This romance was begun as a fanfiction. There is a whole world of games and fictions related to this one role-playing adventure game. Rather like all the related stories that surround the Arthur Conan Doyle "Sherlock Holmes" novels, or all the fantasy writers that copy "Lord of the Rings." A comparable site can be found here, now rather dated but still relevant.

If you have a little trouble with some of the references, you can follow this link to an excellent map. It was likely created by gamers to help them play more easily. Fantasy Anime is a very clean site that won't annoy you with popups and visually crowded advertising. No viruses in all my use of the site.

Videos games generally have threadbare plots, and Final Fantasy VII is no exception:

Shinra, a huge, nasty, amoral corporation has taken over the world, enthusiastically using force to squelch any opposition. A small rebel group called Avalanche (Josephine joins them along the way) takes it on, doing its own damage in the process and earning a reputation as terrorists. Avalanche hopes to rescue the Planet from the ecological crises caused by the corporation. The corporation funds its own scientific research without any restrictions and has produced not only a human monster, a mad, nearly omnipotent soldier named Sephiroth, but has also contaminated the world's wildlife. There are monsters everywhere, mutated from the everyday animals.

Josephine's drama begins before the narration. She has joined the little group earlier, in the lovely resort area of Gold Coast, but they have been on their quest for quite some time, having already covered an entire continent. That leaves her in the dark about most of the people around her, so she learns about them at the same rate as the reader.

There are two nonhuman allies: Red XIII (also Reddie, aka Nanaki) a manticore, really
just a teenaged dog-cat who is actually very old;--actual site and other characters here--Cait Sith, a fairy cat riding atop a robot monster shaped like a moogle (thanks to Final Fantasy Insider), one of the many recurring Final Fantasy creatures. The cat itself may or may not be real, but his presence is undeniable and must be confronted at times. During gameplay, he joins the group unbidden and betrays both the good guys and bad guys along the way. He irritates and disgusts Josephine, who must rely on him against her better instincts.

Character development drives the plot in Final Fantasy VII, and has not only spawned many a fanfiction, but also has led to a lot of sequels, prequels and such by Square Enix, the game's producers.

As is often the case in Role Playing Games, the true villain is elusive, and no one is all good, or even trustworthy. Fans across the real world love the evil characters as much as the good guys. Josephine comes to the fellowship damaged by Shinra, unable to remember her recent past. She is neither good nor bad, or so it seems even to her, and takes everyone at face value.

Wikipedia has a very extensive descripton of the plot, but readers should know from the beginning that Final Fantasies all have many things in common:

They posit a world where airships are fantastic machinations that probably would not fly in real life. The good guys are just as messed up as the bad. Bad guys are surrounded by good people who are either misled or following some noble instinct. People do a lot, and I mean an awful lot, of walking and fighting. And all battles end neatly, usually with bodies disintegrating into the ether, and dead allies returning to life at the drop of a healing item, typically Phoenix Down.

Josephine is not a hero. She is completely neurotic and about as human as anyone could be. I wanted to insert a real person with real reactions, and in many cases she reacts to an area or situation just as I did during game play. She is a sensual, emotional creature: loveable mother, ridiculous screwup, and embarrassing deadweight at times. Not exactly a child of the gods, but she loves her little world, the good and the bad alike, and bumps along like the rest of us, just hoping to make through the day without hurting herself or anyone else.

Is Josephine my alter ego? Maybe; she's certainly the character I imagined I was while playing the game. Fini, Josey, Jo. Even the use of so many nicknames reflects a part of my own life. And by the way, most of the characters in Nibelheim are also the gaming characters of actual people. They are or were my coworkers at my real job. Many others are named for people I know. Otherwise, any resemblance to real people would be coincidental.

If you have any questions, please contact me, using the comment section. I monitor my sites closely and will reply if you need it. Anything that looks like advertising or something viral will be deleted.

People, Places, and Things in Josephine’s World

Aerith…………. Avalanche ally, last surviving Cetra
Avalanche…… Rebel group trying to save the Planet
Barrett………… Avalanche founder
Cait Sith………. Fairy cat riding huge robotic toy
Cetra…………… Ancient race, mystically tied to the Planet
Chocobo………. Large bird used for riding
Cloud…………… Avalanche leader, former SOLDIER member
Contain………… Magic that can imprison enemy
Corelle…………. Coal mining town (var. Corel)
Gold Coast……. Warm climate, sea-side resort
Hojo…………….. Megalomaniac scientist
Jenova…………. Alien invader causing genetic mutations
Limit Break…… Burst of intense fighting energy (var. Limit)
Mako……………. Naturally occurring magic
Mt. Nibel………. Site of Shinra mako reactor
Nibelheim……… Town devastated by Shinra, Inc.
Phoenix Down… Item used to restore ally to life
Sephiroth……… Homicidal super-human member of SOLDIER
Shinra, Inc…….. Machiavellian corporation
SOLDIER………. Elite, genetically enhanced, Shinra fighting unit
Tifa……………… An original member of Avalanche
TURK…………… Covert Shinra hit squad
Yuffie…………… Adolescent ninja from Wutai
Wutai…………… Town peopled by adepts in the martial arts

Ready to begin Josephine's Quest to save the Planet?

Still With Us?

If you’ve gotten through the first chapters and want more, here is a conclusion to the already begun encyclopedic glossary.


Bugenhagen: Nanaki’s (Red XIII’s) human grandfather. Extremely ancient mystic and reader of the cosmos, supreme elder of Cosmo Canyon.

Dio: rather eccentric owner and operator of Gold Saucer, and not coincidentally, the desert-prison underneath it.

Godor: reigning lord of Wutai. Yuffie’s father.

Rufus Shinra: ruthless young president of Shinra Inc., after the death of his father.

Shera: Shinra aerospace engineer. Cid’s significant other.

Places: It is a recurring theme in Final Fantasy Games that the evil empire, whether political or financial, devastates peoples lives, homes and even entire towns or countries, without any compunction whatsoever. In order of their appearance in the game, and Josey’s story, here are the towns ruined by Shinra, Inc. in Final Fantasy VII:

Corelle: (var. Corel) A town destroyed by Shinra, Inc. The coal miner inhabitants were suspected of sabotaging mako reactors.

Gongaga: near a ruined Shinra reactor. Only a few houses are left, next to a cemetery. Rumor (likely put forth by Shinra) were circulated that the coal miners of nearby Corelle were responsible.

Junon: Shinra took over the town to make it a major fortress, and to set a mako reactor in the ocean bed below it. The entire area has been tainted, especially the ocean. The adjacent fishing village is most affected, since the fisheries are gone.

Nibelheim: At face value, town appears normal, but a quick look around makes it clear that things are not as they seem.

Wutai: Still intact body and block, but its spirit was broken by the huge corporation during the Technologic Wars.

Other (relatively unharmed) Places:

Bone Village: excavation site on Northern Continent.

Da Chao: a mountain shrine, sculpted in the form of three war gods.

Gold Saucer: glittering amusement park, set high atop a tower in the middle of the desert outside Corelle.

Icicle Village: ski and snow-board resort area, at the foot of a huge glacier on the Northern Continent.

Rocket Town: hamlet in the middle of the plains of the Central Continent, noted for having a huge rocket, somewhat ready(?) for launch.


Adamantamai: very large tortoise with diamond-hard shell.

Gil: coin of the realm, gold piece.

Highwind: airship designed and piloted by Cid, then co-opted and retrofitted by Rufus Shinra.

Marlboro: mutant plant-monster, infamous for its bad breath.

Materia: naturally occurring magic. Mako in crystal form. Materia itself responds to use by humans, increasing in potency and replicating ad infinitum.

Shoon: battle shoe made from armor plate or chain mail.