Final Fantasy VIII

Future SeeD: Ultimecia's Reign

"When is he coming?"

It was a question I heard frequently, but I had no answer for it. "I don't know," I'd tell them.

Sometimes it was tough being who I was: Tyliel Leonhart, descendant of the legendary Squall Leonhart. It was a big name to live up to, my ancestors being the history commander of Balamb Garden, and the Sorceress Rinoa Heartilly. Every Leonhart since then had become a SeeD, myself included.

All SeeDs knew the tales. SeeD was formed to defeat the sorceress, but I just found it odd that he had married a sorceress in spite of that. We were also aware that Garden's founder, Cid Kramer, had been married to a sorceress named Edea. She was the one who had given the powers to Rinoa. Of course, the one story we all knew was that Squall Leonhart was the one destined to defeat Sorceress Ultimecia and end her reign.

That time had not yet come. Although records stated that he lived 2,000 years before, Garden's archives said that he was the one who did the deed. We had no idea how it was possible, but we believed it. It had to be true, because they knew there would be a Sorceress Ultimecia even then. I was just beginning to wonder when he was going to come. The sorceress had been in control for nearly twenty years now.

"Come on. It's gotta be here somewhere," I muttered to myself, scanning through the Garden archives for the umpteenth time.

I was hoping to find the exact year Squall would come, but that was nowhere to be found. It was late, and I was tired. I gave up looking for the night and returned to the dormitory. I got into bed, but couldn't sleep. My mind was burdened. I needed to find the answers I was yearning for.

I eventually dozed off, but it didn't last for long. I sat up in my bed, and my eyes adjusted to the darkness. Many people had told me that I had the same eyes as him, from the pictures they'd seen. I ran both hands through my hair in frustration. That was not like his. Mine was fairly short and black.

I couldn't stop thinking about it. I didn't know how much longer I could wait for some long-dead relative of mine to supposedly jump through time to the future and slay a sorceress with more power than any other in history. The more I thought about it, the more farfetched it seemed.

I got out of bed and decided to take one final look through the records. I accessed the main computer and continued the search that I had started so long ago. I started where it always began, hoping to uncover a new clue. I brought up Squall Leonhart's file. It had a photograph of him, looking very serious, without any trace of a smile.

I spoke the words quietly to myself as I read. "At the age of seventeen, Squall Leonhart became SeeD's first gunblade specialist. He displayed great skills, and Headmaster Cid would appoint him as SeeD Commander not long after. He defeated Sorceress Ultimecia, who was trying to achieve time compression…"

I stopped reading. I'd heard it many times before, but I still didn't know what time compression was, and why the sorceress wanted to do it. I sighed, realized I wasn't going to find anything I hadn't heard before. I was trying to find things I didn't already know, not re-read the facts.

Then I asked myself, "Where did Ultimecia come from anyway?"

I had never really thought about it, and no one knew. She just suddenly appeared out of nowhere, and began wreaking havoc from that instant. "Maybe if I check out Rinoa Heartilly's profile…"

I knew it probably wouldn't tell me when he would come, which was what I was after, but my curiosity got the better of me. I could perhaps trace Sorceress Ultimecia by tracking whom Rinoa's sorceress powers had gone to after her death. Then I could simply continue to move forward until I found our present-day sorceress, Ultimecia.

I expected it to be a long, drawn out, exhaustive search to find the next sorceress. However, I was astonished to find it was a linear process because they all had one thing in common. They all had the same last name, Leonhart.

Apparently, they had managed to pass down the powers to their children. I wondered why they would do such a thing. It didn't make any sense to me. I didn't think they would want their children to wield what many considered to be a curse.

I decided to go back and read Rinoa's entire profile, which I had never done before since I'd assumed all the information contained therein would be irrelevant. I scrolled down until I found what I felt I was looking for, and read aloud.

"…Rinoa Heartilly received her sorceress powers from the Sorceresses Edea and Adel, making her the only existing sorceress of that era. To avoid having the powers fall into the wrong hands, she resolved that she would pass her powers onto her child, a standard followed by each subsequent sorceress."

(Each subsequent sorceress? That can't be right. It had to fall into someone else's grasp somewhere along the way. I just need to find out where that exchange took place.) I thought.

I moved forward through the years, looking for a different last name. Then I came across a name I recognized: Jade Leonhart, my mother. "Mom was a sorceress? No way!" I exclaimed.

When I thought about it, I knew practically nothing about my mother. She disappeared shortly after I was born, leaving no trace of her whereabouts. The next known sorceress was Ultimecia, and when I compared the pictures, it dawned on me.

My mother was Sorceress Ultimecia.

I wondered why no one had ever noticed it before, especially my father. Maybe he did know, and never told anyone. I was 21, and she'd reigned for nearly twenty years. It all came together.

Squall Leonhart was coming to kill my mother, and his descendant. How would he feel if he knew? Maybe he'd be scared like I was, but I wasn't quite sure what exactly I was afraid of. Was it that my mother was the sorceress who we all feared and oppressed us, or because Squall was gonna end her life?

The mother I never knew was still alive, but now she was an evil sorceress with unimaginable powers. It was hard to accept, to say the least. I was no longer concerned with his arrival. I no longer wanted to know.

By the time I pulled myself together, it was morning. I was called up to Headmaster Ria's office. I shakily gave the SeeD salute, the same one that had been used ever since Garden was established, but my voice remained calm. "Yes, sir?"

"I have received some great news! A riot in Timber has lured the Ultimecian Army away from her castle. Now's the perfect time to strike," he relayed to me.

The Ultimecian Army was composed of brainwashed soldiers of various troops who did her bidding. She couldn't be everywhere at once, so they were created to take care of any dirty work that arose, and enforced her dictator-like laws.

When Ria noticed I wasn't going to speak, he continued. "You will lead the charge. We're counting on you," he said.

I silently nodded and we proceeded to the continent of Centra, where her castle floated near an old orphanage. I looked up at the floating island that was held down by humongous chains. Lightning struck ominously around her gothic castle as we moved toward the chains to ascend them.

Then a light emanated from her castle and something flew out of it at an amazing speed. When it stopped in front of us, we recognized it as Griever, the legendary Guardian Force. It was supposedly Squall's favorite GF, and he had passed it down through the family, generation by generation. People wondered how Ultimecia came to possess it, but now I knew why.

Griever performed its devastating Shockwave Pulsar attack. Many were killed and then it disappeared from the light it came from. I remained alive, badly injured. I was unable to move or talk.

Then I saw the door of the old orphanage open, and there he was. The scar, the leather jacket, and the gunblade were unmistakable. Squall Leonhart had finally come. With him were Rinoa Heartilly and their friends, Zell Dincht, Quistis Trepe, Selphie Tilmitt, and Irvine Kinneas.

Squall looked around at the carnage. "…Future SeeDs…We're fighting across generations. Ultimecia's reign…We have to end it now," he said.

Then they walked up the gigantic chains that would take them to her castle. "Good luck…Squall…And Mom…I'm sorry…"