Calling The Lightning
Serah lifted one hand and called for the lightning. A jagged bolt of electricity raced down from the sky, and for a moment, the whole world vanished in a haze of motion. Then she was falling, and it was only her sister's impossibly quick reflexes that kept her from hitting the ground face first.
Lightning set Serah down on her feet. "You almost succeeded that time, Serah."
The young goddess struggled to keep her chin up. When her sister had brought her down to this field on Gran Pulse to practice using her powers, she'd been so happy. Finally, she would have the chance to show Lightning how much she'd grown. She might still be young and inexperienced, but she would definitely make her sister proud of her.
Only things hadn't turned out well at all. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't get the lightning to carry her from one place to another. It was one of the things that made her sister famous, and it was something she should have been able to do as well. But she just couldn't get it to work. No wonder some of the older gods said Lightning was wasting her time with her. Everyone respected her sister so much, but she couldn't do anything right.
"Serah." Lightning put one hand on her chin and then knelt so their eyes were level. "Why are you crying?"
Serah scrubbed at her damp cheeks and then clenched her fists. It wasn't fair. All she wanted was to make her sister proud of her, and now she was crying like a little mortal child. Some goddess she was. Her lips trembled, and she felt fresh tears prickle at the corner of her eyes.
"I don't want to disappoint you." Serah looked at the ground.
"Why would I be disappointed?" Gently, Lightning lifted Serah's chin.
"Because…" Serah struggled to find the words. "Because you're so strong and you know how to use your powers. All of the other gods respect you and the High Mother favours you so much, but I don't think anyone respects or favours me. I'm weak."
"If the other gods have spoken cruelly to you, then tell me and I will have them punished," Lightning said. "Still, you are wrong about several things. Regardless of how the other gods may feel, you can be certain that I respect and favour you. And do not forget that you are young. If you are weak it is only because you have not yet come into the fullness of your power. In time, you will grow strong, and all the other gods will acknowledge you. That is why we are here today: to help you harness your powers."
"But why can't I do it?" Serah sniffled. "I've seen you do it so many times, and you've even carried me with you a lot, but I still can't do it! I'm your sister, but the lightning won't listen to me."
Ever so slightly, Lightning's eyes softened, and Serah felt warmth rush through her. She might be a young goddess – little more than a child amongst her kind – but no one else could get Lightning's eyes to soften like that. As the Sword of the Heavens and the Blade of the High Mother, Lightning was as stern and cold as she was powerful. But to Serah, she was always kind.
"Lightning is not gentle, Serah. It is proud and it is wild. It will not listen to you simply because you ask. It will listen to you because you are stronger than it. Impose your will upon it and leave no room for disobedience." Lightning reached out and took Serah's hand in hers. "Close your eyes."
Serah closed her eyes. "Now what?"
Lightning pressed Serah's hand against her chest. "What do you feel, Serah? What do you hear?"
"I can feel your heart beating," Serah replied. "I can hear your breathing."
"That is right. But do not forget that such things are not truly needed. This body is only a shell, Serah. The essence of a god, what makes us what we are, what gives us our powers, is something different altogether. Reach out for my soul, Serah, and you will understand."
A faint frown crossed Serah's face as she tried to do as her sister asked. But how was she supposed to reach out for her sister's soul? Yet no sooner had she thought of the question than an answer came. She heard the rumble of distant thunder deep within her mind, and the sound of it grew until it swallowed her whole. When she opened her eyes, she was no longer in the middle of a field. She was in the heart of a storm.
Wind howled around her, and on all sides, the sky was rent by lightning. Thunder buffeted her back and forth, and great banks of black cloud spread from horizon to horizon. This, she realised, was her sister's soul. It was beautiful and terrible all at once, and despite the fury of the storm around her, she'd never felt safer. She was home.
"I am named Lightning because it is what I am." Her sister's voice came from every corner of the sky. "There could never have been any other name for me. Likewise, your name was also chosen for a reason. You are the thunder that follows in the wake of my lightning. Where I have gone, you too can go. What I have done, you too can do. Look into your soul and you will know I speak the truth."
Serah looked into herself, into the glowing, seething brightness that was the centre of her being. The storm inside her – her soul – was an almost perfect reflection of the storm all around her.
"Do you see?" Lightning asked. "We are sisters. The storm and the lightning answer to me, and so they will answer to you as well. But it is not enough to think so, Serah. You must also believe so, absolutely and without even a sliver of doubt. If the lightning will not obey, then make it obey."
"I… I think I understand." Serah trembled. If her soul was a storm, then surely she could bend a bolt of lightning to her will. Surely she could make it carry her wherever she wanted to go. "Let me try again."
The storm vanished and Serah was once again in the field where she and Lightning had been practicing. The older goddess's expression remained calm, but there was a gleam in her eyes that spoke of her expectations.
"Try again, Serah."
Once again, Serah reached out to the heavens, and once again, a bolt of lightning answered her call. But this time, she refused to let the lightning have its way. It wanted to smash and break the ground where it struck, to melt the rock and earth around her. But she refused to let that happen. Her jaw clenched and she thrust her will upon the lightning. It would carry her as it had carried her sister, and she would not take no for an answer.
The lightning fought, too proud to simply bow to her wishes, but she forced an image to the front of her mind: it was her sister soaring through a stormy sky on a bolt of lightning. For countless centuries, her sister had ridden the lightning alone. Not anymore. From now on, Serah would be right there beside her.
There was the strangest sensation of something giving way – not the lightning, but something inside her, like a muscle stretched for the first time – and then the world was racing by too far for her to keep track of. What was happening? Wait… she was doing it! The lightning was carrying her and –
She hadn't told it where she wanted to go.
Wait, they were near Fang's mountain. So maybe she could go there –
There was a crack of thunder and the world came into focus again. Her eyes widened. Oh no.
She crashed into the scales of a familiar dragon and then slid down his side onto the icy mountaintop.
"You know, it is considered quite rude to drop in on someone's private mountain like this."
Serah looked up at Fang and then rubbed at her forehead. The lightning had dropped her face first onto Bahamut's side and if that wasn't bad enough, the dragon actually had the gall to laugh at her. She shot the dragon her best attempt at her sister's scowl, which only increased his mirth. Stupid dragon.
"So, why did you come here?" Fang asked. "Not that I mind having you – you are always welcome."
"Thank you." Serah winced. "But my sister was teaching me how to use my powers to travel around using lightning. This is the first time I've gotten it to work and I kind of forgot to tell the lightning where to take me and your mountains was the closest so…"
"I see." Fang's lips twitched. "Well, here comes your sister."
The sky split and a bolt of lightning struck the top of the mountain. Steam billowed outward as ice and snow melted, and when it had cleared, Lightning was there.
"Well done, Serah." Lightning glanced at Bahamut and her eyes narrowed as she took in the faint smudge on his scales. "What happened?"
The dragon gave the goddess an amused grin. She landed on me – with her face.
"Is that so?" Serah flushed as Lightning gave her the very faintest of smiles. "In that case, perhaps it would be best if we practiced some more." She lifted one hand. "See if you can keep up."
And this time, when the lightning came, Lightning did not go alone. Serah was with her.
X X X
As always, I neither own Final Fantasy, nor am I making any money off of this.
So, here's another sort of snippet from Whispers of the Gods. Like the previous chapter, this chapter is set during Serah's time as a goddess. As you can imagine, the gods are tremendously powerful, but they don't start off being able to wield all of that power properly. It takes centuries for them to fully master their powers. In Serah's case, things are even harder since her sister is someone who is so widely respected (even feared) amongst the other gods.
In terms of timing, this chapter actually occurs before the previous chapter, so Serah is still somewhat insecure. She knows that Lightning cares for her, but she still desperately wants to impress her and make her proud. Naturally, even once she succeeds, things don't go entirely to plan and she ends up running smack bang into Bahamut.
Also, you can find links to my blog and deviant art in my profile, along with links to eBook versions of Ordinary Heroes. I would also like to mention redkid11 who has a comic of Chapter 12 of Whispers of the Gods up on her deviant art. Head on over and take a look (there is a link to her deviant art profile in my profile). Finally, I would also like to mention denebtenoh who has a picture of Lightning from Of Gods and Demons up on her deviant (link in my profile).
As always, I appreciate feedback. Reviews and comments are welcome.