Cat Dog (Red XIII)
Description: A lion or wolf-like beast with fiery red fur, a thin brown mane that goes from his forehead to the middle of his back, and the tip of his tail looks as if to be on fire. Though his exterior is beast-like in nature, his intelligence surpasses most humanoids. His right eye is scarred, and his left eye is ochre in color. He is adorned with a variety of beads, earrings and feathers around his head, with golden pastern braces and tribal tattoos on all 4 limbs, and the roman numeral XIII tattooed on the upper thigh of his front left leg.
Personality Traits: He has a Strong sense of honor and courage, especially when aiding the defense of others. He is polite, observant, and curious; he has a slight distaste for human nature which may stem from the way Shinra Inc. treated him; when dealing with new people, he will let others take care of any interactions, if possible, since a “talking beast” usually make them uneasy.
The Beginnings of a Humble Cub
Red XIII was born in Cosmo Canyon to an unnamed mother and his father Seto. Towards the end of that same year, a rival tribe invaded their homelands; during this time, Seto ran off abandoning his family. The invasion was successfully fought off, but his mother was killed during the attack and Seto never returned. Afterwards, Red XIII was taken in by the elder of Cosmo Canyon, Bugenhagen, whom he refers to as “Grandfather” though they have no blood relation; they aren’t even the same species.
As Red XIII grew up, he learned the ways and customs of Cosmo Canyon under the tutelage of Bugenhagen. In particular, he learned about the ebb and flow of nature, the Life Stream, the Planet, and the rest of the universe. He also grew in strength and ferocity due to the abhorrence he harbored for his father’s cowardice; he made a personal vow that he would be a courageous defender for his tribe even at the cost of his own life.
When he was 47, Red XIII took part in a ritual to appease the Planet held once every 50 years, but he was reluctant because he did not consider himself to be a warrior yet. Another member of his tribe, Deneh, who was supposed to be his companion for the ritual, accused him of being a coward. Later that day, the Turks, which is a department of Shinra Inc., arrived in Cosmo Canyon to capture one of them as a specimen for Professor Hojo, who is head of the Shinra Science Division. Red XIII attacked the Turks as they move in to catch Deneh to prove himself as a warrior; he is defeated, but the Turks allow him to finish the ritual to appease the planet before taking him back to Shinra Headquarters in Midgar, where he was subjected to experiments and received the roman numeral XIII tattoo and the designation “Red XIII.”
One year later, a girl named Aerith Gainsborough (who, though looking exactly like any other human, is the last surviving member of a race called the Ancients, or Cetra as they call themselves) is also brought to Shinra Headquarters to be the subject of another set of experiments. But first, Hojo, realizing that neither he nor Aerith would live long enough to complete the experiments, attempts to have Red XIII and Aerith interbreed in order to “preserve” both of their species, and provide him with additional specimens to speed up his experiments. During the preparations for this experiment, Avalanche (an activist group, now led by Cloud Strife, which believes that Shinra is killing the Planet through the consumption of Mako energy), assaulted Shinra Headquarters to free Aerith. As they set Aerith free, the group inadvertently set loose a mutated creature. Red XIII offers to help the group defeat the monster as he has dealt with one of them before; the group accepts his help and they manage to fight their way out of the city limits. Red XIII agrees to travel with the group until they reach Cosmo Canyon.
The group then heads to a small town called Kalm to the North East; where they spend the night. Red XIII listens with much interest as Cloud gives his account of the Nibelheim Incident that happened 5 years ago, the clues that suggest Sephiroth might have survived the incident, and how it relates to Jenova, whose body was discovered by the group in Shinra’s labs during the rescue. The next day, the group leaves Kalm following rumors that Sephiroth was sighted heading South and then West through the Junon Cave with the intention of crossing the ocean.
In the port town of Junon, the group sneaked aboard a cargo ship heading for Costa Del Sol disguised as members of the crew. Red XIII pretending to be a human was an interesting sight to see for the rest of the group. Red XIII thought he did a rather fine job with the role. The ship eventually arrived in Costa Del Sol. Red XIII, finding that the climate of the area to be unfavorable to him, goes and finds a spot in the shade where he lays down and watches kids playing soccer on the streets until the party moves on. From there they traveled over the Corel Mountains to the village of North Corel and experienced the glorious wonders of Gold Saucer before finally reaching Cosmo Canyon.
The Home Coming
Until returning to Cosmo Canyon, Red XIII refused to discuss his own past with anyone in the group as he harbors a dislike for “two legged things” at this point. After arriving there and meeting with Bugenhagen, the party then learns Red XIII’s true name is Nanaki, and despite being 48 years in age, he is still not considered an adult by his species’ standards. Red XIII groans at this comment and states that he wants to be an adult; Bugenhagen retorts that he should not be so eager to grow up so fast. Later that night, the group is gathered around the Cosmo Candle, a big bon fire in the center of Cosmo Canyon. There Red XIII opens up a little bit telling them about how he remembers sitting around this candle with his parents so long ago, how whenever he remembers his mother he is filled with pride, but when he thinks of his father his heart is full of anger. After hearing this, Bugenhagen asks if there really is no room in his heart to forgive his father. Red XIII says that he cannot forgive him; he cowardly ran away, leaving his mother for dead, and disregarded his duty to protect the people of the canyon. Bugenhagen then beckons Red XIII to follow him because there is something he needs to see, and asks the group to come as well because it may be dangerous.
Bugenhagen leads the group to a storage room where there is a secret passage way leading to a cave underneath Cosmo Canyon. As they move deeper into the cave Bugenhagen explains that it is haunted by the Gi Tribe ghosts, the same tribe who laid siege to Cosmo Canyon, and that their anger prevents their souls from joining the Lifestream. Once they reach the cavern’s end, they encounter a powerful spirit with intense hatred and have to fight to subdue it; after it is defeated, they noticed that there is a path that leads out of the cave to a clearing outside of Cosmo Canyon. Bugenhagen then explains that the Gi Tribe greatly outnumbered the forces of Cosmo Canyon and had tried to enter through this cave for a sneak attack.
Upon leading the group outside the cave, Bugenhagen motions for Red XIII to look upwards. On a ledge overlooking the cave’s entrance, he sees a petrified body with arrows sticking out of it every which way. Red XIII realizes that these are the remains of his father Seto; Bugenhagen explains that he alone stood his ground and fought against an army of Gi. Taking hit after hit, Seto pressed on fighting even harder and more ferociously with every strike until the Gi tribe’s forces were pushed back. But the Gi Tribe’s poisoned arrows took their toll on Seto’s body and turned him to stone. And there his body stands to this day as a steadfast sentry, keeping enemies at bay. Red XIII, now feeling absolved of his shame for his father, vows to become an even greater warrior, to live up to his father’s honorable and courageous memory. And as he lets out a mighty howl at the moon, Seto’s petrified remains sheds a tear.
After the group returns from the cave, Bugenhagen asks Red XIII to protect the Planet and senses that the best way to do that is to continue on with Cloud and the rest of Avalanche, helping them to stop Sephiroth and Shinra from locating the fabled Promised Land — a land that Shinra believes to have a boundless supply of Mako Energy. The next day, as the others are about to leave the village, Red XIII runs after them claiming that he wants to help protect the Planet too. The group welcomes him back, and they continue on their journey.
The Group arrives in Nibelheim to find that the town was restored to the exact state it had been in 5 years ago, yet none of the people in the town acknowledge that it had ever burned down; nor do they recognize Cloud or Tifa Lockhart — who grew up there. The party notices that there are members of the community who wear hooded black cloaks that seem incapable of speaking coherently. Each of these cloaked figures have different roman numeral tattoos on them; the party also finds notes in the Shinra Mansion referring to them as being part of an experiment to clone Sephiroth. Red XIII wonders if his tattoo means that Hojo injected him with Jenova cells in an attempt to create another Sephiroth Clone. But later finds that the experiments on him were unrelated since he was captured three years after the Sephiroth Clones were created. They also find clues suggesting that Sephiroth is searching for a place called the Temple of the Ancients which is fabled to contain the Black Materia. The group leaves Nibelheim to search for the temple.
After Sephiroth acquires the Black Materia from the Temple of the Ancients and heads to the North Crater, the group catches up to him in the Whirlwind Maze, only to find out that they are actually facing another part of Jenova’s body. After defeating Jenova’s leg, they discover that it did indeed have the Black Materia. Cloud hands the Black Materia to Red XIII to hold on to, because Cloud has been manipulated by Sephiroth in the past and he no longer trusts himself. Red XIII promises to keep the Materia safe and not to hand it over to anyone.
As Cloud goes on ahead, Red XIII and some others of their party stay behind to guard the Materia. Then suddenly, they are hit with heavy winds and a dark mist envelops the area. Red XIII can no longer see where he is; he calls out to the others but no one responds. The scene settles and he finds himself alone. Tifa runs up to him and urges him to go and help Cloud, who is now in trouble. Red XIII is confused, but follows Tifa’s orders without realizing that Tifa is just an illusion conjured by Sephiroth to trick Red XIII into bringing the Black Materia to Cloud.
Red XIII rushes to Cloud who, among with the Shinra executives, has found Sephiroth’s true body encased in a Materia crystal. Cloud asks Red XIII to give the Black Materia to him and Red XIII complies, but Sephiroth’s lies have made cloud doubt his own humanity, and his psyche has been broken. Cloud sticks the Black Materia into the Materia crystal with Sephiroth’s body, and the area begins erupting with power. Sephiroth uses the Black Materia to summon Meteor — The “Ultimate distructive magic.” This awakens the Planet Weapons sleeping in the crater and everyone but Cloud escapes the scene on Shinra’s airship, the Highwind. And a powerful barrier is placed over the North Crater.
After Cloud has been saved and has rejoined the party, Bugenhagen joins them to make a visit to the Forgotten Capital. He explains the nature of the White Materia, and unveils that it was successfully used for summoning Holy to combat Sephiroth’s Meteor, but down in the Planet’s core, Sephiroth has managed to block its effect. Bugenhagen returns to Cosmo Canyon, and the group heads to Midgar in search of a way to get past the barrier protecting the North Crater. While they are there, they find out that Shinra has placed a large Mako Cannon fueled by the six functioning reactors over the city aimed at the crater. Diamond Weapon attacks Midgar and the party holds it at bay while the cannon is charged. Once charged, the cannon is fired; the shot pierces through the core of Diamond Weapon and destroys the barrier protecting the North Crater.
When returning to Cosmo Canyon to give bugenhagen the news, they find that he has fallen ill. Red XIII runs to him, and the others stay back to leave them alone. Bugenhagen tells Nanaki there is so much more to life than what is within Cosmo Canyon, and he should survey the world itself and all its unique facets to gain the true knowledge he mentioned in their last meeting. Bugenhagen passes away in the night and Nanaki takes up a resolve to protect the Planet, as that is what constitutes his knowledge and concept of life itself.
Approaching by air using the Highwind. Red XIII takes part in the attack on the Northern Cave with the rest of the party. They confront and defeat Sephiroth. The party escapes the cavern as the core erupts The party watches from the Highwind as Meteor destroys the upper plates of Midgar. Holy rushes in to stop Meteor, but Red XIII fears that it may have arrived too late, and is now having the opposite effect. That even after all their efforts, the Planet is still fated to be destroyed. Just then, Tifa exclaims, “What’s that?!” And directs everyone to look to the northwest. They all look and see what seems to be ribbons of the Lifestream making their way towards Midgar, and they soon realize that the Lifestream is moving in from every direction covering the planet. With Holy now infused with the Lifestream it is then able to consume Meteor before it collides with the Planet. Midgar is left in ruins, but the Planet has been saved.
Darkness Tugging at the Beast’s Heart
Upon returning home, Red XIII — now called Nanaki by everyone, including his former comrades — vows to follow Bugenhagen’s wishes by traveling the Planet to observe all forms of life and teach others what he learns. After he leaves, however, a void begins to grow in his heart — he dubs this void “Gilligan” for the sake of helping to remember it. During his travels, he stuggles with being a beast and acting like a human, as well as his longevity which means he will experience a great deal of loss.
Vincent Valentine — one of Nanaki’s former comrades who helped defeat Sephiroth — tells him “Gilligan” is his fear of loss and the loneliness that will come with living a long life. Vincent encourages Nanaki, saying that one day he may have children of his own to keep him from being lonely. Vincent also informs Nanaki that he himself is immortal, meaning he will be living even longer than Nanaki. The two agree to meet in the ruins of Midgar every year for the remainder of Nanaki’s life, where he will tell Vincent the stories of his travels.
Two years later, a plague infected the populous of the Planet. The people called it “Geo-Stigma” and believed that it was caused by the use of Mako energy over the past fifty years; but those involved in the recent crisis learn that it is being spread by Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo who were awoken when the Turks found Jenova’s head buried near the Northern Cave. Vincent discribes the Geo-Stigma as a symptom of alien matter that infects the blood stream. The body will attempt to fight off the infection, but ends up overcompensating and destroys itself along with the infection.
Upon receiving word of these events, Nanaki comes to reunite with the other members of Avalanche to help stop Kadaj and his gang. He arrives with Cait Sith (a fortune telling cat who was also involved with fighting Sephiroth) riding on his back just after Kadaj summons Bahamut SIN to attack the city of Edge — a city built along the outskirts of the Midgar Ruins. Using his claws and teeth Nanaki helps the group battle and defeat the dragon.
Nanaki, along with the rest of Avalanche, is forced to watch from the bridge of the airship — Shera — as Cloud squares off against Kadaj, because over the span of a few years they have all lost the power they once wielded durring the last confrontation with Sephiroth; whereas Cloud appears to have found that strength once again. Kadaj fuses with the head of Jenova to become the reincarnation of Sephiroth, Fierce battle ensues, and Cloud, though very scathed, comes out as the victor. They gather the rest of the infected men, women, and children at the church in the Secter 5 Slums to cure them of the Stigma using the Lifestream, and everyone rejoices.
A Dream, Fading Memories, or Worse
Thirty-two years have now passed, Nanaki and Vincent have both kept their promises to meet every year, and the Planet has gone on without even a whisper of things concerning Heaven’s Dark Harbinger or Nightmares. Nanaki completing his study of the area surrounding Gongaga, the hometown of Zack Fair, heads back home to Cosmo Canyon. While he is on his way, a heavy storm rolls in — after all, it is that time of year. Home is not far off now, but knowing fulwell how unforgiving nature can be to a traveler, Nanaki decides to take shelter in a cave located in an area called the Ancient Forest. The storm lasts well into the night, and Nanaki falls asleep.
When Nanaki awakes the next morning, he finds that he is no longer in the cave he fell asleep in. He is in a wooded area, but there are no caves to be seen, and certainly no evidence that there was a harsh storm the previous night. He also notices a thin chain around his neck, attached to this chain is a blue stone; this stone seems to have the resemblence of Materia except that it has a sigil engraved on it. Upon closer inspection of the sigil, he realizes that it means “Ancestral Earth” but cannot fathom how or why he knows that since this is the first time he has ever seen this symbol. Nanaki also realizes that the chain cannot be taken off.
After a few moments Nanaki decides to exit the woods heading north. Once he clears the woods, he notices a path going east and west. To the east there seem to be no noticable landmarks; to the west, he notices the path winding down hill and there is a town in the distance that appears to be on the coast. Nanaki thinks to himself, “That town is too small to be Junon, and the climate does not match Costa Del Sol. It looks like Kalm, but Kalm is neither on the coast, nor should it reside on this continent.” Having no other reasonable options, he heads down the path towards the town to search for answers.
Along the way, Nanaki notices something interesting comming up the path; for observation’s sake, he hurries over behind some nearby bushes and watches as a group of humans riding large quadrapede beasts pass him by. Nanaki thinks to himself, “It is no unusual thing for humans to ride on beasts; though I have seen more unusual creatures than this, how in all my travels have I not come accross this particular beast before?” Figuring that he will have more time to ponder on this, Nanaki continues on his way towards the town.
Approaching the gates of the town, Nanaki notices guards on either side of the gate; a third guard carrying an axe is there talking to one of the two and looks as if to be asking for a report. “Excuse me!” Nanaki interupts, “Could you tell me what town this is?” The guards look up now giving attention to Nanaki. “Ha ha! What are you, a familiar who has lost his master?” Nanaki though unsure of the term “familiar” figures thinking, “Typical human, assuming I am somebody’s pet.” Retaining his composure Nanaki replies, “Hmm, yes sadly. What is the name of this town?” “You are at the gates of Warfburg!” the guard states honorably, and then goes on saying, “The tavern is that way, perhaps you will find your master there.” Once again ignoring the implication, Nanaki replies, “Thank you for your help good sir.” and proceeds to go “sniff” about the tavern for anything that could tell him more about the area.