Red XIII's old stompin' grounds

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Red XIII (Nanaki)

History: Nanakiís species had been known to exist in the hills around Cosmo Canyon for centuries. Long before Red XIII was born, his people and the people of Cosmo Canyon had formed a lasting bond of friendship. Even in the early days, Nanakiís people had not been plentiful, and the constant warring with nearby hostile tribes took itís toll. By the time Nanaki was born, he and his parents were widely thought to be the only members of his species left alive.

For a number of reasons his childhood was quite different from that of a typical youth. The fact that he aged much more slowly than a human did not lend itself to lasting relationships.The warring with other tribes contiuned in his early years as well. The constant battling meant that even ordinary human childrenís lives were affected, but as the last descendent of the traditional protectors of Cosmo Canyon, for Nanaki this was even more true. Most of his time was spent in military and educational training. Due again to his special status, these lessons were usually given one on one by adults well versed in the subject, and he did not spend much time around other children.Through necessity, little time during his youth was spent at play.

When Nanaki was eleven years old, still only an infant in his species terms, Cosmo Canyon faced itís greatest danger yet. A new tribe came up from the south. Called the Gi, they were a strong, hardy and numrous warrior people who had swept all before them. The people of Cosmo Canyon, who had been depleted by many skirmishes with other lesser tribes, were at their weakest, and it seemed unlikely that they could defend the Canyon against this latest threat.

Nevertheless, as the Gi army approached most of the people of Cosmo Canyon were determined to stand their ground and fight for the land they loved, and they hastily prepared their defenses. But the leader of the Gi army had found a rarely used entrance into Cosmo Canyon through the caverns underneath it. He split his army, sending one contingent to the main pass into the Canyon, and led the second portion himself into the caverns.

The ruse almost worked, but a sharp eyed sentry spotted their approach to the caverns and warned Seto, Nanakiís father. Not knowing how many men he was facing, and not willing to risk leaving the main defenses depleted, Seto took only a dozen men with him into the caves.

The Gi had almost ten times that number. What horrors took place deep beneath the ground during the visciuos battle that followed have not been recorded. Though hopelessly outnumbered, Seto had always been a fierce warrior, and the more he realized how little chance they had the harder he fought. For a while he seemed unstoppable, and none could stand before him. He became a rallying point for all the defenders of Cosmo Canyon.

But even Seto's fighting ability could not overcome such long odds. Slowly his comrades fell around him, until at last only he remained standing. But still he fought on, caught up in the fury of battle, giving no thought to quarter or surrender. Eventually even he fell, though it was said it took twenty men to finally bring him down.

Though the battle had been won, the will to fight had been lost. The Gi had never seen anyone fight with such ferocity and bravery. Partially out of respect for the fighting prowess of their enemy, and partially because the losses they had suffered now cast the campaign in doubt, the Gi decided to withdraw and leave the people of Cosmo Canyon in peace.

The loss of her husband devestated Nanaki's mother, and she was determined that the same fate would not befall her son. Fearing that he would emulate his father's foolish bravery, she did not tell him what had happened to his father. Although she didn't actually lie, she left Nanaki with the impression that his father had run away, and not been involved with the battle at all.

Though his mother tried to shelter him as much as possible, his father's blood ran strong in his veins, and as his heir as protector of the Canyon, his heritage could not be denied. Though no enemy with the strength of the Gi threatened Cosmo Canyon during this time, Nanaki was forced to fight in numerous battles against lesser tribes, and soon his many battle scars marked him as a fierce warrior in his own right.

All this time his mother became more and more troubled. She had never gotten over the death of his father, and now spent more and more time wandering alone in the hills around Cosmo Canyon. She became convinced that others of their species still survived, and became determined to find them. When she found no sign near the canyon she began to wander farther and farther afield, spending more and more time away, until she was gone months at a time. When Nanaki was twenty seven she headed into the hills to the south of the canyon and disappeared. For months afterward the people of Cosmo Canyon searched for her, but no sign of her was ever found.

Though twenty seven years old, Nanaki was still a child in human terms, and his care now fell in the hands of Bugenhagen, a human who had been a close friend of his parents. By now Cosmo Canyon had become strong enough that it was left alone by most of it's neighbors, and it entered into a period of peace that it had not had in the past. With less time at battle, Nanaki finally had time to turn his attention to other pursuits. Bugenhagen was a well respected scholar and scientist, and he soon discovered that Nanaki was not only a strong fighter, but had a love of learning and a startling intellect. Bugenhagen was delighted to have such an apt pupil, and they were soon spending most of their time together studying in Bugenhagen's observatory.

But Nanaki never forgot about his mother, and whenever he had the chance he would wander afield looking for some sign of her. Even after more than twenty years had passed he still hoped to someday find her. It was while he was on one of these excurions that he was captured by members of Shinra Corporation.

Hojo of Shinra had heard rumors of the strange red beast that was said to inhabit the region around Cosmo Canyon and had been intrigued, thinking perhaps he could use such a beast in his Jenova experiments. So he was delighted when Nanaki was brought back to Shinra headquarters in Midgar, and immediately began testing. But Hojo was not aware of Nanaki's intelligence, and thought of him as nothing more than an unusual beast, perhaps with an intellect high for an animal, but certainly nothing to compare with that of a human. Nanaki thought it best that he not reveal his true intelligence, thinking that it would be to his advantage somewhere down the line, so he played along with Hojo's assumptions.

Curious as to what would result to have a non human infused with Jenova cells, Hojo decided to add Nanaki to the Jenova program, and had him tattooed with the number XIII.

But before the infusion could take place Hojo captured Aeris Gainsborough, the Ancient he had sought for so long. With her in his hands, all other projects were put on hold, including Nanaki's.

Still, Hojo did find a use for him in his experiments with Aeris. To test her reactions to stress he had Nanaki placed in a chamber with her, assuming that the lionlike beast would be a danger to her. The experiment was interrupted, however, but the daring break in and rescue by Cloud, Tifa and Barret.

Red XIII's Den has been disturbed times.