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Death to the Savior!
The Children of Etro (女神の信者, Megami no Shinja?, lit. Followers of the Goddess) are a group of religious zealots in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. Worshipers of the Goddess Etro, the group is determined to kill Lightning because of a prophecy stating she will destroy the world.
The Children of Etro is a religious group pledged to the goddess of death. Its members believe that the only salvation humanity can look forward to is the peace of death.
Etro's followers have turned their back on the teachings of the Order, and expect no salvation from almighty Bhunivelze. They do not hope to be reborn in the new world which Bhunivelze promises. Rather, they hope to be welcomed into Valhalla, the world of the dead.
Many heretics are moderates who keep to themselves, but there are also fanatics who are willing to commit murder in the name of their own brand of salvation.
Wicked savior, go now to Etro's side!
The Children of Etro wear a white/red habit tailing off into a halved skirt and covered by intricate silver/yellow markings. They wear boots, large hoods and masks that cover the top halves of their faces. While male cultists have coverings on their arms and legs, female members have bare arms and legs. The cultists bear a rusty gold-colored axe similar to the axes wielded by Anubys monsters.
The Children of Etro are divided into two groups: those who live in Luxerion and those who live in the Wildlands. The members of Luxerion are fanatical, considered terrorists by the Order of Salvation, and feared by the Luxerion population. The fanatics have taken to murdering pink-haired women who fit the description of the savior, as a result of their belief that the savior is a harbinger of disaster. They perform sacrificial rituals in the Forsaken Graveyard and have procedures to identify intruders, including a secret code and a specific phrase.
Members who live in the Wildlands have a more passive belief towards Etro and reside in peace, having had to seclude themselves away from Luxerion due to the actions of the fanatical members. They view and receive the savior with dignity, and have no problem relating with Lightning.
The promised time is upon us! Behold the harbinger of destruction! Return to Chaos our mother!
When Lightning arrives in Luxerion, the authorities are investigating the murders of several pink-haired women. The murders are linked to the Children of Etro, whose cult centers around a prophecy contained within an Oracle Drive that states the savior seeks to destroy the world, but will be killed by the Shadow Hunter. While the savior's identity is a mystery, the members of the Children of Etro believe the title belongs to a pink-haired woman. Lightning is asked to aid the Luxerion authorities in their investigation, and as a part of her mission, she must find the code which permits access to the cult's secret gathering place in the Forsaken Graveyard.
As the cultists are about to kill another captured woman, Lightning storms their gathering. Noel Kreiss appears, dispersing the cultists with a wind spell. The cultists venerate Noel, the Shadow Hunter, believing he has appeared to fulfill the prophecy and kill Lightning. Noel rebuffs them, saying he wants nothing to do with a cult that kills innocents. The leader tries to appeal to him by saying the Children of Etro did everything to help him, to summon the true savior from hiding for the Shadow Hunter to confront. Noel and Lightning join forces in fighting them, and soon soldiers from the Order appear to arrest the fanatics.
The Fanatics are fought as part of the Luxerion main quest. After completing the quest, they never spawn again. Lightning can fight them during the main quest In the Shadows of the Heretics while following the heretics to their meeting ground. The other chance to fight them is during the main quest Hunter in Light and Shadow.
- The actions of the Children of Etro can be compared to the Thuggee, an assassin group who kill for their goddess Kali on the notion that the number of people they murdered averts the end of days.