These are the Editing Notes for my FFVII fanfiction Northern Lights (which you can find at the end of that link). I will be discussing a myriad of topics along with my frequently tangential and harried editing process. You should be able to garner some enjoyment and insight from this without having read the story and/or without prior knowledge of the original game, but if you’re a fan of paranormal romance and/or dark fantasy, you may find it to your liking. The story will be spoiled in this editing examination, though I will do my best to mark spoilers for any other narratives I mention. Thanks for your interest and enjoy!
We open this next installment with my morbid answer, which you’ve all “urn-ed” *groan*
Future Narcissist here. So I was doing this thing where I’d have a question at the end of some of my editing notes posts. This was prior to my Question of the Week, and I suppose it was me attempting to create conversation or what I thought might create conversation even before I posted these. I removed the question from the previous post, but I suppose I should’ve kept it so that what’s going on now makes sense. It was “What do you want on your gravestone or urn?” I’m planning on having it as a QOTW at some point probably in October. I couldn’t remove my answer since it sparked quite a rant and one of my favorites/saddest actually…
I have no intention of being buried. Rotting in a coffin is not the way I’d like to spend eternity. I never want the answer to the question, “What’s in the box???!!!!!” to ever be “Adrienne.” Advent Children: the movie where the answer to the question “What’s in the box????!!!!” is “Your mom.” Hahahaha *cries*
Yeah…so I used to use gallows humor as a shield really hardcore. This is barely scratching the surface of the fucked up things I used to say. Then I realized it was just a cover and a flimsy one at that. I accepted that things still bother me and always will. I still love dry, sardonic humor though. Hopefully, you can tell that if you’ve read Northern Lights.
This make me think of another dead mom story (god I’m crass…) that I swear I already told you guys before. It was back when I was a caseworker nearly seven years ago (did not make that up). I worked with foster kids and was only there for nine month because I could not handle that shit. I brought it home with me every night and had several nervous breakdowns because of it. There were many, many straws, but one of the most fucked up ones came about after one of my clients died. She had five children, all daughters, and her oldest was on my caseload. My supervisor thought that because I also had a dead mother that I would be a great person to deal with this situation by going to both the viewing and the funeral over the course of two fucking days.
It needs to be noted that I avoid funerals like the plague because every one I go to I flashback to my own mother’s and I have the tendency to have anxiety/panic attacks and it’s not a good time for me since I have to hide that (conceal don’t feel AGAIN, ughhhh…and I’m not in a good place with Frozen for reasons I don’t want to get into right now. One shitstorm at a time…). Also, let me just say that Black funerals suck. It’s twenty minutes or so about the person and their life. Then it goes into how they were a good Christian so obviously in Heaven because God forgave them for the heinous sin of being fucking human and all that other lovely crap. Following this is rampant proselytizing about how you’re never going to see them again unless you accept Jesus into your heart and convert if you haven’t already, which IS A GREAT FUCKING THING TO EXPRESS TO A GRIEVING AND BROKEN FOURTEEN YEAR OLD! Just writing about this shit is making me antsy. I may need to pick up a cat to calm down. Crap…they’re really far away. S’okay, I’ll Be alright…so yeah, my supervisor thought it was a great fucking idea for me to do this, so I had no choice but to go. I drove two days straight to the city to deal with the viewing and all the emotions surrounding the family’s grief. Oh did I mention I’m a super empath? Yeah, so I pick up on all the emotions in the room. It’s why if someone starts crying I’ll generally start crying, too. It’s great for being the go-to person when someone is upset, but it tends to stick to me.
So we go down the first day for the viewing, and I’m barely holding it together. Then we go down for the second day, and it’s then and there we’re informed that the body is going to be cremated not buried because it’s less expensive. So me and another caseworker (who thank God came along) have to explain to this little eight year old girl that her mom is going to be turned into ashes and she’s going to get a little trinket that she can wear. WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?!!! ARE YOU GODDAMN SERIOUS?!
So there you go…that’s my “What’s in the box?” story where again the answer is “Your mom.” Don’t worry…I have other sad mom stories to go along with Northern Lights. I seem to collect them. Just wait til we get to the big one, the one that no one fully knows. Seven for a secret that’s never been told.
I…never answered that question did it? What would be on my urn…it would say “Je ne serai jamais de mémoire,” which is meant to be ironic cause clearly at that time I would be. Oh you don’t have a bilingual bonus in French? To the Google you go!
It mean’s “I’ll never be a memory.” God I was pretentious two years ago, sending people to the Google instead of providing translations myself. I probably also fucked up the French since I haven’t studied the language in years. I don’t even know if this is still what I’d have on my urn. Tbh I don’t really care what they etch on it at this point.
I seem to be inundated with stories about memory lately…we just saw The Book of Life this weekend, which I liked more after I’d slept on it. I have to do that with movies. I can’t write a review right after viewing. I can take notes, but I can’t do a write up. I needs time to marinate. Initially, I liked certain things about it, but wasn’t completely sure how I felt. Now after a few days, I realize what a gem it was. There was a LOT of memory involved with it, and (of course!) a dead mom. What the fuck is up with that??!!! Like every goddamn story I see has that paradigm! Guardians of the Galaxy, the last movie I saw in the theaters, within the first ten minutes his mom dies. I mean at least with Frozen it wasn’t just the mom, but still. ASOIAF is rife with dead and missing mothers, and FFVII doesn’t even need to be mentioned, but of course I just did. Anyway, BoL does a lot with the tradition of Dia de los Muertos. La Muerta is a character in the films, and she…is…AWESOME looking.
YES YES THIS RIGHT HERE!
Geez guys…I don’t know what’s wrong with me today. I’m just super excitable, which is really surprising since I’m still dealing with this bout of depression. Sometimes it happens that way; I’ll deflect it with anger and/or excitability to keep myself above the deeps, but it’s always there waiting, isn’t it?
I also could be manic. Who the hell knows? I’m mostly just Debbie Downer currently, so I must’ve used up all of my positive energy during the time above.
La Muerta. Death. Death and the Maiden. Sephiroth and Aeris. And we’re right back where we belong…
How long is this chapter? Still haven’t established that. I’m thinking of making that something I do at the start of each as I put the quote and picture information. It starts on page 62 and ends on page 75 so 13 pages.
“She smiled up at beauty so shining and pure as the morning light made him a halo.” It’s the only one he’ll ever have.
“Aeris’s gaze darted out the bay window, her hands clasped to her chest, and the once general remembered his life was for grief as he witnessed the flower girl’s pose.” THAT position. He’ll never be allowed to forget…
“I’m so sorry, Aeris,” he whispered the words laying palms to her small shoulders. “How long have you waited for dawn…” I don’t think Seph is apologizing for merely a missed sunrise especially when we consider her fore mentioned pose.
“’I can’t help it when I look at you,’ he replied with jaded eyes piercing the morn. ‘I want to not always see what I did, but I don’t deserve to forget.’” Exactly what I just said L And the parallels with “piercing.”
Huh, I originally wrote Kalm as a mythril mining town, and here I could go the wiki to check that. Obviously the FFVII one though we know LOTR is the source of the source. So Kalm is a mining town, which would now be revived since the Midgar Zolom (serpent) is dead. Now that’s a disturbing image
and well foreshadowing to say the least. It’s spelled “mythril” in the FFVII wiki, but “mithril” in the LOTR one. Oddly though Word is correcting the latter from LOTR to the FFVII spelling.
There were two things I wanted to mention here when I wrote about the Midgar(d) Zolom (Serpent), and that was the beast’s name of Jormangander, which sounds a bit like Jorumund from ASOIAF. In GRRM’s epic, there’s a mythic horn that’s foretold to have the ability to bring the Wall down. This references Jericho, as well, along with being a potential herald to the end of the world. When the Midgard Serpent eats through the roots of the Tree of Life, Ragnarok will come. I really do need to catch up on my Norse Mythology though. My friend Siobhan told me there’s a story where Thor has to dress up like a woman in order to save Freya, and if this is true (and I have no reason to think she’s lying to me), it’s another reference used in FFVII.
“Impaled on a tree for blocking his way…his hand lowered to Aeris’s stomach.” ♫Memories♫
Haha, originally, I had a line in here that describe her as having her hands clasped, but not being on her knees, and I preemptively yelled at you all for being inappropriate/gross.
“’You would kiss the very hand that shed your blood…if only the world were half so forgiving.’
Aeris turned his hand over to scrutinize the lines. ‘I don’t see any blood on you now.’
‘It’ll always be there, little flower. Nothing can wash it clean.’
‘Forgiveness can.’” This is again the crux of the story or one of them. I should gather them all together to make a tidy foundation, but I’ll still wonder at what lies beneath. Forgiveness and memory. What else can any of us ask for?
“’You won’t have to buy thirty dishes this time because you don’t know what I want.’ She merrily tittered and Sephiroth glanced away, letting long hair shield his face.
‘Oh dear gods…’ Aeris gasped. ‘A-Are you ashamed of that? Did I make the great general blush?’” Some levity amongst sadness. She’s trying to pull some of the latter, but he’s ashamed of that name. Thus the “’I was never a hero. That’s just how they justify war. The memories of how I became what you name are bathed in endless blood, and afterwards what I was revealed to be-‘”
“’You always call me ‘little flower,’ and it sounds so sweet. I should have a name for you. I mean it’s only fair.’” But Aeris never ceases to try, and her sweetness can’t help but win him over. He would do anything for her; anything to make her happy, and any name she creates will be like dulcet song.
“He lifted her chin and his light tinged the morning to paint softly on her face.” I love that line *shameful narcissism alert!*
“’You can call me whatever you wish to, Aeris, if that will make you happy.’ *I only have one title now and that will ever be ‘monster.’ No matter what sweet name you invent, that’s what I’ll always be…*” Incredibly sad. His thoughts speak to what happens in the tower much later and what he’s told…
“’The only use I have in this world is being your protector.’” This chapter is just full of sads 😦 Sephiroth really sees himself as worthless and his life as meaningless unless he’s doing something for her. It really speaks to what will happen after they part and he only has the task of finding his mother’s grave, which he really doesn’t have much of a chance of doing really. I mean beneath the northern lights? That’s the only thing he has to go on. There’s really not much of a chance.
“’Oh Sephiroth,’ she whispered jolting up, ‘your poor heart is broken!’
‘I greatly doubt that, little flower. It’s as strong as eugenics can make.’ He stroked her hair from crown to waist, smiling gently at her worry.
‘No, Sephiroth, can’t you tell. It’s broken just like you.’” What he really is in this narrative. What’s interesting is the trope of the Broken Angel, which sounds like a song you’d play on a lute or (probably more appropriately) harp mentions specifically that it has no real overlap with the trope of the One Winged Angel, but visually they could be similar. If someone gave me an angel figure and one of its wings was broken off, I would consider that a broken angel by nature of being a one winged angel. One Winged Angels per the trope though are quite different inasmuch as they’re usually the villain’s final super powered form and SHIT JUST GOT REAL. The coats have (literally) come off because you don’t want to rip it up with that one wing, right? it’s funny that there’s no trope for THAT or at least I’ve never seen one (I’m still searching for a Manipulative Mother trope. I can NOT believe there’s not one).
There is. It’s called Evil Matriarch. I found it because of Futurama, and the perfect example from that show is the image so used.
How coats and clothes stay intact even after the onslaught of wing(s). The OWA trope had a note saying that Sephiroth in game actually had seven wings not one and the trope title refers to his theme music, which I just have to say is totally the lovechild of Carmina Burana and Modest Mussorgsky’s A Night on Bald Mountain. Carmina Burana is too multifaceted to post a link here (you can find it easily if you look), but here’s Night, because seriously.
But he does show up with one wing in Advent Children and (I believe) Crisis Core, but yeah…that’s funny. You never see him with the one wing in the OS. Huh. Correct me if I’m wrong fanboys and fangirls.
“He froze, his hand at the place on her back that did not hold a wound. Briefly, he turned his awareness within and even swifter shut his mind to the truth.” Come on Seph. We ALL know how well that worked out for you before.
“’I can’t help it. Oh, it’s too sad. You’re a broken angel…’” Already covered this above.
“’I envy you, little one…’ Sephiroth whispered.
‘Why?’ she quelled the sob in her throat.
‘It would be easier for me to bleed than to weep. Any tears I once had turned to ash.’
‘That’s what tears are, didn’t you know…blood from a rendered soul.’
‘I suppose I have no soul left to rend.’” More self-deprecation. In the OS I do remember Cloud mentioning how no one has ever seen Sephiroth bleed or weep. Guess what? In Northern Lights you get to see both 😀 *cries herself*
“’You’ve only one murderer to handle now, and you seem to be doing quite well.’
‘You’re not a murderer, Sephiroth,’ she insisted with fire behind her voice.
‘I killed fifty men yesterday, Aeris, and that’s not even my record.’” He insists he’s a murdered; Aeris insists he isn’t. I could look up the definition of “murderer,” but I’m pretty sure what happened in Sector 2 could count as self-defense so technically it’s not.
“’I…think that’s different. It wasn’t base murder. They didn’t really give you a choice…’ His sad smile told her he thought she was kind, and then she asked, ‘Did you enjoy it?’” I initially had him answer this “swiftly,” which I think would’ve given the wrong impression. I was going for him answering it quickly to instantly assure her that he derived no pleasure from that task, but I feel that the quickness of the answer would make it seem like he was hiding his enjoyment of it, which is not true at all. He didn’t enjoy it. He didn’t hate it. He didn’t feel anything. It was just a task that needed to be fulfilled. I suppose some people could say that makes him a sociopath (still), but he does have feelings for Aeris, and he doesn’t want to hurt innocent people anymore, but those men in the slums threatened her and were therefore garbage that needed to be taken out.
“’No,’ he told her, ‘not in the least, though their lives meant nothing to me. It was…just a task that needed fulfilled. They would’ve hurt you and that’s unallowed. No one will hurt you again.’ He bowed his head. ‘I never expected that you of all people would insist upon my innocence.’
‘You don’t need innocence to be good.’ Aeris swallowed in slight fear creeping up for what she now possessed.” Yeah…she’s right now realizing what she possesses. Sephiroth would kill anyone who tried to hurt her, and that’s quite frightening to wield such power. Also the ideas of innocence here are interesting. He’s shocked that she would insist upon his own, but she’s not. She tells him that you don’t need innocence to be good, which means that no one need be deprived of the chance for redemption.
“’Are you burned?’ he asked cupping the small hands, her palms red before his sight.
‘I-I don’t think so,’ she tried to assure, but it was hard to concentrate. He ran a long finger gently over the blush and didn’t even depress the flesh.” Seph is quickly learning how to be gentle with her, not that that takes much effort nor has he blundered that at all.
“’Do you not like coffee?’
‘Of course I do.’ He poured another cup. ‘I was just remarking on its absence. There are people who don’t like coffee?’”
And we end today’s edit with a moment of levity, which I feel we need.
Let’s have a much less morbid question tonight. I’ll keep it simple. What’s your favorite season? As per usual I’ll answer in the next installment, and also as per usual I’m not guaranteeing there will be a question every time.
I already made this my Question of the Week. In fact it may have been my very first QOTW tbh.
Until next time, stay hungry and interesting.