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[intro] Just a small thing before you proceed to the story. All mistakes I made were deliberate.
This story is being told after even Red XIII is dead and the story has been retold so many times
that it has... changed. It has been 'corrupted,' so to speak. It's an experiment; I'm modeling it
after the flower myths of ancient Greece. If you don't know what I'm talking about then you
should go track them down and read them. Also, I'm assuming that the ae in Aeris is
pronounced like the i in iris. Ummm... that's all. [/intro]
Let me tell you a story...
Long, long ago, when the world was young and marvelous beasts roamed the land, there
lived an evil man called Sefiroth. He was a sorcerer of great power, who wielded lightning as
his sword and flame as his shield. He kept two demons as slaves, Mazamune the frozen
lightning, who could pierce the hearts of his enemies with a glance, and Jenova the shattered
one, who split into many parts and overwhelmed the foolish heroes who tried to kill her.
Sefiroth lived deep within a fortress carved from a wound in the Planet itself, so he could tap its
life-energies to fuel his evil magicks.
Back in those days the Planet was alive and aware, and could even speak to those who
were chosen. One of these chosen, the last, was a beautiful young girl named Iris. It is said that
wherever she walked, flowers would grow. She had a kind heart, and was loved by all who
One day, while Iris was tending her garden, she came upon a young man lying injured
among the flowerbeds. He was very handsome, with hair the colour of a yellow chocobo's
feathers. She carried him home and nursed him back to health. When he woke, he told her that
his name was Cloud, and that he was chasing the evil sorcerer Sefiroth. He told her that Sefiroth
was draining the life-energy of the Planet, and that if he was not stopped, the Planet would die.
Iris knew of this; she had heard the Planet screaming in pain. Until now she had not known who
was causing it.
"I will go with you to put and end to this evil," she said to Cloud.
"You must not! It will be dangerous, and I will not be able to protect you always,"
Cloud said, trying to convince her to stay behind. What he did not tell her, what he did not want
to admit even to himself, was that he had fallen in love with her.
Iris just smiled, and went her own way. Together, they tracked Sefiroth all over the
world, fighting monsters and terrible beasts sent by the sorcerer to kill them. Iris used her
special link to the planet to protect Cloud and heal him when his injuries became to great for
him to go on.
When Sefiroth saw that the monsters could not stop them, he summoned his demon
Jenova and sent her to kill them. He thought, surely the shattered one can succeed where so
many lesser monsters failed. The sorcerer, however, had forgotten Iris's special gift. Jenova was
an evil thing, a great wrong, in the eyes of the Planet, so Iris was able to feel when the demon
got close. She cried a warning to Cloud, who took his great sword Buster in his hands, and
prepared to fight Jenova.
It was a great and terrible battle that raged all across the land, leveling buildings and
tearing gaping holes in the ground. A year and a day they fought, until in the end, Cloud and Iris
were the only ones still standing on the burned and blasted battlefield. Alas, during the fight,
Cloud's sword Buster had been shattered. Despairing, he cried out, "How can I continue, without
a weapon? How can I kill Sefiroth, without my sword?"
Iris looked thoughtful, and said to him, "Do not worry. In a jungle on a mountain high
above the canyon there lives a great dragon called Bahamut. Go to him, and you will find
The warrior did not entirly believe her, but he went anyway. He saw that his struggle
with the shattered one had opened a path to the plateau where the dragon lived. Up he climbed,
through the jungle inhabited by many strange creatures, until he found the dragon Bahamut's
home. Bravely he entered, and said,
"Dragon! I am Cloud, and I have come for a sword with which to defeat Sefiroth."
The dragon, who had been sleeping, opened one eye lazily.
"What happened to your other sword, o brave warrior?"
"I lost it defeating the demon Jenova. It was a great and terrible battle..."
"I know. I will give you a powerful new sword, when you have completed the tasks I set
"What tasks? I will face anything to defeat Sefiroth!"
'Then listen carefully," the dragon replied. "To find a new weapon, you must first defeat
Weapons. There are four of them, scattered throughout the world. Find them. Defeat them.
Go, now." The great dragon's eye began to close. Confused, Cloud called to the dragon.
"I have no sword! How can I defeat these Weapons?"
Bahamut looked at him for a moment, then gave a great sigh.
"There is a large tree outside this cave. At the top of the tree there is a small sword. It
cannot help you defeat Sefiroth, but it will be enough for now. Take it, and leave me to my
slumber." With that, the great dragon's eye closed.
Cloud left the cave and looked for the tree. It did not take him long to find it, and only
then did he realize that when the dragon had said "large," he had meant "large compared to a
dragon." Next to a human, it was gigantic. Cloud became dizzy at the thought of climbing it,
but, remembering that the lovely Iris was waiting for him, and that the very fate of the Planet
was resting on his shoulders, he gathered his courage and began to climb. He climbed up and up
and up, until at last he reached the top. Once there, however, he wondered if the dragon had not
made a mistake. For, hanging before him in the tree hung the strangest sword Cloud had ever
seen. Made of a strange reddish metal, it was twisted and strangely deformed, as if it were a
living thing itself. It looked like a flame. As Cloud took hold of the strange sword's hilt, he
heard a name whispered in the back of his mind.
This, Cloud thought as he strapped Apocalypse to his back, is a little sword? He made
his way back down the tree and through the jungle to where Iris was waiting. She smiled when
she saw him, and to Cloud she seemed as radiant as the sun rising in the east.
"Did you find the dragon, my brave demon-slayer?" She asked.
"Yes." Cloud then told her everything Bahamut had said. When he finished, she looked
"The Planet knows where the Weapons are. I can lead you to them."
Thus it was that Cloud and Iris traveled the globe fighting the Weapons as Bahamut had
commanded. There were four of them in all, four monstrous things born from the fiery womb of
the Planet itself. The first one was massive, grey, with three heads belching fire. The second
one was black as death and winged like a dragon. The third swam deep beneath the ocean,
diving to depths that light never touched. Cloud followed it there and defeated it with a mighty
blow. The last one had the colour of newly-spilt blood, and burrowed beneath the sands of the
desert. When it breathed dustdevils and whirlwinds formed, blasting the flesh from the bones of
its attackers. Cloud and Iris defeated them all and destroyed them utterly.
Then, at last, they returned to the house of the great dragon. Cloud boldly called out,
"Dragon! I am here, and I have done as you asked. Fulfill your bargain and give me my
The dragon, who was still sleeping, opened both his eyes and regarded the rash young
warrior. Without saying a word he rose and disappeared into the shadows at the back of his
high-vaulted cave. When he returned, clutched in one scaly claw was a sword with a blade made
of azure light. He gave it to Cloud.
"I honor our bargain. Now, take the sword, and remove from this land the blight that is
As they left the cave together, Cloud turned, smiling, to Iris. She was not smiling.
Instead she looked anxious, almost fearful. He asked her what was wrong, and she said it was
nothing. They continued down the mountain.
Finally, it was time to confront Sefrioth. They hunted him to his crater fortress, and there
forced him to make a stand. The dread sorcerer delayed them with lying words as the frozen
lightning, Masamune, snuck around behind and when the time was right he struck!
Iris's heart was pierced.
Cloud cried out with the harsh voice of an enraged eagle and with one blow struck down
the sorcerer where he stood. Sefiroth died, his face streaming with black, brackish blood.
It did no good. Iris was dead. Cloud took her lifeless body in his arms and wept. His
tears mingled with her blood and where those drops fell to the ground, beautiful flowers sprang
up. They were like nothing Cloud had ever seen before. The Planet was mourning the last of its
To this day we call that flower by her name.
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