightmares. She saw death, decay, destruction, she saw the chaos and agony of unbridled war. These were Knights memories, this had been his life. Aeris saw bodies strewn across crimson battlefields, she saw burning husks of ancient civilizations, fires consuming everything and every being in its path. A phantasmagoria of sights and sound invaded her mind as she screamed in pain.
Knight felt it as well, he was seeing the Cetras memories, some of happiness, some of pain. He saw the fall of Meteor, the fall of a flower...the fall of Sephiroths sword...
Her attempt to heal him must have caused a psychic backlash. And he knew, that she was seeing his memories, just as he was seeing hers.
No, he thought, this is not meant for human eyes. The memories could kill her...
The warrior quickly broke free from the hold the two men had on him, and drew a knife. The others cried out, afraid he was going to attack them. Before anyone could react, he stabbed himself in his side. Knight felt unconsciousness coming again. The link with Aeris began to break away.
What the hell was that? shouted Yuffie.
Knights vision began to grow hazy, his link with Aeris was completely broken.
Good, at least now she is safe... Then all was darkness.
Aeris staggered to her feet, with the help of Tifa.
Aeris, she asked, what happened?
Aeris cried into Tifas embrace, her body shuddering uncontrollably.
I saw into his mind, she answered.
What do you mean? asked Cloud.
I saw some of his memories, a few outlying thoughts, Aeris closed her eyes, while Tifa rocked her back and forth, comforting her, so much pain...I only felt the barest touch of his memories, and it nearly killed me...
Jeez! shouted Yuffie, why did he stab himself? Is he crazy?
I think he did it to break off his communication with me, said Aeris.
Are you okay Aeris? asked Red.
Yes Nanaki, but any longer, and I may not have held out...
Cloud shook his head, looking at Knight. What kind of man was he?
He woke up to the sound of voices, they were talking about him. Knight still felt tired, but knew he would heal in time. Before opening his eyes, he decided to listen in on the conversation.
He seems to be moving, said an unknown voice, he should awaken shortly.
How bad were his injuries doctor? asked Cloud.
Well, answered the doctor, his bleeding stopped, even internally. The wounds seem to have sealed themselves up. There wasnt much left to do when you brought me to him. He suffered severe trauma to his body though.
Will he be okay? asked Aeris.
I dont know, Ive never seen someone with his healing capabilities. But he suffered a major blow to his lower back, am I correct?
Yes, answered Cloud, I saw an energy blast strike him from behind.
Well, the puncture wounds through his chest and lungs seem to have disappeared, but his spinal cord was damaged.
Im not sure, said the doctor, if hell be able to walk again.
At this, Knight opened his eyes and snorted slightly, "Spare me the melodrama."
The others turned around, startled to see him awake.
Knight! exclaimed Aeris, How are you feeling?
Im okay, said he, trying to sit up.
The doctor began to stop him, but Knight sat up, flexing his arms.
You really should rest son... the doctor began.
I told you, I am alright.
The doctor began to reply, but was rendered speechless when Knight rose to his feet.
Wha...how... stammered the doctor, you shouldnt be able to do that, at least not yet, if ever...
As youve noticed, laughed the warrior, I function a bit differently from your normal patients.
Im beginning to see that. said the doctor, regaining his composure, I would like to ask you some more questions, but it seemed you have pressing matters to discuss. he turned to Red, Isnt that what you said?
Indeed, I did. answered Red. Perhaps at another time?
Very well, then I shall take my leave, said the doctor.
Turning to Knight, he chided, be careful.
Wheres the fun in that? smiled the warrior.
The doctor merely shook his head and left.
Knight turned to Aeris, So, he asked, where am I?
Youre in my villa, answered Cloud, this is my home, in Costa del Sol.
Ah yes, said Knight, is this not where the famous 7th Heaven resides?
This startled Cloud, ...Yes, actually. How did you know?
As I said, answered Knight, I have my sources.
They seem to be reliable, came Tifas voice from behind.
Knight turned around to see all of the other members of Avalanche watching him. He noticed particularly how they stared at him. It was then that he noticed they were looking at his blood soaked bandages. He removed them, and everyone was shocked to see that the wounds had healed. A few had already scabbed over, leaving light scars, others were completely gone.
The warrior caught their startled looks. What were you expecting? I told you I heal quickly.
Then he remembered what had happened on the ship. Aeris had seen into his past, she had seen into his secret pains. Knight turned to the young Cetra.
Are you injured? he asked.
No, she said, understanding his meaning, I was just a little...startled. What was that?
Being a Cetra, you have a certain affinity for sensing the feelings of others. When you tried to heal me, you saw into some of my memories.
But... said Aeris, they were so...painful. What...?
I needed to break off contact with you, so I stabbed myself, rendering myself unconscious. I will tell you the rest soon, but let me freshen up first.
Sure, said Cloud, showers that way. We got some new clothes for you.
Knight realized then that he had lost his armor, and some of his clothes. He had only his black pants and a few remaining bandages. Where are my belongings? asked he.
Cloud answered, Your armor and clothes-
I mean my sword and weapons belt, I already have spare clothes.
Oh, said Cloud, right there, he gestured to a table.
Thank you, said Knight, picking up the sword. He pressed a button on his belt before putting it on.
What did you just do? asked Red.
I am summoning my ship, answered Knight, it should be here shortly.
Ship? asked Cid, his interest piqued, what kind?
It has multiple capabilities. I have called it out from orbit around the planet. It should be here shortly.
The warrior went into the shower. After he had freshened up, he came out in his new clothes, a black shirt to match his pants. The warrior returned to the table to check his sword and belt. Pleased with their condition, he sheathed the sword and laid it back down on the table. He then sat down in a chair, taking in the expectant looks in everyones faces.
I thank you for your hospitality, he said, but I suppose you need some answers now.
Damn right! said Barret, What the hells goin on?
First, said Red, I would like to know how you communicated with me, and how you know about us.
Thats simple, said Knight, I simply projected images into your mind, telling you where to meet-
Did you send me those dreams Ive been having for the past few months? Red interjected.
Knight gave him a blank stare. No...I only gave you a message on where to meet. What dreams did you have?
Red explained to them all. He told them of the death and destruction he saw. Rivers of blood flowed, engulfing the lands in shades of crimson. Fire burned through all living creatures, while dark shapes fell from the skies, bringing death and destruction. Nothing was saved from the chaos.
Shit, said Cid, voicing the feelings of the group.
Knight- began Aeris.
Call me Kaede. he said.
Excuse me? she asked.
Kaede..., he continued, Knight is my surname, the few people who know me, call me Kaede.
Very well, said Aeris, Can you explain Reds dreams?
Kaede turned to Red, Can you tell me when these dreams started, and when the planets cries started?
Around the time I read the scrolls of the Ancients. answered Red.
Scrolls of the Ancients?
Yes, several records of Cetra heritage have been preserved in my study.
Can I see these scrolls?
Actually, I brought them with me when I boarded the Highwind. Cid? Red looked at the pilot.
Gotcha, nodded Cid, bringing out his communicator, Shera, could you bring down Nanakis stuff?
Sure Cid, came the reply.
Where did he hide that thing anyway? asked Tifa to Cloud.
The Highwind is hovering around outside the city. He felt no need to hide it. He said it was good advertising for his business.
Tifa laughed. Trust Cid to take advantage of any situation.
A little while later, Shera came into the villa, bearing Reds scrolls. As Kaede read the words, the others could hear him curse under his breath.
Whats wrong? said Red, What does it mean?
Sometimes, I hate it when Im right. I dont understand all of this, but from what I can put together, the Drahk definitely have their eyes set on this planet.
Drahk? asked Aeris, Who are they?
My enemies, and the enemies of my people.
Just who are your people? asked Cloud.
Thats right, I havent told you what this is all about, he nodded, allow me to explain.
The others listened intently as Kaede began his story.
Ages ago, a race of beings cultivated wondrous new life and technology. They used their own inner powers, combined with their technology, to bring peace to other races they found throughout the universe.
The Cetra? asked Aeris.
Actually, no. answered Kaede, That comes later. The beings would be called... Planeswalkers in your language, for they traversed the various planes of existence, throughout countless galaxies. However, it was inevitable that they find enemies. On one of their searches, the Planeswalkers came across an evil force. The scouts were decimated. This was surprising, for the Planeswalkers were skilled in battle, among other things. The dark forces pushed our scouts back, killing many of our brothers. These new beings cared for nothing but conquest. But something was amiss, for they knew our ways. They also seemed to possess all the knowledge of the Planeswalkers...
Were they renegade Planeswalkers? Perhaps working with others? asked Red.
Correct, answered Kaede, Several of our corrupt brethren joined with various other races, combining their powers into an unholy alliance, the Drahk. The Planeswalkers continued their quest for peace, but found war. Then one day, several scouts came to a wondrous planet, one untouched by war or pain. Lush and green, full of life, the new world was promise itself. It was then that the Planeswalkers met a new and magnificent race, the Cetra. At first, they could not tell each other apart, so alike were they in appearance. Not only that, but the Cetra were able to harness the powers of the elements themselves, something even the Planeswalkers could not do. They could easily cultivate other planets into healthy and prosperous worlds, yet had not the technology to do so. So the Planeswalkers and the Cetra made a pact to share their powers, they joined forces to spread peace. However, despite their triumphs, every so often, they still had to battle with the Drahk.
So, said Cloud, what happened to the Cetra?
What do you mean? asked Kaede.
Aeris answered nervously, It is said...that I am the last of my kind. What happened to the others?
Nothing, answered Kaede, the Cetra and the Planeswalkers joined, literally. One could not tell the two races apart by simple looks. And, in many instances, cross-breeding occurred. The two cultures combined their knowledge, trying to usher in a new era of prosperity. As long as there are Planeswalkers, their will be Cetra. Many of our brethren journeyed to the far reaches of the galaxy, waiting for the future when others would follow. It was hoped that they could bring light to other planets as well. Some retired to new lives on these planets, hiding, waiting for any signs of danger, should it come.
So, Im not alone? asked Aeris.
You were never alone, you had your friends. he answered.
I know what you mean, and you were not alone in that sense either.
So, the Cetra secretly colonized other planets. Thats what happened here, said Tifa.
Correct, the Cetra colonists cultivated this planet, and decided to stay. Aeris is the last descendant of those colonists, but there are many others out there.
Is that what you are? asked Aeris eagerly, Were you parents Cetra? Is that why I was able to see your memories?
Kaede went suddenly quite. He merely sat in his chair, thinking to himself and saying nothing. The look of pain was clear on his face. Aeris was about to change the subject, thinking she had said something wrong, when Kaede spoke up.
I am a mixture of Cetra and Planeswalker bloodlines, started Kaede, My parents...were...murdered when I was still a new-born.
Aeris gasped, remembering her own similar fate. Tifa and Cloud felt pangs of sympathy, for they had lost their own parents violently as well.
Bastards, said Barret, who did it?
Kaede shrugged away his daze, and continued to speak with chilling objectivity.
From what I could gather, said Kaede, my parents were great warriors, among the best ever in our ranks. The Drahk wanted me, believing that the union of a powerful Cetra and Planeswalker would be a great asset. I escaped with the help of my mother, but she was later killed while trying to lead the Drahk away from me. I was raised by a kind Sensei, who later told me what happened. Ever since, I have fought against the Drahk...
Aeriss eyes became glassy with tears, but she remained silent.
Cloud broke the silence, And what of the scrolls?
Kaede continued, Apparently, the Cetra that wrote these words also had the power of foresight, something I never knew they had. There are clear references to my kind. I cant make out all of what it means, but from what I gather, the Drahk may be coming.
Have you fended them off before? asked Red.
Yes, I have had some victories. The war has been a bloody stalemate for a long time. My battles always depended on their numbers, and ours. Cetra and Planeswalker forces are spread throughout the galaxy, they will not be able to help us.
Avalanche became silent and pensive, looking to each other for answers.
However, I can train you all to fight the Drahk.
Yuffie was interested, Train us? To fight like you?
Kaede grinned, Yes, I can train you to unlock your hidden powers. A strange attribute of your race, is that on the surface, you have no special powers. However, whenever under heavy stress, or whenever you use materia, you release your inert energies. It is clear that the Cetra tried to cultivate some of this knowledge in your people. However, the knowledge split the planet into two factions, those who would abuse the power, and those who would respect it. Ive read your histories, that is how I have learned so much. You would be surprised how much news has been gathered on the exploits of Avalanche.
The others smiled briefly, remembering well their past adventures.
President Reeve, said Kaede.
Please, answered Reeve, just call me by my name. What do you want?
You have started using more ecologically safe forms of energy, have you not?
Why yes, mako is no longer used for our cities energy.
That is good, the mako was never intended for such uses. It was meant as a defensive power, for whenever the planet was in danger. However, the truly disciplined can also harness this power directly.
Doesnt that hurt the planet? asked Reeve.
No, because the planet is GIVING you the energy, you are not taking it, or wasting it. As soon as you have used it, it returns to the planet. Think of it as the temporary charge in a battery, which dissipates as heat energy. Just as the heat returns to the atmosphere, the mako returns to the planet. Using mako to power cities causes an imbalance which takes too long for the planet to heal, but restricted use can be replenished.
What of meteor? asked Vincent.
The others looked at Kaede.
Ah yes, Meteor...that was actually derived from a mixture of Cetra and Drahk technology. I also read of these beings you call Jenovans.
You mean Jenova, said Vincent.
No, I meant the plural. The Jenovans were one of the races that helped the Drahk. In fact, it is they who nearly turned the tide of the war.
Nearly? asked Cloud.
Yes. You see, the Jenovans produced much of the strange, new technology the Drahk used for conquest. Originally, the Drahk were hard pressed to defy us, for we had much of the same technology. However, the Drahk found a new race, as ruthless and hungry for power as they were. They joined forces with the Jenovans, and used Jenovan technology to improve themselves, gaining more power. The Drahk began to tax our forces, we could barely maintain a stalemate, even with the help of our Cetra allies. But the Jenovans were too greedy, and wanted the power to themselves. Thus, they tried to form a coup. However, the Drahk caught on to the plot, and decimated the Jenovans. A few of the creatures escaped, vanishing into the annals of time, ultimately to be forgotten. It seems as if they landed here. The resulting events on your planet, you already know. The one they called Sephiroth was created using Jenovan DNA. He was never even completely human.
What...does that mean? asked Vincent with a shaky voice.
Oh, Im sorry for my bluntness. I remember, you had a special interest...
No...please, said Vincent, continue...
I read Hojos and Gasts files. Sephiroth was never Lucrecias child. Hojo spliced his own genes with Jenovan DNA, and used Lucretia as the vessel to bear his unholy creation. However, it killed her. The rest, you already know. Sephiroth used the black materia to summon forth Meteor, in hopes of achieving unlimited power, but you stopped him. He never could have harnessed such energy, but he would have destroyed the planet.
Lucretia... Vincent closed his eyes in pain, My love...
That...bastard, said Barret, Hojo only wanted to create a weapon.
Im sorry Vincent. Believe me, I know how you feel... said Kaede.
How could you? said Vincent, with a slight growl.
Kaedes demeanor darkened, I know.
Something in his voice set the others aback. It hinted of anguish and torment, of a life full of pain and suffering.
Vincent shook his head, Im sorry Kaede, I...
Dont worry about it, said the warrior, waving his hand in dismissal, I know what it is to lose a loved one.
He turned to the others. I know there is still much to be said. I will now complete the history I was telling you. Where was I?
You were speaking of the Jenovans. said Tifa.
Oh yes. With the fall of the Jenovans, the tables were turned. However, the Jenovan technology still existed, and was constantly improved. And the Drahk already had all the information they needed. The war has been at a bloody stalemate ever since.
So, asked Cloud, Why are the Drahk coming here?
I believe, said Kaede, that they found out about this planet, and want to learn its secrets. You see, it could be that the original Cetra colonists came here to destroy the last of the Jenovans. They thought they had succeeded. But instead of broadcasting the event, the Cetra kept it secret, hoping to keep the planet safe from prying eyes. The Cetra and the Jenovans undoubtedly made various advances to this planet, and many would be interested to know of the power it is capable of. Avalanche destroyed the last of the Jenovans, but still, you needed the technology and knowledge of the Cetra to do so.
Then he turned to face Aeris, I believe they may want you.
Aeris turned her head sharply to Kaede, quivering, Why?
You did something no other Cetra has ever been able to do before.
What was that?
You remember when you stopped Meteor?
Yes, I summoned Holy.
But it wasnt enough, was it?
So, you used the power of Lifestream to help it. How did you do that?
I just...wanted to stop Meteor...and save my friends.
And in doing so, you summoned forth a tremendous level of energy. Energy that few have ever harnessed before. Moreover, you did it while you were dead, which means you had become one with Lifestream and its power. I believe the Drahk know of this planet, about those who live here, and they want it. They want to tap the hidden powers. Ill speak more with you later, but now I must go and see about my ship. Kaede began to walk out the door, when Shera spoke.
Please, call me Kaede.
Kaede, Ive heard what you have to say, but why are you doing this?
The warrior sighed, and turned around.
Its my duty...and because...
...Perhaps another time. Ill be back. Prepare yourselves, those of you who will fight. I will retire for a while so I can heal more quickly. When I awaken, my ship should have arrived, and training will begin.
Its only morning. said Cloud.
A long day is ahead. grinned Kaede.
Jeez, said Yuffie, you know what man? Youre even creepier than Vincent used to be.
Excuse me? Vincent asked.
Well, continued Yuffie, looking at Vincent, sure, you helped us, even told us about yourself, but you never really communicated with us. You never let us know how you felt.
Vincent smiled, remembering how his introverted nature sent many aback.
So mister big shot warrior, Yuffie grinned at the Planeswalker, why so cold?
Kaede didnt turn, he merely stated, In my profession, that is considered an asset.
Kaede walked up to his room, leaving the group to ponder on his words.
Sounds like a friggin curse to me, muttered Barret.
Cloud nodded, turning to look at the others. It was then that he noticed Aeris. She seemed to be sad, and deep in thought.
Aeris, he said, Are you alright?
Aeris looked up at him, with a strange look on her face.
Tifa noticed it as well.
Aeris, is something wrong? If its what happened between me and Cloud-
No, no, replied Aeris, its not that.
Cloud walked up to her. He had talked to her on the Highwind after the battle with the Reavers. They had all laughed and hugged like old friends. Why was she sad again? Cloud rested a hand on her shoulder.
Are you sure? he asked.
Of course, said Aeris, Im happy for you and Tifa.
As Tifa and Cloud came close, she hugged them, assuring them of no hard feelings. When they let go, Cloud could still see something was wrong.
Tiff, he said.
Tifa understood, she held Aeriss hand.
Aeris, she said, we know somethings troubling you. Whats wrong?
Its...about Kaede, stammered Aeris.
Whats the problem? asked Cloud.
Hes hiding something, said Aeris.
How do you know this? returned Cloud.
When I saw into his dreams before, on the Highwind, I couldnt make sense of them. But now I can...
What is it? asked Tifa, Whats he hiding?
Something dark...dark and evil. she answered.
Authors Note: Yes! I actually got justified self-mutilation in here! They said I couldnt do it, but here it is! No, dont worry, I dont have an S & M trip, and neither do my characters (well, maybe the bad guys!). Whoever it was that said Knight was a nickname wasnt far off the mark. Kudos to Passerby. I would also like to thank Digintegrated Hunter Bill for being my first reviewer, and Arachnia for bugging me to write this waay back when it was only a small idea in the back of my mind. Sorry this is taking so long. I got the story written up to Chapter 20 (that's 20 chapters in one month!!!) But like I said, I do major revisions before I post this stuff, and I got semester exams coming up. Same stuff as always, write me.
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