AUTHOR'S NOTE: Lightning's legend lives on…in an eternity of darkness, one last hope for humanity still shines strong and clear. Please take the time to review, as I'm very happy with how this story came out, and I'm wondering if you think something like this will occur as the intro to LR:FFXIII. So, review! An beware of spoilers for FFXIII and XIII-2!

Song/BGM: "Angel Advent A" (Bayonetta OST)…I very much urge you to type this up in YouTube to experience this chapter at its fullest…really. For your sake.

Write on,

WriteFF13


.:A STORM GATHERS:.

Chapter 1 – Prologue: Lightning Returns

In the midst of the waves of chaos, in an eternity of darkness, there is light.

It is faint, but in the darkness of the world, it is a beacon of hope that stands as the last hope for humanity. Chaos swirls around the planet that was overcome by evil, lurking into every nook and cranny, finding and destroying any last trace of evidence that a civilization once thrived…it crushes light, suffocates it, until not even the sun can shine through.

However, there is one glimmer of light that shines through the darkness. It is dim, but it present nonetheless. Amidst the Chaos is a crystalline throne glimmering softly, the edges of its crystal structure growing dim and darkening. Atop the throne is a figure, so still and lifeless it would seem she were dead. But she is not dead, no…but crystallized in an eternal state of sleep.

A hard shell of crystal coats her body; trapping it in a fragile state until she one day awakens again. The figure was once one of the greatest warriors of our time, a human woman so powerful that she nearly surpassed the gods themselves. It would so be it that no man or monster could strike her down; even the great Guardian of Time failed to end her life.

The woman's eyes are closed as if she is in a deep sleep; her head has fallen to the side and a crystal tear remains static on her cheek. The tear was shed for someone, a girl whose life was lost in the battle to determine the fate of time itself. An intricate blade balances on her knees, held steady by unmovable hands; the hands that once struck down the gods and the Guardian of time, the one who dared to raise his weapon against her.

It is because of that girl that the crystal figure has chosen this path; her sister's memories must be preserved, and only the way to do so is to preserve them within herself. The woman's greatest fear is that the memory of her sister will be forgotten as hers once was.

She cannot let that happen.

All that she and her sister have ever worked for must be remembered, or all they have done will be for naught. The sacrifices that were made, the lives that were lost, the battles that were fought…

They must be remembered.


From the depths of the chaos and the eternal darkness, a new world begins to form, sparking new contradictions and rewriting the past and setting the clock for the future. A spectacular feat occurs; the awakening of two beings will ultimately decide the future of the world. The chaos begins to retreat into the corners, unfurling away from this new land as new beings and past beings converge. Yet the chaos's retreat is ephemeral…where there is darkness, there will always be the chaos lurking.

A new world is born from the very depths of the chaos itself, a land beyond time and reality itself, different Valhalla, yet a mirage of both Valhalla, the Unseen Realm, and the mortal realm. A land born from the victories and losses of countless people along the timeline; this world was destined to be created from the moment Mwynn herself was thrown into the Unseen World and the future set in motion. Nothing that could have been different would have changed the moment this new world would be created...

This world is Novus Partus, and it is a contradiction in itself…

The offspring of countless decisions and battles from the past have collided to create a new future. But how much has been saved? Can the world still exist in tumult?

And so, the chaos lurks back into the shadowy crevices of the world once again, yet it is ever present; a looming threat over the new world in which all people shall reside. The remnants of Pulse's scarred face and Etro's broken Valhalla have collided to form a new chance for humanity…it is something to look up to, something to invest hope in. "Novus Partus"…the only hope left for humanity's survival depends on the existence of this world…and lies in the hands of a single person.


As the chaos clears from the shrine in which the woman's crystal resides, a shiver runs through the entire length of her, starting from the top of her motionless head to her crossed feet. Her body ripples, and the air in Etro's shrine grows warmer than the chilling cold it had once been; cracks form in the crystal figure, and the glimmering coat that covers the woman begins to glow a vibrant pink until a blast of light engulfs the area around the crystal throne. The sudden movement and light causes a tremor to run through the shrine, but as the light fades another chance for humanity's survival appears.

The future existence of humanity once again lies in the hands of Lightning Farron.


Lightning Farron has not witnessed the dawn of a new day for over five hundred years.

Her body, lifeless and crystallized for all of eternity in a shell of frozen memories…her sister's memories, and the memories of her friends are forever trapped in the shell of her crystal. Atop Etro's throne, she knows only eternal sleep; it is difficult for her to even remember what sort of life she has led. Only one thing remains…

She can remember her sister's face, the intelligent blue of her eyes shining behind her soft pink bangs. How those blue orbs were dimmed by the curse of the Eyes of Etro, ever watchful of the timeline and the very death sentence that ended Serah's life. These thoughts muddle Lightning's brain, but in crystal, thoughts are questioned as a reality.

A mirage.

Are they real?

Or is this another dream?

Through the crystal, the world's image is distorted. Only until the very fragments of the crystal shatter on the ground will reality's mirage be revealed…what is real and what is a fantasy.

It is these thoughts Lightning has dwelled on for hundreds of years.

She once thought that eternal crystallization was her fate, what was necessary to carry on what was once cherished. Yet now she knows…

She must fight on.

For her sister, for the world, and for the future.

The eerie silence of Etro's shrine is pierced by the sound of cracking crystal encasing the warrior; it seems to fall in slow motion, slicing through the air until it shatters into a million fragments on the stone floor. The place on Lightning's body where the crystal peeled off from glows blindingly white until the entire shrine is enveloped in white. A spider web of cracks coats her body, filling the shrine with the sound of shattering glass.

Crystal shards break off and shatter until the floor is coated with diamond-like pieces. An unknown force lifts the glowing body from the throne and sets her gently on the floor beneath; the crystal does not cut her skin on the glittering stone. Instead, the thousands of fragments lying around her begin to converge and race across the floor towards the sleeping figure, trailing patterns and whirls of light across her skin.

As the light begins to dim, the crystals have disappeared from the floor to form the armor she once donned so long ago, hardening into steely gray plates and spiked elbows and knees. Her shield winks into existence, the crystals swirling in a circular motion until her left arm is covered by a metal unseen in the mortal realm.

The feathers that once adorned her hip take form again, feather by feather, pearl-white with pale pink touching the edges just slightly. Little lights sparkle in the air, just like in the village of Oerba she had visited with her companions on a journey to defy the gods.

The stone floor of the shrine is cold to the touch, yet it feels a million degrees warmer than the lonely cold of the crystal. In its grasp, she knew nothing but a never-ending chill; whether it was a solidified form of her own fears encased around her, she didn't know. In the crystal, her thoughts were muddled, the second she broke free from the shell she remembered so many things in vivid detail: her twenty-first birthday, Serah's look of pain as she dashed out of their house, Snow's pledge to protect Serah as they were stranded at the bottom of Lake Bresha, Hope's fiery determination to carry out Operation Nora…but most of all, she remembered one thing from the past 521 years…

Serah's smile after the fall of Cocoon.

In that moment as the two sisters embraced, Lightning realized that everything she had accomplished during their battles, the pain, the wounds…everything was worth it to see her smile once again. In her unconscious state, Lightning's hand twitched slightly, and then a noise, even as soft as it was, pierced through the foggy state of her mind, reaching her ears.

It was a soft pound of footsteps on the ground, making their way quickly towards her. Even that sound, as soft as it was, made Lightning's head scream in agony. She hadn't hear any type of sound in so, so long…or what the breeze felt like while wading through waist-high grass on the Archylte Steppe…the resonating slice as her blade forged a wound in her enemy, the squeal of terror…and vaguely, she thought of her sister's voice…

Was it soft?

Kind?

She can't remember.

The footsteps drew nearer until they ceased altogether. Too exhausted to move, Lightning simply lay in a limp heap, awaiting whatever came next. Slowly but surely, fragments of her memories were gathering, forming her past until she began to make sense of it, remembering every word spoken by her companions on her journey…

Yes…that was it. She remembered their names…

Snow, Sazh, Fang, Vanille, and Hope.

In an instant, she remembers their faces, their voices, everything. So many memories flood through her brain, wavelengths of information bursting forth.

As the crystal settled on the stone floor, she felt something.

A strange tugging sensation on her shoulder…in the misted depths of her mind, she could feel a soft leather glove grazing her cheek until something firm, a hand maybe, shook her shoulder gently. Her armor rattled slightly in response, but she had neither the strength nor will to respond.

Open…

She felt herself being turned on her back, her face fully exposed to this new world in which she had arrived in as the oldest survivor, bound eternally in crystal. She wanted to rip the barriers of her mind that kept her from opening her eyes and witnessing this new reality…like a wall sturdily built to separate herself from the world, from this person who had found her in the very depth of the chaos.

Break free…

A voice reaches her ears…she recognizes it, but the memory is hazy.

"Lightning…?"

Don't stop now…

Invisible vectors slashed at the invisible barrier in her mind, chipping away, her inward voice screamed in defiance. Memories were pieced together instantaneously in seconds…feeling spread through her body until she was aware of the temperature of the room…bitter chill, yet she felt little to no warmth in her own body. She wondered if the crystal she slept in had caused the shrine to transform into an icy cage in which she was entrapped for centuries.

"Oh no…no, no, no…wake up, Lightning!"

Wh-who are you…?

She wanted to say, but her thoughts were her own. She recognized the speaker's voice from some other time, some other dimension, and so painfully close to remembering.

The barrier fell in shards as she crashed through.

Five centuries of memories…it all came to her, overwhelming and nearly killing her in an instant. No mortal before her had lived for so long…had harbored the same memories for eternity in a state of immobile crystal.

A breath tore through her until her chest heaved in rhythm with the steady pulse of blood flowing swiftly through her veins.

Someone shook her shoulders again, lightly bouncing her head back and forth.

"Goddamnit, Lightning…open your eyes!"

And they do.

Crystalline blue, the same color as the crystallized waves that had been frozen in Lake Bresha, now simply shards only seen by the breath of wind itself…deep blue eyes that have not seen the light of day for over five hundred years…opened.

And then she sees him.

The words form tentatively on her lips, and for a second, she's not sure she can even say his name…

"Hope."


AUTHOR'S NOTE: Whew. That was tough to write. Not so much present-tense, since I have a knack for it, but just writing the perfect amount of detail to explain something so extraordinary as Lightning awakening from the crystal in Lightning Returns: FINAL FANTASY XIII, the third and final installment to the FFXIII series (if you're interested, visit my fansite for all FF fans here: .

Of course, not everything in this chapter might be accurate since very little is known about LR:FFXIII, but I hope you enjoyed nonetheless. It'll be awhile until chapter 2 is up, but check out my Worlds Collide story (FFXIIIxFFVII story…no pairing!) while ya wait. Thanks for reading, and let me know what you thought in a review!

-WriteFF13