And screamed again.
No one heard her. No one answered.
Pain burned steadily in her as her own creation siphoned her lifeblood away, turning it to light, and heat, and finally releasing what was left of it into the air.
And beyond even the pain was the knowledge…
They had released It. It was awake again. It was aware. It was being given new life, her creation willingly injecting It into themselves, warming It with their own heartbeats, giving It the power of their own souls.
It was gathering strength.
She was weakening – her old wound unhealed, and dozens of new pinpricks stealing what she needed to live.
And then she caught flashes of what was to come. A creation of hers, twisted and malformed by It: human body, silver hair, enraged green eyes. Eyes that glowed with her lifeblood, and with It's terrible knowledge. The malformed creation would find her Black materia – the one her children sealed away long ago – and he would call upon it.
He would call upon her own knowledge.
And he would destroy her with it.
The visions cleared. Her awareness rushed through her body, across its surface. He must not be twisted. He must not be corrupted. He must not…
The soul she sought was already tainted black and violet by It.
She pressed at the mother's life force, willing her to return to the lifestream, to take the unborn child with her, where she could cleanse the soul and prevent the fate she saw.
Returning one small life to her blood was small price to pay for the endurance of Life itself.
The mother writhed in pain. Still, she tugged at the soul. The mother doubled over, screaming, and other little lives rushed about her, laying her down, running about for artifacts and equipment and –
And she felt the tainted life slipping away from the mother's protective soul. She reached for that taint, grasping at it, but it slid further, until it laid breathing alone, in its own little body.
She fell back, for she did not have the energy left to take the child's soul by force. She left the mother gasping alone, with little will left to live. She left the infant monster wailing in the cold arms of an uncaring creation. She left them all, retreating deep into herself to rest and recover.
Time passed. More screaming, hot pain as her blood was drawn away.
She saw the meteor falling again, tearing her apart at last.
She saw another future as well, one without the meteor, but she died still as her creation bled her dry and barren.
And she began to hope for a future of life, and peace, and hope.
She knew now that she did not have the strength she once had. There was a time when she could take a life just as easily as she gave it. Now, however…
She needed her creations to help.
Tentative, she sent the first few sparks of something stronger into life. A fierce protector that would care for her. A determined dreamer that would do whatever it took to reach that dream. A surety of what was right embedded in a caring soul.
She watched these creations born, saw what they would be.
They needed more.
Her last child gave birth to another. The infant was weak, and could hardly hear her call, but she whispered to her whenever she could.
Another spark was created. Cheerful, determined, strong with honor and with a drive to be something more, something great…a hero?
She held her last three sparks back to think. A hero. She would need a real hero. And that would require special placement.
She searched her surface for a suitable location.
Small, far from the creations who harmed her, far from the silver-haired monster, far from everything so the hero could grow untainted by It, unharmed by him. Cold mountain air to give the hero strength. And – yes – a woman there, married, prime for child.
She selected the largest of the sparks and gently pushed it in the right direction.
The spark zipped toward its chosen mother. It stopped above her heart, waiting for its place in life to open. Satisfied, she turned away for moments.
Moments to her were days to her creations.
And in days, so many things can go wrong.
The mountains are a dangerous place for her creation. One false step, one moment standing too long in the wrong place, one inch too near a waiting monster…
And the woman's life returned abruptly to her blood.
The spark lingered, uncertain. It was to be born. It had to be born. So it would be.
By the time she returned her attention to the area, the woman's individual life was long vanished from her surface, and the spark was nowhere in the village.
She searched, but could not find it. Her remaining sparks (a loving, loyal fighter; a mischievous child) she released with no true direction, trusting them to drift and take hold where they would be needed.
Though she could not find her fated hero, her visions of death had eased, so she accepted whatever fate had ordained and retreated again to wait.
And on the craggy ground of Mount Nibel, a golden chocobo emerged from his egg and opened a pair of bright, blue eyes.