A Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn/Final Fantasy VII fan fiction, if you couldn't tell from the title. Slight spoiler for Radiant Dawn, but not a horrific one.
Fire rising from the battlefields, smoking the fallen into ash.
She removed her helmet, basking in the fire, letting her silver hair sway in the breeze that fed the flames. The red glow only licked her tenderly instead of burning her.
She wanted fire to consume the whole planet.
She turned, her silhouette framed in the glowing embers, and walked through the flames.
"Queen Micaiah," a messenger announced, bursting into the small Daein palace. "There is trouble in Tellius. A rogue is moving toward Begnion swiftly. We assume she means to assassinate the empress, perhaps followed by the Crimean queen…and then yourself. She has already mercilessly burned three villages in her path, broken down the defenses of five fortresses…and slaughtered an entire army."
Micaiah tilted her head of silver hair. "How many are in her army?"
"N-none, your highness. Only her."
I will become Ashunera.
I WILL become Ashunera, she thought to herself, moving swiftly across the field, her chainmail skirt clanking at her ankles. It was why she had forged her armor to feature a pair of feathery angel wings, sprayed gold but made of much hardier material. She could have covered her wings with something a little more formfitting…her wings were more butterfly-like in fashion…but Ashunera the goddess bore ANGELS' wings.
And so would all that came from her.
I WILL become Ashunera.
"She carries with her a host of supernatural powers. She can half-shift, somewhat like a Laguz…she has taken rites of sorcery to twist her own genes from Cat into a mixture of…of…I don't half understand it! Part butterfly and part squid! Do not laugh, your highness! She rises on golden wings to smite her enemies from above, and the ten tentacles that sprout from her waist…she keeps them hidden beneath a slitted chainmail skirt, until she wraps them about the neck of a foe and cracks the bones to kill him instantly. The one survivor of the crushed army reported this…many of the soldiers there were killed by broken necks, those in range. Those further off were affected by strong sorcery. And…there is also a haunting suspicion, a rumor among the townsfolk, that she is a telepath, and can drive even the strongest willed men mad. She approaches Begnion rapidly, your highness, and we need you among the troops to kill her."
"Must she truly be killed?"
"It is the only way to stop her, for she herself is mad…she has no demands and few goals. All she does is destroy. That's all there is to her."
As soon as her armored foot crossed the Begnion border, as soon as she had broken the necks of the patrol with the tentacles that sprouted from her waist, she began to dream of Sanaki burning. The young empress's voluminous fabrics and purple hair would singe wonderfully black in a matter of minutes as she screamed.
The townsfolk ran in fear at the sight of her eyes…not her face. She kept her face covered by a silver armored mask with only the eyes cut free. The eyes were the only holes in her armor…and that didn't matter to her, for she knew she could fight blind.
"How did she come across these powers? I haven't heard of such a strong sorceress in all the land…"
"She was born with a gift. An art of the psychic, such as is in your own mind. She had the Laguz genes to warp at her will."
"As in my own mind?"
"Queen Micaiah, intel has revealed something about her which might not please you if you are to kill her."
"I have a strange feeling of what you are about to say…"
"Yes. Indeed, it is your daughter Jenova."
She'd run away from home to study sorcery as a teenager, and come back as a killing machine. She watched the wooden houses of the villages burn.
Armored soldiers came out to find her, but most of their helmets left gaping weak points at the neck. Even those well-armored had no helmet that could prevent her from entering their minds.
Driven insane, they ran madly about, throwing themselves into the fires. She continued slowly towards the corner of the country where she'd find Sanaki.
"The Greil Mercenaries are already dispatched. Elincia sends the Crimean Royal Guard for backup. A pegasus waits for you, your majesty. She was born of you, and therefore you are the only one stronger than her. Please listen to reason. She is more powerful than the Black Knight."
"You wish me to kill my own daughter."
"I wish you to save the empire."
The Begnion palace began to burn.
Servants rushed out to douse the flames. Sanaki started for outside: "I must fight!"
Her loyal aide, Duke Sephiran of Persis, held her back. "You will only get yourself killed!"
"I shall die if I stay inside this palace!"
The armies swarmed on Jenova. She was ready for them. The first wave of soldiers was cut down easily.
Then she was momentarily confused, as her telepathy was being blocked by another mental force.
Micaiah rode above, her pegasus hovering over cloud level, intercepting the waves of madness. They dizzied her, nearly making her collapse and fall through the sky.
And while Jenova was confused, the holy sword Ragnell struck her on the back of the helmet. Underneath, her flesh was still human, though invincible to flame. Her head darkened; she swooned.
Ike Greil struck her again and again until she fell, and even then she did not make a sound despite the pain.
She was alive. That much was certain.
But they took her behind the palace for a soldier's funeral. The palace was saved, and Empress Sanaki safe within it.
They dared not remove her armor, though what was beneath it was a beautiful human face, albeit marred slightly by the blood seeping around from Ike's battering, and a sheet of silver hair that had once left Micaiah so revered.
Micaiah and her husband Sothe pushed through the surrounding crowd. "Don't! Please don't!"
"We must destroy her now," said Tanith of the Holy Guard. "Else she will come back and kill the rest of us!"
"Please," Micaiah begged. "Let me try something else, instead."
"I would agree to that," said Sephiran.
She prayed to her guardian goddess. "Oh, dark Yuné, save us from our moments of war and hopelessness…"
A slight voice replied in her head: "I told you I hated being called dark goddess! But okay."
And Yuné lifted the armored Jenova and hurtled her away through time and space.
Across worlds and across two thousand years she went, back in time, forward in space. On a world far, far away from Tellius, she hit the rock and made an indent like a meteor.
Then Yuné caused a massive rockslide so she was buried, never to be found, to die alone.
Yet Jenova's will was too strong. She could be immortal if she wished. She had combined her studies in sorcery with the mental gifts she'd inherited from her mother, and found she could make some surprising powers with the combination of the two.
So she waited belowground for someone to dig her up. And two thousand years later, Shinra Electric Corp drilled the site for a Mako Reactor, unearthing her.
She'd stayed underground for so long that she was stiff, and couldn't move. Before she had the chance to get to her feet, someone removed her gauntlet and injected a tranquilizing serum into her pale wrist.
She'd never known this kind of sorcery before, what we call "science" and "medicine." She didn't know how to combat it, and it sent her to sleep.
She awoke in a tank in Nibelheim, forced to look at her winged armor set up in front of her for display. The liquid that held her kept her still and unmoving. The helmet on her head zapped her motion centers and occasionally drew a strand of hair to send outside the tank, where the white-coated man with the dark greasy ponytail and glasses would take the silver hair and march away with it to use the cells.
Years more she waited, just staring. But as she stared, she thought.
Her skin was ravaged from the two thousand year wait and the trip across worlds. Upon contact with the fluid in the tank, it became blue, puckered. She no longer appeared the beautiful warrior sorceress that had come from Micaiah's fair royal line. Instead, she looked the monster she was inside.
And then the youth came into being.
A strand of her hair was given to a youth somewhere, she could tell. Within him, she created her angel wings again. She spoke to him.
Another human, a woman of childbearing age, was also given a strand. Jenova spoke to her too, but this one—Gillian—was too strong willed, and would not listen. The boy was more willing. Sephiroth, he was called.
He played with her in his mind like an imaginary friend until the day came that he realized she was horribly real. But what could she do? From inside a tank, unable to even blink, she couldn't possibly destroy. To keep from boredom, she talked to those that had her connection. And Sephiroth…he could become her new avatar in destruction.
But he wouldn't listen.
And then one day he came directly to her. He told her he had an epiphany, and finally, wonderfully, he would listen to her.
He ripped down her armor, the congealed blood from Ike's wounds spilling from the open eyes. He spoke to her, face to face, for the first time. It was a pity she couldn't respond with her lips.
And then her body died.
It was torn to pieces. She was aware of her protective helmet coming off…for the first time she realized that they'd peeled away the damaged flesh from Ike's wounds, leaving access to her nervous system by planting the helmet directly over the exposed brain.
But that brain, detached from its body, could still think. Even as Sephiroth carried it, attached to a head that was attached to nothing else, down the stairs of the Nibelheim reactor, it still thought. And it still spoke to him.
"Go to my home," it said. "Finish what I started. Help me to become Ashunera."
Not enough time had passed quite yet. Micaiah was still a youth darting about the coastal cities, and Sothe a crush of hers. Sanaki was a child empress. Greil was alive.
He came to this world, aided by Jenova, the one he called mother…for was he not like a son to her?
He went right to Empress Sanaki, his hair colored black to keep from recognition as any relation to Jenova or Micaiah. "I come to offer you my services."
"What is your name?" Sanaki asked.
"That's an ancient name. I haven't heard a name from the Old Dialect since I was even littler!"
"What would I be called in the New Dialect?"
"Sephiran, in Begnion. Lehran in Crimea."
"Then my name is Sephiran."
He came across the medallion of Yuné, who was half of Ashunera, and guarded it. He found Ashera herself, buried as Jenova had been, laid gracefully on a stone dais. He worshipped her unconscious body day after day, praying to her, stroking her wings that were so similar to his own, though his wing pattern was more or less asymmetrical. He hadn't shown Sanaki his wings, or anyone. They would believe him part of the Hawk tribe then, and Hawks and other Laguz were considered inferior to humans.
And Sephiroth needed to be superior.
With every sword stroke of violence, Yuné's medallion throbbed, and Ashera's heart beat a little faster. With his loyalty to them both, he could use them, help him make the world burn.
Why did he want to make the world burn? He didn't know. It was something primal.
He didn't really want to make the world burn. Jenova did. But by that time, he couldn't tell the difference, and believed her dead anyway.
And during the assault of Begnion, he kept Sanaki inside, hoping she would burn. And at the sendoff of Jenova, he agreed to Micaiah's request of sending her away, not killing her.
And no one, not even Sephiran, really knew the difference.