(More information on the Cetra and some of the events in this chapter can be found in-game.)
In the days before Midgar, Nibelheim, Junon and all the other towns and cities of this dying world were established, there lived a race of beings known as the Cetra. Their knowledge surpassed normal human beings and each of them had the natural ability to harness the planet's spirit energy producing the effect called magic. Slowly, as the history of the world was being written, the Cetra began to disappear taking with them their advanced knowledge and culture. Evidence of this dead civilization can be found in the crystallized form of the planet's spirit energy called Materia, which temporarily allows the user to gain the knowledge of the Ancients or Cetra.
One of the most famous figures among the Cetra was named Sardius. He was a scientist studying the natural defense of the planet called "Weapon." These creatures were huge. Each of them were about the size of a 20-storey building and they functioned pretty much like antibodies. Whenever the planet was endangered, Weapon would emerge to eradicate the immediate threat. Sardius found a way to imprison the enormous energy of Weapon into a small dark gem. When worn by an individual close to the body, the gem functioned like Materia, bestowing its wearer with the enormous destructive power of Weapon. Sardius believed that this gem was the key to open the gate to the Promised Land, which all the Cetra sought. However, during a failed experiment, the Weapon contained within the gem of Sardius was released killing its captor and wreaking havoc throughout the land. The Cetra used their magical skills to seal the artificially altered Weapon deep within the lifestream of the planet. This Weapon, named after the dark gem which Sardius had created was called the Onyx Weapon
With the death of Sardius, his work was long forgotten and remembered only in stories and fairytales, told to little children telling of the magical stone of power. Long after the days of ancients the tales of Sardius slowly faded away, leaving no trace of his legacy in the history of civilization.
The power of Sardius however, was not meant to be forgotten. It was 26 years ago up to the present time, when Professor Hojo who was working for Shinra first came upon the research documents of Sardius inside some long forgotten ruins. Through the advanced knowledge of the ancients, the documents were in mint condition and were free from signs of deterioration or decay even after thousands of years. Fascinated by the information contained within the documents, Professor Hojo took them to the basement of the large mansion inside Nibelheim, which was occupied by Shinra at that time. There, Hojo performed a number of experiments and tried to reenact the ritual used to create the legendary gem. Much to Hojo's dismay the process wasn't meant to be carried out by ordinary human beings and his experiments yielded nothing.
Frustrated, Hojo set the documents along with his failed experiments aside, storing them deep within the basement of the mansion. Once again, the knowledge of Sardius had been sealed away.
5 years ago, Hojo's biological son Sephiroth, arrived in the town of Nibelheim with a SOLDIER named Zack and some Shinra Soldiers. Cloud Strife was among them. After investigating the Mako Reactor on Mt. Nibel, Sephiroth was shocked to discover his true origins as the product of one of Hojo's demented experiments. Sephiroth then descended into the Shinra Mansion and studied the books contained there day by day learning much of the ways of the Cetra. It was there that once again the documents of Sardius were uncovered. Sephiroth performed the ritual to recreate the gem of Sardius in the depths of the mansion planning to use it to redeem mankind and believing that destruction is the gate to the Promised Land. Then, the Onyx Weapon was awakened from its long slumber within the lifestream. Sephiroth looked with fear as the being rose before him, its humanoid body was a dark shadow that engulfed its crimson red eyes. Upon completing the ritual, the Onyx Weapon dissipated and the remnants of its shadowy form were slowly absorbed into Sephiroth being physically one of the Cetra since he was injected with the cells of Jenova as an infant. The second gem of Sardius was then formed inside Sephiroth's body.
Satisfied with the results, Sephiroth emerged from the mansion to test his newfound powers setting the town of Nibelheim in flames. During this disaster, Cloud's mother was killed. Zack and Tifa followed Sephiroth to Mount Nibel where Tifa discovered her father's murdered body. She rushed at Sephiroth in rage. At this time, Tifa was slashed by Sephiroth and Zack was injured trying to protect Tifa. Cloud stepped forward to confront Sephiroth, but he was stabbed in the chest with the Masamune. Cloud grabbed the sword stuck in his chest and raised it high throwing Sephiroth into the depths of the Mako Reactor and fulfilling his promise to protect Tifa. The gem of Sardius broke into two fragments to protect itself. The second fragment attached itself into Cloud who came in contact with Sephiroth's sword. Now, the gem was shattered in two. Sephiroth and Cloud's fates were intertwined. As long as the two existed, the gem would be whole.
Sometime after these events, Sephiroth assimilated the knowledge of the ancients in the lifestream, strengthening the power of Sardius inside him. Cloud and Zack, tired of being used as human guinea pigs in Shinra's attempts to recreate Sephiroth escaped to the gates of Midgar to become mercenaries, where Zack was shot to death while defending Cloud from pursuing Shinra troops. Cloud who was left alone to die, took Zack's sword and memories with him as he continued into Midgar. Unknown to Cloud, Zack and Aerith, whom he would later meet were actually romantically inclined. (The game starts at this point.)
These events led to the time of Aerith's death at the hands of Sephiroth who considered her a threat to his plans. With Aerith's death, the Cetra race was lost forever. However, Aerith being a Cetra found that her life-force refused to be lost as quickly as ordinary men in the lifestream. Wandering for an eternity in loneliness, Aerith absorbed the knowledge of the Ancients in combat, magic and of course, the story of Sardius. Now, she had sufficient knowledge to prevent the fall of Meteor, the ultimate magic summoned by Sephiroth to purge the planet and open the gate to the Promised Land. Still, this knowledge was useless to her as a lifeless ectoplasm.
In this world within the lifestream, the different realities of time overlapped each other and the memories and cries of all the people who have lived and died on the planet echoed out in unison. Somewhere along her journey, a weak and almost inaudible cry among the sea of voices caught her attention. Her spiritual form was drawn to the source of the feeble sound. As her psyche neared the voice, almost as if it was calling her. Aerith was moved to tears, if she had any left to shed, by the sight that she saw before her. A hazy scene began to materialize depicting a little girl about six years old kneeling solemnly before a small chapel. The small churched looked exactly like the Sector 7 Church where she once grew the only flowers inside Midgar's polluted soil, except that in this scene, the Church was at the peak of its splendor. Its floors were exquisitely polished and the sunlight filtered through its stained glass windows causing the divine images etched within them to fall on the center of the sacred structure. The altar was decorated with beautiful flowers more glamorous than anything that she ever grew during her short life. Yet, her heart was heavy as she saw the little girl coughing violently while kneeling in faith before God.
A small frail voice escaped the little girl's lips. Her prayer was simple yet it could touch the hearts of more men, than some shallow external display of facial attractiveness. "Dear God ... please help my Mommy. She's been crying everyday for weeks and weeks y' know. Maybe she's sad because dad doesn't visit her from Heaven anymore. She used to tell me that dad talks to her often from Heaven. Is Heaven a place that's really far away? I never even saw my dad. But I don't feel bad because mommy is with me and she says that daddy is very happy in Heaven. So that's why I want you to help my mommy. I know that people cry because they feel really bad, I don't want my mommy to feel bad." Tears streamed down her face as she continued. " You know God? I heard the doctor tell mom that I had an incurable disease and that's why I cough so much. He said that I'm dying. I know what dying means ... It means that I'm going to Heaven too. It's all right for me to go to Heaven because I know that daddy will be waiting there for me. But ... I know that mommy will be very lonely and sad ... please God please help her."
Moved with pity for the small child, Aerith appeared before her. The little girl was startled but she showed no fear of the apparition. "Are you God? Wow! I didn't know that God was such a pretty lady."
"No dear ... I'm not God. I'm one of his angels." And so, Aerith formed a contract with the child and their souls were merged in a symbiotic existence. The little girl was Sirea.
Sirea surprised the doctors with her rapid recovery from the brink of death. She grew up to be a happy, energetic and contented child who brought joy to the hearts of other people with her mere presence. Her mother saw her recovery as nothing short of a miracle granted by some divine existence to her angelic little girl. Aerith learned that this utopian world filled with color, wonder and goodwill existed 500 years before her birth. Instead of dominating her body, Aerith chose to coexist with Sirea sharing with her all the adventure and hardships that she experienced in her lifetime. A dark void created by her loneliness was replaced with warmth inside her by Sirea's companionship.
Upon reaching her 12th birthday, Sirea's mother gave her a lovely silver tiara with a single white gem at the center to celebrate the sixth anniversary of her recovery and she treasured this gift, wearing it like a princess wherever she went. Unknown to Sirea, her mother's health was gradually failing. She now led a double life and would often practice in secret the arcane knowledge that Aerith had given her. Finally, when she was 17, Sirea's mother passed away peacefully, joining the souls of the planet in the lifestream.
She felt sad, but Sirea had lived a serene and happy life with her mother for many long years. Wiping her tears away, she decided that it was time to repay the person who gave her a second chance to live. By this time, she had already mastered the arts of combat and magic. A fierce wind blew around her while she closed her eyes in meditation. A runic symbol appeared beneath her feet, which were now barely touching the ground as the spell took effect.
The lifestream harbors many secrets and while Sirea had already lived for 17 years, in the era where Aerith originally came from, only a few months had passed since her death. She had planned to physically transport herself to this time period through the recollections that she shared with Cloud. However, Cloud's mind was filled with many invisible barriers brought about by his guilt of seeing Zack and Aerith murdered before him. Thus, his dreams were filled with disturbing visions as his psychological defenses constantly refused to accept Sirea's pleas. Finally, as the Highwind flew near the town of Mideel, the condensed Spiritual Energy from the town's abandoned Mako Reactor amplified Sirea's spell allowing it to penetrate Cloud's psychological walls. But, the teleportation process was corrupted by his continued resistance and Cloud and Sirea were transported to a world made up of reality and Cloud's memories from five years ago. And so began Cloud's journey into the past.
Chapter 7 | Fanfiction