Though I have been reading and writing fanfiction for a while now, this is my first venture onto Fanfiction.net. Please be gentle with me, and no flames…^_^;;. Thanks.

Disclaimer: Final Fantasy XII and all associated products and characters are property of Squaresoft. I've got no right to them…sadly.

Reflect the Sky

These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.

The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods --
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday.

--Robert Frost, "Spring Pools"

Prologue: La Fin des Yeux Verts—The End of Green Eyes

Green eyes, which had only just been closed in prayer, slid open. They were clear and bright, and compassion swirled in their depths. Their owner was unafraid, but not without fear; she was accepting of her fate. Green eyes…a second look showed that they were too bright, glazed, glossed over by sudden pain. Their color, a vibrant jade, dimmed and darkened as life faded, before finally sliding closed once more…to her friends, this time it was forever. She was enveloped by darkness, and time stretched limitless before her.

Everything is all right, now, child…you've done it…you're safe…

The thought that was not her own was comforting somehow. She couldn't quite remember what she had done, but to hear that her task had been accomplished made her heart swell with joy. She was safe! She felt different now, lighter; as though she had grown wings and was soaring through the air. A tingling feeling, alien but not unpleasant, danced over her. It restored warmth and strength to her body, and delved even deeper than that as it embraced her soul, repairing the hurt and fear that had scarred it over the years. It felt like someone was smiling down upon her, and their very smile was cleansing all her wounds.

Wake up, dear one…you have fulfilled your destiny…you can join us now…

Slowly, falteringly, green eyes opened, and darkness fell away. A delicate hand reached up to rub at the eyes, and then paused in midair. The eyes searched the hand, and a look of disbelief seeped into them as they followed the arm down to the body. She was unharmed. The only hints to her violent death were the twin tears in her dress, right at her abdomen. One in front, one behind. She pressed her hands to them wonderingly, feeling the unbroken skin underneath. She removed her hands quickly, as though nervous that the wounds had vanished.

Green eyes looked up and examined the area that had received her from…wherever she had just been. A mild gasp drew itself from her throat. As far as she could see were rolling hills and dense forests, with mountains rearing up in the background. All around her was the beauty of nature that had long since died in the land she had left. Everywhere was green and lush and fairly singing with life. The Lifestream pulsed and wove around her, while in the distance two great golden gates hung, opened for her. Sudden tears sprang to her eyes. She was overwhelmed by the splendor that greeted her.  

Where…where am I?

There was a soft sound behind her, like a sigh. She turned to see who she instinctively knew was the person who had smiled down at her before. It was a woman, middle-aged, and very beautiful. Long, dark chestnut hair wove down past her shoulders, and her emerald eyes were ageless. They shone with such love and tenderness that she immediately felt welcomed. The woman stepped forward so smoothly she seemed to be floating, then spread her arms and gathered her into a hug, a smile on her pink lips. She spoke without speaking.

Aeris…my daughter…you are finally here…your mission is finished…

It was at that moment that Aeris Gainsborough…remembered. Images blazed up inside her mind, slowly at first. There was a kind woman beaming at her—Elmyra, whispered her mindand a dilapidated old church, with flowers blooming inside; then a burst of fear and glimpses of pursuers in blue she had seen before; and then a cold glass prison, and pain, and mad laughter. She trembled at the memories. They started coming faster, tearing through her mind with the force of a lighting bolt, and left just as quick.         

Flash! The woman before her—Ifalna—was weeping, reaching out for her, blood streaking down her body as life left her… 

Flash! They were running tests on her, injecting her with strange liquids that would overcome her with dizziness and nausea and that bitter knowledge that she wasn't and never would be strong enough to stop them…

Flash! Her blond friend had been taken by the enemy, and before she could react, had beaten her savagely with no trace of his former goodness in his eyes until blood dripped from her lips …

Flash! A man, clothed entirely in black, gazed at her for a split-second before he smiled viciously and thrust something at her. His haunting green eyes burned with malice and triumph as he smirked...

Flash! The screaming in her mind rose to a fever pitch, the warning lost in pained wails. Waves of agony ripped through her, and she looked down to see that a thin sliver blade had erupted from her stomach, coated in slick red blood. It was the last thing she saw before her eyes failed her…that and the pair of glowing green eyes…

Remember…

Clutching her head and pulling away from her mother, Aeris Gainsborough screamed.