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Lightning is one of the humans made l'Cie who turned their backs on their fates and saved humanity. Though she was being used as a pawn by the gods, she fought with her allies to protect her homeland of Cocoon.
When her life seemed her own again, she was swept away by the power of Chaos and was trapped in Valhalla, the unseen realm. She was chosen as the one warrior who would fight to protect humanity's fate, and yet she was struck down in her greatest battle.
Serah, her younger sister and the last remaining member of her family, died beyond her reach. Chaos flooded the world, destruction and peril walked hand in hand, and Lightning laid down her sword to sleep in crystal for 500 years.
But now the final days of the world have arrived, and someone has roused the sleeping warrior. He is the almighty god, Bhunivelze, and he tasks her with a new duty. Her final role in humanity's history will be as the savior of souls.
Serah was Lightning's younger sister, and Snow's fiancee. Once she was embroiled in the games of the gods, but Lightning and Snow helped save her form that fate, as they fought with the help of their allies.
When Lightning became trapped in another world, Serah took up arms at her request. She set out on a journey through time to stop Caius Ballad in his attempts to alter history and ultimately brought Caius down with a strength of heart equal to that of the sister. Just when it appeared that she had successfully brought humanity back to the path to peace, her journey ended. The future can be changed, but not without a great price.
Now it is Lightning's turn to sacrifice, and she will give anything to see her sister alive and smiling again.
This mysterious young girl appears to be able to control the power of Chaos, and likes to get in Lightning's way at every turn.
It seems that she has met Snow before, and the two have more than just a passing acquaintance. but Lightning has spent the last five centuries in crystal, and she has no way of knowing what could have happened between the two.
Still, she cannot deny that the girl bears a striking similarity to Serah. But Serah is dead, and this Lumina seems to have her own goals.
Hope is Lightning's partner in her journey as the savior, leading her through her final days with the world. They were allies once before, a thousand years ago.
Hope had once been a boy when they first met, living a sheltered life within the floating world of Cocoon, until his peaceful days were shattered and his mother died before his eyes. He blamed Snow for his mother's death, but was forced to work with him to defy their shared fate, and through his journey, Hope learned to see beyond his grief and hatred.
When he was a young man, Hope helped human society rebuild from the disasters that had befallen it. He led the Academy, a research institute formed to help humanity build its own future free form the fal'Cie. He launched massive projects that would take centuries to complete, believing that science -not the gods- would save the people.
Yet now he appears to have withdrawn from human society, hiding himself away to labor in God's service...
Serah's fiancee from a lifetime ago, Snow fought alongside Lightning when they were both l'Cie.
When Lightning disappeared, Snow went beyond the constraints of time to learn the truth. while on his journey, he embraced a dangerous fate, becoming a l'Cie once again for the terrible power that it granted him. Yet even gambling away his own future did not win him what he wanted, and in the end he was not able to be with Serah when she died.
Centuries have passed since that day and the world has changed. Snow rules the glittering city of Yusnaan as its Patron, and hides away within his palace. Have the long years of regret over his lost love changed him forever?
Noel came from a distant future where humanity faced extinction at the end of time. When his dearest friend, Yeul, was lost to him, he came back in time to a point when he might direct humanity away from the path that would lead to its doom. That was how he met Lightning, and then Serah. With their help, and his unflagging heart, he stood against the destruction he knew to be coming.
By traveling through time with Serah, he succeeded in preventing the worst possible outcome of history, and the extinction of humanity was averted.
But his great struggle, though well-intentioned, brought about a different tragedy instead. He fought the great warrior Caius, a man he once considered his teacher, and defeated him in their final battle—and in doing so he fell into the trap that Caius had so carefully laid, triggering the destruction of the world and Serah's death.
The Chaos that continues to consume the world, the fruitlessness of Serah's death, his inability to keep his promise to Yeul—there is so much to regret. Is it any wonder that his heart may have become lost in the darkness?
Fang was an ally and friend who fought alongside Lightning a thousand years ago. Her passions run high and she is a fighter through and through.
She is bound to Vanille, a young girl who lived in the same village, with bonds beyond those of family. For Vanille's sake, Fang would endure any pain without complaint, and she tends to act rashly and dangerously when it is to keep Vanille safe.
Lightning and the others were once forced to turn their blades on Fang, but in the end, she and Vanille brought abut a miracle and atoned for their past sins. To prevent Cocoon from falling out of the sky, the two heroes from Pulse became a great pillar of crystal, sleeping within for nearly a thousand years as they held the weight of humanity aloft.
It has been thirteen years now since Fang emerged from her crystal sleep. When they first awoke, both Vanille and Fang were cared for by the Order of Salvation. Now Fang stands alone as the leader of the bandit gang Monoculus. It is unclear what could have ever happened to tear her from Vanille's side.
Vanille was raised in the isolated village of Oerba on the Surface of Gran Pulse. A series of events led her and her best friend, Fang, to sleep for hundreds of years as statues of crystal.
When she woke for her long sleep, she found herself telling lie after lie, not wanting to face the painful reality of who she was or what she had done. Vanille's presence affected the fates of many people forever, including Serah. But with Lightning and her other friends, she was able to face reality and bring about a miracle to help atone for the many who were sacrificed because of her choices. She and Fang became the crystal pillar that held Cocoon aloft, saving it and its millions of inhabitants.
Nearly a thousand years have passed, until Vanille and Fang woke thirteen short years ago. Now the Order keeps her in their clutches, calling her their "saint" and believing her to have mystical powers.
Sazh is a skilled airship pilot who worked together with Lightning in order to save his only son, Dajh, from a cursed fate. His constant companion is the small chocobo chick that likes to take shelter in his hair.
He succeeded in getting his son back safely, only to be drawn into a time paradox and lose Dajh again. In order to be reunited with his son, he gambled his fortune in a mysterious casino at the end of time. With Chocolina's help, he managed to find Dajh once more.
Five hundred years have passed, and young Dajh has slept them away in a comatose state. Sazh searches desperately for the fragments of Dajh's soul to put in a special coffer he's been told can save his son, but it seems as though his old smile might be lost forever.
The man responsible for releasing the Chaos from the unseen realm and inviting the world's destruction. Immortal since ancient times, Caius served the seeress Yeul in her many incarnation. He vowed to save Yeul from the cruel cycle of endless death and rebirth.
Caius's plotting led to the downfall of the goddess Etro, and brought catastrophe. The unseen Chaos, released from Valhalla, now consumes the world.
He was defeated in his confrontation with Noel and he lost the heart, full of Chaos, which had kept him alive so long. He should have died then, and yet he appears once again. Are his crimes so great that even death will not take him?
Yeul is a seeress who has visions of the future. She is reborn endlessly among the people known as the Farseers.
All the incarnations of the seeresses have a limited lifespan—it is the price that they pay for the ability to see the future. Soon after one Yeul dies, another is born with the same appearance and same abilities.
There are countless girls who have carried the name Yeul in the long history of the world. The majority of them have been protected by their immortal Guardian, Caius Ballad.
Noel is also a descendent of the Farseers and worked alongside Caius to help protect his Yeul. Just before that Yeul breathed her last, she saw a vision of herself reunited with Noel in a new world. Her promise to Noel that they would meet again has supported him through his journey.
When Lightning first found herself stumbling through the unfamiliar world of Valhalla, Mog was the first friend she made. Late, Lightning asked Mog to go help Serah and Noel on their adventure.
After the adventure, it was unclear what had happened to Mog, but it appears that he was reunited with his fellow moogles and named chief of their village.
He quickly picked up the name "Mog", short for "moogle". This is because, at the time when he was first called by this name, no one knew that there might be other moogles in existence—including Mog himself.
Once, long ago, Mog challenged Lightning to battle, but he was defeated by three scissors in a row and quickly surrendered. He is always looking for shortcuts to an easy life.
Odin, the silver eidolon, is Lightning's sworn ally.
The eidolons are powerful creatures from Valhalla, the realm of the goddess, and can only be called forth by special l'Cie. Odin takes on two different forms: that of a great warrior, whose blade can cleave through any for, or a horse, which bears its sworn master aloft as it takes to the heavens.
Lightning never knew what happened to Odin after she was defeated in Valhalla, but he was in fact reborn as the Angel of Valhalla.
When Lightning's younger sister, Serah, was journeying through time, the merchant Chocolina appeared everywhere she went in order to lend a helping hand. She seems to have no sense of tact or sensitivity to how grave the situation might be, but she can keep a conversation going single-handedly.
She is not simply dressed in a chocobo costume: her feathers and wings are the real deal. She is not a human, but she takes the form of one through the blessing of the goddess. There are very few who know her true form, but Lightning's old ally Sazh seems to be one of them.
Bhakti is a robot with very high-functioning AI. Such robots are often found amid the ruins of ancient towns and settlements, and those that are in good condition are retrofitted and put back into service as exploratory rovers, capable of navigating the ruins of the Dead Dunes.
Vanille kept one such robot as a pet, 1,700 years ago, in her first life. But that is a tale of Oerba, Vanille and Fang's home village from the days when the world was called Gran Pulse.
A man who once defied the orders of the gods and hoped to set mankind free. He died an unnatural death while working towards this goal.
General Raines was a military man, working for Cocoon's Guardian Corps. He wished to defeat the fal'Cie, powerful servants of the gods, and return to humanity control of its own fate. He lost that fight, and in the cruel irony that gods so love, he was turned into a puppet for the fal'Cie. He faced Lightning as an enemy, when they should have been allies.
He may have met a tragic end, but his wish to see the people free lived on in those who followed after him. For Lightning, Raines was both a bitter enemy and a comrade in the great fight against the gods.